Monthly Archives: October 2011

Reunion Hair: Bantu Knot-Out Updo and LifeOrganics Product Review

I was running late, so in taking the pic in the car
was the best I could do for the finished look. lol

So, my class reunion was this past Saturday. That entire week leading up to the event I was fretting about what to do with my hair. I know I wanted something a little fancy. I get tired of just the normal twistout. I knew I wanted my hair up, so I began to plan out a style. Originally, I was going to just pin my hair up and do the twistout on top. The Bantu knot-out was last minute decision because I wanted curls. I also tested out a new, full product line by LifeOrganics, using the product line exclusively to achieve the style (accept for an olive oil pre-poo). Looking back, I think that was kind of stupid considering how important this event was too me. It could have ended in disaster had the products not worked properly or I didn’t use them correctly. Thankfully, my hair turned out really cute. Here are some tips I used to achieve this look:

1. I pre-pooed my hair with olive oil. Then washed and conditioned my hair with LifeOrganics Herbal Hair Wash and Detangling Conditioner. The shampoo had a little less lather than I had hoped for as with many all-natural products. Overall, I was pleased with the results. My hair felt clean and moisturized.

2. Blowing drying: I used some of LifeOrganics Acai & Hibiscus Styling Milk for added protection from the heat and moisture. Next, I sectioned my hair off into about 8 sections. Since I have lots of shrinkage, and I wanted to pull all my hair up to the top, I felt the need to stretch my hair with a blow dryer and comb attachment. I blew it out section by section, not bone-straight (I left my ends poofy), but straight enough to easily brush my hair up. Also, I sprayed each section with LifeOrganics Healthy Oil Sheen spray to aid in the straightening process and add more protection from heat damage.

3. I blew out the back and the sides and left the top shrunken. I used the shrinkage to my advantage in order to create sort of a bang in front. Depending on how wide you want your bang is how much hair you decide to leave shrunken. Secure the shrunken hair with a hair tie to keep it out of the way.

4. Flat-twist or smooth the sides: Starting at my temple, I made two parts going on a diagonal toward the top of my head, creating a section about the width of my finger. I flat-twisted that section and secured with a bobby pin. Next, I put another flat-twist in front of the that one and one behind that one. I tried to replicate this exactly on the other side. And that was it, three flat-twists on each side. (Note: you don’t have to flat-twist the sides. You could just brush the sides up and secure with bobby pins. I do so, to prevent frizz and make the style last longer.) Also, I used LifeOrganics Styling Custard to twist with. It has a nice hold without leaving the hair hard.

5. The back of the head: Next, I used a boar bristle brush (yes, a regular ole hair brush) to smooth up the back of the hair toward the top of my head. I brushed little by little, securing with bobby pins as I go.

6. The top of the head: Two strand twist the entire top of the head. I made the sections about a square inch. Before twisting each twist I sprayed the hair with LifeOrganics Mane Moisturizer to restore moisture and coated each section with a dab of the Styling Custard, then proceeded to twist. I find that twisting the hair before creating the Bantu knots eliminates poofyness and frizz.

7 Creating the Bantu knots: After the twists were done, I took each twist and began twisting it in the same direction of the twist. I created a loop as if tying a shoe and wrapped the remainder of the twist around and around the loop until all the hair is secured around the loop. Now, because my hair is kinky, I actually didn’t need to secure it with anything, it just stayed in place. You can use a hair pin to secure the knot if need be.

8. Setting the style: I let my hair air dry and set for one hour. My hair had already become pretty dry. If your hair is really wet, or thick, or long, you might consider a longer air-dry time or sitting under a dryer for longer-lasting hold.

This pic is about 8 hours AFTER partying with
old friends. Still looks pretty good, eh?

9. Lastly, I unraveled the knots and twists, being careful not to disrupt them too much. I was left with beautful, spirally curls. Some sections of the hair didn’t lay exactly how I wanted so I just tucked them in and secured with hair pins.

Let us know what you think of this style and if you plan to do it or have different technique!

Osbessed with Straight Edges and Kitchens?…Check out this greeting card I saw at the store

Are we this obsessed with straight edges and kitchens? I remember back in the day I would let a relaxer stay on my head for as long as it took for my edges to get straight. And yes, that “kitchen” in the back of my head seemed like it took FOREVER to get straight. I suffered chemical scalp burns ans scabs, for what? Straight edges and kitchens?

Thankfully, I never developed alopecia (hair loss) on my edges (however, all the hair in my kitchen fell out in 2008 from a bad perm and stress). I know many women who have. Many developed hair loss not just from relaxers, but also from pulling the hair too tight with braids. Why? To make sure their edges are neat and straight. Some women with locs have also experienced this traction alopecia from re-twisting their locs too tight and too frequently. The loc then becomes too heavy and falls off.

So, I ask, why are are we so obsessed with straight edges and kitchens? 

Check it out Chicago Naturalistas! Treasure Our Tresses featuring The Mane Source and Natural Chica

Briana McCarthy A.K.A. “BreeUnique”, creator of The Mane Source has teamed up with Maeling Tapp, the creator of and EDEN BodyWorks to bring you “Treasure Our Tresses” on November 5th! Each attendee will receive a gift basket with FULL-SIZED products from Eden Body Works! Come mix, mingle, and meet Mae aka Natural Chica! There will be “tress talk” as well as delicious eats!

Purchase online at:

I got my ticket already! Let us know if you will be there too!

REALISTIC Natural Hair Care Tips for the Busy Woman

These days I feel like I’m playing a never-ending game of catch-up. With a full-time job, husband and two small boys, there is never enough time in the day. Every ten minutes I have to answer a question from my 4-year old or stop my 10-month old from climbing out of his walker…How in the world am I supposed to find the time to manage my natural hair and them turn around and write a post to tell you about it??? I want “steal” some time and share with you sound practices that I use in my natural hair care regimen.

1. Plan your styles for the week.
Just like we have to plan meals for our family, we most also plan styles for our hair. If you fail to plan, you might end up with what my husband calls to the “boogie wig” on top of your head (Bascially, hair that has gotten so unkempt that is just does what it wants to do.) I usually try to do a style on the weekend that will last me at least until the middle of the week if not longer. I schedule in time to do my hair through out the week.

2. Curl up on the couch with your kids and twist
Let’s be real. Natural styles take time. I gotten used to having to just get in where I can fit in. So, if that means on Friday movie might I’m sitting on the couch with my popcorn and hair pudding or gel, two-strand twisting my hair while watching a family movie, then so be it.

3. Make it last
If I plan right, I’ll twist the night before a day when I don’t have to leave the house. That way, I can go for 1-2 days without worrying about my hair. If I do have to leave the house, then I can just throw on a hat or scarf, or just say, “who cares, if the public sees my twists?”  When I do my twistouts, I don’t pull the hair apart for a fuller look. As the days (or even hours) progress, it will get more volume. With my hair texture along with products that leave a stiffer hold (without hardness or flaking), my twistouts last for about 5 days. (Admittedly, day 5 is more a funky fro that a twistout.) That’s a total of 6-7 days of just minimal daily styling!

4. Master your detangling technique
The key to detangling kinky, tighty curled or coiled har is to section it. I have to section my hair into at least 8 or more sections and work with my fingers and wide-tooth comb to gently remove tangles. I find that coating the hair with oil prior to washing and detangling (pre-pooing) is a big help. Properly detangling hair upfront will save you time in the end when you don’t have to wrestle as much with your hair.

5. Snip Snip, baby!
Get yourelf some hair scissors and TRIM THOSE JACKED UP ENDS! The reason many of us get so many tangles, knots and breakage is because the frayed ends are getting tangled. Get rid of those ends and your hair will thank you. The best way to do this at home is to twist the hair into medium twists. Then section the hair off with hair ties. Next, remove each twist, one by one and cut about a 1/8″ or more off. Do this about every two months. Now, I must say that this is not a good solution if you plan to wear straight styles. In that case, let the professionals do it to make sure it’s even.

6. Find balance between making styles last and styling often
Styling your hair often helps to decrease tangling, knotting and matting (and boredom). However, styling the hair too much may lead to breakage. I utilize protective styling like dry twists or braids to give my hair a break. It is important to properly moisturize before wearing these styles. Your hair will start to tangle within the twist or braid. Taking down the hair can turn into a traumatic experience with lots of breakage. I apply a generous amount of oil before taking my hair down. Rule of thumb, don’t wear a protective style past 2-3 weeks.

7. Wash as needed
Yes, I said it. I do not have time (or I should say, I do not want to make time) to wash or even co-wash my hair 2-3 times a week. At the most, I try to squeeze in a wash every 1-2 weeks. Our hair drys out fast and needs lots of moisture. I’ve become well aquainted with my spray bottle mix of olive oil and water. At little spritz of my water mixture, some hair milk or lotion for added moisture, a little herbal oil for shine and we are good to go.

I hope these tips help relieve some of the stress and pressure of managing your natural hair.

How do you balance family and/or work life with natural hair?