Daily Archives: December 13, 2011

November GOC Update: Terysa

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by Terysa (Third Wave) of The Glam Garage

Hair:
I didn’t know I reached my goal of MBL until I straightened on the 19th and saw the middle was grazing waist length! GREAT SURPRISE!!

I added apple cider vinegar/cool distilled water to my regimen. The first half of fall, I wore my hair straight and maintained with 2 flexi-rods: Blue for a straight look, purple for layered look. The second half, I am wearing different ponytails/braided styles on stretched hair, with little to no bunning.

Weight:
I returned back to work, so I have less time/energy to work out. I’m only walking 15-20 miles a week; haven’t started training for the 5k as of yet. I don’t eat anything after 5 pm.

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Nobody likes a show-off Terysa!! LMBO!!! Dang girl! Get it! Your hair is stunning and can’t believe you had a baby a few months ago!! You are killing it!!

Krystal’s HairStory

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by Krystal (First Wave) aka KaliGirl1980

Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
I’m a 31 yr old who is often described as a “minimalist” by my family. Exploring my surroundings as much as possible while bringing my friends and family along for the ride is one activity that makes me really happy. I love a good laugh; especially one that comes from a dirty joke. Up until last year, I had been working full-time while going to school part-time for the last 5 years. I graduated with my M.S. in Organization Development last December and I’m just trying to figure out what to do with all of my free time. I don’t know what to do with myself :).

How long have you been natural and why did you chose to go natural?
Technically, I’ve been natural for about 12 years in that I haven’t relaxed my hair in years, except for my bangs. I used to slap a Just for Me perm on my bangs, so that my hair wouldn’t stand up after I worked out in the morning. But I gave that up earlier this spring. This summer, I decided to stop straightening my hair with a blow dryer and flat-iron because I realized that my hair wasn’t growing the way I wanted it. I burnt the hell out of my bangs and my hair texture never recovered from it. I realized that I was avoiding things that I liked or wanted to do simply because I was worried about keeping my hair straight. I was putting in too much work to fight my hair. It wanted to be curly and I wanted it to be straight. I guess my hair won that battle. I decided in June to go curly and got the courage to do it after ordering a book called Curly Girl by Lorraine Massey, the creator or DevaCurl products.

Did you transition or big chop?
No official transition. I couldn’t afford to perm my hair in college. I discovered it was cheaper for me to buy a blow dryer and flat-iron, so I quit perming.

How do you feel about your hair now?
I feel great that I decided to accept my curls. I was a little nervous about going “curly” because I had to interview for a promotion at work after deciding to go curly. There are only a handful of blacks at work and only two of them have locs. After my interview, my senior manager made a point to tell me how much she loved my hair in its natural state (big sigh of relief). I was on Match.com when I made the decision to go curly too. I had to take pictures of myself with curly hair so that guys would know what to expect and I made a note that I would wear my hair curly the majority of the time. I was afraid that I wouldn’t get any play after that. I still got play and met my current boyfriend after I posted new pics. Yes, there is love after going curly. He is white, but has only dated black women for the past 10 years. I told him that I will only straighten my hair every few months for length checks and he’s fine with that.

What is/was your biggest hair challenge/obstacle? How did you overcome it or what are you doing now to try to address the problem?
I didn’t know what to do or how to style my curly hair. I just learned that I need a cut shaped for my curly hair. I also bought cute hair clips and got my hair colored to give it some dimension, since curly hair doesn’t reflect light and shine like straight hair.

What do you love most about your natural hair and/or about being natural?
I love that I don’t have to spend as much time on my hair when it’s curly and that it actually looks better on the 2nd day after a wash/cleanse. With straight hair, my 2nd day hair just looked sad and had no body or fullness to it.

What is your current regimen? Has it changed in any major way since you first went natural?
I shampoo once a week with Terressentials Mudwash (Left Coast Lemon) and, after rinsing out the mudwash, I spray my hair with an ACV rinse that has some oil in it. After rinsing the ACV, I use my Kimmaytube leave-in conditioner and seal my wet hair with almond oil. I co-wash midweek with HEHH or DevaCurl One Conditioner and follow the same routine as above, except that I don’t use the mudwash. I rarely use heat, but when I do, it’s to diffuse my hair to speed up the drying process. I henna once a month and I love the results. I’m in the process of getting rid of the hair products that I don’t use, because being a Product Junky is in direct opposition to me being a minimalist. It really bothers me to have so many products for just my hair.

Naked hair after Terressentials Mudwash.

Terressentials Mudwash with almond oil to seal.

What is your “go to” style? Do you wear protective and/or low manipulation styles? If so, how often and why?
I love, love, love braid and curls. My hair is always full and bouncy and shiny after I take out the braids and rollers. I don’t do a lot of protective styling, but I am trying to get better about that. I’ll probably start doing the sock bun shortly to protect my ends from the cold weather.

How often do you cut/trim your hair? How do you cut it?
I will likely only trim my hair every 4-6 months. Since I won’t be putting much heat on my hair, I don’t see the need to trim as much. Also, Lorraine Massey of Curly Girl suggested that we not cut/trim our hair as often at 6-8 weeks, since we’re not damaging our hair now that we’re being gentle with our curls. I like her rationale here.

What are you hair plans/goals?
My goals are to get APL hair by the end of this challenge and to achieve and maintain MBL hair. I don’t think I want it getting much monger than that due to the work involved. I straightened by hair on December 11th and it looks like I’m well on my way there. It’s definitely shoulder length right now. I want my hair to fill in as much as possible, because it looks stringy in some places. That could be because my hair is fine and I have medium density. That is another reason why going curly is better for me … it looks better.

Has going natural impacted other areas of your life (i.e. health & fitness, style, environmental consciousness, etc.?) If so, how and in what ways has it affected your lifestyle?
Things have somewhat changes. While I hated the thought of working out with my straightened hair, because it would get messed up, it never stopped me. Having curly hair will allow me to swim more often since I don’t have to worry about straightening it. I’ve been wanting to do a mini-triathlon, so now I don’t have any excuses.

As far as style is concerned, I’m still figuring this out. I think some of my clothes look different and my shape looks different now that my hair doesn’t touch my shoulders. This is an evolving area for me style-wise and, in terms of accepting my body type as it is. I use to be able to use my hair to draw attention from certain parts of my body that I didn’t like. Shorter curly hair seems to accentuate the things I tried to hide.

Do you have a “hair crush?” If so, who?
I love Laura Izibor’s hair. I will never be able to get my hair like hers because of the texture difference, but I fantasize about what I would do with my hair if it was as thick and curly as hers. I have hair crushes on people who have thick, type 4a and 4b hair. I have 3b/3c, which means that I’m lusting over hair and styles that I can’t realistically achieve. 4a and 4b hair holds braid outs and twist outs really well and I’ve always wanted thick hair. I have a hair crush on Naptural85 on YouTube. I love her hair styles, her videos, her style in general.

Who do you follow online (i.e. blog/website, YouTube, Fotki, etc.)?
Shelli of Hairscapades and Whitney of Naptural85.com. I also like that both have a focus on overall health as well.

What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey?
Take this one day at a time and look for ways to be playful and creative with your hair. I understand that some work environments may not be completely receptive to the natural hair, so find a way to look professional while honoring yourself.

Navigating the Natural Hair Highway

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imageTips & Tricks Number Eleven

So, you’ve recently discovered the online natural hair community: blogs, websites, YouTube channels, Fotki albums, Tumblr … the list seems to go on and on. And, while you are ecstatic that there is soooo much information out there about which you never knew, you are overwhelmed that there is soooo much information out there about which you never knew. Welcome to the club ;)!

Seriously though, I was thinking about the advice I would give someone who is new to this world and trying to navigate through it all. It’s not like anyone gives you a roadmap and it can be very easy to find yourself spending endless hours online, aimlessly wading through the information and trying every product and technique under the sun. Ultimately, if the time and energy spent is fruitless, it can be extremely discouraging and frustrating. So, I thought that it might be helpful to put together some tips about navigating through all of the information online in the hopes that it’ll make the experience a little easier, more efficient and rewarding for someone.

  • MASTER THE LINGO: OMgosh, I remember my first day on CurlyNikki and seeing all the pre-poos, EVOOs, VCOs, SSKs, HEHHs, CGs and thinking, “What the heck are these people talking about?!?!” LOL!! So, find a site that includes a Dictionary, Terms, Abbreviations and/or Lexicon page and bookmark it until you are familiar with all of the natural hair shorthand. It’ll make reading posts and watching videos a lot easier if you are speaking the same language!
  • LEARN THE BASICS OF HAIR COMPOSITION: Arm yourself with a basic understanding of hair structure (i.e. medulla, cortex and cuticle), the function of each component and the hair life cycle. It’ll give you a head start in regard to reading articles that reference the science behind how products and techniques work. Here are a couple of resources: Follice.com, NaturallyCurly.com and Kimmaytube: The Structure of Hair – Part I.
  • UNDERSTAND THE BASICS OF POROSITY & pH: This is kind of part and parcel with the above. However, I wanted to highlight these two areas as they will be important to understanding your own hair and how certain products and techniques work and how they may affect your hair. Here is another Kimmaytube video, which does a really good job of explaining these areas: The Structure of Hair – Part II.
  • ANALYZE YOUR OWN HAIR: You will read and hear these two statements over and over again, “What works for one head of hair may not work for another” and “Every head of hair is unique.” It is really important to learn and understand the hair growing out of your own head. Is it overly-porous, under? Is it fine, thick, dense, thin? Is it tightly curly or barely wavy? I don’t subscribe to the philosophy that only certain products and/or techniques work for certain hair types and I think that we all can learn from each other’s successes and failures. However, I do believe that one must know one’s own hair in order to make the best choices for it and somewhat predict how something might work.
  • UNDERSTAND THE KEY COMPONENTS OF A HAIR REGIMEN (i.e. Detangling, Cleansing, Conditioning [Protein vs. Moisturizing], Moisturizing/Sealing, Protecting): This is extremely helpful in regard to identifying what you are already doing and where you may be able to incorporate, eliminate and/or modify practices, techniques and/or products to maximize healthy hair growth and length retention. Books are also a great resource to build and supplement your knowledge. Some that you’ll find referenced most often in the online natural hair community are Chicoro’s Grow It!, Lorraine Massey’s Curly Girth Method and Teri LaFlesh’s Curly Like Me.
  • RESEARCH & CORROBORATE: No one is going to hand you all of the answers on a silver platter. I often see questions posted on “hair boards” and the information the person is seeking is readily available all over the site where they are asking the question, they just need to take the time to look for it. Research can take a little work, but I am a firm believer in “checking my facts” and not relying on any one person to answer all of my questions. And, I still get it wrong sometimes. The key is to understand that “facts” are not static, they are just the “facts” for that point in time. Information and research is always ongoing and what we know as a “truth” today, may evolve and be refined to a different truth tomorrow. However, that being said, if I read something on one site, I tend to “Google” it and see if I can validate it via other current and reputable sources.
  • DEFINE YOUR FOCUS AND NARROW THE PLAYING FIELD: First, figure out what you are online seeking. Are you just looking for new styles, maybe it’s product reviews that strike your fancy or perhaps you need a little of everything? I would suggest initially sticking with a few (one to five) very organized and reputable sites as your main sources of information. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t check out other sites, blogs and/or YouTube channels. However, trying to read 50 different sites on a daily basis or bouncing all over the place in no organized fashion can quickly lead to sensory overload and make it difficult to sort through all of the information. Test how deep the water is first, then jump in when you know that you can swim. I would definitely recommend CurlyNikki.com, BlackGirlLongHair.com and Kimmaytube on YouTube as places to begin your research.
  • ACCEPT THAT THERE IS NO MAGIC PILL: Ultimately, no one thing will solve all of your hair challenges and change your “hair life” overnight. Though one thing may make a significant difference, there are a variety of internal and external factors that impact your hair. Also, absent chemicals and/or faux hair, no product or technique is going to give you hair that is fundamentally different from what you have genetically (e.g. my fine, medium density, 3abc strands are not going to suddenly become the coily, thick, dense strands of Mwedzi, no matter how much henna I use ;)). I point this out to say, it’s fine to have hair crushes and lust after hair that is very different from our own (I know that I do!!). However, it’s important to be realistic in our aspirations and expectations. (And personally, I have no compunctions about getting that head of hair that I lust after, if only for a little while, with a wig, weave, or extensions. I finally got Mwedzi-lush twists with some Nafy Afro Puffy Twists hair. But, you know, that’s up to you.)

Yeah … I know, it’s a lot! LOL! But, there’s a LOT of information out there. So, here’s hoping that this “roadmap” ultimately makes someone’s journey a little easier and slightly less overwhelming!

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What suggestions or words of advice would you add to the list?