Tag Archive | natural hair

Natural Hair Anniversary

Well, it’s actually been a whole year since my natural hair journey began. And what a journey it’s been.

The first day I got my hair twisted, I left the hair salon feeling awful. My expectation was set based on all the Pinterest photos that I had seen of natural black hair. I knew nothing about natural hair, and thought that my hair would magically look like those seasoned twists. Well my twists looked like twigs. Thin, skinny, no puff. I had a lot to learn.

What I learned 

1. I learned that the hair categories (4b, 4c, etc.) are helpful, but they don’t define your hair.

2. I learned that hair is a big part of who you are, and although we don’t like to admit that hair defines us, it can if you let it. I went through a short period of feeling very unattractive. I let my hair define who I was. Thankfully I snapped out of it, and began to heal emotionally.

2. I found someone on YouTube that had similar hair to mine, and learned from her. I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel. I just refined her techniques to work for my hair and lifestyle.

3. Once you find the products that work for you, establish a routine for washing, conditioning, twisting, twist outs, night regimen, length of twist out, protective style before wash again. The consistent regimen allows the hair to be trained. In about a month, my twists were beginning to puff, and hang properly.

4. I figured out how to maintain a twist out by twisting the twists into big twists at night. A major milestone for maintaining a daily twist out.  I now keep my twist outs for 2 weeks.

It’s been a journey, but I got it now.

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Essential oils for natural hair and skin care

oil drop

Essential oils are extracted from plants, flowers, and roots and have healing benefits that can improve our overall health. They are light weight, unlike the heavy oils we use for our hair, like Olive and Coconut oil. Essential oils are unlike any other substance in the world. Their small molecules allow them to pass through our skin, blood, and all the way into our cells! The can even pass through the blood brain barrier. That’s why they are called “healing oils”.

Beware of using synthetic or fragrance oils on your hair and skin. Many companies claim that their oils are “essential”, yet they have added by-products, making them adulterated oils. Synthetic oils are thick and sticky, and are known to cause allergic reactions. Essential oils have no by-products added, and leave no residue on the skin because they penetrate so quickly.

Below is a guide of some top oils that can be used in your health and beauty regimens. Make them part of your overall everyday lifestyle.

*Note that many essential oils can not be applied directly to the skin without being diluted. As a general rule, essential oils should be diluted in a carrier oil (vegetable or nut oil, like cold pressed coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil).*

*Women who are pregnant or nursing should take special care to note which essential oils are not recommended for use during these times. Please consult with your physician before you start using any stimulating essential oils.

Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca)
Tea tree oil is a cleansing and purifying oil that comes from the Melaleuca plant. By diluting tea tree oil with a carrier oil and massaging into the scalp, you can stimulate hair growth. Tea tree oil can also be used for spot treatments for acne breakouts. It’s a healthier option than using acne skin products containing alcohol and other drying agents.

Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil comes from the peppermint plant. The scent of peppermint oil can aid in alertness and help retain focus. It also aids in digestion and acid reflux relief, and opens up sinus and stuffy noses.

Lavender Oil
Lavender oil comes for the lavender plant, and is used for calming and relaxation, which is why this oil is commonly used in aromatherapy products. For a peaceful nights sleep apply lavender to the bottom of your feet and behind your neck. Lavender also heals wounds and burns.

Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil comes from an eucalyptus plant. This is a great oil to use while fighting a cold. The scent of the oil can help clear nasal passages and help with breathing. It can also applied directly on the skin to heal eczema, and acne.

Lemon Oil
Lemon oil is refreshing and its citrus fragrance can uplift a mood. This oil can help lighten dark spots or acne scars on skin. Add a few drops to your shampoo or conditioner. Try adding a drop of lemon oil in carrier oil and using it to improve dull skin.

Frankincense Oil
Frankincense Oil is extracted from the gum or resin from Frankincense or Olibanum trees, whose scientific name is Boswellia Carteri.. It’s known as the “Holy Oil”.  It’s a very expensive oil, but contains properties that have very powerful healing powers. It contains anti-aging properties when applied to the skin and hair scalp. It helps with digestions, arthritis, rheumatism, and boosts the immune system. That’s just a few things!

Rosemary Oil
The fresh scent of rosemary oil can be used for aromatherapy. Rosemary oil can also be used during scalp massages, as it stimulates the scalp to promote hair growth.

Ginger
The spicy warm scent of ginger can help with nausea or stomach pains from digestion. Ginger oil can aid with energy boosts and uplifting your mood.

Clove Oil
Clove oil has a strong and spicy like scent. Clove oil is great for toothaches. Clove oil can also be used to relieve pain from aching muscles.

Juniper Berry
The oil is extracted from the berry. This oil has properties to heal the skin of Eczema, Dermatitis, and Acne. It can also heal kidney and bladder problems.

Click here for more information on essential oils.

Winter Hair

Well, it’s been six months since going natural. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made, but just when I think I got this, the season changed. California is very dry in the winter, and although it rains more, the humidity is lower from day to day. Normally the goal is to try to keep the humidity from our twists to obtain a twist out longer, right? Well now I have fantastic curl definition using the flaxseed gel, but I have no humidity, so my twists aren’t puffing at all, you need just the right humidity to add a little volume to your hair.

I want to keep using the flaxseed gel, but I’m going to have to make my twists larger in the winter. I don’t like larger twists because there are fewer twists and my scalp shows more, but thank God for the little Bohemian knit hat style that’s so popular now. I can just pop this on sometimes until I’m ready for a twist out.

Moisturizing your hair is vital in the winter months. I usually do my moisturizing at night. When I have twists in, I spray with a mixture of water and coconut oil, and cover  it with a silk scarf.  Coconut oil becomes solid in cold temperatures, so I use fractionated Coconut oil. To maintain my twist out, I cover my hands in Argon oil, and twist my hair in large twists at night, I cover  it with a silk scarf.

How do you maintain your natural hair in the winter?

 

Flaxseed Discovery

I have discovered Flaxseeds!

What are Flaxseeds?

The seeds come from flax, one of the oldest fiber crops in the world – known to have been cultivated in ancient Egypt and China.
Flaxseed is a source of healthy fat, antioxidants, and fiber; modern research has found evidence to suggest that flaxseed can also help lower the risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

I watched several videos about the benefits of Flaxseeds on natural hair, specifically for twisting natural hair. After watching all 5 videos, and the results, I was sold.

I made the recipe and 2 strand twisted my hair. The boiled flaxseeds produce a gel, which  is the consistency of “snot”. I separated each piece, applied leave-in conditioner, the gel, and twisted. The gel penetrated my hair very easily, so the twisting process went quicker than using a shea butter. The gel also kept the twists from getting frizzy. I kept my twists in for 6 days.

Photo Oct 08, 12 33 53 PM

The twist out results were unbelievable! The curl definition was the best ever. It lasted all day with no frizz, and kept very soft and moist. I was able to wear my hair out for 7 days before having to retwist or protect it. I won’t be buying anymore shea butter or commercial hair cream/curl products. Flaxseeds are my staple for twisting!

Photo Oct 22, 3 57 07 PM

 

Why are flax seeds beneficial for hair?

    • Flax seeds are a rich source of vitamin E. Vitamin E has proven effects on growth of the capillaries.
    • It provides nourishment to the hair roots, shaft, and the scalp.
    • Flax seeds fulfill the required nutrition for hair and scalp in order to expedite hair growth.
    • They also help control hair breakage or split ends, and provide the required hydration for hair.
    • Vitamin E in the flax seeds helps prevent premature discoloration or graying of hair.
    • Flax seeds contain a high amount of Omega-3 fatty acid. These help nourish hair follicles. This in turn helps make hair strong and healthy. Omega-3 fatty acid also improves the elasticity of hair and makes it less prone to breakage.
    • Regular use of flax seeds helps prevent acute hair loss, scalp eczema, and dandruff.
    • Flax seeds are a good source of high quality fiber.
    • These are an affluent source of both soluble and insoluble fibers. Edible fibers are excellent for proper functioning of the intestines. This helps create defense against a host of ailments, which might cause hair loss.

It is quite easy to make flax seeds gel at home. (watch the video).

  • Take two cups filtered water, and 1/4th cup organic, brown flax seeds.
  • The seeds are to be added to boiled water, and boiled for 10 minutes. The extract is to be filtered.
  • The remaining flax seeds can be dried up and stored away for further use.
  • I also put in a few drops of Moroccan oil.
  • Put the gel in a tight safe plastic container, and refrigerate.
  • The gel lasts for 3 weeks.

 

Natural girls. . . . I can’t wait until you try it. Please let me know how it works for you.

Natural Hair Blues!

Natural Hair Blues

It’s a subject that I dealt with when I first became natural in May 2014. A subject that I rarely see natural girls talk about. A shameful feeling that I’m ready share. My Natural Hair Blues!

Coming from a history of 10 years in the corporate world, I was taught that there was no place for kinks and coils, especially in the “printing” industry which is largely white male dominated. As Althea Prince states in her book, “The Politics of Black Women’s Hair: “In the wider community, the Black woman’s natural hair falls low on the scale of beauty. I think it’s awful that society has nurtured this “Buckwheat” belief about short, kinky hair for years, and we bought into it! Shame on us. Unfortunately, this is the way that I was truly feeling when I first began my journey.

Living in Southern California doesn’t help. There aren’t many “natural girls” around for inspiration, in fact, many of the black woman I knew had weaves, their natural locs tucked up underneath.

I was dealing with these feelings intermittently, and very subconsciously. Not knowing my natural hair and how it worked also kept my confidence and self-esteem very low.

It showed its ugly head one day, and I was forced to deal with it. My husband surprised me for our 25th anniversary, bringing me to a high-end, luxurious Spa resort for a week. My hair was in twists. I was excited to be there, but immediately felt completely inadequate with my hair twisted. I actually felt “ugly”. I even cried at dinner that evening. My husband did everything he could to make me feel better.

I guess it was my first time out of my comfort zone. My first time not with my friends and those who loved me, and didn’t judge me because of what my hair looked like. Not that people were judging me, but my confidence just wasn’t there.

I continued to style my hair as I would at home, sporting a twist out and natural updos that week. The revelation took place when I realized that all but one of the other black women at the resort were all natural girls, wearing TWA’s (Teeny Weeny Afros), curls, and twist! I began to feel more confident, and haven’t looked back since!!

Things I love about being natural:
My hair is so versatile, mold-able like clay
Twists dry over night
My hair is long and thick (despite the 75% shrinkage)
Styles are endless
Twist outs are lasting longer
My hair is growing like a weed
My 4/b hair doesn’t tangle at all
I am an inspiration to other natural girls
My hair is living and breathing in its natural state
I’m feeling more confident, and beautiful

How did you feel about yourself when you first went natural?

Natural Hair Revelation

It’s been 4 months now that my hair has been naturally revealed! I am still learning so much, and the vlogs and blogs have been so helpful.

I finally had an opportunity to test twist out longevity. After 3 days of a twist out, my hair becomes very dry and brittle, and it’s time to put it into a protective style again. Applying large twists at night preserves the twist out for the next day. Gabe Flowers video is a fantastic tutorial for maintaining a twist out.

I’m also learning that as much as I like to wear my hair out, it’s really not good for your natural hair. The good news is that maintaining the hair in large twists at night allows my hair to keep its moisture. I don’t apply anything to my hair at night, I just take large amounts of hair, and make larger twists. In the morning when I take off the silk cap, my hair is very moist and soft. I apply Aveda Anit-Humectant Pomade to the twists before I take out the large twists. Applying Aveda Anit-Humectant Pomade keeps it moist all day. That’s how I’m able to continue wearing a twist out for more than 3 days.

I also begin using scarves for styling to protect the hair as the days progress. I’m still able to maintain the twist out and the curls.

I am an artist. I paint, draw and I used to throw pots with clay. Each medium is different, and has to be learned to achieve the look of the final art piece. My hair has become a medium. I have to learn how it acts with air, water, product, moisture, etc. to achieve the final look. It truly is a journey.

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Rules and Regimens for Natural Hair

My hair regimen was ever changing when I first became “natural”, but now that I’ve found products and styles that work for me, I’m sticking to some definite rules and regiments for my natural hair.
My hair has grown over an inch since I began my journey in May 2014. But I’m not too surprised. My hair has always thrived when free of chemicals.

 

Here are the rules and regimens that work for me:

  • No or only water soluble silicones
  • Only comb hair when wet or damp with water spritz and leave-in conditioner, using a wide-toothed comb
  • Only trim when needed (my hair doesn’t tangle so no need to cut)
  • Shampoo and condition every 3 weeks (I go to the hair salon). Follow with 2 strand twists.
  • I can only wear a twist out for about 3-4 days. I have too much hair, it dries out very quickly and starts to become brittle. That’s when I start losing hair.
  • Protective styling as much as I can. That includes twists, coils, twist out, braids, braid outs, buns, puff buns, and scarfs. When hair is in twists, etc., I will pin up the hair at least 5 days a week to protect my ends.
  • Moisturize my hair with spritz every night before putting on satin cap. Either with a spritz/spray or leave-in conditioner. I use spritz (Coconut Oil/Water combined) when in a protective style. Leave-in conditioner if necessary.
  • Always sleep with a satin cap, scarf, and sleep on a satin pillowcase. Be careful of caps that cause friction to edges.
  • No heat on hair.
  • Nothing on the scalp.

 

Hair products I use:

Giovanni ConditionerShea Moisturizer SmoothieShea Moisture Conditionerav_A1KG_254Coconut oil