Hair:

Natural Hair: I ♥ Denman

Hello, hello how are you, my sunshine? It’s been a while since we checked in on my curls and I do hope you’ll forgive me. It’s been business and usual, using Curls products, Deep Conditioning regularly and styling with my favorite tool. But there has been a new addition to the arsenal.

Enter the Denman brush and the Denman brush cleaning brush.

I<3Denman_1

Let’s start with the brush cleaning brush. It was $3 on Amazon and while it isn’t a mandatory must have in the arsenal, now that I have it I’m wondering why I waited so long. It makes brush cleaning SO fast and SO painless all our brushes are like new.

Now that we’ve got the easy-peasy out of the way let’s move onto the showstopper here. Dun-dun Denman. Rather than beginning with the basic model I went for the spaced out version with 7 rows. It’s important to note that I’m not using this brush for detangling, either. The hair I present to the Denman is already detangled and already has product in it. Brushing through with the Denman allows each curl (or curl clump) to be evenly coated with product and to curl on its own before rejoining the masses. The result is better than usual Day 1 hair, epic curl definition and 7-9 day twist-outs success. A few of my favorite things!

I<3Denman_3

Process: On fresh out the shower clean and detangled hair, I’ll go section by section (although my sections are more organic shapes than squared off areas) adding melted coconut oil, then Curls Botanical Gelle. As I work through the sections some dry out faster than others. Rather than working with dry sections, I’ll spray either Shea Moisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Spray OR Curls’ Curl Reviver Spray, then go on with coconut oil and gelle as usual. Again, that part isn’t mandatory and for all intents and purposes those sprays could easily be replaced with straight up water.

Then just brush through with the Denman. Each curl sproings up on its own! Yes, sproings is a technical term. Very technical.

And that’s it! I could stop there and call it a Wash&Go, but I like to twist the sections so that my super tight ringlet coils are stretched by the time they dry.

Next morning I spray Shea Moisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Dry Oil Mist and untwist accordingly. As I do this each curl clump falls away from its neighbor to the effect of happy, happy curls.

I<3Denman_4

So, there it is. I’m a Denman convert. But I’m also considering converting blogging techniques. As I shot these stills for you, demonstrating said curl fantasticalness I realized a desire to illustrate the movement that my hair has. Because that’s the thing, if you follow the LOC method, you may be thinking my hair would turn into a ramen noodle situation without the “lotion” element in place, but my hair moves and flows in the wind. It’s happy and healthy. No lotion necessary. So, I shot a little video and I thought, hey, why not try vlogging?!

What do you think? In the mood to watch some video? Keep an eye out for my Youtube Page!

I’m too much of a fan of the [printed] word to give up writing entirely, but I’m excited to add video to the repertoire.

 2016_Sunshine Signature_grey burst

Hair:

Natural Hair: Lifehack or Ghetto, My New Favorite Tool

Before all the lifehackery we’ve come to know and love here on the internet, there was just plain ol’ ghetto. Do you remember these times? You weren’t an urban pioneer overcoming obstacles as the internet today would have you believe, you were just using what you had to do what you needed. Problem solved. But lifehack just sounds so cool.

That said, two weeks ago Matt tossed a simple piece of plastic my way and my new favorite tool was born. Recognize this little guy? Comes with about 4 pair of men’s socks? Oh yeah. That’s bae.

LifehackHair_5

For real. It started as a joke, but really!

I was just telling Honeybee (pictured above, working on his latest obsession–cigar box banjos) that I was on the hunt for a better afro pick, but all the ones I’d seen recently had too many teeth. They caused frizz where I wanted body and, um, no thank you.

But take a look at this little guy. Mmhm. Yup. A sock-holder = the perfect pick. Behold, my hair in twists with clips at the end, clipless, and un-twisted. You can see all the parts from my twists and the curls clumps are too big.

You see what happened there? Subtle lift, part-hiding cuteness! And that was Day 1 hair (which is prone to shrinkage and frizz), see below for Day 2.

LifehackHair_1

Is my sock holder pick worthy of the lifehack title? Are you using any outlandish tools? Is there a better pick out there I’ve missed somehow? Post in the comments below! Don’t forget to Like & Subscribe for more.

Brianna Wray Signature

Hair:

Natural Hair: My Deep Conditioning Routine

I read and watch a lot of Natural Hair videos / blogs, especially in the beginning of my transition I was all about it. One thing I noticed almost immediately was the bloggers / vloggers I loved the most were talking up deep conditioning. I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t into at first. I’m thinking, I already condition my hair, how much more deep do I need to get?!

I was closed-minded to the idea because it sounded like a lot more work than it really is. Makes sense, it takes time to adjust to an entirely new hair type and now that I am, we are, it’s time to open up to new ideas. So what is it? The deep sort of implies a specialized conditioner, but that’s not [necessarily] the case. Really, it’s all about process.

Don’t get it twisted, there are specialized deep conditioners that you can buy if you want to be…extra. But before I could commit dollars to it, I experimented with using the conditioner already in play to great results. Then I talked Honeybee into trying it. He was hesitant to let some unknown conditioner in the mix until I told him he could use the one he already loves.

The trick is to get a shower cap especially for deep conditioning. This one came from Safeway at about $2.50. Wet your hair with warm water. Do this while you’re still dressed, before you shower. Then plop in your favorite conditioner. I’ve been working with my new favorite, Aussie Moist. Saturate the strands, then pull them back into an easy ponytail and pop that cap on. Your body heat is enough to make the conditioner penetrate deep. Then, 30-45 minutes later, shampoo and condition as usual. For my curly girls, you can take this opportunity to detangle and see immediate results. Twist out, braid out, flat twist, blow dry, flat iron, style as you do.

I noticed the difference even as my hair was still wet. Every strand slides along happily. With Matt’s hair we could really tell when it was dry. Omg. Like, magazine shiny hair.

Try it!

Afterwards I rinse out my shower cap and let it dry inside out. Then you’re already ready to deep condition again.

Booyah!

I’ve now been deep conditioning weekly for a month and most recently added Aussie’s 3 minute miracle into the mix. High end deep conditioners get real pricy real fast. This guy was a budget-respecting $3. I’ve got some frizz prone areas right up front (probably because I’m a side sleeper and tosser-turner), so I opted for the Smooth. Aussie also has a Strengthening option. But can you see, even in this quick selfie snap how shiny and defined these curls are?!

wpid-wp-1443471530091.jpeg

Natural Hair Update:

So, you guys, tell me if it’s clear or not, but on my header bar, if you hover your mouse over Hair: you’ll see My Healthy Hair Transition and Natural Hair Resources. My Healthy Hair Transition is the overall tag for every hair related post on the blog, but if you just click Hair: you’ll find the play-by-play of my hair on a semi monthly basis. Is that weird? Should I redo that? I dunno. Leave a comment with your suggestion! In the meantime, here’s some sexy 16 month hair for ya.

Brianna Wray Signature

Credits: Text & Sunshine image by Bri. Shower cap image.

Hair:

Natural Hair: Curls Product Review

Fred Meyer finally got some new-new in the curly section. I saw the word sulfate free and my inner product junkie got to purring. Curls goes on to say No sulfates, silicone, parabens, artificial oils, colors or fragrances. Bingo. Bring it.

Products:

Process:

I’ve tried this method both on freshly washed hair and on dirty hair [these photos are the fresh, clean hair. read; shrinkage.] What I’ve found is these products are lightweight enough that it doesn’t get gummy or gross no matter what day / cleanliness level of hair you’re working with. I started with the lavish curls moisturizer, which smells SO GOOD. I would say it’s the greatest hair product smell I’ve smelled. Which, for my curlies who used to get Soft & Beautiful relaxers, smells exactly like the old, super moisturizing conditioner included in the box. That stuff, smell alone, would practically undo all the damage the relaxers caused and it felt so thick and lovely. After they changed it, I would just throw out that stinky, drying stuff they switched to. Anyway, this stuff smells exactly like that used to except without the gross chemicals. Yasssss! One sniff and I felt like the universe was smiling at me. The only thing I don’t like is the thick mist from the spray nozzle. You know what I mean? If you’ve ever used SheaMoisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus spray–that spray is a nice, fine mist. The Lavish Curl Moisturizer almost sprays like some sort of cat-punishing nozzle. Sometimes it sprays more than I think I need. Meh, not a deal breaker.

To achieve this look, I did a twist-out breaking my hair into semi random sections, moisturizing, then adding the gelle. My hair was already detangled, so this process went quickly. On fresh clean, very subject to shrinkage hair, I’ll end my twists with little snap-clips. They do a great job of helping gravity stretch my tresses.

I always twist my hair before bed, allowing my hair to air-dry overnight which is great because it eliminates the need to use heat on my hair and makes getting dressed super fast in the mornings. I just put coconut oil on my fingertips and unravel my twists to find curly-glory. I used the curl control paste just for the edges. It also smells really good, by the way, like candy. It’s a lot thicker than I expected just looking at it. A little will go a long way.

And voila!

 

Sunshine's Curls

I don’t see myself doing too many reviews because I don’t use that many products in general, I only style my hair every few days and / or weekly and unless the product harms my hair I use it all until it’s gone. Budget, y’all. That said, it is a good idea for me to document my impressions at least for memory’s sake. Let me know if there are any new products you’ve checked out recently or if you’ve tried any other products from Curls.

Thanks for hanging with me, you guys. Check out my natural hair post archive, and my natural hair journey month-by-month. Don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe for more Wrays of Sunshine.

Brianna Wray Signature

**this is not a sponsored post, I’m just genuinely excited to find a great line of products.
Hair:

Natural Hair: 99% Natural

When I began this healthy hair transition some 11 months ago, I planned for a long LONG term transition. I’d seen vloggers who still had their straight ends, even with like 12-15 inches of curls! Sure, I thought, I’ll just grow new hair and keep the old, too. Nbd.

But the more bloggers and vloggers I read and watched, the more I noticed a recurring theme: mid-transition-chopping. That won’t happen to me, though. Right? Wrong.

I’ve been trimming the straight ends on a monthly basis, a very small amount to preserve what wee length I do have. Last month, though, something changed. So much of my new curls had grown in that I could actually go a few more days before resetting my twist-out. When that happened, when the curls were allowed to roam freely amongst the satin pillow, they started to morph from twist-out curls to their own pattern. This whole time I haven’t been focusing much on my curl pattern because all the advice I’d taken in from Youtube heroes said 1) Beware curl envy and 2) You won’t know what your curl pattern truly looks like until the straight ends are gone. So, as it began to peek through for the first time I had to face the facts, you guys.

Cute Curls

MY CURLS ARE CUTE!

Cute cute cute! Spirally, tiny, happy curlies! They look a lot like Mama Sunshine’s but are thicker (and a bit more prone to shrinkage, I think). CUTE-cute…until you get to the ends where they would deaden into a jagged, ugly straightness.

Until I couldn’t take it anymore.

Riddle me this: why, when you tell people you cut your own hair, is it assumed that you’ve undergone some sort of trauma? Can’t reasonable, responsible people snip their own tresses sometimes? When I find a reasonable, responsible person I’ll ask, but me, I handled it. And all that Youtube advice was right. My curls were cute with the straight ends weighing them down, but once I cut those off, things changed. It looked shorter than short without the extra weight.

Guess how many fucks were given. Guess! That’s right, folks. Zero fucks given.

Here we are, almost a year later, and my healthy hair journey is zipping right along.

The hair in the photo above is a 5 day old twist-out that was rubbed down using the loc method and shrunk to its heart’s content. Is it better to be lazy? No. Is it better to be able to make lazy look good. Yassssss.

Booyah, baby!

xo,

Sunshine

Hair:

Hair: Twist Out vs Braid Out

It’s not that I got bored with the same old twist outs, I was just excited to try something new. I hadn’t done braids in ages. 9 months of twisting, turns out, made me forget how. It took some doing, I un-braided and re-braided twice before it was worthy.

To be truly scientific I asked my Honeybee and friends what they thought of each style. The overall consensus to people not on a natural hair journey: it looks the same. Like a big, awesome bush, they said.

But I could tell.

Each had its own ups and downs. The braid out was wonderfully stretched. This is unprecedented for day one hair, but, on the down side, taking out the braids in the morning required ruining a few of the curls. This caused a frizzy ordeal that I find unacceptable. The front was so bad I had to twist and pin it out of the way. Which was cute, I guess, if that’s what I was going for. I should also mention that this was it. While one twist out can last 3, 4 or even 5 days depending on how I do it, this braid out needed redoing immediately. And ain’t nobody got that kinda time.

8 Months Braid Out

The twist out pictures are a bit darker cause it was an early morning on the way to work, but you can still see the glory of the curl.

9 Months

Can you tell the twist out curls are a bit tighter, but they last longer. By day 2 the curls are stretched the way I like em, but there’s still a day or two left before I have to re-twist.

You digging those hair clips? Get yours from Catfight Craft. Check out our Etsy page, too.

So you know who won that one for me. What do you think?

xo,

Sunshine

Hair:

Natural Hair: Curl Definition in the Face of Adversity

7 months natural. The only thing I wish is that it were bigger! Or that I could somehow go back in time and start the journey earlier. I love this crazy curly hair! Look at em in high contrast. The photo below is day 1 hair, mind the shrinkage.

Outstanding Curl Definition in the Face of Adversity

See, what had happened was: the other day I was super excited to try a new product. I’d freshly washed and detangled and I was heading toward twist-out bliss when I saw what looked like boogers in my hair. Turns out Kinky Curly Knot Today isn’t cool with As I Am smoothing gel. Not cool at all. Double rinsed that grossness out. Back at the mirror I thought, hey why put in a leave-in at all? Instead of oil, leave-in conditioner and gel, I just skipped it. I definitely don’t like that ramen noodle look that you get with too much gel, so I saturated each section with oil first, then a light-handed amount of gel, twisted and went about my business.

Lo and behold, it was cute! As I Am smoothing gel is definitely light-weight enough to provide hold without preventing movement. It’s weird when your hair doesn’t move in the wind, at least to me. But what’s even better is, without the leave in conditioner, there was no build-up preventing curl definition. Those curls lasted 4 solid days! By the 3rd day I didn’t even do a mini re-twist before bed. Of course when I woke up the shape was wonky, but I was able to fluff and step out the door with the quickness. Yes, yes, y’all!

I’ve since retested the method (both after using a clarifying shampoo as well as a co-wash, then conditioning) and it’s the bees knees. Now what to do with all this leave-in conditioner?

natural hair: 7 mo

The photo above is day 3. Can you imagine! The past few months each twist-out has only been lasting a a day or two at most. 3 days looking this good bizarre and amazing. Methinks it’s also important to keep oneself from getting into a rut. Right now I feel like my hair is so short (which isn’t necessarily true, but looks that way because, you know, shrinkage) that there aren’t a lot of styling options just yet. Down, basically. Or the occasional updo. But I try to vary my parts, at least. Side, middle, other side, diagonal, diagonal the other way. And accessories are always welcome! I’m wearing two clips here, cause, why not? Get yours at Catfight Craft.

xo,

Sunshine

Hair:

Natural Hair: Anatomy of a Bad Hair Day

Can I just unleash the struggle for minute, y’all, please? So far in this natural hair journey I’ve been zooming right along. I started with lots of help from Youtube and the blogosphere, finding decent products practically up front and things were great. Now that I’m branching out to experiment with new products the results are not necessarily consistent. (Which, of course, demands a very scientific method approach to determine which product it was that brought on the unfavored coiffure.) All those poorly-lit science labs flashed through my mind as I rinse out what I think is the offending product. I’m still in the shower with wet hair, but I can already tell my hair is dry and sad. Scientific method smyerrific blefid, I say. I can fix this. I throw in a coconut deep conditioning treatment that’d been on deck for trial. That’s where we begin. Looking rough.

Bad, bad hair day

But besides whatever hold/shine issues the products cause, I can’t get around the overall shape of my hair. I think it’s crying out for a haircut, but I also still want to wait until it’s longer. I’m only six months into this thing. Who knows how long that might last with this weird puff situation. A lady can only stand so much struggle.

All that said, I shared my situation with my bestie and my mister and do you know what they both said?! Your hair looks great, they said. I don’t know what you’re talking about, they balked. So I’ll say to you what I said to them, dear readers:

When you have a bad hair day and everyone who knows you best and sees you most often says they can’t tell the difference, what does that say about the good hair days?! Am I imagining that these good hair days even exist?

Natural Hair 6 mo

Struggling with a smile, though, cause that’s how I do.

Tah,

Sunshine

Hair:

Hair: Transitioning Routine

Now that I’m three months deep on this transition from relaxed to natural hair, I’ve been able to piece together all the varying bits of information from all over the interwebs to create a routine that is easy, quick and works. So far my experience has been mixed, but even on a bad curly hair day, my hair is infinitely better than straight. Say wha?!

Quick, easy and awesome natural hair this way, please.

Continue reading

Hair:

Natural Hair Resources for a Newb Like Me

Remember that style post last month? Well that day was the last day I straightened my hair. Or applied any heat to it. Coming from a heat junky like me that’s a revolution.

On a good day it would look like this. Meh at best. My strands were thin, dry and a bit lifeless.

Then I started wearing it in flat-ironed waves. All the while relaxing my hair, but wishing it was curly. It really hadn’t occurred to me that my hair could be curly on its own. Even considering my mom’s gorgeous curlies. My dad has a very different texture and the two have mixed in me to create…well, I don’t really know. I remember struggling with it as a kid, but I wouldn’t’ve really known what to do with any type of hair at that point. I was a kid! I have no sisters and, again, mom’s hair is entirely different. She’s got perfect ringlet coils.

Mama Sunshine

Youtube started, for me, as a resource for cute ass kitten videos. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon an entire natural hair community. There are a metric fuck-ton of vloggers and bloggers out there. For the past month or so I’ve been a fiend and I thought it might be useful to compile some favorites if only so I don’t lose track of their awesomeness.

Thanks to natural hair bloggers I know:

  • you don’t know what your true texture/curl pattern is until you chop off everything below the line of demarcation
  • it is totally possible to transition slowly, ie without the big (bald) chop
  • that said, most long-term transitioners grow weary of styling contrasting hair types
  • hair envy is a real thing, but with all the curlies out there, you can find someone amazing in every type
  • curly hair is prone to dryness and there’s basically nothing organic cold pressed coconut oil can’t do
  • natural hair is bigger, sexier and (if cared for properly) healthier than relaxed hair
  • easier and faster are two words that were not listed in the factoid above
  • natural hair girls love walks in the rain
  • it’s called a journey for a reason; natural hair takes patience
  • satin pillowcases and bonnets are mandatory

So, let’s talk favorites.

curlynikki.com

Obviously there’s no blog more on it than Curly Nikki. My heart skipped a beat when I saw curly celebrity interviews of Cree Summer, Tracee Ellis Ross, Corinne Bailey Rae, and so many more! But Nikki doesn’t just stick to celebrities, there are incredible transition stories and interviews with around the way curlies, too. And, what I really appreciate is her in-depth hair knowledge including the science behind our strands. Like all my favorite bloggers, reading her updates is like talking to a buddy. Get it, Nikki!

naturalhairrules.com

Tamara has some great beginners tips and tricks such as this transitioning guide.

Taren Guy

Taren is all over the place. She’s on tour, she’s in salons and I hope she’s unstoppable. She’s all about that big, big hair.

naturallygg

These two sisters keep it real, fun and positive. They also were the first Youtubers I saw to address fitness and hair. Sunshine likes to work out, y’all and having natural hair is easier than relaxed in that regard. Hooray!

glamtwinz334

Kelsey and Kendra are adorable. They’re stylists and actually have cosmetology licenses, so you can trust them on their makeup tutorials and they have a cute video on their natural hair journey as well. Their accents remind me of the south!

NaturallyQuinn

Quinn’s hair is gorgeous. My favorite video she’s done is on trimming while maintaining length.

Alexxxhes

Alexxxhes really gave me the courage to do this long-term thang. Because, see, despite the fact that most of the videos I watched showed girls who wanted to go for longer, a lot of them seem to get sick of the two textures around 8 months and chop-chop. Not saying I won’t do that, but it’s good to see that going 20 months or more is possible. I love that she twisted the top and then braided the relaxed ends to blend those two textures.

Naptural85

This lady is a YouTube legend. She was one of the pioneers and still puts out amazing content.

UrbanBushBabes

Two ladies with two very different textures of fabulous hair talk pros and cons while keeping the focus on healthy hair, not length.

You Natural Hair Girls Make Me Sick

Of course the natural hair community isn’t perfect. The title of this lady’s video got my attention and I had to click it. There are times when I truly burst into tears from laughing so hard. She is driving and then takes a phone call from her sister. Haha! Perhaps not the kindest tone/words she could have used, but she makes a point. There does seem to be a lot of the same type of natural hair featured in ads and when your hair is frustrating to deal with and you turn to Youtube for help and see only people with “easier to manage” hair or people who’ve always grown hair quickly because it’s in their genes to do so, it can be discouraging.

Every Natural Hair Video Ever

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Smoothiefreak, Akilah, takes the joke to the max. It tickles me.

So I’m almost 3 months into my journey. I have an inch and half of new growth. So far my favorite style is a good old-fashioned flat-twist out. They don’t take too long and last about 2 good  days (3 if I’m pushing it). I’ve had a genuine bad hair day, you can tell cause I made my ugly face. Oddly enough I got many compliments that day. Oh, and I did an experiment with sponge rollers, versus hard rollers, versus bantu knots. All kinds of trial and error, mostly with good results.

I feel like there’s at least one more curly out there that I’m forgetting, but that’s the beauty of the internet, yes? You can always update later. What do you think of all this natural goodness? What are your favorite blogs out there?

xo,

Sunshine

Updated to include the Resource I forgot!