Archive for August, 2009

August 28, 2009

Natural Enthusiasm

the-september-issueHaven’t seen the sun all day. Boo. This nasty rain has taken over the sky & I’m once again biding time before heading out.  The September Issue opens today in limited release, and I’m soooo excited to run out and see it! I purchased tickets yesterday, because in a city like NY…you just never know.  So later this evening I’ll be tucked away in a dark theatre enjoying the wails and trials of both Anna Wintour and the FAB Andre Leon Talley.  Try to think, ‘A Devil Wears’ Prada come to life and you’ve got the makings of this documentary that follows the editors of Vogue Magazine as they gear up for the ‘bible,’ a.k.a., The September issue.

There’s always a takeaway from most documentaries, and what I’m banking on is some natural entertainment as well as an inside look into the makings of a success story.  I admire Ms. Wintour’s moxie and determination to make Vogue magazine what it is today, and while the majority of us are still in the throws of this great recession, inspiration to follow your dreams and aspirations is much needed.

So it’s going to be a day of fun….and Youtube! I’m catching up yet again on some of my fav youtubers and their product reviews; I did stumble upon MANY new channels with fantastic natural ladies offering great advice.  But on a day like today with it’s gloomy ways…it made me smile when I came across this lovely lady.  Her excitement is nothing short of contagious, and if you’re a product junkie…or just someone who enjoys the prospects of getting packages in the mail, you’ll no doubt appreciate her enthusiasm.

Check her out!

Advertisements
August 27, 2009

Natural Exploration

27skin190_3

“It’s just one of them days…that a girl goes through…”

The date is set, circled and highlighted on my calendar, both at work and at home.  October 9th, Chris Rock’s Documentary ‘Good Hair’ opens in select cities, October 28th nationwide, and I along with a handful of friends will be front and center.  This will probably be the first time in a loooong time I might actually consider buying popcorn at the theatre to enjoy, because the anticpation and excitement really has me going! I’m beyond thrilled to be one of the first group of ppl. to see this documentary & hopefully the world will speak up by going out and supporting the cause. 

With a big name comedian such as Chris Rock frontlining this project, national publicity is the norm.  The whispers began when the film first premiered at Sundance several moons ago, and today….TODAY…the whispers are turning into leveled bouts of banter across the table.  The media is picking up steam as the film nears it’s release date, capitalizing on what’s often kept private and reclouse in the African American community.  The blogosphere has firmly weighed in, taking the conversation on natural tangents that, while uncomfortable, need to be discussed. 

The New York Times weighed in with the article, “Black Hair, Still Tangled in Politics.”  While the article does an adequate job in touching on the topic of the inner politics of natural hair within the black community, the stars of the show are the commenters, some taking sides…others willing to explore the deeper meanings behind the idea of “good hair.”

For some, the battle lines are drawn.

But in recent interviews, a number of people of color expressed a weariness with the debate. They asked, essentially: Why can’t hair just be hair? Must an Afro peg a woman as the political heir to Angela Davis? Is a fashionista who replicates the first lady’s clean-cut bob really being untrue to herself?

Defintely well worth the read!  Click here to read the full article.  And don’t forget to skim through the interactive feature with several black women giving their two cents!

 

Our fellow Bellla over @ Afrobella.com  highlights another pretty sensitive topic in hot debate over at the Racialicious blog, “Are curls the new straight hair?”  If you’re hip to a lot of the birth control commercials out their with the ‘token’ black girl or the face wash commercials with the fair skinned ladies washing their face and smiling for the camera…you may have a hint as to the root of this discussion. 

The writer’s perspective is that of a German born/raised woman, but her experiences are culturally relative to many others who’ve tackled issues of hair texture/type/curl. 

Over the next weeks everywhere I looked, be it the streets of my city or most of he few female black German TV-presenters – it really seemed that nowadays the fly mixed or black girl hast to have curls. Generous, semi-loose curls that is, tight enough to give you the volume but loose enough to be considered beautiful in a more mainstream way.

Head over to the the blog and join in on the chatter by clicking here.

Both articles are well worth the read for varying reasons,  yet it was Afrobella’s response, “A Curly Conundrum,” that spoke directly to me:

I love to see natural hair in all its diverse and beautiful forms, from loose spirals to tight z shaped kinks, dense and thick to silky and sproingy. Every time I’ve been told by a bella on the street “I love your hair! But I can’t go natural because my hair isn’t like that,” I take the time to let them know:

  1. I once thought the same of my hair and honestly didn’t know what my texture would be until I gave it time myself, and
  2. the point of going natural isn’t to achieve a certain look — or at least that SHOULDN’T be the point. The point is to embrace your hair as it grows from your head, to keep it healthy and strong, and to learn to work with it in a way that’s relatively stress free and enjoyable.

I think hair should be an extension of your personality. An expression of self. So I always want my hair to be happy, healthy, a little wild, and free. Just like I always want to be.

 

What I’m in love with at the moment is not necessarily the controversy surrounding these debates, but the actual discussion…the talk and sparks that sort of fuel the passion of women of ALL communities involved.  While skimming through all articles and blog posts at work today…the undenying factor that shouldn’t be ignored, is that people have a voice and it is important for that voice to be heard.  Whether you’re Asian/German/African American/Nigerian/Somalian/Caucasian…the boat takes us all to the same place, we’re all swimming in the same waters.  Our roots/heritage are undeniably different, and our struggles vary from person to person…yet collectively self acceptance is our main goal.

Whether you’re natural/relaxed your voice does count, let it be heard by speaking up;-)

August 26, 2009

Hydrating Process

curlToday was reluctantly back to work day after six GLORIOUS days away from the office.  My batteries weren’t fully recharged, but my mind felt more clear and I went into work today ready to tackle the ‘whatevs’ of a typical work day.  Yesterday, during  my last day off I hunkered down in my place to do my hair, starting well into the a.m., to allow my hair to fully air dry.  A bit odd doing the ‘do’ on a Tuesday rather than a Sunday, yet the luxury of it all was simply taking my time rather than rushing through each step.

I had very little Nature’s Gate Jojoba condish left, but made do by adding some coconut oil and water…shook it up real well until the mix was frothy/creamy, then applied evenly throughout my hair. Gently rinsed half of the condish out the hair, then applied my poo bar, (Olive & Babassu by Chagrin Valley). DC’d  and detangled this week with Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Rose condish for two hours under a conditioning cap.  I’m finding that leaving the conditioner in my hair past the 1 hour mark makes a world of difference in terms of texture & softness after rinsing.  With the AOHR fully rinsed out of my hair, I slowly poured my herbal rinse of Burdock Root, Horsetail Herb & Honey, letting it sit for close to a minute before running cold water over again.

015Styling products used this week were from my last haul, Darcy’s Botanicals Peach Kernel Hydrating Milk  under the Madagascar Vanilla Styling Creme.  I finished twisting the entire head of hair by 1:30 in the afternoon, sat in front of my floor fan to speed up the drying, and chilled for the rest of the day.  Once all twists were fully dry…’round 10ish or so in the p.m. I applied my oil infusion directly to my scalp using the medicine dropper purchased at the Container store.  The oil is surprisingly soothing on my scalp and added great sheen to my roots after applying.  I have target areas throughout my scalp that I tend to focus on when applying topical products, areas that are more prone to dryness and flaking, this is where I concentrated the most during application.  Depending on my scalps continuous reaction to the oil, I’ll reapply 3-4 times a week, sort of prep work for the fall/winter season when the dryness factor is harder to contain. 

The Darcy’s Haul included a lovely sample from Lysandra!  I couldn’t find it on either her Etsy site or her regular domain, so I’ll take a guess and say it’s something that’s in the works for her styling/conditioning line.  It’s a ‘Sweet Cream Daily Leave-In Conditioner”, and it smells YUMMY! I’ve been sniffing it ever since the box arrived, but still can’t place the scent.  I’m workin on it though…once I nail it I’ll keep you guys informed.  It’s a pretty nifty sample size that I’m anxious to try in the next week or two. 

*Full Review of the Peach Kernel Hydrating Milk to come!

*My Flickr account has been acting all kinds of crazy over the past couple months, so I’ve essentially lost control over uploading new pics.  But here are a few small shots of my hair after a days wear in the NYC humidity using the Madagascar Vanilla Creme.  You can click on the image to enlarge (please disregard duplicates, WordPress is a bit challenging at times;-)!

 

August 24, 2009

Natural Coils Curling Jelly Review

 

Cheers for free/off days! The pros of days off:

  • relaxing
  • not worrying about having the hair look ‘right’ for work
  • relaxing

I’m sure there are plenty more, but my brain is on a brief hiatus;-).  Sunday, my usual wash/style day, instead turned into a watch T.V., walk around neighborhood, catch up on blog network type day…so I’m bringing to the table on this lovely Monday a short product review from my latest haul from Darcy’s Botanicals.  Last week I placed an order for more of the Vanilla Styling Creme as well  a new addition to the styling line, the Natural Coils Curling Jelly.  My brain is a bit foggy, but I’m certain I tried the jelly…Friday afternoon using the shingling method.  Before applying the jel, I co-washed in the shower with leftover condish (Nature’s Gate Jojoba), then section by section gently detangled with my fingers before applying . 

The Denman got minimal use when shingling because I did not want my hair to shrink up tremendously before allowing time to fully dry.  Application took, roughly 30 minutes, not terribly messy.  Drying time, I can’t help but compare it to KCCC, but relatively short.  The temps were well into the 90 degree mark, slightly humid, but air drying was about…2-3 hours. 

 

Product descip from site:

HOW DOES THIS WORK?

Our Natural Coils Curling Jelly works to enhance & define your natural coils and waves while also giving you hold, softness, and healthy conditioning.

WHAT’S IN IT?

Distilled Water, Organic Aloe Juice, Vegetable Glycerin, Organic Coconut Cream, Organic Castor Oil, Sea Moss Extract, Organic Brown Rice Extract, Hydrolyzed Oats, Potassium Sorbate, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid and Fragrance.

HOW DO I USE IT?

Apply a small amount throughout wet or dry hair for hold or for an easy wash n’ go style.

*Use to gently soften and detangle your natural hair .

*Use to help hold your coils & waves.

*Use to enhance & define your coils & waves

*Can use to do comb coils.

*Can also use to tame frizzies!

 

Snapshot_20090824_2

Half full I say

The directions from the jar suggests adding a ‘small’ amount to wet or dry hair to enhance your natural curls. Yeeeaaaah….that wasn’t going to fly with what’s sitting on my head. Believe me, I’d love nothing more to use just a ‘small amount’ considering the size of the jar (8 oz @ $12) but requirements are not the same as necessity and my hair needed more than what the site/jar suggests.  To cover my entire hair, I ended up using…precisely half the jar.  Exhibit A to the right, which I half expected after watching a handful of video reviews on Youtube. The consistency of the jelly is far from a gel, meaning it’s not going to give your hair the traditional hold of a regular gel, instead it will moisturize your hair, and define your hair/curls naturally ( I say ‘naturally’ but this also depends on method of application). 

The method of  ‘shingling’  has always sort of been the bane of my existence since I was introduced during my Miss Jessie’s hay-days, using the Curly Meringue product …end results were typically…fairly sweet.  Granted I had the ‘look’ down, the hair looked well moisturized, yet the amount of product I had to use always put me off.  Maintenance following this method is also a bit triffling depending on which product used.  Typically with a gel..there’s a bit of crunch…with the jelly I experienced only slight crunch at the roots which smoothed out the next day.  My ends did develop a significant amount of frizz, which I’m banking was a result of not detangling properly & my need of a much overdue trim.  My ends are parched/dry and need to be removed.

To manage overnight, I twisted the hair into loose twists and tied with a satin scarf.  Next morning, the hair was noticeably elongated, smooth and moisturized at the roots, yet still consistenly frizzy on the ends. 

Final verdict on the Jelly is: ‘Work in Progress.’ 

Snapshot_20090824

texture shot...sorta

 

Pros of the Jelly:

*consistency is light, easy to apply.

* ingredients are natural

* smell is peachy, not overwhelming.  Wears off after a day or so.

* do not need a leave-in to apply

 

Coilskinkscurls has a slightly different texture than my hair, but had slightly better results using the product, you can press play to watch her full (AMAZING) video below:

With a half jar left, I plan to use the jelly again to twist rather than shingle.  While the product did moisturize my hair, it did not clump my hair together leaving me with less time to enjoy the style.  I couldn’t separate the curls as the days let on on, instead I’m left with endless spirals throughout my hair.  Great for one day wear, but not practical for 3-4 days of styling.

 

This review is spotty at best, and there’s a lot that I’m leaving out so if you guys have any questions please feel free to comment;-).

August 22, 2009

Hair Update

 

Happy Saturday!

It’s been a funky couple of days….weather wise/hair wise.  The hot weather has forced my hand, putting my hair in all kinds of up-do’s, and pull back looks.  So what initially began as a regular rockin twistout, 4- 5 day wear, turned into fall back on gel mode. I can’t say I minded a heck of a lot, most certainly because I had moments ( 95 degree temp moments) NaturalCoilsCurlingJelly3where I just wanted to shave off ALL my hair for the sake of gaining some sort of relief. 

Yesterday, I gave in and decided to lightly co-wash before slicking the hair back with some gel.  This was well into the a.m. before running a few errands in the monstrous heat. My hair was still slightly damp before stepping outside, but a couple hours later coming home…the frizz and dryness factor were having a party a top my head.  But thankfully, my latest mini-product haul arrived from Darcy’s Botanicals!

In my box were my Vanilla Styling Creme, the Peach Kernel Hair Milk, and her new Natural Coils Curling Gel.  With plenty of time to spare for the rest of the afternoon, I decided to sample the Curling Gel, using the shingling method. Full Review of the Curling Jelly tomorrow after I’ve worn it to work and out in the natural elements.  But going on, it did feel moisturizing.  The smell…kind of like a peachy/fruit punchy drink.  Pleasant, but not overbearing.

 

Anywho, this was a quick checking in before heading off to work.  Have A Great Weekend Everyone!

August 17, 2009

CocoLatte & me

curlSo, you know that thing that happens when you wash your hair late into the afternoon, finish styling it while the sun goes down, wait for it to dry…realize that it won’t be dry by the time your head hits the pillow, but still pray that the morning will be different?  Yes…no?   This ‘thing’ has happened on several occasions and the only remedy I found is to just grin and bear it.  It’s all about understanding the inevitable…

CocoLatte3-208x151I pre-pooed with Nature’s Gate Jojoba condish followed by my Chagrin poo bar (Olive Babassu), then  DC’d  with AOHR.  Final rinse w/ my Burdock Root/Horsetail mix.  Hair was INCREDIBLY soft this week.  I had serious ‘hand in fro’ issues even before styling.  I really *heart* my AOHR…left it in longer than usual this week ( two hours), which might’ve contributed to the added softness.  Styled this week with KBB hair milk under Afroveda’s CocoLatte Moisture Mask, a combo I’ve used before with so so results.  This week was no different.  Applying the CocoLatte, I felt my hair  was well moisturized, similarly to when I’d apply all the other Afroveda butters, yet after drying, the CocoLatte left my hair less shinny…actually not shinny at all…and unfortunately left a trace of residue at my roots that I was forced to pick away/melt together with my fingers in the a.m.  The plan this week was to tactually try to use LESS of the mask in my hair, being cautious of over-moisturizing, thinking this might have caused the dryness and lack of shine.  Yet after unraveling the twists this morning I’m seriously thinking of retiring the mask to the naturallycurly swap boards.

Granted, my hair was 90% dry this morning, the slight dampness might’ve been a factor, yet I’m still willing to bet my hair and the CocoLatte don’t have a bright future.  After using and loving the Shea-Amla & the Curly Custard, I was placing all bets on the mask, hoping to add it to my arsenal of go-to products.  I’m honestly all out of go-to products! My stash has slowly depleted over the past few weeks…a VERY good thing, but now my PJ radar is making a beeline for every checkout/BSS. Last week I reordered some Darcy’s Botanicals….a few old goodies & some new products I’m eager to try!

013

pretty purple

 

 

Last week I did manage to find my way back to the Anthropologie sale to snag another hair goodie! The pic doesn’t do it justice at all, thanks to my poor photography skills, but it’s a precious purple with fringe accents for the flower.  The band itself is black and is easy to hide if you decide to wear your hair out and about.  Might just have to christen it tomorrow for work considering the temps are bound to reach well into the 90 degree mark. The heat makes me tired/restless/ and a smidge lazy…lol! I DO NOT look forward to twisting my hair up for work tomorrow, so I’m going to pineapple the sucker by pulling it waaaaay up into a loose knoose bun and hope for the best in the a.m. 😉

August 11, 2009

Rinse Cycles

curlIt’s fun watching my hair try and be brave in the face of 90 degree weather.  The past two days here in NYC has been Hoooooooooottttt!  That’s it.  Emphasis on ALL three letters. H.O.T.!  I have no air conditioning in my place, so I’ve been a bit lathargic…lol.  Gracias, Summer has made an appearance! Ughh…forgive me if this post is slightly off kilter…I hate to reiterate….but it’s hot;-).

Anywho, I should really give my hair a gold star for being on my side over the past few days.  Frizz has been kept to a minimum, and  we’re all still happily moisturized in all areas that count.  This week I started with another Pre-poo using Nature’s Gate Jojoba Condish.  I haven’t met a conditioner from this line that my hair hasn’t loved yet, and this one is no exception.  Super moisturizing, perfect for pre-p00 or co-wash purposes.  Followed with Chagrin’s Olive Babassu Poo Bar.  DC’d with the rest of my Aubrey Organics Island Naturals( btw, the smell of this is spicy, courtesy of the All Spice)…detangled and left on for an hour.  Detangling this week saw less of my Denman and more of my wide tooth comb though.  My hair hasn’t been as knarly and knotty over the past few weeks, seems the Denman is something I don’t necessarily need, but I just rely on it as my crutch.  I detangled the ends with the wide tooth comb, and slowly work the Denman once over to ensure the entire section of hair is coated with condish.

herbCold rinsed, then finished with a homemade hair rinse brewed together a few days ago.  A quick mix of Horsetail Extract, Burdock Root Extract, and Agave Nectar.  Both the Horsetail & Burdock root herbs were brewed in sashes for 15-20 minutes.  The Nectar added to the mix 10 minutes into brewing.  The Horsetail aids in eliminating scalp buildup and strengthens the elasticity of hair. Burdock Root is purported to be an antiseptic, helping to heal dandruff and overall health to hair.

*When Burdock root is infused with hot distilled water it releases the Burdock root mucilage (slippery plant proteins) & oils which helps to promote effective recovery of scalp irritation, supplying nutritional support to the hair follicles and sebaceous glands hence promoting natural hair growth.

 

007

Rinsie

The final rinse  came out amazingly well!  The added nectar gave the rinse an unmistakable slip and moisture.  Before using, I tested a bit on my skin and found it left  behind soft & supple skin! Measurements are what I’d call ‘eyeballer’ measurements, but there was enough to fill an 8-11 ounce bottle (I re-used an old Oyin Honey wash bottle).  I did go easy on the nectar, not wanting the end result to be sticky and leave behind any residue on my hair.  Because the rinse is ridiculously easy to make, I’m planning to add to my rotation.  It’s easy to make, store and set aside for whenever needed.  It also doubles as an everyday hair spritz/refresher!  The herbs used in the brew, I purchased here in BK, over at Back to the Land, one of the best and ideal places to find countless herbs, oils & organic care for all your hair/body needs.

To twist, Darcy’s Styling Creme over the Lemongrass leave in/detangler.  Air dryed because there was noooooooooooo way I would go anywhere near a hair dryer in 90 degree heat;-)!! The Styling Creme does increase the drying time for my hair, yet the results in the morning are always WELL worth it! It’s Tuesday and I can’t complain about moisture problems….yet.  More hair rinses to come, if you have any recipes to share…..;-)!

 

 

*info via anitagrant.com

August 8, 2009

Oils & Goodies

I’m biding time today before heading out to run some errands, but finally got around to a project that’s been at the front of my mind for the past few weeks.  I made my oil infusion for my scalp using some oils in my stash, along with herbs I’d ordered some months ago.  I could really kick myself simply because it took no longer than five minutes to mix everything and set it aside to steep.  Here’s what went into the infusion:018

  • Sweet Almond Oil
  • Babussu Oil
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Vitamin E Oil
  • Rosehip Seed Oil
  • White Willow Bark
  • Marshmallow Root Herb
  • Nettle Leaf Herb
  • Geranium (essential oil)

I eyeballed everything, using the Sweet Almond Oil as my main carrier.

All the herbs used are certified organic, purchased from the fab Anita Grant over @anitagrant.com.  The benefits of all herbs & oils used in the infusion aid in a multiple of factors, a few being the calming of scalp irritation, inflammation, dandruff, psoriasis and something I’m much too familiar with…eczema.

*How does it work?

If you look closely on the label of most commercial dandruff shampoos you will find listed in the ingredients

“Salicylic Acid”

or

“Salicin” which is derived from White Willow Bark.

Salicin is a substance that when taken orally is converted by the digestive process to salicylic acid (beta hydroxy acid – BHA for short). The process of converting Willow Bark to salicylic acid requires the presence of enzymes to turn the salicin into salicylic acid.

White Willow bark was the original source of Aspirin back in the day. The active extract of the bark, salicin, was isolated into a crystalline form in 1828 by a French pharmacist Henri

Leroux & an Italian chemist Raffaele Piria. These 2 men separated the Salicylic Acid from the Willow Barks and synthesized it to form Salicin, a chemical derivative of salicylic acid aka Aspirin.

Bayer is the only commercial company to still use a high percentage of Salicylic Acid in their Aspirins meanwhile others have a 50/50 ratio of Talc & Salicylic Acid.

Willow Bark, in it’s herbal form, retains more of its aspirin-like composition. Chinese physicians have used White Willow Bark to relieve pain since 500 B.C. because it’s an effect & efficient

natural healing herb.

According to the book “Preservatives for Cosmetics” by David Steinberg

“Salicylic Acid also has anti microbial & fungicidal properties.”

Topical Properties:

Antiseptic, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge (a refrigerant, like topical rubbing alcohol), astringent and tonic.

White willow Bark aka “herbal aspirin” – is a potent natural healer excellent when used to reduce inflammation.

More info on other herbs used can be found here and here.  I’m hoping to let the oils and herbs infuse/steep for a solid two weeks before using, applying directly to my scalp 2-3 times a week. I purchased a medicine dropper from the Container Store for a mere buck and will place in that for easier application.  Thankfully though, at least for the past few weeks, I have seen a significant improvement in my scalp situation…less dryness after washing means less having to apply coconut oil each night.  The oil infusion I hope just to serve as a way to contain the situation, helping to ward off flareups and sudden inflammation areas.  Next up is my hair rinse (currently cooling on the stove;-), which I’ll use for tomorrow’s wash/final rinse.  Recipe and details on the rinse I’ll post Monday along with final results.

blogpic

A little hair goodie I found over at the Anthropologie sale going on right now.  A GREAT selection of sweet hair bows and pins to choose from.  This one was an impulse buy…but I’m seriously thinking of heading back to stock up.  This one came in several different soft and beautiful shades.  The headbands and bows are all within affordable price range $9.95-19.95 (in store prices).

*info via anitagrant.com

August 5, 2009

Maxwell: Bad Habits

 

Here’s the deal, below is the new Maxwell video for BAD HABITS off his newly released album BlackSummer’s Night.  Yes, we LOVE! I didn’t expect this to be a video posting week, but heck..these artists are just refreshing our lives with goodies…I can’t help it! I’ve heard through the grapevine that it’s ummmm….perhaps a tad inappropriate for work, so I can’t press play until I get home.  But you guys get to enjoy, and please…feel free to make me jealous by telling me how GREAT he looks;-)!

 

August 4, 2009

India Arie: Therapy

So glad she’s back with a NEW VIDEO!! India looks sparkling & beautiful in this video, directed by LaChapelle.  I need your therapy….

 

 

Don’t sleep on this woman, her lyrics and voice are a gem for the music industry, especially today.  I  LOVE  the use of different colors in the video (shot on location in Hawaii!), can’t help but make you smile;-)

*embedding might be disabled, but you can peek on youtube;-).  OR…click here  to watch  from Daily Motion