Pursuit of Natural

life, levity, & the pursuit of natural


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Cover Your Hair At Night

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If you get a full night’s sleep (that’s a big If, I know), that’s nearly 3000 hours a year your hair is subjected to friction and stress. It will take its toll and undo all the hard work you put into caring for your hair.

I should know. I never saw any need to wrap my hair with anything. It seemed so extra. Until one night I went to bed on a clean pillow, and the next morning I woke to a horror scene. Broken hairs everywhere. Not just one or two, but all over my pillow case.

That sent me straight to DEFCON 1. I promptly cut up an old shirt and sewed it into a bandana, as if my survival depended on it. By the time I went natural, I was not playing around. Got that mid-sleep sixth sense to tug my wrap back on when it slips off, because these hairs are staying on my head.

The PSA here is sweet dreams are made of bandanas, satin scarfs, bonnets, durags–or whatever you use. They are essential. Cover your hair at night.

 

How do you protect your hair at night? What’s your night time routine? 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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Finger Detangling

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Some people do it in the shower. Some people do it with oil. Some people use tools such as combs or brushes. I’m talking about detangling natural hair, and everyone’s got their own technique as well as favorite products for the job.

Many naturals, though, swear by finger detangling. But when I started doing it, I just wanted to swear at someone. How were they all just gliding their hands through all those kinks and curls? And then they had the nerve to say it only took forty-five minutes, tops! I’d give up and grab my comb, but as my hair got longer, I had to face the music.

It took hours to finger detangle. My shoulders hurt. My neck hurt. I couldn’t keep organized, and my hair still felt tangled in places. Needless to say, it took a long time to tailor all the internet advice to my own technique, and I’m still improving upon it years later.

First things first: I must work in sections. It keeps me organized, and it keeps me from being overwhelmed.

Secondly, I discovered it was better to work on my most fragile areas first. I’m much gentler and more patient at the start of a session than when I’ve been at it for an hour and just want to be done. I do my least tangly textures last because they won’t break as easily if I get tired and speed it up a little.

Much, much later I got the mechanical motions down–how I hold my hands to be gentle yet thorough in removing shed hairs, how to flatten and separate strands between my fingertips, and how to incorporate the harp method.

Later still, I found Urban Bush Babes and gave up going over the ends first in favor of starting from the roots. I then traded in raking for criss-cross parting, going horizontally followed by vertically. Once the grid is complete, I move on to the next section.

Finger detangling does not come naturally. It takes practice, a lot of diligence, and quite a bit of mental cursing. But getting mad at my hair was not an option, and I am stubborn when it comes to mastering a new skill.

How about you all? Are you still working on your detangling skills? How long did it take you to get the hang of it? Share in the comments. For even more detangling tips, check out my Dear Newly Natural Me letter, “Let It (Combs) Go”.

If you’re a fan of The Pursuit, subscribe! Like this post, share with your friends, and follow me @edinPON.


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The PON Gallery: New Growth

It’s fitting that “New Growth” is the inaugural piece for the PON gallery. As you can see, there’ve been some changes and additions here at The Pursuit.

Here’s another one: Original black and brown girl inspired art for your mobile device or desktop. Wallpapers will come in two versions, 1080 x 1920 (tall) and 1920 x 1080 (wide), and you’ll find all new additions via the Gallery tab up top. So, check back often!

New Growth

Click through the images below. In the new window, just right-click, save, and enjoy!

If you’re a fan of The Pursuit, shout out in the comments. And don’t forget to like, share with your friends, and follow me here and @edinPON


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Mini Hair Vaycays

 

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Full-sized wallpaper coming soon!

 

Sometimes I don’t realize just how much hair I have on my head until it’s time to take it down for a break down session. Girl. It is a blessing & a time sink.

So, then I think, “Ah! I’ll just put it all away in an fancy protective style!” and soon remember that, too, is a blessing and a major time sink.

There is a happy middle, which I like to call the mini hair vaycay. I just put away some, not all, of my hair for a few weeks. It’s faster than installing the protective style on my whole head, and with less free hair, it shaves off time from my regular styling and maintenance.

I did this with the sides of my head, AKA my struggle areas. Installing mini twists took no time at all and lasted weeks. My daily sessions went by much quicker, since I didn’t have to slowly, gently, meticulously detangle those fragile sides.

If you want to try a mini hair vaycay, you do have to be strategic about which part of your hair to put away, so that you can have multiple styling options or cover up the protected areas, if needed. For example, the mini-twists on the sides of my head can be shown off with an updo, or I can cover them up with a middle part and a bun or ponytail. I can even still incorporate the mini twists into a larger halo twist. When I do a mini hair vaycay for the back of my head, however, like flat-twisting up towards my crown, I am stuck with high puffs and high buns for the duration.

With all this extra free time on your mini hair vaycay, you can get lulled into laziness. Taking a break from your hair doesn’t mean taking a break from proper care. I never wear any long-term protective style past one month, because dirt will build up–even if I’m diligent–and buildup causes matting, knots, and tangles. As always, you must stay on your moisture game. There’s nothing worse than coming out of a protective style with damage you didn’t have going into it.

 

What’s your favorite way to take a break from your hair? How long do your hair vaycays last? Share in the comments!

If you’re a fan of The Pursuit, subscribe and stay in touch! Follow me here and on Twitter @edinPON. ICYMI, you can find the latest “Dear Newly Natural Me” letter here.

 


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How Much Did You Have Left, Though?

 

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See the Gallery link in the menu up top? The full sized version of this image is coming soon!

 

We all fall prey to the act of comparing our hair to other naturals at one point or another. You’ve seen the meme: Eddie Murphy scowls at a woman who, after only six months, has the nerve to be at bra strap length, probably, while he’s over there with a two-year-old TWA. I used to wonder what magical combination of product and technique, or lack thereof, yielded such results.

I soon realized not everyone is using the same math.

To go natural, some people cut off all their hair in the Big Chop, usually leaving only an inch or so behind, if that. Others transition, trimming their relaxed ends a little at a time. The general idea would be to grow an inch of natural hair and trim an inch of relaxed hair. There’s in-betweeners who transition for a couple months, not trimming at all but blending the two textures through styling, and then they do a big chop, leaving maybe five inches or more.

All three may say they “went natural” when they cut the last of their relaxed hair on, let’s say, New Year’s Day, but come July, the Big Chopper will be way behind the In-Betweener, who may be lagging behind the Full-Transitioner. Not everyone includes the months or even year of transitioning in their natural journey. I could ask how long a natural has been natural, but unless I know what they consider to be the start of their journey, I’d need to follow up with, “But how much hair did you have left, tho?”

So, I just do the math. If she says she went natural six months ago but she got armpit length hair, I’m assuming transition time until photographic evidence of a TWA from six months ago surfaces.

Whichever way a natural chooses to count the days of their journey, it really shouldn’t matter more than your own. But if you are going to compare, make sure you’re working with all the facts. Don’t be a bitter Eddie Murphy. There’s nothing magical about long, healthy natural hair. It just takes time and a lot of care.

 

 

Are you a fan of The Pursuit? Like, share, and follow me here and @edinPON! Looking for the Dear Newly Natural Me series? Hop over to myyeka.wordpress.com or click here.


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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.