Saturday, December 3, 2011

Kiss Her Curls!

We didn’t expect the reception we received.

November 29, 2010, when my sister and I created Kiss My Curls, we envisioned a simple Twitter account that would allow us to clear some of the mystery surrounding our natural hair. We signed up with a name (after several that we tried were taken) found a photo that we thought conveyed our “kinky hair, don’t care” persona and set out with our first tweet.

Almost a year later with more support than we knew what to do with, we decided it was high time we change our avatar before we find ourselves slapped with a lawsuit.

Get up close and personal at
So with that we announced our avatar contest for anyone who felt they could give the best KMC face. And did we ever get face! Our inbox was filled with so much attitude, I damn near got offended! Everything from candid camera kisses to professional photo shoots in the park, you ladies sure brought on the competition!  

But among the sea of admissions, one stood out. A lady with her head tossed back—a sign of freedom. The look on her face was one of sweet serenity and yet undeniable confidence. Not to mention the super funky hair do. And just in case we missed the point she added this:
I think my photo portrays how I feel about my hair----throwing my head
back as a sign of relief. Finally I'm free! Free of damaging
chemicals, free of societies depiction of what "beautiful" is, and
free of being anything like anyone else. No matter how I wear my hair,
it will always and forever be MY HAIR.”

Our sentiments exactly!

And so with no further ado, here’s the lady you all will come to know and love over this next year, Jere’.

Curlologists: What were your thoughts about your natural hair when you were a child?

Jere': When I was a child, my hair was long and thick. My mother never really had the patience to deal with my head full of hair because I was EXTREMELY tender headed and couldn't stand to have my hair combed. I absolutely DREADED hair washing day, for I knew it meant hours of pain, aggravation and frustration.

At about age seven or eight, I began to go the hair salon to get my hair washed, conditioned, blow dried and hot combed. I can remember everyone in the shop watching me in awe while my stylist hot combed it straight. They all would say, "Whoo! That baby got a lotta hair!" Because of that, I was very proud of my hair. Each and every time I went to the shop, people would compliment my hair on how naturally jet black it was, how long it was and how thick it was. After getting it hot combed, I would run to the mirror and swing it around, comb it and just look at it. I LOVED my hair!

C: What caused the start of your natural hair journey?

J: I first decided that I wanted to wear my hair natural in April 2010, a month before graduating from grad school. I was relaxed with a short funky hair cut, and my new growth would surface within about three to four weeks after relaxing. Having that short cut required me to get relaxers and touch-ups way more frequently and it was beginning to get very expensive. When my new growth came in, I would always touch it and play with it. I liked the way the texture felt--- a lot!

Let's back track a bit. As mentioned before, my mother NEVER had the patience to deal with my hair, and at age 12 I got my first relaxer. I liked it. I liked that it was straight, and it was much easier to do my hair on a daily basis. At this age I was doing my own hair for school. I wore NOTHING but gelled back ponytails and buns. After about six months relaxing, I saw a DRASTIC change in my hair. I lost about five inches of hair, the color lightened up, and it wasn't as thick. I continued getting my hair relaxed because I thought I had to. I've been relaxing my hair from age 12 to 24.

After being reunited with my natural texture through playing with my new growth, right then and there I decided that I would not get another relaxer. I hadn't researched anything, I wasn't even aware of the new natural movement. I didn't know what I was going to do with my hair; I just knew that I did NOT want another relaxer in my head. So this is where I began my journey.

C: What obstacles have you faced since going natural?

J: Because of my lack of research prior to my decision to go natural, I did not properly take care of my hair during my transition. I decided to wear sew-ins until my relaxer grew out, but I left out the front, back, and sides of my real hair to cover the tracks. I constantly flat ironed those parts, and as a result they are severely damaged from the heat. #Fail. Now that I am more educated on natural hair care, I'm tempted to BC and start all over, but I'm not sure yet.

Now this next one may not seem like a huge obstacle to others, but for me it's letting my boyfriend see me in the evening or at night after I have twisted my hair. We all know that the prep-twists the night before aren't the sexiest of styles, lol, so I'm trying to get comfortable with him seeing me in twists and bonnet. He says he doesn't care, but its more about how I feel.

C: What's the best thing about being natural?

J: The best thing about being natural is standing out and daring to be different. I absolutely hate to blend in. Everyone's hair texture is different. Although it may be similar to someone else's texture, no two heads are ever the same. I also like how my hair has a mind of her own and she's free spirited like I am. I can twist my hair at night and prep for it to come out a certain way, but if it doesn't want to come out the way I wanted it to, it won't! But she never fails to naturally fall into a cute style. I'm surprised every morning!

C: What differences have you noticed since going natural?

J: Since going natural, I get so many compliments from random strangers. Men, women, young, old, it doesn't matter. I was in the nail shop and this white lady said, "I just love your hair". I thanked her, then she went on to explain that she works in a law firm and how she wished her African American co workers would wear their hair like mine. She said she thinks it's beautiful!

Based off of my personal experience, white men & women, and black MEN love natural hair. When a black woman compliments me, she's already a natural or thinking about going natural. Sometimes it seems like it's #teamnatural vs #teamrelaxed among black women. I love the natural hair movement and I pray it doesn't create another dividing line between African American women like the dark skin vs. light skin dilemma. Hair texture does not make you more or less of person.

C: You're our face for the next year! Any special messages to our followers?

J: For those of you thinking about going natural, please do your research! There are 1000's of Youtubers, bloggers, vloggers, authors, and stylists out there who can help you and answer any questions you may have about going natural. Just remember, they can help you with the basics, but the real journey begins with you getting to know your hair. You must understand your hair, embrace its flaws, and know its likes and dislikes.

I don't know about anyone else, but I treat my hair as I would my child. I nourish it, care for it gently, feed it, wash it, and even dress it up! Only you will truly know your hair. Stay positive throughout your journey. You will get frustrated, angry, and maybe even discouraged. Just be patient. Immature people may try to belittle you, joke, or tell you that you are crazy for your decision to go natural. Don't let them. Never conform! As long as you are confident and true to yourself, nothing else should matter.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Oh, those Beautiful Textures!

It was the first time we'd ever valet parked.

Driving up to Atlanta's glammed out Bar One Lounge, we relinquished the keys to a gentleman in white, checked in and were escorted inside. Indoors, the posh white interior was splashed with brilliant pink lights giving it an ultra modern boost.

A floor to ceiling canvas displayed Real Housewives of Atlanta star Cynthia, sporting a perfectly groomed afro. Across from it three naturalistas, wearing Beautiful Textures tops, greeted new arrivals and modeled their uniquely styled tresses.

Beyond them, the wait staff maneuvered trays of hor'douvers in and out of groups of mingling attendees, camera crew and reporters. And after giving guests an hour or so to get acquainted, Kimberly Walker of Tress Talk, Atlanta's premiere multi-textural consultant firm, along with Charlene Bastien, Strength of Natures Marketing Director took center stage, swathed in all the cosmo chic attire that the event called for.

As if speaking to each individual guest, they delved into a sophisticated show and tell, introducing several models who came to sit on barstools on either side of the stage. They discussed the models hair type, the products used to create a particular look, the length of time and each step.

The line consists of seven products: Tangle Taming Moisturizing Shampoo, Tangle Taming Leave in Conditioner, Moisture Butter Whipped Curl Creme, Shine and Silken Growth Oil, Rapid Repair Deep Conditioner, Curly to Straight Flat Iron Silkener and Curly Control Defining Pudding. All of which can be used alone or cocktailed with another of the Beautiful Textures line to cater to the personal needs of any curly girl!

Beautiful Textures will be available this winter in fine beauty retailers. For more information visit Click here to see additional pictures.

And as informative as this event was, out favorite part was the parting gifts: a 15 oz jar of Rapid Repair, a 6oz bottle of Curly to Straight and oodles of samples (reviews coming soon!)

Oh yeah, and those adorable Beautiful Textures tops!

Join the conversation!

Twitter: @LovinMyTextures

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Erykah Badu: A Super Natural

On a warm spring night after performing to a jam packed arena of her biggest Birmingham supporters, the Queen of Neo Soul lounges on a sofa in her hotel room. At a dining room table not far off, her body guard and agent have struck up a candid conversation. Like an old girlfriend, Erykah Badu excitedly directs us to sit with her on her sofa and easy chairs. She munches contentedly on a tray bearing bunches of red and green grapes, slices of granny smiths and huge strawberries while waiting for us to start our interview.

An impromptu interview at that. A chance meeting at the lobby’s front desk, led to an animated conversation about natural hair, which was followed by us joining her entourage, getting jealous looks from star struck observers and now, sitting in her hotel room trying all but in vain to stay professional.

Our camera has spazzed under the pressure, so I pull out my phone and fidget nervously for the camcorder.

Ms. Badu is on the sofa. Candace is perched and thrilled beside her. My camera chimes that it’s recording.

Curlologists: Thank you for interviewing with us! So, I have never seen you with your hair straight. You seem to have embraced your natural hair even when pop culture wasn’t. What were the reasons behind that?

Erykah Badu: My hair is an aesthetic choice. And I don’t feel I have an obligation to wear it one way or the other but to health for myself.  And to me it’s healthier to, I guess, be as natural as you can in your most natural state.  At the same time, how you wear your hair is a political statement as well. Pretty much everything you do as a black woman is a political statement. I don’t feel like it’s a responsibility or anything cause at that point I’d be putting myself into a penitentiary and that wouldn’t be a natural state!  So the most natural thing to me is to stay as pure to or real to or close to who I am as possible.

C: So I know you know about the natural hair movement that’s sweeping the nation. What are your thoughts behind that if any?

EB: Not at this point. I really don’t [think] a lot about how people wear their hair right now, cause I’d rather see a person with a natural mind and processed head than a processed mind and natural head. I always feel like I’m a spiritual being first, a human being second, man or woman third, Black, White fourth. Nappy headed or whatever else anybody wanna call it, ‘good hair’, that’s last on my list. And it may be a result of not altering myself.

C: You don’t seem to be a person that’s influenced at all by anyone but yourself. Has that been constant through childhood or is that something you’ve been cultivating?

EB: Somewhat through childhood. But I’ve always been a non-conformists. I don’t know why, it’s just the way they made me whoever “they” be. But the confidence does develop over time like any other muscle, so yeah.  Being natural is really fresh but every once in the while, super natural!

Singer sewed synthetic textured hair to spiral cornrows

Indeed, she is a super natural :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Damn Thing

The Damn Salon
The Damn Salon.

What more of an introduction could you possibly need? But just in case Wanda Lott, our guest of honor wasn’t convinced by the uber cool atmosphere, muted gray walls and candy red and animal print accents strewn with effortless precision, they spared no expense in seeing to it that she changed her mind.

Two stylists, each sporting signature Damn styles, greeted us warmly and after a few brief introductions, led Ms. Lott to a black and platinum salon chair. We, the Knotty and Nice crew along with Chase, Wanda’s son, were guided to the salons cozy reception area, where we were offered complementary white wine and allowed to observe her entire transformation.

Somto, Damn salon stylist for three months, started on Wanda’s tidy salt and pepper TWA, carefully twisting in the salon’s exclusive blend of synthetic and human hair. And fast too. Roadrunner rapid. Like everything I’d ever done had been in slow motion. But I digress..

Ephinae co-owner & chef extraordinaire
As if reclining on plush leather upholstery and sipping wine while a fusion of genres pumped through surrounding speakers weren’t enough, the Damns co owner, Ephinae, whipped up the most delicious cuisine I’ve had in a while. A sculpted dome of yellow rice, a cut of juicy steak garnished with rings of sautéed onions and topped with vibrant spinach leaves cooked to perfection. It was a meal that came with all the flair Damn is known for—set before us by stylists, who brought them in on funky zebra print platters. I’m no food critic, but damn!

And like all good meals, it was followed up by good conversation. Somto chatted amicably with us on everything from Beyonce to Colorado’s wild mountain llamas. (Apparently just as dangerous as mountain lions, but with more spit). The conversation was so lively we scarcely noticed when she was finished. But when we did—

We were FLOORED! The end result of this four hour process was stunning! Even Ms. Lott, who considers herself very picky with things concerning her hair, was immediately enthralled and helped herself to a mini camera phone photo shoot on the spot!
Wanda in The Damn's signature Urban Twists
 And speaking of photo shoot, Damn’s got one especially planned for our lady of the hour and we’ve got her story, the reason the salon took notice, especially planned for you. So stay tuned. Stay Haute. Stay Damn!

Wanda and son, Chase

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What is "Manageability"?

Dr. David Drew Pinsky hosted a fiery "Good Hair" debate on his talk show "Dr.Drew" today.

I remember the first time I dealt with straight hair. I was a freshman in high school in Milwaukee, WI. My blue-eyed, blonde-haired, straight-stranded friend Becky (yes that was her real name) wanted me to curl her hair for a special occasion that was coming up. I said sure! I was a whiz with hair, even back then, so I grabbed her curling iron thinking that this was going to be a piece of cake. Yea…not so much. Even after using the hottest setting and spraying her hair with the stiffest hair spray, I COULD NOT get Becky’s hair to curl. She ended up leaving my house with one stiff lock of hair and the rest of it just as straight as when she first came over. I remember thinking, "For straight hair being so famous for being 'easy', that was some hard ass work." Since then I’ve realized that someone with more experience probably could’ve figured out how to get Becky’s hair to curl beautifully, but I didn’t know the rules, so to ME it was unmanageable. Because I was UNFAMILIAR with straight hair, straight hair was UNMANAGEABLE. Do you see where I’m going with this?

After watching the Dr. Drew special and hearing the term manageable over and over in relation to the term “good hair”, I felt the need to address this. The term “manageability” is relative, just like the term “good” is. Using one word to describe another does not further define it. The fact though, that there was no confusion when the definition given for “good hair” was that it was “more manageable” shows that to many people, it’s not relative. In fact to most it only means one thing; the straighter your hair is, the easier to deal with it is.

The belief has to change. The natural hair movement has made some great strides, but we have yet to deal with our negative language. We still envy other textures and assume that we must describe our kinky hair as “unruly”, “unmanageable”, and “too thick”. Not the case. Yes, when I first went natural, my hair was VERY unmanageable. But that was MY fault, NOT my hair’s. Though my hair has gotten no closer to straight, I can now manage it very well, as well as any other textures that are similar. Give me a straighter haired person though, and it’s Becky all over again. Even curly hair is somewhat of a mystery to me.

My point is this: learn your hair and its limitations. Learn its strengths and build on those. Most importantly, know that EVERY texture has its limitations, everyone has to have SOME kind of daily routine, and EVERYONE has to ward off unmanageability. In the video below I talk (or rant, rather) about some the true roots of our beliefs, these terms, and what needs to change. I think that Dr. Drew has started a good thing, and I hope that other talk shows do the same.

Have a different opinion? I'd be happy to hear it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Natural hair dolls are here!

FINALLY! Dolls that really do look like the little girls that play with them! While a few toymakers are slowly waking up and smelling the coffee, a some industrious women have taken it upon themselves to create kinky-haired dolls! Make sure that you don’t miss out this Christmas on dolls that look like your special little girl and make her feel like her hair is special too.

This lady has updated Barbie more than Mattel ever has. Barbie not only sports a new hair texture, but familiar and popular styles, and even better clothes! Stylish Bella has given Barbie swag; who knew? These dolls range from $26-$60, and are completely custom made. But they ARE limited, so get a move on!

These dolls are so cute and huggable!  Little girls will love her, squeeze her, and now they can even wear matching hairstyles! We LOVE the maker’s mantra: “Pretty Puffs are made to show minority girls, teens, and women that being different, having brown skin and kinky hair is absolutely a thing of beauty.” These dolls are roughly $25 apiece, not including shipping and handling.

Each doll is made to physically represent the country that she is from. Rahel, the Ethiopian doll, sports a curly afro and traditional wear. She comes with her own storybook, and you can even order her a change of clothes! With every purchase, Hearts 4 Hearts will donate part of the purchase price to a charitable organization to help real life girls in other countries.  Hearts 4 Hearts works to encourage their customers and the girls they are helping that they can rise above any circumstance. These dolls range from $13-25 dollars, not including shipping and handling.

Lots to Love Baby Steps Doll

We found her at Sears for $10.99 and thought that she was ADORABLE. Your little girl probably will too. J

BFC, Ink Fashion Dollpack – Calista

She is just SO COOL! Fashionable AND curly-haired…what’s better than that? We had to search hard for this doll, she’s out of stock nearly everywhere, but Amazon DOES have a few in stock for about $40 a piece. Hurry!

Princess Tiana

At $150 this doll is a little pricey, but so gorgeous that we think she’s worth it!

These cute dolls inspire little black girls to dream! Made with little dreamers in mind, these dolls start at about $70 apiece. The best part? You could even get your own doll designed! What's more special than that?

It’s so important for little girls to know that their hair IS pretty, her dark (or honey, or light) skin is beautiful, and that she CAN have a doll that looks like her, just like other little girls. So pick one of these gorgeous dolls up for your little one. You’ll be paying a small price for a pretty big payoff. ;-)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Kinky, Curly Kim

Actress and comedienne Kim Coles

A little while ago I had the privilege of interviewing actress and comedian Kim Coles. She was a pleasure to talk to, insightful, wise, and hilarious (of course!).  More importantly, interviewing Kim gave us a peek into Hollywood’s view of natural hair and possible reasons why we don’t see more of it.

We remember Kim Coles as Sinclair on the hit TV show Living Single, rocking her micro braids, goddess braids, and cornrows that always seemed to match her quirky and vivacious personality. Kim tells us that she wore her hair in those braids for over ten years, even keeping her hair a certain length at all times so that it wouldn’t get too long for her micros. Kim states that she liked the way that she looked, but she hadn’t seen all of her natural hair at once in years.

Now that Kim is natural, she says that is adjusting! “I’m at the exploration stage. I’ve found a couple little tricks that work for me. For example, I have to double-strand twist my hair at night. It’s so interesting to me how a style will change from day to day. The way it looks when you first wash it maybe different from how it looks on the third or fourth day. I am still learning my hair.”

As is the story with many other newly natural girls, Kim is learning her texture, as well as her friends and family. “My white friends will ask to touch my hair sometimes.” She notes with a giggle, “I’m amazed with it myself!”  And it’s pretty amazing! According to Kim, even her mother was amazed with her kinky curls, though it brought Kim to a shocking realization, “I realized that my own mother had forgotten how my hair looked. That’s how long it had been since she had actually seen it.”

Though Kim is a celebrity and in the spotlight a lot, her choice to go natural was not a political one. She does, however, understand how it can be taken that way. “Our natural hair, whether you want it to be political or not…I’ve said many times that this is not a political choice. But, I am aware that when casting directors go ‘Oh, your hair is cute!’ what they’re really saying is ‘Wow, you’re a Black girl, huh?’ So whether or not you are trying to be political, there is a statement that you’re making, saying, ‘This is my natural kinky-curly hair, (if that is indeed your texture, mine is kinky-curly) and I am rocking it like this.’”

So what was Kim’s motivation to finally go natural and forgo her signature braided look? Well according to her, it was just that. “I needed a change! I decided that I wanted to look in the mirror and see the REAL, authentic me without all the extra hair. There was nothing wrong with (my braids). I was simply long overdue for a change!” And what a beautiful, empowering change it was! Since going natural, Kim has been very involved in the natural hair community; attending events, participating in promotions, and being an inspiration for Black women all over the country. The message that Kim is inspiring with? Embrace yourself. And we are happy to pass it along.

Beautifully and uniquely fabulous! 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Reasons Why Kinky Hair ROCKS that You've Probably NEVER Heard Before

Kinky hair is beautiful, but what's the point?

Before the natural hair movement, hair “facts” included such myths like “Kinky hair grows slower than other hair types”, “kinky hair is harder to maintain” and  “kinky hair is weaker than all other hair types”.  Thank God for some enlightenment, right? Now we’re more aware of our hair’s specific strengths. We know that it is versatile, strong, and able to grow long and healthy. And ok, that’s awesome, but what else?
So many times we look at the differences in our unique texture and think about the limitations. We think about the way it doesn’t act like other textures instead of WHY it doesn’t. There are benefits in the differences! There’s cool stuff about your hair that you probably didn’t even know! But don’t worry, by the end of this blog post you’ll be a kinky hair genius. You’re welcome. ;-)

1.       Kinky/curly hair protects the wearer from UV rays. 
      Straight hair works much like a fiber optics tube would in terms of the conduction of UV light. The UV rays can enter the root and scalp by way of the hair shaft. Kinky hair, due in part to its many kinks and curves does not react this way. Evolutionists theorize that along with UV protected skin, Africans near the equator developed this type of hair as a form of protection from the intense sun.  

2.       Kinky/curly hair keeps your scalp cooler.
      Kinky hair grows out, away from the scalp, as opposed to down, close to the scalp. No matter how long your hair is, in its natural state there is roughly the same amount of hairs touching your scalp at one time. Also, kinky hair has springs and coils that work sort of like air pockets and vents. These two factors allow for air to continuously reach and cool the scalp down, even in very hot weather. This also makes those with kinky hair less prone to things like heat stroke.

3.       Kinky hair is moisture resistant.
Kinky hair shrinks when wet. If your hair is already shrunken then there is little to no physical reaction to moisture. This is very different to other textures, who respond to moisture by stretching. What does this mean? Kinky hair stays more comfortable in hot, humid weather. It does not hang lower or need to be wiped out of the face. It stays put. In fact, the more you sweat, the more out of your face you hair gets!

4.       Kinky hair has volume without all the bulk.
      Though kinky hair looks thick, those with kinky hair have the lowest hair density of any other hair type. Could you tell? Probably not, because kinky hair actually LOOKS like the thickest of all hair types. It is naturally very voluminous! Because of this you can achieve very big and thick looking hairstyles without much effort without having to deal with the heat or bulkiness that other hair types with the same volume would have to suffer.

Impressive huh? Just like our darker skin, our kinky, curly, and coily hair protects us from the sun’s blaring heat. It’s beautiful, unique, versatile, AND purposeful. Our Maker knew just what He was doing when He created it. Just makes you want to love those kinks even more! So smile at your shrinkage and embrace those kinks. They were made especially with you in mind.

 Jablonski, N.G. (2006). Skin: a natural history. 
      Berkley, CA: University of California Press

       Alpha Books. pp. 57–59. ISBN 0028644212. Retrieved on 2011-08-14.

Friday, September 30, 2011

I'll be DAMN'd!

In February of 2011, Fro Fashion Week made its debut with a bang!

For three days, naturals were cocooned in helpful advice, organic, hair loving products and a 100% hater free environment. Fall’s Fashion Week was no different, delivering the same chemical free haven with an extra dose of POW—er, confidence, courtesy of The Damn Salon.

A Damn model
Yeah we said it! And that’s not an acronym either. No ma’am, the name is derived from the first word on clients lips after seeing their transformations for the very first time. You guessed it, DAMN! This daring theme came packaged and delivered to a Fro Fashion Week workshop in The Damn’s feisty salon owner, Mushiya, spunky business partner, Ephinae, and fiercely fabulous team of models and stylists.

The crew, surrounded by an aura of “cool” immediately had audience members fraught with anticipation as three gorgeous models clad in combat boots, studded heels, sequined hot pants and of course, wild, kinky manes took center stage with high fashion poses. And we weren’t disappointed.

The French Kiss (ooh la la...)
As one stylist selected a gorgeous natural from the crowd to demonstrate a signature style, The French Kiss, two others began styling the models center stage, in bold looks that took just moments to create. All the while, Mushiya effortlessly engaged each of her listeners in a pointed confidence crash course on how to be that “haute, damn girl,” explaining that looking good on the outside ignites inner confidence. She also  dropped powerful gems like “you’ll treat me like I’m hot because I act like I’m hot,” and to a closet natural experiencing some dissonance about taking her kinks to work, “it’s you who has to decide that your hair is professional.” Then just to prove that she practiced what she preached, she revealed that her hair was only half done, but that she carried herself with such poise no one had recognized her blunder!
The lucky winner. So damn sweet!

But these women are about more than just show and tell. Just in case we didn’t believe how good they were, they surprised one lucky attendee with a head to toe make over valued at over $1000!

And they saved the best surprise for last. But you’ll have to stay tuned to see what it is ;)  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fall Fro Fashion Week Highlights!

At the risk of sounding like a 14-year old school girl, Fro Fashion Week  OMG, SO MUCH FUN!! Not only was this session filled with workshops that taught useful information, but fabulous events that spanned from Thursday to Sunday. Every guest was entertained, educated, and even pampered. To the behind the scenes people and Tarin Boone, you outdid yourselves. Bravo. 

Knotty & Nice and Kim Coles, the host of the Penthouse Party.
Fall Fro Fashion week seems to be all about balance. It led out the weekend with a chic Tweet-up on Thursday night, full of cocktails and information sharing. Friday was for relaxing, exploring the beautiful city of Atlanta, and catching Fro Fashion Week founder Tarin Boone and actress Kim Coles being interviewed by a local news station. But that wasn’t all! Friday night boasted a fabulous penthouse party hosted by the vivacious Kim Coles, who proved to be an awesome addition to the Fro Fashion Week tradition. And after hitting the dance floor in true 90s fashion, Kim Coles showed us that she can move with the best of them!

The useful education began again on Saturday, which was filled with workshops from Kim Coles, Jessicurl, Tress Talk ATL, and many more presenters. The varieties of topics were amazing and ranged from self-esteem subjects to natural hair trends to looking fabulous on a budget. Bloggers and guests alike received a wealth of information. And of course, in true Fashion Week fashion, there were samples to boot. Popular brands like Shea Moisture, Jessicurl, and Curls gave sample sized AND full sized products all weekend. This blogger won’t have to go product shopping for a while! 

We calculated that the guests went home with over $100 worth of products!

In between workshops, guests could visit the runway shopping area, where local natural product and fashion brands exhibited and sold quality wares at reasonable prices. For those who have been a litter harder hit by the economy (ahem…me) window shopping and talking to the exhibitors was just as fun! Also present were representatives from Shea Moisture, Huetiful, and Kinky Curly. And for the tense (or even relaxed) guest, Shea Moisture offered a total body suite that offered relaxing full body massages using Shea Moisture’s new massage oil line. Those who took advantage of this also received a full-sized portion of the Shea Moisture Body Scrub and Massage Oil.

Models showcased the exotic styles and fashions of local designers.
The ending of Saturday’s workshops gave just enough time to go and get fabulous for the exciting fashion show Saturday night. And boy, was it EXCITING! Creative Atlanta stylists showcased their designs on gorgeous and talented models of different shapes, sizes, and textures. Kim Coles was pretty in pink with cocktail length dress filled with fluttery petals. Hostess J’zhanel Cole kept the audience laughing with catchy one-liners and even more eye-catching outfits. The air was truly magnificent, starting with a inspiring poem from Hank Steward called “It”, which talked about the confidence of a woman, and ending with a triumphant and well-deserved final walk from Tarin Boone. 

Knotty & Nice's Janna Peterson poses poolside with Kinky-Curly representative.
Sunday was more relaxing, with workshops in the morning and a relaxing pool party in the afternoon. Guests were able to relax, enjoy some great food and music, and even received full sized bottles of Kinky Curly’s detangling conditioner Knot Today and Gloss Pomade. They also received samples of the Curling Custard, as well as several opportunities to win great Kinky Curly prizes. Kinky Curly was also generous enough to show a demonstration on how to use their products correctly. The relaxed atmosphere allowed for people to connect, enjoy a signature “Frotini” and pick up some great products. It was bittersweet though, because it signified the end of this great weekend.

And it really WAS a great weekend! The best thing about it? There will be another one in February!  Fro Fashion Week has risen to be a contender with other natural hair events, showing us once again that natural hair can be fun, healthy, and most importantly, fabulous (like you didn’t know that already)! We are SURE that you won’t make the mistake of missing the next one. See you in February!
Knotty & Nice with Tarin Boone, founder of Fro Fashion Week.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Tips for Your Best Hair Ever!!

Now THAT'S some happy hair!!

There are SO MANY tips out there that it can get pretty confusing, can’t it? You don’t know if the tips that you’re reading apply to your hair type, or someone else’s. If I use this product, will my hair dry out? Will it frizz? Look weighted down?
This article isn’t a fix-all elixir. But knowing and getting the basics down can make all the difference in the world. Plus, once you have a good routine down, you can gently tweak until you get your perfect regimen!

1.       Keep it clean.
 Duh, right? But this is harder than it looks.  The kinkier your hair is, the less often you have to wash it. But that time period varies according to your lifestyle, what products you use, and how you style your hair. Here’s a general rule of thumb: if you have category 3 curls, or curly hair, start by washing your hair twice a week and adjust from there. If you have category 4 curls, or kinky hair, start by sudsing up once a week. If you find that this dries your hair out, wash less. If you experience product buildup, wash more often, or change your styling routine. Clean hair is key!

2.       Is your hair thirsty?
Another obvious one, right? But once again, knowing how often to moisturize your hair and with what can be tricky for curls and kinks. Too much and you have greasy product buildup. Too little and you have dry, hard to manage hair. But I have good news! The best moisturizer is water, which doesn’t build up! Whether you’re hair is category 3 or 4, it is a good idea to moisturize every night.  Start by spritzing your hair with water.  If you have product in your hair from the night before, you can get away with massaging your hair a little bit and a silk scarf. If your hair is drier, you may want to add a little bit of olive or coconut oil.
Some naturalistas favor Shea butter or butter-based products. If this is you, moisturizing nightly can cause buildup and frizz. Use the Shea once every few days or so, and water in-between times.

3.       Is your hair hungry?
Are you nourishing your hair? What about yourself? A diet rich in protein and biotin can yield strong hair and healthy growth.  Here are some more vitamins that your hair craves for:

Hair is made up of keratin, a hardened protein. Your hair needs a combination of essential amino acids (found in red meat and dairy) and non-animal proteins. Try these foods for a complete protein:

· Grains + dairy: yogurt topped with granola, oatmeal with milk.
· Grains + legumes: rice and beans, peanut butter on whole wheat bread.
· Seeds + dairy: sunflower seeds on cottage cheese.

Omega-3s nourish and moisturize dry, brittle hair and relieve an itchy scalp. The best sources of dietary omega-3 are fatty fish, flaxseeds and some varieties of nuts. Herring has the most omega-3 per serving, followed by mackerel, salmon, trout, and tuna.

Iron plays a starring role in delivering oxygen to all the body’s cells, including hair. Not eating enough of this mineral can cause iron-deficiency anemia, which can contribute to hair loss. If you rely on plant foods for iron, combine them with a vitamin C-rich food to promote absorption. Some prime examples:

· Bell peppers with lentils
· Broccoli with tofu stir-fry
· Stewed tomatoes with beans
· Orange juice with iron-fortified cereals, such as Total or Special K
Thanks to for these vitamin tips.

4.       Style with pride!
Whether you’re headed to the gym, class, or church, you should keep your hair fly! Of course, this means different things to different people. The key however, is that YOU feel good about your hair every time you leave the house! Here are some suggestions that can work for every natural:

Wash, condition, and detangle hair.  Apply your favorite gel to dampened, small sections of hair. Use ponytail holders to separate gelled hair from hair that hasn’t been styled yet. Use your fingers to go throughout your entire head. Allow to dry completely before you manipulate. This style can last up to 3 days and only needs water to be refreshed!

Afro Poof
The more resistant your hair is this day, the better this hairstyle works! Using a wide-toothed comb, gently push hair back away from your face. Pick out the ends with a wide-toothed comb if you desire a larger poof. Use a nylon or elastic headband that is cut and wrap it around your head once, tying the ends but NOT knotting them. Pull on the ends to pull the nylon further and further back until you have your desired size. Use your favorite gel or pomade to control your edges. Slick with fingers or a boar bristle brush. Tie your hair down with a silk scarf to make your hair look smoother and remove before you leave the house. That’s it!

Use your fingers to gently tease and separate your hairs until you reach your desired thickness. For more stretch, gently pull on sections of hair and blow dry the roots. You can rock it without a part, part it in the middle, or add a cute accessory. Finish with oil sheen. Add a funky attitude and a smile and you are ready to go!

5.       And now we come to the end!
Or the ends, rather. Scraggly ends can make any hairstyle look like unhealthy hair. Make sure that when you moisturize that you concentrate on keeping your ends soft. Avoid over combing and over brushing. Don’t twirl your ends when you’re nervous! This is the KEY to splitting them! Trim your ends as needed. If clipping them every six weeks works better for you then do that. Just make sure that you keep them healthy. This is the key to neatness and health!

I hope that we’ve helped to lay the framework! Your hair is so unique already, and all you have to do it maintain the flyness! Remember, experiment and learn your hair until you come up with the perfect routine for you. Happy styling!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Who's the Bigger Hater, Them or You?

You are GORGEOUS. Unfortunately, the person most likely to refute that is you.

I saw a McDonald’s commercial the other day where one of the black actresses sported a mass of natural curls as she sipped on a McCafe frappe. Or ate a fry. Whatever. And she hasn’t been the first black curly girl that I’ve seen on commercials.  It seems that market execs are finally catching on to the fact that people want to buy what other people that look like them are buying. That includes girls with curls. Douy. But you know the sad thing? Even when watching these commercials and seeing beautiful women like Kim Coles, Raven Simone, and Esperanza Spalding wear their natural hair I can’t help but think, “So, when will a natural-haired girl be a sex symbol? When will she play a love interest in a movie? Or tv show? Hell, even a commercial?? (I’ve yet to see that angle.)

In an interview with Kim Coles, she mentioned that the reason why straight hair is so popular on movie sets is because it’s so easy to replicate. Straight hair is more predictable than curly hair, and when you have to shoot the same scene 8 or 9 times, hair is the last thing that you want to be worrying about. Many actresses opt for relaxers, weaves, and lace-fronts (the good ones, not the ones you see at the corner store with the SUPER full hairline) for this reason. And I get that.

And people are starting to catch on, even outside of the world of marketing.  Legal dramedy  Franklin & Bash has, as should be expected, only two females as a part of their staple cast, both black, both beautiful.  And Garcelle Beauvais, sort of the Mariska Hargitay of the show, sports a wavy/curly mane that captivates her male co-stars every few episodes. It’s a step that I can appreciate. But even with all this, at times I’m watching Nickelodeon (for research, of course) or a favorite program and notice that the brown curly girl ends up with the short end of the stick, playing some role probably named customer #3, or random student #18, but never the pretty girl that makes time slow down and wind machines blow. And then I end up yelling at the TV, or muttering something smart under my breath because I once again realize that American beauty standards have a long way to go.

It wasn’t until this week that I realized that I was so sensitive to things like this because I hadn’t fully accepted the beauty of my curls yet. In the end, it has little to do with the world. How many skinny, straight-haired, and commercially beautiful girls out there still don’t feel beautiful?  How many commercially ostracized "big girls" do? This isn’t about the Hollywood! Yesterday curves were out. Today they’re in.  Everyone is rocking straight hair today. Tomorrow it’s all about texture. Fashions change! Beauty standards change! But do you know what’s ALWAYS in? Self-confidence.

Corny huh? Let’s see it in action. I used to LOVE the Hills (shh, it’s a secret). I always thought that Heidi Montag was so GORGEOUS. She had a great shape, beautiful features, and silky hair. From what I could tell, lots of people shared my same sentiments. Everyone apparently, except her, who’s now been pulled, tucked, and molded more than Play-Doh in a kindergarten classroom. Megan Fox seems to be going down the same path, and don’t even get me started on Lil Kim.

Now let’s look at Queen Latifah. Unconventionally beautiful. People didn’t want to accept it at first, but now she’s a Cover girl and has been listed in more than one Most Beautiful People list. I think about Raven Simone too, who has always been proud to rock her own brand of beautiful, referred to as “delectable” here   by Vlad TV. Now, who’s going to tell her that she isn’t? I think that she can look forward to a long career in Hollywood, seeing as she’s sexy, funny, AND confident…who doesn’t love that? And Ellen DeGeneres, one of the most ungirly personalities in Hollywood, is celebrated for her beautiful face, strength, her ability to accept herself even when no one else was on her side.

When you accept your own unique beauty, other people will have no choice but to love it too! And forget the ones who don’t. Haters are so last season.