Category Archives: Moisturize

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!

 

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When The Creamy Crack Lures You Back

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Straight and curly hair

Hair is such a personal and emotional thing for women. We can wake up one morning and decide to cut it all off, dye it, wear a wig, get a sew in, or have it braided. It’s no different when it comes to having natural hair or having it chemically straightened with relaxers.

When I first started on my natural hair journey, I was like a sponge. I reached out to fellow naturalista’s and asked questions about their journey, what natural products did they use on their hair, etc. I was so excited and eager! Then I talked to those who were once natural but went back to the creamy crack, and it broke my heart. I couldn’t understand how that could happen because being natural is healthier, it’s liberating, it’s part of our culture. It’s the best thing ever…right? Well, that’s how I felt, and still feel. Fast forward a few years and I’ve come to realize, and respect, that not everyone falls in love with their natural hair. Natural hair is truly a struggle for some women.

For some, natural hair isn’t convenient because of the time it takes to care for and style it. It can also be expensive because of the plethora of products available in stores and on line for you to try, which can easily turn you into a product junkie. Others get disappointed when they can’t achieve the curly hair that they see promoted in advertising. I’ve also heard many times “My hair doesn’t act right natural.” There can be so many reasons why their hair doesn’t act right such as not having a healthy diet, not having a consistent hair care routine, or using products containing harsh chemicals. Maybe they aren’t keeping their hair properly moisturized. Whatever the reason, it’s making some women give up on their natural hair and go back to the creamy crack.

Hair relaxers were coined ‘creamy crack’ for a reason. It’s lure is powerful, and all it takes is one experience to become addicted. It offers convenience and versatility. You can apply it yourself or go to the beauty shop. It’s readily available, and it’s cheap – just like crack cocaine. The “high” that creamy crack offers lasts 3 – 4 weeks, sometimes longer depending on how you feel about having nappy roots (aka new growth). As with most drugs, the side effects of hair relaxers are awful: Scalp burns that often cause hair loss or permanent hair loss, breakage, and exposure to chemicals and toxins that get absorbed through our scalp and into our bodies that can cause a myriad of health issues. Despite the many cons of using hair relaxers, it’s still addictive and you come to depend on it, just like crack cocaine. I have firsthand knowledge since I was a hair relaxer addict for over 24 years.

In the end, I can understand why some do go back to the creamy crack. I have several friends who have big chopped many times, gone back to the creamy crack several times, all for various reasons. At the end of the day, we all have to do what is best for ourselves. But, knowing what I know now about chemical relaxers, and having watched Chris Rock’s documentary Good Hair, there’s no way I’ll go back to creamy crack. We’ve broken up for good.

 

Glutten For Punishment

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Glutten For Punishment

Seriously. I don’t know why I insist on doing these spur of the moment, last minute things when it comes to my hair. This morning for an example, I decided at about 7 am to attempt the typical wash and go on my hair, not like the quick one I did two weeks ago. So I found a wash and go video on YouTube for a refresher and then tried to do it. I even went under the hooded dryer to dry my hair quicker versus letting it air dry.

Let me tell y’all…when I say my hair was a crunchy hot mess, I mean every word of that!! I’m laughing now as I remember how much of an epic FAIL my rushed, last minute wash and go was! First I co-washed. Then I used my leave in conditioner, a little oil, and gel. Normally that would work for your typical wash and go, right?

Here is the learning lesson: Before I attempted any of this, my hair was not pre-pooed, it was not well moisturized at all. It was very, very DRY. In order for your curls to pop and for a wash and go to work, you must keep your hair well moisturized. I had been quite lazy since my last wash. I semi-straightened my hair with the electric hair brush and have been wearing it that way ever since. I’ve been walking around with dry, stretched hair. Yes, I know better.

So, back to the sink I went to shampoo my hair after my failed wash and go attempt. With my hair soaking wet, I added my leave in, quickly oiled my scalp with my special oil blend, and put in my homemade whipped mango butter. I put my hair in a puff and got ready for work. My takeaway from all of this is I still have some work to do when it comes to getting my hair healthy and keeping it healthy. My laziness has once again come back to bite me in the butt. And we won’t even talk about the uneven hair I’ve noticed at the crown of my hair. Breakage. Again. This time I have a pretty good idea of what caused it. The head scarf I was using to tie my hair up at night. Sheesh…

Here is how I rolled in to work today. And it’s still wet. LOL! If you take nothing else from this, please let me be the lesson for what NOT to do! xoxo

SJ 8-16

 

 

Breakage Again *Update*

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There is a such thing as having too much of a good thing. Initially, I assumed my breakage was due to not protective styling, too much combing, etc. After really thinking about what I’ve been doing to my hair, I figured it out. Too much caffeine in my homemade sage tea rinses. I didn’t do my tea rinses on every wash day. More like every other. But where I messed up is I made my tea too strong which dried out my hair and made it brittle and break off in the back. Caffeine is drying to your hair, something that never crossed my mind. Please learn from my mistake my lovelies. Do everything in moderation. Including tea rinses. They shouldn’t be very strong teas, and you shouldn’t do them too often.

I took the scissors and cut as much as the damaged ends off as I could. Yes my hair is uneven and shorter on one side of my head, but I don’t care about that at the moment. My main concern is getting my hair back healthy and keeping it moisturized. At the moment my hair is in micro braids and I’ve had them for about three weeks now and I LOVE them! I haven’t had micro braids in over 15 years! I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

 

Sonya March 24

Breakage…again!

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clutch-the-pearls

I did not want to have to blog about breakage again, but here we go. I already know the cause of it:

  1. Not protective styling enough
  2. Becoming lazy when caring for my hair
  3. Using too much heat (blow dryer & straightening brush)
  4. Not moisturizing enough

It’s all shameful because I know better. I know better. However, I took a break from getting my hair braided this winter and I’m paying for it. I became a very lazy natural and now I have breakage as a result towards the back of my head. I noticed more than the usual shedding and unevenness. I have no one to blame but myself, and I know what needs to be done to fix it. I need to do the opposite of all four things I listed above!

I’m going to cut off as much breakage as possible (try to even out my hair back there), give it some extra TLC, and then get my hair braided. It’s time, it’s been almost six months since I’ve been to the shop to have my hair braided. I tried faux loc crochet braids recently (see picture below) but could only tolerate them for almost three weeks because the synthetic hair made my scalp itch horribly! But they were cute! As always, I’ll keep you posted on my breakage saga. 😦

sonya-faux-locs

Protective Styling – It’s Not That Hard!

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So why have I been making it so hard? Or am I just lazy/content with what I’ve been doing thus far? I think it’s the latter. Lately, I’ve been seriously thinking about other ways to protective style that will not hurt my pocket book so much. (I just showed my age saying pocket book LOL!)  I LOVE going to the shop and getting my hair braided, however that’s not always financially feasible. Braids are a wonderful investment that you can get two – three months out of, especially when you find a great hair braider. Crochet braids only last for a few weeks (depending on style and type of hair you use) and then you have to take them down.

In the meantime, I’ve gotten myself into the bad habit of twisting or plaiting my hair and then taking it down the next day to wear a curly fro, then retwisting or plaiting to do it all over again night after night. Well, I’m noticing split ends and extra shedding. Not good. The shedding and split ends aren’t just because of over manipulation. It’s also because I haven’t been tucking my hair away this winter. The cold, harsh winter air has my hair dry and brittle. To be more loving and gentler to my hair, I’ve set a new goal for myself, inspired by fellow Naturalista’s on Facebook. My goal is to leave my hair in a protective style for a week and to keep doing it every week until it becomes a habit. I think this is a great goal for people like myself who desperately need to leave their hair alone.

Yesterday, I had an epiphany. Not only am I going to invest in more colorful scarves so I can wrap my hair in different styles, I’m going to also invest in a WIG! And not just any ole’ wig, I want a good wig that looks like my natural hair. I’ll admit that I’ve been resistant towards wigs for quite some time. I’ve never worn one in my entire life except for a talent show. I’ve always felt that I wouldn’t look right in them. But I’ve now had a change of heart and I’m ready to rock a wig! Maybe it’s because I’m in my 40’s and I no longer care about what other people think. Regardless of the reason, I’m here for them. I’m here for wigs! yaaasssss

Until I get my wig and more colorful scarves, here’s what I’m rocking today to keep my plaits in my hair:

Image may contain: 1 person, sunglasses, hat and closeup

Come through, hat! 😉

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