Quick Fall Updos for Twists, Braids or Locs

Running out of ideas for styling your braids or twists this fall? I’ve got you covered!

I recorded this vid last year but still make use of these styles whenever possible. They’re quick, 1-2-3 updos that are great for any occasion. The quality may be a tad… meh- webcam plus unfortunate bathroom lighting- but you can still make out what I’m doing… I hope! ;-)



Toia B.


My Top Four Go-To Fall Protective Styles

Sure, any season is a good season to wear a protective style. But when that air starts to get cooler, I like to put the fro away for a while and rock some low maintenance dos. Not only do they save me time during the seasons when I like to do my hair the least but they aid in the overall health of my hair.

Here are four of my mains, my faves, my tried and trues…

Twisted Fauxhawk w/ Pompadour


This is my favorite fancy-ish protective style. Definitely a go-to when I have a special affair to attend with limited time to do my hair. Marley Hair and I have become the best of friends ’cause it’s the perfect “fake it til you make it” synthetic hair for updos, blending in SO well with my natural texture. The style looks a lot more complicated than it is. Believe it or not, once my hair is prepped (washed, stretched) the style itself takes me no more than thirty minutes to do. It was just right for this fall photo shoot with Danielle Finney back in 2012.

Wanna see how it’s done? I GOTCHU BOO!!! Clickity click >>> HERE!

Marley Twists

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This was the very first set of Marley Twists I had ever done. They were on the small side but that made for lots of versatility in styling. Buns have been my thing since relaxer days so that wasn’t gonna change. But I also liked to do a half up/half down thing as seen in yesterday’s post.

While I was able to do a lot with those twists, they took me soooooooo long to do! So I gradually moved on to doing them larger, a look that I adored anyhow. I wish I had a tutorial for you (I have one coming… eventually) but there are TONS on YouTube that I’m sure you’ll find helpful liiiike this one by Ebony Clark. Our methods are pretty much identical. Here is a little FAQ post on a set I did last summer and, if you’re so inclined, I talk a bit about the upkeep of the above style in this throwback video. Don’t laugh at the quality… or my awkwardness. Just don’t laugh. LOL!

French Braid w/ Faux Braid Pompadour

PhotoGrid_1392491353321After getting my hair trimmed by my friend Simeko (Meko New York Natural Hair Care Spa), she did a simple yet very cute upside down French braid to send me on my way. She braided the back nice and close to the scalp, loosening her grip as she got to the top to make it poofy. Sometime after that, I decide to re-teach myself to braid my own hair from bottom to top. It took two tries but it all came back to me.

For the top, instead of continuing the braid loosely, I decided to try something I saw in a photo on Instagram. Just by looking at it for a while, I figured out how she did it. I call it a “faux braid” because, although it resembles a braid, all you’re doing is criss-crossing one piece of hair over another. I’ve done the same type of thing with my Marley Twists. Because it’s not as taut as the loose French braid would have been, this allowed for more flexibility with the size of my pomp. For me, bigger is always better. :-D

I hope to have a tutorial up soon.

Nicole Melton Topknot

NicoleMeltonBun_CroppedAnd then there’s THIS loveliness. You’d never know that former Essence Online Beauty Editor (now owner of Melton Digital) Nicole M. Melton created this style purely by accident. Those are the best kind! This is by far THE quickest protective style I’ve ever done so of course it made the list of faves. It’s simple enough for every day but can easily transition to a special occasion. All you need is stretched hair, some sort of hair tie, a few pins and you’re set!

I do have my own tutorial on the style but why not watch Nicole herself!

Look at the awesome styles you can create with some Marley hair, a French braid and a simple series of twists! Have fun with your hair this fall and try your hand at something new.

Me? Welp, my original plan was to redo my Marley twists in a couple weeks buuuutttt… I REALLY wanna try crochet! I’ve watched a few tutorials and I think I’ve found the perfect hair to do it with. The deal is, I miss my fro but I still want to keep protecting my hair. I think a crochet weave strikes a nice balance, don’t you?

What are some of YOUR go-to styles? Are there any new ones that you’d like to try in the near future? Share below!


Toia B.


Hair Tip Tuesday: Get the Most Out of Your Protective Styles!

As we get deeper into autumn, many of you may start thinking about putting your hair away in a long-term protective style like box braids, Havana Twists or possibly a crochet weave (aka crochet braids). Here are a few things things to keep in mind to get the most out of those styles and maintain the health of your hair. But first…

What IS a Protective Style? 

It’s all in the name! Basically, they are styles which require little to no daily manipulation. The less you have to mess with your hair, the less chance of damage. The idea is to tuck away the ends (the oldest part of the hair which is more prone to dryness, breakage and splits) to reduce the possibility of damage thereby protecting your hair while it retains moisture.

With this description in mind, know that you’re not limited to sitting for hours to install braids, twists and such if you wanna rock a protective style. While they may not last as long, buns, updos, “roll, tuck & pin” styles and cornrows also accomplish the same goal. You’d be surprised how much good a week or two without having to manipulate your hair will do!

Handle With Care 

We’re trying to protect the hair, right? So, it should go without saying that you want to be gentle when installing your styles (or having them installed) or else, what’s the point? Don’t be afraid to speak up if your stylist is braiding your hair too tight!

You should not only be concerned with the amount of tension being used during the install but also afterwards when you begin styling your braids, twists or weaves. Yes, even if you were careful about the initial style going in too tight, you can still do some damage if you pull and tug on those braids, etc. a little too much.


Protective styles can definitely cut down on your morning/nightly routine and make life a little easier but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to touch your hair AT ALL for the duration of the style. Just the way you’d moisturize your loose hair on a regular basis (I hope you do!), you should be moisturizing your hair while wearing your protective ‘do. I’m currently wearing some Marley Twists so I find it easiest to use my spray bottle concoction of water, a few carrier and essentials oils and a leave-in to moisturize my hair every other day. I spray directly on my scalp and on the length of my hair.

Cleansing is also possible and highly recommended while wearing long-term protective styles. Methods will vary from person to person but I do just fine stepping into the shower to cleanse my scalp while wearing Marley Twists. Sometimes I dilute my shampoo with water in an applicator bottle, sometimes I don’t. In either case, I apply directly to my scalp first, let it sit a few minutes, gently massage between the parts, thoroughly rinse with warm water and repeat if needed.

At night, tie your hair down with a satin/silk (not cotton) bonnet or scarf OR if you fancy (huh?!), sleep on a satin pillowcase.

The Take-Down

Don’t rush this. We can be so ready to get that hair out or take those cornrows down that we go ripping through the hair just to get it done quicker. Take your time. Use your fingers to gently detangle. In some cases, you may need to add a little water to the equation to make the hair a bit more pliable. You’ll find that if you’ve been moisturizing your hair regularly while wearing the style, you’ll have a much easier and productive take-down session.

As you take down your style, you will have some shedding… don’t be scurred! This is natural. Every human being sheds, on average, somewhere around 100 individual strands of hair per day. Strands fall out at the end of their growth cycle to make room for new strands. So, if you’ve had some Havana Twists in for a month, well, you do the math. It’s gonna look like you can make a whole wig out of what comes out but know that it’s just all the shed hair that has accumulated over time. Make sure you get as much of that out before washing to prevent unnecessary tangles. Deep conditioning at this point might also be a good idea.

So, ladies, it all boils down to maintaining good, healthy hair care practices. Only then will your hair grow and thrive to reach its fullest potential! ;-)

As always, I hope these bits and bites were helpful!

Tell me, what protective styles are YOU rockin’ this fall? What maintenance tricks have worked for you?


Toia B.


Natural Fashionista: Mimi

If you think natural hair is not office-appropriate or that you’re limited to a simple bun at the workplace, please, pull up a chair and take note! This naturalista proves every day that you can be just as professional as the next gal all while fiercely rockin’ your natural mane in a variety of fun ways. It was a must that I reach out to this corporate beauty for a feature!

Let’s meet our first Natural Fashionista of autumn…


My name is Mimi Irvin “aka” Corporate Chic. I am a wife, mother of two handsome boys, daughter, friend, and have been told, a fashionista.  My day job consists of a career as a Project Engineer working in Corporate America with a degree in Electrical Engineering.

Have you always worn your hair in its natural state? If not, how long have you been rocking your natural and what made you decide to go back to doing so?

Mimi-Corporate-Chic-TWANo, I contemplated the idea of going natural in early 2011 and although I loved the relaxed looked and didn’t suffer from breakage, I wanted something different. I was sent forth to go on assignment in the Netherlands with my company in January 2012, so I decided December 2011 would be my last relaxer. I wouldn’t have to worry about the Texas humidity and I felt the transition would be easier to deal with in cooler temperatures. As I tried many styles as I could during my transition, 8 months would be the end of that road. I decided to do my BC August 2012. As I sat in the mirror cutting each section it was very hard to get through. I had about 3 inches of new growth but after completing that hard effort, I looked in the mirror and said yes this is ME and I will ROCK it.

What do you love most about being a natural girl? Have you faced any challenges along the way?

I love the versatility, it’s AMAZING. I honestly haven’t faced any challenges from outsiders. The only challenge is from myself, especially on days when I don’t feel like doing it!

Tell us about your weekly hair care routine.

If my hair is not twisted, I typically I will pin it up at night and sleep in satin bonnet. In the mornings I will spritz with water, add Coconut oil or shea butter and style in an up-do or wear loose.

Currently I am using Cantu Natural Hair Collection:

  •  Sulfate-Free Cleansing Cream Shampoo
  •  Sulfate-Free Hydrating Cream Conditioner
  •  Deep Treatment Masque Conditioner
  •  Coconut Milk Shine & Hold Mist
  •  Coconut curling cream

I am very pleased with the response from my hair. It’s well moisturized and soft.


Other products I use from time to time are:

  •  Auntie Jackie’s Curl La La Defining Custard – www.auntjackiescurlsandcoils
  •  Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner –
  •  Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque

From fluffy fros to chic updos, your hair always seems to perfectly complement your outfit. Is that purely a beautiful coincidence or do you allow your ensemble to determine the final ‘do?

Thank you. I believe confidence is part of it, but overall my hair helps shape the outfit. That is actually how I determine what I will wear in the mornings.

How would you describe your personal style?

In three words I would describe my style as Unique, Edgy, and Sophisticated.


Many women in the corporate arena find it hard to really express their style while staying within the bounds of what’s “acceptable” at the office. How do you manage to do it so well?

It didn’t always start off this way, but over time, it came with confidence within myself. Once you have that, the rest will follow. Be sure to maintain your professionalism while showing your uniqueness as well.

What is one staple item that you believe every woman should own?

A crisp white blouse,  I heard Oprah mention that. It can make any look fabulous!


I love that you encourage women to “shop smart”. Where do you find the best bargains?

Before I found my Instagram treasure finds, I would shop my local shops in Houston Texas, (I still do shop my local shops) Buffalo Exchange, Taxi Taxi Montrose, Leopard Lounge.

Some of my favorite IG Resale shops are: @vintagewhimsy, @kirasvintage, @angelscloset4, @angelsvintageboutique, @youreahanger and many others.  I tag all IG sites that I feature, so be sure to check out my page.

Please share some words of wisdom for those looking to define their style on a budget and perhaps a word of advice for our newbie naturals.

The first advice that I would give to the “fashionista next door” is to cultivate your self-confidence. As a fashionista with a unique sense of style, I have learned that self-confidence is so important.  Your acceptance of you matters more than anything or anyone in this fashion industry.  Secondly, I would advise to be consistent.  No matter the situation, a true fashionista can wear jeans and dress it up with accessories, heels, and fabulous hair and ROCK the room.

And for the newbie naturals, embrace your OWN natural curls and don’t caught up with trying to get your hair like everybody else’s. You have to find what works for you. It’s definitely good to get insight especially from YouTube (bloggers and vloggers) or from your girls that maybe on the journey with you, but just don’t get discouraged.

Tell the folks where they can find you online!

Blog | Facebook | Instagram- @officialcorporatechic | YouTube | Email-

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Awesome advice Mimi! Thank you so much for sharing your style and hair story with us!

Ladies, be sure to follow Mimi for chic work wear inspiration as well as creative hair styling ideas.


Toia B.


Breakfast, Blazers & Boots: Fall Fashion in Harlem

It took me about two full weeks to come to grips with the fact that fall was here… I did NOT wanna let go of summer! October 3rd was probably the first day I actually accepted the change and donned an entire outfit of ‘official’ fall wear, complete with a heavy-ish blazer and riding boots. It’s really, like… an autumn uniform.


Blazer: H&M (similar) | Pussybow Blouse: Etsy/NorthStarrVintage (also worn here) | Jeans: H&M | Boots: Target (similar)

ToBNatural-Teal-Fall-Fashion-3ToBNatural-Teal-Fall-Fashion-2 ToBNatural-Teal-Fall-Fashion-4I trekked over to Harlem’s Lenox Coffee to chat with Ijeoma of Klassy Kinks and did a little tablet photo shoot afterwards… what happens when you leave the SD card for your DSLR at home!


We had an awesome time! Here’s the usie to prove it. :-)


…and that’s a wrap! Was so nice chattin w/ the #bloggerboo @klassykinks! It’s such a BEAUTIFUL day out y’all! Not sure I’m ready to go home yet. ENJOY! #naturalhairblogger #klassykinks #ToBNatural #EMBRACEmag #bloggers

View on Instagram


I said it before and I’ll say it again… while I’m not excited that it’s getting colder out, I do kinda enjoy the fashion options of autumn. Oh, yes! There will be boot and blazer posts aplenty!


Toia B.