Archive | July, 2012

Don’t Wait for Weight

30 Jul

I recently lost 20lbs which feels soo good and I want to inspire other women and men to also lose weight naturally. I began dancing around 4 months ago to dancehall. Now, I’ve always danced in clubs to reggae and dancehall but I decided to take it to a new level and began to spend around 1 hour to 1 and a 1/2 hours a day, twice a week to high-intensity dancehall dance workouts. At first, my muscles hurt so much I couldn’t walk up the stairs but then I began to learn new songs and get my body used to workouts.

Some people jog, some people cycle but I prefer to dance. Dancing works almost every muscle in your body but you also get to enjoy good music and develop a sense of rhythym. Dancehall dancing has improved my stamina and flexibility as well as toning my legs and giving me a tight butt! As I notice my body not getting a challenge from a dance workout, I add new songs and add new moves as well as other ways to spice it up including: gymnastics (splits, cartwheels), yoga (for flexibility) and belly dancing.

My goal is to lose 50 more pounds to become 130lbs but I wanted to celebrate the first 20 and encourage others to dance the pounds off–while eating tons of fruit, whole grains, vegetables, fish and water!

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Natural Hair Odor

30 Jul

Most naturalistas go a week or two without washing their hair–which is beneficial for the hair to get the most out of natural oils but after a few days and multiple hair oils/products the hair can start to smell…funky. I experience this often and feel self-conscious about my hair odor in public because I fear my hair smells strongly of Shea butter or coconut oil, or worse–just plain musty and dirty. My own conditioner and shampoos have extremely mild scents since they are all-natural so how can you ensure your hair smells lovely every day?

1. Essential Oils

Rubbing a few drops of essential oil on your pillow or satin hair cap will ensure your hair will smell quite nice in the morning. Pick a scent you love like jasmine or hyacinth or rose and keep your hair smelling terrific.

2. Mix peppermint oil or rose oil into a carrier oil like EVOO or coconut oil so it will mask the musty scent and keep your hair smelling minty!

3. Buy hair products that smell good!

I love the way Miss Jessie’s Curly Meringue smells. It always leaves a good scent in my hair and holds curls really well. There are lots of products you can use that also smell great–so make sure you sniff before you buy leave-in conditioners, hair gels and hair sprays!

Afro Hair Grows–And That’s That!

30 Jul

I admit to being ignorant to natural haircare and Black hair growth before educating myself through the Internet and product knowledge a few years ago. I only knew what my mother and family did to my hair, but that was very harmful to my hair and inhibited its growth. I was skeptical my natural hair would grow, as I had experienced short hair full of breakage for my whole life but after adopting a natural haircare regimen including organic, natural shampoos, conditioners, deep conditioners, hair creams and protective styling–my hair is so thick, healthy and the longest it has ever been naturally. Plus, it is growing every day. Afro hair DOES grow, and having short hair is not an excuse. Length is achievable and attainable but you have to listen to your hair and respond.

When my hair is experiencing a lot of split ends, or is very dry–I always wear it in twists for 4 days up to 2 weeks.

My hair in fresh twists

My hair in fresh twists

During the time my hair is getting a “vacation” from everyday wear and tear, I am able to rub my scalp and moisturize it with herbal water and oils. When I take my hair down–it is fuller, longer, stronger and softer!

The key to growing Afro hair is leaving it alone. Cleanse, moisturize and detangle it–then don’t touch it for a couple of days whether it is in a bun, twists or any other protective style. And it will grow. At night, I make sure to protect my ends and moisturize my hair before putting on a silk cap. If I didn’t, my hair would be so dry and just break off–staying at the same length forever. And my hair is very thick. It may not grow in length, but it gets thicker and thicker and so it is very voluminous. I take this into account as the way my hair naturally grows, and as an achievement that something is actually working.

Instead of pouring all your money and time into hair extensions, why not pour that money and time into growing your own hair into the length you desire while maintainng healthy, strong and soft hair that is 100% you?

Natural, Please.

28 Jul

What does it mean to be ‘natural’? Using natural hair and body products, as well as eating organic and natural foods (as opposed to conventional and processed foods); and using natural methods of exercise versus diet pills etc would define being ‘natural’. The dictionary defines it as having undergone little or no processing and containing no chemical additives. I know some women who grow their own vegetables and fruits, eat exclusively local and certified organic products and no meat. It can be quite extreme, of course. Some people consider themselves natural if they don’t use a chemical perm–yet the products they use in their hair are chemical-laden, conventional hair products.

I find myself somewhere inbetween the two. It is difficult to define being natural because so many people can take it to so many different levels. I *prefer* my hair and body products to be all-natural and organic, as well as my food but if I am unable to make it to a store to buy Tom’s Natural Toothpaste, I will settle for Colgate and be content. And then there are stereotypes of what natural people are like. For instance, that these people are extremely health-conscious, nature-loving yoga fanatics. But that is such a broad picture to paint and doesn’t match everyone’s personalities or lifestyles. I prefer high-paced dancing to yoga, I love being in nature but my fear of bugs and insects ensures I spend most of my time in cities–and even though I try to eat healthy I prefer chocolate cookies and deep fried calamari any day!

When someone says “natural hair”, we all have a picture in mind of someone who looks like Solange Knowles or Janelle Monae. The truth is, “natural hair” women and men have locs, fully cascading ringlets on near-white skin, Congalese twists on cocoa skin, braids, Afros, twists and multi-colored hairstyles. Being natural is as diverse as anything else. We’re all different.

Organic Amla is a New Love

28 Jul

Amla hair mask in my hair

A few weeks ago I stopped by Essence of Life in Kensington Market to pick up some organic amla. It did not come in oil form, but in powder form for $6.99. I have tried it three times now and wanted to share the details of this amazing Ayurvedic natural product because I absolutely adore it.

 

Amla Powder as a  Deep Conditioning Hair Masque:

* Left my hair feeling extremely soft, moisturized and detangled

* Easy to prepare (less than 5 minutes): simply mix 1/4 cup of amla powder and mix with distilled water into a thin paste and apply to damp hair. Leave on for 1-2 hours, or as desired

*Slightly difficult to rinse out. I tried to rinse it out and followed up with conditioner, then rinsed that out–but the next day found I had some dry amla powder flakes in my hair!

Vitamin C, which is found in high concentrations in amla powder, helps to maintain healthy collagen, a connective tissue that strengthens your hair follicles. Vitamin C is also a potent antioxidant, which means it can help neutralize cell damaging free radicals. The living tissue responsible for hair growth lies within the hair follicle. Because the hair follicle is the only portion of your hair that contains living cells, vitamin C rich amla powder protects and strengthens these cells while promoting hair growth. So, while amla can’t repair hair follicles that are already damaged, washing your hair with an amla powder and hot water tonic strengthens newly growing strands, which gradually strengthens your hair and helps to prevent hair loss.

I completely love everything about this Ayurvedic powder, made of Indian gooseberries. I love the way it smells, the way it makes my hair so curly and soft. It just feels so healthy afterwards. I feel secure knowing it is just raw organic amla with no preservatives or harmful chemicals added, and it is safe for use. I even used it as a face masque which left me with glowing (slightly tingly) skin!

New Ingredients to Try

3 Jul

Always using EVOO and coconut oil can be boring and/or a drag. Here is some new ingredients (you may have already know of) to get your hands on to spice up your natural hair life!!

Organic Copaiba Oil – Copaiba Oil, is a rich natural oil with a slightly spicy somewhat woody aroma which has the ability to soothe and soften dry, oily and even combination skin. It is also good for rubbing on the scalp to relieve dandruff, and is best used in SMALL doses (diluted in essential oils).

Ojon Palm Nut Oil-Ojon palm nut oil has very restorative benefits to hair and smells like incense. I absolutely love Ojon–even though it is very pricy. But the oil is something different to try, and it is very moisturizing.

Amla oi/Neem oil – Amla oil is used best as a hair tonic. Used in Ayurvedic practices in India, it can be used to strengthen hair at the root and stimulate hair growth. No wonder Indian women have such long, strong hair!

Pure amla oil can be applied directly to wet hair immediately after washing and worked through with the fingers, but amla oil is also an ingredient in some commercial hair conditioners, particularly those that are prepared using Ayurvedic recipes.
 
Neem oil is also another Ayurvedic oil.Used as hair oil neem promotes shiny, healthy hair, combats dryness, prevents premature graying and may even help with some forms of hair loss.

Raw Tucuma Butter – A light colored butter is obtained from the seeds of the Tucumã Palm tree which are wild harvested, fairly traded and the butter removed without the use of harmful chemicals or damaging heat.

This butter is naturally scented… it is just gorgeous, raw and earthy! I adore it!!! Nature’s cross between butter pecan ice cream and a vanilla waffle cone. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

In addition to smelling delicious, this fruit provides a healing protective film that allows your skin to maintain moisture while resisting dryness from environmental influences. This treasure also leaves a natural gloss to dry, damaged hair!

Seeds from the Tucumã Palm Tree have been used for centuries:

* Crafted into rings to signify marriage among the poor
* As a symbol of honor among the freedom fighters for ages
* Steamed fruit are eaten and is traditionally made into ice cream
* Cracked open to drink the clear, sweet liquid inside called the “wine of tucumã”

Benefits of use:
* Excellent emollient, helps skin retain water by applying protective film
* Rich in vitamin A…3x’s than a carrot!
* Leaves the skin soft to the touch and velvety smooth
* Soothes the scalp while adding gloss and shine to tresses
* Overflowing with skin healing omegas 3.6.9

DIY Diva

3 Jul

Do you find some natural hair products are way too pricy? Are you a diva on a budget? Like me, making my own hair products makes sense and makes cents. It means I know exactly what goes in my hair, and I can make larger portions.

From hair rinses to deep conditioners, DIY has been the tried and true way to manage thirsty roots for many naturalistas. While I do buy some of my products in stores like shampoo and conditioner (all can be done DIY), I enjoy doing some things at home. I absolutely adore the idea of flaxseed hair gel, of which I first heard of from vlogger Naptural85 on Youtube but this great stuff is popping up everywhere. I use aloe vera gel currently for a sleek, soft hold that doesn’t get hard or flake ever. But I would love to try flaxseed hair gel.

Here is a recipe from naturalbeautyworkshop for a natural hair spritz:

Try blending some aromatic and beneficial Hydrosols with an equal portion of Witch Hazel to make an Herbal Hair Spritz.  Dead Sea Brine can be used in place of Witch Hazel to increase hairs texture and volume.  Blend these ingredients together in a sprayer bottle, and spritz liberally on towel dried hair.

For a natural hair rinse, I use

Warm filtered water, Chamomile tea leaves, chopped ginger and fresh thyme. I strain and pour after conditioning my hair in the shower. Sometimes I substitute chamomile for peppermint leaves (or mint tea).

I also do the Apple cider vinegar rinse.

For hair sprays, I use (daily) filtered water, a small dollop of conditioner, and coconut oil. Sprayed on my hair three times a day, it leaves my dry tresses moisturized. Before styling, I spritz my hair with this to soften it. You can subsitute the coconut oil for EVOO or jojoba oil, or even castor oil. Be sure to shake well though with castor oil!