Know your hair – Part 2

This week we continue to share more natural hair care tips, if you missed last week’s post click here . We will be taking a closer look at hydration, moisture and styling for natural hair.

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Hydration

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when it’s raining outside? “I need to cover my hair!” right? Well, ladies no need to fear water! H20 is the best thing you can put in your hair and your lovely curls need a healthy balance of 8-12% of water for healthy growth.  One of the most effective ways of ensuring that your hair is properly hydrated is through steaming, which will do wonders for your hair. Steaming enhances your natural curl pattern and promotes hair strength and elasticity.

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Hydration vs Moisture

Hydrating your hair and keeping it moisturised goes hand in hand. However, keep in mind that these are two separate needs that your hair has. Hydration prevents dryness and moisture makes the hair smooth, and helps with growth and length retention. Thankfully you can merge these hair needs into one step, the easiest way is through applying a deep conditioner for moisture and then sitting with this under a steamer for hydration. This is the ultimate TLC for your hair and gives it the right balance it needs for strength, growth and overall health.

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Protective styling

This is a topic that kept coming up throughout the sessions at Natural Hair Academy. Protective styling is basically hairstyles where the hair is styled in a way that enables the hair to hold on to as much moisture as possible and protects it from friction. You’re essentially letting your hair “rest” in a protective hair style, which promotes growth.  There are many options for protective hair styles, if you’re for example transitioning (trying to grow out your relaxer) then braids could be a good style. Or if you are focusing on growing out your hair long, you could put your hair in an up do and keep those ends tucked in! Your ends are the oldest part of your hair and needs extra care and moisture to avoid breakage.

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Weekly hair regimen.

Planning ahead of what hair styles to wear throughout the week can be a helpful way of managing your curls between washes. This requires close observation of how your hair behaves throughout the week.  Your curls will look different right after a fresh defined twist out on the 1st day versus for e.g. the 4th day. Knowing what to do with day 4 hair in advance can help cut out a lot of frustration and save you time. Ideally a couple of the “go to” hairstyles” should be protective to avoid unnecessary friction and for the hair to hold on to moisture. The Monroe sister’s shared below picture with us at the Natural Hair Academy of how they care for their hair throughout the week. As you can see on the picture below it’s a fair mix of gorgeous hairstyles that they alternate between throughout the week.

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Play with your hair!

There are no limits to what you can do with your hair so play with it to get to know it better! Yes, we know that at first, all that natural hair might seem daunting and difficult to handle but you will be surprised to find out how much you can do with it! As you learn more about your hair you will start to appreciate its character and learn how to work with it, and it will gradually get easier to style your hair. The key thing is to accept that natural hair needs a lot of patience and creativity.

There are so many fabulous naturalistas out there these days with great tutorials on how you can style your hair, so get inspired and dare to play with your hair! One of our favourite natural hair bloggers is the lovely Naptural85, her hair story is truly motivating and we learn lots from her video tutorials.

We’ll soon be posting about our individual hair journeys from when we we’re young, going down memory lane :)

Hope you find these tips helpful!

XO

Hanna and Ruthie

Know Your Hair – Part 1

Last week we shared some of the highlights from the Natural Hair Academy event that we attended recently in Paris. If you missed it you can catch it here.  We learnt lots about natural hair and got plenty of insight and practical tips from the sessions and speakers. We’ve  digested the key takeaways from the seminars in this post that we think are essential for maintenance of natural hair. This is a mishmash of hair care tips and advice from all of the speakers that we managed to see during the day (click here for more details on the speakers).

Natural hair does require a different approach to other hair styles, getting to the point of understanding what your hair needs is part of a learning curve and involves a lot of experimentation. Hopefully these tips will go a little way towards getting to know your hair and its needs better.

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Know your hair!

First things first, know your hair! By that we mean don’t compare your hair to others and embrace your curls exactly as they are. Your hair is unique and different from everyone else’s, so by knowing your hair, you will also know how to best look after it and what kind of products to use. This will also help you to set realistic “hair goals” and enjoy your hair journey to the fullest.

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What is my hair type?

Do you know your hair type? If not, it’s time to find out! By knowing your hair and what your hair type is, you will be able to nurture it the best way possible.  We both apply this approach often in our makeup and styling consultations. Knowing what you’re working with is absolute key to finding a suitable, customized and easy to maintain hair regimen.

There are several ways of getting to know more about your hair type, you can use a hair chart which includes all types of curly hair with four different category’s going from 1 to 4 (hair needs to be wet to best match your hair to the curl patterns).

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You can do a simple DIY hair porosity test to determine how your hair holds on to moisture (high, medium, low porosity). You basically take a few strands of your hair and put it in a cup of water, leave it for 2-4 minutes. If your hair floats to the top you have low hair porosity and if it sinks all the way to the bottom you hair has high porosity, for more details on this click here.

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You can also dig a little deeper and conduct a little science experiment to determine your hair product’s pH levels. The pH scale goes from 0-14 (acidic-alkaline), pure water being 7 (natural). Generally speaking, you should try to use products that are slightly acidic and lies within the hairs natural range, which is between 4.5 – 5.5. Natural products are always the best choice when it comes to your hair care regimen so make sure you read the labels on the products! Remember, a healthy and clean scalp is the key to hair growth.

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Bye bye product junkie!

Most of us have been here, buying one product after the other because a friend said that it was “great” or because we see celebrities endorsing certain products or better yet we fall for punchy marketing lines that promise us “fantastic hair” and unrealistic results. We’ve both ended up disappointed with a lot of products that didn’t live up to the hype, products that we ended up giving away or (sadly) ended up throwing in the bin.

The reality is that a lot of these products could be phenomenal, but maybe just not for your hair type! The good news is that once you establish what kind of hair you have you can make much more informed choices about what type of products will work best for your hair, take your time with it and do your research. Your hair and wallet will thank you later!

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Co-Washing/Washing your hair

Black hair is naturally quite dry; the simplest explanation is because it curls. The curls basically hinder your scalps natural oils from reaching the ends of your hair. Your hair therefore needs help with adding moisture. This is also the reason why co-washing is highly recommended for naturals.

However, in between co-washing you need to cleanse your hair and scalp thoroughly with shampoo once every third time to get rid of the product build-up. Keeping the scalp clean is essential for hair growth. If you feel that a shampoo is too harsh, you can look at sulfate free options, dilute your shampoo with some water or invest in a gentle cleansing conditioner to retain more moisture.

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Natures Own

What better way to treat your hair than with natural organic products? As you know, your hair is very dry and needs a little push to stay healthy. Enlisting the help from natural oils can be very helpful in maintaining healthy hair. Some of the best oils out there for your hair are Argan, Coconut, Jojoba, Castor and Macadamia oil. Natural oils are very multifunctional and can be used in different ways; hot oil treatments, mix it into your deep conditioner, seal your hair with it or rub it into your scalp to moisturize it. The versatility of natural oils makes it a great cost efficient option to include in your hair care regimen. We also use some of the natural oils and butters (coconut and shea) as face and body moisturizers.

In Part 2 of Know Your Hair we continue talking about natural hair, specifically, hydration, moisture and protective styling – stay tuned!

XO

Hanna and Ruthie

Naturalista Heaven

The 3rd addition of the Natural Hair Academy in Paris took place on March 15th and we were there ready to be inspired, learn and meet world known hair experts within the natural hair space. This was our first time attending this event, which was held at the beautiful and spacious venue, “Le Tapis Rouge”.

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NHA Paris attracted more than 1,000 attendees this year, and honestly we’ve both never seen so many beautiful naturalistas and that much amazing hair at the same time! The variety of hairstyles was truly impressive, we saw ladies with twist outs, braid outs, box braids, big afro’s, teeny weeny afro’s,  bantu knots, locks, finger coiled curls and much more.

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The ambiance was great, the event organisers and staff we’re all really friendly and engaged, and the mood throughout the day was positive and buzzing with excitement.  You could definitely feel that people we’re thrilled to be there, and ready to learn more about natural hair. For us this was the biggest achievement of the event that it managed to create a safe and encouraging environment to learn about our hair regardless of length, curl pattern, style.  It really emphasized the self-expression aspect of natural hair, which to us is very much about embracing all parts of yourself, which is really empowering.

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Our morning started out with Felicia Leatherwood’s session, a well-known celebrity hair stylist and natural hair expert from LA. She is also widely known as the “natural hair guru”, and that she is indeed! Felicia started out her session with explaining the importance of knowing your hair and to find out your hair type. By knowing your hair type, you will also know what kind of products your hair needs and how to take care of your hair the best way. These details will also help you set realistic goals in your hair journey, to drive home her point Felicia said: “Don’t expect your hair to look like Tracee Ellis Ross if you don’t have Tracee Ellis Ross hair”. By the end of her session, she showed us three beautiful and practical hair styles that could easily be recreated at home. Her parting thoughts we’re: “We all have beautiful hair; you’ve got to play with it”. Overall Felicia delivered her session with a lot of enthusiasm, dropped some serious hair wisdom on us and left us with practical tips to try at home – needless to say we thoroughly enjoyed her seminar.

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Our second session was with Ken Burkeen, the founder and CEO of the Huetifulbrand (steamer and salons). His seminar was (not surprisingly) designed to teach us about the importance of hydrating your hair. Mr Burkeen took us through a step by step approach by presenting Huetiful’s methodology to achieving healthy hair. He took us through some really specific details around the makeup of hair such as PH levels, hair porosity, heat damage and explained the difference between hydration vs moisture. His presentation was really seamless and gave a full picture of how we need to maintain our hair for optimal health and growth.  This was a very educational session. We both came out feeling that we knew a lot more about the “science” behind our hair then before.

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In the afternoon we attended The Monroe sisters’s (Vaughn & Meechy) session. These really impressive and beautiful sisters from Chicago are well known vloggers that cover natural hair and fashion on their channels. They have an incredible vibe and strong presence, hence their connection with the audience was immediate! Their session was good and covered the basics on hair care. However, we would have liked to see them elaborate more on the subject of natural hair as we know they must have much more self-taught knowledge on stock. It was still great to see them live in action with their awesome personalities – hope to see more of them next year!

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We we’re also lucky enough to meet the founder of Carol’s Daughter, Lisa Price,  an incredible entrepreneur and visionary with a track record of global success with her brand. She quickly shared the story of how she started her business, first with body & skin care and then later to include hair care. Her products were also for sale and we both bought her shampoo, “Cupuacu”, an anti-frizz smoothing shampoo. Hanna tried it last week and she absolutely loved it. We managed to grab Lisa for a quick photo on the sales floor, this is the closest we both have ever been to anyone that’s been featured on the Oprah show, just a tad star struck :)

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The last session of the day was with Taren Guy - Founder of “Luv and Learn Your Hair” Tour (LLYH) and a popular natural hair vlogger from New York. This session was exclusive (only 200 lucky participants got selected). Taren came in with a lot of positive energy and shared her very personal hair story of growing up with an unruly head of hair, and her Swedish grandmother who had no idea how to care for it. Being Swedish ourselves we could really picture her poor Swedish grandmother having to tame a wild afro while not knowing where to start J. She is one of the most widely known natural hair vloggers out there today that  has inspired many naturalistas to go all the way out and wear their hair big and fluffy. We loved when she said “pick your hair out from the roots to make the hair bigger”.  Amen to that!

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Overall, her session was kind of short and the time didn’t allow for any depth in the conversation about natural hair, which is again a shame as she probably had a lot of goodies she could have shared with us.

We unfortunately missed Clarisse Libene’s session, founder of BelleBene and co-founder of the NHA, we also didn’t make it for the Phytospecific hair diagnostics workshop as it was really popular with long lines all day. We did however make time to stroll around the exhibition/sales are and we’re impressed with the variety of French and other global brands and products on display.

Not only did we learn lots about hair but we also had the chance to meet and mingle with many fabulous naturalistas and entrepreneurs, such as Angie Brice pictured here with us, she’s the founder of “The Hairoine”, a handmade natural hair and skin care line.

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The day was really great but also quite long, we we’re there from 9.30am until 8.30pm and our ability to concentrate failed a bit towards the end. However, we both really enjoyed this very inspirational, professional and eventful day.

We want to give a big shout-out to the NHA for putting together such a successful event, and for putting the growing European naturalista community on the map.

We look forward to the next chapter of the NHA.

Bisou

Hanna & Ruthie

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SOD #shape

Ladies, it’s time for some SOD! Yes, I know I’ve been lacking a bit when it comes to styling tips but I’m sure you are going to love this one. Who is up for wearing a slimming high-waisted pencil skirt? Me! The reason I love this kind of skirts is because it is an item that will give any kind of body shape an amazing silhouette. In other words, it will bring out the best of you!

I like this skirt so much that I got one in black and it is also a piece you can pair up with many options like : a t-shirt, a blouse, a shirt, short or long blazers and the list goes on! This look is very feminine so you necessarily don’t need heels to pull this look off. I love wearing my black high-waisted pencil skirt with a white t-shirt and sneakers.

Voila! Be creative with your style and stay fab!

dotsI took this picture before going to work so I am wearing a total look from AA 

Sunday Soul #live

Last Sunday, I went to see The Temptations live and it was more than great. Since the day my creator gave me the ability to hear, have I been listening to their music. This my friends was a dream that came true. #realmusic