Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Your Health or Your Hair? Working out with Natural Hair

So it's that time of year again. It's the beginning of the year, people have made New Year resolutions, and they have hit the gym to lose weight.  Well, some have. According to a new study published December 17th 40% of African American women avoid working out because of their hair.   Yet, 4 out of 5 African American women in this country are overweight or obese, the highest rate in the country according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.(source)

Being natural doesn't necessarily remedy this concern. No one wants to spend hours on a twist out to see it turn into a drawn up afro due the sweat of a hard workout & in the cold winter months walking out of a gym in the morning with a wet head is a no-no.

Well never fear, I am here to help.

When I work out, I usually wear my hair in 1 of 2 ways,

1. In twists, pulled back into a ponytail (for my morning workouts)

Twists pulled back

2.  Pulled back into a curly puff (for my workouts after work) -
I retwist my hair everynight anyway, so I don't lose any definition.

This isn't before a workout but it's the same look.
After my workout in the morning, I just blow dry my roots on a low heat setting, untwist my hair and go.  I recently heard about the Bondi Band from Chescalocs and decided to give them a try.  I bought 2 for me and 2 for my bestie Christina who walks/runs with BlackGirlsRun in the San Fran Bay area.  (Hey girl!)  Her hair is relaxed.  So we'll both report back to let you know how well the wicking qualities of this product is & if it helps maintain our respective hairstyles longer.

Nonetheless, we can no longer sacrifice our health for our "look".  There are things we can do to maintain our hairstyle and take care of our health.

What steps are you taking to maintain your hair while working out?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Recognizable Natural: Teyona Parris

Teyona Parris took the 2013 SAG awards by storm in her one shouldered, Monique Lhuillier gown last night, but it was her gorgeous natural hair soft up do that had the natural hair lovers commenting on all forms of social media Monday morning.  Teyona is best known for her role as Dawn,  Don Drapers' secretary on the Emmy award winning Mad Men.  Her face may be strike you familar though as she has been seen in numerous commercials including this one from last year, when McDonald's was promoting their 20 piece McNugget menu item.

Check out these gorgeous shots of her at this year's SAG awards.  I would love to have this soft updo recreated on my hair for a formal event.  Her hair was styled by celebrity stylist, Felicia Leatherwood.

Felicia provided details on how this style was created and was featured on Essence Online today.

exerpt from their interview:

  • I washed the hair with Dr. Miracles Conditioning Shampoo ($6, Dr. Miracles)
  • Before blow drying the hair, I used Lawrence-Ray Concepts Leave-In Conditioner ($18.90) & Hair Polish Serum ($22.80, Lawrence-Ray Concepts) as my heat protectant.
  • After blowing the hair out, the next step was to section the hair to start the fold and tuck. I separated the hair into four sections.
  • For the first section at the nape of the neck, I ponytailed and folded under and tucked it with a closed hair pin, then I proceeded to the next section, moving up the back of the head and repeated the same.
  • When we got closer to the sides, I used Hick's Total Transformation Edges ($15, Amazon) to smooth down edges and continued folding and tucking each section.
  • The front/top of the hair was divided into three parts and folded with Entwine Exotique Butter Creme Hydrator ($29, Ave You).
  • I used my figures to roll the hair and get it smooth.
  • Lastly, I finished the look with Lawrence-Ray Concepts Seal-It Firm Holding Spray ($15.60, Lawrence-Ray Concepts) & Fantasia IC Hair Polisher Mist ($7.50, for shine.

This hair is EVERYTHING!

At a SAG Pre-event Party - I would totally rock this dress.

Friday, January 25, 2013

2 Year Natural Hair Journey: My Staple Products

My Natural Hair Product Stash

After 2 years into this natural hair journey, I can honestly say I've tried not to become a product junkie, but I've done my fair share of experimenting to determine what works with my hair.  Here are my HG (holy grail) natural hair products and some of the honorable mentions if I can't get my hands on these products right away.

Shampoo - Elasta QP Creme` Conditioning Shampoo (HG) - Beauty supply store
                  Curls Creamy Curl Cleanser - Target

Deep Conditioner - Curl Junkie Curl Rehab Deep Conditioner (HG) (locally in Raleigh @ Nyenzo)

                              Aubrey Organics HoneySuckle Rose - Whole Foods

Moisturizer - Qhemet Biologics Burdock Root Butter Cream (HG)  (locally in Raleigh @Nyenzo)
                        KeraCare Butter Cream  - this also double as a styler b/c it has beeswax & emulsifying was in the ingredient list so it give a slight hold (local beauty supply store)
                       Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie (Target & Walgreens)

Leave in Conditioners - Koils by Nature Moisturizing Shealoe Leave In (HG)  Conditioner(
                                    Giovanni Direct Moisture Leave In Conditioner (Target & Whole Foods)

Stylers - Koils by Nature Herbal Soothing Curl Defining Gel in Peppermint (  This provides long lasting corkscrew definition twistouts.

Taji's Natural Hair Styling Aloe Jelly (Taji's Salon)  This provides a large chunky fluffy twist out.

Entwine Couture's Creme` Jelly Styler also provides a soft, defined, twist out.  It can be a little sticky though.

Heavy Gels - Ecostyler Olive Oil Gel for slicked up styles (Sallys, Beauty Supply store) &  Curls Passion Fruit Curl Control Paste for edges (Target)

Oils/Butters - Coconut (HG), Argon, Castor Oil, Koils by Nature Nourishing Hair & Body Butter

Have you discovered which products work on your hair?  Are you loyal to one brand or do you find use multiple brands?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Natural Hair Journey Year 2: My Cleansing & Conditioning Regimen & Staple Products

Photo credit
 One of the most important things you can do for your hair, whether relaxed or natural, is to create a regimen our routine which you follow to care for your hair.  Here is the regimen that I now follow for cleansing and styling my hair.  I do this every 7 - 10 days unless I have my hair in some type of cornrowed style or a style with hair added (ie. extensions).

1.  Prepoo & detangle
I have found that this step drastically reduces my detangling later on and preps my hair for cleansing.  I use water, castor oil & Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture conditioner in my detangling cocktail.  I don't sit under heat as some do.  To see this in action check out this video. 

2.  Shampoo (with a no sulfate shampoo)
After detangling, I leave my loose hair in 4 sections and shampoo each section focusing on the scalp and smoothing the cleanser through the hair.  I rinse each section, clamp out of the way and continue until the whole head is complete.

3.  Deep Condition
I apply the deep conditioner in sections, gently detangle and then break each section into 2 and create 2 jumbo twists.  After I finish, I don a plastic cap and apply my Hair Therapy Wrap for 30 minutes.  I love this thing because it's cordless which means I can clean up or otherwise move around while my hair is being deep conditioned.  I rinse my hair with cool water with my hair in the twists after my deep conditioning. 

4.  Apply leave in, sealant, and styling products
After deep conditioning, I apply my leave in product, oil to seal in the moisture, & then my styling product to each twist.  Because my hair is already in twists, it's still detangled and I can break those twists even smaller after these products are applied to style my hair in my go to style...the twist out.

5.  Moisturize As Needed
In the winter, I moisturize using the LOC method.  I lightly spritz with water, add my moistuizer, and then seal with my oil of choice before retwisting at night.  In the summer, I lightly spritz with my moisturizing mist, add my moisturizer and then seal with my oil of choice. 

6.  Trim Ends every 6 Months
I don't "dust" my hair, which is snipping the ends while in twists.  I really don't want to play with scissors in my hair.  If I have a single strand knot and I find it, I'll snip it with hair shears.  Otherwise, I leave my trims to the professionals.

This routine helps keep my hair moisturized, minimizes split ends,breakage, and helps me to keep my hair healthy!  Check out my next post which features the products that I use to keep my hair healthy and looking great!

What is YOUR healthy hair routine? 

NaturallyNita is a women's lifestyle blog.  After chronicling her natural hair journey 2.5 years ago, Nita realized that there were many other life journey's where she could share her lesson's learned with others.  This blog focuses not only on natural hair but also health/fitness, business, finances, spiritual & personal growth.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. thru Service

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is remembered for his numerous life passions:  a devoted husband, father, preacher, civil rights leader, scholar, orator, community organizer, etc.  One thing that can be said by all is that he lived a life of service to his country and his fellow man.  I would dare say that his life's work was not about getting any vain glory for himself, but to see all men treated equally regardless of the color of his/her skin. 

My outlook on volunteerism and service changed the year that I became involved in President Barack Obama's 1st election campaign.  I realized that I was donating my time and resources to a greater purpose than just me.  I realized that I was being a part of the changes that I wanted to see in my country.  Instead of just talking and complaining about it, I was using what I had to participate in the process. Since then, I've become a part of my church's community outreach ministry as have volunteered through my company to teach children in low or underperfoming middle schools.  I was being a part of the change I wanted to see in my community.  Instead of pitying the beggars on the street corner, I worked at the NC Food Bank & prepared meals for the homeless.  Instead of having conversations about the state of our urban youth, I went into schools in those communities and taught them skills that could provide them positive options for their future.

I must say, I've always had the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr holiday off of work.  In the past, I've used it as a day of relaxation and an extension to my weekend to do housework, or shopping or other errands.  This year was different though.  My cousin & I volunteered at the local Salvation Army Family Store for 3 hours, sorting donated clothes.   The Salvation Army Family Store supports many outreach programs by turning reusable goods into much needed funding. Proceeds generated by Family Store sales are used to give tangible assistance and offer hope to Wake County residents.  On the surface, donating our time to the Family Store may not have seemed to be significant, but through our donated time & the revenue generated because of it, families in need in the county that I reside will continue to receive services from this organization.  I would say it's time well spent.

My challenge today to my readers is to give some serious thought to adding volunteerism to a part of your life.  To quote Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr...."Everybody can be great...because everybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve.  You don't have to make subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace.  A soul generated by love."

And finally to quote a book both he and I love, the Bible.  "For you brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another."

Recognizable Natural: Myrlie Evers- Williams

Myrlie Evers-Williams as President Obama's 2nd Inauguration 01.21.2013

Myrlie Evers-Williams is the widow of fallen civil rights leader Medgar Evers who was murdered in front of their home in 1963. Since her husband's untimely demise, she has remained a driving force for civil rights continuing to work with the NAACP and establishing the Medgar Evers Institute.  She worked for 30 years to have just brought to her husband's killer and this occurred in 1994.  She is an accomplished author, scholar, skilled fundraiser and now fifty years after her husband's assassination,  she stands as the first laywoman to give the invocation at the Inauguration of a United States President.  Myrlie Evers-Williams is  a vivid example of how to take life's tragedies and use them to identify the purpose that defines your life.

Please see the video of the full invocation below:

Click HERE for a full transcript.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Wig Review: Protective Styling Option

 Don't be alarmed!  I did not straighten my hair.  LOL!  In fact you would be surprised to know what is going on under that wig.  "My" hair has deep conditioner in it and I'm going to let it stay in overnight.  I also had a December graduation reception to attend.  Sooo, I donned this wig and no one was the wiser.

Why wear a wig you ask?  Well, now that my hair is longer, it takes long for me to complete my cleansing and conditioning regimen and style.  I've been caught more than once needing to get somewhere quick and my hair wasn't finished. So for those days, I purchased this wig.  It's also great for those times when I've just finished setting twists and I want to leave them in for a day before unraveling.

I purchased this at my local beauty supply store.  It is a 100% human hair wig by Masterpiece in #1B.  Her name is Miss Kiki.  I paid $32.99 for her.  This wig also allows me to wear the straight look without applying heat to my strands.  I love it.  There is minimal shedding and no tangling.  It fits comfortably on my average side head.  There are no combs on this wig but it does have an adjustable band.  I still have a couple more wigs to order so I can have some fun playing with my look.

So tell me, what do you think?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Take on CharyJay's Holiday Curls

One of my favorite vloggers on Youtube is CharyJay.  Not only does she have fabulous thick hair, but she creates amazing styles for me to try on my own hair.  When I saw her latest rod set style, I had to try it for myself and it came out great....for a day.  It started getting frizzy & poofy by the end of the day and when I didn't roll it that night the next morning was not cute.  Day 2 I pinned it up & tried it again on day 3.  I really loved my Day 1 results and I plan to try it again after I get a trim (which I desperately need) so my ends will be smooth.  The products I used were Koils by Nature Moisturizing Shealoe Leave In Conditioner, Qhemet Biologics Burdock Root Butter Cream  & Taji's Natural Hair Styling Aloe Jelly.

Check out my slide show of the progression from day 1 to day 4  by clicking the "Slideshow of NaturallyNita's Perm Rod Set" hyperlink below and then CharyJay's tutorial under that.  Let me know what you think!

Slideshow of NaturallyNita's Perm Rod Set

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Now That's Good News! - Random Acts of Kindness

Anyone that knows me well knows that I am a overall positive person.  I'm the person who will always be looking for the silver lining around the cloud, the lesson in the trial, and the joy coming after midnight.  Over the last month it just seemed I was bombarded with bad news.  There was the shooting in Newton, CT, continual talks of the impeding fiscal cliff, there was a stabbing of 20 children overseas, and then a Christmas Eve fire in NY that turned out to be an ambush where 3 firemen were killed.  I was fighting hard to keep my holiday spirit.  Then one of my friends, Nakisha told me after being so heavy with the news of the Connecticut shootings that she just had to perform some random act of kindness to bring some light back in the atmosphere & she did!  She talked about how it made her feel so good to be a blessing to someone.

Then a day or so later another one of my friends, Tita shared how she & her family were going to perform a random act of kindness from December 22nd, her daughter's birthday until January 1st.    The first thing they did was anonymously pay for someone's dinner in the restaurant where they celebrated her daughter's birthday.  She let her daughter pick the family they were going to bless.  What a wonderful way to show her daughter that it's more blessed to give than to receive!  Some of the other random acts of kindness were taping a gas card to a gas pump with a note, put red poinsettias in the empty flower pots on her neighbors porch with a note, leaving money purposely in the ATM slot, and paying for the car behind hers Starbucks coffee.  To quote her Facebook status she said,  "This was a great experience for me and I was reminded that being kind is priceless, giving is more rewarding that receiving, and no matter how comfortable I get I must never forget how life used to be and how it can completely change in the blink of an eye.  Thank you Jesus!"  And to quote her Random Act #6:  Left a gift card in the windshield of a random car at church today!  I remember when I used to pray to GOD to help me find money to put gas in my car until my next paycheck.  Lord, I will never forget!"

Following her story & Nakisha's on Facebook just made me smile and reminded me of two things:  I have surrounded myself with some awesome friends who demonstrate sacrificial love daily and there really are great people in this world who never get recognized.  Well ladies, I tip my hat to you today for your giving.  I pray that God returns to you 1000 fold what you have given to others.  And guess what?  I performed my own random act of kindness the other day and I must admit as I drove off I felt pretty good on the inside.  Thank you for being an inspiration.

At least twice a month, I plan to share some GOOD news that I've heard so that we can all continue to be inspired and remember in the madness of the negativity that popular media shares, there are those out there who silently do good things to impact the lives of others.  So whether big or small, if it touches my heart and makes me smile, I'll share it here and hope to make you smile as well!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Recognizable Natural: Elle Varner

One of my new favorite young artists is Elle Varner.  Her song "Refill" became a hit right around the same time that I was enjoying some great long conversations with a new friend.  Because in my opinion, you really get to learn a lot about a person from deep conversations & I love them, I guess you would call me a "conversational lush".  One of the things that I appreciate about Elle's music is that it is lyrically sound.  To me to have a song that is lyrically sound is that it tells a story and takes the listener along for a the ride.

Some of my favorites from this CD are: Refill, I Don't Care, & Oh What a Night.  Recently, in O Magazine's November issue,  FLOTUS Michelle Obama stated the song that makes her turn up her radio or iPod is "So Fly."   I believe that this artist will have a long future among true music loves.

In addition, Elle Varner has gorgeous natural hair.  I mean the epitome of big hair don't care!  Love it!   Check out these gorgeous curls and coils below!

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