Articles By Priscilla Sodeke

During a visit to a children's hospital in Panama City this Tuesday, June 12th, Jennifer Lopez met with doctors and gave a speech at a ceremony dedicating her donation of digital diagnosis equipment to the children's hospital. On this particular occasion, Lopez stepped out in naturally curly fashion! Unlike her usual slicked back styles or smooth contrived curls, her natural curls were flowing with the volume of this season's trend of soft, fluffy curls with a bit of constructed frizz.

Jennifer Lopez's Natural Curls

Panama City children's hospital visit

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


In the spirit of Solange's Twitter posts last Thursday, I'm about to rant a little bit. Solange is sick of the natural hair police and frankly, so am I. Wearing your hair naturally, the way it grows out of your head is supposed to be liberating for us all. As a community of naturally curly folks, we have the opportunity to encourage one another to embrace our natural textures and to rock our curls, twirls, waves and coils however we please. Shouldn't being natural be about being free from the pressures to conform to what other people say is an acceptable way to wear are hair?

I know that it makes many naturals furious, or at the very least a bit annoyed, when someone tries to say a curly should straighten because it looks more…you fill in the blank. So why are we doing this to each other now? Actress Nicole Ari Parker said it well on MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry show: "We even judge each other—we were just talking about Solange being very upset on Twitter, but it's because there is still this thing about getting your hair done. Whether it's an afro, whether its twists or braids or relaxers, everybody wants their hair done, so [Solange] — you know, embraces just get up and go, and she's beautiful."

This natural hair movement that's more than a movement has finally given us a new sense of pride about our hair and about ourselves. Why kill that by cutting each other down? At the very least, can't we can agree to disagree about how we want to wear our own hair?

Maybe I'm just being too idealistic, but this is what I think. More importantly, though, what do you think? 

 


Nikki Walton with MSNBC crew

Yesterday, Actress Nicole Ari Parker of Broadway's Streetcar Named Desire, University of Pennsylvania professor Anthea Butler, cultural critic Joan Morgan and CurlyNikki.com's own, Nikki Walton joined Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC for a discussion on the politics and business of black hair — what it has been about and how it is changing as more black women embrace their natural texture. While the sales of relaxers has been in a decline since 2007, there is of course still a huge market for black hair care. "The demand from all of those natural women for products to take care of their hair has given life to a cottage industry, made up mostly entrepreneurs of African-American women, some of whom whipped up products of their own to help meet the demand," Harris-Perry explained.

The idea that this change is a positive one for black women is juxtaposed to the truth that there is still the issue of internal judgement and negativity. Nikki points out that, thankfully, aside from the products industry, we also have the informational industry, where communities like CurlyNikki.com provide a place for women to "encourage each other, share, and get this information, and it goes beyond the aesthetic and goes back to...self-acceptance, accepting hair for what it looks like…This is about empowering textured women to achieve healthier hair and versatility." Well said Nikki!

CurlyNikki on msnbc

Harris-Perry: There's big business in black hair

Let's work through any negatives and keep this discussion going! What do you have to say about business and politics of natural hair? 

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

 


We all want healthy curls, coils, and waves, but we have to "know" our hair in order to give it what it really needs. Knowing about your hair width, whether it's coarse, medium or fine, can be the difference between having constant breakage or retaining length. So how do you figure out your hair width? Take a piece of shed hair from your brush or comb and hold it up to the light. If it's very wide and easy to see, your hair is course in width. If it’s so thin that you can hardly see it, you have fine hair width. If your hair appears neither thin nor coarse, you have medium width hair.

Coarse hair has the thickest and strongest strands. It resists damage well so that you can easily maintain hair length. Fine hair is made up of very thin strands that are prone to damage, making it difficult for fine-haired curlies to maintain length. These different textures need to be cared for according to their unique needs so that your curls can reach their full potential!

Products for Coarse or Fine Hair

So where can you find hair care specifically for your coarse or fine curls? The answer is with Use Me, an eco-friendly hair care brand full of vegan and organic ingredients specifically formulated to balance pH and equalize porosity for healthy, shiny, breakage-free hair from root to tip! Both coarse and fine-haired curlies can have frizz free, perfect curls with Use Me Cleanser and Moisturizer for Coarse Hair or Use Me Cleanser and Moisturizer for Fine Hair. From cleansing to moisturizing, Use Me products are tailored to your hair texture. Their Curl Up and Shine Creme weightlessly springs curls to life and keeps frizz under control. Use Me treats your hair with an infusion of essential oils and botanicals, including lavender, jasmine, Spanish moss, and lemongrass.

Are your curls are already bouncing with excitement to try Use Me? Take advantage of the TOO! exclusive offer and get 39% off your choice of two Use Me Trio options (Cleanser and Moisturizer for Coarse or Fine Hair and Curl Up and Shine Creme), plus free shipping! After your curls have soaked up all that all-natural Use Me goodness, you can save the BPA-free bottles and refill them later at one of Use Me’s filling stations!

The offer is only available with TOO! and you can get it right now!


Christina Georg

While sifting though my emails one day, I was introduced to an international member of the NaturallyCurly community, Christina. She got in touch with us to tell us a little about herself and how much she wished she could come to the Curly Pool Party. Christina, who lives in Egypt, expressed how grateful she was to have found NaturallyCurly, so we knew we had to share her hair story if she was willing to tell it. You can read her Real Texture Talk interview tomorrow!

Christina also shared that she was hoping to get a haircut, but needed help, because of the lack of professional curly hair care service available to her. So here is her appeal to you naturally curlies:

"Hi my name is Christina. I’m an 18-year-old Egyptian with 3b/3c curls who is desperate for some changes. Here in Egypt there are NO curly hair salons and NO special products for curly hair at all, or at least not that I know of, and I have searched for quite some time now.

I need a haircut. I haven’t had one in two years! Last time and the time before it too, I got a bad haircut. The guy cut it all the same length so it gave me the pyramid shaped hair and it was really bad. Since then, I’m really scared to go get a cut, but my hair needs it . If I could find something like a tutorial on how to cut my own hair, then I could do it myself.

I usually wear my hair down. Sometimes I put it in a bun or a ponytail but mostly I wear it down. I want to get a haircut because my ends are so dry and I want to get a new look, because I’m bored with having the same look every day. I guess shoulder length would be best for me and I want something that would make life a bit easier for me like detangling it, which takes a while now.

My curly hair idols would have to be the Queen of Curls, Ouidad.  I also love Halle Berry’s curly hair in the bob style, though i'm not sure if its really her hair or not. I do think that curlies rock in a bob if they can take care of it. And I can’t forget Corinne Bailey Rae — how she rocks her curls. Please help me! What length should I go for? Is shoulder length good for my hair? What kind of cut should I get? Should it be layered or not? Should I do it myself or should I go to a stylist? And if I go to a stylist what, specifically, should I ask for? If you have any suggestions please leave comments! Thanks a lot!"

What do you say curly community? What tips and advice do you have for Christina?


At 10:30 am on Sunday morning the scissors came out — nail scissors, that is. Yes, I use nail scissors to trim my hair, because they are pretty sharp and I don't have proper shears, nor do I have any inclination to shell out any cash for some good ones.

I know I don't really have time to properly trim my whole head, but I keep trimming here and there. I started snipping out of pure frustration with my dry chemically texturized ends. This kind of thing runs in my family. My mom and one of my sisters are known for their impromptu, self-trimming sessions. You might think it's crazy, but somehow it always turns out well, to the point that we get compliments on our new cuts.

My TWA Hair Trimming Tips

Maybe you've stayed up too late with your hands in your hair, wishing there was 24-hr hair salon somewhere or maybe you'd just like some tips on how to self-trim your TWA. If you've ever been there, here are some tips that could save you from the frustration of a self-trimming disaster.

  1. Nail scissors: If you have legitimate shears, that's great, but since I don't and many of you might not, you might have a pair of tiny, razor sharp nail scissors that came with that nail care kit of yours. If not, you can easily purchase some without breaking the bank or doing any the kind of research that would make investing in some good shears worth it.
  2. How much to cut: First, start out with dry hair. If you need to, you can go back and wet it some later in the cut to make the straighter, drier ends stand out from healthier, curly roots. Because I had dry, stringy, chemically texturized ends, it was easier to tell what I wanted to cut off. If you have dry or damaged ends you may be able to feel the difference and know where you want to cut. When in doubt, trim off less because you can always go back and trim more off. FYI: I did not stretch or blow out my hair prior to trimming.
  3. Gather twist and cut: I'm obviously not a professional, just a coily who believes that desperate times call for desperate measures. You can modify it, but this is the technique I used. I would gather a small section of coils, no more than half an inch wide, slide my fingers down to the tips of the hair, twist the ends once in my hand and clip the hair just below my fingers. The twisting was a method I developed to help ensure that I was trimming all the hair I had gathered. If your hair is longer or less coily and more curly, if it tends to hang a little more than it sticks out, then I think this method might produce an interesting effect, like maybe increased volume (but I can't be sure). I'm pretty sure, though, that it will keep you from having blunt, unnatural looking cuts. For my 4c TWA, I can't really see any visual effects created by this method.
  4. Keep trimming: I would be playing in my hair even weeks later and find more hair to trim off. This is totally fine. Just grab your nail scissors and keep trimming to perfect your cut.
  5. Use shrinkage to your advantage: I find that shrinkage can be a self-trimmer's best friend. Just remember, less is more when you are trimming because if you wear your hair in an un-streched state, it will of course look even shorter when it shrinks. How is this a good thing? Well, if you have a TWA that you can pat into place, shrinkage can help to conceal some unevenness in your cut. I know that when I finished my cut it was NOT even by any stretch of the imagination. Yet, one of the first compliments I got was about how smooth and even it looked! If your TWA is uneven when you finish, try this method to fake a smooth flawless cut. Wet, or for better results, cowash your hair, then slather your TWA with as much slippery, curl-enhancing conditioner or leave-in your hair can take. It needs to be something you can leave in that won't produce white residue. I used some USE Me Moisturizer and Curl Junkie Curl Rehab to moisturize and encourage my coils. With the pads of your fingers make small gentle circular motions in your hair starting at the roots and moving up till your fingertips are hovering over the ends. You can also smooth or rake — whatever you do to encourage curls and coils. For my 4c (1.5 inch stretched) TWA I made small circular motions in my hair to help my coils clump.
  6. Encourage clumping: My coils have never really clumped, but since I don't ever use a comb or brush, just conditioner and my fingers so it doesn't get tangled, amazingly it has started to clump. In the shower or sink, sprinkle or splash cold water over your hair to help distribute the conditioner. You can pat with a microfiber towel, paper towel or tissue very gently or press some of the water out with your hands, but be careful not to disturb the coils. Get your favorite gel. I like to use Ampro Olive Oil Gel, but today, I'm digging the way Ouidad Climate Control Gel smooths over my coils. Spread the gel in your hands and smooth it gently over your hair like a glaze. If your hair is still dripping, pat, pat, pat very gently with a paper towel or tissue. Also, use that opportunity to pat your TWA into place. You can also pat it into place with just your conditioner coated hands.

If it works for you, you can use this method daily to care for your freshly cut TWA so that it looks as even as if you just stepped out of a salon! If you try out these tips, please share your results! Happy trimming!

Do you self-trim? Do you have any tried and true self-trimming methods?


 


Priscilla Sodeke

The other day I was hanging out on Twitter, just checking out what other people are saying under the topic of being curly, when I stumbled upon this trending phrase: "Curly hair, don't care."

Being a bit of a newbie to the NaturallyCurly community, I'm wondering where the phrase came from and what exactly does it mean? Is it a positive expression, or could it somehow have a negative connotation? Is it the kind of movement or motto that I might soon see printed on T-shirts and bumper stickers?

Some of the tweets I saw were accompanied by smiling curly, coily or wavy pictures of the tweeters. "Curly hair, don't care" seems to have become like a motto for these naturally textured women on Twitter who are proudly embracing their texture. For them, perhaps, it is a motto that excepts the challenge of wearing hair naturally curly, coily or wavy. Maybe part of the way they embrace their textured hair is about not caring if others are against their choice, or maybe not caring too much if it rains or if your curls shrink.

Others seemed to use the phrase to express an attitude which doesn't seem entirely negative, but does equate wearing your natural texture to being lazy or low-maintenance and laid back. Such an interpretation could be offensive to some curlies who are very serious about taking care of their textured tresses, or even find taking care of their curly hair to be anything but low maintenance.

Maybe there isn't just one of two answers to my question about “Curly hair, don't care.” It seems to mean various things to people of both similar and different hair textures. But, as a newbie, I wanted to reach out and get the opinion of my fellow community.

What does “Curly hair, don't care” mean to you? Do you think it is a positive or negative reinforcement for the textured hair community as a whole?

 


For us curlies, naturally textured hair is always in vogue. But this spring, naturally textured hair has been called a "trend to follow." Marjon Carlos of Vogue Italy reported that the newest pack of black models are “storming the catwalk in full embrace of their natural hairstyles, from cropped Afros to flat tops to buzzed scalps.”

Spring hair trends are falling in favor of natural hair whether its curly, coily or wavy. This season's trends are “defined by minimalism and natural beauty,” according to Kari Molvar of Harper's Bazar.

This spring, hairstyles trend toward a soft, undone, homemade, effortless look. This is the season for pretty, do-it-yourself curly hairstyles. Take a look at how people are wearing these 2012 spring hair trends.

Celebrities Embrace the Spring Trend

Beyonce's House of Deréon's Spring 2012 line video features all textured hairstyles including a closely cropped fro, messy, tousled waves and curly hairstyles that seem to have been allowed to get bigger and curlier in the dewy spring weather.

Christina Caradona is beautifully sporting this spring's hair trend on Trop Rouge with beach-wind blown curls left out or swept up into an intentionally untidy bun. Denise Richards' big, center parted, nicely mussed curly hairstyle is also characteristic of  this spring hair trend.

Specific Spring Looks

Christine Louis-Jacques with a fluffed out 'fro, side pinned back, has the soft and effortless look of this spring's biggest trends.
  • The tousled 20s wave, or curly flapper bob in shoulder length or just below the ears. Illustrator and fashion blogger Garance Doré recently interviewed Valentina Di Pinto, Fashion Editor for Glamour Italy, who wears a spring-trending center-parted, curly bob.
  • Wet, glistening and fresh out of the shower looks achieved by hairstylist Guido simply by saturating the whole hair or just the roots while wet with argan oil. Fashionising.com named this effortless wet chignon amongst their favorite 2012 hair trends.
  • Sophisticated braids and twists left down and disheveled or pinned up. Loose top and soft fishtail braids were featured on the catwalks for Spring 2012. Another spring hair trend, this can be achieved by braiding or twisting your hair and then using pins to wrap the braid into a slightly disheveled up-do characteristic of this season's trends.
  • Still seeing red. The 2011 trend in either natural or dyed red hues and highlights is a continuing one that can give dimension to your loosly coiffed curls, coils or waves this spring. Silvia Girolami of Vogue Italy says, “Judging by the latest trends, it seems that having red hair is now more 'in' than ever. Many celebs have given in to the charm of red, a mania that – as hairstylists are stating – is destined to shine for all 2012.”
  • Simply Accessorized. The trend this spring also includes casually accessorizing with floppy hats like those often pictured on The Sartorialist and head wraps and scarves like in a photo taken by Garance Doré at Cafe Colette in New York.

So curlies, which trends will you be trying out this spring?


Professional photographer Michael July is attempting to bring a celebration of natural hair right to our coffee table tops!

For five years, he has searched for and captured the exquisite and diverse essence of natural hair, photographing over 240 unique, natural hair wearing individuals of different colors, ethnicities, ages and nations. The result is a coffee table book entitled "AFROS - A Celebration of Natural Hair," which tells the hair history of each model. It also highlights the lasting impression made by natural hair "pioneers" like Angela Davis and Jimi Hendrix.

July's book has a tentative release date set for mid-June. Tentative, however, because he is still looking for natural hair advocates (like us!) to back his project and help bring it to print.

Supporters can go to Kickstart.com by Friday, April 20, 2012 at 5:55 pm EDT to pledge anything from $1 to $3,000 or more to help July reach his $20,000 goal for printing and shipping costs. The $50 pledge point includes a pre-ordered, author-signed copy of the book.

"My true target audience are young people who struggle with their self-identity because of negative media messages, peer pressure and lack of natural role models," July writes on Kickstarter. "That through these pages they may be encouraged to see and accept their own individual God-given beauty and hopefully a more positive and wholesome identity. Your donation will go towards that goal."

The book fully embraces what we are all about — waves, curls, coils and all! Backing July's book will be a great opportunity for us to help each other to accomplish a common goal of getting people worldwide to accept, embrace and celebrate natural hair whether they are wearing it or not.

 


Bun

Congratulations on your big chop and welcome to #teamnatural! So now what?

If you have goals for growing your hair out, you may feel like you just signed up to run a marathon! Don't panic! You can pace yourself with these tips so that you don't run out of breath before you reach your grow out goal.

Commit to It

First, make a commitment to your grow out goals and write them down. Knowing specifically where you want to go with your hair will help you know when you get there. Set mini-goals so that you can celebrate your progress and be encouraged to continue.

Try not to create timelines for your goals based on the grow out experiences of others. It's your journey, and the growth rate of your hair will help set the right pace for you.

Got Patience?

Your grow out journey may be difficult at times, and there's no formula to tell how long it will take you to reach your personal goals, so patience is a must. You may get bored after doing a wash-n-go for the 45th time, so mix it up and get creative. Even if you still have a TWA, you can always change things up with hats, head wraps, head bands, hair pins and other accessories.

Technically Speaking

Whatever methods or products you choose to use, be sensitive to your hair's needs. Choose products and methods because they work for you and your hair. Once you find a good go-to product, stick to it and always keep it on hand, especially while you're trying new products.

Don't be afraid to try new products, but don't waste time and money trying every natural hair care product. To avoid accumulating a bathroom cabinet full of products that don't work for you, look for products that will fill a specific need for your hair.

Live Healthy

Healthy hair is growing hair. If you want healthy hair, strive for a healthy body, because your hair is a part of your body! Take care of yourself by eating lots of fresh nutrient rich foods like veggies and fruits and cutting back on processed foods. Choose water over soft drinks more often. Get moving whenever you can by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, taking walks, or hitting the gym. You will start to feel healthier, and so will your hair!

Record and Share

Keep a photo journal or video journal of your progress. Keeping a visual record of your journey will give you proof of how far you've come if you start to feel like you aren't making progress. Share your experiences with other curlies and friends who will support and encourage you on your hair growth journey.

Do you have any tips or techniques that you have learned so far on your hair growth journey?

 



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