Turn Up & Twist Out: How To Get VOLUME

I’m so excited to announce that NaturalSelectionBlog will be the Official Media Partner of a fabulous event coming up on May 4th in NYC: The Natural Aristocrat Tea! Hosted by the uber talented and creative stylist Jennifer Lord and Sabine’s Hallway Salon in Brooklyn, this event will invite naturalistas to dress in their best and enjoy a truly aristocratic haute hair affair. Over the next two weeks, I’ll be passing the blogger mic over to Jenni to help us get ready for the event—from hair tutorials to vintage shopping tips—so we can all get our vintage glam on POINT! Without further ado, our first styling tutorial!

Greetings ladies and gents! I’m natural hair stylist Jennifer Lord, CEO of Natural Hollywood, a platform designed to showcase natural hair with high fashion in our magazine, runway and art shows. This year Natural Hollywood is teaming up with Sabine’s Hallway Natural Hair Salon in Brooklyn to bring you The Natural Aristocratic Tea!

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Our first stop on this tour is NYC but we promise to bring it to a city near you. Our event includes a live natural hair art exhibit and fashion show as well as a live band and other performances. We will also be honoring the work of 3 women making positive contributions to their community. To help you get ready for #TNAT I will be doing a series of tutorials and tips perfect for #teatime! See you on May4th, 2014 for The Natural Aristocratic Tea, #pinkiesup.

Twist Out Tutorial

1.

Wash and condition your hair with a natural and organic shampoo. I use Aloe Vera from the Nature’s Gate line sold in Wholefoods Market. Comb through your hair while the conditioner is still in it using a large wide tooth comb. Section the hair into about 10 twists. In other words, while the conditioner is in your hair, grab medium sections, comb each out and double strand twist to the end. When finished, using warm water, rinse each twist out thoroughly. Squeeze the twist to make sure conditioner is completely washed out.

2.

Towel dry your hair with a t-shirt. Remove the majority of moisture.

3.

Spray in your choice of a natural, organic leave in conditioner (6-8 sprays. Oyin Handmade has several choices and they are in Wholefoods as well. Giovanni and Carol’s Daughter also have great options. Pick whichever one you like.

4.

Apply a dime sized to quarter sized amount of Argan oil to each twist. Massage in thoroughly.

5.

Make your own pomade with slightly melted raw shea butter, a mild hair gel like Giovanni from wholefoods, and olive oil from your local grocer (not virgin, just plain olive oil). For someone with shoulder length medium volume hair, your measurements should be as follows: 4 tablespoons of raw shea butter, 1 tablespoon of gel, and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Mix well! Increase the amount if you have longer hair and lessen it if you have shorter hair.

Don’t feel like creating your own chemistry lab? You can also purchase Nourish and Shine from Jane Carter Solutions, Shine and Define by Oyin Handmade, or Karen’s Body Beautiful Butter Love or Koils by Nature Butters.

6.

Starting from the nape of your neck, untwist your twists.

7.

Once the hair has been untwisted use your comb to create triangular parts for sections. Use safe cloth covered elastic bands to keep your sections in place. The parts should look like a color wheel with the angles coming to a point in the center.
To achieve a fuller twist, make parts bigger. About 8 – 12.

8.

Comb out 1 triangular section and apply your choice of pomade from root to tip. Massage in with fingers. Next apply a tiny bit of the organic gel or organic hair wax by Giovanni to the hair line. Using a 100% boar brush, start from your edges and brush hair to the central area of the section. Brush one final time and manipulate hair into a sectioned ponytail.

9.

Grab ponytail and separate remaining hair into two pieces. Twist the two pieces to the bottom also known as a double strand. Next, Bantu Knot the twist up. In other words, grab the twist and wrap it around itself until it creates a small knot. Make sure to twist smoothly and use control. Repeat until each section is done. Sit under a hair dryer for 1 to 1.5 hours or blow dry the hair holding the blow dryer at least 12 inches away for 15-20 minutes and wear the knots overnight.

10.

Finally untwist or take out each twist the next day or after the hair is completely dry. Make sure you are using your gentle hands and fingers. Too much rigor may lead to less than desired results. Using your fingers, open up the two strands again to create 4 strands.

11.

Over the course of the style, have fun creating different looks using pins and bands!

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Growing My Hair Out = The Worst.

I really liked having short hair. It’s easy, chic, and pure. However, a few weeks ago, I saw one of my old YouTube vids and decided I actually REALLY liked my longer curls and needed ‘em back:

I guess I somehow wound up with hair envy of myself and I’m on a quest to grow my hair out so I can get my fun little curlies back for me to play with! Yay!

Thing is, I’m smack dab in the middle of that awkward length where it kind of just looks like my hair is some sort of fuzzy cap sitting on top of my head. Since I’m used to having super precise haircuts, having a non-shaped style is driving me absolutely crazy.

Each and every day, I am tempted to cut it all off. I even went as far as calling Marie to tell her I was having a “hair emergency” and made a last minute appointment. When I walked in she took one look at me and said “THIS is not an emergency. You just need to keep growing it out.”

And she’s absolutely right.

Thing is my curls HAVE grown back a lot and are healthy and thriving, but they’re not short enough to look polished and styled, nor are they long enough do anything with.

I was able to talk Marie into cutting off what I considered to be my curly mullet so my hair could have SOME shape while I grow it out. Check out this Before & After:

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I can’t wait until my hair is out of this awkward adolescent phase of the grow out, but stay tuned because Lola is coming BACK! Woohoo!!!

I laughed. I cried. I laughed even more. Kim Coles’ Must See Show!

A couple weekends a go, I had the absolute pleasure of checking out Kim Coles’ one woman show titled “Oh But Wait…There’s More!”. I’ve heard of this solo journey into theatre, and truthfully was not at all sure what to expect, but my Nana and I buckled ourselves into the front row of an intimate Oakland theater and settled in for the journey…

The next 90 minutes were filled with a truly authentic, but mostly hilarious glimpse at Miss Kim’s entire life. Aided by visuals projected onto a screen, we enjoyed these amazing anecdotes from throughout her childhood, adolescence and adulthood.

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Now before you start thinking this is some sort of stuffy allegory about life, please let me stop you:

This is Kim Coles: homegirl is FUNNY as all hell

No serious, there were points in during the show where I was laughing so hard that tears were spilling out of my eyes. I IRL LOL’ed like 8 times. Maybe more. Case in point:

  • Kim’s recreation of a “motivational speech” by her Puerto Rican Girl Scout troop leader slayed me.
  • Her recounting of her days doing plus size fashion shows at churches had me on the flo’.
  • The extreme measures she had to take when nature called while Bill Cosby was on the phone giving her life advice…I can’t. You’ll just have to experience it for yourself.
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    The truly beautiful part of the show, was this underlying theme of growth and discovering one’s truly authentic self. As a 28 year old woman just trying to figure it out , I was completely in awe of and inspired by the lessons learned by Kim herself and then shared with the audience during the show.

    When “Oh But Wait…There’s More! comes through to your tow, please make SURE you get yourself to the theater to see this awesome production by this fabulously talented lady. Next time it comes through The Bay Area, I’ll be there front row and ready once again!!!

    Connect with Kim and make sure you don’t miss a show!!

    Facebook
    Twitter
    Website

    Upcoming shows include:

    March 28 – Newport News, Va
    April 25 & 26 – NCCU in Durham, NC

Oh no! I’m allergic to my extensions!

About two days after I got my Marley Twists, I started to feel a little tingle along my hair line in the morning.

“Ah, it’s just the tension of the hair, nothing to worry about,” I thought to myself.

However, slowly the sensation began to intensify throughout the day. By 2pm I looked crazed as I attempted to gently scratch my freshly-braided and therefore sensitive scalp and wound up pressing the skin with the tips of my fingers instead of my nails. By nightfall, little white pimples had erupted along my edges.

“Guess, I need to lay off the chocolate! This breakout is horrible!!,” I continued to naively think.

Throughout the night, I kept waking up due to the intensity of itching. By the morning, I had convinced myself that it was an intense allergy attack due to dust…or pollen…or something?

My eyes started to swell. My whole body started to feel like ants were crawling beneath my skin. My ears broke out in a rash. My chin was irritated. I. Was. Miserable. I decided to take a Claritin just to see what would happen…and all of the symptoms miraculously stopped. 12 hours later [presumably when the meds wore off] it was all back.

Solving My Kanekalon Sensitivity

After 6 hours of twisting and investing in the 13 bags of hair for the style, I really did NOT want to take my twists down. All I wanted to do was douse my head in water to purify it and give myself some relief. I decided to do a detoxing Apple Cider Vinegar rinse to clarify my scalp of what ever allergen was attacking it. In a spray bottle, I mixed 2 tablespoons of ACV and tepid water then thoroughly sprayed my scalp and along the twists. I really saturated the hair and my skin and immediately I felt relief! I let the ACV solution sit for about 30 minutes and then rinsed out in the shower.

Within a matter of hours my symptoms had started to clear up and within a day the itching had subsided. It was official: I have an allergy to synthetic hair!

The Cause of the Allergy

I wound up in a fascinating Twitter conversation with The Natural Haven, the UK natural who knows the science behind all things hair. She did some research and explained that it’s not actually the plastic hair fibers that cause the allergy, but instead the anti-static coating they are covered in to keep the strands from sticking together. (If you want the full deets read all about those patents here and here)

It was nice to know that this allergy is a real thing and that there are things you can do to stop it! Protective styles with synthetic hair are great, but nobody needs to live alone with the serious amounts of irritation that this brings.

Have you ever experienced this allergy? How did you deal with it?

Me & My Marley Twists!!!

Back in December, I started to get a major case of hair envy  and decided that I wanted to grow Lola out.  However, I quickly realized that without freshly clipped curls, I kinda started to look like Bradley Cooper from American Hustle.  EEP!

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Researching a Protective Style

For months, I’ve been loving the Marley Twist a.k.a. “Havana Twist” look and called up Deedee, The Golden Braider, located in Berkeley, CA to see if she could hook a gal up. After she explained to me that it would take about 4 hours and 6 bags of hair, I was S.O.L.D. (especially considering that normal singles take about 12-15 hours, this new style was a real time saver!).

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28 and Freaking Out.

As a gal in the midst of her 28th year, I’m realizing I’m looking down the barrel at the ol’ 3-0. I know, I know, I know, “20 is the new 30″, which is a trendy and convenient thing to say when you’re in my position, but no matter– I’m kinda starting to freak out.

And apparently it’s…perfectly normal?

I don’t want to get mystical on you guys, but I’m going to get mystical on you guys. Hear me out.

Have you ever heard of Saturn’s Return? According to the astrological world, it takes Saturn 29 years to return to the same place it was at your birth. It’s during this phase of Saturn’s Return that we go through a period of testing, questioning, shifting and evolving that ultimately ends with the dust settling and you emerging with a new perspective, goals and course in life. It’s supposedly this first Saturn Return that is the most difficult because it coincides with the firm end of childhood and entry into adulthood.

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Whether you’re into astrology or not, I think that there is something to be said about this bridge between your 20′s and 30′s and how you navigate that.

I turned 28 several months ago and since then my life has felt a bit unsettled and has thrown some pretty serious ups and downs my way. Coupled with the fact that my body just doesn’t seem as young as it used to in some ways (hangovers!? aches and pains!?!? WTF!?!), I’m pretty darn sure that I’m in the throes of my Saturn’s Return! I’m never too shy about letting you in on what’s going on in my life, so I thought I’d share that things are seemingly a little wonky over in my neck of the woods right now.

I found this great Saturn Return Survival Guide over on Galadarling.com that I thought I’d share with you. While these lessons and learnings seem to be particularly pertinent to me right now, I think we can all appreciate the wisdom they hold.

Never compare yourself to anyone else.

No matter what stage you’re at right now, that is the exact place you should be. We all move, grow & mature at different times, but that doesn’t make any of us better or worse than one another. Someone may have their career all figured out but their relationships are a mess, while you might have your spirituality on lock but haven’t learned to save any money yet. It’s okay. You’ll get there. Take it one day at a time.

Take responsibility for your thoughts & actions.

I say this over & over & over, but now is REALLY the time to put it into action! You will never be in control of your life or your emotions until you start to own up to everything you think & everything you do.

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FINALLY! I’m 100% Natural.

Here’s the thing: I absolutely LOVED having colored hair. I thought it enhanced my skintone and eye color and allowed me to show off my unique texture in a really great way. Thing is, over the past few months, I really and I mean really started to miss my natural hair color.

The anxiety started to plague me in my sleep (y’all know I get weird hair anxiety dreams) and I started to think about how gray hair is probably just around the corner for me (le sigh). Each day that passed, I started to hate the little straggling blonde curls and even pulled out the scissors and cut a few off myself. When I saw the damaged ends after my most recent adventure in straightening, I new that it was time to cut it off.

Sitting down in Marie’s chair, I explained that I just wanted the blonde gone.

“You’re going to be able to see your scalp, you know,” she explained.

“I know. Just cut it.”

And cut it she did.

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The result was shorter hair than I’ve EVER had before, but I’m absolutely enamored with my natural texture AND color. As I said earlier, I loved having colored hair, but there’s no question that it is a chemical process that altered the texture and integrity of my curls. I definitely fell off on the care front, for some reason short hair doesn’t seem as though it needs as much deep conditioning and pampering as long curls (although this is probably not at all true.)

Knowing me and my whims of style, I will certainly be back to color sometime in the future, but for now that I’m back to fully natural, my hair is softer and more shiny than I can remember!!

My Must See TV (no spoilers)

Its taken me YEARS to admit to being an avid TV watcher. I don’t own a TV so I can roll around all smug and say that, but HELLOOOOO—with the internet and there about a bazillion different ways in which I keep up with all sorts of high (and low) quality broadcasting. So yea. I watch TV, I love it and I’m in pretty deep on a few shows that are all starting soon (or have already started) this fall and I just COULDN’T be happier! Here’s a rundown of my must sees:

1. SCANDAL

I got into Scandal first through hate-watching it. You know, where you watch something because you’re so morbidly fascinated about how bad it is. Then I kept watching it and before I knew it, I was HOOKED and wrote a post on why I think it’s a smart show. Good lawd this show is good/bad!! It also has a gloriously long season, so I know I can get my Scandal on from now thru the end of May or something ridic.

Premieres Thursday October 3 AKA TONIGHT!!!!

KERRY WASHINGTON

2. Parks and Recreation

For some reason, this show just brings out the waterworks with me. I can’t explain it, but I’ve shed a tear at least 5 times watching this comedic sitcom. Weird, right? …I think that when these characters are happy it’s so sweet and pure. <3

On the other hand, Ron Swanson with his Pyramid of Greatness is my hero and Jean-Ralphio is one of my most favorite people in the world.

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Premiered September 26

3. HOMELAND

ZOMG HOMELAND IS THE JAM. This show had me hook line and sinker after a single episode. After last season’s finale peeps were all like “wtf, Homeland is soooooo unrealistic now.” But, uh….it’s that the point of TELEVISION? I want this ish to be AS unrealistic as possible, especially this show and all its domestic terrorism mindf***ery. Bring on the bipoalar bomb squad that is this Showtime gem!

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Premieres Sunday September 29

4. Girls

Reminds me of girls I know from college. And I heard there’s a black chick on the show this season. I’m intrigued.

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Premieres: uhhhh….this is devestating…. Last year, Girls was a fall premiere, but apparently it’s not back on until 2014 and I didn’t find this info out until looking it up for this post. BUMMER.

5. Downton Abbey

If you’re a Downton fan, you’re probably thinking “ummmm…that doesn’t start til January, dood!”. FALSE, my friend, FALSE! The US version premieres in January, while the UK version started last week. God bless the internet for allowing me to watch it on that lovely UK schedule.

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Premiered September 22

HONORABLE MENTION

The Boondocks

It’s not a new show by any means, but thanks to the wonder that is On Demand, I recently got into Boondocks. I grew up loving the comic strip in the Sunday paper and this show is absolutely ON POINT. Season 4 starts in 2014 sometime, but until then I’m plowing thru Seasons 1-3. It’s pretty magical. Case in point (warning: LANGUAGE!)

Wait, WHO launched a new natural hair product???!!!!!

During my day spent cruising the natural hair product aisle with, I had a grand ol’ time recommending a bunch of my favorite products to attendees. I was pretty impressed that of the 15 or so brands in the aisle, I had pretty much tried them all EXCEPT for one product, that I had never seen or heard of before.

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At first I glazed over the product line, being like, okay so VIBE Magazine has a hair product line. Then it hit me: WAIT A SEC: VIBE MAGAZINE has a hair product line for naturals!

That’s like Vogue starting a line of haute couture gowns. Town & Country releasing a suite of adirondack chairs (or something equally home-y and preppy). Allure creating a line of lipsticks. Martha Stewart launching a line of home products…oh wait.

According to VibeVixen.com:

Our line doesn’t just have pretty packaging and a cute name, we really are different. All products contain coconut oil, argon oil, and olive oil and when combined, they create an amazing tri-complex blend of awesome-ness. “The oils are proportioned such that your hair receives the maximum benefit from each ingredient which offers a variety of benefits,” says VIBE Beauty Expert and VP & Global Creative Director Lindsay Ebbin.

(sic)

I will admit that I’m totally intrigued, but also a little bit skeptical as it seems like yet another attempt trying to cash in on the natural hair movement, but I will not make any final judgements until I actually try the products themselves.

What do you think? Have you tried Vibe Natural Curl Therapy? Let us know!!

Shop The Aisle Wrap Up

This past weekend, I had the honor of participating in Shop The Aisle. As a blogger, people are always asking what they should use and where they should get it, but it’s very difficult to make expert recommendations when you’re taking an assessment over the interwebs.

Enter: Shop The Aisle, which allowed me to actually talk to people, hear their stories and touch their hair in an effort to be able to send them home with the tools and knowledge they needed! It was really fun to be able to mix’n'match the products from sponsors including, Shea Moisture, UR Curly, Beautiful Textures, CurlMAX, Curl Care by Dr. Miracles, EDEN Bodyworks, Curls and Curls Unleashed. Attendees not only got to chat and shop with myself and Danyelle of SF Bay Area Naturals, but also went home with a goodie bags of products!

Thanks to all of you who came out and thank you to Charlette and DeAnthony of Shop The Aisle for making the trek across the country to support the Bay Area natural hair community! Here’s a few pictures from our day spent at the Walmarts of San Leandro and Oakland! If you want to be notified of future Bay Area events by NaturalSelectionBlog, enter your info into the sign up form on the right sidebar.

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