Category Archives: Afros

I Picked THE HOTTEST Weekend…

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Its Hot

…To take down my micro braids!! Good lord it’s HOT!!!! The take down process ended up being a day and a half. The detangling, washing, deep conditioning and styling took another five hours. When I say I’m exhausted, please know that I mean it!!

My hair is in small – medium sized plaits that I will take down in the morning for a curly fro style. I’m not posting any pictures of it’s current state because 1) It’s too darn hot 2) I’m sweaty 3) Sweaty on me = not cute in my book 4) I’m too lazy to put on decent clothes to take a picture.

I did watch some videos and read some blogs about how to detangle hair after taking down braids, and one very helpful tip was to use conditioner. I applied a liberal amount to my hair with a little water, and slowly and gently detangled sections of my hair. It was very time consuming but worth it. Had I tried to comb through the product build up, dead hair and tangles,  I would have lost a lot of unnecessary hair. My hair feels soft, my plaits are bouncy and juicy, and my scalp feels very clean.

I had my micro braids in for three months and didn’t have a lot of product build up. The hair shedding I experienced was normal and I haven’t noticed any bald spots. ūüėČ My hair grew A LOT, especially in the back which is where it typically grows the fastest. ¬†I gave my hair (the ends in particular) and scalp a lot of TLC this weekend and will continue to do so going forward. Scalp massages are the BEST!

The one thing I didn’t get a chance to do because I didn’t have any on hand was a protein treatment. I need to purchase some product ASAP. Otherwise, this was a long, hot weekend dealing with nothing but my hair. But, it was a labor of love. Show your hair some love and it’ll love you right back! ūüôā

My Natural Hair in Pictures

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Hey there!

I try to capture my hair in all stages to document growth or if a twist out turned out nice. I chose some photos from my phone just to share. I’m lacking in the hair styling department. As you can see, my go-to is a headband. Lately, I’ve been just letting my afro be free and do what it do. A few weeks back I did a light blow out. It didn’t take long for my 4c hair to draw back up, LOL!

I’ve also been rocking headwraps, but I need some color in my life desperately! I’m working on getting some color and patterns in my life with my headwraps. ūüėČ ¬†I also tried my hand at flat twisting my hair. It wasn’t great, but it served its purpose for that day. My goal is to experiment more with styles for my hair. I’ll keep you posted!

sonyas-natural-hair

 

Vegetable Glycerin and Aloe Vera Juice

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very-good

Recently I’ve adopted a new way (new for me anyway) to moisturize me and my daughter’s hair using vegetable glycerin and aloe vera juice. (see my previous post for recipe https://2dimplzs.wordpress.com/2016/10/17/moisturizing-my-dry-4c-hair/) First off, it totally works! I have never felt my hair this soft and stay so moisturized before in my life! Our hair was more manageable and easier to comb or finger comb through.

But…no matter if we plaited or twisted our hair and styled it the next day for a bomb twist out, puff, or afro it would shrink down quickly! You’d think we lived in the hot and humid south instead of the dry northwest! My daughters did not like this, they love being able to rock their huge afros or huge puffs. I had to agree with them, it was definitely a downside to having and keeping moisturized hair.

I think this is a case of taking the good with the bad. Having moisturized hair is very important. It cuts down on breakage, it promotes growth, and it makes our 4c hair much more manageable. What more can you ask for? What I will change is how often I spritz our hair with the vegetable glycerin and aloe vera juice. A little goes a long way. Finally, I feel like I’m finding my way through this natural hair journey!

Xoxo

Undefined Curls

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Afro power

Undefined curls or undefined afros is something I’ve been hearing about for a while but never¬†really paid much attention to. I don’t feel I can continue to ignore it¬†because it’s really starting to bug me since these terms are actually targeted towards those¬†whose 4c hair may not curl up and bounce like other natural hair types. Apparently to some, undefined curls or undefined afros are deemed undesirable or even unkempt. All I want to know is why? I know unkempt hair when I see it, and no it’s not attractive at all. But if a woman decides to just rock her beautiful afro with no particular curl pattern in it, what’s wrong with that? Why do people think that only curly natural hair is pretty?

There was a discussion on FaceBook yesterday regarding an article that had several pictures of women rocking their undefined afros in very elegant ways. The point of the article was to show that women with 4c hair can rock their hair without defined curls and still be beautiful. I think that is a great message to put out there and we need to hear it more. In the comments following the article, one naturalista made a very powerful, eye-opening statement:

“Curls¬†are the new relaxer for natural women.”

I¬†emphatically said “YES” when I read this statement because it is so true! There is a curly hair obsession reminiscent of the creamy crack (chemical relaxers) addiction¬†among many in the natural hair community. There’s¬†an insatiable thirst for curly hair. This, in turn, breeds product junkies because they are constantly searching for¬†that magic potion to curl up their hair and give it the best definition. Somehow, curly naturals have become the standard of beauty to which we all should strive for, and again I want to know why?¬†Please don’t think that I’m bashing those with curly hair because I’m not. I know there are many who have naturally curly hair, and there is nothing wrong with that.¬†There are also those who go through painstaking efforts to make their hair curl. And then there are those who are ok with just letting their natural hair do whatever it is it does.

Many of us became natural because we knew it was the healthiest¬†decision to make.¬†We have educated ourselves and have personally experienced the harmful effects of chemical relaxers. We’ve vowed to get and maintain the healthiest hair possible by going natural. Somewhere along the way, the belief that curly hair is the only hair and¬†the most beautiful hair to have has taken over. Maybe that belief was always there but I ignored it because I was so wrapped up in my own natural hair journey. I never cared about having curly hair because I knew from the beginning what my hair could and could not do, nor was I¬†interested in trying to make it curl up.

As if we don’t have enough fighting and dissention amongst us as¬†black women,¬†it saddens me that we still have to deal with this very old,¬†poisonous belief that kinky hair is ugly and undesirable, but curly (“good hair”) is beautiful. If less emphasis was put on having curly natural¬†hair and more focus is put on natural hair health and the beauty of ALL hair types, then maybe there wouldn’t be such an obsession with achieving the ultimate defined curls. Maybe more naturalista’s would simply love their hair regardless if it can curl up,¬†or if it’s just in an amazing afro standing tall and proud with no emphasis on curls.

Love of Self + Culture = Love of Natural Hair

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Angela Davis Art

For¬†the past few months I’ve been reading and hearing disturbing accounts of black¬†women being shamed or¬†made to feel ugly because of the darkness of their skin, the kinkiness of their hair, the fullness of their lips or noses, or the curviness¬†and voluptuousness of their bodies. This isn’t just happening in America, it’s happening in Brazil, Cuba, Africa, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic – any place where there are darker hued people. To me, it’s a reminder of how deeply rooted racism, colorism, and self hate really is. In Louisiana for an example, it is a fact of life that those deemed Creole,¬†who are basically light skinned (might as well throw in “with good hair”) do not associate with those who are darker skinned. They won’t even allow a darker skinned person in a photo with them, let alone stand up in their wedding! In 2016 this is still happening, and it blows my mind.

In Brazil, there’s a young woman named Nayara Justino who is a model and actress. She¬†made history by being the first dark skinned woman named Carnival Queen. Sadly, she was¬†stripped of her title because of the racist outrage over her dark skin. The people wanted the tradition to continue of only¬†crowning a¬†lighter skinned Brazilian woman. This poor woman was called every racist name in the book on social media, and the judges cowardly caved into the¬†public outcry and stripped her of her crown and giving¬†Nayara no reason for doing so. Much later they denied taking her crown because of the color of her skin,¬†even though everyone knows that’s exactly the reason why. Let’s be real –¬†if the public never had a problem with her being Carnival Queen, she’d still have her crown, right? Right.

I hate hearing and reading about these things, but I’m glad for social media because without it we’d never hear about these things happening. Mainstream media never report about these types of things because they want you to believe that¬†the world isn’t as racist as it is. Well you’d have to be living under a rock to not know that racism in America and in other countries is alive and well. It’s this narrow-minded thinking¬†that¬†keeps black women and¬†women of color¬†from loving everything about themselves. This is why it’s so hard for women to even attempt to love their natural¬† kinky,¬†coily¬†hair¬†because all they hear and see on tv and in print ads is that straight, long hair is the only hair that is beautiful, and it’s the only hair you should want.¬†Curls and kinks are ugly, unkempt looking,¬†and wild. Just writing this makes me cringe at how ridiculous this thinking is, but it’s out there and the roots run deep in the minds of many black women and black men.

Recently I watched the documentary The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution on PBS. During the 1960’s and 1970’s there was a call for black pride because of the hideous racism and persecution taking place¬†against blacks at the hands¬†of white people. Loving ourselves, our culture,¬†skin color,¬†and¬†natural hair were just some of things that were¬†encouraged by the Black Panther Party. Seeing all of those beautiful, natural afros of various sizes, textures, and colors in this documentary made me smile. It made me swell with pride because all of these people looked like me, they had hair like me and they wore it proudly. After the demise of¬†The Black Panther Party, that pride¬†in our natural hair¬† practically¬†disappeared as chemical relaxers and Jheri Curls took over. Fast forward to today and you have¬†black women¬†once again saying no to¬†putting¬†harmful chemicals¬†in their hair and yes to proudly wearing their natural hair. Many call it a movement, others call it a fad. Ask the manufactures of chemical relaxers and beauty salons about their sales for the past ten years and they’ll tell you it’s not a fad. Today, women are more informed and aware of the harmful side affects that chemical relaxers cause. There is a plethora of information all over the internet at our disposal to educate ourselves with. So no, this is not a fad. This is a lifestyle change and natural hair is here to stay.

Collectively as women, we need to¬†help and¬†encourage each other whether if we are natural or not. Don’t look down on those who aren’t natural, be encouraging. Remember, most of us were addicted to the creamy crack for many years too! Don’t preach to them, be informative. Compliment one another and be an example. Be willing to discuss your hair journey if given the opportunity. Your story could help someone else make that final decision to go natural.¬† Before I went natural, when I would see black women rocking their afros, afro puffs, or twist outs, I always felt their hair was beautiful. I felt a sense of pride seeing them rock their natural hair because I always felt our natural hair is beautiful. I wouldn’t hesitate to compliment them and tell them how beautiful their hair was. Then I had to look at myself and ask¬†“If you know natural hair is beautiful and it’s healthier for you, what’s keeping you from going natural?”¬†I had no answer, and I had no excuse because there was nothing holding me back. My daughters were natural, so again, what was holding me back? Nothing. I got educated and I took the plunge. I big chopped.

There is nothing wrong with loving our culture. There is nothing wrong with loving our blackness. And there is definitely nothing wrong with loving ourselves and our natural hair.

 

Embrace Your Natural Tresses

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Natural hair art

 

When I started this blog, I posted about how important it is to embrace your natural hair in order to love it and feel comfortable with it. I know that doesn’t come easy for everyone, which is why it’s important that you’re absolutely sure that this is the journey you want to embark on. It’s easy to say you’re all in and then feel overwhelmed once the process really starts to happen. Trust me, I’ve been there. When I big chopped I LOVED having the super short hair and being able to wash and go and not having to fuss with my hair much, if at all. Then it started to grow. Slowly. It seemed like it took forever for it to grow to the point where I could do twist outs and I became frustrated, but I stuck with it. I loved my fro, and I loved my natural hair.

I’m saying all of this because I had a doctors appointment recently where the nurse who was taking care of me complimented me on my hair and asked me what I do to maintain it. She then related that she had been natural for a year but keeps her hair covered up with wigs. She knows that’s not good either, and I told her “Yes, you need to let your hair breathe.” She wanted to know what products to use and how to style her hair. I began to tell her what I use which is natural, organic oils and butters. I told her to rock a twist out and she said “But what if I want to go out and I want to straighten my hair? Other naturals tell me to stay away from heat though.” I said “Yes, it’s best to try to keep the heat out of your hair, but there are those who flat iron their hair or straighten it with a straightening comb. That’s totally up to you if you want to do that, but know that heat can be damaging.” Then she kept saying that she thinks natural hair looks good on other people but not herself.

That’s when I told her that she has to give her natural hair a chance because she’ll never embrace it and learn to love it if she’s always covering it up with a wig. I encouraged her to rock her fro and rock it with some big hoop earrings. Again she stated she was scared that it wouldn’t look right on her. <PAUSE> How on earth does ones natural hair not look right? This is what relaxers and straightening combs have done to us. We don’t even know that our natural tresses are beautiful because we’ve been brainwashed to believe that only straight hair is beautiful! If I had more time to talk to her, I would have asked her WHY she went natural to begin with. Did she do it because she thinks it’s “in” right now? Did she do it because she knows it’s what is healthier for her? Either way she’s struggling with accepting her natural hair and that made me feel…sad.

If I had the time to speak with her¬†a little longer I would have encouraged her to do her research. Go to YouTube and look for how-to videos of how to care for,¬†maintain, and style¬†her hair type and length. I¬†also would have¬†encouraged her to research and educate herself on the different natural and organic oils and butters that are excellent for our hair and scalp. Education is key to loving your natural hair. I can’t stress that enough. I did a ton of research before I went natural, after I went natural, and I continue to do research now that I’m three years natural. Never stop educating yourself about your hair, but before you take the plunge into the natural world, educate yourself as much as possible. Find out your hair type. Some people hate hair typing, but for me it helped knowing my hair type(s) because I quickly realized that I have¬†different grades of hair in my head. It will also determine what products and oils you can or cannot use¬†in your hair.

Finally, once you’ve educated yourself, it’ll help you to embrace and appreciate your natural hair for what it can and cannot do. Not all hair is meant to curl up and be bouncy when you walk. Not all hair is going to hang freely. Just because a product says it’ll make your hair curl doesn’t mean it’s true for your hair. Take the time to get to know your hair. Once you do that, you will learn to love, embrace, and appreciate your natural tresses.

Lessons Learned

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Lessons learned

I’m¬† coming upon my third year of being natural, and boy have I learned some things! The number one thing I’ve learned is that being a lazy natural is not the business. You will cause yourself a lot of unwanted damage to your hair and grief to yourself.¬†Let me help you not make the same mistakes that I made with some suggestions:

  1. Do not ignore your ends! Get regular trims or give yourself regular trims. I cannot stress this enough. This was the biggest mistake I’ve made since being natural. DO NOT ignore your ends. Just last night I cut A LOT of damage off of my hair, and I’ve been doing so every so often to try to get rid of the damaged ends – and there’s a lot. I have no one to blame but myself because I did not take heed to a lot of the advice given by other natural’s and professionals.
  2. You must come up with a regular hair care routine and STICK WITH IT. If you wash your hair once a week, once every two weeks, or once a month, stick to your plan and do not be lazy about it. Moisturize, deep condition, give yourself regular scalp massages. I saw much better results when I started to stick to a regular hair care routine.
  3. Do not be afraid of trying different protective styles. Braids are not the only protective style out there. Try wigs, crochet wigs, sew ins, etc. There is nothing wrong with braids, but if they are done too tightly then you’re defeating the purpose.

This past year I experienced scalp irritation (unexplained pain and a bald spot, and breakage in one concentrated area) which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It made me more aware of how I was treating my hair and scalp, and I was actually being too rough on it and scratching too much. I began to use a dandruff shampoo to help with my dandruff and itchy scalp issue, and I’ve now included pumpkin seed oil into my hair care regimen.

I’ve bought myself a pair of professional scissors to cut my hair, and I’ve been doing my own trimming. I’ve been gently flat ironing my hair just enough for me to see what my ends looked like, and then I cut. Eventually I will find my way to a professional, but in the mean time I like taking responsibility for my hair whether if it grows or breaks off. I know that may sound crazy, but that’s how I feel. I know my hair is super uneven, and I’m ok with that. I don’t care about uneven hair right now. I care about HEALTH. If there’s one thing about hair, it will always grow back (unless you have a condition like alopecia or some other condition that causes permanent hair loss).

I’ll be honest, I’ve had my freak out moments, moments of self doubt¬†wondering “Should I just cut it all off again and start¬†over?” Matter of fact I thought about cutting off all of my hair and starting all over just last night! I shared that with my husband and he said “You’re overreacting.” He was right. Sort of. ūüėČ Even though I’m three years in, I have to keep reminding myself that this is a journey. It has it’s highs and lows,¬† but you have to keep going. You have to make the best of whatever situation you’re in. It’s funny to read my earlier blogs from when I first went natural to where I am right now. I was very na√Įve about some things, but experience is definitely a teacher! Lesson learned.