This has been one of the most humid summers to date in my neck of the woods. I took down my micro braids in early June and it’s been a challenge finding ways to to style and protect my natural hair. The majority of the time I let my afro flow freely. However…I also found it more difficult to deal with my hair in it’s constant shrunken state. I would plait my hair, tie it up, and it would be stretched, but by the time I made it to work, some serious shrinkage have already taken place.
I’ve done heatless stretching on my hair by doing the banding method or braiding or plaiting my hair and it worked just fine…during the winter months without any humidity. It’s summer now and I wanted something that would take less time and last a little longer in this humid weather. As my family and I were preparing to go out of town a few weeks ago, I decided to straighten my hair with a straightening brush.
Most straightening brushes look similar to this one pictured above, including mine. I only wanted to loosen my tight curls, not get it bone straight, so I only ran the brush through my hair twice at a 400 heat setting. I figured that after shrinkage took place, it still would be easier to deal with, and I was right. About two weeks later I used the brush again. At night I would plait up my hair in medium sized plaits and tie it up. In the morning I take them down and finger comb and go.
What also helps me in the stretching process is castor oil or Blue Magic hair grease. I have thick, coarse hair, so I need those heavier oils. The only thing is when using oil or grease, you need to be more diligent about washing your hair. Make sure you use a clarifying shampoo to help clear away any and all buildup.
In the photos below you see my hair after having used the brush, but significant shrinkage has also taken place. Despite the shrinkage, my hair has been more manageable. I know constant use of heat is not good for your hair, and I’m not going to use the straightening brush again for a while, but it’s a nice option to have when you want to do something different. Or when you’re simply trying to fight the heat and humidity. And since I hadn’t stretched or straightened my hair in quite some time, it was nice to see my growth progress.
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. 😉 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!
…speaks volumes and sums up my feelings on my natural hair journey.
Not only are the styles endless for those of us with naturally kinky or curly hair, the hair accessories are endless as well. Some women feel that certain hair accessories are for little girls only. I beg to differ. These days the market is overflowing with so many different hair accessories to choose from that the young and old alike can rock the same thing. Headbands, bedazzled barrettes, ponytail holders, or vibrant African-inspired headwraps.
Having two girls, aged 14 and 12, helps me to stay on top of trends. (Along with my obsession with Pinterest!) My 14-year-old daughter is very picky, but she also has great taste. She’s very fashionable, so it should be no surprise that one of her favorite stores to shop is Forever21. She went from obsessing with flower headbands in various sizes and colors to now obsessing over the more bedazzled headbands. The cool part is, she wears both styles very well with her natural hair and braids. Her younger sister simply follows in her footsteps so she can look cute too. 😉
Here are a few hair accessories that I think are cute for naturalista’s young and old:
Don’t be afraid to play with hair accessories. Trust and believe, they come in handy! Like when your twist out isn’t the bomb or the new style you tried didn’t quite work out the way you had hoped, or you’re simply having a bad hair day. Or, how many of us simply didn’t feel like being bothered with our hair, and our easiest go-to accessory is a head wrap or a headband? Get creative and make your own hair accessories. Old (but clean) stockings make great headbands! Go to the fabric store and find some funky fabric and make your own headwraps. If you need help with getting those creative juices flowing, go to Pinterest or YouTube to get some hair-spiration!
As I take on the battle of breakage, bald spots, and very dry natural hair, I’ve gone back into research mode. I’ve stumbled upon Red Palm oil. There are so many benefits of using this rich oil from cooking with it, using it on your skin, or what I’m more interested in, using it on your hair. It contains the hard to find toctrienols, which are members of the vitamin E family. The common form of vitamin E, tocopherol, has long been used to treat many skin ailments and is found in many anti-aging products. Here are some of the many benefits of Red Palm Oil:
Red Palm Oil is loaded with the following phytonutrients:
- Carotenoids (alpha-,beta-,and gamma-carotenes)
- Sterols (sitosterol, stigmasterol and campesterol)
- Vitamin E (tocopherols and tocotrienols)
- Water-soluble powerful antioxidants, phenolic acids and flavonoids
Subsequently, the health benefits of palm oil include reduced risk of a variety of disease processes including:
What about the benefits for the hair, you ask? Well, it is a wonderful moisturizer especially since it’s loaded with vitamin E and other healthy vitamins. Red Palm Oil can be used as a pre-poo, deep conditioner, or a daily moisturizer. To use as a pre-poo, wet your hair with water from a spray bottle. Make sure you wear an old t-shirt that you don’t mind getting dirty because Red Palm Oil will stain. You do not need to use a lot of the oil unless you have really long hair. A little of this oil goes a long way. Section off your hair and work the oil through from root to tip, finger detangling as you go along. Make sure to massage the oil into your scalp as well. Continue this process until your entire head is done and then put on a plastic shower cap and let it set for 30 minutes to an hour. Shampoo with warm water 2-3 times to ensure that you get all of oil out and then proceed with conditioning.
Others use it as a daily moisturizer, some mix it with their favorite shampoo, while others mix it with their favorite conditioner. Either way your hair will reap the benefits of being very moisturized, soft and have a lot of body. Your hair will stay this way for at least a week or until your next wash.
I plan on incorporating the regular use of red palm oil in my pre-wash routine and then following up with the L.O.C. method every night. Consistency is key! No more being the lazy natural that I used to be. I’ll keep you posted on my results.
If you’re interested in purchasing Red Palm Oil, it’s available on Amazon and in most health food stores.
With the current state of my hair, I’ve decided not to have crochet braids installed. Instead I’m going to focus on getting my hair healthy again. I don’t think the tension and pulling of my hair is the best idea right now. One of the top things on my to-do list is to find a natural hair stylist who can give my hair the full treatment it really needs. If it means cutting off more hair than expected to get rid of the damage, then so be it. Next I have to find a really good moisturizer that is specifically good for the 4c hair that I have. If any of you have any suggestions please let a sista know in the comment section!
I have a funny story to share! Well, I can laugh about it now, but at the time it scared me to death! Last week I dreamed that I went to a shop and got a relaxer put in my hair. *GASP* The horror, right? There was no rhyme or reason for me doing it. All I remember from the dream is looking at myself in the mirror with all this hair on my head that was straightened and styled, and I was so upset because my afro, kinks, and coils were all gone. When I woke up I felt so upset and stressed as if this really happened!
If that dream isn’t proof that I’m in this natural hair journey for the long haul, I don’t know what is. Just as in life, there will be bumps in the road. There will be highs and lows, but they don’t last forever. My hair woes are of my doing, but they are fixable. It’s simply going to take time. So while I won’t be having another protective hairstyle installed just yet, I’m going to work hard at getting my hair healthy again.
Thank you to my fellow naturalista’s who have reached out to me with your encouraging words here on my blog or via Facebook! Thank you for your positivity and support. That is so needed in our community, especially for the newer naturalista’s like myself. Let’s keep encouraging one another and lifting each other up ladies. 🙂
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!