Friday, August 30, 2013

Akua's Story: Curl Maintenance...Day by Day...

Hi Folks:  Today we are going to hear from a woman who loves her natural hair, typically wears the wash and go style and needs a little help maintaining her curl pattern between washes.  Here is her story in her own words:
My hair routine is simple.  I wash and go about every two weeks by co-washing.  I wash my hair once a month with shampoo.  Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie is my curl definer.  I use their shampoo and conditioner as well.  I also use Black Jamaican Castor Oil for my scalp and olive oil for overall moisture.  
When my hair was shorter I was able to touch up the curls by spraying it with water and applying the Curl Smoothie.  With my hair being longer it is now taking the wash and go process a little over an hour.  When its short it takes 45 minutes to an hour.  The second week of the wash and go style is usual in an up do (not pictured).  I do puffs with and with out pompadours in the front.  Or other up do styles.  

Wash and go - Day 1

Wash and Go - Day 2
Wash and Go.....Day 4

Curl close up - Day 1
Curl close up - Day 2
Curl close up.....Day 4
Another angle...Day 1
Another angle....Day 2

Another angle....Day 4

I would love to find a product that would keep the frizzes down more.  Which in turn would allow my curls to stay more defined for longer periods of time.  I actually like my hair the best once it is at its maximum puffiness. The curls are soft and I have a lot of body.  I will be cutting my hair shortly so that it is easier to maintain.  I am hoping that the professional stylist will give me some tips on keeping the curls longer.

The end.


Wow! Akua's hair is so different from day to day!  I can definitely see her curls transforming.  I would suggest a curl definer that takes away frizz and maintains the curls longer.  I've been hearing a lot about Eden Body Works - namely the curling pudding soufflé.  I've seen YouTube videos showing VERY defined curls...and that impressed me.  I'm going to give that one a try...I think Akua should too! 

Any product advice for Akua?

Peace and blessings!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I love my Natural Hair!!!

Hi Folks!!

Hair month is almost over on The Natural Journey For Life!  I've had a ball this month with sharing your stories and getting the inside scoop on your natural hair journey! As the month closes I want to finish sharing the results from the "Spill your Hair Guts" survey.  In the questionnaire you answered a very important question: What do you like about your natural hair?

Personally,  I LOVE my natural hair because it is so versatile.  I have more styles now than I did when I was hooked on the creamy crack.  I love to feel my curls and manipulate my tresses. It feels good to have the hair that I was born with.  I honestly feel close to my African I have accepted who I am as a Black's empowering!!! No matter who likes it or not! :)  12 years ago when I cut my perm off I received comments like this:  "You need to perm that mess" and "I liked it better straight".  Even when I used to straightened it, I seemed to get more compliments:  "Oh! your hair looks so pretty!" I would respond: "It didn't look pretty before?" SMH. 

Here's what you told me:

"I did like the flexibility - even being able to go straight (for a the winter!) but since I've had locs, I'd have to say the convenience! If I have been scrutinized, I don't know it!"

"Style flexibility. No I'm not scrutinized."
"I love that my hair is healthy and thick"
"I love everything about my hair!  In the beginning a lot of comments were made".
"Love the versatility. I am not overtly scrutinized but I know people have their opinions."
"The fact that it is natural, expresses a part of who l am.  I  got more compliments when I wore locs."
"I love the natural curls/coils and the versatility. Overall, I've received positive feedback from all walks of life. A few weird comments, like are you supporting cancer when I BC'd and you remind me of a cartoon character, but overall showers of amazement."
"I love the texture of my hair, its my antenna to the universe."
"The variety of styles I can have."
Since natural hair is so popular it's easy to find style and product ideas EVERYWHERE! There are tons of blogs, vlogs and Face Book pages dedicated to natural hair.  All the information, techniques, and terminology can be overwhelming for me at times, but I love the fact that Black women are SO empowered and comfortable in their own hair (and skin)!
I love my natural hair yall!!!! :)
The curly fro-hawk - this time around I used smaller twists (hard to see).

Different pose....I"ve been told my one "look" is getting boring! I'm going to start jazzing it up! Get ready! :)

It was a rainy day...but I liked the extra puff the humidity gave me.

Yes...I'm at work.....................................ignore the back drop! lol!

Oh! I also found an awesome resource for products: Curl Mart! No body told me!!! It's an online store for curly hair ( 
Why do YOU love your natural hair??
Peace and blessings!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

In Pursuit of a Curl Pattern: Hats hats and more hats!

Ki-ki is back!  Hats have been a way for her to cope with her new look  and this post will feature an array of  hats that she's been wearing over the past week.  Here is Ki - ki in her own words:


Until I gain confidence or get used to my 30 day look, I have taken to wearing hats all of the time.  Here are some of my "model shots" in case there are those out there in need of hats too.  (Please excuse the model, the photographer, the background and any random objects.) :)

The MJ hat -   I got this hat from a corner Asian store in Detroit!   I love it because it reminds me of Michael Jackson's glove.    Oh, poor Michael.  So exceptionally good and so crazy, SMH.
Girl Power! -  This is a new hat from Walmart - only $6.96!   I love it!  It says, "I mean business!".   Go Walmart!
Most Compliments Hat - This old lime green hat from the Target clearance rack never fails to get a compliment from a stranger each time that I wear it.   It does not fail to brighten my day, if I am feeling low or the weather outside is gray.  I love it!

New Summer Hat - Oh no!  This is my new 2013 hat from Target.  It doesn't fit anymore. 

New Fall Hat -  This is my new Fall 2013 hat.  It is super cool and full of style.  The best part is that it only cost $6.96 at Walmart!  Yep, Walmart!

Old Favorite - I absolutely love this hat and hope that I will have it to wear forever.  It is an old hat from Target clearance rack.  The fit is so comfortable that I forget I am wearing it.   It matches most casual outfits.  Definitely, an oldie but goodie.

Winter Hat -  This is my winter hat from Burlington Coat Factory.  I am sure that I did not pay much for it but it is warm, cozy and nice color that matches with mostly anything.  This is as far down as I can get it on with my new boy head.  (May not be able to wear it this winter).

Road Trip Hat - Oh, this poor that - I hardly care about it - just toss it on and treat it any kind of way.  I can't remember where I picked this up from.

Beach Hat -  Oh yeah, Baby!  Take me to the beach.... I love this floppy hat but  only works well at the beach when I don't have to chase the kids.  Maybe this is from Target....

I  hope that I have illustrated that hats are a viable option for those who may be in need.  One doesn't have to spend a lot of money.  Clearance racks are the best places to look.  I recommend  having a min of 2 or 3 that are different from each other but that can be worn with a variety of  outfits

Ki-ki!!! I love the beach hat the most!  The new summer hat look is quite comical!!  Oh and the MJ hat!!! Have Mercy!!! It really does remind you of those gloves! :) Thanks for sharing and bringing us along on your curly journey!  I can't wait to see what's next! 

Remember folks...scour the clearance racks for some good deals!

Personally, scarves and head wraps have been my go to accessory, especially on those bad hair days! 

What do you think about Ki-ki's hats? 

Peace and blessings!

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Hair Journey: Tress Update #7 - Curls and Hawks

Hi Folks! 

Today I'm going to share two looks with you. 1) wash and go curls using a new product and 2) my expanding faux hawk!

The curls:
I decided to start exploring more curl enhancing products.  This weekend I tried Kinky Curly curling custard.  It was $10.99 at Target.

The instructions on the jar for thick coarse hair (which is what I have) said to apply the custard when my hair was dripping wet.  So I did.  I'm not sure how much I was supposed to apply but I added a generous amount to sections of my dripping wet hair.  After applying it was white and pasty.  A few hours later it began to dry.....this is the result:

The Curling Custard Review:
I liked the curl pattern the custard  gave me.  My curls were defined and did not get hard. They were also more defined and smaller than when I used the Shea Moisture curling smoothie.  But 6 hours after application, it was still wet and goopy.  12 hours after application, it was STILL wet! I mean it was drier than 6 hours earlier, but still wet.   I didn't like that part.  Maybe I used too much....And that's the tricky part, making sure you use the optimal amount of product for your particular hair texture and length. 

I will try this product again and change the amount I use and see what result I get.  If my hair stays goopy for more than 3 hours...I'ma have to call it quits on the curly custard.

The expanding faux-hawk:
After my goopy curl experience I decided to rock my Flo fro for the rest of the weekend.  I added some flat twists this morning (which took 8 minutes) and was SO excited about my hair expansion!!!!! The pictures below compare the faux hawk I was rocking in June with this month! Wow!! See the growth? I'm even having a hard time picking it out and patting it smooth!

Faux hawk in June 2013
Faux hawk in August 2013

Yaaay growth!!!!!!!!! My flat twisting skills have also improved!! :)
I rocked the expanded version with pride at work today!  I'm getting out of my comfort zone...but you must admit this look, although a little edgy, is still very neat and work appropriate! :)

What do you think??

Peace and blessings!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Conversion: From Straight to Curly

The conversion from chemically treated relaxed hair to natural curls is a BIG DEAL for most women.  How the conversion or transition happens depends highly on your comfort level.  I didn't feel comfortable chopping off all my hair so I let my perm grow out, then cut it off.  During my conversion I wore braids and had my new growth straightened.  I finally cut off the perm when I had about 4-5 inches of new growth and I haven't turned back.  That was about 12 years ago!

Based on the survey results many of you guys did the same thing I did. 
  • 11% - always had natural hair
  • 22% - had a rough transition
  • 67% - let the perm grow out first
  • 11% - did the big chop (BC)
  • 22% - did something else (other)

The conversion or transition is always a sensitive, life altering experience....why?  Because you are TOTALLY changing your overall look,  your hair styles (which could add time to your morning routine), and creating a totally new hair care regime (which can take time to establish).  Natural hair can be tricky and finding the right look can be overwhelming. It takes time and patience to land the right products and techniques to get the look you are satisfied with.  I saw a friend today who just did the big chop! She looked gorgeous to me...but still felt unsure about how to handle her new curls.  I will also mention, some men are not in favor of natural hair (especially the big chop) getting your man on board may be an issue as well. 

The following is a real life account of a beautiful woman named Taraja who has been converted and fully transitioned into a naturalista.  Enjoy!


TARAJA'S STORY (in her own words):
All my life I was exposed to beating my hair into submission with a hot comb and then the creamy crack.  That's all I knew.  With my thick unruly hair I always turned to straightening my hair.  I struggled with combing through my extremely thick hair, so the only solution I saw was to chemically straighten my hair.
Relaxed days

Knowledge is power.  That statement was what started my natural hair journey.  After realizing that I've been trying to manage my hair all wrong and that my hair could actually be combed through in no time, there was no turning back!  With the birth my first child, I also wanted to show her by example to love her natural curls, not naps.
Faux natural

Cut short


First off it didn't start off as a full Big Chop.  I just wanted to cut off my relaxed hair.  So I took advantage of a trip to Maryland and made an appointment at a Natural Hair Salon!  My friend came with me and documented the entire process.  It was an exhilarating experience, I had no fear, just shear joy.  During the whole time I was either smiling or laughing.  Once my relaxed hair was cut, I could only see an afro puff. To make the styling process easier for myself I decided right then and there to just cut it all off!!! 

Hair before the big chop (BC)

Hair during the big chop (BC)

All off!!! I'm a new woman!
I feel like I'm seeing my hair for the first time.  The versatility, the richness, the possibilities are endless and it hasn't even been 1 full year after my BC!  Not only am I in love with loving my curls, but I'm exploring home made products...shea butter, raw black soap, essence oils, etc, are among my current arsenal.  Oh! I'm also teaching myself to flat twist.  All that I am learning on myself, will be applied to my precious daughter <3
First twists

Exploring natural styles

Great coiling method

Great example for daughter


I'm sure Taraja's story has resonated with most of you like it has with me!  The conversion process is exciting and the new hair adventure you accept along with the process is EMPOWERING!  I think the choice Taraja made is indeed an excellent example for her daughter!  I'm looking forward to seeing her progress!

I want to give a HUGE thanks to Taraja for being so candid and sharing her hair journey with us!!!!!

What was your conversion/transition process like?

Peace and blessings!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

In Pursuit of a Curl Pattern: Kiki's Curly Journey Begins!!

Hi Folks! Today is special on The Natural Journey For Life! My first GUEST POST!! :)
Remember no curl Kiki? Well Kiki has made a life changing decision and wants to share it with us! Keep reading to get the inside scoop!

Kiki's Curl Journey:
On August 20th, I decided to seriously pursue my natural curl pattern! Since I made that choice 24 hours ago (this post was written on 8/21/13), my hair life has been a roller coaster. What a way to start, huh?

Last night, I decided to try the wash and go to see what happens. I washed, conditioned and used a product that has been successful at keeping moisture and curls for some.... I was surprised when the sides and back of my hair curled up. They were not tight curls by any means but they were still curls. The only problem area that I saw was the front "bang area". That hair was as straight as a line! I just kept manipulating, moving, shaping and tucking until that portion was swooped over to one side. My hair had shape, wave like curls and style. I was geeked.... "This will be better than I imagined"... I thought. (roller coaster up)

My hair was mostly dry when I went to bed and I was pleased. However, morning came and things were very different. I woke up to find that all of my curly wisps were straight!!!! My head was a poofy straight mess!!!! Of course, I put on my poofy hat and went about my day. (roller coaster down)

A few hours later, I was determined to get braids. Something quick.... so I went to the African hair shop in the mall and yes, they could give me 6 chunky cornrows. "Great", I thought. Doing this style would give me time to figure out the next step, give my hair a heat break and allow me to look presentable to the world.    90 minutes and $80 later, I was done! Everything seemed good. When I looked in the mirror I was satisfied. (roller coaster up)
Kiki and her chunky cornrows........I'm liking this look!
However, when I got home to document this phase in my pursuit, I did not like what the camera was showing me. This hair style looks horrible on me!  The chunky braids are not chunky or high enough to balance my face. I realized that this is what I would look like if I had did the BIG CHOP. My hair is now flatter than it has EVER been. I am not sure if I look better up close or far away (see pics)! I look like a big headed boy!!! My hair life definitely needs something going on horizontally. (roller coaster down)
Now, as I have been pondering how I can stop looking like a boy, I realize that looking like a boy is not so bad. First of all, I won't be using heat for 30 days. I don't have to worry about what to do with my hair and I have time to plan my next adventure - wet sets. I can make use of my many hats that I enjoy wearing anyway and buy a few more, of course.  I'll save the sparkly one for church and dare anyone to say something to me or look at me funny! LOL!   And the best part is I can get rid of the boy look anytime I want to. Also, my husband is out of town this week. By the time he gets back and makes his "I hate it" comments, I won't care about looking like a boy anymore. LOL! (roller coaster stopped and I'm getting off)
30 Day adventure prep - Wet sets...these are Kiki's supplies......
In closing, that was my Day 1. What I learned is what I always knew. If you're a woman, no matter what hair you have, you must keep a collection of cute coverings - hats, scarfs or wigs - they are the default and can save the day.

Coping skills.....remember if you see Kiki in church wearing the sparkly one (far left)...just turn your head and keep praising the Lord!
The End
This post was written by Kiki on August 21st, 2013
Wow! I feel like I was on a roller coaster too!  I'm proud of Kiki for taking this first step in regaining her curls!!! Whoop Whoop! Thank you for letting us be a part of your curl journey!!!
Any comments or encouragement for Kiki?
Peace and blessings!


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Get your curl on: Cream, Jelly or Souffle?

 I decided to give Kiki who has totally lost her curl pattern some ideas on how to turn her waves into curls (besides taking a HEAT BREAK).  I went out today on an unrelated errand and ended up in the hair care section of two stores curiously looking for what's new in the "get yo curls together" arena. I felt like a secret shopper...and anxiously waited for a store clerk to reprimand me for taking pictures...but none of that excitement ever happened. 
This week has been a BEAST for me and I have be unmotivated to do anything to my hair except wash it.  I actually tried some curling products that have been sitting in my bathroom for a while to see what would happen.  If your hair is like mine then you may be struggling with taming multiple textures at the same time.  The front and top of my hair has a tendency to be frizzy with less curl.  The sides and back are very curl compliant and are a joy to work with! :)  So far this week I've used: Beautiful Curls, Shea Moisture and Tahlia Waajid to provide my curls some structure.

Curls by shea butter and Tahlia Waajid - love these curls...soft, somewhat defined, cute! Right?? :)

Now here's the skinny on what I found today:  some are all natural, some are made by niche brands and one came from the Dark and Lovely giant.  Since our hair textures are so diverse, I'm not sure which product will work best for you.  I would love to try all of them...but fear I'll waste money in the process.  I'm just going to pick a few and see what happens.  Hopefully these can be useful for Kiki's journey as well.

This was a new brand for me: Curls - Curl Control Paste ($7.99)

Good ole curl activator! I didn't know this was still in production!! ($3.69)

Shea Moisture - Curl & Style Milk (10.99) and Curling gel soufflé ($12.99)

Curls unleashed - Curl Defining Crème and Curl Boosting Jelly ($15.99)

My favorite Taliah Waajid - Curl Sealer (I've never used) and Curly Curl Cream (LOVE IT!) - ($8.29)

Yes...the big brands are in the curly game too! Dark and Lovely - Curl Defining Crème Glaze ($10.69)

Jane Carter - Curl Defining Cream ($18.99)

Here is a remix on the good ole curl activator - Twisted Sista - Curl Activator and Curl Spray ($7.99)

Curls by Shea Moisture

Curls by Shea Moisture - Surprisingly it gave me nice soft curls...this product was out of rotation based on my prior experience with it....I'll be using this product again!!

What curling aide did I forget?  What do you use in your hair???

Peace and blessings!