Posts Categorized: Hair Updates

January 2, 2012

Wash Day + Length Check

So today was initially scheduled as wash day, though as mentioned on my FB page...FRO is lookin pretty darn good for someone going on 8 day hair. Being only the second day of the New Year a woman has instead been caught up in all the inspiring posts and words being strewn around her inbox, Twitter and Rss feed. This is something I adore & truly relish in….lightbulb moments going off all over the world, and all thanks to one flip of the calendar. In hindsight none of us should stand in the waiting wings to begin the lives we are meant to live…but often the simple acknowledgment to begin is strength enough.

It’s a reoccurring trend here the fact that I abhor length checks, and frankly it’s only for the simple fact that I never seem to get them right. I feel a bit silly breaking out the measuring tape and could never get the angle right for the right snap….so here’s the best of what the day brought about.

All in all….good job eh? I’m hiding the end tip of the hair with my thumb, though rest assured my bra strap reaches no where lower than that there shot. I know a lot of naturals do begin to think of straightening once reaching a certain goal length….and despite that wee voice inside that says to just ignore those whispers, I am curious how FRO would look after a blowout or flat iron. It’s taken over three years to even think of the possibility of heading down this road….so we’ll see;).

Also, BTC is coming up on a pretty special anniversary in a few weeks & this l’il blogger may have something up her sleeves!  So, if you’re in the NYC area the weekend of January 29th, save the date for a  fun celebration! Full deets to come!

December 1, 2011

When Grease is the Word…

Howdy, All! Have we officially descended from the depths of Holiday Hangovers? Escaped pepper spray debauchery and random beatdowns for your PS2? A thousand blessings on you and yours if you headed out to all the Black Friday Madness last week, I’m certain it’s much-needed. After watching just ONE news report on ummm….’scenes’ at some local big box stores, I laid back comfortably in my parent’s pillowtop bed and resumed Food Network watching.

Just crazy…

Besides, Fro & I began facing challenges of our own as soon as our feet touched down in not so Sunny Florida. Old friend Hard Water made a return trip as well. Because this go round I decided against schleping most of my hair care arsenal, there was little I could rely on as backup to salvage the ‘situation,’ so rummaging through Mum’s cabinet would have to do.

Thankfully a full jar of Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie was found, along with the Shea Moisture Shampoo. Funny enough, we are pretty well into Fall season & temps in the FL area are relatively mild…but still….STILL there lurks the humidity monster!!

Fro barely escaped because I opted to keep hair in twists for most of my stay, but when the big B-Day came about, I desperately wanted to wear a twist-out for din din festivities. So to keep things moving I dug even deeper into Mum’s vanity and pulled out a jar riddled with ingredients I long vowed to avoid.

Thanks to Nik for the resurrecting the itch…but I can’t even front like this stuff did not work like magic. It smoothed Fro down, minimized frizz, & revealed some amazingly soft, touchable hair.

I guess the question now is will I continue to incorporate grease into the weekly routine….and well, the answer is probably yes. Will I use it everyday IN PLACE of some of my now favorite pomades and butters…? Probably not. But the thing is, I love the idea of not limiting myself any longer to A LOT of the ‘constraints’ and rules we tend to come across when trying to perfect a particular hair style. Frankly, it can be draining (mentally & $$wise).

A few weeks ago I put pen to paper and decided a few goals were in order, and one of them was to graciously usher in my 30th birthday, an occasion that at the beginning of the year left me with such trepidation, it left me embarrassed at times. I’m sure most of us can agree on the inevitability of life’s interruptions when you’re entrapped in your own foolishenss….like getting ‘older,’ but when you DO became painfully aware of what is inherently important (family, friends…the joys of simply waking up each morning)… taking the time to appreciate these things is ridiculously more rewarding.

No worries…this lightbulb moment was not brought to you by Grease Revelations, but more so on the all too simple reality….life’s too short to be bogged down by our own conceived foolishness. If you don’t believe me…look at the calendar.

Happy December 1st, All;)!

(P.S. omg….notice that gray strand sticking out?!?! I’m sooooo proud of them:)

(P.P.S are we hanging out on FB yet? Finding me in Twitterville okay...?)

November 13, 2011

The Shrinking Wash-N-Go…

Yeah..the weather has shifted and it’s Fall-ish outside, so according to the ‘rules’ of natural hair I should be winterizing my Fro game…but lately I’ve been itching to perfect this new wash-n-go routine. I dunno…there’s something about having a backup plan on days when you’re just too tired to detangle for an hour and can’t find the right Netflix movie to distract you while you’re twisting for another two.

So this past week I went at it using old fav Eco Styler Gel (Olive Oil formula) and topped it with a bit of Ouidad’s Climate Control. Why top gel on top of gel? Honestly, this stuff works amazingly well to combat frizz…even after hair is less than dry & you want to get the heck out of the house and attend to biz. This trial took all of about an hour, not counting the drying time. I opted to diffuse for about half an hour prior to twisting and heading to bed. Had an interview in the morning and needed Fro to look her best….and not damp!

The noticeable shrinkage is something I’ve gotten used to over the years. I know there are many naturals who really detest this part of curly textured hair…but truthfully, I opt to include this perk into what makes natural hair so unique & distinct! It really can be the ultimate tease if hair goals do include length…but it really is about accepting the entire package deal.

After a few days there was a bit of dryness all round, so this week I’ll be two-strand twisting and letting it rest. Since the trim several months back, Fro has made quite the leap in terms of growth, and I’m just trying to keep up!  Doubt another trim is in the near future…but a light dusting to prevent those pesky fairy knots seems like the better option.

And, yeah…camera tricks and all…Fro is actually an undercover dark-browned gal. Not sure if anyone’s natural hair color is actually black though…is it? Hmmm….

August 15, 2011

Clipped Ends & Salon Visits: Back In The Chair

It’s been several years since I even contemplated the thought of returning to a salon to give the Fro some one-on-one action with a stylist. Granted, this was a conscious decision after my strands suffered over 85% heat damage three years ago. And I know that we often joke about trauma like situations when it comes to the health and care of hair, perhaps just relegating the situation to something that’s ‘ no big deal.’ But I’m here to tell you my stress levels were greatly induced each time I looked in the mirror and fretted over how I’d be able to style what appeared to be a broken hair puzzle. So much so that I ended up delving into online forums, youtube videos, then eventually starting this here bloggy blog. It’s been a journey to say the least.

But after experiencing a few personal challenges over the past few weeks, I wanted nothing more than to leave the task of detangling, washing, twisting, setting my hair in the care of someone else. I wanted desperately to be pampered, so I sought the help of a woman who did my first initial BIG CHOP over ten years ago, Debra Ottley of Jelani’s Naturals in New York City.

I went in with a hard core game plan to really just get bangs. It’d been a while since I enjoyed styling & twisting my hair this way & felt more than comfortable with the decision. Yet almost as soon as I sat down in Debra’s chair & she perused my nest, she noticed my no longer hidden frayed ends that were in desperate need of a trim. This was my dirty little hair secret for some time, a fact that I ignored due to….well just plain laziness.

So what was initially supposed to be a blunt bang cut…morphed into an all over, much needed trim with a bit of a compromise, side swept bangs that are neither too long or short – but just right!

Umm….please ignore the lack of ‘focus’ in these pics. A ballsy mosquito invaded my photo session in the sweltering 90 degree heat…this is my controlled peeved look.

Hair did shrink up considerably since Deb styled the twists much smaller than I usually do…and of course, I said goodbye to about 2 inches of hair. I hope to see less single strand knots for some time thanks to the new trim!

I asked Deb what products are on her current rotation, and she couldn’t stop singing the praises of Jane Carter’s line of goodies! She started with the Scalp Renew to remove some my regular dry scalp issues, set me under a dryer for about 15 minutes then rinsed. To twist, she used a very small amount of the Nourish & Shine. The edges of my hair was set with the Wrap & Roll, for a more smooth appearance, and to help prolong the style. My hair smelled incredible after leaving the salon! I truly forgot how lovely this line of products is, not overly bearing, only feminine & pleasant.

I really can’t sing the praises of Jelani’s enough. Deb spent a thoughtful amount of time on my hair, answering any questions I might’ve had (even though I fell asleeeeeep in her chair! shame), and truly being one of those stylists that you come to admire not just for their talent, but respect because of their clientele & reputation. I left the salon with a smile on my face & my spirits completely lifted, the best feeling! I’d absolutely return to her chair if the mood strikes again, sometimes you really can’t beat having another hair professional dote over you.

July 7, 2011

Overcoming Humidity with a Modified Routine

Sometime last week I shared a few pics on the Facebook Page & was asked to spill on how I’ve been able to achieve a humid-less hairstyle. I thought about it, and realized there are in fact a few tricks I tend to abide by when the humid meter rises, some of these methods though are the same practices I apply to the hair year round. Given the rise in temperature, I do make sure to adhere to these steps to the teeee! This here is my method, it’s been reliable up till this point for my hair texture/density etc. Please note that modifications to this routine in order to achieve the desired look YOU want…are encouraged;). It starts on Wash-Day. 

Making sure both hair & scalp are thoroughly cleansed is the 1st step to preventing a frizzy aftermath. To ease the process, I still cleanse the hair in sections making sure I don’t miss any spots. Look for a really great cleansing shampoo (one that preferably doesn’t contain overly drying ingredients) and cleanse once. Repeat the cleanse with the same shampoo OR a moisturizing shampoo or cleansing conditioner to replenish moisture lost.

Conditioning is Key

Deep Conditioning actually. I’m a long time DC’er, leaving my mix in the hair for upwards of an hour or so. I know in the warmer months, the last thing we want to think about is sitting with a conditioning cap on our heads, but I’d strongly encourage at least 25-30 minutes of DC’ing. A good tip is to apply your conditioner while you’re detangling, & to do so in sections. By the time you’ve finished (15-20 minutes later) your hair should be adequately conditioned. Let it rest for 5 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.

Setting Your Strands

*this is key* If you want to avoid the Frizz Monster, you must allow hair to dry 100% before manipulating. I typically set my hair in twists for the week, dry overnight and enjoy the perks of a twist-out the FOLLOWING day. Meaning, hair is styled on Sunday, dries fully on Monday, and Tuesday thru Saturday I can enjoy wearing a twist-out etc., because hair is sufficiently dry. I also do not separate all of the un-done twists. I leave a few intact on day one of the twist-out, and progressively unravel each as the week lets on. This cuts down on the frizz significantly. Basically, low manipulation.

Maintaining Your Desired Style

Not everyone wants to rock twists for the week like moi, but I do know that Curly hair thrives on moisture no matter the style it’s kept in. So whether you plan on rocking two-strand twists for two weeks, or a high bun for 3 days, at some point your hair will need moisture replenishment. The trick is to choose your methods/products wisely. I went over my nightly routine some time ago, and still do this religiously. The above pic was taken on 7 day hair after wearing the Fro in a twist-out for 6 days. To help keep it ‘under control’ I adhered to my nightly routine and followed these easy steps:

  • Moisturized the hair with LUSH R&B. This product has done wonders for the Fro during the humid days. I use a very tiny bit to smooth over the entire head and follow up with a spritz. I tend to use this typically on days 5-7 when it feels as if the sun has sucked out most of the moisture & hair is especially parched. Also, for some this cream might be a tad too heavy. If you use, do so sparingly.
  • No matter the season I always have to have a good hair spritz by my bed side. I hardly ever twist without one & lean towards Jane Carter’s Revitalizing Leave-In Conditioner (easy to find in stores, & protects hair from heat styling and the sun). It also has Panthenol which acts as a sealant, locking in moisture. I don’t over saturate, but make sure it’s damp enough to twist easily, loosening any knots during the process, & dries fast for the morning rush. Another tried favorite is the Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Hold & Shine Moisture Mist (also readily available in most drugstores, Walgreens, Tarjay…etc.). I LOVE this for so many reasons (the smell is lovely!!), but mainly because of the great ingredients. It’s loaded with Coconut Oil, Neem Oil, Vitamin E & water for ultimate moisture. I go through at least two bottles a month…yep.
Protect Your Work
No sense in wasting all that hard work in keeping the Frizz at Bay if you’re not going to follow the easiest step in the bunch! Before donning a satin bonnet/scarf before bedtime, I apply a small dab of light hair butter. I’m talking a minuscule amount (still trying to avoid buildup) and do the same in the morning before unraveling the twists. I’ve come to rely on KBB’s Hairlicious Cream & Pooka’s Shea & Olive cream alternatively. This step not only adds incredible shine, but I’ve noticed less fairy knots, hair is softer and frizz is reduced.

More Tips:

  • I rely on water based stylers during the week because they allow me to replenish any moisture lost on a less frequent basis. Butters are packed with oils, which don’t necessarily moisturize but are still great for added shine and manageability.
  • Gels work great to fight against humidity, I’m a fan of most of the gels in the Eco-Styler Family. Read my review,“Eco-Styler A-Z” here along with tips on the perfect wash-n-go.
  • Here’s a list of Top 10 Humidity Fighters
When all else fails, and believe me…it’s okay. Remember that your curly kinks & waves are doing what they do best. Frizz & Humidity are not a flawed character of any curly head, it’s just a fact of life. If you find yourself frustrated, get creative! Invent a cute up-do, play around with a few bobby pins and experiment on some down time. Accessories during the Summer are a curly girl’s best friend, use em up!


*If you have any tips you’d like to share, please drop them in the comments…how do you tackle humidity?*

May 31, 2011

Garden Variety…

This past weekend I was finally able to toss aside all the grumblings of bad weather and impending rain showers cuz….it was glorious out! After a few out of town plans fell through, I dragged a few family members to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and snapped a few pics with my new fancy ass camera…a.k.a. Pappi;).

this was probably 7 day hair that I clipped up using a handy Goody clip! these days with the heat creeping in not the biggest fan of hairz in the face.

Hope your holiday was good one! Summer is finally HERE!!