New Year, New Hair: What To Do After Your Big Chop


Happy New Year to all my Curlies!!

I hope you have all gorged yourself silly during the Christmas and New Year festivities! I tried not to, but the chicken just looked too good haha. Just like millions of people all around he world, one of my main resolutions is to eat healthily and lose some of that darn tummy weight.

A few friends of mine have decided that the new year marks a new chapter of the hair journey, signified by a big chop. Most of them have transitioned for a few months or weeks and so have a cute lil fro, that isn’t hard to manage, but they have no idea how to care for. A lot of us have grownup with an African mentality when it comes to our hair, especially in regards to wash frequency, products used and de-tangling methods. By following these methods, we succeeded in making our hair low maintenance and ‘pretty looking’ but ultimately very unhealthy. This unhealthiness is a major reason a lot of us have decided to go natural, and so i’d like to shed some light on how to completely overhaul your journey and make your hair ‘easier to manage’.

 

Moisture is Key!

The first thing people say when they go natural is how ‘hard’ their hair is. Maybe they’re expecting soft baby curls or something but HELLO! African hair is naturally dry and the only way to soften it and make it behave the way you want to is by moisturising. Moisturising does not mean slathering various oils and creams and the like, NO it means using specific products (water based) to put the moisture in you hair, and then to keep the moisture in your hair, sealing the hair with an oil or butter. Things like oils and silicones sit on top of your hair, keeping moisture from getting out, but also stopping moisture getting in. So it’s important you ensure your hair is getting the moisture it needs and that it stays moisturised.

 

moisturised hair holds styles best.
moisturised hair holds styles best.

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Hairstyles for transitioners


One of the main problems with transitioning is the obvious difference in textures, the natural hair tends to be darker and curlier and the relaxed hair tends to be lighter and straighter. So the best hairstyles for transitioners are those that disguise the difference in curl pattern.

Exhibit A- Bantu knot out

To do a bantu knot out is fairly simple once you get the bantu technique right. You part the hair into medium to small sections depending on your hair length. With each section you twist the hair round and round itself until it stays put. You can do this on wet or dry hair and for maximum results its better to sleep with the knots overnight, or if you did it wet, wait till the hair dries.

Then you gently unravel the knots, separating them until you have a light fluffy, curly fro:

Exhibit B- Braid out

It’s as easy as it sounds, braid your hair into 5-30 sections depending on your length, thickness, and desired style. You can either do this on wet, damp or dry hair. Leave it to dry/overnight and un-braid in the morning and voila! Braid out!

Exhibit C- Twist out/Flat twist out

Exactly the same as the braid out, except you can have purely flat twists, two strand twists, or a combination of the two.

Exhibit-D Flat twists

In this style, instead of taking the twists out you flat twist the hair into a lovely little style and leave them in for everyone to admire/drool over.

And there you have it, 4/5 different styles for transitioners or naturals. Aren’t those flats twists gorgeous?

Simi

x

Creating A Regimen


You’ve now decided to go natural or on a healthy hair journey, but you’re stumped. Where do you go from here? The next step is to create a hair regimen. A regimen is basically a rough guideline of what you do for your hair, kind of like a hair timetable. Knowing exactly what you’re going to do is really essential to getting the most out of your hair and it’ll stop you from going back to bad habits. The main points to consider are:

  • Cleanse
  • Deep Conditioning (Protein/Moisturising)
  • Moisturise
  • Detangle
  • Condition
  • Sealing
  • Frequency of above steps

So lets start with the first point.

Cleanse:

Cleansing simply refers to how often you wash your hair and what you wash it with. You may or may not have heard of something called co-washing, which is washing with only conditioner. People (including me) do this because shampoos can be damaging and drying if used too often, how often ‘too often’ is depends on your hair and your lifestyle. Some shampoos also may have damaging ingredients such as Sodium Laureth/Laurlyl Sulfate which have been proven to cause skin irritation in some people and parabens which have been linked to cancer. I’ll do a post later in the series which shows the worst offending ingredients you should avoid. In general most people alternate between co-washing and shampooing to retain maximum moisture.

Detangle:

Detangling is a highly debated topic, from our youth it’s been instilled in us that the only way to get knots out is to comb them, and if they’re still stubborn? Comb them harder! Now, common sense should tell you that if you pull at something that’s slightly elastic…it’s going to break! And break is what it does, that’s why some people only have about 1-2 years worth of growth on their head at any one time. To retain as much length as possibly you need to take time detangling your hair. Patience is key! Whether you prefer to load you hair up with oil, conditioner or nothing at all be fore you start. Or whether you prefer to use a comb, brush or just your fingers, you really need to take time to gently separate all the knots and your hair will love you for it!

Deep Conditioning:

Deep conditioners give your hair life! The essence is to restore what has been lost from your hair from daily styling and just normal activities. There are two type, protein and moisturizer. Protein conditioners give your hair strength and make sure it doesn’t just break off. However, mostly a lot of protein isn’t needed and so protein treatments are not needed very often. Moisturising treatments are needed more regularly depending on the properties of your hair and how well moisturised you keep it. There is such a thing as over-moisturised hair so you need to beware. These treatments tend to be kept on the hair for a while some people say overnight or 12 hours, whilst some use heat and reduce the time they spend, either way it’s up to you and your lifestyle. Continue reading

Going Natural


So you’ve got it set in your heart to go natural…wooo! But then you stop and think, what happens now?

There are 2/3 ways to go natural:

  • The big chop
  • Transitioning: short term and long term.

The Big Chop

This is by far the quickest and some say easiest way to go fully natural. All it means is cutting off all of your relaxed ends, the minute you’re sure you want to go natural. This is the most effective way to go natural according to some of the other bloggers i’ve been following. It just means that all you have to work with is your new growth, all 1-2 inches of it. The best part about having short hair is that unlike relaxed short hair, its easy to maintain. All you need to do is wash it once a week or less and then put a little bit of moisturiser and a little bit of oil and you are ready to go! Hair time is cut to 5 minutes or less a day.

The main issue with this method is that a lot of people are scared to go that short. Some people claim that they might look like a boy or that their more undesirable features will be too apparent. Also some people may have long relaxed hair which they might not want to part with so easily. So i’d say go for this method if you like/don’t mind short styles or if you’re just a bit lazy hehe.

Solange After A BC

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So You Want To Go Natural


The simplest definition of ‘going natural’ is simply not relaxing your hair, the term relaxing includes texturising, tex-laxing and any other process (chemical or otherwise that permanently alters the texture of your hair.

A lot of people seem to be jumping on this ‘natural wave’ but to some people it means so much more than just a fashion statement…i’m really not going to go into all the reasons why people decide to embrace their natural god given hair but its mostly to do with not conforming to what society says is beautiful and taking that matter into your own hands.

Going natural requires a lot of effort, and the journey is long and winding, but the end result is definitely better than anything you can find in a box. The natural hair journey as we naturals like to call it, is one that requires patience. Patience is  key! It is also necessary to focus on the your reasons for starting the journey and also focus on the good rather than the bad. There are seemingly so many reasons why you shouldn’t go natural:

  • I don’t want to look nappy headed!
  • I don’t have that good hair (:@)
  • It’ll cost too much in products
  • I don’t have time
  • I don’t want to have to dress/act a certain way
  • I prefer straight hair
  • I want to be able to wear weaves
  • I won’t be able to colour my hair
  • I don’t want to look like a boy

To be honest, most of the reasons here are so misguided, its irritating. If you don’t try it, you may never know whether it could suit you and your lifestyle better.

You don’t need to do it all on your own, find a supportive friend to check on your progress, or even go natural with you (like me!!!). Even if you can’t find a friend, go on YouTube, there are hundreds maybe even thousands of women (and men) that have gone natural and decided to share their journey with the world. There are also lots of blogs (including this one) that do the same. On these blogs and vlogs many tutorials and to help with any problem you may have, so there’s no reason to be stuck.

So, if I have piqued your interest in the natural hair world, stay tuned for my later posts where I introduce you fully to the world I now call home.