Recently, my sister and fellow blogger Miss Cee C has started making YouTube videos. During Thanksgiving break, I asked if she could put some flat twists in my hair, and she kindly agreed. She recorded it for a YouTube tutorial. I decided to embed the video below, but please be kind. I look a bit crazy during this video at times, especially in the beginning:
Interesting Facts about this Video:
My hair was prepped by co-washing with Suave Naturals Tropical Coconut.
I followed up the co-wash with an oil rinse (equal parts olive oil and castor oil).
The only styling aid we used for my hair was Oyin Handmade Honey Hemp Conditioner.
You may notice a few Greek nalia in the back. My sister and I are both members of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Sisters by chance and by choice!
You may also notice a lot of books in the back. Both my sister and I are avid readers, and she lets me borrow her books from time to time.
When it comes to raw ingredients, such as honey, aloe vera juice, and the like, I find that the ones I am using the most are my oils. For the most part, these are carrier oils, not essential oils. Essential oils can be irritating to the skin because they are much stronger and more concentrated than carrier oils. So be careful. But here are just a few of the ways oils can be used, meaning the way I am using them.
Oil Cleansing Method: I use equal parts castor oil and olive oil for my oil cleansing, which I try to do at least once or twice a week. I am about to up the ante and do one every night, and just splash my face with water in the morning before I go out.
Skin Moisturizer: I used to use olive oil as a skin moisturizer, but have recently switched over to jojoba oil (which is actually a wax). Although jojoba oil is not as easy to find as olive oil and is a bit more expensive, I like it better as a skin moisturizer because it is very light and little goes a looooonnng way.
Pre-Shampoo Treatment: Most recently, I have used equal parts olive oil and coconut oil. Before that I would use just olive oil. Any oil will do, and I am considering using Brazil Nut Oil (which Mop Top Maven loves) for a pre-poo treatment as well as for the next way I use oils, which is as...
Oil Rinse:My most recent find, and something I convinced my sister Miss Cee C to try. We both loved the results, which lead to softer, more moisturized, and easier to detangle hair. I oil rinse now every time after co-washing or shampooing. I use equal parts olive oil and castor oil, so I don't have to make a batch separate from what I use for oil cleansing. But I also plan to use Brazil Nut Oil for oil rinsing. I always follow up an oil rinse with some type of conditioner, whether that be leave-in, deep treatment, or regular rinse conditioner.
Daily Sealant and as Needed: Recently, I had my hair in flat twists. I applied olive oil or jojoba oil just about every day. When I have my hair out in a fro, I spray it each morning with Greg Juice by Oyin Handmade, then seal with olive oil. (Sometimes I use Juices and Berries and I have yet to try the Frank Juice.)
Body Moisturizer: This is where coconut oil comes in again. If my skin is unusually dry, I will use coconut oil to moisturize. I love the smell as well, and sometimes I mix the coconut oil with shea butter before applying to skin.
Ingredients in Conditioner: My new method of deep conditioning is by simply adding coconut oil to a regular rinse conditioner, as well as honey. I am considering doing a simple honey-oil deep treatment. Stay tuned.
As you can see, I use oils in so many ways. The four I have been using the most are olive, coconut, castor, and jojoba. I don't want to get out of hand when it comes to using more, but I do want to try Brazil Nut (pictured above). Another oil that I have read/heard great things about, but cannot vouch for personally is camellia oil. But as I just said, too many oils and I may get out of hand, so the only one I am looking to try soon is Brazil Nut.
I was surfing the net and my usual blog spots in between finishing assignments for school, and I am across a recent post by MopTop Maven that caught my attention. The article caught my attention with the title "Call all Type 4 Curlies? Eliminate Matting and Tangles with Oil Rinsing." I could only wish that the claim was true, so I checked out the article and the new concept, new to me at least, of oil rinsing. The original post can be found HERE.
My hair hearts oils. All kinds have worked great for me. I have tried castor oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, and olive oil. I want to try neem seed oil (Ayurvedic), and maybe even other types of oils. But on the the knitty gritty. What is oil rinsing?
Oil rinsing is a step of applying oil to wet hair, used in between shampoos/co-washes. It helps hair retain moisture, prevents tangles and matts, gives super soft hair, and leads to serious shine. I decided since I have plenty of oils in my bathroom there was nothing to lose from trying this method.
For my oil rinse, I used a 50:50 mix of olive oil and castor oil, the same mix I use when doing Oil Cleansing, which I need to do another of soon. This past weekend was a shampoo weekend, so I jumped at the opportunity to see how this worked out. After shampooing with Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Threat, instead of buffering with conditioner, I rinsed the shampoo out completely to reveal freshly washed hair. I applied the olive-castor mix to my wet hair liberally. Mop Top instructs to leave on for 2 to 3 minutes, but I became lazy and waited much longer.
Then I rinsed with warm water, not cool water like when I rinse out conditioner. In fact, I didn't apply conditioner because I wanted to see how the effects of this would work without conditioner on top. My consensus: I LOVED THE RESULTS. My hair definitely felt much softer and does have a nice sheen to it, although not as shiny as if I had added it olive oil to dry hair.
I am thinking of using a coconut-castor mix next time. Oil rinsing is the business, and I plan on implementing this new step after every shampoo and before every co-wash. For a video instruction on how to do an oil rinse, check out Nappy Chronicles on YouTube at this LINK.
This morning, I cowashed my hair with Yes to Cucumbers Daily Makeover Conditioner. After rinsing out the conditioner, I left an absorbent towel on my head to soak up the excess water. After taking off the towel, my hair was still very damp, but not soaking wet anymore. I sprayed my hair with Oyin Handmade Gerg Juice (humectant spray). Next, I took about a nickel sized amount of Oyin Handmade Burnt Sugar Pomade and another dime sized amount of oil, mixed it together, and applied this to my hair to seal in the moisture.After doing this, I immediately noticed a residue on my hair. This producty looking fro always results after I use too much of certain products, even though most times it goes away as my hair dries completely. This had me thinking, when using products, when is more less, and when is less more.
I have one basic rule of thumb. You can never use too much conditioner, especially if you're rinsing it out. In the words of Teri LaFlesh, take how much conditioner you think you need, and use even more than that. Why do I say this? Well, when it comes extremely curly hair, working conditioner onto every strand is no easy task. Even when I use lots of conditioner, I find part of my curly mane that are almost completely lacking in conditioner. This is usually the top front of my hair, which is the thickest. So, when it comes to conditioner, more is less. When rinsing it out, it is almost impossible to use too much. For this reason, I tend to prefer economical conditioners, although I have my share of not so cheap conditioners as well.
When is less more? Generally speaking, when using top quality, all natural products, especially Oyin Handmade products. When companies make products from the top quality ingredients, we tend to forget that there are no fillers that run rampant in so many shelf products you may find. These fillers also tend to account for the lower price, but with top quality all natural products, hopefully, you're getting what you paid for. My Burnt Sugar Pomade goes a long way, and other products I wish to buy, if they are more expensive, have to go a long way in order for me to want to purchase them.
Also when using raw ingredients, like cold pressed oils, natural butters, humectants (aloe vera juice, vegetable glycerine, et cetera) directly on the hair, less tends to be more as well. So use products sparingly, especially if they are top quality (which doesn't always means it has to be more expensive), because you can always add more product, but its hard to remedy producty hair if you don't feel like washing it out.
Ayurveda is a concept I am looking more and more into, especially in relation to my hair, but for my overall general health as well. CurlyNikki did a post on Ayurveda care for the hair. It's a great post, and I wish to refer you to it. The link can be found HERE. What is Ayurveda? It is a holistic approach to health to encourage long life and a well-balanced lifestyle. The term literally means "knowledge of life." It includes the use of herbs and natural oils to take care of the skin, body, and hair. Definitely something to look into.
I originally only bought a small bottle of jojoba oil in order to make the Kimmaytube Leave-In Conditioner recipe, but I soon realized that this little container of golden oil was priceless.
The first fun fact concerning this all natural beauty product known as jojoba oil (pronounced ho-HO-ba) is that it is in fact not even an oil, but a wax ester, extracted from the seed of the jojoba tree. Out of all the products found naturally in nature, jojoba oil is the closest in the natural sebum of the skin. It is theorized, but not proven, that this similarity can cause the skin to be tricked into producing oil naturally balanced when jojoba oil is applied. Jojoba oil does not leave an oily feeling, perhaps because it is not even an oil, when applied to the skin, and serves as a great sealant for the hair. I like to use my jojoba oil as an all natural moisturizer for my skin, especially after doing an oil cleansing treatment. Just a dime size amount leaves my skin feeling naturally balanced.
Other uses of jojoba oil is as a makeup remover, lip balm, and a body moisturizer. I use it occasionally to moisturize chapped, dry hands. Jojoba oil also wins points for two great facts: it is practically odor free and has a very long shelf life. Another thing I love is its natural golden color, which is a sign that the oil is unrefined, which is the only kind you should buy, of course. But that golden color must be a sign of its value, because jojoba oil isn'tcheap. I hardly see it sold in large amounts like coconut oil and castor oil, and the small amounts are usually not the cheapest thing. The jojoba oil I purchased is from VitaCost.com and manufactured by Desert Essence. Furthermore, if you want organic jojoba oil, be prepared to put out more cash. Also, if you don't shop at natural food stores, it might be hard to find this oil without going on the Internet.
Is the price worth it? I say, yes, definitely. Shop around for comparable prices, and remember to buy only unrefined jojoba oil that is still golden in color. Also, remember a little goes a long way. Only a dime sized amount on the skin to moisturize. Anymore, and you run to risk of having a sheen on your face that can only be wiped off to reduce, and this precious golden oil should not be wasted. In essence, I heart jojoba oil, and it will stay a regular part of my product rotation for hair, skin, and body care needs.
The people of Oyin Handmade did a blog post on hair skrinkage and moisture, after a reader asked how to combat shrinkage. I have been meaning to do a post on this topic of shrinkage, since I am about embracing your shrinkage, not seeing it as something to fight against. The folks at OH said it so eloquently that I decided to refer you to them. Note, I agree with almost everything they had to say, except the slightly negative tones they have towards silicones. What they say about silicones is true, but don't take it as a message that you have to never use them. That is a personal naturalista choice, and I recommend you research extensively before chunking all your silicone products out the window. Anyway, here is the LINK. Enjoy!
Product Description: This rich, dense moisturizing cream is Oyin's first product. It's a mixture of rich botanical butters & oils like shea butter, cocoa butter, and castor oil; blended with plenty of pure aloe vera gel and spring water for lightness & penetration. The result is superior, rich, penetrating moisture in an all-purpose, head-to-toe product. You may have noticed that it's listed under both hair and body products! Whipped pudding is very lightly scented with chocolate and vanilla fragrance to enhance the scent of the whole butters and essential oils. To add your own fragrance oil, microwave for 5 seconds until stirrable, then mix in your scent of choice. Voted "Best Product for Twists and Braids" in naturallycurly.com's 2009 'best of the best' survey!
HOW TO USE: On dry, parched hair, Whipped Pudding adds moisture and pliability from scalp to ends; melting in and softening without building up, helping add weight to frizzy strands, keeping hair supple for days at a time. On damp hair - post washing, or after a light spritzing of greg juice or water - Whipped Pudding is excellent to help lock in moisture. For finer textures, it's great mixed with honey and used as a pre-shampoo deep conditioning treatment. For the body, Whipped Pudding melts into skin, leaving a velvety softness behind. It's ultra pampering on dry elbows, knees or heels. Use to protect hands and face before braving harsh weather; apply to dry skin as a rich nighttime cream, or massage into feet before sleeping in warm cotton socks. Whipped Pudding contains: purified water, shea butter, organic aloe vera gel, cocoa butter, castor oil, coconut oil, sweet almond & olive oils, vegetable emulsifier, beeswax, palm stearic acid, vegetable glycerine, honey, optiphen (preservative), fragrance.
This product is preserved with a paraben-free, wide-spectrum cosmetic preservative. Please use within 6-9 months, refrigerate or freeze for longer-term storage.
Price: 2oz for $6; 4oz for $12; 8oz $18
Availability: Order online from OyinHandmade.com or CurlMart.com. If you stay in the Baltimore, Maryland area, you can buy it directly from the store. The owners, a really sweet married couple, seem very nice. (I have watched their podcasts).
How I Use It and My Experience: I use this product to style my hair into mini-twists, to seal in moisture from my OH Juices, and occasionally to moisturize my skin, especially dry hands. In the first regard, as a styler it works great. The hold it provides is very good. How good? So good that even when I rock a twist out, and proceed to conditioner wash my hair, the style will stay in tact. Very much intact, to the point where you wouldn't even know that I co-washed my hair. This great hold is good if I want to co-wash while wearing a style. On the other hand, it guarantees that when I am done wearing a style, I will have to detangle meticulously to get my fro back. As a sealant, it works fine. The product isn't heavy enough as a sealant for my tastes, but if I want a light hold, and if I want my hair to smell like chocolate, I will use this product. As a body moisturizer, it works fine. When I first saw that it could be used to moisturize the skin, I felt it was too expensive to waste on my entire body. But when I don't style my hair for an extended period of time, and when my hands are dry and thirsty, I will apply this cream to moisturize. In essence, I like this product best as a styler for my hair. The smell is delicious, the hold is great, and the ingredients are superb, as with all Oyin Handmade products. Will I repurchase? Definitely. Especially since I don't usually like gel-like stylers.
If I didn't have any of this on hand, I would use shea butter mixed with oils and maybe humectants such as vegetable glycerine and aloe vera for similar results.
I talk about hair so much, it's a miracle I even find the time to worry about my skin. Well, I do wash my face at least. I usually wash my face in the shower using a washcloth and the same soap bar I use to cleanse my body with, which is usually Dove or Ivory Soap. My skin is sensitive, so I can't use just any bar soap to shower with. One thing I have been meaning to try for the longest was the Oil Cleansing Method. I have mentioned it in the past that I wanted to give a go around, especially since it is recommended for oily-acne prone skin. My skin is prone to the occasional breakout, but I am not sure if that has more to do with my skin being sensitive or oily, or both.
What is the Oil Cleansing Method or OCM? OCM is using a ratio of castor oil and another carrier oil to cleanse the face. The ratio depends on what skin type you have, with the general rule being the more acne prone/oily your skin, the more castor oil you use. It is recommended that a little experimentation be done to figure out which ratio works best? So far, I have used the basic 50:50 ratio of castor oil and olive oil. I like the results very much. My skin felt clean, even if that sounds contradictory to the idea of using oil to cleanse the face, but not overly dry as when I use a bar soap and washcloth to cleanse my face.
How do you do the Oil Cleansing Method? OCM is pretty simple. You take your ratio of castor oil and olive oil (or another type of carrier oil to use in place of olive oil), and massage it generously into the face. You then take a washcloth, run it under hot water, and place it over the face. Make the washcloth as hot as you can stand, but not so much as to burn yourself. When you place the hot washcloth over your face, the steam is allowing the castor oil to pull out toxins, dirt, and impurities out of your skin while the olive oil conditions and moisturizes. You leave on the washcloth until it reaches room temperature. You then take the washcloth and wipe away the excess oil. You repeat the massaging step as many times as you feel necessary, and this method can even be used as a makeup remover. Once you have wiped away the excess oil with your washcloth, you splash cold water on your face. The cold water closes your pores. Your face should feel clean and moisturized at the same time. If your skin feels dry, use less castor oil next time or dab a little olive oil or jojoba oil on your face to moisturize your skin.
Even though this method is a new practice for me, I plan on continuing to use it. My ratio may change; I am thinking about using less castor oil (perhaps a 60 percent olive oil, 40 percent castor oil mix). I may even use jojoba oil instead of olive oil since I like the way it moisturizes my skin better. Another great thing about this method is that you don't have to use the hot washcloth to steam your face. The steam from the shower can do the trick as well.
Will I be using the OCM method exclusively? Probably not, but I have decided to use another bar soap to cleanse my face, since the body bars I use have been proving too dry. The bar of choice? Ambi Cleansing Bar (pictured above). It has a pleasant scent and doesn't overdrying the skin, even though I still apply a little jojoba oil after using it.
In essence, I have learned the importance of having both a good skin care as well as hair care regimen. Here are some links on the Oil Cleansing Method:
I used my initial method after visiting the thread on Acne.org, but the website on OCM is good also. Again, I am still in the experimentation stage of this new technique, but I will keep you updated on my changes and experiments.
As promised, here are some comparison pics of my hair after six months, and one day of natural hair growth. This is a picture of my hair the day I had my 97 locs cut off. As you can see, my hair was pretty low cut.
Here is my hair after six months, and one day, or growth. Note that my hair is not stretched out in any way, and is completely dry (meaning completely shrunken). I prefer to measure the length of my hair unstretched because I have no plans of straightening or overstretching it.
Again, I feel my hair is not looking its best, but I decided to upload my pictures anyway. Perhaps my weekly deep treatments I plan to do will improve the look of things. Until next time...
Alright, so my hair is looking a bit more janky than usual. What can I say? I have been doing pretty much the same thing. Perhaps there is something to this whole winterizing of your hair routine. Ironically, CurlyNikki wrote a post about winterizing your hair routine, which can be found HERE.
What is a naturalista chica to do? More deep treatments for sure. I am going to up my deep treatments to weekly, instead of just bi-weekly. In case you haven't noticed, I have gone from monthly, to bi-weekly, to weekly deep treatments. Oddly enough, I love deep treating. I think I just love the idea of giving my hair some special attention.
To go along with those deep treatments, I am going to find a way to buy a bonnet dryer. This way, my deep treatments will only take 15 minutes. I will continue to condition/detangle bi-weekly. (Take note, the detangle part is very dependent on whether or not I feel like it). Also, I am going to focus more on sealing in moisture. Heavy sealants, like shea butter, castor oil, and my OH Burnt Sugar Pomade, will be getting more use this winter.
What else? I need to cover my hair more and/or twist it more to protect it from the harsh winds. I am considering just wearing a hat lined with a satin bonnet more to protect my hair from the harsh winds. I am still using the Kimmaytube Leave-In recipe, but I may be sealing it with shea butter to see how that works. I am sure that by the time my hair responds well enough to these regimen changes, it will be spring, and time to change things up again. LOL. Well, the only constant in the world is change.
Just when you thought the world of natural hair care couldn't get more complicated, there's a new thing in town to look out for. That is the PH balance of your hair. Hair is naturally acidic, and according to a few hair researchers should stay in the pH level range of 4.5 to 5.5. This pH level balance is one of the reasons by baking soda treatments and especially sodium hydroxide relaxers for the hair are so bad; they are very high on the pH level, meaning they are very alkaline.
Another culprit to take into consideration when making sure your hair has a good pH balance is the use of shampoos and soap. Some naturals may use soap to cleanse the hair, but soap itself is highly alkaline and some are even made with lye. You may remember lye as one of the ingredients in the old-school relaxers (aka conks or processes) used to permanently straighten the hair.
Your hair's pH level may not always be on point, but you can control that by using products that are naturally acidic. Making sure the hair has a more acidic pH level ensures that the cuticle is not lifted or open and makes for smoother, shinier hair less prone to damage. Two things I can think of right off the bat that make hair more acidic are aloe vera juice and apple cider vinegar. If you do use a shampoo bar or soap bar to cleanse the hair, an ACV rinse afterwards can be used to smooth the cuticle and return the hair to a more acidic range.
In conclusion, I wrote this post to keep you wary of the use of shampoo bars and soap as cleansers for the hair. Shampoos are better pH balanced for the hair. Also, if you do want to use shampoo bars or soap bars for your hair, look into ACV rinses and aloe vera juice. For more information on pH balance in the hair, check out these YouTube videos by KimmayTube, which can be found HERE and HERE.
Because any conditioner can be used as a deep conditioner if adding the right ingredients for extra moisture. Just this past weekend, I added some honey and coconut oil (one tablespoon each per palmful of conditioner) to some Suave Professionals Almond and Shea Butter conditioner. I meant to add it to the Aussie Moist Conditioner (another rinse conditioner), but grabbed the Suave by accident and started mixing before I realized what I was doing.
In the end, my hair didn't mind at all. It felt great after I deep conditioned. I find it ironic that I am getting such great results with economical rinse out conditioner, by simply adding honey and coconut oil. In the month of August, I bought the Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose for the express purpose of deep conditioning, but the results were okay. The conditioner is just tooo thick for my tightly coiled hair. But with the conditioner-coconut oil-honey mix, which I put on a candle warmer to melt the ingredients together, the consistency is perfect. I still have to take great pains to apply it to every strand, but it is a lot easier than the thick Aubrey Organics.
In the end, the less expensive product with a little mixology proved to work the best. Next time, I very much intend to use the Aussie Moist as my deep conditioner base, and I am considering adding equal parts conditioner-coconut oil (or olive oil)-raw honey to see how that works. Stay tuned...I'll keep you posted.
P.S. My six month Big Chop anniversary is coming up. Tune back in for comparision pics.
Bill Clinton is almost vegetarian, but not quite. Vegetarianism is defined as someone who does not eat meat, poultry or fish, but who may or may not eat eggs and dairy. By this definition, Clinton is not a vegetarian, just a pescatarian (someone who doesn't eat meat but still eats fish). According to a CBS news article I found, Clinton continues to eat a little fish, but stays away from other meat and dairy as well. His decision to eat a more plant based diet came as a result of his surgically cleared arteries starting to reclog. Clinton has had heart surgery in the past, and has been highlighted for his love of junk food. Even if old habits die hard, they can die. I am so happy that Clinton has taken his own health into his hands and is now embracing a more plant-based diet. He even had the good sense to give up dairy as well. If he can do it, anyone can.