Recovery Motivation

The wedding is over, it was absolutely gorgeous, and I get my hair back. There’s a phase that we all go through on the wash day after we know we’ve been acting funny towards our hair.

I went into instant heat damage detection mode.¬†I watched every single strand that left my hair and freaked myself out. There’s no amount of knowing that your hair has a natural shed process that stops you from blaming yourself with every loose strand when you know you’ve done wrong. You reflect on every time you used the flat irons, every non-natural product you used, and every time your scarf fell off your edges while it was in such a delicate state.

I can laugh now because I’m looking at the extension on my diffused Fro, but last night I was sweating. I’m writing this knowing that there’s someone out there that feels like they are in a “backslidden”(made up church word) condition and you’re dreading that upcoming wash day to survey the aftermath of that crunchy up-do or that bone straight press that you touched up every morning all week. Here are a few words of encouragement for this point of the journey.

1.Be kind to your hair on the recovery and don’t freak out at shedding that seems a bit heavier than normal if you know you’ve done weird stuff to your hair. Use quality products with as little harmful ingredients as possible.

2. Try not to abandon your vitamins, but if you do (like I did, because I didn’t need my hair growing out like crazy) a couple of days before Wash Day get back on your normal dose.

3. Detangle with care. It’s ok to baby your hair. If you take your time you can avoid any further damage.

4. Forgive yourself. Every now and then we are called to pull up (get fancy) in a different way than we normally do and it’s alright to try different looks. If it’s not the creamy crack, you can always come right back.

TEAMMOH (2)Fro

 

Be Encouraged ūüôā

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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 ūüôā Life is too short not to: Enjoy!

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.

 

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. ūüôā

20131014_072903500024868 20131102_132551-1

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!

“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.

 

 

 

Dimension and Shape

The rules of hair don’t change when you’re natural. Flat color, lack of shape, lack of luster are still on the no-go list.

  • In most instances if you’ve gone completely natural, as in no chemical process at all, your natural hair color is not all one thing.
  • Everyone needs to do something with their ends, and with that the hair gains movement with proper trims.
  • If you drink enough water and moisturize your hair and scalp properly it will not look dull.

Those are the rules. The natural journey should not be a resignation of upkeep, however there have been many questions that we’ve received that lead us to believe that some feel that going natural means throwing your hands up and saying;

I Quit

Understand that it’s the complete opposite. You should be excited to take the old rules of hair and apply them to your reclaimed curls. There are many DIY styling options that can be taken advantage of, but nothing beats proper cut, color and health maintenance. Learning what creates movement and shape in your hair is the fun part that should not be skipped. If you put in the work, you will absolutely fall in love with your hair, but please¬†don’t break the rules. It makes it hard on the rest of us.

We live in a society that looks at ethnic natural hair as unprofessional, unkempt, unclean etc. The goal that the team here at OohMyHair has maintained from the beginning is to dispel the myths, stereotypes and stigma surrounding all natural journeys. So, do your hair or have it done!

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!

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!