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Monthly Archives: October 2012

CurlSpotting: Izzy

CurlSpotting_Izzy

Izzy shares the secrets used to maintain her curly mane.

A few months ago, I was asked by a colleague to speak with an intern about her pursuits in the communications field. I gladly obliged and had lunch with this budding professional. I already knew that she was leading several college organizations, acing her grades, and working at a restaurant in addition to her studies and internship. What I didn’t know was that … she’s a curly girl! Spotted! Izzy, our super smart and savvy curlie, agreed to share with us the secrets to her long, luscious mane.

Nay: What is your routine?  Spill the beans!

Izzy: My routine is low and high maintenance at the same time! I wash it every 4-5 days. On the first day, it’s flatter, and on the second day it picks up volume.

 
Nay (staring at Izzy’s cascading curls): What products do you use?

Izzy (graciously whips out her products and lines them up): For shampoos, I don’t see any miracle products. They’re all the same to me. I’ve yet to find one that makes a difference, but I do choose them by scent, as long as it smells good! I use Suave Humectant Moisture Shampoo. As a regular conditioner, I sometimes I use Silicon Mix Pearl, but my favorite is Silicon Mix Bambu Treatment  because it smells amazing! (haha). It’s the best!

 
Nay: Ahhh, Silicon Mix. I used to swear by their leave-in conditioner. Have you ever used it?

Izzy: No, I haven’t. I actually don’t use a leave-in.

 

Nay (rubs ears to check if all is clear): What? What’s that you say?

Izzy (laughs): No, I don’t use a leave-in conditioner. It makes my curls frizz in combination with the gel. My conditioner, the treatment, is like miracle whip! I also use a paddle brush to detangle my hair in the shower. I detangle everything except the last, bottom two inches of hair. I work that with my hands. It’s a lot faster.

 
Nay (continues drooling over her curls and waves): That sounds similar to my routine, except I work my way up my hair. You have a lot of hair! How long does this take you to do it?

Izzy: It takes me about 20 minutes in the shower. That was unheard of when I was younger. I used to be in the bathroom for long time, trying to detangle my hair. It was painful. Now, after I detangle, I use Eco Styler Krystal Gel.

 

CurlSpotting_Izzy_BackofHead_Products

On left: The view of Izzy’s hair from the back of her head. On right: Izzy’s showcases her fave products.

Nay: Ah, the infamous Eco! That gel changed my life when I first began wearing my hair naturally curly. How’d you discover it?

Izzy: I’ve been using it for 6 years now. Before that, I couldn’t find anything that worked with my hair. It wasn’t until high school that I learned how to do my hair from a friend. She had curly hair and used Jheri Redding Hair Gel (it was pink in color and created by the inventor of the Jheri curl! He also co-founded Redken and Nexxus). That was a great product … but got discontinued. I had to keep looking for a gel that gives me a soft hold. I tried L.A. Looks, but that flaked.  Garnier  Citre Shine—No! My hair hated it. I had to try a couple of things before I found the right products, before I found Eco – best thing ever. I also learned from my friend how to apply products in sections, which I had no idea about before.

 

Nay (hungry for more information): Aside from applying products in sections, how else do you style your hair? When I use Eco, I apply oil over it and use heat to stretch my hair.

Izzy: I haven’t tried oils or heat. Just Eco. I sleep on my hair (loose) to help soften my hair. It frizzes a little, but it looks good.  I leave it down the 1st 3 days. The next few days, I use a little Frizz-Ease Dream Curls to define my curls when they get frizzy, or I use a mixture of water and gel and spritz it. On the fourth day, I apply the spritz and pull it back. For my job as a server, I have to have my hair above my shoulders, so I wear it up in a big, loose bun. I keep it loose, so my curls stay in normal shape when I take it down.

 

Nay (envious that this curly can still get great 2nd day hair without pineappling overnight): So far my hair shrugs at spritzes, but you’re one of those curlies who seem to have it down. Let’s take it back a bit. What were your experiences like as a kid curlie?

Izzy (Cuing Gaga. Just kidding!): I was born this way, but I hated it back then. My parents are from the Dominican Republic. My mom has thick, curly, dense hair, but she always relaxes it. She never wears it curly and out. My dad has thick, wavy hair. I have a mixture of their textures, so they didn’t know what to do with my hair. My mom did a lot of ponytails and braids to my hair. When I got older, I would always wear it in a bun. It was easier and hid my hair. I wore it like that so much that I got really big knots … which created more problems. People always told me that my hair wasn’t good, and I should straighten it.

 

CurlSpotting_Izzy_BackofHead_Updo

On left: Izzy’s curls are perfectly defined. On right: Izzy demonstrates how she does an updo.

Nay (sighs): That’s always the worst—to have other people tell you that you need to change the very same things that are a part of you. With all this hair pressure, did you ever straighten or perm your hair?

Izzy (spurring a discussion about relaxers and perms and the mixed usage of these terms): I relaxed my hair once, and I loved it. People told me I looked better with my hair straight, but my mom was furious. She didn’t want me to have chemicals, so I grew it out. My worst experience was when I went to a hair academy to get my hair straightened through a roller set and flat iron.

 

Nay (reminiscing on my own, fortunately positive experience at a hair academy): Uh, oh. What went wrong?

Izzy (rattling off the salon’s errors): It hurt when they detangled my hair. The store was closing, so they didn’t have time to finish fixing it. Plus, they didn’t really know how to get it straight. It was like a battle they weren’t winning. I walked out with my hair unfinished and frizzy. It was in that in-between stage where it wasn’t curly, and I didn’t know how to make it straight. I only paid $12, but I felt depressed. I thought; is my hair that bad?

CurlSpotting_Izzy_Shrinkage

Izzy shows that she also has lots of shrinkage, stuns my curly mane.

 

Nay: These types of experiences will cause you to blame your hair, when really it’s the lack of curly hair knowledge that’s the problem. I can’t imagine that things are still the same. You’ve had to have some good experiences now.

Izzy: Now, yes. I remember one experience that made me think twice about my hair. I was working as a cashier at a children’s retail store.  A lady came up and asked me where I bought my hair. I showed her that it’s real, and she actually said that I was lucky. She would pay for it!

 

Nay (knowing full and well that I’d throw down for her curly mane): And we all come full circle. I’m convinced that once you accept your hair and decode its mystery, you’re able to look and feel your best. What do you think of other curlies embracing their manes?

Izzy: I think it’s awesome that they’re embracing their natural hair. Not many do because of the conditioning they get as a child. On my 21st birthday, I wore my hair naturally curly, but my cousin asked me why I wasn’t going to get it straightened for this special event. It wasn’t said in a bad way; it’s just the mentality.

 

Nay: Do you have any additional tips for naturally curly girls out there?

Izzy: You’ll embrace your curls when they look good, when it’s healthy. You just have to find the right products. I use Eco and a good conditioner. You don’t need that many products! You also have to have a little patience. You will find the right products and routine.

We’re lucky. We can wear our hair straight or curly. Like my boyfriend said to me, we look unique because you don’t really see that many people with our hair. I never thought about it that way. Curly hair is our signature. Why take it away?

Product Review: Alikay Naturals Shampoo & Deep Conditioner

Alikay Naturals Moisturizing Black Soap Shampoo

Alikay Naturals Moisturizing Black Soap Shampoo

Recently, I was graciously given the opportunity to test out and review Alikay Naturals Moisturizing Black Soap Shampoo and Honey and Sage Deep Conditioner. Just for you! Yes, this was a very kind offer, which I really appreciate. No worries, curlies! (My Curly Mane takes the stand, picks up a prayer book, and raises my right hand). I will always speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in my reviews. So help my mane! (Takes seat and begins testimonial).

Alikay Naturals is the brainchild of Rochelle Graham-Campbell aka Black Onyx77 on YouTube. I give her lots of credit for stepping up and becoming a woman in business, particularly in the natural hair care industry. I have never used the Alikay product line before, but was pleased to know that both the shampoo and deep conditioner are marketed as being 100% natural and 90% organic, especially since my curly mane is slowly taking a liking to all natural ingredients (as opposed to its relationship with mineral oil and silicones aka “bad” products for hair). Here are the goods:


MOISTURIZING BLACK SOAP SHAMPOO

1. Price: Approximately $11 for an 8 oz. bottle ( a little more than your average drug store brand but relatively affordable)

2. Key Ingredients: Water, Raw African Black Soap (always wanted to try this!), coconut oil (as you already know, my hair loves this), essential oils, fragrance, herbal and botanical blend. No: Petroleum, mineral oil, alcohol, paraben, sulfate, silicones (aka all that “bad” stuff I mentioned prior)

3. Scent: Great!I’d describe this as soapy, Hawaiian Punch mixed with bubble gum … if there is such a thing. Yum!

4. Application: Okay, this is where it gets tricky. This product is reeeaaally watery as opposed to traditional shampoos. I wasn’t quite prepared for this. At first, I poured it into my hands … and watched as the product seeped through my fingers and into the drain. Fail (on my part)! I poured some more into my palms, tried rubbing them together … but there was very little lather. Fail! I tried pouring it into my hand and quickly tossing it over my hair. Fail! Okay, call me slow on this one, but on my final try, I just held my head back and tipped the bottle over my hair. Whala (voila)! I could feel it seeping into my scalp. I poured it onto the top of my hair several times, then worked it throughout my scalp. Perfect!

Please note: The label already addresses the consistency of this product … I just happened to skip reading it and wasted a lot of product in doing so. According to the label, “it is in a watery form so no thickening agents have been added.” Very true. In fact, it feels as if the shampoo isn’t doing anything, which is what I initially assumed. I ended up pouring extra amounts—certainly more than what was needed—on my hair, since I assumed that it still wasn’t clean. Once again, there is no lather from this shampoo or dryness to my hair, as with regular shampoo, so this threw me off.

Yet, the shampoo must have worked because afterwards my hair felt soft. This product definitely did not strip away my natural oils, as promised. It also absorbed well into my hair. I just had a tough time gauging whether or not work was done (due to its lack of drying properties) and how much of it is needed. You may not experience this, but remember this is what happened to my curly mane.

5. Moisture & Feel:  Even before I proceeded to condition my hair, my hair felt soft and moisturized.

6. Look:  Alikay Moisturizing Black Soap Shampoo is dark brown in color and has a thin, liquid consistency. As for my hair, its appearance was typical of what it looks like after washing. However, I lost much less hair than I do when using regular shampoo. I’m pretty sure this is because regular shampoos contain sodium lauryl sulfate, which like a detergent, strips away natural oils from hair, thereby drying it out and leading to breakage.

Survey Says: While this won’t necessarily upstage my other products, I’m not opposed to revisiting it. I still like to use a little something that will clarify, but you can always add that type of product to your routine. Alikay Naturals may actually have something similar in their line. I’m comfortable recommending this to you, particularly for curlies suffering at the hands of traditional shampoos. Just use my suggested application tip, so you don’t waste the product and save dollars!

HONEY AND SAGE DEEP CONDITIONER

Alikay Naturals Honey and Sage Deep Conditioner

Alikay Naturals Honey and Sage Deep Conditioner

1. Price: Approximately$15 for an 8 oz. jar

2. Key Ingredients: honey, sage, coconut oil extracts, extra virgin olive oil, wheat protein, behentrimonium methosulfate  (rapeseed oil), silk amino protein, rice bran oil, eucalyptus oil, babassu oil, herbal and botanical blend. No: petroleum, mineral oil, alcohol, paraben, sulfate, silicones (“bad” guy alert again!)

As written on the label, “honey attracts water to hair then locks in moisture in each strand. Sage is proven to prevent hair loss and thicken hair. Extra Virgin Olive Oil adds shine and softness.” If you subscribe to My Curly Mane, you’ll know that I briefly touched upon the use of honey for hair. It is a humectant, attracting moisture to hair. Not to mention, when you eat it, honey boosts the immune system.

I did a double take when reading that this deep conditioner also contains babassu oil, which is new to me. Upon further research, I discovered that babassu (say that three times!) is a vegetable oil that grows in the South American Amazon. It is a non-drying emollient that has similar properties as coconut oil and is often recommended for soap makers.

3. Scent: The Honey and Sage Deep Conditioner smells like minty bubble gum, reminiscent of Miss Jessie’s Curly Buttercreme. This may be credited to the inclusion of Eucalyptus Oil. While I’m not a fan of minty hair products, this product is ideal for those of you who adore this aroma. I also wasn’t thrill with the smell of my hair when blow dried (I have a sensitive sniffer) but to each their own.

4. Application: This product is thiiiick, so you’ll need to rake, smooth, and work the product into your hair. I tested this two ways. The first time I left the deep conditioner in my hair for 15 minutes with a shower cap over my head. I then rinsed it out of my hair. My hair felt very soft. The second time, I applied the product, covered my hair with a shower cap, and sat under a hooded dryer for 15 minutes. This worked much better and left my hair softer and even more moisturized.

5. Moisture & Feel: Once again, this deep conditioner succeeded in adding moisture to my hair. This, of course, made my curly mane cottony to touch.

6. Look: This conditioner looks like gritty oat meal and leaves behind traces of beads in the shower. I was surprised to discover that after using it, my hair was very fluffy, fuller as stated, and a bit elongated. Perhaps this is because my hair was also more hydrated.

Survey Says: This deep conditioner works pretty well. It definitely softens my hair, and I can see it coming in handy during the winter. While I don’t think it’s essential for me (we’ll see when winter comes), it may be helpful for you, particularly if your mane is recovering from heat damage or tends to be on the dry side.

 

FINAL VERDICT

These products live up to their promise. They infuse moisture into hair, which is key for hair health. I don’t think they will replace my current lineup at this point, but I’m also not opposed to using them again. I still have some of each product left over, so I will continue to use them up and update this post as needed.  Stay tuned for updates!

Of course, you won’t know how these items respond to your curly mane unless you try them yourself. I know. I know. Trial and error again. Alikay Naturals Moisturizing Black Soap Shampoo and Honey and Sage Deep Conditioner can be purchase from www.blackonyxworld.com.

Have you used Alikay Naturals? If you decide to try these products or have in the past, please report back here. I’m interested in knowing your results and hair story.

Shedding, Breakage, and Split Ends … Oh, My!

Photo Credit: Fabiana Zonca

I have a confession to make (stands up and addresses all curlies): I am obsessed with long curly hair! (lets out a sigh of relief). Believe me. I don’t think long hair is any better than short hair or teeny weeny afros (TWAs). I just find myself ogling lengthy, bountiful curls. My weakness for length fuels my hair goal—to achieve waist length hair.

Before achieving my current length, I’ve made several errors and had many hiccups along the way. Now that I know how to care for and maintain my curly mane (and am constantly learning and sharing this information with you), I know that I can achieve this goal. Come back again, and I’ll update you on my progress. For now, let’s talk about a few pesky items that often get in the way of our hair’s health and growth.

SHEDDING

While this doesn’t get in the way of hair growing, it should be explained and distinguished from the items that do. Hairnistas say that everyone’s hair grows at different rates, and the average rate is a half inch per month. They also say that you’ll lose about 100 shed hairs per day. How do you know what are shed hairs? They’re the strands with the white bulbs at the end. These bulbs literally come out of the root, as the hair has reaches the end of its days. There is nothing to worry about unless shedding is excessive aka you’ve created a carpet made of hair! If you do experience extra shedding, you may want to see a doctor/dermatologist about whether this is linked to an illness or an imbalance in hormones and/or stress.

BREAKAGE

Now that you know how to identify shed hairs, let’s separate this from hair loss due to breakage. If your strands are missing a bulb, this is typically hair that has bid adieu because of breakage. These strands, which are typically shorter in length, are damaged by a variety of reasons. They include:

1. Heat – Ah, the gift and the curse. While I like to use blow dryers to speed up my styling time, please refrain from blow frying your hair to death. This includes burning your hair with flat irons and pressing combs.

2. Harsh Chemicals/Perms – Our hair is very delicate and prone to breakage from anything that loosens up the follicles. Hair color and lye, the active ingredient in relaxers, can be dangerous culprits. According to LIVESTRONG.COM, “Lye, or sodium hydroxide, penetrates the hair shaft and breaks down some of its structure, effectively loosening its natural curl. Thus, chemical relaxers’ real function is to damage your hair and make it weaker. This process can’t be reversed.” Yikes!

3. Tight Ponytails and Braids – Yes, they’re cute when done right. However, when styled too tightly (and you can see skin pulling at your crown), you’ve done did it now! Your hair can be literally pulled and tugged from the roots or become broken.

4. Roughing It Up – If you’re a curlie who thinks thrashing and hacking her hair with a comb and brush will tame it, stop right there! This excessively harsh treatment will cause your hair to break.

5. Over Moisturizing – Too much moisture can actually be a bad thing. Yes, believe it or not. It can cause limp, noodle-like tresses that are prone to breakage. Please read more about this in my post on how to moisturize natural hair.

6. Too Much Protein – This can cause your hair to dry out due to the lack of moisture. As you should know, dry hair leads to ____(fill in the blank). ;)

7. Product Build up – Product that piles high on our strands leave little room for the good stuff (moisture) to get into our tresses. When this happens, guess what’s the result? Seeing a theme here?

SPLIT ENDS

When your ends fray, there is little to no solution to fixing it. There are products that claim to moisturize those older ends to prevent the split from worsening. You can also moisturize your ends to prevent splitting, but ultimately, split ends need to be trimmed away. Time for them to literally split!
Now that you know what damaged hair looks like and how it’s caused, please pay close attention to your curly mane. Even if you’re not seeking length, these tips will help you to get healthy hair. Be kind to your curls. Mend all splits or cut them off for good, so you can positively progress in your hair journey.

How To Use & Choose Oils

Dầu dừa_Photo by Phu Thinh Co

Photo Credit: Phu Thinh Co

 

Is your hair dry? Is it poofing out more than desired? Come closely. Very closely. Very, very closely. Okay, that’s good enough! This one may not be a big secret to you, but I’ll whisper a single key word, “ooooiiiilllsss.”

My curly mane has been thanking me since I introduced carrier oils into my routine. Not to be confused with essential oils (lavender, peppermint, etc.), carrier oils are derived from seeds, nuts, and vegetables. All of your conditioning will be in vain if you don’t seal in your hair’s moisture with an oil or butter. It’s hard enough for sebum (natural oils from your scalp that moisturize your hair) to travel down your coily hair, so you’ll need to add oils or butters instead. Oils tend to seal and/or penetrate the hair shaft, locking moisture into hair and reducing frizz. Most oils even moisturize the scalp.

They also work wonders on your skin and nails. You can use these nourishing oils alone or combine them with essential oils, mainly to dilute and literally “carry” the essential oils onto the skin. I’ve never tried this combo due to the heavy scents that essentials have, but try it, and please report back!

USES

  1. Hot Oil Treatment – Help prep your hair/cuticles for the harshness of shampooing by doing a hot oil treatment. Combine your favorite oils with conditioners and wrap your hair with a towel or plastic cap. You can sit under a dryer or leave the mix in your hair for at least 30 minutes. This should be done prior to washing your hair.
  2. Shampoo Booster – Shampoos strip natural oils from the hair. You can prevent this by adding your oil(s) of choice to your shampoo to make it more moisturizing. Have you noticed the influx of oil-based shampoos? If you haven’t snagged one … make your own!
  3. Deep Conditioner – Like hot oil treatments, deep conditioning helps to pack moisture into your hair. Oils helps to condition the hair and scalp while also treating split ends.
  4. Seal The Deal – Have you ever noticed how great your hair looks at home … only to arrive at your destination with a ball of frizz? Whomp! Whomp! Those same magical, carrier oils seal moisturizing products into hair. You should apply them over water or leave-in conditioners. Don’t believe me? Yep, I wasn’t sold for the longest time, but check out my pic below for proof.

RECOMMENDED OILS

The oils below can be used topically and/or on your scalp. Please note that you do not need to use them all. These are the all stars that work on my curly mane. Click on the links below if you would like to purchase these oils.

On the left, my hair with leave-in conditioner & aloe vera gel. I forgot to seal my leave-in with an oil. On right, later in the day, my hair poofed out because of the lack of oil.

Almond Oil – After replenishing my oil mix (see ingredients at the bottom of this post), I realized that I originally left this oil out from this listing. I’m not sure how I did since I once swore by this oil before discovering Vatika Oil. Almond Oil is rich with Vitamin E, which means that it nourishes hair. It adds sheen and locks in moisture, which is exactly why I relied on it. It’s believed that ancient Egyptians used this oil in their beauty routine, but then again, many of these oils have been traditionally used long ago by savvy ladies across the globe.

Avocado Oil - I love, love to chow down on avocado. Blame it on me being a Caribbean girl. Now you could only imagine my excitement upon discovering avocado oil. Hey, if it’s good for the tummy, it’s got to be good for my hair, right? … Yes, it is! This oil contains vitamins A, E, and D, which are grade A elements for hair. This oil is a great sealant for my tresses. It is also an ingredient in my oil mix (see below).

Coconut Oil – This nearly tops the list for my curly mane. It comes in second place, behind Vatika Oil. Coconut oil smells soooo good, and it contains Vitamins E and fatty acids that combat dandruff. It can actually penetrate the hair shaft, where it helps reduce protein loss. It can thicken hair and reduce premature graying. It works wonders on porous strands and definitely helped my hair rehab from heat damaged. This oil best assists my hair in retaining moisture. I use it topically or on my scalp. It is also an ingredient in my oil mix (see below).

Jamaican Black Castor Oil (JBCO) – With its well-known dark color (due to the roasting of castor beans) and nutty smell, this oil is proven to be extremely effective in helping to grow hair. How? JBCO increases the flow of blood to the scalp. It also contains Vitamin E and Omega 6 fatty acids, which moisturizes the hair follicle. This oil is thiiiick, so use it sparingly. I like to combine it with other oils and apply it to my scalp. I also apply it to my hair ends during winter.

Jojoba Oil – This oil is excellent at penetrating the scalp and hair shaft. It’s recommended for treating scalp build up. Rich with vitamin E, jojoba has many of the same properties as sebum, the natural, moisturizing oil produced by your scalp to reduce hair loss. Jojoba works well with oily or dry scalp. Once again, you can use this topically or on your scalp.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil aka EVOO – This famous oil not only pairs well with bread (delish!), it also works wonders on natural hair. Derived from olives and green in color, EVOO soothes the scalp. This is particularly helpful for smoothing hair cuticles.

Dabur Vatika Oil – My absolute favorite oil blend! This product makes my hair sooooft. It’s enriched with a mixture of goodies:

  • Amla (Indian Gooseberry) – delays graying & prevents hair loss
  • Bahera (ayurvedic herb) – nourishes hair & maintains its color
  • Brahmi – nourishes hair & promotes growth
  • Coconut Oil – retains hair’s moisture
  • Cow’s Milk – nourishes the scalp
  • Harar – cleanses hair
  • Kapur Kachari – an antiseptic
  • Henna – conditions hair & is a colorant (although this product will not color your hair)
  • Lemon Oil – controls sebum flow
  • Neem – strengthens hair & fights dandruff

**MY CURLY MANE’S OIL COMBO **

I like to keep it creative and mix them all together! I combine half Vatika Oil, a small amount of JBCO, and the rest of the oils on this list together. Hey, it’s the best of all worlds, and they greatly seal in moisture!

Attention Budgetnistas: You do not need to purchase and combine all the oils listed here! I recommend at least picking up Coconut or Vatika Oil either from this site or from your local Cash and Carry. If you’d like to add another oil to Vatika/Coconut Oil, I recommend purchasing Almond Oil from here or from your local Vitamin Shoppe.

I apply oils/my oil mix to my hair each day–regardless if I’m wearing my hair naturally curly or straight–and add them to my scalp in the winter. You can both feel and see the difference. Try it and see!

If you have recommendations or comments, please feel free to share!

Me Time, Well Spent

I think it’s good for a person to spend time alone. It gives them an opportunity to discover who they are and to figure out why they are always alone.” ~ Amy Sedaris

A photo I took at a park during really good “me time”

Greta Garbo, screen siren of the ’30s, famously sported pant suits and trademark finger waves. This leading lady strode into a room and easily drew attention, which is ironic because she has historically been credited with often saying, “I just want to be alone.”

This brings up the topic of “me time.” Time is truly a precious gem. With our lives moving in warped speed, it may appear as if there just isn’t enough time to get things done … or to do nothing at all. That fluid time to dip and do, that “me time,” is becoming more and more of a necessity.

For introverts, like myself … waaaait! Time out! Let’s not confuse this with shy people. Nuh, uh. Introverts are people who need time for self reflection. This is how they refuel. This is also opposed to our sparkling extroverts, who need social interactions to process their experience with the world. Neither one is better than the other. It’s just different ways in which we navigate our journey.

Back to my point. For introverts, like myself, “me time” is necessary. Even if you’re not an introvert, this is the time needed to engage in hobbies like cleaning, cooking, knitting, and of course, blogging. Heck, you can just sit around and watch TV, catch a movie, daydream, and play in your curly mane. Yes, my curly friend. If you’re lucky to have a little “me time,” try some of the tips I’ve shared here.

As Audrey Hepburn said, “I have to be alone very often. I’d be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That’s how I refuel.” Just don’t forget to get back out into the world. Don’t get lost curlie!

In my journey thus far, there have been times when I had to study or go shopping alone. At first, I kicked rocks and complained about my friends’ busy schedules. Soon, I embraced that time, as it forced me to learn about myself. I had to turn inward and make my own decisions, steer my own course. It’s such a key lesson for young women, as we often fall for group think or what so and so says. Sometimes that “me time” is just what answers questions and opens the door to spiritual awakening. Okay, I won’t go too far into hippie mode!

For the busy mamas out there, “me time” is a hot commodity with kids running around and possibly also a hubby to tend to. If and when you can seize it, I applaud you! For my ladies with time on your hands, please use it well. Take some time to look within, have fun, and relax for a minute. Carpe diem!

Five Ways To Use A Tangle Teezer

Above: Photo of my Tangle Teezer via Instagram

About a month ago, I embarked on my usual shopping trip to CVS, which included a mini hair haul–of course! Family-sized bottle of Hello Hydration—check!  Latest hair accessory—check! However, this time I spotted the infamous Tangle Teezer. I’ve heard about this detangling brush/comb for a long while now but passed on trying it due to poor relations with the Denman Brush.

A little backstory: Years ago, I tried using the Denman D3 and the modified version of the Denman D3 (with rows removed), since many curlies were having great results. At first I fell in love with the way it clumped my hair, but I soon experienced A LOT of hair removal. Granted, my hair was still rehabbing and recovering from heat damage at the time. Still, it was too much hair loss for comfort.

After discussions at hair forums, I picked up the Denman D41, which has wider spaced bristles and is designed for afro textured hair. This worked much better, but I still lost a lot of hair, so I put it down. If you decide to try a Denman, I recommend the D41 or D31. For me, I’ll revisit this brush a little later.

No more teasing. Back to the Tangle Teezer! I stared at it, pondered what our relationship would amount to, gave it the side eye, and then … jumped in! This could either turn into a great love affair, or it can crash and burn. The only way to find out was to try. With curiosity holding onto this cat, I experimented for about two weeks and discovered five ways in which you can use the Tangle Teezer … or your Denman brush (both produced identical results on my curly mane). Oh, and as you may notice below, a little alliteration never hurt anyone!

1. Shed Shredder – Occasionally, my hair will have periods in which it will shed more than usual. This is accompanied by shed hair that catches my healthy strands, snags it, wrestles, produces knots … and has me in a fit! You too? Calm down curlie! While this requires gentle finger work and sometimes the assistance of scissors (sigh). Don’t rip those hairs out of your head!

Nay From MyCurlyMane

Above: My Curly Mane styled through a wash ‘n go and Hair Rules Kinky Curling Cream (read my review). Shed hair removed via a Tangle Teezer.

Try This: Hop into the shower and apply a generous amount of conditioner to your hair. Detangle your hair with a wide tooth comb, beginning at the back of your head. I use a comb first because on its own, these bristles are a little rough on my delicate tresses. Your hair may be a little more gangsta and can stand up to all brushes on its own. The only way to find out is to experiment, as always.

When done, whip out the Tangle Teezer (try not to drop this little thing, like I do!) and detangle again. I advise that you gently work your way up your strands, as opposed to brushing your hair from the scalp downwards. This method will aid in removing shed hairs. Just remember to use lots of conditioner.

2.Scalp Survivor – I usually sleep on getting my nails done and focus on my hair instead, but I recently began exploring the wonderful world of gel nail polish. I like to preserve my polish to save money and the style. Hey, a gal’s gotta be thrifty! This is when I really like to use the Tangle Teezer instead of my nails to cleanse my scalp. Here’s what you can do. In the shower, as you’re applying shampoo (optional) and/or conditioner to your hair, take your brush and massage your scalp in circular motions. The Tangle Teezer will do the job of cleaning your scalp, without the assistance of nails. I know. I know. You’re supposed to use your fingertips to wash your scalp, but I haven’t quite weaned myself off of my nails!

3. Dope Detangler – As mentioned above, you can begin the detangling process by using a wide tooth comb first. For some curly girls with tighter textures, like my sister, these brushes work wonders on their own. The Tangle Teezer can tremendously help to simplify this process.

4. Curl Clumper – For some ladies, curls are optional. They prefer poofier, undefined styles. If you like this look, skip this tip. For curl seekers, the Tangle Teezer is your friend. This brush makes curls clump and pop. Unfortunately, it also makes my hair shrriiiink! You can combat this by stretching your hair, using a blow dryer.

5. Style Supporter – As you’re applying products onto your hair, use the Tangle Teezer to aid in the application and removal of excess product. This brush also smooths tresses, which is perfect when doing braid-outs or twist-outs. How so? The Tangle Teezer produces sleeker strands, which helps with manipulating and shaping your hair into styles.

As mentioned, the Tangle Teezer and/or Denman D41 Volumizing Brush don’t have to be used solely for brushing. They can come in handy in other ways. It just may take some play time before you find a technique that works for you.

Are you using a Tangle Teezer or Denman? How are you using it and what have been your results?

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