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Monthly Archives: January 2013

How To Winter-Proof Your Poof

Winter Proof Natural Hair

For the last week, boxes of tissues have become my best friend along with good ol’ Robitussin and chicken noodle soup. Yes, I’ve been hit by a baaad cold … and thankfully not the flu! You too? This winter has been up and down, which is why you not only need to care for your body, but you also need to give added TLC to your curly mane.  During these colder months, your hair will be on an endless quest for moisture. Let me point you in the right direction (musters up strength to raise pointer finger and lead the charge)! Here are a couple of ways in which you can winter-proof your poof.

“I’m itchy and dry. I can’t stop flaking,” says Your Scalp.

If your scalp is suffering, apply tea tree oil directly onto it daily. You can also warm the oil before massaging it onto your scalp. According to the Mayo Clinic, tea tree oil “comes from the leaves of the Australian tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) and has been used for centuries as an antiseptic, antibiotic, and antifungal agent. It’s now included in a number of shampoos found in natural foods stores.”

According to WebMD, the Aboriginal people in Australia have used tea tree oil as a topical scalp treatment for centuries. Centuries?! Something tells me that they’re onto something! Just be careful, as tea tree oil may cause allergic reactions.

Bonus: Got leftover oil? You can use it to treat toenail fungus. Yes, ladies. Let’s get it together for the summer. ;)

In addition to tea tree oil, you should adjust your shampoo by either:

  1. Replacing it with a moisturizing shampoo (if you aren’t already using one)
  2. Adding a bit of oil to your shampoo. I recommend adding jojoba, coconut, Vatika, and/or tea tree oil. Click here to read my post on the benefits of oils for natural hair and how to use them.
  3. Cutting down or stop shampooing altogether. Instead, just use conditioner to wash your hair aka co-washing.

“I’m so thirsty; I may just break off and die,” says Your Curly Mane.

  • Condition. Condition. Condition! I can’t stress enough the importance of using conditioner during the winter. Traditional conditioner and leave-in conditioner will fortify your strands and prevent them from breaking. Your hair will need this more than ever, so use a conditioner/leave-in each time you wash your hair. Don’t forget to apply extra conditioner to the ends of your hair to prevent them from splitting. These old timers are easily weakened by winter weather, so give ‘em a little lovin’.
  • Seal The Deal. All of your conditioning will be in vain if you don’t seal in your hair’s moisture with oil. It’s hard enough for sebum (natural oils from your scalp that moisturize your hair) to travel down your hair, so you’ll need to add oils instead. Just note that if you do get second, third, fourth, etc. day hair, you may need to rehydrate your curls by spritzing with water/a water mix and sealing your strands yet again. Sealing will also help smooth your hair’s cuticles, reducing frizz.
  • Try A Protective Style. This is the perfect season to try to perfect your braid-outs and twist-outs. Protective styles are just as they are called. They help keep strands and delicate ends protected at night or all day, depending on the style.
  • Top It Off With A Satin-lined Hat. Any hat will help protect your hair from harsh winds, but satin-lined hats will protect your hair, help retain moisture, and secure your style! It’s a win-win all around! If you’re seeking a satin-lined hat for your curly mane, check out my review of Threadmill hats.

“I’m thirsty and have flakes. What’s a curl to do?” asks Your Curly Mane & Scalp.

winter curly hairGet thee regular deep conditioning treatments! Your best bet is to make your own concoction that includes a combination of your favorite conditioner (nourishment) and oils (softens and protects) as a basis. I suggest:

For an extra boost, add any of the following to your mix:

  • Honey – Retains moisture (It is a humectant) and adds shine
  • Eggs – Adds protein and nourishes your hair
  • Banana – Aids in hydration
  • Avocado – Truly deep conditions. “It’s high in vitamins B and E, which work at the cellular level to protect and strengthen hair,” according to LIVESTRONG.
  • Mayo (eggs, vinegar, and oil) – Moisturizes hair
  • Shea Butter – Moisturizes hair

Tapping into your inner mixtress, apply the deep conditioner to your hair and cover it with a plastic cap. Leave this on for at least 30 minutes. For greater hydration, sit under a hooded dryer or apply a heat cap for at least 30 minutes.

“I’ve found a thing or two, and now I’m passing it on to you,” says My Curly Mane.

This winter, I’ve been wearing my hair in wash and gos the majority of the time … although I thought I would do more braid-outs. Although I’m doing more wash and gos, my hair is actually washed every 3-4 days. I’m also co-washing much more often. In addition, when I use a moisturizing shampoo, I only apply this to my scalp. This routine has been helping to keep my hair moisturized. So far. So good.

How are you winter-proofing your poof? Drop a tip or two below … and don’t forget to bundle up!

No Negative Nancies & So Long, Soul Suckers!

I don’t need negative people trying to bring me down; life is too good right now. I just wanna enjoy the moment.” ~ Author unfortunately unknown … perhaps our inner voice.

PinknPurple_DioBurtoPhotography via Flickr

Photo Credit: DioBurto Photography

“Did you see Soandso’s hair?!” a certain someone says. She stands right in front of the entrance to your office/cubicle/dorm room/workspace and blocks you from fleeing. She’s ready to spew the latest bad news, and you’re on her list of targets. She’ll go on a rant with no sign of letting up. She is Negative Nancy, and this soul sucker will bring you doooowwwn!

Negative Nancy doesn’t give any thought to the fact that you’re desperately working against a deadline, eyes glued to your computer screen and fingers panging against your keyboard. Instead, she seizes the moment to vent about all things wrong with the world—down to your hair.

“You can’t get ahead with an afro! What was SoandSo thinking? Completely ratchet.” She looks at your fabulous, natural hair, touches her thinning tresses, then softens the blow. “I mean. It only looks good on some people.” Second blow.

You politely nod and turn back to your computer, but Negative Nancy is relentless. She isn’t done yet and won’t be for a very long time. “Not like it matters anyways. This ship is sinking. It’s not the same working here, and It’ll never be like it used to be. Did you hear about …” From there, she begins pouring from her pot of negativity, and all you can do is sit back and watch your Zen drown.

Does this scenario ring true to you? Have you been subjected to a drive-by from a Negative Nancy? If you haven’t, then you’re fortunate. Unfortunately, Negative Nancies are evvveeerrrywhere. In case you’re scratching your head, let me help you to identify them.

Who Are These People? (insert Seinfeld’s voice)

Negative Nancies are constant naysayers. They are the tsk-tsking, it’ll-never-happen preachers. They just can’t see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Even if they fess up to seeing gold, they’ll quickly find something wrong with it.

They often don’t realize their faults because negative vibes have pierced into their whole being. It is a part of them. Often, Negative Nancies are unhappy or sadly jealous, so they vent. Unfortunately, this venting comes in the form of complaints and projected thoughts onto others. Sounds familiar now?

What Happens When You Meet Them?

Since they are in a constant state of doubt, Negative Nancies will rob you of positivity. You will often feel exhausted after conversing with them. Your once joyful spirit will become blue, and it will be difficult to hone in and regain focus on your work. With prolonged exposure, you may find yourself even … transforming into them!

What Can You Do?

Ruuuunnnn! I’m not kidding. Run for the Himalayas! Run for your life! Run like Forrest! By all means, run! Okay, so realistically, you may not want to cause that much of a scene. Good ol’ Nancy has already done this for you. Instead, don’t engage in her talk. I know this will be tough. If you’re like me, you’re used to being polite and courteous. You’ll listen for hours, just to find your soul depleted.

Instead try to:

1. Listen. As I mentioned, some people just need to vent or be understood. I believe that each one of us gets brought into the other’s life for a reason. Maybe this person needs the consoling that you can provide. That doesn’t mean that you become his/her therapist! Instead, hear this person out for a minute. Just a minute!

2. KISS (Keep It Simple For Soul Suckers) – Okay, that’s not quite what that stands for, but you know what I mean. Maintain brief conversations with negative people. The longer you engage, the worse the situation will be for you. Try to steer the conversation towards a sunshiny lane and keep the trip short.

3. Become Positive Polly. Try deflecting negatives with positives. This is not necessarily a tit for tat, ping-ponging scenario. Instead, after Negative Nancy has announced her problem of the week, remind her that everything will be okay. She may not want to hear it, but hopefully she will listen. It may just make a slight difference in her perspective. She may not tell you this, but it can be helpful.

A friend demonstrated this to me years ago. Whenever I started stressing about work or school, my friend, Positive Polly, would simply say with a smile, “Everything will be okay.” At first, I looked passed it and continued yakking, but I soon realized that she frequently said it. Polly was so comfortable in her view, that I felt relieved hearing it. Guess what? I had transformed into Negative Nancy!! I didn’t even realize it until I paid attention to someone else’s positivity.

Life gives us enough ups and downs. Why contribute to the drama?? I hope that these tips will come in handy the next time you’re confronted by you know who. Just remember, when all else fails … ruuunnnn!!

If you have a tip for addressing soul suckers, please share them below.

Ballerina Buns Are Not For Spinsters!

High Bun Photos

Above: Celebrities wearing high buns. Photo Credit for Miss Universe: pageantcast

No longer regulated for spinsters and schoolmarms, high buns have made a comeback! Gone are the days that buns rendered images of awkward ladies with lipstick stained teeth. From Demi Lovato to Jennifer Lopez, celeb after celebs are donning this ’do as a way to dress up their look.

Need further proof that this ballerina-esk style is #gonewiththewindfabulous? When Olivia Culpo took the stage during the Miss Universe pageant a month ago, she wore a massive, eye-catching high bun. Guess what? I noticed her bunned regality during the competition and even mentioned it on Twitter. Did you see it? Retweet if you did. Sure enough, Culpo and her high bun won the competition! If these glamour gals got it down, er, high up, then we can too!

Wearing your hair in a bun aka bunning is the perfect solution to bad hair days. It is not only chic, but it is also a protective style. It allows our ends to be carefully tucked and sheltered into our hair, freeing them from exposure to the elements. While I recognize this benefit, I used to bypass this style because it seemed too difficult for me to do. Wrong! It’s actually easy peasy. In fact, our textured tresses are perfectly suited for this look. I’ve got it down, and now I want you to get it too!

Get This Look!

The directions below are for creating a traditional bun as opposed to a top knot (more of a knot-like formation). This look is best styled on second-day, wash and go hair—perfect for those of you who can’t nail down second-day looks. You can also bun hair that’s currently in or freed from twists and braids.

ToolsHair Stylers Black Mesh Chignon

  • Hair Donut/Sock Bun (see pic at the right) – I visited a couple of beauty supply stores until I found the right donut, but you can make one out of an old rolled up sock or stockings. Just cut off the foot area and make sure it’s the right size for your hair length. Now you know you have at least one gym sock that’s missing its buddy. Snag it!
  • Rubber band without metal clasp
  • Bobby pins – I used about 5 long pins for securing the bun and 3 short pins for tucking in flyaways/shorter curls.
  • Gel – I whipped out my old trusty Eco Styler Gel.
  • Oil – Any will do. I used Vatika Oil.
  • Headband – Optional
  • Boar Bristle Brush – Optional

High Bun on Natural HairSteps

  1. Oil hair to soften curls, particularly if it’s been previously styled with gel. This will make your hair a bit more supple.
  2. Pull your hair to the top of your head and position it at the crown. Before you leave it there, run and face the mirror. Does this position work for your face? Look at the angles of your jawline and face shape. You may want to gather your hair a little further forward or backward.  It’s up to you.
  3. Secure your hair in its position with a rubber band. Waaaiiiit! Remember not to make it too tight. We have to watch those sensitive edges! It’s okay if your high pony isn’t perfect.  In fact, a messy bun works just as nicely.
  4. Grab your donut (purchased or make-shift) and slide your ponytail through the donut hole.
  5. Part hair in center of your pony and wrap it around the donut. As you wrap your hair, tuck your ends under or nearly under your donut and secure it with a bobby pin. Ideally, you want to cover the donut completely. Take a 360 view of your head to ensure that your sock bun is covered.
  6. Got short, loose curls sticking out from the back of your head? Wraps the ends around a short bobby pin and tuck it into your hair. Make sure that the pin runs vertically/semi-vertically, so it blends into your curls.
  7. Oil fingers and smooth down frizzy strands.
  8. For a precise bun, apply gel to the front, sides, and back of your hair—not the bun itself! You can use a boar bristle brush to assist in the finish. This will give you a smoother look.

Voila! You’re done. Now you’re serving face! Leave your hair as is or dress it up with accessories.

Bonus Tips: Dressing It Up

High Bun On Naturally Curly Hair

  • I have a thin, uneven hairline, which bugs me when my hair is pulled back. Solution: I use a headband to finish the look and help frame my face.
  • Add a bow to the back of your bun for flair.
  • Use faux color on your hair or just towards the ends for a highlighted bun.

 

Once you get this down, you’ll be able to take your own spin on it. Watch out! It’s addictive!

Are you a fan or foe of high buns? Sound off below!

CurlSpotting: Editrix Julia Sarr-Jamois

Julia Sarr-Jamois

Above: Julia Sarr-Jamois, fashion editor and J. Crew model. Photo courtesy of J. Crew, ripped from my mailer.

Although we’re in a new year, I want to flash back a few months and catch you up on a curlie I recently spotted. Something tells me that once or twice, your eyes caught sight of her too.

Picture this. I was going about my typical routine after coming home from work. I swung the door closed, dropped a couple of bags at my feet, and threw my keys on the nearest table. In my freed hands, I quickly rummaged through my mail until … I found the fall 2012 catalog for J.Crew.

For me, J.Crew = cozy sweaters and turtlenecks. I really didn’t need much assistance to turn the pages towards that section, but to help their cashmere stand out even further, the preppy shopping staple featured a stunning model with a full-on mane! She practically roared from the pages (albeit quietly, as seen in the image on the left).

Ironically, a week later, a mailer from Sephora came and there was that model yet again! I kid you not! It was the same beauty with her curly ‘fro. I had to know who she was! You too? In case, you missed the many fashion features bubbling up on the net, the stunner in the cozy blue threads and makeup ads is Julia Sarr-Jamois, fashion editor for Wonderland magazine.

She’s not only easy on the eye, but she also sports enviable curls. Sarr-Jamois is a talent with an eye for fashion. Her savvy street styles is what made her one of J.Crew’s features in the fall campaign centered on real-life fashion-forward folks.

Diego Scotti, J. Crew’s chief marketing officer, says to Women’s Wear Daily, “We chose very accomplished people who have an impact on our customers and culture in general. They appreciate quality and detail. Our customers identify with them, but the campaign is not about celebrities.”

Julia Sarr-Jamois

Julia Sarr-Jamois showcases her wicked street style.

While the focus of the campaign is on the line’s bags, suits, and sweaters, I believe that Sarr-Jamois steals the show. Despite J.Crew’s efforts to not choose a celebrity, Sarr-Jamois is and rightfully can be called a celeb. She has been placed center stage in these campaigns and as the subject of many street photogs and bloggers, including yours truly.

Sephora describes her as an editrix (love that term). While I was searching for Juliet Julia (Ever seen that movie? I digress.), I discovered that the half Senegalese and half French stunner is 23 years old. She also addressed the excitement centered around her curls in an interview with Vogue. Sarr-Jamois outlines her simple, wash ‘n go routine and likens wearing her hair loose in the summer to wearing a fuzzy Prada hat. I can definitely relate!

Julia Sarr-Jamois illustrated by Joana Avillez

Julia Sarr-Jamois, illustrated by Joana Avillez. Of course, I love this. Pretty dead on. Check out the accompanying notes and quotes.

“I’ve never really been into makeup. My hair is my statement, along with my clothes,” says Sarr-Jamois. “The only thing I won’t wear with my hair is flared jeans. I love them, but that look is way too seventies-child.”

Ah, Julia (throws fists up in the air and shakes them)! I love, love flared jeans. No worries. I’ll bring back the seventies for you. Just keep on inspiring us with your styling. Keep an eye out for this one curlies! You can view more pics of Julia Sarr-Jamois’ hair and fashion below.

 

 

 

 

Julia Sarr-Jamois in Sephora

Julia Sarr-Jamois in Sephora’s ad.

Top It Off With Satin-Lined Hats

Satin Lined Hat for Natural Hair

My curly mane in a Threadmill satin-lined Brimster.

I may not have mentioned this, but I’m no longer the only curly girl in my family. A few years ago, my big sister, Kay, did the big chop after struggling with constantly shedding relaxed hair. Perhaps I’ll convince her to share her journey soon!

What you should know is that Kay is still in the process of learning about her hair. She also has a different texture from me, so items that work on my hair won’t necessarily work on her hair. Believe me, I understand those of you with different hair types from my own!

Anyhoo, my sis tasked me with finding hats for natural hair, particularly ones for the winter. I was equally intrigued, since it’s tough to find fashionable hats with materials that are ‘fro friendly. I’ve typically defaulted to stuffing my hair in a satin cap before placing a separate, decorative hat on my head.Why satin? As you may have read in my post on preserving your hair overnight, satin and silk materials help to keep hair moisturized and add the necessary slip needed to glide over strands, preventing split ends.

With my task in hand, off I went on a mad hunt for a solution. This came in the form of the highly recommended Etsy’s shop, Threadmill.

Threadmill Satin Lined Hat

Designer

Threadmill is the brainchild of  Dottie Mabry. On her shop profile, Mabry describes herself as an artist (10 cool points!) and art teacher (20 cool points!) “who loves her students, and her yarn fiercely.” She writes, “I view crochet as a sculptural medium … and delight in the endless possibilities of creating wearable art in yarn.”

Shelli of hairscapades.com gave Dottie Mabry the idea to line her stylish brimsters and boho hats with satin to help preserve natural hair. I am ever grateful, as she gave a much loved Christmas present for my sis.

Selection

At Threadmill, you can find crocheted brimsters, beanies, hats for babies, scarves, ponchos, and more. I chose two variations of a rasta tam … like a true Jamaican gal ;) For Kay, I got a slouchy crocheted brimless hat in soft green with a green, satin lining, as expertly recommended by Mabry. Of course, I snagged a little something for myself. I picked up a brimmed rasta tam in black with black lining. You can customize the look of both your hat and its lining’s color, so it is truly an original. Love!

MyCurlyMane in Satin Lined Hat

Quality

Both of my purchases were created in thick, wool yarn and felt very soft. I was also surprised that they had a little weight to them. They are definitely constructed with well-made materials. I made the mistake of placing my hat in a pile of clothes … and got a single thread pulled and loosened by a hanger. Take care with how you handle your hat!

The Look

My hat’s pattern was a little more holey than Kay’s, so the lining is more noticeable up close. I like this, as I think it adds to the look. However, if you’re seeking a traditional look, select a hat with a closer woven design.

Tip: Select a loser crotched design and a contrasting colored satin lining for a creative spin.

Price

Hats range in price, with many costing approximately $30 without lining. The satin lining costs an additional $19. For my thrifty gals, you can follow my previous technique of donning your own satin-lined caps under your hats, but for ease and style, check out Threadmill’s collection.

Threadmill Satin Lined Hats

Service

Etsy’s service was fast. I received both hats earlier than anticipated, and this was just before the holidays. Threadmill’s service also was very impressive. Both hats arrived carefully wrapped in plastic. Dottie Mabry was very accessible and oh, so kindly answered all my questions and offered suggestions for the designs. I appreciate it! Thank you!

If you decide to pick up a Threadmill hat, please let me know below. Share how you’re topping off your look this winter!

UPDATED 1-8-13: Ding! Ding! Ding! Dottie Mabry has very generously offered My Curly Mane readers a 15% discount on her hats for the month of February. Don’t worry. I won’t make it difficult for you. No jumping through hoops. To obtain this great deal, all you have to do is subscribe to this blog and leave a comment below. That’s it! Oh, and if you do purchase some threads, please share your comments or pics below.

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