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Featured Natural (Sisterlocks): Batise

8 Jul

Batise has been natural for twelve years. She recently decided to make a change to her sisterlocks. Batise writes: Wanting to do something new and wild + blond highlights and shaved side=  funky new do : )

Thanks for sharing, Batise. If you would like to be featured, send your info and photos to naturalbyl@gmail.com.

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Featured Natural: Nikki

7 Jul

Nikki writes:

Hi, My name is Nikki and I have been natural since Jan 2010. I don’t think I’ll ever go back!  I try to keep my regimen pretty simple.  I shampoo w/ Out of Africa Shea butter soap once every 2 weeks and co wash in between. Acv/honey rinse as needed.  I use Desert Essence Coconut conditioner as my co wash, rinse out and deep conditioner.  Leave in of choice is Kinky Curly Knot today then I seal w/ castor oil or my shea butter mix then twist. I’m still learning and enjoying every bit of it.

Thanks, Nikki for sharing.

If you would like to be featured on NaturalReview, please send photos and information to naturalbyl@gmail.com.

Featured Natural (Locs): Tasha

25 May

Tasha of Naturaleza
ACT I

It was October 2005. I had had enough of the relaxer and I needed a change. I transitioned with afro-kinky singles. About 6 months later I cut off the relaxer ends and wore my hair in cornrows and flat-twists.  Did wash n’ go but not many of those. The change came when I was finding it difficult to get to the salon to have my hair styled; and it was becoming quite frustrating. I had no idea that all this information existed in cyberspace; nor, do I believe I was truly mentally prepared for the change. So, I permed my hair again, a decision that I sorely regret but have had to let go to move on.

ACT 2

February 2010 was actually when I had my final perm. I felt so happy, it is indescribable. Could you imagine actually glowing through the whole thing? I had also planned in mind what transition styles I would have worn and when. I transitioned wearing my hair in afro-kinky twists, human hair micros and finally wool braids. In each style phase I accessorized to suit my outfit and the occasion. I made it work for me.

On Nov 2, 2011 I did my Big Chop and started my locs with two-strand twists. My hair was so short *Smile*. I tried not to let it get to me though but just looked forward to brighter days. I rocked it! LOL! I wore my big hoop earrings. I got more into make-up and accessories than ever before. I began doing me for…ME.

Now, seven months on and I love seeing my baby locs. I am not enjoying the fuzzy wuzzy periods, but when those feelings hit I look back at some of my old pics for inspiration. Or, go to some of my favourite blogs for encouragement.  It has been a process of hair change but also attitude and outlook change. I now do even more label reading, trying to purchase the best natural products for hair and skin as I can. I don’t always get 100% natural products, but I try.

Also, this time around, I am more confident going into this process. There is a certain doggedness I have about my decision to go natural. Of course, there were those who disagreed with this move, but I know it is for the better. I see it as a personal decision not something for everyone and everything to have a say. Know how I mean? But, I’ve gained more admirers and friends who support me through this journey so I’m blessed and thankful.

Not to mention, my life has taken on a whole new perspective in many ways, namely being a mum. And honestly, I want to be that maven she looks up to. When she looks at me, her mummy will have the same kind of hair she does, whether or not she decides to perm her hair or not, that will be her decision as an adult. But, I hope that my option will impact her positively.

From all the photos that I’ve seen, I have ideas on how I want to style my locs in the future: braid-outs, pin-ups with petals, curls and ponytails! Nice girlie stuff.

All in all, I don’t regret cutting my hair off and growing it the way I do now. There was always inside that desire, like something/someone yearning to be different and free of the burns, the breakage in the middle of my hair, the chemical relaxer. Yes, it was sleek and always tidy, never a strand out of place. But, time had come for change. It had not been an entirely easy path as I mentioned earlier. But, which journey that is worth taking is not met with kinks along the way?  :o)

                                                                                                                  

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Are You Making Changes to Your Hair for Spring/Summer?

25 Apr

Batise writes:

Sometimes we want to jazz it up a bit and I was feeling that way. I went to my stylist, Stef ( at Duafe), told her I wanted some color. She picked a color for me and gave me a braid set. I love braid sets because it’s two dos for the price of one! I wear the braids for a bit and then take it out for a crinkly cute look. The color and style were right on time and I felt ready for the Spring 😉 What changes are you making to add extra oomph for spring?

Color? New style? Are you making changes for spring?

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La Sandra Shares Her 10 Year Journey with Locs

30 Jan

La Sandra writes:

When I decided to loc my hair, it initially stemmed from wanting to save time and money.  Even when I wore my hair straight, I always maintained it myself.  I just could not conceive of being caught up in spending hundreds of dollars of my hair (although I had many, many, friend who did).
 
I tossed and turned over the fact I was stepping into a realm I knew nothing about.  It’s hard doing so when you must initially rely on the advise of others, which may or may not work for you.  I also knew I would be opening myself up to all kinds of preconceived notions about people who wear locs (better not to go there).  Was I up for the task, or the challenge?
 
And since I’ve always been independent and strong willed, I decided there is nothing more reflective of my personality than to loc my hair and become more natural.  Particularly since I was nearing my mid-forties. 
 
My prior routine involved a no-lye perm once every six months.  My natural hair grows in straight from the roots, and then waves mixed with curls.  Rather than use a hot comb weekly (which I did when I was a teenager) the six month ritual of relaxing my hair worked just fine.  I simply warm combed it after each bi-monthly wash, and I was good to go.  But then, there were these rollers I would have to sleep in EVERY NIGHT.
 
Well, we did the famous “pony tail” thing for years and years.  People would asked, “Just how long IS your hair, since you never wear it down”?  It was too much work, and the pony tail could be dressed up or down.  But, there was room for potential breakage with always wearing it that way too, so the alternative of locing entered my mind in 2000.
 
Like many early loc lovers, I read everything I could get my hands on about locing (which isn’t much in the book store – hummm, idea?).  And I also tried a variety of products that online subscribers said were essential.  But this was suppose to be simple I thought, so I gradually pulled back from all that gunk!
 
My early years involved weekly washing, twisting, gel, oils, sprays, lemon juice, vinegar, scalp conditioners, loc creams and butters – OH MY!!!  And my scalp always
felt clogged up and itchy. 
 
As I continued down this natural journey I ran into an intersection in the road.  And the sign said FREEDOM.  I decided to venture down this road and learned, that LESS is MORE. So I do very little to disturb the natural order of my roots and hair.
 
 My Routine
 
Wash once per month – I use the 1st of the month as my trigger.  I wash my hair in the kitchen sink – it’s a double sided one that works great for going back and forth between rinses.  I prefer clear shampoos (any brand) that do not promote volume, nor for oily hair.  The moisturizing fragrant ones are my favorites.
During the wash, I am not gentle.  I scrub my scalp and hair vigorously.  It’s amazing how much you hair enjoys this and actually looks forward to being immersed and messaged completely. 
I alternate months of conditioning, since conditioning will deter the roots from locing as fast, as well as bulk up the ends of the loc.  However, I enjoy how it make my locs pliable.   But I also have to make sure I rinse as much of it out as I can.
I use a towel to air dry my hair for about 30 minutes or so.  Then I section it off in 6 loc strands for braiding.  I sit under the dryer (the old fashioned kind that has a soft cap with a string) while watching a  movie.
Once fully dry, I take each braid loose and examine the roots with my hands.  I no longer twist.  Twisting at this length weakens the root, due to the length and promotes possible breakage.
To tighten my locs (usually every other month) I take the end of my loc and pull it back and forth (like weaving) through the root.  Gets pretty tight and neat if I want.
I spray Olive oil root stimulator all over my scalp and hair, then message it in.  And the next day (once the hair has absorbed this) I may apply my mixture of Carrot Oil and Tea Tree Oil.
My locs are tied every night in a loc sock.  All I have to do is remove the sock and go.  This ritual is good for up to six weeks and has amazing results for hair growth.
 
Believe it or not, I’ve had to cut my locs a couple of times in the past.  Mostly because my hair was not forgiving of what I had done to it in the past and was resistant to locing.  It took one solid year for my hair to loc and not unravel at all when washed.
 
~ La Sandra

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Thanks for sharing your story, La Sandra!

Featured Natural: Jenell

23 Dec

Meet Jenell of KinkyCurlyCoilyMe

These photos are of her 6 months into her natural hair journey:

If you would like to share your photos, please send them to me at naturalbyl@gmail.com.

Reflecting on 10 Years of Natural Hair

4 Dec

 

My love of natural hair started when I was in middle school. I remember a friend asking me why black people couldn’t grow long hair. I looked around, and I noticed that I didn’t see many black people with hair down their backs the way I saw with other races. I figured that our hair just didn’t grow that long. Then I remember seeing Maxi Priest and other people with locs. Some of them had hair down to their knees. Most of the time when I saw black people with long hair, it was natural. It made me wonder why. It made me think that the relaxers/perms were doing damage to my hair and keeping it from reaching its full potential. I also loved the way that natural hair looked whether it was locs, afros, or anything else.

When I was in the high school, I came across singer Cassandra Wilson. Her locs looked different than other ones I’d seen, and I loved them.  I told a few friends that I wanted to do my hair like hers, and everyone was appalled because they said that I would have to cut off my hair to do that. I let that deter me. I didn’t want to stand out in that way in high school. I wasn’t ready for that. So, I waited.

I continued to relax my hair until I was 19. I knew it was time because I was more attracted to natural hair styles and more turned off by my straight hair. I waited longer in between perms to give myself more volume. I was tired of the flatness of my hair, and I wanted a change. My older sister made the leap and started sisterlocks. That helped me to finally make the decision to be natural. I had my last relaxer in April of 1999. I wore extensions for a few months, and I did my big chop when I was 20.

My big chop date was November 25, 2000. I still remember when I went back to school after Thanksgiving break with my hair cut low and in coils. The question everyone asked is “Why did you cut off all of your hair?”What they didn’t understand is that there wasn’t just a quick easy answer for that. Also, I didn’t feel like I owed them an answer. So, I usually said “Because I wanted to.”

The black population at my college was pretty small, and I didn’t see any other girls with natural hair. I knew it would make me stand out more than I wanted to, but I also knew that it was something I’d wanted to do for a long time. I couldn’t let being the only one stop me from doing what I wanted to do for myself.  I was proud of myself and excited.

As my locs started to grow, it seemed that the people around me were more uncomfortable with my hair and sometimes their own. They would ask why I wanted locs and explain to me why they couldn’t go natural. Without me saying anything, they assumed that I would judge them. I always looked at my hair as an individual decision. I made a choice about the way I wanted to wear my hair. How other people wore theirs was not important to me.

I had my locs from 2000-2005. Then, I was ready for another change. I started by cutting my locs shorter. That didn’t satisfy me. I considered coloring them. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to. I was still trying to decide what to do when I spontaneously cut them all off one day. I was nervous because I’d never dealt with my loose natural hair, but I did it anyway. Five years later, I still know that it was the right choice for me.

I have had lots of ups and downs with my loose hair. There were so many failed style attempts and lots of trial and error to see what works and what doesn’t.  It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s worth it. I have learned a lot and made a lot of mistakes, and I have never regretted my decision.

I know that natural hair is a lifelong decision for me. I may do a TWA again. I may get locs again. I may get sisterlocks. I don’t have those answers, but I know that I never loved my hair the way that I love it now. I started on the journey with my older sister as my only companion. Now I have two sisters who are natural. My best friend is natural. There is an entire natural community. I love that, and I look forward to seeing it continue to grow.

Happy 10th Birthday to My Natural Hair!!

Favorite Natural Styles

3 Dec

Jenell

Kinky Twists

Flat Twist Out

Bantu Knots

Bantu Knot Out

Jessica

Tomeika

Mini Fro

Crystal

Tiffany

Twist Out

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.

Featured Natural: Chris

19 Nov

Chris writes:

As far as growing my hair out, I always loved big curly, crazy hair…think Kelis and Lenny Kravitz

For my regimen every Sunday  I give myself a olive/coconut hot oil treatment followed by a shampoo or two with black soap..I use Giovani triple tea tree treat conditioner for the rinse and rose water aloe vera gel spritz for the leave in…I start the week off with two strand twist and I use homemade pomade for that (Shea butter..almond oil..olive oil aloe Vera gel whipped together with lavender and orange essential oils)…like weds or thurs I take the twist out and rock the curls until my next shampoo and the process repeats.

Thanks for sharing, Chris. If you would like to be featured, please email me at naturalbyl@gmail.com.