Monthly Archives: October 2015

Breakage & Natural Hair

Standard

Natural Hair Breakage

On top of having a bald spot from making my bantu knots too tight, after taking out my kinky twist braids I noticed that my ends look like the picture above. Not good. That’s not a picture of my hair by the way, but when I saw this picture I had to post it because that’s exactly how my hair looks at the top and in a few other places. I will admit that I do not clip my ends often enough, and honestly I’ve been neglectful of my ends. As a result, split ends and breakage is what I’m currently dealing with.

I’m also dealing with very dry hair, which means I need to do a much better job at moisturizing and deep conditioning, and do it more often. Now I understand why some Naturalista’s big chop more than once. However, I’m not ready to throw in the towel with my hair. I want to focus on getting it back healthy, stop being so lazy, develop better routines. I’ve been the true definition of a lazy natural, and the above picture is what I got as a result.

Last night while preparing to twist up my hair before I went to bed, I stood in the mirror in my bathroom, grabbed my scissors and began to¬†clip my ends. I didn’t do a dusting, I did some serious cutting. I know my hair will grow back, and I’ve never been afraid of cutting my hair. I’m going to keep doing this until my ends no longer resemble the hot mess above. Another thing to consider is the change of seasons. I live in the Midwest and the cold weather is now coming in. I have to change up my hair care routine for the dry, winter months, and be diligent about it.

I’ve gone a long time being a lazy natural. I still believe that less is more, but I truly need to do MORE to get my hair back healthy. I’ve got my mission. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. ūüôā

Comedy Relief: Adventures in Flat Twist Outs

Standard

Good Fellas Laughing

We’ve all done it: Tried something that we knew wouldn’t quite work the way we wanted it to, especially if trying it for the first time. I took my kinky twist braids down yesterday with the help of my two girls. After washing and deep conditioning, I blew my hair out just a little with the blow dryer to do a twist out. I wanted my hair stretched out a bit more, hence blowing it out just a tad. At the last minute I decided to do flat twists on my dry hair. I got on YouTube to look at tutorials on how to do flat twist outs on dry hair since I have thick 4c hair. Just about every tutorial I looked at required the use of hair gel. I¬†HATE using gel in my hair, and I stay away from using it as much as possible. Needless to say, I tried it.

After putting JBCO (Jamaican Black Castor Oil) on my scalp, and my homemade mango butter mixture on my hair, I commenced with the flat twisting of my hair. Now mind you, I’m no expert on flat twists. I’m still learning and trying to get the technique down. I rolled up the ends with rollers to have extra curl definition.

This morning when I took my hair down, of course it did not lay the way I wanted it to. Again, I’m no expert at flat twists so I’m sure my technique and braid pattern had a lot to do with that. My hair was¬†basically a curly mess. The one thing that bothered me the most was that my hair was also very, very HARD.¬†But, like a true Naturalista, I went to my plan B hairstyle: I¬†finger fluffed¬†my hair as best I could (considering I had used gel in it) and grabbed a head band. Head bands have saved the day many times for me, y’all!

Don’t ask me why I broke the cardinal natural hair rule of never trying a new hairstyle without first testing it out – especially when you have to go to work the next day! It was on a whim, and I felt adventurous. I’m laughing at my mistake now because I knew better, and I did it anyway. Because of my hard headed “adventurous” ways, I’ll be washing my hair again tonight to get rid of the gel that has my hair feeling hard and¬†crunchy. Yay me. <—- (sarcasm) This morning as I was taking my hair down from the flat twists, I couldn’t help but laugh at myself because deep down I knew it was going to be a hot mess. Oh well, lesson learned…even if it was a funny one!

Twist out

My Two Cents on Black Hair Salons And Natural Hair

Standard

black hair salon

It’s been a while since I’ve had a soap box moment, and what inspired this blog is an article I read posted by Curly Nikki on FaceBook titled¬†“The Death of The Black Hair Salon.” It was a very hot topic that many naturals chimed in on, including myself. The majority of those who posted a response¬†had the same experiences and complaints:

  • Wasting an entire day¬†at the salon because of over-booking, slow service, or both.
  • Damage done to hair and scalp (too much heat, harsh relaxers, etc)
  • Ridiculous prices

For me, I got fed up with my beautician of 8 years because she simply didn’t respect me or my time. Because she is a great stylist with a clientele that could circle the block many times over, she felt that she could come in late (and by late I mean be a half hour to an hour late to your appointment), take two and three customers ahead of you, take 45 minute breaks to talk and chit chat and laugh with her family and friends who basically lived in the shop, and take 45 minute breaks to eat.

I share the blame for this because I allowed this behavior to go on.¬†I loved the way she styled my hair, she understood me and knew my style preference. At the same time, I absolutely DETEST looking for new beauticians, so I overlooked and endured this treatment. Don’t get me wrong, there were times when I forewarned her before sitting in her chair that I had to be out by a certain time because I had things to do. Over time she became worse, and I became more and more pissed.

I would purposely make early morning appointments with the hopes of getting out of the shop before noon. Yes, I said noon. But low and behold, there would be three other ladies waiting with me who also had 8 o’clock appointments with my beautician. During all of this I was seriously considering going natural. I had been contemplating going natural for the past four or five years. As my beautician became worse with her tardiness, coming late to the shop with an attitude as if we, her faithful customers, did something wrong to her, my decision became easier to make.

My hair was very damaged¬†by the heat and by the relaxers. I was curling or flat ironing my hair almost every day. For years I wore my hair in short jazzy hair styles, and with short hair (at least for me) your hair looks better curled, and that’s what I did every day. I curled it, basically fried it, to death. I had so much breakage it wasn’t even funny. Deep down I knew this wasn’t right. Deep down I knew my hair deserved better and it needed to be taken care of properly with lots of TLC. The only way I could do this was to start from scratch, and that’s what I did.

Big chopping wasn’t a big deal to me because my hair was already very short. I stopped going to the shop and I stopped getting relaxers. The only relaxer that remained in my hair was at the top, and I began to trim it out little by little myself. I went to my husband’s barber and had him finish the job and that freed me from the creamy crack. That began my natural hair journey. I’ll never forget the day that I went to my husband’s barber. When he was finished I smiled so much, and I couldn’t stop smiling if you paid me to. I. WAS. FREE.

There’s an unwillingness on the part of black beauticians and salons to educate themselves on caring for and styling natural hair. I’ve been turned away by many who turned their noses up at having natural hair customers,¬†yet they complain about and wonder why they are losing business? They wrongly believe that the natural hair movement is just a fad, that it will run it’s course and black women will come tearing down their doors begging for the creamy crack again. I strongly disagree. While there are many who have gone back to the creamy crack, the number is very small compared to those who are joining the natural hair community.

Many blame YouTube vloggers and DIY videos for the black salon losing business. There wouldn’t be a need for YouTube DIY videos¬†if beauticians would educate themselves and learn how to care for all hair types and not just slathering chemicals¬†on our hair. We’re in an age where women are more informed, and the information is out there at your finger tips if you want to research your options. Women they want to live healthier lifestyles and they want to save a buck. We want to learn how to do things ourselves, and I think that’s a positive thing. Not all naturalista’s are into DIY. There are many who still go to¬†salons and have found a natural hair salon or beautician to care for their hair. There is nothing wrong with that. Matter of fact, I’m still looking for a good natural hair beautician!

Most of all, our time is precious, and if black salons refuse to respect our time, then they will continue to lose customers period, and not to just the natural hair movement.

Vlogging – It’s Not For Me

Standard

nope

Vlogging always seemed like¬†it would be fun. Maybe it’s because so many YouTubers who are experienced vloggers make it look fun. They enjoy doing it and they’re good at it. “I can do that” I’d think to myself. “It looks fun and¬†easy” I’d foolishly tell¬†myself. Then one day I tried it,¬†and I tried it several times talking about various topics, and by topics I mean natural hair topics.

Here’s where I messed up: I attempted to vlog late in the evening while tired and sleepy. When I would watch the¬†finished video,¬†I looked like I was minutes away from falling asleep. That’s not a good look. I also talked slow, which I’m sure will irritate those who¬†are impatient and want you to get to the point. My eyes were so heavy that if you looked at me long enough¬†you’d become sleepy too! ¬†What I talked about was interesting (to me at least), but I had no energy. NONE. I work full time, I come home and cook, help kids with homework, putz around the house and take care of whatever else needs to be taken care of. Depending on what day it is, I’ll sit down long enough to¬†watch my favorite¬†TV show (if I can keep my eyes open long enough), and then off to bed I go.

In order for vlogging to work for me, I’d have to do it on the weekends and I would have to commit to it. Is it doable? Sure it is. Will I stick to it? Probably not. I’d be one of those vloggers who post a new video once every other month, if even that.¬†So yeah, I’m going to stick to blogging. I’ve always been one who expresses herself better in writing than speaking. I can get my thoughts out faster by typing them out. I’ve¬†always been wired this way.

To those who vlog, keep up the good work! You’ve found your niche, you’ve developed a following so keep it up. As for little ole’ me, I’m going to stay in my lane of writing. It’s much, much easier for me.¬†And if¬†I’m tired and sleepy while¬†blogging, you’d never¬†know it.¬†ūüėČ

Black People Have Turned Their Backs on Afros??

Standard

Really?

Well according to¬†Simon Doonan’s piece titled “Bring Back the Afro” he doesn’t see them – and he lives in Brooklyn.

You big dummy

There is so much I could say about the sheer ignorance of this statement, like does this man live under a rock? Does he bother to LOOK at the people surrounding him when he steps out of his posh penthouse?

Instead, this article (and Twitter) did an excellent job reading him and other clueless people in this world like him. If you have time, please read it and get into it. All I could do is say “Amen” and clap my hands from start to finish.

http://jezebel.com/5993349/the-misguided-campaign-to-bring-back-the-afro

When New Growth Trumps How Long You Keep Your Braids

Standard

Arnold Face

Arnold’s face¬†pretty much sums up how I’m feeling right now. I’ve had my Kinky Twists for 42 days now. Count them – 42 days – and my new growth is out of control. If you lifted up the braids in the back of my head you’d get attacked by the untamed¬†afro that has grown back there. The woman that does my braids is one of the best hair braiders I’ve come across since I’ve been getting braids, so the quality of her work is NOT the issue.¬†What I’m having an issue with is the investment ($$$) I made in getting these braids with the purpose of getting two and a half or three months worth of wear out of them!

I tie my hair up every night, I don’t pull¬†my braids¬†back into pony tails, nor do I put them into cute buns or any other jazzy style. Remember, I’m team SAVE YOUR EDGES! I basically do everything I’m supposed to do when you have braids. My dilemma could be viewed as a good thing because at the end of the day what I’m “suffering” from is¬†rapid hair growth. Who would’ve thought that a woman would complain about her hair growing too fast? Granted I know there are some women out there who do have this complaint, but it’s¬†unheard of for me!

Then I had a moment….

Eureka

My “EUREKA” moment was me realizing that back during my creamy-crack days when I got braids installed, my hair did not grow as fast. The only time I experienced mega hair growth back then was when I was pregnant and had braids. Mothers, you know how those pregnancy hormones work. Everything grows, and it grows fast! But when I had braids and wasn’t pregnant, I was always able to keep my braids for the 2-3 months because the growth was slow. Isn’t that something? Now that I’m 100% chemical free (no hair dyes either) and have been natural for 2 1/2 years, my hair growth with braids is rapid. Hmmm…..could it be¬†because I now have a¬†healthy scalp due to no longer putting harsh, harmful chemicals on my hair? Could it be because¬†I use healthier methods and regimens to take care of my hair and scalp? EUREKA!

When I think of the positives of why my hair is growing so fast,¬†I¬†no longer feel¬†so cheated with the shortened length of time that I’m able to keep my braids. Hair growth¬†is a good thing.¬†Hair growth¬†is a positive thing. Hair growth, although it has never been my main concern since going natural, is what I want – but in a healthy way. Sometimes you just have to leave your hair alone and let it do what it do before you see results, and that makes the saying “less is more” all the more true. Protective styling has many benefits, and it’s especially beneficial for me. I LOVE having braids in it’s many forms, and I will continue to rock them. I just have to come up with a back up plan for when I only get 42 days or less out of my braids.¬†Crochet braids here I come! My sis in law got that hook up! ūüėČ

Confessional: I Have a Bald Spot! *GASP*

Standard

Oh the horror

Remember when I was going through my bantu knot phase so I could rock my curly fro at my new job? Well apparently I was knotting my hair a little too tightly because I discovered much later that I had a small bald spot about the size of a nickel towards the front of my hair! I can admit that I can be very heavy handed when it comes to my hair (and my girls) BUT I’m learning to be more gentle. Now that I think back on it, I was indeed making my bantu knots in that particular area of my head very tight. What I did not realize was the damage that can be done when doing a style repeatedly (every day almost) and too tightly.

To say that I was horrified when I discovered this bald spot would be an understatement. Anyone who knows me know that I always think about the worst case scenario: Do I have female pattern baldness? Am I going bald? Is this alopecia? I. Freaked. Out. Then I calmed down and remembered one of the many beneficial uses of Jamaican Black Castor oil, and I began to apply it to my small bald spot every day, and guess what? I see hair growth! Slowly but surely my little bald spot that was as bare as a babies bottom now has growth since using Jamaican Black Castor oil on it every day.

Moral of the story: BE GENTLE to your natural hair. Do not pull, comb, or manipulate your hair roughly. And in my case, you do not have to pull your brains out to have a nice, curly bantu knot twist out!