February 27, 2010

Bethann Hardison: Editor-at-Large for Vogue Italia

I'm so excited to hear the news that Bethann Hardison has been named Editor-at-Large for Vogue Italia! She was the first black sales woman in the Garment District of New York and has pushed tirelessly to have diversity within the fashion industry.

With the success of the All Black Issue which hit news stands in July 2008, the demand to see Black models in print and on the runway has grown. Vogue Italia has also just launched Vogue Black, which is dedicated to Black models and issues in fashion.

I am so proud of Bethann Hardison, I know she will bring fresh and vibrant ideas all while highlighting our beauty.

February 25, 2010

The Problem With Afrocentrism

Afrocentrism objectively is ideas based in furthering issues centered on Africa. It sounds progressive as a abstract idea that will assist people of African descent to achieve some semblance of equality and representation on the world stage so that our issues can be heard and viewed as world issues.

During Black History Month I haven't seen anything that has leaped out at me and screamed "its Black History Month" so I actually have to remind myself day to day what this month represents to me. Afrocentrism sounds great on paper but off of paper that is where it falls apart.

Anyone that has read Nu Kynk has an idea of the kind of person I am and what I view as important and placing people of African descent above all others isn't one of them. Afrocentrism calls a person to embrace the past and cultivate an anger that is not their own and than use that as a vehicle to progress legitimate issues surrounding race and inequality. It uses the Us Verses Them argument to make points that are no longer valid.

I have always believed that their are good and bad among every race and that corruption, greed, and hate is not just a characteristic of one race but of people among all races. Afrocentric ideas elevate the Black man and woman to 'gods' and uses melanin as the power to be like 'the gods' and to tune into 'your third eye.' People who are not familiar with these teachings may be either laughing or opening their mouth trying to make sense of what they just read, so let me say this: its not a secret that many people of African descent view their physical attributes as the closest to 'god' in the living flesh.

How do I explain to my White colleagues at work this viewpoint or my East Indian friends or my friends who identify as Black but have White grand parents or a White parent? How do you explain such ignorance?

When a people are suppressed and abused to the extent we have been we find layers to clothe ourselves and bandage those wounds that have cut through many generations and sometimes we hurt ourselves in the process. We hurt who we are and tell ourselves a lie to make that wound seem as a badge of honour, like "I took this one for my people."

We have codes among ourselves that I wont air at this time, simply put when I see a Black man or a Black woman at work, in the grocery store, or at the bus stop, "I get it!" We can look into each other's faces and know what the story is, no words needed many times, we all understand the struggle, and to say there is no struggle is reckless. What is the truth is that we all find a path to happiness, some of us marry outside of our race, some of us take a career path that may raise eyebrows among some or conjure statements like "I don't have time to be educated in this White man system" and many of us want to be comfortable in our skin and that means many times not "taking one for my people," because my people to me is my family and close friends and not a random person on the street.

Their is so much to understanding the power structure of this world that I won't get into it, I will say this though, power from my observation is not racial. A Black man can be corrupted as easily as a White man and both can do unspeakable things in the name of spreading an empire. The difference is that one has been given more longevity in modern times and has racked up a horrid record that speaks to all corners of the Earth. Power needs a host, it needs a willing participant that will entrust corruption to meeting the end result. Hearts and minds are won by spirit and not by the colour of skin.

Product Review: Karen's Body Beautiful Juicy Shampoo Bar

When I first got the Karen's Body Beautiful Juicy Shampoo Bar I was intrigued by the chalk-like appearance and the feel of the soap and tried it within days. I would like to note that the photo used which is located on Karen's Body Beautiful website doesn't reflect how the Juicy Shampoo Bar actually appears, their is no herbs embedded in the soap, it is just an off-white solid colour.

This shampoo bar has a low to medium lather and has a sweet-milk-like scent to it if that makes any sense. The coating on the soap which resembles chalk dissipates as you use the soap and is pretty soft in texture so leaving this soap in your shower shouldn't be an option, I would recommend storing it in a cool dry place to preserve it.

I found the soap was okay and wasn't necessarily thrilled by the results. As long as a shampoo cleanses my hair without stripping or causing my hair to frizz than I'm good. It took me a little while to really work up a lather and than to try to concentrate it on my scalp. I really had to work it in and missed a few spots on my scalp so my scalp wasn't completely clean. I think this happened because I'm not a big fan of shampoo bars especially low lather ones that I need to rub vigorously into my hair and scalp.

Performance: This is a low to medium lather bar, I would say this depends on the texture and density of your hair as to the kind of lather you may get. It worked okay and left my hair soft and my coils still clumped. 2/2

Price: For the results I got this shampoo bar is over priced in my estimation, 12.00 USD for 3-4 ounces, wow! 0/2

Ingredients: Purified Water, Saponified Olive, Coconut and Safflower Oils, Jojoba Oil, Shikakai & Amla Herbs, Apple Cider Vinegar & Panthenol 1/1

Karen's Body Beautiful Juicy Shampoo Bar 3/5

Current Products

Main Products

Organic Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Shampoo
Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner (leave-in and deep conditioner)
Aubrey Organics Rosa Mosqueta Conditioner (leave-in and deep conditioner)
Aubrey Organics GPB Conditioner (strengthening deep conditioner)
Hellmann's Mayonnaise (cholesterol treatment and detangler when mixed with EVOO)
Shea Butter
Qhemet Biologics Amla Oil Nourishing Pomade
Darcy's Botanicals Coconut & Capuacu Butter Pomade
Kiss My Face Upper Management Styling Gel
Castor Oil
Avocado Oil
Extra Virgin Oilve Oil
Neem Seed Oil
Kinky Curly Curling Custard
Kinky Curly Knot Today

Infrequently Used Products

Nature's Gate Hemp Conditioner
Nature's Gate Herbal Conditioner
Nature's Gate Henna Conditioner
Elasta QP DPR-11
Elasta QP Creme Conditioning Shampoo (old formula)
Kiss My Face Big Body Shampoo & Conditioner (may not repurchase)
Peppermint and Rosemary EOs


HoneyFig Brand Mama Shea Shampoo/Soap Bar
Jane Carter Solution Products
Kiss My Face Hold Up Easy Hold Styling Mousse
Herbal Essences Hydralicious Reconditioning Conditioner (purple)
Aubrey Organics B-5 Design Gel
Taliah Waajid Enhancing Herbal Conditioner

As you can see a lot has changed over the past year, I'm using more versatile products I can get from my kitchen and have tried to embrace more natural and organic products. Some products I retired because their was no use for them in my routine. It is not that the products were not good and effective it's just their wasn't any need for them anymore. Right now I am looking for the perfect mousse or setting lotion for my hair and am excited to try the Kiss My face Hold Up. Another one that I am anticipating is HoneyFig's Mama Shea Shampoo/Soap Bar! It looks and feels so delish.

Concerning my pomades, I have to admit if I had to choose one I would definitely go with Qhemet Biologics, again its not about which one is better it comes down to preference and I just love the texture of the Qhemet Amla Oil Nourishing Pomade and how my hair absorbs it and yet gives a natural hold.

Currently, I am testing out Jane Carter Solutions products and will get the reviews up in the coming weeks, other than that I'm enjoying my coils and kynks:)

February 24, 2010

Are You Killing Your Coils?

Over the past year I've noticed a lot of people talking about how healthy their hair is once they stopped using heat on a regular basis, started doing low manipulation hair styles, and sticking to products that always do them right.

Than I started thinking, wow, so maybe some of us are damaging our hair and than complaining our hair doesn't grow and that their isn't anything on the market that will moisture or deep condition our hair like we wish many products would. So, are we killing our coils?

Are we unnecessarily doing things to our hair that causes damage which will alter our natural texture and than we think it is just our natural hair texture when in fact we ourselves are the culprits. Their are some basics that never fail: leave your hair alone, keep your routine simple, style with low manipulation in mind and use products that have very few if any toxins or synthetic ingredients like silicones, and petro-chemicals.

I have seen women perplexed as to why their hair 'won't grow' and why is it so dry when they rarely deep condition, skip on moisturizing, and find it a bother to protect their hair at night and wear protective hair styles during the day. Each of us have different needs, and some of us need to deep condition more than the next person, so just do it, your hair will thank you. Natural hair care is more so a mind set, its based in how we perceive our hair. If any women with natural hair thinks that using heat on a weekly basis and skipping on deep conditioning is great than unfortunately your hair will suffer.

We watch videos where people discuss the 'next big thing' when our hair is fine with what we are already using. I recently saw a woman who purchases a lot of different product lines and is always trying something new discuss bald spots in her hair and was perplexed as to why it was happening. Our hair is fragile and even when we use natural hair products that have plants extracts and herbs that may clash when a new product line is introduced to our hair, which in turn can cause adverse reactions to our hair and scalp. Plant and herbs are so much better than chemicals but they can damage our hair and scalp if not used properly or in ignorance.

Also, their are people allergic to coconuts, tea tree, peppermint and citrus fruits and must stay away from these both topically and internally. Another example is on You Tube I saw a lady discussing how baking soda when added to her conditioner ruined her natural hair.

What happened to cleanse, condition, moisturize and oil? These steps are simple. What happened to just loving our coils and kynks, and not fighting them? Their is so much information out their about our hair but having a foundation of healthy hair care will always do you right if you decide to try something new. Don't ruin your coils, liberate them and love them as yours.

Kiss My Face Upper Management Styling Gel VS. Aubrey Organics B-5 Design Gel

Since the summer of last year I've been using Kiss My Face Upper Management Styling Gel and I love it! It gives great hold to my edges (not too hard and not to light), it doesn't flake and is versatile that if I want to change hair styles it moves well in my hair without causing breakage. I personally think this gel is a classic and know that a lot of different hair textures have had success with it, plus its easily available and affordable. When I use gel I always base my hair with a dab of shea butter or a pomade like Qhemet Biologics Amla Oil Nourishing Pomade, than I apply the gel to my edges.

A few months ago I thought about trying out the Aubrey Organics B-5 Design Gel and have been trying it out for the past month. It is a light hold gel that flakes and always leaves a white crispy film on my edges when it dries, yuck! The Mandarin Magic Gel from Aubrey Organics also did this. I don't know how this gel will react in my hair if I 'work it in' than just applying it on my edges.

A few people have said it gives them a light hold and great manageability. Light hold has never been an issue for me and I have products that give me manageability if I need it. I visited cosmeticdatabase.com and was happy to see that the Kiss My Face Upper Management Styling Gel was rated a 1 while the Aubrey Organics B-5 Design Gel was rated a 2. Their isn't much difference in the rating which is my point, they are very low in toxins and am very happy to see that.

In my opinion the Kiss My Face gel is superior to the B-5 gel by Aubrey Organics. It is thicker in texture, and doesn't flake or leave any film on the hair or skin. If you are looking for a all around reliable gel this one is a good place to start.

I think this is a clear example that not everything made by one company will work for you, with certain products you may need to mix it up a little.

As the months get warmer I'm going to try the B-5 Design Gel as a light moisturizer and styling agent all throughout my hair and will give updates.

February 21, 2010

Model Moment: Adama Diallo

Adama Diallo was Born January 1991 in Senegal. She has done print for Harper's Bazaar and iD Magazine to name a few and recently did a print ad for Paul Smith. To view more of her portfolio visit her at Elite Paris Model Management here.

February 18, 2010

HoneyFig: Nurture Hope For Haiti

Nurture Hope for Haiti

By now we are all familiar with the devastation, that had occurred in Haiti and the ongoing struggle for normalcy, which has eluded Haitians. HoneyFig would like to do our small part to offer hope, particularly to the children and the elderly whom have been displaced as a result of this tragedy.

Join us at HoneyFig, on February 20th, from 4pm to 8pm, for a fun night of mingling and sharing; all in support of Haiti. Please see the attachment for further details, about this event.

There will be 3 ways you can give:

  1. During the entire month of February, when you shop at HoneyFig, five percent (5%) of the total sale to will go to UNICEF Canada. And to thank you for participating, HoneyFig will in turn deduct the same amount on all purchases. This is an additional reason to shop!
  2. Raffle tickets will be sold, for your chance to win some fabulous prizes: from Dinner & a Movie, to Jewelin’ it up and some other lovely prizes. Please bring cash or your check book for raffle tickets, as these are direct contributions to UNICEF.
  3. UNICEF Pledge forms will also be available for those who wish to make donations. Tax receipts can be mailed out to contributors, for donations over $25.

Please feel free to RSVP by Feb. 15th to email@honeyfig.com, by simply adding ‘Nurture Hope’ to the subject line.

We would like to thank you in advance for extending hope to those in need, in Haiti.

The HoneyFig Team

HoneyFig . 4967 Yonge Street . Toronto, ON . M2N 5N6 . 416 226 2100 . email@honeyfig.com

Please keep in mind the HoneyFig event Nurture Hope For Haiti on February 20th @ 4 PM to 8 PM. 5% of all sales will go toward UNICEF and an additional 5% will be deducting from your purchase, all proceeds go toward assisting Haiti!

February 11, 2010

Alexander McQueen Dead at 40

I am shocked right now...fashion designer Alexander McQueen was found dead early this morning in his London apartment. Right now their is no official cause of death but media sources say his death may be the result of an apparent suicide.

McQueen's fashions has been featured on Nu Kynk numerous times. I absolutely think he was a genius when it came to designing beautiful and memorable clothing. I extend my condolences to his family and friends.

February 10, 2010

Swanson Premium Brand Castor Oil

As most of you know I love Castor oil, especially in the winter months. It is an amazing humectant, sealant and skin softener. My experience with various types of Castor oil has been pretty much the same. We all have a preference as to which brand or type of Castor oil we prefer but over the years I have not noticed any significant difference in my hair when I compared one brand of Castor oil I bought to another.

I recently bought Swanson Premium Brand Castor Oil and was surprised as to similarities it has to Jamaican Black Castor Oil. It smelled very similar and has the same consistency (not to thick), the only difference is the Swanson Premium Brand is lighter in colour. Both the Jamaican Black Castor Oil and the Swanson Premium Brand gives me the same results. The Swanson brand was 4.99 for 16 fl oz while the Jamaican Black Castor Oil was 20.00 CAD for 8 fl oz when I purchased it last year. That means that I can get four 16 fl oz bottles of the Swanson brand for the same price as one 8 fl oz bottle of the Jamaican Black Castor which is a little disturbing.

Isn't Castor oil, Castor oil? I understand supply and demand but hype can do crazy things to pricing. Alot has been said about the unrefined state of Jamaican Black Castor Oil, it packs nutrients for our hair and scalp more so than regular Castor oil but from my experience I just don't buy into that idea all the way. Getting a reliable high quality Castor oil is possible if you do some shopping and compare brands, its not all about the hype.

Beauty 2.0

Our beauty is enhanced by our natural hair. It is a natural beauty that is more diverse and holds the ability to express ourselves so easily. Whether we twist, braid, comb coil or roller set our hair we can express our selves in so many ways without having the prototype of the 'typical black girl' chained to us. We can finally play in our hair and not feel bound to a standard that is unrealistic.

The apprehension felt by women contemplating what they are going to do once they embrace their natural hair is many times rooted in the question 'what am I going to do with it?' I always respond in my mind 'anything you want.' When we release our selves from relaxing our hair we discover the true beauty of our hair. The myth that our natural hair growth has to be 'tamed' or 'trained' and that doing this was in of its self a natural process is wrong. Why do we need to manipulate our beauty? Why do we need to hide it under wigs and weaves because we want to 'let it rest' because the last relaxer burned our scalp or caused alopecia?

These thoughts are more than all of us having the choice to relax or to be natural, it is more so about our health and the degenerate image of women of colour that has been paraded through the media which in turn skews the true image of who we are. The proof is in the fact that slowly more and more women with darker skin tones and natural hair are being featured in commercials, film, television and print ads. We celebrate this because we all know that this was not a reality a few years ago. We celebrate that we see ourselves in the media because the images portrayed were unrealistic and placed their to maintain the status quo of what beauty is.

Welcoming the world to the natural you is a journey, it is worth all the time and effort you put into it. Showing the world who you are and not trying to fit a mold of any prototype is you accepting you.

I sometimes wonder what type of person I would have been if I continued relaxing my hair, I don't think I would be conscious of many harmful ingredients in hair care products and foods. I think I would just continue thinking this is the only way and not see an alternative, and this is what scares me. I'm actually scared when I think about not realizing the lye...

February 8, 2010

Why Aubrey Organics...

I chose to switch back to Aubrey Organics after some research and finally figuring out how to use their products to best benefit my hair. Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Shampoo and Conditioner along with the GPB Conditioner and Rosa Mosqueta Conditioner boast amazing ingredients.

When I first tried to use the Honeysuckle Rose Shampoo and Conditioner two years ago I went about it wrong. I tried to use the conditioner as a co-wash, bad idea. The conditioner is so thick and moisturizing it is incapable of cleansing anything out of my hair and that is why I felt like it "wasn't doing anything" in my hair. Around that time I was also testing out the no-poo method which didn't work out for me. The conditioner works best in my hair as a leave-in when used sparingly, I love the moisture it adds to my hair along with shea butter. I also use it as a deep conditioner by mixing an oil of my choice along with honey or molasses. I get amazing results, other than that when I try to use it a different way I don't get the same benefits this amazing conditioner can offer.

The shampoo was also being used the wrong way. I did research on the use of this shampoo and found out it is a low lather shampoo and you only need a little concentrated on your scalp and than messaged down the length of your hair for it to effective. That means all those times I was piling tons of the shampoo on my hair for it to lather meant that I was stripping my hair of natural moisture and oils, I was using too much. That explains why my hair felt so dry when I usied it two years ago. Now, I only use about six to eight quarter sized dabs throughout my hair and scalp, let it sit for about a minute, message it in a little while allowing the shampoo to cover the entire length of my hair, than rinse.

Both the shampoo and conditioner are concentrated so you only need a fraction of the product compared to commercial brands, especially the shampoo.

On cosmeticdatabase.com the Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Shampoo and Conditioner are both rated a 3, while Kiss My Face Big Body had a rating of 6. I'm not knocking Kiss My face, I'm simply stating a fact. Kiss My Face has amazing Soaps, lotions and hair care products, it comes down to personal choice and lifestyle and Aubrey Organics shampoos and conditioners mostly contains less toxins than Kiss My Face hair care products.

I will be doing a face off between Aubrey Organics B-5 Design Gel and my favourite gel, Kiss My Face Upper Management Styling Gel.

February 7, 2010

Product Review: Karen's Body Beautiful Roll On In Vanilla Latte

I was excited to try the Karen's Body Beautiful Roll On in of course Vanilla Latte. This compact oil based roll on really packs a lot of fragrance and its all natural! I put some on my wrists and on my neck and my mom was like "I smell vanilla, it smells good" and we were about three feet from each other which is great, you don't have to be concerned if people around you can smell it, they will!

Karen's Body Beautiful carries the Roll On in 11 fragrances including Egyptian Musk, Creamy Coco Mango, and Pomegranate Guava. The scent lingers for a few hours which means that if you intend to wear it on a daily basis you may have to apply it multiple times throughout the day to maintain the strength of the fragrance. I don't mind that the scent settles and looses some of its strength, to me it makes the fragrance more intimate and its an all natural oil based fragrance so this is expected.

Performance: The fragrance lingers for a hours and is settles very nicely. The scent isn't too strong but in my opinion just right. 2/2

Price: .3 oz for 12.00 USD, the price point is a little high but it does come down to the uniqueness of the fragrance which would be hard to come by with another company. 1.5/2

Ingredients: Fragrance and/or Essential Oil and Jojoba Oil 1/1

Karen's Body Beautiful Roll ON 4.5/5

February 6, 2010

Naturally Loved: Part Sixteen

Rising above the comments of others is a true testament to your character and the strength you hold. It is invaluable to have this trait in life. You can use this power to overcome negative influences and cluster among people who see life through positive lenses and connect ideas to see opportunity where others see obstacles.

Embracing your natural hair opens you up to perspectives on life that may have been hidden from you. You may have thought that most people see our hair in a similar light but may have been in awe at the thought processes of people who view your experience from an outside lens or who actually have highly textured hair like yourself but has not yet reached the level of understanding that you have regarding your hair and to a larger extend beauty.

Over the past week I have worn my loosened twists which I set each night into chini-bumps to maintain the set throughout the week. I've gotten stares at work and a few comments of 'how cute' it looks. My hair is professional and it is acceptable. We can define who we are and can shape how people view us by our hair and how we carry ourselves. We have that power and much more. When you are comfortable with yourself people see that and have to respect who you are. If you experience negative comments usually it is because people wish they could be you or they wish they could have the spirit you have. They themselves are too afraid to break out of their shell and announce their true selves. Many people want to fit a mold and follow trends. Being natural is not a trend but a lifestyle, it you being you.

We can use our hair to start conversations about how we care for our hair, how it is a lifestyle and that you are not just going through a 'phase', this is you. Keep close to those who encourage you and avoid people who want to place you in a box for their own comfort. Your beauty is much more than that!

Happy Growing,


February 2, 2010

Sade: Soldier Of Love EPK

Sade's long awaited album Soldier Of Love will be released world wide of February 8th and in the United States and Canada on February 9th. This behind the scenes video really presents Sade's thought process of making music, she expresses herself so well. I love Sade and can't wait to get her album! To visit the official Sade site click here.

February 1, 2010

Techniques: Mayo & EVOO Hair Detangler and Reviver

My mother was the first to give me the idea of using mayonnaise as a cholesterol treatment. She used to use it in my hair when I was a child and it did a better job than all of the cholesterol conditioners she bought.

A few weeks ago I got an idea and decided to try mayonnaise and extra virgin olive oil together to detangle my hair by saturating my hair with the mixture, detangling with my wide tooth comb, and than rinsing and styling, no cleansing or shampooing. So far it has been two weeks since my last cleansing with Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Shampoo (I'll be revisiting soon) and I have no build up. I'm only using shea butter, avocado oil and my Qhemet Biologics Amla Oil Nourishing Pomade or Darcy's Botanicals Coconut & Capuacu Butter Pomade and some gel on my edges when necessary, my hair loves this weekly routine.

I mixed two heeping medium sized spoon fulls of Hellman's Mayonnaise and two ounces of extra virgin olive oil. I mixed with a spoon until the oil was absorbed by the mayonnaise. Than I sectioned my hair into three, one at the back and two from ear to ear at the front. I damped section by section with my spray bottle before applying the mixture. After saturating each section I detangled with my wide tooth comb which was so easy. Mayonnaise has amazing slip, coupled with the extra virgin olive oil the tangles just melted away.

I used a Goody Ouchless latex band to hold each ponytail and walked around my home for about thirty minutes allowing my hair to absorb as much of the mixture as it needed. I than rinsed thoroughly, applied Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner sparingly as a leave-in and while styling applied shea butter to each individual bantu knot. In the morning I loosened my bantu knots while they were slightly damp smoothed the length of each twist with Qhemet Biologics Amla Oil Nourishing Pomade and went to work, yes people I went to work like this and got so many compliments!

This technique used with the Mayo & EVOO Mixture is a detangler, cholesterol treatment and hair reviver all in one. My hair looked so lustrous in the morning and was sooo soft and well conditioned, the mixture really added moisture back into my hair. It is so easy to do, especially if you rarely shampoo. If you use all natural and organic products this is a great way to gently get rid of any build up. Mayonnaise contains lemon juice, salt and vinegar which are natural clarifiers but it also has a high level of oil and cholesterol from the eggs in it and also sugar which is a natural humectant, the eggs and sugar helps to moisturize and condition your hair. Hopefully, when you try this technique you too will get the amazing results I did. I definitely won't need my Nature's Gate conditioners to detangle or pre-poo with this great multi-purpose mixture.