Youtuber Spotlight: Queens & Curls

Our very own president of UC’s chapter of Curly in College has her own youtube channel. Keianna, who goes under the name “Queens & Curls,” is an expert in all things natural hair related. In her latest video, which is seen above, she shows us how she uses Curls products to achieve a three strand twist out. Her other videos include tutorials, her favorite products to use, and a wash routine.

Curly in College will be sharing her videos here on the blog, but in the meantime, check out Queens & Curls for yourself, and be sure to like, subscribe, and leave a comment if you like what you see.

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Reclaiming My Hair

There comes a time in your life when you have to decide to be honest with yourself. Not sugarcoating anything but being truthful with how you feel on the inside; that way you can learn to embrace the things you wish you could change. I recently had to have this deep and intense conversation with myself. For as long as I can remember I  have always hated my hair. I wished I had longer, thinner, looser curls… I wanted to have “good hair”. Instead I was given extremely thick, medium length hair that I constantly wished would somehow magically change if  I tried hard enough. My childhood was spent sitting  in the beauty salon getting relaxers and spending an hour or two under the dryer to my stylist’s dismay.  I constantly used heat to give me the silky smooth hair that I  desired.

Having hair stylists make remarks about how my hair was too thick to even wash and how it would never get dry, had a damaging effect on my self-esteem. Instead of them giving me tips on my hair type, the negative criticism made me hate my hair even more. At this point I felt as if I could never go to a stylist again because I didn’t want to burden them with my “difficult” hair. My mom tried her hardest to get me to see that the hair I was given was good enough, but I could never see it. Until one day I stumbled upon a Youtube video by Naptural85. Seeing her opened my eyes to a world that I had never even thought I could be apart of. She had the same hair type as me and her hair looked healthy and long just like I had always wanted for myself. On that day I stopped getting relaxers and started my transition.

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 10.49.27 PMI knew that I couldn’t keep straightening my hair because it would start to become heat damaged and doing the big chop was something that I was too scared to do so the next best thing for me was to get sew-ins.  Sew-in extensions became my best friend, having my hair in braids underneath assured me that my hair would grow and stay healthy while allowing me to  have  versatile hair styles. This was my comfort zone for many years and instead of it helping, it hindered me. I was no longer waiting for all of my relaxed hair to grow out but rather deepening my hatred for my own hair. As I got into college I would strategically schedule hair appointments so that none of my classmates would ever see me with my actual hair. I would even go so far as to skip class and call off work so I wouldn’t have to be seen without my “hair security blanket”. It got so bad that my hair stylist was pleading with me to stop with the extensions and to let my hair breath. I knew that in order for me to stop running away from my hair I had to run toward it.

On December 20th I took down my last sew-in and for the first time in three and a half years I wore my hair out. The first full day was the hardest, I constantly looked in the mirror at myself as I tried to adjust to this new person in front of me. I felt self conscious as if wearing my hair in a twistout would make me the target of piercing eyes.  I was worried that wearing my natural hair would make me stand out more thanks to the ridiculous standards of beauty that we are taught. Instead of all of my greatest fears coming true the complete opposite happened, I was comfortable.

The stigma that I associated with my hair was gone and I felt like this afro style suited me better than any of the styles I had previously. As each day goes on I’m learning more and more about my hair and how to take care of it.  I know that not everyday will be a good hair day but the more I accept what I can’t change the better my attitude about myself will be.  The India Arie song I Am Not My Hair contained lyrics that made me ponder even more about my decision to accept my kinks and coils. “Does the way I wear my hair make me a better person? Does the way I wear my hair make me a better friend? Oh Does the way I wear my hair determine my integrity? I am expressing my creativity” These lines resonated with me and helped me in the decision to reclaim my hair and to no longer be ashamed of it.

 

 

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Curly Q of the Week: Faith Lumbus

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“Whether you transition or do the big chop it’s not going to come quick.” says Faith Lumbus first year student at the University of Cincinnati. Although she is currently undecided, she hopes to major in social work with a minor in criminal justice.
After her mother refused to pay for another perm, Lumbus was forced to go natural. She spent about a year transitioning, and has been natural for a little under a year. When asked how she felt about her mother’s decision to stop paying for perms she said, “I’m really glad she made me do that, because it made me be able to take care of my hair and learn about my hair and myself.”
Lumbus’ favorite hair product is Cantu Shea Butter Coconut Curling Cream. She also uses Cantu Shea Butter Conditioner Repair Cream, Camille Rose Natural Curl Love Moisture Milk, Ecostyler gel, and when asked about shampoo she laughed before saying, “I am currently seeking some sulfate free shampoo products.”
Aaliyah Curly Q

Lumbus’ go to hair style is a flat twist with a side part. Her hair inspo is Aaliyah Greer (pictured above), @Hazel_Goddesss on Instagram. Faith has been following her journey and loves the advice that she gives. She claims that it has helped her with her own journey.
When asked what advice she’d give to a new naturalista she replied, “Don’t try to compare your hair to other people’s, you have to learn how to understand your hair type and don’t assume that just because a product works for somebody else it’ll work for you. It takes a lot of patience, whether you transition or do the big chop it’s not going to come quick.”

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Holiday Gifts for Naturalistas

It is that time of year again. Tis the season for hot chocolate, fuzzy socks, red and green coffee cups, and all the moisturizer you can get your hands and hair on (We all know how this weather can dry up your curls).

So as you are exchanging Secret Santa gifts at your job and checking your family’s Christmas list…twice, share with another natural the gift of hydrated, perfect curls. Here are a few gifts that are most likely on every natural’s Christmas list.

1. Diffusers. Can’t go wrong with one of these babies. Everyone wants that perfect wash ‘n’ go but without the frizz. Diffusers help eliminate that while bringing an elongated and defined look . Pay attention to some of her favorite natural Youtube vloggers and see which diffusers they are using. I recommend buying a regular blow dryer, and going to a beauty supply store and buying an attachment there. Feel free to throw in a matching heat protectant while you’re at it.

2. Natural Hair Expo. I cannot speak from experience, but I can speak through referrals. I always hear great reviews from people who attend Curls over Brunch or natural hair expos. It can be a ladies night out where you and your girlfriends rent out an apartment in the city and attend a natural hair event during the day and do dinner and drinks at night. Tickets are usually not very pricey, but make sure to get them early because they always, always sell out.

3. A Gift Basket of Hair Products. Shea Moisture, Mane Choice, Carol’s Daughter. There are so many brands out there with incredible lines. Pick one that she has been wanting to experiment with. Choose a line and create a gift basket with all the products from that line. Choose a shampoo, co-wash, leave-in conditioner, oil or serum, and a deep conditioner. TIP: you may want to double up on the deep conditioner, after all it is winter. Buy a woven basket from Hobby Lobby or Target. Pick up some clear tissue or wrapping paper and a bow. After placing all the products in the basket, wrap the basket with the paper making a knot at the top and place the bow around the knot for a cute presentation under the tree.

4. Gift card. When in doubt, gift cards NEVER FAIL. If you are afraid she may have all of the above or she may not like what you picked out, a gift card to ULTA can definitely do the trick.

Hopefully these tips above can make the rest of your holiday shopping a bit easier. Another tip: stay updated with sales, discounts, coupons, and giveaways on social media. Many companies use this time to reach out to all of their customers, so stay on your toes, or should I say finger tips, so that you can buy all the best gifts without breaking your wallet.

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Drop the Scissors: Alternatives to the Big Chop

Three years ago, after my failed attempt and short lived experience going natural, I decided to give it another try. I watched Youtube video after Youtube video, read blog after blog, and was sure this time I was ready. But seven months after my last perm and four months into my natural hair journey, I was over it.

I started out well with braid outs and twistouts, (braidouts were my favorite) but as my new curls grew in, my styles would not look as nice anymore because of my stringy, straight ends. On top of that, my hair was shedding by the pounds. I was not sure if it was due to the stress I had senior year or if this is what vloggers warned me of. I am talking about the infamous demarcation line.

Whatever it was, I was sick of transitioning. I wanted to be fully natural already, but I was not ready for the big chop. And for the ladies reading this blog who are finding themselves in the same position I was in, I have a few words of advice that may help ease your natural hair journey.

Instead of going for the big chop and heading straight for the TWA, I decided to do a mini chop, multiple ones. As scared as I was, I got the scissors and handed them over to my sister (there was no way I could trust myself) and she cut about 1/3 of my relaxed hair into the trash bin. The next day I got braids for the first time. I was not used the heaviness of it on my neck but I got used to it. I left them in for a tad bit too long, but when I took my braids out in March, I could not believe how long my hair was. It made me wish I just went for the TWA instead.

After taking out my braids, I worked with a bun for a few weeks. Soon it was time for prom. At that point, I cut off what I thought was the last of my perm and had a weave installed. I had leave out, not realizing that I would have to re-straighten it every, single, day, but I made it work. I left my weave in for graduation and then tossed it. I realized I still had a few relaxed ends leftover. I cut those off and had braids put in one last time for the summer, which resulted in my hair growing incredibly once again. I straightened it in August for my sister’s wedding and a year and a month later my hair was down to my shoulders.

So rather than doing the big chop, I chose the mini chop instead. Thanks to protective styles, I was able to maximize moisture and retain length throughout the entire process.

For ladies who are not ready to go for the big chop all at once, I definitely encourage you all to take it step by step, cut little by little, or in increments. If all else fails, remember, it is just hair. It will always grow back.

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Life After the Protective Style

If you have ever worn a protective style, wigs, Marley twists, box braids, etc., then you should know that bittersweet feeling of taking off the wig or taking out the twists or braids.

This is a bittersweet moment because hopefully you loved wearing your protective style and it made you feel different and you knew your hair was

protected and growing, and that’s the “sweet” part. The “bitter” part comes in when you realize you have to spends hours taking out your extensions and possibly have to go back to styling your hair every day.

Just because it is a bittersweet task, doesn’t mean you should never want to wear protective styles or you should leave your protective style in a ridiculously long time, it just means you have to be mentally prepared when you are getting ready to take out your braids or twists.

Why do you have to be mentally prepared, you ask? Because a lot of questions run through your head, just like they ran through mine when I took out my Marley twists this past Sunday.

Questions like:

Before and After

“What if I don’t look as pretty with my braids/twists out?”

“Am I still going to like my natural hair when I take them out?”
“What if my hair didn’t grow as much as I wanted it to?”
“Is it possible that I damaged my hair?”
“Should I get another protective style right away?”

And many, many, more, but these are just a few thoughts that ran through my mind. Here is where the mental preparedness comes in…you have to be able to combat those semi-negative questions with uplifting and positive answers like the ones listed below.

First question response: You have to know you look beautiful with or without your protective style.

Second question response: You should always love your natural hair, no matter the texture, length, etc. Your natural hair is amazing!

Third question response: You have to remember that your hair will grow. Don’t get too caught up in length where you start neglecting health. Healthy hair will grow no matter what.

Fourth question response: If you know that you moisturized and conditioned your scalp and hair while it was under your protective style, then you have nothing to worry about! You hair is not damaged at all.

Fifth question response: You shouldn’t get a protective style right away, especially not if you want to do it because you feel like you don’t look as good while wearing your natural hair. Give your hair a break and re-embrace your own hair!

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What Can I Eat To Get Healthy Hair?

Everyone wants strong and healthy hair. Washing, conditioning, and moisturizing your hair is one way to keep your locks luscious, but there’s more you can do! A lot of your healthy hair journey comes from what you eat as well.

Remember that good food = healthy hair. Add these 5 foods to your diet and see how healthy your hair can be.

1) Sweet Potatoessweet potatoes
Sweet Potatoes are filled with Beta Carotene antioxidants which helps prevent dry and dull hair. Beta Carotene from food is converted to vitamin A, which promotes cell growth, including hair cells.
Other Beta Carotene enriched foods: carrots, cantaloupes, pumpkins, dark green lettuce
                                                                     oysters

 2) Oysters
I know some of you may be against eating oysters because they seem gross,     but they aren’t half bad! Oysters are rich in Zinc, which helps tissue growth     and repair and that includes hair growth. Not eating enough Zinc filled       foods     can result in extreme hair loss.
Other Zinc enriched foods: beef, cheese, fat free yogurt, crabs

3) Lean Poultryl poultry
Lean poultry is packed with protein. If you don’t have enough protein, hair growth can stall. Lack of protein can also result in weak and brittle hair. Adding more protein to your diet can strengthen the hair and promote healthy hair growth.
Other lean poultry: chicken, turkey

eggs4) Eggs
Not only are eggs high in protein, but they also contain large amounts of a B vitamin called Biotin, which is one of the most essential nutrients for a healthy scalp and hair growth. Some people actually put raw eggs directly on their hair to help condition it.
Other Biotin enriched foods: almonds, avocados, wheat bran
salmon
5) Salmon

Salmon is very high in Omega 3 Fatty Acids which are really good for your hair. Eating salmon can help open your hair follicles, promoting growth. Omega 3 can help prevent your from getting diseases and keeps your hair shiny and full.
Other Omega 3 Fatty Acid enriched foods: sardines, pasta, walnuts, peanut butter 

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Black Women In Media

Black women in media are embracing their curls, Afros, braids, and natural beauty on the red carpet and on TV. There is a long history of black hair and whether it is “acceptable” and “appropriate” under society’s beauty standards. It is evident now that those barriers are slowly being knocked down. This idea of what is and what is not acceptable in black beauty has left women feeling underrepresented in the media. Recognizing this is important for the growth of the black community.

What we see on media outlets greatly influences the way we interpret beauty, style and different perspectives. The lack of black women in the media makes it hard for other black women to relate and understand our own identities.

Growing up as a 90s kid, one of the television shows that I could relate to was That’s So Raven, it featured a black family and lifestyle. As a black girl, seeing a black main character was important to understanding my relevance in society and in the media as a young girl. I felt somewhat connected to the show and grew up understanding that there are girls like me out there that share part of my identity. I saw Raven change hairstyles and outfits all the time and that gave me cool ideas that I could possibly do with my hair and wardrobe. It is important for young girls to have this kind of representation in the media to boost self-confidence. When kids are young, they primarily learn by ‘monkey see monkey do’, and I wanted to be just like Raven. Kids try to understand their identities and beauty at a young age by copying what they see. If they don’t see people they identify with, its hard for them to find themselves.

It is not only important to have the representation of black girls on TV but also make sure they are acting in principal roles. The perception of black women, as a whole, can change by simply putting a black woman in a leading role.

I wish I saw more black women with natural hair in leading roles on TV . Although I had That’s So Raven, growing up there was a great gap between middle school and college where natural hair was not being represented. I am glad to see a recent rise in its representation on TV.

On prime time TV, more leading black women are in series that are reaching wide audiences. We see Kerry Washington in Scandal, Gabrielle Union in Being Mary Jane, Taraji P. Henson in Empire, and many more. These black women are in the forefront because individuals, who are behind-the-scenes, gave them the opportunity to be there.

Now, a popular TV trend is #TGIT, Thursdays on ABC, where three shows running back to back are produced by Shonda Rhimes, an African American woman who has greatly increased black influence on TV.

Actress Viola Davis recently won a historic Emmy making her the first African American woman to win Best Actress in a Drama. She stars in Rhimes’ show How To Get Away With Murder and has an amazing scene that changed the way I thought about the representation of black women on TV. In her legendary scene she removes her wig and makeup displaying her natural hair and natural beauty and completely changed my perspective on women in the media.

It was a real moment in TV where black beauty was truly defined in ways that it hasn’t been defined before. It was shown in its purest form and it was completely beautiful and courageous and a breakthrough in TV for black women.

It is important for these kinds of scenes to be shown on TV so black women may feel represented. The people we see in the media are trendsetters. When we have black producers and writers, we have more black actresses and representation in the media. Black writers create opportunity for black actors to achieve black greatness and black role models that inspire the generation of young black viewers.

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Naturalistas You Should Know: My Natural Sistas

Do you want to learn how to grow long, thick, and healthy natural hair? Are you tirelessly searching for some natural hair inspiration? Well, My Natural Sistas can help you out!

My Natural Sistas consists of 3 biological sisters, Carmen, Toni, and India, who have become YouTube sensations because of their gorgeous natural hair, amazing beauty and makeup tips, helpful product reviews, and so much more.

These sisters are excellent role models for thousands of natural girls and women who interact with the sisters through Facebook, Tumblr, and of course, YouTube.

There are numerous reasons why you should know, follow, and love this trio. What are some of these reasons, you ask? Well number one, their hair is definitely #hairgoals and will surely give you sooo much LIFE!

Number two, these beautiful women aim to motivate, inspire, educate, and spread love not only within the natural hair community, but among women in general, which is awesome!

Number three, the videos posted by My Natural Sistas will help you out in almost any area of your life. They discuss numerous topics such as natural hair, health, fashion, fitness, beauty, and even love.

Don’t know what style to wear your hair, check out their videos showcasing up do and afro hairstyles. Want to learn how you can improve and simplify your makeup routine, check out their numerous makeup tutorial videos.

These girls are the go to natural sisters! Not only are they all gorgeous ladies, but they are also super sweet and caring towards their fans and girls and women everywhere who look up to them.

My Natural Sistas encourages natural women everywhere to WORK their natural hair! So embrace your curls and kinks ladies and keep your heads up high.

If you want to check out and subscribe to My Natural Sistas YouTube channel to stay updated with all of their amazing tips, you can do so here.

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Watch us tonight on #BlackBizScope!

We are so excited to be talking about Curly In College on Black Biz Scope TODAY – Friday 9/4 at 7:30pm EST.

Please be sure to login to the *new* Periscope app on your phone to watch our live broadcast. Search @CurlyInCollege, then follow us to learn more about who we are and what we do!

Contact ashley@curlyincollege.com with questions.

 

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