Blog Archives

Haircut Party: They’ve Been Jaded!

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After Tameeka (aka Jaded Tresses) did a demo at the Hairscapades Meet-Up in May and cut my hair in June (as seen here), several local readers started contacting me and her about getting their hair cut as well. I knew Tameeka made “house calls” and did hair parties, giving a great discount off of her NYC salon prices too! I mean, she comes to you … saving tunnel, train, parking and what-have-you fees to NY and you get a discount off her amazing services to boot?!?! How can you beat that?!

So, the week before I left for vacation, I set about organizing a Hair Party. Tiffany asked her parents to allow us to use their house on 7/15 and they very graciously obliged! It started with a small group of 5-6 ladies and we ended up with about 18 people in the house, with 9 of those getting their hair cut or trimmed and styled!! Yesterday, we took over the kitchen and dining area with our hair shenanigans!! LOL!! Oh, and Wei somehow ended up on babysitting duty, but I think he enjoyed every moment of that ;).

We started at 11 am and didn’t wrap things up until 8 pm (Tameeka didn’t take one break!! She’s a BEAST! *lol*). Every head of curls had a different shape, length and texture. It was awesome to see her cut and style each lady’s hair without seeming to take off any significant length!! The hair on the floor and her flip-flops was proof that hair was falling though!! Tameeka really worked her curl magic. A great time was had by all, everyone learned a lot and, I think it’s safe to say, every lady walked out a satisfied customer!!

So, without further ado, here are “before and after” pics of everyone! All “afters” immediately below are of wet hair except Tiffany, who was the last client of the day. So she was the lucky model for Tameeka’s diffuser demo. Here we go …

Tiffany (Tiffany’s sister-in-law)

Takara

Chloe

Michelle

Gina

Shauna

Nicole

Michelle

Tiffany

And here’s a slide show of some of the stuff that happened in between, as well as some “final results” dry hair pictures. Everyone looks amazing!!

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So, what do you think? Don’t they look awesome?!

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Be Weird. Be Random. Be Who You Are.

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I love this. I believe in being oneself … no holds barred … unapologetically. The whole idea of putting on a facade so others will like you or find you “acceptable” or “normal” is bizarre to me. I mean, they are going to know who you are eventually, right? So you better get them to like you for who that is … the authentic you … from the get-go. I mean, why would I even want someone as a friend or partner who didn’t appreciate my uniqueness, my quirks, my idiosyncrasies? Someone who would judge me harshly for those things or find me lacking in some way because of them? That would mean that they don’t value the true me and would either be disappointed, disgusted or dismayed when they discovered her … that, or I would have to live a lie the rest of my life.

That’s why I’ve never had the slightest compunction about revealing my love and excitement for all things cartoons and comics (see here, here, here and/or here) … and it’s why I proudly claim that I’m a nerd … it’s why I don’t hesitate or feel the slightest embarrassment about sharing childhood pics of me looking a mess (check out this post if you missed my Wave Nouveau tragedy ;)) … or feel any compulsion to expend lots of effort to always be/look perfect (for evidence of that, see here). And, it’s probably why I didn’t think twice about chopping off all of my hair 12 years ago to wear my hair in its natural state, regardless of what anyone else might say or think. ‘Cuz, you know, other than wanting to lose a few pounds every now and again, I’ve always been pretty comfortable in my own skin.

This is me. It’s always been me. Love me or leave me alone.

Embrace your weirdness. Revel in your random. Go out there and be EXACTLY who you are. Because not one person, but many, will love you for exactly who that is.

That is all.

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Who is the weird and random you?

A WnG Trick for Multi-Textured Curls

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As many of you know, the section of hair on my right side naturally has a lot looser texture than my left side and crown, especially the area next to my part. This can make for interesting WnGs as this section is barely wavy and tends to fall flat, especially after the style is a couple of days old.

So, this is a quick and easy fix for my multiple textures. It’s so simple that some may wonder why I’m even sharing it. But, I figured, you never know, it may help someone who didn’t think of it yet!

Once my WnG is fully dry, if my right side is looking as it does above and I’m not pulling my front back, I set it for about 15 minutes or overnight with a few small perm rods! I either lightly dampen my hair with water or product before setting it on the rollers or I spritz it with water after rolling (the latter is when I only want to set it for a few minutes).

10-15 minutes later

Then, I simply separate any thicker curls into smaller sections and twirl them around with my finger to reform. The curls are loopier and larger than the texture on the left side of my hair, but blend well enough, as you can see in this “after” picture that I posted yesterday!

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Are you a multi-textured, WnG curly? What do you do, if anything, to blend and/or balance your multiple textures?

The BEST Bobby Pins

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This is just a quick post to tell you about the best bobby pins I’ve found. The MetaGrip Premium bobby and roller pins.

via SallyBeauty.com

  • Patented, Japanese technology goes into making the best pin for the professional hair stylist
  • Enhanced long-lasting spring
  • Firm secure grip
  • Rust resistant
  • Durable tips

You can see and feel the difference between this bobby pin and the standard $0.99 Goody bobby pin that I’ve used for years.

MetaGrip (back); Goody (front).

I’ve been using the roller pins for a couple of years, but just picked up the bobby pins after seeing Naptural85 post about them on Facebook. She said that the tips never peel, so no snagged hair! And, she has them for a good year before she needs to get more. I’ve had them for a few months now and they are still perfect, no peels, chips and they haven’t stretched out of shape. Now, the MetaGrip cost a little more at $6.99 for 300 (bobby pins) or 70 (roller pins). But, they are totally worth it in my opinion!
And, with summer officially making its debut this week, I’ll be using these often to get this hot hair off of my face and neck!!

Transitioning

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by Lia of Embracing Natural Hair

Transitioning from relaxed to natural is a big decision you have to make if you are considering going natural. First, you want to ask yourself the reasons for going natural. Is it for a change, is it because you are tired of the upkeep of relaxers, experience breakage or damage to your scalp, want to set an example for your daughter, or simply want to embrace your natural hair? Whatever your reason, you must remember it during your transition, especially if it gets challenging along the way. Your initial reason for going natural may be your number one motivation to stick to your transition, no matter what. Transitioning actually starts with a mindset. Once you make the decision to go natural, you have to be mentally prepared for what is to come.

There may be people around you that may not understand your reason for going natural. They may think natural hair looks “nappy” or “unkempt.” However, just know that whatever your texture whether 2c, or 4c, all hair is beautiful! For many years, unfortunately, our society has portrayed natural hair as unattractive and many black women see natural hair as a bad thing. Many black women feel they “have” to have a relaxer or straight hair to look presentable. This is not the case, and once you view natural hair as beautiful and unique, you’ll be more accepting of it.

You must be willing to embrace your natural hair and put aside what anyone else thinks! Don’t get discouraged if others aren’t supportive or if your natural texture isn’t what you hoped for. Learn to work with what you have and enjoy the ride.

When I truly made the decision to go natural, I knew I would have a long road ahead of me, but I was prepared. I did a lot of protective styling for length retention and also to avoid having to fight with the two textures. In the beginning, it was pretty easy, but as months went by, the detangling sessions got more difficult as I battled with the two textures. I wanted to do a 2 or 3 year transition, but at 18 months post relaxer I knew it was time to do the BC!

If you’re on the fence about transitioning, here are some great reasons to go natural:

  • No costly upkeep of a relaxer.
  • No more scalp burns.
  • Thick, full healthy hair (with the right regimen).
  • Beautiful God-given coils/kinks/curls.
  • Versatility in styling natural hair!
  • Easy to style and looks better as the days go by.
  • Can still achieve the look of a sleek relaxer without the permanent commitment of a relaxer.
  • The ease of Wash N Go’s…especially in the summer.
  • Don’t have to avoid your hair getting wet…Natural hair loves water!!
  • Don’t have to worry about “sweating out your perm” when working out.

Just think of transitioning as a journey or race you must take to get you that finish line … you may get tired, you may want to quit, but stick it through and you WILL accomplish your goal!

You can do it!!

Find Embracing Natural Hair on Facebook too!

Can I Over-Condition?

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Back in the day … like 2 years ago ;), you couldn’t tell me that there was such a thing as over-conditioning. As a 12 year natural, the first thing that I would tell anyone transitioning, newly natural or interested in natural was, “Condition, condition and condition again! There is no such thing as over-conditioning!” Well, to tell you the truth, I still pretty much stand by that statement. Buuuuutttttt, here’s the thing. That’s because I think the term “over-conditioned” is a bit of a misnomer. I think most of us, when we are seeking an answer to that question, want to know whether we can over-moisturize our hair. And the answer to that is yes … a fact that I learned the hard way.

via The Science of Black Hair

Out in the “real world” overconditioning, or “tipping too far” on the moisture side of the protein/moisture balance, is virtually rare …

The problem of overconditioning seems to arise once the individual has been indoctrinated into all things hair. By now, she has figured out which products are protein-based and which are more moisture leaning-and here, the tendency to over moisturize tends to develop. She develops an aversion to protein and throws all of her resources into achieving a perpetual “moisture high.” The proliferation of true “protein overload” stories may have gotten her to this point! She knows that there is a gentle, often tricky balance to maintain but she puts all of her eggs in her moisturizing basket just to be safe. She may even realize that different proteins have different properties, and some actually improve the hair’s elasticity rather than toughen the strands-but she’s not taking any chances with protein period. This aversion causes her to moisturize and overcondition her hair until the cows come home.

“Protein-Sensitivity”
In 2010, I discovered the term, “protein sensitivity” and thought that I’d finally diagnosed the problem that I had with many products formulated for black/”ethnic” hair. These products, especially the conditioners, most often made my hair hard when wet and brittle and hay-like once dry. So, when I discovered that this was because they contained protein, I started to avoid anything with protein like the plague. Instead, I began using henna as my strengthening treatment. However, an over-zealous henna routine (i.e. multiple full-length treatments in a short period of time) resulted in significant curl-loosening.

Therefore, in 2011, I started doing roots only treatments of henna, for color and strength without the resultant curl-loosening. But, I didn’t incorporate anything else to strengthen the length of my strands. By October 2011, my hair felt incredibly soft, but it was also flyaway, snagged at the slightest touch and was shedding (and probably breaking) like crazy. Every time I touched my hair, strands were littering my hands. At this point, I realized that I had omitted an important part of my regimen: strength. I began researching protein and revisited it after learning how to use it the right way (see this post for deets).

Revisiting Protein – ApHogee
After my first ApHogee 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor, I saw an IMMEDIATE difference in the feel of my hair … it was harder, but hard-strong, not dry or brittle … and my shedding/breakage drastically decreased. So, I was a convert and began to incorporate protein into my regimen more regularly, typically every 3-4 weeks.

Then, in February, I tried my first (and thus far, only) heavy-duty ApHogee Two Step Protein Treatment. It went well and I would have done more, except that I didn’t have the proper bonnet dryer to safely and efficiently dry the first step.

Enter Aubrey Organics GPB
Back in May, I decided to try Aubrey GPB (Glycogen Protein Balancing) Conditioner for the first time. Something happened that I haven’t seen in a long, long, looooooong time … my shed hair was curly!!! That’s right. I’m a natural with curly/wavy hair who is telling you that I couldn’t remember the last time that I’d seen curly shed hair … maybe a year or two? My strands just seemed wavy and some were essentailly straight. But, after my first GPB treatment, I looked at my shower stall and, to my surprise, saw curly strands for the first time in ages! And, I got excited!! Every wash session with Aubrey GPB, the amount of curly strands seem to increase! This past Saturday, after my haircut, I had a shed hair that was a complete, collapsed coil and I ran into the living room to show Wei! I told him, “I know that this seems silly, but I’m so excited because my curls are back!! It’s a coil!!”

Towards the middle/bottom left, you see those straightish
strands that I was used to seeing.

Now, this isn’t an entirely fair comparison, but I had to show you a pic of my “curls” (i.e. waves) in February and my curls (i.e. CURLS! *lol*) now. The reason the comparison isn’t really fair is because I got a haircut last week to get rid of my henna-loosened ends and my hair is freshly washed after being straight for 2 weeks in the pic on the left whereas, in the pic on the right, it is 7 days old and shrunken.

“Over-Conditioning”
So, what’s my point in all of this? First, I wanted to clarify the term over-conditioned, because I think that most of us call both moisturizing and protein-based post-wash treatments “conditioners.” Therefore, when I say that “over-conditioned” is somewhat of a misnomer, it is because I think that most of us are really referring to over-moisturizing the hair and not using too much protein. We tend to refer to the latter as “protein overload.” Second, we can dip too far to either side and the key is to give our hair what it needs when it needs it. Sometimes it’s moisture, sometimes it’s strength/protein. So, how do you know what your hair needs? It’s all about elasticity.

  • Take a few strands of shed hair and hold one set of ends in the fingertips of one hand. Then lightly tug and release the other ends with your other fingers.
  • Does your hair stretch and stay there (i.e. it doesn’t shrink back like a spring)? Then you probably need protein.
  • Does your normally curly hair appear limp and curl-less? Then you probably need protein.
  • Does your hair snap/break immediately or quickly? Then you probably need moisture.
  • Does your hair stretch, then spring back? Sounds like you have the perfect balance of protein and moisture!

The above is nothing new and you’ve probably read it before. So, what I hope to add to the conversation is what I think that I’ve learned.

  • One, the fact that my shed hair no longer had any curl was an indicator that something was off. Though a variety of factors can contribute to this, over-moisturizing should have been one of the “Usual Suspects.”
  • Second, Aubrey GPB restored the curl that I thought had somehow been lost. That says to me that not all proteins are created equal for all people. Though my shedding/breakage decreased drastically with the ApHogee 2 Minute Reconstructor and the 2 Step Treatment, my shed hair still had little to no curl. However, with the introduction of Aubrey GPB, my curls are springing back to life and elasticity is returning in leaps and bounds.

So, all this to say, if you have avoided protein and your strands have become limp and lifeless and your curls have seemed to all but disappear, you may want to try experimenting with different types of protein. However, remember, just as “over-moisturizing/conditioning” is a real thing, so is protein-overload. And, it’s easier to correct over-moisturized hair than hair with too much protein. So, do your research, proceed with caution and always listen to your hair!

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How do you know when you need moisture or protein? Have you experimented with protein treatments/conditioners/reconstructors? Which one(s) have you found work(s) the best for you?

Reflections

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I just had to share this pic that I saw on Facebook yesterday and posted on my page. This picture just makes my heart swell with joy for two reasons. First, I always love seeing a little girl who adores her daddy and a daddy who adores his little girl.

But second … and this is what inspired the title of this post … look at Sasha’s hair. Which one of us doesn’t have a similar pic of us playing at some time, some place, hair everywhere … and having the time of our lives? To see this captured moment … the daughter of the President of the United States of America, not perfectly coiffed, but looking just like “every little black girl USA,” shoot, “every little black girl” period … no facades … no pretense … no dolled up, whitewashed version of a black family that is “safe” for public viewing … feels like a really existential moment in time. I feel it in my bones. I feel it in my soul. There’s about to be a paradigm shift mannnnn!!! We are here, we are black, we are women and we are worthy just the way we are!!

That is all ;)!