My name is Mardia Powell. I’m an artist and graphic designer working in Atlanta, GA. Originally I’m from Nassau, Bahamas.

How long have you been natural?
My natural hair journey started back in Summer 2003.

What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper& why?
I was one of those girls that had a new style every week. One week I would have a long do, then I would cut it . I can go on and on about the colors I have experimented with, but I would have to say red and blonde tones have been my favorite.

My motivation for transitioning to natural hair came when I realized that I could have the best of both worlds in a healthier way. When I would color my hair, I noticed that my hair did not thin as it did with relaxed hair.

Read On!>>>
It was not until 2006 when I first decided to ‘loc’ my hair. The dreadlocks that I have now are my third set of locs. When I began locking the first time, I did it for a change and soon after learned that I missed my ‘fro’, so the commitment was not there. The second time, I had a few skin breakouts, and my dermatologist thought it had something to do with the products that I used in my hair and also the process it took to get my hair to lock, so I went back to my afro once more. Both times I used a safety pins to unloose my locs; which were shoulder length.



This third time that I decided to ‘loc’ was to give off a more mature look. I felt that my afro started to give off a young and “cute-sie” look, and I wanted to be taken more seriously, specifically when I worked as a teacher.

I told myself that I would trim my dreads every time they reached shoulder length. But once I saw how nicely they were growing, I decided to embrace each stage of growth. So far it has been exciting.

How would you describe your hair?
I would describe my locs as medium sized in thickness which makes them more manageable for styling.

What do you love most about your hair?
I love seeing my hair as hair, and not just stuck as my “dreadlocks”. My hair is so versatile and I am allowed to embrace it far beyond the confines of what some may view it as; apart of a religion, a movement, or being “earthy”. I’m just being me.


What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy or difficult or both?!
I enjoy seeing the expressions on peoples faces when they compliment me on my hair with amazement.  I also LOVE sharing with others how I attained a certain style, or what new products that I have tried. The only difficult part about the entire journey has been in the earlier stages when I had banquets or weddings to attend. At that time I did not discover much elegant “locstyles”, but now there are so many classy ways to style dreadlocks.

What were some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles?
Most definitely my favorite transitioning style, from “fro” to “locs”, has been the pin- up / up-do.


What have your experiences been as a ‘natural?’ Any memorable reactions from family or others? 
Always compliments. Also I am always hearing the question ” Is that all of your hair? ” lol .

What is your hair regimen (including fav products)? 
Honestly, the main products that I use are-
- Olive Oil ( after shampooing )
- Aloe Vera ( moisturizing )
- Ecostyling Gel – Blk # 10 max hold ( for tightening )
- Organix Nourishing Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage Serum
- Organix Nourishing Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage Shampoo


What are some of your favorite natural hair websites,YouTuber’s, or blogs?
When I’m in need of some hair inspiration , I usually turn to Chescaleigh (Franchesca Ramsey) and MsVaughnTv.

Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words? 
Lots of times ladies want to branch out and come over to the natural world. Yet they are afraid to take that leap because they don’t think that their hair type is manageable or attractive enough. It's all about learning your hair type, and what styles are best for you. When you learn to embrace your hair type everything else after that is a breeze. It’s your hair and that makes it beautiful!



Where can people find you for more information? 
You can contact me via email – mardia.powell1@gmail.com
My design/ art – https://www.behance.net/gallery/Mardia-Powells-Portfolio/6774599


Global Couture is trying to spread the word about embracing your natural hair. Love your HAIR, if it is wavy, curly, kinky or coily. See more at http://www.globalcoutureblog.net/ and Follow us onFacebook,Twitter,Instagram. Are you naturally fierce? Email us to share your hair journey atglobalcouture@aol.com.

My all time favorite natural hairstyle to sport is the twist out. Over time, it has taken some work to achieve optimum results.

In order for my twist outs to be top-notch, I must have:
  • clean, conditioned and detangled hair
  • clips
  • a wide-toothed comb
  • a rattail comb
  • a quality moisturizer (or creamy leave-in conditioner)
  • oil or butter
  • styler
...and a great technique.


Before You Twist

Clean & Condition
It is important that my hair is clean and conditioned, so that my hair can have body, and properly absorb products for setting and styling. Hair is like a sponge; it can only absorb so much. When there is build-up, the hair will not be able to successfully grasp additional products. Too much product can result in limp styles, slow drying time, and flaking.

Moisturize
Adding a quality moisturizer helps add moisture and nutrients, and oil or butter helps retain it. When my hair is thoroughly moisturized, my hair has elasticity, looks fresh, lively, and healthy. It also retains moisture, longer. (Oh, combs and clips just make the task easier and faster!)


Now, You're Ready to Twist!
Just as important as using a great moisturizer, having a “proven” technique helps me to achieve an awesome twist out every single time.

I say proven, because my twist outs have been double take-worthy ever since!!!

By twisting in the direction in which my coils grow, and slightly rolling the strands between my fingers before twisting simply help to elongate my natural coil pattern, and my twist outs last longer. They are also incredibly defined. (If I didn’t have curls or coils, I would still roll the strands between my fingers prior to twisting).

Applying Product
First, I apply moisturizer, oil, then styler to my hair--in sections--while it's damp.

By sectioning the hair, it ensures even coverage. If your hair is fine, you may want to consider using less product on slightly damp hair. For those with coarse tresses, consider using a generous amount of product on sopping wet hair.


Twists
Next, I make 3-4 smaller sections within each section, and twist. I try to make the two strands within a twist even. That will keep me from having to “borrow” a piece of hair from the other strand to complete the twist.


Twist-Out
Once I'm done, I generally end up with 12-15 twists. I allow my hair to dry completely before unraveling to minimize frizz. When it is time to unravel, I do so carefully, add a little oil, separate and fluff!

Get more of Ebony Clark's styling tips, along with product reviews and hair tutorials on her YouTube, Instagram and  blog.

How do you achieve twist-out greatness?
by Nicole Hollis of Hair Liberty

After studying African American hair in depth, doctors and scientists have found a lot of common features. Hair of African descent is likely to be very curly, dry, and fragile by nature. Those are the more universal characteristics, but obviously every black woman's hair isn't the same. One of the most important differences between hair types is one that's often overlooked when discussing black hair: strand thickness. Strand thickness or diameter refers to the size of each individual strand of hair on your head. That's different than the number of strands on your head. You may have a lot of hair, but each of those hairs can be fine, medium, or thick.

This picture shows actual strands of hair that were photographed using a special imaging system. The hair on the left is much finer (or thinner) than the hair on the right.


Strand thickness is important because it's closely tied to which products work well for your hair. Differences in strand thickness can result in one person loving a product and another person hating it, especially with regard to leave-in conditioners and stylers. Fine hair requires the most care, so it's important to figure out if your hair falls into that category. Even though black hair needs lots of moisture, using too much product or one that's too heavy, can make fine hair look stringy or sparse.

The most accurate way to determine your hair's diameter is to measure a few strands using a machine similar to the one used for the picture above, but you really don't need to be that exact. See if any of these scenarios sound familiar...

Read More>>>

Fine natural hair
  • Doesn't hold set curls well. You re-twist nightly to keep your curls defined
  • Breaks easily, even when you treat it gently and keep it well moisturized.
  • Is prone to fly aways and static
  • Rarely looks thick enough, even though you have a mass of curls
Those are just a few things that may characterize fine strands. If you're still unsure, spend some time working with your hair and listen to your instincts. If you do have fine hair, use this tip sheet to learn which products and techniques will work best.

Knowing your strand thickness can alleviate a lot of frustration. Whether your hair is fine, medium, or thick, try to opt for styles that are easy to achieve and least stressful for your hair.

Hair Liberty's Tips for Fine Hair

1) Do a Pre-Wash Oil Treatment before you wash your hair. Over-cleansed hair will be difficult to control.

2) Use a gentle, conditioning shampoo to wash your hair once or twice a week. High quality shampoos help protect your hair from abrasion during the wash process.

3) Use rinse-off conditioners that say “dry” or “damaged” hair not “fine” hair. Conditioners labeled for fine hair are usually too light for African American hair.

4) Experiment with leave-in conditioners and stylers that say “fine” hair on the label. You’ll have to decide if you prefer those over heavier formulas.

5) Comb and brush your hair as little as possible. Fine hair is extremely prone to mechanical damage.

6) When you straighten your hair, keep the temperature low. In most cases, it should not be set above 350 F.

7) Consider adding a reconstructing treatment to your hair care regimen. Look for conditioners that list protein (e.g. hydrolyzed silk protein) as one of the first five ingredients.

8) Schedule a trim every 6 to 8 weeks. The ends of fine hair may split even if you do your best to avoid that.

9) Be patient if you plan to grow fine hair to long lengths. Its fragility may make retaining length difficult, but not impossible.

Hair Liberty is a comprehensive resource for African American hair care information. We sort through the latest hair care advice and compare hundred of products to find the most accurate recommendations for our readers. Visit hairliberty.org to learn about your hair and how to achieve your hair goals. And be sure to Like the Hair Liberty Facebook page for extra tips and info!


by Nicole Hollis of Hair Liberty

When you're enthusiastic about hair care and dedicated to a healthy hair journey it can be difficult to be objective about your hair. It's easy to talk about things that keep the hair healthy like gentle handling, good conditioners, and low manipulation, but if those were the only things that mattered, everyone's hair would be doing great. In reality, despite meticulous efforts to grow a long, thick head of hair, many women still struggle to maintain length and reach their other hair goals. To get past a length hurdle or stop persistent breakage you have to realize one important thing: Damage is unavoidable. If your hair isn't making progress that means it's being damaged faster than it can recover. Many natural women already steer clear of heat and chemical treatments, but mechanical damage is still an issue and it can be difficult to recognize.

Read On>>>


Every time you move or touch your hair, the cuticle layers of each strand rub up against each other and cause tiny abrasions, similar to light scratches. Those little abrasions may not affect how your hair looks or feels but they're always there. If you rub and pull your hair and then follow up with a comb or a brush, you've inflicted a lot of stress on your hair at one time. Yes, there are some women who can comb and brush their hair all day without a problem, but those women usually have thick strands and very few (if any) kinks or coils. Finer strands break more easily than thicker strands, and it seems that many African American women have fine hair. In addition to that, kinky hair is inherently porous which means that kinky hair is automatically more fragile than other types. "Damage prone" can really be an understatement when describing African American hair.

But, no matter what your hair type, the longer your hair gets, the more demanding it will be. Shoulder length hair is already about 2 years old so any weaknesses in your hair care routine will begin to show, just like bad eating habits will start to catch up with you as you get older and your metabolism slows down. If you hit a plateau in your healthy hair journey, get at least ½ inch cut off by a professional, stop brushing your hair (if you've been doing that), and apply a reconstructing treatment every week or two. Whatever you do, just don't make the mistake of thinking you've avoided damaging your hair. The only way to avoid damage is not to touch your hair as it grows out of your scalp, and we all know that's impossible. If you love your hair, you want to style it and show off all of its glory. There's nothing wrong with that. You wouldn't buy a beautiful new sweater and leave it on the shelf all the time. What fun would that be? Instead, you have to wear it lightly, wash it gently, and get small holes mended as soon as they appear.

How do you minimize hair damage?