Do you Boo Boo- or popular practices I DON’T follow.

This blog is going to talk a lot about what has worked for me on my natural hair journey. However, in keeping with the whole “Do you boo boo” theme of my last post, I thought I would highlight the old adage “different strokes for different folks” (What you talkin’ ’bout Willis?) (Sorry. Too easy) so I’m going to talk about some products/techniques that natural hair proponents often advocate and some that transitioners unwisely practise. Some may be worth trying but they did not really stick with me.

  • Shea butter. Maybe the quality I got just wasn’t good. Maybe my butter wasn’t authentic. But the stuff I bought from the Eastern Market vendors last summer was hard to manipulate and just made my hands greasy.
  • Apple cider vinegar. Often recommended for cleansing, adding shine and reducing porosity. But it’s too acidic for my scalp and too pungent for my nose.
  • Kinky-curly knot-today conditioner. It’s very popular, especially among Kimmaytube subscribers but…mehh…I don’t get the hype. Didn’t do much for me in terms of moisture, definition or detangling “slip.”
  • Co-washing. (cleaning your hair with just conditioner. Possibly using sugar as an extra scalp-scrub) Didn’t want to use my good conditioner too frequently and the cheap silicone stuff just left too much build-up. My hair is fine being washed just once a week for now.
  • Store-bought hair masques…why pay $10.00 for 8oz of hair masque when $20.00 worth of ingredients will make you almost a litre (thats 4 cups for the Americans) of a caramel Tx or whatever natural masque/conditioner your heart desires. Plus you always know what’s going in your hair. Even when I was a true Pantene fiend, their masques didn’t do a thing for me.
  • Scalp massage pre-poos i.e. rubbing your scalp down with an oil (usually olive or tea-tree) before shampooing. Contrary to popular belief, there’s no scientific proof that this does anything to stimulate hair growth and it didn’t help with my dry scalp…though, oddly massaging coconut oil in during my shower seems to work…don’t ask me how it’s different.
  • Pressing your hair until it grows out…I know it’s tempting. Noone wants the black-girl version of a mullet- nappy in the front, straight in the back- but try twist-outs, bantu knot-outs or a big chop if you’re brave to reconcile or eliminate the varying textures. Also if you are using heat, avoid…
  • Oil as heat protector. NO NO NO!!!! I don’t care  how much of an organic advocate you are. If you are going to straighten your hair with heat at all use silicone products to protect it. Oil traps heat. That’s why we use it to deep fry stuff: if it does that to a hunk of animal flesh…think what it does to your little hairs. If you take a first aid class they tell you NOT to put butter on burns (yes people actually do this. A lot.) because oil+heat=FAIL p.s. the only thing you should ever put on a burn is cool- not cold- water.
Now go forth in curl-prosperity!
Peace, love and curls from me and “Angela Davis”
Speaking of Angela Davis…let’s honour her as our curly of the week.

Me Rocking a Flattwist-outAngela Davis Now and Back Then

Maintaining

OK soooo my plan was to get this out on Thursday, a week after my initial post but well, I mean,well…what had happened was *shrugs* My B. I’ll try to move this blog to every Sunday instead of Thursday. Cool? Cool. But anyways…

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend in Colorado where it’s sunny, cold and dry. My hair had some advantages and disadvantages with this. It did produce much better twist-outs than I get in the usually rainy/humid DC. You may have seen my tweets: Great, full, defined curls. The first time they were even more defined than in the twit-pic. CO’s problem, obviously, is the DRYNESS. If you have Naturally Curly’s “curls on the go” app for your smartphone, it will recommend products based on your weather report. For the Denver area, you’ll need a sun-protectant if you’re not wearing a hat. If you are wearing a hat, use one with a satin lining or wrap your hair in a scarf underneath.

For this week’s deep treatment (Tx) I added a little honey to the yoghurt/EVOO mix and let it soak in overnight (as opposed my usual 30-60 mins). I don’t think my hair felt any better than with my normal routine. I normally just spritz my hair with water, then add the deep treatment in sections, top it off with a plastic bag and cover it up with a warm Honeyfig Hair Wrap. During the week, I’ve been adjusting my moisture and sealing. I recently read on a curlynikki.com post that maybe the oils I’m using to seal are best used on dry hair, to moisturize better than seal. The difference being, the lipid molecules are smaller so they penetrate your cuticle rather than sit on your hair shaft to hold water/moisture in. I have to experiment with this. I’m getting better at finding the balance between moist and greasy but I’m not all the way there yet…

If you recall from my last post, I use a combo of water, EVOO, coconut oil, curl enhancing smoothie and KCCC gel. Problem was: with the amount of smoothie I was using my hair was greasy, without it, I was dry. Solution: a lot more coconut oil and a lot less smoothie (two finger dabs per section is really all you need). I’m concentrating on using the smoothie as a supplement rather than the base of my regimen; divide your hair into about five or six sections before you go to work: result: soft, beautiful curls. The best way I’ve found to shape damp hair is holding your head upside down and scrunching. Everyone takes time to develop her/his own routine, so if you’re a newly natural curly, be patient. I am liking my hair routine right now if it isn’t exactly what the “experts” recommend. Any expert who’s for real will tell you (as Kevin Hart said) “do you boo boo!” Your hair’s response to products depends on a lot of factors such as…

  • curl type/ texture. The system was developed by (Oprah’s stylist) Andre Walker and can be seen on naturallycurly.com. I’m a 3c on most parts of my head.
  • porosity: The more porous your hair, the more likely it is to frizz in wet weather (and this is a “La Niña” year. Whatever that means…something about a lot of precipitation??? *shrugs*) because the cuticle is open to the air so it can suck the moisture in. Therefore your strands branch out seeking moisture. Conversely, hair with low porosity is less absorbent of products and water you want to give it. Test porosity by leaving strands in a bowl of water for 2-4 minutes. porous hair should sink quickly. Apple Cider Vinegar’s acidity can seal your cuticle and is a good treatment for this.
  • strength strength gives you length, and length affects styling. Invest in a weekly or fortnightly (bi-weekly to you Americans) protein treatment. Egg and yoghurt make solid (if pungent) choices. Strong hair should be able to stretch 30% of its length. Test your strength by tying a strand to a bag of water (I’ve actually never done this. lemme know how it goes! lol
  • Density/ Thickness. gather your hair in a ponytail and measure the circumference to estimate how many hairs you’re tending to per inch of scalp.

Hope you learned and enjoyed. <3…Daria and “Angela”