May 3, 2010

Naturally Loved: Part Nineteen

Reliance on products instead of proper hair care techniques can get in the way of a healthy hair and scalp. We see so many products and companies directed to helping us achieve our favourite hair styles and want to try them out, I know sometimes I want to. Most times excess products in our routine can work against our hair instead of helping. To me simple is best and I have learned so much over the past two years. Just this past month I did a major trim and feel that I've done a second big chop even though my hair is about 6 inches at the longest sections.

When I first went natural I thought I needed to use heavy creams and butters to just make my hair feel soft and moisturized, I was wrong, conditioners, oils and a little shea butter go a long way! The new routine I'm trying out relies heavily on oils and conditioner to keep my hair moisturized with shea butter added throughout the week when my hair needs a moisture boost. I think the idea that our hair can be soft with the use of one to two products is still a fresh idea for some naturals who use many products throughout the week on there hair and scalp. Listen to your hair, it will tell you what it likes and dislikes. The process may take a while but the benefits outweigh a continued cycle of asking why hair is brittle, dry, breaking, and why your scalp is so itchy.

I've learned that our hair is reactionary, for example a person's hair suddenly becomes brittle because of a new product. The hair is telling the person that the product being used doesn't agree and to stop using it. Sometimes we need to take a step back and listen to our hair, use proper hair care techniques and use as few products as possible.

Happy Growing,


April 23, 2010

Loving Your Scalp

A healthy scalp is the foundation of healthy hair and growth. We can treat our hair like fine gold but it will be in vain if we have scalp issues. There are a few things we can do on a regular basis to keep our scalp in tip top shape and ward off any scalp issues that have disrupted our hair's growth process.

Buttering Your Scalp

This is a great way to nourish your scalp. Buttering your scalp as if using a pomade provides your scalp with a layer of protection, nourishment and alleviates any tightness or itching you may be experiencing. Great products to try is plain 'ole
shea butter, Qhemet Biologics Amla and Olive Heavy Cream, Qhemet Biologics Burdock Root Butter Cream, Sweet Nature By Eddie Dream Cream Moisturizer and Jane Carter Solution Nourish & Shine.

Natural butter based products and butters like shea butter will naturally melt into your scalp from your body heat, so enjoy!

Neem Seed Oil and Cayenne Pepper

This mixture is one of my favourites. I use about an ounce of neem seed oil with a quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper mixed in. I message into my scalp for about ten minutes, cover with a conditioning cap and rinse before styling. Cayenne pepper is a natural stimulant and neem seed oil is very nourishing to the scalp.


Water is essential to maintaining all around hair and scalp health. Drinking plenty of it and misting your scalp with water will help alleviate scalp issues. If you want a more nourishing water based refresher and light moisturizer try
Darcy's Botanicals Herbal Tea Leave-In Conditioning Spritz, Oyin Handmade Nourishing Herbal Leave-In(s), and Qhemet Biologics Karkady Tea Replenishing Mist.


Ridding your scalp of build up and dirt is very important to keep your scalp healthy. Build up clogs follicles and can manifest as scalp issues such as flaking, soreness and itching. Try
Aubrey Organics Green Tea Clarifying Shampoo or a natural remedy like a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water. The ACV mixture should sit on your hair for two or more minutes to be effective.

Oiling Your Scalp

We all know the joys of oils. I love
Avocado Oil, Neem Seed Oil and of course Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Oils act as natural lubricates that are packed with vitamins and minerals to help heal and maintain the health of your scalp.

Condition, Condition, Condition

Using the right conditioner for your hair will assist the health of your scalp by making the roots more pliable and moisturized. This will also assist the length of your hair maintain moisture and retain length. I love kitchen fixes like
Mayonnaise and Extra Virgin Olive Oil mixed together as my cholesterol treatment, leave on for an hour and rinse.

Get Your Greens

Eat as much green leafy vegetables as possible, the darker shade of green it is the better. I love kale, spinach, rapini, broccoli and green beans. These vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals that aid your body in healing, promoting healthy skin, nails and healthy hair growth and digestion.

Get Active

Regular physical activity promotes sebum production and helps your body including the scalp to rid it self of toxins!

Messaging Your Scalp

I message my scalp once to twice a week. This helps circulation which promotes growth. Some people also "scratch" their scalp as a way to stimulate growth and to loosen dirt and build up. (I'll explore this soon)

These are some ways that we can all attain and maintain a healthy scalp. Without a healthy scalp we won't attain healthy hair.

April 5, 2010

Critique: Mahogany Queen's Honey Coconut Shea

I had the opportunity to try out Mahogany Queen's Honey Coconut Shea which is a moisturizing hair cream. According to Mahogany Queen it can also double as a skin moisturizer. The texture of the cream is somewhat like a custard with a medium texture (not too thick and not light). The Honey Coconut Shea has a distinct lemongrass scent that lingered after I applied it to my hair and the scent reminded me of Carol's Daughter Hair Milk ... (smelling it again) ... it smells just like Carol's Daughter Hair Milk.

When I first emulsified the cream between the pads of my fingers it melted quickly and at first was quite oily. Within ten minutes the majority of the cream absorbed into my hair and the oiliness became minimized. I see multiple uses for this cream, using it as a pre-poo treatment, a deep conditioner and as a daily light moisturizer would be fun to play around with.

Ingredients: shea, coconut oil, coconut cream, honey, avocado oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, apricot kernel oil, extra virgin olive oil, essential oil fragrance

Shea butter is the first ingredient listed along with honey not far behind which I found quite interesting. I can see the reasoning behind this choice since there are many naturals who avoid vegetable glycerin because of the drying effects it has on their hair. The honey added a stickiness to my hair and hands, now this works two ways in my hair. The stickiness from the honey can help to slick down my hair but can also attract build up on my hair and scalp, so it comes down to how do you wear your hair and how do you maintain it; do you wash frequently, do you go to the gym on a regular basis, do you wear your hair in loose styles, etc. All the variables any natural can come up with will determine how any product will work in their hair.

Amazingly, this product brought me back to the results I got from Qhemet Biologics Olive & Honey Hydrating Balm, the feel in my hair and on my hands was the same and so was the level of oil absorption from my hair of the product. This product is open to so many possibilities and I can't wait to see what Mahogany Queen will come up with next.

To place your order and see more of Mahogany Queen visit her at the following sites:

April 4, 2010

Naturally Loved: Part Eighteen

Over the past few weeks I've been playing around with a number of products and I am so happy to see the diversity of the brands coming out with hair and skin care products focused toward women who want a more natural alternative. In March Jane Carter Solution, Curls and Miss Jessie's started to be carried in Target and I am hoping all these companies have success and more natural/organic brands are welcomed into mass retailers, Wal-Mart anyone?

This progress tells me that natural based products are not just a fad but a new perspective on beauty products that I think is here to stay. Retail brands like TRESemme introduced their NATURALS line, L'oreal has already introduced their EverPure and EverStrong lines of sulfate free shampoos, conditioners and styling products, and Pantene has also introduced their Nature Fusion Line. I will say that most of these companies are 'trying' to meet the demand of having relatively good ingredients, great results while still maintaining a retail price tag. I think that although the ingredients in these products are still not the best for our hair the idea has been planted and is beginning to birth results that we can see.

It is an experience to see a relatively small hair care company grow year after year and than start to become mainstream. I live in Canada so I am unable to witness Jane Carter Solution in Target as yet, as well as Curls and Miss Jessie's. The core of my support for these companies is that they are Black owned, and who best to make products for our hair? Us of course!

Happy Growing,


March 30, 2010

Erykah Badu: "Window Seat"

Erykah Badu's first music video from her new album "Window Seat" was shot guerrilla-style on March 17th in Dallas at Dealey Plaza where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The cast of the video being people unaware what was happening as she undressed while walking were clearly caught off guard (I love the scene of the guy running behind her picking up her clothes).

Currently, the Dallas police are investigating whether to charge Ms. Badu with indecent Erykah.

New Amerykah Part II: Return Of The Ankh is available for purchase today, March 30th. Visit Erykah Badu here, I love Erykah so I'm not surprised at all, what do all of think about the hoopla surrounding this video?

********UP DATE*********
Erykah has been charged with indecent exposure. Lawd, let's wait and see what outfits she'll be wearing to court!

March 25, 2010

You Tube: Chescalocs'

I checked out this fun new vlog Loc'd Up Video Collab by chescalocs about locs and the strange things people do and say, love it! Visit chescalocs channel here.

Toronto Natural Bellas Gathering: Thank You!

From left to right: Faith, Natalie (me), Mona, & Tiffany

Faith - She won!!!

Sandra - She brought some great products for all of us to look at like Trader Joes which isn't in Canada as yet.

Mona - Always stylish, go girl!

Tiffany - I loved Tiffany's flat ironed hair, it looked so healthy and thick!

We need to definitely do this again and get the word out to all natural Bellas in Toronto that there is support out there to keep you motivated especially if you are a newbie. A few people didn't show up which was disappointing, I think it is important for all of to think of gatherings as important. It's a time for us to have fun, share stories, get motivated and get free products! Change starts with you and all of us that attended are more than happy to give you feedback on our experience through this journey.

A Story About Red Palm Oil

A few years ago right after by BC I was still searching for shea butter. I stopped by my local African beauty supply store to see what kind of shea butter they had. I saw some shea butter that looked okay and started talking to the sales lady about shea butter and how I'm going to use it in my hair. I continued to tell her I was going to try to whip the shea butter to make it soft and easier to apply to my hair and scalp.

Somehow during our exchange red palm oil came up, she told me that they use it in pine soup and to cook other dishes at which point I told her I tried it in my hair a few months ago and didn't like it because it was staining my pillow case. Her eyes became so wide and she looked at me shocked, she even called over the other sales ladies in the store so that they could hear me repeat what I said. I told them again that I used it in my hair as a light moisturizer and scalp lubricant but it stained my pillow case so I stopped using it.

At this point they looked mystified and wanted to know who had told me to use it in my hair and I said I saw some ladies online using it and bought some to try it out. Some of the women began to laugh and some just stood there looking at me with the expression of "really?" plastered on their faces.
These women were from Ghana and had never heard of such a thing. Oh well, I guess I schooled them on another use of red palm oil...

March 21, 2010

Model Moment: Sedene

Sedene Blake started modeling November of 2009 in New York and previously modeled in Jamaica for two years and already has solidified herself as a rising star and one to watch. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, the nineteen year old has proclaimed that she wants to be the "biggest model." She has already done shows for Jason Wu, Catherine Malendrino, Carolina Herrera, and Philip Lim to name a few.

Look out for her in Vogue Italia, Russian Vogue, W, Pop Magazine, Interview Magazine and Teen Vogue. To see more of Sedene please visit her at New York Model Management here and you can view her interview with Bethann Hardison at Vogue Black here.

March 20, 2010

Alek Wek Covers Elle South Africa

Alek Wek covers Elle South Africa for April 2010. She looks absolutely gorgeous!

Nightly Combing and Brushing / Plus The Silicone Debate

Over the past two weeks I've been combing or brushing my hair in sections before bed. I use a wide tooth comb or my Jilbere brush. I've noticed a difference in the fewer amounts of knots I get. Why do I think this is working for me?

My hair is very coily and curly. When my hair is left to its own devices it seems to coil in on it self and than knot. By combing or brushing my hair my ends stay elongated which prevents my ends from coiling in on themselves. I simply, lightly wet my hair each night with water using my spray bottle which reactivates the leave-in conditioner and moisturizer in my hair and use my wide tooth comb to detangle my hair, twist and than place in a bantu knot (chini-bump) for bed. This has worked very well and I will post a follow up. Every other night I use shea butter or my pomade on my ends to keep them moist while twisting.

The no-comb method seems to have caused more knots in my hair since I just 'leave my hair'. I probably detangle or comb/brush my hair four to five times a week. As long as my hair is well conditioned and moisturized my hair is fine. Also, the use of water or steam enables my hair to maintain a high moisture level. During my baths I allow the steam to do 'its thing' with my hair, sometimes I add avocado oil or I spray my hair while setting it for bed.

I have also stopped using products that have silicones and petro-chemicals since I think the silicones in products coat my hair than leads to dry ends which allows my ends to knot more easily. My ends knots excessively only when I use silicone based conditioners, so I stay away from them.

Conditioners That Are Silicone Free

Aubrey Organics
Kiss My Face
Nature's Gate
Dr. Bronners (Conditioner Rinse)

These are just a few brands that make exceptional conditioners for our hair needs that have no silicones added. Please read the Lustrasilk conditioners before purchasing, the best ones to use is the Shea Butter Cholesterol Plus and the Organic Cholesterol with Argan Oil (will review soon).

I will definitely go more in depth discussing silicones and our hair and the benefits of not using them if you are experiencing the same trauma after using silicone based conditioners.

March 16, 2010

Product Review: Dr. Bronner's Shikakai Soap and Hair Creme

I am so bad, I am always looking for amazing natural/organic products and am shameless about my addiction to finding them, hoarding them and declaring them to friends and family. This past Sunday I was driving around and thought to stop by the Big Carrot to check out some Dr. Bronner's products. I had a bad experience with the Pure Castile Soap so I was a little apprehensive about trying their other products. I pick up the Dr. Bronner's Magic ALL-ONE Organic Fair Trade Skikakai Soap in Lavender (mouth full) and the Dr. Bronner's Magic ALL-ONE Organic Fair Trade Hair Creme For Leave-In Conditioning & Light Styling in Lavender Coconut (another mouth full). I went straight home and got to work.

I washed my hair with the Shikakai Soap and fell in love, sorry Aubrey Organics, it was so sweet, literally. The soap taste like a sweet syrup which is good if it gets in your mouth. The sweetness is because of the high amount of white grape juice and organic sucrose in it and the scent is minimal so its good if you are sensitive to scents. My curls were popping, my hair stayed moist even after three washes and it thoroughly cleaned my hair. I don't think I've been this excited about a hair cleanser before. I truly love this product and I'm hooked.

Another good feature is that it comes as a pump bottle which allows you to use it in the bath/shower without worrying about spilling product. This soap can also be used as a face wash, body wash and I will be trying it out when I shave.

The Hair Creme which is a leave in conditioner and light styling product is another surprise! I love the subtle lavender coconut scent and absolutely adore the texture of this creme. This creme has major slip and makes detangling a breeze, it also adds a light amount of moisture to the hair, and aides in styling by giving a very light hold, I was able to slick down my edges with this creme along with some pomade and got a natural hold that I absolutely love. When I styled my hair it stayed in place without feeling stiff but very soft and moist. This product has been under the radar for a while, I haven't heard any naturals mention it and I'm happy I decided to try it out, this is another staple and will be my leave-in conditioner and styling aide, another amazing product!

Dr. Bronner's Magic ALL-ONE Organic Fair Trade Skikakai Soap

Performance: This product thoroughly cleaned my hair and scalp, please keep in mind I don't use silicone or petro-chemical based products so your results may vary. My curls were popping and my hair stayed moist even after three washes, it's a keeper! 2/2

Price: 12 ounces for 12.49 CAD, if you love this product its better to buy it online at 2/2

Ingredients: Organic Shikakai Extract (Organic White Grape Juice, Organic Sucrose*, Organic Shikakai Powder), Saponified Organic Coconut* and Olive* Oils, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Lavandin Oil, Organic Lavender Oil, Citric Acid, Vitamin E. *Certified fair trade by IMO. 1/1

Dr. Bronner's Magic ALL-ONE Organic Fair Trade Skikakai Soap 5/5


Dr. Bronner's Magic ALL-ONE Organic Fair Trade Hair Creme For Leave-In Conditioning & Light Styling

Performance: This creme acts as a leave-in conditioner and light styling product, I love it! A little dab goes a long way. The scent is subtle and I am able to get amazing manageability with my hair when I use this creme. It adds a high shine to my hair most likely because of the coconut oil and it doesn't make my hair feel sticky or crunchy, instead I get very soft hair that is easy to style. 2/2

Price: 6 ounces for 10.99 CAD, it's better to buy it online if this is a favourite of yours, visit 2/2

Ingredients: Water, Organic Coconut Oil*, Organic Ethanol (denatured with Organic Lavender Oil), Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Quillaja Extract, Tocopherols

Dr. Bronner's Magic ALL-ONE Organic Fair Trade Hair Creme For Leave-In Conditioning & Light Styling 5/5

March 13, 2010

Naturally Loved: Part Seventeen

Meeting up with other naturals to exchange stories about our journey and tips and tricks is so important to me. It helps us to encourage each other especially when we need to get over our 'humps'. In our daily lives we encounter people who have questions or wonder why we choose to not chemically alter the texture of our hair.

I have gotten a lot of compliments concerning my hair these past couple of weeks and I like to use these times to tell them how easy it is to care for natural hair. I was able to share with a few people the benefits of shea butter and showed them a sample of raw unrefined shea butter and they were in awe! Can you believe that? Sometimes I take these things for granted and yet their are people who have no clue as to how shea butter actually looks. Also, I met a few people who looked confused when I told them I use natural conditioners and cleansers in my hair like apple cider vinegar to help clarify my scalp. Alot of people still have misconceptions about natural hair care and are in the dark as to how to care for naturally curly, kinky, coily hair, this includes other women of colour that I spoke with recently.

The knowledge we posses about our hair is so precious, we need to share it with the younger generation and instill in them the importance of knowing how to care for their hair in its natural state. We need to support companies that use natural ingredients to make their products and do so with love because they experience what we experience about caring for naturally kinky hair. We need to support salons and hair dressers that know how to care for naturally kinky hair because they truly love the texture of their hair as much as we do. And we need to support businesses that embrace our hair texture because the person selling you the hair product has the same texture of hair like yourself. When we are able to incorporate these standards in to how we spend our money and time concerning our hair than we have created a foundation of support that will encourage us to know we made the right decision.

Happy Growing,


March 12, 2010

Vintage 'Fros: Nina Simone

Eunice Kathleen Waymon (February 21, 1933–April 21, 2003) also known by her stage name Nina Simone is a legend, her voice is in a category by itself and so is her music. Her style and embracing of her natural hair was forward thinking and ahead of many of her contemporaries. She truly represented our beauty.