Read This Before You Give Up On Your Natural Hair

It’s a sad tale that I’m afraid many of us know too well. After weeks and months of fighting with your hair, you feel you have made zero progress with, hair and have spent triple your net worth in hair products and slaved away for hours detangling and moisturizing. This is a familiar story and it’s one you aren’t going through alone. All of us have gotten to the point where were ready to go Edward Scissor Hands on our insubordinate manes. This post is for you, if this is an accurate visual representation of what you’re going through (caution: video is hilarious)

 

It may sound easier to slap a relaxer in it, keep it straight, or wear wigs or weaves, but taking care of your natural hair has its own rewards. Eventually the relaxer wears out and you’ll have to take the weaves out and you’ll be staring back at your natural hair once again.

Before you give up on your natural hair, here are some things you can do to turn things around to and to think about:

You’re Doing Something Wrong

If you’ve been natural for a while and are not seeing any progress in your natural hair, you are either doing something your hair doesn’t like at all or you need to change up your method to something that is better for your hair needs. In other words, something’s got to change. In order to figure out what to change, write down your hair troubles. Then in a column next to it, write down your routine and hair products being used. Does your routine or hair products used actually address your hair issues? Do you need to limit the amount of leave in you put in your hair? Do you need to put more leave-in in your hair? Do you need to look into buying thicker conditioner? Do you need to DC more often? Do you need to buy oils that are lighter? Should you be warming up your leave-in more often? Try to brainstorm some ways to incorporate what your hair needs into your regimen and write it down.

 

Natural Hair is a Journey, Not an End in Itself

The goal of natural hair is not for it to be long nor is it for your curls to be bigger. The goal is to have healthy hair. THAT’S IT. If you strive for healthy hair, the rest will follow. If you decided to go natural so you could grow long hair or have looser textured curls, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Instead make it your goal to have the healthiest hair possible and make it look the best it can.

 

Stop Comparing Your Hair

The most common complaint I hear from naturals who are ready to take an L is that compared to other naturals their hair doesn’t look as good or as long. Stop that nonsense right now. I know you look up to and see lots of other naturals for inspiration. But there’s a difference between being inspired by something and comparing it to yourself. Being inspired means you’re learning from it and using it as a guide to better yourself in a way that is unique to you. Comparing means comparing where you are right now and using to negatively judge yourself. In reality, you are comparing yourself to someone who is further along in their journey or have a different journey entirely. Understand that your hair is unique and that you’re going to have to accept what it is no matter what.

 

Try Some New Things

ayurveda.jpg

If you feel stuck, try some new things! I’m not just talking about replacing eggs with mayonnaise in your DC. I mean really reach out into the big world we live in for inspiration. Just as a few examples, you can try South East Asian rice water, Ethiopian butter, African herbal treatments or Indian Ayurveda. There are so many things you can try and you really never know what your hair will like!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Essential Hair Tips for Low Porosity Hair

Let’s be frank, caring for natural hair is so freakin’ hard! We’re all going through the struggle and yet each one of us struggles in a different way with our hair because no head of hair is alike. With that said, there are ways to help categorize hair types and troubles so that we can help each other out (otherwise it would be anarchy). One of those categories is porosity. If you don’t know what porosity means, the internet is bursting at the seams with information to help you determine your porosity, but in essence it means that your hair tends to repel water instead of allowing it into the strands as easily as normal or high porosity naturals. For example, if you spray water on your hair, does the water just bead up on the surface while your hair strands look back at you with contempt as they refuse to accept any water unless you squeeze it in? If it does, then congratulations, you may have low porosity hair! But hold off on the celebration because low porosity hair is a like walking a tight rope at a circus.

giphy (7)

Low porosity hair is stubborn. You have to shove moisture into low porosity hair without damaging or over manipulating it, otherwise you’ll run the risk of losing more hair than you should. You cannot go very long without adding in more moisture, but you can also not overwhelm your hair with moisture because it will cause major buildup and prevent growth. You must wash it more frequently than others but not too much that it dries your hair out. Whew! Here are the tips that I’ve learned over the years of dealing with my dry low porosity natural hair.

 

Wash hair once a week

Unlike many other naturals, low porosity naturals must wash their hair once a week as opposed to the more common every two weeks routine. The reason is that low porosity hair tends to reject moisture in the form of water, oil and cream. So any product it hasn’t absorbed into the hair follicles (which tends to be a lot for lo po naturals) sits on the hair and scalp for days until washed. This build-up, in turn, causes the our pores to get clogged and can prevent growth.  Give hair about a week and then wash out all the buildup.

 

ALWAYS Squeeze Moisture Into Hair

This is like gospel truth for low porosity naturals! ALWAYS SQUEEZE PRODUCT INTO YOUR HAIR!!! I like to use a gentle twisting motion kind of like twisting up a rope. By doing this, you are literally squeezing the moisture into your hair and forcing the moisture to penetrate more deeply. You’ll be amazed by the results of using this method regularly.

 

Use a Special OLC Method

It’s a scientific fact that water and oils do not mix. So it’s a tricky game you play when your trying to get water and oils in your hair at the same time. Water is very important for your hair, but you need to get those moisturizing oils in your hair first then the water to prepare it for the cream. Your hair follicles are closed and water doesn’t open those follicles, and you don’t need to worry about using water to soften hair for detangling either because you aren’t detangling until after you’ve completed the entire LOC process. The process should go exactly as follows:

1. Apply oils

2. Squeeze into hair

3. Spray warm water

4. Apply cream

5. Squeeze into hair

6. Detangle as needed

 

Chose Lightly Moisturizing Leave-ins

Try to avoid super heavy moisturizers like Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie. These tend to encourage build-up to occur more quickly than lighter moisturizers like Tea Tree Tingle. Beware if the leave-in comes in a jar instead of a bottle and/or has the word ‘butter’ in the title.

 

Use Heat

I am not giving you the licence to use a hot comb or flat iron, but blow drying your hair every so often and washing your hair with warm water is actually a very good thing for low porosity hair.

 

Avoid Cold Water and Products

Ignore all of the advice online that suggests that you put your leave-in in the fridge or use cold water to wash your hair. That isn’t going to do much for your hair. The idea behind using cold water and cold products is to encourage the closure of hair follicles to retain moisture. Your hair already does this naturally. You’re trying to open your follicles not close them.

 

Oil Massages either everyday or every other day

If your hair is really dry and/or you prefer to wash your hair once every two weeks, try oil massaging your hair everyday. Try to focus your massage on your scalp and rub whatever remains on the rest of your hair. Oil massages, paradoxically, help keep the scalp clean so you can stretch out the amount of time between wash days.

 

Deep condition once a week

Low porosity hair tends to lean more towards the drier range, it’s important to deep condition your hair during each wash day. If possible, put on a shower cap and wrap a hot towel or t-shirt around your head to lightly steam the DC into your hair.

 

Avoid Protein

Avoid diy  DC treatments that have a high protein content like eggs, mayonnaise, or yogurt . These, if used multiple times, tend to make low porosity hair feel like straw. Instead, opt for treatments like green tea or bananas and honey.

 

Coconut Oil May Not Work For You

I have found that my hair doesn’t like coconut oil too much. Because it coats strands and acts as a protein does. It’s unlikely to affect you, but be aware that sometimes protein sensitive types tend to dislike coconut oil.

 

Avoid Heavy Oils and Products

Try to avoid shea butters or olive oil. They don’t penetrate the hair very well and tend to cause build-up if not worked in carefully, which takes time and patience that I know I sure as hell don’t have.

 

Try Hot Oil Treatments

Hot oil treatments are the bees knees for low porosity hair. It opens follicles and hydrates deeply into the hair strands making your hair so much healthier and manageable during the week. My favorite oil to use is a combination of castor oil and grapeseed with rosemary essential oil.

 

Add Oil to Protective Styles Everyday

If you plan on wearing the same protective style for a while, I recommend adding a little bit of warm oil to any area of your exposed scalp. Make sure to rub it in carefully. Rubbing in a little bit of warm oil makes sure your hair isn’t ridiculously dry by the time you take the protective style down.

 

<a href=”https://www.bloglovin.com/blog/19085299/?claim=63wjp6pn488″>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Skincare Products That Did Not Work For Me

My skin doesn’t like a lot of things – strong fragrance, alcohol, air- but these products have gone down in the books as the worst products I’ve used thus far. Keep in mind that I have dry, sensitive skin and that what didn’t work for me may end up working really well for you. But consider this a warning for anyone with sensitive skin. Beware of these products, and if you feel compelled to try them, proceed with caution.

 

Hada Labo Shirojyun Albutin Medicinal Whitening Toner

41jkbp6T-yL._SY355_

My skin HATES this stuff. I tried to introduce it carefully, but something in this product is WAY too strong. I was a little surprised because I heard the praises sung for this product, which is the reason I decided to give this toner a try. Big mistake. This stuff made me breakout immediately. I’m not talking about a few white heads, I’m talking about red swollen bumps that popped up instantaneously then went away as soon as I stopped using the product. It looked like something out of a Freddy vs Jason film. Never again…

 

Tony Moly I’m Real Rice Smooth Toner

main_21683616754bdf77cd3171

This product almost had me fooled. For weeks I used this product without a single reaction or problem, but I guess at some point my skin got wise. This product is full of alcohol and is kind of drying on the skin. I’m surprised it took me as long as it did to start breaking out from it, but when I did it was brutal. My face burned so terribly and tiny red bumps showed up all over my face. It was a nightmare. If you have dry, sensitive skin too, avoid this product like its your mom’s underwear drawer. Instead of this I am now using The Body Shop Aloe Toner.

 

Kikumasamune Sake Skin Lotion

4971650800738-1

This product didn’t cause a bad reaction, it actually didn’t do anything. Literally nothing. It had a strong Sake smell which I thought was interesting, but it didn’t do anything for my skin and I used if for about two months. I was just rubbing beer lotion on my face for no reason. I used it as it was intended and layered on moisture before and after as usual, but it didn’t really help keep my flakes away. Not for me. Instead of this, I am now using Mizon Skin Barrier Emulsion.

 

Mizon Hyaluronic Acid Serum

61aS4u4RClL._SY355_

I didn’t know anything about hyaluronic acid when I purchased this, all I knew was that I apparently needed a serum to go with my routine. So I read the reviews, and hopped on the train. About two weeks later the train derailed and I found myself with burning skin and redness. I was a little disappointed because I had high hopes for this product, but c’est la vie! If you have sensitive skin beware because this product burns like hell. My new serum is a Skin Republic Ampoule that is very hydrating.

 

Mizon Good Night White Sleeping Mask

Special_Solution_Good_Night_White_Sleeping_Mask_grande.png

I was REALLY bummed out when I broke out from this product as quickly as I did. I really wasn’t expecting a reaction so fast. I check the ingredients and the reviews thinking it would be okay, but I broke out in white heads after only the second application. I’m starting to think that my skin doesn’t like things that have whitening agents in them, even if they’re moderately light. I’ll have to be more careful in the future when looking for products to brighten or even out my complexion. I haven’t found a new sleeping mask yet but I’m looking into Laneige. I’ll keep you posted on what I decide.

 

Why ‘Cultural Appropriation’ is a Good Thing

It’s easy to find yourself on trial charged with multiple accounts of cultural appropriation. You may find yourself dodging insults and your moral integrity being questioned without the assailant stopping for even a second to allow you to retaliate or to catch their breaths. As a millennial myself, I fell for the appeal of defending other cultures from the degradation of being extorted and used as a costume or decorative garment. Being part Native American, I was incensed upon seeing moccasins, dream catcher necklaces and tribal print leggings displayed prominently on a white model at Urban Outfitters. I was convinced that I must join the movement to put a stop to it, but I have since learned something important and that is in the grand scheme of things and in the history of civilization, everyone can benefit from the exchange of culture. No culture should be considered to belong solely to it’s owners, but instead shared and disseminated to promote the progression of humanity.

I understand that you can’t simply place a band aid over the years of vicious colonialism that forced several cultures to abandon their own cultures in favor of the colonizer’s. It is hard to see a white person wearing tribal pring clothing. However, what we are calling ‘cultural appropriation’ is really just the appreciation of another culture not the degradation of it. Wearing a Chinese jade necklace, a sacred and beloved cultural emblem, means that I love the way it looks and it helps me to express my personal style and individualism. It has nothing to do with a desire to ‘steal’ from the Chinese culture, because that implies I did not receive permission. Does everyone need permission from a culture in order to wear Scottish tartan skirts, French berets, Japanese kimonos or an African dashiki? No! Because that’s ridiculous! Cultures are meant to be shared and appreciated by others to spread awareness of the culture and appreciation for other people in the world who live differently than yourself. It’s a way of saying to someone else that you value their culture and think it’s something beautiful enough to be worn on their bodies or in their hair. American’s especially have little grounds to accuse others of appropriation when our own ‘culture’ is a culmination of many different cultures and groups of people mixing together. We should embrace differences in culture instead of claiming sole rights to them because it’s what will bring us closer together as a people. 

Now don’t get me wrong, deliberately making fun of a culture is NOT okay. It’s never okay to tease, mock, or degrade any nationality, race or culture at all. But not all ‘cultural appropriation’ is mocking or degrading. Only a few instances and though you may ask that person not to do it or not to wear the clothing, everyone has free will and may or may not listen to you no matter how offensive the person is being. Let’s be clear, it is offensive to paint your face yellow, black or red and over exaggerate the features of a nationality or race in order to make a derogatory joke.

I think what no one wants to admit is the fact that most people do not like seeing white people dressed in the cultural strappings of a culture of color. Lets be real, no one really cares if black women are wearing Korean Hanboks. Unfortunately for those who are strong advocates against ‘cultural appropriation’, this isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last. You cannot stop anyone from wearing what they please and expressing themselves the way they please. Especially if you are not from the culture you are ‘defending’ from cultural appropriation. It is indirect racism and it hinders all productive progress and change.

Though it can sometimes cringy, cultural appropriation can be a good thing. It shows that we are willing to look past our differences and embrace the beauty in these differences. If we allow ourselves to become angry because someone else is wearing an emblem of our own culture we allow our hate to keep us from embracing true tolerance and community. In other words, you only hurt yourself. 

Here’s an interesting video to shed more light on the issue:

 

 

 

 

 

 

The purpose of life isn’t to be happy—it’s to be fulfilled — Quartz

The term “happy” was traditionally synonymous with good fortune. It found its way into the English language around the 14th century, and it wasn’t something…

via The purpose of life isn’t to be happy—it’s to be fulfilled — Quartz

I Tried The Ethiopian Butter Treatment in My Hair

 

Despite the fact that I’ve been natural for about three years, it still feels like I’m trekking into the unknown with nothing but leave-in, oil and a prayer. I’m not one to shy away from trying new things for you never really know what your hair will like. So it is with great pride that I share with you my experience slathering butter into my head and leaving if for an hour. It’s not as bad as it sounds believe me, but it is sooooo messy so make sure you have a towel around your neck and something to wipe the access off with.

whipped-body-butter-recipe4

Rubbing butter in your hair is an Ethiopian tradition that protects hair from the sun and enriches the hair with moisture. Although it may sound strange, it is an incredibly hydrating treatment that makes hair feel so much softer and look more defined.

Contrary to popular belief, you are NOT supposed to cook the butter before putting in on your hair. In Ethiopia, the butter that comes straight out the cow is what they put on their hair. Nothing else. Since a lot of people don’t have access to fresh cows, the next best option is to buy organic high quality butter like Lurpak.

All you need to do is detangle your hair first, place the butter in a contaner and slap it all over your hair. And I do mean ALL over. Don’t be shy. Make sure your hair has a healthy amount of butter worked into it.  Put on a shower cap, wait for about 30 minutes to an hour and wash it out. Easy!

 

Let me tell you, my curls felt soft and looked ridiculously well defined! I’m going to start doing this method every week because my hair is uber dry! If you don’t have super dry hair, I would stick to doing this method once a month or every two weeks. My hair had no flakes and it made my hair easier to manage and detangle.

My process was as follows:

  1. Section hair and detangle
  2. Apply  butter to hair in scalp gently
  3. Put on shower cap
  4. Let it sit for an hour
  5. Shampoo and condition as usual

 

My recipe is as follows:

  1. Pure organic unsalted butter (Irish Kerry Gold butter is what I’ve been using)
  2. (Optional) Lavender Essential Oil
  3. Grapeseed oil (or oil of your choosing)

 

If you’d like a tutorial, here are some videos to get you started:

5/5 (the results negate the messy application)