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Monday Chat | What the Death of Natural Hair Blogger, Domineque Banks, aka “Longhairdontcare2011,” Taught Me

posted on: April 14, 2014

Monday Chat | What I Learned from the Death of Natural Hair Vlogger Domineque Banks aka Longhairdontcare2011 | kyssmyhair.com

On April 7, at the age of 27, Domineque Banks, aka “Longhairdontcare2011,” passed away from complications with lupus. In this post, I will reflect on what her death has taught me.

I’ve been natural for four years, and during my first two years relaxer free, I spent countless hours on YouTube trying to learn all I could about natural hair.

I probably only had about 6 inches of hair at the time, so discovering Domineque Banks, aka Longhairdontcare2011, provided me with so much inspiration to continue on my natural hair journey.

Along with other vloggers like Rustic Beauty, African Export, NikkiMae2003, Crown of His Glory, Prettydimples, and kimmaytube, she helped me to see that Black hair does grow and can be styled beautifully.

At this time, I was really enamored by hair journey videos because I loved to see the progression. This was how I came across Domineque’s hair journey video from 2004-2009. It taught me that I had to be patient with my hair.

Domineque got a lot of flack from other natural women for heat training her hair. If you don’t know, heat training is the process of using heat, whether it be via blow dryer or flat iron, to permanently loosen the curl pattern of hair. Among other benefits, it makes hair easier to detangle.  Domineque used a blow dryer and a flat iron to heat train her hair.

The use of heat is a very taboo topic within the natural hair community. It was even more taboo three years ago, when the natural hair movement was in its infancy. For some people, heat training your hair meant that you were not appreciative of the texture you were born with, and this went against the point of “going natural.” Moreover, it is widely known that heat breaks down the protein in hair and can cause breakage.

Nevertheless, Domineque continued to heat train her hair and, at times, she appeared annoyed at people who questioned her hair choices. I would be annoyed to.

This brings me to the first main thing I learned from Domineque’s passing:

Domineque is no longer hair with us. In light of this, such arguments, whether it be about heat use, colour use, or regarding hair texture, seem extremely trivial and irrelevant. 

It seems that in the past year or so, people have not been commenting as much on Dominque’s use of heat on her hair. It may be because people saw that her hair continued to grow, so their arguments were pointless. (It’s important to note that what worked for Domineque may not necessarily work for you. Heat does weaken protein in hair. Her hair is obviously strong.)

But my overall point here is,  how has her decision to heat train her hair affected anybody but herself? Although it seems as if that natural hair community has become more open-minded towards the various ways people wear and do their natural hair, people still have a lot opinions regarding what other people should to do their hair.

Heat usage, colour usage, and differences in hair texture should not separate us. There is no one way to be natural.

The next thing I learned from Domineque passing is that you never know what persons are going through behind the camera. When I logged on to Facebook and saw that “Longhairdontcare2011″ had died, I was shocked.

I don’t think she mentioned that she had lupus. What I knew about Domineque is that, at some point, she was training to be a dental hygienist. This was appealing to me because, at the time, I had plans to become a dentist. I also knew that she has a sister who had natural hair as well.

Other than these two things, I knew nothing about Domineque. That’s just it. When we look at YouTubers, most of the time, all we see is someone who makes YouTube videos.

The more I think about, the more I realize that there may be YouTubers who are suffering from depression, or are victims of domestic violence or rape. I believe many persons are using YouTube as an outlet, a form of therapy if you will.

It’s important that we see YouTubers as human. The fact that many of us don’t is illustrated in the nasty comments left in the comment box that are very abusive.

My sympathy and prayers go out to Domineque’s family, friends, and anyone who was affected by her death. Her presence was felt in the natural hair community. The fundraiser her friend set up, surpassed its goal of $10,000, raising upwards of $17,000 to pay for funeral and cremation costs.

May Domineque’s soul rest in peace.

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Peace love and happy hair days

 

Monday Chat | How Wearing my Hair in A Puff Kept me from Getting a Relaxer

posted on: April 7, 2014

Why I love Wearing a Puff | kyssmyhair.com |

In this post, I want to talk to you all about the I’m having a love affair with my puff and how it kept me from getting relaxer.

Read: How to do a Forward Puff on Natural Hair.

Like many naturals, I cut my relaxed ends off myself and as a result, I ended up with hair of varying lengths. As a result, when I wear out, it’s uneven and doesn’t fall like I want it to. This is why I never liked to wear twist and braid outs.

Instead, I opted for roll and tuck hairstyles such as “All Rolled Up” and the “Twisted Goddess.”  (Click the link to see the tutorial)

Natural Hairstyles | kyssmyhair.com

If I my hair wasn’t in a roll and tuck hairstyle, it was in some sort of bun like the “Mega Marley Bun,” or the “Twisted Bun.”

Marley and Jumbo Braid Bun on Natural Hair

Two problems arose when graduated college in May, left Minnesota, and came back home to The Bahamas:

  1. My hair would not stay stretched. The “Twisted Goddess” and the “All Rolled Up” (photoed above) were done on blow dried hair and when I blew out my hair, it always seemed to revert right away. I attributed my hair staying stretched in Minnesota and not in The Bahamas to the high humidity in the Bahamas. I couldn’t wear my hair in the styles that I liked and this contributed to the decrease in videos on my hair channel last summer.
  2. To keep my channel up to date, I opted to create some bun styles. Hence, the “Mega Marley Bun,” and the “Saturn Bun.” I love buns but I love my edges more. I couldn’t wear my hair in a bun all the time because it would further damage my edges.

To be honest, I actually started to regret going natural because I didn’t know what to do with my. The only thing that stopped me from getting a relaxer was knowing that I had a natural hair website and YouTube channel and I didn’t want to stop blogging about natural hair. It would by quite the paradox to have have a relaxer and blog about natural hair.

About a year into my natural hair journey, I realized that trying to make my hair do something that it cannot do did not make sense. Around this time, I also gave up “defining my curls.” Hence, I wasn’t about to start fighting with my hair because in the end, she always won.

I needed a low maintenance style that I could create with shrunken hair. As previously stated, I’m not particularly fond of twist and braid outs on my hair, so those were out of the question.

In September of last year, I began to play around with using hair combs to create my puffs. Prior to this, whenever I wore a puff, I never got the look I was going for. It was either too small, lopsided, or didn’t photograph well. (I think it must have been the way I was applying the bobby pins). However, on November 16, 2013, I achieved my first successful puff. I also learned how to hold my phone so I could get the best selfie. #itsallintheangle :) 

For the first time since May 2012, I felt good about my hair. It looked full, it framed my face, and I felt beautiful. I loved what I saw in the mirror so naturally, I started wearing my hair this more often. As a result, my confidence increased.

Fast forward to April 2014, and I’m still rocking puffs.

Self-esteem is a serious thing. When my hair doesn’t look good to me, I don’t feel good. I consider myself a queen. With each hair comb I place and with each braid I separate, I feel like an artist, creating my crown. My crown is a reminder that I am a queen and the creator made no mistake when he placed me on this earth. It enables me to feel good about myself. I know that I am much more than my hair, however, my self-esteem is inextricably tied to it. We all want to feel comfortable with what we have.

Because we women with natural hair aren’t always looked at favorably in mainstream media, it’s easier for us to feel insecure about our hair and backslide to that “touch up every 4 to 6 weeks” life.

The media is not going to make us feel beautiful. In fact, sometimes the media makes us feel downright ugly. This is why it’s important to find styles that complement us and makes us feel beautiful.

It’s normal to think about getting a relaxer when you’re frustrated with your hair. However, I encourage you not to give up when you can’t manipulate your hair to suit your taste. It comes with practice. Don’t give up.

Next #mondaychat: What I did When I Started to Regret Going Natural

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Peace love and happy hair days

4 Heat Free Ways to Curl Natural Hair

posted on: January 16, 2014

4 Heat Free Ways to Curl Natural Hair | kyssmyhair.com

Many people believe that if you have natural hair, particularly that which is more kinky than curly, you cannot achieve flirty curls without using heat.  The lie detector test determined that was a lie.

I won’t pretend that kinky hair is easy to curl. However, I do believe that with a few added steps, curls can be achieved using tools such as curlformers, flexi rods, magnetic rollers, and perm rods.

In this post, I outline four heat free ways to curl natural hair as well as give tips to maximize results.

Tips

  1. Style on damp hair because styling wet hair (although the hold is much greater) will result in shrinkage and less volume. Also, a common complaint from naturals who style on wet hair is that it never dries in time. Don’t set yourself up for failure. I want you to win.
  2. Style on clean hair because your styling aid will be more effective on clean hair. Also, it is difficult to moisturize dirty hair because moisture can’t get in. Wetting your hair to moisturize it will cause your hair to revert and the goal is to go as long as you can without having to remoisturize.
  3. Use mousse, gel, or some type of product that boasts holding power because you want the style to last.
  4. Thoroughly detangle and smooth hair before applying curling tool because if you don’t detangle, when you separate the curls, you’ll see that your hair meshed together. I think this applies more to those with kinkier hair like mine. This is why I don’t style of freshly washed hair because there’s just no way I can detangle my hair enough. I prefer to braid my hair up after I wash it. Allow it to dry and stretch and then style it the next day.
  5. Use smaller sections because your curls will be more defined. The bigger the section, the less likely it is to dry and even if it dries, separating sections can cause frizz.

Curlformers

When Curlformers were first introduced, many naturals rushed to try them. For some people Curlformers are manna from heaven, but others find them to be a waste of time. I’ve tried Curlformers once on damp hair and it did not work. At all. However, when I tried using them on wet hair, I got a very nice curl with little frizz.

In the videos below, YouTubers Strawberricurls and iknowlee show what products they used and the results they got using Curlformers. Naptural85 recently did a video comparing and contrasting Curlformers and the Vakind Magic Leverage Hair Curlers (which cost way less). Apparently, there aren’t many differences between the two.

Flexi Rods

I have a love/hate relationship with flexi rods because, while they help achieve some of the sexiest ringlets, you have to apply them perfectly to ensure you get the results you want. Furthermore, it takes me a long time to apply them and they’re super uncomfortable to sleep in. The first time I tried flexi rods, I twisted my hair first because for some reason, I didn’t think my hair would produce a curl. I recommend doing this if you don’t necessarily want ringlets, but enjoy the stretching power of flexi rods.

The second time I tried them, I wrapped my hair around the rods without twisting first and I actually got good results. Read: My First Flexi Rod Set on My Natural Hair to see what I used.

In the videos below, NaturalMetra and kikicouture10 show how they used flexi rods to achieve beautiful curls.

Magnetic Rollers

When I returned natural, I considered throwing away my magnetic rollers because I thought I would have no use for them. The only reason I kept them was because I was off to school and I left them home. I basically forgot they existed. But CharyJay‘s video below is proof that getting rid of them would have been a mistake because her roller set looks gorgeous. I even put her video in my favorite natural hair videos playlist. (Yes. I sit and watch and videos I like over and over, especially if the video production is great.)

The second video below features NaturalMetra showing curls you can achieve using bigger rollers. I don’t mean to seem like a debbie downer, but if I was to use magnetic rollers on my hair, I would use the smaller ones because I don’t want my feelings hurt y’all. NaturalMetra’s hair appears to get straighter than mine without heat so I would not expect the results that she got. I know my hair and she will side eye me so hard it’s not even funny. If I don’t blow my hair out first, it’s not happening.

Perm Rods

Perm rods are another curling tool you can use to achieve heat free curls. I tried using perm rods once and I did get lovely curls, however the “bumps” on the rods stuck to my hair while I was taking them down. Some of my hair actually came out during that process so I recommend being very careful when doing this. It could be because of the product I used.

In the video below CharyJay shows how she achieved bomb curls using perm rods. I think I’ve watched this video at least twenty times.

Curls are flirty and sexy. Naturally kinky, curly, and coily hair is the most versatile hair texture because it can be rocked in so many ways. Don’t let having natural hair prevent you from trying different hairstyles. Your hair is an asset not a liability.

One thing I must is say is that setting your hair takes practice. Don’t be discouraged if your roller set doesn’t come out good the first time…or the second time…or the third. Stick with it. It will get better. If it doesn’t get better, evaluate your method and make changes.

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Peace love and happy hair days

6 Tips for Washing Natural Hair

posted on: January 8, 2014

Tips for Washing Natural Hair

For many naturals, wash day is dreaded more than Mondays.

There’s no one tried and true way to wash natural hair. However, there are some things that many with naturally kinky, curly, and coily hair do to make the washing process easier.

In this post I will outline 6 practices I have found successful in making my wash process smooth, and tangle free (most of the time, that is).

  1. Choose the right cleansing agent. If you’ve been a part of the natural hair community for a while, you’ve probably heard that you should stay away from sulphates because they strip the hair of natural oils that it needs to stay healthy. I am particularly fond of the Creme of Nature Moisture & Shine Shampoo, which was featured a while ago in my 10 under $10 post. What I mean by choosing the right wash method is analyzing your hair and figuring out what it needs at the moment.
    • If you have a lot of build up, you may need a stronger shampoo that’s able to cut through grease. I keep a sulphate shampoo on deck for times like these.
    • If you washed your hair recently (or if you work out often), you may want to consider co-washing (with conditioner) so as to avoid over washing your hair.
    • If you are a swimmer, you may need a clarifying shampoo that can help with eliminating chlorine and other mineral buildup.
    • If you have in box braids, you may want to use a chemical such as apple cider vinegar to rinse your scalp if you don’t wish to use a shampoo.
    • If you find that all shampoos strip your hair, you may want to consider using rhassoul, or bentonite clay as a cleansing agent.
  2. Detangle before you wash. Many naturals advocate for detangling hair in the shower, which I do not believe is a bad idea. However, I prefer to detangle my hair when it’s mostly dry because hair is most fragile when it’s wet. I’d rather not pull and tug on my hair at its most vulnerable time. I don’t want to kick her while she’s down.
  3. Pre-poo. Many naturals like to put coconut oil their hair before they wash it. Coconut oil helps to decrease hygral fatigue, the weakening of hair due to the repeated expansion and contraction of hair as it is wet and dried. The only reason I don’t use coconut oil is because I find that, although it feels like heaven on my hair while wet, it makes my hair hard after it has dried. These days I like to pre-poo with honey and olive oil and sometimes I may add an egg if my hair feels weak and needs a protein pick-me-up.
  4. Wash your hair in sections or in twists. In my opinion, this is the most helpful tip out of all because it saves time as well as water. When you wash your hair in pre-detangled sections, it’s easier to manage. If hair is in pre-detangled twists, the only thing you have to do is put the shampoo on, massage and rinse. Even better, your hair is already parted and ready to twist/braid after you’ve completed the washing process.
  5. Use an applicator bottle to apply shampoo. I use an applicator bottle to apply shampoo so as to direct the majority of the shampoo on my scalp, where I need it most. Sometimes my hair itself isn’t that dirty (perhaps, I’ve been wearing a wig for two weeks), but I want my scalp clean.
  6. Condition your hair. You wouldn’t want to use a bomb shampoo that leaves your hair feeling like silk only to have it feel like hay because you didn’t condition. The purpose of conditioner is to balance the pH of your hair. Hair carries a slightly negative charge, which is enhanced by shampoo. The buildup of negative charge causes frizz. Conditioner, which carries a positive charge, balances the pH of hair and the use of a leave-in conditioner can also help further eliminate frizz.

I made a decision a while ago that I was not going to let having natural hair take over my life. Just because I have hair that may require a little more time and patience doesn’t mean I have to spend all day washing and conditioning it.

I hope you found these tips helpful.

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Peace love and happy hair days