Style & Beauty

How do I get my hair to curl like this?

 

How do I get my hair to curl like this?

One of the main questions I get about my hair is: How do you get it to curl like that? My answer is: It’s all about the products and the method that they’re applied.

I find the process of styling my hair cathartic and could literally stand in front of the mirror all day trying out new looks. No matter what I try, though – from flat twists and blow outs to weaves and protective styles – I always tend to migrate back to the TWA (teeny weeny afro), featuring curls that are super-tight and well-defined. It just works for me.

So, how do I do it?

First, I start with freshly washed hair. I tend to get better results if I shampoo daily. Not everyone’s a fan of doing this, but the results I get – hardly any frizz and amazing shine – make the few extra minutes I spend on my daily hair routine well worth it.

Next, I spray Crème of Nature’s 7-in-1 Leave-in Treatment with Argan Oil all over the hair and gently massage it in. To detangle my hair, I sometimes will use a Denham brush but most times, my fingers will do the job just fine. It lessens the potential for causing damage to my hair.

In addition to helping maintain the moisture in my hair, Silk Elements Liquid Styling Gel gives me great shine. Even though I prefer my curls to be tight, I don’t like them to be “crunchy” and this product helps soften my hair and cut down on flaking once its completely dry. I take a quarter-sized drop and rub it between the palms of my hands. Then, I lightly pat the product into my hair and gently massage it in to ensure full coverage. I typically have my water bottle handy to make sure my hair doesn’t dry out during the application process.

The final product I use is Ecostyler Gel with Olive Oil. There are several different varieties, but I like the version that  provides maximum hold. During this time of the year when the weather in Florida can go from 40 degrees in the morning to 80 degrees in the afternoon, I need a product that can beat back the frizz and this one does the job beautifully.

To achieve my super-defined curly look, I use my fingertips to first pick apart then apply the gel to my strands. I don’t pat or massage it in like I do the other two products. I like to compare this method to the way people used to “grease” their scalps back in the day. The only difference is the gel is being applied to the hair rather than directly to the scalp. I simply continue this process until every curl is obviously defined.

Even though I consider these to be my “tried and true” products, the Scorpio in me loves the idea of change. So, drop a line in the comments section and let me know what products or styles “work” for you. You never know, I might find something new that works for me too!

Stormy weather

Stormy weather

Stormy weather

“Always be paparazzi ready!”

I heard this on a television show a few years ago, and I’ve never forgotten it. Now … I am far from famous, nor would I endeavor to be. No matter the situation, though, I think it’s important to always put my best foot forward … even when the storm clouds start to roll in.

Recently, my daughter and I were on the go running errands around town and she snapped off this photo. Pretty darn cool, huh? I think the kid might have an eye for photography. What do you think?

What to wear to the office holiday party (when it’s not in the office)

What to wear to the office holiday party (when it’s not in the office)

What to wear to the office holiday party (when it’s not in the office)

If you’re anything like me, you’re starting to think about – or maybe even stress about – what you’re going to wear to your office holiday party.

Will it be heels or flats? Denim or gingham? Mini or maxi?

My questions are endless. But, the one thing I’m absolutely certain about is that these are the people I work with, so above all else, I want to remain appropriate.

This year, my coworkers decided to skip the typical potluck lunch and instead go on an after-hours pub stroll through one of the city’s most popular entertainment districts. The plan is to visit several different spots throughout the evening, sampling all kinds of tasty treats along the way. I know, it sounds like fun. But seriously, this complicates my decision-making process even more.

Will we be indoors or outdoors? Sunshine or rain? Jacket or sweater?

Yep. The questions just keep coming.

Anyway, I decided to put together what I think are a few professional, yet fashionable looks that should just about cover every possible scenario.

IMG_1982 FullSizeRender IMG_1980

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The problem is, I like them all! So, I need you to help me decide what to wear on a night that promises to be off the beaten path in more ways than one.

Just leave a comment here or on my Facebook page telling me which look you prefer. The one with the most comments wins! Stay tuned for the big reveal soon!  XoXo

 

How to go gray with grace

 

How to go gray with grace

photo

Stacy Pierce is a Central Florida based photographer with a love for shooting on location in natural light with families, high school seniors and lifestyle portraits. You can find Stacy Pierce Photography on Facebook and Instagram.

Allowing nature to take its course isn’t always as easy as it sounds, especially when the end result is a head full of gray hair.

Gray hair results from a loss of pigment, commonly known as melanin. The two types of pigments: dark (eumelanin) and light (phaeomelanin) blend together to make up the wide range of hair colors that begin to form even before we’re born.

While age and genetics play a role, the exact reason why hair goes gray is still a mystery. And the rate at which it occurs is almost as inexplicable. For some people, the process starts in their 20s and 30s while others don’t see the first signs of gray until they’re well into their 40s. What’s known for sure is that your chances of going gray increase 10-20 percent every decade after 30 years. Some scientists even believe that certain environmental and metabolic conditions like thyroid dysfunction and exposure to toxins also should be taken into consideration as possible contributors to the loss of hair color.

Fortunately, for many “mature” women, access to products and information geared specifically toward caring for and maintaining gray hair, has opened the door to a number of new style options.

Today’s gray-haired lady isn’t the matronly figure we may be accustomed to in our mind’s eye. Instead, she’s vivacious, spunky and proud to flaunt rather than hide those grays.

To put a spin on a popular saying: 40, 50 and maybe even 60 is the new 30 and the rules of color have changed. And, for the women who opt to let Mother Nature have her way, the choice can be a very personal one.

“I was determined to do and spend whatever it took to fight the grays to the death,” said Stacy Pierce, a 40-something professional photographer based in Orlando, Florida. “Eventually, I decided, no more, and learned to embrace the uniqueness of my gray hair.”

But, make no mistake, she said. Going gray does not equate to being maintenance-free. Generally speaking, gray hair remains just as strong as hair that has retained its color. The big difference is that there are fewer lubricants in the hair shaft. This occurs naturally as oil-producing cells in the hair follicle begin to decrease with time. The result is hair that feels brittle to the touch and can be quicker to break as a result of normal combing and brushing.

“The texture of my gray hair is completely different from hair that has retained its pigment,” said Stacy. “Gray hair is unruly, dry and simply doesn’t respond to product the same way.”

To keep her gray locks looking shiny and bright, Stacy deep conditions her hair more often and uses a leave-in on a regular basis. Additionally, she uses coconut oil in conjunction with a clarifying and moisturizing shampoo and conditioner made specifically for gray hair, as a “tried and true” remedy to help lock in extra moisture.

The key, according to Stacy, is to choose a treatment and hair care routine that’s right for you. If needed, also consider consulting a professional stylist for tips on how to go gray with grace.

Stop stressing about straightening!

Stop stressing about straightening!

Stop stressing about straightening!

I started playing around with the idea of going natural over 16 years ago. On more than one occasion, I found the courage to go in for the “big chop,” only to succumb to the call of creamy crack a few months later as my hair started to grow into what can best be described as the “awkward” phase.

I’m a Scorpio, which means I love change. And, the idea of being able to move between curly and straight hairstyles has always appealed to me. What doesn’t thrill me is the effort it takes to get the look I want, especially if it’s a DIY job.

When I first started my natural hair journey all those years ago, the TWA (teeny weeny afro) was pretty much my only styling option and pomade was my “go-to” product to help fight the frizz and lay down my unruly edges.

How times have changed.

Today, my biggest challenge isn’t finding a single product to deliver the look I want. The trick is finding the best combination of products – shampoos, conditioners, gels, creams, sprays and foams – to give me the results I’m after.

It truly takes a village (of product) to help raise up and lay down a curl!

The more products that are introduced into the natural hair care market, the more questions I seem to have about what the best options are. So what’s a girl to do?

Well, I decided to ask the experts – my good curlfriends Angela Hawkins, Kiahhn Jackson and Betsy Hughes – to get their take on how they balance changing up their look and keeping their natural hair healthy. Here’s some of what they had to say:

What concerns you most when switching from natural to straight hair and back again? 

Angela: I’m most concerned about the risk of damaging my curl pattern with the heat that’s required to get my hair straight.

Betsy: I don’t have too many concerns other than the heat damage blow drying and flat ironing my hair straight can cause. I also find that my hair’s curl pattern is compromised until I wash it a couple of times.

Kiahhn: I’m most concerned with keeping the health of my natural hair intact.

What do you think is the greatest benefit of being able to switch from curly to straight?

Angela: It gives me the versatility to change my hairstyle as I often did when my hair was relaxed.

Betsy: I love being able to have two totally different looks within the same week if I want to! It is a benefit I’m stressing with my daughter too so she sees having curly hair as a benefit and not a curse like I did when I was little.

Kiahhn: My hair is extremely kinky, so it’s easier to handle when it’s straight.

What are some of the preventative measures you take to avoid damaging your hair?

Angela: Deep conditioning is, in my opinion, the very best way to guard against damage. I do it weekly. Although I don’t really put heat in my hair that much, I will use a heat protectant when I do.

Betsy: I wear my hair curly more than straight so I don’t worry too much about damaging my hair. I moisturize, use Argan Oil and condition it well on a regular basis.

Kiahhn: I use leave-in conditioners, hair oils and moisturizers. (When straightening) I use a heat protectant as well as flat-irons with the protective plates. I also listen to my hair. I know that my ends need more time than the roots and the bottom half needs more time than the top half. I love getting my hair-trimmed. I also try to eat healthy.

What are some of your “go to” products to help maintain the health and versatility of your hair? 

Angela: My favorite products are Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Shampoo and Conditioner, Shea Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner; Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave-in, Mixtures of African Shea Butter, Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, ECO Styler gel and drumroll, please . . .my all-time favorite is Design Essentials Honey Curl Forming Custard.

Betsy: I use Pantene Smooth and Sleek conditioner, Argan Oil, and Miss Jessie’s Multicultural Curls moisturizer.

Kiahhn: I like Jamaican Black Castor Oil and the Carol’s Daughter hair oils.

So, do you have any secrets for keeping your natural locks healthy during the straightening process? Leave a comment and let me know.

Go loud or low-key?

Go loud or low-key?

Go loud or low-key?

Ok, I admit it. I’m still THAT girl. You know the one: quick to jump on the latest trend. I love the idea of getting out of the box and rocking some socks with sandals or coloring my hair fire engine red.

But, I work in a fairly conservative environment. So, I started thinking to myself … maybe inside the box is where I need to be? Especially when it comes to nail colors.

When I was younger, I wasn’t one of those girls who just had to have her nails done. But, these days, I think it’s pretty safe to say I’m a color convert. Acrylics, wraps, shellac … the brighter, the better. I love ‘em all!

For the over-40 set, I wonder if it makes sense to go loud or low-key? What do you think?

Right now, I am completely obsessed with …

Right now, I am completely obsessed with …

Right now, I am completely obsessed with …

Alex and Ani bracelets. I love them for so many reasons, but two in particular:  they’re customizable and they’re affordable. Very rarely do I run across jewelry that fits both of these very important “must haves” for me … and so beautifully, too!

I’m finding that the older I get, the more comfortable I become with expressing myself. With sharing those bits and pieces of myself that make me uniquely me.

In my 20s and 30s, I thought I had to “get in where I fit in” or “fake it until I make it.” Now that I’m a little older and hopefully a tiny bit wiser, I realize that it’s my willingness to laugh at myself, my intense dislike for pedicures (no matter how many of my friends swear by them), and my unwavering belief that one day I’ll wake up a little taller and thinner, that make me the fun-loving, God-fearing, loyal, never-met-a-rom-com-I-didn’t-like woman I am today.

Right now, I can honestly say that I’m okay with me. And, thanks to my growing collection of bracelets, you get a glimpse into why.

It’s just genes, gel and water

 

It’s just genes, gel and water

The idea for this blog sprang up from a very simple idea: my hair.  More specifically, it was people’s reaction to my hair. It’s rare for me to make it through the day without someone asking me about it.

The conversation usually starts with: “Excuse me … I love your hair.” Then come a series of rapid-fire follow-up questions like:

  • How do you get it to curl like that?
  • What do you put in it?
  • Can I touch it? (Yes, you read that right!)

Don’t get me wrong. The compliments are flattering. But, when I tell people that my “look” is accomplished through a mix of genes, gel and water, I sometimes get the combination side-eye/duck lip smirk. You know the one I’m talking about: It just screams, “Chil’ pleeeeze!”

Seriously, I haven’t had a chemical relaxer in my hair in over 16 years. But, I get the feeling that more than half the people I give my answer to just don’t believe me. So, for those who still have doubts, check this out!