Hair Porosity 101: Low Porosity vs High Porosity

Often I hear of naturals that are stuck in determining their hair care regimen based on their hair texture. While this is helpful in some cases, the real answer to finding an effective regimen is knowing your hair porosity.

Hair porosity is the ability of your hair to absorb and retain moisture and chemicals. There are three categories of porosity: low porosity, normal porosity, and high porosity.

How do you determine which porosity your hair falls under?

For a couple of years, a test has circulated to help naturals determine their porosity levels.

This is how it works:
Drop a strand of clean hair into a cup and wait until it either floats, falls in the middle, or sinks.

  • If it floats, you are low porosity.
  • If it goes center, you are normal porosity.
  • If it sinks, you are high porosity.

Let’s get into more details!

In low hair porosity…

  • The cuticles of the hair shaft are so compact that it does not allow room for any moisture or chemical to penetrate.
  • Because the cuticles are so compact, low porosity hair is more prone to product build-up.
  • Hair has a water-proof effect. Due to tightly packed cuticles, water is not able to make a pass.
  • Dry hair is a problem even after “moisturizing” with conditioners or using the greenhouse effect method.

In normal hair porosity…

  • The cuticles of the hair shaft are better balanced; water is allowed to penetrate and keep the hair moisturized.

In high hair porosity (my hair falls in this category)…

  • Water penetrates past the cuticle both ways. The hair shaft is an open gate that allows moisture to get in and get out.
  • Because the cuticles are open, high porosity hair appears to “suck up” the product.
  • The cuticle has gaps and this is due to genetics OR a damaged hair shaft.

Now that you determined your hair porosity, stay tuned for tips on dealing with your cuticles.

Trimming your Natural Hair without Heat

Normally, I don’t toot my own horn but must I mention I have done a damn good job with cutting and trimming my natural hair. I remember it like it was yesterday (stares off into the distance). Okay, let me not be so dramatic and let’s get to it!

Here are 10 tips to trimming your natural hair (without heat).

  1. Invest in shears to trim your hair. Sharp shears made for cutting your hair; they are thinner than paper cutting scissors and will give a good cut the first time. Now I have to mention…
  2. Don’t snap your strands in an effort to pull off any knots you may see. This is a recipe for disaster and will hurt you in the long run by providing more opportunities for the hair to split.
  3. Natural hair means no more waiting 6-8 weeks for a trim. Remember, this was the rule of thumb when you had your hair relaxed or straightened. Now that you are natural, your hair should be strong enough to be trimmed ever 3-4 months. This is the time frame in which natural hair would start to split.
  4. In colder months, this rule is shortened and recommended that you start trimming twice in 3-4 months. This is because your clothing changes along with the weather which affects the condition of your hair. Others have mentioned trimming twice a year if you can.
  5. Condition your hair to prepare for the trim. Your hair should naturally begin to clump. I find it easiest to smooth down individual clumps and clip areas that are frizzy and damaged.
  6. The twist method also works since its very basic. If you typically style a twist out this is perfect. Do your normal twist routine on conditioned and damp hair.  Twist and start by trimming the ends that appear damaged and frizzy.
  7. If you find yourself clipping your ends too quickly you will risk cutting off hair that actually want damaged.
  8. In the meantime, based on your porosity levels, keep your hair moisturized and use prism treatments to strengthen the hair shaft.
  9. There is another method called dusting in which you search and destroy split end consistently. I only use this method for any knots that may get in my hair that I can’t detangle with my hands.
  10. Listen to your hair!  Paying close attention to your hair is going to help you in the long run. Factors like weather, clothing, condition of protective styling, chemical processing, and overall health can effect whether or not your hair is ready for a trim.

What are you waiting for?

Black Wall Street: Support Black Business

Here is a much needed history lesson, one that strays from American textbook from back in the day. I’m talking about a real history lesson on the terrorist attacks of Black Wall Street.

Let me start by mentioning this: In Black America, the Black consumer market has exceeded $1 trillion dollars per year. We are a extremely powerful market, not only in the power of the black dollar, but in the power of being trendsetters for major companies and society. But, did you know about 2% of the $1 trillion dollars each year in invested in our own black communities?

How is it that we hold so much economic drive and power, yet our communities struggle to support one another?

Flashback to the era of three Black Wall Streets (yes, three). The most well-known black wall street was located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Due to the Jim Crow laws, segregation made this district thrive. There were post offices, black salons and barbers, black grocery stores and clothing stores, and even had their own successful black school systems. This was a prominent time in history when Blacks were doing their thing. This community had so much power that white Americans felt so threatened by it, they bombed the community, killing thousands of hard working people, men, women, and children. In a textbook, this is called the 1921 Race Riots of Tulsa; in reality, this is called terrorism.

The other (not as known) Black Wall Streets were located in Durham, North Carolina and Richmond, Virginia (Jackson Ward). These too have fallen from the anger of white supremacy.

Here are a few reasons you need to shop black:

  1. Supporting black business helps to circulate a dollar that once upon a time lasted months in the black community. Today the black dollar last 6 hours before it’s in the hands of mainstream corporations.
  2. Black businesses bring in more black jobs! These jobs in turn help t secure the financial future for the black community.
  3. This is an opportunity to begin creating wealth for ourselves instead of continue to create wealth for those that keep us oppressed.

Today, I challenge you all to start purchasing from today’s black businesses so we can begin to create wealth in our communities. I stumbled across a directory that may fancy some of you, so check it out!

Curly Crush of the Week: Amber Barnes

Introduce yourself!

“My name is Amber. I’m 23 and I’m currently getting my MA in Science and Religion (just finished my first semester, yay!).”

How long have you been natural?

“I’ve been natural for about 3.5 years. I went natural after my hair started breaking off after I died my hair blonde.”

 

Curly Crushcheck you out! so what’s been the hardest part of the journey?

“The hardest part of the journey is the wash day! I always dread the the amount of time it takes to wash my hair.”

me too! what about the best part?

“My favorite part of the journey is trying new products (I’m a product junkie!) and seeing my curl pattern change as my hair gets healthier.”

Curly Crush

Yass! your hair is bringing me to life! do you mind sharing your go-to hair styles?

“I’m a wash and go girl and I love wearing my hair in a pineapple.”

what would you recommend for prospective naturals out there struggling to make the COMMITMENT?

“Since I decided to transition my hair instead of doing the big chop, my advice would be have patience and enjoy the journey. Transitioning taught me to truly love my hair and myself. I have more self confidence now, than I’ve ever had in my life.”

Curly Crush

i think often, naturals aren’t as recognized for making a difference in the community. Do you feel that you are bringing change?

“I think I’m making a making a difference by just loving my hair texture and curls. That’s what it’s all about right?”

I absolutely agree! the natural hair movement is now a lifestyle for both women and men. what’s your take on this long-living movement?

“I think the natural hair movement is doing a great job of showing all hair textures as beautiful. It’s giving girls of all ages the confidence to love their natural hair and skin color.”

Yes! And speaking of loving your natural hair, what goals do you have for your hair?

“My hair goal is to have my hair past my shoulders when dry.”

Curly Crush

to finish off, what 4 words would you use to describe your hair?

“I would say my hair is: thick, healthy, big, beautiful.”

Curly Crush

If y’all like this Curly Crush, you can follow her hair journey on Instagram: _majestic92

 

5 Excuses Why You Won’t Be Natural

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of finally embracing your natural roots, let’s put aside those nasty excuses as to why you didn’t want to be natural to begin with.

5. Relaxing my hair is much easier to manage.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes I miss the days when I could run my fingers through my hair and shake it all out for that bounce. But, if that means having to stunt my natural hair growth, deal with damaged tresses, fight a dry scalp, and have a love-hate relationship with new growth then I am out. 

4. I can’t pull it off.

Never in my life did I imagine I would be sitting here as a natural and fully embracing my own hair texture. I didn’t know I could pull it off, but I tried and found my thing. The great thing about being natural is having so much versatility! Since I have been natural, I have done pineapples, twist outs, bantu knots, protective styled with weaves, braids, Marley twists, my hairs been red, purple, light brown, black and the list goes on. You need to know, you can pull off whatever you WANT to pull off.

3. My hair looks better straight.

Preferring your hair straight has nothing to do with being naturalBeing natural is about embracing what you got and ensuring its just as healthy as the rest of you. I am a firm believer that you can be natural and straighten your hair and I am also a believer in weaves (extensions, whatever you want to call it.) Nothing is wrong with switching it up, but you can’t HIDE behind these things because you haven’t embraced what you already have.

3. I don’t want to cut off my hair.

What makes you think you HAVE to cut your hair off? That’s the path some naturals take, but you can just as easily transition (like so many of my hair idols have done). Transitioning involves tons of blending, very similar to blending your natural hair to be straight, instead you are manipulating your hair to be curlier and as similar to the root as possible and over the course of a few months, you are cutting away damaged hair.

2. I would want my hair to look like (insert unrealistic expectation).

With all things considered, our society is tainted by the idea that if your hair is natural, it has to follow certain guidelines to be considered beautiful. I like to envision the natural that looks like this:

Long, bouncy spirals that are voluminous and have the perfect amount of shi1`ne that (blah blah blah)…

Let’s drop this expectation and get real. Your hair is beautiful so stop holding back and let it shine!

1. I don’t have time.

This is probably the number 1 excuse I hear so often, and trust when I say I was once a victim of this mindset. Intially, being natural is a bit time-consuming but in the long-term you will save so much time. Now that I am familiar with my hairs behavior I can sport twists for one week, twist out the next and pineapple it for the third. It’s all about ow manipulation. And in winter I twist my hair and rock scarves (tons of scarves!) It’s all about getting to know your hair.

So let’s leave our excuses in 2015 and get into this journey for 2016!

5 Tips to Taking Care of Poetic Justice Box Braids in Winter

“With poetic justice, poetic justice
If I told you that a flower bloomed in a dark room, would you trust it?”

– Kendrick Lamar

You know I had to get my Kendrick on for this post!

Any-who…

During the harsh winter months us naturals can find ourselves falling into a slump and not really wanting to do our hair. We decide that maybe it’s time to put our hair up in braids so we can give our hair a rest.

Poetic Justice braids can be broken into two categories: basic box braids and Petra box braids; both have their unique advantages and disadvantages.

Here are 5 tips to consider no matter how thick or long your poetic justice braids are this winter.

  1. Find a good hair braider. No, I am not talking about your cousins sister that braids hair for the low-low (you get what you pay for, sometimes you don’t). I am a firm believer in some things being DIY, but in cases like having my hair in perfection, I believe in paying someone that worked hard for their practice and invested in their art. Find a hair braider within your budget but will do a great job. And please, do tip ’em.
  2. Prepare for your appointment with your hair ready to go. A couple of days prior to your appointment it is time to put in some work of your own. I always say that no one knows your hair better than you do. Do what you have to and use the products that you know your hair agrees with prior to the installation of your poetic justice braids. Most importantly, do not forget to do a protein treatment and deep condition your hair. This will reinforce strength in your hair along with locking in moisture.
  3. Get it right, don’t get it tight. I know most naturals who have had their hair braided has that one story of the time the braider braided too tight and their mom was like “beauty is pain.” That is dead! No you should not have to struggle with falling to sleep, putting your hair in a bun, dealing with scabbing, and etc. This is a recipe for damaging your hair starting at the root and the beginning of the end of your hairline. Speak up, if your braids are too tight, let ’em know. The last thing they want is for you to complain to others about how they braid too tight and scare away potential business.
  4. Just when you thought you had a break, you were wrong. You still have to take care of your hair in your box braids. Your hair needs moisture every other day to prevent breakage and you have to continue to deep condition after a couple of weeks. I recommend investing in a $1.00 spray bottle with water and your favorite oils to spray in your hair more regularly.
  5. Careful with the edges, yo. In all of your styling, be mindful of your edges. They are more fragile than the other areas of your head and must be handled with caution. Nothing sucks more than taking your braids out and a mysterious (not so mysterious) chunk of hair from your edges coming out with it. Petra braids are the easiest ones to have this problem with because of the thickness, so be weary and make smart choices.

Let me know, do you have any tips that have helped you maintain your poetic justice braids in the winter months?

 

2018 Will Pop Severely

I don’t know about you but 2017 was rough as f*ck. Don’t misconstrue my statement as a (complete) negative. I appreciated the hell out of these last 365 days!

My experiences were the epitome of my current successes. I started the year off with bright eyes, a positive outlook, and loads of opportunities. New love brewed, self-love grew. I spoke up for myself, enjoyed my personal life again, made adventures, and opened my heart to new friendships. I definitely won’t act like there wasn’t frustration, tears shed, epic fights, and self-doubt too. Despite the good fights, 2017 was a year of vulnerability.

2018 is going up and when I tell you it’s going to pop, it’s the truth! Here are some lessons learned from 2017.

On Self

  1. Acknowledge and own your boundaries. Don’t allow others in your space that do not honor you in abundance. You owe yourself boundaries in your life, your relationships, and your career. 2017 made this the most crucial part of ending my year strong.
  2. Treat yo self! In moderation, it’s great to treat yourself. I say this because I took treating myself to an extreme and spent the end of the year on the struggle bus. Learning to responsibly treat yourself would be a lesson to learn sooner than later. Award yourself for your hard work, but not to a point that it cripples you in the long run.
  3. Work a little each day on your aspirations. Yeah, we all f*cking work and have lives, bills, financial issues, and whirlwinds of f*ckery that happen through the year. Everyone has some sh*t they are going through, so don’t use your life as an excuse to put off working on your dreams. Be hungry for it and really make time for yourself. You make time for whats the most important to you – Netflix, the ‘Gram, or your f*cking goals.
  4. Be dope and be humble. A past manager of mine once told me that I needed to give myself more credit for my success. From that day, I made an effort to celebrate my dopeness and continue to be open to learning more.
  5. Trust your process. Stop trying to catch up with everyone around you. Stop comparing yourself to everyone around you. Fall in love with your f*cking process. It may be slow, it may be excruciatingly difficult, it may feel like your time isn’t going to come – but if you do what I said in the previous points, you will make your process work.
  6. Stop feeling the need to explain yourself! Like I continue to say, you don’t owe anyone an explanation, just live your life!

On Work

  1. Understanding and condoning are two separate things. There is a level of respect that you have for others and for yourself. Please don’t confuse understanding for condoning. Understand your colleagues, peers, and higher ups. But NEVER let understanding be the source of condoning certain behavior that is unacceptable. When it comes to you, they better put some respect on it!
  2. Work is work is work – so keep it work. I know I’ve told you this is the biggest challenge I face. It is easy to be invested in the work you do, especially if you love the work you do. What I am working on, is separating my work life and personal life. Make an effort to leave work where it is. You have one life to live so make it amazing as f*ck.

On Love

  1. Honest communication is the key! I know I said it before, but you have to be honest in your relationships. If there is something that bothers you, speak up. Don’t let it boil and fester, it will create more issues in the long run. Understand that no matter how much it might hurt, be open and honest with your SO – even if that means breaking up. Ultimately, honesty will keep your relationship growing for the long term.
  2. Protect your privacy. I’m a venter, I have trouble with keeping my thoughts and feelings to myself. When the struggle is real and you need to vent, have a close friend to be there for you. The entire world does not need to know your f*cking issues. Keep who you vent to at a minimum, then you won’t feel the need to explain yourself – that is a no-no.
  3. Sh*t ain’t easy. Relationships take work – hard work from both sides. Yes, there will be excitement, spontaneity, and laughs, but there will also be disagreements, stagnancy, and routine. This is all normal, but avoid the latter. Be willing to work on creating more fun and adventure – it won’t be all the time, but it will give you both stories and memories with one another.
  4. #RelationshipGoals. Stop worrying about everyone else’s relationships. Stop comparing you current relationships to your last. Make room for your relationship to grow and have your own set of goals together. A couple that grinds together, shines together. Point blank period.

On Family

  1. If your parents are in your life, whether its one, two, or maybe you have five, love them to the end! They may not be perfect and have quirks but remember they are your parents. They did the best they KNEW how to do to care for you, support you, celebrate with you, punish you, feel with you. I never really held this so high until a great friend of mine lost her mother. If you have a parent in your life, put aside your grudges, let go of their mistakes and love them with no condition. I’ve watched people through the year lose their parents and wish they had that extra day, that extra “I love you,” that extra chance. Love them with no condition.
  2. Set boundaries on toxic family members. No one has time for toxic family members. If they are putting you down, making you feel like sh*t, gossiping on your name, then they need to go. Silence is the best answer to toxic family members.
  3. Take advantage of the family that does inspire and build you up. I have a close knit group of family members that make going home to visit worth every bit of it! It’s the perfect time for refreshing and connecting with my ties. I take advantage of every opportunity I have at home to spoil the sh*t out of my sister, take my parents on dates, see my baby cousins and big cousins, and visit with my amazing aunts!

It is 2018! Make the most of your 2018. You will make mistakes, make memories, build friendships, get in tune with yourself, love yourself that much more, rid of toxic relationships, cry, you will think you lost and get back up again. 2018 will severely pop for you.

So here’s to your new year! (Clink)*

 

Week 1: Why Should I Go Natural?

Week 1: IDENTIFY WHY IS IT THAT YOU WANT TO GO NATURAL

Going natural is a commitment, it is a journey that will have you in tears some nights but will pay out in the end. Ask yourself: “Why?”

Why is it worth it to put in all this hard work and effort to be natural? When we think more closely about why we want to do something, it is more enlightening and gives us a better start so we always remember why we are going through this change to begin with.

I see many women, and men, that make these commitments to go natural and eventually fall off within a few weeks. It is my goal to make sure you are identifying the why so you can stay on target with fulfilling your natural hair goals.

Make the commitment to yourself to get to your goals; it will be a tough start and trust me, it will suck, but in the end it is all worth it! Not only do you need to make the commitment to yourself, but you need to put your commitment out to the world. Once you have people that are aware of your commitment, you will be more inclined to take the necessary steps to act on it. I want you to get to your hair goals, so let’s get it together!

Having natural hair goals are also extremely important for the journey. You have to have some idea of where you are going so you can make a plan to get there. I think this is safe to say with anything you do, whether it be working out, getting a promotion, acing a class, and etc.

This week, I challenge you to give reason why you want to take this journey and what your overall goals are.

There are many reasons that we “go” natural and every reason is completely valid because it’s your own. So let’s take Week 1 easy and start with this.

Post your reasons for going natural and your long term goals! I would love to hear them and help you get started!

Natural Chicks That Rocked the Double Bun

I am barely noticing this double bun craze, a look that takes me back to the 90’s when barrettes and beads were how my mom styled my hair.

The tricky part of this style is rocking it without looking like you are just getting into 3rd grade. Here are some ladies that did their thing with the double bun!

  1. With a bold lip. Add a splash of color on the lips and you are ready to roll!

2. Scary Spice in ya life! To all the ladies that can get away with a wash and go, this is a great alternative!

3. The baby hairs though. I know there are some naturals out there that keep their baby hairs smoothed and ready for action. You too deserve to try the double bun,

4. Wavy, baby. Not a wash and go gal? No biggie! Just let the back do as it pleases, or prep it in a braid-out or simple twist-out.

5. Pop of color. Some of you are on the adventurous side and already have some color, now just werk it! If you don’t have color treated hair, I recommend temporary hair color (comes in spray form, too!)

Share with me your double bun hairstyles!

Colorism: Light Skin, Loose Curls, and Natural Hair

Colorism in the natural hair community is nothing but poison to our society and only encourges Eurocentric beauty standards that should be challenged.

I am a lover of all natural hair and am at a point that I don’t really care too much about this hair typing nonsense (what a great way to divide a community, wouldn’t you say?)

While knowing your hair type can be useful, I believe it does more harm than good to the natural hair community in regards to further separating us, an already broken group.

Before you raise an eyebrow, let me really tell you what I’m talking about.

I read this great article in the Huffington Post; this brought up a valid point:

When people refer to natural hair, the beauty standard is for looser curls (3A-3C) and light complexion is generally represented with this texture.

My experience with this phenomena has elevated the way I view natural hair in the black community. I remember walking into the vet with my puppy, Apollo, and the woman behind the counter was so intrigued by my hair texture. She complained that she could never get her hair to cooperate like mine, then went about saying I was the only dark-skinned girl she ever seen with good hair. You could only imagine the rant that was going through my mind.

The thing is, my hair does as it pleases. Some days my hair is more curly, some days my hair is more frizzy. Other days my hair is kinky and uncooperative. Ultimately, my hair is my hair.

But by no means do I think my hair is good hair; if anything I believe my hair is well-suited for me. It took me years to get aclimated to the fact that my hair is beautiful, each and every kinky and twisted strand. Unfortunately, I did not grow up loving my hair; I grew up criticizing how I could look beautiful enough. With the movement spreading across the nation and overseas, more and more women (young and old) are learning to love on their own terms.

In addition to hair, there is this concept of colorism, another gross and unnecessary argument. I’m unsure of why society believes that only light-skinned women have a certain type of hair texture, length, and color compared to darker complected women. I’ve seen lighter complected women with my hair texture and vice versa. And how beautiful is that to see the differences; all these combinations we have to

What bothers me the most about this new natural hair beauty standard is yet  another divide in the natural hair community that was initially intended to promote self-love and self-awareness. I decided to embrace my natural hair as a means of freedom. Doing so has increased my self-confidence and self-awareness. Not only did I grow as a person, but I created my own standard for beauty:

Beauty (be-yuu-tee) noun: A state of being most natural and uncompromising to society.

There are so many beautiful textures of healthy hair out there, to categorize them only does more harm than good when trying to unify the black and kinky-curly community. What is your definition of beauty?