6 Helpful Hints for Protective Styles

The internet is overrun with “information” about Black Hair and protective styling. The unfortunate part of this fact is that many/most bloggers, YouTubers and the like, have experience with one type of hair – THEIR OWN! This is especially concerning to me as a protective styling and natural hair expert for two reasons:

  1. Y’all are wasting money and energy using ineffective products styling and caring for your hair, inevitably resulting in tears.
  2. There is a significant amount of damage being done by heeding the advice of those not well-versed in the subject of natural hair care. All kinds of damage; heat damage, stunted growth, breakage. The list goes on and on!

I see it Every. Single. Day.

I’ve compiled a shortlist of the best ways to address protective style installation. Because I love you.

Sew-Ins, Frontals, & Closures
Always use polyester or nylon thread, NEVER cotton.
Cotton absorbs moisture, expands, and increases the likelihood of developing mold & fungus during the length of wear. Cotton also soaks up dirt & oil. Nylon is strong & tangles less easily, does not absorb moisture and makes for a more seamless installation, as cotton tends to be a bit more bulky
A step further….use brown thread for sew-ins if your hair is dark to help avoid cutting your own hair during takedown.

Protective Styling for thinning or damaged hair.
Many of us – naturalistas and otherwise – haven’t always taken the best care of our hair. In other cases, it’s genetics, age, or battling an illness that causes mild to excessive hair thinning. If you suffer from thinning hair, choosing a knowledgeable stylist is especially important because you may be at risk of going bald…permanently! No shade. We need to be real about this. It’s all fun and games until you’re a meme. Here are a few ways to help be sure you’re making the right decision.

  1. Your local African braid shop is NOT the place to go for hair care. I’ll leave it at that because I don’t talk about my family in mixed company.
  2. Opt for twists instead of braids as they don’t exert the same level of tension and thus, less risk for breakage. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOUR HAIR IS GUARANTEED TO BREAK WITH BRAIDS! It means that we’re taking it easy on your mane, and making decisions that will prove fruitful for your already damaged hair in the future. If you must have braids (3 strands of hair) vs twists (2 strands of hair) , definitely shy away from cornrows of any kind UNLESS you have a great relationship with a stylist that you trust, and/or don’t plan to have the style for long. Then, cornrow installation with thinning hair and edges (including feed-ins and so on) is acceptable. If not, stay away. The risk is too great. An alternative to traditional single braids is individual feed-in braids, also known as Knotless Braids. They are more lightweight and cause virtually no scalp tension. (Do y’all want a tutorial for this method so you can show your stylist what you need?) One more note on the subject, avoid high buns and puffs while regaining your hair health Unicorn.
  3. Use oils correctly! As quiet as it may be kept, oils alone do not moisturize your hair or scalp. In fact, lacing your scalp, with coconut oil, to be specific could lead to clogged pores & dangerous buildup. If you notice, when you apply coconut oil to your dry hair, it sits on top of your strands – coating & covering- never moisturizing because it cannot be absorbed by your hair alone. Moisturizing your hair is the process by which you nourish both your scalp and your strands to promote healthy growth and decrease breakage. Coconut oil, ain’t that.
  4. It’s a well-known best practice to use products made with all natural ingredients for natural hair care. Super Dope Hair is here to help you do just that! We’ve developed a proprietary blend of nourishing oils, cleansers, and moisturizers made using purifying organic fruit and seed extracts.
    1. Our Peppermint Potion is designed to target thinning, brittle hair (especially edges). It encourages healthy, rapid hair growth. Product junkies will LOVE this one, because it actually works!
    2. Rosemary Rinse by Super Dope Hair is a no-poo cleansing milk made with organic rosemary leaves, clove oil, and grapefruit extract, just to name a few of these magical ingredients.
  5. Steaming your hair increases blood flow to your hair follicles. This practice also gently lifts the hair cuticle and allows the products you use to penetrate the hair shaft more deeply. Therefore encouraging healthy growth moisture retention. The more moisture your hair is able to retain, the better lubricated your hair will be. This is especially important while wearing protective styles.

Dasit. I hope this helps. Feel free to ask questions below!

Your Hair Is Your Magic! We must protect it.

“Your Hair is Your Magic! We must protect it.”


New To Atlanta: Summer ’16



It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.
I heard someone say that spring has already come and gone. Truth be told, since Kent Cook left channel 2 you can pretty much guarantee that every forecast will be inaccurate, to say the least. What I mean is, you won’t ever truly know what to expect from Mother Nature in my beautiful city. So let’s focus on what you do know, and how to save your hair from the most common disasters.

  • Humidity
    Don’t dump your coconut oil down the drain just yet. The worst of the wetness in the air won’t truly begin until early July. Nonetheless, be prepared! (Stay ready and you ain’t gotta get ready.) One of the most effective ways to protect your mane from harsh humid conditions is to ensure that your hair is coated with a natural shaft sealant like , (you guessed it!), coconut oil. And of course, protective styles.
  • Sunlight
    Fast forward to the first day of summer and everyone in the A is naked. No more bras or pants, just melanin and Afros dancing in the afternoon sun. Excessive sunlight (uva) can break down the proteins in the shaft of your hair. Many of us may notice that our hair lightens significantly in the summer as a result of this phase. Apply sunscreen directly to your scalp and invest in stylish hats to prevent damage if you plan to spend the summer outdoors!
  • Smoke, Parties, Beaches & Rap Music  
  • Party time is upon us children! Medusa is open, Edgewood is fully revived and Gucci is home. These Atlanta nights get long and steamy honey. I created a product specifically for this purpose. My Super Dope Melanin Mist is a blend of organic rose petal potion, aloe vera, &  essential oils designed to refresh your skin and hair while shielding both from harmful uva and environmental exposure. Purchase my Melanin Mist to preserve your sexy!


Guess Who’s Back!?!

Allow me to reintroduce myself. My name is Super Dope Karmen. And thank you all for tuning in once again. It has been my objective for all of 36 months to deliver riveting and resourceful content based loosely around the subject of natural hair. I’ve failed miserably in that endeavor. Today I stand with renewed vigor and a greater appreciation for the struggle.

You see – having always styled my own hair – I took for granted that my sisters all across the globe were fighting the good fight…ALONE.Of the 1000 (literally!!) Black women that have graced my chair over the past 3 years, more than half of them are virtually clueless about general hair care. So this blog is for you. I have extensive experience with natural hair and I aim to empower each and every one of you to take on your mane with confidence!!

SIGN UP here for my newsletter or BOOK a transition talk to help better understand your tresses!!



Frizz Proof and Perfect!

Want Frizz Proof, Perfect Fall Hair??
Here’s How!

          As the weather changes with the season, we must revisit the subject of protecting your tresses. Everyone is excited that high humidity has moved on and cooler winds prevail. But is that really so great? Humidity is the amount of water (moisture) in the air. Without vaporization, the air becomes very dry. The biggest weather impacts on hair -by far- dry, cold air and even dryer indoor heat. These environmental factors cause hair to become brittle and break more easily. Here’s how to beat it!! (#thankmelater)

1Protective Styling
Obviously! Protective styles are those that are low stress, low maintenance, and require very little to no manipulation of your natural hair (outside of caring for your scalp). If you’re still in the transition process; there’s no other foolproof way! If you’d like to avoid screaming at the mirror in frustration, driving like a maniac, only to be late for work and have Kylie and the office girls whispering their nonsense again, braid it up!!  Opt for easy and effective until you’re really ready to face the music.

2 Regular Steam Treatments
Alternate between moisture and protein! Weak and depleted hair will not support healthy growth. It’s that simple ladies. Combat these conditions by treating your hair with a  moisture retention and a strengthening agent. For best results, use a steamer to gently lift the hair cuticle for deeper product penetration.

3Wrap It Right.
When wearing a scarf on your head in the harsh colder months, ensure that it is silk. Much like your nighttime bonnets and pillow covers, silk doesn’t foster dryness as most other textiles do. Though it may sound trivial, true naturalistas know that every little bit counts. Be careful with wool scarves and sweaters  at the nape of your neck as well. Your “kitchen” is no secret. Everyone knows!

4Avoid heat!
Dry air + heat + dry air + heat = baldness…ijs
You heard right! Although the absence of humidity makes it quite easy to maintain heat specific hairstyles (like a silk press), it isn’t necessarily  the best time to pursue such lofty goals on a regular basis. So when is the best time for a silk press, you ask? I say no more that 3 times per year. Early in the fall (before the cold kicks in) and early – mid spring before the damp air makes it almost impossible. Avoid blow dryers and  hot combs like teen pregnancy. Be sure to keep up with http://www.SuperDopeHair.com  classes and consulting to help you transition and/or manage your kinky fro while incurring minimal damage!

5Hot Oil Treatment 
A sure fire way to seal in moisture so that you andyour hair have the energy to focus on growth and styling is a hot oil treatment. At http://www.SuperDopeHair.com , we’ve developed a blend of (9) essential and carrier oils that work in tandem to create the ideal environment for autumn/ winter growth, despite the harsher climate . 

10 Things Your Protective Stylist Should Be Doing…For Free

You choose your stylist based on a variety of factors. Even if you’ve been with the same braider or weaver for years, there are a few things to consider when gearing up for an entire year of healthy hair in 2015. I’ve answered any general questions that you may have about protective styling here.

Now that you’ve entrusted a stylist with your mane, this is what she (we’ll assume that all braiders are female for the sake of this post) should be doing for you. FREE of charge.

1. Conditioning Your Hair– It is a certified fact that most of you are not taking care of your hair at all, or doing it all wrong. In addition, protective styles don’t do their job on their own. While the braiding/weaving of your hair does protect it from free radicals and debris in the atmosphere; your hair (not just your scalp) longs for healthy hydration while encased in kanekalon. I prefer all natural products. Shea butter is one of my favorites. Believe me, you’ll notice a difference when taking your hair down!

2. Moisturizing Your Scalp– Contrary to popular belief, the skin from whence your hair grows requires just as much attention as your hair does. If you have neglected to do this, please ask your stylist to moisturize for you with a natural, nourishing oil like olive.

3. Tapering Properly– Everyone has seen a horrible sew-in, or braids that look like Bonquiqui’s little sister did them under duress. There’s a lot more to braiding than the one aspect of tapering, but getting it right can make an ugly braid do a 360.

4. Taming Flyaways– One of the easiest ways to avoid a braiding disaster is for your stylist to use effective, preferably all-natural, products to tame flyways BEFORE installation is complete. If you don’t trust this lady completely, don’t allow her near your head with a pair of scissors.

5. Explaining Maintenance– You’ll wreck a car and kill everybody on 75 if no one teaches you to drive before you get behind the wheel. Similarly, all of your hair will fall out if you don’t know how to maintain your protective style. Ask your stylist. If she doesn’t know, leave immediately.

6. Offering Healthy Hair Tips- This one is just a test. Ask your stylist for tips on healthier hair in general. If she’s worth her salt, she’ll be attentive to the state of your hair and able to offer suggestions on how to achieve a healthier scalp.

7. Asking Questions-Maybe it’s just me, but I want the person that is responsible for my first impression to actually care about me. I’m a Pisces. Maybe I’m just needy. I ask my clients if they are afraid of their hair, or what their greatest challenge is when learning to nurture their relaxed-free hair.

8. Practicing A Gentle Touch- Both an African and an Atlantan should understand the importance of not ripping your scalp out. First, it isn’t necessary. Second, it leads to damage-which is the exact opposite of the reason I came to yo ass in the first place!!! Forgive me, I was in my feelings for a moment. If you have a sensitive scalp (tender-headed ), be honest with yourself. It may feel like Keisha is trying to kill you. She’s not.

9. Emailing You– Let’s face it, there’s only one @SuperDopeKarmen. I am blessed to have an array of intelligent, gorgeous, and understanding clients. Because I care for all of them collectively, and individually, I’ve developed an email newsletter filled with exclusive content to help ease the transition process. If your stylist doesn’t love you, click here.

10. Boosting Hair and Scalp Health- We’ve established that scalp care, and hair care are two very different processes. When I finish installation of any protective style – after dipping (if it’s required) but before getting those edges together– my clients receive a SuperDope scalp treatment. It consists of

  • Tea tree oil and keratin spray to condition the hair follicle and control flaking
  • ORS softening Shea butter formula to introduce new hair to a well nourished environment
  • Argan Oil sheen to penetrate and fortify the skin of the scalp.

This is a collection of practices that I use with each of my clients. I am in no way indicating that your stylist is horrible because she doesn’t incorporate these things. Like I always say, I thank God that I have an amazing group of women that are counting on me to keep their hair healthy and productive. I take my job very seriously!! Smooches!

6 Ways To Be Kind To Yourself- World Kindness Week

“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” ~Lena Horne

A very wise Black woman once said “Don’t agonize, organize.”. On this, the first day of World Kindness Week, I pledge to put this notion into motion…beginning with myself. My most pressing deterrent, and I’m sure many of my beautiful Sisters suffer the same, is that I judge myself too harshly.

Most of you are aware by now, that my cup overfloweth with ambition. Every waking moment is filled with thoughts of how to move faster, work harder, do more. As of late, I’ve accepted the fact that I don’t give myself enough credit for the tasks that I do complete or the necessary strides that I’ve made. I don’t want to look up at age 30, having realized the bulk of my dreams….only to learn that I’m miserable because I didn’t enjoy the journey! This week, I will be kind to myself. I’ll stop for a moment and thank God for the incredible position He’s placed me in. I will sing, laugh, dance, and be ratchet. I’ll allow my mind and body to focus on the beauty around me that I don’t acknowledge often enough. Here are a few ways that I intend to be kind to ME! Won’t you join me?

1. Negril Village Movie Night – If you’ve been slipping, and have yet to visit my website and social calendar at www.superdopekarmen.com — get yo life (*Tamar voice*)! Negril Village is a gorgeous Caribbean restaurant on North Ave that features dinner…and a free movie screening of classic Caribbean films. Check out my calendar for dates and times!

2. Groupon Spa Day– Deals make me happy. As such, this whole Groupon (‘member when CiCi sold her last album there…2 for 1?) phenomenon easily slaps a smile across my face. There are fancy spas, including Sydell offering deals that will truly knock your socks off. There is something to be said for relaxation and tranquility.

3. Yoga– Though a deal excites me, Free.99 is my favorite price. The truth is, I’d gladly pay these amazing instructors. Their time is valuable and the insight into this science of living is truly priceless. Click here for dates, times, and locations. More dates here!

4. Ratchet Behavior– I enjoy moments when I can drink 4 Loko and twerk in peace. And twerk I shall.

5. Dinner For 1– People watching is a sport that I rarely have time (or energy) to indulge in. Soon, I’ll get dressed and hit the town. It’s time I see what the captains of industry dining at the Commerce Club are up to.

6. Braid MY Hair!– We all know the struggle is real.



The Most Important Sound You’ll Ever Hear

Making a habit of judging my Sisters or referencing reality actors is not my steelo. In this instance however, I was rather stunned that such good could come from such an unlikely source.

So I’m at another marvelous client’s house, and we watch an episode of Sisterhood of Hip Hop. If you aren’t familiar, it’s an off brand (not produced by Mona) version of the reality series made popular by VH1; featuring female rappers from across the country. If you’ve been in Atlanta for any stretch of time, you’re probably familiar with the young group from which Diamond- our inspiration-hails. The name of the rap group was Crime Mob. With hits like “Knuck if You Buck” and “Rock Yo Hips”, the 6-some had quite the hot summer at one point. Diamond, a cast member on the aforementioned show gave us a quite a shock when, at 8:47pm her phone alarm screamed. You guessed it. It was her prayer alarm. The rapper has the alarm set for 3 times daily. No matter where she is or who she’s with, the prayer happens. Brilliant!

It's Time To Pray!!

It’s Time To Pray!!

Often times in the hustle  of the day, we neglect communicating with God. Diamond’s prayer alarm is an inviting way to ensure that we maintain the most important relationship that any of us have; the one we share with the Creator. I’ve taken note dear Diamond, and will follow suit immediately. Anyone around me when my Prayer alarm sounds off best be prepared. We could all use some reminder.



It’s #WCW, Hello Nina Simone!!

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Nina was born in an era where Black was seldom, if ever, celebrated. Let alone a Black woman. Still, her strength showed even in her posture. I’m not one for sitting in the shadows oooohhing and aaaahhing, gawking, at humans. However, … Continue reading


Respect your edges

By now you all know that I am committed to edge protection. Those fine hairs that frame your face are supremely important, and it is my endeavor to defend them against harsh styling. What we should all try to wrap our heads around is the fact that protective styles-by definition are supposed to PREVENT DAMAGE TO YOUR NATURAL HAIR.

Here’s how we achieve such excellence.

You must be wise in choosing a stylist. Black hair, both natural and relaxed, is big business. There are those that would take advantage of this fact and neglect what’s most important…You. That said, here’s a very informative and necessary article addressing the issue at hand.


In addition to the tips mentioned in the article, please be sure to adequately prepare your hair for installation. Deep conditioning and a moisturizing treatment are both great ways to do so. Don’t be an Instagram statistic ladies. This can be avoided.2014-11-11 12.36.15

What are you experiencing the most difficulties with while wearing a protective style?

Bunday Monday!!

The entire purpose of protective styles is to safeguard your hair against unnecessary damage for an extended period of time. The other goal here, is to not be bothered with your mess of a mane – no matter how beautiful it may be. Let’s be clear, we all know how stressful even the finest textured natural can be, especially in the summer. I heard someone say that this summer in Atlanta was fairly mild. I suppose that’s true if you think 100 degrees in the shade and humidity reaching astronomical levels is mild. Not to mention the pollen and bad driving by these friggin’ tourists. It’s enough to make a pretty girl scream!  Enter box braids; here to save your sanity in any season.

Protective styles, particularly braids and twists, provide a super sweet escape from the perils of styling your natural hair. To make things even less taxing, the internet has created an entire hashtag scenario based on the best way to style your braids…. #BundayMonday presented by THE BUN.

A few of my lovely clients celebrating #BundayMonday!!

A few of my lovely clients celebrating #BundayMonday!!

Pretty girls typically like pretty things that are also functional. While wearing protective styles, I can personally guarantee that you will get more versatility and elegance from the various types of braided high buns than you thought possible.

The tutorial below was selected based on originality and the experience necessary to achieve the style. Also, the author is cute and I like her necklace. Enjoy!

Try this style with your box braids and tag me on twitter with the results! What are some of your favorite ways to style your braids?