Starting the New Year Fresh: Creating Natural Hair Goals

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It’s a new year, why not work towards a new YOU? Setting natural hair goals for a new year can seem like a daunting task, especially with all of the other things you have to do. And then there is the fact that you usually forget your New Year’s resolution before the end of January.

 Still, there is a sense of accomplishment when you can say that you tried something innovative, rolled up your sleeves and got to work being creative. So instead of looking at your natural hair as one more thing you HAVE to do, use these tips to experience your natural hair in a new way this year.

Herb of the week: Neem

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The neem tree (azadirachta indica) is native to India and has antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, and antiviral properties. The leaves of the neem tree are used to make teas, infusions, and supplements, while the whole nuts of the tree are cold pressed to make a nourishing oil. Neem can be used both externally and internally to promote the health of skin, hair, and nails.

Hello Beautiful Lipstick: A Year in the Making

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Today marks the end of the second month since I started selling Hello Beautiful Lipstick in Love Natural Sunshine’s Boutique. Originally when I had thought of making all natural lipstick it was out of a desperate attempt to find natural beauty products that were safe and non-toxic for my mom to wear.

Pink Lipstick & Why I Avoid It

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The ingredients used to make pink cosmetics can have questionable effects on your body’s health. When creating Hello Beautiful Lipstick, I decided not to create pink lipstick. Here’s why.

Is Titanium Dioxide in Your Cosmetics Safe?

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It’s an ingredient you may have seen listed on the label of your lipstick, foundation, and other cosmetics. Titanium dioxide is even found in most natural beauty brands. But is it safe? Some would say yes, while others would contend that is not safe. In actuality, the safeness of titanium dioxide depends on several factors.

Herb of the week: Thyme

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Thyme is often labeled as an uncommon essential oil, sidelined for more well-known essential oils like lavender or tea tree. Although overlooked, thyme essential oil is an important oil that can be used medicinally to treat common hair and body ailments.

Can Beauty Care Products Penetrate Your Skin?

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So what’s the big deal with natural beauty products anyway? Can what you put on your skin really affect your health? The short answer is yes; beauty products can penetrate your skin. The process is called product penetration. That means the icky chemicals and preservatives in your beauty care products penetrate into your skin and can be carried into your bloodstream.

Hello Beautiful Lipstick Photo shoot Interview

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 Shop!

As you may already know, I recently launched a natural beauty lipstick line for African American/Multicultural women called Hello Beautiful Lipstick. Hello Beautiful Lipstick is free of nasty chemicals, synthetic oils, lead and other harmful metals. The lipstick colors are made with all natural lip-safe, FDA iron oxides and not carmine (a.k.a crushed bug shells) or micas, making it ideal for women with sensitive skin.

You may have also seen the Hello Beautiful Lipstick promotional photos featuring a Marilyn Monroe aesthetic. The model in these photos, Jasmine, kindly agreed to share her thoughts about the beauty industry, the photo shoot, and the mission of Hello Beautiful Lipstick.

How to Protect Your Hair & Skin from Cold Weather

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It’s the most freezing, cold time of the year! Even though the cold weather brings with it a time for seasonal activities and get-togethers, it can be rough on your hair and skin. Try these tips to protect both your hair and skin during the cold weather.

5 Underrated Oils for Skin Care

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When it comes to skin care natural oils are ideal, but with the variety of oils out there it can be difficult to decide which ones works best your needs. When creating my Hello Beautiful! lipsticks I selected five oils that moisturize and hydrate dry, chapped skin, nourish the skin with essential vitamins, and reduce skin aging. Meadow foam seed oil, safflower oil, sesame seed oil, sunflower oil, and avocado oil are full of nutrients that provide skin protection from harmful UV rays while also coating the skin with a protective barrier. The best part is that you can purchase most of these oils from your local grocery. So let’s get started with a breakdown of these five oils skin-loving benefits.

Home Remedies for Dry Fall & Winter Skin

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Making your own body butter or homemade body scrub is the best way to moisturize your skin while using all natural ingredients. The best part of creating your own recipe is that you can customize the butter or scrub to your own skin needs. As the fall season is upon us this is an ideal time to create all natural butters and scrubs that can be stored for use throughout the colder months. Try some of these DIY body butter and DIY sugar scrub recipes for dry skin.

Benefits of Hibiscus Tea for Hair & Body

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Hibiscus tea is a rich, red color and is made by steeping the leaves of the Hibiscus plant in hot water. Besides being a beautiful flower, hibiscus can nourish both your body and natural hair.

Pumpkin Spice Lip Scrub Recipe

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Try this seasonal treat: all natural lip scrub made from a few ingredients in your kitchen like brown sugar, honey, and of course pumpkin spice!

6 Reasons You Keep Having Split Ends

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Got the split ends blues? Read these tips to know why your split ends keep coming back and how to stop them from returning.

1. You comb your hair too much. Combing your hair too frequently can cause damage a.k.a. split ends. Try finger detangling instead.
2. You don’t deep condition enough. Proper deep conditioning is crucial for maintaining moisturized, healthy hair. Hair that has a balance of moisture and protein is less susceptible to breakage.
3. You use too many bobby pins. While a great asset to hairstyles, bobby pins that are used to pin up ends of the hair can causing snagging and breakage. Try doing styles that don’t require bobby pins.
4. You don’t trim your hair regularly. When you find a split end or fairy knot, cut it off. Avoiding trims won’t help you in the long run. In fact, not trimming will prevent length retention.
5. You use too many protein products. Although products or treatments with proteins (keratin, henna) add strength to your hair, without a proper balance of moisture, your hair can become brittle.
6. You aren’t lubricating your ends. Always treat your ends with care, putting the heaviest amount of product on them to keep them happy, conditioned, and strong.

photo courtesy of k is for kinky

How do you plan to prevent split ends?

10 Dos and Don’ts for Natural Hair in the Fall

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Keep these tips in mind when you care for your natural hair this fall.
  1. Do deep condition your hair regularly. Deep conditioning ensures that your natural hair remains moisturized. Moisturized hair is less susceptible to breakage and split ends.
  2. Do style your hair in protective hairstyles to protect your ends
  3. Don’t wear woolen hats, caps, or beanies as they will cause dryness
  4. Do eat healthy amounts of vegetables, fish like salmon, and fruits
  5. Do take a multivitamin, biotin, or Omega 3 supplement to aid in hair growth. (Always consult your doctor before taking a supplement)
  6. Do hot oil treatments regularly to prevent dry scalp and dandruff
  7. Don’t neglect to wash your hair regularly as this cleans clogged pores which prevent hair growth
  8. Do use a microfiber towel, old T-shirt, or pillow case to dry your hair after washing
  9. Don’t forget to moisturize your edges or any part of your hair exposed to the weather. Condition your hair with heavy creams and butters.
  10. Do use a humidifier to keep moisture in the air in your house. You can also steam your hair regularly for extra conditioning.

How do you plan to take care of your natural hair this fall?

Nettle Leaf & Lemon Balm Tea Hair Rinse Recipe

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Drinking herbal teas is a great way to provide your body and natural hair with essential nutrients from the inside out. You can drink herbal tea along with your breakfast or after dinner regularly to improve the health of your body and kinky hair. The great thing about herbal teas is that because they are natural you can use them as a daily drink or a natural hair tea rinse.

This nourishing Nettle Leaf & Lemon Balm tea from Mary Banducci of Sweet Roots features herbs like oatstraw and horsetail which contain vitamins ideal for strong, healthy natural hair.

Herbs, Oils, and Spices Series: Sesame Seed Oil

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Origin: Sesame seed oil is extracted from sesame seeds, which are “tiny, flat, oval seeds with a nutty taste.” Sesame seeds come in various colors including “white, yellow, black, brown, and red.” Sesame seed oil is traditionally used in Asian and Indian cooking.

Botanical name: Sesamun indicum

Characteristics: Moderately oil to the touch, strong, nutty aroma, dark brown color

Benefits for hair: Sesame seed oil is high in many nutrients and vitamins that aid in healthy kinky hair including magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, and zinc. Sesame seed oil strengthens the hair cuticle and naturally increases elasticity. Sesame seed oil is also resistant to going rancid easily.

  • Nourishes dry, brittle hair
  • Protects hair from harmful UV rays
  • Heals scalp infections; anti-bacterial
  • Prevents dandruff, dry scalp, and fungus
  • Strengths hair from the inside out, improves elasticity

Sesame seed oil is great for fine and coarse naturally kinky hair as it does not weigh fine hair down and provides sheen and “luster” to dry hair.

How to use:
Pre-shampoo (pre-poo) treatment
Deep Condition with plastic shower cap
Apply to scalp and ends of hair after washing

Special Note: Always store oils in cool, dark places like kitchen cabinets. Do not store in the bathroom as this can decrease the shelf life of the oil.

Sources: The World’s Healthiest Foods & Rockin’ it Napptural

photo source: eatseed.com

Chemicals to Avoid in Hair Products: Sodium Laureth Sulfate

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Stephanie of Bubble and Bee gives the 101 about the chemical Sodium Laureth Sulfate, commonly found in hair shampoos, conditioners, and washes. Learn about why you should avoid this chemical in your hair products and how it can be damaging to your health.

Today’s Chemical:

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)

EWG Risk Score (Cosmetics Database):

3

What is it:
A widely used detergent and surfactant. It can be derived from coconut oil or petroleum by-products. It is commonly used as an industrial “degreaser.”

Why is it a risk? 

Sodium Laureth Sulfate is an ethoxylated compound. When it’s created, it’s processed with ethylene oxide, a known carcinogen. Traces of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane (another known carcinogen) can be found in the detergent. (Source)
Sodium laureth sulfate is a known eye and skin irritant. (Source)
SLES is found to be a penetration enhancer (Source)

Check to see if you have this chemical in your hair products!

6 Tips for Soft Natural Hair

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Keep your natural hair soft, moisturized and in tip-top-shape with these quick tips for healthy hair from naturallycurly!

1. Drink Water

If you have chronically dry hair, your products may not always be to blame. Do you drink enough water? One of the keys to shiny, healthy, soft, and strong hair is drinking water. If your hair is dull, brittle, and prone to breakage, think about this — how much water do you consume daily? Chances are, with the barrage of beverage options out there, you’re not getting enough. Your hair shafts are comprised of about 25% water. Let’s do some quick math here… If you’re dehydrated (not drinking enough water), you increase your chances of hair breakage by oh… 25%? I don’t know about you, but I can’t take those chances. So drink up. Some sources say drink 64 ounces a day (approximately 4 “regular” sized bottles), while others say drink half, or double your body weight. My advice? Whatever you currently drink, double it every week or so until you reach an amount that is comfortable for you. Your hair, skin, and insides will thank you.

2. Pre-Poo Power

When naturally curly girls start cutting regimen corners, one of the first things to go is the pre-poo. Whether it be because the idea of walking around with an oily bun or shower cap over a beanie is unappealing, or simply because there’s a shortage on time. But a pre-poo treatment is essential to soft hair. Pre-shampoo treatments prime the hair for cleansing by softening, strengthening, and making detangling easier. They also prevent cleansing products from robbing the hair of critical moisture. The best thing about pre-pooing? You can do it on your own terms. Coconut oil, argan oil blends, conditioners, and even your own DIY blends can be used to prep the hair for wash day.

3. Cowashing Isn’t Everything

Although we naturals love cowashing, every once in a while we need to break out the shampoo. One of my favorite reasons is summed up quite efficiently by Jc of The Natural Haven: “In the grand scheme of things, shampoo will remove more oil and dirt than conditioner, conditioner will remove more oil and dirt than using plain water.” While cowashing is a great alternative to always using shampoo, it doesn’t quite get all the buildup and eventually, your hair will not respond the same way to the cowash (due to buildup). Additionally, shampooing makes your conditioners work better. The general idea is that hair carries a slightly negative charge that is enhanced by use of a shampoo with a negative charge. Conditioner has a positive charge, and we all know that opposites attract. The ingredients in regular and deep conditioners are designed to stick to the hair, smooth the cuticle, and fill in chipped areas. This functionality and improved softness is enhanced with the use of shampoo.

4. Be a Steam Queen

Steaming is a great way to get super soft hair, regardless of texture or type.

Steaming the hair gently lifts the cuticle and allows the warm water to penetrate the hair, hydrating it thoroughly. Hydrated hair is soft hair, and soft hair maintains a proper moisture balance provides optimal elasticity. Steam treatments can be done on wash days, mid-week, before, during, or after deep conditioning. They’re convenient and easy to do. Depending on your budget, you can spring for a tabletop steamer like the ever popular Huetiful, or grab my personal favorite, the handheld Q-Redew. You can also get your steam on for free by letting your hair hang loose during your next shower, or spritzing it with water and covering with a plastic cap (or Target bag) and sitting under a dryer, or using a blow dryer attachment to put indirect heat on your head that will cause steam.

5. Kick Deep Conditioning into Overdrive

Do you deep condition every time you wash your hair? If you don’t, you should. It’s the single piece of advice that unites all naturals, regardless of regimen and hair type. Deep conditioning does a mane good, in terms of getting super soft, hydrated, strong, and moisturized hair.

For more reasons on why to deep condition and how to do it, check out the Do’s and Don’ts of Deep Conditioning!

6. Layer Products Properly (and always use a leave-in)

The first step in maintaining moisture and hydration is using a leave-in.
LOC, LCO, LCB, LOB, ABCDEFGHIJK….. The acronyms that are meant to guide you in layering products are often more confusing than helpful. But the way you layer your products can mean the difference between soft, hydrated hair and a crispy mess.

Generally speaking, the first step in maintaining moisture and hydration is using a leave-in. Whether it be extra conditioner or a product formulated specifically to be a leave-in, having a product that is a water-based mixture of fatty alcohols, emollients, and humectants is the first line of defense in maintaining soft hair during styling.

After your leave-in should come a moisturizing product, like a hair lotion, or moisture butter blend (also water-based). This product will help lock in the hydration from your leave-in, and prime your hair for styling. If your hair responds well to pure oils and butter, sealing after this with an oil or butter of your choice is a great next step. After that, your hair is primed for whatever styling product you choose.

4 Definitions Every Natural Should Know

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The terms humectant, humidity, cold pressed, and emollient are used frequently on natural hair sites, forums, and blogs. Many times these terms are not defined and yet understanding what they may mean is important in caring for natural hair.

Read on for the definition of each word and why it is important to know in relation to your hair.

Cucumber Deep Conditioner Recipe

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Is your natural hair in need of a good deep condition? Try this refreshing deep conditioner made with cucumbers and Greek Yogurt. Cucumbers are high in vitamin A and promote hair growth. Greek Yogurt is great source of protein and moisture for your hair while also aiding in detangling. A special thanks to Rockin’ it Napptural for the inspiration behind this recipe. Follow the steps below to achieve soft, conditioned hair.

The Benefits of Cucumbers for Hair and Body

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Cucumbers also reduce inflammation and because the are very high in Alkaline minerals, prevent cancer in the body. If cucumbers are this beneficial for the body, what makes you think they aren’t beneficial to your hair?

How To Use Olive Oil to Pre-Poo Your Hair

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Similar to a hot oil treatment, a pre-poo is a hair conditioning treatment that is done before shampooing or washing the hair using a conditioner or oil.

Watch the video tutorial to learn how to do an Olive oil pre-poo treatment for your natural hair.


What have been your results with using Olive oil to pre-poo your hair?

The Hair Growth Diet: 10 Blood Circulating Foods

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by Kristian Richards of Naturally Curly

Did you know that you could help your curls grow by consuming foods that stimulate your blood circulation? The secret is found in the vitamins and minerals that prevent plaque build-up, safely dilate your blood vessels, and keep your blood clean and thin. If you’re going for length, add these foods to your regular diet, be patient, and see what happens.

The Head Massage: How To Massage Your Scalp

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Natural Belle blogger, Gina, explains how to effectively massage your scalp for healthy hair growth.


About Head Massages

Head massages are an effective way to stimulate our scalps; we need to do this to get blood flowing to our follicles. Blood circulation to our scalps is the furthest away from our hearts, so when blood is busy working its magic on the rest of our body it can loose oomph once its get to our scalps.

Dear Love Natural Sunshine: What are Carrier Oils?

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If you have purchased an essential oil before, you may have been instructed to use it with a carrier oil. “Carrier” oil is a term frequently used but rarely explained. Carrier oils are derived from “vegetables, nuts, or seeds.” Carrier oils are used in combination with a few drops of an essential oil  in order to avoid irritation and to make the essential oil easier to spread.

Carrier oils that have been cold pressed or expeller pressed have not be processed by the use of chemicals. Cold pressed carrier oils retain their “aroma and nutritional value.” The process of
“taking” carrier oils from their original source (vegetables, nuts, or seeds) is called extraction.

Definitions of carrier oil extraction methods
  • Cold pressed: oils obtained by “pressing and grinding” seeds, etc.
  • Expeller pressed: oils obtained by “high pressure to squeeze” seeds, etc

Characteristics of carrier oils
  • Oily or lightly-oily
  • Light or strong aromas
  • Little to no color

What does this mean for your natural hair?

How to Store Your Shampoo Bar for Future Washes

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Storing shampoo bars is an easy, three step process that you can do after a washing session. Follow this tutorial to learn how you can store your shampoo bar.

Dear Love Natural Sunshine: What are Essential Oils Anyways?

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Do a simple Google search and you will find many articles speaking of the benefits of essential oils for hair care. But the question, “What exactly is an essential oil?” is often overlooked.
To put it simply, an essential oil is an oil that has been taken from plant leaves, fruits, stems, or roots. The process of “taking” the oils from their original source, like plant leaves, is called extraction.

Essential oils can be extracted from “exotic” to “everyday” plants. Essential oils can be extracted by using several methods like distillation, expression, solvent extraction, enfleurage, and carbon dioxide extraction. The most common method used to extract essential oils is steam distillation, where the plant is steam cooked in order to “release its essences.”

Definitions of essential oil extraction methods

Steam distillation: extracts by steam cooking the plant
Expression: extracts by using “high pressure to squeeze” the plant
Enfleurage: extracts by “saturating” the plant with vegetable oils
Carbon dioxide extraction: extracts by using steam from carbon dioxide
Solvent extraction: extracts by using chemicals like alcohol

What does this mean for your natural hair?

11 Oils to Combat Dry Natural Hair

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Pamper your natural hair by incorporating essential oils into your natural hair regimen. Here are eleven essential oils that WebMD recommends using regularly to prevent dry, brittle hair.

Herbs, Oils, and Spices Series: Avocado Oil

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Origin: Avocado oil is extracted using cold pressing method.

Characteristics: Oily to the touch, strong, herbal aroma, dark green color when unrefined, shelf life is about 6 months

Benefits for hair: Avocado oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acids that help with conditioning the hair. When used in a deep conditioner, Avocado oil can effectively moisturize the hair shaft by penetrating the cuticle layer. Avocado oil is not recommended for fine hair as it is a heavy oil. (source)

How to use:

Use my avocado deep conditioner recipe to get the full benefits of the avocado for your hair.
Soaps, Creams, and Herbal Gels by Marlene Jones

Herbs, Oils, and Spices Series: Sage

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Origin: Mediterranean

Botanical Name: (Salvia officinalis)

Parts used: The leaves of the Sage herb are used for medicinal and culinary purposes.

Benefits for hair:  Can be used to strengthen and restore hair, while preventing hair loss. Sage can help clarify the scalp when used in an herbal tea rinse. (source)

How to use: Herbal tea rinse
Recipe: Sage Hair Tea Rinse — for Invigorating and Cleansing
Sage helps cleanse the hair of oil buildup and promotes healthier hair.

Ingredients:
2 cups boiling water
2 tsp. dried, un-crushed sage (or 1/2 cup fresh sage leaves)

Directions:
Pour the water over the sage and steep until cool. Remove (or strain) the sage and apply to freshly washed hair. Massage into scalp and rinse out.

*When using a new herb, always perform a “patch test” to check for irritation and use accordingly.

Recipe credit: Rockin it Naptural

Photo credit

Herbs, Oils, and Spices Series: Apricot Kernel Oil

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Origin: Apricot kernel oil is extracted from dried apricot kernels.

Characteristics: Oily, nutty fragrance, golden color

Benefits for hair: Apricot kernel oil contains essential fatty acids, like polyunsaturated fatty acids, that help in sealing moisture into the hair. Apricot kernel oil is rich in Vitamin A, C, and E. (source)

Benefits for scalp: Apricot kernel oil can help treat dermatitis and dandruff, plus prevent hair loss by massaging it into the scalp regularly. (source)



How to use:

  • Pre-shampoo (pre-poo) treatment
  • Hot oil treatment
  • Scalp massage
  • Apply to damp hair to seal in moisture
Soaps, Creams, and Herbal Gels by Marlene Jones