Monthly Archives: August 2014

Twist Out Confessions

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I’m a lazy natural, and that can be a good or bad thing.  I’m a firm believer in less is more. The less I have to fuss with my hair the better. Now that’s not to say that I don’t like styling or caring for my hair because I do enjoy doing those things, but I don’t want to be constantly in my hair. When it comes to twist outs, I’m the QUEEN of twist outs……when it comes to my two daughter’s hair! I’ve been doing twist outs on them since they were babies. Doing twist outs on myself is a whole other story. I fall under the “hot mess” twist outs. I’m going to be honest about my mistakes and shortcomings, so here are a list of reasons why my twist outs don’t come out all that well:

1. I make my twists too big

I usually wait until late at night when I’m tired and sleepy to try to twist or plait my hair, and I’m usually in a hurry. When this happens I’m not giving my hair  the same time and care as I give daughter’s hair, and I end up with big puffs instead of defined twists. On top of that, my hair doesn’t dry properly which results in a lot of  frizz.

2. I wasn’t using the right combination of products

I was very resistant to using gels, curling souffle’s, etc. When I used gel on wet or damp hair and then twisted my hair I didn’t like how hard my hair would feel afterwards. Other gels made my hair feel sticky. I could do a twist out on my girl’s hair with just a hair cream or Blue Magic hair grease and get the most beautiful, defined twists. Not me. My hair needs a combination of products like Shea Moisture’s Curling Souffle and a dab of Blue Magic Hair grease on damp hair to get beautiful twists.

3. I over manipulate my hair

So after I carefully untwist my hair, I have the bad habit of over styling and over manipulating my hair which causes instant frizz.  Although summer is coming to a close, we’re still in the midst of some hot, extremely humid weather which doesn’t bode well for my twist outs either. I have to learn to stop messing with my hair because all of that manipulation is for naught when the heat and humidity gets done with it. 😦 This morning is a good example of that. The struggle is real yall.

4. I’m always in a rush

As mentioned earlier, I take my time when I do my girls’ hair. I do small to medium sized twists on their hair which gives them fabulous definition, and their curls last for days. When I do my own hair, it’s usually late at night, I’m sleepy, and I simply want to get the task done so I can go to bed which is why I end up doing big twists. Since giving myself ample time to do my hair I get better results. Is it time consuming? Yes, because I have a big head and lots of hair! I’m not ashamed to admit that, lol! But it’s worth it and I’m much happier with the results.

The pictures I’ve provided aren’t good examples of a good twist out because of the high humidity we’re experiencing, but I wanted to show that I’ve taken steps to correct my mistakes, particularly with making smaller twists. By the way, it is now 10:37am and I officially have a curly afro that resembles nothing of  the  twist out I started with before I left the house this morning! Darn humidity……

Twist Out Results

 

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Straight versus Curly

When I decided to go natural, I didn’t like the term “Natural Hair Movement.” To me “movement” was just another way of calling it a fad (another word that I detest) when describing black women saying no to creamy crack (relaxers and perms).  Now that I’m over a year into my journey and have met countless women on the same journey as myself, I see that it is indeed a movement. Black women are embracing their heritage and are proud of the hair they were born with. Black women are tired of wasting countless hours and paying ridiculous amounts of money to have their hair relaxed, cut and curled at the beauty salons across America. Black women are finally realizing the damage they’ve been doing to their hair and scalp for years by using harsh chemicals or heat to straighten their hair. They have decided to reclaim and redefine what beauty is, and in essence, showing the world that there is beauty in our natural kinky hair. That to me is the Natural Hair Movement. How this translates into your place of employment is a completely different story. Some places are more accepting than others of African American women wearing their hair in it’s natural, kinky, coily state. I often find myself pondering how I would have been received if I was still working for a law firm or any of the other very corporate places that I’ve worked in the past had I made the decision back then to go natural?

I’ve heard personal stories from friends and family who faced harsh scrutiny, ridicule, and flat out discrimination because of wearing their hair it’s natural state. Actresses, local TV personalities, upper management to entry level women have all faced problems wearing their natural hair in the work place.  Unfortunately the fear of facing such horrible treatment, or worse, termination,  is what keeps many from ditching the chemicals in favor of their natural tresses.

It angers and saddens me that hair neatly styled and groomed is considered ugly or unkempt because of long held ignorant and close minded views. Hair in it’s natural, kinky, coily state is somehow unprofessional and a bad representation for a company? Really? How can any place of employment call themselves diverse or “equal opportunity employers” when they put limitations and restrictions on whether or not a person can wear their hair as it naturally grows out of their scalp?  Oh wait, I remember now. They want to do business with certain companies and corporations, so allowing their employees to look too “ethnic” is out of the question. (Insert twisted up face here) I wholeheartedly agree that every business has the right to have dress and grooming rules, but where does it end? What if companies enforced rules against people who dye their hair blonde? Doesn’t that sound ridiculous? Well, telling someone that they cannot wear their hair neatly in it’s natural state is ridiculous too.

I can’t even imagine being asked by my employer to straighten my hair because they liked it better that way, but unfortunately it’s happening to a lot of black women. More recently in the news, the US military is coming under fire because of it’s strict rules against natural or braided hair. Female members of the armed forces, African American in particular, are being told that they have to wear their hair “straight” or wear a wig. Braids and natural hair of any kind are unacceptable. I would love to meet the people (more than likely white men) who made these rules because they clearly need to be educated on African American hair.

If you’ve noticed, I’ve mentioned neatly groomed hair several times in this post. That is because I believe that all hair, natural or chemically treated, should be neatly groomed. Natural hair still requires grooming, and you can’t just wake up and not do anything to your hair. Those of us that are part of the natural hair community have the responsibility of being diligent with the grooming of our hair. Even if you don’t believe in combing or manipulating your hair every day, grooming of some sort is still necessary. We cannot walk into work looking like rats have been sucking on our hair and expect our employer to be ok with that. Being natural does not mean you have the right to look unkempt at work or any place else for that matter.

I have a Pinterest account, and a board called Braids & Natural Hair. That is where I pin various styles that I would like to try or styles that I find to be unique and beautiful. The styling options for African American hair are endless, and we should be able to wear our hair in well groomed and dignified styles no matter where we work. Maybe, just maybe, corporate America will see that embracing diversity includes accepting various types of ethnic hair too. Our natural hair is nothing to be afraid of and it is indeed beautiful.

Feel free to check out and follow my Braids and Natural Hair board and my other boards on Pinterest:

Beware of Those Claiming to be Experts

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beware

 

Against my better judgment I got into a “discussion” on a natural hair page on Facebook that I frequent for natural hair tips and style ideas. One day the topic was mineral oils, specifically Blue Magic Hair grease. I’ve spoken about Blue Magic many times in my blog posts and how it has always worked for me and my girls, but since going natural I decided to stop using it in favor of natural, organic oils. I’m over a year into being natural and I’ve discovered that not all of the oils I’ve tried work so well. Some, like raw African Shea butter for an example, leaves our hair looking dusty after using it. Maybe I’m mixing too many other things with it, who knows. But it’s something I’ve noticed, and I don’t like it.

 

Blue Magic

Recently I’ve gone back to using Blue Magic hair grease and here’s why: Curl definition when doing twist outs. Coconut Oil, Jamaican black castor oil, olive oil, argan oil, jojoba oil, African Shea butter – none of these oils used together or separately give our 4c hair the curl definition as Blue Magic does. I’ve used Blue Magic on my girls hair (and my own) for years particularly for twist outs, and their hair has grown and thrived. My attitude now, after a year and some change of being natural, is that it’s ok to go back to basics with some of my hair care routines. Using Blue Magic for certain things is one of them.

I added my two cents worth to the discussion about how I use Blue Magic and why I use it. I was thanked by several posters for my comments because they said they were afraid of being yelled at and ridiculed by the Natural Hair Nazis and the Natural Hair Purists. That angered me a lot. I hate that there are women out there who feel they have the right to judge and criticize other women for what oils or products they use in their hair. One person even said “You might as well go back to getting relaxers if you’re going to put petroleum and other chemicals like Blue Magic in your hair!” Another said “Leave the grease for the cars. Don’t put it in your hair. All it does is clog your pores and cause a host of other problems.” This is true if you use it on a daily basis and don’t keep up a regular shampoo and deep conditioning routine while using a grease as heavy as Blue Magic.

Feeling like a broken record, I stated over and over that everyone has the right to do what works for their hair. If grease of any kind is gross to you or doesn’t work for you, that’s fine. But don’t sit in judgment of those who say that they use grease and it actually works for them! Then there was this one person in particular who kept boasting of her scientific background and even called herself an expert on African American hair. I will add that she’s Caucasian and lives in London.  I’m in no way saying that people of other races can’t be experts on African American hair, but from her comments it was clear that she didn’t understand how or why Blue Magic worked for so many of us African American women. Here’s a snippet of one of her many comments touting her expertise:

I am a qualified hair expert specializing in textured hair and have worked for most of my life for the largest product manufacturers in the world as a product development technician…”

From there all she did was speak on a scientific level on why petroleum and mineral oils are bad for the hair and scalp. She offered no alternatives, no product suggestions or anything of that nature. As I read other articles posted on this natural hair page on Facebook, I noticed this same person posting comments stating that using DIY/YouTube tutorials are bad, and that using “food in your hair” is bad because too much acid can be bad for your hair. She equated any and all DIY methods that involved using food from your kitchen in your hair to self medicating ourselves as though we were doctors and said that we should seek out hair care professionals to care for our hair.  Do you catch the hidden agenda here?

People like her are what I call trolls. I would bet my bottom dollar that this person is nothing more than a beautician who had some extra schooling to study hair, kinky hair in particular, and is targeting natural hair pages on social media to discourage women from caring for their hair themselves. They have nothing of value to add to a discussion but will sit and point out what they feel is “wrong” and then judge those who do it. The overall agenda is to discourage you from having a hands on approach to your hair care but encourage you to seek out licensed professionals like themselves.

I have no issue with people going to licensed beauticians, but the problem here in the U.S. and in London is that there are so few who know how to care for natural kinky hair. This is the very reason why so many women opt to care for their natural hair themselves and seek out YouTube/ DIY channels. Are there aspects of our hair care that should be left to the professionals? Absolutely! My advice is to simply BEWARE. Beware of the internet and social media trolls, and beware of those who claim to be “experts.” Don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed about how you care for your hair, especially if it’s a method or product that happens to work for you. Doing what works for you and your natural hair is all that matters. Just remember that moderation and following a regular hair care routine is key.

P.S.

I’ve switched to using Blue Magic Coconut Oil, and it’s FABULOUS! 😉

Blue Magic Coconut