Daily Archives: March 6, 2012

African Pride: “My Pride. My Way” Giveaway Winner!

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And the winners of the African Pride “My Pride. My Way” Giveaway is …

Amanda Blount

Congrats lady! I want a review ;)! But first, shoot your mailing address and contact number to me at hairscapades@gmail.com and African Pride will get your prizes in the mail within the next 2-3 weeks!

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Tales of a Transitioner: Melisa’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
Let’s see, I’m loyal, brutally honest and love having fun. I’m a psychology major with a minor in Biology. I want to complete two graduate programs: M.S. Counseling and DPT. I want to open my own wellness center one day and work specifically with kids with developmental issues.

When did you receive your first relaxer?
3rd or 4th grade. I wanted to be like my sister and mom and have straight hair. People constantly made me feel like my hair was “wrong” when I was little and I wanted to fit in. So, when I went to my God Aunt to get my hair styled for school, I was given my first relaxer. My paternal grandmother is Native American (Croatan and Cherokee) and she raised hell when I came home and argued with my mother about messing up my hair. I was told over the years by my mother that Granny didn’t know what she was talking about, but lo and behold, she did. I wished I had listened to her 5 years earlier than I had and I may have been able to save my texture; but *sigh* hindsight is 20/20.

Why did you choose to go natural?
Well, my hair used to be the texture of Teyana Taylor’s. Years of perming and flat-irons and blow dryers make my natural texture more of a Tracy Ellis-Ross texture, as well as made the front of my hair (about a 3-4 inch section from my front hair-line and inward) basically permanently straight. It would curl up naturally when wet, but the minute I combed it, it would be straight. Basically, I realized my hair was ruined and I needed to fix it.

Are you a long-term or short-term transitioner, and why?
Long-term. I stopped relaxing my hair completely in October 2006, but continued to visit Dominican salons periodically. And, if I couldn’t go, I’d blow dry and flat-iron my hair myself. Beginning in July 2011, when I was out of work and home all day, I stopped straightening my hair all together. I’ve only flat-ironed it 3 or 4 times since then and I noticed that I could straighten my hair on lower heat settings than I used to (I use to have to turn the ceramic flat-iron to its highest setting to get my desired results).

What was your initial reaction to your growing natural hair?
I’ve had long hair the majority of my life sans the 5th grade pool damage and a bob cut I did my 1st semester in college. Overall, I was disappointed because it seems like I will never get my original waves and curls back, but I notice the more I wore my hair natural and not straightened, it’s getting better with every wash, very slowly but surely.

How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?
Everyone loves my hair better curly. Funny thing is, a lot of my family forgot my hair was naturally curly and thought I had a wet set aka TnC.

What is your transition routine?
I’ve been using lots of olive oil, jojoba oil and Tea Tree products for 10 years. I completely stopped using hair grease 6 years ago and use oils only. Normally, I wash and go every 3-5 days and wear buns in between. I wear braids every now and then. I have the Diana Ross thing going on and don’t have the patience to spend hours and hours braiding my hair like I did in high school. My hair does not respond well to roller sets with flexi rods (I’ll have a strong case of “poodle hair” and it’s not aesthetically pleasing to me and never has been) and, since the texture of my hair is totally different from when I was a child, I can no longer curl my hair around my finger or pencils and voilà! So, normally, I’ll hot curl it and put it in rollers or pin curls for a better result.

What is your staple transition hair style?
Wet and Go all the way! I’m too lazy to braid, it cramps my hands and I don’t want to develop carpal tunnel like so many of my relatives. Also, I was never taught to style my natural hair outside of braiding, wet and go, buns or, my least favorite, the “bush ball/ puff ball.” But now I’m learning new styles and I’m going to try them.

What techniques/products do you use to manage the demarcation line between your relaxed and natural hair? 
My relaxed hair has completely grown out as of a year ago, as well as the blonde dye that was in my hair. Before coloring my hair, my hair was naturally dark brown/black and my pony tail would be a reddish auburn in the sunlight. My hair no longer does the reddish hues and is now brown/black.

What is the most challenging part of transitioning and how have you been able to overcome or cope with it?
Getting over how much my hair texture has changed. The total absence of the natural moisture it use to have and realizing I may have to do a BC if I ever want to see the original texture again. I’m trying to find ways to get it back without chopping it off. It took 5 years to get it back past my shoulders and the in between time drove me crazy. Also, having white co-workers tell me they like my hair better straightened or “done” *grrr*. I also hate the “good hair” references from people of color. It’s annoying. Healthy hair is good hair.

What has been the most fun/best part of going natural? What do you love most about your natural hair and/or going natural?
WnGs *lol* … Low maintenance, no hair dryers, no more paying $60 for someone else to do it. And realizing that, whenever I straightened my hair for a job interview, I never got the job. Every interview I went on with my WnG, I got offered the job, ironically. My hair made me stand out.

I also like the fact that me, my sister and brother-in-law are standing a united front when it comes to my niece never getting a relaxer. I actually included a picture of both of us with blow outs below. That was her first one.

Do you have a “hair crush?” If so, who?
Tracey Ellis Ross, Maia Campbell, Amel Larrieux, Elle Varner, Teyana Taylor.
My newest hair crushes are : Shelli of Hairscapades, CurlyNikki and Nicole from Black Girl with Long Hair.

Who do you follow online (i.e. blog/website, YouTube, Fotki, etc.)?
So far: Hairscapades, CurlyNikki, Black Girl with Long Hair and blackwomennaturalhairstyles.

What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey?
Do it anyway! I had a hard time watching my new growth growing out and dealing with it. But, over time, it will be worth it. Most importantly, find someone with a similar hair texture that is a veteran and seek advice. I found that the hair products that worked for them usually gave me the same results.

Okra for Hair?!

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by Emily CottonTop

Okra: Protein Treatment for Hair

Have I heard it all? nope.. I am still listening. Let’s see – Monistat, Ky Jelly, Crisco, and Okra!

I think I will focus on the Okra today … I cant with the KY Jelly. I feel you boo boo, really … I do. I am a “never knock it ’til you try it” kind of girl … but my mind plays tricks on me with that one. Anyway I digress.

What is Okra?

Only the most hated vegetable by Emily CottonTop. In Jamaica, it is generally paired with steam fish, but not on my plate :).

 The Wiki says:

Okra – known in many English-speaking countries as lady’s fingers or gumbo, is a flowering plant in the mallow family. It is valued for its edible green seed pods. The geographical origin of okra is disputed, with supporters of South Asian, Ethiopian and West African origins. The plant is cultivated in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions around the world.

I hate it! but is it good for our hair?

Saw this on Tumblr:

Okra is a rich in Vitamins A, C and K. It also contains Zinc, Copper, Calcium, Folate, Potassium, Thiamine and many other nutrients. Okra can be used to give volume and body to your hair. It can be used as a hair gel, shampoo and conditioner. Okra is known to promote healthy and quicker hair growth, strength and shine.

  • Okra hair treatment: Boil okra until it begins to slime. Allow okra to cool, add essential and carrier oils, and scrub onto hair. Allow mixture to sit for 10-15 min. Rinse, shampoo and condition as usual.
  • Okra hair gel: Boil okra until it reaches a slimy consistency. Strain okra to separate slime from okra. Allow slime to cool in a container, add essential or carrier oils, and refrigerate.

Who knew!!? It is great for added protein. For every pound of okra, there is 8.62 grams of protein. I think that means that there is a lot or enough to do something great for our hair.

Would you try Okra?

Em

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I had a bad incident many years ago with frozen okra. I decided to add it to my turkey chili recipe instead of my normal spinach. Not a good look. I am a food preservationist and feel a sense of guilt throwing any away (too many years of hearing about the starving children in Ethiopia, I guess)! But, that mess was so slimy and disgusting, I was gagging trying to choke it down. After one attempt, I threw the entire vile batch in the trash. I’ve never touched okra since.

But, gotta say, I’m intrigued as to okra’s “hairdicinal” qualities. It seems very similar to and as easy to make as flaxseed gel! Now, if I can only get someone to make it for me … need to reduce the likelihood of a flashback!! *lol*

Wash, Twist, Seal ‘N Go

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Sunday night, I decided to attempt a modified WnG incorporating the techniques of Naptural85 and Cipriana of Urban Bush Babes and putting my own twist on them. Back in October, CurlyNikki posted a Winter Wash & Go video tutorial by Naptural85 aka Whitney. Essentially, Whitney washed and twisted her hair (sans detangling and styling or leave-in product!) and then allowed it to fully dry overnight under a satin scarf, finally releasing and separating the twists in the morning for the finished style.

via Naptural85

Frickin’ GORE-GEE-US!! I LOVE Whitney’s hair. It is just so thick, curly, shiny and delicious.

I often place my hair in large twists after washing and applying my leave-in and styler for a WnG. However, this is typically in the morning, not at night prior to going to bed. So, although my hair is not similar to Whitney’s, I decided to “leverage” her nighttime twisting routine, if not her product and detangling free styling session.

Then in December, I read Cipriana’s post, Turn Your Tumbleweeds to Seaweeds: 6 Quick & Simple Steps to Longer Lasting Sealed Ends, on BGLH. My biggest “take away” from that was how she wrapped the ends of her twists around bobby pins after moisturizing and sealing them. Sometime between then and now, I experimented with this on twists or braids and found that it worked very well. Given the earlier results, I thought it would probably work well for this modified WnG experiment.

So, without further ado, here is how I achieved the above WnG … or WTSnG (Wash, Twist, Seal and Go ;)).

WTSnG: What I Did

On Sunday night:

  • Pre-pooed, de-shedded and lightly detangled hair in 6 sections with Vatika oil mixed with EVOO.
  • Loosely braided each section after pre-pooing, donned plastic baggie and “marinated” for approx. 2 hours.
  • Shampooed scalp and hair in braids using DevaCare No Poo; Rinsed.
  • Applied HEHH conditioner to braids, donned plastic baggie while finishing shower rituals (approx. 10 min.); Rinsed.
  • Applied Darcy Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner to braids, donned plastic baggie and heat cap for approx. 1 hour 30 min.
  • Allowed hair to cool for approx. 15 minutes then applied conditioner rinse (Aussie Moist diluted with cold water) before doing final rinse with cold water.
  • Squeezed excess water out of hair with Curl Cloth.
  • Released each braid to apply modified Kimmaytube leave-in (2 tbsp KCKT, 2 tbsp Aloe Vera juice, 1 tsp jojoba oil, 1 tsp JBCO/EVOO mix), detangle and twisted.
  • Repeated until all four sections complete.
  • Secured ends of 4 twists to crown with jaw clip.
  • Donned two satin bonnets and hit the sack with very damp twists.

Monday morning (hair still damp, especially at roots):

  • Removed jaw clip to allow twists to hang.
  • Applied JBCO/EVOO mix to last 2-3 inches of twists and wrapped the ends of each twist around doobie pins.
  • Applied Sofn’Free Nothing But Mold & Hold Wax to tame front frizzies and tied down edges with a silk scarf.
  • Allowed hair to dry a little more on 15 minute drive to work.
  • In parking lot ;), removed scarf, released ends of twists from doobie pins and unraveled twists without separating any further.
  • Allowed hair to dry for another hour or so at work before lightly and gently separating (ends were dry; roots were still slightly damp).

Finished Look (Pics taken after work)

Overally, I think I got pretty good results. I achieved a pretty consistent curl pattern using this technique and nice curl definition on my ends. Here is a comparison shot of the same section last week and this week.


Left: First wash after having hair straight for two weeks. I also didn’t use a leave-in conditioner.
Right: Second wash after having hair straight. Used Kimmaytube leave-in and bobby pin sealing technique. 

“Heat damage? We don’t see no stinkin’ heat damage.” LOL! Although I was pleased with the uniform curl pattern, curled ends and mostly frizz-free appearance, my hair was a little flatter and generally less ginormous than I like. I’m hoping that placing it in a pineapple overnight will “pump up the volume.” Also, although it’s not super noticeable against the grey sweater, that pesky gap is still readily apparent in the rear shot. This is why I prefer TnCs over WnGs as they give me bigger hair and make my gappy perimeter appear full. I still can’t determine if the gap is caused due to my shorter and more tightly curled crown, less dense, finer and shorter nape hair, a permanent part or some combination thereof.

All that being said, if it’s due to a shorter crown and/or nape, I’m planning to close the gap a little very soon (no pun intended!). I recently won a contest for a free wash and trim by Ahava Felicidad! She is actually the friend of a mutual friend and works at a natural hair salon in West Orange, NJ. You may have even noticed her commenting on a few of my posts recently. Anyway, I was supposed to be getting my hair straightened to trim it myself. But, uhhhmmmmm, yeaaahhhhhh … see what had happened was … yeah, I wussed out. So, this contest was right on time given that I was going at my split ends like a madwoman today. And bonus, Ahava follows the blog and knows a lot about the level of care I take with my hair, so I’m thinking I’ll be in good hands :).

So stay tuned for the post-trim update at some point in the next month or thereabouts!

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Have you tried Naptural85’s Winter WnG and/or Cipriana’s Sealing technique(s)? If so, what were your results? If not, do you have any tips or tricks for achieving the perfect WnG or perfectly sealed ends?