Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - Nisus

Sales and Links

Can you believe, I am still wearing my half blown out hair in various (and somewhat unglamorous) ways this week. Been lazy and the braided hair has been getting straighter and straighter. lol. But alas- I am collecting information for my next style.  I'm ALWAYS collecting info from the interwebs in fact.  I subscribe to like 50 blogs lol.

So the tip of the week is- to check out the "What I'm reading section" on the sidebar >>

I tag things of particular interest to me, so I can find them - interesting articles, posts and sales - and they show up in the sidebar automatically whether I'm posting or not.  So this week, there is a braided figure 8 style I am coveting and... a huge sale at Walgreens, who carries Shea Moisture products, and is selling them buy one get one free



Saturday, March 26, 2011 - Nisus

Braid style inspired by Youtube- Channyboo9023 and Tracee Ellis Ross

Here is the video Channyboo posted.  I saw it come up on Curly Nikki's blog :-)
Go to about @7:15 to get to the style - I thought it came out dope... So I copied it!  I just said I was looking to get my hair off my face and out of my hands and this was perfect.


And here is my take on it!

This is how I set it afer I washed it.  I used Kiss My face gel mixed with castor oil and braided it up while soaking wet to stretch it out as it dried. 




It didn't dry overnight though :-( so I had to blow it out a little to braid it quickly in the morning.  I was struggling to get it braided neatly and not tear up my hair as is was trying to shrink up and tangle.  A 3 min hit with the blow dryer helped a lot. And here is how I wore it to work.
I wore variations of it for the next few days.




And a vid of the take-down with a quick show and tell.

Friday, March 25, 2011 - Nisus

Under Cloud 9

Have you listened to the glory that is Cloud 9 by Donnie? It just came on and I'm smiling, writing this and playing it back.

This song meant soooo much to me when I first heard it. I was working at a big huge bank (municipal securities) and sitting at the front desk. It was early 2003 and I had about 6-7 inches of natural hair on my head.
In Boston.
In the financial district.

I was still trying to figure out how to care for my curly and kinky hair, how to live two lives (at work and at home) and how to keep it looking "neat" all the while.  Amidst occasionally visiting the Black Planet forums on natural  hair, perusing Fotki and like 2 other sites about natural hair to fortify my resolve then, this song used to come on my streaming radio station.  I would stop everything I was doing and just zone out.  I'd smile and think about my crown and how fine I was with it.  The station did not display the artists or song titles so I wrote down some lyrics and consulted google. Donnie.  The album was called The Colored Section, which I promptly purchased and subsequently enjoyed every minute of.  It's still one of my favorite albums, like ever. 

One day after that- I will never forget:
I had gone to a salon over the weekend and had my hair pressed- maybe in 2004.  It was very straight.  shiny.  swanging.  shoulder length.  and I was headed to work to debut it for all my fancy banker bosses.  I stepped out from under the shelter above the train tunnel downtown, and BAM!  An accumulated cache of old residual rain water randomly streamed down from overhead and hit me on the temple, (picture the scene from 28 days later when the blood dripped down from the bird's meal and fell right in the dad's eye) soaking a good 3 inch lock of hair near my face.  It IMMEDIATELY reverted, only there, and by the time I got to work I had a huge puffy chunk of hair ruining my new do.  I was crushed.  It was my debut of "their hair" for all to see, and I had been excited.  and I had been done in by water.  Like the aliens from signs.  I felt soooo stooopid. for my excitement, for my demise, for what I intended to show off. For the temporary state of straightness that I had gone through so much to get, and so little to loose. I was mad at my hair, and water, and mad at me.  Sigh.

But I had Donnie that day.  And I saved the style later at home, and I let some expectations go.  Twist my cloud and let it rain.

If you ever feel a bit stuck, or a bit confused and tormented by the pressures around you that nudge our beauty out of place and challenge our confidence- give this song a spin

We live from the head down and not the feet up
And I'm adorned with the crown that's making this up
And I'm fine under cloud 9

Yes I wear the lamb's wool, the feet of burned brass
And the wool defies gravity like the nature of a gas
And I'm fine under cloud 9

Twist my cloud and it rain
And when it rains it pours
And the energy will absorb
Power for the metaphysical one

Happy to be nappy, I'm black and I'm proud
That I have been chosen to wear the conscious cloud
And I'm fine under cloud 9

I be a chameleon and wear it bone straight
But it's so much stronger when it's in its natural state
And I'm fine under cloud 9

Twist my cloud and let it rain
And when it rains it pours
And the energy will absorb
Power for the metaphysical one

Repeat

We live from the head down and not the feet up
And I'm adorned with the crown that's making this up
And I'm fine under cloud 9

Twist my cloud and let it rain
And when it rains it pours
And the energy will absorb
Power for the metaphysical one

Live version:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - beantownbrown

Let's JAM! (2011 Remix)


Throwback: Remember LET'S JAM! Shining and Conditioning gel? Remember how it would have your edges LAID? Remember how the scent was so distinct other people could always tell when you’d used it? Remember that the ingredients were:

Aqua (Water), Isoceteth-20, Paraffinum Liquidum (Mineral Oil), Glycerin, Oleth-2, Propylene Glycol, Parfum (Fragrance), Sorbic Acid, Methylparaben, DMDM Hydantoin, Ethylparaben, Benzyl Benzoate, Linalool, Benzyl Salicylate, Hexyl Cinnamal, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Hydroxycitronellal, Benzyl Alcohol, Limonene, Citronellol, Geraniol, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, CI 19140 (Yellow 5), CI 14700 (Red 4), CI 17200 (Red 33)
Scary.
I can’t even remember the last time I used JAM. In its absence, I have relied on various gels (from Fantasia IC, to Eco Styler, to pure Aloe Vera) to slick my hair back when the style or look I was going for called for it. Nothing I used quite did the job, and most (except for the aloe) left my hair crunchy and didn’t hold for the whole day.
Enter: Curls Passion Fruit Curl Control Paste.

Photo by Nuri
First of all, I just have to say that whoever is in charge of purchasing at Target is some kind of genius. They must be making money hand over fist off of us naturals by having that special curly hair section! But I digress. Anyway, I had been looking for something to help slick my edges down, particularly the hair on the back of my neck (which almost always looks crazy), for awhile. I had noticed the Curls Passion Fruit Curl Control Paste a few times on previous Target trips, but hadn’t really considered purchasing the product. Then, the other day, I went into the store to return some Palmers Coconut Oil Hair Milk, because I detested the way it reacted on my hair (a nasty, pasty, milky film just sat on the surface of my hair until I washed it). I figured I’d get something else instead and wandered over to the “ethnic” hair products section of the store. I grabbed the Curls Passion Fruit Curl Control Paste and figured I’d give it a go, because I’ve wanted to rock a giant, slicked back puff.
Now, I will say this about Curls Passion Fruit Curl Control Paste, the ingredients are a far cry from perfect. This is probably why I hadn’t tried it before. The ingredients are:
Water, Ceteareth-25, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Glycerin, Isostearyl Isostearate, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Shea Butter, Mango Seed Butter, Jojoba Oil, Vitamin E Oil, Tetrahexyldecyl, Ascorbate, Passion Fruit Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hydrolyzed Maize Starch, Panthenol, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance
Not scary, but a little unsettling.
While the product proudly states that it has “No Sulfates, Silicones, Parabens, Mineral or Petrolatum Oils” (which is great), there are still a few ingredients in the list that give me pause:
That said, the product does exactly what it claims to do. The label says:
Smooth out and slick down unruly edges -  ✔
Tame frizzy out of control curls - ✔
Add amazing sheen - ✔
Photo by Nuri
Check! The consistency is quite similar to Let’s JAM – it’s slightly tacky/sticky both to the touch and when you first put it in your hair. It doesn’t smell like passion fruit to me, but it does have a sweet yummy smell, kind of like warm caramel. It leaves the hair extremely soft, shiny and LAID! I mean laid people. With just a tiny amount, my hair was super slicked back and fly-away free. The product works so well, that even though I fell asleep last night with my hair still in a puff and I had neglected to even put on a scarf/hooded band/bonnet, I woke up and my puff was intact. I actually threw on my coat and walked out the door to take my puppy for a walk without doing a thing to my hair, and without looking even remotely crazy. My hair is still soft and, miraculously, the hair on the back of my neck is still smoothed into my puff. I have only tried it on dry hair so far, but may experiment with it on wet hair later, as well as trying it on my curls to see what it can do with them.
My verdict? This stuff is great, but I wish they would reformulate with out the ingredients mentioned above. I don’t like feeling as though I am risking my health for the sake of a fly ‘do. In spite of this, I will probably purchase it again, at least until something that works as well, but with better ingredients comes along – if you have any suggestions of such products, please leave them in the comments section.

Peace.
Nuri

Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - Nisus

Day 7 update on coil-out

Here I was yesterday! Coils still going strong on day 7.  I tie them up old school style at night and add a little castor oil at the ends every few days.




Friday, March 18, 2011 - Nisus

Eye brows are hair. Can we talk eyebrows?

You guys- I don't get my eyebrows done.  I have NEVER had my eyebrows done.

I will pluck a few hairs here and there, and have even lightened them a tad with bleach before when I had highlights, but I have never gone to town and really had them shaped. When I do pluck hairs, it's like 4 from each side.  and then I forget.  And I will go months without looking at my brows, or thinking about them. 

So for all the things I complain about, acne, scarring, sensitive skin... I am really lucky I got my dad's eyebrows.  They are kinda sparse and kinda arched and they mostly just chill out. Except for the fact that my skin is so light and my hair is so dark, they are pretty plain.

BUT every once in a while, when my hair is off my face, or I have a particularly unkempt looking style going on, combined with no make-up and some nice allergy bags under my eyes- I "see" my eyebrows enthusiastically jumping into the chaos and wonder if I'm doing myself a disservice.

You can look at virtually any picture I have posted in the past to see my brows, but hold up- I'm about to take a picture of an eye brow- lol. BRB.

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OK.
So here is my right eyebrow. (and my freckles)

Is it horrible?  Look crazy? I don't know. I can't tell.  lol
These past few weeks though I keep looking at them like I need to clean those up, or something.  Alas I am afraid that if I really mess with em that they will plauge me with bumps or grow more, or expand and become a part of my life in a way I don't want them to.

Going natural never included my eyebrows.  But are they tagging along? 

Like- I am also not a girl who gets mani's and pedi's.  I have gotten a manicure on my natural nails once and I was like- what did I just pay you for?  Plus I am extremely ticklish.  And wait- so here are my nails today.  I just throw a coat of nude or clear on usually and keep it moving.  it usually just wears off or grows out and I put some more on.  I rarely even use nail polish remover.  Toes too, just clear.  Little pumicing for the heals and keep it moving.  They aren't ugly or gnarly but they aren't "done" either. 

I consider these things time consuming, even with what little I do, and I can't imagine spending money regularly on maintenance like this when I can do what I do for very close to free.  I'm getting away with it.

But I have always been a tomboy.  I didn't carry a purse until sometime in college.  I used to carry a man's wallet in my back pocket, and even had one with a chain lol.  Speaking of- even for purses- I carry one purse every day and get a new one maybe once-twice a year.  My purse now is a deep mulberry color- purplish-blue with a grey tone to it.  It goes with pretty much anything.  Last year I had a mustard one, and before that a muddy burgundy.  But now I'm rambling.

Sometimes I just wonder if I would be really doing something nice for my face if I got my brows groomed- come what may after the fact.  Today with my hair out but my hairline frizzy + no makeup nor earrings = my brows popping off my face like "TOM BOY".

Now that I had my acne pictures all up on here, I feel comfortable sharing with other naturals these beauty conundrums.  So tell me- what do you do for your eye brows and do mine look bad?  Will they grow back all crazy if I mess with em?  And I guess also- who cares but me? lol

Thursday, March 17, 2011 - Nisus

What say I of the Tangle Teezer?

I do not manipulate my hair much when it's dry, and I certainly don't comb or brush it.  My hair is on the fine side and it just won't stand for that.

Soooo for me, I would only be using the tangle teaser while my hair is wet or heavily laden with slippery product.  Now with that out of the way (disclaimer!) I have to agree with Nuri and say I am not that impressed with the tangle teaser.  womp womp...

I sectioned my hair with conditioner in it, into 4 and started in front.  I decided to try to just go at it with the tangle teaser alone at first.  You've all seen it by now, the bristles are short.  So in only 4 sections, that's a thick chunk of hair to get through.  It does ok.  It's slowly making its way through and getting all the tangles out.  No pulling.  Not snapping any hairs.  My hand is awkwardly gripped around it.  I try one hand position, find a better one.  meh.

I finish the section but I have not really been able to brush my scalp nor really get a good swipe through all my hair to get a smooth braid out of the finished section.  I resist my comb. I start the next section, and I brush the ends out.  Then I do grab my comb lol.  I figure maybe if I get through it with the comb first I can substitute it for the times I go through again with my denman to finish.  Wellllll, it felt the same once I got the tangle teaser(TT) going again- short bristles, tentative.  I even took a few swipes with the denman to directly compare the feel and yeah- my scalp was feeling it, it gets all the hair in one swipe.  I took up the TT again though and I got halfway through the third section when...
the notorious torpedo effect occurred!

No handle and covered in conditioner = no es bueno. 

I gave up and used my shower comb and denman to finish.  I couldn't do it.

I will say that I noticed less hair in the TT, and being removed by the TT than I notice in the denman.  So some of the reasons I don't like the denman have been solved by TT, but the denman has a handle...  It has a HANDLE.  Very important if you are detangling in the shower, imo lol.

But it wasn't over.  I needed to keep my sections smooth as I formed my coils with the setting lotion.  So I went back in the bathroom, got the thing and gave it another shot.  It worked much better using it this way.  My hands were dryer, I was sitting down, the sections were small.  It redeemed itself with a hall pass.

I think instead of it being a replacement tool for anything, it's just something different for me.  Well lets say it replaces perhaps a small tooth comb or nylon brush.  Things I don't use for reasons I don't have to worry about with the TT.  Maybe it can take the place of my boar brush for some edge clean up? I dunno...

And that's all I have on this thing.  For $10 I'm not mad.  I have blown far more loot on products that I despise (can we say Living Proof products = gag).

In related news, until I decide if I'm cutting or growing my hair (leaning towards cutting!) I have decided to start paying more attention to my ends by adding the denman back in to my detangling routine at the end, and also to wash and such in sections, always.  I had gone wash and go crazy and had just been rushing through the process- with it looking good.  But alas- I have fairy knots and splits again- and my ends are young now so there is no excuse except my handling of it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - Nisus

NEW Coil out for this week

Once I reminded myself of the coil out of years past I decided to try it again.

Oh how I missed it.  It seems like such a cheat style- like a straw set but in a fraction of the time.
I started with freshly washed hair.  I applied a small amount of Quidad leave in (what little I had left in an old bottle) then I used my tangle teaser to smooth sections and apply Giovanni Sunset Styling  lotion mixed with Castor oil.  I coiled each section in large singe coils, or twists and used allegator clips to keep the roots from unraveling like in the pictures below.
I sat under the dryer for an hour and 20 min then went to bed, clips removed and tied up loosely in a scarf.  The next morning I didn't have time to split them all but I split just enough to finagle a style for work.  When I got home I split the rest of them:


Here was the result!!  I'll keep you posted on how long it lasts.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - Nisus

My Twist Out is winning!

I love Kiss My Face Upper Management  gel.  I LOVE KMF gel.

I twisted my hair last Sunday.  Took the twists apart on Wednesday, and was still wearing the dopest twist out yesterday (Monday).  Again- whose hair is this?  My hair is frizzy and water reactive.  It's puffy and it has a big ego.  With this gel, the same silkyness I observed in my wash and go carried on in my twists and then my twist out for days and days.  I was getting up in the morning and just leaving. No hair accessories, no fixing.  ah. you can not tell me anything about this twist out!!

Now for the evidence- tons of indulgent picts lol

Reminder- here were the twists.  My BF loved these the most of all my styles. 

Here they are simply unraveled with no pulling apart.  I wore it like this for 2 days.





Now HERE is the separated twist out for Friday and Saturday.  I took a little bit of castor oil and gel mix on my finger tips as I separated them. You could not tell me anything about this twist out!!
Or my green earrings and green shirt for a St. Pattys Party.   

But then....  Then there was Sunday and Monday hair too- even more picked apart. Even doper.

Looking at these pictures I like it even more.  Alas, it had been 8 days since I co-washed my hair and I was starting to worry about tangles and my scalp, so that was the last day.  As I type I am sitting under the dryer with coils in my hair for a coil out tomorrow.  I finally got to use the tangle teaser I purchased so I'll review it at the beginning of the next post.  In short- I like it- but it's a tool just like my denman.  Good for some things and not for others IMO. 

But as for KMF gel (w/castor).  Winner.  
I'm sorry Eco Styler.  We had a good time together.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011 - Nisus

Deva Hair Cut Review June 2010 - Oops! It's Late!

Ya'll... I am so sorry I never posted this!! I just found it in my drafts and realized it never went up.

The good news is it's almost Spring again- time to start contemplating warm weather hair. If you are looking for a change, I still highly recommend getting a cut from an expert.  Here is my review from June last year.

* * * * *

So here I was at Fiddleheads, ready to loose some of the hair on my head at the hands of Beth, my favorite curly cutter. I had styled my hair in my signature wash and go, ecostyler raked through, so that she could see the pattern my hair was most likely to assume on a regular basis. It was dry and curls and shrinkage were popping.
 
Waiting anxiously.
 
I made it to the chair, got robbed up and was ready to go.  There was about a 15 min wait time.  Not bad.  Plus they have a little dog that wanders about the salon so that made me happy.

My instructions were to give me a cut that I could style easily over the summer.  I wanted a nice edgy shape, less fuss, and I was not concerned with length.  I said mid range length was fine.  Other than that I was through with the mass of hair on my head and ready for something different.
 
I didn't take pictures of the process, alas I had no arms, but this is what was on the floor at the end of the cut. 
 
 It took her about 30-40 minutes and she had gone over my whole head pulling and snipping. she made sure it was all even by pulling pieces from both sides. and she did a lot of circling and looking.  Here I am, freshly done. (You can see one of my zigzaggy curly shapes popping out clearly here BTW.  lol. This is the pattern in most of my hair. Only the ends coil sometimes, and now they are gone!)
 
She applied my highlights after that.  I already had some grown out highlights in my hair and I kinda wanted to touch them up, but with a little punch.  They use Aveda color there and she told me which one she would be using. I told her I wanted some of the curls to be highlighted, but not chunks of hair.  She did very thin foils all around my head.  Here I am after they had been applied and I was getting a condition and rinse.  The shampoo girl was chatty and we talked about her natural haired black friend who was getting married, and the merits of twists verse an out style.  Pleasent convo.  And she was very patient, using her fingers to detangle my hair while drenched in conditioner. 
 
This is where I have to note one complaint.  I thought that the highlights were too light.  And the finger detangling did not get all the snarls in my hair.   Particularly not in the back part where it is tighter and denser.  I found lots of matted spots later and worked them through myself in Beth's chair.  That is one good thing- you are encouraged to play with and look at it while they are working- it's an interactive process.

I don't remember why- but I went under a dryer for a moment to shrink it back. Maybe she did a once over at this point? I dunno- I'm drawing a blank here lol.

While my hair was damp I got my product applied, which was just Paul Mitchel The Conditioner (which I discovered at this salon).  I don't like their an-gel so I skipped it.  At this point she went around looking for stragglers as well and this was when I had my hands all in it too.  I found a few pieces I thought were too long on my left side and had her snip them out.  Together we cleaned it up a little, and I didn't find any crazies later.  I paid a whopping $160 for the cut and highlights, but I agree that it was professional and specialized service so I didn't have a problem with it.  It's still about half as much as a Deva cut from NY.
Here I am about to leave.

And out on the streets. Wet hair.  At this point I was like, oh a nice bob.  Cute.  and wow it's short in back.  and the highlights didn't looks so bright anymore as it started to dry. I got compliments on it as I walked back to work.

And then it dried (almost).  And I was like WOW.  I see what she did.  It's angled.  It was much longer in front and I had a super funky shape. And this was with minimal styling and product.  I was impressed.
 
 I'm on my home from work on this same day here. I was very happy but I still had yet to see the shape styled with products and fully shrunken. I would be in for a great surprise.  I loved this whole experience and I would def do it again.
 

Advisory:

Beth is the first white stylist I let near my natural hair and Beth does not work with our "invisible length." She works with your apparent length. In that regard it doesn't bother me. But if you have BSL hair when you stretch it and have stretched length goals and aspirations- you would definitely have to explain it. If you don't wear it straight, and it doesn't look that long any other time- she will not intuitively understand your length goals. If you walk in with 18" hair that looks 8" and ask for a shape she might cut off a good 6" but when you leave you still look like you have 8".  She cut my hair by sight and wear. Not twist out goals, nor blowout goals. Those come secondary to shape for me because I do those myself and can work them into any cut that is long enough.

Just remember that length could be camouflaging a face flattering shape.  I achieved exactly what I wanted- which was easy wash and go hair that I could wear out and about with less concern and more style :-) 


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