Friday, January 29, 2010

Tips & Tricks for Hassle Free Styling

[source: Shake It Sheila

I have had my share of hair styles that never saw the light of day, they are usually hidden under a hat, or pulled back into a makeshift bun. These mishaps usually happen when I try a new product, fail to detangle properly, or skip adding condish to my hair [really bad move]. For those of you who haven't seen my hair vids, here's a short [yet useful list] of little tips and tricks I have learned along the way!

  • For styles that are free-flowing such as braid outs or twist outs, I like to use minimal amounts of products that are lightweight. This makes for fluffier, shiner, hair with lots of body. Now you can use a combination of products, however use them sparingly, and choose them wisely. Too much product can yield "dull" hair appears weighed down, and lacks movement. 
  • Get the hair uber CLEAN before styling, whether you use bentonite clay, sulfate shampoo, herbs, or baking soda, make sure the hair is free from residue before styling. Your hair will be shinier, and have more body if you start with a clean palate.  
  • Detangle hair only while loaded with conditioner. I usually condition for about 15 minutes to let the moisturizing properties penetrate my strands, THEN detangle, and finally sit back under my dryer for another 15 minutes. 
  • Make sure hair is detangled and conditioned thoroughly prior to styling. Also if you are braiding or twisting your hair, do so with caution; split ends galore surely awaits you if you aren't careful [believe me, I have been there and it 'aint pretty]. 
  • If you have tangle-prone hair, try shampooing and conditioning while in (4) fat braids or twists. This has helped me out IMMENSELY, and I know it has played a major role in length retention. Less hair lost and split while detangling = more retention. 
  • When you are shampooing your hair, use your fingertips not your nails to gently cleanse your scalp. 
  • Don't overdo it on the shampoo [because of the potential drying effects sulfates], keep in mind that some professional products do not produce a lot of lather. Try getting into the habit of using dime sized portions or less for each round of shampoo. Not only will you benefit by using less shampoo, you can also save your tresses from sulfate overload. 
  • If you have hard water like I do, it may be necessary to add an additional step to your regimen like an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse [do this after rinsing out your conditioner]. This gently gets rid of minerals and deposits left behind from your water. Other bonuses include restoring the PH balance of your hair, adding sheen, and sealing the cuticle which aids in tangle free styling.

I Heart Esperanza Spalding

I absolutely adore Esperanza Spalding! Her hair is a mass of lush, curly goodness, and her voice goes down smooth no chaser. Esperanza gives me Billy Holiday with an Afro-Cuban vibe, check out her videos below!


How ironic that a few hours after I did this post, I ran across this photo and quote from Erykah Badu.

“I know that I want to concentrate more on my inside-pretty than my outside-pretty, because that’s gonna go away But if your inside is beautiful, it never wears away. The light always shows on the outside if you are striving to be good inside.” — Erykah Badu 

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Woman Who Follows The Crowd Will Usually Go No Further Than The Crowd. The Woman Who Walks Alone Is Likely To Find Herself In Places She Has Never Been Before - Albert Einstein

I remember in the beginning of my hair journey I played it safe. My braid outs & twist outs needed to be neat, super defined, and most importantly they needed to be tamed. I was honestly afraid of what people would think of me, and didn't want to "scare" a lot of my ultra conservative friends. That surely isn't living for me, and I most certainly can't appreciate ME in all of my glory if I am constantly worrying about what others think. Not only was the decision to go "natural" a result of me wanting healthy hair, but it was also directly related to wanting complete and total perfect peace. I wanted to cease all feelings of insecurity, and be completely happy with myself as-is.

The more I started to accept WHO I was, the more liberated and free I became. Being liberated breeds happiness, it means an extinction of suffering, and desire, and replaces those feelings with that of contentment. I am no longer concerned with how people view me, you see I was created perfect as is. Those silly mores of beauty, and sex appeal mean nothing to me, as I was equipped with everything I could ever need at birth.

I love looking through inspiration pics of women who exude confidence, inner beauty and strength, and wanted to share those with you today.

I Loved It.. So I Put a Ring On It [My Dermalogica Review]

[source: Black Fashion]

I wanted to wait until I really knew it was a perfect union before running through the halls proclaiming my love for Dermalogica. With most of my facial products, the honeymoon is over in a few weeks, however Dermalogica knows how to keep a girl happy.

I have excessively oily acne prone skin, and I really didn't want to be that girl who carries around a hankey to wipe her face down a 'la Al Sharpton, so I figured a trip to Ulta was imminent. Amongst the rows of facial cleansers, and moisturizers all promising clearer, youthful skin, I moseyed on over to the tiny isle of moderate to high-end skin care products tucked away in the back of the store. This time, I wasn't interested in price so much, as I figured I have wasted hundreds on products chalked full of crap that made my skin worse than it was before applying the product.

I had some sort of direction though, I knew I wanted a no frills kit that had everything I needed to keep my skin looking it's best. I stumbled across the MediBac Adult Acne Clearing Kit by Dermologica ($40.00 - Ulta), in which most of the products were geared towards people who have oily skin. Not only was that a plus, but I love buying kits that include trial sizes to help determine which products I keep or shelve. It helps to not have the commitment of 8oz bottles staring you in your face should it be a disaster.

Here are the claims & instructions from the website:

Use morning and night, or as directed by your Dermalogica Professional Skin Therapist, for around-the-clock treatment of adult acne and healthy, consistently clear skin.
Begin with Clearing Skin Wash, a non-irritating cleanser that washes away excess surface oils, helps clear congested follicles and calms inflammation. Lather in wet hands and massage in circular motions over face and throat, avoiding eye area. Rinse with warm water. Next, apply Clearing Mattifier to help smooth skin texture, diminish the appearance of fine lines, clear congestion and control shine. Apply a thin layer to areas prone to excess oil production and breakouts, such as in the T-zone. Follow with Oil Control Lotion, a hydrating, feather-light oil-free moisturizer containing microsponges to reduce oily shine for an all-day matte finish. Apply with light, upward strokes to areas where Clearing Mattifier was not used. At night after cleansing, apply a thin layer of Overnight Clearing Gel to help slough off pore-clogging skin cells, promote skin clarity and aid skin clearing. To treat breakouts during the day, apply Concealing Spot Treatment, a naturally-tinted, intense spot treatment containing concentrated Sulfur that quickly dries breakouts. Two to three times per week apply a smooth layer of Sebum Clearing Masque after cleansing. This cooling, deep-cleaning clay masque purifies and absorbs excess surface oil. Use over entire face and throat or exclusively in the T-zone, avoiding eye area. Remove after 10 minutes with warm water.
The Kit Includes:
  • Clearing Skin Wash 1.7 FL OZ / 50 ml       
  • Clearing Mattifier 0.50 FL OZ / 15 ml  
  • Overnight Clearing Gel 0.50 FL OZ / 15 ml
  • Concealing Spot Treatment 0.10 FL OZ / 3 ml
  • Sebum Clearing Masque 0.75 FL OZ / 22 ml
  • Oil Control Lotion (sample)
The verdict? I loved the Clearing Skin Wash so much, I purchased the larger size this past weekend. Because most of the products I use on my hair are filled with oils, they tend to cause breakouts if I am not super careful. With this cleanser, I can breathe much easier.
The Oil Control Lotion felt great, but it isn't better than the Cetaphil moisturizer I love. Both moisturize equally well, however the Oil Control absorbs a tad better. - Even still, I am not gonna repurchase that.

Overnight Clearing Gel & Clearing Mattifier are two products I will repurchase and use in conjunction with my Ayurvedic skin care regimen. These helped keep my skin matte, smooth, dewy, and blemish free. I also appreciate that while they work incredibly well, my face wasn't tight and peeling from the aftermath of the treatment. I tend to favor beauty without pain.

The Sebum Clearing Masque worked well, but I can swap that out with my Neem & Bentonite Facial for less than half the price. Negative on the repurchase.

The Concealing Spot Treatment could have been left out of the equation, I think it is formulated for use on much lighter skin as it appears to have some light color to it. I tried it and had little white/gray areas all over my face, even after spending a significant amount of time trying to blend it in.

If I had to recommend ONE product from them, it would be the facial wash hands down!! With the Clearing Mattifier coming in a close second!

If you are like me and your hair products tend to cause breakouts, try these little tips;
  • Change pillowcases every 3 days
  • If you wear a scarf to bed, make sure you also change/wash it every 3 days as well
  • Do your hair before you start your daily skin regimen, this way you can remove excess oils left behind from your products

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Revamp Your Hair Staples for Winter

[source: Color My Soul]

It has been a major struggle trying to figure out what my hair likes during the winter, as a lot of my spring/summer hair staples lose their mojo during the frigid winter months [60 in Cali is frigid to me].

After much trial and error, I have come to rely on a few products that pack enough moisture to keep my hair shiny, soft, and to keep me from having to carry around flame retardant due to the nature of my once hazardous flammable hair. This past weekend, I had to shelve my beloved Sebastian Potion Number 9 Leave-In Conditioner because as it cold colder, it just didn't do the trick like it used to; the same for my Oyin Honey Hemp Conditioner [I wonder if they can make a winter version].

I decided to play the martyr and experiment with new leave-in's and hair products this week. Getting a decent leave-in was my number one priority, as a leave-in on my hair is necessary at all times to keep it at it's optimum moisture level. My condish of choice was Paul Mitchell The Conditioner; I spotted it at Ulta and it was only $3.95 so I went in for the kill.

Product review videos on a few different winter-friendly [aka won't leave your hair feeling like tumbleweed] conditioners are on the way, but let me say how much I LOVE Paul Mitchell's The Conditioner. It left my hair soft, shiny, and felt moisturized days after use, the fact that it is easily accessible and cheap is also a plus. Here are some other products I have experimented with that specialize in results:
  • Lanza Leave-In Conditioner [When I have the mullah for this, I splurge]
  • Lanza Leave-In Protector - [I would recommend this to people who have relaxers, or damaged hair due to thermal or chemical styling] 
  •  Paul Mitchell The Conditioner [A Leave-In]
  • Jessicurl Weekly Deep Treatment
  • Dudley's Hair Mask
  • Dudley's Hair Rebuilder
  • Oyin's Handmade Whipped Pudding - Moisturizer/Styler
  • Qhemet Biologics Burdock Root Butter Cream - Moisturizer/Styler
  • Qhemet Biologics Amla & Olive Heavy Cream - Moisturizer/Styler
  • Drink PLENTY of water
  • BUY A HUMIDIFIER if you can :-) I am going to pick one up this weekend; I have a friend who swears by them for both her hair and skin during winter months
Before using any new leave-in/styler, here are a few suggestions:
  • Clarify the hair to remove it of any buildup from previous products (You can use a clarifying Shampoo like Neutrogena Ant-Residue Shampoo, or you can add baking soda to your regular shampoo)
  • Use an acidic rinse [Apple Cider Vinegar] after rinsing out conditioner - This will help your hair's chances of being able to absorb all the moisture it can. Acidic Rinses do this by sealing the cuticle which temporarily lends a helping hand with porosity issues.  

You were born an original, don't die a copy - John Mason

A lot of my subscribers want to know a bit more about the "history" of my hair. So I decided to put together this video in hopes that it will answer a lot of the questions some of you may have!


Are you natural? - Yes I am 100% natural, I had a relaxer umpteen years ago (10 maybe?) and I hated it. It completely changed my texture so I never got another one. Although I didn't officially "big chop", most of my hair fell out from weaves and heat abuse [I was an animal]. Now don't get me wrong, I wasn't completely bald, but it was horrific, think fuzzy newborn baby bird. Yeah, that was me.

When did you start your hair journey? - I have been an avid lhcf lurker since August 2008, but I didn't start applying these concepts until December of 2008 [I needed a few more months for rewiring].

How long is your hair, and what is your hair-type? - My hair is bra-strap length. And although I don't care too much for hair-typing anymore, for all intensive purposes I am a 3/C-4/A

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Passion Fruit

Who said black wasn't beautiful?? - I absolutely adore the work of Brianna Mccarthy! I stumbled across her site a few days ago, and I would love to have her create a couple of custom pieces for me. I love the various textures of hair, and variation of skin color depicted in Brianna's work [the artist has some pretty fierce hair too]. You can see more of her art here!


Twist Out Tutorial

Here are some after shots of my hair!

I maintain this style throughout the week by sleeping in a large satin bonnet. Some nights I re-twist it, and some nights I don't, it depends on what areas need it and how wild I want it to be. My twist outs usually last about a week.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A good snapshot stops a moment from running away. - Eudora Welty

[Cool light fixture @Ikea]

This weekend my mom came down to the valley to hit the coveted Santa Monica Farmer's Market. So I decided to meet up with her afterward for some mommy and me time :-) Here is my Saturday in pictures;
[Rattan Balls also @Ikea]

I went looking for new digs this weekend, and I came across this place. It's a tad too pricey and the amenities were eh, so-so. The building was cool though.
Next stop; Soi.7 [Downtown L.A]

I loved the decor

Fully stocked Sake bar. YUM

Pineapple Fried Rice!

Beef Pad Thai

Since we were downtown, we went to one of my favorite places to hide out; The Los Angeles Central Library

The 4th floor of the library

Nothing like old books!

My favorite section!! I am fascinated with Roman & Etruscan antiquities

Of course we had to do SOMETHING hair related! We decided to swing by Ulta after leaving the library.

You know I couldn't leave empty handed!! That Paul Mitchell is a MUST-HAVE as a winter leave-in. My hair feels like butter, and it's super shiny too. I got the 3.4oz size for about $3.95, not bad eh?

The Keracare Shampoo & FF Glossing Cream are staples around these parts, and a review on the Dermologica is coming soon!

New Tutorial This Week

[twist out from this weekend]

So my hair finally decided to come back to it's senses this weekend! To commemorate this momentous occasion, I decided to do a YouTube tutorial (Twist Out). Apparently YouTube doesn't like videos over 10 minutes, so I need to edit it a bit more before uploading.  I should have it up in the next day or so!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Defining myself, as opposed to being defined by others, is one of the most difficult challenges I face. - Carol Moseley-Braun

A little Friday curlspiration for your viewing pleasure!!! I needed it too, as you can see I am still wearing Monday's bun *sigh*

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