“I need a perm”

I’ve been gone for a while travelling for the summer. I had an opportunity to take in Caribbana in Toronto, Ontario and I’ve gone down south which wasn’t as much for travel, but I got kidnapped for a day by my crew in Atlanta and taken on a whirlwind vacation for a day.

In this time, I had my camera and business cards ready to capture some awesome natural styles and bring back some great things to share with you. I was sadly disappointed. There were considerably less hot natural styles in Toronto than I anticipated. This seems to have been the summer of the weave. You, our loyal reader, know that we are not on the anti-weave bandwagon here at OohMyHair, but it would’ve been nice to see a few hot braided, twisted-out, funky Afros.

So I did some observing via social media and gravitated towards posts about hair just to see how the conversations went. On multiple occasions I found women at a loss for what style to attempt next, being recruited by some of our fellow sisters in kinks and curls. The responses were mind-blowing:

 I just can’t..” “I have to get a relaxer my hair is rough…” “Girl, not this mess perm me up NOW!

 

 

Who told you that your hair wasn’t manageable? Who made you believe that what grows out of your head is unacceptable? Why do you keep selling this idea to yourself? Please understand that a natural is not only an Afro or braids.

As stated in many previous posts, there are professionals that are able to show you how your hair works. There is no difference in the learning curve, your relationship with the rain will most likely not change much. If any of the answers were simply “I like it this way.” I wouldn’t have the same reaction, however it’s time to break through the lies that society would have you to believe about your hair. There are so many things that you can do with your natural curls, and it’s beautiful! It all comes down to the beauty of the strength in character that is displayed when you’re comfortable in exactly who you are. Don’t let people’s opinions steal that away from you.

 

As usual, ask questions when it stops making sense, we love and support you.

 

 

 

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Front Labels vs Back Labels

Shelf Life (Kallisti)

Shelf Life (Kallisti) (Photo credit: Topsy@Waygood)

This post is for everyone on the natural journey. Those of us living the loc life, the beginners and the vets.

We selected our paths and lifestyles in many cases seeking a better way of going about accepting and managing what we were born with. We are a group of people constantly seeking hair truths, the proper products, foods and fabrics that are conducive to our respective journeys.

With that, there are lots of marketing executives that are aware of the trigger words that draw our attention to a product. They grab our attention with blurbs like:

  • “paraben free”
  • “no mineral oil”
  • “olive oil infused”
  • “with Shea butter”

However I challenge you to flip to the back label most mass-produced cosmetics contain preservatives and chemicals that extend the shelf-life. Seek the labels that contain the least unrecognizable names on the back label. Beyond the links to cancer and skin conditions, often these products put your hair in a dependent state, meaning the more you use them, the more you need to use them.

Lanolin for example, creates a soft feel immediately after being applied to the hair, however once fully absorbed the hair and scalp become extremely dry and in need of moisture, which causes you to use more product to alleviate the symptom. Usually this causes you to seek an entire moisture “system” and buy other products within the line to tailored to solve a problem they created.

Be a critical consumer. Know that you should not have to lock in to a “system” to achieve the look and feel you desire, and be aware that some of the “hair-mergencies” are caused by the fine print on the back of the packaging. Read that label!

The team here at OohMyHair.com has a lab/kitchen (a labitchen, since you know we love to make up words), and in this labitchen we hope to find the solution to hair care without any chemicals. We have a product still in the testing phase, but we were working on the labels today, and thought we should let you know what happens behind the scenes. After all, we are here to help.

As usual, ask questions when it stops making sense. Enjoy!

Protective Styles

In the natural hair community, you hear lots of people throwing around the term “protective style”. This term has been attached to some pretty damaging styles so let’s break down what needs to be taking place to qualify.

Condition 1- Moisture is not being rapidly drained from the hair.  Synthetic hair and wood products wick away moisture from your hair.

Condition 2- The hair is not being pulled at unsafe tension levels. Pulling hair too tightly  in braids can cause the hair to fall out in the high stress areas.

Condition 3- There is not a daily duty to constantly re-style and manipulate using heat or a comb. Excessive flat ironing or combing around edges of weaves for “blending” purposes leaves your hairline still in jeopardy.

We spent a little time on YouTube this weekend and noticed that there were some tight twists, mock locs, yarn wraps and weaves being labeled as protective styles. It’s not so much that they were incorrectly labeled, as they were not accompanied with the level of information that a newbie DIY hair Diva needs to know. Moisture regimens as well as how long to keep a particular style with a particular medium (fabrics, synthetic hair, etc.) were all missing from some of the Kitchmatology  tutorials.

By no means are we saying stay away from, weaves, braids or wraps. We are saying remember why you’re getting the style in the first place. There may be instances that you have a style that you need to achieve for a certain occasion and in many of those cases you won’t keep the style for long. But if you are seeking a protective style for the purpose of giving your hair a rehabilitative break, keep in mind the points listed above. Remember you want to send your hair on vacation, not a work trip.

 

We love the style posted above by the way! Versatile, extremely low maintenance, and hair is available to be thoroughly moisturized.

As usual, ask questions when things stop making sense. Enjoy!

The Color Factor

We love LA Hair on We TV and if you’re looking for some great hair tips when you’re not on this site, Ms. Kim Kimble and her crew drop gems throughout the show in between the drama. Check it out! (Didn’t get paid for that plug, just love their work)

On last night’s episode Ms. Kimble was working on Lil Mama. Lil Mama is known for her Poppin’ lip gloss and hosting America’s Best Dance Crew. The secret behind the health of her extremely lightened hair is the absence of a relaxer.

Your stylist knows this already, but if you decide that you would like to lighten your hair you can avoid the breakage by starting with natural hair. There are stylists that are able to do both without your hair falling out, however, in many cases, there’s not much they can do to save your hair if you insist on the double process.

Hair Color is so much fun, and if you were unsure of the transition out of having relaxed hair, keep in mind the amount of fun you can now have with color, without the fear of tearing up your hair. As with any chemical process, there’s a new regime of maintenance required to keep your hair healthy, but with the help of your stylist, you can achieve some fun and funky looks.

The style achieved last night was a sleek golden bun with a funky front sending a resounding “anything you can do, I can too” from the curly crew! Natural hair provides the most versatility for the stylish Diva that wants to do it all, and change it up often. We hope this encourages you on your journey.

As usual, ask questions when it stops making sense. Also follow us on Twitter at the bottom of the Home Page. We Live Tweet on LA Hair nights! Enjoy 🙂

Heat and Hair

English: Hair Iron 日本語: ヘアーアイロン

English: Hair Iron 日本語: ヘアーアイロン (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Got a question from a reader this week that I thought would make for a good post.

“…is it ok to put heat in my hair if I’m trying to go natural? My last perm was 6 months ago…”

At the six month mark you should have at least six inches of new growth. This is a good time to consider clipping the ends and starting an Afro, as this is the fun length. Heat in natural hair is the same situation as heat in relaxed hair, you cannot un-burn your hair, so heat should be used in moderation. When it comes to building on your curl pattern, be aware that the more you straighten your hair, the more it will train itself to not curl. That exact situation is what caused my second/third “Big Chop” because although I did not have any relaxer to cut off, my ends became used to my straightening routine and my Afro went floppy. I suggest testing some low/no heat styles to see if you’re able to stay away from heat if your goal is to maximize your curls.

Keep the questions coming the answers may help someone else along their journey so don’t be shy. Thanks for reading!

Spray Bottle Love

English: A spray bottle.

English: A spray bottle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s a tip that I remember from my first summer of being natural.

Buy a spray bottle that will fit in your purse and each day fill it with your favorite leave-in conditioner and a small amount of water. When you’re wearing a English: A spray bottle.style that tends to dry out through the day, use this mixture to bring your hair back to life.

When I heard this piece of advice, the only thing that I could think or see in my head was the image of the 1980s Curl Craze epidemic that had people spraying activator on their heads constantly, tearing up the furniture. However, a take-away from that dark moment in Black History is the fact that we had a grasp of the importance of moisture in the growth cycle of our hair.

 

Here are a few spray bottle recipes:

In a 3 oz Sprayer-

General Upkeep

  • 2 oz. favorite leave-in conditioner
  • 1oz water
  • Shake and spray

 

Nussle in you hair Spray- (not for color treated hair)

  • 1/2 tsp Shea butter
  • 1/2 tsp cocoa butter
  • 4 drops of essential oil (pick your favorite scent) *remove this step is hair is color treated
  • 2 oz favorite liquid leave-in
  • shake and spray
  • Keep the mixture out of the sun to preserve the essential oil scent

 

Reset Button- good for re-styling the front on the go

  • 2 oz warm water
  • 1 oz favorite liquid leave in
  • small ball of Shea butter
  • Drop the small Shea butter ball in last and shake well while still warm

Hope these give you a few ideas. Try your own recipe. If you would like to use essential oils in your mixtures opt for a colored bottle to reduce sun exposure. If you can find a plastic amber-colored bottle or one that does not allow light to pass through in general. An aluminum bottle is suggested only if you have perfected your mixture in a see-through container. You want everything to blend well before you spray it to avoid clogs and uneven distribution.

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

Have you taken the Quiz?

We are all in absolute LOVE with Jane Carter Hair Care Solutions. So much so, that this plug is brought to you out of pure satisfaction with the product line and we are in no way being paid.

English: A new Target located in Miami

English: A new Target located in Miami (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

To be honest, we hadn’t really spent much time on their website as we’ve been going freestyle in the trenches, taking trips to Target and falling in love without really having a method. But, prior to crafting this blog post we took a trip to see if there’s something that we’re missing… AND THERE WAS.

Jane Carter has a hair quiz that will match you up with the perfect products for your hair. Just like us, she does not waste much time getting into the 3c, 2b conversation, she provides pictures to help you determine what hair type is most like yours. We suggest our early stage readers take the quiz and fall in love as well.

http://www.janecartersolution.com/prescription-start.html

Butter Baby!!

Let’s start by saying that it takes quite a bit to get a product review out of any of the team here at OohMyHair.com but this product has proven to be the jam! This has stood up to the texture test and provided moisture across the board in a consistent manner from silky wispy curls, to tight coils and kinks. Of course the amount of product needed varies across types but the end result is not greasy.

Here’s the fun fact: This product has been the choice for dry twist sets. It’s a water based product so there’s just enough moisture added to put the hair in a state that it is able to hold a set without soaking your hair. This had been the trick to the overnight set for a few of us.

As nice as it is we do not recommend it for the loc journey because the cleansing schedule is different on that path. Some experienced build-up after a long period of time (three weeks). So, if you’re a frequent cleanser, this product is great.

It’s available at most stores, but it is not on our list for green products because of the preservatives present. Of all the “bad stuff” this is pretty good. Share your experience with the product below. Do you agree? If not, tell us why.

http://elastaqp.com/haircare/item/18-olive-oil-mango-butter-moisturizer

Perception Deception (don’t believe the hype)

Nobody prepares you for the spectacle you may become the further into the natural journey you travel. I remember my first month natural, people talked about how they were surprised that my hair was essentially a bunch of ringlets, I still can’t imagine exactly what they were expecting.

There are some people, even African-Americans that hear the word “natural” in reference to hair and their mind drills down to a picture from National Geographic from the 1970s. Honestly I had hopes that my hair would spring forth and declare without words my African roots and serve as a symbol of pride in my ancestors that arrived in South Carolina on a boat from Ghana and from those three sisters I sit in a boardroom like fearless and “reppin’ my people”. However, my lineage, as most pre-1800’s lineage African-Americans, is much more complex and with that I’m left with a head of hair that boasts cowlicks  and whirls in the midst of my ringlets and waves.

It is that fact that caused me to seek professional assistance along my hair path my first few years. Because all of the passed down information and the few YouTube videos out at the time I found myself lost when people started giving curl classifications and assigning DIY styling instructions based on 3c, 2b, etc. and noticed that I’d have to change techniques from one section of hair to the next. When I took time away from wearing a styled afro and took what I call a braid break, I’d get one price when they looked at my hair, and about halfway through I’d get a new quote for the next time because my shrinkage would hide not only the length but how full my head of hair was at the time. This would incite a gathering of the braiders behind my chair and a few of them reaching in to touch a few different spots in my head and discuss it among themselves in French.

The most notable part of my past journey revolved around the curiosity that my hair created, in others as well as introspectively. It will take time to get used to exactly what your hair is going to look like so use the words, videos and instructions as a baseline to formulate your own techniques.

Just a bit of fortune cookie wisdom. Enjoy!

The Details

The Details

Loc Life Thus Far

So I started this blog as a way to give back for the past decade of having natural hair. I’m starting on this journey with locs (sometimes referred to as dreadlocks). I usually am able to manipulate my curl pattern to submit to my will but this new phase in life is proving the exact opposite. I don’t believe there has been a time that I’ve been forced to “deal with” my hair quite as much as now.

Maintenance: Very low, there’s not much to do. My biggest decision in the morning is headband vs no headband. I cover my hair so much more now than ever before.

The Good: My hair is actually being left alone and allowed to grow. I cleanse my hair much more gently than before and I’ve reduced the amount of chemically enhanced shampoo I introduce to my scalp. Conditioner has become my friend. The health of my hair currently has not been matched in any other state. It never feels dry and my ends have a new life as the curly ornaments at the bottom of my locs.

The Bad: I have been a style heavy Fro rocker for years. I honestly miss being able to do a funky pin-up and I’ve acquired a case of  Fro-envy every time I see fun Big hair. I’ve had to take my own advice dished out in “They’re All Going to Laugh At You” and throw on some earrings and go. Trust me I fully understood the difficulty when I wrote that piece.

The Ugly: There are some days that my hair decides that it wants to puff up/ unravel / do “The Watusi” and there’s nothing that I can do. The game doesn’t change because I’m in the loc process, hair will do what it wants sometimes and now that I don’t have heat styling tools and wet setting at my disposal I’m forced to be content with whatever happens up there.

I’ve attached some photos to show my process. Usually this is the part that you ask questions when things stop making sense, but I’d love some support and advice since I’m the newbie in this realm.