SuperStyle Tutorial: Bantu Knots

Raquel L.

I consider this to be one of the most unique natural hairstyles that I do. I don’t really see many people rocking this style, at least in my area. So if you’re looking for a style that’s cute, edgy, and protective, bantu knots or “Chinee bumps” (as we call them in Jamaica) are for you.

Time: 30 mins. to wash, condition, and detangle, 1.5 hours to set hair in Bantu knots

Products/ Tools Used: Parnevu Leave-In, Ecostyler Clear Gel, rat-tail comb to part, metal clips to hold back sections of hair

Lasts: Foreva! Seriously, this could hold up quite nicely for 4 weeks, if you wanted it to. However, I have an incurable disease that prohibits me from wearing a style for longer than one week…:D Careful, it’s contagious.

Begin on freshly washed, wet hair-Part in half.

You can either make horizontal parts or vertical. I started with horizontal. Use mirrors to ensure your parts are neat.

Section off a small square of hair using the end of your rat-tail comb. Two-strand twist the section, using the gel to keep the hair smooth and non-frizzy.

Tightly coil the hair around itself into a little ball. Add a small amount of gel to the ends to ensure the hair will stay. This takes practice, but once you get the hang of the hand motion, it's simple.

Continue until you've finished an entire row. Repeat until you're finished with your entire head. Make sure to keep the sizing of your parts consistent.

Side view. This was my second day wearing the style. At night, I simply wrap a scarf around my edges and throw a bonnet over the whole thing.

Reactions You’ll Get: People will have so many different reactions to this unique hairstyle. Prepare to be asked if you’ve cut your hair. Prepare to get looks of amazement, like, “What’s going on, exactly?” Prepare to get some guffaws of ridicule from people who don’t find it cute-this happened to me on the bus. Seriously.

My bottom line: I LOVE this hairstyle, it’s MY HAIR and that’s all that matters. Ciao!


What I would look like if….

Bianca G.

Have you ever wanted to do something drastic with your hair like chop it all off or shave the sides but you were too afraid that it would look a hot mess? I know that permanence with hair can be a scary thought, but don’t worry! There is a way to get a feel of what you would look like after making a drastic hair change. The great thing about being natural is your hair’s versatility. Here are some ideas I have come up with to test what I would look like if I decided to change up my hair a bit. You should give it a try…

If I decided to have a MOHAWK by shaving the sides of my head

Solution: This one is very common. You can have the sides of your head pinned up or get them braided. The simpler the braids the closed it is going to look like a shaved mohawk. I always take a picture that is a straight shot profile picture to get a better idea of what would I would look like with the sides of my head shaved.


If I decided to do the BIG CHOP or get a FADE

Solution: Being able to do this one depends on you hair length and shrinkage. I was able to part my hair into large sections, twist them and pin them down. This allowed me to see what my hair would look like if it were laying flat on my head in a natural style. Simply putting your hair into a pony tail did not create the same affect for me.


If I decided to do a SHORT STRAIGHT STYLE

Solution: This one is a little tricky depending on your hair length as well. After straightening my hair I sectioned of a part in the front I wanted to function as bangs. Then I brought my hair into a very high pony tail (i could see it when holding my head straight forward). Then I gently tucked and rolled the ponytail forward into itself, hiding my excess hair. and pinned it down. This creates a short look. You can also do a french twist from the back of the head toward the front,  if hair is a bit shorter.


If I decided to grow LOCKS

Solution: YARN BRAIDS!!! check out a yarn braid tutorial on youtube!!!


So if you are unsure about trying something new do a test run first. It has definitely helped me in the decisions I have made!

Though sometimes it may not seem like natural hair is impossible to work with, once you get to know your hair you will recognize its capabilities!

Remember this: You can pull off any look with confidence. Don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise.

Much love,


SuperStyle Tutorial: The Braid n’ Curl

Raquel L.

This is one of my favorite, low-maintenance styles. I got the idea from fabulous natural hair Youtuber, wwestNDNbeautyy. The original video tutorial can be found here: Braid’n’Curl Tutorial

Style: Braid n’ Curl

Time: About 30 mins. to deep condition, wash, and detangle ; 1 hour to set hair; 1 hour to dry

Products Used: Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine Leave-In Conditioning Cream, Elasta QP Feels Like Silk Foam Wrap, small yellow perm rods, fine tooth comb, end papers, clips to section hair

Lasts: 1-2 week maximum

My hair had been in this bun for about 2-3 days at this point. Time to style. 🙂

I apply this deep conditioner to my dry hair in sections.

I cover my hair with a plastic bag, not conditioning caps. Ahem. This is not being cheap. This is college-broke innovation.

That odd looking gray tube is one of the best hair investments I've made. It connects to your dryer, creating an instant salon style dome dryer. Right in your dorm room.

I sit under the dryer with the deep conditioner on my hair for about 15 minutes. Great time to read for classes. Or tweet.

I then shampoo and condition in the shower, using my shower detangling comb to detangle my hair in four sections.

After detangling in the shower, my hair is braided in four different sections. It is SO much easier to work with your hair in sections.

Styling Tools: end wraps for smoothing the ends, spray bottle with water to keep my hair damp, small perm rods for the ends, a large comb to keep my hair detangled, fine tooth comb to smooth my ends on the roller, Garnier Fructis Leave-In Cream to moisturize, and Keracare Foam Wrap to provide hold to my style

I start with the first section.

I add my products to that one section: a dime size amount of my leave-in cream and at least 2 pumps of the foam wrap, fingering it through my hair to evenly distribute it.

I section off a small portion of my hair to begin braiding.

I leave the very end of the braid loose.

Here are the end wraps. I've cut them in half for easier manipulation.

I place the end wrap around the very end of my hair.

I then roll the end of my hair wrapped in the end paper around the perm rod.

Here's that back left section completely done. I do about six braids per section, and I don't make exact parts in my hair.

Here's the very front of my hair. I only make one straight part in my hair, and that's for my side part.

I like to neaten up the front of my hair. I prefer Fantasia IC, and this very soft brush.

You can thoroughly blame Chili, J. Lo, and maybe Lil Kim for my obsession with baby hairs. 😉

I sit under the dryer for about an hour. If I don't get it at least a little bit dry, I will wake up to damp hair. Then I go to sleep with a scarf and a bonnet.

I take out the curlers and the braids the next morning. I use the end of my comb to separate the parts that are still in my hair.

The finished product.

The front.

MAINTENANCE: Here's how to maintain the style at night. I clip up the front of my hair to preserve the curls at the front.

I cover the front of my hair up with a scarf, and remove the clip. The curls remain in a little "bunch" at the front of my hair, and do not get smushed.

I cover up the back of my hair with a satin bonnet. That's all there is to it.

Hair Basics 101: Developing an Excellent Routine for YOUR hair

Raquel L.

One of the absolute best things that you can do for your hair is develop a routine that meets its needs, fits your personal styling preferences, adjusts to your life schedule, and doesn’t empty out your pockets. This is especially relevant to many readers on this blog, because as college students we 1) desire to look our best 2) don’t have much to spend doing so and finally 3) don’t have much money to spend on this aim. Well, not to worry—I’m here to help you develop a simple routine that will make the care and keeping of your natural, transitioning, and even relaxed hair a breeze.

Disclaimers: Take all advice and product recommendations at your own discretion—every head of hair is different, and you’ll really have to go through trial and error to figure out what works best for you. I am NOT a hair scientist or cosmetologist, this is simply information gathered by years of personal experience and online research. And this is VERY basic; I haven’t even begun to get as comprehensive as this stuff can get it, but consider it a crash course.  Also, side note: Most online natural and healthy hair communities use the word “regimen” instead—I prefer routine simply because it sounds like a friendlier word to me. Tee-hee.

Every routine should have these 4 essential components:

  • Cleansing and Conditioning
  • Deep Conditioning
  • Moisturizing and Styling Products
  • Styling

Cleansing and Conditioning: This is the step that everyone is probably quite familiar with. My personal ideal schedule for washing my hair isat least once a week, but this is one of those things that entirely depends on your hair—how much you sweat, how long your styles last, how much time you’re willing to spend on your hair, etc. Cleansing and conditioning can involve either using traditional shampoo and conditioner duos, or cowashing may be employed instead—the practice of using conditioner to cleanse one’s hair. Cowashing doesn’t work for me, but it may for you. Recommendations: Silk Elements Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner, Cream of Nature Kiwi and Grapefruit Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner, Aussie Moist Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner

Silk Elements Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner

Deep Conditioning: To me, this is the single most important part of my hair routine. Moisture-based deep conditioning imparts internal moisture to my hair strands, keeping them supple. When hair becomes dry, it is more prone to breakage. Protein-based deep conditioning strengthens hair strands, providing structure. When hair becomes too stretchy, it will also break. I alternate the two: deep condition with moisture this Sunday, deep condition with protein this Sunday. This is what works for my hair; however, I will find that many people who have just started a healthy hair journey are more likely to need more moisture-based deep conditioning. Moisture Recommendation: Silk Elements MegaSilk Moisturizing Treatment. Protein Recommendations: Motions CPR Treatment, Aphogee Two-Minute Reconstructor

Silk Elements Mega Conditioning Treatment; Motions CPR Treatment

Moisturizing and Styling Products: Additional moisture added to the hair after deep conditioning is only secondary to me, but can certainly help retain moisture in the hair for the remainder of the week if that is necessary. There are many different types of moisturizers out there, from the watery formulations to the extremely thick and creamy ones. You will have to decide which works best for your hair and the style that you wear your hair in. In addition, you may want to employ styling products for your hair: to smooth down your edges if you desire that look, to add shine, to ensure hold so that a hairstyle lasts for a longer period of time. Moisturizer Recommendations: Herbal Essences Long Term Relationship Leave-In, Elasta QP Mango Butter Moisturizer. Styling Product Recommendations: Ecostyler Gel (sleek edges), Elasta QP Foam Wrap (excellent for providing hold for long-lasting styles), Coconut Oil (great for adding shine)

Moisturizers: Herbal Essences Long Term Relationship, Elasta QP Mango Butter Moisturizer, and Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine Leave-In Cream

Styling/Hold Products: Elasta QP Foam Wrap/Keracare Foam Wrap

Styling: I saved my favorite routine component for the last, because surely, after spending time caring for your hair, I know you want to make sure it looks fabulous 🙂

There are multitudes of ways to style your hair. The possibilities are literally endless. I will provide an abbreviated list of the styles that I wear most commonly, a brief description of each, and how long each ytypically lasts. Style Tutorials will be on the way for most of them, not to worry.

  • Wet Buns-Simply entails placing the hair into a bun while wet. I employ a donut shaper. Can last up to a week, usually redone daily.
  • Braid n’ curl-Braid hair and place small rod rollers on the ends. Results in a kinky wavy/curly look. Can last up to a week.
  • Twist n’ curl-Twist hair and place small rod rollers on the ends. Results in a look similar to the braid n’ curl, but results in bigger, less defined hair. Can last up to a week.
  • Flexi-rod Set-Set wet hair on flexi-rod rollers. Results in spiral curls. Can last up to a week. Starts out tame, may become a big fro by the end of that week. 😉
  • Ponytail Flexi-Rod Set-A “cheat” way to do the previous style, involves putting my hair in about 8 ponytails and then setting the remainder of the hair on the rods. Can last up to a week. Results in a big curly look, a la Joan of “Girlfriends”
  • Flatiron-Results in straight hair. Can last up to two weeks. Results in boredom after about three days.

To conclude: I hope you’ve enjoyed this crash course on routine building. Hopefully, you will now be on your way to building an excellent routine that works for you, your hair, your lifestyle, your personal style, and your wallet. 🙂

Meet a SuperNatural-Dainya W.

Wash and go-6 months natural on March 10th

How long have you been natural? I began transitioning from relaxed to natural at the end of March 2010. I did twist outs, pin ups, and tried not to straighten my hair often for about 5 1/2 months so I would avoid losing any of my curl pattern. I then took the plunge and got the big on September 10th, 2010. I will be 6months natural on March 10th.


Easy transitioning style: Senegalese twists. I began transitioning in March 2010

September 10, 2010, Day of the Big Chop after 5.5 months of transitioning

Position in SuperNatural UIUC I am the Vice President of SuperNatural. It has been such an amazing experience watching the group evolve and become something really meaningful on the U of I campus. The group started with President Sydney Stoudmire accidently going natural and realizing she not only loved it, but she was not alone on this campus.

Major I am a sophomore majoring in Advertising.

A month after the big chop

Why did you go natural?I got my first perm at the age of 5 years old, so I had no idea what my natural texture was. I have wondered my whole life what my real hair looks like and why I went through so much effort each month to relax my hair. I was faithfully getting touch ups every eight weeks, and after about 3 weeks my hair already looked like it was in need of another. I tried to go natural my junior year of high school, but kept hearing negativity from peers about how I need to straighten my “nappy hair”. Also, my hair had been long and permed my whole life so I wasn’t ready for such a drastic change.

Long, relaxed hair during high school-no extensions added

Shorter cut to remedy damage-health over length!

After I met the President of SuperNatural (Sydney Stoudmire) my first year at U of I, before the group was ever even thought of, we had a discussion about hair. She told me how she accidently went natural and how she absolutely loved it. She was still learning how to take care of it, but overall enjoyed being able to wash and go and try new hairstyles. I then thought, I really want to do it this time, it would be so cool to go natural, especially since I had already gotten a shorter hair cut.

Dainya and Sydney-Vice President and President of SuperNatural UIUC

What is your favorite attribute of your natural hair? I overall love how I can either rock really curly hair or a bigger puffier look. It’s almost like I can switch hair textures.

Describe your hair. I would describe my hair as versatile. I can wash and go and have really nice curls, I can do twist outs and have a more wavy look, I can brush or blow dry my hair into a big fro, or straighten it! You can do so much with natural hair! I would also say my hair is dark, curly, coiled, thick, sometimes messy, and very big. I just can’t wait for it to get shoulder length in its natural state!

What has been people’s reactions to your hair? The question I dread so much to answer lol. I have gotten both positive and negative reactions to my big chop. I am not gonna lie, most black males do not like my hair. Some love my texture but most hate my hair length. It is almost as if guys think my hair will not keep growing and that all girls with natural hair have short hair as well (silly boys). It is very apparent that guys were more attracted to me with my long straight hair, even my short straight hair. But some guys really love it, so it just depends, but women need to realize it is not all about what guys think, you just have to be confident and show them that you are beautiful no matter how your hair is.

Older women absolutely love my hair, girls my age like it, but always tell me they could never do it because they “don’t look right with it” or “its looks nice on you but…” I understand all the excuses I hear, but you never know until you try it, and I think natural hair works for everyone!

First puff @ 3 months natural!

How would you describe the natural hair movement on UIUC and the general population? Is there even a natural hair movement to speak of? It is hard to identify whether or not there is an actual movement on this campus. Now I do believe there is a movement within the black community as a whole in America, so many more women are going natural and rocking their fro’s.

On the campus, however, I feel that girls are still feeling pressure to live up to a certain standard of beauty that consists of straight hair, whether it is short, long, or fake. There are also a lot of girls who do not have perms on this campus, but because they straighten their hair so much their natural texture has altered tremendously and does not curl the way it used to. I have also heard some negative feedback on this campus about girls going natural. Some people believe that girls who do not have perms think they are better than girls with relaxers. I personally cannot relate to that mindset and do not believe most naturals think that way. I did not stop getting perms because I thought I was too good for them. I stopped getting them because of curiosity, I was sick of trying to live up to the social norm, and most importantly the health of my hair; relaxers are very damaging and prevent your hair from growing as fast as it can.

Fun random fact about yourself! I am planning to go to Australia next year! I am super excited to study abroad for a semester and I think it will be such an amazing experience. Also my hair will have grown so much by then so I gotta show those Aussies how cool black hair is 😉

Recent straightening/length check-my hair has grown so much since I stopped getting relaxers

Where can we reach you?

Follow me on twitter-

I am on Facebook as well.

I also have a tumblr account, but I really need to update it, lol.

Esperanza Spalding-inspired blowout/twistout @ 5 months natural

SuperStyle Tutorial: Double Strand Twist Pin-Up

Bianca G.

Style: Double Strand Twist Pin-up (w/a hint of a Mohawk)
Time: 2-3hrs (I have thick, shoulder length hair)
Products used: cantu shea butter conditioner, coconut oil, oil sheen, rat tail comb, bobby pins(plenty)
Lasts: for about 2-3 weeks max.


I got this style idea from a model in essence magazine who was rocking a lock pin-up look. Although I don’t have locks I still really wanted to have her look! I had this style during the warmer seasons. It works great with large earrings and maxi dresses. I was surprised and the numerous complements I received. Many people thought I had locks, so this is an easy way to get a ‘lock look’ without the permanence of locks. I Here is a simple how to if you want a similar style:

  1. First thing to do is have the proper parts. I sectioned off the front sides of my hair in squares. You can do this by beginning to part a Mohawk but only parting half way through. Instead of bringing the part all the way back swing it behind your ears. From the front it looks like a Mohawk but the back is un-parted.
  2. The next step is double strand twisting yourhair (excluding the front sides). Double strand twisting is the longest part of this style process. You want to go through your hair in small, even square sections and individually twist each part, using the conditioner and oil to moisturise along the way. The difference between regular twists and double strand twists is you twist your hair backwards then twist it forward (hence the double strand). I would look up an instructional video on youtube if you need extra help.
  3. I wanted to go for a mohawk look as well so I decided to mix it up and braid the sides. When you finish braiding you will have twist hanging down in the front/bang area and braids on the sides.
  4. The last part is a little tricky. Starting from the back of the head, using bobby pins, slowly pin your twists upward. It looks neater if you align them down the middle, pulling the twists on the sides toward the center. Take the ends of the braids from the mohawk and pin them toward the center. Then pull the twist hanging in the front back toward the center as well. If you want a funky-er look create a hump in the front for style sake.
  5. Finally spray with oil sheen for a clean shiny look.

Meet a SuperNatural-Kim J.

A cute flower accessory is a quick, easy way to spice up your hair

How long have you been natural? Natural 5-6months

Position in SuperNatural UIUC Writer for the SuperNatural UIUC Blog

Major Marketing/Supply Chain Management

Why did you go natural? I was tired of the cream burning my head and leaving sores afterwards. I was also tired of paying $60 every month (Mar 1 thru April 15 then another perm on April 16) and I wanted to embrace who my true beauty and actually know what the real texture of my hair looks like when its grown out.

What is your favorite attribute of your natural hair? Versatility is my favorite aspect of my hair. I can twist it, braid it, lay it down, afro it up or wear it after a fresh wash. My hair has personality and can do so many things. I love styling it and trying new products!

Describe your hair. I’m considered a 4a/4b which means I have a curl pattern but my hair has extremely tight tiny curls. My coils are about as big as a regular pencil (if not smaller-probably closer to bobby pin size) and it becomes really kinky after a couple days of no oil or pampering.

What have been people’s reactions to your hair? People’s response to my hair was quite different. Most people loved (when I did the Big Chop) and others not so much (and they aren’t bashful about telling you).  My one friend told me that she liked my weave better than my natural hair…yes it was rude but I don’t think she fully understood her commentary. My mother loved it and my boyfriend helped me cut it off so he was all go. He liked the fact that I was a lot less self-conscience and I was getting rid of the black girl stereotype of “I know you’re not going to touch my hair” type attitude. He could now play in it and while its short, it’s so easy to maintain.

How would you describe the natural hair movement on UIUC and the general population? Is there even a natural hair movement to speak of? There is definitely a natural hair movement and I am completely delighted to see our women embracing our real beauty. My friend told me about a study that was brought forth in her humanities course that discussed how black women were the least desired among several races by the opposite sex and we were also subject to low self-esteem. After hearing this and seeing the natural hair movement evolve, I just knew that the study she mentioned should be re-done and based on today’s information because the self-esteem has definitely altered since this movement.

Fun random fact about yourself! My mom named me Kimberly Jones Jr., yes junior. I’m named after her and Jr. is on my SSC, birth certificate and license.

Where can we reach you? You can reach me by email, a NBMBAA Meeting or on FB @ Kimmie Kimkins Jones