How I Learned To Love My Daughter’s ‘Carpet Texture’ Hair

By Erickka Sy Savané

Be careful who you marry because your kids might have carpet texture hair,” said my friend a few years back.

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The Curl Whisperer on the 'Holy Grail'

Many curly girls get obsessed with finding what is known among us as "The Holy Grail" for their curls--that mythical, miraculous, one-of-a-kind, priceless treasure of a product that will give us impeccable, frizz-free, red carpet curls--the kind that always snap back into perfect ringlets even in the worst rain, hail, humidity, sleet and hurricane-force winds known to mankind.

The good Lord knows, I was on an HG quest myself for eons and there are times I still find myself falling into that trap. Even when I find a product combination that makes me look great 99% of the time, I'll catch myself thinking: sure, my curls look great...but what if I stop looking now and that one great product--that one single elixir of magical fairy tales--is just over the hill? And what if I never find it because I was happy with "second best" and I stopped looking too soon? It was enough to drive any curly girl to drink.

It was with a mixture of relief and sadness that I finally came to the conclusion--after doing hundreds and hundreds of curly heads, and studying reams of information on hair type and product ingredients--that, despite our greatest hopes and wishes, that mythical "Holy Grail"

just. doesn't. exist.

Yes, there are products that are great for our hair and will work wonders the vast majority of the time, sometimes even 99% of the time. There are products with ingredients that love our particular hair type--our texture, our porosity, our elasticity--and will make our curls look the absolute best they can possibly be.

For a time.

But ...

Hair type changes over time. Texture changes, porosity changes, elasticity changes. Weather changes. The chemical composition of your water changes. Hormones change. Medical conditions change. If there is one thing we can count on in the crazy world of curly hair, it is change. And that means no product is going to work 100% the best 100% of the time.

The same product might work almost as great, but from the bottom of my heart I do not and will never believe one single product can unfailingly give you what I call "red carpet curls"...the perfect, rockin' kind of curls that make any Hollywood A-lister turn around and think jealously, "I want HER hair." Unless you live in an environment and in a body where absolutely nothing changes, the Holy Grail will have to remain the myth it is.

Incidentally, that's why it is all the more important to understand your hair type and your environment and, subsequently, what product ingredients work the best for your particular situation. There might not be a single Holy Grail...but that doesn't mean there can't be a foundational core of products that act in tandem with each other to give you red carpet curls all the time.

For more of Tiffany the Curl Whisperer, click HERE.

Chimere Is Naturally Glam!

Tell me about yourself!

My name is Chimere Cooke from Hartford, CT new to the natural hair community and willing to learn every chance I get. I'm a single mom of two. Mental health worker and a praising Christian. 

Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper? What was your journey like?
I did the BC on 3/5/14 so far it's been easy and I love it when it's wet.

Had you always embraced your texture?
I had never embraced my texture b/c I've been getting perms since I was 12 and I'm in my mid 30's now


Demriss Is Naturally Glam!

Tell me about yourself!
I am a very outgoing person. I love to be around my family and friends. I enjoy singing on the choir, reading romance novels and date nights with my husband of 10 years. I have 3 beautiful children whom I love dearly.

Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper? What was your journey like?
I was a transitioner. I had my first perm when I was 9 years old. My mother did not know how to handle my hair, so I went to my family members for styles. Receiving a perm was suppose to make my hair more manageable. In my last year of high school, I noticed that my hair was becoming thinner and I no longer wanted to perm my hair. I began to go longer periods of time without perming. Then I finally decided I no longer wanted to use a relaxer. My hair dresser at the time told me I needed to keep relaxing my hair because my hair texture was too thick. That was the last time I went to this particular stylist. I realized that my relaxed hair was really damaged and the ends were breaking off quickly. A friend of mine recommended a stylist who would gradually cut my hair in layers to help with my transition. I didn’t do a big chop all at once; I gradually cut my hair over a period of time. Styling was definitely an issue for me, so I would look at pictures of magazines for inspiration.


Do You Have A Dysfunctional Relationship With Your Hair?

By Erickka Sy Savané

I'm sitting in a chair in the middle of the living room while my husband holds some electric clippers. The buzzing sound is deafening because they are as old as Methuselah.

“Do you really wanna do it?” he asks.

Man. The truth is, as sure as I was a few minutes ago that I wanted him to break out the clippers and do whatever he wants to my hair, now I'm not so sure. The fact that he’s never cut anyone’s hair a day in his life is starting to make me feel a little cuckoo because what are the chances that this will end well? Even he’s questioning whether he should do it. But at the same time, this hair has me oppressed like the police. It’s disrupting my whole life. If I can do this now I might actually break free. But can I let this hair go though?


Haute Hair Tips!

 From runways to the red carpet, the natural hair revolution is on fire! It’s getting haute in here ladies and it's because of YOU. You divas are on the front lines everyday... making waves (pun intended) and successfully challenging the beauty standard. So we're celebrating the fierce force that is the CurlyNikki community with a giveaway, of course!

I'm declaring May 31 days of Haute Hair! We'll be keeping you cool and helping you achieve haute hair with fabulous curly hair prizes from some of your favorite brands! Be sure to enter each day this May to increase your chances of winning + each time you enter you are going to get tips on how to achieve dope summer tresses. Enter now »

My 10 Tried and True Summer Tips:

1. Don’t fight nature: Don’t waste your summer prepping for twist-outs and roller sets. If it’s warm and sticky where you are, your efforts will be futile and your twist-out will very quickly become a fro-out. That’s not necessarily bad unless you weren't expecting to rock one style and end up with another. Instead, opt for a wash-n-gos and other styles that work with your texture.

2. Try more frequent co-washing, not only to rid your scalp of sweat and chlorine from this morning’s aquatic workout, but also because it feels good! You can co-wash, shake and go and let your mane air dry in the wind.

3. Try protective styling to keep your hair off of your face and neck. I love high messy buns as well as side buns. Rock a funky headband and some cute earrings and you're chic and ready to go!

4. Invest in hats…lots of hats. Curly hair can be unpredictable, especially in humid conditions and hats are a great accessory. I love summer beanies, but sunhats and caps work too. They have the added benefit of keeping your tresses protected from the elements (wind, sea, sun, etc.).

5. Chill on the heat styling. Instead work with your hair texture and try wash-n-gos, twists, braids and other protective styles.

6. To better understand your curls in the summer, get acquainted with dew points and how it relates to humidity.

7. Hydrate inside and out! You’re supposed to drink your body’s weigh in water (oz) everyday. Also, water your hair! It’s nature’s perfect moisturizer.

8. I’ve tried many a product that claimed to de-frizz or weather proof my hair. The only ones that work fairly well — which means my hair shrunk to my chin rather than my ears — contain silicones (amodimethicone) and polymers (PVP/VA Copolymer) in the first five ingredients. These ingredients help to create a barrier on your strands, locking moisture from your conditioner in and moisture from the atmosphere out. Ingredients like glycerin swell my highly porous strands and cause immediate reversion, so I avoid it like the plague in high dew point/humidity conditions.

9. Nicole Harmon, a wise cosmetic chemist from Hair Liberty once told me, “Products that contain hydrolyzed protein temporarily patch up some of the cuticle holes in porous hair. If African American hair doesn't get additional protein regularly, it will frizz out very quickly no matter what you do.” As a result, I now regularly use products that contain hydrolyzed proteins and do find that my humidity fighting products do a better job. Good luck and have an umbrella drink for me!

10. Refrigerate your conditioner and leave-in. Crazy, right? Nope! Not only will it feel good going on, it will keep you cool in the hot summer months.

Inna Modja- International Curly Model!

Meet Inna Modja... a singer, author-composer, and international model. She is also the new face for L'Oreal! Originally from Mali, she lives and works in Paris and has been everywhere from New York to Mauritius. She's a CurlyNikki reader and proud curly girl. Check her out!

On her hair story...

I've been natural for much of my life. I had my first relaxer when I was a teenager. I begged and begged and begged my mother to have a perm, but it was so painful that I quickly lost my enthusiasm. I didn't experience a lot of breakage but I also hated the new texture of my hair, so I would let it grow out, and then relax again. I didn't know that what I was doing was called transitioning. I did that several times, then I cut off the ends very spontaneously and that was it. I was fully natural! My last relaxer was 7 years ago.

On embracing her texture...

I've always liked my natural hair. When I wanted straight hair, I would relax and then always come back to my natural hair.

In my family, my mother, aunties, two of my sisters, and my grandmas are all natural. Now I know that I don't need to relax my hair if I want a straight look. I've learned how to take care and manage my natural hair. It's actually quite versatile!

On her routine and fav products...
Once a week I wash and deep condition my hair. I comb in the shower with conditioner, then apply a leave-in, and style. I co-wash when needed. I do Rhassoul & Henna (or Cassia) treatments twice a month.

When I'm too busy with work, I like protective styles like sew-ins, braids, or twists. I moisturize when needed with my favorite leave-in.

Eric Alexis Rosso, my hair stylist works for L'Oreal as a trend-setter. He's an Ambassador of L'Oreal for Mizani. He does my hair twice a month and for important events like TV shows, the Red Carpet, or concerts. I do it myself the rest of the time.

When I'm wearing a twist/braid out, I moisturize with a leave in, and spritz it every other day.

I'm in love with Mizani's natural hair line "True Textures". My favorite product is the Supreme Oil!!! It's a mix of 8 great oils, and it's silicone free. I use it to seal in moisture and add shine. I also add it to my leave-in and body lotion. It's great for my skin too.

I use the Cleansing Cream or The Curl Balance Shampoo (sulfate free) depending on the state of my hair, and the Moisture Stretch Cream to help define my curls. The H2O Night Cream is great, and I use it as needed to moisturize my hair before going to bed.

I used Mizani's products for 9 months before I accepted to be their 'face'. I wanted to be sure that their products were good for my afro textured hair and that I could stand behind them.

I'm in love with Shea Butter, Henna, and Rhassoul... my organic treatments I can't live without! I also like Darcy's Botanical Daily Leave-in.

At night , I braid or twist my hair and sleep with a satin bonnet. The next morning it's easier to style.

On the best thing about being curly...
The best thing about being curly is the versatility. You can style your hair in so many ways. When you find the right routine and know how to take care of your natural hair, it's easy to grow it out.

On advice for those who are transitioning...
I would tell women that going natural was such a relief for me, I'm at peace with myself. I know that I am beautiful with what God gave me. I'm a proud Kinky-Head! When it comes to fashion I make my own rules and the same goes for my life and my hair!

I don't need someone to tell me how I have to look like to fit in with stupid and subjective beauty standards. Beauty is should not be about shapes, color, or standards. It's about embracing yourself. Take your time to feel ready to take the step, but think about it. Relaxing your hair isn't the only choice, almost all the myths about natural hair are untrue.

On upcoming projects...
I'm writing and composing my second album, which will be released in a few months.

I'm also trying hard to share my natural hair experience with women in Europe and Africa. Being the new Face of L'Oreal is an amazing experience. I feel blessed.

I keep on modeling, I have my Fashion blog, and I just created a clothing line and hair accessories made with African fabrics and materials (wax & bogolan), with Mariah my sister who is a talented stylist. I like being busy and creative :-)

I'd like to say to the community that I'm so proud to be part of it !!! You are all so amazing and beautiful! It's a blessing for me to have such generous, supportive and inspiring sisters from all around the world.

After her small chop 4 month ago

Kita and Mo Talk Hair, Reality TV and Business

PR power team Monique Jackson and Kita Williams of 'The T.O Show' are On the Couch! Did you know that they are actually co-creators and executive producers of the show? I missed that memo. And that in and of itself warranted an interview! I caught up with them in D.C. and they dished on everything from their 'beef' with Evelyn Lozado of 'Basketball Wives' to tips on pocketing fear in order to accomplish your goals... oh, and of course their hair stories! It's a long one y'all... turned into a gabfest... felt like I was chatting it up with my besties. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!

CN: Let's start with Kita. You get tons of compliments on your hair. What's your story?

Kita: I’m going to take you all the way back to a little brown girl from Kentucky. Louisville that is. My father and mother were young parents—my mother was a homemaker and my father didn’t have the best job. As a young lady, when I came out of those ponytails, I wanted to rock a style. I wanted a relaxer, but we couldn't afford the upkeep. So my grandmother pressed my hair. She pressed my hair until I went to college. I never had a relaxer, a Just For Me, a Just For Her, a Kinky Curl… I never had any of that in my hair. When I got to college, I had to learn to press and curl my hair myself. It’s called the ‘greasy press’, because that’s the only way I knew. I went to the University of Kentucky and I would press my hair on the weekends when my roommate would go home. And this not like 1985, this is like 1998. [Laughter] This wasn’t way back when. I’m not trying to date myself, but it’s when people were rocking the perms and stuff, and I was not.

So here I was in college, with a greasy press, always pulled back in a ponytail. I had to figure out a way to achieve and maintain a professional look outside of ‘the snatch back’. So I modified my pressing routine. I would press my hair at night and if I had something important to do, I’d tie my hair with a wrap to absorb the oil. So two days later, my hair would be less greasy and I could at least wear it down in a style.

When I came to LA, I thought, okay, I can afford a perm. Unbeknownst to me, LA is the land of the press. And that’s where the story lives. My hair is virgin… the only part of me that is virgin! [Laughter] It’s down my back and thriving, but because we shoot the show, both Monique and I opt for weaves.

I actually met Monique when I was working at Def Jam. We were there with the Ashantis and the hair goddesses, where weaves were everyday wear. I was on the road so much that I got my first extensions- 3 extensions in the back. So that’s where I was introduced to the wonderful world of weave. And it’s like this, I’m in a place that I will wear my own hair when necessary, but when we shoot the show, in order to protect my hair, I will wear extensions. In some scenes my hair is out and then there are days that I have them put it up entirely. But yes, underneath the tracks I have virgin natural hair.

CN: How would you describe your texture?

Kita: Girl. One side… do you remember Michael Jackson’s singing ‘she’s black, she’s white…’ when I turn to one side, I’m like ‘oh, this is a great look for me, I could do the whole big wavy hair thing’, but on the other side… that side looks like it’s throwing a tantrum. It needs a can of get right. It really does. On the right side, we easy breezy, little wavy wonders, I can lay my little baby hairs down, but on the left side there is no baby hair. It’s like night and day, but I’ve learned how to maintain it. I put more conditioner on the left side if I’m wearing it out because it requires that. A little bit more TLC if you will. I guess you can say my hair is heat trained. It’s amazing in that it’ll stay straight for a week or more… where some people can sweat a press out, I can’t. But as soon as you wet and condition it, it’ll curl right up.

My hair itself isn’t a tighter coil, it’s more of an African American wave. You put the right stuff in it and it’ll do whatever you want it to.

One thing I deal with is fine edges. I realized that if your parents made it a habit of snatching your hair up in barrettes and balls and ponytails, then what you’re probably left with now is thin edges. For so long, I was snatching my hair back pulling it back, and it’s been so much stress on the sides that my hair is thick all over except the sides. To combat this, I condition my hair a lot and I use our 8 essential oils from the Define Your Pretty Collection, paying extra special attention to my edges.

CN: What are your must have products?

Kita: Right now we’re in DC, it’s raining and it’s windy and the hair has been ‘wetted’. I know that’s not a word, but still, it’s been wetted. And what we pack is what we call our survival kit. It includes my flat iron and lets not forget, I have my hot plate and pressing comb! I know it’s old school but you just never know… it’s so dependable. I always carry my pressing comb with me no matter where I go. I can go to Cambodia, I can go to Italy… it gets my edges a little bit straighter than the electrical appliances. So yeah, that and my Diva wrap. I don’t call it a head wrap, I don’t call it a scarf… that just sounds tacky. Every woman is a diva, and we have to wrap our hair up so we can be divalicious in the morning. I also keep the Slick Stick close. It doesn’t matter whether your hair is out or in, in extensions, if you want to lay your edges down… it will stand the test of time through humidity through rain, through putting a hat on, a night of wild sleeping… you don’t even have to go through the whole tooth brush thing. I also use our Define Shine for that high gloss you see on the show.

CN: Where can we find these products?

Go to Starting today, we’re hosting a contest that will allow a winner to come out and meet us and get a makeover. On the site, we have everything available from our flatirons, to our extensions, to our beauty products. Part of the proceeds go to our Define Your Pretty Foundation as well. Define your pretty is the pretty that you define yourself to be. The defining part of you, pretty smart, pretty talented, pretty fearless, pretty creative, pretty talkative like me, pretty bossy like Mo! Pretty confident is what we are as women once you have the definition of who you are. So when you define your own pretty from the inside out then you can work on the outside.

People should take a page out of the Kardashian playbook. And we’re doing just that. We’re being strategic in how we define our brand. We’re not the kind of chicks that are going to go around throwing water and wine to get attention. Our thing is, if it takes us longer to spread a message that’s positive, then we’re going to do that. Which is why we’re here in DC with the United Negro College Fund, for free, to speak to college students about defining their pretty, about empowering eachother, and about doing what it takes to get to the next step. To show them that it doesn’t matter if you’re dating a ball player or not, what matters is what you do to create your own pathway of success.

CN: Let’s back it up. Rewind! You mentioned that y’all aren’t the type of women to throw wine and engage in the tomfoolery to garner attention. And I totally get that from watching the show. I recently read an article on TheYBF about some beef that y’all have with Evelyn of Basketball Wives. Long story short, correct me if I ‘m wrong, there was an interview where y’all said some things, then she snapped back on Twitter, and Kita, you responded in a very positive way, taking the high road. And now Evelyn is allegedly off of Twitter and Reality TV. What the hell?

Kita: Long story short, we were on the red carpet for Forbes Magazine, not a, not for a drop it like it’s hot extravaganza, and not for a ball player’s charity event. We were on the red carpet, invited to a Forbes event… we were there with the Kardashians, the Tyreses of the world and it was very classy. Bettheney Frankel of Real Housewives of Bravo was being honored. Monique and I were invited because we are the creators and executive producers of the T.O. Show. We’re the first African American women to create a sports reality TV show, not Shaunie. We were there with women of all colors, celebrating our achievements. An interviewer asked the question-

So you guys are a positive reality show and you deal with real life issues. You don’t just go to lunch and talk about eachother. You might bicker, but it’s about real life. How do you feel about the image that is being portrayed for women of color? Because whether you like it or not, you’re lumped into it.
Y’all didn’t hear the question. You only heard a part of our response. I spoke first and they completely edited me out and went straight to Mo’s sound bite. And she is much harsher than me. Meaning that Mo speaks her mind.

Mo- Kita actually took the higher road on the red carpet too, but since it wasn’t something the public would get all excited about, it was edited out. They completely edited her out so it just looked like she was on the side line when she actually spoke first. And then there were a couple of times when she actually interrupted me, but the way they cut the tape, it looked like I was just going on and on and on.

Kita- So if you look at the tape, it just looks like Monique was hating. But there are threads of truth through it. I don’t necessarily agree with everything Monique said, but I agree with why she said them. I agree with the fact that we have to take more responsibility with the images that we’re showing our young girls. Evelyn’s a mother of a young daughter, of dating age, and her daughter looks up to her. What example is she setting for her? If she wants to be a positive role model for the girls that are watching the show, then you can’t sleep with a man on the first date. Even if they edited it, that’s what it looks like. And yes, I called her irrelevant. Tammy had every right to be angry. Evelyn slept with another woman's husband... whether you knew it or not, you now know, and you still were defensive when she brought it up. She should have taken the high road, but instead she calls her a non mother f'in factor? No! You’re the one that’s irrelevant. That’s what Monique was saying. And I chimed in just to say that it's not cool to sleep with another woman's man. It's all gossip... we’ve all been in the company of the same people. T.O. is our client and we worked with Chad before Evelyn started screwing him. We worked with Chad in 2005, long before he was Ocho Cinco.

Mo-What people don’t understand is that Chad had a crush on Jennifer…

Kita: [Laughter] Mo, stop. Evelyn didn’t like what Monique said but guess what, Evelyn said a lot of nasty things about women on her show and she expects people to be okay with that. And that’s not okay. I’m not on a TV show because of who I’m with or dating, I’m on this show because Monique and I took 6 years to create this platform. It took 6 years to sell it to any network and VH1 took the opportunity and said, I believe in what you guys are doing. Lets do it.

CN: So in all reality, The T.O. Show, paved the way for Basketball Wives and the like.

Kita: Yes. And I took the high road because I felt like it was important for girls to see that you don’t entertain negativity. I don’t have a problem with her. The bottom line is this—negativity breeds gossip and gossip breeds some type of monster that’s called celebrity. No one can tell me what Kim Kardashian is known for, but she’s a celebrity. No one can tell me what Evelyn is known for, but we still talk about her. I don’t have a problem with Evelyn Lozado at all. I really don’t. What I have a problem with, is how certain women portray themselves on Television, and people believe that it’s real. And whether it’s real or not, it doesn’t matter because that’s what people perceive it to be.

CN: So this is why you responded positively to her re-tweet--

Kita: I felt as though her reweeting it with a comment meant that she wanted people to read the negative comment. She could’ve just replied to the person and the whole world wouldn’t have seen it on her twitterverse. But when she retweeted it with a comment, I felt that it was an intentional blow at me and anyone else who wears weave, or any other woman out there that may feel some kind of way about themselves, and now think they have to be validated because ‘I’m not approved’ through whomever. So I tweeted it with positivity because my mother always told me that you kill people with kindness.

Evelyn clearly has Team Evelyn people. A lot of her followers are women who support her… they want to wear the non mothaf*ckin factor shirts, and that’s good, but don’t bash other people if you’re supporting her.

Don’t trash another woman and call her weave synthetic. Why? Evelyn wears extensions. You can talk about my hair all you want to, but all of my followers love my hair. So pow. People think weave wearing is a derogatory term. Why is it derogatory? A billionaire, Oprah, wears extensions and she ain’t hood to me. And guess what, so does Diane Sawyer… she wears her little extra clip-ons.

And, ‘Thirsty’ for what? She needs to turn the mirror on herself. When we’re not on the show, we have other job descriptions. But it is true, a lot of people don’t know that. They don’t read credits. They don’t see 'created by'… 'co-exective producers'. What we’re doing is positive… putting a positive image out there for girls. You won’t ever see me call Mo a bitch or vice versa, 'cause that’s not even in my vernacular. It’s a level of respect that you just don’t see often, especially not on TV.

We often get comments like,‘why are y’all trailing behind Terrell’, or ‘y’all need to get your own lives’, etc. Do y’all understand that this show is what pays his checks?! This is the show that we created for him. He is not our only client. It’s called the T.O. Show, its not called the Mo and Kita show. We don’t have our company business on the show. We take that. But not any more. We want the world to understand that we are professional business women. We have a track record of working with people that are on a certain level, even outside of sports.

CN: How long have you worked with Terrell?

Kita: We’ve known Turtle for 12 years and not just for work. We’ve known him as a friend, a family member, and now, a business partner. We’ve done a lot of things for him to put money in his pocket.

CN: I saw in the Huff Po yesterday about his money woes and such.

Kita: The show keeps him relevant and makes him visible to people and brands.

CN: It humanizes him. They have the clip of him in tears. And I’m sure there are a ton of NFL players that would’ve never shown that side of themselves.

That’s where our friendship comes into play. Since we did create the show, and since we are all in this together, then you forget that the cameras are really rolling in that moment. And you’re in a comfortable zone. We really are friends, really going through these life lessons and really learning off of each other. Terrell is really much an introvert. He’s closed and doesn’t like to talk, but with us, we can pull that out of him. Our crew, who has been with us for 3 years now, knows when to pull back. So they give us enough space to do what we would naturally do as friends. And those are the things that we talk about. So I commend him all the time. Coming out and speaking out on a lot of subject matters. The first season it was about his father, the second season it was about him trying to become a better father and becoming a life partner with someone, and now it is about his financial situations and his future, and where football stands. It’s all because it really starts with our friendship and family based relationship that we have.

CN: How do you juggle business and the friendship?

Mo: It’s all kinda gray. Well, we can call it a rainbow because it can be a bit colorful with the three of us. A lot of people think that Terrell’s our only client because Terrell thinks that he’s our only client. How do you charge someone for the work you’re doing on the clock 9-5, but when 5:15 hits, he’s still with you at the office talking about work stuff, personal stuff, vacationing stuff. If he’s in town and needs a place to crash, he has two options besides hotels. When we come into town for games or business, we dare not stay at a hotel! We have our own rooms in his house… how do you balance that?

Kita- Mo has actually placed boundaries since she had her kids. Mo has a family and she has to find that balance now, and Terrell had a hard time dealing with that. He felt almost as if Monique was leaving him, because she couldn’t take off… she stopped taking calls after 8:30. She’s wrestling with 3 kids outside of working and I understood it, but it took him a while to get it.

We don’t always do a good job of balancing it, but we try. That’s why Define Your Pretty has been our main focus because the past two years it’s been T.O. T.O. T.O. We were constantly fielding hair product questions and hair styling questions and we were sending them everywhere but back to us. We've done it for our clients, and it was time to begin to develop our own brand.

CN: So with that, what advice do you have for those of us with the entrepreneurial spirit?

Mo: I always say, get a blue print! Find someone that has already paved the way and get on his or her shoulders. Study what they’ve done, their mistakes, because their mistakes will help you become more successful. Get mentors. It doesn’t have to be someone down the street or at church… you don’t even have to physically touch or know the person. They don’t even have to know they’re mentoring you. Research them… get books, get online and pull from them what you need. Kita loves to tell people to intern. She says all the time that that’s her claim to fame.

Kita: An internship doesn’t mean you have to be in college. You can do an internship at 30 because you’re changing careers and wanting an inside look at what you’ll be doing. The next thing you know, the person you’re interning for may need extra help! An internship is your gateway inside of what it is you’re trying to do. And if you can’t find an internship, at least shadow someone. If you know someone that knows someone that knows a person that is doing what you want to do, then ask them if you can follow them for a day. And that will at least give you a realistic feel. My advice for most entrepreneurial-esses is to put fear in your pocket and get rid of it. Fear is going to do one of two things-- either paralyze you or push you forward.
I’m a pretty confident person but at times, I can be unsure in certain areas of my life… areas that I havent’ laid the ground work. Or in areas where I’m trailblazing a path no one has gone before me. I get nervous and fearful… Niecey Nash asked me, ‘How do you know you have courage if you’ve never used it on your fears?’

Isn’t that powerful?

So for me, I look back and there were so many things in my life I was afraid of or fearful of and I overcame them. And I realized, well dang, I guess I really did have courage. It’s important for people who are trying to do something they’ve never done before, or doing something that no one has ever done before to not be afraid. You might mess up, but get back up and keep moving forward. Because success doesn’t come through just having a wonderful testimony. Success comes from having a test, that’s how you have a testimony.

CN: What’s next for Kita and Mo?

Kita: Define Your Pretty is our current project. We will not only have hair products, we will have a limited edition of hair extensions. We’re teaming up with the person that does our hair and we’re actually selling the hair that we use! Whether it’s the straight hair, the wavy hair, the Kita hair… we call it the Kita and Mo collection. We are also in the middle of writing a book. We’ve gathered celebrity testimonies about their own pretty and their own journey in life so that it can be an inspiration for young women who may think, ‘oh she had it easy’, or ‘oh, she had already had this and that’, but when you read the back story, you realize that it wasn’t as easy as you imagined. Outside of that we will continue to speak with the United Negro Fund. We are headlining the tour. Check the site for the tour dates because we’ll be coming to an HBCU near you to speak on a panel to give advice and tips to move young people in the right direction professionally.

CN: Before I let y’all go, Mo, what’s your hair story?

Mo: [Laughter] It’s quite different from Kita’s. I was born and raised in LA. So a lot of my older cousin’s had perms and so on the low, I convinced my grandmother when I was about 12 years old to give me a perm without my mother knowing. My mother wasn’t a hair maintenance person. It was nothing fancy or over the top from her… she’d wash it, condition it, and pull it up in some ponytails. For holidays, she’d send me to my aunt’s house. I would sit in her kitchen to get my hair pressed and my hair would pop sizzle and crack every time that damn comb would come near my edges. She’d use that blue or green grease…

Kita: Blue Magic!

Mo: Yes, Blue Magic! So I convinced my grandmother to give me a no-lye perm. We didn’t lie to my mom, we just didn’t tell her. I didn’t know how to keep it up and my hair would break off terribly as the new growth came in.

Long story short, my mother found out what happened and cut all my hair off… all the damaged ends and then she let my aunt put a curl in it! Girl, when I tell you I was pissed… I felt like I was in… you know the movie Inkwell, with Larenz Tate and Jada Pinkett? I felt like Larenz Tate, just all kinda out of place with a freaking Jheri curl. I almost cursed… I can still smell it! My mother was happy because she wasn’t a hair maintenance person and could just spray it, cap it and go.

Another aunt told me that you could blow it out to reverse the curl, so I would go to her house every weekend on the low, again, to have her help me. My mother, unaware of my aunt’s doings, was wondering why my curls were getting looser and looser. Thank God for my aunty. She stood up for me in the court of law, my mother, and told her that she’d do my hair every weekend and help it grow back out. And by the time it grew out, I was in junior high and it was cool.

Then came the weave wearing Mo. I knew how to put two tracks in the back. Growing up in LA, I was in the know… Black girls, White girls, mixed girls… folks were wearing hair all the way back in the '80s. I knew where to go get the hair and I had an allowance so I would save my money. I would take the hair and put in the two little back tracks and I thought I was rocking wonders.
Then I went to highschool and got The Cut. Toney Braxton and TLC were all wearing THE hair cut. I thought I was cute as pie but my boyfriend didn’t like the transformation. That shattered me ‘cause I was in love with this dude. Hair equates to beautiful… my hair was longer, past my shoulders and then I got The Cut, and he was like, ‘why did you cut your hair?’ I was like, ‘okay, he doesn’t like me any more, I’m not cute’. Because 18, 19 years old… you’re confused anyway.

Over the next few years, I bounced back and forth. I’d cut it all off, let it grow back for a couple of years, then cut it back off. Then I had kids and now it’s just too much to maintain. Trying to keep it cut and pressed and weaved and styled. I’m not a hair person. Right now I have my real hair out and it’s a mess. I sweat just going to pee and I’ve got a ton of hair… it’s down to my butt. So it will be braided up and weaved up as soon as we get back home. I'm completely natural and find that weaves are an excellent protective style, especially for people like me.

CN: Do you ever wear your hair out and curly?

Mo: I’ll tell you the honest to God truth. When I was taking my last weave down, I called Kim Coles and asked her who does her hair… who she goes to because I’ve really been tempted. I wanted to get some of it cut off, cut to a decent length and wear it curly in order to get in touch with me and things of that nature. I want to let go of the weave for a minute… to see if I can do it for even just a month. So I’ve got some people’s numbers and I’m really going to do it. I also think the contrast between Kita and I will be good especially since we’re venturing into hair care… one being natural and curly and one being the weave diva. She’s just better at that. Like right now, she has the pressing comb and all that greatness and I’m going to be in her room later on tonight to get my hair right before we have to work in front of cameras tomorrow. If you left it up to me, it’d be back in this ponytail.

There you have it chicas! Hope you enjoyed!

Why We Take So Much Ownership Over Other People’s Hair

By Veronica Wells

When I was first hired on at MadameNoire, I quickly learned that if we needed a traffic boost, all I had to do was write something about hair. It got to the point where I started feeling like I wrote, almost exclusively about hair. And eventually, I got burnt out. As a result, I vowed that I would no longer spend my days writing about something so “trivial.” I pulled a Solange. I said I wasn’t talking about no damn hair no mo only to continue talking about hair; Solange in the single from A Seat At The Table and me by writing for this Black women’s publication that focuses on our hair.


Elle 'aka' DenimPixie 'bka' Quest For The Perfect Curl, is Naturally Glam!

Hey hey! I’m Elle and I hail from the DMV, which was a big factor in my decision to go natural. When I first started my hair journey, I took pictures every day and was so excited to see my natural texture, and I posted pics on Facebook all the time. Eventually, I thought that I was most likely annoying a ton of my friends with daily pictures of my roots or latest attempt at a bantu knot out or wash and go. 

On the Couch with Sheryl Underwood- She Explains Natural Hair Remarks

Yesterday I received a massive amount of messages regarding statements made by comedian and Talk Show Host, Sheryl Underwood. Several of you, up in arms, forwarded me the synopsis from TheRoot, requesting that I start a petition, write into CBS or just publicly share an outrage over the comments she made on her show, ‘The Talk.” After reading through the transcript and watching the video myself, my initial thoughts were that A.) Yes, she’s a comedian and afforded some manner of freedom to entertain and provoke people but more importantly B.) What was said marginalized a large group of women (on a national stage) and in my opinion, spoke to what I feel is a deeper issue, one that the ladies of are not at all unfamiliar with.

Read On>>>

Bad Hair.

By Erickka Sy Savané of Bitches Brew Blog

“N. A. P. P. Y.” said my grandmother to her friend, as she struggled to get a comb through my hair.
The woman, who like my grandmother was so light that she could almost pass for white, chuckled and nodded in agreement.
Sensing that something was fishy, six-year-old me spelled the letters back.
N. A. P. P. Y. Wait a minute! She just called my hair nappy!
And that is how I discovered I had BAD HAIR.

I couldn’t wait to tell my mother who tried her best to assure me that my hair wasn’t that bad, and not to worry because in a couple of years we would relax it.
I waited on that relaxer like kids wait for Christmas. When the day finally came at ten years old life changed overnight. Free of naps, I felt beautiful, alive, ready for the world!
However, a few weeks later I realized that one relaxer did not a whole life make. I would have to get it done again, and again, and again. Whenever my new growth would come in. New growth being a fancy way of saying, my nappy ass edges! Man how I HATED those edges.
The first time I knew they were different was when I was hanging with my cousins who had beautiful edges or ‘baby hair’ as it was called. When they told me all they used was Crisco grease to get them to look so pretty I ran home like my ass was on fire! But man, I must have used half a can of grease with no result. It wasn’t until later that I found out that they had good hair, of course. Their dad had Indian in him and, well, you know the rest…


Tracee Ellis Ross on Her Natural Hair Journey!

Many of you may be just too darn excited to read the intro - and that's fine skip on down to the good stuff! Cause lemme tell you child, when I found out I was gonna be interviewing my (imaginary in my mind) best curlfriend I was more excited than Lil' Wayne at a skinny jeans and skateboards convention! I'm talking Sophia Grace at a Nicki Minaj concert kind of excited! I'm telling y'all, today -Tracee, tomorrow, Michelle? *dives behind rose garden bushes*

On her hair as a child…
My hair has always been a huge part of me. I swear you can chronicle the evolution of my spirit and my embracing and celebrating all of who I am through my hair journey.  

In all honestly, I’ve completely resorted back to all of my childhood hairstyles! The way I wear my hair at home, the way I braid my hair, and the way I comb out my natural curls to get that huge wind swept, salt water look… it’s all very reminiscent of my childhood photos and the history of my mother’s hairstyles. 
that's a young Tracee on the left!

I have not always been natural. I had a relaxer in my hair during my teen years…well it was more of a texturizer than a relaxer.  But I started as a natural girl. I used to go to Joseph’s every Saturday to get a roller set, a wet set.  I’d sit under the dryer for an hour while I waited for ‘lil Joe-Joe to do my blow-out. He was like, ‘THE guy’, so everybody waited for hours and hours to see him and that was the majority of your Saturday.

So I did that for many years and if I couldn’t go for my hair appointment, my mom would blow my hair out or put the hot comb on the stove, which was a part of her childhood.  My hair never required a ton of heat and my texture was actually really consistent but the pivotal point came when I moved to Europe to go to school.  Enter the Relaxer.

The teenage years…
I remember calling my mom from there and saying ‘Mom, I know that hair, in it’s essence is already dead, but my hair is dead in a way that I don’t know how to explain.’  I was all the way in Europe and I was in school and it was just me doing my hair.  I would kind of blow out the front of my hair, my sort of ‘quote, unquote’ bangs and kind of poof them forward with a headband and take the rest of my hair and put it in a little bun really low down at my neck.  And so I had this poof in the front and whatever in the back and whenever I’d come home from Switzerland I’d get my hair relaxed.  So when I left Switzerland and started going to school in the States, which was 10th grade, the evolution of my Natural Hair began.

So I didn’t cut my hair off, I basically grew my relaxer out and then the journey began.  It was sort of like this crazy experimental process of trying a million different products and actually, I’m still the kind of girl that will try any and everything!  The hard part was when I started working, I mean modeling was one thing, but then when I started acting…that’s when it got difficult. 

... the beginning of Tracee's natural hair exploration!
The ‘Girlfriend’ years…
For the first three seasons of Girlfriends, if I had an early call-time, I would wake up 3 hours before so my hair could dry naturally.  Three hours before!  I didn’t use any form of heat on my hair at the time… no blowdryer, no diffuser, I wouldn’t let anybody do anything to it. I had finally gotten my hair back to its virgin condition… my huge natural curls were back and I wasn’t letting any heat or chemicals near my head!  So yes, there would be these conversations with the assistant directors where I’d plead for a 9 am call time, but if I got a 6am call time - and I’m not joking - there were times when I’d wake up at 3 am.  And it’s not like you can wake up, wash your hair and go back to sleep. 

Then something else occurred, an exploration of sorts.  Around year three, Tracee’s hair became Joan’s hair… it was interchangeable. So when I was off camera, when we weren’t shooting, I started to get bored with my look. The things that were so me, weren’t anymore- - the ‘Tracee bun’, my natural hair, became the ‘Joan bun’ and Joan’s natural hair. I was like, okay, I need something different, I need to be able to break away and turn back into Tracee when the season finishes.
So, I went to get my hair blown out and the person that usually did my hair wasn’t in town and the woman that she referred me to used a stove and an iron… it was still a flat iron, but it was too much heat for my hair and although I spent the entire summer with gorgeous, shiny, blunt, crazy great hair, three months later, my hair would not curl. So I ruined my curl pattern and I freaked out! But that created a whole new exploration.   

There was a man by the name of Scott Williams that came in to work on the set of Girlfriends, I think it was Season 4.  After that season, I took great pictures of the straight hair that will never happen again (because the curls would never come back), and we started to discover the Chi curling iron, not the Chi-3 but the Chi. I don't think they make it anymore, they keep trying to reconfigure it and it’s not the same, but it’s okay because I’ve discovered other things now. But anyway, the Chi iron saved my life! It was ceramic and it would get hot enough that it would leave me with straight, silky hair, but it wasn’t so hot that it would change my curl pattern.  So we nursed my hair back to health using a silicone-y something on my hair and the Chi and that’s when I discovered all these other hairstyles that I could achieve. And we found that balance between my natural hair volume and more ‘movie stary’ looks- that’s what we used to call it when I started naming all of the hairstyles! 

On the Couch with Mýa- Natural Hair Interview

The talented and naturally curly Mýa is On the Couch! Although most may remember her from 'Chicago' or 'Dancing with the Stars', I still remember her debut single with Sisqo- 'It's All About Me'.! Anyway, I've always admired her curls, and couldn't pass up the chance to chat with her about her routine and favorite products.

On her hair story…

I was natural with no processing, coloring, or treatments for much of my life. I had my first texturizer in 2000 to loosen the curl for easier management and quicker styling. The texturizer I was given was very mild and only lasted for about 9 months. I grew it out, and was back to my natural state very shortly. I then began layering and cutting my hair for a more contemporary look. Over time and due to coloring and heat based styling, my curl has naturally loosened and become a bit more manageable. I have no plans to texturize again. I love my curls!

On embracing her curls…
I got teased quite a lot in school because my hair was "BIG" and "bushy". I had no clue what products to use, so frizz ruled the day. I wanted straight hair so badly- - it seemed easier and of course, prettier. All the jokes and comments led me to believe my type of hair was not "good hair". Now I know that healthy hair, no matter the texture, is good hair.

On her current routine…
I wash my hair every other day, and deep condition once a week now due to all of the color and heat that is constantly applied. I find myself loving wigs lately just to give my hair a rest, save time, and safely experiment with new looks.

My usual style is a wash & go. I wash, condition, comb (in the shower), and rinse. I then apply a light moisturizer or styling creme, towel dry, diffuse or let dry naturally and go.

In the featured photos, I'm rocking a roller set. I washed and conditioned, and allowed my hair to air dry to a semi damp state. I then brushed it out, sectioned, and set my hair on heated barrel rollers for 20 minutes. Finally, I removed the rollers, and lightly brushed the curls for volume.

On hair stylists...
Unless it's a photoshoot, video shoot, or major red carpet event, I do my own hair and make-up. I keep a special bag of hair with me on the road so I'm prepared at all times. Everything from drawstring ponytails to clip in tracks, different wigs, to sewing needles is on deck. Gotta protect my real hair!

On her must have products and tools…
My favorite leave in conditioner is by Bumble + Bumble. It’s really light, yet moisturizing. My favorite conditioner to this day is still Pantene, which I mix with System Professional's Color Protectant. I keep a flat iron with me!

On night time hair…
If I'm rocking a curly look the next day, I'll usually braid my hair up at night and use just a little leave in conditioner. Sometimes I'll even rock a shower cap overnight to preserve moisture. If I plan on wearing it straight, I wrap it up in a scarf.

On the best thing about being curly…
With the right products, you can wash & go and be set for the day! Simple yet beautiful!

On encouraging others to transition or embrace their curls…
I would tell her GO GIRL you are beautiful just the way you are and people pay to have what you naturally have-Embrace it! Even more importantly, we all have to learn how to embrace our natural selves as a whole and define beauty on our own. The media can tend to be very influential, very one dimensional in making all women feel that we need to change ourselves to be a better person and have a better life. If we're strong enough in embracing ourselves and the adversity in the definition of beauty, we won't fall victim to it. Plus it's expensive as hell!

On upcoming projects…
I have a new album coming out this Spring titled K.I.S.S. (Keep it Sexy & Simple). And I'm the new celebrity ambassador for Africare ( My twitter page is @MissMya where I post updates on what I'm up to on a daily basis.

photo credits- Reese for Zigga Zagga Productions

How Can I Avoid Waking up With Matted Hair?

by KurlyBella of

a reader asks:

bella, my hair is very kinky like yours and I think we are hair twins! I wanted to know how you handle night time matting. My hair, more specifically my roots, matts like crazy at night. Do you ever have this problem? What can I do to avoid this?
KurlyBella responds:

Let me tell you a story. One day a long time ago, I had this brilliant idea that I could sleep with my hair all out. So, I did. That fateful night, I went to bed with my wash and go just out and about. “I’ll wake up and everything will be fine. My hair will be loose and I will be able to fluff it up and just mist it and go”, I thought.

Ha! I did go to sleep and it’s evident that I did wake up as I’m writing this post, but let me tell you about my hair. Whoa honay! That pretty wash and go fluffed out hair had turned into one big dreadlock. eh mon! I was straight up rasta, okay?! I could have rolled up a doobie and started singing 90′s mad cobra songs….gal flex!

It was a hot tangled mess. The back of my head looked like a matted up rats nest because not only did I go to sleep without prepping my hair, I’d sweated in my sleep because it was a hot summer night and I thought I’d just sleep with the window open and not turn on the ac. Let’s do the hair math…sweat equals water equals shrinkage equals mats when you sleep on wet, shrunken hair.

The back of my head was a kinky carpet and looked like I’d just did a big chop in the back of my head! Straight up George Jefferson, okay?! I will never, ever do that again…

So, how can you avoid waking up with matted hair? Simply, don’t go to sleep without prepping your hair. Okay, yeah, you could go to sleep with your hair just hanging “out” but I really don’t suggest this method for kinky girls with hair longer than a TWA. Yes, any texture of hair can experience tangles, but kinky type 4 hair is just one knot away from being a dreadlock because our kinks and curls are drawn to each other like Rihanna is to a tattoo. Prep your hair by putting it in big twists or braids at night and wrapping it in silk or sleeping on a silk pillow case. This simple tip will save you tons of detangling time, possible hair loss, tears and headaches.

No need to end this with “ask me how I know”!

What say you? Have you ever woken up from a restful slumber with a sleep induced patch of matted hair?

The Curl Whisperer on Ethnic Hair

I get a lot of questions on whether or not I know how to handle "ethnic hair" or about the special needs of ethnic hair. And I'm here to tell you there is no such thing. Hair is hair is hair. Period.

Your hair is fine, medium or coarse. Your hair is porous, overly porous, or has low porosity. Your hair has normal elasticity or low elasticity. Your hair is thin, medium or thick. It does not matter what your ethnic background is. Fine, porous, elastic, thick hair is fine, porous, elastic, thick hair whether it is on an African-American woman, a Caucasian woman, a Native American woman, an Asian woman, a Latina get the picture.

Now, you may have a genetic predisposition to have a certain type of hair based upon your ethnic background. African-American women often have much finer hair and a much tighter wave pattern than women from other ethnic backgrounds. Asian and Native American women can be so coarse and stick-straight, cutting their hair is a huge challenge because every slice of the shears can leave a visible mark.

There is, however, no guarantee your hair will follow a certain pattern just because you belong to a particular ethnic group. I have African-American clients with loose waves and medium texture; I have white clients with coarse hair and extremely tight coils. And that's just the way it is.

That's not to say we shouldn't take pride in ourselves and where we come from, or not seek advice from others who share the same culture as we do! But by realizing that "ethnic hair" truly doesn't exist and knowing that our particular hair type is the key to taking the best care we can of our curls...we will always have red carpet ringlets, no matter what our ethnic backgrounds.

Check out the Curl Whisperer's site, HERE.
Submit your hair questions to the Curl Whisperer, by emailing [email protected] Be sure to use 'Curl Whisperer' as the subject line!

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