Archive for the Styling Category

Style save

Posted in Natural hair care, Styling on October 24, 2012 by Confessions of LadyV69

So, back to regularly scheduled programming.

I went to a wedding a few weeks ago. Initially, I had intended to wear my hair in a flat twist out. The thing was, I had washed my hair the night before and it had not fully dried by the time I needed to leave for the wedding and I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to sit under the dryer. Did I despair, although my hair was a hot mess? No. Because I simply put it in a different style. Instead of wearing it out, I simply rolled and tucked most of it, leaving some of it out in the front for a bang. Frankly, I think the backup style suited my outfit and occasion a lot more than wearing it out would have and it looked way better and more elegant. If your intended style doesn’t come out the way you intended it to, style it a different way. It just may turn out better than you think.

Here are the results:

 

Not bad, eh?

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Natural nod

Posted in curly/kinky hair, life, Racial/ethnic stereotyping, Styling, White privilege on June 26, 2012 by Confessions of LadyV69

I know it’s been awhile, but work has been crazy of late and I’ve been too tired and frazzled to put together anything resembling a coherent post. It’s supposed to slow down by next week, so hopefully, I’ll be able to post more regularly soon. As far as my hair has gone, I’ve been doing a lot of wash and goes and curly fros of late because they don’t take a lot of time to do nor do they require a lot of maintenance. I’ve just been too tired to do certain styles. I don’t have a recent curly fro picture, but here is a wash and go I did about a week or two ago:

Not bad, eh? I think it was either first or second day hair. I used the Jane Carter Curl Defining Cream and the pink Ecostyler for some hold. I also used a leave in underneath everything, but  I can’t remember if it was the Giovanni Direct Leave In or the Curl Junkie Beauticurls or the Curl Junkie Smoothing Lotion. I did scrunch the excess product out of my hair so it wouldn’t dry crunchy. I know I got at least three days out of the style but I can’t remember anymore if I was able to get more days out of it than that. That’s what happens when I don’t update consistently.

Anyhoo, on to the point of this post. A topic came up last night on a board I frequent that was interesting. It wasn’t related to hair but it actually can be. I’ll get to how it can be in a moment. Anyway, the person stated how some white classmate at her college asked her why she always nods to the other black students there and why they do likewise and wondered if there was any historical reason for it. She also pointed out that less than 5% of the student body consists of black people. I was never aware that the nod had any major social or political significance before that question was asked on the board. I always thought it was simply a greeting. The fact that the white classmate noticed only the black students doing it probably says a lot about the social climate at that particular school and probably a lot about that person themselves. It’s human nature for people to gravitate toward those that look like themselves, share a common heritage or share something else in common. The poster who asked the question is black and may at times feel awkward and out of place being a minority in a predominantly white school. I definitely speak from experience. It can be comforting at times just to see another person that looks like you, so you (general you, just so no one thinks I’m singling any particular person out) acknowledge their existence by nodding. There’s nothing that deep about it. However, some whites feel threatened when they see nonwhites do this or when they see a group of blacks, Asians or members of some other racial or ethnic group hanging out together. This causes them to think that nonwhites purposefully isolate themselves and make themselves out to be victims. Never mind that systemic racism and discrimination perpetrated by whites is a major reason why nonwhites may associate only among themselves. Also, what are people of color supposed to think about White people who only interact with other White people? I personally could give a rat’s ass, but there are whites who believe nonwhites shouldn’t say anything about it because “White” is the default in our society and because they are the preference, why shouldn’t they do whatever they want? Everyone else is deemed inferior.

“The nod” isn’t just a racial thing. It can apply to any group of people who share a common interest. Sometimes bikers do the nod. Sometimes, people who drive Jeeps do the nod. And yes, people with curly or kinky hair do the nod too. There have been occasions where I’ll nod to a natural in the room and they do likewise-not because we were the only two black women in the room but because we were the only two naturals in the room. Remember, straight hair is still the default in our society. If you happen to live in a place that doesn’t have a lot of people that look like you and/or where many of the women are still brainwashed into thinking that straight hair is “good” hair, it can be mighty comforting to come across somebody else that dared to step outside the box. So you acknowledge their existence and nod. It’s an expression of a common bond. Nothing more, nothing less. Will there come a time when the “natural nod” won’t be necessary, because it will have been the norm? I can’t answer that. Speaking only for myself, even if natural hair ever did become the norm, I’m not sure I’d want the nod to go away entirely. Technology is making it easier for people not to connect and interact in person and we’re becoming a poorer society for it. Something as simple as a nod establishes a connection to another person, if only for an instant.

Experimenting

Posted in curly/kinky hair, Natural hair care, Styling on May 14, 2012 by Confessions of LadyV69

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve updated, but this thing called life got in the way.

I trimmed my hair last week. It was long overdue as I’d been getting a lot of single strand knots for awhile and my ends were starting to look and feel rough, but I hate losing length. #BadNaturalDiva. I can’t give definitive advice on how often you should trim because everyone’s hair is different. I can say that the standard 6-8 week timeframe that many  hairstylists give people isn’t often feasible for those with curly and kinky hair because it can take longer for our hair to get worn down due to all our bends and coils. Some people think it’s a racket that salons do in order to get more money from you. Getting your hair trimmed that often is usually a guarantee that you won’t gain length. Think about it. Hair grows an average of about 1/2 inch a month. When you’re getting your hair trimmed every 6-8 weeks, that’s usually the amount of hair a hairstylist will cut off and they often cut off more than that. When I was relaxed and had my hair trimmed on that schedule, I’d wonder why it didn’t grow. Those caustic chemicals broke my hair off and I often had split ends. Those can’t be repaired, so trims were imperative to prevent further damage. However, the end result was that my hair was often the same length year after year. Since I’ve been natural, I’ve trimmed my hair about 5 times over a 2 and a half year period, or approximately twice a year. I haven’t really needed to trim more frequently than that. I haven’t gotten any split ends since I’ve been natural and it usually takes about that long before my ends get ragged, so that’s the schedule that works for my particular head of hair. Other naturals only trim once a year. Some never trim at all. I think I trimmed about 1/2 inch off, but I didn’t really measure. It wasn’t a whole lot. Here’s a wash and go I did about 6 or so weeks ago at my old length:

Here is a flat twist out I did last weekend. It looks so fluffy at the ends because I used satin covered rollers on them. The hairstyle was actually 2 or 3 days old at that point, so my hair actually had some volume. I used Curl Junkie Coco Creme and the pink Ecostyler gel. It turned out great. I went to a friend’s birthday party and somebody complimented me on my hair. I don’t often hear anything positive or negative about my hair from people, so I never really know how to respond. Lame.

This morning, I tried a wash and go using just conditioner. Well actually a conditioner and a finisher, since I didn’t think using a conditioner by itself would provide enough hold and it was supposed to rain today. I used Curl Junkie Smoothing Lotion and Curl Junkie Curls in a Bottle. That’s it. This was how it looked this morning just before I headed out the door for work. It was still damp, so it looks kind of flat. The slightly shorter length is more noticeable here than in the picture above since my hair wasn’t stretched:

Not quite liking how the sides are laying here. Also, I don’t know if it’s the combination of products or what, but my hair was very itchy today. I usually do use the Smoothing Lotion as a leave in but I also usually put a styler and/or gel over it and I haven’t had the itchiness problem. I usually use CIAB over a gel to give my hair extra protection from frizz. Maybe the combination of the two is a no-go. My hair is softer and it doesn’t have the cruchiness that a lot of gels have, so that’s a good thing. I’m thinking about arranging my hair differently tomorrow so that the sides look better. We shall see.

Experimenting

Posted in curly/kinky hair, Styling on February 5, 2012 by Confessions of LadyV69

So, I had worn a flat twist out for most of last week, but by Thursday, it was really starting to get fuzzy. I decided to do something that I had never been too successful in doing before, which was to put it in an updo.

I am somewhat challenged when it comes to styling hair so I was prepared for it to suck and for me to end up slapping a headband on it, but to my everlasting surprise, it came out halfway decent. I didn’t leave out as much hair on top as I wanted, so that part of it came out looking a little flat but it wasn’t half bad. I got the styling tips from this YouTube channel. This is what it looked like from the front:

And from the back:

Then, I had seen this person’s YouTube channel the other day and saw a video on there about defining your curls simply by using the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie and Ecostyler. While Allthat’sgold used the Olive Oil Ecostyler, I happen to have the pink Ecostyler currently. I doubt it matters which Ecostyler you use. Anyhoo, you simply smooth on the Curl Enhancing Smootie, mist your hair, then smooth on the gel, shake your hair and go. It’s done on slightly damp or dry hair. I figured this was a easier way to do a wash and go. Normally, if I do wash and goes during the week, I have to get up at least 45 minutes earlier than normal in order to wash my hair, shower and then put product in my hair in order to be not be late for work. Doing it Allthat’sgold’s way meant that I could wash my hair the night before, allow it to dry overnight, then just put the product on in the morning. So, on Thursday night, I co-washed using one of my staples, Suave Naturals. I have the lavendar one currently. Everyone loves the Coconut one but lately, that flavor has been hard to get in the store. After washing, I lathered on the Curl Junkie Beauticurls leave in, put my hair into 4 jumbo twists, let it air dry for a couple of hours then went to bed.  When I woke up on Friday morning, my hair was about 90% dry. I applied the CES and the Ecostyler as per her technique. The result is that my hair didn’t shrink as much as it often does with wash and goes. The thing is that I had to scrunch some of the product out as I experienced a fair amount of whiteness. I’ve used both products on wet hair before as well as with hair that was more damp and have experienced significantly less whiteness, so I know it was due to the fact that my hair was mostly dry. I’ll probably do it on hair that’s 50% dry next time, but then that might result in more shrinkage. Hmm. Well, here are the results from Friday. It’s a little flat, but it was only the first day.

This is how it looked yesterday. My hair has expanded and it looks fuller, which equals better.

In all, this style is a keeper, though I may tweak it with different product combinations. Who knew that doing your hair could actually be fun?

Hair and life reflections and 2012 goals

Posted in curly/kinky hair, hair growth, life, Natural hair care, Styling with tags on December 31, 2011 by Confessions of LadyV69

As 2011 is about to draw to a close, I just wanted to take a few moments to reflect. I’m not sure how coherent this post will be as it might get pretty random.

As far as my hair journey goes, this year could have been a little better. I didn’t retain as much length as I wanted to. Last winter, I had kinky twist extensions in for eight weeks as a protective style. When I took them out, while I did find that my hair grew about an inch or so, my ends were extremely ragged. I probably should have trimmed them before putting the extensions in as they were a little ragged then, but I didn’t. I wound up having to cut off about an inch of hair, which negated all the length I had retained. I’ve had to dust my hair twice over the last three months due to pesky single strand knots and raggedness of my ends. I don’t seal them consistently or give them the attention they deserve, so if I want to retain more length next year, I have to improve in this area. As far as products go, I don’t have a lot of complaints. Some people could fill up an entire store with all the products they have, but I’m not one of them as I neither have the money to buy a lot of stuff nor the space in my apartment to hold them all. As I’ve stated before, I’m a fairly lazy natural and I really don’t have the time nor the inclination to spend an entire day doing my hair. The simpler my regimen, the better.

However, even after being natural for two years, there are always new things to try on my hair. I get bored doing the same styles all the time, so there are times where I’m on the lookout to try something I’ve  never done before. I bought two packs of flexirods a couple of weeks ago as well as a hooded dryer. I’m planning on doing a flexirod set for New Year’s. I had bought a pack of flexirods shortly after I went natural and I mainly used them to do twist and curls (see Curly Nikki for a more detailed explanation on how to do the style). I abandoned the style fairly early on mostly for the fact that at the time, I didn’t have the hooded dryer and I would have to sleep with the flexirods in my damp hair all night, which were totally uncomfortable, to say the least. They sometimes wouldn’t fully dry by the next morning, so the style would end up being a hot mess. As I didn’t always have the drying time necessary to air dry with those things, I put them away in a drawer. Now after nearly two years, I will attempt to use them again in a different way and I do plan to make use of the hooded dryer. If the style turns out decent, there will be pictures in my next post. I actually don’t have any major plans for New Year’s Eve but I usually have people over for dinner on New Year’s Day. In my family, New Year’s Day was kind of a big thing. My mother and my aunt used to make hoppin’ john and collard greens every New Years Day and we’d have a party. Even though hoppin’ john is the official name of the dish, we never called it that. It consists of rice and blackeyed peas, so we just called it rice and peas. The hoppin’ john represent good luck in the new year and the collards represent money. The tradition is mainly a Southern thing, something I wasn’t aware of until I was an adult as I was born and raised in the Northeast, but I have heard of West Indians that eat similar foods on New Year’s Day as well. It’s one of my favorite holidays. Everything has a fresh start and anything is possible.

Which brings me to my main life reflection for the year. The last three months in particular have been a little challenging for me. Not all of the challenges have been documented here as I want to preserve other people’s privacy as much as possible. However, without the support that I’ve received from a number of people that are very dear to me, I don’t think I would have faced them with the grace that I’ve been able to muster. This isn’t to say that the year sucked for me, because it didn’t. I had a lot of good things happen as well. Life is peaks and valleys. It’s all in how you choose to respond to them. With that said, I’m looking forward to the new year and a fresh start. I hope the new year is bountiful for you as well.

Something new

Posted in curly/kinky hair, Styling with tags , , , , , , , on December 28, 2011 by Confessions of LadyV69

A couple of weeks ago, I got a diffuser from a beauty supply shop. I wanted to experiment with wash and goes in cold weather and walking out the door with wet hair in 20 degree weather isn’t gonna fly with me. Although I’m not a huge fan of using heat on my hair, diffusers are less damaging since the heat isn’t as concentrated. I got a chance to test the diffuser last Friday as I washed my hair before going to the movies with some friends. For the record, we saw “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” I’d read the book and I was worried that Hollywood would desecrate it. The movie was better that I thought it would be, but I digress. I used KCKT and KCCC on my hair. I diffused on low for about 15 minutes but my hair was still damp and I was in a hurry at that point, so I put it on high for a little more than 5 minutes. My hair ended up about 70% dry afterward, which wasn’t quite what I wanted but it still beat having to air dry my hair all the way in cold weather. And KCCC is a gel that can take forever to air dry too-anywhere from 12-18 hours on my head, depending on the weather conditions. Here are the results. Ignore the sad Christmas tree in the background:

I definitely liked the results. I think if anything, the diffuser makes my wash and go appear a little fuller, because normally KCCC weighs my hair down and it appears a lot flatter than this. It’s definitely something I’ll continue to use, but I need to remember to allow sufficient time for my hair to dry fully. I kept the style throughout the entire holiday weekend through volunteering at a men’s shelter and visits with family and friends. All I did to maintain it was cover it up with a satin bonnet at night. The curls tend to get a little smushed overnight so to perk them back up, I let the steam from the shower do its magic, then seal with some oil and fluff. That’s it. Some people would pineapple it than cover it up, but that tends to smush up my hair even more.

That’s it as far as doing something new to my hair goes. Hope everyone’s enjoying the holidays so far.

To thine own hair be true

Posted in curly/kinky hair, Holidays, Natural hair care, Social life, Styling on December 13, 2011 by Confessions of LadyV69

I know I haven’t been around for a bit, but I’ve been a little busy.

Last week, I revisited a style that I hadn’t done in a while-the flat twist out. Like three strand twist outs, flat twist outs give a little more definition than regular two strand twists. It took a little while for me to master flat twist outs, but once I got the hang of them, they usually turned out pretty good. In the past, I would do about 10-12 flat twists around my head as I found any less than that would make my hair look an undefined mess. However, last week, I wanted to see if I could get defined, but fluffier curls by putting in less flat twists. I must say that I likey:

I’d washed my hair last Sunday and styled it with Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie and the pink Ecostyler gel so my hair would have more hold. This was the morning after. I remember that my hair was only about 80% dry upon taking the flat twists down so it was a little poofy, but it ended up working out for the best as my hair appeared to have a little more volume that way.

This was the flat twist out the day after that after it had fully dried:

So that was how I had my hair all last week.

Last weekend, I’d gone to a friend’s holiday party and she had the guests who’d brought gifts play a gift exchange game whereby people were given a number, then chose a gift, then the person after them had the option to steal a gift or choose a new gift. The game is called “Dirty Santa” and has a couple of other names. The higher your number, the more options you have. I’d recycled a Starbuck’s mug I’d gotten that had some chocolates or peppermint candy in the package for the exchange. I don’t even recall anymore how that thing came into my possession. It changed hands several times during the game as it was a popular item. I initially had gotten a blue wig. I saw this plastic bag from Ricky’s (a beauty supply store) and thought that it contained lotion, makeup or bath gel, so when it was my turn during the exchange, I went for it. The bag contained the blue wig.This is me holding up the wig:

 

I may have looked happy here, but I really didn’t care for the gift. With the exception of Halloween, I knew I’d never wear the wig. I don’t have the personality to wear such a wild color on my head anyway. I wore weaves for a number of years and honestly, I’m not feeling fake hair of any kind right now. Even after being fully natural for two years, I’m still learning new things about my hair all the time and I feel I’d slow my journey down if I went back to fake hair. To be fair, a number of naturals do wear wigs and weaves as protective styles to retain their hair growth. Some people take issue with that as they feel that wearing fake hair no longer makes you natural. Others feel that if you really loved your hair, you wouldn’t need to cover it up with someone else’s hair. First of all, getting invested with what other people do to their hair is ridiculous since it wastes time and energy. My definition of natural hair is hair that has not been permanently altered by chemicals. Period. Some argue that dying your natural hair no longer makes you natural. ::eyeroll:: In my book, dying your fro platinum blonde still makes you natural. You just changed the color of your hair, not the texture. As for the argument that those who wear fake hair hate themselves, that’s too simplistic and is simply not the case for a lot of people. For natural haired women, it could be just a matter of wanting to change up their look or protecting their hair from the elements. For permed women, it’s also often just a matter of wanting a different look, or they’ll do it without a lot of conscious thought. It’s often not that deep. When I wore weaves, it was usually done in an attempt to hide damage from relaxers. However, the weaves themselves sometimes damaged my hair if they weren’t installed properly, so I hesitate to get them again because I don’t trust anybody else but me to do my hair. And wigs always felt uncomfortable to me. So, I’m not looking to wear fake hair in the near future because I don’t feel they are right for me but if other people don’t have a problem with it and want to change up their look and/or protect their hair with it, they can do them.

As for that blue wig, I don’t have it now. I was able to get someone to take it off my hands and I got to choose another gift. It turned out to be a ring with the words “Live Love Laugh” engraved on it. I love it and I love the philosophy behind those words. I haven’t taken it off in three days. I would post a picture, but none of them have come out that great so far.