Thursday, February 26, 2009

Maintaining Straight Hair.

You can stretch relaxers, why not heat-styled natural hair?
Here are a few of my tips and tricks to making the straight look last:

-When you shower at night or in the morning, your scarf and your shower cap can't leave your head, especially if your bathroom resembles a sauna when you're showering. Make sure all of your strands are hidden underneath your tightly secured scarf before you put on the plastic cap.

-When it's raining, foggy, humid or any other indication of precipitation, opt for a sleek bun. I usually put on a dab of oil, serum or moisture block before styling. A well-prepared heat-styled natural may also Google her local weather forecast for the week and anticipate having to carry a stylish scarf or hoodie, elastic band and mini-umbrella.

-Try to avoid getting water on your edges when doing your face washing routine. The soap can dry out the hairline and the water will cause it to revert. It took lots of practice but I've become really good at rinsing my face, with my eyes open, in sections.

-If I have to use a product that contains Humectants or a water-based moisturizer, I rub it into my hands and apply a very light amount to the strands before applying a drop of oil.

-I keep my straight style in for, at the very least, 2 weeks. Throughout the week I'm not heavy handed with products and if I feel like my scalp is getting oily I'll use a rag (pointed into a finger shape) or a q-tip dipped in diluted Apple Cider Vinegar to clean my scalp.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Emu oil!

I came across an article about essential oils and the author mentioned carrier oils, Jojoba (you know I ride hard for Jojoba) and Emu for dilution. She singled out Emu because of its nutrients, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
I've seen Emu oil mentioned in passing and I assumed it was one of the Ayurvedic regimen's many oils- that's why I've ignored it. My inquisitive nature led me to do a quick search and imagine my surprise when I read that the oil is derived from
the fat of a bird called the Emu. ((Gross)). After going through a few web pages, I also learned about it's healing properties. A quick Google image search will bring up pictures of scars and dry skin.
Like Jojoba, some claims say it reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and that it's
non-comedogenic. It also contains high amounts of omega 6 and 3.

Here are some of the benefits claimed on one
  • Anti-inflammatory, with effects comparable to ibuprofen;
  • Bacteriostatic, does not promote the growth of bacteria;
  • Hypoallergenic, not known to cause skin irritation or have any side effects;
  • Highly penetrating, non-greasy, absorbs without leaving a greasy feel;
  • Non-comedogenic, does not clog pores.
  • Vitamin E, a major antioxidant and healing agent;
  • Vitamin A, a known skin repairer and antioxidant;
  • Linoleic acid, which eases muscle aches and joint pain;
  • Oleic acid, a proven skin cell regenerator, anti-wrinkle agent;
  • Sapogens, proven skin softeners;
  • Terpines, known antiseptics.
There's also another article on why you should exercise caution when using Emu oil. To read it click here. And if you care, you can read up on Demi Moore's use of the oil here.

I don't know about you, but I'm intrigued. If anyone uses it, please let me know how it works for you!

Sedu v. Sedu Revolution.

I decided to get a new flat iron and I went with the original Sedu iron. I told you guys about the Folica sale, which ends today and after carefully reading reviews and revolutionary claims, I wasn't impressed enough to go with the latest model.

The new iron touts it's design as it revolutionary feature. It says that the curved and anti-slip edges lower heat damage by reducing the need for multiple passes on hair that may fall out of a traditionally shaped iron. ((Eyes roll)) I'll just avoid overloading the iron. With the sale it came up to $88 and change.

Monday, February 23, 2009

My Best Tressed Hair Set Experience.

Rosemary Mint Shampoo with Sea Moss, 8 oz.- Hated it.
Black Vanilla Leave-In Conditioner, 8 oz.-::shrugs: like the smell.
Lisa’s Hair Elixir, 8 oz.- Liked the product, not exactly loving the smell.
Hair Milk, 4 oz.
-Liked the product, hate the smell.
Mimosa Hair Honey, 4 oz.-
Liked it, but wouldn't use it often.

Honestly, if I had paid $58.00 for this set, I'd be dissatisfied and underwhelmed. This line is
over-hyped and poorly marketed. Someone with less knowledge of ingredients or a less refined taste in product lines may be intrigued by the scents, the celebrity endorsements and the crafty product titles, but do not be fooled! This is not the end all be all in natural hair care. There are better alternatives (and much cheaper) that will give you the same, if not better, results.

Having been raised in Brooklyn, I would love to see a fellow resident succeed, and I think Lisa means well, but these products and the price could benefit from some tweaking.

Friday, February 20, 2009

What is an Emollient?

I often heard the word emollient used to describe Castor oil, but my understanding of what it meant was limited only to my inference skills rather than actual research.
I'm glad I took the time to look it up because what I found was very interesting- to me at least.

Emollients serve three basic functions for skin and hair:
-Increasing the ability to retain moisture (hold water)
-Providing a layer of oil to prevent water loss/ evaporation
-Lubricating the skin and hair

Emollients and moisturizers are often used interchangeably, and emollients are specific in their ability to soften skin and hair as well as treat dryness.

Common emollients are: Jojoba oil, Avocado oil, Soybean oil, Vitamin E.
This is where the "oils that moisturize" movement gets it's validity.

I called it!

I don't know if anyone recalls my review of Carol's Daughter Hair Milk, but I stated that for my hair type it would probably be great for twist-outs and braid-outs.
Well, I almost passed for a curly girl today! Lol!
Yesterday, I bravely took my braids out not knowing if the results would be acceptable for work but after taking them down, I thought I could upgrade the crimps and crinkles
I added some Hair Milk to 8 sections and tightly braided each one. I then tied my hair down (already parted) with my satin scarf. (No comb was used during any step)
The morning results were FAB! ------HERE'S THE BEFORE:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Product Review: Lisa's Hair Elixir

Experience why Jada Pinkett Smith attributes her beautiful hair to this long time favorite. Sage and rosemary essential oils condition the hair and combat dry scalp while peppermint gives a refreshing tingle. (8 fl. oz. 19.00)
Benefits: Essential oils of rosemary and peppermint promote circulation, strength and contain scalp-protecting antioxidants. Performs double duty as a daily shine solution and a weekly hot oil treatment. Ingredients:
Soy Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Olive Oil, Essential Oils Of Peppermint, Sage, And Rosemary And African Gold Fragrances

This product, along with the hair balm, is apparently part of Jada's Dynamic Duo. At a whopping $19.00, it's the most expensive product in the Best Tressed Hair set. I was apprehensive about using it because of my lack of knowledge on Soy bean oil but after a fellow blogger gave it the go ahead, I tried it.

I like the consistency, it's a little lighter than Jojoba oil. It does seem to be penetrating and moisturizing. While the smell is not as offensive as the hair milk, it reminds me of my grandmother's Sunday morning church perfume. It also contains some pretty good ingredients but... $19.00 for 80z? Really? I'd rather take a trip over to GNC and get a 16oz. bottle of Jojoba oil for $15.00.
I'm looking forward to using this as a hot oil treatment to see what results it yields. Stay tuned...

Ingredients: Soybean Oil

Soybean Oil is the first ingredient listed in Lisa's Hair Elixir.

It contains about 60% polyunsaturated fatty acids and is a good source of Vitamin E, used frequently in soaps and bath oils. The oil is extracted, consisting of emollient properties such as oleic, linolenic and saturated acids. Ancient traditions cultivated soybeans for its protein, oil, and lecithin content – believed to be a superior moisturizing agent that helps soften skin.
Soybean oil has a relatively high proportion, 7–10%, of oxidation prone linolenic acid, which is an undesirable property for continuous service, such as in a restaurant. Soybean oil also contains natural antioxidants which remain in the oil even after extraction. These antioxidants help to prevent the oxidative rancidity.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Flat iron sale!

Folica's having a one week sale of $20 off all Sedu appliances. I dont know whether to pounce on the Sedu Rev or wait for another promo because they do this all the time! Developing...

R.I.P: Denman D3

I bought the Denman months ago because of the rave reviews and recommendations it got. I was attracted to the promise of getting rid of knots, tangles and shed hair. It delivers on those promises. It even helps define curls.
Unfortunately for me, it's also a killer on fine hair. I had to carefully examine the bundle of hair in the brush and, to my horror, among the strands with the root bulb were broken pieces of hair of every length.
I wanted this brush to be for me but, my hair thrives with low-manipulation and the denman is too much manipulation for it.
What are your experiences with this brush?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Heat Styled Natural: Nicole Fiscella

Nicole is 29. She was born on September 15, 1979 in Rochester NY. Her ancestry is a mixture of Indian and St. Lucian . She has a self-professed addiction to blogs.
Love her look.

Testing The Temperature.

When using any heat-styling tool on your hair, you should test the temperature first:

Get a paper towel and moisten it until it's damp. Press the tissue paper
between the heating plates of your flat iron and hold for a few seconds. Discoloration, smoking and sizzling of the paper, would be an indication that the iron is too hot.
For hot combs, place the comb on a dry piece of paper and leave it for a few seconds. An imprint of the comb is normal but any discoloration or burning would also signal the need to rest the comb or turn down your heating oven.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Heat-Styled Natural B.Scoot drops some knowledge.

Sugar Addicts Anonymous

There's a reason we can't just have one.

The more sugar you eat the more you need to eat to taste the same level of sweetness. Just be highly aware the next time you eat ice cream. Notice how sweet that first spoon or two tastes. Then notice how the subsequent spoons just don't have the same level of taste or sweetness, as if your taste buds have become numb to the taste of the sugar. The more sugar you eat, the more you need to eat to keep tasting the sweetness. That is part of the addiction of sugar. The increased energy boost is another part of the addiction of sugar. The increase in short-term energy leads to a real let down, increased fatigue, and depression in the medium and long term.

Product Review: Black Vanilla Leave-in Conditioner

Promises: A deep-conditioning treat for dry hair.Damaged hair will say "hallelujah" with one use of this great-smelling, every day conditioner, which detangles, detoxifies and restores tresses to their natural splendor. Lavender, rosemary and marigolds rejuvenate dry, damaged tresses while delicious vanilla soothes the senses.
-Super-conditioning nettles naturally restore lost shine. Conditioning formula replenishes essential moisture and manageability. ($11.50) 8 oz.
Rosa Centifolia Flower Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Extract, Trifolium Pratense (Clover) Extract, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Water (Aqua), Ceteth-20, Cetrimonium Chloride, Peg-8, Polysorbate 60, Glycerin, Peg-12 Dimethiconeglycerin, Panthenol, Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol(And)Caprylyl, Glycol(And)Potassium Sorbate(And)Hexylene Glycol

This product smells good...That's all. I'll leave it up to the individual to decide how much they're willing to pay for hair perfume.

Youtubers We Love: Lov3sponge

I stumbled upon Lov3sponge a couple days ago. She's sweet and fun and I look forward to more vlogs from her. Seeing her vlog with her hair straightened was a little eye opening for me.
How does a change in appearance affect you?
One thing I noticed about having my hair straightened is that I tend to carry myself differently. My demeanor changes. I once referred to the first day my co-workers saw me with my hair straightened as my "shut it down, don't sleep on me" day. I pretended to ignore the stares and passively answered questions about whether it was real and what I "do to it". Inside I was beaming with my pride. My posture may have even straightened up a little.
It's not that I'm ashamed of my natural texture. Don't get me wrong, I once was. But, I'm really just getting acquainted with the "how-to's" of my natural texture. I heat-styled about every 2- 3 weeks non stop for six years at the hairdressers because my mother didnt have time for my hair anymore and I couldn't manage it.
Today, I know more, I continue learning and I love the versatility of both. Still, there's something about that first day of heat-styled hair that brings something out in me. It may be because natural hair doesn't really show off it's true length, or because I enjoy swinging and flinging it when someone comes up to talk to me or it may be the "ear tuck". Whatever it is, it affects me to a certain degree (even if it's superficial and meaningless).
How does it affect you? Does it make no difference to you either way? Do you feel the need make sure your clothes are on point? Do you feel fake? Does it make you miss your texture more? Are you more confident? Louder? More shy? How does it change you, if at all?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Pomade ingredient: Beeswax

Wiki on Pomades & Beeswax:
(also called pomatum) is a greasy or waxy substance that is used to style hair. Pomade makes hair look slick and shiny. Unlike hairspray and hair gel, pomade does not dry and often takes several washes to remove - a special shampoo though, may be used. Other de-greasers include olive oil dishwashing liquid and lemon juice. Most pomades contain petroleum jelly (and in fact petroleum jelly can be used alone as a pomade) and mineral oil, and many also contain some sort of wax. They may also contain perfume and coloring agents. A plethora of pomades are still in production today and vary in factors such as weight, shine and scent. The stiffest will have a higher proportion of beeswax while the lightest may have a higher proportion of oils.
Beeswax is a natural wax produced in the bee hive of honey bees of the genus Apis.

Product Review: Mimosa hair honey

Corn Oil, Lavender, Rosemary, Nettles, Red Roses, Sage, Blue Malva, Marigolds, Red Clover, Beeswax, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Annatto Seeds, Alkanet Root For Color, Essential Oil Of Sweet Orange, Fragrance.
This herbal infused pomade improves manageability and tames fly-aways while delivering a sweet citrus scent. The blend's lack of water makes it ideal for those combating frizzies. ($9.50)

This pomade is very light in consistency (think Hollywood Beauty Castor oil grease) and it smells great . I kept smelling it over and over because the scent was familiar, it smells like many of the drugstore pomades hair dressers use. Honey is not listed as an ingredient, so it must be the beeswax that gives the scent. Natural hair care enthusiasts, who don't have locks, may take issue with the beeswax because it's known for being hard to wash out. I saw a customer review calling this product "scented lard".

When I got cornrows last year, the braider used this nasty petroleum based green grease. Just like the grease, MHH tames fly-aways but it's a better alternative to those heavier pomades when you're getting braids. Or you can always opt for old faithful -Shea Butter, adding essential oils for fragrance. Shea butter is listed as an ingredient in this product but again at 9.50 for 4oz, corn oil and beeswax as a base is disappointing. I wouldn't purchase this because I've never finished a pomade in my 20 years of life, I dont even remember purchasing one. It's just always in the house under the bathroom sink, collecting dust.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hair Milk Hustle

-Carol's Daughter is on HSN.
-Apparently this is marketed as a styling product.

Carol's Daughter Hair Milk

This light, fast-absorbing lotion for the hair is made with essential oil of lemongrass to stimulate natural oil production. Vitamins C and E provide an antioxidant boost while a hint of lily of the valley fragrance perfumes hair beautifully. Hair Milk is ideal for defining natural curls and giving hair loads of shine and bounce. ($12.00 for 4oz.)

Benefits: Lemongrass stimulates scalp circulation and adds luster to dull hair.Sweet almond oil, a natural nut oil that is high in fatty acids and easily absorbed by the scalp.

This product delivers on some of it's claims. I used this to smooth a ponytail overnight with a scarf and I was pleasantly surprised in the morning, I had no fly-aways and my hair had some sheen to it without looking greasy.
For my hair type I think it would be great for twist outs and braid outs. I used this before I did large twists on blow dried hair and I almost didn't want to style my hair when I took them down! The twist-out looked great. It goes on feeling a bit sticky so I think that helps to provide some hold.
My advice to the company would be to market it, not as a moisturizer, but as a natural styling product. Someone looking for a natural moisturizer may be disappointed. My hair wasn't soft and the moisture didn't last.
I also was not a fan of the smell. It's the kind of smell that would give me a headache. When my little brother came in my room he asked me what it was- it was that strange. But it faded eventually
Overall, this is a good product that I'll use until it's finished. However. the smell and the price would not draw me to this product again.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bored with protective styling...

so I switched to another protective style.

I really didn't know what to do with my hair this weekend. I've been wanting braids (extensions) but I'm very hesitant when it comes to a fine tooth comb, an unprofessional braider- focused on speed and unconcerned with healthy techniques- and second day hair tangles. Not to mention the $150-$200 price tag.
The half wig was
seriously depressing me. I started to feel...just down. That's what lack of variety can do to a person. But I was inspired by a youtube video that I saw of a girl braiding her natural hair in small individual braids. I remember how much I really enjoyed braiding my dolls hair as a child. So in the spirit of doing-it-yourself, I went to task.

After deep conditioning, I did the tension blow dry method on cool, added leave-in, then started small-medium sized single braids in the front and back, trying out some Carol's Daughter products as I went along.
It knew I'd probably get lazy and start doing them large so that's why I went small around the perimeter.
Not to toot my own horn but, the braids were coming out really neat and uniform and it got me excited about potentially seeing how it would come out with extensions if I did it myself. I think I have a general sense of the technique after watching some tutorials.

I'll keep learning until I build my confidence then give it a try with some cheap braids.
We'll see
**3 people asked if it was my hair at work. (Kool-aid smile)

Corn Oil

One of the Carol's Daughter products I used contains corn oil so I took it upon myself to do a little wiki research on it.
Here's what I found:

Corn oil is extracted from the germ of corn . Its main use is in cooking, where its high smoke point makes it a valuable frying oil. It is also a key ingredient in some margarine's. Corn oil has a milder taste and is less expensive than most other types of vegetable oils... A high consumption of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are found in most types of oils, including corn oil, may increase the likelihood that postmenopausal women will develop breast cancer. Similar effect was observed on prostate cancer. Other analysis suggested an inverse association between total polyunsaturated fatty acids and breast cancer risk.

I'm not alarmed about the cancer risk because I didn't cook with the product but I am less inclined to purchase a product with a high price tag if it contains cheap ingredients.

R.I.P: Carol's Daughter RMHS w/Sea Moss

Rosemary Mint Herbal Shampoo with Sea Moss.

Here's some info on this shampoo:

Parched, damaged, and unruly hair doesn't stand a chance against this soothing blend of lavender, rosemary, nettles, and sage, blended with organic oils of coconut, olive, jojoba, conditioning sea moss, and detangling rosemary.What it is formulated without: Parabens, Sulfates, Synthetic Fragrances, Synthetic Dyes, Petro, Chemicals, Phthalates, GMO, Triclosan (price 12.50)

When I applied this product to my scalp it lathered quickly. I experienced the expected tingling that comes along with products containing mint. I enjoyed that. However, my enjoyment faded when I rinsed my hair. My hair almost immediately felt stripped and tangled. This product claims to combat "parched" and "unruly" hair but I could not vouch for any moisturizing benefits.

Overall, it's a pretty average shampoo but it's over priced and I would not purchase it again.

I think there's a common consensus that a lot of natural shampoos are disappointing but what was even more disappointing with this set was a notably absent conditioner to combat this harsh shampoo. I thought that was weird. I know Carol's Daughter sells treatments but I'm cautious of a hair care line that wouldn't include that combo in a set.

Stay tuned for more reviews!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Detangling tutorial.

Lisa Akbari
would be proud.
Take notes...

Patience is key

Last night was definitely a test of my patience. I went to bed after 5 in the morning doing my hair-granted I started after 1.

When I wear a half wig I keep the back of my head in braids, the braids usually stay in for 4-6 weeks. Sometimes 2 weeks if I feel like playing with my hair or doing something different but for the most part it's around 1 month. I'll wash and condition as usual and I normally don't have any issues when I want to take my hair down. This is a low maniupulation method.

Something was different this week. In the first pic my braid resembles a lock (lol). It was matted! I've never experienced that and I've been doing this for about 6 months on and off.
I had to bust out a squirt bottle with diluted conditioner, another spray bottle with water, Jojoba oil and S-curl . I tried my best to detangle with my hands, working section by section first, but it wasn't working out well so I heavily relied on the comb.

The only thing I changed in my regimen was the Blackstrap Molasses. Maybe it wasn't the smartest decision for me to do a sticky treatment in braids.
I had a little more breakage than I was prepared to cope with. You live, you learn.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

So this is what a prize winner feels like!

Okay so remember my hair horror story? I entered that story into a contest and I won!!! The prize was a Carol's Daughter gift set. I'm actually less excited about the prize and more excited about actually winning something.

There are many strong opinions about Carol's Daughter and I'm going to pretend like I haven't read them in order to give an unbiased review of some of these products.

The list of heavy weight celeb endorsements for this company is impressive. We'll see if they've invested wisely.

Click here for a CNN money article on Carol's Daughter.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The BSM Experience

It was everything everyone said it would be. I noticed:
-Less breakage
-Soft yet strong feel
-Looser curl (temporary)
-Easier detangling

The negatives:
-The evidence of my Blackstrap Molasses Experience is all over my beige rugs in the bathroom
-It stained my shirt
-My 9 year old brother refused to go into the bathroom until every trace of BSM was cleared from the sink. I was in such a haste that I missed a spot. He's such a diva.

My method:
I poured some BSM into an old conditioner tub, added some EVCO and Aussie moist conditioner. I didnt measure. I just mixed and added to get a semi thick consistency and when I realized it wasnt going to get any thicker without me adding more product that was likely to be wasted, I stopped. I did a prepoo w/ just Organix tea tree conditioner, then I shampood with Nexxus Therappe and clarified w/ baking soda to make sure I got the full effect of the BSM treatment.

Overall- The mess is a little discouraging for the potential of adding it into my weekly rotation. The results alone would cause me to use it when I feel like I need a special treatment or when I'm in the mood for that mess again. It may be better as a pre-poo because it's humectant capabilities dont seem to be as potent as honey.
Love the immediate results. Hate the mess.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Heat Styled Natural: Mystic!

Why stay natural ?
I went natural by accident. I started clipping the ends of my relaxed hair, and before I knew it, it turned into a BC.

I stay natural because I hate the feeling of the demarcation line between new growth and straight hair; natural hair is less time consuming - I do not have to baby it as I did my relaxed hair. I have not been to the hairdresser in years - I couldn't do that relaxed. I retain more length as a natural than I did relax.

What’s your usual regimen?
For convenience, whenever I am in school, I box braid with kinky extensions, and spray a daily moisture solution (water based on my braids. Every Saturday, my choice of shampoo is to rinse my hair with Shaikarai (mixed with hot water), massage the scalp, rinse and air-dry. When my hair is out of braids and loose, I henna every month; every Saturday I rinse with my Shaikarai mix, DC under my pibbs for 30 minutes and I alternate between flat ironing (maybe 4 X per year), twisting or a loose up-do.

What's your heat styling regimen?
I slept overnight with henna applied to my hair. On wash day after rinsing the henna out I rollerset and stayed under the dryer for 35mins. Products used:
Karmin Iron to straighten
Redken Heat Glide for protection
Elucence Silk hydrating elixir for moisture and shine
Damage Control Leave-In
Water for setting hair
After taking the setters out, I brushed the hair out, sprayed protector on each section and flat iron. I turned the iron up to 350, flipped the back up when I curled and that's about it.

Any tips for fellow heat styled naturals?
Try to minimize heat as much as possible. I am 4a, recently experimented with rollersetting, and I love it! It is the perfect way to get the hair straight with no heat damage. A rollerset before flat ironing is a healthier way to get natural hair straight. It minimizes the need to go over the hair strands with the flatiron more than once. This reduces heat damage.

See more of Mystic on her Fotki.