November 26, 2013

7 Mistakes Many Naturals Make

1. Not detanglingNever, not once did I properly detangle my hair, if at all. I would simply shampoo and condition my hair, throw some Motions foam wrap lotion and Paul Mitchell foaming pomade and keep it moving. I barely used a comb! Now, it was cute but that’s it. It was not healthy in the least bit. Surprisingly I didn’t lose a lot of hair; however, I was not retaining length either.

2. Sleeping without a satin cap/scarfAt night I would lay my head down straight gorilla style! The only time I slept with a satin cap/scarf was when I straightened my hair. WTW? I know...makes no sense, which leads me to the next mistake on my list…using excessive heat.

3. Using excessive heatI was one of those naturals who flaunted her curls during the summer months and danced with the devil (flat iron) the other 9 months out of the year. I shampooed my hair once per week, grabbed the flat iron and smoothed it across my hair with no heat protectant, no nothing. Just 350-400 degrees of direct heat on my blonde tresses. Can you say dry and brittle?

4. Shampooing too frequentlyWhen I wore my hair straight, I shampooed weekly, however when I wore it curly, I shampooed every single day. I eventually cut this down to every other day out of pure laziness but until then, I cleansed every single morning! That’s what natural hair meant to me – get up, shampoo, hit the door. This was the case no matter the length. I wore my hair extremely short and cropped and as it got longer, I used the same practice.

5. Not knowing product ingredientsI did not ever look at the ingredients on the bottle of the products I used. The farthest I ever went to research ingredients was to only use gel that did not contain alcohol. *blank stare* yep that’s it. Sulfates? Parabens? Huh? No clue what any of that was. You would think a licensed cosmetologist would know these things right? NOPE! Ingredients were not touched on at all during my 2 1/2 years in Cosmetology school.

6. Not adding or sealing moistureNatural hair is by nature, dry, but I just assumed that’s the way it was supposed to be. I thought all brown people had dry hair and it would remain that way unless you added some time of oil to it. Not natural oils, but more precisely silicone laced serums, which leads me to my next mistake.

7. I thought having natural hair meant automatic growth.I didn’t realize that the key to growth and retention was moisture. No moisture = dry hair = breakage = no retention. Simple right? Not to someone who has not researched and paid attention to their hair.

What’s that old saying? If I knew then what I know now….man, I hate that it took me so long to become aware of what was going on with my hair but I am so grateful to know it now. I don’t know everything, no one does, but I think I’m going in the right direction.

What mistakes can you add to this list?

November 22, 2013

Life, Love and Pursuit of Protective Styling

Pic 1: My natural hair      Pic 2: My weave

Protective styling is not something I’ve been too successful at in the past but I respect it.  I know that it has its place in the natural hair universe so I acknowledge its existence.  I’ve always embraced the idea of it – I mean it makes sense.  It is in line with all things sacred as it pertains to healthy hair and length retention:

  • Protect the ends
  • Low manipulation
Quite simply, it’s just not something I’ve mastered so I’ve concentrated on how to retain and maintain a healthy mane without it.  I’ve done a few pin up looks in the past including the bun I rock oh so faithfully.  I’ve even done mini twists for a vacation look.  However, I’ve yet to reap the true benefits of protective styling that everyone raves about.  Most of my looks only last a day or two and never longer than 2 weeks.  I’ve always toyed with the idea of a sew- in, even going as far has having a few glued in looks, which I would never recommend (it was cute but not smart) and I’ve had some pieces sewn in.  I am now experimenting with my first full sew-in so yes  I’m a virgin and so far I’m loving it.  It too has its challenges and comes with its own set of rules but I am enjoying it for the most part.  I definitely miss my curls but it is such a nice break from constant manipulation and day to day styling.  I like it because it looks very similar to my own hair when I blow it out.
I’ve read so many articles regarding the controversy of weave – is it a protective style or not, is it really “natural”.  All of which is so silly to me.  Everything doesn’t have to be labeled and categorized does it?  Sometimes a hairstyle is just that – a hairstyle.  I don’t loathe my natural hair nor am I hiding behind anything.  There’s no subconscious, deep rooted feeling of self-hatred going on, I simply wanted something new and it is my inherent right to do so right?  One article talked about people who wear weaves aren’t really protective styling, they simply want long, flowy hair that they cannot grow.  Perhaps there is some truth in that for some but it doesn’t apply to me.  But even if it did, so what?  The fact that someone wants long hair means they hate their hair?  I have to respectfully disagree.  It’s more about the mindset than it is the hair in my opinion.  If I don’t like myself, it’s going to take more than a weave to combat that.  At any rate, I’m just looking for an alternative to my current look.  No more, no less, end of story.

I do feel my hair has flourished without protective styling, despite all of the manipulating and coloring I do to it.  I do, however, believe that if I could find a style where I could give it a break, it would do even better.  And of course it goes without say but I’ll say it anyway, diet plays a huge part in healthy hair as well.  So there you have it.  My hair is officially pulling a bear move by hibernating this winter. 

Are you protective styling for the winter? If so, what’s your style of choice?

November 05, 2013

Fall Regimen for Natural Hair - Layering is Key

Fall is all about layering.  It’s my go-to method for any on the go outfit.  You can’t go wrong when you start with a blank canvas and build around it.  I apply this same logic to my fall hair regimen.  I am a firm believer in layering my hair essentials.  How you layer is just as important, if not more important, than the mere fact that you are layering.  If you can master the art of layering you can’t lose.
Layer 1: shampoo - I always start out with a clean slate (much like a basic t-shirt you build your outfit of the day around), which in my case means a full shampoo on detangled hair with, of course, a sulfate free shampoo or conditioning cleanser.  A fresh start gives my tresses a fair opportunity to be shaped and molded into anything I chose.  By starting off with a clean head of hair, I can manipulate the outcome the way I see fit and not have to worry about any previous product application affecting my results. 

Layer 2: conditioner - by conditioning/deep conditioning my freshly shampooed mane, I can be confident that I have set the stage for a smooth style session.  In other words, it’s the best “condition” (pun intended) possible for whatever comes next.  Conditioning leaves my delicate curls pillow soft, even textured and detangled which otherwise would present a challenge to my styling process.  Although there has been testimony to the contrary, I opt to rinse with cool water to ensure the cuticle is closed and flat thus minimizing frizz.  According to chemist Mort Westman, “hair, contains no living cells -- it doesn't react to cold (or hot) water” source:  Clearly you should garner your own research to determine your process.

Layer 3: leave in-conditioner – this is the layer I like to refer to as the suit of armor.  For me, a good leave in is the cornerstone of my hair regimen.  My leave-in protects and serves like nobody’s business and is an absolute must.  The elements are rendered almost defenseless to a great sheathing leave-in.  Not only does it add moisture but it conditions all day long and blocks out all the kink monsters/destroyers. 
Layer 4: styler/moisturizer) – your favorite styler should add moisture as well as a means by which to manipulate and style your curls.  I look for a product that provides some slip making it easy to work with minus any sticky residue.  I am always very mindful of the ingredients in my styler because I want to make sure they serve my purpose.  For example, while a water based product is good news moisture wise, I find that it doesn’t serve me well on stretched styles because it causes the hair to revert back.  It’s all about texture for me and playing it up so when it comes to application I make sure to work in the product section by section, thoroughly with my fingertips keeping in mind that less is more.  An A+ styler pulls the look together like a good blazer or your favorite cardigan while offering maximum style and versatility.

Layer 5: oil – my final layer seals and locks the moisture in.  There’s no point of adding moisture if you don’t lock it in.  It’s like the top coat when you do apply your favorite nail stain.  You need that final layer of protection.  I liken it to the perfect accessory and final touches of your look.  Now coif and go! *note- some naturals choose to use heavier butters rather than oils in the cooler months.

What does your fall regimen look like?


November 01, 2013

TGIN Moist Collection - Product Review

If you’re looking for a complete hair system, you may want to turn your attention to the new TGIN Moist Collection.  It is almost inconceivable to find a complete product line that you are pleased with.  It’s like getting a CD that you can play all the way through without skipping any tracks a ’la that oldie but goodie, Mary J Blige My Life.  It’s still everything!  Anyway, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to check out the system for myself and I couldn’t wait to share my experience.  It’s rare I get the opportunity to use an entire collection at one time so I was so excited!  The great thing about a system is it’s designed to work together for optimal results.
“Kiss Dry Hair goodbye”
First up in the system, the shampoo.   After cleansing my hair with the Moisture Rich Sulfate Free Shampoo, I applied the Triple Moisture Replenishing Conditioner while in the shower.  It’s creamy, non-watery texture was the first thing I noticed.  It was not too watery but still had sud power.  (I was unable to determine what ingredient was responsible for the suds).  Depending on who you talk to, there is a point of contention surrounding whether or not a sulfate free cleanser offers the lather that many appreciate with the shampoo experience so this was a nice surprise.  It contains very mild, gentle cleansers, which is what you want in a sulfate free shampoo.  You want it to cleanse, but not strip.  I allowed it to sit on my hair for a few moments and then rinsed with cool water. 
After rinsing it was on to the Replenishing Conditioner.  The moisturizing properties were not a surprise as it contains Shea butter and essential oils.  It also contains Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine (the 5th ingredient to be exact), which is a common ingredient in shampoos and conditioners.  The key with this ingredient is it provides the slip you need without all the buildup because it’s water soluble; making it    easy to rinse, which may sound like a given but some conditioners seem to take forever to rinse out.  If you check the ingredients and you don’t see this listed as one of the top 5 (which is usually is), you may notice it may take you a little longer to rinse and this could be why.  After completing my normal shower rituals, I rinsed with cool water.
I then sectioned my hair into 6 sections and distributed a moderate amount of the Honey Miracle Hair Mask for a deep conditioning session (30 minutes).  I’ve said repeatedly that I deep condition every time I cleanse due to the permanent color I subject my hair to.  Due to my tightly coiled curl pattern, I do experience a lot of tangles and knots which is simply par for the course for my hair type.  This mask does a great job of separating my curls, making the sectioning/detangling process easier to manage.  I do my best to undo the damage caused by fighting tangles and knots by weekly deep conditioning and bi-weekly protein treatments. 
After rinsing the mask, I went on to apply the Butter Cream Daily Moisturizer.  I treated this as more of a leave in cream.  I always arm my mane with a leave in.  It gives that added protection I deem necessary to maintain the health of my hair.  My tresses were extremely malleable and this served as the perfect landscape for the next step in the process- styling. 
When it was time to style, I reached for the Twist and Define Cream.  It smells great, feels great and left my hair downy soft.  I’ve used this on both wet and dry hair.  I typically style on dry hair again as a way of preventing as much tangling and knotted hair as possible.  However, I found that the twist and define cream yielded the best results on wet/damp hair which is to be expected because the first ingredient is water.  Water, as we all know, causes hair to revert back to its curly/natural state so if you are wanting a stretched style, I wouldn’t use a product with water as the first ingredient.  Just something to note.  The twist cream provided maximum hydration and minimal frizz.  My hair really played well with this entire line.  Please visit TGIN to see for yourself and I’d love to hear your experience with it.  Thanks Chris-Tia!
Rating: 5 out of 5 curls

October 10, 2013

Wonder Curl Restoring Deep Treatment, Product Review

When I heard of Wonder Curl’s new Restoring Hair Treatment I couldn’t help but get excited.  As someone who colors her tresses, and sometimes, dare I say it….uses bleach to get the light look I desire, anything extra I can do to treat and restore catches my eye! 

“An intensive deep hair treatment that strengthens, moisturizes and smooths your hair”

Ingredients: Aloe barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Juice, Shea Butter (refined), Cetearyl Alcohol, Avocado Butter, Ricinus communis (Castor) Oil, Polyquaternium, Tamanu Oil, Guar Gum, Olive Oil PEG, Hair Vitamins, BTMS, Stearalkonium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, dl-Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Cocos nucifera (Coconut RBD) Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Limmnanthes alba (Meadowfoam) Oil (Refined)

I used this as you would any deep conditioning treatment.   After cleansing with the Detoxifying Clay Cleanser (check out my review of this product here, also from Wonder Curl, I applied this to my hair root to tip, ensuring maximum coverage and thorough distribution.  I left it in for 20 minutes under the protection of a plastic cap and rinsed.  I didn’t use any heat with this treatment as the instructions did not call for it.  I believe the natural heat from my scalp is enough to get the maximum benefit.

My hair was pillow soft thanks to the aloe, shea butter and the hydrolyzed wheat protein this contains.   Most of us are familiar with aloe and shea butter but a real quick definition of Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein; it is a moisturizing and conditioning protein derived from whole wheat.  In addition my hair responds kindly to protein so seeing this on the ingredient list was great.   I truly felt like I had just done something major after rinsing!  Each strand felt nourished and ready for anything.   I can’t say enough about this line.  Thanks again to my sister in the name of hair, Scarlett for putting me on.

If you are looking for something to provide intense penetration and revitalize your curls, this is it.  I deep condition every time I shampoo so this is an important step in any my regimen.  You need something to restore moisture that is lost on a daily basis.  To purchase this and other Wonder Curl products, check out

Rating: 5 out of 5 curls