A Little Inspiration, Hair Regimen and Styles

How to Combat shrinkage

20140427-014040.jpgA few nights ago, my friends and I were getting ready to go out and we all have naturally curly hair. They we’re blow drying their hair and I thought, ‘why not do a blow out myself?’ After all, it had been well over a year since I applied any sort of heat to my hair and it would be fun to see how big my fro could really be. Within the hour, my hair had shrunken back to its normal state when I do a heat-less twist out.

I was frustrated because I wanted to show off more length and I was loving the way my hair looked. A few days later, I tried doing a blow out again. I figured, last time, I really didn’t thoroughly blow dry my hair and this time I would do it right. I started on dry hair, detangled with a comb, used the tension method to stretch my hair, then I put my hair in braids for about an hour. Still within the hour, I had a TWA. To make things even worse, my ends started to become brittle and break off just days later.

My hair is so fragile that a blow dryer even at its lowest setting can cause issues. Combs can break my hair with a few run- throughs. After a little bit of thought, I realized that there’s not much I can do to fight all of my shrinkage without damaging my hair. I can stretch it out and it will probably hold it’s shape for a while, but still my hair only shows off 40-50% of it’s length. So how do you really combat shrinkage?

My answer is that you don’t. Instead, you embrace it. Do whatever you need to do to manage your hair. For some of us, twist outs or braid outs are helpful to manage our hair in a stretched out state. That being said, it’s ok if you can’t show off every inch of hair you grew. Instead focus on other things like how healthy it looks, how much volume you have, or how beautiful your curl pattern is. All of those things are also a great testament to how much effort you put into caring for your hair. It’s much less of a headache.

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A Little Inspiration, Hair Regimen and Styles, Products

I’m giving up on the waist length journey

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I’m getting to a point in my natural hair journey where I’ve learned a lot through trial and failure. I’ve never had long hair and I was beginning to become obsessed with growing my hair long. I’ve done protective styles, tried so many products, and have done treatments to grow my hair long. But you now what? I want to enjoy my hair. I want to wear my hair out! My hair has never been this long dispute the fact that I’ve cut it a few times in efforts to maintain it and keep it healthy. I know that protective styles help to retain length. I know that sealing my ends is important. I also know that organic products work well for me. That being said, some protective styles cause more harm than good, some products that are not organic work better for me than Shea Moisture ever did, and sealing my hair too often can cause a lot of build up. There are so many tricks in the book on how to grow long natural hair, but I don’t want to imprison my self over these regimens and follow the curve of natural hair care because even in this community we are all still really different and there is nothing (not even water to moisturize) that works inclusively for everyone.

So, I’m giving up on the waist length journey! This doesn’t mean I’m going to neglect taking good care of my hair, but this does mean that I’m going to redirect my focus. My focus is going to be on keeping my hair healthy, moisturized. I do enjoy wearing up-dos and twists and will do so when I feel like it, but I’m not going to keep myself on a strict regimen to grow another inch. My hair has always responded well to just a good routine with moisture regardless of how often I wear it up or in braids/twists. As long as I don’t see excessive amounts of breakage in the sink, then I know I’m doing something right.

Here are some staple products that I’ve been using that have been working really well for my hair recently:

Kinky Curly knot today leave-in conditioner

Moroccan oil styling cream

Moroccan oil intense hydration deep conditioner

Camille Rose Naturals avocado moisturizing cream

Black Jamaican Castor Oil

Here are a list of products I want to try or go back to using:

Henna I definitely want to try using henna for deep conditioning and transition away from the Moroccan Oil deep conditioner because it is on the pricier side.

Terressential’s mud wash Since I’m not using shea butter based products any more and I find myself with much less product build up, I would love to transition back to the mud wash. Usually when I wash my hair it’s to put moisture back into my hair, not necessarily because I have a greasy scalp. So, I think the mud wash will be good enough to maintain a clean and healthy.

I’m also going to put some Aloe Vera Juice in my spray bottle of water for longer lasting moisture in my hair.

I would love to simplify my hair regimen even more and just have a daily moisturizing routine with just my spray bottle. Apply the castor oil every 2-3 days and wash my hair with mud. If I need a deep conditioning, hopefully the henna will work.

Lastly, I’m working on drinking lots and lots of water. It makes it way easier for me to wake up in the mornings, my skin is better, I feel better throughout the day overall, and my hair doesn’t dry out as easily. I went out and got a good water bottle and my goal is to always have it filled up and close by so I can drink a little every chance I get to stay hydrated!

I’m going to finish out some of the products I have first before going to get new ones because they do work really well. I just want to move in the direction of a simpler routine that is cheaper.

So, where do you guys stand in your hair journey? Leave your comments below 🙂

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A Little Inspiration

Short Natural Hair is Awesome

Ladies, I know sometimes when we’re on a hair growth journey, it’s easy to get frustrated and feel like your hair is never going to retain that length. A big part of embarking on your natural hair journey is trial and error. So, while you’re figuring out what works for you and what doesn’t, don’t forget to enjoy every minute of it. Short natural hair is awesome! The time will pass a lot faster if you just have fun with what you have now. Nothing is more boring than watching a pot of water boil, right?

Here’s a bit of TWA inspiration to remind you that it’s not a race or even a marathon. It’s just hair 🙂

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A Little Inspiration

Naturals United

scarfAbout a year and a half ago, I started blogging under the name Naturals United. It started out as just a place where I would share deep conditioner recipes and little tips on natural hair. Soon enough, it turned into something that I really grew a passion for. A lot of people are online documenting their natural hair journeys and it’s really an amazing process to witness. There’s a combination of fear, excitement, relief, frustration, exhilaration. This idea of being natural is viewed as revolutionary. I’ve heard the question asked in conversation many times, how is wearing your hair in its natural state a ground breaking concept? The answer is pretty simple. There is so much pressure to try to assimilate into society and in many ways that skill can be necessary in order to be a successful person socially and financially. At some point, however, when you find that you’re losing yourself or that you have never found yourself, you may have to draw a line in the sand.

In my natural hair journey, I underwent a process of self discovery. As my hair was evolving and returning back to its original state, I relearned the definition of beauty, re-purposed my beauty for myself and not for others, and began to live in a more conscious way. I was giving a lot more thought about what I was putting on my head and that lead to thinking more about what I was putting into my body, on my skin, and (less literally) in my life. Everything about me changed from the way I looked, to the way that I ate, and the company that I kept.

_MG_5504All in all, this is what it means to me to be a “natural”. It’s not just about using organic products, being this super hippie bohemian, free spirit. It’s about being your natural self. It’s about looking in the mirror and seeing no need for correction. It’s about self realization. Having that healthy relationship with your self being is so important. It’s about maintaining an equilibrium with your mind, recognizing when it’s off, and taking the necessary steps to restore its balance. It’s about being naturally you. In this process you unite with your inner spirit, your inner person, your consciousness and also unite with a community of people who are also growing to break out of their cocoons (hence, Naturals United). This metamorphosis of my young adult life all stemmed from one decision to change my hair. Although this process is forever on going, so far, I’ve never felt as free, at peace, or at one with who I am. I still feel a range of emotion, of course, but I do everything in my power to maintain that equilibrium.

If you identify with any of this, join us. Be apart of Naturals United. ‘Like’ us on facebook. Follow us on instagram, tumblr, and twitter @NaturalsUnited.

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A Little Inspiration

How to be Happy

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For as far back as I can remember, I’ve been known to be a cheery person. I smile all the time, I find the good in small things, and I don’t stay upset for very long. I believe that along with our other major priorities such as finances, education, health, and relationships, our happiness should be just as important of a focus. It’s not always something that just happens. As I continue to grow as a young adult and my responsibility increases, it takes a lot more conscious effort to maintain a healthy mindset. So, I’ve compiled a list of things that I do to just be happy. Maybe, this approach can work for you too.

  • Increase positivity One of the best ways to do this is internally. It may be difficult to avoid negative events and people, but you can have a positive attitude. The way I see it, is that you only get what you put into something. If you have a job that you’re not excited about. Do your best to momentarily put that aside, do your absolute best, and find something that makes it enjoyable. It can be that one customer that isn’t a jerk, a co-worker that you get along with, the awesome lunch you packed from home, the cool outfit you put together that morning to wear. Anything to get you through the day and keep your spirits up. Positivity is contagious and if you have a good attitude, other people can feel that energy and it could help them cheer up as well.
  • Decrease negativity This one is a bit tough because negativity can be environmental. Sometimes, it’s hard to avoid negative people, advertisements everywhere you turn, and our own critiques. However, any efforts you can make to avoid these things will really help. For example: don’t spend time in a magazine flipping through the images and comparing yourself to people that are ultimately fabricated to make you want to change yourself. It’s a sham, I tell you! One big sham! If you have a group of friends that love to talk shit, it may be time for some new friends. If the most interesting thing you have to do is criticize  someone else’s personal life, that’s not a good sign about your own life. It’s better to recognize the good in people, even the ones you don’t like. That takes much more strength, humility, and maturity. Most importantly, don’t be so critical of yourself. We’ve all felt less than our best before, but scrutinizing your body, lifestyle, capabilities, origins, etc. will do you no good at all.
  • Find a creative/productive outlet This is probably the fastest fix to rid yourself of the grey cloud. Through a creative outlet, you can truly shine because it’s a chance to figure out what you’re good at, gain a new skill, focus on something good, and can really enrich your life. It can be art, music, sports, your career, your education, or something as approachable as crafts or baking. My creative outlet is often writing. I write for myself, this blog, I write on my car when my window is fogging. Having a creative outlet is freeing, expressive and therapeutic. It can help you discover a passion. It doesn’t have to be the source of your living wage (although it can be). What I like the most about it is that in the end, I get a product. Something to be proud of and improve on. That feeling of gratification does wonders for your happiness.
  • Be health conscious Now, I’m not saying don’t eat burgers, bread, and beans anymore, but generally keeping an eye on your health keeps you happy in a physical way. People are the most unhappy when we’re hungry, sleepy, and dehydrated. So, feed your body with good food that makes you feel good and keeps your body operating the way it should. Get some sleep. Drink water especially in the morning and at night before bed. You’d be so surprised as to how much better you feel when those 3 areas of your life are taken care of.
  • Set Goals Although it’s important to see things positively and to be happy with what we have, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t strive for more. If there are areas in life that need improvement, set a goal. It’s that simple. Get a piece of paper and a pen, write down your goal, and make a plan of how it’s going to happen. It might be to get a better job, apply for school, live in a better neighborhood, get a more reliable car. It can be more personal things like drinking less, cooking more, drinking more water, keeping a cleaner house. Whatever it is that you know you have to do to just get your shit together. Things don’t just happen, you have to make them happen.

Well, I really hope this article helps you guys! Happiness is so important. No one person or one thing can make you completely happy. It takes multiple assets to achieve this. You know what they say, you can’t have all your eggs in one basket. If all of this seems like a lot, just try one thing and see how it goes. You have nothing to loose, but that grey cloud.

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