14 May 2010

[d:series] going natural is not cheap.

the disillusionment series.

if you've considered going natural, or are already natural, i'm willing to bet that you've told your girlfriend (or have been told by a girlfriend) that going natural is cheaper. if anyone has ever gone on to explain this (and i doubt many have), at the front of that reasoning is that it keeps you out of the salon.

this is lie number one.

going natural is in no way inherently cheaper than being relaxed.

whether or not your natural or relaxed hair is cheap is completely up to you, not the hair on your head. relaxed hair can be expensive if you rely on your stylist to whip your tresses into some semblance of a style. likewise, a natural can easily shell out 50-70 bucks for some coils or twists.

if you don't know how to maintain and care for your hair yourself, natural or relaxed, it can easily run up your bill of monthly salon visits - it's to be expected. relaxed hair can be cheap too, as soon as you work up the gumption to become a do-it-yourselfer. you don't need to throw your hard-earned money at some stylist to wash your hair (which you can do yourself), blowdry it (which you can do yourself), and style it (which you can do yourself with some practice).

i think naturals are tempted to claim naturaldom as the more fiscal alternative to hair because so much of the experience is focused on learning your own hair and how to work with it. naturally, this will lead to you learning and experimenting with different styles on your hair. however, there are also those naturals who rely on a blowout or press and curl to coax their coils and kinks into something more manageable. braids or twists on a full head of hair can easily run you a hundred bucks; some comb coils on my 3 inch twa would've set me back 70 dollars! and any natural whose been to a dominical salon can tell you that they will charge you more depending on the thickness and length of your hair.

in my own opinion, relaxed hair starts in the salon, so it makes sense it would continue in the salon. your first relaxer is applied by a stylist, and that sets the precedence for your future visits. however, there are a multitude of resources out there for you to learn to style your own relaxed hair, and once you work up the confidence, to do your own relaxers.

i could even argue that going natural is expensive. this is anecdotal, but when i was relaxed, i was in no hurry to try this new shampoo, or this gel. i had my little army of products and rarely ventured outside of what i used. and for good reason, when you're relaxed, you have little need for a curly pudding, a defining gel, a detangling spray, a comb or brush with special teeth. with relaxed hair, you need very little to get by; your most expensive items would be your styling tools (a good blowdryer and flat iron), which will easily pay themselves off in salon appointments you no longer have to make.

i will admit, there's just something almost kitchsy about being natural that you want to try every jane carter and miss jessie's out there. you start browsing etsy, and trying this and that. then, you start buying five pounds of shea butter and different oils and odds and ends to make your own things. not saying that relaxed ladies don't also make their own products, but i'd be willing to bet it's not to the extent that natural ladies do.

i'm not exactly sure why natural ladies seem more prone to product junkyism, but it is markedly more concentrated within that community as opposed to relaxed ladies.

in the end, being natural will not magically put money in your pockets. and likewise, being relaxed doesn't have to break the bank. being relaxed and being natural can be pricey, or it can be relatively expensive - it all depends on the individual and their own habits. but to claim that "being natural is cheaper" is grossly mistaken.

the d:series -- contents

here's a rough outline of the ideas i wanted to touch on in this series. you can think of it as a chapter of contents. :)

001: not everyone is "meant" to be natural (and this is true)
002: not everyone has "curly" hair (kind of ties into the point above)
003: being natural is not "easy"
004: being natural is not "cheap"
005: being natural will not always make you "prettier"
006: being natural does not make you "better" than your relaxed counterparts
007: to be continued...

soo... as you can see, some of these titles might already ruffle some feathers. good. i want them to. i want this series to spark debate. i obviously don't know everything and can only present my thoughts on the points above. i want to know what everyone else thinks. there are always things i may not have considered or may not have been aware of and i want to have meaningful dialogue. also, if there are other points i may have completely skipped that you'd like to see discussed, by all means, please let me know!

i'm not sure if i'll do these points in order; because of that, i may not even number the posts. but i do plan to have the first post for this series tonight. :]

13 May 2010

the disillusionment series: thoughts?

so... in lieu of having little hair to talk about, i was thinking of maybe starting up a new series of posts called the disillusionment series (or possibly a catchier title).

i've been natural for a year now and when you first go natural, you are so excited and ready to absorb so much knowledge that you start subscribing to thoughts like natural hair is better, natural hair is easier to take care of, natural hair is cheaper. but when you actually think about it, it's all bullsh*t. that's right, i said it. easier? i never had to detangle relaxed hair. cheaper? compare a $35 wash and style versus $70 coils.

there are two sides to everything, of course; relaxed hair can be time and money consuming as well, but when you first go natural, life is such a 180 turn and you're so enthusiastic, everything may seem better when really, it's no better or worse than relaxed hair.

i don't want to seem like i'm suddenly bashing natural hair. still have it, still love it and i will continue to do so. i just think it's time for a few unbiased, researched facts to be presented. if you read my blog/reviews, you'll know i'm thorough and you'll know i'm fair. i think i can do this series justice and i've been thinking about it for a while.

i'll start cooking up my first post for this series and then maybe you guys can more accurately judge how this idea sounds. :) please, please, leave a comment and let me know what you think!

08 May 2010

[review] shea moisture coconut & hibiscus curl and style conditioning milk

ingredients: coming soon

i knew i was supposed to have this review up a long time ago for lovely, lovely skeeta, buttt... i dropped the ball on that one and she ended up reviewing it before me! so, to make amends, i've decided to go ahead and finally bang out this review now.

typing up the title to this review, i realized... the shea moisture line has far too many offshoots, pre-titles, sub-titles, and actual titles. i mean, look at how long the name of this thing is! in my review of their deep conditioner, i mentioned that the label had a lot of information written on it. while i think this is a defining characteristic to the line, it's obvious to see that shea moisture doesn't subscribe to the age-old adage that less is more.

like with the deep conditioner, i found this at my local target. you get a weighty 8 oz bottle for about ten dollars, which isn't bad. accessibility and natural ingredients make this an appealing buy. the scent is fresh and... new. i don't think i've ever smelled hibiscus, so i suppose that's what that was. just sweet enough with a hint of floral to temper it and add an interesting twang. however, while i did like the scent, i grew tired of it in about a week. i don't think i could go around smelling like it all day.

one thing i like about the shea moisture line is there packaging. the deep conditioner jar is solid with a little weight and a very soft-edged finish. the bottle is no different - a little thicker than your standard cosmetic jar, and very appealing edges/shape (i know i sound like such a nerd - how can a bottle be appealing? lol). the label is an interesting (like all there colors), muted, pastel-ish peachy/blood orange, which works well enough with the deep brown lettering, although i wish the letters didn't have that same matte tone - a crisper color would really make the colors pop.

the consistency is a little thicker than the deep conditioner, and that coupled with the thickness of the bottle can make squeezing it out a little tough, especially if you want a good sized glob. but take that with a grain of salt - i can barely open a door without struggling. only thing about this "milk" (and a lot of other "milks"), is that i feel the consistency is a touch too thick to be called a milk. i expect a thinner product that moves/slides easily, but still as a touch of creaminess to it.

ingredient wise, this product touts an impressive list; it's got your basic natural product ingredient tenants: shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil, etc., which a few extra herbs and such thrown in there for kick. as you can see above, the ingredient list is quite lengthy, so you can be sure you're getting a lot of good stuff onto your noodle, but is all of that together at once the the best combination? if performance is any indication, probably not.

as far as the title goes, this didn't give me any kind of "curl" or "style," it defined nothing for me, which is usually a good indicator of the moisture a product will impart. when my hair is saturated with moisture and nutrients, my curls are quick to spring up with little manipulation; that didn't happen this time. i massaged a good amount of this into damp hair and went to sleep. when i awoke, my hair felt unremarkable. it didn't feel moisturized like i was used to, but it wasn't quite dry either. but running this stuff through my hair, i felt as though i was just coating my strands with it. even on my little fro, i could feel it being weighted down, which i didn't like. i felt as though i would need another wash just so i could put another moisturizer on and have it actually penetrate.

all in all, i am really underwhelmed by this product. this is one shea moisture that did nothing for my hair, and quite honestly, i wasn't expecting much in the first place. i suppose i could've used this to twist or braid with (if my hair was longer); i've heard some ladies like using it that way with great results , but i won't be repurchasing to find out (and it's already been regifted, so no hard feelings).

ftc disclaimer: i am in no way affiliated with this company. i was not paid for this review and the product was purchased with my own monies. :)

about this he'a hurr cut...

i am loving every bit of my hair cut! don't have to wait years for some gel to dry, don't have to worry about what i'll do with my fro when i go out, no lumpy afro, no frizz. i firmly believe every woman should enjoy a low-maintenance, short cut. when i tell you all it is bliss, i am not lying! i shampoo my hair whenever my scalp feels a little itchy, and just moisturize morning and night.

my single complaint... is that it grows back so dang fast. i plan to go back to get it cut back down next weekend. i love it when i can't see tiny strands of hair at attention, even after smoothing. i also think it just looks a lot neater cut low. i also feel as though i need to shampoo and moisturize often, but it's not much of a hassle when it's low. it itches as it starts to grow back, though.

it's also nice to know that i'm the only girl on my (huge) campus with this hair cut. i feel even more unique than before and it shows. i confidence when through the roof when i first chopped, but now i feel nothing less than invincible. who knew that being a baldy would be so empowering? ;)

oddly enough, i have gotten a lot more attention from the males than usual. when i first went natural, my twa hadn't earned me any obvious attention from the mens. which was perfectly fine - i hadn't gone natural for the compliments, from men or women. now, where the attention is coming from, i really can't say. maybe it's because it's finally hot out and i'm showing more skin. maybe it's because i'm wearing a little makeup more often. still wearing earrings and perfume daily, so i knew it wasn't that, but i'm sure it helps.

i know that just saying "i'm getting more attention" is pretty vague, so i'll try to put it into perspective. when i had my twa, compliments quickly petered out after i'd first chopped. i got no attention from those of the opposite sex because of my hair. now, i have boys moving to talk to me on the bus. dudes literally turning in their car to watch me as they drive by. a boy i'd never spoken to in class turns around to compliment me three times. dudes rubbing my neck and smoothing my hair in a sweaty dance club (ew). even the bus drivers are (more) eager to greet me. some boy in the library could tell i was "bad" and subsequently offered me his number (uhh... right). obviously, something's up, right?

and i won't lie - i love the attention, but even more than that, i love the feeling it gives me. features i'd previously disliked about myself (my straight nose, my "large" ears) now don't seem nearly as unattractive as i'd previously thought. my ears are far from large and my nose is damn cute. it's really amazing how hair and its shape and style can change angles and perspectives.

of course, with short hair, i feel a little bit more pressure to act feminine, to offset the boyishness. other than wearing makeup daily, i can't really say if i've made any pointed efforts towards that end, but i know i have definitely, unconsciously tried to be a little more demure, a little more flirtatious.

but where does this leave me? i'd like to have long hair one day, but this cut is just too nice to give up... i've planned to keep it short for the summer and let it grow out during the winter (because things are ten times colder when you have no hair). i may cut again during the summer, not sure. i feel like this hair cut is definitely a stylist summer style, where you have the sun beating down and warming every inch of you. i'm not too sure about the winter though and i am cold blooded creature. guess i'll just have to invest in some new hats and scarves.

i am excited to have a twa again though, now that i feel i'll be able to better take care of it and style it. and, of course, always excited to try out some new products.

as for my motivation for cutting... no real reason. :) i've always wanted to and i'm beginning to get over waiting for things i want to do. i decided now was the perfect time!

and there you have my update! the next few posts will probably be product reviews.

01 May 2010

sooo... what now?

now that i've cut my hair, i really have been keeping it simple. i just wash my hair with whatever body wash i'm using - i don't bother with shampoo and conditioner. i moisturize twice a day, using up products that i already have - oyin's burnt sugar, mozeke's avocado cream, and hairveda's vatika frosting. i'll do a seperate post about my hair cut in it's entirety... but i was wondering.

would it be fair of me to review products i use on such a short haircut? would i really be able to provide an accurate description of their performance when i don't have much hair to judge the performance on? i'm not sure. i will still do reviews, but they will be sparingly, and on product i've been meaning to post for a while. i'll be reviewing oyin's shine and define and victoria secret's so sexy conditioner, as well as anything else that i may be forgetting at the moment.

that being said... what would you guys like to see on this blog? so far, it's been about me, me, me, izzy, me, me, me... which is alright, considering it is my blog. lol. but i don't want this to sit here and collect dust while i keep this short cut.

so what are some things you might like to see me write about? interviews with naturals, non-naturals, etc? general stories about my hair - because i've gotten more attention with this cut than when i first went natural, including some fool in the club rubbing on my neck.

anyway, i'm really interested to know what kind of direction you'd like to see my blog take. i know i have a good number of followers and i'd like to keep you all interested. i know my blog may not get a lot of comments, but i appreciate each and everyone i do get. :) so i just want to show my appreciation.