Curly Q of the Week: Kalea Lucas

Curly Q of the week presents Kalea Lucas, a business major at the University of Cincinnati. Lucas has been a naturally curly girl all of her life. Growing up with a mother who rocked her natural hair on a daily basis, she never saw fit to chemically relax or alter her daughter’s curl pattern. That is not to say it was easy growing up curly. Lucas remembers countless times of struggle when she would have to deal with the thicker and curlier pattern her mom was not used to handling. When asked what her favorite products to use were, Lucas says, “I really like Shea Moisture to maintain my curls. Their Coconut and Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie is my favorite. I also like to use Jamaican castor oil on my scalp. When I do a wash-n-go, I use Shea Moisture’s Strengthen, Grow, and Restore Leave-In Conditioner.” Lucas mostly likes to style her hair in a twist out. In the colder, winter months though she says,”I try not to do a lot of wash-n-gos. I mostly leave my hair up in a bun.” Lucas’ piece of advice for all curly haired girls is, “I love my hair now but when I was younger I was so obsessed with perfecting it. I also wanted my curls to look a specific way, and when they didn’t I would get really upset. So, I would just say that no matter what your curl pattern is, or how you rock your hair, just love what you’ve got!”

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Curly Q of the Month: Diamond Benford

 

Curly Q of the month is the name of a new monthly feature of a curly haired gal or guy on the University of Cincinnati’s campus. We’ll look into all types of curl patterns, learn individual’s tips and tricks, possibly find some new style inspiration! If you’d like to be featured, please email the Editor-In-Chief of UC Curly in College, Niyah Jackson at jacksnh@mail.uc.edu. IMG_4289

Diamond Benford, who also happens to be one of my close friends,  is an 18-year-old, first year student at the University of Cincinnati, majoring in Psychology.

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Diamond has been rocking her natural curls for a while now, and uses Cantu products to keep her hair nice and healthy.

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“I especially love the Cantu shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, heat protectant, and curling cream,” Diamond exclaims. “It gives my hair a soft texture, and a natural shine.”

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“I love how low maintenance my hair is. For example, I don’t have to do anything to it for a few days, and one day be able to wake up, put some moisturizer in it, and it looks great!” Diamond also states that there’s some struggles to having such luscious curls. “I think the hardest part of maintaining my curly hair is how thick it is, and how easily it gets tangled.”

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A couple of Diamond’s go to hairstyles are flat twists to curl her hair, or simply rocking two puff balls. “Curls are life!,” Diamond declares with a flip of her hair.

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The Makings Of A Perfect Wash Day

Wash Day, we all have to do it but seriously does it have to consume our day?  We wash, finger detangle, rinse, condition, comb through, rinse, and finally apply product. Sound familiar?

Whether you pre-poo or dive right into washing your hair; or you have short hair or long hair. Wash day can literally take over your entire day, so clear your plans and get ready to spend some one-on-one time with your curls!  Most routines are pretty standard and easy but remain time consiming.  Here we want to talk about how to simplify your routine so you can get back to loving your natural hair.

First step-Shampoo: We want to start off with the right shampoo for your hair.  This can often be a struggle because there are so many great shampoos for natural hair.  Some shampoos have sulfates and some do not, it is all about your personal preference and what you want to put in your hair.  So to help in the process of picking shampoos here are a couple popular shampoos for curly natural hair:

  • Carol’s Daughter Monoi oil shampoo
  • Giovanni Smooth As Silk Deep Moisture Shampoo
  • Kinky Curly Come Clean shampoo

Often times after washing your hair, your hair seems a little dry so to get some moisture back into your hair lets add some conditioner.

Second step- Condition:  Conditioner should be a curly girl’s BEST friend.  You can never have too much conditioner! whether your are using it as a leave in, co-wash, or as a follow up to your shampoo; conditioner is a hair saver.  So enough about how great conditioner is – lets get to some facts…

Conditioner softens and smooths your hair to make it easier to comb and detangle while keeping those gorgeous strands intact and not allowing breakage which prevents or lessens damage.

Moisture, Moisture, Moisture! Moisture is what your hair needs to keep it healthy and that is exactly what conditioner does; keeps the strands and ends moisturized.

The best part of all, conditioner leaves your hair shinny and silky unlike clarifying shampoo.  Now through trial and error you can decide what conditioner works best for you but here are a couple favorites:

  • Jane Carter Nutrient Replenishing Conditioner
  • Shea Moisture Raw Shea butter restorative Conditioner
  • Aussie Moist Conditioner
  • TRESemme’ Naturals moisturizing conditioner

The fun part begins, adding product.  This is where even more trial and error comes into play (notice a theme? lol).  It’s time to add your leave-in.

Third step- Leave- in conditioner:   I know we just talked about how great conditioner was so what is the difference?  Conditioner is to add moisture into the hair after it has been stripped by the use of shampoo.  You also wash (most) conditioners out of your hair after using. Leave- in conditioner is a leave in, there is no rinsing involved.  Leave-in can also be used as a styling product.  With leave-in conditioner it is there to keep and lock in the moisture and to prevent the breakage from everyday styling.

There is no such thing as too much moisture so use all the leave- in you want!  Just to give some suggestions, here are some great leave- ins:

  • Kinky Curly Knot today
  • Cantu Shea butter leave-in conditioning cream
  • Camille Rose Curl Love Moisture milk
  • Miss Jessie’s Leave In Condish

A lot has been said about how amazing and wonderful conditioner is but now lets talk about the tools you need to detangle and get all kinks and knots out.

Essential tools:  All the talk has been about which products to use in your hair.  These tools will help your curls bounce and make it easier to style and protect your hair.  Here are some things that maybe useful to you on wash day:

  • Wide tooth comb
  • Denman brush
  • Diffuser
  • Satin pillowcase or cap

Want to know what products Solange uses and styles her hair? In this great interview with Garance Dore we learn about Solange’s hair care regimen.

The Curly Chronicles will continue. Stay tuned!

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Acknowledging Your Progress

Photo Credit: Ivie Enoma

This is my second time returning to natural hair and I am happy to say that I am far more patience this time around then I was the first time. This can be attributed to my hectic schedule and exhaustion or my overall desire to not focus too much on my hair. Either way, I’ve noticed tremendous growth in my hair and so have others! It’s so easy t
o convince yourself that you’re not making any progress in your hair journey (if it’s geared towards length) because shrinkage is the ultimate form deception! However, once you slow down and begin to notice the little things like finally being able to do a bun without needing bobby pins (I have yet to reach there) or you’re using up your products at a faster rate, you’ll know you’re retaining length. Some people like to have routine length checks but at this point in time I’m not too concerned to get back into that habit. However, every once in a while I will stretch my curls whenever I do notice growth. Just within 5 months I’ve noticed great growth! The last time I straightened my hair, I was struggling to do my signature flip with my bangs and couldn’t hold on to my ends very well. 5 months later and my bands are flippable and significantly longer. I could possibly be at the same length from when I relaxed again in 2015 in the next 5 months.

With longer hair comes changes. I’ve experienced texture change where my hair is now more wavy near my roots and curly towards my ends (I have a head full of lazy curls) and dryer ends which I have to pay more attention to or even switch up my products for. I definitely think my low maintenance and coconut oil massaged has helped a lot. If my hair isn’t in a flat twist and low bun, then it’s in mid-bun and a headband. I sometimes dabble in the occasional wash and go but I’m not a fan of the awkward length stage. I’ll dabble in a bantu knot out if I’m feeling fancy.

Now that I’ve figured out a stable regimen that works best for me, I may play around with different hair products now. Any recommendations you’d like to see my try? And that things do you like to do that you feel have helped you retain length?

See you in the next post!

xoxo

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Natural Hair Routine Challenges in College

Before I started college, maintaining my natural hair was a lot easier. However, I did not realize it until I started college. I have faced some challenges in my routine, but I am pretty sure I have it all figured out now.

Hard Water I did not understand that there is a difference in the water depending on where you live. The first time I washed my hair on campus I noticed that the texture was different. My hair felt really dry and brittle. I had not done anything different with my routine, so I knew it had to be the water. The water is considered hard because it has more minerals in it, but unfortunately it does not agree with my hair. In order to counteract its effect, I deep condition my hair before or after I wash it. This allows my hair to soften and gain moisture. Also, after I wash my hair, I apply a leave-in conditioner and olive oil. The hard water is my only option, so I have learned to work with it.

Not Having Enough Time Before college I was at home with more free time. Now that I am in college, my life is being run differently. I am on a different schedule with less free time. In order to solve this problem I had to find where in my schedule I had the most time and used it accordingly. I have learned to split my routine into two days for time purposes. I wash and moisturize hair one day and style it the next. I usually wash my hair at night so that it will have all night to dry. It is also a time where I can be inside while my pores are open. Maintaining my hair is very important to me, so finding the time is crucial.

Not Having Enough Space I was used to having a tub and a whole house to move around in. After starting college, I feel as if I am in a box compared to before. Limited space can be an inconvenience especially when you have a lot of products and accessories. Having a smaller shower has pushed me to limit the products I use and limit my washing process. I have learned to adapt to this situation by only using a cleansing conditioner or shampoo and a regular conditioner. When it comes to styling, I set up a little area in my dorm room with only the things I will be using. Do I feel restricted? Yes, but I make my only option work.

Limited Budget College limits the amount of money you spend. I am not able to buy products as frequent as I would like. I cannot just go buy a new product when I feel like it and try it out. I am limiting myself by only buying a product when I run out of one of them. This helps with my limited storage space as well.

What challenges have you faced with your hair due to a change of your environment? How have you adapted to the changes?

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Stop Biting Your Nails!

If there is one feeling that sucks a lot when it comes to dealing with natural hair, one that I know too well is the feeling of your hair snagging in your nails. As an ex-chronic nail biter, my hair strands would always get caught in my scraggly nails and sometimes it would hurt. If I knew how much of hair broke due to my horrid nail-biting habit, I would probably pass out!

For all my nail bitters, I know that quitting can be a gruesome task that is easier said than done. However, if you are truly committed to taking care of your hair, you are going to have to figure our a way to stop biting your nails!  When I decided I wanted to stop biting my nails, I made an effort to start doing my nails on a weekly basis. I would keep them nice and manicured because seeing them nice diverted me from biting them. I also started drinking a lot of water and rubbing coconut oil on my cuticles. I also carried gum in my bag so if I was ever tempted to bite my nails, I’d chew on it instead!

There are a variety of other things you can also do such as using an anti-biting nail polish or finding hobbies to keep your hands busy but I knew that my nail biting was linked to my nerves and stress. With that realization, I was able to train myself to do other things so I was no longer triggered to biting my nails. Finding out what triggers your nail biting will help you greatly as you fight to stop biting your nails. Your nails will look good and your hair will thank you!

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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: 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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