Pursuit of Natural

life, levity, & the pursuit of natural


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The Deceptive Pick-Out

 

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The one thing I couldn’t wait to do when I went natural was pick out my fro. And pick it, I did, but unbeknownst to me I was obscuring some major issues beneath a kinky halo.

A Kinky Cloud of Awesomeness

For the first two years after my big chop, I applied my products and went to town with my black fist afro pick. I picked and patted until it was uniform, and I rocked that glorious kinky cloud of awesomeness every day. And when you make your hair look uniform, it’s impossible to tell just how not-uniform your true texture is, let alone how to work with it.

Cloudy with a Chance of Mixed Textures

It wasn’t until I stopped picking out my fro long enough to examine my curl pattern that it really sunk in I had mixed textures. And when picking and combing my hair in general became detrimental, I had to figure out how and why my hair shrunk differently and shaped itself differently than when I manipulated it.

Clear Skies Ahead

For a quick demo on how combing can change the way hair behaves, check out Cynthiarf’s video on the matter. Once I understood that, and came to understand how to work with my real textures, I developed a set of techniques to get those varying curl patterns to work together in harmony and look good.

These days I rarely wear my fro, and when I do it’s my full-shrinkage or banded-overnight 2nd-day fro. In fact, I just unleashed it of recent after an extended protective styling period, and it looked more amazing than I remembered. I don’t use a pick (or combs) except to part my hair, but if I did, I’d go with Naptural85’s afro tutorial which uses minimal combing on the ends, and which I’ve written about before.

Let me know in the comments if you pick your fro on the regular and what, if any, changes you see in the way your hair behaves. And if you liked this post, take a second to “like” this post. Share with your friends, subscribe to The Pursuit, and follow me on my other platforms via the links in the sidebar.

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The Tilt of my Crown Twist

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Looking back on my old pics, I noticed the tilt of my crown twist changed over time, I thought about why that was.

My first crown twist could just barely secure the hairs from the top of my head, they were so short. Even then, I’d have to use a bunch of bobby pins to keep everything in place. My twist sat far above my ears and halfway up the back of my head. Then one day I could twist around the very perimeter of my head without cutting across the back and sides.

I got to thinking about how my styles evolve with length. Installing mini twists take longer but they look better when worn down. My two strand twists got hangtime, and my twistouts look fuller.

Flat twists used to spring free in revolt, but with length they held fast. My puff used to stand neat and round, and then it grew wild and floppy.

Some styles improve with length, others lose their appeal and I have to find new looks. That’s the beauty of the journey. I’m loving the evolution, the versatility of my natural hair.

Are you enjoying your length? (If not, my Dear Newly Natural Me letters are for you!) Comment below and like this post. If you’re a fan of The Pursuit, subscribe and follow me @edinPON.


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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.

 


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‘Tis the Season to Big Chop

Most mammals take the turning of the seasons as a cue to put on an extra layer of protective covering, not shave it all off.

Thinking back, it was kind of an advantageous time for me to do it. I’d been transitioning without knowing I was transitioning since early in the year. In October 2012, I big chopped. I didn’t schedule any of it. I was just done, the same way I was done relaxing.

I can’t say I would’ve been confident enough to rock an inch of hair in public (I didn’t get a shape-up or tapered cut.) Heck, my own family found the change unsettling. But, with the cold weather, I could wear hats to keep warm and keep my new do under wraps for months. All while my hair blossomed.

Maybe you’re like I was. If so, planning your big chop for the season to bundle up might be the way to go. Not everyone goes into being natural with a fierceness to match their cut. Consider giving yourself time to get used to the change, to get to know and be comfortable with your crown without undue scrutiny. Trust, I had to build up my confidence and consciousness about my choice to big chop and my styling choices thereafter. That came in real handy when the naysaying started in. But that’s a story for another day.

Bye!

You got questions? Hit the comments.