Motivational Tip: Divided by strands

Martin Luther King Jr. said in his “I have a dream speech on the 28th August 1963, “All men are created equal.” Before that time even until now, people have been quick to point out the differences in each other that further divide them rather than to see the similarities that bring them closer together. And our hair is the same when it comes to being different in many ways.

Why are women AND men so fascinated over hair, their hair and other people’s hair, fake hair, coloured hair, natural and relaxed hair, short and long hair. We spend millions of dollars getting it styled, cutting and trimming it, adding colour and just to maintain it the way it is. Especially now, there has been a surge in the natural hair community worldwide, women every where spend thousands of dollars every year on a variety of hair products and accessories . It is certainly true that we can sometimes identify a certain ethnicity or group of persons from the way they carry their hair or from its very appearance. Although we do not have any control with the hair we were born with, I agree that our hair is part of our heritage, telling many stories. It is a part of who we are, it forms a portion of us. BUT our hair does NOT define us, it does not define our personality, it does not make us good or bad, but it is merely an accessory that compliments the person we are on the inside.

I can’t tell you how many time over the years, persons have asked me about my ethnicity. If we were to take a journey into our past and take a glimpse into history, we were taught that our ancestors who originated from the African continent were born into slavery and many made the long treacherous voyage to the Caribbean on slave ships where they worked the sugar plantation and picked cotton among other things. To make a long story short, the plantation owners went with the female slaves and these women bore their children. If we want to be technical out race and where we came from, then we are all of a mixed culture and race and nothing is wrong with that. I am pretty sure that if we were to trace our family tree, we would find ancestors of European, Asian and of course African decent and who knows from where else.

While I was studying in University, I was given the title of ‘coloured’ by some of my African colleagues. Before that time I never heard of that term and I did not know the definition of being coloured. I was soon taught that according to them because of the colour of my skin and more importantly the texture of my hair, that I was of a mixed culture, and there is probably some truth to that. As far as I see I am Caribbean, I am Antiguan. My efforts to convince them that we were all cut from the same cloth were in vain. They adamantly stated that I could not be from the same blood line because of my hair texture in particular. Back then I used to get very upset about the whole situation but now I simply smile because it is sad that people no longer take the time to get to know someone and are always quick to judge another person because of their appearance. You see we as Caribbean and black people are special and more so because of our hair. It would make this blog unbearable long if I were to explain in great details about the uniqueness of the curls, kinks and coils of our hair. Our hair is full of so many different textures on one head telling many stories with every twist and curl. We can choose to be curly or straight within hours if we so desire.

The point is not to convince you or even myself of who I am or where I came from because of that I am sure, because I consider myself to be apart of the black race. The point I want to bring across is that I hope that we would not be quick to judge a person because of the colour of their skin or of the texture of their hair.

Matthew chapter 7, verse 1 & 2 states “Do NOT judge, so that you may NOT be judged. For the judgment you make you will be judged and the measure you give, will be the measure you get.”

Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream in 1963 for people of every class and creed to live in love and harmony. 50 years later and we are still divided by a single strand, by the colour of our skin and by the texture of our hair. And in the words of Mr King himself “I have a dream that we will not be judged by the colour of our skin [and I would like to add the texture of our hair] but by the content of our character.”

Advertisements

Hair Tip: loose curls on flat ironed hair

Flat ironed hair can sometimes be a little flat, pun intended, and if your likes are similar to mine, you also enjoy seeing your hair in its curly state. Not to worry, you can still enjoy your curls even if your natural hair is in the flat ironed state. This post will explain in a few simple steps how to achieve large loose curls on naturally curly hair that has been flat ironed.

Steps

1. Wash hair thoroughly with a clarifying shampoo. A clarifying shampoo is any shampoo that is specially designed to remove styling products and oil that can build up on the hair and scalp over time. Hair should always be properly cleaned before flat ironing to prevent products from burning and sticking in the hair and to enable the flat iron to glide easier through the hair. Because these types of shampoo contain a chemical called acetic acid, a mild detergent compound, that can potentially dry out your hair, it is recommended that you follow up with a deep conditioning treatment.

2. Deep condition hair for at least an hour after shampooing and detangle: Deep conditioners are treatments that are designed to replenish moisture back into the hair strands that were previously stripped due to the use of shampoos. Well moisturized hair is stronger, shiner and generally more healthy and less likely to break during the straightening process. While hair is saturated with conditioner is also the perfect time to detangle your hair in at least four sections. Hair should be thoroughly detangled of all knots, initially with your finger then with a wide tooth comb or a denim brush in order to make flat ironing process easier.

3. Add heat protectant to damp hair: Heat protectants are any products that help protect the hair strands from the harsh heating process of flat ironing. Heat protectants come in the form of an oil or a spray. Before applying the heat protectant wash out conditioner thoroughly and allow hair to drip dry or remove excess water with a soft towel or t-shirt before adding protectant to your hair which will help trap in the moisture. while protecting the hair.

4. Flat iron hair while a little damp. Since hair begins to burn at 451 degrees celsius, it is recommended that you flat iron hair with no more than 450 degrees. Because the flat ironing process will be taking moisture from your hair strands, I would advice you to flat iron while the hair is still damp so the hair is not completely robbed of its moisture content. Work in small sections making no more than 2 passes on each sections of hair, chasing hair with a fine tooth comb. When choosing a flat iron, be sure to choose one with ceramic blades as they are less damaging to the hair strands and one equipped with an adjustable heating gauge, so you can know exactly how much heat you are applying.

flat ironed hair

flat ironed hair after clarifying and deep conditioning, front view

flat ironed hair

flat ironed hair, side view

5. Create loose curls using big flexi rods, by grabbing large sections of hair. Placing each flexi rod towards the end of a section of hair, roll the rods inward securing them at one end as shown below.

flexi rods installed: frontview

flexi rods installed: front view

flexi rods installed: side view

flexi rods, side view

flexi rods installed: back view

flexi rods, back view

6. Sit under a hooded dryer for 15 minutes to set the curls.

loose curls

loose curls, front view

loose curls

loose curls, side view

Hair Tip: Tips for transitioners (part 1)

You don’t have to cut your hair to become natural. It is possible to go completely natural without cutting all of your relaxed or texturized hair. You don’t have to do the big chop (bc) as others have done. Many persons transition for various reasons, for instance, they are not ready to part with their hair. They are not comfortable or not used to wearing short hair or don’t know how to style it. They are fearful about what others would say. The list goes on and on. But there is hope for persons that do not want to cut their hair, TRANSITIONING!
You can choose to do a short term transition that can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few short months. Or you can long term transition as I did for a year and there are persons who have gone up to two years allowing the chemically straightened hair to grow out gradually snipping off processed ends until it has completely grown out. Here are a few tips to help you on your journey to transitioning.

Tip # 1
Handle hair gently
Natural hair on its own is fragile by nature but the area where the natural hair ends and the chemically processed hair begin, which is called the point of demarcation is the most fragile part of the hair. If extra care is not taken when manipulating the hair, it will break at that point leaving the end of your hair ragged. This will eventually create a split end if it is not trimmed. Any time you must handle your hair, whether washing, combing or styling take all precautions not to damage the strands.

Tip # 2
Treat all of your hair as if it is completely natural
It can be very frustrating when transitioning to deal with the natural texture of your hair and the chemically straightened hair especially if you are not used to it. But the best way to deal with that is by treating both textures as if they are the same and in time you will get used to it. It will make the transition to understanding and caring for your natural hair easier rather than going cold turkey, as it were, by doing the big chop.

Tip # 3
Moisture moisture moisture
Kinky and kinky curly hair is dry by nature because, due to the coils and curls of the strands, moisture is not able to travel the length of the hair effectively on its own from the sebum that is naturally produced by our scalp. We must manually add moisture in the form of water or water based products to our hair, depending on how much moisture our hair craves. For some people, that can be as often as twice a day or as far between as once a week. But one thing is clear. Hair must be kept moisturized and it is very important to seal in that moisture with a heavier product if you are having problems retaining moisture with an oil or cream.

Tip # 4
Minimal manipulation
When transitioning, the less you manipulate your hair the better. Since the hair is so fragile, especially the point of demarcation, you want to handle hair only when necessary, that is when washing and when styling. It is advised that you wear styles that do not require much manipulation and wear it as long as you can before the next wash day.

Tip # 5
Keep hair clean
There is a misconception that dandruff or dirt “makes your hair grow”. That is quite the opposite of the truth. Hair must be kept clean so that it can absorb and retain moisture which is critical in the overall health of your hair, particularly when transitioning. If you have an underlying condition that causes build up on your scalp, please consult your physician or hair care provider to treat that problem as it may require that you use special or prescribed products and medication.

Hair Tips: Hair Myths

Let us take a look at a few hair myths, some of which we may have heard at some point while growing up or may still hear today. If we do not know the truth then we will be unable to make the correct decisions. Like many others, I too believed a lot of these myths. Here are a few things that I have heard as a child and still occasionally hear today, all of which are completely false. The more we know about something, the more control we have over the situation. Always do your research and educate yourself about any topic you want to know or talk about.

1. Water is bad for your hair
2. Brushing your hair will make it grow
3. Washing your hair too often will cause it not to grow
4. Black people’s hair cannot grow long
5. Natural hair is strong and does not break
6. Kinky hair can only be managed if it is chemically straightened or pressed (eg perms, texturized, flat ironed)
7. Trimming your hair will make it grow
8. Kinky hair can only grow long if it is in dreadlocks
9. It’s ok to go months without washing your hair if you are using braids or weave
10. Using a texturizer will make your hair grow
11. Certain products will make your hair grow
12. You have to grease or oil your scalp to make your hair grow
13. Using products on your scalp will help your hair to be softer and to grow
14. You have to pull your hair or plait (braid) it tightly to stimulate hair growth
15. Dandruff can make your hair grow

List is not exhausted

Do you know any hair myths that you would like to share?

Interested in finding out if something you were told or know is indeed a myth? Please comment below or send an email to antiguabarbudagirl@live.com just type “hair myths” in the subject.

Hair Tip: High bun for natural or relaxed hair, locs, weave or braids

High bun

A quick and simple protective style great for any occasion and can be done in under 5 minutes, making it a good go to hair style.

The high bun is best achieved on stretched hair like an old twist out or braid out but it can be achieved on freshly washed hair.

High bun is not limited to natural hair but can be created on any type of hair, relaxed, locks, transitioning, weave, braids.

In the tutorial below I demonstrate how to achieve a high bun on my natural hair. You can modify it as needed.

Items used

water

moisturizer sealer of choice (shea butter)

one scrunchy

hair pins

modified denim brush

 Steps

  1. Mist hair with water
  2. Add your favourite product to seal in the moisture
  3. Slick down edges with a denim brush or a soft bristle brush (optional add a little alcohol free gel to keep down fly aways)
  4. Gather hair in a high ponytail
  5. Hold hair together with a scrunchy making sure hair is not too tight (you can also use a hair tie, ouch-less band, old knee high stockings etc)
  6. Take hair from the ponytail in small sections to start creating your bun
  7. Roll under each section and secure with a hair pin forming the bun
  8. Optional (add flower,head band, other hair accessory)