Monday, April 29, 2013

Protective Style Lookbook || Glam Updo on Stretched Hair

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

Model: Mz_tammy

Difficulty level: 3/5

Skin Care || Eliminating Under Eye Bags

Do you have annoying bags under your eyes?  Well, depending on the cause of the bags, there may be a fix.  Here is a snippet of a few of these causes and fixes:

"Switch your sleep position. Your sleep position may be contributing to under-eye bags. Thanks to gravity, sleeping on your side or stomach can encourage fluids to collect under your eyes. If you're a side sleeper, you may notice a heavier bag on the side you sleep on. [Dermatologist Valerie Goldburt, MD, PhD, of NYU Langone Medical Center] advises her patients who wake up with puffy eyes to sleep on their back and add an extra pillow under their head. 
Other everyday habits, including rubbing your eyes frequently, going to bed with makeup on, and excessive drinking, can contribute to under-eye bags, too. "Sleeping in eye makeup can irritate your eyes, causing fluids to pool," Goldburt says. Heavy alcohol drinking causes dehydration. That weakens the delicate skin around the eyes, making it more likely to sink into a pouch.
Eye bags are very common, and are usually not related to your health. But if your bags appear suddenly and you're not suffering from allergies, a sinus infection, or a cold -- and they don't ease up when you try the lifestyle steps mentioned above -- it's a good idea to see your doctor. Some thyroid or kidney problems can cause under-eye fluid retention, notes New York dermatologist Craig Austin, MD."

For the remainder of the article, check out WEBMD.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Healthy Body || Get BIKINI ready by June!

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness

Do you keep staring at your favorite bikini every time you go out shopping?

Why not find a reason to buy it plus more new items for your new sexy body?

I am here today to share some tips that should help you get your body bikini ready for this summer!
  1. Ditch the soda and start drinking water! Studies have proven that individuals that drink more carbonated or sugary beverages will gain weight or have troubles losing the unwanted weight you currently have. Drinking water will help flush your system as well as keep your body properly hydrated. I would suggest starting with 2 Liters and start working your way up to about a gallon of water a day. YES I SAID A GALLON! 
  2. Ditch the fast food! Take a stand NOW to start cooking your meals and try not to “grab something that is easy”. Cooking your own meals allows you to see exactly what you are putting in your body. And, it also allows you the chance to plan your meals and possibly SAVE money! Try having 5 small meals a day. Start with breakfast and have a meal every 3 hours. Each meal should be around 400 calories. You should have a good source of protein (like chicken or fish and for breakfast things like egg whites or whole eggs), a nice serving of veggies, and one good carbohydrate source (like brown rice, whole grain bread, sweet potatoes). 
  3. WORK OUT!!! Yes get up and get active! You want to try to work out 5 days a week. Try NOT to take more than two days off in a row. You should spend 30-45 minutes of cardio and getting your heart rate up. And you also need a good strength training program. YES LADIES YOU NEED TO LIFT WEIGHTS! No you will not get big and bulky. Strength training will allow you to build your muscles and start to get more tone. 

  4. HAVE A PLAN! Ladies you should plan out your meals, workouts, trips to the store, and anything else! If you FAIL TO PLAN you PLAN TO FAIL. If you plan these things out you will be prepared and ready for your meals and workouts during the week. This will allow you the chance to not make excuses when you are running late or need to find food to eat. Keep a journal so you are able to keep track of what all is going on. You want to be able to visually keep track of what is going on. 

  5. Find and keep your own motivation. You have to find something that keeps you motivated. It can be images, quotes, bible verses, or anything! You have to keep things so that you can keep yourself motivated on the days you do not feel motivated. Sometimes you need someone to keep you motivated or someone to help hold you accountable for your actions. This can be a friend, co-worker, or family member.
These are all very important tools that you can use to help you get ready for the summer. There are no magic pills or crash diets that can help you. Try to eat fresh whole foods (stay away from processed foods) and drink plenty of water. You want to cut back on drinking alcohol and increase your activity levels. You do not have to belong to a gym to get a good workout. You can find many workouts online that you can do at home!

You have the tools to reach your goals! So why not start NOW so you can flaunt your confidence and new body this summer. This is Stephanie from Infinite Life Fitness. Please feel free to stop by my blog for more health and fitness tips!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Hair Diary || Scissor Happy and More ...

It has been a while since I posted a chapter in the "Hair Diary".  Well, up until recently, I had been wearing small twists (see the "Twist Series") for about 4 weeks.  Prior to that, I had another set of twists.  Now I'm taking a break and alternating between braid-outs and braided updos on straightened hair for the next three weeks.

LEFT: What I would I call an example of what healthy, layered ends look like.
RIGHT: An example of a blunt cut.  Even when our hair is cut in such a manner, it will gradually grow out of the blunt cut (and similar to what we see in the LEFT photo).

These ladies have some of the longest hair in the world, but what do you think about their ends?   (I leave it up to you to decide.)

Oh, and what is this about being "scissor happy"?  Well, I cut (not trimmed) about 2+ inches off my hair.  The ends were not visibly damaged but they were thin to me, which naturally happens as our strands can longer and experience more wear.  Additionally, I have been desiring a short, blunt cut for some weeks now.  Thinking I'm just going through a phase, I decided to cut my hair somewhat blunt and a bit shorter rather than go all the way.  Now I'm officially MBL (mid-back length) again.  It was hard to stop cutting further so I had to really talk myself out it. :o)

And now for more hair pics:

Though split ends were minimal, I felt like the ends of my twists needed a good trim because they were thin.  I gave them one ... and some.  I cut 2+ inches total (maybe more, I don't know since I stopped measuring after a while).
(Twist shot from Aug. 2012.)  This gives an idea of the ends I have been holding onto for almost two years now (aside from a few dusting sessions). 
The final product.  (After a light flat-iron, braids, and another cut included in the 2+ inches.)  I had to talk myself out of cutting another couple of inches.

The final product.  (After a light flat-iron, braids, and another cut included in the 2+ inches.)  Tried to get a complete shot of the ends but after several attempts, I gave up for the day.  I'll try again in the near future.

Winner of the ZELO Giveaway AND Another Giveaway!!

... And the winner for the Zelo Giveaway is Afro Age!

Please leave a comment below that you have seen this post AND use the "Contact Me" button above to send me your mailing address.  You have until April 25 to claim your prize.

For those who want another opportunity to win, check out the $100 Target Card Giveaway below:

Friday, April 19, 2013

Healthy Hair Feature: Yolande

1. What made you go natural? 

I went natural by accident really.. my hair was severely damaged and the middle was close to bald. i had just removed micro braids and the new growth i experienced was immaculate..:) so i said to myself wow my hair has some potential to be thick and decision at that point was immediate. To be honest I think I was led by the holy spirit to YouTube and typed in transitioning from relaxed to natural, there I found Nikki Mae, Natural Chica and she became my main inspiration. My journey began In 2008 and i am happy to be nappy.  How long have you been natural? I've been natural for 5 years.

2. Did you transition? If so, for how long?   

I transitioned at first not knowing I was transitioning.  My hair was damaged from the perm and I just started braiding my hair as I did a lot when I was younger, at that point not knowing it was a protective style and therefore the reason my hair would grow so much when braided.:), I did this giving up two perms and each braid would have lasted me 2 months so that would be 4 months with braids and two months without. I chopped the permed ends in September 2008.

3. What is your HEALTHY HAIR routine?

My routine is very simple since learning the basics of caring for my natural hair. I co wash  once every week (I shampoo only when I have severe build up, once a month)
I deep treat every week whether protein or moisture (keeping balance)

Moisturize weekly with products from my own line that I have developed Kumea's Hair Perspective soft and Creamy Hair Smoothie (water-based moisturizer) and Kumea's Hair Perspective extra Virgin Coconut Hair Oil (Oil based moisturizer). 

Sleep at nights with a satin bonnet..that's it..:) I just recently had my first child and so my regime was non existent for months during my pregnancy because I was very sick.. But I did ensure it was in a protective style most times.

4. Do you have a HEALTHY BODY routine? 

Yes I do, I eat right and drink lots of water to keep hydrated. Fruits and veges are my best friend even after a baby. I walk up and down my driveway (on a hill) twice daily..but that's the most exercise for now 3 months post pregnancy.

5. What advice and warnings do you have for naturals? 

Don't be afraid to embrace who you are and what you think you will look like if you go natural. Look at your baby pics for inspiration and other naturals. Think "healthy hair" and I'm sure that will lead you to natural:).. If you don't see your hair growing as fast as someone else..Do not despair or give up, your hair is unique and will reach the goals you set for it in its own good time.

Remember hair care is really very simple : wash, deep condition, detangle, moisturize and seal.

6. Where can we find you?  

Visit my page at or email me

Mixology || Recipe for Organic Makeup

In the following video,  SparkWisdom discusses how to make your own "mineral powder".  Check it out!

arrowroot powder
organic cocoa powder

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Protective Style Lookbook || Two Styles from One Twist-out

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

Model: Nalia

Style description: Two updos (one chic and one traditional) on hair stretched via a twist-out.

Difficulty level: 2-3/5

How to Avoid "Hand-in-The-Hair" Disease

Some of you probably know the definition of "hand-in-the-hair" disease, but for those of you who do not, it is essentially the following:

(Definition by Loo) A severe case of frequent touching, twirling, pulling (or any other form of manipulation) of the hair, especially the ends.

It is not an actual disease but a phrase coined in the hair care world for this bad habit.

For years, I have had this bad habit, which oddly enough, developed when I first went natural.  (I believe the reason is because my kinks and coils were -- and still are -- new to me.)  However, the following tips have helped me to curb the habit for the most part.  If you suffer from "hand-in-hair-disease", you may want to try these techniques to "treat" it:

For longer hair - Wear pinned updos or buns
These styles will make it difficult for you to keep your hands in your hair since your hair is ... well ...  tucked away.

For shorter hair - Wear twist/braid extensions or a beanie 
Like the above styles, these ones will make it difficult to reach your actual hair.

Wear a bonnet or scarf while at home
After a long day, you may want to let your hair down or take off that beanie, and this is understandable.    Give yourself about ten to twenty minutes of "free" time then put on that satin bonnet or scarf.

Occupy your hands with another object
This is my least useful avoidance technique, but when I do use it I find that pliable objects (like an ouchless band) work nicely.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Giveaway || Keratin Smoothing Duo (and More) by Zelo

Zelo is offering to give away the entire Zelo line (including the Keratin Smoothing Duo) to one of my lovely readers.

So what is Zelo you ask?  It is a company that offers salon-quality products for home use.  However, "salon-quality" does not have to mean "expensive".  You can find their products at select Target stores for exclusive pricing.  (For my United States readers, use this store locator.)

And what does this have to do with healthy hair?  The Zelo keratin treatment is a healthy alternative to damaging relaxers for women who want to wear a certain style temporarily but still maintain their hair health and natural curls. There is NO formaldehyde in the products.  Zelo loosens tight curl patterns without permanently altering the hair structure, letting you return to your curls when you want. Additionally, the company has a supporting line that includes a sulfate- and salt-free shampoo, keratin conditioner, and grapeseed oil gloss.

Now on to the final question ...

How do you enter this giveaway?  Well, it is simple.  Just answer the following question in the "Comments" section below.  Do so by 11:59PM EST April 19.  A winner will be chosen shortly after the closing of the giveaway and announced on Monday, April 22.

Why should you win the Keratin Smoothing Duo (and the remainder of the line) by Zelo?

Oldies, But Goodies

1. Protective Styling with Short Wigs
2. Short Series: Remnants of PJ-ism
3. Simple Homemade Hair Gel Recipes
4. Omega-3 & Depression
5. Raw Food Diet: The Basics

Friday, April 12, 2013

Twist Series: Updated Wash Method

Currently in: small twists on stretched hair for three going on four weeks.  (Hair was stretched via jumbo twists and air dried.) 

Over the weekend, I experimented with a new wash method and I like!  For my previous wash method in twists, check out this post.

So why the change?  Though the original wash method worked fine for me for years, easier detangling and style preservation have increased in priority.  With my previous wash method, I had to re-stretch my twists after a wash (via big braids) to combat shrinkage and frizzies.  Even with the re-stretch, some of my shrinkage (particularly at the ends) would remain and my "fresh" twist look was largely lost.  I also spent 1-2 hours on detangle day (which was once a month on average), which has made me weary over time.

What is the new wash method?  Well, now I only wash my roots and scalp on wash day (when I'm in twists, that is).  I place my twists in two loosely bunned pigtails, fill an applicator bottle with diluted shampoo, and only apply the mixture to my scalp.  I then massage my scalp, fill the applicator bottle with water only, and focus on rinsing the shampoo from my scalp.  I am careful not to get any water or shampoo onto the rest of my hair ... just the roots and scalp.  Why?  Because, for me, these are really the only two areas that need cleansing at the two-week mark.  After that, I towel blot, air-dry, and can wear the same set of twists for another two weeks.  (Some may ask why I don't do the dry shampoo method.  The main reasons are because this method is more cleansing for me and less time-consuming.)

The benefit of this new wash method is two-fold.  For one, my "fresh" twist look is more preserved with this routine since I don't wet my twists.  Yes, the roots do get a little frizzy, but after air-drying with a scarf around my head, they flatten and hardly noticeable.  Secondly, because I don't wet my actual twists, the ends of my hair don't shrink up (thus, reducing formation of SSKs) and my hair will be easier to detangle after take-down.

Upcoming hair plans: One more week in twists.  Then flat-iron time.

After washing my roots and scalp.  (After air-drying.)

The next day and with the edges re-done.

Mixology || African Black Soap Shampoo

African black soap is created from palm leaves, cocoa pod ash, plantain skin ash, palm kernel oil, and sometimes fewer or more ingredients (e.g., shea butter). Combine this soap with glycerin or honey (both of which are humectants), grapeseed oil (helps to lock in moisture), and distilled water to create a cleansing, non-stripping shampoo.

4 tbsp African black soap (crumbled into pieces)
1 cup hot distilled water
2 tsp glycerin (or pure honey)
3 tsp grapeseed oil

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bottle. Shake the bottle well and allow the mixture to cool before using. 
  2. Save the remainder in a closed bottle for future use (up to a few weeks).

Monday, April 8, 2013

Protective Style Lookbook || 30 Ways to Style Natural Hair in an Updo

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

Now granted only a portion of these styles are protective, but I just had to share the following find.  (Click on the picture to view a larger image.)

Study || Water Vs. Coconut Water Vs. Sports Drinks

A study published in early 2012, demonstrated little difference between four beverages with regard to rehydration and subsequent support of exercise.  The four tested beverages included: 1) bottled water, 2) pure coconut water, 3) coconut water from concentrate, and 4) a carbohydrate-electrolyte sports drink.

So then what is a good reason to choose coconut water and/or bottled water over a sports drink?  Well, there are more than one:

  1. Pure coconut water generally has fewer calories than sports drinks.  Moreover, bottled water has no calories.  
  2. If you are looking for a natural alternative to sports drinks, coconut water and bottled water are two options.  
  3. If you are wanting to lower sodium in your daily diet, pure coconut water and bottled water (which is even better) are the way to go.  
  4. If you want to increase your potassium intake, pure coconut water is the best of the above options.  (Coconut water contains approximately 12x more potassium than Gatorade.)

AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE CONCLUSION: "Additional study inclusive of a more demanding dehydration protocol, as well as a time trial test as the measure of exercise performance, may more specifically determine the efficacy of these beverages on enhancing hydration and performance following dehydrating exercise."  (For the above study, twelve exercise-trained men were subjected to 60 minutes of treadmill exercise.)


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Twist Series: Nighttime Regimen

  • Q: I know you finished your twist series ages ago, I was wondering what you did with your hair under your scarf at night? Do you wrap it like relaxed hair? Put it in a bun/ponytail/pineapple? Or just leave it loose?
A: It depends on what style I plan to wear the next day.  If I plan to do an updo, I usually put my twists in one or two big french braids and wrap it with a scarf.  That way, my edges and the frizzies are tamed overnight.  If I plan to wear my twists down (which is rare) or if I don't care too much about having the frizzies tamed, I leave them loose and just put on a bonnet at night.  Once in a while I will put my twists in a bun at night, but I don't do this often because my edges will suffer.  Beyond these methods, I don't really do much else because I'm not too concerned about keeping my twists stretched.

I hope this answers your question!

If you have a question about my twist regimen or twists in general, leave your question in the "Comments Section" below. :o)

Healthy Eating || How to Make Almond Milk

-1 cup raw, organic almonds
-filtered water for soaking
-2-6 cups filtered water (fewer cups = creamier)
- (optional) 1/2 tsp of vanilla

Optional sweeteners to taste:
-medjool dates
-maple syrup

Just soak the almonds overnight in the filtered water.  Drain out the filtered water the next day, and blend the almonds in 2-6 cups of new filtered water.  Strained the mixture, and you are left with almond milk!

For a full set of instructions (including photo-by-photo details), check out Frugally Sustainable!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Protective Style Lookbook || 5-Minute Chic Twists

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

Model: Zarah Charm

Style description: Three jumbo twists pinned into a chic do.

Difficulty level: 1/5  (Super easy)

Case Study || "Tangle-Teezer-Like" Tool and Breakage?

I was on one of my favorite forums when I came across the following case study that was performed in India.  The report involves a tool that resembles the "Tangle Teezer" in terms of bristle arrangement and sizing.  (There are, of course, some differences between the tool in the report and the "Tangle Teezer", but the similarities cannot be neglected, in my honest opinion.)

So what is so interesting about this case study?  Well, to me, it does more than demonstrate how the use of certain hair tools may ultimately translate to breakage.  It does two more things:

1) It gives possible confirmation to those who jumped on the "Tangle Teezer" bandwagon and noticed an increase in breakage and split ends thereafter.

2) And, for my own hair care practices, it makes me think twice about using the "Tangle Teezer" on my flat-ironed hair.  (You see, I figured the problem with the tool that most people were experiencing was due to using it on textured hair.  I thought it okay to use the tool on straight hair ... until now.)  Contrary to what I initially guessed, the study was performed on patients who were not afro-textured but who had naturally straight/wavy hair.  Even on straight hair, this tool may present a problem!?!

Ultimately, patients were asked to: 
  • avoid the tool (and instead use a straight comb with elongated bristles) AND 
  • to change their combing habits (which involved using the tool on hair that had not been lubricated with conditioner or oil).

About trichorrhexis nodosa -  "The essential abnormality of trichorrhexis nodosa is the formation of nodes along the hair shaft through which breakage readily occurs (Source)."


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