Going Natural: Is It Just Hair?

You can find this lady on YouTube and this is all her real hair; natural.

Have you always wanted beautiful, long hair that cascades down your back? Most women do. That’s why weave and hair care is a billion dollar industry and Black women make up the majority who buy into it. Buying products that promise to grow your hair when in reality they are stunting your hair growth by using ingredients that make it nearly impossible for your hair to ever get passed the follicle! And if you can’t grow it, you have TLC telling you that you can buy it.

Who tells you how to grow it, though? Where are the people telling you that you are beautiful the way you are?   Not in the main stream.  Every 6 to 8 weeks, it’s time for a touch up; every month or 3 months, it’s time for a new weave. The world has no idea what your real natural hair looks like, your family doesn’t know, shoot, you don’t even know!

Why is there so much emphasis placed on making “our” hair look “better?” Why do we believe that our hair is not beautiful? Because it is different? So are our lips, noses, legs, thighs, and skin color, and everyone wants injections and tans. Imagine if we embrace our natural hair and wear it proudly like we do every other part of our body instead of trying to make it look like something it’s not. Imagine how you would feel if you studied your natural hair and grew it out and it was all yours? You would be proud of it! Why don’t we put effort into growing and caring for our real hair and wear it?  And I don’t just mean real hair, I mean relaxer free!

Many would say they don’t like their natural hair and as soon as it begins to peek through in the root area, we perm it down. I used to, too, so I know! How would you know if you liked your natural hair if you haven’t seen it since you were 6? Who told you something was wrong with it and why did you believe them? Give your natural hair a chance!

People often say it’s a personal choice or preference, which is absolutely true, but don’t tell me it’s no big deal or it’s not that serious! That’s where I draw the line! It is deeper than that. Why would you spend big money regularly (or get it done for  free for this matter) to make your hair look the exact opposite of the way it grows from your scalp?  You just like it, right? However, it looks just like European hair, Chinese, Malaysian, or Indian hair, every type of hair except your own! Something is wrong with that! It’s a personal choice to lighten the skin too, but I wouldn’t recommend that! Look deeper! Maybe you wear fake hair that looks similar to your own. If you took the time to research and learn about your hair, you wouldn’t need to buy any weave! Find beauty within yourself and not in what society tells you is beautiful. Be confident in yourself!

Look familiar? This length? This texture?

People also say that there is nothing wrong with relaxing your hair. I disagree. A perm has the same ingredients as drain cleaner. What does drain cleaner do within 10 to 30 minutes? It breaks down a.k.a. burns everything out of your drains. It does the same thing to your hair and if you leave it on too long it will burn your hair all  the way out! Think about this; people stretch their perms , which means they get them less often, so their hair can grow, and it works, so if stretching works, imagine what stopping would do.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with variety and wearing your hair straight from time to time, but there is something wrong with hating the way your natural hair looks and never letting it see the light of day. There is something wrong if you feel shameful or ugly when you are wearing your natural hair. It lies deep within. So deep it sometimes goes unrealized. We talk about each other and put each other down for being real. There is a popular saying in the natural community, “Remove the kinks from your mind, not your hair.” That is what we need to do. Hearing people say things like, “Being natural isn’t for everyone.” Really though? That is a mind boggler for me. Let’s take a quick second to define natural: 1. existing in or formed by nature 2. of or in agreement with the character of makeup or circumstances surrounding someone or something. -_- It grows from your scalp!  Moving on.  “It’s just hair,” is another one I hear.  Well, why are you doing so much to change it then? Why not just let the “hair” grow out of your scalp the way God intended?

People want what they can’t have. You’ve heard of teasing hair, shampoo for thickening, volume and body and have seen numerous tools and products to change the texture of hair. Whether your hair is kinky, curly, straight, or wavy, learn it, love it, embrace it, and don’t let anyone make you feel any less than beautiful. You are beautiful, naturally.

My Story: Why I Went Natural

Going natural never even crossed my mind. All the women I knew had relaxers or wore their hair straight, so when I say it never entered my mind to wear my hair in its natural state, I sincerely meant it.

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The days when a relaxer ruled my hair.

Until my sister opened my oblivious eyes to this world of natural hair, I had no idea that there were hundreds of thousands of Black women throwing out the perm and wearing their natural hair! She told me to look on YouTube and once I seen all these African American women with long, curly, kinky hair; like the hair I never allowed to grow from my scalp for more than three months or so before I would get a perm slapped on it. Hair similar to that, was freely growing out of these ladies’ scalps and being showcased to the world, and to me, for the first time. Some were just getting started with a small afro, while others were years into the natural hair journey. There were women with hair reaching passed shoulder length, passed bra strap length and beyond waist length! I could not believe my eyes or my mind!  It was unusual for me to see Black women with hair that long and it be real! Not only real but afro textured; natural! I was excited and anxious, but also upset!

You mean to tell me that the reason my hair never reached passed my shoulders was because of a RELAXER? You mean I was in the endless cycle of “perming, roots growing out, trimming ends?” No wonder my hair was same length all those years! I never gave it a chance! Every time it grew, I damaged it with a perm and then cut the damaged ends. How silly of me to believe that one day my hair would grow down my back if I continued this cycle. But I did, faithfully, for years and years because nobody told me otherwise.

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I had most of my relaxed ends cut off, but not all.

“You should go natural.” That’s what my sister said to me. I thought about it, considered it and once I decided to do it, it changed everything. It didn’t take much convincing for me. I had already gone about 6 months without a perm, which was longer than usual (only because I found a really good flat iron), so I decided then that I would do it. I was not getting another relaxer put into my hair.

During the transition period, I got a semi chop, cutting a lot of my relaxed hair off, but not all.  My plan was to go a year without perming before I cut the straight, relaxed ends off. I didn’t quite make it that long. After several months, I was still using heat and I had just flat ironed my hair for what would be the last time while having relaxed ends, and…

A key chain I made describing me.

It rained! My hair was a mess! Puffy roots and straight ends, I can’t even think of a character to compared myself with. I knew one thing; I was done!  I went home and asked my mom to cut the rest of my relaxed hair off.  She looked at me, eyes big, and I am sure she understood why just by looking at my countenance. So later that day, we got to work and that was June, 2010. I had my last perm December, 2009. It is now August 2013 and I am proud to say that I have been natural ever since and don’t plan to ever return to the bondage of a perm. No longer am I afraid when it rains, no more of the “perm, grow, trim” cycle, no more do I feel like I need a perm for my hair to be beautiful, or for ME to be beautiful or presentable. I find beauty in my natural hair. It’s funny because I always prided myself in being 100% real, so much that I made a keychain in high school to describe me as being such. I wore my real nails, no make up, real lashes, and real hair, but even though it was my real hair, it wasn’t 100% real because it was chemically processed to be straight. But I struggled through the transition period, passed the TWA (teenie weenie afro) stage and now have some length to work with. So now when I wear my key chain, I truly am 100% real and it feels great! I’m confident and free. I am NATURAL!

I am NATURAL!

Written by TheLaydi1

www.youtube.com/TheLaydi1

www.facebook.com/naturalkinksnaturalcurlsnaturalyou

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I’m Back! With news:-)

If you follow my blog, you know that I haven’t posted for quite sometime now.  I am still natural and loving it and my hair has grown quite a bit.  In the meantime I’ve had another child, a little boy, and my husband and I purchased a home so there has been lots of excitement goingz on 🙂 I want to share more with you about my hair and also my children’s hair since we all have different textures, I may even get my husband to let me throw in a few pics of his hair. 

Also in other Big News, my sister TheLaydi1 will be co-author of this site and will be adding lots of new topics, pictures and information! She also has a youtube channel that you absolutely must check out…. http://www.youtube.com/user/TheLaydi1/videos Her videos are awesome and she does lots of tutorials (what natural doesn’t love tutorials?!?) so check her out and leave her a comment letting her know I sent ya!

Come check the blog often and also look for posts from TheLaydi1.  as always: Rate, Comment and Subscribe! Peace

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

    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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    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!!!