Pursuit of Natural

life, levity, & the pursuit of natural


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Hand Coordination

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The hardest part of doing protective styles that are secured along the scalp is mastering hand coordination. There is a learning curve. The more complex the weave, the steeper the curve.

When you’re just starting, it seems like you’ve lost all motor control. Your fingers and brain are in disagreement. You’ll miss a stitch, forget what maneuver comes next, and have to undo the whole thing, otherwise go around with janky-looking braids.

Ultimately, practice makes perfect. But here, I’ve collected a few tips that have helped me build muscle memory and get those braids done quicker. And I’m still learning!

The Clasped Hands Test

Here’s what you do: Clasp your hands behind your head, leaving your palms apart and flat against the back of your head. Now, without unclasping them, shift your hands around to the left side of your head, the front, the right, and back. You’ll notice that at each point, your elbows are facing opposite directions, and at either side one arm is reaching over your head. This is how your arms and hands should be positioned when you’re working on your entire head. If your elbows are together or facing the same direction, you’ll run into the original problem once your row reaches towards the back of your head. Use this test to get into proper hand & arm positions. The sooner you get in the habit, the more consistent and natural it will feel.

BONUS: Watch YouTube Tutorials

I can’t recommend Breanna Rutter enough. She is out here teaching the children how to do all the braids. She’ll get you together.

 

Keep Your Fingers Close to the Scalp

Whenever you pick up hair or exchange hands, always try to keep your grip at the roots, close to the scalp. It’s harder than it sounds. It took me a long time to get it, and my situation was always puffing up or unravelling no matter how tautly I pulled each stitch.

This one just took time (and practice) for my brain to believe all those tutorials where the women were just stitching away using only their fingertips. I didn’t need 2 inches of slack to execute the complicated hand maneuvers, nor did I need to use my whole hand to hold on for dear life, lest everything slip free and I lose my place. It’s in the grip, not the tension, so when done correctly, you shouldn’t get hand cramps or an aching scalp.

BONUS: Relax

If your styling sessions take as long as mine, the tension and strain will creep in. Every so often, straighten your back and drop your shoulders. Shake out any tightness in your fingers. Take breaks when you need to!

 

If You Can’t Let Go, You’re Doing it the Hard Way

When braiding or twisting along the scalp, you should be exchanging hands, not permanently holding hair in both. Whenever you execute a stitch, it should always leave one hand free.

This was so critical for me to master. Aside from providing the opportunity to detangle any clingy strands, having a free hand distinguishes which hand should be doing what job next. Again, I used to be inclined to hold on for dear life, but the more videos I watched and practiced, the better I understood.

BONUS: Tips for Those Parts

Hand coordination is hard, but making straight parts is time-consuming. For that I have three tips:

  1. Do a rough part with your hands first, just to get most of the hair out of the way. Then go in with your comb.
  2. Getting straight parts in the back of your head is a challenge when you don’t have hands-free mirrors to see. Instead of parting and checking multiple times, look in the mirror and use the thumb and middle finger of your non-dominant hand to mark the start and end of where you want the part. Then, like connect the dots, draw your comb from one finger to the other. Parting blindly this way will take fewer tries to get it right.
  3. 4c/4b hair, or just clingy when dry and pliable when wet? Make your parts ahead of time after a wash. I recently started doing this, and comparatively, I breeze through those parts when my hair is wet. I create my parts, let those sections dry in some stretched twists, and the next day I install my long-term protective style.

 

I hope you found some of these tips helpful. If so, like this post! How often do you protective style? Are you into protective styles currently or nah? Leave a comment below. And if you’re a fan of The Pursuit, subscribe and follow me @edinPON.

 

 

 

 


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Preserving My Edges

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Growing my edges in and keeping them in are two related but distinct challenges.

Oil treatments and scalp massages are great and all, but when life is physically snatching my edges, I have to take more drastic measures. If you guessed the solution involves protective styling, you know me too well.

Two flat twists along my forehead are all it takes to protect my edges from friction and everyday wear. They are quick and easy to install, takedown, and redo if necessary. There is a twist:

You may have seen this two flat twists in front style before, and if you’re like me, you may have disliked the visible part. Just one single, big ol’ line on the front your head, looking odd. You could cover it up if you wear your hair out, but I wear my hair pulled back and bound 99% of the time.

One remedy is to wear a headband or tie a scarf over the part (it’s also how you conceal puffy roots on old hair.) My main method, though, is to not use straight parts.

I don’t mean crooked, with hairs criss-crossing everywhere. I mean I use an angle part.

 

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See the difference in the photo? One line is easily overlapped by and covered with a middle part and the other peeks out the more tautly I pull back my hair.

With the angled part, I have even been able to do a halo twist over it and the parts remain hidden. This way of twisting my edges puts less stress on those really short hairs I’m trying to preserve, because I’m primarily reinforcing with the longer hairs just behind them to make up the bulk of the twist. Angle parting also works magic on my twist outs but that’s a post for another day.

 

How are your edges doing? Do you have any neat little hair hacks? Share below in the comments. And if you’re a fan of The Pursuit, subscribe! Like this post, share with your friends, and follow me @edinPON.

 


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That Time I Invented a Hot Comb to Avoid the Hot Comb

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True story–don’t try this at home.

As a child, I hated the hot comb. It felt like punishment when I didn’t even do anything wrong. Also, I hated all forms of grooming and hygiene–a waste of time, I thought, with which I could be playing and getting dirty again.

Anyways! One fine afternoon my mom informed me she would be pressing my hair with the hot comb. You would think I’d been told to take a bath. Oh, the sulking. Oh, the whining noises! When that had no effect on her resolve, I had to take matters into my own hands.

I came up with the brilliant idea to do it myself! It would be super-quick and painless because I’d be using a wide tooth metal pick instead of that horrible instrument of torture built like a cast iron skillet. And I wouldn’t go so close to my skin or burn my ears. Of course my hair wouldn’t be the least bit detangled but that’s my grown self interjecting into this story.

Now, I just needed a safe heat source, and by safe,  I meant covert, because if I got caught fooling around with the open flames of our stove, the tongue-lashing I’d get from my mother would straighten my hairs all on its own.

So the space heater it was. Yes. I stuck a metal hair pick through the grill of an electric space heater to avoid the hot comb. Apparently, electrocution was a less scary prospect.

Anyways! I did that a couple of times (who knows if I even finished my whole head?) and skipped off to tell my mom not to worry about firing up the old gas stove because I had successfully “straightened” my own hair. With a wide tooth pick. And a space heater.

I’m not sure what in my few years of existence led me to believe my mom would be anything but horrified at that. She was, suffice to say, unimpressed by my ingenuity. And I still had to get my hair pressed.

The End.

 

What sort of hair shenanigans were you up to as a child? Share below and like this post. If you’re a fan of The Pursuit, subscribe! Share with your friends and follow me @edinPON


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Mystery Blogger Award

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What is it:

“Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion. –  Okoto Enigma

The Rules:

• Put the logo/image on your blog.

• List the rules.

• Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog.

• Mention the creator of the award and link their blog.

• Tell your reader 3 things about yourself.

• You have to nominate 10-20 people.

• Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.

• Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question.

 

So, I’ve been nominated by Yeka over at myyeka.wordpress.com. Thanks, girl! This put a smile on my face today.

Three Things About Me:

  1. I hate bananas–the cold mushy texture, the afterthought of a flavor. I rebuke it. Give me fried plantain any day! I can’t remember ever liking bananas, but I do remember many a standoff as a child refusing to eat my “fruits”.
  2. I’m an aspiring music producer. I’ve had an on-again off-again love affair with the piano since preschool. Today, I’m pursuing a career in music production.
  3. “I’m currently learning Spanish”…has been a perennial saying of mine for the past two years.

 

Yeka’s Questions:

1. Would you cut your hair for $10m?

Girl, with 10 million dollars I would cut my fro and convert to product junkism. Hand pressed coconut pink hibiscus mermaid tears deep conditioner? I’ll take a dozen!

2.  What is your worst scenario of a typical bad day?

Being too depressed to eat, take care of myself, or interact with anyone.

3.  What is your biggest dream in life?

My biggest dream is to work hard enough to be successful enough to help my family ease their burdens.

4. How mischievous were you in your childhood days?

Ha! Not very. I tried it, got caught in a lie (I was never a good liar), and got my butt whooped. But those cookies were so addictive, I just had to eat the whole box.

5. Who in this world would you trade places with just for a day?

For one day? President of the United States sounds good, but then, of course, you are *trading* places.  So, no one. I don’t want anyone wreaking havoc for 24 hours in my life.

6. What’s the craziest thing you have ever done for love?

I’ve never done anything crazy for love. Draw your own conclusions.

 

My Questions:

  1. What is your favorite way to treat yourself?
  2. Disregarding the laws of physics, what’s an invention you could use to make your life easier?
  3. Whom in your life do you lean on most, when you are going through hard times?
  4. When was the last time you got a compliment that brightened your day?
  5. Do you remember your life before smartphones; how has technology impacted you (for better or worse?)

 

The Nominees!

  1. HeyMissJackson
  2. Full of Sol
  3. HealthyNappyNerdyMommy
  4. The Curly Frugalista
  5. D’apres Tania
  6. Idle Head
  7. Beinpickii
  8. Naturallynn
  9. Rhythm In Life
  10. QueenBits

Congrats to all these unique voices!


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Dryness or Texture?

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Going natural, there’s a lot to learn about our hair. What type of texture do I have, porosity, density, and so on? With so much unfamiliarity it’s easy to misunderstand how our hair is supposed to look and feel. How it’s supposed to work.

After years of being used to straight and silky smoothness, any amount of texture can feel rough or dry. But it’s not always the case. For example, sometimes it feels like my ends are unusually rough and knot-ridden when they are only tightly coiled around each other, and when I unravel and inspect them I sometimes find there aren’t any knots at all. It’s maddening.

And how can I tell when my hair is actually dry? Well, I let it dry out once, sans product, to see what that looked and felt like. I believe I first got the idea from a CurlyNikki post, but I decided to do it on purpose so I could really learn the difference.

I didn’t expect there to be much of one, but was I ever wrong. When my hair is actually dry as in parched, it feels bare or chalky. It is not soft and pliable but nightmarishly clingy and stiff. On a day-to-day  basis, my edges are the easiest areas to tell the difference. They are very resistant to manipulation when dry and are a good indicator on when I need to remoisturize my situation.

So, before you misperceive there’s something wrong with your fro, get to know what it’s like when it’s really dry and rough. You might be surprised to find your everyday hair is far, far from a “brillo pad” thanks to your regimen.

How does your texture behave when it’s really dry? Is your everyday hair happily moisturized or do you still struggle with moisture balance? Share below in the comments. And if you’re a fan of The Pursuit, like this post, share with your friends, and follow me here and @edinPON.