May 31, 2013

Root & Rhythm: Black Men United - U Will Know

It is absolutely amazing how one song from the past can put you in a nostolgic mood for days.  After hearing "U Will Know" by Black Men United on the radio earlier this week, it only seemed right to flashback to 1994 for a moment. 

Of course, my mind instantly went to the movie Jason's Lyric, which featured "U Will Know" on movie soundtrack.  While I was feeling 1994, Jada Pinkett Smith and Lisa Nicole Carson quickly brought me back to the present moment. 

Jada gave me a future glimpse of Willow with her natural curls cropped close.

Smith's character Lyric was confident while remaining loving and sensitive, something it seems she's passed on to Willow.

Lisa Nicole Carson's character, Marti, had a few things going on here from braids and a bun to those perfectly laid edges. With all that, she still managed to include some Havana Twists that played with color a bit.

Add a song well written by D'Angelo performed by some of the most beautifully talented men of our generation and you've a roadmap for a perfect trip back to 1994.

May 30, 2013

LINK LOVE: KisforKinky explains the benefits of Black Soap

Traditional Black soap with no additives

I'm willing to try anything once. So when it comes to the 'natural hair' and 'natural beauty' life I'm usually up for the challenge. You tell me it may benefit me, I'll give it a try. However, the only thing I haven't tried is African Black Soap! Many people use black soap for acne, skin discolorations, psoriasis, and oily skin, having great results with regular use. It's crazy, because I know the benefits are amazing but I've never used the product.
black soap works by cleansing the skin but without harsh chemicals and is not your regular run-of-the-mill antibacterial grocery store soap. the “authentic” recipe for black soap calls for cocoa pod, roasted plantain skins, palm kernel oil, coconut oil, palm oil and natural sodium. (source)

Well, I'm happy to share this post from where she shares the pros/cons and benefits of using this all natural soap powerhouse. After reading her post, I think I'll give black soap a try.

CLICK HERE to read more

May 29, 2013

PRODUCT REVIEW: Creme of Nature Perfect Edges vs. ORS Olive Oil Edge Control

Back in 2011, I wrote a post about Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Edge Control (ORS Edge Control) and how I love the way it smoothed my edges. And, yes, I did write a post about the Natural World's obsession with smooth edges - noting that it's not necessary to always have your edges 'laid down' sometimes it's better to let them be. However, when I want a sleeker look or add a professional edge to my updos, I do reach for some sort of edge control

One day, I ran out of my precious ORS Edge Control. I was in a bind so I picked up the new Creme of Nature Argan Oil 'Perfect Edges'. This product promises 'perfect hold, exotic shine, & makes hair stronger.' Mmkay. I had to give it a try. The promise of stronger hair and the addition of argan oil appealed to me - this product seemed, healthier. Always remember to let your hair breath, too much edge control product can actually cause breakage on this sensitive area.

Creme of Nature Perfect Edges
When I opened the cantainer I was greeted with a golden gel-like mixture. It smells great. The Perfect Edges product has a looser consistency than ORS Edge Control. ORS Edge Control is stiff.  As you can see, the pictures (above and below) there isn't much difference in the consistency.

ORS Olive Oil Edge Control
However, the test of any edge control product is daily activity. Most people don't like ORS Olive Oil Edge Control because it can leave a white film on your hair if you use too much. I expected the same with the Creme of Nature Perfect Edges product. The problem with Perfect Edge is that it's not stiff enough and kinda 'rubs away' after a couple hours. The product just didn't hold my hair like ORS Edge Control.

Edge aren't laid like I like
The final verdict is that I'm sticking with Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Edge Control. For my 4b hair, the product works better because it's stiffer and has more holding power. Creme of Nature Argan Oil Perfect Edges may work better for someone with 2a-3a hair or someone who is transitioning and still has relaxed ends on their hair.

Let me know which you chose in our comment area below.

May 28, 2013

Hair Lust: Balancing Act

When I first decided to 'go natural', this was one of the pictures I used for inspiration. I didn't know what my curl pattern would be, but I knew that I wanted a big 'ol fro. Plus, I really loved this image. The way the model is balancing so delicately on her toes always reminds me of the delicate balancing act we naturals have to perform.

Protective styles, deep conditioning, too much oil vs. not enough oil, and 'Oh gosh, why is my hair acting like this?' - something is always trying to knock us off our natural hair steelo. But, when you get it right, and you get that great hair day - bliss! Enjoy today's image.

May 27, 2013

Melissa's Hair: How to wash boxbraids

I've had this installation of boxbraids for the almost 3 months. Belive me, it's time for me to take them out. However, with my intense workout schedule (4-5 days a week) it's hard for me to pin down some time to remove. Then I have to figure out what to do with my hair! I know, I know, #naturalgirl problems.

In an effort to keep my braids fresh, and not stinky, I have to wash my braids at least once a month. As always, I use tea-tree oil to help remove bacteria from sweat that may happen when you workout or with general daily activities. But after while it comes to a point where you gotta dunk your head in the water an wash the 'stank' away! LOL

So, here's my guide to washing box braids:

Step 1 - Depending on the length of your braids, you want to pull your braids into one or two loose ponytails. The ponytails should be loose enough to allow you to massage your scalp and get shampoo/conditioner between each braid. Banding your braids will help you not to lose loose braids and keep you from tugging your hair too firmly.

Step 2 - Rinse your entire head with water. Easy enough. Just like washing your loose hair, rinsing your braids helps open the hair follicle in order for your hair to receive the moisture and nutrients from the water, shampoo, and conditioner.

Step 3 - Apply shampoo to the ends of your braids, then to your scalp area. I use Aphogee Deep Moisture shampoo when washing my box braids because synthetic braid hair can pull moisture from your real hair. During the washing process, I try to use products that promise the most in moisture retnetion.

Massage scalp as you'd usually do with loose hair. Make sure to concentrate on the scalp area helping to massage away any dandruff, dead-skin, or debris.

Step 4 - Rinse and repeat shampoo as necessary. I usually rinse and repeat twice to make sure all the 'stank' is gone. LOL. But really, you don't realize how much dirt your braids will pick-up; especially if the braids are extra long.

Step 5 - Add conditioner to your SCALP AREA only. Remember, box braids are usually created with synthetic hair, no need to waste good conditioner on plastic hair. I usually use Pantene for Naturals Deep Conditioner because it works really well and make your hair smell really good. Of course, rinse after you've allowed the conditioner to sit for the desired amount of time.

Step 6 - Drying. Now this is the part I hate. My box braids are usually waist length. Totally saturated waist length braids are SUPER HEAVY. I usually take an extra-large t-shirt to dry my hair by putting my head through the neck hole and letting my braids hang out the back. Then I use butterfly clips to tighten the t-shirt around the braids, allowing the t-shirt to soak up the water.

Your box braids will be wet for about an hour, but if you use the t-shirt technique water will not drip all over your clothes.

After you remove the t-shirt, DO NOT put your hair in a bun or ponytail. Let your braids hang loosely, letting your scalp breath, so that your wet hair won't mildew and you have to go through washing process again.

Step 7 - Add oils to seal in the moisture. I use Jamaican black castor oil on my edges and olive oil mixed with coconut oil for the length of my braids.

That's it! Hopefully this helps when you wash you box braids. It's a long process but you'll have great results and your hair will thank you for the added moisture.

May 23, 2013

Limited Edition Natural in Nashville T-Shirt

It's finally here! The Natural in Nashville T-Shirt!

During the Music City Naturals event, so many of you asked if we had any Natural in Nashville t-shirts and I had to say "no". But now, it's available. This exclusive limited edition design features the iconic Natural in Nashville logo designed by BeXclusives. It is available for the next two weeks. The profits will be used to help build the website and provide you, the reader, more awesome content.

Click the link: to order your shirt. Each shirt is $20 plus shipping/handling. Once we reach 30 shirts ordered, you're receive your shirt on/about June 20, 2013. If sales go well, we'll expand the line to include other items.

I'm so happy to offer the Natural in Nashville logo to you and I know you will rock the 'fro with pride. Let the world know that you are a Natural in Nashville.

May 22, 2013

PHOTOS: Music City Naturals Event 2013

Guests fill the space and check-in for the MCN Event
 Oh my gosh! I think the high from executing the Music City Naturals Event has finally died down. Melanie, TaRee, and I are more than grateful for your presence at the event. Seriously, each guest was a blessing. To see the seats filled with lovely, attentive natural haired ladies was just OVERWHELMING! I mean, we thought people would like the event, but your attendance surprised us even more. Guests were filling in the building almost to the last hour! Oh, I can not forget to give a HUGE shout-out to the volunteers! They were beyond great, these ladies were exceptional!

Thanks to our vendors!
If you didn't get a chance to make it to the event, you missed out, but we are already planning on another FLY event in the fall. You know I'll keep you posted.

Below are photos from the event. In all of our planning, we forgot to hire a photographer (DUH!) but we did have a guest who volunteered for the position.

One of two vendor suites

Packed out for the seminars

Design Essentials team doing hair demos

To see more photos CLICK HERE

May 21, 2013

HAIR LUST: Short and Sweet!

It's almost summer and you know that just makes people want to cut their hair. You been debating? I say DO IT! It's just hair! And you know what, you might find a fiercer more fancy version of yourself under all that hair - hmmm! Take a look at this lovely lady for some short hair inspiration.

May 20, 2013

Ashiya's Hair Diary: Let It Breathe

The Music City Naturals Natural Hair Event was last week and Nashville really enjoyed it.  From the vendors and speakers to the beautiful natural hair and the lovely women who rocked it, it was something special.  

May 17, 2013

Roots & Ryhythm: Kelly Rowland - 'Dirty Laundry'

"You see the glory, but you don't know my story."

We've heard that phrase a thousand times and singer Kelly Rowland gave us one more reason to believe it.  Rowland released the first single, 'Dirty Laundry' from her latest project 'Talk A Good Game' this week and she aired it out.

Kelly in curls.  One of my favorite looks on her.

May 16, 2013

Kid Cuteness: Khloe and Karson

I had to post these photos of my friend's gorgeous twin girls, Khloe and Karson!

When I saw these cute pictures float across my Facebook timeline, I immediately called my friend and asked if I could post their pictures on our site. I was with their mom when she first decided to 'BIG CHOP' (the tears that flowed!). I remembered her desire to be relaxer-free, not knowing that she'd  be blessed with TWO girls and two heads of beautiful hair!

These lovely little ladies have a head full of curls that remind me of where we all started from. Like, really, aren't these girls the CUTEST?! Enjoy!

Tutus & headbands were created by Danielle Walker of TuTu Fruities
Photographer is Justin Morris for JustInVision Photography - Memphis, TN

May 15, 2013

Discussion: Why Protective Styles Are Not For Everyone

Protective styles are considered to be an essential part of hair growth. If you are new to natural hair, a protective style is a style that protects the ends of your hair shaft. The ends are oldest part of your hair, so they are the first to become fragile and split or break or knot. When the ends are hidden from the weather, and they receive minimal manipulation and friction, the style is considered a protective style.

Cute. But this is not a protective style.

Most Important Part of your Hair Regimen…
Cute. The hair doesn't move, and the ends are put away.
This is a protective style.
Although the protective style is chic and adorable, I'm convinced that it is not for everyone. The lady in the protective style picture above has little to no texture to her hair. It has either been heat styled or she has relatively straight hair. Most natural hair looks NOTHING like that without being straightened with a high temperature styling tool. With that amount of heat styling, it defeats the purpose of the protective style. Here are just a few reasons why protective styles may not be for you.
  • I'm natural but, I don't know how to flat twist or braid.
  • I'm natural but, I can't wear my twists out because my hair shrinks too much.
  • I'm natural but, my hair is an awkward length and I can't bun it or pull it up for an up-do.
  • I really love showing off the length of my hair. I don't do well with shrinkage.
Now, before anyone begins to insist that all of the reasons above are fickle reasons that anyone can "get over", remember that at some point we all had to learn how to prioritize our hair rules. We all love to look like what we feel is our best self. That's like someone giving you a muumuu to wear 4 days a week. Personally, I never got over the fact that I love showing off the length of my hair. I will wear my twists out, but usually it's tucked away under a beanie hat. My type 4 hair shrinks a ridiculous amount. Although my hair is shoulder-length, my twists barely touch the middle of my neck. And it takes prayer, planning, and a mountain of products to get my hair to lay down for a bun. So unless I spend hours doing fairly small twists OR I heat style before twisting, in my mind I end up looking like young Celie.

I have come to learn and live with my extreme shrinkage (I'd say it's well over 50%). And it used to be a problem for me. I understand a woman working hard to grow her hair but never knowing how long it is because it's always curled over on top of itself. And when you twist it, you have these short, stubby, twisty knobs of hair. Being pressured to leave your hair like that makes you give a side eye to the natural hair community. And now that more companies have decided to stick their hands in the natural hair money pot, there are a plethora of products that claim to reduce or even eliminate shrinkage. I haven't tried a single one of them that work for my hair. The point is, it's okay if you don't like to wear your hair in shrunken twists. It's okay if your twists aren't long enough to pull back or pin up. If you are not funky enough to wear a braided mohawk style, don't. Don't force yourself to look like anyone other than yourself because of your hair.
Cute. Protective. Not for everyone.

This doesn't mean that all of your hair will fall out or that you will never reach your length goals. However, it does mean that you have to be extra generous when caring for your hair until you find a protective style that makes you feel like the best version of you. You should know that if your hair is always out and exposed to the elements, you shouldn't also go home and sleep on a cotton pillowcase, nor should you constantly fiddle with your loose strands. Take extra steps to keep those fragile ends moisturized. You might even have to twist your hair before bedtime. But if it makes you more comfortable in your skin, go for it.

I love seeing this look on women.
But when I try to do this side-bang on  myself, I'm always unimpresed.
The hair rules for natural hair weren't etched in stone on a mountain. This is my opinion, so tell me yours. Have you ever felt pressured to wear your hair in a way that doesn't fit your style or personality?

May 14, 2013

CELEB STYLE: Kimberly Elise for Essence Magazine

The folks over at published this FLY photo of Kimberly Elise from the June issue if the magazine. Kimberly has always been ubër cute - especially with her super coily fro! Loves it! Check out the June issue on stands now. 

Hair: Marcia Hamilton
Photo: Michael Rowe Photos

May 13, 2013

Candice's Hair Diary: My Graduation Hair Experience

Crazy face. I thought for sure this would be my graduation hair.
It didn't work in my favor.

So... I was so befuddled about how I was going to wear my hair for graduation. I was torn between the bun suggestion and the curls I wanted. And I was leaning towards the low bun suggestion until I had a light bulb  There was something that I always wanted to try with my hair. I had seen tutorials for Curlformers® over the years and I always wondered if they would work on my hair.

But then I looked at the price of Curlformers®. As an unemployed student, all I could do was look at them from afar. I didn't have the $70 extra dollars to buy Curlformers®. I decided to find an alternative; I bought some curl formers. To be absolutely clear, I bought curl (space) formers. These are a different brand of heat-free hair rollers. But they look and function the same way. I bought a 40 pack of these other curl formers. On Tuesday night I did a trial run. Of course I didn't want to be in 500 pictures with my hair looking like a natural disaster. That's not how I wanted to remember this day. So I tried several styles.

By the time I smoothed my hair into a low bun,
the bottom right picture is the result.
Before the trial run, I was busy with finals and I wore my hair twisted down in the front. Things were getting hectic and I had no spare time for doing hair. I did my curls for the 2nd time on Thursday night, and took the curlers out Friday morning. By Friday afternoon I had a head full of fuzz. So I resorted to my plan B which I titled "Laissez Faire" (because I really didn't have a Plan B). I just decided to let my hair do what it wanted to do. The result? Crazy hair as I was walking in. The wind was fierce. It was whipping the humidity around and half of my hair got really excited.

But it wasn't until I was seated that my hair started pushing my hat off my head, even though I had several bobby pins to hold it in place. During the extremely long ceremony, I twisted my hair and tucked it under my cap (which was barely big enough to fit over my large head, and had even less room to hold my large head AND my large hair). I secured my hair with bobby pins to keep it from looking this crazy and to keep my hat from falling off.

I adjusted the pins to help my hat stay on. It worked. I didn't fall on stage. The wind didn't blow my hat off. And that's all I really cared about. In the end, I was much happier just letting my hair do what it wanted to do. And my impromptu twist-up style worked just fine for me. And it took me about 3 minutes to do discreetly in the midst of hundreds of other graduates. I win. And I didn't let my hair take over my whole graduation. I was going crazy, but eventually I just let it be; and when it got out of hand, I fixed it. I'm a control freak. I spent time planning all the details of my graduation day, down to my hair. But I almost let my hair control me instead of controlling my hair. Lesson learned.

That's one hair crisis down, and another one to go. Next up is vacation hair. I'm about 87% sure that I'm getting a weave. But the details of that haven't been worked out yet. I'm researching types of weaves because I'm new to that arena.

Have you ever let slipped and let your hair control you instead of controlling your hair? Tell me your story in the comment section.

May 10, 2013

Roots & Rhythm: Whitney Houston - 'I'm Every Woman'

I appreciate YouTube for meeting my most random needs.  After hearing one of my favorite Whitney Houston songs while running errands earlier this week, I've been watching some of her best live performances online.  I finally ended up in The Bodyguard era and thought this had to be one of the happiest time of her life.  And in my opinion, this was one of her best years in hair.

The Bodyguard, the movie and the soundtrack, were both a huge success. 

She reminded us why we fell in love with her voice with her remake of "I Will Always Love You".

It was when I watched the video for "I'm Every Woman" I knew above all else, this was one of her proudest moments.  Whitney was blooming in motherhood.  Her mother was at her side.  She shared this moment with her inspiration and women she inspired to be their best. 
"Whatever you want, whatever you need
Anything you want done, baby, I'll do it naturally
  'Cause I'm every woman 
Its all in me, its all in me."
As we prepare to celebrate Mother's Day, the joy and love in this video - and song - remind me of the beauty we exerience in life because of our mother.  In honor of our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and cousins that move through the trials and triumphs of motherhood with their head held high and their heart leading the way, thank you!  You are every woman!
Happy Mother's Day!

May 9, 2013

DISCUSSION: If you knew then - would you relax again?

Last week, Toya bid farewell to our team. She's quite busy these days but in addition, she decided to return back to chemical enhancements to assist with her hair journey. Toya and I talked at length about her getting a 'kiddie' perm. In the end, I told her to do what she felt best to make her life easier.

Let's face it, the natural life can be quite overwhelming. The pre-pooing, detangling, deep conditioning, and re-learning your hair can get out of control. I've overheard twitter convos with ladies saying thy have 2-3 hour washing sessions! WHEW! It makes you think, "Should I go back to the relaxed life?"

Now I know some of you are screaming "NO!" as you read this, but think about it. If you knew then, what you know now, don't you think you'd have healthier hair while allowing the relaxer to do it thing? I'm just saying. There was a time when I couldn't go four weeks with slapping that cream dream on my hair. Now, I'm sure I could extend a relaxer up to 12 weeks using twist-outs, bunning, and other protective styles. Don't you give me that SIDE-EYE! LOL!
If you didn't know, there's a whole movement of women returning back to the relaxed life. The difference, they use natural hair techniques that involved low heat, low manipulation, and lots of protective styling. These ladies have achieved great lengths. Check out Jeni, from Just Grow Already, she has one of the BEST hair-care regimens I've seen (natural or relaxed).  Jeni spent years dependent on her stylist, but now she runs a successful blog documenting her healthy hair goals while using a relaxer. Check out her cool Green Tea Rinse - it's guaranteed to help your hair retain moisture, stimulate growth, and make you hair shinier.

Now, I do know many naturals who gave up relaxer for health reasons. No matter the brand or strength, relaxers just don't work for some. That wasn't the case for me though. My issue was that I relaxed too often and used way too much heat. Both issues I've learned to overcome since going natural.

But for real, I'm not saying I'm running to Walgreen's and buying the first box of relaxer. I'm just asking the questions. I know more about my hair than EVER and if I did choose to relax, I'm sure my hair would still be healthy. In the end, this hair game is all about what's best for you, your life, and your health. I'm not gonna give you the 'Natural Nazi' side-eye if you return to the relaxed life, and neither should you if a friend goes back.

So, answer me, if you knew then, what you know now, would you go back to the relaxed life?

May 8, 2013

FASHION: What do I wear to a Natural Hair Meet-Up?

OMG, OMG, the Music City Naturals Event is on Saturday!! Wow, it seemed like just yesterday we were wondering if people really would come to an event like this. But hey, you guys came trhough strong! We are so excited to meet everyone and so excited to for you to hear our speakers and shop our vendors.

So, I'm sure you're wondering what should you wear to a Natural Hair Meet-Up? Well, keep it casual, keep it cute, and keep it comfortable. Below, I've assembled three looks to inspire you. I do this every thursday on my fashion website, Fab Glance Nashville, so make sure to visit me for more outfit inspirations. Let's get started!

Natural Hair Meet-Up: Maxi Misses

First up, is the 'Maxi-Dress Misses' - Planning to stay all day, this ia comfortable look to rock. The wedge heel allows you to shop the vendors, and the cute jacket adds some urban flair. Oh yeah, check out this tribal enhanced necklace, very on trend for the season.

Natural Hair Meet-Up: Cross Town Cutie

This set is called 'Cross-Town Cutie' - So, you are running errands all day Saturday, but you've carved out a couple hours to enjoy the event. This outfit, with it's trendy layers, allows you to transition from lunch with your friends to a quick hour and half at the meetup. Get it girl!

Natural Hair Meet-Up: Boho Beauty

Lastly is our 'Boho Beauty' - Coming to Natural Hair Events are nothing new to you! This cute outfit bring in the cute turban trend (and protective style) with baggy boyfriend jeans, and chic wooden accessories. You came to get your shop on - that's why you brought this fly tote bag.

I know this helps. We can't wait to meet our fans/readers. Make sure you say "Hello"! See you there!
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