Traveling with Natural Hair

I love to travel. Recently I went on my first cruise with Royal Caribbean Cruises, I had an absolute blast if you have not ever been cruising it is something you simply MUST do! Check out my girl Janine with Your Door to the World Travel if you are interested in taking one.

Haley on a cruise This first thought that entered my mind after the excitement of going on a cruise was what am I going to do with my hair? I knew I was going to be spending lots of time in the ocean or the pool by day and dancing the night away so the best style for me would be a wash-n-go. I could wash my hair regularly to remove salt water, chlorine, sweat and whatever ever I managed to get in there while still looking cute. I had to make sure the products I selected would be effective and reliable but also be ideal for meeting restraints of limited luggage, flying and multi-use. Here is what I selected.

  1. Bobeam Shampoo Bar These bars do an excellent job of cleansing the hair and scalp they are compact and best of all they are not liquid so you can pack them in your carryon luggage saving room in your checked baggage.
  2. Aussie Moist 3-Minute Miracle I know I can be a bit of a product snob but I always have a cheap condish in my arsenal. One I that will work as both to moisturize my curls and has enough slip to detangle. I also don’t feel guilty when I accidently leave it behind in the shower at the hotel.
  3. Curl Junkie Pattern Pusha Gel While I haven’t officially posted a review for this gel it has been road tested several times. I can get up to two day hair with one application, it is lightweight and provides consistent results. Also because it is so mucilage heavy I don’t have to use a leave-in conditioner underneath.
  4. Hydratherma Naturals Hair Growth Oil I have a small 2 ounce bottle that I travel with to soothe scalp, seal hair and add shine. It also smells really good which is an added plus.
  5. Oh Honey Hush Hair Scarves There will come times when you need to pull your hair up either to simply get it out of the way or just for a cute style. Many ladies use stretchy headbands which work for some but my head is big +  I have a lot of hair = headaches and broken bands. I prefer to tie my hair back and these scarves are just so damn cute.

That was my complete hair care list. I didn’t bring a comb either, just finger detangled my hair while conditioning it. There were some days I simply did a conditioner only wash-n-go and tied my hair up in a puff because I knew I would be getting in the ocean and did not want to waste any hair products. I had the most wonderful time on my cruise and I am already planning the next one.



Twisted Updo + Rod Set Curls

Last Saturday I had the esteemed pleasure of hosting Return of the Curls: Curls Gone Wild Kentucky Hair Expo.  As the host I would be on my feet smiling, interacting and answering questions for 8 hours.  This of course meant a trip to the salon for a style that was both flashy and functional.  When I have work to do I like to have my hair put up and out of the way, a style that stands up to travel/activity and won’t turn me into a shrieking violet as my hair likes to shrink when I get hot + sweaty. I also want to try something a little different.

natural hair updo roller set rod set derby city naturals

I made an appointment with Te’Anna of Natural Alternatives Salon for a natural style up-do. My stylists are in fact geniuses because they have come to understand “Haley-speak”. Haley speak is my feelings or emotions set to words and hand gestures to describe how I want my hair. I told her “Te, I want an updo. Flat twists up the crown, angled to one side. Curls in the front swirly like the bottom of a waterfall that show off my blue bangs.  But don’t make me look like an eggplant.”  Mmmhmm you understand that? Luckily she did.

natural hair twisted updo rod set curls derby city naturals

Get This Style In 4 Easy Steps

  1. After washing, conditioning and detangling my hair, Te applied a heat protectant and lightly blew my hair out.  I have my hair blown out when doing these styles to decrease my time under the dryer which is my most hated thing. The goal is get the hair 70% dry and lightly stretched.
  2. Flat twist the back and left side of the hair upward from the nape of the neck to the crown.  Stop twisting once you reach the crown and secure with a roller clip to prevent unraveling.  We used Lace Naturals More Moisture cream to twist and moisturize the hair.  Set the crown on medium sized perm rods using setting lotion or foam.
  3. After sitting under the dryer remove rods and clips from hair (make sure your hair is 100% dry before removing rollers) secure in place using bobby or hairpins.  I sat under the dryer for about 55 minutes.  We left my curls intact because this style was done a day before the event.
  4. Lightly oil your fingertips and gently uncoil each curl into 3 or 4 sections depending on size.

It was important to me that my curls stayed off my face for the most part and out of my eyes. For a more elongated curl you can use bigger perm rods or flexi rods.  If you are a terrible roller like myself you can two-strand twist the hair before setting on rollers which will provide a similar effect.  This style is great for all hair lengths.  If you hair is not long enough to set on rollers you can finger coil or comb coil for a similar look.

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.

Big Hair Don’t Care

So while in Atlanta I had the wonderful idea to blow my hair out because I wanted to rock some BIG HAIR for a day.  Luckily for me my awesome curlfriends were here for me.  Landa of CurlyAndLovely provided the products and the tools.  Jalisa of No Fro Smushing Allowed lent a hand and actually did my blow-out.  We started this project well after midnight because last minute hairstyles are just how I roll. naked natural hair before blow out

First up I washed my hair with Eden BodyWorks Jojoba Monoi shampoo and detangled my hair with deep conditioner from the same line.  I really like these products they worked fantastic, check out my review here.

I plaited my hair into 6-8 sections while detangling.  I allowed my hair to partially air dry in each plait while laughing and listening to music.  Next, we took down each plait one at a time.  I applied 1-2 pumps of Clio Therma-Shield Hair Serum which protects up to 480 degrees. Yes, sir I am not trying to fry my hair. Then Ja lovingly blowdried on low heat at medium speed. blow out after

Then I braided my hair back up into 12- 15 braids using a fingertip full of Donna Marie Super  Buttercreme on each section. My hair was so darn soft I just kept petting myself.  I threw a silk scarf on my head then went to sleep finally.

In the morning, I took down each braid and fluffed and shook and fluffed and shook and my hair began to grow.  I used a pick to help it along to make sure my hair got the volume
I desired.  The results were big, fluffy, soft hair that definitely turned heads. natural hair blow out 1

My hair continued to get bigger throughout the day which was alright with me.  I have learned to love my big hair even though I have a big head.  At the end of the day I twisted my hair up into two-strand twists for the plane ride home, I did not want to cause a security alert at the airport.  I will definitely rock my big hair again soon.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Natural Hair Style: Flat Twist Updo with Scallop Bang

Flat Twist Updos are now my FAVORITE style!  They are incredibly low maintenance making them a cinch to keep up with and they can easily last you at least  two weeks.  I would love to take credit for this style, but all the props go to my stylist Dakota of Natural Alternatives Salon — actually Koko and I have an agreement that I can take credit for his work whenever I feel the need to brag, however this time I will not.  I actually kept this style in for a little over 2 weeks and enjoyed the fact that I did not have to do anything to my hair and it still looked great! 

To achieve this look my hair was cleansed and conditioned with PhytoSpecific, then detangled.  Next Dakota sectioned of 1/4 of my hair in the front-right side and clipped away.  The remaining hair was flat twisted upward.  He then took the flat twist and made a sort of basket weave pattern and pinned them into place.  The last section was two-strand twisted and then pinned to look scalloped.  It took him a little over an hour to complete this style not including dryer time.  My hair was twisted using Phyto PRODUCT NAME HERE which is a thick white paste, he only needed a fingertip-full per twist.

For a complete review check out my YouTube video 

My Wash-N-Go Routine

The Wash-N-Go. This is the first style every natural should master as it is the simplest.  Now while the style in itself is simply wearing your hair in its naturally curly state the challenge for some comes with the battle to keep their curls defined.  I have harvested my technique over the years through trial and error, advice on message boards, youtube videos and other blogs.  This is what works best for me and my hair, your results may vary.

A WORD ON CURL DEFINITION. If you have followed me for any time you should be familiar with my motto, “F— hair typing”. I do not care about hair typing. I think it is divisive and places undue emphasis on something that is not very important in the grand scheme of getting to know your hair and what products work for you. However, this is an area where hair typing comes into play. We all have different curl patterns. Defining a zig-zag shaped curl will not transform it into a Botticelli spiral curl.  So do yourself a favor. Hop into the shower, cleanse and rinse your hair, then load it up with your favorite conditioner.  Step out of the shower, grab a mirror and take a look at your curls. This is the best they will ever be defined by a hair product.  Take notice of the type of curls you have, it is possible to have several different curl patterns on your head. Take a picture and label it “My Wash-N-Go Goal”

HOW TO ACHIEVE THE BEST WASH-N-GO.  Start with clean, detangled, soaking wet (dripping) hair. Separate your hair into manageable sections, I use 6.  Take down one section at a time and apply FAVORITE LEAVE IN CONDITIONER from root to tip then clip back into place.  Complete application of leave-in conditioner on remaining sections. Next, take down a section of hair, add enough water to re-wet the section and apply FAVORITE CURL DEFINER using a smoothing motion from root to tip then clip back in to place.  Complete application of curl definer to remaining sections.   Thirdly, remove the clips and shake your head to help reset the curls (I nod my head yes, then no, then touch my ears to my shoulders).  Fourthly, I grab a bottle of FAVORITE OIL SPRITZ and mist my hair while shaking it.  This helps to add shine and to eliminate the crunch you can get from curl defining gels.  Lastly, the most important step, DO NOT TOUCH YOUR HAIR UNTIL IT IS COMPLETELY DRY. Touching your hair before it is dry will add to frizz which is the nemesis of well defined curls.  I let my hair air dry but you can sit under a hooded dryer or use a blow dryer with a diffuser nozzle to dry it quickly.

My current favorite products for achieving my best wng are: Kinky Curly Knot Today as my leave-in conditioner, Donna Marie Mircacurl Curling Gelly as my curl definer and Darcy’s Botanicals Coconut & Hibiscus Conditioning Oil.  Click here to see a list of my other favorite products.  A small note on mixing products from different manufacturers. Product manufacturers formulate their products to work together.  Mixing and matching products from different product lines may result in unwanted side effects so use caution. (Kinky Curly Curling Custard is known not to play well with products from other product lines.)

5 Tips for Achieving the Best Wash-N-Go

  1. Start with soaking wet hair
  2. Use a leave-in conditioner to keep your curls moisturized
  3. Smooth the curl definer from root to tip in a downward motion
  4. Use an oil spritz to keep the crunch away

Check out my Wash-N-Go Routine Video

This is my wash-n-go routine that I have been using for a couple years now. While the products have changed and my hair has grown longer this method has remained true for me.   If you find this method helpful, congrats go forth and share with others.  If you use a different method that gives you great results, awesome good for you please leave a comment with your method below so others can learn from you.  Who knows you may introduce me to something that makes my wng hair routine even better.

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?

Copycat Style: Cornrows and Twist-Out on Natural Hair

Reason number 859 why I love my salon: Regina is a bomb @ss braider!

Here in Louisville, KY we are blessed to have several hair salons and I get my tresses hooked up at Natural Alternatives Salon.  While Dakota is my regular stylist I often hop in the chair of the other stylists when I want to try something different.  Regina is an excellent braider and I am a huge fan of her work so I booked an appointment for this braided style.

The Challenge:

Using on this picture on my cell phone Regina set out to hook me up.  We up’d the ante as I was determined to rock this style to the New Edition concert later that evening so there was no room for failure. Pressure on.

Regina was putting in work, getting the partings and the cornrows to lay just right.

All done!  We left my hair in twists that I would take down later before the concert.

Top view of the finished cornrow style

Side view of the finished cornrow style

Below are the pics taken after getting ready for the concert, I took the twists down.

I was very happy with the way the style turned out!  Here is a shot of me and my girl Nu at the concert, we had a great time with Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, Mike, Ralph and Johnny too.