Current Favorites June 2017

I’m back again, this time beating my keyboard to share my current favorite hair products. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done a natural hair post mostly because in order to have consistent hair health, you have to be consistent, doing the same things. It got hard to create posts saying the same thing.

Over time, though, I’ve come to notice bigger changes in my curls and that some products I knew and loved in the past have, maybe, change their formulas sending me back down the curly aisle. Now there’s more to share.

So we’ll begin with the one thing my hair always wants: coconut oil. Cold-pressed, virginal, it’s everything my hair needs in the realm of moisture. I put this on first and judge other products by how well they capture the oil throughout the week.

So lately I’ve been digging these Cantu products. At first I used this Leave In Conditioner as a deep conditioner and that was great. Really great, actually. So great that it was months and months later before I considered using it for its actual purpose. I don’t even use Leave-In Conditioner in my regular styling routine [that’s a whole other post], but I was drawn to try it hoping to prevent the product residue from this Twist & Lock Gel. I tried it that way, meh. My hair still felt a little heavy and dirty. Today I tried the Leave-In with Eco-Styler Gel. Crunchy now, but will last all week, so no complaints.


So I’ve just passed my 3-Year Natural-versary! Can you believe it? When I started I knew for sure it would take five whole years to get the hair I wanted, but honestly I’m there now. Of course, two years from now, well, I can’t wait! Keep an eye out for some videos on my Youtube Channel as well. Leave your requests in the comments.


See you soon,



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.


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!


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.


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

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.


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.


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

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.


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?!


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.

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


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!



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.



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.



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: Transitioning Routine”


Hair is, well certainly can be, a sensitive subject in the African-American community. Can I touch it? Is that a weave? It’s tough. I definitely recall being young and struggling with managing my tresses. My mom’s hair is entirely different, she has perfect loose natural curls while my dad’s is true tight curls. I would spend hours in front of the mirror, arms up, struggling.

I started getting relaxers something like 15 years ago and never looked back. The easy maintenance won me over, but what was once long, thick healthy hair slowly got shorter and progressively more damaged. It definitely didn’t help that I was a major heat junky, too. I wouldn’t buy a flat-iron that didn’t go above 300 degrees, y’all. An addict!

Sometime in early adulthood I attempted some curls and the reaction from friends wasn’t pleasant. But it’s wasn’t so much of a peer pressure thing, it was the fact that my friends were hair care professionals so I took their opinions a bit farther than I should’ve and back to the relaxers I went.

These days, though, I just couldn’t justify it anymore. The relaxer I used was usually around $7 every month which is basically just a nappy hair tax, (read: bullshit) so I decided to go natural. My last relaxer was 2 months ago and I’m now able to see the beginnings a great new thing. I did lots of research and have many Youtube videos of information rattling around my brain. I picked up some products and even experimented with flat-twists.

So here’s to something new, natural and healthy. I’ll check in every couple months or so on the progress, but in the meantime leave me some products or tips or encouragement in the comments if you have em. I can use all the help I can get!


Naturally Yours,