Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Corn rows for the week

Hi ya all,
How are you doing?
The past weekend was wash day. The new thing i did was a herbal tea rinse. Woohoo! I'm stepping up my game. ;-).
Had bought nettle, horsetail and neem leaves during the week. Already had rosemary and hibiscus at home. Mixed them all up and steeped in freshly boiled water for an hour. I allowed it to cool before using. Dudn't to burn my scalp cos of some herbal tea.
After shampoing, using a spray bottle i saturated my hair with the rinse. And braided up to dry. By evening it was dry and that was when i used leave in conditioner and sealed with oils. Styled with shea butter.
I had this vision of a beautiful twist out to take to service on sunday. Alas that didn't happen. Ended up with a fro.
By afternoon, i got corn rows.
Hoping i'll carry the style for a week and a half and have a braid out for the remaing half of the week.
Wish me luck.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Micro twists anyone?

Hello all,
 How're you doing, thanks for stopping by. This post is an update on what's been happening to my hair since my last post.

I took the yarn locs off. And boy! I nearly fainted. I shed a lot of hair. In my opinion it was like half of the hair on my head. My stylist begged to differ in her opinion. She said the shed hair was normal. Well i didn't buy that.
I moisturized and sealed regularly while in yarn. Maybe i over moisturized?  (Shrug), dunno. Its just hair anyway,  so i moved on.

I now deep condition before washing. That works for and reduces the total time i spend on wash day. I found that adding egg and mayonaise to the regime has been a game changer. I no longet suffer from dry brittle hair hours after moisturising. I now go 2 to 3 days before i need to re-moisturize.
 I'm still testing my new regimen. As soon as i am confident its working and the results are fairly consistent, i'll make a post about it.
 As soon as i took of the yarn locs, i had 2 strand twists put in
 Alas!, i am yet to perfect twists, got someone to do them.
 A week and half on, i still have them on. They are all frizzy and the front loks like no twists are in. I still love the hair.
 There's the freedom that comes with carrying your own hair as it is. No wigs or weave. The hair gets to have fresh air and sunlight for a change.

 I hope to carry my hair sans wigs, weaves et al for a couple of months. This will  allow me opportunity to nourish it and give it a chance to reach out and grow.
 Hey! Hear me talking like my hair is a person. Oh well, you get the point.

 Till next time,
Loads of love
freshly done, check out the definition

still got somedefinition


frizz or not, still like it

Monday, 10 June 2013

2 strand twists

april 2013

June 2013 with yarn locs
Hair as at april. Hair's been tucked away in protective styles since then

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Natural Hair At Work: 6 Best Practices To Remain Professional

This article is culled from Black Hair Information and was written by Emily Cottontop.

Young african american doctor with a stethoscope.

Back in March, the Huffington post did an article surrounding the topic that black women worry that their natural hair might be affecting job retention and job employment.
They made reference to a panel discussion that took place at Georgia State University entitled “Black Women, Their Hair & The Work Place” and one statement made by a student at GSU read something like this:
You’re talking about being polished and (having) interview skills and yet no one is addressing the fact that natural black hair has been traditionally seen as not polished on its own whether it’s well cared for or not. So basically it’s all about maintaining the Eurocentric standpoint.
In an article written and published on BGLH by Domineque Michelle otherwise known as LonghairdontcareLLC on youtube, she shared her own experience at work where her boss told her she ‘had to wear her hair organised’.

I could go on and on with the examples because like many of us with natural hair, at one time or another we are all faced with the ‘should I wear a bun all day everyday so I don’t scare em, or can I roll with my signature puff?’ This is a hard topic with many opinions, on both ends of the scale.
Women with natural hair want to wear there hair how it naturally grows out of their head, on another end of the scale, how our hair grows especially if worn in an afro type style is seen as ‘political’ or unprofessional by some people.
Further to that there are other situations where your natural hair could actually interfere with your work. For instance, if you work in an environment where your hair has to be covered like food preparation industries or operating rooms, it’s just not reasonable to expect to wear your hair ‘out and free’.
Among the opinions here are some best practices we can adopt in order to remain professional within our various places of employment while being true to our natural roots.

Practical Styles – Avoid Distractions From Your Job 
The point of employment, is the work that you are hired to do, it really isn’t about buns and afro puffs. Sometimes we can get caught up with texture of our hair but really the issue is how the hair is styled.
Style your hair in a manner that is not distracting to you or the people around you. Define distracting? Distracting is, hair in your eyes where you are unable to make eye contact with someone that is interviewing you or the people you are addressing as you make a presentation in a meeting.
If you have to constantly move your hair from your face, or play with it in any manner, then your hair is probably a distraction.When your hair is shorter you may be able to get away with a neat puff pulled away from your face but as your hair gets longer, well, you have to admit that as naturals, we have A LOT of hair and a puff will probably come across as wild regardless of how tame the front looks.
An easy go to style, would be a neat bun, or an updo that pulls the hair back out of the face or even pinning your hair behind your ears.

Avoid Potentially Political Hairstyles Such As Afro’s
This one is a doozy and there might be potential swearing and side eyeing because what some of you consider ‘political’ others on the other hand might consider normal. Here’s the thing, get your paper and save the speech for another setting that is more appropriate.
This is as hard a pill to swallow as it is to write, because we don’t want what we know to be beautiful and special to be seen as political and negative. Lets face it, there is a lot of history behind certain styles specifically an Afro, some of it positive and some negative.

If you were Caucasian and had long flowing hair down to your butt, a head band and a long floral skirt its highly unlikely that your client who is a senior engineer will take you seriously at your quarterly clients meeting.
You cannot fight the good fight alone, and if you choose to, there is a slim chance you might win but a bigger chance you may lose and lose way more than its worth. Choose a hairstyle that will not start a political or negative conversation, even when you feel different.

Style Your Hair According To Your Schedule
This just means, know what days to make sure your hair is polished versus the days when you can take it easy and wear something relatively fun. For example, if its Monday morning and you are the manager about to begin your monthly one on one meetings with your employees you might want to choose a style that is sleek polished and shows focus. There is a reason why buns are seen as sombre, they were probably invented for Monday mornings!
The idea is to set the tone of the meeting and your appearance plays just as an important role as the conference room you choose to have the meeting in. Additionally a loose twist-out might be more appropriate for ‘Jeans day Friday’ or a casual lunch meeting with a long time client. You would be surprised at how the smallest of details derails intent because as humans we are affected by so many things, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Do Not Make A Big Deal Over Your Hair
Simply, if you don’t make a big deal they wont make a big deal. Sometimes we are so proud of our natural hair we tend to go in hard with trying to communicate our feelings to everyone, and since we are almost always at work, that might mean managers, clients even the cleaning crew.
So what your wash and go gave you life that morning, smile about it to yourself and keep it moving. If someone says something or directly asks you about it, feel free to indulge in a little hair talk. If by any chance someone chooses to have a cynical conversation with you about your hair or tries to bait you in anyway, the best practice is to politely and quickly shut it down and move on.
The idea here is, if you want people to accept that ‘its just hair’ then act like ‘its just hair’.

Accessorize Less 
Accessories is anything from, really huge flowers clips that dangle and make annoying clicking sounds to spray bottles. Again this is all about distraction. In a relatively quiet office no one should ‘hear’ you hair or be unable to concentrate on an important conversation because they cant get past that bright yellow dandelion is that’s practically covering your left ear.

This brings us to spray bottles, early in the game most of us carried a spray bottle for touch ups in case our hair got dry within the hour.
If you are at a staff meeting and all you can think about is getting out of there so you can get your spray on then, your spray bottle is a distraction.If you are constantly bending over at your desk to spray, and moisturize, whether you want to admit it or not, your hair is a distraction and it will get noticed.

Avoid Coming To Work With Your Hair Wet
If you have to wake up an hour earlier, then that’s just what you have to do, because wet hair with little white speckles of conditioner or Miss Carol’s Kink It Up Pudding is extremely unprofessional and quite messy.
Nobody wants paperwork slathered in watery conditioner. Get a diffuser, and if you want to avoid heat try styling your hair the night before so that it isn’t sopping wet when you get to work.
So do you agree, disagree? Let me know in the comments.

About Emily CottonTop
Hi I'm Emily Cotton Top, a staff writer for BlackHairInformation.com. Born and raised in St. Andrew Jamaica, I first moved to the United States in the year 2000 in order to find a job after college. I spent one year living in New York before moving to Texas in 2001. I went natural in 2008 after a bad perm experience and have enjoyed my hair ever since. I am still learning and I like sharing my experiences with my cottontop :)

Friday, 17 May 2013

bye-bye store beauty products

whoohoo!!!! i have finally broken my dependency on store bought beauty products.
ever since i remember, i have experimented with store bought body lotions, creams and what not.
if it's not jergens, it would nature essence or E45.
for fear the store would run out of stock, or that i won't be able to find the product in Lagos, i would usually buy loads of products when i ahve the opportunity.
loads of facial cleansers, toners, moisturizers, you get the picture.

my face never seemed to stop breaking out though. that would make me go for another round of products. i never use to buy just one item, they had to be at least 3.....like i said, in case i don't get to find the item in Lagos.....

guess what folks!!!! i've gotten rid of my product junkeism. hip hip hurray!!! i can now enter a store and not instinctively go to the beauty and cosmetic section. progress!

going natural in my hair is affecting other aspects of my beauty regimen as well. for good i must say.

i have become somewhat of a pro in whipping up body and hair butter. when i first went natural, i bought a jar of whipped shea butter. i was excited at the time and didn't mind that it was expensive and used it sparingly. in fact i sued it only for my scalp. that little jar must have lasted 3 months. lol.  now i use that same quantity in 2 weeks.

i never tire of experimenting with the different ingredients for making whipped butters.
my skin and hair are thanking me for it. and so no more store bought beauty products for me. (doing Azonto dance)

about 5 months of using homemade body butters, and i can happily say, it suits me very well. i have less breakouts and old acne scars have started to fade away.

what have i been using?

african black soap as face and body  wash
whipped shea butter as face and body moisturizer

i'll try put up pictures this weekend of before and after photos.

till then,


Friday, 15 March 2013

D.I.Y beauty products

Going natural  opens  a whole new world to one. I started off with my hair. Simply decided, no more chemicals in my hair. Period. Been exactly 18 months since I put the last relaxer in my hair. Well, it was a texturizer, but it fried my hair bone straight.  I still remember returning home with thin wisps of limp and lifeless strands plastered to my head. I refuse to have a roller set after the relaxer was washed out. I had expected just a slight loosening of my curl pattern with the texturizer, but met with bone straight hair. That upset me, I left the salon without even going under the drier.
My regret was had I known then what I now know about hair care, I would not have relaxed my hair 18 months ago. By now I would be at least 2 years post relaxer. Oh well, better late than never I guess.
I only wish I could wear out my hair in its natural state more than I do now.  I guess I will get there one of these days. For now it seems my hair is always in some form of protective style or the other.

My experiments with d.i.y. beauty products started only recently. Actually January this year. I wondered why I had to spend so much money buying store made products that frankly,  didn’t   do anything fantastic to my hair and skin. Why not just use the main ingredients in the raw form which the commercial products had and see what happened? Was my thinking. 
To begin the home lab, like I call it, I invested in
1.       a hand mixer,
2.       a glass bowl,  
3.        assorted measuring spoons, 
4.       Assorted measuring cups,
5.       A funnel set,
6.       Sieve set and
7.       storage containers.

That was all as far as equipment is concerned.
As for ingredients, I got raw African sheabutter, cocoa butter and a variety of organic oils. Voila!, I was all ready to be a kitchen mixtress.

Thanks to Youtube, I did a lot of research on ‘how to’ online. Naptural85, heyfranhey, kimmaytube and neffyfrofro were channels I watched. By no means were these the only channels, I could go on and on listing the channels, but then, you might just stop reading, eh?

The first product I made was body butter. I used raw sheabutter which I bought at a local Lagos market, and just tossed in a number of oils. Well, the verdict was that it smelt awful. Not sure if it was the shea butter or the oils I added. For a first time, the results were not so bad.
I then made hair butter. Cocoa butter and sheabutter, and a variety of oils. Verdict…..the hair butter smelt nicer than the body butter. Methinks the cocoa butter was the trick. I made litte quantities in January, and it finished quite quickly.

I have since improved on the quality of the butters I make. It’s been 3 months since I started using my homemade body and hair butters. My skin loves the butters.  My hair is tucked away under a weave, so can’t say much for the hair. But my skin is in love with the homemade stuff. Its sayo nara to store bought moisturizers and butters for me. I have since found good sources for getting raw sheabutter here in Lagos.

Other products I make myself and have been using are:
1.       Bath soap (using African black soap as a base)
2.       Shower gel
3.       Body spray
4.       Deodorant
5.       Facial toner
6.       Face powder

Things I am hoping to start making soon
1.        eye cream/gel and
2.        lip balm
3.       Mascara
4.       Eye shadow
5.       Nail polish

Here in Lagos, it’s difficult to get beeswax. Not sure the store sales people even know what it is.   Maybe I could substitute cocoa butter for beeswax in the recipes , dunno, will check.

What started as a hobby (d.i.y products) is fast turning into a lifestyle change. And not a bad one at that.

Frankly, with all the pollution in the air we breathe in, the fewer chemicals we put on our skin and hair the better.

Yesterday, I was dog tired and wasn’t able to wash my face before bed time. Guess what, didn’t bother me much cos, everything I had put on my face throughout the day was stuff that can be eaten. How cool is that?
My motto is if you can’t put it in your mouth, don’t put it on you skin. Cool or what?

Definitely loving going natural!!!

Till next time,

Monday, 11 February 2013

Experimenting hair care regimens

Hello!!!! So sorry I have been absent for a while. Been quite busy over here for me.  I really wish I was old and retired and had all the time in the world. Then I would update this blog, at least 3 times a day….well, there wouldn’t much else going on outside that would interest an old lady I would imagine.
Oi!!!! Back to reality and present tense. :-0  if you let me, I get carried away and before you know instead of talking about hair regimens and stuff I’ll carry out a one person debate on the pros and cons of people migrating to Mars….ehm, the planet and not where the chocolate is made…..

A’ight, a’ight, back to this blog. Apologies accepted for the long absence….. Smiling coyly and batting my lashes…..
Okay, down to the business of the day.

Molado curl weave
Not much has been happening in my hair-niversse. Been in protective styles for the most part. For about 8 weeks straight,  I had a sew in using Molado brazillian weave. (I’ll get round to posting the pictures soonest.) it was middle of January, I took the weave out.
And oh my gosh!!!, my hair was so so full and thick. I didn’t believe it.  Looked very healthy.
All the while I had the weave, I co-washed every week and conditioned. The two conditioners I used for this purpose were Tressemme  naturals and Herbal Essence Hello Hydration.
The beautiful thing was I retained length.  Well, not that I measured or anything, just by looking at the hair.
Aside from the weekly washing, I moisturized my scalp using a mixture of Organics Olive oil moisturizer, extra virgin olive oil and shea butter. That was all I did.  ( as soon as I took off the weave I stopped this scalp treatment, methinks I’ll return to it). The weave helped my hair 

DIY wig
Thanks to YouTube, I learnt how to make wigs, and that was what I did next. Since middle of January, I have worn wigs. I made a curly wig using Chocolate Bohemian curls weave. 2 packs were all I needed. I was quite happy with the results. And total installation time was an hour or so. I wore it for 3weeks. It got frizzy, the reason why I stopped wearing it 2 days ago. Someone   told   me only yesterday that I should use scissors to trim off the frizz. I’ll do that.
I however made another wig this past Saturday, using the Brazillian Molado weave I mentioned earlier.  I had washed, deep conditioned the wefts and allowed to air dry.  The weave was just like new after washing. Curls were intact. Nothing beats quality any time any day. Seriously.
I made the wig and today is the first time I’m wearing it.
It’s a bit too full. In fact way too full. I look like a lion with a huge mane if you know what I mean.  I’ll find a solution to the fullness. I used 3 packs of hair. The mistake I made was I made the tracks to close together. Well, I’m learning from my mistakes. With the next wig I’ll make, I’ll be less generous with the number of tracks I install.

Wig Regimen
Now I am a believer of the saying, “keep it simple” I had such an uncomplicated regimen when I had the weave on. I should have just stuck to that. Oh no!, yours sincerely loves to experiment.  Don’t get me wrong, experiments are good. Very good in fact, cos without them you wouldn’t know what was good or bad in a regimen.
I put my hair in cornrows. Still wearing them. Got someone to do a proper job, so I can carry it as it is when I’m in the house.  The first thing I did was to make a spritz in which I threw so many things. Rose water and glycerin, aloe vera gel (fruit of the earth), a number of oils, including olive oil, vitamin E oil, castor oil.  I used the spritz as my liquid in the LOC method. Followed with oil and then used whipped shea butter as the cream. After a couple of times using this, I got bored and decided to use aloe vera gel direct on the corn rows. I would use the avg as a leave in conditioner.  Most times I went to bed with a shower cap on. Mainly because I didn’t want to deal with messy pillowcases. The first time I had the shower cap on throughout the night, my hair felt super moisturized and silky to the touch.
Felt I was on to something. So I consistently used the AVG and  shower cap overnight.  Of cos, I would always seal with the sheabutter .
To cut a long story short, when this last weekend I took out the corn rows to have a wash, I nearly cried, my hair broke like crazy. I hadn’t had this type of breakage since I cut off the relaxed ends. Oh my gosh!!!, what did I do wrong??

I don’t know, but the first thing I decided was no more AVG in my hair as a leave-in conditioner.  I’ll rather use AVJ, aloe vera juice that is. I’ll  keep the gel for body and face. More like face though. I’ve been using it as my facial toner. No issues with that.

I washed and deep conditioned my hair as usual and put it back in corn rows over the weekend.

I’ll revert to the Organics olive oil moisturizer +EVOO +shea butter mix to moisturize the hair. And hope in two weeks time when I take down the corn rows, I’ll do a happy dance.

Thanks for reading!