Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Miss A's Updated Natural Hair Care Routine

*Miss A's Hair Care Routine          
I have been getting a lot of questions about Miss A's current hair care routine and how her hair has retained so much length since starting the blog back in 2009 so I thought I would do an updated hair care routine post for you all. It has been such a long journey and so much trial and error and I believe I finally know what works for my daughters hair (and my budget!) I hope you find this information helpful!

*Washing & Detangling                  
I shampoo A's hair and scalp once a week. I cowash after each swim during the Summer months. I apply small amount of shampoo to the tips of my fingers (about the size of a quarter) and gently massage her scalp, working my way over her hair. I'm not too picky when it comes to shampoo, as long as it's sulfate free. Below is a small list of shampoos I've used.
Now the most important step when it comes to Miss A's curls, detangling! After rinsing the shampoo I apply a very generous amount of conditioner on soaking wet hair. If her hair is not dripping wet I run the handheld shower head over her hair and immediately apply the conditioner because her hair soaks up the water. I like to use a cheap drug store conditioner since I use so much and it's only going to be rinsed out anyway. I look for a creamy conditioner with a lot of slip. I've been using V05 conditioner lately and I must say, it gets the job done! See below for pictures and more info on how I detangle my daughters hair.

Here is Miss A's hair completely wet and loaded up with V05 conditioner. As you can see it's very tangled!

The first step to detangling is to finger detangle! Never skip this step! I smooth my fingers over sections of her hair, if they feel "lumpy" I will focus on that section and gently pull apart the strands of hair. If the strands of hair (or knots/tangles) are not coming apart easily I will rewet the section, add some more conditioner, and gently try to work my way through it. I do not snap the hair apart, which causes unnecessary breakage.

After finger detangling I use a Denman brush starting at the ends and slowly working my way up just to be sure the section is completely detangled. 

This section is all detangled! You can see the difference between the detangled section and the section in the back.

After detangled each 2-3 inch section I do a large twist so the hair does not tangle back up as I'm detangled the rest.

Once Miss A's hair is completely detangled I leave the twists in and rinse the conditioner out.

After washing Miss A's hair I get her dressed and remove each twist/braid, one at a time, and apply a generous amount of Bee Mine Luscious Moisturizer to each section from root to tip on wet/damp hair. 

After applying Bee Mine Luscious Moisturizer to each section I will either twist, braid or band each section to stretch it out for styling the next day unless I plan on letting her wear her curls out.

Braided or banded after moisturizing: (old pics)

Still not sure what banding is? Check out our Banding F.A.Q. post!

If I want Miss A to wear her natural curls out I will apply either Kinky Curly Curling Custard or Bee Mine Luscious Moisturizer to her wet hair. I rake the product through with my fingers, no losing brushing through. I  personally think the curls look better using the raking method. Be on the look out for a post better explaining it!

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Use code: FALLBBB for 10% off your Bee Mine Products purchase!

*Styling                                               
How often? How long do styles last? How to care for styles while they are in? Products used? etc.

I believe protective styling is one of the reasons Miss A has retained so much length over the years. I really prefer for her hair to stay in protective styles but with everything going on (Miss A's epilepsy, Lil Man autism, my weight loss journey- NikGetsFit, etc) it's been tough getting back into a styling routine.

I like for Miss A's hair to be styled at least 2 or 3 weeks of each month. The longer the style lasts, the better.

How long do styles last?

  • Updos - Usually no more than 1 week.
  • Cornrows - Between 1 and 3 weeks, depending on the style.
  • Twists - If they are large, no more than 1 week. If they are small, they can last up to 4 weeks if cared for properly.
  • Single/box braids - Between 2 and 6 weeks, depending on the size.
What is protective styling?
Protective styling simply means styling the hair to protect it from everyday elements. Whether it's being handled too often, combed too much, rubbing against clothes, etc. All of this can lead to breakage. 

A few examples of protective styles:
Two Strand Twists with Braided Roots Pulled into High Bun 
Click here for more information and pictures
Small Cornrows into Large Cornrows
Click here for more information and pictures
Side Swept Two Strand Twists into Side Bun
Click here for more information and pictures
Look in the right side bar under find posts and click "protective styles" for more examples of use the search bar. You can also check out our Style Gallery on Facebook.

Caring for hair while styles are in:
If Miss A is wearing a hair style that will be in for a while (such as mini braids), I continue with our regular washing routine. I will shampoo her scalp once a week and apply conditioner, letting it sit for a few minutes before rinsing. Afterwards I will moisturize, focusing on her edges, nape and ends.

Products used for styling:
I almost always use Bee Mine Curly Butter when styling Miss A's hair in braids, twists and cornrows. When styling hair for twist outs or braid outs I use whatever I have on hand whether it be Bee Mine Curly Butter or Curls Whipped Cream. See below for a complete list of products.

What about rubberbands?
When styling A's hair, I try not to use styles that require rubberbands or anything at the base of ends to avoid breakage. I can't always avoid rubberbands though so when we do decide to use them I dip them in Extra Virgin Coconut oil and make sure the area I am applying the rubberband is extra moisturize. When using rubberbands I'm careful not to wrap them too tightly. I avoid keeping rubberbands or ponytail holders in her hair for a long period of time. I don't feel comfortable leaving rubberbands or ponytail holders in her hair more than a few days, sometimes I will go up to a week but that's rare. When I use ponytail holders I only use Goody Ouchless Cloth covered ones without metal.

still adding more info.

*Curl Definition                                
Miss A has been wearing her curls out a lot lately and I have been getting so many questions about what products I use and how I get her curls so defined so I'll just give you our basic routine when I'm styling her curls.

I have finally found out the secret to beautiful curl definition- RAKING the product through with your fingers into of brushing/combing! Pretty simple, right?

First I have to figure out what look we're going for that day, very defined elongated curls or big fluffy careless curls?

For defined elongated curls: Immediately after washing and detangling Miss A's hair I apply a very generous amount of Kinky Curly Curling Custard to a 2-3 inch section of her hair. I make sure her hair is soaking wet. If her hair is not soaking wet I spray it with the handheld shower head. I run the product through the section of hair with my fingers. I make sure every curl is completely coated with KCCC. I continue this process until I am done. Her hair takes a long time to dry with the Kinky Curly Curling Custard in her hair so I get her dressed and keep a towel on her shoulders for a while. Once her hair is dry (or almost dry) it looks like this:




For big fluffy care free curls: On wet/damp hair I apply a generous amount of Bee Mine Luscious Moisturizer and run my fingers all through Miss A's completely detangled hair. I rake the moisturizer through with my fingers, fluff a little and leave it until it dries. It doesn't take very long. Afterwards her curls look like this:



will add more soon
*Products                                           
Here is a list of products I like. There will be a star * next to the ones I must have available.

Shampoo:
Note: I'm not too picky when it comes to shampoo. As long as it's sulfate free and doesn't strip her hair then it's fine by me! 

Conditioner:

Note: Since I use so much conditioner, I really prefer to go the cheaper route. I love some of the pricier conditioners but in the end it doesn't make sense to my budget so I splurge when I feel like it but stick to the basics most of the time.

Deep Conditioner:
Styling Aides for Curl Definition:
Styling Aides for Hair Styles (braids, twists, twist outs, etc):
Moisturizer:

*Summer Hair Care                      
Summer is not kind to Miss A's hair. Between the chlorine and the sand at the beach, we're almost asking for a disaster! Don't let the picture fool you, she rarely wears her hair out when we hit the water.

Swimming Routine:

  • Rinse hair with water and apply a light leave-in or whatever conditioner I have on hand. Coat the strands of hair with the conditioner and leave it in. Apply extra virgin coconut or olive oil on top of the conditioner (optional).
  • Put the hair up into a high ponytail or bun with ends tucked under.
  • Braids & Cornrows hold up very well for Miss A in the water so try to incorporate those during most of the Summer months.
  • Cowash (washing the hair with conditioner only) after each swim. Leave the conditioner in for at least 10 minutes before rinsing. Continue shampooing once a week unless I feel it is necessary to shampoo more often.
  • Apply Bee Mine Luscious Moisturizer to hair. Focus on ends, nape and edges. Seal with Extra Virgin Coconut or Olive Oil.
If sand is involved I will have her wear a loose style and completely wash (shampoo, condition, detangle) her hair once we get home. We went to the beach in Texas and her hair was in a protective style (cornrows on top, large two strand twists in the back) and the sand got all up in her twists. I don't like two strand twists at all for the water anyway, they tangle too easily.

We don't use swim caps. No real reason or explanation, we just don't.

Don't forget to apply sunscreen to your child's scalp if they are wearing a style that shows a lot of their scalp such as cornrows. Just apply a little sunscreen to the q-tip and apply directly to the scalp in each part. We don't want our babies to have a sunburned scalp! No bueno.


Will be adding a little more information soon! Thanks for stopping by!

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*Pictures                                           
More hair pictures:

Curls with Bee Mine Luscious Moisturizer










STILL UPDATING. Please continue to check back! Thanks!


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Natural Hair Updo: Cinnabuns & Flat Twists


She's back! Miss A's older cousin, Ky! You can check out some of Ky's previous styles done by me here (flat twists into afro), here (side swept two strand twists), here (cornrows and twist out) and here (side cornrows with two strand twists).

This style may look familiar to you because I did a very similar style on Miss A back in March. See this post for pictures and details. Ky saw a picture of Miss A with her hair like that and told me she wanted the same so I got to work.

First, I washed Ky's hair with Cara B Naturally Shampoo and conditioned with V05. I detangled her wet hair with a Denman brush while the conditioner was still in. After rinsing I immediately applied a generous amount of Bee Mine Luscious Moisturizer to her wet hair and banded her hair into 4 sections. Click here for our banding F.A.Q. post

The next day, when her hair was completely dry, I gently removed the bands and began by parting her hair from ear to ear, I tied the back section off to get it out of my way then parted the top section straight down the middle tying one side off. I began the style by parting up towards the middle, I stopped about an inch or so away from the middle part. I wanted to have a nice gap between the flat twists to create the cinnabuns in the middle. After flat twisting that section with Bee Mine Curly Butter I moved on to the next section, parting straight up towards the middle again. I secured the end of each flat twist with a rubberband dipped in extra virgin coconut oil. I created 5 flat twists on each side making sure I stopped about an inch or so away from that middle part. If you don't know how to flat twist, it's very simple. You are simply parting a small bit of hair off from your section and splitting it into two, begin twisting the right over the left while grabbing a little hair evenly across and adding it to each section.

Once I finished the flat twists I moved on to the fun part- cinnabuns! To create these super cute buns I parted a medium sized section of hair and very loosely tied it off with an ouchless ponytail holder. I then began taking the entire section and rolling/twisting it all to the left, holding it straight down infront of her face. Place your finger on top of the section and begin twisting the hair (make sure you have a firm grip so it doesn't come undone) flat on to the scalp around the ouchless ponytail holder, tuck the ends under the bun. Take one bobby pin and place it flat, right through the cinnabun and you're all done! Continue this process until you have lots of little cinnabuns on top. I wanted her cinnabuns to be thick with a little texture so I only added a little curly butter and loosened them a bit once they were all in. You can make your cinnabuns bigger or smaller, whatever floats your boat.


Now, for the hair in the back I had her sit in a high chair and bend her head down. I added a generous amount of Bee Mine Curly Butter and began doing one large flat twist up into the area where the cinnabuns are. I loosely tied the flat twist off with a rubberband and created another cinnabun with the left over hair.


She loved this style and said she felt so fancy! She was worried that her hair may not have been long enough for the style but I assured her we would make it work and it turned out fabulous!

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Defining Short Natural Coils & Curls


This is Miss A's little cousin, "Lil Bit". You may remember Lil Bit from a couple of previous posts, here and here. Lil Bit has asked me to give her curly hair every time she comes over. I remember from the last time I washed and styled her hair that she has the tiniest little coils that dry up really quick when not wet. I wasn't really sure what to expect but her curls turned out fabulous and she absolutely loved her hair! She was playing with her hair all day, it was the cutest thing ever. :-)

I decided to go with my go-to product for wash and go's. Kinky Curly Curling Custard, of course! First, I washed Lil Bit's hair with Cara B Naturally Shampoo and V05 Conditioner. I detangled while the conditioner was still in with a Denman brush. After rinsing I immediately applied a little Kinky Curly Knot Today leave-in conditioner all over her tiny coils. I knew if I waited too long her hair would dry up and Kinky Curly seems to work best applied to soaking wet hair. After applying the leave-in, I grabbed about 2-3 inch sections of hair at a time and applied about a quarter sized amount of Kinky Curly Curling Custard. I find that the curls are better defined when you just rake the product through instead of combing or brushing so I simply raked the product through each section with my fingers, making sure every coil had some curling custard on it. You can see picture of her wet curls above and below.





After a long day of playing her hair finally dried. Below are the results. The bangs frizzed a bit more than the side and back  but I think that's because she couldn't keep her fingers off her curls! :-)

For the record, her curls were not crunchy at all. They were very soft and well moisturized. The next morning her coils were still very defined so I sprized her hair with water and put her curls into two little pigtails.




Bonus pic of the cousins! :-) Lil Bit, Miss A and Ky!

Check out more pictures of Ky's Flat Twists into Afro style by clicking HERE.

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Miss Zee Coloring Book Project!


Meet Miss Zee! A natural girls coloring book! How awesome is this? The very sweet woman behind this project needs help to make this happen so if you can, please visit her Kickstarter page and make a donation of any kind. No donation is too small, everything helps and is very much appreciated. She only has 22 days to meet her goal and if the goal is not met your money will not be taken so no worries. I know times are rough so if you cannot donate please share this with your friends on Facebook or Twitter. Thank you! :-)  Read below for more info.

You can make donations here:

Also check out these links:


"Think of one coloring book centered around a puffy-haired character of a darker hue.  Can you think of any?  I sure could not.  When I was a little girl, all that were presented to me were the complete opposite.   
I was raised being exposed to infamous, lovable characters like Belle of Beauty and the Beast, Cinderalla, Snow White, Tinkerbelle and a countless amount of other characters that I looked nothing like. These characters were all over television and graced various products in stores. 
Although I still love those classic characters to this very day, there was a phase that I went through as a child where I felt ashamed of my appearance, thanks to the various media that was always presented to me. I do not want my daughter to end up with the same identity issues that I did as a child.  I want her to feel free to be herself inside and out.  
I first resorted to only buying her books that contained non-human characters, but thanks to family members, she would still received books with human characters that she did not relate to.  Rather than having her throw those books away, I taught her how to alter the lines into something that she could relate to. 
I then realized that there should already be a coloring book with a character that she did not have to alter.  So to combat this issue, I created a puffy-haired character named "Miss Zee."  Miss Zee represents my daughter and all the other little girls who are often left out. 
After I finished the first two pages of my daughter's custom coloring book, I shared the files on the internet free of charge and received an overwhelming amount of positive responses and a request for a line of coloring books that could be purchased. 
Like me, they all shared the same frustration with not having coloring books geared towards little girls of color.  This reinforced the fact that simple media like this is greatly desired. 
Your pledge will help supply this demand.  It is my hopes to have these coloring books distributed all over the world.  Please choose the amount that you would like to pledge by clicking on an amount on the right side of the screen.  
Thank you!"


Watch the video:

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Flat Twists into Afro


You may remember Miss A's older cousin, Ky, from a few past posts- here, here and here.

Ky came over with her hair in a few large twists so I decided to give her a quick style before we headed out.

I started by spraying her hair with water and adding a fairly generous amount of Bee Mine Luscious Moisturizer all over her hair. I detangled with a Denman brush, this only took a few minutes because her hair wasn't very tangled. I then parted the top section of her hair from ear to ear and tied off the back. I parted the top section straight down the middle and got started on the left side of her hair. Using a metal rat tail comb, I parted near her left ear at an angle and began doing a basic two strand flat twist. Simply part a small amount of hair at the beginning of the section you are twisting, split it into two and cross the right piece over the left piece, pinch off a small amount of hair evenly across and add it to your new left section. Continue pinching off a little hair, adding it to each section and cross over until you get to the end of the flat twist. Keep a good grip on the end of the flat twist so it does not come undone. I decided to secure the end with a rubberband dipped in extra virgin coconut oil. I continued this process until she had a total of 6 flat twists on top.  I fluffed the back of her 'fro and viola! All done!

This was Ky's first time wearing her afro out. She really liked the style but was worried about what others would think. I told her that her hair is absolutely beautiful just the way it is and she should never be ashamed of it! :-) She got so many compliments on her style and at the end of the day she told me she really likes afros now. I cannot express the joy I felt when I heard that, it totally made my week.

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