Sunday Bunday {Adventures in Marley Hair}

Armed with a bag of marley hair, per my last post, I headed off to New York last week for work.

I spent the week in various stretched styles, ranging from a bouffant to a french twist to just a good, ol’ scarf style. The ultimate goal was to create a towering and regal bun using the marley hair for Afropunk.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, I’m a horrible hair stylist when it comes to anything other than a wash’n go, but I was delighted to discover that this wonderful bun style took a matter of minutes.

In fact it was so easy that I couldn’t even properly take step by step photos because it was like PRESTO CHANGO: BONJOUR, BUN!


1. Put your hair in a high puff
2. Take a length of Marley Hair and secure one end with a hair elastic. Here’s a peek at what it looks like when it’s hanging down.


3. Attach the secure end to the base of the puff and just start a-wrapping the hair around the puff, making sure that your little curly coils are all covered. Honestly, it’s not that tough because the marley hair is super thick and offers great coverage.
4. Secure with lots of pins annnnd VOILA! YOU BE BUNNIN’



It’s that easy!

ps. These dope after photos are from our #BevelClassics photo booth at Afropunk this past weekend and it’s 100% worth it to check out all the snaps! Shout out to Brandon King and Aundre for making me look my very best :)

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!


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


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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:


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!!!

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!

Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 6.39.18 PM

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!).

Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 6.46.22 PM

Continue reading

In Which I Straightened My Hair (???????)

If there is one person that shouldn’t go messing around with my hair, it’s DEFINITELY ME. I am absolutely the WORST when it comes to experimentation, but for some reason I just can’t seem to resist it!

Case in point: a few weekends ago, I woke up with a craving to straighten my hair. I mean, it’s been YEARS since I’ve done this myself (and last time I almost broke my neck in the process), so I guess I was due for a bit of adventure.

I rummaged around my natural hair goodies and remembered that Motions had sent me a sample of their new Straight to Finish line! I popped open the box and not only was the whole product set in there, but ALSO a handy-dandy little flat-iron! How serendipitous indeed!

So I washed and conditioned my hair with their products. There’s actually only a leave-in (no conditioner), which made me nervous, but whatever—I was on a M.I.S.S.I.O.N.!

First things first, I sat beneath my hooded dryer and let my hair dry 85% of the way through. Then I dug out my comb attachment for the blow dryer and worked it through my curls.

At this point you might be asking yourself a very, very, important question:

Cass, do you even have enough hair to blow dry it straight!???

The answer is no, not really. But I worked it out.

Well, kinda.

The result was one of the more ridiculous looks I’ve ever, EVER seen on my head.


So, yea. That happened.

Then I proceeded to smooth on the Motions Straight Finish Sealer, aka heat protectant, a CRUCIAL step. Ever since I had to cut of 10 inches of heat damage once upon a time, we do not mess around without heat protectant!

Then there was the flat-iron. Almost immediately I was ready to be done. It’s that SMELL, ya know??? My hair wasn’t burning or anything, it just smelled…. straightened. It is a scent (stank odor?) I do not miss.

After about 30 minutes, I was through my entire head and the result was………..less than appealing.



I tried to make it work by adding my side part back and using some styler to hold down the sides, only to realize that the only styler I have is actually for CURLS so almost immediately my hair started to revert back to its natural texture.

Within 30 minutes, I was in the shower washing my hair and getting it’s texture back!

So what did we learn??

  • First of all, the Motions Straight Finish products did a great job. My hair reverted immediately and there was no damage. Thumbs up on the product living up to its promises!
  • Ya girl needed a haircut. BADLY! When I got my last cut, I didn’t want to go TOO short, so the blonde ends were left on. It added a little pepper of color, but honestly it always kind of annoyed me. However, seeing the colored pieces in their straightened form realized just how dry and damaged they were. It was absolutely time for them to go!
  • IMG_0937

  • I love my natural hair. Simple as that!
  • Welcome back, curls!!  You were missed!

    Welcome back, curls!! You were missed!

Get the Part! A Side Part on your TWA that is….

One of the main issues I have (and hear from my readers) is that with a TWA there aren’t a lot of styling options. My first instinct is to say, “well, that’s the point.” But now after a few months of having my own crop, I totally understand the desire to spice a short ‘do up a bit.

Which is why I’ve decided to rock the side part. The side part inspiration came about when I saw Solange do it when she first did her big chop.

the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards

It appears however, that our dearest Miss Knowles cut her part into her hair and while cute, I was reluctant to make such a commitment.

So when I was getting my hair cut and styled last week, I hopped out of the chair and used my fingers and nails to sort of draw in a side part. It worked just okay, but the idea was there.


The next day I decided to figure out how to get the part going REAL good.  After a few trials and errors, I finally achieved a part that will last for days on end, even through sleeping and second day hair! Here’s how I do it:

1. On freshly washed hair, apply your usual styling product. I’ve been liking gels.

2. Take a comb and place your part. Your hair will want just swallow that part right back up, so try to use the teeth of the comb to gently tame just the roots.

3. Once you have the part, lightly apply some firm hold gel. I’ve been really, really liking the new EDEN Bodyworks Control Edge Glaze. It’s all natural, dries clear, has an AWESOME hold and for $8.99—the price is right!

4. Once the gel is applied, take two duckbill clips and slide them along either side of the part.


5. Using a blowdryer on medium heat with a nozzle attachment, lightly dry the roots along the part.

6. Carefully slide the clips out and VOILA! You’ve got a solid and straight side part!


One you chop you just can’t stop

I’ve spent the last month wavering back and forth between the big decision that seems to plague me every couple months: Cut or grow? BAA or TWA? Crop or Crown?

I knew I needed a simple trim so I made a last minute appointment with my stylist Marie of Madusalon in San Francisco. The issue is, last minute appointments don’t work so well for a lady whose signature curly cuts book out a month in advance.

We were crunched for time in a serious way.

As a result, I decided that I simply wanted to go natural.

“Go natural?” you say. Yes, go natural, as in ditch the color and the crazy cuts, I wanted a short cropped do and my own natural color.

The result is just that, a short cropped do featuring Lola au naturel!


Well, kind of.

The remaining blonde highlights will have to go pretty soon, but you get the point.


Wanna know the other point? Of course you do.


There is just something so simple, chic and pure about having a minimalist ‘do.

Saying that my hair is easy to style is an understatement. It takes a matter of seconds and I’m done! I will say that I am having a bit of a challenge in finding the appropriate combination of products that coax my curls out of hiding. It seems that my hair likes different products at every different length and right now we’re seeing a renaissance of GELS. Stay tuned for how that evolves.


You may notice that I’ve been rocking a side part with the look, a style note I pinched from my lifelong bestie (and BIRTHDAY GIRL) Phallon, who added one to HER big chop a few months ago. It’s a super simple addition, but one that adds a level of sophistication and refinement to the new crop. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post when I do a tutorial on how I get the part (and make it STAY!)

Just Like EcoStyler Gel…but without that dang crunch. ( NEW EcoCustard Review)

Once upon a time there was a newbie natural named Cassidy who set out on a quest to find the perfect styler for her curls. Early on in her journey, she discovered EcoStyler, an inexpensive gel found at drugstores that could gave her bangin—and I mean BANGIN—curls.

However for all its greatness and glory in setting her curls, EcoStyler dried stiff. And we’re talking stiff to the point where she was super nervous that touching her curls might cause them to snap off like an icicle from a rooftop. Her cute curlies were as crunchy as the crumbs at the bottom of a bag of Doritos. Her hair was as cuddly as a cactus in a desert.


It was a tough decision, but she decided to give up EcoStyler and set out for greener pastures of gel cremes and creme stylers that gave her those pillow soft, smooth and defined curls.

Fast forward three years and Cassidy comes across a new product by EcoStyler…an EcoCUSTARD. Intrigued, she tried it out and behold! All of the hold! None of the crunch! For serious! And with that, Cassidy and her new EcoCustard lived happily ever after.

The End.


Ok, but FOR REALZ y’all—this stuff is great! I’ve been loving this product! It’s super easy to use: I just put it on right after rinsing out my conditioner, shake my head and go. With the gel I was always worried about which leave in I could use and how to seal it in without getting white flakies, but there is none of that with this one! I’ve always been a fan of a 3-in-1 product and this definitely falls into that category!

What I particularly love about this product is that naturalistas have been whipping up their own EcoStyler Custard for YEARS and the company listened and released their own. It always warms my heart when companies such as Ecoco pay attention to that which is UP!



Find your own EcoStyler Custard at your local BSS and enjoy the definition without all the CRUNCH!

But why buy when I love to SHARE? And by share I do mean GIVEAWAY!

Leave a note in the comment with your experience with gels and why you want to get your paws on my extra jar of EcoCustard Olive Oil!

5 Reasons Why Short Hair Kicks Major A**

It’s been two glorious  months since I went for my second big chop and I’m stil VERY VERY happy with the decision to clip my curls! I like it SO much in fact, I’ve even been back to the salon to have it cut even shorter!  Here’s why:



1. Short hair means short everything

When my curls were longer, my hair could take 30-40 minutes to wash, condition + style and upwards of eight hours to dry. Now? We’re talking under 5 minutes to wash, condition AND style followed by 2 hours until I’m fully dry. It really can’t be beat!

2. I can wear a helmet!

I went from something like this:
afro biker

Natural hair + a naturally big head = bike helmet woes.

When I had longer hair, my helmet would be more perched atop my head for show than securely protecting my brain. I searched for a larger helmet to no avail and even made phone calls to various helmet companies in search of one that would fit. “You mean you don’t have an XXXL??” Now with a Little Lola, my helmet slips on not a problem AND it doesn’t even really mess up my curls afterwards!

3. TWO WORDS: statement. jewelry.

Imma let this [sneak peek from Curls, Curves & Cocktails!!!] picture tell 1000 words for this one.


4. Products last longer

You’d think it would be obvious: that less hair means less product. However, the first time I washed my own hair after the cut I applied my normal amount of styler and ended up with about 15X the product I needed on my head. The tiny dollops product I need for my entire head of short natural hair mean that the all of my favorite hair goodies stick around for much longer! It’s definitely a money saver!

5. It’s fly. That’s all there is to it.

There was a time when I was worried about being less attractive and feminine with short hair, but I quickly got over it and fell in love with the new ‘do that doesn’t allow me to hide behind bangs, layers, curls and accessories. Cropped cuts are confident, chic, edgy and definitely not for the faint of heart. I love dressing mine up with bold make up and big earrings or keeping it detendu and au naturel with a simple sweep of blush. Either way, it’s the most effortlessly, easy style I’ve found to rock a polished look.


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