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This Square Peg.

Happily Not Fitting In Since 1978.

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au naturale

Pinterest Poses.

I pinned myself last night on Pinterest. I’ve pinned myself several times before, but this is the first time I’m blogging about it. Anywho, why does one pin themselves? I’ll tell you why I did it. I was quite in love with my hair last night (this whole weekend, actually) and I wanted to share it. Perhaps another naturalista on a Pinterest search for hairstyle ideas might see my kinks and coils and find some inspiration. After all, that’s why I go on Pinterest. So each one, teach one. Share the wealth. Pay it forward. Insert motivational cliché here. Here’s what I pinned:

hair13

As you can see, my kinky twists are gone and she’s back. She’s back and she’s thicker and a bit longer and she’s temperamental and she’s throwing a few more gray strands at me (see the smoother side of my hair in the photo for evidence) and she’s actually being obedient when I try updos and side hawks like what you see above and she’s in full effect and I’m happy to have her. I plan on letting her breathe through most of the summer before my next protective style. Or not. We’ll see.

For now, there may or may not be more Pinterest posing.

(The link is on my Contact page, but follow me here on Pinterest if you like…)

Happy Monday. Hope your weekend was bon and fantastic.

she’s back.

twistbantu

Is it safe to say that I’m quite happy to have my hair back? I think so. Since saying farewell to the braids a few days ago, I’ve re-entered the world of twist outs and Bantu knot outs, as evidenced above.

dancingleo

Viva la petite (and growing!) fro.

 

Products from Heaven: It’s Shea, Baby, All Shea. [The Body Edition]

shea
I make plenty of use of the three products to the right for my curly fro. I’m also now eyeing that Curl and Shine Kit.
Apparently, it wasn’t enough that I use almost every product in the wonderful and quite effective SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus line for my mind-of-its-own natural hair. I had to go and discover that SheaMoisture has amazing products for bath & body, too. (Where was I, you ask? Living under a rock, apparently. It takes square pegs some time, ok?) That said, I went ahead and fell in love with four specific products that I’ll share with you. Make way for bullets:

  • Coconut & Hibiscus Foaming Milk and Body Wash. What can I say, really? It’s foamy and milky and takes me to a coconut and hibiscus garden in the south of France somewhere. I recently purchased this product and it makes the body electric all soft and pliable and, again, I smell like an assortment of desserts. Win. [5/5 Square Pegs]
  • Coconut & Hibiscus Body Wash. I actually tried this one first. Hardly dissimilar from the first item; in fact, I first wondered why SM had two. I got the same effects from this one. And, really, the only reason that I purchased the first one and not a replacement of this one when I ran out was simply because of semantics and old age. In other words, they looked the same and I believed I was buying the same thing. (So many orange bottles.) I will say, however, that I like the whole milky/foamy aspect of the first body wash a bit more. Still a win, though. You can’t go wrong with either. [4/5 Square Pegs]
  • Coconut & Hibiscus Bath, Body & Massage Oil. Oh, are you sensing a theme here? I love that coco and ‘scus theme more than I can say. Anyway, after discovering that body oils were my new best friends, I purchased this product to see what it was all about. The consistency is heavy, yes, so unless you use the same dime-sized amount you’re cautioned to use when applying hair products–which I ignore and admit it, you do, too–you’ll learn, like me, that a little really goes a long way. (Especially after side eyeing the buckets of oil I had slathered all over me.) It’s a sweet scent, quite similar to the body washes, but can be cloying if, again, you don’t watch the amount you use. But it was also soft and yummy, so there’s that. [3-ish, close to 4 Square Pegs]
  • Coconut & Hibiscus Body Butter. All hail, basically. This product is creamy and delicious. The same aroma as the body washes, but so there’s the whole I-smell-like-a-French-garden thing, and it seriously does wonder for my dry skin. In fact, now that we’re in autumn and a month away from wintertime, I’ve placed the above-mentioned oil on the back burner while I use this body butter. With this, a little goes a long way, too, but perhaps I’m saying that because I want it to last forever and ever. I don’t know. The consistence is indeed butter like, as the product name suggests, so you may not need to slather it all over you. Really great overall. [5/5 Square Pegs and an extra praise emoji]

What are your tried-and-true or new beauty products?

La Femme Lupita.

She once again graces the cover of Vogue. I may or may not wait in line to purchase my copy. Just saying. vogue4

Image/cover courtesy of Vogue magazine.

Elegant? Why, Thank You. (Fabu Fashion TBT)

Hey, y’all.

On Monday of this week, I wore a pencil skirt that I snagged from Nordstrom Rack (they built one by my house, so I officially bid all my money goodbye) and a peplum top that I’ve had for a million years. (Last Monday; therein lies the tbt.) I didn’t even think about it. Wasn’t that particularly exciting as far as outfits go. I just put it on and came to work like I do every day against my will. So imagine my surprise when two colleagues complimented me on how elegant I looked. When wearing a simple outfit and some flats you scored from your mother’s closet, you’re not thinking elegant. But I’ll take it. Some photos below.

pepskirt1 pepskirt2

Happy Thursday…

Project: Bentonite Clay.

clay10The naturalista adventures continue. Last week, I decided to try a clay detox mask for my hair, being that I had worn box braids for the past seven weeks and wanted to really cleanse it after taking them down. A bit of back story: I heard about Bentonite Clay a year ago, when my friends and I happened to stumble on a video on YouTube about it. Excited and intrigued about this procedure and spurred on by all the comments of the clay softening and defining your hair, I bought the clay, some gloves, and set about to do it. But that was a year ago. And I didn’t do it. Because it’s clay. And, uh, I didn’t want to put clay in my hair. I was terrified that the stuff would turn my curls into cement blocks. Can you blame me?

But a year later, I decided to put on my lady pantaloons and just do it. So last Monday, a day after my braids had been removed by my long-suffering sissy (“must you insist on not sitting still?!”), I took a thousand deep breaths and got started.

The Mixture

You take the clay (no real measurement; eyeball it, as all the gals like to say), add some apple cider vinegar (warning: the meeting of the clay and the vinegar produces a sizzling, steamy effect that a year ago, would have had me running for the hills but now was just fairly interesting), and some water. Some naturals on YT mentioned that also threw in some essentials oils and some honey, but I didn’t do that that. Just kept to those three ingredients. I mixed everything together (in a plastic bowl with a plastic spoon; no metals, apparently, lest you…turn into the Tin Man? I don’t know but, yeah, no metals) until there was a yogurt-like consistency and then it was good to go. And now a photographic journey of the application of the mixture and the results that came afterward.

You're doing what now?
You’re doing what now?
Clay is all up in there.
Clay is all up in there.
Smile and wait for 30 minutes.
Smile and wait for 25 minutes.

I should add that I was supposed to slightly dampen my hair before adding the clay. Skipped that part in my eagerness to get down to business, which made the clay slightly harder than it likely would have been. Anyway, after about 25 minutes, it was time to wash it out. (Length of time to sit in your hair should be about 20-30 minutes, but no more than that, or here come the cement blocks.) What were the results? Did my nightmarish visions of curly pieces of clay come to pass?

Clay6 Clay5 Clay4 Clay7

You guys.

My hair was soft. Clean. Shiny. Defined. My hair color was popping, like it was newly done. My scalp was amazing. The clay did everything the YTubers promised it would do, and then some. Oh, and can I add that I didn’t detangle my hair before applying the mixture and that the clay went ahead and detangled my hair for me?

So it’s a keeper, this Bentonite Clay. It’s a keeper. I will be using it every time I wash my hair (of course, switching it up here and there). A few things I will do the next time:

  • Definitely dampen my hair before applying the mixture.
  • Although my hair felt conditioned, it wouldn’t hurt to go ahead and co-wash or deep condition my hair after rinsing out the clay. I think my hair would benefit from the added conditioning, being that a few days after, it felt a bit dry.
  • I’ll go ahead and throw in a little olive oil in the mixture, too. Can’t hurt.

And that’s it. I highly recommend this mask! Four Square Pegs, indeed.

Has anyone out there tried Bentonite Clay? What were your results?

Products from Heaven.

khan
Khaaaaaaannnnnnnnnaturalhairproducts!

Not pennies, but products. And if you sport your natural texture, you know exactly what I’m referring to. The search for products that will benefit your natural hair seems never-ending, not just in the beginning, but  sometimes throughout the hair journey. Add to the fact that I believe our natural roots occasionally like to play too much and change their spots–what worked in the beginning suddenly doesn’t do a thing for the strands. So even the natural evolution of our hair can often make the search for the right hair products maddening. How am I dealing with this, you ask? Well, here and there, I do look up to the heavens and scream “Khaaaaaaannnnnnnnnaturalhairproducts!” when I deal with some products. (If you got that Star Trek reference, hello, my love and fellow Trekkie. Yes, in my African household, we were raised as Trekkies.) But, by and large, I’ve gazed up into said heavens and thanked them for their sweet rewards. Yes, nearly two years into my return to natural (December will make it official!), I’m happy to report that there are certain staple products that make Her all shiny and happy. We’ll call them TSP’s Products from Heaven ™. Here they are.

janecarter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I mentioned this Product from Heaven earlier this week. I mean, I wouldn’t be surprised if clouds and sunshine were part of the ingredients. This product does so well for my thick hair. It softens it, it makes it smell so fresh and so clean clean. It does wonders. I typically use it after washing as part of my moisturizing routine, for twisting, Bantuing, taking care of those ends, and/or when my hair is just needs a pick-me-up. By the way, Shea butter is one of the ingredients in the solution, so I think that’s the key. My hair is married to Shea butter. Were you at the wedding?

detangler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Um. I don’t know what to say. This product was hiding in my bathroom one day and I decided to use it and the cream touched my hair and my hair said, “I bow to your will, my Master.” It detangles on touch. It leaves my hair soft and manageable. I use it as a leave-in, as a twisting product, as a best friend, as a confidante. Wherever you are, Ms. Waajid, thank you. Thank you.

Hair Oil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I received a sample of My Wild Spirit Hair Oil in a gift bag for a natural hair show (thanks, Toia!) and it immediately took to it (and purchased much bigger bottles from the manufacturer). Light, not heavy, lovely fragrance. I use it in my layering moisture process (the LOC method). Simply divine.

milk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I took a break from this product for a bit, but now it’s back. (No real reason. My product junkie-ism has me forgetting what I have, which is what happened to The Great Detangler above. Sigh.) I’m a longtime love of Shea Moisture products, and this one hasn’t failed me. I also use it in my LOC method process (the “C”). It does what a moisturizing cream is supposed to do.

That’s all, folks! A few staples that treat my hair very well. Divine Products from Heaven. I’m still on a hunt for a shampoo that doesn’t give me wiry hair and nightmares and a conditioner with good slip. But we’ll talk about that later.

What are your Products from Heaven?

It’s a Swap Thing. (Blogtober #27)

This past weekend, me and a good friend decided to host a Natural Hair Swap Party. And it was all kinds of awesome.

My co-hostess with the mostess, to the left.
My co-hostess with the mostess, to the left.

The Original Plan: a year ago, as my friends sat in a car and discussed the different products we use for our natural manes and how effective/ineffective they were, I found it interesting that the same products that worked for one person did the complete opposite for another. Moreover, most of us had used these products once or twice and abandoned them for other options. I wondered aloud about having a party where all of us would bring our products and swap them with each other to create the same effect: what didn’t work for me may work for you. It was also an idea to curb the product junkie-ism/convenience stores that most of us had in our bathrooms.

The Details: each naturalista would bring their gently used (used once or twice, so no half bottles or barely there) products. And then swap! In other words, no one would come empty-handed or leave that way. So, yeah, there was no significant curbing of that product junkie-ism I mentioned earlier, since we were all going back home with something, but we were returning home with decidedly fewer things that we came with. So success?

The Execution: what better time of year do this than in the autumn, when a lot of us are going through our assortment of products to prepare our manes for the upcoming changes in weather? As mentioned, we gathered this past Sunday for the party. It was pretty awesome to have a bunch of naturalistas and mutual friends in one room. Along with the actual swapping, we played a few natural hair inspired games (name 10 natural hair vloggers/bloggers and 10 natural hair brands), gave out prizes (gift bags with all kinds of hair goodies inside), favors, etc. So much fun. The swapping itself was great: my co-hostess came up with the brilliant idea of giving everyone a ticket with a number on it. For Swapping Round 1, whomever had their number called could come up to the products and grab one product. After everyone got their turn, in Swapping Round 2, the ladies could feel free and take as much as we wanted. It was a wonderful bedlam. As intended, no one left without something, including yours truly and her co-hostess.

Not only was it terrific to see a plan come together, a year in the making, at that, but the ladies thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Needless to say, we plan on making it an annual event. Below are a few more photos from the party.

swap8 swap5 swap6 swap4 swap3 swap2 swap1

Hair Lessons and Hair Love.

We’ll go with the love first. Naturally.

So I rocked Senegalese twists for the past month and a half. ‘Twas a great protective style, but the feeling of taking them out and finally getting to place my hands into my scalp was divine.

20140512-141448.jpg
Them twists.
20140512-141551.jpg
Twists be gone.

Since a deep–and I mean deeeep–conditioning was necessary, I headed to the salon and got that done as well as two strand twists.

20140512-141819.jpg
“Notice the use of shadow and light.” Nah, I just point and selfie. And bonus if you got that Saved by the Bell reference.

Can I profess my love for this low key style? I find two strands so low maintenance and convenient, especially for mornings when I’m running late for work (which is all of them) and don’t have time to spend on my hair. And better? Better? How much I love my ‘do when I separate the twists and get all curly. After I wore the twists for a few days, this is how it looked.

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Same face…
20140512-142306.jpg
Same face…
20140512-142337.jpg
Same face…
20140512-142412.jpg
Same face…
20140512-142439.jpg
Boom. She turns.

Yesterday, I washed and conditioned the tresses and re-twisted. When my weird, non-professional fingers twist, the results aren’t nearly as bouncy and loverly, but they still look ok.

20140512-142737.jpg

OK, now for the lessons. Being a year and a half into my return to natural hair, I fully expect to continually learn the best ways to feed, nourish, and take care of my beloved fro. During the visit to the stylist and yesterday when I was getting a trim, both stylists mentioned the breakage around my edges and the fact that the front section of my hair, around the sides, is weaker than the back part of my hair. I got great advice, as well, about remembering to moisturize my hair as much as possible, but definitely to focus on that front part. Admittedly, when you hear words like “breakage” and “weak,” it’s kind of a blow. Nevertheless, I pushed past all of that and decided that, along with everything else in life, these are all lessons. Specifically:

  • Peace. No more braiding/twists (other than two-strand with my own hair) for the foreseeable future, if ever. Until those delicate edges and sides grow back like the lawn in our backyard (the one my brothers pretend they don’t see), I’m leaving ’em alone. No styles that involve pulling, grasping, manipulating. The stylist who did my Senegalese did a great job, in that I didn’t feel like my medulla was being pulled out along with my strands of hair. But the edges and the sides need peace.
  • Hydrate. Seriously, I need to water the plant of my hair more. I have my daily moisturizing regimen, and I have my wash days, and I have my deep condition days. But I get lazy. Not anymore! I will drown this hair. Well, not really, but you get my drift.

There’s more, but the bottom line is my effort to 1) embrace the merry-go-round of constantly learning about my hair, and 2) make the needed improvements. So far, so good though. Love my fro.

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