10 Reasons Why I Love My Type 4 Hair!

FullSizeRender.jpg

Figuring out how to navigate through the Natural hair journey has almost everything to do with hair contentment.  There is something special you experience in this journey when you can achieve that!  Those of us who have tightly coiled, type 4 hair with no distinguishable curl pattern, must go through a lot before we achieve this.  A lot has to do with our perspective.  Once I started to change my attitude and see the beauty and value in my hair type, Natural hair became a pleasure.  It didn't make figuring it out any easier per se, it was that my view of no curl pattern, kinky, type 4 hair became valuable to me.  Once I saw the value, the hard work in navigating it became...well...for lack of a better word...fun! Everyday, I get tons of messages from young ladies who have this hair type, desperate to find hair satisfaction.  I've done tutorials, how-to videos, interviews, however, I have yet to post why I personally enjoy and value type 4, kinky hair.  So here's my personal list.  **In no way am I saying this hair type is BETTER than anyone else's.  I'm just pointing out the value in a hair type that has been looked down upon for years.  So here it is: 

1) Versatility - I love my type 4 hair because: It can be straightened, curled, dreaded, braided, twisted, beaded, sister-locked, you name it & type 4 is able to achieve it.

2) Light - I love my type 4 hair because: No matter how much volume it has or how thick it grows, it stays as light as a feather!  Since it's so dense and thick, people often ask me "Is that heavy?" Those of us with this hair type realize how amusing that question is!  I can't even feel it up there!

3) Unique - I love my type 4 hair because: Waves, looser curls and straight hair is much more commonplace.  Type 4, kinky hair is unique. It stands out as different because of it's unique design. Rare things are usually extra valuable.  Think of the last time you saw a person with bright red hair enter a room.  It stood out (even though it might be looked down upon in some places) There's value in rare and beautiful things.  

4) Gravity Defying - I love my type 4 hair because: No other hair type completely defies the laws of gravity!  I remember finding my up-growth frustrating! People would ask "How long IS your hair?" That question didn't match my hair type since mine grows in terms of height and not length! Once I embraced this fact, realized how special and unique that is, my hair growing up was no longer frustrating! Now, when people ask me that question, I use the occasion to politely explain the difference.

5) Speaks To People -  I love my type 4 hair because: Since this texture is gravity defying, it speaks loudly to people without me having to utter a word.  Most people would like to have a voice in this world.  It's fascinating how type 4 hair says different things to different people, but it speaks loudly nonetheless.

6) Statement - I love my type 4 hair because: People think you're trying to make a statement by wearing it, as is.  I don't think there is any other texture on earth that has caused the controversy a raw type 4 has. People assume you're a more confident (sometimes they think overly confident), self-possessed person, when all you're really doing is being yourself, the way you were born.  However, if people attribute natural design to self confidence then I'll take it.

7) Camaraderie - I love my type 4 hair because: There's a certain feeling of understanding it evokes in women with kinky hair.  Camaraderie is a term derived from the word "Comrade".  This is someone you've shared something with.  In this case, those of us with type 4 hair share a similar experience of using products, explaining why their hair is so different, blocking hands from trying to touch it, sleeping at night, these are all very intimate moments in life.  As soon as you see a type 4 hair type, you instantly realize this person GETS IT and that feeling is soothing, comforting and welcoming! 

8) Predictable - I love my type 4 hair because: After years of learning about your hair, you begin to learn it's patterns, the products it likes (and doesn't like) how it responds to humidity, dry air, how to make it bigger, looser, higher. That predictability helps to manage what was at one time considered (seemingly) difficult to manage hair. I love knowing how to make my hair happy.

9) Conversation piece - I love my type 4 hair because: While most people go about their day to day silently rubbing shoulders with other humans, there's something about type 4 hair that fascinates people. It's like a magnet. All shades, ages and types of humans will have questions about it.  How do you get it like that?  Why is it so big, so kinky, how do you care for it? They have a cousin, grandchild, daughter, niece, friend, aunt who has kinky hair. It's like a social magnet where people are drawn to it, wanting to know how it's done. Some type 4s find this annoying. I find it enriches my life and opens the door to conversations with people I otherwise wouldn't have the chance to talk to.  

10) Makes people smile - I love my type 4 hair because: The world can be a cold and unhappy place. However, there's something about a type 4 Fro that makes people look up and smile. I'm not sure why, but, if something that naturally grows out of my head makes you feel happy then that makes me happy too!

To all my type 4 ladies: If you're having a hard time embracing your kinky hair, please analyze why.  Yes, it does take a lot of work taking care of thick, type 4, kinky hair.  But please remember this: things that are rare and take special instructions to care for are usually things of value. Analyze your negative feelings about your hair type and it might be your perspective. Adjust that, and you might find the Natural hair journey more enjoyable.

No matter your hair type, please find the value in what you've been blessed with.  It's all in the way you see things.  

Why do you love YOUR hair type?  Please feel free to leave a comment below!

Hair Growth: Tips, Suggestions & Encouragement!

It took me several years to get hair satisfaction.  Patience, persistence and good hair care are vital!

It took me several years to get hair satisfaction.  Patience, persistence and good hair care are vital!

Trust me I've been there!  It's not growing!  Why won't it get full?!  Why is everyone else's hair seemingly growing and mine isn't?!  If you're frustrated with hair growth (or lack thereof) here is a list of questions to consider: 

1) How long?  If you have been trying to get the perfect Fro or that big curly hair for less than 4 years, you still have a ways to go.  It might not be what you want to hear.  Unfortunately, this is how long it takes the average Natural before they hit the point of hair length satisfaction.  Ask any Naturalista you admire and I promise you she will tell you it took 3-4 years before she got to where she was happy.  This is good news if you've been Natural for only a few months.  This means you'll get there eventually if you KEEP GOING!!

2) Are you taking vitamins?  Along with time and patience, vitamins that promote hair growth (Biotin, Evening Primrose Oil, Fish Oil, Silica, etc.) will definitely speed up the process.  How can you tell if these vitamins are working?  1- Check your nails.  Usually you'll notice a change in your nails with these vitamins.  2- Watch your skin.  If these vitamins are doing their job, you'll notice a difference in your skin. If your body doesn't like these vitamins, your skin is usually the first to let you know by breaking out!  If that happens, discontinue or lower your dose.  Do your research on: reviews, side effects, suggested doses & consult your Dr. to be safe. 

3) How is your overall health?  If you are having any health problems or deficiencies, such as: Vitamin D (darker-toned women tend to have this due to melanin blocking the sun) hormonal fluctuations, thyroid issues...these all affect hair growth.  I noticed a change in my hair and nail growth.  A visit to an Endocrinologist helped me learn some factors stunting growth: Perimenopause and Vitamin D deficiency.  Learning this changed everything for me! (A general practitioner won't give detailed answers usually) If you've been trying for over 4 years, take vitamins and still have zero growth, it might be time to get some lab work done and check to see if your overall health is ok.

4) How do you sleep at night?  Are you protecting your new growth with a satin cap or satin pillowcase?  Growth is useless if you are breaking it off each time you sleep.  Slightly adjust this and you might notice a difference. 

5) Are you massaging your scalp?   Below your scalp, blood feeds the hair.  If there's poor blood circulation, the result will be weak, lifeless hair. Massage your scalp with a NATURAL oil (I recommend coconut, Shea or Jamaican Black castor oil) to improve blood circulation.  See my Youtube video on scalp maintenance for more details.

6) Are you washing your hair often enough?  Especially for my protective style ladies: The oil in your hair & scalp attracts dirt & skin debris which can plug oil ducts & hair follicles.  The result? Since the follicle is blocked, the hair grows in weaker or won't grow at all!  Don't allow this to happen to you!  Keep your protective styles in for shorter periods to give your scalp some much needed attention & a chance to grow in new hair.  If you must keep your protective style in for long periods of time, make sure you have access to your scalp to cleanse, moisten, massage and maintain!

7) Are you hydrated enough?  If you're always dehydrated or overindulging in alcoholic beverages, your hair will become limp and weak because you are restricting blood flow.  Drink LOTS of water and eat healthier meals (especially plenty of fish which has oils to feed and hydrate your scalp).  The good news is this will also make you much healthier all around!

8) Realistic Expectations?  This is just as important as the other stuff!  How did your hair grow when you were a child, before all the chemical relaxers and straighteners?  That is a gauge of how your hair will grow once it is at its healthiest again.  There are exceptions to this: If you are over 35 and your hair isn't growing like it used to, it could be your hormones are changing.  This will affect growth (among other things) so visit the Dr. to be sure! Also remember, your growth patterns will be different from others so NEVER COMPARE! I wanted my hair to hang down and it never did!  It kept growing up and out, which I found frustrating then, but now...I absolutely love that unique growth pattern!  

9) Are you taking photos?  Take lots of photographs and selfies so that you can look back on your monthly and yearly progress.  These photographs will be extremely helpful when you're having one of those "I hate my hair, it never grows, I give up!" moments!  When you look back at those photos, you'll start seeing growth you otherwise wouldn't have noticed. Photos are also a good way to monitor & learn your growth patterns. Many times your hair is growing but you're not noticing!

These are just a few tips that I have learned over the years of growing out my hair.  Your biggest challenge will be patience! We've all experienced the same frustration.  Just remember you'll NEVER get where you want to be if you give up or don't take proper care of your hair AND yourself.  If you've been doing this Natural hair journey for a while and would like to share your experience, please feel free to leave a comment below!   

Naturals on broadway: Allison Semmes - Natural hair & being Diana Ross

I reached out to the lovely and super talented Allison Semmes from Chicago, currently on tour playing "The Boss" Ms. Diana Ross in Motown the Musical. She has played the role for over 3 years, a total of approximately 1,125 times and it shows!!  She glides, sachets and floats along the stage as if she's been doing it her entire life. Not only does she have the moves, but there are moments when if you close your eyes, you'd swear Diana was on stage singing "Reach Out and Touch" right in front of you!  We finally met face to face, since I Interpreted the show and my character, thankfully, was Diana Ross. There's a moment in the show where Diana comes down from the stage to interact with the audience. As a Sign Language Interpreter, we're always situated as close to the stage as possible to give Deaf audience members a clear line of vision from Interpreter to the cast members on stage. As Allison's "Diana" glides down the stage steps, our eyes meet and we're face to face in front of the entire crowd. "Hello! How are you?!" She says in her sweetest Diana Ross voice. It took everything I had to remain professional and not throw my hands around her right then and there!!  Thankfully we got the chance after the show to make that happen!!  She graciously sat down with us to talk about her hair secrets, including how she transforms her Fro in order to accommodate all the wigs she must wear for this role. We chat about auditioning with curly hair, her favorite products and how her hair has affected her career. All less than 2 hours before her next big performance!  

Instant curlfriends!

Instant curlfriends!

Thank you ever so much Allison for your time and energy on and off the stage! We laughed and cried together and shared some unforgettable moments that I will cherish always. Although this tour will be ending soon and you'll be moving on to new career ventures, I'm convinced that whatever your next role is, it will be as outstanding and unforgettable as you are. 

Melissa from "Footwerk": Natural Hair and Raw Talent

Instant curlfriends!

Instant curlfriends!

I usually focus on hair products, hair maintenance and hair discussions, but I felt compelled to interrupt your regular scheduled program to feature some lovely, fresh, Curly Girl talent!  Melissa and I met at my favorite music venue/watering hole in Lancaster, PA.  Born and raised in D.C., music has always called out to her, but life always seemed to get in the way.  Then one day something inside said "get on Craigslist" and she listened to her gut.  The first ad she saw was for the current band she's singing with: Footwerk She describes the band as having a "Pop Fusion" sound with just a splash of "D.C. Go-Go" thrown in.  I interviewed her and her hip-hop co-frontman Kyle for my husband's blog: The Lancaster Palette . After completing the interview, that's when the REAL fun began! The band warmed up with an acoustic set and THAT'S when I actually heard her sing...W.O.W!!  What a gem!  Melissa can SANG, ok?!  Like, if you closed your eyes, you'd envision an older, heavy set sista, waving that wet, sweat-soaked handkerchief back and forth belting it out sangin'!  It was such an honor to hear such a raw talent!  Her talent aside, she's a total sweetheart!  

Aside from her amazing voice, Melissa is a total sweetheart!

Aside from her amazing voice, Melissa is a total sweetheart!

We talked about love, life, hair, music...we giggled, laughed, hugged...we had a moment when you know you'll be instant  curlfriends!  Positivity in this world is so few and far between, we need to enjoy the wonderful moments of peace, camaraderie and love that come our way.  So please allow me to do just that and celebrate the talent of this sweet soul!  Watch the interview below, check out their latest video: "Chill Switch" to hear her belt out a lovely love ballad, and visit Footwerk's website to find out when they will be playing in your area next because just like all great bands...they're best heard LIVE! 

Footwerk's latest video "Chill Switch" highlights the talent of it's First Lady and lovely Naturalista Melissa!

The Co$t of Being Natural

Today someone asked me if having Natural hair was more or less expensive than maintaining weave, wigs or a relaxed style.  This question motivated me to consider the evidence of Natural hair being a more frugal option.  Of course, investment isn't just measured monetarily.  There is a considerable amount of time and effort that goes into transitioning to Natural hair.  Not to mention the mental and emotional moments you'll go through seeing yourself looking completely different and dealing with comments from friends and family.  But, for the sake of this article, we will focus on cold, hard ca$h!  This is a loose estimate of what you'll need and how much it costs to maintain clean, healthy, Natural hair:

Cantu has some of the most affordable products for Naturals on a budget.  Pictured are the basics needed to maintain clean, healthy, manageable Natural hair.  Grand Total: $22

Cantu has some of the most affordable products for Naturals on a budget.  Pictured are the basics needed to maintain clean, healthy, manageable Natural hair.  Grand Total: $22

  1. Shampoo: Average Cost $10 (Lasts 2-4 months)** Washing involves rinsing and repeating so you will go through this much faster than some other products.
  2. Conditioner: Average Cost $7-$10 (Lasts 2-3 months)** Since this doesn't need to be rinsed and repeated, conditioner lasts much longer than shampoo.
  3. Leave-In Conditioner/Detangler: Average Cost $5-$10  (Lasts 1-2 months)** .This is an essential part of wash day and cannot be left out. 
  4. Oil: Average Cost $3-$5 (Lasts 1-2 months)**  These oils (coconut, shea butter, jojoba, etc.) are used to seal in the moisture and are used liberally.

**Depending on how often you wash your hair and how much hair you have!  Obviously shorter hairstyles will use less product and vice versa for longer, thicker hair.

Grand Total: $35

Now, as you become more familiar with your hair, you well spend less.  You will no longer need to experiment with what works and what doesn't.  You will go from trying to find products that work, to trying to find your favorite products on sale.  The learning curve is a different time frame for each person, however, once you figure out what works, you'll have extra money to splurge on products you've been meaning to try or just to put in the bank!  Either way, you will be saving money in the long run.  

This has been my 'go-to' shampoo for years!  This lasts me 3-4 months and is easy to find in almost any store that has a half-way decent selection of shampoos. 

This has been my 'go-to' shampoo for years!  This lasts me 3-4 months and is easy to find in almost any store that has a half-way decent selection of shampoos. 

Leave-In conditioners, curl creams and daily moisturizers average out to be around $10 each and have also become easier to find in stores that carry hair products.

Leave-In conditioners, curl creams and daily moisturizers average out to be around $10 each and have also become easier to find in stores that carry hair products.

Once you've been Natural for a while, you'll go from searching for products that work, to trying to find your favorite products on sale!

Once you've been Natural for a while, you'll go from searching for products that work, to trying to find your favorite products on sale!

For a detailed list of my personal favorite products, see my "Favorite Products" page or visit my YouTube channel for more hair regimen details!  Shopping for products is daunting in the beginning but time, patience and experience will make that task much easier.  Bottom line: Natural hair is (hands-down) a cheaper, more affordable option!  Leave a comment below if you have any tips on making product shopping any easier and thanks for reading!

Detangling Natural Hair

See the video below to find out how I navigate through all this thickness!

See the video below to find out how I navigate through all this thickness!

It's WASH DAY and many Naturals dread the detangling phase of the process.  It can be so daunting! Especially if you don't have the right tools.  Here are a few tips on how to detangle tight, kinky, type 4 hair and make the detangling process much easier!

1) Detangle While Damp:  Natural hair should NEVER be detangled while dry.  This means if you have a roller-set, twist-out, braid-out or wash & go, you shouldn't go NEAR it with a comb while its dry. Personally, I separate my hair into 4 sections to wash and then I detangle while its wet. (See video below)

2) Use a Good Conditioner:  You can detangle with a conditioner that needs to be washed out OR use a leave-in conditioner.  I wouldn't recommend detangling your hair without some kind of conditioner on it, this will make your life MUCH easier and save your arms!

3) Use a Wide Tooth Comb: The wider the better. (See above photo)

4) Use a Detangling Comb:  This is especially useful if you are planning to blow dry your hair using a fine-tooth comb attachment.  Find detangling combs at the hair store in the comb section. These combs get out any kinks that the regular comb might have missed.

Detangling Comb

Detangling Comb

5) Sections:  The thicker your hair is, the more sections you'll need.  To detangle my hair, I separate it into about 12 small sections.  This makes it much easier for me to navigate the thickness and pinpoint any nasty, stubborn knots.  Once hair is sectioned, I begin the detangling process.

HELP FOR SINGLE STRAND KNOTS:

If you are experiencing annoying and frustrating single strand knots, try using a good leave-in conditioner directly on the knot and gently work it out with your fingers.  A solid leave-in (such as  Blue Roze Beauty's "Coco Rose Leave-In Conditioner" or Bee Mine "Lucious Balance Cream Moisturizer") will literally melt the knot away while you work it out with your hands.  Tip: For especially stubborn knots, saturate the knot with a good conditioner and let it sit there for 1-2 minutes before you begin to work it out.  The conditioner will help soften the knot, making it much easier to detangle!  If you are STILL experiencing an exhausting amount of knots after you've tried the above methods, the culprit is probably split ends.  I know scissors are very scary...you've worked so hard to get length and the LAST thing you want to do is cut it off!  However, if you let those bad ends stay, you'll get more knots and you will yank out the hair you've worked so hard to grow! Regular hair trims (learn to do them yourself) will make your hair much more manageable.  Clip those bad ends and you will more than likely have less knots!  

Detangling isn't the most fun part of a hair regimen, however, with the right tools, technique and know how, you can get it down to a science, cutting your wash day time in half (Detangling takes me 20 minute in case you were wondering)!  If you have any suggestions or questions leave a comment below.  Thanks for reading and happy detangling!

 

 

 

"Is that All Your hair"?

"Is that all your hair?" "Is that all you?" "That can't be all your hair...right?"  These questions have been plaguing me for decades.  I understand that curiosity makes people say many things.  I've been guilty of this type of curiosity myself.  I have, at some point or another, thought to myself "I wonder if that is all her hair".  This is a natural thought process and I get that.  The difference between curiosity and rudeness, however, is ASKING.  Wonder all you like.  I do.  I wonder if someone gets their hair professionally colored or they do it themselves.  I wonder if someone who is older dyes their hair to cover the greys or if they haven't greyed yet.  I'm curious about the woman who is over 50 with an incredible body...did she have liposuction?  Did she have a nose job?  Is her perky buttocks the result of implants or does she naturally have a fantastic caboose?  My answer to these questions in my head is always the same: "I'm not sure but good for her cause she looks GREAT!"  I may even tell her in passing how gorgeous she looks.  I will NEVER, however, take it upon myself to ASK her those questions for several reasons: 1) It's NONE OF MY BUSINESS 2) It's invasive and rude 3) It doesn't matter because either way she looks great and 4) Did I already say it's none of my business?  Well it's NOT!  These questions and beauty secrets are for each woman ALONE to keep and hold on to.  Maybe she did have liposuction, maybe she didn't.  If she looks fantastic then why can't we just say: "You look fantastic!" The point here is respect and dignity.  It is considered rude and invasive to ask questions such as: Are those your real teeth?  Did you get butt implants? Do you cover up your grey hair? Are those your real eyes or contacts?  Is that your natural face or did you have a facelift?  Are you naturally thin or did you have liposuction?  Let's add to that list: Is that your real hair?  

Although it IS my real hair, sometimes I want to say it's not, just to make people experience the awkwardness I'm feeling in the moment: "No, this is a wig.  I have a terrible disease that makes my hair fall out and I'm really self-conscience about it. Thank you for making me admit that and for ruining my day."  That takes a lot of energy.  Energy and time that I'd much rather put into something more positive.  So I just smile and say: "Yes it is."  Then the compliments rain down.  They now don't mean anything since the sentence started with an insult.  The next time you see someone who looks good, and you're wondering if their hair, nails, teeth, eyes, nose, cheekbones are real...count it as one of life's great mysteries and keep the questions to yourself.  Make someone's day brighter, tell her she looks amazing and don't ask why.  

Do you get questions that drive you insane?  Share in the comment section below!

Kinky Hair and Hats

Some days (especially on cold, windy or rainy days) the hair just isn't cooperating.  Slapping on a hat (when you have extremely dense, type 4, kinky hair) isn't as easy for us as it is for other hair types!  If your hair is anything like mine, it pretty much hates to be covered.  Those roots are bursting at the seams and want to be free!  Hats and my hair-type really don't mix...with very few exceptions.  Here are a couple of those exceptions...hats that I find compatible with hair that grows up and out.  

1) Berets - Low Key, Functional, Professional: These are my ultimate favorite for coarse, kinky hair that tends to dry out easily.  These hats work well when you braid the back of your hair and let the front out.  Find this shaped hat in a stretchy knit and it should fit your hair comfortably. Problem: These hats tend to also come in wool which can dry out your hair.  Solution: Try hats made by Chidora!  These hats come in a light-weight 100% lambswool and (here's the key) they're lined with 100% SILK!  This is the most comfortable hat that I own. Based out of the UK, these hats come in lovely neutral colors that will look great with ANY outfit and are a great choice for bad hair day cures in a professional setting! (I've already worn it to work)  Visit: www.chidora.co.uk to purchase one of these well made gems!

Currently my favorite hat! It's super comfortable and it's 100% silk lining keeps my hair from drying out!  Click on the picture to be redirected to their website.

Currently my favorite hat! It's super comfortable and it's 100% silk lining keeps my hair from drying out!  Click on the picture to be redirected to their website.

2) Fidoras - The Casual Fashion Statement: These are always in style. Problem: Getting it to stay on hair that is thick and dense.  Solution 1: Braid the back of your hair and pin it as flat as you can get it.  Also, if it still isn't working: Solution 2: Visit the men's section of the store, find an EXTRA large and that should do the trick. Women sizes never fit my hair in this hat style.  

Those are the only 2 kinds of hats that I can comfortably wear.  See my video below for more details and how I wear each hat described above.  If neither of these suit you, of course there's always scarves!  Visit my channel for scarf tying tutorials.

Taking the Gallon a Day Challenge!

Winter has me struggling with dry skin and dry hair.  So much so, that I'm desperately searching for more moisture.  I have my humidifier running most of the time, I oil my scalp daily and my deep conditionings are more frequent.  Even with all of this, I'm still feeling dry, brittle hair, skin and nails.  My husband came home with a gallon of water and challenged me to drink it ALL in 1 day.  Curious, I did it. (I'm ashamed to say, I usually drink only about a cup of water a day.) The next day I did it again.  By day 3 my skin was noticeably shinier and supple.  I also felt great!  That made me look up the benefits of this gallon a day thing and I've learned so much!  I challenge all of you to try it!  You will notice some changes...here is what I experienced so far:

1) Clearer skin.  This is a great thing for Naturals who want hair growth.  The skin and scalp are all connected.  If you're taking Biotin, plenty of water will prevent those nasty bumps around the jawline many experience.

2) I live in the bathroom!  I suggest trying this when you have easy access to a bathroom since you will be peeing practically every 20 minutes!  However, as time goes on this does lessen a bit.

3) Extreme Thirst!  The more water I drank, the more thirsty I became.  I learned that plain water wasn't enough.  I needed to add some minerals such as a pinch of salt or a squeeze of lemon. This allows my body to absorb more water and I felt less thirsty.

4) Less Caffeine Cravings!  The more water I drank, the less I craved coffee and tea.  I went from drinking 4-6 cups of caffeine a day down to 2 cups a day (and some days only 1 cup!) Caffeine notoriously has a drying effect on skin, scalp and hair so less is good!

5) Dry Scalp Cure! I've found that the more water I drink, the less my scalp itches and I can skip 1 or 2 days of applying oil to my scalp!  This is my favorite benefit so far!  

Ultimately after doing the gallon a day challenge, I feel healthier, sleep better and notice how little I was drinking previously.  If you don't drink a gallon a day, increase your water intake significantly and you WILL notice a difference.  The general rule is to drink half your body weight in ounces.  So if you weigh 180 lbs., you'd need to drink 90 oz. of water which is a 2 liter bottle & a half.  It's totally worth it to do the math and see if this helps the over-all quality of your hair and scalp health.  Have you tried it?  Will you try it? Comment below and let me know!  

 

Keeping Hair & Scalp Moisturized in Winter

Dry winter months are harsh on Natural hair.  We have to stay on top of moisturizing to make sure our hair doesn't suffer.  Here are some tips to help:

1) Drink plenty of water. Water helps keep skin and scalp supple and moisturized from the inside.

2) Use a heavier oil.  Your oil usage should change when the seasons change.  Coconut oil works great during warmer months, however, you might need to switch to something heavier in winter.  Try these oils if lighter ones aren't working: Argan, Shea Butter, Mango Butter, Jamaican Black Castor Oil or Olive Oil.  See my video below on how to properly apply oil to your scalp.

3) Use Steam.  Allow your hair to soak in the moisture in the air as much as possible using steam from the humidifier, tea kettle, or shower then seal in moisture with the above oils.

4) Take vitamins.  Another excellent tool for combating dry scalp is Fish oil.  This vitamin helps to make skin and hair more moisturized and vibrant.  

5) Deep Condition.  This is a step that I used to skip to save time.  But using a good deep conditioner will help your hair retain oil and stay moisturized longer in between washes.  

Here is a list of oils** that are known for moisturizing dry scalp: Coconut, Jamaican Black Castor, Olive, Shea Butter, Mango Butter, Argan, Jojoba, Chamomile, Peppermint, Tea Tree, Pomegranate, Avocado, Carrot Seed, Lavender and Rosemary.

**Some of these oils need to be mixed with a carrier oil for balance.  

Do your research and find the right oil for your scalp.  It may seem overwhelming at first, but your scalp will thank you once you find the perfect oil to make it feel healthy in winter!  Trial and error leads to healthy hair!  Don't give up.  Winter will be over soon enough!

Traveling With Natural Hair

Taking in the sights is where your attention should be!  Not on your hair.  (Horseshoe Bay Beach, Bermuda)

Taking in the sights is where your attention should be!  Not on your hair.  (Horseshoe Bay Beach, Bermuda)

When you're traveling the globe for work or pleasure, the last thing you should need to worry about is your hair!  When I was planning my first trip abroad to Rome, I did so much research on what to wear, where to stay and learning as much Italian as I could.  By the time I got there, I hadn't researched how humid it would be!  Me and my hair fought during that entire trip!  I learned a valuable lesson:  Have travel ready hair and you'll have a much better trip!  By the time I made it to Paris the 2nd time (the 1st trip it rained the entire time and I still hadn't tamed my hair yet) I was well equipped with all the tools needed to have fabulous, care-free hair that was all mine and a breeze to take care of.  Here are a few tips to having care-free travel hair:

1) Always bring scarves.  I found that no matter the weather, as long as I had a scarf in case of hair emergencies, my hair was always looking fabulous and carefree!  Practice tying them before you go so that you won't have to fight with it while you're on vacation!!  See my scarf tying video below.

2) Purchase travel size containers.  This is a lifesaver when you have tons of products to pack but not a lot of room in your suitcase!  Fill up travel containers with your favorite oils, creams, sprays, shampoos, conditioners and must have hair products.

3) Keep oil in your purse.  This is for those traveling on an airplane.  That plane will truly suck the life and oil out of your hair.  Your scalp will feel like the desert during and after a flight.  Combat this by keeping a nice oil (in a travel safe container) on your person.  Keep your scalp moisturized for a smoother more comfortable flight!

4) Bring petroleum.  This tip is for Naturals traveling to hot and extremely humid climates (islands or the beach) who are trying to keep a twist-out, braid-out or rollerset in tact.  Coating your strands (never your scalp) with a petroleum based product will keep the moisture from ruining your hairdo!  Don't be afraid...it's only for this trip and you can go back to Natural oils when you get home.

5) Don't forget your rollers.  This can lead to disaster if you've rollerset your hair and don't bring back up rollers to rejuvenate your curls.  Pack extra rollers so that if your hair gets wet or there's an issue, you can fix it at night and be roller set fresh in the morning!

6) Bring plenty of bobby pins.  You never know what will happen on a trip.  Bring plenty of hair pins just in case your hairstyle fails you.  You can make an updo and have everyone impressed at how versatile your hair is while on vacation.

If you plan right, bring scarves to match your outfits, along with jewelry and other accessories, you can have a carefree hair travel experience.  

5 Highly Reviewed Natural Hair Care Books

"The Science of Black Hair" filled in the blanks and helped me to achieve healthier hair!  Click on the picture to purchase this book.

"The Science of Black Hair" filled in the blanks and helped me to achieve healthier hair!  Click on the picture to purchase this book.

Sometimes in this journey we can hit a wall in our progress which leads to frustration!  That wall could be caused by things we don't realize are affecting our hair such as: the condition of our water (hard or soft) the porosity of our hair (high or low) or simply the products we are using. That's why expanding our knowledge can be a huge help.  Finding a comprehensive Natural hair book can be overwhelming too!  If you are finding yourself at a hair growth plateau, or just need to know more about the hair you have been growing recently, here are the top 5 books with the highest customer reviews** to help you:

Click on the picture to purchase this book.

Click on the picture to purchase this book.

"Better Than Good Hair" Nikki Walton & Ernessa T. Carter

Better Than Good Hair includes:

  •   Product recommendations
  •  Home hair care recipes
  •  Advice for parents on how to manage their children's natural hair
  •  Tips for using henna on gray hair
  •  Guidance on dealing with detractors
  •  Step-by-step illustrated directions for nearly two dozen hairdos, from frohawks to twist-outs
Click on the picture to purchase this book.

Click on the picture to purchase this book.

"If You Love It, It Will Grow: A Guide To Healthy, Beautiful Natural Hair" Phoenyx Austin

Readers will learn how to: 
* Maintain chemically-treated or natural hair in optimal health. 
* Stop hair breakage with a novel, protein/moisture balancing method. 
* Regulate product pH balance for shinier, more manageable hair. 
* Grow their hair longer, stronger and healthier for life! 

Additional Features
* Regimen Builder with extensive product listings
* Ingredients glossary
* Interviews
* Real photos of hair at the microscopic level

Click on the picture to purchase this book.

Click on the picture to purchase this book.

"The Science of Black Hair: A Comprehensive Guide To Textured Hair Care" Audrey Davis-Sivasothy  (My personal favorite! This taught me A LOT about Natural hair! Highly Recommended) 

Readers will learn how to: 
* Maintain chemically-treated or natural hair in optimal health. 
* Stop hair breakage with a novel, protein/moisture balancing method. 
* Regulate product pH balance for shinier, more manageable hair. 
* Grow their hair longer, stronger and healthier for life! 

Additional Features
* Regimen Builder with extensive product listings
* Ingredients glossary
* Interviews
* Real photos of hair at the microscopic level

Click on the picture to purchase this book.

Click on the picture to purchase this book.

"The Science of Transitioning: A Complete Guide to Hair Care for Transitioners and New Naturals" Audrey Davis-Sivasothy

Who is This Book For:

  • Currently relaxed and considering Natural hair
  • Transitioners (Long-term and short-term transitions)
  • New Naturals (Recently chopped, or Natural for less than 2 years)

You will learn:

  • How chemical relaxers really affect the hair and scalp.
  • How to transition while keeping your hair as healthy as possible.
  • The best products and techniques to use during your transition.
  • How your mental transition determines the success of your physical transition.
  • Tips for dealing with unsupportive friends and family members.
  • Tips for getting the most out of your new natural hair!
Click on the picture to purchase this book.

Click on the picture to purchase this book.

"10 Secrets to Growing Black Hair Long and Fast" C. Collins

  •       Have you ever felt like you hair stops growing past a certain length?
  •       Have you ever wished you didn't have to wait years to have hair grow past your bra strap?
  •       Do you ever feel like no matter what you do, your hair is always dry and brittle?
  •       Do you struggle with retaining length?
  •       Is your hair dull and lacking shine?
  • This book is a black hair care and natural hair care reference that teaches you methods on how to grow hair long, retain length and maintain healthy beautiful hair. 

**I have chosen these books because they have received the highest customer reviews, however, this is not a complete list.  These are just a few of the many books that can get you on the road to healthier hair.

The more you know, the better equipped you'll be to having the hair you've always wanted.  So make the investment of time and money, read about your beautiful hair and learn how to improve it's overall health!  

  

Transitioning With Roller Sets

Both of these styles were done with the same rollers!

Both of these styles were done with the same rollers!

Early 2010 is when I decided to give Natural a 2nd try.  I had transitioned from 2001-2003 and because the products weren't on the market yet, it was a disaster.  Transitioning was the easy part.  The disaster came when I had a head full of kinky Natural hair and no clue.  Why was transitioning so easy?  I kept things simple.  When transitioning, it can be challenging to navigate 2 completely different hair textures.  I stuck with roller sets and still use the same rollers and setting lotion I do today. The reason this was so successful is that the curls hid what was growing underneath my relaxed hair.  Relaxed hair usually responds well to roller sets and Natural hair does as well.  When you're rolling your dual-textured hair, be gentle.  Your hair is in a very vulnerable state while it's transitioning. The trick is to protect the Natural hair growing in, while also maintaining a style.  Here are some tips to help:

1)  Use a good conditioner.  Making sure hair is well conditioned and soft (before you roll) will help it be more manageable while working through the 2 different textures.

2) Roll hair damp.  Dealing with 2 textures can easily lead to breakage.  Cut down on that by making sure hair is well saturated with a good setting lotion before rolling.

3) Use a good oil.  Natural hair tends to be dryer and needs more oil that relaxed hair.  Be sure to add a light oil like PURE coconut oil or Argan oil to your scalp and Natural roots while maintaining your roller set.  On the relaxed ends use a different, heavier oil to maintain the curl.

4) Take advantage of the time.  Transitioning is a delicate process and takes a lot of patience.  Use this time to get used to your hair tightly coiled to your head.  Keeping your hair in braids and then taking it out for the big reveal may seem easier, but transitioning is about a mental state as well. Use the growth time to educate yourself on what your hair likes and what products will give you the best results.

Buns, braid-outs and twist-outs are all good transitioning styles as well.  I personally stuck with roller sets and found that I was more than ready once I cut off my relaxed ends.  As my roots grew in, my hair became denser, fuller and this helped me to envision myself with what I eventually have now.  Afro hair!  Be patient, set realistic goals (treat yourself to something nice each week or 2 weeks you go perm free!)  Above all: listen to your hair!  Everyone's hair is different.  What works for one person might not work for another.  If your hair doesn't like something it will let you know.  The more you become in tune with your hair, the easier the transition to Natural will be!   

 

 

The Shrinkage Cure: Blowdrying!

Sick of shrinkage?  You want to show off your length, but every time you style it, you can't seem to attain that full look you've always dreamed of having. Here's the secret...blow drying your hair! There is a safe way to stretch out your kinks without causing any long term heat damage.  Here are some tips on how to safely do it:

1) Make sure your dryer has a cool setting and use it!  Blow drying your hair with cool air will save it from getting irreversible heat damage General rule: IF YOU CAN BLOW IT IN YOUR FACE, YOUR HAIR IS SAFE. Before allowing the blowdryer to touch your hair, blow it on your face.  If it's comfortable, cool (and won't melt your face off) then your hair won't be damaged.  NEVER use the hottest setting! Stick with Cool. 

2) Do not blow dry hair stick straight.  Stretching doesn't mean straightening.  Blow dry only until hair is stretched enough to give you more length.  If you're not wearing it straight, don't blow dry it straight.

3) Make sure hair is wet and protected.  Making sure hair is covered with a protectant will keep your hair from getting damaged. (See my YT video for a list of good heat protectants)

4) Use small sections.  Blowdrying your hair on the cool setting takes longer.  Save time (and your arms) by using small sections.  The smaller the section, the faster it will dry.

5) Use a good comb attachment.  Invest in a solid dryer comb attachment so that your kinky hair won't break your attachment or the attachment won't rip your hair out (waisting money & hair!).  In the video below, I glued mine onto my dryer and it worked (a cheap way)! I have since invested in a higher quality dryer and comb attachment which was money well spent!

6) Before you do ANY blow drying with a comb attachment, DETANGLE YOUR HAIR!  This is VERY important!  If your hair is combed out and detangled properly, drying it with the attachment should be a cinch.  If your hair isn't detangled properly, you might rip out some hair which is counterproductive.

If you have been growing your hair out for a few years and you're tired of not getting the lift and poof that you want, try these tips.  See my You Tube video and watch how I blow dry my hair.  Be careful, use your hairdryer sparingly and smartly.  

Tim Okamura: natural hair in art

Currently on display at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery from March 12, 2016 through Jan. 8, 2017.  Click the picture to see the exhibition online!

Currently on display at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery from March 12, 2016 through Jan. 8, 2017.  Click the picture to see the exhibition online!

I have been wanting to do this interview for a while.  Ever since we saw a print of his hanging in a gallery in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.  I immediately needed to know who was responsible for such a lovely piece.  His name is Tim Okamura.  We reached out to Tim and he graciously allowed us to enter into his gallery and his amazing world of urban artistry.

Tim met us at his gallery in the Meet Packing District of New York City.  He was very down-to-earth and welcoming, apologizing for being a few minutes late.  His love of New York City, its people, its beautiful women, the essence of the city are all around this space.  You also sense his pride in being half Japanese, as there are Asian influences, artwork, mementos all around the room.  I am instantly struck by how incredibly generous he is with his time and his vision.  As he begins showing me some of his pieces, he describes each detail.  Nothing on his canvass is incidental or purely for aesthetic value.  Every flower, graffiti tag, smile, frown, curl or insect has a specific meaning.  His subjects are friends, neighbors, acquaintances and sometimes ex-girlfriends.  These women all have stories to tell and he does a remarkable job at capturing their personalities and spirit, especially as seen through their eyes.  As you look through his work, take note of the butterflies and moths, representing, not only a metamorphosis of the the physical, but also rising above negativity and/or extremely difficult circumstances.  Find some of the tags on the wall in his pieces, hovering discreetly over each subject's head, crowing them as a queen.  In the details is where you will see how special Tim's work is.  Not only does he brilliantly capture the beauty of textured hair, he captures its uniqueness, its essence, its versatility.  Tim expertly paints the resilient spirit in women of color, along with revealing their truth, sisterhood and beauty.  Do yourself a favor after you've watched his interview (that merely scratches the surface) visit: TimOkamura.com and take an inspiring journey through this man's remarkable work.  You will be so glad you did! 

On growing up different:

"I grew up in Canada.  Half Japanese, half British origins, I grew up in North West Canada where there weren't a whole lot of half Asian guys so I was a little bit different.  I think that's just part of what influenced my view of the world.  I ended up becoming friends with other kids that were considered different."

On how having friends of color influenced his work:

"Growing up, my friends were from Trinidad, Jamaica, Guyana, you name it.  We all just banded together because we were the: check off the "other" box.  So for me to choose subjects that were people of color was a natural thing."  

On choosing to paint women of color:

"I wanted to find subjects that hadn't been represented very much previously in the history of portrait painting.  I hadn't seen a whole lot of strongly painted realist representations of women of color.  I became attracted to that subject and to telling those stories and really trying to capture the beauty and positivity of those women that I met and befriended...and in some cases dated!"

On painting Afros: 

"There's a strength there...I've always loved Afros for that reason...how incredibly powerful just to see a person with a big Afro, how compelling and what a beautiful way to frame the face...and what it represents to mainstream America saying: "you know what, I don't need to straighten my hair.  I don't need to conform to YOUR ideals of beauty.  This is me.  If I let my hair grow, this is it.  Boom!  That's a lot about what (the painting) "I Love My Hair" was about."

On painting different hair textures:

"My goal as an artist when getting into representing the person, is trying to capture the truth...one of the gifts of this journey for me is, I'm really starting to figure out what composes this particular hair style.  How to paint the texture of somebody with dreadlocks.  There was nobody to show me that.  It's been a journey of discovery for me and I hope that I can do it justice."

On painting Head Wraps:

"As much as I love painting Natural hair and Afros, I'm also, lately, very interested in wraps...I'm also seeing some people that are doing tremendously well introducing head wraps, designing and doing beautiful, beautiful things with wraps so I've been interested in that too."

On his goals to inspire:

"I want it to be open to interpretation.  I know my intentions are positive and I try to do paintings that I think are good ideas.  It's not always going to land where I expected it to, it's not always going to land with the audience that I thought it might.  You have to do the work to the best of your ability, execute the best that you can and it's important my intentions are authentic and genuine.  And then you have to let it out into the world and it's going to live on its own.  I can only control so much and do the best work that I can with what I've got to work with."

Tim Okamura’s art is on display in permanent collections at these locations: The Davis Museum at Wellesley College, The Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Toronto Congress Center, the Hotel Arts in Calgary, Canada, and Standard Chartered Bank in London, England.

Celebrity collectors include Uma Thurman, musicians John Mellencamp, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson (The Roots), director Ben Younger, as well as actors Bryan Greenberg, Vanessa Marcil, Annabella Sciorra, and Ethan Hawke.

 

Product Review: "The Wrap Life"

"The Wrap Life" provides you with everything you need to make a lovely head wrap.  Click on this picture to see their products.

"The Wrap Life" provides you with everything you need to make a lovely head wrap.  Click on this picture to see their products.

This Winter I've decided to buckle down and finally try a finished head wrap from a reputable company.  I've been using scarves for years, and frankly, I'm getting a bit bored.  I've also been letting my hair air dry more during the cold, winter months.  This means, there are times my hair needs to be kept in twists, sometimes still damp and I cannot allow my hair to keep me trapped indoors while it dries.  I have a life.  It's time to invest in some quality head wraps.  In checking the different companies that offer lovely designs, I decided to settle on "The Wrap Life".  The reason is, not only are their prices reasonable (most of their wraps range between $22-$27) but they have a wide assortment of colors, especially solids, which I find more versatile.  

Here's what happened when I ordered my wrap:  I placed my order on 12/21, a Wednesday.  The total came to $25 (including shipping) and I was given a confirmation through email and on Facebook Messenger.  Along with the Facebook confirmation, I was given the option of asking questions over Facebook Messenger.  The next day, 12/22, I received an email and Facebook alert that my order was on it's way!  By 12/24, Saturday, 3 days after placing my order, my wrap was delivered to my door.  Shocked at receiving my package so timely (especially considering the holiday season) I excitedly opened the nice package.  Inside was the wrap I ordered along with 2 square cards.  One, welcoming me to "A community of women expressing their personal style and creativity without compromise" and the other, directing me to their website which has tutorials.  This package reminds me of a 'Head Wraps for Dummies':  A step by step way to learn how to properly tie your new wrap. Bravo! Inspecting the quality of the wrap, I was very pleased.  No surprises.  The color matched exactly as was advertised on their website.  The material is a great quality and feels comfy on my head (heavy enough to make a nice design, but light enough not to smash my curls!).  They even have wash instructions for proper care of your wrap (dryer safe to my delight).  I took the time to watch some of the tutorials and they were short, to the point and clear.  I have zero complaints.  

I will always wear my trusted scarves, however, investing in a some quality head wraps is also a wise choice for several reasons:

1) When you're having a bad hair day and need to cover your ENTIRE head, these wraps will give you the coverage you need...with flair...flair that would take an ordinary scarf too much work to achieve!

2) Because the wrap is so long, style options are endless!

3) Yes, you can go out,  buy your own fabric...but then you have to finish the edges on your sewing machine.  By the time you put in the time, energy and money to accomplish that, at best, you will have evened out on money, but not on time and energy.  

Learning to wrap your hair just the way you like it takes some practice.  The Wrap Life has made that experience less painful...in fact there's no pain at all!  Order online, watch their tutorials, practice in the mirror.  I feel that this was $25 well spent!  Definitely worth your time and investment!  

5 Reasons Wraps Make Great Protective Styles

"Orchid" Head wrap from "The Wrap Life" click the picture to visit their website.

"Orchid" Head wrap from "The Wrap Life" click the picture to visit their website.

Cold weather is here.  Colder air means dryer hair.  In order to combat these dry conditions, we must adjust our hair care regimens accordingly. Some opt for braids, others chose wigs, but many use scarfs and head wraps to keep hair protected and here are 5 reasons why:

1) Better Scalp Care:  Wearing wraps and scarves allows you to have free access to your scalp.  Coming home after a long days work, you can take off your head wrap and massage your scalp with soothings oils.  This promotes growth as well as keeps a healthier scalp, combating a flaky, itchy alternative (which causes the "weave-pat").  See the short video below on what oils I use for healthy scalp maintenance.  

2) Product Testing: Sometimes we'd like to try a new product on our hair but aren't sure what the results will be.  This is where scarves and wraps help tremendously.  Try out the product on your hair, wrap it during the day, and come home to see how your hair has responded to the trial.  

3) Testing Styles: Knowing that you can easily cover up a bad twist-out, braid-out or roller set will give you the courage to try new styles without the risk of a bad hair day.  When you have a wrap to wear, you can have your hair rolled or twisted all day long.  Come home and see how you did. Where did you go wrong?  Should your rollers be smaller or larger?  Do you need to use smaller or bigger sections.  Keep practicing underneath your head wrap until you get it just right. 

4) Deep Conditioning: Harsher weather means hair needs deep conditioning and more attention. Apply an intense deep conditioner, put on a shower cap and wrap it with a scarf or head wrap...no one will ever know.  You'll be looking cute while your hair is getting the nourishment it needs!

5) Practice Makes Perfect: All of your Natural hair heroes who have fabulous hair got it that way by trial and error.  You don't go back to Natural and instantly know what products work for your hair and what styles are the best.  It takes time and practice.  This can only be done with a HANDS ON method, not by keeping hair hidden under tracks, and braids.  The more hands-on practice you have with your hair, the better it will look as it starts to grow.  Growth is useless unless you learn how to properly care for your hair.  Keep practicing, trying new styles, new products, new techniques until you learn how to properly and skillfully care for and love your hair. 

 

 

 

 

Learning How To Do Your Daughter's Hair

Having no children of my own, I almost felt my input in this subject was unwarranted.  The reason it keeps resurfacing in my life is because of the sheer number of mothers that approach me asking for tips on managing their daughter's kinky hair.  Many of these mothers are not women of color, or have hair textures completely different than that of their daughter.  One evening while enjoying a night out with my husband, I was approached by one of these mothers.  She started out praising my hair and said "Can I ask you a personal question?"  My answer, after pausing cautiously was "Sure, you can ask, but I can't promise you an answer..."  She then asked me about my hair maintenance program, products I use and how I achieve my curls.  This led to a very nice discussion in which I found out that, although her hair is naturally straight, her daughter's texture is similar to mine.  Things took a turn, however, when she confessed to personally putting in her young daughter's hair weave because she is "the only black student at her school and I want her to feel good about herself and her hair."  This pleasant, friendly woman had no idea how offensive this comment was.  I could see how lost she seemed, desperate to help her daughter feel better about herself.  Ironically, earlier that day, I was going to close down the "I love my daughter's hair" IG account and move on to another project.  Instead, I went to bed that night feeling more determined than ever to do my part in helping ALL mothers navigate and help their daughters love the hair they've been born with.  For this, I thank that mother and hope she finds out how to better manage her daughter's Natural hair.

This brings me to finding Lauren Casper's blog post.  I have been inspired by this mother's attitude toward her daughter's Natural hair.  She begins her post by explaining how important doing her daughter's Natural hair is for bonding time between mother and daughter.  She makes it a point to get comfortable (watching a movie they both enjoy, having yummy snacks, etc.) since this is what she calls her "weekly hair sessions" with her young black daughter.  She says: "As the white mother of a beautiful black daughter, hair care has been a steep learning curve for me. I want my daughter to love her hair and be proud of the springy black curls that cover her head. I want to be able to care for and style her hair in a way that shows I understand that her hair is different and I celebrate her unique beauty."  This is in steep contrast to the mother that approached me that night, clueless and lost as to what is necessary to help her daughter love her hair.  Bravo Lauren, for making sure your daughter has the tools she needs to grow into a well rounded young woman who'll inevitably love herself and her hair because mom put in the time to make that happen.  As a daughter who was taught to love her hair, I know where that confidence came from.  My mother put in the same time and effort and I will be forever grateful for it.  No matter what background, hair texture or color your daughter is, we all can take a page from Lauren’s book of support and learn how to help our children love their hair.  To read more about Lauren and her adorable daughter visit her blog at: http://www.laurencasper.com/blog/ or go directly to the article:  http://community.today.com/parentingteam/post/bonding-with-my-daughter-through-caring-for-her-hair

"I'm not an expert by any means - my parts aren't always straight and my braids aren't perfect.  Someday she may go to a professional and that's ok... These moments are precious to me because they are regular opportunities to bond with my daughter, and reinforce in her heart that she is important, beautiful, and unique" - Lauren Casper

"I'm not an expert by any means - my parts aren't always straight and my braids aren't perfect.  Someday she may go to a professional and that's ok...These moments are precious to me because they are regular opportunities to bond with my daughter, and reinforce in her heart that she is important, beautiful, and unique" - Lauren Casper

Embracing Change

Before Spring and Summer comes Fall and Winter...Embrace it!

Before Spring and Summer comes Fall and Winter...Embrace it!

On this hair journey, we all experience so many different emotions and changes with our hair.  For years we’ve been relaxing and/or straightening our natural textures.  The first change we had to make was in our attitude towards our own texture.  Once that happens, we can begin to embrace the other changes that will take place.  There will be changes in how your hair responds to certain oils.  How your hair responds to certain products, changes with the climate.  On a rainy day your hair will respond differently than on a dry and sunny day.  I personally used to sleep without a satin cap and loved that freedom for years.  Now my hair prefers to be covered with a satin cap every night and I must embrace that change.  We are all learning, experimenting and encouraging each other to keep going on this journey and just as the leaves change colors and fall off during Fall and Winter, the changes we go through with our hair are a MUST if we are to continue on this journey successfully.  With change comes frustration.  This is also ‘par for the course’.  We all get frustrated when we’ve been coasting along one way for years and then our hormones, the weather, or for no good reason our hair decides to change.  This is something we need to embrace and realize that we aren’t in alone.  When your hair decides to reject a product or a procedure you’ve been doing for years, roll with it.  Textured hair has a mind of it’s own and it’s also a huge part of our bodies which are constantly changing with age and with the weather.  Instead of having feelings of giving up, try having fun with new styles, new products and new ideas to help yourself embrace the change.  Just like we deal with Fall and Winter by wearing cute scarves, gloves and boots, we can embrace the changes with our hair by having fun.  If you embrace the change and frustration, knowing we all go through it, you will be able to stay on the road to having the full head of hair you want.  The only way to the get there is to stick out the changes, weather those hair storms, coming out the other end with thick, healthier hair.  Before Spring and Summer comes Fall.  Before you get the hair you want, there comes change, some frustration and adjustments.  Embrace this truth and you will enjoy the journey more, realizing we’re all in this together.  Stay positive and don’t give up!  Before you know it, you’ll be looking back at this stage of the journey and laughing.  Please keep going until you can look in the mirror and genuinely love your hair and the person it is attached to!  

How do you personally embrace your hair changes?  Leave a comment below, you never know who you may inspire! 

Revitalizing Your Hair In The Morning

Sometimes the need to protect our hair with scarves and satin caps can leave hair mashed, flat and misshapen in the morning.  How do I deal with this issue?  The answer might surprise you. The first thing I do in the morning, is find some MOISTURE!  Not a direct spritz of water (which would ruin a roller set, braid out or twist out) but water in the air...STEAM!  Find it where you can get it!  Run a hot shower, boil water in a tea kettle, turn on the humidifier, put a pan on the radiator, open the window on a rainy day...whatever you need to do to get that moisture in the air and into your HAIR! The moisture from the steam will soften your hair and make it more pliable and easier to work with.  Once you've let your hair soak in the moisture for about 15 min (I usually make a cup of tea or have a shower) now it's time to reshape.  Use whatever oil your hair likes.  I start with Shea Butter.  Shea Butter is a heavier oil, but it makes my hair VERY soft, so I start using this to help soften my hair.  After this I end with a light coat of coconut oil which helps stretch out my curls.  In all of this, I am ONLY using my hands.  No picks, no combs, just my fingers to stretch, grab, separate and reshape which always gives me the best results.   So to recap: 1) Get steam in the air and let hair soak in for 10-15 min. 2) Use a light oil to seal in the moisture and help stretch your curls 3) Use your hands to reshape hair.  This all takes practice. In time you will learn: how much steam is too much before your hair starts to frizz, which oils stretch out your curls the best and which oils makes it the softest.  Through trial and error you will perfect this art of revitalization and make your styles last longer!