Thursday, August 30, 2012

I'm Back

Hello to all my naturals, transitioners and non naturals out there.

Yes I know, it's been quite some month now already since my last posts, but I'm back.
The good part about being out for so long is that I now have a lot to share with all of you about my natural journey.

So stay tuned and I will leave you here with one of my latest pictures (yes Finally a picture of myself).

On this picture I was rocking a wash and go. For this wash and go I co-washed my hair with Cantu Rinse out Conditioner. Then I sectioned my hair and to each section I applied Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, my Virgin Olive/JBCO oil mix and Olive Oil Eco Styler gel and I shingled with my fingers...This is the result right after I finished, so still kind of wet.
I've been using this wash and go regime for quite some time now and this one gives me the best outcome. No dry, crunchy hair, but a nice soft moisturized wash and that I can go with for 3 to 4 days if I want to....

Well hope y'all liked it. And like I said stay tuned for more...

Stay true and stay natural....

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How to handle Natural Afro Hair

Hey there, it's time for a new post again.

While thinking and reading and watching video's I've realized that one thing a lot of people with natural hair don't really know is what is the best way to handle and take care of natural hair to get the best results. With best results I mean healthy hair, with length as a bonus.
So I am gonna make a list of the things I've learned a long the way of my natural hair care journey.

For natural Type 4 hair moisture is the most important thing. Like I already explained a bit in my hair typing post, type 4 hair tends to be very dry and brittle and can break easily if not taken care of properly. Moisturizing  natural hair therefor is a must if you want your hair to grow healthy and long. How to moisturize? The best moisturizing agent is water; after moisturizing with water a sealant can be used to lock in the moisture you just got from the water. Sealants are mostly oils, lotions, butter etc etc.
And remember, just like our body needs water daily, so does our hair, so we have to moisturize our hair daily.

Don't manipulate dry hair
Last week I was talking to my mom about this. Back then and actually after my Big Chop too, I had the tendency to comb, detangle or brush my hair while dry. It was until I started with my research that I've realized that this is actually bad for my hair (actually I could see this too back then).
Your hair does not have to be soaking wet to comb it, just misting it a bit with a spray bottle is enough. After all detangling or combing wet/damp hair is way easier then while doing it on dry hair. You will realize that you will not have to pull that much on you hair and there for you will loose less hair.

Don't manipulate too much
Most of use have the tendency to manipulate our hair a lot while styling. I was one of those heavy manipulation ladies. I used to wear my hair in a pony tail a lot, and the tighter the pony tail the better. This is not good, choose styles for which you don't have to manipulate too much. Finger detangle is possible, make parts with your fingers if possible, if you wanna wear you hair in a pony tail, don't make a really tight pony tail, if you're braiding your hair, p.e cornrows, don't do them too tight, you might end up damaging your hair follicles and losing hair forever.
Another manipulation accessory you should try to avoid is a boar bristle brush (image below).
For me this was one of the hardest things to do. I was addicted to the boar bristle brush, since I always wanted to rock slick looks. But I realize now that I don't really need it, since I can do a lot with the palms of my hand. Of course there will be sometimes you'd want to use it, I understand that I still do sometimes, do it then preferably on damp/wet hair and hold to brush in a 45 degree angle to your hair so not too much of the brush will touch you hair. A brush with firm bristles with rounded ends is a good option.
And use with tooth combs or detangling brushes (like the Denman Brush, image below) to detangle your hair. 
Denman D41

Protective Styling
Protective styles are styles in which you protect your ends. Styles like braids, twists, bantu knots, tucked twists and on. 
Like said protective styles protect your ends. Most of the time it is due to split ends or broken ends why we cannot retain length to our hair. By using protective styling every now and then you protect your ends and therefore avoids them to break. Not only you protect your ends with protective styles, but you protect also you whole hair strand, which is good for like the colder months (if you live in a country that gets cold).

Don't overshampoo
I remember when I was little my mom used to wash my hair every 2 weeks. When growing up and hearing people say they wash their hair every week I used to think my mommy was kinda not hygienic, but now I realize that she was actually doing that good.
It is not good to wash your hair with shampoo every day or simply too much. Shampoo tends to strip our hair from their natural oils. And like said already, natural Afro hair is already kind of dry by itself. This is why it is not good to shampoo your hair on a too regular basis.
But I hear ya saying already, specially my sisters who work out a lot, that your hair tends to get messy. Ever heard of co-washing? Co-washing stands for Conditioner washing, which is a great alternative to shampooing your hair, when you feel you hair is getting a little messy. Instead of the shampoo you use a conditioner instead.
Now how often is good? I'm not sure, now I wash my hair with "shampoo" (at the moment I don't use shampoo, I use African Black Soap to wash my hair) every 8 days, but I wouldn't mind shampooing my hair every 2 weeks like my mother used to do when I was a little kid.

Avoid HEAT!
Heat, who have never applied heat to their hair? Well I did and a lot since I used to press my hair when I was tiny after that while relaxing I used to blow dry every now and then and use a flat iron. 
Heat, next to chemicals, is one of the worst enemies of your hair. So avoid heat as much as possible.
Now I know, one of the most beautiful things about natural hair is its versatility and maybe you want to rock a straight look every now and then and therefore as a alternative to the creamy crack, heat is the best option.
I am not saying you cannot use heat at all, but use it moderately and when you use it, make sure you use products to protect you hair from heat damage.

Trim when necessary
A lot of us are afraid of the scissors, but a trim every now and then is necessary for the overall health of your hair. Everybody should know for themselves when they will trim their hair, some do it every 3 months, some every 6, some do it when they see split ends, you decide as long as you trim it when it is necessary.

Choose the right products
My last post was about products already, so I will be brief on this. Choosing the right products is important. What the right products for your hair is should be determined by you, but there are some things that you should avoid in your hair.
Some chemicals you should avoid are for example, sulfate containing products, parabens, some types of alcohols, petroleum, mineral oils and there are some more. I will do my best to do a post on this, but since I want it to be a good post I will have to do some intense research first, but I'll do my best.
Choosing the right products for your hair can do a lot for your hair.

You are what you eat; take good care of your body
A lot of us do not realize that what we eat, what we drink and how we treat our bod is also essential for our hair (and nails). The body is a very complicate machine, it depends on all it's organs to function good and if one organ fails you will realize that sooner or later other organs will fail too. It is also so that if for example your body lacks vitamins and nutrients it will make sure that you vital organs will get most of the nutrients first and if something remains the rest will go to your skin, hair and nails. This is why it's important to eat healthy and live healthy 'cause if your insides are healthy your outsides will be healthy too.
So apart from eating healthy, sleeping enough and get enough body exercise is also important to grow healthy and long hair.

Treat you hair with love and give it time
My last but for not least point. Treat you hair with love, make time for your hair and most of all give you hair time to grow and grow strong. I mean none of us went from a baby to a grown up strong adult in just 2 days right? Why would you want your hair to grow in just a couple of weeks? So give it time and during that time treat it well, give it the attention needed and then soon you will see the difference.

So, I hope this post will help all of you out there to know how to treat your hair better. This knowledge has helped me a lot since I started my hair awareness journey. I will try my best to in my next post put some pictures of my hair journey since I went natural and if I can find some from before too.

Stay natural and stay true and remember; Nature got it right the first time...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What products to use on my hair?

Hi there everybody. It's been a while since my last post...Yeah I have been busy and didn't have much time to create a new blog post, but I'm back.
While I was still busy to post a new blog I wasn't too busy to keep taking good care of my hair.
Today I'll be posting about what I think is the biggest dilemma for everybody who has hair, not just the ones with natural kinky/curly hair, but also people with naturally fine hair, relaxed hair, waved hair and so on. This is the choice of products to use in your hair.
Since we all know there are gazillions of hair products out there, some are more famous then others, some more expensive and of course some work better then others. But how to know which one to choose?
Sadly I don;t really have the answer to this question, because choosing the right product for your hair is a case of trial and error. But what I will be doing in this post is write about which products I use and how I came to the idea of using these products.

My Old Products
Right after I decided to go naturally and I had my big chop I continued with some of the products I used to use when I still had my Jheri Curl or my relaxed hair.
When I used to have my Jheri Curl my staple brand was Sofn'free. I was especially hooked to the Curl Activator Lotion. After I had my big chop I continued using this product, because it moisturized my hair (at least I thought it did) and it kinda gave me curl definition on my hair.
Another staple brand I used to use, specially on my relaxed hair was Motions. I used relaxer from motions, shampoo, conditioner, leave in and moisturizing lotion. It kinda gave me the effect I wanted on my hair, so I continued using them after my big chop.
Another moisturizer I used to use was the Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Moisturizing Hair Lotion. It was a good moisturizer even though sometimes my hair would get too greasy from it.
I had more products I used every now and then but I won't be mentioning them.
The products I used to use were oke, they were not bad for my hair, but they were not that fantastic either.

Transition to all natural
Everything started with my desire to get my kinky 4A in a more curly way. I started looking on the internet, came across tutorials on YouTube and a whole new world of hair products opened up for me. I was hearing brand names I've never heard before and the most important things about most of these brands was that they were all or mostly natural products, composed of natural ingredients and without chemicals that might damage your hair.
I also discovered some all natural products my mother and grandmother actually used to use in our hair when we were young and after some research I realized how good these products actually are for our hair.
Some of these products are: Olive Oil, Coconut Oil and Aloe Vera Juice. Besides these products I discovered the mighty Shea Butter, and this is a product I think I will never live without again.
So I threw all my old products away, in a matter of speaking, and started my journey of all natural hair care.
Next to these all natural ingredients I found some natural brands I started using too and for an animal lover like me it is a big relief that these brands do not test on animals. These brand are Eco Styler and  Shea Moisture.

So if I had to make a list of the hair products I am using now it will look like this:
1- Staring with the most important of all: H2O. I never realized how important water can be for my hair, actually I always thought too much water would cause hair breakage, not knowing that as long as it's used correctly, water is a daily necessity for our hair. I mean, your body needs water daily, doesn't it? So does your hair.
2- My main moisturizing product is my homemade Shea butter whipped cream, which is a mixture of shea butter as main ingredient, coconut oil, jojoba oil and an perfume oil ( since Shea butter can have a really penetrating smell). Next time I will be making more of this cream I will be adding olive oil and maybe almond oil to the mix. And I will write a blog on how I make this mixture, stay tuned.
3- Next to my homemade Shea butter mix I also use my Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie as a moisturizer. I use this one mostly when I want to do a wash and go and I love the result I get.
4- As from now on my staple gel will be my Eco Styler Olive Oil styling gel. I use this gel to define my curls on a was and go, to slick my edges when need it and every time I want some hold for a style I'm doing. The thing with gels is that you have to use a good sealant or moisturizing agent under it, otherwise your hair will feel crunchy after it dries. I found out that the combination Shea Moisture and the Eco Style Olive Oil gel, works perfectly; I get the definition I want and no crunchiness after it dries.
5- My (leave in) conditioner at the moment is the Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner. I haven't really use it too much, so I can't really say what it does to my hair, but so far I like it.
6- One of the most drastic changes I made in my hair care routine is taking out shampoo and starting using African Black Soap to wash my hair. I've used it like 6 times so far and I love what it does to my hair. With other shampoos my hair would feel stripped and dry, but not with the African Black Soap.

This is in a nutshell what products I use on my hair and how I decided to start using only all natural products or mostly natural brands on my hair.
Like I said before, everybody should know for themselves what product is best for their hair. Choosing the right product is a matter of trial and error and the only way you will find out if a product works is by trying it, since everybody's hair is different.

In my following posts I will elaborate on every one of the natural products I mentioned in this post and put out their pro's and cons next to each other, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Chemical VS Natural

Time for a new post again.

Like I said in my introductory post I've been natural for almost 2 years now. Before I decided to go back natural I had chemical perms in my hair, like most of all black women do or did.
In this post I would like to put my opinion about how I experienced my chemical time and how I am experiencing my natural time now.

Chemical; from Jheri Curl to Relaxer
I was 12 when I first starting treating my hair chemically. Back then it was like a must for black women who had kinky hair to treat their hair chemically. The kinky hair was difficult to handle, there wasn't enough things you could do with it except braiding or twisting it  and it wasn't as beautiful as straight hair.
But where as many girls and women choose for a relaxer I chose for a Jheri Curl. Why? My mom had one and maintaining a Jheri Curl was less work then maintaining relaxed hair, mostly a wash and go and that's it.
So I got one, but soon after my hair started breaking, apparently maintaining it wasn't that easy after all and  I wasn't doing it good. So I had to cut quite a lot of my hair, kind of like a big chop.
After that I kept my jheri curl for about 7 more years and my hair started growing again, but still with now and then some cases of breakage.
It was after I moved to the Netherlands (I'm originally from CuraƧao) when I started thinking about a relaxer. The reason was that I couldn't get someone who could do my hair the way I wanted, applying a good jheri curl is more difficult then applying a good relaxer.
So I transitioned for about 8 months and then I got a relaxer. At that point my hair was at its longest, over my shoulders, around my scapulae. And so I kept relaxing my hair for like 3 years until I decided to go natural and had my big chop.

The pro's and the cons of being chemical
The pro's of having chemical treated hair: Since the hair is mostly straight (even when you have a Jheri, they start by relaxing your hair and after that they curl it), your hair is way easier to handle then when it's in its natural state. That is I think for now the only real pro I can mention of chemically treated hair.
I can mention that it's more beautiful, but I really don't think like that anymore, since I'm embracing the real beauty of natural hair now.
The con's of having chemical treated hair: the chemicals you put in your hair are just bad for you hair. I am not gonna make a list now of all the junk you put in you hair, but believe me it is just bad. Even when they say that a relaxer is made from more natural products, it is still bad because the main ingredient you need to straighten the hair, the Lye in a Sodium Hydroxide relaxer is just bad, period!
Another con is the financial part; once you start you will get hooked on it and this will only cost you money.
And of course you can experience breakage, but that is the case with natural hair too, if not treated well. Even though I think that the chance for breakage is a bit higher with chemical treated hair then with natural hair.

And what about being Natural?
I have been natural for most part of my life now I think. Or let's say for now it's like 50/50.
So you might think that when I decided to go back natural it was a really easy step. Well it wasn't. At first it was quite easy, since my hair was short. Mostly wash and go's and that was it.
But as your hair started growing it will start asking more and more attention from you, and there is how it can go wrong.
And for me it did go kind off wrong. My hair wasn't really growing the way I wanted. The front and the back were growing nicely, but in the middle it wasn't really growing that good. And this was all my fault because I was mistreating my hair, and because of this it was breaking. That is why I said that breakage can also happen to natural hair if not treated well.

Now what about the pro's and the cons?
Let's start with the pro's: The biggest pro is of course that your hair is in it's natural state and doesn't contain chemicals that can harm it. And as another pro I, myself think that you can do way more with natural hair than when you have for example a relaxer.
If I want curls I can do a braid out or a twist out or just a wash and go with a curling styling product. If I want my hair straight I can always straighten it using a blow dryer and a flat iron. And if I just want to rock braids, of course I can do that.
Now the cons: Like I said before natural hair is not always that easy to handle. And on tops of this natural hair needs a lot of care and here is where a lot of people (including myself) can go wrong. I think natural hair might even need a bit more of care then chemically treated hair. And it's all about how you take care of you hair. Which products do you use, how do you use them etc etc. You can be natural and still use a lot of chemical styling products which may still harm your hair anyway. 
I mentioned that chemically treated hair will cost you money, well I guess it is the same for natural hair. I guess after all having healthy and beautiful hair will cost you money.

This was a short ( I really tried to keep it short) description of how I experienced both natural as chemically treated hair. I am not saying that everybody should go natural, absolutely NO. Everyone should do what they feel comfortable with, but just take good care of you hair in order to have beautiful and healthy hair.

Just feel free to leave your opinion on how you experience your hair.

Take care and until the next post....

Friday, March 9, 2012

What is my hair type? The Classification

For a long time I thought you could classify hair in 3 types:
1-White hair, straight or curly
2-Mixed hair
3-Black hair

This was until I went natural and started doing some research on internet how to take care of my hair. All of a sudden I would read about and hear people talking about type 4, type 3 hair and stuff in their articles or on YouTube.
So I decided to use my great friend Google to find more about hair type classification and I ran across the hair type classification system Andre Walker, Oprah's stylist, came up with.
Apparently he wrote all about this in a book named "Andre talks hair" (if one of you read this book, feel free to leave your opinion about it).
When I discovered this hair type classification it was like a whole new world opened up for me and it became clear to me that the type of hair you have on your head, was not all about the color of your skin.
So let's get to the point and let's work out this classification system.

Type 1 hair: Straight hair
Type 1 hair can be divided into a, b and c.
Type 1A: Fine, thin straight hair. Tends to be very soft and shiny and also oily. It's difficult for this hair to hold a curl and the hair is difficult to damage.

Type 1B: Medium straight hair. This type hair has more volume and body then the 1A hair.

Type 1C: Coarse straight hair. Bone straight hair that is difficult to curl. We see this hair mostly on Asian women.

Type 2 hair: Wavy hair
The waves or curls of this hair type forms throughout the hair in a letter S-form. Like type 1 hair, type 2 hair can be divided in three subtypes too.
Type 2A: Fine, thin hair with a definite S-pattern and it's easy to handle. It's easily straightened or curled.

Type 2B: Has a medium texture and is a bit more resistant to styling. It has a tendency to be frizzy.

Type 2C: Coarse and tends to have thicker waves. It is very resistant to styling and it's normally very frizzy.

Type 3 hair: Curly hair
This hair type has a definite loopy S-pattern. The curls are well-defined and the hair has a lot of body. The hair is easily styled into it's naturally curly pattern or easily straightened using a blow dryer.
Type 3 hair is soft and very fine, but come in great quantity, what might may people believe that the hair is coarse.
Type 3 hair can be subdivided into two subtypes.
Type 3A: Loose, big curls. The hair can have a combination texture and tends to be frizzy.

Type 3B: Medium amount of curls and the curls are tighter then type 3A curls. Also tend to have a combined texture.

Type 3C: Curly Kinky hair
This type is not from the official classification system, it is more a creation of the users from the website (great website by the way if you need information about hair care).
It falls between the 3C and the 4A hair.
Type 3C hair has tight curls in corkscrews. The curls can be either kinky or very tightly curled, with lost of strand densely packed together. Blow drying this type of hair straight is challenging but it can be done. The curls usually have a fine texture.

Type 4 hair: Kinky hair
This type of hair is very wiry, very coiled and most of all very fragile. Type 4 hair can range from fine and thin to wiry and coarse and it has lots and lots of strands densely packed together.
Since type 4 hair has less cuticle layers it is has less natural protection. Type 4 hair usually shrinks up to 75% of the actual hair length. Like other hair types, type 4 hair can be divided into subtypes too.
Type 4A: Kinky soft hair. Tightly coiled hair with a more definite curls pattern. When stretched it has an S-pattern like type 3 hair. it tends to have more moisture then 4B hair.

Type 4B: Kinky wiry hair. has a less definite curl pattern, more of a Z-pattern and has a cotton-like feel.

I have to say though that on the websites I use as reference to write this blog they do not mention type 4C hair, but I hear people talk about it every now and then in their YouTube videos or write about it in their articles about hair care.

So, as you can see hair type classification is not just about the color of your skin but more about the type of you hair. Now I see that someone with mixed hair can have for example a mix of 1A and 3B too and that mixed hair is not in fact always the white/black mix a lot of us mostly think about.
I hope this classification van help you understand your hair a bit more in order to understand better how to take care of your hair.
Remember, the more you appreciate nature the way it is, the more beauty you will find everywhere.

The websites I used to find my information for this blog are:

I didn't put pictures of all the hair types because I didn't wanted to make the blog too long, but just check out the first link and you will find enough examples of the hair types.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Story of my hair

Hello Everybody, hope y'all doing alright while reading my first real post.
Like I said in my yesterday's post for the upcoming I will be blogging mostly about natural hair care. That is why I thought it would be handy to start by telling some more about my own hair.

I've been natural for almost 2 years now and these last couple of years have really been some challenging years for me and for my hair.
The reason I went natural was a mix of situations. I never really was the type that really liked straight hair, so when many kids ask their moms for a relaxer I asked my mom for a Jheri curl when I was younger.
Since my mom didn't want me to get any chemicals in my hair before I've had my first period, I decided to set for a press and curl, you know old fashioned with the heated comb and everything.
At age 12, during my first year of secondary school the time came for me to get my so wanted Jheri curl.
So I had my Jheri curl for almost 6 years when I moved to the Netherlands to follow higher education. Because it was so hard to get someone who could do me a jheri curl the way I liked it, I decided to go into transitioning in order to able to relax my hair. And so when I was around age 20 I got my first relaxer.

And so I relaxed my hair for about 3 years until I went natural.
Like I said it was a mixture of situations that made me go natural. One of the big reasons was a bad break up. Yes I've had another bad break up and I decided that it was time to become somebody else, and you know when a lot of people will start a new phase in their lives they start by cutting off their hair. So did I.
It was on a good Friday, April 2nd, 2010 and I just walked into a barbershop (!) and said to one of the guys that I wanted to cut off my hair, I wanted to cut everything that was still straight and only leave the outgrowths. And so my journey to become natural started.

So this was in a nutshell how I went from a press and curl, Jheri curl, relaxer to becoming all natural.
Stay tuned, because later on I will be posting some pictures of my hair throughout the years of becoming natural.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Back; renewed and improved...

It's been almost a year now since I opened this blog and as you can see I only have 1 post until now.
Truth is I didn't know what to write about back then, but hopefully now I do.
That is why I am now officially reopening my blog. Feel free to follow, especially if you're interested in natural hair care because that is what I will be blogging about for the upcoming time.
Tips and requests are always welcome too, so just feel free to tell me what you think or feel free to ask if you wanna hear my opinion about something.
So welcome y'all and stay tuned or my next post..