Dance Shoot with Muve Meants

Dance shoot with Muve Meants Studio, by LaTeisha Melvin of Baltimore, Maryland. She offers private lessons, masterclasses, and choreography/performance services – all COVID-19 compatible! Also, check out her awesome Muve Meants Merch and support Black-Owned female business!

Book Your Shoot with Be You.

Be You. Photography currently serves the Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia areas due to the COVID-19 pandemic. DC and Maryland requests will be decided based on the CDC recommendations at the time of scheduling. Please e-mail beyoulifestyleac@gmail.com to book your shoot!

Pricing:

30 Minute Shoot:

*these shoots are best for headshots and professional photos, which would include photos of a workspace or business*

$50 for raw photos only

+ $25 for 5 edited photos

Total = $50-75

1 Hour Shoot:

*these shoots are best for family photoshoots with small children, stationary photos (without movement), and fashion shoots*

$75 for raw photos only

+ $25 per 5 edited photos (up to 10)

Total = $75-$125

2 Hour Shoot:

*these shoots are best for portfolio shots for sports (dance, basketball, track, etc.), as well as large family shoots, and multiple locations*

$150 for raw photos only

+ $25 per 5 edited photos (up to 20)

Toal = $150-250

Full Day Shoot:

*these shoots are best for tournaments, fashion shoots with multiple locations, business shoots for multiple employees/workspace photos, as well as event shoots*

$500 for raw photos only

+ $25 per 5 edited photos (up to 50)

Total = $500 – 750

Hour by Hour:

$75 per hours (only raw photos included)

+ $25 per 5 edited photos

If there are multiple locations there will be an extra charge based on the distance from one location to another. Outfit changes are included in the package. USB flash drives can be provided for an extra $10 fee

Tips for Working from Home in Quarantine

Many people are either not going back to work in-person or are preparing for a quick exit soon after in-person jobs resume. I have been working from home since March and struggled for quite a while before discovering some useful tips that helped me stay on track. 

  1. Keep a regular routine

Even though I work from home, I still keep the same alarms and morning routine as when I leave the house. This routine reminds our bodies and minds that we are getting ready to go somewhere where we will need to be focused. 

2. Wear work clothes even when not leaving the house

I find that when I wear my pajamas, yoga pants, or casual gear while working, my self-evaluation starts to change. I begin to feel like I’m not doing anything because I don’t act or dress like I am working. Not only does wearing work clothes when working from home help with conditioning our brains for work, like #1, but it helps us feel better about the work we do and what we accomplish.

3. Wear shoes while doing work and only take them off during breaks or after work

This hits again on conditioning our brains for work. We want to keep as many factors the same when working from home as when we would leave the house. We are conditioned to become more focused and put our “professional hats” on after we do a specific series of things each morning. Wearing shoes is one of those activities we do while we’re working, and we likely don’t do when we’re relaxing at home.

4. Only do work in specific areas of the home

Our brains are creatures of habit. To help make sense of a complex world, we use shortcuts to help us quickly figure out what we should be doing next. If we work in every area of the home, we are going to start making associations between our relaxation spaces (e.g., the living room, bedroom, kitchen, home office, etc.) and work emotions (e.g., stress, focus, etc.). We should pick the spaces in our homes that we want to be associated with work, and only do work there. This will also help our minds prepare to do work when we enter these spaces because of this new association.

5. Keep work and leisure spaces separate

Like point #4, we’ll want to be strict about keeping our work and leisure spaces separated. Even if we must redesign some areas (not buying new stuff, just moving things around), we’ll want the separation to be clear. For example, if we do yoga in our home office, we’ll want to move our yoga space to a different room chosen for leisure. If we work in our family room, where we watch tv and relax, we’ll want to move our workspace to a quiet location chosen for focus and not for relaxation.

6. Get outside at least once per day, even if we don’t leave the yard

It is easy to become vitamin D deficient when we aren’t leaving our homes regularly. However, getting outside and getting sun is incredibly essential for the functioning of our body and our bodily organs. We can look up some outdoor activities we might want to try and add them to our schedule each day, even if that’s just sitting in the backyard and watching the clouds.

7. Make time for things we enjoy that are not work-related

When we work from home, we can be tempted to not keep regular work hours. Without setting this strict expectation, we have opened ourselves up to become overworked and become a victim of burnout. Even when we’re tempted to say, “one more hour and I’ll finish this,” we’re entering a slippery slope of regularly extending that one hour to two, three, or four more hours. If we don’t set strict boundaries for ourselves and expectations in the workplace, we open ourselves up for exploitation (both self-inflicted and by those we work with).

8. Set break times with people from work that we usually spend time with

It is no secret our social interactions have decreased drastically over the past several months. However, as we start to gear up to go back to work, we can begin to expand our network with technology. Set a Zoom time with our co-workers for lunch, if we regularly ate together. Have drinks after work remotely, if that’s something we used to do. If we’ve been socializing with people from work, invite them over for a socially distanced happy hour (masks and 6-feet). Whatever we do, we shouldn’t isolate ourselves inside our homes just because socialization looks different now. Contact with others is essential when considering symptoms of depression and anxiety.

9. Be specific in task allocation and how we schedule our day

Mentioned in #1, keep a routine, but make it fashion! Just kidding…It is essential, though, for us to make sure we are scheduling our days more strictly. When we are at home, it is easy for us to get off task with an at-home project, or simply just the apple tv right next to us (a key factor when choosing a workspace). If we aren’t specific about how we distribute our time, and to what, we can quickly get off task. Even if we haven’t been a planner user or a list-maker, now would be a prime time to start! Fill our days with activities and set timers if needed. Make sure to add breaks, include activities we enjoy, and don’t skimp on personal time!

10. Get up throughout the day and take steps equivalent to how many we’d take to and from work, as well as during the workday (Stay Active!)

Getting exercise is important when considering lowering our anxiety and symptoms of depression. Being at home all day, sometimes completely isolated, can take a toll on even the healthiest of us; however, we define health. We barely notice how active we are in the day just getting ready, going to and from work, and moving around while at work. When designing our days, try our best to add in activities that will allow for more movement. If we can’t, that’s okay, just make sure to add in more time before or after work to get moving!

Let Us Feel

By the age of 23, I had been raped three times and sexually assaulted once. I have been verbally abused, discriminated against, and neglected. After a recent event with my family, I found myself trying to convince myself, yet again, emotion could not be shared during this incredibly traumatic moment. Even as I cried and my legs couldn’t hold my weight, I scolded myself inwardly for not being “strong.” Even reaching out for prayers seemed like a weakness. 

We are blessed, as a family, that everything is working itself out and I am blessed as an individual that the severity of my experiences did not lead to lasting physical injury. Still, this most recent experience got me thinking about the practice of grief and emotion in today’s society, particularly among women of color. I began to wonder about our need to narrate the pain we feel, from a break-up to the loss of a loved one, we love to try and control the uncontrollable. Considering all of my experiences, I’ve never had more people ask how I’m doing, knowing what they’re looking for is for me to finally say I’m doing well. I’ve never heard the words “what can I do” more, as if situations outside of human control can be fixed by the human hand. I know, for some, it comes from a place of nosiness and curiosity and that for most it comes from a place of care and sympathy, but it all just feels like micromanaging. 

I think for Black women there is this extra pressure placed on us, as a matriarch in training. We must stay “strong” and centered. We must be the pillar that holds up the home. Some people don’t even realize they’re leaning on us until we start to fall. The most crushing part is being labeled as erratic or irrational when we finally let emotion show; emotions that are a normative response to an unnatural circumstance. Sometimes we don’t even speak on our feelings, we express physically how our bodies are responding (e.g., not eating, not sleeping, etc.) in hopes they can fill in the emotional blank. 

This piece goes out to all my women of color struggling emotionally and standing so tall. We don’t have to be “strong” all the time. We don’t have to be reserved, restricted, or restrained. The world looks at us as superhuman. Research states that women of color are seen by the world as this unbreakable force, not just by other people of color (POC), but by the world at large. We are supposed to be everything to everyone and wear that badge with a smile. But women, sisters, please don’t fall for this ploy. This mask of strength they’ve forced us to wear, it’s killing us slowly (see link below). I write this in total vulnerability, in hopes that at least one woman reads it and decides to feel what needs to be felt. Say what needs to be said. Do what needs to be done, and stops apologizing for any of it! 

Although I put a lot of myself out there, knowing my story is like so many others, it’s still hard for me to feel supported when I don’t feel like I should be feeling down or stressed in the first place. It’s hard for me to let people help me when at times I still think I should be able to handle everything on my own. We go through a lot as women of color: being disrespected, discriminated against, sexualized, and that’s just the start. What I want to make perfectly clear to all readers is that we don’t need pity. What we do need is respect and the space to be human, with a full human range of emotions. We are an impermeable force, AND we are worthy of healing and feeling. Once we allow that in ourselves, we can help change the beliefs of society; support each other, accept each other, and love one another without believing only one of us deserves or can be at the top. 

We must stop teaching this pattern to our young women, encouraging them to suffer in silence. We must want more for them than to live unhealthy, restricted, lives. We must show them that true love of self and others comes from acknowledging and loving ourselves, disregarding anyone that tries to get in the way of that. Lastly, we must stop using the word “strong” as if holding in our emotions makes us impenetrable. True strength is feeling emotions and not being controlled by them. It is accepting emotion and using it as a pillar for growth, not a sign of weakness. We must redefine strength for this next generation…and it starts with us.

Brief Article giving a general outline of how the Strong Black Woman Schema negatively affects physical and mental health: Being an African American ‘superwoman’ might come with a price.”

Statistics on sexual assault and rape among Black women: Black Women and Sexual Violence

Parent’s Day

Today is Father’s Day, and I know all over social media, people will be posting about their perfect fathers and perfect families. Still, today I’m not talking to them. Today, I’m talking to those of us without that masculine figure. I’m talking to the kids with the fathers that didn’t come home and help with homework…or at all.

See, we don’t all get those amazing fathers. Although today, on all social media platforms, it appears like the world got the “American Dream,” in 2019, about 15.76 million children lived with a single mother, a consistent statistic since 2010. As of 2010, 22% of female-female couples had at least one child, with most recent census information showing much higher projected percentages. This means the landscape of the United States is changing. The necessity of the father figure, while important in the role they fulfill, is not as vital as the love within the home and the guidance of other figures throughout life.

I say all of this to say families don’t have to look the same to be impactful and important! When we look at social media today, for some, it will be hard; this reminder of what we lost or never had. This notion is not lost on me. There is a mourning period where we realize our family structure is different. Our two parents, white picket fence, 2.5 kids, and the dog didn’t appear like we believe they did for all the other families. However, for those of us that are fortunate enough to have a mother that loves us with everything she can muster; a grandmother that would lay down her life; an aunt, uncle, and/or cousin that has always been there whenever the phone call came, we are loved today and every day! It’s not formed in the same packaging, but the gift, if we’re ready to receive it, is just as sweet!

So, today I challenge all of us with unconventional families to celebrate those. Let’s take our moms to dinner. Send our uncles a thoughtful text. Post our cousin and let the world know how meaningful they are to us. Visit our church leader or camp counselor and let them know their impact has changed our lives, and therefore changed the world just a little. 

As kids, we’re born into this world naïve and defenseless, and we don’t always get what we deserve. Just remember, it takes a village to raise a child. Although all our puzzle pieces may look different than someone else’s, our picture is just as beautiful and our journey is just as valid. We are here with our village, and no matter what that looks like, it’s worth celebrating on this Parent’s Day…so I hope we all do!

Words

I love words! I know that’s a weird thing to say, but to me, words are the most concrete and meaningful piece of humanity – up there with emotion and critical thinking. They relay all our needs. They identify our emotions. Even the lack of language or speech says something in and of itself.

For as long as I can remember I’ve used words to describe, create, and imagine; from short stories to poetry. Whenever I’m writing I use pen and paper, or one of my typewriters. These manual mechanisms give me the rare sense that I am holding something beautiful and unique that’s tangible in a way words rarely are. I’ve always carried a book with me wherever I go. I used to sit in the same spot all day and become completely overcome with the novel I was reading, engrossed in the information I was consuming, and excited by the possibility of learning a little more about someone else’s mind. I remember my senior vacation to Puerto Rico I stayed in the room and read, really annoying one of my best friends 🙂 . I’ve always been a nerd, I guess.

I believe in the power of language. I believe in the importance of communication and I just love learning! I love acquiring knowledge of other cultures, of other times, of having the opportunity to view the world through someone else’s lens. I mostly read 17th and 18th-century literature, for its challenging vocabulary and raw truth. I think the simplicity of the time lends itself to only what is real: Flesh and emotion. It’s not dictated by the happy ending we want to have and is honest in a way only real-life can be. Its beauty is in these horrible truths – in the way life is both tortured and magnificent, often at the same time or in quick succession.

Those times when I was younger, spending days enveloped in someone else’s world, faded as I got older. I convinced myself I only had enough time to move through my own life – to use my words for research and academia – and to create and imagine nothing more than a stable life with employment. I was no longer creating these beautiful worlds, nor was I reading about them.

From 2020 forward one of the things I want to do is to make more of an effort to re-engage with my absolute love and passion for words and knowledge. I want to create and share. I want to learn and expand my capacity to empathize through delving into the experiences of others.

What do you want to do going forward (comment below)?

You Don’t Have to Bend Your Wallet to Bend Your Body

Cost-Effective Yoga Practice Applications

My first experience with yoga was listening to my brother talk about how beneficial it was for him, as a professional athlete and someone who is not at all flexible. When I was reintroduced during my training as a mindfulness therapist I was astounded by the personal benefits of meditation. I figured joining physical body movements with mindfulness practice would be a double “bang for my buck.” I LOVED IT! From the very beginning, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t been practicing all along!

I think the way yoga, especially in America, is portrayed in media kept me away from even trying it. When you see yoga on social media, or even in a studio, you see people in perfectly curated outfits, stretching far beyond what you think is physically possible for you. Most of them are white women who can afford to pay $25 or more per session, several times per week. It seems completely unattainable and it really turned me off from even wanting to try it – “This exercise just isn’t made for me.”

I felt it was important to make a post like this because I’ve found that yoga is for EVERYONE! You don’t have to be flexible, you don’t have to be rich, and you DEFINITELY don’t have to be a white woman in order to experience the benefits of the practice. Yoga is not about the “fad” it has become. It is about the balance you find within your body and within the present moment that can push you far beyond where you thought you could go. It can lift you and heal you, both mentally and physically, if you truly give into the practice. The health benefits of just learning how to breath as well as decreasing stress and realigning yourself, not just your physical being, with your goals is a priceless gift everyone deserves.

Below there are five yoga applications that work on both Apple and Android devices that allow everyday people to engage in consistent yoga practice. As a poor graduate student, I can’t afford to buy new yoga clothes for every class or even afford the class for that matter, but I can pay $25 a month to have access to Glo.com, which has allowed me to continue the practices I love! I have received no money from any of the below applications, these are simply suggestions on where to get started if you either want to try yoga or want to continue practicing on a budget!

(Yoga) Glo

  • Over 3,000 classes
  • Has various levels, to account for beginner, intermediate, and well-practiced yogis
    • Has accountability checks based on personally identified goals
  • Has a variety of videos and audio for anything from sleep to grief, or focusing on your back to getting a cardio workout
    • Also includes meditation
  • For $18 a month you get unlimited access to all the site has to offer, compared to paying $25 or more per session at a studio

Yoga Studio

  • Over 130 classes
  • Ranges from stretching to combination classes (e.g., stretching, yoga, relaxation, etc.)
  • Has beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels
  • Has meditation, yoga for back pain, yoga for runners, salutations, and essentials classes
  • Is a free app on Apple and Android devices, with unlimited access to classes

Daily Yoga

  • Over 100 classes
  • Has a variety of levels and keeps track of your personal progress as you complete classes
  • Creates the opportunity to form a community of yogis to help in your quest for peace
  • Classes focus on mastering yoga poses, foundation, and mental/physical health
    • Also includes meditation
  • Is a free app on Apple and Android devices, with unlimited access to classes

Down Dog

  • Over 30,000 configurations (which is different from classes)
  • It can be personalized to your favorite voice, desired level, time limit, etc.
  • Focuses on 12 different areas of practice
  • Is a free app on Apple and Android devices, with unlimited access to classes

Find What Feels Good

  • Over 600 classes with yoga instructor Adriene and select guest instructors
  • Has various levels to account for beginner, intermediate, and well-practiced yogis
    • Has accountability checks based on personally identified goals
  • Has access to vlogs, video series, live classes, and yoga events/workshops
    • Also includes meditation
  • For $9.99 a month you get unlimited access to all the site has to offer, compared to paying $25 or more per session at a studio

The best thing about these apps is that you don’t have to be a yoga expert to own or use them. You don’t have to be a millionaire to practice yoga and you can choose your pace, level of comfort, time limit, style of practice, etc.! Yoga is for everyone, even if it’s not typically described or marketed that way!

Veganism

It’s Beautiful AND It’s Difficult

I have been identifying as a vegan for almost five years now. When I say identifying I qualify that by saying I do not eat vegan on my birthday and if I am at a location where eating vegan is not possible, I will still eat. As someone that studies eating disorders and maladaptive eating and weight control behaviors, the last thing I want to do is condone restrictive eating patterns just to keep dietary rules.

It is particularly important for me that people know that dietary restriction is not the point of veganism and that we need to listen to our bodies when they say we are hungry, regardless of what is available to us.

Putting that pedestal aside, I first became vegan for the environment, for the true belief that we have become a population crippled by our need to eat meat and animal products at every meal. We do not have enough space on the planet to sustain the number of animal products we are currently consuming, not to mention the environmental and animal cruelty effects of trying to do so. Living vegan has also been found to have several important positive health outcomes (Mann, 2014), including:

  • Increased fruit and vegetable intake
  • Decrease in cholesterol
  • A decrease in lipids (fat) intake
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Decreased weight
  • Reduced risk of obesity
  • Reduced risk of diabetes
  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduced risk of cancer

However, if veganism is not done right, it can be very dangerous. Despite the ease that you see on social media, beginning vegans should regularly see their doctors to check for the following complications:

  • Calcium deficiency
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Iron deficiency
  • B-12 deficiency
  • Extreme weight loss

The Lie

Those complications can be very serious if left untreated. It can be frustrating knowing these complications exist and seeing very few people that feel comfortable freely talking about how hard it is to be vegan. Every time I look on Instagram, or any other social media, I see people simply happy to be vegan – smiling, cooking, celebrating. Don’t get me wrong, it is not that I am not happy as a vegan, but for me, veganism was a choice I made that has not been all sunshine and greatness. It is really hard, especially if you are used to eating meat or an animal product with every meal, to just change overnight and sustain that. It is hard to deal with comments from family and friends and from perceptions you know others hold of you, just by identifying as a plant-based person (Markowski & Roxburgh, 2019).

In my opinion, not talking about the trials doesn’t make people want to be vegan more, but makes people believe veganism is unachievable for them. It makes people believe it’s this exclusive and perfect group, with such high moral standing that only others that are the same deserve to even try to be a part of it. At least that’s how I feel at times, as a vegan, looking at other vegans.

As great as my body feels, as good as my sleep is, and as amazing as the health benefits have been, as well as the low environmental footprint, I still struggle a lot. This is not to deter people from being vegan, but to tell people that struggle IS a part of this journey and THAT’S OKAY! You can still struggle, and even fail, and get back on the vegan wagon!

The Research

Research has found that cheese (see Dr. Neal Barnard’s The Cheese Trap) has highly addictive qualities. Therefore, if you are an avid cheese consumer then you may have particular trouble kicking that part of the diet – AND THAT’S OKAY. Even moderate cheese consumers will likely have trouble.

Also, racial and ethnic minority populations (Pickett & McCoy, 2018) or those familiar with southern cuisines, have more access and familiarity with diets high in fat, sugar, and carbohydrates. There is evidence that stress increases our desire to consume foods high in fat, sugar, and carbs (Zellner et al., 2006). This means that in times of high stress we are more likely to crave foods that are not within our vegan diets – AND THAT’S OKAY. It is normal!

For example, eating soul food is more than just the food for Black populations. It is about community and relationships (Airhihenbuwa et al., 1996), and in times of high stress eating soul food with those that love you is a cultural way of coping. This means, for Black populations and other groups with similar coping styles, it may be hard to keep a vegan diet when stress arises. That does not mean that it is impossible! That does not mean there is no hope! It does mean that the trouble you may be having is not because you are weak or cannot do it, but due to systematic and scientific phenomena that outline why some times may be harder than others.

Being vegan IS great! Being vegan and Black is also great! Being vegan, Black, and in graduate school halfway across the country from my family is really really difficult. There are times when I fail, but there are more times when I am successful, and I rely on those positive experiences more than the negative ones to keep me going. I remind myself that those perfect people on social media are likely having trouble too. I remind myself of the science, and I remind myself that no matter what I am, vegan or not, my family and friends love me for exactly who I am – and that is what matters!

References

Airhihenbuwa, C. O., Kumanyika, S., Agurs, T. D., Lowe, A., Saunders, D., & Morssink, C. B. (1996). Cultural aspects of African American eating patterns. Ethnicity & Health, 1(3), 245–260. https://doi.org/10.1080/13557858.1996.9961793

Mann, S. (2014). More Than Just A Diet: An Inquiry Into Veganism. Anthropology Senior Theses. Retrieved from https://repository.upenn.edu/anthro_seniortheses/156

Markowski, K. L., & Roxburgh, S. (2019). “If I became a vegan, my family and friends would hate me:” Anticipating vegan stigma as a barrier to plant-based diets. Appetite, 135, 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2018.12.040

Pickett, S., & McCoy, T. P. (2018). Effect of Psychosocial Factors on Eating Behaviors and BMI Among African American Women. Clinical Nursing Research, 27(8), 917–935. https://doi.org/10.1177/1054773817713420

Zellner, D. A., Loaiza, S., Gonzalez, Z., Pita, J., Morales, J., Pecora, D., & Wolf, A. (2006). Food selection changes under stress. Physiology & Behavior, 87(4), 789–793. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2006.01.014

Kinky Curly Toning and Coloring

This may sound like scolding, but I can’t in good conscience continue without saying this: Toning your hair is NOT for those that don’t know anything about hair care or the coloring process. I started coloring my hair when I was 20 years old. I am now 26, so I’ve had many years of getting the hang of things. I’ve also been natural since I was 17, so curly hair routines are no stranger either. What I will do in this post, for those with some experience equivalent or near that of my own, is outline how I tone my hair following a bleaching session.

What you may not know is that I tone and color my own hair. I also curly cut my own hair, which I’ll address in a separate post (no worries)!

By no means do I ever try to bleach my hair on my own! Bleaching hair is a very dangerous and sensitive process and there is a reason that your stylist has a license and you don’t. Yes, I have tried it before, and yes, it did RUIN my hair, so please don’t make my previous mistake.

I have successfully found a stylist here, in Kansas City, MO, that is very sensitive to curl pattern and has done well with the thickness of my hair. I used the DevaCurl website to look for Deva-certified stylists in my area. My stylist’s name is Heather at Salon Halo, and you can reach out to her on social media (IG: @heatherkcmo) or through the salon site (which is preferred). We do two appointments, one for the top sections of my hair and one for the bottom sections, to try and make sure everything is even.

Although Heather does tone my hair at the salon, it can be quite the undertaking, with time and quantity of hair, to get the toner evenly distributed. I have struggled with this issue since my very first bleaching, so this is not something unique but does require some at-home maintenance from me. Above are the salon results, and below are the results after my at-home maintenance. My desired color is ash, which can go violet or blue depending on your desired color. Right now I am more violet, which I love (Heather’s suggestion and a great one)!

I use Color Charm Wella Toner in T18 (lightest ash blonde) and a 20 volume Oreor Creme developer by Loreal Technique. I buy pretty much everything from Amazon, so yes, that is where I purchased these! If you have never toned your hair before, I highly suggest you DO NOT start with a 20 volume developer, because that is quite strong. I suggest you start lower until you are more comfortable with the process. The process of mixing is quite simple: I do not ever stray from the instructions on the box or bottle. I have mixing-bowls with measuring lines on the inside and application brushes, which I purchased from Sally’s Beauty Supply (but I’m sure you can also find them on Amazon 😉 )

Steps

  1. Section hair into 8 to 10 small braided sections.
  2. Go through each of the three strands, from each braid, with the toner/developer mixture using your application brush
    1. As you can see, from above, different sections of my hair take bleach differently, depending on the location. For this reason, I individualize how I apply the solution, depending on how the strands look: For darker sections, I saturate more and begin in the darker part of the hair (even if that’s in the middle of the strand)
  3. Comb through each small section with a fine-toothed comb, to ensure even distribution.
  4. For the color pictured below, I left it on for 20 minutes, with 30 minutes maximum.

This process took me about 15-20 minutes (I can go pretty fast because I’ve done it so many times).

All pictures above are unedited, outside of cropping

Color Conditioner

  1. Mix 3 parts AG Hair Care – Restore Conditioner (Keratin Repair) with one part Maria Nila – Lavender Colour Refresh.
    1. My desired color was light purple, so you can change that for your desired brightness. the Maria Nila brand also has other colors, as well!
  2. Use the same application process as you used for the toner/developer solution.
    1. Because your hair is no longer in the braids, this means you’ll use clips or hair-ties.
  3. For the color pictured above, I left this mixture on for 15-20 minutes (one-half to one-quarter episode of Monk)
  4. Follow with the Kinky Curly Bleached Hair Routine!

CAUTION: I ALWAYS use gloves when coloring hair, especially with harsh chemicals!

*I am not a licensed beautician or professional. I am a fellow member of the natural hair community with useful advice. I am not liable for any advice I give that does not receive equal results or produces damage, injury, or otherwise.*

Kinky Curly Bleached Hair Routine

How to Maintain Bleached Hair in a Healthy Way

Hair Maintenance

If you’ve seen my Instagram (@mini_vegan) or visited this blog before, then you’ve probably witnessed my constant hair color transformation. When adding color or dyes to your hair it’s important to understand how to properly take care of naturally curly hair. We’ve all seen the horror stories where people’s hair fell out or became so elastic it started breaking off near the root. What we want to do is AVOID that result as much as possible!

I was born with kinky curly dark brown hair that was chemically straightened when I was ten-years-old. When I was 17 I decided to go natural, after a terrible perming experience where the stylist left me with blotches of scabs and hair removal. I couldn’t comb my hair because it would fall out and I had to put Neosporin on my scalp twice a day to help the scabs heal. Having been straight for so long, learning to take care of my natural hair was A LOT of trial-and-error. When I decided to color it, that added another layer of struggling, but has been well worth it, to me!

I’ve been asked several times how I maintain my curls AND manage to have my hair so close to white blonde – well, like I said it’s not easy, but if you’re willing to put in the time, it’s definitely do-able!

Things to Remember

When deciding whether or not to color your curly hair, especially African American hair, it’s important to factor in the following:

  • Curly hair produces fewer natural oils than a straighter or looser curl texture.
  • Those with very curly hair types need to have external oils ready to apply regularly to both the hair and scalp.

Now, I understand no one wants their hair to feel or look greasy and that’s why trial-and-error is such a big deal when choosing the proper hair products. Lucky for you all, I’ve done the bulk of the trial-and-error for you! So, let’s start with my pre-dye hair routine.

Before the Bleach

General Wash Routine

  1. Separate into a minimum of four sections, for thicker hair use smaller sections
    1. Apply Maui Moisture: Heal and Hydrate + Shea Butter Detangler Leave-In to the hair (generously)
    2. Comb GENTLY through the hair – DO NOT EVER pull through the hair with the comb, because you will break the hair and create more damage
    3. Combing through the hair beforehand will help with the washing and conditioning process, to make sure the product is reaching all of your hair
  2. I wash my hair once every week and a half to two weeks
    1. Curly hair often does not make as much natural oil as straighter textures, so you don’t want to wash it too frequently and risk over-washing and drying your hair out.
  3. For those of you with dry-scalp (like myself) you may be able to make it to the two-week mark, most likely not.
    1. What can push us dry-scalpers to two weeks is the use of scalp oil every day. Because your scalp is dryer, you don’t run as much risk of your hair appearing greasy but just healthy!

Wash Routine

Pureology is the best vegan (salon quality) line of products I have ever come across. My hair has never been healthier, even after DevaCurl use, than after using Pureology. Pureology now has a line called Best Blonde, which has done wonders for the color, strength, and texture of my hair!

  1. Wash with Pureology Strength Cure – Best Blonde Shampoo
  2. Condition with Pureology Strength Cure – Best Blonde Conditioner
    1. You can either use this process if you are not going to use a leave-in or like me, you can do both the leave-in and this process: Rinse hair lightly keeping the majority of the conditioner in the hair. The conditioner will not hurt your hair and will continue to moisturize between washes.

Post-Wash Moisturizer

  1. Separate hair into small sections to thoroughly apply product
  2. Apply Cantu products to both the hair and scalp, paying special attention to the ends, which are at the most risk for breakage
    1. Cantu Strengthening Treatment and/or Leave-in Conditioner
    1. DISCLAIMER: They are not vegan, but they are natural and cruelty-free. I have had the best results with these products and I’ve tried both vegan and non-vegan
  3. In one handful I place the following products, rub together in my hands, and apply to small sections:
    1. Pureology Strength Cure – Best Blonde Miracle Filler Treatment
    2. Pureology Superfood Strength Cure Treatment (Deep Conditioner)
  4. Finish with gel to lock-in moisture
    1. DevaCurl Gel works well but is not vegan. I use a vegan styling gel from Jessicul called Spiralicious.

Daily Hair Moisturizers

  1. Moisturize hair each day [This is my sequence]
    1. Cantu Shea Butter: Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream
    2. Beautiful Curls – Hydrating Curl Oil
      1. Applied on the curls in particularly dry or vulnerable spots. This includes spots that may be lighter, or closer to a white blonde, and will need more care
    3. Finish with Pravana – The Perfect Blonde (seal & protect leave-in) Spray
  2. Work the product through all of your hair
    1. Account for the amount of time it will take for you to do this in the morning
      1. It typically takes me about 10-15 minutes
    2. Start at your ends and work your way to the roots and scalp.
      1. Do thoroughly after washing
      2. Do as a touch-up to dry spots each day

For all hair textures, it’s important to pay close attention to the health of your ends as they are the farthest away from the root and the least likely to receive all the natural oils, vitamins, and minerals your body provides.

For dry scalps that prefer to use a lathering shampoo, like Head and Shoulders, please try to follow with a non-lathering conditioner. I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir and all of you have heard of the harmful effects of lathering shampoos and conditioners on hair – so for all hair types, please shy away from the bubbles!


*I am not a licensed beautician or professional. I am a fellow member of the natural hair community with useful advice. I am not liable for any advice I give that does not receive equal results or produces damage, injury, or otherwise.*