Thursday, February 28, 2013

Protective Style Lookbook || Easy Glamorous Style on Twists

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

Model: Ambrosia

Style description: Twists in side bun with side-swept bang.

Difficulty level: 2/5

Healthy Recipes || Two Different But Delicious Blueberry Smoothies

What is so great about blueberries? Well, they have a high content of antioxidants, which are known to stabilize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress.  Free radicals have been associated with certain diseases.


This smoothie is a rich source of potassium (banana), antioxidants (blueberries, strawberries, and mango), protein (almond milk), and calcium (almond milk).

1/2 medium banana, peeled and cut into chunks
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup frozen strawberries
1/4 cup chopped fresh mango
2 cups chilled unsweetened vanilla-flavored almond milk

In a blender, add the banana chunks, blueberries, strawberries, and mango. Blend until combined, about 30 seconds. Serve in chilled glasses with straws.


This smoothie is a rich source of antioxidants (blueberries), protein (yogurt), and calcium (yogurt).

1 cup blueberries
1 cup plain yogurt or 1 cup vanilla yogurt
1 1/2 tablespoons honey (or agave nectar)
3/4 cup ice cube

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend at high speed until smooth. Serve! 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

When The Satin Bonnet (or Scarf) Is Not Enough

You have heard it before ... "Make sure you sleep with a satin scarf or bonnet to protect your hair while you sleep."  Well, have you ever awaken in the morning with the scarf or bonnet on the other side of the bed or with the moisture sucked out of your hair in spite of wearing one?  If so, you are not alone.

So, just how can you protect your strands and retain moisture at night when the satin scarf or bonnet is not enough?  Here are a few ideas:

1. For added protection, sleep on a satin pillowcase.  If your scarf or bonnet happens to slip off at night, your satin pillowcase will become the next line of protection against dry, frizzy, snagged hair.  Even if your scarf or bonnet stays on at night, sleeping on a satin pillowcase on top of that can do wonders for retaining moisture in your hair at night.

2. Purchase a better quality satin scarf or adjustable bonnet.  Not all satin scarves and bonnets are created equal.  Some are constructed from very thin and poor quality fabrics and threads.  What is considered a good quality satin? Well, first let me explain that the word "satin" is used to describe the type of weave.  There are "satin" polyesters and "satin" silks, for example.  Among the polyesters, "charmeuse satin" (or, sometimes called "satin charmeuse") is a smoother, better quality weave for the hair.  Purchasing a "charmeuse satin" scarf or bonnet is a good investment.  Also, look for adjustable bonnets (as opposed to purely elastic ones) for better stay at night.

3. Better yet, get a silk scarf or silk adjustable bonnet.  If you can afford to do so, silk is a much better material for the hair than polyester.  When searching for silk scarves or bonnets, look for those that say "charmeuse satin" (or, sometimes called "satin charmeuse").  This type of weave is the most luxurious of all the weaves.  Again, look for adjustable bonnets (as opposed to purely elastic ones) for better stay at night.

4. If you suffer from dry hair, turn on the humidifier.  The humidifier can provide extra vapor in the air thus creating a moisturizing environment for your hair while you sleep.

Skin Care || Mederma vs. Vaseline for Scar Healing

If you have ever searched high and low for a cream that improves the appearance of scars, then you are probably familiar with Mederma, which is expensive.  Well, you will be happy (or upset after having spent that much money) to know that it is no more effective than petroleum jelly at scar healing.  More importantly, keeping the "wound moist and covered[1]" via petroleum jelly or another topical treatment will minimize scarring period.

So before you shell out that money for Mederma, turn to your good old Vaseline to minimize the appearance of scars.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

New Reactions List AND "Oldies, But Goodies"

Hey all!  I recently edited the reactions list below each post.  If you noticed, before I used to have a "next" box.  Now I have a "more posts like this" box.  This is so I get a better feel for what you all would like to see more of on this blog.  There will almost always be a post that one person does not like, but I am more interested in hearing about those that people do like.  Be sure to make use of the reactions list or the comments section to voice your opinions!

1. Underrated || Lanolin for Hair
2. Mixology || Slippery Elm Leave-In
3. Skin Care || Combatting Dry Skin This Winter
4. Healthy Recipes || My Very Berry Smoothie
5. Healthy Hair Feature || Shae (Natural)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hair Diary || From "Stunted" to Growth

For a long period of time (August 2010 through February 2012), my front hair was stunted.  It appeared as if it wasn't growing (though we all know hair is growing) or as if it had reached its terminal length. I just assumed that my years of relaxing had done a number on my follicles in that region.  After all, my front hair hardly ever grew past 6 inches while wearing a relaxer (except in my childhood years).

Note how my front hair did not retain length from February 2011 to February 2012.
(It actually had not retained length since August 2010, which is not pictured here.)
Note the length retention in February 2013 after cutting ~1-2 inches several months before to create bangs.

So, annoyed by my seemingly stunted growth, I decided to cut some bangs and forget about my growth in that region.  Then during my wash-n-go experiment a few weeks ago, as I was finger detangling in the shower, I noticed how far my bangs stretched.  No more "stunted", they had finally retained some length in the past year!  It made a lot of sense 1) considering Jc's article on "Trimming for Longer Hair" on The Natural Haven combined with me 2) practicing gentler detangling in that area. (I'm usually impatient by the time I get to the front of my hair for detangling.) So those two methods helped my bangs retain some length.  Do check out Jc's article for a thorough explanation of how trimming helps!  I think I might do another cut (about 1 inch) of the bangs.

Now for some random hair shots:

One week after flat iron.  Wore the straight hair for ~3 weeks.
Majority of the time, it was in jumbo twists and bunned.

February length check. ~3 weeks after flat iron.
For the
next ~3 weeks I will wear wash-n-gos using Cyntriarf's method again.

Mixology || Recipe for Possible Regrowth of Edges

Are you trying to re-grow your edges?  The following mixture proved effective in a study of alopecia areata.  Though the conclusion of that study does not automatically translate into regrowth of edges that suffered via other means (e.g., traction alopecia), it may not hurt to see if this mixture works for you.

DISCLAIMER: Essential oils are very potent. Please consult your doctor before using them, especially if you are pregnant, breast feeding, or have a medical condition. 

Ingredients (and portions from the journal):
3 mL of jojoba oil
20 mL of grapeseed oil
2 drops of thyme essential oil
3 drops of lavender essential oil
3 drops of rosemary essential oil
2 drops of cedarwood essential oil

Mix all the essential oils into your carrier oils (jojoba and grapeseed) and store in a container.  Use mixture to massage your edges for 2 minutes before going to bed.  Then wrap your edges with a warm towel to aid in the absorption of the oils. Do this nightly for several months.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

"Soul" Food Mondays ... Er, A Day Late || Gratitude

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." ~ MELODY BEATTIE

Move throughout each day with gratitude.

Protective Style Lookbook || Three Crowns One Queen

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

Model: Laila

Style description: Three different head wrap looks. 

Difficulty level: 3/5

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Health 101: Cellulite

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness

One of the most asked questions I get from clients that are older females is…”How do I get rid of my cellulite!?!?”

…The answer…. You Can’t…

Yes, that is right ladies; you are stuck with the curse of having lumps in your legs (and other possible areas). To be honest…EVERYONE has it! It may be just a little…or it may be a whole lot more. Some women express it way more than others….and some you cannot see it at all…but it is there!

Cellulite is fat that is trapped right under the skin surface. The fat clumps up in some areas and that causes the “dimples” you see in your thighs or hips. Some women (and yes men get it as well) are genetically prone to getting more than others.

With healthy eating and exercise, it will help you REDUCE the appearance of cellulite. It will not fully go away! But it will not look as bad or as visible with a consistent strength training and cardio routine. 

So yes, that means save your money on the dimple creams and laser surgeries. They have been proven to help reduce the sight of cellulite TEMPORARILY! But, guess what….yes it will come back! For the best results….and the long lasting results….start working out! And of course adopt a healthy diet! Once you start to lose that extra body fat, the muscle under the skin and fat will start to tighten and sculpt your body.

This is Stephanie from Infinite Life Fitness. Please feel free to stop by my blog for more health and fitness related topics!

Natural Remedy || Lemon Juice for Constipation and Diarrhea

NOTE:  This may NOT work for constipation or diarrhea caused by anything other than over-eating fast food and junk food.  Please consult your doctor in cases outside of these.

Once in a while, I will indulge in a greasy burger and fries or some junk food, and because my body is not used to these meals, constipation and (sometimes) diarrhea will be right around the corner.  (Sorry if this is TMI.) 

Many of you may already know about the following concoction, but I will share my experience with it anyway.  When it comes to constipation and diarrhea, drinking lemon juice mixed with warm water works like a charm for me!  Though I couldn't find any medical explanation on the internet, there are tons of people who also swear by this natural remedy.  If I had to take an educated guess, I would assume that the acidity of the lemon helps with digestion. I really don't know as I am not a doctor, but here is the simple recipe I use:

1 part lemon juice (from a fresh lemon)
1 part warm water

Mix the ingredients and drink once to three times a day.  If your constipation does not go away (or decrease) in two days, then please consult your doctor.

This works for me.  Hopefully it will work for you! 

(Also, increase your water and fiber intake to help further combat constipation.)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Hair Diary || Final Thoughts on Wash-n-Go Experience

So a few weeks ago, I decided to experiment with Cynthiarf's method and wear my first wash-n-go in years!  Well, after having done it for about two weeks, I can finally share my thoughts on the experience:

How did it go?  I loved it and plan to incorporate it more regularly into my regimen this year.  The key to minimizing knots and tangles while wearing the wash-n-go is to finger comb and remove the shed hair daily and thoroughly.  I was able to go one to two days between wash-n-gos probably because I used a lot of gel for definition and hold.  Otherwise, I think I would've been asking for trouble by stretching the look.  

Did I notice increased knots and tangling?  To my surprise, not really except for "back there".  My back hair did tangle a little because, unlike the rest of my hair, it is very fine.  (Hence, if you have long, fine Type 4 strands, I personally would recommend that you be cautious when trying this method.)  Also, it is very important to use a conditioner to wash as opposed to a shampoo, which will contribute to tangling and matting of the loose hair.  However, since I believe in shampoos for cleansing, I did use one weekly followed by conditioner.  Lastly, over time my hair became easier to finger comb and softer.  I believe Cynthiarf alludes to why (as well as why this method works for our hair in general) in this comment to her youtube video.

For those who are interested in trying her method, here is the link to her video tutorial.  Also, feel free to ask me any questions in the comments section below!  Now for a few more wash-n-go photos. :o)

Wet.  No gel.  Day one.
Wet. Gel. Week two.
Dry.  Gel.  Week one.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Reader's Question: Weaves/Sew-ins to Stretch Relaxers

For questions, use the "Contact Me" tab OR leave a comment below!

Reader's Question:
In order to stretch relaxers, is it okay that I have weave with braids in it or a sew in 2-3 weeks after a relaxer?

My Answer:

I personally would not recommend getting a weave/sew-in within two weeks after a relaxer.
 Three weeks would be a much safer amount of time to wait, in my opinion.  Four weeks or more would be even better.  I say this because the scalp needs to "recover" (for lack of a better word) after a fresh relaxer.  Weaves/sew-ins can apply tension to the scalp, and installing one within two weeks can lead to hair loss.

After three to four weeks, weaves/sew-ins that are installed and maintained properly can be a good way to stretch relaxers.  Other safer options are braid-outs, cornrow-outs, twist-outs (with perm-rodded ends), ponytail roller sets, and straw sets.  Check out this earlier post on styles that blend the new growth with your relaxed ends.

I hope this answers your question!

Oldies, But Goodies

1. Valentine's Day Treats ... Lower in Fat But Still So YUMMY!
2. Healthy Hair Feature: Chime/HairCrush
3. Sleep is Essential for Hair Health
4. Protein Moisture Balance Solved
5. Chocolate Conditioner Recipes!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Beautiful Heart-Shaped Hair for Valentine's Day || Easy Curly Twist Out Tutorial

This video includes three versions of this look on three different lengths and textures of hair.  Be sure to watch all the way until the end.  I might just try this look! :o)

Style description: Wet twists with flexi rods on the ends.  The end result is a heart-shaped twist-out with curly ends.  Can be done on short, medium, or long hair.  (See the shorter versions near the end of the video.)

Difficulty level: 2/5

The Basics to CHANGING a Hair Care Regimen || Part II

Last month, I discussed Part I of this short series.  Here is the second and final part:

Understand the pros and cons of what is it you want to incorporate into your regimen.  Do you want to incorporate heat usage?  Do want to use conditioners containing silicones?  Then make certain you research the pros and cons of such practices.  Without understanding all aspects of what it is you want to incorporate into your regimen, such adjustments can adversely surprise you ... and your hair.

Start with one adjustment.  Making multiple changes to your regimen at once can make it difficult to identify the culprit if setbacks happen.  This step especially applies to newbies in their hair care journey.

Try your new product more than once and in various ways.  Products that fail to work the first time or via one method make work the second or third time and via another method.  I have had this experience with such products as coconut oil, shea butter, and certain conditioners.  While coconut oil fails to moisturize or seal my hair after a fresh wash, it is actually moisturizing when I use it as a pre-poo or mixed with shea butter as a sealant.  While shea butter alone does nothing for my hair, it works very well when mixed with oils and even aloe vera gel.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Hair Diary || 5-Year Nappiversary!

I big chopped exactly five years ago today after a ten-month transition.  I will never regret going natural because my hair has never been healthier or longer.  Here are photos of my hair from these past couple of weeks.

Stay tuned for my wash-n-go conclusion in an upcoming post ...

Jan/Feb 2013: Wash-n-go with TONS of gel for hang (on left).  Flat ironed then braided (on right).

Jan 2013: Wash-n-go followed by gel galore.
Feb 1, 2013: Braided for a braid-out.  2013 is about having fun with my length!

February 2008.  The big chop.  (Shrunken wet fro.)


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