Her (Hair) Story- Marla C. Harris

Marla C. Harris Process Free for 7 Years Naturally Styled for 1 Month, 3 Weeks and 4 Days!
When did you decide to go natural? What was transitioning like? Have you always been so confident and in love with your curls? What is your hair story?
The funny thing is this was not a predetermined decision.  I responded to a post on facebook by ALT Haircare for Hair Models. Upon my consultation the option to not press and curl my hair but rather have it twisted with minimal heat was present.
At this time, I was an avid wig wearer, beginning to take more of an interest in the hair below.  I had begun seeing a dermatologist regarding thinning in my crown.  His remedy was steroids.  What he didn’t tell me was if it did bring my hair back I would have to continue use indefinitely.
I shared all of this during my consultation.  The stylist asked me to do it and give it six months, no steroids, no chemicals and no wigs.  I said a little prayer and went with it.  I had nothing to lose but oh what I’ve gained.  I have always been confident; however my confidence soared to new heights.  I never saw my wigs as hiding, they were a manageable option for a woman who had no time to fuss with her hair or be slave to the whims of fickle hairstylists. It was in fact hiding, just a form that met my need and made me comfortable.
How do you think going natural has affected your life? For the better? For the worse?
Going natural was perfectly timed.  The active nature of my lifestyle coupled with the summer heat has affirmed the value of the natural hair lifestyle.  Being natural has opened doors.  I’ve been approached more often regarding opportunities to model and promote awesome business ventures.  And even on a social level, more people approach and complement this wonderful decision.  The drawbacks for me are personal.  I am not a woman who has a natural knack for maintaining her own hair.  I need professional help.  I have found amazing stylists.  However my schedule and sometimes finances make maintenance challenging.
What is your hair regimen and nightly routine? 
I live for my bi-weekly hair appointments.  There I am washed, deep conditioned and twisted (flat twist and/or two strand twist).  At home, I moisturize my hair daily with ALT Haircare’s Olivevette (herb infused daily moisturizer).  In the evening, I apply a quarter-sized amount of ALT Haircare’s 10drill (a curl definer that individually separates each natural curl into its own tendril) on my dampened hair and set my hair on rods. Then I cover it with a satin scarf, to tame frizz  and off to sleep I go. In the morning I uncover, remove the rods and finger style and go.
What is the worst mistake you have made with your hair?
Total neglect.  If you give me something to work with I will do my best to maintain it.  When left to my own devices, lost interest and follicles.  Not a good look.  Love your hair and it will love you back!
Who is your hair idol?
Oprah…that’s one great head of hair.
Any words of wisdom that you would like to share with the masses? 
Choose to go natural, in your own time and on your own terms.  You will need a village when going natural in your kitchen!!!  Connect with a community…that will love you, encourage you and help elevate some of the pitfalls in this journey…like A Curls Best Friend!  Then you can relax…because you’re natural : ) xoxoxo

Secrets to Shampooing: Cleanse AND Condition

Per Ashley DePaso
Do you dread shampooing your hair? Do you detest the state of your hair after you shampoo? Love going to the salon, being primped and preened and laying back with a head full of suds, while some fashionable hairstylist scratches the mess out of your scalp? Welp, you SHOULDN’T! If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, this post is for you!
Oils produced by the scalp are not always able to travel down a curly, spiral hair follicle. This is the exact reason why curly hair tends to be drier than straight hair often leaving us unclear about how and how often to shampoo.
Shampoo is derived from the Hindi word champo , meaning “head massage”. Shampoo is a product used to remove oil, dirt, skin particles and any environmental build up in your hair. It’s important to note that moisturizing is not one of it’s functions but there are some steps you can take to ensure that your hair is properly clean and conditioned.
Oiling your hair before you wash it seals the natural oils your scalp produces, eliminating dryness. I recommend using jojoba oil because it is colorless, odorless, non greasy and homogeneous with the natural sebum of the skin. Additionally, it forms a protective, moisturizing layer over the skin, hair and scalp that is completely breathable and porous.
Pre-oiling is also a great method to combat the affect of summer heat and swimming in chlorine or salt water which have a tendency to strip your hair even before you wash. 
If your hair is extremely dirty pre-oiling may actually furthermore clog your pores. Try adding conditioner to your shampoo instead. Read about balancing your pH levels with conditioner here.
Diluting Shampoo
 I like to dilute my shampoo with water and add a bit of conditioner to the mix. I fill 1/3 of a squeeze bottle with shampoo, 1/3 with water and 1/3 with one of my more cheap conditioners. The results have been less dry, less tangled, moisturized hair. It also saves me a ton of money on shampoo. And remember, water is a curls best friend!
The most important step in eliminating dryness die to shampooing is making sure your shampoo does not contain sulfate! Many shampoo’s have a tendency to dry hair due to the sulfates they contain. Read about the dangers of sulfates here.
The way in which you shampoo is important. Simply rubbing shampoo onto wet hair and scratching the scalp is not enough. Separate and shampoo your hair in sections. This ensures that you are cleansing and tending to every strand while also helping with the de-tangling process.
It is also important that you do NOT scratch your scalp with your fingernails but instead massage it with your fingertips. Scratching is too harsh a technique and can actually further irritate your scalp, weaken your hair follicles and cause scalp tenderness. Massaging the scalp is a much healthier approach and stimulates hair growth by promoting the circulation of blood in scalp.
Infuse these methods into your shampoo regimen and see what happens. I anticipate that you will be happy with the results. Good luck!
For My Prepoo Recipe Click Here

Speak Words of Beauty and You Will Be There

I have just picked up the book the The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz. In the book, he explains that through the exchange of words, images and actions, we make subtle agreements with whatever we allow into our minds. 
If we passively allow others’ opinions, beliefs and imagery into our minds and hearts without examining if they resonate as true within ourselves, we are by default in agreement with them. That really struck me as true. I reflected on a conversation I had with a close friend of mine and I realized how destructive these agreements–made passively–can be. My close friend is a beautiful hue of chocolate brown, she comes from a family who possesses skin that is damn near flawless, accentuated by rows of straight, white, teeth. She is not thin but her figure is generous where it needs to be. She has recently started on her natural hair journey so her course, reddish brown hair is still fairly short and at times her hair feels like a bushed labyrinth–she gets lost, frustrated, tired but she keeps trying different directions until she is successful. Nonetheless, she expressed her feelings of alienation from the loosely curly-haired, light-skinned, thin women who are the prototype of beauty. I reflected on my own ideals. I too am guilty of subtly agreeing with things that after some introspection I know wholeheartedly are destructive and just plain wrong. We along with so many others have passively agreed within our hearts and minds with the falsehoods and distortions of America’s standards of beauty.
As hard as it may seem, the only remedy is to deliberately re-examine our perceptions of beauty. Re-examine what makes us feel pretty, sexy, desirable, acceptable-lovable. Do we truly agree with those standards? Are they reflective of our true identities? If not, let’s begin with those old agreements that cause alienation, dissatisf
action, loneliness, low esteem, unworthiness and conflict and replace them with agreements of self love, acceptance, confidence, pride and appreciation.
Easier said than done but we must begin this difficult work of re-creating agreements that reflect the wide, varied spectrum of beauty, that is us, that God intended, for the sake of our daughters and sons.The work begins in our words. “Keep your word impeccable”. No longer  will I allow myself to repeat in my head or aloud “My curl is not loose enough”  “My hair is not long enough”, “I am no longer appealing because of my stretch marks” (I don’t want to go into the ridiculous self- loathing that can go on in my head lol) instead it will be words of beauty that my heart knows is true. “My hair is perfect the texture that it is and I wouldn’t change it for any other”. “My hair is not long but my value is not any less than another with longer hair and I will take care of it”. “My body is beautiful, strong and giving and I will nurture it”. Let’s rewire our thinking of what beauty is so that it can be appreciated by all and most importantly all can be appreciated. 

Oops! There Go My Curls… Series

A couple days ago, I attempted to wear my hair in a cute little pump updo with a leopard scarf pictured here. I was on my way to work, walking to the A train and jamming to my beloved Beyonce’s, The End of Time track when all of the sudden BOOM! I walked right into a tree branch. My hair was ruined. Leaves, sticks and dirt were embedded into my pump. Not to mention, my neighbors roared with laughter as I attempted to detangle my head from the tree.  I looked ridiculous. When I got to work, I dumped my head into the first sink I saw and let my hair air dry. So, much for trying to be fancy. I’ll try again tomorrow.
Bad Hair day? Laugh it off. Share your hair mishaps here.

Her (Hair) Story- Shakira Nicole

Shakira Nicole
1.Have you always been so confident and in love with your curls? What’s your hair story?
Have I always been so confident and in love w/ my curls….hmmmmmmmm…I’m gonna go with NO!!!! LOL. My mom relaxed my hair when I was around 8 b/c she said it made my full head of hair easier to manage. As many pre-teens do I started to “do my own hair” #FAIL. I didn’t keep up the maintenance of my relaxers and really didn’t know about hair care in general. Itwasn’t until high school that I started to go to the beautician more frequently and even then, the visits were few & far between.
Fast Forward a few years…My last relaxer was in February 2004, right around my birthday. I remember deciding around April that I no longer wanted to relax my hair. There was no specific reason, my hair was healthy, a reasonable length and I loved it. I just thought “what’s the point?” I would go months at a time without relaxing it so why not just cut it out all together? For a while I continued going to the Dominicans to have my hair blown out, sometimes I would get it pressed and then it was on to braids and twists. I really did not know how to care for my own hair so this was the easiest option. After a while I began going to my godsister who was a hair stylist. She kept my hair braided or flat ironed and gradually began cutting off my relaxed ends. So I’ve been on this natural journey for the past 6-7 years. It’s funny to me because to be totally honest I didn’t consider this a “journey” in the beginning. At that time “going natural” also wasn’t as big of a deal or as popular as it is now.
Fast forward again…it wasn’t until around 2008/2009 that I really began to embrace and LEARN my hair. I let the braids and twists go and rocked my own hair more often. I’m still learning my hair and everything is definitely trial and error for me but I am truly enjoying every moment  of it!!!!! I wish that I would have embraced my journey from day 1 but it is what it is and I’m grateful for where I am today!!!!!!!!!!!! 
2. What is your hair regime (how often do you shampoo, condition, deep condition and with what products)?
As I said before I’m still learning my hair every day so my routine changes. As of now I wash my hair once every 2-3 weeks or whenever I feel the need. I only use Shea Moisture’s Organic Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine shampoo when washing my hair. Unlike other shampoos I’ve used in the past, this one does NOT leave my hair dry and I don’t even really need conditioner to add moisture. Additionally I use Kinky Curly Knot Today leave-in conditioner to detangle. After washing I apply Shea Moisture coconut & hibiscus curl enhancing smoothie to give my curls more definition and I oil my scalp with either Palmer’s Olive Oil Formula spray or Isoplus Tea Tree & Lanolin scalp conditioner.
3.What is your detangling process?
After washing my hair I saturate it with Kinky Curly Knot Today leave-in conditioner. I then part my hair into four sections and detangle one section at a time starting with the ends and working my way up to the root until it’s all detangled
4. Do you put anything in your hair for styling (leave-in conditioner, gel etc)?
I’m a BIG fan of twist outs so to give them an extra POP I always use Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus curl enhancing smoothie (can you tell how much I love the stuff lol). I also use Ampro Pro-Styl black gel for my edges depending on what look I’m going for
5. What is your nightly hair routine?
Very simple…depending on how my hair is styled that week, I pull it back into a ponytail, put on my headscarf and GO TO SLEEP!!!
6. What is the worst mistake you have made with your hair?
To date I think the worst mistake I’ve made with my hair is not properly caring for my scalp. At one point I colored my hair fairly regularly and as a result my scalp became VERY dry. Once my beautician told me that I would develop dandruff and my hair would break off from my scalp being dry I MADE SURE to keep my scalp healthy, clean and MOISTURIZED.
7. Who is your hair idol?
I don’t really have a “hair idol” per se. I am inspired by so many chicas out there doing their thing with their natural hair. Every day I see something different, I learn something new and I embrace my hair a little bit more
8. Any words of wisdom that you would like to share with the masses about natural hair?
Natural hair may not be your thing but don’t knock it til you try it…we’ve come a lonnnnnng way
Check out Shakira Nicole’s blog at kiraisnaturallyyours.blogspot.com

Keep A Curl Clear Drain!

As Requested By Maya Esperanza Gonzalez
We love our curls but the drains in our tubs and showers do NOT love them back. Often our hair gets caught in the drain which can result in 100’s in dollars worth of plumber expenses! No bueno.
Below are some preventive NON TOXIC measures you can take to stop curly build up:
1. Invest in a hair catcher. You can find them at your local drug store for no more than $5.00. You can even find some bath mats here that have them built in for about double the price. 2. Once every 6-8 weeks, mix 3 cups of boiling water and 1 cup of baking soda and pour down your drain. This boiling water will make the baking soda more alkaline and break down anything that may begin to block your drain. 3. Washing soda is also a great way to prevent drain clogs, specifically clogs caused by hair. This can be used as often as once a week. Pour 1-2 cups down the drain and flush down with a   thorough amount of water. 4. For drains that are already clogged follow step 2 but add 1 cup vinegar. The bubbling affect aides in the removal. Let me know how it goes! -Antoinette.

Second Day Hair: Dry Twist Out Results

These are the results of my 2nd day hair after my Dry Twist Out! I was really impressed with the results. The evening after my twist out, I used a touch of Karen’s Body Beautiful Conditioner to help maintain and seal the twist out. I then used a couple of bobby pins and loosely secured my hair to the crown of my head. I’m a wild sleeper, so this helps prevent me from flattening the style. Next, I covered my hair with a silk bonnet and went to bed. The bonnet along with pulling my hair up really helped preserve my twist out and kept it from frizzing and being matted down.
As a result, my hair had a bit of a looser wave but overall the curl pattern was cute and different from my natural curl, which was the objective. When your texture begins to loosen up I recommend pinning all, or some parts of your hair up so that it doesn’t fall flat in your face. Adding a flirty accessory or hair ornament can add some spunk and really complete the look. 
Try it out. Let me know how it works for you.

(Do) Sweat the Technique Series – Shampoo and Conditioning Together


A technique that I have recently adopted (due to stalking kimmaytube) is applying conditioner to hair that still has shampoo on it. Sounds crazy right? The reasoning behind this is to keep the PH of the hair balanced at all times. Shampoos and conditioners tend to have different PHs which affect the state of hair differently. Shampoo raises the hair’s cuticles while conditioner closes them. By adding the conditioner while the shampoo is still on keeps the hair in balance with a less “reactive” response to the shampoo. The process goes a little something like this.

I take my sectioned hair and after I have cleansed it with the shampoo, I add the conditioner, let it sit for a minute while I finger detangle and then rinse. I then add more conditioner and continue towards the process of detangling.  I have noticed that my hair feels significantly less dry, more defined and smoother in appearance as well.

Give it a try!


Change Your Curl Pattern: Do A Dry Twist Out!

While we love our curls, the same style and curl pattern can leave us feeling bored and mundane. Change it up with a dry twist out. I’ll show you how.
Start with Moisturized Hair. I used Miss Jessie’s Super Sweetback Treatment
Remove hair from face. Put in a ponytail.
Select a section of hair starting at the back. The amount of hair you use depends on the thickness of your hair and your desired look. If you want your curl pattern to be very thick and chunky with ‘S’ shaped waves, you want to use more hair. If you want a thinner, tighter, curl effect, use less hair.
Gently detangle and smooth your hair with a padded or denman-esque type brush (not bristled). Please excuse the wretched appearance of my brush. It’s my favorite and I’m not giving it up!
Twist hair.
Curl the end of the twist with your fingers and secure with a bobby pin.
Continue said process around your head. This is what your completed twists will look like. *Be sure not to part your hair in the center. Otherwise, your hair will be very flat at the top of your head. I usually put twists directly in the center of my head. When you take the twists out you can part your hair wherever desired.
I recommend doing this at night. Pin your twists to the top of your head. It will help maintain your twists while you sleep.
Cover you hair and go to bed.
In the morning, gently untwist your hair.
This should be the result.
Continue to separate your hair until you achieve the body you desire.
Massage your scalp at the root to add body and separate parts.
Tada! The results of your dry twist out.
Style as desired.

Inspiration: Washington, D.C

I recently visited D.C and was really impressed and inspired by the trip. I am in Philly which is only a hop, skip and a jump away but I never ventured down to visit the country’s historical capital.  Here is a photo journal of my trip and all the colors, architecture and beauty that inspired me in the city of D.C…
D.C must have an awesome horticultural society because the plant life was so beautifully tended and thriving
I just loved the funky colors of this bike
Such a sophisticated Metro system
I happened upon a Tibetan bizarre!
 Turquoise and coral were everywhere
I had the nerve to not buy anything! Ugh
No lie, these burritos were bangin’
There were a lot of beautiful people in D.C that I was too frightened to take shots of them as well. Next time I go, I hopefully will have developed some courage so that you too can get a little glimpse of the beauty. Until next time…

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