Quick Pics: Birthday Fab

Quick Pics: Birthday Fab

I celebrated my birthday this past weekend with my SO and a bunch of my fab girlfriends. Because I love all things sparkly – I picked out a very Fab on a Budget dress from a boutique shop in the Prince George’s Plaza mall called Rumors. I paired the dress with 4-inch black satin heels from a store called Traffic. I opted out of wearing a lot of accessories as to not overwhelm the look.

My hair is a twist-out done on wet hair with Taliah Waajid Lock It Up Gel (review coming soon). I did small to medium twists on my hair, let them dry over night, and unraveled them the next day. When untwisting, I further separated each piece at least once to give my hair more volume. Then I moisturized with Bee Mine Balanced Cream Moisturizer (review also coming soon).

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No perm? Where They Do That At?

No perm? Where They Do That At?

“I think it should be emphasized that for many women relaxing their hair is a habit that is based on a choice that was made for them when they were very young.”

“While I don’t think of perming as a form of self-hate, I know perming for ME was a result of me not knowing my options or realizing what I could do with my own hair in its natural state.”

These quotes are parts of two different comments I read today on CurlyNikki.com in response to an interview of an African-American guy on his preference of natural textured hair and his dislike of relaxed hair. The link to this interview can be found here:

http://www.curlynikki.com/2010/12/sometimes-hair-is-just-hair-follow-up.html#comments

These comments really struck me because I identify with them so much. I as an individual never made the choice to begin relaxing my hair. That choice was made for me many years ago by my mother because my hair was deemed “bad” or “nappy.” Every time I sat down on a pillow in between my mother’s legs on the floor when it came time to get my relaxer touch-up, I had to endure the disappointed announcements that my perm “didn’t take.” The blame for my perm “not taking” or not effectively chemically straightening my hair was always put on me for not allowing it to sit on my head long enough. Perhaps the reason was because no matter what lengths I went to prevent burning (including not scratching my scalp and applying a relaxer base), my scalp would always feel like it was on fire after 7-10 minutes. This was practice occurred every couple of months until I went natural a year and a half ago. It was all I knew. Every woman in my family got their hair relaxed. Black women’s hair was SUPPOSED to be relaxed unless you were “blessed” with loosely textured hair (or you know, had Indian in your family *cough*). There shouldn’t even be a question about it. If you started to let the time stretch between touch-ups, there would be the constant questions of “When you getting a perm?” or “When are you gonna do something to that head?” The practice of relaxing was so ingrained in my head that I was unaware that there were alternative ways to manage African-American hair and I myself thought of my hair as a problem that constantly needed to be dealt with. I know that I have been frustrated with this practice for years. I was sick of burning the skin off my scalp every three months, paying $80-$90 dollars every time my hair started to become “unmanageable”, I was sick of the breakage. But I kept relaxing because in my mind these were part of the perils of being a black woman. This is what we HAD to do to look presentable in society.

I am aware now that natural haired ladies have always existed, but for some reason until a year and a half ago they were never on my conscious radar. Perhaps because no one in “real life” wore their hair that way. It took a friend going natural for me to realize that there was another way to be. She too had to do a big chop due to years of hair damage from relaxers, weaves, half wigs, etc. And at first I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. I teetered between shock, awe, envy, and disapproval. How dare she walk around in public without a perm? I mean, I guess it’s cute. Her hair’s not so bad, but I know *I* could never do that! But her hair grew on me. She wore it with such swagger and style that I envied her confidence. After a few months I began to think to myself, “Maybe I don’t have to put myself through all this misery. Maybe I can go natural too.” And thus began the mental transition (which trust me, starts long before the physical transition) of breaking free of the slavery to the relaxer and to the salon.

Many consider this “natural hair movement” to be a trend or a fad. That may be true, but I think it’s a good thing. Why? Because exposure is everything. This fad is demonstrating to women of the African-American community that there are other options and alternatives if you are tired of the perming. I wish I had been exposed to it sooner. Perhaps years of frustration, giving my hard to come by money to the stylist, and the infamous hair catastrophe that led to me choosing this option could have been prevented.

The Micros Are Out

The Micros Are Out

After 4 ½ weeks of having the micro braids in it was finally time to take those bad boys out. It was an okay experience but I don’t think I will get them again. At least in my foreseeable future. To take them out I divided my head into four sections and took them out slowly over a period of 2 ½ days. I had nowhere to be and nothing to do so I wasn’t in a rush.

When the braider (whom I randomly found on Craig’s List) was putting them in she used a small toothed comb to comb the sections she was about to braid – while my hair was dry. If you are a natural then you know that combing afro textured hair dry and/or without conditioner is a big no-no. However, when putting in things like braid extensions, is there another alternative? You certainly cannot put conditioner in your hair to braid in extensions and you cannot wet it because the braids won’t stay. Yea so that whole process seemed that it did some trauma to my hair. I made a mental note back then that when I took them out I would immediately go to the salon to get my ends clipped because I know they were being broken off. As I was taking them out a few days ago I lost the normal amount of shed hair that you would with not combing your hair in a month’s time. However, I did see a tiny bit of thinning around my edges in the front. It was not much, but enough to know that doing anything like to this my hair anytime soon would be foolish and detrimental to my hair.

So yesterday I went to the same natural hair salon in Philadelphia that did my big chop and my subsequent cut in September 2009 to get a trim – Au Naturale. It was a funny experience because there is a guy who usually stays in the front of the salon and is what is to be assumed a receptionist. He is a very masculine looking dude – dreads, tattoos, facial hair, etc. So imagine my surprise when he led me to the back to shampoo my hair. “Is that a problem?” he asked. “No, not at all. I am just surprised because I always see you at the front.” I replied. In my head I was thinking a number of things. First, why is he shampooing? Second, does he know what he is doing? Third, why is he shampooing lol? Now I know it is not uncommon for males to work in salons, but I always assumed that they were gay (not that that’s a bad thing). But this guy was obviously straight and again, very masculine. Not that type that would be shampooing a girl’s hair in a salon. So he took me in the back and shampooed me with this wonderful tingling peppermint, eucalyptus shampoo that I always ask for. I love the way it makes my scalp feel. Man, did he work that shampoo.  Also a licensed massage therapist, he gave me the best shampoo I have ever had at a professional salon. Omg…It’s the little surprises in life…

So the stylist who trimmed my hair, to my surprise, stated that my hair was in pretty good shape and she didn’t have to take much off. ¼ of an inch at the most, so a tiny bit. Having my cut back in September, I was way overdue for a trim and it was nice to hear that I didn’t have to lose much hair.

Today I deep conditioned for about 45 minutes with Aubrey Organics GPB Conditioner because I felt I needed a bit of protein. Then I cowashed with the very moisturizing Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa Conditioner. Love that stuff. I didn’t style my hair or anything. I decided that today I would rock my fro. As a leave-in I used the Darcy’s Botanicals Daily Leave-In Conditioner followed by some extra-virgin coconut oil and some shea butter mix to seal in the moisture. Then I put on a pink summer dress, gold hoop earrings and some shades and went for a drive to Sally’s to get a new satin bonnet. Here are some pics.

Excuse the messy floor.