Thursday, March 29, 2012

Style Quickie: Two Strand Twists on Blown out Hair

I realized I've been straying away from the hair challenge that I signed up for last year!!! One of the points is to do protective styles to promote length retention. So from here out, I'll be making conscious efforts to stay away from puffs, wash n go's, and other loose styles.

It's been almost a week since I co washed and styled my hair. I really wanted to try a new heat protectant I bought, but didn't want to flat iron my hair. The style that popped in my mind was two strand twists on blown out hair.

I blow dried my hair about 80% of the way, making sure the roots were the most dry. I also avoided putting too much heat on the ends of my hair. After sectioning my head I began twisting in the back of my head. The twists in the back are randomly placed. When I worked on the front section I twisted with more order. I chose this method so that the front section could cover up any gaps or un-uniform twists in the back.
Products Used:
  • Vo5 Conditioner
  • Heat Protectant
  • Oils (I mixed in a bottle) coconut oil, grape seed oil, sweet almond oil
  • My shea coconut butter mixture
  • Water (to hold the ends of my hair)

Notes that helped me:
  • While twisting the back I would occasionally look in a mirror to make sure I wasn't making the twists too big. If there was too much space in between twists I just divided the over sized one in half.
  • The front section of my hair, in general, becomes loose over time easier than the back of my head. To curb this, I made these twists smaller than the twists in the back.
  • Once there was about a half inch from the end of my hair I'd dip my finger in water, and then continue to twist. To protect my ends I twisted as far as I could, and then twirled the twisted end with my wet finger. This made the end curl, and hold without the use of any gels.
  • To get the twists to lay a certain way in the front I parted the front section before I began twisting. I made sure the twists stayed on their side of the part while I styled.
  • Last time I did this style I noticed a lot of gaps in the back of my head that weren't caught in the styling process. To avoid this, I'd grab a mirror and check while styling the front. Adjusting as needed helped eliminate this.

At night there are a couple of options to help preserve your hair and this style.
  1. Wearing a satin scarf or bonnet can help without drying out your twists
  2. Using a satin pillow case so moisture isn't absorbed from your hair
I didn't want to risk flattening my twists too much, so I opted for the satin pillow case. In the past this was sufficient for me.

Since the scalp is exposed more than usual with a style like this, it can become dry. For me, a dry scalp and an itchy scalp go hand in hand! At night, I'll use my oil mixture and massage it into my scalp. After rubbing the mixture in my hands I'll gently massage it into the twists themselves -- concentrating on the ends. This can be done as needed.

I may try out a couple different styles for these twists. Whenever I feel like I need a change I'll wear this style in a twist out before washing and restyling! I'll be sure to post pictures in the "Hair I Did" album on Facebook, so be sure to check it out!! If you have any pictures of styles that you've done yourself -- post them on the wall and they'll be added!

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hit a Roadblock? Remember: Why you decided to go natural!

I feel like this topic is long over due for me to write about. I know I've been away for a while, but there's a LOT of things going on right now. My laptop is down for the moment, I've been redesigning the blog, I had a mental block, and life has just been happening. This specific topic has been on my mind for sometime now, but I didn't know how to get it out. Deciding to stop chemically processing your hair is a simple decision for some, and a huge step for others. There will be countless obstacles that will arise, especially in the "honeymoon phase" of your newly natural hair. In my next few posts, I'm planning to touch on a few different things that I feel are important to remember, not only in the beginning, but throughout the years you're chemical free.

When I decided to stop chemically straightening my hair it felt like it was a bigger deal for other people, than it was for me. Some loved it, some were interested, some were indifferent, some had jokes, some hated it and felt it was the worst decision I could've ever made in life! Initially, the negativity REALLY bothered me; mostly because it came from some of my own family members. I felt as if my family should've been the most supportive, and understanding, but it wasn't that way. Today, unless it's said while I'm out the room ^_^" I feel like all of the people in my life are very accepting, understanding, and supportive of decision to skip the chemicals. Ironically, a few of the people who had negative feelings about my hair have now decided to forego chemically straightening themselves!

  • So, why did you decide to go natural?
  • What initially made you even consider to not put chemicals in your hair to straighten it?
  • How did you feel then, how do you feel now?
  • Why's it important for you to stick with your choice?

These are important questions to ask and to have answers for; answers for yourself that is.

Having answers for questions like these really helped me when I encountered roadblocks. The roadblocks could be anything that makes you think twice or question your decision. It could be anything that changes your mind, makes you feel bad, convinces you to return to chemical straightening, etc. Reminding myself of these answers helped to keep me on the path of my new commitment.

Possible Roadblocks:
  • Friends/family not being supportive of your choice
  • Strangers/co-workers making comments
  • Someone trying to talk you out of your decision
  • A partner threatening to break up with you
  • People suggesting that you straighten your hair all the time
  • Having your hair compared to anything other than hair & not in a good way
  • Being mistaken for a male when you're female
  • Feeling self conscious after doing the big chop
  • Having a hard time learning to care for/style your hair
  • Your hair isn't growing as fast as you'd like
  • Being over whelmed by the amount of products that are available
Bumps in the road are countless, do, and will happen, but its how you get over, around, or work with them that's important!



It's really helpful for me, even today, to remember what my answers are to the above questions. I don't ever give a serious thought to chemically straightening my hair. Some comments or reactions do bother me from time to time though. My answers honestly help to keep me encouraged, confident, and motivated!

Why did I decide to go natural? The decision was easy solely, because my reasoning to chemically straighten my hair was a simple one. In high school I didn't get relaxers, but I was going to a salon once a week. When I went away to college I had no clue how to do my natural hair. It hurt to comb, was tangled after washing, was dehydrated; just a mess. Relaxing was easier to me, but destructive on my hair. Without the relaxer my hair was noticeably healthier, longer, and stronger. My preference for healthier hair (in the long run) was greater than my desire for easier (at the time) maintenance.

What initially made you even consider to not put chemicals in your hair to straighten it? The whole idea of "natural hair" was foreign to me at the time. I just knew that at the end of the day I wanted healthy hair and relaxers weren't doing that for me. I'd rather have 2 inches of the healthiest, strongest hair there is, than to have waist length hair that's damaged, thinning, and overall unhealthy.

How did you feel then, how do you feel now? It soon changed, but initially I felt alone because I didn't have anyone who could help me. Being away from home, I didn't know anyone who was also chemical free and who I felt could relate. I also felt very defensive, because of some things people would say about my hair. Now, I feel very secure in my decision, and welcome questions/opinions from others. I've met a ton of people who share similar experiences or even just an interest with me. Some of these people are complete total strangers who will strike up a conversation simply, because they recognize that I have natural hair, and that's comforting in a way.

Why's it important for you to stick with your choice? I'll use a quote that I love ^_^ If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything. My hair is me, it's a part of me, always has, and always will be. The way my hair grows out of my scalp is just fine with me, I don't see anything negative about it, and I don't feel like there's a need for me to alter that. At the end of the day I have to do what makes me happy.


Overall, the advice I'd give to anyone who: is having trouble styling, has little support, is brand new to being chemical free, is frustrated for whatever reason, wants to go back to relaxers, etc. would be to remember why.

I challenge you to take a few minutes and answer the same questions that I did above. Answer them honestly and with the gut feeling that initially comes to you. Whenever you have self doubt, need encouragement, a reminder, or just a boost--- look at what you wrote or just remember. This should help give you what you need to get around the roadblocks you encounter ^_~"

I'd love to hear your thoughts, answers to the questions, etc. What are some roadblocks you've faced, and how did you deal with them? Any advice for others or just thoughts on the subject?? Share: