On Going Natural, with Patrina AKA Natural Hair Queen

 

The way we wear our hair isn’t just about self-expression. Our kinky hairdos and our coily locks are beautiful and unique, but it’s never just about you as an individual. How we style our hair goes way beyond that. It’s almost as if we’re representing the entire race. African-American hair is woven into a traumatic history of cultural discrimination, political turmoil, and fighting for basic human rights.

African-American hair bonds and unites us as a people. However, the scars of having been ignored, shunned, and frowned upon still exist. Managing African hair takes time, patience, and dedication. Whether you have natural, relaxed, or a protective style like braids, you are undoubtedly going to spend hours doing your hair. Yet, I feel that is the main reason our hair is beautiful and unique. We can create any and transform our hair into many different styles.

Our hair connects us. It’s the internet that brings sisters together. Now we can freely discuss and exchange ideas about how to take care of our complex hair, something we haven’t had since before slavery. Yes, we always had casual conversations with friends and strangers alike, but You Tube and blogs made our connections stronger and more frequent.

  • Patrina, Natural hair blogger and consultant

 

Patrina, where are you from originally?

I’m from Battle Creek, Michigan

What was your hair like as a kid? How did you wear it and what was your care ritual like?

As a child I always had a perm; my first perm was at 5 years old. I remember hating the process of my Mom perming my hair because it used to always burn. My hair care ritual consisted of a wash and condition and the use of hair grease called Blue Magic.

What beliefs/wisdom around hair were passed to you from your family?

Since I only knew straight hair I thought that was normal, and beautiful.

What were your feelings about your hair?

I only knew my hair straight so I felt my hair looked better straightened. Everyone I grew up with had permed hair.

At what point did you decide to go natural?

I decided to natural in my last year of graduate school. I was searching for hairstyles on You tube and came across Dominique Banks page AKA: Longhairdon’tcare2011 and was floored by her long hair. Up until that point I had never seen a Black woman with long hair that was real. I was captivated and binged watch natural hair videos of women who had long hair.

Did you experience any negativity when you decided to go natural? I did from family members. Did anyone try to talk you out of it?

I didn’t tell anyone about my decision I just did it.

How did it feel for you to take that leap?

When I took the leap it felt really great but, I must say I still permed my edges for a while. Once I went all in and stopped using the creamy crack reality set in and I panicked. When I look back at my hair diary I laugh but at the time the pain of dealing with two different hair textures and my natural curl pattern was difficult.

What was the process like? Did you go really short and then grow out, or?????

I was very afraid to do the big chop so I just grew my hair out and cut off the permed ends little by little. Once my hair got to the level of armpit length I cut off the remaining permed ends.

Any unexpected challenges/ victories along the way?

The biggest unexpected challenge was how long my wash day routine lasts. When I would perm my hair I was done from beginning to end in 30 minutes. I would say a victory along the way is the feeling you get when you find a product or an entire line that works with your hair and makes your hair feel like butter and retain moisture feels like you won the lottery; the hair lottery.

What would you tell someone who is considering going natural?

When you go natural you will need to re learn what your hair likes and dislikes. This goes for products, tension on the hair, and styles. You will need to be patience as you re learn how to care for your new texture. Learn as much as you possibly can from others who have long natural hair (if that is your goal).

How do you feel now, with your hair long and natural?

I feel great; now that I’ve taken the time to learn about my hair and which products work well and help my hair to thrive. However, I do receive the occasional question of: “where did you get that hair piece from”, or when my hair is straight: “Which company did you buy your hair from”.

What is your care ritual like now?

I wash my hair every week. I deep condition under a hooded dryer with my essential oils and a moisture rich deep conditioner, followed by a sulfate free shampoo, light protein treatment, and I detangle my hair with conditioner under running water in the shower. Then I use the LOC method and depending on my hair style I will add a curling custard to set my hair.

What is your go-to product/tool/trick that you use most often in your hair care? My go to product for

deep conditioning is Shea Moisture superfruit complex hair masque 10 in 1. This product melts my tangles away. This is a product that I stock up on every time it’s on sale.

If your hair had a spirit animal, what would it be and why.

My spirit animal would be the humming bird, I like to enjoy my hair and have fun with it. I feel it’s just hair and you don’t have to be so serious or boring with it. It’s ok to switch up your look and put on wigs, color your hair, and play with different hairstyles and textures. Once you have the basic foundation down on how to care for your hair; you will be able to test out more styles and know how to keep your hair safe and protected.

 

Bio

Patrina is the founder of Naturalhairqueen.net; a blog to educate and inspire women with natural hair. Patrina just celebrated her 10-year natural hair anniversary, and achieved her goal of waist length hair. With the knowledge she has learned over the years she is dedicated to share her knowledge, and experience to educate women who wish to have moisturized, healthy natural long hair.

Social Media: 

Website: www.Naturalhairqueen.net

Facebook: www.facebook.com/naturalhairqueensite/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NatHairQueen

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nathairqueen/

Queen of Color Transformation and the Rainbow Afro, Words with Leysa Carrillo

Leysa Carrillo is a incredibly talented Cuban-American hairstylist whose work has really caught my attention this year. She works at Atelier by Square Salon in Las Vegas, where she weaves her magic with natural curls and rainbow colors into the most beauteous hair transformations. 

I found her on Instagram, and have been following her ever since, excitedly watching her crank out incredible work. Then, at the BTC One Shot Hair Awards in Austin last month, I happily watched her win an award in her category alongside Chita Beseau, another incredible hair artist for Collab of the Year. I reached out soon after to see if she would let me feature her here on HTHG, and she agreed. Thanks Leysa for sharing words with us!

Where are you originally from? where do you live now?

I’m originally from Varadero a little Beach town in Cuba. I live in Las Vegas now.

Why did you leave and how did you end up where you are now? 

I was a part of a show called “Havana Night” and we used to travel all around the world.  Siegfried and Roy discovered our show back in Cuba and fell in love with it so they offered us a contract here in Las Vegas at an old hotel and casino called the Stardust. The Cuban government gave us an ultimatum and said we could no longer perform and go back-and-forth between the US and Cuba…….There were a lot of political things going on between the countries so we decided to come to the United States as political asylum’s.

How has the journey of moving to this country as a very young person shaped you?

It was very hard at first.. I came without knowing when I was gonna see my family again, new culture, no knowing English but now I feel like I’m living the American dream. Somebody. pinch me. I’m grateful.

What ideas/wisdom/beliefs around hair were you raised with?

I wasn’t really raised with any believes around hair/beauty.

I think the fact my mom never knew how to deal with my Afro made me have to get really good at hair at the early age!

How did you find your interest in hair, and when did you start dabbling in hairstyling?

My show ended and I didn’t want to continue traveling and going to different auditions, so I was looking at what was available for me knowing that my English wasn’t the best and having had no college experience, I went to school for interior design and then Beauty School.

What is it about working with hair that inspires you the most?

I’m so inspired to create! I love everything about textured hair, colorful hair, anything having to do with fashion!! Seeing people’s faces at the end of any services…

What is your favorite kind of hair to work with? why?

My favorite kind of hair to work with is definitely textured hair. I love everything about the curl of hair and curl pattern specifically because I can relate to it, I feel like a lot of people need help with it because they don’t understand it.

What tips/tricks/ products do you swear by?

My best tip that I can give is definitely a good diet and drinking lots of water.

What is your own hair care ritual like? 

I wash my hair once a week, I use a mask as my conditioner. I use a lot of product in my hair and I love to enhance my natural curl I don’t use any heat with my hair.

Have you always worn your hair natural? If not, tell us about your natural hair journey……

I have always worn my hair natural. Of course I have straightened it as a girl a few times,  but 90% of the time my hair is natural and it always has been. I was too poor to afford wigs and stuff as a kid!

Tell us something that we may not know about what it is like to have such dynamic and beautiful hair with such deep history and roots?

I brush my hair just with my hair mask in it.

I think when people see my hair first they always think it’s complicated or difficult but when you get to know it and understand it, and when you truly love curly hair it’s one of the easiest to work with.

what do you love most about your hair?

I love my routine. It is super simple and I wear it natural and what can be better than bracing your natural hair?

If your hair had a spirit animal what would it be?

A Lion, of course

What would you tell a woman who just came to this country and wants to work with hair?

Go to school, don’t stop learning, continue your education even after school. Don’t give up. Anything is possible.

What could this industry do a better job of?

I would say that the industry can do a much better job of uniting all of us. I think in the past couple years social media has started to make that happen but I would like to see more of it.

Tell us a little bit about the salon you work in, and what a day behind the chair is like.

My salon is very innovative and  very modern. We are always keeping up with the new trends, continuing all of our education taking lots of classes with stylists and educators coming through here to keep us all updated. We are like a big family, always helping each other and also we take care of the community. I do find myself always busy no matter what..For some reason, I can’t figure out why I never go home when the sun is still out. I do a lot of transformations, so my days are usually filled with multiple sessions of each appointment so I stay very very busy.

Leysa, thank you for sharing a little look inside your hair life! We love your work, and can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

Be sure to check out more of Leysa’s magical hair creations on Instagram!

 

xo, RJH

Henna for Natural Texture Hair

Hi babes! Here is a guest post from Patrina, natural hair blogger behind naturalhairqueen.net

She reached out to see if I would be interested in publishing a guest post and of course, I said hell yasss because I have been so thirsty for some natural texture hair blog love to share here at HTHG.

To begin with, I want to acknowledge that The Natural Hair Journey represents something deeper rooted for women of color ( if you are a woman of color, you already know this on such a real level )  And many white folks don’t know the beginning of it myself included, but I am striving to understand more.

I want to honor and hold space for those journeys here, because I really feel that bridging an understanding gap between all of us can be achieved in a big way, through our hair. And, because natural textured hair is so beautiful and unique and dynamic, and requires a different ritual of care.

Thanks, Patrina, for sharing with us your favorite way to use

Henna for Natural Textured Hair. 

Photo by Kevar Whilby on Unsplash

Henna is one of the most useful things in a naturalista’s cabinet. It’s not just a hair dye. It’s a power-packed nourishing ingredient for strengthening the hair that comes from the Lawsonia inermis plant.

It’s exciting to think that Ancient Egypt and India used henna in their hair regimens and that it’s still being used today. I love going back to the basics with the products I use because they are a pure, natural, and a pleasant step away from the commercial products on the shelves. Plus, you know it has to be good if women have been using it for thousands of years.

When I first started using henna, I only wanted to cover a few gray hairs, but what I discovered was something way beyond a hair dye. What I found is that while most hair dyes break down the protein in hair, henna works to strengthen and condition it.

Henna won’t color your hair, so if you’re looking for a significant change, you won’t see it. It’s more like a slight tint, which is perfect if you just want to give a minor reddish tone to grays to make them less noticeable.

But like I said, henna is so much more than a way to dye your hair naturally. It works to coat the hair and fill in gaps on the hair shaft. Henna is not a protein treatment, but it is similar because it repairs and protects weak and fine strands.

How to Find Quality Henna

The first step to getting started with henna is to find a quality product. Looking for henna can be confusing because there are many products to choose from, and the one in the conventional hair dye box looks like it will be the easiest to use.

However, it’s the pre-mixed henna you want to stay away from if you want the most natural and potent product. Henna that comes in tubes and tubs most likely has dye, additives and other junk you don’t want in your hair or body.

Instead, look for henna that comes in powder form. Jamila and Nupur are two trusted brands you can use for pure henna. Real henna requires you to do some work, but it will be worth it in the end because your hair will be shinier, healthier, and tinted without the use of chemicals or other harmful ingredients.

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Figure 1 Photo by Tamarcus Brown on Unsplash

How Often Should You Use Henna?

I must admit, I don’t use henna as frequently now as I did in the beginning. It’s a long process that can easily take one full day to complete. Now I only use it when I feel my hair needs it, or when I’m in the mood to treat my hair to a proper conditioning.

Aim to use henna once per month to strengthen and condition hair if you’re new to using it. Applying it more frequently could lead to breakage. Henna has a drying factor, so you always want to deep condition your hair afterward.

How to Make and Apply Henna

One thing about henna is that it’s messy. You’ll want to avoid applying it in your bedroom or anywhere that doesn’t have hard surfaces. You can clean it from the shower walls, but you should cover your bathroom counters and floor with newspaper to make it easier to clean up.

Make the henna the day before because it takes about 12 hours for the powder to activate. Here are some excellent ingredients to mix with henna:

Peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, or tea tree oils. These four essential oils will add an antifungal and antimicrobial layer to your henna mix for excellent scalp health. Peppermint, eucalyptus, and rosemary essential oils work well to stimulate the hair follicles and get the hair to grow.

Coffee or black tea. Caffeine helps to stimulate the scalp, and the dark colors of coffee and tea deepen the shade naturally.

Cinnamon or paprika. These two herbs will change the tint of your henna to more red or cinnamon brown.

Apple Cider Vinegar. Mixing ACV with henna will help to balance pH and restore the overall health of the hair shaft.

Avoid mixing coconut or other hair oils in with your henna because it will change the texture and make it difficult for the henna to grab onto the strand.

You’ll need about ½ cup of liquid to one package of powder, but be sure to read the instructions on your particular package.

Henna may react with metal, so use a plastic spoon to mix. The consistency of your henna should be like yogurt, and it should be smooth. Blend well. Then let the henna sit covered at room temperature for 12 hours.

The henna will be ready to apply the following day. Part your hair into sections and coat the hair thoroughly with the mixture. Then cover with a plastic shower cap and leave it on your hair for 1-8 hours. The longer you leave it on, the more the colors will have a chance to tint your hair.

Use a moisturizing shampoo to wash the henna from your hair. Then rinse, and voila—all done!

 

Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash

I always follow a henna treatment with a deep conditioner because the henna can be drying. I usually add ingredients to a natural store-bought brand. Every head of hair is individual, unique, and has its own characteristics. Adding your choice of ingredients to a store-bought moisturizing deep conditioner is a way to customize it to fit your own needs.

My favorite ingredients to add to deep conditioner are honey, peppermint, eucalyptus, avocado oil, and jojoba oil. These additions are fantastic for drawing in moisture and nourishing the scalp and hair shaft. I leave the deep conditioner on my hair for at least two hours, and then I rinse and detangle in the shower.

Henna will make your hair softer, shinier, and stronger. I’ll be the first to admit that using henna is a long process, but it’s worth your time to try it at least once.

Now, it’s your turn to discuss. Have you tried henna on your natural hair?

Bio: 

Patrina is the founder of Naturalhairqueen.net; a blog to educate and inspire women with natural hair. Patrina just celebrated her 10-year natural hair anniversary, and achieved her goal of waist length hair. With the knowledge she has learned over the years she is dedicated to share her knowledge, and experience to educate women who wish to have moisturized, healthy natural long hair.

Social Media: 

Website: www.Naturalhairqueen.net

Facebook: www.facebook.com/naturalhairqueensite/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NatHairQueen

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nathairqueen/