Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Natural vs. Relaxed: How We're the Same

I’ve been thinking a lot about relaxed hair lately. 

No, I’m not reverting.  I just realized that amongst all the debate about natural vs. relaxed – what’s good hair and what’s not, what’s easier to take care of, what’s more socially acceptable – there are a lot of similarities we share.  I discovered this while trying to help my (relaxed) sister take better care of her hair.  She started asking questions about why her hair isn’t growing, what products work best, how to keep her hair straight in between relaxers, etc.  And then I was like LIGHTBULB!

A lot of naturals have been relaxed before.  My natural journey actually began with me trying to improve the health of my relaxed hair. My first lessons were about the importance of moisture, protein and protective styling – all taught by YoutTube Guru Ateeya. 

So here are some practices that natural and relaxed girls share in the never ending quest for long, healthy hair.

Cleansing – A clean scalp paves the way for growth.  It clears product buildup and debris (i.e. dust, dirt, dandruff, etc.) so that new hair has a better chance to grow.  And while an actual shampoo every now and then certainly does the job, co-washing works wonders for both the natural and relaxed. 

Conditioning/Deep Conditioning --  When I was relaxed, I never really believed in conditioners like I do now.  I know it helped turn my relaxed hair around and depend on them now to feed my natural hair.  I also began regularly deep conditioning, which honestly revived my hair no matter what I had done to it. 

Protein(ing?) – Now even though I learned a lot about protein from Ateeya, I realized I sort of already knew its benefits.  Years ago, I worked at a job that stressed me to the point of affecting my health.  I began losing my hair…actually balding.  My mom took notice and recommended I get a beautician to look at it.  She suggested I cut it all off and start fresh.   In the coming months, I learned that protein treatments were going to help rebuild my hair and it did.  I grew back my former length in less than six months after having all but an inch or two of my hair cut off.  Protein rebuilds.

Moisturizing – Healthy hair craves moisture.  It brings it to life in my opinion.  And although products may differ, moisturizing your natural or relaxed hair is important. 

Oiling – African-American hair is typically dry, so oiling is another important step in moisturizing.  It also adds sheen.

Protective Styling – This is the main one.  As much as I try to fight it, I know protective styling is the truth if you want healthy long hair.  

Think back to the days of old when you were relaxed.  What practices do you still follow?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Mini Twists

These are the results from trying mini twists.  I've tried this style before, but it was a fail.  After learning that this style can last for up to four weeks, I tried again under the guidance of Nappturality85 (YT).  Perfect results!

Banana + Oil Deep Conditioner

The banana clumped my curls like no other product I've used.
Banana + Oil Deep Conditioner*

Tired of wasting bananas that get ripe too soon?  Put ‘em in the freezer and next time you’re looking for something new to try in your regime, try this!

1-2 Bananas
1 tbsp. of oil per banana

11. Prepare mixture by mashing bananas and mixing it with the oil into a smooth mixture. Set aside.  Note:  The smoother the mixture, the easier it will be to rinse from your hair.

22.Thoroughly rinse hair and scalp with warm water.

33.      Divide hair into workable sections. 

44.      Apply mixture to hair, from root to tip, and smooth in, detangling as you go.

55.      Put on a shower cap and let the mixture sit for no more than 20 minutes.

66.      Thoroughly rinse mixture from hair.  Note:  You may even want to add a rinsing conditioner to help remove the banana mixture.

77.   Thoroughly rinse mixture from hair.  Note:  You may even want to add a rinsing conditioner to help remove the banana mixture.

88.      Air dry and style.

Close-up of banana residue


1.    One banana is plenty.  I have thick, coarse hair and one banana worked better.  While it was easier to get the banana out of my hair, one banana didn't clump my curls as well as two.  But that really done banana didn't clump my curls as well as two.  But that really doesn't matter since it’s going to be rinsed out. 

2.     The more you mash your bananas the better.  Large chunks WILL cling to your curls, resulting in multiple rinses.  The first time I tried this, I rinsed at least three times and began air drying only to realize I still had a lot of banana in my hair. 

3.     Be prepared to have a few banana remnants in your hair.  Good news is it won’t do much harm if you co-wash regularly.