August 22, 2014

Tutorial: Beach Waves on Natural Hair (While the Summer Lasts!)

These beachy loose waves have been my go-to style for my blonde hair so far. I find that when I wear it totally natural in what used to my go-to wash, diffuse, and tension blow dry (that sounds more confusing than it is! Click here for the how to), that it feels so rediculously DRY. And for some reason when I wear it in straighter styles it's much softer and at least feels more pliable and moisturized. I don't understand how this makes any sense!

I like this style because you can do it on wet hair, straightened hair, or a blow out -- or an old wash and go. And if you do straighten your hair, this is a good style to do in between washes so you don't have to keep straightening it repeatedly throughout the week. It looks cute out, in a messy side ponytail, bun, of half up do.

The Process:

First, seperate your hair into 4-5 workable sections. Section by section, split each big section into 3-5 (depending on how thick, long, curly...your hair is) smaller sections. Twists the small secions into one strand twists as tightly as you can, and then wrap around itself into a bantu knot. Secure with a bobby pin if needed. 
Do this around your whole head. In total, I had about 16-18 bantu knots. I do not use much product at all, a small bit of moisturizer, curl cream, and/or coconut oil will do! Leave the bantu knots in 6-8 hours overnight or until 100% dry (if applied on wet hair).
The next morning, gently unravel the bantu knots. If you want to loosen the curl/wave even more, you can run your straightener over the one strand twist -- while it's still twisted -- befores separating. 
Gently separate the waves. To reduce frizz, rub some coconut oil on your palms and fingers.
Do this to your entire head!

The Result:

And there you have it! Even if your hair is damaged, it should now feel soft to the touch, pliable and moisturized. Be sure to add extra moisturizer or coconut oil to those ends...

Let me know how it goes!

August 7, 2014

Adventures of Going Blonde Part 1: The Salon

This (above) is the hair I started with. As dark as naturally black hair gets, very healthy, and fairly long. I don't think I had an exact measurement, but my longest strands were over 10 inches. 

It's taken me FOREVER, but finally I am bringing myself to document this whole going blonde process. It's been an ordeal. And an expensive one...all because I was reluctant to blow $400 (actually, probably more) in NYC where all the natural hair curly girls go to get their hair done. 

I didn't want to spend more than $200 (at MOST) on my hair because that just felt so unnecessary, silly, and even though I am clearly a bit obsessed with actually felt a little unlike me to go and blow that much of a pay check on my hair. that I've been through the non-NYC "natural hair" salon process...and have spent about $150 on a TERRIBLE dye job that I then went and spent a lot more money on in multiple attempts to fix it...I regret not having gone to a salon in NYC in the first place. 

There's no guarantee that if I went to that salon in NYC that I would have loved the results...but I'd like to think it would have at least turned out BETTER. Or at least a bit closer to what I wanted. These are the pictures I showed my stylist here. And THIS (below) is the result I got after literally 4 hours in the chair:

Even though I know the stylist did her best and was very meticulous about the process...I just was not happy at all with the result. She was doing my hair under a completely different standard meant for a different hair type, likely, and I don't think she was very familiar with my texture at all. I chose this salon (I decided not to name any names...but it's in Morrisstown, NJ) because it had very good reviews on They claim to be Deva trained (or Ouidad? one of those, I forget) as well. I called a few different places around NJ. Over the phone, this place sounded the most confident like they were totally cool with curls and knew exactly the style I wanted -- ombre/balayage. Which IS NOT the result I got. As you can see. 

Basically, I asked for this:
And got this:

Plus a bunch of orange/red hues that I did not want. So then I was left to either 1. accept it or 2. try everything in my power to fix it without paying the NYC salon $400. But that will come later. For now...I'll just break down all the things that went kind of wrong with this visit and all the reasons why if you're thinking about drastically changing your hair color (particularly to blonde) you should just save up and splurge on a salon you know for sure has a good track record.

The Process:
I came into the salon with old straightened hair which may have been a mistake. The stylist obviously had no way of knowing my natural texture, and didn't know how I usually style it other than the pictures I showed her. The problem is, I don't have a "usual" way of styling because it's different week to week and I wanted a dye job that would look good with every style. 

She spent about 10 minutes looking at pictures of my natural hair and example pictures of the kinds of color styles I wanted. I showed her about 7-10 pictures. She also asked me a bunch of questions about specifics. Did I want roots to show? If so how much? How blonde did I want it? How bold or subtle? Did I want some dark hairs showing underneath...etc. So I figured I was in good hands. 
She mixed two dyes (not sure what the difference was) and then started layering it on. She promised me a few things:
  1. My hair would NOT be red.
  2. My hair would NOT be yellow.
  3. My hair would NOT be orange.
  4. She was going to get it as blonde as possible without compromising my texture. 
To my dismay...none of these promises held up. 

She left the dye on for a LONG time. Probably longer than it should have been on, I'm not sure. At least an hour and a half. Then let the dye heat on my hair under a dryer. After waiting for a very long time, she brought me to the sink, washed out the dye, and applied a toner. 

For some reason, she left the toner on longer closer to my roots and shorter on my ends. I'm not sure why this made any sense. I ended up with black roots leading into light yellow leading into darker orange tips. Eek. 

Also, I didn't notice the toner make much of a difference. It's hard to tells since my hair was wet, but it still looked just as brassy as it did before she applied the violet toner. 

After toning, she lathered on a deep conditioner and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. Then she dried it a bit and sat me under a dryer WITHOUT detangling. Um? So my hair was extremely knotted and kind of dreading into locs. She told me she wanted to sit me under the dryer for a few minutes to see how the dye looked on dry hair. So I figured this was just a test, we would see how the color turned, then she would re-wet and detangle. Nope. 

She pumped about 1-2 pumps of a gel/curl cream into her hand and patted it onto my semi dry hair. She didn't rake it through, didn't comb it in, and my hair was already partially dry so the product was NOT any where near evenly distributed. It was literally just sitting on the top of my hair. 

She then sat me under the dryer for 20 (or so) minutes. When she checked on me, my hair was about 85% dry. She then asked me if it was dry enough. I thought she was asking me if my hair was dry enough to be able to tell what color my new hair way. I said yes. Then she turned off the dryer and concluded "it was nice meeting you." Ummm? My hair was looking positively crazy and wasn't even fully dry! It was knotted. It felt dry and thirsty...but then kind of damp. Sticky on parts. And the color turned out exactly like she promised it wouldn't. It wasn't red, orange, or yellow -- it was all three!!!

After I looked confused as to why she was bidding me farewell, I explained how I normally style it to beat the shrinkage a bit.

She then handed me her blow dryer and told me I should do it myself because she didn't want to make it frizzy. 

This was the first time I've ever had to do my OWN hair after paying someone over $100 to do it at a hair salon. 

So I took her blow dryer and started to stretch out my totally knotty, under-moisturized hair as best as I could. And this was the result. A bit better, but still not at all what I wanted.
My hair looked very orange and brassy and there were no dimensions. The color was completely flat and kind of splotchy. Instead of an ombre/balayage look, it looked as if I dyed my hair from a box at home and then grew it out for 6 months. I had a black halo of roots that were at least 3-5 inches long leading into bright yellow, leading into bright brassy orange tips. And really, there was no "leading" or fading or any color gradient. It went from straight up black to straight up yellow. And that is exactly what I did not want. 

The whole experience was awful. And I walked out of that salon wishing I never walked in. It was truly awful. Now that I've toyed with it a bit, and had a few emergency Sally's runs, I like it better but I'm not in love with it. 

I've been debating actually chopping it off again, since it has become so damaged and so much of it has broken off. I can barely wear it curly because it just feels so dry. It feels best when I straight style it now. I think I may just continue oiling it with coconut oil and try to salvage my ends as best as I can and grow it out. Then possibly go to another salon in 6 or so months to have them dye the orange to a more natural brown. I don't know! Whatever I do...I'll continue to update.