Posts tagged ‘black hair care’

Feed Your Face! Foods That Are Not Only Good For Your Skin, But On It.

I focus quite a bit on hair care, but today I want  to talk about skin.  Skin care is a beauty essential!  We so often focus on makeup products to make our skin appear fabulous and neglect the skin underneath.  If you want beautiful glowing skin forget the expensive cosmetics ( although I have them myself) and try some of these natural treasures for a beautiful face.  Of course diet is the most essential factor to gorgeous skin, but if your not quite up to par with your diet – here are some easy chemical free options to help revitalize your skin and get back your glow!

Natural Essentials For Your Beauty Regimen

1.  Oatmeal soothes dry, irritated skin

2. Cucumber, yogurt, avocado and honey moisturize

3.  Aloe vera, is a great moisturizer, and According to Shalini Vadhera, author of “Passport to Beauty,” aloe vera gel reflects as much as            20 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays.

4.  Jojoba, also a moisturizer, is an antioxidant

5.  Tea tree helps treat acne and oily skin

6. Clay help cleanse pores and detoxify skin

7. Sugar works as an exfoliant

These are just a few natural wonders to keep on hand, but there are many more.  I will be posting more of my favorite mixtures, but here a few to get you started.

Honey-Cocoa Butter Lip Balm

2 tbls. olive oil
1/2 tsp. honey (I have not tried this recipe with agave nectar yet)
3/4 tsp. beeswax — grated
1/2 tsp. pure cocoa butter
Flavored oil of your choice (like peppermint or vanilla)
1/4 tsp of vitamin E oil

  •  In a small saucepan, heat oil, honey, wax and butter over a low heat until just melted.
  •  Remove from heat and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes.
  •  Stir in flavoring and contents of vitamin E capsule.
  •  Pour into containers of your choice.

Mayonnaise-Coconut Oil Dry Skin Treatment

Makes 1 application

2 tablespoons real mayonnaise ( you can use Vegenaise as a vegan option)

1 teaspoon coconut oil

 Blend both ingredients.

  •  Smooth onto face, neck, rough elbows and knees or anywhere else you feel might benefit from it.
  •  Leave for 20 minutes.
  •  Rinse off thoroughly with tepid water.  If you like you follow with jojoba or coconut oil.

Tightening/Toning Lemon Egg White Mask (Vegetarian)

Makes 1 application

Juice from a lemon 1 1/2 Tbsp
1 egg white

  •  Beat together the egg white and lemon juice for 3 minutes.
  •  Apply directly to your face, avoiding the eyes.
  •  Leave on for 30 minutes.
  •  Rinse off with warm water.

Confessions of a Vegan

Due to some recent life stressors I have become reacquainted with an old friend (or foe) – milk chocolate.  I have “broken vegan hedge” for the first time in a year.  It was more than once or twice, the vegany police would have surely revoked my vegan powers and hauled me away. (Just for the record in spite of what my friend J thinks I did not become a vegan for the super powers)  I digress, the reason for this confession is the lovely glowing skin I’ve had since becoming a vegan is less bright and less clear.  I have been riddled with acne break outs over the past 2 1/2 weeks.  Now sure hormones and stress play a role, but I would get occasionally stressed and monthly hormonal before the milk chocolate and my face bore no ill effects…so I’m back off the chocolate and working to repair the damage.  I’ll be posting some of the natural acne remedies I found as well as some great natural ways to lighten hyperpigmentation secondary to inflammation (dark marks from the old zits).  So stay posted!

XOXO HippieChicChick

Hippies Shower Too… 5 Things A Hippie Can Teach You

When I talk about hippies I always do so tongue in cheek.  I know there is actually a political/religious/counter culture of  people who call themselves modern day hippies…this is NOT me.  I am simply an informed consumer/ avid label reader/ ethically conscientiousness individual, who believes the more we live off the earth( as opposed to the chemical laden cosmetics industry, pharmaceutical companies and FDA and USDA championed bio-engineered Frankenfoods)  the better off we all are!  I’ve read books, and watched documentaries, and done loads of research sure- but more than that over the years I’ve progressively incorporated  lifestyle changes that have greatly benefited me.  I feel better and even look better, and the more closely I adhere to a “living clean” lifestyle- the more convinced I am that it’s the best thing for me.  There are loads of great things you can do for yourselves and your family, but I figured if I only give you 5…you may actually give it a try.

1. FOOD

You actually are what you eat, so if what you eat is fast, cheap, and easy…you may want to reevaluate.  Without exaggeration what you eat can cure you or kill you.  “It’s not that serious.” you say, well actually it is.  There are numerous studies that have conclusively linked our diet to heart disease, obesity, diabetes, autoimmune disease, bone/kidney/eye/brain diseases, and common cancers.  As well as conclusive evidence showing that a plant based diet can not only prevent disease but actually reverse it!

2. CHEMICALS ARE BAD

It is getting increasingly difficult to avoid hazardous chemicals, but you should seriously try.  I figure avoiding all the stuff I know about will give my body a fighting chance to deal with all the stuff I don’t know about.  I have a strict ON the body is IN the body rule.  If it’s not safe to eat…it doesn’t go on my skin.  That includes chemical laden personal hygiene products like shampoos and conditioners, perfumed soaps, body lotions, petroleum filled lip glosses, etc.  The cosmetics industry is the worst since it is largely unregulated.  What that means is all those labels that say “all natural”  “organic”  “safe” are meaningless!   The Federal Drug Administration doesn’t test the safety of personal care products. It doesn’t even require that all of the ingredients be listed on the label.  I don’t trust the stuff they do test, not even going to think about what’s in the stuff they don’t. Watch this… 

Now stop scrunching your nose at me (I see you).  I don’t smell, I do shower, and am actually a bit of a Germaphobe clean freak.  There are just healthier ways to clean your body and your environment.  For body I use raw African black soap, lemon juice & baking soda scrubs, and for hair and scalp I use ACV and a cleansing clay like bentonite clay or rhassoul clay.  Tea tree oil has excellent antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic properties.  I even massage a bit under my arms in place of deodorant, works great, even in summer.

Did you know you can also  Make your own cleaners.  Does the job without the damage of household cleansers and is cheaper than buying the natural ones.  Even if you wear gloves to clean…if you can smell the chemical, it’s entered your body.

3. ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS BIG NO! NO!

If you were Indiana Jones, then artificial sweeteners would be the Temple Of Doom, evil Nazis, and the Soviets all rolled into one…their aim is to KILL YOU!  I’m being melodramatic you say, hardly.  Splenda, Equal, and any other random chemical that is supposed to sweeten your food should be avoided like the plague, literally…when you see a diet coke think bubonic plague.  Not only do artificial sweeteners pose a serious health risk, but anyone whose eaten them knows they are actually sweeter in taste than sugar.  This means increased sugar cravings for you that become harder to satisfy, causing you eat more sugar  or have to work extra hard to try not to.  If you have to have something sweetened,  just use sugar (vegetable glycerin is also an excellent alternative).

4. ORGANICS

If you follow the Dirty Dozen list you’ll do great.  If you can’t buy 100% of your food USDA certified organic, that’s ok, you don’t have to.  There are foods that are at higher risk for pesticide residue than others, these are the main ones you want to purchase organically.  I eat about 95% organic, but that has more to do with my fear of Frankenfoods (aka GMOs) than worry over pesticides.

5. HOMEOPATHICS

Now please believe me when I say, homeopathic medicine (especially after working in the medical field for 12 years) sounded like the biggest bunch of hooey ever.  I had no use for it and it seemed so completely ridiculous that I wouldn’t even justify it’s existence by actually trying it.  That is until 3 years ago when my chronic abdominal pain and digestive issues had gotten so bad I would go days without eating.  I have always had a temperamental digestive system…some of my earliest childhood memories involved prune juice and milk of magnesia…YUCK!  My abdominal discomfort and inability to…well…poo, became so normal that I didn’t give it much thought it was just apart of life.  Over the years I had seen countless doctors and specialist, had numerous test and procedures and was finally diagnosed with IBS, was told there was not much they could do, and sent on my way.  This was fine until 3 yrs ago when I grew to be in so much pain I became desperate…enter the Homeopath.  A friend of mine recommended I see hers’ and I was suffering so I was willing to try anything and figured what did I have to loose.  She looked at me held my wrist for a second and said ” you have a gluten allergy you need to  stop eating gluten immediately” me- How do you know???? (insert skeptical side eye here).  She gave me lots of other things to do and I left my appointment skeptical at best, feeling like I had completely wasted my time at worst, but I figured I wasn’t going to hurt to try it, I couldn’t possibly feel worse than I was already feeling.  Anywho long story short…guess what I have a gluten allergy.  Within a few weeks, my stomach pain COMPLETELY disappeared.  30 years of pain, now no pain at all… after a month I accidentally ate some gluten (in the beginning your still learning what you need to avoid, and some are not obvious) and guess what horrible stomach pain…I could go on but you get the point.  Now don’t get me wrong if I’m ever diagnosed with cancer I’m not going to rub crystals on my body and chant in a field at sunrise, I’ll see a physician- but what I’m saying is western medicine is not always right, and sometimes does more harm than good…so keep an open mind.

 

A Love  Note To The Naturals

There are so many natural and healthy ways to nurture your tresses, there is no need to sacrifice your health for your hair.  In fact a healthy diet will dramatically improve your ability to grow strong, healthy, and beautiful hair…to match that strong, healthy, and beautiful body you’ll have.  So make sure you read the labels of the products your applying to hair and body to make sure they don’t do more harm than good…not only for your hair, but YOURSELF.

Love, Peace, And NO Hair Grease,   XOXO Hippiechicchick

Entering The Promised Land Of Protective Styling

First time ever putting twist in my hair. Hair twisted with Kanekalon jumbo braid hair.

So due to a very busy schedule and upcoming move (super excited about the new space…dreading packing up the current one), I’ve decided to rock a protective style for a bit.  I love the term “protective style”, and in my case it’s very literal… It’s protection from ME!  From an itchy scissor finger during that awkward length stage to the time sucking chaos that  life sometimes presents, my hair occasionally needs protection from me.  Sounds like a strange thing for someone who is virtually obsessed with natural hair care and actually enjoys taking care of their hair to say but it’s true.  I had big plans for my hair, after my big chop March 26th of this year I decided to become a henna head when I reached collar bone length (my ultimate goal is waist length)- and almost 5 months to the day I’m there!  I’ve been eagerly researching for awhile,  had already started the blog article, and finally bought my henna and made a date with my lovely tresses.  I planned on a cozy little evening at home with my coils and some lovely hot tea, I figured wine and first time henna application would not be a good combo, and then it happened…LIFE.  All within the few short days between making my date and being able to keep it…  I found out I had to move a lot sooner than expected so my casual apartment hunting got a lot less casual; I had a three day convention fast approaching; I had to book and plan my mother’s 2 month trip to see me here in New York; I had an unexpected death in the family; an art show to prepare for; and all on top of my normal busy schedule.  I couldn’t see how I would have time to sleep, much less do anything with my hair! So I jumped onto YouTube, and got a quick tutorial on how to put in a protective style, I choose twist.  I had never done them before, but the YouTube tutorials made it look easy so I gave it a go.  Now it turned out..well…not great, I definitely have lots of room for improvement, but it’s not too bad and should last for the next couple of weeks.

Naturals protective styling can be a well needed break not only for your hair but from it when life gets a little overwhelming.  You can even do it yourself,  if I can so can you! And would you say 4 hours and 8 bucks is worth the few weeks of peace of mind and added time you’ll get? ummm YES!  Even though my hair didn’t turn out quite the way I thought, I still like it, and it was way easier to do than I thought. Now I’m totally psyched to experiment with some new styles- when I get the time that is…

xoxo hippiechicchick

Why “Going Natural” Isn’t For Everybody.

This statement is heard often by naturals, usually coming from those who are not, a blanket reason as to why some choose to continue chemically altering their hair texture; or it’s used in a derogatory way toward those with kinkier hair textures and no curl pattern, the prime target for relaxers from the beginning.   Many natural are confused by statements such as this, if not flat out annoyed by it, “How can some thing that naturally grows from your scalp, is genetically programmed by your DNA, and as congenital as the color of your skin –not be for you?”

Some with this point of view will say their preference for processed hair is just about style, or because “kinky” hair is not a flattering look on them, or relaxed hair is less work, even “I would go natural if I had ‘good hair’.”, usually referring to a silkier hair of a less coarse texture.  I, like many other naturals, used to think this expression was just, well, silly. I can say now the longer I’ve been natural and the more people I’ve come across- I’ve come to believe there is some truth to this statement.  Yup! Me a die hard natural does think that being natural is not for some people. Why?

Natural Hair Is It Just About Hair?

Now let me clarify the point that I do not advocate the use of toxic chemicals for anyone, especially subjecting yourself to the hazardous exposure of  harmful treatments for vanity’s sake.  I don’t think that’s for anyone! I’m talking about mind set.  The variety of reasons a person decides to embrace their natural hair texture is as varied as the beautiful array of textures you’ll find among natural hair.  For some natural hair is just about hair- no more, no less.  I started out in this category, but over the months and years as my hair transitioned so did my way of thinking; thinking not only in relation to my hair but myself.

My Story

I’ve always been a pretty self-confident person, so the concept of self-acceptance was not something I ever gave much thought (much less thought I needed to work on). I’ve always kind of marched to the beat of a different drummer and did my own thing, not really caring if it was the “cool” thing to do or not. Even with all that confidence, my point of insecurity has ALWAYS been my hair; so years ago the thought of “going natural” was utterly insane, I know that statement sounds insane, but I could not fathom not relaxing my hair.  To me “going natural” meant the exposure of my Achillies’  heel, the loud and proud boast of my biggest insecurity, why would anyone do that?!?  My hair never had any terrifying experience with relaxer( save my teen years) and I was always able to retain length and thickness with the relaxer, so saw no reason to change.  Then 5 years ago I walked into a Dominican salon for a relaxer and blow-out and walked out with pin straight (unbeknownst to me irreparably damaged) hair.  Long story short, that was my last relaxer, but I was no where near ready to accept my hair, I just started getting my hair pressed.  Different monkey, same back.  I became positively aqua-phobic, never left the house without an umbrella- NEVER!  The rain would expose my big secret, at this point I wasn’t even sure what that secret was ( I hadn’t seen my natural hair since I was 7 1/2 years old), I just knew natural hair was, bad hair.  I continued my natural journey in this perpetual state of transitioning and terror, till finally I big chopped ( I say big chop even though when I cut my hair it was below chin length) letting go of my relaxed ends and finally embracing my natural hair….or so I thought.

Reality…

I did not like my natural hair, I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, but what I found once I started doing my own hair wasn’t it.  Not to mention that I was completely clueless as to how to care for it.  The entire time I was transitioning I went to a stylist.  I stood in the bathroom mirror hair freshly washed and conditioned, ready to detangle….no so much…I covered my frizzy lopsided afro and rushed down the street to a girlfriends house (she had been natural for ages), hoping no one would see me and begged for help.  From that day I became a typical product junkie, and spent, well lots, on trying to find the right product for my hair to get it to look the way I wanted it to.  After a few weeks of trial and error and not leaving my house, I was back at the salon- and my love of flexirods began.  Yet another monkey, same back.  I could have these amazingly sleek, frizz free, super cute spirals and still be natural- yay!  Well after I figured out what I spending in roller sets to maintain this “look”, I thought going natural was supposed to be apart of simplifying- I’m spending now more than ever!  So while I couldn’t do my own roller sets I could flat iron like a champ, but keeping up those sleek tresses cost me a second big chop.  Lesson Learned.  I then became determined to actually learn my own hair, learn what it needed, and how to work with it, period.  I felt it was ridiculous to be a grown woman and not know how to comb my own natural hair, but frankly that was the position I was in, relaxed hair- knew it like the back of my hand, but this- no clue.  I’m the kind of person who likes to be informed and when I want to know the ins and outs of something I research it like a fean, natural hair was no exception.  The more I learned to care for my hair and understand my texture, the more I was able to see the beauty in it.  When I stopped exposing my hair to heat, I realized the frizzy straight mess that was on my head was heat damage, I learned that I actually had waves, coils and curls.  The longer I worked with my hair the acceptance I hoped to acquire, turned to love….until one day after a normal wash and go. I found myself feeling my soft springy spirals and coils and hearing myself say out loud ” I love my hair, I love my hair…” and then I had a sudden flashback of my relaxed days of me blow drying and flat ironing my coils- literally burning my hair into submission. Flashbacks of leaving my relaxers on for longer than needed to get my hair straighter. Flashbacks of hating summer days filled with humidity, of fearing the beach and swimming pools- sure my hair would look great when wet, but as it dried the truth would be revealed- my hair is not straight-my hair is nappy.

Flashbacks of the many times I would say to myself and out loud ” I hate my hair!”   (Hated it because it would usually not do what I wanted, which is be pin straight.) Understanding only now that the processed fried mess that used to be on top of my head was not my hair but the damaged remnants of falsehood of trying to be something I’m not… and justifiably something to be hated.

But my hair – the beautiful soft coils that grow from my head, are a natural extension of my beauty and heritage, an extension of me and therefore justifiably loved!  This love of the one thing about myself I truly disliked, enabled me to love myself unconditionally.

Why Not For Everyone?

In my opinion accepting your natural hair has a lot to do with accepting yourself, not the image of yourself you project, not the image of the you – you would like to be…but just YOU as you are.  Unfortunately not everyone is in the frame of mind to do this. I said before natural hair is as congenital as the color of your skin, well sadly there are those that if they could change their skin color as easily as their hair texture- they would.  No matter the culprit- there are people in the world who do not accept themselves as is.  If you do not, or at the very least are not even willing to make the journey, maybe at this time your  real self  is not for you.  But don’t give up on them naturals,when someone says” Being natural isn’t for everyone.”- what they are really saying is they are not ready (maybe even afraid) to take the journey. So keep being naturally fabulous and be willing to offer them the help they’ll need when they’re ready for it. Like once upon a time someone did for me.

Naturals be proud, not only of your natural beauty but of your love and acceptance of yourselves as you actually are, not as someone else has told you, you should be.

XOXO, hippiechicchick

 

How To Keep Natural Hair Moisturized

I think the single biggest misconception among those with kinky hair texture is that oil is a  moisturizer. But many feel the need to add excessive amounts of oils to the hair and scalp because black skin produces less sebum (aka oil) right? Wrong! Consider this myth busted.  The reason afro-textured hair tends to be dry is because the sebum has to travel the length of the hair to coat the strands. The kinkier the hair, the more difficulty the sebum has traveling down the hair, therefore the more dry or dull the hair looks.  There are of course exceptions to every rule and there are some who produce more or less oil than average, but this is in reference to healthy scalp function.

Hair needs moisture to maintain good health and elasticity. What is the ultimate moisturizer?  WATER!  This makes  water-based products and of course water itself the best things to use to achieve the greatest moisture benefit!  The hair optimally should be nourished and treated daily with water, even if it’s just a refreshing spritz.  The molecular structure  of water allows it to penetrate the hair shaft, moisturizing the hair. Oil molecules are too large to penetrate the hair shaft and therefore sit on the strands acting as a barrier.  This serves an extreamly useful and beneficial purpose for the hair, but moisturizing is not one of them.  With that being said, here is an exception…

Moisturizing Oil?

Coconut oil is It is also one of the few oils that penetrates the hair shaft. Studies have confirmed that the ability of coconut oil to penetrate the hair shaft is likely due to its low molecular weight and straight linear chains. These characteristics coupled with its high affinity (or attraction) to hair proteins cause the coconut oil to penetrate the hair shaft.

It is easy to see how the ability to penetrate the hair shaft and the high affinity to proteins makes coconut oil so beneficial for the hair. Not only does the high affinity to proteins help it penetrate the hair shaft, but it also discourages protein loss and reduces the occurrence of hygral fatigue. Studies conducted in India confirm that when compared to mineral oil and sunflower oil, “coconut oil was the only oil found to reduce the protein loss remarkably for both undamaged and damaged hair when used as a pre-wash and post-wash grooming product.” Another study suggests that coconut oil reduces the ability of the hair shaft to swell and thereby reduces the likelihood of hygral fatigue. Hygral fatigue is caused when the hair swells and constricts due to the absorption and loss of water. This makes coconut oil a most excellent oil to pre-poo with.  (Pre-pooing- A treatment applied prior to cleansing. It usually consists of oils and applied a few hours before cleansing or the night before the cleansing. This is usually performed to help the hair maintain necessary moisture during a cleansing  process.)  

Determine Hair Porosity

Our hair is naturally porous ( Having minute holes through which liquid or air may pass).  This means just as quickly as we fill our tresses with moisture it can escape.  The cuticle is the outer layer of the hair, it’s made up of scale like cells that look similar to shingles on a roof.  These “shingles” can be raised or tightly compact which determines the level of the hairs porosity.  Determining your hair’s porosity is very important, because it will largely effect how you moisturize and retain moisture for your hair.

  • Low Porosity

Low Porosity

Low– po is when the cuticle of the hair shaft is tightly compact.  This type of hair is more difficult to moisturize, as the compact nature of the cuticle does not allow moisture to easily enter or leave the hair shaft.  You will notice your hair takes longer to get thoroughly wet, and both water and product tends to just sit on top of the hair as opposed to entering it.  To moisturize this type of hair heat is actually a good thing.  Now hold up! Put down the blow dryer and back away from the flat iron!  I mean we are usually taught to use cool to cold water when washing and conditioning hair to seal the cuticle and add shine, but for low-po hair you should cleanse and condition with warm water. The warm water will help to temporarily lift the cuticle allowing moisture to enter the hair shaft more easily.  After cleansing and conditioning you can rinse with cool water or acv to close cuticle.  You will also benefit from using a hooded dryer or heat cap when deep conditioning.

  • Normal Porosity

Normal Porosity

No- po hair is when the cuticle is compact and permits moisture to pass through the hair shaft into the cortex as necessary, but does not allow too much moisture to penetrate the cortex. This hair type is pretty easy to moisturize and keep moisturized, and should stay moisturized with regular cleansing and conditioning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • High Porosity

High Porosity

Hi-po hair has a cuticle with wide spaces in between the cuticle and the shaft.  High porosity hair is a sign of damage secondary to chemicals (including color),  heat, or rough manipulation.  Although your hair may feel dry it is capable of absorbing A LOT of water, due to the large openings in the cuticle.  Generally the more porous the hair the more moisture it tends to absorbs.  Since our aim is to moisturize, this seems good, but more is not always better- sometimes it’s just more; and too much moisture creates a whole new set of problems.  Like over drying, high porosity hair absorbs more water when wet – but also looses more as it dries.  Hi-po hair can also stretch beyond a healthy limit due to the increased weight of  hair when full of water, this constant stretching of the hair causes it to become weaker and more prone to breakage.  For hi-po hair minimizing if not eliminating heat is a good idea and consider dry finger detangling with oil as opposed to detangling with a brush or comb while hair is wet and more fragile.

 

 

 

 

Porosity Test

After hair is cleansed and free from any and all products, place a strand in a glass of room temp water.  Normal to low porosity strands will float. High porosity hair will sink to the bottom of the glass from absorbing loads of water and becoming too heavy to float.

 

Why Oil Is Also Important

Since our hair is naturally porous, after we get the moisture in there- how do we keep it?  Here’s where oil is the the most important. It sits on the hair shaft since the molecules are too large to enter it, coating the hair and sealing in moisture.  Oils also lubricate our strands making the hairs slide over each other more easily reducing tangles and friction.  It is important to use the oil to seal already moisturized hair. If you use oils without  moisturizing before , the oil will seal the moisture out of the hair strand and lead to a coated feel and eventual dryness. Build up from heavy oils is one of the main culprits in a scenario where we feel like no matter what we do, our hair is still dry!  You may have to remove current build up first, and then the moisture can get in.

Keeping your hair properly moisturized will minimize breakage keeping hair strong and healthy for maximum length retention. Even if long and strong is not your goal, I’m sure beautiful hair is.

References:

http://journal.scconline.org/pdf/cc2005/cc056n05/p00283-p00295.pdf

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15224783

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