Category Archives: Hairpourri

Product Junkies: Storing Your Stash

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napnicpropicby Nicole of Naptural Nicole

“My name is Nicole, and I am a product junkie.”

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem…

Only I’m not trying to recover – I love my products! I just don’t want to “look” like a junkie!

With all my goodies, avoiding this requires some good organization – and great storage space. My stash spot of choice:

imageRubbermaid 3 drawer wheeled organizer- Target- $15

Best feature of this drawer – the ability to wheel my shame into a closet when I need extra bathroom space (or the hubbin’ thinks the addiction is out of control! Lol).

Another great feature is the ability to divide up my stash drawers by “purpose.”

I’ve got one drawer each for Moisturizing/Styling, Wash/DC/Treatments and backup supplies (I hate being caught with no leave-in on Wash Day!).

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Lastly, I can’t cart this mass of staples from room to room – and my two strand twist session can go for hours (or at least one Lifetime movie) – so I’ve got a great little toteable caddy to carry the “in use” products!

imageWire Shower Caddy – Target, $10 (currently prepped for a DC, then twists!).

In my book – as long as there’s room in my bins – I have no addiction.  ;)

-N

Curlies, How do you “store your stash?”

Fairytale vs. Blunt Ends

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fairytaleends_shelli

Last month, I straightened my hair and, though I was pleased with the length I attained, I was disappointed that my perimeter wasn’t fuller. You see, ever since I entered the Curly Nikki presents Kim Coles’ Grow Out Challenge in early 2011, my goal has been to have waist length hair with a full perimeter. I dreamed of having a “hemline” that looked like that of one of my hair crushes, Courtney Natural Hair.

*le sigh*

*le sigh*

Although I’ve surpassed waist length a couple of times since then (I’ve had one trim and two haircuts since January 2012) … my slower growing and more breakage prone crown, low density nape, propensity for search and destroy (S&D) missions, and a layered cut have prevented me from achieving a full thickness perimeter.

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December 2012: Prior to 12/16/12 cut.

As I mused over the elusive, full hemline that kept evading my grasp, I happened to end up watching Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers one evening. It was shortly after I had my hair cut and specifically requested that more length be taken off of my longest layer and less off the shorter layers so that I could thicken up my perimeter. But, as I looked at the women in LOTR and their long, flowing, wavy hair, it struck me that their wavy locks were also not blunt or full at the ends. And, you know what? I kind of liked it!!

eowynshair3

I then remembered that this type of perimeter is called “fairytale” ends. I think that I came across the term a couple of years ago on The Long Hair Community forum in thread like this one here. As I started perusing the pages of the post, I began to think about how many of us equate a thick, full perimeter with healthy hair and a wispy, thinned one with damaged, unhealthy hair. But, as I looked at the pictures on the thread, many of the women appeared to have very healthy, shiny, long hair despite having wispier ends. As I read the comments, I noted that the fairytale ends were attributed to varying hair growth rates and employing S&D trimming versus overall trims/cuts to make the ends even. The thinner ends weren’t frowned upon as unhealthy, damaged, broken or “dead” (I love that one — all hair is dead! *lol*). It really was interesting to see how this type of hemline was celebrated, and even coveted, in this forum as it is viewed as more natural looking and enables easier updos due to the tapered ends. Also, similar to Chicoro’s “Lead Hair”  Theory, it is espoused as a way to achieve longer lengths as one is not constantly cutting hair that grows unevenly (due to varying growth rates) even, which results in the loss of healthy hair length.

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Sources: left pic; right pic

In contrast, when I attempted to find a similar thread in the Long Hair Care Forums (the black counterpart to The Long Hair Community) I didn’t have much luck. The only thing that I found was this thread: Girl, ur ENDS are JACKED UP. LMBO (I’m sorry, that subject is HEE-larious to me!) In this thread, one young lady references fairytale ends and how she thinks they look nice on longer hair. A couple of others essentially said the same. And a few commenters did state that thin ends did not necessarily mean damaged hair. However, the overall consensus was that thinner ends look wrecked, they need an “aggressive” cutting and “hanging onto thin ends” for the sake of length is pathetic. I think in the black hair community in particular (though this does seem to be a universal view), thin ends are typically seen as a sign of broken, damaged, unhealthy hair and we’ve been conditioned to think that there is no way that wispy ends can be healthy. If someone insists that their thinner ends are healthy and their hair isn’t damaged or excessively breaking, we give them the *side eye*. And, don’t get me wrong, in many instances, thin ends are a sign of damaged hair. But, I’m discovering more and more, that may not always be the case.

As I continued to think on this, I realized that, generally speaking, I had never been too concerned about even hair. Over my 12 1/2 years of being natural, I generally only wear it straight twice a year. As long as it hangs well when curly (which can be a challenge given my multiple curl patterns) and feels healthy, I’m good. And, when I do wear my hair straight, I have never gone for the pin-straight look. I always curl it in some fashion to give it volume, body and bounce as my hair is so fine and would be very flat if I wore it bone straight. Finally, I thought about how even long, wavy or curly weaves or wigs often don’t have a blunt perimeter and usually have fairytale ends to make them look more natural.

wavyweaveSource: Philly.com

So, all this being said, I’ve started re-thinking my two year goal of achieving a full thickness perimeter! I mean, I still love a full hemline and I still want mine to be thicker than it is above (think I’m on the right path with my last cut). And, of course I want my ends to be healthy, which is why I cut off any split ends and SSKs that I feel or see regularly. But, now, I don’t know if I’m worried about my hemline being blunt anymore. I’d like to get to tailbone/hipbone length as my ultimate goal. But now, I think I’ll be happy with, and may even prefer, a healthy fairytale hemline on me versus the elusive blunt one that I’ve been seeking for the last two years. Go figure!

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Please feel free to expound upon any of your answers and/or add your thoughts on this topic in the comments below!

Kay Vel Creme Press Testimonial

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So, remember I told you guys about Kay Vel Creme Press a few weeks ago? If you missed that post, check it out here. Well, I just had to share this testimonial with you from my girl Rhonda, a faithful Hairscapades follower cum friend. She contacted me about an issue that she was having with her daughter’s hair and I suggested Kay Vel, along with a couple other things. This is Rhonda’s Kay Vel story and experience.

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On 12/14/12:

Shelli,

I took my daughter with the 4z hair to a hair salon where she had a press and curl, only to have her hair break so badly from the incident that I feel like an unfit mother. We are back almost to square one when she transitioned (only 3″ of hair). She is taking it in stride, but I am not. I hurt! I hurt!

Moisture – she is lacking moisture, but it seems I can’t keep enough of it in her hair ever. I just don’t know the right combo of products to use. Oh and been using GBP.

I am really catching hell … Kennedy does not want to return to texlaxing and I don’t want to either, BUT I just can’t go on. We have limited styling options and I am so very tired of tackling her hair almost daily. I like her hair blown out, but it reverts so very quickly. If she walks from house to car, her hair will revert. Braids are not an option, because everytime she has had them installed, she has had extreme breakage, especially along the hairline. Her father, my husband, is almost at his wit’s end and is demanding for me to have her hair straightened (texturized). He is not down with team natural as far as Kenendy’s hair is concerned. PLEASE send me some inspiration.

Rhonda

I responded:

Do you think her hair is under or over porous? Have you tried the L.O.C. method on her? Leave-in, oil and then a cream or butter WITHOUT water? It sounds to me like her hair is porous, like it’s absorbing the water in the air. She may need a stronger protein. Have you tried the 2 minute ApHogee on her? I’d be hesitant about the two step, but GPB may not be enough (anything you use, follow with moisture).

Okay, now onto products. Have you tried the Shea Moisture or Cantu lines on her? They are readily available in stores and can probably be returned if they don’t work. Wait a minute, maybe that Kay Vel would be good for doing a blow out on her hair and keeping it from reverting?

Well, last night, after Rhonda e-mailed me an update about her results, I demanded requested a testimonial, and she kindly obliged!

KennedybeforeKayVelby Rhonda

A few weeks ago I reached out to you for some assistance in managing my daughter’s 4c hair. Kennedy BC’d two years ago and we have been struggling mightily ever since. We’ve experienced breakage, lack of length retention, extreme dryness and thinning edges. Trips to the hair salon only exasperated the problem.

So, upon your advice, we shampooed (Elucense Moisture Benefits Poo) and dried most of the moisture with a T-shirt. We then applied Aphogee Keratin Reconstructor for 10 minutes with heat. We allowed the product to cool for 10 minutes before rinsing with lukewarm water (she screams if we rinse with cold water). Again, we sopped up most of the moisture with a T-shirt before DC’ing with Neutrogena Triple Moisture Hair Mask with heat for 45 minutes. Next, we applied Paul Mitchell leave-in conditioner and sectioned her hair in four sections to allow to air dry. After about 30 – 45 minutes, her hair was just damp and we blow dried on medium heat after applying a small amount of Kay Vel to each section. Kennedy’s hair was lightly pressed with a Kizure pressing comb (one pass only) and curled with a ceramic BaByliss flat-iron set at 350° (we added a small amount of Kay Vel to each section before pressing). We were both blown away with the results ~ the product lived fully up to its claim. No reversion, greaseless, no odor or smoke. During the week, we did not have to add a moisturizer to her hair at all. The Kay Vel acted as a sealer and sealed in the moisture that was applied during the wash/conditioning process. We did, however, apply a light application of JBCO to her thinning edges.

Our real test came two weeks later … the wash out.

Fast forward to today. I had been filled with mounting anxiety. You see, we have been rocked with snow, rain and lots of moisture in the air. Through it all, Kennedy’s hair did not revert. Not even alittle bit. It remained shiny and curly. Note: We did not touch up her hair at all … no pressing and/or curling of any sort.

In prep for wash day, we pre-pooed with coconut oil overnight. We rinsed and washed with Elucense, followed by DC’ing with AOHSR with heat for 45 minutes. I was needlessly concerned about heat damage and product build-up. Neither was noted. Kennedy’s curls were not compromised at all. She still has a very dense head of 4c curls. I might even say that her hair was slightly more manageable. It was surprisingly well moisturized. I attribute this to (1) pre-pooing and (2) moisturizing/conditioning.

Our light blow dry and press and curl process was the same as the first time. I wanted to follow the same routine to ensure repeatability and reproducibility. We succeeded. I was even able to use a lower temp on the flat-iron this time (325°). I spoke with Dana Settle, Kay Vel Co-Founder, who shared that many claim to be able to use even less heat with repeated use of Kay Vel Creme Press. That was indeed our experience. On our next wash day, we shall scale the temperature back 15-25 degrees.

Overall, we are exceptionally pleased with the Kay Vel Creme Press and our regimen. Kay Vel Creme Press is a miracle in a jar! While it worked extremely well for Kennedy’s 4c curls, those whose hair straightens quickly with heat, may not realize the true benefit of the product. The incorporation of protein, pre-pooing and Kay Vel Creme Press really helped get us over the hurdle. Kennedy will likely return to her staple (the puff) in the summer when temperatures climb, but for now we are incredibly grateful for all your sage advise and willingness to help! You really did save me from reaching for that jar of texturizer! 🙂

Sincerely,

Rhonda

(p.s. The first time, I might add that I did spray her hair with Jane Carter leave-in, which is supposed to have heat protection and detangling properties. The second time, I did not. But, I will incorporate heat protection going forward because it can’t hurt.)

KennedyafterKayVel

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You are VERY welcome Rhonda!! I am so happy that you and Kennedy are off the ledge and received such great results!! But, what I’m most pleased to know is that Kennedy’s hair reverted quickly once washed!!

So, I still don’t think that I would try this on my loose curls and fine strands as I think it might loosen the curl even further. But, I definitely think that this product has potential and would recommend it for those with heartier strands and tighter coils who are experiencing struggles with straightening and/or daily styling.

What about you guys? Do you think Kay Vel is legit??

Natural Hair and the Media

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source: BoutiqueDeBandeaux (Etsy)

Last week, I shared an Infiniti commercial that featured a natural bride, because it really struck me and made me smile (see the commercial here). Someone wrote an insightful comment on the post that ended with, “[I]s it really necessary for a commercial to validate the beauty of natural hair?”

This reply prompted me to explain a little more about why this particular commercial struck me and my thoughts on the media as it relates to natural hair:

I’ve kind of always been a person who dances to the beat of her own drummer. So, I don’t need it to validate the beauty of natural hair. I just think that it’s nice to see, especially for children and young women who may internalize the images of beauty that they see promulgated by the media. I think the more we see diversity in all things, the more people are able to recognize their own beauty. So, again, although I don’t find it personally necessary for me, I don’t discount the influence of media nor the role it plays in the self-esteem of the impressionable.

I agree with what you say about the actresses too and sometimes think it’s just the sheer numbers. As more women become natural, more actresses auditioning for roles are natural. I think it’s partly just those mathematics. If it used to be that 1 in every 10 women who auditioned for a role was natural/curly and now it’s 5 in every 10 (just making up numbers, not saying that this is the reality), the chances increase that the actress cast will be natural.

But yeah, this one excited me … again, I think because she was a bride and even some natural women still seem to struggle with the idea of wearing their hair in natural styles for their wedding, because there is this residual idea that natural hair isn’t sleek or elegant enough for “special occasions.” I love that we have options and if someone wants to wear their hair straight because it’s a way to switch it up for the day and make it a little different from their daily look, or there is this particular style that they want, I’m all for it. I just don’t like the idea that someone might not wear their natural hair for a special occasion because it’s not “special” or elegant enough. So, I just liked the image of the bride, because, again, I do believe the media can influence self-image and public perception.

Okay, I’ve rambled and said my spiel!! LOL!! Just wanted to clarify why this particular commercial struck me:).”

Yeah … I know … that’s a mouthful ;).

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All that being said, what are your thoughts on natural hair and the media?

“She’d Look Good in a Potato Sack”

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So, I had this hypothesis that I wanted to test. I wanted to take a pic of hair that is wild, big, teased, irregular, frizzy, undefined whatever … and see it on someone considered attractive and another person considered unattractive. You see, I have this theory that the face (naked or with the right make-up and accompanied by a hot outfit) often influences the perception of the attractiveness of the hair.

Therefore, I decided to swap out the face of a model (wanted to use Sanaa, but my Photoshop skills are not up) with big, “undefined” hair with a pic of Flava Flav (by the way, the spelling of “Flav” bothers me … you need an “e” at the end of “Flav” for a hard “a” … but, I digress).

(Okay, okay, I posed this on my FB page first and was accused of sandbagging the comparison with Flave. But, you know, just trying to drive home my supposition and prompt some dialogue … it’s been quiet around here lately ;). Plus, I generally don’t like calling people ugly based on physical appearance. So, I had no desire to find a picture of an “ugly” person. But, I mean, c’mon, Flave looks like a Gremlin!!!)

#Tooeasy

So, whaddaya think? Does the beauty of a person’s face “color” the perception of his/her hair? Does an attractive face sometimes make “big, wild, messy, undefined” hair more “acceptable” in our society? 

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?

Perfect Imperfection

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Hi guys!! Have you seen Curly Nikki’s interview with Tracee Ellis-Ross?!?!? If not, get yourself over there right now and check it out here!! What a great interview!!

Anyway, the reason I’m pointing it out is something struck me about the above picture, which was the lead for the interview. After sharing M’s guest post this morning about Hair and Self-Acceptance … and then going to the interview and seeing this pic again … I wrote in the comments:

“You know what I love about that first pic and want to point out? Look at the irregularity of Tracee’s hair pattern. There are kind of straight pieces on the left and bottom right, it’s coarser on the top with a less definitive curl …. and we LOVE it! I think we are often too hard on our own hair, looking microscopically, dissecting every single curl, expecting perfectly uniform perfection. But Tracee’s curls aren’t like this and she is the hair idol of many a natural. At the end of the day, we need to look at our hair, our selves as a whole and appreciate the beauty of imperfection. #justsayin 😉

#thatisall”

Looks like I’m having my very own Self-Concept Thursday!! Sorry for jacking your steelo Nik!! It just happened that way;)!

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Do you embrace YOUR perfectly perfect imperfection?