Hair and Beauty

Hair and Beauty

‘You Look Like Janelle Monae…’

These were the (overly!) generous words that were uttered to me recently by a guy at a party.  Ladies, we all know the lengths a guy will go on a night out to erm, become ‘better acquainted’ with the opposite sex; but it was nice to be compared to the American singer and I gathered he was referring to the similar silhouette of our coiffuresJanelle’s signature hairstyle is to wear it in a retro pompadour fashion-

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When I did my below hairstyle, I didn’t have Janelle in mind, I just wanted to do a style where my hair would be upswept at the sides and back, whilst my hair at the front would pack maximum volume, with the help of extensions of course

As I did this hairstyle I did feel rather guilty as I was supposed to be having my hair free, Afro-natural and out, so to assuage my guilt I decided to do cornrows at the back and use extensions at the front-

Janelle’s hair silhouette is a lot slicker and polished than mine-

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And although I do love these hair shots of Janelle, I have always tended to model my hairstyles on Carrie Bradshaw (played by Sarah Jessica Parker)- when she wore her hair botticelli-esque as opposed to straightened- I loved the artful, organized messiness of it all.  So I prefer my hair silhoutte to look more bohemian and free.

Admittedly when I first got this hairstyle, I was a bit apprehensive of having all my hair away from my face, leaving my visage so ‘open’ and in sharp relief.  But I soon got into the swing of things and realised that the statement style gave me the confidence to experiment more with my makeup.  I also learnt to perfect my camera-pose as I realised that this hairstyle looks great when the head is tilted at an angle to the side.   Looks like Janelle is cottoned on to these facts as well.

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Hair and Beauty

How I style my Teeny Weeny Afro (TWA)

So if you’ve been following my blog, you would know that I am rocking my natural Teeeny Weeny Afro (TWA) at the moment.  P.s that terminology was made known to me by my readers and I love it!

Throughout the years and with the various hair styles I have sported, I have always found that my hair style dictates my over all style during the short period I have it– short becase, everyone who knows me knows that I am the Madonna of changing hair styles.

Currenly with a TWA, I have a lot against me like the increasingly cold weather in Berlin and being time poor and cash not ‘minted’.  I also feel that with having a short hair style, the risk of being confused for the males species is higher.  Consequently, I have to think outside the box to ensure that the world sees me very much as a WO!-man with my TWA, and not a filler in for Glee’s, Coach Beiste-

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So I’ve decided to share my tips on how I currently style my TWA and over all look on a budget-

1. I have learnt that with a good imagination (if you don’t have any, start collecting black magazines like Essence), a blow dryer with an attached comb, and oils (I’m using Almond Oil at the moment)- one can do interesting things with a TWA.  At the moment, this is the picture I am using for inspiration-

2. I strongly believe that in general and especially with a TWA, accessories should be your best friend.  These days when I style myself at night, I am hugely inspired by 80’s rock hair bands; songs like ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ by Deff Leopard and ‘Poison’ by Alice Cooper play in my mind, which encourage me to don black lace gloves, ‘Look at Me’ headscarves and earrings that jingle-jangle-

When it comes to where to get unique,eye-catching headscarves, look no further than vintage shops and markets.  I got this red and gold beauty from vintage shop, Rokit in London for a fiver.

 When I lived in London, I tended to get a lot of my statement earrings (like the ones below) from Topshop which sells great, affordable accessories.

I am a huge 80’s fan and icons like Madonna and Michael Jackson have made me rarely depart my house at night without a pair of black lace gloves.  This pair is from Claire’s Accessories. The silver cuff was a gift, if you have a TWA and your birthday is coming up, it will be in your best interest to tell close friends and family to get you statement accessories for your birthday.  If your birthday has long gone, Christmast time is coming sweeties.

3. Maybe its the fact that I can’t toss my locks behind my shoulders that makes me very much into creating movement with my look at the moment.  This has led me to wearing my Halloween cobweb cloak as part of my evening ensemble-

I purchased this piece of D-R-A-M-A for 20 euros at the Galleria Kaufhof shopping mall.  Now this look may be a bit much for some, but the motive behind it can still apply to you- find a piece of clothing that makes you feel fabulous.  And for those whose TWA makes them feel less attractive, wearing something that’s full of pizzazz will give you that confidence boost.  Yes, yes confidence comes from within but sometimes it needs a little boost to shine!

4. Speaking of beauty coming from within, I feel that with a TWA especially, one has to have a good, healthy beauty regime as your face is pretty much displayed in sharp relief.  Now, although I love hair and make-up, I am no expert in Beauty. However I can say that when rocking your TWA, ensure your eyebrows are on point and there are hairs on your head and not your face.

Make-up wise (and I will take pictures of the products soon, so bare with me), I tend to use products to high light and dramatise my eyes, whilst keeping my lips as natural looking as possible.  One of my favourite colour pigments to use on my eyes is gold and purple and for that I use MAC’s great duo eye shadow called, ‘Odd Couple’.  Also during my TWA period, I would be lost without Revlon’s ‘Luxurious Color Black Velvet Eyeliner’. 

Finally I have to say that the cheapest thing to do to look good with a TWA is to smile- be happy.  Even if you are not truly happy, fake it until you are by adopting acting skills to rival multiple award-winning actress, Hilary Swank.  Remember that with a frown, you are not only the moody b****h with the frown, you are the moody b***h with the frown who has a TWA.

Hair and Beauty

How do I style my short Afro hair?

This question has been driving me insane, so many people (Caucasians, mainly) think that having Afro hair is so ‘cool’ because when we wake up every morning, our hair looks like this-

However my hair is most definitely not of the microphone Afro variety and I’m still trying to work out just what it is.  Whilst trying to figure it out, I have had to hear some harsh truths from hair stylists concerning my hair, one is that my natural hair will never- despite how many rollers and straws I stick into it- look like this-

So no soft, spiral curls for me then, what to do?  I’ve always admired celebrities who manage to look stunning with their chic, pixie-like hairstyles and for me, Halle Berry is one of the best of them.  However, to achieve the below straight finish, I will have to put chemicals in my hair and for now, I want my hair to stay 100% natural.  A few decades too late, I finally want to learn how to deal with what the good Lord gave me and learn, somehow, to love it.  So this look is not an option for me either-

How about doing an Ace Ventura quiff?-

Well first of all, I believe I would need to have my hair straightened to achieve that kind of sharp finish and secondly as the winds are blowing with great gusto in Berlin, I believe this hair style has a very short shelf-outdoor-life.

I could do an ‘ol school Sisquo (Big Brother UK, really Sisquo, ok, back on topic) and dye it blonde

Well not only does full on blonde not suit my complexion, (unless I want to look like I wandered of the set of a Beenie Man dancehall video), I can’t achieve those curls naturally…I don’t think.

‘Fro Hawks are a versatile go-to afro hair style and I would love to cornrow the sides of my hair to achieve this look, but the whole point of going natural was to leave every strand of my hair well alone-

I am getting quite desperate now, how about I do what every high fashion magazine does when they get a black model with a strong face, i.e do a ‘Grace Jones’

Or better yet why don’t I just shave everything of, that way I will have no more hair style woes.

Ok, I have to stay calm and positive, the ‘Grace Jones’ look is great for me at night when I’m at my ‘fiercest’, so that’s my night look done.  What about during the day or when I don’t feel like making such a razor-sharp statement?  I like the look of this-

I wonder if I can achieve those curls naturally, I don’t want to get too excited, I have to be ready for the hair stylist to let me know again, just how limited my hair choices are, now I’ve undergone the snip.

Hair and Beauty

My hair-raising experience in Bintas Hair Salon

 As all women know, our hair is our temple, and it is of the utmost importance to find a good environment for us to worship it regularly.  This is why upon arriving Berlin I took a few months to research where the decent Afro hair salons were in the city.  After heavy research which included surfing the net, reading various Berlin blogs and stopping the random ‘African-looking’ person on the street, I decided to   go to Bintas hair salon to loosen my extensions.

I had booked a 10am appointment for that morning, so was slightly peeved when I arrived at 9.55 and the salon was still closed.  Fast forward about 15 minutes when I had all but lost the feeling in my toes, and a man finally came to open up the salon.  My mood was further soured when it seemed like he had no recollection of me making an appointment.  So gathering the patience from the gods, I calmly told him to look for his appointment book and lo and behold, in some illegible scribble, there my written appointment lay.

I was then told that ‘someone’ would come to the salon to do my hair ‘soon’.  By this point, I wanted to commit bloody murder but I forced myself to find some delights in the many objects that were for sale around me.  There were various slightly gawdy (translation-ghetto) accessories

There were also beauty products on offer

When I peered into the back of the hair salon, I saw African food products on sale.  At this point, I expected to look left and see a minister performing a wedding ceremony and to watch a minister carrying out a frenzied baptism on my right.

I then had to pysically shake myself to remember that I was supposed to be in a hair salon and asked for the salon’s price list.  I was then told that the price of loosening extensions ‘depends’.  Depends on what, I asked, trying desperately not to bark the question.  The man then gave me some cock n bull story and all the while I gazed at the clock.  Fast forward about 45 minutes and a lady came to loosen my extensions.  In the end I ended up paying 15 euros, which I thought was pretty decent.

As the lady loosened my extensions, Madame Binta herself sailed into the salon, bestowing her (slightly irate) customers with warm greetings et al, and this would have moved me, had I not had to deal with all that I had in her salon that morning.  In fact, I wanted to list all my complaints to her, but I thought better of it.  At that point, I just wanted to get my hair done and GO.

After my appointment I made the mistake of buying some of Binta’s hair products-

Why did I make a mistake?  Because on returning home to use the Carrot Oil I had purchased for a hefty 6.50 euros, I saw that not only did it not have a seal but half of the carrot oil seemed to have been used by someone else.  Shaking with rage, I then tried to see what the expiry date was, and saw that there was none but instead the trademark date was listed all the way back to 2004!! At this point, I hissed and threw the offensive carrot oil into the dustbin, where Bintas salon should really be situated.

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