Tag "Hair Blog"

Hair Raising

When it comes to selecting the perfect hair and beauty products the infinite amount of options can make the task at hand rather daunting! The vast majority of us are left with the few options that we see in the stores and our choices are usually made for us by the constant stream of magazine and television adverts out there. When it comes to hair care people with Afro hair are a lot more limited here in the UK; not only to the available products but also to the stores where we can buy them from. In truth I can’t complain being in London but even I have to pretty much take out half of my day if I am running low on supplies! Travelling across the city to the specialist stores that carry products for my hair type is one thing, getting advise and guidance is quite another…

A few months ago I started collaborating with the amazing app the Entertainer, available here in the UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa. The app is geared at bringing incredible deals and offers to people all over the place with a vast interest in entertainment, fine dining, travel and leisure. I was recently given the opportunity to have a personalised hair consultation and treatment in one of the incredible salons teaming up with the app and of course I jumped at the chance!

The team at CV Hair & Beauty were incredible and gave me a fresh and new salon experience. I was literally made to feel like a VIP from the minute I arrived, everyone was extremely friendly, fun and helpful. I have to say this is the first Salon I had ever been to who specialised in all styles of hair from European to Asian and of course Afro styles. I’m used to being in a jam packed Afro hair salon for appointments that stem for HOURS full of endless chit chat. I was really pleased to find that I was not only quickly taken care of and given a series of treatments, I was also getting a whole new education about Afro hair care! The amazing stylist Ian and his team treated me to my first ever Indian head massage (something you must try if you haven’t already) and they helped me put together a series of products perfect for solving some of my many hair problems…

As some of you may already know my hair type is described in the Afro hair community as 4C, this basically means that I don’t have a defined curl pattern and my hair pretty much grows in every possible direction and can also be very dry and coarse. During a deep shampoo and conditioning treatment Ian and his assistant were asking me some really interesting questions about my hair and about some of the issues I face with styling and general maintenance. It was mentioned that my scalp is warmer than most people’s which can result in build up from product, flaking and dandruff. There was me thinking I just had problems in that area for no identifiable reason! Seeing my hair in it’s natural state the team were then able to put together an amazing hair care package for me using a series of products from the System Professional Collection by Wella. These products are only available in selected salons and I have to say they are incredible! I was surprised that these sort of products would even be suitable for my hair type but they are created to work for people of all hair types, each item geared to target specific problems. What I loved is that the products recommended to me were created to repair damaged, broken or split strands, deeply condition and treat the hair and they all smelled absolutely incredible! If you head on over to the System Professional website and fill out the quick questionnaire a selection of products specifically created to help your problems will be recommended to you, generating what’s known as your personalised care system and energy code. I would definitely give this a go regardless of what you hair type may be!

The products recommended to me from my personalised energy code.

To finish things off my hair was then topped off with the most gorgeous chocolatey scented leave in product, Dark Oil from Sebastian. Created with sandalwood, cedarwood and argan oil this amazing product will deep condition, smooth and protect your hair from UV damage and will help with styling.

The team at CV Hair & Beauty gave me a series of samples to use on my hair and I have to say I loved how soft and healthy my hair felt after my treatments and following the various washes that took place afterwards. I left the salon with a perfectly trimmed and pulled out Afro! The first time I had ever worn one, just before my shoot with Studio52. I felt like the ultimate Afro diva and thoroughly enjoyed the experience! I will most definitely be taking another trip down there in the future only this time i’ll be sure to get some beauty treatments in too! A huge thanks to the team for their time, care and expertise, I loved letting you loose on my fro!

For more details about the Entertainer and the amazing deals they have check them out here or head on over to the app store on your phone. Here’s a little something I filmed with them when I was at the London Bridge Experience And Tombs.

Remember whatever you wear, feel fabulous in it and wear it with a smile!

Another Part Of Me

A lot has been happening recently. I’ve been on a train that just doesn’t seem to want to stop with loads of things happening with the blog, a busy work schedule and making an effort to pack in more time with family friends. Whilst things have been hectic and a lot has been shifting and changing; I’ve had a lot of time to reflect and evaluate on some things, of course the first thing that needed some personal attention…me.

I’ve experienced a year that has been full of drama and so I had to take some time to take care of a few personal health issues. With all the time I’ve had to address with regards to my body I have also been looking at how I think about myself and, how I treat myself. I’ve come to realise that being in my twenties has been a really awkward period. Of course you hear people speak about how much they loved this time in their life and how they wish they could re-live it all. In my case i’m really looking forward to getting into my thirties. I have heard many women say that this is the decade when you really start to embrace yourself, find your feet and really take life by the reigns. I’m in the final year of my twenties and with that I have lost some very special people in my life, made some incredible friends, seen some amazing countries and ended some personal and professional relationships. The one thing I have spent a lot of time on the past few years is building my self confidence.

I spent many years working as a professional singer and musician alongside doing boring and mundane day jobs. Music is and will always be my biggest passion and I will always spend my days and nights with something amazing playing along and surely enough, becoming the soundtrack to some of my memories. I miss the stage, I do. It’s not something I’ve hidden but the truth is, in time I came to realise that the music industry is full of many corrupt people and circumstances and I never wanted anything to dull my love of the craft or the art form. With this and my increasing age I decided to keep music as a huge love and passion that I will always create and perform but without putting so much pressure on myself.

Confidence is something that for me comes with experience. People who have known me forever will say that I have an abundant amount of it but in truth that would only be in some areas of my life. I can take a stage and sing at full force in front of as many as fifteen thousand people and do it with conviction and confidence. Why is this? Music is what I do and it’s one of the things I know how to do best and something I have always excelled in. Having said all of that everyone knows that a huge part of a good performance is the look of the performer, whether that be in their clothing, make up or body type. The music industry is one that appreciates and puts a strong emphasis on image, beauty and sex appeal. Many years ago talent was at the forefront but as we came into this new century in some parts of the world this took a back seat to image.

I was always aware of my weight and my dress size and until I reached 25 years old, this affected every area of my day to day life especially my life on stage. I have always loved fashion and it wasn’t until I started to really see myself as a beautiful, sexy woman that I embraced fashion for myself and didn’t just appreciate it on others. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone and into new circumstances is how I build my confidence. I started with bright and bold colours, edgy and fresh clothing options and wearing clothes that previously I would have been to scared to even try on! I felt empowered, liberated and fun and, with this my blog was born 3 years ago. I try to get women to see what they can do with their look despite whatever demons they may have to face from their past or present life using myself as an example.

A few months ago I was challenged once again when financial circumstances and the voices of many friends encouraged me to wear my hair natural. I spoke about his in detail in my ‘Back To My Roots‘ post. Being of mixed race I have always made the joke that my hair is the blackest part of me lol. My hair totally natural, right out of the shower without blow dryers, wide tooth combs and various products shrinks down into a tight Jackson 5 style afro! I have what’s described as 4C hair; meaning that I have an undefined curl type and my hair is extremely tight, coarse and can be rather dry. I decided to do a photoshoot to mark the final year of my twenties and so, I returned to the studio that shot me on my milestone 21st year; Studio 52. In many ways I feel I have come full circle and have learned to really love every part of myself including my insane fro and, even though I will always enjoy wearing a good wig or weave, I wanted to shoot myself without any barriers and so I donned a full afro!

A couple of shots from my shoot marking my 21st year with Studio 52

For clothing I decided to wear some hot an sexy items from one of my favourite brands Lane Bryant. Wearing their Lightweight Strapless Bra with detachable straps (the first ever strapless bra I have found with perfect fit and support). With this I pulled on their Point D’Espirit Tie-Neck Top. I don’t wear this one as well as Ashley Graham but I still had to have it myself lol. I thought a pair of wet look leggings that I’ve had for ages would go great for the look I was after. Finishing off with these amazing Over The Knee Faux Suede Boots, some large gold hoops and I was set. I wanted to bring out the R&B diva in me, only this time with a new swag and new found confidence.

By and large i’m still the same woman i’ve always been, only a little older and now with a new perspective of life, myself and others. You know what I always say…

Remember whatever you wear, feel fabulous in it and wear it with a smile!

Back To My Roots

You know it’s funny sometimes things happen to you for reasons you don’t expect and when you don’t see them coming. In my case I’m talking about my latest achievement on my journey to confidence. What I’m about to discuss for some people would seem like a small thing but if you stick with me for a few minutes I’ll do my best to explain. A few weeks ago I decided to take the plunge and go natural. What do I mean by go natural? I’m speaking specifically about my hair. Most women know what it is to wear their natural hair and even what it is to treat and style it. I really had never had the chance to do so until just over a month ago. Let me take you back a bit…

Me as a tot with my dreads

When I was a child my hair was in dreadlocks until I was about 14-15 years old. Both my mother and father have dreadlocks and my mum later told me it was never her intention to lock my hair but as a child I simply would not let her style it without bringing my house into a state of chaos as I screamed in protest while she worked to style my hair. Of course my hair was a lot softer as a child but I have always had extremely thick and tight hair. Growing up I never really thought much about my hair I would wash it weekly and then sit down to let my mother twist my stray hairs into my locks. It was when I got into secondary school I realised that I wanted to change my hair and try new styles but that would mean doing the dreaded chop and cutting it all off. As an over weight teenager who already had a lot of attention from bullies and other people in the class the last thing I wanted to was draw more attention to myself by having a bald head, so I spoke to my mum about the situation and it was decided that I would let my hair grow out somewhat and then cut it and work with braids until I could get it to a decent length.

In My late teens with braided extensions

I started speaking to some of my cousins to see what things they did to maintain and style their hair and I soon realised that I would have some different challenges to them when it came to maintaining my own hair. My hair is thicker than that of most people’s and some would describe the texture as nappy. To mixed raced and black people it’s been deemed over the years a really negative thing to have nappy hair. What the term means is that you have really dry, coarse and tight afro like hair. For people of other ethnicities this doesn’t seem to even be something they think about and in truth most of my friends who are of other backgrounds have been pushing for me to wear my natural hair out for years! The problem with doing this was, well me…

Me with my hair relaxed, wearing some weave tracks in my hair

The truth is that for decades the world has been shown one very small standard of beauty which leans towards the looks and features that Caucasian, European women have. Thinner bodies with slightly smaller curves and beautiful long, shiny and straight hair. Already women of colour were set a precedent that we simply could not live by and as a result we have seen women bleaching their skin for years, dressing and wearing clothes that may not have been their preferred style and of course the changing and experimentation with our hair. For years women like myself played around with relaxing our hair which basically means to paint a chemical paste into our hair that burns it straight. I did this for years and to be honest I always have and will always hate the process. It’s extremely painful and could often times leave you with scabs or scars on your scalp. The hair can become brittle and damaged and as a result can take forever and a day to grow! The thing is I come from a mixed race family and have a host of friends from all over the world so I personally don’t feel I have carried all of the baggage that some other coloured women carry when it comes to having confidence in their looks. In my case the problem was initially my weight and then of course my hair.

Wearing a relaxer with a clip in extension 

I finally reached a point where I would find ways to achieve the hair looks I liked without having to put my hair and scalp through so much physical trauma. I started to experiment with weaves, clips ins and eventually wigs. The truth is though while I like how I looked with these styles they are extremely expensive to do. It’s no wonder the hair industry is such a wealthy business and from what I have seen over the years it’s women of colour who have been the largest consumers of synthetic and human hair supplies and extensions. Recently we have seen a rise with women of all races buying into these products which I can only assume is a result of celebrity pressure that we all face, through social media and reality TV shows. The past 10-20 years has seen women doing anything and everything to enhance the beauty we already carry with wearing new styles of makeup such as nail extensions, false eye lashes, fillers and injectables and of course additional hair pieces. I recently hit a financial snag and was simply unable to find the few hundred pounds required to do something about my hair! I thought about relaxing my hair again which I hadn’t done for nearly 2 years and thought back to the horrible experiences of my past. The average woman can use about half  tub of relaxer to work on the 2-3 inches of regrowth she would need to burn her hair straight. In my case I would need up to 2 tubs for the same amount of hair growth due to how thick and coarse my hair is! I could only imagine how much of the stuff I would need to do what’s known as a virgin relaxer and the thought of sitting for an hour with my scalp on fire was not an option!

Wearing a wig

A mix between natural and enhanced. I wear my hair in corn row braids and a clip in extension

My friend Venice had taken the time out to pretty much give me the push I needed to just work with what god gave me and wear my own hair out. It had been years since I had worn just my natural hair out, the last time was when I had had dreadlocks! Now in my late twenties the prospect was rather daunting for me and I suddenly felt my self confidence being questioned. Venice washed and conditioned my hair (with some products I’ll later be reviewing on the blog), showed me some techniques to condition my hair to help with growth and style. She had been doing the same thing to her daughter’s who’s hair is like mine. I have to say after taking out my large twists and seeing my huge bouncy curls I was taken aback for about 5 minutes and then I suddenly thought wow it’s me, all me! Even my hair has a large personality of it’s own and I should embrace this! I took some pictures with Hanna, put them on Facebook and the amount of compliments I received from my friends and loved ones shocked me! I was given a new source of confidence and I am slowly falling in love with my own hair for the first time in my life!

Like I said before I know this seems like a small fate to some but I had no idea why so many women were throwing away the wigs and weaves and going bare with their own hair. This was a movement I hadn’t taken the time to look into or be a part of. I simply ended up taking note when I saw other friends doing the same and it was only because of my financial situation and some kind words from some friends that I thought oh what the hell let’s give it a go! I say it all the time about fashion and wearing what makes you feel confident, we need to play around with our look more to see what works for us. I now say the same about your hair and I encourage all women out there with quote on quote “nappy” or course hair to give this a go! I’m so happy I did!

Remember whatever you wear, feel fabulous in it and wear it with a smile!