Hi! I’m Annisa LiMara (pronounced Ah-nee-sah La-Mar-rah) Mitchell, owner and founder of A’LiMara Swimwear and Resortwear. I am a fashion designer, stylist, fine artist, and beauty guru so I consider myself very well rounded in the arts. I was born and raised in Jackson, MS and lived in Maryland/DC for 5 years. I received my Bachelors Degree in Art at Tougaloo College, currently getting my Masters of Business in Marketing and will be launching my next Swimwear collection in summer 2014.

My hair journey has been one of highs and lows... from battling frizz, bad perms, flatirons, hair color, long hair, short hair and everything in between. Here is my story...

Read On!>>>
How long have you been natural?
I was first natural as a child and had really long, frizzy hair that was hard to tame but my mom kept it braided, in pigtails, and hot combed. I got my first perm at age 8 by my aunt (without Mom's consent) so needless to say she was irate. It eventually grew out and once I turned 13, I started getting relaxers again about 2 or 3 times a year until I moved to Maryland at the age of 16. There I discovered I could do my own relaxer and hair color. After a while it became entirely too frequent to the point that it got so thin and unhealthy I was forced to go cold turkey and officially went “natural” fall 2005 (although I didn’t know it was going natural at the time). It will be 8 years this fall.

What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper & why?
My hair was always thick and long and I was often praised because of it.  So when I damaged my hair my senior year in high school and everyone started asking me, “what happened to your gorgeous hair?”, that became the ultimate motivator. I gradually let the relaxer grow out because I didn’t want to cut it off so I kept it straightened and would get a few inches cut every 8 weeks until all the perm finally grew out. It was a really interesting but rewarding time because my hair was gaining its strength back and unbeknownst to me, started to become curly. Within a year, my hair was back healthy and I began a routine of wearing it natural or straightening it with a flat iron. Eventually all of my hair grew back until I cut it into a bob and decided for my 25th birthday I wanted to transition into a big chop. New age milestone and phase in my life…why not??

What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy or difficult or both?!
The most memorable part was my so called transition into the Big Chop which actually ended up being an actual BIG CHOP! Let me explain… I went to Super Cuts, which I’ve been to before, however, I ended up going to a different stylist that I wasn’t sure I should let cut my hair at all. I told her I wanted my bob to be shorter for the transition and showed pictures but she ended up butchering the back of my head to nearly less than an inch. I was horrified! I quickly went to JCPennys hair salon to see if they could fix it but the stylist ended up cutting ALL of my hair in the front shorter than I wanted it and I abruptly left in tears! The worst experience ever! I went home to straighten to at least see if I could wear a pixie but my hair was uneven all over and too thick to lay flat for a sleek hair do, thus began my journey of my TWA.

Right after big chop…so much heat damage

Last time straightening my after big chop

What were some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles?
To cope with my new short hair, I initially wore many protective styles which are still some of my favorites (such as custom wigs I make myself)!

What have your experiences been as a ‘natural?’ Any memorable reactions from family or others?
I’ve had two different experiences in my natural hair journey which was before my accidental BC and after. Before, over 85% of the time I kept it straightened which I was really proud of because I didn’t need a relaxer and I was really good at getting it “bone straight”.  However, the frizzy nature of my hair caused it to be a nuisance and humidity was not my friend! It became an addiction and although my hair was still curly when washed, there was so much heat damage I couldn’t style it and it wouldn’t curl up all over the way I wanted. Straightening my hair kept me limited and in a box that I didn’t even realize I was in. It made me a slave to my hair and not allowing me to embrace my naturally frizzy hair. Although the Big Chop was traumatic, it turned out to be a blessing because now my hair is exactly how I want it and I’ve been able to inspire others around me to embrace going natural or if they already are, to wear it as is. My mother and other loved ones were NOT happy about my short hair because it was dramatic from the image I had for so long. Some of my family members still don’t understand it and ask all the time “when are you going to straighten it” and I say 'whenever I choose to'! At first I was ashamed of it and made wigs to make me feel more feminine and more like my old self. However, as I started to grow into it, my frame of mind changed and although I still wear protective styles such as custom wigs and Marley twists, it is not because I’m ashamed of my hair but just to switch it up like we females love to do!

What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
When I first big chopped I had a lot of heat damaged so for the first 5 months I cut the ends until all of the damage was gone. I’m currently wearing my natural hair daily so I wash or co wash 2 or 3 times a week. My regimen is pretty simple, I just wash twice and mix my conditioner with a mixture of oils (almond oil, coconut oil, vegetable glycerin, and castor oil), comb thoroughly, and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes. After washing and conditioning, I mainly use coconut oil for moisture and just go or I define curls with coconut cream and pick it out.

My favorite products include Organix, Suave Naturals, Aveda, and natural oils.

As far as my wigs go, I no longer wear sew ins because of the damage it can cause so I make my wigs with lace front closures to protect my hair and have the option of taking it off every night or sewing it around the perimeter of my head for a few days at a time.

What are some of your favorite natural hair websites, YouTuber’s, or blogs?
My all time favorite is TarenGuy, who by the way inspired me to want a big chop for my 25th birthday last year. I also enjoy Liquidlinerlover, Andrea’s Choice, Naptural85, HairCrush, and Fusion of Cultures. I read all of their blogs as well as curlynikki.com, shescurly.com, and naturalhairbeauty.blogspot.com. It is amazing to see how these women have been able to reach natural hair of all types and it has inspired me to do the same.

Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
I’ve learned that women do not have to be tied down by society’s standards of what beauty is and to embrace all types of hair. I have personally become more confident, free and expressive in my natural hair because I’ve accepted it. Many women think they have to wear weave or have a certain type of curl to be considered beautiful but the truth is that you don’t have to be anything or anyone but who you are which is who God called us to be. My journey has been a unique experience that has taught me so many lessons about my hair and more importantly, who I am to the core. I’ve learned to embrace all sides of me and continuing to learn the meaning of self love. It’s ironic how something as simple and vein as hair can lead you to such a revelation but one has to understand that there is something much deeper than what the eye can see. God created me in his image uniquely and beautifully, therefore I accept who I am and my beauty irrevocably.

Where can people find you for more information?
[email protected]
Instagram: @ilovealimara
Facebook: A’LiMara by Annisa LiMara
Tumblr: ilovealimara
www.ilovealimara.com (relaunch coming soon)

Global Couture is trying to spread the word about embracing your natural hair. Love your HAIR, if it is wavy, curly, kinky or coily.
Are you naturally fierce? Email us to share your hair journey at [email protected].

by Tammy of CurlyChics

When the love of your natural hair crosses the line to Obsessionville, it may be time to reevaluate some things and reprioritize. The domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc. is the definition of obsession. Here are 7 signs that you are dangerously close:

1. You treat your hair like another human being

You often refer to your coils as "her", as if you are speaking about one of your friends and have even given them a name.

"Mahogany and I are spending some quality time together this weekend”.

Read On!>>>

2. No conversation goes by without mention of your hair
Your friends are apprehensive about even mentioning the word “hair” for fear that you will start on a natural hair tirade. You repeatedly chant India Arie’s “I Am Not My Hair” however; your afro almost always ends up being the topic of discussion. You turn something totally unrelated into a dialogue about natural hair.

Your friend: “It’s raining outside”
You: “I’m glad I’m natural, I don’t have to worry about rain”

3. You spend hour after hour perusing the Natural Hair blogs and Twitter
Your entire day is centered around the latest and greatest products or hairstyles for natural hair. You find it difficult to focus at work until you’ve had your cup of joe and done your daily natural hair blog browsing and you can’t wait to get home to your laptop in the evenings to continue.

4. You are always giving unsolicited hair advice

You are in line at Macy’s and overhear two ladies behind you talking about how damaged their hair is. You immediately turn around and start testifying about how healthy your hair is because you are natural. You then proceed to tell them that their hair will never be healthy until they make the decision to let go of the creamy crack.

5. You are like Chicago in the movie, “Poetic Justice”, walking around with your hair tool of choice so that at any given moment, you can whip it out and coif your mane.

6. You change your hairstyle several times throughout the day to showcase how versatile natural hair is. At least that's the reasoning you give but the real reaosn is you just can't keep your hands out of your hair nor your face out of the mirror.

7. You must publicly display your love for your natural hair by purchasing every natural hair t-shirt on the market.

Nothing wrong with a dose of pride about your decision to live life as a naturalista, but too much of anything is never good. BTW, after writing this, I realize I described myself in this post. ☺

Follow Tammy on Twitter or Facebook!

Are you hair obsessed?

Unless you’re a new natural in the honeymoon phase, or just really in love with your hair, then you probably hate spending long periods of time in front of a mirror styling it. It’s tiring on your arms, and if you’re a curly with really long or thick hair then your styling session probably lasts upwards of an hour. Whilst most of us will never get our routine down to a mere five minutes, we can implement some changes that can help to shed a few minutes off our styling time.


Double Duty Products
Most of us are accustomed to a routine of layering multiple products onto our hair for different purposes like moisturizing, detangling etc. The problem with this is that it can take forever plus one day. Whilst you may think that you need a separate product for every step of your routine it is possible to find some that can perform multiple functions.

For example a good leave in can provide enough moisture to act as your moisturizer, your moisturizer could have enough hold to also be your styler and your conditioner could be left in as your leave in etc. Not only will this help to save you time but also money as you will have to purchase less products.  It also may dry quicker!

Style When Damp
Whilst this may seem like an odd way to lessen styling time it really does work. Styling on soaking wet hair can be tricky. Constantly having to wipe water that’s dripping down your face and back and wringing excess water out of your hair can all take up valuable time.

Also nothing is more infuriating than watching your products foam and slide off your hair because it is too saturated with water. After washing your hair try taking a few minutes to apply your toiletries etc., before starting on your hair. Just make sure it is in twists or braids to keep it stretched and prevent tangles.

Twist It
If your hair is like mine then as soon as you exit the shower it has the audacity to start drying and tangling immediatey. It may seem like if you don’t act quickly enough you have to spend additional time detangling your hair before your styling session has even begun.

To avoid this make sure that when you detangle in the shower you twist or braid each section after detangling it then rinse your hair with the twists or braids still in. This will help to keep your hair stretched and make styling easier and therefore faster.

Stretch It
For some women shrinkage and tangling is no laughing matter becasue it can make detangling and styling an all day affair. Even when it is not wash day a simple task like remoisturizing can become arduous. If this seems like your struggle then keeping your hair stretched may just be the way to go.
After cleansing your hair you could either, roller set, tension blowdry, band, or use curformers on it to stretch your hair. Then whenever you need to remoisturize and style it should be alot easier and faster because of the lack of shrinkage and tangles.

Trim It
Those dry rough ends that you’re holding onto are adding several minutes to your styling routine. They require more product to stay moisturised, they tangle easily and those single strand knots make smoothing your hair near to impossible. This begs the question, why hold onto them?

If your ends have started to feel raggedy lately then its time for a trim so book an appointment with your hairdresser or DIY it.

How do you shave time off of your styling regimen?

Caroline Trentini at Alexander Wang Fall 2014

“I had a baby five months ago in Brazil, so this is my first job in New York in a year and a half. I didn’t travel at all when I was pregnant. I flew in yesterday for the fitting, and I’ll leave tomorrow to go back to the baby in Brazil. I have to get my son’s little visa done so he can come, too. Being a mom has changed everything: you have a different energy, you see everything differently. It’s such an incredible feeling. I miss my son, Bento, so much. Bento means ‘blessed’ in Portuguese. I really understand what love means now. Having a baby also changes your body so much. I have had to work out a lot—three times a week I get trained with boxing and fighting with my trainer in Brazil.  And your skin texture changes; I have to moisturize so much. When I was pregnant, I used Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil and Mustela Specific Support Bust Cream and Belly Cream so I wouldn’t get stretch marks. Mustela makes a cream for every part of your body! And it worked. They also say your hair falls out when you stop breastfeeding. I’m still breastfeeding now—he’s almost six months. I’m going to breastfeed him until I can’t, I guess. I was three years old when I stopped. It was a nightmare for my mom, but they say that’s why I grew so much and I’m so tall! [Laughs] It feels a little weird to be back on the runway, but I think I was really prepared for this moment. I have such a better life now, because I have a family... But I love my job and I want to continue doing this. I missed everybody.”

—as told to ITG

Caroline Trentini photographed backstage at Alexander Wang Fall 2014 by Emily Weiss on Saturday February 8, 2014. Hair by Guido for Redken and makeup by Diane Kendal for Nars. 

Were you a slow transitioner or a Big Chopper & why? (Tell us your natural hair journey)
I did the Big Chop because I was tired of trying to take care of two different textures. I was very scared to cut off my hair because I thought short hair would not fit my face. I have a full face with big cheeks and I said to my best friend who was already natural that I could not do it. Every time I thought about doing the big chop, I changed my mind at the last minute. One day I decided to get on YouTube and watch “Big Chop” videos. I tried to look at a variety of videos with women of different textured hair. I wanted to be prepared. I watched videos up until the next morning and I was so eager to call my best friend, Lex later on that morning. I was excited and I knew my confidence had increase tremendously. I did the “Big Chop” the next day! My first reaction was, “what did I just do” but the next day, I felt so refreshed! It was the best decision I could have made for my hair.

Had you always embraced your texture?

I have always embraced my textured. My hair is more coarse in the back so I have to give it more attention on the other hand my hair in the front is soft and easy to manage. I have learned to love it all. I give it what it needs and it’s good to go.

How did family and friends react to your decision to go natural? How did they react to the new you?  What was your response to them?
 A lot of people thought that it was a “Fad”. Natural hair was just starting to become a big thing for African American women and some people thought I would do it for a short period of time and start back relaxing my hair. Everyone will give you their opinion about how or what they feel natural hair should look like but I kept my confidence in my decision and started learning how to do my hair without any chemicals or heat. Everyone who thought it was a Fad, started to notice my hair was always looking really nice. Most of the time, people think that when you go natural, you have to wear a coarse Afro. I wanted to show everyone how versatile natural hair really is. As my hair began to grow, my styles started to change and draw attention from many friends and persons who were curious. I have many women now that have started their own personal natural hair journey all because I decided to believe in my decision and remain confident. In my hometown, anytime natural hair is mentioned, my name is somewhere in the conversation. That really says a lot. My best friend, Lex, always knew that my decision in going natural was going to be a great decision and she is still natural herself and supports me 100%.

Describe your hair (fine or coarse, thin or thick, highly porous, low, etc.)
My hair is pretty fair. It is soft and kind of thin in the front area but in the back, my hair is coarse. I do not get into hair types a lot but most people say I have 3c-4a hair.

What's your current hair routine? How often do you wash, condition, and style?
I may wash my hair once every other week and I try to deep condition 1-2 times a month. Sometimes I do a home remedy such as: plain yogurt, conditioner of choice, and oil (olive oil, castor oil, or grape seed oil). Another great deep conditioner is Kanechom, Beautiful textures Rapid Deep conditioner, Miss Jessie’s Rapid Recovery Treatment, Silk Elements, and the list goes on. Sometimes I add oil to my conditioner after I wash my hair and let it sit for about 20 minutes. It makes my hair feel really soft. I try to style my hair everyday. I love updos. If you follow me on Instagram, (MrsHairToday2012), I love wearing my hair up in a style. It takes no time to put it up in a style. My main product I have to have all the time is Eco Styler Gel with Argan oil. I absolutely love that stuff! You can wear your hair in a protective style, a wash and go, twist-out, braid-out, or Bantu knots using that gel. Other products that I enjoy using are the following: Cantu Shea leave-in, Beautiful Textures entire line, Miss Jessie’s Curly Buttercream, Jane Carter Nourish and Shine, Giovanni leave-in, As I Am Twist Defining Cream, Cream of Nature (natural line), Aunt Jackie’s Detangling Therapy, Alikay Naturals Lemongrass leave-in, and so many more. I love trying products and I have so many favorites.

How do you maintain your hair at night?
At night, I may apply some oil and I wear my satin cap/bonnet.

How do you maintain healthy length?
I try to trim my hair more by trimming every 2-3 months. Also, I keep my hair in protective styles such as an updo. When my hair is pinned up, I do not have to comb it, wet it all over, or keep tugging at my hair a lot. It gives my hair a break. Another way I try to maintain a healthy length is to treat my hair, keep it moisturized, deep condition, and pay closer attention to the ends of my hair. The ends of your hair can become dry and brittle which can cause breakage so it’s good to show some TLC to your ends.

What's the best thing about being curly?
The best thing about being curly is that is can be so versatile. If I want curls I have control of how I want my curls such as a wash and go, Bantu knots, or rods. If I decide to have straight hair I can. Being curly is so great and it always attract others’ attention and they want to know how can they become a curly.

Where can folks find you on the web?
You can find me at the following social media networks:
Facebook: MrsHairToday
YouTube: MrsHairToday
Twitter: MrsHairToday
Instagram: MrsHairtoday2012