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. :-)

The TiffNicBasket: The Natural Me Product Review

Saturday, April 27, 2013

She's Back...Mad Gets A Pulse

Hey y'all! For those who didn't notice the tab, I have begun a series featuring the feisty, fabulous Madeline AKA "Mad" (DON'T call her Maddie!).

Episode 1 is now posted on the "Misadventures of a Social Networker" tab, and trust me when I tell you that this natural media mogul in the making definitely brings the heat.

I hope you enjoy getting to know Mad, and feel free to leave feedback in the comments section. :-)

Here's her theme song--"Madness" by Muse

Monday, March 11, 2013

It's A Party: Salon De La Soul Sister Grand Opening Celebration

Hey Beauties and Gents!  On March 9, 2013, I attended the Salon De La Soul Sister Grand Opening, and y'all, I had a BLAST! Our hostess with the mostest, Georgette Whaley showed us a soul-filled good time at the party--here's my take on the festivities.

Friends, family, and natural hair media personalities Lisa of This Hair of MineCrystal of Naturally Happy Hair, Tiffany K. of Venus Fly Naps Photography, and Kena of chocolateisnatural enjoyed yummy finger food, fruit, and pizza courtesy of Old School Pizza. Georgette's hubby Chris, better known as The Soul Brother supplied a steady stream of music for us to dance to, and best believe my little date Dean tore up the dance floor!

As a gift for showing love and support, party attendees received complimentary henna from the amazingly talented Dominica of Sol Tre Creations. FYI--she is a BEAST!

Although I enjoyed meeting up with old friends and making new ones, my favorite part of the party occurred when we witnessed Pastor Furr bless the salon. Success means nothing without giving praise and thanks to the Highest, so being able to witness such a powerful moment made a major impression on me and my spirit.

Thanks again to Georgette and Chris for inviting me, and I wish you even more success!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

My 1st Mini-Twists!

Y'all, I am normally calm, cool, and collected, but as I type this, I'm dancing around my living room. Why you ask? Beauties and Gents, I've hit a natural milestone... Drumroll please... My hair has grown long enough for mini-twists!

On a lark, I decided to start dry-twisting my hair today while watching YouTube videos. Since my hair was super soft and clean thanks to my trial of the Qhemet Biologics line, I figured why not? (Y'all that line is the TRUTH!) It took me about six hours with breaks, but I'm thrilled with the results. And the kicker? I didn't apply ANY products while twisting--my hair was just that supple and moisturized.

Note: I wasn't paid to endorse Qhemet Biologics, but even if I was, everything I've said is true. :-)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Product Review: Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Co-Wash Conditioning Cleanser and Frizz-Free Curl Mousse

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE the Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus line. The Curl and Shine Shampoo, Curl Enhancing Smoothie, and the Curling Souffle are all on my "Holy Grail" list of products.

So when the new co-wash and frizz-free mousse (FINALLY) arrived in Target stores, I couldn't wait to get my hands on them. Here is my review of the newest additions to the Shea Moisture collection.

The Co-Wash Conditioning Cleanser: 
Ingredients: Deionized Water, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Oil*, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter*, Cetyl Esters, Kaolin Clay, Grapeseed Oil, Simmondsia chinensis seed (Jojoba) Oil, Behentrimonium Chloride (Conditioner), Hibiscus Sabdariffa Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract,  Melia Azadirachta (Neem) Seed Oil, Sorbitol Esters, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), African Black Soap Extract, Sea Salt, Rosemary Extract, Caprylyl Glycol 
*Certified Organic Ingredient

One of the first things I noticed after applying this cleanser to my hair and scalp was the yummy coconut smell. I massaged it in, and I immediately noticed the great slip. I could run my hands through my curls easily, and I found that I could finger-detangle with no problem. What really impressed me was the cleaning power: I watched the dirt from my hair and scalp slide right on down my sink drain. I could actually see the brown water rinse away! (Gross I know, but hey, it's all about getting clean hair, right?!?)

Freshly washed with NO product--dem curls are poppin'!

After rinsing my hair, my curls "popped" with new life to them. My hair and scalp felt clean but not stripped and dry. Super soft, luscious curls with no dryness...WIN!

The Frizz-Free Curl Mousse:
Ingredients: Deionized Water, Cocomidropropyl Betaine (Coconut Oil), Vegetable Glycerine, Olea  Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Oil*, Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Keratin, Polyquaternium-10, Sucrose Laurate (and) Alcohol (non-drying), Melia Azadirachta (Neem) Seed Oil, Proprietary Essential Oil Blend, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid
*Certified Organic Ingredient

Now as much as I love Shea Moisture, I was more than a little skeptical about using a mousse. Every "curl law" directed me to stay away from them because of the drying alcohol content--no good for kinks and curls. Enter in the Frizz-Free Curl Mousse made with a non-drying alcohol. Non-drying? How? I did a bit of research, and to my relief, this ingredient actually exists.

After I washed my curls with the co-wash, I used the Curl and Style Milk as my leave-in. Next, I separated my hair into six sections and applied three pumps to each (per the directions on the front label). The scent was light and identical to the cleanser...more coconut and hibiscus goodness! Then I combed it through with my wide-toothed bone comb, and I was pleasantly surprised by how easily the comb glided through my hair. Once I finished combing it through, I let it air-dry.

Final Results:
My curls were defined but not crunchy. I was very pleased with how soft my hair felt, and I did get a bit more elongation than usual (a bonus--I wasn't expecting that at all!). Most importantly, my curls DID NOT FRIZZ--unheard of in super-humid Houston!

These two products will definitely be added to my staples list. They can be found at your local Target in the "seasonal" section (generally located in the very back near the automotive section--look for paper towels and macaroni in bulk lol). My only complaint is the price point--$11.99 for an 8 oz bottle and $9.99 for a 7.5 oz bottle, respectively. I'm used to the $9.99 price point of all the other products, so that threw me for a loop. Fortunately, I didn't have to use very much at all, but longer-haired curlies might require more than the two quarter-sized handfuls I used.

Have you tried the Shea Moisture line? Let me know what you think in the comments below. As always, thanks for reading this tidbit from The TiffNic Basket!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Natural Kind of Black Love

A woman's hair is her crowning glory, and naturalistas embrace that label with pride. But what about the men in our lives who watch us wash, condition, and care for our tresses? Do they love our hair the way we do?

Fortunately, I've been blessed to marry a man who has encouraged me on every step of this hair journey so far. He loves my curly mane, and he reaps the benefits of supporting my choice in our marriage. We are proud to show what Black love means to us by how we conduct ourselves in our marriage, and he fully embraces my natural hair. Here's the story of us, as well as tips for encouraging your significant other to share the natural love.

My husband Darmon and I met almost 11 years ago, and we clicked almost instantly. As our relationship grew more serious, he'd often ask questions about the hours I'd spend in the salon getting my hair done. One day while watching me wince in the bathroom from fresh chemical burns, he asked, "Why do you do this to yourself? Why not just wear your hair natural?" Now, back in the olden days of the early 2000s, I couldn't fathom not slapping a perm on this mane! I brushed him off time and time again with lame excuses, but he didn't stop asking.

Fast forward to 2011: needing a drastic change, I cut my long, relaxed hair into a short bob. Hubby told me how sexy my new cut was, but after watching me collect yet another set of chemical burns, he brought up my returning to natural. This time however, I didn't shoot the idea down. By October, I was ready to give up the creamy crack for good. Although Darmon's "See, I told you!" got old really fast, he was right. Touching my natural curls for the first time changed my perspective, and it made me realize just how much I loved my Black King for loving me in my natural state.

Here are a few ways that my baby loves me and my natural hair:

He washes my hair: Lord have mercy when that man washes my curls! Not only do I feel extra pampered, our weekly "hair appointment" helps us to build intimacy and trust between one another.

He gives his honest opinion on styles that I try, and he encourages me not to give up after yet another twist-out goes awry!

He asks questions: It's important to understand that whether you're aware of it or not, your man travels on your natural journey right along with you. I will answer any question he asks because I know he cares enough to want to know more.

He compliments my hair on a regular basis: this was especially important during my transition phase. I'd stepped completely out of my comfort zone by giving up the perm, and there were days when I felt anything but beautiful, but his affirmations of my natural beauty helped to put things in focus.

These are just a few of the ways my sweetie shows his love, and he sets an example for others to follow. My husband isn't perfect by any means, but the love we share makes him perfect for me. The ways that he shows appreciation of my curls, kinks, and waves makes me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world... naturally.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Naturally...Critical? Taking on the Natural Hair Police and Natural Nazis

Hello, lovely readers! My natural hair journey hasn't been an exceptionally hard one, but I've seen all kinds of things on my path. Should I throw out my flat irons? Never use shampoo again?  Only shop on the organic isle? Sleep upside down for length retention? (Ok, that's a stretch, but don't act like you haven't seen something similarly weird!) As we formerly relaxed girls have discovered, there are TONS of "rules" out there for naturals to follow, and with rules come the people to "enforce" them...enter in the Natural Hair Police, otherwise known as Natural Nazis. Love them or hate them, these self-appointed regulators can be found on nearly every natural hair page, blog, or if you're really lucky, handing out hair citations at natural hair meetups. Here's my take on how to handle the more-natural-than-thou crew and keep your sanity.

After transitioning for 9 months, doing the BC, and soaking in all sorts of hair knowledge, I'd like to think that I know a thing or two about natural hair. I follow trusted blogs like Curly Nikki, Naturally Happy Hair, Natural Hair Rules!!! and Kinky Curly Coily Me! for advice, I consult with hair veterans like Salon De La Soul Sister and Natural Hair Community on Facebook for styling and natural hair health tips, and I comb through numerous YouTube videos for inspiration. I'm no expert, but I've truly enjoyed creating a regimen that works for my mane.

BUT....*RECORD SCRATCH*...There is an epidemic on the rise that MUST be contained! Natural Hair Police officers are discouraging and confusing newly naturals at record rates. Older naturals merely give an SMH and keep it moving, but even the vets find themselves wanting to comment with a "Could you PLEASE shut up already? Can a girl straighten her hair without being put on trial?" I mean, seriously...It's not that serious. There's no such thing as a cookie-cutter natural; each person's hair is different, and while certain "rules" should be followed, no one should be attacked for "breaking" one. One of the best things about wearing your naturally textured hair is that you can change it up and create your own regimen of what works. 

Gasp! But what about the "rules"? Aren't we supposed to use all-natural products for our hair? Co-wash to keep sulfate shampoos from stripping moisture? Stop using heat or use as little as possible? Trim regularly? Moisturize and seal consistently? Wear protective styles to retain length? YES!...and no. The rules should actually be considered guidelines: tested and proven actions that will help ensure healthy natural hair. However, if a naturalista chooses to use water to moisturize, Blue Magic or TCB Hair Food to grease the scalp, and shampoo to wash it all out---AND IT WORKS FOR HIM OR HER---fine. If a curly girl wants to straighten once a week or once a year---so be it.

To the newly naturals: if you find yourself being criticized for your natural hair practices, listen politely, deflect, and keep it moving. Natural Hair Police officers mean well but don't realize that they can come across as judgmental, critical, and rude. Take the "juices and berries" from their statements and leave the "dirt" behind. Listen to fellow naturals, read everything you can about maintaining healthy hair, and don't be afraid to ask questions.

To the veterans: Remember that you too were newly BCed or transitioners once. If a newbie ASKS for advice, give it with love and support, and don't take it personally if they do something different. Don't force your opinion on other naturals, and save the sarcasm. The natural hair journey is just that--we are all still learning how to care for our curls, kinks, and everything in between. The goal isn't to prove that you have an advanced degree in "Nappology" but to be a source of wisdom and encouragement.

Remember Beauties--we are in this movement together, so stop writing citations on social media and start enjoying the awesomeness that is natural hair!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Curly Nikki | Natural Hair Styles and Natural Hair Care: Hair Despair?- 8 Tips To Help Your Hair G-R-O-W!

Read for excellent tips on caring for natural hair from Curly Nikki.

Curly Nikki | Natural Hair Styles and Natural Hair Care: Hair Despair?- 8 Tips To Help Your Hair G-R-O-W!: by Rene Syler of GoodEnoughMother I posted something on my Facebook page the other day, completely unrelated to this, and someone ...

Friday, January 4, 2013

Disney Stars Rock Natural Hair

Take a read of this awesome article that showcases young naturalistas!

Disney Stars Rock Natural Hair

My 1st Giveaway!

Hello Beauties and Gents! I am SO excited to announce my 1st giveaway! My first "goal" so to speak was to reach 100 likes on FB, and thanks to supportive folks like the lovely readers of this blog, I did it!

To celebrate, I am offering the following the details below:

One winner will receive an Entwine Naturelle Couture Audition Kit, and one winner will receive a Bath and Body Works Men's Collection set (body wash, lotion, and spray). Here's how to enter:

1. Go like Houston's Natural Sister's and Venus Fly Naps on FB
2. Comment "The Tiffnic Basket sent me"
3. Follow @TiffNicBasket on Twitter
4. Like The Tiffnic Basket on FB (if you haven't already) and comment "Enter Me!" under this pic.

The contest runs from 1/3/12-1/17-12. All steps must be followed in order to be eligible. Good luck, Beauties and Gents!