Struggle Bus Naturals Post- WTF DO I DO NOW…

Ahem.

Hello my loves. It has been a while since I’ve made a struggle bus naturals post so here go.

My name is Shannon and I’ve been natural for years now and I struggle. I’ve been working on identifying my natural hair struggles and I’ve had a lil bit of a breakthrough.

  1. Problem number one. I have not updated my practices with my hair enough. I realized this when I tried to do a high bun and realized I haven’t done one in long enough that my prev methods were for shorter hair.
  2. Related to #1, I over trimmed again and my length is awkward.
  3. I fell off doing what works for me.

My hair is not in bad condition at all. Up under my wigs since forever, things are going well in there. I am a mostly juices and berries natural. I just am. I think I got a little caught up in the natural hair community again and that is not my jam.

I am a henna loving, handmade sheabutter using, oils and butters and herbs type natural. SO during the time where we need to be wearing masks I got me a whole ass new plan.

I am rebooting my routine and protective styling to fit what I LIKE doing with my hair, what my hair likes, and what suits my life.

The first thing I’m bringing back are henna glosses on the regular. I won’t be doing full henna treatments because our pipes are old but, a gloss goes all right.

I’m sticking with my hardcore LCO method. It is what my hair thrives on. I’ll do an updated post on individual treatments later.

I’m gonna keep doin my lil ugly Miss Celie braids.

New thing. I’ve purchased a few new headwraps. Since I am an essential worker and I ride mass transit I’ve been wearing masks out. I find it easiest to wear then around a headwrap bun.

I’m going to go back to studying more ayurveda and other herb type things. I love learning more about it and frankly I’ve done well using them.

Now, my goal is to get my hair back to full health with good ends. I’d like to repair or try to fix some of my stress hairloss. If i don’t..fine.

THEN next hurdle will be styling.

How y’all feelin babes?

And a foto of my hair as I was moisturizing and detangling yesterday.

20200422_180508

[image description: the author a brown skinned femme with naturally curly hair sectioned off, lookin tired.]

Y’all I was spent but I put my lil plaits in and got my hair fully detangled and moisturized.

Struggle Bus Natural- Big ole Update

Let’s talk about my hair.

So this is gonna be a lowkey hair growth update and some observations because I blew out my hair and have been wearing it out.

I’ve been natural for I dunno how long. I had a few times where I went back to relax my hair a bit.

Last weekend I gave myself a blow out because I got bored with my wig and am in the home stretch of my move and didn’t want to really be messing with my hair.

For a while I’ve been kind of struggling thinking my hair was thin. Now that I’ve figured out more how to care for my hair I dunno. I think that too many years of following other naturals who don’t have the same texture as me or my head of hair was rearing up.

I don’t have the big magnificent hair that we see as the marker of Black beauty. I just don’t. It is big. It is not orderly and my fro does this when I don’t mess with it:

That is how my hair looks completely nude. No product. Freshly washed and just let to do what she wanna do. I have a deep natural part in my hair that literally goes from my forehead to almost the crown of my head. I have always had it. The texture of my hair along the part is looser and grows almost kinky straight.

I also thought my edges were thinning. I do have one slightly baldy spot in my edges on the left that happens when I am too stressed out. It just does. This move has maxed my stressed levels so my lil freakout spot is filling back in but was clean bald for a minute. Also the softest bit of skin ever on my whole body for a bit.

I looked at some older photos that I can’t find now and y’all, that’s just how my edges are.

My fellow struggle bus naturals. Hey, you. Come here. If your hair isn’t the fluffiest most plum n juicy curls it is okay. Your hair is great. My hair is great OKAY.

Okay.

SO I gave myself a BOMB blowout. I prepood with coconut oil. A word about coconut oil. I know it has fallen out of fashion. Personally my hair is not on the straight protein bandwagon and doing an overnight coconut oil prepoo once or twice a month makes a huge difference for me. If I use coconut oil a bit sparingly, it works way better. Pro tip.

Then I double cleansed. I used the Shea Moisture (yeah I know we’ll get to it) Raw Shea butter shampoo. (YES amazon affiliatelinks cause Auntie needs coins). So a while back Shea Moisture decided to cash out and go “multi culteral” and in their ads, really ignored the Black women mainly who shot that brand into the stratosphere. They did apologize but I am still not really into them. I also know that some of their products have changed a lot so they are more friendly to White folks and that just makes me angry. I had some of the JBCO lines and compared bottles on the same products and it was very disappointing. THey also called some Black bloggers liars for pointing it out. So I don’t really fucks with them that much.

I had it around and used it.

I followed up with a sulfate shampoo. Garnier Fructis Brazilian Smooth Fortifying Shampoo. Y’all, I have so many Garnier products they are really going in. I LOVE their stuff and it is so inexpensive and easy to find. When I know I’m going to use heat I always use a shampoo that is either anti breakage or fortifying or smoothing. Straightening wash day is about keeping my hair strong and moist.

I followed up with my black tea rinse. I use a jug basically and hot tap water. I drop 4-6 bags of plain black tea in there the night before (I like it strong, if you don’t drink tea or coffee do it an hour before you wash) and then before I wash I dig out the tea bags and drop in a few drops of lavender essential oil or peppermint. Over the years I’ve tried many anti breakage and anti shedding remedies and always come back to black tea. You can also do it in a spray bottle as part of your leave in or do it like I do. After rinsing out all my shampoo I saturate my hair with the tea and massage it into my scalp. Then I added my deep conditioner on top.

I always mix my deep conditioners. I have yet to find one single formula that does it all. This particular mix I wanted some strength and a lot of moisture and less oil than I use when I am not heat styling. I had some trial packets of the Garnier Whole Blends Repairing Mask Honey Treasures so I used some of those. A few sploots of Pantene Pro-V Anti-Breakage Conditioner that I picked up at Grocery outlet a while back. Interestingly, the black folks line from Pantene irritates the shit out of my scalp. I filled it out with some random other moisturizing conditioners. And of course I added a few drops of peppermint essential oil and just the smallest dollop of castor oil. I sat under my bonnet dryer for fifteen minutes, had a hot flash and went and took a nap.

I have a handheld dryer with this giant weird comb/brush/roller attachment thing. It is really old and they don’t make it anymore. But basically it has a finer tooth comb bit, then the air comes out of the larger tooth bit and on the back are these little velvety roller things. Once I figured out how to use that with the tension method voila. For heat protection I used Garnier Fructis Style Smooth Blow Dry Anti-Frizz Cream. Y’all that shit is so good.

This was my result, no other product. Just before I cut about 2 inches off.

hairs

[image description: The author, brown skinned person with kinky blown out hair. Wearing glasses and a lip ring]

Y’all look at my hair.

Is it the thickest? No. But it is so beautiful and I’m so happy with my progress. My roots weren’t super straight which is fine. Yes, all my hair photos I’m bare ass because I don’t wear clothes when I do my hair.

My next project post move will be to make more of my hair growth/scalp stimulation/healing oil. And this summer I might start whipping my own shea butter. AND this summer, I’m tackling some styles so stay tuned for that.

That’s all babes.

Struggle Bus Naturals Post- Curl pattern or nah?

Hello my fellow Struggle Bus Naturals.

So hey…..hey boo.

A few weeks ago yours truly had a wee bit of a hair meltdown. We all have them. Whether it is a setback an oops etc. My last one you can read about here, my not about that braid life hella fail. 

Ahem.

SO what had happened was I feel victim to following too many other naturals. I know. Y’all. I know.

So with my hair getting longer and it being healthy as hell and beautiful I’ve been wanting to do some styles between wigs. I’ve looked at braid out, twist out, wash n go tutorials galore and had come to the conclusion that somehow I had damaged my hair and broken my curl pattern.

I have been misunderstanding my curls.

This is what my hair looks like  freshly washed and deep conditioned.

wethair

[image description: brown faced author, with half of their face visible and a look at crinkly black hair]

Okay so that is just what she is. My hair has a mix of just kinky hair and wee tiny coily curls. The ends of my hair will do lil ringlets when clumped but, when left alone this is what happens. Now here is where I shouldn’t have believed my eyes. When my hair was shorter and also virgin, my hair had a bit more round type curls. But only when wet. As my hair has gotten healthier it has gotten thicker and my actual texture is very much a mix of 4c/zish.

A lot of the natural hair folks I was watching, have looser curls. I do follow around a good number of type 4 folks but, I did not parse that most of them are wearing/doing styles with their hair stretched.

DING DING stretched.

Stretched.

Whoa.

So the meltdown was in my air dried hair having no coils or juicy curls. Not manipulated my hair when dry is crinkly and kinky. Beautiful. Full and bouncy. Leonine.

I don’t have a good pic but take my word for it.

Y’all, shit got real. I was moisturizing and shit and was teary. I thought I needed to big chop again and I worked SO HARD to nip away damage from an intense color I had, I spend so much time loving my fro and y’all….

Luckily I learned from the last time I did that shit and I did not. I did my LOC method, braided and did some research.

Turns out, my hair is fine.

I also figured out that my hair is medium porosity.

What I’ve figured out is that my method of just really paying attention to how my hair feels keeps it in the best condition. The one thing I think I’ve been doing not quite right is not detangling well enough. With my medium porosity hair that is slightly protein sensitive, it stays well hydrated if I do the FULL LOC method on wash day then mid week or so I spritz my hair with my Oyin Juices and Berries leave in. If I need to detangle I use a more intense leave in.

I need slip because my kinks like to cuddle and that has led to me having some epic knots and y’all, I had a period of only finger detangling and that is not the business. That was also part of the problem with my fail braids. I hadn’t detangled with tools and it was a mess.

So lately on wash day if I’m doing the full prepoo, shampoo (double cleanse) and deep condition I will start the detaingling while I do my prepoo. That is when I finger detangle. This seems really extra but when you’re already prone to terrible migraines AND you are absurdly tender headed, it works. One problem with being really tender headed is that my scalp starts to get sore and I don’t want to detangle anymore. So I stopped doing it all in one go.

After that, I do a bit more while cleansing. With my fingers. Then after I DC I detangle the most under my shower. Any knots remaining I use a denman and I twist or braid each section, and I use a bit of tension to stretch my roots.

Since I’ve been doing that my shedding is way down. OH also because I’ve been tea rinsing but I’ll talk more about that later.

My breakage is also super down.

SO the lesson here my fellow struggle bus loves is as always, sometimes you cannot take the word of anybody except your own.

Now my loves. Next Struggle Bus post will likely be a lil length check after my next trim and straighten. I’m HYPE to straighten my hair I haven’t done so in like two years.

Until then I love y’all!!

2017 for the Struggle Bus Natural.

About the last one for the year y’alls.

I’m gonna look at hair stuff.

SOoooo y’all.

I had intended to make this big dramatic post, patting myself on the back and twerking in joy because I found a braid extension that doesn’t involve cornrows and that I can do. If you are interested see here. If you want to learn how to do cornrowless crochet braids of any type, seriously sub to Jazz Nicole and learn. Her videos are easy to follow and even I COULD DO IT.

So I practiced. And Sunday I got started.

First thing what had happened was-

I had some MAJOR knots down at my goddamn scalp. I could feel them. Getting them out was traumatic. Because I’ve been mainly finger and wide tooth comb detangling, I’ve avoided a lot of breakage buuuuuuuuuuuuut them little evil ass gremlin knots slipped through the big comb and I damn well know that gliding my fingers from scalp to ends is a no go. SO that was, fucking terrible.

Y’all.

Y’ALL.

Because I don’t heat style more than maybe once a year, I had to fight them knots. I was very gentle but about a quarter of the way through, my scalp started to hurt really badly. Just, sore and bruised so I stopped and resumed on Monday. When I was almost in tears because my whole goddamn head was hurting like I got hit, I should have stopped but………..I did not.

Listen to your Auntie babes.

If your body is saying. HEY NO PLS WHAT THE FUCK STOP NO FUCK U BITCH! Listen.

However, after a few maybe scissor happy trims my hair is doing very well. It is juicy moist, soft. Everything I want and I’m retaining length. That is huge for me because I’m going for booty length hair and I can’t be losing my inches to bullshit.

 

 

The evolution of oh noness. First pic, doing the first section. Holding my hair out I was feeling myself. Second photo, me feeling myself HUGELY. My pretty little braids were soft and shiny. Swingy. Third photo, hours later this is the sweaty face of defeat. That was the point I decided to just give up.

So defeat.

But! Good news.

I have added a new layer of understanding about my hair.

I need a hard all the way down to the scalp, tiny ass comb detangling at least once a month.

My current routine is working out very nicely. Here’s how I get down.

I am hardcore protective styling. I’m wearing wigs.

Doing the LOC method regularly works for me. My hair still loves a heavy ass butter/oil PAPOW combo. When I’m on my game, I only really need to moisturize after washing, then two days later. Then again on wash day.

Now let’s talk about some products I like.

For moisturizing. For a non handmade cream I like some few brands.

Asiam Double Butter Cream. Not bad. It is nicely moisturizing, has good stuff in it and is pretty easy to find.

Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream. WITH a caveat. Cantu products are VERY proteiny. Use with caution especially if your hair is protein sensitive. That said, it is a great one to use if your hair is feeling a little weak. Not a lot, a little goes a long way.

Really for me if something has a good base of shea butter AND has oils, it’s gonna be great.

Oils:

Commercially blended oils.

This one does have a silicone but it’s not a biggie for me. My hair isn’t mad about cones. Hot 6 oil. I love to use it as a base for other stuff.

I like to mix in:

Jamaican Black Castor Oil. Always a fave of mine. My scalp LOVES this shit and when I have an itchy spot it does it for me.

I will also drop in a little bit of peppermint or tea tree oil.

For commercial oils, what you want is to make sure they don’t have mineral oil and if you’re sensitive to silicones skip it.

Oils from the grocery store.

Coconut oil. Y’all do not get fooled into paying vast amounts. Go to a hood grocery, buy a jar of coconut oil. I know it isn’t the big thing anymore but my hair loves it.

Other kitchen oils: olive oil is amazing. For me I like my oils a bit heavier but olive is great and no it doesn’t have to be the fanciest most extra virgin olive ever. Plain ole olive oil, just check the label to make sure it is pure olive oil.

If you live where you can get to a brown folks grocery, look for palm oil.I’ve used it as a hot oil treatment and it was GREAT. Also avocado oil but it is expensive where I live so I tend not to use it.

For ultra softening get a good fatty ass oil.

Non eatin oils:

I LOVE light castor oil and buy one or two bottles a year. My brand is NOW Solutions Castor Oil. Y’all. This is so great to have on hand. I use it to boost conditioners, I use it when I have dry scaly spots on my butt. Honestly that one is my one true love. I’ve used others, jojoba etc but my hair likes it heavy.

Leave ins:

I bounce between two primarily.

My first love is the Oyin Juices n Berries. I am a ride or die og Oyin fan. They make my FAVE whipped butter.  I love the light mist and the scent of juices and berries. This is great for me. It does have glycerin in it so I alternate it with another leave in.

Creme of Nature with argan oil – Strength & Shine Leave-In Conditioner. I LOVE this product. It is a bit more of a heavy spray but gives some excellent slip. Really great. I love this one.

Plain water is great. Occasionally I like to do water mixed with a sploot of oil.

The biggest thing I’ve learned this year about my hair is that I really need to just do me. I LOVE learning about the big wide diverse world of natural hair, I just gotta remember not to try EVERY DAMN SHINY THING ON MYSELF.

Also y’all, I had some setbacks didn’t make my goal length and I am so happy. I love my hair so much.

Coming up in 2018 I’m planning on going HARD on the protective styling. What can I say, I want mermaid hair.

There will be more wig reviews, maybe some struggle bus how to basics?

I dunno.

Happy new year y’all.

Quickie Reviews!

Let’s do some quickie reviews. Some affiliate links, ahoy.

First up, some hair stuff:

Creme Of Nature Strength & Shine Leave-in Conditioner: I picked this up sort of on emergency status. I had no leave in with some slip and my hair was super really HOLY FUCKBALLS WHAT HAVE I DONE- tangled. Y’all this shit right here. It does have cones in it and that’s what I needed. You shake it and it gives a nice light mist and my hair digs the formula. I actually found it at Rite Aid in my hood.

Next up, I used the last of a little jar of SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Reparative Leave-In Conditioner.  I heard from some recent reviews that the formula had changed and y’all it has. It still smells good but I found that this newer formula does not moisturize my hair the way it used to at all. Not worth it. I won’t be rebuying it. Also like LOTS of other brands who made their big money on Black women they are backing away from Blackness and I ain’t here for it so they get no more of my black ass dollars.

I recently saw the new release of the Babylips line and I was so excited. I’m a big fan of the original babylips and picked up one of the new crayons. I got it in Playful Purple. Pros: major color. The color is fire. It is like BOOM all in your face which for a balm is pretty amazing. Cons: MAJOR CLOWN MOUTH. This is not like the buildable ones like my fave OG Cherry one. Y’all no. This new one is messy, it just got ALL over around my mouth after a couple of swipes. Good for the pahpow color, but, not really feasible for a little quick tint. Nah son. That said, I bought it so instead of wearing it as is, I found if I blot it down a few times the color is less shiny but stays put.

I’ve recently been wearing more eye shadow and y’all, I forgot how much I love the Revealed and Revealed 2 palettes. The shadows are well pigmented and blend easily. I feel like if you prefer more nudes (some of these are GREAT nudes for brown skin) and want nice quality without shelling out huge bucks these are pretty great. You don’t have to have both, if you’re my shade or around that I suggest 2 more than 1.

Next I’ve fallen ass over tea kettle in love with the First Aid beauty Ultra Repair Cream.  That said- this shit is expensive AF but, I do really love it. The big wow factor for my super dry body skin is the Colloidal Oatmeal in it. First ingredient and excellent for soothing itching burning skin. I probably use way too much (I’m nothing if not extra) but it is just so soothing and the light citrus scent is really nice. I probably won’t buy a big jar because it’s expensive, but it’s a great product if you are looking and got $$.

What else?

My current fave sheet mask is the Tony Moly I’m Real Red Wine Mask Sheet. My favorite weird mask is the carbonated clay mask One Bad Motha’foamer. Even beardy beard face Uniballer (my partner) loves that foamy one. I dunno if it really gets in them pores but it is so fun to do I love it.

If you are into interesting, unique and handcrafted perfumes, but don’t have BPAL money, y’all I GOT U BOO. Whisper Sisters. The owner Darla has got a magical nose for complex, deep and gorgeous scents. My personal faves right now are Spidora – red licorice, sugar, clove, aged patchouli. Eulalie – peach, rose, honeysuckle, carnation. And Cecil – brown sugar, black pepper, sugar. I have an ever growing collection of her work and y’all it is so good.

What am I looking forward to?

OH OH OH.

So, y’all I LOVE SOCK DREAMS and I just found out I have a referral link. So if you want to shop them, please use my link homies. I legitimately LOVE that company so much. I am wearing their socks right now.

PRO TIP. If you have dry hands and like fancy hand cream, watch for sets of the good shit around holidays. Gift sets are where it’s at. I’m currently using tube #3 out of a four or five tube set I got at Christmas from Sephora of Korres body butters. I will likely purchase this one when I run out. My favorite so far is the rose. The scent is soft and natural, the cream is wonderful.

Remember, travel or gift sets are the business if you want to try out something expensive without the huge ding to your wallet.

But, beware. You might get hooked like I have on this Peter Thomas Roth
Pumpkin Enzyme Mask Enzymatic Dermal Resurfacer. Y’all. This shit is so expensive and I have a wee tiny bit of it left, it is so good. So so good. My face feels like the softest fattest little baby butt in the world when I use it. Like…it’s so rare to use a product and have immediate gratification but there it is. That 58 goddamn dollar tub of pumpkin goodness is my official holy grail mask.

That said, on recs from lots of friends I’ll be checking out some The ordinary skin care. I have my eye on this retinol and the rosehip oil.

I still love the Tarte Maracuja oil but I think for the warmer weather my skin doesn’t want it. Also the little bottle lasted me for months, I still have a good amount.

I will be switching my foundation up as well and will do some reviews when I FINALLY get my shit.

That’s all for now. I believe next time we’ll get our Goth Fantasist on, the more Genderqueer version for folks.

 

Struggle Bus Naturals- A little update

So in the last few weeks I’ve been feeling kind of down about my hair. I was experiencing some MAJOR tangling and haven’t been able to find my schedule for taking my hair down to braid now that I’ve changed shifts.

One of the drawbacks to hardcore protective styling for me is that I am not always able to see progress or milestones. My biggest milestone lately has been that my hair is now too much to do my whole cowash/detangle in the shower unless I want to wash my ass in stone cold water.

So I was thinking maybe of doing something else? I dunno. I watch a LOT of hair channels (I should not) and was feeling inadequate. Y’all I KNOW better than to compare. I mean, my hair is what it is. It’s not gonna be as glorious as one of the super long folks I follow.

Let me say this to my fellow struggle bus naturals. Your hair is gonna do what it do. For some of us there is no amount of product or manipulation to give us picture perfect all the sameish curls. For some of us, there are no laid edges without abusing our hair. A lot of us are not walking around rocking Instagram worthy hair all day every day.

Remember y’all, let your hair be your hair.

Now, over the weekend I decided to treat my hair SUPER nice.

I prepoo’d with coconut oil and did some finger detangling. Then I clarified my hair with one quick suds with a sulfate shampoo and followed with my liquid African Black soap.

I don’t do a whole wash in the shower anymore. Instead I shampoo in four sections in my sink. I have a hose thingy like this.   I also use a hair catcher in the drain. I used to exclusively wash this way until I started cowashing more.

I detangled with a bit of extra conditioner outside of the shower and while I was doing that with one section, I freaked out a little. Y’all, I have retained INCHES. When I started this round of protective styling I trimmed my hair to just below my shoulder. I trimmed a little bit as I was combing and look at how glorious my hairs is:

hair

[image description: a photo of the author a brown person from behind. One section of their hair is down and reaches a couple of inches below their shoulders]

Y’all.

That is all retention, which has been my biggest problem previously.

So here are my big super secrets.

  1. Figure out what your hair likes. Not what your fave youtuber likes. How to figure this out? Use a product consistently. Unless your hair immediately starts doing something wild or if your scalp is itchy, stop but, you have to give your hair time.
  2. Don’t try and rush your hair. Let it do what it do.
  3. Do what works and don’t screw around overmuch.

And that’s pretty much it. What works for me, might suck for you and that’s okay because we’re not in the same body.

A few other tips before I go.

If you start taking hair, nail and skin vitamins that have a lot of MSM or Biotin, drink extra water. If you don’t your face will break out. Your face might break out anyway, but, if it isn’t terrible, just roll with it. Again, give it at least 90 days and stay hydrated.

And love your hair. Doesn’t matter what kind of hair you have. Love your TWA, love your hair.

Now, as for me. I’m going to try that Jazz Nicole method of doing some crochet twists with NO CORNROWS!! If I can do it, it’s gonna be a spring/summer of UNICORN hair and I’m super hype. I’ll take some photos of it while I’m trying it. My plaiting has gotten quite a bit better so if I can do this, it’s fixin to be lit.

That’s it for now darlings.

Next time, I dunno maybe some new quickie reviews!

Why I wear Wigs.

If you want the short version, no I’m not trying to be White. I don’t hate my natural hair and bitch stop asking.

Let’s rewind time and look back at the mid-late 80s. Yours truly was a lil baby potato and I had some long ass hair. I loved my hair. I loved wash days when my Mom would section it off and I’d lay back with her hands in my hair. I loved having my scalp oiled, I loved the occasions I got to go to the Fancy Grown Lady salons and get my hair blown out and curled. I even low key a little bit loved the hot comb.

On occasion, my mom would wash and blow out my hair and I’d get to run around with it out. It was big and soft and fluffy. I remember being outside by myself in late Summer, none of my friends around and I just twirled around in the sunlight feelin myself. My hair is deeply intertwined with some of my earliest experiences of feeling beautiful and magical.

Like so many other things about being a lil Black child, I had no notion of there being a problem until other folks introduced them. When not pressed my hair was too nappy, not good, too big, too much work. I understand now that those comments from Black friends and family are full of internalized White supremacy and I forgive them. Yes, they hurt me very badly but I understand.

When I was a bit older and started relaxing my hair (lots of Black folks know this story) things went bad in my relationship with my hair. I didn’t know how to take care of it and thus it broke off. I got teased about it a lot. Sideways comments about my hair being greasy or being called nappy weeds.

In high school at various times I just cut it all off or wore tree braids. But I really hated my hair. I didn’t really know about extensions other than braids or wigs or weaves. I would look at the hair magazines and Black celebrities and I was just mystified as to why my hair didn’t look like that when I straightened it or whatever. The problem as far as I was concerned and as backed up by the culture I was exposed to was that I just had bad hair.

At some point I stopped trying to care and just did whatever I wanted to my hair. Relax and color the same day, sure! Cut it ALL off? Yup. Burn that shit with a hot comb? YUP.

In the late 90s I discovered wigs and would wear them time to time. I had the seed of the idea about protective styling but back then information on Black hair care was slim. I had some bad salon experiences, shaved my head, bleached it, had purple hair, orange hair, reds, lots of colors.BUT, I didn’t know how to get and keep my hair healthy.

Fast forward more to 2010ish. I discovered Black hair care on the internet. I joined a forum, I started finding videos and everything.

I started to learn and everything. Eventually I went natural and here we are.

So all that history involved, yes, I wear wigs.

I see a lot of things questioning or shaming Black women for wearing wigs or weaves.

So let’s breakdown some whys.

  1. Because she goddamn well wants to. Black women are allowed to make decisions about their hair and how they deal with it and yes, sometimes it is because of some internalized self hatred and sometimes not. Leave them the fuck alone.
  2. Protective styling. For me, once I got my hair healthy I discovered that my super secret for length retention is protective styling.
  3. Because wigs and weaves and braids are fun.

Let me address #3 some more.

I have what you could call a short hair style attention span and I greatly enjoy looking however the fuck I want whenever the fuck I want. I like having different colors, textures, lengths and styles of hair without doing damage to my fluffy wonderful mane.

Additionally, I’m fuckin grown. I pay my own bills and it is really none of anybody’s business about my damn wigs.

Someone not too long ago tried really hard to shame me about my wigs and shit and y’all, I’m not the fuckin one.

The bottom line is that Black women get beat on emotionally, spiritually, sometimes physically regarding anything we do with our hair. From racist corporate “dress codes” that bar anything not “neat”, to having to battle the military to wear cornrows or natural styles, to having to argue with people about how deep issues with hair go.

And for some of us, it is really just hair because Blackness is not the monolith you’re looking for.

At the end I’ll say this.

Before opening up your mouth to fuss at a Black person regarding their hair, don’t. if you want to know what’s up, ask us kindly but if you are not also a Black person don’t expect an answer because we’re not here to do that type of labor for you. There are eight million resources you could read so Google that shit.

 

 

Struggle Bus Naturals- Dollar Store Supplies

Hello darlings.

Let’s talk about ways to lower the cost of being natural.

Like everything else, we all know that being natural can get all in our pockets. Conditioners, trying new products etc. Let’s talk about some strategies to help lower that cost a bit. And I’ll share some pro tips on making it work.

First let’s talk supplies.

Things I think you need to have on hand, whether you’ve got a big fluffy fro or a two.

1.) Shower comb. (These are affiliate links, but always look at the dollar store/Walmart, etc. for this stuff.) When I first went natural, I bought a lot of higher priced combs from beauty supplies etc and broke every single one of them. Now I buy them in this style from the dollar store. I keep one in the shower for wash day and one by my bed for out of shower detangling. If they have any little bit of an edge on them, take a nail file and smooth them down and boom. Excellent comb.

2.) Cheapy conditioners. I keep bottles of the stuff on hand for pre poo detangling if my hair is tangly, I use it to add slip to my cowashes. Sometimes if I’ve done something to my hair and it’s dry and tangled, cheapy conditioner to the rescue. I also use some of the conditioners from Tresemme to form the base of my cowashes. My faves are: Suave Professionals Conditioner, Almond + Shea Butter, TRESemmé Flawless Curls Conditioner, Curl HydrationGarnier Fructis Style Damage Eraser Conditioner,Aussie Mega Moist Conditioner with Pump, and my super all time fall back always does me right Suave Essentials Conditioner, Tropical Coconut. I’ll do a post about how I mix my cowashes for best cleansing and how to figure it out.

3.) OILS! I LOVE oils, oils love me but it can get expensive. If you are a coconut oil user, check discount grocery stores. I have bought/spotted giant jars of coconut oil for under 10$ at Big Lots. Check here to see if you have one close by. For oils like Castor oil here’s my trick. I use a bargain brand light castor oil as an additive to my deep conditioners, pre poos, and cowashes. I use Viva Naturals Castor Oil. The bottle lasts quite a long time. It isn’t cold pressed but I found it performs just as well as my super fancy organic blappity blap. The other brand of oils I’m fond of is the NOW brand. I have used several of them and been satisfied every time.AND you can get smaller bottles so you can try out an oil and see if it agrees with you. Like this avocado oil.

Other stuff to watch out for at the dollar store.

Shower caps, those gold foil conditioning caps, butterfly clips (essential to working with hair in sections), headbands (I like the soft cloth kind), those terry cloth turban/wrap things. Now with those I suggest using them less to dry your hair and more to contain any pre-poos or other messy conditioning stuff.

My biggest tip is to focus on creating yourself a basics stash. Your ride or die conditioners, shampoos etc. Don’t commit to the biggest most expensive thing first. Using up a product you hate is a hell of a task.

Next struggle bus naturals post, I’ll do a photo tutorial of how I mix my cowashes.

Feelin Myself- Hair n Beauty updates

Oh hay y’all.

As we are ending the trash fire that 2016 has been, I want to end on a few good notes.

Including, stuff that I am super into beauty and hair wise.

Hair first.

I’ve been doing the L.O.C (Leave in, Oil, Cream) method of moisturizing my hair for a while now and wow does it work. It took a few months for me to figure out that my hair once it is well moisturized, only wants to have the full LOC done on it twice a week while I’m protective styling.

Now I am hardcore protective styling. I’m using wigs and I only manipulate my hair to wash it. I’ve decided to protective style until, uh, well whenever I’m done I guess. My hair is healthy enough right now that I’m focusing really heavily on retaining my length.

My current rotation of products is: (affiliate links ahoy)

Liquid-Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Moisture L.O.C. Super Quench Leave-In Spray– not bad. Not quite liquidy enough for my tastes. If you prefer a finer spray this one is good.

Oil- I use half and half of the African Royale Hot Six Hair Oil and JBCO. I added some powdered MSM to it as well.

For my cream (My holy grail is still Oyin Handmade Whipped pudding, but real talk I can’t generally afford it) Aunt Jackie’s Flaxseed Recipes Seal It Up Hydrating Sealing Butter. I actually bought that on a whim. A few months ago I spent about 50$ on a TON of hair care stock up and this was on sale and a big ass jar. I’ve used some of the jar and it is super moisturizing. It is also kind of heavily perfumed with a powdery scent I don’t think is stellar. The secret is to make sure hair is good and damp or wet before application.

Simple. Easy. My hair is thriving very nicely.

I have also discovered a new type of bonnet to sleep in and I LOVE IT. No irritation, no pressure on my edges. The Magic organic argan oil treated sleep cap.  I dunno if the treatment works or no but, it stays on. I sleep like a demon and used to have to tie other satin bonnets on tightly and that does not work when you get migraines. These are loose and I’ve yet to force once off and no marks on my forehead when I get up. A+.

Now let’s talk my skin.

I had one indulgence on Cyber Monday and I bought the Spin for Perfect Skin brush from Groupon.

spinbrush

I did a TON of research and decided to give it a shot. Y’all……..holy shit I’m in love with it so hard. First of all, it was 80$ off (don’t worry links in a minute) it came with: the machine, a soft brush (lower left corner), an exfoliating brush (right bottom), a body brush, and a pumice stone. I have used all of them and wow.

The soft daily face brush is very soft. This thing spins at a good clip and leaves my skin super clean and smooth. First, I remove my makeup with my Rice, Bright cleansing oil, then I put liquid African Black soap and spin away. I’m careful not to press hard and my skin has already shown some improvement. My dark spots are fading a bit faster, my period break outs are less intense. It actually works better for me than my Clarisonic.

Once a week I use the exfoliating brush with a creamy cleanser. Usually Sunday’s because normally I don’t wear make up on Sunday. Then I follow up with a mask.

Excellence. The exfoliating brush has decreased how many ingrown hairs I get on my chin and is great overall.

The body brush…….zomfg. My skin is very dry and peely in the winter. I have to have good exfoliation a few times a week and this gets the job done. After I exfoliate with a moisturizing body wash, after I slather on my moisturizers. My booty is smooth and the dry patch I have is already starting to shrink.

NOW. If you don’t already use groupon please consider using my referral link to sign up. You can find the brush here. It didn’t come with a fancy case which is fine. I sanitize my brush heads after use and it goes on a shelf. Honestly, it was a great investment and I’d pay full price for it.

Winter is always tough on my self image. It’s taken me all these years to figure out how to dress and stay warm, to have a nice coat, to have my skin in check. I’ve decided in 2017 in order to continue my glow up, I’m gonna change up my skin care a little bit. Just a few minor tweaks.

Coming up soon I’ll do a post and show y’all my little wig collection. Also, I’ll show y’all how I braid under my wings. It’s not the fleekiest method but I can’t cornrow and it works.

After new year, look for some thoughts on turning 40, hopefully some thoughts about an adventure in perfumery and some angst about underwear.

 

Struggle Bus Naturals- CoWashing What?

Hello my fellow struggle bus naturals.

Today let’s talk about cowashing.

For those who don’t know cowashing is using a conditioning formula to cleanse your hair. There are a ton on the market and I’d like to talk about how I figured out making it work for me.

When I first went natural cowashing was really just getting on the map in natural hair care. (These will all be amazon affiliate links) I purchased a bottle of Wen conditioning cleanser. .

First thing is that stuff smells amazing. Second up, I have stuff I need to work around.

  1. My scalp can get kind of crapped up. Off and on my scalp gets dry and flaky or just kind of gunky. It always has.
  2. My hair even at that point when it was about 5 inches shorter, is very dense. I need a lot of product to coat all my strands.
  3. That shit is expensive.
  4. My hot water heater is not mighty enough to do ALL my wash in shower.

Now, while the Wen was nice, my hair didn’t feel conditioned enough to me and my scalp still felt a bit dirty.

The brands I liked better were:

The As I Am cowash is really nice. It smells nice, it has a good amount of slip, it left my hair feeling quite nice. However it is in a freaking jar…A JAR. So the first one I got I wound up spilling half of it because my hands were slippery and it went whoopsie. Also again, I ran out of hot water. That said, if your hair isn’t super dry or very dirty this works really nicely and it’s affordable if you’re not using a lot.

The next thing I tried was straight up V05 Moisture Milk. While I do love that product for detangling it did not work on it’s own for a cowash for me. Also, do not buy it from Amazon go to the dollar store.

So I figured out a few things.

My hair thrives on low poo but not no poo. Cowashing is pretty great but I had to get a formula together.

Here is how it goes down for me.

I take a plastic bowl and spoon (usually empty butter containers or whatever) and gather my conditioners.

Yes, plural.

I usually buy conditioners by the liter. First, you want a base conditioner. Use one that’s got some heft and thickness here are the ones I like.

Aussie Moist  is my jam. It has a great amount of slip, is very moisturizing by itself and has a nice bit of body to the formula.

Tresemme Naturals Flawless curls hydrating conditioner. This is another classic for me. It’s not as moisturizing as the Aussie but it’s pretty great. The other great thing is often at drug stores it is on sale for the giant size. I also like this formula and this one as well for my base.

For my base I like it to be about a quarter of my overall mix.

Next up, you’ll want to add something for that extra slip. Aside from the mentioned V05 I will use, Suave Naturals line. My fave is coconut. This is another one I say do not buy this shit from Amazon it’s like a dollar everywhere else. The Organix line is also pretty great. I’ll add some of the Argan oil one for my slip. Basically you want something that’ll help ease your detangling.

Next I add a few squirts of something with some protein. Generically speaking, look for stuff that says anti breakage. I religiously use Garnier Damage eraser. My hair is protein sensitive and I’ve found that using a bit of this in my mix regularly has made a nice difference.

Now you can skip to my cleansing element here or if you are protective styling you can do this.

My hair LOVES friggin oils. I am protective styling so I add oils to my cowash. My number ONE oil to add to anything is light castor oil. It’s light as in color. This one (the bottle is UV protected) I’ve gone through four bottles and it’s lovely. I like a good heavy oil. You can also experiment with lighter oils like EVOO, Jojoba etc.

The other things I add are a few drops of tea tree oil for my scalp. Also a word of caution. Check with your doctor if you’re pregnant before you try essential oils. And, less is more. If you’re using the tingly oils (peppermint, tea tree, rosemary) start with only a few drops. They can all irritate skin and you need to be careful.

The other thing I add (that I hate) is a few spoons of apple cider vinegar. I don’t know why, but it just makes a huge difference in detangling, my hair feels smoother and better moisturized when I’m done. It’s gross and will give your mix a slightly chunky feel, but it works for me.

Now for my super secret.

I add gentle shampoo. Not a whole lot. Only a little bit.

My favorites are: Moisture Retention from Shea Moisture. If my scalp feels itchy, I use the Organix Tea Tree shampoo.

Sometimes I use my liquid African Black soap or even baby shampoo (only a TINY bit of that).

I recommend only adding a small amount of your cleanser to begin with. See how you like it.

I know it sounds like a lot, but, once I figured out how to eyeball the ratios of stuff my hair likes it only takes me about five minutes to mix it up. I priced it out and even with the extra stuff I use, it’s far more economical to use and I’m able to asses what my hair needs batch to batch because I make it right before I use it.

Now the how.

I don’t wet my hair first. I always pre-treat my hair with coconut oil whether I’m cowashing or shampooing. My hair responds super well to coconut oil so it is a staple.

When I get ready to cowash my hair is already sectioned and partially detangled. I saturate each section heavily and focus extra product on my ends. Then I hop into the shower and start with lukewarm water. I get each section wet, use the pads of my fingers on my scalp and once I get a bit of a lather, then I start detangling with my shower comb.

How do you know if you like your mix?

Before you moisturize your hair, let it air dry for a bit when you’re done washing. How does your hair feel? Is it soft? Fluffy? Does your scalp feel dirty? If you’re forgetful jot down your feels and work out what you need more of.

When I need extra moisture I will add a few squirts of the Shea Moisture manuka honey conditioner.

So that’s the secret, or my secret, at least.

Like most things with my natural hair, a lot of the blogs and stuff can only tell you so much. I’ve found that gentle experimentation and sticking with what my hair responds well to has been key.

And to end, a photo of my shrunken up super moist hair post cowash:

shrunkenhair

[image description] Photos of a brown skinned Black person. Their hair is curly. 

This was also just after a pretty intense trim. I had to get rid of some super raggedy ends. Next time I’ll talk about why I love protective styling so much and how I got to the point of figuring out how to get and keep my hair healthy and move towards focusing on length retention.