Friday, September 30, 2011

What's Your Shrinkage Percentage?


I was recently asked in an e-mail what my shrinkage percentage was.  I can honestly say I had no idea what my shrinkage percentage was until I took this photo.  I keep it kinky so of course I knew my hair draws up but I was completely oblivious as to how much.
 I co-washed in the morning, finger detangled in the shower and allowed it to completely air dry to the root.  In the photos below my hair was towel dried using a bit of conditioner I left in my hair from the co-wash. 


I'd have to say I have like 75 to 80 percent shrinkage.

This photo was taken at the end of the day...looks totally different, lol

  I normally keep my hair stretched at all times.  It's either in a bun, twists, or twist out, braids, or flat twists so I really didn't know exactly how much my hair was capable of shrinking.  Now I know. 

I luv my hair so part of loving it is embracing all that comes along with it.  I have to be honest though, I will probably never allow my hair to draw up to the max again.  I'm not ashamed of the shrink it's just once my kynxx draw up completely, it is much more difficult to manage and is more prone to break during the detangle process.

I luv my kynxx unconditionally so I have to take the good as well as what I perceive as the not-so-good.



HHG!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Naturalisto!: Brotha Storm

Copywritten Photo
As a natural hair blogger one thing I've noticed is when men are brought into the discussion in regards to the growing natural hair community, its usually directed to how they feel about the vastly growing female community.  For the most part, men love the fact we have finally come to love our kynxx, understood.  Now it's time to hear about embracing it from a male perspective.  I'm curious about which issues, if any, men face in relation to career, dating, family, and self acceptance.  I couldn't have interviewed a more fitting person then my friend, Brotha Storm.  He's the first male to grace the posts of LuvMyKynxx and he definitely loves his...

LMK: Tell us where you're from?
STORM:  I'm from Altadena, CA...born n' raised.

LMK: How long have you been wearing your hair natural?
STORM: I'd say late 2000 is when I started letting my hair grow.  Seeing other people with cornrows and admiring it initiated me to stop cutting my hair off.  At first I kept in a wild Afro.  I always loved seeing the artist N'Dambi wear her Afro out beautifully and that also inspired me.  I started twisting it as soon as it was long enough to twist.  As it grew, I started experimenting with styles like cornrows and kept it braided.  I felt proud.  It signifies strength, unity, identity, and I can finally understand how Brotha's and Sistah's back in the 60's and 70's must have felt.

LMK:What types of reactions do you get from the ladies in regards to your natural hair?
STORM: Different.  Before the natural hair boom most Sistah's would be like 'Ever think about cutting it off?' or 'I bet you'll look handsome clean cut'.  Now, I get more compliments then anything.  I get a lot of suggestions from both male and females that I should loc it up.  I get a lot of attention rockin' my fro and twists more now then ever, more people seem to take notice.  I just keep it universal instead of it being one way all the time. If I loc my hair it can only be one way.  Being a model I can wear a fro hawk, Bantu Knots, Afro puffs, braids, twists...me and my hair are one.  Once you loc its a wrap!
bantu knots

LMK: How do you feel about natural hair embracing being described as a "movement"?
STORM: I think its great!  Since slavery we have never really gotten over being ashamed over our nappy hair other than a brief period in the late 60's and mid 70's.  Now we have major public figures like Erykah Badu, India Arie, Jill Scott in the early part of her career, Rakim, Musiqsoulchild when he first came out, Raheem DeVaughn was loc'd at first, Dwele, and Quest Love from the Roots who to me is one of the most consistent Afro wearers in the industry.  I don't love my hair just cause there are celebrities who rock theirs natural.  I love it because I love me.  I encourage everyone who wants to grow natural hair to do it for self not because they feel everyone else is doing it.  But if they do, most of them will end up loving it for themselves anyway.  Seeing a celebrity with it is just what gets them interested in the beginning.


 LMK: How do you feel about the fact women getting the spotlight per say in the growing natural hair community?

STORM: Women are more conscientious about their outer beauty then men, speaking in general.  Not to forget everything begins with the woman.  Once you guys are aware and conscious, it helps us accept it in y'all.  I want women to understand their hair Ether.  Your Ether is your connection from the inner cosmos to the outer. Our hair plays a big part of you being #9 which is the number of completion.  Ether connects us to the Most High. We cannot call ourselves free until we accept our true selves. I think women should get the spot light. 

LMK:  Tell us some of the issues you have encountered wearing your natural hair?
STORM:  First of all men are just as concerned about what women will say or think as women are about us. Brotha's talk about it too.  Wondering if a woman will accept them with a nappy Afro too.  I am going to love me first and foremost.  I am created in the image of the Most High.  So as far as a woman goes she will HAVE to love my hair as much as I do if not more than I do!... [he chuckles]. 

LMK: As a fashion model have you had any resistence from agencies or finding work because of your natural hair?
STORM: I feel like Sampson when it comes to my hair.  I realize a "Delilah" doesnt have to necessarily be a woman.  It can be a metaphor for  mainstream America, or coporate America's ideals of what beauty means and them not accepting what I stand for.  I represent RBG (red, black, and green).  The Al Sharptons', Snoop Doggs', Ron O'Neals', and DJ Quiks', that's not me (refering to the straight permed/flatironed hair).  Since the launch of my modeling career I have only had one gig where I was asked by my runway coach to straighten my hair.  He kept tryin' to convince me it wouldn't be feminine and he could still keep me looking mascluline.  Long story short, I declined.  Instead I compromised with what I was comfortable in seeing myself in and wore a blow out.  We must always be aware of the images we put out into the world.  Hollywood can turn a person into who "they" want them to be.  The image "they" indentify as being beautiful, but  we as a people have full control over the images being put out there.

Copywritten Photo

LMK: How does your family feel about you wearing your hair natural? STORM: Well you kow my Mom, may God rest her soul, at first was like 'Boy you need to cut your hair!' But once she start seeing  it styled in cornrows, Afro nice and groomed, looking at the pictures from my photo shoots, she really liked it. My Sisters don't really have anything to say. They like it 'cause its who I am.

LMK: Share your regimen, how do you keep your kynxx lookin' so fly?
STORM: Wash once a week with conditioner or black soap. I also have a leave in conditioner I use of water conditioner and some oils.  I put coconut oil in my hair and shea butter after I wash it.  I'm learning more about how to care for it and getting advice on how to grow my hair.  I keep it braided when I can.  My next style I want will be Bantu knots again soon.

LMK: So where can readers of LuvMyKynxx find you?
STORM: Facebook, Brotha Storm and I also have a Facebook Fan Page under the same name I'm still working on and developing so stop by and "like".  Follow my tweets @StormDaBrotha.  You can find me here at http://www.sankofasword.com/founder.html were I list upcoming spoken word events.  I'll be featured in an upcoming natural hair magazine out of Atlanta called Me Magazine so look forward to that as well.  I've also been featured in Natural Roots Magazine which is another Atlanta based publication.

LMK: In closing, what insight do you want to leave us with that will help us understand more about the journey from a male perspective?
STORM:  That  it's NOT just for women and it's NOT feminine!  It's royalty.  When I rock my braids, bantu knots and twists this is my crown.  To me image is everything. I have to dictate the images I put out into the world.  I love this, this is me. Before doing photo shoots this was me.  I want to say to all the men out there, if you are working in corporate America and fear losing your job behind rockin' your nappy Afro...it's not the job for you.  If you are concerned that a Sistah won't give you the time of day, she's not the woman for you.   We are made in the image of the Most High.  This is my journey and my way of rockin' natural hair.

 All copywritten photographs posted with the approval of Brotha Storm. Do not copy/re-post without permission of LMK.

HHG!
If  you would like to be featured as a Naturalisto! and share your journey from a male perspective send an email to luvmykynxx@gmail.com 

Monday, September 19, 2011

How To: ApHogee Two-Step Protein Treatment

Tis that time again...my weekly regimen is due.  After assessing my hair post co-wash I didn't like how my hair felt.  It actually felt like a sponge to me. I thought about it and realized it has been about 2 years since I had a protein treatment aside of my occasional egg/evoo mixture.  I wanted to step it up a bit and use one of my old faithfuls, the  Aphogee Two-Step Protein Treatment.  When I wore my hair straight, my hair was at its healthiest at one point in time using Aphogee products.  I used to wash it with the Evening Primrose shampoo (discontinued) and follow up with the 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor or Balancing Moisturizer.  Looking back my only reason for using this product line was because my hair responded so well to it.  Now I understand more about my hair I understand the importance of pH balance to the health of  hair, I understand why my hair grew so long and healthy.  All of the ApHogee products restore the hair to its healthy pH balance which is between 4.5 and 5.5.

How can I tell if my hair needs protein added into my regimen?


For me it was pretty easy to tell simply from using my sense of touch, but I figured I'd take it a step further and perform a strand test.  I use a very large toothed comb when I detangle and I noticed that when combing it out it would stretch and stretch and then snap, not break,  into the comb.    I performed a test on my hair while it was wet since for my hair it is the only way I can truly tell when I need more protein. My last egg and evoo DC was at least 4 months ago.

  1. You notice your hair has it's elasticity
  2. Your hair feels limp, spongy or mushy. 
  3. Your hair is extremely dry or brittle
  4. The deep conditioner I use, Organic Root Stimulator's Replenishing Conditioner, has protein in it (hydrolyzed collagen) .  However, the amount of it isn't enough to stop the mushy feel.  Since I co-wash often, I can really tell an intense protein conditioning treatment is needed, matter of fact long over due. 
The Treatment
Step 1: Wash hair.  Treatment should be applied to clean strands.
Step 2: Section the hair using which ever method is best for  you.  I always section mine into 4 parts.
Step 3: Place the liquid into a bowl (warning: the scent isn't very pleasant...at least not to me).


Step 4: Apply using your fingers or an application brush. Once all of the hair has been coated do not cover.






Step 5:  Once applied to all sections, sit underneath a hooded dryer until the treatment is completely dry.  (IMPORTANT: DO NOT TOUCH OR MANIPULATE THE HAIR WHILE IT IS DRYING.  THE HAIR WILL BECOME VERY HARD AND CAN POSSIBLY BREAK IF TOUCHED OR MOVED.



Step 6: Once the treatment is completely dry, rinse.  Do not touch or move your hair until  after the treatment has been rinsed for at least 1-2 minutes (depending on the length and density).  By then it will be safe to touch and move around to make sure it is thoroughly rinsed. 

Hair will be very hard and stiff to touch.

Step 7: Apply the Balancing Moisturizer.  Use this very generously.  Place a plastic cap over once applied and sit underneath a hooded dryer for another 15-20 minutes. Now the directions say 2 minutes no heat but from doing this treatment I realize it doesn't hurt to leave it on much longer.  This treatment can dry the hair out.




Step 8: Rinse the Balancing Moisturizer with cold water.

The elasticity has definitely improved.  I haven't seen this much shrinkage in moons.
  

Step 9: Style it up!




  
Step 10: In the days to follow it is very important that you moisturize daily, as needed.  Forget about following a specific moisturizing daily regimen and assess the dryness often throughout the day adding moisture to it.  Do this until your hairs moisture balance returns to  the way it was pre-treatment or better if you had excessive drying prior to.  I say this because so many women have told me the treatment excessively dried their hair and eventually it broke off.  This is total opposite from what it does if done correctly.  Your hair will have added strength and elasticity for at least 6-8 weeks.  I was doing them at one point every 6 months and that was good enough for my hair.
I wanted to touch bases a bit on pH balancing.  Our pH is the measure of how acidic a substance is.  A substance with a  pH of 7, means it's neutral, neither acidic nor basic. An example of a neutral substance, water. When pH is less then 7, it is acidic. When it is above 7, it is alkaline.  The normal pH of our body, scalp, and hair, is around 5 which is why we want to keep our body, scalp and hair between the ranges of 4.5 and 5.5.



HHG!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

LUV♥ MY♥ KYNXX 1~ YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!!


 
Time certainly flies.  It's been a year since my first blog post.  I was reading over my first post explaining my intentions for Luv♥My♥Kynxx.  One was to educate as I research and share info and also to learn from what others share with me. I can honestly say I have learned so much more than I ever imagined and hope others have gained knowledge during visits to Luv♥My♥Kynxx blog as well.  More than anything I hope you have come to Luv♥YOUR♥Kynxx as much as I love mine. In this year, I've met so many inspiring bloggers, vloggers, and stylist via Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube making it so much easier for me to go through this journey knowing I am not alone.  I am now a Licensed Braider and Certified Natural Hair Stylist.   Showing and speaking words of  gratitude are an essential part of my daily life.  I'm blessed.

I wanted to share 12 of my favorite Luv♥My♥Kynxx posts.  I appreciate each of the 42,394 visits.  Continued Blessings to everyone!!!

 
 

 
I bl♥w out my candle and wish...
 
HHG!!