October 30, 2009

Dry Conditioning

Dry Conditioning is a great way to deep condition your hair without first cleansing or clarifying. When I dry condition it is usually 3 to 4 days after I have cleansed. Sometimes when I cleanse I don't have time to deep condition and resort to doing so in the week.

From my experience with this method it is best done on hair that does not have products in it that have silicones or petro-chemicals since these ingredients can coat the hair and prevent the conditioner from being effective. My hair had shea butter and natural oils in it so I simply saturated my hair with the conditioner and slightly dampened my hair to allow the conditioner to hold to my hair better and to add moisture to my hair strands to activate the conditioner. After doing so I covered my hair with a conditioning cap and than on top of that I tied on my satin scarf and went to bed. In the morning I rinsed out the conditioner and my hair was singing!

This is a good method for a winter regime since it allows us to avoid cleansing our hair and scalp too often which allows us to retain as much moisture as possible. If you use all natural and organic products this is a great method since your hair isn't coated with products that need heavy clarifying to allow the conditioner to penetrate. If you don't feel like cleansing your hair frequently you can use this method weekly until you cleanse whether that be within two weeks to a month.

October 26, 2009

Define Your Natural (Part Two)

My decision to wear natural hair is more out of the consequences I experienced when I was relaxed: hair breakage, thinning, bald spots, chemical burns, and so on. Over the years from using a wide range of products I know that my hair prefers natural products that have few ingredients or a stand alone all natural organic product like shea butter.

We are here to support each other and learn from one another. The first part of this topic was written in order to get us thinking about what is natural. Natural to me means natural hair unaltered by chemical straighteners. Some may argue that coloring one's hair is a chemical process and that by doing so you are no longer natural. Their is a difference between 'virgin' and 'natural'. The main discourse surrounding our hair has been about our texture and not coloring it. Our hair texture has been attacked and ridiculed, sometimes by the people closest to us.

The movement is not to have people accept coloring our hair but to accept a texture of hair that is unique to people of African descent. Wigs, weaves, and coloring hair can be a symptom of this greater phenomenon but it does not categorize individuals as having self hate because they do so. If I wear my hair natural one day and the next day I'm rocking a wig that's because I feel comfortable within my self to move between these two styles. Their are women of color who will never let you see their natural hair texture. They use a variety of excuses to hold on to the lie. It is this lie that I am attacking - that kinky hair isn't pretty, IT IS.

If you use a product that has petro chemicals in it and it works for you than more power to you because at the end of the day it is not the product that is being attacked by many in our society, it is your hair. Many products give similar results, and do 'they' care when they look at your afro as to what type of pomade, moisturizer or oil you used? NO. They are looking at your afro point blank.

I am a proponent of natural and organic products, I sometimes wonder out of this zone to try some great products that may be seen as "questionable' by some. They give great results and if my hair reacts well to it than I'll use it. My bias toward natural and organic products does not lessen my commitment to natural hair they are two separate issues. My joy of natural and organic products came from my sensitivity to many products on the market; my scalp, my hair, my sinuses and my skin. I am just sensitive to things that others would be like "what is this girrrl complaining about?" And I understand that if someone has not experienced what I have concerning sensitivity to skin and hair products that ignorance can rear its head.

Let's support each other. If you choose to also use all natural and organic products than more power to you! Ridiculing one another because of a product is not placing our energy toward the real issue - their are people in this world who do not like to see our naturally kinky hair and unfortunately that includes some people of African descent.

October 19, 2009

Define Your Natural

Over the past four years of embracing my natural hair I have experienced every aspect of what 'natural' is. I have went from using products that contain silicones, petro-chemicals, and sulfates - you know all the ingredients we are told to avoid. Also, wearing weaves, wigs and braids. Than I have experienced the other side of the spectrum, being militant in my views of natural hair care. That meant no silicones, no petro-chemicals and no sulfates and avoiding extensions or wigs in an attempt to grow to love my hair without relying on extensions even though when I was relaxed I rarely if ever used any type of extensions. Within that I also wanted to avoid ingredients that I couldn't pronounce or had to crack my encyclopedia open to know what the ingredient was and how it would effect my hair. I have since settled in a comfortable medium. I focus on natural and simple products, and build my routine on that making sure to use chemical and synthetic filled products minimally, this is natural.

You may become confused as to what will work, what is making your hair dry, brittle or causing your hair to break. You want to know why your scalp may be irritated, dry and flaking, so naturally you eliminate products that you are unsure of. I did this and slowly I reintroduced some products that I thought at first may have been doing more damage than good to my tresses.
An important part of this is knowing proper techniques of installing weaves and braids and proper care for your wigs. Some of us cannot wear certain types of extensions because of scalp sensitivity, so to each their own. Wearing any type of extensions or wigs does not diminish your natural status, neither does coloring your hair.

It is a personal choice of how you style your hair and what type of products you want to use in your hair. I'm sure some naturals hate shea butter, avocado oil, Qhemet Biologics, TreSemme Conditioners, Nature's Gate Conditioners and Kiss My Face hair products, but my hair loves them. Just as my hair doesn't like some of the Aubrey Organics shampoo and conditioners I've used, it is individual just like our hair.

I saw a woman on You Tube saying that she uses Petroleum Jelly over her Qhemet Biologics Heavy Cream to seal in the moisture and she swears by this, and yes her hair is
fiyah, it's so thick, luscious and is mid-way down her back. If it works for her, than it works for her. We need to support each other and stop focusing on the products and hair styles our fellow naturals are comfortable with, looking down at a natural that uses 'questionable' products is not helping her. While she is in her daily routine whether at work, school, church, social settings and with friends and family their are people that will question her decision to wear her natural hair. We know the comments that we have received from people who are ignorant. It is at these times that she needs to know she has other naturals to lean on instead of having them pointing out the 'dimethicone' or 'mineral oil' in her moisturizer or questioning her commitment to the cause because she is wearing a weave.

Are their products that I've seen naturals using that I wouldn't use in my hair? Yes. Does the product maintain the health of their hair? Yes. So in my opinion if their hair is thriving and they are satisfied with the results than discouraging them from using that product is unwarranted. Let us support each other and not let small things like hair extensions and ingredients discourage us from this wonderful fulfilling journey.

Afterglow Cosmetics: Foundation in Clay & Lipstick

A Few months ago I made my way to HoneyFig to check out Afterglow Cosmetics. I wanted to try the mineral foundation as well as a lipstick. I was so happy with the personal service of HoneyFig and the time they spent helping me to pick out a shade. I settled on Sepia but when I got home I found it a bit too golden for my complexion and Marlene graciously allowed me to exchange it for Clay which has a little more red tones in it. I also got an Afterglow lipstick in Secret which curiously is not on the website (I have to contact them and ask them about their lip colours). After purchasing these two amazing products I drove to my local MAC store and got their 182 Brush which basically is a dense kabuki brush. The foundation is absolutely amazing. It is high quality, organic and free of harsh chemical ingredients. The 182 Brush really assisted in the blending of the foundation. I noticed it can look caked so I simply run my hands under water at my bathroom sink like I am washing them, dry them in my towel and than take my hands that are moist and press them evenly over my face to add moisture to the foundation. Than I lightly go over my face again with a very small amount of foundation using the 182 Brush again and voila! It sets well and feels like I'm not wearing any make up. I get compliments all the time, people don't exactly know what is different but I usually get "your face looks so bright and radiant."

Afterglow Foundation in Clay Ingredients:
mica, titanium dioxide (CI 77891), iron oxide (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), citrus grandis (organic grapefruit) seed extract*, rosmarinus officinalis (organic rosemary) extract*, inulin, vitis vinifera (organic grape) seed extract*, simmondsia chinensis (organic jojoba) extract*

* certified organic ingredient

Afterglow Lipstick in Secret Ingredients:

simmondsia chinensis (organic jojoba) seed oil*, barbadensis (organic aloe) leaf gel*, prunus armeniaca (apricot) kernel*, cera alba (organic beeswax)*, candilla wax (wildcrafted), tocopherol acetate (vitamin E), vitis vinifera (organic grape seed) extract*, punica granatum (organic pomegranate seed) extract; May contain [+/-] iron oxide (77491, 77492, 77492, 77499), mica, titanium dioxide (77891)

* certified organic ingredient

The lipstick is more of a creamy lip stain. It is full of pigment but because it is natural it absorbs into my lips which leaves a hint of colour from the Secret which is a deep rose-brown tone. I love this colour but when I wear it I apply it numerous times throughout the day. It comes off easily so if you are into long lasting lipsticks this isn't the one for you. If you prefer more natural ingredients and don't mind frequent applications than you may want to look at their lipsticks as an option.

The foundation does not cover deep scarring like department store brands like MAC or Make Up Forever. If you have acne or other types of scars than this will simply give minimal coverage while brightening your complexion. I see this foundation for people that like make up but want something that is natural looking, wont feel or looked caked and blends well into their skin and does not need medium to full coverage. If you want an easy to use foundation that has amazing ingredients it is worth checking out Afterglow Cosmetics. You can see most of the collection at HoneyFig in Toronto or you can visit them online at Afterglowcosmetics.com

October 15, 2009

Love Is Not A Box

I just finished reading a few articles on two sites about love and relationships. To me, love is natural and should never be confined to race and class. Society does this by placing barriers on what is acceptable.

Within the Black community women have been told that we must 'hold it down' for the black man because of the prejudices rampant against him. We must be in his corner and that dating someone of another race is deemed 'unforgivable'.

Over the past twenty years research has shown time and time again that Black men are marrying at a faster rate than Black women and yet within the African-American community single parent households with woman as the 'head' has grown to 70%. I am old-fashioned, I believe in dating, commitment, than marriage and than children. I am convinced that Black women must have been fooled along the way, tricked into thinking the men in their lives would stick around but than they left. Now, we can go into the nitty gritty details of how this happened but by taking a step back and analysing simple mathematics makes the picture clear. These statistics are not present in other communities, so why has the 'head of the household' in the Black community disappeared or become present in various households as the 'head'. Women have seen the dwindling numbers of quality men disappear year after year whether by violent deaths, prison, lack of educational achievement, and available men deciding to be in committed relationships. Yet, women still hold on to the belief that more than likely she too will find that amazing Black man to settle down with.

For some unsavoury reason some Black men I've come in contact with exhibit certain character traits that are consistent with him having thoughts of being in high demand. I know I am not the only woman that has experienced a man who seems to feel that you are desperate for his attention and he must reinforce it by letting you know he is 'wanted' by other women. I usually cut these men off with the quickness and forget I even met them. When this happens they seem confused at my sudden uninterest in them.

If you are a woman dating just keep in mind that love has no colour, holding on to the thought somehow, someday my man will come along is a fairytale, date and have fun. My mother always told me that as long as the man I fall in love with loves and respects me than she is happy, that's all that counts!

Belle By Sigerson Morrison

Belle by Sigerson Morrison wedged black boots put a twist on the classic black leather boot, I love these. They have a pull on design, leather lining and leather sole and have a comfortable 3 1/2" wedged heel. Visit Couture.zappos.com for more info.

Product Review: Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioning Repair Cream

The Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioning Repair Cream is a love or hate relationship, there is no in between. I had hopes for this one but it fell short of my expectations. The consistency of this product is a thick creamy gelatin cream that has a refreshing scent that smells nothing like shea butter.

I washed my hair and than used the Cantu Shea Butter as my moisturizer and styling product. I braided my hair as I've been doing this past couple of weeks and pinned them up around my head since I'm rocking my wig as a protective style. In the morning I ran to my mirror to see how my hair looked. My hair had no shine, it felt and looked dry almost to the point of looking brittle, I thought my hair would start breaking. I undid a few braids to see the product on the length of my hair. It kept good definition but was lacking moisture so I added some shea butter to my hair. After a few days I washed my hair because it just wasn't doing anything, my shea butter gives better results. I also want to add that a plus I found with this product is it really lessened the frizz in my hair and helped to lengthen my hair, but made my hair very limp. I'm guessing people who have thick hair would love this product since it lessens the bulk of the hair and lengthens it at the same time.

Many naturals on You Tube have said this product leaves white balls of product in their hair, I didn't experience that. It does take awhile for my hair to absorb the cream but when my hair did I didn't see any white balls or flakes.

Performance: I am disappointed, I may just use it on top of my moisturizer to give some hold for buns and braids, etc. 1/2

Price: $5.99 CAD, this is an affordable product for a 16 OZ jar, but is alot to finish when the product doesn't deliver the results you desire 1/2

Ingredients: Water, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Glycine Soja Oil (Soybean), Propylene Glycol, Polyquaternium 37, Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, PPG 1 Trideceth 6, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Stearalkonium Chloride, Trimethylsilylamodimethicone, Panthenol, PPG 1 PEG 9 Lauryl Glycol Ether, Lanolin Oil, Cinnamidopropyltrimonium Chloride, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Acrylamidopropyltrimonium Chloride/Acrylamide Copolymer, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Benzophenone 3, BHA, BHT, Zea Mays Oil (Corn), Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, DMDM Hydantoin, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance .5/1

Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioning Repair Cream 2.5/5

October 11, 2009


To all my Canadian readers Happy Thanksgiving! See all of you on Tuesday.

Product Review: Aphogee Keratin & Green Tea Restructurizer

I feel a little apprehensive about doing this review because of my experience with this leave in treatment. I will not be rating this product but simply telling you my experience. I want all of you to keep in mind that I have sensitive hair and scalp and I have confirmed time and time again through my exploits with different products that the less products I use the healthier my hair is, I stick to what I know will work.

I used the Keratin & Green Tea Restructurizer for a week. I sprayed it throughout my hair liberally after I braided it up and than pinned the braids all around my hair like a wrap because I am rocking my wigs. At first I noticed how soft my hair was along with the moisturizer I used, this combo felt good. The next day I decided to undo some of the braids and see how my hair was reacting to the Keratin & Green Tea. I undid a few braids combed through it and than re-braided them and pinned them back up. My hair was shiny and I thought healthy. I noticed by the second or third day my scalp was itching so much and I had an urge to wash my hair, so I did a co-wash and rebraided my hair and sprayed the Keratin & Green Tea Restructurizer on my hair again. My scalp began to itch again by the second day. I let it itch for the week since I was like "I'm not going to do another co-wash." Fast forward to Friday, I undid all my braids to get ready for washing and deep conditioning my hair and to my surprise my hair was coming out my head! I would pull on sections of hair and a bunch of strands came out. Also, the front and back of my hairline was so 'picky' like hair had broken off.

This reconstructurizer is too strong for my hair and scalp, I'll stick with the Aphogee Keratin 2 Minute for my protein boost. I stopped using the product and I have no itches and my hairline is no longer 'picky'. I am so disappointed in this product. I had high hopes for it. Yes, it makes my hair soft. Yes, it makes my hair shiny and full of body. BUT it makes my hair fall out! Thanks but no thanks, I definitely don't have to think about this one.

October 7, 2009

Did You Know About Crisco?

About one year ago when I started following India of Urban Curlz through her Fotki and her site (it's a great site!) I saw that she uses Crisco as a hair moisturizer and was like "really?" I was hesitate to try this because I thought it had ingredients in it that wouldn't be friendly to my hair. Fast forward to this weekend at my local grocery store as I found myself in the baking aile looking at the Crisco. I picked up the Crisco All-Vegetable which is basically their original recipe and went home thinking about how to use it.

Ingredients: Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Palm and Soybean Oils, Mono and Diglycerides, TBHQ, Citric Acid

I didn't hesitate using it since the main ingredients in it is Soybean and Palm Oils which alot of hair products have in it anyway. I pulled out my shea butter and a small jar and started mixing up a test batch. I did equal parts of Crisco and shea butter and simply folded both products into each other. I washed and deep conditioned my hair and used it as my moisturizer as I braided my hair. Afterwards, I used the Aphogee Gloss Therapy Polisher and some Qhemet Biologics Amla Oil Nourishing Pomade to lightly smooth over my braids. I than used bobby pins to pin my braids in a beehive formation around my head since I'm rocking my wig this week. It has been two days and my hair is soooo soft!

This recipe will definitely stretch my shea butter and it is water soluable so I don't need to worry about buildup. I will keep you posted over the next few weeks with any new updates.

Shout out to India of Urban Curlz, thanks!

Winter Hair 101

Keeping our hair and scalp strong during winter months is must to maintain healthy hair. Here are a few tips we can use as the cold months approach:

Protective Styles: Wearing our hair in twists, braids and cornrows is a great way to let your hair rest each week. If you want a style that will last longer try a wig or weave. It is a convenient way to rock you favorite styles while still protecting you hair. Pay special attention to your scalp that the style you are wearing doesn't place too much tension on you scalp. Also maintaining a high level of moisture in your hair and a clean scalp is key to have healthy hair after the weave is taken out.

Deep Condition:
Our hair is different so some may prefer moisture only deep conditioning treatments and some of us like conditioners with both moisture and protein. Keeping up with deep conditioning allows our hair to maintain its elasticity which prevents breakage and gives our hair the extra moisture it needs throughout the week in cold temperatures. In cold weather deep conditioning treatments once a week make a huge difference.

Moisturizing our hair is so important year around but the results of not doing it in the winter becomes more apparent. I love Qhemet Biologics Heavy Cream for the winter. I apply it once a week after cleansing and conditioning and that's it other than putting some on my edges at night to keep them hydrated. If you are using your moisturizer everyday or every other day because your hair is dry after an application than you need a more nourishing moisturizer.

Oils: Their are some great name brand oils that are affordable and will nourish your hair and scalp and their are all natural oils like extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, sweet almond oil and castor oil. Oils act as sealants and lubricants when on the hair and scalp. Placing oil on your hair after you moisturize or just placing it on your scalp assist in keeping your scalp balanced. You can avoid flakes from dry scalp, itches and tightness of the scalp. I oil my scalp when it is slightly damp once to twice with WiseWays Herbals Crowning Glory Hair and Scalp Cream.

Minimal Manipulation:
This can mean a few things like only combing or brushing your hair only when wet with conditioner or moisturizer in it. The rest of the time you use you hands to do the work. It also means doing simple styles like buns, twists and braids making sure their is no tension on your scalp and the style isn't 'forced' to what you know your hair cannot naturally do. This can mean putting a ton of gel, hair spray or mousse in your hair to hold a style your hair cannot naturally do. Try concentrating on styles your hair can do and keep gels and other styling aides that harden your hair to a minimum. Serums and gloss pomades like Aphogee Gloss Therapy Polisher and Elasta QP Glaze help to smooth the hair or doing a simple routine like using Qhemet Biologics Amla Oil Nourishing Pomade along with a little water to smooth your edges makes a big difference. Keep in mind that with cold weather and the wind blowing on hair coated with products that make it hard and crispy becomes more susceptible to breakage, you want your hair to be pliable and soft.

To be perfectly honest I don't like maintaining my hair during winter but following these simple points really makes a difference in how my hair and scalp responds to the cold weather and how it feels on a daily basis.

My Vegetarian Journey and a Pot of Soup!

As many of you already know I became a vegetarian this past July. To be honest, it has been difficult. I have eaten meat for most my whole life so going cold *turkey* lol, has been a challenge. I completely stopped eating meat, fish and dairy products for about 1 month. I than reintroduced some diary products like cheese, eggs, yogurt and milk , and fish. My goal now is to eliminate diary products slowly out of my diet. I don't know if I will be able to eliminate cheese and eggs because I sure do love omelets.

I am having a lot of fun with cooking beans and lentils. I have a few great recipes. Above is a soup that I made. I put some barley and lentils in it to give it more 'body' and some cayenne pepper and lime juice for some kick, I loved it.

October 5, 2009

Model Moment: Sasha

Sasha is a young model represented by Select Models Management under the Verve division. To see more of her portfolio visit her here.

October 2, 2009

HoneyMag: Solo In The City

(click to enlarge photos)

Solange Knowles is featured in Honey Magazine for the October 2009 issue. She discusses the album she is currently working on, her beautiful hair, family and who she's not dating. To view more visit HoneyMag.com

October 1, 2009

Naturally Loved: Part Twelve

What amazes me about this journey is how I have evolved and gained so much knowledge about who I am in the past four years. When I did my Big Chop I was in a different place in my life and when I look back I am amazed of who I've become. Our hair evolves as we evolve. When I first became natural I didn't really know what I was doing or where this journey would take me, it has been a beautiful journey. I am now aware of toxic ingredients in food, hair and skin care products,I have made significant changes to my diet and concerning my relationships they are much healthier.

Hair is linked to our emotions, how we feel about ourselves. Loving your natural hair says something to the world about you since our hair was castigated for so long as a way to create an inferiority complex among people of African descent with afro-textured hair. Even in 2009 their is still is a stigma attached to our hair. Allowing our hair to just be and growing as an individual along with people that 'get it' is so important when embracing our hair.

When I first did a big chop I use to wear scarves, to hide my hair. It wasn't a style I was sporting, I was hiding my hair because I was more concerned with what others would think about my hair texture. As I became more comfortable with myself I didn't care anymore. You may be at this point or have experienced what I'm telling you, either way it was a growing pain that I had to go through because of who I was 4 or 5 years ago. I believed in myself and I didn't let people deter me instead I challenged any snide remarks and didn't care what people thought.

This journey is about you and you will discover so much things about yourself that will amaze you. You will attract new types of individuals into your life and your perspective on life will change, mine has. Enjoy this journey and make the most of your growing phase!

Happy Growing,


Tiffany's Review of Miss Jessie's Curly Pudding

A while ago I met up with Tiffany at our Second Natural Bellas Gathering in Toronto and gave her a 2oz jar of the Miss Jessie's Curly Pudding to review. I am such a whimp when it comes to trying out some products. Anywho, Tiffany went home and went to work to see how Miss Jessie's sizes up to her regular products and here's her review:

I tried the Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding...both the unscented (I bought it awhile back) and the regular one you gave me. I started with a clean head of hair, freshly shampooed and conditioned. I placed my hair into four sections, two in the back and two in the front. I placed the unscented version on the right side of my hair, and the original on the left side. I started working the curly pudding through each section. I didn't use a leave in underneath because I knew that my leave in wouldn't work well with the curly pudding. It would have resulted in a gooey mess! Plus, I wanted to see how the product worked on its own. After applying the product to each section of my hair I diffused my hair. I'm a big fan of diffusing because my hair literally takes 3 full days to air dry! And sometimes I'll still find damp spots. I just can't wait that long for my hair to dry. Once my hair dried it didn’t look terrible...but its certainly looked better using cheaper products!

The curly pudding did provide curl definition. But my hair curls without any products being added so curl definition isn't a big deal to me. The shine in my hair was very noticeable. My hair had movement. The curly pudding held my curls, but not so much that my hair didn't move. I like that because I enjoy my hair bouncing around!

My hair felt very coated, so I washed it out the very next morning. I wasn't heavy handed with the product either. I didn't feel like my hair looked good the next morning. Which also led to me washing it out.

The unscented version smells like glue. The original version has a grape smell, which is slightly overwhelming. Overall, I wouldn't use the Curly Pudding again. I can get much better results with cheaper products. I do have the Silkening Stretch Cream. I plan on using that in the near future.