Thursday, October 31, 2013

Uzo Aduba aka Crazy Eyes

Recently Julianne Hough was admonished by the media for her black face halloween costume of actress Uzo Aduba in her role as Crazy Eyes from the show Orange is the New Black. The thoughtless actress donned dark make-up an orange jumpsuit and what I assume were supposed to be bantu knots. She looked ridiculous and racist.
Actress Uzo Aduba as Crazy Eyes

Dressed as a black woman for Halloween

I have no idea how in this day and age someone could be so ignorant as to think that portraying another race is an acceptable costume, I continue to be baffled as to why colorless people think it is appropriate to color their skin for costumes. People of color do not paint themselves white when they wear costumes of other colorless characters. IT DOESN'T MAKE YOU LOOK BLACK. YOU JUST LOOK RACIST.

Appropriate costuming - no race necessary

I also wanted to note that the "Crazy Eyes" look is a character and that actress Uzo Aduba looks fierce on the red carpet natural hair and all. 

This dress is giving me life!!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Product Review - BelNouvo CoCo Castor Pudding

BelNouvo Coco Castor Pudding
Product Description: The perfect synergy of a styling aid and moisturizer!
Size: 8oz
Price: $10
Scent: Coconut

I have used this moisturizing pudding as directed on wet hair and in several other ways. Following the manufacturers instructions I used it to make two strand twists. I am experienced in making twists so I feel safe in saying this product is EXCELLENT for two strand twists as well as the resulting twist-out. My hair (once dry) was shiny, moisturized and felt just luscious! I wasn't impressed by the hold but them I took down the twists. The twist out was gorgeous! It was just as shiny and moist as my twists had been with fantastic definition.

 Ignore the caught talking face and check out the moist shiny twists.

I'm not a wash-n-go girl at all but I will occasionally wear a loose wash-n-go section like a bang. In my less than seasoned opinion, this product has a nice soft hold and adds great shine and moisture. I think it will work on some peoples hair for wash-n-go but others may need a stronger hold.That being said, I totally love and recommend this product. I feel like the $10 for 8 ounces is a good price. It is available here on

Wash-n-Go  KnapsWash-n-Go  KnapsWash-n-Go  KnapsWash-n-Go  KnapsWash-n-Go  Knaps

This product gets five of five Knaps.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Downing the Denman

I just read a blog over on Curly Nikki's site about the Denman brush and I though it was a little misleading. A Denman brush is a tool and like all tools will not work for everyone in the same way or at all. I am not a person who swears by the Denman but I think it lives up to its claims.

In my humble opinion, the Denman brush has suffered the same fate as other instant/magical/super fixer natural hair products, it wasn't instant, super or magical.

According to the manufacturer, the brush is, "effective for giving greater control over styling the hair" it is not and was not designed for detangling. Denman actually carries a detangling brush called the Tangle Tamer.

I have always been advised by seasoned naturals to expect only curl definition from a denman brush following detangling. I CANNOT detangle with this brush regardless of the amount of water or conditioner. 

Yes, using a knock-off version is great because they are cheaper and why pay $9-12 dollars for something you don't know if you are going to like. I bought the real deal because I was newly natural and all gung-ho.

Talk to someone who has successfully used one before or for instruction. My brush sat in a drawer for a year before someone taught me how to use it correctly. It was an eye-opening experience. 

Use product with your brush. It's a brush not magic! If you want curl definition use the brush and a curl definition product. As for complaints of fuzzy roots, I cannot comment on how individuals style their hair but when I could only get curly ends I wore a curly puff or up-do until I figured out what to do to change it.

Finally, removing bristles from the brush to make it a utilitarian item as opposed to an monument to the money you spent being newly natural is completely understandable but if you just like fewer bristles when detangling Denman actually makes a brush with spaced out bristles. It is NOT designed for detangling either it is a volumizing brush.

Just to summarize, A Denman brush is:

  • not designed for detangling
  • expensive, try a knock-off
  • give curl definition, definition (God gives curls, products and tools define them.)
  • not magic

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Knaps featured on Carol's Daughter site

Our September 17th post I'm natural and I've lost my swag/mojo/confidence is currently being featured on the Carol's Daughter Transitioning Movement site it is re-titled Wear it Proud! How to Transition With Confidence.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Today's Hair- Fall Protective Style

 Style: Fall Protective Style (updo)

Time to Complete: 20-25 mins (on dry stretched hair)

Products Used: Water, Sof'nFree Nothing But Curl Sealer, Qhemet Biologics Grapeseed Oil and Tea Tree Pomade thinned with castor oil

Tools Used:  brush, rattail comb, bobby pins (lots!)

Reason for style: My continuing quest to vary from twists.

Lessons Learned: Open all products first when using oils and pomades ( greasy hands!), Thinning a pomade with castor oil made a great smoothing pomade with the benefit of the nourishing oils

other side

back view

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Every length is a revelation

Immediately after transition
The heyday of my puff
So, I've been natural for a while now a as a blogger/vlogger/product maker I think I'm pretty knowledgeable about the basics of hair care. I know the commandments:

  • Thou shalt not comb dry hair
  • Thou shalt not use a fine tooth comb
  • Thou shall spritz thy hair with water as much as your style allows
  • Thou shalt use oils to seal; not moisturize
  • Thou shalt clarify regularly
  • Thou shalt wash hair in a orderly was to prevent tangles, you are not in a shampoo ad
what I had forgotten was as your hairs length changes so do the rules. Initially, I could wash my hair loose, as it grew I had to section it, it grew longer and I had to twist or braid the sections. 
medium length with curl defining product - mass shrinkage

When my hair was shorter curl definition products made a curly fro, as it grew it was more like a traditional wash-n-go and now the products give a long loose curly look.
long bang tucked in hat with curl defining product

I recently realized that I can no longer detangle and wash at the same time. I was amazed at how much better things went when I detangled before washing. I had a revelation and then remembered I had had several such  revelations previously. 

mini twists medium-long hair - mass shinkage
Every length is a revelation so take advantage. Try products you had previously dismissed, try techniques that may not have worked, try styles and tools you may have already written off. I surprised myself with just a basic change.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I'm natural and I've lost my swag/mojo/confidence

When people tell me they are transitioning I always say the same thing, "The transition is mental, your hair knows exactly what to do." I transitioned years ago in Atlanta, I'm told this is a natural hair mecca and an easy place to go natural. The truth is that I transitioned years earlier in Tallahassee, Florida. I have come to realize without intending I made the mental transition well before I let my hair physically transition. I researched, read blogs, looked at photos and studied styles and techniques. Many of the things I did for two to three years before my hair made any change were what allowed me to be confident with my decision.

Sept 186
Me with straight hair

I often hear new naturals comment with ideas I had banished before I ever braided my hair ( I transitioned with braids). I wish they had made the mental transition before the physical one. I hope they will make the mental transition soon. Making a mental transition includes abandoning some very specific ideas that life, the media and possibly your family have pretty well hammered into you:

  • long hair is beautiful hair
  • straight hair is beautiful hair
  • frizz is the enemy (frizz is the key to a full fro or puff)
  • water is the enemy
  • oils moisturize
  • manageable means can run a comb through easily
  • manageable means can be styled quickly
  • large loose curl are pretty
  • small tight curls are not pretty
  • big hair is ugly
  • braids, twists and puffs are only for children
  • short hair is masculine

No make-up, proud of my first set of mini twists

If you are feeling like men aren't attracted to you because of your hair it is because YOU are not attracted to you because of your hair. I had experiences with men making comments about my hair but most just noted my style or volume. I loved the way my hair looked so I was confident. If I had been in a different place mentally, insecure, anxious, unsure I'm sure I would have taken the comments differently. Men approach me to this day with comments about my hair because it is noticeable, noticeably beautiful.
Car Selfie

So during your transition learn 1) to care for your hair properly 2) to style enough that you can leave the house comfortably 3) to see your beauty outside your hair 4) length does not equal beauty.

I was pregnant with no make-up but my hair was cute.

I have bad hair days, I have bad hair weeks but I know it is a style thing, a weather thing, most often a lazy or lack of time thing. I know that I'm beautiful with a dusty two week old twist out pulled back. 

You don't have to like my hair, I love it enough for both of us

Monica Richards is the co-founder of Knaps and natural hair 
blogger and vlogger

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Return of the Curls -Louisville

I was a late arrival at Return of the Curls:Curls Gone Wild in Louisville. I enjoyed the final two hours of the well organized event. The highlights included a men's panel, blogger/vlogger panel, hair industry experts and vendors. I arrived in time for the live styling.

There was a live big chop. 
All the live styling was courtesy of Go Natural! Salon and Boutique

Sof'nFree Gro Healthy was in attendance with their new Nothing But line giving demonstrations. 

Pure Shea was there with an array of wonderful smelling shea based soaps and scrubs. There will be a location opening in Louisville soon. 

Louisville local vendor Bakeshop Butters was present with her delicious smelling light and creamy shea butters. 

And last but certainly not least Inspiritarts was there with not just beautiful headwraps, headbands and hats but a wealth of knowledge to assist all naturalistas in wearing them in the most flattering way. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Todays Hair - Protective Updo

Sorry about the poor quality photos

Style: Teyonah Parris inspired updo

Time to Complete: 20-25 mins (on dry stretched hair)

Products Used: Water, BelNuovo Coco Castor Spritz, Qhemet Biologics Grapeseed Oil and Tea Tree Pomade

Tools Used:  brush, rattail comb, 3 ponytail holders/hair ties, bobby pins (lots!)

Reason for style: My hair is getting long and twisting is taking longer and longer,

Lessons Learned: 1) I like updos! 2) I have to wash weekly with an updo because I used some heavy product to smooth edges. 3) Any natural with a pompadour is Janelle Monae :)


Monday, September 2, 2013

Return of the Curls: Curls Gone Wild Kentucky Expo

Return of the Curls: Curls Gone Wild Kentucky Expo
Saturday September 14th 2013
Louisville, KY
10 am - 5 pm
@ UofL Student Activity Center
Hosted by Haley Rhine of Derby City Naturals

Tickets are $10 in adv or $15 at the door

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Mini Twists with time management

I love Girls Love Your Curls. She has the most brilliant and simple ideas. This time management method can work for adults as well as children.

Her girls hair looks gorgeous!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

KiddieWraps Review

Lil KnapsGirl ready for bed.

I purchased a KiddieWrap and have no association with the manufacturer or maker.

Product: KiddieWraps Satin Hair wrap (Blue Island Flower)

Size: One size fits most (adult & child)

 Claims: KiddieWraps satin hair wraps can make every hair combing session a pleasant one by making your child's hair more manageable to comb. Our satin hair wraps stays on all night to prevent tangles, split ends and unwanted knots.

Price: $5.99 + $5 shipping
I used the KiddieWrap on loose hair and a cornrow style. LKG's hair was noticeably less dry and tangled when her hair was loose. This is her first foray into head wraps and she is a wild sleeper and was able to "twirl" it off just before dawn the first night. The second night it was backwards when she awoke but still on her head. 

By the time I braided her hair she was used to it and even let me put in on for naps. Her cornrows are not a week old yet and are fairing pretty well.

 Day 2
Day  3

The idea is that a satin bonnet is hidden beneath an attached decorative bandanna  This is proposed to be in case you MUST go out in public. The bandanna serves dual purposes to camouflage the fact hat you are in public in a protective sleep wrap and to help it stay in place while the child sleeps. I really liked the thought and hence my order. My only complaint is that when the wrap arrived it appeared to be assembled incorrectly. The smooth side of the cap was facing out toward the bandanna, not at her hair. I don't know if this was a mistake or intentional but I thought the "slicker" side was to face the hair. In spite of this, the "rough" side of a satin cap is better than dry cotton sheets and pillow cases. Overall, this is a good product for wild sleepers and children, I don't find the cost a deterrent because at this point I've realized you get what you pay for on the protective sleep wrap front. 

What I Learned: Buying multiple cheap sleep bonnets just doesn't make sense if you really use them regularly, spend the money so you can wash it without worry.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Touch my hair...

I know I may be a little late but I had to voice my opinion on the "Touch my hair" exhibit controversy. I know and understand that the ladies involved did this in the spirit of open communication but I have to side with the "protesters". I agree that there should be open dialogue between   people of all ethnicities about one another but I think it should be done on a personal level. I no more expect to have to exhibit my hair to start a discussion than any other part of me that less colorful people find fascinating. Would anyone hold a sign saying, "Yes, you can touch my skin."? 
I am not a hardliner, no natural hair nazi but I don't think having strangers fondle your hair at an exhibition furthers any cause. I have had many people touch my hair of many ethnicities. I have had conversations with them, they asked permission first and I usually touched their hair back because we were discussing hair. 
Lastly, your ignorance is not my problem. As a professional educator I'm off the clock and don't have to teach you about people who have lived in this country with you nearly since its foundation. Your majority privilege is showing when you think all members of minorities MUST have a teachable moment with you because you are interested. Consider the following:
- I don't know you
- I may be tired or unwilling to have a "natural hair moment with you"
- My hair is just as interesting to me as yours it to you
- Maybe a conversation with me would yield more knowledge than a simple pet, pat or touch

I was raised not to touch and be familiar with people unless you have established a rapport, seeing my hair on the street and thinking it is "cool" or otherwise alien is not establishing a rapport. Am I being sensitive?