An Important Step Towards Loving Your Natural Hair

When I was growing up my mother always kept my hair in cute braided styles.  Every single day of the week I had braids and only wore my hair down for special occasions.  I used to love brushing through my thick hair on wash days but shortly after it was right back in those braids.  That is probably a big reason why I love to wear my hair out so much.  Hair gurus always tell us that you should wear protective styles for hair growth.  I want to enjoy my natural hair so I wear it down about 75% of the time.

 

I wore a tapered short cut during my TWA phase which was cute and easy to maintain.

One Thing You Can Do to Start Loving Your Natural Hair

Unfortunately, I’ve met people who haven’t had a pleasant experience when wearing their natural hair out.  I’ve been asked what they should do so that they can start wearing curly styles.  My response is almost always the same.  I usually suggest that they start by having their hair cut into a shape.  This goes a long way when it comes to loving your natural hair.   Pretty much every style will fall into place once the hair has been shaped. Everything from the wash and go to twistouts & braidouts will look so much more impressive after a shape up.

Find a Stylist That Specializes in Curly and Textured Hair

Going to a stylist can actually be kinda scary but is sometimes the only option for a good cut.  You should always look into whether or not they have experience with natural or curly hair before setting an appointment.  It may take some time to find someone but this step is key.  Then you’ll want to get an idea of what shape you want.  Do you want bangs?  Are you growing your hair out?  Have a plan for what type of cut you want prior to going in.

Where to Find Hair Inspiration

A perfect place to find hair inspiration is Pinterest.  If you follow my Fab Natural Hair board you’ll find tons of style ideas for all different hair lengths and textures.  I’ve taken a lot of time to curate this Pinterest board so that it has helpful information and images that are beautiful and inspiring.  Another great resource is Instagram.  If you type in the hashtag followed by things like “wash n go,” “hair to mesmerize” or “curly afro” with no spaces you’ll find plenty of hairstyles for curly hair.  

This curly afro with bangs look was inspired by images I found on Pinterest

Hair Inspiration on Instagram

There are also many stylists on Instagram who have pages showcasing their work with before and after photos.  One of my favorites is the “Curl Doctor,” Shai Amiel who has done curly cuts for Tia Mowry, and Kehlani.  His profile has looks he’s done on long, short and mid-length hair and all hair types.  Another Insta favorite for curly cut inspiration is CurlPop.  This page has lots of hair inspo, before and afters and videos of curly cuts in action.  You’re bound to find something that you want for your natural hair now or a style that you can set as a healthy hair goal.

 

This is my hair after the curly afro started to grow out.

 

Once you’ve narrowed down the style you want,  you can bring a few photos with you to show your stylist the look you are going for.  It’s alway a good idea to express to them what your hair goals are at this time.  Keep in mind though that a shape up may mean you’ll lose some length.  The shape of your choice may also require your stylist to add a few layers.  The trade off will be natural hair that falls into a style no matter what.  You can do a bomb twistout or wash n’ go without all of the extra effort.

Natural hair is so versatile and should be enjoyed at every length!

 

New Year; Same Hair Goal

Trying to get past this length in 2013

For my hair journey, the beginning of 2013 looks pretty much like the end of 2012.  My main focus this year will be to protect my hair from ME!  That’s right, I’ve figured out the real reason why I’m still sitting at the length I am now.  Some people call it “Scissor Happy” but I’m now calling it counter productive.  I really like when my ends have that blunt cut appearance and when they don’t, I’m pulling out the scissors.  As far as retaining length, with this way of thinking, I’m at a stand still with my hair.

Lately I have been looking for ways to distract myself because yes, I’ve been thinking about cutting again.  I hit APL (Arm Pit Length) at the sides a couple times in 2012 and saw it as an oppurtunity to even things up.  Now, I do still have bangs in the front and layers on the top and sides, so my bottom layer is still the lengthiest part of my hair overall.  I guess I have always wanted to help the other sections catch up to the rest which would mean trimming the longest bits little by little.  Still, even with that being the goal I figured I would just hover at BSL (Bra Strap Length) before trying to make my hair more even.  At this rate, I’ll never see BSL which for me is only two more inches away (in back; when the hair is stretched).

Last fall I counted and it looks like I gave myself at least 6-7 trims throughout the year.  Some to get rid of heat damage (searching for the perfect curl) and some to give my hair that look of blunt ends.  My last trim for 2012 was at the end of November and I honestly think I should put the scissors aside until the spring.  I really am curious to see where my hair will end up in the coming months but the urge to cut is always there.  Not sure if I can do it but I’m gonna try.

Saying Goodbye to Heat Damage

In the last couple of videos that I posted to YouTube, I discussed my straight, heat damaged bangs and how I styled them so that they would blend in with the rest of my hair.  Shortly after posting those I started a six week Wash n’ Go binge and wore my hair curly the whole time.  For a while I was fine with pushing the straight pieces back or braiding the hair into a headband.  During this time I was also reading the Curly Girl Handbook by Lorraine Massey and learning more about my curls and how to work with them.  I kept looking at my damaged hair and wondered, why was I holding on to the straight pieces?

Using small perm rods to camouflage the straight pieces

After much contemplation, I finally decided to break out the shears.  I already knew that I had curly bangs in my future so why not just get on with it?  First, I wet the hair that I sectioned off for the cut.  This made it easier to tell where the textured hair met the straight ends.  Then I placed a long metal clip across that line of demarcation and cut.  I thought that would do it but the straight pieces were still another inch into the length of my bangs so I snipped again.  I was surprised to see a small, one inch section where my hair was just blah; not really curly or straight.  The rest of the bang was curling up the way I expected.  I ended up with a Betty Paige style look which for me was just fine.

AFTER
Short Bangs
BEFORE
Straight Pieces in Front

It’s been about a month and a half since the mini chop and I have to say that for the most part, the bangs are fine by me.  The curls are in good shape even after wearing my hair straight a couple of times.  I refuse to use my flat iron on that area because the 400 degree temperature is just too much.  Instead I use my Gold n’ Hot Curling Iron which only gets up to 300 at best.  I’m also liking the Paul Mitchell Super Skinny for my heat protectant these days.

I do wish the bangs were a teensy bit longer though so that it would be easier to braid them down into a cute headband.  Of course this is possible with a little help from my Eco Styler gel.  I’m also realizing that I won’t be able to slick all of my hair back for awhile.  For now though, I’m just enjoying the new look and loving the curls.

Used a metal clip to section off bangs
Bye Bye Heat Damage
Bangs before cutting a bit more
Check out my post on how I treated my Heat Damaged Hair

Clairol Semi-Permanent Color Rinse Results

Applied the color rinse
in sections to damp hair
In my last post I talked about doing a Dark Brown color rinse on my hair to help tone down the burgundy red tones from using Henna.  Unfortunately, I have not had much luck with the Beautiful Collection product by Clairol.  I don’t think it’s the product itself but my regimen that does not work with color rinsing. 

The first thing I didn’t like is that I had to apply the product all over whereas with something more permanent you’re just re-touching the roots after the first application.  I just figured I would start with this to see if I liked the color on me.  The other thing is that the product rinses out easily with conditioner. 

See what had happened was. . . Prior to applying the rinse, I decided to shampoo my hair so that it was free from any build-up.  Then I applied the rinse and left it on for the suggested amount of time 25 minutes (10 minutes of that was under the dryer).  I rinsed until the water ran clear and then did a deep conditioning treatment which sent me back under the dryer.  I think this is where I went wrong.  When I rinsed the conditioner out in the shower I saw a lot of the color rinsing out with it.  I followed up with an ACV rinse to close down the cuticles of my hair strands and towel dried.  I was planning on wearing my hair straight so I let it air dry overnight and flat ironed the next day.  When I went out into the sun…STILL BURGUNDY!  I was up all night doing my hair and the color didn’t even take but like I said, the deep conditioning with heat is probably what did it.  I thought that maybe the hair cuticle opened up because of the heat from the hooded dryer and the color released.
My hair color the next day…still burgundy
 

I figured I would try one more time a few weeks later and this time just rinse the color out, apply conditioner in the shower, detangle and leave it at that.  I mean, I know Clairol doesn’t think I can shampoo, apply a color rinse and not use conditioner to get my hair back in order do they?  Well, apparently I’m the crazy one because the color (after detangling and rinsing the conditioner out with cool water) came out again! 

The product in question
Clairol Beautiful Collection
Semi Permanent Color Rinse
in Darkest Brown

Part of me keeps thinking back to when I told my mom about adding deep conditioning treatments to her routine.  The semi-permanent color rinse by Clairol is the very reason why she wouldn’t (or couldn’t).  She explained to me that the color kept rinsing out when she tried to deep condition so she stopped…Hmmmm.  Well, anyway I can see now that I’m going to end up going with something more permanent next go ’round.  Maybe the 2 step Henna/Indigo is the right choice for me after all.  To be continued.

Semi Permanent Color Over Henna

 

burgundy hair color after using henna
My burgundy hair after using henna

 

As you can see from the title, I have finally decided that I’m going to attempt to cover my currently burgundy hair with a Semi-Permanent rinse.  When I started using henna I mixed it with Indigo in order to get a brunette effect.  I was never really successful but continued to use henna each month for the past year or so.  Although, I love the benefits from using henna, I never really intended for my hair to end up so red.  We’re talkin’ Rhianna type red in the sunlight at this point.
I’ve been debating this for a few months now.  Originally I decided that I would just order more indigo and do a two step henna/indigo process.  This is where you apply the henna like normal and after rinsing it completely, apply the indigo for another 30 minutes to an hour and rinse.  The result is Jet black hair and it is permanent.  I know from past efforts that black hair does not look so hot against my skin tone.  Somehow it makes my face look really red and I always have trouble adjusting my makeup palette to suit the black hair color.  Because of this, the darkest I can go is a dark brown.

 

For this reason, I decided to go with Clairol’s Beautiful Collection in the color Darkest Brown which has a neutral base.  It is a formula that does not contain ammonia or peroxide.  I’ve read over on NaturalSunshine.ning.com that the Clairol line is pretty much the only one considered gentle enough for Natural hair.  I’m going this route because I figure the color result will be more predictable than trying to mix henna and indigo for the color I want.  The only thing I’m concerned about at this point is the Isopropyl Alcohol which can be drying.  I’m going to make sure and do a moisturizing deep conditioning treatment after rinsing the product and then do an ACV rinse to close down the hair cuticles.  I’ll post pictures after the application and do a review.