Sometimes I think my hair doesn’t grow. . .

Ever since I cut off all my hair and have anxiously been watching it as it grows back. I found the habit of length checks I first found them on Just Grow Already (http://justgrowalready.com/) when I wasn’t sure if I was transitioning or just stretching out my relaxers. The periodic picture check of visible growth helped with the million of other days when my hair felt like it was standing still, or worse the days when it felt like it was creeping back into my head.  So randomly I would stand pull my hair over my shoulders and compare the length of my hair to my tattoo on my back!

Looking something like this. . .

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Then I decided to loc my hair and it really felt like it was creeping back into my head, let me tell you the shrinkage in those first few months of locked life is real! And for the last year and a half I have pretty much felt like I am trying to make up for lost ground, work back to where my hair was before. But then today on my time hop it showed me a picture of my hair in a snapchat selfie exactly a year ago, and I instantly remembered why I loved those length checks! They show you that it is worth it, patience the frustration and all the retwisting was worth it because look . . . IMG_3607.JPG

My hair it grew!

So be patient,  take pictures, keep retwisting, learning the ways that your hair works best, keep it up because it is all worth it!

-Rae

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Beautiful in Every Shade!

For years my hair has consumed me. Even before I started my natural hair journey, 2 years ago.. . 2 years has it really been that long?!

I would think about how I could make my hair straighter, more like my friends, why didn’t my hair curl like theirs , why didn’t it grow like theirs? Then I would cut it every month or so, getting shorter and shorter, going red, pink, purple then black, a light brown and then back to red, my hair was my obsession, or my hobby as some might say.

Finally I cut it all off, shaved my head and decided to start fresh, now that wasn’t the beginning of my natural hair journey because over the course of the next year I only lasted with a TWA for about 3 months before I relaxed my hair and had an ultra cute pixie. . no the start of my natural hair journey started about a year later. I simply decided I wasn’t going to relax or cut my hair for 2 months that seemed reasonable at the time.

Then 2 months came and went and I decided to go for 6 months, and then in that 6 months I got engaged and decided I wasn’t going to relax or cut my hair till the wedding. (I did trim off the relaxed ends from time to time after about 10 months)

All in all I transitioned for 17 months before cutting almost all of my relaxed ends off. In this time I learned one of the most valuable lessons I have yet to learn in my 24 years. . . BLACK HAIR IS BEAUTIFUL, JUST THE WAY IT IS!

I grew up in an all white town, in an all white family, with all white friends . I loved their hair, to me it screamed versatile, where my hair screamed messy. My mom wouldn’t let me relax my hair until I was 18 but she had no idea what to do with my hair so it was most often in a poof on top of my head. ( A poof I now wish I could pull off again) and that is what I thought natural hair meant, that you were constrained to having an afro (which my younger self was not confident enough to pull off) or wearing your hair up. In a now infamous school picture I took my hair down without telling m mom right before the picture and ended up with a kind of sticking out straight from my head not down and not cute look. All I wanted was to wear my hair down and not up.. my hair loved to reach for the sky!

But over these past two years I discovered more styles for my hair than I ever I wore it in twists, braids, wash and gos, twist outs, I wore it up, down, in a protective style, I changed my hair style and color about every 2 months without damaging a thing and I LOVED IT!. I finally found a way to express myself through my hair . . .all by wearing “Black” styles.

Along the way there was a boy, my now husband who has repeatedly told me how beautiful my black is, he has loved every style every change every kink. He has reminded me over and over again that I am beautiful just the way I am. I tell him all the time that . . .”He loves my hair, , and for that I love him.”

Now I am off to a new journey I have decided to loc my hair in 2016, I started my baby locks on my collar bone length hair and trimmed the ends to start healthy. Time to remind the world again that no matter what natural or relaxed hairstyle I or anyone else chooses, we are professional, we are intelligent, we are beautiful and no standard of professionalism can stop that, it is time to change the standard.

Because no matter what, you are Beautiful in every shade.

 

Welcome to 2016.

❤ Kelsi Rae

 

 

 

Natural Journey, 2 years!

I haven’t relaxed, majorly cut, or colored my hair in 2 years! That is a major accomplishment for someone who regularly did all of those things before that! I set out to transition and did so for 18 months

I went through a lot of hair styles throughout this journey, I rocked Marley twists, crochet braids, clip in extensions, wash and go’s, flat twists, two strand twists, twist outs, braids and about every other natural hair style I could think of. Most recently I decided to instal faux locs, I have been trying to decide if I wanted locs for a long time, pretty much since the beginning of my journey, I wanted to wait until after I got married,

I got married in August and installed my faux locs in October, three months later and I am more than ever convinced that I want to lock my hair. So here it goes, starting a new journey, true to my self I have scoured the internet, youtube and the locked nation of ladies in order to make my start and I am prepared for the stages of growth I hope. I have investigated palm rolling, interlocking, the pros and cons of product, should I have a loctition, should I start with extensions and I think I am ready to go. . . so let’s see 2016 here we come. . .

Here are a few of my styles over the past two years. . . updates on the locks as they come!

❤ Kelsi Rae

What is up with my hair?

The past few months have been some of the busiest of my life, with graduating from grad school to teaching summer school, then to getting married and going on our honeymoon now starting my first year as a teacher with my own classroom.And I have to admit that during that time my hair took the backseat, I became the wash and go queen, which actually works for my hair for the most part. But then this last month, I straightened my hair for the wedding, the first exposure to heat since May, it was beautiful and exactly what I wanted but it hurt my hair since the stylist didn’t apply proper protectant for my type of hair. Then there was Mexico… my hair became so brittle and dry from the choline, and salt water and over all neglect it suffered that weak, so much so that when we returned my hair was put into a semi-permanant bun state because it was in such sorry condition.

So it is time, with life getting back into a more normal routine, my hair needs some love and the first act of love I gave it was Marley Twists.

I have done them before but they never quite turned out like I had imagined so this time I followed How To Black Hair’s tutorial for each step of the way, with one exception, she used 8 pieces of marley hair for each twist and I only used 4. The video can be found here.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHNYCmMZ6Eg 

And the results were fantastic. IMG_2523

I used 6 packs of AFRI- Napturally  Reggae twisthair in 3 different colors. I used 4, 1B/33 and this one T1B/BUG for a little pop of color. FullSizeRender 23This added a red/pink ombre to the bottom of the twists, I love it.

This twists turned out thicker than I had done in the past and I like it, they are light weight and cleaner.

So now I begin the rehab process from a summer of fun. weddings, life, and overall hair neglect. Lets get back to it!

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❤ Kelsi Rae

17 month post relaxer check in!

So 17 months ago I decided I was going to grow my hair out and do it without relaxers, I was going to go natural. Over the next 17 months i have become slightly obsessed with my hair, I have tried more styles than I could count, trying to find a style that didn’t require heat and was low maintenance  that I could manage on my own.

In those 17 months I haven’t gone to a hair stylist until last month when I wanted to have my hair straightened for the first time in months. I found that I loved playing with my hair and watching it grow. the different lengths brought different curl patterns some I loved and some I hid. I can remember years like 23 of them longing for straight hair and now when I straighten my hair I long for my big curls, I find myself trying to make my curls bigger.

Now I have found that I can rock the wash and go again. Today on my time hop I came across my wash and go from last year, my wash and go has improved 110% in the last year. I wear my hair in a wash and go most days now, partly because I get the most compliments with it, it is easy and my hair loves it.

Here are the two pictures comparing my wash and go. ..

What do you think?

Also any suggestions on good leave in conditioners that won’t weigh down my curls?

My Wash and Go 1 year ago today!
My Wash and Go 1 year ago today!
Wash and go today!
  Wash and go today!

Love Your Curls

Love your curls. What a simple concept really. Teach your children that their natural hair is beautiful and it will perpetuate beauty throughout the world. However that seems to be such a difficult concept even today. We are trying to teach people to love themselves no matter who they are, black, brown, gay, straight, transgender. And yet we still have a commercial about teaching girls to love their curly hair?

For some reason that baffles me, I hope that all of these things are taught and that in future generations everyone feels comfortable and loves themselves in their own skin. However I feel like we still shouldn’t have to teach girls that their curls are beautiful, they should know it! When did straight hair become the height of beauty? There are so many great examples of women with curly hair that are gorgeous but as little girls we still look up to and identify with the straight haired beauties.

I can remember growing up when my mom would not let straighten my hair, (This was the case until I was 18). And I would envy all of my straight haired friends, I was convinced that their hair was magical and that everyday they woke up and didn’t have to do anything in order for it to be amazing. And while as I have grown up. And put my hair through hell trying to make it that magical straight hair that all my friends woke up with everyday.  I have found that they while they do generally have less prep work for their hair than I do. They also think my hair is amazing, just like I do theirs. My straight haired friends  This Hair Envy if you will is what led me to start this blog, and what concerns me today.

I cried when I watched this commercial, because I am still teaching myself to do this. Love my Curls; here I am 23 almost 24 years old trying to love my natural texture again. To wake in the morning, look in the mirror, say “My hair is HUGE,” and smile. Say this with a huge smile on my face because it was exactly what I wanted. I still find myself more often than not saying, ” My hair Is HUGE, and trying to find ways to make it smaller.” After a year of transitioning to my natural hair I am working it out, I just find myself not feeling as pretty when my hair is in its huge state. IMG_0689

This was my first successful Bantu knot out and I just cut all the relaxed ends off of my bangs and now have these curly bangs. This was day one I wore them out and by day two they are pinned up again. . . lets make my hair smaller shall we?

So at 23, as a almost completely natural haired women, I am reteaching and reexamine my Hair Envy, I am transferring my envy from the straight haired beauties of the world, because I will never have that hair, no matter how hard I will it to be. And becoming envious of the women in the natural haired world. Even though I may never have hair like those beauties, at least it is more of an attainable goal. And that way when I wake up in the morning, look in the mirror I will be like, ” My hair is HUGE, damn girl, you look good.”

So moving forward, lets teach our daughters that we love our hair, that we love them no matter how big their hair is, who they love or what they want to do when they grow up. Let’s just teach our children; Love.

So thank you Dove, I will: Love My Curls. 

❤ Kelsi Rae 

Photo Friday 2. . . I hope you all had a Merry Christmas.

You know you are going natural when you get excited that your hair is getting bigger as opposed to longer.

This week I tried my second curl former set on dry hair, and I think that is the way to go for me. It lets me retain some of my length and over night I was able to achieve the definition of curl that I wanted.

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As you all know this week was Christmas, we headed to my future in-laws for the week. I had hoped to maintain this set over the week, but unfortunately even with my newly bought just for this occasion satin bonnet ( I forgot my trusted satin pillowcase at home) The curls fell by the third day and I was left putting my hair into its usual bun. I tried a flat twist out overnight on christmas and the results were fabulous. So maybe that is the key to maintaining my curl former sets. . a flat twist after over night.

I also was overly excited that my hair is now long enough to do one continuous twist all the way around my head. IMG_0341

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Results of the flat twist.

Now for some photos of my week. As a teacher I got off of work last Friday and will stay off until the 5th of January. YAY! So all of the outings must happen in these two weeks. They started with a roommate lunch date and a trip to zoo lights to wish my friends who are moving to Zambia fare-well.
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Now for my favorite present from christmas.. . given we have not had Christmas with my mom yet. . marriage is all about compromise right? But so far my favorite present are these ornaments from my future mother-in-law. She made us ornaments with pictures of us throughout our relationship and some with our initials K B H. H for my soon to be last name. They are so thoughtful and sweet, I love it.
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I hope your Christmas was blessed with happiness, family and friends and good hair. As a girl going natural I know my wish is always for good hair, I bet some of you can relate.
This is my favorite season of the year, because even if you do not celebrate Christmas there seems to be a cheer in the air.

Now onto thinking about what to do with my hair for new years eve. . . . any suggestions. . .

Love your do and grow that fro. .
❤ Kelsi Rae

Photo Friday. . . #1

Photo on 12-19-14 at 10.25 AM ( The final product, and yes this is in my classroom so there are some lovely sentence stems behind me.)

Why not just upload a ton of pictures one day. . I don’t have a reason so that is exactly what is going to happen. . . So I bought a christmas present for my hair, Curlformers, I have decided to try and keep my hair out of braids for a little while mostly because my students get really confused with my ever changing do, so I tried curlformers which I found extremely easy to install, and sat under the dryer for about an hour, before removing. However I had to do bigger chunks of hair than i would have liked and so my hair was not completely dry when I removed the curlformers. The peices of hair that were dry created perfect spiral curls that I will dream of until I redo this style but overall they came out well and I will definitely be keeping these around. So for the photos right. . .

IMG_0255-1 IMG_0261-1 IMG_0264-1 IMG_0267The progression from curlformer to ready for school, the only difference in the bottom two pictures is that I have put on some eyeliner and added a headband.

It is hard for me to believe my hair is down to my collar bone when straightened and doesn’t even touch my shoulders when curly. .. but hey after seeing pictures of others, that is nothing in the shrinkage world.

So what do you think?

Happy last day of school fellow teachers. .. we are out for winter break for two weeks now and boy do the students need it. We are taking 3-5 grade roller skating today. .. wish me luck!

Love your do and grow your fro

❤ Kelsi Rae

Dear White People. . . A review through the eyes of the hair obsessed

So when I saw the trailer for the movie Dear White People I was excited,  I couldn’t wait to see this “complex” black movie that had more substance to the characters than a Tyler Perry movie. Something that looked at the relations of twenty something whites and blacks. So when it came out I drug my white boyfriend along and said, come on it will be funny you will like it. Thinking to myself, shit you might hate this but this movie is for me.

So as a self proclaimed hair obsessed I watched the evolution of the four main characters hair throughout the film, and noticed some interesting trends, so lets look at those four main characters.

Sam- the mixed girl that becomes the face of the black power movement at her college through her Dear White People radio show. They make sure that you know that she is conflicted about where she fits in, is she too light skinned to run this movement, does the term Redbone offend her? You bet it does.  So she rocks every updo you can think of. She makes sure that you can tell her hair is natural throughout the entire movie. But you know being a mixed girl her hair might not be as curly as some so she doesn’t go and rock the full on fro, and you never see her hair down until. .. enter the white guy she is seeing on the side. Of course none of her black movement friends know about this.  It is not until she accepts her ” malato” ( as her white man calls her) ways and steps out of the spotlight to do what she loves that we see her beautiful hair out of it’s updo. When she embraces this “true self” of hers she then wears her hair down, and of course walks off into the sunset holding the hand of said white guy.

Leroy- Oh ya you have to throw a gay guy into the mix to make it complicated right? So Leroy the black guy that never fit in with anyone in high school, felt more discriminated against by the black students than the white students. Case and point someone in the movie tells him that ” you are only technically black” he has no home at the school. And is rocking a huge, unkept afro. He slowly meanders his way through all of the houses on campus and ends up back at the traditionally black house, he then finds himself at the most racist party and finds his place in the community. Is surrounded by his fellow black students and oh ya, gets a fresh cut. Now that he doesn’t have to hide behind that fro right, no need for that stereotype anymore. No way he could have just liked it.

CoCo- Oh CoCo, she is probably the one I am supposed to identify with, right, this girl that doesn’t feel strongly about black/white relations. Doesn’t come into college wanting to change the world. And maybe even wants to be white a little to much. And yet here I am writing a very racially fueled blog, guess I don’t fit into one of these pretty boxes, or maybe I am just more like Sam. But CoCo she is the only girl prominent in the movie that has a weave, or straight hair for that matter. You know, if you care about your race you are clearly a natural girl. Because how you choose to style your hair completely defines your stance on political issues. CoCo ends up dressed up at the “black party” in a white wig, and her line that stuck out to me, ” They don’t give a damn about no Harriet Tubman, they buy Jay-Z tickets. . . because they want to be us and for one night they got to be.”

Troy- Troy the son of the dean of students who has had a grudge with the white president of the school since forever. Troy that dated the presidents daughter because his dad wanted him too. Troy that became just a little bit “blacker” when he was around the white students so that they thought he was the cool guy, but was very “put together” around his fellow black students so that they would respect him or something. He made it clear to everyone that he did fresh cuts, he made it clear that his hair was important to him, important to keep short and clean. But of course gotta keep those waves in it, unkept nappy hair just wont do. Until he begins to stand up to his daddy and embrace himself, then it is a sideways cap and shaggy hair.

It is amazing to me the things I can see through the lenses of hair. And it is not that I have a problem with any of these characters I identify with a piece of all of them. But that is just it, a piece. Making this complex black movie still tried to put all of the pieces of a culture that has changed and evolved into pretty little boxes that are easy to identify. Sam wrote a book in this move that lets people take quizzes and identifies them as, oofta, nose-job, or 100. These boxes in themselves are a problem, what no one can ever try to succeed in a certain way without being an oofta, I can’t love my white boyfriend without being a nosejob?  I have made it a point in my life to stay clear of debates like this one, and here I am. . . so maybe I am more like one of these 4 characters than I want to believe. But here I am and that is not going to change.

If you loved this move that is great, I do not want a debate out of this . . this is just what the hair told me.

Yours truly

The Hair obsessed