Articles By Evelyn Ngugi

Every year, South by Southwest descends upon our city bringing techies, CEOs, entrepreneurs, and creatives. For almost two weeks, Austin hosts and facilitates panels, networking, concerts, and film showings. That, and free tacos. Lots of free tacos.

This year, we were super excited to attend the Naturally Social panel and learn the best practices for hair and beauty blogging! The panel was moderated by loc’d lady Franchesca “Chescaleigh” Ramsey of Youtube, and the panelists were a supergroup of ladies who are on top of their social media game: Patrice Yursik of AfrobellaKristin Braswell, Editor-In-Chief of Carol’s Daughter’s Transitioning MovementMyleik Teele, founder/CEO of curlBOX and Jamala Johns, founder/photographer behind le coil

If any of you are thinking about hair or beauty blogging, here are the major lessons I learned at SXSW!


Where are all the highly textured heads of hair on TV? We long to identify with the physical characteristics of people on the screen. When I find someone with sky-high hair like ours, even if it’s just a commercial, I do my NaturallyCurly Happy Dance (I’m so trade marking that). Yes! We exist!

For my first installment of Curlies on TV, I’ll take you back to my childhood hair crush, Rudy Huxtable.

As the youngest of the Huxtables, Rudy was the adorable, adventurous and rambunctious girl in the family. She played football (Go Sweet Feet!) and had comically simple advice for the older children’s problems. She never understood the things her older sisters did for love, and while she got into the kind of trouble youngest siblings always get into, she was always the sweetheart of the family.


French roll and front bun coily hairstyle

Sometimes, we all want to change up our usual hair styling routine and take the glam level up a notch. Vintage updos and era-inspired hairstyles are a classic way to give your natural hair old-school personality. Look at pictures of pin-up girls or Hollywood actresses of the 50s – stunning! Many of these styles can be loosely categorized as “roll, tuck, and pin” hairstyles because that’s all that’s involved. No complex parting, braiding or twisting. To recreate these hairstyles, you usually just need a photo for inspiration, a good eye and an arsenal of bobby pins.

The high French roll twist with a front bun is best on medium to long hair. You can also style stretched, multiple-day hair. Here are some quick instructions for creating this trendy, ultra-retro style:

  1. Moisturize your hair with your favorite spritz, leave-in conditioner, or hair butter. Make sure the hair is soft and pliable.
  2. To make your French roll, gather your hair smoothing it up from the nape up to the center of your head, as if you’re about to make a high ponytail. As you smooth up your hair, roll it inwards and secure with a bobby pin. Continue smoothing, rolling, and pinning until you reach the front of your head. It should look like a sleek roll in the back with your puff or curls pushed to the very front of your head.
  3. Smooth the hair from the opposite direction onto the side you want your front bun to face. Tuck it under your remaining front section of hair and pin.
  4. Now you should be able to let go and have a curly ponytail or puff left to form into a front bun. For example, if you’re forming the bun to the right, gather small pieces from the left of the section and gently bring them to the right, holding them in place, as you continue to gather small sections from the left side.
  5. Once you’ve created the shape of your bun, you should have the ends of your hair gathered in one hand. Tuck your ends under the bun and pin. Depending on the length of your hair or if you have bangs, it may take some adjusting and careful bobby pin placement. Practice makes perfect!
  6. You’re done! Once you’re satisfied with the placement and neatness of your front bun, accessories with hair flowers, hair combs, or even bold lipstick and large button earrings!

Check out MakeupAnBeautyJunkie’s video below! She looks amazing!

Vintage Style Hair Tutorial

High French Roll Twist With Front Bun

See more Videos

Get more tips and tricks for your curls, coils and waves on NaturallyCurly’s YouTube channel.


Evelyn does bantu knots

Bantu knots and the resulting bantu knot out are my favorite hairstyle! Any hair type or texture can do bantu knots – for some, it’ll create looser waves, and for others it will have a cute “curly q” effect with a head of tight, springy curls. Since it totally changes the look and curl of your hair, it’s perfect to do on multiple day hair to change up your look mid-week. To do this style, follow these step-by-step instructions:

Setting the style

  • Divide into manageable sections. Those with longer hair need fewer sections. Also, the curlier you want the bantu knot out to be, the more sections you want. It’ll take some trial and error, but to start, use the same number of sections you usually use to apply gels or do twist outs.
  • Moisturize. Whether it’s a simple spritz of water and yummy oils or a complete co-wash, hydrate your coils! It makes it more pliable and it will hold the shape of the bantu knot better.
  • Detangle or smooth out your hair. This is optional, as some naturally curlies don’t use hair tools, or your hair may simple be very stretched or tangle-free already. This step is just to ensure you get a smooth, shiny curl and that your ends look neat. Hair should just be damp, not sopping wet. Otherwise, it will take forever to dry!
  • Apply a styler or curl cream. I suggest something with medium hold, because crunchy bantu knots are a pain to fluff out the next day! Here are some styler suggestions. Smooth the product down from root to tip.
  • Roll-twist each section of hair and wind it on top of itself. The goal is to create tiny buns (they’re not really “knots”) on top of your head a la Lauryn Hill or Scary Spice from the Spice Girls. Once you get to the end of the rolled section, you can tuck it under the bantu knot and the pressure should keep it in place. If not, use a bobby pin or hair pin to keep it from unraveling.

Read on page 2 how to take the knots down...

Read More: Forget-Me-Not: Bantu Knots


How to do Bantu Knots

Evelyn's bantu knot out

At this point, you have a choice. You can wear the bantu knots as a style themselves or you can blowdry or sit under a dryer to set the style immediately. I usually do this style at night, and by morning it’s air-dried.

The take down

  • Lightly lubricate your hands with your favorite oil or anti-humidity serum. This will prevent frizz if you’re a bit rough taking down the bantu knots.
  • Gently unravel each bantu knot.
  • Gently separate each section and fluff. Try not to cause frizz by constantly pulling apart each section, but manipulate the hair enough to cover the parts in your hair. Some people use an afro pick to lift the roots and hide the parts. If you have a looser texture, just run your hands through your roots and stop when you get to the curl formation.

You’re done! Enjoy your new ‘do!

Read More: Our Favorite Bantu Knot Outs


collection of product bottles with flowers

I’ve purchased more hair products in my 2+ years being natural than I ever did when I had relaxed hair. Sometimes it was because I needed to find out what worked on my delicate, coily hair. Most of the time, however, it was because I actually enjoyed styling my “new” hair, and buying products was a way to get excited about rockin’ what I got. That’s all well and good, but not every product I purchased was a winner. Some conditioners weren’t very conditioning, a few shampoos stripped my hair and stylers gave my fro nothing but crunch and flakes.

I couldn’t throw the products (and my money) in the trash on the quest to find my staple natural hair products, so I found ways to transform my not-so-favorite hair products into tolerable ones. If a product doesn’t work for your hair at first, try these hair product makeovers before tossing it or passing it on to a friend.

1. Add Oils to Detangling Conditioners

Conditioner is still my most purchased hair product, so when I’m feeling adventurous and stray from my usual detangler of choice, I’m pretty bummed when the comb doesn’t glide through my hair with the usual ease. Even if it were a drugstore brand, I wouldn’t throw out that conditioner just yet. Add your favorite oil (for me, it’s coconut oil) to the conditioner. If you detangle in the shower, then you’ll have to pre-mix the oil and conditioner to avoid a slippery floor. If you condition your hair out of the shower, just pour or scoop out the oil into your hand and add a squirt of the lackluster conditioner. The oil will act as a lubricant and add more slip, helping your wide-toothed comb run through your tresses much more easily.

2. Add Oils to Deep Conditioners

The only thing more disappointing than buying a detangling conditioner that doesn’t detangle is spending cash on a deep conditioner that doesn’t give my hair enough moisture! Imagine sitting there with your shower cap or heating cap for an hour or longer and when you rinse out the concoction, your coils are still parched! Reach for your handy oil and start mixing. Coconut, jojoba, olive, take whatever you have on hand and add a couple tablespoons to your heaping handful of deep conditioner. The oil acts as a sealer, so when you rinse the mixture out with water, the conditioning effects of the product remain.

3. Add Leave-In Conditioner to Gels and Stylers

Fight the crunch! I now know that my fine hair and gels don’t go together. I can get defined twist outs just using a leave-in conditioner, but when I was newly natural, I tried multiple gels and twisting creams believing it was what a natural hair necessity. Wrong! No matter the advertised hold of the product, my coils are always superdefined and crunchy. To solve this, I make my own “custard” using my leave-in conditioner, a small amount of oil (noticing a trend?) and the gel. The oil and leave-in conditioner will dilute and soften the effects of the styler. But, wait! First, you need to test the compatibility of the products before dumping them into a separate container. Sometimes products don’t mix well and cause white residue or flakes. Add the three ingredients in your hand and rub them together. If it doesn’t make a residue on your skin, chances are it will act the same in your hair. If the test results are residue-free, you’re good to go! After applying a light layer of leave-in conditioner to each section of hair, apply your DIY custard and kill the crunch.

BONUS: Remove Rows of Teeth from Your Denman Brush

You may know this hair tool makeover already, but if your Denman styling brush is giving you grief, remove every other row of teeth. This frees up space between each row so our highly textured hair can pass through clumping our coils smoothly without snagging. Push the red padding up from the handle and it should slide out. The rows of teeth are easy to remove, clean and store.

Hope this hair product makeover saves you some cash!

Have you tried making over your not-so-favorite products? What was your most successful product makeover?


Lady with coily hair smiling and looking to the side

If you’re looking to rock longer (or in my case, BIGGER!) hair, your time is better spent focusing on length retention. There’s not much you can do to force your scalp to grow hair faster, but you CAN focus on hair care habits that prevent breakage and make sure every inch you grow is maintained throughout the months and years. Although the entire length of my hair is rarely exposed to the elements (yay shrinkage!), there are five important things I do to handle my coils with care.

1. Don’t go guerilla during washing

There comes a morning in every natural’s life when you wake up and realize your TWA has transformed into a massive force field of gloriously textured hair. It seemed like just the other day you could wash and condition in six minutes, right? Well, “just the other day” was actually two years ago, and now you must find efficient ways to care for your coils without losing your sanity. Don’t attack your hair! Grab some butterfly clips and divide your hair into manageable sections. No more swirling your hands around an entire sudsy head.

2. Hold your hair while you comb or brush

Remember when your head would jerk in the direction your mom ferociously brushed it? Don’t relive those tortuous moments! Since our natural hair coils and springs back into place when we let it go, it’s even more important to hold the section of hair we’re detangling. If we let go, we “lose our place” so to speak, and all the combing and recombing can take a toll on our hair and tender heads. Don’t forget to twist that section once you’re done or place it back in a clip (refer to first tip).

3. Sleep with a satin scarf or pillow case

It’s easy for our coils to snag on rough fabrics. Satin or silk is a smooth and soft textile that your coils won’t get caught in. Depending on your preference, you can wear a satin cap, a satin scarf, or sleep on a satin pillowcase. Since I’m the type to forego a bedtime routine and just collapse into bed, a satin pillowcase was the way to go.

4. Use the right tools

Remember the Tangle Teaser? Yeah, me neither. If it worked for you, great! I just couldn’t visualize my coils squeezing through the Tangle Teaser’s tiny teeth. Every head of hair is different, so this will take some trial and error on your part, but here are my tried and true hair care tools:

  • Wide toothed comb for detangling
  • Denman styling brush for clumping or smoothing each section for maximum shiny twist outs
  • Concentrator attachment on blow dryers are better for my fine hair than the comb attachment when I do blow outs. I pull a section of hair taut, and the attachment concentrates the heat to that section, stretching it out.
  • Butterfly clips. I switched to these claw-like clips after I noticed duckbill clips always got caught in my hair.
  • “No snag” or no-metal headbands & hair ties. Seriously. Who puts metal on a headband? O.U.C.H.

5. Try protective styles

The more we tousle our hair around, the more opportunities we have for tangles and breakage. Try to fight Hand In Hair Syndrome and opt for twists, braids, buns, etc. I personally prefer to wear my hair loose, but I know a lot of naturals swear by low manipulation hair styles.

How do you handle your coils with care?

Video blogger Evelyn does a baking soda conditioner and shares her results.

After doing many wash n go's with her aloe vera gel, Evelyn began to notice her hair drying out and in need of some serious moisture. In an attempt to obtain this moisture, she sought out a baking soda deep conditioner that (at the time) was revered by many naturalistas and hair gurus. They all said it would make her hair soft...did it? Watch part two to see her results.

What she did:

1. Washed her hair with Miss Jessie's Creme de la Curl cleansing cream

2. Made the baking soda deep conditioner using the following ingredients:

  • 1 part baking soda 
  • 2 parts her favorite conditioner
  • a bowl to mix it in

3. Separated her hair into 5 equal parts and applied the conditioner evenly with her hands

Tip: Pay special attention to your ends!

4. Cover your hair with a shower cap. Wait about 30-45 min

5. Rinse it out!

Total 3 results.

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