Tuesday, November 30, 2010


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
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*