Friday, April 11, 2014

Product Review & Haircuts

It is now spring in Korea, which means rain, which means the dreaded humidity that us curly headed people loathe. I've been using my Carol's Daughter still (boyfriend's mama sent me some more, she's the best!), but it's not quite cutting it. So my best friend recently sent me a package, and apart from her other lovely gifts, she included this magical product.

My best friend has straight hair, but she dyes it a lot and she uses this. I, however, had never tried it and had no idea it was good for curly hair! So when I get out of the shower, I squeeze as much water out of my hair as possible. Then I put in my Carol's Daughter Hair Milk Pudding, as usual. After letting it dry a little more (so it's no longer dripping), I put in the R&B. Aahh it has made my curls so much softer and less frizzy, I love it! 

Post-shower. Still not sure what to do with these stupid bangs. 

My little "trick" (if you could call it that? Probably not groundbreaking) to make my hair a little fuller is to just flip it over and rub my scalp. 

Alors, voilà.

It has definitely done wonders for my kitchen, which is usually frizz-tastic and I just give up on it. No longer!


So yes, totally recommend this! It keeps my curls soft and together while not being greasy or crunchy. I can go without washing my hair for a few days and it's totally fine. It also has a pleasant smell, kind of like orange blossoms and jasmine. A little musky, but nice.

In addition, I've been doing the no shampoo method the past few weeks and I think that has also been a big help. I've been trying to steer clear of heat products, so I haven't straightened my hair in about a month. But I can see my curls have become much more consistent since I've laid off tampering with my hair in general. Note: I do use a little shampoo every few days, since I have a bit of psoriasis on the back of my scalp so I just put a dap of special shampoo there.

One thing I would really love though is a haircut. I'm trying to grow out my hair, so I'm not ready for one just yet, but the longer it gets, the curlier it gets (odd but true). But I'd like some more volume and I think some layers would help, buuuut I'm very wary about haircuts. Most places do not know how to cut curly hair and I find that really frustrating. My hair is thick and curly, and I like it that way. But usually when I get a haircut, the stylist assumes I want it thinned out and/or they cut the layers way to short and it looks awful.  I especially am skeptical of getting it cut in Korea, since all Koreans have natural straight hair or they perm it so....I think I'll be holding out for a haircut until I get back stateside.

 I've heard good things about Ouidad's Climate Control Gel, and I'm eager to try it. Especially since the summer in Asia is like being inside a sauna, so I'm not sure R&B is enough to keep my hair from losing its mind. I may order some from Sephora, stay tuned. 


Monday, February 24, 2014

Frizzy Hair and 2 Bobby Pins

So last night I braided my hair before bed. I should have known better and put some mousse or gel in it beforehand, because this morning, it was nice and pretty for the minute after I took out the braids, but then frizzed into this horrible mess. See photo below..

I attempted to braid the front, but it still looked terrible and frizzy and blegh, so I decided to fix it once I got to work. However, I only had 2 bobby pins on me, so the follow happened.


I'm still trying to make peace with hairline but it's really difficult..

Also, very low, low hairline in back, why?! 

Ta-da! Turned a bad hair day into a decent hair day ! :) I also managed to braid my bangs into the french braid, so that's one less thing to worry about! Ugh these bangs are killing me now. They only look good when my hair is straight, sigh. 


P.S. Always remember to keep a box of cookies around to keep up your energy while you do this!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

El Poder del Lenguaje

Hija, es 'mordió', no mordó, mordió.

Growing up, I didn't speak Spanish. The extent of my Spanish abilities was some key vocab and tengo hambre. On the other hand, my abuelitos, who I spent most of my days with would speak to me mostly in Spanish. I could understand them, but I just responded to them in English and they never insisted otherwise. My mom and tíos all came to the states around 10-12, so they have spent most of their lives in the US. They all speak perfect English, with varying accents, and they only spoke to us kids in English. My dad and his family were all monolinguals and my dad's attempts at Spanish were kind of laughable.

As a kid, I was adamant about not learning Spanish and learning Japanese instead (I still don't speak Japanese). My mom never really forced the issue and that was that. Occasionally I would hear my abuelitos tell me that I should learn Spanish, and how important it was, but I'd roll my eyes and nod my head in agreement.

Then high school happened. I initially started taking French, but due to lack of interest, they cut the French classes. My only foreign language options were German or Spanish. Having 0 interest in learning German, I opted for Spanish, thinking that it'd be an easy A.

I recently read about some stats that showed the use of English/Spanish in Hispanic communities in the states. It seems that there are plenty of people that identify as Hispanic that speak predominantly English. Now, if you had told me this when I was in high school, I would have said see?!  to my abuelos, just to get them to stop hassling me. But now?

Once I started Spanish classes, it all came pretty easily to me, until I got the plateau point where I felt like even though I was trying so hard and I had been studying so hard, everything I said was wrong. My abuelito, who loves to "educate", was the first to correct me, even when I made simple slips of the tongue. One day I was talking to him about their parrot and I said "Me mordó!", realizing the second I said it that I had made a mistake and it should have been mordió. Before I could correct myself, he said hija, es mordió, no mordó. Mordió. Mordió. Sigh. I felt like I wanted to give up then and there. I went to the bathroom, locked the door, and cried in frustration. I know it sounds dramatic, but I felt like there was so much pressure to get it right. Being Latina, I couldn't escape people's comments about how I should learn Spanish and their looks of disappointment when I couldn't. Or going to visit El Salvador and having to cling to my mom and abuela to translate for me for everything. Or just wanting to watch a stupid novela with my mom, and not being able to understand it. On top of that, I'm half white, so I was constantly at risk for being the shameful gringa. I felt like for other people, learning Spanish is handy. But for me, it was necessary for me to belong.

It's still a work in progress, but my Spanish is pretty good now, though it will never be perfect. As I grow and try to figure out my own identity and where I fit into everything, I think more about the role that Spanish plays in that. I may not fall into the "traditional" Latina mold in a lot of ways, but one thing I'm glad I did was learn Spanish. I feel like doing that isn't just practical, but it also gives me a closer tie to the community, and brings me closer to that part of myself. It kind of gives me a whole new person to be, or rather, access to a part of me that I never really had the chance to explore. If I ever change my mind about the whole having kids thing, I would insist that they be raised bilingual (or trilingual, or why not full on polyglot?). Spanish would have to be part of their lives, because it's part of who they are, and part of all of us as a culture. It kind of scares me to think that more Latinos don't know any Spanish at all. I feel like the language is really the core of the Latino culture, and if we leave that behind us, then what else are we leaving behind?


Monday, January 13, 2014

Winter Hair Woes

So as of late, I have been straightening my hair a lot. It's winter here in Korea, so when I leave my hair curly, it gets all kinds of frizzy and horrible. I don't know if it's because the air is really dry or what, but I have been straightening a lot, much to my chagrin (because I have no heat protector spray and I don't want a million split ends ugh). But last night I washed it, and didn't put any product in it, just went to bed. Woke up this morning with my curls like this.

They feel pretty smooth but....

The bottom of my hair, or cocina, as they say, is all sorts of coarse. I don't have any product in, but even with product it is like this. It is the curliest part of my hair but also the most prone to frizz. 

Whenever I have looked for information on way to protect my hair, I have a hard time getting info for my specific hair type. Most my hair is in the 3A range, but my cocina is almost as coarse as a 4 level curl. A lot of tutorials I find are for WoC with 4A-C curl types, and my hair doesn't quit have the same hold to it. 

How do you guys manage this part of your hair? How do you manage it in the winter? Do you put it up? I've got a million scarves, I've been thinking about doing some more protective hairstyles. 


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Plopping and the Results

So I decided to try plopping my hair for the first time and it yielded mixed results. First of all, I showered and washed with just conditioner, then put Carol's Daughter Hair Milk Pudding (this shit is the best stuff ever made. I will need to order more cuz I'm running out noooooo ;_;) in my hair. Just trying to get all my hair into a t-shirt was just about impossible, so I used a satin scarf instead. Then I went to bed, and hoped for the best!

Woke up this morning with the scarf still basically intact.

Took it down and my hair was successfully curly!

Except the back....

I have always had an issue with the back of my hair. It generally tends to frizz out or not look as nice as the rest of my hair. I'm not sure why and I'm not sure how to go about fixing it (layers?). I am hesitant to get a haircut because the last time I did, the woman practically butchered my hair. That was last year and I haven't touched it since.

So how do I keep the back of my hair nice and curly? I'll have to try and experiment.


The Life and Times of My Curls

Colocho means 'curl' in Spanish, for those of you who don't know. My dad is Irish-American and my mom is from Central America (Honduras/El Salvador). Spanish wasn't my first language, but I grew up with my mom and her side of the family, so I grew up in a Latino household with many of my cousins and aunts and uncles and abuelos. I never really had any concept of race or being bi-racial until I got old enough to start hating my hair.

My grandma has curly hair, one of my aunts has curly hair, and I have curly hair. It's thick and in between coarse and soft-ish (between a 3A/3B but if brushed, turns into a 2B?). Growing up my relatives used to call my hair a rat's nest because it was so unruly and tangled, and my mom (bless her) didn't really know how to take care of it. She would charge me with brushing it myself, which I never did because it was too painful. The task was then given to my aunt, whose hair is between a 3C and a 4A (and who definitely had a fro in high school), and she would sit me down and comb and pull at my hair, often leaving me in tears.

Over the next few years, into pre-teen and teenage years I straightened my hair every day. At first I had my mom do it, but after a while she said that it took too long because my hair was so thick so I had to do it myself. I absolutely despised my curly hair. I would straighten it and lay it upwards on my pillow so that I wouldn't ruin it. I would flip if I saw the slightest wave or curl. I would deep condition every single day, in the hopes that it would one day be as soft and smooth as that fine blonde hair that my friends had. On the rare occasion that I did leave it curly, I had no idea what to do with it. In my eyes, it was a frizzy burden, a rat's nest. As high school progressed, I did leave it unstraightened more often, but I would usually go at it with a curling iron or put it up so that I could tame it.

It wasn't until I got to university that I actually even thought about the topic of hair, identity and race. Often times I felt inadequate, feeling Not-Hispanic-Enough for the Latinos (Spanish not being my first language) and like some weird token "ethnic" friends with my white friends. I had absolutely no mixed race friends so whenever I would bring up these feelings, I was often told that I was "just overthinking it" (it again wasn't until college that I met someone who understood exactly how I felt). I never had anyone to teach me how to take care of my curly hair, or anyone to encourage me that curls were beautiful. I'm not complaining, it's just a process I had to go through on my own. It was only about a year or two ago that I realized that my natural hair was beautiful and that it is an expression of my identity. I didn't have to make an excuse for it. It is up to me to choose how I want to express it. I have done some digging and  have been inspired by many women's decisions to go natural and wear it proudly, and to start experimenting with their hair in a way that goes beyond dyeing and cutting.

So with that, I decided to start this blog. A blog about hair, hair experimentation, identity and stories from a cultural in-betweener, in the hopes that it will connect with others like me and beyond.


My hair as a kid

After bantu knots for 3 hours. 

What happens when I brush my hair...

Bantu knots overnight

Bad hair day hair

Bad hair day hair part deux