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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Viola Davis Discusses Her Curly Hair Issues

The authentic self is the soul made visible.” ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

Photo Credit: Examiner

Award-winning actress Viola Davis legendarily shocked curlies and non curly headed girls alike when she revealed her beautiful, natural hair during this year’s Oscars. It was a moment that seemly set Hollywood on fire, with several celebs whipping off their wigs, taking out weaves, and putting down flat irons to reveal their curly manes. Let’s count them up. There’s been Raven Symone, Tamera Mowry, Angela Simmons, and recently The Big O–Oprah, among the bunch.

This week, Miss Davis stunned us once more by showcasing her curly mane during the red carpet premiere of her new film, Won’t Back Down. Like her film’s title, Viola is unapologetic when it comes to her hair. On Anderson Live with Anderson Cooper, she discussed her natural hair and struggles with the Hollywood beauty beasts.

“For me, I felt like every time I put on a wig, I was apologizing for who I was, being a dark-skinned woman with very curly hair. I felt like I was hiding it,” says Davis.

Her statements are sad but not new. Historically, in the African-American community, women are taught to hate their hair due to deep-rooted issues dating back to slavery. This negativity festers in families and/or community members. As Viola stated, “there’s not enough time to explain the hair issues” … well, except here at My Curly Mane!

This history, which spans across different lands and cultures, may come as no surprise to you, but the shocker is that we’ve just gotten to the point where celebrities are also supporting the cause, allowing women to know that there is no shame in having naturally curly hair. The kinks, fluff, coils, poof, and all the other variations of our hair is amazing. It’s also appreciated when these celebrities don’t just jump on the bandwagon, but instead, they are willing to address their own issues and the pressures to maintain the images forced upon them. This is beyond just wearing magic hair and wigs for fun or a preferred style. This is about hating your natural hair and those of others and finally coming into self acceptance.

For Viola, she felt as if she wasn’t being authentic by hiding her hair. It sounds as if there was a certain amount of shame associated with it, which many women face. Making this step towards self acceptance on a global platform like the Oscars or any red carpet takes a lot of chutzpah! For myself, I rode the roller coaster ride of hair acceptance before choosing the road less traveled. That path is always the hardest, whether it’s about your hair or simply being authentic to your beliefs, just being yourself.

Do you recall a time when you weren’t being your authentic self? Have you ever hid your hair in shame?

Get This Look

Viola’s hair is tightly curly in one of my fave colors–red. If you have natural hair, you can mirror this look by doing a wash and go. Literally, wash and let your fro go … unless you need assistance through a few products and quick tricks. As always, you can apply a leave-in conditioner and styler to wet hair, twisting your curls into neat formations with your fingers. Once dry, you can leave as is, or gently separate and tug on your hair for more volume.

CurlSpotting: New York Fashion Week 2012

I think there is beauty in everything. What ‘normal’ people would perceive as ugly, I can usually see something of beauty in it.”
~ Alexander McQueen

Photo credit: style.com

 

Strut. Strut. Pop. Twirl. Werk it like a supermodel, girl! New York Fashion Week 2012 has come to a close, with style forecasters predicting that ladies will don color, sparkle, and prints for the fall season. Yet, there’s another overlooked trend that caught my attention. I’m sure you’ve probably guessed it. Yes, my friend. We have curls!

Our catwalk curls are courtesy of skilled designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka, the team behind Badgley Mischka. According to the designers, their show was inspired by the 1920s German Impressionist film, Metropolis. I’ve never seen this movie, but I noted the throwback details (fur collars) blended with modern accents (cut out details of each dress). Naturally, I applaud them for using purple and blue tones (Glad they got the memo! ;) ) along with the gilded and rose-colored fabrics. The slightly Gothic makeup—I adore.

Photo credit: style.com

Now, I know you’re questioning where curls factor into this piece. Well, they were everywhere! Each model took the stage with short, textured hair that perfectly framed their faces. The ’dos were light, fluffy, and airy looking, hinting at a romantic feel. It reminded me of previous shows by Brit designer Vivienne Westwood (love her work), who’s no stranger to highlighting curly hair or taking any risks for that matter. For Badgley Mischka, textured tresses amplified their regal, feminine looks.

If your hair already looks like this, you’re in luck … and fashionably on point! If not, you can mirror this look by volumizing your hair with an afro pik, or lightly separating your curls by hand. Frizz is your friend for this look, so feel free to play. If you have shorter locks, you have an advantage, as you can easily fluff your hair (through a pik or by hand) to frame your face. For tighter curls, try roller setting, braid-outs, or twists-outs to duplicate this texture. Don’t forget to add a side part.

While I am happy to see curls on the runway, I have to pose a few questions. Do you think that Badgley Mischka’s fall line should have included a diversity of models, sporting a variety of curls? Do you think the simple presence of textured hair on the catwalk is enough, since they were capturing a period, and we should count it as a win for all of our curly manes? Please share your thoughts and don’t forget this season’s trends. You better werk!

Product Review: Eco Styler Gels

 We only live once, but once is enough if we do it right. Live your life with class, dignity, and style so that an exclamation, rather than a question mark signifies it” ~  Gary Ryan Blair

Eco Styler Gel

From bottom to top: Eco Styler Styler Protein, Eco Krystal, and Eco Curl and Wave.

At some point in your hair journey, you may embark on an endless quest for the ideal hair product. You will most likely cross a bridge from the land of puddings to a field of hair gels. Even more challenging, this field includes a vast plain called Eco Styler Gel. Have no fear! My Curly Mane is here as your guide.

Eco Styler Gel comes in a variety of rainbow-colored lines geared towards a wide range of hair needs – from color-treated tresses to active, sporty manes. Some variations even contain argan and olive oil, and each gel type has a holding strength that ranges from 1 to 10 (the strongest hold). From my experience and those of my friends, Eco seems to works for different hair types and styles. It can be used for braid/twist-outs, wash-and-go’s, or to “get that hairline laid!” LOL!

If you read my hair story, you’ll know that I first became acquainted with Eco Styler Protein Gel as the “black gel” that saved my life. I used Eco for several years until my foray into straightening addiction. Once I tried to embrace my curls again, Eco didn’t give me the results I desired due to my poor hair health and improper routine for wearing my hair out (as opposed to my former trademark afro pigtails).

With a 32oz jar of Eco Protein still decorating my bathroom cabinet (it’s crowded in there!) and one curlie’s questions about the gel (yes, I’m looking out for ya), I decided to revisit this gel. In fact, I’m comparing three of Eco’s most popular gels:

  • Eco Styler Protein – Although it looks like “black gel” upon initial impressions, this gel is actually dark brown in color and packed with Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein. It has a level 7 hold and comes in two versions—super protein (has a black lid) and regular protein (has a white lid). I’ve always used the regular version, but if your hair is really weak or desperately over moisturized (click here to read my post on moisturizing natural hair), you may want to test out the super protein version.
  • Eco Styler Krystal – This gel is clear in color and has a level 10 hold, the strongest holding level. This version was recommended to me by another curlie who gets incredible results from it … and will be featured on this site soon!
  • Eco Styler Curl and Wave – I snagged this product from the shop because of… its pretty pink color. Yeah, I admit that I’m sometimes a sucker for bells and whistles. The bonus is that this gel is specifically formulated for textured hair.  Uh, huh. There was a method to the madness. It also has a level 8 hold, one notch above my “black gel.”

Price – How much?

No need to wait til pay day or rummage through your clothes’ pockets for extra change. Eco is extremely affordable (relatively speaking). Sizes include:

  • 8 oz for approximately $1.39 – This is a prefect trial size.
  • 16 oz for approximately $2.50 – Once you’ve committed to one of the gel types, you may want to purchase this size.
  • 32 oz for approximately $4 – Okay, now you’ve gone a little haywire like me and decided you need to stock up for winter! This size is perfect if the product works for you and you’re not prone to switching or experimenting with other products. It’s also ideal if you are traveling overseas and can’t find this gel, going away for college, or just dislike frequent shopping trips.

Ingredients –What’s in this stuff?

Hard to believe but Eco’s formulation appears to be quite simple, and it is water-based (1st ingredient in the list).

Ingredients are: Water, Carbomer, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, PVP, Glycerin, Triethanolamine, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Polysorbate 20, Tetrasodium EDTA, Fragrance, Love and Pride (nice). This product is free from:sulfates, silicones, and alcohol.

Take caution if you are:

  • Protein sensitive
  • Need to UV protect your mane (try the Krystal or Curl and Wave versions)
  • Health conscious -According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), there are moderate concerns for allergies and immunotoxicity and low concerns relating this product to cancer. Click here to read more from EWG.

Scent – Run or relish?

Overall, Eco has a light scent, but each product line differs.

  • Protein (black/brown version) – It smells like yummy grape. This is my favorite out of the three.
  • Krystal (clear version) – With this, fresh laundry or soap comes to mind. Ranks #2.
  • Curl and Wave (pink version) – Think of chemically infused strawberry gum … if there is such a thing. This is my least favorite out of the group.

Application – How to work it?

Eco Styler Gel

Top left: Day 1 of using Eco Styler Protein on my curly mane. Top right: Day 2 of using Eco. Note the increased volume. Bottom: Day 3 with Eco.

1st Day

  1. Start with freshly washed hair.
  2. Smooth the leave-in conditioner of choice through your hair. I like to use Beautiful Textures Tangle Taming Leave-in Conditioner and concentrate my efforts on my ends. Some curlies skip this process, but my hair dries out easily so I use a leave-in. Plus, it helps to soften the gel.
  3. Start at back of head and smooth gel onto hair in sections. I use the good old fashioned rake and smooth technique. This consists of literally raking the gel through a section of hair and then smoothing it down the shaft. This helps to remove excess product and encourage curl clumping and formation.
  4. Optional: Smooth gel on hairline to enhance overall look.
  5. Do not touch!
  6. You can air dry, but I like to blow dry my hair for predictable results. When doing so, I direct the dryer down my hair shaft and do not shake my hair about. It’s only when my hair is more than half way dry that I begin to slightly separate the hair, so I can dry the roots.
  7. Once nearly dried, I lightly tug on my hair and blast the air at my roots. This is in an effort to stretch my hair/gain some length.
  8. Once fully dried, your hair will look crunchy. If this is your desired look, you’re all done! If you’re going for a softer look, this is when you will need to scrunch out the crunch. Remember to wait until your hair is completely dried. This may be right after blow drying up until 30 minutes afterwards. Literally take clumps of hair and gently scrunch your hair. You’ll note the floating particles of product as the gel cast (crystalize coating) leaves your hair. This is also when I like to separate and fluff my hair.

Guess what. I’ve been skipping oils on the 1st day and had great results, but this may be the result of my oil infused leave-in. As always, you will need to experiment and adjust to suit your hair needs.

To preserve this look, I pineapple my hair overnight, literally piling my hair at the tippidity top of my head like a unicorn. I also sleep on a satin pillow case.

2nd Day

  1. Take down hair. I like to tie my hair back in a scrunchie while I apply my makeup.
  2. Smooth oil over the hair.
  3. To help your hair hang down further and gain some length, briefly blow dry your hair on a warm setting. I also apply the tug and stretch method to gain length.

That’s it. You’re good to go. During this day, your hair will have greater volume = big hair!

To preserve this look, see the steps above.

3rd Day

Repeat the steps used on day 2. Your hair will be even bigger!

This product lasts me for 3 days. Afterwards, my curls are bit frizzy and dull. You can co-wash, as the gel can be easily removed. However, I like to use a moisturizing shampoo and start again with a clean slate. Plus, I’ve noticed that there is a slight build up on my scalp when using this. I think this is the actual product, as I apply it close to the scalp.

Moisture & feel – The goodies?

My Curly Mane with Eco Styler Protein Gel.

All Eco gels are smooth to the touch. If you rub it between your fingers, it feels moisturizing. It does dry slightly tacking on the hands. On my hair, I don’t find it very moisturizing, although the ingredients include glycerin. If you are seeking a more moisturizing product, I recommend aloe vera gel or just layer this over a leave-in.

Also, this gel does not give you a producty feel. However, your hair will still feel slightly crunchy. It is a gel, after all. ;)

Look – Thumbs up or down?

For me, Eco does a great job of defining my hair. It does not flake when paired with my leave-in, although it can react with other brands. This will take some play to get the right combo for you. As mentioned prior, my curly mane is shinier on the first day in its crunchy form. Once scrunched, my curly mane is slightly dull. Try oils to assist with obtaining sheen. If applied properly, Eco also does not make your hair frizzy.

When comparing Eco Protein, Krystal, and Curl and Wave, I find little difference among them. Krystal dries hair very hard, so I place this one in second place. Curl and Wave tends to cause the most shrinkage out of the group, coming in third place. Eco Styler Protein reacts best to my curly mane, providing the best of all needs—length, definition, volume, and 3rd day hair!

With such great results, Eco is shaking up my hair routine. I’ve been using this more often than aloe vera gel. I’ll let you know how it stacks up in the cooler months and against other products. Hmmm … perhaps it just might make for a solid entry into another Hair/Product Battle! Stay tuned!

UPDATED (1-9-13): I’ve been using Eco Krystal more regularly than the Protein version. You can’t go wrong with these gels. Check out how Eco Styler Gel stacks up against Fantasia IC Gel in my latest Hair Battle!

CurlSpotting: VMAs 2012

A natural haired beauty works a high top fade, steals scene from Rihanna.

Approximately 6.1 million of you tuned in to watch this year’s MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) either to catch a glimpse of One Direction, laugh with Kevin Hart, listen to Pink rock out, or watch how the Chris Brown-Rihanna-Drake saga would unfold. However, do you know the true star of the show? Spotted! Two unique manes!

Our first curlie cat walked to the beat of her own drum. I’m not talking about the typical spirally locks that are highlighted in the media. Our natural haired lady took it waaay back to Hammer time! She, whose name I unfortunately don’t know, was one of the night’s models. She was tasked with escorting winners to and from the stage.

She immediately caught my eye when pop star Rihanna accepted her award. Ri Ri looked spectacular, and I was focused on her until … a leggy beauty handed her a VMA. The model’s svelte, sexy frame was complemented by her sparkly dress and … high top fade!  Yes, this beauty took the afro to new heights … literally! Her look was signature Grace Jones. I wouldn’t be surprised if experimental Rihanna also made a mental download of her hair and will mirror it as her next look.

This curlie was spotted stealing the show from Taylor Swift.

Just as I was in awe of this feminine fade, out came yet another natural beauty onto the stage. Our second gal was spotted performing as a backup singer for country teen queen Taylor Swift. In fact, she wasn’t in the background. She was performing side by side with the star for the majority of the performance, placing her full-on curly mane on display, on display, on display (okay, enough with The Real Housewives reference). She whipped her curls about, animating the song and easily drawing me in.

Did you see it?? Are you inspired to rock out with these looks? If you’ve always done braid-outs, follow our second curlie and try a wash and go (click here for my 10 steps). If you’re looking for a funky new look, especially if you are big chopping, try our first gal’s ‘do. You can even take it to another level and add colors or designs! A bit too extreme for me, but still a pretty cool look indeed.

Have you tried a fade or similar unique look? Did you steal the show? Feel free to share your story below.

How To Moisturize Naturally Curly Hair

 Judge each day not by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant.”
~  Robert Louis Stevenson

It shapes many curlies’ experience with their natural hair. With it, curls retain length and a beautiful, springy mane is formed (aahh). Without it, those same strands will become thirsty and brittle, leading to breakage (gasp!). It is moisture, and it is the essential to naturally curly hair health.

Moisture drop

Photo credit: clogette

I’ve spoken to many frustrated ladies whose curl quest has been less than stellar due to their hair’s dryness. Others have completely abandoned ship, fleeing back to flat irons, pressing combs, and perms. Stop in your tracks! Put down that creamy crack!

Remember patience is a must when it comes to natural hair, and your hair will reward you once you take the time to find the techniques that work for you.

Note: Your hair consists of a cuticle layer, which is the outermost, shingle-like layer of hair. It is made of keratin and protects the cortex aka hair’s inner layer that protects the medulla. The cortex provides strength, texture, and color. The cuticle can open or close, allowing moisture to enter or exit the hair shaft. Ultimately, you want to close your cuticles and allow them to lay flat. Your hair’s porosity should also be taken into consideration.

Here are a few ways in which you can infuse moisture into your curly mane:

Start With A Clean Slate

First things first. Make sure that you clarify your hair with a moisturizing shampoo (like Creme of Nature Detangling Ultra Moisturizing Conditioning Shampoo) or baking soda. If you don’t have a curl-friendly shampoo, use 1/2 shampoo and 1/2 conditioner to wash your hair. Also remember to avoid shampooing your hair often throughout the week (approximately 3 days work for me). You want to remove products that have built up onto your hair without completely and continuously stripping away your natural oils, which are necessary for keeping hair supple. More on this later.

No Gizmo, Water Is Your Friend

With freshly pressed tresses, you must avoid contact with water, or your hair will revert to its curly state. On the other hand, natural hair, water is a curlies’ best friend. It is nature’s moisturizer, so seek water-based products, particularly leave-in conditioners. Just don’t forget to seal. See details below.

Seal The Deal

Once you moisturize your hair, you must seal this in with either an oil or butter. Oils/butters will coat and trap, not create, moisture within your strands. They also add sheen, de-stiffen hard products, and nourish hair. When I seal my curly mane, I work in sections throughout my hair. I layer either of the following as successful combinations:

a moisturizer (with a leave-in conditioner like Beautiful Textures Tangle Taming Leave-in Conditioner) + oil (Vatika, avacado, or coconut oil) + styler (product that styles hair such Miss Jessie’s Quick Curls)

OR

a moisturizer + styler + oil.

Try Kind Stylers

Watch out for stylers that strip your hair of moisture, particularly products that contain mineral oil and/or silicone. Both products coat rather than absorb into the hair shaft and form a barrier that can either seal in moisture (a good thing) or prevent it from entering into the hair (nooo!). Some curlies have had varied results with these two.

Other stylers may contain humectants like aloe vera gel, honey, or glycerin. By design, humectants cause water retention and will draw moisture into or out of the hair depending on humidity levels. This is particularly helpful during the summer months, as these ingredients will help draw moisture from the atmosphere into dry hair. Be cautious during the winter months, as these same humectants may draw moisture out from your hair and into the dryer atmosphere.

Deep Treatment

Deep conditioning under a hooded dryer or steaming curls weekly for 30 minute sessions can rejuvenate curls. You can also coat your hair in conditioners and cover it with a plastic cap for a few hours. Both techniques helped me to rehab my heat damaged curls.

Freshen Up

Fill a spray bottle with water or water and glycerin (a humectant). Spritz your hair throughout the day, as needed. I’ve tried this method but soon gave up the practice because:

1. I always had flat, wet hair, which I didn’t like. I prefer predictable, dry looks.

2. This was difficult to carry off in an office environment. It was a bit too high maintenance to continuously monitor and spritz throughout the day.

3. It made me look like I was rocking some Soul Glo! Whomp whomp. Unless your goal is to capture the Jheri Curled look, go light with the spritzing.

While it didn’t work for me, don’t let this discourage you. Remember everyone’s hair differs, and your curly mane may love this approach.

Easy Does It

Waaaiiit fooor iiiit … If you overdo the above mentioned tips, your hair will become over moisturized, resulting in soggy, noodle-like hair that’s excessively elastic to the point of breakage. Over moisturized hair needs protein to reverse this problem. Try a protein-based deep treatment like ApHogee and stylers like protein-rich Eco Styler Gel to revive your curls.

Yes, yes, this is indeed tricky and requires balance, but I recommend that you try any of these steps and report back. If you’ve got additional tips, come on in; the water is fine! Share your secrets!

I Love My Hair

If you follow My Curly Mane on Twitter, you’ll know that every Friday I dish out some #FunkyFridayMusic for the week. It’s eclectic, serene, and sometimes just plain funky music to do your ‘do and celebrate the weekend. Below is a video I shared a few weeks ago. You may have already seen it a few years ago (and bopped along like a Muppet). If not, you must! It’s the perfect song to cheer yourself up on bad hair days and to help kid curlies learn self love and to embrace their naturally curly hair … (more after the video)

The song was created by Joey Mazzarino, the head writer and a puppeteer at Sesame Street. Mazzarino adopted his daughter, Segi, from Ethiopia. He noticed that she began to speak negatively about her hair after playing with her long, straight-haired, blonde Barbie dolls. Oh, Barbie why do you do this to us??! It’s not only Barbie. It’s the cartoons, toys, and commercials young girls are exposed to. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many images reenforcing the notion that their natural hair is beautiful, which is why we need more positive messages as is done through this video.

Thank you Joey Mazzarino and the team at Sesame Street! Now, I not only know how to count like “The Count,” but I also know that I “don’t need a trip to the beauty shop because I love what I’ve got on top.” Say like like in the video: I really, really, really love my haaaaiiiiirrrr!”

Kim K’s “Wild, Crazy” Mane

Kim Kardashian channels Diana Ross. Photo by Hype Williams. Photo Credit: kimkardashian.celebuzz.com

From TV to magazines, it’s hard not to keep up with the Kardashians since they are just about everywhere, particularly the family’s star, Kim. Recently, Kim K. publicized her experimental hair style in which she channeled Supreme du jour Diana Ross circa the 1970s. Donning big, curly hair and lots of makeup, Kim Kardashian struck a few diva-esk poses.

In describing the look, Kim says that she and her glam squad “went for a fun, crazy look.” Let’s listen to this again. It was a “fun, crazy look.” Even celeb reporters have covered this story by highlighting Kim’s “wild” look. Call me captain over analytical, but is it true that full, natural hair is also a crazy look? Let’s rewind here and clarify.

I love Kim’s makeup in the pics, which is for most purposes too dramatic for day wear but perfect for this shoot. I’m honing in on her hair, which I adore. That same ‘do is quintessential Diana Ross back in her heyday, and she was herald for it. Today, as women are embracing their naturally curly hair once more, I have to pause and ask, “Is natural hair a wild, crazy look?”

Natural hair is big and can even reach the same lengths and volume in real life that Kim possessed with her magic hair. Does this mean that this same look is fun and crazy when it’s for kicks and not as the actual look coming from your head? Is it only acceptable when being experimental?

Kim Kardashian’s look is inspired by Diana Ross. Photo by Hype Williams. Photo Credit: kimkardashian.celebuzz.com

I’m only drawing this correlation because of the many hair commercials that you and I have seen. How many times have you heard products—mousses, gels, sprays, serums, and chemical concoctions—aimed at “fixing frizz” and “taming wild hair?” This is of course followed by models of all ethnicities celebrating the results of their straightened locks instead of their “frizzy” curly hair. We even have a host of salons that cater to cuts that tame curly hair, helping to reduce the bulk.

This brings me back to my initial question. Is curly hair equivalent to wild hair? Hmmm. Perhaps, depending on your comfort with natural hair. As a naturally curly gal my whole life, I’m quick to say that my curly mane is … my hair. It is what it is, and I am who I am. Yes, it’s big. As it flops and swirls in the wind, it can look a bit free spirited. However, it isn’t something that necessarily needs taming or fixing. There’s no need to beat it into submission through products or other methods … or is that exactly what us curly girls do on our quest for products that work for us?

Whether you consider it naturally wild or not, naturally curly manes can roar. Its beauty commands attention by nature. To gain it, the curls will often volumize itself. For those of you with quieter manes, there are techniques you can use to turn up the volume (see my post on using an afro pik).

If having naturally curly hair is living on the wild side, ladies it’s time to channel your inner Miss Ross. Bend over, shake, fluff, or pic your mane. Go big or go home! ;)

CurlSpotting: LaToya’s Journey

This Labor Day weekend, I was fortunate to celebrate with good food, music, company, and conversations. Among the discussions was talk of naturally curly hair. Yes, yes, if you’re around me long enough, the conversation does veer into fashion, art, pop culture, and hair! No one is safe!

So I was overjoyed when mom of three boys (bless her), LaToya, willingly shared her hair story for us to learn from. The themes she addressed will ring familiar for some of you. For others, it’s good to know that you are not alone. We are here with you, though you’re far away … Okay, I’ll cut it out. Back to my Q&A with LaToya.

Nay (eyeing LaToya’s wavy hair, tied in a ponytail): Your hair looks great! I hope you don’t mind the question, but is your hair natural?

LaToya (raises ponytail): Thank you, but these curls are weaved.

 

Nay (drops mouth wide open, stunned at being duped but impressed by how naturally the weave blends into LaToya’s hair.): It is??

LaToya: Yes, I’m wearing a weave, but my hair needs a rest from it. It’s been a while now, so I’m going to take it out.

 

Nay (promising that I’m not a natural hair pusher): You’re working the weave, but what about the rest of your hair? Is it naturally curly?

LaToya (surprised by my own surprise): No, I have a perm, but I have gone natural before. I wore my natural hair for 10 years, beginning when I was 18 years old. It was my senior year in high school. My sister was getting married, and a beautician did everyone’s hair for the wedding. I got a bad perm that was left in my hair … She didn’t wash it out completely.

 

Nay: Gasp!

LaToya: Yes! It led to a lot of breakage, so I just decided to go natural. I wasn’t alone (cue song). My best friend went natural when I did. I also had an old-school stylist who knew how to take care of natural hair and helped us to transition. Whenever I wanted it straight, she simply pressed it. I also tried a lot of products like hair mayonnaise.

 

Nay: You went natural for a long time. What happened?

LaToya: I like to be versatile. Weaves had trouble blending into my natural texture. I sweat a lot too, and when I sweat, it causes a big puff. Permed hair is easier to weave. Your look stays preserved. Plus, I can go to a salon and have a beautician easily do my hair. I don’t have to figure it out.

 

Nay: So what’s your hair plans for now?

LaToya: I’m staying permed for now but taking time out from weaves. I do miss my natural hair. It was longer and healthier.

 

Nay (I’m not a pusher!): Do you think you’ll go back to being natural?

LaToya: Actually, my best friend stayed natural. She has figured it out, and her hair is nice. For me, it’s hard to find products that I can consistently use and will moisturize my hair, but I heard Carol’s Daughter is good. I’m also seeing more salons that know how to do natural hair.

 

Here lies most of our problems and an issue that drives many curlies back to straightening and perming—maintaining natural hair’s moisture (click here to read my tips on how to moisturize curly hair) and acquiring reliable products for styling. A las, there is hope. We are finally making strides, and resources are increasing each year. Plus, as a community, we have nailed down some methods and acquired the basic science to our hair. Of course, you’ll find details here at My Curly Mane. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!

Have you had a similar journey as LaToya? Please feel free to share your story.

Stay tuned for an interview with LaToya’s son Jaden, whose naturally curly hair will bring you tears of joy.

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