Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Natural is Beautiful

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the 7th Annual Natural Hair and Beauty Show here in Toronto. I went last year as well and knew I had to go again.

Let me just say that all natural styles are beautiful. I seen so many curlies that my head was spinning. It was so refreshing! Not only did everyone look good, but they also carried themselves with so much pride. It was an amazing group to be around, you definitely felt a connection.

The show featured everything from informative workshops, fashion shows, vendors with products, accessories and t-shirts galore and the food was amazing as well. In general a really good scene to be apart of.

On another note, I seen that there is a real hunger out there for knowledge about afro-textured hair. It's time to soak up as much information as possible about our curls. It's a shame many of us were not exposed to these forums earlier, but we can definitely show the next generation that wearing your hair in it's natural state is not only a viable option, but also incredibly beautiful. Feel free to share your thoughts...

Blessing and Curls,

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Featured Curlie - Shellene

Name: Shellene aka The Accidental Natural

Hometown: Montreal, Quebec, but now I'm a proud Torontonian!

First year of curlieness: 2008

Why I went curlie: It was kind of by accident. My hair was permed STRAIGHT (like bone-straight, no kink, wave or curl to be found) for my wedding in September 2007. As the weather cooled down, I decided to go into braids as usual until the spring. When I took my hair out, I finally noticed my new growth and it was so coily and strong, I wanted to know what my hair would look like completely natural. I hadn't seen my natural texture in 20 years. On the other side of that was relaxing my hair was destroying my scalp. I had all manner of scalp issues that relaxing was just exacerbating. I am allergic to coconut and I learned, as I was researching product ingredients when I went natural that the majority -- almost all -- commercial shampoos use coconut-based ingredients as their foaming agents. That could have been a reason why my scalp was forever flaking off.

Going 'curlie' didn't stop the scalp problem, but deciding not to relax made the problems more manageable. By September 2008, I decided to cut off my permed ends and take it from there. I didn't have a real plan or I didn't make a decision at the beginning to become natural - it just sort of happened organically.

Regime and products: My regime and products started off very complex - I read every blog and watched every video online. From that, I was buying up things like I was a Trump and trying all types of methods. I'm much too lazy and busy for all of that. So now my regime is to the point and simple. I have a hair goal to get to BSL, but I was finding it hard to get past APL. I don't believe in terminal hair growth - I knew it was my regime (i.e. playing up in my hair too much) that was hindering me from reaching my goal.

Now, I'm doing a year of twists. I wash my hair every two to three weeks with either a Henna Sooq shampoo bar (Berhempsu is my favourite) or use my Shea Moisture shampoos (black soap for dandruff and shea butter for moisture). I detangle with lots of conditioner (Tresemme) and wash my hair in sections. I'm trying to deep condition more regularly - I was using Silk Elements Megasilk Olive Moisturizing Treatment, but I find that my hair reacts better to straight shea butter and a heat cap. Next, I do medium sized or mini twists using either shea butter (can you tell I like some shea butter! LOL!), a natural gel like Kinky Curly Curling Custard or Essential Wholesale Styling Jelly (when the weather was humid) or Shea Moisture's Deep Treatment Masque. I wear the twists for two weeks, try to rock a twist out for a week and do the whole thing over again. I started in June and I've already seen a major improvement in terms of length. When my hair needs it, I'll moisturize with a mixture of rosewater, aloe vera juice and a little glycerin and seal everything in with olive oil.

The best part of being curlie for me is: There are a couple of good parts of being curlie. The major one is learning to embrace me for me. I know for a lot of curlies, going natural isn't anything more than not relaxing their hair, but for me it was a kind of awakening. I was learning to love my hair the way it grows out of my head and without using a chemical to make it into something that it wasn't. I find it fascinating that Black women are the only women on the planet who don't know what their real hair texture is and don't know how to look after their own hair. I was so tired of depending on relaxers and hair dressers, that going natural was like being freed. I can do my hair when I want. I can figure out what it needs. I know my hair better than anyone else -- I don't have to depend on anything but some water, shea butter and my two strong hands.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

My Curlie Mom

When I first told my mother that I was going to transition an grow my perm out, she didn’t know what to say. I could tell that she was not sure about the idea, only because she wasn’t sure about my motives.

I explained to her that I wanted to be free from relaxing, in essence putting myself through an intervention if you will. I explained to her that even though I was early in my transition that I was already seeing the benefits of not being exposed to harsh chemicals.

Little did I know that almost a year after I started my transition my mom big chopped from her curly perm. She told me that she noticed that her hair was thinning because of all the years of perming.

She said that she realized that we had been brain-washed to think pressing and perming was the only way for our hair to be styled to look good. She now knows that is not true since the hair that grows out of our heads is naturally curly.

Since her big chop, my mom loves her curls and loves the fact that I went natural too. For her me going natural gave her an incentive to do so too. She now wears her natural hair with pride and is happy she left the relaxing and perming days behind. She is now free.

Are you an inspiration for others in your family to go curlie?  

Mom and Me
Curls and Blessings,