Lesson #1: The Unbreakable Bond

As a baby, our first loves become our mothers and fathers, siblings, grandparents, etc. They teach us life’s fundamentals like how to walk, talk, what to eat, what to wear.  They give us strength, courage, honesty and respect.  The people you look up to as a child become your first and greatest role models.  With that being said, every moment that we spend with them becomes more precious and the lessons they teach us become forever engrained into us.


One of the first lessons taught to little girls whether they know it or not is the importance of brushing her hair.  I know that sounds crazy but it’s true.  Some of my oldest memories are of me sitting in my grandmothers lap and getting my hair done. A little girl getting her hair combed has a deeper meaning.  It means a lot more than just getting pretty before the day begins.  It teaches the importance of loving yourself and everything that comes with it including your hair.  It teaches that your hair is an extension of yourself and that your maintenance and display of it can reveal more of your personality than a two hour conversation.

For a little girl, getting her hair done has just one large value, love.  Think about it.  When you’re out, let’s say at the mall, and you see a mother and daughter.  You look at the mother and she is slaying from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s mountain top, then your eyes trickle on down to the little girl.  What do you see?  In your eyes, it’s an unloved little girl.  Yes, maybe she had a rough day at school.  Maybe during recess her edges got a little un-slicked.  Maybe nap time just a got a little to intense.  Hey, it happens to the best of us. However, that’s not the case in this scenario.  Why is that not the case? It’s not the case because you continue to look down at the little girl and her whole appearance just seems unkempt.  More than mismatched or tattered but uncared for.  When a little girl gets her hair done she knows she is loved unconditionally.

  
There’s a father and daughter on Instagram (@icemikeloveasia) and the two of them have gone completely viral.  Partly because Asia is like utterly adorable and also because of the concept behind the videos.  The father, Mike repeatedly displays his unconditional love for his daughter.  By simply brushing his daughters hair in the morning, he’s teaching her love for him, love for her, and love for her hair even if it’s different from mainstream media (long and straight).

  
 I remember spending Saturday’s with my daddy when I was little and mommy was at work.  Every Saturday morning he did my hair in two pig tails, quite nicely I might add.  Then we would go out, maybe to eat or maybe just to the store to gets parts for a car he was working on.  The point is that the destination didn’t matter only the action, the action of doing my hair.

  
My last piece of advice, on this post, is to do your daughters hair (your sons too for that matter).  It matters!

P.S. Don’t forget to do it properly. 

It’s Lit! 

Spring has arrived, and with it those lovely sun rays. It’s never easy when the heat comes around. Your hair can poof up with the humidity. It can curl up due to sweat, or it can simply dry up cause it’s too hot to hold the moisture in. Here are a few hacks to keep your hair in tact. 

Bantu Knot Up Do   

Bantu Knots are a quick and easy way to style your hair and they usually last for a good length of time. This protective style also works well with short or long hair and any type of cut. I have a short cut right now and the picture above shows me wearing the style. There’s no extra hair added. It’s all me. You simply brush up the back, hold it with whichever hold you use, and bantu knot the front. 

Braids/Cornrows  
Braids are the perfect way to beat the heat. Plus, there are a million different types of braids. My niece has the two long side cornrows. This has recently become a trendy style being worn by the Kardashians and renamed “boxer braids” 😂 but this post isn’t about appropriation. Don’t get me wrong I don’t have a problem with them wearing braids. I actually think they look really cute on them. I take issue with the fact that it wasn’t “cute” until the another culture started doing it. Anyway, there’s more than one opinion on the matter like there’s more than one type of braid. 

  

Here’s my very lovely Ms. Tatum making braids and twists look absolutely fabulous. 

Sew-In/Lace-Front  

Weaves and wigs are a perfect hack for summertime hair. You get a few good bundles and you’re all set. Sew-In methods like the Vixen Sew-In are perfect because they allow for versatility. Lace Front wigs have also made a fabulous comeback. Watch a couple tutorials on YouTube and you’ll see. The lace front game has definitely changed. 

Whatever style of method you choose to use I pray that the humidity doesn’t kill you and that your edges remain forever in place and laid to the gods. 

How Howard Changed Me 

So it’s safe to say I’ve come a long way from who I used to be. Where I’m from and where I am now are completely different. I’m sure you’re wondering what my life story has to do with hair, so I’ll tell you a story. 

  
Once upon a time, in the 757, there was a young girl- ME!  Anyway, all my life “I had to fight”-Color Purple, just playing I had natural hair. I never saw a perm. Although I did see that hot comb and all I had was sense enough to stay still and a prayer my grandmother had a steady hand. The sense took awhile to sink in. With that being said, I always wore my hair straight, well in braids and ponytails until I was like eleven or twelve. I had beautiful hair. It was thick, tight curled, 3C-4A hair and I was always curious about my curly hair. I remember staring in the mirror after getting it washed and playing in my curls wishing I could keep my hair like that. As I got older my curiosity grew. I always had the wash part down but I didn’t know how to maintain the go, so I ended up looking like Mufasa from Lion King. I was completely clueless. At my high school the only girls I really remember wearing natural hair were the mixed girls and while I have my fair share of non-African roots I’m still a black girl. There wasn’t a lot of natural hair inspiration. YouTube wasn’t popping with the tutorials like it is now or if it was I knew nothing about it. Natural hair just wasn’t prevelant. So I lived out 2008-2012 with my flowing, straight hair.   

  Fast forward to The Mecca, The Hilltop, The Real HU, Howard University. With an intro like that you know you’re bound to come up on some knowledge whether you’re trying to find it or not. My freshman year was a time of transition. I didn’t just have a natural hair inspiration I had a natural hair world. When you come to place that’s deep into it’s roots you learn to find your own roots, and that’s what I did, literally. I found my roots. I was researching natural hair, trying new protective styles, going to information sessions. There’s always a booth, table or something set up for hairstylists or companies. Miss Jessie’s always has a tent during homecoming. With such easy access to products and information I finally learned the “go” part. 

 

Whenever I go back home I always take a mental note of how things are very much the same as far as natural hair. There’s more now like my nieces and some of their friends but not a lot. I’ve noticed that the 757 has fallen into a stereotype. You know the one were there’s bad hair and if you’re black you automatically have it. So not true. There’s no representation. At Howard I see a variety of hair types and all are beautiful. I’ve seen the prettiest girls with the prettiest natural hair and guess what it’s that 4B hair. You know that hair that “isn’t quite good enough”. I just want my city to understand that it’s ok to be different. It’s ok to be the inspiration you see in others. Proctor and Gamble said it, “my black is beautiful”. My words of wisdom are that the best things are accidental and completely without precedent, so be that! 

  

Color Me … Uhh? 

So in 2015 and 2016 we’ve seen a lot being done with hair color. Gray, which looks so beautiful, green, pink, etc. All the colors pretty much look perfect when you’re glancing through pictures. 

  

But in reality color is still a CHEMICAL and it can be harsh on your hair without the proper care.  You have to be sure to take extra good care of your hair when you add color especially any type of color where you had to bleach your hair or add a developer (20,30 or 40 to lighten the color). Be sure to get a shampoo and conditioner for color treated hair and to continue with hair treatments-like those BKT’s we talked about. Keep your hair moisturized. Dry hair is bad enough on its  own but dry, colored hair has disaster and DAMAGE written all over it. Also, remember the golden rule don’t dye your hair again if it hasn’t been at least 2 weeks (1 if it’s a really bad color on you and you can’t wait another minute) 

  
Personally I don’t like to use box color it doesn’t really work for me. I go straight on down to Sally’s Beauty Supply and get the L’Oreal Excellence HiColor. This type of dye requires a developer and is permanent. My hair doesn’t take well to color so I’ve used a 40 developer. In this beautiful picture above is my lovely niece. She just got her hair dyed for the first time and it’s a box color. So box colors aren’t horrible and they probably work for most just not me. 

But box or permanent the same rules apply a and you have to maintain steady regimen to keep your hair healthy and intact. 

Why So Dry?

Dry curls are something that I personally have to work hard at avoiding. Some things that effect dry curls are dandruff, porosity-which we previously discussed and heat.  

Dandruff is a word that’s pretty common. You see commercials for it all the time with Head & Shoulders. But if you’re like me you know that shampoos like this aren’t always the cure for your dry hair. Sometimes dandruff can just be heredity from conditions like eczema. So you should always go to the doctor and check up on that because all the products in the world might not save you from something that’s naturally going to effect you. But as a backup, here are some things you should know. Coconut Oil, Cocounut Oil, Coconut Oil, I can’t say it enough. We’ve all seen those memes that say Cocount oil fixes everything and it’s kinda true.

 
Cocounut Oil is the best way and probably the easiest way to get rid of dandruff. Unless you like looking like a bowl of Frosted Flakes. Olive Oil also works well for removing dandruff. Basically if it’s an oil it’s more than likely going to be beneficial to you and your search for undesired dandruff. 

We’ve already had an intense discussion on porosity so I’ll just tell you to refer back to an older post, Porosity, BKT’s & Other Strange Things.

Heat is a topic of much discussion as it should be. While you’re effortlessly  walking around with you hair blowing in the wind, all the heat that was put into your hair for that Snapchat photo could be causing you more harm than good. Now as I’ve said before I use heat just as much as the next femele but all things in moderation. Excessive heat damage was a reason I cut my hair so too much can become a very big problem. Along with ruining your curl pattern, heat can be a major contributor to dandruff and dry scalp. Pulling back on your heat intake for two weeks or even a month or two can be great for your hair. I promise you you’ll see a difference. In January I ended my month and a half long no heat regimen and my hair was never better. There was growth, no dry scalp and moisture.  

Dry scalp is a problem for many a person but I hope a little of this knowledge can go a long way. 

What’s Life Without Your Favorite Things 

Favorite Styles: 

  1. Wash N’ Go
  2. Bantu Knot Out
  3. Flexi Rod Set
  4. Wash N’ Go Bun   
  5. Pin Curls 
  6. Heartless Curls 

 
Favorite Products: 

  1. OGX Coconut Milk Shampoo 
  2. OGX Coconut Milk Conditioner    
  3. Mixed Chicks Leave-In Conditioner 
  4. OGX Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage Serum 
  5. KeraCare Oil Sheen 
  6. Parachute Coconut Oil (IG:@naturallylit26)                        
  7. Olive Oil Wrap/Set Mousse 
  8. Ampro Shine n’ Jam 

  
Styles 1-4 I use on natural hair and I use products 1,3,6,7 & 8. Styles 3,5 & 6 I use on straight hair and I use products 1,2,4 & 5. 

My favorite styles are Bantu Knot Outs and Flexi Rod Sets. Usually I combine the styles. When I wear my natural hair with this short cut I use Bantu Knots and Flexi Rods on the longer pieces of my hair because that part still has heat damage on the ends. I’ve found that I like combining the protective styles because it gives the appearance of different curl types which is what your natural hair looks like anyway. 

As for the products, I’m absolutely in love with all OGX products, especially the coconut milk series. Since I cut my hair the Cocount Milk has really helped restore curls and keep them nice and tight. I only use Mixed Chicks occasionally and it’s usually for the purpose of keeping my hair moisturized when it’s natural. I try not to use Mixed Chicks when I plan on wearing straight hair because the product tends to weigh down my hair. Parachute Coconut Oil is simply a revelation. When my hair is natural, the Parachute Coconut oils keep my hair from being all dry and flaky. But like the Mixed Chicks conditioner I really only use it when I’m wearing natural. 

This has been a little insight into my fav things. Share yours in the comments! 

    What’s the Secret to a Successful Hair Flip?

     
    Seriously … what’s the big secret?  I mean look at Bey she kills a hair flip without moving her neck. I swear she has an invisible fan with her at all times. 

    Is it the eye contact or a good camera man or is just timing. Whatever it is for you tell us in the comments. Drop a video too. I love to support a good flip especially after a nice blow out!  

    …MIA 

    MIA? Missing In Action? Nope, not at all. MIA= My Inante Afro. 

    In recent years, there has been a spike in natural hair and everything that goes with it.  We’ve seen celebs drop the weaves and the wigs and embrace that natural stuff that grows out of their heads. People like Solange, Viola Davis and even the YouTube vlogger Alyssa Forever have made the ‘fro’ popping again. 

      
    People spend hours on YouTube and online searching for natural hair inspirations. All us naturalistas want that big fro that resembles a mountain of curls flowing with the wind. The fro has become a trend but that’s not all it’s become. The fro has become a positive image for African American women. 

      
    We look at the fro and see a strong, beautiful women. Whereas before, the fro could be seen as unkept or untidy an example of women with no guidance. Well not today. The fro holds the highest awards and esteem. Just think. Viola Davis won an Oscar. Beyoncé and the Super Bowl (need I say more). What’s scarier than a group of #flawless fro’s standing for a cause. Gabrielle Union and Taraji P. Henson often flaunt their #blackgirlmagic.

      
     The point is natural hair has become more than hair it’s a lifestyle. A lifestyle that says I’m on top and I own my life, my struggles and most importantly my success! 

    Porosity, BKT & Other Strange Things 

    For all those curly girls, who think their hair is just dry, I have news for you. There’s a word for it. For all those curly girls, who hopelessly describe their curls as tight and curly, real tight and coily, etc. Guess what?  Your curls have names. No lie! It’s a thing. I promise.

     

    Porosity. Seems like a big word. Kinda. It’s big in terms of its importance. The porosity level of your hair is something that you should always know and check for.

    1. A strand of CLEAN hair
    2. Drop strand in glass of water
    3. Levels:High= Drops to BOTTOM                                                                                                                  Normal= Sinks to MIDDLE                                                                                                                   Low= Floats at TOP 

    Porosity has three levels: high, normal and low. A high porosity means that your hair happily absorbs water and oils. Normal porosity means that your hair absorbs the water and oil it needs and low porosity means that your hair rarely absorbs water and oils. For African Americans, low porosity is usually the card we draw. I complain a lot about how I constantly have to keep adding products to my hair when wearing it natural. Knowing your porosity level saves you a lot of trouble. When you know your level you know the products and ingredients to look out for and you can start a plan on maintaining happy hair.


    Curl pattern. Ladies there are three curl types 2, 3 and 4, and there are three sub types for each type A,B and C. Let me explain. Type 2 hair ranges from loose waves to loose curls the types include: 2A, 2B, 2A.  Type 3 hair ranges from curly to tight curls and include: 3A, 3B, 3C. Type 4 hair ranges from tight curls to extremely coily. Most people have a mixed curl pattern. For example, I have a mixture of 3C and 4A hair. Learning your curl pattern can teach you a lot about your hair. Type 4 hair usually has a lot of shrinkage. Knowing this saves you the trouble of thinking your hair isn’t growing. You know that your hair type is prone to shrinkage.

    BKT. Brazilian Keratin Treatment. A BKT is a helpful term to know. These type of treatments are great for restoring hair. They’re like those expensive shoes you bring out ever so often to quietly stunt on a couple people. BKT’s revive the hair and ensure that the right ingredients like keratin get into the hair follicles.

    These are just a few or the many terms of the natural hair world. Exploring these terms and there meanings will be beneficial to you and your natural hair journey.