Head wrap styles are a must during the summer months.  I love summer, the sun is out, everyone feels happier, the weather is good and for many naturals, this is the perfect time to sport one of their many head wrap styles. Summer is the perfect time to rock a bold, colourful, artistic head wrap with pride.

Many would be forgiven for believing that summer is non-existent in the U.K, but according to the official UK records, British summer is from 27th March 2016 to 30th October 2016. Therefore, since we are now in August, it officially means we are in summer time.

Whatever the weather, head wraps and head scarfs always go down a treat, and the best thing about these styles is they are so easy to create, and you can use whatever scarf, head wrap, headscarf or material you have at home. There is an array of different styles and many ways to wrap natural hair that it’s almost impossible to run out of inspiration.

To get started and to help on the way to headwear bliss or simply increasing styling options, I have put together a series of 100 different head wrap and headscarf styles for your viewing pleasure.

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Head wrap styles for natural hair Youtube video

For this first head wrap style in the series, you will need only a long scarf. The scarf I am using in this YouTube video is made from 99% cotton and therefore does not have any stretch.

This style is best achieved with a scarf without any tassels. However, any relatively long scarf will do the job just fine. You may also need a bobby pin to pin your hair up for this style. Secure your final look with a safety pin if you want your final masterpiece to be more secure or if you just want peace of mind that your new look won’t spontaneously unravel.

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Subscribe, share and comment below the video to let me know your thoughts on this summer look.

30 Apr 2016
April 30, 2016

Hair length check April 2016

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Hello Curlies, I have another hair length check update for you.  If you frequent my blog, you will know that I am on a journey to grow healthy waist length natural hair.  At my last length check back in September 2015 my hair came in at mid-back length, despite my best efforts. I have discussed the reasons for this in a earlier blog post, but to quickly summarise, my dismal hair performance in 2015 was primarily due to neglect and lack of consistent hair care. However I am not going to major on my 2015 hair failures because it is a new year with new possibilities and as I discussed in my last post, healthy length retention is my main hair goal for 2016.

Planning for length retention success in 2016

So how do I plan to retain length? Well, I have found that protective styling is by far the easiest, stress-free way for me to retain length. In fact, I have noticed the most success when I have consistently followed a protective styling regime. My protective styling regime/challenge usually consists of set periods of protectively styling followed by periods of rest (free hair) throughout the year. My aim is to have my natural hair in protective styles for the most part of the year. My period of free hair usually involves undertaking hair strengthening, hot oil and other beneficial hair treatment which are not as convenient when wearing protective styles.  This is basically the tried and tested system I plan to use to retain as much length as possible this year, and hopefully achieve my hair goals.  I believe it is a simple formula, protective styling, persistence, consistency and patience. No magic potions or expensive lotions for me!

Sticking with what I know works for my hair

Although I do retain length without protective styling, I choose to protective style my hair because I have a busy schedule and I always opted for the route of least resistance.  As I always say, “if it’s not broken then don’t fix it”.  I definitely retain more length when I stay consistent with my tried and tested methods, products and regimes.  In my opinion, it is pointless jumping on the newest natural hair bandwagon, or any other bandwagon just because everyone is doing it. If you have already found a tried and tested system that works for you, why not stick with that until you achieve your desired results. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying don’t try new things – I’m forever experimenting.  I am simply saying, why not try new regimes and/or products in the area where you are still not seeing results while sticking to regimens/products you know work.  Remember you don’t have to follow every natural hair craze that’s trending on YouTube, just find what works for you.

Tracking my hair growth progress 

I plan to make my protective styling regime even easier this year (as if crochet braiding wasn’t easy enough).  Either way, as I mentioned in my New Year’s blog post, it is important to track your progress when you set goals.  I believe that one of the best ways to track your progress to waist length hair (or whatever length) is to take photos in a length check T-Shirt so you can clearly see your progress (see my photos below).

Front hair length check photos April 2016

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 Back hair length check photos April 2016

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Tracking and recording your progress visually is important, especially if you have super shrinkage like myself, notice how my hair without pulling looks like it is about armpit length.  This visual aid will help me to keep track and record my progress giving me that much-needed motivation and confirmation that my hair is actually growing.  Kinky hair, especially tightly curled Type 4 hair, has the tendency not to show it true length even when stretched. Only by actually pulling my already stretched hair can I actually see my true length.  It is important for Type 4 hair women to closely monitor their hair growth and not to give up on the journey wrongly believing it is “not growing”.

What method do you use to retain length?  Do you do regular hair length checks? Have you found your tried and tested length retention regime? Comment below to let me know what is your go-to protective style.

Happy hair journey

Colleen xx

Happy New Year my lovelies

The start of a new year is a great time for a fresh start, a clean slate.  You may have already made New Year’s resolutions relating to your diet, finances, organisation or fitness, but have you made goals relating to your natural hair? Have you even thought about it?  How about taking the plunge to make 2016 the year you start your natural hair journey, or maybe you are already on your journey and simply want to reach a target length. Whatever our best intentions research suggests that only 64 percent of resolutions are maintained longer than the first month. In fact, you may have broken yours already.  Why do so many of us give up on our New Year’s goals and resolutions so quickly? Well there are actually a multitude of reasons including: making unrealistic goals, lack of self-belief, giving up at the first sign of obstacles/slips/failures, lack of planning, failing to measure your progress, lack of support and not sticking at it long enough to allowing changes to become routine. This is by no means an exhausted list.   Whatever your New Year’s goals or resolutions for 2016, here are some simple tips to help you keep on track or even get back on track if you have already thrown in the towel:

Be realistic: Trying to grow your natural hair? It is unrealistic to grow your hair from chin length to waist length by December 2016, but trying for shoulder length over a given period based on your hairs growth rate is realistic and achievable. So too is aiming for healthier natural hair.

Take tiny steps: If doing a big chop is not for you, try transitioning with the use of protectives styles until you achieve your goal. Want to experiment with new hairstyles? Spend a few minutes checking out Pinterest or Instagram for ideas. Subscribe to new Youtubers with natural hair how-to videos.

Find a community: Being accountable to others can help you stay committed to your gaols. Why not join a natural hair challenge or be part of a Facebook group or blog forum? Maybe a family member or friend could give you that much needed encouragement.

Don’t give up or be too hard on yourself: When you feel like giving up, remember why you started. Rome was not built in a day! Success takes time and involves a cultivation period of hard work and determination before you can reap a harvest.

Track your progress: Help yourself stay motivated by measuring your progress. Tracking your progress, will help you to identify how well you are doing or if you need to make any simple changes.

Celebrate your successes:  Whether it be a new pair of shoes, a new bag or an expensive new protective hairstyle, treat yourself to something that will make you feel good about achieving your goals.

New Year’s Challenge – Creating Good Hair Care Habits

 

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The New Year is not just about resolution and goal setting but for some it may also be about changing certain habits.  Remember to start with something small, it’s all about taking baby steps.  Achieving tiny victories will give you the confidence to tackle larger ones.  Why not start using a satin headscarf or pillowcase or committing to regular deep conditioning. Maybe you need to start wearing your hair in large braids or a pineapple for bed, rather than leaving it all free to become tangled.  Have you been washing your hair as frequently as you know you should?  Rather than totally getting rid of a habit why not replace it with a better one. For example, you might replace your tired weave with a suitable protective style which allows access to your hair and scalp.  When you have the victory in one area, reward yourself and move on to find a solution to your next problem area.  Slowly but surely you will be waving goodbye to damaged breaking hair and loving the new you.   If you have not done so already, why not consider making realistic hair related goals, as well as planning how you will accomplish them. Setting your hair goals and planing how you will achieve them will help you to reach your natural hair hope and aspirations.

My 2016 hair related Goals

1.) My main hair related goal for 2016, will be to retain as much ‘healthy’ hair as possible.  I am not going to aim for waist length this year, since I am unlikely to make it after trimming etc. But I am definitely going to track my progress by taking photos in my length check t-shirt (front and back).

2.) My other hair related goal, will be to find a new protective style to help me retain more length. I’ve been crochet braiding now for far too long (over 3 years) and I think I want to try something new and exciting. I always see girls on YouTube sporting a different protective style every month. I’m not sure what I’ll go for yet but I’m thinking about Nazuri Curls. I have seen a couple of naturals wearing one of their numbers on a few blogs I frequent, so I may give them a try.

What would you like to achieve with your hair this year? Anyone planning on actually achieving waist length this year? What one hair care habit do you feel you need to change? Comment below to let me know if you have any hair related goals for 2016?

See you soon ladies x

 

When I first received my surprise invitation to be a bridesmaid at my good friend’s wedding, far from been at a loss as to how I would be styling my medium length natural hair for a wedding, I was actually wondering which amazing style should I pull from my treasure chest of natural hairstyles. After a brief look at a couple of YouTube videos and Pinterest photos to help me decide, I was finally left with the difficult choice between a mega empress bun and an elegant sophisticated afro Mohawk.  After much deliberation, I finally decided to choose a mega bun; not only is this style super easy to create, but it never fails to attract a flurry of compliments (plus I could only find one banana clip).

With the right knowledge and experience, styling natural hair on a daily basis should be a five minute job.  However, equally as important are those special events such as weddings, banquets, promising dates or that very special prom. These occasions should not pose a problem for the natural sister when it comes to styling her kinky, curly, coily, wavy natural hair. Check out my YouTube video above on how I achieved my perfect “mega bun” hairstyle.

Step-by-step styling guide: How I created my mega bun on medium length natural hair for the wedding

Styling medium length natural hair for a wedding

1.)    I usually start with stretched hair after an old braided out.

2.)    Using my trusted bristle brush, I brush my hair up to the crown of my head, ensuring all my stray hair strands are slicked back.

3.)    I add moisture to my hair before styling by applying Giovanni direct leave-in conditioner to my hair and ends.

4.)    I always use my trusted Eco-styler argon oil gel, as I like to slick down my edges and give my styles a super sleek appearance.

5.)    Using a zig zag hair band, I secure my hair at the crown of my head. I always ensure a large circumference area is gripped with the zig zag band to make sure I have more than enough hair left out for the different sections of the mega bun.

6.)    Using one leg of an old pair of tights, I secure the zig zag hair band so that my hair feels super secure and to also help my edges lay flat.

7.)    Using a small section of hair at the very centre of the hair that is left out, I secure a small mini bun. This mini bun will form the base of the rest for the hair style, as this is where the other sections of the bun will be secured.

8.)    I then twist two “chunky” twists, one on each side of the zigzag hair band, just above my ear. These twists will hide the zig zag band and tights as well as add an elegant detail to the finished style.

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Hello ladies, how are things going?

If you are anything like me when it comes to your hair you may find yourself wanting length, length and more length!  I’m not quite sure why I am so obsessed with long hair but as far back as I can remember I have always wanted long hair. In fact my desire for long hair was one of the main reasons why I chemically straightened my hair in my early teens. I somehow believed that if I relaxed my hair it would be “easier to manage” and I would therefore grow thicker, longer, healthier hair. Little did I know back then that this was a lie and I would actually experience damaged, thin, breaking hair!

Today after soldiering on my natural hair journey I am now at a healthy mid back length MBL (see chart below) and I hope to achieve waist length hair by 2016/2017. Despite my healthy MBL I have not progressed as far as I would have liked to in 2015.  It is safe to say that I have not retained as much length as I had hoped and consequently I have not progressed much further towards my goal length.

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The truth is I have been inconsistent with my hair care regime and that’s putting it lightly.  In between working full-time, studying part-time, participating in my local church, having a social life and trying to blog, my natural hair has suffered and languished for want of real care and attention. To make matters worse I have not maintained my healthy eating and exercise regime. It’s not all bad though, since I have retained a couple of inches and my hair is still relatively thick and healthy despite using random hair products (ran out of my staples) and stupid attempts to wash my hair in super quick time on the odd wash day!

Photos from my last hair length check (August 2015)

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Despite what I believe has been a dismal hair year so far, I am still positive about achieving my goal of waist length. I know for a fact, that when I am consistent and religiously stick to my hair care regime I retain practically all my length. I plan to be militant especially when it comes to practices that matter most, like protective styling. If I can break through my MBL plateau I know I’ll definitely make it!

looking back at my 2015 hair related goals

Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no vision, the people perish…………..”

The bible says “where there is no vision, the people perish………….” and you may have heard it said, “if you fail to plan you plan to fail”. Many of us plan for most things but for those of us who are on a healthy hair journey, we often fail to plan how we will go about maintaining healthy natural hair. I am a keen goal setter and I strongly believe that goal setting and planning is important for success in any endeavour (even your hair).  At the beginning of the year I decided to set myself different goals including hair related goals and I also identified some of the most important habits and practices which I felt would be important in my hair growth journey. These were my hair related goals at the start of the year:

  1. Get back on my healthy eating and exercise plan
  2. Be consistent at all times with my hair care regime
  3. Wear my hair in crochet braid protective style for 70-80% of the time
  4. Make sure I don’t run out of my must have staple hair care products
  5. Retain as much length as possible

So my goals were set and I had hoped to make much progress but despite my best efforts (well sort of best efforts) I have actually made very little progress “sigh”! To make matters worse I actually believe I have lost some length through damage and I don’t want to admit it but I actually really badly need a trim – shock horror!!!!! I’ve carefully analysed the situation and I know for a fact that certain practices have contributed more than others to my current hair state. For example I have not consistently finger detangled my hair before cleansing, I have not detangled my hair with a wide tooth comb when wet, I certainly have not deep conditioned after every wash, I have not crochet braided my hair for 8 weeks at a time, for 7-8 months out of the year.  I have not kept my hair moisturised at all times when in crochet braids, I know I did not stick to my basic staple products and I don’t recall having any hair strengthening treatment between crochet braid installs – all bad news. Despite my poor hair care performance I still managed to maintain relatively healthy hair which is probably because I have not ignored every rule in the natural hair rule book. I still followed low manipulation principles and I still take my time on the majority of wash days (although not all) which I guess has counted for something. You can see that my hair still looks pretty decent in these photos from a recent wedding I attended where I was a bridesmaid (below). Yes, it’s all my hair with no extra hair added!

naturalcocodoll, hair length check, uk natural hair blog

naturalcocodoll, hair length check, uk natural hair blog

naturalcocodoll, hair length check, uk natural hair blog

naturalcocodoll, hair length check, uk natural hair blog

naturalcocodoll, hair length check, uk natural hair blog

Going forward I definitely plan to do better, especially after I have seen the obvious consequences when I don’t. My first step on my road to getting back on track to healthier hair and far more length retention will be to contact my faithful African hair lady and get my hair crochet braided. This has always been my hassle free way to improve my hair health and retain length. Crochet braiding also makes it easier for me to maintain some of the other practices that I feel work well for my hair (see how I do my crochet braids blog post). If I stick to my guns and actually remain consistent with my hair care I may actually break through my MBL plateau.

I know I have not been a very consistent blogger but I am planning on doing better with blogging too so you should be seeing more blog posts from me. In fact I may do a blog post on how I achieved my mega empress bun in my bridesmaid photos.

X

Colleen

If you live in the West Midlands you will know that the minority of natural hair events often take place in London, usually on a Saturday. This is why I am so pleased to see a natural hair event in Birmingham, right on my door step. The show is also on a Sunday which is more convenient for me since I attend church most Saturdays. It’s the perfect way to start the new year, with the opportunity to network, learn, socialis and meet like-minded naturals. There will be hair demos, expert advice, consultations, Q&A sessions and giveaways featured at the show. You can buy your ticket (£20) here: www.ticketsource.co.uk/napturallyhappyhair

Event venue: The Birmingham IET Austin Court

The event will take place on Sunday 4th January 2015 (sponsored by Napturally Happy Hair) at:

IET Birmingham Austin Court
80 Cambridge Street
Birmingham
B1 2NP

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So who is Cassandre Beccai?

If you frequent Facebook or many of the very popular natural hair blogs you would have no doubt seen Cassandre Beccai. She has not been on the natural hair scene very long but her popularity as a YouTuber has steadily grown. Cassandre has been natural for over 9+ years and like myself she has 4b natural hair, I like to follow and watch naturals who have similar hair textures to myself. I absolutely love Cassandre’s hair length and I quite like the different styles she often demonstrates on her blog. For those who don’t know who Cassandre is you may recognise her in the photos below:

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Hello ladies,

Ok so it’s been months since I attended the 2014 afro hair and beauty show back in May and it’s only now I’m actually getting this post up. Let’s just say it has been a busy few months for me, but better late than never!!

The 2014 Afro hair and beauty show took place in London at the Business Design Centre on 25-26th May 2014. The show was held at the same venue as the previous year and as I always say “if it’s not broke don’t fix it”. I thought the Design and Business Centre was a good venue for the show as it was well positioned and had plenty of space.

The Business Design Centre

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I attended the show last year so I knew exactly what to expect and I was not disappointed. There was plenty to see and it was definitely high-class with respect to displays, fashion shows, speakers, demonstrations and products to buy, in comparison to newer, smaller shows. It was clear that the Afro hair and beauty show was not only well established but also well attended. When I said there was plenty to see I wasn’t joking, just look at a few of the different shows and demonstrations that I managed to see, needless to say I didn’t get a chance to see everything and I didn’t even really attend any of the advertised talks or presentations.

Demonstrations and shows I attended:

Ossat Naturals demonstration

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Design Essentials demonstration

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Afro Chic Fashion Show

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Team Africa Street Dance

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Organics demonstration

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Battle of the Barbers

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If unlike myself you were not on a “hair product budget” then there was also plenty of hair care and hair related products to buy.

Some of the many exhibitors

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Hello Ladies,

I’m a firm believer in keeping my natural hair journey simple especially when it comes to styling. The comment I get frequently from many aspiring naturals is that natural hair is so “difficult to maintain” and that it is hard to find suitable hair styles. I also receive comments about the need for preparing hair from the night before – “It’s all so much hard work!” they exclaim. Well my answers to these refutable claims are simple. No, you don’t have to spend hours styling your hair, no it’s not too much hard work to style and no you don’t have to find a thousand different ways to style your natural hair if you are not so inclined.

If you frequent my Facebook or my Instagram account you will know that I love me some hairstyles and the bigger the better, but if you’re not into all that fancy, that’s O.k! In fact you don’t need to know a thousand ways to style your hair to stay on or begin your natural hair journey. If you can only manage to style your hair into a bun for work, school and play, again that’s O.k.  I will show you how I style my hair into a simple high bun – which literally takes 5 minutes and then accessories the same bun for all occasions and I mean all occasions.

Where I purchase my accessories
So where do I buy all my accessories you might ask? Well….. you can buy hair accessories just about anywhere, for example your local black hair shop, but I like to buy my hair accessories from the high street. You can find an array of hair accessories for any occasion from shops such as H&M, Forever21, Claire’s accessories and even Primark to name but a few. Look at the different hair accessories you can pick up on your local high street (below) – well for me Bullring Shopping Centre in Birmingham City Centre since everywhere else is usually closed by the time I finish work.

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Check out my recent purchases from Claire’s accessories (below), they were a lot more expensive than I had hoped but I did manage to find exactly what I was looking for:

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How I create my high bun: 

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Sept 1: Start with freshly washed air dried stretched hair. Brush hair into a extra high ponytail and secure with a banana clip.

The banana clip I use

The banana clip I use

Step 2: Once you have secured your banana clip. Section your hair into four sections and loosely twist the ends of each section.

Step 3: Join the ends of each section together and braid the four ends together so that you have your bun with a little braid at the top.

Step 4: Tuck the braided section under into the bun and secure it with a bobby pin or two.

So there you are, four quick and easy steps to create your high bun. The finished style should be firmly secured with the aid of more than enough bobby pins.

How I accessories my high bun for different occasions

IMG_5244.JPG The work or college look (keeping it simple):

IMG_5247.JPGThe headscarf look:

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