Thursday, August 25, 2011

Shine On! - Our Natural SOLHSista Sophia

Welcome back SOLHSistas! I hope everyone had a refreshing and fun-filled summer! It was wonderful getting to know so many beautiful women this summer through individual consultations and SOLHair Parties. Thanks again for introducing your friends and family to SO Lovely Hair.

Now I’d like to introduce you to another dynamic SOLHSista, Sophia!

She truly puts the SO in SO Lovely Hair! Not only is she my videographer but she’s SO beautiful, SO funny, SO smart, and SO talented. She has tried every style, product, technique and color for hair. She was a real life human chameleon!  But now she’s back on the path of NATURAL healthy hair. And her knowledge of healthy hair products, styles, and techniques runneth deep. Let’s see how it all started!

Thanks Sophia for letting me pull you from behind the camera! Your hair journey has been interesting to say the least. How did it all begin?

As a child, I remember my hair just always being a mess. (lol) I was known for breaking combs and brushes. It was long, thick, and relaxed as far back as I can remember. My curls were “too thick” and I was too "tender headed", as my mom always said--which was partly true.
But my hair was long until 6th grade. My dad took me for what was supposed to be a trim and I had the lady chop my hair off to my ears :) It was a hot mess and my mom was so mad.
My hair would only grow to about my shoulders and it would break off.  So I’d cut it again--all the while relaxing and coloring.

So when did you start your healthy hair journey?

I stopped getting relaxers when I was about 18. I started looking at all the white girls around me with long flowing pretty hair and thought, “They don’t do all this mess to their hair and it grows! So maybe I need to chill out with all of that (constant flat irons, blow dryers, coloring, manipulation)”. My friends at the time didn’t flat iron or blow dry often, if at all.  One of them said she never even used a brush or comb in her hair. She just finger combed it when it had conditioner in it. That made a big impact on my techniques.
It’s ironic but the good traits I learned for my hair, didn’t even come from women with my type of hair. Those techniques were the start though.

That’s interesting. I haven’t heard that source of inspiration before. How did you transition from relaxed to natural hair?

At first I just trimmed little by little and before long all the damaged and relaxed hair was gone. It didn’t take long. I loved the thought that my hair was natural! I wasn’t so sure of wearing it curly though. To straighten it, I’d use big barreled curling irons after I blow dried it. Then I met my best friend the flat iron :) I was flat ironing my hair daily to keep it bone straight--flying in the wind! Since it was natural, thick and curly it wouldn’t stay bone straight long.  So I’d flat iron every time I came home. to keep it straight. 

Then I colored it blonde.  When the stylist removed the towel from my head, all the other clients’ faces made me afraid to look in the mirror--and for good reason. It was fried! I failed to mention this was my third time in 3 months having my hair lightened. Each time I went lighter and in more areas. My hair was literally falling out with each hand movement through my hair. But by the next day I was rocking it (with blue contacts).  
I saw a picture of myself and thought “What in the world am I doing?! I’m constantly trying to wear my hair like someone else instead of ME.”  I colored it back to black and started the healthy part of my natural hair journey.

So at this point did you realize natural hair doesn’t necessarily mean healthy hair? 

Natural hair def doesnt mean healthy hair. I was natural for years before my hair was actually healthy. All the heat, and coloring was jackin my hair up left and right. If your not taking care of your hair properly natural or relaxed you can still have very unhealthy hair.
So I started getting online looking up natural products and finding sites for woman with hair like mine. Forums became my best friend. I learned so much about hair, MY hair, product ingredients--everything. I’d spend hours reading up on everything I could about natural hair.  My hair grew so fast and became so thick. I loved it!

I’d only flat iron it maybe twice a year. It was down my back!

Did you have any set backs? If so, how did you overcome them?

In 2010, an hour and a half into just BLOW DRYING (my stupid comb attachment kept breaking off because my hair is so thick). I got a relaxer again--without thinking twice. I regretted it instantly!!! It didn’t feel the same, not even close. Then I knew I had altered my hair in a way I really didn’t like. I'm not anti-relaxer, I’m just anti-ME-having-a-relaxer.

I missed my natural hair. So Feb 2011 I big chopped and cut off my bra strap length hair to about half an inch long (curly).
What do you feel are some of the benefits of having natural hair?

I love everything about natural hair. It’s versatility, strength, beauty. To me it says, “YOU can take your views of what is beautiful --and toss them!  Me and my big, curly, frizzy, nappy-headed, brown-eyed, brown-skinned self is beautiful!” It’s unique and beautiful. I’m no longer scared of rain, pools or showers. It no longer takes a fortress to keep the water away from my head.(lol)

 I love that! Can you tell us a little about your routine?
I take biotin and some other vitamins. I try to drink at least 92 ozs of water a day. I keep a close eye on what I put in my hair and how I take it out. I didn’t use to tie my hair up at night till this last relaxer bout. But now I literally can’t go to sleep without tying my hair up. I moisturize and seal daily. I do wash-n-go’s daily. If my hair feels dry I’ll put it in twists and that usually takes care of it being dry. I deep condition when I remember to. I really just do what it needs based off how it looks and feels. I’m trying to stay away from direct heat as much as possible. That’s basically it. I just use natural products with all natural ingredients. Keep my scalp stimulated with oil massages. Take care of my body from the inside as well :) I know it will pay off in the end.

Thanks for sharing your hair story with us Sophia! If you’d like to follow Sophia’s hair journey check out her YouTube Channel at

Till next time Ladies!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

African Roots and Heritage Festival

I just wanted to give a shout out to everyone who stopped by the SO Lovely Hair booth at the African Roots and Heritage Festival on July 16th and 17th .

A HUGE "Thanks!!" to my SOLH Sistas Sarah, Sophia, and Ryna - not pictured : ( - who showed their support by helping "man" the booth and answer any hair questions. And of course show off their "Lovely" Hair.

It was our first opportunity to connect with the black hair community in Columbus. It was wonderful to see all the beautiful style options black women are wearing in C-bus these days! From TWAs (teeny weeny afro)to waist-length locs these sistas were on point.

Calls for scheduling your SOLHair Party are coming soon ladies. So get 3 or more friends together and let's talk hair!!

Keep the knowledge flowing and your minds open.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Low -Down on Heat

Convenience, time, obsession—these are the three leading reasons people use heat on their hair. Many ladies find it easier to use a curling iron on their hair, rather than rollers. Instead of waiting for their hair to air dry they use a blow dryer. Addicted to the smooth edges and the silky look a fresh relaxer provides, not so few women flat-iron daily. No harm, no foul. Right?

Wrong! Regular heat styling is a major obstacle in black hair growth. It leads to split ends, dryness, and breakage. If the tool is too hot it can boil the moisture in your hair strand and cause the cortex to rupture from the inside out i.e. DAMAGE. So what’s a girl to do if she wants curls, waves, straight edges, or silky straight hair?
Let’s explore the options. 

Curls or waves: pin curls, rollerset, twist out, braid out, bantu knots
            Straight: bun, wrap,  jumbo rollers
            Straight edges: wrap or scarf method

The following video will show you how to use the scarf method to get your edges straight. Then it will follow up with how to do a braid out as a no-heat, low-manipulation style.

SO Lovely Braidout

So don't let regular heat styling trip you up on your healthy hair journey. Try no-heat styles. You never know, you might find your signature look!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Shine On! -- SOLHSista Ryna

Welcome to the first of our Hair Profile Series! It's very important to see how the moisture-balance system works on different hair types.

The first SOLHSista to shine is my dear friend Ryna. As mentioned in my hair story she introduced me to the ingredient knowledge I needed to start my healthy hair journey. She's also the best example of someone who's hair type is normally considered too coarse to grow long and healthy. Both of her parents are West African and she has been blessed with the beautiful skin, bright smile and strong hair of the African people. So what put her on the healthy hair path? Let's see!

Hi Ryna! Thanks for being the first hair profile on The After Party! Please, tell us about your hair journey. What was your experience with hair as a child?

As a child, my mom did my hair. I wore my hair in braids on and off for several years until I was in the tenth grade. 

By then, I had gone back and forth several times from having natural hair to relaxed hair. I would keep my hair braided until it was about shoulder length, and then have the urge to relax. I would beg my mom to relax my hair until she gave in. After all, I wanted to fit in with all the kids at school. So, I would rock my newly relaxed and flat-ironed hair in a ponytail just like all the other girls at school, not realizing that my hair was vanishing before my eyes! I would rock that ponytail and bangs until my hair broke off to ear length. By then, my mom would braid my hair again; slowly trimming off the relaxed ends as time went by, swearing never to relax my hair again. But sure enough, when my hair grew out to the coveted shoulder length, I would beg for a relaxer and so the cycle would repeat.

Over and Over again through the years, I just thought we (black women) had drawn the short straw when it came to hair; we were cursed with difficult hair, hair that would never grow past shoulder length and was impossible to maintain. I just figured I was bound to wear braids for life.
Do you think having braids for so long helped your hair, harmed it, or a little of both? 

I would say a little of both. On one hand, wearing braids allowed my hair to grow and flourish in its natural state.  Yet, it also prevented me from really learning about my type of hair. Looking back on it, wearing braids was just sort of a quick fix, a disguise for my real hair. It allowed me to have that coveted shoulder length hair in a matter of hours, without really working for it.  Although wearing braids continually was a sure fire way to grow my hair, I did not realize that it was not the healthiest for my hair. Upon removing my braids in every two or so months, I would notice how dry and brittle my hair felt. I just figured that's how our hair was: dry, and brittle.  Little did I know I was depriving it of essential ingredients:  moisture and protein. With my lack of knowledge, my quick fix was to just grease my scalp, and slap some pink oil lotion on my hair and call it a day. 

What made you start your healthy hair journey?

Well, the final straw was when I had finally achieved armpit length hair after weaving my hair continuously for two years for my wedding.

My Weave

I was extremely happy with the length of my hair, and was determined to take care of it. I figured my biggest downfall in taking care of my hair was my usage of heat. Heat was the enemy!  So, I would flat iron and blow-dry my hair only once a week, shampoo and deep condition once every two weeks, and grease my scalp and hair daily.  I was doing everything right...or so I thought.  Despite following this regimen, I noticed on a daily basis that dreaded hair in the sink, on your clothes, and on the bathroom floor. My hair slowly but surely broke off from armpit length to right above neck length in a matter of 4 months. Feeling extremely frustrated and hopeless, one night I decided to search the Internet for a solution. I figured I wasn't the only one struggling with this problem, right?  Not long into my search, I stumbled upon a social network site called "Fotki". There, I found several women who were chronicling their hair journeys, many of them, with struggles just like my own!  The thing that made this so fascinating was the proof.  I saw countless pictures and videos of women whose hair had been nasty, thin, straggly, and ear length grow their hair to an almost unbelievable bra strap length. It was AMAZING!  Thoughts and questions immediately flooded my head: What were these women doing to their hair? What products were they using? And most importantly, were they mixed or had they just been blessed with "good" hair?  That night, I can tell you that I stayed up until 3am reading and taking notes on all the information I was learning. And to answer my last question, NO. These women were not mixed! They were full-blooded sista's just like me.  Day after day, I would continue to research.   I scoured (healthy hair) sites and found that they all pretty much had the same information. With results like armpit length, bra strap length and even waist length hair, I had to give it a shot!  

How did you begin? And what's your hair type?

 I began my hair journey by first learning my hair type, and its needs. From there, I learned that I have type 4a hair, kinky and coarse.  I then narrowed down from all four sources which products I was going to use on my hair. By now, I knew what kind of products my hair needed, what to look for in a product, and what to avoid. With all that information, I was able to build a healthy hair regimen.  I threw away all my hair products that I owned that contained harsh chemicals or filler products. And let me tell you that meant all of it had to go!  In addition, I trimmed my hair to make it even and to make sure all my split ends were gone. After all, if I was going to make sure this really worked, I needed to start with a clean slate.  I went and bought all I needed to start my hair journey, and to my surprise, it was only about 5-6 products, which was a big difference from the 20 or so products I had collected over the years!

What results have you seen?

I can honestly say that after a week of following my regimen, I noticed that my hair felt moisturized. It was a feeling that I thought I knew, but clearly didn't.  My hair did not break as much as it used to. Those tiny broken little hairs in the sink, on my clothes, and on the bathroom floor slowly started to disappear until they were gone! I only noticed shedding, which I had learned was a natural, healthy process of the hair cycle. I followed my regimen religiously. And after 3-4 months, my hair was back to just above shoulder length! And the rest is history. 

Fast-forward 3 years later.  Now, I am able to enjoy my hair at a full and healthy Armpit length and hope to reach bra strap length by the summer.  

 Wet 2011 (APL)

Low and behold, the girls on “Fotki” were right! Black women are not cursed with unmanageable brittle hair.  Knowledge is power!  You can have the hair you've always dreamed of!

 March 2011
Thanks Ryna!  Shine On!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Stable Condition? Critical Condition?—Deep Condition!

What is the state of your hair? Is it suffering from trauma due to being over processed or heat fried? Is it dehydrated and feeling dry or brittle? Are you recovering from emergency surgery because of severe split ends? Well, don’t fear. Help is here!

With a mixture of water, humectants, oils, and maybe some protein extracts, you could be well on your way to injecting life back into your hair.

Why Condition and How

“Wash-n-Go” that’s one of the latest trends in hair styling. With less and less time in the day, many women are opting for styles that require less time in front of the mirror. But does that mean you should be spending less time caring for your hair? If anything, it’s the opposite. The time you save in styling your hair should be more time allotted to nurturing your tresses. It really only comes down to an hour a week. Can we take an hour out of our busy schedule to pamper our hair? That’s what deep conditioning involves.

It's a critical step in your healthy hair journey! And there are several benefits to conditioning your hair on a regular basis:
 ·         Maximize moisture intake
 ·         Repair cracks and holes in the hair strand
 ·         Increase strand luster or ability to reflect light
 ·         Make detangling less stressful on the hair by providing slip
 ·         Provide more hands-on time with your hair

So please, never just wash and go. Wash, deep condition, relax, relax, relax, and rinse. You won’t regret it!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Keep It Clean People

Do you remember the feeling you got when you purchased your first car? It didn’t matter if it was a Beater or a Benz. You wanted to keep your “new” car looking just like it did when you drove it off the lot—shining like a new dime!
Now think back to the first time you went to the beautyshop. Remember coming out  with your hair bouncing and feeling light as a feather? If your hairdresser was on point, your hair was looking just like that car—shining like a new dime!
So what did your hair and that new car have in common? They both just had a good deep-down clean. There’s no substitute. A little soap and water can go a long way to making you look good .
Shampooing: Why & How
As mentioned in your SOLH consultation, you can cleanse your hair with shampoo or conditioner. The most important point is to remember to cleanse often. It takes away the dust, lint, dirt, and of course left over product that can weigh the hair down. Thus causing it to loose it’s shine and ability to retain moisture. And remember moisture is the Master Key to unlocking the secret to long healthy hair.
Shampoo is the better of the two when it comes to a deep cleanse. It’s chemically designed to take dirt away from the hair. The co-wash is a fortified rinse that can take away surface pollutants while leaving the hair less stripped than the shampoo.  During your consultation we determined how often and in what proportions you should use each. As mentioned in your SOLH Hair Plan, switching the days are fine but switching the frequency will greatly hinder your progress.
The best way to cleanse your hair is in the shower. You have less opportunity for tangling your strands. Plus you're better able to access your entire head. Remember BE GENTLE. You should never come out of a cleanse with a soar scalp or headache!  If you’re unable to cleanse in the shower, your next best option is to braid the hair in loose plaits and cleanse in the sink. The plaits will decrease your detangling time afterwards drastically.

So when it comes to supporting hair growth and maintaining healthy hair -- KEEP IT CLEAN!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Master Key--MOISTURE! (Video)

To unlock the secret to long healthy hair, you must have MOISTURE! Moisture keeps the cortex (the tootsie roll center) of your hair strand pliable and less prone to breakage. The best and most readily available moisturizer is water. I KNOW! I KNOW! We’ve been taught all of our lives that water will “dry your hair out.” And most of us have lived this summertime scenario at some point in our lives:  
After swimming (or splashing with style!) in the coolness of the pool, you hear the dreaded whistle, “REST BREAK!” Everyone scurries out of the pool to dry off and make a dash for the nearest refreshments. In the rush of it all, you forget to pull your hair back into a ponytail. By the time you finish your Choco Taco and orange drink (in a plastic water barrel, of course), your hair is on its way to looking like you just stepped out of the pool--holding a light socket! You try desperately to ponytail it now. But it’s of no use. It’s as parched as a savanna during dry season. Not to mention your legs look like you’ve been kicking flour. What happened?!

Some might say it was the water. But was it truly? Can water—the quintessential thirst quencher and re-hydrator—make you dry? Plain and simple, NO. WATER DOES NOT DRY OUT YOUR HAIR! It’s been proven time and again that water is our hair’s master key to length.  Ask any SOLHSista with long healthy hair. They will tell you that it was impossible to get any kind of length without regular moisture. Does that mean all you need to do is throw some water on your hair and go? No, you’re not a houseplant. The best way to keep the water in your hair is to team it up with other substances that will hold the water in place. That is where your water-based moisturizers come in. Whether in a spray or cream these products help your hair stay moisturized longer. We discussed these at your consultation and all SOLH Hair Packages contain either one or both.

The other key to keeping your hair moisturized is sealing in the moisture with natural oils. These oils keep the air from “sucking” the moisture out of our hair. We discussed these as well and every SOLH Hair Package contains some natural oils for sealing the hair.

So what made us so dry after being out of the pool for only 20 minutes? The same chemical that kept you from catching “Snot-nosed” Sally’s summer cold—chlorine. Chlorine is one of the many chemicals that can come in contact with our hair and cause it to dry out. Some other culprits to dryness include hard water (too many minerals), heated hair stylers, wind, and high manipulation. We’ll discuss these at length on a later date. But in the meantime, we hope you start looking at water as it truly is—a gift from heaven, for our bodies and our hair!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Entering the world of healthy black hair care can be an enlightening and fulfilling experience. There’s a plethora of pictures, stories, product reviews, and videos that can take you to the next level of hair growth. But as you begin your healthy hair journey you’ll realize the existence of a whole new language—a healthy hair language- that you were not privy to before your journey began.  

You might come across a comment like this, “After my BC I became a PJ. I thought I had a good regimen because I went from EL then NL and finally SL in only a year. I would DC regularly and CW twice a week. Then I reached a plateau.  I didn’t think I’d ever reach APL.”

Confused?! Not for long! After reading this post you’ll be able to translate comments like these as if you just finished Rosetta Stone.

Here’s a list of common hair growth jargon to help you keep up with veteran SOLH Sistas!

APL – Arm Pit Length
BC – Big Chop
BSL – Bra Strap Length
BSS – Beauty Supply Store
CW- Conditioner Wash
DC – Deep Condition
DIY – Do It Yourself
EL – Ear Length
EVCO – Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil
LOTD - Look Of The Day
MBL – Mid back Length
NG – New Growth
NL – Neck Length
PJ – Product Junkie
SL - Shoulder Length
WSL – Waist Length Hair

Braid-Out/Twist-Out –braiding (3-strand) or twisting (2-strand) your hair in sections using a moisturizer, then unbraiding/untwisting it after at least an hour and wearing it as a style
Breakage – when the hair breaks along the hair shaft (no white bulb)
Cowashing - washing your hair with conditioner instead of shampoo
Deep conditioning – leaving conditioner on your hair for at least 20 minutes
Dusting – a trimming method that takes a small amount of hair off the ends
Low Manipulation -  styles that don’t require persistent combing or brushing
Over-lapping – applying relaxer to new growth and previously relaxed hair

Moisturizer/Leave-in – applying a water based product to your hair without washing it out
Prepoo – preparing your hair prior to applying shampoo
Protective Styling – styling your hair in a way that protects your ends
Regimen- your hair care plan that includes products you use, when you use them and how you use them
Seal– using an oil to lock the moisture in your hair
Shedding – when the entire hairstrand (with white bulb) detaches from the follicle and comes out
Stretching – extending the time between relaxers
Texlax – using a relaxer to loosen up the curl pattern in the hair without making it straight

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Hair Story

The eighties were good to me! During my early childhood, my hair was always at least arm pit length (APL). 

When I was 10, I talked my mom into getting me a jheri curl. I finally had the walk-and-swing hair I envied in my classmates! Unfortunately that ended with my brother and a lighter—nuf said. We decided on a safer alternative—creamy crack a.k.a. a relaxer. It shed and broke off like crazy! But I figured it was normal.  And at shoulder length (SL) it was still longer than most people I knew. 

By the time I went to college I was ready to reclaim my natural self. I noticed there were a lot of young black ladies on campus with beautiful long hair. So I began asking questions. I found that a lot of them were natural (no chemical processes) and those that weren’t went to the salon regularly to get their hair shampooed and styled.  Since weekly visits to the salon were out of my budget, I decided to go natural.
I grew my hair out four about 8 weeks then did the big chop (BC). I loved it! I felt so free. I hadn’t realized how much time I was spending worried about my hair. It was truly liberating! I decided I was going to get to know my hair. It was about an inch long and curly (3C/4A). 

Since it was the late 90s and I wasn’t aware of any black hair blogs or websites back then, I just listened to my hair. If it was crying out for moisture-- I oiled it. If it felt dirty-- I washed it.  It became a habit to wash my hair at least once a week.  I noticed it would dry out easily so I was always applying oil or pomade.  In hindsight, the frequency of my shampoo - pomade - dirty - shampoo cycle was due to the mineral oil or petrolatum in the pomade. But it worked! My hair was healthy, strong, and growing like a weed. As it grew, I kept it in two-strand twists for a few days then I would wear it untwisted until wash day.
A year later my hair was back to shoulder length. It was amazing! What took me years to achieve with relaxed hair I achieved in one year with natural hair. So logically I stayed the course.  By the following year my hair was arm pit length (APL).  A couple years later I was mid-back length (MBL).  

But I was tired. I was spending at least three hours washing and twisting my hair—with help twice a week. I was not happy. I felt like I had become a slave to my hair again. Now that I knew my hair and what it needed I felt I could maintain it better than before. So I decided to go back to the creamy crack.
I was MBL and silky straight. Back to an hour a week-wash and go. I stuck to my moisture routine. (Though I didn’t need as much) I was maintaining my length. 

Then came the fateful day at the hairdresser. I said ¼ inch all she heard was 4 and inch. Yep back to shoulder length.  And thanks to too frequent trims and relaxers (oh I see why they call it creamy crack—an unhealthy addiction to the flat edges and an aversion to new growth). My hair went back to thin and struggling. I knew I could grow long beautiful healthy hair and I didn’t want to do a BC again.

I had my first HAIR INTERVENTION when a friend (THANKS RYNA!!) introduced me to the black hair world on the internet. Long Hair Care Forum, Hairlicious Inc.,  and Keep It Simple Sista became my road maps for my new hair journey.  She showed me where to buy all my products and how to look for ingredients instead of names and descriptions. She opened up a whole new world to me when we ventured outside the ethnic hair aisle to find products. I was hooked. I made a hair care regimen and stuck to it faithfully. I stretched my relaxers 17 to 20 weeks. I moisturized and sealed day and night. I deep conditioned twice a week and wore protective styles constantly.  It was working!!
My hair is now arm pit length (APL). It’s strong and healthy. I have to yell it from the rooftops!

That’s why I started SO Lovely Hair (SOLH)!

Monday, January 24, 2011

SO Lovely Hair

SO Lovely Hair (SOLH) provides black hair maintenance information for anyone interested in growing lovely long healthy hair. Through a face to face forum (SOLH hair party/consultation) women can share their experience and get educated.  
The SOLH After Party is a simple way to continue the conversation. It’s here to encourage personal growth through knowledge. The After Party is for women to reconnect after a SOLH hair consultation or hair party. It’s a positive forum where women can chat about what they have learned or would like to learn in the future.