I’ve gotten SO lazy when it comes to my hair. The past two weeks I’ve relied too heavily on gel and bobby pins to construct some sort of skyscraper looking ‘do with a few baby curls here and there. I would post a picture of the bird’s nest that’s up there now but I’m much too embarrassed to share that with you all. Just know: IT’S BAD.
Thank God I came across The Mop Top Maven’s website the other day. She really took on healthy hair as a cause and a passion and dang near an obsession since she started her hair journey in 2007. She documented all sorts of things from how to properly moisturize, to different styling options and tips, to various regimens. It’s like a transitioning girl’s dream blog!
I decided to take her “Healthy Hair Challenge” for the new year. My hair when straight is shoulder length. I’m aiming for bra strap length by 2011’s end. And I know the first thing I have to do is get it trimmed because the damage that has been done to my ends from the various weeks that I’ve been lazy in caring for it is regrettably A LOT. Right now, my hair is very coarse and crunchy to the touch and even a little discouraging to look at.
I’ve definitely heard a lot about Herbal Essences Hello Hydration line of products and I will be picking that up as soon as possible to start the new year with. Tonight I’m going to wash and condition with whatever my mom has around her house and use some of my products to moisturize. A twist out seems to be the right style to go with. I’ll post pics tonight to let you all see the progress…
“I know that I want to concentrate more on my inside-pretty than my outside-pretty, because that’s gonna go away But if your inside is beautiful, it never wears away. The light always shows on the outside if you are striving to be good inside.” — Erykah Badu
Whether your goal is “bra strap” length hair, or growing out your TWA, join me for the healthy hair in 2011 challenge! No matter the state of your hair, you can turn it around by practicing healthy hair care techniques and keeping an air tight regimen [which sounds harder than it actually is].
Healthy hair isn’t limited to just wearing your hair in a natural state. You can have healthy heat straightened hair and healthy relaxed as well. The key is to do everything in moderation.
In order to get the best results, it’s best to start your personal hair care challenge with a trim. If your ends are in good condition you can skip this step. Trimming your hair is essential to retaining length.
Here’s why; ends that are split will eventually break off, and you will gradually lose length this way. Couple healthy ends and care when handling your hair and you will be able to retain that 1/2 inch of growth monthly.
There are many ways you can care for your hair during this challenge. You can go with a traditional regimen using some of your favorite products, you can opt for all natural products, and you can even take the Ayurvedic route. No matter which regimen you choose, the things you must remember are:
Proper Detangling Techniques
Keep the stress low on the hair follicles [avoid tight buns, pony’s and tight braids]:
Keep your hair moisturized
Lay off the excessive heat: Excessive heat breaks down the Keratin bonds in your hair which could cause breakage and overly porous hair [overly porous hair does not retain moisture well]
Monitor temperatures if you use heat: Always make sure you are using the appropriate heat setting for your hair type.
Go easy on the products that contain alcohol [gels, setting lotions, hair spray]: These products can dry out your hair leaving it brittle, the ends split, and your strands lacking moisture.
Keep your hair protected at night: Sleep with the use of a satin bonnet, or on a satin pillowcase, not only will this help protect your strands from breakage, but it will also help stretch the life of your hair style.
Deep conditioning regularly: Hair that is highly textured needs regular conditioning intervals to help replenish lost moisture and nutrients to keep it healthy and promote hair growth.
Keeping these basic principles in mind will foster healthy hair and also keep you motivated as you start to see the health of your hair improve and also start to notice growth. Some essential tools you need on your journey are:
Wide tooth comb: For detangling
Soft/hard bonnet dryer: For deep conditioning
Natural Oil: For sealing moisture in your hair, I recommend Grapeseed, Jojoba or Coconut.
Styling aid: For doing styles like twist outs or braid outs. You can use hair butters like Bee Mine Bee Hold Curly Butter, or puddings like Miss Jessie’s
How the challenge works: The first session of this challenge will last for six months. Every month I will hold two virtual check-ins where I create a post geared towards answering questions, concerns, and talking about products. One check in will be via LiveStream, so that I can answer your questions real time, and the other check in will be via blog post for those that are unable to log on to get their questions answered.
Natural Hair Products I've Discovered & Swear By In 2010
It cleans your hair without stripping it of its Natural oils or leaving that “squeaky clean” feeling (not the good kind when it comes to your hair) plus it smells great.
It’s infused with citrus liquids and oils and smells like an orange grove (yum!) And the softness of your hair after just leaving it in for ten minutes is ridiculous. Just make sure you rinse it out well or else your hair will feel like there is a build up after it’s dry. (Rinse with cold water to close the hair cuticle and ensure less frizz & more shiny, defined curls)
2) This is a mixture that I created after a LOT of trial and error. It works well for me. It’s one part:
& one part: Bottled or distilled water.
I shake these up in a mist spray bottle and spray my hair after rinsing out my conditioner. I give it a good massage scalp to tip and then I style as I desire. Leave-in conditioners are important FOR ME because it gives me the extra moisture boost I need each day. As long as I don’t get a doobie, I try to use leave-in conditioners every day.
This is a great leave-in especially for ‘fros and curls. I don’t know what else to say. I’m so glad I found this kind of leave-in a few months ago. Keeps the moisture and in the winter weather’s harshness out.
Now, I used the above kind of gel all summer and for me it was the best. It gave me the right amount of hold WITHOUT flakes and itch. It’s totally alcohol-free which is great to find b/c most gels use alcohol as one of their main ingredients: NOT GOOD for our hair. Alcohol dries dramatically which leads to breakage which leads to unhealthy hair. So, even if you don’t choose to use the above kind of gel make sure you choose one without alcohol.
Paddle brushes w/covered bristles, wide tooth combs, round brushes, long square or rectangle-shaped silk/satin scarves, silk/satin pillowcases, large bobby pins (not the super tight ones though! Ouch!) small hair clips and those Goody Ouchless hair ties/bands or whatever you like to call them…. those are the styling necessities I’ve found as absolutely essential for styling and keeping my Natural hair.
I’ve heard great things about Miss Jessie’s products, Curls, Kinky-Curly, & Mixed Chicks. I plan to try those and Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Moisturizing Conditioner.
I hope this is a help to any or all of my followers who are making that transition! It’s not easy but the journey is so worth it!
Night Catches Us: First Movie I Could Appreciate On All Levels In A Long Time
I’ve only done one other film review since I began this blog and that was for the movie For Colored Girls. I never really felt compelled to speak about any of the other movies I’ve seen this year. Not because they weren’t thought-provoking or “special” (whatever that means anymore) but because none of them brought forth such passionate feeling in me about any particular topic as For Colored Girls or the film I’m about to talk about: Night Catches Us.
Since the semester ended for me last Thursday and I went into work one last time for the new year on Monday, I’ve been doing nothing special lately except cooking, cleaning, catching up on sleep, and watching movies. I’ve watched dramas, comedies, love stories, you name it. Most of them were specifically in ONE of those categories or at most a combination of two.
I didn’t know what to expect when I sat down to watch Night Catches Us. And in all honesty, I only wanted to watch it because Kerry Washington is one of my favorite actresses. She can flow from one character to the next so effortlessly and she brings something worth watching to even the most yawn-worthy of films.
I simply headed over to IMDB (International Movie Database) to read the short blurb about the film (a man comes back to Philly after leaving due to Black Panther Party violence) and then got ready to watch.
At first I thought it was going to be extremely boring. I was paying attention but it wasn’t really coming together for me until Anthony Mackie’s character, Marcus began to interact with various other characters. The untold secrets that began floating to the top kept me watching. But even more than that, the damage done to men young Black people’s psyche as a result of the militancy of The Black Panther Party and the allusion to the government’s hand in stirring up Black folks to even create The Black Panther Party really got me thinking hard about our politics and what we choose to believe just as a people.
Kerry Washington’s character to me, was the perfect embodiment of a woman who is trying to hold it all together years late. After the fact. When the storm has passed over. She’s trying to forget her past lifestyle while still living in the same home, the same neighborhood. Denying her past so that she can create a believable present and future for herself and her daughter.
And isn’t that just like us women sometimes? We fear actually DEALING with the past so we cover it up, paint over it, shut it out, rip out its pages like it never happened. We put on this facade of who we want people to believe we are now. Since the past went so bad, since it didn’t go like we planned, since it spun out of control and we couldn’t stop it…. we want to forget it.
Washington’s character is just trying to do right. It’s almost as though she’s trying to make up for the wrong in her past by being the neighborhood mother, bailing this one and that one out of jail constantly, working within the legal system. She takes these on as her penance for the recklessness of her youth. Towards the end of the film, seeing her not skip a beat in reverting to her old efforts to protect her family and herself was one of the most touching parts of the movie.
I love where Washington and Mackie’s characters collide because what draws and has always drawn them together is Washington’s daughter (Iris) and their common interest in protecting her.
There is a such a deep and REAL humanity in this film and that’s what I appreciate most. Nothing was sugar coated. The vintage video footage of The Panther Party, the vintage radio broadcasts about political agendas and conspiracies, the very real portrayal of how Black men are targeted for little or no reason at all but law enforcement - it was all very real. And though very sad, the disillusionment that happens when a Black man is down in the world and fears he has no other options but violence is very real as well.
This film shows that lives can be saved from injustice but it also shows that you can’t save someone who does not want to be saved. It shows that a reckless past can be forgiven. It shows that our children do not have to suffer for our sins. And it shows that new beginnings are possible.
Oh, AND THE ROOTS produced the film score! Come on people. This is a win all the way around. I even loved Tariq Trotter’s (Black Thought) cameo as Bostiq.
Night Catches Us was honored at the Sundance Film Festival It’s an Oscar-worthy film to say the least and I hope it gets the credit it deserves on that scale.
I want to submit my blog post 'For Colored Girls Who've Endured Enough Degradation & Whose Sunshine Does Not Always HAVE TO Follow A Tsunami: A Colored Girl's Plea To Other Colored Girls and Hollywood's Traffic Lights' to a magazine.
Oddly enough, it’s one of my pieces of writing that I’m most proud of. (You know besides the article I wrote on Keke Wyatt.. one of my FAVORITE artists! She’s such a doll…)
Relationships Editor: Demetria Lucas aka Belle Woods Answers Our Questions on Formspring
I look up to this woman for a bunch of different reasons. If you read her blog www.abelleinbk.com or follow her on Twitter (abelleinbk) or read the articles she writes for Essence and Essence.com then you’ll understand. So, I won’t even explain.
But today I came across a particular question and answer from her Formspring which I think is SO relevant to young women today:
Q: Do you think if you had burned bridges or weren’t like by some people in your industry you wouldn’t have gotten as far even though you’re talented?
A: i’ve burned bridges. and there are PLENTY of people in my industry who don’t like me (more than some.) PLENTY. it just so happens they’ve never been in a position to call shots on anything that matters about me.
that said, A LOT of people have looked out for me. A LOT.
one of the things that helped, is i stay in my lane. i don’t get involved in beefs and i don’t talk greasy about folk. and i know when to shut up. i have a personal policy of “no-name calling.” i might talk about what people do, but i don’t make it personal. i try to be positive and carry myself with integrity.
another thing, despite being called arrogant on here all the time, i’m incredibly humble and respect the chain on command. when i go to the elders, it’s not with a haughty “you owe me” attitude or “i can do this better.” it’s more “what can i learn from you? how can you guide?” that goes an INCREDIBLY long way. people WANT to look out for that person.
i also speak to the elders about the history of many things. they’ve seen so much come, and go, they point me in the right directions, steer me around tough areas i may not see coming.