The Curl Whisperer of Duafe Salon

duafe outside  

The natural hair salon Duafe in Philadelphia  has been blessing heads for over 20 years now. Celebrities such as Jill Scott, Beyonce, Tye Tribett, Floetry and Janet Jackson (just to name a few) have been enjoying the twists, locs, color and intricate braids created by Duafe’s owner Syretta and her team of stylists.

I have been connected to Duafe and Syretta since I was thirteen years old. After first getting my hair braided in Syretta’s mother’s house in West Philly when she was just a young, single stylist, I  have continued to  follow her career. Upon every visit, I see evidence of her growth as an artist and entrepreneur. Her salon changed from being a small attic dwelling to being in an expansive, warehouse chic building. Her clientele ranges from multimillion dollar artists, powerful politicians to regular folk, men and women, black and white. Every time I sit down in a chair at Duafe, fragrant scents, intimate conversations, laughter and tender hands knead my spirit into a softened space of comfort and care.

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Syretta has been watching with smirking eyes as this “natural hair revolution” has blown up. Two strand twists, bantu knots, kinks, curls and fros are nothing new to her. In many ways, the population is finally catching up to her wealth of knowledge, finally her skills and that of her staff may really begin to fulfill the potential that has been building for years. She is ready to be of service.


Duafe’s “Curl Specialist”, Rimmy

Syretta has found her salon’s curl whisperer. 28 year old Rimmy a native of Ohio has come east to Philadelphia to follow her passion for hair care. I met Rimmy recently and immediately I knew she was to be trusted and she knew what she was doing. After meeting her, I wanted to showcase her skills, I wanted to spread the word about Duafe to all the timid, first time big choppers, overwhelmed transitioners and curly haired women frustrated with salons that ruin curls with hot blow outs, lop sided, short cuts and the inability to lead and inform about healthy hair care practices.


 I found Rimmy’s muse in one of my best friends – Tsehaitu. She has been perm free for seven years but she has yet to really get into the groove of knowing and caring for her curls and kinks. She has been persuaded by the myth that you can really have the best of both worlds. You can have straight hair one week, curly hair the next and healthy hair all around. Her hair was misshapen, dry and in need of some TLC. I brought her to Duafe and Rimmy for a transformation. Here is her transformation.

 Tsehaitu’s Hair Before 

tse front   tse side   tse back  

Tsehaitu maintains a very simple regimen of Jojoba oil and water on her hair daily. She sets it at night with 5 chunky twists and fluffs in the morning. She is not a slave to definition by any means. She actually prefers less definition. For the past 3 months she has been going to a hair salon (off and on) and getting her hair straightened. She was assured by a hair stylists that her hair can stand heat, it won’t be damaged and that with a steady trim every 6 weeks she was doing her hair some good.

Rimmy looked at her hair and said “WRONG!”. Remmy explained that,  “There is no in between with straight and curly. You either commit to having healthy curls or maintaining straight hair. If you want to go between straight and curly, your going to end up HAVING to wear it straight because your curls can NOT withstand the damage of heat. Eventually your curls will retreat into stringy, porous, life-less strands.”

This was the case with Tsehaitu’s hair. She had heat damage. Her natural curl pattern remains unknown to her even seven years after she has stopped perming her hair. 


example of damage hair

“If your hair is wet and your curl does not spring back after pulling it, if  it doesn’t have any elasticity to it, your hair is heat damaged.”

heat damage

Rimmy’s Solution

Rimmy asked what were Tsehaitu’s hair goals. Tsehaitu said she wanted manageable hair that would grow.  Rimmy was completely honest with Tsehaitu explaining that heat damage is similar to a perm in that your hair is forever altered. There is no going back. The only two options were big chopping or transitioning. The only way to healthy, happy, thriving curls was to stay away from heat. 

Tsehaitu did not want to big chop, so they agreed that the journey would be a slow and steady one. Every 6 weeks Tsehaitu agreed to come to get her damaged ends clipped by Remmy as the healthy, unaltered curls grew in from the roots. The beginning of Tsehaitu’s healthy hair journey was getting her hair shaped. 

Shaping to Rimmy is the most important aspect of healthy curls ( second to product). In her opinion,  it doesn’t matter if you have the most beautiful curls if your shape is wrong. With a bad shape, you are doing your styling potential no justice.

Rimmy dubbed the common shape of Tsehaitu’s hair – The Sting Ray. “Long on the sides with a long tail in the back”. If you look closely, you will see that the “tail” in the back is an illusion to length and does not really provide an honest representation of length. The tail had to go. Tsehaitu took a deep breath and let it go.


thin ends

“See through” ends that needed to go.

cut hair floor

After Cut

aftr 1

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Rimmy’s Styling

Due to the fact that Tsehaitu’s curl pattern is damaged, she is going to have to continue to create the illusion of a curl pattern and definition. Rimmy applied Duafe’s product for moisture and shine and began doing a variation of a two strand twist. The hair is two strand twisted down it’s length and then tucked into itself to create a loop. She then put Tsehaitu under the dryer for a short time.



The Results After Shaping and Styling

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r 5

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If you are in the Tri-state area and you are looking for a natural hair salon, check out Duafe Holistic Hair Care in Philadelphia. Check out all of their styling in braids, locs and curly hair care. Book an appointment and tell them ATWC sent you! or call (267) 297-7636



Hair Story : Tae’lor Roots


1.Have you always been so confident and in love with your curls? What’s your hair story? 

I wouldn’t say I was always confident with my curls. I never really paid much attention to my natural hair because I would always have my hair straightened. I was natural up until I was 14 and I only wanted a perm because I wanted to wear a roller-set. I never realized that “perm” basically meant “permanent” and I would not easily be able to go back to my press and curl. I kept getting my hair relaxed regularly for four years until I was fed up with constantly getting burned and finally, I decided to ditch the lye.

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

It did not take long to master taking care of my hair because when I first big chopped, I did my hair every week with a different product (I bought some and borrowed some) until I found something that worked for me. Now that my hair is longer, I just try new hairstyles and products as a way to keep me occupied when I am bored. YouTube became such a huge help, it was only necessary to make my very own for girls who are now going through the same process I went through 3 years ago.

3.What is your de-tangling process? 

I usually wet my hair and divide it into 6 sections. I’ve been working with Organix conditioners lately because I love the thickness of it and all of the flavors smell amazing. I squirt about a quarter-sized drop in my hand for each section and then I comb through with a wide toothed comb starting at the ends and working my way up to the roots. I also comb through with a smaller comb as I style my hair to assure that all of the tangles are out.

4. How do you achieve your daily hairstyle (try to be detailed being as though others are gaining inspiration and DIRECTION from your instruction.

My go to hairstyle is my twist out.  I usually just co-wash and detangle my hair. After that, I divide my hair into two sections while it’s still wet and rub coconut oil through both sides. Next I part my hair into smaller sections depending on how big or small I want my crinkles to be. I use a leave in conditioner (lately it’s been Hair Mayonnaise) and I run it through that smaller section as I twist my hair down to the end. I do not take the twists out until it has completely air-dried and then I just put my hair in a pineapple when it is time to go to sleep.

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

I have a lot of women in my family and all of them have relaxers. I constantly tell them all that they would be so satisfied with their hair if they just let their curls flourish but of course they do not listen. I don’t perceive anyone differently just because of how they choose to wear their hair but one thing that does grind my gears is when I hear “it isn’t for everyone.” If it is growing out of your scalp, how much more “for you” could it possibly get?

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

Usually on the days that I begin to second-guess my “natural beauty,” I go to YouTube or a natural hair blog to find a new hairstyle I may want to try. This inspires me and keeps the natural journey new.

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

I CANNOT go without my coconut oil…EVER! I use it at some point no matter what I may do to my hair.

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

If you are transitioning and begin to doubt your journey, find some inspiration and realize all of the potential your beautiful curls have. No one else can rock it like you!






Obsessed much? Follow Tae’lor Roots on Instagram at @Queen_taelor


Her Hair Story : Renee Jeremiah


1.Have you always been so confident and in love with your curls? What’s your hairstory?

I stopped relaxing my hair two years ago (around February 17th). I needed a perm really badly around the time and I thought about how much I hated going to the hair salon, the smell of relaxer and the whole experience. So I figured, “What’s the point? There’s nothing wrong with my hair” (referring to my natural hair). I didn’t see the logical point in spending time and money on something that I didn’t need to do. So, I just stopped getting relaxers and let my natural hair grow in. For about a year I got senegalese twists for about a year afterwards- I took monthlong breaks in between each installation. I was happy with my choice, and so were all of my friends and siblings. They were all very supportive. My mother, on the other hand, was less than thrilled, but there’s no stopping me once I’m onto something. I love my hair and I’ve never looked back. I don’t really feel like I ever had any really negative connotations connected to my natural hair. I always liked that it was thick and long as a child. I permed it pretty late, in the 10th grade, mostly because I wanted to have straight hair like everyone else. LAME. However you style your hair is fine, but I don’t think decisions should be made because of or be affected by societal expectations/standards: if you’re going to change something about your appearance it should be for your own preference/happiness. I made the decision to stop relaxing my hair for me and not anyone else. I find life is easier if you go with what you’re attracted to.

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

Oh man, it’s been a long road. I had no idea what I was doing at first. I watched approximately 293248293498 YouTube videos in the beginning. Naptural85 saved my hair,I swear. Curly Nikki was a godsend for me in the early days. I bought at least 3 or 4 of the products on her holy grail lists and I still use TJ’s Nature Spa conditioner to this day. I was lucky enough to meet Nikki at an event in NYC last spring and she is just as sweet and suuuper pretty in person. My friends were also really helpful with giving me conditioner suggestions and hair tips (water is your friend now, Hello Hydration condish is the bomb diggity, etc). After about 8 months (I wanted to transition for 24 months but clearly that didn’t happen) I called a friend and asked her to help me cut my straight ends off. I hadn’t BC’d before then because I had this fear of having short hair. A new semester was starting and there was no way I could go to school with the tangled, matted mess that was my transitioning hair. I LOVED it right away. I cowashed right after cutting it and applied (wayy too much of) KC Curling Custard. I thought I was so cute with my baby fro. In my opinion, I’m a 4B curlie. The first  products I bought were Kinky Curly Knot Today, Shea Moisture’s Curl Souffle, KC Come Clean and Aussie Moist. Luckily, I haven’t really had any problems with products my hair likes. Today, I like to think I’m not too bad with taking care of my hair. I generally rely on twist outs and protective styles the most, but I definitely won’t turn down a roller set or a big, baaad blowout.I do wash and go’s. but mainly when I’m really busy and can’t be bothered with anything else (hey there, finals week).

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

I try really really hard to deep condition my hair at least once a week and I do a protein treatment once a month. I pre-poo with coconut oil or olive oil (or a cheapie conditioner mixed with an oil)for about an hour (or more , depending on how busy/lazy I am on wash day). Then I apply KC Come Clean and shampoo the roots of my hair and let the runoff do the rest. I love that stuff, it’s really potent and 1 bottle lasts me about 6 months. My hair is pretty thick, so I’m happy about that. After that, I usually deep condition with a homemade mask. I use one base organic item (like an avocado or a banana usually) and then I add olive and coconut oils as well as some TJ’s Nature Spa conditioner. I use a Ninja Bullet blender (amazing and only $50) to blend it to yogurt like consistency and apply to my hair and pop a trusty plastic bag on top for an hour (or 2. Or 4.)After rinsing,I apply my leave in (KC Knot Today) and seal with an oil (right now it’s avocado oil but sometimes I use sweet almond oil or jojoba). Then I apply my styler (I like ecostyler clear gel or anything from SM)and style as usual. I wash every 2 weeks or so and I cowash once a week or more often if I’ve worked out a lot. I like to cowash with Suave Humectants, Tresemme Flawless Curls or Aussie Moist. In a pinch I’ll use a VO5 Moisture Milks Conditioner.

3.What is your de-tangling process?

Pre-pooing is so important. I can’t skip it otherwise detangling will take at least 40min. I pre-poo with oil and some conditioner with LOTS of slip. I finger detangle for the most part, but then I go through my entire head with a very big wide tooth comb(the kind that only has 6 or 7 teeth)and comb through while my hair is still saturated to be sure that all tangles are gone. I do this in small sections and then twist after detangling each so they won’t mix and mingle,so to speak. While my hair is still soaking wet, I wrap it in a cotton t shirt to absorb the excess water for about 10 minutes, after which I start to style my hair.

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

I usually do your standard twist out on damp hair. While twisting, I’m always sure to coil the ends around my finger a few times in order for all of the ends to be uniform. My twists are usually small and I use EcoStyler Argan Oil gel. The twists are almost always small to medium sized. When unraveling, I use any oil on hand to unravel starting at the ends and working my way up to the root. I separate the strands where they naturally fall. I usually retwist about every 3 nights. As mair hair gets bigger, sometimes I pull it up into a high puff using a black silk ribbon with bobby pins to tuck in the ends of the ribbon.I also use thigh highs or pantyhose (black) to create puffs without so much tension. To smooth down the front and the sides, I spray my hair lightly with water and apply gel, using my hand to the smooth down the gel as I brush my hair down with a soft boar bristle brush.

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

I think everyone should do what makes them happy. I don’t think anyone has to right to tell anyone else how they should live their lives and what their truth is, and for me, that extends to what grows out of your scalp and how you decide to style/not style it. I think issues arise from one person trying to push their truth on another. Women with relaxed hair can be just as pretty and sure of themselves as the next person and the same goes for women with natural hair. If you really and truly believe in your own inner beauty, it’ll show regardless of what’s on your head or your body. Do you.

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

Definitely coconut oil.

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

Everyone’s natural hair is beautiful. Hair is hair, but the most telling part of this process for me was the more concrete sense of self I developed. It was a lot easier to let go of things and people and philosophies that weren’t true to me. Beauty is ever evolving and changing. It isn’t the same everywhere and it all depends on perspective. Natural hair (at least for me) is an outward expression of peace with one’s inner beauty.




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) ☺


Hair Story – Stacey’s “Hopelessly Dope Hair”

1.Have you always been so confident and in love with your curls? What’s your hair story? I have always loved my natural hair, I feel like it truly embodies who I am and I love being able to use it as a means of expression. I love how it’s a combination of all these different curls and textures because at the end of the day one person is a mixture of so many different characteristics and experiences. I always think of the India.Arie song “I am not my hair” and honestly it’s true. But I would say that my hair is me because how I wear it on any given day will tell you how I’m feeling at that moment. My hair story isn’t super complicated, my hair was natural for most of my childhood, except for a few years from late elementary school into middle school when my mom relaxed my hair because it made it easier to manage because doing hair was never one of her strong suits, but dear lord she did try, lol! So around the 8th grade I realized I could cornrow my hair pretty well and could even do cool patterns and stuff and was pretty could at doing my own hair in general. At the same time I was really over having to get super strength relaxers to tame my super coarse hair because it meant that without fail I would get a bunch of crazy scabs on my scalp from relaxer burns. So one day while I had braid extensions I told my mom that after I took my braids out I wasn’t going to get another relaxer again. That was in 1999 and I haven’t had one since. I’ve never regretted it and although I regularly have moments where I want to cut all my hair off out of annoyance or frustration(Mahogonyknots style, lol), I don’t for one second miss having a relaxer. Since then I’ve put my hair thru the ringer: I’ve cut it multiple times, into short bobs, or with bangs, or slightly shaved in the back; I’ve dyed it, once bleached in the Dominican Republic while on vaca, burgundy highlights, bright red (almost kinda hot pink) right in the front, and the last time a golden brown; I’ve gotten Dominican blowouts, press and curls (the last time I had my hair done professionally the stylist burned my face with the Marcel Iron, hence why it was my last time, sigh. I feel like I’ve done it all. So after coloring it 3 years ago I decided actually learn to take of it to see just how long I can grow it out.

2.How long has it taken for you to “master” the care of your your hair? Who/what helped you gain mastery? I think I’ve truly mastered my hair in the last 3 years or so with the increase of YouTube videos and hair blogs that provide so much information and a platform for naturals to help each other out. I love it! My faves WhoisSugar, Naptural85, Mahogony Knots, DenimPixie/Elle of Quest for the Perfect Curl and KimmayTube. WhoisSugar and Naptural85 have an amazing resource for styling, Sugar for the Curly Girl Method and helping me perfect my wash and go and Naptural85 & Mahogonyknots for my twistouts and style inspiration. Elle and Kimmaytube are sooooo well informed and do so much research that they’ve helped me understand hair better overall and that knowing your hair is about knowing more than just your curl pattern and that know your density, porosity, etc is just as important if not more so. 3. What is your cleansing hair regime (how often do you shampoo, condition, deep condition and with what products)? Typically I wash my hair every 2-3 weeks (but I usual mist with water and seal with an oil ever 2-3 days). After detangling, sectioning my hair and putting it in chunky twists, I wash with As I Am’s Coconut Cowash and I deep condition every time I wash and I alternate between Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner or Aubrey Organics GPB Conditioner to maintain a protein/ moisture balance. If I’m planning on straightening my hair I’ll shampoo and condition with Tresemme Keratin Smooth Shampoo and Conditioner, then I’ll apply TGIN Honey Miracle Mask as my deep conditioner. 4. What is your de-tangling process? I always dry detangle to avoid getting shed hairs tangled in with my hair. So I first apply either coconut oil or olive oil then go through my hair slowly, section by section, pulling apart tangles and removing shed hairs. Then I apply Tresseme Naturals Conditioners to detangle once more, running my fingers through each section to make sure I didn’t miss any knots or anything. After detangling each section I twist it to avoid it getting tangled again. 5. How do you achieve your daily hair style (try to be detailed being as though others are gaining inspiration and DIRECTION from your process) For my twist outs I apply Curls Crème Brulee first then Shea Moisture’s Deep Treatment Masque and then a bit of olive oil or coconut oil and I twist the way Naptural85 does in her “best twist out ever” video. Then I usually leave the twists in for about 2-3 days so that my hair has time to fully dry (low porosity hair like mine takes forever to dry) then I coat my hair with a little more oil, untwist, separate and fluff.  At night I retwist into bigger chunkier twists then pull into a ponytail/bun to keep my hair stretched. For wash and go’s I divide my hair in 5 sections, 2 in the back 3 in the front, then apply the Curls Crème Brule to each section. After that I smooth Olive Oil Eco Style Gel through each section bit by bit with my hands. (For a visual reference check out WhoisSugar’s youtube channel) Then I apply Curl Passion Fruit Control Paste as my finisher to each section so my hair dries hard without feeling crunchy. At night I don’t pineapple since that leads to matting in the back of my hair. Instead I divide it into about 8 ponytails and band them, Jean Michel Basquiat style, lol. Then I wear satin bonnet to sleep. If I want something a little fancier but don’t have much time, I will section off a piece in the front, braid the back up into a French braid & bun and then do a big pompadour in the front. 6.Now that you are relaxer free, how do you perceive others that still have relaxed hair? Honestly, I have no issue with anyone who chooses to relax their hair. I know how much time, patience and work it takes me to keep my hair looking decent on a daily basis. I also know that some people just aren’t good at doing hair and it’s more practical for their lifestyle to have relaxed hair. I don’t accept that everyone who relaxes their hair hates themselves or anyone who isn’t relaxed, the same way I don’t believe everyone with natural hair loves themselves and anyone else. The way one wears the hair on their head isn’t always a direct reflection of what’s in their head. The one thing I can say is that as much as naturals want people to accept and respect their choice to wear their hair in its natural state, the same has to be done for those who choose to wear their hair relaxed, texturized, in locs or any form whatsoever. What someone chooses to do with their hair on their head is THEIR business, the same way what I choose to do is MINE. Basically live and let live. (Sorry for the mini rant, but I swear some people say and do the most in this “movement”, smh.) 7.How did/do battle the internal voice that may speak words of doubt about the beauty and worthiness of your natural beauty? I don’t think I ever doubted the awesomeness of my natural hair, lol,  but I did struggle at times with certain people’s negative attitude toward my natural hair. I felt exhausted thinking that I had to convince them to like my natural hair as much I do. But with time I realized that when people are so vocal about their dislike for something in me that doesn’t actually affect them in any way shape or form, the problem isn’t actually what me or what I’m doing but it’s their own insecurities that they’re dealing with. I’m a glass half full kind of girl, so I just had to avoid contact with people who feel so entitled to offer unsolicited opinions or just plain old negativity. I surround myself with people who are loving,  accepting, and open minded, not necessarily people who see everything the same way as I do in life. 8. What hair product can’t you live without? Coconut oil, olive oil, Tresemme Naturals Conditioner, As I Am Coconut Cowash, Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose and GPB Conditioners, Curls Crème Brulee and Passion Fruit Control Paste, Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque and Olive Oil Eco Styler Gel, Carol’s Daughter Chocolat Blow Dry Cream, TGIN Honey Miracle Mask. 9. Any words of wisdom that you would like to share with the masses about natural hair? Be happy with what you have on your head, no matter what it is. I’m all about having hair crushes, lord knows I have PLENTY (Shanti & Antoinette, that def includes you guys, I drool). But you have to love your hair more than you love your hair crushes’ because yours is what you wake up to every morning. It’s like loving your friend’s significant other more than you love your own, that will always lead to dissatisfaction and eventually disaster. Also, let’s play nice. People put themselves out there via social media for the most part to help others so I don’t get why people feel the need to bring negativity to the party. Like every mama ever has always said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” If you don’t wanna say thank you for all the hard work it takes to do tutorials, blogs, vlogs etc then just keep it quiet and keep it moving. What do you really gain by being mean to others? That being said thanks Shanti and Antoinette, AWTC is awesome-sauce!  Much love!

Stacey, Instagram:


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

Her Hair Story – RENE DANIELLA

1.Have you always been so confident and in love with your curls? What’s your hair story?

I wouldn’t necessarily say always haha but I am absolutely in love with them now. I’d like to think my hair is simply another physical characteristic but at the end of the day, I most certainly can’t deny that having my hair as it is has played a hand in shaping me. The curls always draw the attention of others, both in positive manner such as admiration and curiosity, as well as on rare occasions some teasing as a kid or ignorant comments. Regardless though, the attention has given me a small platform in a sense, where I felt I had been given opportunities and even the responsibility to communicate my view, a platform to share my voice. That has actually been a confidence booster. So if nothing else, I appreciate these curls for that!

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

Oh I am still in the process! Haha no I would say I got most of my hair care techniques through trial and error. As new products and styles have come about, I find my hair routines evolve but I have learned specific steps that suit me and my lifestyle. When I was in primary school, my mum would put my hair into plaits and it would be frizzy in the front like a lions mane by lunch. Don’t even get me started on school picture days, what a process! By middle school my cousin, who has very similar hair to mine, showed me how to do a pony tail. Woo hoo, I was on my way. I felt so accomplished. I was blowing through bottles of mousse, hair spray, JAM hair gel, leave in conditioners from every brand and of course extortionately priced anti frizz and shine serums. It wasn’t until high school that I decided to let my curls “live”. My hair was very long and I used to let it frizz out into a big afro with no products in it. And I mean frizz. It didn’t have much shape but I felt good about it and it cost me less that’s for sure! I would get people who gave me those half compliments like the “I wouldn’t do it but you look … cool” phrase. I got a texturizer the summer after high school as I just felt like a change and was told it would be temporary. After a few months when my volume didn’t come back I cut it out and have been rocking my natural curls since then, about 6 years now.

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

I shampoo around every ten days using an anti dandruff shampoo called T/Gel by Neutrogena. I don’t have any dandruff but back when I used to use a lot of products I would get build up so now I really just like to keep my scalp clean and healthy. It’s more of a preventative step. I use Mixed Chicks deep conditioner on days I shampoo. Days where I wet my hair but don’t shampoo, I use the Paul Labrecque Repair Condition Restorative Protein Mask. It’s a mouthful but it’s an amazing product. I only use two leave in products on my hair; L’Oreal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Oil for colour treated hair (protects from UV rays and is very light) and the green bottle Olive Oil brand moisturizing hair lotion (I have been using it forever and the smell feels homey to me so I can’t stop!). There is so much advice on products so I will say, use what works for you! I am definitely going to try some of the healthier environmentally conscious brands when I get some time to sit and look through reviews. I feel like a new woman when I change products haha, it’s a curly girl thang 😉 My secret to achieving volume besides not detangling from the roots is using a wide tooth comb on dry or only slightly moist hair at the roots. This without fail gives my hair so much umph! Vava voom 😀 I love it! I actually keep it in my purse with me. I have a mini one that has the same width on the tooth its just shorter. Honestly, I cant live without it. I am a volume addict! If you wanna get on my level, getchya one! I got mine at Sally’s in the States for pennies!

3.What is your de-tangling process?

After applying hair products, if it’s not a day where I shampooed, I will brush from the middle to the ends of my hair with a wooden bristled paddle brush. I like to brush from the middle to the ends of my hair so my roots keep the volume while the curls get some tlc at the tips. It definitely helps keep the ends curly. Now, if I am detangling the whole thing 0.o haha I separate my hair into sections and make sure to apply moisturizer throughout and just get to detangling. I find myself using my wide tooth comb more often then my paddle brush when I am going from roots to tip. It’s more thorough that way.

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 am really all about that wash and go life! I will admit day one looks a little less lush but that’s a struggle I am willing to face because day two and three look boss! I use moisturizer followed by my paddle brush, working it through the wet tips. Once it’s dried somewhat, I use the wide tooth comb on my roots. Keeping the ends defined and less frizzy really depends on moisturizing it properly and using the brush on them to separate the curls enough for volume but not to make them frizzy. I also do ringlets every now and again. I think people call that a twist out. I did them once on a flight from NYC to LA and although I looked fab when I took them out in LA, on that flight it was a different story. I passed a cute guy in the isle too and thought, I knew I should have done a wash and go! haha no but the curls were so much more defined and had no frizz. I made about 14 twists and left them in for about 7 hours. I used moisturizer and my UV protective hair oil. I don’t know how other people do them but that worked for me. I usually leave my hair out when I sleep. Keeping it in a hair tie or wrap often gives me tension head aches and I typically just don’t like things on my head. If I shower and wet my hair before bed, I like to moisturize it and then put it in a high bun using a clip, not a hair tie. I just twist the hair around into a little ball and then clip it in place. I like the way it looks the next day too. I can take it out of the clip and because its mostly dried, when I untwist the bun the curls are larger and don’t shrink as much so I can just sprits a water bottle on my hair to loosen it and use my comb on the roots (obsessed) to fluff it up.

5. You live in Europe, can you share where you purchase most of your products so that others may find them as well?

I actually buy most of my products on the American Military base in Germany where my mum and dad live. Europe surely has places to buy the products also but as of right now, I have yet to look for them! I also like to look online for products as you can research the reviews and see recommended products which I find quite handy.

6.Now that you are relaxer free, how do you perceive others that still have relaxed hair? Oh absolutely no judgment. I have the “If you like it, I love it” mentality. I appreciate confidence and style in any form.

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

I honestly don’t have an ounce of doubt or insecurity about my hair in all aspects of it, from the tame days to the I broke another comb days, its all love and therefore beautiful. Plus if I am confident, no one has the power to shake that.

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

Product: My olive oil leave in conditioner. Keeping my hair moisturized is EVERYTHING. In addition, the wide tooth comb… If my place was burning down and I had time to grab one thing, guess what! That comb is coming with mama. Sorry to be dramatic but it feels like that sometimes!!

9. Any words of wisdom that you would like to share with the masses about natural hair? Keep your hair moisturized! Moisture moisture moisture. Also GET A TRIM. Don’t be afraid of losing length. Trimming the ends will help your hair grow, TRUST ME. I love my hair stylist! She taught me that and it completely revolutionized my hair care. Definitely have fun. Curly hair never seems to curl the same way twice no matter if you repeat the same steps down to the most intricate details. It has a mind of its own. Respect that and just go with it. Lastly, please just remember, you are much more than a curl pattern. Hair is beautiful and full of expression and all that good stuff but it is hair, and your confidence is worth much more than that, don’t stress.

Own It, Rene Daniella xxo 

Obsessed Much? Follow Rene on Instagram


Her Hair Story – Bianca Alexandra

Name: Bianca Alexandra born & raised in Birmingham, England grew up between England & Puerto Rico. now currently residing in California

1.Have you always been so confident and in love with your curls? What’s your hair story? 

Yeah, that would be a no. haha I grew up with long relaxed hair, so I was always used to having it like that. I also loved experimenting with different colors and hairstyles. But last year I think I did one dye to many and my hair was so fried and dried I had no other option but to cut it off. The initial plan wasn’t to becoming natural, I honestly had no idea my hair was even this curly. I just wanted to give it a break from the constant heat and chemicals. I first cut it shoulder length then gradually went shorter. One night(March 2012) after I washed my hair I saw about 1 to 2 inches of new growth. I saw how thick and healthy it looked compared to all the rest of my hair. Acting on impulse I grabbed the scissors and cut off all the dead ends. Straight after that I went into panic mode because I just wasn’t sure what to do with my hair at all. It took me a while to really find the right products that worked well with my hair texture. After a couple months of trail and error I started to fall more and more in love with my natural hair. 

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

Ahh for me the simpler the regime the more likely I will stick to it. Now that my hair is getting longer I can get up to 3rd day hair So now I will wash it every 3 days or so. I also try to incorporate a good hot oil treatment before I wash my hair, although I don’t have as much time as Id like for that one, So I only do that maybe twice a month. As far as my regime goes I co-wash with “As I am coconut co-wash”, then finger detangle with “TRESemmé Naturals”, rinse that out then apply some Shea Moisture deep treatment masque and/or the restorative conditioner as a leave in, let my hair air dry & that’s it. J

3.What is your de-tangling process? 

I finger detangle while I’m in the shower I have pretty thick hair so I have to divide it in at least 4 sections. Once each section is drenched in water I apply some TRESemmé Naturals conditioner & detangle working my way up from the ends.

 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’m a huge fan of wash & go’s I really don’t mess around with my hair too much. Once I’ve washed it and let it dry completely I just leave is loose. Sleep like that, wake up like that, fluff it out a bit & keep it moving.

 5.Do you put anything in your hair for styling (leave-in conditioner, gel etc)? 

My hair doesn’t take to well to gels and I don’t like to weigh it down with loading on lots of products. I’m a big fan of coconut oil &/or olive oil but I only put that in my hair as a hot oil treatment before washing it. I use any one ofShea Moisture’s conditioners as a leave in. sometimes I will use a bit of Kinky Curly knot today if I want a bit more curl definition. 

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

I say to each their own, I don’t feel that we should be defined by our hair, the color, the texture any of it. It should never deflect from your character and the person you truly are. I always get bored easily with my hair and I think it’s something you should just have fun with. Whatever makes you feel happy and confident with yourself is what you should do.

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

I felt like it was such a struggle for me to come to the decision of cutting off all my hair, knowing how unhealthy it was and yet I was still so attached to it. I think long hair was my “safety blanket” It’s sad how we can sometimes fall prey to certain ideals of what we believe defines beauty, we give it so much power over us & marginalize all other forms that may differ even remotely from the original image we once had burned in our minds. I had to question if I was really pleasing myself by choosing length over health or just tying to conform to a prevalent beauty standard so often praised by society. I had to prove to myself that I am not my hair nor should it ever define me, or deflect from the person that I am. That realization is what helped me overcome any insecurities I may have had towards my natural hair. 

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

Apparently TRESemmé Naturals because I’m going crazy now that I can no longer find it in stores.

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

No two curls are alike, what products work for some people may not work for your hair. Once you find products that your hair responds well to, STICK to it.  


Feel free to check out my blogs:


Alisha From The UK Shares Her Hair Story

1.Have you always been so confident and in love with your curls? What’s your hair story?

No not a tall it is definitely something that has happened with time. When I was growing up I didn’t realise my hair was actually curly I just used to think it was bushy. As my hair was so long and there was so much of it my mum would just blow my hair out a bit and put it in plaits or chunky twists. So once I got older and started to do my hair I just didn’t know what to do with it so got it relaxed despite nearly everyone I knew was against it. Also  then I didn’t know how to look after my relaxed hair which led me to sneak off to my friend’s  house one day and get her to cut off most of my hair my mum was so mad I cut off my “long pretty hair”. Then I spent a number of years doing all sorts to my hair dying it, curly perm added to it, getting weaves and I even bleached it blonde. As you can imagine after all that my hair was a mess it was so dry and thirsty it was like the Sahara Desert there was no amount of hair product or grease that would help. This is when I decided to cut off my over processed ends and bring my hair back to health. Blogs like this helped so much as I live in the UK there aren’t many hair dressers or people who understand natural hair!

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

I like to wash my hair once a week; sometimes I try to stretch it to two weeks that never ends well though. The day before wash day I will coat my hair in coconut oil so the washing process doesn’t dry it out. I shampoo once a week with Crème of Nature Moisture & Shine shampoo and usually once a month I will clarify my hair for deep cleanse with Pure Curls Clarifying shampoo. I condition my hair with Tresseme’s flawless curls conditioner and if I’m having a lazy day or I’m short of time I add some honey to this and leave it on for 30 minutes for a DC. Otherwise I usually deep condition with Shea Moisture Deep treatment masque or if I need a protein boost Aubrey Organics Protein Conditioner

 3.What is your de-tangling process? 

I section my hair into two and coat it in lots of Tresseme’s Flawless curls conditioner and then gently detangle each section with a Denman brush.

4.Do you put anything in your hair for styling (leave-in conditioner, gel etc)?

I usually apply either Giovanni direct leave in or Kinky curly conditioner followed by extra virgin olive oil to seal. Also sometime I might add a bit of eco styler gel to define my curls

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

It hasn’t really changed my view on others you still have relaxed hair I think everyone should be able to wear and do whatever to do their hair as long as it makes them happy.

6.What is the worst mistake you have made with your hair?

The worst mistake I’ve made with my hair was relaxing it!

7. Who is your hair idol?

I wouldn’t say I have one particular hair idol I take inspiration from a lot of different people. However in saying this I do love heyfranhey and of course I love you guys from Around the way curls you girls rock!

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

As cliché as this may sound I think the  key element with natural hair is patience it doesn’t happen overnight ; it takes time to both love and learn how to take care of your hair!

The Child Loves Lipstick and “Duck Faces”!

Go on Girl! We Ain’t Mad At Ya!

Neysa’s Hair Story: Combing Out Locs

Over the past three weeks I have been immersed in a huge project – I’ve taken down my dreadlocks. Yep, you read that right. I’ve taken down my dreadlocks. Not cut my dreadlocks. Not shaved my head. But taken down my dreadlocks. (Yes, it can be done. Google it if you don’t believe me.) And me being me, I look for the lessons in everything and this project gave me a lot to think about.

One of the lessons is that you can’t rush the job. Almost 7 years ago my hairdresser loc’d my hair. Piece by piece. Roll by roll. She put care into locking my hair. And 7 years later it had to be taken down the same way. Piece by piece.. hair by hair. There was no rushing the process. There was no going around the process. And there were no short cuts. To achieve my desired result I had to put in work. Lots of work. More work than I ever imagined. There weren’t any fastpasses to finishing. This theme has been reflected in my life over and over again. From personal growth to marriage restoration, there isn’t an easy button to get to the finish line. You have to put in the time and the work to get there.

The process to take down locs was as follows:
1.  wet the loc
2.  cut off the bottom inch
3.  apply knot today conditioner
4.  use a STRONG rat tail comb and unravel the loc from the bottom up.
Note: remember to start in the middle of your head, that way you can cover the unlocked hair in a ponytail.  If you start in the front or at the nape, you will be walking around looking busted for weeks. 

Another lesson I learned was setbacks happen. I had a plan. I had a good plan to get my locs out by the time a family event rolled around. I was confident in my plan then – BAM! – my plan was changed because of external factors. I threw a fit. Well, let me be totally transparent, I threw several fits. But when it came down to it, I could either stay in place and kick and holler, or I could get back to working a new and improved plan. In the end, the new and improved plan worked out. My life isn’t exactly where I want it right now. Ya’ll know that I’ve had some setbacks! But a new plan is in place. And I intend to work the plan until I achieve all of my goals.

I also had to learn to ask for help. The last piece that I wrote was about how I can do it all. I can wear the Superwoman cape, work a corporate job, and raise some kids. I was singing Chaka Khan – “I’m everywoman, it’s all in me” – at the top of my lungs. And I was exhausted doing it. When my personal deadline was menacingly staring me in the face, I realized one thing – either I ask for help or I miss the mark. I opened my mouth and asked for help. I didn’t just get help. I got love. I received so much help,concern,and time from my sister circle. They came and stayed all hours of the night to help me achieve a goal. I’ve known that my sistercircle was tight but I was amazed and so filled by the love they showed me. And I realize that these same sisters – and more – will have my back in future endeavors, just like I will always have theirs.

I realized that everything can’t go into the future with you. To move forward with a major change you have to cut off some dead ends. I had 7 years worth of hair on my head and my ends were raggedy. I had to cut off the dead ends. Obvious metaphor here, right? To move forward in life, I have to leave some dead things behind me. Everything can’t go with me into the next phase of life. I have to leave some baggage in the past and let it stay there.

Finally, I have to get to know the new me. Loc’d hair was resistant to rain and humidity. Free natural hair takes time and care. Little things like owning a shower cap or a wrap cap (sistas, you feel me right?) had been missing from my daily routine for years. I have to get to know the new me. I have to spend time with the new me. And I have to treat the new hairdo totally different than the old one. The new Neysa can’t act like the old Neysa. I can’t expect new things while doing the old stuff I used to do. I have to govern myself with a new set of rules, by a higher standard. So those were my lessons learned from the seemingly simple act of taking down my locs. It’s funny, the old me would have thought I was just changing my hair style, but the new me knows that I am changing my life.

For more, check out Neysa Taylor’s Blog here.

 She definitely put me on to game. I had no idea that locs could be taken out. I thought they could only be cut. She must have the patience of Job. Any other loc’d ladies ever wanted to make the switch? If so, why and what would be your process?

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