Hair Update: Simple Style + Edges Laid

Hey friends I am here with a quick update on my hair. I haven’t talked much lately about my personal hair journey so here is a glimpse of what I have been up to.

My hair is still blue, as a matter of fact I just got a color touch-up . My hair color is semi-permanent which means it fades and needs to be re-deposited for me that happens every 5-7 weeks.  We are currently using Pravana line it is my fav so far. You can catch my hair pix and other musings on Instagram: @HereIsMySpoutNatural Hair Blue Haley Rhine

I went to the Natural Alternatives Salon for my color touch-up with my stylist Dakota but when it came to styling I was at a loss.  I am a self-admitted control freak when it comes to my hair, when I sit in a chair I know exactly what style I want and which products I want used, except this time I didn’t.  So we started with a blow-out because I wanted to check my length.  Dakota was loosely playing around with updos and shapes and I thought about a goddess braid look using only my natural hair (see Anu Prestonia create goddess braids). I love that I can point my stylist in a direction and he can understand my vision and deliver every time. natural hair goddess braid and bun

Here is the resulting style. Four french braids back into a loose two-strand twists pinned into a bun. I love it. This style took him less than 10 minutes to complete.

natural hair slick edges

Oh, but my edges tho. Can y’all see this glory?  Now I am not normally a slick down your edges kind of girl, but for this style it is important that they are snatched!  Dakota used DevaCurl Set Up & Above styler and the back of a rat tail comb to smooth and swoop these edges into shape. DevaCurl Set Up and Above

This product works like a gel-pomade hybrid and dries clear without a crunch or any residue.  Notice he did not use a toothbrush or brown gel. Stop it. Toothbrushes are for teeth, not for baby hair. You can pick up DevaCurl products locally at Sephora in Oxmoor Mall or at Ulta Beauty Store in the Summit.

Elongated Twists On Dry Hair


Two-Strand Twists have to be one of the most popular natural hair styles.  A popular complaint that comes from many naturals (me included) is shrinkage.  One way to combat shrinkage is to twist on dry stretched hair which will result in an elongated twisted style.

There are many ways to stretch your hair.  You can use the banding method, pic it out, plaits, blowdry, etc. For this look I actually started with a picked out big afro which I wore for Fros on the 4th.  

Next I carefully selected a moisturizer to twist my hair.  I needed something that would lightly moisturize and soften the hair without providing too much moisture that would make the hair shrink back up.  The two moisturizers that worked for me were Donna Marie Super Buttercreme $13 / 8 oz and Mozeke Babassu Twisting Cream $12 / 8 oz. I also tried Mozeke Whipped Avocade Cream but found this to be too moisturizing resulting in shrunken twists which was not the look I was going for.

Using just my fingers I parted off sections of hair, applied one of the creams, gently detangled using my tangle teezer, then twisted.  Look at the picture above you can see the effects of shrinkage on curly hair; my twisted length is more than twice as long as my stretched hair. *shakes angry fist @ shrinkage* 

If you are looking to showcase more of your true length while protective styling you should give this method a try.  Check out my video below for a complete rundown of my styling process. 

Working On Our Fitness Natural Hair Meetup

Black Girls Do Workout

Or at least we know we should.  So what keeps us from getting in the gym? Surely not our hair.  Well according to  the US Surgeon General a lot of women are skipping their workout in order to avoid a bad hair day.  Well not anymore.  This meetup is all about learning what to do with your hair to fit into an active lifestyle, what products will help keep it clean and moisturized along with what are great ways to start getting fit.

I love Zumba it is a fun way to get active.  If you have a little bit of rhythm you can Zumba!  We will actually go through a beginners level Zumba class so come dressed to workout!

  • Who: Everyone is welcome including teens and kids
  • What: Zumba Class + Discussion on maintaining your hair while working out
  • When: Saturday March 17th 2012
  • Where: CharizYa Fitness 3900 Shelbyville Rd, 2nd Floor Louisville, KY 40207
  • Cost: $10 single/ $20 family
  • RSVP: FB Invite

* Door Prizes * Giveaways * Styling Tips * Zumba Packages * 

The Downside of Protective Styling

Protective styling is a practice in which you wear your hair in style that helps protect and minimize stress on the hair from styling, the elements and detangling.  Common protective styles include 2-strand twists, braids, or wearing a wig/weave.  Wearing a protective style does not make your hair grow, but doing so has been known to help retain length by reducing breakage, single-strand knots and mechanical/heat damage.

So whats the problem?  The issue is that you still need to take care of your hair while it is in a protective style.  That means maintaining moisture to the hair and scalp, keeping the scalp clean, and avoiding further damage from tension or rubbing.  No matter which protective styling method you use make sure you have access to your scalp.  To moisturize your scalp use a braid spray, spritz moisturizer, or create your own DIY mix.  As for cleansing the scalp that can be a little tricky as some styles to not lend to getting the whole head wet.  You can use a washcloth with a soapy mix to scrub the scalp or put a little witch hazel on a cotton ball.  If you have added great length to your locs you may want to use a net to keep them in place.

The ninja bun was one of my favorite hairstyle when I was rocking waist length yarn locs. They helped keep my long hair up and out of the way when doing everyday things like brushing my teeth, lounging on the couch or washing dishes.  Here are a few other things I had to get used to when wearing longer hair: make sure all your hair is in the car before closing the door, pull your hair forward in front of your shoulders before using the restroom, make sure you are not laying on your hair before jerking your head in the opposite direction, and make sure you tie back your hair before eating.

The most inevitable downside to protective styling is that you will miss your curls.  For most curlies it takes about 7-10 days before the excitement of a new protective style wears off and you actually miss the care and upkeep of your own curls.  The longest I can keep a protective style in is about 4 weeks, as my hair needs a good thorough cleansing and soaking in the shower that can only come with loose natural hair.

So what are your thoughts? What are your tips for surviving protective styling?

The Takedown: Removing Extensions from Natural Hair


Me, Tanya and her micros

So lets talk about extensions.  This summer my curlfriend Tanya decided to give herself a break and had microbraids installed.  Her braids looked great and gave her a little vacation from styling her natural hair.  However, once the thrill wore off it was time for the dreaded takedown.  This is by far the worst part of getting extensions; the removal process takes forever and there are just so many of them.  *sigh*  In my home I always elect to throw a takedown party where you invite friends over, rent a couple movies, order in some pizza and work together to Amistad that hair! 

Here are my tips on having a successful takedown:

  1. Trim off excess extension hair.  Always err on the side of assuming your hair is longer as to avoid cutting it.
  2. Steam your hair to loosen build-up and aid in the extension removal process.

    Steaming

  3. Begin unbraiding using a tail comb and adding conditioner to any snarls to gently ease the extension hair out. We used YoGaChi Signature leave-in conditioner.
  4. Detangle as you go! This is the most important step.  After removing the braid or twist use a conditioner or spritz and gently detangle removing shed hair.  Failure to do so will result in a matted mess of hair.

    Shed-hair-ball

  5. Cleanse your scalp well with a clarifying shampoo at least twice.  Your hair despite your best efforts will have some build-up and it will not be removed within one wash.  If your hair is still not clean after two washes switch to a gentle moisturizing shampoo and repeat.  We used Suave Clarifying Shampoo and Alaffia Honey & Shea Moisturizing Shampoo.
  6. Deep condition or deep treat your hair based on your moisture to protein needs.

    Clean, conditioned and detangled

Start to finish I think this process took about 4 hours between the four of us.  I can definitely say that although Tanya was tired, she was definitely glad to be free of her micro-sized captors and enjoyed the pampering of having her hair cleansed, conditioned and styled for her.  Watch her vid to hear her talk about the experience. That’s exactly what curlfriends are for!

The Easy Updo

I am convinced that bobby pins are tools of the devil.  They poke, they prod and they love to play hide-n-seek in my coils.  I have always admired those who were able to sculpt their hair into magnificent updo styles, but that ability has always escaped me and I blame the bobby pin.  It always seems that no matter how many bobby pins (or hair pins) I use I just cannot get my hair to “stay”.  So I watched with a gleam in my eye hoping that one day, I too would be able to one day perfect the updo.

Here ye, here ye, let it henceforth be known that I have perfected the updo.

…and I did it without bobby pins #pow! So how did I do it? Let me introduce you to my new best friend Scunci Upzingoh yes, meet the Scunci Upzing.  This tool is genius!  It is two side combs attached by stretchy i-cord. It is super easy to use: simply slide a comb in on one side, then grab the other comb and slide in on the other.  Done.  The I-cord in the middle helps keep the hair in place and also prevent the combs from slipping.

I have been wearing this style all week in a variety of different ways.  I first wore my hair in two-strand twists using Entwine Creme de la Mold.  After a few days I took the twists down and wore a twist-out.  I have changed the the style several times wearing an updo with side bangs, a pompadour and ninja bun, faux french roll with bangs, faux french roll with loose flat-twist bang (see above) as this style was so easily transferable.

The Scunci Upzing can be found almost anywhere hair accessories are sold Walgreens, Target, Wal-Mart or online at Amazon.  I even heard that there is a cheapy knock-off at dollar stores.  This is the best $3 I have ever spent.  So if you like me are bobby pin impaired you really need to check out the Upzing.

this is the first updo I did while my hair was still in twists 

faux french roll w bangs done on twist-out

3 Strand Twists

3 Strand Twists are exactly what they sound like; twisting the hair using 3 strands instead of the typical two.  Actually you can do any number of twists  4, 5, 6, etc.  it is just important that you remember to wrap the strands around as oppose to braiding.  When twisting imagine you are wrapping each strand around like an imaginary may pole.  Here is a great tutorial describing how to 3 strand twist the hair >>> http://youtu.be/lS71kyJTOOQ

So why do a 3 Strand twist?  Good question.  The more strands you use the thicker and more compact the resulting twist looks.  Those with fine or stringy hair may appreciate a bigger twist.  Also if you are doing a twist-out your curls will be bigger and more defined.

Here is an up-close shot of my 3-strand twists. These were done on wet hair using Koils By Nature Herbal Gel.  There area aprox 40 twists and this style took about 90 minutes to complete.

I wore these twists for a couple days then decided to take them down for a twist-out.  To unravel I the twists I rubbed them with Koils By Nature Sweet Almond Joy Hair Butter first to smooth them then gently untwisted them.

As you can see the 3ST result in great definition and corkscrew-like curls.  This is an ideal hair style for someone with limp or fine hair, those who want more defined curls or someone who wants big hair.  To increase the volume after you have separated the twists you can further separate each strand.  I normally do this on day 1 or 2 of a twist-out.

Here is the final result of my work.  I hope that this helps raise your interest in trying different styles.  If so please send in your pix and share them with us.

The Truth About Ugly Twists…

Let’s face it not all of us are great hairstylists.  I was blessed to have a mother who was a brilliant and creative stylists who adorned me with braids, twists, cornrows and the like. She shared her talents with me and I became responsible for the care of my younger sister and cousin’s hair, hence why it was easy for me to go natural.  But my mother was self taught out of necessity as my Granny knew nothing of hair styling.  I have learned that many newly naturals are in the same boat having no clue what to do when it comes to hair.

The easiest method of styling is twists because at the most basic only requires two strands and the method of wrapping is simple.  But while learning to twist, many naturals often look in the mirror and are dismayed by the “Celie” syndrome.  aaaaahhhhhh!

Celie is a character from the movie, The Color Purple.

Well I am here to share the good news: Even ugly twists make a cute twist-out!  Yep, you heard read that correctly.  Some of my cutest twist-out styles have come from despicable looking twists.

So be encouraged and continue to practice, because practice truly makes perfect especially when it comes to natural hair styling.