Divas On The Grow Event

Divas On The Grow

I’ll be helping out on the day, I hope to see you there!

This is not a Natural Hair event this is a HEALTHY hair event, Everyone is welcome.

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Are You a MANE Diva?! (Review)

Hello My Naturalistas!

Today I’m sharing something a little different…

A WEAVE review! Yes I said it, I got a weave.

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Although my protective style challenge is now over and I was rocking my ‘fro all over the streets of Paris a couple of weeks ago, I have fancied a change for a while and wanted to get a weave that was close to my natural texture for 3 reasons:

  •  I rarely use heat on my hair so I couldn’t blend my hair a straight weave.
  • I still want to wear hair that looks like it could have grown out of my head, instead of an Asian or European texture.
  • I love Afro hair and I want to rock a BAA (Big Ass Afro) but I’m still a few years away from that with my own hair.

I had my eye on some hair from the USA but it was sooo expensive and I have been stung with those customs charges in the past adding an extra £100.00 to an already ridiculously expensive bundle of hair.

I decided to stick to my principles of  supporting UK businesses and discovered that Mane Divas based in Essex,  UK provide NHA (No Heat Alternative) extensions especially suited to women with natural hair.

I chose the Afro Kinky Curly texture which is a tight coil that can be defined or picked/fluffed out to achieve a full billowing Afro.

The website has a lot of advice regarding the hair and I was also able to contact the Divas themselves to get advice on how many bundles to buy and what lengths. I was going to buy 12″ and 14″ like I used to when buying straight extensions but I was advised to get 2 bundles of 14 as this texture has a lot of shrinkage.

Each bundle of 14″ costs £75.00 and p&p starts from £4.99 for recorded delivery . I think the price is very reasonable considering it’s Afro kinky virgin, human hair and the company are in UK so the shipping is much cheaper than if the hair were coming from the USA or China. In addition 3% of Mane Diva’s profits are donated to The Sickle Cell Society which I think is fantastic.

One of the best things about buying from Mane Divas is the customer service, they are quick to respond to any questions or queries, I don’t need to try to figure out the time difference if I need to call them and English is their first language so no worries about their being a language barrier and having a misunderstanding. Trina was particularly helpful to me as I bombarded her with about 50 questions before actually buying the hair!

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You can purchase the hair by clicking here.

As you can see the hair comes packaged in a lovely sleek box and each bundle is tied up with a pink ribbon.

The bundles measured 7-8 inches un-stretched but they were 14 inches once I stretched the coils out which is how all non-straight extensions are measured.

The hair comes in a natural colour which is a dark brown, roughly colour 2 but it looks lighter in bright sunlight almost around colour 4.

I was worried that it wouldn’t blend with my hair which is dyed black, but it looks fine and as the hair is not chemically treated prior to purchase it can be dyed or coloured, I will be colouring mine later on after I’ve worn it in it’s virgin state for a while.

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I only needed 1 and a half bundles for a full weave with my entire perimeter left out in order to enable me to wear the hair up in high buns and puffs, plus my edges are fragile like many women so I don’t like to canerow my edges and add  tracks as the stress is too much for my hairline. In the pictures I’ve intentionally exposed my tracks so you can see my leave out, when I wear the hair down it’s so full and fluffy that I don’t need to blend my edges, so I keep my leave out in twists, 2-strand at the back/side and flat twisted across the front. Since my sides are getting pretty long I gather them into a loose bunch with the hair in the back and tuck my ends away.

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When I first saw the bundles I thought the hair would be too curly to blend with my natural hair but it was fine, the hair is really versatile and you can manipulate your leave out to blend with the extensions if you want to. The extensions are not an exact match for my varied curl patterns but obviously an exact match is impossible as like most human beings I have several curl patterns all over my head. As my leave out is minimal I had no issues with blending. The hair is very soft and clean when it arrives but I co-washed it and let it air-dry prior to installation anyway.

The wefts are strong and thick, but my stylist didn’t have trouble sewing the tracks in as she sewed over the weft not through it. I  have not experienced shedding even though I did not seal the second weft that was cut. I have also not experienced any matting which is very common in Afro-textured extensions but this is because I made sure that my tracks were not sewn too close together and I finger detangle daily, obviously once I run a comb through it there will be some shedding which is normal, my real hair sheds and this hair behaves just like my natural hair.  I remember wearing straight weaves back in the day and hair falling out all over the place it was awful!

I have been wearing this hair for a week and I flippin’ love it! On Mothers Day (30th March) I was with my Mum for over an hour before she asked me if I’d dyed my hair, I said no and only then did she ask me if I had “hair” in my hair! I admitted it but my Mum still insisted on coming and looking for the tracks… lol!

My Mum really likes the style on me and trust me my Mum HATES weave!

This hair is not low-maintenance hair, you cannot just get up, shake it out and go but that is just like real highly-textured natural hair that grows out of our scalps. You do need to keep this hair moisturised and detangled, I literally treat this hair like my own natural hair which also means that my leave out and my braids underneath are not neglected.

I moisturise both my hair and the tracks at least once per day, I use Mane Divas Milk Moist or my own water spritz mix. Every couple of days I apply castor oil to my scalp (only) with an applicator bottle and I lightly finger-detangle every night before putting the hair into 2-4 chunky twists and covering with a satin bonnet.  I don’t do anything to my leave out except moisturise it, I don’t undo my twists unless I’m wearing my hair up as I’m trying to avoid over- manipulation of my precious strands.

If I wear my hair up, or back in one,my natural hair blends effortlessly  into the extensions as illustrated by by ponytail/puff below:

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I highly recommend this hair to anyone who wants to add length, thickness or volume to their natural hair or someone who wants to try out a natural texture before taking the plunge. Mane Divas also offer kinky-curly extensions which are a looser curl and various straight textures, if you don’t want to commit to a sew-in weave you can also purchase clips-ins from Mane Divas.

I haven’t washed my hair yet but when I do I’ll do a post on how easy or hard it was to wash the hair by myself. I’m also going to add highlights then colour the hair to see how the hair holds up.

Thanks for Reading

Luv

Sian

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*I bought this hair with my own money, prices correct at time of writing this post.

Product Review: Heavenly Hair and Scalp Intensive Treatment Shampoo & Conditioner + Hair Cream

Hello Naturalistas!

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I was given these products to review, but as usual my review is completely honest. Please remember everyone’s hair is different and just because a product may or may not have worked for my hair it doesn’t mean that your hair will react in the same way to the product/s.

I have decided to use a version of the “Evelyn from the Internets” rating system from now on, hair products will get a rating of Afro Puffs  “0” being awful and “10” being amazing. Body/Skin Products will get a rating of Skin Cells between 0 and 10 same as for hair products.

The Shampoo

The shampoo is paraben and sulphate free which is fantastic. It smells really really nice like Pink Fruitella, if you don’t know what that smells like, it smells sweet but not sickly with a strong smell of wild berries. The shampoo is a medium consistency and slightly creamy, it did lather up a lot which worried me but, it did not leave my hair feeling stripped when I rinsed it out  although my hair did feel nice and clean.

Ingredients: Aqua, Sodium, Organic Aloe Vera, Mint Essential Oil, Sulphur, Wild Berries Essential Oil, Argan Oil, Glycerine, Castor OilJojoba Oil, Avocado Oil, Moringa.

I’m confused about the listing of Sodium, I’m sure it doesn’t contain PURE Sodium, obliviously it’s a sodium compound but which one?

Cost: £15.00

Rating: 7 Afro Puffs

The Conditioner

The conditioner is quite thick and creamy and again smells gorgeous with a fresh mint scent with a hint of citrus. The conditioner is quite thick and creamy but it did not have enough slip for my liking. I used this conditioner as directed, which is to apply it to clean towel blotted hair and wear a plastic cap for 15-20 mins, you are then instructed to wash out 50% of the conditioner. I found it difficult to know how much 50% was but I did my best each time. The conditioner did leave my hair feeling soft and strengthened but don’t try to use it to detangle, the bottle is too small and as I said it does not have much slip at all. when my hair was dry there was not an obvious visible conditioner residue but I preferred to rise the conditioner out completely (because of that dubious sodium). All in all I think this is a good moisture treatment and you should use it for your deep conditioning treatments, it works even better if you use heat over the top of your plastic cap.

Ingredients: Aqua, Sodium, Organic Aloe Vera, Cinnamon, Lime Essential Oil, Shea Butter Essential Oil, Argan Oil, Glycerin, Castor Oil, Jojoba Oil, Avocado Oil, Moringa

Cost: £15.00

Rating: 7 Afro Puffs

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The Hair Cream

Unsurprisingly this cream smells nice, it has a nice subtle herbal scent and a very thick, buttery consistency if you turn the tub upside down no product will fall out of the tub, it has flecks of Moringa in it but they do disappear when you apply the cream. I’m not really  sure of exactly what a “hair cream” is for, this particular cream claims to stimulate hair growth, I did not notice increased hair growth when I used it but maybe it is geared towards people who are experiencing issue in that area which I am not. I used it as directed,  applied it to my scalp and gently massaged it in. I don’t normally oil my scalp on a regular basis so it did feel nice on my scalp and it had a slight pleasant tingle. I also used this product to seal my ends when doing the LOC method and it did help my hair to retain moisture. If you use Shea Butter in your hair regimen this is like a super boosted Shea Butter, you could use it the same way you use Shea but it has added natural ingredients that are good for your hair/scalp.

Ingredients: Organic Aloe Vera, Mint, Wild Berries Essential Oil, Shea Butter, Moringa, Argan oil, Glycerine, Castor Oil, Jojoba Oil.

Cost: £15.00

Rating: 6 Afro Puffs

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I was given this product range to review a few months ago, but being the PJ that I am, I wanted to use up some other products first and I also wanted to use theses products exclusively for a few wash days to make sure I gave them a fair chance, after all you can’t tell much about a product after only one use. All of this range has plain packaging which is fine by me but some people like fancier label and whatnot. One thing I love about this range is that it’s a BBGBB (another Evelyn phrase) meaning Black Girl Beauty Brand but I added an extra B for British, June -the lady who sells these products from her salon is located in Brixton, South London and her mobile number and landline number for the salon is printed on the products so if you have any questions about using the products you can call/text/WhatsApp June and she always gets back to you. The products are made in UK and not tested on animals so smiles all round!

Heavenly Hair and Scalp Website.

Thanks for reading

Luv

Sian

x

NHA Paris 2014!

Hello my Naturalistas!

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I wish they had also printed an English version of this magazine…

The 3rd Annual Natural Hair Academy Paris was held on Saturday 15th March 2014 at L’Espace Tapis Rouge in Paris!

As you know I had made a decision not to go to any more “Natural Hair Events” but I really wanted to see if France could offer anything different to the UK Natural Hair events I’ve been to in the past.

I paid for my everything myself  on this trip -unless I specifically state something was free, I mention this so you know that my review/recap is honest and non-biased, I did not have a wristband or VIP access to the event. I’m not saying that VIP’s are  dishonest I’m just making it clear that I haven’t been paid or “gifted” to write this review.

When purchasing tickets to the event there were three options:

Option one – The Felicia Leatherwood Workshop 35.00 Euros

Option two – The Monroe Sisters & Clarisse Libene Workshop 35.00 Euros

Option three – All of the workshops 60.00 Euros

Although I had never heard of the Monroe Sisters or Clarisse Libene before the event I decided to Purchase the 60 Euro ticket so that I could fully experience the event. I went to Paris with my Mum so I bought her an all-workshops ticket too.

Before booking my accommodation I contacted the organiser Gwladys  and asked for some tips on where to stay and if the workshops would be in both French and English, Gwladys was extremely helpful and answered all of my many questions leading up to the event itself.

Gwladys also invited me to the NHA Launch/Cocktail  party which was held at the venue the evening before the main event.

The Cocktail party was due to start at 18:30 but everything wasn’t quite ready on time, that wasn’t a big issue as there were enough punctual guests there for me to mix & mingle with and  practice my French on!

I met a couple of the French Bloggers I follow:

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Gaelle From the Curvy and Curly Closet

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The Lovely Deborah

The Cocktail Party was really a Panel discussion -entitled Curls and Discussion  the subject matter was of course Hair more specifically wearing your natural hair with confidence, the panel also told us personal hair anecdotes.

The discussion was hosted by the delightfully witty, elegant and bilingual Clarisse Libene founder of Bellebene (far left with the microphone and black & white head wrap.)

The beauties on the Panel were (from left to right) : Kelly Masso founder of French hair brand Les Secrets de Loly,  Kelly J the founder of Natural Girls Rock, The Monroe Sisters, Felicia Leatherwood and Fatou- French Blogger and beauty editor of Ghubar Magazine.

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Les Secrets de Loly were also giving all the attendees the opportunity to receive a free gift of a hydrating repairing mist and a customised 100% natural hair masque, we were able to select an “active ingredient” such as hydration, silkening, or protein and a fragrance I won’t list all of the fragrances but I chose the White Tea fragrance and it smells lovely, I can’t wait to try it out!

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Kelly hard at work with the hair masques

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After the discussion Mum and I went to grab some hot food and go to bed we’d had a long day after a long week at work…

We were staying in the gorgeous bijou L’Horset Opera Hotel which is on Rue d’Antin, 5 minutes’ walk away from the famous Parisian Opera House.

Our Hotel

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The Opera House – Palais Garnier

The Opera Metro station is right in front of the Palais Garnier so it was really easy for us to get around the city, while we were in Paris their entire public transport system was free because there were record levels or air pollution in the city and the government wanted to try and encourage people to leave their cars at home and use public transport.

The Parisian Metro system was very easy to navigate, but maybe that’s because I understand quite a bit of French and I’m used to London’s complicated underground network and NYC’s crazy Subways!

The Metro was a bit basic – you have to open the doors yourself (I hate touching anything on public transport and wore gloves the whole time)

Some of the doors only have a metal latch that can operate the doors whilst the train is in motion! I jumped off quite a few moving trains over the weekend, once the train was in a station and had slowed down of course!

The trains were also a bit old and grubby with lots of graffiti and the aroma of urine lingering in most carriages (bearing in mind we only used lines 7 and 9 the entire weekend.)

The Main Event

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There were 3 main workshops for the day, each workshop ran concurrently and repeated 3 times so that all of the ticket holders could attend their workshops, it would have been a nightmare to have all 1000+ attendees in one room for each workshop and I don’t think there was an auditorium large enough any way.

If my explanation seems  complicated please look at my table below: the timings and room numbers are not exact but you should get a better idea of how it worked.

Room Number 10:30 11:45 16:45
Room 1 Monroe Sisters Clarisse Libene Felicia Leatherwood
Room 2 Clarisse Libene Felicia Leatherwood Monroe Sisters
Room 3 Felicia Leatherwood Monroe Sisters Clarisse Libene

 

The Monroe sisters are very pretty (as you can see) and they both have full heads of natural hair, so they each know what works for their hair.

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I found their workshop to be better suited to newly naturals or women who haven’t done their own research about hair already. The Monroe Sisters had a live protective styling demo on a girl they picked out of the audience, I was impressed by Ms Vaughn’s ability to style hair live on stage while answering questions from the audience and with everything being translated into French simultaneously but the finished style was not to my taste, plus I would have liked to see the demo on  a girl with  shorter hair, or a transitioner – I think that would have been more useful but I’m aware that they only had a certain amount of time for each workshop.  SONY DSC

After the demo, the Monroe sisters shared their hair regimen with the audience I always think that telling people your own hair regimen can be a bit of a red herring and give newbies false hope because- as we all know everyone’s hair is different and what works for one Naturalista would not necessarily work for everyone else. A basic instruction on what steps can be included in our hair regimen is definitely useful  for newly naturals but copying someone else’s exact hair regimen and thinking that your hair will turn out exactly like theirs is never a good idea. The Monroe sisters plugged the Huetiful steamer at every opportunity but that is to be expected as Huetiful sponsor them, they even showed a video showing how to use the steamer as part of their workshop the video was mute but there was a French voice over, considering that the Monroe sisters are not fluent in French themselves I think they could have at least had English subtitles on the video but maybe they did not have any control over that element of production.

The finished style

The finished style

My next workshop wasn’t until 13:45 so I wandered over to the Phyto Specific “Hair Diagnostic” area, I was able to walk straight in and talk to Kathy Jean-Louis, the director of Phyto Specifc she was very knowledgeable about the brand and how it was developed. I didn’t intend to buy any hair products on this trip as I am as self-confessed Product Junkie and my Husband had to build me a special shelf just to house all of my hair products. Ms Jean-Louis didn’t try to sell me anything and there weren’t actually any products lined up anywhere, It was really nice not to feel pressured into buying anything, instead Ms J-L asked me if I wanted a hair diagnostic so I sat down with one of her colleagues who used a high-powered microscope with a live camera and monitor to examine my hair and scalp close up. The lady who was doing my hair diagnosis only spoke a little English but since I speak a bit of French I managed to understand my hair diagnosis.  I learned that my scalp and hair were well nourished and hydrated, I have a mixture of fine and medium hair strands and lower down on my strands – towards the tips my cuticles are frayed and damaged but my hair is not snapping off at the ends.

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I know my ends are bad because of the chemical damage from colouring my hair if you read my blog then you know that I am transitioning out of this chemical damage without big chopping my hair again, I simply coloured my ends Black with a gentle powder box colour and I’m keeping it moving.  The hair diagnosis lady recommended a few Phyto Specific products I might like to try and I bought a few of them, the actual products were stored behind a screen partition and there was a desk where I could make my purchases the whole experience was really interesting and not rushed or pressured, I even got a couple of free gifts, a beige patent bag- which is guess is to store make-up or products since it has no handles and a free sample of the Phyto Specific  deep treatment bath. SONY DSC

Later in the day the queue for the Phyto Specific hair diagnostic was so long it snaked down the grand staircase and into the main hall, I think they were a victim of their own success a couple of my friends waited for over 3 hours in that queue!

The Clarisse Libene workshop was in partnership with the “Jane Carter Solution” Jane Carter was there by the side of the stage but she was more of a silent partner – at least in my version of the workshop. Lisa Price the founder of Carol’s Daughter was also invited on stage to say a few words.

From L -R Jane Carter, Lisa Price, Clarisse Libene

From L -R Jane Carter, Lisa Price, Clarisse Libene

Although Clarisse is fluent in English she did not give any part of her workshop in English and there was no English translation at all which was a real shame because with my limited French I could only understand 50-60% of Clarisse’s workshop and even then I found it to be the most interesting and informative workshop of the day. Clarisse’s workshop actually went into the science of our hair and the different growth cycles she also talked about the internal and external factors that can affect both hair growth and retention.

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I personally found Clarisse’s workshop the most helpful because rather than just go on about how she washes her own hair and what products she uses, Clarisse actually gave honest factual and practical information that any woman, relaxed or natural could understand and in some cases implement.  At the end of Clarisse’s workshop there was an informative quiz with multiple choice questions, at the end of the quiz Clarisse gave everyone the correct answers so they could mark their scores down and the girls who had the best scores were rewarded with a full sized Jane Carter product each.

SONY DSC Clarisse has an amazing stage presence and such a dry sense of humour that I thoroughly enjoyed her workshop even though I  couldn’t understand every single word.

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My last workshop of the day was the Felicia Leatherwood “Loving Your Hair With Natural Care “workshop. Felicia’s workshop was really good, before she started her workshop Lisa Price the founder of Carol’s Daughter came on stage to say a few words, Lisa was really sweet and humble and just said a few words about how she started her company (with body products first not hair products) and she said she was really happy to be part of the event and glad to see to many different women representing so many types of beautiful.

Felicia started off by selecting girls from the audience and explaining their hair types and what kind of regime/styling suits each hair type, apparently the way to accurately assess your hair type is when your hair is wet. Felicia also gave lots of helpful information regarding going to hairstylists, how to detangle your hair and when to trim your hair – when the season changes so 4 times per year. Felicia recommends that Jamaican Black Castor Oil is applied to your scalp not your hair at least three times per week where it can be absorbed into your scalp and act as a fertiliser for your follicles. Felicia also did 3 live hair demonstrations on girls from the audience and showed us how to recreate this gorgeous style she did on Teyonah Parris’ natural tresses:

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Roughly one week prior to the event we were emailed and given the opportunity to enter our tickets into a draw for a bonus workshop given by the famous Taren Guy (aka Taren916 on YouTube).

Taren Guy

My tickets were chosen in the draw and I made sure I entered the hall early so I could actually get a seat. This was the only workshop where tickets were actually checked!

Taren’s workshop started a little bit late but it wasn’t too bad, Taren (and her hair) looked fabulous as usual.

Taren was glowing with her pregnancy and she looked very comfortable in skyscraper heels and skinny jeans with a loose denim-look silk embellished top.

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As for the actual content of Taren’s “workshop” I will just say that I don’t think I was her target audience… Taren told us about her hair journey (like most of her subscribers I’ve heard it already on YT) Taren also invited two girls from the audience who don’t like their hair texture and spoke to them about why they don’t like their textures but also what they do like about their textures.

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I was glad to get the opportunity to attend Taren’s very popular “Love and Learn your Hair” workshop,

I am subscribed to Taren’s YT channel and I know she has toured with her workshop so I was interested to see what all of the Hype was about, but at NHA Paris Taren herself admitted that she is not a hair expert and she usually has a stylist with her on tour to answer specific hair related questions. Most of the women in the audience were acting as if Taren is the Beyoncé of the “Natural Hair Community” and queued up for ages after the workshop to take photos with her, in fact as Taren entered the hall before she started the workshop,  the room was illuminated with hundreds of flashes as if the room was full of Paparazzi! I have respect and admiration for every sister doing it for herself but I don’t fawn over people or make a big fuss over “celebrities.”

As well as the three main ticketed workshops there were also free workshops given by Mixed Chicks and Huetiful. On the ground floor there were many pop-up shops representing hair and beauty brands. Les Secrets de Loly also did a live big chop but I missed the actual chopping.

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I didn’t attend the free workshops because in between my paid workshops, I was eating and shopping with my Mum, networking with other NHA attendees and exploring the nearby area in Paris’ 10th Arrondissement including Boulevard de Strasbourg also known as “Black Paris” but I (affectionately) nicknamed the area “Black Sister’s Street” because of the way most of the female workers in the Salons were dressed and after the novel “On Black Sister’s Street “by Chika Unigwe-  it is an excellent novel and I highly recommend it. *

I digress please forgive me… All in all I did enjoy NHA Paris but there are a few aspects that could be improved upon. I would attend again but I would carefully think about which workshops I would attend to get the most benefit, value for money and enjoyment. I enjoyed the networking aspect of the event and will definitely be returning to Paris to build upon some of the relationships I formed last weekend and to further explore the city.

The Good, The Bad & The Beautiful

Good:

One thing I thought was particularly good is that each workshop was signed for at least one session, I believe it was only in French Sign Language but it was still fantastic as I have been to countless Natural Hair events and none of them have been signed. Kudos to you for arranging that Gwladys.

The Event was the best Natural Hair Event I have been to so far, the vendors were not pushy and trying to shove products down your throat.

The Venue which I believe translates  to The Red Carpet Space – was gorgeous and large enough to accommodate every one without feeling clautrophobic or cramped.

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All of the advertised speakers were actually there on the day!

Gwladys the organiser was at the event all day and was checking if we were ok and enjoying ourselves.

The toilets were well maintained and cleaned throughout the day.

Bad:

I bought 2 tickets for all of the main workshops at 60 Euros each. What really annoyed me is that once you were in E’Space Tapis Rouge tickets were not checked again, so people who had only paid for the cheaper tickets were able to get into all of the paid workshops or people were attending workshops they had paid for but at the wrong time -subsequently there were not enough seats in each of the workshops and I ended up standing in a couple of the workshops, I asked one of the NHA representatives/translators about this and I was rudely told that “we intentionally oversold the seats so if you do not have a seat that is your own problem”       (I did ask Gwladys the organiser about this and she informed me that seats were not intentionally oversold.) Either way that was really disorganised and unfair to people who had paid full price for the same workshops that other people were getting into for free.

There was a lot of security around inside the venue and near the doors to each workshop but I don’t know what their purpose was because they certainly were not checking tickets!

The temperature in each workshop was either freezing or sweltering.

There was nowhere in the venue to sit down and just chill, to eat your snacks or whatever so many girls were sitting all over the floor and stairs.

The day was way too long, by the time it was Taren’s workshop Mum and I were so tired, it really was a very long day but at the same time there were not enough hours to see and hear everything that was going on.

Beautiful:

All of my sisters! It was fantastic to be in such a grand space with so many beautiful women and there was so much positivit in the atmosphere.

Merci beaucoup Gwladys pour une telle journée agréable et bien remplie!

Me and Gwladys the organiser of NHA Paris

Me and Gwladys the organiser of NHA Paris

Thanks for Reading!

Luv

Sian

*I am aware of the seriousness of the topics covered in the novel. I am not making light of these issues, I am referring to the visual aspect when looking at the particular street in Paris.

Salon Search Episode 4.

Hello My Cakers, Bakers and Beauties…

Here is a review on my latest salon experience, the Salon I’m reviewing is Ziuzo Hair and Beauty Salon in Lewisham the address is:

84 Lee High Road,
London,
Lewisham,
SE13 5PT

Based PURELY on the reviews from NoScrunchie.com, I thought I’d give this salon a try.

I called up at around 10am on 3rd Jan 2014 and made my appointment for 14:00. I arrived ten minutes early and was told to take a seat on the sofa, which I did. The owner/manager Vicky was finishing off cutting a lady’s hair who had just had a wave nouveau treatment but there were 3 other natural haired ladies in the salon, one was waiting on the sofa with me, one was under the steamer and one was at the next work station, I couldn’t see any other stylists there but there was a Junior there who was sweeping up hair and so on.

After waiting around half an hour the Junior offered to take my coat and asked me if I wanted a cup of tea. I let her hang my coat up but declined the tea. Then I waited some more, all this time Vicky had not said a word to me although when I first came in I said hello and that I had a 14:00 appointment. by 14:50 I was fuming! No word of apology or explanation was given to me about why I was waiting so long. I asked Vicky if she knew how much know how much longer I would have to wait and she coldly replied “about 20 minutes”. I really needed my hair done that day or I would have walked out already, I waited 20 more minutes and nothing happened, well nothing happened to ME the other two ladies were getting their hair blow dried and flat ironed. The lady on the sofa was still there next to me… waiting.

At around 15:15 the Junior was instructed to put gowns on both of us who were on the sofa and by 15:40 I was finally in the chair Vicky said we were both having treatments and started on the other lady first – fair enough. When Vicky finally got round to me she roughly undid my twists and started feeling my hair, she seemed confused as to why my hair was slightly damp so I explained that I always detangle my hair using water. Vicky parted my hair to look at my scalp and then started roughly raking her hands through my hair! After a while she stopped and asked what kind of treatment I wanted, I knew I needed a moisture treatment but I wanted to see if she was a decent hair dresser or not, Vicky actually said your hair is not breaking and is quite strong so I will give you a moisture treatment. Ok fair enough – I asked how much that was and she said £30 so I agreed but when I asked to read to ingredients in the Treatment It was a Motions Deep Treatment I read that it had quite a few proteins in it, as far as I’m concerned a moisture treatment for MY hair shouldn’t have protein in it. However as I was pressed for time and I’m not particularly protein sensitive I went along with it . Vicky Shampooed my hair first and then wrapped it in a towel before preparing the other girl’s treatment, I noticed that the other girl had olive oil and another conditioner mixed into her motions treatment but they were both finished up on her.

The Junior was instructed to apply the treatment to my hair and to her credit she was very gentle but applied the treatment to my hair in the same way you would apply a Relaxer, only on my roots and with a hair “paint” brush. As the Junior was obviously Caucasian I asked her a few questions about how long she had been working with Black People’s Natural hair I won’t write down the whole conversation but her answers satisfied me and the way she handled my hair was the same way I handle it so I was happy. The treatment was applied to my ends and I was put under the dryer, not the steamer but whatever… Ok.

I did let Vicky know that I was EXTREMELY dissatisfied at waiting over an hour and a half with no explanation or apology, and told her that the only reason I selected her salon was because of the reviews on No Scrunchie .com, I said that I had an event to attend to and had practically run out of time and although I respect her as a business woman and a Sister I was not happy with the service I had received on that day. Vicky did apologise and explain that she had been let down by her other stylist and we had a mature adult conversation about the whole situation and what it’s like to run a business on your own. In the end I found that although Vicky handled my hair a bit too roughly for my liking she is knowledgeable and not prejudiced about natural hair.               I did get a style in the end, Flat Twist in the front and two-strand twist in the back, Vicky was happy to work with my hair from damp which suited me. In conclusion, after talking it out with Vicky I would go back to the Salon one more time to see how things are on a day when Vicky is not rushing. I am happy with the hairstyle and my hair was and is soft and shiny after the treatment.

I’m sincerely sorry I do not have any photos I was really pissed off that day, but when I go back to the Salon I will take some photos.

Thanks very much for reading especially if you made it to the end with no pictures!

Luv

Sian

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Holiday Hair – Part Two

Hello My Beauties!

(Hello to my Cakers and Bakers if your curiosity brought you here too)

So after two weeks of being in the sunny and beautiful Dom Rep, I decided to take my twists down!

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I know I’m really terrible at this protective styling malarkey.

I decided to remove my twists for a few reasons:

  1. I was getting a lot of slippage, swimming every day, rinsing and moisturising daily combined with their soft water plus the texture of my hair and the extension hair led to many twists sliding off and needing to be re-installed.
  2. I was really hot with all that extra hair. (duh!)
  3. I have heard that hairdressers in the Dominican Republic are amazing and I wanted to experience this first hand.
  4. I missed my own hair!

It took me a couple of hours to remove my twists, I untwisted while my hair was damp and used my fingers only. Since the twists were slipping out anyway it was very easy to remove them.

If you are removing any type of extensions make sure you take your time and do not rush, it will be easier to remove your extensions if your hair is damp or wet (naturally kinky curly hair) you can use water, conditioner, natural oils or a combination.

I recommend removing a small cluster of braids maybe ten or so, depending on the size of your sections then de-tangling that section using a seam free large toothed comb or your fingers and coating it in more conditioner or oil before braiding or twisting that section, this process will be easier than removing all of your braids/twists and then trying to de-tangle all of your hair at once.

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Don’t be concerned that I was swimming every day without fully washing my hair, my Uncle’s pool is filled with mountain rainwater and has a natural filtration/cleaning system, it was fantastic swimming in a pool that did not stink of Chlorine, burn my eyes and irritate my skin.

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Once all of my twists were removed, I washed and deep conditioned my hair, I brought my Kinky Girls Essentials Kit on holiday with me and it was a life saver as it was very hard to find natural hair products in shops in the area of Dom Rep we were staying in.

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Image Belongs to http://www.SheaDecandence.co.uk

The next day my Mum and I hit the streets of Sosua (North Coast Beach Town) looking for a hair dresser. I went to 3 different salons and made enquiries before I found one where I was comfortable, unfortunately many of these women were not happy to handle my natural hair and I was repeatedly offered a relaxer, for them it was shocking that I as an adult woman would walk around with my “bad hair”.

The majority of women in the Dominican Republic do have beautiful, long and healthy looking hair but 99% of the Dominican women (I saw) wear their hair straightened either by heat or chemical processing.  I won’t go into it too much in this post but generally the Dominicans feel that they are not Black and do not acknowledge that they are indeed people of African descent instead choosing to focus on their Spanish Heritage.  I found the colourist attitude of the Dominican people to be very obvious and slightly upsetting, it went so deep that I did not see any darker skinned Dominicans working inside, by that I mean phone shops, banks, supermarkets and so on. It is acceptable to wear your natural texture if you have very loose curls or waves but to display your kinks is frowned upon and very rare.

Moving on, I found a salon owned by a Jamaican man who has been living in DR for most of his adult life, I spotted a hairdresser in the window twisting the hair of a young girl the best part of it is that the young girl had hair like me!  The hair dresser was called Ana and we actually had a really interesting conversation about “race” culture hair and history.

I had my hair washed, deep conditioned, blown out , flat ironed (sorry Natural Nazis)  and cut for the equivalent of £5.00 GBP! Of course I tipped Ana well for her time, Ana was very gentle with my hair plus she was heavily pregant and there was no air conditioning in the salon.  I don’t use heat on my hair at home and even when I go to salons in UK I don’t let them use direct heat on my hair (except once per year when I have it professionally flat ironed) indirect heat is also used sparingly maybe once per or twice year.  I don’t use heat because my hair strands are already very fine and I have a lot of chemical damage from self inflicted repeated colour abuse on the ends of my hair, I’m fully aware of this and I’m in the process of transitioning out of this damage.

Here are a few photos of the process.

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I had a good 4 inches cut off which really helped to even out my hair but did not get rid of all the colour damage, I’m not big chopping again because I don’t want to and it’s not necessary although my ends are very thin I am not experiencing a lot of breakage.  I’ll be doing a series of mini chops  until my hair is all virgin again.  I do not have a photo of the finished look but I’ll tell you that it was so humid in the Salon and in DR generally that my hair started to revert IMMEDIATELY, I put it in a bun before I even left the Salon.

The next day we visited Mount Isobel De Torres and I thought it would be a nice change to wear my hair out, that was a crazy idea as you will see below:

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Riding the cable car up the mountain, that’s my Mum looking at my windswept hair!

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Replica of The Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio.

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My hair has recovered from this traumatic experience…lol and is currently recuperating in (considerably shorter) two strand twists.

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Current state of my hair Sept 2013.

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Thanks for Reading.

Luv

Sian

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