Afrodisiac Formula #2: Dina

Natural Afrodisiac is pleased to present Dina, a Detroit native and long time loc lover, and her afrodisiac formula:

Tell us who you are, where you’re from, what you do.

My name is Dina Peace. I am a native Detroiter. I live in Ferndale Michigan which is a Detroit suburb. I have my background in journalism, and creative writing but I have discovered a love for vegan cooking and baking

When and why did you decide to go natural and/or start locs?

In 1999, I had a bad experience at this well known hair salon in Detroit so I decided then to wear my hair natural I had my first perm when I was 6 or 7 so I never had a good hair day. But I figured that it would be a good time for me to explore unchartered waters. Mind you people like Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill were really helping to usher in the Neo-Soul style: denim, silver jewelry, African cloth and nappy hair. It was like the late 60s and early 70s revisited and I was down with it. I was 21 years old.

What method did you use to transition to natural hair and/or what method did you use to start your locs?

I actually chopped off my shoulder length permed hair in the early spring of 1999. I hate short hair on me so I grew it out. It was a little afro, then I wore the box braids, then I began to do my own two-strand twists. After awhile, I became tired of taking them down so I wondered what it would be like to keep them in long term? I had met this woman who would become my best friend and she had locs for three years. I thought about it and in September of 2000, I asked her to two-strand twist my hair so they would grow into locs. My life has changed remarkably since.

What is your favorite way to style your hair?

My favorite way? I don’t have one yet! LOL! I love styles that emphasize length but I also dig styles that are like updos and such. Perfect for nights out and on hot sweltering days in Detroit.

What are 3 products or tools you cannot live without?

I am not a product junkie and I latchhook my locs (similar to Sisterlocking) but I can’t live without a good moisturizing shampoo, my African Pride hair oil (it smells so GOOD!) and of course my rug latchhook tool.

What have been some of the challenges and rewards you’ve experienced with going natural and/or cultivating locs?

A challenge for me is my flaky scalp during cold weather. I have found though that when you make a strong tea of sage and rosemary tea bags and rinse your hair and scalp with it before you wash, then the flakes go away. The most rewarding thing about wearing locs is that I am celebrating my hair texture as God made it. I used to want so called “good hair” when I was a kid but my Kunta Kente supa dupa kinky hair is PERFECT for locs! LOL. So really, my hair has ALWAYS been good.

What advice do you have for anyone interested in going natural and/or growing locs?

Learn about yourself from the process and enjoy it. I know women who are scared stiff to start locs. Don’t be afraid. If it is not for you then so be it but how would you know if you don’t try? Natural hair is beautiful. It is sexy and it is far healthier than the creamy crack. Trust me on this…

Where can we find you on the interweb?

You can find me on Twitter @dinapeace. I have a music that I update daily at http://www.musickhead.com/ and I have a blog that chronicles me researching my family tree and how this inspires me to cook vegan adaptations of traditional meals from Africa and all over the Diaspora. The blog is at http://www.foodculturefamily.wordpress.com/.


The Good, Bad & Ugly of Locs

I have a confession to make: My hair is looking pretty darn crappy right now. Yes, we natural hair and loc'd folks always rave about how beautiful and wonderful our curls, kinks and knots are, and while they are that overall, I must recognize and acknowledge that we have our bad hair days (weeks/months) too. This is especially true for those of us with locs that are not yet mature (baby and teenage). I love my locs, don't get me wrong, but right now I wish I could wrap them up in headwraps til November (my 1 year mark). The term "teenage locs" is not a misnomer, and like real teenagers, sometimes they like to challenge you and disobey and must be put on punishment, or just sent away to their room so you can take a minute to think and breathe.

No, my locs are not cooperating right now. I twist them, they come untwisted. I part them one way, they flop the other. I plan elaborate styles that work one week and fail miserably the next. The ones in the back are doing some weird flip up thing at the ends. They're too long to be short, and too short to be long. A few stick out randomly in crazy directions. Most of them are solid locs, but a few of them are still like to hold onto their un-loc'd roots for a little longer than the others. And the ends show no sign that they ever plan to loc......ever.

So what am I doing to get through this phase? Nothing. Waiting it out. Carrying on like nothing is wrong, going with the flow of what my locs want to do on a particular day, and just not worrying about it. Part of having natural hair is letting go that desire and need to control, to tame, to train. I am working with my teenage locs, not against them, and in turn they are working with me. I may have a particular style all planned out in my mind, but if it doesn't turn out the way I thought it would, I just go with something else that does work. When people ask "How did you style your hair like that?" I have to honestly tell them "I'm not really sure." Things are just kind of haphazard and crazy right now.

Is this to discourage anyone from locking? Goodness....by all means, no. I still am having a very active love affair with my locs, and the vast majority of time my hair looks crazy and frustrating only to me. This is just a phase they--and I-- are going through. I embrace the challenges, but I am still recognizing that they are challenges. The reason why I'm bringing this to light in the first place, even though I'm natural hair and loc's biggest fan, is not to scare people away, but rather because I believe people need to know what they are getting into before they get into it. Before someone starts locking, they need to know "Yes, I will go through this rough phase, but yes, I will also come out on the other side with beautiful locs." It is better to know up front and mentally prepare for what to expect than have others gloss over this for you, leaving you surprised, bewildered and frustrated when it happens to you, and having you think that something has gone wrong with your head. I'd rather people decide up front that maybe locking isn't for them instead of getting months into it and giving up because they didn't know what they were going to have to (temporarily) deal with. I prefer to tell it like it is-- the good, bad, ugly and beautiful.

If you are someone going through this phase, hang in there; it will get better. If you know someone going through this phase, please don't give them a hard time because later you'll be eating your words when you're complimenting their mature locs. And if you are thinking about going through this stage (i.e. anyone thinking about locs), don't be afraid. We've all gone through it.


Afrodisiac Formula #1: Ashley

Natural Afrodisiac is proud to present our very first natural hair featured beauty, Ashley Steele, who shares with us her afrodisiac formula:

1. Tell us who you are, where you're from, what you do.

My name is Ashley Steele. I'm a web developer, graphic designer, custom shoe designer and I recently began modeling!

2. When and why did you decide to go natural?

I hated spending so much time and money in the salon. Perms are not exactly a riveting experience, lol.

3. What method did you use to transition to natural hair?

I wasn't brave enough for a big chop, I don't think I have a face for extremely short hair. I let my hair grow and little by little kept trimming my ends until it was all gone. During my transition I wore mostly kinky twists.

4. What is your favorite way to style your hair?

I love my twist out, it's even cuter when I pin it into a mohawk. (:

5. What are 3 products or tools you cannot live without?

A WIDE TOOTH COMB lol, my Carol's Daughter Hair Milk products, and olive oil.

6. What have been some of the challenges and rewards you've experienced with going natural?

It's a challenge every time I comb it out, I've definitely learned to be patient when dealing with my hair. Another challenge is that I don't have the same texture all over so it's hard to keep my curls uniform…It's overall rewards to embrace my natural beauty. I love that people tell me "You like like yourself, like you don't want to or try to be something your not." (:

7. What advice do you have for anyone interested in going natural and/or growing locs?

DO IT! (: But then again…it's not a look everyone call pull off. I plan to get locs one day…but not soon, too permanent for me...

8. Where can we find you on the interweb?

Twitter: @MsAshleyS

Web Design Portfolio: http://www.ashleysteele.com/

Personal - http://www.facebook.com/MsAshleyS
Model Page - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ms-Ashley-Model/130575790295788?ref=ts

ModelMayhem: http://www.modelmayhem.com/1684295


Locs: Myths, Truths and Realities

(Originally posted on May 6, 2006 to my MySpace.... yes I said MySpace.... blog)

There are a lot of myths out there about locs and people who have locs, so I just wanted to set the record straight once and for all on a few things:

1. Yes, I DO wash my locs!!! This is by far the biggest myth about folks with locs... that we don't wash our hair. I'm here to tell you... that's nasty. A friend of mine asked me what I thought to be one of the dumbest questions ever, which was "How do you wash your locs?" Well, I'll break it down for ya: I take the shampoo bottle, squeeze the shampoo into my hand, lather it into my locs, rinse and repeat. Then I take the conditioner bottle, squeeze some conditioner into my hand, and work it into my locs from the ends up. Then I shave my legs, contemplate life, or whatever else I can do in 2-5 minutes in the shower to allow the conditioner to sit. Then I rinse it out. After towel drying, I either sit under a dryer or use a blow dryer. I do this about once a week, which is just as often, if not MORE often, than other black women with straightened hair.

2. I go to a hairstylist, and yes he costs a grip. My loctician is Thierry Baptiste, the most bad-ass loc stylist in the country (he travels nationally and internationally to do seminars). I primarily go to him to have my locs dyed/highlighted. And yes, you CAN dye locs!! And yes, he uses regular hair dye.... same stuff used on your hair. Yesterday he got on me about letting my ends get to the state that they were in.... unraveling curly-qs. He said next time I came in looking like that, we would have to fight. So yes, locs also need to have their ends trimmed, and they also need to be cut into a style or shape. One of the shittiest comments I've ever received was from... well, I guess I'll go ahead and bust her ass out.... [Name Omitted to Protect the Ignorant], when she said something to the effect of calling me "Miss 'I-don't-have-to-do-my-hair'". This was a day after I'd just dropped $120 on getting my locs colored AND styled. Real ig'nant......

3. I style my locs. I set them on rollers, braid or twist them for a crinkle set, flat twist them, cornrow them..... you name it. If it can be done with un-loc'd hair, some variation of it can be done with loc'd hair. Thierry does the most fabulous styles and updos that would make you jealous and wish you had some locs. No joke.

4. I didn't have to "do" anything to my hair to make it loc. Locs are THE most natural hair style for black folks ever. This is how locs are formed: First you gotta start with natural hair (I'm talking black natural hair here... it's a whole 'nother process for caucasian hair). Thierry comb coiled/single strand twisted my hair into individual twists. Then you just don't comb the twists (but again, you DO wash them!).... you just palm roll them to keep them separated and somewhat neat while the locs are forming. Other than that, mother nature does the rest. The curls naturally coil around themselves to form locs. I didn't use beeswax, pommade, back-combing, or anything like that to get my locs to form.... my hair just literally did its thang. And less is more... the more you try to eff wit 'em, the more likely you are to eff 'em up.

5. My locs are permenant. I cannot "take them down" (thus the reason why I can wash them like any other hair and it doesn't unravel). If I'm done with locs, I have to cut them off. But no biggie, I've had 1" of hair before.

6. Ask permission before touching, please.... I hate when people come up and touch my hair without permission. You wouldn't do it to anyone else (try to go up to a sista and touch her weave!) so don't do it to a person with locs. First of all, I ain't a damn petting zoo, and more importantly you are violating my personal space. Because I'm so passive, I usually don't get too belligerent with the person, but you may catch a beat down and/or cursing out if you do that to someone else. I actually don't mind for those who are truly curious, because I'm on a personal crusade to educate and dispel myths about locs, but just act like you got some home training.

I think my loctician says it best when he said that locs are just larger strands of hair.... but they are still hair and are treated much like you'd treat hair in any other form. Locs can be accepted in "corporate america" because I've found that they really don't care as long as you keep your hair neat and professional.... and that goes for ANYONE. They are not going to accept your raggedy weave over my well groomed locs just 'cause it's straight.

Any other questions? Get at me.