Archive for September, 2009

September 29, 2009

Media Hair

solange-oprahI won’t admit to a building of anticipation over the upcoming release of Chris Rock’s documentary Good Hair, but I am growing increasingly surprised how the media & press  are choosing to cover this topic, from the NYT article a couple weeks back to Tyra Banks’ premier episode talking about ‘real hair.’ Convoluted and at times biased…at best, I can’t see the trend ending any time soon.

I didn’t touch on Tyra’s ‘big reveal’ episode because in the end…‘it is what it is,‘ many women’s hair experiences are relative to their lifestyle, upbringing, varying influences in their lives (professional or personal),  etc..! But when you can factor in one of the biggest influences in American culture to date…it MUST be recognized.  On Wednesday, September 30th y’all, Chris Rock is set to chat it up with our main femme Oprah about his soon to be released documentary, & rounding out the show’s theme will be a Q&A discussion with Solange!

I’m excited because…really, if you want something done right, go to the right people and Oprah is emphatically the gal for asking the right questions WE want answered, and if I’m not mistaken that may very well be her philosophy on interviewing.  Chris Rock and Ms. O have always had a great dialogue relationship on screen, so it’s already a given we’ll be treated to a fun show! Enter in Solange and we’re almost guaranteed hair hot topics for a solid week or two!

Oprah is set to  share her hair experiences with audience and viewers as well, and my interest will be in the feedback after the show.  So check out the forums on Oprah.com if you dare after the show, and no doubt hit up the natural hair blogosphere for opinions galore;-)!

 

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September 28, 2009

Remix

curlBack to business this week! Ever so slight change in approach though, a few add-ons from last week, and going forward. What did I do last week?! Ahh! Took me a minute, but it was typical pre-poo, wash, style. Can’t remember what I used for pre-poo, but found some Organix Coconut Shampoo to cleanse my scalp. I applied directly to my scalp, massaging in for a good minute before rinsing. Product buildup has been a part of my weekly thing for a while, so the poo bars while cleansing effectively, sometimes I just need to get gritty and reach the scalp directly for a thorough cleansing, and a liquid poo helps to do just that.

This week was sort of the same focus, using the remainder of the Organix Shampoo to cleanse the scalp. And because I’ve developed a phobia of over stripping my hair with poos, I pre-pooed with Vo5’s Moisture Milks Strawberries & Cream (the smell of this is Yum!). Before washing this week, I picked up a bottle while grocery shopping and was delighted to find…the price! Always loved the price of these conditioners, never exceeding $3. Pocket friendly, smells delicious & works/moisturized my tired/dry seven day hair!comb

Instead of detangling while applying a DC, I detangled with the Vo5 saturated in my hair. Last week, I temporarily retired the Denman until my ends get their proper TLC treatment. What I’m experiencing these days is not cute, and a good DC/conditioner can only do so much…it’s well over due for my trim. But to still keep it in the family, I looked to my Denman comb, a three tier comb that detangles crazy good, a bit more gentler on my ends and what I love as an added bonus is that it doesn’t shrink my curls once finished detangling.  Once the comb slides easily across your strands, it leaves curls clumped and elongated, ready to twist & style.

bopDC via AOHR, which went on smooth after earlier detangling.  Raked the DC throughout the hair, passing over once or twice with this hand duty Bop accessory, another tool from the Denman collection.  This is great for scalp massages and for general smoothing of the hair before styling.  Left on for an hour, cold rinsed and styled this week with Alaffia’s Virgin Coconut & Shea Enriching Hair Lotion. Last week, ran out of Darcy’s Botanicals Lemongrass Detangler and found this to be a fair substitute underneath the Madagascar Vanilla Creme. The lotion is quite light, which works well paired with something as thick and dense as the Vanilla creme.

Dried on a low setting using my Soft Bonnet, sealed ends with the new edition to my routine, castor oil! Ok, to be fair, I tried Castor Oil a while back with only so so results.  My theory back then was that it did not work well with the product I’d used at the time on my hair, and YET…lol, after reading this glowing praise over at Afrobella’s blog, I joyfully climbed back onto the bandwagon.  Poured a small palmful onto hands, and slowly worked it throughout the dry twists & to the scalp, applied my oil infusion. This morning, results were lovely, shinny and well moistrized! My roots are soft/twists are toucheably soft/all is good again;-)

September 21, 2009

Game Plan

curlAlright, so the plan is to bust through this post, just to get back in the flow again.  With the whirlwind of grad applications behind me (yeah, fingers crossed!), I was sitting home yesterday at a loss of sorts…trying to figure out what I’d done to my hair just a week prior.  What I know for sure is that over the past week or two, time wasn’t all that friendly, and I did scramble some to do the do.  I also think part of the reason my memory is so blurry is because I really hated my hair this past week…lol.

I’ve had it in my mind for a minute to do a braid out on my hair, something I seriously hadn’t done for many years.   Yet for some reason, the crazy part of me decided to attempt a braidout with hardly enough time for my hair to dry for the next morning.  I’d lightly co-washed, no DC, finger combed/detangled rather than using the Denman because my ends are beyond knarly.  So in essence I was attempting a braidout on poorly conditioned, under-detangled hair. FUN!

I used the basics, my Darcy’s Botanicals Lemongrass Detangler underneath the Madagascar Creme.  The problem was the actual braiding! I haven’t used three strands to do ANYTHING with my hair for YEARS! I figured it’d be just like riding a bike…la de da…da. Alas, a big fat NO! 

First of all, when braiding, the hair needs to be smooooooth. Detaaaaagled. I’ve been repeating this in my head over the past few days, particularly when it came time to style my hair in the morning before work.  My struggles this past week had everything to do with my lack of insight, and the only thing helping me to try this style in the future would be to practice!

What I’ve also been fighting for the past few weeks are tangled/fried ends.  Without a deep condition and proper detangling, my already brittle ends that’ve long been in need of a trim, were beyond help.  The braidout was a great lesson learned in that I was able to elongate my hair without a blowout.  I LOVED the look of the braidout, yet the time…the TIME it takes to braid, and subsequently unbraid the hair the following day or few days…it’s defintely time consuming. A big part of me wishes I’d had the gumption to try this early on during the Summer!

In essence the braid out did not last until wash day yesterday, so I ended up lightly co-washing again Friday night, twisting with AOHR mixed with water, then applying KBB Milk to the twists before drying.  I had a fun curly fro for work the following day which was easy and fun.

Going into Sunday’s business, I had full intention of changing the game plan.  With colder weather creeping in, it was sort of inevitable, yet my adjustments are forcing me to give up old favorites and to also try new techniques.  This week I’ll begin to outline the new tools I’m falling back on, retiring the ‘ol Denman, and new products I intend to use going forward.

September 17, 2009

Albiet, Brief

MJR-ENR Ashesi

 

Late, but quick checking in before this crazy week is up! I’m in the homestretch of polishing off my grad school applications, so unfortunately no time to post this week. Will be back in full force once that envelope lands in the nice hands of the postal woman at the USPS office!

But in PJ news! Mala is back from her Ghana trip, and Afroveda is once again open for business! Yeah! You can click here to read snippets from her AMAZING , inspiring journey.

Shop’s open, which means my lovely locks can get reacquainted with the addicting Shea-Amla Butter Creme! My added excitement this go around comes from the fact that I can purchase the creme in a 16 oz bottle! With colder temps approaching  might even stock up on two jars.  For $15 you can’t go wrong!  If you can sense your hair’s craving added moisture these days, or feel the change in temps these days is a foreshadowing of what’s to come, I say now’s the time to sample much of Mala’s goodies, you will not be disappointed! And if you’re into easy scavanger hunts,  surf around the home page for a discount code courtesy of Mala!

 

Alright, I said no time to post, but must make time to eat!

 

Hope all’s well;-)!

September 12, 2009

PSA

Alright, so it’s that time of year when you really can’t fight it anymore…it’s time to ditch the cute sandals for laced up kicks and closed toe shoes, layer-up that short sleeve blouse with a denim jacket or light sweater, and reassess the hair products you’ve been using over the past season or so.  I’ve done all this before, nothing new…but the feeling of being right back at square one is sort of hanging over my head.

I’m sorting through a lot of my old hair products, most that I haven’t used for whatever reason, or simply don’t know how to repurpose.  I’ve used perhaps…2-3 applications of each, but always find myself scratching my head, wondering where it is I could’ve gone wrong.  After carefully reading the labels, listening to other ppls. product reviews…I’m always just a bit disheartened to find that I could never get the product to work for me!

So! Instead of relinquishing defeat, I’m choosing to embrace a new season, and a new way to possibly incorporate it into my regime.  Somehow….SOMEWAY, these products will be used! I have several in my stash to go through, but today I’ll begin by featuring just one while continuing to feature others sometime down the line.

These are products that:

  • After following the directions still don’t understand it’s intended purpose
  • Spent too much $ on to either throw away or swap
  • Like the ingredients (for the most part) & want to hitch a ride on the love wagon

 

If anyone has used this before with moderate success, DO hit me up! I’ll be grateful for any suggestions;-)!

September 9, 2009

Holiday Hair

curlI can’t believe it’s already mid-week! I don’t think I’ll ever fall out of love with Holiday weekends! Rather than start/wash my hair on Sunday this past week, instead pre-pooed Friday evening with Trader Joe’s Refresh Citrus Conditioner, then finished off the last of my Chagrin Valley Olive & Babassu poo bar. DC’d with AOHR OVERNIGHT! I debated whether or not to do this because of the strong smell of the condish, but was much too tired and groggy to twist the hair well into the night. I sectioned, detangled and applied the AOHR, slept with the conditioning cap sealed tight to prevent any leaks, and woke up at the crack of dawn the next morning to cold rinse.

Seriously, the SOFTEST HAIR EVVAH! It’d been well over two years since I did an overnight DC treatment, and considered it a real treat when it came out so amazingly light, soft & manageable. Often times in order for a conditioner/DC to be effective enough to produce significant results, 1-3 hours is ample time for the product to penetrate the hair… but that night you really couldn’t have told me otherwise! I was almost reluctant to apply a leave-in or styler. Almost.

Snapshot_20090907_4My quest to find an adequate twisting gel though left me empty handed at the end of the day. I had TWO picks for a gel, and could find neither at Ricky’s here in NY. I did not want to fall back on old gels that had not worked in the past, so instead I filed home and twisted with Darcy’s Madagascar Crème. Leave-in this week was the Lemongrass Coconut Detangler. The twists were made smaller, and thankfully took much less time to dry.

All in all my holiday hair was very convenient, one day pinning the twists to the side, another day clipping them up with a claw clip.  Snapshot_20090907_1

I regretted taking them down for the rest of the work week, but made a promise that I’d revisit this protective style sometime in the winter, making the parts more even, and perhaps making the twists slightly smaller for better styling.   While the hair was in twists for a few days, they managed to remain very well moisturized, never falling flat.  At night I simply tight with a satin scarf, and donned a satin bonnet to prevent my pillowcase from soaking up the oils from my hair.  Untwisting the hair Tuesday morning, didn’t have well defined curls, instead I had skinny waves all throughout my head, and really there was no need to separate each undone strand.  The twist-out was fresh, meaning the hair was still laying relatively flat against my head, but it had good bounce/body and even today (Wednesday), hair is still very much moisturized and I have not had to apply product at night.

Snapshot_20090907_14

up-do's

 

 

The pics are not the best, my PC camera does not capture the best lighting…next time I’ll use my handheld.  Monday afternoon I clipped my hair up before heading out to visit my Aunt.  I love the look of twists pulled up and away from the face, it really shows the fullness of the hair, and it’s the easiest style to do;-)!

September 8, 2009

Shop Talk: Natural Ease

 

Is it really hard?  Honestly…I’m playing investigator Chai for one day, and I need to know…is it really THAT hard to care for natural hair?  Is the ‘pouf’ factor intimidating enough to steer most onto easy street…a.k.a., relaxer road?  I’ve never labeled myself as a natural pusha, or what’s been oddly called the “natural Nazis,” syndrome, but I am one of the only two women in my family who’s sporting her natural hair…the other is my proud Mum;-).  A conversation with a friend this afternoon got the wheels turning after she expressed to me that she’d be getting her hair done later in the week, it’d been several months since she’d last relaxed and felt it was time to touch up.  We’d both been down this road before, more so since I started blogging about my hair, yet the road is far from straight…it’s mostly circular.  I’d try to drop tiny hints about the WONDERS of being natural, and the misconceptions that are often thrown about when it comes to caring for a thicker texture, yet the fruits of my tiny labor typically bear zero.  It’s nothing I bemoan about, truthfully I’ve lived by the motto “DO YOU” for most of my adult life, and find it serves many purposes. So while I’m not a ‘pusher’ per se, I do not mind saying that I am a natural hair enthusiast…or informant.  In fact, I do have several friends who are relaxed… actually it’d be more fair to say I have just one friend who is natural and she’s only recently BC’d a month or two ago.  Over the years if one or two had questions about my hair, I was all up in there with an answer, explaining my routine and asking if this might be an avenue they’d like to explore.

 

frooftheweek1Over the years, the only friend I’ve managed to convince was my own mother, who after 20+ years decided to abandon the relaxer because her hair was thinning excessively.  Bottom line, with the slight push from her doctor she finally decided to transition. My Mum has had her own struggles adjusting to being natural, yet to label her transition hard, or difficult…I’m still not sure.  Her frustrations clearly showed from time to time, most often when she’d complain about the actual thinness of her hair as compared to the thick mane she used to sport back in the 70’s during the fro revolution.  Her hair texture was different now, though still curly, it lacked fullness, a bit of luster and length.

 

Newly natural, my mother did experiment with a myriad of hair products, a lot that I’d personally recommended to her, others she’d pick up as pocketed suggestions from ladies & stylists at her hair salon.  Most gave her the ‘look’ she sought, but what she ultimately desired was to appear ‘acceptable’ with a sleek look that usually bordered on a post-texturized do.  She wanted to be natural without having to look natural. It might sound odd to say, but I’ve come to believe that in the early stages of my Mum’s BC, she was stuck in a state of transition.  There was no immediate ‘knowing’ of how to care for her hair, especially granted the 20+ years of being relaxed.  Products that she’d often use on her relaxed her, she could no longer apply to her new texture.  This was only part of her problem.  Guidance is a virtue in the natural hair community, yet the advice my Mum sought was from tired stylists who dared not take a comb to section or part.  The only answer was to texturize and pay the tip. 

 

It’s been several years now, and my Mum is still natural, and as far as I can tell has no plans on relaxing.  Over time, the thinness of her hair has waned, the familiar thickness of her hair has slowly come back. And while her length is no longer as she remembered it many years ago, her current short fro suits her personal style…it’s easier for her to get on with the day while washing and go’ing to and fro in the Florida heat. 

 

Was it hard..though? Similar to most other transitions in life, there were adjustments to be made and random advice to be thrown about…some discarded others tucked away for safe keeping.  Yet while transitioning has it’s hurdles…whatever you want to call ‘now,’ where a lot of naturals currently are…post natural…whathaveyou…I’d reference it to anything but hard.  The ‘ease’ that my friend is looking forward to later this week after getting her relaxer, is the same ease I wake up to every morning while taking down my silk scarf.  The once a week ‘Process’ I undergo is tedious at best…but let me pat myself on the back for a minute and say…I’ve had this ‘Process’ down pat for some time.  I jive to my own music in my own place, instead of waiting upwards of 1 hour – 3 hours for an ‘expert’ to dish on what she/he thinks looks good.

 

I was no fool though, the ‘ease’ did not come naturally, what I scramble through each Sunday has taken time, effort, patience but most importantly the knowledge of how to care for something that’s inherently delicate.  These days I do not solicit other relaxed women to join the natural team, but if you ask…or have mixed perceptions that turn my own experiences on their head, I can’t help but mumble something to a certain affect of… ‘here’s how it really is…’

 

I could be old school in my thinking, the first time I went natural was in 2001 long before brands such as Kinky Curly, Miss Jessie’s or Curl Junkie were as familiar as they are today.  But what I do have is my own experience, the years, sweat & $$ I’ve put into caring for this mop.  I’m rambling now because…well it does go that deep, it’s something I can’t help.  It is just hair… sometimes though it’s not, it really can’t be.

September 4, 2009

Friday Plans

happy_friday

 

Happy Friday/end of Summer!! I know it’s only the ‘unofficial’ end of Summer, but the eerie calm of my Subway ride into work today, told me something else. Cheers though for long weekends! I’m not sure the historical aspects of Labor Day, but I’ll be more than happy to give thanks to whoever implemented the holiday. That lovely day off always seems to come just at the right time…but really when is a day off never the ‘right time?’

Anywho, while this weekend caps off a shift in seasons…kids are back in school, co-workers return from their long vacations in the hills, I’m planning on returning my hair to a simpler style. Tomorrow, rather than Sunday I’ll wash/style the hair into two strand twists that will hopefully last until Monday or Tuesday evening. I’ll be making smaller twists that allow me to pin the hair up, down, in a pony or what have you…the versatility of twists are endless, and that’s why I luv em!. The only change will be in my styler, which will be a gel/cream base rather than my go-to stash because I want a longer lasting hold. Haven’t used a gel to twist my hair in…I’d say well over a year or so. I did use Darcy’s Botanicals Natural Coils Curling Jelly to shingle, but doubt it will give me the natural hold to last several days. So my options have opened! Which makes me excited because I must run to Ricky’s BSS and peruse their selections, something I haven’t done in a while. If the twists come out decent, which I’m hoping they will if I’m spending more than an hours time on them… I’ll post pics. In the past I’ve used the Jamaican Mango Lime gel with fantastic results, my only gripe was the size of the jar! Teeny tiny for the price, especially at Ricky’s, so I’m thinking a trip to the outer boroughs to stock up  will be in order.  I’ve also used IC Fantasia gel to twist, but found it left my hair significantly dry the following day, which I found odd because I sampled both the Olive Oil formula & the Color Treated formula.

hairIf you ladies have any suggestions for gels, drop me a line! I’ll be perusing some Youtube channels and blogs to see what’s worked for whom and why before I make my run to the BSS;-)

Today though is a co-worker’s B-day in my office, and we’re off to celebrate! Tonight we’ll be taking in the show HAIR on Broadway, a musical that’s gotten amazing reviews since it premiered last summer in Central Park’s theatre. My budget has been bound tight lately, but I splurged for a good time knowing it’d be much needed.  I don’t know any of the words to any of the songs, but it’s all about energy…right?  I don’t know, I’m sure they’ll be a diddy or two that rings familiar, here’s hoping;-).

 

*I’m off for the next couple days, so no posts until Tuesday.  Hope everyone’s holiday is a safe and relaxing one!!

 

September 3, 2009

Spoiled by Milk: Darcy’s Botanicals Review

PeachKernelHydratingMilk3

oooo...whee..!!

 

When in doubt, reach for the Hair Milk.  That’s sort of been my hair philosophy, particularly during those parched days, hair lacking moisture and you need to stretch the do out for just one more day before the wash.  I don’t know exactly what it is…though I have my theories, that a ‘milk’ caressing my tresses will make all the frizzy dry blues go away.  I’m an addict of the Hair Milk and will be devout for any/and all brands….granted they meet my rock solid check list of hair do’s and don’ts.   After experimenting with Carol’s Daughter and their Hair Milk during my second BC, I knew I’d found love…save for the change in formula some time down the road.  What it’s really all about: adequately hydrating, moisturizing when needed and versatile enough to use on either wet or dry hair. 

During my last haul, I took another chance with a hair milk, this one by Darcy’s Botanicals.  The Peach Kernel Hydrating Milk is a thick, creamy milk bath for your hair, that will naturally moisturize and enhance curls while hair is wet, and hydrate dry hair for optimal styling.  My intial try with the milk, was as a leave-in under the Madagascar Vanilla Creme rather than the Lemongrass Detangling Creme. Both work well in layering with a heavier styling product, yet the Peach Kernel did a better job in defining the curls before adding anything over.

 

 

 

WHAT’S IN IT?

Distilled Water, Organic Aloe Juice, Peach Kernel Oil, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Jojoba, Emulsifying Wax, Vegetable Glycerin, Yarrow, Sage, Horsetail, Nettle, & Lavender Extracts, MSM, a paraben-free preservative and fragrance

While it works better than average as a regular leave-in, it’s more of a benefit to use it as a weekly substitute when hair is excessively dry and craving moisture. Lately it’s been my go-to styler at night to calm away the day’s frizz & to retwist the hair.  In the mornings I unravel to much softer hair, and add maybe just a dime size amount to some of the ends, particularly the parts that tend to graze my collar or shoulder because they lack the most moisture. 

 

HOW DO I USE IT?

Apply just a small amount throughout wet or dry hair for healthy conditioning and moisture.

*Use to gently soften and detangle new growth while transitioning to natural hair .

*Use it as a daily or weekly leave-in to naturally condition dry curls & waves.

 While a lot of the products I generally use to style my hair come with the saying,’apply just a small amount,’ I’m very happy to report that this is very much the case with this hair milk! Surprisingly, it’s rich creamy texture merits only a smidge to soften the hair. The 8oz bottle is generous in a pump applicator making distributing the product relatively easy.  So rather than continue to use it as a leave-in, I’m going to opt instead to use it as a weekly replenisher when the hair is feeling a bit dry….perfect for the upcoming winter weather!!

*Use to add much needed moisture to parched curls.

*Can use to do comb coils.

*Can also double as a body lotion!

If you fear the smell of peaches, this may not be for you.  While the smell is present while applying, it does linger for a day or two unless it’s paired with another product.  This is a definite repurchase for next Darcy haul. Lysandra has amazing customer service, well known for adding an extra sample goodie in your box to make you smile and at $12, the price is reasonable.

September 2, 2009

Hair Strategy

curlThis past weekend, as much of a blur as it was, allowed me to bring it all back to the idea of keeping it simple. Time was not on my hands as far as the hair went, yet ingenuity and carefully placed hair pins were lovely substitutes! Simple is as simple does & Sunday found me little time to start early and end early with my hair.  Instead, I did a rushed co-wash with Trader Joe’s Refresh Citrus Conditioner fortified with Vitamin C, a nice creamy/thick conditioner ideal for quick co-washes…and for 2.99 ya can’t beat the price! Nixed on Poo’ing the hair or DC’ing, and headed straight for styling with Darcy’s Botanicals Vanilla Styling Creme.  No leave-in conditioner this week simply because it would’ve taken my hair double the time to 017dry.  Twisted with the Creme while removing any extra moisture, and blow dried on a low setting until the twists were still slightly damp, yet still holding their shape.  Instead of separating the twists, I loosely gathered each undone twist into a back bun.  Gathered on the top, and then on the bottom, I pinned my damp hair and walked out the door.

The bonus to this method, was my hair’s ability to air dry while walking and carouseling through the city.  Reaching home later that night, my hair was fully dry, unfrizzy and still well moisturized because the twists were held securely in place by a dozen or so stratigically placed bobby pins. My only regret was not taking pics of my updo! Typically, my hair is worn out and loose, I think what’s really my signature coif as of late.  Yet Sunday was cuteness with the up-do! Next time for sure, and their WILL be a next time…I’ll take pics to document what I know my hair is capable of, a slightly more sophisticated look.  Sometimes a girl just has to try;-).

Q-Tip MJ Tribute-8-29-09Without DC’ing or using a Leave-in this week, my night routine did change.  Instead of piling the hair atop my head with a scrunchie or making two puffs on each side of my head, I opted to twist the hair at night, adding a small amount of Darcy’s Peach Kernel Hydrating Milk to the hair, especially concentrating on the ends.  Twisting for Monday was easy, and the hair held up much better than expected.  Tuesday I repeated the process, but instead turned it into a Curly Fro by twisting then using foam rods at the ends. Rather than having spirals well throughout, my hair formed loose, well moisturized waves with loads of body and shine!

To follow up for the rest of the week, I plan to twist nightly and continue to hydrate with the hair milk.  So while thisQ-Tip MJ Tribute-8-29-09 weekend was a bit of a blur, it was AMAZINGLY fun! If you were in NYC, perhaps you were LIVE at Spike Lee’s MJ party in Prospect park?! I had work during the day…unfortunately, but have friends and co-workers who’ve sworn to a good time! My highlight came after work, attending the Q-tip bash in Times Sqaure celebrating MJ’s birthday with DJ Spinna and DJ Ronson.  I really did have one of the best, high energy nights in a LOOOooong time.  Nonstop MJ music…a few Q-tip throwbacks…cuz, of course he’s the host/MC, and great friends made the night truly special.  I came out of the Nokia Theatre with a Halo of frizz and sweaty pits, but I’d do it allllll again;-)

 

*Wordpress is acting foolish, click on images or link to view