Monday, July 29, 2013

Avocado gone wrong!!!

 by Tenika

A few weeks ago I was getting ready to travel to San Francisco and got the bright idea that I was going to try something new.....a organic homemade deep conditioner. What was I thinking?????? I mean literally the night before my flight I was trying something new. 

One of my hair crushes....HeyFranHey had this recipe for a organic homemade deep conditioner.


So I gathered all the necessary ingredients and proceeded to go to work in my kitchen.

After mixing everything..............this is what I was left with.


Now you maybe saying to yourself........that doesn't look all that great. Your right!!! It's not. But I continued on in the good faith of improving my natural hair. 

What happened next was not pretty. I must have not blended the avocado very well because when I tried to wash this out......... It would not come out of my hair!!!! I had pieces of avocado all in my hair.

It took me 8 washes (with shampoo) and a midnight trip to Walgreen's to get As I Am co-wash to get most of it out and I still had pieces in my hair. Ughhhh!! Eventually I just gave up on washing it out and started trying to pick out the pieces from my hair strand by strand. I was a sad site to see.

My lesson learned (only in my case)..........I will not be using avocado in any mixture for my hair!!

Anyone else have experiments that have gone wrong?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Summer Scarf Updo Tutorial

I recently fell in love with Backsyncfan when I started thrifting a couple months ago.  Homegirl got skills! LOL!  Ok, ok, ok, but aside from her revamping her thrifting finds into the cutest outfits ever, she is also a member of #TeamNatural!  Here is her tutorial on creating a cute summer scarf updo which is perfect when you are trying to stretch your twist out or WnG just one more day.  Check it out and if you try the style post pics on our Facebook or use hashtag #just_curlz on Instagram! ~Tasha


Monday, July 22, 2013

4 Benefits of Grapeseed Oil + How to use it on Natural Hair

via BGLH 

*Grapeseed oil is my #1 choice for sealing, massaging my scalp, and to use as a heat protectant when I blow out my hair or my daughter's. And I use the brand pictured below and a big bottle is only about $7 at my local grocery store and lasts forever! ~Tasha 
 

Many women use olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, and even jojoba oil on their hair in some fashion. However, few use or know about grapeseed oil.

WHY USE GRAPESEED OIL:

1.  It is inexpensive.  Compared to your more popular hair oils, this one is fairly inexpensive.  Depending on where you purchase your grapeseed oil, it can cost almost 30-40% less than extra virgin olive oil or extra virgin coconut oil.  It also much cheaper and more accessible than jojoba oil.

2.  It protects against moisture loss.  Grapeseed oil contains a high amount of linoleic acid, a type of omega-6 fatty acid. Research has demonstrated that when applied to the skin, this fatty acid can help combat dryness by providing protection against moisture loss (Source).  This may be good news for a dry scalp.

3.  It is fairly light.  The consistency of grapeseed oil is somewhere between that of jojoba oil and olive oil (though much closer to jojoba oil).  Thus, if you find olive oil to be too heavy or want an alternative to jojoba oil, grapeseed oil may be worth a try.

4.  It is odorless.  Grapeseed oil is odorless which makes it easier to use alone or in recipes without needing to add a fragrance (e.g., an essential oil).

HOW TO USE GRAPESEED OIL:

1. As a sealant.  Depending on your hair, grapeseed oil may work just fine as a sealant after a good wash and conditioning session.  Just apply the oil to damp hair to lock in the moisture.

2. To enhance a moisturizer.  This oil can be used to enhance your current moisturizer.  Mix a little bit with your moisturizer to increase moisture retention.

3. To alleviate a dry scalp.  As discussed earlier, linoleic acid has been demonstrated to provide a protection against moisture loss when applied to the skin.  Since grapeseed oil consists of a very high amount (~70%) of this fatty acid, it can aid in alleviating a dry scalp.

4. Mix into a whipped butter.  Grapeseed oil can mix well into whipped butters and increase the moisturizing/sealant properties of your mixture.

5. As a hot oil treatment.  Use the oil alone or mixed with other oils as a hot oil treatment prior to your wash.

CAN GRAPESEED OIL BE USED AS HEAT PROTECTANT?
Though the oil has a high smoke point (some sources quote 400 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit), this characteristic does not translate into it being adequate as a heat protectant.  A high smoke point indicates that the oil requires a higher temperature to break down and start smoking.  In other words, grapeseed oil may not degrade before reaching 400 degrees Fahrenheit but your hair might.  In contrast, a heat protectant contains a formulation of ingredients that actually helps to reduce the transfer of heat to the cortex of the hair (Source).  That being said, it is much safer to use a commercial heat protectant than to experiment with grapeseed oil as a possibility.

Ladies, have you tried grapeseed oil?  How do you use it?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Opinion: A Weave is Not a Protective Style; It’s Just a Weave

via BGLH

We all remember Sheneneh as the weave wearing, smack talking, weird outfit wearing, neighbor to Martin and Gina! Weaves can allow you to have some fun with your hair without damaging your real hair and serves as a protective style for many naturals.  However, read the post below and let us know your thoughts!


By Charing Ball of MadameNoire.com

This is not an anti-hair weave post but rather, this is a pro-truth post.


And the hardcore, nitty-gritty straight no chaser-kind truth is that a weave is not a protective style. A weave is just a weave. 

Yeah I know, what business is it of mine what someone else puts on their head? It isn’t my business – until folks try to convince me that what I’m seeing is not what I am actually seeing. And that is what has been happening as of late in a couple of the natural hair social networking groups to which I belong. Perhaps because of the change of season, the sites have been awash with posts and pictures of self-proclaimed natural hair women, rocking the 23-inches of Brazilian wet and wavy cascading down their backs. They call it “protective styling,” a term coined to describe the process in which women (and men too) hide their hair from “harmful agents.” It used to just apply to those rocking the braids and cornrows, but some of our more ingenious womenfolks have found a loophole into TeamNatural by playing fast and loose with the lingo to make it more weave-tastic. 

Technically, certain wig and weave styles, particularly the sew-in, allow the hair a break from the daily stresses some women do to their hair including processing and perming, tugging and over-styling. And technically certain wigs and weave styles, are a great way to promote growth because your hair is pretty much in a dormant state from such manipulation, thus more free to do what it does uninhibited. But also technically, you have someone else’s hair on your head. And no matter how you try to spin it, that just ain’t natural. 

At the core of what bugs me the most about the weave classification as a “protective style” is the distorted, if not counterproductive motives behind it. Honestly natural hair shouldn’t be this high maintenance. And unless there are hair bandits on the loose, hoping to score on the black market with a handful of your natural coils, there is really nothing in our natural environment that we have to protect the hair from. Everything else is truly about accepting and learning how to deal with your own hair as it comes out of your head – whether it comes out extra kinky or extra fine; in the snow, sleet, rain, wind or through hot summers. Acceptance of our hair is supposed to teach us that not every style choice is meant for us but that’s okay because our hair is beautiful anyway. Yet throwing a weave or some braids in your head – while a cute style – teaches you nothing about your hair, especially when you wear it for 11 months out of the year (which many of these womenfolks in TeamNatural are professing to do). All it does is just tucks away the “problem,” some folks refuse to deal with upfront. Of course, the real problem isn’t so much the hair as it is the thinking. 

Likewise, what used to be about freedom from more European-centric standards of beauty, which meant forgoing all the unnecessary manipulations we put our hair through in an effort to match, or exceed, those standards – has now turned into growth challenges; angry rants about “shrinkage” and stretching; saturating our hairs with products in hopes of “defining curls” and behind the back selfies of women tugging at a small section of their hair and measuring how close it is to reaching BSL, or bra-strap level. It seems that many women don’t just want healthy hair; they just want lots of hair. And I’m not talking about big kinky, curly hair like a Tracy Ross (but that too) but also long hair, the kind you can swing about like your name was Becky. It’s a sad thing to say but the more I observe this heightened emphasis among naturals for “length” and “protection,” the more I realize that many of us have carried much of the same baggage along with us into what was supposed to be a liberating movement. 

It’s true whether or not folks are willing to admit to themselves. And no cutesy, made-up technical term is going to hide the fact that many of these weaved-up naturalists are no different than Shay Shay and her best girlfriend LaQuanita, who trek over to the neighborhood Korean beauty supply store and haggle with them over 18”inches of 100 percent Brazilian. They, like our “protective” stylers, want to wear a weave because they want long hair and their nappy, possibly short, hair won’t enable them to have it. Long hair, don’t care. And think I’m lying or misrepresenting? When was the last time you’ve seen someone with a “protective style” get a short nappy weave? Rest my case counselors. 

It probably shouldn’t bother me as much as any of the thousands of other contradictory ways in which we choose to live (present company not excluding). But for the last month or so, I have watched as several well-meaning womenfolk, try genuinely to raise both the contradiction and overuse of the term protective styling issue in these hair groups, only to be ostracized and demonized under the hair-slur of Hair Nazi. More than anything, I wanted to write a post to let those sisters know that you’re not crazy or delusional or hating. Many of us have yet to get past the stage of our “transition” where we stop equating length with strength, healthy condition and overall beauty. That’s why we have to exercise some patience even as we continue to set the record straight about the joys of embracing one’s own curl patterns as our personal biology and genetics intended. 

Alternatively for my weave-loving sisters: Who cares if you wear a weave? People stopped tripping about that sometime in the late 80s into the early 90s. If I was rocking a weave I would not hide behind Negro-correct terminologies like “protective styling.” I would wear my weave loudly and proudly, testifying to all of its lengthy, straight and flexibility of styling choices it allows me to achieve that I couldn’t achieve naturally. Seriously, it is truly okay. Just don’t try to con the rest of us into accepting your weave as some sort of amendment to natural hair. Truth is, that weave stopped being natural the day it left the head of its original owner. 

Ladies, what are your thoughts?

4 Natural Remedies to Relieve an Itchy Scalp

via BGLH




Via MadameNoire.com
 
Of the many problems that plague women and hair care, a HUGE concern is how to alleviate or get rid of itchy scalp. Sometimes scalp irritations are minor annoyances due to product build-up or changes in the weather. While no one is excited to see loose flakes of dandruff dotting their clothing, most times this will clear up with a specially formulated shampoo for dandruff. But in other cases, itchy scalp goes from a mild inconvenience to a full-blown, scalp-on-fire, can’t-keep-your-hands-out-of your-head type disaster of epic proportions. Anyone who has experienced these symptoms knows the pain of scratching or even massaging your scalp to the point that your whole head begins to feel inflamed and tender to the touch. Chronic bouts of itchiness will leave you wondering which came first – are you frantically digging your nails in your scalp as a result of the inflammation, or is the inflammation a result of all the scratching? It is a chicken-or-the-egg conundrum of the worst kind, and at the end of the day, who really cares which came first? All we want is relief.

Luckily, there are a few natural remedies you can try to see if you can finally win the war against the “itchies and the scratchies.”

1. Apple Cider Vinegar
A staple in the world of hair care, when diluted with water apple cider vinegar is used for its clarifying properties as well as its ability to help reduce hair porosity as a rinse due to its low pH balance. It also has anti-bacterial qualities that make it particularly helpful in treating an itchy scalp that is caused by bacteria build-up, and against any fungal condition (yeast on the scalp). Yeast don’t like an acidic environment so swabbing the scalp with an ACV solution can be helpful. Just be careful to make sure that you dilute it enough to a level where it is comfortable enough to put on your scalp, or else it will sting like crazy, especially if you have any abraded skin. The raw, unfiltered organic ACV is the best kind.

2. Aloe Vera
In case you decide to try the ACV, consider having some aloe vera gel on hand to soothe any stinging sensations that you may get. Aloe Vera can be used straight from the plant, or the organic gel can be bought commercially. Naturally emollient and calming, it is a great balm for the scalp that will also soften the hair and feed your roots.


3. Tea Tree Oil
Melaleuca  Alternifolia, or simply “Tea Tree Oil” is ubiquitous in shampoos and conditioners for this very condition in large part due to its highly antiseptic qualities. It’s a triple threat to scalp irritations because of its anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Again, Tea Tree Oil should not be used full strength and is best when used with a carrier oil. Which brings us to the next tried and true product…


4. Coconut Oil
Ever seen a moldy coconut? That’s because the capyrilic acid in coconuts inhibit the growth of fungus. Incidentally, caprylic acid is also an active ingredient in a lot of vitamin supplements for women who are trying to suppress an overgrowth of candida (yeast) throughout the body. As always, look for the unfiltered, unrefined, organic extra-virgin coconut oil, cold-pressed if possible. It’s especially effective when infused with a few drops of tea tree oil.


Stay Away From This
If you co-wash instead of using an actual shampoo, this might be a good time to take a break and use a product that won’t just leave more build-up on your already beleaguered scalp. Do try to avoid shampoos with harsh detergents that will strip your scalp (and hair) of its natural oils, further adding to that dreaded tight and dry feeling. If your shampoo has sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate as an ingredient, it probably won’t be doing you any favors. Look for shampoos without sulfates and parabens and with nourishing oils that will soothe your skin.

Word to the Wise
One final word of caution: itchy scalp can be caused for a variety of reasons that are not always easy to self-diagnose. If you are experiencing symptoms that don’t seem to be responding to any treatments, or have broken skin or open sores on the scalp, please see your dermatologist or a licensed trichologist for an accurate diagnosis of your condition. In some cases, professional care may be required, for a complete analysis and evaluation of your diet, as well as any medications


Ladies, how do you relieve your itchy scalp?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Wash Days Made Easy

via Transitioning Movement

by Sasha-Shae Shaw of AfroniquelyYou.com

Is wash day usually a laborious chore for you? Find yourself having to spend hours upon hours each wash day, and you dread every minute of it? Your wash days do not have to be long and tedious. In-fact they should be enjoyable. Having been on my journey for a while now, I’ve learn’t a few tips and tricks that have brought my days to something manageable and fun.

It’s all in the game plan!

Sometimes just the mere thought of having to wash gives us a headache, but this is usually because we attack the process on a whole and not in parts. I’ve found it is easier and saves much more time washing my hair in sections. While I had a very Tiny TWA (teeny weeny afro) I’d wash my hair in about 10 sections since the hair was shorter. As it gets longer the amount of sections get smaller. I like to use 6-8 sections and the whole process is completed while in sections.

The process is simple and I know if you try it also, it will be beneficial to you too.

The Game Plan, cutting down time on wash day:


1.    Pre-Wash & Detangling

•   I start in my 6 sections, and then going section by section I apply a spritz of conditioner+oil+water to the section to aid in detangling using my fingers and/or a wide tooth comb.


2.    Wash
•   While still in the sections, I will apply my cleanser of choice to the scalp only and massage it in. Then rinse.


3.    Condition/Deep Treat

•   I apply the treatment to each section of hair, and after having the treatment sit on my hair for 20-30 mins, I take a wide tooth comb and comb through each section then re-twist the section. I proceed to rinse my hair all while still in the twisted sections.


4.    Moisturize and Seal
•   Because my hair is already detangled and pre-sectioned this step is a breeze! I simply go in section by section and apply the L.O.C. methodto my hair. I utilize a water based liquid or spray, followed by an oil such as coconut oil and grapeseed oil. Then lastly I seal with a butter or cream such as shea or mango butters.


5.    Style it up!
•   From here it’s easy as pie to style my hair any way I please. If I want something stretched and more fuller, I simply convert those twists into plaits for a great stretch. If I am after a less big style, I can choose to do my hair right away, or let it dry out some more, then proceed to styling. I’ve found protectively styling the hair after following this regimen, works excellent on my type 4 (4a-4c) hair.

Stress the Wash Days no more!

Overall our hair needs to be kept clean and deep treated in order for it to grow. Since the ends are the oldest and most fragile parts of the hair, it is the part of our hair that will need the most maintenance. We can avoid wash day cries by simply taking good care of our hair during the week. Keeping the ends tangle free, keeping the hair moisturized and protected. Also important, keeping our manipulation down to a minimum. Our hair doesn’t take wear and tear lightly. We have to be gentle each step of the way. So if you’ve found wash days and beyond are a little crazy, try the above method as I’ve listed.
But remember to be very gentle. If you take the time to detangle well you will find the rest of the wash day process is truly a breeze. And for my super kinky type 4 springy hair, getting done in an hour is a miracle! Try it out, see how you like it. Just be patient, love your hair and let it grow!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The 411 on Dew Points & Humectants

via Naturally Curly


With all of the products claiming to be “the top humectant,” you should know what your curls really need when it comes to good, clean moisture for your hair.
 
First off,  understand the work of the humectant: The one true job of a humectant is to absorb moisture and keep a moisture balance in the hair and skin. Humectants will search for moisture in your own hair too. Therefore, in areas where it may be hot, but dry, these products may actually do more bad than good.

Are Humectants Good or Bad?

It depends. In areas where the moisture and humidity is very high, (areas that tend to be very wet), combined with the heat of the summer, humectants can overdo their job by absorbing so much moisture that the hair becomes “bloated.” This leads to puffy, frizzy hair, instead of well defined curls and waves

It’s All About Dew Points

Understanding dew points can be a deciding factor in figuring out when to use humectants and when to avoid them.

The definition of dew point: the temperature at which a vapor (as water) begins or would begin to condense

Here’ s a quick breakdown for dew point ranges and humectant uses by our curlfriend Waterlily716. For a more detailed description, watch her video here.
Please note: this is referring to degrees in terms of the dew point, not how hot or cold it is.

Dry Dew Point: 15-30 degrees (-1 C)

  • Typically the winter months.
  • Avoid humectants.
  • Use leave in conditioners.
  • Use light hold products.
  • Use plenty of emollients (moisturizing oils, butters).

Mid-Range Dew Point: 30-40 degrees (-1 to 4 C)

  • In  between seasons, this will require trial and error to see what your hair likes.
  • Some curls tolerate humectants in this range, some don’t.
  • Use emollients.

Best Dew Point for Curls: 40-60 degrees (4 to 16 C)

  • You will enjoy the best curls at this dew point.
  • Keep your hair moisturized.
  • Humectants can be used.
  • Use emollients.

High Dew Point: 60 (16C ) +

  • May skip a leave in conditioner.
  • Hard hold products like gels. You will want to control your hair.
  • May want to avoid humectants.
  • Use emollients.

Common Humectants

  • Glycerin
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Honey
  • Agave nectar
  • Sorbitol
  • Sodium PCA
  • Panthenol
  • Hydrolyzed silk protein
  • Fructose
After you better understand your climate and weather conditions, and your hair needs, you should also become aware of some of the more common humectants in products today.

A more detailed list of humectants in hair care products can be found in this article.
With this information, you can now go through the products you may already own, or, take into consideration some new ones, for your hair type. Take into account the season and area you are in to make better decisions on what to use and when. Of course, as in most cases, you may have to experiment with new or different products at various times of your summer, as the weather varies.  Don’t give up on a product after just one use as it doesn’t necessarily mean that it won’t work – the weather may be the root of the issue.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

These are my confessions...


Yeah, even as a self proclaimed naturalista I still have a love-hate relationship with my hair. While I will won't ever be going back to the creamy crack, here are my confessionssssssss *in my Usher voice*(lol)...
  • I have serious hair envy of many other naturals with long hair and perfect kinks and coils *sigh*
  • Fighting dry hair is like a never ending battle and I hate it!
  • I complain about my hair but the minute it's in a protective style for more than a week I miss it.
  • I miss my wrap
  • Some days if a relaxer was within arms reach I would use it
  • I get bored with my hair
  • Finding the right products are overwhelming
  • My fingers are sick of twisting
  • I miss my hair before I cut it
  • Taking care of natural hair is time consuming and sometimes I want to say the hell with it
  • I'm sick of fighting with every season change
  • I don't treat my hair as gentle as I should because it takes too long
  • I hate explaining my process when people ask what I use on my hair, I feel like it's overwhelming and I don't want to be responsible for someone wasting money because the product didn't work for them (whew, that was a mouth full...lol)
Okay, I think that's it for now but I'm sure there's more.  Sometimes it just makes me feel better to get this out and off my chest.  I get mad and complain about my hair but I wouldn't change it for anything!  My natural hair makes me ME and it fits my personality more than my boring, straight, relaxed hair did.  In the end I love my hair even when it's dry, tangled, giving me a hard time and when it looks a hot mess because it's mine and it's unique to me! But most of all I love my hair because of my angel, my life, my heartbeat, my everything, my baby girl, Amaya Sanai because it makes her love her hair!


Feel free to join me and let out your frustrations and add to my list #naturalhairconfessions

~Tasha