Secret Moisturizing Oil

I’m sorry to leave you all hanging for so long! I was planning on writing this post sooner, but my guys came down with a virus– Tis the season.
So without further ado my new oil is palm oil. This stuff is a miracle worker on reviving my hair, sealing in moisture and protecting my ends. I tried it on a whim. Usually, I use it when I make soap. I’m so happy about this random mistake!! Most oils usually give me mediocre results, but this stuff makes my hair remarkably softer. I’ll continue experimenting with it and will give it a try in my clay mask recipe next month.
Just a couple of quick facts about palm oil (from Live Strong):
Contains:
Vitamin E - great anti aging benefits also fights damage
Refatting agents – great for restoring natural oils stripped away during mechanical manipulation (I.e. Washing, brushing, etc)

All in all good stuff! I’m so excited after years of trying to find an oil that my low porosity hair likes, my search is over!! In this photo I’ve used it before blow drying my hair (followed by sealing my ends with it after twisting my hair).

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Have you any of you tried palm oil before?

Well, on my way to the States now to visit my family for the holidays. Wishing everyone a fantastic Sunday!

Secret Ingredient: My New Holy Grail

New posts that I’m very excited to share are coming soon. 1) postpartum hair, porosity and texture changes. 2) all natural / DIY winter hair holy grail 3) What I wore (snap shot of one photo per week of me trying to stay fashionably upbeat in winter) 4) what I eat (some occasional posts on delicious and healthy dinner ideas).

Okay for now, I’m just sharing this picture of my day 4 braid out. It was looking dry and frizzy yesterday. So I applied something I’d never used before. It made my hair feel super soft and took away some of the frizz.
Can you guess what it was? Clue, it’s all natural and inexpensive.

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Winter Regimen and Fashion Blues

So, this thing happens to me every year where I just kind of let myself go in the winter. I don’t know what it is about the winter, but suddenly my hair gets pulled back into a bun and hibernates until spring (and it’s not intentional protective styling). My clothes get a little drab and shabby (and not shabby-chic). Make-up, accessories, what are those things? Oh you mean those little items that I pull out when I can feel the sun on my skin. Gotcha. So you get my point, winter and I are not really BFFs.

This winter I don’t want to go into hibernation. Maybe it’s due to motherhood that I want to suddenly revamp my winter look (sidenote: peanut turned one last week). Whatever the reason, I’d like to give more attention to myself in the winter and update my winter look. Again, being a mom, I’d like to be realistic and make small changes as those are the easiest to stick. So here are my winter regimen goals.

Hair

This is not a bun-a-thon

I have not seen my hair down in over a month, so this weekend decided to do a twist-out. I realized all the bunning, again, done purely out of a lack of time, was putting too much strain on my already weak postpartum edged. Additionally, the polyester blend scarf that laid down my edges so nicely– no bueno, it was actually drying out my edges and preventing growth. I returned to my satin/silk loose-fitting scarf. I’d rather have halo-like edges than none at all. At least then I know they’re on a journey to growing back.

Twist and wear it out

So, for my hair this winter I’d like to wear it out at least every other week. I realized braid outs require too much time. So I’m going to opt for twists, which are faster. I may not have as much curl tightness and definition as I do with a braid-out, but I’m okay with that. Twists take me 20 minutes, 30 minutes tops to install and are super fast to let down.

Getting oily with it

I don’t usually seal in summer, but in winter sealing my ends and my edges is a must. I simply can’t skip this when the weather is dry and cold. My ends get a little drab on day 3 of wearing a twist out. Now, I make sure I oil my ends with coconut, jojoba or grape seed oil every other night before wrapping my hair. This helps reduce friction and protect my ends. I don’t use water on twist outs after I style my hair, as  this creates frizz.

Accessories 

I think winter is difficult for head fashion for many naturals. When my hair was relaxed, I could throw any beanie cap over my hair. Now, I want to make sure it doesn’t crush my curls, dry them out or wreck my style. However, staying warm is also very important. I usually just end up wearing a jacket with a warm hood. I’d like to look cute and all every now and again. So I’m on the hunt (most likely will try Etsy) for cute warm winter head-gear that won’t wreck the curls. Here are some ideas I found.

Clothes

So, I love fall. I can layer and wear fun blazers and boots. However, when the snow falls and the wind starts blowing like crazy– all I want to do is throw on a chunky sweater, jeans and winter boots and call it a day. There’s nothing wrong with this. However, I’d like to have just as much fun with winter fashion as I do with the other seasons. So, I’ll be trying to add a little sparkle and small hints of color, here and there. I want to wear more skirts and just layer, layer, layer to stay warm. I don’t think I’ll ever wear heels in winter, but I’ll at least try to find a boot that’s both warm and stylish. A lot of ideas I search for online show people dressed in climates with LA winters. Let’s face it, I would freeze heading out in a blazer and a chunky scarf. So I’m still on the look out for ideas. Open to any suggestions? I’ll of course adapt what I find to fit my aesthetic and lifestyle.

Make-up

I’m a minimalist when it comes to make-up and I’m okay with that. I still will try to do the minimum – eyeliner, blush and maybe a lipstick to dress things up a bit. Something dramatic would be nice, since my routine is pretty basic. I guess I have my winter shopping list done now.

 

What’s your winter fashion look? If you live in a warm environment and your temperatures never reach freezing. I envy you!

 

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My Black Privilege

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

-Niemöller

I’m beyond frustrated, disheartened and disappointed. I know that this is a hair (and occasionally family) blog. However, I simply can’t write about those things at the moment. There are too many news headlines coming from the US that make me sick, saddened and discouraged about the present and future. All lives matter, all lives are created equal, but from the series of events recently, I just don’t feel the justice system protects and serves all lives equally.

Having a son, a nephew, and thinking of my brothers and cousins. I am terrified for them. I keep having these nightmares that a male family member, could be the next Michael Brown, Mr. Garner, Lennon Lacy, Tamir Rice, Victor White, Dante Parker, Ezell Ford, Tyree Woodson, John Crawfard — That list, scary huh? These are only a handful of the incidents that don’t always make the headline. It’s obvious  that black men have a target on their back.

Today on my Facebook news feed, I noticed that most of my acquaintances and friends, who commented on the Garner case, whether disagreement, agreement or outrage, about the ruling, with the exception of a 1 friend, were black. While my non-black friends were writing about Christmas trees, the birth of Jimmy Fallon’s baby, Starbuck’s lattes or who wore what well. I thought to myself, I guess that’s white privilege. I was going to write this post on white privilege today. However, privilege in general is an issue. We all need to take our privileges that we benefit from and fight for those who are not given a choice to have their voices heard and thus, I’m going to look within myself and think about the privileges that I benefit from and occasionally have used to my advantage as a Black Woman.

And this isn’t one of those b*llsh*t arguments like, I get to use the N word and others can’t. I don’t condone the use of the word, don’t use it, don’t give it power and don’t think anyone should. However, using an oppressive word, in a system that is unfair and unjust, in my opinion is not a privilege to any person.

So, my Black privilege, I’ll just illustrate it with just one incident. In Europe, most black people are seen as equal, equally inferior and foreign. Not the case, everywhere, but it has been my experience, in many places. On a number of occasions, I have walked into stores, asked a question about the price of an item and have had the response be, “oh that’s really expensive” or “that’s too expensive”. I’ve received dirty looks or stared and am sometimes followed when I shop in a “high-end” store. You know how I’ve knowingly turned these very uncomfortable incidents into a more pleasant experience for myself? I either pretend I can’t speak the language and speak in English, with the most obnoxious American accent or exaggerate my American accent in French or German. Works like a charm, every time. The response is usually, something like: “Oooh, you’re American. Where are you from? (insert friendly small talk here).” I feel ashamed to say, I’ve used my being American as a privilege. It’s wrong damn it. It shouldn’t matter what someone looks like or where they are from. No one deserves to be discriminated against like that. I should have addressed the oppressive comments in that situation and not from the voice of an offended American, but as a human being. However, when you’re in a position of being accepted, celebrated and not taken for granted… it can be difficult to step down from one’s ivory tower to stand with those on the ground and suffer the same treatment they have to go through.

That’s why it’s a goal of mine to really see what my decisions and actions mean and who they harm. By using my privilege or even by not acknowledging the fact that I receive advantages from being American, it hurts someone else. It lets them know  I don’t stand with them and against this injustice, but prefer to  protect myself from harm’s way. So I want to think of concrete things I can do to educate myself and if necessary those around me when these sort of things happen. Whether it be, taking my money and going elsewhere or spending my money and politely informing a clerk that I’ll decide what I can’t and cannot afford.

Do you feel there’s any hope for a better America? Are you bothered by the series of recent events related to police killings of black and brown men?

Life Updates

Hair

Life has been SO busy. I’ve barely had time to do my hair. I’ve only had time for wash and bunning. My ends feel really moisturized and healthy from all the bunning.I did a flexi-rod set the other day that is not even worth photographing, what a waste of time, no volume or hold. Guess, I’ll be bunning it again this week. I feel like I’m losing some volume from the length, so am thinking about getting a shape-up this winter.

For the holidays, we’ll head back to Boston. I’m really looking forward to going back to the States for winter break, to see family and friends. Also, I’m excited to get my hair done. I’ve already booked an appointment with the stylist I usually go back to. Part of me wants to color my hair, although I probably won’t, since I’m already planning on having it flat-ironed while I’m there. I’m just really looking forward to someone else doing my hair. It’s grown a lot and wash sessions are a bit longer. My edges have finally started to grown in after all that postpartum shedding. However, they look strange, because the hair is really short and growing in, so is always really frizzy. I typically use gel to tame them.

Family

My little peanut is growing and developing at such a fast rate. Sometimes it feels like I blink an eye and things change. He took his first steps a couple of weeks ago. He isn’t fully walking, but occasionally he’ll muster up the nerve to stand up and take a few steps and then sit down. It’s so cute. His first steps he took towards me and said mama and then gave me a big hug. Yep, that little rugrat has my heart forever.
We’re in birthday planning mode now. I went back and forth for weeks trying to decide if I wanted to invite friends (Peanut’s baby friends and older friends). Finally, in the end I decided to have an intimate, cozy family party. I have a feeling we’ll have to entertain kids later on down the line and I really want this party to be a celebration for him. I’m afraid if I invite too many kids, we’ll be so worried about trying to make sure the kids aren’t bored that we’ll be too exhausted to capture the day and cherish it. There will be a couple of babies there, but again close family.

What did you do for your child’s first birthday?

Travel

My last post was on a short holiday in Italy.

I wanted to take you all with my on my trip to Italy, but our vacation rental didn’t have wifi. I’ll admit, it was actually a good thing. We traveled to the Mediterranean Sea to the Finale Ligure region in the northern part of Italy. What a beautiful area. The water was turquoise blue, the coastline jagged and wild and everyday was sunny and warm. The house we rented was literally right on the beach. Every morning we woke up and there was the ocean. We’d walk out to the water and relax on the beach everyday. Peanut loved it and he especially loved scouring the beach for rocks, who needs toys. He’s also obsessed with Italian food.

In any case, our trip was mainly for rest and relaxation and that’s exactly what we did. We visited some lovely towns, strolled around, went to cathedrals and on some walks to historical and world heritage sites, ate lots of lovely focaccia (a specialty of the region). It was loads of fun and I’d definitely return to this region. During the off-season, however, as I’ve heard it’s busy and crowded during the summer. There’s something so calming about being on a beach vacation in the fall. It’s something I’ve enjoyed doing for quite some time.

Another highlight of the trip. While we were staying at this lovely rental during the low season. I noticed a man sleeping outside underneath a vacation house. The owners weren’t there as everything was boarded up. Probably belonged to people who live there a few weeks out of the year. In any case, we noticed the guy slept outside every night. I finally worked up the nerve to go down and talked to him. We figured he was hungry, cold and in need of resources, so gathered a little money, food and water and chatted with him for a little. He said his name was Jim-Jim and that he was from Ivory Coast. His family was separated and they’d all left IC for a better life. He had some family travel to Syria and he made his way up to Italy. He didn’t know what to do and was trying to figure out a way to find work and find a better life. This is the story of many immigrants, thinking the grass is greener, I’m sure. He found Italy cold and unwelcoming. He’s been harassed and told to go home. It’s frustrating for him, as those people are really out of touch with reality and don’t understand the complex nature of immigration and the countries the people flee.

His story warmed our hearts and brought me to tears. I wish we could have done more. All he could do was cry and apologize when we gave him the things we could offer. He said he felt ashamed and didn’t do anything to deserve it. I just explained we’re all brothers and sisters. One day, when he sees someone struggling, I’d hope he’d do the same. His face still haunts my memory. For each day of our trip that remained, we decided to take him things to help him out, blankets to keep warm, as he was sleeping outside on cold nights, hygiene products, pants and socks – he only owned shorts and half-socks (i.e. they only covered half of his feet), lots fruits and food that could keep without refrigeration like sardines, crackers, etc. Jim-Jim was writing a book in French when we came upon him. It was titled “Annoying Others” or something like that. I hope he keeps telling his story and let it be a companion that he takes along with him. He embarked on a dangerous and very long journey, to go to a country and culture that he didn’t know at all. In Western and developed cultures, we call these kind of people transplants, expats, backpackers etc. Jim-Jim felt like he was looked at as less than a mosquito. A parasitic insect, with the sole purpose of taking resources from others and invading their personal space. Of course the issues of immigration are really sensitive and really complex. I know Jim-Jim will continue living as an invisible person within the boundaries of Italy and he has been paid and will continue to be paid next to nothing to work for the next farmer that offers him a physically tough and difficult job. I know I couldn’t do a lot, so I chose to just try to show some compassion.

I want to be make sure I teach my son daily to never take his life from granted and never look down on anyone. I really want him to treat every walk of life with love and respect. I have no idea what it’s like to see genocide, bombings and raping, etc., right before my eyes. For this and much more, I have so much to be thankful and grateful for.

One day maybe I’ll see Jim-Jim’s story on the big screen or in a book, I have hope in my heart that he’ll find safety and normalcy some day.

How have you all been? Are things in your lives crazy this time of year as well?

Ciao Bella

Soon I’ll be heading on a road trip to Italy with friends and my little family. I thought about doing some travel updates and bringing you all along with me on the trip. What do you think? Fancy spending a little time in bella Italia ? If so, I’ll try to blog while on location and share my experience with you (that is if the baby travels okay and we’re all well-rested). If I were rich, I’d pack you all up and bring you with me. =)

 

Kitchen Chemist: Deep Conditioning Mud Mask

So, my hair hasn’t looked this good in a long time. It’s shiny, soft, moisturized; Curls are popping and even my ends feel good. I’m not sure if it’s a fluke, so I’ll have to test it out again over the next few few weeks.

 

At the moment, I’m trying to develop my own rhassoul clay deep conditioning mask and a detangler with my new favorite ingredient, slippery elm (if you’re a fan of KCKT, you might recognize this ingredient) . I want to give it a few more tries before posting on the process. However, I’m liking the results thus far.

Side note: am I the only one who is team 2nd day hair? I really don’t like how perfect and uniform my hair looks on day 1. I actually pull my hair up into a pony tail on day 1, as I’m all about that slightly messy, more stretched 2nd day look.

Oh and good news, my postpartum shedding has finally calmed the heck down! My edges are starting to grow back in, although the texture of my edges changed somewhat. Did anyone else experience texture changes as a result of pregnancy?

Repost: An Introduction to Low Porosity Hair

Hi Lovelies,

I’m still here and haven’t forgotten you. I miss my blog family!

Things have just been so busy lately. I’m working, raising the little peanut and embarking on a new venture, all at the same time. Some days I’m just floating on the surface, but I’m not drowning, so my glass is half full.

Baby boy keeps me motivated and on my toes.  Little man is trying to walk and getting down right mad (almost throwing a tantrum– toddler world here we come) if I so much as suggest helping him walk while holding both of his hands. He will only allow me one hand so he can waddle to and fro at the park. Call me emotional, but why do I already feel like he’s walking out the door and going off to college. I think I’ll be an emotional wreck on his 1st birthday– at least he’s not old enough to be embarrassed by me just yet.

I’m reposting my blog’s first post. Many of you might recognize this post.  I get a lot of questions from new readers on low porosity hair. I’m thinking about putting up low porosity 101 page that way the quintessential information is available to everyone, without them having to search the blog for it. So without further ado:

An Introduction to Low Porosity Hair

Hair porosity is your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture (i.e. water). Retaining moisture is the key to healthy hair. In order to properly care for your hair, understanding your hair’s porosity is a pre-requisite.

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There are three types of porosity: low, high and normal. Porosity is determined by the position of the cuticle, which is the outermost part of our hair made up of a layer of overlapping dead cells. It provides the hair with strength by protecting it from harsh elements and by protecting the inner structures of the hair. It also controls the water content.

Normal porosity

If you have normal porosity, consider yourself lucky. Normal porosity hair requires the least amount of maintenance. It easily draws in water, however does not allow too much water to enter the cortex. This type of hair tends to be shiny, hold styles well and is easy to process (e.g. color, highlight, perm). A occassional deep conditioner and light protein benefits this type of hair.

High porosity

Think of your hair as a sponge. It can absorb its weight in water and easily allow all the water to escape. Cuticles of high porosity hair are too open and allow too much water to enter the cortex. However, just as easily as the water enters, it also escapes rapidly, making it a challenge to keep moisture. This type of hair may be damaged, because of chemical processing. High porosity hair benefits from heavy creams, thick oils or emollients and butters, to seal in moisture. It also benefits from routine protein treatments, which may help to fill in some of the gaps in the cuticle. Additionally, cold water rinses, low PH products such as diluted vinegar or aloe vera, help to seal the cuticle.

Low porosity (lo-po)

The focus of this blog will be on low porosity. Despite the plethora of information on the web about porosity, there are not enough sites that thoroughly discuss caring for low porous hair. This type of hair has flat, shingled cuticles. Picture the shingles on the roof of a house, when it rains the water simply glides off the structure. As you can imagine, it’s challenging for water  to enter the hair shaft. This type of hair often takes a while to wet in the shower and it takes forever to dry. Product buildup is a common complaint, as products just seem to sit on top of the hair. Chemical processing is long and difficult.

The trick with low porosity hair is getting the moisture in the hair shaft. Once it’s in, the hair retains moisture quite well and is lustrous and shiny. One of the most helpful methods is deep conditioning with heat or steam to open up the cuticle and help the hair absorb moisture. Additionally, washing and rinsing the hair with warm water helps loosen up debris and open up the cuticles.

If you’re low porosity and looking for some useful tips and advice, well, you’ve come to the right place. This blog will be dedicated to lo-po hair and more methods for caring for lo-po hair will be discussed in detail on this blog. I’ll also include my experimentation with my lo-po hair and what works and does not work for me.

In the meantime, to find out your hair’s porosity. You could take a clean, freshly washed (without products) strand of hair and place it in a cup of water:

If the hair stays afloat for a long time (more than 1 hour), without ever sinking, you’re likely lo-po

If the hair immediately sinks to the bottom of the glass,  you’re likely high porosity

Keep in mind, this is not a glass half empty or half full matter. Whether high, low or normal, the important is figuring out how to properly care for your hair. What’s your hair porosity?

Modified Baggy Method

I mentioned a while back in a post on methods of moisturizing lo-po hair that the baggy method never worked for me. I’ve never been a big fan of this method. I didn’t like how soft and weak my hair felt after applying it, didn’t like sleeping with plastic on my head, and I don’t think this type of method is ideal for a healthy scalp– in fact, I think it can promote fungal growth, but that’s another story. Anyway, I was thinking about doing a modified baggy soon. This would involve, putting my hair in pig tails and simply covering the ends of my hair, which are usually more prone to dryness. In addition, I’m thinking about mixing up some rhassoul, oil and a little vinegar or aloe and applying this mixture to my ends only and leaving it on over night. What do you think? I’m hoping rhassoul’s moisturizing properties and ability to open the cuticles and remove toxins, will benefit my ends.

Have you ever done a modified baggy version?

Messy-Chic Bun with The Baby Bliss Wand

I splurged and bought a curling wand the other day. I picked up a Baby Bliss Titanium wand. I don’t know what it is about fall. For some reason in the fall, I always want to try new styles.

Messy-Chic Bun

Before using the wand, I used the tension method to blow dry my hair. This involves just applying low heat to the hair, while gently stretching/tugging at the hair with your hands. It’s less manipulation than direct blow drying and gentler on the hair. I’ll post some links on the tension method below (as well as “no blow dry method” for those who are not into applying any heat to their hair). I didn’t have time to curl my entire head, but I curled a few sections to frame my face. I threw my hair up in a low chignon for a messy-chic  look. I like the result and think I’ll give it another shot, however I might just do this on an old twist/braid out and skip the blow dyer the next time I try it.

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Regarding the curling wand that I purchased… UGH, It’s alright, I guess. I thought it came with a protective glove, but instead it comes with some weird “finger glove”. How cheap and unreasonable can some companies be?? I’m terrified of burning my fingers , so will have to get comfortable with using it or put on a pair of oven mitts, lol! PS – the entire time I used the wand, I could not shake the image of that girl who burned her hair off while curling her hair.

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Seriously, this is so awkward to use… They should call this protective lobster claw, as glove is really deceiving.

 

Have you ever curl wanded (is that even a word) your hair? What wa your experience?

Links

Tension method

No blow dry, blow dry method