"Those who have experienced Paris have advantage over those who have not. We are the ones who have glimpsed a little bit of heaven, down here on earth." - Deirdre Kelly

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Curls, Coils & Glory...

Crowned in my curls, I am so happy to be Nappy

I was working on another Pour l'Amour post when I realized it's been two years since I've posted to A Nappy Hair Affair - désolé. Yes, it's high time for an update...

My glorious Nappy three

Every beautiful head of Nappy Hair is like a fingerprint. Unique and amazing, no two sets of coils and curls are alike. Twenty+ years ago, when I first went Nappy, very few hairstylists knew how to handle it and Natural Hair product lines were pretty much non-existent. Today there's a dozen+  Natural Hair product lines available at hair salons, local grocery and superstores, and traditional beauty companies have dedicated product lines and ads for our hair/care (i.e. Pantene and L'Oreal). But a Nappy Woman's 21st century bestie is the internet. There are several fantastic Nappy/Natural hair web sites, that speak to every aspect of Nappy/Natural hair care (with detailed product reviews and styling tips), they also discuss Black fashion, makeup, face and body care with how to vids and photographs  - yeah, we've come a long way baby. 

Word to the Wise: my two favorite Nappy/Natural sites are:
  Curly Nikki (a Nappy-cyclopeida, with a search column) and 
Frolicious (their editorial and photographs rival Vogue - yaasss!). 

My Nappy hair has always been fine and delicate. As I enter the tail end of my glorious 40s, my Nappity has become prone to breakage, being dry and lackluster. In December it got really bad, so I did what a history professor does best - research. The first thing I discovered was that I was treating my 40-something hair like it was still 20-something. Moreover, there have been great leaps and strides in Natural haircare and I had been woefully deficient in keeping up with the Nappy-times. Finally, I literally (and figuratively) pried my fingers loose from my decades-old (but no longer effective) methods, tools and products - obliterated my staid boundaries and stepped into the 21st century. I'm loving the results...

Heat. The only time I use heat on my hair is when I diffuse it (a do-hicky thingy, shaped like a cone, that attaches to the nozzle of a hair dryer). But heat, even low heat, is a no-no for delicate natural hair - but is an essential styling method. Yes, there is a way to have your cake and eat it too. First, I dramatically cut down my usage - from every day to once (maybe twice) a week. But, even more importantly, I upgraded to a top of the line hair dryer/ diffuser.

A diffuser is designed to disperse the air flow of a hair dryer and spread it over a large area. Diffusers are used principally with curly hair because the dispersed air doesn't disturb the hair's [natural] wave pattern or cause frizz when drying (Source: Sally Beauty).

Deva Curl Dryer & Diffuser $159 @Amazon

"Sure, it's probably a whole lot pricer than your ordinary blowdryer and the diffuser ($45 on it's own) is incredibly more expensive than a traditional one. If you can get past the price though, this thing is a game changer! The dryer is professional grade and the Devafuser adds lift to roots without disrupting your curl pattern...[I] trust this one and think it's worth the splurge." Curly Nikki

What Nikki said. Yes, it looks like a futuristic gadget from Doctor Who. Yes, the price is hefty enough to make your heart stutter - but I absolutely love this new fangled thingy. There are three heat settings: low, medium, high (+ a cool-shot button); and two speed settings (low/high). It's medium and low heat settings are perfect (experiment to decide which speed setting works best for you). My results: the blower and diffuser gently and quickly dries my hair, leaving my curly coils springy, shiny, soft and silky. It's worth every cent.

Word to the wise: I was using my Deva dryer/diffuser incorrectly - and was very unhappy with my expensive limp results until I watched Bianca Renee Today's how-to vid and experimented from there. From then on out, happy Diva am I ;-}  


Hand in hand with finding the most gentle, effective and quickest way to dry/diffuse my curly coils, was how re-learning how to keep them shiny, healthy and growing = giving my thirsty hair constant hydration and nourishment - for an entire week.  

Day 1 - Fussy Day: Wash, Deep Condition, Diffuse

Avlon Affirm Moistur-Right Nourishing Shampoo & 5-in-1 Reconstructor (32oz/$30 each @Amazon)

The Avlon Affirm series/products are: Sulfate free, Argan, Pequi and Burti oil rich, deep conditioning fantabulosity! This line of Nappy products are specifically formulated for damaged, fine, limp hair. Moistur-Right Shampoo: minimizes breakage and shedding, protects, softens, detangles and gives major body. The 5-in-1 Reconstructor does the same - though it's meant for relaxed and/or dyed hair, it's also perfect for we Nappy Ladies - major beaucoup de deep conditioning healthy Nappity mojo! 

Oyin Hair Dew Daily Quenching Lotion & Oyin Boing! (160z $20 each)

Every Oyin product(s) is all natural and handmade. The light weight Oyin Hair Dew is a leave-in conditioner that detangles and gives thirsty locks all the loving it needs - just be sure to seal afterwards (smooth all over a healthy dollop of natural oil (especially on your ends) my choice: coconut oil. Finally, Oyin's Boing! (your curl enhancing styler.) Then: diffuse.
I'm getting great results with Oyin products. Best part was I didn't have to make a big investment in order to try their products. The company sells sample sizes of all their hair and body products (in 2oz reusable jars and bottles) The best bang for the buck is their 'Snack Bar': 8 samples, including the 3 I've featured here - so have at it!

Days 2-6: Rocking the Nappity...

Photo: Sophia Forero

I do NOT daily wash or diffuse my hair so I needed to find a way to daily refresh and nourish my thirsty locks and give new life to my coils. 

1. Every morning I spritz on my homemade refresher/nourishment. 
Fill a 2 oz. travel spray bottle with: 
60% curl activator moisturizer (I use Luster's S Curl, 12 oz/$7- at any drugstore, beauty supply or Amazon).
* 5-6 drops of Coconut Oil
* 40% Water

2. I 'Straw' my hair. Usually just the ends, to get my curl uniform ;-} I've recently replaced my styling cream with Oyin's Shine and Define - all natural, non drying, sweet smelling, soft/lasting hold - love it! Regular sized straws work in every type of weather, but especially humid - since it just reinforces my natural curl. After much experimentation I'm able to make my Straw Set last two sometimes three days. *the longer you leave the straws in, the tighter and longer lasting the curl.


Fat Boba Drinking Straws (150/$7 @Amazon); Oyin Shine & Define (8oz/$21)

I've recently discovered that Fat Boba Drinking Straws work really well for me on non-humid days (esp. during the winter). 1 inch in circumference = fat bouncy curls. They're a quick, effective, way to change up my coif. 

Word to the Wise: Sleep on a satin pillowcase to protect your delicate Nappity Nap. 
Helps a Straw Set last at least 2 days (just lightly spritz and go)  
$10  @Amazon, any drugstore or beauty supply store.

So there you have it. Rock on my Nappy Sistahs!

Vivre! Aimer! Rire! ~ Temple

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