Tag Archives: Natural hair

My Version of a Wash N Go

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Full disclosure: This isn’t a how-to post for wash and go’s. I haven’t done a wash and go since I big chopped four years ago. However, last week, at the very last minute, I decided to wash my hair before I went to work. Literally, I laid in bed for like a half hour debating on whether or not to wash it now or later in the evening. The chances were very slim that I’d want to wash it after dinner or before I went to bed, so finally, I decided to get up and get it over with. I hopped in the shower, cleaned my body and then commenced to washing my hair.

I towel dried my hair as best I could, detangled, did the LOC method (Leave in conditioner, oil, and a cream) and put in two flat twists – one on each side of my head. Okay, I’m gonna be honest here –  my flat twists were more like struggle twists, lol! They were not pretty at all, so I wrapped my hair with a head wrap and off to work I went.

My takeaway from this experience is that wash and go’s can be done. I had so many excuses as to why I couldn’t wash my hair in the morning before going to work. “It’s too much work. I won’t have time to style. Who has time for all of that? Wash and go’s won’t work on my 4c hair.” I only thought that way because I was thinking of wash and go’s in the typical sense where you’re using various products, techniques, and lots of time to achieve the perfect coils so you can wear your hair out.  That’s not the only way you can do a wash and go, but it is the most promoted way of doing a wash and go among naturalistas. I forgot that you can do a wash and go but instead of wearing your hair out, put some flat twists or braids in your hair and keep it moving.

There are no hard and fast rules for wash and go’s. You simply have to make your own version of it. Do what works for you.

Here’s a photo of me with my head wrapped wash and go last week:

SJ wash n go headwrap

 

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

I’m too old for…

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Overly sensitive people in the natural hair community. I know we all have our struggles as naturalista’s, and we’re constantly battling negative stereotypes when it comes to our natural hair. But when we have discussions amongst ourselves, we should be able to speak freely and not be censored by the natural hair police or admins of a group who try to tell you what you can and cannot say, especially when it’s not demeaning or offensive. We all have different thoughts and opinions, and having natural hair is not going to change that. Having natural hair does not mean that we’re exempt from all criticism. That’s not being realistic at all.

I’m starting to rethink being part of natural hair groups on Facebook because I’m finding that grown women don’t know how to have grown up conversations about HAIR. It’s sickening and it’s a shame.  I left a group tonight because the admins tried to chastise and tell others how they should and should not feel and what they can and cannot say when everyone was simply stating their opinion on a hairstyle. Yes, a hairstyle people. It was so ridiculous and so petty and uncalled for. And that’s when I said “You know what? I’m too old for this.”

girl-bye

We cannot control what people think, what they say, or how they feel. All we can do is focus on ourselves and keep ourselves uplifted. Tune out the negativity and keep showing the strength and beauty of our natural hair as much as possible. Be supportive of one another and stop trying to make people think and feel the way you do. Those who are natural still have misinformed, backwards, or flat out ignorant thoughts on natural hair, which means not everyone is on the same path or level in their journey as you may be. People can only learn through education, not censorship.

 

DIY Shampoo Using African Black Soap

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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

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.

 

Gabrielle Union Twists Update

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Tamar

Hey, lovelies! So a few weeks back I posted a picture of Gabrielle Union with her gorgeous, free flowing twists with the hopes of getting them myself. Well, that didn’t happen. I thought my braider could re-create the look with the same or similar hair used for Gabby’s twists, but that wasn’t the case. I ended up getting my usual Senegalese twists. Yes, I’m totally bummed about that. However, a few lessons (and reminders) were learned from this experience:

  1. Not every hair braider can do every style you want. Have a backup plan in place, and by backup plan I mean other hair braiders and stylists. It’s ok to shop around and keep an eye out for other talented braiders. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been a very loyal customer to my beautician when I was getting relaxers, and I’ve been very loyal to my hair braiders over the years. When I find a good one, I stick with them and follow them wherever they may go…unless they go overseas which is what happened to one of my very talented hair braiders. That’s when the following stops, lol. But seriously, keep this in mind. There are other options out there.
  2. Braids are not cheap, and every woman who gets them can attest to that. That being said, we pay too much money to not be satisfied with the end product. That’s why it is so important that you find a braider that listens, not one who simply wants your money and gives you what THEY want you to have. Don’t be afraid to ask questions either. If they can’t recreate a style, are there any alternatives? Perhaps using a different type of hair or technique? If the shop provides the hair and they don’t carry the hair needed to do a certain style, offer to bring your own.
  3. There is no reason for your hair to be braided so tight until your scalp is in pain for days or weeks afterward. If your hair is constantly being braided tight, even after you tell your braider that it’s too tight, it’s time to look for a different hair braider. Heavy hands and tight braids will leave you bald around the edges and with bald spots throughout your scalp, and that is totally counterproductive (and unacceptable) to having braids in the first place. Braids are used as a protective style to us naturals to preserve what we have and to protect it from the elements and over manipulation. Keep that in mind when getting your hair braided. DO NOT allow a braider to damage your hair and scalp by braiding your hair too tight.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask other women who did their braids. Trust me, that’s how I’ve found my hair braiders over the years. Word of mouth is a powerful tool. Just the other day at the grocery store, I complimented the cashier on her eyebrows. They were beautifully shaped and her make-up was beautifully done. It looked very natural and it wasn’t caked on. What I loved the most was she was a dark skinned young lady and she used all the right shades of makeup to compliment her beautiful skin tone. Anyway, she thanked me, and before I left with my groceries she handed me her business card. It turns out she’s an African hair braider and cosmetologist! She also has a YouTube channel that I will be checking out soon. But do you get what I’m saying? I now have another option to look into for my braiding and styling needs.

Too often because something is the “norm” we accept it. That should never be the case when it comes to our health, and it should never be the case when it comes to the health of our scalp and hair. Just because braids are typically done tightly doesn’t mean they should be. It also doesn’t mean that we should accept it. Remember, there are other options out there so don’t be afraid to explore them.