Tuesday, September 25, 2012

╰☆╮What I've Learned During my Hair Journey

Hey, guys! I'm going to share what I've learned on my hair journey so far. It's been three years, and I've come a long way and still have an even longer way left to go. I'm not giving up! As I mentioned in the previous post, my hair texture doesn't hardly benefit from a perm anyway, so I shall never go back.

1. Transitioning your hair also means that you are transitioning your life. If you beg to differ, look at it like this... you're finding the 'black pride' within yourself, so you are becoming happy(er) about being African American. Therefore, you develop a new outlook on life that you previously did not have.
2. Technically, you do not 'go natural'; you were born natural. So you are only going back to how you came into the world, but this time, you're accepting it.
3. Water is not the devil. In fact, water is your friend, a good friend to your hair. You hear that, black women? Stop being afraid of putting water on your hair! Unless it's well, hard water...eh, not much you can do there except go buy distilled water or install a filter in your shower. Hehe.
4. Just because someone else has tried a certain routine and it has worked for them does not mean that it will work for you. Try your own regimen and don't be a follower! You'll be disappointed if your curls don't look like theirs. Talk about hating your hair all over again. Trust me. You don't want that.
5. Having several hair patterns can sometimes appear to be a curse. Literally. One side of your hair is cooperating so far, but the other side wants to act like it's on crack. Just gotta' keep working at it.
6. Trimming is not necessary to do by a certain time. Only trim as you need to, like if your ends begin to break or look split and straggly. If you trim too often, like every month, you'll never notice your hair's growth and you'll keep thinking that you're doing something wrong and that your hair isn't growing. Be patient... and drop the scissors, woman!
7. Less manipulation is best. Combing and brushing excessively is not good at all. Yes, that's for all you women who do this every day.  Try to do as little combing and brushing as possible to minimize hair loss and hair breakage. Fingers have become my friend when it comes to lazy nighttime parting and taking down twists for twist-outs. I barely ever touch a comb unless it's wash/conditioning day!
8. Rock what you like and don't be afraid. If your hair is acting flat that day, wear your slick back afro-puff. If your hair is busting with volume and frizz, throw a headband on it, wear your full fro outside and be retro. Women are wearing styles from the 40's again lately, and I think it's sexy. Who cares about the freakin year? There's no law that says if a certain style hasn't been 'popular' since let's say the 60's, then you shouldn't wear it. That's how I feel about my son's rat tail, and now my hubby has a rat tail, too. Rock what you like no matter the season!
9. Commercial shampoos should be banned. Like, seriously. Those sulfates make your hair dryer than the Sahara Desert.
10. The best deep conditioners can be found right in your kitchen. You don't have to spend an arm a leg, and your head on a platter to get silky hair. Got an egg, some mayo, and some olive oil? Yeah. Sounds gross, but that stuff actually works.
11. Constant stressing over your hair won't make the problem go away. It can only make it worse... and cause it to fall out. Research the problem, do your best to fix it, and leave it alone. Chances are, your hair will cooperate in time. Again... be patient.
12. You are still going to have bad hair days. Don't think that when you go natural, the decision to stay natural will be a walk in the park. Sometimes, you're going to want to revert right back to the creamy crack. I never did, but some of you will. Don't feel bad, and don't give in. Look at YouTube videos for inspiration! LOL
13. Begin the de-tangling process before you wash your hair. If you just took down a braid out, it's going to be hard to really wash and condition your hair with knots in it. Try putting coconut oil and/or EVOO in your hair an hour before you wash it, and comb the knots out before washing. It makes it way easier, and you don't have to lose any hair, either.
14. Protein-based creams and moisturizers will always have your hair feeling like butter... unless your hair is protein sensitive. My hair loves it, soaks it up.
15. Corn braids are not the only protective style in the world! I used to think that it was, because that's all I saw in little girls' hair and I still do. In fact, corn braids are one of the worst protective styles. Yeah, they look really nice and what not, but people often braid too tight and leave the braids in way too long, neglecting the hair's need for moisture. That tight braiding all the time can put wear and tear on your hair, and possibly create little painful, sometimes bloody bumps on your scalp. Then when you take the braids down, you have lots of hair coming out in your hand and the comb. Some parents don't realize this and they keep corn braids in their' kid's hair almost year round, over and over and they never know that the child is slowly suffering hair loss/damage. Ladies, cool down on the braids, please, and let your child's scalp breathe and be free!
16. Again, it doesn't cost a lot just to maintain healthy hair. Use natural oils, shea butter, and water. That's pretty much all you'll need. You don't have to try every new fancy product out there just to have healthy hair. Create your own concoction and work it. That's what I did, and my shea butter mixture has lasted me 3 months each time. FIVE pounds of unrefined shea butter for 17 bucks on Amazon... and lasts for 3 months... how the hell can anyone beat that!? I mean, come on ladies; let's be resourceful here, and not break the bank trying to look cute!
17. Just because something says it's organic, doesn't mean it is. Just because it says it's all natural doesn't mean anything, either. Read every ingredient, and do your research.

Okay, I'm all out of suggestions... for now. Gotta go feed my little desparatos. If I have more, I will most likely come back for a part 2 of what I've learned. Take care, curly mamas!
P.S.: Curls of Innocence is on YouTube now! Check out my first little bootleg video that I did a few weeks ago. Don't laugh at me. Hehe. Comment and subscribe! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDNOuCfqQzE

~Epic Realist~

Saturday, September 15, 2012

My Hair is a Virgin! (Natural Hair Journey)

Virgin hair. This is something that I never imagined I'd have. Even though I had what everyone calls "good hair", I didn't actually know or believe that until I stopped perming completely.
I was always infatuated with hair, period. I played with my hair endlessly in high school especially. As a little girl, my hair was just like any other little black girl's hair... except that my hair was long and super thick. In a previous post, I've established the fact that I am not by any means mixed.
I wasn't tender-headed like my sister, thank God, but I didn't always like getting my hair done. I hated the hairstyles that I wore because I thought they were babyish once I'd gotten to middle school. My signature style was mini twists, but they always looked raggedy after a certain time, and I had so much hair that my mother often didn't know what else to do with it.
Childhood Years
I wanted my hair straight in high school like everyone else. Of course, we all know what it's like, being an outcast because of your looks. I wasn't allowed to perm my hair until I was 15, probably because my mom did not want me looking too grown, being 13 and starting 9th grade. I don't think she really knew the full dangers of perming, just like every other mother in those days. But I'd made the decision myself, so when I was 15, I got my first perm. I was thrilled. My hair was now straight and flowing like everyone else's, and I was able to comb it much easier instead of struggling and greasing it down, trying to get it to cooperate.
I don't remember exactly if, how, or when my hair went downhill as far as health, because at the time, I didn't know much about hair health, and neither did anyone else around me. I did get trims when I needed them, and I actually did not get perms very often. My mom did know that perming was bad, and if you were going to get one, you needed to do it sparingly, not like the cliche 'every 6 weeks' that women have been traditionally programmed to do. My sister was extremely tender-headed, so my mom had no choice at the time but to perm her hair when she was nine years old. Our hair was already longer than the average, so when it was straight, we were able to see the length better. A lot of people loved my hair, and everyone thought I was mixed. Rawr.
So I wore my hair straight a lot, and gradually started wanting it curly when I went to college. My perm time had gone way down to every six months, literally. I was totally stretching my perms, and I didn't really realize that I was helping my hair. Me, my mom, and my sister had all started stretching our perms, and that was when we realized that we didn't even need the 'creamy crack' at all! Our hair textures didn't even call for it.



So I wore my hair curly mostly through college, creating my own twist outs with permed hair. I obsessed in the mirror every morning with a full length mirror propped up on the door to see the back of my head, trying to get the perfect twist out. I could never get it. My hair was often stringy-like from using the classic pink oil every night. Between my sister and I, we went through that pink stuff like water. I liked the fact that my roots were flat, but I soon realized that they stayed flat enough on their own without a perm. I had almost gone a year without a perm once.
I got married and got pregnant with our honeymoon baby, which is the little hair model of mine that's all over this blog. (LOL!) During my pregnancy, my hair grew even faster than it usually did, of course, because of hormones and vitamins. This is my hair in 2009, after taking out braids. I did not perm my hair the entire time, because I had heard that it isn't good to have those type of chemicals entering your bloodstream during pregnancy.
After I had Syriah, I permed my hair and had it flat ironed. I felt good because I was able to get my hair done right after having a baby and look good again.
But I was really frustrated with my hair. I had a passion for natural/organic things, as well as overall health and fitness, so why was I perming my hair? I didn't even need it. I had gotten tired of sitting for hours and hours at salons, getting burnt when the damn stylist yapped on the phone and left the crap in my head too long, getting burnt from the flat iron of hellfire, and getting little random scabs in my head after all was said and done. My head had this irritating, itchy sensation, and my scalp had become very sensitive. I could hardly touch my scalp without this creepy, prickly feeling. I no longer had the excitement of going to get my hair done. The perm thrill was completely gone.  Plus, I had been doing my own hair at home forever anyway, and that was working out better than being straight all the time. So by the time I had Syriah in March 2009, my mom, my sister, and I agreed to stop perms completely and rock what God gave us.
Well, of course, you can't just stop perming and then say, oh, my hair will be fine. I'll figure out what to do with it and it'll be alright. No, you've got to do some research! I began to do research things to do while you transition from a perm, and how to manage the new growth. I began to love my hair. I had heard about 'big chops', and I was way too afraid to do that. No way. My hair was about 16-17 inches at this time, and I was not going to lose all my length just like that. I told myself that I would just grow the perm out, so that's what I began to do.



I learned about protective styling, and then I had a new signature hairstyle... twists. I had always been afraid to wear these out of the house because I thought it made me look younger, and I already looked way younger than 21 at the time. But I wore them, anyway. I began to protect my ends, and trim them when needed. I got pregnant again when Syriah was 8 months old, with our son. My hair was healthier then because I was no longer perming, and it grew like a weed. By 2011, I had transitioned for two years, so I decided to begin chopping off the old permed ends. It started in January. I was having a rough period in my life at this time, anyway, and I needed a change. I cut off  about two inches around this time, and in three months, I had gotten the courage to whack off literally about 6-8 inches of my hair. My husband was shocked, but he liked the new short look. It was a new me.
No, I didn't cry at all loosing all that hair. I was so ready to get rid of that old dead hair. It was like getting rid of the old me. I had grown tired of the two textures, and it was irritating, seeing the top of my hair nice and lush and thick, and the rest thin, limp, and broken. I felt very proud of myself, and I had a new look. I had to get used to seeing myself with short hair, but it kind of complemented my 'fatter' face at the time. I'd had back to back pregnancies and still had weight that I hadn't lost yet. So my face was still... round. (LOL!) As you can see, my son looked a lot like me as a baby.
I had even cut myself a bang at home for the first time in my life. For my birthday, I had gone to a Dominican hair salon and got it straightened to see how long it was. I originally wanted to ask then to cut it all the same length, but they would have charged more. Suckers. I was already paying 60 bucks just for a wash and flat iron. Ugh. What a rip-off.
The picture of me and my hubby was when I had tried something new with my curly bang... and I didn't like it much. That was our 3rd anniversary. =)


So, that was my big chop. I had cut my hair a little past my ears by that summer and I didn't care. I just wanted my hair to be healthy. I was going through a whole lot in life during this time, and that was another reason why I didn't care how short my hair looked or how many people were astonished. I had transitioned for two years and it was time for the 'big chop'. How much you decide to cut off your own head is always up to you. Big chopping doesn't mean that you have to be bald, unless you truly want to do that.
By September 2011, I was pregnant with our third baby, and my hair started growing like a weed again. This was around the time when our finances had picked up greatly and I was able to begin experimenting with natural products, I was overjoyed. I was tired of not getting the hair results I wanted with my hair as well as both my kids' hair. I bought EVOO for the first time ever this year, and began to use it on my hair and Syriah's, and also on our skin. I saw major differences already. I ditched the Pantene hair moisturizer I was using and the hair cholesterol from the dollar store and began using EVOO as an overnight conditioner before washings. My hair was silkier than ever, and I didn't even need a wash out conditioner anymore. By November, I had also ordered some unrefined shea butter and began to use that for styling our hair. Totally freakin awesome. 
Pink lotion wasn't even an option at all anymore. I researched and I researched hard. That was when I realized that I had a passion for this stuff, and that I might as well start a hair blog to help educate people about natural hair care. However, at the time, I was intimidated because it seemed as if everybody and their mama was doing a hair blog, and frankly, I didn't think that I knew enough about the subject yet. But I kept up the research. I joined every last natural hair care website I could find and bookmarked it. I tried different things and got great results. By the end of the year, I was totally satisfied with the way my hair was acting.
So the next year, 2012, I became totally serious. By February, I was 7 months pregnant and loving my hair growth and the way my curls were popping. In March, I finally got the courage to start this blog, and I couldn't have been more proud. I had found something that I'd LOVED to do. My hair health has only gone uphill since then. I have ditched sulfate and paraben shampoos for good. I purchased some Shea Moisture products for the first time ever, and they were awesome. I also found out about Eco Styler gel, and that's become of my best friends. (LOL!)



So, there is is, guys. My long hair journey. I have happily been natural now for 3 years, and every day, I'm loving it more and more. I'm proud to say that my hair is now fully a virgin! (LOL!) I'm learning more and more about what works for my hair. I believe that my hair is 3B-3C with a little of 4A. My hair had several textures in it, which as you may know, can be tricky to deal with. Syriah's hair is 3A-3B only, like my husband's hair. I have no idea how long my hair has gotten now, but pretty soon I will schedule an appointment to get a flat iron and an all-even cut so I can see the length.
You know I'm gonna post that update when I finally do it. Haha! It's been really busy around here with 3 kids, but I somehow manage to do something with my hair to keep it from over-drying and going to the pits. I hope I managed to get everything into this blog that I had done with my hair over the years. If not, I shall come and update it when I remember something. Let me know if you enjoyed this post about my natural hair journey!
Oh, and here is a video that I created after this post about my hair journey. Enjoy!
Peace out, curly mamas!

~Epic Realist~

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Shea Moisture and Eco Styler Twist Out Review

So, I finally tried the famous Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie mixed with Eco Styler Olive Oil gel in my hair. I had been thinking about this idea for a while anyway, but YouTube inspired me even more. I LOVE the consistency of both of these products, so I worked them into my damp hair.
What I did was use a small amount of the SM in small sections, about 6 twists on each side of my head, and then applied an even bigger amount of gel to each section. I didn't bother actually mixing them in a container; I just wanted to try it out first before dumping a bunch of one thing inside the other. My hair was automatically elongated and very moisturized. After that, I did smaller twists from each section, until I had about 15-20 twists on each side. I wrapped it up for bed and left the twists in for two days. When I took then out, I'd had one of the best, well-defined twists outs that I'd ever achieved so far during my entire hair journey.
So now I love this mixture! My hair was very moisturized, and a bit crunchy, as to be expected with any type of gel. But I loved it. I separated every twist to make it fuller, and fluffed it around a bit. I was able to fling my hair back and forth without effort, and it looked as if I'd just wet my hair. I've now been rocking this twist out for two days now, and it's a tad bit fuzzy but still wearable as long as I wrap it in a satin bonnet before bed.
Normally, my twist outs last for 3-4 days, no matter what I use to define them, but this stuff is definitely a keeper. I will be using this SM mixed with the ES for my best twist-outs ever!
Questions? Comment please! =)
Peace out, curly mamas!

~Epic Realist~

Thursday, September 6, 2012

We're Not Mixed, So Stop Asking!

I've heard this all of my life. People always asked if I was mixed because my hair was way long... without effort. This is way before the natural hair movement, when I was perming, starting at age fifteen. It wasn't very often, but I wasn't always taking care of my hair in the best way because I didn't know how then. I used to think that I was pretty special... until I became grown and got married. Then I just got plain annoyed. -____-
I don't even look mixed at all. I do, however, look like I can pass for being Indian because of my head shape, but I'm not. My mom is black, my dad is black, my grandparents on both sides are all black. Even their parents are black. Now that I married a silky haired, curly haired, black man who could honestly pass for Arabic, I definitely get asked that question... about our kids. He's black, his parents are black, and I think his grandparents are as well. Not totally sure. But now we have three kids, and everybody and their mama definitely think that we're mixed. Because me and hubby both have the so-called 'good hair', our kids appear mixed to everyone. Not exactly a bad thing; I'm just tired of having to explain myself. I get tired of answering that question. I never ask anyone that question because I think it's totally rude. What the hell does it matter if you're mixed? Your hair is still beautiful whether you are or not.
It's just plain ignorance. Just because your hair is long or a certain texture does not mean that you're mixed with something. I've seen people who are straight black with gorgeous hair. Of course, it is pretty baffling when you see it because not many people are used to seeing it. I had to get over that myself when I was younger. Every time I saw someone with silky hair, I'd automatically think that they were mixed with something. I was ignorant as well. But there comes a point where you grow up about these racial differences. People think it's so cool to be mixed because of hair properties, and we as black people are just now realizing that you don't have to be mixed to have long, beautiful hair. All you have to do is begin to educate yourself on how to take care of the hair you have, and it'll grow. You'll have everyone thinking you're mixed if you do it right. LOL!
It doesn't cost an arm, a leg, and your head on a platter, either. If you just use EVOO, water, and unrefined shea butter only, you'll already see a difference. I know I did. That's what I started out with. I've been studying natural hair for about a year and a half now, and I've learned a lot and have seen all different types of hair textures on all kinds of people. There are white people who have hair that is somewhat curly and kinky like a black person's. It's going to happen, and it's still really pretty hair that CAN be managed IF you study it and use the right things in it. Some people wish that they had curls. Everyone is mixed somewhere down the line anyway, whether it's in their immediate family or five generations ago.
So my point is that people need to get over this ridiculous stereotype about long hair and mixed people. To me, it's kind of annoying now. I understand if you're a kid, or even a teenager. But if you're way grown, it's time to stop the stereotyping because all you're doing is offending someone. I've had people swear up and down that I was mixed. My sister had even longer hair than I did when she was young. She had silky,wavy hair that went down to her waist at four years old! It just happens.
Grow up, people; let's not remain ignorant.
Next time someone asks me this question, I'm going to work up the courage to sarcastically say, "Yeah, we're mixed. Mixed with African and American!" ^__^

~Epic Realist~

Monday, September 3, 2012

Jam's Rat Tail Update!

So here's an update on Jam's rat tail. Really, the second pic was taken about a month ago, but doesn't matter. The picture speaks for itself. It's an update since I did this one in April. (see bottom pic)
It's so long now and lots of people love it. My little boy is unique! As I said before in another post, I refuse to have my kids look exactly like everyone else, with the classic hot mo-hawks and fro-hawks that are all over the place. I like rat tails and that's how it's gonna be until Jam gets old enough and really wants it gone. But he'll be old enough to make that decision himself.