Articles By Lisa Michelle

When the air turns cold and dry, there are a few ways you can keep your hair looking its best. Adding oils into your winter hair care regimen can bolster the health of your hair, improve shine and increase manageability. Most of you may already have the perfect ingredients in your kitchen cabinets already!

When it comes to a Christmas shopping for a product junkie, your best bet is to stick with what they like: hair products! There are so many brands and new products available, it can be hard to navigate to options. If your curly friend has a favorite brand, it’s a great idea to stick with that, but if you have a newly natural gal, or one still searching for that perfect product, you’re in the right place! Here’s a quick guide to some of the most recognized, popular and new brands on the market that are sure to satisfy even the pickiest of product junkie!

What better way to show your curly loved ones you care about them (and their curls) than with curly gifts just for them? There’s no reason you have to spend a fortune on great gifts either. Sometimes it’s the little things that really count!  Check out these thoughtful presents that are sure to make that special person smile.

It seems like every year the infamous Black Friday sales start earlier and earlier and 2012 is no exception! In fact, many companies have begun to not only advertise their fabulous sales to entice our wallets, but some have already put some of those sales in motion! Whether you’re going to be a trooper on the ground scooping sales or an online shopping wizard, there are great deals to be had. If you’re a product junkie like me, you’re in luck because there are bargains everywhere! Here are a few tips to make the most out of the Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday shopping bonanza.


Spending almost an entire week surrounded by beautiful people and gorgeous manes will leave just about anyone with a bit of a curl complex! From the moment I stepped into the first Fro Fashion Week event, I was oohing and ahhing over the sheer variety of curls, coils and locs. From vibrant colors, stylish updos and big bold hair, nothing was off limits!

It was clear that people were not afraid of color, and I even managed to get in on it a little bit too! I had always been nervous about coloring my hair, but I learned during the event that as long as you continue to take care of your hair, color can be a wonderful compliment. Brilliant colors spanning the color charts were featured everywher, both on loose hair and locs. There was even a company that makes clip-in color accents for curly kinky hair — Kinky Curl Accents — a great option for those who want to experiment with color, but may be scared of coloring their own hair.

MORE: Fro Fashion Week Fall 2012 Recap

It was hard to ignore the unique updo styles that were spotted during Fro Fashion Week. With the seasons changing, it’s no wonder so many opted to rock chic protective styles. Whether created from braids or twists, locs or loose hair, updo styles stood out during events and on the runway. Most of the looks seem pretty easy to recreate, but some seemed quite intricate!

One of my favorite natural styles are the big fluffy ones, and there was no end of big lush hair! Even some of the kids got in on the big hair action with cute pie puffs. I had to stop myself on several occasions from reaching out and touching without permission!

I met so many real life hair crushes it was almost overwhelming, but I came back with so many ideas I can’t wait to try on my own hair. It’s amazing to see the versatility and creativity we have with our natural hair! I’m excited to be part of this incredible community, and love the inspiration we’re able to gather from each other!

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Jessicurl 10 Curl Talk with Tarin Boone and Jess McGuinty

The fourth edition of Fro Fashion Week took Atlanta by storm September 24th through the 30th. The theme of Glitz & Glam made its way through several weekday events and an entire weekend of learning, camaraderie and fashion.

MORE: ‘Fro Fashion Week Celebrates Natural Hair











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Me and Jess McGuinty, celebrating 10 years of Jessicurl

Naturally Me Media founder Tarin Boone has combined a love of hair and a love of fashion together in the unique event that is Fro Fashion Week. Far from the typical natural hair expo, Fro Fashion Week offers a more upscale, educational aspect for the natural hair aficionado. This event is crafted for those who like to learn in a more intimate environment, want to give back and uplift small businesses and rejoice in the beauty that is natural hair. The entire week was meticulously crafted to encourage, inspire and celebrate our similarities as well as differences.

MORE: Big Chop Takes Center Stage at ‘Fro Fashion Week








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Blogger Mattie James speaking at Bloggers, Brands and Brunch

The week kicked off on Monday in Midtown Atlanta with Groove After Dark, where Too Groovy Salon owner Robin Groover and her team treated us to a fabulous night of mixing and mingling. Because our physical health is important too, Tuesday night’s event was a fitness event. The ladies enjoyed a great workout that many felt over the next few days!

MORE: Fall 2012 World Natural Hair Show Recap










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Tarin Boone, Julia Davis, Jess McGuinty and the kids at the I Love Me! Pajama Party

Wednesday night was all about the kids as they took over during the I Love Me! Pajama Party. This coordinated effort by Naturally Me Media and TruChatOnline encouraged the kids to express their creative sides through decorating door knockers and pillow cases and drawing and culminated with a fashion show runway walk where the girls got to strut their stuff! It also featured The Sistah Chick and Geechie Gurl as speakers to inspire and motivate the young girls in attendance while Jessicurl told her story of how she came to love her hair. She even gave out super cool temporary tattoos! I think the adults had as much if not more fun than the kids!

Friday was spent on a thrifting tour in afternoon, then Tapas and Tweets at the Melia Hotel Lobby Bar that night.

MORE: Real Texture Talk: Ashley Jackson







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Inside the Curls Unleashed Suite

Saturday was a whirlwind of activity, with workshops, shopping and hair chat galore! We had the opportunity to attend many different workshops, from Texture Hair Options with stylist Deshonica Kerrie, to D.I.Y. Magic Makeup with Santeyonne Powell, to fashion and yes, even head scarf how-to’s! Attendees could relax at the Curls Unleashed Suite and the Curlfriends in the City Suite, or get a manicure or massage at the Shea Moisture Total Body Suite.

MORE: How to Stretch a Wash and Go









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Me and Robin Groover, owner of Too Groovy Salon

There was something for everyone at Fro Fashion Week, and that variety carried over into the Runway Shopping Arena. Tarin hand-selected six unique companies to provide their products to the attendees. Tasti Kiss Essentials, Beauty & Glory and HoneyChile HairLove were representing handcrafted hair products; Urben Inventory and Luxor Couture had custom jewelry and accessories; and the unique Kinky Curl Accents clip-in color hair accessories for natural hair.

MORE: Top 10 Curl-Defining Products









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Models during the Fro Fashion Show

And we mustn’t forget the FASHION in Fro Fashion Week! We partied like rock stars at the Jessicurl 10 Penthouse Party on Saturday night. All the ladies and gentlemen dressed up in their finest outfits and snazziest shoes and hit the dance floor all night long! The stellar Fro Fashion Show closed out Fro Fashion Week and highlighted several fabulous designers with fashionable chic designs. The Glitz, Glam and Glitter theme was fitting as the models strutted up and down the white runway with glamorous makeup, awesome hair styles and some super cute ensembles!

MORE: Top 10: Famous Afros








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Me and Tarin Boone photo booth fun at the Penthouse Party

I had such a great time at my first Fro Fashion Week experience. I celebrated with Jessicurl for her 10 year anniversary, met many awesome people and made some wonderful new friends! I’m already looking forward to the next one! If you want to experience a natural hair event like no other, I encourage you to check out Fro Fashion Week. The Spring edition will be February 11th-17th in Atlanta, and I hope to see you there!

MORE: How Aevin Dugas Got the World’s Largest Afro








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Steel Magnolias 2012Can you see CURLS and Design Essentials products in this picture?

The remake of classic "Steel Magnolias" aired on Lifetime this past Sunday, October 7th featuring a star studded cast to bring the touching story of a close knit group of ladies back to television. Powerhouses Queen Latifah, who served as executive producer; Phylicia Rashad and her daughter Condola Rashad; Alfre Woodard; Jill Scott and Adepero Oduye breathe new life into the 1989 film, resurrecting heartfelt memories from those who adored the original while helping a new generation discover what made it so great in the first place.

The cast is undoubtedly one of the major reasons this remake was so successful. While they didn’t keep in every single detail from the original, they conveyed the same unbreakable relationship and bond that existed in the classic film. Bringing an African-American cast to fill the roles played by Sally Fields, Julia Roberts, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine and the original cast was a tall task, but the story still rings true over two decades later. They even had a small part for Julius (Dr. J) Irving and brought in the oh-so-handsome Lance Gross for some eye candy. The storyline was modernized for the most part with mentions and images of current pop culture. One of the only significant changes, however, came by way of character Shelby’s (played by Oduye) disease, kidney-complicated diabetes versus just diabetes in the original film.

MORE: Celebrity Curls: Tanya Wright On Hollywood & Hair

One thing I was really excited about with having an African-American cast was of course the hair! Even in the original film, the relationship between the women and their hair was always a source of entertainment. Truvy’s (played by Scott) beauty salon is still the action hub, and if you looked closely, you could also see that natural hair care products were also well represented there too. I spotted brands including CURLS, Shea Moisture, Design Essentials, Taliah Waajid and Mizani during the salon scenes. This is probably one of the first movies where I could clearly spot some of the very same products I use! I was pleasantly pleased to see lots of beautiful hair throughout the movie. Annelle (played by Oduye) is working with a simply gorgeous mane of thick, coily hair, and she was just one of many others wearing their hair naturally curly. Truvy had an adage that there is “no such thing as natural beauty,” but I beg to differ!


All in all, I think they did a great job of adapting the film classic to 2012! It’s hard not to compare it to the original, and honestly, Julia Roberts was my favorite character in the original, but the intention of bringing it back to TV was not to simply duplicate what was already done well. The cast was still able to pull you into their lives and have you both laughing and crying all over the place. It’s clear that light and heart in Steel Magnolias transcends both time and race.

MORE: Jill Scott Goes Natural for the Cover of Essence

Did you catch the remake? What did you think of the adaptation?

Lisa Michelle curly hair product stash

I’m sure many of you in the natural hair community have heard the term “product junkie” before. Some of you may even be one yourself. Most PJs I know didn’t start off this way, and I wasn’t always one myself. Over the past few months, I’ve been seriously contemplating how I came to amass such a vast collection of products, and just how I ended up becoming a product junkie.

Before I start, let me just say being a product junkie is not all bad. Expensive, yes, but it’s not always a bad thing. I’ve discovered many products I normally wouldn’t have given the time of day, and I have an opportunity to pass along anything that doesn’t quite work for my hair.

So how does someone even become a product junkie in the first place? The rapidly expanding natural hair care industry has played a big part in my ability to even consider becoming a product junkie. There are so many new brands and products out on the market, it makes it hard to pick just one. Even though I’d consider myself a “veteran” natural, I still find it hard to make decisions about what to buy, so I know it’s even harder for those who are newly natural or transitioning.

MORE: You Know You’re a Product Junkie If…

One of the biggest reasons I think I’ve become a product junkie is that I like to play in my hair, and that experimentation has led to an interest in trying different types of products. From conditioners to moisturizers and everything in between, you name it, I’ve probably tried it. Although I have my favorite brands, I am still learning new styles and have been trying new products to complement those styles. Not all products work well together, and it’s a good idea to know which ones in combination will give you your best hair. There is a method to the madness that is being a product junkie!

What I will say about becoming a product junkie is that it’s not for everyone, nor is it completely necessary. Going natural does not automatically make you want to run out and buy every product labeled natural under the sky. Take it from me, managing a product stash is not always fun! Your natural journey does not have to be an expensive one, and it doesn’t require you to fill your cabinets to overflowing with more products than you have hair! Taking the time to develop a system that works for you with regards to the products that you buy and use can save you time and money in the long run.

MORE: Are You Hooked on Discount Hair Products?

lisa with professional finger coils

Finger coils are a great styling option for naturals of many lengths. In all the eight years I’ve been natural, I thought I could only rock coils at a shorter length, but that is so far from the truth! I had a chance to experience this for myself with the help of Houston stylist Candace Walls of Sovereign Styles Hair Studio. Using products from the Design Essentials Natural line, she took my hair from curls to coils in no time flat!

I’m a pretty quick learner and I really think this is a style I can do at home myself. However, never having thought I could accomplish this type of style was really the only thing holding me back. Starting on freshly washed and conditioned hair and working from the back of my head to the front, she sectioned my hair into a small row to work with and the rest was clipped out of the way. Within that row, she then sectioned pieces less than an inch square, to create the individual coils. She used a combination of Design Essentials Natural Twist & Set Setting Lotion, Curl Enhancing Mousse and Curl Stretching Cream throughout my hair to prepare it for finger coiling.

Once the products were applied, she stretched and twirled my hair until it began to form the coils. One tip I learned from watching her is to make sure the hair is coiled down to the scalp. This will ensure the coils stay longer and you won’t have to deal with the dreaded puffy roots madness! This technique was repeated all over my head, and I don’t think it took longer than an hour and a half to complete. I proceeded to sit under a dryer until my hair was completely dry, and voila…I had coils!

MORE: Inside the Design Essentials Naturalista Class

Coil Out Tips

The next step to coils is a coil out, which was accomplished the following day.

  1. Just as you would with a twist out, your coils can be separated until you achieve the desired effect. Because my hair is so tightly coiled, the resulting coil out wasn’t as voluminous as my twist outs are, but they looked great!
  2. I continued to separate them over the next few days and my hair never quite got to the frizzy state that comes with fourth and fifth day hair.
  3. Coils & coil outs can last quite a while with proper nighttime maintenance and even that is simple. I slept with a satin bonnet the entire time I had the coils and my hair was never out of place.
  4. My only caution with this style is to be careful upon undoing the coils. Because my coils were so small and tight, I had a hard time separating them all enough to make detangling less of a chore. I separated my hair into four sections and applied my favorite detangler Nourish by Earth’s Nectar but it didn’t do much to help get through the small coils. I found myself having to go just about coil by coil, separating as much as I could until I finally whipped out my Denman paddle brush to finish the job. That wasn’t fun, but I think if I had more time to separate first then detangling would have been much easier.

MORE: Finger Coiling for Stubborn Wash-and-Gos

Final Thoughts

Moral of this story: Never say never to hairstyles for your curls! With the right products and some patience, our natural hair can be transformed into just about anything if you’re willing to give it a try. I loved my experience with finger coils. The maintenance and upkeep was super simple and it gave me a totally different look than I’ve ever had before. It curbed my desires for shorter hair and it was quite versatile! This can be a great styling option for busy ladies on the go, new naturals and everyone in-between. Happy styling!

Have you tried finger coils on longer hair? Shorter hair? What was your experience? 


Tamera and Tia MowryTamera Mowry-Housley and Tia Mowry

Another beautiful celebrity cuts her hair!  Tia Mowry was spotted rocking a new short haircut while out with her son Cree.  This trend of ladies, famous or otherwise, opting for short hair styles is growing and, if I can be honest, it’s making me a bit jealous!  I love the ease and manageability of short cuts and it gives an entirely different look.

For all of those young enough to remember when the show "Sister, Sister" was on in the 90s, you may have been infatuated with the gorgeous curls of the real life twin sisters. This was one of the few shows that featured curly haired girls, and it was really great to see them on TV. The Mowry sisters came back to the small screen together with their reality show, "Tia & Tamera." Now in its second season, the show goes behind the scenes of the new mom and wife, Tia and recently married and now pregnant Tamera. I’ve been a fan since the first episode aired last year and have gotten some really great style ideas from the curly haired sisters.  Tia Mowry also played the character Melanie on the popular BET series “The Game,” but announced earlier in the year that she was leaving the show after six seasons.

Following the likes of Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys and Rihanna, Tia Mowry’s short hair is gorgeous, flattering and super chic!  Shorter hair puts more of an emphasis on the facial features and really seems to bring forward a more youthful appearance. I applaud Tia for showing off what a beautiful TWA looks like and her curls are really popping! I think this really gives encouragement to those who might be considering taking the Big Chop plunge.

Have you ever considered a cut this drastic for your curls?

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