G’on Brush Your Brushes Off

Shocking but true:

What’s trapped in YOUR bristles?

Your brush needs attention similar to what you give your hair. No matter what kind of brush you use, whether it be one with synthetic, metal, or boar bristles, it’s important to clean it on a regular basis.

You spend hours and hours deep conditioning your hair, co-washing it, clarifying it. You use essential oils like peppermint and tea tree to cleanse the scalp and stimulate blood flow. You understand that clean hair means growth. You do these things on a strict schedule to prevent unsightly buildup.

So why would you undo all of your effort by using a dirty brush?

Continue reading

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Hair Journal: Wash Day

photo credit: l’il ol’ me!

So today is wash day. Well, if I’m honest, yesterday was actually wash day, but I was too lazy to do it. I don’t know why. It’s not like I have tons of thick, unruly hair or anything.

I. Am. Just. Lazy. Continue reading

Fa La La La La

Tis the season to be natural! As the holidays approach, I’ve been thinking about what I want to see wrapped in beautiful paper under the tree, or sticking out of my stocking. Here are some of the things on my list.

Essential Oils

Oils

For the burgeoning mixtress in me, my friend Judes gave me my first set of essential oils for my birthday in April and I was in heaven!  I loved being able to add drops of peppermint or bergamot into whatever conditioner I was about to use, or to create my own pre-poo using a carrier oil as a base.  And let’s talk about the miracle these oils perform on shea butter, which (let’s face it) does NOT smell like roses.

Naturally, I’d love it if Santa’s Little Helpers restocked my essential oils (including that dreaded lavender… yup Vee, I said it!) and carrier oils, along with the coveted Jamaican Black Castor oil, which is nearly impossible to find in Canada.  And I’d really love to get a few that I haven’t tried before too.

I don’t know where Judes got the set she gave me, but I’m sure you guys are resourceful enough to use Google.

To “beef up” this gift, why not purchase some cute bottles from Ikea or Pier 1 to put the oil in?  Look around and be creative.  However, make sure to buy bottles that are tinted.  Direct light makes the oil go rancid more quickly.

Monthly Product Subscriptions

So the product junkie in me seems to be growing bigger and bigger by the day. For a reasonable monthly fee, I can feed my addiction with a subscription to a product-of-the-month club. Each delivery consists of a sampling of hair and personal care products hand-selected for curlies and naturals alike. Sometimes the offerings are full-sized!

The two I’ve had my eye on are curlBOX and CurlKit.

Each of these has its own appeal. While CurlKit seems to focus a little more on products with mainly natural/organic ingredients, I must admit that I’m quite seduced by the beautiful packaging of curlBOX. Did I mention the full-sized samples?

It’s hard to choose between the two… so why choose, right? Hint… hint…

Gift Sets

Gift and a Half!
Oyin Website

Anyone who knows me, knows that I’ve been having a long-time love affair with Oyin Handmade products.

Ever since the first day I stumbled across their hilarious YouTube videos, I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for the kooky couple (JAMYLAAAAAA BENNU… and her husband) responsible for the uber-moisturizing Juices & Berries, the deliciously scented Greg Juice, and my personal favorite – Shine & Define. So anyone who knows me, knows that I’d love love LOVE to get a box set from Oyin… Say, a Gift and a Half, maybe?  Oh, and they also have a “Black Nerds Unite” tee that I could easily add to my wardrobe.

No Frizz Fizz Cocktail

Curlmart has a gift set with six or seven products from its shopping cart. Or you can even find a nice box set from Shea Moisture called Curl & Shine Kit too.

Jamyla Bennu &
Fellow Nerds

Oyin (yes, I’m back to that) also sells sample sizes of many of their products. Perfect for my stocking, or as decorative bobbles for wrapping my bigger gifts… but no pressure…

Styling Tools & Appliances

Secura – a Reasonable Huetiful Substitute

I have a very old “bonnet dryer” that belonged to my grandmother. The bonnet is a plastic cap, similar to a shower cap, with a hose a-la-vacuum-cleaner sticking out the back, and a very loud motor. I can’t be certain, but I think it’s powered by a little tiny dinosaur… you know like on the Flintsones? When it comes to deep conditioning, it does do the job, but it would be nice to upgrade to an appliance from this century. A shiny new steamer like the Huetiful Steamer would be abfab, but a reasonable substitute would be the Secura S-192.

Gold ‘n Hot
GH3400

A heating cap would be welcome if the much preferred steamer wasn’t possible.

Curlformers

For style experimentation, a set of Flexirods or Curlformers would be nice.  One of each would be even better, since I’m not sure which would work best for my hair.

Things like ponytail clips, barettes, hair pins, and ouchless elastics are also welcome.

And I’ve been looking for a genuine Denman brush for the longest time.

Head Coverings

byEA Etsy Shop

At one point, I was known around the corridors of my workplace as “The Girl with the Hats.” Feels like the old hat fetish has come back. Along with beanies, silk scarves and silk scrunchies, I wouldn’t mind breathing some new life into my hat wardrobe with some cool, funkie new pieces. You know, for those days when I don’t have the time or the inclination to style my hair. Maybe even a few headbands or a fascinator or two.

Etsy has a ton of stores selling cute and original styles.

Books

Natural Hair Bible

I don’t have a library of hair books, though I have read one or two that people have loaned me. Here’s a list of titles that seem interesting to me:

  • The Science of Black Hair (Audrey Davis-Sivasothy)
  • Hair Care Rehab (Audrey Davis-Sivasothy)
  • Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America (Ayana D. Byrd/Lori L. Tharps)
  • Better Than Good Hair (Nikki Walton)

At the top of my list is the Audrey Davis-Sivasothy book.  I have read a few excerpts from it and have heard numerous gurus refer to it.  It’s what you’d call a “bible” for hair care.

Cute for Kids!

There are a few children’s books that would be fun to read to my niece and nephew too:

  • I Love My Hair (Natasha Anastasia Tarpley)
  • I Love My Cotton Candy Hair (Nicole Updegraff)

I could go on and on and on…

Maybe I’ve inspired you with ideas for yourself or for your beloved naturalista.  What’s on your list?

Happy shopping, Santa!

Hair Growth Secret Revealed!

Pssssssssssssssst… Hey you! Yeah, you with the short, dull, brittle hair! Yes! You, pointing at yourself and looking confused and a little wounded… Wanna hear a secret? A secret that is guaranteed to grow – nay transform – your hair?

People of African descent have struggled for many years with this issue. They have combed (pun intended) the earth in search of a miracle remedy. Many creative solutions have been born of… of… I don’t know… frustration? Desperation?

Well just today, a group of the natural hair community’s most popular bloggers/vloggers, all of whom have successfully cracked the long Afro (as in African, not Jackson 5) hair nut, came together in support of a novel solution, with almost magical results.  Even a prominent business woman weighed in.

So, without further ado:

Okay, so it’s not rocket science… but you get the point, right?

We’re adjourned.

Those Who Live in Greenhouses

Woman in the Shower

Greenhouse!
Photo Credit

I first heard about the Greenhouse Effect when I watched a Real Queens video on YouTube. I may be mistaken here (and if I am, please forgive my misinformation), but it seems to have originated with this YouTuber. When I asked Professor Google, a lot of links pointed back to either the Real Queens YouTube channel or to a blog of the same name. But there are numerous variations in the method out there. Here are the highlights…

How Does It Work?

The Greenhouse Effect (GHE) is a method for promoting scalp stimulation and hair growth using moisture. The basic premise is to create a warm steamy environment for an extended period of time in order to maximize the moisturizing of the hair.

What Do You Need?

  • plastic shower cap or plastic shopping bag
  • oil or butter of choice – Jamaican Black Castor Oil is the recommended oil, although EVOO seems to be popular too
  • scarf or head-tie
  • hat (like the kind you wear in the winter – optional)
  • time

What Do You Do?

  1. Apply the oil to dry or damp hair
  2. Prepare the hair (i.e., twist, braid, bantu knot, etc.) for the next day
  3. Cover head with plastic cap
  4. Tie scarf over the plastic cap
  5. Put on the hat
  6. Leave head covered overnight
  7. In the morning, style as usual

Sounds an awful lot like something called the Baggy Method, doesn’t it? Both require you to coat your ends with oil. Both require you to cover the hair with plastic. Confusing…

So What’s the Difference?

The main difference I can see is that Baggying aims to improve retention while GHE is believed to result, not only in increased retention, but also in actual growth from the root. This is because the whole head is covered during the process, instead of just the ends.

I found a post on Care 4 Curls that compares the two methods. Read that here. The author made an interesting point: to her, it made little sense to exclude a scalp stimulating step in the method. If the purpose of the method is to encourage growth from the root as opposed to simply strengthening the hair shaft, it would seem necessary to physically stimulate the scalp on a regular basis.

Sooooooo?

I think I’m gonna give this a try and see how it goes. I’ll report back in a few weeks.

Are you using an intense conditioning method, such as baggying or GHE? Which one do you think works better? Why?

Love You Like A Lush Song

I never intended to buy anything… I swear!  Honest!

But a friend and I were enticed into Lush, by… well… the Lush-ious smell (and the eclectic music) that was wafting out from the store’s open doors.  I’d passed the St. Catherine & Peel location about a zillion times before but had never gone inside.  Vee was looking at henna and I was just poking around.  And there it was… in all it’s glory… Revive and Balance Treatment (aka R&B) leave-in conditioner.  Can you hear the celestial voices and harps?  Or is that just me?

Lush R&B Leave-in Conditioner

Empty R&B jar… I need to get more!

Here are the product highlights:

  • Handmade by a dude named Dil, who actually works for Lush out of BC and whose face is right on the jar, the majority of the ingredients are natural/organic/fair-trade
  • Rich, creamy consistency, a little on the oily side
  • Specifically formulated for afro or curly hair, but apparently recommended for all hair types (thin straight hair should probably avoid – see above point)
  • Decent overall frizz control
  • Very sweet, citrus scent
  • Pricey at $20.95 CAD per 100g

I’m in love with this product!  I use it pretty much daily (one jar lasts me about two to three months) and it makes my hair feel amazing.  Since it has glycerin in it, I usually put it in my hair before I get into the shower and leave my head uncovered while I wash my body.  I’ve also been known to put it on wet hair and twist it up for a twist-out-type style (though I don’t tend to actually wear my hair out, but that’s a discussion for another day).  It keeps my hair feeling soft all day and I don’t need to use a lot.  And more than once, I’ve been asked what perfume I’m wearing, only to realize that it was my hair that people were smelling!  Sometimes, if the wind blows just right, I smell my own hair and it just makes me happy.

I love the smell.  I love the consistency.  My hair loves the moisturizing… But that’s just me… Obviously, this may not be everyone’s dream product.

Oh, yeah… Vee heard the harps too.  She also bought a jar of the stuff and fell in love.

Try it yourself and you be the judge.

I highly recommend it.