Do you ever stop and look in any given place where there happens to be a lot of black women and notice these days how many of us have finally decided to embrace our natural hair? I do, and it makes me so happy and proud to see this happening. The church I attend is bustling with "naturals". I have found myself from time to time counting the many women I see when I'm there. It's beautiful.
Sometimes I hear people referring to women embracing their natural hair. They say things like, "yeah, everybody is trying to be natural now". I don't guess they mean any harm, but it bothers me because when people say these things they are turning something beautiful and highly significant into something meaningless and nothing more than a fad. Not to mention, "you do know that's how her hair is supposed to be right?"
I'm sure that not everyone who decided to return to natural had some deep call to return to oneness with nature or whatever,(I know I didn't) but the mere fact that women are becoming comfortable enough to embrace what much of society calls ugly or simply not the standard of beauty is huge. Enough women embraced their hair that one woman decided it was okay to do the same and then another and another.
If you are a regular reader of my blog then you know that I have 3 daughters. I bring this up because I feel like the more we embrace our natural hair we show future generations that our coils, kinks, and napps are beautiful. Our daughters won't feel it a necessity to relax or straighten their hair to be beautiful. They'll be able to appreciate the differences in their hair and see it as beautiful.
In essence we are changing the standard of beauty. Don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying that straight hair isn't beautiful. I'm saying that kinky, curly, nappy hair is beautiful. Simple as that. Not too or also. It just is. All by itself.

I found a very cute little video that I just had to share. It is my hope and prayer that our little girls will truly grow up feeling this way.


My Straight Hair Regimen

I don't straighten my hair very often, but when I do I have a different set of products that I use to achieve and maintain my look. I have learned some things through trial and error and other things from the wonderful women from youtube and other sites and forums. This is how my process goes:

Step 1: Shampoo my hair. I always shampoo before I flat iron to make sure that there isn't any build up on my hair or scalp. I don't suggest co-washing before you straighten.

Step 2: I ALWAYS deep condition before I straighten using a moisturizing DC. I typically use ORS Replenishing Conditioner. This is a light protein as well but I have found it to be very moisturizing on my hair. I make sure to fully detangle my hair at this stage with a wide tooth comb. I follow the comb with my Denman brush making sure to get any shed hair that is left behind. I do this to ensure that once I begin to flat iron I don't have any snags. After rinsing the conditioner I move on to the next step.

Step 3: I apply my heat protectant. I use FHI Hot Sauce. I simply love this product. It isn't heavy or oily but it adds moisture. I apply this in about 4 sections.

Step 4: I am now ready to blow dry my hair. I have found this to a VERY important step in this process. I learned my technique from this video:

I will say that I had a hard time getting the technique down of holding the blow dryer and Denman at the same time. I lack coordination, but I'm getting better. Also, my hair is a bit thicker than hers so it didn't go through the Denman as easy as hers did, but I started to get a rhythm . My results show the difference. I'll show pictures from when I first learned this technique and blow dried it. Check out part 2 of that video as well.

This is from January. Clean towel dried hair.

These are blow dried using her technique.

Step 5: Finally, I flat iron my hair in small sections using another VERY useful technique by SalonCabelo:

This comb chase method is so key. At least for me. I've straightened with and without this technique when I was trying to rush things along and my hair wasn't nearly as straight or silky.

Again these pics are from late January.

Maintenance: I don't use alot of product on my straightened hair because I don't want to weigh it down. The only thing I use to moisturize while straight is coconut oil. It is very light and adds a nice sheen. If I want a bit more shine I will add a few drops of Kemi Oyl to it.
I do this nightly before going to bed and sometimes in the morning depending on how it looks and feels. I wrap my hair at night, but I don't know how to explain how I do it. It's not the traditional one way wrap. My hair would always stink after a few days of doing that. I know you know what I'm talking about too. :)
Hmmm, how can I explain this. Ok, I take my hair in 4 sections. Two in front and two in back and first start with the left front and swoop it around the back to the right section and bobby pin it down. I do the same with the ride side pinned down on the left side. Then I take the back left and pin in around to the front of the right section and same from back back right to left. I hope that makes sense and doesn't sound too complicated. It's super easy. So much so that it feels foolish to even explain it. Anyway, I do this because it leaves the hair room to breathe so that it doesn't stink and also because it doesn't stress the edges or cause that unruly hair on the side that you swooped the hair when doing a traditional wrap.
Don't forget to wear your satin bonnet to bed.

Here's another picture of my hair straightened from late August. I kind of rushed through it and am in need of a trim here, but you can see my growth.

If anyone had trouble understanding the wrap technique (or anything) be sure and let me know. I'll do my best to explain it better.
Btw, I think I'm going to stick with this new page design. I hope you guys like it as much as I do.


In Case You Were Wondering...,

If anyone is wondering about the many recent changes being made to my blog design the short answer is that I've been having some technical difficulties in that area and am trying to find the right fit. Sorry if it's getting a bit hard to deal with.I don't desire to have a different design every week so once (hopefully soon) I find the right fit, it will remain that way for awhile.


Braid Challenge #3

I have completed my 3rd braid challenge and am moving to the 4th. Unfortunately I never took pictures of dd's hair on this one. All I did was braided it into a ponytail except the ponytail was kind of going a spiral if that makes sense.
I'm finding that her braids aren't lasting as long as I'd like them to. I was hoping to allow each set of braids to stay in for two weeks but after a week they've been looking pretty fuzzy. I'm not sure if this a "her hair" thing or if it's my lack of experience in braiding that is causing this. I am doing some searching online to find some ideas for new styles because I'm really not that creative when it comes to thinking of styles. If anyone has any suggestions please share them.

I'm going to post a picture of last weeks style that I talked about in the last post. Remember, I shared that it was kind of similar to the first style except that I braided the back down? Here are pictures of that.

Notice on the last picture how the braids are not nearly as neat and put together as the second picture. I see some areas that need improvement. It's exciting though because soon I'll be able to look back and see how I've improved.
Stay tuned for challenge 4.


Braid Challenge #2

On to the next assignment... I actually completed the seconf set of braid in my dd's hair over two weeks ago but have neglected to post about it. Forgive me. I have to say though that I kind of did a variation on the first style.
I washed and DC'd her hair while in braids this time and then unbraided the hair and rebraided it. The only difference between this style and the last is that I braided the back down and put the top in a bun.
My hope is to be much more adventurous as I go along. I still have several months to go so I'm sure things will be getting more exciting. Beacuse I waited so long to post challenge #2 I should be posting # 3 soon after this one.


Braid Challenge #1

I finally started the challenge I set forth for myself about keeping my daughters hair in braids. I must say it went SO much smoother that I had expected. I had built up this horrible experience in my mind where it would take forever. Where I would simply have force myself to complete the task. It turned out nothing like that.

I guess all my obsessing about it is what helped me though. See, what I concluded upon completeion is that it worked out so well because I planned everything in my head many times over. I had a plan! :) I'll tell you what I did.

First of all, I washed her hair on Monday night and let her DC overnight with ORS Hair Mayo (Man, I love that stuff). Tuesday I rinsed the DC and immediately detangled her hair and parted it into sections.

I put the hair in knots so that it would retain the moisture longer. I did this because the second her hair starts to dry I have to detangle it again. That being said, once I got to each section I blow dried it for a few minutes. Just enough the knock out some of the moisture and elongate the hair.

I moisturized each section as I got to it using EVCO (Extra Virgin Coconut Oil). I then braided the back section and continued on the next section repeating the blow dry, moisturize, braid process until I reached the front section.

Once I completed the braids I twisted the front section into two strand twists.

As you can see I knotted the hair in the back. Although I forgot to take pictures I eventually took them down and let her wear it curly.

I will take the front twists down for a twistout once it's been up for a week.


My Bitty Braids

I shared in a previous post that I randomly started braiding my hair in small sections. I started on Thursday and finished on Saturday. That's all I can truthfully tell you about how long it took because I really didn't pay attention. I just braided here and there whenever I got free minute.

If I just had to guess I would say that it took me somewhere between 5 and 8 hours to complete it. That's pretty vague I know. When I have styles that take a while to do I rarely have time to do them in one sitting.

I did stop every few section a and snapped a few photos. These shots are not posed in any way just so you know. I was all over the place doing these things. Lol.

I've had the braids in for 3 weeks now and I LOVE them. They're so care free and cute. I had plans to do all types of different things to them but I have just enjoyed wearing them down. They're finally srtaring to look a bit old to me but I promised myself I'd leave them in for a full 4 weeks so I will. I think I'll do bantu knots on them and see how that turns out. Stay tuned for that I'll be sure to post pics.


My Dilemma Update : Braid Challenge Postponed

I planned to start my new challenge this past Monday but I failed to take into account that my children would be starting swimming lessons again so I decided to postpone this challenge for a few weeks. If things go as planned I should start the challenge on Monday July 26,2010.


My Dilemma, My Plan.

As you all may know, I have three daughters. Theirs plus mine makes four heads of hair that I'm responsible for keeping together. I have to tell you, as much as I love all things hair related, it gets quite overwhelming. Not to mention we all have different hair types so I am dealing with 4 different textures. Six if you count the three different types I have in my own head.

What you may may not know is that I work full time and homeschool my children as well. That doesn't really leave a lot of leisure time so I don't always stay on top of the hair like I should. My youngest two daughters have fine hair that is prone to frizz, so there are very few styles that will last longer than a day on them. This means doing their hair quickly, every day and spending more time, less often on my oldest daughters' hair or vice versa.

My oldest daughters' hair is very tightly coiled and very prone to tangles. When I wash her hair it is an absolute must that I detangle it while it's still wet. If for some reason I don't get a chance to detangle it then I have to rewet the head of hair before continuing.

(This is a picture of her hair texture)

Once I've detangled her hair, which usually takes about an hour, I style the hair. This usually takes at least two hours. If I'm low on time there is no quick protective style for her hair. My only choice is a puff. Her hair is too thick for anything else. The problem with that is that even though I've spent an hour detangling her hair, one day or even a few hours in a puff undoes that whole process so the next day I either have to rewet or co-wash the hair and spend the combined 3 hours detangling and styling ir or simply re-puff it and worry about the "worsening by the day" detangling situation that's happening on her head later. I usually go with the latter.

I know these long detangling sessions when I allow the puff to remain for more than a few days, cannot be good for her hair no matter how gentle I am. I haven't even gone into full detail of the trouble I sometimes get myself into with the two younger girl's hair. In short, when I'm super busy I tend to re-puff or ponytail their hair by brushing and geling the edges without detangling the length. I know, I know. It's a disaster in the making and we both pay for it later. I've also noticed the stress that all these ponytails and puffs put on the edges.

Miraculously my children are not bald and do have edges but I know I owe that to the routine deep conditionings I do weekly or bi-weekly as well as using good moisturizers on their hair consistently. Still, I want to find ways to take better care of their hair.

Now that I've shared my dilemma with you I also want to share my plan with you. I guess I should mention another small dilemma as well. This one is easy. I feel like my job could be easier if I french braided my eldest daughters hair more, but simply put, I'm not a very good french braider and I don't particularly like doing them. I'm not terrible but I could be so much better. Especially when you consider that I have three daughters.

This leads me to my plan. I have decided to create a challenge of sorts for myself. I want to begin doing weekly or bi-weekly french braid styles on my oldest daughters' hair in an effort to better protect and take care of her hair as well as to perfect braiding. I am also focusing on length retention.

I plan to chronicle this journey/challenge right here on "Coiffure". It should be fun. If any of my readers have a situation that is similar to mine feel free to join in with me and don't hesitate to share any results, progress and even pictures as I share mine with you.

Here is my plan:
-Shampoo the hair
-DC the hair with heat for at least 15 minutes.
-Blowdry the hair with a good heat protectan. (Blowdrying isn't necessary but I plan to so that the detangling process will be easier and so that her hair will be elongated.)
-Braid the hair.

I'm hoping to redo this process weekly or bi-weekly depending on the condition of her hair after the first week. One more thing; I plan to continue this process for a full 6 months. If things work out as planned I will begin this process on Monday July 12, 2010.

Stay tuned!!!


2nd Natural Anniversary!!

It was 2 years ago yesterday that I officially returned to the natural state that God created me in. So exciting! I planned to do many fun things to celebrate this day but I didn't calculate the fact that I would be out of town right up until this came so....yeah that didn't really happen. That said, it is still my anniversary and I want to atleast acknowledge it.
I initially planned to straighten my hair for a length check and even purchase some goodies for my hair. All these things never happened. Booo. I suck. Lol.
On to other things; today I just randomly picked up a small piece of my hair and started braiding it and when I looked at it I thought, "wow, this is really cute". So I decided to do my whole head, Now the thing with this is that the braids are reeeeally small so it's gonna take me forever, but I'm game, so I'll update with pictures as soon as I finish. I'm hoping to keep these in for atleast a month, washing them while I have them. It should be a good rest for my hair.


Product Review (Suave Almond and Shea Butter Conditioner

I've been procrastinating on reviewing this product for months. For no reason in particular. I just have. I only mention it because when I planned to review it the product was fairly new on the scene. By now everyone has probably already tried it and really has no need to hear my review. That said, I'm sure some of you haven't so I'll give my review anyway.

First let me say that the price was great. I got a 32oz. bottle from Walmart for $2.84 although I was there a week or so ago and I think they raised the price a bit. Not by much. It's still in the $3 range.

Anyway, the smell is very pleasant. It's a light vanilla-ish scent and is not overpowering at all. The consistency is pretty creamy and thick. I have used this conditioner to condition about 4 times as well as to DC after having added EVCO (extra virgin coconut oil) and honey to it.
I have to say that it was not bad. Especially for the price. It didn't leave my hair feeling the best it's ever felt (I mean it's no "Totally Twisted") but I think it did well and I can also tell that this is one of those that would probably work great on someone else's hair.
It has good slip so it's good for detangling. My only problem with it is that I need a conditioner to feel like it really penetrated my hair and I didn't get enough of that feeling with this one. However, and this brings me back to what I said earlier, I can tell that this is one of those conditioners that some people will die for. I probably won't buy it again but I think it's worth trying out if you are the market for a new conditioner. Let me know if any of you have tried a it and what you thought about it.


EZ Combs

I'm sure everyone has seen these hair accessories around enough to be a little familiar with them. I had seen them many times and even stopped to look at them in the stores but I guess I figured my hair was too thick to really be able to use them. Well Sally's had them on sale a few weeks ago for around four or five dollars. SOLD...to the woman with the giant 'fro. Lol.
So I got the EZ Combs home and sat with me them for a weel or so amd finally one day after I had done a braid out I decided to give them a try. Here is the result. I personally thought it turned out fabulous!

The next day I pulled this bang back into the ez comb in a hump. It looked even better but I didnt get a pic of that.


Ugh!! Shame on me.

I've always been of the mindset that hair is just hair and it will grow back so I never agonized much over cutting my hair. If I wanted a cut little bob or whatever new style struck my fancy at the time I just cut it. Since being natural that has changed. Yes, hair is still hair, and yes it will grow back, but I guess I just value it more. I grew this hair from 1 inch long to now around APL with great love and care so I won't be just haphazardly chopping it off. The BIG chop was enough for me to last quite awhile.

Having said all that, the other day I really considered it. Even it was for a split second. I also considered becoming a natural head who only wears her hair straight. I thought on that a little longer.

Why did I consider these things? Tangles! That's why. Ughhhh! I can't really be mad at my hair it was just doing what it normally does. I was just being a lazy bum. I started out with a a fro and over a couple of days ended up putting it in a puff. The problem is I've been working some extra shifts at work so I've been low on time and I was just pretty much halfway doing it and leaving. I wasn't fluffing it out or moisturizing it. On top of that I was sleeping like a comatose patient all over my poor hair. So again my hair was doing exactly what it should've done in that instance. It tangled and curled on itself something horrible. By the time I sat down to detangle it I just wanted to cut it.

Wanna take a guess at how long it took me to detangle it? Well I couldn't really tell you. I detangled some fell asleep and started again but I guess it was somewhere 4-5 hours. I KNOW right! Unbelievable. I will never let my hair get like that again. I hope. So I'm sure you know that I'll be in protective styles for a minute now. I put some small (not quite mini) twists in my hair last night.

Ladies, hear me and hear me well. Don't do this to yourselves. Take the extra few minutes to properly care for your hair.


Twistouts!! Kids Edition!

I wanted to share some VERY special people with you all. I had the idea to begin showing different hairstyles that I do on my girls from time to time. I actually have a fotki album dedicated to them but it hasn't been update in quite some time. Today the styles featured are twistouts although I assure you that they wear braids, puffs, and pigtails on a regular basis.

This is my firstborn! I've featured her in a post awhile back about kinky twists.

This is my middle little girly!

This is my wittle baby!



The Puff!! (Style Photo)

That's all :D


Embracing the FRIZZ!!

Do you ever see photos of women with natural hair and it's very...organic....frizzy...almost messy but OH so gorgeous? Whenever I see those photos I am inspired to experiment with my own hair. Now fast forward to me actually doing my own hair and it's a totally different story. I for some reason feel that my hair has to be really defined with no fly aways or frizzed edges. Forget about a chunky fro. It either needs to be purposely textured or fluffed out. No middle geound. Now why is that? On someone else it's beautiful. On me I feel like it looks like I either didn't finish styling it or the style got ruined. When that happens I usually just wash it out or comb all the texture out and end up with a fro or a puff.
Well that was the past. I've decided to EMBRACE THE FRIZZ people!! I want to look organic and afrocentric too. I think one of the most beautiful things about having natural hair is embracing new forms of beauty even within the natural hair community. That's just something that's been on my mind and I wanted to share that with you guys. I'll leave you all with some beautifully "frizzy" and or "organicly messy" coifs.