Monday, November 28, 2011

My Daughters' Dominican Blowout: Part 1

The girls' natural hair in Oct. 2011

Natural hair after blow out

Natural hair after blow out

For months, I've debated taking my daughters to a Dominican hair salon for a Dominican blowout.

I thought the heat for the blow dryer would be too hot -- and so I put off taking them.

I thought, there is NO way they are going to be able to take the curdles of smoke and red hot heat from the blow dryer. I mean, these are the same girls who flinched if I barely touched their hair. And I just knew they'd leave the salon in tears.

But, after years of wearing their hair curly, they both wanted straight hair, even going so far as asking for a perm (the answer was "no"). 

Their  Hair Story

Let me back up a little bit. My girls haven't had the best salon experiences, either. Actually, they've been quite negative. Most hair stylists don't want to do their hair or complain because of  their hairs' length and thickness. They've left the salon in tears, from stylists who weren't gentle and probably resented all the time it took to do their hair, while admonishing me to perm their hair when they were 6 and 8. (Nope, wasn't gonna happen).  

Their hair is supa dupa think, and it's proved no match for my lack of hair skills post ponytails. Ponytails, I could handle. But as the parent of a 5th grader and 7th grader, my girls wanted something different. Plus, they've outgrown all of those cute little ponytails and barrette styles I used to do.

Why Momma's Not Always The Best

They wanted their hair straight. But Momma's not a hair genius. No matter what product, or styling tool (professional ionic blow dryers and good flat irons from Sally's), it proved no match for their long, thick tresses.

I only got minimal results. I just couldn't get their hair straight. I'd flat iron it, and it would get somewhat straight. But it never lasted. At worst, it would begin reverting the very same day I pressed it. At best, it would last until the next day or two.

With two thick heads, we all ended up frustrated -- and exhausted -- on wash day. The whole process was laborious, taking hours to detangle, wash, blow dry and flatiron -- for each head! Love hair, but I'm no hair expert. I just felt like I couldn't get the hair thing right.

Will it Work?

Enter the Dominican salons.

Notorious for heat, Dominicans are wunderkinds with the round blush and blow dryer. They're famous for coaxing kinks, curls and waves into damn near perm straight locks with a bend and flick of a wrist.  If you want bone straight locks, with no chemicals, they're the best thing going.

I knew if anybody could get the girls' hair straight, it would be the Dominicans. On Saturday, we trekked to Juanita's Hair Salon in Alpharetta. I warned them about the heat. Told them it would be hot. But they insisted (my warnings didn't deter them).

I tried to detangle their hair at home, but once it was wet at the salon, it tangled all over again. It took about four hours -- and a long detangling session on my youngest, whose hair had gotten super thick after weeks of wearing twists -- but they emerged with straight hair.

The Process

Here's how the whole thing went down:

After a long time detangling at the shampoo bowl, it was time for deep conditioning under the blow dryer. I thought I'd have to check my oldest daughter's stylist, after she used a rat tail comb. I didn't see any ripped hair, so I didn't say anything

What's in that Mystery Mix?

What they use is a mystery. Bottles and  jars of creamy stuff. Some had labels, but I couldn't see that far, LOL. They didn't rinse the conditioner out, but blowdried it in. This goes against traditional advice, which says hair should have little to no product in it for a good flat iron. The only exceptions to that rule are heat damage serum/spray and dabs of grease or pressing oil. And, hydrating the hair with moisture or deep conditioners BEFORE blow drying/flat ironing is recommended.

Well, the Dominican blowout took all of that and threw it out the window. After wet detangling under the shampoo bowl, they washed it, put the girls under the dryer for deep conditioning, and then sectioned and detangled again in small Bantu knots. They didn't rinse out the conditioner or whatever mystery mixed they used, because I could see it foaming up on the girls hair. Maybe this process protects the hair or gets it straighter?

Next, they blowed it straight with a round brush and, finally, flat ironed it pin straight for a finishing touch. (It took not one but TWO stylists to blowdry Mya's hair).

They did an excellent job, charging $55 for a blowout+trim and $60 for a blow dry. Their standard prices for natural hair were $45 for a blowout  + $5 more for long hair. I tipped generously, because it took my youngest a LONG time to detangle.

Overall, I'd do this again in a heartbeat. I plan to have their hair straightened once a month -- no more. Heat in moderation, and trust, their next appointment is already booked. My girls? They're happy as pie. My youngest said the detangling hurt, but she liked the results. My oldest daughter's hair is MBL, and the youngest is WL.

Why it was Worth It

And Mommy? Yeah, I'm good! The girls have trusted my non-hair doing behind with their hair for so long that they're old enough and now it's time for me to hand the hair reigns to someone else who I trust. (In full disclosure, I went to this particular salon a few times in 2009, but stopped going because I no longer wanted to heat train my hair).

I'd much rather fork over the cost to let professionals straighten their hair, and I managed to catch up on some work while I was at the salon.  Yeah, that heat ain't no joke, but I'm hoping that blowouts will stave off their desire for a perm for a looooong while.

What do you think? Would you get a Dominican blowout?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

What Natural Products Are You Thankful For?

It's Thanksgiving, and I'm thankful for many things: My family, a home, a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner cooked by hubby + I, relatively good health, a business, a job, and kids, who while they get on my last nerves sometimes, are good and do well in school.

The list could go on and on.

So, in that spirit, are you thankful for your hair? I know, I know. In the grand scheme of things, hair isn't one of the top priorities -- or is it? -- but what products, styles or techniques are you thankful for this year?

You've got to be thankful for the small things in order to appreciate the big things.

Maybe you're thankful for your new big chop. Perhaps you reached your length goal. You finally figured out how to properly moisturize and seal your hair. At last, you learned how to master twist outs and braid outs. Your edges finally grew in. You went natural this year. Or, you finally discovered your holy grail product. Or, you are no longer a product junkie and have simplified your regimen (your wallet thanks you).

What style, product or technique are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It's My Birthday!

It's my birthday, HairNistas! *singing Happy Birthday Stevie Wonder style*

Today, I'm gonna get my shop on!

My hair? Umm, yeah. It's back in a wash and go. Sigh.

What can I say? It's my go-to style. I'm taking a break from the wig, after I noticed my hear thinning at the top and the sides where the wig clips are. After a tangling setback -- I lost length on the sides after I had to cut out some strands with mid-hair tangles and tangles on the end on sides and in the thicker crown of my hair.

I can attribute that largely to the Silicon Mix with protein deep conditioner. Something told me not to get it, but my regular non-protein mix was sold-out. Made my hair tangle something fierce. May get it pressed out professionally this weekend, for a birthday treat.

Monday, November 21, 2011

What's Wrong With Your Hair?

I'll admit it: There are some days that my natural hair is on point. And, other days, not so much.

Take the day my hair was an unintentional fro because of rain/humidity. Nothing wrong with a fro; hell, I wear one all the time. But there's nothing worse than a fro frizzball that you didn't set out to be a fro.

Later that day, a comment from my husband that my frizzed out hair did not "look becoming" of me, had me ready to take out the claws, grab the vaseline and take off my earrings, LOL. I brushed off his comments, with a my hair frizzed in the fog and an I don't care.

The next day, I put it into two cute flat twists, that I eventually took down. I thought it looked a HAM, but a transitioner gave me a compliment about my hair that lifted what I thought was a bad hair day. That didn't last. After a few hours outside, my hair was an even bigger frizzball, so much so that my daughters asked, "what's wrong with your hair?" the moment I walked in the door.

I mostly ignored them, and said nothing. Our natural hair and curls, loves them. The frizz? That ish can get back. I don't know many people who like frizz, and I know I don't. My frizz has a direct correlation to my style. Any humdity in the air and my hair instantly poofs - unless it's gelled down or flat ironed bone straight. Even if it's straight, I still have to put it into a braid for it not to revert.

I don't know why loved ones' comments about our hair get to us so much. I mean, if a stranger had told me what my family said to me, they'd have gotten told.

Are you in love with your frizz? What do you do when people make unflattering comments about your hair?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Versaci Debuts at H&M


First it was Missoni for Target. Now comes one of the hottest pairings  of all - Versace for H&M.

The uber hip retailer H&M debuts its Versace collection today at stores across the country. It's the latest luxe for less pairing, as high-end fashion brands increasingly unveil their clothing to the shopping masses at discount retailers.

Branding high-end names with discount retailers is a hit, breathing new life into brands and exposing them to a new customer base they might not have otherwise reached.  Missoni for Target was a smashing success, selling out in mere minutes online and in stores. (I was lucky enough to snag a Missoni shirt for less than $15 a few weeks later on the clearance rack.)

And other pairings such as Mizrahi for Target, Vera Wang for Kohls and even Stella McCartney for H&M have all been met with the seal of consumer approval.

In Versace's case, their H&M line is priced at a fraction of its regular retail cost -- $20 to $400. It's all Versace, with plenty of leather, studs and the Versace "print" they are known for. The line was introduced in the U.K. last week, and sold out.

Today, the retailer will showcase its U.S. collection in select stores in New York, Georgia and California and other states. Customers in NYC lined up 24 hours before the store opened.

If you've always wanted Versace, but couldn't afford the price, now's your chance, Hairnistas. Don't expect to buy the entire line, though. These fashionable pairings usually feature a limited selection of designer wares and when they're gone, they're gone.

In Versace's case, customers will be limited to two of each item at H&M. I heard on Good Morning America that customers will only have 15 minutes to shop each section.

Happy shopping!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Love it or Hate it? Lanvin Turban Headbands

I'm all for fashion, but there are some things that make me go, "hmm...?"

If you're hip to the natural hair scene, you know that turbans have been in for, like, ever! Naturals are doing it up, going ultra glam, with beautiful, ornate turbans, worn every which way -- top knots, side knots, back knots, figure-8 knots, you name it. You'd have to be living under a rock to not know that turbans have been in for a minute, with everyone from Solange to Rhianna wearing them.

So, it struck me as a bit odd when I read on The Zoe Report by fashionista Rachel Zoe that Lanvin has now debuted what they call a turban headband *drumroll, please* for a whopping $500. I. Could. Not. Believe. It.

Lanvin headbad

Lanvin's "turban" headband is really nothing more than a headband, in my book. They can take the "turban" out of it. I know of no turban that is of a similar size; it's just a smidge bigger than your standard headband, but no bigger than those huge headbands we used to wear back in the 90s (dating myself, I kno). Oh, and its available in black, red, gray and blue at Barney's New York.

And for $500? Chile, BYE! I can't think of a better waste of hard earned money.

Zoe writes:

"Leave it to Lanvin to introduce a real game-changer in the realm of accessories for your tresses. With the advent of the Parisian brand’s turban headband—our adornment du jour—we’re rapidly readjusting all traditional hairstyle regimens to best accommodate our favorite new look.

A hot item for fall, the turban has emerged as an unexpectedly cool topper for good and bad hair days alike. .. Effortless, elegant and totally wearable, the turban trend is a definite do."

Umm... I'm sorry but, now that Lanvin + other have "discovered" turbans, they are suddenly chic and cool?

So interesting.

You can look at the whole turban trend a few ways. Yeah, Rihanna, singer Chrisette Michelle, Solange, stylist June Ambrose and model Eva Marcille may rock a turban here and there, but many of your average, everyday black women get plenty of shade thrown their way for the look -- no matter how they make it work with makeup, chic earrings and shades.

Solange and singers Estelle and Chrisette Michelle wearing turbans

Some folks treat women wearing turbans as if they are lazy, trifling and rolling out the bed with a Du-Rag on because their hair isn't done. That is SO not it. I don't want to get off to much whole thing about high-end fashion discovering this look, because fashionable women in Nigeria and other African, Indian and Islamic countries have worn ornate head wraps-- turbans included -- for many, many years.

I haven't gotten much into turbans, though I did rock plenty of head wraps back when Alicia Keys make them popular, circa 2001-2003. I will say, though, that I hope that June Ambrose's line of trubans and the tons of indie turban designers and makers can profit from the fashion industry's newfound discovery. Their wares are a whole heck of a lot cheaper -- and look much, much better -- than Lanvin's plain old headband wannabe turban.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

HairSpiration: Corrine Bailey Rae

I love Corinne Bailey Rae's hair. In my book, she ranks right up there with Tracee Ellis Ross in terms of natural hair. Every pic of her natural hair, I absolutely love.

It looks like she used flexi rods or curlformers to achieve the sideswept look, and I love the pompadour in the front. Really sets off the entire look. Don't know if I can rock it with my forehead, but Corrine looks lovely with it.

What do you think? Would you wear this hairstyle? If so, how did it turn out?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hair Challenge

Most hair challenges usually involve a regimen -- protective styling, no-heat, sealing and moisturizing, etc., for a specific period of time.

This is a different kind of hair challenge. It's about the challenges our hair experiences-- dryness, breakage, single strand knots, unintentional dreading and matting, thin edges, split ends. Whatever particular challenges you are having.

As my hair has grown, the challenges I'm experiencing now are quite different than the ones I used to have. As I've said before on this blog, I think my wash and go days are done. They once worked marvelously, but now the gel and conditioner do nothing but tangle my hair.

I'm talking about bad tangles and knots  -- the middle of the hair kind that does drastic damage on hair length. I've tried to pick them put, separate it with my fingers. But it's so matted together that I usually just get my scissors and start cutting.

As a result, I've lost some length in the crown :(

On the positive side, my hair has grown a lot thicker over these past few months. I'm finding that my thick area -- a circle-shaped area near my crown -- requires a lot more attention. That area tangles ridiculously. I've been using the finger method for that area, and let me tell ya, it ain't working. I think all the gel I use doesn't help either, and I'm not quite sure how to fix this, other than banning my beloved wash and gos.

After a mini blow out and twist out last week, I had nothing but mats and tangles, and that area has been severely affected. Not quite sure what to do, since I'd been wearing my hear in braids and out occassionally from my wig.

It's time to refine my regimen. I don't ever recall my hair tangling this badly in that area, so it's time for some serious detangling sessions every week. Armed with my Herbal Essence Hello Hydration, I'm gonna be a detangling fool.

Not too much, but enough to make sure my thick areas - a 3-4-inch area near my crown - stay tangle-free as possible. I'm also going to try oil rinses with olive oil. They work really well on by daughters' hair, but I've never used them.

This whole experience has forced me to reevaluate. The only thing differently I'm doing is using Dax on a regular basis to seal, and I tried a protein Silicon mix deep conditioner.

Oh, and I'm also going to be be straightening my hair for a minute to aid in detangling. I've gotten better at twist ous and flat twists, so I'll be wearing my hair that way when it's not flat ironed. I really need to get better at documenting my regimen by photo. Pictures don't lie.

What are your hair challenges and how are you overcoming them?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Looks We Love

I was reading BGLHOnline when I saw this post about what celebrities are wearing and stopped. Like stopped.

I didn't even know who this person was. All I knew was her outfit was BANGIN!

I later read on to find out that the celeb was Shingai Shoniwa (Why, oh, why, do I not know who she is? *Googling her* ) at Cosmo Magazine's Woman of the Year Awards. She's stunning in this outfit.

Her skin is ... simply gorgeous. It's glowing, and it definitely adds to the outfit. I never thought about dark skin as an "accessory," but it is in this case. Add that to the backdrop of the yellow dress with the uber contemporary top and sheer bottom, turquoise blue belt, coral clutch for a pop of color and blue suede shoes and this is a stunning look.

Color blocking at its best.

The outfit first got my attention. But can I tell you that I love her hair. A very retro pinup that absolutely compliments her outfit. WERK it, girl!

What do you think? Would you wear this?

HairTroversy: Koreans in the Black Beauty Supply Business

I ran across this article about Korean beauty supply stores in the Cascade Patch (Atlanta) via

Frank Mohadou closed the door to the beauty supply business he was struggling to keep, in the slice of space he obtained from his sister. The still night held no comfort for the African native as he slid behind the wheel of the $250-a-month car he could barely afford.

Read more here.

Written in May by Kimathi Lewis, the "Ugly Side of the Beauty Supply Market" was an excellent piece. As a former journalist who has written an article or two about the beauty supply industry, it's the first "expose" that I've read about the inner workings of the beauty supply industry.

Is it Really That Bad for Black Beauty Supply Stores?

For years, I've heard that the industry was strictly controlled and strongarmed by Koreans, almost like the Korean mafia. It shut black beauty supply owners out, limiting or banning products they purchase. This was the first written account that I've read that painfully details the Koreans' stronghold on the Black beauty supply industry.

Why is this all on the low? For a long time, folks were afraid to talk. Last year, I heard a radio interview by a member of a Black beauty supply association in Atlanta about how tough it was for Black entrepreneurs to succeed in the industry.

I believed every word he said.

Why We Must Control More Products For Our Hair

Now, I'm all for capitalism. Not to get too political, but I know of very few industries that serve an ethnic group where said ethnic group doesn't control at least a majority of it. It would be like me controlling the market for Passover and Hanukkah merchandise; I'm Black, it's a Jewish product. Or, it would be like me making tortillas for Latinos -- I could do it, but that doesn't mean that it would be successful.

It simply would not happen.

It's something inherently "wrong" about an ethnic product in which the people who the product is intended for have such a small stake in its success. It's also wrong that a product that African Americans consume cannot be purchased in large quantities for the purpose of resale by the very people who it is supposedly made for. I have no legal background whatsoever, but doesn't this smack of an unfair trade advantage?

New Madame C.J. Walkers?

Isn't it bad enough that the once proud Black hair care industry is no longer run by us? Hair used to be one of the few industries that was controlled by us, dating back to the early 20th centuries with Madame C.J. Walker.

White folks didn't care about our hair -- we did -- and always have. Pioneers like Walker and others invented things like the pressing comb for our hair care maintenance. Today, Dudley's is one of the few large Black owned hair care manufacturers. Others sold off to majority interests in the 70s, 80s and 90s to large conglomerates like L'Oreal. Many of the products you see on store shelves, despite names like "African Pride," etc., are just products owned by majority companies; they aren't Black-owned.

It's only been recently, with the explosion of natural hair care products by folks like Lisa Price of Carol's Daughter, Miko and Titi Branch, founder of Miss Jessie's products, Jane Carter and a bunch of others, that we've seen a small portion of the black hair care industry back in our hands.
But that's not enough.

It's Not Enough To Just Wear the Weave/Wig

And when it comes to weave, you can just forget about it. The weave industry wouldn't be where it is today without African Americans. Sure, white girls are weaved up too, but we have very, very little stake in a product that we slap on our heads on the regular.

There's something wrong with that.

You have a few wig makers, Beverly Johnson, Patti LaBelle and Vivica Fox, with wig lines. But other than that, our control is very, very little.  It's time that we regain control of an industry that we use. It's time to fight with our dollars, purses and wallets.

Black Beauty Supply Stores Need Our Support

When you see a Black beauty supply store owner, support them. Yes, their prices will probably be higher. And there shelves may be a bit emptier. But you'll have the added benefit of knowing that your dollar is probably going to travel further in your community than to just simply walk out of it with no added benefit.

And, if you have a large hair purchase to make, please make it with people who look like us. I'm all for customer service. But you know that, in many cases, we don't get that when we go into Asian-owned stores. We get just the opposite -- followed around as if we are going to steal their products, little to no product advice, and no refunds or even exchanges many times.

Black beauty supply owners and businesses are struggling.

I'm all for capitalism, but unfair advantages -- shakedowns, product limitations and the like -- isn't fair business. It's not an equal playing field. The only way this will change is if we acknowledge it and move to change it.

Let's give Black beauty supply owners and Black hair care manufacturers a bit of the loyalty that we've given to others over the years -- many of whom don't deserve it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Will Your Hair Regimen Change in the Winter?

With temperatures cooling across much of the country, the challenge for some HairNistas becomes what products and regimens to implement during winter and fall.

Many times, the regimens and products you'll use during the cooler weather will depend on where you live.

I'm originally from Detroit. Let's just say that there's no way that I would go out in the freezing cold (I'm talking about temps that easily dip -10 below zero in January/February) with wet wash and go hair. My hair would freeze AND I'd probably get pneumonia LOL!

There, the challenge is totally different -- protecting your hair from the freezing cold and from the wool beanies and wool coats that can wreak havoc on your ends.

But, since I live in Atlanta, I can wear that very same hairstyle without any problem, due to the much milder winters. Other than maybe using a thicker oil, such as castor oil, my products won't change. I pretty much always use the same leave -ins (Herbal Essence Hello Hydration) no matter the temperature. And, I'll probably continue using glycerin.

Many naturals avoid glycerin and gels during the winter, but I've never seen any reason to stop.

Not sure if my styling options will change. Still plan to wig it and I'll probably wear my hair flat ironed.

How will your regimen, styling or products change this winter?

Monday, November 7, 2011


There are many naturals whose hair I admire.

Usually, it's of the fluffy, thick variety, with banging and defined twisouts/braidouts/fros.

Many times, I love their hair because it's a look that my hair hasn't quite been able to accomplish yet; I'm just really getting the hang of flat twists, or their hair is longer than mine or lusher (is that a word, lol)?

I call them hair idols. Yeah, I know my curls are unique and I won't ever rock their curls, but dammit, I sometimes want their hair, if only for a day.

Here are a few HairSpirations from








Saturday, November 5, 2011

J-Hud Looks Fab in Animal Print

Saw this on and I just had to post: Oh. My. God.


Ya'll know I love me some animal print. And when you combine this classic dress with animal print, I am done. Stab me with a fork -- D-O-N-E.

I think J-Hud looks great in this dress. And I love the twst in the front. It's absolutely gorge. You can rock this now or 20 years from now, because it is classic with a capital "C." Don't know who the designer is, but I'm off to find my version of it!

Hot or Not?

I don't usually feature celebs on this blog because, quite frankly, they pay stylists to make them look good.

The rest of us (read: non-celebs) don't have stylists and must manage our pennies and make our fashions look good without that $3,000 Berkie bag or that $2,000 pair of Loubies. Sometimes, though, I think a celeb looks uber hot. My challenge is usually to recreate the look to fit my budget.

R&B songstress Kelly Rowland is sporting a look that I simply love, as featured on

Those Loubies are hot, and I love the harem leather pants. Don't know if I'd rock the sweater ($130), but it works for her.

Lately, I've pretty much loved everythang I've seen Rowland rock -- very sexy, glam and cosmo without trying too hard. I've seen very few outfits that she's worn that I wouldn't want to wear.

What do you think? Hot or not?


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Holiday Hair?

The first week of November usually gets me in holiday mode.

After all, Thanksgiving will be here before you know it, then Christmas, and finally, New Year's.

Let's face it, sometimes family + natural hair don't mix.

Depending upon your family and how much you care about others' opinions, you've got to have some thick skin to wear natural hair. Some families, as long as your hair isn't unkept, could care less; generally, they'll only call you out if your hair is a HOT MESS -- and that's whether it's natural or relaxed.

Now, a HOT MESS can be very subjective, but you get my drift.

And then you have those "special" families who think that all curls, kinks, waves, naps or what have you must be beaten out of your hair; they're not happy until you do "something" with that, that hair. Soon, your hair and what you will do with it, becomes the topic of the discussion. And, don't let you have recently done  a big chop -- either you are sick with cancer or are crazy in the head for "cutting all that pretty hair off" because you dared to rock a short style.

Families are special. And special families need to get told from time to time. Sorry. If you aren't asking your Momma/Daddy for money to get your hair done, no matter how much you love them, they really can't tell you what to do with your hair. They may have given you the hair you were blessed with, but that's it.

Really, if you are grown, how you decide to wear your hair is your business. Who cares what anyone else thinks, as long as you are happy with your hair. Put your big girl panties on, rock that TWA, braidout/twistout/fro/natural style of your choice and keep it movin'!

Will your natural hair be the topic of discussion or snide remarks at the holiday table? If so, how will you deal with it? Would you avoid a family function because of how you wear your hair?