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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Welcome Back to the Basket!

Hey y'all! What a ride it's been on this crazy adventure called life. I took some time away from blogging and such for a variety of reasons, but I'm back to sharing my observations on all things natural hair.

It's been nearly three years since my BC, and I've learned a LOT about my hair... And who I am as a person. A more detailed post on my current regimen will follow, but I wanted to take a minute to share a few "snacks" from the TiffNic Basket.

1. It's just hair... And so much more.
The thing is, as a black woman living in America, so much focus falls on black hair. When a woman decides to buck conventional standards and wear her hair in its natural texture, it IS a big deal. Yes, those kinky, curly, and coily strands don't define you as a person, but they are a part of your identity. And there's nothing wrong with embracing them just as they are.

2. Your hair will drive you nuts. And it's okay to own that.
If I had a dime for every time I threatened "Simone" with the scissors... Let's just say rent would be paid up for a year! I used to envy women who'd been natural their whole lives. I mean, they had their whole lives to learn what works for their manes while I, the chick who depended on the creamy crack for 20 years, had to deal with a major learning curve. However, once I let go of my curl-definition obsession and started focusing on healthy hair habits, my stress levels dropped big time. Oh, and my natural hair stylist friends, my little sister, and YouTube videos saved me on many a "bad hair day".

3. You're a role model, even when you aren't aware of it.
When I'm not sharing my musings, I'm working as a middle school teacher. And let me tell you--children watch EVERYTHING you do. Some of my biggest bonding moments with both male and female students have been with simple conversations about hair. There's nothing like when a middle school girl asks you for styling tips, or when a young boy says, "My mom/sister/grandma wears her natural hair like yours, and it's cool." So when you fluff that fro (shout out to my fellow educator Krys!) and catch a kid watching you, be sure to wink and smile.

Beauties and Gents, as always, I appreciate your support, comments, and questions. Thanks for joining me!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Hair Crimes: When Slacking on Natural Hair Catches Up With You

Hey Beauties and Gents! It's been a long time... I shouldn't have left you. Ok, enough with the old school hip-hop references.

Have you gotten to a point in your journey where your hair just doesn't like you? Have you slacked on maintaining your mane and it has had told you off? Well, I'm guilty of several hair crimes, and I'm going to share ways to own up and fix your natural hair issues.

Crime #1: Not sealing ends properly
Evidence: Those damn fairy knots!
Sentence: Hot oil treatments and daily use of castor oil.

This summer I took a break from EVERYTHING, including sealing my ends. My hair's texture changed, and for reasons I still don't know, I decided to stop using my castor oil blend. (What was I thinking?!?) Combine that with "leaving my hair alone", and I got tons of fairy knots for my trouble. I've never had them before, so I'm going back to basics, AKA, what works.

Crime #2: Trying too many products
Evidence: Hair that refuses to cooperate
Sentence: Find staples and go into PJ Rehab

Ah, the natural hair subscription box! You get to try new products and learn about the latest in hair care. For product junkies like myself, those boxes made me the kid in the hair candy store. Unfortunately, my hair was none too pleased with my experimenting. The result? Dryness, itchy scalp, and frizz. To aid in making my hair happy again, I'm getting rid of products that didn't work and only buying products that my hair likes--no more subscription boxes for me!

Crime #3: Not moisturizing my hair enough
Evidence: Parched ends
Sentence: Moisturizing twice a day and sealing ends properly

Spending almost a month in Arizona this summer did a number on my hair! The "dry heat" which is actually akin to walking into an oven, sapped my hair's moisture. I couldn't get a good handle on which products to use in a dry climate, and my strands suffered. Now that I'm back home in humid Houston, my hair is happier (but more frizzy). For future reference, I will do a LOT of research on how to keep in moisture when dealing with dry climates.

While my crimes against my hair aren't unusual, they definitely reflect my relative newness to natural hair life. I'm a year in the game, but I'm constantly learning new things about how to properly maintain my curls. If you've ever committed a hair crime, post it here in the comments. How did you get back on the right track?

Thanks for reading... Peace, Love, and Curls!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Curly Girl (Method) No More: Why I Gave it Up

Hey Beauties and Gents! As many of you who have followed me from the beginning know, I was a HUGE cheerleader for the Curly Girl Method.(Read about it here) I was so excited to find a hair regimen that kept my unruly curls moisturized and defined...Yay me! Until...I got bored. Yep--bored. You're probably saying to yourself, "Of all the reasons to stop a regimen, this chick chooses BOREDOM? Really?" There are several other reasons that I'll discuss here as well, so read on.

 Reason #1: You're not supposed to use oils...wait...WHAT? 
If your natural mane is anything like mine, it requires two key elements for health and strength. Moisture and OIL. When I started using the CG Method, I used a rinse-out conditioner as my leave-in (Tresemme Flawless Curls), my castor/coconut/grapeseed oil mixture to seal in the moisture provided by my leave-in, and Eco Styler Olive Oil gel to style my wash-and-go (WNG). This routine worked well for me, and I shouted it to the rooftops...until I got my hand slapped by a "veteran " CGer. More than a little annoyed, I did some research, and lo and behold, the CG Method discourages using oil. The only time CGers should use it? Deep conditioning and/or hot oil treatments. Knowing that my hair NEEDS oil as a sealant to help retain moisture, this posed a huge problem for me.

Reason #2: Limited hair product options AKA a product junkie's nightmare!
 Here's the thing--I wouldn't consider myself a full-on product junkie. of the most fun things about returning to natural for me is getting to try out lots of natural products on these strands of mine. (I'm a sucker for a product that smells good and feels good on my hair lol.)Some of my favorite products like Shea Moisture Curl and Style Milk, BelNouvo CoCo Castor Pudding, the entire Beautiful Textures line, and of course, Qhemet Biologics all contain oils. However, following the CG Method cuts out many of the butters, creams, and oils that my hair responds to--a definite no-go for me.

Reason #3: BOREDOM...If I do one mo' WNG...
 Don't get it twisted--the wash-and-go will ALWAYS be my go-to style. When I need to get fab for work or play quickly, there's nothing like a quick co-wash, shake, and go. However, with 11 months of naturalness under my belt, I need more styling options for this hair of mine. The TWA days are over, and I am firmly entrenched in the "awkward length phase". The good news is that I can now do mini-twists, twist-outs (even though they only last for two days SMH), French braids, half-updos, and so on. As my hair grew longer, I began to look for Curly Girl styling options, and I only came across ponytails (I ain't there yet--I can do a mini-pony), buns (I can only bun with Marley hair), and of course, the WNG. As a relaxed chick, I wore my hair in a wrap/bob for FIFTEEN years. Can you imagine how boring and dull I must have seemed in my quest to "conform"? Tuh--as a natural, I REFUSE to confine myself to the same hairstyle 24/7.
The relaxed days..My standard bob
Month 10: Twist-out and texture!

Do I think the Curly Girl Method is bad or evil? Absolutely not! The CG Method served as a great learning tool for me as a new natural. You can't beat the simplicity of using water, conditioner, and gel to maintain your curls. However, it definitely has its limitations, and as I continue to mature in my journey, I realize that following it strictly just doesn't work for me. I do still use the styling technique (especially when I'm in a hurry), and I would still recommend it to a curly-haired natural who needs an easy-to-follow regimen. As for me, I'll continue to tweak my regimen and enjoy my curls.

Until next time...Peace, love, and curls. :-)