Archive for the Traveling natural Category

Random things

Posted in curly/kinky hair, Traveling natural on September 9, 2012 by Confessions of LadyV69

This might be somewhat incoherent but this is mainly just catching up on some stuff from the past couple of weeks.

That vacation in Cancun was great. I’m missing it already. I mainly wore puffs and wash and goes while I was there as I did not have the inclination to manipulate my hair a lot. Some pics:

Had to blur and smudge my friend’s face, sorry.

My hair didn’t suffer as badly as I’d feared. I left the swim cap at home and I didn’t walk out of the suite with a buttload of conditioner in my hair. I just jumped in the pool and went about my business. It also helped that I didn’t go in the pool every single day-just three out of the seven days I was there. I had gone to the beach on another day. The day I went to the beach, I just co-washed with CJ Smoothing Lotion afterward. The other times I did go in the pool, I washed with KC Come Clean, then followed with the CJ Smoothing Lotion. Then I styled with KCKT (Kinky Curly Knot Today) and sealed with grapeseed oil or used the KCKT and the KCCC, followed by air drying. That’s it. It was very warm and humid there, so my hair didn’t take as long to air dry as it would if I were in an air conditioned environment all day. My hair didn’t have any adverse reactions, which I was glad to see.

Also, I think I finally found a lo-poo that I like. For the nearly three years that I’ve been natural, I’ve tried several different lo-poos and never liked them-Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa, Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle (still love the conditioners though), Kinky Curly Come Clean, Deva No Poo and one or two others I can’t remember right now. I found all of the previously mentioned lo and no poos just as drying as any sulfate shampoo, which curlies are advised to avoid as they strip out all of the hair’s natural oils and make our naturally dry hair even drier. I wouldn’t use shampoo on my hair often for this reason-just once or twice a month. The rest of the time, I’d co-wash. I’d seen positive reviews in the past for the Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo and just happened to pick it up at Target on Friday, as I’d run out of the Kinky Curly Come Clean. Well actually, I’d left Cancun with about a third of a bottle left of the Kinky Curly Come Clean, but it somehow spilled in the bag during the flight home. Luckily it was in a separate compartment and it didn’t get on my clothes, but it was still annoying. That lo-poo only costs about $12 in the store, so it’s not such a small matter that some of it got wasted. The thing I really am coming to hate about traveling these days is the fact that the products I have to take with me often get wasted in this manner. If anyone has any suggestions on how this can be prevented in the future, please comment!

Well, anyway, I got the Moisture Retention shampoo and used it today. I immediately fell in love with it. It is the first shampoo I’ve ever used that did not strip my hair and leave it dry. If  I didn’t know better I’d think it was a conditioner because that’s how moisturized and soft it left my hair. It does lather, so it does have some strong surfecting agents that conditioners usually don’t have, but dang! I just may use this every week and not just once or twice a month. My holy grail regimen is now complete! I now have a trusted shampoo, some rinse-out conditioners I rotate, trusted leave -in and stylers. So happy.

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Vacation ramblings

Posted in curly/kinky hair, Natural hair care, Traveling natural on August 24, 2012 by Confessions of LadyV69

So, my birthday was on the 19th of August. My hair looked stunning! I got a lot of compliments on it. I wore it in a in flat twist out. Since I’m posting from my job right now and don’t have my camera, the picture will have to wait until later. But I had great hair.

Also, I’m going on vacation to Cancun tomorrow for a week. Something I’ve been waiting all summer for. The thing that always vexes me about traveling is how many and what kind of hair products to bring. I didn’t have this issue when I was relaxed. I often didn’t even bring hair stuff with me when I traveled back then. I just wouldn’t wash it when I was away. Now that I know better, I can do better, but it can be difficult. I’ve written about this issue before but it does bear repeating. I can’t use those little containers of shampoo and conditioner that hotels provide for you as both would be too harsh for my hair. And you can’t take more than 3 ounces of liquid in a carry on or it’ll get confiscated. I’ve had that happen before. However, taking hair products in checked luggage has proven to be problematic for me in the past as well. Two years ago on a trip to Cananda, the top of the container of hair gel I had in a checked bag somehow came loose and the gel spilled all over inside the bag. It was real fun to clean that up. And I can’t leave the hair products behind as we’ll be by a pool all week. And the chlorine is supposedly really damaging on curly and kinky hair, so going all week without washing it out is not an option. And I still have no idea how I’ll be wearing my hair all week, though doing a wash and go seems like the best option. I won’t have the time or inclination to retwist or rebraid it all week. Some naturals would get braid extensions and I’ve done the same in the past, but in hindsight, they often did more damage to my hair than not by stylists braiding it too tightly which caused  thinning to my hairline, so those are no longer an option for me.    

One of the reasons why I and other women choose to go natural is so that we can go to the pool or the beach without fear of messing up our hair. But I’ve seen a number of articles over the last couple of years over what you should do to protect your kinks from salt water or pool water and the suggestions often seem time intensive and depending on your particular situation, they can also seem impractical, so it some ways, they can kind of defeat the purpose and you may as well have kept the chemicals in your hair.  The common suggestions are dousing your hair with water and conditioner and slapping on a swim cap before getting in the pool or the lake or the ocean so that you won’t get as much salt water or chlorine in your hair. I don’t know about you, but I don’t find swim caps attractive. Not a good look for lounging around the pool or even being in the water. Also, some naturals with very thick hair complain that those caps don’t fit their heads, as they are designed for those with straight or thin hair, so they don’t have that option. Going out by the pool with conditioner in my hair, without that swim cap? Um, no. I really am not in the mood to explain to everyone at that resort all week as to why I have to go out there with white stuff in my hair. So yeah. #naturalhairproblems. Or you think this is particularly annoying #firstworldproblems. I’m prepared to just jump in the pool without any protection and suffer the consequences. I’ll see how my hair does.

Hair and the family revisited

Posted in life, Traveling natural with tags , on August 7, 2012 by Confessions of LadyV69

Sorry for disappearing again, but I had a death in the family almost two weeks ago and I had to go out of town for most of last week to attend the funeral. I had been apprehensive about going because I hadn’t seen many of my family-both immediate and extended-in about five years. I won’t go into most of the reasons here but one reason I had some trepidation about the trip was due to the fact that a lot of my family had never seen me with fully natural hair, since it’s just been nearly three years since I gave up chemically straightening it. I was prepared to deal with ignorance due to this goldie oldie post as well as from what I’ve seen and heard other naturals experience.

I didn’t take any pictures while I was away, but these pictures from about a month or so ago represent how I generally wore my hair the whole time, which was in a wash and go. I knew I didn’t want a style that required a lot of upkeep and I didn’t want to bring a lot of products with me as I had limited luggage space. I also didn’t want to fight with my texture too much as I was down South and it gets hot and humid as hell down there this time of year.

I actually received fewer remarks about my hair then I thought I’d get. My sister, who has had locs for five years, asked if I had a jheri curl in my hair ::big eyeroll:: Some of you reading this may be clueless about what it was, but I’m old enough to remember when it was all the rage ::shudder:: My sister actually had one when we were in high school, as well as my mother and several other members of my extended family. It was basically a perm that  gave you looser curls so you’d look as though you had “good hair”::another eyeroll:: People with it moisturized their hair with curl activator gels and moisturizers. Those products can actually work well with natural hair as many of them contain glycerin, a highly touted moisturizing agent. That is if you’re so inclined. They do tend to be greasy, so if you don’t like a greasy feel to your hair, they may not be for you. Some of us may have issues with them if you had the curly perm in the past though. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Coming to America,” the scene where Eddie Murphy’s rival and cohorts all get up from the couch leaving jheri curl juice stains on it is priceless, but if you were ever in that situation, it was hella embarrassing. So, where was I ? Got off on a tangent. Oh yeah. I had KCCC in my hair and that product can make  it appear as though I have a jheri curl, but seriously? Why slap some chemicals in my hair to give me curls when I already have them naturally? The jheri curl was probably one of the most asinine inventions in hair care ever as many people who got them already had curls. Just goes to show you that not all naturals have a clue about all facets of natural hair. Then a cousin stated that she couldn’t go natural because she didn’t have good hair. Which got a sideye. “Good” hair is hair that is healthy, no matter how tight your curls are, not hair that is straightened to the point where it’s fried to a crisp. We have a long way to go before the “good hair, bad hair” mentality is eradicated because this way of thinking is still so pervasive in communities of color. Those were the only comments I got about my hair-to my face anyway. Compared to what other naturals experience, I got off pretty lightly. Some people may wonder why I felt a little uneasy about my hair around my family because after all, it is just hair. But it’s extremely indicative that how black women wear our hair is a huge issue that can have major social and political implications. Sometimes, hair isn’t just hair.

Traveling while natural

Posted in Traveling natural with tags , , , on January 11, 2012 by Confessions of LadyV69

So, this upcoming weekend, I’m going to visit a friend in Charlotte. No big deal, right? I haven’t seen her in awhile, so I am excited about the trip but the thing that is vexing me most is my hair. I have no clue about how I’m going wear it while I’m there. Traveling as a natural is a whole other kettle of fish than traveling as a relaxed head. When I traveled as a permie, I hardly brought any hair products with me as I didn’t wash my hair frequently. Often, I’d take a comb, the curling iron and some Pink Oil. On a few occasions, I’d get some braid extensions the week before I went on the trip and called it day. Most of those things in hindsight are woefully inadequate, but then, I didn’t take very good care of my hair at the time, nor did I have a clue how to do so.

Now that I’m natural and am aware of how to care for my hair properly, it’s different. I have to take about half of my product stash with me when I travel. I need moisturizers to keep my hair from getting dry, oils or shea butter to seal in the moisture so it doesn’t evaporate and stylers or gels to set my hair. Not to mention a conditioner to co-wash with and a leave-in conditioner to detangle with or use as a moisturizer. I don’t bother taking shampoo with me when I travel these days because it’s just one product too many, but then I co-wash the majority of the time anyway, so it doesn’t matter too much. Just try getting all that stuff on a plane. Putting all that stuff in checked luggage doesn’t always work. When I went to Canada a couple of years ago, I discovered that the top of my container of KCCC had come loose during the flight there and it had spilled, making a gooey sticky mess all over the plastic bag it was in as well as all over all of my other hair products. Hoping to avoid a repeat of that disaster during my trip to Bermuda last year, I wanted to put my products in my carry on luggage. However, as security has become so strict, they make you put liquids in those inadequate 3 oz containers. I attempted to put as much stuff as I could in those containers, but I only have about 4 of those things. Also, 3 ounces of anything is a joke to many naturals. We either have thick hair and/or a lot of it, which requires a lot of product to adequately comb or style our hair. I would have had to take over 20 of those little containers with me to ensure I could wash and style my hair decently and that would have been ridiculous. Frustrated, I stuffed the regular containers of all of my products in the carry on and prayed that the security guards would ignore them. I arrived in Bermuda with all of my products intact, but when I was leaving the country, the guards there confiscated them. It was infuriating, but at least it happened on my way home instead of on the way there as the products they confiscated could be easily replaced in my home territory. Most of the products I use aren’t readily available outside of the United States so if my stuff had been confiscated on my way to Bermuda, I’d have been up ish’s creek. And I have to bring my own stuff as I cannot rely on the shampoo and conditioners that hotels give you. The shampoo the hotels give you usually contain sulfates, which are too harsh for my hair. And most of the conditioners they give you contain silicones, which dry out some people’s hair. Luckily, for this upcoming trip, I’m taking the bus and not flying, so the possibility of stuff getting confiscated is slim to none.  As far as styles are concerned, a lot of naturals would do a protective style to cut down on maintaining their hair, but most protective styles don’t look good on me and even if they did, I wouldn’t have time to do most of them before I leave anyway. Wash and go? I’ve been rocking one since last weekend and I’m itching to do something else. But if I do a twistout or braidout, do I really want to retwist my hair every night while on vacation to maintain them? Bah. I wish I had some bonafide tips for traveling with natural hair, but I actually am in need in some myself. The best that I can come up with is to try to limit the amount of products you take with you to avoid the issues I’ve had before. I have a couple of products from Curl Junkie that double as leave-ins or stylers, so I’ll be sure to bring those. Actually, any product that has multiple uses is ideal so that it can cut down on the amount of stuff you bring with you. Also, if a product contains a lot of oils or butters, it may be best to bring that with you so that you can avoid having to bring oils or butters separately. For example, anything from the Shea Moisture line would do for this purpose. Shea butter is one of their main ingredients so if you use anything from that line, you don’t need to bring separate containers of shea butter or oil. If Shea Moisture doesn’t do it for you, any products containing lots of butter or oils will do. I would avoid taking heat styling tools such as flat irons and diffusers as they can be bulky and take up too much space, leaving no room for more necessary stuff. That’s about all the tips I have for now. If anyone else has any other pointers, I’d love to hear them.

This entire post reminds that I have to start packing.