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!


The Week in ‘Gram: A Sunny San Francisco

It’s no secret that I am an A-V-I-D Instagrammer.  It’s such a novel way of capturing moments, feeling, flavors and stories throughout the day.  Rather than reading statuses, tweets or even texts, I love seeing how my friends convey their state of being with a simple picture.

In addition it’s a great archive to look back on.  As a person who is always a-traveling, it’s nice to see my photos so distinctly represent a PLACE.

Case in point:


This past week happens to be my first FULL week back home this entire summer and I’ve settled right on into my San Francisco life.  With bike rides over the hills of the Presidio, lakeside birthday parties and my homemade breakfasts of poached eggs with fresh veggies from my local farmers market, it’s good to be home sweet home and savoring the delights of the season.  After being treated to a nice and thorough detangling with that awesome brush and not just one, but TWO deep conditionings this week, Lola’s also enjoying a bit of at-home pampering.

Looking back on these snaps, there’s obviously a bit of revisionist history going on here as well, because San Francisco is not at ALL known for its warmth in the summer.  In fact, August is best known as FOGUST, when the wind and mist and fog whip through the city and beneath the jackets, scarves, sweaters and boots we don year round.  Those kids in the sun?  That’s definitely in the East Bay.  Some say Philadelphia, but we of the Bay Area know it’s always sunny in the East Bay.

Gel Nail Polish: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly & The Horrific.

Right before heading to Europe at the end of March, I decided to get my first manicure using gel polish.  I had heard many a story about how delightfully long-lasting the polish was and since I was going to be traveling for about three weeks, it seemed like the perfect idea.  Since then, I’ve gained first hand (and ten fingers) worth of experience in the gel game.  Here’s my rundown:

THE GOOD: Zero chipping for days and days and days and days and days and days x 21

As soon, and I mean AS SOON, as your nails are done they are dry.  Totally, 100% and completely dry.  You can reach into your purse to pay and accidentally jam your index finger into your keys without flinching.  You can open boxes without smearing.  You can cook!  You can clean! AND THERE WILL BE NO CHIPPING!  It’s complete and utter liberation in the form of high-gloss, candy-colored digits.

A fresh gel mani

One week later: still no chipping!

Two weeks later: still no chipping!

Three weeks: aside from the growth from the cuticle there is not a dent, chip or flake in sight.  The manicure looks as fresh as the day it was done.

My three week old gel polish mani...other than the growth at the cuticle level--no chipping!

THE BAD: no #nailart

While we’ve seen an explosion of nail art, unfortunately you can’t achieve those awesome graphic designs with gel polish.  At least at my local nail shop they can’t make that happen.  I had dreams of a gunmetal gray with french black tips or eggplant with a reverse glitter ombre design dancing in my head, but I was brutally shut down by the manicurists.  Womp womp.  I ended up working around single-hued digits by adding an accent nail to each hand for some intrigue.

Tangerine polish with yellow accent nails

THE UGLY:  the removal

When it’s time for gel polish to come off, you have to get it removed professionally.  First the nails are soaked so that the polish lifts off.  Then the manicurist takes a tool to scrape the paint from your nails.  This process left a lot of unsightly divits and scraping on the surface of my nails.  After a couple days, my nails had for the most part returned to normal, but I still didn’t love all of the scraping and chiseling required to remove the polish. Oh, and you have to pay for the removal.  Which I’m fine with but it just means that from start to finish I ended up paying about $35 for the mani, which was a bit steep for my liking.

THE HORRIFIC: my nails are mangled.

This past weekend, I removed my second set of gel polish and was absolutely appalled to discover what I found beneath.  My nails, which are normally extremely strong and healthy,  were cracked and flaking.  My entire thumbnail is like a freaking Post-It pad with layers coming right off.  I’ve never seen anything  like it!  No one else should have to see anything like this—it’s extremely unsightly and I’m totally ashamed of what my nails look like.  I know that the damage will grow out (sheesh! sounds like we’re talking about relaxers over here!), but until then I have to figure out how to deal with this:

The current state of my nails.

Le sigh.

THE VERDICT: I’ll probably do it again.

Oh, I know.  Why in the world would I subject my poor nails to gel polish ever again?  The three weeks of chip-free glory are, well, glorious!  Not only was I not at all worried about my polish coming off, but I was constantly getting compliments on them.  I think the next time I do it, I will not keep the polish on for a long time and will wait  longer duration between gel polish manicures in an effort to mitigate any potential damage.  Until then, I’m going to stick with simple polishes and wait for my nails to grow back to health.  The upside: at least now I have an excuse to get into some serious nail art!

Using scotch tape to create geometric designs


Accent nails with regular polish

Reinforcement labels (yes, like those found in the office) to create polish stencils

Have you had gel polish manicures before?  What has your experience been? Share in the comments!


Pool Partyin Next Week in the Sunshine State!

Next week I’m headed down to Orlando, Florida with the NaturallyCurly fam for the 2nd Annual Curly Pool Party!  The novelty of swimming sans worry never wears off and I love taking the opportunity to splish and splash with my fellow naturalistas!  Can you imagine a better way to take a dip and ring in the summer time than with expert stylists standing by pool side to help you with your hair as you get out of the pool?  I certainly cannot.

This year’s Pool Party sponsors are some of my favorite curly brands including Shea Moisture, Ouidad, My DNA, Amika and UR Curly.  All of them will have their own cabanas surrounding the pool where they’ll be doing styling demos on models as well as attendees.  Meanwhile, Cass will be zipping around meeting the Floridian naturals, working with the Texture Squad (our amazing group of volunteers), and cannon balling into the pool.  WATCH OUT FOR MY SPLASHES, PEOPLE!  I kid, I kid.  I will probably just be perfecting my Leisure Dive****.

But only maybe because what they don't tell you is that Leisure Diving is only belly flopping on your side. The picture looks cool, but it's a tad painful after a few times.


If you’re in Florida (or somewhere close enough where a flight or road trip makes sense), you should most definitely come join in on the festivities–after all it’s FREE and I would just be oh-so delighted to meet you!  The 2011 Pool Party was pretty damn spectacular and this second serving promises to take it to the next level! If you’re interested in coming, be sure to RSVP as space is limited and I wouldn’t want you to miss out on the goodness!


****SO in researching images for Leisure Diving, I came across other…oh, what do you call these, “things-to-do-in-public-that-are-awkward-and-funny”.  Planking is a popular one, but never before had I heard of Coning, which is described as ” the act of buying a ice cream cone through a drive-through and grabbing it by the ice cream itself not the cone.”.  You must see this video of coning being acted out.  Must:

Back in San Francisco Part Deux: Mobile Style Delights + Trashy Fashion

Continuing on my latest adventures in San Francisco, I bring you PART DEUX:

Top Shelf Style = Pure Fashionista Brilliance

As far as I’m concerned, taco trucks are one of human kind’s best inventions. Rather than a stationary taqueria restaurant, these converted vans and trucks roll around delivering all sorts of deliciousness to various neighborhoods. Recent years have seen a blossoming of the mobile food industry as trucks offerings have expanded to French cuisine, Thai, curries and even the now ubiquitous cupcake!  It’s freakin’ awesome.

Last week I came across a whole new genre of mobile truck, a mobile FASHION truck, this one called Top Shop Style.  There are so many things to say about this innovative new San Francisco shopping experience.  Frankly I am A. concerned that this will be the end of my bank account and B. convinced that the owner of this truck, Christina Ruiz, is on some Einstein-level genius.


I came across this Mobile Fashion Truck when it was parked outside of a bar…where I was having drinks…at 11pm. I cannot even tell you how many times I have wanted to go shopping after a few adult bevvies and it was like my wishes had finally come true in full glittery, neon, and patterned technicolor. No but seriously, I was in heaven.

Thing is, you can’t leave heaven without a couple souvenirs…namely a funky new purse and the ILLEST pair of party pants (worn straight out of the store for the rest of the night).  Best part: phenomenally affordable prices. Oh, Top Shelf Style…I can’t wait for our next rendez-vous.




Aveda’s Trashy Fashion Show

When I heard there was a hair fashion show presented by one of my favorite product lines, I went-a-running!  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was delighted to be whisked back stage and discover room filled with over 50 models sporting some of the most avant garde haute couture outfits…made completely of TRASH!  The Aveda Trashion Show was a fundraiser to raise funds for environmental non-profits and in the spirit of things, all presenting stylists and salons not only worked their hair magic, but also styled the models’ outfits completely out of recycled materials.  There were aluminum cans, film dispensers, newspapers, old Aveda advertisements, and coffee filters expertly crafted into gowns, cocktail dresses, tutus, suits and even dragon tails.  It was pure inspired creativity and I loved every second of it.  Check the pictures:



TextureTalk THIS Sunday with Private Scalp Consultations! (learn how you can sign up!)


We’re just a few short days away from our up and coming Bay Area Naturals Meet Up: TEXTURE TALK!

It’s been far too long since we’ve gotten together and this is shaping up to be our biggest event yet! We’re expecting over 200 NorCal naturalistas, so be sure to come ready to mix, mingle and meet new curl friends.

A few fun features I want to tell you about:

  • Scalp Consultations – Product Specialist and Beautiful Textures Brand Ambassador Felicia Leatherwood will be offering individual scalp analyses to a select number of attendees!  Beginning at 2:00pm TODAY March 21st, you can sign up for one of the limited slots for this private consultation.  I had one while we were in the Virgin Islands and it was not only totally cool to see my scalp magnified over 1,000 times, but also to confirm suspicions that my family has joked about since I was young: that I have more hair than normal on my scalp!  My personal scalp scan showed that I have many hair follicles that have not just one, but FIVE strands coming out of it.  Visit naturalselectionblog.com/events at 2:00pm to sign up for this exclusive first-come-first-serve experience.

If you want the scalp scan, but don’t want to risk not getting a time slot, we’re also looking for a handful of volunteers to assist with the event and those volunteers will receive a guaranteed timeslot for a scalp scan (along with exclusive behind the scenes access).  If you’re interested in volunteering, drop me an email at cassidy[at]naturalselectionblog[com].

  • Vendors – Come ready to purchase some goods!  We’ll have jewelry and natural hair dolls on display for you to check out.  If you’re interested in securing a vendor spot, we do have a couple left, so please let me know and we can arrange that.
  • Q&A – Got burning natural hair questions?  Get ’em answered by our expert Q&A panel!  We’re looking forward to sharing our thoughts and answering your questions!
A couple housekeeping notes: the event is located in Downtown San Francisco around many parking garages.  The Omni Hotel is also centrally located to BART and Muni, so public transportation is a great option!  If you bike to the event, I will love you forever and you will get a special shout out on the blog.

If you haven’t already, make sure to RSVP for the complimentary event.

Nzuri Hair Show Wrap-Up and Gallery

As the final hair show of the year, the 2-day Nzuri hair show closed out 2011 with a bang. Attendees were in the thousands and throngs of naturals (soon-to-be-naturals and the naturally-curious) flocked to scoop up oodles of products, soak in the knowledge in workshops, and scope the freshest-of-fashions on the mainstage runways. I haven’t been to a natural hair expo since April’s WNHS, but I was pleasantly surprised by the caliber and quality of the vendors and programming at the Nzuri Show. I thought that the mainstage especially provided attendees with engaging presentations and entertainment.

Highlights include

**The models WERKIN the runway during the Macy’s runway show
**Meeting readers and giveaway winners and seeing friendly faces that I’ve kicked it with at shows and events from earlier this year
**My Damn Fade! #duhtotesobvi
**Seeing all these CUTE natural kids running around! Some with curls, others with locs, ALL with smiles.
**The vegan food vendor! So tasty! Gotta have sustenance!!!
**Speaking alongside my fellow members of the Bloggersphere during the blog panel
**Being interviewed by the Houston Chronicle (and having to explain to her that pesky Cassidy vs. Cassadie situation)

As always, a lot of what I took away from this event was the style inspiration from other attendees. When people go to a hair show, they go all in on making their hair look good! As a result, I saw some truly dope styles and trends on the show floor. I’ll be going through a trend wrap-up tomorrow, but for now I wanted to share with you some snaps of the show in the full gallery.

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