December 17, 2008

Almost at the 3-Month Mark

WoW - time actually does fly :o) I can't believe it's almost been three months - I put the last set of box-braids in on November 8th and I am almost at the 3-month mark! I will take them out sometime after that, but not too sure what I want to do next.

I'm really missing my two-strand twists, and thinking about putting them in next, but I'm so spoiled with the braids because they last soooo long. I know I can not tolerate the frizz of the twists no longer than a few weeks I really wont be able to wear them for two months and I'm pretty sure they will loc after the first. I am also considering larger box braids next time around - but of course I haven't made up my mind yet.

I did take out and re-do two of my box braids last week. I really didn't see any difference (tangling, knots, or loss of hair) compared to having them in for two months, but it was only two braids so I'm sure I will get a better comparison when I take them all out (not really looking forward to doing that either). I did notice that the smaller braids do not unravel as much when washed like the bigger ones did, therefore I did not have to re-braid any of the ends after washing.

I think I may take these braids out in stages, maybe start with the middle first and work my way outward. I will definitely post pictures of how they look after the 3-month mark. So, I'll be back to update soon.

Peace and Blessings, and Happy Holidays :o)

November 26, 2008

Product Review

I won a contest on Afrobella.com http://afrobella.com/ :o) My prize was African Pride's Herbal Healing Conditioner and Shampoo. Thanks Afrobella !!

I tried the products on my niece (permed and hopefully transitioning hair) and my step-daughter (thick and natural). The shampo worked wonderfully on both types of hair. The conditioner though worked better on my niece's hair.

Check out my slide show:


video

I tried to slow the slides down so that people were able to read the captions (you can tell I'm new at this) - but I know I got carried away with the last slide.

To sum it up it said that I will be using the African Pride Herbal Healing Shampoo on both the girls (and myself) and just use the herbal conditioner on my niece's hair - but I will stick to using Cantu leave-in conditioning repair cream on my step-daughter's thick hair.

Peace and Blessings

November 16, 2008

Box Braids Back In


My protection style challenge is still going strong :o) I took my last set of box braids out just before the election and wore my hair out for a week (as you probably saw in the Tomokas Twist pics).


On November 8th, I put the braids back in. This time I made them even smaller. Instead of taking the usual 4 hours it took a little more than six. At first I didn't see any big difference in length but I did notice that my hair appeared to be a little thicker.


I wore it like this for one week.
Then put it back in a bun.

This was the first set that were a little bigger. You can see a little difference in length in the braid behind my ear compared to the new set above.


November 03, 2008

Tomokas Twists - Hair Accessories


My Puff w/Tomokas Twists
(click pics for closer look)



My Lil' Sis w/Tomkas Twists



2-Month-old Box Braids w/Tomokas Twists


S. Luxurious Tomokas Twists

These twists are great, as you can see they work on puffs and braids :o)


October 21, 2008

Old Hair Style Pics








Posted by Picasa
I'm getting bored with my braids - not enough to take them out though :o) - So, I decided to add some old hairstyle pics. The top two pics show me with longer hair and feature my home-made bun - made with a pack of kanekalon hair, sectioned and braided into two plaits and burned at the ends - then wrapped around my tiny bun to make it look fuller - no bobby pins were needed.
Hey - I need to dig that thing up and maybe wear it with my box braids or maybe make a new one with lots of tiny braids to match my braids :o). The plait hanging in the first picture is actually my 'real' hair.
The second two pictures are of my signature twist-out - I'm guessing about two-weeks old since I had on the headband. One day I'm going to stop being lazy and add a photo album to this blog.
Peace and Blessings...

October 14, 2008

Month-old Box Braids

My box braids are a month old today :o) - I haven't done a thing to them though. So I really don't have a huge update - just the fact that they are a month old. I plan on washing them tonight.

I have noticed that some of my ends are unravelling when I take them down from my bun - and when I take them down it looks like a hot mess :o) - so I will wear them in the bun until I finally decide to take them out. Maybe by then the weather will get cooler so I can cover them up with some hats. I haven't noticed any more growth, but I will take a closer look when I wash them.

Peace and blessings

September 29, 2008

Maintaining Box Braids

My box braids are still in and I feel that I am actually going to be able to keep them in until November :o) - I decided to do a little pre-month - update (October 14th will actually be one month wearing these box braids). I have noticed some shrinkage due to washing, but overall they still look pretty good.

I haven't done too much to them since they have been in. I have been keeping them in a small bun. I have noticed that I am able to wear it in a lower bun - not quite in the middle of the back of my head but almost there - without having to tuck in any short braids. I don't know if that is a sign that my hair is growing or the braids just getting old and loose.

At night I take down my bun and put my braids in a loose ponytail, then cover with a satin scarf. About once a week I add a little bit of moisturizer - mostly shea butter- by rubbing my hands together with about a quarter size amount of moisturizer between them and distributing the moisturizer throughout the braids. Then I put the braids back in my bun and go :o)

After I wash my braids I let them air dry, and when they are still damp I add about the same amount of moisturizer, maybe just a little more so I can make sure I put extra on the ends and put them in a ponytail - this actually helps with the shrinkage as well. While my hair is damp, moisturized and in the ponytail I put on my satin scarf until it is dry and this helps with frizziness.

Well, that's all for now. I will update once my box braid style is one month old.

Peace and Blessings

September 15, 2008

Hair Growth Experiment Update # 1

Okay, I have a mini-update. As you know (if not see 8/4/08 post) I have challenged myself to wear protective styles for a year (until Aug. '09) to see how long my hair would grow with little or no manipulation. I have been wearing my hair in box braids since August. I am on my third set of box braids. The first set lasted three weeks and the second lasted two (I did the second set a little bigger approx 35 braids or so).

After taking the second set down yesterday I had planned to wear my hair in two-strand twists, but decided to go back to the tiny box braids because they last longer. It took me over four hours to put them in and I plan to keep them in until the end of October/beginning of November if I don't get tired of them.

Now for the update:

When I took the first set of braids down I really didn't notice any difference in length, but after taking the second set down I noticed that my hair was a little longer. After I detangled with a wide tooth comb I was actually able to get all of my hair in a pony tail (well really a pony-puff :o) I was able to get every strand in a lower pony tail - gathered in the middle of the back of my head versus all piled on the top, and it actually stayed.

Of course, my hair was stretched out since it had been in braids for two weeks, so I decided to try it after I washed it. Once washed my hair shrinks up, so usually I can only put it into two small puffs because it could not fit into one even after detangling. But this time it fit into one puff - although still small, and I had to make the puff a little higher on my head (but not directly sitting on the top).

I also noticed the growth after I put the new tiny braids in and I was able to put over 90% of them in one tiny bun, which again is not a low bun, but not directly sitting on top of my head either. I did keep one braid down - purposely (I usually keep one or two down to show-off the length :o) I did not have to use any hair clips to keep them in place this time, but I'm sure after I wash them this will change. But, this is great progress :o)

I plan to do updates on my hair growth as I take each style down. I also may have to trim/dust the ends after I take this third set of braids out - I may even do that before taking them out. I have not tried any new products or poos so far. I just wash (with my shampoo bar - coming soon :o) - and I add some shea butter throughout and a little on the ends before I braid. I also wash every two weeks. That's it. I will keep you posted.

Peace and Blessings...

September 02, 2008

Natural Hair Idols

Hey, I haven't been here in a while. I have been busy researching ingredients and searching the web for product ideas, so I really haven't been out of the naptural hair arena :o) As I was doing my research I came across so many pictures of beautiful natural hair styles. I was so tempted to take my hair down (remember from my August post I am committing to keep my hair in protective styles until next August - so far so good).

Anyway, as I admired the natural hair styles on the web I remembered how I used to search the magazine racks for any picture I could get a hold of that featured someone wearing a natural style. Therefore, I got the idea to dedicate this entry to a few of my 'natural hair idols'. The first is Lauryn Hill.

Although Lauryn has dropped out of the 'mainstream' music business you can easily find some of her recent live performances on YouTube - still rocking her natural hair. It was 12 years ago, when the Fugees released "The Score", when my attention was first drawn to Ms. Hill's naptural hair.

The moment I saw her hair I knew I wanted my hair to look just like it. That is actually when my naptural hair journey began. I started collecting every magazine, and recording every Fugee music video I could find that showcased Lauryn's hair so I could examine the texture and style. I actually still have the first magazine I found (don't think I will ever get rid of it even though the pages are falling out - I still may have some of those videos too :o).

To begin my journey, I decided to cut my freshly permed hair super short to above my ears from it's shoulder length and I remember carrying that coveted magazine around as a testament to what my hair would look like. Although I re-permed my hair three times during that journey, I always came back to that picture to get myself back on track. So I credit Lauryn Hill, and her hairstylist at the time, for giving me a new-found love of natural hair.

More Lauryn Hill hairstyles:


I loved how she wore here locs in all types of styles :o)


More glamorous Chunky 'Fro :o)



...These days there are lots of naptural celebs.


Another one of my favorites from way 'back-in-the-day' is Nina Simone.

Talk about pioneer - this is a 1967 album cover.



Meshell Ndegeocello is another favorite. She has worn her hair natural for as long as I can remember - from cornrows to bald.


Interrupting my list of music artists check out actress T'keyah Crystal's hair. It is my ultimate hair goal ;o)


Check out her website http://www.tkeyah.com/index1.htm


...And model/actress Tomiko Fraser.


Check out her website http://tomikosgoddessgathering.com/


Singers/Actresses Jill Scott and India.Arie are also among my favs.



India.Arie is going to star in the Tony nominated for colored girls who considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf on Broadway this Summer. http://www.playbill.com/news/article/115756.html


And I can not end without mentioning one of my most favorite 'mixtress napturals' entrepreneur Lisa Price of Carol's Daughter. (USA Today Photo)


I am definitely going to have to do a Natural Hair Idols Part II (or more) because there are sooo many more that I would like to add :o) But for now I will end here.

Peace and Blessings...


The pictures on this entry are the property of the original copyright holders. If you feel you haven't been credited for a picture belonging to you, please let me know.


August 04, 2008

Hair Growth Experiment

I've decided to commit to not cutting my hair (with the exception trims when needed) for an entire year to see how long it will actually grow. I have attempted to do this several times, but have failed because of either getting 'scissor happy' or attempting way too many styles (changing styles weekly) which resulted in hair breakage because of the constant combing and/or brushing.

As I was checking out some of my favorite hair care sites, I came across several topics on hair growth. The most important disclaimer I found on each of the sites about hair growth is that it is not an overnight process, which is not a problem in my case since I am giving it a year. Hair grows approximately 6 inches a year.

So by the end of my experiment I should have about 6 inches of growth added to my now 4 1/2 inches in some places and a little over 5 in others. My goal is to be able to wear all of my two-strand twists or box braids in a single ponytail without having to use clips to hold the hair (short hair) in place.

The first step to hair growth is a healthy diet. Diet and exercise both contribute to healthy hair. Along with diet and exercise, hair grows when you are not stressed. Stress can cause hair to fall out. Make sure that you take time out of your day to relax and get a good night's sleep.

Combined with the above, I find that my hair seems to grow faster when I simply leave it alone. When I keep styling, combing and brushing down to a minimum (protective styles that last for more than a week like twists or braids) I notice that my hair doesn't break off as much resulting in longer, healthier hair.

Also to prevent hair breakage it is best to stay away from heat i.e. blow drying, and chemicals like hair dyes. Also it is important to trim your hair - cutting split ends. This may seem like it is defeating the purpose of growing hair, but split ends are a major cause of hair breakage. And the object is to grow hair and retain length, not have it break off even shorter.

When my ends feel 'crunchy' - brittle and I notice tiny hairs in the sink, I know it is time to trim. Just 1/4 inch or less will do. I also notice that when I keep my hair in protective styles versus wearing it out, my ends don't get that 'crunchy' feeling as often. For the most part I trim my ends once every 4 to 6 months.

Foods, Vitamins, Supplements:

Again a healthy diet helps promote hair growth. Well balanced meals that include proteins i.e. meats, eggs, cheese, nuts, and foods high in vitamin B, C, E, A and K aid in hair growth. Fish has good protein as well as essential fatty acids and natural oils.

Vitamin B - Green vegetables, beans, sunflower seeds, nuts and peas.
Vitamin C - Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, melons and berries.
Vitamin E - Avocados, rice bran, nuts, dark green vegetables, legumes and whole grains.
Vitamin A - Carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, broccoli, cantaloupe and apricots.
Vitamin K - Seafood, dairy, figs, asparagus, broccoli, lettuce, brussel sprouts, cabbage, dark green leafy vegetables, oatmeal, soybeans, wheat, yogurt, egg yolks and liver.

Hair Growth Tips/Sources

Hair Boutique.com
http://www.hairboutique.com/tips/tip214.htm

Hairstyle.com
http://www.hairstyle.com/hair-articles/hair-growing-tips.htm

Alwanza.com
http://www.alwanza.com/howto/longHair.html

Peace and blessings...

July 21, 2008

Twist-Out

One of my favorite hairstyles is the 'twist-out' (see pic on the left). I always get stopped and asked about my twist-out, so I decided to write about how I achieve it.

First of all, people always say that their hair is not like mine (like I have some special type of hair) and that theirs will not look like mine does (well that part may be true). But, I feel that if I can wear a twist-out for two weeks anyone can.

The first step is twisting (two-strand twists). What works best for me is to start on freshly washed and moisturized hair. You can twist on hair that has been completely dried or on wet (not dripping wet - just towel blotted) hair. When twisting, I start at the back and work my way to the front.

Instead of parting, I just grab sections of hair to twist - this way I do not have a lot of holes (resulting from the parts) and when I'm done, the twists actually look fuller. I also moisturize my entire head before twisting. You can also add moisturizer to each section before you twist, but I find that moisturizing before saves time, especially if you are planning to also use a twisting product.

As you twist, make sure you have about the same amount of hair in each section/strand that you are going to twist together. Also make sure the strands are the same length to avoid having to re-split the hair when you get to the bottom of the twist because you find that one side is not even. Having the same amount of hair in each section/strand makes an even definition, and avoiding having to re-split the two sections makes it easier to untwist for the twist-out.

Depending on the thickness/length of your hair and the size of your twists, twisting can take anywhere from two or more hours (it usually takes me about four with breaks in-between). And the fact that it takes me so long, is a reason I like to wear them as long as I can before wearing the twist-out. Two weeks in twists and two weeks out in the twist-out results in me not having to do my hair for about a month :o)

Lately, I have not used any gels, or loc butters when I twist my hair. Deciding on whether or not to use a twisting product really depends on how long you plan to wear your twists before untwisting, because the longer you keep the twists in, the more definition your twist-out will have, and the longer the definition will hold. I keep my twists in anywhere from two days to two weeks, so I do not use anything aside from a moisturizing pomade containing shea butter, and my twist-out lasts for about two weeks with about 90% of the untwisted twists still holding definition.

If you plan on keeping your twists in for a shorter period of time, i.e. a couple of hours or until they set/dry, then it is best to use an alcohol-free gel or twisting product - one of my favorites is Organic Root Stimulator Lock & Twist Gel http://www.organicrootstimulator.com/products/lock_twist.htm. Again, using a twisting product will help set your twists quicker as they dry and the definition of the twists will last a long time, especially in humid weather.

During the the two-stand twist process you may also re-moisturize sections (if you moisturized before twisting on freshly washed/moist hair you may find that some sections may start to feel dryer as you work your way to the top of your head). Also as you work your way to the top of your head consider how you want your twist-out to look.

Do you want more hair on one side than the other, do you want a bang, or do you want all of your hair flowing back and away from your face? Consider this as you begin to reach the top of your hair and twist your two-strands in the direction you want them to lay. At the end of my twist-out (mid-second week) I like to wear headbands, so most often I put cornrows or flat twists in the front going towards the back of my head - this also cuts down my twisting time.

When you get to the end of each completed two-strand twist, roll the ends between your fingers to seal them. I usually add a little more moisturizer on the ends of each twist during this step (just a dab on my finger before twisting the ends). If you are using a twisting product, be sure not to use too much or your twists will be white and take a longer time to dry.

At night, sleep with a satin/silk scarf or cap. I find that using a scarf makes my twists very flat so I prefer using a cap. If you feel that your twists look too flat or spacey, take your morning showers without using a shower cap, not to purposely drench your twists, but to let the steam plum them up which will also eliminate some of the spaces. (Some people even rinse their twists to plump them up, but I would not recommend this since the ultimate goal is to have a nicely defined twist-out.)

I usually do this (shower w/o cap) for just the first day or two after my twists are freshly done. If done too often, especially if you have not used a twisting product, this will cause your twists to become frizzy too soon and you will not be able to wear them for a long period of time without getting the urge to re-twist. During the weeks that my twists are in, I usually rinse my hair once a week with the vinegar and warm water mixture and re-moisturize.

Untwisting for the twist-out...

If needed, you can add moisturizer to your hair before untwisting. Always start at the scalp working your way down the length of the twist to the end when untwisting, again I start in the back and work my way up to the front. On smaller or tight twists you may have to start unraveling by twisting the two-strand a few turns in the direction opposite from which you twisted, making a split in the twist wide enough to get a finger in to then slide it down the length of the twist.

As you are untwisting also be careful not to disturb the form of the twists. When you are finished you can fluff out with your hands to style, and add accessories. Untwisting takes less than 15 minutes. Again at night use a silk/satin scarf or cap, and in the morning just fluff out and go. As the week goes by you will notice that your twist-out slowly will lose it's definition. Some people re-twist at night, but again this is very time consuming.

So to refresh my twist-out (try to wait until the end of the first week if you are planning to wear for two weeks) what I do is just focus on the twists that have lost the most definition, usually more in the back, and I just re-wet (just using wet fingers even if you have used a twisting product) and re-twist those, let them set over night and untwist in the morning.

As the second week goes by my twist-out gets fluffier because it starts to lose definition, and that's when I break out the headbands or clips to try to tame it, but this also makes it easier to detangle for the next style.

You can even stretch your twist-out further, the longest I've worn one is for three weeks, if you can stand that long without washing. I've also bypassed the re-twisting step because I found that frizziness in some spots gives the twist-out more depth, and that oftentimes I was the only one 'conscious' of the frizziness because most of my compliments come during what I call the final stages (last leg) of the twist-out.

I hope this was helpful -- until next time.

Peace and blessings....

July 08, 2008

Detangling

One of the major turn-offs of natural hair is combing/detangling, especially if your hair falls in the *4 category like mine does. I find that the best way to detangle natural hair is while it is wet.

Detangling after taking down a style:

I usually spritz my hair with water (sometimes using my water/eo mixture). As I am taking down a style this way, I am taking down the style, sectioning and detangling at the same time. It also cuts down on styling time if you are preparing to wash your hair right after.

Always start at the ends of your hair and work your way up to the roots using a wide tooth comb or brush such as a Denam https://www.denmanbrush.com/store/results.asp?Field1=D14. Once one section is detangled, I usually braid that section or put it into a scrunchie then move on to the next. I usually end up with four sections. You may need to go over each section once again if you are preparing to re-style, but this may not be necessary if you are preparing to wash your hair.

Detangling after washing.

If you detangle your hair before you wash it, as you are taking down your style, it will be much easier to detangle after washing. Also if you are putting in a conditioner you can use your brush to detangle during the conditoning process. You will find that the conditioner will give it more 'slip' so you will be able to glide the brush right through your hair.

While your hair is wet (it can be blotted so it wont be dripping wet), follow the same process starting at the ends of your hair working your way up to the roots. If you have detangled before you began washing, you will find that this detangling session will be faster. If you are applying a leave-on conditioner after washing this will also provide 'slip' and make it easier to detangle. After detangling, and my hair is in the sections I also add moisturizer to each section and comb/brush through again.

* Check out these sites for more on hair types
http://www.blackvoices.com/blogs/2008/06/12/understanding-your-hair-type-and-texture/

* Andre Walker - Celebrity stylist has a hair chart in his book Andre Talks Hair http://www.amazon.com/Andre-Talks-Hair-Walker/dp/0684824566

* This site has Andre Walker's Chart
http://naturalblackhaircare.com/hairtypes.php

* Also check out the YouTube Natural Hair Videos at the bottom of my blog*


Peace and blessings...

June 30, 2008

'No Poo' Shampoo Method

If you have visited a number of natural hair care sites you may have stumbled upon the term 'no poo' or 'low poo' method of shampooing. The 'no poo/low poo' method derives from shampooing you hair with shampoos or conditioners that do not contain harsh chemicals that are found in shampoos.

The main chemicals that the no pooers are trying to avoid are: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate - SLS, Sodium Laureth Sulfate - SLES. Now some low pooers may use shampoos that contain SLS substitutes Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate - ALS, and/or Ammonium Laureth Sulfate - ALES.

These are all foaming cleansing chemicals found in shampoo also used in everything from engine degreasers to laundry detergent. The amount that is found in most shampoos is reported to be 'safe' when it comes to brief use followed by thorough rinsing, and concentrations of the chemical should not exceed 1% if products are intended for prolonged use.

There are many claims that SLS even causes cancer which is a myth. Check out these sites for more detail. http://www.revolutionhealth.com/conditions/breast-cancer/myths-facts?s_kwcid=ContentNetwork1026685944 and http://www.pathguy.com/sls.htm.

There are reports of people who have suffered from severe eye and skin irritation cause by SLS.

Check out these sites for more info on SLS. http://healthsearch.wordpress.com/2008/05/28/dangers-of-sodium-laurel-sulfate-sls/ and http://www.rapunzelsdelight.com/health_topics/noxious_shampoos.htm#Sodium%20Lauryl%20(Laureth)%20Sulfate%20~%20%20SLS.

Experts suggest that you should make sure you rinse your hair thoroughly when using a shampoo that contains any of these detergents. Some low pooers opt to use shampoos that contain ALS (not as irritant) versus SLS.

These chemicals, along with other harsh detergents found in most shampoos do there job well, they strip the oil and dirt out of your hair but also strip the natural moisture from your scalp. Along with rinsing thoroughly, it is also suggested by shampoo manufacturers that you use a conditioner (to replenish moisture) directly after shampooing.

Again, the best way to be worry free is to avoid these products. Seek out shampoos that do not contain them. Now this may be easier said than done. Like I said, most products have, if not two, at least one of these chemicals. It is also good to shop around for low prices when you are seeking a no poo - shampoo.

There are several castile soap based, organic and vegan shampoos on the market. Dr. Bronner http://www.drbronner.com/ is an example of a great vegetable oil based castile soap great for no-pooing, and Aubrey Organics is another http://www.aubrey-organics.com/ which also features skin care products as well.

Peace and blessings...

June 25, 2008

Basic Tools for Natural Hair

What type of tools do you need for Natural hair maintenance?

Well, the list is very simple; your hands (of course), water, and moisturizer. Those are the basic tools that you need to maintain your natural hair. Some with naptural hair elect not to use a comb or brush, but for those who want to detangle without only using their hands, a wide tooth comb and brush need to also be a part of your list.

Of course, your hands are probably a given, but water is an important tool that is often forgotten about. Naptural hair loooves water. Water is a great detangler/moisturizer. In the summer, when I wear box braids I keep a spray bottle filled with water mixed with a little water soluble eo - (essential oil - I like lavender) in the refrigerator.

I lightly spritz my head after coming in from a day under the hot sun to give it some moisture. When it dries, the lavender leaves a nice clean smell. I also use the water mixture before and after I take down my braids to help with detangling. The water and eo mixture can also be used with extension styles as well.

Now during the cooler months, and depending on what hair style you are wearing (like a transition style that requires your permed ends to be straight or curled) it may not be wise to use simply water as a moisturizer. When it comes to a moisturizer you will have to experiment with a few to find out which one your hair likes best.

An important note on moisturizers : The moisturizer I am referring to is 'hair moisturizer' a moisturizer put on for your hair, to be gently massaged, rubbed or brushed through your hair and to ends - to give it a healthy-looking sheen and to prevent dry ends. Some people 'religiously' use moisturizers on their scalp - the old 'grease your scalp' mentality. In reality you do not have to 'grease your scalp'. Our scalp produces it's own moisturizer called sebum.

Some people who have dry scalp and/or dandruff believe that 'greasing' their scalp helps or prevents this, but it does not. Dry scalp and/or dandruff are actually a result of too much oil on your scalp. Dandruff can be managed by a mild anti-dandruff shampoo or if more severe you should seek the care of a dermatologist. For those with oily scalp tea tree oil with it's natural drying antiseptic qualities is a remedy. Check out this website for more details http://www.ishrs.org/articles/scalp-skin-conditions.htm.

Some people have a reaction to oil-based moisturizers. So for those who are prone to break-outs due to oil-based products, you should look for moisturizers that are water based - water should be the first ingredient. Also when looking for a moisturizer be conscious of products that contain 'cones' Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, silicone, etc.

These ingredients are usually found in conditioners and shampoos, but are also found in moisturizers. Again you must experiment with products to see what's best for your hair, but it's been my experience that moisturizers that contain 'cones' especially ones that you plan on using daily or even weekly, tend to leave natural hair sticky and gummy, and result in scalp build-up.

Seek out moisturizers that contain ingredients close to our scalp's own sebum like shea butter, sweet almond oil, jojoba and mango butter, and make sure they are high-up on the ingredient list. And for those who can not break the habit of 'greasing' your scalp you can massage your scalp with the balls of your fingers to distribute these natural moisturizers throughout your scalp.

Now to cut out the hassle of trying to decipher ingredients on the back of products, the simplest thing to do is to use natural products. Although you will also have to experiment with these, you will not have to worry about putting chemicals on your hair. Natural products can be a bit more expensive, but if you keep the products you use to a minimal, and keep in mind less is better to extend your products, in the end you may find that you will actually save money in comparison with the products you used before you were natural.

Check out this site http://www.fromnaturewithlove.com/ (and Naptural Links at the bottom of the blog) for natural ingredients/products.

Peace and blessings...

June 16, 2008

'Transitioning' Versus 'The Big Chop'

There are two steps you can take to start your naptural hair journey - 'transitioning' or 'the big chop'. But in the end both will end with the same result - cutting off the permed hair. There is no such thing as washing out or stripping a perm - a perm is just as it's name states - permanent. The natural texture of your hair is 'permanently' changed unless you cut it off and start again.

Now the most dramatic way to start your naptural hair journey is to do a 'big chop'. Big chop meaning shave your head bald. Although this may sound drastic it is the safest, easiest way to go natural because you don't have to worry about dealing with two textures of hair, permed ends and natural new growth. You can camouflage your new do by purchasing stylish wigs and even hats. Another bright side is you would not have to worry about buying styling products for a while and use that money on pretty scarfs or head ties, and earrings to accessorize your new do. You can also do a 'big chop' after you grow an inch or two of new growth. Then you will be sporting a 'TWA' - Teenie - Weenie - Afro :o)

Transitioning, of course, is less dramatic. Transitioning is exactly what it sounds like; you are moving from one state- permed hair, to a new state - natural hair. As you are 'transitioning' from the perm state to the natural state, you are allowing your hair to grow, new growth to come in without re-perming, i.e. no touch-ups. Now during this transition some still apply heat, curling iron and/or straightening comb to the new growth area to keep the textures looking the same, but this is not a good idea because the heat will have to applied too often and will eventually damage the new growth, and you will end up having to do a 'big chop' as a result.

Unfortunately, there is really no other guaranteed way to keep the new growth and the permed hair looking the same while you are transitioning, so the best thing to do is to camouflage the new growth. This can be done by using a non-alcohol gel, pomade, or even a little water and conditioner depending on the texture of your hair, to smooth/brush down the new growth, then cover with a silk/satin scarf to set it in place, and this will have to be done every night or even in-between outings.

Or, instead you can simply purchase scarfs and/or headbands to wear on top of the new growth to camouflage it. You can also opt to wear your two-textured hair in transition styles such as braids - extensions or using your own hair (neither not done too tightly ) or curly wet sets, which will blend in the two textures nicely. One of my favorite transitioning styles was wearing cornrows or flat twists in the front of my head (braiding/twisting the new growth area) and the rest of my hair (permed portion) out either straight or curly in the back.

The one thing you have to be extremely careful of when transitioning is dealing with the two different textures of hair. New growth is very fragile and can not be handled the same way as the permed texture. You may even have to use different styling products to deal with the two textures of hair. The best thing to do is to focus entirely on your new growth (natural hair). You will have to experiment with different (preferably natural hair products) on your new growth as it gets longer and use these products on your permed ends as well.

The other thing you must do is as your new growth grows, start cutting off your permed ends. I recommend when you have at least an inch of new growth, cut off an inch of your permed ends, and keep doing this until you have a head full of natural hair. I can not give an exact range of time when you will have a complete full head of natural hair but check out this hair growth site http://www.pg.com/science/haircare/hair_twh_21.htm.

Also another one of my favorite naptural hair sites is http://www.motowngirl.com/content/ - I came across Motown Girl through the Nappturality.com family. Now her site is filled with naptural pictures, how-tos, product reviews etc. I love it. It is what I plan my blog to be someday :o)

Okay that is all for now, until next time.

Peace and blessings

June 12, 2008

Happy Blog-day To Me :o)

Go- go- go- go - go shawty it's your blog day...gonna party like it's your blog day... :o)

Okay, once again I have started another blog - this time I am going to keep this one up-to-date.. I promise :o)

Okay seriously now - about 'All Naptural'

'All Naptural' is a natural hair care blog. First of all 'Naptural' is a play on the words 'natural' and 'nappy' (referring to ethnic hair in it's 'natural' state -- chemical-free). Now some feel that the word 'nappy' when referring to ethnic hair is negative, and that it implies ugly, coarse/kinky, hard to comb hair.

My nappy hair, although it may be hard to comb at times (especially when using the wrong tools), is not ugly and can be worn in tons of beautiful styles. Therefore, I feel that the word 'nappy' as well as coarse hair should be looked upon in a new, positive light. I am happy to be nappy :o)

Nappy/natural hair is healthy and beautiful, and one of the goals of this blog is to focus on it's beauty. I plan to post information on going natural i.e. growing out perm, by either transitioning or doing the 'big chop' (cutting if all off), maintaining naptural hair, and of course plenty of beautiful naptural hair pictures. I will also post napural hair care daily routines, styles, product reviews and homemade product recipes.

I will start today by listing my most favorite Naptural hair community site, http://www.nappturality.com/. This site is very informative and a great start for anyone who is either thinking about, just curious about, or already have natural hair. You have to subscribe (it's free) to see the pictures, but I also recommend that you donate as well to be able to post your own pics, get inside info and other benefits. Enjoy :o)

Quote of the Day: "Do not remove the kinks from your hair--remove them from your brain." Marcus Garvey

Until next time, peace and blessings.