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Bangin’ Looks

full Afro curls

A model with a wickedly cute curly bang and cut

When First Lady Michelle Obama displayed her newly shorn, straight fringe a few months ago, it was like the snip heard around the world. True to its name, bangs have come, gone, and resurfaced once again. Bang! They can decorate a mean bob, as seen by Anna Wintour, legendary editor-in-chief of American Vogue. They also soften beautifully angular features, as seen in Mrs. Obama.

Anna Wintour & Michelle Obama Bangs

Anna Wintour & Michelle Obama bangs it out the ballpark.

Bangs can frame just about any face shape, depending on how they’re cut. Every girl can be bangin’! Most importantly: They can be worn with a curly mane. Use them to top off a bun, twist, or pony. There are several ways that you can werk a curly bang with natural hair. Here are a few:

Natural

If you’re sporting a full-frontal, froey fringe, make sure that your curly mane frames your face. The fuller the look, the better. Don’t be afraid of volume! In fact, whip out an Afro pik to add some lift.

Style your afro-textured bangs as you do with the rest of your hair. I like to use my usual layering method consistent of a leave-in conditioner and gel. If your curly mane frowns on gels, use a leave-in and seal with an oil or butter. Just remember, a little frizz never hurt anybody. :)

Rihanna and Beyonce with Curls

Songstresses Rihanna and Beyoncé are stunning with faux curly bangs and hair.

Defined

For a structured look, try a wet or dry braid-out or twist-out. The smaller the braids or twists, the more defined the look. Add curlers to the ends to accentuate the style.

If you’d like a looser bang, use curlers or perm rods on the entire length of your wet or dry bangs. I recommend doing both styles on wet hair that has been combed out, so you can better manipulate your natural texture and set the look. 

Jada Pinkett-Smith

An American Idol contestant and Jada Pinkett-Smith are spotted wearing curly bangs.

Half bangin

If you have short layers in the front or bangs that are growing out, a side part is your friend. Once again, use an Afro pik to volumize the layer or tuck/bobby pin these hair under your ear or on top of the hairs at the side of your head. Whether worn naturally or defined, a half bang still looks completely chic.

Curly Bangs by Nay. All rights reserved.

Curly Bangs by Nay. All rights reserved.

Faux Bangs

Afraid to commit to a cut? Clip-ins and extensions are the way to go for a quick change-up. Adding faux bangs can add a new spin on an old look. If you’re wearing a curly clip in, make sure that the magic hair matches your texture. Once again, make sure that the magic hair matches your own texture. This may require some manipulation of the curly clip-in/weave by cutting, braiding, twisting, or curling the hairs. Remember the goal is for it to look realistic … not like a brokedown palace!

Can’t find clip-ins that are the same as your texture? Try purchasing full-length clip-ins or weaves that are a close match. This DIY method may require some cutting, sewing, sweating, tearing (ha!), and bobby pinning of the hairs into your own. You may want to don a headband over the area where the weave meets your real hair in order to hide the transition. Want to really switch it up? Try coloring your magic hair. Now that’s bangin’!

Decorative High Bun – First Video Tutorial!


A few weeks ago, I outlined the steps needed to create a high bun. Did you get a chance to practice this? If you have this look down, I challenge you to take it one step further. I’d like for you to try to create a decorative high bun, incorporating braids and faux color.

At first, I planned to write down the detailed instructions for you, as usual. After further thought, I realized that you may be a visual learner. I get it. There is something about watching tutorials that allows everything to just click. So, I mustered up the courage to … film it! Yes, I’d like to introduce to you my very first tutorial. Cue the horns! Da-da-da-daaaa!

When I filmed this, I dove right into creating the look. It wasn’t my best attempt, but it can be yours if you remember to:

  1. Neatly braid your sections. This will enable the cream eyeshadow (used to add color) to neatly smooth onto your hair.
  2. Werk a messy or neat bun. Either will do the trick. *snaps fingers twice in the air.*
  3. Hide bobby pins in the hair, so they’re not visible.
  4. Pin down bangs as needed to frame your face.

As you know, I’m a writer, and this blog will always be the core. If you enjoy the visual explanations (and the nuttiness of it all—you know that was a must!), let me know. Maybe there’ll be more to come!

Watch and enjoy! Remember to leave your questions below.

If you have trouble watching the video above, click here to view it.

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.

Holiday Hairstyles For Natural Hair

Like chestnuts roasting on an open fire, the holiday season is ablaze! I hope you are enjoying it, whether you are celebrating traditionally or just going about your days. If you have dinner plans or are heading out on the town, I’ve got holiday hairstyles for you to ring in the new year, courtesy of a few savvy YouTube vloggers. I purposely selected these on-camera mavens since their textures vary from my own and showcase natural hair’s versatility. If you’re like me, you often desire to mix up your look but need baby steps. These styles are simple, so trust me, curlie. We can do them too!

Dinner Party Looks

Our first vlogger, IamNaturallyCurious, presents a sophisticated updo. Stop right there! Don’t get overwhelmed by the final look. I was right there with you, ready to click out of the screen, until I watched this lady easily twist her hair into this classic style. Add pins, garnish, heck even left over Christmas decor, and you’re more than ready for tea with the queen. Sit back and enjoy the music!

Ms. RosieVelt takes another spin on the classic updo by working her hair into a low twisted bang and braided back. One of the best things about this look is that it doesn’t require neat parts and rolls. Instead, you can keep it loose and even a little messy, and it still looks pretty darn neat for formal or informal events.

Fun Time Style

For my ladies who really want to stand out, there’s the infamous hair bow, famously sported by Lady Gaga and Paris Hilton. Vlogger Cassandre Beccai walks us through a quick and easy tutorial. I just love, love this look! Oh, and no, I don’t care that I’m not 5 years old. I will be one of those ladies who wears pigtails til the age of 80, God willing! For a different spin, work the hair bow into a half up (hair bowed), half down look.

Talk Of The Town TWA

For my ladies with teeny-weeny afros (TWAs), there are styles for you as well. TWAs truly help to showcase our facial beauty, but did you know that they can be worked into lovely looks? InTheTikiLounge shows us how to dress up shorter hair, so you won’t get stuck with the same ol’ style.

Bonus Tips

Want to mix it up? Adorn these looks with headbands, hairpins, clips, and even faux color (view my recent post on a temporary color trick). You can also use them as blue prints for your own look. Get creative!

If you try any of these styles or variations of your own, please let me know. Post pics, comments, tips, etc. below! Happy Holidays!

Why You Need Serena’s Winning Look

IMG_4583_a

Serena Williams’ faux natural hair is winning. Photo credit: mjh0

The summer Olympic games have been the “hairiest” one by far, with fire storms whirling around African-American women’s heads (please see my previous post for details). Whether worn naturally curly, weaved, or permed, hair has taken center stage, unfortunately overshadowing the performances of many world-class athletes. Among those gaining attention for their manes is tennis ace Serena Williams.

Let me forewarn you, I don’t want to take away from Serena’s Olympic gold medal achievements. In fact, I want to explain to you the importance of her winning look, namely the hairstyle she sported as she won this year’s games.

Regardless of your opinions about Serena’s tresses, we can thank her for:

  • Inspiring women everywhere to be physically strong
  • Placing the spotlight on natural hair … Simmer down curlies! Yes, I know that Serena’s was magically enhanced. More on this later!

From Physical To Spiritual Strength

Put down those Cheetos!! Yes, you heard me. I know you’re munching on them right now at your desk or on the couch … I know because that’s what I would have been doing if I hadn’t changed my diet a few months ago! Apparently, Serena would be right there with us.

She says, “I’ve actually never liked sports, and I never understood how I became an athlete. I don’t like working out; I don’t like anything physical. If it involves sitting down or shopping, I’m excellent at it.”

Despite her challenges with being active, Serena remains committed to her passion. This dedication made her an all-star, and her body is legend! You don’t need to become a professional athlete, but you can become physically stronger (and maybe even have guns like Serena). Why? Working out not only gives you bodily strength, but it also leads to emotional, mental, and spiritual vitality. You can credit this to the endorphins that are released or just the time spent in solitude.

If you like to meditate or pray, this is a great time to just breathe … literally. As a former runner, there have been numerous times in which I enjoyed moving and meditating, sorting through my life in my head. I’m taken into a zone where I feel as if I am more connected to the Universe and myself (hippie alert!), and everything will be okay. Seriously, you should try it, even if it means walking for just 15 minutes during your day.

Lights, Camera, … Natural Hair!

In addition to her form, Serena has helped to shine a light on natural hair … even if it’s not her own. Hear me out. I know that there have been colorful comments on Twitter regarding Miss Williams’ tendrils, but I think that Serena/her stylist has done a good job of capturing the overall look.

My curly (and straightened) mane with sweatbands and a scrunchie.

Her hair wasn’t styled in an over-the-top way. It looked pretty accurate. It was big. It was voluminous. It bounced as she moved. It blew freely in the wind … just like our curly manes. To me, her faux natural look (Pause. Think about that for minute. Funny!) was the equivalent of Meryl Streep playing Julia Childs. Not exactly the same but definitely Oscar worthy. You can feel free to disagree with me on this one.

In the meanwhile, you can get this look with your natural (or faux) hair by using a sweatband and hair tie/band. I prefer to use a scrunchie instead of a hair band since it doesn’t misshape curls or leave dents in straightened locks once removed.

You can find sweatbands in an assortment of colors and materials, from nylon to polyester, but I prefer the ones made out of terrycloth. This material definitely absorbs sweat, is easy to use, and can help preserve your edges when they’re straightened. Just remember to stretch out the sweatband before using it since some brands are a bit snug at initial use and can stress tender edges.

Sweatbands are available at beauty supply stores or online for no more than $2. Can’t beat that! If you really want to bring back the ’80s or pretend to be a pro like Serena, pair a bright colored sweatband with matching wrist bands. It’s fun and functional!

Whether you are walking, running, or oming it out, just get moving. And don’t forget your sweat- and wristbands!

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