Natural Hues

I have always loved contrast.  Especially when it is unexpected.  On my mother’s side of the family we have several family members with blue eyes with for no explainable reason.  It normally appears every other generation, but alas my generation failed to grab hold to those recessive genes.  On my father’s side we have bright red hair.  I love the look of rich copper skin topped off with warm red hair.  It reminds me of my Grandma.  When I was younger and would spend my summer’s in the sun my hair would lighten to a nice crimson and I loved it.

It is my interest in contrast that brought on my love for the Melanesian People.  Melanesia is an area of the south Pacific  that includes Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji, Solomon Islands and others.  The Melanesian people are the most ethnically diverse in the world characterized by the array of sun-kissed skin tones coupled with naturally blonde, red, brown or black curly hair.

fabulous blonde curls

beautiful brown with natural highlights

multi-colored tresses

glorious red head

For more awesome images check out the following link.

Do you have any natural reds, blondes or light brown tresses in your family?

Natural Hair Rocks

Janelle Monae.  Lil Wayne.  Goapele.  Yep, music is filled with plenty of artist rockin their natural hair. 

Here is a list of 10 great vids featuring fab natural hair:

Raphael Saadiq – Good Man

My girl Yaya DaCosta has some fierce hair, period.

Anothny David – 4Evermore ft. Algebra & Phonte

Natural hair all around and I love the natural wedding in this vid.

Dead Prez – Mind Sex

locs, fros; did you expect any less from Dead Prez?

Lauryn Hill & Bob Marley – Turn Your Lights Down Low

lots of men with lovely locs in this vid *clutches pearls*

Eric Benet – Sometimes I Cry

Eric has got his wild fro and i love that the female lead has short natural hair too.

Alicia Keys – Fallen 

Act like you didn’t run out and get some creative cornrows after watching this vid!

Erykah Badu – On & On

You wish you could rock a tablecloth headwrap like this :)

Floetry – Say Yes

Natural hair is sexy.

Res – There’s No Way

Locs, natural beauty and fashion. 

Groove Theory – Tell Me

I have an absolute hair crush on Amel Larrieux.  I.  Want.  Her.  Hair.

One Weave Queen’s Big Chop

This is a very special post for me.  My girl “Dio” has been my bestie since high school and we have been through so much for these 15+ years.   Dio has always been fierce and in style.  When she first expressed her thoughts to me about going natural my heart leaped for joy, but Dio changes her hair styles frequently so I was not too sure on whether or not she would continue.  When she called me last week to tell me she was finally going to big chopped I admit I hit my dougie.  I asked her to write a few words on why she went natural.

My sister C. Rose & Dio, before

September 2010, I had my last relaxer.  At that time, it was not a conscious decision to transition to being natural, but I had a weave in my hair from over the summer and when I took it out that fall, I decided to put in half wigs and just flat iron the front.  In September when I got that last relaxer my scalp was so irritated that I could not bring myself to put one in my hair in October and the half wigs worked so well, I figured that I would give my hair a much needed break for a couple of months before putting a relaxer in my hair in December.  December was the month that I HAD to look good.  It was the month that I was finally graduating from college so there were pictures to be had!  That winter after realizing that I did not die nor did my hair fall out from not having a relaxer I decided that I was going to go natural and see what would happen.  It was far better than having the constant flaky scalp from the psoriasis that was caused by my relaxer treatments. 

 Dio @ Granduation

Fast forward to present day.  I finally did it!  After wearing long weaves and relaxers as long as I could remember, it was time to cut off all my relaxed ends.  I had just had surgery and I decided that now was the time to do it, plus here in Las Vegas, it gets hot enough in the summer that I would rather have the option of easy, heat free styles that did not involve a half wig or weave to sweat under.  I just took braids out of my hair, so braids were not an option for me at this time either.  I did my research, found a hair stylist that specializes in natural hair here in Las Vegas (shout out to Braid Studio’s Veronica!) and I set my appointment.  Thankfully there was not that much to cut because I had done most of the work, unintentionally by chopping some of my braids too short when taking them down.  After eight months of transitioning, I was ready even though I originally planned to transition for a year.  That night when my mom saw my hair, she said, “At least you have your wigs” [editor's note: this is hillarious if you know Dio''s mom.  She is full of back-handed comments but will always tell you the truth, lol gotta love brutal honesty]  I get that this is not for everyone, but I embrace my tiny curls, and I will even rock a fro when the mood strikes.  It is a new beginning for me and while I will never say that I will not wear long weaves, half wigs and the sort ever again, I will say that I love the natural me and I love how it makes me feel. 

Thank you Dio for sharing your Big Chop story!

My Experience @ Natural Alternatives Salon

Natural Alternatives Salon

1949 Bardstown Road Louisville KY 40205

502.473.8882

www.NaturalAlternativesSalon.com

I wanted to look fly for the World Natural Hair Show so I called up Natural Alternatives Salon (NAS) and made an appointment with my stylist Dakota.  Dakota is a great natural hair stylists who is attentive to his client’s needs which for me means lots of time in the bowl on the scalp massage, no heat styling and avoiding products with cones, sulfates, mineral oil, etc as much as possible.

Dakota & I

When I walked in for my appointment I was greeted by the beautiful Jessica Taylor, the salon coordinator, who’s wonderful smile and sparkling personality welcomed me in.  I was offered my choice of wine, mimosa or Voss Artisan water from Norway.  From the lavish artistic decor, sweet smell of Aveda fragrance oil, the top of the line equipment and the best styling products it is evident that the NAS is not your average hair shop, but truly an upscale salon.

My hair was washed and conditioned with Alaffia, one of my favorite product lines.  Alaffia products are all natural and they also help support the women of West Africa where the Fair Trade Shea Butter is made.  I love spending time in the bowl because nothing is better than a good scalp massage and Dakota did not disappoint.

Under the MicroMist

Next I got my hair steamed under the MicroMist Ultra-Sonic Hair Steamer.  According to the manufacturer the MicroMist “treats hair more effectively than other steamers by using ultrasonic vibrations to emit an enormous quantity of microscopic water particles that permeate deep into hair follicles. After treatment, cooling air blows to reinforce fixation of treatment agents to hair follicles, while at the same time creates a relaxing and calming sensation for you.”

What I can say is that the MicroMist is different than other steamers that I have seen and used. First, is the fact that the Micro Mist uses a system of washable terry cloth velcro strips that wrap around your forehead to prevent dripping along with a cinching sack that keeps the steam in.  This is important as I have heard instances of people being burned by other steamers. Secondly, the MicroMist opens from the back which allows the stylist to access your hair without having to take you out from under it and reposition you.  Lastly, the MicroMist has a cooling cycle that works to close the cuticle after treatment and prevents burns from hot water/steam coming off the hair after treatment.

After my steam treatment I had my hair 2-Strand Flat Twisted while wet using Moroccan Oil Curl Control Cream and sat under the dryer for 25 minutes to set the style.  All in all I was at the shop for 90 minutes and spent $55 for the service and left a happy customer.  So if you are looking for a hair salon I strongly suggest you check out Natural Alternatives Salon.

Below are some additional pictures from the salon

if the sign is out front, then come on in
front desk
reception area
work station

Meet the Stylists:

Shaha & Regina
Te & Dakota

DIY: Yarn Braids

Guest Blogger Ra-Chelle Herrell

I had been searching for the best protective style for my budget and while searching on YouTube I saw a video on Yarn braids (Genie Locs) by BlackOnyx77.  It seemed very easy and more importantly economical because I couldn’t dish out over $100 for braids.

Materials:

  • 2 Skeins Red Hart Acrylic Yarn (available from Wal-Mart, Meijer, or Hobby Store)
  • Combs for parting and detangling
  • Clips for sectioning hair
  • Hair gel
  • Shea butter
  • Scissors
  • Lighter
  • Spray bottle

Prep: Wash/Co-wash hair and detangle. I added a protein leave-in treatment, which is optional. I then blow-dried my hair on low.

Using BlackOnyx77 method, I wrapped the yarn around the back of a chair and then cut the yarn to make even pieces.  I sprayed the yarn with water so it would not absorb the moisture out of the hair and dry it out. I added some of whipped shea butter to my hair to seal and protect.

Part the hair into four section and clip each section in place.  Starting in the back working from the bottom to the top of each section I began braiding.  Around the edges I used the 2 strand method and in the back and crown area I used the 3 strand method for thicker braids (these methods are explained in the video).  To finish each braid, I tied a double-knot and then burned the ends. Please be careful because I nearly took out my ear!

Depending on how fast you braid, this may be somewhat time consuming.  The entire process took me 10 hours.

I absolutely love these yarn braids. I love that they look like locs without the commitment of getting locs. They are not as heavy as I thought but I imagine they can be depending on how much yarn is used.  I would suggest yarn braids to anyone wanting a economical and somewhat long-term protective style.

BlackOnyx77 Yarn Braids Tutorial 1 of 2 

BlackOnyx77 Yarn Braids Tutorial 2 of 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kkzj7Xj5zoA

Editors note: DO NOT USE WOOL YARN as this will lock your hair!  Do not use cotton yarn as it will cause breakage and damage by aborbing the moisture from your hair.  Make sure you do not braid your hair too tightly as you can permanently damage your hair.  Remember to wash, condition and moisturize your yarn braids as you would your hair.  You can buy a braid spray from the BSS or you can create your own using 1 part conditioner to 4 parts water.

You can also check out Dontuwishuknu Yarn Braid Tutorial.

DIY Bra Strap Headband

While shopping at Wal-Mart this weekend I stumbled across an interesting find.  Goody is now selling bra strap headbands for $5.  Bra strap headbands are so cheap and easy to make yourself I couldn’t believe that they were being sold commercially.

I have attached a picture below of the Goody version.

I am a DIY’er at heart and many things I do out of pure necessity. I have used cloth belts, nylons, kiddie tights, ribbons, those clear straps to hold up a shirt or dress all for headbands.  I never thought of it as an ingenious way to make money.

I did a google search to discover that a lot of high end retailers such as H&M and Victoria’s Secret are selling them.  Good for them, but I believe that anyone can make them on their own at home.  The big appeal of the bra strap headband is that it is adjustable, just like you would adjust the straps to hold up your girls, so you can make it tighter or looser to fit your hair style.

To make a bra strap headband you can either use those extra straps that are included with strapless bras or cut the straps off of a bra that has seen better days.

If the strap still has the metal clasp on it you can use those to hook together in the back, slide the strap on your head and adjust the tightness.

Else if you don’t like the clasp and cut them off or you cut the straps off of your bra; then use some super glue (or hot glue) to attach the strap together to make the loop.  The best way to do this is to place the glue on one end of the strap then lay the other strap on top of it so it overlaps.  If you are handy with a needle you can also sew the straps together instead of gluing. (**Note: if using super glue be sure to have some acetone on hand just in case you glur your fingers together!)

And for my divas out there you can get even fancier by wrapping the connected piece with a strip of fabric and sewing or glueing over it.  You can also add buttons, flowers and other notions to doll up your headband.

I found a few easy DIY instructions here for those of you that need visuals.

http://theobjectproject.typepad.com/the_object_project/2009/08/upcycled-bra-strap-headband.html

http://ashbyfamilyblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/bra-strap-headband.html

http://thestir.cafemom.com/beauty_style/6912/diy_bra_strap_headband

This Goody BSH retails for $5

Product Review: Curls

Curls

www.curls.biz

@frizzfreeCURLS

http://www.facebook.com/FrizzFreeCurls

This is a wide-sweeping review of several products by haircare line Curls the labor of love by Mahisha Dellinger.  These products contain no paraben, sulfates, silicone, mineral oil, artificial coloring or animal by parts.

5 Things I Love About Curls:

1.  They have specific product lines for babies, kids and adults.

2.  This company regularly interacts with its customers on twitter, facebook and through email which shows their commitment to customer service.

3.  Curls is ALWAYS giving away free samples of their products whether it is with your order, to support a meet-up, for a review or just to try out.

4.  Their products smell delicious like frosting, juice, smoothies but are not overpowering.

5.  Curls has detailed instructions online for how to use their products and in what order.

Curlicious Cleansing Cream

8 oz /$15

This shampoo is unlike any other poo I have ever seen.  Is is creamy like a lotion and sud-free yet actually cleanses the hair without feeling dry or stripped.  I received a sample of this curl cream free with my purchase.  It will be added to my regimen on my next haul.

From their website: This creamy, sulfate free cleanser is gentle enough to use daily and is super moisturizing. Ideal cleanser for curly hair. Great  for chemically altered and color treated hair. Can use daily, if necessary.

Coconut Sublime Conditioner

14 oz/$16

This is probably the most popular product from this line.  This conditioner smells like a tropical coconut-lime beverage and leaves the hair feeling soft and moisturized.  It provides enough slip for detangling which is surprising considering it is a thick conditioner.  I took this condish with me to the Paul Mitchell salon when I went to get my hair cut (much to the dismay of those in charge) however all the stylist RAVED over how good it smelled and that it was a natural product. Great product for wash-n-go styles.

Curls Milkshake

8 oz/$18

A light hair lotion without hold that provides hydration and softens dry hair.  Perfect daily moisturizer for fine or thin hair but it also make a great leave-in for those with thick or coarse hair.  This is a moisturizer not a curl definer so do not count on it to make your curls “pop” as that is not what it is designed for.  I would say to use this in the same style you would old school pink lotion.  I also believe this is a great lotion for transitioners or those with TWA who are looking for daily moisturizer.

Cashmere Curls

8 oz/$20

This is the “new kid on the block”, a moisturizer and curl definer.  I received a free sample of this product from curls twitter giveaway.  While $20 for 8 ounces is kind of pricey you really only need a little bit of this product.  You can use the product alone but the company encourages you to mix it with their other products.  I found that mixing it with the curls milkshake gave me great results.  I applied the product to my hair and then did a few finger doodles to encourage small twirls and I really liked the results.

So here are the results of my Curls hairstyle.  I cleansed my hair with the Curlicious Cream, then conditioned with Coconut Sublime Conditioner, applied Cashmere Curls then scrunched in a little Curls Milkshake.  I used two hair combs on each side (total of four) to coax my hair into a faux-hawk then did a few finger-doodles around my head to create a few defined curls.