hair things.

I decided to change up the ‘do again. No surprise there. As I mentioned to a friend who remarked about the merry-go-round of styles we as Black women are happy to explore, hair is one of the few things in this crazy life that I can control. (Although I’ve long believed that my hair, known as She, controls me.) As you know, I visited the lighter side of the hair color spectrum in January. And I’m very happy there. Which is why, two weeks ago, I decided to go bolder, brighter, and much, much blonder.

Popular questions/statements I’ve received since:

Are you having fun yet? 
Do you like it?
Whoa, you’re brave.
Something new for the summer, huh?
Wow, you’re always changing your hair!

My responses:

Um, yes?
I love it.
Sure.
Not just for the summer, no.
Indeed I am.

Here’s to the merry-go-round.

And before I go: leaving you with my favorite song this month. You know how I feel about Emeli Sande (or maybe you didn’t, but the link is yours to see). Here’s her recent single, which I have on repeat. I love it not only for the melody, and her soaring voice, but for the simple message: we’re all extraordinary. Something to keep in mind–for me, for you, for all of us.

back to black.

After a year of red hair (which was my third time being a slight redhead), I went back to black–jet black–this weekend. She got colored and also received a much-welcomed shape-up/slight haircut.

hairchange

As much as I love making color changes to my hair, here’s the main reason why black wins every single time:

snipes

Had to do it.

Anyway, for me, black hair:

  1. Makes red lippy pop from here till eternity.
  2. Is shiny and lovely.
  3. Is great with my skin tone.
  4. Is just chic, y’all.

As far as the slight shape-up, my goal remains to grow my hair out, but I’d like the growth to take on a particular look as it happens. Believe me, I wanted to chop it all off (as I always do), but we’re holding on for now. Tiiiight.

That was my weekend. What moves did you make these past few days?

fruit salad.

Can I tell you how much I miss my tropical paradise/coconut/fruit salad?

natural
facts.

I will.

December 2016 was the last time I:

  1. saw my curls
  2. got the chance to detangle as I go run my fingers through my kinks
  3. engaged in hours-long twisting sessions while catching a movie on the Netflix
  4.  “tamed” these edges before pushing the fro into a puff
  5. massaged my scalp freely
  6. just loved on it.

Protective styles are great. I’ve expressed this before. They give me a break from doing too much of #6 above, they help me to get to work on time (because I’m not spending all morning undoing the results of #3), and they’re just pretty and creatively done. Will I continue to protective style? For sure. Will I continue to complain that I miss my hair? For sure.

In December, I had Senegalese twists. I followed that up with regular box braids. After that came crochet braids. Other than brief intervals when the  styles were removed so the scalp could breathe, I really haven’t experienced my hair for six months. But lest you believe some fairy tale grandmother forced me to put in these protective styles, it was my choice to keep the strands tucked in until May. I needed to leave it be. There was also some damage to my ends after coloring my hair last year (we’re not going to talk about that right now; I’m still in my feelings), so it was just necessary to leave it ‘lone for a while. This time, however, I made sure to moisturize and oil and do all the things you need to do to actually protect the hair while it’s in a protective style.

This weekend, my stylist will take out my crochets. My natural hair will then receive a much needed deep conditioning and a trim of ends that have likely declared mutiny since the last time I trimmed them.

Will I weep when I touch my scalp again?

Maybe.

Happy Thursday and onwards and upwards…and frowards.

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.

Protective Styles and the Impatient Naturalista.

I can patiently wait in line for tickets to see a Broadway show.

I can patiently wait in line at the grocery store. (Especially when I have literally one item and the woman in front of me has 26, even though we’re in the 12 items or less lane.)

I can patiently wait to meet the man that will one day become my future. (Well, with some grumbling while I wait, but you get my drift.)

What I cannot abide by, what causes me to fidget and side eye my own self, are protective styles. If you’re not a naturalista, protective styles are ‘dos that protect the ends and keep the hair tucked away and protected from the over-manipulation that can come from constantly styling, washing, and generally having our hands in our hair. Braids, twists, wigs, etc., are the various choices one has when wanting to protect their natural hair. Personally, I tend to stick to the two-strand twist side of protective styles when it comes to my own hair. But when I want to protect the whole giant head for a longer period of time, I tend to choose individual braids, kinky twists, or Senegalese twists, which I am currently wearing and have been since late September.

braids
When the twists went to Europe.

Late September. It’s now mid-November.

You understand me, don’t you? Certain protective styles drive me crazy. After a number of weeks/months, I long for my ‘fro the way I long for that piece of bread on your plate. I long for my strands the way I long to ask Idris Elba why, as husband and wife, we’re still not living together. Yes, these styles force me to remain patient and stick to my yearly goal of protecting my hair in the autumn/cold months. But I can’t be patient. I simply can’t. It’s recommended to keep braid styles in for no more than 8 weeks. I stick to that recommendation like glue. And when the 8th week comes, I nearly cartwheel down random hallways in excitement for finally having my hair back. Because I love my natural hair. I love sinking my hands into it and feeling the coils and the curls. Essentially, I’m the kind of gal who needs to abide by protective styles because of how much I touch this hair. But I’m working on leaving it alone, not being all up in its biz so much. Baby steps.

Anyway, the braids come out this weekend, thanks to the efforts of my long-suffering sissy, who has agreed to take them out for me. I can’t promise that I won’t hold a parade as a result.

Naturalistas out there: how do you handle the wait when your hair is all nice and tucked away? Or am I the only one who needs to attend a 12-step program for this issue?

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?

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.

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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…
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Same face…
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Same face…
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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.

Fabu Fashion…Monday.

You’ll recall that the Fabu Fashion feature started on a Thursday…then next occurred on a Friday. Ah, well. I run this, right?

So, sharing what I wore a few weeks ago to a dance party in Connecticut. Don’t want to brag, but This Square Peg was all gussied up and she liked it. What whaaat?

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Dress – very 70s Good Times, huh? Something Willona Woods would wear? Found it at Ross and fell in love with it immediately.

Earrings – Target.

Belt – snazzy, no? Borrowed from my friend’s closet. I’ll be purchasing one that looks just like it.

Make-up – Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation and my precious Ruby Woo lipstick from MAC, Maybelline Falsies Volume Express mascara, and an assortment of eye shadows from Sally Beauty Supply.

And can I wax poetic about my hair? I have a hair crush on my own natural mane, and I was so digging the frohawk style my pal created for me. Yay.

Good times, indeed.