Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Weapons of Mane Destruction

Yup! This is how your hair feels!
Some day’s your hair is just so soft, so springy, so perfect, that you have to tug at to periodically to assure yourself that it’s yours. Other days it’s so dry and annoying that your fingers seem programed to seek and destroy knots and split ends that may be making your bad situation worse. Either way on a daily basis our delicate strands are subjected to HIHS, or Hands in Hair Syndrome.

“But it’s just hands,” you may say. Just hands, huh? JUST HANDS?!

Actually we agree.

Not only are they simply hands, but they are hands that you’ve come to know and love and are so perfectly harmless to you. But to your strands, these hands can be violent weapons. Equipped with fingers that tug and rake through the hair and nails that rip effortlessly through defenseless cuticles leaving them shredded, broken, damaged beyond repair. When you add this to the list of hair foes, cotton, wooly shirt collars, harsh weather, RHIHS (Random Hands in Hair Sydrome, like the curious older gentleman behind you in the checkout line) you may as well rip your hair out now!


That would mean more HIH and we obviously don’t condone that.

What to do instead? If harsh mental notes aren’t your thing, write an actual note on your palm. Anything from “NOOOOO!” to “Bad hand!” will do. Just as long as it’s something that will signal to your brain that your hair is in eminent danger.

And for those whose habits die the hardest, find a protective style that you like and can wear every day. That way you hair won’t suffer as much damage as it would if left loose.

Hmph! And you thought they were just hands! 
Download your natural hair calendar here!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hair Battle Spectacular

It’s dark.


She is alone as hundreds of her fallen comrades lay sprawled about in wrecked, tangled masses. Was it merely moments earlier that this desolation had been a group, a cluster so tighter bound that one could scarcely weaken without the others knowing of it? Now, after so many have dropped one by one, two by two, she stands--one of few survivors. She is famished and parched from a failed attempt at rationing the single meal she’d received nearly a day and a half prior. She is compromised by her lack of protection and vulnerable, but a survivor nonetheless.

She prepares herself for the final stretch until morning knowing that her daily sustenance is now her only mode of existence. But she has no way of knowing that seconds from now will deal her the final blow, leaving her just another forgotten on this unforgiving battlefield.

Sounds like the start of a sad war story doesn’t it? It is, but not exactly what you think. The “she” in question is just one of the many strands of hair on your head (apologies if you hair is a dude.) It’s dark because its night. It’s chilly because the hair hasn’t been covered. Those fallen comrades sprawled about in tangled masses? You guessed it (I hope). It’s the hair you lose every night that your hair goes unprotected.

Lemme break it down.

In the worst case scenario, you are going to bed having done not a thing to defend your hair. It’s been left loose, unmoisturized and then, in its most fragile state, dropped onto the battlefield—that fibrous cotton pillow case. Not only does cotton rob your hair of whatever moisture it has, but as you begin tossing and turning, it rubs against your hair causing it to snap. What’s left will come away frayed.

If this reminds you of you, pay close attention to the following:

Start off by moisturizing your strands root to tip with water, oil, glycerin or whatever blend works best for you. Pay special attention to your ends making sure they receive a hearty dose of moisture. They are the elders of your hair and are the most brittle.

Next set it. While protective styles like braids or twists are recommended because they secure your ends, it’s not a requirement. You can pineapple the hair, or if you prefer, leave it at that. However the less you do the more important it is that you adhere to the last point.

Which is actually very simple: Protect your hair with a satin scarf, bonnet or pillow case. See? Simple!

So don’t kiss your hair good bye; kiss it good night!

Download your natural hair calendar here!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Have We Reached the Dream?

He wanted equality for you--100% of you!

Before we got our first black president (well, second if you count Oprah), before Michael Jackson, there was just a little guy named Mike (yes Mike. Look it up). Just a preacher’s kid from Atlanta, he recognized common discrepancies that others had begun to live with and decided to do something about it. Years later, although he’s gone, his legacy and the impact he made grows more powerful with time.

In the years since MLKJ’s death, not only does the color of our skin no longer prove a hindrance, but even our signature curves and full lips have quickly become the envy of our nation.

Now on this his 83rd birthday, you have a chance to finish his fight and to carry on his torch until the world sees you as you are—100% equal, from the soles of your feet to the crown of your head. And by crown, I mean hair.

Please don’t get me wrong. There are still other obstacles that we as a people are up against. But come on! This is a natural hair website, so…yeah. And hair is no small matter. It is a part of us and one of our most defining features. It is a part of the rich and colorful history that most of us know nothing about. It is also so vastly misunderstood that we are afraid to embrace it. As a result we have grown accustomed to the idea that we are tragically flawed, passed it down from generation to generation and by not accepting it, give others a reason to shun it themselves. 

Today, let this man and his day inspire you to bravery, to action to loving and being true to yourself no matter what you’re up against. The hard part is over. The way has been paved and others are already walking it. All that’s left is to be you. The rest of the world will catch up.

Dreams come true, right here!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"So your hair just does that, NATURALLY?!"

I went natural for two reasons: poverty and Raven*. The former is one that millions of college students are familiar with, the latter was a girl from Tennessee and a dorm mate.  She had raven locks that spilled towards her waist, but it was coupled with obviously African features-- deep cocoa skin, plump lips and mysterious brown eyes. This is what piqued my interest. Black people didn’t have hair like that! Well except my cousin and there’s been speculation that she’s wearing a piece. But I digress…

For months I studied her hair, something about it keeping me from coming to my usual conclusion that it was a weave. Then one day I just couldn’t take it anymore. I practically ambushed her outside of our rooms.

“I love your hair! How do you get it to do that?”

“I don’t do anything, actually. It’s like this naturally.” She gave me the strangest look. I assume my head spun.

“So you don’t have a perm?”

I could have hair like that? For FREE??

I never relaxed again. But to my shock and horror, I didn’t have the hair I’d dreamed of. Instead of tumbling carefree towards the floor, or even reaching out for the walls, my hair raised the roof in the most unbecoming way. In my attempts to tame it, I bought all kinds of greases, pomades and gels, making it everything but free.

Perhaps if I had known just a little bit about hair types, I would’ve spared myself some heartache and college cash. (which for the record is harder to come by than regular cash) So for the sake of your esteem and pocketbook here are some things you should know.
  • There is no hair type that is better or worse than another. All have they’re advantages and disadvantages. Learn yours and love yours.
  • Different hair types respond to different products and treatments in different ways. That’s why it’s important to experiment and learn your hair.
  • Depending on your hair type some products will work better than others. But I have yet to hear of a natural who doesn’t benefit from organic coconut oil, EVOO or Shea butter. So instead of going on a natural spree, start off with one of these essentials and work your way from there.   
  • It is possible, in fact it is likely that you have more than one hair type on your head. Knowing what they are can help you to develop a unique regimen that meets your hairs specific needs.

There are several different types of hair and not one needs alteration. You are beautiful as is.

Download your free natural hair calendar here!
*Name I chose based on her hair

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Say WHAT?!

Welcome to the community of naturalistas, a community complete with its own hair, set of rules, code of conduct and jargon.

Oh you didn’t know? What that sister said that she was getting ready to prepoo, she wasn’t speaking in tongues. She wasn’t about to get her freak on either (why does your mind always go there?) And ACV doesn’t mean air conditioning vent (like, really?) So get out your pen and paper and take note of these popular terms!

BC: Big Chop. Usually referring to the cutting off chemically treated hair, leaving only unprocessed hair behind.

Co-Wash: A way to cleanse hair while preserving moisture, by rinsing with conditioner.

TWA: Teeny Weenie Afro

EVOO: Extra Virgin Olive Oil

ACV: Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse. Used to cleanse dirt from the hair shaft, close cuticles and add sheen.

For a complete list click here and in no time you’ll be headed to the big leagues. 

Download your free natural hair calendar here!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Onions in Your Hair

That’s right. Onions! Who knew? These tear jerking bulbs have a natural affinity to your hair—an affinity known as sulfur. Known as the beauty mineral, sulfur is highly concentrated in both hair and onions. This sulfur increases circulation and provides stimulation giving onions a reputation for jump starting hair growth.

But before you sink your teeth into this veggie like it fell from the Tree of Life, check out potatoes! Potatoes are home to thiamine or B1 which is great if you are losing hair due to stress. It regulates metabolism and turns carbs to energy and metabolizes fat and protein necessary for hair growth.  Potatoes also contain niacin, a vitamin used to increase circulation all over the body, including the scalp, to boost your growth potential.  And how about those tomatoes?

I could go on to bombard you with a random assortment of veggies, fruits, proteins and other edibles along with their nutritional impact on hair, or I could use these last few words to convince you on the importance of a healthy, balanced diet.
Just in case you forgot your serving sizes...I always do!

If you’ve got any kind of deficiency in your diet, your hair will likely be the first to suffer.  Are you getting your fair share of vegetables? Are you eating enough fruits? We’ve all been blessed, some with thick tresses, some with defined coils and all with needy heads of hair. Whatever you’re problem is, take our advice and keep your head properly fed!

Download your free natural hair calendar here!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Water Works


Not regular heat, but the kind that seems to singe the very hairs off your arms leaving your bare skin to the mercy of the sun. Your throat, or perhaps the air is so dry that every inhale is like a mouthful of grainy sand. But in your hands is a tepid glass bottle full of golden olive oil—I take that back, crystal clear vegetable glycerin.

Oh you think I’m crazy? You’re the one using oils, butters and God knows what else as your primary means of moisture, when all your hair needs is water!

Yup, simple H20. You’ve probably already heard that as much as 75% of you is water and you’ve likely been told that the average human can last only 3-4 days without it. I’m almost certain that you knew your hair needed water to thrive but still aren’t really sold on the whole “water works” bit. Allow me to assist.

First, each individual strand of hair is made up of three parts; the cuticle, which covers the strand, the cortex, the core of the hair and the medulla. While all three layers play an important role in hair health, the cortex in particular is responsible for the strand’s strength. It is unsurprising that it also soaks up those precious water molecules that give the cortex and therefore your hair its elasticity and stretch--which equals less breakage, meaning bigger, stronger hair. 

But don't toss that Shea butter yet! You’ll need those oils, butters or whatever else works for you to keep that moisture inside and not let it slip out into uselessness. But tell me, what’s the point of sealing in what’s not there, hmm?

 All this water talk is making me thirsty…bye!

Download our free natural hair calendar here!