After being natural for about seven years and finally choosing to relax my hair this past October, I never would have imagined that I would be courageous enough to try and perm my hair on my own. As crazy as it sounds, I was nervous and flat out scared to relax my hair without any help. But when the new growth is overwhelming and none of your friends are available, you'll get it done.
Before doing anything, like always, I tried to do a little bit of research. I asked other people about their experiences relaxing their hair and, of course, I did my routine YouTube search. Though it sounded super simple, I was still hesitant to give it a try. But I pulled myself together, put my gloves on, and did what I had to do. Here are tips I suggest for relaxing your own hair at home:
Use fitted latex gloves
If you're using a box relaxer, they typically come with gloves. If you're anything like me, those gloves are too big and just won't get the job done. I got so fed up with them and just began to use my hands but, I noticed that the strong chemicals made my nails super weak and fragile. To stay on the safe side, just buy gloves that fit your hand.
Consider separating your hair into smaller sections
When I did my research, I noticed that people parted their hair in four sections and worked through each one. If you have a lot of hair, I would recommend parting your hair in more than four sections. It makes it easier to get all of your new growth and not miss any spots.
Base your edges and scalp
Anytime you get a relaxer, you should use a base such as Vaseline. I've noticed that many people only tell you to base your edges and your ears. When relaxing my hair, I based my edges, my ears and my scalp. Basing the scalp definitely helped stop the burning.
Don't forget the smoothing step
If you're like me, once I had the perm on my head, I was ready to rinse it out. I almost forgot about the smoothing step of the process. If you want your hair to get really straight, this is an important step.
Be sure to only relax your new growth
One thing you do not want is overprocessed hair. To prevent this, only perm the new growth and avoid the rest of your hair shaft.
Be sure to wash out all of the perm and follow up with a NEUTRALIZING shampoo and a deep conditioner
Hopefully, these tips will help you be worry-free when you relax your hair at home.
On Saturday, May 21st, we're hosting our inaugural conference about how creativity and technology are changing our daily lives, from our hobbies to our work. Will you be joining us? Tickets here.
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Warmer weather is here, and that means prom and wedding season is right around the corner. Formal occasions provide the perfect opportunity to showcase the beauty and versatility of natural hair. The updo is a timeless formal style, and there are many ways that naturalistas can achieve this look. Try one of these 13 natural hairstyles at your next event. Each video features a single look and a full tutorial showing you how to replicate it.
For longer hair:
In this video, Felicia Leatherwood shows you how to get the look that Teyonah Parris wore to the Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2013.
I also love this take on the twisted pompadour:
Pro tip: use a cut pantyhose to achieve the perfect high bun/top knot!
This gorgeous take on the two-strand twist is perfect for any occasion:
For medium-length hair:
For a fun, curly look, try this style that only requires a few bobby pins, some flexirods and your favorite leave-in conditioners and oils.
This hilarious two-minute video by Heels to High Tops teaches her go-to style for when she's running late. It's also a great look for a beach wedding or semi-formal event.
For a tamer look, try this sleek updo, with or without the headband:
This style is more time intensive, but it shows that even two-strand twists can be elegant with the right styling:
This easy, breezy style can be adapted to accommodate various hair lengths:
For TWAs and shorter hair:
This Janelle Monae inspired look works well with any length, including short hair, since it uses kanekalon extensions for a fuller mane:
There are also ways to create an updo look without extensions:
The following summer-ready 'do is brought to you by flat twists and finger coils:
You can achieve a nice puff even with a TWA when styling your stretched hair. This style is best done on an old twist or braid out:
Have you rocked natural hairstyles at formal events? Let us know in the comments or share your pics with us on Instagram!
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If you're trying to cut down on expenses or tired of not knowing what's really going into your hair, DIY natural hair products might be for you. Here are 11 quick and easy-to-make natural hair products that will help you reach your reduced budget goals and a more conscious hair care regimen:
This moisturizing deep conditioner
A pre-poo treatment that will moisturize your dry hair
An overnight hot oil treatment for ultra-soft coils
A strengthening and growing hair mask
Or, this Holy Grail mask that will help any issue your hair is facing
This all-natural protein treatment made from items you can find in your kitchen
An okra gel if you're tired of alcohol drying out your strands or you just want to try something new
Or, this flax seed gel if you're not too fond of okra
This edge control to that will help regrow and tame your edges
A natural shampoo if you're tired of chemicals stripping your hair
A simple to make leave-in conditioner that will keep your hair protected
Because who doesn't want hair as luxurious as Egyptian cotton?
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Sometimes being natural while in the corporate working world can be a struggle. We get lazy and take the easy way out by getting braids or a weave. Or, we just go with a simple twist-out, braid-out or blow-out. If you're ready to switch it up, here are 32 DIY natural hairstyles that you can use for daily...
I love everything about my natural hair. Sure, it's a lot of work to maintain but once you find a hair care regimen that works, the versatility is everything. I'm not exactly sure if it's been unintentional or the result of constant practice, but over the years I've almost always worn my hair blown out or tied back in a bun to work. So, I decided to experiment with wearing my hair in different styles and embracing my natural hair in the workplace. Why?
One day I just got tired.
Sick of conforming to the hair "norms" of what is regarded as workplace professionalism, putting heat to my hair (Hello, heat damage!) and pulling my hair back religiously (Hello, stock in edge control!). Mind you, straightening and slick-backs are totally fine, I still do them. My issue was believing that the hair growing out of my scalp had to be altered for the sake of the workplace. I think there is this notion that "natural" equates to unkempt, and that is far from the truth. What I've grown to realize is that my hair is not a trend and is normal by my standards.
I began to switch it up.
Especially in the summer months, when my hair was no competition for the humidity. Protective styles have truly been a blessing in giving my tresses a much-needed break. The transition felt so freeing and was certainly much easier for me to maintain on a busy schedule!
Initially, I did get a lot of double-takes and questions from my colleagues. They had almost never seen my hair in its protective styles or natural state over the many years we'd worked together. "That's an interesting style. How did you get your hair to do that?" they'd ask. And I gave a lot of side-eyes in response.
The comments were a bit disheartening at first, but then it became downright amusing. I learned that most were genuinely confused on how my hair was bone straight one day and coily the next. Or short one day, due to shrinkage, and touching my bra strap the next.
But most surprising were the overwhelming compliments
Along with this came people asking to touch my hair, to which I kindly responded "uh, no." The reception was generally positive. Natural hair can be professional. Better yet, natural hair is professional.
Oddly enough, it seems that each time I go back to the occasional blow-out, many of those same colleagues are vocal in letting me know that they like my natural curls better. Go figure.
It's a good thing that its more about what I like versus what everyone else does.
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Being natural means constantly looking for hairspiration (see what I did there?) I'm always on the prowl for new, fun and exciting hairstyles, and nothing makes this easier than Instagram. Braids, updos, wigs, twist-outs, fros, weaves, etc. It's all there and beautifully documented. Lately, I've been into big hair with textures that resemble or complement my own, and these three natural hair brands have achieved this with their natural textured hair extensions. If you're looking for a new look, give them a try! Nothing like slapping in some hair and getting out of the house. I'll be ordering some for sure!
1. Curl Genetics
Tell us what your Current Hair Style is SAYING? A photo posted by Curl Genetics (@curlgenetics) on Jan 13, 2016 at 12:34pm PST
2. Her Given Hair
www.hergivenhair.com👈 “Have you all noticed that this top bun has become a style that's often on repeat? lol” Looks so natural and beautiful😘😘@msnaturallymary #naturallytash#blackboldandnatural#hercurlie#relaxed_natural#kinky_chicks1#relaxed_natural#theshaderoominc#hair2mesmerize#naturalgirlrock#4chairchicks#naturalhairdoescare#blakizbeautyful#mynaturalsistas#happilynaturallit26#naturalrootsista#frosandbeaus#curlswithlove#naturalchixs#curlbox#curls_aunaturel#camillerosenaturals#teyonahparris#berrycurly#naturallyshesdope#amazingnaturalhair#myhaircrush#braidsgang#teamnatural_#healthy_hair_journey
A photo posted by hergivenhair (@hergivenhair) on Dec 16, 2015 at 4:17am PST
3. Heat Free Hair
A huge thank you to @inhershoesblog for featuring Heat Free Hair in "75 Black Women-Owned Brands to Support This Holiday Season & Beyond"! We appreciate the support and are so excited for the approaching Holiday Season! Be sure to visit heatfreehair.com, subscribe to our mailing list and be on the lookout for some special things we have in store. 😏💁🏾🎄 #holidayseason #giftingseason #grateful #tistheseason
A photo posted by Heat Free™ Hair Movement (@heatfreehair) on Dec 10, 2015 at 5:18pm PST
Check out their sites, and let us know what you think!
Happy hair flipping,...
5 years ago, I got tired of being a naturalista. I’d been natural my whole life. Bantu Knots, flexy rods, pin curls, and twists were my nightly and morning regimen. And frankly, I was sick of all the time I spent on it.
Many natural black girls understand my woes. Unless we’re wearing a protective style, we can rarely post an #IWokeUpLikeThis selfie without first teasing and manipulating our hair. At 18, I didn’t want to deal with it anymore. So I chopped it all off and I rocked a perfectly convenient, beautiful buzzed cut.
People thought I was so bold. Some applauded me for not being “another black girl with a weave” (eye-roll), and praised me for embracing my features. Little did they know, I was just too busy to bother with it.
As a girl who is currently pursuing three careers at once, I’m busyAF. That extra 30 minutes some of my natural diva friends take in the mornings to fix their hair, I’m cranking out a blog post. That evening time before naturalistas go to bed, when they break out the flexy rods and hair clips, is spent driving home from my late-night classes and falling into my bed to sleep for a few hours before I wake up and head off to my 9 to 5.
For chicks who have a main job and a side hustle, hair sometimes has to take a back seat.
That buzzed cut worked for my lifestyle, up until a few months ago, when I started to miss having hair. Everywhere I turned, there were bomb black girls with amazing volume and texture. Beautiful naturalistas flowed down my Tumblr feed and Pintrest boards. Everywhere I looked, I saw Senegalese twists, poetic justice braids, curly fros, faux locs, and the works. Natural black girls were killing it all over the world, and I wanted to be a part of that.
So I had a hair transformation: I went from a 15 minute cut to 13 hour installation—from a free to a $350 style—from a 1/8 of a centimeter buzz to 14 inch; brown, red and blonde; beautiful faux locs.
And after several years of not having anything to flip, I flip my hair like Beyoncé in her “Run the World” video.
So for the busy black girls who want the natural look without the hassle, here’s the breakdown on your low-maintenance options:
Teeny weeny afros are cute and easy to keep up. Change up the shape, length, and parts in your hair for variety.
Box Braids, Faux Locs and Senegalese Twist
These are all good looks, especially if you want to add some hair-whipping length. I’ve been seeing a lot of women on Tumblr remix these timeless styles with pastel and bright colors.
One caution: Faux Locs are HEAVY (yea, I had to scream it). I love them like Kanye loves Kanye, but I can’t put my neck and edges through the torture more than once a year.
Ask any wig wearer how freeing it is to get up, clip on their wig, and go. Many of my friends swear by them. And yes, you can get a perfectly kinky wig. I’m thinking about trying a few out when I take these locs down.
The Buzzed Life:
Buzzed cuts will always be my favorite. No pain—no hassle. They are the ultimate #IWokeUpLikeThis look.