by Tonya Cross
Most would probably classify me as an ol’ school natural! I began my natural hair journey in 2000, before the natural hair movement regained its popularity post 60s and 70s. Like most, when I first started out, I struggled with finding hair care products that met my natural hair needs. It was also difficult to find hair accessories. Most accessories in retail stores catered to a much younger demographic and were not natural hair friendly. So here I was, in a dilemma. I wanted to dress up my new natural tresses with age appropriate accessories, without damaging my hair.
Fast-forward 12 years later, after raising three beautiful daughters who are also naturals, I picked up a new hobby – crafting hand-made hair accessories. The hobby was both a time filler and therapeutic. Once I had a few accessories created, I was surprised to find that my daughters liked the designs and started to wear them regularly. Soon they began to request specific designs, like the afro puff holder, to accent certain natural hairstyles. Other natural hair women started to notice our hair accessories and asked where we got them. When they found out I made the accessories, they wanted to purchase my designs! So, I took a leap of faith and launched a handcrafted accessory brand for women called Accented Glory.
My brand offers hair accessories that are created with materials that minimize damage to textured hair, provide a comfortable wear, and endures natural hair care products. I choose fabrics and materials that won’t cause friction with textured hair and that assist in maintaining healthy tresses. I test wear our designs to ensure they are not only stylish but also comfortable. I also use minimal amounts of adhesive and rubber materials when creating my designs. Naturals’ hair care regimens include oils and oils have the potential to breakdown adhesives and rubber.
Expanding My Horizons
My natural hair journey has opened doors in so many areas; most of which are related to Accented Glory. Before starting my brand, I had no entrepreneurial or marketing experience. With the guidance of my oldest daughter and online network groups, I’ve learned a lot in the past few years about marketing and entrepreneurship. I’ve also built a natural hair Facebook group community, Accented Glory Naturals, of 300+ members that I co-manage with my daughters.
The relationships I have established as an entrepreneur have been great. I’ve met other forty plus female entrepreneurs who have decided to pursue their passions later in life too. Many of us are balancing full time jobs while building our brands. I’m thankful that my three daughters are actively engaged in helping me build Accented Glory. I honestly couldn’t do it without them – they have truly become my tribe; my support system!
I have also started creating jewelry designs! My handcrafted jewelry includes earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. My motivation to create the jewelry line was to expand our design options for our brides and bridal party customers.
Last year I launched Accented Glory’s “Embrace Your Crown – Embrace Greatness” series. I gave fellow naturals an opportunity to share how their natural hair journey has impacted their lives on my blog Accessory Diva. I created Accented Glory’s first tee shirt design for this series that encourages my fellow naturals to “Embrace Greatness”
Reading the stories of other naturals, allowed me to reflect upon own my natural hair journey. My journey has taught me a lot about myself, my passions, and my drive. Whether it’s building a brand or mastering a flat twist style, with the right tools, I can do anything I put my mind to. Building my own brand has helped me to discover my passion to create beautiful things by hand. Now anyone can reap the benefits of this passion when they wear my hair accessory or jewelry designs. Accented Glory fosters my daily drive to be a better version of myself and to turn obstacles into stepping-stones. I can’t wait to see what new opportunities my natural hair journey will lead me to next!
Tonya Cross – Visionary and Accent Designer of Accented Glory
How has your natural hair journey impacted your life?
Youtube natural hair blogger 11mjsmommy.
If you have curly hair then you are probably already very familiar with shrinkage. To some it is not a big issue and to others it is the devil!
As a natural hair blogger, I hear many complaints when it comes to hair and I must say that shrinkage is one of the top complaints. Many naturals that have complained to me about their shrinkage desire for their curls to loosen up a bit so they can see their length.
Instead of having loose hanging curls many naturals are dealing with a tightly coiled afro. When you are really out of the TWA (teeny weeny afro) stage don’t you want to at least look like it? I can completely understand due to my personal shrinkage.
Many are in shock when they see how long their hair is once they receive a blow out. It is definitely a wow factor when I see the transformation from curly to straight.
Unfortunately, many black women have been taught that our type/texture of hair doesn’t grow like other races. To see our hair reach our shoulders, eventually our backs and waist is a goal that many want to reach. We want our hair to show its’ true length.
One day I just woke up and decided to embrace my shrinkage. It wasn’t doing me any good to worry about how long my hair appeared to be. Only then was I able to truly embrace my natural hair journey every step of the way. I stopped the length checks and just took care of my hair and before I knew it the length was there.
Even with locs I have shrinkage. I can stretch them all day long to check my length but length is no longer of importance to me. The health of my hair is the most important. Length will follow if you take care of your hair.
I have come across a few ladies who have stated that they have been natural for years and their hair will not get past a certain length. I have seen this happen to many and this could be due to many unforeseen reasons. It could be medications that a person is on or genetics -just to name a couple reasons.
Shrinkage aka the devil (to some) is really not a bad thing. It is actually a really good thing. How so? If you have shrinkage then you have great elasticity.
When I attended beauty school we did an elasticity test on ourselves to see the health of our hair. Healthy hair, when wet, will stretch up to 50% of its original length and return to its normal shape without breaking, while dry hair will only stretch about 20%.. Elasticity is rated as being low, normal, or high.
Now take a moment and check your hair elasticity!
Do you embrace your shrinkage?
My name is Destiny and I reside in the DC metro area. I’m a southern belle/country gal from North Carolina with a doggie name Nini as my best friend (instagram/nini4ya). I am an enthusiast of natural hair, natural/herbal living, doggies, crochet/knit, cookery and music.
I’ve been natural for 11 years. I have always been a “black sheep” in my own universe, rejecting all of the negative “isms” around, so it made sense for me to be natural.
Many times I’ve encountered women who inquired about being natural but most of them stated they either could not pull it off nor have the time to care for it. I counter with sharing that my motivation for being natural was to finally be ME-not a VERSION of me…and be comfortable and in love with my own beauty, unconditionally. So my advice was to get to that special place first then research, tryout and learn your natural hair with an abundance of patience on deck 🙂
I’m not a product junkie because my low porosity strands hates any white or alcohol filled product (product buildup) Most of my products are natural diy. I wash and condition with either bentonite/rhassoul clay, seal with natural oils like almond, apricot, jojoba or with a botanical gel like Kinky Curly Custard or shea butter.
My 3 favorite natural styles are braidouts, bantu knots and washandgos.
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I had gotten in the mood of wanting to try something different and instead of heading to the store to purchase products, I decided to combine some things I already had at home.
I have incorporated lemon juice into my health and wellness by drinking warm lemon water in the morning for its’ many benefits. I feel great afterwards once I get over the bitterness of the drink itself.
I decided to make a concoction of oils and lemon juice to use as a conditioner or shall I say a hot oil treatment with added lemon juice. What was a sista thinking?! I am not going to sit here and say the good ole lemon is not good for your hair because I have read many great reviews about it BUT the way I incorporated it into my hair care regimen was an epic fail.
I do mean a serious, what were you thinking, you should’ve left that lemon where it was fail. Maybe it was the combination of lemon juice and the oil that made it a never ever again moment for me.
I read – during some recent researching – that lemon juice is great for helping the hair lock quicker and it works great when added to your conditioner of choice. I was not looking to lock my hair quicker because I am already locked. I was looking to have moisturized shining hair by the end of my qt time with my crown.
Instead I ended up with dry shriveled locs and a sore scalp from all the shrinkage that occurred afterwards. My locs looks thinned out but I saw no loss of hair. I chopped this up to the shrinkage and tightening affect it had on my locs. I can now see why some say lemon juice can help your locs to lock faster.
I am use to having frizzy full locs and I was so hurt with the outcome. I wore my hair in its’ thinned out dry look for a couple of days. I asked my husband if he would massage my scalp incorporating a combination of Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Olive Oil, and Peppermint Oil to soothe my scalp.
It felt really good as he applied it to my scalp and I dozed off shortly afterwards to rest BUT when I awakened this morning, my hair was horrible. Something had to be done. I could not go another day like that.
All hail apple cider vinegar! I grabbed my Bragg’s ACV and combined it with water and gave my hair an ACV rinse while in the shower. My hair looks and feels so much better.
I will never ever ever do that combination again! I’ll pass.
For now, I am going to stick with drinking lemon water. I am interested in hearing more reviews on how to use lemon juice on natural hair for moisturizing purposes.
How do you incorporate lemon juice in your hair care regimen?