Monday, December 24, 2012

Keep Calm

     Just a quick post today. So, I totally had a moment today with my hair. I really wanted my hair to behave a specific way today because it was my birthday, and we all know that we want to look special on the day that we realize we've gotten a year older. I don't know why my hair didn't turn out the way I was expecting it to, especially since I've spent about a year and a half training it. Anyway, I attempted to do a braid out on stretched hair. When I took down the braids, half of my hair was fly, curly, and fierce, but the other half was not! At first I thought, "Okay, no big deal, I will just re-braid it". The second time around wasn't any better, it had actually gotten worse! I had no curl definition at all, so one side of my head had stretched curls while the others was a chunky afro. Utterly exhausted, I repeated the process of restyling my hair, this time putting in chunky twists on both sides. Basically, I'm telling this story because there is a lesson in it, I promise. I was very frustrated almost to the point of tears, and this really never happens with me. I am not that girl who cries over her hair!!!! I ended up stepping away from the mirror and the hair products, throwing a scarf on it, and gaining the patience I needed to let my hair do its thing. I had to remember that there will be days when my hair doesn't have the perfect curl, definition, length, height, whatever. My hair has its off days too-- and because it's fierce 98% of the time-- it's allowed a break. It is sometimes difficult to do, but being patient is so necessary when it comes to caring for your hair. If you don't have that resilience you may end up making rash decisions that may seriously damage your 'fro. Avoid styling your hair when you're in an emotional state, and instead, step away from the mirror and remember the reasons why you went natural to begin with. Caring for your natural hair is a beautiful thing, and it is one of the most unique things about you. A bad hair day here and there can't change that.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Aphro Aspirations

Just some pictures of Naturals doing the damn thang.

I wish I had this definition and length.

Serious Aphro Envy.

Stretched fro.

The neatest Bantu Knots I've ever seen, done by Africancreature

Keep it nappy ya'll!


Friday, December 21, 2012

Beautiful Textures: A Product Review

     I discovered Beautiful Textures when I attended the Taliah Wajiid Natural Hair Show in Atlanta earlier this year, and let me just tell you, I'm glad I did! Beautiful Textures creates products for mixed textures including curly, wavy, kinky-coily, and frizzy hair. I was able to get my hands on a full-sized sample of their Tangle Taming Leave-In conditioner at the hair show which by the way, if you ever have a chance to attend definitely go because many product lines will happily give you samples. I left with two big totes of samples and discount coupons to use online!

      But back to Beautiful Textures. The leave-in conditioner is certainly in the top ten list of my favorite products. It is enriched with aloe vera, olive, soy, Argan oil, and shea and mango butters. It is very light so it is perfect for detangling before or after washing your hair, and it is perfect for wet twist outs. You could also use it on dry hair, just to add a bit of moisture-- just rub a bit on your palms and run you hands over your hair and you're good to go. I used this mostly on my protective styles during the summer so that my natural hair, even though it was in braids,stayed moisturized. Also, scent-wise it was very light-- you can really pick up the notes of shea butter and mango. I noticed that my hair always felt super soft when I used this product so I will definitely purchase more. You can find it at Sally Beauty for about $6. A steal!!
       Another product I really like from this line is the Curl Control Defining Pudding. It has the same enriching ingredients as the Leave-in conditioner, so you get a double dose of goodies for your hair. I use this product for styling on damp/mostly dry hair-- that means I use it for my twist outs, braid outs, flat twist outs, and bantu knot outs. It does a great job of detangling my 4c hair and setting the styles so I achieve the desired curl and definition. It is creamy in texture and has the same light scent as the leave-in conditioner. I don't think it makes my hair as soft as some of the hair butters and cremes I've used in the past, but it produces good results and you cant beat the price ($7 at Sally's). I'm still on the hunt for a staple styling butter since I've given up the pricey  Curly Meringue from Ms. Jessie's (which wasn't even all that great because sometimes it left flaky white stuff in my hair...yuck.) Curl Control is a great alternative to more expensive products. So if you're like me and you take care of your hair on a budget, you should give Beautiful Textures a go; the line gives you solid results and you get more bang for your buck. One container of each of these products lasts me about a month and a half, which translates into 4 washes and about 45 twist outs. Just saying you guys, Beautiful Textures is where it's at.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Thoughts on Thursday: Protective Styling

Urban Twists courtesy of the Damn Salon.
     Protective Styling is pretty self explanatory: they are styles that protect your hair. Let's face it, our hair gets tired of us twisting it, stretching it, combing it, just as we get tired of dealing with it. Protective styling provides a win-win situation for both parties; you and your hair gets a break from constant manipulation. Protective styling is hair relationship therapy 101 and you betta believe it honey!
      Some of my favorite protective styles are Senegalese twists, Box braids, Havanna Marley twists, Kinky twists, and the list goes on. Quite simply, these styles put your hair away by braiding them or twisting them while adding extensions. They are great for switching up your look and creating versatile styles, especially when your Afro is on the shorter side. I experimented with Senegalese twists and a variation of Kinky twists this past year.

Senegalese twists for the summer.

     The Urban Twists done by the ladies at The Damn Salon are by far my favorite protective style, mostly because they look the most like your natural curl pattern. Not to mention the salon experience was amazing. You get an awesome consultation and a gourmet lunch. How do you say no to champagne in the salon? The only downside is that they are a little pricey, but they offer great specials throughout the year, AND they will style your hair for free on follow up visits. Seriously, you owe it to yourself to check them out.
After about 5 months of protective styling. Look at how big my hair is!
     Now for a word on Senegalese twists. Honestly, I liked this style but I didn't love it. If I had to do it all over again I would get them way bigger, which is what I initially asked for in the salon, but I guess they didn't hear me. Getting these twists was a totally impulsive decision, but I don't altogether regret it because they did in fact protect my hair and I didn't have to style it for about 2 months. The best advice I can give when it comes to protective styling is that you shouldn't leave any one style in for too long. You should switch up styles after about 3 months max. Personally, I wear protective styles for about 3-4 months of the year, usually during the summer or winter. Also, do not neglect your natural hair completely! It still needs to be washed and don't forget to apply a light oil or a leave in conditioner, or both! The point is to protect your hair, not neglect your hair!
     The only true con I can think of when it comes to these styles is the take-down process, especially if you have to do it yourself, it can be a bit overwhelming. Although, you could always recruit some friends to help you! The benefits of protective styling far outweigh the negatives. Just make sure that you are still nourishing your hair so that you promote the growth of your hair. When it is all said and done and the extensions are removed, you will be amazed at how much your hair has grown! So when you're sick and tired of twisting/braiding your hair every night, protective styling could be the difference between cutting your hair off or even worse, going back to the creamy crack! Just say no people!

Keep it nappy ya'll!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Regimen and A Product Review

Peace Naturalistas!

     Before I jump into this product review, I want to give my little lecture about product use. First of all, I am a believer in the saying "less is more", especially when it comes to caring for your natural hair. After I fist big chopped, the only products in my bathroom bin were shampoo, conditioner, and Cantu Shea Butter. Because I didn't know very much about maintaining my TWA (Teeny-Weeny Afro), I resorted to sew-ins and kinky twists-- which was a good idea, because I was able to let my hair be. The less I bothered my hair the better-- this allowed my hair to grow without fear of damage. Since then, my knowledge of natural hair care has increased, and naturally, the amount of hair products grew too. Now, I use both sulfate and sulfate-free shampoos (to clarify my hair when it needs it or to maintain my hair's natural oils and moisture), leave-in conditioner, deep conditioner, and hair oils regularly. Not to mention a few hair butters and cremes for when I'm rocking my twist-outs, braid-outs, bantu-knot outs. Getting to know what your hair needs is an important factor when deciding what products to buy, so educate yourself! Know what a sulfate is and what it does! Know what ingredients to avoid, like alcohol, parabens, and petroleum based products. In short, products can be your best friend, or your worst enemy.. Be careful not to overdue it!

     My regimen currently consists of:

  • Washing my hair once a week, followed by conditioner in the shower and leave- in conditioner after towel-drying

  • Deep conditioning once a week (usually before I wash)

  • Apple Cider Vinegar rinse every other week

  • Trimming ends when necessary

  • Twisting hair with hair cremes, butters, or leave-in conditioner

  • Moisturizing daily with water and spritzing lightly with oil

  • Protective Styling

  • Minimal heat (lightly blow drying after a wash to stretch hair)
My hair is more kinky (4c is the technical term) than curly, so its more prone to breakage than other curl patterns-- therefore moisturizing is my top priority. On top of all this, I try to drink plenty of water and eat lots of fruit to ensure hydration. A product that I use to keep my hair moisturized during the week is b.a.s.k. Palm Tapioca Deluxe Hair Cream. This stuff is amazing! It stretches my curl pattern, softens my hair,  has a soft hold (great for chunky twist outs!), and it smells like a dream (Vanilla Dulche de Leche and Almond). It has oils derived from the Palm family, including Babassu oil-- which is quickly becoming one of my favorite oils (it's in my shampoo too!).You can find the b.a.s.k. Palm Cream here.

Sheeba in her full glory! Why am I squinting?!
I used the Palm Tapioca cream on the twist out above with a little of Ms. Jessie's Curly Meringue for a little more hold and definition. I think it turned out pretty well! That's all for now I guess.

Keep it Nappy ya'll!


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Product Reviews Coming Soon

I recently started using a few new products: Shea Moisture's Purification Masque, Nubian Heritage Shampoo, and Beautiful Textures Leave-In Conditioner. I like to use new products for at least two weeks before I give the verdict on them, so expect a review soon!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Aphrowho? AphroKiKi is in the building!!

     Aphrokiki was created for the purpose of appreciating beauty. It is also a place where I can post inspirational pictures, informative articles, and positive images of women celebrating their natural beauty. I also plan to keep track of my hair's progress as well as the setbacks I encounter, and from time to time I will review natural hair products. The natural journey is an educational journey, therefore I'm an advocate of all naturals getting to know their hair. I hope this blog will inspire those who wish to explore their natural texture to transition and experience the joy of caring for your hair in it's natural state. Now for a few facts about my natural journey:

Date of Last Perm: May 21, 2010

Duration of Transition: 7 months

Big Chopped: December 19, 2010



My relaxed hair in 2008.

Transitioning in 2010 with kinky twists.

Day of Big Chop! Notice the Beanie =)

My first twist out! Look at that TWA Grow!

     "Going Natural" can be difficult, but the hardest part is getting started. Letting go of old behavior was my biggest obstacle. If it wasn't for the countless blogs and Youtube videos that I watched during my transition I would not have made it. I've been free of the creamy crack for 2 years now and I'm never going back.

Keep it nappy ya'll!