‘Froing To Extreme Lengths: 4 Crazy Things You Could Do To Grow Longer Hair In 2016

'froing to the extreme: hair growth methods for natural afro hair

For some women their hair is too short.

For others it’s too thin.

And for others it’s too thick.

Truth be told that most women (especially women of colour) have a desire to grow longer hair in some shape or form.

The difference however is that most women aren’t willing to go to extreme lengths to grow their hair and would instead prefer a magic pill or potion that could do it for them.

You see, growing longer hair is a bit like being on a diet. You could take diet pills in the hope that they’d magically burn fat 24/7 or you could work out and eat more mindfully.

The second option just sounds like way too much work for most people but at the back of their minds they know that it really is the best way to get lean.

It’s the same thing with hair care. Magic pills sound great but they aren’t the safest or most reliable way of growing longer hair.

So what can you do instead?

And what can you do if you want to grow your hair ridiculously long in under 12 months?

Here are a few extreme hair growth strategies that have worked for some women.

Please note that we are not recommending that you do them and we certainly recommend that you do thorough research before opting for any of these hair growth methods.

Crazy Thing 1. Extreme Bunning.

Bunning simply refers to the process of wearing your hair in a bun for days, weeks or even months on end. Most extreme bunners have a method that works well for them and it consists of something along the lines of comb/brush hair, moisturise heavily, add oils and then place hair in a bun for 3-7 days.

Pros? It works really well for some people. I’ve tried it at various points and it certainly helped with reducing excess breakage and retaining length.

Cons? Wearing your hair in a bun can cause your edges to be pulled tightly which can lead to breakage around the hair line.

It can also be very boring to wear your hair in pretty much the same style every day just for the purpose of growing it to extreme lengths.

Crazy Thing 2: Baggying.

What?

Yeah, I said the same thing when I first came across this method several years ago.

The simplified explanation of baggying is that it involves covering your hair in a plastic wrapping over night. The heat and steam from the bag helps to lock in moisture.

Pros? It can help to keep your hair very soft and moisturised which in turn can lead to hair growth.

Cons? It’s potentially dangerous especially if used improperly. This is something to be very cautious about doing.

Crazy Thing 3: Wigs.

Wigs can be incredible. They allow you to switch up your hairstyle quickly and easily without causing damage to your real hair.

In many ways they are a potential godsend.

They can help with hair growth because they allow you to cornrow your hair and leave it alone for weeks or even months on end which in turn reduces breakage.

Pros? They’re a great option for women who want to protect their hair whilst rocking fun hairstyles.

Cons? Some women develop the habit of becoming so obsessed with making their wigs look great that they forget to care for their real hair (which should always be the focus).

Crazy Thing 4: Pills.

There are hundreds of companies who claim that their pill will stimulate hair follicles, promote growth and increase your hair’s shine. Whilst some of these products might genuinely work, it can be difficult to gage how effective they are.

Pros? It’s an easy method to stick to- take a pill and wait for growth.

Cons? Your hairs rate of growth depends on a variety of factors including genetics, your diet, hair regimen and much more. It’s therefore unwise to solely rely on pills for fast hair growth.

All of the above methods have their advantages and disadvantages and what works for one person might not work for another so it’s important to iterate a little and figure out which method or product works best for you.

I hope you enjoyed this article and as always, leave a comment below sharing which hair growth strategy is your fave.

Victoria xo

Jourdan Dunn Slays The Cover of Vogue Brasil

A few years ago it was a rarity to see women of colour gracing the covers of international fashion magazines and when they did, they sported straight hair that ran down their backs.

It’s great to see that things have changed so much and it’s now becoming increasingly common for black actresses, supermodels and musicians to rock their natural kinks, coils and curls on the front pages of acclaimed publications.

Recently, the beautiful Jourdan Dunn graced the February 2016 cover of Vogue Brasil and looked stunning with her short TWA (teeny weeny afro).

jourdan dunn afro vogue february 2016

Although I love a big ‘fro just as much as the next girl, it’s refreshing to see Jourdan wear a short, soft afro. It suits her well and just goes to show that natural hair is as classy and beautiful as you make it.

I also love the fact that her afro is perfectly shaped which gives her a halo-like appearance.

What do you think of Jourdan’s look? Do you think it’s a good thing that more celebrities are going natural? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Victoria xo

 

The Final Word On Leave-In Conditioner

If you’ve been reading about maintaining your natural hair for any length of time, you will have surely come across the innumerable articles and mentions devoted to a simple, yet unavoidable, accessory – leave-in conditioner.

natural hair

To the uninitiated, the dizzying array of jargon and marketing lingo can be at best baffling and at worst wholly off-putting.

Read on below as we attempt to separate the kinks from the kooks and decode the mystery of leave-in conditioner once and for all.

1. What good is it, anyway?
Leave-in conditioner was created in order to reinforce the hair’s natural oils with strength and / or moisture – providing increased ease of styling and assisting in detangling along the way without the usual downsides of weighing down the hair and creating a visibly unappealing buildup on the scalp.

Of course, these aren’t goals singular to the leave-in brand of conditioner: nearly every other natural hair product you’ll see on the shelves of your local Boots will promise the same, often in as many words.

The difference with leave-in conditioner is that the concoctions are manufactured to be lighter as well as conducive to frequent, daily usage – without the unwanted side effects so irrevocably linked with daily hair care.

It’s best used as a third step in your routine, as a means of rinsing out the deeper and more chemical-heavy conditioners that can only be applied during the washing process itself.
What’s in it?
There are five main ingredients in any leave-in conditioner worth its salt.
1. First and foremost on the list is water – as the most efficient hydration agent found in nature, it should come as no surprise that aqua tops the list. Water typically makes up in excess of 60% of the final formula of the conditioner, and for good reason: your hair simply can’t get enough of it!
2. Jojoba oil is about as pure as a natural oil can get; a quality made clear by your hair’s ready acceptance of it upon application. As well as being hassle-free, this nutrient-rich wonder ingredient has been reported to solve a whole host of problems – dandruff, dry scalp problems, thinning hair and hygral fatigue chief among them.
3. Olive oil may seem like a counter-intuitive choice, as its history of use in the preparation of food leads us to imagine our hair becoming greasier than the Italian takeaway down the road.

Fear not, however: by penetrating the hair shaft and retaining moisture, olive oil adds softness and strengthens the hair follicles themselves. We recommend starting out with a tablespoon or two until your hair grows used to this interesting addition to your haircare toolkit.
4. Castor oil is the be-all and end-all when it comes to maximizing your natural hair’s volume. Owing to its high levels of Omega 6 and 9 fatty acids (the beneficial kind!) as well as an exceptionally healthy ricinoleic acid ratio, castor oil is a must-have for anyone who wants to take their natural ‘do to the next level.
Whew! Pretty tiring, right? All those chemicals can get to a gal – and that’s before we’ve even put anything into our hair! While it’s important to understand what it is that makes up the product you’re massaging into your scalp every day, it’s as crucial to try not to be put off by all the scientific jargon.

We encourage your own research into the brand of your choice, as well as consultation with your physician if any extraneous problems rear their ugly head. If you begin to feel daunted, however, do your best to remember leave-in conditioner cannot be that chemically heavy, purely by virtue of its needing to be light and airy in order to effectively cleanse your scalp of the chemicals you just washed it with.
Leave-in conditioner can be a powerful weapon in your haircare arsenal – don’t let the “wall of noise” phenomenon that can arise from too much information put you off and make you miss out on something that could be a potential game-changer for you and your hair.
Do you have any experiences with leave-in conditioner you’d like to share?

Let us know in the comments below!

3 Stunning Natural Beauty Queens Who Are Rocking The Professional World

Here at mycurls.co.uk, we pride ourselves on being open-minded and tolerant. We like to look at arguments from both sides of the fence; we think compassion is an all-too-rarefied commodity in today’s cut-throat environment.

There are limits, however – and nothing gets our goat quite like that being told that our natural hair is “unprofessional” or “unsuitable for the workplace”.

Excuse me, what?

It’s true: it happens, it’s damaging (and plays no small part in the growing number of women with natural hair who suffer from self-esteem issues), and it needs to stop.

What better way to end this onslaught of bigotry than by starting a conversation about the wildly successful women who refuse to abandon their curls for the sake of “professionalism”? Read on to discover the three queens we’ve chosen to profile for this piece.

1.
Julee Wilson‘s first steps in the professional world were as humble as they could be. After being told numerous times that her preference for wearing her Afro hair naturally was “unprofessional”, she finally landed a position an assistant to the Editor-In-Chief of Real Simple Magazine.

julee wilson

Needless to say, her natural hair didn’t hinder her journalistic talent to any degree – a fact made evident by her meteoric rise to the Staff Fashion Editor in two years, becoming the first African-American woman to do so.

Where is she now?

Queen Wilson now plies her trade as the Style & Beauty Editor for the Huffington Post’s Black Voices project, making frequent reference to her roots (pun intended!) through articles and series such as Curly Hair Chronicles, in which she discusses the very problem she had to overcome to get to where she is today.

 


2.
Denise Young Smith: a name you should get used to because you’re going to be hearing it a lot over the next few years. After earning her bachelor’s degree in Communications and a master’s degree in Organisational Management from Grambling State University, she made her first corporate inroads when contributed HR and management consulting to companies such as Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers portfolio companies.

Denise Young Smith

It wasn’t until 1997, when she joined Apple (then still a fledgling, albeit rapidly-expanding, company) that she really started making waves, though. She has since served the company in several key HR roles, not least among them sitting on the team that crafted Apple’s retail organisation – which today welcomes more than one million people every day, and has re-defined what the word retail means to the corporate world.


Where is she now?
Ms. Smith was recently chosen as Apple’s Vice President of Worldwide Human Resources – a position whose responsibilities include attracting and retaining talent at Apple, and reports to none other than Tim Cook, the CEO, himself.

3.
Kay Wilson Stallings earned her master’s degree at the University of Illinois, and ever since has been charting an astonishing rise through the ranks of corporate television.

Starting out as a manager at Nickelodeon, within ten years she’d become the Vice President of Production and Development – the first African-American woman to hold the title. She was primarily responsible for the development of such adored television programs as “Yo Gabba Gabba!”, “Lazytown” and “Wonder Pets”, and shows no sign of slowing either her creative juices or her impressive ambition.

Kay Wilson Stallings
Where is she now?
Ms. Stallings currently works her naturally-curled head off as Senior Vice President for Sesame Street, where she has an enormous amount of influence over what our children are exposed to on television’s most-loved children’s program.

There they are: three gloriously natural women sticking it to the Man one curl at a time.

Do YOU have any similar success stories you’d like to share?

Let us know in the comments below!

How Can I Find Out The Texture Of My Hair?

How do I figure out my hair type?

I have no clue what my hair type or texture is, help!

Is my hair 4b, 4c or 4a? I have no idea!

These are just a few questions that many naturalistas ask when it comes to the whole hair type debacle.

We recently came across a brilliant chart by the folks at BuzzFeed that makes finding out your hair type super quick and easy!

Take a look at it below and in the comments tell us what your hair type is based on the chart!

 

hair type chart by buzzfeed

Hair Type Chart by @BuzzFeed

PS. It’s perfectly normal to have several hair types! Mine varies from 3b to 4b which means I have a lot of textures to deal with, understand and manage. It’s not always easy dealing with multiple hair textures but it is a lot of fun 🙂

Here’s to knowing more about your hair and loving every inch of it!

As always, if you have a burning hair care question tweet it to us @mycurlsuk and we’ll answer it in an upcoming blog post.

Victoria xo

24 Hour Flash Sale With Free Shampoo!

free shampoo sale

Just a quick note to let you know that it’s SALE time! Buy a Curl Smoothie and get a free Cleansing Cream shampoo!

No code needed. Simply go to MyCurls.co.uk, order a Curl Smoothie and your Cleansing Cream will be posted to you.

Order 2 Curl Smoothie’s and get 2 Cleansing Cream shampoos.

Offer ends tomorrow at 9pm BST. Grab it before it’s gone!

http://www.mycurls.co.uk

Hair Overwhelm: Has The Natural Hair Movement Has Caused More Harm Than Good?

natural hair overwhelm

As much as I love being a naturalista and I’m incredibly proud of how far the natural hair scene has progressed over the past decade or so, I can’t help but sometimes feel very overwhelmed by the amount of information, advice and trends that constantly crop up. The hardest thing is the fact that much of the advice is contradictory.

Some naturals claim that it’s great to detangle with a wide-toothed comb whilst others say that we should abandon combs all together!

Some say that brushes are best whilst others say that our fingers are the only combs we need. Which is it? What do you do?

To comb or not to comb? That is the question!

Then there are the claims about naturals who’ve achieved rapid hair growth through regimens like the LOC and inversion methods.

If you’ve tried either, you might have found a hair growth panacea that works for you or you might have discovered that too much of any regime simply drives you and your hair nuts!

I’ve been natural for several years now and I’ve been following the natural hair movement for probably around 8 years (yes, it’s been that long). Back in the day there were simply a few forums that catered to women who wanted healthier, longer hair but nowadays, there are thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of blogs, websites, forums, Instagram accounts and Facebook pages that share a plethora of advice on natural hair care.

Whilst it’s great that we have so much more information available, it also has a downside.

Namely, the fact that when there’s too much information, you don’t know where to look or where to start.

It can be difficult.

So this begs the question, how do naturalistas find both balance and clarity in a wold that’s filled with contradictory advice and too many options?

How do we avoid becoming the victims of a choice paradox?

How do we find our own unique path to healthier hair? 

What’s the solution?

Now, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the overload in hair care information?

How do you deal with it?

Leave a comment below sharing how you feel.

PS. This might have been my most honest and open blog post yet but I’ve come to realise that honesty and vulnerability are catalysts for personal growth. I hope that in sharing how I feel, I’ll open up discourse for other women who might be feeling the same way.

Here’s to hair happiness,

Victoria xo.

London Photographer Showcases The Beauty of Black and Mixed Race Redheads

Michelle Marshall is a London-based photographer who is capturing redheaded black and mixed race individuals.

People almost instantaneously think of redheads as being white, however, there are thousands of redheaded black and mixed race individuals who have naturally red tresses.

michelle marshall redhead photography exhibition MCR1

Photography by Michelle Marshall

It is estimated that between one and two percent of the global population is redheaded. Although red coloured hair is most commonly found in Scotland and Ireland, 35% of people within the UK population carry the recessive gene which is responsible for this particular hair colour.

michelle marshall redhead photography exhibition MCR1

Photography by Michelle Marshall

When speaking to the Huffington Post, Michelle said:

“I am currently interested in documenting the incidents of the MC1R gene variant responsible for red hair and freckles, particularly amongst black and mixed raced individuals of all ages,” Marshall wrote in an email to The Huffington Post.

“I want to stir the perception that most of us have of a ‘ginger’ as a white caucasian individual, potentially of Celtic descent … As we struggle with issues of immigration, discrimination and racial prejudice, Mother Nature, meanwhile, follows its own course, embracing society’s plurality and, in the process, shaking up our perceptions about origins, ethnicity and identity.”

Take a look at Michelle’s wonderful photos over on her website http://www.michelle-marshall.com/personal/mc1r

Natural Hair and Cultural Appropriation: Is Amandla Stenberg Right About Kylie Jenner?

If you follow media outlets or blogs, you’ll probably already be aware of the backlash that Kylie Jenner received for posting pictures of her newest hairstyle, cornrows.

Now you might be thinking that there’s nothing wrong with a white girl rocking cornrows, and quite frankly, there isn’t. However, people reacted fairly negatively in large part because Kylie Jenner has created a career out of monetizing and mimicking ‘urban’ fashion and is essentially famous just for it.

The issue that many women of colour have with Kylie is not the fact that she wears cornrows but the fact that when a woman of colour wears them, it’s deemed ‘unattractive’ or ‘unprofessional’ but when a white woman sports the same look, it’s deemed ‘cool.’

Examples of this can be seen when looking at the following images:

cultural appropriation

Even though Amandla’s comments about Kylie’s supposed cultural appropriation were received with mixed responses, she does have a point.

amandla stenberg kylie jenner cultural appropriation

Why is it only cool to look ‘urban’ if you’re white?

Do you agree with Amandla? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this below.

4 Simple Steps To Longer Natural Hair

Before I started my natural hair journey, I found myself often becoming envious of other people’s hair. I remember looking at girls with natural hair and thinking “how did she grow her hair so long?”
how to grow longer natural hairOn top of that, throughout my childhood and early teens I’d constantly been told that “afro hair doesn’t grow,” OR “black girls can’t grow long hair” which led me to believe that growing long hair was simply impossible for a girl like me.
After deciding to go natural, doing the big chop and spending ages digesting everything there is to know about natural hair care, I was able to grow my hair to the longest length it’s ever been.
Now, don’t get me wrong, growing long hair isn’t just about length, it’s about having healthy hair. In my opinion, healthy hair is what all women (regardless of ethnicity or hair texture) should aspire to,
So how can you as a curly haired naturalista grow longer hair?
Here are 4 simple yet highly effective steps.
1. Moisturise
I’m sure you’ve heard it a thousand times before but moisturising your curls is absolutely vital if you want to grow long, healthy natural tresses. When it comes to moisturising, you should opt for products that have a high percentage of water because moisture comes from water. To get the most out of water, mix water, leave-in conditioner and a natural oil like jojoba and pour it into a spray bottle. Spritz your hair with this mixture a few times each day. This will help to keep your curls in top shape throughout the day. It’ll also aid growth because you’ll retain more hair as a result of keeping your hair moisturised.
 2. Dust, don’t trim.
Years back, I heard about ‘dusting.’ I thought it sounded a bit crazy but it works. The idea is simple; rather than trimming or cutting large chunks of hair every 6-9 weeks (as recommended by hair stylists), instead choose to only ‘dust’ or trim off unhealthy ends. Dusting simply involves searching for splits, knots and tangles and cutting them off every time you spot them. The minute you see one strand that’s visibly unhealthy, trim it. This saves thousands of healthy hair strands from being trimmed off and enables you to only get rid of the exact hairs that are damaged or split. It’s a hair saver!
3. Apply heat once or twice a year.
As much as I love the look of my hair when straightened, I have seen incredible results by simply not straightening it more than twice a year. In fact, I avoid applying heat to my hair unless I really, really need to. Whilst heat-based styles can look great for special occasions, they can also wreck havoc on your curls. Instead of using heat, try using your blow dryer on the cool setting, towel drying your hair and rocking gorgeous formal styles using nothing more than your
natural curls and hair accessories (think flowers, hair bands, ribbons etc).
natural hair accessories

Opt for hair accessories like ribbons, scarves and flowers rather than applying heat to your hair.

 4. Exercise.
This is one that many of us miss because we’re so busy. However, exercising regularly not only boosts your body’s health but it also aids hair growth by stimulating the scalp and increasing blood flow to it. Even if you despise working out, try simply walking or doing fun activities that don’t feel like a workout. Zumba, hiking and swimming are some great options and they’ll leave you in top shape as well!
So there you have it, my 4 top tips for growing healthier, longer hair this summer.
If you have any extra tips to share, please let them in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter at www.mycurls.co.uk for more hair tips and a chance to win free products.