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

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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.

 

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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

ńĆesky: Pitn√° voda - kohoutek Espa√Īol: Agua potable

ńĆesky: Pitn√° voda – kohoutek Espa√Īol: 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!

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!

Butter Baby!!

Let’s start by saying that it takes quite a bit to get a product review out of any of the team here at OohMyHair.com but this product has proven to be the jam! This has stood up to the texture test and provided moisture across the board in a consistent manner from silky wispy curls, to tight coils and kinks. Of course the amount of product needed varies across types but the end result is not greasy.

Here’s the fun fact: This product has been the choice for dry twist sets. It’s a water based product so there’s just enough moisture added to put the hair in a state that it is able to hold a set without soaking your hair. This had been the trick to the overnight set for a few of us.

As nice as it is we do not recommend it for the loc journey because the cleansing schedule is different on that path. Some experienced build-up after a long period of time (three weeks). So, if you’re a frequent cleanser, this product is great.

It’s available at most stores, but it is not on our list for green products because of the preservatives present. Of all the “bad stuff” this is pretty good. Share your experience with the product below. Do you agree? If not, tell us why.

http://elastaqp.com/haircare/item/18-olive-oil-mango-butter-moisturizer

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!

With Imagination and a Hair Bag….

A Bobby-pin

A Bobby-pin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everyone at OohMyHair.com decided to bring you a “Must Have” list of products and tools to be sure that you’re ready for the journey. Our vets (natural for over 2 yrs) can benefit from this list as well.1. All Satin Everything- Wherever you put your head, do your best to have either a scarf, pillow case, piece of satin fabric there to stop the loss of moisture. Just as a paper towel absorbs so do all wood/plant-based fabrics. Satin helps your hair retain its moisture. Some of us even line our headrests in our cars. (It’s that deep)

2. Absolutely Shea- A tub of some whipped shea butter will help you get through the dry times (We don’t mind killing this issue, it’s important).

3. Denman Brush- An orange rubber based plastic tipped brush is great for removing dust and debris from your hair between cleansing. Start from¬†the¬†ends and work in small sections, brush in the same manner that you de-tangle and once you’ve cleared a section all the way to the scalp twist or braid it down.

4. Wide-toothed Comb- Even if you have a larger curl pattern, on your deep conditioning days, you will use this to avoid snapping any hair. The sound of the comb popping against your hair is an indication that something wrong is taking place. There’s nothing worse than trying to get through a head of hair with the wrong size comb for general hair care (Think about the scene in¬†The Color Purple with the little girl hollering at the table getting her hair combed).

5. Side Combs- Keep a few side combs in your arsenal. You never know when you may be in the mood to rock a mean 1988 Vanessa from the Cosby Show Fro without taking a trip to the barber shop. Ladies that are able to achieve this type of afro can mold it into lots of fun shapes to create some unique and beautiful styles without much skill. If your curl is a bit more loose you can still use the side combs and let your hair take a life of its own with some fresh pin-ups.

6. Bobby-Pins – Because sometimes is takes more than a side comb to get the job done! Also, if you don’t want the ornamental element in your style, the bobby-pin can do the job without being seen.

7. Your absolute favorite leave-in conditioner. We completely love Jane Carter and¬†Taliah¬†Waajid, either line provides great moisture and lovely light scents¬†that don’t kill your perfume’s vibe. Whatever your product of choice try to be sure there’s no alcohol in it and get your Soul Glo on when your hair needs that extra boost of moisture. It’s also nice after a good cleansing. Sometimes it’s nice to add moisture without dealing with so much oil.

Of course these are just the basics, I know one staff member that has a bathroom closet full of just about everyone’s product line. This list should get you through most Hair-mergencies¬†and Tress-gressions between salon visits. Cleanliness, Moisture and Style…don’t leave home without them.

As always, ask questions when it stops making sense. Enjoy!

What’s in your bag? Share some of your go to hair bag essentials, we’d like to hear from you!

 

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