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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bun Look of the Week/Bun Idea #8: Top Knot Bun

Happy Hump Day lovelies!

I'm back with the bun I'm rocking for this week! I'm kinda in a lazy mood with my hair and my bun reflects that. The bun I'm wearing is a top knot bun. A top knot bun is a type of high bun and it's different from the ballerina bun I wore a few weeks back in that the bun isn't a perfect, circular bun-so to speak. Instead, the 'bun' literally looks like a knot on the top of your head.

The top knot bun is my go to bun (I've mentioned this bun before AGES ago on my blog! I clearly still love it!). It takes maybe 2 minutes to do and all you need is a hair tie and a few bobby pins ( or a single spin pin). It keeps your hair of your neck, it's super easy, and makes you looked pulled together in a matter of minutes! I freaking : heart : that bun.

This bun can be done on air dried, blow dried, or even damp hair. You simply gather your hair into a high ponytail, form your hair into a 'knot', and secure with bobby pins. Boom. Done. You can make it an extreme top knot by making your ponytail super high and your knot super tight. However, I prefer a looser knot and I prefer for my ponytail not to be directly on top of my head. A tight knot just looks weird to me. Lawd, I'm rambling. Anyway, I think it is a great style for ladies who are SL and beyond.

Check it out:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday Chat: Are Stylists Necessary for a Successful Hair Journey?

Happy Sunday lovelies!

I’ve decided to add a new feature to The Awkward Stage. I have random thoughts about hair that I never really post on here. That’s about to change. Starting today (and every Sunday until I run out of things to talk about lol), I will post a topic for discussion, my thoughts about it, and then open the floor up for you to share your opinions. Ok?

Molto bene.

Something that I have noticed, from folks who are transitioning to those who are relaxed is that some people feel that their success in handling their hair can be best met by stylist. These people are depending on stylists for not only hair styles but product recommendations and the like. There is a part of me that wants to say that this isn’t the way to go. Don’t get me wrong. Some people out there have excellent stylists who use healthy hair practices and all that jazz. The vast majority, however, do not. For that reason, I find it problematic to put your hair journey in the hands of someone else.

I have 2 reasons for that:
1). Stylists are taught how to style. Most stylists can get your hair into a fierce ‘do. But then what? How do you take care of your hair after that? What products are good for your hair? How many stylists have relaxed your hair into oblivion ( I speak from experience on this one. Once upon a time, I was told to relax my hair every 4 weeks b/c of the ‘grade’ of hair I have :serious side eye: ) ? I know most of yall have had an experience where your hair came out looking so good but you have no idea what products they used because the stylist put them in a nondescript bottle. Others may tell you that in order to keep your hair looking good, you need to come to them every 2 weeks. Whatever they may tell you, it doesn’t help you and it makes you dependent on them. Which brings me to my next point……

2) It fosters dependency. As someone who has moved all of her life, I know what it’s like to have a stylist, move, and then feel lost because you have no idea what to do with your hair. You don’t know how to style it and you feel a hot mess until you find a stylist that meets your expectations. It’s rough, I know. However, ever since I have been on this hair journey, I feel confident in my own ability to take care of my hair. I know what products work for it, I know how to style it for any occasion (whether or not I feel like it is another story entirely lol), I can relax it, etc. Anything I need to do to my hair, I can do and I take great pride in that. I just think that every woman should have some base idea as to what to do with their hair. That’s my personal opinion though.

What do you think about using stylists on your healthy hair journey? Are they necessary?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bun Look of the Week/ Bun Idea #7: Double Twist Bun

Happy Friday lovelies!!!

TGIF!!! I hope all of you are having an excellent Friday. It has been a long week and it is time to cut loose! Wooooo! : celebratory wops:

Anyway, I just wanted to stop by with the bun look I have been rocking this week. I was partly inspired by Whitley Gilbert's hair in 'A Different World' (don't judge me. I've been watching it every day this week. See the vid clip here) and my mom. My mom was in the military so she was protective styling before I even knew to call it that. The style that I'm wearing is something that she would wear quite a bit.

The double twist bun is a super easy and super summery bun to wear. It doesn't require you to flat twist your hair or anything like that. You just...twist it. Not the most descriptive term I know but that's what it is! Basically, you part your hair (straight down the middle, slanted...whatever) so that you have 2 sections of hair. You then take a hair tie and tie up one of the sections so that it's out of the way. Next, you twist the hair that is left out. When you're done twisting, you put that hair up into a bun (secure it with bobby pins). Once that's done, you then twist the other side of the hair. When you're done twisting, you wrap the hair around the existing bun, secure with bobby pins, and boom! You're done! Now if that sounds a little too complicated, there is an excellent tutorial on the CuteGirlsHairstyles page on Youtube. You can see the vid here

I think this would be a great hairstyle for those who are SL and beyond. I also prefer to do this style on wet hair. I just think it looks more put together that way. However, it can most certainly be done on dry hair as well.

Check it out!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Huetiful Steamer Review, pt 2: My Products, My Regimen

Happy Thursday lovelies! After the general review of the steamer, I wanted to see how the steamer performed with the regimen that I use for my hair. I’m going to give this review to you 3 ways. I will try the steamer using: 1) conditioner alone, 2) conditioner+ add in (e.g.-honey), and 3) conditioner+EVOO. I also use different DCs and steamed for 20-30 minutes. I hope that by doing the review in this manner, I can give you guys a complete idea as to how this steamer performs. Then you can make your decision based on that. Ok?
Cool….let’s get to it!

Let’s start with Huetiful’s claims:
-Hydrates hair 5x more effectively than conditioners alone
-Helps reduce breakage and split ends caused by dry hair
-Reduces risk of dandruff by improving scalp health
-Improves relaxed, transitioning, and natural hair health

Here’s what I found:
Conditioner+ Honey add-in
Although I was 17 weeks post relaxer (I really need to stop being lazy and relax my hair!), my wash day was a typical wash day. I washed my hair using Elasta QP Crème Conditioning Shampoo and followed up using the ORS Hair Repair Nourishing Conditioner (mixed with a tablespoon of honey). I covered my hair up with a plastic cap and sat under the steamer for about 30 minutes (which is about half the time I usually spend DCing under a heat cap).
As I stated before, I really cool feature of the steamer is that it automatically shuts off once the water level gets too low. At one point, I had to stop and refill the water tank b/c my genius self turned the steamer on (way) before I was ready to sit under it. About 15minutes into the steam, I had to go and refill the tank. That really was due to my error and not necessarily a mechanical error.
The first noticeable difference I noticed in my hair once the steaming session was over was that my hair seemed to be holding on to more moisture than I’m used to. Usually, when I use a heat cap my hair is moisturized but it doesn’t feel like it is full with moisture. In fact, when a heat cap is used, some parts of my hair feel dry and crunchy. However, using the Huetiful Steamer, I didn’t experience that at all. When I rinsed my DC out, my hair felt really soft and infused with moisture. My hair was also easier to detangle (at this point I hadn’t put any additional product into my hair). Using a heat cap, I typically have to load my hair with a leave in prior to detangling (otherwise it will be a struggle to detangle). The fact that I didn’t have to do this was a welcome change. Since I am air drying my hair for the most part, I found that my hair retained a lot more moisture. My ponytail didn’t dry hard and my hair took a lot easier to the scarf method (my hair usually does take to the scarf method but I have to work with it….I didn’t have to really do all of that this time). I also found that it left my new growth feeling incredibly moisturized (Quick way I can tell: my new growth coil into its curl pattern instead of poofing)!! Being that I was 17 weeks into a relaxer stretch, this was a huge plus for me! I was able to detangle with ease (no repeats of that detangling session I had during my last stretch!) Furthermore, I found 5 days after the steaming session, my hair still felt moisturized! Typically, I have to go through a moisturizing session about 3 days after my wash day because my hair feels so dry. From Saturday to Thursday, I did not have to do a repeat moisturizing session!

Conditioner+ 2 tablespoons EVOO
I did my normal wash routine (wash with the Elasta QP Crème Conditioner, etc.) and put ORS Replenishing Conditioner mixed with 2 tablespoons of EVOO throughout my hair. I then placed a plastic cap on top of my hair and got to steaming for 20 minutes.
Again, my hair has been able to hold onto moisture so much better using the steamer. My detangling session (now at 18 weeks post) was a complete breeze. I did not feel the need to immediately load my hair with leave in so that I could detangle. I also noted that it took longer for my hair to air dry fully as I still had damp patches in my hair 2-3 days later.

The Huetiful Company claims that use of the steamer can eliminate breakage. In my experience, I really don’t see a difference in what breakage I do have. I went to comb my hair on 3 days after using the steamer (to remove some shed hair) and I still had a little breakage here and there. However, I think that because I keep my hair in good condition (for the most part) I wouldn’t see much of a difference in breakage. If I had used this at the beginning of my HHJ, I think I would have seen a bigger difference (back then, my hair would break off if you looked at it). Also, I did not see a difference in dandruff because I do not have it. My hair and scalp started off in good condition so I cannot comment on how well the steamer works for that.

Conditioner alone
At 1 week post relaxer, I followed my normal post relaxer routine (1st Lather with neutralizing shampoo and 2nd lather with Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo) but I DCed with ORS Replenishing Conditioner alone. I covered my hair with a plastic cap and sat under the steamer for 20 minutes.
Like before, my hair was easier to detangle (which I LOVED!) but it didn’t seem to hold onto moisture as long as it did for the first 2 tries. I washed my hair on Sunday and by Wednesday, my hair needed to go hug a jar of moisturizer. This is the same result that I get with DCing under a heat cap for an hour. Also, my hair didn’t seem to take that long to air dry (it was dry within a day or so or washing). I was really disappointed that conditioner alone couldn’t yield the same results that I had gotten previously.

Bottom Line: Using my products and my regimen, I obtained excellent results for my 17-18 weeks post relaxed hair. I was able to detangle with ease and my hair held on to the moisture I did give it. I was pleasantly surprised. These results were seen with the conditioner+honey add in as well as the conditioner and EVOO add in. Unfortunately, these results were not seen in my conditioner alone wash. Therefore, in order to get optimal results using this steamer, you have to use a humectant (such as honey) or oil (so you can seal in all that extra moisture you’re getting). Otherwise, the steamer will seem kinda…meh. I think this product is something that is nice to have in your arsenal if you can swing it. It something that gives your hair an extra push in terms of moisture but not something that is absolutely necessary.

In part 3 of this review, I will be testing the steamer using Huetiful products (yes, they have a shampoo and DC lol). Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Bun Look of the Week/Bun Idea #6: Boho Bun

Happy Sunday lovelies and Happy Mother's Day to all the mommies that just so happen to read this blog!

I know I have been slacking with updating the bun looks of the week. I know. What had happened was that during the 1st week of May, I was wearing my "I gotta relax soon!" bun....and that isn't postworthy. At all. Last week I wore an equally not postworthy top knot bun. So.....yeah. LOL.

This week, I will be wearing a 'boho' bun. As much as I love high buns, I do realize they can be too much stress for your hair. So, it's important to incorporate some looser buns into the mix.

For this look, you will loosely 'dutch braid' (SN: Dutch braids ain't nothing but cornrows. You don't know how let down I was by that.) 1 or 2 sections in the front of your hair ( I did 2 but if 1 is all you have in you, that's fine lol). Once you're finished braiding, you will gather all of your hair into a loose low bun and secure it with a single spin pin. That's it! Very easy bun to do!. I think this style is perfect for ladies who are SL and beyond!

Check it out!

Huetiful Steamer Review, Pt 1: What’s Under the Hood?

Hi lovelies! I am here with my first sponsored review! : throws confetti while hitting a celebratory dougie:

Before we get started, let me just go ahead and throw this disclaimer out there:
The reviews found on this blog are truthful and honest opinions, not advertisements. The reviewer is not obligated and encouraged in any way to provide only positive reviews. Opinions found on this blog are those of the author of this blog and not those of any sponsors.

*This review is sponsored by Huetiful*

Cool… So I’m about to give you guys what is undoubtedly the longest review I have ever given in the history of The Awkward Stage. As someone who frequents hair boards, I know that steaming your hair and steamers is something of a holy grail. I have seen tons of rave reviews about the benefits of the steamer and I’m sure that some of you guys have too. Given that information, you can best believe that steamers are not cheap and like most hair tools, you want to get a full idea on its performance before you drop $100+ on something. Trust me, I totally get that. That’s why this review is as long as it is. It is a 3 part review that will cover the mechanics of the Huetiful Steamer (what do you see when you take it out of the box, comfort, etc.), how it performs with the Huetiful products, and how it performs with your own products. The aim here is to make the review as complete and as unbiased as possible.

So let’s start with what’s under the hood:
Pulling the steamer straight out of the box, there are 3 main components to the steamer:

-The main unit: which contains the water container, the plug, buttons, and all that jazz.

-The Bracket: which connects the main unit to the hood. It's inserted right into the main unit.

-The hood: This is pretty self explanatory right?

Once assembled, using the unit is pretty much idiot proof. You put your water in ( the holder holds about 1 cup (8 oz) of water), flip the steam and Ozone switches and let the steamer work its magic. What I love about the steamer is that it heats up pretty quickly. There isn’t any sitting around forever waiting for the steamer to heat up. I also love how there is a built in timer of sorts in the unit. The unit shuts off automatically once the water level gets too low, which typically takes 20 minutes. If you typically like longer DC sessions, you may find this feature to be annoying since you will have to get up, refill the steamer with water, and get back under the hood. Either way, I find that 20 minutes with this steamer is all you really need.

Here, however, is where my issues with the design of the unit begin.
A key feature of this steamer is its ‘toteability’ (yes, I made that word up lol). The idea being that you can assemble the steamer, set it on your tabletop, let it do its thing, and be done with it. At the end of it all, you can get a quality hair steaming using a tabletop unit. However, I found a few things that interfere with its ease of use (for me):

1) The plug is way too short. This is really a little thing but a big thing for me and it’s exactly what it sounds like. I have few ‘live’ electrical outlets in my apartment so when I use this steamer I have use it in my dining room where I have a live outlet right next to the table. The plug just barely got plugged in from the table. I feel like I shouldn’t have to dig around for an extension cord just to plug in the steamer. That interferes with ease of use…especially since I can plug up a heat cap wherever I choose to be and that’ll be the end of it. I think a longer cord would be a nice add-on to the unit.

2) The unit is not adjustable. Anytime I have to set 2 (thick) books under a unit so that it will adjust to my height, we have a problem. Even then, I still could not sit comfortably under the daggone thing. It was the most awkward 20minuntes of my life. I even started to get a crook in my neck. The point is, all people aren’t the same height. It would be nice if there was something on the unit itself that could adjust to different heights. A good comparison would be a tabletop hooded dryer. With a table top dryer (well, at least for the one I own) you can adjust the height so that you can comfortably sit under it. The Huetiful steamer would really be nice if it had the added feature.

3) The hood itself is small. Being that this steamer is marketed towards women of color, you would think the hood would be accommodating of that. Even though I am relaxed, I have A LOT of hair. And I’m just finished a 20 week stretch. So, yeah I have a lot of hair. With this steamer, it felt like the bulk of my hair sitting on the very top of my hair got the benefits of the steam action while parts of it were left out in the cold. I had to sit strategically (and essentially pile all my hair on the top of my head) so that all my hair could benefit from the steam. It just seemed like a lot to do and it is a problem that could be a eliminated if there were a bigger hood.

Other than those 3 main points, I really don’t have any major issues with the Huetiful steamer. At the end of it all, my hair came out really moisturized. Overall, I felt like my hair held onto moisture better than usual. To get an in depth look at what products I used for the steam and how my hair performed, stay tuned for part 2 of this review!