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!

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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 🙂

Protect, Protect, Rest, Repeat

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Growth has been the hot topic as we transition from Winter and work our way ever so slowly into the Spring. We all have visions of ourselves gracing the beaches flaunting either our giant Afros or our outstanding two strand twists that do not contain a single strand of Marley hair.

So what’s the regimen?
As you can tell from the title. Protect, Protect, Rest.

1. Protect- Cleanse and add moisture to your hair with the least amount of chemicals possible. This sets the foundation for rapid growth. Refer back to the post regarding Label Reading to be sure that your arsenal of products are free of lanolin, mineral oil, petroleum, etc. these products either close off the shaft of hair or create a dependency on the product meaning that the only way that your hair feels nice is if you continue to use that ingredient. Shea Butter and Coconut oil are my Go-To products and I often blend the two with other oils to achieve my personal blend.

2.Protect- This refers to the styling. Now a protective style is one that allows your hair to go on vacation. This is not a style that puts your hair in traction. Click on the link to get more information on protective styling. My personal favorite has been the Havana twists without the use of the anchoring braid. I find that the amount of shed hair is significantly less than when I braid my hair.

3. Rest- Give your hair a few days of rest between protective styles. At the end of wash day, add moisture your scalp and ends with a great conditioner and if you must wear a puff, be sure that any band you use is lined with satin. Rest is also a great time to incorporate coconut water smoothies into your diet if this is your first cycle of the regimen. Hydration is the key to increasing hair elasticity, and reducing the amount of external product needed to maintain moisture balance. Water is key, but coconut water adds a boost for those that fall behind in adequate consumption.

Employ these techniques and tag me on Instagram with your progress @Marri76. I hope to have an initial video posted on YouTube @marri76 and I’d like to journal my process and keep you up to date with any changes that I make to my routine.

 

As always, ask questions when it stops making sense!

Enjoy! 🙂

 

Hair Braiding Consumer Basics

For decades in the black community you weren’t considered an official braider unless you just arrived from Africa. The laws were non-existent and there was a time that lots of people ran out of edges (hairline damage). Over the years there have been some attempts at regulation, but overall there are still people braiding hair using traditional techniques that however effective they may be, are not conducive to assisting in hair growth.

So how do you know when your stylist is taking you down a path of hair destruction?

1. Pain.
Not just a normal “tender-headed”(don’t you love how we just made that at thing) response, but pain that requires the use of a pain reliever. If you would have a problem with keeping your hair in a very tight ponytail overnight, why would you essentially put your hair in multiple tight ponytails and think that you won’t experience breakage. You are putting you hair in the same amount of stress if the braids are tight enough to cause real pain. Little white bumps are also associated with this section as they indicate the tension on the hair is too great. We know that there are some of you out there that are so used to getting your hair snatched around that you don’t feel the pain until your hair is nearly out of your head.

2. Unnatural new-growth appearance.
What good is having a very secure braid/twist if three weeks later you end up with a tuffet of hair puffing out underneath a crispy lock. Beyond the fact that it looks crazy, it creates a weak spot as discussed previously. One key to uninterrupted growth is keeping the curl pattern consistent.

3. No access to your scalp.
Some people are still getting cornrows, I know that some of my military sisters find it easier to stay within regulations utilizing cornrows and a bun. If your braids are too close together to be able to access your scalp, I wouldn’t suggest keeping them in for long.

Personal Tip: If I notice that the price sounds too high, and the time to finish seems too long, I take that as an indication that they are not interested in working on my head either or a lack of knowledge on the requested technique or they are compensating for overhead.

We try to keep it simple and easy to follow, but as usual, ask questions if it stops making sense.

Support the fellow YouTubers we post here.

2014 is the year of Unity in the Natural Hair Community! Enjoy!

 

Marley Twist Version 4 (VLOG)

Instagram- @Marri76

This week I installed a smaller sized Marley Twist.

Products Used:

  • Designline Olive Oil Leave-In Conditioner
  • Mizani H20 Rose Hairdress
  • It’s a Ten Leave-In Conditioner

This style only took my 3.25hrs starting from sectioning. I finished the ends with hot water and a lighter on the twists that seemed a bit more unruly. I look at hair like art, and so far this Marley hair is my favorite medium.

Keep an eye on those prices though people, $4.99 was great when the packs were full, I felt like I was in the middle of a bad drug deal in a movie

“You trying to skim off the top?”

Make sure you’re following on Instagram to see the various Updos I come up with this time.

FUN FACT- the styles that you see me wear usually have minimal hairpins. When you’re the type of person that likes to style your braids/twists frequently, pins have a tendency to fray the braid-stitches. I instead rely on the tension. (That just inspired another video idea)

 

What Just Happened?

 

There I was just minding my own business following the instructions on some random video about how to dry my hair using the “banding” method.IMG_20131229_221815

Fast Forward to me Looking Like Homie the Clown, which I was forced to rectify in a public bathroom like MacGyver. So you Know the first thing I did was Fix my hair. Followed by analyzing what went wrong.

1 – I don’t have just one type of hair. Even more the combination doesn’t Show up in neat sections So my 3C is right in the middle of my 4a and my 4b.

2 – I didn’t check her resume . I was in the middle of a natural hair Love fest and got Got. I have no clue where she’s from, how long she’s been natural or what doctrines she follows when it comes to hair.

3 – I failed to follow my instinct. There was a small still Voice that Said. “She don’t know what she’s talking bout” … because my inner voice speaks Confused broken English. From the sheer number of products she slapped in her head I should have known she was a Kitchmatologist.

I shared this to let you all know that even an 11 year Veteran in this Natural Hair world is susceptible to being ”Had” Don’t let those moments discourage you. Hold your head high, do what you can to fix it , and move on!

Happy New Year !
Follow @marri76 On Instagram to watch my hair journey.

 

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.

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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!

Life on the other side of my loc attempt

I have been having the time of my life since I took my locs down. There are days that I miss being able to just wake up and go, but not many. Locs are beautiful, on everybody else but me. 🙂

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I’m posting some pictures of the fun I’ve been having since taking my hair down, but I thought I’d share with you a moment that took place this weekend that changed my thought process on my hair.

I’ve done every type of style imaginable over the past decade, relaxer-free. Weave is my weakness, but it’s not a chemical, and I don’t use glue so I’m still on #TeamNatural.

Sunday evening I raced all over town, completely forgetting about the fact that during the Christmas shopping season the stores in the mall stay open until 8. I made it to a hair store in what I thought was the nick of time with only a half-hour to spare.

I paced the isles toggling between a full sew-in and long twists with Marley hair to hide away my hair in the cold. I never spend a lot of money on the hair I sew in because I rarely keep a style over two weeks, but the prices have changed dramatically. The cheap hair that hangs in the isles is $30/pack. For those of you that haven’t ever explored the Wide World of Weave, the isle is reserved for the synthetic, non-human or poorly conditioned hair and the price range for that is not much higher than $20/pack. I found myself asking a question that I’d never considered before.

Is it that serious?

How my hair looks is always important to me, let’s not confuse that. However, it’s not become important for me to achieve styles that my own hair isn’t designed to do. I have fallen completely in love with my curls and kinks. My new perspective on a good weave is one that accentuates my hair, not one that hides it away. Straight hair is fun, but not when I doesn’t feel like a straightened version of what I grow.

It used to be very easy for me to braid my hair back and take on a new personality, and now the thought of it gives me separation anxiety. During my short loc journey I was taken away from being able to play with my hair the way I’d become accustomed over the years. I’m not saying that I’ll never rock a wig again, but I believe my journey helped me appreciate my own hair so much more.

 

Silk vs Satin

Silk

Silk (Photo credit: Cheryl Harvey)

So I’ve been pushing the use of the Satin bonnet, scarf and pillow case, but I noticed that Momma Kim Kimble has been promoting Silk.

I thought I’d take the time to give you a quick overview of why both are good options and let you hash it out in the comments, because overall, I’d like to know which seems to yield the best results, or if results vary by hair type. I also want to know if you agree with my theory.

Silk is a product that has the same properties as hair, excluding the disulfide bond. Meaning you cannot perm or relax silk strands. It’s that biological composition that drew many synthetic hair manufacturers to the use of those stands to create some of the weaves that we know as synthetic/ curling-iron safe. This also means that the nourishing oils that your hair requires are also carried on the silk strands. There’s no cuticle on a silk strand so it won’t “rough” your hair passing over it.

Satin however is a completely synthetic material. The benefit of it not being natural is that it will not share the oil with your hair, it will allow it to remain on your hair. The draw back is if you have oiled your hair and scalp beyond it’s need, unlike Silk the satin will not assist in balancing the moisture.

The decision on which to use comes down to these factors: desired style in conjunction with maintenance habits. If your desire is to have very lustrous hair, and you apply professional stylist recommended amounts of moisture a Satin bonnet may be a great fit. Alternately if you have that same desire but you are heavy with the moisture product, a Silk bonnet may help tame the excess oil.

Hopefully this helps you decide which path is best for your hair journey. As always, ask questions when it stops making sense marellewrites@gmail.com . 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!