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Celebrating Your Hair, Style and Life Nov 2011, Edition 3

VINTAGE HAIR Get set for fall and winter

BOOK REVIEWS Natural Kids in the Spotlight

HAIR STORIES The Ups and Downs of Natural Hair

ETHIOPIAN HAIR SECRETS 3 Days of Soft Luscious Curls

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Published by The Natural Haven

Copyright All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Views and opinions by contributors may not represent views of the publisher.


Disclaimer All information presented here is not a substitute for professional advice for example use of certain products when pregnant or in the case of allergies.

In the beginning CONTENTS Regular Feature 05 VINTAGE HAIR Fall hat tutorial - Style your hair with resident vintage maven Autumn.


08 HAIR STORIES Tales from bloggers describing the ups and downs of hair. Life and Stye blogger, Monique describes her hair as her frenemy!

11 AMINA Beauty blogger Amina went from a big chop to long hair and back to another big chop. She describes her hair as beautiful just the way it is. 14 CHAI Cover girl Chai has her hair routine perfected. She describes her hair as loved beyond measure.


26 20


17 MIKIMU Hair blogger Mikimu describes her journey from product junkie to minimalist and how she learned to understand understanding her hair.

23 BOOK REVIEW Mum of two Kcurly gives a comprehensive book review highlighting reading material for kids featuring children and parents with natural hair.

20 KCURLY Newly Natural blogger charts her way from a scary big chop and how she learned to love her hair for what it was.

26 ETHIOPIAN SECRETS Alice divulges a hair recipe for three days of luscious soft curls from a wash and go all the way from Ethiopia.

Vintage Style | 05

Vintage Style with Autumn

There is no better way to protect your hair from the icy cold blast of the fall and winter air other than a hat. In the previous issue, Autumn rocked a summer hat and now our vintage maven is back with a fall hat tutorial for you.

Step 1 Part your hair and work section-wise, detangling with your fingers or a wide tooth comb and then finally smooth with a brush. Roll the hair upward on a flexi rod and secure by bending either end of the rod.

06 | Vintage Style

Step 2

Step 4

Repeat step 1 on all sections on only one side of your head bearing in mind that you should keep all the sections approximately the same size so that the curls can also be uniform.

To finish the roller set, roll the front section and secure the flexi rod. After that, you just need to tie on your scarf and give the rollers time to set the curl.

Step 3

Step 5

Brush hair from the opposite side towards the roller set side and pin it with bobby pins. Smooth and roll any hair left with flexi rods.

Unroll the sections from the bottom making sure that you keep the the shape of the upward barrel curl.

Vintage Style | 07

Step 6 You can leave in the bobby pins to keep the hair swept to one side. Add more pins if you need ‘em.

100% Natural Shampoo Bars Step 5 Finally it is now time to try on your hat. I switched to a black paper hat with beaded detailing (feel free to switch too if you can’t decide which hat to wear!)

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08 | Monique

Monique says, “My hair is time-consuming, the source of many conversations and my frenemy.�

Monique | 09

The Ups and Downs of a Natural Journey The online natural hair community often speaks about natural hair in the positive sense exclusively. However, there is the reality that actually not every day is easy. We found five bloggers all rocking their natural hair who spoke candidly about their joys, trials and tribulations. To kick off we have Monique, an incredible life and style blogger at sofullsista. She has recently given birth to her first child and is also working full time.

What made natural?





Relaxers just didn't work well with my sensitive skin. I would consistently burn and scab, so those days were very short-lived. Additionally, I have a very active lifestyle, so heat styling doesn't typically last long when going for the 'bone straight look.'

In the beginning What was the easiest thing to do with your hair in the first year? Rock my afro, I loved my short cut. It was always 'done' and very low maintenance.

What was the hardest thing to do with your hair in the first year? When it started to get longer and reach the in between stage - I found styling to be difficult. It was too long to look 'done' with an afro, and too short for me to like twists. I still did a lot of twists and pinned them.

10 | Monique

How do you feel about your hair now? My hair and I have a love-hate relationship. Right now, I'm not loving it, but that's because I want two things, simultaneously, that are quite antonyms with my texture: 1. long hair 2. low maintenance hair.

Do you ever have bad hair days? Please describe what they are and how you deal with them. YES! A bad hair day is when my hair does not look presentable, and when it just does not want to cooperate to look presentable. Typically for me this means that I have let my hair shrink up too much, and once it's shrunken, only Aubrey Organic HSR Conditioner can loosen my curl, which also means detangling and at least 2 hours of work. If that doesn't work, I simply rock my hair, making sure my outfit and makeup is on point.

What made the biggest difference in managing your hair practically? Sectioning during washing and dealing with it in a stretched state.

What did you do to your natural hair since going natural that you would never do again? Dry combing - it just doesn't work for my hair. Also combing from root to end - ouch!

Amina | 11

Amina says, “My hair is beautiful just the way it is.”

spending hours on francophone hair forums and embraced the idea of going natural. Then, my little sister brought the July/August issue of Elle magazine which focused on the afro. After reading the article “Going natural” by Tanesha Smith, my decision was made. I transitioned for 6 weeks with braid extensions. Instead of a touch up, I had a big chop and never looked back.

What was the easiest thing to do with your hair in the first year? I enjoyed not planning my life around my hair. When it rained or snowed, I didn’t have to worry about messing up my hair or ruining a fresh hairstyle.

What was the hardest thing to do with your hair in the first year?

In the beginning

My first year, I struggled a lot with dryness. I was so frustrated that I asked my twin brother Our next story comes from Amina who is a beauty blogger at coupdecouer. She is a full time doctoral student and recently decided to go back to a short afro after having grown her hair out for five years.

What made natural?





I went natural by circumstances. In 2005, when I moved from Boston to Indiana, I couldn’t find a stylist to keep up with my relaxers. That summer 2006, I knew I needed a change or to learn how to do my own relaxers. I was in Zimbabwe visiting my parents and that is when I contemplated going natural. I read many South African magazines and it was so inspiring to see women with afros, locks or completely bald. A friend of mine also got married and in her wedding pictures, she rocked an afro! She shared her experience and online resources. I started

Amina | 13

for help, after all, he has been natural all his life. I also received a lot of negative criticism which was quite hurtful.

How do you feel about your hair now? As I enter my 6th year, I feel completely different about my hair. My hair is just…hair. I used to obsess about it, research the benefits of ingredients, techniques but now I just go with the flow. I barely do anything and wear it out most of the time. In June 2010, I did a second big chop and it was more liberating than the first one. Today, my hair is just a part of me. I think about locking every single day. I might do another big chop or try locking again. We’ll see…

Do you ever have bad hair days? Please describe what they are and how you deal with them. Absolutely! My main problem is that I am lazy and I rarely do protective styles. I wear my hair

out every day so I do struggle with knots. I should know better. I also never comb my hair. I was traumatized by combing sessions as a child and I’ve broken a few combs. To deal with them, I do hot oil treatments with palm kernel or jamaican black castor oil.

What made the biggest difference in managing your hair practically? Hot oil treatments save my life! They help me with dryness, knots and gently removing shed hair.

What did you do to your natural hair since going natural that you would never do again? Since 2008, I can’t make up my mind between loose hair and locks. I go back and forth a lot by locking for a short period of time, then combing everything out. That can put so much stress to the hair.

14 | Chai

Chai says, “My hair is loved beyond measure.”

Chai | 15

What was the easiest thing to do with your hair in the first year? Honestly, the easiest thing to do with my hair during the first year was to let it be. I experimented by simply staring in the mirror…admiring it for the first time since I was a child and letting it do what it does. I had very little expectations after my 1st BC, so it was mostly slicked back ponytails. But it suited me for the time….I was rediscovering my hair again…and if that meant walking around my home with my fro picked out one minute and tied down the next, I was game.

What was the hardest thing to do with your hair in the first year?

In the beginning Chai is a natural hair blogger at back to curly. She has pretty much perfected her routine from products to technique making her blog definitely worth a visit or six.

What made natural?





Initially it was a picture of a beautiful woman sporting a TWA in a black hair magazine. I remember calling up my stylist, making an appointment to have my hair look exactly as I saw it in the picture….only to have my stylist tell me once I arrived in her chair, that it couldn't be done. Because my hair was relaxed, it couldn't achieve the same texture and fullness I saw in front of me. I think it was at that moment I decided that I would do whatever it took to achieve that look, including chopping off all my hair. I sort of craved the intensity I saw expressed in the eyes of this woman…she was beyond beautiful in my eyes.

Insisting that I not flock to a stylist and actually DO my hair myself…was hard. I had zero confidence in my capabilities to do my hair…but eventually I started with two strand twists. It took me MANY hours to finish…took various breaks in between, but the end results were so satisfying that it helped fuel my confidence. The hardest part was to start though…after those first baby steps, I felt more sure of myself.

16 | Chai

How do you feel about your hair now? Truthfully, I feel blessed. I feel honoured to have hair unlike so many other people in the world…and there was a time where I could hardly ever come to such a realization. I am content, happy, excited…at any given moment during the day, and it's not because of the hair itself…but more so the conviction I had to make that change, stick with it, and appreciate the invaluable lessons I've learned because of that decision.

Do you ever have bad hair days? Bad hair days for me have evolved over the years. In the beginning of my journey, they grew out of frustration. I lacked the skill set and knowledge on how to properly care for my hair…it was painful and I resented myself for it. The only way to overcome those moments was to constantly put things in a much clearer perspective. I think always returning back to my reasons for going natural…the excitement felt after the initial 1st BC and even sharing those feelings with other naturals helped. I've been natural for over 10 years, and cannot remember my last 'bad hair day.'

What made the biggest difference in managing your hair practically? Finally accepting my hair for what it was and not for what I wanted it to be. It made this whole journey a million times easier…it is almost as if an invisible weight lifts from your shoulders, and everything else subsequently falls into place. I believe from that point on, the knowledge you acquire related to your own hair makes so much more sense, you're not stuck in self defeating moments and you just genuinely enjoy the process of loving and caring for your hair.

What did you do to your natural hair since going natural that you would never do again? I really did have one of those traumatic experiences with heat damage a few years ago. Over 80% of my strands were beyond repair and I would not push my hair there ever again. I enjoy the many options we have with natural hair, but the risk involved in straightening is now something that I refuse to contemplate.

Mikimu | 17

Mikimu says, “My hair is mine and it magnificently sits atop my head like a fluffy, black crown!�

03/02/09, I chopped off (with the help of my sweet hubby) all but about two inches of hair. Deep breath! After the first piece was cut, the rest was easy. I kept thinking…”It’s only hair, it will grow back.” I felt both relieved and satisfied.

What was the easiest thing to do with your hair in the first year? During the first 6 months, wash-n-go was my middle name. I would co-wash then style with gel, slap on a headband (any one of a thousand I had stashed away), and be on my way. I truly miss those days and often consider chopping all over again just to have the freedom and ease of styling my hair. The next six months consisted of primarily flattwists and twistouts.

In the beginning Mikimu is a natural hair blogger whose hair has grown enormously since she started her blog in 2009. She has great styling skills experimenting with everything from twists to fros to straight hair.

What made natural?





After my last relaxer on 8/22/08 (I remember the date!), I noticed that my edges were looking really thin and my hair had become dry and lifeless. Paying over $100 to have my hair re-touched, washed, blow-dried, and flat ironed every six weeks was becoming a bit much. I could now see the toll that process had begun to take on my poor hair. Raggedy, thin ends and sparse temples were my wake up call. I decided to go natural. and began searching online for information. I read the experience of a woman that changed my life…for the better. She has since stopped blogging but her story back then motivated me to embrace my natural hair as she discussed overhauling her mind to embrace her hair. On

What was the hardest thing to do with your hair in the first year? After my hair started growing out and the simple wash-n-go’s no longer did the trick, I was faced with the challenge of styling that “in between” hair. Too long to be care-free, but not long enough yet to rock that awesome puff

or the fabulous twists for which I had been longing. I was a YouTubing fool back in the day and I collected products like my life depended on it. I compulsively purchased every product that someone said would be good for conditioning, moisturising, twisting, you name it. During this time, I spent a great deal of time trying to decipher what was really natural, why petrolatum was the devil’s cousin and which chemical additives to avoid – I actually carried a list with me in my wallet….seriously! Deciding to follow through with my decision to keep my hair in its natural state in the face of all of the negativity I experienced from other people, black women in particular, was a challenge for me.

How do you feel about your hair now? I am so glad that I did not let those negative, rude and many times asinine comments get in my way and influence me to relax my hair again. My hair is much healthier and happier since I have been paying attention to what it actually needs and likes. I love my naturally curly/frizzy/kinky/gloriously gravity defying mane.

Do you ever have bad hair days? Oh, sometimes we go at it! Roller setting can be a real headache and also spending hours detangling only to have the hair tangle back up and form fairy knots. The one thing I must have in my hair care routine is simplicity. I don’t do herbal tea rinses, mayonnaise/banana/avocado etc. conditioners, spend a fortune (anymore) for my hair care products or hyperventillate if my hair doesn’t look perfect at all times. I have an arsenal of scarves, barrettes and hair ties that I will use in a pinch. When my hair is absolutely refusing to cooperate, I mist it with

a little water and leave in conditioner, make a few chunky twists and wait an hour or so to unravel. Another style I like to do when my hair is not cooperating is to make a French braid either down the back or on the side.

What made the biggest difference in managing your hair practically? The biggest difference for me was finding products that worked for my hair. Once I narrowed it down to a few staples: shampoo, conditioner (rinse out & leave in), oil, twisting crème and a moisturiser my routine became easier. Also, the longer my hair grew, the less I washed or wet it. Now, I wash my hair every 2-3 weeks, get 2 trims per year (this is also when I straighten it), and rarely ever wear my hair out. My protective styles of choice are twists. They give my hair a break and when the ends are tucked away I don’t have to worry about knots.

What did you do to your natural hair since going natural that you would never do again? I will never attempt to band my hair ever again in any way. I thought that would be a great way to stretch my hair but it was not for me.

20 | Kcurly

Kcurly says, “My hair is my best kept secret from myself. I hate to think of all the years I spent subduing it with a relaxer.”

Kcurly | 21

decision gave me the boost I needed. Neither one of us had a clue on what to do, however. The battle of the two textures coupled with a lack of haircare knowledge let to my big chop about seven months after transitioning.

What was the easiest thing to do with your hair in the first year? Washing my hair had never been so easy as it was after my big chop. Not only did it take very little time, but I it would dry pretty fast.

What was the hardest thing to do with your hair in the first year?

Kcurly runs a fabulous natural hair blog newlynatural. In addition to talking about to her own hair and styling ventures, she also shares the stories of other naturals and discusses topics on fitness and healthy living.

The hardest thing to do with my hair was learning to love it for what it was. When I stopped trying to make it into something it was not, things went much easier. I never imagined myself wearing twists when I thought about being natural, so realising that wearing them would not only be beneficial to the health of my hair but also aesthetically pleasing took some doing mentally.

What made natural?


How do you feel about your hair now?

As I got older, relaxing my hair became more and more questionable to me. It started out with a hesitation whenever I would relax my hair. I went a particularly long time relaxer free when I was pregnant with my son, but ended up relaxing shortly after he was born. It was not until after his first birthday when my best friend announced that she was going to transition that I made my decision to go natural as well.

I absolutely love my hair. It is one of the things that I am most proud of because I put so much work and time into it. I also went from hating it to being thankful for it. It is as unique to me as my personality or sense of humour. It is a part of me, totally unaltered.

She and I had always discussed how cool it would be to have natural hair but up until that point, neither one of us had made any efforts towards being natural. Her making that

The easiest way for me to deal with a bad hair day is a hat or a hair wrap. I also will sometimes pull the hair back into a puff and cover the front area with a cute scarf.




Do you ever have bad hair days? Do I? Yes, indeed!

22 | Kcurly

What made the biggest difference in managing your hair practically? Protective styling. I am a mom, a wife, and, before I had my last child, a nurse. Time was always an issue. As my hair got longer, I needed to downsize the amount of time that I spent styling my hair every morning. Twists have been my style of choice because they are so versatile. It does take me a few hours to put them in, but they stay in for 1-3 weeks depending on how I do them. I can then

arrange them in different ways: updos, buns, ponytails. Twists are also great for my physical activity including swimming.

What did you do to your natural hair since going natural that you would never do again? I used a lot of gel that first year and that is something I rarely do any more. Not only do gels increase drying time but they also make my hair look dull over time.

NATURAL KIDS: BOOK REVIEWS by Kcurly of NewlyNatural As the mother of two young children, I have become very aware of the fact that kids are very influenced by the types of media that surround them. Books are a great way to expose children to images and stories that promote the ideas that parents want them to embrace. In the case of natural hair, our young girls and boys are immersed in a world where straight hair rules supreme. With that in mind, here are several children's books that showcase positive and interesting characters who just happen to sport natural hair. Book! by Kristine O'Connell George The main character in this board book is a toddler who shares the many ways he loves his new book. The story is simple and sweet, making it perfect for a small child or infant's short attention span. It has a nice rhyming prose and whimsical illustrations of the toddler interacting with his book and other favourite

things. As a toddler, this book was one of my son's first picks. Hair spotlight: The little boy has a teeny weeny afro and his mother also has kinky curly hair.

24 | Natural Kids

Lola at the Library by Anna Mcquinn and Rosalind Beardshaw Here is another wonderful book to foster a love of reading in a young child. Lola is a preschooler who can't wait for her visits to the local library every Tuesday. In addition to picking out her books, she also looks forward to story time and sing-a-longs. The wording is simple and very straight to the point. It's not a board book and does not rhyme, so it might not be suited to a very small toddler or infant. However, the illustrations are colourful, cheerful and resemble a painting. If you are in the UK, you may find this book under the title Lulu Loves the Library. Hair spotlight: Lola's short hair is arranged in precious little pigtails. Her mom's hair is thick and kinky, but she sports a head wrap for a good deal of the book. Daddy Goes to Work by Jabari Asim This book provides examples of three things we really do not see in many children's books: a focus on the entity of "Daddy", a successful African American adult male, and a close knit African American family. The story's plot involves a little girl accompanying her father to his workplace for a day. The day starts off with Daddy making breakfast for the family, followed by a ride on the subway to go to Daddy's office. The little girl meets her father's co-workers and assists him in making a presentation. The book ends with the pair heading home to have dinner with Mom. It's not a board book, but it is about medium length and has rhyming prose that may interest some older toddlers up to young school aged kids. Hair spotlight: The little girl is wearing a natural hairstyle of what appears to be cornrows and braids.

Natural Kids | 25

In the Small, Small Night by Jane Kurtz This story concerns the fears of a young child entering a new culture and his older sister's attempts to console him. The sister uses fables of wisdom from their homeland of Ghana to assure her brother that everything will be all right in their new country. Illustrated with muted pastel colours, this book is more suited to a school aged child due to its length and subject matter. It is a good story and a nice lesson for kids who may be , for whatever reason, a stranger in a strange land, whether that strange land is a new school or a new country. Hair spotlight: Both brother and sister have either what appear to be twists or locs.

Squashed in the Middle by Elizabeth Winthrop and Pat Cummings Middle children often report feeling different than the older or younger children. Daisy, the main character in this book and a middle child, feels ignored by her family. She feels that when they do pay attention to her, it is to critique or complain about her. After staying over at a friend's house, she comes to realise that they do indeed love her very much. This is definitely a book more suited for a school aged child. The illustrations are gorgeous and full of detail. It also has a positive display of an African American family. Hair spotlight: Daisy's hair took over the book for me. From the mom's teeny weeny afro to Daisy's huge puff, there has rarely been so much hair related eye candy in a kid’s book.

26 | Ethiopian Hair Secrets

Ethiopian Hair Secrets by Alice of Alice in Nappyland

Alice recently took a trip to Ethiopia to visit her relatives and she was lovely enough to chronicle her journey on her blog- Alice in Nappyland. One of the posts she reported was of huge interest as she divulged a very interesting and successful Ethiopian hair treatment. Here is her report! Kibae, literally freshly churned butter, is a popular traditional hair treatment and headache cure. It is so popular that most salons, high and low, offer it on their list of services. My hair was looking a little rough (note to self: bring your regular leave in when you travel regardless of what you plan on doing to your hair!) and my grandmother suggested that I should try it. Since her neighbour owns a cow and sells kibae, it wasn’t too hard to get and try at home. I was a

little hesitant because it is straight up can-putthis-on-toast BUTTER. I had my cousin do it for me because I was a little too freaked out by the idea of putting butter in my hair. It felt really nice going on though. I could also see why it would be used for headaches as it literally had an instant cooling sensation. It stayed in my hair for a few hours (carefully wrapped so it wouldn’t drip all over my face!). I was really worried about the smell since I was CONVINCED it had started stinking by hour three but according to everyone around me (entire family and a few unexpected guests who of course they show up when I’m doing this), I didn’t smell at all.

Another thing about I was nervous about was washing this stuff off. Surprisingly, it wasn’t as difficult as you think it would be! Regular old shampoo and conditioner got everything out in no time and little effort. I wasn’t allowed to rinse it off in the bathroom but my family was willing to help my questionably coordinated self out. The results were AMAZING and I completely understand why it is so popular. Soft and shiny and everyone kept telling me I was glowing (probably because I did end up with butter on my face). To give you an idea of how soft/shiny/amazing/etc it was, I had a perfect wash and go sans gel and a creamy leave-in (my secret to wash and go success) for 3 days. Not too bad! The Science: Butter is high in saturated fats which may be able to penetrate hair strands. The effect may therefore be similar to pre

wash application of coconut oil which protects hair during the actual wash (hygral fatigue and protein loss prevention) .

28 | Contributors BOBEAM BY LAQUITA






BoBeam by Laquita

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theretronatural.blogspot. com

Contributors | 29




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Editor’s Note This is the last edition of the year and it of course had to be a very hairy story! I can only hope that reading candid accounts of the highs and lows of natural hair can inspire you to know that if you are currently struggling with your hair, there is light at the end of the tunnel. See you in 2012!



aliceinnappyland.blogspot. com/

Ruby ( Jc )

Could you be our next cover girl? Email us your head shot and link to your hair, style or make up blog.

The next Natural Bloom issue will be out on 1st of January, 2012 To Advertise or Contribute Email:


Celebrating Your Hair, Style and Life


Celebrating Your Hair, Style and Life