Dishing Natural Hair How To’s as a Nappturalite Guru

On Sunday I had the pleasure of joining the Nappturalite Radio Crew for a very fun “Ask the Nappturalite Gurus” radio segment.  Readers submitted their pressing questions through Facebook and Twitter and along with Adrienne Brown of Me, My Hair and The City we responded to listeners questions.

The main points we discussed where:

  • The how to’s of ACV rinsing and washing
  • How to pump up twists on fine, thin hair
  • Tips for dealing with an itchy scalp
  • Our favorite product brands

To check out the full radio show, visit the show page here.  Our Q&A segment is at 59:00.  The rest of the show as always is chock full of good info, especially with this week’s focus of on perfecting your blow out!  Such an important thing to learn how to properly do or else you risk damaging your natural hair beyond repair.

 

Twisted Up, Down, and Out (the final chapter twist out + fierce updo)

It’s been an interesting ride along this twist out roller coaster, and finally things are coming to a close.  Kind of.

After the fuzz really started creeping in, I carefully unraveled my twists for my final twist out look.  I got some nice definition (not the best I’ve had, but nice enough).

However, I lasted about 30 minutes before I was rummaging in my bag for some bobby pins.  I can’t fathom how I was so into having my side swoop Aaliyah bangs for so long because I totally could NOT hang with my twists hanging in my face.  Annoying.

So once I pinned them back off my face, I was good to go.

The next day I separated my twists upon wake up, but it didn’t look great.  Lola was frizzy and had inconsistent curl patterns.  But she was big and stretched out.

And at this moment, I realized it was go time for the “Monae” updo.  Again, I broke out the bobby pins and went for it.  I wasn’t sure if I would be able to achieve this or how it would look, but as stated in the survey results, I had goal and I was going to make it happen.

Much to my surprise, I did it!  And it took less than 5 minutes!  There is no way that you won’t feel like a total badass with hair that defies gravity like this style does.  I got heaps of compliments and ended up rocking this style for three days because it was so easy to take down at night and pin up again in the morning.

Ok, so right now you’re probably thinking onnnnne thing: what the heck is up with the sunglasses, Cass??

Ha.  I don’t know.  Just noticed their starring role in this post myself.  I promise no popped vessels or bruises or bad eyeliner jobs, just a really rocking pair of glasses and a bunch of sunshine.

Here’s a little synopsis of Lola’s vacation from the ol’ faithful wash’n'go.  I think these snaps really capture the evolution and versatility of this one style.  Thanks for your votes, it’s been a good ride!!

Banding to stretch

Two Strand Twists

Pinned with a flower

Twist out!

Separated and stretched post-twist out

French twist texture shot

The final updo

So where do I buy a natural doll?

Since receiving American Girl’s disappointing canned marketing response (if you haven’t seen it, check it out here), I’ve had dolls on the mind.  It seems as though American Girl, for the time being is not going to be introducing any “brown skinned dolls with curly, kinky hair” into their line.  Many of you have since resolved not to purchase from the company and instead are seeking out other options.  The New Naturalista put together an excellent list of dolls more reflective of natural hair styles including those with locs, curls, twists, braids, and fros.

Karito Kids

Corolle Les Cheries Doll Cecile

For years and years and years, Mattel has been under fire from just about everyone who doesn’t match Barbie’s blonde/leggy/blue-eyed/unrealistic hip-to-boob proportions (which is just about everyone), but recently I’ve peeped a lot more diversity in their product line, including a doll with a TWA (teeny-weeny-afro) that I think is just stunning.

Now the interesting thing is that American Girl is a subsidiary of Mattel, the same people that produce Barbie.  The main point here is that if we keep voicing our demands to see a natural hair American Girl reflected in the product line, I am confident that we will eventually see change.  Until then, there ARE other options out there.  Happy shopping!

Pomp and CURLstance: Fatemeh (+EARRING GIVEAWAY!)

Another Monday, but not just another Pomp and CURLstance feature.  This week we have Fatemeh, one of the Bay Area Naturals who recently launched Fatemeh’s Jewelry and Accessories. Fatemeb’s new sells super cute crochet and beaded earrings, scarves, bags, and hair accessories on Etsy.   Confession: I am an Etsy JUNKIE and am really excited to feature and support creative crafters and entrepreneurs.  In honor of this exciting Etsy launch, we’re doing a giveaway of this pair of earrings:

Read on to the end of the interview for details on how to win!

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Letter From a Transitioning Reader

A couple days ago I received a note from a Natural Selection reader that I wanted to share because it brings up a lot of issues and frustrations about a tricky phase of the natural process: transitioning.  This in-between phase, where you’re neither fully natural nor fully relaxed can prove quite challenging because you’re dealing with two hair textures on one head.  Read on for the letter and my response….

“Cassadie, I am trying to go natural and having a difficult time.  I wore a relaxer for 25 years and have been wearing braids for 18 months.  I have shoulder length hair with relaxer only on the ends now.  My hair does not grow out of my head curly at all so I have been wetting it and braiding it at night, using some of the products mentioned on your site.  I feel completely defeated in less than a week’s time. When my hair is wet, it is just wet; meaning it does not curl up.  It is just large, and wet. From reading the site, it does not appear as though other women are having to braid at night, but I cannot be certain.  And I am not feeling good about all the hair products being so close to my face – I am prone to breakouts.  So, is this just a matter of being patient, and training the hair? Or am I going about this all wrong with the braiding at night?  Or is it that some of  us can’t go natural?


Worn out in SF”

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Redefining Natural

1nat·u·ral: \ˈna-chə-rəl, ˈnach-rəl\ Function: adjective

Definition: 1 a : being in accordance with or determined by nature b : having or constituting a classification based on features existing in nature 2. occurring in conformity with the ordinary course of nature 3 a : closely resembling an original : true to nature b : marked by easy simplicity and freedom from artificiality, affectation, or constraint c : having a form or appearance found in nature

Well, that’s how the dictionary defines natural, but when speaking about natural hair, what does ‘natural’ mean exactly? This is a question that has been coming up more and more often in conversation these days.  For many, the term “natural hair” may conjure images of a large-and-in-charge, picked-out, supafly  icons of the 70′s.

J5

Angela Davis

Pam Grier as Foxy Brown

Soul Train!

Don’t get me wrong, I think these vintage heads of hair are gorgeous and I am well aware of the statement that an afro made during this period of social revolution. However, here we are in 2010, in the midst of another, perhaps even larger (and what I believe permanent) movement of natural hair becoming more popular among the masses and I think that we need to redefine what exactly natural means to us now. Continue reading

Cravings + Anxiety

I’m craving braids.  Perhaps it’s my week in twists or perhaps it’s the fact that June is right around the corner and I’ve had braids for the past two summers.  But I want ‘em, need to have ‘em, can’t stop thinking about ‘em.  I’m particularly interested in a set of Senagalese Twists.  And while the thought of getting braids and having low maintenance hair for a couple months thrills me, I kind of feel like this girl:

Terrified.  Full of anxiety.  Pretty certain that I’m on the brink of disaster.

I’ve had braids so many times before, so why am I feeling like this now?  To put it simply, I’ve kind of gotten attached to Lola and making sure Lola is as happy and healthy as possible.  While braids can improve the health of hair, there is a lot of pulling, tugging, combing, and manipulation required to do them, all of which can be potentially damaging.

And I *know* that once the braids/twists are in, all I’m going to be thinking is “Lola!  Are you ok in there!!???  Are you breaking off?  Splitting?  Dry?  Hungry? Tired? Oh my god, answer me!”.  But I know Lola won’t be able to “answer” me unless I take the braids out, which I won’t because they cost $150, took 7 hours to do, and last for two months.  I can see me now: descending into a vortex of despair and anxiety instead of having a summertime-and-the-livin-is-easy couple of months.

But I have an active imagination, this I know about myself quite well.  I know that I just need to find best practices for braid maintenance and tips/advice that can help me plug up this well of anxiety that is gushing out from my heart at an unbelievably fast rate, polluting the Gulf of Mexico and the Southern Coast, er….I mean my head and this blog….

Anyone have any tips out there on how to best care for braids/twists?  Help a girl out!

Totally Twisted

Guess who got motivated yesterday and set herself up with a head full of two strand twists?

THIS GIRL!

I rarely do two strand twists because they can take quite a chunk of time, however every few months, I’m down to invest the time.  Besides, after the initial upfront time, you don’t have to do much to your hair and then few days later you get to take them out and have a really sweet twist-out style!

To set these twists I co-washed and detangled with JessiCurl Aloeba Daily Conditioner, deep conditioned with my favorite Aubrey Organics GBP, and once everything was all rinsed out I used Karen’s Body Beautiful Hair Milk as a leave in.  (I have to say, the KBB Hair Milk is a fantastic product; it makes my hair feel like silk!  I don’t know why I don’t use this stuff more often…oh wait….yes, yes  I do:  it makes me smell like a Glade Plug In for 2 days.  It doesn’t smell bad, just floral, spicy and STRONG.  It has turned heads before.    I’ll will be repurchasing this one, just not in the Chamomile Sage scent…)  Then I used Afroveda’s  Ginger Almond Butter to put the twists in.

The twists came out ok.  Not great, just ok.  I don’t think the Afroveda butter was good at keeping the twists frizz free.  Now, the one thing I did notice was that my twists have gotten long!  The front twists now lie on top of my eyebrows while the back twists fall to the back of my neck.  It’s been about 6 months since I did the big chop and it’s really cool to be able to see such noticeable growth!  I went digging through my pictures so that you too can see how Lola’s twists have grown since the big chop.

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A Big Chop Surprise!

This is Keisha.

Naturally Brunchin'

Product Swappin'

We met at the Bay Area Natural’s Brunch on Saturday April 19th.  As you can see from these pictures taken at the aforementioned Brunch affair, Keisha was rocking a beautiful set of Senagalese Twists.  This intricate, yet simple, style is similar to a braid except that it uses only 2 strands to create a long free-flowing twist.  What’s especially great is that this style can last up to three months with proper up-keep.  Keisha’s definitely were in good shape and even inspired me to perhaps try out the style for the summer….

So imagine my surprise when I received an email from Keisha just a few days after the Brunch asking about my Big Chop experience at Sassy Salon in San Francisco where she had scheduled a hair cut for that Saturday!  Was she just oh-so inspired by the meet-up that she had decided to take down the twists and rock her natural hair out I asked?  Turns out the answer was YES.   Continue reading

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