Hair Does Not Define Me

My Strands Do Not Define Me

With the coming of fall, which is my favorite season of the year by the way, I decided to grow out my fade and let my curls pop again.  My main reason for chopping my hair off for the umpteenth time was because of hair loss associated with symptoms of Type One Diabetes.  I had bald spots galore and my hair literally fell out in clumps.  Rather than sulk over lost strands, I decided to embrace being without hair and I became even more confident with myself.  It was a bold move to go completely bald, but I loved every minute of it. I learned to love myself for who I am and not my hair.  Being a “Baldie” was fun and so much easier as far as maintenance is concerned.  It has been so liberating and I felt the most confident with no hair at all.  I have so much respect and love for those that for medical reasons do not have the option to just grow their back.   I got a chance to walk in another woman’s shoes.  I was able to get an understanding of how it feels to get those awkward looks and stares from people who have no idea what my hair journey was and to look them in the face with a smile.  Now, I’m ready to take the plunge again and enter yet another hair growth journey.

So, for the past few weeks I have been dodging making my usual appointment to the beloved barber shop and opted to wear wigs to work and a hat or head wrap over the weekends.  I’ll be honest with you and tell you that I did text my barber once to see if I could get a cut, BUT he was booked, so needless to say I did not get that haircut.  I purchased my very first straight-haired wig to change things up to avoid going through that “awkward” stage, you know, that point when your hair just looks unwearable…when it’s growing in 100 different lengths and you look like who did it and ran away.  Yea that stage.

When I debuted the new look, I received an overflow of comments with my “drastic” change of appearance, which was to be expected, but some of them kind of upset me. The way society and people in general are when it comes to the standards of women’s beauty is wrong on so many levels, especially as a woman of color.  I actually had a male co-worker give me a compliment on the new wig and then follow up with stating that I no longer looked like I stuck my finger in a socket, referring to a curly wig I wore previously.  The amount of anger and frustration I had when I received that comment was indescribable.  As the days went on, I received more and more compliments from men and women alike on how good I looked and that they preferred me with long straight hair.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to receive the occasional compliment, but when I realized how much more acceptable my appearance was with straight hair, opposed to curly hair or none at all, it upset me.  It’s sad to say that even now, when natural hair is becoming more accepted, there is still an underlying stigma of unacceptance for what naturally grows from our scalp.  Some days I just wanted to rip the wig off and rock my one month of hair growth with no lining and thin edges.  That awkward stage is no joke y’all lol. There were days when I would walk confidently with my picked out fro or voluminous twist out and get the side eye as if my hair was untamed or unkept. There were days of me being completely bald and I would be asked if I had some type of cancer or asked why I would cut off my beautiful hair.  I’ve stated in previous blog posts that I am not my hair.  My hair does not define who I am or what I believe.  My hair does not define how I feel about myself.  This natural hair journey is so much more than hair.  It has taught me a lot about who I am, flaws and all and I’ve gained so much confidence in my own inner beauty that I refuse to allow others to determine what beauty looks like for me.

Regardless of what people think, I love to change up my hair and I’ll continue to do so.  It’s fun and it allows me to express myself freely.  I’ll definitely keep you updated on my growth journey as time goes on.  What are your favorite protective styles or ways to promote growth?  Have you experienced any type of backlash for your choice in hairstyles in the workplace or in general? Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments.

 

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Tips for Healthy Hair Growth

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Hey there Freauxs!

It seems like FOREVER since the last time I posted on my blog.  Life has been so crazy, but I’m trying to get back into the groove of things.  You’ll be seeing much more from me, I promise.

While I debate on whether or not to grow out my low hair cut, I thought I would share with you a few things that always helped me when it comes to healthy hair growth.  The key word is healthy.  I know that for some people, length can be goals, but at what cost? Lets get the length while ensuring that we are taking care of our hair from the inside out. These are just a few quick tips, but I’ll definitely make sure to get more in depth in future posts if you’d like.

Protective Style:

I know that I spoke about this in a previous post.  Protective styling is very important when it comes to hair growth.  When we just let our hair breath and leave it alone, it flourishes.  I’ve cut my hair so many times, but when I do decide to let it grow back, I throw my wigs on and keep my hands out of it while I watch my curls grow.

Protect your hair at night:

Always use silk or satin when preserving your curls at night.  If you don’t like to wear a scarf or a bonnet like me, there’s the option of using a satin pillow case.  You can find satin pillow cases practically anywhere like Target, Wal-Mart, and even the beauty supply store.  The ones that I have for myself and my girls were around $5 each.  If you like a DIY, you can also make your own satin pillowcase at home.  Using cotton scarves or pillow cases can cause major breakage to your hair, which is not very helpful when it comes to retaining your length.  Your growth will be at a stand still.

Moisturize Your Hair:

You really have to listen to your hair.  Over time, you’ll learn how your hair should feel when it is properly moisturized or when it is dried out.  I use the L. O. C. method on myself and on my girls’ hair.  L. O. C. stands for Liquid Oil Cream.  The Liquid that I use alternates between water and a leave in conditioner.  My absolute favorite leave in conditioner for our natural curls is the Lemon Grass Leave- In Conditioner by Alikay Naturals.  I’ve been using sweet almond oil or coconut oil, but I’ve switched to Jamaican Black Castor Oil with the change in weather.  I’m still on the search for other oils that would work well with our hair textures.  I find that this oil is thicker and holds in the moisture longer while penetrating my strands.  The cream that I prefer to use is usually one that is thick and also smells great.  I alternate between a few different products for all three of us.  I’ve been using The Curl Smiler, Almond Jai Twisting Butter, shea butter or Shea Moisture’s She Butter deep treatment mask.

Trim your hair regularly:

Okay, so although I don’t have much hair on my head right now, when I did have longer hair, I would dust my ends every now and then while my hair was in twists when I saw a few stray split ends.  I like to get a professional trim about two times a year or every 6 months.  I believe that as long you take care of your hair the way that you should, there is no reason to have to trim constantly through the year.    Of course, that is just my opinion.  Some people believe that they should trim every six weeks.  It’s definitely a personal preference.

Regular trims are recommended because split ends can eventually break away and fall off.  I actually dealt with this problem while I was relaxed.  My hair was past my shoulders and because I was obsessed with my length I never got it trimmed.  My split ends just started breaking off on their own.  My hair ended up being uneven and when I finally did go to a professional for my trim, the stylist had to cut much more than they would have had I been getting it trimmed regularly.

Show Your Hair Some Love:

Take the time out to give your hair some TLC to moisturize, strengthen, and restore your strands to its healthiest state.  You can do this by deep conditioning your hair at least twice a month for about thirty minutes to an hour.  I’ve also deep conditioned overnight before and does wonders for my hair.  Hot oil treatments can be done twice a month as well to restore moisture and promote growth.   Protein treatments should be done once a month.  Our hair is made up of protein and should be treated with it as well.  Some textures need more protein than others and vice versa.  This may be a topic for another blog post.

All in all, as long as you listen to your hair and give it what it needs, you will not only see continuous growth, but you will have healthy hair as well.  Just like we want to take care of our body from the inside out, we have to do the same for our hair.  Make sure that you are eating a balanced diet and drinking plenty of water.  What you put it in results in what you get out of it.  I hope this was helpful to you.  Let me know below what you do to promote healthy hair growth.

 

The Big Chop Experience

“A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.”

– Coco Chanel

So you just did the big chop. All of your hair is literally laying on the floor and you’re trying to figure out what in the world you just did and how you can reattach your hair back to your scalp.

This is the biggest step in a natural girl’s hair journey…the first step.

After recently making my 5 year natural hair anniversary on December 3rd, I decided to make the decision to cut off all of my hair…again. I’ve chopped off my hair several times during this journey with ease.  This time it wasn’t for style purposes or because I was obsessed with the many Instagram short hair “badies”,  but for health reasons. I was recently diagnosed with a disease that I’ll get more in depth about in another post. Sadly, one of the many side effects was hair loss and lots of it.  One day while finger detangling in the shower, I noticed that globs of my curls were entangled in my fingers.  Just barley sliding my fingers through my hair allowed for so many strands to fall as if they were hanging on for dear life and were finally being released.  The shower floor was filled with my precious curls floating in the water.  At that moment, there were so many emotions running through my head.  This was prior to my diagnosis and I had no clue what I could have done wrong.

I decided to cover up my hair by using wigs.  I also picked up some Jamaican black castor oil and Biotin pills.  I stepped up my hair regimen with hot oil treatments and frequent deep conditioning sessions, but nothing seemed to work.  I wanted to wear my hair out with confidence.  I was tired of wearing wigs or adding hair to my buns to make myself look presentable.  I even tried to go out with my natural hair and felt so low and unattractive.  My edges were no longer thick but almost non existent in my eyes.  I had bald spots in the front of my hair and in my crown that I would constantly cover up.  I didn’t feel like myself anymore.  Although I knew that I was beautiful, I didn’t have the same confidence I once had while standing in front of a mirror.

One morning, getting ready for work in the mirror as I placed my wig on my head for the umpteenth time, I decided that I wanted to cut ALL of my hair off. I knew that I could rock it and I needed a change.  I wanted to walk in confidence and pride.  I know you’re probably thinking why would anyone cut off their hair at this time of year?  I’m the type of person that wants what she wants when she wants it.  I literally made an appointment with a barber that day and as soon as I got off from work, I was in the chair with no turning back.

As soon as I got in the car to go home, I had to have taken a million selfies.  I posted a picture on social media and there was so much love from friends, family, and people I didn’t even know.  I was told that I was bold, fearless, and inspirational.  I finally felt like myself again.

 

Something that I have come to learn with every big chop that I have gone through is that it is so much more than just the act of cutting off your hair.  Doing a big chop is about liberating yourself.  Society has taught us over the years that there is a specific type of beauty and most of us don’t even fit in that cookie cutter shape.  We were taught when we were younger that long and straight hair was the definition of beauty along with certain skin tones and the size of your waistline.  When I cut my hair off, so much of my inner beauty and confidence was revealed that I never knew I even had.  I realized that I depended entirely too much on my hair and how those strands controlled how I felt each day.  If I was having a bad hair day, I was having a bad day period.  My hair should not define who I am or how beautiful I look to others, let alone myself.  I am so much more than my hair.  I started learning more about other features that I never took the time out to acknowledge like my freckles on my left cheek and my beauty mark on my upper lip, my endearing smile, and sultry eyes that could tell a story words just can’t describe.  I learned more about my personality and my love for knowledge, literature, art,  and of course hair.  I learned most of all to accept myself for who I am and focus on being the best version of myself daily.

 

Let me know when you did your first big chop and how it made you feel.  If your thinking about doing the big chop, what are your thoughts about it?  What is stopping you from doing it?

My Top Favorite Natural Hair Care Products


Hey there Queens,


So, I thought it would be nice to share a few of my favorite natural hair care products with you. I’ve been using these items for some time and they have become instant staples in my daily regimen.  It’s also great to know that these products work on myself and my daughters’ hair.  All three of us have completely different hair textures and if you know the struggle, you know that it is hard to find one product that works for multiple textures.

Coconut Oil


I know this may not sound like a hair product you may have expected to be on the list.  Honestly, I didn’t think so either when I first went natural.  I thought people were crazy for buying oil in the grocery isle and slapping it in their hair.  A friend of mine introduced me to it and I’m so glad she did.  This oil is highly accessible and has so many uses.  Like those crazy people I mentioned earlier, I usually pick mine up at the local grocery store right next to the olive oil and Crisco lol.  I love that coconut oil is a light oil.  It doesn’t weigh my hair down or make me feel like I’m getting ready to fry my strands in a cast iron skillet.  I typically use this to pre-poo, add it to my deep conditioning treatments, hot oil treatments, and to seal in moisture when styling.  

Alikay Naturals Lemon Grass Leave In Conditioner

.http://alikaynaturals.com/lemongrass-leave-in-conditioner/

$13

Alikay Naturals Lemon Grass Leave In Conditioner


I absolutely LOVE this stuff!  I call it my little liquid gold. First of all, it smells amazing!  It has a light scent of lemon grass, but it almost has a pineapple scent to it as well.  I love that there are larger size options because between myself and my little freauxs, we can really go through some products pretty quickly.  I use this leave in right after I shampoo and also as a refresher during the week on our styles, such as wash and gos and re-twisting for twist outs.  It is extremely moisturizing and also counts as a great detangeler.  I apply this to our damp curls and finger detangle with ease.  This is the liquid that I use in my version of the L. O. C. (Liquid, Oil, Cream) method as well .

Shea Moisture’s Jamaican Black Castor Oil Stregnthen, Grow & Restore Treatment Mask

http://www.sheamoisture.com/Jamaican-Black-Castor-Oil-Strengthen-Grow-Restore-Treatment-Masque_p_1335.html

$12.99

Shea Moisture’s Jamaican Black Castor Oil Stregnthen, Grow & Restore Treatment Mask


I would definitely consider myself a lazy natural.  I’m still trying to get back in the hang of actually taking care of my hair properly again after cutting it for two years.  Short hair was a breeze, but now that I have a little hang time, I need to make sure I have my regimen down.  I just started back deep conditioning my hair consistently  every other week.  My recent favorite deep conditioner is the Jamaican Black Castor Oil Deep Conditioner by She Moisture. Its a thick consistency and smells lovely.  I usually leave it in my hair between thirty minutes to an hour or I deep condition over night. My hair is left feeling like butter and frizz free once I rinse out the product.  I can easily finger detangle by gliding my fingers through my hair. This product hydrates and moisturizes dry, damaged hair.   I’ve also used this deep conditioning treatment on my oldest daughter’s 4/b, 4/c hair and its had the same effects.

Camille Rose Naturals Almond Jai Twisting Butter

                                                              $16.99

Camille Rose Naturals Almond Jai Twisting Butter


I live for a bomb twist out.  For me, this is the easiest way to get a great style for any occasion.  I think that the best twists come from a good butter or cream and I can say that the Almond Jai Twisting Butter from Camille Rose Naturals is my go to.  The scent gives me a cake and ice cream vibe, very sweet yet mellow, not overpowering.  This butter has a thick and creamy consistency that coats every strand and moisturizes impeccably.  


These were just a few of the many products I I know and love. Let me know what your favorite hair care products are in the comments below.

Winter Protective Styling

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It’s that time of year ladies.  The wind is picking up and our kinks are beginning to feel a little like icicles as we step out in the morning.  We’re wearing scarves around our necks and huge coats to protect from the cold, but what about our hair?  Yes, I know that twist out you worked so hard on is bomb, but now it’s time to put that hair in protection mode to retain moisture, length, and overall health of our curls.

Examples of protective styles are roll, tuck, and pin styles, mini twists,  scalp braids, box braids, Marley twists, Senegalese twists, sew-ins, and wigs. The point of protective styling is to hide your hair away so that you are not constantly manipulating it. It’s also great for protecting your hair from the elements like extreme heat, cold, and wind.  If you’re anything like me, you love to touch your curls throughout the day.  It’s just a habit that can become pretty harmful to your hair’s length retention as time goes on.  Constantly touching  or styling your hair on a daily basis can cause breakage.  You may not notice it right away, but it can definitely become evident overtime.  Breakage can also be caused by materials rubbing against the length of your hair like scarves or shirts with collars on them.

I’ve found that the cheapest and easiest way for me to protective style is by wearing wigs.  I prefer half wigs because they look more natural and they blend with my hair easily. I find mine at the local beauty supply store for no more than $30 or online for under $20 .  I buy synthetic curly styled wigs because they blend with my hair and they are fairly cheap.  Wearing wigs allows me to be able to oil my scalp and moisturize my hair.  I simply throw a few flat twists straight back in my hair and two strand twist the leave out for easy blending.  All I have to do in the morning is put my wig on, secure with bobby pins,  and I’m out the door.

 

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La Apple Half Wig – Vanessa Wigs

http://www.ebonyline.com/vnlaapple.html

 

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4C Coily Half Wig by Outre

http://www.sistawigs.com/outre-quick-weave-big-beautiful-hair-4c-coily-bbh4ccoily-827298762942

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La Jay Half Wig- Vanessa Wigs

http://www.ebonyline.com/vanessa-express-half-wig-la-jay.html

 

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Crochet Braids- Freetress Water Wave (5 packs)

I also love wearing styles like box braids, crochet braids, and Marley twists.  My only issue is that I can not for the life of me keep a style in for longer than a month.  I think that when it comes to styling my hair, I can get pretty bored.  I love to change up my styles often and keep people guessing lol.

Psst… The key to making your crochet braids look more natural is leave out.  In the picture above, I had my perimeter left out so that I could easily wear my hair in pulled back styles without detecting the knots that are formed with the install.

The best thing about protective styling is the amount of growth that comes from it.  My results are always amazing when I take down a style to let my hair breath.  The key is to take great care of your hair under your beautiful protective style.

Maintaining healthy hair while protective styling

Ladies, as long as you take care of your curls under your sew-ins and braids,  you’ll have amazing results.  I do this by making sure to moisturize my hair and scalp regularly.  If I wear wigs, I choose a day to take town my twists or braids underneath and spritz my hair with a little water, add my favorite moisturizing butter or cream and then seal with oil before I re-twist. I definitely make sure to wash my hair on a regular as well. Please don’t believe the old saying that dirty hair grows faster.  This is false and pretty gross if you ask me.  With all of the products in your hair overtime during your protective styling phase, you start to form build up on your strands and scalp, which can clog your pores and prevent hair growth.  If you have a style that won’t allow you to easily access your hair and scalp, pour your shampoo in an applicator bottle along with water to dilute it and apply with no problem.  You can rinse out the shampoo in the same manor.  Create a spray bottle with your favorite leave in conditioner or make up a concoction of water, conditioner, and oil as a refreshing moisturizer you can spray on those twists and braids.

I hope this helps you get through these cold winder months.  In the comment section, let me know what your favorite protective style is and how you maintain your freauxs underneath.

 

Blessings