Wednesday, June 22, 2011

So I'm not a mixtress right? Wrong!!! Whipped Shea Butter Creme

You know, I'm just going to stop saying what I won't do as a natural.  I remember a salon conversation I had with Taji where we were talking about how easy it is to make simple products at home.  I told her I'm not trying to be a mixtress, if I can find it at the store I'll buy it.  Let's see...since then I've made a styling cocktail with Curls Creme Brule and Aloe Vera Gel, I've made a moisturizing mist, I make a leave in conditioner, and now a whipped shea butter cream. 

I use this creme to set my twists and to seal my ends.  It also doubles as a great body butter.  It used naptural85's recipie and added lemongrass essential oils to it to mask the shea butter smell.  It keeps my hair very soft & my hair moistured so I really like it.

Ingredients Used

Recipie:  4 oz. raw unrefined shea butter, 1 tbs coconut oil, 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp castor oil, 1tbsp jojoba oil, 1/2 tsp vitamin E & I added lemongrass essential oil to give it a different scent than just shea butter.

Finished product in container

Consistency - very thick but creamy

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Recognizable Natural - Jill Scott

Ok, ok, before ya'll even start, I know Jill isn't rocking her natural hair anymore.  BUT, Jill rocked her natural hair fiercely for 20 years and was a beautiful inspiration to many of us who have chosen to go natural.  I'm sure she will go natural again one day but everyone is entitled to change, why shouldn't she? (Ok, stepping off of my soap box.)

Anyone who knows me well, knows that Jill Scott is my favorite neo-soul artist. I love the soufulness of her music, her unabashed love for our brothas, the positivity in her music, and the way she artistically makes us FEEL her music.  Jill was discovered by ?uestlove of the Roots while performing spoken word.  "You Got Me" was her first mainstream collaboration with the group.  Though Jill has gone on to act in several mainstream movies (Why Did I Get Married 1 & 2) and in an HBO series (The #1 Ladies Detective Agency), Jill Scott in my opinion most powerfully connects to her audiences through her own penned words in song and poetry.

Her latest studio album, "Light Of the Sun", will be released Tuesday, June 21st and you can bet that I will be stopping to pick it up on my way into work this morning. Though I am definately feeling the collaboration with Anthony Hamilton on "So In Love with You", my favorite song from her is "He Loves Me (Lyzel in E flat).  I truly hope to experience a love that powerful one day.  If you've never seen her live, here's a taste of a her at work below.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Hair of the Day - Twist Out

So after a week with my funky hair do by Taji, my hair was needing a wash.  So I did my cleansing and conditioning routine and decided I would do a flat twist protective style.  Well....let's just say THAT style didn't quite work out as planned.  But what it did do was stretch my hair.  So I untwisted the flat twists and proceeded to 2 strand twist my hair in medium sized twists all over.  What I used for this style was Jane Carter's Wrap & Roll, I then added my shea butter pomade, and Curls Goddess Curls Gel.  I added the Goddess Curls Gel because it claims a soft hold, that is good for humid climates and it is going to be in the 90's this week with greater than 60% humidity and over 70% dew points.  High humity + high dews = frizzy hair.

Check out the pictures below.  At the end of the week, i'll show you pictures on how the style held up with the weather.

Flashback:  My First Twist Out (01.21.2011)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Recap: NC Natural Hair Care Expo June 11, 2011

Lateshia Leathers, Cathy Wilkins  & sister

I attended my first ever natural hair expo yesterday.  I went for two reasons, one I was a model in the hair show, but also to check out the vendors and get information.  Because of the business of the day, I didn't get to attend any of the workshops, but I did hit up the vendors.  There were several in attendance that you might recognize like Shea Moisture, Huetiful Hairsteamers, and Sarenzo beads. The types of vendors ranged from natural hair care products, to jewelry, body care, t-shirts, and make up artists.  Of course there were food vendors as well!  What I loved about the expo was that I got to spend time with my friends like Lateshia, Armelia, Cathy, and Chetoca who all came out.  I did buy a few items.  I also loved the comraderie of the other natural sisters that were there.  One of my biggest surprises came when I met one of my subscribers, Purplgirl48!  She walked up to me after I finished modeling and introduced herself.  I really wanted to get a picture but didn't have my camera because my friends were getting shots of the hairshow for me.  Shout out to her and I hope that our paths cross again someday!

Check out the slide show below to see pictures of the vendors I spotted at the Expo and a few of the purchases I made.

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Recognizable Natural - Yvette Nicole Brown

Yvette Nicole Brown is an African American actress and comedianne.  She is most known for her secondary roles in a number of sitcoms and comedies.  Some of the roles you may have seen her in on television were on That's So Raven, Drake & Josh, and a current leading role on The Community on NBC.  She was in the the following movies, Dreamgirls, Tropic Thunder, Hotel for Dogs, The Ugly Truth, and The Repo Man.

A great friend of The View's Sheri Sheppard, she has just recently been announced as a bridesmaid in Sherri's upcoming nuptuals.  Yvette also has beautiful wavy, coily natural hair.  She typically wears her hair in its curly state in her acting roles.  Good for her!!!

Check out this brief the hair casually pulled up into a ponytail!

Curly Frohawk w/ Bantu Knots - Taji Natural Hair Styling Hair Show

Hair by Taji Shabu, Earrings by Sarenzo Beads

My stylist Taji, graciously asked me to be one of her models in the hair show that was featured at the NC Natural Hair Care Expo in Raleigh this weekend.  In preparation for my hair style, she shampooed & conditioned my hair and then lightly blew it out for a trim.  It's been 6 months since my big chop and I knew I had some split ends.  She also found a few single strand knots that she clipped.  Overall, she said my hair was in good shape.  I had 1 small section that was broken off so I need to be mindful of that area. 

She did small bantu on the sides and did comb coils down the middle creating a frohawk.  On the day of the hair show she untwisted the coils creating a curly look.  See the pictures from the style and the hairshow below.  (Special shout outs go to my friends, Armelia Brown & Lateshia Leathers for coming to support me in the hair show& take pictures while I was modeling.)

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

What I Learned 1st Year - My Perception

It's June 10th!  One year ago today, I decided not to use relaxers anymore.  Looking back a year later, it's so interesting that it was a reluctant decision.  I went natural out of necessity not because it was something that at the time I was really excited about.  And to think, the only reason why I was so reluctant was because I was afraid.  Afraid of what my natural hair would look like.  Afraid of how I would be perceived.  I think the biggest thing that I've learned is that natural hair is absolutely beautiful.  I've learned that I am still attractive with my natural hair.  I've learned that people still see me for the carefree, fun-loving woman I've always been.  I'm still taken seriously at work.  I've learned not everyone will love my natural hair and the way I choose to style it but that's ok, they have the right to their opinion as long as they are mindful of how they express it to me (insert 1 raised eyebrow - LOL).  I was recently asked if there was anything that I missed about being relaxed and I'm still trying to think of something.  I guess if it was anything, it would be length because my hair shrinks up A LOT.  But I know that over time with good maintenance, I will be able to style my hair in ways that shows it's true length. So I'm ok with that.

Not to be spooky deep (as my pastor likes to say), but because of this decision and my growing comfort of it, I have also decided to be truer to myself in every aspect of my life.  That means that the values, priorities, and issues that are important to me I will support and stand behind regardless of what the masses may think.  As long as at the end of the day, I can be proud of myself when I look in the mirror that's all that matters to me.

So's been a great year!  I realize my journey is really just beginning and I look forward to documenting it, every step of the way.

Check out the slide show below of the journey of my first year!

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

What I Learned My First Year - Expensive Products Are Not Required for Fab Hair!


Those who know me well know that I don't believe in wasting money.  Especially in this economy, I am looking for ways to conserve money where I can.  There are many great salon quality (and salon priced) products on the market for natural hair care.  I have also found that there are many comparable lower priced products on the market that do a wonderful job at caring for and maintaining my hair. 

Here are the products that I use consistently for the maintenance of my hair and their approximate prices:

Shampoo - Curls Creamy Curl Cleanser   $9.99
Detangling Conditioner - Herbal Essences Hello Hydration   @$5.00
Leave In Conditioner (base for my leave-in cocktail) - Giovanni Direct Leave In  @$7.00
Deep Conditioner - Butters-n-Bars Original Conditioning Mask  $8.00 (for 6 oz)
Stylers - Ecostyler Moroccan Argan Oil - $2.99 (on sale);  Curls Creme Brule  $10.99; Organic Raw Shea Butter $8.00; Miss Jessie's Curling Custard (free at product swap!); Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie $9.99
Oils/Other- EVOO, Castor Oil, Jojoba Oil, Coconut Oil, Tea Tree essential oil, sweet orange essential oil, lemongrass essential oil, peppermint essential oil. Range of prices, the most expensive being Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil $10.99

With these products, I am able to do all of my styles from wash & go's, puffs, flat twists, finger coils, and two strand twists.  I do know that product junkie -ism exists.  I have been successful in not succuming to the temptation to try every product out there.  However, these are products that I may one day treat myself to try:

Curl Junkie Curls in a Bottle  $18.00
Jessicurl Weekly Deep Conditioning Treatment $16.95 for 8 oz
Design Essentials Natural Curl Stretching Creme  $26.90 for 16 oz
Aveda Brilliant Anti-Humectant Pomade $19.00 for 2.9 oz (Imma tell you now I'm gonna be hard pressed to buy this one at this price)
Jane Carter Curl Defining Cream  $34.00 for 16 oz.
Ouidad Double Detangler  $24  - This is something I will eventually buy because of how coily my hair is.  I think it will help me detangle easier as my hair gets longer and help prevent split ends.

Good luck in your pursuit of finding the "holy grail" products that work specifically for you and your natural hair needs!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Lessons Learned 1st Year - Youtube & Natural Hair Blogs Are Your Friend!

As much as textbooks are to formal education, Youtube and natural hair blogs are to DIY natural hair care and maintenance.  Most of the information that I've learned I have gleaned from blogs I've read and Youtube videos that I've watched.  Hours upon hours of watching & reading that has paid off in the long haul.  I truly appreciate these women for spending their time creating these venues for us to learn!

Over the past year, there are some favorite Youtubers (or vloggers) that I've identified.  The ones listed below are for their product reviews/tutorials:

Kimmaytube - Natural hair education/retaining length
Deminpixie -  Product reviews
Dawnyele - Twist Outs

SimplYounique - Tutorials
BlackIzBeautyful (type 4 hair) - Tutorials

Keke52284 (type 4 hair) - Tutorials
br0nzeqt - Tutorials

The YouTubers below I personally like for hair/fashion/their comedic personality/or other topics they share:

The blogs I read most often are: (she's not currently blogging but she has some great info out there)

A lot of Youtube vloggers also have blogs, so I didn't list them but when you go to their channels you'll see their blog listed there as well.

I'm subscribed to about 50 YouTube channels but  didn't want to overwhelm you guys.  You may find others that fit your needs and what you're looking for, but I think this is a good start especially if you have very tightly coiled hair like I do.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Lessons Learned 1st Year - There's a Natural Hair Vocabulary?

One of the first things that I quickly learned as I started learning about natural hair care & maintenance was that there is a whole new jargon that exists in the natural hair community.  Here are some fo the vocabulary words/jargon that I learned my first year.

BC - big chop...cutting off all your relaxed hair, regardless of the amount of new growth
Transitioning - growing out your relaxed hair
No poo (co-wash) - the act of washing your hair with conditioner instead of shampoo.  It is supposed to prevent the stripping of natural oils from the hair
TWA - teeny weeny afro - a relatively compact afro
PJ - product junkie!  Someone who buys every popular product in search of the holy grail product
Moisturizing - the act of adding water to the hair
Sealing - trapping moisture (water) in the hair with oils or a butter like shea or cocoa
Slip - the slipperiness of a conditioner or detangler, the more slip a conditioner has the easier it is to detangle
Humectants - ingredients in hair products that help draw moisture from the air and into the shaft
Baggying - the method of coating the hair with conditioner and leaving it on ideally overnight but it can be left on for several hours
ACV Rinse - Apple Cider Vinegar rinse, used as a final rinse after cleansing the hair to close the cuticles
Essential Oils - Is a liquid that is distilled, usually by water or steam from the roots, leaves, or stems of a plant. They are very concentrated and should not be applied directly to skin.
Carrier Oil - These oils are used to dilute essential oils.  Some examples are olive oil, vitamin E oil or grape seed oils.
Braid out - When the hair is braided into individual plaits and then undone after setting resulting in a crimped effect on the hairTwo Strand Twists - When a section of hair is separated into two equal sections and then "twisted" around each other. 
Twist out - Undoing 2 strand twists for a wavy effect
Shingling - The application of gel or styling product to the hair by taking fingers and raking it through in sections, this helps to define and set your natural curl pattern
Wash & Go - the resulting hairstyle from shingling gel in your hair
Plopping - a technique for drying your hair where you pat your hair with a t-shirt instead of a towel, this reduces frizz
Dusting - trimming less than 1/4 inch of hair usually to remove split ends
Second day hair - a 2nd day hairstyle where the previously achieved pattern (via twist out, braid out or wash and go) remains and looks great with no major manipulation or recreation of the style
Shrinkage - The amount of length that is lost when hair dries in its naturally curly state
Stretched hair - A method of maximizing the hair's length by first setting the hair in twists or braids

This is not an all inclusive list but a few key buzz words that a newbie natural might be unfamiliar with.  Help me out natural veterans....If you can think of some others that I left off, please add them in the comments section.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Coming Up June 10th: My First Nappiversary!

There are many discussions about what constitutes one's natural anniversary date.  Some say it's the day that you started growing out your relaxer, while others say it's when you cut off your relaxed ends.  After thinking about it, I'm going to use the date of my last relaxer.  I'm using this date because it signaled for me a major transition in how I conducted my hair care. Honestly, once you decide to go natural, even though you have relaxed ends, you should start treating all of your hair as if it were natural. 

During this anniversary week I will be sharing things that I have learned during my first year being natural.  I hope the information will be more than just memories recollected for me, but also might help someone who is either thinking about going natural or newly natural.

Recognizable Natural - Rene Syler

You may remember Rene Syler from ABC's The Early Show.  The served as co-anchor there from 2002- 2006.  Rene made news herself when she was diagnosed with a pre-cancerous condition & with the knowledge that she was the child of two breast cancer survivors (her mom & dad both had the disease)she made the controversial decision to have a double masectomy as a preventative measure.

Renee is currently a sought after public speaker, the author of  The Good Enough Mother: The Perfectly Imperfect Book of Parenting, and a blogger of the blog,

In her natural hair story, she mentions that she had a bad relaxer after having asthmatic bronchitis and it caused her hair to start falling out.  She then made the decision to not put chemicals back in it.  It's been a little over two years and her carefree style looks great on her!

Check out the video of her 2 year growth journey below:

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Get Up, Get Active!

Did you know that your hair follicles are fed by your blood stream?  Exercising increases the flow of blood to your hair follicles. So working out is a good thing not only for your body but for your hair as well!  Talk about fringe benefits!  So in addition to your hair regimen of co-washing, shampooing & deep conditioning, add 30 minutes of good activity into your day. 

You don't have to go to the gym to do this.  You could walk your dog in your Princess & me below.

Some other things you can do is ride a bicycle around your neighborhood.  Play chase with your kids.  Take the stairs instead of the elevator at work.  Walk on your lunch break.  Jump rope.  Do a workout video at home.  Do Beyonce's "Let's Move!"  (SN:  I'm really feeling the tribute to salsa in this video!)

Also ladies,  I'm restarting my workout routine. The past two weeks I totally fell of the wagon.  So this post is as much to encourage me and it is to encourage you. I realize that working out also gives me more energy, helps me sleep better at night and improves my mood.  So I'm starting it up again for the 2nd time this year.   I had a great hour & a half workout this evening.  Working towards consistency!
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