Who does your hair?!

Just came from one of my fav retailers, Target, and a woman with long beautifully colored locks starred, stopped and asked ME who does my hair. She said she saw me shopping and was looking, and that later a cashier commented to her about my hair (being nice). I was so flattered! We held a quick convo, telling our natural hair stories (abbreviated versions of course) then parted ways. I love having these types of pow wows with sistah strangers! It’s like when I first had the baby and strangers would stop me. A) it reminds me of the humanity in folks and that there’s still that common good thread of motherhood, sisterhood, etc in people. And B) who wouldn’t want to get a nice compliment every now and then!

So who does my hair you ask? Well, this time it was moi! Of course I’d prefer that my friend Simone did it, but she’s preggers and busy these days. So I went back to my tried and true 2-strand flat twists (since I can’t cornrow) from my relaxed days and it worked! Even on my TWA! Of course there was trial and error! Initially I didn’t like how I parted it, as the twist were in a downward direction/straight back and my frohawks usuallyhave braids going upwards. So after spending like 2 hours on it, I figured out what I did wrong and started the flat twists over again. 2 hours later and it was cool enough to go outside!

I’ve gotten a few compliments and one of my friends even wants me to do her hair! Wow! Just wait until I really figure out what I’m doing! I may be able to make a few dollars on the side if I get really good! For now, I’ll just practice!

Here’s so pics of how it turned out. It’s 2-strand flat twists, and I did a twist out on the center/loose section.


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Live at Five!

I was a little offended when I first started watching this clip. Here were two anchors at a desk–an older white male and a white woman–introducing a story about black woman and their hair. Error/Offense #1 for me. Then the voiceover, in what I call a race-neutral news voice–void of anything that alerts you to the ethnicity of the reporter–starts talking about black women and their hair. About a mother who feels some kind of way because her daughter is teased on the playground about her natural tresses…a dermatologist saying he sees tons of black women who have substantial hair and scalp damage due to relaxers and weaves…and then finally the reporter herself, who at about the 3 minute mark of this 5+ minute story, reveals that she too has suffered from being pressured to wear  her hair and look a certain way for her career and that she did the BC, the Big Chop. While I was glad to see that a black woman was doing the reporting for the segment, I still felt some kind of way. I feel like we can’t have nothing (good or bad) to ourselves without it making the news or being sensationalized. I personally don’t think this is a good thing (that the news is reporting on our hair), especially since it’s not the “whole” story. I’m natural and I didn’t do it for none of the above reasons that were highlighted in the segment. Although I know several women who did, I know even more who did it just because. And being a communications professional myself and former PR and journalism major in HS and college, I know that you can’t get everything into that 30-second soundbite or 2 minute story (but this one was more than 5!), but people will always take the snippet they heard and run with it. If I was the “other” I’d walk away (after viewing this and other recent stories on us) saying “Wow, black women have it so hard! They can’t find or keep a good man or “good hair,” and their little girls have low self-esteem because their hair is kinky…” I think, overall, I’d feel just a tad bit better if the story included 1 or 2 women who just wanted a different hairstyle or a lifestyle change (e.g. all natural diet inside and out), so they decided to go natural.

Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.

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I am more than my hair; I hope you are more than yours, too!

Last month I posted this as a note of my Facebook page, and thought I should post to my blog as well! Enjoy!

You know, when I had long, healthy, relaxed hair, no matter how I styled it, no one ever stopped me on the street to compliment me or ask where I got it done. No one ever, while sitting at a stop light, yelled over “who does your hair! I love it!” and if someone ever did give it a second look, it was a woman, perhaps to see if it was real or who knows. However, men rarely looked, at least from what I could tell. And brothas most definitely did not stop me while walking or comment from their car, door or just wherever, to say, “Sis, I love your hair.”


Now of course, all this feels good (the compliments), but it just makes me wonder about this whole natural beauty thing. I’ve read one too many posts and statements on blogs, hair forums, Essence, etc.  by women/girls who do the “big chop” or get off the “creamy crack” (i.e. hair relaxers) as one woman called it in Chris Rock’s documentary Good Hair (although it was no drug for me) that they NOW embrace themselves, their true “natural” beauty–all because of their hair….??? Really??? Am I the only one who thinks that’s sad?


As someone who often obsesses over her hair–by the way, my hair is no longer chemically relaxed, I cut it all off and practically got a fade a few months ago–and thinks about it quite often, even when I shouldn’t be–and many a day felt some kind of way when it didn’t look, feel or behave right, even going to the point of saying (to myself) “I don’t feel cute today” (notice I didn’t say “I feel ugly today”), I never let it drive or take away how I TRULY felt about my “natural beauty.” I mean sure, I was glad to have MY hair, and thankful that it always grew back no matter what I did to it–whether it be cutting it at about 6 years old when my mom told me I couldn’t have a bang, or shaving my hairline in 5th or 6th grade to get rid of the Eddie Monster peaks I had but shaving a bit too far back and looked crazy, or being excited some years ago when I saw Mizani perm kits, that used to only be available in the salon, at the corner Chinese beauty supply so I bought it, did my own retouch despite the box warning of “for professional use only” and the next month my hair was as good as gone and drastically broke off in areas. And who knows, if I was one of the “have nots” when it came to hair, how I would feel about my hair or myself. But it just seems to me that something is wrong if not having chemicals in your hair these days–not even the long or short or curly or kinky or silky straight or rough as a Brillo pad or wannabe or jiggaboo hair stereotypes, textures and criteria of the past, but just the mere presence of a relaxer in your hair–determines if you’re naturally beautiful or not or whether you feel good about yourself.


And exactly what is “natural”? What good is it to not have chemicals in your hair but they’re everywhere else around you, from what you put in and on your body. Is the woman who has a relaxer but eats and lives a more holistic lifestyle better or worse than the one with the nappy roots? Does she love or embrace herself more or less because of her hairstyle? Or vice versa?


And I wonder: are the men who stop me now to comment on my hair the “conscious brothas” who love the more afrocentric woman or are they just men who admire and appreciate diversity in hair styles– whether it’s the celebs and video vixens with ankle length wet n’ wavy weaves in #2b, or the lawyer with the modest length weave or sister locks, or the chic who likes to switch up her weaves, wigs AND natural unrelaxed hair like she does her jeans everyday, or the teacher with the nice bob or bun, or the stay at home mom who rocks a twa (teeny weeny afro), press ‘n curl or roller wrap blow out?


Regarding the male perspective, I ask because for so long women of all colors have blamed society for creating the standards of beauty that they are measured by, and black women in particular often comment on “European” standards of beauty or that men only like the superficial and “fake” stuff (from hair to boobs and more). But it seems to me that much of this is just self-imposed at the core. I mean really, in this day and age, with all types of images of us (black women) displayed in the media, classroom, courtroom, office, playground, kitchen, church pulpit, just everywhere–both positive and negative, but a lot more positive and diversity than any other time in the past–why is it and how is it that my sistas still feel LESS JUST because of their HAIR!? Not even their WHOLE body image. You know, I guess more understandable yet still outward things, like curves, thickness, thinness, flatness, scars, wide noses, luscious lips, But HAIR. Hair? Why are you on the couch (at the psychologist’s office, well not literally because I KNOW we aint gone that far to the right that we are paying to talk to someone about out locks, but figuratively) about your hair? As our mommas used to say, “There are kids starving in Africa gurl! Eat your food and stop complaining!”


And why is it that when, or after, you cut out that last strand of relaxed hair or it’s been 2 months or a year since you had your last hit of creamy crack, you feel liberated? I mean yes, perhaps liberated from spending all Saturday at the beauty shop, or half your paycheck on Hollywood quality tracks for your sew-in, or worrying about your hair “reverting back to its roots” in the pool or rain, or even lying and calling in sick to work so you can go get your hair did, or planning vacations to the beach around your retouch schedule.  But what else was holding you back that you couldn’t feel or BE YOU? I’d beg to argue that it had to be more than just your hair; that it goes deeper than the roots in your head physically, but to the roots in your heart, mind and soul mentally and emotionally. At least I hope so!


I could go on and on but, hey, I’m no expert in body image, self worth, feminism, anthropology and the like. But just from an average, working, been a few places, got friends of all shapes, colors, sizes and hairstyles sistah, I don’t think we should let our hair define us. Audre Lorde once wrote: “If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” I highly doubt “other” people’s fantasies about black women are based on our hair. At least I hope not!

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Naturally AWOL

Man, I can’t believe it’s been nearly two months since my last post! Yikes! I’ve been swamped at work and sick on and off with a cold, thanks to my 17 month old son, Bryce. But of course through all this time, my hair has remained at the forefront. I was featured on curlynikki’s Show & Tell Fierce Friday a few weeks ago and found a pic of myself from my blog recently as I was googling for new hair style ideas. It was funny because I didn’t recognize myself from the thumbnail. I was like, wow, she has the same style as me, nice. LOL!

It’s growing–Bryce no longer has the longest hair in the house (well we also cut his down some 🙂 and I’ve been rocking blow outs, cornrows, frohawks, finger coils and more. Right now I have cornrows that costs me only $40 at a local African braiding salon, but came along with a 2-day headache, no matter how many times I asked the braider not to braid so tight. Oh well! I like them and they are done well, but let’s face it, I still have only a few inches of hair! So I just got it braided straight back. I feel a little ghetto and a little like Cleo. My friend, who has longer hair but gets the same braid style, said she often wears a lot of make up and or accessories with this style so she doesn’t look too ghetto or Cleo-ish (from Set it Off).

I haven’t really tried any new products lately. What’s the point? If what I have is working, then I keep with that. I did do a henna gloss treatment, thanks to my friend Kelley. She’s a new Henna addict! LOL! She did curlynikki’s henna gloss recipe and had some left over so she shared with me. I can’t really tell the difference on my self yet, other than that it colored my 2-3 greys, but it looks really good on her. She has lots of natural shine and her color is now a pretty reddish brown.

I got a long way to go still before I get out of TWA stage. Long way! And I’m really tired of searching TWA styles and coming across pics of chics with hair like 5-6″+ talking about they’re rocking a TWA! That’s misleading! When is it no longer a TWA? Anyways, I’ve really been missing my longer hair, but in due time–hopefully about 2 years–it’ll be nice and long again. I’ve been reading and hearing about a few baturals who actually have a texturizer. Funny because one of my friends got one recently after 7 years of being natural and said she absolutely loves it! Told me to get one and not to tell any body! Haha! Well I am NOT a natural hair natzi–so whatever works, works and to each her own. In the end, I just wanna be able to have a twist out or cornrows one week and then blow dry and flat iron it/wear it straight a few weeks later. There was nothing like my long straight hair to me, which I can have whether natural or not, in my opinion AND experience. I just want it healthy and thick.

Well time for bed. I will say, having the cornrows, whether plain or in a frohawk, is so easy to maintain and sleep on! I am not looking forward to having to re-twist my hair at night like my friends do with their natural sets. Hopefully someone will come up with a new routine by the time I cross that bridge! Toodles!

Some recent pics…

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Settin it off!

I’m setting it off with a frohawk, not robbing a bank like Cleo! But I decided to stop counting the number of times someone made a comment to me about my hair and saying “Set it off” like the movie. I guess that’s what comes to mind whenever you see a woman in short cornrows maybe. Hmm…Anyways, I haven’t written in a month! Yikes! But I’ve definitely been trying new styles and products on my hair. I switched from Herbal Essence’s Hello Hydration conditioner to HE Totally Twisted for my co-washes. I like how it smells better, and I do think it makes my hair curlier, but otherwise, it’s about the same. I also ventured out to make my own conditioner one day. Ahn…I can do without that. It was messy and stank and above all else, I saw no difference in my hair. I mixed some coconut milk with honey and jojoba oil, doing a deep conditioner treatment under the dryer. It was very messy and I won’t be doing it again! But perhaps I may add some honey (which I read is good for shine) and jojoba oil to some of my existing store bought products. I also finally gave in and bought my own jar of Kinky Curly Curling Custard. I ran out of the sample my friend gave me. I went to two different whole foods stores before finding and buying it in the smaller $17.99 size. But they didn’t have the Knot Today leave in detangling conditioner. The custard still works without it, but not as well. It gave me teeny curls and not really all over; whereas when used with the Knot Today, it gives a more defined curl pattern. But it is getting cold and I just can’t see myself doing a wash and go too often, so I’ve only used it about 2-3 times since buying it. My coworker uses it for twist outs, so once my hair grows longer, I’ll try it that way.

But I am sooo excited that my TWA, which is still quite teeny to me, is long enough to braid! I’m currently rockin’ a frohawk and loving it! I think this may be my signature style for a while. And it was free and easy! My girl friend cornrows the sides–nothing fancy but just right, then I twist/coil the rest. The first time she braided it–just 4 braids going straight back on each side–I finger twisted/coiled it using Paul Mitchell’s foaming pomade, which I absolutely love for my coils. It gives them hold, softness and shine. BUT it doesn’t last long, just a few days before getting messy from me sleeping on it, even though I wore a satin bonnet. Well this time I got it braided a day or two after using Mixed Chicks leave in condition, which I think I really like. I like the softness, soft shine and tight curled afro it gave me. I didn’t have to pick it or do anything to it. For once, I was cool with rocking just a plain afro. Originally I was going to keep the middle section in the afro with the cornrows, but it didn’t look so hot! LOL! So I decided to do some finger twist/coils, but not all need and perfect. I just started grabbing large sections  and twisting/coiling it. I also decided to use some Tessentials Cocoshea (a blend of cocoa butter, shea butter and olive oil in a nice true butter consistency, not creamy, etc.) as I fingered it section. To my surprise, it worked and smelled well. My friend makes the cocoshea for skin use and scented this batch pineapple. But it works well on hair!

At any rate, check out some of the latest pics. In addition to the braids and frohawk, I’ve been trying various headbands too. It’s really growing and I’m glad! I did NOT wanna have to get some microbraids or a synthetic protective style for the colder season.

Plain headband

Flower Power

I think I used KKCC this day, but not Knot Today.

Absolutely hated this look. Felt like Angela Davis. But I needed something different that day.

Same basic look, but double headbands

These are my new fav earrings though. Only $1 at the ghetto neighborhood beauty supply! I've been coming upon some good finds in jewelry there!

First cornrows with twists

Frohawk. Pretty good for first attempt!

Love this side view/profile!

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Twistin my TWA

I think I finally found a decent style for my TWA. I twisted it last week; it looks more like coils though (the kind people do with rat tail combs). I used a product from when I was short and relaxed, Paul Mitchell Foaming Pomade. I must say I absolutely loved it! It has great hold, shine and is still soft on my hair. I can’t wait to try it on a 2-strand twist out when I finally get some length!

Here are some pics from day 1 of the twists.

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What now?

I haven’t written anything in a few weeks, but trust me–it’s not because my hair hasn’t been on my mind! It’s been growing pretty well, and I’m using the same 2-3 products (Herbal Essence Hello Hydration Conditioner for co-washes and either Kinkly Kurly Curling Custard or Polish & Shine Curling Mouse, and sometimes the KK Knot Today leave-in-conditioner). They work well for me so far, although it’s hard to have nice “second-day” hair with any of them. But every now and then, I won’t wet or co-wash, I just wear it as it is and keep it moving. I imagine that, eventually, I will really need to have good second-day hair products and routines. I’m always reading about other naturals having challenges with this. Maybe the mystery will be solved by the time I get a few more inches.

So right now I feel like I’m at the in-between stage. I still have a TWA, but not so teeny anymore–perhaps just tiny. It’s not long enough to wear a headband (whether it’s tight and curly from products or I pick it out to a true afro). But I also detest that whole headband and true TWA look. Forgive me, but that makes me think of the militant, Angela Davis, “Fight the Power” look, which is none of who I am. But I do love headbands with the wild curl or twist type look, like my coworker rocks, or a nice-size true afro, like my other girlfriend rocks with flower power! I love their looks and locks and can’t wait until I get at least another 3-4 inches (which probably won’t be for another 6 months).

So what now? Summer will be over before you know it and I’m old school–I don’t walk out the house with wet hair or skin in the fall/winter time. I know I can’t catch a cold from that (yes, yes, colds are viruses transferred by germs/human contact, yadda, yadda, BUT going out with wet hair, etc. can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to those pesky germs that cause viruses). But I just aint feeling it. Especially with the KK products, which REQUIRE you to put them on soaking wet hair (they need a better system than that).

So I’m on my hunt to find some nice styles for TAs (tine afros). If you have ideas, post a comment or send pics or links to naturaljustbecause In the meantime, here are my recent pics and some inspiration I found online for a style I hope to be able to achieve very soon! I looked and looked and couldn’t find too many that look somewhat achievable within the next few months.

PS. I have on a strapless shirt in these pics, although it doesn’t look like it! LOL!

Credit: Naturally_Nai, http://www.afroglitz.com/Naturally_Nai/ Her eyebrows are FIERCE!

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