Archive: January 2014

10 Tips on Surviving Two Under Two
I am officially a "two under two" survivor!
6 Natural Hair Tips for Busy Moms
You are just as important as everyone else. Take the time to take care of you too!

So, next up in our Natural Hair 101 series are things you should know before going natural. I already have a post up about transitioning from relaxed to natural here on Napturally Dany. That's a more extensive list on transitioning from relaxed to natural, so go check out that post. However, if I had only five tips on what you should know before going natural, here they are.

Moisture //  The absolute most important thing to know before going natural is moisture. This is extremely important to the health of natural hair. Natural hair tends to be drier than straight hair because the sebum (oil that our scalp naturally produces) can't travel down the curves and bends of our hair strands, which means less moisture is getting to the ends of our hair. Since the ends of our hair is the oldest part of our hair, it's super important to keep them moisturized since they are more fragile. Moisturizing your hair promotes length retention, as your hair isn't breaking as fast as it's growing. So ladies, remember to moisturize and seal those ends with an oil every night (or every other night, depending on your hair needs and the products you're using).

Shrinkage | Some naturals have up to 50% shrinkage, while some have up to 80% shrinkage( I have so much shrinkage, it's not even funny!) Embrace it! It comes with the territory. Moisturizing and sealing will definitely cause some shrinkage. But, there are methods you can use to stretch your hair. I try to keep my hair as stretched as possible to prevent tangles throughout the week (it also makes detangling a lot easier come wash day). Some things you can do to stretch your hair is braid-outs, twist outs, Curlformers, roller set, banding, African Threading Method, etc...

Be Gentle | It's super important to be gentle with our strands because they can break easily. You don't want to cause unnecessary breakage from pulling and tugging on your hair. Since detangling is an absolute must, instead of using a comb to detangle, try using your fingers! It's more gentle and you can feel for the tangles and knots a lot better, whereas the comb would just rip through your strands. If when combing, you hear a snap, crackle, or pop, that means it's time to stop because your breaking your hair. Instead, use your fingers- put some oil on your hands if needed and proceed to finger detangling.

Developing a Good Regimen | It's important to develop a regimen that you can stick to. Finding products that work for your hair and being consistent is super important in any hair care regimen. More about this to come in my post on Building Your Regimen in the Natural Hair 101 series.

Texture | Learn to love your hair. It's the hair that grew out of your scalp, so why not love it? I mean, if relaxers were never created, we had no flat irons, curling irons, or any other hair straightening tools and products or anything that can alter our curl pattern, you'd have no choice but to rock your natural hair and love it. It's important to remember that no two curls are the same. Just like our hair has many different textures all over, there are many naturals out there all with different textures. Everyone's hair is different, and you'll find yourself highly disappointing if you keep wishing your hair was like someone else's. Love the hair you have, embrace it, be shameless, and rock it out!
Photo Credit: Glenford Nunez via Glenford Nunez Photography 

I can think of a ton of reasons to go natural! There is no time like the present, and with the new year already upon us, why not make the turn of the new year a time to do something different, like making the decision to wear your hair in it's natural state. Some of you have been natural for a while, and are just looking for ways to better care for your hair. Some of you have decided to take that step and go natural in 2014 and are figuring out your hair and how to care for it. Some of you are still on the fence about the whole wearing your hair natural thing, and don't think you have "good hair" (btw, there's no such thing as good hair!) to wear your hair natural. To help some of you ladies out, I figured I'd create a series with some helpful information for newly naturals, existing naturals, and even those ladies that are on the fence that’ll hopefully help you all (myself included) learn more about your hair, what you're using in our hair, and how to better care for it. 

Since going natural, I get compliments from other ladies about my hair when I go out. Most of the time, its from women who aren't natural, and they always say, "Oh, I wish my hair can do that!" or I can't go natural." Ummm, sweetheart, yes you can! Nine times out of ten, its because "their hair can't do that!" There's plenty of reasons to go natural, and one of them is not so your hair can look like someone else's! If you're still undecided on whether or not you should go natural, check out these ten reasons:    

Self Acceptance | Loving yourself and your hair in it's natural state. I mean, it's part of you and it's what your are born with! We live in a society where straight hair has become acceptable. Natural hair should be seen just as acceptable as straight hair! Once the creamy crack was created, we've become convinced that wearing our hair straight is the only way to wear it, when it's not! If relaxers and other straightening tools were never created, you'd have no choice but to wear your hair the way it grows out of your scalp! Know that you are beautiful no matter how you decide to wear your hair! We've been trained to think that straight hair is "good hair," but by wearing your hair in it's natural state, you're debunking that myth and you'll stop fooling yourself, telling yourself that only one hair type looks good. There's nothing more liberating than learning about the natural you and not the person society wants you to be. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, and all of you is beautiful, kinks and all.

Less $$$ | No more weekly salon visits! Those weekly wash and sets were not cheap, especially since I always needed some kind of treatment because something was always wrong with my hair! Relaxers weren't cheap either (almost $60 depending on where you went). Being natural you don't have to worry about paying for a wash and set every week or a relaxer every two-three months!

Growth | Stronger, healthier hair. Your hair doesn't grow faster when it's natural, but virgin hair is healthier than relaxed hair because the strands aren't being damaged by chemical processes.You get to see your growth without your hair breaking off, which some relaxed women experience with their hair because of over processed and weaker ends.

Live life without your hair in the way | While having relaxed hair, we tend to let our hair affect different areas in our life, like working out, swimming, etc... Being natural can be such a freeing experience because you don't have to worry about these things! You learn to work with your hair and not against it! Yes, working out makes your scalp sweaty, and you don't want those roots to puff up. But as a natural, you don't worry about things like that. Just co-wash! Your hair loves the water anyway! 

Bye bye new growth | You actually appreciate new growth when your natural instead of becoming annoyed by it because you don't even notice it when your natural! You no longer have to worry about sweating out your perm and taking a blow dryer and flat iron to those roots, and you no longer have to worry about dealing with two different textures!

It's healthier | Perms can causes burns and irreversible damage to your scalp. Ain't no body got time for that!  

Confidence | Wearing your natural hair gives you a level of confidence that's unmatched. Being natural sets you apart. You don't look like everyone else and what the media/society says tells you to look like. In the words of Shameless Maya, BE SHAMELESS & DO YOU BOO!

Versatility | There are so many different style options when it comes to natural hair. You can rock a twist out one day, bantu knot out the next day for a more tighter curl, rock a puff the next day, wear a blow-out, and at the end of the week flat iron it. There's so many different up-do's you can try on your hair. The possibilities are endless when it comes to natural hair! No only that, natural hair comes in so many different textures and shades. It is truly one of the most versatile hair types! 

F-U-N Spells FUN!! | With the versatility comes fun!  From trying out different products and hairstyles, being natural is so much fun!

Sisterhood | You can share your natural hair journey with tons and tons of women. The natural hair community is definitely one that I enjoy being a  part of because of the sisterhood. There's women encouraging each other to go natural, women encouraging each other to don't give up on their natural hair journey (because TRUST and BELIEVE, this hair will drive you crazy sometimes). The natural hair community is one that brings black women together, which is so important and so powerful. 

So two weekends ago while in the Catskills visiting my godmother, I took a trip to Sephora. It wasn't my first time being in Sephora, but it was my first time actually buying something from Sephora.

I was on the hunt for either a powder foundation or a light weight tinted moisturizer. I wanted to start experimenting with some different looks for my wedding in July, and I also wanted something I could use to brighten under my eyes a little. I'm not that big into makeup. Nothing against the ladies who like their faces #BEAT. The looks I see floating around on Instagram are gorgeous! I like to keep it simple - fill in the brows a little, throw on some eyeliner, mascara, lip balm, and keep it pushing. If I'm going out, I'll put on some eye shadow, but my "makeup routine" is fairly simple.

My skin is pretty clear and even. I have a little redness in my cheeks and some dark circles, but that's about it. I wanted something that would even me out a little but looked very natural allowing my skin to still breathe and shine through. Something with a very light coverage...anything else would have been too cakey for me. 

My first stop before hitting up Sephora was the Bare Minerals boutique. I figured I'd try them since their foundations have naturally derived minerals that give long-lasting, breathable, light weight coverage. Sounds like pretty good stuff, right? Well, it wasn't as good as I thought. The foundation was very matte and had lots of specs in it from the minerals, which I didn't like. It was clear I had something on my face, which I didn't like. 

This is a look I did this past weekend. I applied the Tinted Moisturizer with
my fingers instead of the brush to see what look I would get.
I made my way to Sephora and decided to try the NARS Tinted Moisturizer, and I absolutely loved it! It's a bit pricey, but definitely worth it. You only need a tad bigger than a pea sized amount if you're applying it to your whole face, and it really doesn't look like you have anything on. It's very light weight and evens you out without the cakiness. I was a little leery about trying a tinted moisturizer because I didn't want it to feel like a foundation where it just sit on top of your skin. My skin looked super moisturized and supple, and it gave me a nice glow. Most importantly, it looks like my skin! The consultant that helped me used the Urban Decay All Nighter to set the tinted moisturizer so it stays on and doesn't crease or crack. I preferred this over a setting powder-- I felt like it would make me look too matte, which I didn't want. I absolutely loved the finish! It didn't look like I had anything on! The tinted moisturizer just evened me out a bit and got rid of some redness I had, but that was it. My skin still shined through, which I was very pleased with, and I still looked like myself. It does pretty well with covering up dark circles, but I think I want something a little lighter for more coverage. I think I may go back to Sephora and purchase a concealer one-two shades lighter than my skin tone and then apply the tinted moisturizer to my entire face. I saw this from the lovely Krystal Knight of The Feisty House in her everyday makeup routine post (except, she uses two different concealers). 

The tinted moisturizer was $42 (ouch!) I also purchased the All Nighter Spray, which was $29 (ouch...again), and the brush she used to apply the tinted moisturizer, which was a Sephora Brush for $29(an even bigger ouch!!) I know...I almost died when I heard the price. But, this was my first legit makeup purchase, and I wanted to purchase quality items. I know there may be something in drug stores that work just as well, but you can't try those things on in the store, which makes it a pain trying to find your shade because these stores don't have testers like Sephora or Mac. You're left to take a wild guess, which sucks because if something doesn't match, you may not be able to return it so you're just stuck with it. I've watched enough makeup videos on YouTube to know that the quality of your makeup brush determines the look you get with your foundation, and a cheap make up brush was not going to do the trick. So I decided to make the investment, and I am absolutely pleased with my purchase. It cost a lot, but this it'll last me a while since you don't need a lot of these products (if you want more coverage, the tinted moisturizer is buildable, so that would take more product...I'm happy with the light coverage). If this was something I had to buy on a monthly basis, best believe NARS would have stayed on that shelf! 
I'm definitely interested in getting into makeup and going beyond just mascara and lip gloss. The next thing I want to tackle is lip colors. I've been loving the pinks, reds, and purples I've been seeing! If you have any beauty tips, please leave them in the comments! 
Hey there! So, as you know from my October 2013 post, I was suffering from some thinning in my crown area. I thought it was the end of the world when I saw the state of my scalp! 

Just a quick recap, there are a number of things that can cause hair thinning, such as:

  • Hormonal factors, which can sometimes be genetic
  • Medical conditions, like thyroid problems, alopecia areata, scalp infections, or other skin disorders. 
  • Certain Medications used to treat things like depression, cancer, or high blood pressure.
  • Physical shock, including a sudden or excessive weight loss. 
  • Stress
  • Vitamin/nutrient deficiency. Vitamins are important for healthy hair growth, and a lack thereof can cause poor hair growth and even hair loss. 
  • Tension on the hair as a result of pulling the hair
  • WATER!!! Feeding your body from the inside out!

I was able to narrow down the causes of my hair thinning to four of these: genetics, vitamin/nutrient deficiency, tension, and water. I have a history of hair thinning on my mom's side of the family, I had stopped juicing, so I wasn't getting the nutrients I needed, I was pulling on my hair wayyyy too much, and I wasn't drinking enough water. 

To rectify the situation, I started juicing again and drinking more water to feed my body from the inside out the nutrients it needed. The most important thing I started doing was protective styling more so I wasn't pulling on my hair every day. This was extremely important for me because I have thin, fine strands, so it's easy for my hair to snap, break, and start thinning because of the excessive pulling. I also started using Mill Creek Botanicals Biotin Shampoo and Conditioner. The biotin in these products has worked wonders for my hair! Using these products along with oiling my scalp every other night with JBCO infused with Peppermint Oil has thickened that area up and my hair has grown in quite nicely. Starting out, I used these products every other week since the products have both biotin and keratin protein in it (my hair is protein sensitive!)

Here are some progress pictures:

As you can see, the area is not as spacey as it used to be. The hair in that area has definitely thickened up, which I'm happy about! I'm just happy that it's getting better! The way I was feeling about this little hiccup in my natural hair journey, I felt like I was going through a mid-life crisis....at 21! I know, a bit dramatic, but I panicked.

Since I'm limiting my shampoo use, I planned on using the Mill Creek Conditioner as my DC every other week as a little splash of protein so my hair gets that protein-moisture balance that it needs. However, this past weekend, I tried the Aubrey Organics GPB Conditioner, and I liked it a lot better than Mill Creek! Mill Creek does a good job at thickening my hair strands, but it started drying my hair out! When I rinse, my hair feels so stripped, which I don't like. I guess this is due too the fact the the product has both biotin and keratin protein in it, so it's more of a medium protein treatment, which may be too much for my hair.  Once I start hennaing my hair, which I plan I doing in the next couple of weeks, I'll be able to make a better decision on whether or not Mill Creek stays or goes. Since henna thickens and strengthens the hair strands, it may take the place of my Mill Creek Conditioner (used once a month or every 6-8 weeks as a  heavy protein treatment), and Aubrey Organics GPB Conditioner may be used as my light protein conditioner every other week. GPB made my hair feel stronger, yet moisturized in just one use, which I loved!   

So, that's my progress so far. Have any of you tried the Aubrey Organics GPB Conditioner? What were your thoughts? Let me know.

Happy New Year! With the start of the New Year, it's only fitting to make some goals for my hair while I'm still on this natural hair journey. I had an okay relationship with my hair in 2013. I spent 2013 trying to learn and figure out my hair because it started to respond differently to products I normally used, even after clarifying to get rid of build up. My goal last year was to find inexpensive products, mainly a shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in conditioner that were just as good as more expensive brands like Shea Moisture or Karen's Body Beautiful. I bought different products to figure out what worked and what didn't work for my hair, which resulted in me becoming a product junkie because I wanted to try everything! 2013 was also a lazy year for me. I didn't feel like doing anything to my hair. I got tired of doing it, especially towards the end of 2013. I wasn't deep conditioning regularly, and I just got bored with my hair. My hair has definitely grown, but I realize now that I could have retained a lot more length had my hair been healthier and had I stayed consistent. Here are some goals I've created for my natural hair journey in 2014.

Finer Detangle I've decided to give up combs completely in 2014. Yes, it takes more time finger detangling, but I lose a lot less hair when I finger detangle. After watching a video by HeyFranHey, I decided to incorporate finger detangling into my regimen. First, I get to treat my hair to a hot oil treatment before shampooing/co-washing. Second, I lose a lot less hair. Third, detangling with a conditioner should be a breeze since I've removed most of the knots and tangles prior to washing/conditioning. Fourth, I'm not ripping knots and tangles out of my hair, which leads to breakage and little-no length retention.

Co-Washing My hair could use a little more moisture than the daily moisturize and seal. I want to try co-washing instead of shampooing every week because I find that no matter what shampoo I use, my hair still feels stripped! I'll only shampoo once or twice a month to get rid of build up, but co-washing will definitely be a part of my regimen so my hair can get a little more moisture.

Protein-Moisture Balance  My hair needs this more than anything! I realize that this might have been the reason for some of breakage I was experiencing in 2013. I kept my hair moisturized, even on the days when my hair was screaming for moisture and I didn't feel like doing it, but too much moisture can cause breakage, as is the same with too much protein. I kinda steered away from protein because my hair is protein sensitive, but that doesn't mean leaving it out of your hair regimen completely. In addition to my monthly protein treatments, I'm going to incorporate a light protein conditioner into my regimen, using it every other week. So, one week I'll use a moisturizing conditioner, and the following week I'll use a light protein conditioner, just to maintain that protein-moisture balance.

Henna?? Speaking of protein treatments, I was thinking of incorporating Henna into my regimen as well. I have very fine, fragile strands, making my hair susceptible to breakage. My regular protein treatments just aren't doing the trick! In addition to incorporating light protein conditioning treatments to my regimen, I figured I'd give Henna a try for that boost of strength.

Deep Conditioning My hair will thank me for this! The reason why I didn't keep up with deep conditioning regularly was pure laziness! But, if I want to see growth and length retention, I have to suck it up and deep condition regularly with heat! Since my strands have low porosity, adding heat to my DC's will open up my cuticles so moisture is absorbed into the hair better.

Protective Styling This will be a must for this year. I love my twist outs and my puffs, but I need to give my hair a break and tuck away those ends. I've been loving mini-twists(I've installed them three times already), so I plan to install those regularly just to give my hair a break from manipulation. I've also been experimenting with flat twisted up-do's so those will become part of my regimen as well. Of course, it's important to moisturize your hair while it's in these styles!

Live a Healither Life This may not sound like a natural hair goal, but believe it or not, what you put into your body is important if you want healthy hair.It's important to feed your body from the inside out, and that means getting rid of all of the junk, incorporating more fruits and veggies in your diet, drink lots of water, and most importantly, exercise! Exercise promotes a stronger hair growth cycle. It's about time I stick with my weight loss regimen!

So, these are my natural hair goals for 2014. My goal with 2014 is to be more consistent, not just with my natural hair regimen, but in life in general. What are some of your natural hair goals for the New Year??
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