Sunday, October 23, 2011

Natural Hair & Dating


I recently read the this article in Madame Noire, which is an online black lifestyle guide.  The title of the article was Does Your Hair Play a Part In the Way Men Approach You? (click the link to read the article).  The article discusses how the pick up lines change based on the fact that the author was natural.  Instead of the typical "Hey, ma!"  or "Hey, shawty!" The pick up lines were more in reference to your hair, "I love your fro."  Her premise is that though the lines appear to be more respectful, they were still pick up lines none the less.  My personal opinion:  A pick up line is what it is, a way to get a subject (whether male or female) to drop their guard long enough to get to know more about them.  I would prefer a more respectful pick up line than a disrespectful one any day.  (insert shoulder shrug)

However, I would like to expand more on the topic of dating and natural hair.  How have your romantic interactions been now that you are natural?  Do you feel that you are approached more or less?  Do you (as a woman) find yourself more open to men who wear locs or an afro?  For our men, do you find yourself more attracted to natural haired women?  Why?  What has changed (for both men & women)?

 While you're thinking about your comments, check out this funny Youtube video about some of the stereotypes that are associated with dating a natural haired woman.  Leave a comment below!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Transitioning to Natural Series - Transitioning Hairstyles

During your transition to natural hair it can be very difficult to blend your new naturally curly hair texture with your straight relaxed ends.  Many naturals have the desire to flat iron this hair to blend it.  By using this method however, you can very easily end up with heat damaged hair.  Heat damaged hair will not revert to its naturally curly pattern.  Unfortunately, if your non-chemically processed hair becomes heat damaged, the length that you have acquired will need to be cut when your relaxed ends are eventually removed.

So how can you accomplish a polished look without heat styling to blend the two textures, you ask?  Try a few of the styles selected below:

 Straw Set/Flexi rod Set

Bantu Knots

Two strand twists with extensions

Sew In Weave

Faux Fro
All of these looks can be performed by any of the talented stylists at Taji's Natural Hair Styling.  So if you're at a frustrated point in your transition and you need some help, call us for a free consultation!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Transitioning to Natural Hair Series - Steps to Preparing for a Successful Transition

In the 2nd part of our Transitioning to Natural Series we will focus on steps that are key to ensuring you have a successful transition from relaxed hair to natural hair.

First we'll deal with the healthy hair strategies:

Treat your hair as if its all natural -  Begin eliminating products from your regimen that contain silicones and parabens and sulfates.  Choose styles make it easy to blend your natural hair with your relaxed hair without using heat.  Detangle with care!  The line between your relaxed hair and natural hair (demarcation line) is very fragile and can break easily if you are not very gentle when detangling.   

Keep your hair well moisturized  -  Natural hair adores water and regular moisture is key to healthy natural hair.  Use water based moisturizers (they will have water as one of the first ingredients) on your hair. Keep in mind that adding moisture is not only external but also internal.  We should drink about half of our body weight in ounces of water each day. 

Deep condition regularly -  I would suggest that deep conditioning is key in any hair regimen but it is even more key with naturally curly textured hair.  A great deep conditioner should aid in detangling and leave your hair feeling soft and moisturized.

Next let's talk about the mindset:

Realistic expectations regarding hair texture/curl pattern  - Everyone's curl pattern is their own.  Some are wavy, some are tightly coiled, while others are kinky. Some individuals don't have a curl pattern at all.  Be prepared for your hair texture to be any of these curl patterns.  You may also find that you will have a mixture of several curl patterns in your head.  Be willing to embrace whichever one that is uniquely yours!

Prepare those you love for your decision - As much as this is your natural hair journey, you are taking your family and close friends on this journey with you.  Share with them the reasoning for your decision.  As you look at styles on Youtube or in magazines, ask their opinion of styles they like.  You may find that there are many that are close to you who are very supportive of you.  However, you should be prepared for the possibility that not everyone who cares about you will be supportive of your decision. Just remember that as much as you want everyone to be as excited as you are about your journey, the most important thing is that you love the reflection in the mirror and are comfortable with the way she faces the world everyday.  

Have a support network - Which brings me to my next point.  It is important that before you start your natural journey that you find a supportive network.  This may include supportive friends and family members, natural hair boards, natural hair blogs like this one, or YouTube.  Natural hair meetups are also a great source of information and encouragement in your local area.  Sometimes when those close of you are not your greatest supporters, these support networks will keep you educated, motivated to stay the course.

Patience - It will take time to learn your hair in its natural state and to develop a regimen that fits your hair. 
Products that work for others may or may not work for you.  Just know that the work that you take in learning & caring for your hair will be rewarded with healthy locks and growing strands.

Have a good stylist -  While it is important to do your own research, it is equally important to have a knowledgeable, skilled, supportive stylist to help you learn about and care for your natural hair.  This could potentially mean the parting of ways from the stylist that you've had many years, especially if she/he has no knowledge of natural hair maintenance or doesn't support your decision to eliminate chemical processing from your hair regimen.  Do your research.  Get recommendations and always get a consultation before sitting in the chair for a style.  Ask questions.  A professional stylist will encourage your questions and be willing to answer them to make sure you're comfortable.

For those of you who are "seasoned" naturals, can you think of some other things that you wish you would have known before you decided to go natural?  Share them below!

Check out the blog next week for some transitional styles!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Transitioning to Natural Hair Series - Part I

So you’re thinking about transitioning your hair from relaxed to natural?  Welcome to our Transitioning to Natural Hair Series!  You have questions, we have answers.  In this series we will educate you on three things:  the frequently used jargon and terminology in the natural hair community, provide you with steps to help you prepare for the transition from relaxed to natural hair, and show you some transitioning styles that will give you a well put together look while maintaining the health of your new natural strands.  We want this to be interactive for our clients and visitors, so if you have questions, please post them in the comments section below.  We’ll be sure to address your questions by responding directly to your comment or by creating a separate blog post if enough people inquire about the same thing!  

Natural Hair Jargon

Ever go into a natural hair forum or watch a Youtube video of your favorite natural and wonder what they were talking about?  As a new natural, it can be kinda confusing understanding the lingo and jargon in the natural hair community.  Well never fear, below we've defined some of the most common natural hair terms.  Take a look below!

3c/4a/4b/4c -  A hair typing system created by Andre Walker that describes your hair ‘s curl pattern
ACV Rinse – apple cider vinegar; this is often used as a final rinse (diluted) to seal the cuticle
APL – a way of measuring your hair’s length, arm pit length
BSL – a way of measuring your hair’s length, bra strap length
CBL – a way of measuring your hair’s length, collar bone length
BC – Big Chop! Cutting off all of your relaxed hair  
Baggying – the method of coating the hair with conditioner and leaving it on & covering with a bag (conditioning bag, shopping bag, etc), ideally overnight
No poo (co-wash) – the act of cleansing your hair with conditioner instead of shampoo, it is supposed to prevent the stripping of natural oils from the hair
BAA – big ass afro
TWA – teeny weeny afro
PJ – Product Junkie!  Someone who buys every popular hair product  or natural hair styling tool
Moisturizing – the act of adding water to the hair
Sealing – trapping moisture (water) in the hair with oils or a butter like shea or cocoa
Essential Oils – an oil that is distilled, usually by water or steam from the roots, leaves, or stems of a plant.   They are very concentrated and should not be applied directly to the skin.  Some examples are lemongrass, sweet orange, rosemary, tea tree, peppermint, etc.
Carrier oil – an oil that can be used to dilute essential oils.  They are also good for sealing in moisture. Some examples are olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, & grapeseed oil
Humectants – ingredients in hair products that help draw moisture from the air into the hair shaft.  A couple of examples are glycerin and honey.
Dusting – trimming less than ¼ inche of hair, usually to remove split ends
Slip – the slipperiness (is that a word? LOL) of a conditioner or detangler, the more slip a product has , the easier it is to detangle the hair
DT or DC – deep treatment or deep conditioner, usually when a conditioner is left on the hair for more than 15 minutes to increase moisture retention and/or to assist with detangling
Plopping – a technique for drying your hair where you pat your hair with a t-shirt or terry cloth towel to dry your hair instead of using a regular towel, this reduces frizz
Wash & Go – styling your hair in its naturally curly state by applying a curl defining gel or cream
Shingling – The application of a curl defining gel or cream to the hair by taking finger and raking it through in sections.  This helps to define and set your natural curl pattern.
Two strand twists – When a small section of hair is separated into two equal section and then twisted around each other
twist out source
Twist out – Undoing 2 strand twists for a wavy effect    
Braid out – When hair the braiding into individual plaits and then undone after drying, resulting in a crinkly effect
Second day hair – a  2nd day hair style where the previously achieved pattern (via twist out, braidout or wash and go) remains and looks great with no major manipulation or recreation of the original style
Shrinkage – the amount of length that is loss (from when hair is fully extended) when hair dries in its naturally curly state
Stretched hair – a method of maximizing the hair’s length by first setting the hair in a manner that reduces the amount of shrinkage
Single strand knots (fairy knots) – when a strand of hair get a small knot on its strand (these should be periodically cut so other strands do not get tangled and create a bigger knot)
Silicones (cones) – ingredients found in hair care products that are not water soluble.  Failure to remove silicones (with shampoo) may result in buildup which can lead to dry hair.   
SLS – Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – a cleansing ingredient found in harsher shampoos.  This ingredient tends to strip natural oils and moisture from natural hair leaving it dry

This is not an all inclusive list but just some key buzz words that you will encounter when talking to other naturals.  Can you think of a word, abbreviation or phrase that you’ve heard that you can’t figure out what it means?  Post it in the comments section below and we’ll define it for you.  Did we miss one that you know the definition for?  Please share.