Thursday, December 26, 2013

Protective Style Lookbook || Flat Twists with Marley Hair

By popular demand, this is a series showcasing various protective hair styles.  Protective styling does not have to be boring. :o)

Model: Denise

Difficulty level: 3/5

Description: Flat twists blended with Marley hair for fullness.

Studies || Argan Oil + Hyperpigmention, Oily Skin and Cardiovascular Health

Argan oil is the new "it" oil in the hair care community.  Ladies are talking about it online.  Companies are including it on the labels of their conditioners and shampoos.  Many of us have heard about it.

Well today, putting hair care aside, let us look at argan oil in skin care and overall body care.  Here are a few findings worth mentioning:
  • Argan oil may be effective against hyperpigmentation disorders (e.g., acne scarring).
  • Extract from saw palmetto and sesame seeds in an argan-oil base was shown to control oily skin.
  • Findings suggest that regular consumption of argan oil can lower "bad cholesterol" (i.e., LDL cholesterol).


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Hair Diary || Mini Twist Takedown AND Future Style

(Summer 2013) Loose twists on straightened hair.
After a little more than three weeks in mini twists (see previous post), I spent almost a week in the resulting twist-out before commencing to finger detangle.  I have to say that this is the EASIEST mini twist experience I have ever had, and I can only speculate why.
  • For one, I only kept them in for three weeks and a few days.  In the past, I would wear them from 4-6 weeks.
  • For two, I was big on deep protein conditioning (Aphogee 2-Minute) and lubricating my hair while in the twists.  In the past, I would just use my rinse-out conditioner and not as much lubricating.
  • For three, I did slightly "stronger" twists (read this post to see what I mean) AND twisted (loosely though) all the way down to my ends.  In the past, my mini twists have been weaker and not twisted all the way down to the ends.
So I think those few things made my wear of mini twists easier this time.  The take-down (for a twist-out) was not bad at all and barely took a couple of hours.  The finger detangling did take time (I spread it across three days while catching up on "Dracula" and "Scandal") but was not all that difficult.  (I remember wearing mini twists for 6 weeks one time and having the most PAINFUL takedown AND finger detangling session ever ... so much so that I wanted to give up and just cut all my hair off.  I almost cried y'all.  However, that was not my experience this time.)  I soaked my hair in a mixture of coconut oil, olive oil, and shea butter beforehand.  I also took my sweet time so as to not rip through my hair.

I plan to wear my hair in plaits for a couple of days before washing and re-twisting.  I think I want to do loose twists on flat-ironed hair (again) for my next set.

'Til next time (and with more pics).

Mixology || Rose Petal Scrub

This will make a great, refreshing natural body scrub ... and additionally a Christmas gift!

  • 1 1/2 cups of brown (turbinado) sugar
  • 1 cup of coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon of sweet almond or jojoba oil
  • Petals from one rose (pink or red)
  • 1 clean mason jar with a lid
This scrub has to be made a few days before you plan to use it, or to give it as a gift. Pour the coconut oil into the jar, and follow it with a handful of rose petals. Then add the raw sugar, and top with the almond or jojoba oil. When you're ready to use it, mash it all together with a large spoon, slather it all over your body, massage into your skin, and then rinse well.

{Recipe Source}

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Healthy Hair on Youtube: KinkyStyles1980

It has been a while since I put up a "Healthy Hair on Youtube" post.  Well here is one featuring a Type 4 natural I just recently discovered - KinkyStyles1908. This past August she did a length check upon becoming 3 years natural. Her growth and length retention are impressive considering that she is only a couple inches from waist-length.  Her regimen consists of various protective styles (twists and mostly braid extensions).  Check out her hair below and view her other videos for more details about her hair care routine.

Study || Oil Pulling + Oral Health

Oil pulling is an old Ayurvedic practice that consists of gargling with (or holding a mouthful of) oil for several minutes to detoxify the body thus eliminating many health issues.  Some of us have heard about it.  Some of us practice it.  But is there any research that shows its efficacy against health issues?  Well, while I could find nothing concerning the effectiveness of oil pulling against migraines, diabetes, asthma, and many other claimed health benefits, I did find a study involving oral health.

This study was conducted back in 2008 with the use of sesame oil, to be exact, and 10 minutes of gargling daily for two weeks.  So what was the conclusion?  Oil pulling prior to brushing was effective in reducing bacteria related to tooth decay (specifically the Streptococcus mutans that was found in plaque).  Thus, oil pulling can be used "as a preventative home therapy to maintain oral health" [1].


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Protective Style Lookbook || 2 Quick Styles for Mini Twists

By popular demand, this is a series showcasing various protective hair styles.  Protective styling does not have to be boring. :o)

Model: Kim

Difficulty level: 2/5

Description: Two rolled and pinned updos on mini twists

10 Household Uses for Lemons

Did you know lemons have household uses beyond cleaning?  Here are just a few of those uses:

- derust brass
- revitalize paintbrushes
- despeckle glass
- polish wood furniture

For more, check out this slideshow on

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Healthy Hair Feature || Maicurls

1. What made you go natural?  How long have you been natural?
I have been natural for about 3 years. I use to have my hair relaxed from about the age of 14 till I was 24. I simply got tired of using relaxers so I stopped. I was tired of having hair that was damaged, dry, brittle and always shoulder length. I was also using hair dyes at the time so my hair would end up in odd colors because I think the hair dye would react funny to my relaxed hair.

2. Did you transition? If so, for how long?  
I transitioned from mid-2009 to 2010. I was not brave enough to do a big chop so I would just trim my relaxed ends as my natural curly hair grew out.

3. What is your Healthy Hair routine?
At the start of 2013 I decided that I wanted to integrate more natural products into my hair care. So I make and use about 90% natural/organic products in my hair care routines and I am loving the results. It was all the trial and error I did during my Natural Hair Journey that helped me determine common ingredients that my hair liked and I use those for my hair now.
Once a week I Wash, Detangle, and Deep Condition (DC) my hair. I have three different DIY DC’s for different purposes (moisturizing, strengthening and protein).

Daily I use my DIY Leave-In conditioners (Spray or Creamy) depending on how dry my hair feels and then I seal in the moisture with my mixed sealing oil. To me the important parts are making sure my hair is well moisturized and my ends are protected. I try to do a lot of protective styles e.g. Twists and Buns but I do have my moments where I love wearing my hair out!

4. Do you have a Healthy Body routine?  If so, what is it?
My new mission of integrating a healthy hair care routine this year also pushed me to do the same for my skin care! I make a lot of the products I use for my skin whereby I focus on using natural/organic ingredients. I always liked doing sports but again with this new mission I bought a few pieces of workout equipment to exercise at home. I also started to eat healthier. I cannot say I avoid ALL “unhealthy” dishes (I have my moments of weakness) I LOVE food but I do try and make sure I have balanced meals, eat enough fruits and vegetables and drink enough water.

5. What advice/tips do you have for naturals?
Stick with it! I can just speak from my experience, it is so worth it! Give yourself the time to get to know your hair. I learnt that I needed to be patient, gentle, not to stress or give up! I think I kept on expecting my hair to miraculously turn into a head full of lovely bouncy curls overnight during especially during my transition (after years of overdoing the chemical treatments). I realized that if I wanted my hair to grow in a healthy way I needed to nurture, protect, understand and love my hair. I also found out it is a new ending journey! I keep on finding out new things about my hair even 3 years later. There are so many innovative and creative people online who are just a click away and I love learning new things with and through them!

6. Where can we find you?  (Include links/urls)

Studies || Avocado Oil on the Skin + Collagen and Wounds

Avocado oil is a fairly popular oil used in the natural hair community.  It is great for sealing in moisture and enhancing conditioners.

But what about avocado oil on the skin?  Well, a few studies have demonstrated that this oil can increase soluble collagen (when consumed) AND help to heal wounds better than petroleum jelly (when applied topically).  Check out the abstracts below:


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hair Diary || Craving Mini Twists

So I've been really craving mini twists (which I have not worn for ages). Yesterday, I gathered up the energy to do them while catching up on "Scandal" and some youtube videos. The twisting session was actually kind of fun and therapeutic ... but when I finished the mini twists, I asked myself, "What have I gotten myself into?".   The un-twisting session (weeks from now) is going to be a beast, but hey.

Now for more hair pics:

After un-twisting my last set of twists and then finger separating/detangling.

After un-twisting my last set of twists and then finger separating/detangling.

After washing and air drying in a roller set.  I then did a quick chunky braid-out to get this look.

Starting the mini twists.  (As you can tell, they were getting slightly bigger and bigger.  I guess I got scared about having them too small.)

All done!

How to Go from Curly to Straight with No Heat

Check out the following video on how to go from curly to straight with absolutely no heat tools!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Hair Diary and Some || My Full Updated Hair + Body Care Regimens

Snapshot of the hair care changes (with links to "why"):
Finger detangle - no more comb detangling
Rollerset to airdry - no more big braids to airdry
Wash weekly - no more biweekly thru monthly
Incorporation of regular light protein deep conditioning (ORS Replenishing Conditioner)
3 weeks in twists + 1 week in resulting twist-out - no more ~4 weeks twists back to back

Official as of 10/2013:
HAIR (Stats: Natural, Type 4abcxyz, Mix of Medium (mostly) and Fine Strands, Normal/Low Porosity, Medium/High Density)


Weekly: Prepoo with Extra Virgin Coconut Oil for >8hrs then wash with Desert Essence Lemon Tea Tree Shampoo diluted with water.  Condition with ORS Replenishing Conditioner for 45 minutes, when needed.  After rinsing, seal with my LATEST Shea Butter Mixture (recipe here).

~3 weeks: Undo my twists and finger separate thoroughly.  Prepoo overnight then wash as usual.  Coat each section with Tresemme Naturals (the old formula) OR my Avocado Detangling Mix (recipe hereand finger detangle.  Rinse then deep condition using ORS Replenishing Conditioner.  Rinse then airdry (70-90% of the way) in 12 jumbo rollers. Style my hair in twists.  For my twist routine, check this label.  

PREVIOUS REGIMEN (pre-2013, got me far in my journey):

Weekly/Biweekly: Prepoo with Extra Virgin Coconut Oil for >8hrs then wash with Desert Essence Lemon Tea Tree Shampoo diluted with water.  Condition with Suave Naturals Conditioner for 15 minutes.  After rinsing, seal with my Shea Butter Mixture (recipe here).

~4 weeks: Prepoo and wash as usual.  Then deep condition using Suave mixed with Extra Virgin Olive Oil or my Avocado Detangling Mix (recipe here).  Comb detangle on damp, conditioner-soaked hair.  Rinse then airdry (80-90% of the way) in 8 braids. Style my hair in twists.  For my twist routine, check this label.  (If my hair has been flat-ironed, I detangle on dry, lubricated hair prior to washing.)

BODY (Stats: family history of diabetes, stroke, etc.):

Supplements: I take One-A-Day Women's multivitamin daily.

Food: I eat a balanced diet consisting of mainly organic or natural ingredients.  I also largely eat whole wheat instead of whites and chicken/fish instead of red meat.  I aim to have each meal consist of 50% fruits/vegetables or more. I rarely eat fast food, junk food, fried foods, and canned foods.

Beverages: I mainly drink water, almond milk, and organic cranberry juice.  I refrain from 'fake' juice cocktails, sodas, and coffee.  Every other day, I drink a homemade smoothie (see my smoothie recipes here.)

Exercise: I work out (high intensity, 10-30 minutes) 3-4x a week.

Healthy Eating || How to Eat Healthy Without Spending Too Much

Eating healthy can sure be expensive ... but it doesn't have to be.  Check out these inexpensive options from Chef Marcus Samuelsson's blog:

Best Fresh Fruit: Banana
If you get hungry mid-day, a banana is the best snack at your desk, after a workout, or in between classes. Fruit is a very good snack in general. An apple will give you 14 percent of your day’s Vitamin C and 4 grams of fiber, but a banana, at half the price per pound, offers more Vitamin C and just 1 less gram of fiber.
Best Frozen Fruit: Frozen Blueberries The price of fresh fruits out of season is significantly higher than when they’re in season, due to transportation costs. And if you want to get your money’s worth, you’ll need to eat them within three days of buying, so they don’t spoil. 1 cup of frozen blueberries gives you just as much fiber as the raw variety, and a handful fewer calories. While fresh blueberries offer 18 percent more Vitamin C, that difference isn’t worth the extra cost. 
Best Vegetable: Broccoli Nutritionally, a half-cup of cooked broccoli delivers 24 percent of your Vitamin A, 84% of your Vitamin C, and 3 grams of fiber. This versatile vegetable is a great bang for the buck and packs a great nutritional punch. 
Best Salad Base: Cabbage The leafy greens in your salad can really vary in their nutritional content-iceberg lettuce, for example, is significantly less nutritious than romaine, which is yet again less nutritious than cabbage. In fact, 1 cup of cabbage gives you more than half of your daily vitamin K requirement-and it’s $1.29 less per pound than Romaine. Try using cabbage in a soup as well!

For the rest of the list, go to Chef Marcus Samuelsson's blog.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Protective Lookbook ... and Some || 5 Simple Funky Updos

By popular demand, this is a series showcasing various protective hair styles.  Protective styling does not have to be boring. :o)

Model: Nyla K

Difficulty level: 4/5

Description: Five simple updos (3 of which are protective) on an old twist-out or braid-out.

Mixology || Egg Oil and Amla Hair Serum with Argan Oil, Etc.

Are you interested in mixing your own hair serum?

This recipe originates from The Natural Beauty Workshop:

1/2 ounce Egg Oil
1/2 ounce Amla Oil
1/2 ounce Argan Oil
1/2 ounce Broccoli Seed Oil
1/4 ounce Jojoba
10-20 drops Rosemary Essential Oil

Combine the oils in a small beaker and stir well. Add the essential oil, then stir again. Transfer carefully to a dropper bottle.

For more details and where to purchase the ingredients, check out The Natural Beauty Workshop.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Hair Diary || New Twists + Length Boredom

Apparently, I was too "rush rush" in doing these new set of twists, so they are aging fairly quickly ... faster than they usually do.  However, I'm sticking to them for the full three weeks and will have to manage.

In other news, I'm having "length boredom" at the moment.  My hair is in a shrunken state (whether 80% shrunken or 40% shrunken) almost 24-7, and for the most part I don't mind it ... I like the ability to switch up my "length" and style via shrinkage.  However, once in a while, I go through this phase where I want to wear my true length.  In the past couple of years, that usually meant flat ironing.  I'm contemplating doing that next month ... but the maintenance of keeping my hair straight while I exercise 3x a week will be a challenge ... and twists are just so much easier.  We'll see what next month brings.

In the meantime, here are some more pics!

After my last set of twists, I wore a twist-out for a few days.
This photo is the result of finger separating/detangling the twist-out.
Since I was too tired to wash, I wore this for another day or two.
Rollerset to stretch my hair for the next set of twists.  (This was done after a wash and deep condition.)
Within minutes, my hair reverts to more of a blow-out, but that is fine by me.
I initially wanted to do flat-twists into a twist-hawk, hence what you see here.
However, I decided that I didn't really want to commit to the look for 3 weeks.
The back was left this way and I did regular two-strands for the rest of my hair.
Stretched for twisting.  I *heart* roller setting.

Study || Turmeric vs. Prozac for Depression

A recent study has demonstrated that curcumin, which is found in turmeric, may be an effective treatment for individuals with major depressive disorder (without "suicidal ideation or other psychotic disorders"[1]).  The blind study evaluated three groups - those taking fluoxetine (also known as Prozac), those taking curcumin, and those taking a combination of the two.  Hmm ... could the day be near when turmeric is widely used to treat depression?  Check out the study for yourself:



Thursday, October 3, 2013

Healthy Hair Online: Geri the Great

She's a type 4 natural with fabulous hair styles and long, healthy tresses (hidden under all of that beautiful shrinkage).  Protective styling and finger detangling are part of her regimen, but she is not afraid to step outside of the box with her hair.  You can find her on  Meanwhile, check out some of her hair shots:

My Monthly Goals Journal || New Series - October 2013

- completed reading of "Half of a Yellow Sun"  (great book, by the way)
- successfully kept away from my business for one month
- regular sleep schedule - fail
- toned stomach - success
- fast food - failed three times, lol
Also, I no longer plan to make this a series since I have no monthly goals at moment (yearly goals, weekly goals, but no monthly at the moment).

So I decided to start this series so that I can 1) break up my bigger goals into smaller ones and 2) hold myself accountable to meeting them via this public documentation.  This is reminiscent of the 3in6 challenges I used to do, except it is not strictly about hair ... it is about life.  So, here is my first entry ...

  • retain close to 100% of my length for the month (continue protein + long-term twists + fingers only)
  • no fast food whatsoever (I've been slipping lately, y'all ... it's just so convenient, but my mood afterwards pays for it)
  • get to bed by 11pm (12am at the absolute latest ... this is going to be a challenge)
  • develop a regular sleeping schedule
  • tone my stomach (I think I see a small gut developing)
  • finish reading "Half of a Yellow Sun" (I've been putting that off for too long)
  • take a one-month break from my business
I'll be back in November to see how far I've come ...

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Healthy Hairstyling #7: The No/Low Heat Roller Set

High temperature flat irons. Hot blow dryers. Direct heat has the potential to be damaging to the hair, especially when used improperly and too frequently. In the worst case scenario, irreparable heat damage can occur in the form of hair bubbles, splits, and loss of one's natural curl pattern.

The roller set, perm rod set, flexi rod set, straw set, and Curlformer set are all healthy alternatives to the blow dryer and curling iron. These sets require minimal (if any) heat usage. They can be worn on both natural and chemically straightened hair.


- Snap-on or clips with Magnetic rollers (safer than mesh and foam)
- Setting lotion
- Smoothing serum (with dimethicone for anti-humidity)
- Medium-tooth comb
- Hooded dryer (optional)

Basic instructions:
1. Wash, deep condition, and detangle as usual.
2. Follow up with a moisturizer/sealant.
(2a. For kinky natural hair: Braid the hair into 8-15 sections. (I do this to "flatten" my roots and hair a bit.) Wrap your edges with a scarf. Allow to airdry until damp. Then undo a braid and proceed with below.)
3. Section off a 1" by 2" or smaller section of hair.
4. Apply setting lotion (diluted, if necessary).
5. Then apply the smoothing serum.
6. Comb through section until smooth.
7. Roll the section tautly down to the roots.
8. Repeat steps 3 through 7 until finished.
9. Let the roller set airdry or sit under a hooded dryer.
10. Remove rollers when hair is fully dry.
11. Similar instructions apply to other types of sets (e.g., straw, flexi-rod, etc.), though more intricacy is involved.

Rollerset Video Tutorials:
Natural with a great roller set technique. She does use direct heat in her later video, but her curls prior to flat ironing are gorgeous and show that roller sets work on textured hair:

* Sets last longer on cool, moderate days rather than hot and/or humid days. Save them for ideal weather conditions.
* Starting with wet to very damp hair allows for the hair to really set.
* Using a serum helps to minimize frizz from humidity.
* Stay away from moisturizers containing glycerin or other humectants, if you can. Humectant + humidity = a roller set that won't last.
* Roller set in small sections for smoother and faster drying sets.
* I get the best results with snap-on magnetic rollers because the "snap on" part keeps my hair taut and the roller intact.
* Pin curl at night to maintain the set.
* Smaller rollers yield tighter, longer-lasting sets.

Serum Recommendations:
Sabino Moisture Block
Chi Silk

Setting lotion:
Motions Foaming Wrap
Nairobi Wrapp-It Shine Foaming Lotion

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hair Diary || More Highlights + Finalizing My Adjusted Regimen

So, I think I've mentioned this before, but I was a color freak during my relaxed days.  (And being a color freak during that time usually damaged my hair until I switched over to doing highlights as opposed to full-on dyeing.)

Fast forward to now ... the color freak is back.  She first emerged in late 2010 with the red highlights.  Then she re-appeared this summer with the ombre effect.  Quickly bored with the ombre, which didn't take too well (it looks more pronounced in photos), I decided to do blonde highlights.  Unfortunately, after 50 minutes, the result was a mere copper, but it's growing on me.  I foresee more highlighting in the near future.

As for finalizing my regimen?  I'm currently experimenting with an adjusted protective style routine.  If you've been following me for a while, you'll know that I spent the past few years wearing twists usually every 4 weeks back to back.  Now I'm toying with wearing twists for 3 weeks and an unseparated twist-out for 1 week.  This month is my second run in a row.

And now for more hair pics:

First day in new set of twists.  (Early September.)
Starting week #2.
Twists have shrunken and been washed (using the scalp method).
In the middle of week #2.
Prepping for highlights by undo-ing a few twists near my part.
Highlighted sections are covered with foil to separate from the rest of my hair.
Copper color after 50 minutes.  (Was going for blonde, but hey.
Maximum allowed time on the box was 45 minutes.  I didn't want to go too much over.)
The color I used: "7G, Lightest Blonde".  
I'm toying with using a bleach kit (more effective) in the future but I'm still researching the adverse effects of that.  Clairol Textures & Tones is actually one of the safest dyes when it comes to natural hair. 
My strand test turned blonde.  However, I looked at it after a couple of hours.  I'm not quite sure at exactly what point in time (definitely after 50 minutes though) that it turned this color.
Highlighted sections are twisted back up to blend in with the rest of my twists.
Highlighted sections are twisted back up to blend in with the rest of my twists.


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