Thursday, April 29, 2010

“Deep Conditioners” aren’t JUST relegated to colder-month usage

It was barely the 2nd week of April and it was quite balmy in the DC area with highs around 90. With the change in weather generally comes a change in routine. This normally involves lighter products, many of which are more humectant-based since a reasonable amount of humidity allows for my hair to draw on the moisture in the air.

Anyway, with warmer weather comes yard work. Yay? I spent a Monday cutting over 3/4‘s of an acre worth of grass with the sun beaming down on me. Didn’t have a hat big enough to contain the ‘do, so I just let the sun brown me like a turkey. The result of cutting grass in 80+ degree heat and sun? VERY dry-feeling hair(AND skin).

While the sun can be good for us(Vit. D), too much can wreck havoc not only on our skin, but on our hair! Never realized this fully until working in the yard.

Now, there are folks that believe that “deep conditioners” are a myth. I don’t agree, as I know for a fact that all conditioners aren’t created equal. You have to factor in ingredients and their qualities, the overall composition/formulation of each ingredient used (some are highly water-based), which leaves less room for the goodies. Anyway, I wouldn’t necessarily call them deep conditioners, but rather, better QUALITY conditioners utilizing the best ingredients for optimal hair health.

So, if you’re going to be out in the sun a lot this Spring and Summer, invest in a good leave in/moisturizer, conditioner, and deep conditioner. Pay attention to your hair and respond accordingly. Don’t wait until your hair is mad at you to try to take action. Preventative care/action is always best, and less costly in the long-run. :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

A surprise beauty gem from LUSH Cosmetics


I had never used anything from LUSH Cosmetics, although tempted many a time while perusing through Annapolis Mall and while walking through Georgetown(where stores are located). As I'd walk pass their storefront, I'd spy their Honey I Washed The Kids toffee-scented soap made with honey and aloe and I'm ALWAYS compelled to take a huge chunk and sniff it, which I do, but always put it back because I can't rationalize the cost per ounce, which is $7.95 for 3.5 oz(yikes!).

Anyway, I attended a "Passion Party" thrown by a good friend back in March, where each of the attendees were gifted a bag with lovely goodies. One of those goodies included Angels On Bare Skin facial cleanser, which is a kaolin clay-based cleanser made for all skin types. As someone with combination oily and acne prone skin, I was hesitant. I didn't think it would work on me, but it was a freebie and I'm not one to waste freebies.

As you can see from the above picture, it's a cluster of ingredients in like a soft mold where you take a piece, mix with a little water and apply to wet skin. After the first application, I was left with vibrant, soft, and hydrated feeling skin. I was impressed, but time would tell whether this "cleanser" was a keeper.

A month later, and my skin is clearer than it had been in about a year, maybe two, and I'm sad I don't have the moment. Nothing a short trip won't fix. I KNEW it was working when my father asked me today, "What have you been using on your face. It looks good."

My expression.....O_O. He NEVER notices anything like that, so yeah...I was OFFICIALLY convinced today. LOL!

But seriously, it's a great cleanser, albeit a little messy when using. I probably used more than needed, but I tend to be heavy-handed. The one other con is its strong scent. It can seem a bit overbearing, but luckily it doesn't last on your skin.

If you're looking for a more natural alternative for cleansing your face outside of drugstore brands, give it a try. It's not the most inexpensive cleanser at $9.95 for 3.5 ounces, but it lasts at least a month. Having great looking skin is worth the price to me, as I plan on replenishing my stock in the near future. :)

Ingredients: Ground almonds, glycerin, kaolin, water, lavender oil, rose absolute, lavender flowers, limonene, linalool, perfume.

The inner product junkie got the best of me today


Well, does it count that I went to Target with the intent of buying new hair products? Yes? No? No? Okay, no. But I planned on purchasing ONE item and some hair accessories if they had what I wanted...which they didn't. Instead, they had all of these YUMMY looking Shea Moisture and CURLS products I couldn't choose from.

I only brought JUST enough [money] for what I planned on buying, so I went with the CURLS Curl Creme Brule (which smells absolutely DELISH), and Shea Moisture Organic Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie . I mean seriously, how can you NOT buy products that sound like something to eat? LOL! Not only that, but the ingredients are GREAT, and the prices are reasonable considering how much we tend to spend on products not including s/h, which is a HUGE deterrent for [me] buying products online.

I'm itching to try then out NOW, but I'll wait. Or maybe, I'll use a little of one of the two as a moisturizer until I do my twists again. Or maybe I'll just be patient and wait. LOL!

When I try them out, I will update of my results. But I can say both have a nice creamy texture. The CURLS product isn't as thick, but the Shea Moisture Smoothie is thick and creamy. Me likey!

Healthy Hair Challenge 2010

Anyone up for a new challenge that can not only benefit your hair, but your overall health and well-being? Well Vida Starr of Life Star Beauty has started a new hair challenge for 2010 and is encouraging naturals(and non-naturals alike) to participate.

According to Vida Starr, the challenge is set up as stages(as per her blog).

First stage starting May 1:

-Drink 5 bottles of water per day (10 8oz servings)
-Include a serving a vegetables w/every meal (excl. breakfast)
-Snack on fruits and veggies throughout the day

Second stage starting June 1:

-Continue regime from the first stage
-Include a serving of fish(preferably Salmon) a few times a week

Third stage starting July 1:

-Continue regime from previous two stages
-Add 30 mins of cardio at least 4 times a week

If you're interested in participating and documenting your progress, head on over to Life Star Beauty , follow her blog(if you don't already), and join in! Participants will ALSO be entered into a drawing where they can win a natural hair pampering pack from Curls By Sisters Smith!

As for whether I'll join.....we shall see. Routine consistency [as far as food and exercise] is ALWAYS a struggle for me as I get bored with monotony, but the challenge could DEFINITELY be beneficial. I guess it helps that I generally do what's highlighted in this challenge anyway, so it should be simple, right? RIGHT?! lol

Sunday, April 25, 2010

How I LIKE my twists to look

It seems that my last stringy twist out looks better to some than they look to me. Maybe I'm just accustomed to the look of my hair when twisted wet, but no one can convince me that my hair looked good the other day. LOL!

I wanted to show you how I think MY twists should look. I retwisted my hair, using the same products, on wet hair.

There is a difference. More consistency in how the twists look(no stringy/scraggly looking ends), and less frizz(looks like they're supposed to.....freshly twisted hair). They also don't flatten when covered. One of the [other] issues I have with dry twisting is the LACK of plumpness of my twists. The roots may look thick, but when it gets to the ends, they look rather sad. Twists done on wet hair shrink and remain full. I like that.

Anyway, here are pics from yesterday.



And here is an older twist set I like. Again, a BIG difference from the dry twisting. Some techniques just work better for some, and wet twisting works MUCH BETTER on me. :P


Friday, April 23, 2010

Naturally FaF Friday Spotlight: Yara Shahidi

When my hair grows up, I want it to look like hers. ;)

She's the uber talented and lovely young lady featured in ad campaigns for Gap Kids, Ralph Lauren, and Target(to name a few), those McDonald's commercials with her equally beautiful(and natural) mother (and I believe her brother), as well as movies opposite Eddie Murphy and the yet to be released movie, "Unthinkable" with Samuel L. Jackson.

If you've never heard of her, check out Yara's site to find out more.

Pictures are from Yara's facebook and Flickr accounts. © All rights are reserved.




Thursday, April 22, 2010

I'm seeing a haircut in my future

Don't wanna give Fleurzty of Texture Playground ALL of the credit concerning my itch to snip, but I'd be lying if I said seeing her hair didn't contribute just a wee bit. LOL!

I've been having this itch for the last couple of months, and seeing my hair today and my ends(scraggly looking and all), convinced me it's time to let go of a few inches. Although my hair is in pretty good shape, these old ends are LOOKING old, and need to go. I also know I can grow my hair long. I can get to waist-length (stretched). It's doable because it HAS been done, so my need to hang on to length isn't as strong anymore. It's interesting considering I remember getting scissor happy ALL THE TIME in the past, and never seeing my hair grow beyond APL. I would cut it because I liked it at that length, apparently. So, I may cut it slightly above BSL, or whatever length tickles my fancy, or gets rid of the longish afro-mullet thing I have going on with my WnG. Not a good look. LOL!

I think I want the shape to look like how it looks in these pictures (of me) from 2007:

Summer 2007.


I think my hair looks best at or around these lengths. I'll probably cut 3-4 inches off, and do a better job at shaping it, especially around the face. I have two curl types in the front, so my loose-ish sections need to be cut more than the parts that shrink more. I won't be cutting anything for another couple of weeks, though. But once I do it, I'll let you all know. Of course, with pics. :)

Twists on dry hair? A no-go for moi.

I decided to try twisting on dry hair, or at least 95% dry. My hair felt lovely(after using my Broaer conditioner), so I was pretty confident my twists would look as nice as my hair felt.

WRONG!!! I repeat....WRONG!

They look sad. So sad, I've put my hair in a low-bun. I NEVER wear low-buns or ANY buns on freshly twisted hair. I let them free, but it looked THAT BAD. The only good thing is that it looks decent in a bun, but my twist out will look pathetic should I even attempt to wear one. I may just cowash with my twists in just to give them life again before even considering wearing a twist out.

So, what have I learned?

1. Unless I'm doing fat twists, I cannot do [my regular-sized] twists on dry hair.

2. My twists look MUCH BETTER when twisted on wet/damp hair. Product penetrated better and my twists look like, you know...I actually spent the last hour and a half twisting them. lol

3. I know that if I have a crappy hair day, the bun will never let me down.

4. No more dry twists attempts in the middle of the week. ;)

ETA: "Proof" of crappy twists, since no one believes me. :P Try to keep your *side-eyes* at a minimum. LMAO!

Frizzy/fuzzy crown

Unwanted asymmetrical-ness. lol

Scraggly-looking ends lacking plumpness

Product Review: Broaer b2 Intensive Conditioner


According to the company, the product is an “Intense Conditioning formula that soothes and restores hair’s texture. This conditioner formula provides an intensive treatment for dry and damaged hair. It [repairs] the damage and restores the hair’s strength and flexibility. It hydrates intensively on your hair, restoring shine and flexibility. Leaving your hair smooth and shiny, without any residue. Ideal for color treated hair."

pH 4.5-5.5

First off, no product repairs damage. Hair cannot be repaired as it is not regenerative like skin. Once damaged, it’s damaged. Period. But the conditioner probably helps to smooth the cuticle by possibly filling in damaged spots, making the hair easier to "manage". This is also a protein and silicone-free product.

Ingredients: Aqua(water), cetearyl alcohol*, ceteareth-20, dipalmitoyethyl hydroxymethylmonium methosulfate*, dicetyldimonium chloride*, parfum (fragrance), centrimonium chloride*, propylene glycol*, hydroxyethycellulose*, polyquaternium-6*, methylchloroisothiazoline, methylisothiazoline, alpha-isomethy lonone, benzyl salicylate, citronellol, hexy cinnamal, hydroxyisohexyl-3-cyclohexene, carboxaldehyde, limonene, linalool.

Cetearyl alcohol- Vegetable source fatty alcohol derived from natural oils and fats (cetyl and stearyl alcohol) used to thicken and stabilize formulations. Cetearyl Alcohol imparts an emollient feel to the skin and hair.

Dipalmitoyethyl hydroxymethylmonium methosulfate -Conditioning agent derived from palm oil and coconut oil.

Dicetyldimonium chloride- Conditioning ingredient used to provide smoothness and provide slip for easier detangling.

Centrimonium chloride- Conditioning agent that provides improved detangling, like with the Dicetyldimonium chloride.

Propylene glycol- A humectant and emulsifier for hair and skin care products.

Hydroxyethycellulose- A non-ionic, water soluble polymer used as a thickening agent for aqueous cosmetic and personal care formulations.

- A cationic polymer that performs well in hair and skin applications, and imparts good moisturizing and conditioning effects.

And most of the weirdly-spelled words near the end are fragrance components, even though it also contains “parfum”.

My Review: I think I've found a new favorite conditioner. That is, until I can’t find it cheap anymore, or they change the formula.

It's REALLY creamy, and not in a super-thick kind of way. Just creamy. Not much was needed and it has good slip. I left it in for an hour or two, and unlike some [rinse out] conditioners that feel thin after leaving it on, my hair still felt "coated" and not in a bad way. My hair felt soft and like the conditioner penetrated my strands. After rinsing, I was still left with soft hair.

It also left a very pleasant scent on my hair. At first, it seemed strong when I applied it in the shower, but it's not heavy once rinsed out. I noticed that my shower cap still smells like it. I was sniffing around trying to figure out what smelled so nice, and it was THAT. LOL! Also, 5 days after using it, my hair still felt moisturized/conditioned and still smelled lovely. :)

A great buy at $7.99 for 35.83 oz.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I LOVE this woman!

No, I'm not a stan but I AM an admirer. :)

I've been compared to her in terms of style and look. I consider that a HUGE compliment although I don't have access to stylists OR designers, nor am I the daughter of the FABULOUS Miss Ross, whom I was also likened to as a child when I'd walk around with my big, fluffy, hanging 'fro. :)

Not only is she stylish, but she's smart and witty. I love a funny chica w/ a brain to match. I also love her non-conventional beauty. She doesn't fit within the "standard", and that's okay. I can relate to that.

*Pics are from the August 2009 issue of French Vogue (click for larger view)



Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New go-to style: Partial Updo

After watching CurlyChronicles', "Partial Updo-How to" on youtube, I decided to give it a try on my twist out some time ago. What's sad is it's SO simple, I'm ashamed I never thought to attempt it myself until AFTER viewing her vid. I'm styling challenged, so that's my excuse at the moment. Better late than never, right?

Here's her video, and my attempt is pictured below (click for larger view).



Emollients vs. Moisturizers…What’s the difference?

Every day, I tend to see the two being used interchangeably. When reading over routines, I notice some naturals stating that they “moisturize” using an array of butters and oils. Many of these same naturals later discuss concerns over dryness issues.

Know why?

Because oils and butters are NOT moisturizers(or humectants). Oils and butters are considered emollients. They impart softness to the hair and can help in sealing in moisture. On the contrary, they can also block them out if there is buildup.

Let me give an example.

Think about when you rub oil or butter(not butter butter, but natural butters…lol) on your arm. If you spray water on it, you’ll notice that the water droplets do not penetrate because the oil has created a protective barrier on the skin. Eventually, the skin soaks it up but with the hair, it can only absorb so much. What it SHOULD absorb are nourishing moisturizers that keep the hair pliable, elastic, and healthy.

If you’re going to use oils and butters, your routine should also include moisturizers that keep the hair as healthy as possible. This can be in the form of leave in conditioners that are water/moisturizer/humectant based. Of course, humectant usage is reliant upon the current condition of your hair and locale(highly porous hair, high humidity and humectants don’t work well together).

Below are some leave ins(or rinse out conditioners used as leave ins) that have given me some of the most consistent results:

*Giovanni Smooth as Silk Conditioner (CG friendly)

Elucence Moisture Balancing Conditioner (CG friendly)

Paul Mitchell, The Conditioner (CG friendly, w/water soluble and peg-modified silicones)

Cantu Shea Butter Leave in (Not CG; includes silicones that would require an ionic surfactant)

*rinse out conditioners

In addition to leave ins, I layer a good moisturizer overtop; sealing my ends with an oil blend. Over the years, what works and doesn’t work has changed just as often as the seasons. The warmer the weather, the less product I generally have to use, as I can mostly get away with just using a leave in when wearing a wash n go. But when I wear my twists (which is about 90% of the time), I like using the following products (not all at once, lol):

Darcy’s Botanicals Avocado and Wild Plum Twisting Cream (CG friendly)

Elasta QP Olive Oil & Mango Butter Moisturizer (the new version is actually better than the older one. Consists of silicones that can be removed with an ionic surfactant)

Afroveda Curl Define (formally called “Curly Custard” and also CG friendly)

As you can see, my list is pretty small. After spending the last 7 years, or almost 7 years experimenting with products, I’ve tried A LOT. Many of them I considered "staples" (that I likely can't even name anymore, lol), some were more expensive than others, and some were more economical. While many of them are still great products that I wouldn’t hesitant to use again, overall cost effectiveness keeps me using the above products; all of which I can stretch to at least around 3 months of usage PER bottle/container. Sometimes I can get more usage depending on how often I use them. I JUST finished off my 16 oz container of the Curl Define that I’ve had since July. It was mostly used it as a daily twist moisturizer.

So all of this to say that if you want healthy hair, don’t just use oils and butters. Make sure there’s a good balance of moisture and sealants/emollients.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Graduation hair.....Any ideas??

The last time I participated in a graduation ceremony it was outdoors, near 100 degrees, and it was the year that cicadas decided to annoy the HELL outta me! Hard to stay cool and composed while batting big a** bugs out of your face with the 100 degree sun bearing down on you in your hot, black cap and gown. Did I mention it was humid too?

I straightened my hair that year. Waste of time. I left before the ceremony was over because it was THAT hot, and when I got home, washed my hair again and wore my hair curly. I also was able to display my two-toned forehead; the wonderful parting gift left as a result from the sun beaming on my head and cap. No, you don't want to see pics of it. I think it took two months for my forehead to even out! LOL!

This ceremony(for my 2nd Master's), will be held INSIDE. Wohoo! *does happy dance* So, I can try something somewhat creative. Well, creative enough to fit under my cap, which I hope fits since I had to measure my head myself.

Maybe a twist-out low bun?

Maybe I can straighten/curl it for a few days?

Still undecided.

But I know a WnG is OUT of the question. Cap wouldn't fit!

Wore "The Lioness" out for the weekend.

Yes, my hair has a name: The Lioness. I AM a Leo, so it's befitting...don't you think? ;)

And wouldn't you know that the weather was being a pain in the patootie! Went from being sunny and pleasant on Friday, to being down-right blistery Saturday AND Sunday. ESPECIALLY since I was in Shenandoah County, Va. That's up near mountains and farmland for those unfamiliar, so it was even MORE blistery. So The Lioness was somewhat confined to an elastic band. Hair took FOREVER to dry, which left me feeling rather icky, until I let her down once inside.

BUT...the GOOD thing is that my hair is uber soft. Even now. It's light and fluffy too. Not the best looking WnG, but it's still kinda funky in its afro-mulletness. Don't act like y'all don't know what I'm talking about. LOL!

I think it's time for a trim, though. I may even straighten it for a week or so before it gets humid again. We shall see. It was nice setting her free, even if the weather wasn't necessarily being cooperative.

He loves you, but.....


Does he love your hair?

I’ve been fortunate throughout the years in that every guy I’ve seriously dated since going natural loved my hair. When I went natural, my then SO was accustomed to my straight hair, since that’s how he met me. And he was also used to playing in my hair, so to go from straight to curly required a little adjustment. Plus the no touching rule was tough on him! Mess with the fro and it was go time! LOL! Or I’d shake my head like my rabbit shook his ears. He always got a GOOD laugh out of that. But even though he couldn’t run his fingers through it, he loved me and supported anything that I did.

I haven’t had to deal with the non-approval from any SO’s OR family. It’s always interesting to me when I read about other natural’s struggles with acceptance from those that they love. I don’t know how I would feel if my SO turned his nose up in disgust or if he ever told me how much better I’d look if my hair was straight.

My hair isn’t naturally straight. Deal with it.

I’m sure it’s even MORE difficult if you’re married to this person. I’m a pleaser and of course I’d want the guy I’m in love with to love everything about me. It would hurt to hear disparaging comments about my hair. In fact, if I was the old me (wanting to please AND lacking in self-esteem), I’d probably go back to being relaxed. Sometimes when you get "beaten" down emotionally/psychologically by those whose opinion you value, you crack and revert under pressure. Hell, some crack under general pressure!

But luckily I’m not that person anymore.

You have to love ALL of me, not some of me, and a part of me is my hair. You can like the look of straight hair, but to hate something natural on the woman you supposedly love is effed up!

I will say that many of these guys and family members were ALL influenced by the social conditioning that continues being perpetuated by the straight=good and kinky=bad mentality. It’s not something that will change overnight. I think if he sees how much YOU love your hair and yourself, he’ll have no choice but to love all of you too. It’s like that song you hear all of the time. You may hate it in the beginning, but it grows on you after awhile. It’ll grow on him. But if not, so what! LOL! At the end of the day, you have to be happy with the person you are and the person you’re becoming. Nothing else matters. :)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What a difference time makes

I remember when I cut the last of my relaxed ends off. It was in August of ‘03 and I was visiting family in Minnesota. I had been cutting bit by bit over those last two years and decided I was ready to cut the remainder off. And when I did, it was freeing. I had the cutest coils and curls. Perfectly symmetrical, sproingy (yes, I know that’s not a word, lol), and mine. THEN I decided to mess with the formula. *smh* That included dyeing my hair with not only dyes that deposited, but dyes that lifted (bleached) my hair. Did I mention they were BOXED color? The results? Looser, fragile curls.

Judge for yourself my hair transformation from wearing dyed locs in 2005 to being boxed-color free 2010(click on the thumbnails for larger pics).

Winter 2005

Spring 2006

Winter 2007
Winter 2007

Spring 2008
Spring 2008

Late Summer 2009 (sorry for the sucky pic, lol)
Late Summer 2009

Spring 2010

If you haven’t noticed, the longer (and healthier) my hair gets, the more shrinkage I have (and definition).

Healthy hair= more shrinkage.

I don’t do WnG’s (wash and gos) very often anymore, hence the semi crappy recent pics. Keeping the hair in protective styles has allowed me to grow my hair from what’s pictured below on the left (at APL taken in Nov. ‘08) to what's pictured on the right (brushing WL in Sept. 09) in less than one year.


Who says our hair can’t grow. :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Notre Dame's Valedictorian is Black......AND NATURAL!

Now, her being natural isn't the most important thing to discuss. Nor is her being Black. Her becoming valedictorian is a MAJOR academic accomplishment, so a kudos and congratulations are in order for her hard work AND diligence.

But one can't gloss over her lovely twists and twist-out. :)

Although, I'd love for it to be seen as "normal" when people of color excel at institutions of higher learning, regardless of whether it's a predominately White university. It shouldn't be newsworthy, but I hope it serves to inspire and encourage the youth from her hometown of Gary, Indiana, and those spread across the country.



What is being "Natural"?


I know you’ve either witnessed or partaken in the questioning and/or argument over what constitutes being a “Natural”. The “how natural you REALLY gotta be before you can attach the label saying you’re such, and if you don’t meet the nappy requirements by those who’ve appointed themselves the all knowing naturals, you’re exiled,” argument. LOL!

I’m being dramatic, but it really gets silly after awhile. Almost as bad as the good hair/bad hair mentality, where if your hair is a certain way, it’s “good” and anything outside of that is “bad”.

Let me break it down for ya. *steps onto soapbox*

If we use commercially produced products with ANY man-made/laboratory created ingredients, technically, we’re not “Natural” because there’s nothing natural about the synthetics we’re using.

But then you might say, “Well, those products may not change the texture/structure of your hair, so your hair is still natural.”

I say, “Why are we still trying to categorize what’s considered natural?”

So, if you color your hair and it doesn’t change your texture, can you still consider yourself natural? It’s not your natural color, right? Still contains synthetic ingredients being deposited into your hair. What’s “natural” about that?


My point isn’t to further fuel the debate. It’s merely to show how utterly ridiculous it can become. The incessant NEED to validate or invalidate what is or isn’t becomes redundant after awhile, and rather counterproductive and separatist.

Bottom line is this: Stop focusing so much on what OTHER people label themselves. Being natural is interpreted differently for different people. It’s not right or wrong, IMO. It’s all about perspective and perception. Yes, it can be deceptive (to some) if someone does a bunch of things to their hair that changes its natural appearance, but that’s not your burden to bear. And yes, it can be misleading to those who may use those individuals as inspirations. But that’s when self-love and acceptance eventually comes into play, and regardless of what’s used (on their hair or not), that person will eventually (hopefully) come to love everything about themselves. Including what grows out of their scalp.

To me, going against societal conditioning/norms is far more important and revolutionary than anything. Who would’ve thought being YOU and embracing yourself as you were made would be considered revolutionary? Maybe I’m just being a total optimist, but anyone that can go from relaxing their hair all of their lives to wanting/learning to embrace their kinks is a GOOD THING. You can’t change years of brainwashing and conditioning overnight. You can’t expect to have folks all of sudden “loving” the hair they were born with when they’re accustomed to living the lye. Encourage our sisters; don’t tear them down because they may not have experienced that natural hair epiphany that YOU HAVE. Everyone’s journey is different. Everyone’s perceptions and goals are different. Everyone’s MOTIVATIONS for going natural are going to be different. The ultimate goal should be in helping each other achieve the healthiest hair possible, not getting involved in natural hair hierarchies and semantics!

*steps off soapbox* ;)

The Wonderful Marketing of Relaxed Hair Care Products

Now, I have nothing against anyone who relaxes. To each her own. I’d never cast stones when I did it for 7 years. But what I just CAN NOT STAND is when companies create marketing campaigns that make it seem as if you can’t be pretty /beautiful/attractive unless you’re conforming.

Case in point: Motion’s new commercial

I love that they’re showing a beautiful brown girl. I love that she’s working that sidewalk like a catwalk; wearing her confidence like the clothes on her back. But why does she only get attention because of her straight hair? Why does it appear that she's MORE confident because of her straight hair? And why is she ONLY “getting her pretty” because she has relaxed hair? Never mind the fact that they’re saying it CONDITIONS your hair. On what planet is a caustic chemical CONDITIONING? HA! Again, I say HA! The actual conditioner they give in the box MAY condition, but ummm....I can guarantee it's not the relaxer doing that.

Anyway, I’m gonna post what I tweeted concerning this commercial yesterday:

Dear Motions, showing pretty brown girl walking w/ flow-y hair saying, "Get your pretty." Go suck it. You can get pretty w/natural hair too.

Nuff said.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Naturally FaF "Ferosh and Fab"

I LOVE dragalicious terminology. LOL! Don't judge me. *wink*

I ALSO love when I stumble across pictures of beautiful women confidently rocking their natural ‘dos. Here’s today’s FaF, Lynette McKinney

This picture is the property of © Adrian Photography. All rights are reserved.


Is your hair being temperamental?


Have products that no longer do the job? Does it have you feeling like the guy pictured? Hopefully not. :)

The underlying issue(s) could involve the products you’re using, or it could very well be your hair.

I’ve been natural a while now, but the wonders of hair science in totality is never-ending. It amazes me how when I was relaxed, I never paid attention to ingredients, claims by companies, and whether the products really DID anything for my hair in terms of helping maintaining its health. How I never understood how my hair and the products I used fit together or rather, DIDN’T fit together, because quite frankly when it’s relaxed, you just DON’T think about these things (generally speaking). We just wanted hair that was straight and shiny.

But I digress.

Anyway, let’s discuss potential issues (and solutions):

  • What’s your routine? You can find many culprits hidden in your routine. If you are practicing a No-Poo or Low-Poo routine, you MUST make sure you’re using products that will NOT buildup on your hair, as well as having a good understanding of what this routine entails. No bandwagon jumping BEFORE doing the research! This includes eliminating (and/or limiting) products w/ non peg-modified and water insoluble silicones, mineral oil, and petrolatum (petroleum). Also, while many butters and oils are great for the hair, they’re generally NOT water soluble (unless noted). While they’re natural [emollients], they potentially have the propensity to build up over time if not removed.
Solution: If you notice the hair feeling weighed down, not taking products well(not penetrating strands), or notice your hair feeling a wee bit dry, try using a gentle shampoo to give yourself a clean slate. If you've used products that are water insoluble, you'll need to clarify. Doing a ACV rinse does not count(this only removes mineral deposits and normalizes the pH of the hair, it doesn't remove product buildup). Follow with a good moisturizing conditioner (I recommend one specifically for deep treatments w/heat), and keep styling products to a minimum. You shouldn’t have to use many products to give you the results you seek. Many may not agree with me, but I believe that if some products were really THAT great, you wouldn’t have to layer two or three others over top of them. ;) Sometimes less is more.

  • Hair porosity This can have a HUGE impact on the effectiveness of the products you’re using. Porosity is a, “…term used in the science of hair care to describe how easily water and other matter can diffuse back and forth through the cuticle layer and into or out of the cortex” (Becker, 2009). Porosity involves the hair's ability to maintain moisture and whether your hair has low, normal, and high porosity can determine what types of products can work best for you. Normal porosity has a good moisture balance and can generally handle manipulation better, but it can still become damaged. This type of porosity doesn't need a lot of protein, so usage should be moderated. When your hair has high porosity, the hair is capable of absorbing high amounts of water. While this may sound ideal, high porosity hair is the result of damage, whether from chemical processes, mistreatment, or environmental factors, (sun, cold, pollution, hard water, etc.). The lower the porosity, the more difficult it is for water or products to penetrate. This translates into higher instances of product buildup, which can cause the hair to become dry because of lack of moisture, or because of protein accumulating on the strands from deep treatments (Becker, 2009).

Solutions: For high porosity hair, use products that are chock full of moisturizers and emollients and if you live in a high heat/humidity region, use anti-humectants because:

Raised/rough cuticles + humidity+ humectants = GUARANTEED hair disaster.

For low porosity hair, deep treat with heat. Heat allows the cuticles to open and allows the product(s) to penetrate the strands more effectively.

  • What’s going on in the INSIDE? Hormonal changes, stress, health-related issues, etc. can take a toll on your hair. Even medications can take you from having healthy hair, to having hair that needs extra TLC. I’m not qualified in giving advice concerning medications or health issues/concerns, but if you feel that the medications you’re taking are having an adverse affect on your health and/or hair, seek the guidance of your doctor and/or a dermatologist to get a proper diagnosis.

Solution: (see above) - What I can recommend that is within my advising parameters is doing moisturizing deep treatments and using moisturizing products. If you’re also experiencing breakage, a low-manipulation routine is ideal. Protective styling can be a great option.

All of this is to say that there is always a cause, effect and solution, and you can figure out what’s wrong and make the necessary adjustments to your routine (unless it’s a medical issue). I know how frustrating it can be when your hair is a funk. It tends to carry over into everything else, right? But let me say that if your hair is highly damaged, no product can remedy that. Only time (optimal health and maintenance), and growth (resulting in the removal damaged hair) can do that.

The best advice I can give ultimately is to pay attention to what you’re using and what you're doing to your hair. It may seem like more work as a natural, but honestly, I think it may appear that way because we’re making concerted efforts in being knowledgeable about what we’re using on our bodies. That can never be that bad of a thing, can it?

I’ve also learned that it becomes easier when you know what works for you. I’m beyond the product junkie phase right now, although I DO love trying out new products from fabulous vendors. But I’m definitely a believer in K.I.S.S. (keep it simple silly). Yes, I switched out words. I have no plans on referring to myself or others as “stupid”. LOL! Anyway, when you know what works, you spend less time AND money on your hair. Yes, you heard correctly. More money in your pockets to buy those pair of shoes you’ve been eying, or you could be responsible and pay a bill or something. :)


Becker, T.M. (2009, August 3). CurlChemist: porosity and curly hair. Posted at

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Another Henna Experiment

It had been about 6 months, maybe 7, since I’d done a henna treatment. The reasons? It’s messy as hell AND because my amla supply was depleted. *sad face* I also didn’t want my texture to loosen as that can be one of the “side-effects” of frequent henna usage. Also, my finances didn’t(and don’t) allow me to splurge on amla, which helps to minimize texture loosening and with facilitating dye release. But then I had an idea.

*light bulb flashing*

I have a WHOLE BUNCH of powdered herbs that I purchased last summer that actually have reported benefits for the hair. So…..why not incorporate the powdered herbs to my mix? Time to play kitchen/bathroom chemist again. LOL!

The plan:

1. Jamila Henna (Lawsonia Inermis, mixed with another non-boxed henna)- We already know the purpose of henna, right?

2. Cassia (Cassia Obovata, Cassia Obvata)- Conditions hair in a manner similar to that of henna, providing body, aiding in detangling, scalp conditioning, and provides shine/sheen to hair.

3. Burdock Root (Arctium Lappa)-Contains mucilage and starches that soothes irritated skin and membranes and is one of the most effective herbs for promoting hair growth and reducing the amount of hair shed.

4. Marshmallow Root (Althaea Officinalis aka Gulkhairo)- Soothes both the skin and scalp. Used alone(or with other ingredients), it provides excellent relief from skin and scalp irritation while leaving hair soft and shiny.

Sounds decadent, right? Yes, it does. Now, IS it as decadent as it sounds?

*drum roll please*


So, I applied one box of Jamila henna, a couple of tablespoons of another henna, five big spoonfuls of cassia, and maybe four of marshmallow root and burdock root. No, I didn’t take exact measurements. Who does that anyway? :P I also used green tea for my acidic liquid(although it likely wasn’t needed, but I like it anyway), and I finished it off with some sweet almond oil.


The mixture looked like chocolate pudding. You’ll notice in subsequent postings that I liken EVERYTHING to food. Just a forewarning. :)


I experienced instant dye release and began applying the mixture to my hair. Since my hair was already sectioned off from a previous twist out, it was easy to apply. What I noticed with this mixture that I hadn’t experienced in previous henna treatments was how much slip I had. It literally glided onto my hair. It was smooth, and there was minimal splash. I think the marshmallow root had something to do with the slippage, as I remember reading that it provides a detangling benefit when combined with hot(semi-hot) water. I’ll have to research that a bit more before saying that definitively.

I applied the henna mix at around 9:30 pm (twisting up my hair to keep my sections intact), and kept the mixture on throughout the night and into the following afternoon/early evening. After 19 hours of being a human bobble-head, I began the task of removing a pounds worth of “dirt” out of my hair. LOL!

To prevent clogging up my tub, I filled up a bucket of warm water and dunked my head, swishing around for a few minutes. After getting the majority of everything out, I THEN rinsed my hair out in my tub and begin cowashing to remove all the remnants of powered herbs. I don’t always get every single, minute piece out, but I never have so much where I pulling it out days after.

After rinsing, I DT’d for as long as I could tolerate. Since Elasta QP changed the formula of my beloved DPR-11, (*shakes fist in anger*) I’m either settling with the reformulated version which for all intents and purposes SUCKS, or Yes to Carrots Hair and Scalp Conditioner.

I rinsed it out and proceeded with my normal weekly routine, which involves twists and a subsequent twist out(later in the week). I used my trusty Giovanni Smooth as Silk conditioner as a cowash and leave in, deep treated with Yes to Carrots Hair and Scalp Conditioner, and styled with Elasta QP Olive Oil & Mango Butter Moisturizer for my twists.

The proceeding day, I noticed that my hair was pretty shiny. There was a bit more hang post-henna, but no noticeable elongation (which wasn’t a goal anyway). I also had minimal shedding. That’s always a good thing, but I won’t say the henna necessarily contributed to that. I’d have to get back into a more consistent routine before making that claim, as I don’t do hennas enough for that.

So all in all, I’m liking the results. I’m loving the color tint, and LOVING the fact that these herbs help clear up my scalp. No buildup and no dry scalp. WOHOO! If I would’ve had my alma, it would’ve been even better! Ayurvedic herbs ROCK!


Yes....I've FINALLY created a blog. :)

Well, not that this is my first, but it is my first that is focused on natural hair. Wohoo! :)

Anyway, so I've finally decided to contribute my two or three cents out there concerning natural hair. While there are many knowledgeable ladies in the blog sphere who've helped not only myself, but MANY others along the way, there's always room for one more as I know that I'm constantly learning/discovering/growing every single day.

I'm a lover of natural hair (obviously) and natural things in general, and while I had a temporary lapse in judgment(and sanity) between the ages of 14-21(I was a youngin....don't be too hard on me), I have almost 22 years of being natural under my belt. So hopefully you'll find whatever information I provide helpful in some capacity. And if it doesn't, I hope that I at least keep you somewhat entertained. I've been told I'm quite funny. But then again, they could've been lying to make me feel special. *ponders*

But back on topic.....while my focus will be on natural hair and hair care in general, I can be pretty random. Not on purpose, though. I just can't help having a non-linear brain. ;) So don't be TOO surprised if I talk about literally whatever is on my mind, be it fashion-related or just life-related. At any rate, I hope you enjoy the blog......and enjoy the ride!