Weavie Wonder

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photo credit: 0 Magazine Hair by: Kim Kimble

Time after time, the Nat-life Gurus go on a witch hunt in search of the next thing to shame people about. (You know it’s true, last year it was hair color).

So now the proverbial “Big Bad Wolf” is Weave!

Are there valid concerns as to the overall health of wearing a weave?

Absolutely. As I have always expressed an improperly installed weave can be devastating to your growth journey or scalp health.

Are there some people who lose themselves in Euro-centric standards of beauty?

Every day.

But, here are the benefits of a properly installed “Weave”

1. The ability to play with texture and color without causing any permanent change to your own hair. Versatility is a wonderful thing.

2. The remedy for hand in hair syndrome. You can get your flatiron fix on the fake hair and not wake up bald. This is especially true when none of your hair is out along the edges.

3. If cared for property hair inside of a weave can retain consistent moisture, which aides in growth and health. Moisture and protection from harsh conditions (extreme heat and cold) are part of a complete balanced hair routine.

You were able to see in a previous journey gallery that fake hair doesn’t have to be harmful nor does it have to play into any stereotypes and can actually ease you into embracing your own hair along the way.

Don’t let the internet bullies define your style. If your hair is protected, that’s a Protective Style.

Have you been wondering about this? Share your story in the Comment Section below.

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Nappy Out Loud 1.0 ~ The Movement

I know that this site is for naturally curly and kinky hair and there are many of you that are not African-American. Know that I love you, but in this post, I’m not talking directly to you. However, I am a believer that we can all learn from one another and apply universal lessons introspectively without regard for source or intended audience so read on.

Now, on with the post.

From Eric Garner to John Crawford to Michael Brown this has been a rough summer in Black America. The above named, may they rest in peace are not the only lives that we have lost to the spirit of hate. We have been killing one another at record rates in the city of Chicago and all across the country. Why?

David Banner posted on his Twitter Feed

@therealbanner : “Our situation is more psychological than people will admit. Black kids kill black kids for the same reason cops do. They see no value.”

I believe that now more than ever it is important to push the agenda of self-love within our community. Not just inside the natural hair community but every child of the Middle Passage on this side of the Atlantic (because it’s not just a USA plight) needs to be able to look in the mirror and see both beauty and value.

So what do I propose that we do as sisters in the struggle to reconnect and with our heritage and our roots? I propose an extremely small step as an act of solidarity that we go weave and makeup (heavy) free for the next 30 days. What will that do?

Remember the first story in this series where I told you all about how young black girls would stop me in different places and ask me about my hair? I want them to do that you too! The more of these young ladies we can reach the more that we can instill pride and display the value in who we are as a people and they will then possibly influence the young men. Don’t forget to tell them what you do for a living and be sure that you pay them a compliment in kind! (no big deal right?)

It’s not going to shake up the world… we won’t make the news… it won’t be on CNN… but I can remember growing up and seeing the women in my mother’s circle of friends wearing and making African garments and reading stories or singing songs to their children about Kings and Queens and the concept of the Village. Years later I can readily grasp at how proud I have always felt to be Black, even in the face of being called out of my name. I have been able to defend myself with my words because they had been given to me by my elders.

“I am proud of my heritage and who I am.”

We all hail from different tribes and countries, many of which we are not aware of the exact origins, but the curls and kinks connect us, our skin in every shade connects us and our history in the collective sense entwine and unites us. Let the children see who we REALLY are. Be Nappy Out Loud for 30 days and share your pictures/stories  with the hashtag:

#NappyOutLoud

 

on every form of social media. Show us pictures of you doing work in the community, excelling academically, having good clean fun with friends, being a family, etc. (THE NEXT BIG POST IN THIS SERIES WILL CONTAIN A COMPILATION OF ALL OF YOUR GREAT PHOTOS THAT WE CAN FIND ON THE WEB)

The media would have us believe that we are less than human. We can’t be too surprised as this has been the consistent propaganda ever since the south wanted to count slaves so they could obtain greater representation and the North wasn’t having it, (look it up for yourself…that’s off format, but it’s true).

Let’s do this very small thing in an effort to restore the children’s vision of just how valuable and beautiful we are. Perhaps they will be more inclined to respect, protect and love one another.

Follow me on Instagram where I’ll be posting my #NappyOutLoud pics @Marri76.

Nappy Out Loud 0.1

So I hope you all rock with me on this. This is the first post of many where I plan to explore the life of being natural in a world that hasn’t quite figured out what that means. These posts are strictly for entertainment/encouragement. I still want it to be easy for you to find the tips and tricks but this part needs to be shared. These will fall under “The Journey” category if you ever miss a story and want to find it quickly.

Currently I’m in Ohio and the natural hair movement here is a bit different. The spectrum ranges from the militant “Overstand me” black is beautiful crowd; to the divas that are along for the trend and the thick swinging hair. Then there are people like me that are in the middle and see the economical, mental and physical benefits of not subjecting oneself to European standards of beauty on African hair and body.

So what’s the point of starting this series?

Because I still get stared at walking down the street when I’m having a big hair day. Not just from the little old white ladies that you expect to serve you major side-eye, but from people who I think look like me. I know I can’t be the only one.

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I used to make up stories for people when I caught them staring.

“It must be because I’m tall.”

“Maybe I’m wearing something that they haven’t seen before.”

Or my favorite line that I know my man is thoroughly tired of;

“Do I look crazy?” 

The fact of the matter is that there are not many, in this area at least, that are un-apologetically Nappy Out Loud.

Nappy Out Loud: The act of having nappy hair outside, in front of people, on purpose.

Now I embrace the fact that I’m unique, but what I’ve embraced even more are the phenomena that take place (I looked it up, that’s the right word) when I’m out since I’ve just owned my individuality in style. The young girls that stop me in malls or out on the town and start conversations about my hair just when I really start to feel my odd ball vibe turn up a notch.

“I’ve been thinking about going natural.”

“Is that all your hair?”

“How long have you been natural? I just started, what do you use?”

So if you’re out there hiding under a weave, a hard press or just in a state of not being quite ready to give the world your 100% natural self. I hope that in the upcoming weeks (or however long this still makes sense to do) as I share stories of what I’ve experienced you find the courage to be Nappy Out Loud!

Be sure that you subscribe and share with all of your friends (CLICK THAT FOLLOW BUTTON IN THE TOP LEFT). I plan on telling you all the stories that I usually keep to myself, as they occur. From the people who I catch staring and what I say, to the ones that actually have the nerve to touch my hair or say something crazy. (LOTS OF IN-LAW STORIES ON DECK …. They’re not ready).

Join me on this journey, Nappy Hair, Out Loud, In front of people.

-Clutched pearls and twirled curls

 

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

 

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

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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!

I unlocked…. kind of

Those of you that follow @OohMyHair on Twitter know that a couple of weeks ago, I jumped off the loc wagon. It took some concentration and a half a bottle of: Taliah Waajid- The Great Detangler

There are thousands of videos and blogs on how to do this, so I will get down to the WHY behind my decision.

There’s a piece of me that blames you. 🙂 In this time of sharing what I’ve learned and love about having natural hair I began to miss my hair like crazy. Even the business cards that I’ve been covering the world with have a great big fluffy, perfectly imperfect Afro. I just couldn’t take it anymore.

The versatility of loose natural hair is what made me fall in love in the first place. Even in the in-between stages, there are so many styles, twists and pin-ups that keep you feeling cute and sassy. I felt like I looked like Celie (Color Purple) every single day I woke up. I have very strong Motherland features, so it doesn’t take much to make me look like Addy (American Girl).

The individuality of loose natural hair was another love point. It’s hard to find someone with my “hair style”. Even if we are styled the same, my texture brings in my own flavor. I walked around with my locs, and it seemed like everybody in the world had not just my hair…. but a better version of what I was trying to do. It drove me insane.

Lastly, I had a bad case of Hand in Loc syndrome. I’ve styled and played with my hair ever since I can remember. (There’s a few photos of me at age 4-6 standing on the bathroom counter with my hands in my hair… I’ll try to get Mom to dig them out.) I hate to know what I’m going to look like day in day out. I need to be able to match my mood with not just my outfit, but my hair. It’s hardwired into my DNA, I’m certain.

Great big deal:  most of my outfits were selected with the Fro in mind, so the locs just messed up the lines visually and detracted from the over all Stun factor that I was going for. I spent my excursion in Toronto feeling BLAH. That’s no good.

In all I appreciate what I was able to learn from my 6 months. I had to just deal with my insecurity and own it. I found a way to activate my inner Diva, even though I never felt like the outside matched. I didn’t hide away in the house. I traveled and met new people both things that I used to have a hard time getting comfortable with, believe it or not. My locs made me fearless and for that I’m grateful.

I just needed to have my hair back.

As always, ask questions when it stops making sense. Thanks for staying on the path with me. I’ve had a chance to work on the product line more and my test subjects are in LOVE. Still working out a few kinks 😉 but I hope to bring you something that you’re going to absolutely LOVE. Because you deserve it.