Becoming the Boss of Me: How I escaped the 9 to 5

I loved doing my job.  But I hated the office environment & office politics so much that I spent years saving money & “scheming” a way out of it. :o) Next year will mark TEN years of me not working a 9 to 5. Of not physically being in any office. Meaning, no office gossip or other BS I don’t miss. Call me the weirdo nerd, but people socialized SO much at work that it honestly annoyed me!

I was thinking, don’t you all have other aspirations in life? There was so much focus on “he say, she say”. And I was thinking, “really? Who gives a damn? How is THIS making you more money? Or getting you promoted to a better paying position? What a waste.” 

Since I was a long term temp and not an employee, BUT a respected worker, I actually created a job for myself. All so that I could work from home. Again, this goes back to the power in how you present yourself.  This power move was a big step outside of my comfort zone and quite frankly my social status at the company. So I had to be convincing. I had to make a strong case for them to contract me as a freelance consultant. I took this potential job opportunity very seriously. And I made a strong case using a Powerpoint presentation showing what I COULD do for them & outlined exactly HOW I was going to do it.  I came off fully competent and confident, because I knew what they needed and most importantly, what I wanted.

Now people can clown my professional voice and style all they want, LOL. But my presentation looked something like this video

And you know what I left that boardroom with? A $50,000 contract for a project I could do from home. But wait. It gets even better. I had complete time flexibility—also known as autonomy. My project kept me disciplined and provided me a secure income while I built up my other business as a graphic consultant.

So basically, I had TWO great paying freelance jobs. When a graphic consultant gig came up? I could leave town immediately. I was no longer tied to a desk or schedule. Again, complete time freedomThe project I was contracted to do for $50k simply kept me busy until a graphic consultant gigs came up.

This nice setup made my transition into graphic consulting so much easier. I was never broke. In fact, cause I lived frugally? I saved $__loads of money.

I finally got health insurance and paid off old debts (because unfortunately I had screwed up my credit in college) It was awesome! And the best part about it all? Is that I felt so FREE. At 26 yrs old, I had learned the power of planning & professionalism. I’d trained myself to take INITIATIVE.

Hell, I had so much freedom & flexibility with my schedule that in the year 2004, I took a 5 week vacation to Europe. A backpacking budget trip on my own.  I traveled to 8 countries and 14 cities throughout Europe.  I traveled clockwise from Reykjavik, Iceland to Paris, France. 

And that’s when I realized. Yup, this is living. And I have to keep this going. lol. So I worked very hard (or smartly) and met all of my work commitments. My $50k project contract was renewed for a few years, so I continued working on that. Again, it kept me disciplined & working in between graphic consulting gigs.  After a while I become known for my energy & professionalism in graphic consulting.  I acquired BIG corporate clients. So many clients that the $50k side project became irrelevant (Look not bragging, just being honest, ok?) So I started thinking. Why make $XXX a day doing this when I can earn $XXXX+ a day with my graphic consulting career? It was simple math, really. :o)

Plus, years had gone by and the project was complete anyway.  At this point they were paying me less and less because at this point I was just maintaining what I had built for them until they could hire someone else to do it in-house (fine with me!) lol 

Eventually, I built up a regular clientele for my graphic consulting and I did the same annual meetings.  I was earning money consistently.  So I no longer needed the other job. Around age 28,  I first earned a six figure salary doing my graphic consulting exclusively, even though I only worked about 1/3 of the month (7 -10 days a month usually).

So during all of this time do you think I was looking and dressing all FLASHY? Flossing expensive gear? Driving an expensive car? Living in a big home? Nope. I drove a Mazda-3 (which I had paid for in cash) and lived in an apartment. This was around the time I met Kevin. I was 28 years old, living in an apartment in Baltimore for $660 a month. No debt. Just trying to learn to manage money. Through Kevin I learned a LOT more about money management. I was pretty good at saving money, but he was MUCH better at investing & leveraging it.  We figured we could make a good team. :o) So we renovated his home (something we’d both NEVER done before) & sold the house for good profit.

Mind you, we did all this AFTER we got married. Hell no! Neither one of us were going to combine finances until after marriage. LOL. ;o) 

Shortly after that? Around 2009? I started doing the Youtube video-making thing. Mainly out of boredom in between graphic consulting gigs. And NOT for money.  For the first 14 months on Youtube, I didn’t earn a dime making videos.  I  started making videos in April 2009, but didn’t become a full partner until July 2010.

But after realizing OTHER people were scheming to make money off me? (As in embedding my videos on their websites/blogs to sell products) I didn’t like that very much. :-( Made me feel so used. It was like a demotion.

Totally frustrated, I was thinking, “I’ve come TOO FAR in life. I’ve Been TOO BOLD in my professional career to start acting like I have no ambition.” And from that frustration?  was born. So around October 2009 I made the BIG decision to create  It was risky. But so was making myself a PUBLIC figure for FREE. LUV Naturals  was launched on February 14th 2010, but I did NOT quit my graphic consulting job. I was basically moonlighting for an entire year.

Don’t believe me? Well you can catch a blip of me at 3:00 in this video. June 2010. It was one of the last BIG meetings that I did. That NYC meeting was a crossroad for me for real. My graphic consulting earnings were PEAKING when I started  LUV Naturals   So the choice was hard!

I had to make a hard choice. Did I see a real future in  and Youtube? Because I was basically giving up $125,000+ yr salary :-/ I had to ask myself, “do I have the *stamina* 2 put up with Youtube? The good, bad & the ugly? How will it affect my life? My plans? Our plans?” The consistent success of  LUV Naturals   (even without products yet mind you) made a solid financial case for switching careers. And more importantly?  I have a strong PASSION for it.

So here I am. LOL. I’ve just tweeted the last 10 years of my life. And I’m probably gonna go to  for it. I’ll just end it here. :o)

"Creative Freedom Ain’t Free": A Case for Professional Hairstyles

This informally written spontaneous “tweet rant” was inspired by LIFE. :o)

Regarding #naturalhair … 

Okay, I’m gonna tell ya’ll something. I will always be practical when it comes to maintenance & hair styling. Why? Mainly now because of time management but previously for professional reasons as well. 

At this point in my life? I’m not even the leastbit concerned about “creative hairstyles”. All I care about is what I can realistically sustain. When it comes to #naturalhair I want the following:

1) A style that will hold up nicely;

2) A style that makes detangling/wash day easier;

3) A style that minimizes tangles and knots, which reduces hair breakage; and

4) A style that reflects who I am, NOT any current trends.

Because I’m thinking about this baby on the way, the home I have to maintain, the body I have to maintain (or rather, get back) & time for my husband.  You, know?  Real life priorities.


I am 35 yrs old. I don’t like “busy” looking hairdos. I don’t want or need my hair to be the center of attention. In fact, I don’t even like that. I guess you could say I prefer the more “conservative” hair styles. Hair styles that simply complement what I am wearing. Again, nothing too busy.

And dare I say? DARE I SAY? I also want hairstyle that reflects where I am socio-economically. What does this mean? lol. I’ll explain.

When I was a consultant for 7 years? Because I look much younger? I had to play down that youthfulness. Which by default means conservative clothing and hair style choices. Why? Because I couldn’t roll up in the business meeting wearing hairstyles that reminded my clients of their KIDS & expect them to PAY me a lot of money!

No, I didn’t want to and still don’t want to look like the chicks from the reality shows. Sorry. That includes (crazy) hair colors too. :-/

I know a lot of people are influenced by pop culture, hair shows, etc. That’s fine. Do your thang! :o) But don’t everexpect me to do so.

What some of you might call “boring” hairstyling has been my business strategy for years. I do not want to be confused for something I’m not. I’m NOT trying to stand out.


I don’t like when folks make “hair restrictions” & hair style biases a racial thing. Are you kidding me? White, asian, latina have “code” too!  Over the past 20 yrs I’ve worked for over 100 American companies. (As a temp and later a business consultant)  Let me tell you. I can walk into any corporation and tell you who the receptionist is, who the directors are, and  point out the CEO.

Yes, sometimes just based on their appearance alone. I can guess where you rank in your company’s power hierarchy.

In fact, it is usually quite easy to figure out the hierarchy of white, asians and latinas, by their hairstyles and hair colors. As representatives of their companies, there are certain hairstyle trends that they must follow in order to be taken seriously.

If you don’t think the same thing goes for black women, then you are delusional. We are not exempt. The same appearance biases applies to us as well!

I tell people all the time. These biases exist in the professional world. Creative expression is not you right. Don’t like it? Work to become your own boss!

And believe. Its not just white folks who are judging your appearance & presentation! I think black folks are the quickest to assess you.

I came from areas some would call the hood. I know better. I know how it feels to be categorized. But I’m also not stupid. I get the game. And again, until you achieve some level of power or influence? You’re not changing a thing. You have no more control over this professionalconservative appearance bias than women of other races.  So if the white chick in the office has to “tone it down” to be taken more seriously in the office? Meaning her hair cut & color? So do you. :-/

Why am I saying all of this? Because people keep getting me confused. Asking me why I don’t try this hairstyle, hair color or that. Uh, No. lol. Some po’ child thought I’d consider it an insult that my “librarian” hairstyle bun was too boring for her. Well guess what? It got me HERE.

I worked my conservative hairstyles & appearance to my advantage. Because “boring” ain’t bad when you want to convey “I’m smart, pay me WELL”.

So save your need for “creative expression” for the weekend! There’s a time and place for everything.


Its so amusing to me the way some people harp on principle alone & think certain aspects of business institutions are going to bend to them.  Certainly, you can do whatever you what. Wear and color your hair however you desire. Absolutely. But don’t think for one sec there aren’t tradeoffs.

As a temp, back in the day? I’ve been the young receptionist. Receptionists do not set the trend for the Sr. Directors & CEOs. Reality Check! I’ve witnessed quite a few young white women (some without college degrees) get groomed literallyfor better paying jobs.

What do they call it? “Power hair cuts and color”. Look no further than any popular mainstream magazine if you doubt this. 

I’ll tell you about two women.  They both happen to be white. 

One chick was hmm, how do I say this nicely? “Rural”. The other was just sloppy honestly. But the same high powered woman gave them makeovers! I don’t know what it is about some of these high level white businesswomen and makeovers! But they love it. LOL! They love grooming folks for better paying jobs.

Its like, these women were “pet projects”. I’m not kidding, okay? But in the end both of those women got jobs they probably barely qualified on paper to do.

Pet Project #1 “The Rural Woman”: One of the “pet projects” was previously an administrative assistant. How do I know? Because I was her replacement. She was magically transformed to office manager.  Which meant better pay and a higher status. Keep in mind, this new job provided her with skills and work experience that she could take anywhere. This can’t be stressed enough.  When you are promoted?  It affects yourlifetime earnings and socio-economic status that you then pass down to your children.

So over the next few years? “Rural woman’s” salary probably doubled, possibly tripled. No lie. 

Pet Project #2 “Sloppy to Refined”

And the other young white woman? The one I said was a little sloppy in appearance? OMG! Her makeover? She got totally “prepped out”.  I mean from head to toe or rather hair to shoes.  A job was actually created for the formerly sloppy, but now PREPPY white chick.  And after a few years had passed, everyone just saw her as that preppy woman.  She got so comfortable and confident in her new role and new look that we almost forgot where she came from!

So I literally witnessed the transformation of these two women.  I saw them re-packaged and “branded” for better paying jobs. They needed new, upgraded, refined looks in order to be perceived suitable for their new roles. To convince other “higher-ups”, I guess. :-/ Bottomline? Appearance matters.

And Kim Love was taking notes. Okay? LOL. ;o)

And the lesson was this: A HUGE part of the better paying job is looking the part. As they say, dress for the job you want. HAIR to toe.

So please don’t think appearance bias in hair and wardrobe only affects black women.  This is simply not true.


I’ve had #naturalhair since 1997. Basically, my entire career. Having natural hair has never held me back. Because it was all in how I STYLED it. 

* Do I think an afro PUFF alone is unprofessional? Nope. But an afro puff combined with some braids or flat twists on each side? Yup! Too busy.  My rule for more professional, conservative office-friendly hairstyles?Only ONE hairstyle at a time. Not a combo salad of a bunch of stuff.  Weekend or after hours style!

* I think the hairstyles black women wear on @CNN (or anchors) or Congresswomen are also a good rule of thumb. Why? Because folks of all race/ethnicities are used to seeing these hairstyles.  They become professional norms.

* Folks are used to seeing black women wearing extension braids in NATURAL looking hair color dark brown (sorry not blond or any other creative coloring).

* Folks are also used to seeing locs too. But not free form kind. <—Creative NYC advertising agencies? Sure. But not typical corporate world.

Last thought. Don’t think for one sec hairstyle / biases rule do not apply to women with relaxed or wigs. Ombre coloring may be the trend, but I guarantee you no top level (read: higher paid) women in the office will be sporting the ombre color look. Again, there’s time and place for everything.


Since I used to travel a lot to different companies in different states? I usually defaulted to my conservative hairstyles. I call it "smart, strategic conformity". 

I was constantly meeting new clients. And in most cases, we had not met beforehand because all of the meeting planning occurred over the phone. So when they finally met me in person? My look had to match the professionalism I conveyed over the phone. As a hired consultant?  I represented their companies too!

Remember this: When you OWN the company? When you are the boss? Dowatchulike. But until then? You don’t set the rules or trends. 

Me? I played by the rules. I made my money, so that I can run my own show and do whatever I want. But I earned that right. I paid my dues. Creative freedom ain’t free.


So much FUN! I love shooting with Todd.  Also, you can see how my hair fared through hours under lighting and wind! :o)

Divorce & the Division of Assets: Does Kobe’s Wife Deserve Half?

This post was created from a spontaneous Twitter rant. I saw the (above) young brother’s video and even though I’ve heard it all before-it started a fire!

Now the young brother in the video (link above) inspired this rant. Let me first say, he has every right to his “opinion”. No matter how uninformed or naive that opinion might be. I’m personally tired of unmarried men in general, with barely two nickels to rub together, commenting on this matter.  The matter of high profile celebrity divorces.  Here goes:

Like it or not, marriage is a business transaction. It has always been this way. For thousands of years, every culture has expressed this aspect of coupling through dowries, arranged marriages etc. The purpose of marriage was (and still is) to delegate the transfer of wealth and “legitimize” children (heirs) to that wealth. That wealth could be the man’s, it could be the woman’s, it doesn’t matter.

Fast forward to today.  Not much has changed except for the fact that we can now choose our spouses for any reason.  That reason could be love (the accepted cultural ideal reason) or for any trivial reason in most free societies.

And in countries like America, where marriage is a government sanctioned institution, with laws, privileges, etc. making your “union” official involves the signing of a legal binding contract—which involves among many things, financial union too.  Assets and liability responsibility accrued during the marriage are shared by each party (note: there are some protections from certain financial liabilities, involving tax evasion, fraud, etc.)

Again marriage is a legal binding contract.  A negotiable contract at that! (ie. pre-nups).  If you don’t like this non-fairytale, non-Disney, unromantic aspect of marriage, then don’t involve the federal government in your relationship!  By legally marrying someone, you have officially involved the government in your relationship.

In order to break your marriage, your legal binding contract?  You must do it through the courts!  You must be granted permission for a divorce!

All legality considered, talking about what you think someone “deserves” during a high profile divorce is completely irrelevant. Kobe Bryant & his wife, Vanessa, entered a contract. He knew the deal, & so did she.


I want to explain something.

Women like Vanessa Bryant “sell” themselves to the highest bidder. (I’m sorry this is not for the faint of heart!) She is an attractive woman.  Athlete “trophy wife” material.

And not all women are “athlete trophy wife material”. It is the blunt truth.

They are not coming into these relationships with millions.  What they bring to the table is their youth and beauty.  <——Highly sought commodities! Something highly coveted by powerful, wealthy men.  The men in these marriages seek out the “best women” their money can attract.  Heck, add their fertility to that list if the man desires children (heirs, legacy). 

I bet you’re thinking “Kim this is SO unromantic!”.  I know. lol.  But we’re talking about money in high profile relationships.  The super-rich aren’t “regular people”.  It is silly and naive to think that huge sums of money and power are “trivial factors” when it comes to high profile celebrities, athletes and how they mate!

Much like Tiger Woods’ ex-wife, Vanessa probably had “options”. Meaning, other well paying men she could have paired herself with (these women know the deal! They know what they’re “selling”.) But she chose Kobe. 

Vanessa Bryant gave Kobe Bryant her youth.  She gave him her prime “beauty” years in the eyes of most men. This is what “trophy wives” have to market and ultimately bring to the table. :-/  Everybody is in on it.  Both the man & woman whether they talk about it openly or not. It is an “understanding”.

And, much like Tiger’s ex-wife, Vanessa Bryant bore Kobe’s children too. Bearing children affects the “stock value” of the athlete’s trophy wife.  These women are mothers now.  The next suitor has to accept her children as their own.  For the rich especially, that can get complicated.  For it is a court’s discretion to decide who is financially responsible for minors, even if they aren’t biologically yours.

Basically, these women could re-marry rich men and those men could be mandated by courts to support non-biological children.  Surprised? Don’t be. It happens everyday.  Even to the “commoner”, barely middle class man. :-/

Just google "paternity estoppel"

I could also get into the racial aspect of this, but I won’t!  Not now, anyway.


Well, both Kobe and Tiger are not regular people, they are multi-million dollar brands. Their lifestyles and public images are how they secure huge endorsements from companies unrelated to their sports.  The “clean, cut, hetero, family-men”. *wink*

Due to their very public (and downright raunchy) infidelities over the years, we all know now that is pure BS. Right? :o)  Okay. So how did they survive these scandals? How did their “brands” recover?

"Trophy Wives" to the rescue! Per the "agreement", she is the buffer for your scandals.  She stands by her man! (so he can’t be that bad, can he?) ;-)

Preview from Saturday’s photo.  Ok, for this one, I quickly stamped out some, um&#8230; lopsided &#8220;headlights&#8221; using photoshop. loL!  Got hundreds of pics to sort through!

Preview from Saturday’s photo.  Ok, for this one, I quickly stamped out some, um… lopsided “headlights” using photoshop. loL!  Got hundreds of pics to sort through!

Latest Youtube video.  Enjoy and SHARE!!

Sponsored by Make-up done for PHOTO SHOOT.

This is my second time “blowing out” my hair (essentially straightening my hair with a blow dryer). Last year I braided my hair, this time I put my hair into about 9 bantu knots for a wavy texture. The make-up was done for my recent photo shoot (hence the exaggeration of everything!) ;o)


Q1) How long have you been growing your hair?
A1) For 4.5 years total (but I started really taking care of my hair 3 years ago) The longest parts of my hair now reach my hipbone.

Q2) How has pregnancy affected your hair growth?
A2) Honestly? Not noticeably. Was actually hoping to benefit from “pregnancy hair”. But MY hair has been long for a WHILE now due to my preservation & protective styling methods. So I’ve noticed very little change in my hair shed pattern. I shed about the same. Then again I have 2 months to go, so that may change.

PLUS my hair was already waist-length prior to pregnancy, so “all this hair” is the result of my EFFORT. No magic! No magical products! (although *I* think my upcoming product line is pretty dope) :o)

Q3) Did you color your hair?
A3) No. no. no. I’ll admit it looks darker, but I do not use any dyes on my hair whatsoever. I pluck out the 15 or so gray hairs that show up in my crown. 
If my hair color looks different, as in DARKER? It is due to the lighting (one video was filmed at night/ the other in daylight). Same camera though.

Q4) Did you trim your ends? They look smoother this time.
A4) I only trim off KNOTS and weathered ends from my hair. I don’t trim my hair for “neatness”, I trim with purpose. I prefer the organic hair line look because I wear my hair naturally kinky 99% of the time.

Most people do what I call the “classic trim” which is FINE. As in, trimming off equal amounts all over the hair without regard for individual strands. Its quick and easy. But you WILL cut off perfectly fine hair. That’s the tradeoff. :-/

Q5) Your hair looks “healthier” 
A5) Hair has no “health”. And I hate that term because IN MY OPINION it doesn’t set your thinking right for maintaining your hair. Saying “healthy hair” implies that you can do bad things to it and it can be rejuvenated. It can’t. 

Hair is a fiber that can only be preserved or destroyed. Period. And well preserved hair looks well maintained. Say “healthy looking” if you need to, or hey say whatever you want. Lol! I’m just trying to remain consistent.:o)

All of the hair you see in this video January 2012, was on my head in January 2011. The only difference this time is that I used a bit more heat to straighten my ends because last year I blow dried AND flat ironed my hair. This time, I’ve only blown my hair out, so I used more heat to straighten. That’s it.

I wish you all well on your hair goals and life goals in general for 2012.
I will be posting LOTS & lots of videos on Youtube for the next few weeks, however, I will NOT be “present” on Youtube. As in interacting, reading, responding, etc.

Comments will be disabled or minimized as I focus on the launch of my hair care product line, hair device and most importantly the remainder of my pregnancy. Good or bad, noise is noise. And I have enough of it right now. :o)

THANK YOU for all your well wishes and congrats. My husband and I greatly appreciate the love.

I am, however, always “present” on Twitter (as many of you know!) You can find me there:!/kimmaytube

Or on my Tumblr blog:


Twitter/Tumblr exclusive.  Filmed yesterday after my photo shoot.  Make-up is drag-ilicous. (Cause it has to be for photo lighting purposes).  My make-up artist & photographer are both super talented and I’m so eager to see the actual photos.

p.s. I wasn’t truly impressed with the length I’ve gained until I compared my hair to last years blow out.  And WOW, I was taken back.   A full comparison version old/new will be uploaded to Youtube soon.  Until then, enjoy this Twitter/Tumblr exclusive. :o)

This photo was taken last month.  Yes, I am &#8220;hiding&#8221; a huge 6 month pregnant belly here. But you can see how my hair has grown since my last length check.
The longest part of my hair now touches my hipbone.  YAY!  That was my goal. Folks can criticize my protective style, hair preservation method all they want (*whines* uuuungh you never have fun, *whines* uuuungh never flaunt your hairrrr)&#8230;
But I&#8217;ve done what I&#8217;ve set out to do.  Prove that kinky hair (all hair in fact) can only be preserved or destroyed.
To reach this length with kinky hair you&#8217;ll need patience and discipline (no different than managing &amp; saving money).  This is what it means to maximize growth. Sure, everyone can grow hair, but few may maximize their results. I grow an average of 6 inches of hair a year (or 0.5&#8221; a month) And for the most part, it seems like I keep nearly all of the hair I grow.
My new goal is to simply sustain this length and fill out my ends. Sorry, hair does not grow evenly. Especially if you cut it unevenly 4 years ago like I did! The back right of my hair is about 0.5&#8221; - 1&#8221; longer than the left.   So keep that in mind. Where you start is where you&#8217;ll end!
I&#8217;m proud to say that my hair still curls up at the ends and its pretty well preserved considering that it is 4.5 years old!

This photo was taken last month.  Yes, I am “hiding” a huge 6 month pregnant belly here. But you can see how my hair has grown since my last length check.

The longest part of my hair now touches my hipbone.  YAY!  That was my goal. Folks can criticize my protective style, hair preservation method all they want (*whines* uuuungh you never have fun, *whines* uuuungh never flaunt your hairrrr)…

But I’ve done what I’ve set out to do.  Prove that kinky hair (all hair in fact) can only be preserved or destroyed.

To reach this length with kinky hair you’ll need patience and discipline (no different than managing & saving money).  This is what it means to maximize growth. Sure, everyone can grow hair, but few may maximize their results. I grow an average of 6 inches of hair a year (or 0.5” a month) And for the most part, it seems like I keep nearly all of the hair I grow.

My new goal is to simply sustain this length and fill out my ends. Sorry, hair does not grow evenly. Especially if you cut it unevenly 4 years ago like I did! The back right of my hair is about 0.5” - 1” longer than the left.   So keep that in mind. Where you start is where you’ll end!

I’m proud to say that my hair still curls up at the ends and its pretty well preserved considering that it is 4.5 years old!

Twitter Thursdays 12/29/2011


Question 1) @PttSophisticate  ASKS:  How long are you able to keep your aloe once opened and refridged? Also, what is your take on Aloe Gel…as an alt & on its own?

My Answer:

As long as I keep my (unaltered, pure as it came) aloe vera juice refrigerated after opening, I’ve found it lasts for weeks.  But if I leave it out for an extended period of time (say a few hours) then a weird dark cloud will appear at the bottom the next day. Yuck! And that’s when it gets thrown away!

Aloe Vera (Juice or Gel) is a product that will degrade and/or form mold without anti-microbial preservatives. Some preservatives are nastier than others.  For instance, DMDM Hydantoin has received a number 7- 8  on the EWG website because it is a known formaldehyde releaser.

  ******TOPIC: HAIR GROWTH******

Question 2) @candancemh  ASKS: is it possible to retain 6” per year (at 1/2” growth/mo.)? To me, that’s a lot of hair in a year and I want it!

Absolutely!  The average human being grows 6” of hair every year. This is not a gimmick, it is fact.  Since that 6” per year measurement is an average, some people grow more and others grow less in the same timeframe (just as some people are super hairy whereas others are not).

You will only be able to determine your hair growth rate by carefully measuring it over 3-6 months. Hair is just the result of cell division that occurs under the scalp.  The body is fairly consistent in reproducing cells. As long as you are in good health and eating properly, you will crank out a consistent amount and quality of hair.

But! Please keep in mind the difference between growing hair verses retaining hair.  Hair is a fiber that can only be preserved or destroyed.  Afro-textured, kinky hair is the most delicate hair type of all.

Whether people like it or not (and some seem like they don’t) kinky hair must be “tricked” into growing longer through gentle handling and protective styling. For growing, retaining and sustaining kinky hair, the key is balance.  And I’m referring to maximum growth.  Some people will grow hair —yes—- but few will maximize retention and see those 6 inches.

 ******TOPIC: MOISTURIZING & SEALING  Hair & Scalp******

Question 3) @FacesAllDolled Hi, I am not sure if it is the ends or the scalp, hair shaft and ends that I am suppose to moisturize and seal. How do you M&S?

Moisturizing and sealing generally refers to the hair strand.  However, our scalps are also skin and undergo the same turnover rate as other skin cells on the body. The problem with the scalp is that since it is hidden under hair, it can easily become ignored, mistreated and neglected.

The scalp should be washed on a regular basis, to free up any debris and microscopic dead skin flakes that have accumulated over the course of a week.  This helps to prevent the hair follicles on the scalp (which produce our hair) from becoming clogged.

Washing regularly also helps to prevent bacterial infections and moisturizes (water) the scalp in the process.

Generally, all human beings produce a sufficient amount of sebum, the skin’s natural waterproofing moisturizer as long as you keep it healthy.  So placing oils directly on the scalp should not be necessary since it is constantly producing its own oils.

But changes in the weather (especially winter time) can cause the scalp to become chapped (again much like our skin) and dried out.

I suggest that you use a scalp friendly pH balanced products (shampoo/conditioner) which will help to keep the scalp in a healthy state.  Like the hair, our skin has a pH balance between 4.5 - 5.5.  So aim for products in that range.

The same advice goes for the hair strand. Using a hair friendly pH balanced product will encourage the hair’s cuticles to close and then you can add your preferred oil (or leave-in) to seal that moisture in.  Some products are all in one and can do the job of both (close cuticles and seal).

Your hair should feel moisturized for 2-3 days depending on its porosity and the weather.  Just rinse your hair with water and/or re-apply your products if needed.

******TOPIC: SPLIT ENDS******

Question 4) @SuperZeeHi  ASKS: what could be causing my split ends?

Note: Please also see my answers from 11/17/2011.

But the short answer is that split ends can come from a number of sources: I’ll list them in order that are most likely.

a) Hair Tools - like combs and brushes.  Hair is not indestructible and therefore can be destroyed gradually through constant combing and brushing.  If you see lots of mid-hair shaft splits, it’s likely due to styling tools.

b) Rough handling with your hands —like ripping through knotted ends, or ripping through hair as you untwist or unbraid.

c) Weathering —which occurs over time to a hair strand (hair doesn’t last forever!)

d) Uneven Keratinization - this means the hair sprout from your scalp with weakness built in. Keep in mind that kinky hair often appears nearly flat as a ribbon underneath a microscope.  And on top of that it is a ribbon that varies in thickness along the strand.  This results in hair vulnerabilities.  You can’t do much about this except for handling your hair gently to prolong the strand’s lifespan enough to enjoy it.


Question 5) @manurse24 when pressing hair what temp is best and what products to use to make it silky and bouncy?

My Answer: I have never pressed my hair, so I have no recommendations.  However, I will say that hair burns at the same temperature as paper “Fahrenheit 451” which is probably the reason people test their hot combs on paper towels before running it through their hair. 

Depending on the temperature used, pressing the hair can be more stressful and potentially more damaging than evenly coated ceramic flat irons.  A quality flat iron will distribute heat more evenly over the hair than a metal comb (and flat iron has the advantage of a more controlled temperature setting).

My advice?  Go to a professional salon that you trust. A salon that balances style with hair care (not all salons share or practice this philosophy) .  If you are inexperienced with heat, you could do serious, irreversible damage to your hair.                               


Question 6) @JoAnnJE for thursday: i got a trim a month ago, pressed my hair 2 days ago. now, ive noticed split ends. what could be the cause?

My Answer: Please consider the answers above (regrading split ends).  It is possible that your hair was damaged during the hair pressing process (especially since you’re noticing them after the fact).  High heat is very stressful to the hair. It exposes the hair’s vulnerabilities. 

Also, if the scissors used on your hair were blunt rather than sharp, this may have contributed to the problem.

All that you can do now is trim your ends again and be super cautious in the future. Contrary to popular belief,  heat straightening is not necessary for a good trim.  I often trim my hair on a regular basis in its stretched state (3 day old braids, twists).  If you want a neat, clean hemline or if your hair is horribly uneven, then trimming while straightened makes perfect sense.  But if you wear your hair in its curly/kinky state most often, it makes more sense to trim it in that state.


Question 7) @greatgrubgirl what r your thoughts about protein treatments on natural hair and do you do them? #TwitterThursdays

My Answer: Summary: As someone with natural, non-chemically treated hair, heavy protein treatments are simply not a big part of my hair care regimen. I personally prefer to focus on protecting and preserving the existing protein in my hair.  And I’ve been growing my hair for the past 4.5 years, never once using the most intense protein treatments. 

First, let me briefly explain the logic behind protein treatments.  The hair’s cortex, which is located underneath layers of cuticle, is comprised mostly of protein (roughly 90%).  Throughout the lifespan of a hair strand, protein can be lost due to heat, UV exposure from the sun, washing and chemical treatments (relaxers, texturizers & coloring). Please note that this is not an exhaustive list.  Just a few causes. 

To put it simply, protein treatments are often used to fill in gaps along the many bundles of protein within the hair strand to reinforce strength and longevity.  

Note: Look for ingredients like “hydrolyzed protein” on your product labels. They are considered the ideal size for maximum hair penetration.

Protein treatments come in varying degrees of intensity.  1)”Rinse in, rinse out versions”, 2) “apply and sit underneath a hair dryer” versions and 3) “Apply and blow dry until hair becomes hardened” versions.  The latter is considered to be the most effective since heat aids in binding protein molecules to the hair strand. 

I commonly use and prefer version #2.  I “deep condition” my hair every two weeks in the winter and every month during the summer (or warmer months).  Why? I’ve found that these conditioning treatments help with the pliability and overall feel of my hair (similar to the effect fabric softener has on clothes).

Remember: Hair is a fiber that can only be preserved or destroyed.

Prior to flat ironing my hair, (which I’ve only done once so far), I will use method #2 with a “reconstructor” protein treatment which is a bit heavier, more concentrated in protein than my normal “light protein” deep conditioning session.

People with chemically treated hair will benefit the most from intense or regular protein treatments because the structure of their hair has been compromised.  

I will say that I do not consider myself the “expert” on protein treatments because I have limited personal experience applying them and I’m not a professional stylist (they are used to doing these kinds of treatments due to the chemical treatments they offer their clients.).

Overall, protein to me is like a “band-aid” or a hair “steroid” since it can increase the heft and weight of your hair strands.  My personal approach to hair care is “do minimal harm” in the first place.  So I use protein treatments in light moderation. 

Note: Not to mention that heavier protein treatments can potentially change your hair’s natural curl and kink pattern.  Since these results are unpredictable, you won’t know what you’ll get until afterwards. Whether hair can “snap back” is unknown to me.  Further research is needed!


Question 8) @brichtweets deep condish. is it more so a technique (i.e., using heat) or is there a diff between prods marketed as condish & deep condish?

My Answer: Please also see the answer above. 

The term “conditioning” is confusing to people and I totally understand why.  It’s an umbrella term that actually covers a lot.  Pretty much anything that changes the “condition” of your hair is a conditioning treatment. Gels, leave-ins, mousses, rinse out conditioners, etc.

When people refer to “deep conditioning” usually they are referring to a method that deeply penetrates the hair strand beyond the cuticle surface.  As explained above, protein treatments (which come in various intensities) are a conditioning treatment. And since protein binds best to the hair when used with heat, that is probably the best use of the term “deep conditioning”. 

Many other ingredients included in hair products for “deep conditioning” don’t actually bind to the hair. Some are temporary fillers that will wash out over time.  Some of the fatty acids in certain oils can fit inside the hair strand, but again, they are not proteins and may offer temporary conditioning to the hair.


Question 9) @caprimomx2 Now that you’ve reached your goal length, have you set a new hair goal? Not necessarily length but any aspect of hair care.

 My Answer: Now that the longest parts of my hair have reached hipbone length, I plan to sustain my hair by continuing my regimen of consistent care.  Pretty much, nothing changes.  For me, this is the perfect length because my hair shrinks up 30-50%.  In order to achieve the hairstyle looks that I favor, I need longer hair.

Plus, it should go without saying that since hair is literally my business, showing others how hair can be maintained over the long haul is at the core of my brand.


Question 10) @CurvyCurlyTrini Question: I read in Paula Bergon website/book, that Preservatives are need in hair care products? What D difference btw

My Answer: Please check out EWG’s website to find out more information about specific preservatives.

But preservatives are considered necessary for products to increase their shelf life. For consumer health and protection, manufacturers must provide stable products that aren’t breeding grounds for bacteria and mold.

If you have an aversion to preservatives, you should look into becoming a “kitchen chemist” and whip up your own small batches/formulations that can be used within a week or two, negating the need for preservatives (in most cases).

Remember, water is the source and catalyst for life.  Anything containing water and other degradable organic materials will have to be preserved.


 Question 11) @tvshouze How often do u apply a ph balancer 2 ur hair? Is it only after u wash & condish?

My Answer: All of my products are “pH focused” or “pH conscious”.  From my shampoo, conditioners to my hair gel.  Keeping my hair in the desired range of 4.0 - 5.5pH is key to retaining moisture and pliable (not crispy) hair.


Question 12) @leanciaP139v14 my hair is in single hair extensions. Is this protective style? How long should I keep them in? How do I keep them moisturised?

My Answer: Protective styling involves different levels. Here are a few. Hair should be:

a) Protected from itself (e.g. knots, tangles, clothing, purse straps) 

b) Protected from earth elements (wind/air dryness, UV from sun, dirt & debris) and;

c) Protected from daily manipulation (styling tools, combs, brushes)

I could really go on and on.  But as you can see, while in single hair extensions, your hair is protected from some things but not others.

The tricky thing about extensions is that they are so costly and time consuming that the wearer naturally desires to keep the style intact and looking good for as long as possible.

Depending on the type of hair used (synthetic or human) regular washing will unravel or frizz out the style.  So a lot of people will neglect their real hair because it is difficult to manage the two textures.

I have such little knowledge about single hair extensions that I had to google images! I’m familiar with braid extensions and even sported them a long time ago. So I know all about the “scalp itchies” associated with long term wear.

When striving for hair growth or well preserved hair, it is important to maintain both a healthy scalp and care for your individual hair strands. The scalp must be routinely cleaned of pollutants collected from indoor/outdoor environments and your own microscopic dead skin flakes.  So washing the hair is imperative.  The frequency is a personal choice.

Personally, I strive to wash my hair every 7 days and at the very latest, 10 days.

On the few occasions I’ve gone longer without washing or moisturizing my hair? My hair becomes dull and dried out.  This creates opportunity for breakage or what I call “hair bends”.  ”Hair bends” are brittle, creasing points along the strands that will eventually contribute to knots, tangles or breakage.

How long you keep your extensions in is up to you. But please know that even though you are wearing extensions, your real hair is still on a shedding cycle.  So the longer you keep those shed hairs “locked” into your hair, the more shed hairs that will need to be removed later.  This creates an opportunity for matted hair, tangles and knots.

A healthy human being will shed between 50-100 shed hairs a day.

So if you see a few hundred or thousand strands of hair when your extensions are removed, this is the reason why.

I feel hairstylists should provide their clients with better care instructions for their extensions. A good stylist would show you how to take a tipped nozzle squeeze bottle with a gentle shampoo and gently massage your scalp and how often to wash your hair.

Wearing a stocking cap over kinky twists or braids while washing hair can help to minimize unraveling.

I personally feel that extensions should not be left in for months.  I know this is a common practice with braids or kinky twists, but simply caring for our own hair is challenging enough without extra barriers.

Again, if possible try misting your real hair with moisturizer (preferably a product with water as the first ingredient), or cream and lotion forms.

With my limited experience on hair extensions of any kind, that is all I have to offer at this point.


BONUS Question 13) @tweetannick Hi! Speaking of hair straightening, what’s your opinion on using grapeseed oil as a heat protectant? 

I know some people use Grapeseed oil but I’ll tell you why I won’t. Silicones are a plastic/polymer protective coating. Oils? No.

Even manufacturing industries use the right (optimal) lubricant or barrier for the job. I treat my hair the very same way.

Plus, I’ve only seen hair studies showing how SILICONES absorb heat from heating tools. Yet to see a study on oils!


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