Around The Way Curl Priscilla

priscilla around the way curls natural hair

1.How long has it taken for you to “master” the care of your hair? Who/what helped you gain mastery?

I wouldn’t call myself a “master” of my hair, per say, as I think there is always something one can definitely learn. I myself learn something new about my hair all the time!

 I would say my hair ITSELF helped me gain mastery. By that I mean really, truly listening to my hair and what it needs, likes, and doesn’t like. I think it’s important to take notes from the regimens of others, but not all the while ignoring what your own personal hair might like. Besides really listening to my hair, I would say other natural friends, natural blogs, and naturals on Instagram helped me through!

2. What is your cleansing hair regime (how often do you shampoo, condition, deep condition and with what products)?

 I cowash with As I Am’s Coconut Cowash once a week, and maybe once every two months (or whenever my hair tells me I need to) I shampoo with Shea Moisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo. I am a RELIGIOUS deep conditioner – it’s my number one thing in my hair regime and what I credit my health to! I deep condition once a week after every cowash (or shampoo) with either MyHoneyChild’s Olive You, Shea Moisture’s Raw Shea Deep Treatment Masque, or Camille Rose Naturals’ Algae Renew. I always sit under my Huetiful Hair Steamer when deep conditioning.

3.What is your de-tangling process?

I always detangle in the same way. After cowashing (or shampooing), I section my hair into 4 sections and then start by splitting one of those 4 sections into 2. I apply my deep conditioner thoroughly throughout that small section and then finger detangle by combing my fingers through, starting at the bottom. I work my way up to the root until completely detangled and then start on the next section until complete. One great thing about my method of detangling is that it ensures my deep conditioner is very thoroughly applied to every single strand versus just slapping some on.

4. How do you achieve your daily hair style (try to be detailed being as though others are gaining inspiration and DIRECTION from your process)

I tend to alternate just between 3 styles – a wash and go, a twist out (done on dry and very stretched hair), or medium-small twists (my version of mini twists, lol!).

 For a wash and go, I do my usual cowashing, deep conditioning/detangling, and steaming. I then rinse out my DC and dry it with a t-shirt for 3 minutes. I don’t t-shirt as long as some as my hair dries somewhat on the quicker side and also because I like it to be pretty wet when styling a wash and go. I then split my hair in half and apply Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave-In to each section, followed by either castor oil or coconut oil on top. I then make my part and split my hair into 5-6 sections. I apply a mix of Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie and Kinky Curly Curling Custard to each section with the “praying hands” technique followed by finger combing through each section maybe twice. Then I just air dry and don’t disturb my curls! I’ve actually never diffused my hair and I have no idea how it would turn out, lol!

For a twist out, I almost always do it on dry and stretched hair. I just prefer the look and I don’t have to deal with drying time as well. My hair is pretty fine, so doing it dry also allows me more volume. After I’ve washed and deep conditioned, I split my hair into 8 sections and use the banding method to stretch my hair until dry, usually just overnight. That next day I’ll usually wear it in a bun or some sort of up-do which even further stretches my hair. Then that night (or maybe a few days later, after more buns, depending on how I feel) I create about 6-7 chunky twists using Oyin Handmade’s Hair Dew (a fav of mine!!!). I don’t fully saturate my hair with the Hair Dew as I don’t want it to revert and all my stretching go to waste. I then release in the morning for a soft wavy twist out that’s super stretched as my tight curl typically has a lot of shrinkage.

 For my medium-small twists – my version of mini twists, lol – I don’t really have an interesting method. The same way I stretch by banding for my twist-outs, I do the same for my mini twists. I’ll split my hair into a few sections and just start twisting to whatever size I deem appropriate with shea butter and Eco Styler Gel (Krystal or Olive). There usually ends up being about 40-50 twists. I usually wear them for about 10 days and then release for a super stretched twist out. I hardly wear my twists down as my hair is fine and I just think it looks too scalpy, but I do cute ponytails and top knot buns with them.

5 Now that you are relaxer free, how do you perceive others that still have relaxed hair?

I mean this in the nicest way possible and I believe every woman should be able to choose how they want to wear their hair – but, in my head I always want to shout, JUST GO NATURAL ALREADY!!! Not out of judgment, but just because I’m truly an advocate of natural hair and I believe every woman’s natural hair is beautiful! It always takes me back to my relaxed days, and in comparison I just personally now feel much more free and much more “me” than ever. This is not to say that any woman with a relaxer isn’t herself too!

6.How did/do battle the internal voice that may speak words of doubt about the beauty and worthiness of your natural beauty?

 It’s really a simple answer for me – this is how the Creator made me!

7. What hair product can’t you live without?

I have to cheat and choose more than one! * covers face, lol * Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave-In and Coconut oil. Moisture and a sealant – what more can my curls need?

8. Any words of wisdom that you would like to share with the masses about natural hair?

Natural hair is not just a “fad” as some may think! How can us embracing our natural selves, be a fad?? – what a contradiction. It’s also about having FUN with it and more importantly, empowering one’s own self with it. ☺

9. And lastly, what makes you an Around The Way Curl.

Exercising my freedom to simply just be me. ☺

priscilla around the way curls natural hair

priscilla around the way curls natural hair

priscilla around the way curls natural hair

priscilla around the way curls natural hair

Thanks for all you do, Antoinette & Shanti!!! You really empower women in every which way, and I couldn’t be more thankful for this outlet you’ve created! Also, I love Instagram, ladies find me @ P___Q (that’s 3 underscores) ☺

 

Lupita Nyong’o Reveals Her Struggle Embracing Black Beauty

Lupita Nyong’o

Via Necolebitchie

Last night, the stunning actress was honored at Essence’s 7th Annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon in Hollywood, where she delivered a powerful speech on her quest to accept the skin she was born in. Like most young children growing up, her perception of beauty came from what she saw celebrated on her television screen, and it wasn’t until she saw a model that looked like her, walking the runways that she began to embrace her beauty. She also revealed that she spent years praying that she would wake up a lighter complexion, but she learned over time that beauty is so much more than the external. Beauty is compassion for yourself, and those around you. You can’t just consume it, it’s something you have to be.

She said:

I want to take this opportunity to talk about beauty, black beauty, dark beauty. I received a letter from a girl and I’d like to share just a small part of it with you: “Dear Lupita,” it reads, “I think you’re really lucky to be this Black but yet this successful in Hollywood overnight. I was just about to buy Dencia’s Whitenicious cream to lighten my skin when you appeared on the world map and saved me.”

My heart bled a little when I read those words, I could never have guessed that my first job out of school would be so powerful in and of itself and that it would propel me to be such an image of hope in the same way that the women of The Color Purple were to me.

She continued:

I remember a time when I too felt unbeautiful. I put on the TV and only saw pale skin, I got teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin. And my one prayer to God, the miracle worker, was that I would wake up lighter-skinned. The morning would come and I would be so excited about seeing my new skin that I would refuse to look down at myself until I was in front of a mirror because I wanted to see my fair face first. And every day I experienced the same disappointment of being just as dark as I was the day before.

[...]

And when I was a teenager my self-hate grew worse, as you can imagine happens with adolescence. My mother reminded me often that she thought that I was beautiful but that was no conservation, she’s my mother, of course she’s supposed to think I am beautiful. And then…Alek Wek. A celebrated model, she was dark as night, she was on all of the runways and in every magazine and everyone was talking about how beautiful she was. Even Oprah called her beautiful and that made it a fact. I couldn’t believe that people were embracing a woman who looked so much like me, as beautiful. My complexion had always been an obstacle to overcome and all of a sudden Oprah was telling me it wasn’t. It was perplexing and I wanted to reject it because I had begun to enjoy the seduction of inadequacy. But a flower couldn’t help but bloom inside of me, when I saw Alek I inadvertently saw a reflection of myself that I could not deny. Now, I had a spring in my step because I felt more seen, more appreciated by the far away gatekeepers of beauty. But around me the preference for my skin prevailed, to the courters that I thought mattered I was still unbeautiful. And my mother again would say to me you can’t eat beauty, it doesn’t feed you and these words plagued and bothered me; I didn’t really understand them until finally I realized that beauty was not a thing that I could acquire or consume, it was something that I just had to be.

And what my mother meant when she said you can’t eat beauty was that you can’t rely on how you look to sustain you. What is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself and for those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul. It is what got Patsey in so much trouble with her master, but it is also what has kept her story alive to this day. We remember the beauty of her spirit even after the beauty of her body has faded away.

And so I hope that my presence on your screens and in the magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel the validation of your external beauty but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside.

There is no shame in black beauty.

 

A Father’s Letter To His Daughter That All Of Us Could Stand To Read

Dear Little One,

As I write this, I’m sitting in the makeup aisle of our local Target store. A friend recently texted me from a different makeup aisle and told me it felt like one of the most oppressive places in the world. I wanted to find out what he meant. And now that I’m sitting here, I’m beginning to agree with him. Words have power, and the words on display in this aisle have a deep power. Words and phrases like:

Affordably gorgeous,

Infallible,

Flawless finish,

Brilliant strength,

Liquid power,

Go nude,

Age defying,

Instant age rewind,

Choose your dream,

Nearly naked, and

Natural beauty.

When you have a daughter you start to realize she’s just as strong as everyone else in the house—a force to be reckoned with, a soul on fire with the same life and gifts and passions as any man. But sitting in this store aisle, you also begin to realize most people won’t see her that way. They’ll see her as a pretty face and a body to enjoy. And they’ll tell her she has to look a certain way to have any worth or influence.

But words do have power and maybe, just maybe, the words of a father can begin to compete with the words of the world. Maybe a father’s words can deliver his daughter through this gauntlet of institutionalized shame and into a deep, unshakeable sense of her own worthiness and beauty.

A father’s words aren’t different words, but they are words with a radically different meaning:

Brilliant strength. May your strength be not in your fingernails but in your heart. May you discern in your center who you are, and then may you fearfully but tenaciously live it out in the world.

Choose your dream. But not from a department store shelf. Find the still-quiet place within you. A real dream has been planted there. Discover what you want to do in the world. And when you have chosen, may you faithfully pursue it, with integrity and with hope.

Naked. The world wants you to take your clothes off. Please keep them on. But take your glovesoff. Pull no punches. Say what is in your heart. Be vulnerable. Embrace risk. Love a world that barely knows what it means to love itself. Do so nakedly. Openly. With abandon.

Infallible. May you be constantly, infallibly aware that infallibility doesn’t exist. It’s an illusion created by people interested in your wallet. If you choose to seek perfection, may it be in an infallible grace—for yourself, and for everyone around you.

Age defying. Your skin will wrinkle and your youth will fade, but your soul is ageless. It will always know how to play and how to enjoy and how to revel in this one-chance life. May you always defiantly resist the aging of your spirit.

Flawless finish. Your finish has nothing to do with how your face looks today and everything to do with how your life looks on your last day. May your years be a preparation for that day. May you be aged by grace, may you grow in wisdom, and may your love become big enough to embrace all people. May your flawless finish be a peaceful embrace of the end and the unknown that follows, and may it thus be a gift to everyone who cherishes you.

Little One, you love everything pink and frilly and I will surely understand if someday makeup is important to you. But I pray three words will remain more important to you—the last three words you say every night, when I ask the question: “Where are you the most beautiful?” Three words so bright no concealer can cover them.

Where are you the most beautiful?

On the inside.

From my heart to yours,

Daddy

Source: DrKellyFlanagan.com / Connect with Dr. Flanagan on Facebook and visit his blog! He has some great advice the world deserves to see.

5 Natural Hair Rules I Live By and 5 Rules I Break Constantly

ANTOINETTE HENRY, SHANTI MAYERS, natural hair, curly hair

 Stick To The Rules

-  Most Like It Moist. I moisturize daily. It is in my opinion, the single most important thing while taking care of your hair. If your hair is not moistuirzed it ain’t shyt. Sike. But seriously, keeping your hair conditioned and moisturized is what is going to keep your hair from breaking and becoming damaged. If you have questions about that or don’t understand why moisturizing is so important do yourself a favor and click this link.

- Go Deep. I deep condition at least once every two weeks. I just do. It goes in tandem with moisturizing daily. Sometimes your hair just needs extra nourishment. Deep conditioning is necessary and high advised after swimming, straightening, dying or any activity that could potentially damage your hair. I hear a lot of women say that they don’t have time for it but it can take as little at 10 minutes. Try making breakfast with your hair deep conditioning in a shower cap. Two birds one stone. Easy peezy.

- Knot Tonight. I detangle my hair only when wet and smothered in conditioner. I have thin hair. My hair just can’t take being detangled dry. It falls out, knots up and never cooperates. I find, when I wet my hair, my hair is more flexible and it expands more. This, combined with the added ‘slip’ my conditioner provides, makes it much easier to detangle. There are many different theories and regimens surrounding detangling but I find that this regimen works best for me.

- Keep It Dirty. Some people are obsessed with having clean hair. I am not one of them. Therefore, I don’t use products containing sulfate. Sulfate, in my opinion is too harsh especially for my thin hair and while it may get my hair squeaky clean it also strips away all my moisture. I find that after I use shampoos containing sulfate, I was meant with limp, lifeless hair. I don’t even use sulfate free shampoo. I tend to use co-washes. Ouidad has an incredible one that I love, but is a bit pricey so I used the one Carol’s Daughter gifted me that I like as well. I highly recommend tying a co-wash if you haven’t already.

- Put It In Rotation. I find products I like and rotate them. After about  2-3 months my hair seems to get used to a product and as a result, stops responding to them as well as I would like them to. So, I like to keep 2-3 products in rotation.

Leave-in conditioners being: Kinky Curly Knot Today (summer), Giovanni’s Direct Leave In Conditioner (winter), Whipped Curls by Ouidad (whenever my pockets allow). Styling and Sealing Products being; Goddess Curls by Curls (winter), Curly Mousse by Curls Unleashed (summer), Climate Control by Quidad (whenever my pockets allow). Cleanse and Cowashes being: Curl Co-wash by Quidad, Hair Milk Conditioning Co-wash by Carol’s Daughter. Anything requiring slicked back styling I use Curl Control Paste by Curls. Deep conditioners are less necessary to rotate because I don’t use them as often.

antoinette henry, around the way curls, natural hair, shanti mayors

Rules Are Meant To Be Broken

1. Use Protection? I NEVER wrap my hair at night. Ever. I do however, begin my sleep on a satin pillowcase that always somehow ends up on the floor. It’s really a joke to me. I make sleep wildly but there is no way I can get this protection thing down. I just can’t do it. So.. I don’t. Satin bonnets just never stay on my head and more than that they never preserve any kind of curl for me. My hair is just way too thin for that ‘second and third day’ ish. So, I have surrendered to the notion that I will have to wet my hair daily in order to achieve my best curls. It is what it is.

2. Love Never Dyes. I use box dye to dye my hair ALL THE TIME and as a result, my hair is 20 different shades of orange, red, brown and black. But I never learn my lesson and I keep doing it. I have nothing more to say about this. I have a problem and I can’t stop, won’t stop rocafella records.

3. Packin That Heat. I put heat on my hair almost everyday especially in the winter. Now, I know this sounds bad but it’s not. Because I wet my hair daily, I diffuse with a hair dryer daily. It really doesn’t seem to damage my hair and here’s why. It’s saturated in leave-in conditioner. So, the heat opens my hair shafts, allowing the conditioner to penetrate deep into my hair follicles. It’s pretty much a daily deep conditioner. Now, don’t get it twisted, this is very different from using a flat iron or curling wand on your hair daily. Those items HAVE given me heat damage. I’m actually going to talk about that in a further post.

4. I’ll Admit It, I’m A Cutter. I keep cutting my own hair. I shape my hair to my face pretty well in the front and then the back looks like a rats nest. And I alway say that I’m going to get it professionally shaped but I never do. My fear of the stylist getting scissor happy and chopping off all my hair takes over and I end up thinking, “It isn’t THAT bad” but it is. It really is. Shanti will tell you. No pictures form the back please.

5. Grease Is For Chicken. I NEVER use oil or creme based products on my hair. I’m done with it. YOU HEAR THAT CIPRIANA?! I don’t use oil! Sue me.

 I used to use mono oil on my hair and while it didn’t weigh my hair down, I found that I didn’t really need it. Instead, I use light gels like CURLS Goddess Curls Gel to seal in my moisture and maintain my curls.

So, in summary, there is no right or wrong when it come to your regimen. You have to find out what works for you. It’s a process trust it.

Where is Antoinette?

antoinette henry, singing, jazz, around the way curls

photo Frank Stewart

 

Where in the world was Waldo?! I know… I have been missing in action for about 2.5-3 months. SMH. Thank God that Shanti has been holding me down. I have to admit missed blogging. I missed ‘talking’ to y’all. Our instagram banter wasn’t enough of a fix. Anyway, I’ve been away all for good reasons.

grand night for singing antoinette henry

Notice we are all the same complexion. Ha!

First and foremost, I am currently on a hiatus from the hustle and bustle of NYC. I am living in sunny Fort Myers Florida and performing at Florida Repertory Theater, in Rodgers and Htammertsien’s, A Grand Night For Singing. It’s beautiful here. The air is fresh, the sun is shining, the sky is clear and temperature averages 75 degrees. I’m LOVING it. I picked the best time to get away from that cold and depressing NYC weather.

The show is sweet and filled with classic music theater tunes that can warm any heart. There is a lot of dancing, scene changes, lucsious fives part harmonies and timeless music. It feels really great to be back on stage and telling the story.

Secondly, in November, I was added to the cast of Sistas Off-Broadway (of which I am on leave from while in Florida) and therefore joined Actors Equity/’The Union”. Praise God! Heath insurance! 401k! Grown up ish! AMEN!

christian mcbride, antoinette henry, lewis nash, renne rosness

And lastly, I took a leave of absence from my job and recorded my own record at the very place I was once a server, alongside A Musical Dream Team… with Christian McBride (James Brown, Diane Reeves, Sting, McCoy Tyner, Celine Dion) doubling as both producer and bassist, Lewis Nash all over the drums, Renee Rosnes on all kinds of keys, Adam Rogers killing us softly on guitar and guest vocalist Michael Mwenso swinging low like the sweetest of chariots. (Who do I think I am? ha!)

This is something I never in a million years thought I would ever do and I was scared to death. I used to go to the studio with our friend Jazmine Sullivan all the time. I watched the process and was glad I did music theater. I watched her spend 10-15 hours finding the right track, writing the lyrics, laying down the hook, laying down the back ground vocal…etc. It was grueling. But this process was very different.

  Jazz musicians work differently then any other musician. I have studied music theater and choral music mostly so I am used to a lot of rehearsal in which we set dynamics, phrasing, breaths, musical lines, etc. They are then to be repeated every night while still somehow keeping them fresh, alive and entertaining. But jazz folks do not rehearse nearly as much as theater people, they practice. These are two very different things. They spend hours practicing, perfecting their sound and their technique and then come together and create something on the spot and organic. Jazz is improvisation. It’s a conversation to be had in the moment. To quote Michael Mwenso, “It’s a spiritual thing” but terrifying at the same time.

So, with Shanti by my side, with my nerves almost getting the best of me, I let it all hang out. I made mistakes. I forgot lyrics. I even counted wrong a couple of times but I did it. I was completely out of my comfort zone and completely awestruck and intimidated by the band filled with grammy winners and nominees but eventually I settled and just sang with my whole heart.

Now, I’m listening back, taking notes, feeling vindicated and content, while soaking in a bath tub that covers BOTH my knees and breasts in sunny Florida. It’s interesting what happens to you when you step out on faith. God is good and all the time….

I look forward to sharing the record with you soon!

Cherish The Day

 It’s been a long time. So much has happened and been happening in my life. I was all geared up to come back to blogging with a vengeance last week and update you all with all my exciting news, career moves and so on and so forth when I got word that my beloved Grandmom had passed away. Obviously, my completing any sort of blog post became the furthest thing from my mind. The world is such a strange place. Just yesterday, I placed a rose on my Grandmother’s casket and held my mother up as we watched her be lowered into the ground, and today I’m thousands of miles away, on stage singing and dancing in front of an audience who are all expecting me to deliver their moneys worth.

I’m holding it together but I want to scream, kick and cry. My costume feels like it’s suffocating me, the lights are hot and blinding, and the music is so labored and lifeless. I just want to go home and be with my mother.I just want to take care of her and ease any pain I can. I had to leave her the very day her mother was buried. I regret that already. But career, contracts and responsibilities all have a way of forcing life to go on. I guess I should just be glad they released me long enough to get to the funeral. 

But more importantly, I want to share with you all some things about my Grandmother and her life, some of which I knew and some of which I recently learned. My Grandmother, Janet Lee Raitano was not a fancy woman. She didn’t travel the world, she didn’t like fine jewelry, and she didn’t have a lot of money. She was 16 years old when she got married and completed her schooling up to the 7th grade. She lived in a small home with her two cats, Pumpkin and Midnight. She loved any kind of trivia or card game especially poker and would take even the kids’ money. She loved old movies and anything and everything that had to do with Elizabeth Taylor.  And she welcomed everyone into her angel figurine filled home, with a smile, hug and kiss, warm meal and a delicious dessert.  She never seemed to worry or stress or at least she didn’t let her grand children know about it. She had a very easy way of being about her. In fact, it was summed up in the opening sentence of her instructions in the case of her death, “Once I die, wait two days before doing anything so you kids can get your shit together”.

She gave birth to, nurtured and raised 9 children… 6 girls and 3 boys… who then gave her 17 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren with one on the way. Her husband, my Grandfather died when she was only 46 years old. At that time she still had 2 children in middle school, 1 child in high school and 2 children in college. She was a strong yet warm women.  A woman who would stop at nothing to keep her family tight knit and together. Till the day she died she was center of every family function for all 31 of us- every birthday, christening, communion, wedding, holiday (even valentine’s day) and baby shower, graduation, dance recital, play and summer picnic. Her entire life was dedicated to her family.

It would be impossible to count the number of tears she wiped, scrapes she cleaned, bruises she kissed, hearts she healed, babies she rocked, teeth she pulled, minds she comforted and memories she gave.

She would always ask me to sing and for whatever reason I never would. I regret that now. I should have sung for her every day. I should have called her more. I should have realized earlier how short life is, so that we could have had more moments. Lesson learned. But at the very least, I recorded some music earlier this month and I sent her some of the songs. From what my family tells me listened to them quite often. Her last words to me were in a Facebook message where she wrote:

She passed 12 days later.

Cherish the day y’all. With the heaviest of hearts-

Hair Story: All The Many Layers of GG Renee

around the way curls, natural hair 3c hair
1.Have you always been so confident and in love with your curls?

No, I have not. I can clearly remember the first few times when I wore my hair in a bush, you know, my first experiments with wash and go’s. My curls were so tight and squishy and my hair didn’t frame my face like it did when I wore it straight. I didn’t feel as pretty without my hair draped all over my face, hiding things and shaping things, you know? I had to get used to this new look, and I had to dig deeper to redefine beauty for myself. How long has it taken for your to “master” the care of your your hair? Who/what helped you gain mastery? Every time I think I have become a master, I get bored or lazy with my hair or it gets too long and it annoys me so I neglect it and regress. Or, some lifestyle change happens and I have to make adjustments. What seems to work for me most broadly, no matter what is going on in my life is keeping my regimen simple, with certain core products that I always use, and keeping twist outs and braid outs as the foundation for almost every style. I definitely still experiment with products and new styles from time to time, but nowhere near as much as I did when I was a newbie. For the most part, I know what my hair needs when it acts up. I may need a protein treatment if it’s limp or over moisturized. I may need a trim if my detangling sessions get too wild and my hair is always looking scraggily and my curls and waves lose their spring. I got to this point through a lot of trial and error and communion with other naturals on blogs and in real life.

2. What is your cleansing hair regime (how often do you shampoo, condition, deep condition and with what products)?

I shampoo my hair about once a month, and in between I co wash either every week or every other week, depending on what season it is and what I have going on. I’m all over the place when it comes to shampoo, but my most common staples are Giovanni Deep Moisture, Crème of Nature Argan Oil Moisture, SheaMoisture Moisture Retention, Alba Coconut Milk or Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose. I’ve been wanting to try Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap on my hair, but haven’t tried it yet. Let me pause here and say that I don’t have all of these in my product closet at once. I alternate between them over time, changing things up when the mood strikes me. As far as cowashing and detangling conditioners go, my regulars are Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat, Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture, and Aussie Moist. I experiment the most in this area, because I’ll try almost anything that promises slip and comes in a huge container with a pump. There are three girls in my house and we all have a lot of hair so we go through conditioner like water. For deep conditioning, my faves are Aubrey Organics Protein Balancing, Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose, Camille Rose Naturals Algae Deep Conditioning Mask, Pantene Moisture Mask Deep Conditioner, and SheaMoisture Deep Treatment Mask. I experiment with deep conditioners too. If it’s not as heavy as I like, I add EVOO or Castor Oil to it.

3.What is your de-tangling process?

There’s a then and now aspect to this. Here’s what I used to do. On wash day or the night before, I would section my hair and douse it with coconut oil. Then I’d get in the shower and apply conditioner section by section detangling with my fingers as well as a wide toothed comb as I stood in the shower. A few months ago, we started having problems with our water heater, right? And damn if that thing still doesn’t work right, so I can’t take so long in the shower, even on wash day. So, I started doing my detangling before I get in the shower and I love it. I still do the sectioning and coconut oiling, but now I take it section by section and apply the conditioner and detangle before I get in the shower. Revolutionary. For me, anyway. ☺

4. How do you achieve your daily hair style? (try to be detailed being as though others are gaining inspiration and DIRECTION from your process)

My most common daily hairstyle of late is a braid and curl. After a wash or cowash, I section my hair into about eight sections and stretch it by blowdrying. I always prefer to stretch my hair because the breakage, knots and aggravation I experience when my hair is not stretched is not worth it to me. I don’t have the patience. So I apply Barry Fletcher’s Grease and I blow dry it just enough so that it’s stretched but not completely dry. Once each section is semi-dry, I apply a moisturizing styling cream like SheaMoisture Curl Enhancing Cream, Camille Rose Naturals Almond Jai Twisting Butter or their Moisture Butter and then I corn row it, leaving about 2 -3 inches at the bottom unbraided. I then spray the ends thoroughly with my aloe vera/grapeseed oil/rose water mix, and seal with something thick like Barry Fletcher’s Grease or Koils by Nature Hair and Body Butter and I put an end paper and sponge roller on the end. I do this for each section and let it dry/set overnight. To maintain the style, at night I section it into about 4 – 5 pieces and put chunky two strand twists in it, sealing the ends with more grease each night. There are some nights where this does not happen, of course. I have three kids under the age of 11 so needless to say, I am not able to twist my hair every night. I often just put it in a ponytail on top of my head, pineapple style, and pray it doesn’t get too crazy. In the morning, I’ll apply a curl refresher like Jane Carter’s Hydrate Quench followed by their Creamy Leave In Styling Smoother or Camille Rose Hair Milk or Camille Rose Moisture Butter. Whatever I have on deck.

5. How do you perceive relaxed/straight/weaved hair? Be honest.

I’ve always loved healthy, vibrant hair whether it was relaxed, textured, curly, straight, whatever. I just love beautiful hair. I have no problem with relaxed hair. But unhealthy, damaged hair? Ew. I do judge. I wish I didn’t, but I do. If I see dry, damaged looking hair or an unflattering haircut, I feel like the person is misguided and I wonder what their natural hair in a healthy state would look like. You know that unfortunate look when it’s all damaged and broken off and there is one piece of hair that is hanging on, long enough to touch their upper back, but the rest is a broken mess, and the person is telling everyone that they have long hair because they are hanging on to that one piece of lonely hair. Yeah. I don’t like to see that. When I look at photos of my relaxed hair, even when it was healthy, I still feel like a watered down version of myself. My natural texture is so special to me now, and so reflective of who I am, that I can’t imagine not having it as a statement, showing the world who I am.

6. How did/do battle the internal voice that may speak words of doubt about the beauty and worthiness of your natural beauty?

I’m at a point in my life where I’m constantly repeating affirmations to myself to counteract my inner critic. For many years, I felt very insecure in my skin and in my personality, and I relied almost solely on the approval of others, men and women alike, to feel beautiful. Beginning with my natural hair transition, I began appreciating all the things I used to hide. My hair is big and poofy and I like it. I used to hide that. I am very creative and sensitive and awkward and I used to feel completely embarrassed by that. I have dreams of living a completely different lifestyle and having a very different career than what was expected of me, and somewhere inside I had to find the courage to pursue my dreams, regardless of what anyone thinks, even if no one understands right away. In order to do that, I have had to learn to work with that inner voice and find out where my insecurities come from. I highly recommend finding a creative outlet. This is what saved me. When you have a way to express everything that’s going on inside of you in a creative way, to make sense of yourself and the world, then you will start to value and appreciate the outside more as well. Everything outside is an extension of what flows on the inside. So that’s a long winded way of saying that I beat my inner critic daily by doing the following: 1) I don’t say negative things to myself and when those old thoughts come up, I ignore them or redirect them. 2) I change how I think about my insecurities by exploiting them and talking about them, taking their power away. 3) I remind myself that the more authentic I am, inside and out, the closer I will get to fulfilling my dreams.

7. What hair product can’t you live without?

I can’t live without Barry Fletcher’s Grease.  It’s got all natural ingredients and hands down it moisturizes my hair the best out of anything I’ve tried whether I apply to wet hair, dry hair, curly or straight. It reminds me of the Blue Magic Coconut Oil that my mom used to use on my hair as a child but without the mineral oil and petroleum. 8. Any words of wisdom that you would like to share with the masses about natural hair? My advice would be that natural hair, by itself, is just a grooming/styling choice. It’s just hair. Not a big deal. But the meaning you assign to it is everything. If it causes you to reconsider other things that you’ve been taught that no longer feel right for you, then take that empowerment you feel from your hair and apply it to your whole life. Your hair, your beauty, your life, your way. That is all.☺

around the way curls, natural hair 3c hair

around the way curls, natural hair 3c hair

around the way curls, natural hair 3c hair

around the way curls, natural hair 3c hair

Thank you Shanti and Antoinette for having me! Your readers can find me on Instagram and Twitter @ggreneewrites and I write about inner and outer beauty on my blog AlltheManyLayers.com.

Still Sculpting

My hair is a ratchet mess.  So, as a result I am going to ignore my hair and post about my workouts because this hair needs to be shaped and dyed. Lawd have mercy.

Anywhoo, I have changed my workout regimen and I wanted to share.  Since this summer I have been working out with a trainer. I started out doing 30 minutes of cardio and weight training about 4-5 times a week, alternating between chest back and shoulders and abs arms and legs. I haven’t seen a difference in my weight but I have seen a difference in my body and I have felt an overall difference in terms of strength. The reason I haven’t seen much of a difference in my weight is because my body was converting fat into muscle and getting stronger.

Now that I have my strength up I am changing my work outs. It’s all about toning and sculpting right now. So, I am spending less time in the weight room and focusing more on body weight exercises (strength training exercises that don’t require free weights).  These workouts are also all the cardio you need. It’s no joke. I hate them but they are definitely worth it. The exercises I love to hate most are Burpees, Mountain Climbers, Plank Walk Pop Up, Pike Push Up, Squat Jumps, Dragon Walks, Hindu Push Up, Assisted Pull Ups, Pike Elbow Up, Driving Knew Push Up, Side Plank… etc… See the video below to know what I am talking about.

I have to admit I’ll miss the weight room though. I loved being the only woman in there representing and lifting more weight than some of the men but I need to chill out unless I plan on looking like a damn man. So… the dance room it is for now… and the weight room will be only twice  a week with less weight and more reps.

This video is no joke. I can’t do all of these exercises but I do what I am able to do. Check it out.

Let’s get it ladies so we can be butt nekkid in deez streetz!. I kid. I kid.

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