Pursuit of Natural

life, levity, & the pursuit of natural

woman with short natural hair


13 Comments

5 Years Natural a Photo Retrospective

woman with short natural hair

Big chop to first (successful) twistout. You can see the space (left) where there used to be damage from relaxers

18 months after going natural, a woman complemented me on my first ever twist out. I was over the moon all day. You couldn’t tell me nothin! I was ready to rock twist outs every single day, but of course my second try was nowhere near as bomb, and the travails of free hair checked me real quick…

woman with short natural hair showing mixed textues

Discovering I have swaths of multiple textures after a pick out. You can see (right) that everywhere but my crown has little visible curl definition.

She said she was natural, too, underneath, and I asked how long she’d been in the game.

“Three years.”

I thought–wooow!–that’s, like, a really long time. I couldn’t imagine it.

woman with natural hair protective styles braids and flat twists

First flat twist (left) and feeling myself! Legit plaits (top) courtesy of my momma. Getting fancy (bottom) with YouTube tutorials.

Now, here I am. This week I’ll be 5 years natural and wondering where the time has gone.

woman with natural hair updo styles

I. Love. Updos!

As far as the fro, it looks nothing like Naptural85’s hair at five years. Yeah, I said it. I watched that length check video a long time ago and secretly hoped for comparable results. We all do it!

But I ain’t mad. I’m not even disappointed. My fro is awesome and will take its sweet time being so, while I enjoy every hard-earned inch of it.

Amen? Amen!

woman with shoulder length natural hair

Nowadays, you’ll find me in cornrows or stretching my hair in twists after a wash. Take downs for detangling (top left, bottom right)are the only times I can snap a photo or two (or a bazillion) of my free hair

When’s your big chop (or gone natural) anniversary? Do you mark the occasion? Is there cake involved? Let me know in the comments. And don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe.

Advertisements


10 Comments

Banding

bandingpic2

I’d heard good things about banding your hair to stretch it. Here’s why it’s a no go for me.

What’s Good

It really stretched my hair way more than my normal two-strand twists. I was actually astonished at my length. Installing the bands was quick and uncomplicated and I could do larger sections. Of course, not having to use heat is always a plus.

How to Do It

Some people use multiple hair ties along the length of the section. I decided to cut up my favorite t-shirt into strips long enough to do the job. (The t-shirt had been ruined prior to that, of course.)

Starting at the root, grip one end of the band and the section of hair together, then start wrapping the free end of the band all the way down the section. It’s really simple. When I got to the end, I just tied it off onto itself. It took a bit longer to dry but was overall comfortable to wear.

bandingcollage1

The Disastrous Takedown

I wanted to stretch my hair using the banding method so that I could flat iron without blow drying and raking a comb attachment through it. I thought!

My hair was matted, so I had to spend an extra two hours combing it anyways. With so many hairs fused together, my patience was running thin and my temper running high. I thought it was because I didn’t have any product in my hair, so I tried again at a later date with my regular products. It was only marginally better but there was still matting.

So banding is a no go for me, but that’s how it is on this natural hair journey. It’s all about the trial and error. Let me know in the comments about your trials and errors. Have you discovered any methods that left you pleasantly surprised at how well they worked?

If you like this post, please take a second to “like” this post. Share, subscribe, and follow me on my other platforms via the sidebar.

 


12 Comments

Pantyhose is a Hair Accessory

pantyhoseTHUMB

Yes, pantyhose. Not to be confused with stockings. Oh, you didn’t know there was a difference between pantyhose and stockings? There is. We’re all learning together!

The Puff’s Main Squeeze

I would never have thought to cut up my pantyhose until I went natural. NaturalMe4C and others used theirs to tie their puffs and since I wasn’t using mine, so did I.

It’s actually more comfortable than the large hair ties and headbands I own. It’s adjustable, so I can easily reduce the pressure. I don’t have to force my delicate strands through a small opening, so the tension and breakage is also reduced. I’ve also found it has a better grip and doesn’t roll around as much.

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

Besides being  practical, it’s thrifty, and y’all know I’m a thrifty natural. I got two ties from one pair that I use anytime I need to gather all this big hair. If you’ve got individual knee-highs you’re good to go. If you’ve got a pair with an attached panty, just cut the legs off. Personally, I like to cut off the toe seams as well.

So, in case you didn’t know pantyhose was a hair accessory, now you know. Let me know in the comments if you’ve found any other new uses for old personal effects. And if you like this post, please take a second to “like” this post. Share, subscribe, and follow me on my other platforms via the sidebar.


Leave a comment

Don’t Let Your Ends Ruin Your Look

The whole point of twist-outs and braid-outs (and bantu knot-outs) is to set your hair into some type of defined curl pattern, but then there are those annoying times when your ends just do not want to act right. What can you do?

Your Ends Demand Respect

They don’t call them your elders for nothing. They require an extra spritz of moisture, another dab of oil, and often that they be detangled first. Your ends are always trying to tell you something, and if they don’t act right no matter what style you’re attempting, it may be time for a trim. When it comes to giving my ends special attention with a twistout, I have 2 go to methods.

The Bobby Pin Curl

Urban Bush Babes put me on to curling my ends with a bobby pin. This worked great when my hair was shorter. It also doubled as a way to secure my hair as it dried in stretched twists. This will give you a tight curl, so if that’s not what you want, try the next method.

Cocoons and Hanging Bantu Knots

There are a lot of tutorials on how to do this one. The one above is from MyNaturalSistas and here’s another one from NappyFu. You do need some length for this or it will just unravel. I didn’t use this method until a few years after my big chop. It’s more comfortable than bobby pins to my sensitive scalp. It also gives a larger, rounder curl.

Many naturals love the way their ends fall on their own, but if you are more particular about your aesthetic give these methods a try.

Let me know in the comments how you treat your “elders”. And if you liked this post, take a second to “like” this post. Share, subscribe, and follow me on my other platforms via the sidebar.


Leave a comment

The PON Gallery: Proud Afro

I got inspired by the color palette of the movie poster for Proud Mary. Art can be found anywhere–including on your mobile device or desktop! So download these wallpapers and enjoy.

Proud Afro


If you like this post, please take a second to “like” this post. Share, subscribe, and follow me on my other platforms. Links in the sidebar.


Leave a comment

The Deceptive Pick-Out

 

proudAfroTHUMB

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.


4 Comments

Treat Yourself to Mini Twists

minitwist1

When me and my hair need some time apart, I treat us to a month long hair vaycay with mini twists. At first blush, the idea of installing this style myself seemed anything but relaxing, but I picked up some techniques to make the whole process, from start to take down, go smoothly.

Why Mini Twists?

Mini twists are great for length retention and they save so much time in day-to-day maintenance. I can style them like loose hair, wash in them, and did I mention I can take a break from my regular regimen?

But That Time-Consuming Install, Tho

My first set (above) took 9 hours over 3 days. My second set took 3 hours in one. The difference was in which instructions I followed. Google implied it was best to allot three days so that’s what I did. Originally, I made my twists really tiny and my parts precise. To prep, I stretched my hair in regular twists, which has always taken time to separate into a new style when dry.

It Only Took Three Hours

For my second set (below), I followed the advice of a different YouTuber, ProtectivePrincess. I stretched with rollers, which meant all my sections were ready to go when dry, no extensive separation needed. I didn’t bother with perfectly straight parts, and I darn sure did not make extra small twists. Three hours, ya’ll. I save way more than that in the month I don’t have to detangle my hair every week.

minitwist2

But That Time-Consuming Takedown, Tho

The main source of angst with the take down is matting. It is bound to happen when you don’t free those shed hairs for a whole month. Keeping your hair clean can reduce the problem but just cancel all your plans when detangling day arrives. And pray for extra patience.

Prepoo With Coconut Oil First

Again, ProtectivePrincess’s after care videos for long term protective styles saved me so much stress. I followed her advice and let my hair marinate in coconut oil (you could probably use a substitute with slip). I left mine in overnight and tackled those matted roots the next day. Most of them came apart with careful detangling. Some needed an extra dousing of melted coconut oil with an applicator bottle and then they, too, loosened up.

Give it a Try

It’s always a good idea to follow up a long-term protective style with deep conditioning, and I usually take the opportunity to snip any split ends or knots. I did a set after some heat damage and a major trim, and by the time I came out of mini twists, I’d recovered a lot of my length. It really is a style that lets me focus on giving my hair extra TLC before and after, and in between I can just get up and go, and enjoy all the hard work I invested in being natural.

Let me know what you think about mini twists, whether you do them yourself or pay a professional. 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 in the sidebar.