5 Months Transitioning Check In With Stephanie

It’s been awhile since we last heard from Stephanie (a Brooklyn-based high schooler who won a contest back in July), but never fear my dears her transition is going wonderfully! She writes:

Things have been going and growing well with my hair lol! School has been taking up a majority of my time so I haven’t been doing many styles. Just detangle and bunning. The winter breezes have been taking a not so pleasant toll on my hair. Today, I attempted to do kinky twists and it was a major FAIL. I wasn’t sure how big I should do the sections and when I attempted a “kinky twist it looked weird and more of a coil than a twist. So I’ve given up and will try again on wednesday. Once I get the kinky twists in, I’ll be leaving them in til New Years. I haven’t tried many new products and my lovely hair milk is running out :(. All in all my hair is moving a long. I really feel like I’m ready to big chop but I think I might wait a couple more months.

Any advice for her you might have on those Kinky Twists? I am Senorita Fail when it comes to that sort of thing, so hopefully one of you might be able to steer her in the right direction there.

My big take away is that she wrote that in a couple months, she might be ready for the big chop! Wellllll how convenient that I’ll be there in a couple months! No pressure Stephanie, but Cass and Lola are kind of excited to welcome you into naturaldom! Of course, if you are ready, we’ll be there with bells on (and a camera or two…)

Stephanie did a great job of capturing some shots of her transitioning texture and it’s always fascinating to see the difference in relaxed and natural hair. The curls are looking so plump and vibrant so it’s great to see those coming in strong!

I bet you’ve never seen hair damage like this before

As in, I bet you’ve never seen it magnified under a microscope.

Last week Stephanie, our transitioner who won the Komaza Consultation and Regimen, sent a few samples of her hair to Rene for an up-close-and-personal checking out under the hair microscope. When I saw the resulting images of her relaxed ends beneath the microscope, my jaw dropped.  It was bittersweet to see hair in such amazingly, awesome detail, but also a bummer to see splits, breaks, and knots.  I have never really seen hair this magnified, but what it showed was just how damaging relaxers can be. Here’s a peek at the pix and what Rene had to say about it:

(Note: all images are about 1.5″ up from the end)


Please do not stress when you see the images. This kind of damage is to be expected of your relaxed hair. The stress break (where the hair looks untethered) can be the result of a few things such as wet combing/brushing your relaxed hair, overprocessing, and from styling. This is why your hair didn’t feel smooth. This can also happen with your natural hair if you dry comb/brush, use a bristle brush, and constant tension (like braiding or pulling into a ponytail). 

Split and Break


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Developing a Regimen for Transitioners with Komaza Care and Stephanie

A few weeks ago, I hosted a very exciting [haiku] contest in which I selected a winner to receive a free product consultation by Rene Maddox- Founder and Co-Owner of Komaza Care. Out of the hundreds of entries, I chose Stephanie, a teenage transitioner.

As we were corresponding about setting up her consultation, it came to light that Stephanie lived in Brooklyn. And at the time, I happened to be in Brooklyn. And it was hot. And so I decided capitalize of the fact that I was 2 miles (as opposed to 3,000 miles) away from my dear contest winner and take her out for Fro Yo.

Hello, Stephanie!

Getting to chat hair with Stephanie in person was an absolute delight! She’s four months into her transition and via blogs and vlogs and forums she really knows her stuff! After spending all of the time talking with her, I became even more excited to work with her on developing and establishing her transitioning routine. I was impressed by the fact that she was the only one in her family and friend group that was pursuing natural hair and was doing so out of a recognition that if she “wanted to have long, healthy hair” then she would have to give up relaxers. I feel as though so many of us who are 1 or two or three decades older than Stephanie are have made this same realization and so the bond was instantly there.

The next week, I set up a conference call between Rene, Stephanie and myself so that Rene could get to know Stephanie and answer all of her questions. Rene made some phenomenal points and Stephanie asked some fantastic questions regarding products, product pH levels, and styling tips. Here’s the Komaza regimen Rene came up with specifically geared towards Stephanie’s two-textured locks:

  • Shampoo 1x a week – Moku Shampoo
  • Deep Condition 1x a week – Olive Moisture Mask
  • Protein treatment 2x a month – Protein Hair Strengthener
  • Focus on twists and twists out. Styling once a week and moisturizing as needed. – Coconut Pudding, Coconut Spray, and Coconut Lotion
  • Trim 1/4″ every 2 months from the relaxed ends
  • I also was able to record and download the entire call so if you really want to hear details here ya go!

    Currently Stephanie is on a four-month regimen that will take her through the end of summer and fall. After that we will reassess where she is in the process and what adjustments will need to be made for the winter months. We’ll be checking in and getting updates along the way!

    For all of you veteran naturals, any advice you’d like to share with a transitioner along the way? Leave em in the comments!

    A couple winners we do have! (Custom Komaza Regimen + Pool Party Tix)

    Allllllrightythen. It’s FRIDAAAY and what better way to kick off the weekend than with giving away some THINGS.

    First up is a HUGE and I mean HUGE giveaway: a custom regimen consultation and product line from Komaza Care. Congratulations STEPHANIE who is the winner with her haiku:


    Transitioning Teen
    Troubled Regimen Save Me
    Gorgeous With No Lye !

    What better way to establish a good routine than at the beginning of one’s natural journey.  And on a young head at that!  I’m really excited to see what Rene has in store for Stephanie and her transition to full natural gorgeousness!!!  Not to worry, you’ll all be kept in the loop!!

    Secondly, we have our first of 5 tickets to the NYC Pool Party NEXT Saturday July 23rd!  I asked what peoples best tips were for keeping their strands moisturized in the summer heat.  PRISCILLA wrote:

    To keep my hair moisturized in the summer, I spritz it every morning with a mixture of water and leave in conditioner :) keeps my hair soft and healthy!

    A fantastic tip indeed, Miss Priscilla—one that nabbed you two tickets to El Pool Party!!  Excited to meet you there next week!

    If you’re interested in joining yourself for next weekend’s poolside festivities, advance tickets can be purchased through Curl Mart for $25 or you can buy tickets for $30 at the door.   I’ll also be giving away FOUR MORE PAIRS next week via Facebook, and Twitter too, so keep your eyes peeled!

    And on that note peoples, have a wonderful weekend!!

    Reminder: Komaza Regimen Contest Ends Tomorrow + Pool Party Ticket Giveaway!

    Hey All!

    Just a friendly reminder to get your haikus submitted because I need to pick one of them TONIGHT that will be receiving a custom product consultation from Rene of Komaza Care along with a custom product regimen for you to use!

    You should post your haiku in the comments here on this post and I will be announcing the winner tomorrow.

    While we’re having this pause for giveaway housekeeping, keep your eyes peeled because next week I’ll be giving away FIVE pairs of tickets to the Natural Selection + Naturally Curly NYC Pool Party here, on Natural Selection’s Facebook, and on NS’ Twitter! If you haven’t heard of the Pool Party yet and you’re going to be in the area you can find full details here, but let me just tell you: you won’t want to miss it! We’ll be having live styling demonstrations by Dickey of Hair Rules, Jane of Jane Carter Solution, and Ouidad while Shea Moisture will be doing luxury spa and hair treatments in the sauna/steam room space. All attendees will receive a goodie bag worth over $50, and if you’re into it there’s a pool with a swim up bar and if you’re not into it, then you can just enjoy all of the fun on dry land.


    Heck, all of this talking about it is making me want to giveaway a pair NOW so lets just do it! :)
    Enter to win one pair of Curly Pool Party tickets by entering in the comments your favorite way to keep your hair moisturized in the summer heat?

    For more info on the party or to buy tickets click here.

    So Fine- Regimen Awareness + Win a Custom Consultation and Products from Komaza Care

    So you want to know the secret to having good hair? The one key thing that will cause your hair to thrive and grow strong? It will not only save you money, but also space in your cabinets. Ready for it?


    Making sure that you have a consistent maintenance routine and product regimen is, in my opinion, the most important thing you can do for your hair. Ok, and drinking plenty of water too, but I digress. It’s easy to fall into the trap to product junkyism or testing out new styles each week, but this is all sorts of bad news for naturals — especially you SO FINE naturals whose delicate tresses need as regular, and gentle care as possible.

    I know, because I’ve been there. I’ve switched around products too often and the result was a tangled, coil-less mess. Just yesterday, I was bumming out because my neglected nighttime routine has left me with nearly loc’ing ends that I find just oh-so upsetting.



    Routine is important, I know this, but even I sometimes fall off the wagon.

    So lets all hop back on together by establishing new or maintaining existing routines! I called up natural hair guru, Rene Maddox, the Founder and Co-owner of Komaza Care because she knows. her. stuff!

    Rene and Cass


    Here are some interesting facts that came from the conversation that hopefully will impress upon you the importance of maintaining a routine:

    • Stick with it: It takes 6-8 weeks for your hair to really get used to a product.  Before this time, it will be difficult for you to actually see the maximum benefit a product can have on your hair.  So unless a product is REALLY messing with your hair (and you’ll know) keep using it and then after 6-8 weeks make a decision about whether or not to repurchase it.
    • Nail down your technique: This is a different way of saying practice makes perfect.  If you don’t like how your wash’n’go came out the first time, there’s a good chance that you just need to work a little bit more on how you are executing the style.  Are you using too much product?  Too little?  Are you smoothing and working the product in enough?  Over time, you will develop a practiced and perfected technique that works for YOU- every time- like clockwork.
    • Pay attention: Read the ingredients.  If your hair doesn’t like heavy butters and oils, make sure you’re not trying to use a product that has a lot of heavy butters and oils.  Similarly, if your hair loves aloe vera, make sure to find products that use a lot of this ingredient!
    • Ask and you shall receive: If you have questions about how to use a product, do not be afraid to call a product company and ask!  If you’ve never done this before, you’d be surprised at how accessible product companies often are!  They can answer all your questions and make sure that you’re using the product the right way.

    A solid product regimen should be centered around two things: a moisturizer and a moisture sealer.  Then to that core, you should add a shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, and a styler.  I was going to orchestrate a giveaway of a certain group of products that I hold near and dear to my heart, but that goes against everything I said above and believe in: what works for me, may not work for you.

    So I’m really excited to giveaway a CUSTOM PRODUCT CONSULTATION AND COMPLETE KOMAZA CARE PRODUCT REGIMEN!  One winner is going to be taken under the wing of Miss Rene of Komaza Care to determine what your specific product needs are and then work with her to develop a custom product regimen that you will use consistently [for 6-8 weeks].  While it’s difficult to say which specific products from Komaza Care the winner will receive, we’re talking about a shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, styler, and more (depending on your needs!) Holy buckets this is a good one and I’m really excited to be able to sit on the sidelines for this one!


    Here’s how you enter:

    Step 1: Like Natural Selection’s Facebook Page
    Step 2: Make sure you’re a subscriber to this blog
    Step 3: Ok. I was torn whether or not to do this, but I loved reading your entries OH SO VERY MUCH that I want to do another haiku contest! Woohoo! This time around, I want you to incorporate the word REGIMEN.

    A quick haiku how-to: A haiku is a 3 line poem that has 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second, and 5 in the third. My example entry into the contest:

    Woe is me!  My curls

    Suffering.   Must return to

    Nighttime regimen.


    See!  Easy peasy with such an awesome thing to win!  Can’t wait to read your entries!

    Naturals Night Out: The Full Gallery

    Welp.  Its finally here: the full Naturals Night Out gallery. Enjoy! I think that these snaps truly capture the beauty and spirit of the evening. If you’re bummed you missed this one or you want some more Bay Area Naturals action, be sure to SAVE THE DATE of Saturday May 21st for our next Naturals Night Out, which will be taking place at Madusalon in San Francisco in partnership with Jessicurl! Hope to see you there! Now without further ado, the pictures:

    Naturals Night Out ROCKED! Wrap Up + Picture Preview

    What can I say? We came, we saw, and we got our natural on!! Over 60 naturals from all over Northern California came out en masse this past Saturday to Head Designs Salon for an evening of natural community, learning, and fun! The event was hosted by Natural Selection and sponsored by Komaza Care, a Sacramento-based natural hair company, and NaturallyCurly.com, the web’s leading resource dedicated to textured hair.

    This was Natural Selection’s 4th event and as such welcomed many old friends as well as new faces into the fold! The main features of the evening were three styling demos by Ms. Sheila Head, owner of Head Designs Salon, and Gracie, expert loctician of HDS. These master stylists brought it with over 30 years of experience and true passion for caring for natural hair. Styling demo’s included a two-strand twist and twist out, a curly shaping and growing-out cut, and a loc updo.

    The entire Komaza Care family came in for the event from Sacramento and mingled with guests and answered questions about their natural hair products. During the styling demos, Jenn and Rene, Komaza’s co-owners provided an in depth overview of their products and how they were being used in the styles being demonstrated.  While Komaza has a seriously extensive product catalog, their Califia, Coconut, and Moku product lines were the  starlettes of the evening.  It was truly a sensory experience for all attendees as jars and cups of products were passed around the audience during the demos so that guests could smell and feel each of the products as they were being used.

    Together, Komaza Care and Head Designs Salon dropped some serious natural hair knowledge! I think I can speak for all attendees when I say that I really did learn a lot about ingredients, what to look for in a stylist (a consultation!), cutting techniques, and styling strategies for ALL curly hair textures!

    There was a photographer on hand at the event who captured the evening beautifully, but I know y’all don’t want to wait TOO long for those pictures, so I wanted to share just a few of my own until that gallery is up and running. Here you go!


    Komaza's display. Attendees eyed their gift baskets all evening, but only three were lucky enough to walk home with them.


    sisters from Belgium who are living in the US for a year.”] s

    Jenn, co-owner of Komaza Care, explains the Coconut line as Sheila prepares to cut the model's hair and style with the product

    The audience watches on as Heather settles in to be styled by loctician, Gracie


    Sandra shows off her new NaturallyCurly Curly Cocktail - a box filled with great products catered for highly textured hair


    Even my Nana came to support. (she lives in Minnesota and I was so jazzed to have her there!)


    Gracie demonstrates a two strand twist technique on lovely hair model Savon'a


    All eyes on the cut

    Fatimah shows off her fantastic transitioning style!

    The grand unveiling: Heather's loc updo!


    Savon's final twist out (objectively one of the best I've ever seen!)


    Rene, co-owner of Komaza, and Tonia, hair model,



    Its all in the family: Heather is my Aunt and her husband, Andy, came out to support. Showing off her final updo style here.


    The models and stylists pose for the paparazzi

    Thank you shout outs:
    NaturallyCurly.com – for their generous sponsorship of the super cute totes and samples that all attendees took home and Curly Cocktail giveaways
    Komaza Care – for coming to the event and sharing their products, hair care knowledge, and passion for “Encouraging Growth” (that is what Komaza means in Swahili)
    Head Designs Salons – for welcoming us into their space and demonstrating their styling expertise
    Sheena’s Events – for making Naturals Night Out (and me) run smoothly
    Miss Fatemeh – for the cute sunflower accessory giveaway from her Etsy shop
    Heather, Savon’a, and Tonia – for lending their heads for the evening’s demonstrations
    Bubba- por la musica
    YOU – for reading, coming, asking, engaging, supporting, watching, and learning. That’s what we’re all about!


    Sunday April 17th – Afternoon Curl Talk for STL Naturals, St. Louis, MO

    Saturday May 21st – Naturals Night Out – San Francisco, CA

    Win Big at Naturals Night Out this Saturday April 9th

    I’m like a little kid waiting for Santa over here!  NATURALS NIGHT OUT is going down in two more days.  The RSVPs have come pouring in, the goodie bags have arrived, the playlist is set (thank you, Bubba!) and thes giveaways are squared away!



    From NaturallyCurly.com, we’ll be giving away their famous Curly Cocktails, which are filled with some of their tried and true Holy Grail products.  Whether you’re a natural newbie or a curly veteran, these kits will quench your kinks and get your curls poppin!




    Additionally, product sponsors Komaza Care will be giving away gift bags filled with THEIR products! Komaza’s Coconut and Califia product lines are amazing and top my list as personal favorites.   I love their products.  So much.  If it were legal to marry products…well…. ok you get the point.  Good stuff.  And a giftbag filled with their Coconut Line or Califia line could be YOURS!


    So many great product could so very much be going home with you on Saturday!

    The only thing that isn’t finalized is :::sigh::: what in the world I’m going to wear and do with my hair!  Ah well, I guess that’s what Saturday day is for :)

    Read on below for details and how to rsvp!


    Naturals Night Out * Saturday April 9th * The DEETS


    My gosh I am SO excited for Naturals Night Out next Saturday!!!  The long and short of it is that we are bringing this blog, Natural Selection, to LIFE!  We’ll be taking over Head Designs Salon in Oakland for the evening where you’ll get to enjoy music, champagne, and meeting new and old Bay Area Naturals friends!  There will be FOUR styling demonstrations by the expert stylists at Head Designs Salon.  Styles will feature transitioners, loc’ers, and loose naturals—so we’re covering a huge part of the natural hair spectrum!

    The stylists will be using Komaza Care products!  Even more exciting is that the Komaza Care Family will BE at the event so you can get to know the amazing women (and men) behind the company.  Attendees will also have the chance to win giveaways sponsored by Komaza Care and NaturallyCurly.com.  But not to worry, if you don’t win big,  all attendees will receive goodie bags with product samples and CurlMart coupons sponsored by NaturallyCurly.com.

    The event is $20 in advance or $25 at the door.  To pay in advance, please send a PayPal payment to rsvp [at] naturalselectionblog.com.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to drop me a quick note at cassadie [at] naturalselectionblog.com!  Please feel free to circulate the invitation—the more the merrier!  See you soon!

    To RSVP either enter your information in the form below or shoot an email with your name, email, and the name of any additional guests you may be bringing along with you!

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