Let’s Talk: Self Doubt, Determination, and Days When I Just Don’t Feel Like It!

Hi, guys.

I know, not my regular cheery self, but I have good reason! Seriously people, it’s just been one of those days. You know those days. The ones where you’re not feeling it. I will admit! I am not feeling this journey anymore!

Case in point: I go to a predominantly white school. I went to class yesterday with my hair in a huge makeshift bun. (Because honestly, working and king to school full time doesn’t warrant me tons of time to work fabulous hairstyles on this mane.) It was pretty windy out, and needless to say, my hair got a little “wind blown.”

So, a girl in my class, whom I DON’T EVEN KNOW(!!!!!) looks at me and says sarcastically, “I love your hair right now, Mandisa.”

EXCUSE YOU?!

Now, because no one I know has money to bail me out of jail right now, I couldn’t retaliate in a way that I saw fit.

But let’s be real, it hurt. You’re white! What do you know about this transitioning life?! NOTHING.

Scenarios like this leave me a bit sad. Especially now when my hair is almost half and half. Gone are the days when I could easily slick my hair back into an easy top knot. If I wanted to do that now, I’d have to deal with unruly edges, tight ponytails, and a LOT of gel. This frustrates me.

But then, I remember that I’m fabulous!

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And if I just hold out a year or two, my hair could look like this:

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This:

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Or dare I say, this:

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I think of the days when I’ll be able to rock big, beautiful, textured top knots with confidence and grace. DIVA ON THE RUNWAY! My labor will not be in vain, and that’s what makes it all worth it!

Determination and patience, Mandisa, determination and patience.

How do you guys deal with your down days?

Until next time,
Mandisa ❤

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The Best Kept Secret!

Hi curlies! I hope you’ve all had an amazing week!

Ok guys, I have to confess. I have been keeping a MAJOR secret from you guys. This is a game changer, y’all.

Now, riddle me this?
How do I go from THIS

20130123-213155.jpg curly, tangled mess to a smooth head of detangled hair with minimal loss? I’m talking THREE-yes, I said three!- strands of hair gone!

FINGER DETANGLING!!!

So remember the post I did over on Kendra’s blogblog where I said I “wasn’t about that finger detangling life?” I was wrong.

DEAD WRONG.

I had never tried finger detangling before because I had never heard of it. But after doing some research about the benefits of it, I decided to try it.

Beauties, finger detangling is the truth!! It has so many benefits. When I used to use a tool to detangle, I would leave the tub clogged with the amount of she’d and broken hair that came out of my head! With finger detangling, I have MUCH less. It works wonders. YES, it can be time consuming, especially if you have a full head of hair like myself. However, just listen to some music and dance in the shower while you do it! That’s my strategy!

There are two ways to finger detangle (but I only use one.)
You can do it on dry or wet hair. In my opinion, there are pros and cons to each method.
When finger detangling on dry hair, there’s no slip, so you’re much more apt to be harsh and accidentally break a strand (or 12.) Also, when finger detangling on wet hair, the strand is more elastic, and if you don’t have ENOUGH slip, there will. Be. Breakage.

Trust me.

So, here’s my plan.
I’m going to embark on a challenge for 6 months where I use NO tools on my hair. Yes, you read right. No combs, no brushes(until I do a slicked back bun or something.) I’m going to physically show you guys the benefits of this method, and make you guys as gung-ho about this as I am!

Want to do this challenge with me? Let’s get started! Here’s what you need:
1- Water

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I would strongly recommend finger detangling your hair when wet. It allows you to get a “real feel” for the individual knots and tangles in your strands.
2-Conditioner

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Beauties, you’re going to need a lot of this, because this is going to provide the slip that you need to protect your hair from breakage. If you’re not particular about the products you use, go out and buy a cheapie conditioner. I like to use VO5, or White Rain. Sometimes you can pick up the VO5 for less than a dollar!

Optional: If you choose, you can use some oil to provide extra slippage.

Beauties, I am so excited to embark on this journey. I really hope we all see optimal length retention in six months when we end this challenge! Keep it locked here for some before and after length check pictures.

Until next time,
Mandisa ❤

Hair Typing-Helpful or Harmful?

Hello again beautiful people! I hope you’ve had a fabulous week! I’m here today to talk about hair typing, because it seems as if it’s a huge thing in the natural hair community.
To sum it up, there is a hair chart that lists the basic types of strands that you have. (It can be found on naturallycurly.com.) Type 1 and 2 are straight and wavy, respectively. Type 3 hair is curly, and type 4 hair is kinky. As African American women, we predominantly fall into type 3 or 4. However, in these types are subtypes known as 3A,B, and C, or 4A, B, and C. This is what causes the big divide in our community.
It seems that when women make the decision to go natural, they usually begin their quest for curly locks. Everyone wants curly hair. Hey, I can’t blame you, because curly hair is pretty. But what we fail to realize is that all hair, no matter how kinky, straight, wavy, or nappy, is BEAUTIFUL. All types of hair were given by God to be a woman’s crown, something that a woman can, and should, take pride in.
Why is it that people with 4C hair are disappointed or looked down upon because they don’t have curls? Why do you HAVE to be mixed with something to have “good hair?” Where did the term “good hair” even originate from?!
If you were not born with curly hair, trust me when I say, there is NO miracle product that will make your hair instantly curly. Yes, you can manipulate your hair texture to make it look a certain way, but when it boils down to it, it’s all genetics.
As women, our first and foremost goal should be healthy hair. What good is a mane down your back if there are split ends up the wazoo, or if it looks dull and damaged?
So guys, sound off. I want to hear from YOU! Do you think there are divides in the natural community? Do you think they stem from this chart? Do you sometimes wish you could change your hair texture? Let me know, I’d love to hear it.
See you soon,
Mandisa ❤

Combat That Dry Winter Hair!

Hello beautiful people! I hope you’ve all had a beautiful week! I’m coming at you today with ways to combat dry winter hair! Read on!

So, it’s winter, girls. It’s definitely not my favorite time of year, and that feeling has been more than amplified since going natural. Our hair gets so dry in the winter. As African Americans, our hair is naturally dry. It is so thick and curly that the moisture can’t always travel down the shaft, giving our hair that dry, crunchy feel. And as the weather gets colder, our hair gets dryer. Lucky for you, this post will change that.

A thoroughly moisturizer scalp really begins on wash day. You wanna make sure that you’re doing a hot oil treatment, or a “pre poo.” This locks in moisture and also ensures that you hair will be nice and detangled before washing.
You also want to make sure that you have a moisturizing shampoo. A moisturizing shampoo will shield your scalp from that dry feeling. Follow up your moisturizing shampoo with a deep conditioner and leave that on (preferably with heat) for at least an hour. That also locks in moisture, and heat allows the product to soak into the cuticle.
Throughout the week, you also want to make sure you’re moisturizing and sealing as much as your hair calls for it. Everyone’s porosity is different, and depending on how your hair sucks up moisture, you might need to moisturize and seal every couple of days, like I do.

Here’s a tip: With fall weather comes fall fashion, and lots of it. Scarves, beanies, headwraps, etc. I wear them all. However, the harsh fabric from the scarves, beanies, and headwraps can wick moisture away from the scalp. If you’re gonna wear one of those, be smart and wear a satin scarf under it to protect the hair. Kill two birds with one stone; be cute AND protect those luscious locks!

Until next time,
Mandisa ❤

Start the New Year Off Right! (Healthy Hair)

Hello wonderful people! I hope your holidays were exquisite! I’m back with the first post of the new year, and as I was wondering what to do, I thought to myself, “Why not start off with healthy hair for 2013?” That’s what I’m here to talk about today.

We all need to keep our hair healthy. That is the main goal of naturals and relaxed girls alike. But do you know the signs of healthy hair? Do you know the difference between breaking and shedding? Protein and moisture? I sure didn’t. 🙂 So I did a strand test.

A strand test is the easiest way to find out what your hair needs. Basically, you get a stand of SHED hair(that has come from the root on its own) and stretch it– CAREFULLY.

If your hair stretches 15-20% and then bounces back, KUDOS! Your hair is balanced.

If it stretches a lot and then breaks off, you are lacking both protein and moisture.

If it continues to stretch and does not bounce back, you need protein.

And if it doesn’t stretch at all and immediately breaks, you need moisture.

Here’s a video for all you visual learners (skip to the 3:10 mark to see the test in action.)

When I performed the strand test on myself, my hair stretched a lot and then, at the ends, broke off when I attempted to stretch it, which I figured it would. I figured this because I know that although my permed hair is long, it’s damaged. There are chemicals in it, after all. So according to the results above, I knew that I needed both protein and moisture. I proceeded to give myself a protein treatment.

In this homemade treatment, I used mayo, olive oil, castor oil, honey, and eggs. It didn’t mix that well, as there were still visible clumps of mayo, but I think that’s because I added the mayo last. Needless to say, it’s an interesting smell, to say the least. I prefer (and recommend) doing this protein treatment on dirty hair, before washing. The main reason I do this is because of the smell. However, there are many other reasons. It’s very messy to apply, because it’s a runny substance, so take caution and wear clothes that you don’t mind getting messy. Another reason is that it will make your hair feel very similar to straw, and you’ll need moisture minutes after rinsing it out.

ImageThere’s a shot of what it looked like after mixing.

ImageHere’s a front shot.

ImageAnd a side shot.

As you can see, it’s very runny, and after a while, it all settles at the bottom of the cap, so PLEASE take caution taking it off. I left it in for about an hour. I’ve heard different things about how long you should leave it in, but I think that that’s subjective. I say, leave it in for as long as you think it needs to act, depending on the elasticity of your strand. Find a happy medium.

After I rinsed it out, I washed detangled, and deep conditioned as normal. ( Details on my regimen to come.)

As for moisture, my plan is to moisturize twice a week or more (instead of just once), and pay SPECIAL attention to my ends. What I’m used to doing is oiling my scalp and hair everyday, but as we all know, oil is not a moisturizer, but a SEALANT. So I’m going to cut the oil down to twice/three times a week.

Many people advise to do the protein treatment as needed. As for me, I feel like I need moisture more than protein, so I’ll probably be doing protein treatments every three months or so. I’m trying not to focus on my permed hair, because eventually it’s going to fall out. I still take care of it, of course, but the focus is on the new growth coming in, because that’s the hair that’s going to be on my head. That’s the hair that I want to be healthy.

My next strand check will be in August, and I’ll be around a year(!!!!!!) natural then, so we’ll see how my hair’s doing. I’ll give you guys an update!