Daily Archives: January 25, 2012

It’s Poll Time!

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Okay guys, so comments have been pretty scarce around here lately … even despite my best efforts to drum up some business with a sneakpeeq Gift Card Giveaway for which I will choose FOUR winners based upon the posts with the most comments this month! LOL!

But, I know how it is. Sometimes you don’t have anything to say or you mean to comment, but can’t because … ya know, you’re at work and not supposed to be on hair blogs. Or maybe you visit a site every day, but don’t even think about commenting or rating. Shoot, I read blogs all of the time and never comment or “like.” So, I’m just as guilty. But, I’m trying to get better by at least liking posts. Because, ya know, I know what it feels like to stay up until 1 a.m. to work hard on several posts that you think be well received and then see no ratings or comments. It’s like … *cricket, cricket* “Is this thing on? … Is anyone out there? … Does anyone like me? … Momma, can you hear me sing!?!?” LOL!

Okay, I know … I sound pathetic! So, long ramble to say, figured I’d do a poll in hopes that some of you regulars or new folk who plan on returning might participate and … ya know … make me feel better! Ummm … still sounding pathetic, aren’t I?

Well, without further ado (shoot, I probably lost a few people who didn’t make it through that intro!), here are the polls!! Oh, and feel free to comment with additional details if you feel so moved :)!

In regard to the second poll, if there is anything else that you’d like to see on the site, please feel free to let me know what it is in the comments below :)!

Protective Style for Short to Medium-Length Hair

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by Sasha-Shanté

So, I know some of my short and medium length naturals might be wondering how do you do a protective style when your hair can’t reach into a ponytail? We all hear everyone saying, “Wear a bun,” but it’s hard when your hair can’t bun. That has been an issue of mine for a while. Most of my hair can reach into a ponytail, but the sides still don’t quite reach. I’ve tried to slick it back into a ponytail with some gel, but my hair hates when I use a ton of gel to hold it down. And I say my hair hates it because, halfway through the day, its starts to lift and curl and I look crazy.

So, I went back to an old hairstyle that I used to rock and is perfect for medium or even short length naturals to do: Braids! If you can cornrow, you can create this style.

I know how to cornrow very well, so I cornrow the front of my hair into the middle of my head, then I braid the back up and voilà! I have a ponytail!

I then attach my curly ponytail that I bought from the beauty supply store…

I fluffed and brushed it until it looked like this. I destroyed the original curl pattern but it looks more natural this way.

The ponytail has a draw string which makes it easy to attach.

As the week goes on, the braids get fuzzy and I use a little gel on the actual braids and brush them to smooth down any flyaway hairs.

If you think the puff is too wild or big and you’re looking for something smaller, you can also make a bun. This was made using the same type of ponytail but longer hair and just bun it.

If you’re worried that you can’t cornrow, you can braid your whole head like I braid the back of my hair. I part my hair in small squares and braid them. I then attach one to the other to form a faux cornrow. I do the back of my hair like that because I cannot cornrow my hair upwards. The ponytail is also easy to put in each morning, so I take it down each night and put it back up in the morning. Plus, taking it down each night gives me the opportunity to moisturize the ends and oil my scalp.

I hope that helps. If you don’t like how it looks the first time, try again. Cornrows take time to perfect. You can always pay someone to braid your hair also … like me! I will definitely braid for a small fee :-)!

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LOL! I can cornrow, but a sista’ needs some help with two strand flat twists! Don’t know why, but I can’t figure out how to do those neatly or tightly yet! On another note, this is also a great protective style for those with longer hair, especially if it is fine! Don’t want to cut your hair, but love the look of a puff, snap on one in a minute! You can rock all different lengths, textures and size puffs, ponies and buns! Hmmm, you got me thinking about pulling out my faux ponytails now! It’s been a while:)!

Natural in Germany: Laxmi’s HairStory

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by Laxmi of LuckyCurls.com

Who are you and from where do you hail? Please tell us a little about where you live.
Hello, my name is Laxmi (the Hindus pronounce it ‘Lakshmi’). I’m a mother to two awesome little girls, a wife, English teacher and Entrepreneur.

I am originally from Ghana, went to college at USF in Tampa (Go Bulls! *lol*) and I’ve been living in Karlsruhe, Germany since the summer of 2006. Karlsruhe is found in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg’ and is located in the southwestern part of Germany, between Frankfurt and Stuttgart and close to the French border. It is shaped like a fan and this is because the founder of the city, “Karl,” apparently took a nap (ruhen- to relax) and dreamt of a city shaped like a fan – hence the name “Karlsruhe,” which loosely translated means “Karl’s rest.”

Karlsruhe Schloss, "The Castle"

This next picture is my street. I love my neighborhood, the west side or “weststadt” as it’s called here. It’s within walking distance to the downtown area or a couple of tram stops away from everything fun and interesting.

Germany, and Karlsruhe in particular, is a very orderly place. Everything works like clockwork over here. Coming from Ghana where almost everything is chaotic, and being a bit of a chaotic person myself, it’s good to have calm surroundings where everything works like it’s supposed to.

It’s very green over here and people are very “outdoorsy”/really into nature.

During the summer, the street side cafes and famous beer gardens open up, everything just looks so picturesque. This next picture is one of Karlsruhe’s landmarks, The Pyramid at the Marktplatz. This is the center of the city and the tombstone of the founder of the city.

This last picture is one of the things for which Germany is known – yummy bread and pretzels :)!

I know that you have an online shop for curly/natural hair products. Please tell us a little about that.
I recently started an online shop called luckycurls.com, because Germany is lacking when it comes to good, quality products geared towards naturally curly hair. I want to introduce German curlies to a better sortiment of hair products. My shipping rates are for Germany, but anyone outside of Germany can just e-mail me via laxmi@luckycurls.com, so that I can provide the shipping rate for their country. I usually tell people to check their country first for products because international shipping rates are crazy expensive :-)!

I also have a German/English blog attached (blog.luckcycurls.com) and I make a few updates during the week on what is going on with my hair and that of my daughters. I need to blog more often, but I’m hoping to be a resource here for other curlies, as well as moms with bi-racial and African kids who often have hard time dealing with their kids’ hair.

What has your natural hair journey been like? How has your decision been received by family, friends and people in general?
I have been 100% natural since June of 2011. I transitioned for a year and decided to start my 30th year with the big chop 🙂 and it felt so good to do that. I couldn’t stop touching me hair for, like, a week afterwards. Being a natural in Germany is great because everyone assumes that it’s normal/natural for one to want to wear their natural hair.

I have to say kudos to the curlies in the U.S. who big chop and everyone else that has to deal with negative comments and still continues to wear their hair with pride. I have wondered at times if I would have been so confident to rock my natural hair after my BC if I’d been in the States or in Ghana, my homeland. I’m glad I never had to find out. I’ve received nothing but compliments from family and friends since cutting my hair over here and I’m happy about that.

What prompted your decision to go natural?
The decision to go natural happened for a number of reasons, the first being that, I wanted to set a good example for my daughters. Prior to that, I was on a “long hair journey” and was learning how to properly take care of relaxed hair to retain length. That worked, but around that time, I started seeing more and more info on natural hair care just popping up everywhere :)! I stumbled upon CurlyNikki and read a lot on natural hair care and that was the final push that I needed. I can only say, I wish I’d done it sooner.

What do you see as the challenges of being natural? Are there any things that you think are unique to where you live? If so, what and why? How do you think they can be overcome?
I’ve got cousins and friends from Ghana who see photos of my hair on Facebook and the blog and compliment and say they would like to go natural too. So, I try to encourage anyone who shows interest. I don’t get pushy about it, I just give them the info that I have if they ask.

We had to cut our hair in high school in Ghana to TWAs, but it is expected of you to relax your hair when you’re out of school. I’m not really sure how to explain it. It’s almost like a right of passage, like something that distinguishes you from “the kids.” Although there are kids with relaxers too, I had my first one at age 12 and I had to beg my mom for a long time before she finally gave in. Just like America, the notion that relaxed hair and weaves are prettier than our natural hair, strongly prevails in our culture, but I have hope that it will change in the future.

What is your regimen? Do you use/prefer commercial or natural products?
My hair care routine consists of shampooing once a week and then deep conditioning (either before or afterwards). My favourite shampoos and conditioners are from the Aubrey Organics and Jessicurl line. They work really well for me and my daughters. I follow that with Kinky Curly Knot Today; if I’m not being lazy, I do the kimmaytube leave-in method. Then, I detangle, spray my hair with my glycerin/rosewater mix and seal with coconut oil in the summer and homemade whipped shea butter in the winter. Afterwards, I twist my hair (I can’t wear my hair in an afro unless I want to battle knots and tangles later on).

I used to think that the glycerin/rosewater mix was only good for the summer, but I started using it this winter after reading an interesting blog post on it by JC of ‘The Natural Haven.” As long as you dilute it with enough water, you don’t have anything to worry about. Sometimes, I also do the so-called “Oyin method,” which is spray my hair with my mix before taking a shower. The steam from the shower activates the glycerin and this keeps the hair well moisturized. At night, I sleep with a silk scarf, as a result, my husband calls me “The Pirate.” *lol*

Anything else that you’d like to share?
For anyone out there interested in going natural, I’d suggest researching how to properly care for natural hair, get to know your hair and do what works for you, because once you learn to respect your curls, you’ll never have a bad hair day :). Thanks.

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If you’re in Germany and having a hard time finding the curly/natural hair products that you want, don’t check out luckycurls.com! Maybe Laxmi will have just what you need!





Breakage vs. New Hair: UPDATE!

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Tips and Tricks: Number Sixteen

This is just a quick post to provide an update and tip. Back in July 2011, I did this post on Breakage vs. New Hair. In it, I explained that I had experienced breakage in my crown in Jan-Feb 2010 and excessive shedding that began mid-2010 and continued through early 2011 (with a resurgence this past fall). So, I had a lot of short hairs and did some research to try to determine if it was due to breakage or regrowth. I suspected that it was new hairs though. Anywho, I shared the pic above to illustrate that post.

Well, yesterday, I was examining the same area of my crown and noticed that the hair was significantly shorter than the adjacent areas. At first, I became upset because I thought that it was breakage. Then, the memory of my old post hit me! So, I took a photo to compare what seemed to be the same area.

Well color ME happy!! It looks like I was a little further back then the first pic, but the hair slightly forward was even longer!  I’m pretty sure now that this was that same new hair that has grown rather than new breakage. Therefore, although I posted earlier today that my “W” shaped perimeter was indicative of a shorter crown, I’m comforted that this area is actually growing. I will continue to keep an eye on it and plan on testing Chicoro’s Lead Hair Theory by keeping my lead hair at waist length and seeing if the bulk of my hair, including the shorter areas in the crown, will “catch up” with it.

The Tip:
Photo documenting is invaluable! If you are concerned about a specific area or working towards a goal, pictures are a great tool that will serve you far better than memory. My immediate gut reaction to the shorter area in my crown was, “Dang!!  It’s breaking badly!!” But, having an older photo that I could reference saved me from the anxiety of contemplating a potentially drastic and unnecessary cut!

So, if you have hair goals, are working on building a regimen and/or are trying to determine what products and techniques work best for you, I’d definitely recommend taking pictures. And, don’t forget to date them! Fortunately for me, the blog is a FABULOUS log and photo journal:)! However, prior to that, I just used a Facebook album. So, do whatever works for you!

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Do you use photographs to document your hair journey, monitor the results of your regimen and/or product choices and/or evaluate progress towards goals? Any advice for those who’d like to start a photo journal?

Faking the Funk

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Oh yeah, I’m faking it. You see, yesterday, I washed my hair in the morning, applied kimmatube leave-in and set my hair in 6 twists for the two hour drive to my Trenton office. I released the twists while my hair was still damp and allowed it to dry the rest of the day. After work, I pulled the front back into the mini-poof (I wore it parted down the middle all day).

It was looking all lion’s mane big (the pictures aren’t doing the volume justice) and I was loving it. I LOVE big hair! It also had a mostly consistent wave pattern, shine and defintion … until … dum dum DUUUUUUM!!!

Well, what the?!?! It’s like a different head of hair! LOL! Actually, this isn’t news to me. If you’ve been around here a while, you’ve “heard” me talk about the four different textures on my head, the coarsest, kinkiest, most delicate, porous, breakage and frizz-prone of which is my crown.

Comparison of front hair to the crown.

I actually love the texture of my crown, as this is where I get the lushest twists. However, that hair definitely presents challenges due to its porosity and delicacy. Also, having a large section in the middle of your head with a more pronounced shrinkage rate than your front and nape produces a “unique” rear view when you’re trying to wear a WnG.

I use the hair that forms the poof to camouflage/blend the two textures, but not much can be done for the gappiness. Don’t get me wrong, the crown is also shorter, which contributes to the appearance of the perimeter (recently read this post on BGLH that indicates shorter hair in the crown causes this “W” shape). But, the shrinkage is also a significant factor … I think … I hope!

So yeah, just wanted to show you all that it’s not all peaches and cream over here. I definitely have my challenges … most recently?  I’ve been struggling with nasty little knots during my last two washes and have had to resort to using a pin to loosen several little buggers … and scissors on a couple of occasions too :(! I’m really hoping that this recent turn in events is only due to the first post twist wash session and bad bunning of 3 day old hair last week. I think that I had more trapped shed hair than normal (my daily shedding is almost non-existent now). Guess we’ll see on my next wash day. I sealed my hair with a JBCO/EVOO mix and then set it in nine twists with a little Wonder Curl Get Set Jelly to stretch it. I plan to wear it out today and bun the right way the rest of the week. So, keeping my fingers crossed that my next detangling sessions will go a lot more smoothly than the last two!

Anyway, back to the crazy texture difference. This is Why TnCs Are My Friend ;)!!

(ETA: Check out how a TnC saved the day again here.)

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Are you challenged with significantly different textures? How many and where? How do you manage them?