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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Salon Review: Dominican Salon (Birmingham, AL)

Happy Saturday lovelies!

Lawd hammercy I have had a busy day! I've been on the go since about 6 this morning. Part of my day was spent in a salon chair. I recently found out that Birmingham has not one but 3 Dominican salons!! I have been itching to have my hair straightened without me being the one to do the straightening so I guess you can call this revelation kismet, perhaps? Either way, I wanted to give this salon a go.

Let me just say a word about Dominican salons. Personally, I am a fan of them. In undergrad, a Dominican salon opened up close to campus (Elegante Salon in Norfolk, VA) and I was there at least once a month. However, the thing with these salons is that they use a lot of heat. A LOT OF HEAT! LOTS. MUCHO. Y'all get my drift. While I think they are excellent for getting a nice blow out style every once in awhile, I would not recommend for anyone to go their frequently in general but especially if you are transitioning or are natural. You risk potential heat damage and that is just not cute. As with everything, this is something to do in moderation. Oh and I don't recommend getting a relaxer from there either.

Now with that disclaimer out of the way.....let's get down to the nitty gritty!

Name: Dominican Salon (no, seriously. This is the name!)


279 West Valley Ave
Birmingham, AL 35209

* It's in the Summit Square shopping center. It's a little bit past the Wells Fargo and across from Herzing College *

Monday-Friday: 10am-7pm
Saturday: 8am-7pm
Sunday: Closed

My Experience:

I arrived at the salon about 30 minutes before it was scheduled to open. This wasn't a problem because I got to eat my yum-tastic Chick-fil-A breakfast in the meantime. At about 10 after 8, someone finally showed up to open the salon. Since there was a group of us already waiting, we figured out who showed up first (which was me) and signed our name in the book. Since I was first, I was immediately escorted to the shampoo bowl. The shampoo girl did a pretty good job at washing my hair, although she was a bit rough at times. Once the shampoo was rinsed out, she place conditioner in my hair and proceeded to comb (the fact she waited to comb my hair until it was loaded with condish scored major points with me!) my hair. Unfortunately, she was attempting to detangle my 15 weeks and some odd days post hair with a smaller tooth comb. I had to stop her and hand her my Jilbere. It made the process easier. By 8:30, I was under the hood with my DC. During this time, a number of ladies had been escorted to the shampoo bowl and were well on their way to sitting under the dryer. By 9am, the condish was rinsed out of my hair and I was waiting for the next step. So normally, following the rinse of the DC, roller setting is next. However, because these chicks deemed my hair to be natural, they did something different. First, the girl sectioned my hair off and detangled ( kinda roughly and with a small tooth comb). Then, she twisted each section ( kinda like a bantu knot but not quite knotted...that's the best way for me to describe it) and clipped them. I can see what it did in terms of providing tension for the new growth, I just thought it was an interesting way of doing things. For the ladies who had pin straight relaxed hair to begin with, they did a regular ol' roller set.

After I sat under the dryer for some minutes, the blowout process began. I have to say, the girl did an excellent job! She got my hair straight with that blow dryer AND she did not fry my scalp in the process! That was huge for me! I have been to Dominican salons where they put the heat of the blow dryer directly on your scalp. And it hurts. And I never went back. Anyway, she finished up by passing a flat iron through it and I loved the results. She mentioned that I needed to get my ends trimmed but I have it done there. I mean they can do work with some heat and all but I took my tail to SuperCuts to Danyelle (the only stylist I trust to put scissors to my hair...real talk.). After all of that, I wound up paying $50, which was kind of disturbing but understandable. Birmingham isn't like New York where there are Dominican salons on every corner so they aren't really required to charge a super low price. Also, I think I paid more because my hair is a) 'natural' (according to them) and b) long so that would make for an extra cost. All and all, I have to say I had a very pleasurable experience. I would definitely go back in the future.

Take a look at the results! It looks like I just got a relaxer don't it? :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bun Look Of The Week/Bun Idea # 2: Southern Tease Bun

Happy Tuesday lovelies!!

I am back with a post that I have been meaning to post all week! This week I am rocking the Southern Tease bun (I posted a link to the vid in my last post). I think it is a perfect bun to do if you don't want to always have to use hair ties for bunning or just to simply give your hair a break.

Typically, I prefer to do a Southern Tease bun on air dried hair. I just find that, for me, air drying my hair for this bun results in a fuller bun with more texture. However, this bun can be done on straight hair ( I just don't like doing it on straight hair b/c those buns wind up looking scraggly, sad and sorry. It's kinda discouraging and it makes you NOT want to bun....ever.). Anyway, here are a few shots of my Southern Tease bun:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Wash Day 3/25/12: I'm Almost 15 Weeks Post. Oh?

Another weekend, another wash day.......

So apparently, I'm just about 15 weeks post. It didn't hit me until I washed my hair last night and was greeted by a mini 'fro of new growth. Honestly, I really haven't been keeping track on how many weeks post I am. I've have really just let my hair do its own thing as of late. It's funny how as you progress through your journey, relaxing your hair doesn't become this all consuming "I have to do it" sort of thing. It is just easier to let your I suppose I need to get on that because I'm going to have to relax soon (like next month soon) if I don't want to have another episode like my last stretch.

Anyway, this weekend's wash day is pretty simple. I washed my hair with Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo and DCed overnight with ORS Replenishing. After I rinse the DC out, I will put some Qhemet Biologics AOHC on my hair ( I FINALLY got a full sized jar and my hair is pop locking with joy all over the place. I swear I love that stuff!) and air dry using the scarf method.

As I am doing a bun challenge, I will be rocking the Southern Tease bun since I want to give my hair a break from the hair ties and such.

What did you do to your hair this weekend?

Spring 2012 Bun Challenge: Bun Idea #1

Happy Sunday lovelies!!

I hope you have all had an amazing weekend!! Mine was pretty low key and laid back--really not much to talk about.

Now that the pleasantries are out of the way...

As you guys know, we are a few days into the spring bunning challenge!! I thought it would be a great idea to post ideas for different buns to try since a plain ol' librarian bun gets really boring really fast. Last week, a bun I wore that I absolutely loved was a braid wrapped chignon which you can see in this video.

Yeah I know it's a presented on a site for younger girls but it looks like a pretty grown hairstyle to me. Some key differences on how I styled my braid wrapped chignon is that I did absolutely no teasing. None. Zero. Zilch. Since I was doing this style on air dried hair, my was already pretty textured and voluminous. Instead, I made the 2 braids (that you can see in the video) and then gathered my hair into a ponytail. I secured the ponytail using a banana clip and simply pinned my hair under. I finished up by wrapping the braids around the bun and securing them. Personally, I think my way is easier and isn't as frustrating.

Anyway, I hope this is a style you lovelies would want to try during the course of this challenge (thanks to all who are a part of this challenge, by the way!). If you haven't joined the bun challenge, it's not too late! ;)

Monday, March 19, 2012

First Impressions: Curls Passion Fruit Curl Control Paste

After spending a lazy Sunday just hanging out on the hair boards, I came across this product....then immediately ran out to obtain it. Let me tell you guys, I have no idea where this product has been all my hair life but I love it. LOVE IT!! I finally can make my buns sleek with this stuff and my edges are tamed and so not frizzy!! This is by far the best edge control product that I have used--hands down.

Price: $8.99 (for 4 fl oz at Sally's Beauty Supply)

Ingredients: Water, Ceteareth-25, PEG-7, Glyceryl Coconate, Glycerin, Isostearyl Isostearate, PEG-40, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Shea Butter, Mango Seed Butter, Jojoba Oil, Vitamin E Oil, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Passion Fruit Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hydrolyzed Maize Starch, Panthenol,Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance

Their Claims: "Smooth out and slick down unruly edges, tame frizzy, out of control curls, and add amazing sheen all in one step! Formulated with pure goodness, pure Passion Fruit Oil, Shea Butter, and Mango Seed Butter, Passion Fruit Curl Control Paste is the go to product for curlies demanding perfectly coiffed curls.

Oh.Em. Gee. That's all I can say about this product. I expected it to deliver based on the reviews and deliver it did! When you open the jar, the product looks the a light brown gel. Really, it reminded me of ORS Edge Control except that it is not clear and not as waxy. In terms of scent, it smells fruity...which isn't a surprise based on the ingredients. I honestly love the scent but it may be too much for those who a sensitive to scents.

I used this product following a wash/DC session on damp hair that was brushed into a high bun. I placed the product on my edges and smoothed my edges down with a toothbrush. I then put on scarf on to further beat my edges into submission. Not only wear my edges smoothed down, but there was no waxy/filmy residue (like you see with ORS Edge Control)! I also had no reversion on my edges! None!!

Compared to ORS Edge Control, I say that this product wins hands down. With the Edge Control, you have a few hrs (or less) before your hair reverts. It's also pretty waxy so you always have to be cognizant of how much you are using....which can be a pain (dealing with gunky, weighed down hair is no fun). I also think that this product is a good alternative to using gel. No matter what gel you use, you always run the risk of your hair becoming crunchy if you use too much. You also have to spend time working with the gel (e.g.--making sure your edges are thoroughly moisturized before you even think of putting gel on top to sleek those edges out....and even that can be hit or miss). Aside from all that, however, Curls Passion Fruit Curl Control Paste is a great alternative for those who simply do not want to use gel.. at all (yes these people exist lol).

All in all, I think this a great product to have in your arsenal. It definitely does what it says it will do and you will not be disappointed!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Spring 2012 Bun Challenge!!!!

Happy Sunday lovelies!!

I told you guys that I would be back to post the deets for a bun challenge for Spring 2012!! With the mercury rising, I think now is the time to find the styles that not only keep you cool but keep you looking stylish!! In my opinion, buns are the perfect style for these warmer months. They don't take long to do and they instantly make you look chic! The only drawback with buns is that it is very easy to fall into the 'I look like a librarian" mode of things and it takes a little more effort to give some oomph to you bun.

Well that's what this challenge is for!! For me (and you guys too!) to share the unique bun styles you wear during the course of the spring!!

The challenge will run from March 20, 2012 to June 19, 2012 and here are the rules:

1) Because I know you guys aren't hardcore protective stylers like me, you must wear a bun at least 3 times a week

2) Feel free to share your bun style with me and the rest of the readers at The Awkward Stage (if you want to be featured in a blog post email me ( a pic of your style and what you did).

3) Comment below if you want to join!

Also, there may be a prize (a jar of Qhemet Biologics AOH, perhaps?) involved for the 2 most consistent bunners......but you ain't here that from me.

Sign up ladies so we can begin this bun challenge together!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Where To Start In Your Healthy Hair Care Journey

A question I always get (online and in real life) is: "I want healthy hair but where do I start?" While the answer may seem like common sense to most of us now, I'm sure we all remember a time where our hair looked like death warmed over but we weren't entirely sure what to do about it. It's frustrating!! One reason for me starting this blog was to show the world at large that having healthy hair isn't some unattainable thing and that is isn't just for people w/ 'good hair.' It is something that anyone can do provided that they take the steps to take care of their hair.

While I am no expert, the things I am about to list have been nothing but beneficial for my hair. I have grown my hair to longest it has ever been in my 26 years on this planet by doing those simple things. You may find you have to tweak it to work for your hair but the concept is still the same. Starting your healthy hair journey doesn't require that you be the in hairstyling (shoot, I'm still trying to get that right). It does require that you are ready to try something other than what you have been doing and doing what is best for your hair.

1) Stop relaxing frequently!

This is probably the easiest fix. I have found that, in general, people look as relaxers as though they are some styling cream that makes hair more manageable. They aren't considering that fact that relaxers are essentially breaking your hair down, making it weaker, and drying it out (and let's not forget that they are caustic!!). There is so much more to a relaxer than manageability and I think a lot of people don't know that. Given the nature of relaxers, one would think that you don't want that on your hair every 4 or 5 weeks. The longer you are able to go without putting a relaxer in your hair, the better. However, this does take some adjusting and creativity if you are used to relaxing all the time.

1a) Assess if your relaxer works for you. No lye may be the worst choice ever for your hair. Lye may be the pits for you. This is something you must figure out!! For my hair, no lye was the debil!! My hair was dry, brittle, and lifeless when I used no lye relaxers. I made the switch to lye and never looked back. Your case may be the opposite. It really helps to assess what the relaxer is doing for your hair.

2) Limit your heat usage!!

Heat usage and relaxing is a double whammy for your hair. Relaxers break down and dry out your hair. Heat breaks down and dries out your hair. The two combined results in a broke down dried out mess. Especially if you use heat every day. At the highest setting. Ask me how I know. When I first started my journey, I scaled back my heat usage to every wash/DC day (Side note: when my hair was short, my wash days were more frequent to counteract the heat I was using). Now, I'll use heat once, maybe twice a month. It doesn't even phase me to do that. The trick to limiting the amount of heat you are using is to separate yourself from the idea that your hair has to be straight all the time. It doesn't. When you find styles that work with your new growth (or hide it), going heat free becomes second nature. Either way, removing heat little by little will be beneficial for your hair.

3) Wash and DC your hair with quality* products

You would be surprised (or maybe not so surprised) to find that outside of hair boards and this blog, folks don't wash their hair frequently. There are people out there who wash their hair only once a month. Some folks duck and dodge water because they want their style to keep. Personally, I feel that this does no favors for your hair! Your hair needs moisture in the form of water...and that is something that is easy to provide. On the other hand, you may have people who do wash their hair often but they are using craptacular products (sulfate ridden shampoos that their hair hates, DCs chock full of mineral oil....that their hair hates. Yall get the idea) so they aren't seeing any benefit for their hair. In this case, quality and quantity are so important. Yes, it is important to get a good wash and DC in but it is also important to do so with the products that work for your hair. If you're a newbie, finding the right products can be a daunting task (and it turns you into a product junkie). However, doing a search of hair blogs, hair boards, etc. can help you narrow down the field a bit.

That's really it. Those are the 3 things I would tell anyone who is new to their hair journey. I try not to overwhelm with product listings and really just suggest 3 things that should be done to see a relatively quick turnaround in the state of their hair.

What would you tell a HHJ newbie?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spring Fever (An Update)

Happy Thursday lovelies!!

I know what you guys are thinking: it has been a minute since I've been on here. And you're right it has been. Things have been so crazy for me lately. See first I had went to Mardi Gras, then I got sick, and I got myself a puppy (yes all in that order). Consequently, my hair has taken a backseat

However, that doesn't mean I've forgotten about my hair completely. I'm just keeping it super simple nowadays. I've slowly been weaning myself off wigs. I mean I wear them occasionally but I'm no longer going months and months and months wearing a wig. I've have been alternating styles and if you follow me on Twitter (@sweettesttaboo85) you have seen a few of those styles. The shift to wearing my own hair could not have come at a better time. I think it is safe to say that here in B'ham, spring has sprung. Unfortunately, spring here is 80 degree weather so any hair style I do has to not only look good but keep me cool (in every sense of the word). Ultimately, I want to spend this spring in a bun hairstyle of some sort, then jazz it up for summer by adding a braid, accessories, etc. I think that would make a good challenge. What do yall think?

I'm also gonna up my co-washing game. I've been a gym rat since January and I'm still going strong. Now that the weather has warmed up, I feel like I can co-wash nightly and not worry about my wet hair making me sick.....and it will tie in nicely to this bun challenge I'm about to do. I'm also trying new conditioners to co-wash with. Although I love HE Hello Hydration, I want to try something different. So far I have tried a Renpure conditioner that is supposed to be organic but I'm feeling pretty 'eh' about. I'm definitely gonna have to do a review on that.

Anyway, that's just a quick update on what's going on with me. I will be starting a bun challenge soon so be on the lookout for that! :)