January 14, 2009

Feeling Good….

nina1

Just a quick diddy…

…..Sometimes a person just needs the right amount of inspiration & Lady Nina has recently been that for me.  Over the holiday my boss surprised me with an absolutely AMAZING retrospective on Nina Simone that I’m still grooving to even while at work! I highly recommend for anyone who’s in search of inspiration or even simply just a clever muse to entertain. 

 

 

via videosift.com

January 13, 2009

Memory Lane

cutie

The decision to return to natural is never quite easy, nor is walking down memory lane reliving what for some are distorted memories.  Even today, more than eight years after my first BIG CHOP and cutting off all relaxed ends, I feel strongly that this journey has only just begun. What I’ve learned so far, from those who had admonished me to those who have encouraged me…these experiences are only just the tip of the iceberg.

Yet every journey does have a beginning and mine was back in college, which is sort of atypical of most natural hair journeys. Sign up for classes on the first day, but also sign up for the inevitable, driving into oncoming traffic in the form of new friends, new interests, new outlooks on life.   For me, sophomore year was when I’d hit a wall.  Less than enthusiastic about my choice of college,   I retreated into another world I’d slowly created for myself. One full of Magazines, books, and my new found passion…the Harlem Renaissance.  All these elements have names, but in essence they were singular, a simple conduit for me to escape.

Before heading to class on an early morning,  I picked up an issue of Elle Magazine, bypassed the countless petty ads about Chanel, Gucci and brands I could never afford, to a columnist I had grown to love.  At the time Tia Williams was a beauty editor for Elle Magazine, writing  from her perspective as an African American woman, mentioning on the fly how she’d tried this new product for her hair or discovered the greatest find in lipglosses.  She was my ABSOLUTE idol at the time!

Every month I’d double check the masthead to make sure she was still there and had not deserted me.  I’d venture this to be back in say 2000 or 2001, where to be a black girl in Elle was a MEGA deal, particularly if you’re not just posing, but you’re contributing in a way that reaches a whole new audience.  I was beyond thrilled every month to read what she had to say, and one day I decided to book an appointment at a salon on her recommend list.

Once I’d gotten to the salon, and like a good little client  I’d bought a picture of how I’d wanted my hair to turn out. I handed it over and watched a perplexed look wash my stylist   Now, here’s where the words common and sense should’ve met for me…I’d picked a salon that specialized in NATURAL HAIR.  I did NOT have natural hair. My hair was relaxed, straight, high on creme crack! Yes… and my hair stylist told me as much, but rather than lose out on money, encouraged me to try a flat twist, which regardless in the end turned out fabulous!

But that picture (which I still have today:-)) of this beautiful woman with textured hair was stuck in my head for weeks after my flat twists had gone limp and straight.  It’d never occured to me until that point in the salon that other possiblities did exist out there for my hair besides the relaxer AND most importantly, that I had the power to change it! The power to change while in college is something extraordinary because it all seems so very possible, undaunting, and yet all so very exciting.

And that’s what I did. Without thinking twice.  I knew I wanted this look, that woman’s hair, and this fierceness that could only be described as contagious, so I set out to get it.  In a matter of 4-6 months, I went back to the salon, greeted my stylist with an ‘I told you so look,’ and enjoyed one of the most freeing experiences to date.

Afterwards I went home, hid my hair from family for a good two months before gathering the courage to unravel my teenie weenie fro.  The response was what I’d expected.  My parents ignored me, just down right did NOT speak to me about what I’d done.  According to them I’d probably ‘grown depressed’ or simply ‘wanted attention,’  and the best way for them to deal with it, or me, was to ignore the situation completely.

It was unfortunate, but because my new hair carried with it a new attitude of confidence, it frankly did not bother me, and over time ( a good solid year!) they accepted who it was I was growing into. Some friends deserted me, other family members thought me plain ‘ol crazy, lazy and stupid,  but again…there was no better relief than making a choice that involved this kind of freedom and discovery.  Over night I’d begun learning more about myself, my face (you can’t hide when you first BC) my family, friends…even strangers on the street who’d stop to pay compliment.

Over the years the styles and products have come and gone, but the experience is one I’d relive again and again if I could.  Through the years I’ve donned double strand twists, flat twists, braids, coils, buzz cuts, pixie cuts, dreadlocks, afro puffs, flat ironed,  cornrows, and so much more. Even over this past year I’ve learned so much from new friends, new roommates, new bloggers out there who’ve been down a similar path and who are also continuing to learn…it is ALL such an incredibly humbling, eye opening, fantabulous journey that I’d encourage every brave woman to embark on this journey… share your concerns, fears and hopes with those who are willing to listen, and to do it with arms wide open, because to travel  any other way would…well it just wouldn’t be as fun.

January 12, 2009

Organic Goodness

One of my absolute FAVORITE beauty bloggers is back on the prowl after giving birth to her first bundle of joy late last year! If you haven’t heard of her, click here for a proper introduction.  She’s a blogger, author, and former beauty editor of chic Mags such as Elle, Glamour & Lucky Magazine just to name a few!  I’ve been following her columns and blogs since her days at Elle and have been a HUGE fan ever since. 

So glad she’s back, and her bambina is doing great, but doubly thrilled she banged out a product review on something I’ve been searching for!

What is this you say?! Let’s holla at the ingredient list first:

INGREDIENTS:Water, Witch Hazel, Organic Aloe Vera, Vegetable Glycerin, Panthenol (Vitamin B-5), Gum Arabic, Gum Tragacanth, White Camellia Oil, Ginkgo Leaf, Ginseng Root, Magnolia Blossom, Angelica and Chrysanthemum Extracts, Jasmine Oil, Aubrey’s Preservative (Citrus Seed Extract, Vitamins A, C and E).

Ahem…

whitecamjasmine_condspray1It’s an essential spray that, get this…doubles as a conditioner & styling spray for dry lifeless hair.  It can be used in between shampoos or after to add softness and increased manageability!  And if you’re like me and can’t read the fine print on that cute ‘lil bottle, this product is put out by Aubrey Organics, which means 100% natural & vegan, two mighty fine things!

Indeed my list is getting long, but it’s gratifying to know it’s a myriad of natural goodness..!

January 12, 2009

Lock & Twist Gels

I have to admit, my list of products that I would like to try is getting longer and longer, especially now that my goal this year is to veer more towards hair friendly/hair healthy products. It’s not a difficult course I’ve set for myself, it’s just more so a journey of natural discovery, and requires a different sort of awareness.  I consider this a great thing!

For the winter my style of choice is typically a two-strand twist style, or just a twist-out, rockable for a good week or so, and with this style I’m constantly looking for the best product that’ll offer great moisture, hold and if I’m feeling lucky some much needed shine… after all it is winter.

Two weeks ago I visited one of the few beauty supply stores that remained open on New Years Day (this was AFTER visiting my grandmother of course:-) )  and shelled out some money to buy two products that’d been on the list for some time. 

gel2The Organic Root Stimulator Lock & Twist Gel was something I thought I could get away with for a pretty simple & quick two strand twist.  The product claims to add moisture while leaving  a noticeable shine once dry.  When I first took note on this gel I did notice the reason why it was so hyped on the boards is because it’s a solid mix of a gel AND a creme! Two lovely factors curlyheads look for because it’s like killing two birds with one stone  heaven in a jar;-).    After trying and styling my hair with this product I noticed upon drying that my hair began to flake just a tad.  The crown on my hair remained intact, but the parts of my hair more prone to dryness began to rebel.  It was a bit disappointing because I was cautious NOT to use a hefty amount while twisting and yet the end result left me a bit discouraged.  But of course, this is not to say this is the end all if you’re a curly head and this is in your arsenal of products, but…well my take is that it might work best on slightly thinner hair.  Once again I have a helmet on my head…a.k.a…this girl has thick hair! So the process of applying a gel/creme mixture might take a bit more chemistry trial and error sessions than this product could offer. 

But instead of dwelling on this, I moved on to another cool find on the list! This one’s also a gel, but once again because I’d heard such good things I picked it up.  gel21The Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Gel has one of the best scents for a gel! Forget those chemical, familiar scents that often go hand in hand with the average joe gel, this puppy smells…well it smells like mango’s and limes!  I twisted my strands with the gel this past weekend and remain pleasantly surprised  two days afterwards! There was certainly moisture and once dry, indeed some noticeable shine! It does have silk proteins listed as one of it’s ingredients, something I’d be careful about building on my hair over time, so for now the verdict can’t be delivered until the unveiling of the twist out, but I’m getting good vibes from the hair gods on this…!

 

Next up: I’m quite eager to try Curl Junkie’s Coffee Coco Curl Creme! Perhaps it’s time to stick to a creme based styling product for the winter rather than staying in this gel rut I’ve settled into.  I’m hoping my hair agrees with me!

January 12, 2009

Cool Find!

Yesterday after work, I schlepped through the snow to the nearest Trader Joe’s to stock up on the essentials, completely got lost while inside because, well, they’d rearranged everything while I wasn’t looking (the grilled chicken strips were where the frozen mangos were…etc.)

So while lost near the coffee grinding station, I found something I’d say quite useful!

Ohmmm.....

Ohmmm.....

Basically I never used to believe the ‘ol propaganda about regular towels causing curls friction and frizz after shampooing and styling, but… WOW! I was made into a believer when I dared myself to try these special towels on my hair, soaking up excess water section by section before applying my regular leave-in conditioner.  The towels significantly cut down on frizz & did what it promised, lifting the water and nothing else up off my hair. They are machine washable & dry in the blink of an eye.

I guess you can say it was the kind of thing where you go…why didn’t I think of this before!

Mmmm…baby steps;-)

January 12, 2009

Hair Happy

 

todoThis past Thursday I did a whacky thing and bought a pocket organizer. With the new year I definitely needed one, but was reluctant at first because last year’s organizer had blue and black marks in only six out of the twelve months.  Shame really.  Every year I try to keep myself more organized, schedule in time with those that I haven’t seen or spoken to in a good while, or even just for the sake of my sanity keep track of the everyday ins and outs of life.  I’d be a pretty powerful superwoman if I could remember everything that happened in my day…

…But like they say New Year, New You!  No need to start over really, but just push ahead with new goals, new ideas, new passions…seriously just try to be the better you, the you you were meant to be in all facets of your life.  

So organizer. CHECK! And thanks to one of my favorite blogs on tresses and cute little finds, I’ve got my healthy hair to-do list all squared away!

 

Here’s an awesome list of to-do’s for the new year from maneandchic.com

Since it’s 2009, here are 9 things you can do to improve the health of your hair for the New Year…

  1. Stop over-processing your hair, fall back on the chemicals like dyes and relaxers.  They can really ruin your hair.
  2. Cut back on the Heat.  If you’re using the flat iron every week, try cutting back to every other week or perhaps once a month.  Try alternatives to get the straight look like wraps, roller sets, and low watt hot air brushes (do no use a boar bristle attachment… that’s bad… look for the plastic bristles). 
  3. Shampoo your scalp not your hair.  If you’re going to use a sulfate shampoo, try diluting it with filtered water and use a color applicator bottle so that the shampoo only gets to your scalp.  
  4. Stay away from your Scissor Happy Stylist.  Unless you’re using a lot of heat on your ends, there’s no need to get a trim every 6 weeks.  I’ve gone a whole year without a trim, some people go longer.  Long hair is not everybody’s goal in which case, trim trim trim away. 

Click Here to read the rest of the entry and for some more chic inspiration!