Healthy and Relaxed

NICOLENicole2

Name: Nicole DeLoatch

Occupation: Advisor/Educator

Hometown: Burtonsville, MD

 

When/why did you decide to focus on maintaining the health of your hair?

Now let’s do what I LOVE to do- discuss hair. I decided to focus on maintaining the health of my hair after I abused it for years. Blow dryers, curling irons, flat irons, spritz, hair color, and at one-point relaxers were all keeping me from having and achieving healthy hair. I didn’t have the knowledge or the scientific understanding about trichology (the branch of medical and cosmetic study and practice concerned with the hair and scalp) that I have today. I decided to start my blogs on healthy hair care to share this information with everyone else who may have trouble maintaining their hair. I offer a heat free styling solution that will keep you in the game!

What has the journey been like?

My hair journey has been a process of self-discovery. I always had long thick hair as a child, and soon after I decided to experiment with almost every hair color and style, it was broken off and limp. Even after abusing my hair for years and suffering from dry hair and scalp, breakage and thinning hair, I decided that I could have healthy hair and started researching healthy hair care. After consuming vast amounts of knowledge from stylists, doctors, and women on the web who had healthy hair, patterns started to emerge.

I found out that if I wanted to have longer healthy hair I needed to do (and not do) a few simple things:

        –Don’t over process the hair with chemicals- chemical damage cannot be undone with any conditioner.

        –Don’t use direct heat on the hair too frequently- thermal damage will cause the hair to break off and roller setting is a better option to maintain a straight or curly hair style.

         –Do use a sulfate free shampoo and concentrate on cleansing the scalp. The scalp is the foundation for the hair- a weak foundation will lead to weak breaking hair.

         –Do deep condition the hair as much as needed for your hair type. Relaxed and chemically treated hair will need tender loving care and one way to do this is to find a moisturizing and a protein deep conditioner that you like. Apply the conditioner put on a plastic cap and sit under a heating cap to infuse the moisture or the protein into the hair.


Nicole1What are your favorite products to use and why?

There are so many great products on the market now, but I simply adore Organic Root Stimulator or ORS hair products. Their line offers many conditioning and gentle cleansing hair products.

I use their creamy aloe shampoo when I need a deep cleanse (about once a month) and alternate between deep conditioning with the Replenishing Conditioner (moisture) and the Hair Mayonnaise (protein) on a weekly basis.

The Organix Shea Butter and Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner are wonderful products as well. They offer a sulfate free shampoo and a moisturizing conditioner.

What is your hair regiment?

First, I shampoo twice with a moisturizing or a chelating shampoo.

Next, either I apply a generous amount of a moisturizing or a protein based deep conditioner- if the hair feels hard then use a moisturizing based conditioner or if the hair feels mushy use a protein conditioner- with a plastic cap, and sit under the dryer for about 15-30 minutes to deep condition. I do this every time I shampoo my hair.

I faithfully roller set my hair. Using a dime-sized amount of leave-in conditioner, diluted setting lotion and a dime sized amount of a glossing polish; I roll and dry it with a soft bonnet dryer.

Finally, I use coconut oil on the ends of my hair before wrapping it at night to keep it healthy.

Do you have any advice for girls trying to keep their relaxed hair as healthy as possible?Nicole4

My best advice would be to avoid heat as much as possible regardless of whether you are natural or relaxed. Heat styling can do some terrible irreversible damage to the hair, and keep you from achieving your hair goals.

 

Want to connect with Nicole?

Check out her blogs and learn more about her heat-free styling approach:http://boundlessbeauty85.blogspot.com/ orhttp://justrelaxed.wordpress.com/.

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Loc’d Love!

BRINEAbrinea5

Age: 20

Occupation: Student at Morgan State University; Plans on being a wedding planner

Hometown: Bowie, MD

Why did you decide to lock your hair?

I didn’t have a life changing reason like most people do; I wanted to lock my hair

Before Transitioning...

Before Transitioning…

since the 9th grade when I got my hair done in kinky twists. I thought “I would look so nice with dreads!” and just stuck to it. Once I went natural, my hair felt like it was easier to manage and not as coarse. After I got into my natural transition, I did start to view me locking my hair as a journey. Locking my hair is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The whole “press and curl” look has never been for me. Never will be.

A lot of people have opinions about loc’d hair, any myths about locs you want to talk about?

One myth people assume (including me) is that you

Natural...

Natural…

can’t wash your hair during the locking process. FALSE. I washed my hair from the moment I began my locks. Granted, depending on your hair texture you should wait a little longer but you can definitely wash your hair while your hair transitions. Another thing I hate people saying to me is “your hair is too nice for locs” or before I locked my hair “awww why do you want to lock your hair it’s so nice and thick”…that really gets under my skin. People with locs do not have ugly or unattractive hair. It really irks me how people associate locs with being bad..which is why I try not to use to the term “dreads” or “dreadlocks,” because the word “dread” associates it with being bad. Another myth is that people with locs are assumed to be dirty. Most people with locs,especially African Americans, have a personal reason behind why they did it and others have them because of their Rastafarian lifestyle.

Locs!

Locs!

What are your favorite products/ ways to take care of your hair?

Since I mainly go to the shop to get my hair retwisted, I don’t have a specific product that I use for my hair. But for oils, my favorite one to put in my hair is coconut oil. I oil my hair about every other day to keep my locs and scalp from getting too dry.

Any tips for other girls going through the locking process?

Just be patient and make sure locking your hair is something you really want to do. If you’re serious about it, the process will become a journey.

brinea6Want to get in touch with Brinea?

Twitter: Thoughtsof_bee

Instagram: Beeheem

Subscribe to my natural hair vlog called vlogsofbee on youtube!

“Maintaining a Natural Essence”

JASMINE jasmine5

Age: 21

Occupation: Bachelor of Music 2014, College Senior, Singer/Actress/Makeup Artist

Hometown: Prince George’s County, MD

 

1. How long have you been natural, what made you decide to go natural?   

I’ve been natural for almost 5 years now. I decided to go natural in my senior year of high school when I discovered YouTube! I subscribed to a lot of female YouTubers for their makeup tutorials, but many of them were naturals and posted hair tutorials as well. Watching their hair tutorials inspired me to try something new with my hair. Besides, I was never good at maintaining my straight/permed hair in the first place.jasmine2

   After I went natural I started finding new reasons why I love being natural and would never go back to permed hair. I can be very much analytical and when I thought about the notion of having to change part of me that was designed by God and given to me uniquely just to fit in with everyone else or succumb to other people’s standard of beauty that may or may not be my own, I decided against it. Not to say that everyone with a perm doesn’t appreciate themselves for who they are, but I just don’t feel the need to change my hair texture permanently for any reason. I actually got my perm in high school because it was suggested to me by my cheer-leading coaches so that the team could preserve their “image”. This mentality is just plain wrong.

 

jasmine12. Why do you love being natural?

    Being natural makes me feel free! And on so many levels. I feel the most like myself. I feel confident and unapologetic about who I am, and how I was created. I’m not trying to be like anyone else but me. Having natural hair is such an empowering experience. My hair is big, strong, stubborn and a whole lot of other adjectives that can also be used to describe who I am. I love it! Plus natural hair is so versatile. I can straighten it when I want, stretch my curls, or not. I also love that when it rains I don’t have to run for cover! And I can go swimming any time……

 

3. What is your hair regiment?

    My regiment changes based on what my hair needs, and I know that from really getting to know my hair and knowing the signs of poor regiment (dry hair, lots of tangles, split ends, etc.) I can get a little lazy, so I’ll just tell you what I should be doing, and what I actually do for my hair right now. I should be cowashing my hair every other day and washing it with non-sulfate shampoo once a week. As of right now, I’ve only been cowashing twice a week (yikes!) I should also be using a leave-in conditioner every time I wet my hair. I ran out of leave-in and haven’t been to the store, so I’m currently using Eco Styler Gel and Shea Moisture Curl & Style Milk.

    One thing I never change is how I detangle and handle my curls, because it’s so important for my hair!  I always detangle in the shower while I’m conditioning my hair. I finger-detangle, which causes less breakage (and less pain) and leaves my curls more intact when I’m going for a more polished look. I’m thorough with detangling because once I’m out of the shower I do not rake my fingers or comb through my hair ever again. If I do, I’ll end up with a lot of frizz or just really big hair. That said, when I do want big hair, then I’ll detangle again after getting out of the shower.jasmine3

    I’m still in school, so I LOVE to wear wash-and-go styles, but I’ve also done a lot of braid outs in the past and those are nice too. To be honest, my favorite style right now is the Top-Knot which anyone of any hair texture can do as long as the hair is long enough. I don’t do a lot of protective styling, but I will soon because my hair needs a break from all of the tangles.

 

4. Any tips or advice for girls going natural?

    Embrace the changes!! Going natural is extremely hard if you haven’t already accepted that everything about how you treat and view your hair might change. The best thing to do is to right away find reasons to love your hair just the way it is. Don’t try to treat your natural hair like your permed hair. You may find yourself not using a comb as much, or not trying to wrap your hair, or not using heat. These are all good and acceptable changes.

    Also, give yourself and your hair time to adjust to the change. A lot of people try to transition and end up quitting because their hair didn’t grow enough, or they didn’t look the same as before. Hair growth and developing health takes a lot of time, but it’s so worth it! And you’re not going to look exactly the same with a new hair texture and/or length. Own your new look!

   jasmine4 If it helps, get with a support group! On the University of Maryland campus, we have Maintaining A Natural Essence, a new organization that focuses on natural hair, healthy lifestyle, and positive self-image. There are plenty of blogs, channels, and organizations out there to help you along your journey.

Want to connect with Jasmine?

Instagram: @mzpr1madonna

Twitter: @mzpr1madonna

Website: www.jasminelachae.com

M.A.N.E.: www.wordpress.marylandmane.com

” A Woman’s Crown”

This month on The Free Your Mind Project, we will be discussing HAIR!

For many women, their hair is their pride and joy. And our hair is arguably the most versatile: between braids, weaves, afros, pixie cuts, bobs, and locs black women make up the largest clientele in the hair industry.

But as much as we love our hair and all that it can do, everyone has a preference for which hair types and styles they think are the best. How many of us have heard that you can’t go natural unless you have that “good hair?” Or heard that myth that having locs meant your hair was “dirty?” Or that relaxing your hair meant you were playing into the “beauty standards of our oppressors?” Trust me, as someone who’s tried almost every style, I’ve heard it all!

The most important thing I’ve learned is that, your hair is for your own personal expression. If that means you want to dye it blue, so be it. It’s not rare to receive commentary on your hair. If you decide to go natural, someone will say “Oh? I like you better with straight hair…” If you decide to perm your hair, “Really? How can you put all those chemicals into your hair…” You decide to cut it, “But, I always preferred girls with long hair, its just more feminine to me…” Just like in anything else, someone’s going to have an opinion about what you should be doing and you have to decide how important that opinion is to you.

Think about it this way: when that person who has an opinion spends the time and

money for the upkeep of your hair, THEN they can have a say. But until then, don’t worry about it. Your hair is your crown! However you decide to wear it, you should feel confident and beautiful.

So, for this month, I’ll be having interviews with several hair enthusiasts. We’ll be discussing the different ways black women wear their hair, what products we can use and how to maintain healthy hair in all our different styles 🙂