Cornrow Styles

My youngest sis did my cornrows over thanksgiving break, the back is a twist out from medium twists.

Here is some of my work:



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Boost Your Immunity!

Strengthen your defense naturally

  1. Eat Well– Enjoy whole fruits and vegetables for the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants your body needs to defend itself.
  2. Hydrate– Drink pure water throughout the day–at least eight large glasses.  Dehydration reduces the effectiveness of your nasal membranes, which are your first line of defense against inhaled cold germs.
  3. Get your Z’s– Getting enough rest is crucial.  Sleep deprivation can lead to a decline in the number of infection-fighting cells, leaving you susceptible to illness.
  4. Wash Up– Wash your hands often.  Cover your mouth with the crook of your arm when sneezing or coughing in order to reduce the spread of bacteria.  Frequently wash or disinfect commonly touched items such as telephones, doorknobs, drawer handles, and stair railings.
  5. Add Supplements– Consider taking vitamin C and the mineral zinc.  A recent study confirms the supportive effects of both, nothing that deficiencies can lead to impaired immune health.  Like vitamin C, antioxidant-rich vitamin E protects cells from free-radical damage.  Vitamin E may also enhance immune function.
  6. Herbal Helpers– Try supplemental garlic, which contains antibacterial compounds.  Another option is taking echinacea.  Some studies show that this herb may reduce the length and severity of colds.  Echinacea is not recommended for continuous, long-term use.

Source: Nature’s Place Magazine

Yes to Olive Oil

Olive oil- an oil obtained from the olive, a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. It is commonly used in cooking, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps.

Nutrition benefits of olive oil

Evidence from epidemiological studies suggests that a higher proportion of monounsaturated fats in the diet is linked with a reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease. This is significant because olive oil is considerably rich in monounsaturated fats, most notably oleic acid.

In the United States, producers of olive oil may place the following health claim on product labels:

Limited and not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about 2 tbsp. (23 g) of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated fat in olive oil. To achieve this possible benefit, olive oil is to replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day.Unlike saturated fats, olive oil lowers total cholesterol and LDL levels in the blood.  It is also known to lower blood sugar levels and blood pressure. 

In Calabria, the women regularly use the oil to take care of their hair and hands.

Studies on mice showed that application of olive oil immediately following exposure to UVB rays has a preventive effect on the formation of tumors and skin cancer.

Types of olive oil

  • Extra-virgin olive oil comes from virgin oil production only, contains no more than 0.8% acidity, and is judged to have a superior taste. Extra Virgin olive oil accounts for less than 10% of oil in many producing countries. It is used on salads, added at the table to soups and stews and for dipping.
  • Virgin olive oil comes from virgin oil production only, has an acidity less than 2%, and is judged to have a good taste.
  • Pure olive oil. Oils labeled as Pure olive oil or Olive oil are usually a blend of refined and virgin production oil.
  • Olive oil is a blend of virgin and refined production oil, of no more than 1.5% acidity. It commonly lacks a strong flavor.
  • Olive oil for your skin

    In addition to the internal health benefits of olive oil, topical application is quite popular with fans of natural health remedies. Extra virgin olive oil is the preferred grade for moisturizing the skin, especially when used in the oil cleansing method (OCM). OCM is a method of cleansing and moisturizing the face with a mixture of extra virgin olive oil, castor oil (or another suitable carrier oil) and a select blend of essential oils. Olive oil is also used by some to reduce ear wax buildup.

    You can use olive oil as a face moisturizer, removing make-up, shaving to get a closer shave and body oil.  Add it to your bath to soften and moisturize the skin, just add a few drops.  You can also use it as a facial scrub:  wet your face, add a few drops of olive oil to your face, add a tsp of sugar (i use dark brown sugar) to your face, massaging, then rinse off.  Also good as a lip balm to soothe lips.

  • Olive oil for your hair

    For fly aways and frizz, just add a few drops of olive oil to your hair.  It can also be a deep conditioner, you can add a few tbsp to your normal conditioner and apply it as a deep conditioner.  Cover your hair, leave on for 25 to 30 minutes, rinse.  It can also make your hair shiny and cure dandruff. If you want to use it as a hot oil treatment:

  • Pour 1/2 cup of olive oil into a microwave-safe bowl. Heat it in the microwave for 20 seconds, or  place the bottle in heated water for a few minutes until it is warm 
  • Place a towel or cape over your shoulders to protect clothing. 
  • Put a small amount of olive oil in the palm of your hand and massage it into your hair. If you have a dry scalp, massage a small amount into the scalp, as well. If you have oily hair, massage it into your hair, but stay at least 1/2 inch from the scalp. Repeat the process of massaging small amounts at a time into the hair until the hair is entirely covered with olive oil. 
  • Place your hair loosely on your head and cover it with a plastic shower cap. 
  • Relax for at least 30 minutes while the olive oil is treating your hair if you have a hooded dryer you can sit under it for about 15 minutes with the shower cap on. 
  • Rinse with cool water then shampoo your hair with a mild shampoo. Give a light condition with your usual conditioner. Rinse it out completely and continue with your regular after wash routine. You will see that the olive oil treatment makes you hair much softer and much more manageable, as well as gives it some added shine.  This can be done 2 or three times a week.Olive oil can also be applied to hair after leave-in conditioners and moisturizers have been applied.  When applied last it will seal the moisture into your hair.  Sometimes i mix it with castor oil and apply it to my hair after spritzing it with water, it helps to keep my hair moisturized and feeling soft. Many of you may have noticed that there are lots of hair products on the market now that claim to have olive oil in them, make sure you check the ingredients to see how far down the list the olive oil is.  The first 3 or 4 ingredients listed are what the product contains the most of.  Keep this in mind when purchasing any product.  Don’t be fooled by fancy labels!  Some products may boast about containing olive oil and it may be the last ingredient on the list.
  • Olive oil for your nails-Recipe

    To soften, condition and strengthen nails and cuticles.

    •2 tbsp olive oil
    •3 drops of lemon juice
    •Mix ingredients in a bowl, place nails and fingers in the bowl and soak for 5 minutes.  Dry your hands and your done.  Repeat as often as needed.

  • In my opinion

    I really like using olive oil in place of hair grease, its much lighter and doesn’t weigh my hair down.  I have mixed it with my “raw shea butter” along with coconut oil and a few other oils and moisturizers to make a great whipped mixture to use as a styling aid and moisturizer.  I prefer the extra virgin olive oil.  I’ve been using olive oil to cook with for a long time and I don’t miss the other more fatty oils that I used to use.  There are many different kinds of oils that you can cook with that will bring out flavor and aid when frying at high temperatures and are also more healthy for you.  Later I will be doing more posts on other oils that can be used for many uses other than cooking.  Overall I’d give olive oil a thumbs up for all of its benefits.  Thanks for Reading

    Quick Tip:

    Learn your product’s ingredients, if you don’t know what they are are what they do, look them up!  Don’t put things in your hair or on your skin without knowing a little about it first.

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    Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olive_oil

    www.ehow.com

    Natural Hair Encouragement

     

    Background

    I did my big chop on February 10, 2010 after transitioning for almost 7 months.  I was unaware of how many other woman had decided to go natural and had already started their journey until I came across a video on Youtube while looking for hairstyles.  I saw this woman with long natural hair down her back and she was showing her natural journey, it was amazing!  I watched her cut her relaxed hair off up to about and inch or two of new growth then she showed the progression up to her being natural for one year.  Her hair had grown past her shoulders right before my eyes.  I had already started transitioning when I saw this video, but I had no idea I was about to learn so many new things about my natural hair.  Over the next few months I watched many youtube videos about natural hair and did lots of research on what I should and shouldn’t use.  I found out after doing my big chop that you just have to find out what works for you.  I tried a few products I had heard good reviews about, some of them worked well and others i was not impressed with.  I had originally planned on transitioning for a year, but after seeing so many ladies going for it and chopping off that relaxed hair on camera, it boosted my confidence.  At six months of transitioning my new growth was really showing and it was difficult to continue blending the 2 textures together.  My husband was such a great supporter, he was the one who said, “what are you waiting for, why don’t you just cut it now?”  Knowing that he would still love me and support me even with just a few inches of hair on my head, really gave me that extra boost I needed.

    The Big Chop

    I prepared myself for the big chop, since I went to school for cosmetology, I was able to cut my own hair evenly.  I made sure I had my deep conditioner, leave in conditioner, my shower cap and even some headbands and flowers to accessorize with.  I’ve worn my hair short before, but never as short as I chopped it this time.  I didn’t cry though, once I felt my new hair and how soft it was, I was so happy.  I felt so proud of myself, my heritage, my ‘roots’.  It really was liberating.  When I decided to go natural it wasn’t because I was thinking of going back to my ancestors roots or being afrocentric or militant or anything like that.  I had let my hair grow out a few times before and loved the styles I was able to create, but I just never knew how to manage my natural tresses (they don’t teach you much about ethnic hair in beauty school) and I always ended up going back to a relaxer or texturizer because I didn’t know how to deal with the two textures on my head.  This time I learned some basic tips for managing my natural hair so I was confident when I did the big chop.

    Anticipation

    My hair seemed like it was growing so slow at first, I kept thinking “I’m never gonna be able to wear a ponytail again!”.  My husband would reassure me that it was growing to make me feel better, but I still had a feeling of “what am I gonna do?”.  Sometimes when i wanted to just run out of the house, I would feel the need to hide my hair under a wig or a hat.  Soon I did start to notice growth (thanks to taking pictures every month) and I started trying out different styles.  I learned about protective styles and how important they are to retaining length.  I started seeing my texture better as it grew and was happy to find products that defined my curls and allowed me to wear it in its natural state.  My comments went from “what are you gonna do to it now?” to “ooh how did you get your hair like that?” Next thing I know I was able to get a puff! That became one of my signature styles in the summer.  You can wear a puff up high or down low, off to the side or with bangs, put headbands or barettes to decorate it.  I love my puffs lol.  When I’m not going anywhere and my husband isn’t home, I keep my satin bonnet on most of the day and try to keep it in twists or braids.

    Discovery

    Now at 9 months post big chop I am able to pull my hair into a ponytail (with some help from gel and bobby pins) and I am so excited.  It really just takes patience and knowing how to care for you hair and I believe anyone can see great results.  Once you get past the first stage, if you aren’t used to seeing yourself with short hair, you will be fine.  You can focus on other things like accessories and clothes.  There are actually books about what colors look best on each skin tone and how to bring out your eyes etc.  I would have never stumbled across some of these things if I weren’t on this natural journey. It has made me learn a lot more about myself and things I like.  Trying new things is good and I’ve even started eating healthier.  Having beautiful hair and skin starts from the inside.  It truly is a journey, you have to make pit stops, go through construction, take detours and see some beautiful sites as well.  For me, the natural journey is not just about hair, it’s about my life as whole, it has opened up a new outlook for me; how I look at other people,  I am guilty of looking at someones natural hair in the past and thinking “its time for a perm” or “she got some naps in the kitchen”. I feel shamed that I used to think that way, but part of this journey led me to do research on words used to describe our hair such as, “nappy”, words used to degrade us and make us feel that “our” hair is not pretty or acceptable.  I also looked up information about black woman in the past and present and why so many of us feel that we need to have straight hair to be excepted. There are reasons why we feel that way.  I still like straight hair and I’m not saying everyone with a relaxer only gets it to “fit in”, but a lot of woman don’t even know what their natural hair texture is.  I was one of them!

    Coming to Terms with Myself

    I stopped and asked myself why was i getting relaxers every 3 months, and the answer was, so my “roots” don’t show.  Even after going to school for cosmetology and learning what relaxers and texturizers and colors were made of and what they actually do to our hair, I still continued to get them. WHY?  I finally figured out that I was afraid to let my hair grow out because of what other people would think and how it would make me feel.  To me that was a poor excuse, especially after seeing my hair damaged by a girl down here who said she knew what she was doing (had a license) when she put the last texturizer in my hair and applied it wrong, leaving my hair limp and lifeless.   I decided enough was enough, I haven’t seen my natural hair since I was 6 years old.

    A Beautiful Journey

    Going through the phases to get where you want to be is well worth it.  If you are considering going natural, do a little research, ask some questions and go for it!  You can ask me anything you want.  If you have no desire to let your natural hair grow out, still do some research and find out how to take good care of your hair.  A lot of things I was doing to my relaxed hair were wrong and I never would have known.  Remember, having natural hair doesn’t mean you have to wear it in its natural state all the time and you don’t have to do the big chop if you don’t want to.  I’m so glad i made the decision to go natural. I don’t remember the last time my hair was as healthy as it is now.  I wish I would have done this a long time ago!

    I know this was long but I hope someone has been encouraged and educated. If you would like to share your story of going natural or if you are still transitioning, please send it to me at iprefer2benatural@yahoo.com

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    This is my personal natural hair story in hopes of encouraging others, these are my opinions and experiences and not meant to offend anyone. All are welcome on this site regardless of what your hair condition is, chemically processed or natural.  This blog has many other things to offer that aren’t focused solely on natural hair.

    National Diabetes Month

    November is National Diabetes Month

    Diabetes is a disease that affects how the body uses food for energy.  With diabetes, the body’s cells cannot use food properly, and the blood glucose (sugar) becomes high.

    Over 20 million people in the US have diabetes, but many cases are preventable with important steps you can take to lower your risk.  I wanted to post some information about this disease to hopefully spark some interest.  Awareness is a crucial key in being able to prevent many diseases.

    There are many complications that come from diabetes and poor blood sugar control. People with diabetes can develop nerve problems, kidney disorders, blindness, and severe infections. They also have a higher risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and certain cancers, like pancreatic and uterine cancer. Each year almost 200,000 Americans die from diabetes and its complication.

    Who is at risk for diabetes?

    Anyone can develop diabetes, but most people that have diabetes are adults over the age of 40 and the risk increases with age.  African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders are at higher risk of developing diabetes compared to whites.  Also, people who are overweight, inactive, smoke or have family members with diabetes are at higher risk.

    What are the symptoms?

    Some people develop symptoms like strong thirst, increased feelings of hunger, frequent urination and wounds that don’t heal. However, many people with diabetes have no symptoms. That is why screening is important.

    Who should be screened?

    Everyone over the age of 45 should have their blood sugar checked by a doctor at least once every 3 years.  People at higher risk may need to be tested earlier and more often.  Screening is easy with simple blood and urine tests that can have important benefits. If you find out you have the disease, you can take steps to treat it and prevent complications.

    How can you lower your risk of diabetes?

    There are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing diabetes:

    • Maintain a healthy weight
    • Get regular exercise
    • Don’t smoke
    • Eat a healthy diet that focuses on whole grains and “good” fats (like olive and canola oil)
    • Count your carbohydrate intake (the amount of carbohydrates you eat effects your blood sugar level.  The more carbs you eat, the higher your blood sugar will be.  Some people use carb counting to balance food and insulin keeping their blood sugar in a healthy range)

    To use carb counting you should know:

    1. What foods contain carbs
    2. How much of food is a carbohydrate serving
    3. How to read a food label
    4. How many servings of carbohydrates you should have at meals and snacks

    Diabetes is not curable, but fortunately it is treatable.

    I hope you enjoyed this post, I like to stay up to date on important issues like this.  When I found out this month was National Diabetes Month I knew I wanted to post something about it.  There are people on both sides of my family with this disease.  I have to be especially attentive to the things I can do to prevent it.  Please do some research of your own and learn more about this disease.  Knowing the facts early will aid in prevention, there’s no sense waiting until you are 40 to learn about prevention.  At any age we can all benefit from knowing a little more about diabetes whether it be preventing it or coping and dealing with it.  I’m sure we all know at least one person who has diabetes.  If you can sit down and talk to or call someone you know who has diabetes this month and see if you can learn something new about it.  Feel free to share here in the comments section.

    This blog is not just about hair so stay tuned for more health, fitness and beauty related posts.  Don’t worry the natural hair/healthy hair posts will still keep coming too! 🙂

    I gathered information from these sources:

    http://www.yourdiseaserisk.siteman.wustl.edu

    Natures Place Magazine

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    Bone Combs

    What is a “bone” comb and why are they so great ??

    In pre-historic times the best combs were actually made from bone (fish bone) as well as antelope horn, elephant tusk and goat horn. These materials were hard and smooth. When carved and polished they produced beautiful seamless combs. They were also anti-static and heat resistant.

    The creating of these combs was very labor intensive. Once the right material was selected, the overall shape of the comb was carved. Then each tooth was carved, filed, sanded and polished over and over in a 18 step process done by hand. The bone comb is so finely finished that it does not snag, rip or split the hair.

    When the use of animal materials was banned, there was no comb that did not damage hair. The beauty industry was desperate to find a suitable substitute since they were very dependant on bone combs for their work. After some time, a new material was formulated from a 100% organic resin material. This material is hard and smooth just like bone, and can be hand carved, sawed, and polished to exemplify all the unique features of the original bone comb. They are also anti-static and will not melt when used with hot styling tools.

    There has been some hesitation to use “bone” when referring to these combs as they are not truly made of bone in modern days. Some companies refer to them as “bohn”.  Various other forms of bone descriptions abound. The rich caramel color make  bone combs easily recognized. They age beautifully and will turn to a dark mahogany color over time. When wet there is a distinct fragrance.
    I used a bone come while i was in beauty school and I really loved it, it really worked the way this article says it does.  No melting when using it while flat ironing and no static and no snagging your hair while detangling, its a great comb!  They are not cheap, but well worth their cost (hey, they prevent split ends by comb).  I will be purchasing one (or 2) this week, i will let you all know how it works out when i recieve it. I will be ordering it from hairsense.com which is where i got this information.
    Have any of you ever used a bone comb?  What did you think of it? Rate, Comment, SUBSCRIBE!!!

     

    Be aware some manufacturers are making plastic combs of the same color and calling them “bone” combs. The fakes are easy to spot since they are usually priced around $1.00 and are very flexible with obvious seams to tear hair.


    Source: http://www.Hairsense.com



    Hair Maintenance

    Maintaining Those Tresses 

    This is a topic that I think would be beneficial to a lot of us regardless of whether we are natural or relaxed.  The one thing our hair has in common is that we must maintain it if we want it to look nice. The the steps to maintain  hair are simple, but I’d like to break them down for you.

    1. Shampoo Before we begin to shampoo our hair we should gently finger comb through it to loosen up tangles and residue.  When washing our hair, treat it as if it were fine silk—Delicately.  Allow the water to completely saturate your hair before adding shampoo.  Leave hair hanging down and gently massage in shampoo starting at the roots and working down to the ends.  Never pile shampoo on top of your head.  This is a good time to give your scalp a nice massage using your fingertips, refrain from using your nails as this may irritate your scalp.  The massage will get your blood circulating as well as help lift product and residue from your scalp.
    2. Conditioning Conditioner creates shine and preserves hair health by giving it smoothness and protecting against damage.  For volume, condition only the middle and ends of your hair, where it’s most susceptible to damage.  For shine, condition the entire strand.  Do it every time you use shampoo and more often if you want.  A good time to detangle your hair is after the conditioner has sat in your hair for the time you’d like and right before you rinse it out.  Its okay if you want to section your hair and plat or twist it as you detangle, you can rinse without taking your plats/twists out, this way your hair is already detangled when you begin to dry it.When deep conditioning find a conditioner that says to leave it on for at least 10 minutes.  Try to squeeze or ring as much water from your hair using your hands then section your hair into 4 sections and shingle the deep conditioner onto your hair, cover with a plastic cap.  When possible sit under a hair dryer for 10-15 minutes then rinse with luke warm or cold water if you can stand it.  If  a hair dryer is not available for you, leave the plastic cap on for a while until the heat from your body naturally heats up (usually an hour or longer) or try the Hair Therapy Wrap, then rinse as stated.
    3. Drying Don’t rub your hair with a towel or twist it tightly into a turban.  Wet hair is delicate and breaks easily.  Pat it gently and squeeze it with your towel or use a super absorbent towel.  Sometimes I use a cotton t-shirt or paper towels and just blot the access water out (also called plopping).  If you are using a blow dryer or hair dryer make sure to protect your hair with a leave in conditioner and a high smoke point oil such as sunflower oil or avocado oil, grape seed oil also has a high smoke point.  If possible don’t blow dry your hair.

    TIPS:

    When adding products we should always layer them, moisturizer and conditioner then oils and butters.  I normally add my products on wet or damp hair.  Never put oil on first unless you don’t intend to add any other products in some cases you can mix oil into your moisturizer/conditioner and add it all at once.  Oil seals in moisture and that is why you add it last to lock in all the good stuff and seal your cuticle shut.

    When trying a new product for the first time, it’s a good idea not to mix it with other products, so that you can get a clear result.  Try your new products at least 2 or 3 times before giving up on it(unless you have an allergic reaction or your hair feels brittle, dry or limp afterward), some products take a few applications before you start to see results.  Read the instructions as well as the description of what the product actually does.  Find out what your hair likes and doesn’t like, for example my hair does not need protein, anytime I used a conditioner or shampoo with extra protein my hair would feel very brittle and hard. I finally realized that it was the protein after doing a little research.  When your hair already has enough of something naturally you don’t need to add more.  Here is a little test you can do to determine what your hair may or may not need:

    Pull a wet strand of your hair from your head or capture one of your shed hairs. Pull on it steadily. (Wrap both ends around the index fingers of both hands to make sure it doesn’t slip off)
    ♣ If the hair stretches, but shrinks when you let go: your hair has enough protein
    ♣ If the hair stretches a lot, and does not shrink back, it lacks protein.
    ♣ If it breaks, it needs moisture.
    ♣ If it seems to stretch and break, then try both protein and moisture treatments.

    I will discuss protein and moisture treatments another time.

    Let me know what you think or if you have any questions!  Rate, Comment, SUBSCRIBE!!!