Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cornrow Hair Styles!

Cornrowing is an art!  It can be a difficult, frustrating art.  It's great for me to have two heads to practice on.  I really enjoy learning new styles.  Here's another style done on my 9 year old niece.  Though I tried growing her perm out, her mother permed it while she was home.  So, the approach I take on her hair is different.
More to come on this later!
Hair Style # 1

Her hair is parted horizontally down the middle of her head.  I braided 3/4 of the front of her hair.  The remainder was left out and flat ironed (heat protectant applied). 

The back of her hair is braided vertically to the middle (where the front braids meet). 
When the front and back braids meet, I ponytail the remainder of the hair and put tons of curls in it.

This style, if maintained properly, can last 2-3 weeks.
DO NOT APPLY heat everday.  The curls should last a while if maintained and a scarf is worn!

Hair Style # 2

Again, her hair is parted in the middle and braided in the front. 

Shot from the side.

The back is curled and sprayed with hair spray and a shine gloss.

Length: Hair style can last from 2-3 weeks.
Again, do not apply heat everday and keep scalp moisturized.


As I was learning what products my hair needs, I was learning the art of hair and the many designs I could do with African American hair. Here are a few of the styles I have done on my nieces hair. Later, I'll provide you with steps on how to do some of these hairstyles.

Products: Children's hair is different than adult hair. Some products are made strictly for adults. However, I found the products from "I've Become a Product Junkie" Part 1 could be safely used on their hair also. HOWEVER, I only left in the 2 Minute Reconstructor on their hair for 2 minutes-NO LONGER!

Here is my precious 5 year old niece. She's now all natural! Here is a before shot of her (she's a bit tired!).

Step 1: Her hair is washed and conditioned.
Step 2: Her hair is parted into 5 rows 6-7 columns and pinned in place until ready to be braided. It's worth investing in hair ties and hair pins for this process!

Step 3: These squares are pretty big because she's so young and sitting for hours at a time is NO FUN!
Step 4: She has extensions in her hair. Below is the type of hair that I used.

Type of Hair: Marley Braid: $5-$7 per packet.  I used 1 1/2 on her hair.
Color: I used black.  However, there are SO many colors avaliable.  Choose the color closest to the hair.
Length: hair is extremely long.  Cut in half to double hair amount and you can still have the length
Store: Hair like this is usually only carried in ethnic hair stores.
Step 5: I take one square and the fake hair (as much fake hair as the square) and braid it (like you'd braid a braclet) just a little bit (braid each strand through 3 times).

Step 6: Once you have braided part of the hair, you will twist the remainder part of the hair, until it reaches the end of the extension.  (Notice: hair is braided to a little above her ear and the rest is twisted).
Step 7: If you use the correct hair, the ends will seal themselves. However, you still need to seal them. This can be done with heat. You can boil or microwave 6-8 cups of water. Then to seal the hair, dip the edges of the braid in the hot water.

CAUTION: Of course the water is hot! But the most important thing is to make sure you keep your child calm and their head as far away from the hot water as possible.

Step 8: Make sure to oil scalp (every few days to keep hair moisturized).
Step 9: This hair style can last a month, if not more.  If it's not properly maintained, it may only last 2 weeks.

The Final Result!
Time: 1 1/2-2 hours.

The Back!!!
Length: 5 inches below her shoulder.
Benefit: This style can be restyled in so many ways: pigtails, pony tails, buns, and pretty headbands

I Became a Product Junkie! Part I

I don't think I really understood the term "product junkie" until I became one. As I was trying to stay in the "my hair does not define me" I was working hard to find out what my hair needed in order to be healthy and produce growth.

So, I HAD to become a product junkie. That is when I began my second job: spending hours (on and off of course) on youtube or doing research in magazines or on the Internet learning all that I coud about African American hair. Though I've learned so much, I'm still learning as I continue on this hair journey. The more I learned, the more I wanted to experiment with the effects of the products on my hair.

I want to introduce you to some of the products that I believe have made this journey much easier.


This product has a huge line! But, DON'T RUSH OUT and buy everything (because being a product junkie can get expensive)! Aphogee was the product I used most often during my transition stages. Before I began my hair journey, I was near balding on the right side of my head, near my temple. Years of wearing my hear in weaves AND perming it (NOTE: weaving is not altogether a bad thing) had finally done its damage. I was 23 with a thinning hair line and near balding in some areas. I lost the pictures to show you this, but it's really quite neat how much Aphogee contributed to the regrowth of my hair. I'm NOT bald anymore!

The Aphogee products I suggest you purchase and invest in are below (costs range from $5-$7)

Product to the Left: Shampoo for Damaged Hair. Now, you learned from the "Natural Hair Lingo" post that the amount of shampoo used on natural hair is little next to none. But I found this shampoo, during the beginning of my hair journey, to be quite effective in restoring health and strength to my hair.
Directions: You don't need too much; a little goes a long way! When you do put this in your hair, massage your scalp for a minute or two before washing the shampoo out.

Product to the Right: 2 Minute Reconstructor. Honestly, this is really what started to promote the regrowth and growth of my hair. I loved this product! Though I do not use it as often anymore (because my hair is healthier now) I highly recommend it! It's crucuial though that you follow the directions for this product!
Directions: You will need to purchase a shower cap in order for the 2 Minute Reconstructor to work at it's fullest power. Once you put the reconstructor on (you'll need a generous amount), place the shower cap on head. This is a 2 minute process, right? So you should leave it on for 2 minutes, right? Yes and no. When I first began, I followed the directions: 2 minutes only. The more I began to understand my hair, I left it on for longer, usually 5-7 minutes top. No damage ever occurred. Now, if I use it, I will simply do the 2 minutes.

Product to the Left: ProVitamin Leave in Conditioner: This is a liquid, so be careful, it spills out fast! It might be best to pour the contents of this bottle into a spray bottle (also something you might want to consider purchasing...you can also use an old body spray bottle like I did). After your shampoo and 2 minute reconstruction, you need to put a good amount of this leave in conditioner throughout your hair.
Product to the Right: Keratin and Green Tea. This is to be used after the conditioner. Again, spray a good amount in hair.
Directions: After using both products, be sure to massage scalp for 30 seconds to 1 minute.


1. You can let your hair air dry; however, most of us don' t have time to do that. So...
2. Blow dry it. BUT (and this is a MUST) before you blow dry it, you must PROTECT it!
3. Use a heat protectant ALWAYS before putting any type of heat on your hair.

My Favorite Heat Protectant

CHI Silk Infusion: $25.00 (one of my most expensive products). Worth it? It smells great, protects the hair from heat, leaves hair feeling great, and because a little goes a long way, it has lasted me a little over a year (and I use it on 5 people).

More Cost Efficient: I've tried the other heat protectants below, but CHI is the one my hair loved best!
Cost: $6-$10

4. Once you have your heat protectant on, begin blow drying.
5. Once your hair is near dried or completely dried, let the styling begin.
6. NOTE: You should not need to put anymore products on your hair at this point (unless it is a gloss or a hair spray to finish).

ALL PRODUCTS CAN BE FOUND AT SALLY'S, some at Target, WalMart, or Meijer.
If you have a local hair store that specializes in Ethnic hair, these products should be avaliable too (and sometimes they will be less expensive or more expensive. You will quickly learn where to go for what).

Next Post:
A Few Styles!

Monday, December 28, 2009


Before I did my BC, I tried transitioning!  I didn't really transition well because I hated doing my hair.  After years of extentions (fake hair), I actually had to wake up and try to do something with my real hair.  Well, here are some photos of my transition. 

To the right is a fake afro achieved by the picture above: bantu knots(I'll show you later how to do them).

My hair is just bobby pinned to the middle.

Notice, lack of effort.

NOW, FOR THE BC!!!!!!!!!!!!

I didn't like transitioning at all!  It required wayyyyyyyy to much effort.  I did the BC, on my own (with some assistance and encouragement from my husband) on a whim, with 15 minutes to spare before we left for a wedding.  I didn't cry like most girls do after their BC (probably the lack of time).  But I did feel that I looked like a boy.  Thank goodness for makeup and big earrings!  Now, I love my afro and I can't believe I waited for so long to just chop off my broken hair.  I always thought that length=beauty.  Well, I was wrong!  It never worth it to hold on to broken, damaged hair, no matter how long of hair a person has.  It's freeing to be natural.  And if you ask my husband, he'll tell you it's a lot less expensive! Although, now, instead of paying for extentions, I'm paying for hair products.  I've become a product junkie! 
Next Post: Products to use for healthy, natural hair!

Natural Hair Lingo!

Before we go any further, I must introduce you to natural hair lingo!  It'll save us tons of time!

10 Natural Hair Terms You Should Know:

1. Natural Hair: Hair without a relaxer, texturizer, i.e., anything chemically influenced!

2. Transitioning: Process of growing out any chemical treatments (length of time varies with each person).

3. Relaxing/Straightening: Allowing relaxer/perm to relax the hair so that it becomes as straight as possible (white people use perms to curl hair, black people use perms to straighten hair)

4. Hair Type: 2a, 2b, 2c: loose curls, 3a, 3b, 3c: thicker, coily curls (Alicia Keys), 4a, 4b: kinky, coily hair (Erykah Badu)

5. BC: Big Chop.  Often, the big chop results when the trasitioning from relaxed to natural becomes too difficult.  Some people do the BC when their hair has been extremerly damaged from chemicals or heat (perms, highlights, flat ironing, etc.) and the hair just needs a fresh start.  The BC doesn't mean one has to cut off ALL of your hair.  Some people opt to go near bald, while other just cut off the relaxed hair (straight hair).

6.Prepoo: preparing hair before shampooing.  This is done by adding moisturizing conditioners or natural oils into the hair.  This helps lock in moisture that can sometimes escape while shampooing.

7. Cowashing: Often, when people have done their BC, they begin to shampoo once a week, once every two weeks, or not at all (to avoid sulfate). Cowashing is the result of choosing to wash one's hair with conditioner instead of shampoo.  This is not usual and may seem a bit odd at first; however cowashing helps put moisture back into the hair without stripping the hair of natural oils.

8. Protective Styling: Often done during transitioning and once the hair has undergone the BC.  When using protective style (braids of all sorts) the goal is to wear the hair in a style that won't put strain on the edges/nape of hair.  

9. Low Maniuplation: The idea of combing the hair 100 brushstrokes a day does not work for African American hair (probably any hair) because it results in too much shedding.  Leave your hair be!  The less one plays with the hair, the less hair there is to be lost!  The result: healthier, more beautiful hair. 

10. Cornrow: An on the scalp braid.  Cornrowing is an art!  These braids come in all shapes and sizes and can be used on adults (men and women) and children.  Cornrows make great protective styles!

Now, the BC, as promised!

Learning to be Beautiful!

I never realized that I would one day have to learn to be beautiful.  That is: to redefine beauty. 

Ever since I was a little girl, I had short, kinky (commonly known to society as "nappy") hair. I wanted long, flowing hair (commonly known as "white girl" hair).

15 years later, I'm NOW just learning to see myself, my hair, ME, for who I am: someone beautiful.

My first step was to STOP perming my hair (more to come on perming later!)  This is when my transition stage began (more on transitons to come).  After growing tired of transitioning, I finally did the BC (big chop, yes, more info. to come later!).  I did it myself--risky, but successful! 

Now I strive to help young, African American girls learn to embrace their natural beauty.  I want to teach them to see that though their hair does not define them, it is something they should take pride in.  African American hair is an art; something to be celebrated!

Take a look at the photos below.  And don't worry about the terminology, I promise, you'll catch on before you know it!

Pictures of my OBSESSION with long and/or 
flowing,bouncy hair.

NEXT POST...THE BC (big chop)!