Natural Hair Life Lessons…: Love for the Process

I used to be obsessed with the end result, but now I’m falling in love with the process.

First, let me apologize for being away for so long. The blog is new, and I’m still getting into the habit of blogging regularly. However, I just want to let you know that I appreciate you following and reading!

So the aforementioned thought came to me a few days ago, and it’s one of my natural hair life lessons. Natural hair is so philosophical. I remember when I first went natural, I went through a phase in which I was obsessed with achieving the perfect afro. There were several moments of extreme frustration with the shape of my fro, the kinkiness, the way different parts grew at different rates. It wasn’t perfect. I didn’t realize that perfection wasn’t the goal, and the process was more important.

Now that I’ve done my second big chop, I can appreciate the process much more. I’m not used to having such short hair, and it’s a bit complex to work with because it’s a tapered fro. Different lengths can be frustrating to grow out. Just remember that Anything that is cause for frustration conversely can be a source of creativity. That is why I’m doing my Work Whatcha Got style challenge, even though I’m not going to make the time frame that I created for myself (6 weeks). It is challenging me to think outside the box, to try even when I think I may fail, and to appreciate the small wins.

Those things, among others, are keys to falling in love with the process. So now, I love what my hair does in its current state and at its current length. Let this be a reminder to you that you have what it takes as you are. Just get creative. Think outside the box. Try even if failure is a possibility. Appreciate every single achievement along the way – appreciate your progress. It’s all a part of the process. 

In short, my natural hair has taught me to love the process – to love every day of my hair rather than obsess over an idea of perfection. In general, for my hair, the process is more important because the right process will make it healthy, and the end result will likely exceed my expectations. The same goes for myself as an individual. The process is when I focus on myself, I learn myself. I take care of myself. I love myself. I improve myself. The end result will be exactly who and what I am supposed to be, and I will exceed my own expectations.

Now, unto Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think… – Ephesians 3:20

#NaturalHairLifeLessons

The Royal Coil

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Work Whatcha Got Hairstyle Challenge: Style 2

So I’m finding that a little goes a long way as it pertains to changing my look with my tapered fro. I don’t have that much hair to work with, but it seems to have grown quite fast. Style 1 was the Side Part. Not a big deal, but it made a distinctive difference.

Style 2 is the semi-stretched Side Part. Last night, I realized that I have enough hair on the back and sides to flat twist. In my excitement, I stretched my hair on the back and sides using flat twists and on the top with large two strands that didn’t dry completely. The result was a semi-stretched TWA with my fave – the Side Part.

Style 2 shown on the left.
              Style 2 shown on the left.

The two styles seem quite similar, but stretching the shorter parts of my hair while allowing the top to shrink some gave my TWA a rounder shape plus it was more noticeably textured. In my opinion, it has a sufficiently different vibe, and I loved it! It was a nice softer look for church today.

Gotta keep creating and innovating. That’s for hair and for life.

Gavrielle

Work Whatcha Got Hairstyle Challenge: Style 1

Style: Side Part
Style: Side Part

How I love the Side Part. Let me count the ways.

First let me explain how to do it. Just pick a spot on the side that won’t make your head or hair look lopsided, and part from front to crown. Then pick or pull out your hair on the side to give the part definition. Next, you pull the longer hair on top of your head away from the part – to further pronounce the part. Of course, I do my normal maintenance on my hair to moisturize and make it look neat. And… Voila!

Reasons why this style is everything:

1. It is Easy!!

2. It is quick.

3. It is fresh and quirky. I got a whole new vibe wearing this style!

Stay tuned for my next style! Also, watch for the next post about how changing your life can be as simple as this hairstyle!

My hair and my life are twins.

Gavrielle

The Awkward Phases of Natural Hair (or Life)

This post is kind of about my hair, but not completely. I’ll start with the hair though.

I am in an awkward phase. (My autocorrect wanted to put “awesome” instead of “awkward.” Honestly, it could be that too. It’s all about perspective.) Anyway, I had my hair cut down on the sides and back last fall. I loved it. It was boy hair short, like the cut life short, like all you need is a brush, if that, short. It was so fresh and fine. It was a wonderful phase while it lasted, and at the time, it was exactly what I needed to see my own beauty in a different form, to learn to accept and adore another side of myself, and to embrace a more mature look, in my opinion.IMG_20141122_112933 I had it cut down a second time after letting it grow back in. That was in December, and I have since committed to allowing it to grow back because I miss my afro. So now I have about half an inch of unstretched shrinkage around the sides and back and about 2 inches of unstretched shrinkage on the top with more length in the front and less length in the back. Are you visualizing the awkwardness? I mean awesomeness.

Because this looks sufficiently awkward.
Because this looks sufficiently awkward.

Honestly, though, I believe that, in order to get the best out of my hair, I have to be as positive and creative as possible during this phase. As I’ve learned about natural hair before, controlled chaos is beautiful in itself. So I’m challenging myself to create 6 styles on my hair in the next month. Now that was kind of about my hair, but I’ve found that having natural hair and what I’ve learned about it parallels so many things in life. Like, my hair and my life are twins kinda!

I’ve been in an awkward phase in my life lately too. I was in between jobs for 9 months last year. I’m working 3 jobs right now. I’m still trying to get comfortable in my new phase of singleness. I have dreams and ambitions out the wazoo and am still in a character development phase. I don’t sleep enough, and I’m pretty sure I’m more busy than I am happy. Awkward enough, right?

It wasn’t until last year that I realized what I really want to do. And that’s awkward because having 2 degrees and not being able to articulate what you want to do with them makes for awkward silences and awkward looks. Awkward pep talks and awkward scoldings from your elders who only want the best for you. Even awkwardly trying to fit your squareness into a round job all for the sake of gainful employment. (Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes, you do have to take a job because you nees to pay the bills and be able to have fun.)

What I have learned from being natural is to embrace the awkwardness. Revel in it and let the creativity flow. Don’t force it. Work hard. Don’t make or allow for excuses for your ends not meeting. But work with what you have and if you don’t know what you have, start to explore it. You appreciated your last really great season, just as I thoroughly appreciated my haircut. However, if you’re going to get to the next level, you must focus forward and not lament what you’ve got going on now. This goes for your hair and your life. Keep building. Keep growing.

Awkwardness ➡Creativity ➡Awesomeness. Thank you, Autocorrect, for the lesson in hair and life.

Gavrielle

Shift in Your Wardrobe – The Shift Dress Staple!

The shift dress is a simple and versatile staple. Personally, I can go from wearing a plaid shirt with leopard print skinnies with leopard print booties (They never should have told me I could mix prints) to – you guessed it – a simple shift dress! Honestly, no matter how much you may like to layer or combine unique pieces, everyone needs something easy, simple, and basic. (I don’t mean basic like that.) I would know because I’m one of those people. So whether your style is classic or funky, the shift dress can work.

See how I styled my shift dress below:

Thrifted New York and Company dress. Simple yet I made it my own.
Thrifted New York and Company shift dress that cost $5. Simple yet I made it my own.

What I Love about the Shift Dress:

1. One piece outfit that stands alone. (Almost any dress fits this description)

2. Easy wear and comfy. Pulls over the head and gives you room to breathe.

3. Easily flattering.

3b. #Thighsonfleek – Ha! No, seriously, I love to be able to show a little thigh and keep it classy. For my pear shape, it’s a classy and flattering. The looser top balances the closer fit around my hips. In my opinion, because it’s not super fitting, I can get away with the shorter length with heels. At least according to my rules.

Honey, Coco Oil, and Shea Butter… Oh My – 3 Raw Essentials for My Natural Hair

The Glorious Trio
                   The Glorious Trio

These are literally essentials for my hair, and they moonlight as face and body essentials too! These products are all so important, I don’t know which one to talk about first so I’ll just go in chronological order.

COCONUT OIL is my life! When I discovered it, I had just given up on my pre-afro life era products, like heavy chemi-coil moisturizers and oil-only “moisturizing”. That was 5 years ago! My hair was so crispy and brittle. I really think I saved my hair then because if I had gone much longer, I know my hair would have started to break. Anyway, the Coco is my pre-poo and the oil to my LOC method. If you don’t know what that is, it is a moisture method in which you apply first water-based liquid, then oil, then cream to your hair with each subsequent layer sealing the last. It is excellent! Anyway, the first time I used it, the Coco turned my coily crisps into a soft and spongy delight. Now, I typically aim to pre-poo by applying and allowing the Coco to marinate for at least an hour before I cleanse my hair. Most times, I don’t achieve it, but half an hour will get you results.

Now let’s discuss how the Coco is one half of my facial moisturizer, costarring with another essential Shea butter. I also use coconut oil as a pre-cleanser on my face, when it’s especially dry. I’ve also used the Coco to treat a cold and soothe an aching throat caused by bronchitis. You just take a teaspoon or so – not easy to get down, but it works. Coconut oil breaks down the cold virus barrier so that your immune system can attack it and get rid of it more easily. In short, I’m in love with the Coco. (I’m sorry. I had to.)

SHEA BUTTER is next in line. I just started using raw Shea butter last fall. I’m cheap so the only reason I took the plunge was because my sister bought it for herself and then changed her mind about it. And she doesn’t like taking things back to the store. Providence, right? This is a key to my LOC method, and it came into my happy natural life just in time because I didn’t have any more cream. I hadn’t had one in a long time because I couldn’t afford to splurge on hair products at the time. So Shea butter is the perfect cream!!! It melts and nearly lathers in your hands with some friction, and its nice medium thick consistency is perfect for the density of my hair. Plus, it balances the thinner oiliness of the coconut oil out. I kind of cheat with my LOC method by mixing the oil and cream, but it serves me well. Sometimes, I use Shea butter as a body moisturizer, and I mix it with coconut oil and water to moisturize my face. Shea butter definitely holds me down.

And now for the real MVP, the HONEY. Words cannot accurately express how raw honey has changed my life, and this late into my natural hair journey too! I just started using honey a few months ago. I had seen people talk about using honey in homemade conditioners and whatnot, but I wasn’t sold. Frankly, I didn’t care because I felt that I had what I needed, and I’ve never been one to try products just because. Anyway, this has served me well as a complicated natural. It’s not a bad thing; there are just certain things that make natural hair life more complicated. For instance, combating the seborrhea in my scalp means more frequent washes, shorter duration protective styles, and a more limited product selection. It also means crossing heaven and earth and scratching my scalp raw in attempts to clean my scalp enough to see my brown skin instead of the grayish white of dryness. At least, that’s what it meant. Ever since I found honey, that last bit has changed. Honestly, this is no discovery I made on my own. I found it on the internet, but it didn’t seem to be much of a thing in the black natural hair community. Anyway, all I do is put gobs of raw honey on my head – all over my hair and scalp. I make sure it gets down to my scalp. I typically dampen my hair some. The info that I found suggested 9 parts honey and 1 part water so you don’t need much agua. Then I tie a plastic bag on and let it sit for at least an hour; the overnight masque that I did worked wonders! When I wash my hair, I do some scrubbing and light scratching (I know that’s bad), but other than that, it’s as if the honey DISSOLVES the residue on my scalp. So beautiful. It softens too!

Honey is magic on your face when it is dry too! And the award goes to Honey… It’s absolutely everything!

So this is the royal treatment for my hair and I promise this honey is like rolling out the red carpet. What are some of your raw essentials? Maybe I’m missing out again. Let me know!

The Royal Coil