Monday, May 31, 2010
I went and lightly blow-dried my hair, using a paddle brush and low heat. This was after cowashing with my Broaer Intensive Conditioner, and using PM, The Conditioner with Natural Oasis Oil overtop. My hair didn't take ANY time to dry and I was left with some big BIG, soft hair.
And I was back at waist-length again, after giving myself a trim in December. Although it was short-lived because I cut about 4 inches off. LOL! Nice to know that my hair IS growing!
For the holiday weekend, I decided to keep it big and I must say....I LOVED IT! And it didn't even matter that throughout the day yesterday, I felt my hair swelling more and more.
I've seen some beautiful naturals wearing their hair in light blow-out/twist outs and never thought it would look right on me, but I was pleasantly surprised! It just takes me back to when my mom would do this with my hair. I never really wore it out for the reasons mentioned above(i.e. expanding as the day goes on). And I WAS a kid, so I was a bit of a tomboy. But I can see this maybe being s different option, and it doesn't even involve JUST wearing it out. I can do messy buns and pull back with clips and pins. I can put flowers in my hair and maybe to flat twists(one day I'll try this). I mean, there are many ways to extend this style, just as there is with natural hair in general.
Who says natural hair isn't versatile? :P
Saturday, May 29, 2010
- Every week to week and a half, I cowash with Broaer Intensive Conditioner, leaving it on for an hour(or more). Before finding that gem of a conditioner, I use(d) Giovanni Smooth As Silk(as my cowash and leave in).
- After cowashing, I then twist my hair in sm/meduim-ish twists. Too small of a twist leaves me with stringier twist-outs and too big of a twist leaves me with frizzier twist-outs. I use Cantu Shea Butter Leave In(or Giovanni Direct Leave in, or Smooth As Silk), and Elasta QP Olive Oil & Mango Butter Moisturizer. Last year, I mostly used Kemi Oyl Shea Butter Pomade for my twists.
- I clarify monthly(or as needed) with Elucence Volume Clarifying Shampoo. It's not harsh, but does a good job of removing potential buildup, and normalizes the pH of your hair. I've been using the same 8 oz bottle for over a year now. :)
- I leave those twists in or eventually wear a twist out(or pinned up style) for the remainder of that week or so, and repeat the same process again. Sometimes I cowash with the twists in if I don't feel like retwisting and just need some water on my scalp.
- To keep my twists moisturized, I use the Elasta QP moisturizer on my ends and seal with Natural Oasis Styling Oil. This same oil is used when I blow-dry and/or heat style. Good stuff.
- To protect my hair and ends, I cover every night in a satin scarf. And sometimes if I'm lounging in the house, I keep it covered. ;)
- I do a henna treatment every two months or so with a mixture of henna & amla, or with another combo of ayurvedic/natural powdered herbs(e.g. cassia, marshmallow root, etc.)
Friday, May 28, 2010
Ever have that product staple that works with everything? This includes giving reliable and consistent results on top of having great ingredients? You find yourself thinking that as long as this product is a mainstay, you’ll have NOTHING to worry about.
Then it happens.
Your beloved product is either discontinued or worse….REFORMULATED. *gasp* Sometimes it’s done with the goal of making a good product better, or the MAIN reason… because the current formula becomes too expensive to maintain without increasing the prce.
Case in point: Jamaican Mango & Lime Cactus Leave in
This product was one of the VERY FEW that dried moist. Yes, you read correctly. It dried touchably-moist. My hair felt moisturized at ALL TIMES. I loved its herbal scent, and its ease of application. You wouldn’t think by looking at the bottle or consistency that it could moisturize my then highly porous (color-treated) hair, but it did. It also worked underneath all of my then-stylers, gels and creams alike. Then they reformulated it. The consistency was then that of a less than creamy, cream with a baby power-ish scent. Hated it. The company claimed to have left the product formula the same, but changed how it was manufactured.
I guess they thought we weren’t smart enough to call b.s. on that. Just because you use the same ingredients DOESN’T mean it’s the same formula.
Anyway, some Naturalistas liked the changes. Many of us didn’t, and a mommy of a biracial little girl named “Viva” and member of Naturally Curly started a campaign of sorts to get them to go back to the original, and it seemingly worked. Or so the company claimed and led us to believe. I don’t believe they even considered ANY changes, because the same new formula sat on the shelves months/years later.
Now, let me fast forward some years later and we have YET AGAIN another reformulation. THIS time, the company went from yummy, natural ingredients to mineral oil and petroleum. *blink blink*
There are SO MANY MORE products I can name, but I won’t name them all because you likely get the gist of my point(s) and the subsequent frustration(s). But I WILL mention that a representative from Elasta QP reached out to me weeks ago to address my concerns over the “new & improved” DPR-11. And without provocation, she talked to higher ups and informed me that they’re looking into these concerns, as many other naturals and I have voiced our displeasure over the reformulation, so kudos to them for listening and reaching out to their customers!
I just really wish companies would leave great products as is. If you want to increase your bottom-line, maybe invest more in marketing and promotion of your best and most profitable products and phase out your least profitable and/or product divisions. Or maybe use ingredients that are a bit more easily available. The more exotic the raw material, the more likely you’ll experience price fluctuations (which is then passed on to the consumer) and scarcity (which again, involves increasing the price of the product).
That’s just my opinion. ;)
Thursday, May 27, 2010
I'm not really a PJ(Product Junkie), but when I found out about Shea Moisture products at Target, I had to give at least ONE product a try. This particular product stood out to me. Maybe because its name references food. It MUST be good if it's being likened to a smoothie, right?
The ingredients are great, as it consists of a wonderful mix of emollients. As per its packaging, it's paraben, paraffin, propylene glycol, synthetic fragrance, PABA, DEA, and sulfate-free. Apparently this company did its research and/or frequented websites such as Naturally Curly, as it has a HUGE community of curlies who tend to avoid many of the aforementioned ingredients.
That's a plus.
Another plus involves its cost per ounce size. It's about $1.20 per ounce ($9.99 at Target), whereas you have companies charging upwards of FOUR DOLLARS per ounce for mediocre ingredients. Naming names won't be necessary. :P
It's nice and thick, which means you don't need to use much to get good coverage. Again, being able to stretch the product allows you the ability to get more use out of it.
More use = less money spent down the road. :)
Along with stretchability, it is compatible with one of my staple leave ins. SCORE!!! Another plus. Oftentimes, we encounter those dreaded product balls that happen when we use two products with incompatible ingredients that don't allow being used together(can't be combined/emulsified onto hair without residue).
But with all of these pros, there are cons for me and many of these cons are extremely important.
- I'm a firm believer in marketing a product as it is. This product doesn't enhance anything for me, nor does it "moisturize". Oils and butters generally don't define (or moisturize) the hair, although I didn't purchase it to define or enhance my curls. Strictly for use as a twisting cream and moisturizer....which leaves me to my next con.
- It isn't a true moisturizer. It's an emollient-based product. While water is the first ingredient, there are really no conditioning agents or moisturizers. JUST oils and butters, with the [possible]exception of "aloe leaf extract", which unfortunately doesn't mean aloe vera juice. It's yet another oil, which means it doesn't provide the moisture retention provided by the leaf juice/gel OR other natural humectants.
- The only true humectants in the product are the caprylyl glycol and sorbital esters, which doesn't do much good(imo) since there aren't technically moisturizers in this product to to begin with to help in retaining moisture. I will say that it can help MAINTAIN the current level of moisture in the hair by drawing moisture from the air(if there IS any), but the product ITSELF doesn't necessarily "moisturize" in the true sense of the word. For it to draw moisture, there has to be a moderate level of humidity, and if there's too much and someone uses this product w/high porosity hair, the results can either be good(because the emollients help to seal the hair) or so-so/meh/bad, because you generally want to use ANTI-humectant products when you have highly porous hair since humectants can raise/roughen the cuticles and make frizzy hair, frizzier. As we know, frizz is the OPPOSITE of "curl-enhancing".
- The potential for product/ingredient separation is likely if not used within a specific time-frame because there's no emulsifier. Oil in water emulsions require an [appropriate] emulsifier to stabilize the product. Even though it CAN happen, doesn't mean that it will, though. Most emulsifiers are conditioning agents and if factored in with this product, it could've made a good product better, so it would've been a win-win! On the flip-side, the sorbital CAN possibly serve as an emulsifier, although based upon ingredient placement(near the bottom and after the caprylyl glycol), I'm not confident that it is, but it bears mentioning just to keep my assessment fair.
While it doesn't do EVERYTHING it says, it's still a good product just with the ingredients alone. It works okay for my twists(not great, but okay), which was the main reason for trying/purchasing. I use another product that works WAY better than this, but the smoothie can be used to seal my twists after I use my choice/favorite (and actual) moisturizer. The smoothie made my hair feel nice when applied, but left it feeling not-so-soft after it dried on my hair. Hair didn't FEEL moisturized compared to when using products with actual conditioning agents.
If you're interested in trying it out, by all means...go for it! But just know that it may or may not provide the moisture you seek or need. While it doesn't serve me greatly as a "moisturizer", don't let [only] my opinions shape your future purchases. :)
My ultimate goal is to hopefully provide a little food for thought and to help you wisely spend your hard-earned money! :)
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Scarlett, of Wonder Curl , is offering one lucky reader the opportunity to win a brand new 8oz container of Get Set Hair Jelly.
According to the site:
“This organic aloe vera based hair jelly smoothes and defines curls while eliminating frizz, even in the most humid climates. Get Set Hair Jelly works by coating and sealing the cuticles with a weightless formula, creating a barrier for the strands from the outside elements. It can also be used to stretch out the curls to create wavy styles or scrunched for more curls and volume. It is also excellent for transitioning hair. Use Get Set Hair Jelly to create all of your favorite natural styles!”
For a chance to win, just fill out the survey by CLICKING HERE . Since there wasn't a space to place your name and contact info the first day of the giveaway, make sure to leave a comment here to let me know you've taken the survey. To be considered, all entries must be received by Wednesday, June 2nd, by 11:59PM EST. One winner will be selected at random. Your eligibility is not based upon providing the best answers, just on completing the provided survey. You do, however, need to be a fan/follower of my blog to enter. So if you're not already one, FOLLOW ME NOW! :)
One entry per person; all repeat questionnaires will be ignored. Prizes can be shipped to US destinations only. This survey is available to the first 100 responses, so hurry now!
ETA: As of May 27th, the survey was edited to provide a section for contact information.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Protective styling has been integral in me maintaining and growing my hair to waist-length stretched(before cutting in Dec.), along with allowing me to remain active without fear of looking like Sideshow Bob after a heavy work out or after working in the yard. LOL! But as summer approaches and my impending [hair]cut nears, I want to try something new. Something a little funkier. Something a bit more daring.
Because I'm not THAT daring, I'm enlisting in my lovely and talented Naturalistas to help me out.
I need you to send me some youtube vids or pics of cute styles you think would work on me. Now, it doesn't mean I'll consider them ALL, but I'm willing to try something different. And who knows! I may even find a new signature style.
So.....send me those links, pics and vids!! There may even be a prize for the person who sends the chosen style. Who knows?
I AM full of surprises, you know. ;)
Friday, May 21, 2010
So without further ado, the winner of the beautiful handmade earrings is………Jamila of College Curlies!!!!
As a hobbyist/amateur photographer, I LOVED the lighting of this photo and her intensity, all the while showcasing her FAB hair.
So CONGRATS, Jamila! You will be hearing from me soon so I can get your info to mail out your goodies.
For those that didn’t win, no worries. You’ll have many opportunities to win goodies at a later date. :)
Thanks to all who participated!
Thursday, May 20, 2010
So, what you're born with is ONLY acceptable if you....what exactly? Look a certain way? Have a certain HAIR TYPE?
Who looks good with it, pray tell? I'm trying to learn something today because I'm clearly ignorant of this revelation. lol
It's this narrow-minded viewpoint that probably stops many ladies from embracing their natural beauty. And what's sad is this sentiment is not only shared by women (both natural and relaxed) but by the MEN that supposedly LOVE THEM. I actually JUST read a statement from a guy saying he loves natural hair, but only certain ladies can wear their hair naturally. Huh?
It's one thing to say certain styles, cuts, shapes and lengths look better on certain face shapes. That I can understand because that applies whether you hair is kinky-curly or straight. But I just can't wrap my mind around my hair or a fellow naturalista being told we can't rock our natural hair because we aren't one of those lucky ladies who can.
I thank the heavens I have never had to deal with that nonsense.
It's bad enough when I hear older generations talk about me having "a good grade of hair". If only that meant healthy, but unfortunately given the context of that conversation, it had NADA to do with that.
It's bad enough we're bombarded with images of beauty that don't necessarily reflect those around us, those who who represent us, and those who realistically showcase what beauty truly entails outside of the artificially superficial.
It's bad enough we live in a society that is continuously obsessed with achieving a standard of beauty that is NOT the standard, and women feeling compelled to change who they are to fit within some man-made, Euro-centric ideal.
When will it be okay to be who you are without someone saying who you are isn't good enough?
I anxiously await that day.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
My skin has been in need of something with a little more “ump”, if that makes any sense. My unrefined shea butter is GREAT as is, but my skin was craving something a little extra.
With my kitchen khemist antennas raised, I was in the kitchen & ready to make something yummy.
Unrefined shea butter
Prime Pressed Cocoa Butter(w/its YUMMY chocolate scent)
Sweet Almond Oil
When mixing stuff for myself, I generally add until I’m satisfied, but I’m going to guesstimate what was used.
6 tablespoons of Sweet Almond Oil
2.5 oz of Tucuma Butter
About 6 oz of Cocoa Butter
About 8 oz of Shea Butter
In a double boiler, I first heated my sweet almond oil, adding the tucuma and cocoa butters next since they’re a bit more solid than the shea. I heated the items until combined completely before adding the shea. I turned off the heat and continued stirring until the shea had melted into the mix, removed from heat, and then allowed the mix to cool at room temperature.
Once the mixture started to solidify, I then mixed with a stainless steel hand mixer before adding to my container and covering.
The result is as pictured: A melt on skin contact, yummy-smelling whipped concoction that I keep finding myself sniffing. LOL!
© all materials copyright Keri Shahidi, 2010
Does that name sound familiar? Are you looking at her picture and asking yourself, “Now, WHERE have I seen her?”
Maybe the below clip will jog your memory a bit more.
NOW do you recognize her? I figured you would. :)
She’s the beautiful and talented model/actress most recognized (in the natural hair world) through her print and commercial work for(although not limited to) McDonalds along with her equally beautiful daughter, Yara Shahidi, who is also a natural-haired model/actress and featured in the above clip on Oprah.com called, “Real Mothers and Daughters Talk About Beauty”.
In an industry where natural [Black] hair isn’t accepted as the norm, but more recently seen in print and commercial work, Keri Shahidi always managed to stand out to me. Not only because of her natural hair, but because of her natural beauty. I also don’t know how often it is that you find companies hiring BOTH mother, daughter, AND son (yes, it’s truly a family affair) in marketing campaigns and commercials. I KNOW I’m not the only natural who has noticed her in EVERY one of her commercials, almost gushing over her beautiful chunky twist out/BAA!!
With the encouragement of a fellow Naturalista, I reached out to Keri a few weeks ago and she was sweet and gracious enough to allow me to pick her brain for all your reading pleasure, while on location in Louisiana with her daughter who's currently filming.
NU: Firstly, how long have you been natural? If you haven't been natural most of your life, was being natural encouraged growing up?
Keri: I first went natural when living in the Windy City- Chicago, and couldn't make it from my apartment to the university in one piece. My long, straight hair drove me crazy. Natural was neither encouraged nor discouraged when I was younger. I did love my cornrows and beads, though!
NU: As an actress/model, have you ever encountered difficulty in obtaining roles or jobs because of your hair? Have you encountered individuals wanting to modify your look AFTER getting roles to look more "mainstream"?
Keri: I have absolutely lost jobs because of my natural hair, but I have gained many jobs because of it as well. Natural hair is extremely flexible, so I have not encountered anyone wanting to modify my hair. My hair can look like a conservative bob hair style, a funky afro, an up do, dreads, you name it!
NU: Have you ever felt the need to somewhat conform (going to go-sees or interviews) by wearing straighter hair? If so, why? If not, why not?
Keri: I have never felt the need to conform because I am a Leo! We love to stand apart from the crowd! (Gotta love that answer, although I’m a Leo and SLIGHTLY biased).
NU: With acting and modeling being a family affair, what pearls of wisdom have you shared with Yara(and your son, Sayeed) concerning Hollywood and their love and acceptance of "self"?
Keri: My children have always had "afro pride". My ten year old daughter had her hair blow dried straight for her first big girl hair cut when she was 5. We had to twist her arm for her to let us temporarily straighten her curls. She is a lover of beads, twists, braids and nockie balls! My sons love their hair too (the toddler would prefer that I didn't touch it though!)
Now onto my hair-specific questions. :)
NU: What is your favorite go-to style?
Keri: My favorite go to style right now would be a two strand twist, pin curled and put under a men's fedora....Cute! I also will twist it and then pin the back up so it looks like a stacked bob.
NU: What's your current hair-routine? Favorite products?
Keri: My current hair routine is get it in where I can fit it in! I have three children...need I say more? My favorite products are: Kinky Curly, Aphogee, and Miss Jessies.
NU: Do you use the same products on your daughter's hair? If not, what products do you find work best for her?
Keri: My daughter and I use the same shampoo and conditioner. She primarily sticks with Kinky Curly, because it is organic and leaves her hair in great shape.
NU: For the ladies reading this, both natural and those transitioning from relaxed-to-natural, what advice or words of encouragement do you have to offer?
Keri: In the words of India Arie, "I am not my hair". This is tough to grasp in our culture where our hair is also our crown. In 1997, I was working full time, student teaching in a high school Spanish class, and planning my wedding. The hair on the back of my head fell out from the roots. I was forced to shave my head to a fade style. That moment was humbling for me and I came to terms with me without my "crown". Since then, I have shaved my head three more times.
And there you have it, Naturalistas!
I'd like to publicly thank Keri for taking the time out to answer these questions for my readers. If any of you are interested in reading or learning more about Keri, you can check out her site at www.kerishahidi.com and/or follow her blog commercialmommy.blogspot.com
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
This seems to be a rather recurrent theme in the natural hair community. Or maybe the twitter natural hair community. This can be a rather sticky subject depending on who you talk to, and the hair forums you frequent. But this seems to come up more with newly natural ladies. A very unscientific observation, but many of the ladies that I know who have been natural for more than 4 years generally aren't looking for definition. The focus progresses onto just overall hair health.
I was once one of those ladies. I wanted frizz-free, perfectly curly hair. I wanted uniformity and the least amount of shrinkage. I wanted shine and wanted my coils and corkscrews to go BANG! And I also tried many MANY products early on trying to achieve what I thought was the perfect curl.
Later, I realized that there is no perfect curl. There's MY hair, and there's the image and perception of what that ideal curl looks like. My hair doesn't have uniformity anymore. While I did have two distinct curl patterns before that I managed to blend pretty well, my hair NOW has multiple curl personalities.
What is that you ask?
Well, it involves having tight, cottony sections near my ears that are coarse to the touch. There's the looser, s-loopy sections in the crown that grows long and hangs over the tighter sections. Then you have the corkscrewy sections just below the crown and above the section near the nap of my neck. And lastly, there's the silky-soft loose waves at the nap that straightens easily and gives me that lovely afro-mullet look I seem to have perfected. LOL!
Having that definition or perfect curl at this point is IMPOSSIBLE! LOL! But what I can do is make sure my hair is the healthiest it can be. That to ME is the perfect curl: achieving healthy, natural hair. Fighting the frizz and trying to perfect what is already perfect(for me) is way too time consuming and costly. I just work with what my hair naturally is inclined to do rather than spend a lot time working against it. :)
Monday, May 17, 2010
Corinne is all hair, smile and of course....VOICE.
It was standing room only, but I made sure to get a great spot with my sister on the balcony overlooking the stage. And you know I have a few pics and video to share with you all.
And yes, her hair looked fab! Big hair, don't care! :)
Here are a couple of pics I managed to get w/my crappy point and shoot(I couldn't bring my dslr), and I managed to record a little bit of video of her performance(for "Are You Here"), until security shut me down. Booooo! Hence, the shakiness at the end. But it was enough for me to be satisfied. Well, sorta. :P
Saturday, May 15, 2010
I also left my tassel at home and THEN lost my placement card, so I was rather discombobulated walking around, with professors reassuring me that IT'S OKAY. :) If only they knew the true source of my unease.
Anyway, while standing in line(alphabetically), there was another woman with the same last name as myself. We talked amongst each other and I just had the urge to ask of where her family was from. Ask if they were from North Carolina, as I had discovered my great-grandfather was born there. And wouldn't you know it, the side of the family w/our shared last name(paternally) WAS from North Carolina, and her father actually had participated in some intensive genealogy research. DING DING! That perked me up, as I had begun doing research on my father's side this month.
Could she be a distant relative and could her father possibly hold the keys to missing family information? Only time will tell, but we did exchange numbers to keep in touch.
I guess something good DID come out of this day. ;)
Oh, and I'm sure folks want pics. I may add some as I haven't even checked to see what pics were taken of me, but I WILL say since I DO post about hair over here, I wore twists pulled back. Simple. Hopefully the official grad photo doesn't have me looking too special. :P
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Now, I know all about percentages and composition of the products and the [sometimes slight] variances from other products, but really.....what exactly are you paying for? In many cases, your naivety. As someone who makes stuff from time to time, I definitely understand that raw materials cost. ESPECIALLY in smaller amounts. Plus, time is money. If you have the ability to work with a chemist/manufacturer, it can help mitigate some of the costs, but only if you plan on offering these products to sell. But there are many product lines that REALLY take advantage of their presence (i.e. celebrity-status) in this industry and feel like they're in the position to charge whatever for their products. But what's sad is people buy them with expectations of their hair being transformed into a perfect head of hair; sometimes finding themselves disappointed. A product can't change your hair(unless it's a relaxer, ;)). It helps to MAINTAIN it. It's important to realize this and have realistic expectations of what these products can provide.
This doesn't always happen.
This isn't to begrudge anyone who has become successful. Not at all. Business is business. But I give more kudos to the businesses that understand that their target demographic may not have $60 bucks to splurge on one product that may not work. That's like gas money for a week for some people(A NECESSITY)! And if you offer samples to your customers, EVEN BETTER! I also give props to the companies understanding that if you want to keep your customers, offer quality products at a price-point that doesn't put a strain on their pockets because there is NOTHING reasonable about a product costing around $4 dollars per ounce. You can't rationalize that out of a paper bag. LOL!
So my advice to newly naturalistas or those who've been natural for awhile: Don't feel like you HAVE to use all of the "popularized" products. If you can afford to try them out, more power to you. Give them a try because they may end up being great products for you. But I would first reach out to other naturals to see if you can swap products to minimize how much money you're spending, or ask if you can have samples from the company whose products you're interested in trying. Even larger cosmetic/beauty suppliers such as Sephora give out free samples if you ask. But if you can't, don't forget that there are great products that you can find at your local beauty supply store or drugstore that can do the trick! It's all about learning about what can work for you.
And for those that have established a routine that works...... if it ain't broke, don't go trying to fix it! No need going broke because you couldn't tame that inner PJ! ;)