Monthly Archives: August 2012

Sofistafunk & Hairscapades Model Search Winner …

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And the WINNER of the The Great Sofistafunk & Hairscapades Naturalista Model Search is 

Tiffany Millican!!!

*In my best game show announcer voice*

Tiffany Millican, you’ve just been cast as a “Natural Beauty” Model for the Sofistafunk Fashion Week event on Thursday, September 6th in Montclair, NJ!!! And here’s a reminder of what else you’ve won: 

  • A Sofistafunk Skirt
  • A complimentary haircut and WnG styling from the #curlwhisperer herself, Tameeka McNeil Johnson of Jaded Tresses (www.jadedtresses.com).†
  • A VIP Swag basket filled with goodies from the evenings sponsors.

Total gift valued at over $500.00!!!

But wait!!! That’s not all!! Sofistafunk, being the awesomely amazing company that it is, has selected a runner-up to model in their Fashion Week event and to receive her very own Sofistafunk skirt!! Yes!! It’s true!!

And the RUNNER-UP is …

Velvor!!!

 ♥

Sofistafunk will contact you shortly to provide details for the Fashion Week event on the 6th!! So keep an eye on your inboxes!!

CONGRATULATIONS LADIES!!!

 You must contact Tameeka to schedule an appointment at an upcoming Jaded Tresses Hair Party. Hair Cut Gift Certificate must be redeemed within 120 days of contest winner announcement.

Margret’s Mane: A Book Review

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by Michelle

A co-worker of mine shared a book with me that her friend’s niece, Aprill Hogue, wrote and illustrated.

via Lulu.com

Margret’s Mane

“This is the tale of a curly-haired girl named Margret, who did not fit in her own little world … Poor Margret hated her hair, and she thought that her world was quite unfair. Why must she be so different from everyone else, with hair so strange–she doubted herself. Join Margret as she soon learns to see, that she is unique, and quite special indeed.”

It’s independently published and I ordered it from the website. Shipping was quick and I ordered it in Chloe’s name. When it arrived in the mail, I told Chloe she had a package. She said, “From who Mama?” I told her I didn’t know. When she opened it, saw a brown girl with wild hair and read the title, “Margret’s Mane,”she exclaimed, “Ms. Shelli sent this to me!” I just laughed and said ok.

A little background as to why this book is special to me and my child. Chloe was born with a head full of almost black hair and it just grew and grew and curled and curled.

Her hair always drew attention from others, especially when she wore it out. People would stop me to want to touch her hair (hell no). They wanted to know what I used on her hair, was she mixed and on and on!

It wasn’t until Chloe started public school that she began to pay attention to the differences in all of the kids. Three years ago, we moved to a diverse community and she has friends from all ethnicities. One of her closest friends is Emily, who has straight blonde hair with a bang. One day, Chloe came home asking for a bang … what? Cutting a female’s hair in the AA community is like a bridge from little girl to big girl – like middle school! Shoot, I was in the 9th grade before I got my first style with a cut! Her dad wasn’t cool with the idea. He wanted his little girl to stay a little girl as long as possible. Even though I wasn’t comfortable with it, I did accept and had to explain to him that other ethnic groups cut their little girls’ hair early (little bobs and bangs) and Chloe was just asking for what seems to be the norm to her. Even with this acceptance … she wasn’t getting a bang *lol*.

I talked to her during one of our hair sessions and I explained to her that God gave her curly hair and her curly hair did not want to be made to do the same thing day in and day out. If she got a bang, it would end up being a big bushy mustache on her forehead and wouldn’t look like Emily’s bang, because she had curly hair that wanted to curl, not be straight. She thought about it and then bust out laughing and said, “Ok Mama … A mustache … bwahaaa!”

Chloe first read Margret’s Mane at her after-care program with one of her teachers who is white and likes to “fix” Chloe’s hair in the evening. Oh, and Chloe brushes and styles her hair as well … lol. She was so excited, she said, “Mama, Margret has wild hair just like mine and it makes her unique like me!”

Chloe’s favorite page.

She went on to tell me all about the book and how her friends were nicer than Margret’s friends because her friends never teased her. The kids in her classroom (mostly the boys), smell her hair to see what scent it is … Organix Coconut Milk, BeeMine Island Mango, or Karen’s Body Beautiful Vanilla Latte!! *lol*

Long review short, if you want to add a book for curly kids that speaks to the uniqueness of their curls, then order Margret’s Mane by April Hogue at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/adh_books.

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Awwwwww!! Michelle, how you gonna let Chloe think I sent that?? Now I have to really send her something;)!!
Would/Have you purchased a book like this for your little naturalista? What has your child’s experience been like with her/his natural hair? Has it been positive or negative? How do/would you address hair and esteem with your little one?

Back to School: De-Summerize Your Child’s Hair

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(Chloe)

by Tameeka aka Jaded Tresses

After such a hot and humid season, it’s a good idea to “de-summerize” your child’s hair in preparation for the fall and upcoming school year. The sun, although fun for our little ones, can wreak havoc on their tresses. It’s important that we nurture them in preparation for the drier weather approaching. As adults, we may have catered to our own tresses a little more than we have done to our future manes, which may have been in and out of water/chlorine and salt/sun continuously  without care ;).

So now moms and pops, it’s a must for us to “de-summerize” their treasured locks. What that means is Clarify, Recondition and Re-hydrate  their precious tresses. Because a child’s hair is virgin, vellus and naturally porous, it can sustain the most damage during the hot summer months, leaving the hair parched and dehydrated craving moisture.

Here are few things that I suggest that you do in preparation that  can help aid you through the rough cold weather we are about to embark on during the school year.

Tools and Products

  • Hard hat or bonnet dryer: Great for deep treatments, as well as drying tresses once styled.
  • Plastic cap
  • Duck bill or butterfly clips to help section off tresses
  • A wide-tooth comb, double wide-tooth comb or Denman brush to help with detangling
  • Shampoo, conditioner and deep conditioner

I will list a few shampoos, conditioners and deep conditioners that may be of some use:

  • Non-sulfate: The Organix line has various shampoos, conditioners and masks (find in local beauty supply stores and Target).
  • Curlisto Natural Coils line has a cleanser, conditioner, leave-in and mask (find online at Curlisto.com and at the Fifth Ave salon).
  • Shea Moisture (Target)
  • Carol’s Daughter Monoi line (find at Carol’s Daughter locations and online).
  • Ouidad Curl Quencher shampoo, conditioner, moisture lock leave-in and signature deep treatment (find at Sephora, the flagship salon on 57th st or online at Ouidad.com).
  • Clarifying: Pantene Nature Fusion has a great shampoo and conditioner (find in local beauty supply stores and Target)
  • Deep conditioner: KeraCare Intensive Restorative Masque is a great deep conditioner (find in local beauty supply stores).

Step 1: Clarifying Shampoo
Clarifying shampoos help to  remove product build-up, salt, chlorine and mineral build up from the hair. So, if you have been consistently using a non-sulfate shampoo and/or conditioner on your child’s hair, as well as applying oils because they have been swimming and had a generous amount of sun exposure, then this is definitely your first step.

Directions:

  1. Wet the child’s hair thoroughly, rinsing out all of the old product until the water runs as clear as possible.
  2. Apply about a quarter-size amount or more of clarifying shampoo to the palms and massage it into your child’s scalp using the ball of your fingertips.
  3. Once a lather has been formed, finger through and DOWN the hair in a piano stroking motion. Never ball your child’s tresses on top of their head. That will only create knots and make detangling even more complicated.
  4. Rinse slightly and repeat if necessary. If you achieved a rich lather the first time, no need to repeat. Just rinse out thoroughly, allowing the water to run over the hair while you finger through the tresses to remove the soapy suds.
  5. Squeeze excess water out of the hair.

Step 2: Reconditioning
It’s wise to do this next part in sections and once each section has been conditioned and detangled, twist or braid it loosely so as to prevent it from tangling up again.

Directions:

  1. When applying conditioner, apply to the ends of your child’s tresses first, saturating the ends, smoothing and working your way up towards the scalp. It is not necessary to start at the scalp.
  2. Once saturated, using a wide-tooth comb, Denman brush or double tooth comb, hold the section upon which you are working in a ponytail and start detangling from the ends first, working upwards (the tighter you grasp the hair into a ponytail, the less pain the child will feel). Twist or braid each section prior to moving to the next section.
  3. Whiling leaving the hair in twists or braids, rinse the conditioner out, leaving a good 10% of the conditioner in the hair. (If you are deep conditioning right after this step, it is also okay to leave the conditioner in and apply the deep treatment directly on top of it.)

Step 3: Re-hydrating/Deep Conditioning
A deep penetrating, hydrating moisturizing mask should be done at least once a month.

Directions:

  1. This type of conditioner can be done with or without heat. However, when heat and a plastic cap are applied, it is more intensive. The heat opens the cuticle layers of the hairs shaft allowing the necessary moisture, protein and oils to penetrate deeper and bond to the inner molecular layers of the strands, which helps repair and strengthen the hair.
  2. When deep conditioning, be sure to rinse with a slightly cooler water temperature to seal and lock in all the good stuff for our little ones ;).

Hope that I was of some help to the guardians of our future manes ;)!

Please feel free to inquire about anything. I would love to hear from you and help guide you through you and your child’s natural hair journey!

Many blessings,

Tameeka McNeil-Johnson
#thecurlwhisperer

Facebook: Jaded Tresses
Twitter: @JadedTresses
Website: www.jadedtresses.com (under construction)
T#: 646.262.9157

Happy Birthday Baby!!

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(Insert “Weusi” in where those “Mmmmmmm mmmmmm mmmms” were!! *LOL*)

I know that you aren’t really the birthday/holiday type … in fact, neither am I! But, I just wanted to take a moment to wish you a very happy birthday. You are such a blessing to me and I thank you for all of your love, support (seriously, you write for my hair blog! What brand of awesome is that?), kindness, intelligence, patience and serenity. You truly are my comfort and my solace. I love you with all of my heart. Happy birthday baby!!

UPDATE WITH PICS!!!

So, took the sweetie out for a birthday dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants, Nicole’s 10, last night! We did it up and I TOTALLY broke diet!! We had bread with roasted garlic, oil and a balsamic vinegar drizzle and a crab cake appetizer. For entrees, I had a seafood pasta and Wei had the special, Wahoo fish, and a glass of chardonnay and then … the piece d’resistance, this towering chocolate cheesecake. OMGosh y’all, this thing is absolutely sinfully DELICIOUS!! And I was absolutely ready to EXPLODE!!

Ummm, ummm good!!

Wahoo fish! Never heard of it in my life! It was the special!

“Goin’ Coastal” (sauteed shrimp, lobster, crab & prosciutto over linguine)

Heaven on earth!!!

Don’t get it twisted! He did NOT eat that all by himself! LOL!

Why’d I have the nerve to break out a NuStevia to sweeten the coffee that
accompanied the decadent dessert? LOL!!

Then and Now: 15 Years Later

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When I was down at my parents’ house on Saturday, I decided to snap a pic of the old photo on the left, which hangs on the fridge. I think that I was about 25-26 at the time … and relaxed. The picture on the right is from a couple of months ago at the age of 40 and natural. I had to share the side-by-side comparison, because I’m kind of psyched!! Neither my face nor my hair look much different between then and now … and there are about 14 to 15 years between the two pictures!! Not bad … not bad at all!!

Hmmmm .. maybe my hair density and curl hasn’t changed as much as I thought?? Well, this is just further motivation to smile and laugh a lot, let go of stress, eat well, drink plenty of water and exercise!! I may not always be consistent, but I always get back on track. Hopefully 15 years from now I’ll be able to do a another side-by-side comparison with the same results!!!

(p.s. Peep my Janet Jackson, “That’s the Way Love Goes,” choker! Yeah baby!! Had a cropped black suede vest too ;)!!)

(p.s.s. Rocked the Janet, “You Want This” braids too!! No, no … not the Poetic Justice braids …. these ones!!!)

C’mon!! I know that I’m  not the only one ;)!!

I Love Ya But

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by Weusi

This is in response to Shelli’s post last night and her hair last week …

I LOVE Shelli … like … I love her-love her … like … there really aren’t ANY words that can explain it.

She’s smart, hard-working, mature, a great communicator and just an incredible woman. And you’ve seen the pictures … she’s got a smile that makes the sun jealous!

She’s creative and a logic wizard that engages life with a zestful vigilance that makes my heart smile.

Then there’s the but … that’s not a typo … everyone has a but and a butt.

Shelli’s “but” is … is … is … is … that THING! That THING in life that I can’t tell you how I feel about, because there are no words to describe it! Just know that it’s not right … I love your natural hair …

YOUR natural hair … not the hair of someone else that you purchased, so it’s in your possession right now. I love you and YOUR hair. But, ummm … nah … I have no love for the hair extensions!

And no, I don’t hide it. But, she knows that I don’t dig that thing. It kinda creeps me out. I saw a piece of Chris Rock’s movie, Good Hair. That hair is someone else’s natural hair! That’s not cool! That’s creepy! Hair extensions are not right! And is there any federal regulations around hair? You don’t know if that hair is healthy! And according to that survey I did (see here), that was a major reason that people were wearing their hair natural. Why would you put sickly hair in your healthy hair? It’s SO not right! Wait … there’s more!

Actually … I don’t know what else to say except to warn you …

If your S.O. likes your natural hair, they will not like your hair extension … and, come on … you can’t really be mad at them about it, can you!?!

Now, the reality of the situation is that we know that you are gonna do what you do, so we will tolerate it. But, supporting the use of it … NAH … not even in a ponytail!

And, for real … isn’t this the best title of a blog post ever?!?! I think it’s hilarious!

Oh, and for the record … I’m not a butt man. I was so oblivious to Shelli’s butt that it took a gay dude to point out her curves to me! I was caught in the glow of her smile and the mystery of her eyes.

But now … it’s her wisdom too.

What? Did you think that I was gonna objectify this queen and talk about her butt? I told you already, I’m not a butt man!

SHiNE

July GOC Update: Krystal K. (#12)

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by Krystal K. aka KaliGirl1980

Hair
So I have been sticking to my old regimen for the most part (except I’ve really slacked on the henna). I am a Tightly Curly Method fanatic and I wear my hair in a TC Method WnG 90% of the time. I still straighten my hair once a month to check my progress. I’ve gotten back to where I was before the dreaded hair cut. The one thing that I have changed significantly is that I’m using a leave-in conditioner that works well with my hair for WnGs, rather than the traditional rinse-out conditioners. I’ve been using the generic brand version of Paul Mitchell’s The Conditioner thanks to MahoganyCurls on YouTube. I got the generic brand from Sally’s and I love it. I use that instead of rinse-out conditioner when doing the Tightly Curly Method.

I did a video on my slightly modified Tightly Curly Method that cuts the product application time in half for me:

What I really love about this natural hair journey is that I now prefer my hair in its natural state, rather than the stringy straight hair that I was wearing a year ago. I feel much freer and more confident in myself. My hair is really thriving in its natural state and starting to look full. At this length, a stretched WnG is starting to look different on me than it did a year ago. There is a lot to be said about experimenting with your hair at every stage of this process, because the styling techniques and methods really do look different as your hair gets longer.

Health and Fitness
Not much change right now. The summer heat really puts the brakes on my workouts, because it’s too hot after 10 am for me to work out. I don’t like the large evening crowds at the gym, so if I don’t get my workout in before work or before I start my day on the weekends, it just won’t happen. I think that maintaining is a good goal for this kind of heat. We’re regularly in the low 100’s out here. I’m swimming regularly and still running at least once a week. I have really committed to incorporating strength training into my workouts, so I’m not sure how much of my weight is muscle rather than fat.

As far as diet is concerned, I read a book called Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman and I really like what he has to say about us getting the majority of our nutrients from fruit and vegetables. He suggests eliminating all animal products, but I’m not going to do that. I like eggs and yogurt too much. But, they now only make up about 10% of my diet. I find that following his eating plan is simple in that he recommends a pound of raw fruit and veggies and a pound of cooked veggies each day, as well as limited beans and grains (including tubers like sweet potatoes). While the plan is easy to follow, it means that I have to make sure that I visit the grocery store more often than I like. Other than the frequent trips, I’m enjoying the experience. I’m experimenting with a variety of seasonings to keep things interesting and have started incorporating tofu into my dishes. I’ve really been pleased with my results.

Want to see all of the Krystal’s updates? Just enter her name in the “Search” box on the upper right >>>>! The results will return all of her updates (and guest posts)!! See where it all began and how she’s progressed over the course of the challenge!

Hair Crush: Valerie’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
My name is Valerie. I have been natural for 3 years. My whole life I was told that I had unruly unmanageable hair.  It has been a long hard journey. Once I thought I had everything down pat with the “Curly Girl Method,” I discovered that something still was not right. Well ladies, as if caring for curly hair isn’t hard enough, I discovered I am protein-sensitive as well. So, right now, I am on a journey to find what works best for my hair sans protein.

How long have you been natural and why did you chose to go natural?
I have been natural for a little over 3 years. I decided to go natural because I finally wanted to see what my REAL hair looked like.

Did you transition or big chop?
I transitioned.

How did others (family, friends, colleagues) react to your decision to go natural? What was your response to them? How do they feel now?
My mother was shocked at the fact that I actually went through with it and my older sister was negative about it (she is relaxed). I simply told them that I love the hair God gave me. My mother decided to go natural with me. My sister likes my curls, but always comments on how she liked my straight hair better.

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?
My biggest obstacle is the fact that I am protein-sensitive, which doesn’t allow me to experiment with a wide range of products. The way that I am overcoming this obstacle is reading the ingredient labels on products before I purchase them. A small obstacle is the dry patch of hair at my crown.

What do you love most about your natural hair and/or about being natural?
I am not going to lie … I love the attention I get because of my hair. Before, I felt almost invisible and insecure. Now, I can’t hide even if I wanted to.

What is your current regimen?  Has it changed in any major way since you first went natural?
**I do not use sulfates, silicones nor proteins in my hair.**

  • Wash 1 or 2x a week with a sulfate-free and protein-free shampoo; I wash in 2 sections.
  • Detangle hair in front of mirror with conditioner (saves water). I use a paddle brush for ends and a wide-tooth comb for my roots. I detangle in 8 sections, 2 sections in each quadrant.
  • Deep condition 1x a week with my Hair Therapy Wrap.
  • Put in leave-in conditioner (5 sections: 2 in the back, 1 in the crown and 2 in the front).
  • Seal with a oil or butter (I stop at this step if I want to achieve a twist out).
  • Rake and shingle in gel (for WnG).
  • Apply finisher.
  • Diffuse for a WnG or air dry for a twist-out.
  • Protect hair at night by sleeping in a satin bonnet.

What are your Holy Grail and staple products?
Shampoo: Cream of Nature Argan Oil Sulfate free Shampoo
Conditioner/Deep Condish: GVP Conditioning Balm/Curl Junkie Rehab
Leave-inL SheaMoisture SheaButter Leave-in, CJ Smoothing Lotion
Butter: Oyin Burnt Sugar or Sugar Berry Pomade
Gel: Koils By Nature Peppermint Gel
Satin Bonnet: Ebonnets by EboniCurls

What is your “go to” style? Do you wear protective and/or low manipulation styles? If so, how often and why?
My “go to” styles are twists and a beanie, WnGs and twist-outs.

How often do you cut/trim your hair? How do you cut it (salon, DIY, straight, curly, in twists)? If you go to a salon, would you recommend it?
I try to trim my hair every 6-8 months. My hair is trimmed while it is in its natural state by Luisa V., the owner of Luma Salon, 397 East Altamonte Drive #114, Altamonte Springs, FL. I would recommend her 100%. She has beautiful curls herself.

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?
No, not really.

Do you have a “hair crush?” Who do you follow online (i.e. blog/website, Youtube, Fotki, etc.)?
I am my own “hair crush.” But, I do follow a few people for their wonderful advice like DenimPixie and Naptural85.

Where can we find you online?
You can find me on my blog, Curls2Envy.com, and on my Facebook page, Curls2Envy.

What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey?
It’s just hair. It grows back. Do what you want with it. It’s your hair, no one else’s.

Anything else that you’d like to add?
I love my curls!

Twist-Out with Clip-In Extensions: Yea or Nay?

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For whatever reason … I was thinking about curly bangs today. But, I don’t want to cut my own hair. So, I started googling to see if I could find curly faux bangs (I have a faux straight bang already). In my hunt, I came across this video of a young lady demonstrating how she “pumps up” her twist-out with clip-in extensions!

You know, I don’t think I would have ever thought of this! I actually think that it’s pretty clever! Now, for those of you with gorgeously thick manes, I know this one isn’t for you. But, for all my fellow fine-haired kinky, coily, curlies out there, what do you think?!?

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Would you wear kinky/coily/curly/wavy clip-in extensions to give you a more luscious WnG, twist or braid-out? What about for a special occasion only:)?!?

 

Aside

If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably already seen the album with all of our contestants and their essays. But, if you missed it, here are all of the GORGEOUS ladies who sent in entries for the Great Sofistafunk & Hairscapades Natural Model Search Contest!! Check them out in all their fierceness and see how they answered the question: “How is your natural hair a expression of YOU?” 

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CONTESTANT #1: NICOLE

Before I went natural my hair, style and personality seemed to be dictated by what I believed was the norm and what I mean by “norm” was long straight hair that didn’t grow from my scalp, that HAD to be straightened (That’s what I was told for 15 years!). I always loved curly hair but didn’t even know THAT IS what grows from my own scalp. I finally made the resolve to say I’m OK with what grows from my head no matter what it looks like; and I’ve found a whole new me in the process. I’ve become more confident and bold in everything, from my social life down to my fashion sense (Big hair seems to make any outfit POP!). The freedom of not planning my life around my hair and being able to be the spontaneous girl I love to be. My friends, family and co-workers alike have been inspired by the transformation taken place by simply learning to love ALL of me. I’ve fallen in love with someone I didn’t even know was in there and I fall that much more in love with the woman that was fearfully and wonderfully made everyday on my journey. Ironically enough ever since I’ve been natural my friends and family comment that they don’t even remember what I looked like without my natural hair and it suits me so much better; I would HAVE to agree! I’m finally ME!

CONTESTANT #2: TIFFANY

India Arie stated in her song, “I am not my hair”…. Hell! Maybe I am my hair!

It’s mine! I do what I want, it’s my decision! Not yours. Changing my hair doesn’t change me! I’m still the girl you grew up with that had a mushroom cut in 8th grade. I’m still the girl that was the silly, goofy ,sarcastic one with the red hair in high school that you ate lunch with. I’m still the girl with the perm straight hair down her back that you wanted to get with in college. I’m still the woman that you married and the mother of your children who now happens to have this DOPE curly fro courtesy of Tameeka- McNeil Johnson (HEY GURL!)!! Being Natural hasn’t changed me. It’s a contribution to the Beautiful, Smart, Loving, Confident, ever-evolving woman I have become and will continue to grow into. Self-Expression is natural! I love my hair! I love Me!

CONTESTANT #3: CYRENE

Every person has their own unique reason for transitioning to natural. I can say that although my choice was more necessity for my health and recommended by my GYN 2 and half years ago. I love that I am natural. My daughter who is 7 years old has not had any chemicals in her hair. Actually, not even as much as a blow drier. When I was still relaxed she would make comments about wanting her hair straight, but now that she sees my curls, kinks, waves she has accepted her own. We are the example for the generations to come. I don’t look down on anyone who still decides to relax their hair. That is their choice, but I do educate on the health risks that can be involved. Since I have been natural my confidence level has increased tremendously. Its a refreshing feeling to look at the woman God created the way He intended her to be.

CONTESTANT #4: ADRIENNE

N.A.T.U.R.A.L  H.A.I.R.
A Reflection of Me

NEW: Discovering more about myself every day.
ARTISTIC: Takes life’s lemons and makes lemonade.
TRUE: To myself and what I believe in, no matter what others may say or think.
UNIQUE: Everyday is something different; you never know what you’re going to get.
REAL: What you see is what you get.
AWKWARD: Klutzy and prone to mistakes, but gets it right in the end.
LOYAL: To my friends, family and loved ones.

HUMAN: I’ll make mistakes and I’ll learn from them and overcome them.
AMICABLE: Makes friends easily but prefers having a few close friends over many.
ILLUSIONS: There are none.
RESERVED: Chooses words carefully before speaking.

CONTESTANT #5: LANORA

Me and my hair have lived parallel lives. Sounds strange, but “The Diva,” as I affectionally call my wooly mane, truly has a life of her own. LaNora was born, The Diva had her big chop. LaNora grew older, The Diva grew longer. LaNora graduated from elementary, The Diva had her first press. LaNora became a lawyer, The Diva became a hood star. LaNora found her Artist, The Diva went au naturale. LaNora moved to Harlem to be a writer, The Diva became a model. My hair defines me; strong, proud, resilient, natural. Like a good friend, my perfect wing man, The Diva complements my personality. I love interacting with strangers, she draws them in. I’m a no fuss girl, she’s down for the fluff and go. I love dressing up, she’s the perfect accessory. Like a great pair of heels, she adds height and swag to any getup. We are both girls who love who we are “flaws and all.”

CONTESTANT #6: KAYLA

Self-willed, expressive, special, original, amazing, and one of a kind. These words describe both her (my hair) and I. Sometimes we also go by the 3 B’s. Bold, black, and beautiful but that’s only when we’re being humble. We are a team, we compliment each other perfectly. I wouldn’t change anything about her and I hope she feels the same way about me. She has been with me through it all; good, bad, hot, cold, healthy, sick, drunk and sober (don’t judge me).

Sincerely,
Kayla Nation & her hair

CONTESTANT #7: QUIEONA

Natural hair is an expression of me by boosting my confidence. When I did perm my hair, I tried to blend in with everyone else and trying to fit within their world.By doing this, I have lost myself to the point to where there was no more of me. I thought less of myself as a person and actually thought I was ugly. Once I got the courage to do the ” big chop” it was a huge release for me because I was able to be me. I had my own style, my own look. I finally looked the way God created me to be. Now that I have broken out of my shell I sarted to love and appreciate myself more and more….. I am Happy to be Nappy!!!

CONTESTANT #8: JANICCA

My natural hair is an expression of ALL OF ME! I have been a natural lady for 8 years now and it truly was and has been the best thing that I could have done for myself. I have always strived to be healthy in all aspects of my life. So in getting my physical and spiritual health in order, it was only natural to get my hair in order! Thus doing the “Big Chop!” I feel so free with my natural hair b/c it allows me flexibility, creativity, style and so much fun!!! I love that I can literally create something different everyday if I wanted to! And most of the time I do 🙂 Natural has helped me accept my true inner beauty. I am one of 4 sisters and I always felt the least “pretty.” But now, not only do my sisters, girlfriends, co-workers, and even strangers compliment me on my hair, but now I COMPLIMENT ME! I so love my NATURAL HAIR and won’t ever go back!

CONTESTANT #9: TEEKA

Rocking my natural hair for the past 10 years has really made me feel closer to my roots and culture. Growing up in Jamaica my natural hair was never a problem because everyone pretty much had the same hair texture or style. However, when I migrated to the United States my fellow peers made me feel ugly and out of place because of my hair. So eventually my mom permed my hair so that i could assimilate to my new surroundings. However, the older I got the less I really cared about how my peers saw me or my hair. So I went natural in 2003 and it was the best thing that I ever did (pertaining to my hair). My natural hair has taught me self-confidence and strength. With my natural hair I am able to express my fun, free spirited, spunky self through my many natural hairstyles (ex. my Afro puff and my Mohawk).

CONTESTANT #10: APRIL ELLIS

Naturally Beautiful: Working from the outside to the inside

My name is April Ellis and I have been transitioning to natural hair for 7mths. I consider my hair an expression of who I am because I believe my hair is a semblance of me. As my hair transitioned, I transitioned. I think my hair even schooled me, lol. When I first made the decision to go natural, I did it for financial reasons. Unfortunately for me, when I graduated from college thats when the economy took a serious plunge and I couldn’t find a job. I fell into a serious depression and got tired of looking at my hair break every time I touched it. So, after a year and a half of no job, I went back to retail and started using my little paychecks to rock weaves. However, that wasn’t fixing the problem. It was only masking it. I let myself go without even thinking twice and my self-esteem was so low not even my boyfriend could have made me feel better. I knew something had to change and I was going to start from the top. I stumbled upon CurlyNikki when I was researching hairstyles I wanted to do for my next weave. The pic was featured on CurlyNikki’s website so I naturally clicked on it. I had an epiphany! I realized neglecting my hair was a reflection on how I gave up and negelcted my life. And if I wanted change it has to start with re-evaluating myself and a major makeover, lol! I did, however, relapse in December 2011 around the time of my birthday. I let my friend/hairdresser convince me to do a half-head weave and perm the rest of my hair. Biggest mistake but, on the other hand, it was an eye-opener.

People can have an input into your life but at the end of the day, you’re the one who is living it. So as flyy as my hair was I knew that this was the last time the cream crack was going near my head. I was going to stick to my guns and do whats best for me! But I knew I didn’t want to just chop off everything and start from scratch. So I decided to transition. I wanted to challenge myself to actually stick through with a project to the very end instead of giving up in the middle. As my hair grew, my confidence grew. As my confidence grew, my mentality grew and I was able to start seeing what a mess I created for myself. Just like what I did for my hair I started to do research and light reading on how to get other aspects of my life in order. I know the old saying goes “You gotta work on the inside so it can be reflected on the outside.” This time around I did the opposite and so far, its working for me. My hair and I are still transitioning. Its only the beginning for us. But I know that the expression I want to remain for the both of us is FABULOUS!

CONTESTANT #11: EFUA

A little Background
I remember the moment I decided I was done with relaxing my hair like it was yesterday. As I sat in my Botany class trying to listen to the professor lecture us on plants, I remember wondering why I insisted on burying what lied underneath. What was this obsession behind having straight hair when my God given hair was kinky and curly? This style of hair does not define the Efua from Ghana days who had the freshest corn rows and creative styles ever! I bought into the way things were done and was not happy with that decision anymore! I can recall my childhood in Ghana with my Natural hair and loving it but understanding quickly that when you become a young woman, the perm and weaves come on to make you look like an “adult”. When we moved to the USA, it was economical to get the relaxer because we didn’t have the community like we used to at home. I lived in the south and having natural hair was not the norm! I was tired of the hours and 4-6week visits to the salon to sit for hours just to hide something so beautiful! My natural hair is an expression of me in many ways and it’s also a story of my journey.

How my Natural Hair Expresses Me?
Natural Beauty- Having my natural hair shows my natural beauty which encourages others not to hide their beauty behind anything other than what they have naturally.
Amazing- This hair is amazing! It is so versatile! Who would have thought it could do so much?
Twists and turns, tests and trails with this hair during my transition (you remember those awkward phases and non cooperation!)
Unique style. My natural hair makes me the unique person that I am. It is always a topic of discussion one way or the other!
Risk taker. I took a risk by going back to something that felt right to me!
Adaptable. This hair can be molded and shaped into so many different things! It amazes me how much we can do with it. It is a work of art.
Love affair! Having natural hair is a serious love affair! It’s been a journey and it’s one that is not done yet! Loving every minute of it!

CONTESTANT #12: TIFFANY NICOLE

Hello beautifuls!!! My name is Tiffany and I have been transitioning for a year and a half. I absolutely LOVE discovering my curls and the variety of styles they give me. I also love the new sense of community that comes along with it. I never knew I could feel so connected to people half way around the world simply through hair!! With all of the blogs, youtube tutorials and even random 20 minute conversations with strangers in the mall (these are my favorite!!), it’s hard not to feel a sense of pride of being apart of something bigger than ourselves…yes, it’s only hair, but even our society is beginning to recognize how beautiful our natural curls are. I mean, how can you not notice all of these national commercials sporting models and actresses with their gorgeous curls?? It seems that wearing our hair natural is not only empowering to other African American women, but to women of different cultures as well. I believe that we as a community, are giving others the freedom and confidence to rock their do’s in it’s natural state, that they don’t need chemical alterations to feel beautiful. And that is something I am more than happy to be apart of!! God bless!! =)

CONTESTANT #13: VELVOR

My hair has a personality just like me. Carefree, happy, and bouncy in rain or shine. I love that I can wash and go and leave it to do it’s own thing. The texture of it is so much stronger now that it’s chemical free, it shines with the sun and brings out a healthy color that looks black but is really a darker shade of brown. I never thought it would be this easy to maintain. I like to laugh a lot and I feel that when I laugh my hair is laughing right with me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stay tuned for the announcement of the winner and a special surprise later this week!!

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Who is your favorite contestant?!

ETA: Okay, I wasn’t gonna do this … but, y’all give me no choice. It’s poll time!! *lol*

The Great Sofistafunk & Hairscapades Natural Model Contestants!