Sunday, February 24, 2013

Recap: Philly Natural Hair Meetup at Vixens

Last night I attended my first natural hair meetup! It was a lot of fun. I was really excited because natural hair events are few and far between when it comes to the Philly social scene...but that is about to change... *hint hint* so stay tuned ;)

Kemi (left) & Kenisha (right) during intros
The meetup took place at Vixens Hair Studio on Lehigh Avenue in Philly. It was my first time there, but upon arriving the owner, Kemi Balogun and her staff immediately made me feel welcome. I was given a name tag and a clothing pin that held a raffle ticket (the clothing pin was for a word game). Then I grabbed a seat, introduced myself to the ladies around me, and enjoyed some light refreshments. The salon is quaint and narrow, but the size of the gathering - about 25-30 ladies - was good for the amount of space available. 

After everyone helped themselves to some hors-d'oeuvres, they kicked off the event with introductions. We went around the room and shared a little about ourselves, including how we began our natural hair journey. This was the first time I got to introduce myself as a blogger and natural hair consultant - it felt so good! 

Then we moved into the demos. There was a natural hair demo and a loc demo. 

Kenisha, the lead stylist, demonstrated three easy styles on natural hair: flat twists, bantu knots and two-strand twists. She shared her technique for each one and gave great tips throughout the demo. To give extra volume to flat twists, she suggested setting the ends on rods so they'll curl. For the bantu knots she showed us two different ways of setting them: finger rolling (like you're making a sister twist/two-strand rope twist) and twisting the hair until it coils up on itself. To hold the ends and create volume for the two-strand twists, Kenisha suggested braiding the very ends of the twists. 
Kemi demonstrated the loc styles on two different models: one with straight locs and one with curly. I missed the name of the first style, but she overlapped the locs from the nape of the neck up to the crown, then used slip knots to secure the locs for a quick, classy updo. Then she showed us two different methods of flat twisting locs on the curly-loc'd model.

Kemi shared great information about natural and loc hair care. I was very impressed with her dedication to caring for her clients' hair. She has literally turned away potential clients because she refused to give them a style that would compromise the health of their hair. Kemi also shared that deep conditioning treatments are mandatory for her clients with color. This is a great tip for naturals with color or those who may be considering color. Kemi and Kenisha also encouraged us to do cool water rinses after washing and conditioning to seal the cuticle - something I've never been able to tolerate because I can't stand cold shower water, lol - and to use oils instead of grease as the latter tends to pick up lint.

Whatever you put in your body will come out in your hair.
~ Kemi

Oh! And how could I forget to mention the swag bags! Our goodie bags were full of sample-sized products from Kinky-Curly, Mixed Chicks, a moisturizing oil courtesy of Vixens, and a couple other product lines. I was a very happy camper :)

We wrapped up the evening with fun games followed by a Q&A. Then they raffled off the grand prize: a large tote filled with full-sized products and a $65 gift certificate to Vixens. There were also a few other raffles, one of which I won! I received a bunch of sample-sized products. I was so happy I won something :) 

I had a great time at this meetup. Everyone was supportive, positive and encouraging. It was a really nice atmosphere and a wonderful group of ladies. 
The Vixens crew
And of course I couldn't wrap up this post without sharing how I wore my hair :) Originally I wanted to go with a big, fluffy braid-out. My fave lately. But in my over-preparation my braids ended up drying completely before take-down, so I ended up sacrificing fluffiness for definition. But much to my surprise, I received several compliments on the style, and equally as many questions on how I'd achieved it. In the end, the super-defined braid-out was a hit :)

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