Post Braids Healthy Hair Regimen

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A few days ago I took down the cornrows because they were a bit back heavy and giving me a headache.  No good, right?  Especially seeing as to how I started a new job (YAY!!) and needed to have my wits about me, not worrying about an aching head.

A good start that I followed so as not to have tangles from dead hair build up and dirt from the braids was to comb through with my fingers and then a wide tooth comb as I took down every braid.  This is VERY important to do BEFORE washing your hair post braids because let me tell you, it is NOT fun or a pretty sight to step into the shower and get the hair wet only to have it turn into massive dreadlock -type balls of tangled hair, dirt, and product build up.  My mother had braids for the first time a couple of months ago and she did not detangle well before getting in the shower (I wasn’t home to tell her this vital step, she thought she could just hop into the shower and wash her hair as normal) and let’s just say her thoughts about doing a big chop and going natural like me became a reality a LOT quicker than she’d imagined.  She emerged with matted clumps of hair that even her stylist couldn’t detangle, so chop chop and now my mama is officially a natural diva like yours truly.   It just so happened that she had a somewhat short haircut anyway, likes short hair and planned to chop at some point, but BE CAREFUL because there won’t be that silver lining for you if you had no plans to cut your hair and then NEED to.

Mama's new haircut

After detangling well, I deep conditioned to soften my hair by applying Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose conditioner, olive oil, and coconut oil for approximately 30 minutes.  This step is great because it pampers your hair after being tucked away for a while, moisturizes, and like I said, it makes it soft and lush for the washing aspect.  This was followed by Trader Joe’s Tingle Tree shampoo because I wanted to get my scalp all invigorated and clean.  I love the fact that it actually does make your skin tingle!  Wash well to get any residue from having those braids and then smooth lots of conditioner through the hair (I used a combination of Aubrey Organics GPB and Suave Almond and Shea Butter).  Let this work its magic while you shower as normal and maybe do a body polish/scrub.  Use a shower comb and gently comb through while the conditioner is in the hair to make sure that there are no matted or tangled bits (there shouldn’t be any if the other steps were followed correctly; my hair was so easy to handle by this point).

Voila, soft healthy hair post braids!  No need to chop off sections or cry because of the nightmare of trying to detangle a matted ball of curls. Just diligently work with it as you go and then there’ll be no horror movie ending for your tresses.  I then dried my hair some by plopping a t-shirt on my hair to soak up some of the water so that I could twist my hair while damp and not sopping wet.  Using Qhemet Biologics Olive and Honey balm, I made small twists all over my head as a protective style.  I left these in for a couple of days, pinning back the front in a cute style for work and then untwisted and fluffed for the weekend (I can wear my hair in a twist out for work, I just wasn’t going to untwist them that soon since it takes me a while to twist because I have bad shoulders).  Easy peasy, hair is healthy and growing.

Hopefully this is helpful for those who are thinking about getting braids!  These steps made the post-wash and detangle session a breeze.

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Summer Cornrows

The ultimate bane of my hair’s existence seems to be single strand knots.  These tiny “fairy knots” are when curly hair tangles on itself and creates almost impossibly small knots along the hair shaft.  For me, it’s partially because I have “hands in hair” syndrome, lol, where I can’t stop patting and playing in my soft curls.  So to overcome that, which leads to me popping off hair strands with the knots, I’ve decided to get cornrows for a while.  Cornrows are a protective style that hides the hair’s natural ends and therefore lets it grow without tangles.

While in the cornrows, I will be spritzing everyday with my aloe grow concoction to stimulate my scalp.   What are some of your favorite protective styles??

Creamy Lips

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The hunt was on for a perfect creamy beige lipstick, after being inspired by my friend and fellow blogger at http://naturaltaketwo.wordpress.com/ when she posted this photo:

I’d never been able to find a great color that would work on me because most seemed to just look ashy and being the twin of crackhead Tyrone Biggums was NOT a goal of mine.

Mac was my first stop because I’d seen many beautiful looking colors on their website for lipsticks that may be able to fit the bill.   Problem was, I couldn’t just go ordering any ole thing off of the website without trying it on, expecting to NOT have the same problem of ashy looking lips that I’d been previously having.  Why is it that things in person never look like they do in photos/online?  Colors that I’d written down the names of turned out to be the totally wrong choice once I was at the Mac counter, so it’s certainly a good thing that I tried it on first instead of blindly ordering and hoping!

After trying on no less than 15 lipsticks/cremes/lipglasses I came across a smooth and rich duo that fit my bill perfectly!  Welcome to my makeup family, Mac Fresh Brew and Viva Glam V lipglass!

Here’s photos with it on:

It’s rich and luscious on the lips, feels good because it’s a part of their lustre line. The lipglass has a good shine, which I can appreciate.  What I really love is that because it’s part of the Viva Glam line, then the full proceeds go to Aids research/support via the http://www.macaidsfund.org/ !!!  Giving back and getting glam, win win!

The rest of the makeup is my Big Girl Cosmetic’s dual foundation compact in #45 , Cover Girl Lash Blast for the mascara, Revlon brow enhancer for the eyebrows (loooooving this stuff!  it makes perfectly filled in, neat eyebrows a reality), and Jordana Easy liner in seagreen on the lower lash line.

Loving Beyonce’s makeup and nude lip here:

By the way, hair is getting big 😀  Check out the fierceness:

Updates and Reviews

Starting Weight: 186

Now Weight: 184

I have a gym setup in my house that includes weights, an elliptical, an ab lounger, fitness quality jump rope, and dvds such as hip hop abs and celebrity bootcamp, so those will be the main things that I utilize for workouts and mention on the blog.  Since dedicating to getting healthier on Saturday, I used the elliptical for 30 mins and the ab lounger for many repetitions , all while watching Law & Order to distract me from the fact that I was doing a dreaded workout 😛  I find that music is cool to work out to, but watching tv DEFINITELY makes the time go by much more quickly.  Which do you prefer, music, television, reading, silent meditation,  etc while working out?

A good resource that I’ve come across for tracking your progress while losing weight, getting healthy  is the website http://sparkpeople.com/ It tracks calories, progress, fitness, and gives good tips so I would highly recommend it.  Just remember to keep it updated!

On to beauty and hair product reviews 😀  I know that’s what you want!

Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Creme - Hand Cream - Burt's Bees

I have found the key to satiny soft hands!   Burt’s Bees Almond Milk beeswax hand creme is pure heaven because it smells good, feels like lush creamy goodness, AND garners awesome results.  My hands take a beating in the winter because of the harsh cold winds of Chicago, so it’s nice to pamper them with something that leaves the skin feeling healthy and moisturized.  Wish that I’d had this for the winter!  A+ for this product all of the way.  I purchased mine while at the Cracker Barrel waiting to eat, but it can be found online or anywhere that Burt’s Bee’s products are sold such as Walgreens.

Since my hands are looking and feeling so much better, I’ve been on QUITE the nail polish kick, changing the color practically every other day.  Part of that changing so often is because of my general restlessness with one look, but another is the annoying fact that so many polishes chip if you happen to even LOOK at your nails the wrong way.  So annoying, right ladies?  Well, Sally Hansen has created a godsend for those of us who may want a nail look to last for more than half an hour.  Their new Complete Salon Manicure really does have the effect of a base coat, rich polish, and top coat in one.  This stuff LASTS!  So far I’ve purchased in Choco-latte and Hidden Treasure.  Hidden Treasure is fun because it’s clear with flecks of grey, pink, gold depending on how you look at it and works wonders when used as a top coat over something else.  When I went to Jamaica last week, I put on a cream colored base coat with Hidden Treasure on top and it lasted the whole trip of 4 days and beach fun.   Definite A+ on this line of products as well and I WILL be getting many more of the colors which can be seen here: http://www.sallyhansen.com/product.cfm?product=385

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Nail Polish, Choco-Latte

Remember when I posted about starting to take biotin to help my hair continue to grow?  Well dear readers, I am one of those people who had the unfortunate side effect that they say can happen, which is broken out skin 😦  I’ve curtailed my usage of the supplement because it has caused a massive slew of bumps along my jawline and on my cheeks.  NOT a good look, especially when my hair has been healthy anyway and not really needing the extra help.   So I just wanted to give the update that Biotin is not the route for me, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t work for you because different bodies react differently to it 🙂

Now about this huge head of hair I am growing.  My beloved Qhemet’s Amla and Olive heavy cream is running low, so of course I had to go to the health foods store and replace it.  While there, I happened to notice Qhemet’s Olive and Honey Hair Balm and a light bulb went off.  I’d spoken “here” about wanting to incorporate honey into my summer program because honey is a humectant and therefore takes moisture from the air and imparts it into the hair!  So when I saw that, I bypassed the heavy cream which may be a bit much for the summer humidity and grabbed up the olive/honey balm.   Can I just say, this stuff is divine?  PARTY time, I LOVE Qhemet’s 😀  Hair is soft and pretty and smells nice.  So far I’ve just added some to dry hair that was in an old twist out, but when I was my hair tomorrow, I will use it out of the shower for a wash and go and see how that works and to do some two strand twists.  I have high hopes on it’s moisture potential!  😀

hair hero: Singer Nneka (Check her out here: LOVE this song – Heartbeat)

2nd Natural Hair Meetup – Chicago

This past Saturday Leila of http://www.bglhonline.com hosted the second Chicago natural hair meetup and it was so much fun!  The first meetup was more a meet and chat type event, where we sat and shared hair tips/stories/questions while munching on muffins and goodies.  THIS meetup was a vendors paradise however because there were about 11 vendors and all of the wonderful natural hair girlies showed up to buy things and get information.  The turnout was much larger this time too; there were about 30 people last time and I’d say over 100 this time!  Great fun 😀

I was selling www.biggirlcosmetics.com makeup and we did well.  You all KNOW that I love me some makeup so it was enjoyable to describe it and do makeovers on people or color match them.  Congrats to my boss, the owner of the line, Kiley Russell because Big Girl Cosmetics just got picked up by 20 Macy’s stores!  And the new retail location should be opening in Hyde Park Chicago this summer like July.  Maybe Michelle Obama will come home and let me do her makeup 😛

What really made the event so fun is getting to know my fellow beautiful naturals.  So laid back and easy going with sharing information!  And just genuinely happy to see each other succeed, talk about sisterhood camaraderie!  Everyone was buying up makeup and jewelry, squealing over each other’s hairstyles and asking tips, complimenting, and just joking around while having fun 😀  I loved it!  There is supposed to be another one at the beginning of July and needless to say I’ll be there bright and early.

Fabulous chicas mingled with at the event:

Bree of Shop Boutique Unique She’s funny and cool, I love hanging with her at the meetups!  I seriously wanted to buy up ALL of her jewelry, it’s so beautiful and she even handpaints and makes so much of it.  Just GORGEOUS things, check out her store by clicking the link.  Aren’t these pretty?

Image of Branch Earrings

Patrice of Afrobella She is beyond sweet and down to earth, even though she’s a big time blogger for VOGUE black now!!  Couldn’t have happened to a better person 🙂  I wish her luck on her blogger journey, doing it big girl!  Keep it up 😀

Chris-Tia, author of “Thank God I’m Natural” This lady is a total class act.  Super nice and just BEAUTIFUL, I loved her hair.  I meant to ask where she got it done because it was comprised of intricate twists, but probably not done in Chicago 😦  She signed books for me and my boss, just a total doll 😀

Photos from the event:

Big Girl Cosmetics Table

the fabulous Bree of Shop Boutique Unique

Me and Chris-Tia author of "Thank God I'm Natural"

Chicago Natural Hair Meetup Part 2

Saturday May 15th from 11am – 2pm there will be another natural hair meetup in Chicago at The Little Black Pearl, hosted by Leila of http://bglhonline.com/ again!!  I can’t wait to see my fellow naturals 🙂  If you read my previous post about the first meetup, you guys know that it was a good time and I hope that anyone in the Chicago area will come to join us to share hair care info, beauty products, hair products and much more 🙂  Check us out!

I’ll be there selling wonderful products by www.biggirlcosmetics.com such as diva gloss, mineral eye shadows, body butter and more 😀  The owner is a fellow Chicago natural sporting gorgeous Locs, so we have to support our peeps!  Bree of http://www.shopboutiqueunique.com/ will also be in attendance and she always has fly jewelry, so have those wallets ready for everything!  I’m sure there’ll be goodies all around.

Biotin Supplements

I’ve decided to start taking a biotin supplement in order to help my hair continue to thrive.  Any of you ladies take biotin and if so, what dosage?  The pills that I’ve acquired are 600 mcg, which I figured was a good number.  They had 1000mcg and 5000mcg, but that seems a bit high to start off, right?  When choosing new supplements, it is always good to start low and WORK up to a higher dosage than to start high and feel sick or have an adverse reaction.  They are Solgar Biotin tablets that I will take once daily and maybe double if I find that they work well and that I have no side effects.  Biotin is said to aid hair and nail growth, so the results should be quite interesting in the beauty realm of things.  Article on biotin found here. Please be sure to leave some comments about your experiences with the supplement!  I’m curious 🙂  Jenell of kinkycurlycoilyme has been raving about it and I’d heard good things before, so please share your experiences with it as well!

It is suggested that a good multivitamin also be consumed with the biotin and I’d run out of my multivitamin anyway, so I purchased Rainbow Light multivitamin/mineral daily pill with probiotics.  I’m bad with my nutrition, so having a good supplement for it is always a plus.  I know that it’s just that, a SUPPLEMENT aka addition to proper diet, but will work on improving my food diet.  This one is supposed to support digestive health, has nourishing hormone balancing herbs for women, and contains vegetable juice complex.  Sounds like win all around!

Washed the hair with Trader Joe’s Tingle Tree Shampoo for the second time tomorrow and must say that I find the tingly scalp feeling after the wash to be highly invigorating.  I’d allowed some lady to put a pomade on the side of my hair while at the Proud Lady Beauty and Hair show and it turned white and felt ENTIRELY too gummy, so I needed more than a cowash to insure that my hair would be clean and healthy.  This shampoo did the trick!  Felt clean and smelled deliciously of peppermint 🙂  I give the product an A and ingredients include rosemary, peppermint oil, eucalyptus, and tea tree oil for clean smelling yummy hair.  I could see this feeling DIVINE in the summer after a hot/humid day because it’s so cooling and tingly, like a minty mojito for the scalp 😀

To follow up the shampoo, I used a moisture replenishing combination of the new rich and thick Suave Almond and Shea conditioner.  For the low price of about $3, you get a HUGE 32oz bottle of creamy goodness.  It felt nourishing on its own, but i added olive oil while in the shower so that I could make sure to impart enough moisture into my hair since I washed with shampoo and didn’t just cowash.  The conditioner contains no ‘cones and has ingredients like Shea butter, jojoba oil, rosemary oil, and sweet almond oil.  Nom nom!  I’ll update when I do a cowash with it so that you know how it fairs on its own 🙂

Hair Hero: the beautiful Tracie Thoms

Making my curls POP

Apparently my curlies LOVE them some protein 😀  I used V05 Passionfruit smoothie conditioner with soy milk proteins for the first time and WOWZA, I knew my hair was curly but I’d never had them all pop out and be so defined with NOTHING but a cowash.  Matter of fact, I’d never  had them that curly and defined EVER.  And this conditioner only costs about .70 cents, so really, can you go wrong??  I purchased at Walgreens.

edit: In my excitement, I forgot to post ingredients!  Thanks to JenellyBean for reminding me in the comments 😛 No ‘cones for the curlies who don’t like those, includes biotin too!  Even though that’s the last thing on the list so not sure how MUCH is included.  It’s slippery and more on the thin side, so I wouldn’t use as a deep conditioner since I prefer creamy thick ones for that, such as any Aubrey Organics conditioner.  But this is great for a cowash sometimes!  I also wouldn’t overdo it because of the protein and not wanting a protein imbalance 🙂  But it’s great for maybe every other week.

ingredients list: Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearalkonium Chloride, Cetrimonium Chloride, Fragrance (Parfum), Glyceryl Stearate, DMDM Hydantoin, Disodium EDTA, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Orange 4, Red 4, Polysorbate 20, Red 40, Propylene Glycol, Stearyl Alcohol, Steareth 21, Tocopheryl Acetate, Passiflora Incarnata Flower Extract, Panthenol, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Prunus Persica (Peach) Fruit Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Niacinamide, Biotin (Vitamin H)

I have 4a hair mainly with 3c in a patch directly in the center of my head.  The 4a curls often just fluff into an afro unless coaxed into a curly pattern, so while it generally looks like a regular ‘fro, the coily curls are there if I actually work to define them, just letting you know what type of hair I have so that you can decide if you want to try the conditioner 🙂

Pics of my hair straight out the shower, no product but the Vo5 used:

The conditioner smells super nice, fresh and fruity.  It’s really like a fruit smoothie, so definitely an A on the scent.  A for the curl definition and I’ll probably leave some in as a leave in conditioner the next time that I wash my hair with it.  Give it a go, girls 😀

Hair Hero of the day: coily curly girl Sophie Okonedo

Natural Hair and Stereotypes

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One topic that we discussed yesterday at the Natural Hair Meet-up was the stereotyping of people with natural hair.  Have you encountered the whole “Oh, she probably has incense and listens only to neo-soul and is vegetarian” kind of stereotyping?   What is most amusing is when people assume that type of thing when everything about what is in front of them contradicts it!  I love my ex-stepmom but then when i chopped my hair, she was all “You’ll look so pretty with gold and natural face makeup.  Very earthy tones and stuff now!”  *side eye*  If you’ve seen my blog for any amount of time, even the past 4 posts or so, natural face makeup and earth tones do NOT meet very often on my face!  Lol!  I’m all about bright fun blues, greens, purple, pinks, etc.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

So I was like, um, I am not completely transforming into a new person just because I decided to not get a chemical perm anymore!  I just thought it was amusing that even though I am almost NEVER seen with that type of look, it was assumed that because I had natural hair that I would suddenly change into that person.

Then there’s the thing with the music.  They were saying that people assume it’s all neo-soul or maybe indie music, that type of thing.  And all of us agreed that we like different types of music; of course some really like neo-soul, but the HAIR didn’t dictate that!  Not any less crazy than saying that all black girls with straight hair or weave like rap.  Saying ALL types of anything ALWAYS is a certain way is bound to get you painted with the aura of FAIL.  While I do have India Arie’s “Ready for Love” on my iPod, that is probably about it for her!  Trying to figure out my iPod by my hair would be an impossible mission, because it is the most random thing ever with Gucci Mane next to Britney Spears next to Sugarland next to Fall Out Boy next to Michael Jackson next to Luther Vandross next to the Beatles.  Can you tell all of that by seeing my hair in a curly chunky fro?  Me thinks not 😉

natural hair music???

What stereotypes have you encountered?  About having natural hair? About being Black?  About being White?  About having Blonde hair?  about being human??  Share some stories and how you’ve been stereotyped and which ones fit and which ones were WAY off base 😀

Remember, get to KNOW people or stfu instead of painting them with a broad brush!  It usually just ends up with you being the funny butt of their stories that they recount with their friends as they engage in non-stereotypical behavior.  You’ve been warned

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Chicago Natural Hair Meet Up

Today I went to my first natural hair meetup and it was super fun, even though I was running on CP time and got there pretty late 😦  Still got to mingle and isn’t that what it’s all about?  Having fun, chit chatting, exchanging information = ALWAYS WIN!

It’s quite nice to put a real in person face to the web personas that you are used to admiring, tweeting with, or reading the blogs of.  Lovely Leila Noelliste of Black Girl Long Hair put on the event and it was held at the Little Black Pearl of Chicago.  People brought products to trade and some jewelry was on sale, which allowed me to meet my buddy Bree of Boutique Unique and buy a gorgeous cranberry colored bracelet which I will rock the heck out of in NYC this week.

She’s so sweet and pretty, check out her boutique for great priced jewelry and shirts

Bree and Socialitedreams

Shout outs to her and Tori from A Kinky Hair Monologue whom I got to meet.  Last but not least, it was a pleasure to meet Patrice, Ms. Afrobella herself!  She was oh so cute with her big pretty hair!  Quite the bella indeed 🙂

Socialitedreams and Afrobella

The weather decided to pull a Chicago and go from 65 degrees Friday to 30 degrees and snowing Saturday, but we all came out and had fun!  It was a great meetup and I look forward to any future ones!

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