The Beatdown

After Straightening My Hair For Most Of My Life, I Decided To Embrace My Chinos And This Is What I Learned

I spent most my entire life straightening my hair every day. The damage, as you can imagine, was enough to make me cry – until I decided to embrace my curls and go natural. For me, going natural didn’t mean just hopping out of bed and letting my hair do what it wanted. It meant doing a little bit of research to understand how to care for my curls so they live their best life.

I was blown away to learn that not all curl patterns are the same. 

A really good chart 🙂 #hairtype #curltype #curlchart #curls #curlyhair #curlygirl #knowledge #knowyourhair

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I used to assume curly hair was just curly hair, but as this curl chart shows, not all curls are the same. As seen above, 3A is a looser curl, 3B hair is more of a wide spiral/ringlet like the circumference of a sharpie and 3C hair is a smaller spiral like the circumference of a pen. Knowing your pattern will allow you to better select products. Oh and FYI, you CAN have more than one curl pattern. This was also new to me.

I am all three of the 3’s.

My hair strands range from loose curls to tight ringlets.

Before doing my homework, I had no idea what porosity was.

The Voice / NBC

Porosity describes the gaps and holes in the surface of the hair, which can make it more vulnerable to damage. Curly hair is naturally more porous and therefore more thirsty, which is why we frizz up with humidity. Our hair is literally trying to drink water!

Very porous hair absorbs liquid quickly and loses it quickly. High porosity can be the result of damage to the hair from chemical treatments and environmental exposure. The frizz is real!

Tip: To test your porosity drop a strand of clean hair into a glass of water. If it immediately sinks, your hair is of high porosity. If it floats midway, it’s of medium porosity, and if the strand floats towards the top and it takes a while to sink, your strands are of low porosity. You can also be a combination of porosities.

Most commercials train us to think that the more suds you create in your hair, the better, but suds are actually the enemy. ?

Herbal Essences

Why? Because sulfates! Sulfates are usually listed as sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laurel sulfate or abbreviated as SLS. It is a detergent found in dish soap, toothpaste and pretty much anything that lathers.

Essentially you are washing your hair with the same thing you wash your clothes and dishes with. So yeah, hard pass.

Credit: Here Comes Honey Boo Boo /  TLC

Sulfates strip your hair of it’s natural oils. I haven’t used sulfates in a month and it has completely changed my curl pattern, moisture, and the shine is unreal!

Instead, I learned to condition often.

Credit: Easy A / Sony Pictures

I use a non-lathering sulfate free conditioning cleanser like DevaCurl “No Poo Shampoo” or Living Proof “Conditioning Cleanser” instead of a lathering shampoo. It’s also a good idea to find a deep conditioner to keep your hair moisturized and to promote growth.

And to rub my hair the right way.


Another turning point in my hair journey was when I stopped using a towel to dry my hair. Terry cloth towels can fray the little gaps and holes in the surface of your hair causing frizz. Micro fiber towels don’t rub hair the wrong way, but you don’t have to spend beaucoup bucks on those name brand ones.

Tip: Just use a less abrasive fabric. I use a cotton tee shirt and it works just fine!

I also had to turn down the heat. Way, way down.

The greatest threat to curly hair is heat damage and over processing. If you’re going to blow dry your hair use a diffuser and keep the heat low. If you’re going to dye it I suggest finding someone who knows how to dye curly hair (yes that’s a thing). As someone who used to straighten their hair every day, turning down the heat wasn’t easy, but it has definitely paid off.

Tip: henna is a nourishing dye option if you’re looking to go deep red or jet black.

But getting my curls to a silky state actually started during my sleep routine, specifically with the pillowcase I use.

Credit: The Little Mermaid / Disney

I started using a silk pillowcase and it was a total game changer for my hair and my skin. Silk and satin don’t absorb your hair’s natural oils and dry it out it also doesn’t allow bacteria to grow like cotton does, so you can imaging how real the glo up was.

Tip: Don’t spend $75-100 online for a freaking pillow case! Go to the fashion or textile district in your city and buy a yard. A mid level silk will cost you around $14. If you’re not a seamstress, you can wrap your pillow around the silk or do a basic cross stitch and voila!

And there are a few other measures I take to protect my rizos while I sleep.

Credit: Keeping Up With the Kardashians / E! Entertainment Television

If your hair is longer than shoulder length you should put it in a loose braid when you go to bed. This will keep it from getting tangled and protect your ends. I also like to rub a little avocado oil into my ends before bed to keep them moisturized.

But the most important rule for me has been to NEVER dry brush my hair.

Credit: The Princess Diaries / Disney

This may seem like common sense, but tell that to my mom when I was 12! Dry brushing breaks your hair strands, causes frizz and ruins your curls. DON’T DO IT! To detangle, your hair must be wet. There are plenty of detangling rinses and detangling sprays on the market that will save your life!

READ: These Curly Chicas Taught Me How to Embrace My Natural Hair

Share with your curly girls! And let us know about your own curly hair routines in the comments!

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11 Ways To Make Your Rizos Grow In The New Year

The Beatdown

11 Ways To Make Your Rizos Grow In The New Year

Now that the holidays are in full swing and we inch closer to the New Year, we can’t help but think of January as a chance at a fresh start. And like every other year before this one, we know we’re going to look back at the past year and roll our eyes the bad decisions we made. And we’ll be the first to admit–some of the worst decisions we’ve made in the past year have definitely been hair-related. To over-heating, over-coloring, and falling back into bad habits (some shampoos with sulfates smell so good!), we definitely acknowledge that our hair care routine has some room for improvement.

So in 2019, commit to treating your hair with the kindness that it deserves! In order to help with that commitment, we’ve provided a list of 11 better ways to treat your hair in the New Year. Check them out below!

1. Commit to Less Heat

We know you’re tired of hearing it, but this age-old piece of advice is worth repeating: cut back on heat styling. It’s the number one step you can take if you really want to improve the appearance and overall health of your hair. Now we know cutting out heat styling altogether is unrealistic for many, so instead, pledge to at least cut back in the New Year. Create a plan to wash your hair on the weekend so you don’t have to explain your blow dryer ban on weekday mornings. You can also opt to style your hair in ways that look just as great with wet hair, like braids, buns, and twist-outs. Heat-styling may be a tough habit to break, but we promise, your hair will thank you in 2019.

2. Trim every 6-8 weeks

If you’re Afro-Latina, it’s possible that you grew up being fed the idea that cutting your hair was a big no-no. I remember my mother forbidding me to get haircuts throughout elementary school, as she was afraid it “wouldn’t grow”. We now know that this old wives’ tale couldn’t be more wrong! In fact, when you trim your ends, you preemptively remove the most delicate part of your strands (the ends), and leave in its place the newer, stronger part of the strand. By cutting away your brittle ends, you can prevent your ends from splitting further up the shaft. And contrary to popular belief, end breakage is actually the primary culprit behind your lagging length gains.

3. Protect Your Hair While You Sleep

It may seem like overkill, but there’s a reason that sleeping on satin, whether it be hair bonnets or pillowcases, has suddenly become all the rage. The reason behind this is that traditional cotton pillowcases cause friction between the hair shaft and the pillow. And repeated friction = breakage. Satin pillowcases and bonnets are a great alternative because, unlike cotton pillowcases, satin texture isn’t as rough and isn’t as absorbent. That means satin sucks less moisture from your hair during sleep. If, like me, you can’t stand snoozing with anything other than your own hair on your head, go with a satin pillowcase. It’s less annoying and just as effective!

4. Use Leave-In Conditioner Every Day

That’s right: Every. Day. Many women of color–and Afro-Latinas especially–struggle with retaining moisture at their ends due to the curlier pattern of their hair texture. And although weekly deep-conditioning is a great way to give your hair a one-time mega-dose of moisture, it’s the daily upkeep that will keep it consistently hydrated. A daily leave-in conditioner can be exactly the extra step you need to keep your hair soft and strong. Remember when using a leave-in conditioner to pay special attention to the very ends of your strands, as they’re the part of your hair that’s most in need of moisture.

5. Use At-Home Hair Masks

Yes, they’re fun to whip up in the cocina, but DIY hair masks also work! Raid your kitchen cabinet for everything from avocado to coconut oil to offer your hair a little extra love before wash day. Not only are homemade hair masks effective, but they’re usually inexpensive, making it easier for you to commit to a New Year’s resolution of pampering your strands. Look to the internet (or your madre) for the perfect recipe for your hair pattern and texture.

6. Experiment with Protective Styling

Although we live for wash ‘n go’s and the occasional silk press, we know that once in a while, our hair needs an extended rest from the daily wear and tear. In the past, we’ve avoided protective styles because they can sometimes be pricey, and all too often, they’re too time-consuming for our busy schedules. But in 2019, we vow to let our hair get some much-need R&R under Senegalese twists, box braids, micro-braids, and faux locs once every few months.

7. Deep-Condition Every Wash

As young Latina women, our schedules are packed and sometimes it seems that deep-conditioning our hair is just one more thing we need to worry about in an already busy day. Yes, it’s more time-consuming than a quick wash-and-rinse with shampoo and conditioner, but it really makes a difference. Unlike regular conditioners, a proper deep conditioner attaches itself to the hair fiber to provide longer-lasting moisture. And not only does deep-conditioning replenish the lost moisture, but it works to prevent future damage too. And since hydrated hair is equal to healthy hair, it’s essential that you use any chance you get to replenish its moisture.

8. Use Protein Treatments

If your bathroom counter looks like a graveyard for split ends, it may be time to start incorporating protein treatments into your hair care routine. Protein treatments are different from regular deep conditioning because they contain essential amino acids that bind to the hair shaft, making it stronger and less prone to breakage. These treatments are especially effective for Latinas with high-porous strands (i.e. heat and color-damaged). Opt for a protein treatment once a month, but be careful of over-treating. Too many protein treatments can make hair brittle!

9. De-tangle with Care

How many of us have memories of standing in front of the mirror before school while our mothers roughly dragged a hairbrush through our tender little heads? Well, turns out, that method of detangling is a big no-no. Not only can it cause breakage to your ends, but it can pull out perfectly healthy strands from the root. The best way to detangle is to use a wide-tooth comb and either hair oil or a leave-in conditioner. In the shower after shampooing, saturate your hair with conditioner and detangle again with a wide-toothed comb. After you shower, apply a leave-in conditioner first and wait until your hair is semi-dry before detangling again. This method ensures that your hair is always lubricated when you detangle, thus preventing breakage.

10. Use Sulfate-Free Shampoo

When the natural hair movement really took off a few years ago, the number one advice the natural hair community was touting on the internet was this: stay away from sulfate-filled shampoos. There’s a reason for that–sodium lauryl sulfate is a detergent that works to strip the hair completely of its natural oils. And while this may be nice for that squeaky-clean feeling after you shower, over time it zaps all moisture out of your hair, leaving dry and frazzled strands. Stick to sulfate-free shampoos most of the time. But, if your hair is feeling cakey and volume-less, go ahead and opt for a shampoo with sulfates once a month as a clarifying treatment.

11. Pamper Your Scalp

If you’re properly moisturizing and hydrating your hair, chances are, you’re going to experience heavy strands sometime in the near future. Moisturizing products can coat the hair and leave stubborn residue. This residue can build up in the scalp, clogging hair follicles and pores and preventing speedy hair growth. You can combat build up by treating yourself to an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse. Known for its clarifying properties, ACV also acts as a mild exfoliant and pH balancer. And if you want to spoil your scalp further, treat yourself to daily scalp massages. Scalp massages increase blood flow and aid in lymphatic drainage, both of which promote hair growth.

Read: Michelle Obama Keeps It Real About ‘Leaning In’ Saying It ‘Doesn’t Work All The Time’

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Safe Winter Hairstyles For Afro-Latinas To Keep Your Rizos Defined And Moisturized Even When You Want To Wear Them Straight

The Beatdown

Safe Winter Hairstyles For Afro-Latinas To Keep Your Rizos Defined And Moisturized Even When You Want To Wear Them Straight

Wintertime can be a rough season for black women. Not only do we have to remain hyper-vigilant about moisturizing (ashy skin is a big no-no), but we also have to go the extra mile to make sure our hair is properly hydrated. Seasonal elements like wind, dry air, and cold temperatures have been known to wreak havoc on already-fragile strands. And as most naturalistas know, lack of moisture = breakage. And ain’t nobody got time for that.

So to help out all of the Afro-Latinas who are struggling to keep their strands shiny and their rizos bouncy in the midst of the roughest season of the year, we’ve compiled a list of protective and low-heat hairstyles for black hair this winter. Check it out below!

1. Jumbo Flexi Rods

Flexi rods are the perfect tool to use if you want looser, bouncier curls without resorting to damaging your hair with heat styling. Jumbo Flexi Rods are one of the latest trends that have been sweeping Instagram’s natural hair community. Devotees love them because they’re low maintenance, low-damage, and long-lasting. Not to mention, they’re fun to put in!

2. Box Braids with Triangle Parts

Since box-braids made a huge comeback in the last few years, black women have been putting their own spin on the protective-style staple. The latest craze is parting your braids into triangular sections as opposed to the traditional “box” parts. That makes this style both protective and trendy.

3. Faux Locs

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Got a birthday reading from the amazing @readingsbyvida this past Friday and spent the weekend marinating on all the things she confirmed and enlightened me on. So good!! Check my stories for one of the invaluable things I received from my reading and comment below if you will be joining me for the #GoodVibesandChill challenge this month. ✨💜 P.S Still dying over these #fauxlocs! I felt so beautiful. My first protective style ever done by the beautiful @andranita_bita. Still so crazy to me how she even ended up doing my hair LOL Scroll back down on my feed to last summer for the story. Love her! I have a video on the process on my channel too if you want full details. Happy Monday Vecinas!

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Faux-loc extensions are a stylish and low-maintenance way for black women to keep their hair protected from cold, wind, and dry climates during the winter. So, not only do they protect your hair from breaking, but they are 100% Instagram-able.

4. Senegalese Twists

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Senegalese twists have been around for years, but they’ve recently gone through a renaissance. All you need to do is search Instagram or Youtube for your favorite natural hair beauty guru, and you’ll find a picture or video of her rocking this stylish ‘do. And like box braids and faux-locs above, this hairstyle is almost always extensions, so your natural hair will be protected from the harsh winter climate.

5. Roller Set/Tension Rollers

Tension Rollers are great for black women who want to occasionally wear their hair straight without worrying about compromising their natural curl pattern. The look is achieved by naturally stretching the hair follicle over a jumbo curler. The curl is then “set” under a hair dryer. Because this look is done with low heat, there is less damage, and therefore less breakage. It’s a perfect look for Holiday special occasions.

6. Clip-In Pony Tail

The clip-in ponytail is perfect for the woman who wants to look fierce but has a limited amount of time to do so (and let’s be honest–isn’t that all of us?). Many of us are in the thick of our natural hair journeys and our lengths might not be exactly where we want them to be just yet. Say what you want about clip-in extensions, but there’s no denying that they’re fast and they get the job done. If you’re worried about clip-in extensions looking too obviously artificial, invest a little more money in real hair.

7. Micro Braids

What little black girl didn’t pine after Brandy’s era-defining micro-braids in the 90s? Well we’re in luck, because the look is finally making a comeback! While not as low-maintenance as box braids and Senegalese twists (micro-braids are known to tangle), they’re still a protective style. Not to mention, the braids’ thin width makes them easy to style into other hairdos like twists and braids.

8. Braided Updo

If you’re tired of extensions, but you don’t quite have the time (or energy) to commit to brutal wash n’ go’s, then a braided updo might just be the middle-ground you’ve been searching for. A half-braided ‘do is the type of look that looks much more elegant and time-consuming than it actually is. Go to your trusty salon (or maybe your madre or tía, if they’re talented) and ask them to cornrow your hair only halfway through your crown. Not only will it be less time-consuming, it will be less expensive too.

9. The Whitney Bob

If you’re in the middle of your grow-out phase after the big chop, don’t despair! This phase can be one of the most rewarding when it comes to playing with edgy haircuts and experimenting with hairstyles. One vintage mid-length cut that’s going through a renaissance is “The Whitney” afro-bob. But before you get this cut, make sure your stylist knows exactly what you want, because shape is everything when it comes to this style. Once you’ve achieved the desired cut, stick to roller sets for a low-heat, loose-curl look.

10. Hat With High Pony

The ultimate Bad Hair Day style has been transformed into the look of Instagram queens everywhere. If you’re in between protective styles, or you’re not about that extension life, a baseball cap and a high pony are a surefire way to disguise the state of your fifth- (or sixth-) day curls. All you need to do is throw your hair up into a high pony, place the pony through the cap’s closure, and mist your hair with some curl-reviving spray to bring it back to life. Voila! Instant Insta-baddie.

11. Mini Bantu Knots

Have you ever spent what felt like hours on your hair only to realize that you have to do it all again on the other side of your part? Well you’re in luck, because the Trend Gods have spoken, and they have determined that one-sided hairstyles are so in this winter. Especially one-sided mini-bantu knots. So you can claim your throne as a trend-setter and a women who protects her ends!

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