Category Archives: DIY

Oil Shelf Life

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Homer thinking

In case you like to make your own body/hair moisturizers like I do, this link provides great information as to the shelf life of different oils and what they are good for.

http://www.gardenofwisdom.com/carrieroils.html

Enjoy!

 

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Mango Butter Hair and Body Moisturizer With Castor oil, Lemongrass and Sweet Orange Essential Oils

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mango butter

I’ve kind of kicked Shea Butter to the curb in favor of Mango Butter about two years ago. Raw, unrefined mango butter is divine for your skin and hair. It’s packed full of vitamins A, C, and E as well as the fatty acids oleic and stearic which act as emollients that soften and soothe the skin and hair.

Over the weekend I decided to make a batch of mango hair and body moisturizing butter with organic castor oil (natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties and is high in Vitamin E, minerals, proteins, and Omega 6 and 9 beneficial fatty acids. Its unusually high ricinoleic acid ratio makes it beneficial to skin and hair),

Castor Oil

apricot seed oil (contains vitamins A and E which support skin health and repair. It is a great home remedy for dry scalp, psoriasis, dandruff, and eczema. Restores moisture to dry or flaky scalp or dull and dry hair),

Apricot oil

vitamin E oil (combats wrinkles, promotes hair growth, shine, prevents hair loss),

vitamin e capsules

and lemon grass (full of vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, folate and vitamin C. It also provides essential minerals such as magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, copper, potassium, calcium, zinc and iron. Adds shine to hair, fights dandruff, tones skin, great for fighting blackheads)

Lemongrass

and sweet orange (antiseptic and anti-inflammatory which makes this oil an ideal addition to your skin and hair routine. Known to increase the ability to absorb vitamin C, collagen production, and blood flow, all of which are essential for anti-aging) essential oils.

essential oil and lavender flowers

Disclaimer: I don’t measure when making my concoctions, so please don’t be angry with me! I make big batches because I have a family of six and we all use this mango butter mixture regularly, so it’s just me measuring with my eyes and that’s it. *It is important to use carrier oils with lemongrass essential oil (such as sweet almond oil, apricot, jojoba, coconut oil, olive oil, rosehip or argan oils)  otherwise it can burn or irritate your skin if not properly diluted. Always test essential oils on your skin first before using.* Below is what I did:

Ingredients: 

1 lb of raw, unrefined mango butter

Organic castor oil

Organic apricot oil

4 vitamin E capsules

Lemon Grass essential oil

Sweet Orange essential oil

Tools: 

Large cooking pot

Water

Microwave safe bowl (medium size)

Rubber spatula

Spoon

Hand mixer

Air tight container(s) to store your butter (I used two containers)

Directions: 

Fill up your pot with water and bring to boil on stove. In your medium size microwave safe bowl, add your mango butter and put it in the hot water. Take the pot off of the stove and allow the butter to melt slowly. You don’t want to cook all the vitamins and nutrients out of the mango butter with high heat. When needed, reheat the water in the pot (without the mango butter in it) to continue the melting process.

Once the mango butter is melted, take it out of the water and add about 1/2 cup of castor oil,  1/3 cup of apricot oil, 20 drops of lemongrass and 20 drops of sweet orange essential oils. Add your vitamin E oil. I only had capsules, but if you have vitamin E oil in a bottle, that’s much easier! (*You don’t have to use 20 drops of lemongrass or sweet orange oils. I used that amount because I wanted my mango butter to have that citrus-y scent.)

Place your bowl in the freezer for about 15 minutes or until the oils solidifies, but don’t let it get too cold or freeze. You need it to be soft enough to mix.

Take your hand mixer and on medium-high speed, mix the oils until it becomes light and fluffy like a meringue or whipped cream. Once that’s accomplished, take your rubber spatula and transfer the butter to your airtight container(s) and you’re done.

The way this butter melts and absorbs into your skin upon contact is amazing! I especially love to use it after a shower. Your skin is left feeling very moisturized and soft with no greasy feel. It absorbs so well! As for the hair, it definitely makes my 4C hair feel softer.

All of these ingredients can be purchased on Amazon or at your nearest health store such as Whole Foods or Trader Joes.

Happy DIY-ing!

 

Be Encouraged

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Be encouraged

I don’t have all the answers. I’m still learning and I’m over four plus years into my natural hair journey. Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about protective styling – those who are against braids/weaves/wigs, and those who are for them. I’m very pro-braids and protective styling, as I sit here with micro braids in my hair now. But I do agree that overuse of braids/weaves/wigs can be very detrimental to your hair and should be used sparingly. What I don’t like is the negative bashing toward those who do like to use protective styles.

There have been many conversations about wash and go’s and how they can be done on 4c hair. I’m not disputing that at all. I did wash and go’s when I big chopped and barely had an inch of hair on my head. That was super easy to do! My hair isn’t what I’d consider to be long right now, but it’s long enough to become time consuming. Wash and go’s also entail the use the several products for them to work such as leave in conditioners, moisturizers, and some type of gel. All of those things cause flaking and white residue in my thick, coarse, 4c hair. From what everyone says, you have to find the right combination of products for a wash and go to work. There’s my red flag. I don’t want to have to buy a bunch of products to have a style that will only last a day and a half for me, or at the worst, leave a flaky residue in my hair. I’m not a product junkie, but trying to achieve the perfect wash and go will definitely turn me into one.

I’ve set a personal goal for myself to stop being lazy and to do a better job at keeping my hair moisturized and well conditioned. I think if I start there, the rest (healthiness and growth) will follow. The thought of doing another big chop have crossed my mind, but we’ll see. I’m not quite ready to give up on my hair. I’m saying all of this to say that I read a lot about natural hair because I love reading other women’s experiences, struggles and triumphs. But we all have to remember that what works for one person may not work for you. Many of us wear protective styles out of necessity or convenience. Not everyone have time in the morning to do a wash and go, and quite frankly, not everyone wants to – and that’s okay.

Reading some of these blogs will have you feeling like the world’s laziest, loser, slacker natural. No one should feel that way. Recognize where you need to make improvements and then make them. My laziness towards my hair resulted in bald spots and breakage, and it’s been well documented in this blog. Now I’m investing more time in my hair. I’m paying closer attention to leave in conditioners, good deep conditioners, and protein treatments. And I’m still looking for good DIY ideas so I can keep my coins in my pockets.  😉 Be encouraged and keep learning. Give your hair the TLC it needs so it can thrive and grow.

Here We Go Again…

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eye roll

Lately there’s been this uproar in the natural hair community over Shea Moisture’s new online ad that in the short clip, seemed to only feature white women who claim to have “difficult hair” and have been “hair shamed” for whatever reason. The only woman of color in the ad was a young lady who looks to be of mixed race heritage with long curly hair. You can watch the video here:

http://www.thefader.com/2017/04/24/shea-moisture-video-hair-backlash

Before I go on, if you’re unfamiliar with the brand Shea Moisture, it’s a brand that made natural hair products for African American hair. The CEO of Shea Moisture said the ad was an oversight and that they didn’t mean to alienate black women. Mind you, Shea Moisture was created for black women, was supported by black women, and became successful because of black women. So I understand the uproar expressed on social media regarding the message Shea Moisture sent with this new ad campaign. The execution of the ad was horribly done. In that short clip it didn’t show black women, but in the full clip, it shows black women. What’s that saying a bout first impressions?

Here’s the thing: Companies and brands expand all the time. They try to reach broader audiences because they want money from everybody’s pockets. In Shea Moisture’s case, it’s the way they went about trying to target the other dollars that left a bitter taste in many mouths. Me personally, I haven’t bought Shea Moisture products in quite some time. If I don’t catch it on sale, I don’t buy it, and that’s with all products.  I find that most products on store shelves that are made for African American hair teeter on the expensive side. That in itself is a huge issue for me. Yes, I want to support black businesses, but good grief! Spending $20 and up on an 8 oz jar or smaller of a product is just too much for this sista that’s on a budget! But that’s a story for another day.

Most of you know that I’m big on DIY products. If I can save a buck or two I will do so. Every once in a blue moon I’ll try a new product, but for the most part I stick to my more reasonable products or I’ll I make my own and I rock with it until I perfect a recipe that suits my hair needs. I guess that’s why when I read about the uproar with Shea Moisture, I rolled my eyes because at the end of the day, sometimes you’re better off learning how to make your own products or going with a smaller brand that’s less expensive but still effective. Many accuse Shea Moisture of changing/watering down it’s product, and Carol’s Daughter has been accused of the same. I don’t use their products to be able to give an opinion, but both claim they have not. I can see formula change as a valid worry for naturalista’s, especially when the company has been sold as in Carol’s Daughter case.

I’m not as upset about what Shea Moisture is trying to do as others are, I’m more disappointed in the execution. At the end of the day Shea Moisture is a business, but for black women, we felt we finally had a company that made and sold products just for us and our natural hair needs. We no longer were forced to use shampoo’s and conditioners that weren’t made for our hair. Now with this new direction that Shea Moisture is going in, many loyal black Shea Moisture customers feel betrayed. Black women are the ones who were fiercely loyal and supportive of a brand that dared to bring forth a line exclusively for African American hair, and this is how we’re treated. I get it and I empathize with those feelings. But we must remember, at the end of the day it’s about dollars and cents. Nothing else matters to these companies. Not even customer loyalty.

DIY Shampoo Using African Black Soap

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shampoo

shampoo

I’m giddy with excitement because I made my first DIY shampoo and it was so simple! This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a very long time and I finally bought the main ingredient, African Black Soap.

The benefits of African Black Soap:

  • Black soap is made with rare tropical honeys that are known for softening the skin and creating a smooth surface.
  • Black soap is also a natural source of vitamins A & E and iron. This helps to strengthen the skin and hair.
  • Black soap contains a high amount of glycerin, which absorbs moisture from the air and literally deposits it into the skin, making the skin soft and supple.
  • For centuries, Ghanaians and Nigerians have used black soap to help relieve acne, oily skin, clear blemishes and various other skin issues. Many swear by it for skin irritations and conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

With that being said, here is a simple recipe I’ve found. Please be aware that you must be the judge of the amount you make based on your needs. I decided to make enough to fill a 32 oz bottle that I had, so here’s what I did:

What you’ll need:

  1. Big pot
  2. Water
  3. Cheese grater
  4. Big bowl
  5. Funnel
  6. 1/2 (or less) bar of African Black Soap
  7. Jojoba oil
  8. Vegetable Glycerin
  9. Vitamin E oil
  10. Tea Tree oil
  11. Rosemary essential oil

*Feel free to add or substitute oils you desire such as argan oil, lavender essential oil, neem oil, etc. I used what I had on hand.

Directions:

  1. Add enough water to your pot to fill whatever bottle or container you plan on storing your shampoo in. Bring it to a boil and remove it from the heat.
  2. Take your cheese grater and grate the amount of black soap you want to use for your shampoo. I used half of a bar based on the amount of shampoo I wanted to make. Grating the soft soap helps it to dissolve quickly in the water instead of having to wait hours or overnight like other DIY recipes call for.
  3. Add the soap to a large bowl and pour your hot water over it.
  4. Add your oils to the water and soap.
  5. I used the following amounts for my mixture:
    1. 2-3 Tbsp of Jojoba oil
    2. 1 – 2 tsp of Vegetable Glycerin
    3. 1 -2 Tbsp of Vitamin E oil
    4. 1 Tbsp of Tea Tree oil
    5. 10 drops of Rosemary essential oil
  6. Stir your mixture. You’ll notice how quickly your black soap dissolves. Keep stirring until you no longer see any chunks of soap.
  7. Allow the mixture to cool before transferring to your bottle. Once your mixture has cooled, use your funnel to transfer the liquid into your bottle. That’s it! Your shampoo is ready for use!

If you’re wondering why so many oils are used, it’s because African soap alone can be very drying to your hair, so that’s why it’s good to add additional oils, especially if you’re prone to dry hair. Oils that help retain moisture such as jojoba and argan are great to use.  Again, use as little or as much as your hair needs.

My Results: The African Black Soap shampoo lathers easily, so you don’t need to use much for a good wash. Your shampoo won’t be thick in texture but will be watery, so don’t be alarmed. After shampooing twice, my hair and scalp felt very clean and soft. I followed it with a sage and rosemary tea rinse, rinsing my hair several times with the tea.

I put my bottle of shampoo in the fridge just to be on the safe side. Prior to washing your hair again, just take it out of the fridge and let it get room temperature before using.

If you’re like me and are looking for the healthiest, natural DIY solutions for your hair that are also money savers, this is an excellent DIY shampoo recipe to keep and use. I apologize for not posting any photos of the shampoo itself. I forgot to take a picture of it while mixing it in my bowl! 😦 Till next time… xoxo