Going Natural: Is It Just Hair?

You can find this lady on YouTube and this is all her real hair; natural.

Have you always wanted beautiful, long hair that cascades down your back? Most women do. That’s why weave and hair care is a billion dollar industry and Black women make up the majority who buy into it. Buying products that promise to grow your hair when in reality they are stunting your hair growth by using ingredients that make it nearly impossible for your hair to ever get passed the follicle! And if you can’t grow it, you have TLC telling you that you can buy it.

Who tells you how to grow it, though? Where are the people telling you that you are beautiful the way you are?   Not in the main stream.  Every 6 to 8 weeks, it’s time for a touch up; every month or 3 months, it’s time for a new weave. The world has no idea what your real natural hair looks like, your family doesn’t know, shoot, you don’t even know!

Why is there so much emphasis placed on making “our” hair look “better?” Why do we believe that our hair is not beautiful? Because it is different? So are our lips, noses, legs, thighs, and skin color, and everyone wants injections and tans. Imagine if we embrace our natural hair and wear it proudly like we do every other part of our body instead of trying to make it look like something it’s not. Imagine how you would feel if you studied your natural hair and grew it out and it was all yours? You would be proud of it! Why don’t we put effort into growing and caring for our real hair and wear it?  And I don’t just mean real hair, I mean relaxer free!

Many would say they don’t like their natural hair and as soon as it begins to peek through in the root area, we perm it down. I used to, too, so I know! How would you know if you liked your natural hair if you haven’t seen it since you were 6? Who told you something was wrong with it and why did you believe them? Give your natural hair a chance!

People often say it’s a personal choice or preference, which is absolutely true, but don’t tell me it’s no big deal or it’s not that serious! That’s where I draw the line! It is deeper than that. Why would you spend big money regularly (or get it done for  free for this matter) to make your hair look the exact opposite of the way it grows from your scalp?  You just like it, right? However, it looks just like European hair, Chinese, Malaysian, or Indian hair, every type of hair except your own! Something is wrong with that! It’s a personal choice to lighten the skin too, but I wouldn’t recommend that! Look deeper! Maybe you wear fake hair that looks similar to your own. If you took the time to research and learn about your hair, you wouldn’t need to buy any weave! Find beauty within yourself and not in what society tells you is beautiful. Be confident in yourself!

Look familiar? This length? This texture?

People also say that there is nothing wrong with relaxing your hair. I disagree. A perm has the same ingredients as drain cleaner. What does drain cleaner do within 10 to 30 minutes? It breaks down a.k.a. burns everything out of your drains. It does the same thing to your hair and if you leave it on too long it will burn your hair all  the way out! Think about this; people stretch their perms , which means they get them less often, so their hair can grow, and it works, so if stretching works, imagine what stopping would do.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with variety and wearing your hair straight from time to time, but there is something wrong with hating the way your natural hair looks and never letting it see the light of day. There is something wrong if you feel shameful or ugly when you are wearing your natural hair. It lies deep within. So deep it sometimes goes unrealized. We talk about each other and put each other down for being real. There is a popular saying in the natural community, “Remove the kinks from your mind, not your hair.” That is what we need to do. Hearing people say things like, “Being natural isn’t for everyone.” Really though? That is a mind boggler for me. Let’s take a quick second to define natural: 1. existing in or formed by nature 2. of or in agreement with the character of makeup or circumstances surrounding someone or something. -_- It grows from your scalp!  Moving on.  “It’s just hair,” is another one I hear.  Well, why are you doing so much to change it then? Why not just let the “hair” grow out of your scalp the way God intended?

People want what they can’t have. You’ve heard of teasing hair, shampoo for thickening, volume and body and have seen numerous tools and products to change the texture of hair. Whether your hair is kinky, curly, straight, or wavy, learn it, love it, embrace it, and don’t let anyone make you feel any less than beautiful. You are beautiful, naturally.

UPDATE!!!!

So sorry I’ve been gone for so long!!!! I do have some updates with my hair to share with you though :).   I have been wearing the mini twists regularly and the last time I wore them, I kept them in for a month.  I’ve noticed a lot of growth since starting this protective style and I really like the versatility of the mini twists they allow me to do many different styles.

I started using the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie to refresh my twists every other day and it does what it promises, takes away frizz and defines the curls.  I also spray my twists with a water and glycerin mix every other day before applying the curl enhancing smoothie.  Keep in mind my regimen is still the same.  The curl enhancing smoothie is used as a styling agent that also helps to moisturize,  it keeps my hair light and curly at the ends (I don’t apply much, a little goes a looooong way :). Here are a few pics of my twists in March and April.

Let me know if you have any questions

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Natural Hair Encouragement

 

Background

I did my big chop on February 10, 2010 after transitioning for almost 7 months.  I was unaware of how many other woman had decided to go natural and had already started their journey until I came across a video on Youtube while looking for hairstyles.  I saw this woman with long natural hair down her back and she was showing her natural journey, it was amazing!  I watched her cut her relaxed hair off up to about and inch or two of new growth then she showed the progression up to her being natural for one year.  Her hair had grown past her shoulders right before my eyes.  I had already started transitioning when I saw this video, but I had no idea I was about to learn so many new things about my natural hair.  Over the next few months I watched many youtube videos about natural hair and did lots of research on what I should and shouldn’t use.  I found out after doing my big chop that you just have to find out what works for you.  I tried a few products I had heard good reviews about, some of them worked well and others i was not impressed with.  I had originally planned on transitioning for a year, but after seeing so many ladies going for it and chopping off that relaxed hair on camera, it boosted my confidence.  At six months of transitioning my new growth was really showing and it was difficult to continue blending the 2 textures together.  My husband was such a great supporter, he was the one who said, “what are you waiting for, why don’t you just cut it now?”  Knowing that he would still love me and support me even with just a few inches of hair on my head, really gave me that extra boost I needed.

The Big Chop

I prepared myself for the big chop, since I went to school for cosmetology, I was able to cut my own hair evenly.  I made sure I had my deep conditioner, leave in conditioner, my shower cap and even some headbands and flowers to accessorize with.  I’ve worn my hair short before, but never as short as I chopped it this time.  I didn’t cry though, once I felt my new hair and how soft it was, I was so happy.  I felt so proud of myself, my heritage, my ‘roots’.  It really was liberating.  When I decided to go natural it wasn’t because I was thinking of going back to my ancestors roots or being afrocentric or militant or anything like that.  I had let my hair grow out a few times before and loved the styles I was able to create, but I just never knew how to manage my natural tresses (they don’t teach you much about ethnic hair in beauty school) and I always ended up going back to a relaxer or texturizer because I didn’t know how to deal with the two textures on my head.  This time I learned some basic tips for managing my natural hair so I was confident when I did the big chop.

Anticipation

My hair seemed like it was growing so slow at first, I kept thinking “I’m never gonna be able to wear a ponytail again!”.  My husband would reassure me that it was growing to make me feel better, but I still had a feeling of “what am I gonna do?”.  Sometimes when i wanted to just run out of the house, I would feel the need to hide my hair under a wig or a hat.  Soon I did start to notice growth (thanks to taking pictures every month) and I started trying out different styles.  I learned about protective styles and how important they are to retaining length.  I started seeing my texture better as it grew and was happy to find products that defined my curls and allowed me to wear it in its natural state.  My comments went from “what are you gonna do to it now?” to “ooh how did you get your hair like that?” Next thing I know I was able to get a puff! That became one of my signature styles in the summer.  You can wear a puff up high or down low, off to the side or with bangs, put headbands or barettes to decorate it.  I love my puffs lol.  When I’m not going anywhere and my husband isn’t home, I keep my satin bonnet on most of the day and try to keep it in twists or braids.

Discovery

Now at 9 months post big chop I am able to pull my hair into a ponytail (with some help from gel and bobby pins) and I am so excited.  It really just takes patience and knowing how to care for you hair and I believe anyone can see great results.  Once you get past the first stage, if you aren’t used to seeing yourself with short hair, you will be fine.  You can focus on other things like accessories and clothes.  There are actually books about what colors look best on each skin tone and how to bring out your eyes etc.  I would have never stumbled across some of these things if I weren’t on this natural journey. It has made me learn a lot more about myself and things I like.  Trying new things is good and I’ve even started eating healthier.  Having beautiful hair and skin starts from the inside.  It truly is a journey, you have to make pit stops, go through construction, take detours and see some beautiful sites as well.  For me, the natural journey is not just about hair, it’s about my life as whole, it has opened up a new outlook for me; how I look at other people,  I am guilty of looking at someones natural hair in the past and thinking “its time for a perm” or “she got some naps in the kitchen”. I feel shamed that I used to think that way, but part of this journey led me to do research on words used to describe our hair such as, “nappy”, words used to degrade us and make us feel that “our” hair is not pretty or acceptable.  I also looked up information about black woman in the past and present and why so many of us feel that we need to have straight hair to be excepted. There are reasons why we feel that way.  I still like straight hair and I’m not saying everyone with a relaxer only gets it to “fit in”, but a lot of woman don’t even know what their natural hair texture is.  I was one of them!

Coming to Terms with Myself

I stopped and asked myself why was i getting relaxers every 3 months, and the answer was, so my “roots” don’t show.  Even after going to school for cosmetology and learning what relaxers and texturizers and colors were made of and what they actually do to our hair, I still continued to get them. WHY?  I finally figured out that I was afraid to let my hair grow out because of what other people would think and how it would make me feel.  To me that was a poor excuse, especially after seeing my hair damaged by a girl down here who said she knew what she was doing (had a license) when she put the last texturizer in my hair and applied it wrong, leaving my hair limp and lifeless.   I decided enough was enough, I haven’t seen my natural hair since I was 6 years old.

A Beautiful Journey

Going through the phases to get where you want to be is well worth it.  If you are considering going natural, do a little research, ask some questions and go for it!  You can ask me anything you want.  If you have no desire to let your natural hair grow out, still do some research and find out how to take good care of your hair.  A lot of things I was doing to my relaxed hair were wrong and I never would have known.  Remember, having natural hair doesn’t mean you have to wear it in its natural state all the time and you don’t have to do the big chop if you don’t want to.  I’m so glad i made the decision to go natural. I don’t remember the last time my hair was as healthy as it is now.  I wish I would have done this a long time ago!

I know this was long but I hope someone has been encouraged and educated. If you would like to share your story of going natural or if you are still transitioning, please send it to me at iprefer2benatural@yahoo.com

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This is my personal natural hair story in hopes of encouraging others, these are my opinions and experiences and not meant to offend anyone. All are welcome on this site regardless of what your hair condition is, chemically processed or natural.  This blog has many other things to offer that aren’t focused solely on natural hair.

Hair Maintenance

Maintaining Those Tresses 

This is a topic that I think would be beneficial to a lot of us regardless of whether we are natural or relaxed.  The one thing our hair has in common is that we must maintain it if we want it to look nice. The the steps to maintain  hair are simple, but I’d like to break them down for you.

  1. Shampoo Before we begin to shampoo our hair we should gently finger comb through it to loosen up tangles and residue.  When washing our hair, treat it as if it were fine silk—Delicately.  Allow the water to completely saturate your hair before adding shampoo.  Leave hair hanging down and gently massage in shampoo starting at the roots and working down to the ends.  Never pile shampoo on top of your head.  This is a good time to give your scalp a nice massage using your fingertips, refrain from using your nails as this may irritate your scalp.  The massage will get your blood circulating as well as help lift product and residue from your scalp.
  2. Conditioning Conditioner creates shine and preserves hair health by giving it smoothness and protecting against damage.  For volume, condition only the middle and ends of your hair, where it’s most susceptible to damage.  For shine, condition the entire strand.  Do it every time you use shampoo and more often if you want.  A good time to detangle your hair is after the conditioner has sat in your hair for the time you’d like and right before you rinse it out.  Its okay if you want to section your hair and plat or twist it as you detangle, you can rinse without taking your plats/twists out, this way your hair is already detangled when you begin to dry it.When deep conditioning find a conditioner that says to leave it on for at least 10 minutes.  Try to squeeze or ring as much water from your hair using your hands then section your hair into 4 sections and shingle the deep conditioner onto your hair, cover with a plastic cap.  When possible sit under a hair dryer for 10-15 minutes then rinse with luke warm or cold water if you can stand it.  If  a hair dryer is not available for you, leave the plastic cap on for a while until the heat from your body naturally heats up (usually an hour or longer) or try the Hair Therapy Wrap, then rinse as stated.
  3. Drying Don’t rub your hair with a towel or twist it tightly into a turban.  Wet hair is delicate and breaks easily.  Pat it gently and squeeze it with your towel or use a super absorbent towel.  Sometimes I use a cotton t-shirt or paper towels and just blot the access water out (also called plopping).  If you are using a blow dryer or hair dryer make sure to protect your hair with a leave in conditioner and a high smoke point oil such as sunflower oil or avocado oil, grape seed oil also has a high smoke point.  If possible don’t blow dry your hair.

TIPS:

When adding products we should always layer them, moisturizer and conditioner then oils and butters.  I normally add my products on wet or damp hair.  Never put oil on first unless you don’t intend to add any other products in some cases you can mix oil into your moisturizer/conditioner and add it all at once.  Oil seals in moisture and that is why you add it last to lock in all the good stuff and seal your cuticle shut.

When trying a new product for the first time, it’s a good idea not to mix it with other products, so that you can get a clear result.  Try your new products at least 2 or 3 times before giving up on it(unless you have an allergic reaction or your hair feels brittle, dry or limp afterward), some products take a few applications before you start to see results.  Read the instructions as well as the description of what the product actually does.  Find out what your hair likes and doesn’t like, for example my hair does not need protein, anytime I used a conditioner or shampoo with extra protein my hair would feel very brittle and hard. I finally realized that it was the protein after doing a little research.  When your hair already has enough of something naturally you don’t need to add more.  Here is a little test you can do to determine what your hair may or may not need:

Pull a wet strand of your hair from your head or capture one of your shed hairs. Pull on it steadily. (Wrap both ends around the index fingers of both hands to make sure it doesn’t slip off)
♣ If the hair stretches, but shrinks when you let go: your hair has enough protein
♣ If the hair stretches a lot, and does not shrink back, it lacks protein.
♣ If it breaks, it needs moisture.
♣ If it seems to stretch and break, then try both protein and moisture treatments.

I will discuss protein and moisture treatments another time.

Let me know what you think or if you have any questions!  Rate, Comment, SUBSCRIBE!!!

A breakdown of oils for our hair

Essential Oils & Carrier Oils

This is a guide to essential oils & carrier oils for kinky-curly, or natural hair of African descent. Your hair can benefit from two types of oils. These two types of oils are essential oils and carrier oils. Essential oils are fragrant oils that are actually the concentrated essence, or ‘life force’ of a plant. Essential oils are light and do not feel like an oil. They evaporate quickly. You would mix essential oils with a carrier oil before you put it on your hair to prevent skin irritation. Carrier oils are oily in consistency. They can be oil from a vegetable, a fruit, a nut, or even a seed.

Essential Oils for Natural Hair

All essential oils are not created equal. Look for the highest grade you can find. Only buy Complete Essential Oils or Genuine Grade A Essential Oils. These are oils that contain the most natural oil and the least amount of additives and chemicals. Some essential oils for the hair are:

Basil♦stimulates the scalp.

Cedarwood ♦an astringent, antiseptic, balances production of sebum, and stimulates the scalp. Sebum is your hair’s natural oil.

Chamomile ♦adds sheen and conditions the hair.

Eucalyptusremoves dandruff and has antiseptic properties.

Frankincense ♦used to get rid of dry scalp.

Jasmine ♦often used for fragrance.

Lavender ♦used for dandruff and fragrance.

Lemon ♦cleanses the hair and scalp and improves hair elasticity.

Myrrh ♦used for dry hair and scalp.

Orange Oil ♦helps the hair by regulating the production of sebum. Sebum is your hair’s natural oil.

Palmarosa ♦helps the hair by regulating the production of sebum. Sebum is your hair’s natural oil.

Patchouli ♦treats dandruff and oily hair.

Peppermint ♦stimulates the scalp.

Rose Oil ♦used as fragrance and to sooth the scalp.

Rosemary Oil ♣(DO NOT USE IF YOU ARE PREGNANT!) stimulates the scalp and treats dandruff.

Sandalwood Oil ♦an astringent, an anti-inflammatory, as well as an antiseptic. Use sandalwood oil to soothe a dry and irritated scalp.

Tea Tree Oil ♦used to treat dandruff and kill lice. Tea tree oil balances production of sebum and stimulates the scalp. Sebum is your hair’s natural oil.

Ylang-Ylang ♦balances production of sebum, stimulates the scalp. Sebum is your hair’s natural oil.

Carrier Oils for Natural Hair

You can use carrier oils with essential oils or by themselves. A popular, readily available, and inexpensive carrier oil is extra virgin olive oil. Other carrier oils for the hair are:

Almond Oil ♥a light, non greasy, fast absorbing hair conditioner.
Apricot Kernel Oil ♥used for dry hair. It makes your hair shiny and moisture rich. It contain a large amount of linoleic acid which is essential for cell health.
Avocado Oil ♥a light, protein and vitamin rich. It include vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, and potassium.
Castor Oil ♥a humectant. Humectants attract moisture into your hair.
Grapeseed Oil ♥odorless and vitamin rich. It makes your hair shiny and moisture rich. It contain a large amount of linoleic acid which is essential for cell health.
Hazelnut Oil ♥fast absorbing and medium weight. It contain a large amount of linoleic acid which is essential for cell health.
Jojoba Oil ♥simular to sebum, which is your hair’s natural oil. It can be used with or without an essential oil. It is often used 50/50 with another carrier oil to massage the scalp. Continue reading

Transitioning or New to Natural hair and frustrated?

Are you transitioning and have come to the point where you feel you can’t do anything else with your hair? Have you just done the BC (big chop) and can’t figure out where to go from here? I’d like to hear about some of your frustrations. I want us to be able to help each other because the natural hair journey has many bumps and potholes in the road. I’d like to share what I’ve learned and hopefully learn even more from others.

Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts or questions on the subject. Please subscribe to keep up with the up and coming articles.