Protective Style: Milkmaid Braid

I keep having these nightmares that I’ll go into labor in the middle of doing my hair. I end up at the hospital with half done hair looking like a maniac. Crazy yes, but I’m well aware this baby will come when he wants to. I just hope to look somewhat sane when I meet him. For this reason, recently I’ve started stretching my styles for 2 weeks. I’m almost on day 14 since my twist session. My due date is Tuesday, so I feel better about my next two week stretch.

It’s been hard not to wash, I like my weekly sessions, but the last month of my pregnancy I’ve been a bit tired, so prefer to spend my time not doing my hair.

This is a simple style I found to get me through the last couple of days and keep my ends protected, a milkmaid braid. (Perhaps my birth style…)

This should be done on stretched dry hair. Just braid hair on one side, starting from the front, pin it when halfway done and do the same for the other side. You could leave out some loose hairs in the front to frame the face.

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I’ve posted a couple of links with visual instructions. My hair is shorter than featured vloggers, but goes to show it’s possible to achieve a similar look:
mahoganycurls

naptural85

beautydept

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DIY: Moisturizing Winter Lotion Bars

Winter can be very harsh on the skin. With dry conditions, icy air and wind exposure,  it’s important that we keep our skin protected from the harsh elements.

Here are some simple ways to protect your skin:

  • Like many things in life, the key is a healthy lifestyle. Stay hydrated and eat lots of vegetables and protein. Be sure to move around and try to get in at least 20 – 30 minutes of exercise per day (this can be as simple as a stroll around the block).
  • As temperatures decrease, it’s also important that we wear warm clothes and enough protective layers to stay warm. The great thing about layers is that if you’re too hot, you can always remove some.
  • Wear sunglasses and a mild sunscreen. The winter sun reflecting off snow, can do major damage to our skin. So give your face a little TLC and apply a mild sunscreen and throw on your most fabulous pair of sunglasses.
  • Finally, moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. One of my new favorite ways to moisturize that’s low-cost, natural, and DIY is making lotion bars. The ingredients are simple and most can be found in grocery stores or online. Lotion bars are also eco-friendly, because they don’t require a container or bottle.

Moisturizing Winter Lotion Bars

Start out with a small amount and see if you like it. I used 2 ounces for each ingredient (note: 1 oz coconut, 1 oz avocado, to make 2 oz). I used my kitchen scale to weigh the ingredients. If you don’t have a scale, you simply take about 4 TBSP of each ingredient to make  1  bar. My recipe made a total of 5 bars.

  • 1/3 shea butter or other butter of choice
  • 1/3 oil (i used  coconut and avocado oils)
  • 1/3 beeswax pastilles (can be found at mountainrose.com)
  • essential oils (I used 15 drops of lavender, this is optional)
  • 5 drops of vitamin E oil (optional)
  1. Place butter, oil and wax pastilles in a double boiler, Pyrex glass measuring cup or heat-resistant glass bowl.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low. You want enough water in the pot to cover the bottom two inches of your pan, cup or bowl. Don’t heat the oils and wax directly in a pan.
  3. Place pan in the larger pan and allow ingredients to melt, stirring occasionally. Once melted,  add in your essential oils and vitamin E oil, if you wish and mix well. Pour oil into a silicon baking mold, glass dish, or a washed out milk carton. I used silicon baking molds, because it was really simple to unmold.
  4. Let the oils cool and solidify before removing them from the mold. I waited about 4 hours.
  5. After about 7 – 8 hours you should have a beautiful lotion bar that you can rub over your skin to moisturize.

How I use it:

  • Not in the shower, these should not be wet.
  • I apply the bar right after I get out of the shower on humid skin (not soaking wet). This seals in moisture and leaves my skin moisturized and radiant. The heat from your skin warms the oils and allows them to absorb into the skin.

Have you made any fun DIY recipes lately? How do you protect your skin in the winter?

1 week old twist out

So I wanted to leave my twists in for two weeks…that didn’t happen. I made it to one week, so not bad. I’m going to try to make the twist out hold me over for another week. My hair is super stretched from bunning. Hmm maybe it’s time to revisit flexirods.

I do notice that my hair is über-moisturized as a result of leaving the twists in one week instead of one day. Like so moisturized, I can rub my hand in my hair and then moisturize my hands lol! #Nosoulglothough (Coming to America reference makes me feel so old).

On another note I keep finding random twists in my hair, so I didn’t take them all out obviously. #densehairproblems

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Would love your thoughts

I’m entertaining the idea of writing about broader topics on this blog. However, would like to gather reader opinions first:

My Mommy Went Natural

I’m so proud of my Mom. She shocked the heck out of me the other day. She sent me a picture of herself with mid-back length relaxed hair. She titled this picture “before”. Next she sent a picture, titled “after”. I almost fell off my chair when I saw her with cropped natural hair. The first thing I did was tell her how beautiful she looked, this is true, whether relaxed or natural, but she had this youthful glow about her in the “after” picture.

That’s all the fun and good stuff, but here comes the not so good. I think she was on an adrenaline high when she cut her hair and was feeling confident and sassy. Over the course of the following days as she saw family and friends, many of their reactions included statements like “Woman, why did you go ahead and cut all that gorgeous, silky hair off?!”, “are you having a breakdown?!”, “how are you going to comb it?”, “you know that natural hair ain’t for everybody”. Those are just a few examples, I’ll spare you the details.

Anyway, the next time I talked to her, I noticed she looked a little less perky. She kept pulling at her hair and talking about the length, that it was nappier than she recalled from when she went natural 10 years ago. That maybe she made a mistake of big chopping during the wrong season. I reminded her that I really loved her hair and told her she looked both elegant and edgy. I advised her to stop watching it grow, because she’ll be shocked months from now when looks in the mirror and realizes how much it actually has grown.This made her cheer up a lot.

We then proceeded to talk about hair regimens. My Mom is pretty old school and her regimen consisted of the good old school regimen she used on my hair growing up. She only shampoos her new hair every other day, then slaps on a little petroleum-based product, doesn’t wrap it nor sleep on a satin/silk pillow case, she actually didn’t even bother brushing or combing it. I told her that natural didn’t mean not combing your hair. Hehehe! I gave her some tips and told her to step away from the multiple shampoo sessions and petroleum-based products and to incorporate conditioner and leave-in into her routine and maybe some natural oils. And for Pete’s sake, wrap that hair! She’ll be visiting me soon and I’m excited to get my hands in her hair and use some of my products on her.

The other day, I received the following text from her: Working up a sweat at the gym, why wait for New Year’s to achieve my goals. Before, going to the gym was something she had to schedule around hair appointments. I believe natural hair is going to change her health and fitness and give my son a fit, healthy grandma– who people might mistake for his Mom!It’s funny how other people can get under our skin and how we can then internalize those things and start using negative statements to talk about ourselves or our hair. If you have a friend or family member who has gone natural, don’t forget to shower them with positivity.

Do you know someone who went natural recently?

5 Easy Tips for Creating a Healthy Hair Regimen

1. Don’t go product-gaga

With more and more women wearing their hair in its natural state, there are a lot more products available on the market for diverse textures. I know it can be tempting not to scoop up every product we see when perusing the hair aisle or the internet. However, if you’re newly natural or just looking for an effective routine, I suggest not giving in to this urge. Buy 1 (2 at the most) product (s) to try on your hair and give your hair a few weeks to see how it responds. If we use too many products at once, it’s difficult to know what works and what doesn’t work for our hair.

2. Ask a friend or seek out the internet

Not sure what products work for you? Find a friend with similar hair texture and more importantly porosity and ask for recommendations. Or ask a stranger, sometimes I see someone with great, healthy hair and wonder how they achieved it. It never hurts to simply ask. I always find starting with a compliment and then asking always helps break the ice. Alternatively, you can find tips from bloggers and vloggers. The internet is a huge resource.

3. Don’t break the bank

Try not to spend too much on products, when developing a regimen. Find some solid affordable products that work. You can always pamper yourself on special occasions (holidays, birthdays, etc.) and try out some higher end products. In addition, if you have an inexpensive product, you can always make it fancy by adding special oils or honey and giving yourself a conditioning treatment.

4. Be gentle with your hair and walk away from the comb when you’re frustrated

When I first went natural and reached an awkward stage (coughs: major mullet), my hair was sometimes more difficult to detangle. I’d get so frustrated I noticed I was a bit rougher in my movements with the comb and as a result breakage would ensue. Actually, this was even more so the case when I was transitioning from straight to curly hair. So, try not to style your hair when you’re tired or just take a break if you need.

And finally…

5. Make a schedule

Pick out the days you want to wash and condition your hair. Think about the styles you’d like to try and how long they will carry you through the week. If you’re in the TWA (teeny-weeny afro) stage or have short hair, you’ll probably wash or wet your hair more than once per week. Once I was able to pull my hair back, this changed my schedule and gave me more flexibility. However, a schedule still benefited me greatly and kept me from getting to lazy with my hair.

….This is not a step, but more words of advice. Enjoy your hair at all stages. When I cut all my hair off, I was so concerned about length. I wish I had just enjoyed that moment longer, because length will come, when it comes. I’d always wanted to do something drastic like cut my hair really short and once I cut it, I spent all my time wanting it longer. Now I enjoy the stage I’m at, because I’ve noticed, although with longer hair you can easily just bun it, you also have longer washer sessions (wonk, wonk, wonk). So do you and love what you do at each stage (same applies to life in general).

Do you have any healthy hair regimen tips for readers? If so, would love to hear them!

Twists

With only a couple of weeks until my due date, I’m a lot more tired than usual. This week I decided to put my hair in smallish twists. These are by no means mini-twists—no time or patience for that! I want to see how long I can go without undoing them… The goal is two weeks and to actually try washing my hair in twists to see if they hold.

I typically wear my twists in a bun, to get them off my face and To stretch them. I’d say this is a protective style, but the main reason I did it was to protect myself from having to bother with my hair. 😉

I also trimmed 1/4 – 1/2 inch while twisting. It was actually an easy process since I had twists in. When my hair felt rough and dry, I simply snipped it off.

These are my bunned twists, after washing with rhassoul followed by a conditioning oil rinse, and twisting for 1.5 hrs:

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Do you wear twists? How long do you keep them in?