Au Revoir Damn Fade! It’s Been Real….

The time had finally come to bite the bullet and take out my Damn Hair. I had been putting off the removal of my extensions for a very very long time due to the fact that A. I didn’t know what I wanted to do next B. my visionary stylist, Marie from Madusalon, was sidelined from the world of curls with strep and C. I was just too Damn lazy to do the Damn thing.

But after some last minute travel got scheduled, I finally had to get down to Damn business. Well, the bullet got bitten off slowly. I was laying in bed almost asleep when I took out one extension…and then a second..and a third. Finally, I found myself on my feet with scissors, conditioner, and clips, massaging, unweaving, and gently pulling the Damn hair free from Lola. I don’t know what I was thinking to start such an undertaking at 11pm, but at 1am, I had hit the point of no Damn return (aka where you have too few extensions left to cover up the loose hair and leave it for tomorrow).

a partially Damned Lola

 

So I chugged on…and on…and finally got back in bed and watched a movie at 2am. And when the movie finished at 4, I still had more Damn hair to take out. Finally at about 4:30 all the Damn Hair was collected in a waste can and Lola was FREE! Oh so very FREE!!!

I’d been really missing my curls and couldn’t wait to revive them in the morning.  Upon waking up, I gleefully shampooed with a clarifying conditioner, detangled using Darcy Botanicals Pumpkin Conditioner (more on this good stuff later!), and deep conditioned with My Honey Child Olive You Conditioner for just shy of an hour.

I noticed that Lola was super parched before all of the conditioning, but sure enough my curls were bouncing back!

she's baaaaack!

 

What what distracted me about Lola’s post-Damn state more than anything was how damn grown own she had gotten!  Not just the Damn Fade part, but also the back, where I used to have a tapered cut close to my neck, had become bushy, the coils on the top of my head were flopping over the 6-week old coils just emerging, and the longer side stretched below my collar bone.

 

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all about growing my hair out, but I’ve also discovered that I like shape, volume, and definition in my hair cut.  Stay tuned for Part 2 of Lola’s Revival where she gets one of the most aggressive and distinctive cuts yet!

Until then: WELCOME BACK, LOLA!!!!

Post Script:  I just want to say that I absolutely LOVED having my Damn Urban Twists!  They do a wonderful job of encapsulating that which I strive for with my hair: edgy refinement.  So proud and honored to be included in the ranks of the Damned.  Je vous envoie des SUPER GROS BISOUS, mes cheries du Damn!  Vous me manquez et j’espere qu’on puisse se voir bientot!

My Damn Twist Out

It’s been one week and my Damn Lola has been doing quite well! Two days after I filmed my video showing the Damn Fade, I unraveled the two-strand twists for the final look. Here’s a refresher of what the two-strand twists looked like:

And the video of me doing the Damn Twist Out.

As I say in the video, I put my Damn twists back in because I wanted more of a defined twist out look. As with un-Damned twists and twists outs—the longer the twist stays in, the more sculpted the shape. I used the Damn Butter (which has this fresh, peppermint and tea tree scent) to twist and provide a touch of hold. Here’s some final post-twist out pictures from the past week.

Upclose shot of the texture with the Damn Fade peeking out

I tie and pin my hair out of my face a lot. Here's a pic from this past weekend when I rocked this two-part / perpendicular bouffant style.

The fade comes out fierce in a french roll style for an evening at the theater (uhhh.... I saw Bring It On the musical, and it was shockingly, awesomely, surprisingly one of the better musicals I've seen!)

I’ve been getting lots-o-compliments with the Damn Fade and have been having even more styling fun with it myself. I think my one issue is that it’s very much in my face sometimes, but I’m having a good time getting creative with ways to pin and tie the pieces back. I’ve got a few holiday parties this week and will be experimenting with more updos and styles for them so stay tuned!

Scenes from the Show: Nzuri Vids

Picture galleries are great for getting a sense of style and the vibe of an event, but actually seeing and hearing people is quite another.  I shot a couple vids at the Nzuri show and wanted to share them with you as well in a little video gallery.

 

Kumi Rauf of I Love Being Black

Mushiya and Ephinae of The Damn Salon

Aevin Dugas – Guiness World Largest Afro

And as a total Friday treat, I also wanted to share this amazing Raphael Saddiq acoustic performance from NPR as shared with me by Miss Kasalina.  I promise you can’t help but smile when you hear this one!

 

 

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.

Lola Be Damned. Lola Be Faded.

So the Nzuri show was great and I’ve got hundreds of pictures and vids to edit and organize, but first things first: LOLA HAS A NEW LOOK.

So here’s how this all went down. I’ve had Damn envy for months since meeting the Damn ladies in February. A couple weeks ago I facebooked Mushiya (founder and owner of the Damn Salon) with this message:

Mushiya. I’m inspired. it involves me, you, and a pair of clippers. call me.

We chatted eventually she got on my Damn vision train. Upon my arrival in Houston I immediately went to get Damned to the tune of Urban Twists and added a streak of honey blonde to the front for a pop of Damn color. Loved it. Here’s a vid on how that turned out!

But this was only part of my vision. What I REALLY wanted, was a Damn Fade. Yes that’s right Damn Urban Twists + A Fade = THE NEW ME. Continue reading

Natural is Most Certainly NOT a Fad! Wrap Up + Gallery

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of attending Koils by Nature presents “Natural is Not a Fad!” I had a spectacular time meeting local naturals from the DC metro area, speaking on a blog panel, shopping for awesome accessories and products, and of course enjoying the day’s planned programming. I wanted to share this amazing experience with you so here’s the play by play:

8:00am: Alarm goes off and I immediately hit the snooze button. Our group dinner which included Pamela of Koils by Nature, Mushiya and Ephanae of The Damn Salon, Aevin Dugas Guinness World Record winner for the largest afro, and event volunteers turned into an evening of dancing and a very very late night.

The Damn Dougie

8:47am: Remembering that I’m in for an AWESOME day of #naturalhair love, I leap out of bed!  Coffee, shower, bagel, make-up and get dressed. I decide on a plum pencil skirt and striped top, complemented with gold bangles and – of course- my favorite All My Purple Life lipgloss. I had done my hair two days prior to get the perfect volume and curl pattern so all I had to do was moisturize, fluff, and be on my way!

9:39am: Make my way downstairs to the event where vendors are completing their set up. I peep some really gorgeous earrings that I decided I must have…later.

Continue reading

Well…at least my hair looks good.

It may be the height of summer, but I’ve been battling strep throat over here. Yikes. I know. And there’s not much to do except for become one with my Netflix On-Demand account. Finally in a fit of cabin-fever/needing to stir up my usual three movie rotation on Saturday night, I spritzed my hair with Bee Mine Daily Moisturizing Sprits, grabbed my jar of Bee Mine Be Hold Curly Butter, turned on Lost in America, and got to braiding.

Because time was on my side, I braided the sections a little smaller than normal, but I think my entire head only took me about an hour.

Then around 9:30pm (my bedtime these days…), I tied a silk scarf around my head and went to bed in the infirmary (aka my bedroom). One thing I like to do is to at least make myself look good even if I don’t feel great. It’s like this placebo effect that kind of works for me. Kind of.

I applied a bit of the The Damn Salons Butter Moisturizing Butter before unbraiding each section to reduce frizz. The results: fierce.

I love this look, and have now been reminded that I LOVE braid outs! I think I prefer the bigness, the volume, and the texture of this style to twist outs.

So while I may not be in tip top shape over here, hopefully soon my body and will catch up with my hair.

I also want to send a special shout to my roommate Dylan who has not only been right by my side during this whole sickness, but also- with his own swollen tonsils- quite possible the root cause of the issue in the first place. (Defffff not ruling that one out) There’s been a lot of ups and downs in this whole ride, and certainly a complete lack of internet in our rooms, but what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger and I think we’ve certainly achieved that with this one. Hopefully, this will never happen again.

The Damn Salon Part 2: My Damn Trim

I’ll be honest: I don’t like to have my hair trimmed.  I avoid it at all costs until my fuzzy, tangled ends are, well, unavoidable.  There’s two main reasons I don’t like getting my hair trimmed:

  1. It takes a good two to three hours to trim me up.  Every natural struggles with the question of whether or not they should cut their hair in its natural state or if they should cut it blown out.  Because I only wear my hair coily, I like to have it cut coily.  But the process of clipping each individual coil is time consuming because each coil must be fine tooth combed  for an even cut.  Which leads me to point two.
  2. Fine tooth combing my hair destroys, and I mean DESTROYS my curl pattern.  My coils are made of about 10-15 (maybe more) strands of fine hair.  Running a comb pulls these strands apart  and instead a head of springy curls, I’m left with an afro helmet that takes a lot of work to coerce back into my coils.

All of that said, I know that trimming is a super healthy part of maintaining a healthy head of hair and so every 4-5 months I trudge to the salon for my trim when my scrappy ends finally force me into it.  Last week in Atlanta, I knew that I wanted to bop into the Damn Salon to see what it was all about.  Known for their haute styles such as City Twists, I was unsure if this would be the best place for a simple cut.  Then I noticed they offered trims on their menu of services.  ”Hmm…a Damn Trim…I dunno….” I thought to myself.  And then I read words on their site that totally convinced me:

 

WARNING! DO NOT LET ANYONE TELL YOU THAT YOU NEED TO PRESS OR STRAIGHTEN NATURAL HAIR TO TRIM IT.  As we have informed you, all straightening processes are damaging to natural hair. Therefore, why expose your hair to harm in order to do something that is healthy? Trimming is very beneficial and necessary for the growth of your hair. It can and SHOULD be done in natural hair’s natural state. We have perfected the intricate art of  trimming natural hair, so the next time someone tells you to straighten your hair so they can trim it… tell them you’d rather be damned! Then call us.

COLOR ME SOLD!  An appointment was made.

Unsure of what to expect, I drove with my ATL adventure buddy Megan from NaturallyCurly.com out to The Damn Salon.  Immediately upon entering, I was immersed in the world of The Damn: stylish black, red, and gray hues with luxe salon appointments.  I perched myself atop the black leather couch sipping a cool glass of water while the stylist Fatimah gave me a Damn consultation before I hopped into the styling chair.

While getting my Damn Trim, we talked about every damn thing from music to politics to education to hair.  When the Damn Founder, Mushiya strolled in exuding the confident, sexy, grace that defines Damn and asked if we ate beef, it didn’t even register that I was minutes away from being served one of the most delicious lunches to recent memory.  Herbed pilaf and sauteed steak complete with a refreshing carafe of sweet white wine.  Jealous?  You Damn well should be, it was divine!

Although a quieter Damn day, another customer came in to have her City Twists taken down for her graduation  that night.  We all oohed and ahhed.  They looked good.  Damn good.  Then in the blink of an eye, a stylist had pulled her City Twists into one of the most elegant Damn updos I’ve ever seen!

Eventually my trim was completed and I stared at my infamous post-trim helmet of coil-less hair.  It needed a Damn style so I asked my stylist Fatimah to hook it up.  And she did.  The end result was an off center mohawk-esque style that was carefully engineered using just two ponytail holders and a couple bobby pins.  Finally!  FINALLY!  I was thrilled with the results of a trim!

 

Afterward Mushiya returned to chat with us about all that is Damn and we proceeded to have one of the most memorable conversations surrounding style and natural hair trends to recent memory.  This woman has so much Damn moxie that it’s palpable.  With her Damn hands in everything from hair to fashion to design to photography to cosmetics to music, she has single handedly created a Damn empire that I’m confident is changing the rules of the natural hair game.

All in all it was a great Damn day and for the first time on my natural journey I can say that I left the salon thrilled with a trim.  I guess all I needed was a Damn Trim.

Haute Damn! An Interview with The Damn Salon (part 1)

The Damn Salon.  Heard of them?  You need to.

I first connected with these natural hair style setters back in February at Fro Fashion Week.  During the runway show the Damn ladies set it off with their fierce attitude, sexy confidence, not to mention hair that was both beautifully sculpted and wildly free.  I had no idea who or what The Damn Salon was, but I knew that that they were on a whole other level of natural hair and I had to find out.  And I did, in an e-terview with The Damn founder, Mushiya, who is all that is Damn and so much more.  Read on and come join the world of Damn…

 

 

Natural Selection: What exactly goes on at the Damn Salon?

The Damn Salon: Everything!  No seriously everything that makes a women be a women and want to enjoy and exhault her womenness. Hair Styling. Make-up. Fashion. Dress up. Music. Gourmet dining. Lobster, sometime steak, sometimes Salmon. It just depends on the day. Laughter. Tears. Debates. Mental Stimulation. Creation of new long lasting relationships. Networking. Modeling. Confidence Building. Bitch building. Everyone needs a little bit of bitch in them too. The Damn Salon is a getaway, not just  your everyday vacation getaway, but one that brings you back to reality with a new motivation, a new attitude and a new outlook on beauty, self love, and life itself. Most woman that come to the salon, no matter who bad they looked or felt, leave feeling like not only are they the hautest thing in town, but that they can conquer the world, or at least their city.  Image a room full of 9, maybe 13,  maybe 17 women, where everyone is laughing, dining and wining while being pampered, and everyone is just happy. The  Damn Salon’s ambiance is too powerful to be destroyed. One can come in with a bad attitude and immediately be altered and hypnotized with peace. Its not just about hair. Damn is a movement.

NS: I love the concept of The Damn Salon, blending natural hair and high fashion, where did the Damn inspiration come from?

TDS: It was simple and hardly thought out. There is nothing sexier than a women who can confidently and properly where her natural hair. Meanwhile there are so many women who are unhappy on the inside because of how they look on the outside. I knew that a few hours I could take ANY confident-less women and just with a few combs, brushes, and color, use my fashion and beauty expertise to change them on the inside for the rest of their lives.

 

NS: Can you describe what it means to be Damn sexy?

TDS: To be damn sexy is really in the walk. The walk and posture of a women says everything about herself. Without opening her mouth, her walk can tell you whether she is having a bad day, doesn’t love herself, is a ho, or thinks she is the hautest bitch in town. To be damn sexy is to have a walk that omits poise, class, confidence and a little bit of bitch. It is to wear whatever the hell you want, do your natural hair however the hell you want it and then walk like this is what need to be on the next runway. Sexiness is not really about sexiness. It is about conviction. If you believe you are damn sexy, then so the hell will everyone else.

 

NS: What advice can you give to readers who are stuck in a style rut?

TDS: This is an emergency. Immediately cease and desist what you are doing and get yourself to The Damn Salon because we perform urgent hair and makeover care.

NS: Can you tell me about your Damn Products?

TDS: Its simple. A lot of the hair and body products out there that claim to be natural ARE NOT NATURAL. Pick up a bottle of whatever. If it contains petroleum, alcohol or mineral oils, just to name a few, then IT IS NOT NATURAL. The above named substances are damaging to your hair and to your skin, as they clog your pores and prevent the moisturizing and beneficial ingredients from penetrating your scalp. The results of such a product leave your skin and hair feeling oily and heavy, but still dry as the oil just sits on top of your skin or your hair serving no purpose at all.

 

Our hair and body products consist of organic, 100% natural ingredients and are so natural that they have expiration dates.  From our anti-age and anti-stretch mark body butter to our natural hair butter, our poducts contain natural herbs, oils and butters that open your pores, moisturize, and supply your scalp with the nutrition it deeply needs. As a result, it leaves your hair and skin feeling light while making your skin glow and your hair grow. Products can be purchased online via www.thedamnboutique.com.

NS: What is next for The Damn Salon?

TDS: The Damn Salon is preparing for the utmost beauty production that society has ever seen. Yes thats right. The production previewed  to be held in September of this year, will showcase damn in its entirety including damn hair, original damn musique and performances, damn fashion (original pieces created by the designers of damn, damn models and much more. The beauty and fashion industry is not ready. It will make everbody simply utter…. “damn.”

 

 

Classy.  Confident.  Haute DAMN!  Stay tuned for Part 2: A Damn Salon visit for a Damn Trim

 

Fro Fashion Week Wrap Up (lots of pix and vids!)

My feet are aching, my eyes are drooping, and my curls are frizzing,  but I can say that without a doubt I LOVED FRO FASHION WEEK. Tarin Boone, organizer of the event, really outdid herself with this event. Fro Fashion Week created a community of participants as diverse as our curls who came from all over the country with the common goal of celebrating our natural hair in all of its forms.

It was a truly beautiful experience and I am going back to San Francisco with many fond memories and new friends (not to mention a lot of samples!!) from the weekend.  One of my favorite highlights was a session in which a conference attendee did her big chop on stage.  I mean getting your big chop is scary, but doing it in front of a room-full of people, how terrifying, right!?

Wrong.

At Fro Fashion Week it was like having hundreds of friends support you with every single snip of a strand, telling you how amazing you look and how you’re making an amazing decision.  It was a really powerful moment (and yes there were a few tears in the house) for us all to share as Michelle started a new, natural life.

The end result! Beautiful isn't it??!!

I was not only inspired by the strength of the community, but the passion and creativity of those within the our natural family.  From Tarin’s visionary dedication to creating this event to amazing styles that I saw created by stylists and non-professionals alike to the mixtresses blending herbs and oils to nourish our strands, this was a phenomenal platform for all to share their talents.

Oh and what about the FASHION you say?  The last event of the event was a run way show displaying hair and clothing designs by local salons and designers and we all got to see some really innovative things in the natural hair world!

The bottom line is that I am leaving to go back home confident that fro’s are not just in fashion, but a permanent lifestyle shift.

Special thanks again to Komaza Care for sponsoring this trip to Fro Fashion Week and for providing samples of their wonderful Coconut Curl and Shea Lotions for attendees!  If you haven’t tried their stuff yet, it comes highly recommended from this frequent user!  They keep my coilies moisturized, defined, and happy!

Without further ado: the pix:

Kenyada of All Tressed Up hooking up a new curlfriend with some comb coils in the Beauty Lounge
Felecia Leatherwood tries out a faux-puff on an attendee for the “Esperanza” look
One of my new friends, Adrienne of Me, My Hair, and the City. We are life twins. It is awesome.
Amazing fro hawk, right??
Ken, Amanda, Nellie, and Brian of Huetiful (the steamer everyone wants/needs to get their hands on) pose at the Mix and Mingle Party

How gorgeous are these locs???

Chilling with one of the reps from The Damn Salon after the runway show. Great style and great hair.
A shot of the different textures seen around the workshops. My favorite place to sit was in the back of the rooms so I could look at everyones hair!
Living No Lye and Natural Selection

Models from The Damn Salon

My favorite thing I’m bringing home: Zip It’s were given to all attendees by sponsor Woman Can Do Everything. What’s a Zip It? Gets hair out of the sink drain!!!! Life changing I’m sure.

The Paparazzi in the front row of the runway sho

Models take their final walk down the runway. I NEED NEED NEED one of those crochet dresses.

Tarin and I after the runway show. Love this woman not to mention her awesome style!!

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