The Deva Cut – How I used this method to cut my naturally curly hair

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It was after reading this BHLH article that I realised I didn’t ever do a post on how I’ve been getting my hair cut. Since fully embracing my curls in all their natural glory, one thing I did find to be a challenge was getting it trimmed, especially here in Tokyo where there really isn’t much of a natural hair scene. So after scouring  You Tube videos I did eventually succumb to trimming it myself the first two times. How did I do it? Simply by twisting my hair up and snipping off the ends of each twist.

However, it’s with the last trim that I knew I wanted something more.

The thing is that even though I was retaining lots of length, my hair started looking a bit drab to me. And by drab I don’t mean lifeless or damaged, I simply didn’t like that some bits of hair were hanging  a lot longer than other pieces were. I decided that I needed a shape-up. But what’s a curly girl to do when she has no natural hair salon to go to? I decided to enlist the help of my fiancé to cut my hair for me. That’s right! I asked my caucasion fiance who had never dealt with a single curly hair in his life to take the shape of my fro in his hands. On top of that, I requested a very specific type of cut to give me my current shape. You guessed it, I asked him to give me the Deva Cut, and it came out looking fabulous, even if I do say so myself.

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What is the Deva Cut

In case you don’t know what it is, the Deva Cutting technique is a technique used by the Devachan Salon in New York for cutting curly hair, developed by Lorraine Massey from the famed Curly Girl Method. The premise of this technique is that the hair is cut in its natural form: dry, not wet. Each curl is individually shaped and the style is based on the individual.

This is what I love about this technique. You work with your own curl pattern, of lack thereof even, but it’s based on your hair. There’s no need to blow-dry and/or flat iron the hair first, which is the way my hair was always cut before my healthy, natural hair journey days.

I really like this definition I found on the Devachan Salon website.

The Deva Cutting technique is Devachan’s revolutionary method for cutting curly hair. The hair is cut dry, simply because we wear our hair dry not wet. We cut the hair in its natural form, curl by curl. Since curly hair and it’s spring factor (insert shrinkage) can be misinterpreted while wet. This unique innovation allows the stylist to sculpt each client’s hair, according to their individual curl, look, and style.

Further on the website is also states that stylists must be highly trained in this technique to execute the cut successfully. So what training was involved before subjecting my hair to this cut? Watching countless amount of You Tube videos of stylists doing the cut, including the pioneer Lorraine Massey herself. Was I nervous before we set off? Definitely. But before we started both my fiancé and I had a clear idea of how the technique works and how I envisioned my final look.

This is how we went about it.

  1. I washed my hair in the morning, applied some product and let it air-dry.
  2. Once it was completely dry, I sat myself down with my full-length mirror in front of me.
  3. My fiancé started cutting, commencing from the back left side first, making his way to the front. Following this he started from the back right, and continually compared the shape with the left side as he made his way forward on the right side.
  4. He lovingly cut just about every single curl on my head until I was happy with the shape!

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I have to say that this cut is definitely more about the shape, than the length. Most curly girls have multiple curl patterns on their head, and I’m no exception. The hair at the nape of my  head has a much looser curl pattern, which means it doesn’t shrink up as much as the rest of my hair. The result is usually that that hair hangs down longer on my back, even though it really is in proportion to the rest of my hair. But ultimately it just looks silly or as my brother used to call it, “the stingray look’. So we set about getting those proportions right. The end result is that those strands are now quite a bit shorter than the rest of my hair, but because of its loose curl pattern, it hangs in proportion to the rest of the hair. So it looks as good at the back as it does in the front.

In reference to the BGLH article,  it says if you don’t wear a wash and go ’25/8′ then this style really is not for you. But to be honest I actually wear my hair in twist/braid-outs most of the time, with wash and go’s only making more of an appearance during these hot Summer months, and the shape works well for both my shrunken and stretched styles. Also, I never heat stretch my hair anymore, so for the uneven lengths I’m sure I have, it really doesn’t matter as I’m only sporting my voluminous curls.

In the end I suppose it does come down to what works for one head of  hair might not work for another, but if you are looking for a shape to give you bouncy curls that pop, do give this technique a try.

Have you ever tried this cutting method? Let me know below.

And remember to always love your curls, x

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Look post: How I wore my scarves on Boracay Island

Before I head off to England I thought I’d do another cheeky  late travel post. Seven months ago my fiancé and I spent two very lazy weeks over Christmas and New Year on a tiny island called Boracay in the Philippines.  With a total land area of 10.32 square kilometres and being only 7 kilometres long, you can imagine there was very little to do other than relaxing on the beach, swimming, eating and drinking. Although I do have many beautiful photos of the island itself, I decided that I’d like to do a look post (of sorts) with the scarves that I took with me on holiday.

Living the island life for two weeks meant that there was rarely any need to be dressed in something other than a swimsuit, but that didn’t mean that I wanted to put all my assets on show the whole time either. So I found that draping scarves over my bikini kept me looking and feeling feminine and relaxed while also decent and not too exposed.

Here are two of the ways I wore my scarves. I hope you like them.

Look 1

Look 2

As I Am Coconut Cowash Review – Luxury cleansing for your tresses

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I’m convinced I’ve found the holy grail of cowashes in the As I Am Coconut Cowash Cleansing Conditioner and I feel like I want to recommend it to everyone – yes I said it – to everyone who is  looking for a gentle commercial product to cleanse their hair with. Made with all natural ingredients (how it seems from the ingredient list anyway) this is definitely the best cowash I’ve tried so far.

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What it says

Cowashing is the way to cleanse your hair most of the time. It gently removes residue including all of the things you’ve used to style and maintain your coils and curls. Now it’s time for a new beginning. This cowash is different from any other because it contains a special blend of natural ingredients that help to promote healthy hair growth from the follicular level.

Ingredients:

Key Ingredients: Tangerine, Coconut Oil, Castor Oil, Saw Palmetto and Phytosterols Aqueous (Water, Aqua Purificada, Purified) Extracts: Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) and Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine)¹, Cetyl Alcohol², Cetrimonium Chloride, Cetearyl Alcohol², PEG-40 Castor Oil, Stearlkonium chloride, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil², Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil¹, Phytosterols¹, Serenoa Serrulata Fruit Extract¹, Quaternium-18, Potassium Sorbate, Fragrance/Parfum, Limonene, Methylisothiazolinone

What it does

  • It cleanses the hair gently. The product left my scalp and hair feeling clean, but not stripped of moisture at all.
  • I’m able to spread the product easily throughout my hair.
  • It makes detangling the hair so much easier, which is always a winner in my book!
  • It left my curls really bouncy and moisturised after washing.
  • It smells amazing, really fresh and citrussy, which must partly be due to the tangerine listed as the first ingredient.
  • It has a thick cream-like texture.

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Overall review

Since coconut oil is my favourite oil I love that this cowash contains so much of it – it’s the second ingredient on the ingredient list! I’m also happy that it contains castor oil. I’ve never used castor oil on its own as I know that it’s quite thick, which actually puts me off from trying it, but being well aware of its benefits, I’m happy to receive them in this way.

The only thing that I would change about this product would be to have it in a bottle with a pump. The large surface area the product is exposed to in the jar makes it really easy for water from the shower to get into, which to me feels like a bit of a waste of product. But overall this cleansing conditioner has quickly become a staple in my regime and I’m definitely planning on purchasing it again.

Price and where to find it

For my South African readers, I purchased my jar of As I Am Coconut Cowash from the South African online retailer theperfecthair.co.za for R197.00. Apparently the Mane Salon in Melrose Arch (Jo’burg) also stocks it. Otherwise there’s always Amazon.com.

Let me know if you’ve ever tried any of the products in the As I Am range and how it’s worked for you.

Thanks for reading and remember to always love your curls! Well, with this product you definitely will…

x

Off to England I go

I’m off to England in just under 2 weeks and I can hardly contain my excitement! I’ll be visiting friends and family for a relaxing 2 week holiday and will spend my time in Norwich, Brighton and London. In between doing as little as I possibly can, I’ll also be shopping for a wedding dress, so if you can recommend any boutiques that won’t leave me completely penniless, please let me know. In addition, if there any natural hair events happening between 4 and 15 August do fill me in as I’d love to attend one. Alternatively, I’m also open to a casual meet-up with any of my fellow natural haired girls. Let’s just say that I’m desperate to have a natural hair conversation that doesn’t take place online, which is why I’m extra happy to get back to the West for a while.

I hope you’re having a fabulous Monday,

xxx

Aloe Vera for strong, healthy, moisturised hair

One of the natural products that I now love to use on my hair is aloe vera. Besides water it’s probably the best moisturiser that I’ve used on my hair to date. It penetrates my strands so easily and it’s said that aloe vera can help towards reversing the damaging effects of the sun, wind, and hard water deposits found in a lot of metropolitan cities, which is great news for me living in Tokyo. I also love that it’s available in both juice and gel form.

This is how I use aloe vera

Juice

After I’ve cleansed my hair and right before I apply my leave-in conditioner, I apply a small handful of aloe vera juice to each of my 4 sections before I seal with an oil and twist my hair up. It also works as a natural detangler, because I can feel that as soon as I’ve applied it my hair is just so much easier to get through.

Gel

1.Wash and & Go’s

To achieve more defined curls, I smooth over a bit of the gel after I’ve applied my leave-in conditioner and sealed it with an oil. Essentially I use the gel as a styling product.

2. Up-do’s

On the days I wear my hair up and feel like like I need a bit of extra help to smooth down the fly-aways and frizzies, aloe vera gel does the trick.

In both cases I love that it dries soft on my hair and doesn’t leave those unwanted white flakes that so many gels do.

During the winter months I added a bit of aloe vera gel to my home-made shea butter mix, which made an amazing hair cream.

If you’re wondering which brands I use, I use the Aubrey Organics line of aloe vera juice and gel, which I purchase at Loft. If you’re reading this in South Africa, I’m sure you can find aloe vera at both Clicks and Dis-chem stores as well as any health store.Aloe Vera

Benefits of aloe vera

1. It makes an awesome moisturiser – Without the proper moisture levels, we all know what happens to our hair. It becomes dry and brittle and can eventually break off. Aloe vera is a miracle worker in this department.
2. It prevents hair loss – This is one of the reasons it can be found is so many hair products such as shampoos and conditioners. If your favourite hair products do not contain aloe vera you can simply mix it in with your products of choice. You can also use raw aloe vera gel straight from the plant as a hair treatment. Here’s how:
  • Cut the aloe vera leaf from the stem upward.
  • Use a spoon to remove all the gel.
  • Apply it to damp hair, starting at the scalp and working your way down to the ends.
  • Cover your hair in in a plastic cap and wrap it up in a warm towel. Leave the treatment in for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Rinse, wash and style as usual.

3. It maintains the pH level of the hair and scalp

The natural pH level of hair and scalp is 4 – 4.5 i.e more on the acidic scale. Aloe vera’s pH level is 4.5 – 5.5. Therefore, the plant can be used to restore hair and scalp to its natural condition without using additional chemical substances. I’ve found out that it’s important to avoid the hair shaft from becoming too alkaline or too acidic. If your hair is too acidic or alkaline it can cause the cuticle to contract or open but keeping it at its natural state will keep the cuticle closed and healthy, and will help the hair to maintain its ability to retain moisture and ultimately stay soft and manageable.

4. It reduces dandruff

To get rid of dandruff, simply apply aloe vera juice to the scalp and leave it on for 30 minutes before washing it.

A few aloe vera tips
  • Aloe vera contains vitamin E which is very good for our skin.
  • Apparently aloe vera is one of many natural conditioning methods used by girls in the Caribbean, where it is widely available, and can be used on natural or relaxed hair.
  • Aloe vera gel is good for skin burns and acne.
  • Aloe vera can be bought as a household plant.

Let me know how and if you incorporate aloe vera into your natural hair care regime and what results you’ve achieved with it.

Love your curls,

x

aloe vera plant image source

Natural Beauty – Niomie

Introduce yourself

My name is Niomie, I’m from England but I’m currently living in Australia.  Since I’ve been a teenager I’ve had a complete catalogue of hairstyles which included cornrows, braids, s-curls, relaxed hair, weaves and wigs.  I’ve had short, long, straight and curly hairstyles and I’ve had a variety of different hair colours.  After all the diversity and ‘false’ looks, I’ve now opted to return to natural hair.

How long have your worn your hair natural an what made you decide to do it?

I stopped relaxing my hair over 4 years ago as I decided to go travelling and wanted a low maintenance hair style, and so I decided to turn to braids and weaves.  However, I made the decision to wear my hair as a natural afro during late 2013.  I was tired of the pretence and had been inspired by a number of women who were wearing their hair natural.

When did you first realise that you love your natural hair texture? 

My hair is naturally quite thin, so I used to turn to weave to add volume.  However, when I decided to turn natural, I realised having soft hair was an advantage.  Washing, drying and styling my hair is fairly quick and when straightening my hair it does look relaxed so I have versatility in my styles.

What is your hair regime, including products that you use? What do you do to keep your hair healthy?

I am a big fan of the Doo Gro products.  I have the complete range which includes the shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioning treatment, scalp oil, hair lotion and detangling sprays.  I started using Doo Gro products 2 years ago as a scalp moisturiser when I used to wear hair extensions and weaves and found that my natural hair was in very good condition when I removed the extensions.

This is my current routine: I wash my hair every fortnight using the Doo Gro Mega Thick shampoo and conditioner.  I then towel dry and apply the deep conditioning treatment generously.  Following that I place my hair under a shower cap and leave the treatment on for an hour (I tend to do my weekly house clean or cook while my hair has the treatment applied to pass the time).  Afterwards I wash the treatment out and towel dry my hair.  I then moisturise my scalp with growth oil, and moisturise my hair strands with the growth lotion.  Finally I apply the detangling spray before blow drying my hair using a hair dryer with a pick nozzle.  The combination of the products, treatment and blow dryer leaves my hair dry and straight within 15 minutes.  Depending on the occasion I may straighten my hair to remove more kinks.

Once outside my hair naturally ‘fluffs out’ which I like as it gives me more volume. During the week I’ll repeatedly moisturise my scalp and hair with the growth oil and lotion about 3 times per week.

You live in Australia. Please share with us where you buy your products so that anyone else reading this can also be in the know.

I buy most of my hair products in England and bring them to Australia after holidaying or when guests come to visit me.  However there are a number of African Caribbean hair salons in Australia that stock black hair products but the cost is more expensive.

What have your experiences been as a natural, including reactions from friends, family and colleagues? Have you experienced any opposition from anyone in your life regarding how you wear your hair?

The response has been very positive.  I have changed my hair several times since joining my employer so they are used to the constant change.  My friends love my natural look, particularly as it’s real.  Several members of my family are also transitioning to natural so are supportive of my change.  Surprisingly, I have received a lot of positive feedback from men, particularly black men who explain they dislike the pretence of hair extensions and weaves and find it refreshing to see a girl ‘keeping it real!’

Do you ever experience any moments of doubt about your natural beauty?

From time to time, when the weather is windy or wet and my hair reacts uncontrollably. Or when the speed of growth is not fast enough.

What is your hair goal? 

I want my hair to be thicker and longer.  I would love for my hair to be shoulder length or longer.

What is your best hair advice to someone who is thinking of returning natural, but who is apprehensive about doing it?

Do it!  It’ll take a while to adjust, but ignore your inhibitions and embrace your natural hair.  Once you’ve fully embraced your natural look, you’ll realise how beautiful your hair is and feel empowered.  You’ll realise that having short, afro hair is stylish and having long, flowing hair is not the only way to look beautiful.  Lupita Nyong’o is a perfect example – crowned the most beautiful woman 2014!

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt during your natural hair journey?

How great my hair is!  Everything I thought was bad about my hair is actually my strength.  I don’t need hair extensions and weaves to look beautiful, I just need to embrace what I have. I also want to be a positive role model to the younger black female generation, showing them that natural hair is cool and stylish 🙂

It is also important to remember that the chemicals contained in relaxers are damaging and will cause harm (sometimes irreversible damage) in the long run.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

When maintaining an afro, you’ll need to have an afro tool kit in your handbag for ‘just in case’ which includes an afro pick, a wide tooth comb, hair bobbles, hair grips and an umbrella!

Niomie in her weave-wearing days