Saturday, January 29, 2011

My First Curly Nikki Meetup!

So if you're familiar with natural hair blogs, you know that one of the most respected natural hair bloggers is Curly Nikki (  Her blog has a wealth of information about natural hair care, styles and issues.  Well today, I had an opportunity to not only meet her, but also some other wonderful and dynamic naturalistas!  She is very sweet, mingled with everyone, and spent quite a bit of time at the table where I was sitting chatting it up with us. 

One of the things that I loved about the meetup was all of the postive energy in the room.  For new and veteran natural sisters who have not been fortunate enough to have support in their transition to natural hair I would highly recommend joining one in your local area.  This was my first natural hair meet up and I look forward to visiting others that are hosted in the area.

In other news,  I've been working on my water consumption and vitamin challenge.  Vitamins are going well but that increased water consumption....whew...let's just say I feel like I'm literally floating at times...LOL.

Enjoy the pics of today's event!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Biotin & Water Challenge

So, I've heard a lot on YouTube and natural hair boards about Biotin and its positive effects on hair and nail growth.  I've also read a few articles online that states that there is no significant impact from using this vitamin supplement.  I realize that everyone is different so I have decided to take Biotin for 30 days to see if I notice any difference in  MY hair and nails.  Can't hurt right?  I chose the Vitamin Shoppe Biotin Supplement in 5 mg.  The manager of the Vitamin Shoppe recommended I take 2 per day for what I am trying to accomplish, so I will.

In addition, I recognize that I don't drink as much water as I should during the winter months.  I would much rather have hot cocoa, McD's Caramel Mocha (mmmm!), or a chai latte hot tea.  However, there are many positive effects of drinking water including improving your skin (the body's largest organ), healthy hair, increase in brain function and metabolism.  Based on my weight, I should drink about 70.8 ounces of water per day.  If I use the assumption that 20% of my water consumption will come from healthy foods that I eat, that will take me to 66 ounces of water daily (88.5 ounces on days that I work out).  That's four 16 oz. bottles of water per day. This will be my goal over next 3 months as we transition to warmer weather (can't wait for the spring!). 

Lastly, I want to create a healthy life long habit of taking a potent multivitamin daily.  The one I have selected is the Life Naturals Women's Life Force Multiple also purchased from the Vitamin Shoppe.  The directions state to take 3 to 6 tablets per day.  I am taking 3.

Feel free to join me in my challenge!  I will report back on March 1 to let you know how things have gone over the past month.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Playing with My TWA

As one of my goals is to learn how to care for and style my own hair, I've been playing with my TWA over the past month.  Here are a few of the easy styles that I did and liked....others I tried & failed (and ladies you will have hair style disasters, but I've learned it's nothing that a good headband and a little water & gel can't fix!)  All styles were created on freshly cleansed hair shampooed (yes, I use a sulfate free shampoo) with Curls Creamy Curl Cleanser and conditioned/detangled with Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Moisturing Conditioner.  I use Giovanni Direct Leave In Weightless Moisture Conditioner as my leave in and seal with Organic Coconut Oil.

The "Wash & Go" (w/ecostyler gel)

While this style seems to be a staple style for most individuals with a TWA,  I haven't fallen in love with it. It seems the gel used to define my curls leaves my hair a little crunchy.  I'm going to keep working with different products until I get the curls defined without the crunchiness.  Any suggestions?  In this picture, I added the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie and then put on a good helping of Eco Styler Gel with Olive Oil and rolled my finger tips over my hair almost in a massaging motion to make my curls pop.

Faux Puff with Finger Coiled Bangs

This has been my favorite so far!  I love it because my hair in the puff is sooo soft.  I say this is a faux puff becuase my hair isn't really long enough to put in a puff but with the headband, I'm able to sorta create one.  To achieve this look I added about a quarter size of the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie all over to damp hair sealed with Organic Coconut Oil.  I used a pic to fluff my hair out.  I sectioned off my bang area and put on the headband.  Then I used Jane Carter's Wrap and Roll setting lotion to finger coil the bangs.  It creates sheen and  a very soft hold.

2 Strand Twist Out

This style was a win and a fail.  It was a win because it looked great the first day.  It was a fail because I haven't mastered retaining the wavy pattern for more than 2 days :(   For this style, I saturate my hair with Jane Carter Wrap & Roll Setting Lotion and then 2 strand twist with the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie.  You'll see 2 different days in the pics below.  I love the definition and my hair is still soft and well moisturized.

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Finger Coils

My finger coils were also a win and a fail.  I use the same combo of the Jane Carter Wrap & Roll Setting Lotion and Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie just coiling the section of hair around my finger tightly and releasing.  Unfortunately, my roots puff up leaving just the ends coiled.  So I wouldn't just wear this style without an accessory, but with a headband, it looks pretty cool!

I'm currently wearing my hair in a semi-protective style so I won't be manipulating it quite as much.  I went back to visit Taji and got a partial two strand twist out with a few extensions in the bang area.   I'm going to try to leave this in for two weeks.  I'm maintaining this style by misting with Oyin Handmade Greg Juice and sealing with Coconut Oil in the morning. I'll retwist my hair at night as needed and sleep on a satin pillowcase at night.

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

1 Month Anniversary/Length Check

I didn't perform a length check during my big chop sooo on the 1 month anniversary of my big chop (Jan. 20th) I decided to do a length check.  I took measurements at the crown, front, left & right side, and left & right rear.   I'm at about 3 inches all over!

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Friday, January 21, 2011

The Big Chop!

December 20, 2010

I was nervous and excited.
I took the day off of work.
I had invited a few girlfriends to come witness the transformation (and hold my hand, LOL).
I'd picked out a style that I felt would look cute on me.
I was ready.

None of my girls were able to come.  And imagine this!  We had one of the coldest weeks of the month leading up to my hair appt.  And I'm about to cut all of my hair off?? (I really can't stand being cold you guys!)  I almost changed my mind.

Then I remembered my reasons for doing this:
1. Achieving healthy hair
2. To learn how to care for and maintain my own hair for the first time in my life
3. Learn that beauty has less to do with what is external but more to do with what is internal

PLUS, I'd reached my transition goal - 6 months! I was still a little nervous until I walked into the salon.  But when I came in the door, there was Taji, my stylist, smiling.  Let me interject here to say, that if you are going to patronize a stylist as a natural (or anyone who provides a personal service for that matter), make sure it is someone who understands what you're trying to accomplish and is truly supportive of your goals.  Ensure it is someone who listens to YOU as the customer and doesn't push their own preferences when you've clearly stated what you desire.  A supportive, knowledgeable stylist is just as much if not equally as important as supportive friends and family on your journey. Taji met all of these criteria for me.

With my confidence renewed, Taji whipped out the scissors and said, "Do we need to do anything before I get started?"  I responded in my signature jovial way, "Nope!  We don't have to pray or hold hands singing Kumbaya my Lord.  I'm not going to cry.  I'm ready!"  And I meant it this time.

Before the cut ......

 After the cut....

That's a genuine smile!  I love my curls and coils!

With leave in conditioner -  6.5 months of new growth

Thanks to Taji  for not only being supportive, but making this a fun and enjoyable experience.  AND for making me look fab!

Styled - Faux hawk with comb twists...
Hair by Taji Shabu, Taji Natural Hair Styling


I am so happy that I made this decision. I haven't regretted one moment and look forward to continuing to learn as my hair continues to grow! 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Origination of My Natural Hair Journey

Ahh the beginning....and to think it didn't start off with me willingly wanting to "go natural".  It began with a trip to my dermatologist.  My hair was thinning in the nape of my head - again.  After some evaluation, he simply said to me, "Trinita, you might want to think about going natural".  I, very defiantly stated, 'Natural is not for me.  My hair is "straight from the motherland", it's tight, it would be impossible to do."  Amazing how I was so certain of my hair texture when I hadn't seen more than 6 weeks of new growth since I was probably 12 years old. He told me that he would never tell someone what they MUST do with their hair, only make recommendations based on his evaluation.

Well, I was planning a trip to Cabo San Lucas at the time and was already planning to get a full sew in for ease of hair care on my trip.  So I got my last retouch on June 10, 2010, not knowing at the time it would be my last.  While researching the best virgin hair for my sew in, I stumbled across a Youtube Vlogger who was using sew ins as a protective style for her natural hair.  I purchased the hair she recommended and started following her site.  It was about this time that I received the results back from the scalp biopsy that my dermatologist had performed during my visit - chemical (or scarring) alopecia.  I had a conversation with myself.  I said, "Self."  Myself said, "Yes."  I had the realization that if I continued to use relaxers, I was going to create so much permanent damage I wouldn't have any hair.   And so, my natural hair journey began....reluctantly.

Below are two pictures of my relaxed hair prior to my virgin Indian hair installation.  My hair has never been longer than shoulder length.  Here it was about mid-neck length straight.  I wore it curled to camouflage the thining I was experiencing in the back.

Salsa event - May 2010

May 2010

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Transition!

Everyone transitions differently.  Some big chop (cut off all their relaxed ends) immediately.  Others, transition for a full year, carefully nursing the two textures of hair (relaxed and new growth).  Since I was already planning to get a full sew in for my trip, I utilized weaves for the duration of my transition, 6.5 months.  I had two installations of virgin Indian hair, and then a faux Afro weave install leading up to my big chop.  This allowed me to transition without dealing with the two textures, and to give myself time to follow others natural hair journey on Youtube.

This time was very valuable to me because I was able to change my mindset about how I personally felt about natural hair.  I realized that my natural hair journey was not only a physical transformation but also an emotional one.  I realized I had negative emotions connected to my natural hair.  I didn't believe it was pretty...I didn't think I would be attractive without relaxed hair.  I had to reassess why I believed that way.  I asked myself several questions:  Why was I so adamant that my mom give me a relaxer before I was a teenager?  Why I was so fearful of what my hair would look like when the relaxer ends was cut off?  What were my personal defininitions of beauty?  I answered these questions for myself.  I continued to follow other's journey online.  I was so inspired and encouraged.  Other friends who were going natural were also encouraging me.  Finally, I looked to my Father to see what He said about me.  I determined to make a positive confession about God's creation:  Psalm 139:14; I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Your works are wonderful; I know that full well.  (NIV)

I scheduled my big chop.

Below are pictures of my transitional phase:

June 2010 - Notice how thin my hair is in the nape of my head.

July 2010 - damaged ends, thin hair

July 2010 - Newly installed Virgin Indian Hair

July 2010 Side view of same install
September 2010 - 2nd hair install (Note: This hair was less quality than the first and pushed me closer to the BC - HATED IT!!! LOLOL!)

November 2010 - Faux Afro with Human Kinky Hair (getting myself adjusted to the natural "look")

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