Category Archives: Natural Hair Remedies

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. ¬†ūüėČ Be encouraged and keep learning. Give your hair the TLC it needs so it can thrive and grow.

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

Moisturizing My 4c Hair *Update*

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on-second-thought

Hello, lovelies! In a previous blog post I provided the following recipe for a daily moisturizing spritz:

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.

I want to update step 3. Two tablespoons of vegetable glycerin is too much. I would change that to one teaspoon. A little vegetable glycerin goes a long way. While the spritz ¬†moisturized my hair, it kept my hair in a constant shrunken state. Case in point: I’d leave the house with a bomb afro. By the time I’d make it to work, my afro would be reduced to a small packed down fro. Not cute.

Apologies to anyone who may have used the previous recipe I provided with not so great results. Always feel free to adjust recipes to fit your hair needs. No two heads of hair are alike! *Kisses*

 

Sage Tea Rinse

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sage

Last week a workmate gave me a bunch of fresh sage that was grown in her mother’s garden. My first thought was “What can I cook with this?” Then I thought about how I could use this on my hair. I remembered reading about how some naturals use Rosemary and other herbs as tea rinses. I also read that Sage is good for your hair and promotes hair growth. Naturally, I began to Google the benefits of Sage for your hair and skin.

Benefits of Sage: 

  • Sage is a traditional topical treatment for graying hair
  • Sage may promote new hair growth. Sage is an astringent, so when applied to the scalp, it increases the flow of blood to the follicles and so promotes hair growth.
  • Using a sage hair rinse is said to thicken hair and strengthen it and give your hair shine. Sage essential oil is also said to be an effective way to combat hair loss too.
  • Sage has antibiotic, antiallergic and antiseptic properties and is a source of magnesium, zinc, potassium, and vitamins B and C.¬†
  • As for the skin, if you use cold sage tea as a skin toner, it will help clear up acne, reduce inflammation and leave your skin feeling fresh and clean.

After learning about all the wonderful benefits of Sage, I immediately wanted to know how I could effectively use the fresh sage that I had on hand. I found a very simple way to use my sage.

Making the Sage Tea: 

  • In a pot, add however much water you want to use – it’s up to you
  • Bring water to boil
  • Add two or three stalks of fresh sage to the water
  • Turn off heat and allow the sage to steep for about 15 minutes
  • Remove the stalks (I used a fork) and allow the tea to cool
  • Pour the sage tea into a large cup or bowl and then rinse hair, massaging your scalp as you do so

On my wash day, I washed my hair with baking soda water and rinsed with apple cider vinegar. As my final rinse, I used the sage tea BUT I rinsed it several times with the tea. I placed a large bowl in my sink to¬†catch the tea as I rinsed, and then poured it back into my cup and repeated about two – three more times. I wanted to make sure my entire head was saturated with the tea to get all the benefits from it. You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to, but it was something I wanted to do.

I detangled my hair and then allowed it to semi-air dry before adding my oils and mango butter to prepare for twisting. I will say that my coils felt looser and my hair did not draw up like it normally does after a regular shampooing and conditioning. My hair and scalp felt very clean and soft after doing this sage tea rinse.

I plan on purchasing some sage and rosemary essential oils to keep on hand to use as a daily light spritz. Do you do herbal tea rinses? If so what have your results been, and what herbs do you use? Please leave a comment below!

 

 

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. ūüėČ 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‚Äôs 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 РPromotes 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.

 

Coconut Oil is Back in my Life

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coconut oil

 

Last year I read a lot of blogs and articles about why coconut oil is suddenly bad for your hair and scalp. It made me raise an eyebrow because I know of the many health benefits of coconut oil, especially for your hair and scalp. However, I did take a break from using coconut oil – but not because of those articles.¬†During the summer¬†I took a short sabbatical from using coconut oil¬†in my hair care regimen and used mostly my mango butter mixture (which actually had coconut oil in it still ūüėČ ), Jamaican Black Castor Oil, pumpkin seed oil, and olive oil. I took the break from coconut oil because I’ve found that during the summer, the hot temperatures¬†made my hair feel crunchy, dry, and hard¬†when I used coconut oil on it.¬†But during the winter, my hair LOVES coconut oil and it NEEDS it to keep it soft and manageable.

So I ask the question: How can something that’s been used on the hair and scalp for thousands of years by men and women alike, from various cultures all over the world suddenly be bad for your hair ? If you wash your hair regularly (and by regularly I mean whatever schedule you have set up) and use a clarifying shampoo that will get all the oils out, you should be fine! There are too many health benefits to your skin, scalp, and hair to completely dismiss coconut oil, but you must do what is best for you. The naysayers are saying that oils, heavy oils in particular, are bad, they clog your pores, they stump your hair growth, but this is only true¬†if you use these oils excessively and you don’t wash your hair regularly with a clarifying shampoo. It is a known fact that African American¬†hair NEEDS OIL of some kind.¬†I know there are naturals out there who swear by not using oils on their hair, and their hair is thriving and growing.¬†Kudos to you if you’re one of them! As someone with 4c¬†type hair that is kinky and coily and naturally dry, I need oil. And for me, I can’t have just any oil.¬†I need the heavier oils.

The moral of the story is this: Don’t be afraid to switch up your oils or to try new oils. Natural, organic oils have many benefits. If you’re not allergic to any of them, use them. Don’t let blogs and other people’s personal opinions or experiences keep you from using something that has always worked for you. Your 4c¬†hair may not like what my 4c¬†hair likes. Her 3c¬†hair probably can’t tolerate the heavier oils like her 4b hair can. Our bodies are made up differently, and our hair will never be “one size fits all” when it comes to products and oils. With that being said, coconut oil is definitely back in my life. As a matter of fact, I just ordered some from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Carrington-Farms-Organic-Virgin-Coconut/dp/B008P0BG7I/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1454005764&sr=8-2&keywords=carrington+farms+coconut+oil

And I finally purchased some aloe vera gel!

http://www.amazon.com/Aubrey-Organics-Pure-Aloe-Vera/dp/B00013YZ0C/ref=sr_1_17?ie=UTF8&qid=1454005968&sr=8-17&keywords=aloe+vera+gel

Yes the gel is a bit pricey for that little bottle, but it’s supposed to be a really good quality product so I’m giving it a try! My scalp needs all the healing help it can get!!

2015 Natural Hair In Review

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2015

 

Looking back on¬†my natural hair journey for 2015, I noticed, and you’ve probably¬†noticed too, that I was fixated on protective styling. That quickly got trumped when I discovered my bald spot and breakage. The bald spot, though traumatic, ended up being a blessing in disguise. It made me take a closer look at how I treated my hair. It made me realize that I was being too rough on my hair and on my daughter’s hair. I had to rethink my hair care regimen. I was also forced to look at the products I was using, even though I take the minimalist approach to my products. I’ve incorporated more natural oils into my routine,¬†and I deep condition more. Positive changes definitely came from my bald spot scare!

Since starting this natural hair journey, it’s always been about learning and embracing. You have to take the good with the bad no matter what. I will admit that when my bald spot was discovered, the thought of cutting off all of my hair did cross my mind. I felt this would only be an option if the breakage had spread to other parts of my head, and it never did. I’ve read many blogs and watched many YouTube videos on breakage and the steps some have taken to deal with breakage, and cutting off all of their hair is one step some have taken, depending on how severe the damage was.¬†Thank goodness I didn’t have to go to that extreme, but I was prepared to do so if push came to shove.

Overall, I believe 2015 was a good year. Towards the end I got hit with the¬†bald spot¬†drama, but it all worked out once I got a solid hair care regimen in place. I love the natural hair community because through me sharing my experience with my bald spot, fellow naturalista’s rallied around me and let me know that I wasn’t alone. They’ve experienced breakage and bald spots, and they’ve gotten through them. I’ve gotten a lot of wonderful advice and constant support and encouraging words, and I will forever be grateful for that. I don’t know what 2016 will bring, but I pray it’s full of positivity. Here’s to healthy hair!!

XoXo

 

Sonya