My Little Secret Is...

Let's keep it going!

Elisa Lewis writes:

This is a little game that I saw on another hair forum that I think would be a GREAT Question of the Day....

It's called, "Let's play a little game..."

Hi, I'm: Give your Username.
I love: List ONE of your favorite product lines.
My Splurge is: One product you buy that you know is expensive, but you love it.
My Cheap Fix is: That CHEAP (less than $10) product you love.
I don't get why ladies love: One product that ladies LOVE that just didn't work for you.
My Little Secret is: Name ONE product or ONE Technique/Method you love that people don't seem to rave about.
I want to try: This is for all you product junkies out there, ONE product.

**CN's Response**:

Hi, I'm: CurlyNikki
I love: CURLS Curl Souffle!
My Splurge is: anything I desire at the moment ;-)
My Cheap Fix is: Herbal Essence's Totally Twisted- the best detangling conditioner hands down!
I don't get why ladies love: Miss Jessies-- for the price, the ingredients leave much to be desired.
My Little Secret is: After styling (Twist-n-Curl), I sometimes tie a silk scarf around my head (with the twists and rollers dangling down underneath) to help the crown dry in a downward position. Works like a charm!
I want to try: Ayurvedic oils and herbs

What is a Bad Hair Day?

How we Talk About Our Own Hair

Rebellious, unmanageable, nappy, untamed, unkempt.
These are just some of the words I hear people use to describe their own hair, and it's usually not meant to be positive. This is what makes us look for so-called "miracle products" for our hair. I'm even talking about those of us who wear our hair naturally; I still don't think we have gotten rid of negative thinking about our hair. Some of us are wearing it out and proud but still talk about certain sections of our hair being "too unruly." I know some gave up relaxers and frequent flat iron use (me) because we were tired of fighting with our curls and coils. But then why are we still trying all these products and techniques in attempts to "fight" with our hair even more?

Don't get me wrong, I like playing in my hair on days when I'm not being lazy. I like finding out what it can do. But I stopped thinking about my hair as these unruly fibers sprouting from my head. Suddenly styling became easier and so did my product searches. I am NOT searching for a product to solve all of my hair problems because quite frankly, my hair isn't problematic. Having curls and coils isn't a disorder that needs to be "taken care of" or handled. Even though I have different patterns all over my head and it's in layers and I easily get single strand knots, I still don't think these are issues, but things about my hair I have to work with. Do you note the difference in wording? I said I had to work with my hair, not manage or tame it.

Obviously, the issue with naturally curly hair (particularly the afro-grade) is that information isn't mainstream enough for people to understand how their hair works. And let's face it, most products we love market themselves in ways to promise us to deal with these "problems." Look at the description of some (even ones that I have) that talk about using the product to have beautiful or manageable or better hair. If we want to fully accept our hair, I say that we stop using words (unconsciously) that make it so negative.

Weigh in!

Brown Babies with Pink Parents

Maria of writes:

Amy Ford is a new blogger on As conotated by the above title, Amy is white and her adopted children are black. Her contribution to Naturally Curly is to write about the things she learned to be able to properly care for her girls naturally curly hair.

I've been coming across many stories as of late, about white mothers with black adopted children who go through hell and high water in order to learn how to properly care for their daughters hair. There was the dad who learned how to braid his Ethiopian Daughter's hair. Not only was he a guy doing his daughter's hair, he was a white guy!

In my son's (overwhelming white) swim class, there was couple who had adopted a black daughter. On the last day of class in the locker room, I overheard her pointing out my "Thank God I'm Natural" tote to her 4 year old. I stopped so we could talk and she told me they are dedicated to the Youtube community for learning about how to take of the girl's hair. She asked me, a perfect stranger, about wrapping her child's hair at night. The mother stopped using scarves after waking to find the scarve slipped over her daughter's face in the night. I told her a cap or a satin pillow case would solve her problem. She was ever so grateful. Sherelle, the co-creator of Naturalistas, works in a child development center and mentioned to me about a little girl who is also adopted. The parents try very hard to enforce the beauty of the little girl's hair, but the girl insists that her hair needs to be straight like the other black women who also work at the facility. Sherelle, of course is natural. But at what point did the girl make this revelation I wonder?

More interestingly, I find, is the dedication of these mothers who love their children so much, and have no aim to change who they are genetically, that they are doing whatever it takes to make sure the girl's hair is taken care of properly. Maybe it is different with adoption? One could reason these parents may feel they have more to prove since the children are not biologically theirs irregardless of their skin color. But what about the whole Angelina and Zahara debacle? The brown masses of the US were demanding Angelina "do something" with Zahara's hair while others, including many naturals, thought her naturally curly afro was adorable and appropriate for a little girl. That Angelina and other mother's allow their little girls' natural hair to shine without submitting it to the heat of a hot comb or worse, to chemical relaxers so very early on in their precious lives is a beautiful thing.

My own mother, African-American, may not have gone out of her way to purchase numerous books and there were no Youtubes for her to watch, but she was very protective about my hair. It was always in braids. There were no free pony tails for me, no one, including my self was allowed to "play in" my hair and I slept with a scarf for as long as I can remember. Now, when I got to be 9, all that was undone with a relaxer, but I still wasn't allowed to touch my hair. Doing my hair was both tedious for my mother and loathed by me, but she had no qualms about taking the time and effort to do it. So what is it about many ( I said many, not most or all) young black mothers opting to take the easy route and slap the creamy crack on their babies heads?

I know, through my own witness, many heads roll when they see yet another white couple with black children. But it's just skin and it's just hair and obviously they are providing that child with love and care that the biological parents could and or did not. I say kudos to Amy for not only going the extra mile for her child but for sharing her journey publicly.

Weigh in!

When Are You Going to Relax Your Hair?

Didi of AdventuresofaKinkyCurly writes:

Reflections of a Natural Head...

When are you going to relax your hair?

This is a question I have heard frequently in the last month. I have been interning at a prominent law firm in Nigeria this summer and when people find out where I'm working, they are shocked that they allow me to rock my natural hair because it is seen as 'unprofessional'. Usually when someone asks me if I am going to relax my hair, I laugh and say that I prefer my hair this way. They normally look at me like I'm crazy and say that I should do something with it... do something to it. I have tried my best not to get offended, but after hearing negative comments from three people in one day, I was through!

I know that many Nigerian women prefer to wear weaves, wigs, and braids, but I'm not in that boat right now. Don't get me wrong, I think women can do whatever they want to their hair. Before my Big Chop, I was rocking weaves and braids regularly. Heck, if my scalp didn't severely scab up every time I applied a relaxer, I would probably still be hooked on the creamy crack! With that said, I get really annoyed and a little disappointed that I must defend my hair more in Africa than in America. A lot of the women I have run into do not embrace their natural hair and they try to make me feel uncomfortable about my own hair. Whenever they ask me why I don't do something with my hair, I always fight the urge to say, "Why don't you wear a weave that matches your hair texture or your hair color?" I never say that, but I don't understand why a woman wearing European hair is better than me wearing the hair that God gave me.

Not everyone is against my natural hair, many people actually like it, especially people my age or younger. They usually tell me I am brave to keep my hair natural. Often many girls tell me they have tried and failed to go natural because they don't have 'good hair' like mine. I try to explain that there is no such thing as good hair. All hair is different and what may work for one woman may not work for another. I just wish people in Nigeria, especially women, had a more positive image of natural hair.


Has anyone ever asked you, 'what are you gonna do with your hair?' or 'when are you gonna relax?' How did you respond... how would you respond in this situation?

Are Expensive Natural Hair Products Worth It?

Tonetta asks:

What is the most money you have spent on a hair product and was it worth it?

CN's Response: Most expensive product? That's a tough one... I've bought A LOT over the past 5 years. The most expensive tools have been the Ouidad Double Detangler (totally worth it), and Curlformers (ehh... I can take it or leave it). I consider that tiny jar of Aveda Defining Whip expensive ($20 for 4oz, I think), and it was definitely worth it! I've been using it for weeks, and have even used it twice without henna'ing before hand, and it smooths my hair like none other!

Trimming Natural Hair

Charrise asks:

What is the most effective way to trim?

-Describe your hair (coily, curly, wavy, fine, coarse, etc.)

- Do you 'Search and Destroy', clip the ends of twists, or
straighten to trim, or go to a salon?

-How often do you trim? How do you know when the time has come?

CN's Response:

- My hair is fine and wavy (mostly s curls with a few coils).

-I conduct Search and Destroys and on occasion, will clip the ends of my twists.

-It depends on the condition of my hair. If my curls are acting a donkey and tangling and snagging no matter what I do, I'll snip the ends of the twists prior to rolling them for a Twist-n-Curl (I do this a few times a year). Usually it's a micro trim (less than an inch), but sometimes I'll chop off more (like last December).

I conduct Search and Destroys whenever I happen to grab a curl and can see more than a split end or two without straining. I do this while sitting in front of the TV, or standing in the bathroom mirror... even while on the internet. The lighting in all three situations is perfect! After snipping a few, I become anal and my sessions can last more than an hour. I cut just above the split and apply moisturizer as I go. After I finish a S&D, I'm usually on my way to re-style, because it leaves me with a frizzy, undefined mess.

So yeah, I trim when detangling becomes more difficult than usual, and when I too easily run across split ends.

Also, I buy my hair shears from Target, Sallys, Walgreens, or Ulta. I never spend more than fifteen dollars and ONLY use them for my hair. I threw my shears away in early January because my preggy hormones were making me reach for them more often than usual. I'll probably buy another pair in August.

Homemade Deep Conditioner Recipes-- Natural Hair

Laura asks:

What's your favorite homemade deep conditioner?

CN's Response: I don't recall ever making a DT totally from scratch... I'm not much of a mixtress. I usually start with a rinse out or deep conditioner of some sort and add oils (grapeseed, coconut, or olive), and lots of honey. I'm very curious to hear about those of you experimenting with yogurt, mayo, eggs, avocado, teas, and coconut milk! Dish!

Natural Hair and Imminent Frustration

Marnettebelle writes:

I notice that many curlies go through phases of frustration with their natural hair either early on, or later down the road.

We've all been there... when your hair isn't acting right, your holy grail products stop working, you reach an awkward length, or you're doing everything 'right' and reaping ZERO benefits. Next thing you know, you're thinking of reaching for the scissors or even the creamy crack!

What do you do to combat the negativity you are feeling? How do you turn that negative into a positive to continue your journey?

What Are Your Weekend Hair Plans?

Hola Chicas,

It's Friday already... time is flying! I'm 27 weeks today and I'm finding it a bit harder to get around. I'm still walking every morning, but it's slow going... it used to take me 35 to 40 minutes to walk the neighborhood, but now it's more like an hour! Oh, and baby made me sink to a new low the other day. I went out on the deck around 10pm to check on the dogs, and the delicious smell of BBQ hit me in the face. I asked my hubby if he smelled it, and he told me it was probably the neighbors. After a text message exchange with my very sweet neighbor (who found the situation hilarious), she had her daughter bring me over a plate of chicken and baked beans! Not one of my classiest moments, but oh well :) What I really wanted was burnt up hot dogs... I told them to give me the heads up the next time they light up the grill, and I'll bring over my own meat!

Anyway, this weekend, I plan to do a 'true' henna gloss. I'm trying to determine the least amount of henna needed to achieve frizz reducing results. I plan to mix 3 tablespoons of henna with tea, and then mix that with conditioner.

Oh, and I'm still loving Aveda's Light Elements Defining Whip! I've only had to do my hair twice in the past two weeks. It keeps my curls clumpy and defined without adding weight, greasiness, or flakies. It really does have excellent hold! After my henna gloss, I'll be styling with Yes to Cucumbers, and Aveda's Defining Whip! I'll post pics of course ;)

What about you? What are you doing for your curls this weekend?

Natural Teens- Fighting for the Right to Remain Curly!

Taylor asks:

How can you convince your parents to allow you to wear your hair natural? I'm 18, in high school, and my parents are always making me straighten my hair!

Help her out ladies...

Best Detangling Tool for Natural Hair

Renee asks:

Which does a better job of detangling-- combs or Denman brushes (or similar)?

CN's Response: I'm still loving my Ouidad Double Detangler! It's the best tool I've ever used... next to my fingers. I'm not in the position to comment on shed hairs, because my shedding has ceased due to pregnancy hormones, but I can say that it is not snagging or tearing strands.

I was never a fan of wide tooth shower combs because of the ridiculous amount of shed hairs they leave behind (which results in tangling and matting). And although I tried to love my Denman and other off brand paddle brushes, they broke off my ends, tore strands, and pulled out tons of hair. So for now, the Ouidad Detangler it is :-)

Best Product for Twists-- Natural Hair

CurlyNikki asks:

Which product or combo gives you the dopest (wet set) twist-out? I'm talking shiny, moist, defined, and long lasting hair!

CN's Response: I'm still greatly enjoying the Yes To Cucumbers + Deva Set it Free combo. My hair is fluffy, shiny, and has lots of 'controlled' or 'cute' frizz. I'm always on the hunt for the next best thing though :-) Got any suggestions??

Another Curl Cloth Giveaway!

Hola Chicas!

The 'Question of the Day' posts are usually inspired by questions I really want answered... most moisturizing DT, slipperiest detangling conditioner, detangling routine, your favorite multi. Your comments inspire me to try new products and techniques, and creating blog posts specifically designed to generate these responses is nothing short of amazing.

So, what are the questions you want the community to answer? Be forewarned that your fellow natural's responses may cause your PJism to spin wildly out of control. Submit your top three questions to [email protected], using 'Question of the Day' as the subject line.

On May 10, 2010, I'll randomly choose one participant to win a free set of Curl Cloths!

According to the product description, their smooth, flat surface is designed to wick away just the right amount of moisture from your hair ensuring that your favorite curl-friendly styling product properly sets the curl for optimal smoothness, shine and definition.

You could use Curl Cloths in the same manner as I use Hand Dry Hair Gloves to rid yourself of the drippies prior to applying products.

Good Luck!

What Are Your Weekend Hair Plans?

Hola Chicas!

I plan to do my first henna gloss today... I was inspired by you divas after reading the responses to the 'Do You Henna?' post. I'll probably mix it with one of the HE conditioners, deep treat, and style as usual.

In other news, I'm so excited I can barely sit still :) I'm going home to St. Louis next week for my Baby Shower! It's going to be a BALL... co-ed, and full of characters... Gotta love my fam. I'll take tons of pics, promise. Unfortunately, I still don't have an outfit. I've bought two, returned one, and will be returning the other one today. What should I wear?! I need inspiration! I'm trying to think back to the flyy clothes that Toney from Girlfriends wore, while she was pretend pregnant before leaving the show. I remember thinking that when I'm there, I want to look like her! Chic and haute...right now I feel blah. Sorry for the digression!

What about you? What are your weekend hair plans?

Later Gators,

Question of the Day- Popping Curls

A Brooks asks:

What's your routine and product choice for getting that GREAT defined curl? Also, provide a description of your hair!

CN's Response: Back when I was a Wash-n-Go girl, I lived by a modified version of the shingle method. I used one of Herbal Essence's Gels (Totally Twisted is very light and not drying), and after applying a leave-in, would rake the gel through small sections at a time. The raking motion (which captured chunks of hair between my fingers) would create perfect little spirals. I'd then air dry, diffuse, or sit under a dryer. To show more length, I'd blast the roots with a warm blow dryer, stretching the curls a bit. The style would last 2-4 days depending on how crunchy it was on day 1.

I also learned that straight Aloe Vera Gel/Juice or a styler with Aloe as one of the top ingredients, is the single BEST kept secret for curl definition. My curls would pop without any further coaxing. It's also a great light moisturizer, and helps with frizz.

How Do You Fluff?

Catrise asks:

When fluffing the hair after doing a braid/twist-out, what is the best technique to use in order to not over fluff the hair style (comb, fingers, hair pick, etc..)?

CN's response: I've slowly come to the realization that allowing my hair to 'just be', allows it to fluff up naturally with minimal frizz. The day after my styling session (usually a Twist-n-Curl), I remove the curlers and gently unravel the twists. Since the twists are so chunky, I sometimes break them apart to help it look more natural, but that's all I do... no finger combing, picking, or massaging the roots. This no fluffing routine gets me to four day hair, which I greatly appreciate.

The problem is that my hair is fine, and walking around for a day with a flat TnC drives me insane- it's scalpy, and overly defined. However, come day two, it's twice as big, still chunky, defined, and frizz free!

There are times when I need it to be the three F's (funky, fabulous, and flyy) on day 1, so I do the following:

  • Remove the curlers
  • Unravel the twists
  • Break twisted sections apart (turning 1 crinkle into two and so on)
  • Spread my fingers and use them as a pick/comb to gently break up the roots
  • Sometimes I'll flip my head over, still using my fingers as a pick... running them from my roots to 1/4 down the strands
  • Massage the roots at the crown to help hide any parts
  • I never use combs or any other tools to fluff... just my fingers
Finally, for easier fluffing and bigger hair, remember to use less product! Preferably no styler (gel/mouuse, curl cream), and only a silver dollar sized amount of your 'styling conditioner'.

What about you? How do you fluff?!

Question of the Day- Hair Abuse!

L. Howard asks:

What is the worst thing you have ever done to your hair?

CN's answer: My undergraduate flat ironing routine-- I would clarify, rinse, blow dry with the heat set to HELL, and finally, here's the kicker, crank my Solia up to 450, and go over each section no less than 3 times!
Oh, and when it frizzed, I'd give myself touch-ups. Obviously, heat on dirty hair is a NO-NO!
It was sleek, bone straight, and I felt oh so chic. It broke off a year later. womp womp.

What about you?!

Question of the Day

Terra asks:

If you had to convince someone to go natural in one word, what would that word be?

CN's answer-- Real Diva! (made me think of Boondocks...real divas don't follow directions!) Coming up with one word is hard!

Your turn ladies!

How Do You Detangle Your Natural Hair?

Hola Chicas,

Over the years I've tried many detangling methods-- dry, wet, with a paddle brush, using a denman, fingers only, in sections, under the water stream, hell, I've even tried oil rinsing! I've done it all, but with my current length and density, the following works best for me:

  • I get in the shower with loose, dry hair (usually an old Twist-n-Curl).
  • I wet it down, apply loads of conditioner, and let it marinate.
  • I then split my hair down the middle, and start with the left side.
  • I section out the back (pinning the rest of the left side up and out of the way) and detangle with my fingers and Ouidad comb under the shower stream.
  • I two strand twist that section and repeat with the other two sections on that side (one above my ear, and one by my face).
  • Repeat with the right side.
  • I end up with three product free, thoroughly detangled, twisted sections on each side-- 6 total.
  • I then get out of the shower,and blot dry. I take down one twisted section at a time, and apply my leave-in/styler prior to re-twisting it (I usually turn one twisted section into two twists).
This routine allows me to slowly and gently detangle small sections at a time, resulting in fewer hairs loss. Twisting the detangled sections keeps my curls from knotting back up (I used to skip this step, making my efforts futile), and makes for a much quicker styling session.

What about you chicas? Share your detangling routine!

-Provide a brief description of your hair.
-What is your most effective detangling technique?
-Has it changed over time?
-What's your current length/thickness?

**For transitioners needing detangling help, check out this great thread started by Laleepop14!**

Do You Henna?

If so--

-Describe your hair type (4abc/3abc or wavy, coily, fine, coarse, etc.)

-Share your results (de-frizzing, curl loosening, curl defining, color, thickness, etc.)

If not--

-What's the biggest deterrent?

**For my results and more info about henna, click HERE.

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