Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Straight Hair, Don't Care

By Tenisha Mercer

Threw my natural hair up in a top knot.

Got my hair straightened at the Dominican salon on Saturday. Day 4 and it's super straight.

Happy with the results but I went to a new Dominican salon. Note to self: NEVER go late evening when stylist is tired, and after she blowed out my daughters' hair. She was a bit heavy handed, and I'm not sure if I'm going to give her another chance do do my hair -- though, I may go back to the salon.

Straight Hair Pains?

Hair hasn't been straightened since July. My hair has grown but actually, my hair has thinned out a lot (thyroid issues, growing older) over the years. So much so that I was surprised to see my little thin, pathetic ponytail.

Straight hair is a good change of pace for me but my hair is SO straight --  like relaxer straight. And that's a bit different for me. My relaxed hair was NEVA this straight. Add the thinning and I do miss my volume. Thin and straight ain't necessarily the business.

But it's really part of the reason why I love natural hair -- the ability to go from curly kiny to pin straight with the flick of a brush and blowdryer. Natural hair is the ultimate in versatility.

Straight Hair Part 3

By Tenisha Mercer

I'm convinced that natural hair is the most versatile hair on earth.

I went from this two weeks ago:

Natural hair while in humid ASS Savannah, GA
To this:

Straight Natural Hair
Straightned natural hair

Straight Hair Part 2

Straightened hair in a top knot, side view


Natural hair in a top knot in July

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy, Gratefulness and Natural Hair

By Tenisha Mercer

Hurricane Sandy floods NYC

As Hurricane Sandy barrels up the East Coast -- leaving a devastating path that has claimed dozens of lives and is expected to cause billions of dollars in damage in its wake -- it makes me think about how grateful I am for the little things in life.

Yeah, I know this natural hair blog is about my two vices -- natural hair and fashion. But if a hurricane were heading to you right now (saying prayers for those of you in Sandy's path) would that matter? Would you really care how your curls look? Would I even care about my product stash or trying the 'latest" and greatest product?  Would I obsesses over finding the  perfect scarf or making sure my accessories are on point?

Why Natural Hair is The Least of Our Worries

I wouldn't give a damn about my hair.

I'd be hunkering down, hopefully in a safe place, and grateful that, hopefully, I'd come out unscathed. It's all about survival, NOT hair.

We've got some cold, blustery weather in ATL today. In the grand scheme of things, tho? I'm sure that folks who died, who were injured,  whose properties are damaged in the U.S. and the Caribbean, and the millions now without power would much rather be in a position that I'm in than to have all of their possessions washed away.

Let's put it all into perspective: Sometimes, it takes an act of nature to really understand what we should be grateful for.

What are you grateful for?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Natural Hair Pic of the Day: Chrisette Michelle's Blond TWA

By Tenisha Mercer

Chrisette Michelle's faded brush cut has grown out -- and now she's debuting a blond halo of curls -- a TWA with slicked down sides and some inches of growth on top. 

Michelle has one of the best asymmetrical faces (the shape of her face is to die for) so I'd probably like just about any short hairstyle on her.

What do you think about Chrisette Michelle's new look?

How To Wash Natural Hair

By Tenisha Mercer

Washing natural hair is part of a basic regimen that, done right, will yield a clean scalp and detangled curls. Done the wrong way, it lead to a tangled, matted mess. Though it's a basic part of any natural hair routine, washing your natural hair incorrectly (it's a skill and it's nothing like washing permed hair) can lead to hair setbacks.

Here's how to do it the right way:

1. Determine how often you want to wash your hair. Some naturals prefer every few days, while others prefer every few weeks or so. Let your hair determine how often you will wash it. If you exercise or sweat heavily, wash it more frequently. Many naturals start off washing their hair every few days, but let your hair determine the rhythm. 

2. Detangle. Nothing worse than tangles kinks and curls. Detangle BEFORE you wash. It's best if you wet the hair with a spray bottle with some oil or use a conditioner with good slip (Herbal Essence or Aussie) are great choices. Detangle hair in sections, using your fingers first or a wide toothed comb. Comb from the bottom up. Make sure your hair is completely dentangled before washing. Washing tangled hair quickly leads to more knots and matting.

3. Pre-poo. After you detangle your hair, add oils like olive oil or coconut oil to your hair. This process helps your hair during the washing process -- especially if you use shampoo. It also helps to cut down on tangles. It's best to pre-poo the night before or at least a few hours prior to washing. If detangling the night before, make sure your headwrap is secured and isn't left loose (twist or braid the hair).

4. Use Conditioner only. It's best to use a conditioner (Herbal Essence conditioners or VO5 are great cheap conditioners) because it doesn't contain sulfates, which dry natural hair. Use the conditioner just like you would a shampoo (also known as co-wash) because it contains enough cleansing agents to cleanse the  hair. Use shampoos sparingly, if at all, and only when you want to completely strip the hair of product.

5. Wash in sections. Many naturals find that washing the hair can lead to tangles, so it's best to divide the hair in sections  (braids or twists) and wash it in the braids and twists. This cuts down tremendously on tangles. Make sure you use your fingertips to thoroughly cleanse your scalp (the conditioner and the water will clean the length of your hair).

Bonus tip #1: Wash hair in the shower. The downward motion of the shower  wateris usually enough to detangle mild knots and tangles. And washing your hair in a standing position, using the force of the water, works with your hair, not against it. And, you can also use your shower comb or your fingers to detangle. Be gentle! Wet hair is more prone to breakage.

Bonus tip #2: Be patient. Wash when you aren't in a hurry and have time to detangle. After you're done washing your h air, gently squeeze out excess water, use a T-shirt to blog dry or let drip dry (a cotton towel is drying) and don't forget to deep condition  and/or apply an oil or leave-in conditioner to lock-in moisture.

Do you have any hair washing tips for natural hair?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Where is the Best Place on the Planet to Rock Your Curls?

By Tenisha Mercer

Celebrating our anniversary in Savannah, GA with a shrunken fro

By Tenisha Mercer
Hanging out in Savannah, GA, last weekend with my super shrunken fro. Yeah, I know it's October, but try telling that to a city off the river that gets 50-60% humidity, even in the winter. My fro shrunk like a mug!

Which got me to thinking? Where is the absolute place to rock your curls with minimal weather shrinkage?

My hair already shrinks up enough, LOL. I don't know if I need weather to help it shrink more, if that's not the look I'm going for.

Is there even such a thing as curl utopia? Is it the Caribbean, with its lush, year-round 70-80-degree temps? Hawaii? Or is the Bay area, with its slightly coolertemperatures? What about the deserts of Arizona and Nevada, with their dry heat?

Where have you worn your best curls? 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Natural Hair Pic of the Day


HairTroversy: When Do You Speak Up?

By Tenisha Mercer

Natural hair conversations at work -- Source
New job.

As my usual new job policy, I wore my hair curly. (For me, this is just what I usually always do, even though I'm due for flat ironing.)

While at lunch with some new co-workers -- a white woman (let's call her Becki) and a black man (let's call him Byron) -- the topic of a senior executive's natural hair came up. This executive is now relaxed -- and her relaxed hair isn't all that to write home about.

Natural Hair Scenario

Here's how the convo went: 

Becki: I'm so glad that she did something with her hair.
Me: What do you mean?
Byron: It was a mess for a while there.
Becki: It looked crazy; it just didn't look right.
Byron: Everybody can't do natural.

I left the convo alone:

1. Only been working there a week. I really don't know anyone well enough  to make a judgment call on anyone's hair.
2. I was clearly natural, and I wondered if this was "my test" as I was wearing a curly fro.
3. This was my first lunch and at-length convo with Becki and Bryan, and I didn't have all the facts.

But, it still left me thinking. We were in mixed company, but I can't fault Becki's observations. They didn't reek of anything but her personal opinion. Not everyone is going to like natural hair or natural hair styles. But, my main issue was with Byron, who is Black.

What Would You Do?
The, "Not everyone can wear natural hair" could have been a teachable moment. But I just didn't have the energy that day. If it comes up again (and it probably will, considering that Black men can have just as bad an image of natural hair as Black women) then I will tell him that God doesn't make mistakes.

They may have both not agreed about her styling choice, but natural hair isn't like relaxed hair: It takes trial and error with products, regimens and hair styles. Any natural will tell you that there are days when your hair is on point and there are days when it's not so much.

I wanted to tell Bryon that, outside of natural circles, rarely have I heard anyone say, "Not everyone can go relaxed."

Naps Get Back
Because the belief is, especially in our communities, that we can, and should, relax our hair.

At all costs.

So what if that relaxer leaves scalp wounds.

So what if that relaxer leaves no edges.

So what if that relaxer leaves hair napes chewed up and busted.

So what if that relaxer makes our  hair look as if it's chewed up and spit out.

Quite frankly, it was a teachable moment that I didn't feel like having in front of a white woman, who probably had no idea what "natural " hair meant, anyway. This was our ish -- not hers.

Maybe Becki needed to hear the convo; maybe she didn't. Days later, I'm still torn. Part of me wanted to tell him that relaxed hair isn't perfect, that maybe she needed a bit of time to get her hair together, that relaxed hair isn't always the solution. The other part of me says I did the right thing around people I didn't know.

When do you speak up or when do you leave it alone?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Natural Hair App

By Tenisha Mercer


The saying, "There's an app for that," now applies to natural hair, too.

The Big Chop Natural Hair App will make its debut sometime next month. Similar to those sites that let you see what your straightened hair looks like in various styles, this one does pretty much the same thing -- only with natural textures and using your very own pictures.

It promises "instant natural hair makeovers," using your photos to recreate up to 250 natural hair styles. Why didn't I think of this?! No more big chopping or other drastic hair changes and not liking the turnout because you can't "see" the style. The Big Chop app lets you try out natural styles in "minutes."

How cool is that?

Don't have a whole lot of details, but this is what the site says:


  • Preview your hair before doing the "big chop"
  • Try out over 250+ natural hair styles.
  • Save your styles and share with friends.
  • Discover new styles everyday.
  • Never have a bad hair day again!


  • iOS version 4.0 +
  • iPhone / iPod touch
Would you use an app for natural hair?

Hairspiration: Lovely Locks

Doesn't her hair look super moisturized?

Natural Hair Pic of the Day

Love her colored tips! Source

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Solange And Straight Hair

By Tenisha Mercer

Solange with straightened hair: Source: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images
Fashionista Solange Knowles is usually known for her natural hair -- natural afros, wigs, and pieces -- but she wore a straight look to the American Ballet Theatre Co. opening night event in NYC.

This doesn't look like a wig, but more like she straightened her tresses into shiny locks. Folks tend to dump on natural hair Solange when she wears a natural fro because her hair doesn't appear as shiny as it is when it's straightened. It's always good to change things up every once in a while -- and you know she will change her hairstyle in a NY minute and make her hair do what it do!

Still, Solange is closely identified with natural hair, and she definitely beats to her own drum. She looks COMPLETELY different with straight natural hair, IMO. While her straight hair looks good, her natural hair is DOPE!

My take: Girl, get yo' curls back! 

What do you think of Solange's straight hair?

Walking Dead's Danai Gurira

By Tenisha Mercer

Danai Gurira on the red carpet for The Walking Dead - Source: Getty Images
Don't have a whole lot of time for TV, but I go hard for The Walking Dead on AMC.

The show's premise is a post-apocalyptic world, where the characters are fighting off zombies. Set in ATL, the show is in it's third season with a huge fan base -- me, included!

Walking Dead's new season kicked off on Monday and added a black character to the cast -- the kick-ass Michonne. So imagine my surprise as I watched the Walking Dead after show with a gorgeous natural with a stunning TWA -- actress Danai Gurira.

 Gurira's charater, Michonne, on The Walking Dead

Gurira actually made her debut on last season's final episode, but her character was only shown slaying zombies without showing her face. She made her debut on Monday night's episode as a character with a loced wig (the wig is a bit much, but totally fits with the role).

                                         Season 3 Trailer, The Walking Dead, Source: YouTube

Check out the Oct. 15th season three premiere of The Walking Dead. AMC is still going through a huge dispute with the DISH network, so you can't see the show if you are a subscriber. But you can always check out the new epis online. In real life, though, Gurira rocks a stunning short cut. Gurira is an Iowa native who was raised in Zimbabwe.

What do you think of actress Danai Gurira?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Be Trendy With Collar Jewelry

By Tenisha Mercer

Source: Neck collars are trendy.
Collared jewelry is hot, hot, hot.

I admit, I didn't see this trend coming at ALL. They follow the raging popularity of statement necklaces last fall. Thought neck collars aren't new, they haven't been worn for quite some time. Now, they've got a bit of oomph to and are embellished with pearls and other add-ons.

Neck collars look really good with jackets and open-necked tops.

Will you buy neck collars this fall?

Monday, October 15, 2012

How To Moisturize Natural Hair: Five Ways To Make Your Hair Uber Moisturized

By Tenisha Mercer

Moisturizing natural hair isn't rocket science; it's a process that, while easy for some, isn't always the  case for others.

Since natural hair can be very dry by nature, moisturizing is an important part of any natural hair regimen. Moisturizing can significantly cut down on tangles, and is important for the overall health of the hair. Dry hair breaks, tangles and is highly prone to split ends. Plus, it just doesn't feel as good.

Here are a four ways to moisturize your natural hair.
  1. Moisturize wet or damp hair ONLY. You can't moisturize dry hair. That goes against everything many of us learned, even when we were relaxed. Retrain how you think about moisturizing, especially if you are new to your natural hair journey. Wet hair absorbs water; dry hair doesn't. It's part of the reason why conditioner instructions indicate applying on WET hair. Slapping moisturizer on dry hair doesn't do anything. It doesn't moisturize hair but it only leaves it greasier.
  2. Use water. Water is your friend, because it locks moisture in. Use this principle when moisturizing. Make sure your hair is uber moisturized at the beginning of the process, such as when you wash your hair. Depending upon your hair style, you can also moisturize by lightly spritzing hair overnight with water, rose water, aloe juice/water mixes or water/oil mixes. If you lock the moisture in early with water, you may find that you have to moisturize less during the week.
  3. Moisturize on multiple levels. That's right -- lock the moisture in using several steps. You do this when you use water along with a butter (shea, aloe, etc.) AND creamy leave-in moisturizers. It's really a three-step process and all three components are important and work together: Water  hydrates. Butters lubricate. Creamy moisturizers seal the moisture in. Or, you can simply use water and an oil, a.k.a. the sealing method, to seal in moisture. If your hair is on the thicker side, heavier oils like castor oil work well. Folks with thinner hair may find more success with light oils such as jojoba or grapeseed. FYI: Folks with extremely dry hair often find adding a creamy moisturizer and oil makes their hair more moisturized.
  4. Protect your hair at night. Don't put all that work moisturizing your hair night and day and then leave your hair to fend for itself at night. Wear a headscarf or invest in a satin pillowcase to protect your strands. I fought this one for years, but now I religiously wear a headwrap to bed. Cotton sheets dry out natural hair faster than nobody's business. Your fragile strands are no match for your cotton pillow case/bedsheet, no matter how high the thread count.
  5. Moisturize the hair from inside out. I'm a big fan of deep conditioners, hot oil treatments, and steaming because they are so effective at moisturizing hair from the inside out. You can still use tips 1-4 from above, but I find methods like steaming and deep conditioning particularly effective.
What moisturizing methods are effective for your natural hair?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Natural Hair Like This

Have you ever had a hair day where you wished you could remix a style and get it again? Well, this is that style for me. If only I could remember how I got this style?

Savannah Vacay II

Fall Vacay in Savannah

Went on a weekend trip to Savannah with the hubs. Preparing myself for the nearly 5 hour trip back to ATL, I felt less than fashionable.

And with the 70/80ish degree weather, humidity was still off the chain (50-60%) as you can see from my shrunken twist out.

I love this pic with Spanish moss in the background.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Natural Hair Mishaps

By Tenisha Mercer

MetaGrip Premium Roller Pins from Sally's
I love my natural hair, but I swear, I have my days.

I wore an updo, using my favorite heavy duty MetaGrip Premium Bobby pins from Sally's Beauty Supply. If you don't know about them, they are the best. My hair absolutely laughs at the smaller ones, and when it comes to these, less is more; you don't have to use a gaggle of pins to achieve your look.

Well, apparently I had put the pin in a bit too tight. Now, it was irritating me all day, because it was too close to my scalp. But when I finally tried to take it out, it wouldn't budge. Not even an inch.  I keep trying to make it looser. It was too close to my scalp, and I didn't want to draw blood. It was so close to my scalp that I couldn't grab it.

Exhausted, my hubby grabbed get the screw driver and lifted the Bobby pin up, enough so I could grab it. Finally, it was out. And no lost hair!

What kind of natural mishaps have you had?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Secret To LONG Natural Hair! (feat. Taren916, UrbanBushBabes & HeyFr...

This video about how to grow long natural hair is hilarious! Let's hope it goes viral, because it's a message that needs to be heard.

And, I think all of us can relate. Despite what you read on forums, blogs and on hair care product websites, PATIENCE is the KEY to long natural hair -- not a particular product. Humor is usually always a good thing, especially given our obsessiveness with growing long natural hair.

Loved this part: "If you don't see hair growth in at least two years, we'll send you a free wig."  That and the anti-envy spray. #DIED.

What did you think of this video? Can you relate?

Natural Hair Pic of the Day

This is one GORGEOUS picture! That blonde, tho! --Source

Monday, October 8, 2012

Natural Hair Pic of the Day

Love this! --Source

HairTroversy: Toya Carter Shows Natural Hair On Twitter; Is She Less Natural Because She Wears Weaves?

By Tenisha Mercer

Last week, reality star celebrity Toya Carter became the latest Black actress with natural hair to reveal it on Twitter. 

Her mid-back length natural hair caused many in the natural hair community to question if it really matters, especially if a star's natural hair is NEVER or RARELY won in public. Hmm... I think it's up for debate.

Toya Carter's natural hair
Now, it appears that the edges of Carter's hair is relaxed, probably to make it blend in with her weaves (though I could be wrong and maybe it is heat damaged). 

Carter is the latest celeb to debut natural hair on Twitter and online, including Tika Sumpter, Angela Simmons, Jill Scott, Raven Symone, Viola Davis, and others. Tweeting and debuting photos of natural hair now seems like it's the black celebrity thing to do, with celebs like Oprah and Tyra (a few years ago) revealing reportedly texlaxed hair.

Is Carter Less Natural for Wearing Weaves?

But, unlike everyone except for Angela Simmons, Carter is rarely seen without her weave. Like, never.

Does it make her less "natural" because she rarely wears her hair out and we do? Should we even care? Or is this just a publicity stunt or more of an effort to say, "I have long hair under this weave?" Forum commenters pounced on Toya's natural hair, saying it appears damaged (I have no idea, her hair looks a lot like mine so I guess my hair technically "damaged" too).

I hate to start a natural hair hierarchy, but it's a question that must be asked.

On one hand, celebs wear weaves as protective styles so that their natural hair isn't destroyed under the harsh heat of flat irons, blow dryers and celebrity appearances. I get that. But at what point does it get extreme, as in "I'm never gonna wear my own hair out?"

I can tell you this: When Beyonce wears her natural hair (she's a reported natural) on the red carpet, holla at me! 

Are celebs who rarely wear natural hair less natural?

Tia Mowry Talks Big Chop

Actress Tia Mowry big chopped recently-- and boy, she reports her new hairstyle took a lot of getting used to!

Mowry, who has worn weaves for years as an actress in Hollywood, said she cried when her stylist cut her locks. Mowry, who has since sported a cute pixie cut and natural waves, has adjusted and said her hairstyle has given her a new "... outlook on life."

She dishes below on


Most of us can relate. Long hair, whether it's natural or not, is coveted in our community. And hair is our security blanket. It's what we're known for. I was always the little girl with long hair, that strangers actually would pull to see if it was all mine. So when I cut all mine off in 2006 (no big chop) it took a minute. I didn't quite cry, but it took a long time for me to "see" myself, it that makes sense.

Tia Mowry's big chop-- Source

Yes, our hair grows and it will grow back if we decide to let it grow back. But that doesn't mean our minds still don't associate long hair with beauty -- especially if that is the type of feedback that was reinforced at a young age.

I'm glad that Mowry did the big chop -- for her. She may decide to grow her hair back, or maybe she'll let it stay. Beautiful either way.

How did you handle your big chop?  Did you cry?

Stretching Natural Hair With No Heat

By Tenisha Mercer

I've heard of stretching natural hair with no heat by using African hair threading in forums and on natural hair blogs, but I've never seen it done practically. But this video from @GirlsLoveYourCurls, which was posted on over the weekend, really breaks the process down. And the results on her two adorable girls are just AWESOME!

Source: YouTube

Though it's largely an African technique, I found GirlsLoveYourCurls' technique of stretching the hair with braids connected to each other very similar to how my grandmother and countless mothers styled our hair (without thread, of course) in ponytails when we were little girls. They were "stretching" the hair, though I'm sure they didn't call it that.

I actually think I'm going to pick up some weave thread this week and try this. Depending on how my hair behaves, I might try it on my girls.They're due for a blow out. Looking at her girls' results on what appears to be 4ish hair, it definitely looks blow dried, but it's not. And I love how she adds oil at the second step for even more stretch. 

At the very least, it could eliminate at least one step in the flat ironing process for less potential heat damage overall.

Have you tried African hair threading? 

Friday, October 5, 2012

World Natural Hair Show in ATL

By Tenisha Mercer

The 15th Annual World Natural Hair Show touches down in Atlanta this weekend, sponsored by Talia Waajid.

As usual, I'll be there, checking out the natural goods at the show, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The fall show isn't typically as busy as the jam-packed spring show, but we'll see.

Are you going to the World Natural Hair Show?

Must Have Coats For Fall

It's the first week of October and it's finally starting to feel like fall.

I felt like starting a fire, curling up with a good book, a cup of steaming hot cocoa and a bowl of chilli. And along with the chillier weather also comes what to wear for fall. Nothing says "fall" more than outerwear -- that perfect new coat.

Something about buying a new coat says it's fall -- and this year, coats are huge, especially larger, more voluminous coats. Larger coats haven't been in for a minute, so enjoy this trend while it lasts. Statement coats are also on trend.

Check out these images from Pinterest and other sites. And, if you haven't already, follow HairNista on Pinterest.

Love all these coats! Source

Red, oversized coats are hot this fall on the runway -- Source

Popular coats for fall -- Source

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Natural Hair Pic of the Day

Moore at Hart Plaza at the Detroit River  Source
This is Amber Renee Moore,  a dancer and graduate of the dance program at Wayne State University (ALUMNI, whoot!) in Detroit.  Moore, a Detroit native, has studied with Urban Bush Women and choreographer Sonya Tayeh, of So You Think You Can Dance? 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Nicki Minaj Reveals Natural Hair On Twitter

By Tenisha Mercer

Nicki Minaj wearing a straight wigs
Nicki Minaj, known for her no-love natural hair rap lyrics such as "nappy-headed hos need a perminator," and "nappy headed hoes but my kitchen good" debuted pictures on Twitter of her natural hair. The picture, with the captions, "no chemicals," and "no perm," show a picture of her stylist holding Minaj's straightened hair.

Is this Nick Minaj's straightened hair?

And I feel what about that? Umm, err, I could care less, but since celebrity hair is some of the highest-rated posts on this blog, I'm writing about it. Some doubt whether her hair is real; maybe it is, maybe it's not. I don't care.

Minaj is one of the latest celebrities who have debuted natural hair in recent months, including Oprah (texlaxed) on the cover of O magazine. Minaj is more known for her colorful, pink wigs and eccentric weaved styles in bright neon colors than her natural hair. But with her lyrics unsupportive of natural hair, this is one so-called natural who I don't care if she is #teamnatural.

What do you think about Nicki Minaj's hair?

Natural Hair Pic of the Day

I LOVE this color! Source