Search Results: Lisa Michelle

The 10 Most Popular Oils for Curly Hair
When it comes to maintaining your curly hair, you may be seeing lots of products bombarding the market touting all sorts of ingredients. When it comes to the sheer number of natural hair oils, it can be confusing to know which one may work best for your hair. Although you can learn by trial and error, it is always a good idea to do a little research before trying new ingredients.

To give you a brief introduction on hair oils, there are two main categories you will come across:

  • Carrier oils- vegetable/nut/seed derived oil, usually odorless, can be used alone or used to transport or carry the scent and properties of an essential oil 
  • Essential oils- highly concentrated scent, contain specific therapeutic benefits, normally extracted from plant sources and diluted with carrier oils

Examples of essential oils widely used in the natural hair community are rosemary, tea tree, lemon, eucalyptus, lavender and sandalwood. Of course there are many others, but these are found in many natural hair products for their healing and restorative properties. To help you navigate, here’s a list of some of the more popular and a few obscure natural oils on the market.

Coconut oil

Light and non-greasy, coconut oil can easily be used by all hair types. Coconut oil is one of the few oils that can actually penetrate the hair shaft. There are several types of coconut oil available, but go for the extra virgin (EVCO”>. This oil is typically clear in its liquid form and a white color that is solid at room temperature. Shelf life: approximately 1-2 years.

More: The May Uses of Coconut Oil

Olive oil

This multipurpose oil is a staple in many  hair care regimens. Not only is olive oil a great pre-poo and hot oil treatment option, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO”> works wonders to seal moisture in and can add a kick to your conditioning routine too. If you have finer hair you may want to use just a small amount in order to not weigh the hair down. Shelf life: up to 2 years.

Castor oil

A heavier oil great for tighter coils, castor oil can be great for sealing moisture into your hair. Many have also used this oil to help regain thickness around thinning hairline. A little definitely goes a long way. Too much can leave your hair heavy and weighed down. Another popular variation is Jamaican Black Castor Oil. This less refined version can be used to encourage hair growth as well as protect and seal your ends. Shelf life: indefinite.

More: Jamaican Black Castor Oil for Hair Growth

Grapeseed oil

This light and moisturizing hair oil can benefit all types of curls. A natural heat protectant, grapeseed oil can  be used as a thermal agent up to 425 degrees when blow-drying or flat ironing. Apply a bit throughout the hair before applying heat to give your hair added shine and protection. This oil works great to strengthen each strand, increase manageability, and can also be used to combat dry scalp and dandruff. Shelf life: approximately 1 year.

Jojoba oil

Closely matching the sebum, your hair’s natural oil, jojoba oil is a great staple in your natural hair care routine. This hair oil can be used to balance oil production at the scalp, helping to prevent the sebaceous glands from over-producing oil and causing an oily scalp and hair. Jojoba is also non-greasy and gives your hair a healthy shine. Shelf life: can be indefinite.

More: The Beauty of Jojoba

Sweet almond oil

This light, all-purpose oil is great for all hair types and offers many benefits to naturally curly hair. Sweet almond oil works great as a sealant, so apply a small amount on top of your moisturizer to lock in the moisture. It is also great for improving manageability by smoothing the hair shaft. Shelf life: approximately 1 year.

Avocado oil

This super nutrient rich oil is heaven for thick-haired curlies. Chock-full of natural goodies like amino acids, minerals, and vitamins, avocado oil can help strengthen hair and enhance deep conditioning treatments. Try mixing this hair oil with your favorite conditioner as a deep treatment and adding a plastic processing cap or heat cap for added conditioning. Since this oil is a heavy and slightly oily, it is best for thicker or more tightly coiled strands. Shelf life: approximately 1 year.

Argan oil

This rare oil is making waves in the natural hair community for its moisturizing properties. Easily absorbed and quite nourishing, this oil is great for your hair, skin, and nails too. For curly girls, argan oil helps with manageability and can also strengthen the hair. It can be pricey, but a little goes a long way. Shelf life: approximately two years.

Ayurvedic oils

For ages these hair oils have worked wonders across the globe and they are a wonderful option for naturals. Some of the more prominent oils are amla, neem, brahmi, and bhringaraj; each of these distinctive oils offers their own unique benefits for your curls. For example, amla oil is great for condition the hair, neem oil is excellent for tackling dandruff, brahmi can be used to stimulate hair growth, and bhringaraj is great to combat shedding and breakage.

More: Guide to Ayurvedic Hair Care

Rose oil

A lightweight oil, rose oil is perfect for wavies or those with fine, low density hair. Rose oil strengthens hair at the root, protects against frizz, and adds shine.


This article was originally published in January 2012. 

Best Oils for Winter Hair Care

When the air turns cold and dry, there are a few ways you can keep your hair looking its best. Adding oils into your winter hair care regimen can bolster the health of your hair, improve shine and increase manageability. Most of you may already have the perfect ingredients in your kitchen cabinets already!


Winter Hair Oils

Product Junkie's Guide to Christmas

When it comes to a Christmas shopping for a product junkie, your best bet is to stick with what they like: hair products! There are so many brands and new products available, it can be hard to navigate to options. If your curly friend has a favorite brand, it’s a great idea to stick with that, but if you have a newly natural gal, or one still searching for that perfect product, you’re in the right place! Here’s a quick guide to some of the most recognized, popular and new brands on the market that are sure to satisfy even the pickiest of product junkie!


A Product Junky Christmas

Coily Christmas Gift Guide

What better way to show your curly loved ones you care about them (and their curls”> than with curly gifts just for them? There’s no reason you have to spend a fortune on great gifts either. Sometimes it’s the little things that really count!  Check out these thoughtful presents that are sure to make that special person smile.


Coily Christmas Gift Guide

A Hair Product Guide to Black Friday

It seems like every year the infamous Black Friday sales start earlier and earlier and 2012 is no exception! In fact, many companies have begun to not only advertise their fabulous sales to entice our wallets, but some have already put some of those sales in motion! Whether you’re going to be a trooper on the ground scooping sales or an online shopping wizard, there are great deals to be had. If you’re a product junkie like me, you’re in luck because there are bargains everywhere! Here are a few tips to make the most out of the Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday shopping bonanza.


Black Friday Deals

Fall 2012 Fro Fashion Week Trends

Hair Trends

Spending almost an entire week surrounded by beautiful people and gorgeous manes will leave just about anyone with a bit of a curl complex! From the moment I stepped into the first Fro Fashion Week event, I was oohing and ahhing over the sheer variety of curls, coils and locs. From vibrant colors, stylish updos and big bold hair, nothing was off limits!

It was clear that people were not afraid of color, and I even managed to get in on it a little bit too! I had always been nervous about coloring my hair, but I learned during the event that as long as you continue to take care of your hair, color can be a wonderful compliment. Brilliant colors spanning the color charts were featured everywher, both on loose hair and locs. There was even a company that makes clip-in color accents for curly kinky hair — Kinky Curl Accents — a great option for those who want to experiment with color, but may be scared of coloring their own hair.

MORE: Fro Fashion Week Fall 2012 Recap

It was hard to ignore the unique updo styles that were spotted during Fro Fashion Week. With the seasons changing, it’s no wonder so many opted to rock chic protective styles. Whether created from braids or twists, locs or loose hair, updo styles stood out during events and on the runway. Most of the looks seem pretty easy to recreate, but some seemed quite intricate!

One of my favorite natural styles are the big fluffy ones, and there was no end of big lush hair! Even some of the kids got in on the big hair action with cute pie puffs. I had to stop myself on several occasions from reaching out and touching without permission!

I met so many real life hair crushes it was almost overwhelming, but I came back with so many ideas I can’t wait to try on my own hair. It’s amazing to see the versatility and creativity we have with our natural hair! I’m excited to be part of this incredible community, and love the inspiration we’re able to gather from each other!

Steel Magnolias Brings Big Hair to the Small Screen
Steel Magnolias 2012Can you see CURLS and Design Essentials products in this picture?

The remake of classic “Steel Magnolias” aired on Lifetime this past Sunday, October 7th featuring a star studded cast to bring the touching story of a close knit group of ladies back to television. Powerhouses Queen Latifah, who served as executive producer; Phylicia Rashad and her daughter Condola Rashad; Alfre Woodard; Jill Scott and Adepero Oduye breathe new life into the 1989 film, resurrecting heartfelt memories from those who adored the original while helping a new generation discover what made it so great in the first place.

The cast is undoubtedly one of the major reasons this remake was so successful. While they didn’t keep in every single detail from the original, they conveyed the same unbreakable relationship and bond that existed in the classic film. Bringing an African-American cast to fill the roles played by Sally Fields, Julia Roberts, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine and the original cast was a tall task, but the story still rings true over two decades later. They even had a small part for Julius (Dr. J”> Irving and brought in the oh-so-handsome Lance Gross for some eye candy. The storyline was modernized for the most part with mentions and images of current pop culture. One of the only significant changes, however, came by way of character Shelby’s (played by Oduye”> disease, kidney-complicated diabetes versus just diabetes in the original film.

MORE: Celebrity Curls: Tanya Wright On Hollywood & Hair

One thing I was really excited about with having an African-American cast was of course the hair! Even in the original film, the relationship between the women and their hair was always a source of entertainment. Truvy’s (played by Scott”> beauty salon is still the action hub, and if you looked closely, you could also see that natural hair care products were also well represented there too. I spotted brands including CURLS, Shea Moisture, Design Essentials, Taliah Waajid and Mizani during the salon scenes. This is probably one of the first movies where I could clearly spot some of the very same products I use! I was pleasantly pleased to see lots of beautiful hair throughout the movie. Annelle (played by Oduye”> is working with a simply gorgeous mane of thick, coily hair, and she was just one of many others wearing their hair naturally curly. Truvy had an adage that there is “no such thing as natural beauty,” but I beg to differ!

All in all, I think they did a great job of adapting the film classic to 2012! It’s hard not to compare it to the original, and honestly, Julia Roberts was my favorite character in the original, but the intention of bringing it back to TV was not to simply duplicate what was already done well. The cast was still able to pull you into their lives and have you both laughing and crying all over the place. It’s clear that light and heart in Steel Magnolias transcends both time and race.

MORE: Jill Scott Goes Natural for the Cover of Essence

Did you catch the remake? What did you think of the adaptation?

How to Get Professional Finger Coils at Home
lisa with professional finger coils

Finger coils are a great styling option for naturals of many lengths. In all the eight years I’ve been natural, I thought I could only rock coils at a shorter length, but that is so far from the truth! I had a chance to experience this for myself with the help of Houston stylist Candace Walls of Sovereign Styles Hair Studio. Using products from the Design Essentials Natural line, she took my hair from curls to coils in no time flat!

I’m a pretty quick learner and I really think this is a style I can do at home myself. However, never having thought I could accomplish this type of style was really the only thing holding me back. Starting on freshly washed and conditioned hair and working from the back of my head to the front, she sectioned my hair into a small row to work with and the rest was clipped out of the way. Within that row, she then sectioned pieces less than an inch square, to create the individual coils. She used a combination of Design Essentials Natural Twist & Set Setting Lotion, Curl Enhancing Mousse and Curl Stretching Cream throughout my hair to prepare it for finger coiling.

Once the products were applied, she stretched and twirled my hair until it began to form the coils. One tip I learned from watching her is to make sure the hair is coiled down to the scalp. This will ensure the coils stay longer and you won’t have to deal with the dreaded puffy roots madness! This technique was repeated all over my head, and I don’t think it took longer than an hour and a half to complete. I proceeded to sit under a dryer until my hair was completely dry, and voila…I had coils!

MORE: Inside the Design Essentials Naturalista Class

Coil Out Tips

The next step to coils is a coil out, which was accomplished the following day.

  1. Just as you would with a twist out, your coils can be separated until you achieve the desired effect. Because my hair is so tightly coiled, the resulting coil out wasn’t as voluminous as my twist outs are, but they looked great!
  2. I continued to separate them over the next few days and my hair never quite got to the frizzy state that comes with fourth and fifth day hair.
  3. Coils & coil outs can last quite a while with proper nighttime maintenance and even that is simple. I slept with a satin bonnet the entire time I had the coils and my hair was never out of place.
  4. My only caution with this style is to be careful upon undoing the coils. Because my coils were so small and tight, I had a hard time separating them all enough to make detangling less of a chore. I separated my hair into four sections and applied my favorite detangler Nourish by Earth’s Nectar but it didn’t do much to help get through the small coils. I found myself having to go just about coil by coil, separating as much as I could until I finally whipped out my Denman paddle brush to finish the job. That wasn’t fun, but I think if I had more time to separate first then detangling would have been much easier.

MORE: Finger Coiling for Stubborn Wash-and-Gos

Final Thoughts

Moral of this story: Never say never to hairstyles for your curls! With the right products and some patience, our natural hair can be transformed into just about anything if you’re willing to give it a try. I loved my experience with finger coils. The maintenance and upkeep was super simple and it gave me a totally different look than I’ve ever had before. It curbed my desires for shorter hair and it was quite versatile! This can be a great styling option for busy ladies on the go, new naturals and everyone in-between. Happy styling!

Have you tried finger coils on longer hair? Shorter hair? What was your experience? 

Tia Mowry Chops off Long Locks
Tamera and Tia MowryTamera Mowry-Housley and Tia Mowry

Another beautiful celebrity cuts her hair!  Tia Mowry was spotted rocking a new short haircut while out with her son Cree.  This trend of ladies, famous or otherwise, opting for short hair styles is growing and, if I can be honest, it’s making me a bit jealous!  I love the ease and manageability of short cuts and it gives an entirely different look.

For all of those young enough to remember when the show “Sister, Sister” was on in the 90s, you may have been infatuated with the gorgeous curls of the real life twin sisters. This was one of the few shows that featured curly haired girls, and it was really great to see them on TV. The Mowry sisters came back to the small screen together with their reality show, “Tia & Tamera.” Now in its second season, the show goes behind the scenes of the new mom and wife, Tia and recently married and now pregnant Tamera. I’ve been a fan since the first episode aired last year and have gotten some really great style ideas from the curly haired sisters.  Tia Mowry also played the character Melanie on the popular BET series “The Game,” but announced earlier in the year that she was leaving the show after six seasons.

Following the likes of Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys and Rihanna, Tia Mowry’s short hair is gorgeous, flattering and super chic!  Shorter hair puts more of an emphasis on the facial features and really seems to bring forward a more youthful appearance. I applaud Tia for showing off what a beautiful TWA looks like and her curls are really popping! I think this really gives encouragement to those who might be considering taking the Big Chop plunge.

Have you ever considered a cut this drastic for your curls?

Nina Ellis-Hervey Makes People Magazine!

Nina “BeautifulBrwnBabyDol” Ellis-Hervey is a young, multi-talented phenomenon. She is the true amalgamation of beauty, brawn and brains. Named one of the Top 5 YouTube Vloggers by the Huffington Post, not only is she one of the most popular naturals on YouTube, she’s a professor of psychology and one heck of a business woman!

I first discovered BeautifulBrwnBabyDol via her YouTube channel in 2009 as I embarked on my healthy hair journey. She has big, thick, gorgeous hair, and I became a fan as I followed her helpful hair tips and styling tutorials. In addition to the healthy hair tips, she also shares her personal health lifestyle. 2006 was the beginning of her weight loss journey, and through hard work and determination, she went from 235lbs down to her now current weight of 134 lbs. Even more astounding is that she’s maintained this 100 pound weight loss for 6 years!  Her remarkable story shows that you can accomplish anything with the will to achieve the seemingly impossible.

Nina got a chance to shine and share her story with hundreds of thousands around globe as she was recently featured in the pages of People magazine. The popular vlogger shared some of her weight struggles as well as how she continues to stay motivated along her extraordinary journey. I think what is most amazing about her story is that she is so relatable to so many different people. She is a fantastic motivator, a role model and an inspiration to all who cross her path.

It is becoming increasingly more evident how much of an impact the natural hair movement is making in society. Seeing more beautiful representations like BeautifulBrwnBabyDol in mainstream media can and should have a positive influence on both young girls and women around the world. I don’t know about you, but seeing these empowered images makes me proud to be a naturalista!

Nina “BeautifulBrwnBabyDol” Ellis-Hervey will be teaming up with popular Houston natural hair group Naturally Happy Hair to bring a spectacular event to Houston. “Experience You Naturally” is coming to the Power Center on Friday, September 28th and will include guest speakers, hairstyling tutorials, giveaways and much more, so get ready to be inspired! You can also find her on her blog, www.beautifulbrwnbabydol.com.

Nubian Heritage Launches 3 New Collections!

Cult beauty brand, Nubian Heritage, has launched three new collections of hair care with natural and certified organic ingredients. Where can you go to get your hands on the collections? You can conveniently find them at Walgreens and select Target and CVS stores. You may have seen Nubian Heritage’s colorful bath and body care collections, including its famous African Black Soap, on the shelves of Whole Foods, Wegmans and Vitamin Shoppe.

A company with a unique beginning, Nubian Heritage’s story is a humble one, with two partners making natural soaps and lotions using recipes carried down from founder and CEO Richelieu Dennis’ family. Dennis and partner Nyema Tubman sold their wares all over New York City as street vendors. Nubian Heritage’s popularity boomed, and its beloved bar soaps and other creations made their way into stores across the country.

Dennis, a pioneer of utilizing exotic, certified organic and fair trade ingredients from around the world, knew his next calling was to create a range of salon-quality, natural hair products. His mission was to create hair care that went beyond the cleansing, styling, texture and maintenance needs, to therapeutically address core issues caused by prolonged use of products made with harsh chemicals, excessive heat styling and harsh environmental conditions. These issues include scalp irritation, breakage, hair loss, brittleness, dryness and buildup. He continued the company’s 20 year tradition of using globally-sourced raw materials, cultural healing regimens and traditional refining processes in his treatment, maintenance and styling products.

These three new Nubian Heritage Hair Care collections include:

Indian Hemp & Tamanu Oil

With Bamboo, Monoi & Garlic Extract Hair Care

  • Grow & Strengthen Treatment Masque ($14.99; 12 oz.”>
  • Styling Custard ($14.99; 8 oz.”>
  • Edge Taming Taffy ($11.99; 6 oz.”>
  • Hair & Scalp Serum ($11.99;  4oz.”>

This collection helps to strengthen hair and promote growth, while minimizing breakage and shedding. The products contain high percentages of hemp, which calms scalp irritation and Tamanu Oil from Madagascar, with natural antiseptic, moisturizing and reparative benefits. Bamboo is added to strengthen hair, based on Chinese beauty rituals, while Garlic Extract is included for encouraging growth, as used by naturopaths in the Mediterranean. Finally, naturally fragrant Monoi Oil, a beauty secret from Tahiti, intensely hydrates hair, preventing breakage.

Read More: How to Moisturize Coily Hair

Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Moringa

With Quinoa, Fennel & Henna Hair Care

  • Repair & Extend Shampoo ($11.99; 12 oz.”>
  • Conditioner ($11.99; 12 oz.”>
  • Detangling Leave-in Conditioner ($11.99; 8 oz.”>
  • Treatment Masque ($14.99; 12 oz.”>
  • Styling Custard ($14.99; 8 oz.”>
  • Style & Shine Gel ($11.99; 8 oz.”>
  • Hair Butter ($11.99; 6 oz.”>
  • Pre-Poo Treatment ($11.99; 4 oz.”>
  • Shine Mousse ($11.99; 7.5 oz.”>

The collection aids in keeping color vibrant and perms fresh — naturally. Coveted in ancient Ayurvedic hair treatments for its rejuvenating properties, the products are rich in Moringa Oil, which contains oleic acid, antioxidants and vitamins that aid in repairing split ends and conditioning hair.  Extra Virgin Olive Oil bathes hair in fatty acids that provide moisture and brilliant shine. Henna offers natural color enhancement and sheen, while naturally thickening hair strands and Quinoa provides a protective barrier over the hair shaft.

Honey & Black Seed

With Babassu, Carrot & Macadamia Nut Oils Collection

  • Heat Protect and Keratin Shampoo ($11.99; 12 oz.”>
  • Leave-in Conditioning Crème ($11.99; 6 oz.”>, Hair & Scalp Serum ($11.99; 4 oz.”>
  • Wrap Mousse ($11.99; 7.5 oz.”>
  • Keratin Spray ($14.99; 4 oz.”>

Designed to shield hair from heat styling without harsh chemicals, the collection contains Arabian Honey, which helps moisturize and protect the hair and scalp due to its high concentration of proteins, natural enzymes and amino acids. Black Seed Oil, also known as “Seed of Blessing” and found in the Tomb of King Tutankhamen, is used to balance hair and scalp with its anti-inflammatory and healing benefits. Babassu Oil contains fatty acids and has been traditionally used in Brazil to strengthen hair and preserve elasticity. Macadamia Nut Oil, used by Australian aborigines on hair for thousands of years to replenish moisture — it deeply hydrates, while Keratin nourishes hair, leaving it smooth and silky.

Read More: Janelle Monáe: The Newest CoverGirl

Janelle Monáe: The Newest CoverGirl
The Newest CoverGirl Janelle Monáe

The recent announcement of Janelle Monáe as the newest spokesmodel of CoverGirl has rippled throughout the natural hair community. The 26 year old entertainer has joined the ranks of Taylor Swift, Rihanna and now PINK as some of the illustrious musical CoverGirl spokesmodels.

Already a fan of the fabulous young singer, I am even more excited about the message this sends to all the young women, aspiring musicians and naturalistas out there. Janelle has been in the forefront of the natural hair community since she made her official debut with her “ArchAndroid” album in 2010. Her retro, yet classic style, signature tuxedo and iconic pompadour coif makes her a standout in the music industry. The ‘Monáe’ is probably one of the most sought after and recreated styles among naturals; I am definitely a fan of the look and have even given it a try myself!

Kudos to CoverGirl for making a fabulous choice! Janelle Monáe will not only do justice for the spokesmodel role, she is the living and breathing representation of a CoverGirl. She cannot be boxed into the traditional standard of beauty mold. She simultaneously encompasses the beauty of every little girl wanting to be a star when they grow up and every woman seeking that classically beautiful look. The lovely Janelle Monáe is now singing a tune to easy, breezy, beautiful CoverGirl!

Introducing COVERGIRL Janelle Monáe!

Janelle Monáe Backstage with COVERGIRL

See more Videos

Get more tips and tricks for your curls, coils and waves on NaturallyCurly’s YouTube channel.

Tips for Taking Down Kinky Twists
Lisa showing the kinky twist hair she took out of her hair

My journey with kinky twists has come to an end and I’m both sad and happy to have parted ways with them. I initially planned to keep them in for 4-6 weeks and boy did the time fly! In total, the “Kinks” and I spent a solid 6 weeks together and I can’t believe I made it that long. I knew our time was coming to an end when I kept seeing all the beautiful, loose, natural hair pictures floating around on my Instagram feed. As much as I didn’t miss styling my hair, I genuinely missed my hair. So when I came to the fork in the road of whether to freshen up the edges, or take the twists down altogether I took the road less traveled!

After spending 16 hours installing 160 twists, it was almost a relief to begin taking them down. It wasn’t an easy or quick process by any means, but as soon as I took down the first twist I felt an overwhelming sense of excitement. The removal and subsequent detangling process is just as important, if not more important than the initial installation. You can very easily pull hair out, create larger knots and tangles and damage the strands if you’re not careful. The take down took between three and four hours for me. I had the hardest time with the twists at the nape of my neck, as this hair is fine and easily tangled. What was surprising was that my hair was still super soft, even though it had been in the kinky twists for six weeks!

How I Took Them Down

I used a combination of Blended Beauty Natural Hair Oil and Qhemet Biologics Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee to gently coax the tangles apart, while removing a month and a half of shed hair. It really helped me to tackle this in sections, detangling then twisting one section before moving on to the next. I then proceeded to wash and condition my hair one section at a time, still twisting back up before moving to the next. The Elucence Volume Clarifying Shampoo really did a great job of cutting through the buildup to give my hair a fresh and clean start. EDEN BodyWorks JojOba Monoi Revitalizing Conditioner provided the extra conditioning I needed to replenish the nutrients my hair desired. My hair was back!

Styling After the Twists

My first style after taking my kinky twists out was my hands down favorite: a twistout! It feels great to have my hair back and I’m rocking it in all its glory! Wearing a long term protective style for me has been a great experience and it was a nice breather for my hair. It also taught me to be proud of my curls. When it comes to natural hair, the grass is not always greener on the other side as some people would assume. Enjoy your hair, no matter where you are in your journey! Happy styling!

How to Detangle Coily Hair
Lady with coily hair smiling with hands in her hair

Detangling is an important process in caring for your naturally curly hair. It can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve been previously relaxed and are used to the ease of gliding a comb through your coils. But with a bit of patience, a bit of knowledge and some great products, tools and tips, detangling your kinks and coils can be a breeze.

Detangling Products

The products you use for detangling your hair can make a world of difference in whether it’s a smooth process or a nightmare. Depending on the state of your hair, you may be able to use a lighter product to glide through the snarls, or you may need heavier, creamier, oilier products if you’re having serious issues.

When practicing my normal wash routines of every other week, it doesn’t take much to loosen any tangles I may have. In this case, using a conditioner with slip on your curls is a great way to detangle. With your hair in sections, add a generous amount of conditioner to your section and proceed from ends toward your scalp to work through your hair. Because I tend to use a lot of conditioner, I opt for an inexpensive brand like Suave Tropical Coconut Conditioner to tackle this task. You can also dilute a more expensive conditioner or add oils to your mixture to create more slip. If it’s been longer than twoweeks between detangling sessions, I might break out the heavy duty products to whip my hair into shape. Qhemet Biologics Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee literally melts any knots out of my hair, making it easy for me to get my hair back under control.

Detangling Tools

The easiest tools for detangling your hair are going to be your fingers. You can feel your way through a knot better with your fingers than with a comb or other tool. Just make sure your fingernails are trimmed and not ragged or that could create more problems for you. If the fingers aren’t cutting it, it’s okay…they make tools for that! My favorite tool for detangling my hair is a shower comb. It doesn’t have to be expensive to do the job and you can find them at just about any grocery or beauty supply store. The wide spaced teeth allow the comb to gently pass through your sections without tearing or ripping the hair, if you’re being gentle. You’ll find this task easier to accomplish when you detangle in sections. I also use a Denman brush as my final pass through when detangling. I like using a Denman last because it has more teeth and I run less risk of pulling my hair out when it’s already been gently detangled. Good tools in combination with great products make for quick work detangling your hair.

Detangling Tips

When it comes to managing your coils, there are a few tips that can make your life a bit easier. Many people find that separating your hair into several sections makes it easier to get the job done. Depending on the length of your hair, you may require 4-8 sections in order to efficiently tame the tangles. If you need more, add more! Don’t be afraid to do this…trust me, it will save you from a headache later.

Working from the ends up to the root is also another important tip to detangling your hair effectively. If you work from the ends, essentially you can pull the tangles apart; however, if you start at the scalp, you will make small tangles bigger and can end up doing some serious damage. I’ve learned that the hard way too!

Last tip is to do what works for you. If you like detangling your hair dry with oil and it works for you great! If detangling with conditioner works for you fantastic! Experiment until you find that happy median that will keep your detangling sessions quick and painless. You will have some shed hair no matter what option you choose, but with good products, gentle hands and technique you can make detangling your hair a breeze. Happy styling!

How do you detangle your coils?

How to Create Kinky Twists
Lisa

I always hear about people opting to wear protective styles during the harsh winter. But what about protecting your hair during the hot summer months? I’ve worn micro braids and Senegalese twists, but never tried my hand at kinky twists. If you follow the same premise of two strand twists, kinky twists should be a fairly straight forward installation and can save you lots of money should you choose to do them yourself. Here’s how I did mine!

Preparation

I started with freshly washed hair, then washed, conditioned and also went ahead and deep conditioned since I planned to keep my hair in this style for at least a month. Once my hair was clean and separated into four sections, I applied Kinky-Curly Knot Today as my base leave-in, EDEN BodyWorks Jojoba Monoi Hair Oil and EDEN BodyWorks Jojoba Monoi Hair Milk to seal it all in. This combination of products gave me soft, well moisturized hair and allowed me to proceed to the next step.

Once my hair was nourished, I applied a light coating of grapeseed oil to each section before I tension blow dried my hair. During tension blow drying, it’s important to use a heat protectant and grapeseed oil offers a natural option for heat protection. It’s also important to make sure your hair isn’t soaking wet when blow drying. Working with damp hair will make it easier to keep the hair smooth and speed up your blow dry session. Finally, make sure to keep the heat settings on low to medium so you don’t burn your hair!

Installation

Now on to the fun and hard part! I started with my hair in eight sections, four across the front and four across the back. I found it easier to start in the back of my head, though you can start in the front or around the perimeter. I used Marley braid hair which comes sectioned into 20 pieces per package. I chose not to cut the hair in half since I have longer hair and wanted to make sure I covered my entire length. I also wanted the longer twists look.

I made small parts, between ¼” and ½” and used the braiding first method to attach the extensions. I started by creating a braid with my hair and the two sections of Marley braid hair. With my hair between the two pieces of braid hair, I wrapped my hair over the braid hair and back to the middle position, creating a secure hold so that I could continue braiding. Once I got down about an inch or so, I twisted my hair around one piece of braid hair to get two pieces and then began two strand twisting to the ends. I repeated this over a total of 160 twists and 16 hours later I was done! It’s important to make sure you don’t pull the hair too tight, especially around your hairline. You can create larger parts, but try not to put too much stress on weak areas.

Final Thoughts

Although this was a long process, it was definitely worth it. If you were to get this type of style done at a braid shop it could easily cost upwards of $250 dollars or more, depending on the length and thickness of your hair. The great thing about being able to braid your own hair is that you can, not only save loads of money, but you can also refresh your style and perform any maintenance when needed. Kinky twists are a great protective style for any occasion and I’ve gotten lots of compliments on them already. They blend quite well with my own hair and will last four to six weeks.

How to Use Conditioner for Coily Hair
Lady with coily hair laughing

As a curly girl, there’s pretty much one product that we cannot live without: conditioner! Yes, it is an absolute must, especially if you have tighter coils. The most commonly recognized type of conditioner is the rinse-out form, but did you know conditioner comes in many other forms? Leave-in conditioners, deep conditioners, liquid conditioner refresher sprays — you name it there’s pretty much an option for you. The many types of conditioner options can be overwhelming, but finding the right ones can be essential for achieving and maintaining healthy hair.

Make it part of your routine

First, let’s talk about the importance of using conditioner in your hair routine. Conditioners are used to help restore the nutrients to your hair that have been washed away with shampoo. They also help to increase volume and soften while adding brilliance and shine to the hair strand itself. It is especially important to follow shampoo with conditioner so your hair won’t be dry and brittle after removing the buildup that has accumulated between cleansings. The great thing about conditioner is that it actually can be used to wash your hair too. The term “co-wash” comes from the act of using conditioner instead of shampoo when washing your hair. Many companies are even beginning to make products geared towards those who practice the curly girl method and are strictly conditioner-washing only. Darcy’s Botanicals Daily Cleansing Conditioner Cream, As I Am Coconut CoWash Cleansing Conditioner and Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Co-Wash Cleansing Conditioner are a few examples of the newest products on the market for conditioner washing.

Types of Conditioners

There are a variety of conditioners available on the market: rinse-outs, deep conditioners and leave-in conditioners.

  1. Rinse-out conditioners are quite the multi-purpose item. Some people use them as directed, leaving the product on for a short period of time and then rinsing, but others are modifying their use of this traditional product to suit their needs. Some of my favorites are Elucence Moisture Balancing Conditioner, Oyin Handmade Honey Hemp, Darcy’s Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner and EDEN BodyWorks Jojoba Monoi Conditioner. Many ladies doing the curly girl method opt to leave a little bit of conditioner in their hair as a styler for wash and go’s. This diluted conditioner envelops your curls and adds a bit of weight to them, making for a great styler option. You have to be careful to make sure all of your products play well together if you’re using this method. The last thing you want to end up with is flaky hair!
  2. Deep conditioners are the ultimate pampering product for your coils and should be incorporated into your routine regularly. Weekly or every other week treatments are recommended when you have coily hair to help strengthen and moisturize your hair. Many people notice a big difference in their hair after routine use of a good deep conditioner. Some of the best deep conditioners on the market are b.a.s.k. Y.A.M Nectar, Curl Junkie Curl Rehab, EDEN BodyWorks Jojoba Monoi Deep Conditioner, Karen’s Body Beautiful Luscious Locks and Jessicurl Too Shea Deep Conditioner. To get the most out of your deep conditioning session, follow the directions on the packaging. Some should be left on for 20 minutes, while others need an hour. Either way, following the directions ensures you are getting the maximum benefits. You can even add heat to amplify the deep conditioning properties.
  3. Leave-in conditioners are a great addition to your conditioning routine. They range in consistency from watery to creamy and can have many different uses and complement different hair styles. I like to call the liquid leave-in products refreshers because they work well to revive your second and third day hair and beyond! Some of my favorites are Darcy’s Botanicals Herbal Leave-In Conditioning Spritz and Oyin Handmade Juices & Berries. The creamier leave-in conditioners can even be used for styling and make great finishing products to the L.O.C. method (liquid, oil, cream”> method of moisturizing your hair. Two of my favorite creamy leave-ins are Kinky Curly Knot Today and Karen’s Body Beautiful Sweet Ambrosia. They’re both chocked full of yummy ingredients and they easily make my curls perk back up!

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are a ton of options in the world of conditioners and I hope this helps along your journey. It can be easy to amass a large stash of conditioners, but they are definitely worth the investment. Once you find the best ones for your coils, your hair will thank you! Happy styling!

How do you use conditioners in your routine?

Oprah Shows Off Her Natural Curls!
Oprah with a naturally curly hairstyle on the cover of O magazine

You know the natural hair movement is real when media moguls take notice and take action. The queen of media, Oprah Winfrey, recently took to the cover of her “O” magazine, donning her glorious crown of natural hair. This photograph is indeed worth a thousand words, and it speaks volumes to the growing acceptance of natural hair in our society.

This particular issue of “O” tackles self-transformation, with topics ranging from style and attitude to health and friendships and everything in between. It’s actually a great segue to discussing the trend of embracing your natural hair. As of late there have been many influential celebrities opting to step out on the scene with their own natural hair. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wearing a wig, weave or extensions, there’s something powerful in the statement made by rocking your own curls, coils or waves. With a following as big as hers, Oprah certainly knows what she’s doing in the choice she made to go au natural.

The natural hair community is showing great support for the media queen, but of course there are always those who aren’t as enthusiastic. There’s nothing wrong with not liking the way someone else wears their hair, but they are their own person and they can do as they please. I’m not sure many people outside of the natural hair community can relate to the feeling of walking out the door with their curls intact only to be met with criticism and scrutiny. Being judged by the public based on the way you wear your hair is tough enough for us non-celebrity women, but I can only imagine how it feels for such a prominent figure like Oprah. I’m sure she received her share of commentary from her team, but in the end, she’s a grown woman capable of making her own decisions and she’s doing it very well.

Confidence comes in all forms, shapes and sizes and Oprah is giving us poise and self-assurance all day! She’s flawless when she wears hair pieces yet she looks effortlessly fabulous showing us her curls. Big hair don’t care, and she’s making it look so easy on the cover of her magazine. I congratulate her for taking to her own platform and showing the world that natural hair is more than OKAY! I hope this continues to inspire and motivate those who may be on the fence about wearing their natural hair in public. Flaunt what you’ve got and let the world see your curls!

3 Tips for Going Natural
Lady with straight hair covering her face

The pressure surrounding going natural in 2012 has mounted to unprecedented proportions. When I first went natural in 2004, I don’t remember any of the hype and propaganda that is present today. As easy as it is to say “it’s just hair,” we all know it is much more than that for many ladies. Our hair can be representative of ourselves. And for some people, especially those who may have never seen their natural, unprocessed hair, it can be a scary decision to make. Here are a few tips I want to share with those who are contemplating the journey.

1. Overcoming Fear

Fear is a big factor for many ladies when the topic of going natural arises. There is fear attached to many concerns: not knowing what your hair is going to look like, being misunderstood by your family or friends, worries of not being found attractive by the opposite sex, not having long hair to fall back on — the list goes on. A lot of the fear people have is self-induced. It shouldn’t matter whether you’re wearing a relaxer, a weave, natural hair or no hair. You are capable of putting that fear aside and going forward with what’s best for you. Once you get over the fear and the what-ifs then you can move to the next step.

2. Get a Big Chop

If you are no longer fearful of the what-ifs, and you’re ready to dive head first into going natural, you can opt for the Big Chop. I understand this can be scary because, as women, we’re used to associating long flowing hair with being feminine and attractive. Going against the grain is becoming easier thanks to the many beautiful ladies embracing their TWAs in public settings. It’s no longer taboo to cut your hair down to an inch or less. In fact, it’s become a powerful symbol of strength and courageousness. This clean slate offers a chance to nurture your hair from teeny curls to luxurious locks.

3. Transitioning

So you think you’re ready to go natural, but not quite ready to jump into cutting your hair? Transitioning is a great option, but what most people don’t realize is that transitioning to natural hair is a much harder, much more committed process. It can be difficult to deal with two textures, especially while your new growth is flourishing. Many ladies often find that once their new growth has reach a certain length that it’s much easier to just cut off the relaxed ends. The best advice I can give transitioning ladies that may be scared to reveal their true textures is to experiment with styles that mimic the way you will be wearing your natural hair. This way you will learn techniques that will benefit you once your hair is completely natural.

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is that it should be YOUR decision! I don’t know of any other way to say it. It is not up to anybody else but you. Once you have your mind made up, the best thing you can do is to educate yourself. There are many reputable forums within the natural hair care community, and they are there for people just like you. It’s helpful to ask questions of friends, family and fellow naturals, but it’s ultimately your decision. Don’t let people sway you one way or the other or you may end up regretting your decision. It’s easy to get swept into product and ingredient discussions too, but just remember to keep it simple. Simple regimens and simple ingredients are the easiest to keep up with, especially while you’re learning about your newly natural hair. I hope this helps and good luck along your natural hair journey!

What about you? Are you ready to go natural?