Rapunzalima, Rapunzalima Let Down Your Weave

Went out to a mall a few miles away with my Mother. It’s always a challenge when I go out to eat. At this particular chain (TGI Fridays), they provide no information on their website as to how many calories their food has. It was the only eatery I could find on my GPS, otherwise I would have gone somewhere else.

However, their Vanilla Bean Cheesecake is deadly. It has to be about 600-870 plus calories. It tasted sooooooo damn good. I wont be eating something like that again until next year. It’s that dangerous.

After roaming the parking lot for an inordinate amount of time, we finally find a decent spot. We head inside the “restaurant”. I’m very fussy about where I sit. The seater / host / whatever they’re called asks if we want to sit in a booth next to this couple.

Welcome to the Jungle

I just don’t like sitting close to anyone. I mean, half the restaurant was empty, why sit up under anybody?

So, I said, “No, I like being near the window.” For me, that was that.

We walk past the couple. I hear someone snort? laugh? grunt? in disdain. Okay.

After we’re seated, I glance briefly at the source of the snuffling and huffling out of curiosity.

It’s a Shaniqua* with her “man” (I suppose) L’Trellmont.* She’s totally on the hostility tip. Glaring and staring.

Alrighty, then! Last time I can recall such animosity was over a decade ago. I decide not to look at her again: no point in feeding the animal.

I head off to the ladies room to wash my hands. Can I say, I hate dirty, stinking restrooms? Wow. That place was nasty. Never again!

Upon returning to my seat, I start playing with my shoulder-length twists. I’m shaking, and flipping, my hair off of my face. I’m twirling them. Oh, yeah. Just having fun. Can’t keep my hands out of my hair.

A little while later, I overhear the Shaniqua bark, “Bitch.” Oh wow, it’s that serious is it?

Rapunzalima, Rapunzalima Let Down Your Weave

Finally, they are leaving. Oh wait, she’s leaving.

I finally get a good look at the back of her. She’s not very tall (no offense to the vertically challenged among us). She’s got a very, very long weave styled to look like it belongs on the Disney character Princess Jasmine. Even the blouse looked similar.


Yet, L’Tremont is still at the table long after she’s walked – pardon – sashayed out the door. Did the child even know he wasn’t watching her? He’s staring at me. I raise my eyebrows. He continues to stare. It’s that kind of look.

Folks are so weird these days. Seriously? She thinks I would want him? Did he think I’m interested?

What in the world?

I turn back to my Mom, and tell her about the little non-interaction with these people. She’s surprised.

I shrug, and laugh. Maybe if little girl wasn’t huffing and puffing so much her guy wouldn’t have noticed me. She should have realized – if you want to keep his eyes on you, and the waist length weave, do not bring his attention to another woman with natural hair that you perceive as long.

All that drama. And for what?

I really was complimented by the silly. I didn’t realize I was worthy of so much attention. I’m almost old enough to be the little girl’s Momma, but that never stops the stupidity, does it?

* I don’t know these people’s names. I just made them up. But there is something shared, in looks and behavior, by the people who’ve shown me hostility in the past. So, don’t be offended if this is your actual name(s).

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Hair Again: Rough and Dry Ends

Please note: I dislike tagging my personal pictures, but I’ve discovered they are being used. I was never asked about it. I never gave permission.

These are my hair ends. I’ve flat ironed a few times. I blow dry my hair nearly all the time, and I am pleased to see the teeny-tiny-itty-bitty curls come back. However, even with tons of conditioning, heat protectant(s), I am still paying the price of those luxuries. My ends are very delicate, and they’ve been feeling rough and knotty for a while.

After I blow dry, or flat-iron, I check my ends. For some reason, my left side (in the front) is always rough, tough, knotty, and harder to manage. I don’t know, in general, how many inches I retain each year, but last year it had to be zero to 1 inch – if I was lucky. I hate doing it, but I had to get the scissors out. (No!!!)

As recently as the last two times I’ve washed my hair I had to cut. Not trim, cut. I took off inches. Several times. I don’t like doing it, because it’s hard to judge if I’m chopping off too much on one side or the other. And who wants lopsided hair?

I deep condition religiously, but it wasn’t enough. Damn. This time I decided to add something new. I warmed up a bottle of Tea Tree / Carrot Oil, drenched my ends in it, added heavy conditioner, bagged the plaits on each side of my head, and kept it on overnight.

Well, I give complete credit to hair web sites, because people have mentioned doing this a million times, but I never did it before with this sort of intensity. I usually put it in, and immediately wash it out.

To make a long story short: my ends were tamed. They were smooth, silky, and no rough stuff. It made my modest bit of combing after I washed a true snap and blow drying was much easier. It did nothing to cut down on the time it takes to do my hair, but that’s something else I have to work on.

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Hair A Few More: Leave-In Conditioners


Hair Length Goal

I did not have a particular hair length goal before. I simply wanted to know how to treat my hair well, and to be satisfied with the results. I’ve worn my hair natural (without relaxers, perms, or any other kind of toxic chemicals) most of my life. My styling and treatment of it was hit and mostly miss. Now-a-days, I plait my hair (10 braids), and keep it in a bun. I can no longer two-strand twist, that makes it knotty. I will wash it while it is in braids, including the use of shampoo about once a month.

Currently, my hair reaches bra-strap and I have a medium length torso. I am aiming for mid-back or waist-length by February 2010. I wont stress myself to reach that goal. If I make it fine, if not, no big deal. My hair grows fastest and strongest, when I get into an exercise routine and wash weekly. I noticed that my vitamin and breakfast drink mixes made a big difference. I can only drink my concoction in the summer, because I can’t take cold food or drink unless it is boiling hot outside.

I really like this period of time we are in. The best hair products are available for curly, textured, kinky, nappy hair. It’s no longer about using grease as the solution to every hair problem. My hair issues used to be dryness, a lack of moisture, and fighting with the comb – yanking out fistfuls of it – after washing it.

Holy Grail of Moisture

I’m not on any search for a Holy Grail of great products. However, it’s great not to be dependent on any one company or product. I’ve found three new moisturizing staples to go along with my favorite Garnier Fructis Leave-In Conditioner. One is Organics Olive Oil Leave-In Conditioner and their other product is Shea Butter Detangling Moisturizing Hair Lotion.

My hair drinks these two products. They feel a bit sticky on the hands, especially the Shea Butter. I am already in love with the Organics Olive Oil Leave-In Conditioner. It is light, doesn’t go on heavy or greasy, and best of it all, it does make the hair easier to comb. Not that I am into combing my hair anymore, but it’s handy to have.

I use the BioInfusion Leave-In Conditioner right after I wash my hair. It is definitely not sticky. It’s suitable. I’m not sure how great it is. My hair drinks this product also. It doesn’t leave my hair dry, so right now, I consider myself satisfied with my entire collection of Leave-In Conditioners.

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Turn I Loose: Afro, Locs, and other Styles

Note: This is just my opinion, people are free to wear their hair as they please, of course. All personal choices are valid.

I rarely wear my hair loose. Is that a sign of shame? I was wondering if I hide my hair based on subconscious dislike of it. I wore it straight (flat ironed) for Christmas. I felt overwhelmed and uncomfortable with all that hair. It’s unmanageable to me. I love shrinkage. It is a gift: I can get a reduction in volume, length, and change in texture without a haircut.

Kinky, coily, nappy, cottony, textured, natural 4a-4z hair is soooo awesome!

Natural

I don’t get caught up worrying about what natural or natural hair is supposed to mean. There are people who are anti-heat, anti-straightening, Afro-puffs-only, anti-styling(?), and completely absorbed into natural products (no silicones, parabens, mineral oil, petroleum, etc).

That’s great – for them. Hair rules can be so dogmatic they hurt the people it is supposed to help. Not everyone’s head of hair will respond alike to the same treatment.

Outside of not using a relaxer, lye or no-lye, curly perm, or anything toxic like that, I’m wholeheartedly for the use of anything that temporarily changes my hair. If there was a product that altered my hair texture, straightened it, or loosened the kinky coil for a couple of days, weeks, or months, and I could wash it out – I’d use it. As long as it is not permanent.

Afro

As for hairstyles, I do not like the Afro. It was cool to wear as a nearly bald-headed kid, but even if I could sport a big-ass-Afro (BAA), I would not. It’s too much work. I remember all those years of picking (which was cutting) my hair out, then patting it into shape. I was always worried about it being lopsided, dirty, dusty and dry. Way too much effort.

A tiny Afro is fine. A medium sized one is reasonable, anything longer than a pinky or index finger is a problem. My hair couldn’t stand up anyway – it’s not dense enough. It would require a ton of hair spray – that’s not happening.

I know there are people who love the shrunken Afro, which is different from very short hair picked out. As someone with some of the softest, fragile, thin, and zig-zagged shaped strands around, I could never wear my hair in one. It would get so knotty, I would have to spend hours de-tangling. I don’t see how that helps the hair.

I’ve seen the rough treatment people put their hair through when they pick out their Afro. Picking is cutting, regardless of whether it is damp, wet, or dry. Loose hair is lost hair. I wonder why people believe it helps their hair grow.

Locs

Years ago, I wanted to try locs, but then I realized I dislike them. I’ve rarely seen a head of hair that looks good with locs, regardless of whatever fancy styling, coloring, or name, like Sistalocks, they are given.

There are people who believe this hairstyle helps their hair grow. The truth is, I think locs provide people with an excuse not to touch their hair. That’s not all bad, especially if it’s religiously inspired.

However, broken off locs, thick locs hanging by a few strands, large and growing parts, prove that this style doesn’t work for everyone. I see very few heads of hair that don’t have these balding spots between parts, which is due to traction alopecia. Every extreme twist – in order to look “neat” – pulls out the hair, and those few strands are left holding up a heavier loc of growing and shed hair.

Turn I Loose: Stress Testing

I do want to wear my hair loose: come this Spring, I will see what I can do. I will use bantu knots and two-strand twists to prep my hair. I do not lack for decent leave-in conditioners, so I think I should be able to manage without fear of “The Knots.” Maybe I will be able to wear it out for a week and see what happens.

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Brain Dump Tuesday

Exposing the Hair

I’m looking for a weekly style in which I can wear my hair un-braided, uncovered and exposed. Perhaps a Bantu-knot twist-out, braid-out, or something. Weekly or bi-weekly flat ironing is a big no-no.

Expose my hair to the elements? Phew, I shudder at the thought. My hair doesn’t take to the air all that well. However, I want a new routine, and I like – and need to – switch styles.

Another Experiment Gone Wrong

I tried putting my hair in rollers. I used the smallest foam flexible rollers that I could find.

After washing my hair, I go sit under my bonnet dryer for an hour – low heat. Let’s just say, that it didn’t work out well. I had to resort to a brush (Oh nooooo!) to get my hair to behave.

I wont repeat the entire nightmare scenario, but I realize that I have to replace that old bonnet dryer. I get hard helmet hair from it. It is old, it has to go. It’s time to find something with that Ionic feature, which leaves my hair soft.

Next time I roll up my hair, the rollers must be fat and round, not thin. Live and learn.

Shopping in Nu Joisey

So, I spend the day with my Mom in northern New Jersey buying hair products: not chemicals, just rollers and other accessories. It’s cheaper up there. The shocker for us was how many of the stores were closed.

Oh, yeah, you know things are bad when black women aren’t buying hair products.

Something to think about: I like to look at the ingredients of a lot of products. Nearly every one of them whether for skin or hair starts has the main ingredient of petroleum or mineral oil.

Funny, how people are paying $8.99 plus for the same ingredient with different brand names.

I repeat, my staple is Castor Oil and aloe vera. If I buy a product these items, along with glycerin, must be the main ingredient.

The Health Club Gauntlet

Although I hate them, there is one very close to me that I am thinking of joining. I think I will sign up after everyone else has slacked off of their New Year’s resolution to join a club. I’ll give it about 90-120 days before the number of people dwindles to a reasonable amount.

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Garnier Fructis

Dry Hair

Everyone has different hair requirements. I am a 4a-z with hair that is fine, medium density, kinky, coily, textured, cottony, or nappy. It is rarely hard and never coarse.

Did I mention how fragile and delicate my hair is?

I envy people who can comb, flat iron, and blow dry nearly every day. It’s hard keeping my hands out of my hair. At a minimum, I let three days pass before I comb it again.

What I want from a hair product is that it leaves my hair feeling soft, moisturized, and easy to comb. It’s amazing how many products do the first two and not the last one!

Research

Periodically, I must switch products.

I read hair boards, searching for conditioners and gels with the best reviews. I evaluate based on hair type. I don’t ignore other hair types. I note those with similar problems: dry hair, often brittle, which leads to breakage.

Garnier Fructis Moisture Works Fortifying Cream Conditioner

For now, this product works. I love the smell, and I can comb my hair after I’ve washed with it.

Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Leave-In Conditioning Cream

The first time I used this product it left my hair a sticky, clumpy mess with a lot of white residue. I don’t know if I finally figured out how to use it or what, but I love this stuff now.

It is excellent for helping me unravel my twists or plaits. The drier my hair is the tighter it gets. This product makes my hair slide apart wonderfully and easily. There’s no snapping plaits apart with this.

Overall, I’m satisfied with Garnier Fructis for now.

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Hair Matters: Don’t Do it Again

Trying Something New

I went against my own credo to leave my hair alone and stop experimenting. Out of curiosity – because I’m always curious – I decided to try something new: leave conditioner in my hair.

Now, I’m asking myself: Why did I do that?

I did it, because I wanted to see if I could emulate a loose curl, kinda wavy look for my hair that I get when I put in conditioner. I may still seek out a product that does it, but I don’t want a sopping wet, heavy mess that feels like a jherri curl.

What I Learned

I’ve been seeing breakage on the ends I haven’t seen in years. It’s not as bad as used to be in the past, but any little amount is alarming to me.

So, I will note to myself: never leave conditioner in the hair again. Sometimes one can overdo it and I have to keep it simple. My hair doesn’t want more of anything, it requires less.

Wet Two-Stand Twists

Recently, I’ve discovered that I can’t twist my hair while it’s damp anymore. That used to be the fastest way for me to take care of my hair. I’m not big on detangling, or combing hair. I don’t see the point. I don’t trim my hair either, unless there’s a knot I can’t undo.

My hair knots up in twists so bad, I can’t open the twists without cutting the ends or snapping the hair apart. It’s horrible. I don’t know why. It doesn’t matter what I put in my hair. I just know I can’t twist or braid it while damp. I have to wait for it to dry.

That sucks.

At a current length of being an inch or so from bra-strap, or between shoulder blades, my styling options are being challenged. I have to stick with big plaits, but not too big. At the moment, eight plaits work.

The oil of choice, right now, is castor oil. But since I can’t wet my hair at the moment unless I’m going to wash it, this is the product that softens my hair.

Maybe it’s the weather and come the Spring / Summer the dryness and tightness will go away.

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Hair Dryers: I Own Three


The Bonnet

I believe in going easy on my hair by not manipulating it too much. I might comb it weekly, biweekly, or more. However, I don’t ascribe to the belief that naturals should walk around with a damp or wet head. Perhaps if I lived in a hot climate, instead of the northeast, I would consider that option.

I use the bonnet dryer after I wash my hair, which is almost weekly. I keep the setting on medium heat setting, never high. My ears hurt on high heat. I stay under the bonnet for 10-20 minutes.

I have to use a hair dryer after I wash my hair. It prevents my third day headache and head cold. I envy people who can wash and go. I cannot. I get sick walking around with a wet head.

Hand Held Dryer

The next dryer I have is the common hand held type by Revlon. I bought it because it was one of those new ionic which dries quickly, without static, and keeps my hair soft. I always use it on the lowest setting.

I pull my hair taunt with a concentrator when I use this. It doesn’t get it straight, but provides a nice stretch. Even after I use this dryer, which is rather infrequent, I still sit under the bonnet for 15 minutes. I don’t take any chances.

The Hand Held Straightener

Last, but not least, is my newest acquisition: Infiniti by Conair Tourmaline Ceramic Wet Dry Straightening Hot Air Styler. Repeat that three times real fast. (Who comes up with the stupid names for these things?)

I’m loving it, which means I cannot use it too often. Bad girl that I am, I used high heat to get it straight (stretched). I was in a hurry, next time I’ll stick to medium heat.

Hair Types

For my hair type, this is almost as good as a flat iron (I have one of those too). The Hot Air Styler has four tension settings. My hair is very delicate. I kept it at one – the loosest.

One thing I notice about some products is that the manufacturer gives straight hair the lowest, most gentle settings, and advises thick, very curly, sometimes even fine, hair to use the highest settings. I think that’s why there’s often damage to nappy, kinky, cnapp, coily, and curly hair.

Nappy, curly, and kinky is not the same as strong, coarse, hard, unmanageable, or problem hair. People have to start with the lower settings, be gentle and stay with it for a while before moving onto a higher or stronger option.

I accept, for myself, that certain kinds of hair should not be straightened (often) if the only way is to damage it. If hair wont go back to its curly or kinky state it is damaged. Lots of split ends are a sign as well.

Protection

I deep condition and apply setting lotion to my hair before using the Hot Air Styler. I was extremely pleased with the results. My hair came out fabulous. It felt soft and rather silky. However, it didn’t last long, because I have a hot head. Plus, I don’t know how to keep a style past day one.

I am so tempted to use this every time I wash my hair, but I must not!

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Hair Again – The Vanity Check

I lurk on a number of hair boards. I’m surprised that there’s still a debate over hair types. Let me be specific: some black women (almost monthly) often wonder whether 100% African Americans (black parents and grand parents, allowing for multi-ethnic, multi-racial great-grandparents) can grow hair past their shoulders. My hair type might be what they seek: nappy, cnapps, 4 a-b-c-z, cotton-like, fine, medium, and completely uncombable. Combs are so overrated. (snicker)

There’s quite a demand for proof of long hair. A good search into fotki could provide these ladies with the answers they seek. I’m constantly impressed by the variety of natural hair styles I see. I wish I was as creative. I can’t create clean and precise parts for nothing. The pictures are of unraveled bantu knots (aloe vera and castor oil) before I condition wash.

I don’t post responses; this blog isn’t a response to those requests. I never doubted that black women can grow long hair – almost every girl I knew during my childhood had long hair.

I was one of the bald ones. It bothered me sometimes. I was certain that it was genetics since my aunts weren’t long haired. I only knew what one of my grandmothers looked like. Her hair was shoulder length, so my expectations weren’t high. As I got older I figured that this dry and cold climate was my enemy. I was always making plans to live in the South. All the women down there seem to have very long hair.

However, over the past few years, I’ve finally figured out what worked: moisture and leaving it alone. Duh.

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