Okay, so I thought I was being very smart!
I bought a few sets of rollers so that I could roll my hair and then blow dry it for the perfect glossy curl.
When I had relaxed hair we always used these type of rollers to "set" our hair and they worked like magic. I thought this would be better than all the blow drying methods I had read about because the oldest section of hair (the ends) would be completely protected and only the newest and strongest hair would be exposed to any heat.
In addition, once the roller was in I wouldn't have to keep combing my hair as is the case with most other blow drying techniques including the modified tension method.
However, I quickly realised that these type of rollers only work on relaxed hair; they were far too harsh on my natural tresses.
When my hair was adequately detangled I pulled the roller up the length of hair I wanted to roll and it made this horrible crunching sound like it was being forced. There were some broken hairs on the curler right away.
I was very disappointed but I plan on trying the technique again; this time with smooth rollers!
For my 2011 hen night (bachelorette party), my Maid of Honor organised a burlesque day complete with a makeup artist and I have enjoyed makeup ever since...
A bright lipstick is the best accompaniment to an Afro. I've been asked about the lipstick I wear in my YouTube videos so many times that I've decided to make it my signature lipstick - this is what I use:
Fabulous news! Naturally Happy Hair has recently launched in the USA. I am one of the natural hair contributors and below is my tear sheet of my debut article in this magazine. Subscribe to Naturally Happy Hair Magazine for more :).
I wrote an article for them titled, Pre-poo vs. Co-wash vs. Shampoo - What Do I Do?
But you're also a lot more than just your hair!
In the ideal world people would be judged exclusively according to their personality. However, you don't see personality, you see how a person looks first and from that all your stereotypes and judgements box that person into "their category".
Everyone has stereotypes, some are good and some are bad. I was watching Wife Swap US (Haigwood/Hess-Webb) the other day: A very smartly presented, culturally-conscious black family was swapped with a set of white hill billies that lived the most bizarre life: they didn't send their kids to school or even home school them, they brushed their teeth with butter and clay (eww), they ate raw meat and believed water is bad for you! The woman looked a hot mess, she thought taking care of herself was a "waste of time".
When the white mum was trying to force her beliefs on the black family the black man said something that struck a cord with me, he said, "How can I take you seriously looking the way that you look?" This statement stopped the hill billy mum in her tracks because she realised it was true; to be taken seriously she needed to present herself better.
The fact is, the way you look leads to an instant judgement about your character and the judgement sticks. If you are a healthy weight, smartly dressed, you've taken the time to put on a little make up and maybe shave your legs and pits people think:
The stereotypes some may associate with my kinky hair are: wild (!), unkempt, messy, not professional, slave!
These stereotypes are changing but we are certainly not there yet, the more people wear natural hair the faster natural hair will be accepted as not only normal but also "good hair" in itself.
This process has already started to happen with some chinese people adorning reverse relaxers. Some black folk think the look makes a mockery of us but they couldn't be more wrong, it's a big compliment. I love reverse relaxer because it essentially says "I want to look like you black folk".
When I wore a relaxer I was essentially saying the same thing to straight haired folk, whether I acknowledged it or not. Many white girls with wavy or curly hair also spend hours every week straightening their hair for the same reason, they have been brain washed by the media and social strata to believe "straight" looks better and is more socially acceptable.
It's okay to want the straight haired look sometimes but it's NOT okay to want it all the time. It's a sign that you don't fully accept yourself. Whether you agree or not, that's what you are saying. Some have worn weaves for so long that if their head was supplanted with their own kinky hair they'd look in the mirror and think, "That's not me!" But it is you honey, it's as "YOU" as you can get.
I look different with natural hair than I did with relaxed hair.
My kinky 4C hair is naturally messy looking when it's loose. It doesn't twist out into silky looking bouncy coils. I acknowledge and accept these limitations; I work with them. If I am going to an important event such as an interview I pin my hair up. It looks neat albeit different to straight hair. Partial pin ups with some loose hair at the back also look good.
People write to me with their natural hair frustrations and ask for help before they slap on relaxer. Be patient with your hair, once you figure out what your hair "likes" your life will get much easier and you will be quite happy to BE your hair.
1. MASSAGE YOUR SCALP
This will get blood flowing to your scalp bringing nutrients and oxygen to promote hair growth. The scalp is very thin so massaging it does make a difference to the blood flow.
To avoid irritation use a good quality oil such as Neno Natural's Hair Growth Stimulator which has been enriched and fortified with the best essential oils for hair.
2. PREVENT MATTING
Un-matting hair is obviously prime time for hair breakage. More so if your hair is dry. Two strategies for dealing with matted hair:
Watch this video on dealing with matted natural black hair.
3. GIVE YOUR HAIR A REST!
Hair breakage generally occurs during the times that it's handled and styled using combs, brushes and blow dryers.
If you braid your hair, get a sewn-in weave or corn row your hair for wig wearing, you give your hair a break and allow it it get on with the business of growing uninterrupted. This leads to better length retention.
Read my 3 Biggest Challenges of Going Natural.
Naturally Nadine are giving away their cocktail oils to 4 lucky winners in this US giveaway:
Naturally Nadine are at naturally-nadine.com
HOW TO ENTER!
To enter, please like and follow both Neno Natural and Naturally Nadine on Facebook and Twitter then jump onto twitter and tell us where you buy your natural hair products.
1. HIT THESE 4 BUTTONS:
2. TWEET THIS. Change what is in the square brackets to suit you:
"I buy [online or at target or wherever] @NenoNatural @NNadineBeauty #SendMyOil"
Winners to be announced on Wednesday 13th March.
When I was growing up the older generation, that is, my parents and their friends looked down upon locs. At the time, the only people that had them were weed-smoking rastafarai that hadn't ever held done a "proper" job. Locs came to be associated with this group, hence the negative image.
Those days are swiftly sliding away. A two hour flight away from my native Malawi, in South Africa, long locs are hot property.
If you're rocking long dreadlocks don't pass out at a party; yes, your smartphone and cash will remain intact but you'll have to start growing your locs from scratch because they will be G-O-N-E.
Long locs fetch as much as $300 on the black market, that's right, $300, so they're more precious than a second hand smartphone.
These locs are then sewn onto the heads of people that want instantly long locs. Personally, I find that kind of gross. But different strokes for different folks!
Hair theft is also common in the US, the only difference is that they steal it from a store not right off someone's head!
There is a lesson to this story...
...if you're planning vacation time in South Africa, remember to insure those locs!
This is a good conditioner. It's far better than Bee Mine but not as good as the LUV Naturals conditioner.
The 8 oz bottle should last 6 to 8 washes so the pricing is not too bad in my opinion but it still doesn't compete with the LUV Naturals conditioner which is $13. That said, if you order on Amazon.com you can omit postage by buying $25 worth of product to your Amazon cart and they don't all have to be Jessicurl products.
Good but not great. LUV Naturals is more slippy than this product. That said, it's probably good enough for most people.
The slip of the conditioner was good enough to detangle my hair and minimise single strand knots. I get one or two knots that have to be cut off every time I wash my hair.
The conditioner is very thick so every time I use it I dilute it in water and add a few drops of peppermint essential oil (my anti-itch secret).
Results after hair dried: my hair was soft, supple, shiny and bouncy. Slightly more shrunken than with the LUV naturals conditioner.
Get your FREE ebook on How To Grow Long, Healthy Natural Kinky or Curly Hair.
BEE•U•Ti• FUL Bee Mine Deep Conditioner REVIEW
LUV Naturals Hair Products - Ultimate Review #kimmaytube
1. DRY HAIR
Black hair has a natural tendency towards dryness, however, you feel it a lot more when you go natural.
There is one universal moisturiser for softening hair that works for everyone: WATER!
The problem is that water on its own evaporates very quickly. To retain the moisture from water you need to use an additional moisturiser, e.g. a leave-in conditioner then you need to lock that in with a cream and an oil via the LOC method or the LCO method.
Finding the perfect leave-in conditioner for your hair type, the best cream and most suitable oil to lock in the moisture takes time. In addition, to maintain soft hair I have to wash and deep condition my hair every 7 to 10 days otherwise it gets very crunchy, a little like dry leaves.
2. TAKING EVERYONE'S ADVICE AS THE GOSPLE TRUTH
Fact: everyone's hair responds differently to different products and regimens. Even if your hair type appears to be very similar to someone else's it doesn't follow that their regimen will produce the same results for you.
Whenever you receive new information you need to see if it works for you before adopting it. If it doesn't work, don't follow that advice. I too made the mistake of following another person's routine too strictly even though their hair was definitely different to mine.
Note also that you will need to change your hair routine at different lengths of hair.
3. FINDING A GOOD DEEP CONDITIONER
Deep conditioners are a special category of conditioner. You need to use one every single week to ensure your hair is as strong and nourished as it should be. If your conditioner says "for daily use, or if it's very watery, it is not a deep conditioner.
What challenges have you faced on your journey?
Get your FREE ebook on How To Grow Long, Healthy Natural Kinky or Curly Hair.
5 types of conditioner for natural hair and a frizz-free tip!
Moisturising Natural Black Hair: LOC Method vs. LCO Method
This post is dedicated to Dorothy Martin, a big supporter of Neno Natural. Thanks for the support!
There are three main ways to use Neno Natural's Hair Growth Stimulator (HGS):
1. Massage it into your scalp as often as you remember, the more often the better
This is the original way in which I used the Hair Growth Stimulator. My hair had completely fallen out due to relaxers and braiding etc. I decided to go natural and at the same time I committed to coming up with a personal blend of oils and essential oils that would help my hair grow. Neno Natural's HGS was the result.
The best way to use the oil for massage is to spray a little oil onto your finger tips, then massage the scalp gently for 5 to 7 minutes.
After you're done massaging wear a shower cap over your head to generate some heat. Heat helps with the absorption of essential oils.
Don't use Neno Natural's HGS on kids under 5 years of age, they don't need it. For kids aged 5 to 13 years old mix 2 parts growth stimulator to one part any other vegetable carrier oil to make it more dilute. Don't worry if you forget to do this you won't cause any harm, I just prefer to be extra cautious with children.
2. Use it to seal in moisture
After you've moisturised your hair with water and a leave-in conditioner you can apply Neno Natural's Hair Growth Stimulator as the oil for sealing in that moisture. If you use the LOC method the Hair Growth Stimulator comes after the liquid; if you use the LCO method the Hair Growth Stimulator is applied following the liquid and a cream, e.g. a shea butter.
3. Use it as a conditioner!
I didn't even know this was possible. However, I went away on holiday and took a Shea Moisture conditioner before I'd ever tried it. My hair hated it. As I was away for two weeks with no access to natural hair products I went online to find an alternative. I found a conditioning formula that included most of the ingredients in Neno Natural's HGS so I just used that.
To use the oil as a conditioner wash hair thoroughly, then rub two or three tablespoons equivalent into your hair (depending on hair length and thickness). Cover hair in a shower cap, blow dry the surface of the cap for a minute then trap the heat using a thick beanie hat or a towel. Rinse and style after 15 minutes.
You can do this if you want a mid-week co-wash. It's quick, simple and convenient but it cannot replace your weekly deep condition.
Neno Natural's Hair Growth Stimulator can be used on both natural and relaxed hair. It is an all--natural product; the gorgeous smell comes from the essential oils and not from anything synthetic. You can it buy here.
I now blog about wealth creation - so if you have any money questions meet me there, you can do all sorts of cool things like leave me a voicemail.
By Heather Katsonga-Woodward
I was a natural hair blogger and mixtress living between London & Chicago from 2012 to 2017. I always thought I was 4C but some say 4B; images below - you decide! Heather xx