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!
I love it.
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.
December 2012: after eight months of waiting and impatiently wearing two different hair textures on my head (the relaxed ends and the growing, textured, natural roots), I walked into a salon and big chopped my hair. The smile on my face below should tell you how I felt about my decision.
I felt free. At the end of the day, a sense of freedom captured me and sweetly refused to let me go. As the months and years passed, I experimented with my natural hair, as you well know. ‘Fros, tapered cuts, a variety of protective styles–my hair officially became my canvas. And whenever I sensed one iota of boredom, it was time to change the painting.
Take a walk down memory lane with me…
Deep down, though? Real talk? That inner Square Peg longed for that feeling. The feeling that took over me when I got back into my car on that winter’s day in 2012. When I gazed in the mirror and felt that indescribable sense of freedom and beauty and satisfaction. As that revolving door of style changes continued to open and close, I really think that I was trying to re-capture that moment in the car, when it was just me and my ‘lil fro.
Fast forward to last Saturday. It had to happen. I had to go back.
Back to square one, dear reader. Back to the beginning. (And even shorter than the previous big chop, ha!) I sat in my stylist’s chair and I told her what I was thinking and despite her “we’re cutting it again?” response, I showed her the picture of what I was thinking and she took out that razor and got to work.
Look: after years of twist-outs and Bantu knots and braid-outs and all those lovely looks under the sun, here’s the truth: this is my look. This is the style for me. I think, with my previous cuts just a few months ago (here and here), that I was subconsciously moving in increments, slowly heading back to the start. And here we are. Finally.
A few fundamental truths:
Short hair almost automatically influences your style. I found myself wanting to ensure that my earring flow was on point; that my red lippie was on point (and a bit of purple, too, as you can see); etc. It’s almost organic the way it happens.
This is a big one for me. (No pun intended as you read on.) I had head issues. For various reasons, I thought my head was just way too large. Even when I big chopped in 2012, there was always a voice of doubt in the back of my mind concerning this head of mine. And as my stylist was razoring and cutting last Saturday, I almost panicked a bit, wondering if I had made a completely ridiculous decision. But look at that round head! It’s delicious!
Barring a wig or weave if I feel like it, the short hair life is the life for me. When winter comes, I plan on wearing tons of hats and head wraps to keep the cool air from freezing me out, and could allow the ‘fro to grow just a bit, but the short hair look is mine to keep.
I am not my hair, as India says. My hair is an accessory that can be shaped and created into whatever strikes my fancy. For me, the inside needs to be shiny and lovely first, followed by the accentuating of the inside. In all honesty, that’s what happened in 2012: the outside finally matched the inside. Openly, visibly, plainly: me.
Mine was delicious. Not only because of the food I ate (and yeah, I keep eating like my metabolism is 16 years old and not close to a brand new decade; we will discuss later), but because Texas gave us two beautiful, sunny, warm, breezy days that were just delectably good. With the bipolarity around here, you take what it gives and when it’s fantastic, you engage in praise hands and enjoy it immensely. (Knowing that in a week or too, monsoons will likely be a-coming…) Here’s what I wore:
Saturday. Brunch with some of the lovely ladies in my life. Two good friends of mine co-hostessed about 30 of us at a wonderful restaurant in our local area called Tupelo Honey (doesn’t the name just evoke visions of lemonade and wide verandas??), where we talked and laughed and reconnected and enjoyed the moments given to us. As usual, I had no idea what to wear; I did envision a long summer dress and pearls because, again, Tupelo Honey, but decided against that when a friend mentioned that she planned on wearing jeans. So jeans it was. I paired my boyfriend jeans with a blouse, blazer, and black heels. (See the photo; sadly, you can’t see the heels but trust that they were bomb, mmkay?)
Jeans and Blazer: Old Navy Blouse: Somewhere I don’t recall
Sunday. I had the pleasure of attending a spiritual conference this past Sunday, and it was certainly the faith-strengthening boost I needed. What I wore wasn’t the most important aspect of the day, of course, but looking my best was still part of the plan. Regarding what I wore: I shopped in my closet. Huzzah…
Real quick: the skirt had pockets. Don’t ask me while I held my hands that way when my skirt had pockets. Le sigh. But pockets! Yes!
Blazer (navy blue): Girl, I can’t remember Blouse: goodness, see above. I think Dress Barn? Years ago? Skirt: New York & Company The shoes of life: Jessica Simpson, from Macy’s
Didja notice something different with my hair?
I cut it!
Yes, I was growing it out. Yes, I planned on holding on. But y’all: the scissors and the long for change are just too powerful. I detailed my haircut journey in my latest submission for The Maria Antoinette. When it goes live, I’ll link it here and we’ll talk about the cut in depth. Just know that I’m very happy with it and the myriad of styles that came along my way. And that was the point. Variety continues to spice up my life. Cue the music.
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.
As much as I love making color changes to my hair, here’s the main reason why black wins every single time:
Had to do it.
Anyway, for me, black hair:
Makes red lippy pop from here till eternity.
Is shiny and lovely.
Is great with my skin tone.
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?
Hey y’all. I had the pleasure of attending the nuptials of two dear friends this past weekend and wanted to share what I wore, what I did with Her (my hair, as you know), and other tings. Let’s, shall we?
What I wore: So I suffer from this problem I’d like to call “forgets that she has clothes in her closet.” I think it’s genetic, because my mother has shown symptoms of the same issue. Anyway, when it’s time for a special event, something happens to me. My brain
freezes, I come down with a case of hardcore amnesia, and I hit the stores for new outfits as if I don’t already have a closet full of lovely frocks and ensembles that could easily be worn. Happened this time, too. A wedding?! Oh, no! What’ll I wear? Panic ensues. And then the day before the wedding, I was gazing in my closet and I saw that blue number hanging there, side eyeing me like, “I was here the whole time, princess.” (Yes, I totally called my own self princess. Please do the same.) I tried it on and was like, uh, yeah, wearing this. The other dress I bought is lovely in its own right, but I wasn’t truly feeling it. This dress made me happy. I combined it with a simple cardigan I had grabbed from Macy’s, my Jessica Simpson pink high heels, and it was a wrap. You know me: I stick with feminine, simple, and understated chic. I think this ensemble achieved all three.
Accessories: Peep the gold bracelet and the cute ring. (More about my earrings further below.) On the other wrist were more bracelets. Did you know that I’m a lover of bracelets like nobody’s business? Plus, as the years go by, the desire to pull everything off has certainly diminished. Thank the heavens.
HER, Face, and Them Earrings Though: First, don’t you love those earrings?? So lovely and unique. Snagged them from Target.
Foundation: Fenty. Pro Filt’r Foundation in 450. (Soft matte and longwear, and the latter is not an exaggeration. After dancing my bad knees off all night, my makeup still looked intact. All hail.)
Concealer (used under my eyes and above my eyebrows, bridge of nose, and chin): Fenty Match Stix Stinstick in Suede.
Eyeshadow: Morphe 350 Eyeshadow Palette in a variety of colors.
Blush: Black Radiance in Warm Raspberry
Highlighter: MARIAH CAREY collection MY MIMI extra dimension skinfinish
Lips: My beloved Ruby Woo with MAC lip liner in Currant
Eyeliner and Mascara: Maybelline
Whew, right? But it took me less than 10 minutes to put everything on!
HER: She’s been in an interesting mood. After several months of protective styling and braids and such, she came back a bit temperamental and needing lots of love and extra care. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to style her for the wedding, but deep down,
I knew I’d go with a frompadour. And that’s what I did. Moisturizer, 1,000 pins, a few hair combs, and a quick prayer that she wouldn’t rebel against my fingers. My colleague described it as a Gibson Girl look and with my love for all things vintage-y, especially hair: mission accomplished.
A fun day was had. Bottom line: so happy for my friends who symbolized their love with an elegant, lovely, fabulous wedding day.
Oh, hey. Have you missed me as much as I’ve missed you, dear reader? Have you longingly gazed at your notifications, hoping to see that I’ve reached out to you with another post? No? Well, I love you anyway.
It’s been a while since I’ve talked about this fro (known as She) on my larger-than-average head. Let me catch you up: for the past several months or so, She’s been giving me life. Why? Because She’s been obedient! We all know how She does her own thing and follows her own rules and decides when she wants to feel moisturized and so on. But for the past several months, She’s been actually responding to my attempts at styling and care-taking. It’s been slightly surreal. But I’ll take it. Anyway, since the dawn of summer, I decided to start fashioning her into vintagey pompadour styles that She’s really responded to. Take a look.
I’ve loved the creative, natural hair updo look forever. Throw in that retro feel that some of the styles evoke and I became an immediate fan and decided to try my hand at them. Even better: the style protects my dear ends, which are tucked away comfortably while I wear these styles. Here’s a quick how-to (or how I do) on them:
I start with hair that’s been stretched by an old twist-out, or Bantu knot-out, or really any style that I’ve worn for a while. Note that stretched doesn’t necessarily mean straight. Some naturalistas do these styles on straightened hair, but I like to just have my hair stretched to a malleable point.
I then apply moisturizer or whatever styling cream I want to use. Before that, I like to spritz my hair with a tiny bit of water and/or leave-in conditioner, but not so much as to lose the stretch and bring on le shrinkage.
Now I style. Perhaps here, you’re waiting for some rhyme or reason to how I style the hair into the frompadour (fro + pompadour)? Sorry. I don’t have one. I literally stare in the mirror and start moving my hair around to see what I like. Sometimes I want a front swoop thing like you see in the photos. Or I want to create a “flower” with my hair in the back. It’s really up to what I end up doing. As long as I have an abundance of pins and a bristle brush to keep sides and edges smooth (to no avail), I just end up with a nice style that I wear for a week or so.
That’s all she wrote. I get some of my ideas from Pinterest, of course, where you’ll find plenty of ladies with similar styles. Barring the falling into the Pinterest rabbit hole, that’s a great resource for ideas. YouTube, as well.
So what new things are you doing for the summer summer summertime?
Who are the scientists or hairologists that create the gel for those of us with edges that have temperamental minds of their own? They need to work harder. Because people like me with edges like me laugh at these gels, these silly things that do absolutely nothing to tame these rebellious follicles that rest on the borders of my hairline. Normally, I wouldn’t care. I’m the kind of naturalista that puffs my hair and doesn’t take the time to smooth things out at the front. Smooth isn’t that important to me. But then I started taking Biotin and vitamins to make my hair stronger and yay, my hair started really growing and getting fuller, but whoa, my hair started really growing and getting fuller and goodness, I looked like I lived in someone’s backyard. And with braids (I’ve had braids since December; done and re-done), if one wants a ponytail or to pull the braids back, the edges cannot shame you. But mine shame me. Every. Single. Day.
So I purchased this “edge control” gel, which a woman at the shop claimed would do wonders for my edges. Nope. Nope. Nope. The hair lays for approximately 5 seconds and then rolls its eyes at me and sticks right back up. Wild and curly and crazy. Unabashedly untamed and unkempt.
But you know what? I’m c’est la vie-ing it, folks. That’s life. Bushy edges and all. I can’t change them. There is no control.
But am I the only one? If you have rebellious edges, kindly let me know in the comments. Edge misery (not really though) loves company.
Happy Friyay, bon weekend, and onwards and upwards.
It’s not edible. But I must stress that when I use this body wash, it feels like I’m swimming in a pool of vanilla cupcakes, each one more delicious and dangerous than the next. I’ve used Oil of Olay products here and there, but not enough to develop a relationship with them. (Because we’re really in relationships with these products, aren’t we?) Anyway, after randomly choosing this body wash one evening while shopping, it’s a new favorite. The scent is dreamlicious; my skin is soft and lovely after use. Try it. Just don’t eat it.
Also not edible. And yet the combination of cocoa and Shea butter in this creamy lotion is enough to inspire you (i.e., me) to at least search for an edible version of these dual ingredients. Maybe in an ice cream? Gelato? Souffle? Moving on: I’ve used Aveeno products since time began, and yet I mainly stuck with their daily moisturizing lotion. But this is no mere lotion. It’s so, so creamy. As soon as it touches my skin, I inhale deeply, relax a bit, and apply just enough to prevent sliding off my bed in the dead of night.
After nearly 4 years as a naturalista, I’ll definitely say that the product junkie-ism that inevitably comes with the natural hair life has largely abated for me. My bathroom no longer looks like an aisle in your local drugstore. I have my staple products. But once in a while, I watch YouTube videos and my eyes get big and I decide to try a few (only a few) of the things I’m seeing. Regarding this particular inedible product from Black Girl Long Hair Marketplace, I saw a neat video on the many uses of Shea butter and was reminded about how versatile it is. I’ve had the raw African Shea Butter in my bathroom for eons, but honestly, the scent wasn’t giving me the I-wish-I-could-eat-you feels. (Because this is how I make decisions on skincare, beauty, and hair: whether or not it smells like my next dessert. We keep it real here at This Square Peg…) Enter the aforementioned video, enter this website, enter the word “vanilla”, enter this yummy product that I use almost every day in my hair care. Whether I’m two-strand twisting my hair, or smoothing it down for a puff, or just keeping the fro soft, I love it. FYI: If you order it, and you really must, choose to have it packaged in a cool container. I didn’t, which meant that my Shea butter came to me in a melted vanilla soup form. I whipped it myself. Anyway, definitely a keeper.
Any skin/beauty/hair products you’re crushing on lately? Tell me about them, pretty please. I’m always on the hunt for new favorites…