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 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!!

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!

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.

Struggle Bus Naturals- Quick and Dirty new naturals tips.

Hello my gorgeous friends.

Today I want to talk about being newly natural and confused AF.

As usual, there will be amazon affiliate links.

And as with all stuff, this is my experience. Your mileage may vary. Before we get into tips, let’s talk natural hair jargon.

Low/no poo- this is basically when you either use sulfate shampoos rarely or not at all.

Sulfates- OKAY here is a thing. A lot of natural hair related stuff will scare tactic you with the term sulfates. OMG SO DANGEROUS, DESTROYS HAIR..IT IS DISHSOAP. Nope. Sulfate only describes the stuff that makes the thing clean your hair. Or your car or your dishes. The sulfates in your shampoo are not exactly the same as what you use in your dishwasher. Sulfate shampoos are not inherently evil. Some folks have hair that can tolerate being super squeaky cleaned with suds, some don’t.

In the same vein, CHEMICALS. Okay, let’s have a real talk. Chemicals are everything, everything is chemicals. Water is a chemical. Chemicals are not to be inherently feared because they are both natural and man made. That said, anything can cause an adverse reaction and that does not automatically mean a product or ingredient is the devil. You can be allergic to water.

Pro tips about allergens: if you have a nut allergy be very careful using anything with shea butter or coconut oil. How do you know if you’re having a reaction? Redness, intense itching, hives etc. If you have those, or fear a reaction, stop using something. If it is i n your hair, try shampooing with a gentle shampoo and rinsing very very well.

Cowash- As I talked about here, this is using conditioner or a conditioner based cleanser to clean your hair.

L.O.C Method- My personal favorite method of keeping my hair well moisturized and in good condition. It stands for Leave In, Oil and Cream. We’ll talk about that a bit further down.

EVOO- Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Pre-poo- Treating your hair with conditioner or oil prior to washing.

DCing- Deep conditioning. Using a dedicated deep conditioner ideally under a plastic cap or bag, for 15 minutes to however long with or without extra heat.

Big Chop- Cutting off all your relaxed hair.

Transition- Going natural without a big chop.

Tip no. 1) Limit yourself as to how much advice you take in. Including mine. I got very big eyes when I first went natural and in the process wound up spending a lot of money, doing some damage to my hair and ultimately feeling really stressed that my transition to natural wasn’t going like it seemed to go in the hair blogs. So, slow your roll.

2.) Start simple. Whether you big chop or transition start easy. Establish a simple routine for yourself so you have a baseline idea of how to take care of your hair. When I transitioned to natural here’s what I did: I found that my hair responds well to heavier butter based moisturizers. I started using whipped shea butters to moisturize my hair. I discovered that my hair doesn’t really like hard core protein. Basically, take your time and get to know your hair.

This is especially important for those who had relaxed hair for a really long time. Let me tell you a story.

When I was first fully natural I was envisioning myself with a perfectly round little afro (a TWA) just like my Mom had back in the day. I remembered her tightly coiled hair and how shiny it was and yadda yadda.

What I have…is not that on my head. My natural hair is incredibly variously textured. From 4/a/b in spots to almost straight in a few sections. I thought it was damaged so I spent the first few years being natural cutting a lot off of my hair. Then I realized that’s just my hair.

Other things to get to know about your hair when you’re starting out. I wish I’d known about porosity.  Once you figure out what kind of porosity you’re working with, learning what products work for you will be easier.

3.) If you don’t know how, try learning how to cornrow. I personally can’t. I’ve tried and tried and can’t do it. But, I do believe it’s a great skill to have.

4.) Start out with good habits. Don’t detangle on dry hair. Soak it in conditioner or oil or get it wet. Work in sections. Even if your hair is very short, learn to work in sections. Learn to shampoo properly. Concentrate shampoo on your scalp and let the run off cleanse your hair. As a general rule, if you shampoo spend twice the time rinsing than you do sudsing. Don’t use your nails on your scalp use the pads of your fingers.

5.) Figure out a good method to trim your hair. Alternately decide if you want a pro to do it. I use the search and destroy method most often.

Those are my tips for those just starting. Let’s talk some details.

I’ll tell you about my routine with my hair.

I’m a protective styler. Mainly because I’m bad at styling but also because I’m trying to retain every bit of growth I get. My go to protective styles are buns and wigs.

Under my wig, my hair is braided into smallish braids. Not cornrows. I take them down every two weeks to cleanse. One week I will cowash another I will use shampoo. I always pre-treat my hair with coconut oil. After I do that, I wash and deep condition. I fully detangle my hair in the shower and put it into 4 big twists. I let that air dry a bit then I use the LOC method and rebraid my hair.

Every other month or so I deep clean my hair or clarify it. Pro-tip, if your hair isn’t taking moisture like it usually does, try doing this to strip all residue from your scalp and hair.

I will use the OGX Tea Tree and peppermint shampoo first. After I rinse that out, I use the Shea Moisture raw shea moisture retention shampoo. That combo does both my hair and scalp good.

I follow up clarifying with an intense deep conditioner. My favorites are the Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Replenishing Conditioner but only in the packets. The bottle doesn’t seem to work as well for me. I’m also a big fan of the SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Masque. The Shea Moisture products tend to be very very heavily scented so be aware of that. I also love the Dark and Lovely AU Naturale Moisture L O C Deep Conditioning Delight.

Once my hair has air dried a bit I start with my LOC method. I have used Heritage Store Rosewater & Glycerin. I added a bit of light castor oil and it worked very nicely for me. For more slip, I highly recommend My DNA Leave-in Conditioner and Detangler. I used two bottles of this and it worked very nicely both times.

For oil you can use plain oils, probably not castor oil because of how heavy it is. But EVOO, coconut or whatever. I have a super secret about oils. I use commercial oils that have stuff I like in them. Check for hair loving herbs and stuff. My faves are, African Royale Hot Six Hair OilDoo Gro Mega Thick Growth Oil (I don’t know if this accelerates growth but I do love this formula).

For my cream layer I alternate between the Shea Moisture Strengthen Grow & Restore Loc & Braid Butter and a handmade whipped shea butter I picked up on etsy.

Usually because I always sleep with my hair wrapped I generally do this without unbraiding my hair twice a week.

Voila. A quick start guide.

Our next struggle bus naturals beginner thing, we’re going to talk about what to do with products you don’t particularly care for. We’ll talk about dollar store treasures. And talk about keeping your hair care budget manageable.

OH and last tip, stay hydrated. Being well hydrated is just all round good for you!

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.

Struggle Bus Naturals-Twist Wig Review

Hello beautiful people.

Today I’ve got a wig review.

I’m calling it a struggle bus review because this style is SO great, but I can’t braid y’all. I gave myself not great twists one time and regretted it immediately.

Twisted lace front wigs are really great for folks who:

  • Can’t braid
  • Have sensitive edges
  • Are prone to migraines
  • Don’t want to commit the time.

The particular wig I have, I’ve had since last summer and now that it’s a bit beat up looks really great. All of these links are affiliate links. If you don’t like the ones I show, google similar names and you’ll probably find one suited to your needs.

First a photo (not full length, my twist wig is very long, brushes my booty and I’m about 5’3″):

twists

Photo of a brown skinned person with glossy iips, wearing a long twisted hair style.

Okay, first the cons:

Most of the twist style wigs I’ve looked at need some DIY love before wearing. Mine came with all of the twists sewn down and I had to very carefully cut a lot of little stitches.

You’re going to want to be super careful cutting the lace. You don’t want to loosen any of the twists up front.

When I first got it, I also spent some time loosening the twists up just a little. I wanted them to be a bit puffier. I’ve noticed in the last year or so, that some manipulation has made the twists a bit fluffier.

If you like a super customized hairline, this style is not for you.

One other little thing, it’s hard to find these in super amazing colors. But stick around to the end for a solution to that.

Pros.

Super easy to maintain. You can have unicorn long hair, and not spend all your time detangling or whatever. Very slip on and go.

You can do some updo, but I tend to not.

It is SUPER lightweight. Like shocking light. I don’t get any headaches wearing this style of wig.

Not nearly as expensive as going to get twists done every however many weeks.

Easier maintenance of your hair underneath your protective style.

If you want to tighten the twists after a long while of wear, go along and snip any fly aways then lightly steam the wig and twist.

Now let me mention a few other things.

Since I wear mostly inexpensive wigs that have kinda rough lace and I have sensitive edges let me show you my favorite wig accessory.

Milano Collection WiGrip Extra Hold Wig Comfort Band. Y’all. Y’ALL. Y’all know I hate paying retail but I have three of these and they are worth every penny. I have struggled with my edges and unfortunately last year I had a bout of pretty bad anxiety and wound up with a bald spot. If you’ve worn wigs a lot you know the combs/clips can be murder on your edges. This lil thing helps. Basically you put on  your wig cap over this and that. You can tuck the combs right between the cap and the band.  Also it can help mitigate any friction or irritation with the synthetic lace.

Also, if you find wigs a bit too big, this can help with fit.

Now how about some wigs?

The closest to (I may have the version from last season) what I have is this one.  My piece is also heat safe and a few times I wore the ends curled.

If you prefer braids this style is super pretty. Although I would not wear it behind my hairline like it is on the model.

Now let’s talk about what if you want fancy colors?

OKAY, so I know this is probably old news, but I discovered that there are pre-braided crochet braid wig caps. Look here.

Y’all, being that I can’t braid I never thought about crochet braids until I saw those. This means that I, non braiding ass me can do some crochet braid WIGS Y’ALL.

I mean you can buy pre-twisted/loc’d hair. Look. Seriously. We know you can buy synthetic hair in amazing colors so basically, this is freedom for a lot of us non braiding ass people.

So my lovelies. My fellow struggle bus naturals, we catching up.

Oh yes, yes y’all, we ALL up in it.

I encourage y’all do to some youtubeing. There are TONS of tutorials for making crochet braid wigs, on doing them in general. Etc.

That’s all darlings.

Next time, I’ll do a slow roll LOC tutorial and talk about why I am so about the protective styling.

I love y’all.

Natural Hair Quick Reviews.

In the interest of my own sanity I can’t talk about Orlando right now.

Instead I’ll talk about hair.

I’ve gone back to my favorite protective style and I’ve got some empty products so let’s talk about that instead.

First up, I’m a big fan of the LOC method for moisturizing. Especially now that I’m back wearing wigs it is pretty perfect.

My favorite leave in out of the half dozen or so I’ve used over the past yearish is the My DNA Leave In Conditioner. (Affiliate links in this post).  Here is the description from the Sally website:

  • Strengthens weak areas and repairs split ends
  • Promotes healthy hair growth from the follicle
  • Moisturizes deep within the hair shaft
  • Smooths and aligns cuticle layer

My DNA Leave-In Conditioner and Detangler saturates natural hair textures with intense moisture to hydrate and detangle for improved manageability. Its formula features an infusion of Monoi de Tahiti flowers to nourish and protect for shiny, healthy hair as well as stimulate the scalp and hair roots.

This product isn’t super scented and has a nice hefty spray. The bottle also features an on/off type switch so you don’t make a mess if you’re like me and accident prone. The texture is like a liquidy lotion. It provides excellent slip for my mid week detangling and is excellent after shampoo. If you low or no poo, it can leave a bit of buildup so be sure to clarify once in a while using it. Overall excellent price point (buy at Sally not amazon) and accessible to the naturalista on a budget.

For my oil I’ve used a lot of them. Straight coconut, olive oil, jojoba etc. My main concern with any product is that there is no mineral oil or petrolatum. Both of those do not agree with my hair. My budget friendly go to tends to be this African Royale Hot Six Oil. It has a nice blend of oils and a pleasant fruity scent.

For my edges and ends I am a devout user of Jamaican Black Castor oil. I can’t find my photos, but I had a legit bald spot from anxiety last year a bit bigger than the size of a quarter in the edges on my left side of my head. I religiously use JBCO on my edges nightly and damn if they aren’t back. And it protests my ends. Do not fall for bullshit get the real stuff. It has a slightly smoky odor and is a very thick oil. If you want to use it as a treatment best to cut it with conditioner or a lighter oil.

For my cream I’ve been experimenting and looking for something I love.

I have yet to find the dream product, but here are a few I’m pretty fond of. My hair likes a good heavy butter based cream.

Let’s start with the Beautiful Textures Moisture Butter Whipped Curl Creme. This has a bit of a too sweet smell for my taste, but overall it moisturizes nicely. The texture is a bit more pudding than cream, you can tell it has a good amount of water in it so it doesn’t work the best for me for sealing. I have noticed that it’s not quite heavy enough for my hair that is more of a z coil and those areas can wind up needing extra love when I use this. That said, I always have a tub of this around.

Next up the Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow and Restore Leave-In Conditioner by SheaMoisture. On one hand, I really wanted to super love this. However, it is kind of a meh for me. I found that it leaves a whitish cast on my hair and I’m not into that. I first tried it while I was bunning and noticed in the sun my hair looked coated and dull. That aside, under my wig it works fine. It’s not super.

My favorite of all time is the Oyin Whipped Pudding. Y’all..this shit right here my hair LOVES it. My pocketbook, not so much. I know pay for quality and whatnot but I just can’t afford to use it regularly.

I can’t honestly recommend going all DIY for this stuff. Personally, it’s just too expensive to buy ALL the stuff to do it myself. I know how, I just don’t have the resources.

So that said, let’s talk about some stuff that’s great to have on hand to magic up stuff or super charge conditioners and detangling and whatnot. A lot of these are also multi use and you can even get some of them at your local grocery store.

(These are not affiliate links)

Light castor oil.  Always make sure you grab the food grade. You can use this to add in to deep conditioning treatments to give them more oomph, you can take a tablespoon if you’re constipated, you can use it as a hot oil treatment, you can add it into a self made detangling mix.  I use a lot of this when I do my cowash recipe (I’ll post that next time I do it) and it is a staple in my hair stuff closet.

Coconut Oil. I am a devotee. I always use coconut oil on damp hair as a preshampoo treatment. It has worked the best for my hair. I’ve cooked with it, added a few tablespoons to some sugar and scrubbed my butt with it, I put it in cocoa when I felt kind of queasy, weird but it also seemed to help me get to sleep. I’ll have to investigate that more closely. I right now have two ginormous containers because it is kinda everything.

Tea tree mix. Now listen here. Try the mix. Straight tea tree can be irritating and too strong. Also expensive. This brand of tea tree oil mix is perfect for adding to shampoos, conditioners, using a bit on your scalp if you’re itchy. Easy to use. No fuss.Another staple I always put in my cowash mix. Also check the ethnic section at your local walgreens, walmart etc. This one is pretty easy to find.

Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar. Y’all, I confess I was super late to this party because I really hate how acv smells. I hates it precious. That said, this shit right here. God damn. I’ve used it diluted half and half with water as a between shampoo and conditioner rinse- amazing. I use it in my cowash mix. Hell yes. I wanted to say that ACV no, but damn ACV yes.

That’s pretty much it. Currently I’m keepin it pretty simple.

Later this week how about a wig review?

With some tips from somebody who can’t really braid, but my wigs are semi laid.

 

 

 

Natural Hair Struggle Bus

I’ve been fully natural probably about six years or so right now. If you don’t know when I say natural I mean my hair isn’t texturized or relaxed with chemicals.

I am what I can call without too much shame a struggle bus natural. All those gorgeous Black women you see rocking twist outs and braids and ALL the things are not me. I have a little bit of a complex but I am terrible at styling my hair. I care for it amazingly. Like, my hair is fucking amazing and gorgeous.

Styling…yeah no.

For this reason I’ve spent most of my time natural rocking various buns. When my hair was shorter, I made myself a sock bun. I’ve tried to give myself braids (FAIL), cornrow my hair (SUPER FAIL TEARS WERE INVOLVED) and tried a lot of other styles that uh…yeah no.

Here are some things I’ve learned and struggled with.

My hair is ALL the curls. From type 2 to 4 i got em. Some of my hair naturally grows with such a loose wave it is almost straight.

The above said, myhair does not fro. When I say that I’m talking a big round fro. That is what I was picturing when I first went natural. I’d forgotten the varied textures of my natural hair and thought for sure when I cut off the last of my relaxed hair, BOOM FRO.

Nope.

Also standing between me and my fro dreams is the natural part I have in my hair. It goes from the middle front to the back of my hair where I have a dramatic change in texture.

How about a little look back? This was my relaxed hair in 2007.

 photo 1207.jpg

My hair was breaking off, I had no idea what products were good or not. It was thinning. This was very close to me jumping off of the struggle bus and just shaving my head again. Learning how to really care for the health of my hair was just so fucking hard.

Fast forward to a week ago or so. I have been (for about five months or so) doing what’s called a protective style (my go to is wigs) and decided to blow out my hair for a good trim.

Y’all…when I say that I somehow tapped into Black Girl Magic I didn’t know was there, I tapped into it and my blowout is gorgeous.

blowout

Photo of a brown skinned topless person with their head turned. Displaying fluffy blow dried black hair.

This photo was right after i finished blowing out my hair. I wasn’t covered in broken hair. My hair was soft and big and floofy. Like, I DID IT.

As is my habit after blow drying I moisturized and wrapped it for the night. The next day i was rocking this:

fivehead

Brown person looking down. Their hair is in a high shiny black poof.

Y’all.

LOOK at my fuckin hair.

LOOK AT IT. I mean this is my actual hair and I love it so much. My edges still lay down for neither man nor product but wow.

I know my hair isn’t the giant afro of my dreams. I can’t even fuck with the people I see on the natural hair blogs and instagrams.

As much as I struggle to try and learn how to do a bantu knot out or a twist out or something with my hair, I’m learning to appreciate it on a whole new level.

I call my hair the Kraken and I do so with love. When sometimes I overhear pelo malo directed at me when I walk by the Latina hair salons in my neighborhood, or when someone asks when I’m going to “do something” with my hair or I am told that someone prefers my wigs to my real hair, I don’t give a shit.

I might be on the struggle bus and sometimes trying to teach myself to braid my hair results in tangles and tears, but god damn y’all.

I love it.

My Kraken is Good Hair.

My Kraken is difficult and prone do parting where I do not want it to part and shedding and slow ass growth but damn it, the Kraken is glorious.

Someday, my goal is to have midback length stretched hair. The kind that makes you think of Fantasy stories.

I’m gonna get there.

My next hair post, I will document my attempt to give myself yarn braids. There may be tears.