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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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.

 

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.

“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!

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!