December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I wish all of you abundance and God's peace this coming year and beyond!

Hair/Health Goals for 2010

The versatility of natural hair (both pictures taken a few weeks apart)

Over the past 12 months my hair has grown considerably. I will be trying out a few new product lines in early 2010 and continuing to use mostly all natural and/or organic products. It is important for me to keep my routine simple and yet effective while maintaining the health of my hair.

The major challenges with my hair is single knots on my hair strands and split ends. This is crazy because I do everything I am suppose to do - low manipulation, minimal combing, gentle cleansers, oiling my ends, and moisturizing my hair, and yet I still have so many split ends and splits that are appearing in the middle of the length of my hair, boo! I use to cut either the knots or split ends when I saw them, now I just leave them and do my quarterly trims. I just trimmed about a week ago and it made a big difference with making combing my hair easier.
These are some of the steps I will continue to do and some changes I'm anticipating:
  • Continue to drink plenty of water
  • Start taking Biotin supplements in January
  • Consume fresh fish twice a week
  • Consume raw or steamed vegetables 5+ a week
  • Consume more lentils
  • Lessen the products I use that contain silicones to 1 - 2 products
  • Try Aubrey Organics Rosa Mosqueta Nourishing Conditioner and some other brands I've been eyeing for months
  • Shop where my dollar is appreciated and where I am treated with respect.

The health of my hair is more important than gaining length, I really want to concentrate on being healthier and doing new things, the best time is now!

Do you have any hair/health goals for 2010?

December 20, 2009

My Hair and Silicones - Part 2

As most of you know I bought a huge stash of TRESemme conditioners at the end of summer because Shopper's Drug Mart had a really good sale. For the past month or so I've been using the Moisture Rich Conditioner and my hair felt so soft and manageable.This weekend I noticed that my hair felt soft but was brittle at the same time - silicones! What's a girl to do? My hair was at the point where it could easily break because of all the silicones coating my hair. I washed with Kiss My Face Big Body Shampoo, amazingly it took me 3 washes before the silicones started to dissolve off my hair. I than conditioned my hair with Kiss My Face Big Body Conditioner, I let it sit for about 15 minutes than rinsed, after that I did an ACV rinse (equal parts of water and ACV) and let it sit on my hair for about 2 to 3 minutes as I held my head down in my bathroom sink rubbing my scalp with the pads of my fingers the whole time. I rinsed thoroughly and braided my hair up with shea butter and added avocado oil to my hair scalp after I finished.

Natural products are so much better in my hair. What am I going to do with these liters of conditioners, I hate how it makes my hair feel after a few weeks. Silicones really do coat the hair and fool you into thinking your hair is soft when it brittle and dry.

December 18, 2009

Black, Blacker, Blackest Hair

The idea of hair being used as a measurement of 'blackness' is common among the natural hair community and the Black community as a whole. What do I mean by this statement? Well, the idea that having coily or curly hair places a person among a group of Black people who have mixed heritage is a cause of concern for me. This idea also extends to the length of hair a person may have. The phrase "Nigerian hair" is synonymous with 'hard to manage hair' that may be viewed for lack of a better word as 'tough', the type of hair that breaks combs and cut nails when trying to style it. This hair type is viewed by many in our community as REAL African hair but this view is wrong. Not all people of African descent have this type of hair and if they do not have a thicker more kinkier texture as I just described that does not mean that they are of mixed ancestry.

Among Europeans, naturally straight, wavy and curly hair are equally represented. Nature selects what type of hair we will have and the length it will achieve when allowed to reach its maximum potential. These genes are present in every race and their are variations among ethnic groups. Among people of African descent we have curly, coily and cotton textured hair represented equally and questioning the validity of one's heritage because their hair may clump and curl more easily is not acknowledging the many variations among people of African descent. Black women that have significant length to their hair can attest to the questions that confront their 'blackness'. It is fair to state that many people of African-American and Afro-Caribbean descent can attest to the variety of mixed ancestry within our family genealogy but how about the people born and raised in Africa? Some of the most healthiest and longest hair I've seen was of women from Ghana, Nigeria, and Ethiopia to give a few examples. Most are very aware of their genealogy and do not have mixed ancestry, it is simply their genes.

No hair texture is better than the other and having a looser curl or coil should not heighten our curiosity to know 'what are they mixed with?' These questions can be taken as offensive and viewed as ignorant. Furthermore, if a person of African descent is of significant mixed ancestry than so what? If they are Black than why do they have to explain their hair texture which would automatically place them outside of the African experience. Variety is natural and justifying your blackness is tired, next!
Hair should not be used to justify our treatment of others or to create an image of who we think that person is. Hair is personal but it doesn't make the person. My experiences are my own and as a Black woman my 'blackness' is sacred.

Retail Chic: TRESemme Moisture Rich Conditioner Vs. Aveda Dry Remedy Moisturizing Masque

As most of you know I love Aveda Dry Remedy Moisturizing Treatment Masque but it cost quite a bit for me to indulge in one of my favourite treatments so started using my TRESemme Moisture Rich Conditioner regularly as a co-wash and deep conditioner during the recent cold weather we've been having in Toronto instead of restocking on the Aveda Dry Remedy. The TRESemme Moisture Rich Conditioner easily performs equally as good as the Aveda Dry Remedy Moisturizing Treatment Masque without the price attached to it. Both these conditioners have dimethicone in it, plant extracts and oils added for additional conditioning benefits.

My 1.17 L pump bottle of TRESemme compared to my 4.2 oz of Aveda Dry Remedy along with the ingredients and price point makes it easy for me to declare a winner - TRESemme Moisture Rich Conditioner! My hair is soft, manageable and the conditioner melts away tangles so easily. Even after I wash out the conditioner my hair is so easy to comb through, if I didn't want to use a leave-in conditioner to detangle I wouldn't be missing much, it's that good in my hair.

If you are in love with a salon brand like I am with Aveda you may want to check out retail brands that boast similar ingredients and benefits for our hair. Salon brands are not the be all and end all, their are retail brands that will deliver results and TRESemme has proven that to me.

December 16, 2009

Toronto Natural Bellas Gathering Part Trois: Thank You

Tiffany and Nicole

Mona and Natalie (me, wearing my lace front)

We met up at Moxie's and swapped products, as you can see in the pics, lol! We had a good time and we will definitely be planning our fourth gathering soon for the new year. Thank you Mona for organizing the gathering and the gals that couldn't make it we missed you!

December 15, 2009

HoneyFig: Miss Jessie's BOGO Sale

From HoneyFig...

It is time once again for the fabulous Miss Jessie's Buy One, Get One Free Sale. The beloved sale is always anticipated. The BOGO applies on all Miss Jessie's 8oz, 12oz and 16oz sizes (excluding 2oz and trial pack) and runs until December 31, 2009; or while quantities last. Additionally, for stock purposes, "while quantities last" at HoneyFig, may differ from "while quantities last" on the Miss Jessie's website. Please do not get upset if your favourite item is sold out on our website, so please shop early.

Also, do note that the eligible Miss Jessie's products, which are purchased during this period, will be shipped out in duplication - a true Buy One, Get One; as unfortunately, we cannot offer substitutions or alternate products during this sale. Thank you for your patronage and Happy Shopping!

Hurry Up & Stock Up!

December 10, 2009

Model Moment: Shaun Ross

Shaun Ross is an eighteen year old phenomenon within the fashion world. Raised in Bronx, New York and the third of four children, Ross is hailed as the 'First Male Albino Model'. He is electric before the cameras with his unforgettable features. His hustle is garnering him attention from the fashion world and pushing the limits of beauty. He has walked the runways from Patrik Ervell to Odyn Vovk and has appeared in i-D to British GQ. I am very comfortable in saying that we all will be seeing plenty of Shaun Ross very soon, he is simply timeless and a rare find.

December 9, 2009

Corinne Bailey Rae: The Sea

Corinne Bailey Rae's album The Sea will be released next year on January 26th in the US and on February 1st in the UK. I welcome her much anticipated album after the untimely death of her husband after which she took a hiatus from the public. Rae readily admits that The Sea was inspired by the loss of her husband, musician Jason Rae.

Her lead single 'I'd Do It All Again' is a beautiful song, below is the live performance of her recently on Live Later in the UK, enjoy!

Visit Corinne Bailey Rae at her website here.

December 8, 2009

The Blacklist Vol. II: The Winners (HBO)

I love The Blacklist Vol. II: The Winners, it aired earlier this year on HBO, series like these should be encouraged within our community. I related on so many levels concerning speech, goals and achievements that challenge what the notion of 'acting black' is. I have always been someone that ihas been called 'different' from ever since I was a child and I embrace it. Their is nothing wrong with speaking proper English, waiting until you are married to have a child and having an interest in fine art. I love literature and the English language and yes I do break my dictionary open sometimes to read it, so what...We are individuals not a walking, talking wash of black animated colour. I Love me like no one else can.

Toronto Natural Bellas Gathering

When: Saturday December 12th at 6 PM
Moxie's @ Yorkdale Mall, click here for directions

Please advise Mona if you are able to attend or can no longer attend by contacting her at

Also, don't forget to bring products to swap or sell:)

December 7, 2009

Winter Scalp Care

Our scalp becomes more sensitive during winter months and this may cause an increase in your scalp being tender, you may have dry scalp that is constantly itching and you may see flakes. One symptom I experience is 'tight' scalp, I regularly wet my scalp and oil it to alleviate this symptom of dry scalp or do my mid-week steam treatments which really help regulate any dryness I experience. I listed a few tips we can all use to help us alleviate dry scalp during the winter months.

Mid-Week Steam Treatments: Mid-week steam treatments is basically lightly oiling your scalp and hair with your favourite oil before a shower or bath, the natural steam for the warm water helps the oil to penetrate your hair and scalp, I get soft fully hair and my scalp rarely is irritated like it once was, my favourite oil for my steam treatments is avocado oil.

Weekly Hot Oil Rinses: Hot oil treatments using natural oils like coconut oil can be done as an oil rinse, you can use your heating cap or conditioning cap in the shower for the desired time and than simply rinse your hair with warm water and style as desired, no need to shampoo the nutrient packed oil off you hair. In harsh weather like winter your hair and scalp needs to be lubricated well.

Buttering Your Scalp: Using a nourishing butter on you scalp may do the trick for you. Butters like AfroVeda's CocoLatte Moisture Mask or Shea-Amla Whipped Butter, Karen's Body Beautiful Hair Butter, Qhemet Biologics Amla & Olive Heavy Cream or Burdock Root Butter Cream, you can also use plain shea butter on you scalp which is also very nourishing.

Co-washing: Many of us already know about co-washing, co-washing allows you to mildly cleanse you scalp while nourishing your hair and scalp. I am loving my TRESemme Moisture Rich Conditioner. When co-washing focus on you scalp and use the pads of your fingers to rub gently.

Mild Cleansers/Moisture Rich Cleansers: Natural cleaners like apple cider mixed with water is a good way to balance your scalp's pH level while not stripping your hair and scalp of its natural oils, also you can add in a small amount of baking soda into your apple cider rinse for additional cleansing. Another cleanser I stumbled upon was at the beauty supply store, on a whim I picked up a liter size of Elasta QP's Creme Conditioning Shampoo which is sulfate free and very moisturizing. This cleanser is inexpensive, I got it for 9.99 CAD, it was so good I ran back a week later and picked up another liter size bottle to keep in my stash.

Water and Spritzing: My hair and scalp likes to be wet every few days, it helps to minimize the tightness of my scalp I experience during the winter. Sometimes I mist my hair and scalp with water before bed and add in my moisturizer or an oil of my choosing throughout my hair and scalp. Some of us prefer using leave in conditioners like Qhemet Biologics Karkady Replenishing Mist or Oyin Handmade's Herbal Leave-Ins. I prefer using plain water to mist my hair and scalp and than laying product over my damp hair and scalp, this works best for me.

Drinking Water: Drinking plenty of water helps your skin including you scalp to stay lubricated. This is a natural way to help keep our skin supple and easier to retain moisture.

Soothing Herbs, Plants and Extracts: When I purchase hair care products I look for ingredients that are known for soothing and/or healing the scalp. Herbs and plants like yarrow, burdock, neem, amla, aloe, coltsfoot, nettle, rosemary, sage and horsetail are ingredients that assist me in knowing that the product I want to purchase will help to nourish my scalp.

December 6, 2009

Dusting Damaged Hair

Dusting is a technique of searching and trimming throughout your hair in order to rid it of damaged ends. Dusting damaged hair works best when you have areas of hair that are damaged because it allows you to retain your length as your hair grows to blend into your healthier hair. If you have areas of damaged hair this is a good way to keep your length while babying damaged sections.

I usually braid my hair up into sections and go through each section looking for damaged ends, this technique allows me to search through my hair more thoroughly and to follow up within the week with any braids I haven't been able to dust.

I have a section right at the front of my hair line that always has a lot of split ends, instead of cutting the hair I simply search and destroy by dusting the ends. This technique helps to lessen any frustration I may experience with knotting and splitting. A great way to follow up after dusting is by sealing your hair especially your ends with your favourite hair oil. The more you dust your ends the better you will become at it, dusting takes time but helps to retain length as your hair grows.

December 5, 2009

Thank You!

I want to thank all of my subscribers and supporters for being here with me along this journey, I truly appreciate all of you. Nu Kynk reached over 100 subcribers a month ago and I was ecstatic that I didn't know what to do and I'm still trying to figure out a few ways to say THANK YOU, please be patient, I should have some solid ideas up my sleeve for early next year.

December 4, 2009

Sephora By OPI Nail Colour

Worth My Weight

Untarnished Image

Too Good For Him

Ocean Love Potion

Sephora By OPI Nail Colour is a great buy, at $9 each this collection of nail colours ranges from clear to the darkest shades and every other colour in between. To see more of the collection visit or visit your local Sephora.

Product Review: Taliah Waajid African Healing Oyl

This oil is so nourishing to my hair. I stopped immediately when I saw it at a beauty supply store in west Toronto and couldn't resist picking it up. Taliah Waajid African Healing Oyl is a quality hair and scalp oil that has multiple uses, you can use it for hot oil treatments, hair and scalp oil, a cuticle oil, bath oil and a body oil. The applicator is convenient when oiling my scalp and allows you to not use too much. Taliah Waajid African Healing Oyl has an amazing guava-passionate fruit scent and gave luster to my hair, I also noticed the moisture level it added to my hair. From the ingredients I read this oil is free of petro-chemicals and synthetic ingredients, I will definitely keep this in rotation.

Performance: The oil is of medium consistency and is rich enough to use as a winter oil. It gives a rich luster to my hair and really helps with my itchy scalp in the winter and seals in moisture. 2/2

Price: $9.99 CAD for 8 oz, this is a good purchase for the quality you get. 2/2

Ingredients: Natural Oils, African Oils, Almond Oil, KuKui Nut Oil, Vitamin E, Olive Oil, Palm Oil, Sunflower Oil, Peanut Oil, and Bay Laurel. 1/1

Taliah Waajid African Healing Oyl 5/5

Naturally Loved: Part Fourteen

This whole journey has instilled patience in me. Patience to style my hair, patience to comb my hair, patient to grow my hair and so on. It may seem overwhelming at first when your hair lacks length as you stare into the mirror picturing it past your shoulders and beyond.

I dealt with the growth process in stages. When my hair was less than an inch and I couldn't 'catch' my edges when I twisted or braided my hair I made that a goal. Than when I couldn't get my hair into any type of hair bands or ponytail holders I made that a goal. I went from many bands down to six, than four, than three, than two and now one. My growth process has been about stages because it helps me put my hair into perspective and not become overwhelmed and believe untruths like 'our hair doesn't grow.'

Shrinkage also plays into this, techniques like banding, and styles like plaits help to stretch the hair and make it easier to manage and style. Shrinkage is very deceiving, my hair can shrink to appear to be 3 inches in length when its actually ten inches in some places. Our hair is naturally coily and curly so loving it is key in getting over any 'humps' that may threaten our journey. I did a post a few months ago called TWA Love, I took a step back to review why I felt like cutting my hair and to be honest I always feel like cutting my hair as summer winds down, why? I'm pretty sure its because of the change in weather and the way it effects my hair and scalp. I always have to do alot of clarifying at the end of summer to stop the itching I get around that time of year and my hair just becomes so dry. I recognized this and now I know it is a seasonal thing and I panicked.

This part of my journey taught me that knowing our hair is so essential in caring for it, you know your hair better than anyone else. Finding those tricks and techniques and setting goals in the growth of your hair will help you in the beginning stages and through the in between stage.

Happy Growing,


November 30, 2009

Black Soap as a Hair Cleansing Agent: Part One

I have been using the Eli's brand Liquid Black Soap to cleanse my hair and it was not doing a fantastical job like I had hoped. My bar of Black Soap finished so I found this laying around and thought why not? I washed my hair six times last night and product residue and dirt was still coming out of my hair and scalp, I hadn't washed my hair for about 3 weeks, just co-washing so that may have something to do with it but I do feel six washes is excessive. The crazy thing about it is my hair is so soft even after that many washes. I am convinced that the brand of Black Soap determines the quality, not every Black Soap is made equal.

My hair is still not clean the way I would like it to be, I'm itching to use a sulfate shampoo, we'll see. This is just an update on using Black Soap as a cleansing agent for hair, so far I have mixed reviews.

November 25, 2009

Qhemet Biologics Black Friday Sale!!!!!

Qhemet Biologics is having their Black Friday Sale on November 27th at 7 AM EST and ends November 27th at 11 PM EST with 20% off all orders over $34.00!!!!

The coupon code is CULTURE and will only be active during the 16 hour sale window! Enter the coupon code at check-out.

Henna: The Mixture and Some Info

Products Used

Goorej Henna: This henna has Mehendi, Amla, Brahmi, and Bhringraj. It list on the package 100% Natural Mehendi and is a very affordable at $2.99 CAD for a 200 g package at my local East Indian Market.

Neem Seed Oil: This oil is directly imported from India and is an amazing oil, I love it in this mixture and also as a hot oil treatment and added into my deep conditioners, I also purchased it at my local East Indian Market for around $7.00 CAD.

Water: I used as needed to create the consistency I wanted, which was a thick paste.

Another point I would like to make is that East Indian Markets are very affordable for products that are marketed by some companies as 'exotic' and 'rare'. Henna and neem seed oil are not expensive products but many people who are not familiar with these products think they need to spend upward of $20.00 or more for henna and a ridiculous $40.00 a bottle for neem seed oil which by the way is heavily refined and deodorized by many of these companies. The neem seed oil pictured has a very distinct nut smell that is strong but is all natural and unrefined, which is always the best kind of oil to use.

If you live in or around a large urban city especially one that has a large East Indian population check out their markets for very affordable products that are unrefined and organic and don't let slick advertisements get you spending crazy amounts of money on products that are no different from what the East Indian markets sell.

How I mixed

First I mixed half the package of henna with water and about 1 to 2 ounces of neem seed oil. I thought the amount in the third picture would be enough but I changed my mind and added in the remaining amount and added water to achieve the final consistency of the mixture. This was too much, next time I know to only use 100 g of this package and save the remaining half pack in a Ziploc bag for a future treatment.

Henna: Application

I realized that I only needed to use half of the 200 g pack, next time I know. The application was pretty easy and I didn't have too much henna transferred to objects in my bathroom because the mixture was pretty thick, I prefer it that way. I left the henna in my hair for about an hour and a half than rinsed out and applied my deep conditioner.

Henna: After Deep Conditioning

Product Used

Aveda Dry Remedy Treatment Masque (Deep Conditioner)

My hair had a slight brownish-red tint to it which I'm fine with since it's subtle. The reason why I tried the henna was to try a natural source of strengthening my hair. I love the results, my hair is stronger my coils were popping and I had plenty of body. One thing that I experienced with this henna was that it's hard to rinse out. Be careful to rinse rigorously since after a few days of using the henna it stained my pillow cases when I went to bed. I had to co-wash a few days after because so much of the pigment was still in my hair. In my opinion this is the only draw back but if you have used henna before than you know this is common place.

Henna is definitely a product I will use regularly, most likely every 6 months to maintain my hair's strength and luster.