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!

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Braid it up, Sew it in

English: Chameleon hair extensions, Smithfield...

English: Chameleon hair extensions, Smithfield Market, Winetavern Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland, January 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We received a great question from one of our readers this week that is natural, but looking to explore the wide world of weave.

“when you used to wear sew-in’s how did you take care of your hair? how did you wash it? i am considering trying it for the first time but I’m unsure about it.”

Let’s break this down into sections. There are two parts to care for in a sew-in. The hair that grows, and the hair that shows.

The hair that shows most likely comes with instructions for care. There are many types of hair extensions so for that, just be mindful of the packaging.

The hair that grows needs to start off strong. I suggest a deep conditioning treatment immediately prior. Throughout the life of the style, the scalp should not be left to dry out. Remember that the string in this style is most likely made of polyester which will absorb the moisture from the braids at the base. If you intend to keep the style over a long period of time, I suggest professional assistance when cleansing.

A sew-in is a great alternative when applied properly. Know the difference between secure and tight, and do not ignore the signs of undue tension like small white bumps at the hairline, severe pain, or the inability to make facial expressions (we’ve all been there).

Overall, a sew-in will provide the flexibility to style with heat, forget your scarf here and there and play a bit more without worrying so much about daily damage. This can count as a protective style, if it is applied correctly and professionally maintained. Try it!

Thanks for asking questions folks, keep them coming!

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!

Hair Won’t Kill My Vibe…

English: Birch Bay has some of the warmest wat...

English: Birch Bay has some of the warmest water on the Pacific Coast, making the crescent-shape bay a favorite place for swimming during summer season. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the Summer season approaches there are some things to remember that will let you make it all the way to Fall without dry-outs or breakage. We’ll keep it short and sweet (We’re vacationing as well).

1. Water- Of course you need to drink it and often, but tis the season for getting in pools. Both chlorine and salt water pools will dry out your hair, but don’t let that stop your from enjoying yourself. Prior to getting in the water, take that Shea butter that we talk about and love and coat your hair well. Giving your hair this oil barrier will help slow the drying effects of the pools, lakes and oceans.

2. Riding- Plane, Bus or Car if you’re traveling this summer season, your head is on a seat and the moisture is being slowly sucked out. Stop by your local drug store in the hair aisle and next to the satin scarves you should be able to find a satin pillow case. Add this to your travel kit. We understand that you can’t always have on your scarf, sometimes the style is just too cute to keep under wraps, so place that pillowcase over the headrest and arrive in style.

Keep it simple, don’t think so much about your hair on holiday that you forget to have fun. Hair should not be a chore, just add a few good habits at a time. As always ask questions when it stops making sense. Enjoy!

They’re all going to laugh at you…

Rihanna and Chris Brown concert, Brisbane Ente...

Rihanna and Chris Brown concert, Brisbane Entertainment Centre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This post is for the sister sitting at home contemplating making the change. She’s sitting in front of her computer looking for videos, blog posts and comments for encouragement to do something she’s been wanting to do for quite some time. “Why doesn’t she just start the process and see how she likes it?” says the avid reader of OohMyHair.com. “Do what makes you feel good girl!” they continue to shout at the computer as they’ve thought about a few people in their personal lives that seem to be going through the same thing.

We know it’s hard to believe in a world where Rihanna, Amber Rose and India.Arie exist and thrive that there are still women afraid to make bold hair moves in 2013. Nobody on the staff can stand as a judge, because we’ve all been there. To the sister that’s searching the web high and low trying to find a way to make that first step, we say, bust a move!

There are so many resources and far more sophisticated products available now. Consider those of us on staff that started this journey when the only people who were available to help were people who smelled funny and made up words like the inmate character that Daman Wayans played on In Living Color. A few posts back we talked about some of the bad advice that was, and still is, floating around the once small community. There were times that some of us had so much product doused all over our heads that had there been an open flame nearby a situation would’ve arisen. We say that to let you know that even though this journey has had some not so fun times, the joy that you find in learning to deal with exactly what you’ve been given and love it is indescribable.

Push past that wall of vanity. We still deal with perception and confidence issues in the back of our minds, especially in the “Corporate world”. However, the moment you realize that the styling that needs to take place is not on top of your head but inside it, you’ll find that the most important factor in this decision is your own personal happiness. In later posts we will discuss some of the health risk factors that may aid you in deciding to take the leap towards natural hair, but today it’s all about you feeling sure and knowing that there is nothing abnormal about taking your time.

We wish you luck, but even more we ask you to stop by every now and then and pick up a few tips and funny stories even if you decide that natural isn’t for you. As always, please ask questions when it stops making sense. Enjoy!

Natural but versatile

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Have you ever stood in the mirror and noticed that your hair was winning the fight? The answer for me is yes.  I decided that I was going to win the battle a long time ago.  I have been natural for 3 years now.  At first it was hard for me to make this choice because almost everyone I knew that was natural was rocking an afro or twists.  I must admit I wasn’t sold on actually going natural.  A relaxer or (perm) was the life for me.  Unfortunately my hair said otherwise.  Ever since I was a young child I have had psoriasis. In case you are wondering what psoriasis is, its dry white patches or lesions that are found on the scalp.

Symptoms of moderate to severe scalp psoriasis include:

  • Reddish plaques
  • Silvery-white scales
  • Dandruff-like flaking
  • Dry scalp
  • Itching
  • Burning sensation or soreness
  • Hair loss

I actually didn’t get my first relaxer until I was 15.  I thought was my hair was so pretty when it was relaxed.  It was straight, I could get updos, and it didn’t shrink back down to my head when it was raining outside.  About 4 months later I noticed my hair started falling out and the relaxers were burning.  So my hairdresser started perming my hair every 8 weeks instead of 6 and used a kiddie relaxer.  My hair did a little better but it was still dry.  I would grease my scalp at night and the next morning when I would wake up it seemed as though I hadn’t did anything to my scalp.  I decided to take a break from relaxers and get braids. I tried micros, box braids, and senegalese twists.  I decided to try the relaxer one more time once I got to college and I cut my hair very short cut.  I loved the cut and I even tried some color too.  My scalp was not having it. I turned to braids once again.  I wanted a new look so I tried sew-ins.  I love sew-ins.  I quit relaxing my hair 3 years ago.

The choice I made to go natural was not for fashion or even to release my natural curl pattern. I know that because I have psoriasis I am not able to rock a relaxer any longer because I want healthy hair. My hair has not broken off since I quit relaxing.  I feel that it is stronger and thicker.  I have a nice curl pattern, however I am not comfortable rocking an afro.  I will blow dry my hair and flat iron it or just put it in a bun.  I think India Arie said it best ” I am not my hair.” My hair doesn’t define me.  I am strong, confident, and I like to look nice when I go out into this crazy word.

Please share your comments or questions below!

Until next time this is mspilar85.

The first week after the big chop!

Lauryn Hill at Central Park

Lauryn Hill at Central Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Congratulations! You’ve taken a large step into this journey and you decided it was best to dive in head first. Depending on your curl pattern you may be experiencing straight patches and flyaway hair. If you conducted the ceremonial ritual at home, there’s a chance that you may need professional assistance soon. Some of the questions that I’ve encountered from people in this stage include:

Why doesn’t it look like an Afro?

Why isn’t it even, even though I keep chipping away at the stray pieces?

I love the curl when it’s wet, how can I keep that when it’s dry?

Answers:

This is the week of discovery. Freshly cut ends on any texture of hair need some time to settle. Increase your water intake, grab some Biotin and be patient. If you have the curl pattern that will produce a stunning Afro as pictured, this is where you pay your dues.

Try not to clip at the stray hairs, until your curl pattern starts to really reveal itself, which will probably be this time next week.Then it’s time to select an approach. The nightly care for hair that’s long enough to twist or braid includes moisturizing the hair and sectioning it off into braids to retain the moisture, the more you chip away, the more difficult that process becomes. If you’re not comfortable roughing it out, this may be a good time to get a braid style. Be mindful of the tension put on your hair. Some braid stylists, even now that natural is popular, put additional stress on the hair because it may appear to be difficult to manage. A professional will be sure to analyze your hair prior to attempting a style to be sure it is executed in a manner that does not compromise your hair health.

This is the time to observe your hair, your curl pattern is not ready to be diagnosed yet. I suggest holding off on purchasing an abundance of products until you see what you can come up with as naturally as possible. A whipped Shea butter product from a trusted Shea Processor will provide light-weight moisture which allows your hair to breathe and come into its own.

Hopefully this puts some of the first week jitters at ease. Leave comments and feel free to send questions. I’m here to help.

~Margaret Ellen