Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fros Added to the TSA's Inspection List

So I guess this is an official part of the standard TSA checklist now? Read about the TSA hair frisking that recently happened to Briana McCarthy of The Mane Source.

I realize the agents do not make the policies and are just doing their jobs. Honestly a small weapon could be concealed inside of a large enough fro, but what I don't understand is what set this off? Has there been a case of hair smuggling that led the authorities to institutionalize this policy or is it a part of racial profiling? I'm not suggesting foul play but I would appreciate an explanation of the hair frisking trend.

What do you all think?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Awkward Moments & Triumphs 2

That awkward moment when you haven't finished your hair, but its time to leave for a job meeting.

That triumphant moment when you can throw something together to be presentable to the outside world.

Style Tutorial: Braided Protective Style

I began this style by parting my hair horizontally in small sections. My hair is dense, so small sections still makes medium sized braids. I made a slanted part in the center, splitting each row in two sections.


The back of my hair was very difficult, since I had been wearing a twist out all day and hadn't blown it out as I usually do. I also haven't braided my hair in a while, I generally prefer flat twisting, but it doesn't last as long. Sorry I didn't continue taking pictures of the process, I was frustrated. Side note: I hadn't finished my hair before bed and had to go to a meeting with my director in the morning. I made this quick bang to mask my unfinished 'do. Shhh... don't tell on me! 
I thought I would change this style up often (I love versatile protective styles) but I only wore it this way for about ten days, then with the ends unraveled for a couple days. Its similar to another braided style I did last year. 

What would you do to switch this up in a versatile way?

A Random Thought About Strawllers, Drinking Straws and Perm Rods

Exhibit A: Strawllers
Isn't it funny how inventions come about? This is what I thought as I read an archived article on Ebony.com about Strawllers, thin hair rollers made for straw sets. Strawllers are the durable and ventilated alternative to drinking straws, used by many women whether transitioning or fully natural. I chuckled myself thinking how drinking straws are a DIY alternative to thin perm rods, which are also used to achieve tight pencil curls. A knockoff of a knockoff. Hmm...

Exhibit B: Drinking Straws
Exhibit C: Perm Rods

Monday, August 13, 2012

Style Tutorial: Twisted Pin Curl Side-do

I actually wore this style nearly a month ago, but forgot I had taken pictures to share with everyone. Unfortunately I did not get video or still shots throughout the process. It was an impromptu style. I will still give step by step instructions.

Similar to my Rolling Side Puff, this is a "side-do" (like updo, but to the side...yeah I'm making that a thing). I used flat twists here so the style would last longer.

The flat twists went 2/3 of the way across my head. The last third was left for loose twists. Then I pinned the ends of the flat twists and each loose twist into pin curls.

I've been waiting a year to do this style. My hair wasn't quite long enough for the full effect last year. I got the idea from MahoganyKnots on YouTube. Check out her excellent tutorial for details.

Style Tutorial: Rolling Side Puff

I was going through old videos from my YouTube channel and came across this gem. Sometimes I can't tell if my hair has really grown that much, but comparing the current length to my length in this video from nearly two years ago I can really note the difference.

This was part of my quick styling series... when I was working an office job and really needed to cut down on my styling time in the mornings. I used rolling twists in this style, which are quicker than flat twists- but not as secure so they don't last as long. I think I kept this style for three days by wearing a silk scarf at night.

What are your favorite quick styles that take 15 minutes or less?

Rolling Side Puff

Monday, August 6, 2012

Awkward Moments & Triumphs 1

That awkward moment when you've put in your doofy wash twists you wouldn't dare been seen wearing, then realize you're out of your staple product.

That triumphant moment when you can improvise with something in your kitchen.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

DIY Recipe: Avocado and Oatmeal Face Mask

Today the weather was icky, so I decided to give myself a home spa treatment. The ingredient of the day: AVOCADO. I deep conditioned my hair with my staple moisturizing protein deep conditioner and pampered my face with an avocado oatmeal mask (placing chamomile tea bags on my eyes.) Avocado is a super fruit with so many benefits to hair and skin!

Avocados contain many essential nutrients, proteins, vitamins A, D, E and K, B vitamins, magnesium, copper, iron, folic acid, potassium and amino acids. These ingredients help to repair and replenish dry and damaged hair. The proteins, vitamins B and E found in avocados can also increase the strength and elasticity of hair, giving it a healthy shine and texture... Avocados are high in sterolins, which help to reduce age spots, and help heal sun damage and scars. These sterolins (also called plant steroids) are what help to soften the skin and moisturize it. Using avocados in facemasks can also have a deep cleansing effect, working to remove impurities, wastes and dead skin cells. Facemasks tighten pores, remove excess oil from the skin, and moisturize and replenish dry skin.

Click here for my Coconut milk & honey & avocado moisturizing protein deep conditioner.

Avocado deep conditioner in hair,
 avocado oatmeal face mask,
& avocado plant growing  behind me.

Avocado and Oatmeal Face Mask

Why I Love the Kitchen Salon...

I live for moments like this: doing my goddaughter's hair!

What do you love most about a kitchen salon or DIY hair care?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

THANK YOU: The Kitchen Salon Featured on Natural Sunshine

I've come a long way since my first timid post on Natural Sunshine at the start of last year. I was learned about the online forum from a YouTube video and was immediately impressed and grateful for this community. I've since witnessed and participated in the amazing growth of the forum, and now it is (I would argue) one of the largest and most dynamic online communities supporting not just natural hair, but women of color!

The founder Sunshine Abuwi has shown me nothing but love since day one, and it is her support and her own blog Sunshine in the Making, that encouraged me to start The Kitchen Salon. Below is a video recently posted on Natural Sunshine that shouts out the sites top blogs/bloggers of the week- and I'm featured!!!

Thank you Sunshine for all of your continued support and for being such an inspirational woman. I am continuously inspired not just by your perseverance, but by your honest transparency too. Here's to powerful Black women! Ashé!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Styling Wish List... I think I can, I think I can!

When I see interesting, fierce, and elegant styles on other people, I want NEED to try them myself. The internet makes it impossible to keep up with everything but I'm obligated to try. It only worsens my HIH (Hand-In-Head) syndrome, but try not to judge me or yourself if you're inspired to try a few.

OMG!!! I've gotta figure this out, I'm intrigued. It looks like a fold and tuck style, but something about the sides. Hmm... wish I could find a back view perspective.
via Afro Glitz

Oh yeah... def adding this to the list! Priceless throwback. Said to be a photo from Madagascar, I'm guessing nineteenth century? (Don't quote me on that!)

I ran across this style sported by user doulacubanita on Natural Sunshine. This has to be added to the list of styles I want to try.
via Natural Sunshine

Shut the front door! This is TOO FLY! Ok, I'm departing the Afro Glitz site right now, cause this is too much for me in my condition (see HIH syndrome). It's a braided fold and tuck! Oh wait, did anyone else notice how the style above is so similar to this one? I wonder if doulacubanita was also inspired by this picture...
via Afro Glitz

Monday, June 25, 2012

Style Tutorial: Fold & Tuck Updo

So I've been wanting to try my hand at this fold and tuck technique ever since I first saw this tutorial by Lovingyourhair on YouTube. I tried my hand at it today after taking down my twists from wash day (two days ago). I love it with the texture of the twist out! I like the messy look, so I kept my finger parts from the twists to make the rolls. This style took me 10 minutes and 10 bobby pins! What do you guys think?


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cassandra Jackson Thinks Natural Hair is the End of Black Beauty Culture

Right now, the beauty shop is still there, but I am not. I will not take my daughter there because I want her to love her perfect springy curls. She will hear me laugh with my sister about the time that she 'kissed' my ear with a hot straightening comb, but my daughter will never know how such a tool of pain could evoke such warm intimacy. I want her to love her hair as it grew out of her head, but I also want her to know a place where tired black women can shame a man with a word and look. But I cannot have it both ways.

Cassandra Jackson raises many interesting points about the loss of an integral element of Black female culture. Yet I would argue that it is possible to have both the liberation of natural hair and the solidarity of salon culture. There are many women who can't/won't do their own hair, and there are those who just prefer the pampering of a salon. These are the women who will maintain the salon culture. In fact they are probably the women who have been maintaining the salon culture through all of these generations, as I would argue a DIY kinda gal is the same whether her hair is worn naturally or processed.

At the moment there are few mainstream salons that cater to natural hair and those that specialize are usually overpriced. I hope to see more hair stylists offer services for natural hair. If more stylists were able to do natural hair, the overall price would probably decrease. Furthermore, the stigma of naturally kinky hair being difficult to manage would desist.

I don't see the growing natural haired population as a threat to salon culture, but rather as an opportunity to return to the original "kitchen salon" culture of Black womanhood. The bonding that Jackson refers to was never about getting kinky hair permed or even pressed, but about women coming together in a sacred space.

What do you guys think? Is it possible for salon culture to survive the migration of Black women to their natural texture?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Style Tutorial: Curly Sue (Mini Twist Flexi Rod Roller Set)

I've been rocking mini twists for two weeks now and have kept them in a bun most of the time. Two weeks is a long time for me to wear one style, I love to switch it up every other day or so! So I decided to roller set my twists with flexi rods and without heat.

The night before I had co-washed my twists, but had kept them in a bun since then. I lightly spritzed clumps of 5 or 6 twists with water. Then I applied a dime-sized amount of Jane Carter Solution Wrap & Roll foam and wrapped each section tightly around a flexi rod. My hair was damp but not at all saturated.

I applied a scarf and let my hair set overnight. In the morning I took out the rollers. My hair was still well moisturized from being in a bun after co-washing, so I didn't feel the need to add any oil to my hands before unrolling. I will probably spritz and seal my twists tonight before bed.

I separated the twists in each clump and that was it! The takedown process took about 15 minutes total (unrolling and separating). The rolling took a little over an hour... but there was a movie and snacking involved. 8-D

YES!!! The flexi rods are uncomfortable to sleep in. I usually try to use them in the morning if I don't have to leave the house until later in the day. For those who need quicker results, you can use a hooded dryer. For touch-ups or bangs, a blow dryer with a diffuser can set the curls in as little as five minutes. Flexi rods take a while to dry so consider these guidelines when using them:
  1. Dampen, don't saturate the hair. If you just washed your hair, blot or plop it to absorb most of the water.
  2. Use small sections of hair. The less hair on the roller, the faster the dry time.
  3. A foam or mousse product is lighter than a gel or cream, and dries much quicker.
  4. Give yourself the adequate amount of time for the curls to set. If you are really in a rush, try a ventilated roller. Flexi rods make awesome long-lasting curls, but they take a while to work their magic.
  5. Clean your flexi rods after each use. Think about the product buildup your hair would have if you never cleaned it. The same applies to your hair tools. I just dump them in the sink with some warm water and a little Dr. Bronner's soap. Be sure to set them out on a towel to dry thoroughly before storing.
What are your favorite curling hair tools? Do you have a "quick set" method?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Kitchen Testimonials: Cpj

Subscriber, Cpj, had this to say about maintaining mini twists:

I agree. In order to preserve any protective style when washing gentle handling is a must! Aside from maintaining the look of the style, I find that gentle handling avoids extreme tangling. What methods have you all found to be helpful in maintaining your twists and other protective styles?

DIY Recipe: Accidental Herbal Hair Rinse

I've been on a quest to make an all natural hair lotion that isn't too greasy but has a thick creamy texture. The inspiration for this quest is my fond memory of Luster's Pink Lotion- you know the one! I looooved this stuff, and swore it transformed my texture each time I slathered it on. Of course it did not, in fact it just created build up and attracted dirt because I piled it on daily. But that first application... on clean hair... with a hard boar bristle brush... couldn't no one tell me I didn't "have Indian in my family." o_O

I don't want to live in that delusional world anymore, but I do want to find the perfect recipe for a thick creamy lotion. The one I'm about to share with you... is not it! I found a recipe online that was inaccurately described as a nettle hair lotion. Then I personalized it by adding horsetail and chamomile. The consistency was not at all creamy... it was basically tea. It did however make a wonderful hair rinse to use after conditioning and I did see an increase in sheen and strength in my strands after using it for about a month. Check it out and tell me how it works out for you!

I used 2 teaspoons each of dried nettle and horsetail leaves.

I added in 2 teaspoons of dried chamomile flowers.

I placed all of the herbs in a tea bag and steeped in boiling hot water for about an hour (long enough for the mixture to cool down).

I used this mixture on one of my "mega-cleaning" days. I also decided to try the condition-first method. I rather liked it. This was my regimen:
- pre-poo castor oil treatment
- coconut honey avocado deep conditioner
- baking soda rinse
- ACV rinse
- herbal rinse

Have you tried any herbal hair rinses? Have you tried any other recipes for hair lotions? Please share them with us!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Kitchen Testimonials: Ellie and Unathi

While hanging with my homegirl Ellie we got onto the topic of hair care regimens (duh!) and she mentioned that she had been making her own cleansing and conditioning products for hair and home. I asked (ok, nudged) her to share what has been working for her and this is what she shared:

Since we're having "church" in the kitchen salon, I thought I'd share another testimonial with you. This is from Unathi who attended my first kitchen salon class at NYC's Cuchifritos via The Trade School. Seems like it wasn't too bad... maybe I should try another?

Have any of you tried some of the recipes from the blog? Let us know what worked, and even what didn't work! If you have a recipe, question or comment send it to submissions.thekitchensalon@gmail.com.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Kitchen Salon Featured in Liberated Strands Magazine

* SQUEAL * It's here it's here! Liberated Strands #2 has arrived and it features an article I wrote about protective styling. See "Fight Hair in Hand" on pg. 93 for my protective styling tutorial and DIY hair care tips.

Thanks to Angela Clay for the opportunity. KS fam, this whole magazine is full of stunning photos of gorgeous women with a variety of manes. Check it out and tell us what you think. ♥


Friday, April 20, 2012

Style Tutorial: Fro Today, Gone Tomorrow | Another Twisted Updo

I love sporting my fro on warm sunny days. This year's early spring weather convinced me to ditch my usual winter protective styling and rock wild twist outs.

Now that my rehearsal and performance schedule is picking up I have to go back to protective styling. Here's a style I reluctantly did to keep my hair up and out the way for a while, yet another twisted updo. What do you think?

Friday, April 6, 2012

I'm Choreographing a Musical, You Should Be In It!

Casting Call for Unnamed Broadway Musical: The Musical!

Did you fantasize about being in an orphan themed musical when you were a kid?
Volunteer Performers Wanted for Collaborative Musical Theater/Video Project. No experience necessary!

We are seeking volunteer performers for Unnamed Broadway Musical: The Musical! to participate in an unusual collaborative performance based on the experience of watching and/or listening to orphan themed musicals as a child.

The casting will be based more on the willingness and desire of the performers than on singing, dancing ability, or appearance. We hope to tap into a population who perhaps fantasized as children about being in a particular musical, but for whom it wasn’t a possibility perhaps because of gender, race, talent, or other circumstantial barriers.

We will create a new musical together under the direction of Sarah Cameron Sunde over the course of 5 weeks. Chris Berg will compose and direct the music and Pia Monique Murray will choreograph. The entire process will be recorded and edited into an experimental video by artist/organizer Kara Hearn.

Interested candidates should:

  • Be available for all rehearsal and performance times
  • Be 18 years or older
  • Have a personal history/relationship with an orphan themed musical

To Apply:

  • Please send an email to karahearn@gmail.com  with a brief description of your interest in the project
  • Deadline: April 7th  at midnight
  • We will select applicants for Interviews/Auditions to be held on Saturday, April 14th

Rehearsal/Performance Times (all held at EFA Project Space, 323 39th Street, between 8th and 9th Ave.)

Monday, April 16, 6-10pm
Thursday, April 19, 6-10pm
Friday, April 20, 6-10pm
Saturday, April 21, 12-6pm
Monday, April 23, 6-10pm
Thursday, April 26, 6-10pm
Monday, April 30, 6-10pm
Saturday, May 5, 12-6pm
Thursday, May 10, 6-10pm
Friday, May 11, 6-10pm
Monday, May 14, 6-10pm
Thursday, May 17, 6-10pm
Friday, May 18, 6-10pm
Saturday, May 19, 12-8pm (FINAL PERFORMANCE)

The final video will be screened in July.

Artist/Organizer: Kara Hearn
Director: Sarah Cameron Sunde
Composer/Music Director: Christopher Berg
Choreographer: Pia Monique Murray
Curatorial Consultant: Michelle Levy
Hosting Organization: EFA Project Space