Daily Archives: December 2, 2011

Prepare to be Inspired!

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Four post in one day?!?! Unheard of!! LOL!! I had to do it, because I came across this video this morning while web surfing and had to share it with you guys. It’s so inspiring! I hope that anyone who is struggling with their hair now will be inspired and know that it’s possible to overcome damage that seems insurmountable with the proper care, patience, consistency and diligence. I hope that my hair looks this great when I eventually do a press and curl!

Well, without further ado, enjoy and be inspired!

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Pipe Cleaner Curls

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Okay, I saw this photo a while ago (like, last year) in the gallery on NaturallyCurly.com. Then, I located this YouTube video of her talking about how she achieved the style and came across it again last week when I was looking for loc styles in anticipation of my puffy twists. Anywho, I just LOVE this look! This pic doesn’t do it justice, so watch the video to get a real good look at the style. I think I might try this at some point, when my twists are on their last leg. I think it’s sooo pretty? The coppery red twists really set it off and add to the dimensional effect. I have a few henna red highlights showing through my twists, but nothing like this. Regardless, I still think that it might look really pretty.  What do you think? Have any of you ever tried pipe cleaner curls on afro or kinky twists?

African vs. African-American Hair Practices

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That’s me with the bandana in our senior year of high school.

by Chy’s Curlz

I’ve been thinking of developing this story for a while now. It is the story of how girls were/are made to wear their hair shaved from grade to high school, both in Ghana and in Nigeria.

A little back story, I was born Nigerian and grew up in Nigeria until I was 10 years old when we moved to start a new life in Ghana. Since I spent most of my formative years in Ghana, that became more home to me than Nigeria was. There are many similarities between the two countries and one is the rule to have young girls wear a TWA until they graduate from high school. I think the reasoning behind it is the same as there is for wearing uniforms. It ensures homogeneity, also, the girls who could not afford to get their hair braided did not have the pressure to spend the money and thirdly, everyone looked “neat” and “presentable.” Now, that is not to say it was right or wrong, just giving the possible reasons.

As far as I can tell, this practice was mostly the case in public schools. I noticed that many (not all) private schools permitted their female students to wear their hair at whatever length they wanted, as long as it was braided up neatly. The only girls who were exempt from this rule (public and private school) were those who were biracial. There weren’t many girls who were biracial, but those who were, got to wear their hair long. Again, as a little girl, you don’t think anything of it. You just knew that their hair was “prettier” and more “manageable” than yours and it wasn’t a big deal. You didn’t read meaning into it (at least not consciously), you just accepted it.

I remember our final year of high school, many girls (me included) will grow their hair out, but will tie it down with a scarf overnight to encourage the maximum shrinkage to avoid being punished (spanked) by a teacher. We did this because we knew that once school was out, we were going to get our first relaxers … good times :).

This practice did not seem like such a big deal to me when I was growing up, but as I get older and upon going natural, I’ve been thinking about how it affected my love, or lack thereof, of my natural hair. You see, most of my friends are Nigerian or Ghanaian and most of them – if not all – sport relaxers and will not let go for anything (although I’ve convinced 7, including my mama, to BC. Yea! #teamnatural). But why is this the case though? Why is it that, after growing up without relaxers, we hold onto it so strongly? Many of the experiences I read on blogs pertaining to natural hair are those of African-American women. They relate how they got their first perm at 4, 5, 6 or thereabouts. The stories go on to say that since relaxers were the norm for them, they just kept getting them until their decision to either BC or transition.

My question is this, why, after having two very different and distinct experiences, do African-American and African woman have this reluctance to let go of the relaxer?

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I love this post! Thanks for sharing your experiences Chy’s and providing many of us with insight into this custom. Hmmm … you know, when it comes down to it, I sometimes think it is still as simple as many of us want what we don’t have. Those with curly hair want straight hair, those with straight hair want curly hair, those with thick hair wish it was thinner, those with super curly hair wish it was looser, those with loose curls wish it was tighter, those with thin hair wish it was thicker, those who are short want to be taller, those who are tall want to be shorter, those who are thin want to be curvier, those who are curvy want to be slimmer … and the list goes on and on and on. Also, I think there is something to be said for personal aesthetic and some just prefer straight, flat, “swingy” hair whereas others prefer curly, full, gravity defying hair! Finally, I also think that we share a common challenge and that is not knowing what our natural hair can really do and not knowing how to care for it in its natural state outside of braids, ponytails and TWAs. When it comes down to it, it seems to me that it might be the “manageability” factor that feeds the reluctance to go natural. For African-American women, it often comes from having relaxers from a young age and not knowing how to care for their hair in any other state. For Nigerian and Ghanaian women, keeping the hair short effectively does the same thing as it’s pretty much wash and go. One is never able to learn how to care for natural hair allowed to grow long, which requires a certain level of knowledge and skill. So, ultimately, for both groups of women, relaxed hair may just seem easier. Just my two … ummm, twenty-five? … cents! Chime in guys! What are your thoughts on this intriguing question??

Charelle’s HairStory

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Charelle (GOC Tenth Wave) is back to share her HairStory!!

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Curlformer set

Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
I’m a vibrant, loving and spontaneous 24 year-old. I am an aspiring physician and I enjoy helping others and spending time with the ones I love the most.

What prompted your decision to go natural?
I’ve been natural for the majority of my life. I begged my mom to relax my hair when I was 11 because I wanted it to be straight and flowing. Unfortunately, 6 months later, a botched relaxer made all of my bra strap length hair fall out! This was quite a traumatic experience for me and my mom braided my hair until it grew back. The second time I got a relaxer was a couple months before my high school graduation, when I decided that it would be easier to go to college with relaxed hair. Two months after I graduated college, I decided once and for all to stop relaxing my hair because I wanted my hair to be healthier and grow as long as possible.

Relaxed (5 months post relaxer)

How long did you transition?
My last relaxer was July 2009 and I transitioned for about 1 year before I cut off all my relaxed ends. I didn’t feel that it was necessary to start from scratch and I experienced minimal breakage during my transition. I was just anxious to see my curls again! I straightened my hair once a week for the whole year so no one really could tell that I was transitioning. This is probably what I regret the most, too much heat! I also trimmed my hair once or twice a month.

Transition style: Press & Curl

When and how did you big chop?
I decided to big chop in September 2010, right before my second year of graduate school commenced. I went to my hair stylist and got a fresh cut and color. I also got my hair pressed and curled.

How did you feel immediately before and immediately after your big chop?
I felt great before and after my big chop. I felt that I was overdue for a new look and I couldn’t wait to wash my hair and see what my curls looked like.

How do you feel now?
I’m very happy with my choice. My hair is much thicker and healthier. Although, sometimes I’m a little anxious about it growing, I’m just tired of waiting! I also have a huge disparity between the textures of the front left and front side of my head. One side has beautiful curls and the other side is strangely straight. This makes wash and gos nearly impossible. I’m hoping as my hair continues to grow, things will eventually even out.

What is your current regimen? Go to products?
Currently I wash my hair once a week. I use TreSemme Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner and deep treat with Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque. I then detangle with my Denman brush and Kinky Curly Knot Today or sometimes with Mixed Chicks Leave-In Conditioner. I then apply Kinky Curly Curling Custard, wait for it to dry, and style accordingly. I also use Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa Jojoba Oil to seal in the moisture. I recently bought Dabur Vatika Coconut Oil, so I’m excited to try that too.

What are your favorite styles?
Right now, I can never go wrong with a Curlformer set. I love how soft and light it makes my hair feel. I also like experimenting with twists, twist-outs and twist-n-curls too. I haven’t perfected them yet, but I’m hoping that I will in the near future.

What are your hair plans/goals?
My number one goal for my hair is to stop using my flat iron so much. I’ve worked my way from once a week to once a month, and now I’m attempting once every two months. I didn’t realize how addicted I was to my flat iron until I tried to stop using it. I’d also really like to see my hair get to mid-back length (MBL). Lastly, I would love to perfect a twist-out and twist-n-curl. My attempts at both of those over the past couple of months have been horrid! *lol*

Do you have a hair crush? If so, who and why?
I’d have to say my hair crush would be you Shelli! When I came across your page, I knew you would lead me in the right direction. I love especially how shiny and moisturized your hair always looks.

Who is your favorite natural blogger, YouTuber and/or Fotkier and why?
My favorite natural blogger would be CurlyNikki of course, for obvious reasons, and Hairscapades!! My favorite YouTubers would be Amoremusica and Allthatsgold. They have such thorough tutorials and have documented their entire hair journey from TWA to bra-strap length and beyond, such inspiration!

Anything else that you would like to add?
I’m working on creating a Fotki and maybe a Tumblr to document my experiences. However I’m much better at writing things down than using the web (I’m kinda old school) so it’s gonna take some effort!