Category Archives: natural hair

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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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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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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Shadra’s hair story

I’ve been natural for almost two years now. My head is rather large so I was afraid of doing the big chop. Instead I grew my relaxer out in a ponytail. Every morning I wet my hair and brushed it down with Carol’s Daughter’s Healthy Hair Butter. I loved the smell of it and how much it moisturized and tamed my hair without it being too greasy. After the first year I cut the relaxer out and rocked my curls for all the world (a.k.a. Brooklyn) to see! My routine is still the same, I wet it in the mornings and used Healthy Hair Butter to moisturize. Eventually I began trying other products. I found “Mixed Chicks” leave-in conditioner and have been in love ever since. Most days I’ll just pat out the excess water drop in some Mixed Chicks and go. Now in my second 1/2 year of being natural I twist it in larger ponytails and let it set a little before shaking out the curls. My hair is sooooo much healthier now than when I was perming it. It’s the longest I have ever seen it and my ends are rarely split and broken. Plus, I am so much more liberated. I don’t have to worry about sweating my hair out when I workout. I don’t have to worry about what my hair will do in the rain and Georgia humidity. And I don’t spend nearly as much money on my hair as I did when I had to keep it permed every four months. I detangle once every week or two.

I am so grateful to Motown Girl, Curly Chronicles (youtube), and Urbancurlz for their commitment to offering great hair advice and inspiration and to the streets of Brooklyn, where natural hair care and styling is taken to a whole new level.

-Shadra

shadra strickland
shadra

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Rockin’ My TWA with an LA (lil attitude)!

Friday was my first time out with the girls, I believe, since having the baby! Wedding receptions and family gatherings don’t count! It was also my first time out–foreal foreal–with my TWA (teeny weeny afro). And I’m proud to say I rocked it with a lil attitude–just a lil! As a new mom, I will admit I’m often conscious of my looks, particularly my body and hair. Part of the reason I cut it in the first place (the first time) is because I didn’t want to be a plain jane or start “looking” like Bryce’s mom.

So it felt good to get a little cute and dolled up this past Friday to have sips and dips and the best dang on bbq beef cheeseburger I’ve ever had with my girls Keetra, Fiona and Heather–all of whom are “naturals” too! But I got a long way to go to catch up with them. (None of them started with a TWA either! LOL!) I remember Curly Nikki asking a question on her blog like “Now that you have a TWA, do you feel the need to get dolled up more?” I do feel that way sometimes. But I’m starting to get over it more and more 🙂

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“If you can eat it then you can wear it”

I just had to turn part of Teresa’s comment into a post today 🙂 Thanks Teresa!

She writes:

As I embrace my very short cut (the shortest I have ever gone) I am constantly in search for products to manage the softness and shine.  I typically only apply olive oil, which from talking to a natural hairstylist at Odunde, is the best thing to use.  She advised anything from the earth is good to use, “if you can eat it then you can wear it”  was her exact phrasing.  And to think about it, it makes perfect sense.

As you search for products keep in mind, they don’t have to take all your money to be good for your hair. You are not chemically treated anymore so the additives in products to help maintain chemically treated hair is not an issue now.  Look for products that enhances the natural nutrients your body already provides your hair.

I love that: if you can eat it, you can wear it! It’s funny  because I was talking to my girl Aaliyah, who form what I can see is natural from head to toe–inside and out, just this week about her “secret” hair recipes. When I first asked her what she uses, she said she makes everything herself (hint: be on the lookout for products or samples from Aaliyah’s Kitchen, which is the brand name I have given her! gotta claim it!). She makes the stuff for both her hair and her daughters’ hair. She also said Olive oil for moisture. Said mix some jojoba and coconut oil with it and it will be all that. She agrees; it shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg, or even a fingernail! LOL! She said to always check the ingredients, too, to ensure that it’s 100% pure oil, too. I thought the selection at Whole Foods was cool, but on the recommendation of my girls, I’m going to go my neighborhood beauty supply to compare prices and ingredients. I may decide to try out my own hair recipes! If I do, I will keep you posted!

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