My 2 Year Anniversary!

Hey Naturals!! Let me start by saying if your going through your hair journey and feel like you want to scream, cut it all off and just wear wigs or get that creamy crack… you are not alone. Sheesh! This does take plenty of patience and commitment. Since I’ve been rocking my natural hair I’ve been an on and off again product junkie trying to find out what works for my hair. I have finally perfected a routine that actually works for me. When coming up with a hair routine to retain the length of your hair, strength in your strands and moisture for your ends it is best to keep it simple! When I first started (and now) I kept hearing keep it simple, keep it simple.. blah blah blah. It is definitely the truth. At the end of the first year is when I started to get the hang of it, however still mostly wearing protective styles like Senegalese/Kinky twist.

2yr anniversary

2 year length check.

Now at the end of my second year and starting my third year in this health hair journey I am totally loving my hair. Less frustrations, more understanding equals plenty more smiles and better hair days! There were a few months were I was a completely lazy natural. No moisturizing, no satin bonnet at night, days before the next moisturizing of any tips, using watery products without sealing ends with oil…. ooooh my goodness I was the worst. Glad those days are over. I really had to recommit myself to this natural hair journey. Also, I had to find the time to do so. Having such thick hair does require more attention and time, especially as it grows longer. I’ve learned to care for my hair by not using a (wide tooth) comb as much, moisturizing every night, wearing my satin bonnet, surprisingly using less products for my hair and keeping my hands out of it. Doing my hair less and leaving them in twists have been my staple routine for the past few months and my hair is thanking me for it. I have trimmed my hair twice in the last 3 months to get rid of those terrible ends I gained while not caring for my hair. I totally don’t mind losing an inch knowing the year ahead its going to be great. My hair goal is to retain another 4-5 inches over the next year. Wish me luck loves!!

A 4c (Hair) Staple: The Bonnet Dryer

Hey Naturals!!

I have a new Winter Moisture Routine that I would like to share. I have learned a lot about my hair in the last two years of my healthy hair journey. We all know the winter is brutal on natural hair, if not taken care of properly, so this year I HAD to switch it up. My (4c) hair required more heat applied when I did my deep condition routine, which my dryer can not do alone. I needed something compact with ease of use to get the job done. The Bonnet Dryer was the perfect solution. Over the season I have also found an oil mix that works for me. I encourage naturals to use thicker oils like avocado oil, castor oil and my favorite olive oil. Coconut oil is just a must. It is terrible as a sealant, but has many benefits as you know.

Deep Condition Products

Both products can be found in the Hair Supply or Beauty section of most drug stores.

I have done this routine twice and so far so great! My hair has definitely been more manageable, softer and holds a slight natural sheen to it. My choice of products may not work for you, but then again.. it might.

First thing with my hair is sectioning before cleansing. Then for co-washing I generally use Patene or TRESemme’ products, same for the deep condition process. I love using my current conditioner. It does exactly what the bottle says and leaves my hair feeling moisturized with a pleasant softness. I apply it tips to root. This is the best time to detangle because the product gives my hair necessary slip reducing breakage. Once all sections are done, time to move on. This Cantu Tea Tree & Jojoba oil mix is my new favorite! The smell is great, it has a thick consistency and does wonders as my sealant. Again, I apply to all sections tips to root then I tend to twist my hair making sure all my hair is getting the product.

Both products bought from Amazon. Total was about $16

Both products bought from Amazon. Total was about $16

Before using my bonnet the infamous plastic bag comes out, lol. Both times I sat under for about 20-25 mins. It does get pretty hot and I do recommend purchasing ear cuffs. The usual flat two strand twists are go to protective style after a wash because the tension on the roots keep my hair from shrinking too tightly. I let it set overnight sleeping with my satin hair bonnet.

Deep Conditon & twistout results.

Deep Condition & twist-out results.

I’m soooo glad I purchased this dryer bonnet. That winter “crunchy” hair is defeated. I am in looove! My overall results were awesome. I am going to continue to do this twice a month for the rest of the season.

I would definitely recommend this bonnet to any natural who has really dry ends, breakage, course/thick hair or looking to use heat in their deep conditioning process. For me, this is my 4c (hair) Staple!

Polished In Pink

polished in pink       I really like my job, sales is what I do. However, fashion is my mind, its who I am. At work my coworkers like to tease me with names like “diva”. Sometimes I don’t mind it and sometimes I do. Getting dressed is easy when you have key pieces in your wardrobe. I love to dress with color and pink was the focus of the day.

Choosing a classic pencil skirt in a a funky color automatically personalizes your attire. I am a fan of being an individual as nature intended. Building my outfit around this piece was quite simple as well. I chose to wear a light top (white) to keep the look of the day fresh and flirty. To opt for a darker top wouldn’t have gave this look the same effect.

This tops fabric also was another reason for it being the choice. I love that the sheer gave a really sexy feel without doing too much, while the cut of the sleeves gave the outfit a really cool structure. The lady like collar meshed really well with the pink and the last thing to do was to find complimenting accessories!

Earrings and Necklace: Goodwill in NYC @ $3.99 ea Blouse and Skirt: Papaya in SYR both under $18.00 ea

Creeping.

Dear Future Husband,

I seen you last night when you crept out of bed. You were on your tip toes to make sure that you didn’t wake me… as you ran to use the phone. I swear I would never doubt your love. However, you know I have a inquiring mind. I waited for a second, then I followed. I heard you talking thru the garage door about how you managed to keep it a secret for so long. Sorry I opened the door and ruined the surprise for the morning. But either way, I EFFIN LOVE IT!! I always wanted a black on black two seater. I swear I never doubted your love.

Sincerely,

Your ambitious,Yahweh loving, shoe fanatic wife named Dutchess.

Yellow “Shea” Butter vs Ivory Shea Butter

SheaButter2     When most people think about Shea butter, they visualize a yellow thick hard butter.  This information is incorrect. The yellow butter is actually called African Butter and is from a totally different tree than Shea. The reason for the confusion stems from the marketing technique used by the Westerners and Europeans when the originally began to sell this product. African Butter comes from the nuts of a tree that grows in a dense forest in wet and shaded areas. There is no organic yellow Shea Butter. If you are being sold “Shea” Butter that is yellow and hard, it is African Butter.

African Butter does have similar properties to Shea Butter in that it aides in anti-aging, healing of the skin and conditioning of the hair. Organic Shea Butter is an ivory color, not white. East Africans describe the color as ivory because the tone is similar to that of an elephants tusk. Shea Butter also is much creamier than African Butter. The tree that produces the nuts of Shea Butter grows in the open Savanna. With that being said the trees are in totally different environments hence why the butters would be completely different.

african vs shea     Because of the high demand for “Shea” butter and the wrong marketing techniques used in the beginning some are adding yellow coloring into actual Shea to conform to the buyers idea of what it should look like. However, in adding color and other chemicals to it the natural properties of the Shea has been changed. In return it is being stripped and is no longer as beneficial to the consumer because adding things interfere with the natural abilities of Shea.

So the bottom line is yellow Shea butter is AFRICAN BUTTER and ivory Shea butter is Organic. I am in no means judging people who cannot or do (did, after you read this) not know the difference between the two. In all honestly this is new information to me as well!! I am sharing this new information because I think it will be helpful to everyone. In light of this new information I myself now have to go and purchase some organic creamier ivory Shea Butter.

Sincerely…

A Yahweh loving shoe fanatic Dutchess.

Hair Touching… Is it weird?

hair humor      Since I’ve been rocking my natural curlz and kinks I’ve noticed that people are actually curious and opinionated about my hair. Much more than when I was perming. I receive feel good compliments such as, “Wow! You really look good with natural hair. I like this look better on you.” Then there is the back hand compliments, “Well damn. Your natural hair is maaad nappy. When you perming it (lml). Sike nah, it looks good on you.” My face afterward =  -___- this chick just tried to blow my high (smh). And then there is THE REACH.

Out of all the responses one can get, this one leaves me the most puzzled on how to react to someone. I mean I totally understand their curiosity. There has been days when I am in the mirror amazed at how my hair spits in the face of gravity everyday. I pull on strands to release it slowly to see the curl pattern. I even gave myself a headache because it finally moves when I shake it. Truthfully, I don’t mind people wanting to touch my textured fro, but only when they ASK! It gives me a chance to chat it up about my 4c, the natural and store bought products I use and I can answer any questions or concerns they may have about doing it themselves. In my head I’m the star of the party, which is right up the alley of a Leo woman.

We, meaning family – friends and complete strangers, can chat as long as I have the time. Even joke about perms and hot combs. However, what I can’t stand is when we haven’t been properly introduced – or even if we have – and that individual just starts tugging on my hair asking questions. It drives me crazy… bout to slap her/him and #YeenEVENknoIT (LML)!! Oh hell no. They don’t even know how long it took me to play around with this 4c to get this defined braid out and now they messing it up. This is the part when I tilt the head, do the hand wave and make the face (0_O). That’s right I’m confused. Confused on how the hell am I now the rude one for not allowing you to pull on my hair. Next, it is the awkward silence.

I don’t know ladies. Am I handling the hair tuggers the right way?? It isn’t breaking up any friendships, but I know they probably feel some kind of way. Is it really my problem tho? Complete strangers I am not to concerned about, because they are rude for doing it. Has anyone else been thru similar experiences in their natural hair journey? If so, please share your story or comment below.

(P.S – My dentist is the worst of them all! An Asian woman.)

 

Sincerely….

A Yahweh loving shoe fanatic named Dutchess.

A natural gals summer must haves.

summer timeGreat weather is here! Finally I am back in my element. New contacts to get, new places to be and many things up my sleeves. Therefore, since I am predicting a busy and bright season I need to have my “must haves” down to the tea. Here is what we’ll need…

  • A GO TO STYLE : This summer will be my first summer as a natural, with plans I must say. I can not waste an hour per day in the mirror messing with my hair and shrinkage. I just don’t see it happening. This trivial problem is easily solved with rocking braided updos and protective styling, which will be our best friends during this summer.

two-strand-twist-atlanta   We’re all familiar with the two strand twist method of protecting our hair and keeping it cute while also doing as less manipulation as possible. I know this will be a favorite hairstyle for lots of us naturals this summer. Especially seeing how it can be put into so many styles, this one is definitely a winner amongst us. It’s simple enough to do in spare time and may not be so time consuming… unless you have a lions mane. I can’t wait for mine to get there 🙂 .

natural green    The style to the right is also one that is versatile and simple to do. It is more time consuming than just wearing our twists, but the advantage is that you will be able to wear it longer. Meaning that you have less manipulating to do with your hair.

Washing your hair will also be easier in each other these styles. They will help reduce single strand knots. You can cowash, deep condition then when your hair has mostly dried add your favorite moisturizer and mixture of oils. Whether store bought or all natural homemade you’ll be happy. Then final step is to just re-twist. Simple enough for a naturalista on the go!

Now beauties in order to protect your hair from heat damage this summer be sure to use the proper products on your strands. You want to prevent your hair from feeling dry and brittle due to the higher temperatures it will experience this season. Moisturizing is the normal. It doesn’t matter what the month is, we have to do it. However, I do notice that lots of us love to flat iron and blowout our hair. Which is not a problem… if you do it the right way! I have not done a blow out or flat ironed my hair yet, but I will try it. While searching for some good quality hair protectants here is what I found…

heat protectant

  • HEAT PROTECTANTS : This particular protectant grabbed my attention. It has three different formulas, each with its own purpose. I thought this was genius. I have not tried any of these products, but I soon will be. And be sure I will be giving a review of how it worked or did not work on my 4c natural hair. Each one protects your hair up to 425 degrees fahrenheit and has a gloss finish… extra nice. 4c hair tends to look dull so a gloss finish is exactly what I will be looking for 🙂 .  However if this doesn’t work or if you are not in the mood to purchase any new products you can also use some you may already have at home.

avocado oil     Natural oils are great, as we know, for protecting our hair. I think that avocado oil is one of the best.  It is rich in vitamin E, minerals and amino acids which stimulate hair growth. Avocado oil also has a smoke point of 375-500 degrees fahrenheit depending on its state of refined or unrefined.  Grapeseed oil is another great heat protectant for natural hair for all the same reasons listed. It is super light weight and moisturizing. It also adds great shine. I have used this in the past and I am happy with the results. Grapeseed oil is colorless and odorless so it won’t interfere with any other natural smells your hair may have. Between the Got 2 B brand heat protectant and natural oils I think my goal will be achieved.

Last but not least on my list of summer “must haves” is a great anti- shine pressed powder. I have no problem claiming oily skin. I am not the first and definitely will not be the last with this problem. I will be out and about this summer, as said previously, so I want to make sure that while I am socializing with others I don’t like a mirror, lol. Here are the following products to try…

  • BR pressed powderANTI-SHINE PRESSED POWDER : Shine control for my face will be one of the top priorities this summer. My forehead and nose area are the most problematic. To address this issue I have a couple of products I would like to try. My first option will be the Black Radiance brand of pressed powder. I really think that this is as far as I will have to look because I absolutely love their creme stick foundations! They are very true to color and last all day. Black Radiance’s pressed powder comes in seven different shades. Its formula is oil-free, oil absorbing, eliminates an ashy look and has a matte finish. This product can be found at drugstores for a inexpensive price. Sounds good too me, but for the sake of argument I am going to try another just to have something else to compare it to.

iman pressed powder    Iman’s luxury pressed powders also do the same as listed above. Each can be worn alone or works best with its own brand foundations. Iman’s pressed powders come in six different shades of Earth. It helps your makeup last longer, controls oil without giving you that drying look and dries to a matte finish. A matte finish is a must for oily skin. Iman products can be found at drugstores for a slightly higher price than Black Radiance.

That’s it beauties. Once you’ve found your go to style, preferred heat protectant and the bomb anti-shine pressed powder your summer is bright. Personal style, a few ladies night, family activities and beach days are all that require your attention.

Get out, Have fun and Be Natural !

 

Sincerely…

A Yahweh loving shoe fanatic named Dutchess.

Winter Protective Style #1

Being new to this natural wave I have not dealt with any of my kinks since elementary. Even then I didn’t handle them and I have come to a realization…. this can be frustrating! However I’ve come up with a temporary solution in which I do not have to curse every morning. I’ve solved my issue with BRAIDS! I honestly have not worn box or individual braids since middle school and I’m loving it. Since I haven’t curled the ends yet I can’t rock them down. It’s just not my style. So currently my favorite look is a funky updo with the hair rolled and pinned to the side.

Image Image

This style is super easy and chic. Pinned updo’s are such a YES! To achieve this look I tilted my head forward and pushed all the hair the same way. Next is simply criss cross sections of the hair as I moved from the nape of the neck toward the top. Continue with this into a fishtail or large braid then pin with large hair pins on either side of your head and you’re done.

Having braids definitely makes my mornings easier but still will require a regimen to avoid dry roots.

Image Image

Coiled Inspiration

In recent years within the black community I’ve noticed a change in our women. Many have been embracing the way Yahweh (GOD) has made them. I also have come to know that sporting hair type 4C instead of 1B or 3A doesn’t make anyone’s beauty less perfect. Rocking my hair has definitely added some “umph” to my walk and undeniably gave me a self-esteem boost.

I don’t care to know if anyone else likes it. I don’t care to know if it may make me look dated. My coiled kinks actually make my eyes sparkle. They make my smile brighter. My coiled kinks has taught me self acceptance. So I ask, “Isn’t that one of the end goals in life?” Correct me if I am wrong.

I have been inspired by so many beautiful women that I’ve seen. In the grocery store buying eggs, on Youtube doing hair tutorials, in my family, on television, social media… sheeesh. I must admit that the politics of black hair has caught my attention. I am forever grateful to these random people who unknowingly changed the attitude I have toward myself.

Now readers, because I am here proclaiming my love for my natural hair does not mean that I will never wear a wig. I would be cheating myself! That’s the beauty of being a women… I can change hair as I please. However, what I will NOT BE doing is adding any chemical straighteners to my hair. And once my hair grows to a certain length I will not be able to wear a wig… and that’s perfectly fine with me 🙂 .