NATURAL HAIR

Cantu Haircare Review

About two years ago I began hearing good things about the American haircare brand Cantu. Then I got hold of the Leave-In Conditioning Repair Conditioner at a product swap event. Oh my word, my curls loved it! It was another year before I got hold of more of it. I...

Hairesolution 2016

I should be working on my life resolutions for 2016. This year I'm struggling to put my resolutions down on paper. Resolutions have always given me a focus and an objective for the year. Last year it was all about finding my way back to me .  I’ve achieved it. This...

Natural Hair Look Update

After having my second big chop in 2010, with the exception of annual trims I’ve allowed my hair grow naturally. I supported the growth and my all round good healthy, during my two pregnancies by taking supplements. After my second baby, I took part in growth challenges hosted by Jenell Stewart on her Kinky Curly Coily Me blog. Taking part in the challenges allowed me to focus on caring for my hair better which helped to combat postpartum shedding. However, since joining the gym I’ve been feeling for a change. I wanted a look to fit with my shedding pounds. Just as it happened five years ago, two weeks ago I woke up and decided it was the day for a big chop.

hair journey
hair journey

Over the years I’ve had various hairstyles. Since going natural I’ve worn braid and I twists with extensions a few times. I’ve never been that adventures with my hair. My main concern was keeping it healthy to foster growth and fit with my lifestyle.

natural hair big chop
natural hair big chop

This time around I went for a big chop with a bit of style, an asymmetrical curly version of a short crop I had years ago. I had it done while I was visiting my dear friend Chelsea. Some of you may remember she did my last big chop. Additionally, when I was pregnant with Valentina, she did my  look up date by trimming and highlight my hair. I trust her immensely. Aside from my hairdresser, there is no one else who I’d allow to cut my hair. I’m absolutely happy with it, but I think when I lose more weight I may cut it a shorter. It’s so liberating to have short hair and for some reason I tend to feel sexier and more confident. Once that second cut has been done, I’ll allow it to grow again.

look update
look update

Like my new lifestyle I want to start anew with my hair and let it grow and blossom as I hope to do as a maturing woman, wife and mother. This is my third big chop. Here’s hoping, third time the charm. It is true, being natural is a s state of mind. What have you done to your hair this summer? Do you plan to change you look for autumn/winter? Please feel free to share you story.

 

 

 

Press Release: lounge & learn with the United Kurls

On Sunday 6th September The United Kurls Collective will be hosting their second Lounge & Learn event. The concept was launched in June 2015 by the founding members of the collective with the aim of bringing back the personal touch to events and offering those interested in natural hair and beauty something a little different.

The over-subscribed ‘Learning Sessions’ bring something special to the event, imparting valuable knowledge to UK naturalistas including both adults and children. These sessions allow attendees to become more informed about their hair, the products they use and the work of small business owners. United Kurls truly believe that imparting such knowledge will allow attendees to make more informed shopping choices.

Lounge & Learn 2 sees the return of Annette Clark-Headley (Almocado) and Akua Wood (Sheabutter Cottage) delivering their session entitled ‘Is it worth it?’ The two explain what goes into making natural products, how to read the labels whilst selecting the best options for your hair.

Hair stylist and YouTube vlogger Yonkel C will share her professional knowledge; discussing the effects that diet, lifestyle and environment can have on hair and scalp health.

Blogger Crystal Afro founder of The United Kinkdom, will be providing food for thought with her talk entitled ‘Black British Beauty?’ Crystal will discuss the relationship between culture, identity and black women in Britain.

Additionally Katrina Emmanuel of Mane Divas will be offering Mini Divas consultations with FREE Prescription. Learn how to avoid tears and tangles by booking a taster session on maintaining your daughters beautiful Mane. Afro-Caribbean or of a mixed heritage, this service is for all hair textures.

United Kurls lounge and learn

Who are the United Kurls?

United Kurls was created as an innovative response to market and promote small UK hair care brands. The main premise of the collective is to cooperatively utilise the skills and talents of the female business owners to self-promote through carefully designed marketing campaigns and United Kurls branded events. The founding members come from varied backgrounds and bring to the collective many skills for the successful development of the collective.

Event Information

Sunday 6th September 2015 11am-5pm

Hilton London Tower Bridge  5 More London Place,  Tooley St, London SE1 2BY

Learning Sessions and Mini Diva Consultations cost

Futher Information

Contact info@unitedkurls.com or view their website. Additionally you can get social and follow them on Facebook,  Twitter and Instagram

 

 

Mane Diva’s Sea Heart: product review

It’s been several years since I’ve used Rhassoul clay in block form as a hair treatment. One of my favourite conditioners contains Rhassoul clay, but its a soft creamy mixture. I was intrigued by the new product of Mane Divas had created, Sea Hearts. When I trialled the Sea Hearts (Banana & Apricot) hair treatment, I’d recently dyed my hair one weak previously. I was happy with the results. Mane Divas’ Sea Hearts (Banana & Apricot) gave me fortified popping curls.

Mane Divas’ Sea Hearts is a heart-shaped block 70g in weight. Organic Moroccan Rhassoul clay is the primary ingredient, mixed with Apricot, Banana, Irish Moss, Sulphur, Coconut Oil & Avocado butter. Its functions as a two in one shampoo and conditioning treatment. To use it must must be mixed with a liquid either 100ml of distilled water or coconut milk. I mixed mine with boiled water. In my excitement, I think I added more water than I should have. It smelt good enough to eat.

The process:

To dry hair I applied the Sea Hearts mixture. I wrapped my hair in plastic wrap and covered in an aluminium-like treatment cap. I didn’t use electrical heat. I allowed my natural body heat process by the treatment, while I went about my house chores. I left it in for about one hour. When I removed the cap, I massage my hair and rinsed it. Although it’s advised that no conditioner is required, I had to apply a conditioner. I don’t normally detangle my hair before washing, so after using the treatment it was very tangled. Additionally, my hair felt a bit weighed down but fortified. I applied a high street budget brand conditioner it gave me good slip to detangle without stressing my hair. Once the conditioner was rinsed out the weighty feeling was gone.

Mane Divas seahearts results
Mane Divas’ Sea Hearts Trial

Styling:

After detangling, I applied a styling cream and an organic oil to my hair and flat-twisted it. I followed up by drying with a diffuser. The following day I took my twists down and styled my hair in an updo. My hair felt soft, silky, and bouncy. My curls were well defined with minimal frizz.

Although, Sea Hearts worked well for me it would not be my first choice of treatment. My choice is based only on personal choice, not the effectiveness of the product. Treatments like these cannot be rushed. Time must be taken to mix it correctly and apply without making a big mess. This is one for a natural mixtress who loves making hair treatments. I prefer ready-made conditioners and treatments just for the ease due to my lifestyle.

Mane Divas has created three types of Sea Hearts treatments each has its own benefit. It can be ordered from the Mane Divas website. The price ranges £5.99-£6.99. To find more about Mane Divas, their product range or read their hair blog please visit their website.

NXS International Haircare Range: product review

I first heard about the NXS International haircare range in 2014. I was eager to try more organic British haircare brands and luckily I won a competition via Instagram for trial sizes of the NXS International range. I was a bit heavy handed using the styling products, so I didn’t get best results. When I untwisted my hair it was limp and felt clammy. What difference a year makes. I’ve learnt styling tricks to make my thin hair look fuller. Best of all, I know what ingredients my hair likes and how to use them. Thankfully, I got a second chance to try NXS International products. Armed with my new styling knowledge, the outcome was much better. I trialled NXS International Nature Intense Moisturising Hair Lotion (suitable for Dry/Extra Hair) and NXS Shea & Cocoa Butter Hair Pomade for three weeks with good results.

I liked NXS International’s Nature Intense Moisturising Hair Lotion when I tried it last year, this time around at first I didn’t. My hair has changed over the last year. To start with most of the professional bleaching and colour has grown out. At the moment it has a rinse out hairdye. Overall it’s in good condition with the exception of the ends that need trimming. I eventually worked out I needed much less of the hair lotion now.

How I used it: on clean damp hair as a styling. On dry hair as a detangler and styling aid. I also used it on occasion as daily moisturiser.

The Results: Because it’s so rich I could easily go three days before reapplying. It always gave my hair a lovely shine without weighing it down. My curls had an elasticity to them and no frizz. On wet or dry hair it worked best for me when used alone. Including an oil to lock in moisture made my hair clammy.

The fragrance is a pleasant spicy but not over-powering coco-vanilla with a hint of lavender. It would work any hair type. Use as advised. I would suggest applying a little, only adding more it’s needed. It comes in a 250 ml bottle with a pump nozzle. Depending on how it’s used, it could last up to two months.

NXS product consistency
NXS hair lotion & pomade consistency

The NXS Shea & Cocoa Butter Hair Pomade I love LOVE! It’s not petroleum based as ole school pomades used to be. This pomade is all gorgeous natural cocoa and shea butters mixed. In the jar it’s solid but once on the finger tips, it slowly beings to melt.

How I used it: I applied to my dry hair and that of my daughter’s as a styling aid.

The Results: I believe my daughter has a 2b curl pattern. Her hair loved it. Her naturally glossy hair felt super soft and smooth like silk. She had less flyaways then usual. On myself, it kept my edges neater than usual but it’s not an edge taming product. Don’t expect it to have a hold. I would say that my hair is 3b/c curl type. It absorbed quickly into my hair, no clamminess or tackiness.  I can easily use it mid-week to re-twist my hair if necessary without fear of build-up. Because it melts so easily it can be applied to the scalp directly.

Hair styled with NXS productsHair styled with NXS products

The fragrance is a pleasant sweet cocoa smell.  It contains coconut, castor and olives oils all of which my hair responds well too. It’s my new favourite styling aid.

NXS International was established in 2008. It has a range of bodycare, haircare and skincare products, all of which are at least 87% natural. The products are affordable and well packaged with a high-end look. On the NXS International website the Nature Intense Moisturising Hair Lotion RRP £13.99. The Shea & Cocoa Butter Hair Pomade ranges in price £7.99-£11.99. For more information about the brand and its products please visit their website.

What I’ve learnt about diffusing my natural hair… so far…

I’ve been wearing my hair natural (if you exclude the highlights) for 3 years and 11 months now. In that time, I’ve only used heat on ‘wash-day’ for deep conditioning and  drying my twists . I’ve been wanting to experiment with diffusing for AAAAGES. I’d viewed Taren Guys YouTube video on diffusing natural hair a few times and I thought I was ready to take it to the next level. What I’ve learnt about diffusing is  heat protection is vital.

Recently,  I was finally able to treat myself to a new hairdryer WITH a diffuser attachment. I’d read a few reviews and opted to go with  the Diva Professional Styling  Veloce 3800 PRO which has ‘Ionic Technology’. Ionic Technology is meant to neutralize ‘ionic charges on the hair smoothing the hair shaft to add shine, softness and manageability whilst reducing flyaway hair caused by static’. They had me at softness and manageability. To be honest I didn’t know and never noticed if I had frizzy hair due to static as only used my hairdryer for and not styling.

According to review the attachment I selected, Diva Professional Styling Disffuser XL PRO, can fit most Diva Professional hairdryers. When it arrived I was shocked by the size! It could fit half of head! But  the upside is as my hair grows I will not need to purchase another, also my drying would be cut down.  Both products have lived up to their claims. On both occasions my hair was lovely and swishing with minimal frizz. However, my hair was not a silky to the touch as when I twist, dry my hair, then rock a twist-out. It never occurred to me to to apply a heat protection treatment.

0003_1
SO! based on my novice hair styling blunder I have a few questions for more experienced natural hair wearers/stylers:

– What heat protection product should I use (cream, or liquid spray…)

– How often can I safely diffuse  my hair

– How do I maintain my curls after day 1.

Added to the above I need to work on my technique as I’m not getting much volume.  Do you style your natural hair by diffusing?Are you happy with the results? What products do you use to prep your hair? Are you big on volume? If so how do you achieve it?

A brief look at the hair-cutting rituals of different cultures

 

 
Angelo’s first haircut

Recently hubby asked we “when are we going to cut Val’s hair? Will we wait untill she speaks”. I shrieked “what do you mean cut her hair?” Then, he referred to when Angelo had his first haircut. I had to chuckle. I told him that practice is only for boys. It’s different for girls. Then he said “… but her hair is so big she’ll be hot in the summer.” We could trim just it”. Well, I didn’t’ bother to point out that we are in WINTER. I simply said, we are not cutting her hair. I have to admit, there are times when I am tempted. Valentina only has to feel my hand on her head and she starts to fuss. Anyway, after that brief talk with hubby I began to wonder whether it was actually different for girls. Are there cultural hair rituals for girls in other countries?  I did a quick Google search and was surprised to find that indeed there are hair rituals for girls!  In fact some hair rituals are not gender specific.  It’s not always different for girls when it comes to hair cutting rituals.

From my quick Google search I found that in many cultures there is some sort of cutting ritual but not especially for girls and it’s not always for babies. Here’s some of what I’ve found CLICK HERE

First Natural Hair Length Check

 

 
growth over 2 1/2 years

I’ve been wearing my hair natural for the past 2 ½ years. I say natural but I confess that last summer I put had striking powder applied to my hair for a bit of highlight. So, depending on how you define natural you may say that I’m not 100% ‘natural’.  In the time that I’ve been natural, I’ve had my hair trimmed professionally three times, when got tangly and knotty at the ends. I also experienced postpartum shedding, after both pregnancies. I’ve been taking part in a Castor Oil Challenge for the last couple of months with Kinky Curly Coily Me in the hope of  supporting regrowth in the area where my hair thinned the most. I’m nearing the end of the challenge and I had to do a length check as part of the requirement of last week’s check-in.  After completing my length check I realised how much my hair has improved over the last few months.

 

Its ‘funny’, when I used to chemically straighten my hair, I always fussed about my length. Now that I’m natural, I much less fussed. My circumstances have changed; I’m now a married woman with two kids under the age of three. I have very little time to sit in front a mirror musing about my hair. I eat as best I can and treat my hair as best I can with products I can afford, then, hope for the best. RESULT! One of the many things I’ve learnt since being natural (as with fashion) sometimes is that less is more! The less you manipulate the hair and the gentler you are the better the results. So, after 2 ½ years this is my hair growth:

 

 
length check images, pic on rhs shows thinning hair at temple area

I’m very pleased that the hair at my temples has started to grow again. My next focus will be to be gentle with and care for my hairline.

Health complications aside, I think maintaining natural hair can be as easy or as difficult as you make it.

Natural hair as an expat

 

 
Circa 2001, passport pics are NEVER cute

 

I first ‘went natural’ when I was in my late twenties.  I wanted a change after my second relationship break up. I wanted to be invisible to men and I thought cutting of my hair and wearing an afro would do the trick. NO, I’m not being ‘full of myself’ it’s just the way of things in Trinidad, I think anyway. I’m sure its not all men, but men in the Trinidad generally like women with long hair and so called ‘good hair’ at that. I’m guessing it’s down to our slavery and colonial past. At any rate, I wanted to be free.  Imagine my surprise when I looked cute with my TWA! Then again I was a UK 8, with skin that was in good condition. I really looked after myself back then, not hubby no kids, just Number 1. Bags packed and armed with my texturizer kit, I arrived in Heathrow in 2001.

 

My hair grew quickly so I began to use my texturizer, but sparingly because I had no idea was I was doing.  There wasn’t a barber for Afro hair in the village or town centre of Cambridge back then. At least I didn’t know of any and there was no one to advise me otherwise. It wasn’t until I moved to London 10 months later, that I had my first relaxer, in West London by the aunt of an acquaintance
of mine.  By the time I moved into my second flat share in the summer of 2003, one of my flatmates had referred me to her hairdresser.

 

 
circa 2004
 
circa 2007
 
Aug 2009

I didn’t look back from my creamy crack addiction untill 2010, when I decided I wanted to become a mum.  I transitioned for about three months but then I did a DIY BC, after a feasting on YouTube videos. Not for the faint-hearted, I might
add. I wouldn’t recommend a DIY BC, unless you have a hairdresser on speed dial.

 

 
Feb 2010

 

 
Feb 2010

 

Thankfully my dear friend Chelsea rescued my botch job and I’ve not looked back since.

 

I’ve been natural for over three years. I’ve primarily taken care of my hair during this time, as my own hairdresser is a bit far since we relocated last summer. I’ve tried the local hairdressers and had bad experiences. My hair was badly handled and I’d leave with my hair looking worse than if I’d styled it myself. Then I’d return home, hubby to ask ‘How much did you pay for that?’ No it’s not fun and it’s not pretty when a hair dresser gets it wrong!  It has to be said that are not enough hairdressers who know how to take care of natural Afro hair, in London. Although many ladies opt to chemically process their hair in Trinidad, chances are there will always be someone who can braid, cornrow and style natural hair.

 

 
5 mths pregnant, June 2010 (T’dad)

 

 

 
June 2010 (T’dad)

 

For me, that someone is my mum.  Thankfully, due to YouTube and natural hair bloggers I don’t feel all alone in the wilderness any more.

 

 

 
April 2013

 

My hairstory has taken a turn for the better. So bloggers keeping doing your do!

 

I’d love to hear from naturalistas who have travelled or relocated? How did you maintain your hair? What has been your experience in
finding a hairdresser and products that suit your hair needs?

What I’ve learnt since being natural

It’s been three years and three months since I stopped chemically processing my hair. I have not regrets. I feel fabulously FREE in that regard. In all that time my personal experience has been:

  • Only do the big chop (BC) when you are certain you are ready to let go of your old hair ways
  • Less is more: good hair products and as little hair manipulation as possible goes a long way for growth
  • Do trim your ends from time to time (its recommended every 6-8 wks, but I do twice per year)
  • Pre-poos are great to preventing excess loss of the hair’s natural oils and improving the hairs flexibility (swish swish)
  • Keeping hair and scalp moisturized improves the hair condition and there is less frizz.
  • Hair may shed after pregnancy due to changes in hormones (more info here)

The last point above is true for me.  When Angelo was three months, I noticed my hair began to shed. I was not alarmed as I knew it would settle in time.  I expected the same once Valentina was born but this time around its more intense. My hair line is mess and I’ve got two bald spots by my temples, not very attractive. I finally to the chance to visit my hairdresser for a much needed treatment and a trim. Its not an attractive process but it works.

 

 
Prepped and ready for steam

 

 
Rinsed and trimmed

 

 
Protective style corn-rowed front & two strand twist back

 

I felt much better for having it done. Fingers crossed by the end of the year the shedding would have stopped. For more pics of my journey click HERE.

Are you a nautralista? What was the best thing about going natural  Did your hair change during or after pregnancy? If so, how? I’d love to hear your story.

Labour Day Hair Do

No, my hair do is not for a public holiday celebration, its not that kind of labour. I’ve now begun the count down to the arrival of my baby girl. If I’m lucky she’ll be with us in three days time. As many of you will know by now I began my natural hair journey over two years ago. By the time I was due to have Angelo my hair was just under my ear in length.

 
Hubby & I a few weeks before Angelo’s arrival

I had my hair two-strand twisted with extensions, as I didn’t want to have to thing about maintaining it in the early days after his arrival. This style suited me best, as I also had to factor in the time it would take to remove any style I had done. I have opted to have another two-strand twist done for the birth of my daughter but without extensions.

 

I have type 3 c curly hair which looks rather full when dry, detangled and loose but add any moisture or styling product and it thins out.  Having a two-strand twist done with kinky hair extensions was not very flattering for me.

 

 
Me one week before Angelo’s arrival

I thought it looked a bit over the top early 90’s, back then box braids were not yet back in style. I didn’t feel like me and with all the chances motherhood brings I think its important to be comfortable.

 

Here are a few photos of my new do, a two-strand twist without extensions:

 

 
Hairdo complete @ Morris Roots Loc/Natural Hair Salon
 
Back at home
 
Top side view

 

I love this look, its feels and looks great. However, the downside to  my not using extensions is that my hair will become frizzy faster. Additionally, knowing my low pain threshold, I doubt it will look anything like this after the throes of labour and delivery. Then again, how cares?! Everyone will only be interested in seeing baby.Wish me luck for my labour performance, and keep us in your prayers if you are a follower who prays. If not, well wishes are also welcome. I have to admit I feel a bit nervous.

 

Lush(cious) hair: a product review

Quite recently I attended a blogger press day at Lush, Covent Garden. The event was to showcase their new product FUN .  I had a wonderful time at event and was pleasantly surprised to see how the brand had extended its product ranges, since I’d last popped into a shop. Let’s just say, it’s been a while since I’ve treated myself to so something from their shop. I felt like the proverbial kid in a candy store surrounded by lots of gorgeous smelling products all attractively packaged. On my way home I had a good read of the Lush Times and was thrilled to find out that they did a few hair products for curly hair! DING DING!

Click HERE to find out how my trial went.

My First Hair Crush

 

 

I recently read a comment to a guest post I featured on ways to promote multicultural beauty, by CircusMums and it made me think. She
mentioned that on one occasion she noticed her daughter:

 

‘… trying to ‘flatten’ her afro with her palms’ and so decided to google ‘… photos of different aged girls and women with glorious hair of
different curl patterns to show her it was ok not to have long, straight
‘yellow’ (her words) hair.’

 

This comment made me think about my first hair crush. Oddball that I am and a bit of a tom-boy that I was, my hair crushes were all male! My first hair crush was superhero…SUPERMAN!

 

 
Image from Pinterest via ManuelSimón

 

 

As I child I rebelled against anything too girly. I hated frilly dresses, played with dolls seldom and rather run around with the boys. I envied their FREEDOM and I still do to this day! So it was only natural that my
favourite programmes all about superheroes, like Superman, Batman, Spiderman AND The Man from Atlantis. Ok well I don’t know if The Man from Atlantis qualifies as a superhero but I loved that show. Anyways, Superman was my favourite without a doubt. Every (hair) wash-day, when I was under the age of 9 years; I
tried to achieve The Superman Curl. Yes I did! After many failed attempts I gave up… Enter Michael Jackson!

 

 

 
Image from Pinterest via AmyKnipschield

 

 

When Michael Jacksons realised his Thriller album in 1982, there were images of him everywhere. Back then he was rockin’ the Gheri Curl. Now there was a look I could re-create! Once my hair was washed I could be seen in
front my mirror with my mums sun glasses trying to get my hair to curl and fall just like Michael Jackson’s. Thankfully there’s no photographic evidence of this phase in my life. CRINGE!!!

 

For me it was all about the hair, I didn’t really think about the ‘colour’ of the person. I don’t know who my kids will look up to for their images of beauty. They are still very young but I’ve noticed that these days there are more images of natural beauty all around. I hope they will embrace their own unique looks and those of others around them.

Who was your first hair crush? Straight or curly?

Wash-n-Go with Inecto Pure Coconut Hair Repair Treatment

  

Coming from the Caribbean I’m a big fan of coconut. I love it in my food, on my skin and in my hair. During my last pregnancy, when I visited Trinidad I bought a bottle of homemade 100% coconut oil. The fragrance was

gorgeous! I used in primarily on Angelo, during his sponge baths when he was a new-born. Once he started having regular baths I began to use it in my hair. I believe it’s my regular use of coconut oil in my pre-poo and occasional hot oil steams that have kept my hair healthy. During this pregnancy I have not been able to access any of that oil, nor do I have the time to make my own hair products (shampoo, conditioner, twisting cream) as I did with Angelo.  So, I’m constantly seeking store bought products that can enhance the appearance and condition of my hair. I was thrilled to win Inecto Pure Coconut Hair Repair Treatment fromCurl Nation on Twitter.

 

Truth be known, I’ve seen Inecto Pure Coconut products around. However, due the very affordable price, I was sceptical about how it would work in my hair. When I won the product I didn’t realise that it was from the same range one I’d seen in the shops. Well, not until it turned up at my door in the post. I need not have worried. I was thoroughly pleased with the results.

At the end of the week my hair is always a tangled mess! Friday I was not prepared nor did I have the time to spend 30 mins detangling hair in the shower. Then, spend another 20 mins two-strand twisting.  It was not a sunny day but it was mild, so here’s what I did:

 

  1. Washed with Philip Kingsley Flaky Itchy Scalp Shampoo
    (although I no longer have that problem)
  2. Treated with Inecto Pure Coconut Hair Repair Treatment (it’s
    recommended that you leave it in for 5 minutes but I left it for 45 mins to enable easy detangling
    )
  3. Rinse and towel dry
  4. Applied pure unscented coconut oil (after leave-in-conditioner), the solid one you can
    kind in the supermarket
  5. Finger combined and ‘fluffed’ hair, DONE!

 

 

I was most pleased with my wash-n-go. I’ve not done one since my last visit to Trinidad.

 

 
Wash-n-go Day 1

As a former asthma sufferer and raised primarily by my grandmother, I have a fear of my chest being too bare or my hair being wet. I was a sickly child, that sad I did not sniffle on Friday night. I’m not sick tonight, Sunday.

 

 

 
Day 2 with some curl cream added

 

My hair actually dried much faster than when I twist it AND I don’t have to pry it out of Angelo’s grasp. He likes to chew on my twists as though its liquorice. I did have some shrinkage. I reckon I lost about 3 inches to shrinkage but at this stage, I’m not fussed about that at all. What I need to work on is achieving lasting curl definition and moisture through out the week.

 

I’m certainly going to get myself more Inecto Pure Coconut Hair Repair Treatment. I’m happy with and it’s easy to source. I will not have to trek to a Black hair shop miles from my home to find it. AND it’s affordable! What more can a natural-haired SAHM ask for… when it comes to hair care that is.

 

Thank you Curl Nation!

 



A woman’s hair: crowning glory… a beacon of change

 

 

I’ve always loved my hair even before I started chemically processing it. Although I will admit, it did frustrate me at times.  My mum washed and styled my hair until I was about 13 years old. Then suddenly I was thrown in at the deep end to take care of it myself. I could not cope with the thickness and I envied the girls who had chemically straightened hair. So, I was most pleased when, unknown to my mum, an aunt whisked me away to have my hair relaxed one Saturday. I was about 14 years old. I reckon she was tired of seeing my frustrated long face. My hair
was not relaxed well, but I didn’t care! Instead of waves I now had straight hair that I could roll Lana Turner style. Then came the years of teenage angst; bouts of depression and broken hearts … my hair suffered for it.

Recently I managed to have a shower and shampoo without Angelo (my toddler) interrupting me.  With time to
think, I began to reminisce about my younger years.  I had so many fears and insecurities; truth be known I have yet to find the reason for them. I see clearly now at every juncture of personal trials, I cut/changed my hair. But when I saw my baby boy (Angelo) for the first time, I vowed he should NEVER feel those pains if I had a say in the matter. I’m happy to say that while it’s a work in progress, I feel truly comfortable in my own skin. Becoming ‘natural’ has had a big part to play in my feeling more ‘grounded’.

 

 
St Lucia  Summer 2001

 

 

The first time I went natural it was in an attempt to make myself look ‘ugly’. Broken-hearted from a failed relationship, I decided I wanted time-off from men. I didn’t want to be noticed. I didn’t want to be approached. I wanted to be invisible. I hit the gym HARD and I cut-off all my hair. Little did I know those actions would lead to the strengthening of me. Best of all, I did not look ugly! And I felt confident and strong.  It was not long after that I came to the UK. However, being based in Cambridge without access to a salon for my hair I returned to chemically processing my hair.

 

 
Courtship autumn 2003
 
Engaged Spring 2006 (my 1st pony tail ext)

 

However I’d not forgotten what I’d learnt about myself. A few years later I was introduced to this amazing guy. He’s now my hubby.

 

Fast forward ten years and I went natural again. I was entering a new phase in my life. I wanted to be a mum. I didn’t cut my hair as shorts as the first time. Hubby was a bit nervous that he’d be put off if I looked too boyish.  He’d seen my ole pics, when I was a hipless, boob-less, boney young woman with a
TWA. He didn’t like it. I a chuckle but I understood and respected his concern.  I left a few inches when I finally did my BC. Little did we both know it would give our relationship a new level of intimacy? He began to play with my TWA. He said it was ‘therapeutic’. I loved it! He’d NEVER touched my hair before then, certainly not that I could remember.  Now my hair is longer than  it was when we first met (but natural)…

 

 

 
Summer 2012

and we are about to celebrate our 6th anniversary this weekend. Here’s to being naturally me and HAPPY!

How and why did you start your natural hair journey? I’d love to hear from you.

posted 02/08/12

My natural hair during pregnancy

Today’s hot sunny weather has made me reminisce about the last time I was 5 months pregnant, but then I was holidaying in Trinidad. This was near the start of my natural hair journey. I asked my dear and trusted friend, Chelsea, to help me cut my hair to its natural curl. Funnily enough, this was after I’d hacked off the majority into a jagged TWA in a moment of madness. Then I began the work of trying to become a ‘good mother’ and a better me.

I went home to Trinidad for 9 days of good Trini food and pampering from my own mum. I even had her comb my hair in ‘small plaits’ and sometimes cane-rows. It was a totally nurturing experience. As the weather was VERY HOT, I co-washed my hair almost every day while I was there. My hair never lacked moisture and my curls really popped. Even my mum was surprised by the soft light curly texture of my hair. She had asked me what I’d done to it. Clearly it had been a LOOONG time since she’d seen me without chemically straightened hair. This then led to the playful banter about which of her girls has the ‘the best hair’. My two sisters and I all have different hair types but it seemed the consensus was that I had the ‘good hair’, even though middle sis has the longest hair. Middle sis has hair past the middle of her back! Unlike me, neither sister has been as adventurous as me with hair. They have always kept their length.

 

Mum is great at braiding but she’s not up on the styles. Having my hair styled to go out while in Trinidad was a group effort. Mum
braided my hair under the direction of my two younger sisters. Most styles were good but we had a few mishaps along the way.

 

 

 
Half-head cane-row the back was left open

 

 

 
Full-head cane-crow

 

 

 
Small plaits

My sisters cheekily said they’d not go outdoors with their hair like that. My retort was that I was on holiday and no
one would see me. Little did I know I’d be writing this post to share, which now means exposing my dodgy does for all the world to see. During my first pregnancy my hair was much shorter and I had time to experiment. My regime was:

 

  1. I co- washed twice per week,  then shampooed and conditioned on weekends (sometimes using ginseng tea for the last
    rinse)
  2. Sealed with sweet almond oil
  3. Flat twisted with the aid of pure shea butter (or wash and go with leisure curl gel)
  4. I was took pregnancy  multivitamins
  5. Covered my hair at night in a spandex cap

 

 

Occasionally I’d have my hair braided with extensions for variety, or add a pony tail extension. (See my FB album Natural Hair then and Now) When Angelo was 3 months old, I had my first professional hair treatment and trim.

 

Now on my second pregnancy, I’m doing much less with my hair.  Angelo is a VERY active toddler and I have very little respite. Gone are the days of long leisurely shower and shampoo sessions. In the last 2 years and 5 months my hair has grown past my shoulder and I’d finally had the chance to trim in again. See my post on the Deva Cut Method. I don’t have the opportunity try varied styles due to lack of time, so,somehow I’m s back to the ponytail or all out style pattern I had when I had relaxed hair!

 

My current regime is as follows:

 

  1. Once per week pre-poo (with pure coconut oil) for at least 1 hour
  2. Wash, condition and de-tangle rinse
  3. Towel dry to remove most of the water
  4. Seal with sweet almond oil
  5. Apply curling cream, then set curl with two strand twist of about 12 twists and leave
    hair to air dry

 

I usually only untwist my hair and style when I’m ready to go out. I’m also back on pregnancy multivitamins. I take these to maintain my around wellness, perhaps its mind over matter however, I’ve didn’t had major hair loss during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Fingers crossed I have the same results this time around.

Did you have a special hair regime during pregnancy? I’d love to hear from you whether you have natural afro or straight hair.

I’m a NEW Deva Disciple: how I had my curly hair trimmed  using the new Deva Cut Method

I’ve been natural for over two years. I made the decision to ‘go natural’ when I decided to become a mother. One day after a steady ‘diet’ of You Tube clips from newly natural black women, I did the BIG CHOP (BC).
Thankfully, my mate Chelsea (artist, designer, crafter… mum,  friend AND experienced hairdresser) was on
hand to fix the damage that was my teeny weeny afro (TWA). I went to her house the day after my madness and had my hair shaped properly.  Hubby did look a bit concerned when he came to fetch me from her house, as my ‘fro was still a work in progress. Chelsea calmly explained to him my styling options, I think she may have even shown him a few there and then… he soon relaxed… once he knew wouldn’t ‘look like a boy’. Yesterday,  Chelsea came to my home to spruce up my hair: trim, streak and treat; she opted to use the Deva Cut Method for
the trim.

 

I’d never heard of it before but now know that the Deva Cut Method is a method of trimming curly hair. So what is the Deva Cut Method? Well it’s a trim where the stylist/hairdresser cuts individual curl strands where it’s needed. My as my hair is usually a tangled mess, so, it was spritzed with a water and conditioner mix (we used TRE Semmé).

Once spritzed, my hair could be detangled and the curl pattern became more prominent. Each curl was trimmed according to its need, and then twisted out of the way. When my hair was all trimmed, streaking powder was used to strip away some of the colour from around the crown for highlights. I didn’t want it too light. I was looking for a reddish-auburn colour.  IADORE RED hair! Once we had achieved the colour I wanted my hair was: rinsed, shampooed once with Curls Unleashed  sulfate-free shampoo; conditioned once with TRE Semmé Naturals; then deep conditioned with Organic Root Stimulator Replenishing Conditioner for about 2 hours using a

plastic cap (no heat).

I opted to do two-strand twists and allow my hair to dry naturally. To set my curls in the twists, I applied: sweet almond oil; followed by Curls Unleashed Leave-In conditioner, followed by Organic Root Stimulator Hair Repair Intense Moisture Crème. It may sound like a lot of hair was not weighed down.

 

Today I wore my hair in a twist out. I’m still not good at untwisting and ‘fluffing’ my hair without causing it to look a bit frizzy. However, a combo of Organic Root Stimulator Vital Oils for Hair & Scalp followed by the Hair Repair Anti-Breakage Crème on the ends helped my curls maintain most of its shape; it’s been a very humid day.

It’s said that once you do any chemical treatment to your hear you must treat it as though it’s been damaged. So, I’ll continue to use products for natural hair that’s been damaged in order to prevent unnecessary breakage and drying-out due to the bleaching I’ve done.

 

So hubby is back tomorrow! And I’m ready with my updated look. Thanks Chels! For pics on my natural hair journey, please visit my Tiger Tales Facebook page.

 

Have you updated your natural hair look for the summer? What have done? Are you happy with it? Drop me a line in my comment box, tweet me. I’ll be happy to hear about your natural hair adventures.



An Evening with Dr Hair: learning trade ‘secrets’ on how to  maintain Afro Hair 

(natural & processed)

  

I’ve said in previous posts that I hardly EVER get out without my son. Hubby works long hours to take care of us and being an expat with no family around respite is VERY limited. So you know, when I select an event to attend I’m expecting a lot. I was thrilled to be attending Dr. Hair Live which was presented by Organic Root Stimulator. It’s a brand that I’m familiar with. I’m currently using some of the products from their new Curls Unleashed range and I’m getting great results. However I wanted to learn more about good hair care and using the products. I’m happy to report; I’m still on a HIGH after being a part of the studio audience for Dr. Hair LIVE, at the Business Design Centre, Islington.

 
The Set

Dr. Hair (Reginald Mitchell) is the International Director of Education for Namaste Laboratories, the creators of Organic Root Stimulator (ORS) and Curls Unleashed. Last night I had the privilege of being in the studio audience for his programme Dr Hair LIVE. Dr Hair makes regular trips around the world sharing his knowledge of healthy afro hair, as well as looking and feeling fabulous. His philosophy and that of ORS is all is all about enhancing the well-being of the total person. He was joined by the crème de la crème in the Black British hairdressing and media
industries. Don’t be jealous… but here’s the line-up:

Mr Winston Isaacs took us back a bit, some 48 years, to how he started in the industry. A former window dresser in the West End he opted to follow his passion and train as a hairdresser. (Just goes to show people follow your dream!) Then he travelled to the USA to learn how to style Afro-Hair. He opened his first Splinters in Mayfair on Maddox Street. Dr. Hair reminisced that during one of his early visit to the UK … we’ll not say when… he saw Black women in the city with that MOVED and FOLLOWED. He soon found out that Mr Isaacs was behind it
all. Mr Isaacs suggested that women should not be guided too much by trends but rather chose a style that suits them. He advised not to be pressured by hairdressers to do otherwise. Woman should wear their hair not the other way around.

Then, we were introduced to Ms Keysha Davis, Editor of BlackHair Magazine. If you read my last natural hair post you’ll know I’d met Keysha briefly at the BlackHair Magazine stand, when I registered for my subscription. However, last night was a chance for me and the rest of the attendees to hear about the hair and fashion trends
or as Dr. Hair put it coiffure and couture. Being natural herself, Keysha admitted just has hard maintaining natural Afro hair, as it is with processed hair. As far as fashion is concerned, the neons of the 80’s are in and
for the less adventurous amongst us, pastels is an alternative. Summer 2012 is all about colour and vibrancy. Keysha informed the audience that BlackHair magazine all covers aspects of our lives. If you have ever read a copy you’ll know that’s true. Personally, when considering a style change or even searching for black heritage events, BlackHair is usually my first port of call. So if you’ve not read a copy, grab one as soon as!

The final guest was Junior Green, Afro Hairdresser of the Year 2011. It was wonderful to hear that Junior got his grounding from Mr Isaacs. However, he did his apprenticeship at the Aquarius Hair salon, Finsbury Park, in the ‘90’s. It certainly seems as though Junior will carry the baton on into the future for Afro hair-care and styling.  Junior agrees with Mr Isaacs and Dr. Hair that the ‘traditional’ tools for afro hair styling are best to gain the good long lasting results. He readily admits he still uses ironing combs and thermal curling irons as they go to the root of the hair to give smoothness and fluidity in the hair. He also ‘back-combs’ (also known as teasing) hair achieve volume for big hair. Junior was accompanied by two models, so saw we saw his work first-hand (for those of us who hadn’t before). One model was ‘a natural’ who usual wears her hair straight. Her hair was so full of volume and shine that Dr. Hair teased and asked if it was a weave. The other model had short cropped relaxed hair that was styled asymmetrically. Dr. Hair used this opportunity to highlight why that style worked for the model. He also emphasized that women should select styles to fit their facial structure.

The last sequence of the programme was the Q&A session. The studio audience were encouraged to ask questions. Here are the main points from the questions asked:

  • For maintaining a straight hair in cool damp conditions use hair serum as to protect hair from heat and to seal hair style with curling tongs, instead than blow-drying.
  • For regaining hair elasticity have a hair treatment with hair mayonnaise, also, when using braids its recommend to take them out every three to four weeks and wash to avoid scalp build up and straining of hair.
  • For naturals how swim, make a barrier between hair and chlorine by applying hair serum, cover hair in plastic cap, followed by usual swimming cap.
  • To avoid purchasing fake ORS products, always be sure to check colour of packing and the address of manufacturers at the back of packing.
 
Dr. Hair and I

Before leaving I had the chance to have scalp and hair ends analysed. It was a bit repulsive to see my scalp in such high definition and close up but I was happy with the feedback.

 
Scalp analysis

My scalp is clean, clear and showing signs of new healthy hair growth. However, I need to trim ¼ of my ends to get rid some spilt end. I can live with the loss of a ¼ inch, when you think that I’ve not had a trim in 13
months. That’s GREAT!

I have to say my time with Dr. Hair was well spent. I felt feeling fabulous!

 Posted 8/6/12

The Afro Hair & Beauty Live 2012 – the experience of a SAHM

I’ve been London based for over 9 nine years and it’s always felt as though I keep intending to go to the Afro Hair & Beauty Live show. For one reason or the other I kept missing it. 2011 was my first year as a natural
and a mum. After being home-bound for months, I made my escape for a couple hours to attend the Afro Hair & Beauty Live show, as it had moved to a more accessible venue for me, the Business Design Centre, Islington London. My son Angelo was six months old it was the first time his dad had him on his own. I pitched
up at event one hour to closing and whizzed through like a whirlwind but I got my essentials and was pleased for few hours alone. I didn’t feel like a mom, actually a guy at the Supermaltstand asked me if I was a teacher. It must have been my tame style of dress and simple hairdo compared to the other patrons. I took it as a compliant and told him I used to work in a library, and then smiled.  I would have missed the AfroHair & Beauty Live 2012 show if it wasn’t for a well-timed and fortunate spotting of a tweet from @MsQuiche (editor of Black Hair Magazine, Keysha Davis) last Saturday.

Once my ‘release papers’ were sorted on Saturday night, I rushed around the flat cleaning as we were having a BBQ on the Sunday. I then got my outfit sorted before bedtime for the Afro Hair Show Live 2012.  This time around not only do I have a toddler, but I’m expecting my second child, sad to say my fashion sense was no
better this year.  In my defense, I’m a SAHM who only RARELY gets out without her son him tow and it’s usually an event for him. Anyway I arrived at the venue 15mins before opening time to be sure I’d get a ticket. As ‘luck’ would have it, this was a good time. It wasn’t too crowded, yet, and everyone was all smiles. I received several little bags with samples. I also purchase my first ever magazine subscription. I choose BlackHair Magazine which was only fitting as I’d have been none the wiser that the Show was on if it wasn’t for their editor Keysha Davis.

 
Black Beauty mag counter
 
Keysha Davis & I

I only had a couple hours so I made a mad dash from stand to stand; trying to gage what’s happening in the natural hair world. I could me but this year seemed to have more for natural hair patrons.  I did spend some time at Miss Jessie’s stand as their stylish Rejane was very helpful giving me styling tips and pointers on how to use their products. Miss Jessie’s is the brainchild of Miko and Titi, two sisters who are of African American-Japanese American parentage. Unfortunately was’t there long enough to meet them. I also spent a few minutes with Officially Natural. They have an awesome membership programme that will be launched in a few weeks. Members will be posted samples of the top afro hair products to suit their hair type. Do visit their website for more info.

I have to say I was totally mesmerised by the presentation at the Sensationnel stand. There was a demonstration on how to get the best out of your lace-front wigs! I’m not a wig fan but for those brief minutes as I watched, that hair looked so GOOD, I found myself contemplating trying it in the future.

Afro Candy stall

 

 
Cherish & I

It was also my outmost pleasure to meet Cherish at the Afro Candy counter. Afro Candy is all about promoting positive images and messages about afro hair with their lovely candy. How cool is that! I can also vouch for the
fact that it tastes gorgeous. I bought the exclusive sweet of the day, I Heart Afro which has a passion fruit flavour. Oh so gorgeous.

 
New magazine collection
 
Samples supply

 

If left the show on a high and buzzing with excitement. I was pleased to meet the few people I did in my limited time at the Show. And even more thrilled that I had enough samples to last me months. RESULT! Roll on Afro Hair Show Live 2013. I’ll be ready… I hope.

Posted 7/6/12

 Introduction

Now that I’ve been natural for over two years and luvin’ it I think makes sense to have a page dedicated to the issues and experiences I’ve had concerning natural hair.

I love it when my son, Angelo, plays with my curls. It’s particularly funny to see his facial expression whenever I change my hair style. Additionally, natural hair has given me a different level of intimacy with my husband. Its special. Plus! Who knows baby Number Two may be a girl then I’ll have more to share on the topic.

Below are links to posts I’ve done in the past concerning natural hair and products I’ve used:

http://tigertales-msxpat.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/my-curls-product-review-and-celebration.html

http://tigertales-msxpat.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/first-cut-rite-of-passage.html

http://tigertales-msxpat.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/wash-day.html

http://tigertales-msxpat.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/naturally-fabulous.html

http://tigertales-msxpat.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/hairstory.html

I welcome opportunities to review natural hair products and discuss my personal experiences in this area, to date.

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Hi! I’m Maria. My family and I live in London but I’m originally from Trinidad, West Indies. My beloved and I got married in 2006. He’s Chinese/Italian. When we decided to increase our family, the first inevitable question was ‘what the child would look like?’... [ + ]

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