Archived Hair Care Tools & Accessories

This post marks the end of me moving all of my old archived web material over to this new format (except the Val & Nadine comic strips).  Wow, that was hard work.  It’s amazing how much info you compile when documenting a process.  In my case, the process is learning to care for natural hair.  These are the old (and not-so-old) tools & accessories that I have used (in some cases – still use) in the day to day care of my hair.  I will be posting an updated version of my tools and accessories in the weeks or months to come, although I still use a lot of the items below.

Hair Care Tools

Archived Notes: My tools have changed slightly since my hair has grown.  Pictured back row, left to right: I currently use my ordinary boar bristled brush to brush back puffs. I use my wide tooth comb and Denman (D3 – see bottom picture) brush to detangle my hair after every wash and I still use the last comb to detangle my hair in the shower.  Pictured front row, left to right: I no longer use the round brush (my hair is too long), I only pick my hair when I want to sport an afro.  I can only pick my hair when it is wet.  (If I don’t, I find little naps all over my sink).

Updated Notes: I still have the Denman, but I use it for my daughter’s hair.  I haven’t used it on my hair in a long time.  I still use a boar bristled brush, but I found one with harder bristles. I just purchased a new set of combs, so the combs pictured above will be faded out of my hair care routine.  I’ll post about my new combs soon.

Hair Care Accessories

Archived Notes: Here are a few of my favorite scarves.  I use all different lengths of scarves.  I use the small square ones as a basic headband on my puffs and to tie back twists ($1 at the beauty supply).  I use longer ones to wrap around my head.

Updated Notes: I still use all of these scarves, although not as often.  I think it may be time to purchase new scarves.

Archived Notes: Here is my favorite butterfly comb and some basic snap clips.  The clips can probably be found at any beauty supply or department type store (such as Walmart, Target)

Updated Notes: Since my 2nd BC, I haven’t used my butterfly comb or clips.  They may find their way back into use as my hair continues to grow.  Note on the clips, you have to careful when using them because they can pull your hair out.  I may have to find an alternative.

Archived Notes: These are Goody Brand ouchless headbands that I found at Walmart (I’ve seen these in lots of different stores).  I found that they were not tight enough, so I cut them and tie them on as tight as I need to.  (4 1/2 cm or approx. 1 3/4 in. wide)

Updated Notes: I do not use these very often, because of the length of them.  They are almost too short to tie, so I have to tie them fairly tight, which gives me a headache. I am always in search of an alternative.

Archived Notes: These are smaller Goody Brand ouchless headbands that I found at Walmart (I’ve also seen these in lots of different stores).  I double these up (like a rubber band) before using them on my hair (it’s a little hard to put on this way). (1 cm or approx. 5/16 in. wide)

Updated Notes: I don’t use these anymore because of the headache factor.

Archived notes: These are also ouchless headbands made by Goody.  I use these in the same manner as the thicker ones above.  (1/2 cm or approx. 1/4 in. wide)

Updated Notes: I don’t use these anymore either.

Archived Notes: Here is a selection of broaches and clip-on earrings from my mother-in-law’s collection.  These make great accessories when pinned or clipped to the elastic that holds back puffs!

Updated Notes: I still use these from time to time, although not nearly as often.  It may be time to shop for new accessories.

Archives: Six Months of Napps & Beyond (originally posted 2008/2009)

These are old articles from my Hair Journey in Words: Six Months of Napps & Beyond. As you read, please keep in mind that these articles were originally posted about 4 years ago. Although the information contained in them are timeless, some of the links and references may no longer exist. I hope that this is not too frustrating for you and that you will still find these articles to be helpful in your own hair journey. Enjoy!

Originally posted 4/4/08

One of the toughest things, that some of us who decide to go natural, has to deal with is rude comments from those who oppose natural hair. It’s one thing when this opposition comes from outsiders, but how do you deal with it when it comes from family members?

This is just my opinion, but I think that we should all stand up for ourselves no matter who the rude comments are coming from. We cannot give ANYONE permission to be rude and hurt our feelings. When a person hears the same thing over and over again, they cannot help but begin to believe it. If a family member keeps saying that you are unattractive with natural hair, it is a matter of time before this begins to break down your confidence. Confidence is fragile and should be protected at all costs.

What exactly am I saying here? I am saying that no matter who is belittling you about your hair, let that person know that they DO NOT have your permission to hurt you. Now if what the person is saying does not bother you, then ignore it. If it does bother you, decide right now, today that you will not stand for it anymore. I am not saying that you should be rude in return. I am just saying that it might be a good idea to find a polite and respectful way to tell that person that you have made a decision to no longer straighten your hair and that you do not want to hear anything negative about it. If they cannot say anything nice, they should keep it to themselves. I realize that this is easier said than done, but rebuilding confidence that has been broken down by negativity is even harder. Just a little food for thought!

Originally posted 7/28/08

July 26th marked my 3 year nappiversary!! So how do I feel? I’d have to say that the time went by quickly. I went from less than an inch of hair to a massive bush of hair in what feels like lightning speed (exaggerating of course). I’ve been through good times and bad times with my hair. I’ve had my share of bad hair days and doubts, but overall the journey has been incredible. Now that I am three years along, I do not feel as conscious of my hair. I don’t think about the fact that I am natural, it is just a part of me. It almost feels as if I was always natural. I go back and read over my old posts and Val & Nadine comic strips from time to time just to remind myself of what the early part of my journey was like.

I hope that my hair journey has been inspiring to all of you who have been faithfully checking the site looking for updates (sorry for the lack of updates lately). I find that the longer my hair gets, the less experimental I get, so the updates don’t come quite as often. That does not mean that I am not interested in your individual hair journeys and questions. I am always available for questions and I will continue to showcase new naturals on my website. In fact, if you have been natural for less than a year, please visit the New Naturals Showcase page here.

Well that’s it for now. Take care!

Originally posted 1/6/09

I first of all want to thank everyone who continue to visit my website, although I have not been as faithful with the updates. I just wanted to let you all in on what has been going on in my life lately (I at least owe that to you). Most of you already know that I had a baby a little over a year ago. She’s now 15 months-old and is a busy, fussy, tantruming yet still very sweet toddler. As if she was not enough to keep me busy, I decided to pull my 7 year-old son out of public school, 7 weeks ago, and I am now homeschooling him. I also baby-sit a couple of children on the weekends to help a friend out and to help with the expense of purchasing homeschooling materials.

As a result of all of this, I have not been as consistent with hair care. I barely have time to just pull it back into a puff, so washing it and detangling it regularly has been pretty much out of the question. So, website updates have been obviously non-existent. Please be patient with me as I try to get back into the routine of web updates. Thanks a bunch and I wish you all a terrific New Year!!

Archives: Six Months of Napps & Beyond (originally posted Jul – Dec 2007)

These are old articles from my Hair Journey in Words: Six Months of Napps & Beyond. As you read, please keep in mind that these articles were originally posted about 4 years ago. Although the information contained in them are timeless, some of the links and references may no longer exist. I hope that this is not too frustrating for you and that you will still find these articles to be helpful in your own hair journey. Enjoy!

Originally posted 7/2/07

Lately, I’ve gotten a few email messages from natural sisters who are feeling a little discouraged due to lack of support or ignorant comments regarding their natural hair. I have been natural for almost two years now. Overall, I’ve gotten great support from family and friends. However, I live in Memphis, TN and the natural hair scene here is growing, but very slowly. In other words, there are not very many sistas here wearing their natural hair texture. When I leave my house, I still get the “how can she wear her hair out like that” looks from people every now and then.

I wanted to take a few minutes to offer a bit of inspiration for those who are not getting any support and/or are bothered by the looks that they are getting from people. Ladies, please realize that there is nothing more beautiful than the confidence that it takes to finally tell yourself, I’m letting go of the relaxers! I know that at times you may only feel confident as you look in your mirrors in the morning. I realize that sometimes that confidence slips right away as soon as you walk out of your door. I encourage you to look inside of yourselves and radiate that confidence wherever you go. I’m begging you to challenge yourself, not that you haven’t already, to make the love for your natural hair shine so brightly that people find it hard to be negative about your hair. Once you allow that love to shine, the negativity that you receive from others will bounce right off. I promise you that it will! People will begin to look at you in a different way. Even if they do not like natural hair, they will see you walking and say to themselves, “I don’t know what it is, but there is just something about the sista”.

Ladies, it’s easier said than done sometimes, but next time you are feeling bad about your hair, lift your head up and strut like you’re the Next Top Model and I guarantee people will begin to look at you differently!

Originally posted 8/24/07

I decide to visit a beauty salon for the first time in two years. I can’t even remember what made me decide to do it. I don’t really give the cosmetologist much instruction on what I want done to my hair, I just sit in the chair and trust her instincts. As I’m sitting there, she brushes my hair out and begins to part it. Soon I smell a familiar smell that I have not smelled in over two years. This pungent smell fills the room as the stylist smooths a cool cream all over my head. Could it be a new type of hair gel?. Before long, I am sitting in a chair wondering why my head is burning like crazy. I try to think back on the last time I felt this burning sensation all over my head, but my mind goes blank.

The stylist washes my hair and styles it. At this point I reach up to feel what she has done. To my astonishment, I do not feel any naps. I run to the nearest mirror and see that my hair is bone straight hanging well past my shoulders. I burst into tears. “What the heck have you done!” I yell at the stylist.

“What do you mean? Isn’t that what you wanted?” She replies in an irritating nonchalant manner.

“I never told you to relax my hair!” I am devastated. “How can I go around and promote natural hair, when mine is straight?”

All the other ladies in the shop are confused at my anger and tears, because in their eyes my thick past the shoulder straight locks are beautiful. I stare in the mirror at two years of natural hair gone in one instant. Fresh tears fill my eyes as I try to calculate how long I’d have to wait to have this straight mess chopped out of my hair once again.

Don’t worry ladies, I have not reverted back to a relaxer. I just wanted to take a moment and share a dream, or should I say nightmare, that I had last night. Believe me when I say, I have never been more relieved to wake up from a dream in my life. I could not help but smile when I woke up and felt my beloved naps.

After two years of being natural, this is the first time that I’ve had the famous “relaxed hair” dream. Although the dream was pretty scary to me at the time, I now welcome it because it helped me affirm how much I love my natural hair. Would I ever go back to a relaxer? Based on the emotions that I felt during that dream, I can answer with happy confidence – Never!

Originally posted 9/3/07

In a few short weeks, I will be the mother of a little girl. I feel honored to have the opportunity to raise a future mother, wife, sister, friend, business woman, etc. But I often think about what I want to teach her as she grows.

The most important things that I want her to take away from our household as she grows into a woman, is a high self-confidence and self-esteem. Whether she comes out with a brown , dark or light complexion. Or if her hair comes out curly, kinky or wavy. Even if she inherits the family’s thin or chubby genes, I want her to love herself just the way she is.

When she walks out into the world, even as a little girl, I want her to have a defense against whatever society’s current standard of beauty is. I don’t want her to care if the current videos on BET feature light-skinned or dark-skinned models, or if all of the current female singers and performers have straight hair past their behinds. My prayer is that she walks around as if she has set the new standard of beauty. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want her to have a cocky attitude, just a deep love of God and all the gifts and beauty that he has given her.

You may ask, why am I sharing this right now? Well ladies, we all know that all of us were not raised to love ourselves for who we are, no matter what we are. Of course, some of us were, but I want to address those who were not right now. I just want you to know, that even if you were not given the tools of a high self-esteem and self-confidence when growing up, it is never too late to find or develop these tools for yourself. And more important than that, if you are a mother, aunt or grandmother to a young child or even a teenager, you have the opportunity to instill this things into that child or teen. Our children need these gifts more than ever, especially our little girls. Please ladies, take the time to give it to them (and yourself). Take care and God Bless!

Originally posted 12/3/07

I have been getting a lot of email inquiries lately regarding how to do and maintain two-strand twists. Here is a breakdown of my two-strand twist technique:

I always do two-strand twists on wet hair. If my hair begins to dry, I keep it wet with a spray bottle.

On short hair, two strand twists can be done by just grabbing and twisting (this also applies to thin hair). Since my hair has been getting longer, I part my hair while twisting.

The key to long lasting twists for me has been ORS Twist and Loc Gel. I apply this to each section of hair (especially the ends), right before twisting the section.

To see my twisting technique, please see my twist and clip video

To maintain twists, I lightly spritz (don’t get them too wet) my twists each night before tying them up with a satin scarf.

If I’ve worn my twists for over two weeks, I gently wash them using conditioner.

I wear my twists up to three weeks. If your twists do not last as long, keep in mind that I have a kinky hair texture, so I don’t get the fuzz like some people get with the looser, curlier hair textures (my little sisters have the fuzzy problem). If you are getting fuzz, you probably will only be able to wear your twists for a few days, but don’t get frustrated. You just get to sport a twist-out sooner!

I hope this breakdown helps!

Archives: Six Months of Napps & Beyond (originally posted Feb – Aug 2006)

These are old articles from my Hair Journey in Words: Six Months of Napps & Beyond. As you read, please keep in mind that these articles were originally posted about 4 years ago. Although the information contained in them are timeless, some of the links and references may no longer exist. I hope that this is not too frustrating for you and that you will still find these articles to be helpful in your own hair journey. Enjoy!

Originally posted 2/5/06

I have been wearing my natural hair texture for a little over six months now. Do I ever regret my decision to cut all of the relaxer out of my hair? Do I ever miss relaxers? Honestly, I do not. I look back over pictures of six months of natural hair and all I can do is smile. I am absolutely in love with my hair. I love the changes that it’s been through. Even more I love what it is becoming.

My natural hair gives me freedom. I feel free to wash my hair everyday if I want to. I feel free to walk out in the rain without an umbrella or hooded coat. I’m free to learn new styling ideas for my hair. I’m free to twist it if I want to. I’m no longer dependent on blow dryers, hair salons, curling irons, hair salons, burning scalps, and did I mention…hair salons!

So what are my goals for the next six months? Well my goal is to maintain a healthy head of natural hair. And if in the process I begin to grow an afro so big that I block views in a movie theater…so be it!!!

Originally posted 2/28/06

If you have been keeping up with my Val & Nadine comic strip, you’ve probably noticed that the last two have been about bad hair days. Well, those were inspired by my own experiences these past few days. My hair has finally grown to the awkward stage, where it is too long to be a TWA and too short to lay down. It is back to feeling dry and … well – it just looks rough. I know that this stage won’t last long, but it is a little frustrating.

With that said, enough with talking about the problem… what’s the solution? The first thing I’m going to do is to have my ends trimmed. Just how I am going to do this is another blog all together (do it myself vs. go to a barber). Secondly, just like my character Val in the Feb. 28 comic strip, I am going to begin using products in my hair that contain more natural ingredients. I was looking over my ingredients page on my website and noticed that I cannot pronounce half of the ingredients in the products that I’m currently using. It is impossible to pinpoint what is drying my hair out, when I don’t even know what the ingredients are. So, I broke down and ordered some shampoo and conditioners from Carol’s Daughter (look for a review on these products soon!). I am looking forward to receiving them. I cannot wait to see if they make a difference with my hair. Check back for updates!

Originally posted 4/2/06

Okay, so it’s been a while since my last post. I guess my focus has been on my Val & Nadine comic strip (I update that everyday). Last time I wrote, I mentioned that I was going through a frustrating hair period. I am not over it yet. I still have days where I spend hours braiding my hair, just to discover that it looks a mess, just to take it right back down again. There are still days where my hair just seems to sit there and look at me like…’what do you want from me’? I have trimmed it and I received my Carol’s Daughter’s products (they work fine by the way), but it is growing so much that it seems to be happiest in either a puff or twists. I would love to sport that stretched out afro I see others wearing, but my hair is too short to hold large twists and or braids well. I would also like to sport a cute neat TWA at times, but my hair will no longer shrink to TWA status and when it does shrink, I just can’t get it to hold its shape the way I want it to.

So what’s a napptural lady to do? I just plan on waiting it out. I know that there is light at the end of the “between stage”. I’ll just keep shaping my crown into that puff or into those twists and keep it moving.

Oh and I have a confession… although the Carol’s Daughter’s products work, I reverted back to my beloved Sta Sof Fro (the rub on this time). My hair still loves it! I know, I know that I said that I was going to stick with products with more natural ingredients. Well for right now, I have to go back on my word, because the Sta Sof Fro does exactly what it says… keeps my fro soft and I’m happy with that!

Originally posted 4/8/06

I finally figured it out! I finally figured out how to sport a stretched out afro (thanks to Pebbles Page for the idea!). The process is not the most glamorous, but it works. I spritzed each section of hair before I grabbed and twisted it. As I said on my last post, my hair was too short to twist into fat twists (they would not hold), so I used ouchless elastic bands to secure the ends. I allowed these to dry overnight. The next day, I removed the ouchless bands, untwisted the hair and gently picked it out (while shaping with my hands). The result was a nice fluffy afro! I loved it because I was finally able to show off a little of my length, without resorting to heat. In fact, this process was so effective that when my husband saw it later in the day, he thought I had a blow-out.

Originally posted 5/2/06

Is it just me, or does hearing the term “good hair” make you cringe? I was at the cable company paying a bill yesterday with my biggest stretched afro. When it was my turn, the teller who was helping me began telling the teller next to her about her son. The teller next to her was saying that my teller’s son looks really cute with his afro. My teller said,”Yes, but he was really cute with his twists.” The teller next to her asked her what happened to the twists and my teller said, and I quote,”They came out because he was running around in the sprinklers like he has good hair!” I had to restrain myself from asking, “As opposed to what?”

This lead to me to ask myself a few questions:

1) Is running around in sprinklers only reserved for those with a certain hair type?
2) If the son does not have “good hair” and she tells him that, what kind of hair will the child perceive that he has?

We really have to be careful with the terms that we use with our children. Children are concrete thinkers. If someone tells a child that they do not have “good hair”, than they will automatically figure that their hair is “bad”. Look up “bad” in the dictionary and it says,”a) not good; not as it should be, b) defective in quality; below standard; inadequate“… The definitions go on and on, you get the picture. I’m sure that if my teller realized that she had just described her son’s hair as “defective in quality” or “below standard”, she would have felt pretty bad.

When a child is “bad” we discipline that child, right? So if a child hears that their hair is “bad”, they will believe that their hair is in a “state” that needs to be “disciplined” or “fixed”. Many of us once “disciplined” our hair with “relaxers”. (Actually many more of us still do!)

Now on the other hand, I do not have a problem with the term “nappy”. A “nap” is a “soft downy fibrous surface (as on yarn or cloth)“. There is nothing negative about the definition of the word “nap” or “nappy”. Actually, after looking up the definition of nap, I’m pretty proud that it can be used to describe my hair.

Can you see the difference between the two words? “Bad” is a negative term, period. There is absolutely nothing redeeming about something described as “bad”. “Nap” is not negative unless we conceive of it as being so.

Now I’m not here to tell you what to do, but if you find yourself using the terms “good hair” and/or “bad hair” on occasion, just take one minute to think about what you are actually saying. Especially if you are using it with your children.

Originally posted 5/22/06

Okay…it’s confession time. Here goes…when I first BCed my hair, it was nappier than I expected. Go ahead – get your grunts, moans, head shaking out of the way, but please keep reading. Yes, it was nappier than I expected. You see, before I BCed, I visited a lot of hair albums. Looking at some of the curlier, shinier hair textures pushed me toward cutting the relaxer out of my hair, because I thought “maybe my hair will look like that”. I even looked back at my childhood – before the relaxer – photos and studied my natural texture. These made me think to myself, well my hair won’t be that nappy.

Why am I sharing this? Because I think a lot of new naturals experience this. See, the new growth that you see when your hair is relaxed has been altered by chemicals. It does not necessarily represent what your hair will look like after you chop. Also that hair is being weighted down by the heavy relaxed ends, so it often appears wavier than your natural texture may be.

I am not saying all of this to scare anyone. I am saying this because I think some people revert back to relaxers after BCing because their hair is nappier than they expected. I am going to call this the “nappier than expected” syndrome.

In some cases, “nappier than expected” syndrome, causes product junkism. You go out and search for products that will make your hair curlier and shinier. These products do not work, so you go and buy more. In reality, your hair is most likely not meant to be curlier and shinier. After the products do not work, some of us start thinking, “maybe I cannot do this natural thing.” I want to stop you right there. I am begging you to hang in there. If you do, you’re in for a treat.

How can I say that? Well “nappier than expected” syndrome is not a bad thing once you get passed the initial shock. In my experience, it’s been a great thing. When I finally stopped trying to turn my hair into something it’s not, I began to let go of the notions that my hair should be less nappy and began to love my hair because it was nappy. Huh? Stay with me.

There is nothing quite as versatile as nappy hair. One day it can be in twists, the next day it’s in a gorgeous twistout. Two days later, I can wash it and wear a wash-n-go. That night I can stretch it and wear a big afro the next day. If I get tired of that, I brush it back into a puff. I could go on and on.

The moral of the story…story? Yes, story – pay attention! The moral of the story is although you just BCed and you may be feeling as if your hair is not what you thought it would be…don’t give up! Love it through the dry, rough scab hair stage and the “I want coils, but they aren’t there stage” and even the “This product isn’t working!” stage. Be patient and you will find that you cannot beat the coil-ly or coil -less tresses that you were blessed with!!!

Originally posted 8/14/06

Here is a question and answer survey that I filled out for the yahoo Naturally You Group that I belong to. My 1 year nappiversary was on July 26. This is what I had to say about being nappy for a year:

1) How many years have you been natural today? 1 Year

2) Did you Big Chop? Yes – down to less than an inch

3) If yes, how did you feel afterward? FREE!!!

4) If you transitioned, how did you feel when you were finally all natural? N/A

5) What was your greatest motivation to go natural? As a stay-at-home mom, I was tired of spending money that I didn’t have on relaxers. I never liked the salon experience anyway, so I began looking for an alternative to relaxing.

6) What are some styles you’re excited about trying in the coming year? Longer two-strand twists and an even bigger afro!

7) Do you have a hair role model? Not really, I do not compare my hair to other people’s. I just let my hair do what it do. If yes, who? N/A

8) What are your favorite hair care products, regimen and style? I use distilled water mixed with a little live-in conditioner and oil. The other products I use do not make much of a difference with my hair. I just keep it simple.

9) How have you changed since going natural? I think about the line in India Arie’s song that asks, “Does the way I wear my hair make me a better person?” And I’d have to answer, “Yes!” I am more confident now that I am natural. I feel more attractive! I smile more. I could go on and on. Overall, I feel that I am a better person than I was when relaxed.

10) What has been your hardest or most rewarding lesson learned since going natural? It did not take me long after cutting off the relaxer to love my hair. As a matter of fact, I think I was in-love with it as soon as the relaxed hair hit the floor. I have the type of hair that is very thick/kinky and is typically the type of hair that people feel “has to be relaxed” to be managed. Well I love stomping a hole in that theory, because even hair as thick and kinky as mine is beautiful in its natural form!!! –LV Burns

Archives: To Comb or Not to Comb (originally posted 11/15/05)

This article comes from my old Hair Journey website. I am in the process of moving all my old web content over to this website, so I will be posting older content quite often. This was originally posted on 11/15/05.

I confess, some weeks I pick my hair out every other day. Gasp! Isn’t that a “no no” in the nappy rule book? *Turns pages frantically*

I am just kidding. There is no “nappy” rule book. What some may refer to as a “nappy” rule book is actually advice on some of the different ways to care for your natural hair. Some of these things include the “no poo” method, which means washing your hair with conditioner rather than shampoo to avoid drying it out. Another one is, not using a comb on your hair unless it is soaking wet to avoid pulling your hair. Oh, and I can not forget, always tie your hair up at night or sleep with a satin pillowcase and do not use direct heat on your hair. There are tons of additional advice. In fact, too many to follow.

Do you know what the only real rule to natural hair is? Well, one of the nappturality members said it best, “DO NOT GET A RELAXER”! Period. That’s the rule. Do not relax your hair. Simple isn’t it?

That one rule is a lot better than all the relaxer rules you had to follow. Relaxer rules? Yes, remember:

  1. Do not retouch new growth sooner than 6 weeks after your last touch up.
  2. Run with all your might at the first sign of ran.
  3. Gasp… do not go to the gym, because you are not allowed to sweat out your perm.
  4. Always check the forecast before making your retouch appointment. (Please refer back to rule number 2).
  5. If you wash your hair in between retouches, all that silky straightness will be gone unless you burn the mess out of your hair with your 5,000 curling irons, pressing combs and flat irons.

I am sure that you know the rest.

So what’s my point. My point is that being natural is about getting reacquainted with your hair (especially if it had been relaxed as long as mine had). The fun part of natural hair is that you get to experiment with what works for your hair and what does not. Don’t get so caught up in the “best way to care for your hair” guidelines that you get frustrated and go back to relaxing. What was that Whitley Gilbert on Different World use to say? Wasn’t it “Relax, Relate, Release” (well don’t relax), lets replace that word “Unwind, Relate, Release.” Enjoy your natural journey.

Archives: My Nappy Debut (originally posted 11/14/05)

This article comes from my old Hair Journey website. I am in the process of moving all my old web content over to this website, so I will be posting older content quite often. This was originally posted on 11/14/05.

I believe that the key to not getting negative comments about your natural hair is to hide out. That’s right, I said it – stay in the house and admire your hair in the mirror all day! What a confidence booster…NOT! That is not realistic. And if you are doing that – STOP IT NOW!

What am I getting at? The best way to celebrate your natural glory is to get out and be seen. Let people see God’s beautiful creation.

I had not done that with most of my family. I already told you that my husband, son and I moved to the south a year ago (see November 13 – “First Steps” blog). What I did not tell you was that I have a lot, let me repeat that – a lot, one more time…never mind, you get the point. I have a lot of family in the south. You see, not only is my husband originally from the south, but my father is too. My father has enough brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces to fill up a small stadium. But I, being the somewhat shy person that I am, have not done a good job of keeping in touch with them like I should.

Yesterday, I was invited to my aunt and uncle’s house for a grand opening. My aunt has started her own business selling pies, cakes and quiche and will be operating out of her home. She invited the family and some friends over for a sampling and pre-ordering party.

Now I told you that I BCed back in July. Well here it is November and I had not been around my dad’s side of the family for a few months, so they had no idea that I had cut all of my hair off. The last time they saw me, I had hair down my back. I walk in yesterday and well…I’m still working on that puff.

How did they react?

You really want to know?

They loved it! They really liked it a lot. It felt good, like I was making my debut.

You know, when it comes down to it, it really does not matter much what strangers think of your hair because you may never see them again. But must of us – deep inside, really would like our family’s approval. Well, maybe not approval, but it is nice to get compliments from family. I feel blessed to have a family that loved my hair natural.

I realize that some people do not get that type of encouragement from family. My advice would be to hang in there. Most likely, your family members will begin to like it. However, there is always that not-so-rare chance that you will have one or two family members, usually the hard core permy advocates, that will never grow to like it. What do you do with them? Wear your biggest afro, your best twists or your flyest TWA wash-n-go at the next family gathering, strut your stuff with your head held high and try not to stare too hard at their see-through ends and broken off sides. Oh, and do not forget to smile because your hair is healthy and glorious!

Archives: Just the Beginning (originally posted 11/13/05)

This article comes from my old Hair Journey website. I am in the process of moving all my old web content over to this website, so I will be posting older content quite often.  This was originally posted on 11/13/05.

I would be lying if I told you that I lived “happily ever after” after the Big Chop (cutting the relaxer out of my hair). Overall, I have never felt better about myself. I am more confident now than I was with the relaxers. Not just confident about my looks, but I feel that now that I was able to “go against the grain” and cut the relaxer out of my hair, that I can do anything. It is very hard to make the decision to no longer conform to what everyone else is doing. If you are thinking about doing that or you have already done that by going natural, then you really need to give yourself a lot of credit. It is not easy.

Am I confident all the time now? I can say that I am 98% of the time, but every blue moon or so that 2% of the time creeps up on me. I remember the very first time I went out the house after my Big Chop. I went to Target. I was walking around and my mind was telling me that everyone was looking at me. Anytime I heard someone giggle, I thought they were giggling at me. I hurried and left Target that day.

Do you want to know what I learned after that incident? It was all in my mind. I was not feeling good that day, so I imagined that everyone was looking at me. Now on my “diva” days when I feel like I am the “Next Top Model”, everyone is looking at me because of the confidence that radiates around me. Those are the days when I get the “Your hair looks good” comments or the double takes from the fellas.

I guess what I am trying to say is that the way people respond to me and my natural hair depends on one person and one person only…me.

Of course you run into stupid people who have something negative to say regardless of how you are feeling about yourself. Want to know how I handle them? I brush my shoulders off and keep stepping. I have really only had one dumb comment since I have been natural. If you are natural and you get dumb comments from time to time, remember this – someone is going to say something about your hair at sometime or another. That’s just how the world works. Think back – did people always have something positive to say about your hair when it was relaxed? Probably not. Do you remember Pee Wee Herman and how he used to say, “I’m rubber and you’re glue, whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you?” Yes, it’s a childish little rhyme, but think about its meaning. You really have to become like rubber to wear natural hair. Let the negativity bounce, bounce, bounce.

Archives: The First Steps in My Natural Journey (originally posted 11/13/05)

This article comes from my old Hair Journey website. I am in the process of moving all my old web content over to this website, so I will be posting older content quite often.  This was originally posted on 11/13/05.

Like most things, my hair journey began with a question that led to a thought. And that question was, “What if I stopped relaxing my hair?” Followed by the thought, “Maybe I can go natural.” Well, I do not remember if these were the exact words, but this is basically what it boiled down to.

I am getting ahead of myself, so let me back up a few months.

My husband, my son and I moved from San Diego, California to Tennessee in September of 2004. San Diego, as some of you may know, is one of the most expensive cities in the USA to live in. We could not afford to buy a house there. My husband had just graduated from graduate school, without many prospects for a job, I was a stay-at-home mom and my beloved mother-in-law had just passed away leaving behind what she worked so hard all of her life to get – a beautiful three bedroom home out in the suburbs in Tennessee. We were living in a two bedroom apartment in a not-go-great neighborhood in San Diego, paying only $150 less than my mother-in-law’s mortgage. We decided to take the chance, pack it up and move 2,000 miles away to the south. It was tough in San Diego, so we figured that the south, with it’s lower cost of living, we would have better financial success.

Well it turns out that sometimes you have to wander through the wilderness before you reach the land of milk and honey. What do I mean by that? Well, it took my husband a whole year to find a job here in the south in his field. In the meantime, I was still staying-at-home with my son while helping my husband start up his basketball recruitment business. Let’s just say that the money was not flowing.

What does this have to do with my hair journey? Since the money was not flowing, my hair was not being relaxed regularly. We moved to the south in September. My mom relaxed my hair for me in December. Then my mother’s day gift from my husband was a trip to the hair salon for a relaxer in May. And somewhere in between that time I had the idea to buy a relaxer and put it in myself. Do you see what I’m getting at? My hair was seriously neglected.

In July of 2005, as my May relaxer was beginning to get old and my new growth was growing thick under the relaxed ends, I began to think about solutions for my hair. I started looking closely at my new growth wondering, why am I hiding it? While this thought was swimming around in my head, I began to seek information on the web about natural hair, I started noticing women at church with beautiful natural hair and a friend of mine visited from San Diego with a newly cropped, beautiful TWA (Teenie Weenie Afro). Soon after, I ran across Nappturality on the web. This site showcases women with natural hair through pictures, articles and a forum. I spent the majority of my days on Nappturality reading and stalking albums. From there I found other sites such as Motown Girl’s website, which documents her progression from relaxed hair to natural hair. I started saying to myself, “I may actually be able to go natural!”

This thought lead to the beginning of my mental transition. I had to transition my mind from what society thought was beautiful to what God made beautiful. I had to let go of the images on the music videos of straight silky hair. I had to let go of the negative images of nappy hair. I had to stop saying to myself that my hair was too nappy to be natural or that I was too dark skinned to be natural. I thought about the powerful scene in Spike Lee’s movie “School Daze” where you had the straight fine hair sisters and the nappy hair sisters singing about hair and I had to ask myself, am I ready to be completely on the other side of that spectrum?

Once those thoughts were eradicated, the next step was preparing myself to face the world with nappy hair. I began to tell my family and friends that I was thinking about cutting the relaxer out of my hair. I started with my husband, who thought that I was joking or going through some sort of phase. After the jokes ended he was very supportive. He even offered to cut my relaxed hair off for me. I talked to my sister-in-law about it and she was supportive. My parents were also supportive.

I was still afraid of what outsiders would say about me. I thought about what it would be like to go to the store and/or the mall with nappy hair. I am very happily married, but it’s nice sometimes to be thought of as attractive by others. I was afraid that I would no longer get those “You’re an attractive sistah” type of looks from men or that women would look at me like I was crazy.

After a while, I decided that those things really did not matter. I was getting more and more anxious to cut the relaxer, but I barely had an inch of new growth. I began looking at pictures of women with TWAs (Teenie Weenie Afros), on the internet, trying to picture my face underneath the short cropped hair. I had a friend tell me that I would really have to be confident to cut my hair down that short. I questioned myself, “Are you confident enough to pull it off?”

Well, to make a long story short, I decided that all the questioning in the world would not stop me from wanting to be natural. Almost three months after my last relaxer, I went to the neighborhood beauty salon and made an appointment to have all the relaxer cut out of my hair. After the stylist picked her lower jaw up off of the floor, she gave me a date and time to come in. On July 26, 2005, I walked into the salon with 9 – 12 inches of relaxed hair and walked out with less than an inch of nappy hair. As I watched her sweep up the pile of relaxed hair off the floor, as the other patrons looked on in disbelief, I smiled, rubbed my little stubble of new growth and said “Good riddance! I’m beginning a new journey!”

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