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Natural Hair Care

The Natural Hair “Lingo” Guide For Newborn Naturals

30th March 2015
natural hair words

Okay so you’ve gone natural or are transitioning and after much research you’ve probably come across some forums that left you scratching your head as to what these people were talking about and being faced with all of these new things can make you feel like you’re in your first day of school again. Here are a few words along with definitions and even tutorials on the endless wonder that comes with being natural.

Big Chop– A phrase meaning the removal of relaxed hair by cutting or trimming so that all that is left are natural hair strands. “About to thug it out and go ahead and get my big chop over with.”

Bantu Knot Out– The practice of sectioning off your hair and taking one of those sections and twisting the hair until it spirals around into a resting snake like position.

Bantu Knot Out– A hairstyling method used to stretch the hair creating the appearance of loose waves. Watch a tutorial here.

Co-wash– A hair washing method where the use of shampoo is replaced by a good conditioner to retain more moisture and natural oils in the hair. Here is a good hair/co-washing method for wash day.

Creamy Crack– This phrase is a nickname that refers to relaxers.”I ain’t mad that you went back to the creamy crack.”

Faux Locs- A hairstyle that uses kinky hair to mimmic the appearance of dread locks.

Flat Twist Out– Styling method that entails creating a two strand twist that lays flat to your scalp, this style is great for more defined curls that also give definition at your roots.

Froin– The act of wearing the hair in an afro or afro based hairstyle. “Don’t feel like doing a twist out, guess i’ll be froin today.”

Locs– An abbreviated term for dread locks where the hair is continuously twisted and sealed at the ends with wax. This style is excellent for growing your hair out uninterrupted, however this look is permanent and must be cut off to be changed.

L.O.C Method– This acronym stands for Leave in Conditioner/Liquid, Oil and Cream and is a hair care regimen. This method is used after the hair is freshly washed or dry to retain moisture using the three listed products in the other stated.

Protective Style– This phrase means the practice of styling your hair in very low maintenance styles where your hair is either covered (i.e. weaves wigs) or left alone for long periods of time. “This winter weather is drying out my hair, I really need a protective style to wear.”

Moisture/Moisturise– When this word is used by a natural they usually mean that they’re going to, or need to apply water to their hair. “Does anyone know where my spray bottle is I need to moisturise my hair.”

Sealant– When this word is used it usually means the use of an oil, conditioner or cream that is applied after the moisturisation process to seal in the water. “Make sure that you use olive oil as a sealant after you moisturise.”

Slip-This phrase is in reference to the feel of one’s hair after or during the wash process or while using products. This entails that the hair strands are smooth and together and not frizzy or tangled. “After using that conditioner my hair has a lot of slip.”

Stretched Hair- When this phrase is used it is in reference to using a hairstyling method that greatly loosens the curl pattern creating nearly straightened hair. Bantu knots are usually used for this method. “Instead of using heat to straighten my hair I’ll just stretch it out.”

Three Strand Twist Out A Styling method that entails taking three strands of hair and creating a revers braid like plat. This style is great for looser looking curls. Watch a tutorial here.

Two Strand Twist Out– A styling method that entails the use of two sections of hair that are then taken and twisted around one another (much like platting) until you reach the ends of the hair. This style is very easy and basic for creating springy curls. Watch a tutorial here.

TWA– An acronym which stands for Teenie Weenie Afro. This is the phrase that women usually use when they’ve just had their big chop. “I’m not playing with this TWA today, short hair don’t care!”

Wash and Go– A hairstyling process used to greatly accentuate one’s natural curl pattern. This method is usually done on freshly washed wet hair. Watch a tutorial here.

I used a few sentence examples for the trickier words but overall most of these are pretty straight forward. Hopefully the next time you’re doing some research for your next hairstyle or new hair regimen you’ll feel more in tuned and apart of the natural hair community! If you’ve come across any unlisted words anywhere on the web please just ask!

 

Natural Hair Care

How To Achieve The Perfect Fro

28th March 2015
afro-lili

The art of the afro is a delicate and soulful skill that can be mastered by any head of hair. Here are some ways to take your natural curls and turn them into an amazing afro that has a life and style of it’s own!

Step 1: Pick your shape

The shape that your hair takes when it’s fro’d out is key, if your hair doesn’t take on the shape of an afro then it certainly won’t look like one. At this point it’s definitely beneficial to trim or have your hair cut in a style not only will this give you a great afro but it will also benefit you when styling your hair many other ways. This gives your hair a nice shape that will further accentuate your curls. A good trim & shape does every natural justice. The classic afro is perfectly round which means it’s proportionate on the top and on the sides. Then there is the shorter on the sides and the longer on the top for a more modern afro (my favourite). With so many options you won’t have any trouble finding the right shape that fits you best!

 

The Many Forms of The Fro

The Many Forms of The Fro

Step 2: Pick Your Style

There are many styles of afros out there but picking the one that suits you best is important. If you seek an afro with a hint of defined curls two strand twist or a bantu knot out are the way to go. How defined you want your curls to be is up to the size of the twist or bantu knot, always be aware of where you’re placing the two strand twist. It is possible to interrupt the shape of your afro by parting your hair incorrectly this will be explained in the last step called head layout. If you desire very defined curls then a flat twist or the use of rollers is the most ideal and there are some really great tutorials on youtube. The video that helped me learn how to master the flat twist is on my youtube playlist titled Natural Notebook which contains many other helpful tutorials.  http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPCaDfIU7RLP7tC7Ncp-hSVihCE_wa4O-

If you seek an afro with a hint of defined curls two strand twist or a bantu knot out are the way to go

Step 3: Moisturise your hair

This is a pretty obvious step but the way that this step is done can interrupt a certain style that you might be going for. These styles include the modern afro (longer on the top short on the side) and the not so defined afro. These two styles look best on semi stretched hair so if you’re using a lot of water due to dry hair or any other reason use a styling cream that doesn’t contain water. An abundance of water causes shrinkage and will tighten up your curls and effect the over all look of these two styles. However when styling your hair for the modern afro spraying the sides of your hair with more water than the top can cause just enough shrinkage to give that tapered effect on the sides and really bring out the unique shape that makes the modern afro stand a part.

This is a pretty obvious step but the way that this step is done can interrupt a certain style that you might be going for

Step 4: Define Your Ends

Defining your ends in the styling process can actually compliment the shape of your afro even further. I’ve experimented with defining my ends on both a defined and undefined afro and I found that curly ends looked great on both styles! One way of defining your ends is taking a bit of defining product and twirl the ends of your hair around your finger this method works best if you’re using the two strand twist, flat twist method or bantu knot method. Flexi rod rollers are also great for defining your ends as well.

Defining your ends in the styling process can actually compliment the shape of your afro even further

Step 5: Tamed Edges

Your edges are the somewhat gatekeepers to your hair and if those gatekeepers have on wrinkled uniforms then it can actually make any hairstyle appear unfinished and unpolished. Depending on the style you’re trying to achieve experimenting with styling products on your edges could really set off your afro. I achieved some of my greatest afro’s by defining the curl in my edges or gently slicking them upwards. I found that both of those methods looked great on different styles of afro’s that i’ve tried. The modern afro looks best with edges smoothed upwards and the more defined afro looked best with the curl defining method on my edges. Two products that helped me attain both of those methods were Dr. Miracles Edge Control (For slicked down edges) and Creme of Natures Perfect Edges (for curled edges). They’re both thick wax like products but yield very different results. I love these products because they’re affordable and smell lovely!

Argon Oil Perfect Edges, Dr. Miracles Edge Control

Argon Oil Perfect Edges, Dr. Miracles Edge Control

Step 6: Head Layout

The last and most important step is knowing the layout of your head i.e. the shape of your head and where your hair falls. I like to think of the head being divided into different sections, this helps when i’m styling my hair and does make a big difference in hair results. Mentally I imagine my hair in four sections, and within these sections I especially need to be sure that all of my twist, knots, braids are going in the same direction and are the same shape. I noticed that before I used this styling method my twist would come out in disarray in some areas and the curls on either side of my head wouldn’t be matching. Overall the shape of my styles came out a little flawed. Thinking of my hair in a diagram has helped tremendously and has improved the outcome of all of my styles 100%.

4 Sections Of the Head Layout

4 Sections Of the Head Layout

Using all 6 of these steps has led to some of the best afro’s i’ve ever worn and really brought out the inner beauty of such a soulful embodiment of natural hair in one of it’s most raw forms. Capturing the afro is an art and skill that can be gained by anyone and can really make you feel beautiful. I see this hairstyle as an athem to my ancestors and a bold I love being black statement. Hopefully these 6 steps will enrich the afro experience and give you great results! Here are my 6 Step results!

My 6 Step Turnout

My 6 Step Turnout

Natural Hair Care

Cute Accessories For Fro’d Out Hair Days

28th March 2015
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Cute Accessories For Fro’d Out Hair Days

We all have those days where we just want to get up and go. That’s why having quick styling accessories that can substitute a morning of untwisting and picking out are very useful for every naturalista! Here is a list of accessories for all styles of natural hair that can really save time and add loads of style! I will include some images from my instagram and other’s from the web.

The Bandana

Not only can it be used to quickly smooth and contain edges but it can be used when you have a head full of old twist that are beginning to fro out. Just tie it around your hair but upwards so it’s not around your front edges and take out the hair you want exposed in the front. Quick and easy!

Bandana With Front Twist Out

Bandana With Front Twist Out

Black Bandana With Tails

This specific style of scarf was hard to find but here is the ebay link to purchase it. (Be sure to cut the elastic band part off of the headband for complete stylistic freedom). This is great for days when your hair is fro’d out or on an old twist out and you want something quick and easy. I’ve used this bandana to create mohawk looks and several others and because of the long front ties you can easily cover and manipulate your hair and create cute bow looks.

Old Twist Out, Mohawk, Afro Pompadour Created

Starting From Top Right: Old Twist Out, Mohawk, Afro Pompadour Created

Loose Afro Hair

This takes some prep time the night before but you can start by slicking all of your hair up and leaving your fro’d out ends in a ponytail and tying it down for the next morning. When you wake up just untie your hair and take your loose afro hair and two strand twist it. From there you can wrap or twist the hair around your pony tail until you find a desired look. Pin the afro piece into place for security and go! Find the wonderful tutorial for this style by Mo Knows Hair on my youtube playlist Natural Notebook.

Braided Mohawk Using Kanekalon Hair

Braided Mohawk Using Kanekalon Hair

A Pair of Stylish Big Rimmed Glasses

Big framed glasses look great on every facial structure and with endless style choices out there you can take your pick. I’d rock these on days when my hairstyle was old and froing. I’d get out of bed spray my hair with water add moisturiser and fro out my hair some more and put these glasses on and go. Natural hair truly goes well with big rimmed glasses.

Big Rimmed Glasses

Big Rimmed Glasses

A Black Spandex Band

These thin black headbands blend into your hair very easily and get lost in the fro but smooth your edges down and accentuate the shape of your fro without using a brush or anything for your edges. Just moisturise your hair with water and a sealant and go. (For good sealants see my blog post 6 Praiseworthy Oils For Natural Hair)

Spandex Band

Pushed Back Afro From Spandex Band

Colourful Patterned Scarves

These scarves can bring out colours in an outfit as well as being used to manipulate and add volume and style to your fro. You can twist and tie these accessories for any desired look and jazz up whatever style you’re going for on that day!

Colourful Scarf Style

Colourful Scarf Style

Big Statement Pieces

Statement pieces for your hair range from giant bows to headbands with some big flashy addition on the side. I’ve never been one to go for gaudy accessories like these but they really do go superbly well with afro’s and give you that extra finishing touch of style.

Statement Pieces For Hair

Statement Pieces For Hair

All of these accessories are super affordable ways to give your hair that extra little something when you just want something quick and simple to go with your un styled or post styled gorgeous afro hair.

Natural Hair Care

6 Praise Worthy Oils For Natural Hair Health & Growth

23rd March 2015
o-PEANUT-OIL-facebook

6 Praise Worthy Oils For Natural Hair Health & Growth

When it comes to retaining moisture in the hair, oil’s are one of the biggest helpers in doing just that. They are excellent sealants because of their ability to coat the hair and slow the release of moisture (water). Implementing them into your routine is a must but the biggest questions that everyone will ask themselves is which one(s) should I use? Here is a list of the top 6 major oil’s that are not only excellent sealants, but also bring nutrients and strength to the hair.

Coconut Oil

Raw Coconut Oil

Raw Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is extracted from the kernels of the coconut and is quite a heavy oil. It also reduces protein loss in hair and is high in calcium which is just one of the supplements a good head of hair needs. I frequently use this in my hair care regimen and noticed that due to it’s thick consistency it coats hair strands with ease and acts as an amazing sealant which led to my hair retaining more moisture. This will in a sense train your hair to become more absorbent and less dry.

Jojoba Oil

Jojoba Oil

Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil is the liquid that is produced in the Jojoba plant and is medium-heavy in consistency. This oil is known to be one of the only oil’s found in nature that contains a lot of the same properties that are found in the oils produced by the human body for the hair. This oil contains a few vitamins and is a great sealant. Due to it’s heavy consistency it can weigh down the hair so it is more often recommended for people who have medium to extreme issues with hair dryness.To fully reap the benefits of this oil be sure that it is unrefined, in this state it will appear golden in colour. If it is refined it will appear both colourless and odourless.

Olive Oil

First Pressed Olive Oil On Left

First Pressed Olive Oil On Left

Olive oil is pressed from olives and is fantastic if you’re looking for something that will add a natural looking shininess to your hair. This is one of the lighter oil’s that doesn’t require too much of it to coat the hair, a little does go a long way. I’ve continually used olive oil for over a year and noticed that it left my hair looking naturally shiny and stronger! There are a lot of different types of olive oil so here are a few factors to take into consideration when buying.First, the different labels i.e. Extra Virgin and Virgin Olive Oil simply mean the degree of which it was processed. These do matter but have very little meaning when it comes to benefiting your hair. Second, what DOES matter is which press it is. As I stated previously, olive oil is pressed from olives so what you want is the first press. You can easily spot these batches by colour, the first press of olive oil will be a deep green colour and will contain all of the benefits that you want for your hair.

Avocado Oil

Avocado Oil

Avocado Oil

Avocado Oil is pressed from the fruit of an avocado and is medium heavy in consistency. The deep green hue of this oil is a symbol of the nutrients it naturally contains, one being chlorophyll which can actually re-start hair growth. This is another great sealant that actually makes your hair texture softer due to the high level of sugars it contains. Sugars are great for your hair which is why glycerin (another sugar) is in many hair products. This oil is pricy but well worth the extra money.

Argan Oil

Argan Oil

Argan Oil

Argan oil is a very light oil that is produced from the kernels of the argan tree. This slippery like oil is great for use as a heat protectant that won’t weigh the hair down. My personal experience with this oil was extremely positive. One benefactor that I noticed after continued use was that it made my hair more elasticised and added a very nice shine to it. I’d recommend this oil as a sealant for hair that isn’t prone to dryness and isn’t very thick. This oil is super light weight and has a very nice smell to it and contains a lot of fatty acids which is great for hair growth.

 

 

 

Grape Seed Oil

Grape Seed Oil

Grape Seed Oil

Grape seed oil is pressed from the seeds of grapes and is medium in consistency. This light weight oil is packed with Vitamin E and is easily absorbed into the hair. This oil is great for hair that isn’t prone to dryness and can help contain frizz. Due to the nature of this oil it is the ideal sealant for hair types with looser curl patterns.

Remember oil’s do not moisturise the hair but are great for sealing in moisture and thus leading to hair that is a lot softer and less prone to dryness. When used in the correct way they can be a real gem in your hair care process. I’m sure that there are a few other oils out in the world that didn’t make this list that could do wonders for your hair but that is up to personal experimentation. 

Natural Hair Care

Why You Should Fearlessly Rock Your TWA

20th March 2015
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Story Time:

She wakes up every morning to the same thoughts scenery, the only thing that has changed is what’s underneath her slightly sunken in satin cap. She stands in front of the mirror boldly releasing her hair from the clutches of the cap. Small tightly curled morsels of hair cover her head and she notices the true beauty of her natural hair for the first time. She reaches for her coat and steps out onto the street preparing for a brisk walk to work in icy weather. A woman walking a dog turns the corner and an awkward repositioning of their paths happens. The woman with the dog looks at her and smiles as she crosses in front of her and to the other side. She carries on around the street corner where she sees a group of girls sitting on a park bench aimlessly staring at their cell phone screens. One girl on the bench looks up to meet her gaze and giggles. She nudges the other two girls and points her finger slightly upwards in her direction. They all begin to giggle sending her in a frenzy of thoughts, she knows that it’s about her hair and immediately begins to feel self conscience. Her smile fades as she hurries her pace to walk past the girls feeling her confidence sinks lower with every step. She meets the two front doors of her office and pushes them open a stranger in the waiting area looks up at her with a smirk and looks away before she believes she’s noticed. She gulps hard as she heads to her cubicle for her big reveal of her new hair style and begins to plot an early start home for later. She places her bag on her desk and gives eye contact to no one as she shoots down into the confines of her cubicle. Taking off her coat she turns and meets the eyes of one of her colleagues  forcing her to fake a smile. She greet on another and her colleague drops back down within her cubicle and begins laughing. Anxiety ridden she stands up and looks over her colleagues cubicle and notices that she’s going through her hand bag. Her colleague looks up and notices her angry stare. “Something funny?” she says attempting to dull down the anger in her eyes. Her colleague giggles again and hands her the mirror.  She cocks her eyebrow as she reaches for it preparing for her next comeback at whatever ridicule will surely follow this gesture. She opens the compact in front of her and stares deeply into the mirror. The look of disdain on her face is prominent and leaves her feeling regretful. Her colleague motions for her to move the mirror higher and she does so. In doing this she notices a small crumbled up piece of tissue standing directly up in the middle of her hair. A smile spreads across her face as they both burst into laughter. She thanks her colleague and hands the compact back to her. Staring at her reflection through her blank computer screen she smiles and notices the beauty that she’d seen this morning realising that she could see it even clearer now.

The Reality:

Many black women have been in this woman’s shoes at the start of going natural. Seeing a woman with short hair is different but give her thick kinky hair and it’s interesting. There are several reasons why I use the word interesting, one being that curiosity ties into the word interesting. Through curiosity we find most of our revelations and form our own opinions. So what is the revelation of many when it comes to very short natural hair? Of course it varies but the very root of it will spawn from life experiences linked with personal choices, some unique and many generic. How your hair is viewed boils down to one thing, your genuine feelings. Being confident simply isn’t enough, even the most grounded people break. It’s about disregarding what has been presented to you as the truth. The ideal woman derived from the media is a lie and we all claim to know that but why do some people still indulge in it? Could it be that the fear that is felt about wearing natural hair derives from comparison to what is ascetically acceptable beyond our own homes?

There are many things that you can choose to do, not for anyone else but for yourself and this should be one of those things. Whenever I decided to begin wearing my natural hair for the first time I couldn’t even put into words how unsure I felt. My mind kept racing and going over every possible scenario of what could happen but as soon as I stepped outside I felt something. That thing I felt was a liberation I’d never experienced before that changed my whole life. Although I felt this amazing thing I was still wearing my paranoia like a bad weave. I couldn’t help it, but as time went on I began to evaluate why I felt like this. I discovered why during a casual visit to a Walmart makeup isle. I looked for my favourite tube of mascara and began looking at the pictures of the models. They all had straight, wavy or heat induced curls. Even the black model had a relaxer. At that moment I realised that we as women in the world actually set the standard. The people posting the ads can only present what they know will be accepted. I challenge you, whoever you may be struggling with your confidence and anxiety to set the standard and release your cares because you’re worth as a woman embracing her natural form is so much more than you’ll ever know. You could walk by the right person and change their day by the confidence and the dance of your tightly curled short hair.

The bottom line is if we tell the world what the new norm is they have to sit down, swallow it and shut up. I don’t know about you but in case you haven’t been paying attention to any of the new beauty ads the black women are curlier and more relaxer free than ever. Progression comes in many forms and it could start with you. So rock your TWA and do so fearlessly.