Thursday, April 30, 2015

My Current Holy Grail For My Natural Hair

Underneath my loc extensions (and NO, not the type you see all the time as the current protective style being worn by like, EVERYONE)...I actually DO have hair. It's not this ::snap:: short, it's not down my back, but it does exist. It is a ball of fine, dense, fragile, low-porosity, mostly-4a-some-3c rebellion, but I am learning to love it. When I am out of lox for as little as 3 weeks to as much as 4 months (my last stretch), I coddle it and try to keep it healthy. It frustrates me--mainly its shrinkage is what does it to me, but the ends being old are a pain in the ass, too. Any natural-haired coily lady will tell you that she has her own struggles with her tresses.
Okay, granted--it's Merida, but her hair is crazy. Look at it. LOOK AT IT.

I had a setback where I cut off too much hair. I thought my dry, old ends were all split and grody, but that wasn't the case! They really just needed more love and care because they were old. If I hadn't cut, it would be much longer now than it is currently. To add insult to injury... my hair has been longer on one side for much of my life, so cutting it made it sooooo much worse. I had something like eighteen inches that got cut back to more like, sixteen and fourteen. Ugh. It also suffered thinning, thanx to some med I was on. I'm glad I've gained much of it back, mostly due to good care and partially due to a supplement I inadvertently started taking. I firmly believe that it has strengthened my hair; it even feels different when I touch it. I've been enjoying the journey and resisting the temptation to go back to a texturiser to avoid the SSKs (single-strand knots for the uninitiated) and the shrinkage. My hair shrinks about 60 percent, sometimes 70. Ugh.

I've learned that as it grew, the texture came out more, and I could really see what it looks like. I like it despite its tendency to shrink. I didn't know it looked like this--this coily and happy. It almost looks like it did when I had a texturiser, if it's not quite shrunk and still covered in conditioner. I sometimes wonder what it might look like now if a relaxer had never touched it, ever, and it was allowed to grow and I never cut it but for the occasional trim. The past is just that, though-- past!

I remember when I first went natural, I used to do a twist-out every few days because I had no clue what to do with it, and I got tired of that and started doing this one puff on my head...bad idea. I lost my edges in the front due to know, the "corner temples" at the top, for lack of a better description. I started braiding it up again just to leave it alone, and to let it rest while I babied the edges.
When I got the texturiser it didn't take the first time, so it was trial and error until we got it right. I used to wash with shampoo once a week, leave conditioner and shea butter moisturiser on it every day. I was a bit of a product junkie--at one point I was using 4 products on my head(!), but I found that I could pare it down to two things for my wash-and-go: shea butter and conditioner. And it looked great.

I returned to that combination recently on my natural hair to give my hair a little extra love because it needed it...and it looked so happy. I imagine it felt like this:

And it retained moisture for several days,  right up to my next wash day!
So, here's the products I used.

White Rain Coconut and Hibiscus Conditioner

White Rain Coconut and Hibiscus Conditioner. I used this to co-wash, sometimes left a bit in. I'm not crazy about the smell (it's practically non-existent and powdery), and it could use a little more slip, but it was okay for co-washing once I watered it down a bit. It's good for combing, but I like something a wee bit more slippy, so enter...

TRESemme Flawless Curls Curl Moisturising Conditioner
TRESemme Flawless Curls...OMG. The boyfriend bought this to sub for my usual TRESemme condish--I think it was Smooth and Silky. I fell in love with the scent and the way it made my coils pop. I'm hooked.

On top of that stuff, I just ran some shea butter over every section, then let air dry. Done. And the coils were ecstatic. They were bouncy and springy and shiny and happy, which didn't help my hand-in-hair problem (gotta work on that). It's funny how you come back to things that worked well before.

My mami, who I convinced about growing her natural hair out (she used to cut it all the time) a few years ago, just tried the Dove product line for curls and is raving about the definition she gets with it. Once my hair comes down out of lox I may try it just to see if I like it.
As I write this, I am deep conditioning to prep for going back into lox. And I'm already looking forward to seeing the coils again once they come out in a few months. My journey always seems as if it begins again once I try something different, or something I haven't done in awhile. So, it's never dull, that's for sure.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Adventures In Finding a New Unison Phunk Regime Recruit

Good about a laborious undertaking.
We used to have a pretty great relationship with a dancer who was young and funny and rather skilled. I like to treat the dancers like family--not as an accessory. He was like a younger brother...and he up and moved to Florida, because NJ wasn't treating him very well, to nutshell it. He's doing much better in Florida, and we're very proud of him.
But that left me with no dancer... for nearly a year. This didn't help my confidence in the act much at all. So I stopped looking and got really bummed about it. I was starting to wonder if the position was jinxed like the Defence Against the Dark Arts teaching position of Harry Potter lore.

See? Like that.

So recently, we aggressively recruited for a show that fell into my lap, promising pay. Of course, all of the sudden people we'd asked before-- and who gave no real response-- were eager to comply.

Okay, maybe it wasn't this serious.

Now we have our pick, but it's still not easy. Schedules, lives, work, everything. Wondering if they'll be a good fit. Wondering if they take this as seriously as we do. Hoping against hope that they can actually dance and that they won't bxtch and moan about having to hear my stuff over and over again (yes... this actually happened once). Praying that they'll do the work.

I remember the kid I mentioned earlier admitted, months after he got the gig, that he actually showed up to the audition smashed. On Everclear, of all things. We couldn't tell! I asked why he felt he had to show up like that, and he said he was afraid I'd be a taskmaster, like Debbie Allen in Fame or something.

He was right on part of that, in that I do tend to be a bit of a perfectionist, but, to be fair, he hadn't even met me yet before the audition, so that struck me as some serious foresight on his part.
But I digress...

The process of finding the right person is annoying. At one point I was getting resumes from dancers that were waaay out of the spectrum in which I was searching. These people had credits like you wouldn't believe! All I wanted was a good-looking dude with a good personality who could keep up with Peace, wear the clothes, do the work, be professional, and come to rehearsal regularly. Not Grand Jete UberDanser of the New York City UberDansers.
And then I was getting the odd person who wanted to dance because they went to the club and someone told them they were good, and they send a video and they look like


Then it was I'd find someone who might be awesome for the role, and they hear what they're potentially getting into, and never respond again. Well, eff you, too, LOL.
As I write this, I'm already in a panic because the person we chose so far is flaking, and I don't take to flakes kindly. People who know me know this. I will cut you off completely if I find you are a flake, and at this point in my life, I have dispensed with my usual three-strike rule. You flake once, yer out.
I'll just move on to the next on the list if I have to.
Yup. We're done.
I have faith that someday, we'll find the right fit. Until then, I'll keep looking and working with who the universe brings me.