4 Styles in 10 Minutes! WOW!

I just peeped this over on BGLH and had-had-HAD to repost. There are some natural hair styles that we aim to achieve that can take hours upon hours, sometimes even days and are well worth the effort.  But more often than not in today’s rat race of life, who in the world has hours and days to spend on their hair on a regular basis?!  Certainly not this gal.  Which is why I appreciate oh-so very much this video, in which Tamika from Natural Resources Salon demonstrates how to do four gorgeous and elegant styles in a matter of minutes.  That is an average of 2.5 minutes per style, folks!  Check it:

 

 

Looks like this was done on stretched at least a couple days old hair.  Make sure you stretch safely either using banding or do a light blow-dry (with heat protectant! always!)

 

Adventures in New Orleans: ESSENCE MUSIC FEST!

I’m fresh off a plane from a few days in The Big Easy for the annual Essence Music Festival and all the fun that comes with that.  This was my first Essence Fest, heck it was my first time in New Orleans and before headed out, I was hella excited, but also hecka nervous about whether or not Lola would survive the heat and humidity.

After my first day down there I discovered something beautiful: IT WASN’T THAT BAD!  The key was water water and more water!  This went for both my body and my hair.  I always had my trusty pink Kleen Kanteen in hand filled with cool water to make sure I didn’t get dehydrated. For Lola, I’m a firm believer that the best hydration also comes from water (not conditioners or moisturizers).  So I made a point of co-washing and styling my hair daily.  Because it was so hot, it was kind of nice to leave the hotel with a wet head and it would be dry in a matter of hours.

I traveled down there with my trusty Ouidad travel kit, but then nabbed a couple MIZANI products from the CurlyNikki meet up.  I have never used MIZANI before, but was pleasantly surprised! After a couple trial runs that left white residue in my hair, I figured out to apply the MIZANI Moisture Stretch on soaking wet hair then following up with a thin glaze of the MIZANI Curl Set!  I’m a fan, I hope to try more of the True Textures line in the future.

My MIZANI styled curls

I spent my days checking out the various Beauty Suites and Parties doing interviews and street style natural hair photography for NaturallyCurly and got a TON of awesome coverage that you should totally check out!  Here are some of the highlights:

Be sure to check out all my pieces over on NC.com, but here’s a few pictures for ya right now!

 

What Goes Up Must Come Down

The wedding updo was gorgeous and not only did it last through the whole night, but also through the entire next day without budging an inch.  I would guess that this was a direct result of the fact that each section of my hair was sprayed with the new Deva Hairspray and secured with bobby pins.  The last thing I wanted was to have a falling or frizzy updo and the result was a picture perfect, but totally rigid style.  I thought about wearing the style for a couple of days, but not only were the bobby pins becoming uncomfortable, but also I began to fear that Lola was suffocating beneath all of that product.

 

Same updo...different day with zero frizz or fall. Love it.

Hairspray, which is alcohol-based, is traditionally extremely drying.  It is a sacrifice of moisture for an immovable style, which sometimes has to happen.  I rarely use hairspray on my coils.  In fact, I have NEVER used hairspray on my coils, but even my mom was calling me at the salon making sure that my twists didn’t frizz in the humidity.  The hairspray we used was the Deva Flexible Hold Hairspray, which provided pliability while styling and then tons of hold when it was dry.

 

 

Once I removed the over FIFTY pins from my hair, I was left with a sticky, frizzy mess. I applied Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque to my hair to loosen the hairspray and slept with the product on over night.  In the morning, I woke up and used Ouidad Clear and Clean Shampoo to fully remove the product build up and I could instantly feel the stickiness sliding away with the water as I rinsed the shampoo.  As my hair hung in my face, I could see that I still needed to resurrect my coils which has been combed out for the twists and pulled out for the bouffant.  First I let my hair sit with the Ouidad XXX Conditioner for a few minutes then did a partial rinse out the condish with cold water.  I love conditioners that double as a leave in because you can just use water to make sure you have a thorough application of the product.  Finally I applied the Ouidad Climate Control Gel to pull my coils back into perfect formation and did my signature SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE and found myself with a totally revived, coily Lola!

 

A still from a video I shot with Skya. This is actually 2nd day hair.

 

And up close! Pretty good for 2nd day! For some reason this lighting makes me seem blonder than I am IRL.

 

I was totally worried about my hair bouncing back from the updo, but it turns out Lola is doing better than ever and my coils are hydrated healthy and happy!  I brought the Ouidad Love Your Curls Kit with me on this trip, which was delightfully easy because all I had to do was toss the TSA-approved bottles into my carry-on and be on my merry way! I have been totally impressed with how the goods have worked–even in the 92 degree heat and humidity!  I will say that as far as the “hairspray = dryness” myth goes, my coils have been plump and not at all dry, even with all of the shellac-ing.  I think the key was loosening the spray with a deep conditioner, which added a dose of moisture before stripping the spray from my hair.  I may play with more hairspray in the future though, I really liked the scent and hold of this Deva version, especially knowing it was formulated for curls.  I wonder what it can do for me on a regular basis…we shall see!

My Wedding Updo: the final results + pics

Awhile back I did a post about how I am a bridesmaid for two of my best friends’ weddings this summer in Minneapolis and my hair styling dilemma.  In short, In a very open conversation the salon that was selected to do the bridesmaids’ hair admitted to not having the skills to do natural hair, and I sincerely appreciated their honesty before I wound up with jacked up curls.  This original stylist then recommended E42 Salon, a Deva-certified salon, and suggested they might be able to do my wedding hair.

E42 jumped right on board and agreed to not only do my hair, but also travel to the salon where the other bridesmaids were doing my hair so I wouldn’t miss out on pictures!  Normally I wouldn’t worry so much about my hair (or would I?), but for a black tie only affair to which I was wearing a long black silk gown, I wanted to make sure that I looked totally polished and formal.  We agreed to do a trial run so that Claudia could get a sense of my texture and the direction of the style.  My main concern was my asymmetrical cut and how to create an updo when one side is just an inch or so long.

We did the trial last Thursday, two days before the wedding and I insisted upon two things for this style:

  • No loose hair: I love my curlies so much, but I wanted them pulled up and put away for the big day.
  • Long-lasting: Whatever this style consisted of, it needed to be so secure that it could last for my 15 hours of bridesmaid duty.

After a series of super complex interlocking two strand twists (we can try this another day, it looked VERY cool).  We decided on a combination of flat-rolls and a bouffant.  I left pretty unsure of what the exact final look would be, but confident that Claudia could pull it off!

Practicing the twists before the big day

Bright and early last Saturday morning, I found myself in the styling chair and Claudia began twisting.  While the other bridesmaids had 30-45 minutes blocked off for their hair, I had scheduled a full 3 hours for mine: #highmaintenance.  Claudia worked around the short side and back of my hair first to detangle the curls then began sectioning half inch vertical sections and twisted upwards towards my crown repeating all the way around the perimeter.

Heeding my request to not leave any ends loose, Claudia then rolled the tufts of hair coming out of those twisted portions into a large flat roll so as to tuck those ends under.

Beginning in the back, Claudia used a weaving technique (more as in basket than fake hair) across the crown before pulling the front pieces into a bouffant to finish the style!  Here are the pictures of the final look:

With Claudia! The finished look from the front (sans wedding make up)

From the back

 

Made up and detail shot of the side

 

Up close of the front. Love how the highlights look when pulled up!

 

With my friend Sarah, another bridesmaid/friend from growing up/avid reader of Natural Selection!

 

All dressed up and ready to head down the aisle with bridesmaids Alyssa, Isabel and Sarah (there were 10 of us total!)

 

With my parents at the reception

 

With the lovely bride, Lauren! Who actually had a pretty cool wedding hairstory herself: those are custom-dyed extensions she had done by her colorist to match her shade of blonde.

 

All in all it was an amazing wedding.  The bride, groom and I have all known each other since growing up and it was so special to see them start their lives together!

Huge shout out to E42 Salon for making this updo come together!  I received so many compliments on it throughout the entire evening; it turned out perfectly for the event.  If you’re in Minneapolis, be sure to check them out, but ALSO SAVE THE DATE!  I’ll be hosting an event with them on Thursday July 19th!  Stay tuned for more details on that coming soon!

Haaappy birthday to yuh (**ME**)! Haaaappy biiiiirthday!

Yessssss my dearies, that’s right!  Today is the special day on which I was born one score and seven years ago!  I’m a big believer in the celebration of birthdays, especially my own (blame it on the 15 years I had as an only child before my sisters were born), so I really like to take the time to party it up, party it down, relax, spoil and pamper myself.

While I would love to spend the day laid up in some sun-soaked spa with a seaweed mask cocooned around my body and a G&T in hand while listening to Brazilian jams, this year June 7th falls on smack dab on a workday and that’s just not what’s happening.  What I CAN do is make sure to give myself the pampering I need as opposed to the pampering I want.  What do I mean by that?  Well, here’s the truth:  I haven’t deep conditioned my hair in about 4 weeks!  I KNOWWWWWWWWWW!!!!  I know I know I know I know.  I have been very bad and Lola is about to get very angry at me, especially since I’ve been traipsing her across the country and having her on display in all sorts of sunshine.  This is a far stretch from my awesome regimen of weekly deep treatments, so I’m in for a long good one.  Something decadent.  Something special.

The one that comes to mind is an oldie but a goodie: the Cherry Lola!

I used to love me some Cherry Lola on Lola.  This DIY deep condish combines yogurt, liquid amino acids, and baking soda to give your hair a dose of protein conditioning to reduce frizz and enhance definition.  I think today I’ll whip up a special rendition of this recipe, and since it’s my birthday and I’ve always loved white cake, let’s call it the VANILLA LOLA.

Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • Plain yogurt
  • Protein powder
  • Cotton oil (I happen to have a bit in stock)
  • Vanilla extract (pure no alcohol)
  • A candle on top! (okay maybe not)

I’m excited to try out this DIY birthday cake conditioner.  Stay tuned for how it turns out!!  Here’s to being another year young!

 

A Braid Out Experiment: The Exploded Asym

You ever get all ready for bed and then all of a sudden you get this sudden flash of I WANT TO DO MY HAIR!  I dunno, maybe it’s just me where I have these moments of inspiration randomly pop up and because I never do my hair I have to answer to the urge.  Happened to me a couple nights ago.  Haven’t done a braid out since last July and in fact, I haven’t done anything to my hair since I started cutting last July.  So right before bed, I busted out my jar of Bee Mine Bee Hold Curly Butter and got to braiding.

A few things I learned about this set of braids due to having an asymmetrical haircut:

    • This cut does not lend itself to even braids.  Because my hair is cut very angularly, each section cannot be braided evenly at the bottom: one piece is always longer than the other.  So at the bottom of the braids, I had to switch to twists in order to make them stick.

    • I could only braid one side and had to leave the back and sides free because of the length.  Because I could only braid a third of my hair, these braids took a third of the time!  I was particularly jazzed about this because before doing braids or twists on my entire head took about 90 minutes.  This set: in and out in 30.  Yes.

    • Having only one section of my head braided looked….stupid.  I would never wear this out of the house.  Except that I ended up having to because I worked out at 7am and just had to look kind of crazy during my class.  But if you’re doing cardio pilates at 7am, you are obviously a total G and you are judgement free.

Here’s a vid I did of the twist out:

During the video I came up with calling the style the EXPLODED ASYM! It really looks like an explosion of hair, there’s a lot of gesture and movement and force, really taking the cut up a notch. I dug it. Here’s a few shots of the final look:

A Funky Summertime Cut! (…and it’s not mine…)

I think it’s safe to say that my dear amiga Amanda (aka LeathalPleazure over on YouTube) and I have always hair crushes on each other.  We first met back at the very first Fro Fashion Week and immediately started to gush over each others hair.  She pulled on my coils, giving me the nickname “Boing” and I loved her awesome shape and fun cut.

Amanda and Cass, Feb 2010

Since then, the two of us have been in and out of various hairstyles, tweeting each other pictures and words of encouragement across the country.  But after peeping her most recent cut, I knew I had to take this one off the Twittersphere and show it on the blog!  I am loving the tapered back–excuse me: the tapered to a POINT back–  and wild loose curls on top!  It’s got great balance and volume and shape: the perfect way to mix up a regular ‘fro for the summertime wash’n'gos that are sure to be on the way!

Pretty dope, right??

If you want to see more, check out this great vid of her cut here!

 

 

Back into ‘Cones with Hair Rules Curly Whip (+product demo vid)

So awhile back, I decided that I wanted to dip my toes into the pool of siliconed products and you never heard back about it because my first attempt was awful.  Absolutely awful.  My hair was SO dry, crispy, and frizzy that after a week I high-tailed it right back to the all-natural goodness I keep around for naturally curly hair.

Then in preparation for Texture on the Runway, I spent a good deal of time talking with Anthony Dickey of Hair Rules and his team about not only about their vision for the show, but also about their products.  I had initially stayed away from this product line purely because of the ‘cones, but as I said in my original Adventures in Silicones post, I DO believe that with the cleansing and conditioning regimen, silicones aren’t the worst things imaginable for natural hair.  I think that by biggest mistake in my initial silicone trials was that I used products not geared towards tightly coiled hair, but after chatting so much with Dickey, I decided that if a man who has dedicated his life to the world of curl can get behind ‘cones, well I just had to see what he was brewing up!

So I checked out a couple Hair Rules products just to see, the first being the gel-cream styler called Curly Whip that I received a little sample of and the second being the creamier Kinky Curling Cream I received in my CurlBox.  I was pleasantly surprised by both products, not because they worked well, but because I’ve found that neither have caused any issues with dryness or build up –IF used with a good clarifying cleanser and conditioner.

I will say that I am more a fan of the Curly Whip because of the awesome gel-induced clumping and my finely textured coils can get with the product.  The final results are awesome definition without any crunch plus movement and softness!  I’m digging it!  While in Chicago last week, I actually pulled Dickey aside to ask him about the presence of ‘cones in his products in face of so much anti-cone speak out there.  His response?  It’s all about performance.  Meaning that his products are formulated to to deliver the best results for curly hair, and the best results in this case also mean maintaining the moisture levels and condition.  Makes sense to me!

Here’s what I’ve been digging in the line:

And the finished look using these two products for a wash’n'go:

 

 

 

Now, after my first trial of using Hair Rules back in NYC, I posted the following pic to my NaturalSelection Facebook page and someone asked me to do a video because they were having some problems getting the products to work.  It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done a vid, so I thought this would be a great one to jump back into vlogging with! Be warned theres a lot goin on in this vid from my plastic bag to a little bit of shimmying, but what the hey– IT’S FRIDAY!!! Enjoy and happy weekend y’all!

 

What do you think about silicones being used for “performance”? Do they work for you?

Oh no, Willow!!!!! Anti-Afro Talk + Stripper Poles!?!?

Stumbled across this video yesterday in which Willow Smith discusses how her least favorite hairstyle was an afro:

Get More: MTV Shows

Hard to comb!?!?! Crazy!!?! Waking up super early!!?!?

You know what that sounds like to me? A novice natural falling into the usual traps, getting frustrated, and throwing in the towel too early. Can’t say I blame her for trying on her own, seeing as she’s still a tween and all and this whole natural thing CAN be tricky to get.  Even she said she needed some help with it. But she also has access to some of the best stylists out there. Uh, not to mention the internet!

Let’s back up and do a little refresher of the ol’ Wash’n'Go Success Plan before we go the way of Willow and find ourselves on tv denouncing afros.

  • COMBING: Do it on wet hair with lots of slippery conditioner to make the teeth glide through
  • WAKING UP: Well, never try anything new in the morning if you’ve gotta be somewhere.  That’s just a one-way ticket back to Relaxerlandia.  Try to wash and style at night.  Then use braids to stretch your wet hair while you sleep so you can still work with damp and not-dried hair in the morning.
  • WHILE YOU SLEEP: Do so on a non-cotton pillow.  It seriously makes all the difference in the world in terms of retaining moisture and not getting tangles while you get your zzz’s.

Afro’s rock.  That’s all there is to it.  But it’s all in the maintenance and care you put into it. Admittedly, part of the reason this makes me a bit bummed out is that just last year Willow’s hit single “Whip My Hair” became the #naturalhair anthem inciting women around the world to whip their twists, braids, locs, and of course—their afros back and forth.

And while we’re on the topic of Willow Smith needing some assistance and supervision.  Gosh, I was particularly disturbed to see this little nugget over on NecoleBitchie: Miss Smith tweeted a pic of herself on a stripper pole saying “Vegas Chick….”

 

O_o

She’s ELEVEN!!!!  And just on the tails of the birth of the newest power-couple bebe, this was just a testament that they just grow up so so fast…especially in the limelight.  Moral of the story: slow it down Willow.  Just slow it down.  (and come get your kid, Will and Jada!!!)  Maybe I’m just the type that holds on a little too long to the way they were, considering that Lindsay Lohan’s Parent Trap can still bring a tear to my eye.  So right now, I’m just going to end on remembering a scene from the good old days…

 

Ahhhhh….much better.

Ringing in the New Year with Pomp and a Pompadour

Well after about 48 hours of stressing about what to do with my hair for New Years Eve, I found myself in my bedroom trying to get ready with a vision and cursing the fact that I only had six—SIX—bobby pins.  WHERE do those things go when you really need em!? This is where I wanted to take my Damn hair for the evening:

 

I loved the bouffant/pompadour/swooped pin-up and knew that for my NYE activities (which involved a 50 person bike ride around San Francisco) that I would need a style that would be both festive and fierce, but also one that kept my hair out of my eyes.  But this picture, which I assume used a french roll up the back, looked like it was a more-than-six-bobby-pin endeavor.

Racking my brain, I remembered a post I did awhile back about creating a donut/ballerina-bang style using just a scrunchie and some creative tucking to secure the pieces.  So I did a six-pin french roll up the back (make it work!).  Then I pulled the front third of my hair into a ponytail.  Then rather than folding the pieces into a typical donut bun, I pulled them around the front and to the side for more of a pompadour swoop.  The results:

 

 

 

All in all, a super fun style that would work FANTASTICALLY on a twist out, especially one that is a couple days old and stretched out.

So the style was nice and fun, but those LASHES—oh the lashes!  One of my favorite pairs.  I’m totally the type of person to snag a pair for a couple bucks while I’m at the BSS and they totally come in clutch for creating a memorable and super funky style.  #yesplease

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