Lydia’s Kumba Out Hairstyle

Kumba Out Natural hairstyle by Lydia Onimo
Kumba Out Natural hairstyle by Lydia Onimo
Kumba Out Natural hairstyle by Lydia Onimo

My Approach

I’m thrilled to learn about a new hairstyle. I went natural and 2009, but the majority of the time I wore tracks, braids, and twists because I didn’t know what to do with my hair! This competition is challenging me to create new hairstyle and also teaching me about them. I am loving every minute of it!

Going natural wasn’t too tough of a decision for me because I didn’t have much of a choice. I was on my way to China for a couple months to do a public health research project for my school and would have no access to a beautician. I damaged my hair the last time I permed it myself so I decided to use my journey to China as a new beginning. I started out with kinky twist extensions and then transitioned into tracks. I wore my hair in cornrows a couple of times, but I never fully embraced its beauty. It wasn’t until I began researching how to care for and style my natural tresses on sites such as that I began to fully embrace the unique and profound beauty of natural hair.

I used products from start to finish. I used the shampoo and deep conditioner. I really like the shampoo, it lathered well and got rid of build-up. I also liked the invigorating smell of the deep conditioner. I then let my hair dry and used a mixture of the two products to create my Kumba out. I felt that using a blend of the two products would give me the hydration and curl definition that I was looking for and hold the curls. I had a lot of fun with this style. My hair is a strong-willed independent thinker just like me J. When I first did the Kumba out I was almost 100% sure that I wouldn’t achieve desirable results the first time around. To my surprise, the style turned out great! I had fun showing off my new-do during the photo shoot and received tons of compliments. I’ve even been rocking the style all around the Big Easy this weekend. It’s a fun do!

For my photo shoot, I wanted to do something that was bold and colorful. I live near a cemetery. In New Orleans, graves are above ground because caskets often rise during the floods that come with our many rainstorms and hurricanes. I thought the cemetery would make a unique background because it’s something that’s a distinctly New Orleans and the white and gray stones would be a great contrast to the red and black.

I also wanted to do a couple Mardi Gras themed photos. I am thrilled that I got to incorporate the St. Charles street car into my photo shoot. I explained what I was doing to one of the street cars and she happily allowed my photographer to take photos on and around the street car.

It was also fun to take pictures in the French Quarter. The architecture is amazing! I really like the Gothic styling of the Williams Research Center on Chartres Street so I took a few shots there. Then we found a cozy little Irish pub that had an old school telephone. We of course got the bartender’s permission to take the shots before we began photographing.

I was quite nervous about this shoot because only my photographer was available and I have tons of work to do. I have two class presentations due next week and a mountain high pile of work to do for my non-profit. The Mardi Gras holiday added to the tension because the Mardi Gras crowds (which nearly double the city population) made traffic was CRAZY and everywhere extremely crowded! Nonetheless, I believe we achieved some pretty great shots. We found some really neat backgrounds on the street car and in the French quarter. It was a tough shoot—it was sunny, but boy was it cold! Despite the challenges I faced, I’m proud of my results and hope to move to the next round. This competition is not only an opportunity for me to advance my modeling career, but to put New Orleans on the map in a positive light also. New Orleans is so often put in a negative light in the media. My work and the things that I do—this competition, my non-profit—are dedicated to changing that.

Kumba Out!

Before you get started, make sure your hair is thoroughly combed out as tangles can be detrimental to curls. Be sure that you use a detangler or your hair is wet to prevent damage when combing out. Part your hair into 6 or 7 sections. If your hair is very thick, you may want to do more sections. My hair is very thick so I did 9 sections. My hair is thinner towards the edges so my ultimate goal was to make sure that all my twists were about the same size regardless of the size of the section. Lastly, be sure to brush edges so that you don’t leave them out when making the Kumba Out knots.

Step 1: Take a section of your hair and apply the Twist Out milk or the Curl Keeper. You can even use a mixture of both if you prefer. Apply the product evenly to the section of hair. You can brush it to ensure that it is applied evenly.

Step 2: Twist the section of hair by coiling it around your finger. When twisting, make sure that all strands of the section are in the twist and you don’t have any outliers.

Step 3: Tuck the end of the twist securely into the base. You may even want to secure the Kumba Out knot with a hair pin if you will be letting the style set for a long period of time.

Step 4: Repeat steps 1 through 3 until you have completed all sections of your hair. Make sure that you don’t have any outliers and that all of your Kumba out knots are nice and neat.

Step 5: Allow a few hours to let your hair dry (I let mine dry out overnight). Then gently take down your hair and style as desired. Be sure to show off your fierce new style to family and friends!




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