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.

The Curl Episode 2: Porosity and The Chart!

An original web series for Carol’s Daughter’s Transitioning Movement

POROSITY AND THE CHART

DESCRIPTION:

You’ve heard these words before, but what does porosity really mean, especially when it comes to your hair’s strength, health and ability to retain moisture? In this episode of The Curl, we break down the real meaning of the word while some of your favorite natural hair bloggers, including Fran of Hey Fran Hey, Cipriana of Urban Bush Babes, and Shanti & Antoinette of Around the Way Curls, share their candid and often hilarious hair stories. Also, you’ll hear tips on the best hair products for natural and all hair types. To repair your hair and end hair damage, you need to know your hair’s porosity.

 Have You Joined the Movement? 

 www.transitioningmovement.com

Porosity Check. Low Porosity Hair Treatments

around the way curls, natural hair, porosity, antoinette henry

The summer sun wreaks havoc on my hair color giving me red, orange and even sometimes purplish hues in my hair. So, I recently got my hair colored again at Aveda. The color was nothing drastic… just a nice chocolate brown for the winter. Anyway, I am always nervous about chemical damage when getting my hair dyed (even though Aveda uses mostly plant based products) so I decided to do a health check by doing the porosity test.

First, do you know what porosity is? If not, click the linkhere. In my opinion knowing your hair’s porosity level is by far more important and helpful than the hair typing chart and if you don’t know what the porosity test is it goes a little something like this:
  • 1. Fill a glass container with room temperature water.
  • 2. Pluck a strand of clean hair from your scalp. Be sure that the hair you are using is coming directly from the scalp and is not a strand that broke off from your hair shaft.
  • 3. Place the strand of hair in the water.
If your hair floats you have low porosity hair. Meaning, your cuticles are compact and somewhat closed. This makes it difficult for moisture to penetrate your hair shaft but once it does penetrate it is easily maintained
If your hair sinks to the bottom you have highly porous hair. Meaning, your cuticles are so far raised that they are wide open. Moisture easily penetrates your hair but also easily escapes it. So, you need to figure out your own best practices for sealing in moisture. (That post is to come).

If your hair chills somewhere in the middle congratulations you have normal porosity, none of this matters to you and life is easy! But keep in mind your hair’s porosity can and will change overtime so it’s a good idea to check back in every now and then.

around the way curls, porosity, natural hair, curly hair
Believe it or not I actually took this picture the following day and that ish was STILL floating.
The results of the test were that my curls floated on top of that water like oil. Ugh! So, my hair has very low porosity. Meaning, it’s resistant and water does not penetrate my hair easily because my cuticles are not raised but instead are compacted. What that essentially means is that my hair repels products/moisture instead of absorbing them which can lead to dryness, product buildup and wack ass curls. BUT, the results also led me to believe that dying my hair did not cause any damage because my cuticle structure is still strong and intact. (At least that’s what I’m going to tell myself).  So, there are pros and cons to this discovery.
Ways to Treat Low Porosity Hair
  • Steam is a gentle way to lift compact cuticles and send moisture inside your hair shaft. If you don’t have a hair steamer then turn the shower on and sit in the bathroom while it fogs up. Add a deep conditioner to your hair while you steam for added moisture.
  • Add some heat! I have sad this time and time again. My diffuser mixed with my leave-in conditioner are the best things that have ever happened to me. The heat much like the steamer, lifts my cuticles and allows moisture to penetrate my hair to penetrate. The diffuser also helps to protect my hair as it distributes heat and airflow more evenly than a regular hair dryer.
  • The use of baking soda is something that some people are still on the fence about while others profess their love for it. I’ll keep it simple baking soda is alkaline and because of that lifts the hair’s cuticle. Many low porosity naturals add it to their conditioner during co-washes and such. Be sure to rinse it out thoroughly and then use something acidic to reseal your cuticles like aloe vera juice or and ACV Rinse.
  • Don’t go HAM with protein treatments. You’re hair is already compact with protein so adding more will further seal your cuticles. Use protein only when you are noticing damage and need to rebuild some of the hair’s foundation.
So, it was time to get the good ol’ Huetiful Hair Steamer out, lift up these cuticles and pump some moisture into these dessert like curls.
huetiful hair steamer, low porosity, natural hair, curly hair, antoinette henry, around the way curls
Listening to that new Miguel Album & playing Adorn for the 1000th time
After the steamer.
huetiful hair steamer, low porosity, natural hair, curly hair, antoinette henry, around the way curls
huetiful hair steamer, low porosity, natural hair, curly hair, antoinette henry, around the way curls
My curl pattern is still on some irregular stuff but I’m sure with a couple of treatments I’ll be back to normal. I swear I’m going to one day try that baking soda trick but I can’t front. I’m hella nervous about adding ACV to my hair. Just the sound of it scares me.
What is your hair’s porosity and how are you treating it?

Check Out Antoinette’s Tips for Fine Hair featured on the Transitioning Movement Site

Many have been asking for a fine haired regimen that works. I realized that I have yet to write and article explaining everything that I do in one post. So finally, here it is!

Learn how to cleanse, condition, seal, style and cut fine curly hair! 

fine hair, transitioning movement, natural hair, curls
When we think of natural hair, what usually comes to mind are beautiful bouncy twist-outs, locs, box braids, large Afros and bountiful wash and gos. But we often forget about all the fine-haired curlies out there struggling to keep up with the #bighairdontcare hashtag. Over the years, I have really struggled to care for my hair because there wasn’t much of a reference point in the online world for those rocking their natural textures but in the thinnest way possible. But now there is. Below are some techniques that not only work for me but that I highly recommend to every fine-haired natural who is aiming for the healthiest hair possible to try.

Cleansing: Often we are told that washing our hair strips our strands of moisture and that we should focus more on co-washing. Co-washing is great in conjunction with cleansing. Fine-haired women should cleanse more often to ensure that they are not suffering from product build-up, especially when using products that contain silicones. I, on average, wash my hair 1-2 times a week, depending on the amount of product build-up I feel and see. 

In addition, because we wash more often, I recommend diluting your shampoo. In a spray bottle mix, one part water, one part conditioner, and one part shampoo. That way you are conditioning while you cleanse and ensuring that your hair is not being stripped of moisture. Using a sulfate-free shampoo is also highly recommended.

Hydrating: Water is your best friend. I support wetting your hair every day for two reasons. 1) Water is the ultimate moisturizer and the best form of hydration for your hair. 2) Fine hair often doesn’t achieve “second day” hair. I cannot sleep with a satin bonnet on and wake up with the same curls I did the day prior. Instead, my curls are smashed, flat and lifeless. Re-wetting my hair resets my curls. 

Conditioning: Every girl with curly hair needs a good leave-in conditioner, that goes without saying. I recommend using a leave-in conditioner daily on damp hair. Also, because we cleanse more often, deep conditioning 1-2 times a week for 10-15 minutes is a must! 

Sealing: Moisturizing hair is a two-step process. First applying water or a water-based product followed by a sealant. Most often, we are told to use oils or heavy creams to seal our strands, but I want you all to say, “Goodbye” to oil and say, “Hello” to Aloe Vera juice/gel! Aloe Vera is so important and crucial as a PH balancer and extremely effective when it comes to moisture retention. Simply apply after your leave-in conditioner the same way you would oil. The aloe will seal your cuticles and keep you hydrated all day long. It also will not weight your hair down.

Styling: While our fellow thick-haired natural sisters thrive off of twists and braid-outs, we don’t. We can twist our hair at night only to find that in the morning there is no twist to our twist-out. Instead, our hair lies flat, looking like an old mop. I have found that when manipulating our natural fine-haired curl pattern, that rod and roller sets work best. I will write more extensively on styling techniques for fine hair in the future.

 I swear by these techniques yall. 

How To Condition Your Hair While in Twists, Braids & Extensions!

around the way curls, havana twists natural hair
Photo courtesy of Taren Guy
 I met Alwina Oyewoleturner a couple weeks back at the Curls Night Out Event here in NYC. She was extremely sweet and really cool.  I couldn’t stop starring at her hair so I asked her to e-mail us what her regimen was for maintaining her Havana Twists and to my surprise she did it! This is a great summertime look so ladies, if your hair is thick enough it should be on your list of ‘styles to try’. I don’t think my thin strands could pull it off but that’s probably why I admired them so much.

Antoinette asked me to share what I do while my hair is in twists or braids (extensions) for an extended period of time. Currently, my hair is in Havana twists. In the last couple of years, especially since I transitioned in 2009, I keep a very simple regimen to maintain my hair in braids and the scalp clean.
I used to use SeaBreeze astringent (not the one for the face) but a more general astringent that can be used on the scalp as well as the face/body. This helps to kill any bacteria, etc. from growing especially since you can’t really wash your braids like you do your hair. And then I used to use Dr. Hobbs’ Soothing Braid/Twist Spray, which is really hard to find, on my scalp to relax the itching and also condition my scalp.
Since finding the above products has been a challenge, I’ve changed the products with the same concept in mind. I make my own mixture of Dessert Essence’s Kinder to Skin Tea Tree Oil (8%) and Thayer’s Lavender/Aloe Vera Witch Hazel with water in a spray bottle. Tea Tree Oil has antibacterial properties and the witch hazel gently cleanses, tones and moisturizes your scalp and then water for moisture. After this I spray, African Royale BRX Braid & Extension Sheen Spray, which also has tea tree oil, silk amino acids, oils/extracts, etc. to condition your hair while in twists/braids (extensions).
I generally spray my hair with both products twice a day and if not, then at least in the morning to prepare my hair to handle the environment.
If my hair is not in extensions, my regimen is slightly different. I would use the tea tree oil/witch hazel/water mix, Shea Moisture Coconut Hibiscus Hold & Shine moisture mist, Shea Moisture organic African black soap dandruff & dry scalp elixir and the raw Shea butter reconstructive elixir to seal it all in. Lately, in place of the reconstructive elixir I have been using Carol’s Daughter Tui Oil hair spray, which has a great smell.
The goal is to add water when the hair dry, cleanse an antibacterial agent, moisturize and seal with an oil. 

To wash my hair with/without extensions, I use whatever shampoo or cleansing conditioner is available. Right now I am using Carol’s Daughter Monoi Hair Repair Shampoo and Loreal’s Evercream Cleansing Conditioner.
It doesn’t get more detailed than that. Her regimen explanation was the bomb. Shanti and I need to step our game up. SMH. Seriously though #BOOM! Her hair was the ish and she’s at every natural hair event in NYC so she’s well researched and in the know.

How Beautiful Are Those Havana Twists???

How to Seal your Hair Without Weighing it Down!

Source

For a long time people would write and complain that
they could not seal their hair with oils, greases or butters because it caused their hair to become weighed down,limp,oily and in the words of Antoinette “makes you look like a wet dog”. I never had that issue so I would just recommend using a lighter oil such as jojoba or coconut. Antoinette in her desperation to seal her hair continued to seal with oil but the oils were still too heavy for her hair texture (3a-3b). One day she mentioned to me that she started sealing with Aloe Vera gel and I really didn’t pay it any mind (sorry Antoinette. In one ear, out the other). But recently I watched a video made by the luxurious Hey Fran Hey and my aha moment came! I rushed to Antoinette to share with her the exciting news and she just looked at me exasperated and said “Thats what I have been telling you!!” Well this my fine haired, weight sensitive friends is the key to your sealing and moisturizing problems! SEAL YOUR HAIR WITH ALOE VERA JUICE! Who knew!!! ?? The aloe vera juice will seal in your moisture as would a butter, grease or oil PLUS assist in closing your hair’s cuticle layers which helps add shine and lessen frizz! The process with go a lil something like this.

1. Apply your leave in condition to damp hair as your moisturizer

2. Follow with 100% Aloe Vera JUICE as your sealant. 

Watch and learn below. If you want to get to the sealing part immediately begin at 7:07 mark 
Although my hair does not respond to oils and butters the same way that Ant’s does, I am still going to try this technique to see how my hair responds to the Aloe Vera as a sealant. Aloe Vera is so important and crucial as a PH balancer and effective in moisture retention that I think it should be a staple product applied to EVERY HAIR TYPE even if it is to be mixed with a heavier oil. I hope this helped all my limp, wet dogs out there! Onwards and upwards! Shout out to HeyFranHey for making this informative video.

Porosity Testing – 1,2,3!

So I thought instead of boring “informational” posts (which I know ya’ll skim the hell through anyway), I thought it would be better to instead get you guys involved by testing how much you know about natural hair care techniques. Let’s see if you pass or fail…


Which of these three ingredients has a PH level closest to your hair’s natural PH level?
                                                                           
        a)Apple Cider Vinegar
    b)Aloe Vera Juice
c)Baking soda
                                                                        

 The Answer is B 
Hair has a PH level of 4.5-5.5. Aloe vera’s PH level is 4-4.5. Why is this important you ask? It is very important because the Ph level of your hair effects it’s moisture retention abilities aka porosity!. Our hair’s Ph level is effected by the practices and products that we apply to it. For example, for those that choose to perm their hair, the basic chemicals of the relaxer effect the Ph levels of the hair which effects the structure of the hair’s cuticle (you following me? Reread the sentence until you understand!) Ph levels range from very basic(refer to the PH scale 7-14) whichliftsthe
haircuticles to very acidic (1-7) whichcloses thehairscuticle. 
 Hair which is too basic results in the cuticles being raised. Water goes in and out with no retention which results in DRY, BRITTLE hair! Hair with a Ph level that is too acidic results in a closed cuticle therefore water can’t get in and products build up on the hair shaft resulting in DRY, DULL hair!
Why does aloe vera juice matter in this rambling? It matters because it is Ph Balancing. It is closest to hair’s naturally intended Ph level and can assist in re-establishing healthy moisture retention. 
 Lesson Learned 
Ph levels affect the moisture retention of your hair. Aloe vera juice is ph balancing and can restore your hair back to its intended ph. This results in healthy moisture retention which results in less dry, breaking hair strands. 
 Homework 
If you are interested in reviving the moisture retention mojo back in your hair follow, this fabulous recipe created by the infamous KIMMAYTUBE. Check out this awesome video if you want to further research moisture retention/porosity.


Because this recipe is fine tuned due to Ph levels you do not want to skimp or deviate from the Aloe Vera Juice. The leave in conditioner and oils can be substituted but not omitted for best results.

2 tablespoons of Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave in Conditioner
2 tablespoons of Aloe Vera Juice (Whole Leaf)
2 teaspoons of JoJoba Oil
2 teaspoons of Castor Oil 
Mix well and Apply to clean hair.

DID YOU PASS OR FAIL????

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