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 :)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Detangling Debacle

In the beginning of February I had Senegalese twists installed for the first time. I'd been eyeballing this style for a while so I was really excited to get it done. I only ended up keeping them in for just over a week (they were installed loosely and after a spray bottle wash and condition, my roots were pretty messy), but I enjoyed them while they were in. 

Taking down the Senegalese twists wasn't bad. I didn't have a ton so it didn't take long at all. I actually really liked how my hair looked after I took out the extension hair, so I wore it like that for a day or two before I washed it. 

What got me was the detangling process that followed! Now, I'd grown accustomed to finger detangling and hadn't used my wide-toothed comb or Denman brush in a while. So I didn't even think to whip them out when I hopped in the shower to wash and detangle my hair... 

Big mistake! 

And getting my hair wet only seemed to make matters worse. But as a wife and mom, I didn't have time  - or anymore hot water - to get back in the shower to attempt further detangling. I didn't even bother to braid my hair for a braid-out because it would've been too frustrating. I think I ended up bunning my hair or just pulling it up for the next week. I knew that after that detangling debacle, I'd have to use my comb and Denman to make things right again. After all, since I only wash my hair once a week and I have a TON of hair - I mean, my hair is really dense - every wash day I joke with my hubby that I shed a small animal, LOL! I'm serious, y'all!! Sorry, that may have been TMI, but it's true! lol. 
This is how tightly twisted my hair was
prior to finger detangling
Attempting finger detangling on partially
pre-pooed hair.
The next wash day I used my wide-toothed comb and the Denman (on conditioner-laden hair, of course) and I was able to remove lingering tangles and tons of shed hairs that were desperate to escape. I was so relieved to have my hair back to normal! I braided it up and took it down before it dried for a nice, fluffy braid-out that grew as the evening progressed - my fave! :)

Take-away lesson from this experience: for my thick, dense curls I must use a wide-toothed comb and Denman brush to detangle and remove shed hairs after taking down a protective style. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Mane Attraction: Deborah Durant

Welcome to the Mane Attraction!!

I am so excited to introduce this new segment of my blog! This will be the first of a series of Mane Attraction interviews wherein I will feature noteworthy naturals and share their stories, techniques and styles. I couldn't be more thrilled to kick off this new feature with Deborah. She is a good friend, sister in Christ and fellow naturalista! Read below to hear how Deborah recently rocked her mini twists!

FHGN: How long have you been natural? 

Deborah: I have been natural since 2003/2004.

FHGN: Why did you decide to get mini twists?

Deborah: I got mini-twists to take a break from yarn braids. Don't get me wrong, I love my yarn braids. However, I recently learned that braiding hair causes a lot of stress and pulling to the hair. I've been getting yarn braids done since August 2012 and took my last ones out in January. Also, my mini-twists have lasted about 2.5 to 3 weeks, including twist-outs or semi-twist outs (as I like to call them). 

FHGN: What are the pros and cons of mini twists?

Deborah: Pros: You could style them in so many ways, similar to braided extensions. Your hair is not stressed and it's been a confidence booster for me. Helping me to understand my hair's characteristics, needs and attributes better. Cons: Most likely you can't keep them in as long as you would or could with braid extensions. 

FHGN: How did you care for your hair while wearing mini twists? 

Deborah: I alternated between shampooing and conditioning and co-washing (just conditioner) every week.  I wrapped my hair at night. To achieve a curly look, I set my twists in bantu knots overnight and unraveled the knots in the morning. 

FHGN: Will you get this style again?

Deborah: Of course. It took around 6 hours or so to complete. My friend did a great job and I think that's why it went quicker. If I had done them myself, I think they would've taken much longer.

Keep an eye out for upcoming Mane Attraction interviews! ;) Want to be featured? Shoot me an email:

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Fluffy Braidouts & Smoothing Edges

For the past few months I have been a huge fan of my big, fluffy braid-outs. The fluffier, the better! Here are some pics from today's braid-out. I actually re-did it last night on dry hair, which always yields soft, fluffy, huge hair - YAY :)
The products I use to do a dry braid-out vary. Lately I am lovin' the results that apricot oil has been giving me and my daughter, so I threw that in the mix last night and did a kind of -OC of the LOC method. Taking one section at a time, I applied a little apricot oil, focusing on the ends. Then I topped with SheaMoisture's Curl & Style Milk, also focusing that on my ends so they were smooth. 

After I finished braiding my hair, I applied extra Styling Milk around my front edges and smoothed it down with Puuddy's baby brush. Oh that's right, I never ever ever ever use a bristle brush on my hair other than hers because its bristles are super soft so it's nice and gentle on my baby hairs. Sure, there are quality brushes out there that are safe for my hair; I think I've always heard that boar's head bristle brushes are the best (but don't quote me on that). But I already have this brush and it gets the job done so I'm satisfied :) Anyway, after brushing the Styling Milk into my edges I wrapped my satin scarf around my head and hit the fluffies. When I woke up, this is how smooth my edges looked. I wore another scarf around my edges until it was time to take my hair down to ensure that they stayed smooth.
My hair half-way taken down. 
At first I left the bases of the two front braids secured (my little no-accessory hair pinning technique). But right before I left the house I decided to take them all the way out...
...pulled my hair over to one side, tucked a bobby pin in there and hit the road! :)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Easy, Go-To Style

I think I just came up with a new go-to style. I took my biggest nylon hair tie (I love my nylon hair ties - they're washable, gentle on my hair, last forever, and cost next to nothing!) and pineappled my hair last night. Well, it was a really loose pineapple. Then this morning I took my scarf off and just left my hair alone, and when I went to look in the mirror, it looked like this :) Oh, happy day!

And how did I get the waves? This was what I'll call a "semi-braid out" because I took the braids out while they were still damp the night before.

The LOC Method

I should have posted about this a while ago as it is a common technique mentioned within the natural hair community (or at least the online one). It is called the LOC method and it stands for 

"leave-in, oil, cream" 

(I've also heard that the "C" can mean "conditioner but I prefer to use cream). Many naturals credit their healthy, well-moisturized hair to this method. The layering of products works together to seal moisture into the hair. I don't know why but I was skeptical of this popular sealing technique for a long time. Probably because I didn't think it would work for me. But one day curiosity got the better of me and I ignored my long-held skepticism to give the LOC method a shot. Of course, I had to put my own spin on it though ;) Check out what I did.

My daughter's hair (we nicknamed her "Puuddy" and every variation on the word that you can think of, lol) had been freshly washed and was ready for styling. While it was still damp, I took one section at a time and applied these products in this order:

1. organic virgin coconut oil
2. SheaMoisture Restorative Conditioner
3. apricot oil
4. SheaMoisture Curl & Style Milk

I know that technically coconut oil isn't a part of the LOC method, but it's a great natural conditioner that penetrates and strengthens the hair shaft. For this reason, I like to use it on me and Puuddy's hair immediately after washing, right before applying a leave-in conditioner. 

SheaMoisture's Restorative Conditioner says that it can be used as a leave-in treatment or as a rinse-out, but I like to leave it in Puuddy's hair for two reasons: 1) it does wonders for her hair, leaving it soft, sealed and detangled, and 2) it costs $10 per 12oz bottle so I'm not about to pour it down the drain, lol.

I'd picked up apricot oil from my local health food store a while back on a whim. I think it was on sale. But I didn't really start implementing it into my regimen until recently, when I began using it instead of castor oil in my modified Kimmaytube leave-in. I immediately loved the results. Its high essential fatty acid content softens my hair and leaves it shiny but not greasy. Also as an emollient it's great for sealing moisture into your strands. In my mind, you can't go wrong with natural oils. It's just a matter of figuring out which ones work best for your head of hair. 

The SheaMoisture Curl & Style Milk made its way into my house by way of a buy one, get one half off sale on SheaMoisture products at Target. It is light, moisturizing, and helps keep Puuddy's tight coils detangled and smooth. I used this as the "Cream" step as it is a styling cream.

Now, I wasn't quite convinced until today that this technique works for her hair. And I'm not sure whether she slept rather still during her nap (instead of rolling around as usual). But when she woke up her hair looked as if I'd just styled it! (No, she doesn't wear a bonnet or scarf yet - she's 2, lol, I'm workin' on it.)

Even her edges weren't nearly as fuzzy as they usually are following bedtime and/or naptime! I was shocked almost to the point of confusion, LOL. While I'm tempted to think that her neat post-nap hair was because she was exhausted and probably didn't move as much as usual, I think it may actually be a result of how I moisturized and sealed her hair before I styled it. 

LOC Method, we may be new BFF's...! LOL!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Naturally Kleek is Naturally Chic!

Ask any of our close friends or relatives, and they will tell you how much of a natural and organic lifestyle my hubby and I lead. Sometimes I laugh at myself with how picky I can be. But ever since we had our daughter just over two years ago, we became serious about what we eat and what we use on our bodies. This natural/organic preference has also extended to include naturally made crafts for the home, accessories, etc. And of course whenever we can support small businesses, we do!

That being said, it should come as no surprise that I was psyched when I learned that my fellow Tufts alum, Keila McCoy had started her own accessories and crafting business! Naturally Kleek features unique and custom-made accessories and crafts for everyday life. Natural yet chic, I absolutely love Keila's carefully handcrafted merchandise. 

Well, I excitedly shared Naturally Kleek with my Hubby a few short weeks before my birthday, and he surprised me with the cosmetic bag I'd been eyeing up!! Love my hubby, he's so sweet :)

You can find Naturally Kleek on Facebook (be sure to like the page!), at and on Etsy.  
This bag is as versatile as it is eye-catching. Whether you need a cosmetic bag or a cute evening purse to tote your cell phone and lip gloss, this bag is the perfect choice.   
So happy with my new Naturally Kleek bag!! :)

Friday, February 1, 2013

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