"I'm in a place now where my imperfections are perfectly mine. I decided that if I didn't like something about myself to either work on it and stop complaining or see the beauty in it. I learned that we all have insecurities and that we don't come 'one size fits all'. There is beauty in individuality. I admire a woman that isn't afraid to dance in the skin she's in. I don't recommend living an unhealthy lifestyle: crying about your freckles, height, voluptuousness or nose. If you shine light on your flaws no one else can make you uncomfortable doing it for you."
| Yoko

*What is your skin type and what are your must-have products to care for your skin?
My skin is oily, but oily skin is actually dry skin. Our skin overproduces sebum to make up for what it feels it's lacking. So, using the wrong products, I used to go from patchy dry to a grease machine in about an hour. I actually use virgin coconut oil now to moisturize. I cleanse with St. Ives daily cleanser and exfoliate once a week with their apricot scrub. I tone with apple cider vinegar or Aubrey Organics green tea toner, whichever is closer to reach. These simple and inexpensive products are my holy grail for my face. I recently began an eczema war with my body and have yet to find constant relief or the culprit in my diet. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Read On!>>>

*What is your favorite everyday make up look and what cosmetics do you use to achieve it?
My favorite everyday look is clean and sometimes a bold lip. Brows, mascara, optional blush and lips. I fill my brows in as naturally as possible. My favorite brow product is Dior's Universal Styler. It's a charcoal color, which I find to be a natural color for most people.

Mascara is a MUST, I use Almay's 'Get Up And Grow' Mascara. I find it to be the only mascara that doesn't irritate my eyes. I LOVE blush! A subtle pink or peach color always cleans my face up. My favorites are NARS' Orgasm, CHANEL's Rose Ecrin 68, and Tarte's Exposed.

I adore a great red lip, especially an 'obnoxious' one. My favorite is Sephora's cream lip stain in Red #1. I wear an array of colors, but a few I frequent the most are MAC's Diva, Pink Plaid, So Chaud, Soulfully Rich, and their Mineralize Rich line in Luxe Natural. I am also a fan of Makeup Forever and OCC's lip products.

*Is your hair natural, relaxed, loc'd or otherwise and what is your go-to favorite style?
My hair is natural, I prefer to wear it in its natural state. That can be stressful because it tangles easily. My sides and back are currently shaved so I wear the top in a twist out or Bantu knot out until it's too shrunken to manage. Less is best for me. I commend the diligence of natural haired women who retwist nightly.

*What are your staple hair products and/or processes that keep your hair at its best?
My staple products are virgin coconut oil, raw Shea butter or a whipped concoction (Chic-Afrique brand in Adun), Shea Moisture's Coconut & Hibiscus shampoo, and Trader Joes' Nourishing Spa Conditioner or Jane Carter's Nutrient Replenishing Conditioner.

With my hair being short, I wash weekly and deep condition every other wash with The Jane Carter conditioner. I wash, condition, and apply oil immediately to my hair and scalp (quick scalp massage), then I apply the Shea butter or a leave in cream if I'm experimenting. Koils By Nature has an amazing leave in that I've been loving lately. Then style! Wet or dry. I don't touch my hair again until it's time to wash. I do, however, spray it with water or a liquid leave in before bed nightly. If I skip a wash week out of sheer laziness my hair has never or will never dry up and fall out (lol).

*What is your favorite trait or physical feature about yourself? Also, what is your favorite personality trait about yourself?
Hmmm, my favorite physical feature about myself. That's a hard one. There's no one part of me that I would say is my favorite. If I had to choose I'd say my eyes. I always get compliments on them. My favorite personality trait, that's easier, my open-mindedness. Being open minded and aware has changed my outlook on life quite a bit.

*What insecurities do you have or have you had about your physical appearance and how do you overcome?
Insecurities, good question. We all have them and the most notorious misconception is that a woman with a big smile, pretty face, and appears to have it all together doesn't. That couldn't be more wrong. I used to feel insecure about being too thin, not being curvy enough, being too tall, having a belly pudge and lord knows my eyebrows give me grief! Lol.

But, I'm in a place now where my imperfections are perfectly mine. I decided that if I didn't like something about myself to either work on it and stop complaining (belly pudge) or see the beauty in it (like my height). I learned that we all have insecurities and that we don't come 'one size fits all'. There is beauty in individuality. I admire a woman that isn't afraid to dance in the skin she's in. I don't recommend living an unhealthy lifestyle: crying about your freckles, height, voluptuousness or nose. If you shine light on your flaws no one else can make you uncomfortable doing it for you.

*What advice would you give to your 18 year old self about hair care, makeup and beauty self-esteem?
My 18 year old self... She was insecure, and always trying to be everyone else's idea of beautiful.

On hair, "CUT THAT DANG-ON RELAXER OUT!" Lol, if only I'd known then the beauty of this cotton candy hair affair.

On makeup, I'd whisper in her ear "It's not a sin, go ahead and play in it".

On beauty self-esteem, I'd advise her that "Being safe.... isn't safe". That she's stifling herself and that person she's 'hiding' can be politely introduced or can scare the hell out of everyone when she forces herself out and be mistaken as an identity crisis. Be unapologetically who you are in your heart and in your soul. When you are home alone and no one else is watching, you come out. Don't put her away... Be her, you... Be you all the time.

*What makes you feel beautiful?
I had to experience strong moments of solitude to let this settle in. I learned to love every part of me, to speak life in to myself, and celebrate my individuality. So whether I go out in torn jeans and an oversized t-shirt or my little black dress, I ALWAYS feel beautiful. A woman's greatest accessory is her smile, and I've learned to smile from my heart. Happiness and confidence are what makes me feel beautiful. I am confident in my individuality and solitude and that makes me happy. Even on a 'bad' day remembering how far I've come as far as self-esteem helps to put a smile on my face.

"And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." ~Marianne Williamson
by NaturallyChelsea via Naturallycurly

Detangling is one of the dreaded tasks that every natural must do if she wishes to properly maintain her hair but let’s face it- it can be a pain in the posterior. It is a constant battle between getting the tangles out and removing shed hair but not snagging the hair or over manipulating it. With all of this headache associated with this process I thought it would be helpful to give a thorough breakdown of the tools and methods that can help us get through this ordeal while keeping as much hair as possible on our heads and out of our combs and brushes.

Whilst your fingers may not be a tool per se, they do a great job at getting the tangles out. Because you are utilizing an actual part of your body it is easier for you to feel a tangle and gently pry it apart. Also it is easier to use the correct amount of force and adjust the distance between the “teeth” of your makeshift comb by widening or closing your fingers. It is the best option for persons with fine hair that splits and breaks easily. Also for frequent wash and goers this is one of the best ways to retain your curl pattern whilst washing to avoid having to use a lot of product to get it back. This by far is the gentlest way to detangle your hair but it is also the lengthiest. Most curlies who finger detangle can attest to the lengthy detangling times but then again they probably have the nicest ends.

Read On!>>>

Denman Brush
The Denman Brush is a detangling tool that’s been around for quite some time now and has been reviewed extensively on CurlTalk. What makes it so popular is the efficiency with which it can detangle due to its somewhat flexible teeth and the fact that it can capture the shed hair to prevent your hair from matting. For some naturals whose hair can’t tolerate all the teeth, the brush can also be opened to remove columns of teeth and make the spacing between them wider to minimize damage done to the hair. These brushes are commonly known as modified Denmans. However, if snagging is your primary concern then consider purchasing the D31 or the D41 as opposed to the popular D3 as it is better suited for detangling since its teeth are more widely spaced.

Like most detangling tools, the Denman brush can wreak havoc on your ends if used too often without caution, which is why I prefer to use it as the final step on my hair to smooth it out before styling. In my opinion, the Denman is just about the best darn ‘clumper’ there ever was. Even my fingers can’t create the smooth and elongated ringlets that my Denman can and I am not the only one who uses it for this purpose. There are plenty of videos on YouTube of women who do just that.

Tangle Teezer
As a detangler, the Tangle Teezer does what it’s supposed to do very efficiently. The tangles literally melt because the teeth are extremely flexible. Instead of just getting stuck in the tangles or ripping them out, the Teezer gently coaxes tangles until they unwind. The noise it makes can be misleading. That scratching sound can freak you out a few times and cause you to periodically check the brush to check to be sure you haven’t ripped out a huge chunk of hair. It also does a decent job at catching the shed hair.

My main issues with this product are the lack of a handle and the design and spacing of the teeth. I loved this product when I first used it and might have gone overboard with its use because the split ends appeared soon after. It was then that the rose colored glasses came off and I took a closer look at this brush. The teeth for one are not as smooth as I would have liked. Unlike the seamless teeth of the Denman and wide toothed combs, some ends of the teeth on the Teezer are jagged and could snag the hair. The teeth are also quite close together and you don’t have the option of removing some of them for modification.

I find it quite annoying that there is no handle. While I understand and appreciate what they attempted to do by making the teezer the perfect shape to fit in your palm, the design got really annoying in record time. When wet, the plastic it is made of becomes very slippery and the slip and slide game of the Teezer whizzing all around the bathtub begins.

Wide toothed comb
The wide toothed comb seems to be the most preferred product by many naturals for detangling. The reason it is so widely loved is because it can detangle efficiently and remove shed hair, while minimizing damagewith widely spaced teeth that are large and seamless. While on the subject of combs, an honorable mention must go to the Ouidad Double Detangler that has the same concept of a wide toothed comb however it has a second column of teeth that are staggered to maximize detangling.

Paddle brush
Although not a popular option, I still felt that this product should be mentioned. While the paddle brush does get the shed hair out, there are many problems with its design that make it unsuitable for detangling curly hair. For one, most paddle brushes have little balls at the end of the teeth which can snag on the hair. The teeth also don’t flex at all which can cause them to rip out tangles. They can also be quite large, heavy and cumbersome.

Detangling Methods

Dry Detangling

This method is preferred by naturals whose hair tangles easily or who are about to shampoo their hair. Dry detangling is done by applying oil, conditioner, or a mixture of the two to the hair, then detangling it before cleansing. This method is great for several reasons:
  • It can be done in front of the mirror and out of the shower to make it easier to see and remove the tangles.
  • There is less chance for breakage since the hair is strongest when dry.
  • The oils and or conditioner not only act as a lubricant for easier detangling, but they also help to moisturize the hair to reduce the dryness and matting that shampooing can cause.
Wet Detangling
The second method involves detangling the hair when it is wet and well lubricated with conditioner that has good slip. The reason why this method is so well loved is because:
  • When the hair is wet it is more elastic and it is easier to detangle.
  • The conditioner and the water creates more slip than oil and conditioner.
For maximum results, however, why not do both? A good dry detangling session before washing will help to improve your results when you detangle wet with plenty of conditioner after cleansing.
Now that you have read about the different detangling tools and the methods, I wish you all the best in your detangling endeavors.

How do you detangle? What are your go-to detangling tools and methods?

There's a certain insouciance to 'French Girl Hair'; wavy, somehow slightly fuzzy but polished at the same time. Sported by the likes of Lou Doillon and Josephine de La Baume, I've seen this 'un-style' attributed to everything from never brushing your hair (warning - this can result in baby dreadlocks...) to the ostensibly unique properties of French tap water. Unfortunately, just like 'no makeup, makeup', the reality does involve a little work, but I've finally stumbled across the perfect duo for creating foolproof Clémence Poésy waves.

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