Monthly Archives: October 2016

Moisturizing My Dry 4c Hair

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Taking my braids down this weekend made me start thinking about how I need to be more diligent about moisturizing me and my girls’ hair, especially with winter coming. I don’t buy a lot of products, so it made me start researching different moisturizing products. I also started to think about the oils I use in my daily or weekly routine and if I needed to make some adjustments there as well. Do I need to stop using certain oil(s)? Do I need to break down and buy a good moisturizer? Could I make my own moisturizer? The following is what I came up with. hair-care-regimen

Now granted, not everything here is new to me. It’s just new to my regimen.

Biotin – In addition to being great for hair and nail growth, Biotin or the vitamin B7  is great for skin health, energy, digestive, and nervous systems. I’ve been taking Biotin on and off for the past year and a half. No reason other than me being lazy and really bad about remembering to take them. 😉 I do notice results when I take them consistently.

Homemade organic mango butter with organic coconut oil*, vitamin E oil, and vanilla essential oil –  Mango butter is rich in oleic acid and stearic acid. These fatty acids act as emollients that soften and soothe the skin and hair. It has a high oxidative ability, wound healing, and regenerative activity. It is high in antioxidants and Vitamins A, C and E. Mango butter has similar qualities as shea and cocoa butter but it’s higher fatty acid content makes it a more intensive moisturizer. It  has a lighter feel than shea butter, so if you find shea butter too heavy, give mango butter a try. My family and I use my homemade mango butter concoction on our body and hair and it’s simply lovely.

Jojoba oil – Jojoba oil closely resembles sebum, a waxy substance produced by our skin glands, so it can act as a natural skin conditioner. Jojoba oil controls hair loss by helping the follicles grow new hair. Jojoba oil can easily seep into the follicles and dissolve the sebum buildup, clearing up the blockage and facilitating the growth of new hair. The vitamins and minerals in the oil can nourish the skin and improve the overall health of the scalp. I know jojoba oil is a staple for many naturals, and I’ve used it in the past but not consistently. I plan on changing that after reading about the many benefits this oil has for your hair and skin.

Vegetable Glycerin – Glycerin improves natural hair moisture and elasticity. It also helps prevent hair breakage, stimulate hair growth and improve hair strength. It has been proven that it is a great conditioner for brittle, dry or frizzy hair. There are debates as to whether or not it’s good to use vegetable glycerin during the cold winter months, and I’ll have to look into this more. Winter isn’t here yet, so until then I’ll continue to use it.

Aloe Vera Juice – Promotes hair growth, moisturizes the hair due to it being a humectant, restores the natural pH balance of the hair and scalp, reduce dandruff, naturally conditions the hair, reduce hair shed, promote hair shine, help heal an irritated, dry, itchy scalp. Another great product to use on natural hair.

Distilled Water – I keep a couple jugs handy at all times to use when I spritz me and my girls’ hair. It’s simply better to use than hard tap water that is full of minerals and other chemicals.

*I put an asterisk behind coconut oil because something hit me about coconut oil: I think it’s been making me and my girl’s hair dry and brittle. After reading article after article of the wonderful benefits of coconut oil, I think our hair doesn’t quite care for it. I’ve used it in every homemade shea butter or mango butter mixture I’ve made, and I’ve also used coconut oil by itself on our hair. After reading other naturalista’s experiences with coconut oil, which are similar to mine, I’m going to stop using it on our hair to see how our hair does without it. I’ll keep you posted.

Here is a quick and easy hair moisturizer you can make and use daily:

In a clean spray bottle add:

  1. Half cup of distilled water
  2. Two tablespoons of aloe vera juice
  3. Two tablespoons of vegetable glycerin
  4. Two tablespoons of jojoba oil

Shake the bottle well and spritz hair with it. Style as normal. Feel free to adjust the amounts as you see fit, based on how your hair reacts. Always test new products on your skin first to check for any allergic reaction.

 

Raising Natural Haired Girls

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My babies when they were babies: Talya, Taylor and Tristan

It was just a few years ago that I was still using chemical relaxers (aka Creamy Crack) on my hair, but my two daughters were natural. Back then I didn’t know a lot about the different natural oils and butters that are good for the hair. I just knew what my mom used on me and my sisters and the routine she had: Washing our hair once every two weeks, using Olive oil, eggs or mayo as deep conditioners, VO5 hot oil treatments, and Blue Magic hair grease. I, in turn, washed and conditioned my two girls’ hair on a regular basis and used Blue Magic on their scalps. That’s what I knew.

Even though I wasn’t natural, I wanted my girls to love their natural hair because I felt their natural hair was beautiful. However, I wasn’t as informed as I could have been to take better care of their hair. It wasn’t until I decided to become natural did I learn how to take better care of their hair as well as my own. No doubt, there are many others out there who are raising natural haired daughters but may need a little help. Below is some advice I would like to share.

Educate yourself

The best thing you can do for you and your daughter(s) is to educate yourself on natural hair. Don’t rely on what you remember your mom and grandma doing because not everything they did was good for our hair. Get on the internet and research how to care for natural African American hair. Educate yourself on the different oils that are great for our hair and how to use them and mix them. Educate yourself about the different homemade hair masks and deep conditioners you can make yourself. If you feel you don’t have the time or patience to make your own concoctions and prefer to buy products from the store, learn about the good ingredients that you should look for in those products as well as the bad ingredients you should stay away from. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask other naturals questions. Whether if it’s friends, family, a natural hair beautician, or a complete stranger. Don’t be afraid to ask.

Commit to the time it takes to care for natural hair

Caring for natural hair takes time and patience. You cannot rush through caring for natural hair. If you do, the result is going to be major damage and hair loss. You must prepare yourself for the time it will require to wash, deep condition, detangle, and style natural hair. Ask others with natural hair what their haircare routine is like, visit blogs and vloggers on YouTube to get an idea of what their routines are like. One thing I found to be very helpful (and a time saver) was to look for vloggers who have a similar hair type as your daughters on YouTube (types 4a, 4b, 4c, etc). See what products they use or make themselves, the steps they go through, and incorporate what you want to use from them into developing a routine of your own based on your daughter’s hair care needs. As time goes on, you may find the need to change or tweak your routine. The most important thing in all of this is finding a routine and sticking to it.

Help your daughter(s) to love their natural hair

To me, this is the most important step. Teach your daughters that their natural hair is beautiful. It is unique, and their hair can do many things that others cannot. Nappy IS NOT a bad word. Neither is kinky. When I would be out and about with my daughters, I made it a point to show them other natural haired women and girls so they’d see that there were others out there with hair like them. I also explained to them that there are different natural hair types, shapes, and lengths, and they are all beautiful. I also taught them that not everyone is meant to have straight or curly hair that blows in the wind. However, Afros and puffs are beautiful, and it’s fun to create and discover new accessories and styles to wear their natural hair in.

Don’t straighten their hair on a regular basis

I’ve run into mothers of natural haired daughters who send their daughters to the beautician to have their hair straightened bone straight on a regular basis, but when they try to style their hair in a twist out or some other natural hair style, their ends  are still straight and look scraggly. Or some of their hair won’t go back to its naturally curly state because it’s been straightened so much. Heat damage is a real issue that often results in hair breakage and split/weakened ends. Heat should be used sparingly on natural hair.

Don’t overuse protective styles

Yes, we can overuse protective styles. How? By taking down a protective style and then right away putting in another one. Over-manipulation of the hair or tight braids isn’t good for anyone – young or old. Give your daughter’s hair and scalp time to rest and breathe. Let them wear their afro out with a cute headband, or afro puffs, or a twist out for a few weeks. And when you do use a protective style on your daughter’s hair, make sure that you are still moisturizing her hair on a regular basis.

These are just suggestions based on my personal experience. If you have other suggestions, please feel free to share them in the comments!

xoxo