US Marine Corps Updates Hair Regulations

Marine with locs and twists

The US Marine Corps has implemented new hairstyle regulations for female Marines. These women now have the option to wear their hair in locs or twists as part of the new standard, braided styles were already allowed by previous standard. The Marine Corps is the first branch of US military service to allow locs.

For more information, check out this article on the official US Marine Corps website http://go.usa.gov/cKPNf

 

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Natural Hair Transitioning Styles

As a former long-term transitioner I understand the frustration of those still making their way through.  Here are some style tips to make the transition run smoother.

The Braid-Out: This was my go-to style for transitioning.  To do this style I sprayed my hair with settting lotion and plaited my hair into 10-12 braids making sure to braid them in the direction you want to go.  If you need help keeping the relaxed hair from unraveling, use mouse, gel or hairspray.  You can also use rubberbands, clips or barrettes to hold the ends.  I also like to use perm rods or rollers at the ends.  This will give you a braid-n-curl as shown in the picture.  You can also do the same with twists.  I did not do many twist-out styles while transitioning because my hair would unravel and I found that the braids held better.

Two-Strand Flat Twists: While I never did this style while transitioning it is another great choice.  These are perfect for those who do not have the tactile ability to actually cornrow hair.  You can use the same process as the braid-out above.  But if you are blessed to be able to cornrow your own hair or have a friend who can that is also a great option.


Straight.  During the first several months of my transition I continued to wear my hair straight because it was the easiest thing for me to do.  After washing and conditioning my hair I would blowdry straight and follow with a flatiron.  The focus was not on achieving super straight hair, but simply trying to match the textures.  I would wrap my hair at night in a satin scarf to maintain.

The Wet Look: This was a very easy style.  I would simply wet my hair in the shower and sometimes co-wash.  Then I would just leave a little conditioner in it.  If you have super straight ends and want more of a wavy look then plait your hair into 6 large braids and allow to dry.  You can also add some gel to coax out the texture. To minimize the puffiness of my roots I wore a flexi-comb headband as seen here. 

These are just a few styling options while transitioning.  What have you tried?

Product Review: Darcy’s Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner

Darcy’s Botanicals

Pumpkin Seed  Curl Moisturizing Conditioner

8 oz, $12

Available at Darcy’s Botanicals or locally at Go Natural Hair & Body Boutique
I’m a huge fan of Darcy’s Botanicals!  I fell in love with these products last year when I picked up a few products through great Black Friday deals.  This conditioner is an AMAZING moisturizer that I would recommend to all: natural, transitioning, loc’d or relaxed it is simply the business!

ing: Distilled Water, BTMS (a mild conditioning emulsifier), Pumpkin Seed Oil, Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, Japanese Camellia Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Botanical Oil Complex, Hydrolyzed Oat Protein, Panthenol, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol and Fragrance

This is meant to be a rinse out conditioner but it is one of those products that once it’s in your hair you don’t want to let it go so I use it as a leave-in.  I have used it on a wash-n-go on wet hair on its own for soft touchable hair or under a gel.  It works great on twists and braids on wet or dry hair.  I have also used it to moisturize my hair after a blow-out for daily hydration.

5 Things I Love About This Product:

  1. It has great ingredients and unlike other products does not claim to be natural (or organic) by throwing a drop of oil in as the last ingredient, it is really full of good stuff.
  2. It is affordable and priced just right.  I use a $10 rule for most products meaning $10 worth of product should be enough to last me a month and this product fits the bill.
  3. It smells amazing-that is if you like pumpkin- and I do, do, d-o *in my Kel voice* yummy!
  4. It is a light moisturizer that is perfect for varying porosity and texture.
  5. It pairs great with other products whether it is under a gel, coupled with a butter, or a shine spray.

    Natural Hair Blown-Out, Then Braided-Up Using Darcy's Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner

Epilogue: I forgot a few more awesome things

  1. This product is thick and is not wet or runny at all which is why I can use it on dry styles or blow-outs without reversion.  It has an awesome punch applicator which allows you to squeeze out the right amount.  If you squeeze some on your finger, then turn your finger up-side-down it will not move, however it goes on light and absorbs well into the hair.
  2. A special note just for protein-sensitive (PS) curlies. This product is fabulous and does not make my hair revolt in anger.  It does have coconut oil so if your hair hates coconut oil perhaps you should try a sample before purchasing. I don’t have a problem with coconut oil so I cannot say how it will effect you.  It also has hydrolyzed oat protein, 4th from the last ingredient, but my hair works in harmony with it. So if you are PS I would recommend you chill with the side-eye at the protein ingredients and give it a try.

Komaza Care Mini Review

Komaza Care is offering FREE SHIPPING on orders placed Wed 6/15/11 on their website.

So why should you care?

First, their are only 2 discounts I consider to be worth my while for purchasing hair products online. A) 20% (or more) off purchase price.  B) Free Shipping.  This deal satisfies the latter. The pricing on their products is fair, but this California based chain is not located on the ground in most areas so free shipping really makes it worth your while.

Second, their products are awesome.  How would I know? Well a while back they sent me some product samples to review.  While I took my time and did manage to use the items I have yet to publish the review (I know I’m a slacker).  However I will give you a quick mini rundown of my favorite things:

  • Shea Butter Hair Lotion 8 oz, $12 This lotion is freaking all that!  I am not a shea butter lover.  Most shea products are too heavy for my hair and leave it greasy and ashen looking.  However Komaza got their mix just right.  It is a great moisturizer (leave-in) that I used for doing twists, rocking a puff and under my favorite gel/styler.
  • Califia Moisturizing Spray 8 oz, $13.50  This spritz is also the business!  This is a glycerin free spray that is great for use all year long.  I used it in the a.m. on my son’s fro before picking it out to soften and moisturize.  I also used it on myself for braids and twists on both the hair and scalp.
  • Moku Hair Butter 8 oz, $12.50 is not just another hair butter.  It smells absolutely divine without be too strong or perfumy.  It is a smooth blend of argan, cocoa, sal, and other butters that is NOT like your basic shea butter mix everyone else has.  It is lightweight but effective and great for sealing in moisture without making your hair greasy or ashen. Also great for some ashy hands, knees and elbows truth be told!
  • Califia Care Styling Pudding 8 oz, $17.50 This is a superb styler.  Use it for was-n-gos, twists, coils, etc.  I used this with the Califia Moisturizing Spray to do some finger-doodles (aka finger coils) on my hair and it came out FANTASTIC!  The product does not have hold so if you are needing a bit of hold add a little of your fav gel on top.

They have more products than I was sent and here is a mini-list of stuff I still want to try from them:

  • Moja Shamoo 8 oz, $11.00 This is a sulfate free cleanser.  Great for getting the hair clean without stripping or making it feel dry.  If you are CG, lo-poo or a co-washer I would suggest giving this a try
  • Olive Moisture Mask 16 oz $16.00  This deep conditioner that is chalk full of yummy ingredients but is protein-free.  Can I get a whoop-whoop from a my protein sensitive naturals?
  • Califia Care Leave-In Conditioner 8 oz $14.00 Now I know that I said I love the Shea Butter Hair Lotion and we know that moisturizers and leave-ins are the same thing so why would I want to check this product out? Well it is because my hair loves all the other Califia products so I have a strong inclination that it will like this one.  Possibly even better than the Shea Butter Hair Lotion.  Also it is good to have alternates :)

So load up your carts and get ready for tomorrow’s sale!  Be sure to comment back with your purchases and leave a review on how they worked out for you.

Summer Hair Care Tips

these are my adorable nieces on the California coast

Summer is here and for most of you that means a change in regimen.  We will discuss a few tips, products and styles to help deal with the summer heat, humidity and fun.

Mastering the Wash-n-Go

The WnG is a go-to style for many naturals in the summer time.  It is meant to be a quick easy style with low manipulation that gets you on your way.  Start by cleansing, co-washing or wetting your hair in the shower.  Add your favorite leave-in or moisturizer for additional softness.  Layer on a gel or custard to help provide additional curl definition.  Finish up with an oil or butter to help seal it all in, decrease any crunch from the gel and add shine.

  • Moisturizer/Leave-In: Oyin Hair Dew, Komaza Care Shea Butter Hair Lotion, Karen’s Body Beautiful Sweet Ambrosia, Shea Moisture Hair Milk and Alaffia Shea & Coconut Hair Lotion.
  • Gel/Custard: Koils by Nature Herbal Gel, Eco Styler Gel, Kinky Curly Curling Custard, Darcy’s Botanicals Curling Jelly, Aloe Vera Gel and Komaza Care Califa Styling Pudding, Kiss My Face Upper Management Gel.
  • Sealant: Castor oil, shea butter, coconut oil, Oyin Burnt Sugar Pomade, Koils by Nature Nourishing Hair & Body Butter, Pura Body Naturals Cupuacu Butter and Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Hold & Shine Moisture Mist.

Protective Styles

When its hot outside sometimes the last thing you want is to be bothered with your hair.  There are a lot of great protective styles that are perfect for summer.

Braids: Whether you chose to braid up your own hair into small pixies braids (as seen in this picture)  or go for extensions this is a style that last for a while and is easy to maintain.  Be sure to cleanse your scalp regularly and keep it moisturized.

Twists: Kinky twists are a very popular choice for summer.  They are quicker to install then braids and are fairly light.  Mini-twists done with your own natural hair are another great way to go. It may take a while to get them in but the style can last for weeks.

Cornrow/Flat-twist: These styles are great options for those who would just like to have hair tucked away and not have to worry about a thing!  With or without extensions this style can be very feminine and creative by fancy parting and by adding accessories.

Turban/Headwrap: A turban is an awesome way to protect your hair while being lazy.  In the picture here you would never know that I had a lumpy fro that I hadn’t combed in over a week!  All you need is a scarf and some imagination.  If you want more info on tying headwraps check out this post.

Swimming

What is summertime without enjoying the cool water of the ocean or your neighborhood pool?  While natural hair loves water you do want to be wary of chlorine in pools and water parks and the salinity of the ocean.

  • Protect: The suns rays are not only harmful for your skin but they can also be harmful for your hair.  So if you are going to spend a large amount of time outside cover your head with a hat or scarf or use a product that includes sun protection like Ouidad Sun Shield Leave-In Conditioner or by simply diluting your favorite sunblock with water and spritzing it on your hair.
  • Coat: Before you dive into the water grab your favorite condish and slather it on.  The conditioner will work to create a barrier between your hair and the chlorine/salt.  You can use a cheapy condish like Suave or V05 or you can pick up conditioners specifically formulated to protect against chlorine like Ion Swimmer’s Leave-In or Circle of Friends Kylie’s Pre-Swim Conditioner.
  • Cover: Swimmer’s caps may not be very popular or cool-looking but there is no better way to protect your hair then to avoid the harshness of chlorine by keeping it from coming into contact with your hair.
  • Cleanse: Once you are out of the water head toward the showers and rinse your hair ASAP.  Then follow-up with a swimmer’s shampoo formulated to remove chlorine/salt from the hair.  Ion Swimmer’s Shampoo, L’oreal Kids Swim & Sport Shampoo, Aubrey Orgnaics Normalizing Shampoo, California Baby Swimmer’s Shampoo, Joico K-pak Chelating Shampoo, Paul Mitchell Shampoo 3 and Kinky Curly Come Clean.
  • Condition: Most swimmers shampoos are really strong clarifiers and have a tendency to leave your hair feeling dry so be sure you follow-up with a good deep conditioner to restore moisture and balance to your hair like Anita Grant Rhassoul Clay, Aussie Moist 3-Minute Miracle, Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque, Jessicurl Weekly Deep Conditioning Treatment.

This is my sis C Rose reppin’ for the swimsuit shot cuz i’m not gonna be able to do it :)

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.

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

Un-Natural Hair Obsessions

A natural hair journey can be filled with excitement and intrigue but it is not without its downside.  Damage, breakage and other set-backs can yield some strange obsessions on our pursuit of healthy hair.

I have heard of women taking so much Biotin to get their hair to grow that it caused the “biotin beard” horrible facial breakout of pimples/zits. Check out this story from Lola’s Green Hair.

Or those who used Mane Tail Groom, a product designed for horses in an effort to strengthen their hair.  See this post from Quest for the Perfect Curl.

Then there are those who “hibernate” their hair under protective style for months for fear that if their ends are “out ” it can cause hair suicide. Follow Tola’s 6 month protective style journey here.

As for me, I am terrified of heat damage.  Because of this fear I only straighten my hair twice a year and I will only allow 1 heating element to be used in the process; either a flat iron or a blow dryer but not both.  The irony in this is that for the first 6 months of my transition I straightened my hair regularly and saw no ill effects. 

Yes, this quest for longer, stronger, healthier hair can cause us to do some crazy things.  What un-natural hair obsessions do you suffer from?