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Guest Blogger: I Am No Longer Obsessed With Curls

26 Mar

 

Stacy writes:

I saw your post Kinks, Curls, Coils…It’s All Beautiful!!. It made me think about my own story and how far I’ve come. I wanted to share with your other readers.

I went natural last year to have healthy hair and to liberate myself. Then I got caught up in the curl obsessing. I spent so much money on all of the products that claimed to define your curls. None of them worked for me like I thought they should. None of them gave me loose defined curls like I wanted. I just kept spending.

I tried all of the Miss Jessie’s products. They didn’t do anything for me except empty my wallet and give me build up. I tried all of the gels. They still didn’t make my hair look like the girls in the Youtube videos. They didn’t give me that look I was looking for.

One day it hit me. I am watching videos of all of these women who have looser curls and expecting the same results. There was nothing wrong with my hair. It just wasn;t the same as their hair. I’ve been beating myself up and spending money for no reason. I decided to find some videos featuring ladies who had a texture closer to mine. I decided to stop obsessing over this curly look. It works for some people, but not for me. That isn’t why I went natural.

I wish I would have come to that conclusion a year and hundreds of dollars earlier. I am sharing my story to try to help other women who may have the same experience.  I also want to thank all of the natural hair veterans who have helped me to accept the new me.

Thanks for sharing your story, Stacy. If any of you would like to be a Guest Blogger, please send submissions to me at naturalbyl@gmail.com.

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Guest Blogger: @Kissmycurls

29 Dec

@kissmycurls writes:

Dear America and naturalreviewbyl readers;

I remember my first doll. She was the African-American version of a popular and normally Caucasian doll. She had dark skin, like mine. She had brown eyes, just like me. And she had long, silky, black hair with pretty ribbons in it that matched her dress. Obviously NOT like mine. I didn’t think about this. I played with my doll, taking no note that the doll/human brush that was included didn’t work in my hair. 

                I got my first Barbie doll when I was 9 years old.  She was a Stacie doll, the black version, of course, and had the exact same qualities that my first baby doll had. I touched my own thick and kinky hair in comparison to hers. Stacie’s hair reached her waist. Mine barely touched my shoulders. Hers was soft and combed easily. Only my mother could do my hair.

                In addition to this, all of my classmates, mostly African American, had straightened hair. They wore it loose, compared length, talked about “perms” which at the time I had never heard of. I became the butt of many jokes, called “nappy headed” by my girlfriends, until my thick plaits and tight coils seemed more like a curses than anything else. And after seeing my first Just for Me commercial, and hearing the remixed “I’ll even do your naps for free” jingle sung by my peers, I was convinced that the relaxer was the answer to my young hair prayers.

                I pestered my mom for days, no, weeks. She told me how I could do it in college so that I could have a lot of hair then. I told her how the kids said that my hair doesn’t grow anyway, so I wouldn’t have any hair in college. In addition to this, my temples were starting to thin due to the fact that I played with my edges when I was anxious, which was becoming a daily occurrence anytime I entered the classroom. Mom finally caved and sent me to a hairdresser.

                And so it began. When I became old enough to work, I would send myself to the salon, spending $55 to $60 dollars of my hard-earned tween-aged cash every three weeks to achieve smoothness in my hair and acceptance from my peers. I would leave the salon with my hair “whipped” for a few days, wash and restyle with heat and gels, and become victim to breakage AND looking ridiculous.

                Everyone around me complained about hair breakage, hair growth, white people’s hair, thinning, thickening, box perms and salon trips. It was everyday language. We, only middle-schoolers at the time, were already burdened the threat of hair loss and desperately searched for ways to remedy it. Like puberty wasn’t hard enough. We called each other “nappy-headed” and “bald-headed” and made fun of girls with “African hair” together. I was in! But inwardly, I was very unhappy with my hair, which now only reached my chin even after many hair growing attempts.

                In the coming years I tried everything. Wearing braids for long periods of time. I went for few months only pressing my hair instead of relaxing it. I wore weaves. I wore t-shirts on my head. I wore only ponytails. I bought hair pills, mixed potions, did lotions, deep conditioned for literal hours at a time. My hair would grow, and I would rejoice, until I noticed some damage, went for a haircut, and had to start at step 1 again. Even though my hair was full, I didn’t feel like it was reaching it’s full potential, and I started to resent other races that could just wake up with their hair looking the same way mine would  if I’d spent my morning hours styling instead of sleeping.

                Then in college my sister went natural. She just upped and did it. After witnessing her after her big chop, I stared, gawking. It was a concept I had never thought of before. Just, you know, stopping. Stopping everything, all the chemicals and the heat and wearing YOUR hair as God intended.

                It was the scariest thought I’d ever thunk.

                It was then that I decided that natural hair wasn’t for me. My hair was “nappy”. It “didn’t grow” which was evidenced by its current length. It was “ugly” just like my third grade classmates had told me. The relaxer WAS my savior, I was NOT going back. I didn’t have the right face shape for natural hair anyway. Or the right hair type. I didn’t have time to style my hair. And there was a boy I liked; I can’t approach him with an afro. And I have a pimple on my cheek that I use my hair to hide. I would probably have to get a new wardrobe. I don’t have enough heels, and I’m going out this weekend. My ponytail is my signature; I can’t do that with naps.  Nope, going natural is not for me. Na-uh. But when I saw how my sister’s hair grew, on it’s own, and how she loved it much more than I loved mine, I decided to do it. It wasn’t like I had the greatest hair anyway.

                It took me 8-9 months to finally do my BC. It was short. Like SO short. Afterwards, I stared at it in the mirror. I cocked my head to the side. Then I turned to the other side. Hmm. I got a small mirror and checked out the back. Ooo, it was short. And a little curly…wait, my hair does THAT? I stretched it. It went from 0 to 3 inches. WHOA. All that was in there?? And these discoveries, though terrifyingly new, were enlightening and refreshing.

                I’ve been natural for two years now. It’s been scary, has threatened my self-esteem and then built it up. I’ve been through dry days and greasy days and times when I started the day looking one way and ended it looking another. But this is MY hair. FOREAL. It’s healthy, MANAGABLE, growing, and strong. I don’t feel like an unsuccessful perpetrator anymore. I don’t compare my hair to my Caucasian and Hispanic counterparts because my 4 b-c hair is nothing like theirs; they can see it, and I can see it. It kinks, it curls, is wild when I want it to be and tamed when I don’t. It bounces and does things that straight hair can’t.

                I like my hair. I touch it, I style it, I show it off. I chat up random strangers with curls like mine who have experienced the same freedom-from-cream-crack euphoria. This is finally MY HAIR. The stuff I was born with. After years of relaxing and myriads of weaves, styles, and products, I’ve finally discovered my hair, myself, and my pride. 100% me.

                                                                                                                                Sincerely;

One of the minds behind @kissmycurls

Thanks for sharing your story! For great tips and advice, follow @kissmycurls on Twitter.

Guest Blogger Ayanna~ Converting Locs to Loose Hair

26 Nov

I wanted a change after having locs for 5yrs. Before locs I had a perm. I did the whole transitioning, went straight into locs ..and never really played around with my loose natural hair.  Also I’m not sure if I did a little too much over twisting or because of the products that I used, but my locs started to break off from the middle (It was my 1st set of locs, and I didn’t do enough research). So I decided that it’s time to strengthen my hair and wear it loose for a bit.

Tools used:
Nail file
Scissors
Spray Bottle
Giovanni Direct- Leave In Conditioner

Time:
It took me about 10 days to take them completely down.

Method:

  • I cut my loc in about half
  • Sprayed my locs with conditioner mixed with a little water
  • Used the nail file to pick out the locs once I got to a tough part I sprayed with conditoner/water mix and used my fingers to separate the hair

Tips:

Know that your hair takes time and needs tender love and care, what may work for someone else may not work for you.  Also make sure you read labels of the products you’re using. And keep it simple 🙂

For more photos of Ayanna with loose hair and locs, check her FOTKI album.

Thanks for sharing Ayanna.

Guest Blogger: My Man or My Hair. The Choice I Made.

17 Nov

Suzanna writes:

I have been with my boyfriend for 8 months. I decided to go natural two months ago. My hair doesn’t look much different now since I have just started. I am deciding if I want to transition or big chop. This really means a lot to me. I did not make the decision lightly. I have thought about it several times over the past years, but I never had the courage to go through with it. Awhile back I actually had a boyfriend who was trying to encourage me to do it. I just wasn’t ready then.

When I am out in public with my current boyfriend he will look at people with natural hair and say “Your hair is going to look like that” as if it’s the worst thing in the world.  It drives me crazy. I look at those same heads of hair, and I think they are beautiful. I am hoping to get where they are.

I told myself a long time ago that I have to be me. I have let relationships change me in the past, and I am not willing to do that anymore. It may seem like it’s petty because it’s hair, but that’s not true. My hair is a part of who I am. If he can’t love me because my hair has changed then I don’t know if he ever really loved me in the first place.

I choose my hair because that is the only way to be true to me. I am going natural despite what he thinks about it. I will not stand for him making comments about it. He either has to embrace it or find someone who fits his criteria. There are so many other men out there who appreciate the beauty of a natural woman.

Thanks for sharing, Suzanna. I know there are other women who have experienced this same situation.

If you have a story you’d like to tell, send it to me at naturalbyl@gmail.com.

Photo source: Emotionalaffairs.org

Guest Blogger: I’m Harassed at Work Because of My Hair

25 Oct

Chi writes:

At my job there is one other woman who is natural. She has locks. No one says anything about her hair. My hair is a different story. I am constantly the butt of jokes. Anytime someone is telling a story about difficult hair or wild hair, they use my hair as the measuring stick. They will say “It was thick like hers” or “It was even wilder than her hair”. Any style that I wear is looked at as being wild and untamed. I have never gone to work with my hair untamed, unclean, or uncombed.  The only time I get compliments from them is if I wear it in a curly style.

It hurts more because I get this from my co-workers who are also African-American women. My other co-workers have only given me positive comments about my hair.  I know that it comes from a self-esteem issue on their part. One of them has hair that is not even an inch long, but she insists on putting a relaxer in it. Another one is always complaining about her own hair. The only time she feels comfortable is when she has a weave in it.

I like to be professional at work so I don’t lash out when these statements are made. I have just taken it so far because it’s always done in a very public setting. They don’t make these comments to me when we have private conversations. I can’t even go to my supervisor because she is one of the people who is guilty of this.

I keep my opinions about their hair to myself. I wish they would do the same. They don’t have to like my hair, but I am tired of being harassed because I prefer my hair natural. What should I do?

Thanks, Chi for sharing your story. If any of you reading would like to be a Guest Blogger, please contact me at naturalbyl@gmail.com .

Photo Source: Bbc.uk

Guest Blogger: The Nappy Race-The Beginning

20 Sep


Tania writes:

A little bit of breakage here, a little bit of breakage there – And that’s how it starts. “Well maybe a treatment will help,”  you think to yourself. After a few treatments, trims, a weave, some Dominican blow outs, a couple headaches, and few pain relievers (need I go on) your hair screams, “Enough is enough, I’m going natural.” However, the look on your face is not that convincing.
Yes, the idea of going natural can be scary and confusing. A laundry list of questions began to ring in your head as you consider how the change will affect you. Of course, you see the wonderful pictures of ladies with healthy, natural hair everywhere. From the latest black hair magazines to GAP commercials, curls & kinks are in. But as you dig a little deeper, you find that there ARE even more options with wearing your hair natural. From a natural ‘fro, to locs, double-strands, coils, straw sets, pressing, and the list goes on. Through your research, you discover a cool idea of ‘transitioning’. Since everyone told you that the only way to go natural was to India Arie it, your relieved to find options (there goes that word again).

The transition either viewed as a wonderful inner beauty experience or a plague. This phase is only the beginning but the hardest obstacle to overcome. Unfortunately, this is the place were many of our sistas decide to drop out of the nappy race to Their Natural Wonder. But for the sistas who hang in there, put their boxing gloves on and go comb-to-comb with their coils get a greater reward, confidence and higher sense of self to match that beautiful healthy hair.

About the Guest Blogger:
Beauty is the business of Tania Chandler. With over 10 years experience in the industry, she has been recognized as the natural hair care expert. Specializing in caring, styling & repairing locs, double strand twists, pressing, weaves, & her favorite – easing clients through the process of transitioning back to Nappyness 😉 . She prides herself on staying educated & keeping up with the latest trends. Her work has been featured in film/TV, print, runway, and everyday beauties such as yourself! She currently services clients in Baltimore, MD & Central PA.

You can visit Tania’s site HERE

Thanks for sharing, Tania. Check back next week for Chapter 2-The Real Beginning. If you would like to be a Guest Blogger, contact me at naturalbyl@gmail.com.

Guest Blogger: The Unthinkable…

5 Sep
Batise writes:
I have admired some bangs and cuts on people but never had the guts to just do it. I toyed with the idea of bangs and then chickened out every time. The odd thing is that when I had permed hair, I use to chop it, grow it, it didn’t matter. I was all “It’s just hair, it grows back.” Here lately I had made a plan for myself to see how long it would take for my locs to reach my booty. Each time at the salon when my stylist said how long it was I smiled and knew I was getting closer to my goal. Then early in the morning last Friday, I had a thought: cut your hair! I ran to the bathroom, like countless times before, I braided up the ends and tucked it to see what I would look like with a shorter do. Like always I said “Not bad!” Then before turning off the lights to get back in bed, I said “Don’t chicken out!” I got to the stylist, and after my shampoo I said “Can you cut it?” She looked at me shocked and said sure then smiled. As I saw the loc ends dropping on the floor she said ” With how fast your hair grows, this will be back in no time. It’s going to look nice and fuller.” I said “It’s just hair, it grows back.” Just like that I came back to my old mentality about hair length. It’s good to try something new, shake things up. Sometimes we get so focused on length, and then are scared to try new things. Let’s not be afraid to open up our style options.
Before the haircut
Thanks for sharing, Batise.  Want to be a Guest Blogger?? Email me at naturalbyl@gmail.com.

Guest Blogger: Confessions of a Nappy Haired Black Girl

2 Sep


Living in the early 70’s as a younger sister of a light skinned blossoming teenager with “good” hair was equivalent to being that lost little swan in a family of ducks. Compared to my sister’s hair, requiring only water to create a loose wave pattern in her long black hair, my hair looked like the tumbleweed rolling on the dry cracked floor of a hot scorched desert. My wee little age of ten made no difference to the adults that lavished complements upon my sister while ignoring me with my tight nappy weak attempt of a fro. What was a mother to do when faced with one child with “good” hair and one child with “bad” hair? Nothing.

As time marched on the life of the sister with “good” hair gained more and more admirers. Her hair was always center stage. As for me, I tried all of the wonder oils and potions to try to encourage my hair first to grow and second to become straight. No luck. All around the girls were perming their hair making it bone straight. For me there were only burns and pain and dry damaged hair that was rough, lacking luster or even true straightness.

Thank goodness weave began to catch on. But, my tiny narrow face just looked lost amongst the masses of Inian or Asian strands of hair which looked more out of place on me than a beard would have. I surrendered to my fate. I would always just be a nappy haired little black girl no matter my age.

I gave up the straight hair fight. I looked for years for somewone to dread my short hair. No one understood my desision to walk away from perms and weaves and I no longer cared to explain. Without help or any actual knowledge, I did the deed myself.

“Who does your hair?” It was me the many curious people were talking to. “Can you do my hair?” This was a new world. A world I had never thought of or even wondered about. In this reality my hair was prized. In this world my hair was desired. When I allowed ME to be enough, I was enough.

Well many may say: “The times have just changed. Natural hair is just more acceptable now” Well, that may be true. It may be the reasoning behind my hair story, but it does not have to be the reasoning of young nappy haired black girls of the future. My sister with her “good” hair had no responsibility for how people reacted to the God given hair she had growing from her scalp. It was society that decided how they would treat even the very young in their misguided idea of beauty.

From this journey I learned more than anyone could have ever dared to teach me. Self love is a powerful revenge. To love yourself as you are will endure long after those tearing you down will last. “Good” hair, “bad” who is the judge? No one can tell me as may coarse black dreaded tendrils swing and sway when I toss my head with hearty belly laughter that my God given hair is bad. It suits me just fine.

Yes I would like to add this picture of myself signing my books at an event. I should have added to my story that my journey inspired me to write a book on natural hair: Don’t Dread Dreads: the People SpeaK” which I am now in the process of penning. Check me out  HERE If you are interested in previous interviews click on right side of page on INTERVIEWS.

Dorothy Guyton

Thanks for sharing, Dorothy. If you would like to be a guest blogger, email me at naturalbyl@gmail.com

Guest Blogger~Paige Shares Homemade Moisturizer Recipes

29 Jul

There is a blog that I found recently that I really enjoy.  It is Paigetheblogger.com.  What I like about this site is that it offers a lot of information on how to take care of your hair using items found in the kitchen.  There are also recipes, giveaways, and lots of other fun things.  This post comes to us all the way from the UK.

Paige writes:

Natural hair LOVES  water and moisture.  Well moisturised hair will be shiny, healthy, as well as full of shine and bounce. A lot of products that claim to be moisturisers simply aren’t.  Moisturisers should ……well, moisturise!  It’s not a moisturiser if it’s too thick or too heavy to penetrate the hair shaft or skin pores.  Water is the best moisturiser!  Any other moisturiser should be water-based with little or no oil product in it.

A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that to moisturise the hair, you need to add lots of hair products.  They overload the hair and scalp by greasing it too often and then end up with oily, lanky, limp, dull and lifeless hair. The hair shaft is porous and absorbs moisture and water – moisture can also evaporate quite rapidly from the hair shaft.  Oil, pomade, hair lotion and so on is not moisture.  A great way to moisturise the hair is simply adding water- wetting the hair regularly with plain ole’ water has been shown to improve the health & growth of the hair.  This is because the hair shaft drinks up the water.  It’s kinda like watering a plant.   Pouring oil will not help the plant, however, water will enable the plant to flourish and grow.   So when you have your daily bath or shower, run water through your hair and get it thoroughly soaked.

However, because the hair shaft is porous, it is not only able to absorb water, it can also lose moisture via evaporation.  This is why it is important that after moisturising the hair with water or other suitable liquid, you should seal in the moisture by applying a dab of natural oil or butter.  Check out my upcoming post next week on  Natural Hair Care Recipes…Oil Sealants.

A good daily regime for taking care of natural hair and encouraging healthy growth is to wet the hair with water or water-based moisturiser and then seal about 3-5minutes laters with a dab of natural Oil Sealant.

I have discovered on my natural hair journey that the some of the best hair care recipes are the ones you make yourself.   I guess that is the chef in me.  I loved chemistry when I was in school and I love to cook…..I have enjoyed cooking up various delicacies for my friends and family, concoting my many herbal remedies for various ailments, and now whipping up a multitude of hair and skin recipes.

In my opinion,  a water based moisturiser either consists of water alone or water and an infusion of a natural plant.   I have saved a ton of cash by not buying daily moisturisers and my hair has seen 1000% better results than when I was using commercial moisturisers.

They are quite easy to make.  You can make them in a large batch and freeze them or keep them in the fridge for up to 1 week.  To use, simply pour into a spray bottle and use to mist your hair once or twice daily – don’t forget to seal in the moisture afterwards.  I also have a mini spray bottle in my handbag for when I am out and about.  I mist my hair regularly throughout the day when it feels dry.  If I feel I need to refresh or fluff up my style, or coax out a shrunken ‘fro, I simply mist, fluff with my fingers, shake my head and it’s as good as new again!

So, don’t forget Water  = Moisture

This week, I will add a few recipes for natural water-based moisturisers that you can whip up together yourself  using ingredients you find at home or at your local shop.  You can mix and match any of these recipes, if you wish, but try not to more than 7 ingredients in a water based moisturiser.

Come on in into my kitchen…….

Triple Treat

  • 40% Distilled rose water – or infusion of rose petals
  • 40% Aloe Vera Juice – not gel
  • 20% Glycerin – use 100% pure glycerin; you can obtain it from a chemist or food store. 

This Triple Combination has proven VERY POPULAR amongst many naturalistas.  It’s a firm staple of mine and I love it! Mwah!!

A lot of people complain that glycerin stops moisturising their hair after a while or gives them some other problem.  Most of these people use 50% glycerin to 50% water or liquid.  Used in the formulation as shown above, you will have no problems and it can be used all year round.

Herbal Goodness

  • 1 part Nettle
  • 1 part Horsetail
  • 1 part Rosemary

Bring some water to boil, pour in the herbs, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Take the pot off the hob and leave the herbs in the water for 6-24 hours. Strain and use.  You can combine a little bit of this infusion with the Triple Treat

Keepin’ It Simple

To about 1 pint of boiled and cooled water, add 1 tablespoon of honey and mix it up.  

Honey acts as a humectant, just like glycerin, and can be used as a substitute for glycerin if you do not have access to glycerin

Visit Paige’s website: http://paigetheblogger.com/

Guest Blogger~Brenesha Shares Her Transitioning Story

5 Jul

 

Hi I’m Brenesha.  I am no professional stylist or hair guru. I am simply a woman who is transitioning to natural hair and wanted to help others who are going through this process! I have a passion to help others and found that a lot of women are finally enjoying and learning to care for their transitioning to natural hair. My desire is to reach a larger audience and to show how beautiful natural hair is. I want others to embrace their natural God Given Beauty!!!
 
When I started transitioning I searched  the web for sites that supported women who were  transitioning to natural.  A lot of sites gave just tips on transitioning.  I learned a lot from the tips and different methods they shared, but I needed people I could relate to.  So in March 2010 I created Transitioning To Natural, a site that focuses on properly caring for transitioning to natural hair.   I share my highs and lows of my hair journey to natural.  I want the members to feel comfortable and know that I am experiencing the same frustrations with my hair.  Sometimes I feel like going back to the relaxer or straightening my hair.  I even start discussions on asking for hair advice and product suggestions.  
 
I am currently 5  months in my Transition.  I must admit, I expected transitioning to be quite difficult.  I accredit researching becoming natural to helping me stay committed to this hair journey.  The only things that I am worried about is coming up with different styles.  I get bored easily and I like switching up my hair.  Buns have been my “GO TO” style when I can’t seem to find a style that I want to do.  I have noticed that my hair grows faster while in buns. 
 
Most transitioners I have connected with are Product Junkies, but I have to keep it simple! I pre-poo with Olive Oil and Cantu Shea Butter leave-in and co-wash 1-2x’s a week with Suave Humectant.  My favorite leave-in is Herbal Essence’s Long Term Relationship.  I moisturize with Shea Butter and seal with Olive Oil.  For hairstyles, I suggest that you keep your hair simple.  I basically do buns or flat twists.  I like rollersets as well with a headband to hide the two textures. 
 
I plan to transition for 18 months.  I trim every 3 months.  I am no fan of short hair so BCing is no for me!  Finding Naturals online as hair mentors is a great way to help you in your transition.  A few of my mentors, I found on Youtube.  They are: Prettydimples01, Jadison03, Lexiwith thecurls, and Taren916.  I love those ladies!!!!  I also found that you need a support system.  Join discussion boards like my site Transitioning To Natural- http:www.transitioningtonatural.ning.com. There are a number of Natural and Transitioning boards on Facebook as well.  I suggest finding women who you can relate to.  So if you’re a transitioner, find transitioning boards.  If your newly natural you want to find a natural board who assists in caring for your natural tresses.  If you’re natural, I suggest getting a blog and tell others about your experience and help walk others through their transition to natural hair.
 
If you want to contact me:
Email: transitioningtonatural@yahoo.com
Youtube:  www.youtube.com/user/ahsenerb27
Twitter: http://twitter.com/Tranzition2Natu
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/QueenBre1980
                 http://www.facebook.com/pages/Transitioning-To-Natural/376280889472
Website: http://www.transitioningtonatural.ning.com
 
 
 
Brenesha 

Thanks, Brenesha.  Email me at naturalbyl@gmail if you would like to be the next Guest Blogger.