Tuesday, December 27, 2011

If I said I was "Over" Natural Hair, Would You Believe Me?

This is wonderful autobiographical post written by Sunshine Abuwi of Natural Sunshine and Daily Dose of Sunshine. I have to applaud Sunshine for sharing her personal growth and as always I am in admiration of her honesty and transparency. A step towards umoja indeed!

If I said I was "Over" Natural Hair, Would You Believe Me?
By Sunshine Abuwi

A lot has changed in regards to my relationship with natural hair over the three years I have been natural. In the beginning I was gung ho. I was determined that every woman of African descent on the planet should go natural. I was strongly anti-weave and the mere mention of heat-treating natural hair was enough to make me angry. So much has changed since then.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lessons on Becoming a Mixtress

This is a fantastic article from The Coil Review on the easy steps anyone can take to making their own hair products at home. It's especially helpful for those with limited time and money for hair care. Anyone can have healthy beauty!

By Tammy Goodson
These days we barely have time to cook family dinner, let alone an extra moment to whip up a hair concoction. The thought of coming up with your own natural hair mixture can be intimidating for some, but with a blender and a few tips, even the novice can become a consummate mixtress. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Style Tutorial: 4 Versions of 1 Twisted Updo

If you're like me, suffering from HIH (hand in hair) syndrome, then protective styles may be helpful in limiting how often you play in your hair. But I like changing my hair every day, I just don't want to lose hair to breakage or stress my edges every time I change a style. So now I think about versatile protective styles; twisted or braided styles that can change looks without requiring additional parting, combing, brushing, unraveling and re-twitsing/re-braiding.

Below was my first attempt and I loved it. Sadly I didn't record myself doing it, but will try to recreate the style this season. I kept the twists in for 1 week and managed to create 4 distinctive looks by styling the twists. The key was the bang that I created with two sets of smaller twists; one from the hairline up (see version 4, photo 3) and the other from the crown down (see version 1, photo 1). When the style had run its course, I loosened the ends of the twists for the final look.

What do you think? Do you have any additional ideas for versatile protective styles?

Version 1

Version 2

Version 3

Version 4

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Style Tutorial: Twist Up & Bump (Quick & Simple Protective Styling)

So I mentioned the other day that it was the start of my protective styling season. Although I don't think its absolutely necessary for all people to use this method t protect their hair during winter or to retain length, I know it works for me. I am afflicted with HIH (Hand-In-Hair) syndrome and this relieves some of the symptoms like wandering hands. Also I tend to wear a lot of hats in the colder months, and protective styles usually assist in hat-friendly hair.

This is the first style of the season, well technically the second. For the past week I've been wearing two cornrows with a side part, I've been dancing a lot so didn't want to get too fancy. Honestly, this style isn't too much more involved either, but here ya go! I call it "Twist Up & Bump."

I made one large flat twist up the center of my head from the nape of my neck to the crown of my head.

Then I pulled the front section of hair over the ends of the flat twist (for added cushion), then tucked and pinned the under the flat twist.

I had to sneak in this shot of my tights too... loving them!!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sat. 11/5 in Harlem: Natural Neo’s Presents Natural Hair Expo

I heard about a natural hair expo happening this Saturday, November 5 at the Harlem Y. Sounds like it will be a very informative event, with workshops, vendors and a raffle for gift bags. Hope to see you there!
See below for details.
PMM of The Kitchen Salon

Natural Neo’s Presents
Natural Hair Expo
Saturday, November 5th
181 west 135th street  New York, NY 10030


¨ Transitioning to Natural11am– 11:45am By Carla Brown
¨ Whole Living Natural Body Products12pm-12:45pm By Aleathia Brown
¨ Eating for Health & Beauty1pm–1:45pmBy Charmaine Brooks
¨ Live R&B music 2:15pm to 2:50pm Presented by DJ Smitty and CP Charm
¨ Question and Answer Panel About Natural Hair Care 3pm-4pm 

¨ First Come First Served for all workshops seating is limited!

¨ Fabulous Vendors who will have everything from Natural Hair  and Beauty Care Products!

¨ Free Gift Bags to the first 100 Ticket Holders, Samples and More!
 Fabulous Vendors who will have everything from natural hair products to jewelry and unique creations.
-Raffles, Gift Bags, Samples and More!
Advance Tickets $10/ On Event Date $15
For Vendor Opportunities/Advanced Tickets Contact:
Kayce Williams & Stephanie Arzu
Visit our website
Partial Proceeds will be donated to Strong Kids Campaign

           If you don’t already know we are ecstatic to announce the coming of our Natural Hair Expo, here in Harlem.  Stephanie and Kayce are here to bring a service to our natural sisters & brothers here in Harlem.  As new Naturals we ran into many obstacles when it came to knowing how to treat our hair.   The purpose of this event is to talk about the beauty of natural hair and to educate people as to how to care for it is our goal. Though workshops and vendors we believe that we can provide a valuable service to our community members.
          Of all places, Harlem needs to have an event of this nature. Being populated with so many different cultures and different textures of hair, some people are not familiar with how to care for their natural hair textures.  From Locks, twist, braids, Afros, Curls etc.  We want you all; so we are reaching out to you, the educator, and the entrepreneur to help our vision come true. 



8 Things I Must Confess About Natural Hair


As I'm inspired by insomnia and reading the "Natural Hair Confessions" posts on Natural Review, I thought to write my own post of natural hair confessions.
  1. I got my first relaxer when I was 9 years old. By the time I was 16 and had started thinking about ceding the touch ups I didn't even know what my natural hair texture was like.
  2. I got my last relaxer the day before my 17th birthday and my hair was chin length (straight). Fast forward 8 years later and my hair was an inch longer than chin length (pressed). I had never once trimmed my hair in that time.
  3. The best worst thing that happened to my hair was when I asked my friend to trim it and she chopped my hair to only an inch long.
  4. In college I washed my hair with Pantene (not relaxed & natural line) shampoo and conditioner every day and never used a leave in conditioner. I couldn't understand why my hair always felt like straw even though I put plenty of grease on my hair and scalp.
  5. I just learned what a heat protectant is and what it should do 3 years ago. I had always thought any grease or hair spray would do, and I thought each parted section was to be saturated before applying heat. Hmm, that explains the hissing and crackling sounds I always heard and the singed strands. Sorry to all those friends who let me press their hair. (My bad.)
  6. I am often frustrated because it stills seems I am not retaining as much length as I could (i.e. as other people). Every day working on that one... which leads me to my next confession.
  7. I want very long hair. That is my main goal with learning how to care for my hair. I want to whip my hair back and forth, without having to carefully plan my style and check the weather first. Who knows if that's even realistic?
  8. Much of my lifestyle has changed for the better since adopting all natural hair care routines. I am much healthier in many other life choices too, but honestly its all due to my vanity. But if its for the better that's not so bad, right?
Can I get an AMEN?!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Protective Styles I Plan to Try This Season | Send Me Your Photos To Be Featured

So it's that time of year again, when I wear my hair in a protective style for most of the week only letting it loose for a day or two before washing. This time I'm not dreading it like when I first tried the regimen last year. I wanted to tackle the immense breakage I was experiencing and minimize the frequency of detangling and manipulation. From October through April I kept one style from Monday to Friday, wore my hair loose on Friday and Saturday, then washed and re-styled my hair on Sunday. The result was nearly 3 inches of growth and a new-found love of protective styles!

Here's a collection of new styles I plan to try during my protective styling season.


Here's a few styles I've done before that I want to do again:



What are your favorite protective styles? Send me photos to Submissions.TheKitchenSalon@gmail.com to have your style featured on The Kitchen Salon.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Style Tutorial: Roll One Up

This is my new favorite hairstyle, especially fall through spring when my hair stays mostly in protective styles. Its super quick, like 10 minutes or less quick, and can go from elegant, to chic, to funky to match any outfit or occasion. I don't wear many accessories but I'll bet there are some great ones to rock with this, like colorful feathers or flowers. Try it out, send me pics and tell me what you think. 

Roll One Up... A quick hair style that is!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Belle Butters/Hey Fran Hey/Urban Bush Babes' Sweet Meet & Greet

Belle's Butters, an all-natural hair, bath and beauty company, teamed up with natural health and beauty/urban fashion blogs Hey Fran Hey and Urban Bush Babes to throw a heck of a party Tuesday evening. Dylan's Candy Bar in NYC's midtown was full a glorious fros, manes and locks. Featuring long overdue reunions, tasty cocktails and the largest cupcakes I've ever seen!

Thanks for a fabulous time guys!!!!!!

Reunited with former neighbor Cipriana of UrbanBushBabes.com

Tasha Burton a.k.a Lady Belle of Belle's Butters

College friends re-united: Yvonne Fly Onakeme Etaghene, performer & Francheska of Hey Fran Hey and me.

l. to r. Me, Cipriana of Urban Bush Babes, Yvonne Fly Onakeme Etaghene, Nikisha of Urban Bush Babes

l. to r. Me, Cipriana of Urban Bush Babes, Yvonne Fly Onakeme Etaghene, Nikisha of Urban Bush Babes

Friday, September 9, 2011

Who Decides What You Put in Your Body?

The question first came to me while reading the article, "Cetaphil: Why the popular cleanser isn't doing your skin any favors" by Melisse Gelula on WellAndGoodNYC.com.

Melisse quoted Spirit Demerson who analyzes skin care ingredients for her own blog and made the point that none of the ingredients in Cetaphil are beneficial for your skin, in fact some are even harmful. There are eight ingredients in Cetaphil (water, cetyl alcohol, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, stearyl alcohol, methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben) and the only one I personally know to be healthy is water. Though it is the first listed ingredient, and therefore the most abundant, its health benefits are canceled out by the overwhelming effects of the other substances which are known to respectively clog pores, help substances enter the blood stream, over-dry skin and cause cancer.

It is especially unnerving to learn this about Cetaphil, which is one of the top cleansers recommended by dermatologists. In fact, my own dermatologist instructed me to use Cetaphil cleanser and lotion! So what then is the appeal, if the cleanser is not actually so great for the skin? The appeal is the relationship most doctors have with Galderama, one of the largest pharmaceutical distributors in the country. Regardless of the product's effectiveness (or lack thereof) doctors receive bonuses for pushing the product on their patients.

If you have a wandering mind like mine, you're probably wondering "what other cosmetic products should I be worried about?" I ran across a PSA video by Annie Leonard called "The Story of Cosmetics" which provides further insight into how to read ingredient labels, what to look out for and how to make healthier cosmetic choices.

I've already begun to address this issue by making most of my hair and body products, and choosing all natural products when I buy them. How will you take measures to make healthier cosmetic choices?

Wash N' Go My @$$!!!!

I know it the title sounds a bit harsh but hear me out. This isn't a criticism of anyone's styling choices, just a realization I came to as I thought of my own struggle to "define" my curls and rock a so-called "wash and go" style.

When I hear the phrase "wash and go" I immediately think of a two-step process: washing my hair (which includes conditioning) and going out the door. The reality of the wash and go style for most kinky haired naturals is that there is a huge step in the middle that can be divided into multiple sub-steps.

After the hair is washed and conditioned there is sectioning, detangling, applying leave in conditioner, sometimes applying an additional cream product, applying a gel product, raking or brushing the product through, constantly spritzing the hair to keep it soaking wet throughout the process, awkwardly avoiding touching the done sections of hair as you move on.

This process can take up to 2 hours, especially if your hair is long, thick and more kinky than curly!!!!!! And you're not even guaranteed satisfactory results. Umm... what happened to the two simple steps of washing and going?

To address this misnomer, I want to redefine the "wash and go" style. My true wash and go styles are pigtails or two large cornrows (if my hair was washed loose) and bantu knots (if my hair was washed in twists).

If you had to limit your wash and go to a truly simple routine, what would you choose?

When spending a week on the beach, who wants more than wash and go hair? I lived in these cornrows!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Innovative or Insane - How Far is Too Far with DIY Methods?

Obviously I am a fan of DIY methods of grooming, or else I would not have created this blog. However I do think there is a fine line between innovative and insane. I viewed a video by PrettyDimples01 on YouTube where she demonstrates her method of washing her scalp without washing her hair.
Now don't get me wrong, I know about 4+ hours of twisting or braiding hair and I understand wanting to preserve a style as long as possible. I like her idea of applying a baking soda paste directly to the scalp but I think it is a bit overboard to cover the ends of our hair with plastic bags to avoid wetting them. When its time to wash our hair, its time to wash our hair. Maybe I'm being overly critical, what do you all think?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Style Tutorial: 1 Twist Out 8 Styles

It was time for me to wash my hair so I couldn't wear my fabulous twist out in the street. So I challenged myself to make as many styles as possible before my camera battery died. Check out the 8 styles I created from 1 twist out. Enjoy!

1 Twist Out 8 Styles: Style 1

1 Twist Out 8 Styles: Style 2

1 Twist Out 8 Styles: Style 3

1 Twist Out 8 Styles: Style 4 & 5

1 Twist Out 8 Styles: Style 6

1 Twist Out 8 Styles: Style 7

1 Twist Out 8 Styles: Style 8

1 Twist Out 8 Styles: BONUS Style

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mizani Releases a New Hair Typing System

Look out Andre Walker, Mizani is challenging the four-part hair typing system that many naturals have deemed unfit to describe their hair textures. Walker's system creates four categories to describe hair of all types, with each category having up to three sub-categories:

Type 1a - Straight (Fine/Thin) - Hair tends to be very Soft, Shiny, difficult to hold a curl, hair also tends to be oily, and difficult to damage. 
Type 1b - Straight (Medium) - Hair has lots of volume & body. 
Type 1c - Straight (Coarse) - Hair is normally bone straight and difficult to Curl. Asian women usually fall into this category. 

Type 2a - Wavy (Fine/Thin) - Hair has a definite "S" pattern. Normally can accomplish various styles. 
Type 2b - Wavy (Medium) - Hair tends to be frizzy, and a little resistant to styling. 
Type 2c - Wavy (Coarse) - Hair is also resistant to styling and normally very frizzy;tends to have thicker waves. 

Type 3a - Curly (Loose Curls) - Hair tends to have a combination texture. It can be thick & full with lots of body, with a definite "S" pattern. It aslo tends to be frizzy. 
Type 3b - Curly (Tight Curls) - Also tends to have a combination texture, with a medium amount of curl. 

Type 4a - Kinky (Soft) - Hair tends to be very Fragile, tightly coiled, and has a more defined curly pattern. 
Type 4b - Kinky (Wiry) - Also very fragile and tightly coiled; however with a less defined curly pattern -has more of a "Z" pattern shape.

To address the shortcomings of this system, many kinky-haired naturals have added a Type 4c category, for hair that is a combination of 4a and 4b. Yet after Walker's comment in Elle magazine July 2011 issue "kinky hair can have limited styling options; that is the only hair type that I suggest altering with chemical relaxing" many naturals are discarding his system (along with any respect for him).

In steps Mizani with the "Natural Curl Key" developed "after years of researching and testing" with "a scientific approach." This system names "eight distinctive hair types worldwide." I don't know about the rest of y'all but I'm sick of these systems designed to tell me (or a so-called professional) how to care for my hair. The best research and testing I have found is doing my own hair and my scientific approach is trial and error. But check it out and you be the judge.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wash Regimen: Version 1

I tend to switch things up frequently when it comes to hobbies, passions, penmanship and of course hair regimens. Maybe its me, but times change and the same old methods don't always cut it. Don't get me wrong, I do believe 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it.' But I've noticed my hair doesn't respond the same way to products after prolonged use. To keep my results as fresh as the first time I like to change ingredients and procedures.

Here is one method I use for washing and conditioning my hair:

I wash my hair in large twists to limit breakage, tangling and to make the process more efficient.

I allow warm water to run through the roots of my hair. Most of my products are natural and water-soluble so they rinse out easily.

I dilute the Dr. Bronner's soap before using. About 1 tbsp to 1 c of water. I sometimes enhance it with rosemary and sage essential oils and baking soda if I've used gel or pomade.

 If I have a lot of product build up, I will unravel the twists and finger comb the soap through. Then I retwist it before rinsing to limit tangles.

The rosemary and sage essential oils help stimulate circulation in the scalp and encourages growth. Take this time to give yourself a cleansing scalp massage.

After thoroughly rinsing out the soap, I apply my conditioner by unraveling each twist, finger combing the conditioner through, then retwisting before rinsing.

I think retwisting the section after working conditioner through helps the product penetrate the strands. I've noticed my hair retains greater moisture when I wash my hair in twists than when I wash it loose.

Repeat the process for all sections.

 I am very generous when applying conditioner.
For the conditioner recipe follow this link: Coconut milk & honey & avocado moisturizing protein deep conditioner

Working the conditioner through the strands.

Retwisting the section. I will leave this in my hair for at least 30 minutes at most 2 hours.
Be sure to rinse thoroughly if using my conditioner recipe. Perishable ingredients should not be left to dry in your hair. (They may start to smell.)