Bantu Knot Out on Flat Ironed Hair

Hi there! I decided to Bantu Knot may hair on Jan 2nd after I flat ironed it on Jan 1st. I wore my hair straight the first day then knotted it up on the second day.

I’ve tried this style before on my curly hair and it was a total flop. So when I flat ironed my hair I knew immediately that I wanted to try Bantu Knots again. This time I just knew it would be a total success.

Before I actually did the bantu knots, I flat ironed my hair once more on low heat. This was to ensure that I got silky curls. And silky curls I got. Yay Meee!!!

Here’s a short video of the process and the results followed by a few still shots.

Tell me what you think below in the comments. Have you ever tried this style? Would you? It certainly would be a cute valentine’s day updo.

Big Hair Don't Care

Bantu Knot Out2

Bantu Knot Out3

Bantu Knot Out 6 Bantu Collage2 Bantu Knot Out 5

2013 Blowout Comparison

I haven’t blogged about my hair in recent times but I do take pics from time to time. Below is a blowout comparison for the last six months. I missed a month – April. Didn’t capture a pic but that does not mean that I didn’t blow out my hair. Probably was busy or sleepy. X_X

2013 blowout comparison

Here’s the thing with blow drying – if you do it too often like I did, your hair will break eventually from the constant heat. To be very honest, I haven’t really taken great care of my hair over the last year as I did two years before. Why? I’ve been living life on the go! I know I need to slow down and I’m really trying to. I’ve lessened my activities for the rest of the year so hopefully that should help.

So here’s what happened. Because I was always busy during the day, I tend to wash my hair at night or on a Sabbath morning before church. Not wanting to sleep with wet hair and have a bad twist out the next day, most times I blow out my hair before twisting. I know, I know, I know I can diffuse my hair but “ain’t nobody got time fa dat”!

Blownout Twist

Though I always use heat protectant, I was blowing out my hair way to often so it still experienced some damage. In March photo above, I didn’t look too happy right? That’s because I started to experience some damage on the left side of my hair. You can see that it is much shorter than the right side. The price I pay for using the blow dryer every week!

It doesn’t seem like I’ve experienced much growth this year either, but I’ll attribute that to the constant heat application. So now instead of blowing out my hair every week, I’ll opt for once a month. That should help to reduce the damage. I also have some raggedy ends which I will also attribute to the heat but I’ll leave that for another post.

What I’ve learned thus far for the year is something I’ve known even before returning natural – less heat<more growth=healthier hair (in conjunction with other best practices).

How often do you use heat on your hair? Do you experience heat damage in any form?

Until next time – back away slowly from the blow dryer and happy growing!

Feature Friday | Tracey-Ann Wisdom

IGC: Please introduce yourself.
My name is Tracey-Ann Wisdom, but everybody just calls me Tracey or Trace. I’m from the garden parish of St Ann, Jamaica and I’m a journalist at Jamaica’s first new media company, eMedia Interactive Limited (shameless plug).

IGC: Tell us your hair story.
I didn’t really have a problem with my hair growing up, in terms of hating the texture or length or whatever. What I had major problems with and what drove me to BEG my mother for a relaxer was the way she treated my hair. I remember hating weekends because the washing/combing process took two days. Saturday was pulling out last week’s cornrows and washing, where my hair was roughed up and cursed for being tough while I screamed and cried. By the time that horror show was completed, my poor scalp would be too tender to do anything else, so I got big granny plaits til Sunday, when Mommy would beat my hair into cornrowed submission, again accompanied by screaming and crying because my scalp was still tingling from the wash.

I endured this for 11 years, in between times when I’d stay with my grandmother and she would wash my hair oh so gently, then press it. When I was preparing for common entrance exams, Mommy and I struck a deal – pass for St Hilda’s High (the best school in the parish) and she’d crème my hair. Best believe I got the grades to get into St Hilda’s!

Mommy decided to save money and crème my hair herself – read: RUIN IT! – and from that point til mid-3rd form, my hair was a hot disaster. I’d change hairdressers a few times – read: Mommy’s friends who said they could do hair – until I went to live with my aunt and got my first professional relaxer and my hair began to thrive. My scalp, on the other hand, not so much. No matter how ‘gentle’ the crème advertised itself to be, I’d get burns so bad there’d be scabs for weeks. Motions was the worst! Breeze blow and my scalp would feel like someone poured rubbing alcohol in an open wound on my head. I had scabs up to the time of my next scheduled relaxer and had to postpone it.

I did this for 11 years, until 2nd year at UWI (University of the West Indies), Mona. I’d gone to college with my hair nearing the bottom of my shoulder blades, thick and shiny and bouncy. All my flatmates – and random strangers – wanted to know what I used, how I grew my hair that long, if it was really all mine. But by 2nd year, stess and poverty hit me and my hair began to fall out. I mean shed like a fricking dog. A guy classmate even told me I needed to handle my situation because I was looking popped down. SHAME! So I braided it (WRONG MOVE!!!!) and lost my hairline. One day, in frustration, I walked into the campus beauty salon and asked how much to cut it all off and just did an instant BC. I’d been threatening to do it for weeks, but no one believed me, so it was no surprise that people were walking right past me then doing double takes when they realized it was me. Lol! 

I’ve been natural since 2006 and I’m not being dramatic when I say I never loved myself so much as that first moment I looked into the mirror at the salon and touched my hair. I can’t even explain it, but it was a powerful moment.

My hair and I, we’ve had our ups and downs since then, most notably the press job for graduation that left me with a half-fro, cuz my ends were burnt to a crisp. Two big chops later, my texture is back where I want it and I’m currently contemplating locks. But I’m having separation anxiety. My fro is EVERYTHING. Can I really say goodbye to it?

IGC: Who or what is your hair inspiration?
Everybody who knows me knows the answer to this question: Corinne Bailey Rae and Esperanza Spalding. OHMYGOSH, I fricking LOVE THEM. And their hair. I also love me some Solange Knowles, Tracee Ellis Ross and Elle Varner.

IGC: What is your hair regimen and some of your favorite hair products to use?
In the beginning of my natural journey, I used a lot of heat on my hair, trying to blow dry it straight because after 11 years, that’s all I knew. But after the 2008 graduation disaster, I’ve kept heat to a minimum and since the start of this year, I’ve banned it completely.

I wash my hair once a week or whenever the mood strikes me, use a mix of water, vegetable glycerin and some essential oils as a spritz, then add some Giovanni leave in and finish with shea butter. I’ve stopped using anything ‘manufactured’ on my hair, but it was subconscious. And cuz I’m broke. But this works for me, so what ain’t broke, I ain’t changing.

IGC: What are your favorite hairstyles?
Some version of the afro. I suck at styling. Like, REALLY suck. I can’t even do twists to wear in public. When my hair was bigger, I’d do lots of twist outs, but since I’m back to a TWA, I just moisturize/seal/brush/slap on a headband.

IGC: Do you have a hair goal?
To have a big ass fro like Esperanza, Corinne or Elle! Sort of negates the locks then, uh?

IGC: Name five things you love about your natural hair the most?
Hmm… That I don’t have to sprint out of the rain anymore; that I can wash my hair whenever I want; being called Queen or Empress by random Rastas (some of whom are cute); that it makes me feel like myself; that it’s absolutely beautiful!

IGC: What is the hardest part of your journey thus far?
The hardest part was after the pressing disaster. I actually cried. My afro was in full swing and that debacle has caused me to have to start over twice. But I think I’m over it. I don’t have any ‘real’ challenges, like family/friends not accepting my hair. Since the moment I touched my fro in that salon six years ago, my attitude has been, ‘If you don’t like it, bite it!’

IGC: Do you see natural hair becoming more popular in the mass media or are relaxers set to still be dominant in the coming years?
Natural hair is definitely the style du jour. It’s not only big in black media or the blogosphere, but even mainstream (white) magazines. That’s awesome, because little black girls growing up should see themselves reflected in their natural state. It might help halt some of the self-hatred black people, particularly women, seem to struggle with.

I don’t think the creamy crack will ever go away, but I just love that more women are growing to accept their natural selves and shaking off the centuries of negativity associated with it.

IGC: What advice can you give to someone who is natural, transitioning or contemplating the idea of returning natural?
‘Returning natural’. I LOVE IT! Never heard it put that way before. My advice is to do what makes you comfortable. If you’re transitioning and afraid of the big chop, do it gradually. If you’re feeling brave, go for the BC. In terms of upkeep/styling, the same principle applies. Do your research, but don’t get bogged down by all the opinions out there. There are some real ‘natural Nazis’ who think they know everything – avoid them. Experiment with different products until you find those that work for your daily life. That’s what I did and settled on my basic, natural ingredients.

And don’t worry that you ‘won’t look good with natural hair’. How could you not? That’s the way God made you and He doesn’t make mistakes!

 Tracey thank you for sharing your hair story. I don’t know about you guys but I certainly enjoyed and could relate to her story. Oh those ‘dreaded weekends’. lOl. Torture. Did you guys notice how flawless her skin is. Tracey girl you need to share your secret. We hope you achieve your Esperanza Spalding Fro girl. 

Show Tracey some love ladies. Don’t forget to rate, like, comment and follow. Thanks dolls!

How To Go From Relaxed To Natural | Big Chop vs Long Term Transitioning

When considering embarking upon a natural hair journey hopeful naturals have to ask themselves a very important question: “To Transition or To Big Chop?” Personally, I’ve never struggled with that question. It was a no brainer for me. But for other hopeful naturals the decision is not always that easy.

“Do you have to shave off all your head to become natural?” The answer to that question is “Of course not”. But do you have to “Big Chop” in order to become a natural? The answer to that question is “Yes”.  At some point during your transition you have to relieve your hair of the relaxer in order to fully embrace and experience the joys of being called a natural.

In order to go natural one of the first things you have to do is make a conscious decision to return natural and then STOP relaxing your hair. This means no touch ups. Throw out the relaxer kits.

There are basically only two ways to return natural: 1) the big chop 2) transition. There is no magic product that will take you form relaxed to natural overnight. So forget about it. LoL!

What is the BIG CHOP (BC)?
To BC is the fastest transition ever. It simply means cutting off your relaxer once you have gained minimal new growth. You can also BC after several months of transitioning and have gained a decent few inches in new growth.


Pros of doing a BIG CHOP

Not having to deal with two textures
This can be one of the most frustrating things ever. It may even tempt you to get a relaxer, completely defeating the purpose of your decision to go natural. One texture is so much easier to deal with.

Products work better
This ties into the point above. When dealing with only one hair texture, you get a better understanding of how products work for your hair type.

Instant gratification
When you BC your journey starts immediately. You don’t have to wait for your hair to grow out or install weaves or braids. The deal is sealed and you get to watch your lovely locks grow from the root up.

Accessorize
If you love makeup and accessories it’s time to bring out the makeup kit and jewelry box. Long hair can sometimes detract from the accessories. Once you big chop your accessories will stand out more and will accentuate your natural beauty.

 

Cons of Doing the Big Chop

Dislike Short Hair
Ok so you love your long hair and can’t bear to part with it. The big chop is definitely not for you.


Limited Style Options
When it comes to styling your options will definitely be limited and you will be left with a teeny weeny afro (TWA).  And that in between stage where your hair has gain some length but still too short to pull in a pony tail can be just as stressful as the enemy line of demarcation because you will have no idea what to do with your hair. This would be a great time to get creative. Another option would be to wig or weave it up until your hair grows out.

What is Long Term Transitioning?
To long term transition is the process where you wait patiently for your relaxed hair to grow out to a length where you are comfortable enough to trim the relaxer off. This process can be as long or as short as you want it to be.


Pros of Transitioning

You get to keep your long hair
If you love your long hair and can’t bear to part with it, transitioning is definitely for you. You get to keep your relaxed hair for as long as you want. When you’re comfortable enough you can do the big chop.

You can wear your hair straight
 It is still possible to wear your hair straight by flat ironing the new growth but be careful not to do it too often less you heat damage the new growth.


Cons of Transitioning 

Can’t tell your real curl pattern
Because the relaxed ends of your hair weigh down your new growth you won’t be able to tell the real texture and curl pattern of your hair. So until your rid your hair of the relaxed ends there will be some uncertainty.

Breakage at the line of demarcation
 The hair is prone to breakage where the two textures connect which is actually the weakest part of the hair. The hair becomes uneven and you may end up losing more hair than you wanted to and eventually have to end up doing a big chop much sooner than you anticipated.

You might be tempted to relax again
Once there’s new growth there comes a point when the two textures become a bit difficult to manage. At this point it’s easy to get frustrated, give up and revert to the creamy stuff.

Products don’t work the same
The products that work for your relaxed hair may not work for your natural hair and vice versa. This makes choosing hair products difficult and it becomes a lot of work to maintain the two textures.

           

Comments from people who transitioned please. Or tell us why you chose to big chop. Thanks dolls!

Why I “Went” Natural | Part 1 ~ Through the Years!

Childhood Memoirs
Having natural hair back in the days as a young child for me was tumultuous experience. I remember those dreaded Sunday afternoons when it was time for mommy to wash and plait my hair for school on Monday morning. Or Friday afternoons when mommy would press my hair with the iron comb on the stove in preparation for church on Sabbath. “Hold down your ear mine u get burn.” That’s what mommy used to say. When she was done, though I liked it, my face would be shinier than a new quart (25¢).

Mommy sure had her work cut out for her. I used to have headaches, belly aches, backaches, all kind of aches or sometimes I would just do the disappearing act. When mommy would find me from wherever I was hiding (usually under the bed, lol), all the neighbors could tell that I was getting a wash. For me it was like drowning and the world was coming to an end. After I would survive the wash it was time for drying, greasing and braiding. I used to get konked on my knuckles a lot with the back of the comb cause I always wanted to touch my new style or see how far she was with the plaiting. I hated it all. Most times I just sat there and bawled. I knew my mommy felt sorry for me but it just had to get done.

My First Relaxer
Finally, when I was about ten, my mom decided then that she was through with my natural hair and it was time for a perm. I was anxious as my sister smoothed the PCJ relaxer onto my hair to make it straight. It was done and I was the ‘it girl’. I no longer had to endure mommy raking through my hair to make it look presentable for school the next day or church on the weekend.

I later discovered that I had sensitive scalp and even though I hated when it was time for mommy to do my hair I still loved my head of hair. After the relaxer I was allowed to fix my hair myself. I remember braiding my hair in single plaits with perfect parting by using a magnifying mirror. No more ‘Big Foot’. You know the style where you have three plaits in the front and a bubble in the back? Yea that style. The joys of doing my own hair.

Over Processed & Heat Damaged
In college, I decided to cut my hair in a bob for the first time. It was one of my best haircuts to date. I loved it so much that I kept cutting it. I remember how my hair was so healthy and shiny and was even the envy of some. It was then that the trouble with my hair began. I would curl my hair every day with a curling iron on very high heat (until I can hear my hair frying and smell the burn) and I was getting touch ups every 4-6 weeks (or as soon as my roots started to show). My hair began to become dull and limp. I had compromised the heath of my hair. My hair was literally falling off my scalp. After about 3 years of constant torture I decided that it was time for a change.

My First Big Chop
In August of 2005 I did my first Big Chop. I loved it. But I didn’t understand the dynamics of natural hair at that time. My intention was to cut my hair, grow it back then relax my hair again after it caught itself. That plan didn’t work out to good. After I BC’d I put a texturizer in my hair and bleached it a bright orange color. That bleaching process would have been the BIGGEST mistake of my hair history. My hair became very brittle and weak. In addition to that, I was washing my hair with harsh sulfate shampoos and then blow-drying on high heat with no heat protection. Needless to say, my curl pattern changed and my hair eventually broke off.

I decided to stop texturizing my hair altogether and grow out the bleached hair, clipping it off as my hair got longer. For the next three years, I wore braids for most of the times to avoid dealing with the course texture of my hair. I used to suffer from really bad headaches/migranes and I noticed that after I stopped relaxing and texturizing my hair, the headaches decreased.

Relaxer Backslide
In April of 2008, I guess I wanted a change and  went back to the texturizer and in June on 2008 I fell for the creamy crack again (inserts shame face here). That was the second biggest mistake I made with my hair. My hair literally rejected the relaxer and consequently I kept touching up my hair so the kink could come out. That was an EPIC FAIL. My hair became over processed and began to fall out in clumps literally. AGAIN. I remember bawling over my hair on the ground. Right then and there I wish I had never relaxed my hair again and I made the decision to return natural at some point.

Burned Again
I was in university at the time and managed to find a hairdresser who would help my hair to recover. She eventually gave me a short haircut to rid the damaged ends. One day while sitting in her chair waiting for the relaxer to dissolve my hair, I could taste the relaxer at the back of my throat and my nose began to burn. I asked her to rinse the relaxer from my hair and she was like “its not finish processing”. I told her that was irrelevant to what I was feeling and to proceed with the rinsing. That oh so familiar experience. I decided right then and there that that would be my last relaxer. That was last week of May 2008. I transition from that day….

Do you have natural hair? If so, why did you return natural? If not, would you consider it?