Every Table…

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Hidden Files.. a style I never shared with you all.

My Granny had a saying: “Every table’s got to stand on its own legs.”

I’ve found many places to apply that saying in my life since she passed and today I’m going to apply it to hair.

Not just Natural Hair.
:::crowd gasps in unison:::

There’s a misconception that there’s a no maintenance way of having one’s hair. The only way that you can have no maintenance hair is if you just simply refuse to maintain it as a principle. You just make the choice to give up completely. I don’t know where you work or what brand you represent but it’s not easy for anyone to get away with that in mainstream society. 

Now that we’ve got that out of the way,  please pick your struggle.  If you cut it all off, relax it, loc it, braid it, twist it…. there’s a routine that goes along with keeping it looking the way you want it. 

Don’t waste your time convincing yourself that life is better somewhere else and enjoy the journey of where you are today.  There will be days that you want to give up being natural, I think we’ve all had a “You know what… I quit” day, but just remember nobody’s holding you hostage.

This whole journey can be about self-love, health, individuality, heritage or none of those things. It’s up to you to decide what it means to you, because after all… you can’t stand on anyone else’s legs, you’ve got your own. 

I hope this brought some peace to someone struggling with this path.

You can always contact me for questions.  #Love

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Good Groceries

 

Groceries

There you sit on wash day and your bathroom sink looks more like the church kitchen during a Repast.

All the Olive Oil, all the eggs…

You can freestyle if you’d like  especially if you enjoy experimenting,but here are some links to some great recipes.

 Leave-in /Refresh

 Cleanser

Deep Conditioner

If you find yourself frustrated and consequently hungry just remember you can go in with a plan. It’s ok if you don’t. Some of my favorite creations were Wash Day remixes (However, I create creams).  Try a few recipes at a time and come back to share!  I’ll be honest the majority of my  good groceries don’t make it to Wash Day  so I’m really interested to read about your success.

Enjoy!

Fall Natural Hair Trends 2014

Often when it’s time to style, especially in the early stages it’s not easy to come up with what’s next. For many loose hair naturals (not in locs) the fall presents some interesting styling options that keep our hair safe, stylish and function. The temperatures rival the perfect Fro weather that the Spring brings, but the drying air gives the protect, protect, rest routine a faster rotation.

 

I’ve looked around the web, and here are some styles that I think are on trend and will keep you on your healthy hair journey.

 

Style 1. The Twist-Out Up-do

This style provides you the opportunity to have some hair in the wind while still being able to protect your ends. The night-time care or this style should include the application of a Shea Butter based moisturizer and lightly twisting large sections to prevent matting and preserve the curl. This one can go from the boardroom to the ball which means that you can keep your hands out of your hair and still be ready for the occasion. Homecoming time, this is a win especially for the student on a budget.

Stylish Twist-Out Updo From: http://galeriasaharaui.org/

Style 2. The Roll

Retro styling is very on trend this Fall in both hair and fashion. This modern roll with braided sides is perfect for the Early natural with the assistance of Kanekalon hair, or the Vet that has enough to achieve this with her own stands. I love how this particular model was styled with a large geometric colorful earring. This is a style that yields to accessories well and from the looks of it will not fold if we encounter an early sweater day.

The Roll From : http://hairjaz.com/

 

Style 3. Goddess Braids

These are not your old school chunky braids. Long hair styling has become more multi-cultural. These braids have Celtic ties but they look amazing on every type of hair. Below is just one example but the concept is to create your own crown. If you’re a night styler like me and you prepare your hair for the next day each night, variations of Goddess Braids will provide you with maximum protection on windy days and plenty of play time at night. Not a braider? No worries, these also look fabulous as twists. Retro styling with a modern adaptation.

Style 4. Spring Twists

This is a style that works for students and mothers. A spring curl patterned extension is used to achieve this look and the length, color and bounce make this style a versatile all-occasions wake up and go style. I recommend not only this specific style but this shape of hair (When trying to explain it to my mother I called it “Body Guard Curly Whitney with a Natural Twist”). This is a fun length so if you can achieve this shape with traditional two-strand twists its still a win.

 

Style 5. The Stretched Fro

If you want to know what I love the most about being natural I’ll tell you three words sung in my best Pharrell voice *Pinapple and Go* and I’d do the beat. With very low heat and no comb you can take your curl pattern that you’ve grown to love, section your hair with your fingers, apply moisture and anti-breakage product, and blow each section individually gripping your hair and waving the blow drier achieve 2 weeks of fun! You can sweat, it can rain, you can get caught in the wind but a stretched Fro remains faithful like a US Postal Carrier. This is a great style for Vets that know how to keep their ends balanced with the proper moisture and when it’s time to twist down. Consider this the base style with multiple variations available. Styles 2 and 3 can be achieved starting with this style. When in doubt…. Fro it out!

 

 

As usual ask questions when it stops making sense. Click on the pictures to find some other great sites for styles.  Let us know if you try any of theses or if you want me to try one on my hair (Hint, I’m already stretched).

Also tell us how you like the new layout. That logo will be available on T-shirts soon so be sure that you’re on our mailing list because you’ll be the first to know!

Fun with Fake Fake Hair…

Who said that weave had to be an instrument of self hate and a perpetuation of European standards of beauty?

( A bunch of the old head naturals….. you know you can name at least 3)

Well I’ve always been fortunate to find textured extensions and there are some people who believed that some of my HUGE Diana Ross-esque #BigHairDontCare styles over the years were mine.

When you are transitioning, protective styles are your friend. They help you get used to your new face, and start owning your style. Weave in particular is a great playground to experiment with lengths and colors to determine what your hair goals will be. Below are a few gems that I’ve come across that are fun to use, inexpensive and they hold up well. Please keep in mind that for me to keep a hairstyle for 3 weeks is an indication that I’ve been messing up the money, or I don’t feel well. I say that because I have never gone the distance with these brands so I don’t know if it will stay in your head for three months. I don’t condone that anyway, but that’s for another post. 🙂

Wa-wa Super

Zury Tika SUPER

Marley Braid/ Kinky Twist

Model Model Water Wave Synthetic

and now good old-fashioned $2.99 Jumbo Braid Kanekalon. (Who knew, right?)

All of the above require a crafty mind and some creativity in styling since they are all synthetic and you can’t just wand it up and go, but the finished look is fun and most of all gives a natural looking finish. This is a short post, but I want you to see just how much I’ve been able to do with synthetic hair. Hopefully you feel inspired to take your protective styles to another level without spending a fortune on hair:

Enjoy my fake fake hair gallery. If I don’t name a stylist then I did that style myself.

 

Zury Tika Super stylist Ebony C. Cincinnati, Ohio Circa 2010

Zury Tika Super stylist Ebony C. Cincinnati, Ohio Circa 2010

Circa 2010 Wawa Super  top left. Synthetic ponytail both pictures on the right, and shrunken wash & go of my own hair in that time frame bottom left.

Circa 2010 Wa-wa Super braided front Stlyist Ebony C. Cincinnati, Ohio top left. Synthetic ponytail both pictures on the right, and shrunken wash & go of my own hair in that time frame bottom left.

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Crochet Braids 2nd Attempt, all around leave out, pinned up style. Marley Hair

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1st Run Crochet Braids. Stylist T.Daniels, Cincinnati, Ohio Model Model brand synthetic water wave.

Jumbo Braid Kanekalon Crochet Braids. Straight. Blown dry sealed.

Jumbo Braid Kanekalon Crochet Braids. Straight. Blown dry sealed.

Jumbo Braid Crochet Braids, same installation, Perm Rod dipped ends.

Jumbo Braid Kanekalon Crochet Braids, same installation, Perm Rod dipped ends.

 

 

 

 

Marley Hair Twists

Marley Hair Twists

Jumbo Braid Kanekalon Updo.

Jumbo Braid Kanekalon Updo.

The Decision

I listen to The Breakfast Club every morning on iHeart Radio, and since it’s Monday, I thought it would be appropriate to title this post after the famous segment that sometimes feels real, but there’s no way that it is because the stuff is just so extreme, “The Decision”.

I chose this name because all weekend long people have been discussing in the different hair groups about what it means to be natural. I’ve shared my story on my decision, this time I’d like to take a look at the mentality behind a couple of the comments I’ve read and let you decide how you feel about what was said.

 

1. “It ain’t for everybody”

I’m a weirdo, so every time I hear that phrase, the above is what pops into my mind. This is a phrase that people have complained about/ celebrated in the hair community at large. Going natural is a personal choice to return to dealing with your hair as it grows from your head. That’s all. It’s not a calling to a higher purpose, it’s not a callback after an audition, it’s not the red or the blue pill. It’s a choice. It calls on your self-esteem, confidence, resolve, independence, and style preference for an answer… but it’s still just a choice.

There are two things that I don’t like regarding this comment.

A) The old head veterans like myself that take on that phrase is if returning to natural prior to 2003 put us on some conscious crusade in which we have survived the front lines, and anyone that comes along later has to get initiated into the sisterhood.

“Have you had your co-wash today?” *Insert Natural Hair pseudo-Greek step*

B) The select members of the relaxed  that use the term as a distancing phrase. As if they could not bare the thought of waking up one day just like God made them…as if it would diminish them to a level that only YOU the natural that clearly doesn’t care how the world sees them can exist comfortably.

There has to be a better way for us to convey that we are all beautiful any way that we decide to wear our hair. Any words akin to a “Girl, I don’t know how you do it” coming from either direction helps no one.

2. You say you’re natural, but what does that mean?

So we’ve got the Natural Hair Mafia that comes out to challenge anyone claiming their set.

“Well do you weave? Then you ain’t real.”

“How are you natural with that blonde in your hair?”

Your return to natural is your own journey. Nobody can define that for you. If you decide that your journey includes wearing a weave as a protective style so be it. If you decide that you just want your original curl pattern and not the color, that is also your business.

Don’t fall victim to the bullies that question your affiliation. Support is the key to this going from a fad to a movement to a lifestyle. The truth of the matter is: The curriculum availability is low, black people the world over are the only people who I have encountered that do not have a solid grasp on what it takes to style and care for our hair exactly the way that it grows from our head. In my opinion I believe it’s because we have the most versatile hair in that we can do either curly or strait, sculpted or free. It’s alarming but once you cross the line from relaxed to natural, lots of us rely on YouTube for answers.

You may have come here looking for some motivation to stay or return to natural. I hope that this brightened your day when you get hit with the situations above. Being/going natural is simply a decision. Knock the wind out of the big bad wolf and do what you feel is best for you. Women have survived for centuries as beautiful both with and without chemicals…. Ancient Egyptians were putting lead and copper on their EYES for crying out loud, we don’t need to try to get anyone on one side or the other, how about we just let one another live.

The Natural vs Nurture

Remember that post a while back about how we still need to do something to our hair and that being natural is not an excuse to just not do anything at all?

I’d like to modify my comments. While I strongly believe that one should refrain from being out in the world appearing that they have completely run out of “cares” to give; there’s a thin line between staying polished and being obsessive. I’ve had the privilege to be a part of quite a few fun and interesting natural hair groups and one thing that I notice is that many have not embraced the freedom.

 

As a former “Processed Princess” (something else I learned in one of the groups) I can remember a time that I could not leave the house without full accessories. I looked like an old school internet chat room avatar when I left the house. Even if I had on a hat, I had earrings and a flashy belt that made the look come together so I thought. I projected a load of insecurity which in turn attracted the wrong crowd of people and for a while I didn’t have a firm grasp on who I was without all of the junk on me.

 

How much of that comes from early childhood?

I am in no way bashing or putting down any of the women in my family, let’s be very clear. However, leaving the house for even the most simple trip was an ordeal everywhere I ever stayed. There were creams followed by lotions, combined with scents and topped with powders and lightly mist with sprays. Anything that wiggled was cinched and any hair out-of-place got a healthy slicking with some product and either an “edge brush” or a fine toothed comb. Scarves/Headwraps were reserved for African garments and most certainly not mixed with any American clothing. Keep in mind that the African garments were all special occasion wear and they too had to be cinched and pulled and tied into place.

There was never a time that I felt comfortable to just throw something on unless I was going out to get dirty (which upon meeting some people who knew me as a very small child, I was exceptionally good at avoiding for my age). In my early days of going natural I felt so unkempt that I was in the salon chair WEEKLY with a TWA(teeny weenie afro). I’d never witnessed anyone that left the house without everything slicked, taped, shined and greased get a warm reception from anyone that I knew.

 

Why would we want this for the next generation?

it’s easy to discuss celebrity kids because they are always on the news and in the public eye. The thing that has disturbed me for the past year is the level of conversation surrounding a particular toddler with extremely rich and powerful entertainers as parents (Yes, Blue Ivy). In the beginning I found myself instinctually on the side of “please do that baby’s hair” but as I’ve worked with so many of you and had an opportunity to observe others as well as think introspectively about this journey…. they are right on point. I have two Goddaughters with natural hair, I take the time to re-style the Barbie dolls so that they can have a toy designed to build female self-esteem that looks like them. Doesn’t it make sense to allow a child to become comfortable with exactly who they are without all of the things that we smooth, slather and sprinkle on them?

Think of the difference it would make in how some of these women that we see on television that degrade themselves just to become popular and in turn set horrible examples of being rewarded for being everything except who you were made to be. If we concentrated our efforts on not placing the same passed down insecurities that we’ve received from generations before us, what would the world look like in 15 short years? Would we start to see more Willow Smith and Blue Ivy imitators than our current situation of plastic, distorted body image, emotionally damaged women? Would Mona Scott have to find a new demographic to exploit because the ones that we would foster in this new generation cannot be bought because they know their worth and recognize their own face and hair?

 

I’m not saying that we should all just stop doing our hair and stage some Happy to be Nappy protest. This isn’t Occupy the Beauty Supply Store. I just want more for the young girls coming up now. They have a chance to be so much more powerful upon their formal introduction to adult-hood than my generation and the ones before. Powerful in a sense that they can learn to love and accept one another and not be as catty and judgmental as many of us have learned to be.

Learn to Love Your Natural Curls and Kinks….and One Another’s

 

Stress= Hot Mess

This past weekend I had the pleasure of speaking with the ladies that attended Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Pi Sigma Zeta Chapter’s  Girlz to Women Retreat. My presentation was on pampering your hair.

I gave the ladies the three pillars of my hair philosophy; Hydration, Sleep Care and Consumer Awareness.

A great time was had by all and there was a  from a lady that’s transitioning, that inspired a post.

I can’t quote it because I wasn’t able to write it down however it was essentially, why is my hair thinning in the middle (and there’s pain), even though I’m doing the things that I’ve been told are the things that will help my hair.

I took two directions with this question.

1. I had to address the pain.

Think back on the days that you had a relaxer on a regular basis. At least for me, I knew it was time for another hit of the creamy crack when my scalp started hurting. I thought it was because my hair was having withdrawals (go ahead and laugh). However, depending on your curl pattern and coarseness of the hair, the thickness of the strand past the first sprouting new growth (which still has chemical on it) may be enlarging the pore.

Now I’m going to WebMD freak you out about it. Pain is your body’s way of informing you of a process taking place, or an indication that something is wrong. If you’re experiencing pain, schedule a professional shampoo and inform your stylist of the issue. During consultation they can look to be sure that there is no broken skin, lesions, redness or swelling. If any of those are present they will advise you to seek medical attention from a dermatologist.

2. The thinning.

Repetition and Stress are the usual suspects. Sleeping on the same side, wearing the exact same style for long periods of time will get your hair, what people like to call “trained”. I told a story about how I used to part my hair in the same place so often that when it was time to comb out my wrap I could just shake my head and the hair would fall into place. If your hair journey is to have a full head of hair and maximize your versatility, I suggested the employment of my method I shared last week.

Stress is also the thief of hair. It can creep in and disrupt sleep patterns,  cause you to slack on your nutritional regimen which includes your water consumption. It can also internally disrupt your body’s natural rhythms and processes, slowing the signals that trigger growth. Address your issues and put as many of the to bed as possible. Your hair will thank you.

I hope I was able to help you this week. As you now know, if you need that one on one sister time, get on my Calendar on HelpOuts by Google.

LAUGH 🙂 Life is too short not to: Enjoy!

Why wait for a new post?

Now you can find out what you want when you want.

How so?
I’m proud to announce that Ooh My Hair is one of TWO Google Helpers available for live video assistance on helpouts.google.com

Helpouts are the latest addition to the Google family of helping you find the information you seek. This does not mean that I will blog less, in fact your session may inspire a post. Check out my profile and schedule a time. I’m excited and honored to have this opportunity to share the information that I’ve gathered on my journey with an even larger audience. I appreciate every single reader that has liked and followed this blog and put US (because face it we’re a family at this point) in this position.

THANKS & SEE YOU LIVE ON HELPOUTS 🙂

Ooh My Holiday Protective Hairdos

For those of us that are in the baby fro phase it’s hard to find what works. Braids to the scalp with shorter hair tend to grow out less gracefully than longer hair because our lovely ends want air and will stop at nothing to wiggle out. The vets with over 6 inches of hair also find the struggle in coming up with something that we can keep for a while and still play.

There’s hope in the two strand twist.

Two strand twists are great to discover and embrace your hair’s curl pattern while rocking a style that just gets better with time. If you can use the Marley hair it’s a life saver. This hair will grip itself in a twist as well as hold on to your hair. I’m not a fan of twists that require an anchoring braid as it creates a very unnatural grow-out line of demarcation and if your remember from previous posts, you want to keep the curl pattern consistent from scalp to ends to avoid weak spots and breakage.

IMG_20131220_202328 VID_20131023_171911_recorded-stitched

The technique I use incorporates the hair in a manner that relies on the integrity of the twist itself to stay connected to the natural hair (I just resize Havana Twists).

Then the fun begins. The styles that are posted below are all achieved in less than 15 minutes starting from a head full of twists and they are inspired by African head wrap techniques to create shape and dimension.

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This style is achieved by taking the twists and using the fishtail braid technique loosely then securing the end with and elastic and tucking it away on the inside of the braid. (Style Time: 10 min)

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This style is achieved by using the flat twist technique loosely and in an S pattern starting at the front and completing the pattern in the center. Secure the end with an elastic and hide the hair underneath the twist. (Style Time: 15) It only takes longer because as you can see on the picture on the right there’s detail work needed to be sure the style is smooth.

The Holiday Season is where we can have the most fun with different protective styles and up-dos. It’s the perfect time to hide your hair away from the harsh cold to maintain moisture and these styles are really warm. I couldn’t see trying this in the Summer. It got warm this past weekend which is what allowed me to crank out two quick styles.

As always, ask questions if it stops making sense. Happy Holidays!

Enjoy!

Concentration on Hydration

Česky: Pitná voda - kohoutek Español: Agua potable

Česky: Pitná voda – kohoutek Español: Agua potable (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s getting cold and I’m starting to get inquiries about products that help keep moisture in harsh cold conditions.

IT’S NOT WHAT YOU PUT ON, IT’S WHAT YOU DIDN’T PUT IN!

We all forget to drink enough water when it’s cold outside. Dehydration trends among people of all ages are at their highest in the holiday season. We increase the sodium in our diets and partake in punches and cocktails when we would normally have water. It’s common, it’s not the worst thing in the world so don’t you dare feel bad about it. So here’s what you do:

1. Start and End the day with a full glass of water.- We’re grown now, so drinking water before bed is not a recipe for disaster and it will give you an appointment with your water. If you make it a habit you can avoid missing out completely.

2. Switch from coffee to tea in the winter. I’ll never try to separate a woman on the go and her caffeine, but the tea will ease you into remembering to get some water. Preparing the hot water gives you a chance to refill your cold water bottle.

3. Drink room temperature water. Sometimes it’s too cold for an ice-cold water. Enjoying your water at room temp in the cold months means that you’re not drinking stale tasting hot water and you’re not causing your body temp to drop with a cold beverage.

Trust me when I tell you, you’ll notice the difference in your hair if you concentrate on how much you hydrate.

As always ask question when it stops making sense. Enjoy!