Going Natural and What it Really Means To Me

My fellow CT comrades have shared their opinions and perspectives about their natural experience, but I realized that I had yet to share mine. If you don’t know, I am still transitioning, seven months in and still going. I am just entering the difficult phase of transitioning- the hair shedding, the dryness, the making hairstyles up out of your a$$ phase. Over the course of six years, I’ve tried transitioning twice before this and I hope that the phrase, third time is the charm, is indeed true.

The first time I transitioned was in college. As many college transitioners will tell you, I transitioned because I couldn’t find a decent stylist to do my hair and I was broke. Back then, blogs weren’t as popular as they are now and the YouTube videos weren’t in abundance. The second time was still in college, but due to me getting permanent color, the inevitable damage occurred, so I went down the transition road again. By this time, the natural hair community and more information began to have a presence online and forums like Nappturality and Fotki and sites such as Curly Nikki clued me in a bit on the basic stuff. I held on for a while until an event came around and that creamy crack got the best of me.

Fast forward a few years and with the help and support of all my natural friends, the endless amount of information online, I got this thing in the bag. My transition has been, as expected, met with opposition. I still catch my mother, who insisted that even though she pressed her hair back in the ‘70s she wasn’t “natural,” throwing up side-eyes on the low when I walk pass her time to time. While my grandmother is more understanding surprisingly than my mother, she sometimes ask when I plan to get it straightened again.  

Sometimes I hear others refer to this as a “trend,” thinking that ultimately we all will revert back to relaxers at some point. Truth be told, I never said I am completely giving up the relaxer forever, who knows, one day I might do a Jill Scott and throw it back in. The point is, those in our community shouldn’t look at this with cynicism and skepticism.  There is something autonomous, powerful and sometimes rebellious in embracing something that for centuries has been looked at as unattractive, inferior and unworthy by most cultures, including our own. When I see women walking down the street with the afros, twist-outs and locs, there is apart of me that feels, (without being too cheesy), proud. With that being said, why put us down because we want to know what our natural hair textures feel and look like without being manipulated by Motions and Affirm. Hair in general has always been that common thread for black women when it comes to camaraderie and fellowship. It’s probably the most frequent topic that brings strangers together. Yet, there’s apart of me that feels that with natural hair, there aren’t as many secrets withheld for fear of being less exclusive. I see that women in the natural hair community are more supportive and forthcoming, willing to share their tips, tricks and products to use. I suppose that is because natural hair is like DNA, no one can get an exact copy. No one can go into the beauty supply store and buy my exact hair texture, and to me, that is the beauty of natural hair.

What are your transitioning stories? Are you thinking about going natural? What is holding you back? Also, are there any women reading this who are relaxed? What are your thoughts?

Confessions Of A Transitioning Natural..

If you guys remember, all three members of CT are  on their ways to natural hair, more so in three different stages from completely natural to the beginning stages of transitioning. I find myself to be in the middle. As of June, I have been transitioning for 18 months! I thought I would never be able to do it, but here I am at the end of my transitioning process. I plan to cut the remaining ends of my permed hair by the end of the summer (i’ve been punking out).

I have experimented with numerous products trying to find the “regimen” that will suit my hair. One thing I love to do is try the products that are popular underground before they make it to the mainstream audience. I tend to have more faith in these products because I know that they aren’t mass produced, which means that the product is still the quality it portrays. I’m going to highlight some underground products from two companies; some I have tried and others I plan to try in the near future.

Oyin Handmade

I faithfully use their products. I believe that I have mentioned them before in an older post of mine, but they are a company based in Baltimore, MD which is only about 40 mins from me. They have a shop that is open for a certain amount of hours a week and also give the opportunity for you to be able to help package products and keep some goodies for yourself. My most favorite products include

I love the whole juices trio. After washing my hair I usually just pick one at random and spray it down.

The burnt sugar pomade is great with providing a natural hold instead of using a gel that can cause breakage.

Great conditioner that has an amazing slip for dentangling!

If you don’t try anything I’ve mentioned then please try the whipped pudding. The shea butter concoction is amazing for sealing the moisture in your hair. I use this many for any type of twist out, braid out, or bantu knot hair style.

Uncle Funky’s Daughter

This is a company based in Houston, TX. I heard about them from a fellow co working and I am dying to get a hold of some of their products. I know I will have to order directly from them and I love everything about it coming straight from the seller. I will do a detailed report about them soon once I save up some pennies to do some long distance ordering.

The Confessions Of A Natural Hair Product Junkie..

It’s happened to most of us; especially if you’re a newbie into the natural hair world. We get so excited with all the new possibilities of what we can do with our hair and in turn buy numerous products to try and explore. Seasoned veterans of the natural hair gang also have this issue; you accumulate so many products over the months/years that you suddenly don’t know what to do with the monster you have created.

I can admit it. I have developed a nice amount of products. About 25% of them I actually use on a regular basis and the others just kind of fall into the woodwork; coming out once in a while for a special occasion. It doesn’t even matter if you are natural or relaxed, we all have a stash of products that accumulate to larger degrees without us even knowing it. How can we prevent these monsters from consuming our bathrooms??

If you like to try new products often like me, try starting out with the travel sizes. This saves you both space and money. If you really like the product after trying the travel size, go ahead and invest in the larger size.

If there is a product that will absolutely be in rotation all the time then go ahead and confidently get an economy size which will also save you money in the long run and prevent you from having to go back to the store for more product.

If you have something that has been sitting for years or you just can’t remember when you bought it, throw it away. No use in holding on to old stuff that just consumes your space.

Another alternative can be to swap with buddies. I’m pretty sure they have something in their own stash that they would be willing to hand over for something you have. It also gives you an opportunity to try something new without having to pay for it.

A Little Hard Work Won’t Kill You..

We like to multi-task. We get more things done when we juggle more than one objective at one time. Multi-tasking saves time. Just because you are “accomplishing” more than one thing, doesn’t mean the outcomes are effective. So you ask, “Where are you going with this?” When it comes to our health, we try to find the thing that will help us the quickest, for instance the Sketchers/Adidas rounded shoe soles that supposedly help shape and tone your butt and calves. Yes, they do have some effect on your body but truth be told, they will not produce the results that you want. Marketing teams create these images of you being able to knock this aspect of exercising out of your routine. Your wearing the shoes expecting for your legs to tone; great. The catch is that if you don’t really walk in the first place except for where you are going, it wont be effective anyways. What’s the solution? Take yourself on to a gym and work it out!

It doesn’t take much time guys.

Every adult should have at least 30 minutes of activity a day; whether it be brisk walking or any type of activity. If you want weight lost, then it’s obvious that you will have to put in more activity than 30 minutes to be effective.

Calories burned vs. Calories consumed. This is the grand equation to weight lost. If you burn more calories than you consume in one day you will loose weight.

We are still young, therefore it is still fairly easy to manipulate our bodies into what we want them to be. The older in age we get, the harder it will be to get in the kind of shape we would like.

Staple Hair Products For Your Natural/Relaxed Hair

It doesn’t matter if you are relaxed or natural, everyone should have a group of products that are “staple” products, meaning they never fail you in the time of need. Ever since I began transitioning to natural hair, I’ve been all around the block trying to find my “go to” products. I decided that I would list a few products that never fail me. Disclaimer: not all products will work the same for everyone, but you only learn what works for your hair through trial and error.

Herbal Essences Hello Hydration

This will always be the first thing that comes out of my mouth. It does wonders for my hair in the shower detangling. Like I said, doesn’t matter if your hair is relaxed or natural, the best place to always detangle your hair is in the shower with a slippery conditioner which will limit knots.

Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie

Love to use this on my hair with styling. Very light and keeps your hair moisturized. I would suggest only natural heads use this product as it might be a little heavy for relaxed hair.

Oyin Handmade Honey Hemp Conditioner

Smells divine and its a great conditioner for all types!

Palmer’s Olive Oil Conditioning Spray

This will give your hair a great shine while also conditioning your scalp. Don’t worry you won’t smell like the olive oil in the kitchen.

All of these items can be found in your local hair store except for Oyin Handmade. They are a business located in Baltimore, MD and if you would like to see more of their products visit their site at http://oyinhandmade.com

Got any “staple” products! Share Them!

Health Tip (Kinda): Why I Decided To Go Natural

If you didn’t already know, the women of CT are uniquely in three stages of haircare management; relaxed, transitioning, and natural. January 1,2011 marks my one year anniversary of transitioning into natural hair. “Transitioning” is the term used for when you are growing out your natural hair along with your relaxed hair. It has been an experience like no other and I just felt the need to share my own personal story of why I decided to take the step and go natural.

I actually tried going natural after I graduated. At the time I wasn’t educated about the management it would require and sadly gave up after a short time. A lot of people decide to go natural because they wish for a longer length that they just cant accomplish with relaxed hair. I have never had an issue with length; my hair has been past my shoulders since childhood, so for me it was wanting a change. I was tired of the hair salons and getting relaxers every few weeks; I wanted something different.

Everything we place on our skin and hair all seep into our bodies. Therefore, all of the chemicals you place on your body and in your hair make it into your bodies. I decided that I wanted to limit the amount of chemicals or harsh impurities in my body. It’s really that simple; I didnt decide to go natural because its starting to become a fad because honestly I was trying it when it wasn’t popular. Many people don’t understand why I have decided to do this because I have long hair; because it’s not to please anyone but me.

Anyone want to share their own personal hair struggles? If you guys would like I can talk more about my routine and the natural products I use, just leave some feedback!

Makeup 101 For Dummies

Say what you want, but make-up completes a look. If you have on a hot dress and hot shoes, hair is done right, but your face is naked or the makeup is applied incorrectly, the look is not complete or atleast not what it could be. Keep in mind that I am referring to formal looks or going out looks, when one makes an effort to look nice from the neck down. What about the face? Do I believe that one needs a face full makeup when they’re casually dress going to the mall? No, it’s not necessary, in fact, a face full makeup isn’t always necessary, but I have friends who disagree with me altogether on the makeup issue, but nevertheless I am slowly making them believers. If you don’t know how to apply makeup, chances are you don’t know what products to buy and that is why many women opt out of wearing makeup-the lack of knowledge. Here’s where I come in  …..

The Makeup Essentials:

THE “BASES”

A Good Moisturizer– FIRST, start right with a well cleaned and well moisturized blank canvas.

Concealer (optional)– this goes on BEFORE foundation; it basically covers ONLY blemishes, scars or  under eye circles. It never covers the entire face like foundation, just the blemishes. Note: concealers should ALWAYS be a shade lighter than your natural complexion. However, please blend and don’t apply too much under the eyes.

Foundation– if you don’t need concealer, foundation goes on first, foundation evens your skin tone and perfects great looking skin. Even women with great skin sometime need foundation to even certain areas of their face. Foundations come in different types: liquid, cream, stick and for the summer: tinted moisturizers.

Great Foundation and Concealer Brands For Women of Color:

(you can find these brands at your local drugstores or department stores)

  • Black Opal
  • Fashion Fair Cosmetics
  • Make-up Forever
  • IMAN Cosmetics- Perfect for women of darker skin tones; provides an extensive amount of darker shades
  • MAC Cosmetics-be careful, MAC is great theatrical makeup, therefore it can look to drag queenish if too much is applied

Pressed Powder– pressed powder is the product that comes in a compact cases, typically with a mirror and sponge. This is ideal for women with oily skin. It is applied right after the foundation and prevents the face from getting to shiny.Or in some cases, the foundation is skipped and some women just use this as their base, although I recommend women with dry skin avoid this as it can make your face with look ashy.

***Utensils/Tools to Have****


  1. Make-up Sponges
  2. Eyeliner
  3. Eye make-up remover or Vaseline/Petroleum Jelly
  4. Blush/bronzer brush
  5. Compact case (w/mirror)
  6. Eyeshadow brushes or applicators
  7. Mascara (waterproof for special occasions)

**TIPS!**

  • When applying foundation, I like to use my fingers instead of sponges. It gives me more control, looks more natural and I use less foundation than if I were using a sponge that has absorbed more foundation than I actually needed. Some people disagree and use brushes, to each its own.
  • For most black women, we come in all shades and tones, thus it is not always possible to find the perfect foundation in one bottle. Therefore, my advice would be to pick two shades that are the closest to your skin tone and make your own custom blend.
  • To prevent eyeshadow from getting on your face when applying, first get some good eye brushes. Then what I like to do is apply my shadow BEFORE I add my foundation. I put a little bit of foundation on my lids so that the shadow will set. If there still is eyeshadow under my eyes or on the side, I take a little bit of eye makeup remover and wipe it off before I apply the foundation. I do know that some professional make up artists apply loose powder under the lids and if powder drops, with one sweep with the brush, its gone. Since I am not a professional, I stick with what I know best. I think that works only if you’re applying a full face of makeup.
  • The myth about foundation is that it must cover your entire face. This is not true- if you choose the correct color for you skin, foundation can go only on certain areas of your face that needs it most (i.e., your T-Zone). This prevents the “cake-like” look and looks more natural.
  • Be realistic when selecting eyeshadows; know that not every eyeshadow work well with all skintones. And your eyeshadow doesn’t necessarily have to match what you’re wearing.
  • In the daytime, keep it simple, less is better!
  • Eyeliner makes eyes pop, but avoid the raccoon/Egyptian look -when there’s too much eyeliner and its drawn on the entire lid heavily. I feel like that look is only cute with a smokey eye. Instead use light, quick strokes when applying eyeliner to the rim of the eyes. And if you’re using a pencil, make sure the point is sharp and not dull to prevent smudging and the liner from running later on.
  • DON’T FORGET TO BLEND! I cannot stress this enough, this includes concealer, foundation, eyeshadow, etc.
  • Please try to get those eyebrows done, your eyebrows structure your face, so keep them arched or atleast shaped-up. Don’t overpluck and if you can, try to get them professionally done.
  • Once you are done, go view your face in natural light (only during the day) and artificial light. This lets you know you have blended your foundation well and there are no streaks or visible foundation lines.

THE BLUEPRINTS!

These are books that I own or have read that are really helpful for the make-up challenged. The Essence book is really extensive and offers not only make-up tips, but hair and beauty tips as well. The last two are by the celebrity make-up greats, Sam Fine and the late Kevyn Aucoin. You can find these books at amazon.com, other book stores or at your local libraries.



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