Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Natural Hair Advice - Take One

I received an email today from a friend who recently went natural. Her question was a common one so I thought I would go ahead post my response here. Now Prior to reading this "blog" if you want to refute what I say here... free country .... I am not an expert and this isn't a peer reviewed journal ... this is an unsolicited, non-peer edited "blog" which general means I can say what-so-ever I please based on my lived experience. You can like it, love it or step off.


Dear Loving it and Leaving it Natural,

I have a quick question for you. I moisturize my hair everyday and do the deep condition and all, but I was wondering if there was something I could do about the fly aways ( for lack of a better term) it is almost like frizzy ends, but its not all of the hair. I have some definite curls, then I have this frizzy flyaway stuff in other areas. Any suggestions?


Newly Natural

Dear Newly Natural,

Here are a couple of possible "reasons" for the fly aways.

Reason #1.) You are sporting a shorter cut and you may have split ends. This is GOING to happen with no way to avoid it if you get a traditional barber cut using the "clippers". Clippers pick up hair stretch it (just a bit) and then cut it away, in many cases this tears the ends. So if this is how you are getting your hair cut, you'll have the little fly-away's in certain spots. The best suggestion is to limit clippers as much as you can to "framing the face" and neck and ask that the barber use sheers on the long part of the hair you style in curls (typically the top). If you will continue to get a buzz cut... i say skip wearing a curly style often and just rock it out all natural with no product. (that's what I did ... see picture of fly diva on the left of this photo for an example)

Reason #2.) you have different textures of hair in different spots. Yeap colics, are not just for babies. They last forever sometimes! So you may just have a patch of straight hair amidst curly hair. I have one section of my hair on the left of my head that DOES NOT curl in the same pattern as the rest of my hair and resists curling like a two year old resists potty training! I finger curl/brush and style this section if I wear a curly style (i'll get to how to do that in a second).

Reason #3.) All the perm is not out. If you have a little perm left on the ends... it will stick out fuzzy style like a sore thumb especially as the hair dries during the day. Unfortunately even when you get buzz cut to next to nothing, it may not be until the second cut that you resume or begin growing your "natural" hair. Perm/Relaxer penetrates the scalp. I only noticed my true hair texture after a few cuts at Big Mommas - yes that is a shout out. See Geraldine for a great fade/line (2101 Door St.). Bottom line, the permed portion of hair won't curl like your natural hair. If you think this is the problem, opt to have a little more taken off next time.

Here are my suggestions and recommendations:

1.) Use a curling product (without alcohol). Many products, like gels, contain alcohol. Alcohol is going to dry your hair even if it at first provides a little sheen. I avoid alcohol based products in my hair. If there is "some alcohol" I make sure its not in the first 3-5 ingredients listed on the label. Just like food, hair products typically list the most used ingredient first and each subsequent ingredient (chemical or organic) is less a percent of the total mixture than the ingredient proceeding. My favorite is hair milk by Carols Daughter - original formula.

I know some people (Fuzzy Hooker) who say they are allergic. I have had no problems. I use the original formula and it helps provide a nice soft curl. It dries quickly however and you may use a lot of it for an all over natural style which will begin to get pricey.

So if this is the case alternate between it and organic root stimulator's hair mayonnaise as a leave in conditioner and hair pomade. GUNK warning: this hair mayo smells wonderful, holds your curl once it dries and dresses the hair to a decent shine, but it provides a build up on your scalp! You'll find yourself desiring a nice shampoo every two to three days or so, in addition to the morning wet and wear with the hair mayonnaise, which is how I used it. Good news ... it helps with breakage of all sorts.

Water naturally hydrates the hair so regardless of what we were taught its not the water that dries our hair out from daily washing... rather it is the chemicals in shampoos. If you go to an every day wet-to-wear style don't be afraid to pile on the water and have a spritzing bottle full of high quality H2O on hand - but be careful of "shampooing" hair daily or too often, which may dry your hair and cause more damage than good. Find a mild conditioning/shampoo that you like and can fit into your budget. I have to shout out Lush Cosmetics, Rehab bottle shampoo. I can't get it often - but I love the stuff.

2.) You may still be to short for this but your going to need a curl defining brush - and it may even help now to define your curls and tame fly-aways. I find any paddle brush with a rubber binding will work but others swear by the denman brush. I must admit the little costly sucker is cool as a curl definer ($15-20).

You'll use this brush (or a cheaper alternative like it) to paddle through your hair in small sections, curling your wrist up like you are using a curling iron to define the curls. Finger style to add more definition where needed. The brush, on damp-to-wet hair with a product of your choice should give you all day hold and rid you of pesky fly-aways because the pad and product will force strands together as it curls. Even short it may be worth a try. If you have to section it ... you can finger place your hair back into style if you see gaps in your hair.

Here is a video on the denman:


I hope this is helpful. Feels like it should be a blog... maybe I will copy it into my blog.

Good luck!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Inspiration Just in Time for Lent....

Ah, Ash Wednesday! This marks the oversimplified time of "sacrifice" by many followers and non-followers of the catholic church who in seemingly sincere parody embark on 40 day of "giving up" something frivolous like carbonated soda or swearing in homage to Jesus' 40 days in the wilderness before public ministry. Sorrowfully many people miss the original intent of reflection, prayer, alms giving (i.e. disposing of some material wealth), and taking on the Ministry of Christ. I guess giving up soda is easier than ministering to anyone! Happy Lent.

Here is a little of my own reflection...

I must admit, one thing I desire to change in myself is the comfort with which I can start a project and as quickly as I began it, leave it alone. Granted there are some things so critically important in my life that I don't "skimp" or duck out of them i.e. my education, my career, washing my hands while I sing the birthday song twice, maintaining natural hair, and needed home repairs that if not tended to might end with the mail lady falling through the front porch (and yes, a US postal carrier did fall through a porch to her death today). But other things like dating and dieting are often "projects" for the discard pile. Began .. and quickly abandon.

Yes, I consider dating a project and all at once a chore. Think back to the last time you had cheese on a lactose intolerant stomach during a date, or held your tongue as he "forgot" to leave a tip, or glossed over that fact that he said "pacific" instead of "specific" and you'll know exactly why I consider dating a "project" or chore.

Dieting is another entirely torturous project. I am of the belief that diets should have their own alert system, much like the Department of Homeland Securities' terrorism notification system.

Punitive diets like the cabbage soup diet and the lemon cayenne pepper diet could be ranked Severe (red), and The Cookie Diet could be green. You might even be able to supplant the words "risk of terrorist attacks" in the graphic with "risk of pooping on yourself while sneezing".

I think with both dieting and dating my tendency to not follow through on them is less about my willpower and more about my inability to see their immediate benefit. Both dieting and dating are rather non-orgasmic in the onset.

A'last my long term goals dictate that I have to make some immediate changes in these area. While the benefits might not be "readily" identifiable ... long term goals like children and not testing three times a day dictate I have to take a more active and committed approach to dating and dieting?

But where can I draw inspiration to stick to dating consistently and a diet and exercise regime? Riddle me that web-gods?

Luckily, I have solved on side of this quandary. Admittedly the simpler side... dieting!

On a recent trip to the mall, I stumbled upon a charity group offering used formal wear for sale. I wasn't impressed - prom is a distant memory and non-commitment to the 'dating thing' means my solo trips to the symphony don't require a little black dress and waxed legs. But as I sat their(eating) the dj officiating the sale from the center of the food court drew my attention when he announced "everything now $1.00".

Exit stage left! I snatched a gently used size 12 summer dress from over the shoulder of an elderly woman who was unaware of my cat like reflexes and I made no apology for nearly knocking her wig off. She gets a senior buckeye discount at Cracker Barrell, I get a dress - in the end I think we are even.

I snatched a few more finds before exiting the sale. Back at the table where I had left my food, I discussed with my friends the $5's worth of goodies in my brown bag. Then I looked back at the racks, bear hangers swinging, wracks full 15 minutes before now scantly clad - and I saw it! My $1.00 inspiration. A vintage 1950, green satin, frock with a ruffled collar. It screamed "Sarah-Jessica-Parker-Vintage-So-Ugly-Its-Too-Darn-Cute-To-Be-Left-Behind-Because-Few-Can-Pull-This-Off-And-You-Are-One-Of-Them!"

I raced back to the rack, hugged my dream dress, handed one dollar to the volunteer and miraculously I had found my inspiration for a daily instead of twice times weekly work out routine, a low carb diet!

Three days in, all water, beating the snot out of the elliptical and on my way to a size 8!

Wish me Luck!