Updates, Notes & Observations

Updates: It’s been a busy few weeks, as you may have noticed because of the lack of updates lately.  Coco was recently hired at a new job so she has been working and is getting ready to start school soon.  I, as I’ve mentioned a few times just started a new year of home schooling my children so my days are filled and I spend my nights exhausted :).  Still, I have been working on new updates for the website.  I am currently working on a new video on the method that I use to shampoo and detangle my daughter’s hair.

Notes: Speaking of hair washing, I’m excited to have come up with a great method of washing and detangling my daughter’s hair.  I’ve mentioned that trying to shampoo my daughter’s hair in the past has been…for lack of a better word…hell.  I tried washing her hair while she took her baths and anyone who entered my house during those times would have sworn that I was drowning the child.  I once had to have my husband hold her while I tried to rinse out her hair, because she was fighting me like crazy.

The shower was no better.  Actually it was worse because I may as well have been wresting a wet seal.  I almost dropped the poor girl once because she was wet, soapy and slippery acting like she was fighting for her life…not fun.

Enter the kitchen sink!  Why I hadn’t thought of this earlier, I don’t know.  After all, I still have fond memories of lying across the kitchen counter when I was little while my mom shampooed my own hair.  This is the method that I will show in the video that I am working on which includes my detangling and deep conditioning method.  I’ll try to finish and post this video tomorrow.

Observations:  Another “duh” moment for me…deep conditioning is the truth!  Now you may be thinking to yourself, “I already know this”, but bear with me for a moment.  Yes, I have deep conditioned my hair in the past.  At times quite regularly, but the key to a really good deep conditioning method is the use of the right product and the right method.  The deep conditioners that I’ve used in the past were essentially worthless.  This includes some well known all-natural brands.  I won’t name names, but let’s just say I’ve spent a lot of money on hype.  Since I did not see great results from these deep conditioners, I thought to myself, “maybe I don’t need to deep condition.”  I decided not to keep throwing money down the sink for products that were not making a difference.  Well, about a week or so ago, I went to Walgreens and picked up a product that I had never heard of before called BioInfusion Olive Oil Deep Conditioning Treatment .  BioInfusion costs $7.99 and is only available at Walgreens.  It advertises itself as being a mix of nature and science, meaning that it contains some great natural ingredients “infused” with laboratory ingredients.  The first three ingredients are water, Glycerin and Coconut Oil.  I’ve only used it a couple of times so far, so this is not a formal review (I will do a formal review after a few more tries), but I tried it on my daughter’s hair last night and now I’m a believer. After applying the treatment and placing her under the dryer for about 10 minutes, her hair was shinier and a lot healthier looking.  I mean I saw a big difference.  After her hair dried overnight, it still looked moisturized.  It’s too early to tell, but I think I’m in love with this stuff.  More updates on this product to come!

Six Years and Counting

The 26th of this month will mark the sixth year of my natural journey!  I have learned a lot about myself and my hair through the years (a whole lot of trial and error).  I began documenting my journey as soon as I did the BC.  Well, I went through my archives to pull out the very first article that I wrote after I BCed.  This article comes from my old Hair Journey website. I’m posting this for those who are fairly new to the site and are interested in how my journey began.  Well, here goes…

The First Steps in My Natural Journey (originally posted 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!”

Road Trip 2011, Rep Your State and other Ramblings

For those who have not “liked” our facebook page or who don’t follow on twitter, you probably don’t know that we are currently on vacation in Oceanside California after a three day road trip from Tennessee.  I love road trips, because you get to see parts of the country that you would not get a chance to see when flying.  We went through the states of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and finally Cali.  By the way, I am so in love with Albuquerque New Mexico!  It is a gorgeous city from the highways, to the homes, down to the architecture and colors chosen to paint the buildings…beautiful!

Anyway, this trip has inspired me to re-announce another way to be featured on the website.  Last year, I introduced the “Natural-ness in the States” feature and received about 20 submissions from states all over the country (check out our “Rep Your State” beauties here: RYS).  States  featured so far include Florida, California, Tennessee, Mississippi, North Carolina, Delaware, South Carolina, Georgia, Texas, New Mexico, Missouri, Oklahoma and Virginia. My goal was to attempt to post people from the majority, if not all of the states in the US.  I think I want to try it again…so…if you are interested in “Repping Your State”, please check out the following link: Natural-ness in the States.

Don’t live in the United States?  That’s OK, I haven’t left you out.  I’d love to feature you as well!  Here’s the link for naturals outside of the United States: Global Natural-ness.  Here’s the link to check out some of our past Global features: GN

Anyway, back to our trip.  Oceanside is about 40 minutes north of San Diego.  The city of San Diego is so significant for me because it is where I lived for ten years before relocating to Tennessee.   I’m a Cali girl born and raised, originally from the San Francisco Bay area, I moved to San Diego after graduating from high school to attend San Diego State University.  I received my BA in Psychology and my Master of Social Work degrees from SDSU.  San Diego is also where I met some of my best lifelong friends, met and married my husband of almost 10 years and gave birth to my first child.  In other words, this is where I achieved some of my most significant milestones.

Why the heck did we move from this city of paradise to the south?  Well, in a nutshell, affordability.  In the south, we could afford a home.  In San Diego, our rent was more than our current mortgage.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with our decision to relocate.  The south has its own beauty and is so rich in history.  However, it is nice to be back in the city where I experienced so many beginnings.

Well, I’d better sign off before I begin rambling.  I hope you are all having a terrific day and I also hope you’ll consider submitting to either the “Natural-ness in the States” or “Global Natural-ness” features.

Just Another Part of Me

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t really think about my hair very much.  What do I mean by that?  Well, when I first cut the relaxer out of my hair, my hair was on my mind a lot.  I wondered what people thought of it. I noticed every curly head that I passed or that I saw on TV.  I was constantly visiting natural hair websites and forums looking for inspiration or product ideas.  My hand was always in my hair (serious hand in hair syndrome) and I was always motivated to try new things.  Now that I am approaching my 6th year of sporting my natural tresses, I find that I don’t think about my hair very much.  It has become just another part of me… like my arm or my leg.  In other words, I’m no longer obsessed with it.

It’s funny how that happens.  I guess it’s sort of a good thing, because I’ve come to the point where my hair just is.  I’m way passed the point of trying to turn it into what it is not, I sort of just roll with it. I could care less that my hair isn’t curly.  I know one thing, this attitude has really cut down on my product purchases.  I have a few products that I really like and I pretty much stick with them.  Don’t get me wrong, I occasionally walk by the aisles in target and find myself tempted to try something new, but new products are a whole lot easier to resist now.  A few years ago, I was trying almost any product I could get my hands on.

I really don’t have a point with this post.  I just find it interesting how over time, you sort of get comfortable with certain things and they do not cross your mind as much. Is it just me?  Have long have you been natural?  Are you still obsessed with your hair?

Learning to Love Watcha Got! (Part 2)

I love that there are so many websites, blogs and forums dedicated to natural hair.  In fact, I spent quite a bit of time on one particular youtube channel today, where I saw a video on how to do pin curls (which I may be inspired to try one day).  Now as I watch these videos and see how cute certain styles are on certain heads of hair, I always try to keep in mind that while the style may turn out cute on the video, it may not work as well on my head/hair.

I think that it is important to keep this thought in mind, because it helps to eliminate the “I wish my hair was like that” thoughts.  I do not believe that those thoughts are very productive.  While it is fine to admire the beauty of someone else’s hair, it is not helpful to put down your own hair.  OK, so my hair does not hang in pretty spirals when I do a bantu knot-out (true story), but I can get it into a great looking afro. Ask yourself, what does my hair do well?  If your answer is nothing, than you probably have not spent enough time getting to know your hair.

Again, this is all a part of learning to love what you have.  If you find that you are having a tough time learning to accept your hair for what it is, it may be time to step away from blogs and youtube videos and take time to get to know your own hair. Explore, experiment and maybe try a wash-n-go every once in a while.  If you find that you just cannot stay away from youtube and natural hair pictures (I understand…believe me) than make sure that you are using these things as inspiration and not as a measuring stick for comparing your own hair.  Once you stop comparing, I believe that you will begin to see your hair in a different light.  You’re then on your way to learning to love what you were blessed with.

Learning to Love Watcha Got! (Part 1)

If someone were to ask me for my number one going natural and staying natural piece of advise, it would be the following:

To wear your hair in its natural state and be content with it, you must learn to love your hair for what it is.

I know this is very similar to another article I wrote a while back, but if I had a dollar every time a friend or family member comes up to me and says, “I can’t do this natural thing cause my hair doesn’t look like your hair,” I would be on my way to my dream vacation in Australia (not really, but you know what I mean).  The purpose of this blog is not to show anyone what their hair should do.  It is to show different possibilities and to inspire others to explore their hair for what it is.  You have to learn to love your hair, not someone else’s.

All hair is different and while your hair may not do something that someone else’s can, I can almost guarantee you that there is something else that it can do well.  Sometimes when you are attempting a style, you have to adjust a few things in order to make the style work for you. For example, I attempted to complete a set of two strand twists on my younger sister’s hair, using the method that I use on my own (twisting hair while wet).  Her hair texture is a lot looser, curlier and slicker than mine so her twists fell apart and would not hold together.   I found that twisting her hair while dry helped the twists hold together a lot better.  In fact, her twists ended up being some of the prettiest twists that I had ever seen.  What I’m saying here is that with a little exploration and maybe tweaking a few things, you’ll most likely figure out what works for your hair.  It may not look exactly like someone else’s, but in some cases it may turn out even better.

Note: I will be coming back to this topic from time to time over the next few weeks, because I feel that it is important.

Slightly Random: 3 Hair Wishes

I know that this is somewhat random, but If I had an opportunity to make three hair wishes, I would wish for the following:

1. I would wish for the ability to cornrow. Yes, I can cornrow to the side, like in my cornrow/two-strand twist video.  But,  I am talking about the ability to do elaborate cornrows on both myself and my daughter.  This is a wish that can come into fruition with practice, but see my next wish…

2. I wish I had more time to experiment with my hair. I need more time in a day!  I would love time to try out some of the great styles that I run across, or better yet…come up with a few of my own.

3. This one is very random, but I wish I had a Huetiful Hair Steamer! I really would love to try one of those hair steamers.  I think the ends of my hair would love, love, love it.  However, the price is a bit steep right now.  Oh and to have one with the facial attachment…sounds like heaven!  🙂

LOL, well that is all for now.  Looking at my three wishes, none of them are too far fetched that they cannot come true.  More practice, better time management and a bit of extra cash (or better yet a great money making business idea) and I can have all three.  Anyone else have any hair wishes?

Moral of this post: Never be afraid to dream & wish!  If you can’t picture it, you’ll never have it!

Guest Poll Response: Hair Washing and Length Retention

I wanted to take a moment to respond to last Sunday’s poll question, submitted by T.O.  First, here is her message:

“I have practiced washing my hair once a week in the last one year and I have lost about 6 inches of hair due to that. I wash in the shower so I dont know if my breakage has to do with the force at which the shower is hitting my head. I use non sulfate shampoos and even co-wash. I do monthly protein treatment followed by a moisturizing treatment. I am healthy and even take multivitamins.. Please help!!! How often should hair be washed? And should it be done in the shower or at the sink?”

My response: I am no hair care expert, so the following is only my opinion.  The best opinion would of course come from a natural hair care expert. My first thought T.O. as I read your message was that the hair breakage may be due to the method of detangling, rather than the hair washing method.  I am wondering what tools and method you are using to detangle.

Looking at the poll results so far, it appears that most people are shampooing their hair once a week in the shower.  I do not think that washing your hair in this method is causing breakage.  I could be wrong, so to better protect your hair, maybe you could try using coconut oil as a sealant to protect your hair before you shampoo it.  I have read in more places than one that hair swells as it absorbs water during shampooing.  Without a sealant, this swelling could possibly cause breakage over time.

I currently shampoo my hair once every two weeks.  I used to shampoo it every week, but for me, it’s a lot of work and I cannot imagine that detangling my hair every week is the best for it.  This of course does not apply to everyone. Some people can probably wash and detangle every week with no problem.  This is just what works for me.  I am currently using Whole Food’s 365 Shampoo and Conditioner.  I occational use  Shea Moisture’s Organic Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Hair Masque. I confess, I do not do a whole lot of deep conditioning.  I may do it once a month…if that (I should probably be more consistent with this). Immediately after shampooing my hair, I apply coconut oil all over.  For detangling, I use either a wide tooth comb or the Tangle Teezer.  I only use the Tangle Teezer if my hair is very tangled.  Usually, my wide tooth comb is enough.  I then braid my hair into about ten braids for a braid-out.  Sometimes I do bantu-knots or twists, but usually I go with the braids.

A few tips that I always follow to retain length:

1) If my hair is dry, I avoid putting a comb or brush in it.  Dry hair usually equals breakage.  I never, ever attempt to detangle it while it is dry!

2) My hair loves moisture.  If I am wearing a style for a while (ie. two strand twists, braid-out etc.) I make sure to keep my hair moist with a spray bottle of water mixed with oil or conditioner.

3)  At night, my hair is on either my satin pillowcase or tied up in a satin head wrap

4) I’m lazy about protective styling that requires a lot of time to do, such as two-strand twists, so my protective style of choice are the large braids, hidden under a hat for a while before I take them down to wear in a braid out

5) I try to trim my ends every 3 months or so

That is about all that I can think of.  I hope some of this information helps.  If any of you reading this have your own tips to add, please let them be known in a comment below…

Q&A: Toddler Hair Growth

I received the following message in an email the other day.  I wanted to post it along with my answer, because I believe that it may be helpful to other mothers of toddler daughters.

I was looking thru the pics of your daugthers hair… my daugthers hair at 1 looks JUST like your little girls did… I hear so many negative comments…it makes me so sad…

Please help me : What products did you use on your little ones hair to maintain the growth? The pic at 18 mths is amazing! Thanks in advance for your help…God bless you…”

This is my daughter's hair at a year old.

My response:

My daughter's hair at around 18 months old.

Thank you for your inquiry.  First off, I want to say that I am sorry that you are getting so many negative comments. When my daughter was a year old, I made a lot of mistakes when caring for her hair.  If I had it all to do over again, I would do things differently.  Now I take better care of it.

When it comes to caring for your baby’s hair, keep these two words in mind: moisture & protection.  By protection, I mean protective styling.  This is a great way to assure length retention.  I did a lot of that when my daughter was little because she did not like for me to comb her hair (here’s a link to a protective style that I often used when my daughter was young – braid n braid style).  While your daughter’s hair is in a protective style, keep a spray bottle of distilled water mixed with either oil on hand (jojoba or olive oil would be good).  Be sure to keep her hair moist using the spray bottle.  I spray my daughter’s hair every other night, when it is in a protective style, before she goes to bed (do not make the hair wet, just slightly moist). Remember, dry hair equals broken hair

I’ve just discovered coconut oil.  I wish I knew about it when she was little.  If I had it all to do over

again, I would apply coconut oil to her hair often, especially the areas where the hair is short. I have no idea what products I used on her hair at that time, but now I use Cara B Naturally’s products.  Their mist is great to use if you want to alternate it with the spray bottle/water/oil combo that I mention above. Here’s a link to some of the products that I have used at some time on my daughter’s hair: http://cbpublish.com/myhairjourney_files/category/natural-hair/naturalness-kids/child-hair-product-reviews/ You may want to read my reviews and try some of them on your daughter’s hair, keeping in mind that hair can be so different, so what worked for my daughter may not work for yours.

With patience, care and protective styling, your daughter’s hair will grow and more importantly will be healthy!  Here are two websites that really inspired me to take better care of my daughter’s hair: Beads, Braids and Beyond and Happy Girl Hair.  They have tons of good advice and tips.

I hope you find something in this message that helps and I wish you well on your journey of caring for your baby’s hair!  Please keep me updated.  Feel free to contact me with questions at any time!

My daughter's hair at 3 years old.

These pictures were originally posted here: My Daughter’s Hair History

Hubby & My Hair

This is my response to my recent poll, located here: How did your significant other react to your natural hair? First off, based on the poll results so far, it’s good to know that so many of you have experienced positive reactions from your spouses/significant others.

My husband was also very supportive when I decided to go natural.  Actually, let me back up…when I first mentioned cutting off my relaxer, my husband didn’t take me seriously.  He never thought I’d go through with it. This was back in 2005.  Here in Memphis, seeing someone with natural hair was a rare event.  I decided that I was tired of spending money on relaxers and I began searching for another way.  Like a lot of you may have done, my first resource was the web.  I began searching online for natural hair websites and ran into some really great ones that further peaked my desire to wear my natural tresses.

Fast forward a few weeks later…I went ahead and made an appointment at my local hair salon for my BC.  My husband offered to cut my hair for me, but I decided to go with a professional.  She took my hair down from around 12 inches, to under an inch.  It was a drastic change.

When I got home, I believe that my husband was shocked at how short it was.  I wanted the stylist to cut my hair down to the new growth (I had about an inch or so), but she ended up shaving it pretty much all the way off (the same thing my husband probably would have done).  I think he expected to see an inch or two of hair, but he loved it.  In fact, I believe that he preferred it over the relaxed hair.  How do I know?  He couldn’t keep his hands off of it.  He was constantly rubbing it and telling me that it looked good.  I don’t remember him ever touching my relaxed hair.  I believe that he also loved the natural hair because I no longer cared about my hair during those…*clear throat*…special times 😉 I didn’t have to worry about trying to hold my head at odd angles to avoid “messing” it up and I definitely didn’t have to worry about sweating it out.

Now, five years later, he is still my main natural hair supporter.  He is the one that helped me see the beauty in wearing my wash-n-gos.  As soon as I wash my hair and just leave it as is, he is there complimenting.  He also loves twist-outs, but I don’t think he’s a big fan of puffs 🙂 (we all have preferences).  Anyway, long story short…he loves it!  I would probably have more problems out of him if I decided to relax again…not going to happen, but I’m pretty sure that hubby is in love with my kinks for life!

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