Sunday, August 30, 2009

At ease solider

At one point or another, do you remember a time where you experienced dis-ease with your hair? Do you remember why? What have you done at this cross roads?

I had such an experience recently. Last weekend, I tried a different style (pics below) and I wasn’t really feelin’ it at first. I just wasn’t used to the look on me. After the time invested in styling, I wasn’t ready to take the style down so I let it be. My husband complimented my new do but I still felt some apprehension about wearing it out in public. I needed to run some errands so I just sucked up my insecurities and rolled out. From time to time, I would think about what my hair looked like with a bit of uneasiness but I began to feel myself getting over it. “This is silly” I kept saying to myself. In my travels, I didn’t notice anyone gawking or starting at my strangely – and do you know what? – I really didn’t care!

With each passing day, I rocked my do with more and more confidence and began to love the way it looked. Now, I’m looking forward to an awesome twistout I can wear for a few days after I take the twists down :-). I am grateful that I decided against taking my style down and getting an opportunity to be liberated.

I just wanted to share with my readers the struggles that I sometimes go through on my journey. For me, I was worried about what others thought. . . What makes us put so much stock in what other people think anyway? I hope this little tale helps you realize that you’re not alone and that the way we choose to wear our hair can be one more inhibition CONQUERED!

Thanks for reading. Be blessed!


Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday's Formula: Detangler and Gel

I’ve come across these two simple recipes other places but recently scoped them out here. This site has tons of other appealing concoctions and great information so head on over and check them out.

Natural Gel Recipe for Hair

¾ cup water
1 tablespoon flax seed

Combine the water and flax seeds in a small pan, and bring to a boil. Simmer 15 minutes. Will start to thicken slightly. Strain out as many seeds as you can. Store in Fridge.

Natural Detangler Recipe for Hair

8 oz. distilled water
1 tsp. aloe vera gel
2 drops glycerin
15 drops Grapefruit seed Extract preservative

Combine all ingredients in a bottle. Shake well before each use

To Use: Apply a small amount to damp hair and work thru with fingers.

Thanks for reading. Be blessed!


* Other recipes can be found in the "hair recipe" category to the right

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Study Hall: Information overload

Since I did a post on Ayurvedic hair care on Sunday, I thought I would expand a bit on one of the practices I use in my hair regimen. Over the weekend, I hennaed my hair for the 4th time since going natural. The first 2 times, I used an acidic liquid. The last 2 times, I replaced the acidic liquid with amla powder.

Henna (lawsonia inermis) is a plant and the leaves are harvested, dried, and powdered. Lawsone is a molecule found in henna leaves that bonds with protein. Lawsone content produces a red-orange dye. Henna has been used to dye skin, hair, fingernails, leather, silk and wool. Natural, pure henna only comes in ONE color which stains a rich red-brown when mixed with a mildly acidic liquid.

Henna is said to be beneficial to hair in many ways. It boasts to condition hair, color gray hair, thicken hair and give it a glossy sheen. Others have used henna to cure dandruff. Some have experienced a loosening effect with their curl pattern after using henna.

As far as my personal results from henna. . . I can’t say that I have noticed much difference in the appearance of my hair. I could care less about the color deposit but I was hoping to achieve fuller, shinier hair. I expected to notice some difference by the 4th application but I still can’t tell any (of course, I haven’t been taking comparison pics either). I would like to continue monthly henna treatments through the spring (in hopes that it is providing conditioning to my hair) but if I still don’t notice much difference, then I may take it out of my regimen.

Before you make the decision to do henna (or any hair related) treatments, I advise you to thoroughly research it and make sure it’s for you. These sites provide more information for anyone considering henna.

Henna For Hair

CurlyNikki (various posts on henna)

The Natural Haven (detailed answers to many questions that perplex the natural hair community)

Thanks for reading. Be blessed!


*You can click on the “study hall” label in the right-hand column to read any posts you have missed

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

15 minutes of fame :-)

Check me out on ChocolateOrchid!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ayurvedic hair care

I have been wanting to do a post on Ayurvedic hair care for some time now. Trouble was, I couldn’t locate a source(s) that spelled out a straight forward approach to it. After much web surfing, here is my effort to offer the understanding I acquired on this matter.

Ayurveda (which means “Science of Life”) is an intricate system of traditional medicine native to India. It is a complete approach to health care designed to promote a lifestyle rather than an occasional treatment. Ayurveda maintains the art of living in harmony with nature by restoring balance to the individual, resulting in self-healing, good health and longevity. Mind, body and spirit need to be addressed both individually and in unison to ensure overall health.

According to ayurveda, the five fundamental elements that make up the universe – space, air, fire, water and earth – also make up the human physiology. Your mind and body type is called your dosha. Each of the three doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha – are a combination of two elements. Vata dosha is made up of space and air. Pitta dosha is a combination of fire and water. Kapha dosha is made up of water and earth. We each have all three of the dosha in our physiology, just in different proportions, so your dosha is unique and personal; it is like your fingerprint.

Ayurvedic approach to hair care
In Ayurveda, hair is considered to be a by-product of bone formation. The tissue responsible for building bones is also responsible for the growth of hair. There are three Ayurvedic hair types – Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Vata hair tends to be thin, dry, frizzy and prone to split ends. Pitta hair is fine and prone to premature thinning or graying. Kapha hair is usually very thick and oily.

For specific treatment of the hair, a variety of herbs are used in cleansing, conditioning and even hair coloring. Regular scalp massages done with infused oils are promoted, as well as overnight oil conditioning. Refrain from brushing hair when it is wet and it is preferred that you allow hair to air dry.

So in a nutshell, take the very best care of your hair by being gentle and nourishing it (and you) from the inside out. I could not find where the Ayurvedic approach is outlined in a neat little instruction guide for hair regimens. I hope this information will be helpful to someone.

Thanks for reading. Be blessed!


Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday's Formula: Beer rinses

Although some of us love to drink this beverage, beer is known to be a hair conditioner as well. Beer boosts to provide shiny, softer, thicker hair. There are claims that it can rebuild damaged hair and even lighten it.

I found the following recipe in a book entitled Recipes for Natural Beauty by Katie Spiers.

Rosemary and Beer Tonic
These two ingredients are reputed to stimulate the hair shaft and promote growth.

2 drops rosemary essential oil
1 bottle strong ale or stout
1 drop tangerine essential oil (optional)

To make:
Mix the rosemary oil into the ale and leave for at least 24 hours. The beer itself contains alcohol, which is a natural preservative, so this recipe is very simple. If you wish to enhance the fragrance, add a drop of tangerine essential oil (not orange – this could color the hair).

To use:
Use before the final rinse after washing your hair. Beer is a traditional rinse for shiny hair.

There are also more beer rinse recipes found here that are definitely worth checking out. I think I’ll start my weekend off with a six pack. . . what about you???

Thanks for reading. Be blessed!


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Study Hall: Book Club

This week’s Study Hall will focus on the “Book Club” feature. I will have more upcoming books to put in the spotlight since I will be making a trip to the library soon to check out a ton of books involving hair care. To continue my glimpse into maintaining hair for our little one’s, I wanted to share 3 books I have previously read that I feel deserve mention.

It’s All Good Hair: The Guide to Styling and Grooming Black Children’s Hair by Michele N-K Collison

Summary: What are you going to do with your children's hair? Combing your daughter's hair is giving you a headache and now your son is asking you for cornrows. Relax. Finally, there's a lifeline for those who are desperately seeking help in styling their Black children's hair. Learn the tricks and techniques for today's most popular hairstyles with the easy-to-follow steps found in It's All Good Hair. It features hair-care and styling tips from a variety of experts, and you'll learn all the secrets to braiding, relaxing, and locking, as well as discover many other creative styling ideas. Say good-bye to those disastrous attempts at doing it alone. Here's the support you need to help your children look good and feel their very best.

Kinki Kreations: A Parent’s Guide to Natural Black Hair Care for Kids by Jena Rene Williams

Summary: For parents, the ultimate styling manual for African American children with wavy, curly, and kinky hair, from an award-winning stylist to the stars who lives by the motto “Healthy care for natural hair!” Even with her renowned styling talents, Jena Renee Williams found herself put to the test when a sad little girl and her mother came into her salon one day. The girl’s hair was limp, nearly lifeless, and she had nasty burns on her scalp. After calling on her mental and spiritual reserves, Williams patiently worked on the girl’s hair, ultimately giving her Senegalese twists. Both mother and daughter were delighted, and their happiness over the new style inspired Williams to write a guide that would show parents how black children can celebrate their natural hair, helping them to avoid the potential damage caused by relaxers and develop self-love at an early age. Kinki Kreationsoffers step-by-step, easy-to-follow instructions for styles that can be created in less than fifteen minutes. This innovative handbook reveals expert techniques for crowning little heads with afros, braids, cornrows, twists, and a variety of other all-natural styles. Tips for proper shampooing, caring for newborns’ hair, and finding the right salon are included too. Best of all,Kinki Kreationsshowcases Williams’s work in dozens of adorable, helpful photographs. A styling book with both sheen and substance,Kinki Kreationsgives the world a sparkling new key to self-esteem and authentic beauty.

Wavy, Curly, Kinky: The African American Child’s Hair Care Guide by Deborah R. Lilly

Summary: Your hands-on guide to the best care for your child's hairNow taking care of your child's hair can be fun, easy, and trouble-free! In Wavy, Curly, Kinky, renowned stylist Deborah Lilly shows parents the best ways to style and maintain African American boys' and girls' hair from infancy to the preteen years. She presents clear, easy-to-follow hair care guidelines for the three different types of African American hair and gives you expert recommendations for the best products and techniques for each hair type.Featuring step-by-step instructions, photographs, illustrations, and a helpful question-and-answer section, this comprehensive, user-friendly guide shows you how to: Determine your child's hair texture Get up to speed on hair care basics from washing to combing to braiding Press, relax, or texturize hair Weigh the pros and cons of cutting your child's hair Train, nurture, and manage problem hairKeep your child's hair healthy and looking great with Wavy, Curly, Kinky-and transform hair care time from a chore to a fun, bonding experience for both you and your child!

Thanks for reading. Be blessed!


* You can click on the “study hall” label in the right-hand column to read posts you have missed

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Child Matters

Let’s talk. Are any of you caregivers of a child(ren) with natural hair? I have a young daughter and since becoming natural, I have learned things to help me better care for her hair. Doing her hair is not exactly a walk in the park, but I have obtained some knowledge and skills that make the task a lot easier. This is the regimen I use when I don’t have her hair in a cornrowed styled.

So Fresh and So Clean: Shampoo
Concentrating on the scalp, I use a mild shampoo for cleansing once a week. I usually do this in 4 sections.

unCONDITIONal love: Conditioner
I always follow by applying a moisturizing conditioner (with oil added) to each section.

Be tangle free with TLC: Detangle
While the conditioner is in her hair, section by section, I detangle her hair. First, I take smaller pieces and gently finger-comb. Then, for good measure, I run a wide tooth comb through to get any tangles I may have missed. Each of the 4 sections is put in a plait and the conditioner is allowed to stay in her hair (wrapped with a plastic cap and towel) for at least 30 min. I rinse the conditioner out while leaving the plaits in her hair.

Stylin’ and profilin’: Style
When it comes to styling her hair, I prefer to do a cornrowed style (which will last about 2 weeks). However, when time and/or energy do not allow for this, I have plenty of items I use for ponytail styles. I like to vary the styles and spice things up using an assortment of accessories to keep things fresh and fun. Through the week it takes minimal time to spritz and brush any frizz and change accessories. At night, I tie her hair up in a scarf or bonnet.

This has helped a tremendous deal in my battle to keep my daughter’s hair maintained and it is a lot less painful for her! Please share what you have found to be helpful when you are caring for your little one’s mane.

Thanks for reading. Be blessed!


Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday's Formula: Shampoos

Here are two shampoo receipes that I got from Natural Hair Digest.

*Note: This site doesn't seem to be in existance anymore. Has anyone else visited this site in the past and do you have trouble accessing it now?

Natural & Simple Shampoo

1/4 c water
1/4 c liquid castile soap
1/2 t sunflower or other light vegetable oil
Mix together all the ingredients. Store in a bottle. Use as you would any shampoo, rinse well.

Chamomile Tea Shampoo

4 bags of Chamomile tea (or 1 handful of fresh Chamomile flowers)
4 T pure soap flakes
1 1/2 T glycerin
Let the tea bags steep in 1 1/2 c of boiled water for 10 minutes. Remove the tea bags and with the remaning liquid add the soap flakes. Let stand until the soap softens. Stir in glycerin until mixture is well blended. Pour in bottle. Keep in a dark, cool place.

Thanks for reading. Be blessed!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Study Hall: Information Overload

I guess I am going to stick with the “homemade” theme this week. With many recent posts on making hair products, I wanted to put out a few online stores that sell raw ingredients. If you can not find certain items locally (at a health food store or specialty market) you can turn to the web, of course. This is a small list for your reference. Feel free to share any that I have missed.

Agbanga Karite

The Ponte Vedra Soap Shoppe, Inc.

Thanks for reading. Be blessed!


*You can click on the “study hall” label in the right-hand column to read posts you have missed

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Commercial or Homemade?

Are you a “mixtress” or do you prefer to purchase commercial products? I don’t think of myself as a mixtress but I have come to realize that I have mixed up quite a few hair potions since going natural. As you may know, I devote Friday’s to posting hair recipes for those interested in mixing their own hair brews. So, how many of you like to do that? Do you do it frequently or only occasionally? What type of products do you make? Have you had failures and did they keep you from trying other hair mixes?

In recollecting what things I have attempted to mix up for my hair, here is the list I came up with: pre-poos with honey or molasses added, hair spritzes, hair conditioners using food items, whipped shea butter hair moisturizer (I ended up giving to my mother), baking soda rinses, herbal ACV rinses, henna treatments, bentonite clay treatments and hair oil (mixture of 3 oils known to penetrate the hair shaft – check here and here)

Here is what I learned from those experiments: (1) Honey and molasses are messy! (2) Some foods are hard to rinse out of your hair so now if I need to use banana I substitute for the jarred baby food instead and if I am using avocado, I puree it in the blender first. (3) In the future, I will probably only use unrefined shea butter and coconut oil to make my hair moisturizer. (4) I want to try infusing herbs into my hair oil mix for added benefits.

Mixing up a “hair tonic” can be both fun and fulfilling. If you’ve previously had some unfavorable results, I encourage you to give it another shot. I like making my own products for time to time but I will always purchase some commercial items – hey, I’m still a product junkie in recovery :-)

Thanks for reading. Be blessed!


Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday's Formula: Banana Smoothie for hair

Happy Friday everyone! There are many recipes that Naturally Leslie credits getting from this site but I have personally tried this one (with some minor tweaks) and loved the results. Hope you will venture to try this one also.

1 mashed banana (I used jarred banana baby food)
1 full egg
3 T honey
3 T milk (I used plain yogurt)
5 T olive oil

Mix together well and apply to hair. Leave for 15-30 minutes and wash out with a gentle shampoo.

Thanks for reading. Be blessed!


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Study Hall: Information Overload

Hope the mid-week has found you well. I may have gotten a bit carried away on this one but I wanted to list as many hair forums as I could (I’m sure this isn’t a complete list). If you are not currently a member of any hair boards, this is a great way to socialize, receive and give support, and obtain general hair care/hair styling information. Please check these out!

I know I have only been focusing on “Information Overload” but I will get to the “Book Club” segment of my Study Hall posts in the near future.

Thanks for reading. Be blessed!


* You can click on the “study hall” label in the right-hand column to read posts you have missed

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Let's do the twist. . . (part III)

Twists no more! It was a disaster waiting to happen. Ok, I’m not even going to get into the detailed ordeal. Lesson learned here. . . my natural hair + yaki hair for twisted style + my plan for daily maintenance = BIG NO NO! I dare not take pics of the hot mess on my head when I spritzed my twists today, lol.

I warned you that I was no pro in the hair scene. Just know that during the week, section by section, I will be braiding the twists down to the ends in an attempt to salvage some of the hard work I did over the weekend. The style was unraveling too much for me to leave them as twists and I think this will look a bit better than what I finished with on Sunday. I’ll see if I can keep these in for longer than the 3 weeks I had originally anticipated.

Thanks for reading. Be blessed!


Monday, August 3, 2009

Let's do the twist. . . (part II)

As promised, I've included my process and pics from my last post. I washed and deep conditioned my hair and allowed it to air dry (80% dry). Then, I applied a moisturizer and blow dried my hair.

I used a total of 2 and 1/2 bags of Yaki synthetic hair that I cut in half. I needed a rattail comb for parting, hair clips, Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera gel and lots of patience! I started the twists off as braids instead of twists. I don't know how long it took me but I did it over the course of Saturday and finished the rest on Sunday.

I think I may keep them in for about three weeks but we shall see. During that time, I will spray my hair daily with a water-based leave in conditioner and wrap my hair up at night. I will cleanse my scalp/hair with diluted shampoo every week while I have the twists (after I put them in 4 loose cornrows). Please share your input and suggestions.

Thanks for reading. Be blessed!


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Let's do the twist. . .

Senegalese twists! :-)

Sorry for the late Sunday post. This weekend was my first attempt at doing twists extensions on my hair. Since my hair styling patience is usually short-lived, I was not eager to tackle this project but I decided to "bite the bullet" and do it anyway. I am pleased that I stuck with it to the end (I wanted to quit several times during the process) but not as pleased with the results. It was good for my first try but I don't think I will be keeping these in that long.

I promise that I will come back at you tomorrow with my pics and process so stay tuned. . .

Thanks for reading. Be blessed!

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