Working Out With Natural Hair

Between school work, extracurricular activities, working and having a social life, going to the gym can seem to be a tedious task and having to consider your hair can also make it pesky. As someone who avidly and likes to work out multiple times a week (I try for daily but no promises), I an assure you that working out and keeping your hair clean and healthy is not as difficult as it may seem. It’s taken me a while to figure out what works for me but figuring what works out for you and your hair is always a trial and error process. Here are some things that have proven to be successful for me in balancing hair and body health:

  1. Stay Organized: In order to incorporate gym trips into your weekly schedule, you will need to know how your week is going to run. If you have a planner, map out what you plan to do each day and see when and where you can fit in times to visit the gym. Once you have that set up you should consider your weekly hair routine and what hairstyles will last the best throughout your gym trips.
  2. Keep a Moisturizing Hair Mist: Your hair will be more prone to dryness due to your sweat so creating a DIY or buying a moisturizing spray is highly recommended. If you want to make your own spray, mixing water, your favorite hair oil and a cheap conditioner to mist your hair with after each workout will keep your hair hydrated and fresh.
  3. Tie Your Hair Back: A loose bun or ponytail or even braiding or twisting your hair back to keep it out of your face will prevent your hair from getting frizzy and tangled from your workouts. It will also stop you from playing with your hair or constantly brushing it aside which causes breakage. I personally like to keep my hair twisted back into a low ponytail because the style that I wear my hair in most of the time since it’s shorter now. When my hair was longer I would always go with a bun. Be sure to use ouch-less ponytail or satin ponytail holders!
  4. Hair Rinses: The most that I ever wash my hair, whether with shampoo or with conditioner, is once a week. If I find that my hair has gotten really dry or just needs to be completely refreshed after a workout, I will simply rinse my hair with nothing but water. This helps clear my hair of sweat and restores moisture into my curls. After a hair rinse, I usually style my hair in bantu knots or flat twists with a light conditioner and style my hair the next day.

All in all, your hair health shouldn’t take precedence over your overall health. Working out often has caused me to keep a simple hair regimen that doesn’t require a lot of time or products. Let me know which tips helped or what you found to be a better alternative!

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Starting From the Bottom: Transitioning to Natural Hair

Let’s rewind back to 2009. If you would have asked me if I would ever get a relaxer and big chop again after my first time going natural, I would have scoffed, rolled my eyes and replied with a simple, “never!” Here I am, 5 years later, natural for the second time: short hair, a good amount of products and confused by the follicles growing out of my scalp. Surely by now I should be used to this but I’m not. Last September I made the decision to relax my hair with the desire for something new and the need to start all over again. I loved it. My hair was straight and flowy as I twirled my signature flip in constantly with a hair straightener. I felt sassier than ever.  As the months went by, my relaxed strands became dull and my natural hair more prevalent. “Oh yeah,” I remember thinking, “my real hair!” After 10 short months of transitioning, my scissor happy hands found themselves snipping away at my color-damaged orange and brown strands 10 minutes before I had to leave for work. What on earth was I doing? If you were to ask me this question every time I did something with my hair I would probably tell you the same thing each time: I have absolutely no idea.”

Starting over is difficult. When I first started to cut my hair for the second time, I was terrified and immediately stopped after snipping off a small section. However, my desire to start over was overwhelming. My relaxed hair was nothing but a memory of all the hurt and difficulty I encountered in my sophomore year and since my junior year was only weeks ago, I told myself that it is only right that I start new with no attachments. So for the second time, I started over.

My second cut may not have been as drastic as my first cut back in 2009 but I am going through the same struggles that I once faced. Seeing myself as beautiful, working out which styles I can do with my hair (I may be African but my braiding skills are not the best) and playing with products and figuring out how to maintain moisturized strands. Coupled with my hectic life schedule and school load, returning to natural again is a lot more difficult than I initially imagined. But day by day, I am getting through it. I am becoming more accustomed to what my hair likes and what is a recipe for a disaster.  Remembering what I once did and finding out new tips and tricks have led me to a place where I am more comfortable with my hair.  I definitely won’t  be returning to my pastime favorite of playing with hair colors. My accumulated damage is what led me to start all over. Instead, I want nothing less than healthy, happy virgin hair that I can grow out to my goal length and more importantly, enjoy! However, hair is an accessory after all and I will still be experimenting with some natural dyes and treatments. I hope that you all can join me on this roller-coaster ride of ups and downs as I ride towards my hair goal of waist length. Stay tuned to my posts on CurlyinCollege  and follow me on my personal networks if you want to see more of me! I am a golden unicorn of magic so expect to see a lot of me!

XOXO-Ivie

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Meet The Interns: Kiana Ward

Hello! I am Kiana Ward, a current student at North Carolina A&T State University and I am expected to graduate in the year of 2018. I went natural January 2nd, 2014, and I big chopped.

My deciding factor on going natural was that I just wanted healthier and more even textured hair. I had grown tired of the straight ends and the breakage and I just needed something different. Still today, my perception of myself varies depending on my social group. Some like my curls and others do not. When I receive compliments on my curls, I love them. When there’s criticism, I find myself trying to change my look. I have definitely experienced a difference in treatment since going natural…especially with the guys. But I enjoy my hair either way. It’s mine!

My favorite part of my hair routine would have to be deep conditioning. I love the feeling after you’ve detangled and shampooed. It is amazing. My top three hair products would be Coconut Oil (any brand, honestly),Aquage Seaextend Ultimate Colorcare with Thermal-V Strengthening Conditioner, 16 Ounce( love it! live by it), and Shop CurlyInCollege© – Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Original Leave-In Moisturizer for Unisex, 8 Ounce.

My top three hair tool…I don’t really use any tools. However, I do use my paddle brush whenever I wear my hair in a bun. Bob Pins are very useful also.

My #MCM has been and will always be A$AP Rocky, and my #WCW is the beautiful Jade Kendle from Youtube. I love you guysss.

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Meet The Interns: Hana Ford

My name is Hana Ford. I attend Temple University and I am apart of the class of 2018. I went natural June 29, 2012, so I have been apart of the natural hair community for approximately two and a half years. I was attempting to transition however I simply did not have the patience so I just decided to do the big chop.

The main thing that made go natural was the overall health of my hair. I was starting to experience lots of breakage and I tried everything to fix the problem, but I just was not successful in doing so. Every since I cut my hair I have become so confident in myself and I have started to value myself for the queen that I truly am. I think other people definitely perceive me as a much more confident and outgoing individual since I went natural.

Since I have cut my hair I think people have subconsciously placed me in a group with all the other women and girls who have natural hair. I have much love for the natural hair community, but I have an identity outside of my hair and each person with natural hair is different in their very own way.

My favorite part of my hair routine is styling my hair because there’s always numerous options. My top 3 hair products would have to be coconut oil, Cantu Leave In Conditioner, and Organix’s extra penetrating Argan oil. My top 3 favorite tools are my fingers of course, a Denman brush for detangling, and a wide tooth comb so I can pick out my fro from time to time.

My current #WCW is the model Wakeema Hollis. She’s absolutely stunning and she rocks her natural hair in photo shoots which I absolutely love. My #MCM would have to be Pharrell because he is both timeless and ageless and he’s an icon in the music industry.

 

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Meet the Interns: Ivie Enoma

Name, College, Graduation Year

Hi! My name is Ivie Enoma and I am a proud Marketing major at Temple University set to graduate in Spring 2016!

When did you go natural? Did you big chop or transition?

This is actually my second time going natural! The first time, I transitioned for 8 months before big chopping. That was in the summer of 2009. I was natural up until September 2013. I got a relaxer and transitioned once again for about 11 months. I big chopped in August 2014 and here I am again 1 year and 4 months post relaxer!

What was the one deciding factor that made you go natural?

The first time I went natural, I wanted to do something different with my hair. I am pretty tender-headed so I was experiencing a lot of burns and sores from relaxers and I was fed up with it. I hated everything about the relaxing process and did not want to continue my discomfort. The second time I went natural, I wanted to start all over again. After experiencing with a lot of color, heat and just not properly caring for my hair, my hair health had fallen greatly. My curls were limp and frizzy and I hated it. So I got a relaxer to transition and go natural once again. This time I would keep my hair healthy and I am successfully doing so!

How has your perception about yourself, and others, changed since you’ve been natural?

Now that I have short hair again, I definitely look a lot older than I actually am and that occasionally gets to me from time to time but my perception of others has not and will never be affected by a choice that I make for myself regarding how I choose to look.

Have people approached or treated you differently with natural hair?

Not really. I just have this one sorority sister who loves my hair texture. She always plays with my curls whenever I do my hair and I love it. Other than that,I have noticed that I get a lot more compliments when my hair is straight which is ironic to me because I’m not  a big fan of straight hair.

IvieWhat is your favorite part of your hair routine?

I love washing my hair to bits! It’s the most relaxing part of my routine and I look forward to it throughout the week. Call me weird but I love it!

What are your top 3 must have hair products?

Definitely a conditioner with tons of slip to make dentangling a breeze, a great leave-in-conditioner and some type of sealant. I like to use Herbal Essence’s Hello Hydration, Oyin Handmade’s Hair Dew and raw shea butter.

What are your top 3 favorite hair tools?

Other than my basic comb and soft bristle brush, I have the Hair Therapy Cordless Turban that  I like to warm up and use for deep conditioning.

Who is your current #MCM and #WCW?

My Man Crush Mondays are constant and cannot be limited to one man! I will forever and always fall head over heels for Idris Elba, Seung-Hyun Choi (T.O.P) and Charles Michael Davis. I have a ton of other side baes but those 3 will always be my top #MCM. My #WCW changes constantly but right now I am totally in love with NaYeon (@Naye0na on IG) because her makeup skills are incredibly enchanting!

 

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“Why don’t you comb your hair?”

I love big, wild, curly hair. I always have. Watching old(er) school actresses like Tia and Tamera Mowry from Sister, Sister and Tracee Ellis Ross from Girlfriends was probably a big part of that. But, it was not until recently that I found the courage to wear my hair that way. Up until a short time ago, I thought the only way to wear my texture hair was in a slicked back bun or in two-strand twists. Even though these women were a part of what I saw often on TV, I never thought that my hair was “pretty” enough to be let down like that. In my mind, those styles were for the mixed girls with “prettier” hair.
 tia_tamera
It was not until my final year in high school when I started my hair journey that I was able to let go and let it out. I had been researching a great deal on natural hair; how to care for it and how our hair differs from other textures. I was also looking at different twist out and braid out techniques and saw how beautifully some of them came out. It was a couple months before I finally decided to try one.
I prepped my hair over night: moisturizing and sealing and meticulously placing the hair in chiney bumps (or bantu knots as Americans call them). Then, I took it down in the morning. It did not come out exactly how I wanted it to, but I worked with it and wore it to church. The whole time I was walking on the road and sitting in church I felt incredibly self conscious, like everyone was staring at me (mostly because they were).
At the time, the natural hair movement had not really hit my section of Jamaica yet. Many persons still believed that you either had relaxed straight hair, or you control your natural hair so it looks relaxed. I was one of the first girls in my town who did not have loose, silky ringlets to dare to wear my hair out.
After church, one of the older ladies took me aside and asked me “Why didn’t you comb your hair before you came to church?” My face fell. I was already self conscious and this lady was not helping at all. I mumbled some lame response about trying something new and scuffled away.
All I could think was “I spent hours on this hairstyle, it is combed!” I was genuinely hurt. I had gotten a few complements throughout the day about how thick and nice my hair was, but this was the only one I remembered. As much as it hurt my 18 year old self esteem, I did not try to tie my hair up to make it look more “presentable”.
For the rest of high school, I tried different protective hairstyles that I found on YouTube and more than once persons who asked me “You couldn’t comb yuh hair?” To be honest, my first tries at many styles were not too hot, sometimes they would come out frizzy or lopsided, but I was trying. Eventually, I started getting the hang of it and I felt more confident. It was worth it though, because the moisture and the new found care I had with my hair had it growing longer than it ever was before.
When I got to college, I realized that there were so many other naturals wearing their hair out and wild and I loved it. I was able to accept that my hair is beautiful and now I wear my hair out more often than not. Every now and again there is a noob that asks me why I don’t comb my hair, but now it does not even affect me. I love my wild mane way too much for that.

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