Kinky TRESSES: Meet Ndeshi

I’ve been featured on Black Zulu. Just wanted to say thanks to Nekisha for this great piece!

Black Zulu

As promised, this week’s Kinky TRESSES: takes us across the globe to meet fellow natural hair blogger – Ndeshi, who currently resides in Canada. She is a Zambian-born natural beauty who started her hair (re)discovery journey in early 2012.

Tell us a bit about yourself and the life of your hair before going natural.

I grew up in a small town in northern British Columbia, Canada. As a kid my mom would do my hair. I spent hours at her feet, head bent this way and that way as she hot combed, braided, twisted and cared for my hair. After my first relaxer at around 9 years old, I would relax my hair infrequently. Having a small black population they didn’t have very much available for our hair so when my dad went out of town we would get him to bring us hair products. When I moved away at…

View original post 1,030 more words

Two Years Natural

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROCCO!

I just want to take a moment to say.. TWO YEARS?! Holy wow. It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was getting my hair buzzed off. I wasn’t sad to see my fragile, broken strands swept away but I was sad I didn’t have a scarf to keep the cold air off my newly exposed neck.

There are going to be so many photos in this gig. I need to one-up my one year anniversary post. Plus there’s going to be some cameos from my Big Chop buddy! My momma!

Rocco: The Early Years

I think my hair had better things to do than grow when I was younger. Legit. My hair follicles were unproductive. I rocked a mean TWA until I was like 4… and then I rocked a fluffy ‘fro. My hair took its sweet time to make an appearance and I wasn’t wearing cornrows or braids until I was about 5 or 6. No biggie. My hair had other things to do, I get it.

Throughout school I wore my hair in braids, corn rows, we hot combed my hair *cringe*, I got my hands on a curling iron and I rocked rolled out bangs like nobody’s business. Around 9 I got my first relaxer. One lady in town relaxed my hair, but it was pricey so I didn’t go very often and they didn’t sell boxed relaxers where I lived. In between I mostly flat ironed it and occasionally wore box braids.

When I moved away for college I was loving that I had access to more hair products so I relaxed my hair and then got it cut at salons. I’ve only ever had maybe two good hair cuts and one of them was at a salon in the mall. Michael only charged me $7 as a ‘bangs cut’. I tipped him well. But when I went back for another cut he was gone. *sob*

After a couple of years I realized this life was no longer for me. Now I know I wasn’t taking the best care of it. I didn’t deep condition it and I flat ironed it like crazy. After straightening it I would have a collection of matchstick strands surrounding me. Rocco was not in good shape.

I had a wise idea of trying to get it sorted out at a local hair salon. My hair dresser had no idea what he was doing and decided to wing it (and I foolishly let him). You can bet I wore my hood up leaving that salon. A couple of weeks later I lopped it all off. Two years later, here I am.

Natural Days

I still stand by the fact that my TWA was the most freeing period in all of my hair history. Washing was easy, drying was easy, moisturizing was easy. There was no detangling, no combing, no SSKs, no major bed prep. There was no blow drying, no teasing and no straightening. I barely had to do jack shit. I slept with a satin cap, and for my 6 am runs I whipped it off, suited up and was out the door. It was sooooo eeeeeasy!!! #sospoiled

Why Am I Still Natural?

This hair of mine is versatile. Sure, there are days when my hair is dry, tangled, uncooperative and makes me wanna just put a hat on. This tuft up there is so unique it makes me happy. When someone says, your hair would be so long if you straightened it. Sure, I could straighten it but then what would I do with it? It would just sit there. I feel as though my natural hair allows me to be creative and get funky and have fun with it. I find my hair matching my mood and it gives me that extra kick of funky charm 😉

Not to mention the community. The online support, suggestions, finding your hair twin, making your own hair products, tweet chats, finding a product your hair loves, this is all gold people. The encouragement, the helpful suggestions, the conversation surrounding natural hair can be so positive and so uplifting and so inspiring. You’re never alone on your journey and you’re always learning.

Rocco’s 2 Year Length Check

I find myself forgetting to do length checks. But that’s because this is just my hair now. It’s less of an experiment in hair growing and more, this is my hair. But since it has been a while I’m excited to see how Rocco’s been doing length wise.

Front:

I’m looking at about 8 inches all round. I’m not mad at that. My ends could use some dusting this spring but otherwise. Thanks for reading!! Have a great Friday!

Rocco’s Previous Milestones:

9 months natural
8 months
6 months
My natural hair story

Wash Day: Rocco’s Routine

At 22 months Rocco’s got length and height and is a handful if left to his own devices.

I normally wash my hair once a week and generally on the weekends. It used to be on Sundays but that was getting in the way so it’s now been moved to Thursdays.

Products I Use

Water | Giovanni Deep Moisture Shampoo  | TRESemme Naturales Conditioner | Shea Butter | Coconut Oil | Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie (sometimes) | Olive Oil Deep Replenishing

Step 1: The Pre-poo (30 mins)
If I can convince myself to take the time, I try to moisturize my strands before hopping in the shower. This is also a good opportunity for me to detangle a bit. First off, I section my hair into 4. I used to spritz with warm water but recently I have been steaming each section with the Q-Redew. I’ll section a piece and, after steaming, work coconut oil in and make a chunky twist and secure it with an elastic. I put a plastic bag on, wrap a towel on top and clean my room or something.

Step 2: Wash (15 mins)
Depending on the state of my scalp, I sometimes give it a good scrub with apple cider vinegar. It’s actually been a couple of weeks since I’ve last ACV rinsed and my scalp has been okay. I have my hair sectioned in 4 and I shampoo, rinse and condition my hair and put them back in their twisted sections. I try and detangle in the shower with a wide-toothed comb while my hair is lathered in conditioner and since I did some detangling while pre-pooing this doesn’t take too long. I will put the section back into a twist and secure it with an elastic. I leave my hair in sections when I get out.

Step 3: Deep Conditioner (45 mins)
I dry my hair a little and then I put coconut oil through it followed by the deep conditioner. I detangle with my fingers and a wide toothed comb as needed and twist each section back up. Leaving my hair in its 4-6 sections I put the bag back on for 45 minutes or so. After that I rinse out my conditioner but I make sure to leave it in sections and twist each back up afterwards. So in the end, all of my detangling has occurred during the conditioning process and I won’t have to worry too much about detangling as it’s drying.

Step 4: Setting My Hair (1 hour)
I’ve gone through the trouble of keeping my hair detangled in sections to make this step a whole lot easier. Now I need to stretch my hair in one way or another. This may include blow drying, putting it in two-strand twists, braids, bantu knots, banding it. I stretch my hair depending on the style I want for the week.

Normally I’ll put them in medium twists that I can wear throughout the week. It’s usually evening by this time so it has to be a style comfortable to sleep in. Also this is when my initial layering of oils comes in. I took all the time to moisturize so now I want to make sure it continues to be moisturized.

Coconut oil is my base. I take a portion and run it through the sections of hair. Shea butter I usually use on my ends as it is a little heavy but that’s generally my sealer. If I’m twisting it up I’ll run some Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie through it. Lately I have been blow drying it using the tension method.

In general it takes about 3 hours if I do all 4 steps. If it’s a quick day I will simple do steps 2 and 4. Generally it will be steps 2, 3 and 4 but if I have the forethought then it’s all the steps and I generally feel pretty good about myself at that point.

It sounds like a drag and a total time waster, but actually it’s nice having this time to pamper myself. It allows me to sit for more than a moment. Maybe read some blogs or write a post 😉

What does your wash day look like? Does it vary?

Hello 2014!

We are two weeks into 2014 and this is my first post. Eek!

What has become of me? I still feel like I’m in the process of… nothing is really cemented for me or anything. I’m now just working my part-time contract job as my other part-time job finished last week.

Christmas and New Years were good. I’m glad they’re both over but they were fun while they lasted. I need to lay off the beer. I love the stuff but it’s weighing me down. This drink, while yummy, made me feel like shiiiiit the next day. I think I watched more hockey this winter than I have in my entire life. It’s fun and I’m glad I can enjoy watching it now.

I renewed my gym pass for January and then promptly got a cold. I’m still working to get rid of this lingering cough so I can put my pass to good use. I’m impatiently waiting for the snow to go away so I can run on the pavement. But I did go snowshoeing on Saturday which was really fun actually.

Rocco has been doing well so far. I have to say he has had help from a new hair tool I mentioned earlier.

I have my hair in mini-twists right now but when these are out I’m going to write a post on the Q-Redew handheld steamer that has been making my life a lot easier and has pretty well replaced my spray bottle. Rocco is 22 months and I feel like I know him pretty well now. He’s more predictable and I find there are more good surprises than bad. The learning curve is finally levelling out and now I get to have fun with different styles. I love wearing my hair stretched and pinning it up in different ways.

Hope this new year is off to a good start for you all. You’ll be seeing more of me. I promise!

I’m Still Around!

Just wanted to drop a line.

Work
So I’m filling in for a month at the info centre which is just fine. I’m working a contract position and I’ve been offered a couple of other contract positions. I’ve never been one to work contracts, I never thought I would, but I’m intrigued by these opportunities so I need to do some research and line up all my ducks so I know what I’m doing and not missing out on things. Paying my own taxes and keeping track of mileage and expenses.. it’s not something I’m familiar with but it’s something I want to be good at so that I know what to expect.

Life
I finished my quilt! I packed it up and shipped it off. I am so happy!

Friends are coming home for Christmas as well as my brother. Can’t complain about that. I’ve actually been pretty social. I feel like I actually have to check my schedule when making plans. It was funny, I was chatting with my friend at work and he had received a Christmas party invite and wanted to know if I wanted to go and I told him I’d check my schedule. Surprisingly I had an appointment for a family portrait that day so it worked out that I would just show up after that. But it helps to have a schedule.

quilt

Hair
I have been good with my washdays but I need to step up my maintenance during the week. I didn’t blow dry my hair straight or really stretch it after my wash last week so my hair has been fairly shrunken. Today I just stuck it in a puff, which I haven’t worn in quite a long time, but I think I’m going to revisit my blown-out twists. They kept maintenance low, my hair tangle free, and they’re a great look. I’ve been tossing around the idea of Havana Twists and I’m just not feeling it quite yet. My scalp hasn’t been the easiest to deal with right now. So I want to be sure I can maintain it, so that it’s flake-free before I install a style that will expose my scalp. But tomorrow I am 21 months natural. It’s great!

Fitness
I’ve been hitting the gym fairly faithfully these past two weeks. It works out well that I can drop my mom off at work in the morning and go to the gym afterwards. I do half an hour on the treadmill, usually doing a 5k, then I spend about 15 doing weights and 15 doing yoga, squats, stretching sort of thing. After the first week I lost 5 lbs. Now this is what I’m assuming was sort of excess, bloat, water retaining. But not actually fat, at least that’s my thinking. I measured myself and my measurements haven’t changed.

What helps me get out of bed in the morning? It helps that I have it in my head how great it is to be part of a routine. I don’t even want to think about it. When my alarm goes off I want to get out of bed, go to the gym, do my stuff, head home and start my day. Going to the gym is my cup of coffee and I want to enjoy the feeling I get after leaving.

As I get going I may extend that time, I plan to extend the distance I run too but I need to keep at it.

I plan to post some tips and tricks when it comes to running. I really enjoy it.

I’m also hoping to explore more of my area while I’m here. Winter kayaking, checking out the lava beds, museums. I’m excited. I feel like I’m settling in more, I’m not searching frantically for a way out the way I was when I first moved here.

Hope you all get time with loved ones this seasons!

Adding Moisture To Your Strands

There are many ways to add moisture to your hair. Water is the ultimate moisturizer and we normally follow that with a sealant to contain the moisture. If I’m not washing my hair and need to add moisture I usually use my spray bottle. Some people steam their hair with steam hoods and such.

If I’m doing a conditioning treatment I will often put a plastic bag on my hair and put a towel on top so it creates a greenhouse effect which traps the warm air in. Only thing with that is that’s only if I plan to deal with my head of wet hair.

How many of you have come across the Q-Redew handheld steamer? I watched a couple of YouTube videos with some ladies using it on their curly hair and I have to say I was impressed. It looks convenient, just add water to the reservoir and you can add moisture to your hair section by section without getting your hair wet.

You can use it to add moisture and revive older hairstyles and as a bonus it stretches your hair,

I love her reaction.

This is a $70 product so you’re gonna wanna know what you’re paying for. I wonder what the life span on these are? Seeing something new and shiny and fun makes me want to jump on board and get it but I know I need to take a sec. I’ve gone 1.5 years with my coily hair without having this steamer and my hair is in good shape so I know it’s not a necessity. More of a handy convenience. I’ve spent quite a bit on hair products I know I haven’t put to optimum use. I’ve only used my Curlformers a handful of times, but I also know I got the long ones so it will be a long while before my hair grows too long for them. I also have bags of Havana hair ready to be installed but I haven’t gotten around to them yet.

So I’ll look into this again in the new year but for now I’m not going to get too crazy about it. But straight up, looking at how soft and pliable their hair was after? I could just feel my hair loving it! Also, I think my scalp would be a fan. I want to say it’s winter, I’m not entirely sure, but my scalp has been flaky and unhappy lately.

More info on their site. Q-Redew

Update: “For delivery outside the US please email us at support@qredew.com for shipping arrangements and cost.”

Some Q’s for you:
Have you tried the Q-Redew handheld steamer? What were your thoughts?
If you haven’t tried it, does it look like a good investment? How many of you are adding this to your Christmas wish list?

Rocco’s Routine — 16 Months & Growing

I recently did a length check but it’s been a while since I’ve done an update on how I’ve been caring for my hair. Here’s a week in the life of Rocco, my fro.

Weekdays

I pretty much always wear my hair in an ‘out’ do. Either braid or twist-out. It’s either a free fro with a part or I twist the front portions down to the sides. Sometimes I wear a puff but not very often. I’ve made a point of getting my hair ready for bed as soon as I get home from work. So before I go about getting food ready or sitting on the couch I get my wide toothed comb and twist/braid and oil my hair.

To prep my hair I spritz the ends with water and work it in with my fingers and then I’ll seal it with shea butter. I usually end up dividing my hair into six sections. Once that’s done I am free to do what I want and my hair is now one less obstacle between me and sleep when it comes to bedtime. Although if I have plans after work then I’ll just do what I gotta do and do it up before bed time. I will be the first to admit I have gone to bed with my hair loose. It wasn’t the end of the world but it doesn’t set me up for a good hair day.

If my scalp is feeling dry and itchy I put some coconut oil on my fingertips and massage my scalp.

Fridays

Wash daaaay for Rocco! I put him in 4 pony puffs and hit the shower. Normally I wet, shampoo each section, condition (Tresemme something or other) and rinse and then I put in my deep conditioner and hang out for a couple of hours with a plastic bag wrapped around my head and a towel wrapped around the plastic bag. Afterwards I rinse it out, oil it,  and put in medium sized braids.

Weekends

Now sometimes (depends what kind of weekend it is… if it’s a hermity weekend or a social weekend) I will leave my braids in for the whoooole weekend and just moisturize them as needed. Then come Monday I have a solid braid-out! This is my slacker way out. Honestly though, I’m not bothered leaving my house with my hair in braids. I usually go for runs with my bedtime twists/braids in. Saturday morning I went to the grocery store and did my thang. I’ll admit though Saturday afternoon I had to pick up something I’d forgotten from the store and I left my helmet on… ha! But really, I don’t mind.

Products

Shea butter – loooove this stuff
Coconut oil
Water
Deep conditioner – Olive Oil Replenishing Conditioner
Shampoo – I started out with Shea Moisture’s Organic Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention. After a year (that stuff got me through my first year as a natural) it ran out… I haven’t found it in Canada so to tide me over I’ve been using Giovanni. But it’s a little pricey for me ($10 for 250ml) and it leaves my hair a little too squeaky clean. This past weekend I opted to purchase Jason Restorative Biotin Shampoo. While it was also $9.99 it holds 473ml — sold! Maybe this will lead to a product review…? I’ll let you know how it is.
Conditioner – any cheap stuff will do. I’ve used Tresemme Naturales mostly because it comes in a big bottle and probably because it was on sale. On Saturday I picked up a smaller bottle of Garnier Fructis… meh. I need to visit Seattle and stock up on all the good stuff hair-wise.

Generally my hair has been happy. I trimmed it last week because the ends were getting crunchy and knotty. I don’t trim on a set schedule, only when I feel it’s necessary. In my 16 months I’ve trimmed my hair 3 times.

I’ve learned plenty these past 16 months. I feel like less is more with my hair and I try to keep it simple. I am ready to try new styles though, maybe a twist that goes all around my head like a crown, or chunky twists assembled in a neat way. The only bummer is I have to slap a helmet on it for my ride to and from work… I just have to find something that travels well 😉