Archive for March, 2010

March 23, 2010

Reader Question: Fairy Knots

I hate that I don’t have much to update as far as my hair goes, and I will… without shame blame it solely on my new devotion to the twist. I have been on a two-strand twisting binge for the past few weeks, & each glance in the mirror further deepens my love for them. Alas, I can’t quit my twists, so instead my brain is nudging me to answer a reader questions that I’ve neglected for much too long;-).

liberalheart writes:

I am looking for some information on how to avoid or tame the little knot kernels at the end of my TWA. They are driving me crazy!!! I don’t know if I am the only person that suffers from this or not, I have been looking for info on the matter to no avail.

This is a tricky question for me simply because I never experienced knots at the end of my TWA many moons ago. I did however experience them a few months back when my hair was in dire need of a good trim. The ends of my hair were brittle, dry to the touch even after an adequate deep conditioning making the only option a snipping session.  Over time, you learn to rely on your instincts as far as when or how often to trim your hair, yet being forced into a trim due to knots and snarls is a whole other story.

During my TWA years, I rarely wore my hair out and about. My fro was, and still is naturally prone to dryness and while it was readjusting to a new texture…well, essentially it battled its own state of confusion as far as retaining moisture &  relating to its new environment. I was also on the fast track to obtaining length. I was obsessed with reaching a hair goal similar to my relaxed days. I was routinely fixated on all the natural haired pictures I came across while flipping through pages of Essence or Honey because in all honesty, they were few and far between. To protect my ends & to abstain from foreseen knotting, I wore protective styles for the majority of TWA years, prolonging the styles until my hair was well past shoulder length. I never endured snarls at the ends of my hair because they were always well hidden or protected from environmental elements.

Bottom line, if you & your hair are going through a period of frustration, it’s time to take a step back & evaluate your regimen.  Or, if you haven’t developed one, time to treat your hair to a regimen based on consistency.  No two heads of natural hair are the same. Ever, and this goes way beyond the surface & the look of one’s style, therefore no matter the length of your hair, knots are a part of a natural haired person’s life, & subsequently the factors attributed to these knots will vary from fro to fro.

One of my favorite bloggers, Alice of Diary of a Kinky Curly Transitioner, devoted a post to this sometime last year:

Fairy knots are tiny, single strand knots in your hair. They got their name from the fact they are so small only a fairy could have tied them! These generally appear on the ends and then work their way up if you don’t take care of them ASAP. If you wear your hair out a lot (wash and gos, wild and loose, etc.) you’re going to be more prone to them because your ends aren’t protected and when you add the nature of curly hair (curls on itself) you’re asking for some trouble.

There are two ways to take care of them:

1) Snip them off. Easy. Breezy. Beautiful.

2) DETANGLE them out. This can be time consuming, I’ve had some luck with a heavy co-wash conditioner and olive oil. I gently combed the ends with my Denman to get them out. It took FOREVER and I snapped most of my hair off at the knots while detangling them so you’re REALLY better of with option 1.

Prevention is easy. Keep your hair relatively snag free (watch your collars!), condition and wear protective styles so the fairies won’t get you!

If you decide to detangle them out of your hair, be sure to use a wide enough comb, a conditioner with a variable amount of slip (a good cheapie is VO5’s Moiture Milks line;-), or be sure to add/use a penetrating/nourishing oil such as coconut or olive oil.

Figuring out which products work best for your hair is also quite important during TWA stages, though arming yourself with the knowledge of what your hair inherently needs is very different from shopping willy nilly for a whole host of twisting creams & gels. Determining your hair’s porosity, texture & moisture balance are all key to determining what products will work best on your hair. Marsha, from the fab Curl friendly line, Curl Junkie wrote a very detailed & informative post on this a few weeks back:

First let me say that we all have to remember that there are many factors that go into determining whether or not a product works for you. Here are just some things to consider (assuming you haven’t found your perfect combos yet):

1)Outside Weather – including Dew points, temperature, relative humidity, wind, rain, snow, etc…

2)How you treat your hair – Do you use heat regularly? Do you color your hair? Do you sleep on a cotton pillowcase vs. satin vs. whatever… Is it damaged or generally healthy?

3)Inside Environment – Humidity – is it relatively dry or most in your home or office?

4)Hair Texture – Fine through normal through Coarse (For the sake of this article, on a 1-10 scale, I’ll say that the very finest of hair is a 1 and the coarsest of hair is a 10). I find that most people who think they have really coarse hair don’t. This is mainly due to frame of reference. You’d need to feel truly coarse hair (which is typically given as Asian/Native American, although I have felt variations there as well and have seen the coarsest hair in my life on a Caucasian head…2 actually…and they were both red-heads…humm…). This isn’t to say that you aren’t right, but it is likely that your hair is in the 6-9 range. Just as with fine hair, you’ll be in the 2-4 range. It turns out, when I compare my hair strands with other folks hair, that I fall in the normal to fine range (about a 4)…that was a surprise to me!

5)Hair Porosity – Low-normal-high (which most people will not have unless their hair is damaged/bleached/etc). For the sake of this article, low porosity hair will feel smooth moving your fingers up and down the shaft and also has problems absorbing water/product/chemicals (you may see water beading up on the hair). High porosity hair will feel bumpy or a little rough (due to the cuticle layer not laying very flatly) and absorbs almost too much of everything (and will release it easily too, including moisture!).

6)Hair Density – Do you have a lot of hair on your head or very little (so you see your scalp easily)?

7)Wave/Curl Pattern – I think this a factor, although not the major one. For example, generally speaking, I think that if you have a weaker wave/curl pattern with fine-normal hair you may want to use a hard holding gel with your products to support your pattern.

8)Products you use on your hair – again, the quality, gentleness or harshness of the products you use regularly on your hair. Sometimes you can do damage with a harsh shampoo, sulfate or sulfate-free. Sometimes you need some protein and sometimes not. Sometimes you need a particular type of protein (like say the protein in an ingredient like Lecithin which even coarse heads seem to be OK with…).

9)How many times per week do you wash/condition/style your hair?

10)The temperature of the water you use to wash your hair…think about it, if you shower in hot water (like I do), then you create a great moisture rich environment for your hair to soak up moisture…you almost turn your conditioners into Deep Treatments! I find that even folks who normally avoid say glycerin in products, could use it in this environment and rinse it out (making sure not to use glycerin in their stylers). The glycerin helps to soak up the moisture in the shower air (this is not scientific, just what I’ve found! :-P)

Before giving into the frustrations of the fairy knots, try deep conditioning with a non-drying, silicone free conditioner that won’t cause an excess in buildup. Clarify your hair/scalp at least once a month ( Apple Cider Vinegar is a great option!), try protective styling! I used to LOVE wearing my hair in tiny two-strand twists which always produced the cutest curly fro, or moisturized single coils which are often easier to maintain and style than two-strands.

Hope this helps & you find a solution to those stubborn knots;-)!

March 15, 2010

Qhemet Biologics – Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee

I’m not usually a sucker for most things. After working in retail for the majority of my teen/college years, I’m hip to the marketing game, the ‘this would go soooo well with that…’ tune that if you’re the unlucky gal looking & working off of commission, you’re more than likely to hit a road block with me coming your way. And with that said, there is always my weak point, the product or ‘thing’ that can always bring my wallet to it’s knees and purchase up a storm. At this point it’s not even a secret, but it’s often my personal pleasure to indulge in most things chocolate scented/chocolate flavored…just…plain loved by cocoa:-)!

So whether or not the folks over at Qhemet Biologics marketed their Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee as something geared specifically for the aching soles of your feet…I still would’ve invested. Attribute this to the undying PJ in me, but it’s always a yummy treat to cradle either your skin or hair in the smell of all things chocolate. I ordered a 5 oz jar during the now long ago Black Friday Sale, and finally dug in just a few weeks back. Admittedly skeptical at first because as a cream ghee that claims to condition and detangle unmanageable hair this would’ve been a first, so I carried a few doubts to the twisting table. In the past, my luck has always rested on detanglers with a lotion type consistency, more similar to KBB’s hair milk or Darcy’s Botanicals leave-in conditioners. And while I’m quick to place it in the ‘creme’ consistency wagon, it could also fall under the more thicker butter-like family.

As a leave-in, it works, and by ‘works’ I mean it detangled, softened & moisturized my hair before a whole host of other products touched my strands. After the hair was well conditioned, I applied the Ghee in sections, lightly detangling the ends with a wide tooth comb, then brushing through with the Denman brush. Detangling was relatively easy, and much to my surprise I honestly felt I could’ve also styled with it. Because I wanted to prolong the look of my twists I did layer with the Amla Heavy Creme, yet knowing that this could double as an easy quick styler in slightly less colder temps, had me feeling even more pleased with the investment.

Product Description

  • Restores manageability, softness and elasticity to normal to very dry hair. Smooths cuticles, improves combing ability and reduces breakage.
  • Natural dark chocolate scent.
  • Key Ingredients: Contains pure, prime pressed Cocoa Butter to smooth, soften and seal in moisture, Horsetail, Nettle and Barley to strengthen and condition and sulfur rich MSM to nourish follicles and support growth. Enhanced with carefully selected mild and eco-friendly detangling actives, it instantly restores manageability, pliability and elasticity to matted and tangled hair.
  • Does not contain mineral oil, lanolin, silicones, parabens or artificial fragrances.
  • Directions: For tangled hair that is damp or dry, divide hair into 4-8 sections. Apply a moderate amount to the entire length of one section at a time and work through with fingers. Use a wide toothed comb to comb through from end to root as hair is instantly softened and detangled. For use as a conditioner, rub a small to medium amount between palms and work through wet, damp or dry hair. Leave in.

Here’s the sidenote though: To ensure the effectiveness of the Ghee, it’s best to either finger comb your hair before applying, detangle with either a wide-tooth/Denman, or seriously condition enough so that a comb can glide easily through your strands. The Ghee DOES NOT HAVE SLIP! There was really no need for all caps, but when we think of good detanglers, many of us (including moi!) expect the slip & slide effect. Slip is often times our miracle worker in the best of products because it makes our job of detangling all the more easy. While application is relatively easy, you shouldn’t have to use more than a dime size amount to get the job done, but to ensure the longevity of the Ghee make sure to properly engage in conditioney activities prior;-).

Because I have oddles of leave-ins to choose from while styling the hair each week, I’m always hesitant to label something as a staple, BUT…the Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee has my heart as a mainstay in the rotation. Because I have…literally about a tablespoon sized amount left in my jar, I’m fiending to make another purchase sometime soon. A 2 oz jar will run you $5.50 while a nice sized 5 oz jar goes for $14

March 13, 2010

Update…

A brief checking in because seriously, these lazy bones have been something ludicrous this past week. Thankfully this thing called Spring Break has landed in my lap, offering up a bit more free me time to relax, relate & release! Even one upped myself by taking off from the ‘ol 9-5 to concentrate on my funnabilties: in essence I’m scheduling that long over due eye-brow threading, girlifying my nails with pretty colors & using up that year long spa gift certificate for a much deserved facial.

This is me excited {{{{YEAH!!!}}}}

Tomorrow is indeed hair day, and protective twisting thus continueth. I love my twists. I’ve missed my twists. These twists are taking up residency on my head for the foreseeable future. Last week was an attempt at chunky twists, which were then worn in up-do fashion for the remainder of the week. Accessories have buddied up with me to make the style look even more lovelier, which in turn has kept me searching for more hair goodies to buy! I’ve hit up upteenth places looking for bargains, and thankfully have come away with many deals. Today, in light of some insanely wet weather out, I took down the chunky twists just to indulge in a bit of Hand in Fro play. To twist, used an old combo of Blended Beauty Happy Nappy Styles under KBB’s Hair Milk, and still have moderately moisturized hair. A bit of frizz snuck in towards the crown but was easily concealed with a few hair clips.

On the hair-to-do list has GOT to be the last of my colored ends. Straggly little things are looking mighty lonely on the ends with no promising future, so me thinks it best to plan a snip-snip session. And soon.

Other things that have kept me preoccupied have been the beautiful movement happening over at Vogue Black. The feature on Debra Shaw is beautifully done. If you haven’t bookmarked this site….Ummmm…

I’ve been slacking on my BV Hair Talk but catching up is just as fun. Afro Hair is not just a trend. Dig it:

The afro has been a striking and significant fashion staple through the years – particularly in the seventies, an afro came to be anonymous with black power, political statements, and reclaiming one’s roots.

Today’s afros are different.

Today it can be about making a statement, but often you’ll find that it’s a personal statement of freedom, of beauty on one’s own terms, of effortless style.

There’s always tons to get down before the weekend’s over, and apparently we lose an ENTIRE hour because of something called ‘daylight savings’…? wth. Hmmm…but before the crankiness of losing an hour’s worth of sleep settles in, enjoy voting for our product guru Amina of Coup de Couer who made it as a semi-finalist for Bobbi Brown’s Pretty Powerful Contest! This has awesome factor written all over it & because you can vote as often as your tippy fingers will allow….ga head and have fun;-)

Alright, an attempt at resuming regularly scheduled posting should commence…now. But first, ladies. Let’s not allow history to repeat itself. Yeah…it’s funny. Until it happens to you.

via kiss my black ads

March 12, 2010

Young Artists For Haiti:Wavin Flag

K’naan’s “Wavin’ Flag” is one of the standout tracks from his Troubadour album and has become something of a phenomenon thanks to its timely message of strength and solidarity. Now famed producer Bob Ezrin has brought together top Canadian performers for Young Artists for Haiti, and the group’s rendition of the song takes it to new heights. Performers include K’naan, Nikki Yanofsky, Justin Bieber, Jim Cuddy, Emily Haines, Hedley, The Arkells, Drake, Justin Bieber, Avril Lavigne, Jully Black, Sam Roberts, Kardinal Offishall, and more.

Apple, the labels, and the artists are donating their share of the proceeds to the Feed The Children, World Vision, and War Child charities.

K’naan’s latest album Troubadour available here. Download available via iTunes

found via PinBoard et {YouHeardThatNew}

March 3, 2010

P.Y.T.

It’s official. As of this past week, I’ve designated the up-do as the ‘go-to’ style of all time & here on forever-after. It’s my love…my HEART…Mon Coeur du jour. For reasons based solely on lack of time, I’ve run for every hair clip accessory in my arsenal to pin/tuck/manipulate in a way so as to keep any & all hairs up and far away from my eager fingers.

Lately I see no reason to stop this love affair, so to add something relatively new to my routine, I introduced Amla Powder into the arsenal family. Before mixing the Amla, pre-pooed with Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle, cleansed the scalp with Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Shampoo. The scalp wasn’t much of a bother, even with two weeks shy of a good cleaning, so I focused more on cleansing the hair which still felt relatively moisturized from the Qhemet Amla creme. Used a newbie, Curl Junkie’s Daily Fix Cleansing Hair Conditioner to clean the hair & continued on with the Amla.

Didn’t have the time to search for a tried and true recipe for an Amla mix, instead came up with a concoction using a few things lying around. Brewed together a cup or so of Burdock Root & Horsetail, steeped for about 20-30 minutes. Let the tea cool before adding it slowly to the Amla. Added two tablespoons of Darcy’s Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner, mixed well to remove any lumps & until it became a smooth consistency. Applied in sections starting from the back, making my way forward. The application reminded me a lot of a bentonite application, so no surprises.

DC’d with the Amla for 1 hour before thoroughly rinsing. This took a few trips to the bathroom mirror to ensure all clumps and remainder of Amla was washed out entirely. Styled this week with new love Qhemet’s Amla & Olive Heavy Creme, under the Coco Tree Detangling Ghee. Still  undergoing protective styling, though changed the game after time slipped away from me for most of the morning. Made twists larger, but tighter to ensure an obvious curl definition once unraveled in the morning.

In the morning, carefully undid about 15-18 or so twists. Did NOT separate, left each twist intact and immediately began pinning haphazardly because Monday’s are the bane of my existence;-). I pinned and used a few Goody clips purchased over the weekend to give it the sort of effortless but still put together… feel. I do believe it came out o.k.! It’s Wednesday & I have minimal frizz, the twists are still defined, and as long as I keep the up-do status until the next wash day, all should remain relatively moisturized and well protected.

I also love this style because of it’s versatility. Perfect for work/play/dinner with friends & it’s simple, no fuss stuff. Looks great if you’re planning on wearing a hat to combat the still lingering Winter days, or alone to justify wearing your fabulous hair accessories. Easy to maintain at night as well. Simply tie a silk scarf securely…and really not much else! No need to re-twist each night as with regular twist n’go’s, and no need to re-moisturize .

The only downside – I’m hesitant to prolong for two weeks. Will play it by ear, and hope the east coast has seen the last of Mr. Flurry.

*reviews pending on the Curl Junkie Daily Fix Cleansing Condish, Darcy’s Pumpkin Seed Condish & Qhemet’s Coco Tree Detangling Ghee.