Apr 30, 2013

HAIR LUST: Lovely Locs for Wedding Bliss

I think the Hair Lust section is my favorite posts on this site. I love seeing the variety of natural hair styles on all you lovely ladies. Today, we are featuring a pair of lovely pictures I found on the The Rock & Roll Bride wedding website. Gorgeous loc'd bride, Dawn, fashioned her locs into an elgant updo for her vintage inspired wedding. Wow! So regal and breathtaking.

See more photos of Dawn's wedding HERE.

Apr 29, 2013

Toya's Final Hair Diary



Hey everyone.  Well, I am sad to say that this will be my final post on Natural in Nashville.  Because of time limitations, I've had to step down from writing for this blog.  I've been going back and forth about this decision for quite some time and last Sunday I decided to finally fess up to our editor Melissa that I simply don't have the time to give this website the attention it deserves. I also had to confess another little detail.  The conversation went something like this:

Me: ... so after going back and forth about this for quite some time, I've decided that I'm not going to be able to write for Natural in Nashville anymore. 

Melissa: Aaaaw! Oh no!

Me:  Yeah, it sucks.  And in more news, I am currently in the parking lot of CVS because I'm about to buy a kiddie relaxer and relax my hair because this mess is out of control. 

Now before you think I have completely jumped ship, let me explain to you as I did to Melissa.  Although my hair has been growing, it has been getting curlier and curlier and thus looks like it is getting shorter and shorter. This has been driving me crazy.  On top of that, due to the thickness of my hair I haven't had a completely dry head for most of 2013!  I could wet my hair in the morning and come 10:30 at night, still have a spot in the back of my hair that is soaking wet.  Due to my hectic schedule of working two jobs, I have been wearing my hair in an afro puff for at least two months because it is entirely too much effort to wear down because it takes too long to dry.  I was really missing the fun of wearing my hair down so what I decided to do was try something that I did the first time I big chopped in the late nineties.  I bought a kiddie relaxer, let it sit for about 20 minutes, and then prayed to high heaven that it would still turn out curly for me to continue wearing a wash and go hairstyle.  Fortunately enough for me it has.  My hair is easier to manage, takes more than half of the time to dry, and my curls have dropped which is what I have been waiting for them to do for months.   I think for my curls to drop the way I wanted them to naturally, I would have to grow an insane amount of hair and I just don't have that kind of patience. Thankfully, I have learned a lot about maintaining healthy hair by having gone natural and am confident that I will be able to do so with relaxed hair.  At the end of the day, isn't maintaining healthy hair what it's all about anyway?

Not only am I going to miss writing for this blog but I am going to miss being a part of the natural hair community.  There is so much pride and I am so proud of how it continues to expand! As much as I hate not being "certifiably natural", it was Melissa's support that has made me feel entirely comfortable with my decision.  "It's YOUR hair, Toya." she said as I shopped the CVS aisle in hopes of finding my answer to looser curls and a dry head of hair. "You have to be okay with you.  Do what makes you happy!"  Her support really has meant a lot to me.  I am so privileged to have her as a friend and am so proud of what she's done with this site. It's an honor to have been a part of it.

 I've learned a lot on my hair journey and I'd like to leave you with my latest lesson as I've transitioned from natural to relaxed (or "texlaxed" as some would like to call it because I'm still a curly girl): be your own standard of beauty. I relaxed my hair because I want it to look a certain way and I love it. There are sistas that get weaves because they want to look a certain way and they love that. There are women that shave off their hair because they want to look a certain way and they love that as well.  My point is that we have to not be so judgmental about what other women do to feel beautiful and comfortable with themselves.  I have definitely been guilty of this.  So much so that when I decided to relax my hair, I was nervous about what some natural women would say.  Who cares?! I think to a certain degree there is a misconception that if a woman does not wear her natural hair that she has not fully embraced who she is. In some cases that is quite the contrary.  I think a lot of women that change up their hair quite often have a better grip on who they are than some would realize.  You have to fully embrace yourself to say "This is what I am feeling today.  I love myself enough to allow myself to freely express that."  To me that's admirable.  Some women just have it like that and then there are women like me who could only get to that point by chopping it all off and starting over. This is why I will always be an advocate for going natural. Sometimes starting over is the best way to get to who you you've always wanted to be.

I wish everyone the best on their hair journey.  Thank you for allowing me to share mine with you.

Best wishes for healthy hair and happiness,

CONTEST: Win a ticket to the Music City NAturals Natural Hair Event - May 11

OMG!! The Music City Naturals - Natural Hair Event is less than two weeks away! May 11, 2013 will be here before we know it! Are you gonna be there? Do you have your tickets yet? Well you are in luck. Everyday this week, Natural in Nashville is giving away one ticket a day. Since we are co-sponsors of this wonderful event, we wanted to make sure everyone has a chance to attend.

How do you win today's ticket? Easy! Leave a comment below with your email address -  that's it! The winner will be contacted by tonight, April 29 - 11:59pm (CST). So if you are a winner, check your email account and your spam box.

Alright, so you might be thinking, where is this event taking place. We are honored to announce that the wonderful staff at the Scaritt-Bennett center have opened the door to host our wonderful event. The Scaritt-Bennett center is near the Vanderbilt campus in Nashville, TN. We chose this beautiful location that is centralized to give everyone easy access to the event. And, there's free parking!

Oh yeah, we know their are several graduations going on this day - no worries, the event last from 1pm through 7pm so you have plenty of time to stop by, chat with us, and maybe buy a new product or two.

Apr 24, 2013

Discussion: Would you shave your head? She did!

One of my FAVORITE YouTubers did what some women think is unthinkable - she shaved her head!

If you don't know, this is Shameless Maya, a photographer, actress, and blogger. She started a personal journey one year ago to be more, well, shameless! Basically, she wanted to get over her fears and promote herself, gifts, and her talents. Maya started uploading inspirational videos documenting her career and her life in New York. Through this journey she has become quite the YouTube sensation gaining 70,000 fans and more than 2million views.

When you watch Maya's videos you are instantly drawn in by her bubbly personality and, quite frankly, her lucious curls! Maya realized that her curls were catching alot of attention and decided to shave her head on the one year anniversary of her 'Shameless' journey.

Although many women, big chop/shave their head at the beginning of their natural hair journey, not many would shave it again after reaching armpit length. Maya attributed her decision to releasing her fear of what most women hold on to - that our hair is the most important thing about us. Think about it, we spend more time and money on our hair than most of our personal beauty products.  In a video announcing her decision, Maya told viewers that she  wanted to inspire women to live life more freely.

Wearing a t-shirt with her signature catch phrase, "Do YOU BOO!", Maya and her cousin, Jeigh, completed the task. As she bundled her hair in 18 ponytails, ready to donate to a non-profit organization, you can see the anxiety on Maya's face. Over the course of 45 minutes we see the locks of hair being clipped off and her hair taken down to peach fuzz level. The self-describes Shameless girl shed a tear as she saw her bald head for the first time. But immediately she fell in love with her new look.  Could you imagine doing it?! Check the video, below, and watch Maya transform.

Follow Maya on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube!

HAIR LUST: The Mane Man

Let me tell you something . . . let me tell you something!!!! I love a man with long hair. I know, I know, most guys don't grow their hair long. Long hair on a man is reserved for rappers, rock-stars, models, and the occasional hippie slacker - but if I it was widely accepted, I wish to have a long haired man of my own. And this guy, he's so manly with his mane! Look at those luscious curls and waves - I'd deep condition and de-tangle that every Saturday! LOL!! Enjoy!

Apr 22, 2013

Ashiya's Hair Diary : What Has Been Joined Together (Update)

In October of last year, I decided to combine some of my locs to make them stronger as my hair continued to gain length.  As I shared here, my locs were smaller than they should have been when I started them and combing them at the root was a good way to help them grow in to support the weight of my hair better.  I was initially concerned with combining the loc from root to tip, but that has become secondary to me now.  As long as they grow in healthy, an occasional trim will take care of locs that have trouble joining down to the tip.

Me an my falling spring curls at a demonstration I did at Hattie Cotton STEM Elementary in East Nashville.

Melissa's Hair: Braid it up, braid it up!

If you've been ready the blog long enough, you know I don't keep my hair loose for too long. My curl pattern is prone to single strand knots, breakage, and massive tangles. Being natural for as long as I've been, I'm still learning (and struggling) to find the right routine for my hair. No matter what shampoo, styling product, or deep conditioning treatment, my hair operates best in protective styles OR straightened/stretched with heat.

Since I've re-started my fitness regime (follow my journey on getfitwithfab.blogspot.com) keeping my hair straight was not the best option. I'd have to apply heat way too much - prohibiting the health and growth of my hair. So I opted for my old standby, long box braids. This time I installed them. The braids are WAY smaller than I usually do. It took me a week to install because I was just so tired!

I've decided to rock these braids until June as I decided between a funky hair-cut or a weave installation. I'm going on year three as a natural, and I'm ready for a change; color, cut, something! As you can see, I'm always looking to change the game. Until I figure out what I'm going to do - I'm going to rock these braids.

Apr 16, 2013

HAIR LUST: Cornrowed Crown

You know I'm a sucker for a pretty protective style. This style is the 'bee's knees'! Just in time for these warm months, here's a style that keeps your hair off you neck and back while giving you ease and elegance. Seriously, this style might be my birthday look. You like it?

Apr 15, 2013

Candice's Hair Diary: Big Hair and Small Hats.

If you missed it, I had my hair cut and straightened recently. And then.... I missed my curls. Before February, it had been at least a year since my hair was straightened successfully. I was beginning to think that I was a lost cause. Yes for great hair stylists!

But it was straightened, alright. Seriously straightened. Not a wave, kink, or wrinkle could be seen or felt anywhere on my head. It LOOKED and FELT like my hair was relaxed. And that's when I missed my curls. I missed those annoying suckers so much.

But I'm back! Up until about a week or so, I have worn my hair really big almost every day since I washed the flat iron style. And I have loved it. I am stretching my twist out for a week, sometimes more. I am just loving the curly life. 

Since my big hair love affair is in full swing, I have come across a couple of dilemmas. First of all, I am graduating from Tennessee State University. I am super excited. On May 11th I will finally get my bachelors degree. (9:00 a.m. at Hale Stadium. You are all officially invited!) And I can't help but wonder how I will fit all of this hair under that graduation cap. My hair is shoulder length, but twists shrink so much unless they are mini. I don't want mini twists on graduation. Help!!! My hair is not long enough to do the styles in Naptural85's graduation video. My hair still goes "up" most of the time.

Have any readers worn natural hair under their graduation cap? What style did you wear?

P.S. I'll save the conversation on my vacation hair until later. But it's coming.

Apr 9, 2013

Hair Lust: Omelika Kuumba's Cultured Locs

I met Omelika Kuumba during my first year at Spelman College.  I came to know her as Sister Omelika during the semester I struggled through much of her African dance class.  By the end, Sister Omelika had revealed to me a beautiful truth: our spirits and emotions move when we move. 

Apr 8, 2013

Melissa's Hair: My hair for Nashville Fashion Week

Last week I was invited to report on Nashville Fashion Week (NFW). Since 2010, Nashville Fashion Week has presented local and national designers to our fair town. The proceeds benefit The Community Foundation and help upcoming designers present their vision to the world by starting on our small stage.

As a fashion blogger and wardrobe stylist I always work hard to present have cute wardrobe options to my readers as I attend various events. Now, that I write about natural hair, I wanted to make sure that I presented several hair options for you, my Natural in Nashville, readers.

Many times, women don't let go of the relaxer because they think there aren't alot of styling options available for women with natural hair. Most of the time, women aren't comfortable exploring their new style and have fear that people will make fun or think they look 'crazy' when they rock a different look. Don't let your hair lock you in a cage of emotions and fear.

Below are several hair looks I rocked for Nashville Fashion Week. I hope you are inspired to try a new style.

Day 1 - After coming straight from a family vacation, I went right into NFW. My hair was a shrunken mess and I had no time to wash and deep condition.  So I rocked my 'go-to' style - the Marley Bun. I have a Marley Bun tutorial on our YouTube page - click here. Basically, I pulled my hair into a ponytail then attached the Marley style braiding hair to my hair giving my bun more volume and finesse. Everyone love it!

Day 2 and 3 - Now into the swing of the week, I knew I didn't want to manipulate my hair too much. I went to my local hair store and purchase a half-wig or fall. This is a synthetic hair piece created by FreeTress (style - Creta Girl, color -1B). The piece was really long, so I cut it to bob length to allow for more volume. Underneath, I washed and conditioned my hair then put my hair in flat twists to protect it. I left the bang area out. Using wigs or falls is great way to switch up your look. I used a little water and mousse on my bang area to help my hair blend into the curl pattern of the synthetic hair.

Day 4 - It wad time to switch the style up again. This time I wanted to go for a bold dramatic look because the runway shows were bold and dramatic. I pulled out my old african print fabric that I purchased from the African Street Festival in Nashville. I fashioned the fabric into a high bun and went on. This was the easiest style and my hair stayed protected under the scarf/turban. Click here for a quick/easy turban tutorial on YouTube.

Day 5 - The last day of NFW I was tired yet excited. I made through a whole week and now I was done. What to do with my hair? I finally released my hair from the flat-twists that I rocked under my half-wig and my turban. My hair had great volume so I used two hair combs on each side of my hair and fashioned my hair into a Mohawk. For a bit more dramatic volume, I added some clip in extensions. The extensions are DIY and I used Jazz Water synthetic hair by FreeTress

So there you have it! The four ways I rocked my hair for Nashville Fashion Week. Fun, flirty, elgant, and free, I was able to exhibit various styles for each night.

Apr 5, 2013

Roots 'n Rhythm: Avery Sunshine "All in My Head"

Sooooo Avery Sunshine is absolutely gorgeous. Let's just start there.  I mean really.  She rocks a close cut with the greatest of ease and she is as radiant as her name on stage.  If you've never seen her live, you must do so.  She's outstanding.

Check out her first video for her single "All In My Head" off of her self-titled debut album. For more on Avery Sunshine, go to her website www.averysunshine.com

Apr 4, 2013

LINK LOVE: The Kitchen Salon's Locked Hair Guide

Thank you to The Kitchen Salon for their comprehensive guide to starting, maintaining and styling locs!

The Locked Hair guide shares everything from how locs are formed to choosing the methods best for specific hair types.  The guide also covers different techniques from sisterlocks to interlocking and Bradelocz.

For more details and tips for new and mature locs, you can read The Locked Hair Guide here.

Product Review: Design Essentials Natural Defining Creme Gel

Within the past year, Design Essentials came out with a line for natural hair...you know, like everyone else. But I must say that I am quite fond of the products I have used specifically their Natural Defining Creme Gel.  There's just one problem: After the laborious effort of working this product through my hair and then sitting under the dryer for 45 minutes, I have no idea how to use it more than once. 

For example, it is imperative when using this thick, cake batter (in consistency and smell) like creme to dry your hair under a hooded drier for optimal results.  Also keep in mind that this product takes time to work through so one needs to keep a spray bottle close and handy.  I definitely suggest using the Design Essentials Natural Daily Moisturizing Lotion underneath it first for shine and to fight of flakiness.  When I did, I got some poppin' ribbon curls that I have not seen since my days of relaxing my hair and letting it air dry.  I got crazy definition on the first day. But on the next day, not so much. 

Exhibit A: First Day Freshness

Exhibit B: Second Day Saltiness

I just can't figure out how to refresh my curls to keep them as elongated as they are on the first day.  I've tried spritzing and not spritzing,  adding moisturizer, not adding moisturizer. I just can't get past the first day with this product! Even Chaka knows that the second day hair struggle is real.

But back to the product.  Despite my not fully understanding how to use it past the first day, I love the results but not so much the price.  Depending on where you get it, it can run you between $25-$30. However, a little goes a long way.

If anyone has had success with this product, I am definitely open to hearing what you did to get second, third, and fourth day curls. This has become a special occasion product for me when I really want to wear my hair out and actually have the time to sit under the dryer.  Outside of that, the container is presently in the Land of Abandoned Products in my bathroom.

- Great definition
- Smells tasty
- A little goes a long way

- Expensive
- Limited availability
- Not easy to get day to day results

Apr 3, 2013

CELEB STYLE: Janelle Monae covers Essence Mag, May 2013

She's our favorite and y'all know it - Janelle Monae covers Essence Magazine for April 2013. Oh yeah, she's promoting her new album, Electric Lady, coming late fall. In the article she talks about the album being her most personal project (source). In addition she revisits people's assumptions about her wardrobe style and the fact that she may branch out and try different styles as time progresses. My favorite line [about her clothing choices] was,
"People don’t ask Jay-Z to take off his shirt when he rhymes. Showing my skin is not what makes me sexy. I like skirts and dresses just like everyone else, but I had a message I needed to put out there. It was up to me to show young girls there was another way to be successful in this industry.” (www.essence.com)
Janelle always keeps it classy! Make sure to pick up the issue on stand in May.

Discussion: The Cookie Cutter Natural Phase

Photo Credit
What is a cookie cutter natural? This is the natural who has been on all of the websites (that we know and love like CurlyNikki) they read and take notes. Then taking those notes and they reinterpret them putting them together and binding those notes to a leather scrapbook. The Cookie Cutter Natural keep this special notebook next to their heart, touching it throughout the day  to make sure that it is still there. And if you ever ask the Cookie Cutter Natural for advice, you can bet that the answers they give will be almost verbatim from their favorite site and often the most generic result in a Google search.

Unlike the #TeamNatural soldiers, the Cookie Cutter Natural does not operate out of a sense of loyal attachment - she acts out of a sense of enlightenment. I know this because... *sigh* Ok. I confess. I WAS once a cookie cutter. I'm willing to bet that most of us were at some point. Once I found out that I could have looked online (and learned not to attempt to dry comb my kinky hair), I was determined to learn more about natural hair. I was online and on YouTube until I felt satisfied with my knowledge. So I took my list and kept it handy:
  • Don't do this to natural hair. 
  • Natural hair always needs this. 
  • This is good for hair unprocessed hair. 
  • This is bad for black hair.
Notice that my notes reference "natural hair". Not once was MY hair in the notes. I was a typical cookie cutter. Someone gave me a list and I just assumed it would (or not) work because someone told me. And not only that, I made sure that EVERYONE else knows the 'do's and dont's' of natural hair. I  gave unsolicited advice because THE WORLD needs to know these guidelines so they can do the right thing - like me.
Image from Pinterest
Really, the Cookie Cutter natural stage as the puberty of the hair journey; similar to when your younger cousin hits 14 and their nose stays turned up in the air and they begin to assert their knowledge of life and everything is so dramatic and serious. The Cookie Cutter Stage is where you learn that there are hair rules, but you've only scratch the surface.  

You can only go so far learning the "what" without knowing the "why" or the "how"? You don't put any and everything in your hair anymore, but you will never learn that every now and then. Like, a little petroleum grease CAN work wonders and will not have you wake up in the morning bald-headed. You won't learn this in the cookie cutter stage because you are afraid to try anything not in the rules you've just learned.

Thankfully, I've grown from this stage. I've learned that my hair is - MY hair. So many of the rules don't apply to my hair. I have actually ended up doing more harm than good sometimes because I was following natural hair rules that my hair just wasn't made to follow. Now, I've done more research. I'm something of a science buff, so I quickly became interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the biological ins and outs of my hair. I think that for many of us, this is definitely just a phase.

Did YOU ever go through the Cookie Cutter Natural Phase? Do you know anyone who has been stuck in this phase for far too long? Talk to us in the comment section.

Apr 1, 2013

Celeb Style: Jill Scott covers Ebony Magazine, May 2013

Jill Scott covers Ebony Magazine with her precious son Jett. In the magazine Jill talks about being a single mother while tackling the Hollywood life. I'm loving that Jill switches up her look all the times. Recently, cutting her hair - now she sporting this cute curly wig for this photo shoot. Truth be told, Jill could rock a paper bag on her head and still be beautiful. 

Pick up the issue next month - www.Ebony.com
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