11th Apr2013

The Big Chop {About Me}

by Daenel

Big Chop Relaxed to Natural Hair {Living Outside the Stacks}

I did it. The Big Chop. All of my hair is gone. I’m not sure if it’s liberation or panic that I feel. Probably a little bit of both.

Two years ago, I started transitioning from relaxed to natural hair. It wasn’t a political statement, it was more of a I~don’t~feel~like~bending~over~that~tub~to~wash~that~stuff~out~of~my~hair kinda thing. Or call it lazy. Either way, I just didn’t want to do it anymore. So I quit. Transitioning to natural hair wasn’t a difficult process for me. Yeah, I had mixed textures and there were days when I threw on a headband and called it a day. But, for the most part, I was cool. Then I decided I wanted to wear my hair in a sloppy bun on top of my head.

Dual textured hair doesn’t work well for a sloppy bun, so I bought a relaxer. That was it. No thought. No oh em gee I’m about to undo two year’s worth of work. Just straighten, pin up, and go.

I had fun with my hair but I started to miss my curls. And obsessively pinning natural hairstyles on Pinterest didn’t help at all. So Tuesday evening I pulled all of my hair into a ponytail, grabbed the scissors and chopped. You know what? You never realize how much hair you have until you see it on the floor.

So here I sit with my hair closely cropped, enjoying the feel of baby curls as I run my fingers across my head.


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09th Dec2012

Easy Twist Out Tutorial {Natural Hair}

by Daenel

I’m doing it again. I’m giving up the Creamy Crack (aka hair relaxer). I know, it seems like I do this every couple of months but this time I’m determined to see it through. Last time I lasted a full year and was completely natural, then I went to my mom’s and the rest is history… As much as I loved being able to control my hair with the relaxer, I was seriously missing my curls.

Easy Braid Out Tutorial {Living Outside the Stacks}

And I started to develop a bad case of hair envy. Have you seen my Pinterest board? I’m obsessed. Check it out here.

I’ve been transitioning for 6 months now and so far my favorite style is a twist out. It allows my relaxed hair and natural hair to blend seamlessly without a lot of manipulation. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last 6 months, it’s this: DO NOT OVER STRESS YOUR HAIR. If you work your hair too much, it gets frizzy.

Here’s how I achieved the look in the picture:

  1. Washed and conditioned my hair with Organix Coconut Milk Shampoo and Conditioner
  2. Towel dried my hair. I know a lot of natural hair bloggers say not to towel dry your hair but I can’t work with sopping wet hair.
  3. I put a deep part on the right side of my head then went over the edges with Shine ‘n Jam conditioning gel.
  4. Then I put a good heaping handful of Beautiful Textures Curl Control Defining Pudding in my hair. I made sure I covered my hair roots to end.
  5. For the flat twists, I put 4 on the right side, one down the back and 4 on the left side. I rolled each twist with rollers. I sleep with a silk scarf on my head every night to protect my hair.
  6. The next morning, I put a little Africa’s Best Hair Oil on my fingers and then untwisted each braid.
  7. To get my hair really full, I pull each section apart, not all over, just random chunks.

Easy Braid Out Tutorial {Living Outside the Stacks}

This hairstyle will usually last me about a week with little upkeep. If I don’t retwist, my hair will get bigger and the curls will become less defined. If I retwist every night, my hair will look basically the same as it does in the pictures all week.

I don’t know how often I’ll update but I will try to remember to at least take a hair picture or two once a month.

What’s your favorite go to hair style? 

04th May2012

Officially Natural {Natural Hair}

by Daenel

The transition journey came to an end late Wednesday night. I couldn’t take it any more, so I grabbed the scissors and cut off the last few ends of straggly relaxed hair.

Transitioning

Transitioning {Natural Hair}
Over the course of the last year, my hair has gone from straight to curly and a little bit of everything in between. It hasn’t been an easy journey. Goodness knows there’ve been times when I’ve wanted to cry, grab the scissors and chop or return to the creamy crack.

My New Hair

Natural Hair

This is my hair in all of its curly glory. So now begins the process of letting it grow out and learning which products work best in my hair. Currently, I’m doing a wash and air dry with Palmer’s Coconut Milk and Beautiful Textures Curl Control Defining Pudding for Mixed Textures.

10th Apr2012

Bad Hair Day + Cute Shoes = Balance?

by Daenel

ThyroidToday was one of them days. I had an appointment with the endocrinologist ~ stupid nonexistent thyroid is making me crazy again. After talking to the doctor, we’ve decided the best course of action is to lower my meds and try to get my thyroid levels under control. But you know what was bothering me more than my thyroid {or lack there of} this morning?

My hair. Yes, y’all, I was having the mother of bad hair Shoesdays today. I couldn’t even focus on the doctor’s questions because I was thinking about the crazy mop that was sitting on my head. I tried a new hair product and was less than pleased with the results. It was so bad that I couldn’t even bring myself to take a picture to show you… I did have on some really cute shoes though, so all was not lost.

As soon as my appointment ended, I took my cute shoes, hopped in the car and rushed home to wash my hair. Lesson learned: Do not try something new when you have an appointment don’t have time to  fix your mistakes.

04th Apr2012

Three {What I Wore Wednesday}

by Daenel

Are You a Shoe Girl?

Please Join Me on Saturday for Shoe Style Saturday!

(click here for more information)

So how happy am I this week? Very! Incredibly! Indescribably! Yesterday, I went to the doctor’s for a follow~up visit and found out that I’ve dropped almost 8.5 lbs in 6 weeks. How crazy good is that? A few weeks ago, I saw a totally unflattering picture of myself and was like Whoa, girl, what in the heck happened to you? And I knew immediately that I had to do something and do something quickly. You can see my “reality check” picture by clicking here. So I started doing Zumba again, eating right (really, those Meatless Mondays make a big difference) and limiting my soda intake. This week, I wore a dress I haven’t been able to wear in at least two years and a pair of jeans I haven’t worn in about 3 or 4 years. Yay, me!

What I Wore Sunday

Sunday {What I Wore Wednesday}

I love this dress. It makes me feel like a 1950’s housewife. Throw in the pearls and the peep toe shoes? Stop with yourself! Also, I’m wearing red lipstick, something I almost never do. But I think it kinda fit…

What I Wore Monday

What I Wore Monday {Living Outside the Stacks}

This is my kickin’ back and relax outfit. It’s also my feeling crunchy outfit: peasant top, ripped jeans and thong sandals. I wasn’t sure about the necklace but I really needed something up top to fill in that space, ya know? Normally I would have thrown on a wooden bead necklace that I have, but wouldn’t you know the stupid thing popped and beads went flying all over the place. LOL

The Haircut

The Haircut {Living Outside the Stacks}

I also got a much needed haircut. For the past 9 months, I’ve been transitioning from relaxed {chemically straightened} hair to my naturally curly hair. I’m not completely natural just yet but I’m one haircut closer. My head feels so much lighter.

I’m linking up with:

Please check them out for more fashion inspiration.

29th Mar2012

The Hair Photo~A~Day Project {Photography}

by Daenel
The Hair Photo~A~Day Project

Click here for more information

It feels weird to say “I’m a cancer survivor”. Sorta surreal, it’s like saying “I walked on the moon.” Except that it’s something that I really did.

I was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer after feeling “off” for several years. You can read the story by going here. As a result of the cancer, my hair became dry and brittle and started coming out so much that I finally went to a hair salon and had it all shaved off. When my little sister found out what I’d done, she called and offered to have her hair cut and made into a wig for me. That was, perhaps, one of the most generous and selfless things that anyone had ever offered to do for me. I declined but I was touched all the same.

Today I found out that Chantelle from fat mum slim and Christina from Hair Romance have teamed up with Pantene for The Hair Photo~a~Day Project to raise awareness for the first ever National Donate Your Hair Day on 27 April {hosted by Pantene and Seventeen}, which will benefit the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program.

The Pantene Beautiful Lengths program takes donated hair and creates wigs for female cancer patients. Fist bump to them for such a creating such a worthy cause. I don’t have enough hair to donate but I can help raise awareness, that’s why I’m participating in The Hair Photo~A~Day Project. I’ll be posting my submissions on Flickr and Instagram. Feel free to check them out.

Have you ever donated your hair?

20th Mar2012

That Hair Thang {Vlog}

by Daenel

Just a quick vlog to answer some questions that I’ve received about my hair, transitioning and the attitude of black women towards their hair.

Natural HairThis is my hair, 9 months into the transition stage. From the roots to where the reddish brown begins is all new growth (hair that hasn’t been chemically altered). For the most part, I just wash and go. I braid it at night so that the natural texture and the relaxed textures can blend a little better.

I don’t subscribe to the theory of “good hair” or “bad hair”, I think all hair is good as long as it’s healthy and you keep it looking decent.

I’m not easily offended so if you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Unless your question is something crazy like “How come black women get all crazy when I wanna touch their hair?”

Anyway, hope you’re getting a chance to enjoy the beautiful spring weather.

23rd Oct2010

I Love My Hair Courtesy of Sesame Street

by Daenel

Hair.  How is it that those strands of protein can cause so much angst? Especially for black women.  Seriously, I wish they’d had videos like that when I was a kid.  Do you know how many young black girls might have embraced instead of rejecting their hair?

Last year I decided to go “natural” and stop chemically straightening my hair.  That was a big step for me, I’d been straightening my hair since my mom first gave me the go~ahead at 13 or 14.  I didn’t need to but I wanted to because my sisters were doing theirs.

Anyway, I loved my natural hair ~ even when it didn’t do everything that I wanted it to do.  But just discovering what my natural curls looked and felt like was an amazing thing.  I enjoyed being able to wash my hair and go.  Do you know how much time I gained by not having to worry about blow drying and flat ironing?

A few months ago, I found out that my husband wasn’t a big fan of the natural hair look so I made the decision to go back to relaxing my hair.  I have mixed feelings about going back to the “creamy  crack” but, for right now, this is one of those compromises that one makes in marriage.  For a year I had the chance to see my natural self and to gain a confidence that I never knew that I had.  Maybe someday I’ll go back to my natural self, until then I’m going to strut my stuff and love my hair in all of its states!

29th Jul2010

Didja Think My Chocolate Cherry Colored Hair Is Natural?

by Daenel

Ok, I know it looks like I’m stalking Lisa from It Keeps Getting Better but I’m not.  Ok, I am but I’m harmless.  Trust me.  Honestly, I just thought it was hilarious that we are both Feria lovers.  I used to use the guides on the box as a reference point but can I tell ya something?  I’m African American.  Surprise!  And, well, our hair takes color a little bit differently depending upon whether or not our hair is natural or has been chemically straightened or what types of products we use so my hair never comes out like the box.  That being said, I have never been disappointed with the results that I get from Feria.  So when I saw Lisa’s post, Loving My Feria Copper Shimmer #74, I decided to post my Feria pic too.  By the way, love, love, love Lisa’s color.

Feria 36

I’ll ask you the same question that Lisa asked, What’s your favorite at~home brand?

30th Jun2010

Naturally Me…Kind Of

by Daenel

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been over a month since my last natural hair post!  What is wrong with me?  I really haven’t been that busy.  Hmmmm, I’m just gonna chalk it up to laziness and move on.

A lot has happened since my last post ~ I’ve dyed my hair twice, discovered new hair products and found an incredible community of natural haired people on Twitter.  Who knew there were so many natural haired beauties out there?  I didn’t.  And lemme tell you, these ladies know what they’re talking about.  They’re quick to offer love, support and helpful suggestions (use the hashtag #NaturalHair if you want to check them out).

I’ve been natural for 11 months now.  Yay!  I’m not going to lie and say it’s been an easy road, there have been times that I’ve wanted to go back to the “creamy crack.”  Dealing with natural hair, as beautiful as it is, is a learning experience.  There are days when I think I’ve figured my hair out and then my hair does a flip on me and I have to start all over.  When I first started this journey I was using the Mixed Chicks product line and I loved it because it defined my curls but I hated it because my defined curls were incredibly hard. I’ve also tried products by Carol’s Daughter but I felt like I could taste the hair cremes so I stopped using them, now I only use the shampoo.  A few people have suggested that I try products by Garnier so that’s next on the list.

I’ve been experimenting with different hairstyles ~ I think that’s one of the pluses of natural hair, the versatility.  I’ve worn curls, puffs and two~strand twist outs.  I’ve even flat~ironed it.  I don’t really like straightening it but my husband prefers it that way, so…  For the most part though I wear it curly.  My girl, Kendra, posted a video of herself brushing her hair out and I love it, so I decided to post pictures of myself with my hair brushed out.  I don’t have a lot of hair but it’s thick so brushing it out is a chore.  I do love it though, it’s so funky and you can really see the burgundy color.

Since going natural, one of the things I’m started to pay a lot of attention to is natural sistas in the media.  There are commercials (the Ford Fiesta and Mirena commercials come to mind) where sisters are totally rocking their natural ‘dos and I’m loving it.  I’ve also noticed natural haired sisters on television shows ~ Jasika Nicole, I’m looking at you, girl.  And did y’all see the BET Awards?  I have serious hair envy.  Esperanza Spalding, lady, your ears should be burning.  Seeing natural haired women who are beautiful and successful is so inspirational.

Now if we could just get Essence to get it right ~ why do y’all advertise hair relaxers on the same page that you offer tips and tricks for natural hair?  Doh!

01st Mar2010

My Hair Mantra: Fluff and Go

by Daenel

It’s been eight months since my journey from relaxed to natural hair began and I am still going strong. I’ve resisted the urge to relapse and I haven’t scalped myself either so I’m pretty happy.

I also posted pictures on flickr. Of course, I’m having a fabulous hair day so I’m happy…

02nd Feb2010

Hair Ties

by Daenel

For twelve years I was addicted to the “creamy crack” ~ it made my hair so soft and manageable, swingy and straight, absolutely beautiful. I loved the flexibility that relaxing offered ~ I could wear it straight, curly, in a bob or pulled into a sleek chignon with little jewels embedded in the braid…. I wore it long and I wore it short. I liked to think I could out Halle with that haircut.

Then one day I decided I had had enough. I needed to break the habit. I needed to get off the “stuff.” I wanted to end my dependence on the relaxer and find my natural self.
Now this may not seem like a big deal but African American women have a love~hate relationship with their hair. Some love their natural curly/kinkiness while others hate it. The one thing we all have in common is a hatred of rain! Do not get a sista’s hair wet, just sayin‘…
I am now almost 7 months into the transitioning process and there are days when I’m itching and scratching like a junkie. I have seriously considered scraping the bottom of the relaxer jar when I do my daughters’ hair to do my own. So far I’ve resisted the urge but it’s hard. Soon it will be time for me to consider the “Big Chop”, but I’m putting it off for as long as possible. Yes, I’m plagued by the dreaded dual personalities battling it out for control of my head. I never know whether I’m going to have a good hair day or bad one. Worse yet, most of the time I don’t care. I’m just trying to enjoy the process of returning to the natural, chemical free me.

19th Jan2010

It’s Been Six Months

by Daenel


25th Dec2009

Holiday Hair

by Daenel

Curly Nikki asked her readers to share their holiday hair plans with her, so here are my plans:

1. I did my first co-wash yesterday. Co-washing is basically washing your hair with conditioner. It enhances moisture and eliminates the use of shampoos that strip hair of natural oils.
2. I parted my hair and used Profective Root Health on my scalp and then combed through.
3. Next I parted it on the side and cornrowed it so that it’d be nice and wavy today. It was braided from mid-afternoon yesterday until mid-morning today.
4. Today I took out the braids, put a little Proclaim 7 in my hands and ran it through my hair to keep it from looking too dry.
5. I’ll wear it like this for the rest of the week; rebraiding every other night.


PS
This post is not endorsed by any of the makers of the products discussed above

21st Dec2009

What Does It Look Like?

by Daenel

I’ve been dying to find out what my natural hair looks like but I’m not ready to commit to the Big Chop yet. So I took some inspiration from Uniquelise3 and clipped some off the top in an inconspicuous place….

For a video of my braid out, go here

06th Dec2009

Caught Between Dryness and a Grease Spot

by Daenel

Well it’s been about 3 weeks since my last update on my hair transition and I’m still going strong. Barely. I’ve gotten to that point where I’m becoming increasingly frustrated for a variety of reasons:

1. I honestly don’t know what to do with my hair anymore. I’m so used to being able to run a curling iron or flat iron through it and go. Now I’m trying to go heat free and let’s just say it ain’t easy…
2. My hair is incredibly dry where the relaxer remains, so it’s starting to break and frizz up a lot. I’ve tried moisturizing but then it just looks greasy. Look at the picture, would you wanna touch that?
3. I haven’t been able to find a product that works well with my hair ~ detangling, moisturizing, softening, etc. I think that’s mostly because I don’t live in an ethnically diverse area so I’m kind of at the mercy of local retailers and whatever I can locate online through research.
I will continue the process because I have noticed a few pluses:
~ no worrying about getting caught in the rain
~ decreased prep time for getting out the door, ok, not really but it sounded good (what has really happened is that I now have more time to fret over what I’m wearing)
~hair maintenance costs have gone down significantly (touch ups every six weeks can add up, ya know?)
~ acceptance of my natural beauty

28th Oct2009

Hairstory

by Daenel

It’s been a week since I posted that I was going to let my hair go natural and I’ve been asked when I’m going to post some pics. Well, here they are… It’s actually been about four weeks since I’ve put a relaxer in my hair and maybe six weeks since I’ve dyed it.

To see a before picture, click here. So I’m at the point now where I have two different hair textures on my head – wavy near the scalp and straight at the ends (where the relaxer remains). The red dye that I had in the front of my hair has now faded to a rust color – this part is hard for me. I’m used to dying my hair every couple of weeks. I treat my hair as an accessory because, well, that’s what it is. I’ve had red hair, pink hair, blue hair, black hair, burgundy, blonde, olive drab green (that was an accident, but I wore it like a champ)….
Anyway, to combat the dual texture problem, I’ve taken to braiding my hair at night and finger combing it in the morning to blend the waves. I think one of the biggest differences I’ve noticed is that the texture of my hair is definitely different – the natural part is actually much softer than the chemically treated portion. This has me a little concerned – I do not want my hair to break because I am not ready to do the big chop.
I’m actually handling this whole transition thing better than I thought I would – of course, it’s only been four weeks so let’s see how it goes in another two weeks…

22nd Oct2009

Finding the Natural Me

by Daenel

Black women have a love-hate relationship with their hair. If you don’t believe me, just Google Chris Rock and look at all the hype surrounding his documentary, Good Hair. Or go visit a salon and see what black women will go through in order to maintain their hair – we fry it and we buy it. And some of us wear it natural.

Growing up, I had what was considered “good hair,” it was sandy brown, super fine and could be easily maintained with a brush and a little bit of water. My sisters, on the other hand, had what was considered “bad hair.” Every Saturday night, Mom would would pull out a chair in the kitchen and round up her supplies:

– Pressing cream
– Hot comb
– Hair barrettes
– Head scarves

Then she’d park my sisters in front of the stove for hours while she meticulously ran the hot comb through their hair so it’d be all shiny and bouncy for church on Sunday. This was a ritual in every black girl’s house. Just ask.

I’d sit there watching my sisters get their hair done and beg my mom to run the hot comb through my hair just one time. She’d look at me, smack her lips and ask me why I wanted her to press my hair when I had good hair? I wanted to be like my sisters. I wanted to hold my ear to keep my mom from nicking it. I wanted to show my friends the little burn mark on my forehead (a badge of honor, to my simple little mind). Sometimes to appease me, after the pressing comb had cooled down, Mom would run it through my hair but it wasn’t the same thing.

When we turned ten or eleven, my mom started relaxing my twin sister’s hair. Oh, was I jealous. The first time I saw my sister’s dark brown hair all soft, straight and bouncy, I wanted it. There I was with my frizzy curls, no longer sandy brown but a crazy mix of red, brown and blonde, looking like a black Orphan Annie. I begged my mom to put a relaxer in my hair.

She reluctantly agreed.

That was twenty plus years ago and I haven’t looked back. Accept for when I shaved my hair because it was all dry and falling out from a combination of radiation therapy and a whacked out thyroid, I’ve kept my hair relaxed. I love the feel of my hair on the back of my neck, the wind blowing through it when I ride with the windows down…But recently I’ve started to wonder what my natural hair looks like.

I’ve dyed my hair since I was fourteen (black girl with freckles and reddish brown hair, need I say more?) and, like I said, my relationship with Dark and Lovely has lasted longer than any relationship I’ve ever had with a person. Unlike some people who choose to cut off all the hair and start from scratch, I will be trimming my hair every 6 weeks until nothing’s left until my natural hair. I will be using products from Mixed Chicks and will periodically update my blog with pictures during the six month growing out process.

So if I start to look crazy or I get all cranky ’cause I’m having a bad hair day, you’ll understand wont you? Mostly I’m expecting to learn to love the natural me and, hopefully, find the person that I lost so many years ago when I started frying and dying.

I am not receiving any compensation from Mixed Chicks. I just heard about their products and felt that it may fit my needs.

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