Pursuit of Natural

life, levity, & the pursuit of natural


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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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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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Much Ado About Wash Day

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What’s the deal with wash day and naturals? Why the sackcloth and ashes and lamentations? Well, if you used to be relaxed like me, the process of washing your hair went from easy breezy to queasy.

I exaggerate, of course, but when it comes to kinky coily natural hair, you can’t just slather on the shampoo, rinse, and go anymore. Yes, I used to shampoo only, with that 2-in-1 sham. Then I upgraded to a separate shampoo and conditioner and thought I was killing the game.

And then I went natural and the game was killing me.

Let’s break it all the way down. Some shampoos make the hair clingy (due to raised cuticles.) With natural hair, it’s not only clingy but also tangly. Unless I’m trying to start a giant dreadlock, the days of washing my whole head at once are gone. I have to wash a section at a time to prevent excessive tangling. I use hair ties to organize and when I’m feeling extra masterful I go all Naptural85 and retwist and bantu knot each section as I go.

Conditioner is meant to rebalance the pH of your hair after shampooing and that helps smooth down the cuticles. With chemically relaxed hair, I didn’t really notice the difference, but with natural hair? Whew! If I didn’t leave that conditioner to sit for the allotted time, my hair would stay clingy and rough.

That rinse and go I used to enjoy? Fuggetaboutit! I used to blast my hair with the full force of the shower stream at the same temperature as I used to bathe. Now, I’m mindful of too much agitation. I reduce the stream to gentle and lower the temperature to lukewarm. There are some hard core naturalistas that rinse with cold water. I am not hard core.

What was detangling in my relaxer days? Not a word in my vocabulary, that’s what. For a natural, there can be no wash day without it. I won’t even get into how my post-wash ritual has changed.

As you can see, with all these extra steps, wash day for naturals can be a major production. The good news is there are lots of tips, tricks, and tutorials out there to make it less so.

First, get your mind right. Sounds extra but trust that procrastination and dread will take over if you don’t set your mind to handle your business. Set a day. Set a time. Set aside the time. Make it happen. Mentally go over everything you have to do and accept how long it will take. Don’t fight it.

Make it as comfortable for yourself as possible. For starters, give yourself ample time to complete it.  You can detangle in the shower, and the conditioner, running water, and not worrying about the mess can ease things a bit. But if you detangle outside of the shower you can be seated, fully clothed, and watch a TV show or two…or three (or five, who am I kidding?) I’ve been detangling this way for most of my natural journey. It sometimes involves music and snacks.

Don’t be afraid to break up the process. Detangle and prepoo today, wash and set or style tomorrow when you are refreshed and recharged.

Focus on must-do tasks. This means I focus on getting my scalp clean. If all I have time for is a vigorous rinse, I know my scalp will be happy and my hair will be okay if I delay a full wash day for a few days. It means I may want to try a tea rinse, but if I can’t work it into my regimen, I will put off extra experiments like that for a more dedicated day.

Take a moment to ask yourself, “Is this a good time or nah?” If you think so, handle your business. If not, wait. I’ve had 2-hour sessions magically multiply–simple things turned complex!–because my mind and body weren’t ready and coordinated for the task.

While there is an unavoidable amount of extra effort involved in natural hair hygiene, it doesn’t have to be stressful. Plan and organize your wash day and you’ll find there’s nothing really to dread.

 

What do you dread most about wash day and how do you make the process easier? Comment below! And if you’re a fan of The Pursuit, like, share, and follow me here and @edinPON.

Did you know I’m writing a series for the newly natural? Find Dear Newly Natural Me at myyeka.wordpress.com. Check out the latest installment: here.

 


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Is This a Good Time or Nah?

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When my scalp is unhappy, my roots are unhappy, I’m unhappy. I’m walking around with frizzy, dirty hair and a ton of takedown work the longer the task is delayed.

If you’re one of those women who can clear a whole day and fend off all interlopers, you are wash day goals. I haven’t been able to keep a strict schedule, though with my current protective styling regimen it has improved. If I see an opportunity–several free hours or a half-day–I take it.  But, when my wash day unexpectedly becomes jam packed, I have to ask myself: is this a good time? Most often, I do not even try it.

I don’t know about you, but when I need to do my hair but can barely fit in the time, I get into a bad mood. This is not the best frame of mind when I finally do get to my hair. I’m not as gentle or patient as I should be. Cut corners, break strands.

Instead of punishing my hair, I find a way to freshen my look or cover up my situation until I can properly devote some TLC to my fro. I re-do the perimeter of my head if it’s in twists or braids, or wear a bandana or headband to hide those puffy roots.

When the situation calls for it, I will break up the process into manageable chunks. Once, I was forced to prepoo undercover (h/t @OlenaRosanne) for a day. Another week, I had to detangle my hair over four days, there was so little time. I styled in twists to camouflage that I was in the middle of a prolonged pre-wash takedown session.

Sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do, because leaving your hair neglected for too long is not an option, but attending to it in a bad mood when you’re pressed for time isn’t any better. I aspire to @kimmaytube hair “spa” days, but until then, I have to be mindful about transitioning the state of my hair throughout the week and be strategic with the multiple tasks that make up my sometimes not-so-relaxing wash days.

And if you’re scratching your head at all this ado about washing hair, don’t worry. Next week, I’ll break down why wash day looms large for this natural and many other naturals as well. Like, share, and follow me here and @edinPON to stay up to date on all new content!

 

 


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Transitional Styling

 

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Not to be confused with transition styles, which blend your textures when you are growing your natural hair but still have relaxed ends. I’m talking about how I take my hair from one state to the next, through the week and towards wash day with less mechanical damage. To that end, it does not include extensive re-twisting or resetting.

These days, I’m all about those cornrows and low buns, so the only transitioning I do is from post-wash twists or rollerset (to stretch my hair while it dries) to my long term style. But when I’m rocking my hair out, transitional styling helps minimize the inevitable wear on my fro by keeping it stretched while reducing the amount of time I have my hands in my hair.

I would start with stretched free hair for about two days, which is how long my stretched puffs last before looking tired. Then, I’d transition to a full or partial protective style that did not require too much sectioning or strand separation, because those are the top two ways I experience breakage. Halo twists and buns are my go-to for this reason. I’m either gathering my hair or doing one part down the middle. Finally, I’d go into a prep state the day before wash day. Each stage is an opportunity to lightly re-moisturize and lightly remove tangles and shed hair, but this last stage is where I would do a proper breakdown before putting my hair into twists to facilitate a tangle-free and organized wash process.

The goal, for me, is to be mindful of every point of contact with my hair. How many times a week am I messing with it? How many times in one styling session am I re-arranging and re-pinning? When it starts to fro out in my hands, I know I’m doing way too much. Having your hands in your hair doesn’t need to be a major production. If you’re on a length retention regimen but still want to show it off once in a while, keep it simple and let it thrive.

Quick shoutout to @Kimmaytube, who also has good weekly regimens with similar concepts.

Do you wear your hair out currently? How do you style it through the week? Comment below, and if you enjoy The Pursuit, like, share, and follow me here and @edinPON.

 

 

 


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Everybody Goes Natural in the Zombie Apocalypse

#spoilers

#spoilers

#spoilers

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Sasha / Sonequa Martin-Green (source: amc.com)

 

Michonne is a badass, but it takes a tough woman to brave the inevitable detangling sessions of wearing free natural hair at the end of the world. Do you think they have vegetable oil in Alexandria, let alone coconut oil?

We saw how Sasha tried to wear her fro in the beginning, trying to look cute in her low puffs and high puffs, knowing good and well that Southern heat and humidity would sabotage her with a quickness. Who among us hasn’t said “Screw it! I’m enjoying my length!” when we knew better?

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But when it got down to business, our girl Sasha was not messing around. Same protective style. Every day. And she rocked it every single time. Such elegance and efficiency in its simplicity. Look how even the end of her braid is tucked in! Length retention game on point.

Sasha was the real one. You know, the one we’d really be in the zombie apocalypse. Maybe not the baddest chick on the block, maybe not the most stoic mentally either, but smart, dependable when we got our ish together, and deadly proficient when we set our mind to something. Maybe we’d crack under the mounting traumas once in a while and allow the flood of suppressed emotions to carry us towards our doom, but even in the darkness, we’d find the music to guide us forward.

Sasha lived, laughed, loved, and slayed for five seasons of The Walking Dead, frizzy edges and all.

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Sonequa Martin-Green (source: saintheron.com)

 

 


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4.5 Years Later

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My fro. They grow up so fast!

 

Last year, I got on the coconut oil truth train and was ready to testify to every natural I encountered. This year I’m backing off of it (too much build up as a sealant, for me, and I found a more efficient detangler.) Last year, I couldn’t get enough of my mini twists. This year, I’m learning and falling in love with a different protective style.

Over the course of our natural hair journeys, we find our methods, goals, & style choices change with our hair. I’m 4.5 years in and I’m doing so many things differently from last year, leave aside when I first started.

Length retention has risen and fallen as a priority over the journey, and now it’s back on top again. So, most of the things I’m doing differently this year I’m doing them with that goal in mind. I enjoyed my length with a bunch of out styles last year and that has consequences. To recoup, I usually go into a protective style phase. My options thus far have been mini twists–loved the month long hair vaycay, but was less than enthused about the hours of installation and takedown–or weekly styles that are quick and easy but are prone to shrinkage and my roots stiffening.

I need something in between, so now I’m determined to learn to cornrow (shout out to savvyzone for putting me on to Breanna Rutter.) They look dope, can be styled a million ways, last longer than a week, and are better at keeping the hair stretched.

Beyond styles, there’s my hair health and moisture levels. That mid-week re-moisturizing keeps eluding me. I can do better, and with protective styling, it only takes five minutes to baggy and go as needed.

The overall manageability of my hair has improved with search & destroy missions, and I’ll continue to reinforce the good habit of consistently snipping my knots & split ends, but I need to reintroduce an overall trim. This is primarily to rein in split ends. The suckers have proven hard to detect during my routine search and have therefore proliferated, especially and probably exclusively in the loose texture of my crown area.

Finally, I’m researching a good deep conditioner and protein treatment regimen. Excess breakage is rearing its ugly head and I’d like to nip it in the bud. I’m leaning towards DIY but would be happy to buy a product that will give me lots of bang for my bucks. If the spirit moves you, share your DC and protein treatment recommendations in the comments.

 

How has your style and hair care regimen changed since last year? Since you first went natural? What are some mainstay products and techniques you vouch for? Comment below, and if you’re enjoying The Pursuit, please like, share, and follow.