Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Playing Catch Up

Good morning everyone!  This is just a brief note to address a few things:

1. I'm playing catch up as far as posts and replying to comments. I'm finally done with school (yaaaayyyy) and since it's slow at work I have a little time to play over here. In the coming year, I will try to plan my posts a bit better so that they won't be so sporadic. You all can help play a major part in this by submitting your stories, questions, pix, etc. to toridblogs@gmail.com. I want this to be as much about you as it is about me!

2. I have some ideas for this blog that will (hopefully) be implemented soon and I would LOVE input from you all about what type of content you'd like to see more of, less of, etc.

3. There will be a Thank God I'm Natural giveaway soon. As in, next week soon. This will be specifically targeting transitioners and natural newbies (six months or less since the big chop). Go on and get your follow on now if you haven't already, and if you know someone who is transitioning or recently did the BC, spread the word.

4. If you want to see what I'm up to when I'm not procrastinating posting here, you can always hit me up on Twitter or The Good Hair Photos (which features fashion, makeup and of course natural hair).

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Six Months Natural!!

This post should've been posted several weeks ago. My apologies!

December 1st marked six months since I cut off my permed hair and could say that I was completely, 100% natural! Initially, I planned to straighten my hair to do a length check. However, the plans for this past weekend prompted me to postpone that. However, I still wanted to share my length so far. Of course, when I straighten it, I'll have more pix up to actually show the length without any shrinkage. But for now, we'll have to make due with a good ol' taut pull of the hair.

Not really sure why I didn't measure my hair after the BC (probably because I was still in shock)... Major fail on my part, I know! So I can't say how much of this is from the 10 months of transitioning and how within the last 6 months. But at least I'll have something to compare with the 1 year mark!

I will be measuring different sections of my hair, since I know they are all probably different lengths. And once I get my hair straightened, evened up and cut into a style, I'll lose a bit more length and have to measure all over again. But anywho, here are the front, sides, back, and crown of my hair as of today ("today" being December 8).






Front: 8.5" stretched, 3" with shrinkage
Crown: 8" stretched, 3 5/8" with shrinkage
Left side: 7 2/3" stretched, 2 1/5" with shrinkage
Right side: 7" stretched, 3" with shrinkage
Back: 5 2/3" stretched, 2 2/3" with shrinkage

Of course, the length will be a lot easier to see once I straighten my hair. I guess that's pretty good for about 16 months of growth and after one trim. Can't wait to see what the one-year check will look like!

Friday, December 10, 2010

I "broke up" with my bestie because of my hair.

Admittedly, we had grown apart due to some other issues, but my hair is what sealed the deal for me.

Up until a few months ago, my best friend was a guy I'd gone to high school with. Our relationship was weird, but I wouldn't have had it any other way. I loved him because he forced me to be honest with myself on a number of things. We butted heads all the time though, and I was always quitting him over something he'd said.

A couple of months ago I was out at some little event, not really being social. He called (or did I call him? I don't remember) and I told him what I was up to, so he decided to come by. This was the first time he'd seen me since I did the BC. I knew he would have something to say, because he fussed when I cut my hair into a bob. He likes long hair and was used to seeing me with almost bra strap length hair. But I was not expecting the severe reaction I got. As soon as he saw me, his face scrunched up. "What did you do to it?" he asked.

"Well, I told you I was going natural... I finally cut off the perm."

"Hmph. I don't like it. I don't really care for the natural look. It's not you." [I will spare you my inner commentary on how ridiculous that statement was.] "It's ugly."

I was crushed. At the gathering I'd received comments from other guys--strangers and distant acquaintances--saying they loved my fluffy lil fro. But here was the one guy whose opinion mattered the most to me--more than anyone, including my BF who was just a potential at the time--telling me I was ugly. He and my dad were the only people who had said that. I was beyond pissed. Then I got to thinking "Why the hell does his opinion of beauty matter?" He's always had a thing for white women and light-bright-almost-white black women. Of course he wouldn't think something so unmistakably black to be attractive! The long straight hair seemed to be my redeeming quality in his eyes. As we sat there barely chatting the rest of the evening, I got over it and him.

I'm not saying he had to like it. There have probably been plenty of people who haven't. But he had to call me ugly? He couldn't have said something a little more positive or supportive like, "I liked the long hair better but maybe this will grow on me," or "If you're happy with it that's all that matters," or something! But that opened my eyes and made me realize that there were several things that he had not been supportive of over recent years. This was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. I have not spoken to him since.

And that, dears and sirs, is how my fro caused my bestie to become "ex-bestie."

Monday, December 6, 2010

On why I could never be a natural nazi

The day I hit my six month nappiversary, I took to Twitter because I was excited that I'd made it this far without going back to the creamy crack. After congratulating me, one of my cousins tweeted the following:

I'm glad none of my #naturalhair family/friends hv tried to convert me. That the [sic] journey is made on an individual basis. #no1forallsHERE

I completely understand and share her sentiment. One thing that kind of turned me off from going natural sooner was the fact that I was encountering "natural nazis," those sisters who assumed that because my hair was relaxed I was attempting to be white. Women who assumed that I didn't love myself. Folks who deemed themselves better than me because I didn't do to my hair what they did to theirs. People who were defensive because they thought I thought I was better than them because of my hair, even though I was envious of the women I saw rocking big beautiful fros. Eventually I realized that I couldn't let a few abrasive people determine what I did for and to myself.

Having that kind of experience, I myself refrain from pushing my opinion on others about their hair. I know some people that I think would be so fierce with a fro or lovely with locs (ya like that consonance dontcha?) but they also look gorgeous with their hair permed. There are a few ladies I know who I really want to tell "Your messed up edges and ragged split ends are horrid! Go natural or let someone perm it who knows what they are doing!" but I don't, I hold my tongue. Now of course, if someone asks my opinion I'll certainly give it to them. I'll let anyone know that they too can go natural and be beautiful, but only if they ask. Just like I don't like the "advice" I get from some that I need to go back to the perm, I don't give advice that others need to get it go.

A person's hair is theirs, just like their face, boobs, butt, whatever. Who am I to tell someone they need to change their nose or lips or a little bit of belly? That is their decision, and whatever changes they make should be their own. Hair included.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wishlist

Although I'm not big on the holidays, I'm always up for getting stuff! (And I'm not so grinch-tastic that I don't give gifts as well... but only to a select few!) My short wishlist this year is mostly comprised of hair & beauty goodies that I either can't splurge on right now (pockets are kinda tight) or would feel bad about if I bought them now, but would definitely accept if someone gave them to me. After all, I'm not a product junkie if someone just gives them to me, right? Right. So here is what you can send your favorite blogger (who? me, of course!) if you're full of the holiday spirit.

1. Wen haircare system I've been curious about Wen since I started transitioning, but I have yet to try it. I'm a bit skeptical of its claims to work on all hair types, but nothing like putting it to the test to be sure.

2. Huetiful hair steamer Since starting my transition, I've read several blogs that mentioned hair steaming. I didn't really think too much about it, but that has since changed. Since it's gotten cooler, I can tell a huge difference between how my hair looks and feels when I first wake up and after I take my shower. The steam has it so soft and big! It would be awesome to get the benefits of steaming my hair while deep conditioning, but usually when I DC I'm doing a million other things so I never just sit in the bathroom. With the Huetiful hair steamer I could set it up in whatever room I happen to be in and let it do its thing while I mindlessly watch tv do something productive. And sure, I'll take the facial attachment as well!

3. A Denman brush I've still never seen one in real life. LOL Yes, I've checked Sally's, but the times I've been they didn't had them. So I don't even know which one to get! And I refuse to order it online, seeing as I have no idea how it feels and whether it would be worth it. Yeah, I've heard they're great and all, but still... But if you wanna pass it along to me, I'll take it!

4. A Sephora gift card I've fallen in love with Sephora, y'all! There's only one little Sephora around here, tucked away in a JCPenney's. That is the only thing I visit that particular Penney's for ('cuz that location's plus size selection sucks). Now that I've found out they have Carol's Daughter products and well as a buncha yummy delicious makeup to try out, I need some extra funds specifically for Sephora!

5. A phony pony that looks like it's natural hair that's been blown out. Most of what I've found has been either shiny super straight ponytails, or puffs that look duller, tighter, and all around worse than my hair. There is this one ponytail that I bought, not too straight, sorta wavy. But I dunno how well it will work considering that it's rather shiny... We'll see. I still need more though; gotta switch it up!


So that's my little wishlist. Got anything on yours related to hair and/or beauty?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Morning Quickie: My Hair is Soft Again!!

You know, last week in one of my posts, I discussed how the change in weather had caused my hair to be a bit dry. I used Suave Almond & Shea Butter conditioner as a leave-in until I was able to find a good leave-in. (BTW, I used the Suave when doing my twists recently, and they came out great! You can see a few pix of it on TGHP, and I'll be doing a post on it soon.)

The other day I dropped by the Sephora counter and was pleasantly surprised to see that they now carry Carol's Daughter! I've been saying I was going to try their products for a minute now, but I hadn't. I figured now was the time. I was tempted to get the Hair Milk that I hear so much about, but something else piqued my interest: the Black Vanilla Leave-In Conditioner. The label said "Hydrating refresher and detangler for dry hair." I figured "It's only $12, let's give it a go." The first couple of days I used it, I couldn't really tell much difference because I still had my twists in. When I finally took them down and used it, my hair was so soft!

Then yesterday, I got the bright idea to mist my hair before using the Carol's Daughter. I used the same mist that I'd used on my hair the night that I did my twist: a simple mix of coconut oil, olive oil and water (I didn't use measurements, just eyeballed it). Y'all... OMG... I never knew hair could be that super soft. I couldn't keep my hair out of it because I couldn't believe it. I love love love the results. The Black Vanilla Leave-In is a light mist, so it didn't weigh my hair down and it wasn't drippy. Also, it smells so yummy! I don't have a single bad thing to say about it. Now I'm anxious to try some other CD products!

BTW, here are the list of ingredients (courtesy of carolsdaughter.com):
Water (Aqua), Polysorbate 80, Glycerin, Panthenol (Pro-vitamin B5), Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium PCA, Butylene Glycol, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower/Leaf Stem, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Japanese Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Wheat Starch, Hydrolyzed Corn Starch, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid, Caramel, Fragrance (Parfum)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Interview with a Natural

Last week I asked for submissions of pretty much any kind, and thankfully I've already received one!  Julie was an inspiration and encouragement for me when I decided to go natural. She has so graciously offered to share a bit of everything with us concerning her hair, so here is her story in her own words and pictures.


Transition Story:
before starting the 1 yr protective styling challenge
This is actually my second time around going natural.  The first time was in 2003 when just the idea of going natural was interesting to me.  I didn’t really know what I was doing though.  The first thing I did was to get some color.  I thought by adding color, it would make my hair look interesting, but I now see that it added to the reason why I went back to chemicals.  Since I wasn’t up on how to actually STYLE natural hair or what products to use, I kept it in an afro puff.  After a while, you get kinda tired of puffs and you want to do something else.  I didn’t know how to braid my own hair, or even twist it, so I got bored quickly.  That lead me to straightening my hair, which lead me to trying a texturizer….next thing you know, I succumbed to the creamy crack. *insert violins*  

This time around, I planned for it.  Since I was pregnant with my first child, I decided that it would be a good time to start transitioning (January 2008).  I was all about the roller sets and the half wigs.  I kept it up for about 8 months when the anticipation and the excitement about being totally natural finally got to me.  My husband and I did the BC a few days before my birthday in August (I say my husband because he helped me cut off the hair I couldn’t see in the mirror).  I’ve been straight hair free ever since.

Product Rant:
Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille Soap (Hemp Peppermint).  I decided when I started transitioning that I would stick to products that had the most raw, organic, “natural” ingredients as possible.  I heard such good things about this product that I was excited to try it.   I was expecting my hair to be clean, but soft.  WHAT A MISTAKE.  My hair ended up being so dry and so coarse it took a couple of WEEKS for my hair to feel soft again.  I took a look at the ingredients (AGAIN) and don’t know what it could have been that made my hair so dry, but it did not like it AT ALL.  Now, I’m saying this to discourage others from using it. I’m just saying it did not work for MY hair.

Instead of using a strict regimen,
Julie trims her ends on a need-to basis.

Product Rave:
One time HELLO HYDRATION from Herbal Essence!!  That is the BEST conditioner I have had the pleasure of using!  I’ve tried cheapo conditioners, average conditioners, and the “luxury” conditioners.  They are pretty much all the same, but for some reason, my hair really takes to HELLO HYDRATION.  It’s the perfect detangler and with some coconut/olive oils, a great deep conditioner.


 Product Recipe: (I don’t do measurements; I just put whatever I feel like adding into my stuff)
My leave in conditioner:
Sally’s generic Infusium 23 Leave-In Conditioner
Coconut Oil
Olive Oil
Rosemary Oil
Peppermint Oil
Glycerin
Aloe Vera Juice
Kinky Kurly’s Knot Today (if/when available)
Emu Oil


Pre-wash/Deep Conditioner:
Hello Hydration
Olive Oil
Coconut Oil
Cover hair with a plastic shower cap and a hot damp towel/turban for 30 minutes

Why did I go natural?
Honestly, I got tired of my hair constantly coming out.  It seemed like at one time I had more hair on my bathroom floor than on my head.  My hair was straight, but it was limp, flat, breaking, and boring.  I started doing research online as to what I can do to stop hair loss.  I started seeing all of these women who had natural hair and the funky, cool styles they were able to do with their hair.  I told myself that I didn’t have that “mixed hair look”, so like a lot of other women, thought “it wouldn’t look right on me”.  But as I did more research, I saw natural women who had my type of hair.  I thought…hmmm….maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.  I had a cute face, so at least I can play it off if it doesn’t work out with hats, scarves, or accessories! 

Reactions from friends/family/co-workers/etc?
APL (arm pit length)
You know, the only real negative reactions I got were from my parents.  Understand now, my hair was very short when I got my first BC.  My mom just didn’t understand why I would want to be look like a boy. They are from the old school where women should strive for long hair and men kept their hair very short. She then asked me what “my plans were”.  My plans?  “Yes”, she says.  “What do you plan on doing to your hair when it grows out?  Do you want to keep it in an afro?  Are you getting DREADlocks?!?!”  Do you want to be a Rasta?!?”  All I could do was LOL!!!  My dad didn’t really have anything particularly bad to say, but he didn’t think it would look “nice” if my hair was short and nappy, especially going to work.  I didn’t take offense; I know that my parents have never seen images of modern natural hair styles.  There frame of reference was from the 60s/70s.

For the most part, I’ve gotten positive feedback from everyone including co-workers, strangers, and friends.  My husband absolutely loves it.  But then again, he loves anything that’s not a weave!


 How has being natural affected your life?
It has definitely made me more aware of what I am putting into my body.  Being an “ingredient reader” has spilled over into what I eat and drink.  I am also very cautious about what I do with and how I do my child’s hair.  I want to make sure that she has a deep appreciation for her God-given curls. 



Questions/Comments/Concerns about being natural?
ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! I LOVE BEING NATURAL!  It’s not an easy road, but it’s the best road for me!

One of her protective styling options

Monday, November 8, 2010

Suave Almond & Shea Butter Conditioner

The sudden change in weather (and I do mean sudden--open toes one week, boots the next?!) has left my hair feeling something awful. It's been pretty stiff and woolly... just not soft at all. Up until now, my Shea Moisture Curl & Style Milk did the trick. Even though it's not technically a conditioner, that's what I was using it for; it was perfect during the warmer months. Now? Nothing.

Note: I've only used the conditioner.

I'd purchased the Suave Almond & Shea Butter Conditioner on a whim a few weeks ago, simply because I was out of conditioner, needed to do a co-wash and wanted to try a different product. Really no rhyme or reason in my choice. So I used it... and I wasn't too impressed with the results. Although it did have a nice amount of slip while I was washing my hair, once it dried, I wasn't left with the super-soft feel I was hoping for.

Fast forward to last night. My hair was just... blah. I didn't have time to do my usual deep conditioning with my mix of Palmer's Coconut Oil Deep Conditioning Protein Pack and Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Replenishing Pak, but I needed something ASAP. I did a quick search online to see if others had tried regular conditioner as a leave in. And they had; there were mixed reviews for the Almond & Shea Butter as a leave-in. Some reported that it worked great, some said they had some flaking. I figured, what the heck? So I sectioned my hair off, worked the conditioner into my dry hair (I didn't think to mist it), and did my usual chunky twists.

This morning I woke up to much softer hair! It's still not super-soft like I like, but it's a 100% improvement over yesterday's roughness. Not sure why I didn't think of this before. Of course it doesn't take the place of doing my DC, but it will do in a pinch. One drawback is that my hair looks a little duller than I thought it would. Not a big deal, but still...

So yeah... I tried something new and fortunately it worked out for me! I'll still be looking for a good leave-in that's actually a leave-in but until then, this will do!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Naturals in Media

Yahoo! Shine seems to be loving the natural models as of late.


Her hair is giving me so much life right now!! This beauty with the AWESOME red fro was spotted in an article on 5 ways to outsmart restaurant menus. (BTW, it's a pretty interesting read.)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Winter Regimen

This is the *plan*. It may or may not go like this because it's really trial and error. But for my first winter as a natural, I think it's gonna go something like this...

For most of the winter, I plan to wear kinky twists as my protective style. I would love to be able to do this using only my hair, but I think I'm gonna have to go with some additional hair to get the length that I want, since I'd like to be able to pull it back in a ponytail or wear it up occasionally. I really love my soror Dandria's twists (shown to the right) and I'm hoping to achieve a similar look.


I also plan to straighten my hair a couple of times while the weather is cooperative. The first time will be around the first of December so I can do a length check. Although I considered going to a salon to get this done, I've decided to do this myself get my mom to do it. There are two main reasons for this decision. The lady that I went to for my trim was great, but admitted that she doesn't do too much with natural hair other than wash, cut and color it. As fearful as I am of heat damage, I know not to press my luck with that. Secondly, Jackson doesn't have a lot of options for a natural girl, and the one salon I found that "specializes" in natural hair wants to charge a minimum of $65 for a shampoo and press. Ummm, I didn't pay that much to get touch-ups, I'm certainly not gonna pay that for a press. No ma'am, my budget is too tight for that. So the plan is to wash and deep condition as usual, then apply a heat protectant (the Oil Therapy 3-in-1 Creme Moisturizer claims it works as a heat protectant, but I'm not sure... Anyone have a recommendation?) and let my mom blow it out using a blow dryer and flat irons. I'm going back to the lady who clipped my ends before to have her trim and style my hair, because I know nothing about that.

The straight hair will probably last a week, week & a half. Maybe two weeks if I act right. In the time between pressed hair and kinky twists, I will probably continue to do twist outs. I need to work on my two-strand twisting so that I won't be ashamed to wear them for a couple of days. I've gotten so used to doing the chunky twists and immediately doing a twist-out; I think I've gotten rusty!

As far as my product line up, I'm not sure what to change! I know to give the glycerin a rest for a while, since there won't be nearly as much moisture in the air. I'm trying to figure out which essential oils I'll be trying out. First up to try are rosemary and jojoba oils. And I may be regularly going back to Sulfur 8 to oil my scalp. Hey, it works for me! And I know how my scalp gets when it's cold. Of course I'll give the oils a try first, but if it's not satisfactory... back to the grease I go. I'll probably be changing up my shampoo, but that's just because I want to try to full Shea Moisture line. I already stretch washing to about a week and a half, with little to no co-washing in between (bad, bad Tori!) so I'll probably start alternating between shampoo and co-washing every 2 weeks. As the season progresses I will make whatever changes I see are necessary. Hopefully there won't be many!

Soooo yeah! That's how my winter regimen is shaping up in my head. Any natural hair old heads have some advice or go-to winter products?

Dreaming of Length


I think I need professional help. LOL
Without fail, at least a couple times a month since I did the big chop, I have recurring dreams of having long hair again! :( The dreams are pretty much the same. I wash my hair, comb out my curls. At that point it's almost shoulder length, about where I think it is now. Then I flat iron it and voila! I'm slangin' silky-smooth butt-length hair!
If I hadn't cut my hair into a bob last year and hadn't done the big chop this year, my hair could very well have been down my back. Shoot, it was already approaching bra strap length. I think my subconscious is calling me stupid for cutting it, especially since I did love having long hair. Don't get me wrong, my coils are gorgeous--and different! I get compliments on my hair all the time. I'm just ready for it to get some hang time, to be long as heck again. And this time it'll be all big and fluffy! Maybe by this time next year I'll be there.
But someone pleeeeaaaase tell me I am not alone in this!
Have you ever been haunted in your dreams by hair issues? A cut, color, damage, etc? C'mon, I know someone out there has something!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Naturals in Media

Not really an ad buuuut...

This picture accompanied a Yahoo! Shine blurb for the article "5 Biological Reasons You May Be Attracted to Someone." Oddly, it didn't appear with the article itself... *shrug*

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Then and Now

JSU Homecoming 2009
September 23, 2009
2 months into my transition


JSU Homecoming 2010
October 29, 2010
almost 5 months natural
(pictured with my bestie & soror Jessica)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Must -Try Protective Style

I was browsing K is for Kinky the other day and came across a post about a protective style. I don't really know much about protective styling, but since winter is approaching (eventually... it's still almost 90 degrees here) I figured I need to get a style or two under my belt. This is a simple style (or should be if you know what you're doing) that works for work, school, a formal event, Saturday shopping, whatever. I tried it the night I saw it... the results were not great. I have not had any experience flat twisting, so I need to work on that. But once I get it down (or find someone who can do it for me ^_^) I'll be rocking this look all the time. The K is for Kinky post also has great fashion & accessory info as well, so check that out if you dig her over all look like I do.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Never Never (Again) Land

I have been pretty fortunate when it comes to products. I haven't developed product junkie-ism *knock on wood* and the majority of the products I have tried work pretty well with my hair.

However, as I was looking through my little bag of hair goodies, I did notice some products tossed in that I know I'll never purchase again. I haven't thrown them out because... well that would be wasteful, considering they are all over half full. I mean, they must be good for something, right? Oh gosh, am I a product hoarder?!

I digress.

Here are the four items that I can do without. No product bashing here, but they just don't work on the fickle follicles atop my head.




1. Softsheen Carson Optimum Oil Therapy Hair & Scalp Quencher
Contrary to the name, it did not quench my scalp. I bought this product as a replacement to the Sulfur 8 that I used to use to oil my scalp after I got it done (during the relaxed days). I was basically shooting in the dark trying to find another product, but since I was already a fan of the Optimum Oil Therapy Shampoo & Moisture Creme, I figured I'd give it a shot. I didn't care for the consistency of this... product (I still don't know if I should call it grease or oil or what). It was really pretty watery and melted to the touch--not in the good way either. My scalp felt like there was nothing on it, still just as dry as before I put it on. Not sure why it didn't work for me, but I'm not planning to revisit that. I'll stick with the Sulfur 8. Never had an issue with it before (other than the smell, of course).

2. Miss Jessie's Stretch Silkening Creme
I basically told everything in this post. Tried it on soaking wet hair and completely dry hair. Didn't work either way. The one redeeming quality was that if I misted my hair and used this on the edges, it gave me decent waves for my puffs. But that's just not good enough for the $22 price tag.

3. We Rock Roots Rock Out Butter
My complaint with this is very similar to the issue with the Hair & Scalp Quencher. It was too light. Felt (and looked) like nothing was there. The rest of the We Rock Roots line was amazing to me, but this one fell short of my expectations. If I need butter, I'll stick with their Rock On butter.

4. Urban Therapy Twisted Sista Curl Activator
This gave my curls some definition, but no more than my Shea Moisture Curl & Style Milk. On top of that, it left my hair feeling... icky. It was stiff and kinda lifeless. After two tries with this one, I decided to count it as a loss and haven't used it since.

Have you purchased any products that didn't quite live up to the hype? Or tried something new with less-than-stellar results? What products have you vowed to never use again?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

AfriqueLaChic Giveaway Winner!

Well, the contest has come to a close, and what an overwhelming amount of responses! I was inundated with entries. How could I pick a winner from all ONE entries?  /sarcasm

Lesson learned here: don't try to do a giveaway until you have enough followers to do so. -_- lol

At any rate, there was a winner, which is all that matters! And the winner is.... *drum roll*

L. Michelle of My Hair...Is Me fame!
For the winter, she will be alternating between twists and twist outs.



I've already expressed my utter jealousy of her twist out, as mine never comes out that defined.
If anyone can rock Afrique La Chic properly, I know my beautiful Soror can! Congrats!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

To The Newbies Who Feel Overwhelmed

It seems like a lot sometimes, huh? Searching for the perfect products, the right routine. Spending money on different gadgets to see "What does this do?" Reading or hearing conflicting advice from supposed "experts." The hair envy. Deciding whether to take on your newly nappy hair or entrusting it to someone else. Learning what seems like a whole new language, not to mention chemistry and cooking, apparently!

Although it can get a bit overwhelming, take my simple advice:

Don't Stress!

It is a learning process, and just like pretty much anything else, you won't learn it overnight. It's trial and error. Over time you'll learn what products your hair does & doesn't like, what styles work best for you, and what corners you can cut with minimal damage. (My corner cutting confession: I don't detangle like I should. I let my curls just sit there however they turn out, especially when I do my wash & go. Fortunately I have my tangling/knots are at a minimum.)

So read the blogs, try the products. Eventually you will find your groove. Til then, have fun experimenting!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The AfriqueLaChic Giveaway!!

Thanks to Twitter, I've found a lot of great people. When using the #naturalhair hashtag, you not only see others who are embracing their hair, but you will also discover a ton of artistic folks who do their thing when it comes to jewelry and accessories.

One such person happens to be Afua Kumasi (@afuakumasi). I discovered her early in my transition and fell in love with her work. You've no doubt seen some of her earrings on this blog, but if not, let me show them (and some other goodies) to you:




 Beautiful, right? Well she has so graciously offered to give away an item from  her boutique, AfriqueLaChic. This gorgeous, hand made natural hair tie is made with super thick elastic, which means it's great for both locs and thick loose hair.



So here's how to win:

FOLLOW this blog and submit a photo of your favorite protective style for "Cool Weather Cuties" (a pictorial series I'm going to do during the fall/winter featuring naturals & permies). The pic can be of you rocking a protective style or an image of someone else. Send all submissions to toridblogs@gmail.com & type “AfriqueLaChic Giveaway” in the Subject line. Submissions for the contest will be accepted until 11:59 PM Sunday, October 17.

Want to increase your chances? Here are some additional steps you can take AFTER you send your submission:
1. tweet "I entered @kinxnquirx's AfriqueLaChic Giveaway! http://thegoodhairdiaries.blogspot.com"
2. Blog about this giveaway and link back to this page – Leave a comment or email me or tweet me your post’s permalink
3. Refer a friend to TGHD –When your friend FOLLOWS leave a comment with their name.

A first place winner will be chosen at random and notified by email by October 20.
There will also be a 2nd place winner, also notified by October 20, who will receive a jewelry grab bag (note: jewelry will not be AfriqueLaChic).
So what are you waiting for? Get those pix to me & spread the word!


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mini-rant

I've got a secret, y'all. Lean in close so no one else can hear.

Sometimes I get tired of the attention my hair brings.

There, I said it. Although I am still in luh with my hair, I've got to admit that I sometimes tire of it's "novelty." I occasionally don't feel like answering questions about my routine, or explaining why I went natural, or listening to someone go on about why they can't/want to do it. I hate people asking me questions like I've become the natural hair guru just because I'm one of only a handful of people they know rocking the hair God gave em. The hands in my hair irk me as well. Sometimes I wish I wasn't now referred to as "the one with the fro" and just "the sexy chocolaty thick goodness" Tori. Oddly, my hair has become yet another way of being "othered."

Yes, I am aware of the irony that I'm complaining about the attention to my hair on a blog I created to discuss my hair. And to that I say, so what. My blog, my rant. -_-

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tori D. needs YOUR help!

This semester is already shaping up to be pretty rough. Since I want to make it out of grad school with a decent GPA & my sanity in tact, I won't be able to update TGHD like I should. I have a few interviews in the works, as well as a giveaway, but I don't have the time to focus on work, school, my sorority obligations and my blogs.

So what do I need from my wonderful readers? I need help! If you want to share your transition story (or know someone who does), have a product that you want to rave or rant about, give a product recipe or just feature pix of you rocking your 'do (natural or relaxed, since I did say this blog would be geared towards both) email them to me at toridblogs@gmail.com.

I will still be posting, just a bit more sporadically than before (bet you didn't think that was possible, huh?). You all can help keep my little blog alive during the down time. And after December, if everything goes well, we'll be back to our regular schedule.

Thanks in advance, y'all!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Naturals In Advertising

Natural hair mentioned in the latest Above the Influence ad

"I Do Me" Video (boo to not having a code to embed it!): http://www.abovetheinfluence.com/the-ads/

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Vegetable Glycerin: My new fav

For a while now I've been hearing/reading the term "vegetable glycerin" from various naturals. I didn't know anything about it, so I turned to the net to see what I could find. In the blogosphere I found a post on The Natural Haven that explained what glycerin is and how it works. In short:

1. It is hygroscopic - meaning it bonds to and retains water. (Hygro meaning 'moisture' and scopic in this case meaning 'seeking' - therefore moisture seeking) (Griffin, W. C. et al Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Scientists, 1952)

2. It is a humectant (because of no 1) and therefore can be used to stabilise the water/moisture content in products (perhaps as in KY) (Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Scientists,pg 19, 1958)  

3. It makes hair softer (Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Scientists pg 251-263 1989)

Sounds pretty good right? So I made my way over to Rainbow Grocery for the first time ever (if you're in the Metro Jackson area, go over to Fondren and check it out) and got a couple ounces of VG. It's colorless, odorless, sticky, and sweet (so I've read, I haven't tasted it and don't plan to). It's advised to mix it with water, as just plan VG (or too much in the mix) isn't particularly good for your hair. I added it to my usual concoction of water & coconut oil. (2:1:1, water, coconut oil & VG). It works great! I usually spritz my hair with the mix every other night before bed. My hair is softer, so that I don't even have to use a product in it unless I want to. My curls also seem to pop a little more, which is always great.

I'm thinking about getting some rosemary & jojoba oils to mix with the water & VG. I can't remember where I got this from, but I do recall reading that these two oils stimulate hair growth when combined and work great with VG. We'll see.

Have any of you used VG in a different mix? Had a bad experience with it? Found a great product that you can buy with VG as the main ingredient? Let us know!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cold Weather Cometh!

from "LFRENCHE"'s photobucket
Are you excited? I am! I love the fall and winter months. They are the big girls' time to shine! (Seriously y'all, my coat game is ridiculous and is about to get amped up even more... just sayin'.) But while I am happy about sweater weather rolling around, I'm a little nervous because I have to say goodbye to my natural hair stand-by: the wash and go. So while I look for new boots, I have to look for a new style as well... I'm thinking about keeping my hair in a protective style for most of the next few months. I really want flat twists going to the just below the crown of my head with the ends in a bun/knot--something similar to the picture to the right--so that I can put pieces on (I haven't worn my bun or ponytail in forever). Or I'd take flat twists going straight back into a bun/ponytail--similar to the pictures below--but I'd have to have extensions for that since my hair isn't that long.
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pix from blackhair.about.com


Either way, I figure I could keep that for maybe 3-4 weeks, washing my scalp with cheesecloth (isn't that what's recommended for those with locs?) and daily conditioning. Then for about a week I'd wear it in a blow out. This should be the best time for it, as the humidity won't be an issue. Plus I'll have several months of growth to do a length check!
I'd really like to get some kinky twists at some point, but I don't have the patience to sit there that long! I'd get to fidgeting around the hour mark (on a good day) and my hair never would be finished. I need patience, and so does whoever gets stuck with the task of doing my twists. LOL

Oooh, and I need hats, I think. Even though I barely wear them, I think I want them. I especially like the crochet-looking things that aren't really hats; you just kinda tuck your hair into them... Do you know what I'm talking about? If so, help me out! Y'all know I'm terrible with descriptions, especially when talking about something I only have a vague idea about.

What are your plans for your hair now that the season is changing? Does your routine stay consistent through the year, or do you have separate warm weather/cool weather regimens?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

It's September?!

So that means two things:
1) it's been three months since the Big Chop--Yay me!
2) the 31BNB Challenge is over, meaning I missed almost half the challenges. Booo Tori, booo.

I'm sorry y'all, I know I suck! Somewhere around the middle of the month my ADD kicked in something serious & I just couldn't focus. But I will be going back to cover the days that I missed once I create a schedule for my blog (see, I learned something!) And I'll still be visiting the blogs of other 31BNB participants. There are really some great blogs out there, and I'm really glad to have discovered them via this challenge! Rosetta at www.bloggingforbranding.com is awesome for this; a big thank you to her! Although I didn't stay on track, this has helped me to become a better blogger. (At least, I think so. If not, let me know & bring me back to earth!)

A Few of My Favorite Things (and some new products)

I'm feeling kinda Oprah-ish today (okay, not really, but it sounded good) so I want to share some of my favorite things with y'all. The inspiration for this post was my impromptu trip to Target on Sunday. Of course I wandered over to the health & beauty section and ended up finding something I've been looking for for a while (and got some new finds... more on that later). So I got to thinking about how much I love certain products/items for my hair & decided to let you in on them.

 I love these Goody bobby slides. They hold more hair than a regular bobby pin, and don't pull my hair out when I remove them. I bought some years ago but somehow managed to lose most of them. Now they are available in the color collection: blond (not pictured since they were out), brunette, & black. I am happy that I got my hands on these again, although I would have loved to find some straight up silver slides. My one complaint: Goody didn't use paint that would stand up to hair & hair products! After wearing one for half a day yesterday, the paint is already peeling. I experienced this before, though, so I knew what I was getting myself into. At least this time around the paint is black instead of light pink like last time... :-/ Anyway, a set of six will cost you about $3.49 at Target.


What are these, you ask? Cloth belts, the kind that come with tops from places like New York & Company. Now if you didn't know, these belts are the big girl's natural enemy. Here I am trying to find ways to minimize my tummy, and this belt comes along drawing attention to it! Hmph! These belts from old tops almost took a trip to the dump, but I realized they could serve another purpose: headbands. Yup, I use these babies as cute little headbands, especially when wearing a puff. It's a simple little way to add a bit of color, and I don't have to pay for new headbands, so yay! Ghetto? I guess. Cheap? You bet!


Although I'm just seriously getting into eyeshadow, I tend to get a ton of compliments when I use these eyeshadow palettes. As much as I love MAC eye shadows, $14 a pot is a bit pricey for me. Plus I have to sit there and figure out what colors to pair and I really suck at that. But for $4-$6 (depending on where I'm shopping) I can get Maybelline's Expert Wear Eyeshadow Quads or Rimmel's Colour Rush Trio Eyeshadow. (IDK why Rimmel's site only shows eight shades. The one in my hand is Dark Angel.) They have great pigmentation and last all day. Plus the Maybelline shadows have a little diagram on the back for slow folks like me who don't know where to apply what... LOL


 I got this super wide-tooth comb in a pack of like six combs for $2 at Big Lots years & years ago. Never had much use for it until I went natural. Unfortunately, I forgot about this comb until after I bought another comb, but hands down, this one is my fav! It gets rid of tangles like it's nothing. Unfortunately, I have no idea what brand it is, where you can find it, anything. Sorry.









This photo combines old and new. On the left is Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Gunmetal. The right is Milani in Wild Violet. I picked it up at Target on Sunday (for $.99!) because I needed a purple polish. It wasn't quite the shade I was looking for, but it was cute so I figured what the heck. I got it on & loved it! Since I'm really feeling purple and gray/silver right now, I had to do both. The result:

I love it! In person, the purple is more of a metallic plum color :)


The only things I planned to buy were the bobby slides, but then I thought about the fact that I was out of leave-in conditioner, so I wandered up & down the isles looking for something new to try. I came across Shea Moisture Organic Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk. I'd never heard of the Shea Moisture brand, but at $8.99, why not? My aunt told me that my cousin had been using Carol's Daughter Hair Milk and that she liked it, so I figured I'd try this. (Yes, I know it's not the same thing, but milk is milk is milk, right? IDK) So I've been using it since Sunday and I am in love!  I usually mist my hair with the water/coconut oil mix, then apply the hair milk. It has my hair feeling sooo soft! It doesn't dry out & get all stiff/crunchy feeling, but it's not oily. It gives my curls some nice definition, even in the spots that appear to be type 4b/c. Plus I get a nice natural looking shin and it smells great. Now I want to give some of their other products a try! And I will, once I run out of my current products. I'm trying to avoid becoming a product junkie! According to the Shea Moisture website, their hair care collection is only available through Target.



I also picked up the Twisted Sista Curl Activator by Urban Therapy. I realize now that I really could've done without this, seeing as how the hair milk says CURL & Style Milk right on the label... But whatever, I have it now. I must say, I could've done without this one. It doesn't do much as far as defining curls, and I find that my hair is a little stiffer than I'd like. Not a terrible product, but I don't think it's right for me. It was only $4.99 at Target, so I don't feel like it's too big of a loss.





So there you have it, a few of my favorite (hair) things... plus one not so favorite thing! Feel free to share yours!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

PIX! (Because I don't feel like writing)

I am super lazy today. And since I'm already having to exert energy I don't have on a paper for class Monday (yes, a paper already), I figured I'd just hit y'all with a bunch of pix. Wanna see 'em? Here they go:


twist-out from the beginning of the month

Result of a braid-out. My hair was super soft and big that day!

I realized that Miss Jessie's I bought works best for me when I do my puff.

I did a roller set about two weeks ago. I didn't care for how poofy it was...

but i think i should've just pinned both sides because I love this.

roller set: side view

roller set: back

after I played around in/picked out my roller set

twist-out. really i wanted to show off my freshly waxed brows (my first time!) & makeup attempt

2nd day twist outs are the best! (i know it's blurry, but the hair still looks great so...)

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Natural Newbie How-To Guide

So I'm natural... Now what?!


This post is a collaboration of two 31BNB challenges: Day 9 & 19.

Previously, I mentioned that I had no idea what I would write a how-to on because I am just learning "how to" myself when it comes to hair. In the comments I got a suggestion from Kimberlee Stiens:

Maybe you could write a how-to about newbie natural mistakes to avoid? Or products that are terrible? Or maybe dealing with reactions from friends/loved ones?


http://businessforgoodnotevil.blogspot.com/
 
So here I am fulfilling the day 19 challenge (Turn a comment into a blog post) and going back to day 9 to do a how-to.This is a how-to on avoiding (most) natural newbie mistakes. Of course, with everything that you start new, you are bound to make some mistakes. My mistake so far besides doing the BC while tipsy has been slacking in the moisturizing/conditioning department. But the thing is, you want to avoid as many mistakes as possible, especially those that can be damaging long-term. After all, the reason that most folks go natural is because they want healthy hair. So let's see what we can do to avoid being counterproductive to that!
 
1. Don't expect your hair to do the same things it did when it was relaxed.
I'm used to having long tresses that did exactly what I wanted it to do. Since going natural, my hair rebels and does it's own thing. And I'm learning that it's okay! Don't look for your hair to do the same things it did when permed (or even while transitioning), or to react the same way to products you once used. Sure, they may still work the same and have the same effect, but be aware of the possibility that they may not.
 
2. Do your homework.
Thanks to the "interwebs" there is a wealth of knowledge out there. From styling to the science behind your hair, there are articles, blogs, YouTube videos, books, you name it! Empower yourself with knowledge. A word of caution, though: not everyone knows what they are talking about, and it seems like everyone on  the web considers themselves an expert. Do your due diligence to find out what's legitimate and works for you.

3. Know your limits.
Some things are better left to the professionals. As bad as I want some color in my hair right now, I'm not trying to do it myself because I know that I don't know what I'm doing. And I'm going to a salon tomorrow to get my ends trimmed because I don't have the tools or knowledge to do it properly. What I'm saying is, know what you can & can't do. Sure, you should learn your hair and how to take care of it. Know your limits, that's all I'm saying.

4. Figure out your hair type and what works well for it.
More than likely you'll have a couple different types of hair on your head, so you'll have to learn to make things work for each type. This is another area where it may be beneficial to consult a professional (if they know anything about natural hair--many don't). How do you determine the type of hair you have? The most common method is one popularized by Oprah's stylist Andre. It categorizes hair into type I-IV and then further into a,b, or c. I really like this page at curlz.biz that explains the various hair types.
There is also the LOIS hair system.

So that's my little how-to guide on avoiding natural (hair) disaster as a newbie. Any other tips or advice, feel free to comment!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Naturals in Advertising (31BNB, Day 17)

You know what amazes me? Even before I knew of the "natural movement" or knew anyone personally who had natural hair, I saw incredible images of black women rocking their natural hair. Where? In ads! Whether print, television, or online, natural hair seems like it's more accepted than relaxed hair (at least, from the images shown). Of course, most of the women in these ads have the kinda corkscrew coils that most see as favorable... but still, natural is natural.

So from time to time I want to share images/video of women rocking natural hair in advertisement. Let's see just how much I can find... We may not even realize how often we see naturalistas doing their thing!

on Regions Bank's website today


Lane Bryant model

on clorox.com