Monthly Archives: December 2011

Happy New Year Curlies!!

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Wishing you all a happy and blessed new year filled with the love of family and friends, health, prosperity and peace! I hope that you all get a little closer to achieving your dreams and/or discover new mountains to climb!!

If you’re going out, please be safe while you’re having fun! I’m gonna be chillin’ like a villain … at home. Maybe I’ll film a tutorial for this little retro swoop and bun that I wore today since I won’t be showing it off anywhere tonight!!

Feelin' so old school Hollywood ;)!

See ya on the other side!!

(p.s. If you’re digging the little retro polka dot earrings, check out Chy’s Curlz’ post about her new Etsy shop, ChysHandmades, and learn how you can get a free pair with any order ;)!)

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Robert Cradle: 2012 Give Back Day Hero

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With the help of Rodney Peete, a former NFL quarterback and co-founder of the HollyRod Foundation, Allstate Insurance Company kicked off their 4th Annual National Give Back Day. This is a program that pays tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by encouraging individuals to volunteer in their communities on MLK Day, January 16, 2012, and every day. As part of the program, Allstate recognizes four African-American Give Back Day Heroes in different cities across the U.S. for their commitment to community service.

This year, Robert Cradle, a Baltimore native and founder of Rob’s Barbershop Community Foundation, has been chosen as one of the Give Back Day Heroes. A talented barber who now provides grooming services to the underprivileged community of Baltimore, Rob has a very unique story that I thought you all might enjoy.

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by Weusi


Because of his selfless work of providing haircuts to persons who may not have the resources or freedom to go to a barbershop, Robert Cradle has recently been honored by Allstate Insurance Company as a Give Back Day Hero. When I heard about the great work he’s doing, I knew that I wanted to interview him!

To many, the barbershop is a sacred place, in part because it’s a place where aesthetic pride is groomed and community relationships are developed. Robert Cradle is a barber in Baltimore, MD, who has taken this to another level! I’ll let him tell you about it!

Congratulations on the recent honor! Can you tell the readers about your organization, the work you do and your recent honors?

Thank you! Rob’s Barbershop Community Foundation (RBCF) is an organization that raises funds to operate projects that provide grooming services and products to individuals who cannot afford them. Our current projects consist of operating two full-service barber/beauty shops located in two Baltimore Area homeless shelters.

I am currently in the process of being honored by Allstate as one of their Give Back Day Heroes. I am so excited about this honor because Allstate is using my story as a way of inspiring others to volunteer in their respective communities on the Martin Luther King holiday.

How did the idea for the organization come about?

The idea came about when I used to own a barber shop that was near a homeless shelter. I met the volunteer coordinator of that shelter who told me that their residents could not afford to patronize the local barbers or beauty salons. Many of the shelter’s residents lived below the poverty level and many had several children. So I decided not to just handle the problem alone, but created an effort that would also allow the community to get involved. I placed a collection box at my barbershop so my customers could contribute toward the cost of hiring barbers to go to local shelters and provide free grooming. This approach would, in essence, create a win-win situation. Local barbers would be employed, the public would have a good cause to donate towards and, most of all, individuals living at poverty level would have access to services and products that they are currently unable to afford. Now they are able to attend job interviews and school with a neat and clean appearance!

Can you tell us a little about what it took to make the transition from informal favors to an official organization?

It took a lot of training. To make the transition, I had to take classes on non-profit management and fundraising. I read tons of books/manuals and did lots of research. I also did some volunteer work with other non-profits and churches to get some hands-on experience. It made a big difference. The education and experience helped me to know what to expect and how to avoid mistakes.

Baltimore gets a bad reputation via some TV shows and mass media. The nickname, “B-more careful” is one of the most gangster nicknames for a city that I’ve ever heard! Do you think that the media depictions of the city are true? Do you see the city changing? How? What would you like people to know about Baltimore?

Sadly, most (if not all) of the depictions are true. Baltimore is a place suffering from some really systemic problems. I love Baltimore and won’t take shots at it, but I will give credit to all of the media sources that have pretty much displayed the truth about the city. Baltimore will eventually change, because personally I think that there are many stakeholders that see the city as an economic force. So, they are going to work hard to relieve those problems that create that negative reputation. This mostly has to do with lowering the level of crime, violence, poverty, drugs and their lingering effects.

I would like people to know that Baltimore has its own unique identity that really could be appreciated on a national stage. We actually have our own unique culture, style, language, music, art, history, heroes and hairstyles, which is unlike any other city in this country.

I have to ask you about hair trends in Baltimore. I heard that the DC-bred Temple Taper is making a comeback and that the designs in the hair are getting more elaborate. But, I also heard that the Philly-style darkened waves and full beards are in there too . What trends have you seen?

Lately, I’ve noticed a comeback in hi-top box fades and different variations of the Mohawk. It’s more of a return of the 80’s style, which is cool because that’s when I was a teenager and got a chance to wear those same types of styles.

Do you cut both male and female patrons?

Yes. Male, female, Black and White. Fortunately, I’ve worked in all types of shops: upscale, “hood,” military, small-town, you name it. I was also a teacher in a barber school for a couple of years, so I had to have some experience in several different areas of cutting and styling to be able to teach others.

Do you stay abreast of natural hair, hair products, technology and healthcare for brothers? If so, what would you say is the best thing brothers can do to take care of their hair?

Yes, I pretty much stay abreast of all the new products and equipment that come along. My advice is that brothers should focus more on the ingredients of products, rather than focus on the brand name. Focus on which consistency (cream, lotion, gel, pomade, oil, grease, liquid) gives you your desired result, rather than what the label promises it will do. Try each consistency; you will eventually find out what works best.

What do you think is the worst common practice that brothers are doing now that they should stop? Coming to the shop with too much grease (or any product) in their hair. The cleaner the hair, the better the haircut! That goes for anyone of any gender or race. I know it may not be possible all of the time but, believe it or not, we want to do our best for our customers.

We know that barbers have to keep up with various aesthetics/styles, but is there a role of responsibility to community that barbers should also have?

A barber’s responsibility to the community is basically a personal decision. Their decision should jive with the owner’s mission of the shop as a whole. Nevertheless, the least any barber/cosmetologist should do is abide by the rules and regulations of their state’s Board of Barbers/Cosmetologist.

Is there anything else that you would like to share with the readers of Hairscapades?

Sure. I would like people to know that there are many people who can’t go to the barber and/or beauty salon. Just think, if you did not have access to regular grooming services, your entire life would change. You could actually lose a job or maybe even a relationship. People would even treat you differently. There are children who are neglected, abused, live with an elderly grandparent, have too many sibling in one household, etc., so they may not get regular grooming. You can see them at any school near you. There are also so many adults who are homeless, laid-off or have to opt for food and housing and forgo regular grooming.

Thank you Robert!!

And with that last sentiment, let’s remember the 5th Principle of Kwanzaa, NIA, which means purpose in kiswahilli. The word is included within KWANZAA’s seven principles (Nguzu Saba) because of the idea that, collectively, we should work to improve our community and restore it to its historical greatness. So, with that being said …

Robert Cradle … on this, the 5th day of KWANZAA … in the spirit of NIA … I salute you!

SHiNE/AGANZA

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Want to help? Visit RBCF.com to make a donation that will help provide grooming services to those who can’t afford them. To participate in Give Back Day 2012, visit Allstate.com/GiveBackDay to find volunteer opportunities in a city near you.

Big Bun Tutorial (Video)

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For all of those who’ve told me that their hair breaks banana clips upon sight, this is the big bun tutorial for you!!! 

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by Raven of  A Life of Peculiarity  

Look at all that fabulous thickness!! So, I thought you guys might also be interested in Raven’s video, “My Top 5 Long-Term Transition Styles.”

 Now THIS is how you have fun transitioning;)!!

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Want more of the versatile Raven? Then stay tuned for her “Tales of a Transitioner” HairStory. Can’t wait that long? Then check out her blog, Mind of a Nomad!


December GOC Update: Miss Leah

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by Miss. Leah (GOC  Fourth Wave) of A Diamond Through the Fire

I’m participating in a Grow Out Hair (and weight loss) Challenge hosted by Shelli of Hairscapades that began in August and ends January 31st. This challenge birthed my blog so that I could keep track of my progress … or lack thereof. At any rate, the challenge ends next month, but I intend on continuing it through to the new year. It’s been very beneficial for me because I’ve learned more about Natural Hair Care and I’ve met some amazing naturalistas along the way.

To be honest, I’m quite satisfied with my accomplishments during these past 6 months. As far as weight is concerned, I’m pretty happy. In an earlier post, I stated I was dissapointed in myself for not hitting some of my goals, but I’ve come to the realization that, had I not join the GOC, I would still be overweight talking about how I wanna lose weight. In total, I lost close to 8 lbs (give or take a few ounces) over a 6 month period. My goal was to loose 20 lbs.

As far as hair is concerned, the longest part of my hair did reach BSL!!!! Yeaaaaa! Because I trimmed/cut my hair a few months back, it doesnt really look like my hair has grown much. But, had I not trimmed off almost 2 inches, you would see more of a difference. Here are the before and after pictures:


Very FIRST Challenge entry Picture … (smh at that back meat)


August 2011 before the cut


I see GROWTH 🙂


August  2011, before I cut my hair.


August 2011 after my cut

 
August 2011 before the cut


My hair is a little more fuller and even.

For next year, here are my new goals for January – August 2012:

  1. Reach BELOW BSL by August
  2. Lose about 15 lbs by August
  3. TONE, TONE, TONE my body (for my wedding dress)
  4. Continue eating healthy

Not too much, but just enough to make sure that by August 18th ( my new WEDDING date) I will be the healthiest Leah I can be from head to toe!!! I feel like I’m on the right track!

Wish me Luck and Thanks for your continued support!!!

Henna and Me: Claudine’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
Hi, my name is Claudine.  I live on the “bermudaful” island of Bermuda out in the Atlantic Ocean.

How long have you been natural?
I have been natural (no relaxer or texturizer applied) for 3 years coming up January 2012. I transitioned for about 1 1/2 years before cutting off the relaxer in January 2009.

How long have you been using henna? When did you start?
I am a newbie with henna. I started using henna on 22nd Oct 2011 and again on 29th Oct 2011.

What made you begin using henna?
I used to have my hair professionally colored with permanent dyes and found that my hair was dry; and also felt as if I was still getting a relaxer because the color process used to have that same burning sensation. Therefore, I was defeating the purpose of not having chemicals applied to my scalp and hair. So, I stopped getting my hair colored for over 1 year. I have a lot of gray at the front sides of my head, practically white and I am just 45 years old! A good friend of mine made a comment about me being too young to be walking around with all those grays on my head! So, I got my hair colored once again professionally with a semi-permanent dye in a cherry color on 23rd Aug 2011, thinking it should be less damaging and less chemicals. I couldn’t have been more wrong! I had a slight burning sensation and that smell of ammonia in my hair that took a long time to go away. The color faded to a bronze colour after 1 1/2 months. I made up in my mind that there has to be a natural coloring process for gray hair out there somewhere. So I started searching. After a few weeks of searching, I had come across Curly Nikki’s henna stories and also read about your henna experience on Curly Nikki’s website too! I was inspired … and then researched the henna process on www.hennaforhair.com and http://www.mehandi.com before taking a leap of faith to try the henna process.

How would you describe your first experience with henna?
I almost did not have enough henna applied by the time I reached my hairline. It was a messy job and I thought I was well prepared due to a thorough research utilising Curly Nikki’s website, your henna experience on Curly Nikki’s website, YouTube henna videos and the hennaforhair website. I left it in overnight and the henna felt so heavy on my head the next day that I couldn’t wait to rinse it out. “Oh what a relief it was” when I rinsed out the henna! LOL! I was impressed with how my hair felt texture wise. My gray was a bright pumpkin orange color. Thank God my whole head was not gray as I could have easily been called a carrot head :D! I didn’t know any better about keeping the gloves on during the styling process after rinsing out the henna … therefore my hands and fingernails got dyed a pumpkin orange! Just in time for Halloween …

What type of henna do you use? What is your mix? What is your process?
I use the Rajasthani Twilight henna (080111) purchased from http://www.mehandi.com. In my mix: I use 300g Rajasthani henna, 2 4 oz bottles of Sicilia Lemon Juice, 2 cups distilled water to make a thick mash potato consistency henna paste. I let this sit at room temperature for 12 to 16 hours for the dye release. When I am about ready to apply the henna, I wash my hair with a clarifiying shampoo (by Curls or Qhemet Biologics). While the shampoo is in my hair, I section my hair into twelve sections (6 at the front and 6 in the back), detangle each section with my fingers and then two-strand twist each detangled section. I rinse out the shampoo with the twists left in. Then I towel wrap my hair for about 15 minutes to take out excess water. In the meantime, while my head is wrapped in the towel, I add apple juice to the henna paste, stirring in just enough juice to make it of a yoghurt consistency. I apply the henna in sections starting at the back to the front, untwisting each hair section as I go. I leave the henna paste in my hair overnight (first wrap my hair with Saran Wrap, second put on two conditioning caps and then third wrap my head with the Diva Turban towel).

How often do you henna?
I did my third full head henna on 10th Dec 2011. I plan on doing a monthly henna gloss and doing full strength henna touch-ups on my new growth as needed (depending on how fast my hair grows).

How has your hair changed with henna?
The henna has enhanced my hair tremendously in such a short time! My curls are now somewhat looser and my hair texture is smoother and has volume that I’ve never had before. When I wear my hair in twists, they swing when I move my head, and this is as the result of the henna making my hair heavier.  One of my co-workers commented that it looks like I have pretty hair now.  “Pretty hair” is our Bermudian terminology in comparison to the American “Good hair” terminology.  But I personally believe that all natural hair types are “Good hair,” no matter the texture.

How do you feel about henna and the process now?
I love it, love it and love it some more! I feel so proud of myself to accomplish a hair color that is unique to my hair naturally and  that it cannot be duplicated by anyone else because there are no two heads of hair identical to one another. The process is very long, but it surely is worth the hours of waiting to see the results. As long as I am able to purchase BAQ henna, I will not be going back to use synthetic dyes ever again! I am a henna girl for life.

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about trying henna?
Do as much research into henna and the process as you possibly can. Visit the henna forums … they have some very helpful advice. If you know anyone personally who uses BAQ henna in their hair … seek out their experiences. Follow your first instincts … they are usually on point!

Anything else that you’d like to add?
Make haste … make waste. The henna process requires plenty of patience in seeing the results … it gets better as it ages (oxidises) on your hair.

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Want to learn more about Claudine’s experience as a natural in Bermuda? Then stay tuned for Part II of her HairStory, which is the first “official” post as part of our newest guest feature, Naturals Around the World!

Hair Crush: Le Shor’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
I am a workaholic, mother of four children in the process of teaching myself not to take life so seriously and start having fun!

What prompted your decision to go natural?
I have been relaxed since I was 8 years old. As long as I had a hairstylist that was on the same page as me regarding my hair, that is to say, give me a trim, not a cut, don’t yank through my hair when combing, etc., I never had a problem being relaxed. I went natural in 2003. I made a conscious decision to grow out my hair. After about 9 months, I cut the relaxed ends off. I had about 4-5 inches of natural hair. I rocked twists and twist-outs for about 3 months. At the 3 month mark, I decided to get my hair blown out. The stylist used permanent color. I usually used rinses. Well, come wash day, I had stick straight hair in various sections. I didn’t cut my hair. I chose to wear my hair in twists until it grew out for a year. I relaxed again. After about 6 years of being relaxed. I decided to transition my waist-length relaxed hair again.

How long did you transition?
My last relaxer was May 2008. I “accidently” transitioned for 9 months. Three months passed, then six months since I had gotten a touch-up. Itching to see my natural hair, I did the BC. I have been fully natural since April 2009. I was busy being a full-time student, full-time mom to four children, a full-time job…you get the gist. I just did not have time to go to the beauty salon for 3-4 hours to get my hair done. Every time I had the itch to get a touch up I would chop more of my hair off. I had about 3-4 chops before I got rid of all of the relaxed ends. My transition style was braid-outs.

When and how did you big chop?

I decided to big chop in April 2009. I washed and conditioned my hair, got out the scissors and started cutting. I had my daughter cut the back for me.

How did you feel immediately before and immediately after your big chop?
It felt like a weight was lifted. I felt very happy, but about 10 minutes later I had a moment of “WTF did I just do!” Like I said .. a moment. LOL!

How do you feel now?
I am still happy with my decision. I am enjoying my hair much more this time around. I have discovered that my hair is schizophrenic. It has many personalities. The crown is straighter and wavy, the sides are curly like 3C, the nape is wavy like 3C, the portion between the crown and the nape ranges from 3C to 4A. Sometimes they play well with each other and other times, not so much.

What is your current regimen? Go to products?
I wash my hair once every 6-8 weeks. I co-wash every 3 days when I wear twistouts. I co-wash once a week when I do two strand twists. My current regimen is I put my hair in about 12-16 big twists and co-wash each section making sure that I am detangling my hair with my fingers. I do a thorough detangling with a wide-tooth comb and my denman brush once a month when I color my hair with Clariol’s Beautiful Collection Advanced Gray Solution Semi-permanent Color. I detangle my hair with Aussie Moist, I use Kimmaytube’s leave-in recipe and then use Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie when I do my twists.

What are your favorite styles?
My favorite styles are twist-outs and two strand twists. I was experimenting with rollersetting and Curlformers.

What are your hair plans/goals?
Now that the winter is upon us, I plan on keeping my hair in mini twists until May 2012. Every month, I will take them out, wash, deep condition and color my hair. I will probably wear my hair out for a day and then retwist in mini twists. I will style my hair using curlformers, flexi rods, bunning, etc. I want to use this New Year to retain as much length as possible.

Do you have a hair crush? If so, who and why?
I don’t have a particular hair crush. I love to look at any hair, loced, relaxed, natural, etc. that is healthy.

Who is your favorite natural blogger, YouTuber and/or Fotkier and why?
I have two favorite bloggers: Hairscapades and CurlyNikki. You guys are my “go to” websites that I frequent on a daily basis. I like to see the updates, tutorials, what’s new and poppin’! My favorite YouTubers would be Kimmaytube and SistaWithRealHair. Kimmaytube because of her scientific approach to why things are the way they are and SistaWithRealHair because of her “this is me and how I do things” attitude.

Anything else that you would like to add?
I have a Fotki at www.public.fotki.com/lbellin and I just started to document my life and hair journey at www.ALifeUncomplicated.com.

Color Options with BAQ Henna

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Tips & Tricks Number Thirteen

Kendall asks:

I’ve been used to having the freedom to change up my hair style whenever I feel like it. I cut it short, I get bangs, I get a weave to change up my style. But now that I’m trying to transition and want to focus on retaining length, my usual methods of keeping my hair/look interesting are out the window! So now I’m thinking about adding color, BUT I don’t want any chemicals. Is there a way to add color without the use of harsh chemicals or the slight tint you get from Henna?

Why yes. Yes there is! *lol* I’ve often read comments from women who indicate that the would like to try henna, but don’t want the red/orange tint that accompanies it. Well, there is a relatively easy way to obtain a variety of auburns, browns and blacks with henna and it simply involves adding cassia, amla and/or indigo to your henna mix. Now, one thing that you must understand about henna is that it will never lighten your hair as it does not lift color from your strands. Rather, henna colors by depositing a dye molecule which bonds to the keratin in hair. So, the tone/color you achieve is dependent upon your starting hair color, which may be your natural color(s) or color achieved through other chemical processes (commercial dyes, bleaching and/or highlights) and your henna mix ratios. You can go deeper/darker than your starting color(s), but never lighter.

Henna/Indigo Mixes:
So, what are your options? There are so many, I can’t go through them all here. But, here is a list of some color possibilities and the henna mix ratios if your starting color is medium brown:

  • Red highlights: Equal parts henna and cassia
  • Dark Auburn: Henna only
  • Warm Brown: Equal parts henna and indigo
  • Dark Brown: 2/3 henna, 1/3 indigo
  • Darker Brown: 1/3 henna, 2/3 indigo
  • Blue Black: 2 step henna-indigo (henna applied alone, rinsed and then followed with indigo applied alone)
  • Cooler Browns: Mix 1 part amla with 3 parts henna prior to adding indigo

If you’re interested in learning more about the colors you can achieve on your hair color, check out Catherine Cartwright-Jones’s very informative and free e-book, Henna for Hair. The “Quick Mix Chart” on page 55 provides ratios for obtaining various color results on everything from grey to blonde to black hair. For example, if you have light brown hair with grey that you’d like to turn into blonde highlights, you can use cassia, which has a yellow dye molecule. Or, perhaps you’d like to make your blonde highlights or grey strands a strawberry blonde? Try mixing equal parts henna and cassia. The Henna for Hair e-book provides a vast amount of information regarding the benefits of this wonderful little ayuverdic herb, how to use it and many pictures that demonstrate the color possibilities.

More Henna Mixes:
In addition, some add common household ingredients to their henna mixes to enhance color. For example:

  • Add cognac, grape juice, beetroot powder or ground cloves for more intense reds.
  • Add strong black coffee,strong black tea or walnuts for deeper browns.
  • Add red wine for chestnut brown color.

See this post here for more options, recipes and mix ratios. However, I offer this information with the caveat that I’ve never tried any of these! So, I would recommend that you research your choice of “additives” before experimenting and do a strand test as I’ve read that some additions make for a very stinky henna experience and may not impact the color results!

Precautionary Advice on “Natural” Hair Dyes:
One final note, when searching for natural hair color options, be cautious and do your research when contemplating using “boxed” dyes that are purportedly “natural.” I went to a salon last February and, after I explained that I use henna, the stylist began singing the praises of a “new,” ammonia free, natural dye system: L’Oreal Inoa (standing for “Innovative – No Ammonia” … allegedly). Well, a quick internet search when I got home revealed that, although the dye might not contain ammonia, the post-color shampoo does and the ingredient label clearly lists ammonia hydroxide (see article and image of bottle here)! A little more searching also revealed multiple sources that indicate it also contains a high level of PPD, a potential carcinogen.

Ironically enough, Organic Hair Systems, Inoa’s competitor that provided the prior article “exposing” the misnomer, does not appear to be a perfectly natural alternative either. An article on Green Talk explains that Organic Color Systems is simply a trade name and although this hair color line does not contain any ammonia, it does contain small amounts of PPD as well as other chemicals. Therefore, it is neither an “all-natural” nor an organic color option.

So, if you are looking for truly all-natural hair color and are willing to spend a little more time with the process, BAQ henna mixes may be one of your best options. And hey, maybe you’ll end up liking a little red in your life. I know that I LOVE it;)!

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Do you mix henna with indigo, amla and/or cassia to dye your hair a shade of red, brown or black? What’s your starting hair color(s) and your mix?