Saturday, July 10, 2010


After a bit of research and some thinking, I've decided to move my blog to a new host site that will allow me greater ease of updating my blog. You can now find Kinks and Curls over at:

I will leave this blog up, but all updates will be made at the new address. See ya there!!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Wash and Go a new favorite??

It's been  forever since my last post, but preparing to move 900+ miles away can eat up quite a bit of time. But I had to post this awesome change in my routine.

A week and a half a go my husband suggested that I wear my hair down more often. Since being natural for a little over a year during that time I wore my hair either up or braided for about 98% of the time. The reason for this was protecting my hair and not knowing really how to work with it. I'm still learning.  Since being natural I've heard about wash-n-go styles and a product like called Kinky-Curly. I've tried the washa nd go before and it didn't quite turn out the way I wanted it to. I'm not sure if I did something wrong or used the wrong products, but it turned out kind of weird. I was able to salvage it but was still a bit let down by the results. After going back and forth with myself about it, I finally (with a little encouragement from hubby) decided to try out the wash-n-go again with the Kinky-Curly styling system. I went to Whole Foods and purched the Kinky-Curly Come Clean Shampoo,  Kinky-Curly Knot Today Conditioner. I already had a jar of the Kinky-Curly Curling Custard  lurking under my bathroom sink that I tried and failed with about a month ago.  Earlier this week, I washed my hair with the Come Clean shampoo, used the Knot Today to detangle and as a leave in, and applied the Curling Custard in small sections though dripping wet hair. The results? I love this line!! I love how my hair reacts to it. No I don't get big springy curls (and I'm totally OK with that) but I get smaller little cork screw curls and my hair is nice and shinny. The only draw back is that it does take my hair a while to dry, but I can get 2nd and even 3rd day hair with these products which is a huge plus.  For some reason, I thought I had to wash my hair every day and go though the whole routine every day, but all I have to do the next day is spritz my hair with a little bit of water and finger comb and/or add a headband or scarf and I'm out the door. So these products and the wash-n-go are now a staple in my routine.

I plan to rock the wash-n-go though out the summer. I'm hoping to find some cute accessories to go with my new style. I'm glad I finally tried this. Oh and a big plus for the Kinky-Curly products are they are completely natural and organic with no mineral oil, silicones, petroleum, plastics, acrylics, carbomers, and are also alcohlol, wax, and paraben free. How awesome is that!! If you want to check out these products (and I highly suggest you do if you have kinky or curly hair) swing on over to the Kinky-Curly website and check them out!

Here are my results from this morning. This is my second day hair and a I used a bra strap (from one of my convertible bras) to create this style. Notice the little cork screw curls a the top? I love this style and these products.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hair Today: Curly Updo and New Product

Today, I decided to opt for a curly up do and to try out a new product. Here's what I did:

Last night:
  • Spritzed hair with filtered water.
  • Applied TIGI Bead Head Self Absorbed Conditioner
  • Sealed with shea mixture.
  • Created 7 flat twists.
  • Slept with satin bonnet.

This Morning:
  • Untwisted (NO FLUFFING!)
  • Gathered hair into a fountain twist.
  • Secured with pale horn barrette and a hair pin.

The Results:

I do like this style. It's one of my favorites. It's classy and chic and can easily be dressed up or down. The style is really easy to create and I LOVE effortless styling. I did like the use of the TIGI Bed Head Self Absorbed. It set my twists very nicely and with the Shea mixture left the curls soft and moisturized. The conditioner is kind of light so I would definitely recommend sealing with shea butter or olive oil to maintain moisture. My hair handled it very well and I think I saw a bit of shine coming though. In all, I will rank this as a keeper.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Wash and Go into a Curly Fro????

Have you ever noticed that some of your worst hair attempts can magically turn themselves into some thing good?  How a complete mishap can yeild an awesome style in a totally different form? Well, this happened to me yesterday. I decided to give the wash and go a shot. So the night before I applied my Brahmi oil as a pre-wash treatment. The next day I washed my hair with my homemade shampoo, conditioned with my Giovanni 50:50 Balancing conditioner and detangled under cold water. I jumped out of my shower and reached for my Kinky-Curly Curly Custard and slathered it in, instead of applying in SMALL sections like the directions stated  (not to self, next time READ!). Anyway, thanks to my hair being THICK and kinky the product didn't go all the way though and I could tell I was headed for disaster. So I put a small amount of my shea butter mix in my hair and proceded to do two strand twists. I had to rewet my hair  a few times but I eventually got several large twists in my hair. Deciding to take things a step further, I used flexirods to curl the ends of my hair. So last night I went to bed with my rollers in my hair and took them out this morning when I woke up before going to the gym. I kept the twists in and used a satin scarf under my bandanna to hide the fact. Well after the gym I got home, showered, undid the twists, fluffed with shea butter on my hands and I was delighted at what I saw. I had a curly fro and it looked pretty good! This just goes to show how what appears to be a disaster can manifest itself ito something positive. I've never worn a curly fro, actually I very RARELY wear my hair out, so I am pretty excited at this. There is a little bit of frizz here and there but over all I'm really like this style.  Check out the pics below. Also I did recieve my Amla powder and Brahmi Oil in the mail this week and I did an Amla treatment. I have pics of what I did and will post as soon as I find the USB cord to my Blackberry.

So to recap, here are the products I used in the order of use:
  • Brahmi Oil- pre-wash treatment over night
  • Homemade Shampoo: 3/4 cup of Dr. Bronner's Lavender Castile Soap, 1/2 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1/2 cup filtered water.
  • Giovanni's 50:50 Balancing Hydrating Conditioner to condition and detangle under cool water.
  • A bit of Kinky-Curly Curling Custard (careful not to use too much or you'll end up with white flakes in your hair).
  • Homemade Whipped Shea mixture to seal the ends and add moisture.
The end results:

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Product Experement and Styling Update

For the last month or so I've been reading about Amla. Alma, or Indian Gooseberry, is an edible fruit from a deciduous tree of the same name. It's used in traditional Indian medicine in fresh or dried form to cure various ailments including, skin and hair ailments. Its also used widely among Indian women as a cosmetic. Amla Powder is a natural astringent and skin toner that works on both hair and skin. The paste makes hair glossy and silky, enhances waves and curls, leaving behind a clean and healthy scalp. The past has also been seen to stimulate hair roots to promote growth. This paste can also prevent scalp infection and controls premature graying of the hair, as well as dandruff from the hair and scalp yielding body to the hair. This powder can also be added to henna to tone down the reds and give more brown hues. As for the skin, the past of Amla powder improves complexion and removes pimples and grime.

I've poked my head in on a few natural hair care forums in search of women who have used Amla powder. I've found  quite a few and all have given the powder good reviews. So I figured I'd give it a shot and ordered 200g of Amla powder from Also while doing my research I stumbled upon a certain oil called Brahmi oil. Brahmi oil is a combination of pure coconut oil and 22 Indian herbs and is known for therapeutic effects. Ramtirth Brahmi oil has been proven beneficial for hair complaints and for promoting the growth of long lustrous hair.  After finding some pretty supportive reviews (and giving in to being a product junkie) I purchased a bottle as well from Butters-N-Bars.

So my package should be arriving next week and when I wash an restyle my hair I'll give this a shot and see how they work. I'll report back with my review

Now, on to a styling update. While searching diligently for a cute, easy to do/maintain protective hairstyle I stumbled across a natural hair blog. Mane And Chic has a great guide called Hair 101: The Beginner's Guide. Featured in this guide are washing techniques, tips on conditioners, shampoos, scalp stimulation and more. There's also a section on hairstyles and in this section the name of one particular style caught my attention. It's called the Southern Tease Bun. Being a child of the South, I HAD to check this style out. To my luck I found that she put together a youtube video on how to do this style. It looked super easy and like a super cute and chic hairstyle! Check out the video by clicking here. I'm going to give this style a try next week as well. I know bunning is nothing new to naturals, but I've yet to try a single bun. I've done double side buns and french twists but nothing like this. My hair hasn't really been long enough to bun until now, so this is kind of new to me. I'm also thinking of doing a bunning experiment. I've heard that a lot of ladies had great growth results by bunning. Bunning is a very popular protective style that keeps fingers out of hair thus preventing over manipulation. So if my bun turns out successful, I'll give it a shot for a month or two and see what happens.  I'll have more product reviews coming up soon.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Health and Fitness Tips of the Week

Super Food of the Week: Strawberries

Strawberries have grown wild for nearly millennia in regions throughout the world. Sometime before the Christian era they began being cultivated and were highly prized and considered a luxury to the ancient Romans. Today, strawberries are increasingly available year round to the general public in over 600 varieties that differ in flavor, size and texture. The fragrantly sweet juiciness of this little deep red fruit makes it easy for just about anyone to sink their teeth into strawberries and their health benefits are just as sweet. This little fruity heart-shaped treat is filled with phtonutrients, and other vitamins and minerals that love to love your body.

Strawberries are filled with unusual and potent antioxidants, which give strawberries their flush red color. These specific antioxidants have been repeatedly sown to help protect cell structures in the body and prevent oxygen damage in all of the body’s organ systems. These antioxidants also make strawberries a heart-protective fruit, an anti-cancer fruit as well an anti-inflammatory fruit, rolled into one beautiful red package with a green bow on top. Strawberries anti-inflammatory properties have been shown helpful with rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis and cancer.

At some point in our lives, probably when we were children, we were told that carrots would keep your eyes bright and healthy. As it turns out carrots have to share this fame with fruits as well. A study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology presented data that indicates that eating 3 or more servings of fruit per day may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration, which is the primary cause of vision loss in older adults. Strawberries are the perfect choices to fit the order, as they contain nutrients that help fight macular degeneration.

Strawberries also contain hair friendly vitamins. Strawberries are an abundant source of vitamin C, a well-known antioxidant. In addition to being an antioxidant, vitamin C has been found aid in the improvement of scalp circulation, helping to deliver nutrients to the hair follicle. Vitamin C’s antioxidant property also helps to keep your skin healthy and young looking and is also important in iron absorption. Vitamin B2, or riboflavin, is also found in strawberries. In addition helping muscles produce energy, vitamin B2 also aids in the support of hair strength and growth. Strawberries also contain vitamin B6, which functions in the formation of body proteins and amino acid metabolism as well as other important bodily functions. Vitamin B6 also helps to promote healthy skin and reduce skin and scalp inflammation. A deficiency of vitamin B6 often manifests itself in hair loss. Strawberries also contain some omega 3 fatty acids, which are needed to support scalp health.

So if you’re looking for a sweet treat that you won’t regret then strawberries are the way to go. You can eat them simply as they are or you can try adding sliced strawberries and almonds to a fresh green salad. You can also try layering sliced strawberries, whole blueberries and plain non-fat yogurt in a wine glass for an elegant and tasty parfait dessert. You can even add them to oatmeal or your favorite breakfast cereal for a sweet mix. Anyway you eat them, this is a sweet and juicy treat your body definitely appreciate.

Fit Tip of the Week: Plyometrics: What is it and how does it work?

You’re probably seen the P90X or Shaun T’s Insanity infomercials where people are jumping around or doing highly explosive movements during a particular portion of the exercise program. You’ve probably asked yourself, “What the heck are they doing?” or have said to yourself “That looks insane!” (pardon the pun). What you are seeing is a form of training that’s been around for years called plyometrics. Plyometrics is a type of exercise training designed to produce fast, powerful movements, and improve the functions of the nervous system for the purpose of improving athletic performance. Also known as “jump training”, plyometrics involves stretching of a muscle prior to contracting it. With these movements a muscle is loaded and then contracted in rapid sequence using the strength, elasticity and nerve innervation of the muscle and surrounding tissues to jump higher, run faster, throw father, or hit harder depending on the desired training goal. This type of training increases the speed or force of muscular contractions, generating the strongest contraction possible in the shortest amount of time, or simply put explosiveness.

In the 1970’s Eastern Europeans first used plyometrics to develop greater strength and power in their Olympic athletes. They based their programs on scientific evidence that stretching muscles prior to contracting them produces a stretch reflex, which enhances the power of the muscle contraction. So, for example, if you’re jumping the pre-stretching of the muscles occurs when you perform jumps one after another. When you land from a jump, the muscles in the front of your thighs stretch as the knees bend, and then quickly contract again with the next leap, which enhances the power of the second jump.

Now the next question is, is this something that is helpful? In my opinion I believe that in certain situations plyometrics can helpful and effective. Studies have sown that plyometrics training can lead to improvements in leg strength, muscle power, acceleration, balance and overall agility. However, there is a catch. Plyometrics training has received a lot of criticism due to the reported case of injury following programs of depth jumping, drop jumping, jumping up to, and down from boxes or benches that are as high as 42 inches. Plyometrics training does carry a higher risk of injury due to the forces sustained from these types of jumps onto a hard surface as well as from the explosiveness involved. With the help and supervision of a certified strength and conditioning specialist or trainer and a gradual progression a plyometrics program can be safe and effective. Keep in mind that jumps should always begin from ground level, off of and onto padded surfaces such as grass or a gym mat over a wood gym floor. These jumps are safe and easy to perform. Other techniques include jumping over cones or foam barriers.

There are some safety precautions that I feel that are necessary to mention about plyometrics. Again, there is an increased risk of injury due to the large forces generated during training and performance. Therefore, plyometrics training should only be performed by well-conditioned individuals under the supervision of a fitness specialist, therapist, or physician. Good levels of physical strength, flexibility, and proprioception are essential and should be achieved before starting plyometrics training.

That being said, plyometrics training is NOT for beginner exercisers, people with acute or chronic joint issues or injuries, obese individuals, or pregnant women. However, if you are physically conditioned and are considering plyometrics, then I strongly urge that you proceed with caution. Consult a sports medicine physician or therapist to see if this type of training is suitable for you. They can also help you get started or recommend someone who can. Remember, a safe and effective program stresses the quality, not quantity, of jumps. Safe landing techniques, such as lading from the toe to heel from a vertical jump, and using the entire foot as a rocker to dissipate landing forces are also important to reduce impact forces. Avoidance of excess side-to-side motion at the knee is also important in protecting your knees. If improving athletic performance is not a high priority or even a fitness goal, then the additional risk associated with this activity may not be worth the potential benefits. Remember to always put your safety first.

Until next week, stay happy and healthy!


Monday, May 3, 2010

Am I My Hair? Perhaps...

The ever beautiful India Arie wrote a song called "I Am Not My Hair". It's a beautiful empowering song and if you haven't heard it, then you need to book it over to iTunes and download it. The more I hear this song and the more I think about my own kinky mane. I begin to ask myself more and more, am I my hair?? India's song speaks of true inner beauty and how what's on the inside is much, much more than what's seen on the outside. She sings about the common stereotypes of African hair and how women with kinky curly hair try so hard to conform to the mainstream idea of beauty and beautiful hair (nothing against my straight haired sisters!).

I can recall a time when I was living in England with my parents. I was about 6 years old and my mom and I were shopping in London and we passed by a black woman with a huge beautiful Afro. It was like a perfect beautiful kinky curly halo framing her face and head. She was stunning!!! She carried herself with such happiness and confidence, as if she were Miss Universe. I was in total awe of her, in a trance if you will, as she walked by. But suddenly, my mother's voice broke my trance as I heard her say, "She needs to do something with that nappy head of hers." The look of disgust on my mother's face matched her tone. My eyes fell to my mother's Jeri curled hair and and then turned back to watch the woman with the halo continue to walk down the sidewalk. And slowly the realization came to mind that natural hair was unclean and disgusting, and yet I still wanted that beautiful mane of hair. It was the spring when this happened. That summer my mother took me to the salon and transformed my naturally kinky curly hair into an oily mess with a Jeri curl. Thus began the years of hiding my true self and complete agony.

Much like India's song I spent years wearing weaves, curling, relaxing and damaging my hair in attempts to be "normal". After all, I was an Army brat that spent most of her life in Europe and areas where there were very few other black girls and most of my friends where of non-African heritage and had beautiful flowing hair. I wanted that!! But, year after year (thanks to harsh chemicals and damaging styling) my hair became worn, weathered, and damaged and I STILL didn't have the flowing mane my friends did. I remember when I was a little girl tying a big fluffy towel around my head pretending it was my hair and tossing it over my shoulder as if I were Cher (I even ran around the house with a hairbrush singing Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves). In a way, I did become my hair. I was oppressed, damaged, angry, disappointed and hidden. All until one bad chemical treatment left me with burns and handfuls of hair missing back in 2006. The breakage was so terrible and I had to cut my shoulder length hair into a short pixie cut. Talk about a shocker!! That's when I decided I'd had enough. That I was not going to be my hair anymore, at least not in that state. So in came the braids and with every new set I cut off small amounts of the relaxed ends. Slowly, my natural hair started to come though and on 28Feb2009 I took out my last set of braids and cut off the last 1/4 inch of relaxed hair. Suddenly, there she was. The woman in London walking down the street with her beautiful halo of natural African hair. Only this time she was in my bathroom mirror.

Since that day, over a year ago, I've learned new ways to love and care for my natural hair. In short I've fallen in love with it and have come to the realization that in some ways I am not my hair. I am not the unclean, radical and unprofessional stereotype that natural hair has had bestowed upon it. However, in many ways I AM my hair! I am strong, vibrant, versatile, healthy, beautiful, unique, and I'm growing. I AM the woman confidently walking down the sidewalk with beautifully natural kinks and curls. Yes, I am my hair and I love every minute of it.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Book Review: Curly Like Me: How To Grow Your Hair Healthy, Long and Strong

Friday morning I purchased this book's e-book version on my Barnes and Noble Nook (if you don't have one, GET ONE!). I'm already a huge fan and follower of Teri. Her website ( is one of my absolute favorites. So when I heard back in the fall that she was publishing a book, I was so very excited. Her website is absolutely amazing. I especially love the ingredients dictionary she has on the site. It's helped me countless times identify ingredients that can be harmful to my curls or if I didn't know what an ingredient was or what it's used for. It's helped me to avoid spending a ton of money on products that could damage my hair instead of making it strong and healthy. So, needless to say I was excited to read her book. In her book she goes in to great detail the techniques she used to grow and maintain her beautiful hair. This technique is also described on her website as well. I've been using bits and parts of her techniques (combing, cleansing, products and ingredients to avoid), but I still wanted to read her book. I was glad that I did. Teri shared some wonderful insight into curly hair. She shares her vast knowledge and research on what makes curly hair, well, curly and unique! She also shared her own personal horror stories of her struggles of trying to make her hair fit the ideal straight hair, something I think all naturals can relate to. She also filled her pages with great styling ideas for long hair, as well as books that she encourages everyone to read. Over all I'm glad I purchased her book. Like I said I've only used bits and parts of her styling techniques and I'm seriously giving some thought to trying all of them out as I'm kind of in a stying rut. Hopefully, these techniques will hold up to hard workouts and keep me from over manipulating my hair. If you haven't already visited the website or read Teri's book, I would encourage you to do so. The information that she has can prove to be very helpful or at the very least teach you which product ingredients to avoid. Thanks Teri for sharing your knowledge with the world!!

Styling Rut

Ok, I've officially entered a styling rut with my curls. I've been wearing the double side buns with flat twists in the front for about three weeks now. I'm kind of burnt out on this style. I do like it a lot. It's cute, simple and quick to do. It lasts until I co-wash and deep condition every five days and though my sweaty workouts. I'm wanting to give the twist and curl a shot again, but I'm not sure if this style will survive daily workouts. I've done a twist and curl style before back in the fall and it turned out well even after a workout. But I would like something that would last at least five days and doesn't require a lot of manipulation. With the double buns all I have to do at night is tie a scarf around the my head and untie in the morning. So I'm not sure what I want to do. Thought about going back to just tiny twists, or a single bun with various hair pins and clips for decoration. But again I'm not really sure. I would really like to start wearing my hair down and out and really show off and enjoy my curls, but I'm just not sure how. I've been stalking some of my favorite blog and sites for ideas but nothing has yet to strike my fancy. Most of the styles look really awesome on hair that's much longer than mine *sigh*. Anyway, hopefully by the time it's time for me to co-wash and deep condition again I will have come up with something. Below are some pics of some styles I've tried before.

Pony Poof. This was my staple style last summer. I gave it up out of fear of putting too much tension on my hair.

Twist n' Curl. (Fall 2009). This pic was taken one afternoon since being at work since 4:30am and an hour long workout. I think this was second day hair and I can't for the life of me remember what products were used in the creation of this beast lol.

This was taken last week. I'm rocking my double buns with my straw hat to protect my hair from the sun. Plus it's super cute and goes pretty well with the earrings.

I guess we'll see what comes to mind.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Shea Mixture

Ok I've decided to post the recipe for the whipped shea mixture that I use. Its not my own original recipe. I actually got it from the book Thank God I'm Natural by Chris-Tia Donaldson. If you haven't read it, I would highly suggest that you do. It has tons of great, easy to make, homemade product recipes. This one happens to be my favorite. I had to tweak it a little bit (I had tons of trouble with the e-book version of this book) but it still came out quite well and my hair loves it. It's actually supposed to be hair pomade but I also use it on my skin, which is extremely dry all the time now since living in New Hampshire. So here's the recipe. You can adjust to suit your hair needs. Again, this was taken from the book Thank God I'm Natural by Chris-Tia Donaldson. Check it out. It’s an awesome read! Also if you’re looking for more great homemade recipes check out She has tons!

Whipped Shea Buttter Pomade:

· 4oz (I used 7 oz) of unrefined shea butter

· ¼ cup of sweet almond oil (I sometimes use jojoba oil)

· 1/8 cup of castor oil

· 1 Vitamin E capsule

· 5 drops of ylang ylang

· 3 drops of vanilla

  • I have substituted the ylang ylang and vanilla with 5 drops of lavender oil. The smell still came out pretty nice.


Melt shea butter over low heat using the double-boiler method. When the shea butter is completely melted, stir in the sweet almond oil and castor oil and allow to cool. Once the mixture has a soft butter like consistency, break open a Vitamin E capsule and squeeze into the mixture. Using an electric mixer with whisks beat on low until the mix becomes fluffy and has the look of egg whites. Add in fragrant oils and mix again. Pour into a plastic container and let cool. The result will be a fluffy (almost like cool whip) smooth textured shea butter that literally melts into the hair and skin.
  • The author notes that improper heating of shea butter can cause the butter to crystallize as it cools. She suggests that the shea butter should be heated to about 175 degrees for at least 20 minutes.

Give it a try!


Super Food and Fitness Tip of the Week

Super Food of the Week: Whole Wheat

This week’s focus is on whole wheat. In its natural unrefined state, wheat features a host of important nutrients for your overall health and hair. So to receive benefit from the wholesomeness of wheat its important to choose wheat products made from whole wheat flour rather than those that are refined and stripped of their much-needed natural goodness.

The health benefits of wheat depend on the from in which you eat it. These benefits are reduced if you select wheat that has been processed into 60% extraction (bleached white flour), which is the standard for most wheat products in the U.S. This means that 40% of the original wheat grain was removed and only 60% is left. Unfortunately, in that 40% over half of the vitamins B1, B2, B3, E, folic acid, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, iron, and fiber are lost. Since 1941, laws in the United States have required the “enrichment” of processed wheat flour with vitamins B1, B2, B3, and iron in response to problems created by the 60% extraction. However, if you select 100% whole-wheat or whole-grain products, all of the would be lost nutrients will remain in its natural full force in your meals and the health benefits will be impressive.

In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition researchers underscored the importance of choosing whole rather than refined wheat to maintain a healthy body weight. In this particular Harvard Medical School/ Brigham and Women’s Hospital study the collected data showed that weight gain was inversely associated with the intake of high-fiber, whole-grain foods, such as whole wheat, but was positively related to the intake of refined-grain foods. Not only did the women who consumed more whole grains consistently weigh less than those who ate less of the fiber rich foods they were also less likely to gain weight.

Eating whole grains, such as whole wheat, can substantially lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Whole grains are a rich source of magnesium, a mineral that acts as a co-factor for more than 300 enzymes, including the enzymes involved in the body’s use of glucose and insulin secretion. The FDA permits foods that contain at least 51% whole grains by weight (and are also low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol) to display a health claim stating that consumption is liked to lower risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. Research now suggests that regular consumption of whole grains also reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, as published in Diabetes Care.

In an 8-year trial, involving 41,186 participates of the Black Women’s Health Study; research data confirmed the inverse association between magnesium, calcium and major food sources in relation to type 2 diabetes that had already been reported in predominately white populations. The results were that the risk of type to diabetes was 31% lower in black women who frequently ate whole grains compared to those eating non-whole grain foods. Daily consumption of low-fat dairy foods was also helpful, lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes by 13%.

Some of the other many wonderful benefits of whole wheat include reduction of chronic inflammation, prevention of gallstones, promotion of gastrointestinal regularity and health, protection against breast cancer, protection against heart disease, and the promotion of over all health as well as an energy boost. So try kicking the refined or “enriched” grains and add whole grains for a healthy dose of zinc, iron, B vitamins and a host of other nutrients your hair will thank and reward you for. Try using whole wheat, or whole grain, bread for sandwiches or make individual pizzas using whole wheat pita breads as the crust. If you’re a big fan of pasta, then try using whole-wheat pasta for some of your favorite pasta dishes. If you’re a big fan of breakfast cereal, then reach for cereal that contains whole grain or whole wheat.

Fitness Tip of the Week: Exercise and Pregnancy

Congratulations! You just found out the fabulous news that you’re preggers. You’re filled with excitement, anticipation, anxiety, and the commitment to do everything right for baby and you. You’ve committed yourself to bringing a healthy and beautiful baby into the world, which means mommy, must be healthy as well. So now comes the question of exercise. Should you continue with your exercise routine or should you begin one to optimize health for both yourself and baby? Well, the first step to help answer the question is a visit and chat with your doctor. Usually exercise during pregnancy is encouraged, however under some circumstances exercise may be detrimental to both mom and baby. Only after a through clinical evaluation can a physician determine your exercise risks, should there be any.

Exercising during pregnancy offers many physical and emotional benefits. A good exercise program may help to relieve common problems associated with pregnancy, such as excessive weight gain, swelling of the hands and feet, leg craps, varicose veins, insomnia, fatigue, and constipation. Moms-to-be can also look forward to improved posture and circulation, reduced backaches, and increased mood and energy. Plus, you’ll feel so great in the knowledge that you’re doing something for good for your baby and yourself.

If you and your doctor decide that exercise is appropriate and safe for you and baby remember to listen to your body. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant women, who have been cleared by their physician, engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on all or most days of the week. Some highly effective and generally safe physical activities during pregnancy include walking, swimming, cycling, and moderate intensity aerobics. Running, racquet sports, and strength training (when done in moderation) are safe for pregnant women who have been participating in these activities prior to becoming pregnant. Strenuous activity should only be done under careful guidance of a physician, as strenuous activity may be associated with intrauterine growth restriction.

When you are ready to design your program it is important to take into account the changes you are experiencing. Your body alignment and posture will be different and you may have reduced strength and endurance as well as extra weight, which places stress on your joints and muscles and makes the heart work harder. Let your body be your guide. You know you’re at a good intensity when you can talk normally and not become exhausted or winded too quickly.

As you progress in your pregnancy it is important to note certain precautions. After the first trimester, pregnant women should avoid exercises that require them to lie on their backs in a supine position. This can cause dizziness upon standing and it also decreases blood flow to you and baby. Also avoid sports activities with increased risk of trauma or falling, for example ice hockey, soccer, basketball, gymnastics, horseback riding, downhill skiing.

Now that you’re exercising for two, its important to pay very close attention to anything that isn’t right for you or baby. Stop exercising and call your physician if you experience ANY of the following:

1. Vaginal bleeding

2. Shortness of breath before exercising

3. Headache

4. Chest pain

5. Muscle weakness

6. Calf pain or swelling

7. Preterm labor

8. Decreased fetal movement

9. Amniotic fluid leakage

If you are interested in starting a prenatal exercise program but not sure where or how to start, first check with your physician. If your physician gives you the green light for exercise then check with the fitness centers in your area, the YMCA and community hospitals. If you’re still not sure where to start, speak with a trainer that holds a certification from an accredited organization and has specialized training in prenatal fitness to help build a safe and effective program for you and baby. Also if you’re taking fitness classes make sure your class instructor specializes in prenatal fitness in addition to holding certification from an accredited organization. Some of the most prized and respected accredited organizations include the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA).

Until next week, stay happy and healthy!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Health and Fitness Tips of the Week

Super Food of the Week: Soy Beans

The slightly nutty flavored soy been has been cultivated in Asia for over 3,000 years but surprisingly the good news about soy’s versatility and health benefits is relatively new in the west. Soybeans are the most widely grown and utilized legume in the world and one of the most well researched, health-promoting foods available today. Soybeans can come in various colors such as green, yellow, brown or black.

Soybeans are equal in protein to animal foods, making this super food and excellent heath promoting meat replacement for vegetarians and diabetics who may have a problem with animal proteins. One cup of soybeans provides 57.2% of the recommended daily value for protein for less than 300 calories and only 2.2 grams of saturated fat. As an added plus, soy protein tends to lower cholesterol levels, while consuming protein from animal sources tends to raise them. Soybeans also score high nutrition points for contain almost half (49.1%) of the recommended daily value of iron, plus 37.0% of the daily value of magnesium and 41.2 % of the recommended daily value of essential omega-3 fatty acids.

Soybeans can also help us stay lean. A study published in Endocrinology suggest that active isoflavone compounds found in soy may help us stay lean by causing the body to produce fewer and smaller fat cells. Studies have also shown soy to lower cholesterol by providing a double punch in the form of a bio-active peptide that could cause the body to inhibit the expression of the gene responsible for our body’s internal production of cholesterol. Soy also provides special benefits for women’s hearts and bones. Studies conducted have produced results indicating a beneficial synergy between isoflavones and the body’s own estrogen in decreasing cholesterol and increasing bone mass. Soybeans are among the several types of legumes that help to lower the risk of diabetes and promote gastrointestinal health.

Our super food this week may be small in stature but carries a big stick to fight off and prevent various diseases and health conditions. This legume also serves as a healthy alternative to getting the protein, fatty acids, vitamin B and K, as well as other nutrients, which our hair and body crave for proper function and health. There are many ways to incorporate soybeans into your diet. For example you can replace some of the wheat flour in your baked goods with soybean flour and increase the protein content of your cookies, cakes, muffins, and breads. You can also mix sprouted soybeans into salads or use as toppings for sandwiches. You can add soybeans to your stews and soups or use soy milk in place of cow’s milk as a beverage and cereal topper. Soybeans have amazing culinary versatility so don’t be afraid to experiment and enjoy!

Fit Tip of the Week: How To Beat The Heat While Exercising

Spring is in full swing! The plants, flowers and the rest of the world are coming back to life. But as the temperatures rise and we abandon the gym for the great outdoors, we need to be reminded to protect ourselves from heat illness during exercise. Its not uncommon for a run or a walk on a hot sunny day to cause fatigue and heat illness. There are three major types of heat illnesses. Heat cramps are often sever, and often disabling, cramps that start in the hands, calves or feet. Heat exhaustion produces symptoms of fatigue, nausea, headaches, extreme thirst, confusion or anxiety, dizziness, as well as other symptoms. Heat exhaustion requires immediate attention but is not usually life-threatening. Finally there is heat stroke, which includes symptoms of a rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, increased body temperature (104-106 degrees Fahrenheit), confusion, convulsions, and hot flushed and dry skin. Heat stroke is a medical emergency and can occur suddenly, without any symptoms of heat exhaustion. Following a few simple precautions for exercising in hot or humid weather can prevent all of these conditions:

Hydrate! Drinking enough fluid, be it water or a sports drink, is important for exercising in hot or humid weather. By maintaining proper hydration, the body is able to maintain proper body temperature and prevent you from over heating. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to start replenishing fluids loss though sweat. Thirst is the first sign of dehydration. So, always strive to drink 7 to 10 ounces of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes during exercise. Water isn’t all that is lost when your body sweats. Your body also looses electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and chloride. It is just as important to replace these with a sports drink during continuous exercise lasting longer than one or two hours.

Reduce exercise intensity. The first few times you are exposed to higher temperatures it’s a good idea to reduce the intensity of your workout until your body is acclimated to the new environmental changes. Allow your body to ease into the new environmental changes.

Watch the temperature AND humidity. High humidity prevents sweat from evaporating, and when sweat doesn’t evaporate your body can’t cool itself. Thus making humidity just as dangerous as heat. Often to determine the level of danger of temperature and humidity a Heat Stress Index chart is used. By using temperature and relative humidity this chart can help determine the level of danger of exercising in a variety of temperatures and relative humidity. The National Weather Service has published an easy to use Heat Index Chart on their website ( that you can use to assess the levels of danger. The more dangerous the heat and humidity are the more you should postpone your physical activity until the temperatures cool. You can plan ahead and beat the heat by exercising early in the morning or in the early evening.

Know your fitness levels. Everyone should take caution when exercising in heat, but if you’re physically unconditioned you should be extra cautious. Give yourself time to acclimate to the weather. Remember, the acclimatization process can take between 7 and 14 days of repeated heat exposure. Some people need more ands some need less. Physical training and heat acclimation can increase the body’s blood volume, thereby helping to regulate body temperature more efficiently. Again, you must drink fluids before, during and after exercise.

Clothing. When exercising in higher temperatures you should wear minimal clothing to provide a greater surface area for heat dissipation. Lightweight, loose-fitting, light colored clothes made of material that absorbs water, such as cotton) are ideal.

REST!!! Know when to take a break. Use common sense. If you need to sit in the shade, then do it. If you think it’s too hot to go for a run or walk, then don’t go or stay inside and use the treadmill. If you’re feeling overly tired after a day of working out in the heat then take some time to rest. Use common sense.

Until next week, stay happy and healthy!!


Updates and Fun Stuff...

Well, it's been almost a week and a half since my last post and I've had a couple of changes to my routine. I'm still wearing the double side buns and am enjoying the super ease of the style. Its very low maintanance. All I have to do at night is wrap a scarf around my head and wake up the next day and go. The style lasts all week, which is great.

Last week, I was in my local health food store picking up a few ingredients for my homade whipped shea butter mix and I came across a container marked Neutral Henna. Well, knowing as much about henna as I do I knew that this was NOT real henna (no such thing as neutral henna) and that what I was holding in my had was actually Cassia Obovata.  Cassia Obovata is used to make your hair thick, healthy, and shiny. I've been wanting to try this out forever and have been putting off ordering Cassia Obovata from (I am so impatient when it comes to shipping!). So, I decided to give this product a try. With Cassia you don't have to mix it with lemon juice, just warm water or I've even heard of some curlies using warm green tea.  The first thing I noticed was how gritty the powder was and I got really worried about the grit getting stuck in my hair. Anyway, I gave this a shot and left it in my hair for about an hour with my micro heat cap. Turns out, the product did work well, but the grit I noticed earlier did become a problem. I did have a hard time getting the grit out, but was sucessful after co-washing, washing with my homemade shampoo, co-washing again and deep conditioning and rinsing that out and detangling. The clean up in the shower was a nightmare as well. Once I finally got all the grit out of my hair, my hair was softer, and my curls were a bit loose and seemed to hang better. I finished with a bit of leave in conditioner and applying my shea mix to seal everything and finally styled. Over all I will be using Cassia Obovata again but I will definately be ordering from I've never had a problem with grit from their products as their powders are as fine as baby powder and mix very well. I guess sometimes it is worth the wait.

Other changes. Let's see. I've changed my hair supplement. I've been using GNC Hair, Skin, and Nails formula and haven't been very satisfied with the results. My nails and skin are great but I'm just not seeing it in the hair. Even with the use of the Wild Growth Hair Oils, I'm just not seeing any results different from before I've started using these products. I noticed a small change at first but then nothing. So after much research (I have to be sure about what I'm putting in my body) I settled on trying Nature's Plus Ultra Hair Plus supplements. Almost every review I've read online were positive with very few negative (and by very few I mean 3 or 4 out of the dozens of reveiws I've read). I've been taking these vitamins for about a week now and I haven't noticed much (nor did I expect to after only a week). I have a 30 day supply and will make my final judgement after the bottle is gone, just to be fair. I'm looking to get a length check done so I can compare my lengths when I started taking the new supplements against my length after I finish the bottle. Hopefully, this will be something I can hang my hat on.

Speaking of hats, I was in Target a couple of days ago and stumbled on the perfect summer hat (gotta protect my hair from the sun if I'm going to be outside for a while). The hat was designed for Target by Euginea Kim and it's a straw fedora. Sounds weird but it looks super cute! Check out the pics below. I also got the earrings from Target as well. I'm addicted to their earrings!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

This Week's Super Food and Fitness Tip of the Week

Super Food of the Week: Almonds

The almond that we typically think of as a nut is technically the seed of the fruit of the almond tree, which produces fragrant pink and white flowers. Much like the peach, cherry, and apricot trees, almond trees produces fruit with stone-like seed (or pits) in them, which is where we get the almond nut. Almonds have received wide praise for their ability to help foster healthy growing hair. Almonds not only contain high amounts of protein, vitamin E, and magnesium, almonds also contain some amounts biotin.

Although high in fat, almonds are also very good for your health. Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, the same type of health promoting fats found in olive oil, which have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease and the reduction bad cholesterol. Eating whole almonds (with skin) has been shown to provide even more heart healthy benefits. The flavanoids found in almond skin team up with vitamin E to more than double the antioxidant punch to help protect the heart from disease.

The healthy fats in almonds have also been shown to reduce weight with the help of the monounsaturated fat found in almonds. Almonds also lower the risk of weight gain according to a study published in the journal Obesity. During a 28-month study involving over 8,800 men and women in Spain, researchers found that participants who ate nuts at least twice a week were 31% less likely to gain weight than the participants never or almost never ate nuts.

In another study, researchers found that daily consumption of almonds may help you to eat a healthier diet. In a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, the normal eating patterns of 43 men and 38 women were followed for 6 months. After 6 months they were told to eat 2 ounces of almonds daily but were not given any further instructions about changing their diet, and were followed for an additional 6 months. At the end of the study a number of beneficial changes were recorded. While eating almonds, the participants’ intake of health-promoting monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated acids, fiber, vegetable protein, vitamin E, copper and magnesium significantly increased. At the same time, the intake of trans fatty acids, animal protein, sodium, cholesterol and sugars significantly decreased. Both sets of changes in nutrient intake are a close match to the dietary recommendations known to prevent cardiovascular and other chronic diseases.

The many other benefits of almonds include energy production (thanks to copper and manganese), the prevention of gallstones, and providing more protein than the typical egg yolk, which is a great option for vegans and vegetarians.

There are many creative ways to sneak almonds into your diet. You can add some chopped almonds and dried fruit to plain non-fat yogurt for a little kick. Almonds can be added to chicken salad or can be used to make cold rice salad with fresh garden peas and currants. Or you can just do it the old fashion way and eat them raw. Anyway you like them; almonds are sure increase your hair, heart, and overall health as well as help decrease the waistline.

Fit Tip of the Week: Strength Training 101

This week we’re going delve a little deeper into the recommended practices of strength training. We’re going to look at the general guidelines to include frequency (how often), volume (repetitions and sets), and types of strength training exercises. Remember to consult your health care provider before starting or modifying physical activity. I also recommend a consultation with a certified fitness professional to learn and ensure you’re using safe and proper techniques before beginning a strength-training program. That being said, let’s take a look at the general recommendations for strength training.


So how often should a person participate in strength training workouts? The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that for general muscular fitness an individual should strength train each major muscle group 2-3 days per week with at least 48 hours separating the exercise training sessions for the same muscle group. For example, you don’t want do an upper body strength training session two days in a row or with only one day of rest between upper body training sessions. This will cause the muscle to “burn out” and result in injury. The rest period will give the muscle time to recover and adjust to the demands being placed upon it. Depending on a person’s schedule, all muscle groups to be trained may be done so in the same session (i.e., the entire body in one session twice a week), or the person may decide to “split” the body into selected groups so only a few of them are trained in any one session. For example, the muscles of the lower body may be trained on Mondays and Thursdays, and the upper body muscles may be trained on Tuesdays and Fridays. With this rotation each muscle group (upper and lower body) are trained twice a week and the 48-hour rest period for each muscle group is allotted for.

Volume (Repetitions and Sets):

In general, adults should train each muscle group for a total of 2 to 4 sets with 8 to 12 repetitions per set with a rest interval of 2 to 3 minutes between sets to improve muscular fitness. For older adults and very unconditioned persons, one or more sets of 10 to 15 repetitions of moderate intensity resistance are recommended. As far as the amount of weight, or resistance, being used should, this should be of moderate intensity. Moderate intensity on a scale of 1 (very easy) to 10 (very difficult), the amount of resistance should yeild a rating of a 5 or 6. The actual amount of weight (5 pounds, 10 pounds, and so on) will vary from person to person.

Types of Resistance (Strength Training) Exercises:

Strength training regimens should include multijoint or compound exercises (for example, the bench press, leg press or dips) that affect more than one muscle group and joint. More examples include the shoulder press, lower-back extensions and abdominal crunches. Single-joint exercises, such as bicep curls and triceps extensions, can also be used to target more specific muscles.

The above mentioned are the more general guidelines for strength training, however all individuals should receive professional instruction in proper strength training techniques to ensure efficiency, safety, progression and to find a regimen that is suited to their individual needs and goals. Most people with strength training routines will likely experience rapid improvements in strength and muscle tone. Do not get discouraged if visible improvements start to taper off after a few weeks. As your fitness level improves, improvements in strength and appearance may come at a slightly slower pace. Stay with it! Also remember to allow some variation in your program. Using machines and free weights are both effective tools for strength training, and a combination of the two is generally recommended. Utilizing both provides variety, which not only reduces boredom, but also provides a subtle exercise difference that enhances progress.

I hope this has help to clear up some confusion some may have with strength training programs. If you have any further questions you know where to find me! Until next week, stay happy and healthy!


I'm Baaaaack!!

Wow, I can't believe it's been since the end of February since I've last posted. Things have been really busy but good news to report. The Hubs and I are gearing up for our next duty station in the next month and a half or so. I've added to my health and fitness resume by becoming a licensed ZUMBA Fitness Instructor and have been working with another ZUMBA instructor to build my teaching skills. This paired with my ACSM Personal Trainer Certification will certainly help pay for grad school.

Zumba and Zumba Fitness are registered trademarks of Zumba Fitness, LLC. Used with permission

In more hair related news, I've become a contributor to my favorite curly hair blog I post weekly health and fitness tips and can be found on the CurlFriends section of the community. I'm going to start poisting the same health and fitness tips here as well. I'm so excited and happy to be apart of I've also celebrated my 1 year natural anniversary. I'm so pleased with my hair's progress and growth. It's been slow coming but it's healthy. I've started noticing texture changes in my hair. I still have alot of 4a/b curls, which seem to have loosened up, but I'm starting to see alot of 3c curls at the nape of my neck.

I've changed up my routine a bit. I'm back to taking my GNC Hair, Skin and Nails vitamins. I've been wearing my hair in a new style, two side buns with flat twists across the front. I wear this style during the week and then wash, deep conditioner and back to buns. I love this style. It's easy and talks very little time to do and allows my hair to rest and keeps me from manipulating it too much. It also holds up very well in the gym! I've also stumbled onto an awesome find in Giovanni 50:50 Balancing and Hydrating conditioner. I picked it up by accident thinking it was the Smooth As Silk conditioner. It's super thick and super slip when the water hits it. Left in and pared with my shea butter, jojoba oil, castor oil and vitamin E mix yeilds super soft and mosturized hair when dried. A total win for me.

I also fell in love with CurlFormers! I've used these for two formal events (as part of a wedding and for a military ball) and both times have yeilded great results with paired with Oyin's Shine and Define styling pomade. (Will post the pics when the portraits from the ball arrive My styles held up after lots of dancing and sweating and even produced second and third day hair. I've also been working with two new deep conditioners from the Carol's Daughter line. The jury is still out on the ruling but we shall see.

I also got a surprise today! I checked my blog and noticed that I have two followers! HI TNT5150 AND PAMELA!! I'm flattered and excited at the same time. Thanks ladies and welcome! I am defenately going to have to stay on top of my blog now *smile*.

Anyway, I'm so glad to be back to work on my blog. I think this is such a helpful tool in my natural hair journey and I'm disappointed in myself for letting it fall to the wayside. Sometimes you have to see your progress to really "see" your progress. Reminders are always helpful. That's it for now. Later tonight I'll post my latest health and fitness tips from and will post past tips in the upcoming days. Glad to be back!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

KinkyShea Does The Cherry Lola Treatment

Ok, I've been reading about this treatment for over a month now and I've been dying to try it. The Cherry Lola Treatment is basically a protien and moisture treatment for your hair. It's supposed to reduce frizz and help define curls and I can really use a lot of that right now. So the recipe for this is as follows:

Plain yogurt (2 Parts):
For the protien and conditioning properties

Baking Soda (1/2 Part):
To make hair more porous

Bragg's Liquid Amino Acids (1/2 Part):
More Protien

I'm going to give this a shot tonight and post before and after pictures tomorrow. Hopefully this works!!



Monday, February 15, 2010

Keep It Simple Experement Update and Shampoo???

Ok, I ran my little experement for longer than the the month of January. This morning I took down my two strand twists and wore my hair out. Unfortunately, I haven't shampooed my hair in over two months and even with cowashing twice a week I noticed quite a bit of flakes in my hair. NOT SEXY!! So without enough time to shampoo/clarify and deep conditioner, I quickly pulled my hair up into a kinky curly pony and went about my day. Once I got home I made a B-Line for the shower and shampooed (in sections) with Giovanni Smooth As Silk Deep Moisture Shampoo. I rinsed each section and applied the Giovanna SAS Deep Moisture Conditioner and detangled each section and pinning it out of the way (without rinsing). I am now doing a d/c with my hair therapy heat wrap and the conditioner in my hair (I'm all out of my JessiCurl *grumbles*).  So out of my frustration what did I learn??

1. I need to shampoo at least once a week do avoid product build up. Although my hair felt soft there was some flakes and product buildup on my scalp and on the strands. Not good.  Although my hair was soft and mosturized the flakes were kind of embarassing (hince the pony).

2. Don't be afraid of shampoo. Ok, because of the harsh winter air and winds I've been so afraid of using shampoo because I've been paranoid of the shampoo making things worst. In my paranoia I ended up making things worse.

3. Don't be heavy handed with products. Sometimes less is more. I have a bad habit of going a bit overboard with my product application (which I'm sure contributed to the flakes and residue). Just because a product is good for my hair it doesn't mean that I should pile it on my head. Less is more.

So after washing, detangling, conditioning, my hair felt and looked a lot better! My looks to have thickened up since my KIS experement and the use of the Wild Growth Hair Oil. I think my experement did help to maintain my hair growth rate (didn't really grow faster or anything) but every little bit helps.

I now have my hair in flat two strand twists. I'm not sure if I'll take the twists out tomorrow (tomorrow is supposed to be very windy and I might just end up waring one of my caps). But I will say I've learned my lesson well. Shampoo is not my enemy and less is more....

Sunday, February 7, 2010 Hair Sticks

It's official! I LOVE these hair sticks! I added two more to my collection and they look great. These sticks are the perfect accessory as they allow me to wear my hair up in protective styles without any elastics or harmful tools. The designs are beautiful, hand carved, and hold my hair like a dream. The best part is that the are SEAMLESS. That means no snagging, catching, breakage, or damage done to my curls. Again I can't say enough about these. I've been wearing them to work and they've garnered tons of complements. I can't wait for my hair to get longer so that I may try more styles with these awesome sticks. Thanks Mehandi!

Search and Destroy Mission

Today I trimmed my hair for the first time since becoming 100% natural in Feb. 2009. I know it's probably a gross neglect on my part however, I was completely nervous about trimming my hair as I've never cut my own hair before. I was afraid of loosing length or my hair ending up unevenly shaped and so on. I was also afraid of going to a salon and having my hair trimmed out of fear that the stylist might be inexperienced with trimming natural hair or would get (as my grandmother would say) "scissor happy".

So today I finally decided to take a look at my hair as I've been noticing the little "fairy knots" at the ends of my hair strands. Holding my hair up to the light I noticed quite a few of my ends were a lighter almost transparent color against the light. At first I thought it was the result of my henna treatments but upon closer examination I noticed that the strands were split! So I had to make a decision. Fear the scissors and risk greater damage or put on my "big girl panties" and get rid of them in favor of healthy hair. So I went with option B.

Luckily, I normally cut my husband's hair and pulled out the scissors from the kit. Taking a deep breath I began my search and destroy mission. I trimmed as many split ends as I could find being very meticulous about where I chose to cut. I kept my hair in twists so I'm pretty sure I didn't get them all but definitely got rid of the worst offenders. After my trim I applied a concentrated amount of my conditioner, water, and oils mix to the ends and over the rest of my hair and scalp. When I finished I tool a look at the amount of hair I trimmed and quite surprised. I'd barely trimmed a handful of hair. Not bad for my first try, I guess. Again, I know I didn't get all the offenders but at least I took care of the worst. My ends already look better. So I guess the Search and Destroy Mission was a success. I'll try another "search" in about two months and if need be I will employ a "destroy".

Friday, January 22, 2010

A trip down memory lane...

Wow, it's hard to believe that on February 28, 2010 it will be my 1 year anniversary as being 100% natural. I cut the last of my relaxed ends off (about a half an inch) and haven't looked back since. I've had such a journey with growth, products trials and errors, styling frustration, getting used to the new texture, and people's as well as my own reaction to my hair. It's amazing the difference a year makes. I started this journey wearing micro braids at the end of 2007/beginning of 2008 after a botched perm. Boy was my hair destroyed! It was dry, brittle and just destroyed. Now my hair is full and much stronger. So I've decided to post pics as a walk down memory lane and on Feb. 28, 2010 I will post my comparison pics. I can't wait to see the difference!!
Micro braids 2008

First Twist Out 100% Natural June 2009

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hair Sticks and Barrettes

Today I received my first shipment of a hair stick and barrette from Mehandi. They are made of water buffalo horn and are completely seamless. I am so excited and so in love with these sticks. The designs are beautifully hand carved and they hold my thick kinky curly hair perfectly well. I've played with these sticks all morning and I am totally in love with them. They can be dressed up or down and just look plain awesome. I will definitely be ordering more and build an awesome collection. Pics are below!



Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Vitamin Routine Change...

Ok, so I haven't seen much benefit of taking a multivitamin plus 2000 mg of Biotin and 2000mcg of MSM. I've been on this routine for about 2 months now and haven't noticed much of a difference. So I've gone back to GNC's Hair, Skin and Nails (which has 3000mg of Biotin and 100mcg of MSM) added another 1000 mg of Biotin and 2000mcg of MSM and an Iron supplement (to combat my anemia). I started this program today and hopefully I will notice some results.



Sunday, January 17, 2010

Henna Mix w/ Safflower Oil Results

This morning I did a henna treatment with henna mixed with lemon juice an 1/4 cup of safflower oil. I let the mixture set on my hair for a little over 4 hours rinsed out with Giovanni Smooth As Silk Deep Moisture Conditioner and used JCWDC as a deep conditioner for an hour. After I massaged my scalp with Wild Growth Hair Oil and applied my leave in conditioner mix with the light version of the WGHO. The results???

1. When I rinsed out the henna I noticed immediately how easy it was to rinse. In the past it took several applications of conditioner to get the henna rinsed. This time I only had to apply conditioner twice and rinsed. There was still some henna in the hair but when I rinsed after d/c it was all gone.

2. My hair didn't feel dry or brittle after rinsing. However it looks as though my hair did get darker. Not sure how or what caused this but I don't mind it. I also noticed little springs of curls at the ends of my twists. My hair felt pretty good.

3. After the deep conditioning and leave in my hair looks and feels awesome. No dry, crunchy, brittleness. My twists feel soft and moisturized. There is even some shine creeping in.

Final Judgement: Looks like safflower oil is a definite go for my henna treatments. I'll be using this again and again. I'm glad I came up with the idea!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Mixtress is In...

It's henna time! I always get excited when it's time to put henna in my hair. I've done this quite a few times now with different mixes. I've done a henna and indigo combo, a henna mixed with lemon juice, henna mixed with green tea, and tonight I'm going to try a new mix. I've always noticed that when I rinse my hair from henna and do a deep conditioning my hair feels stiff and crunchy. Well since lemon juice can be very drying (it's highly acidic) I decided to try adding a little something to add moisture. So I've decided to mix the henna with lemon juice (until it looks like pudding) and then add 1/4 cup of safflower oil and mixed extra well. I'm going to let it sit over night and apply when I wake in the morning. I have already co washed my hair in prep for the treatment.

So why safflower oil? Because, safflower oil is an emollient. What is an emollient? An emollient is wax like, lubricating, thickening ingredient that can prevent water loss and have a softening and smoothing effect on skin and hair. So if lemon juice is drying on the hair then the emollient will help prevent the water loss and help soften and smooth the hair. Now why am I mixing the henna with lemon juice? The acidity level of the lemon juice helps release the dye of the henna which gives the coppery red coloring when applied to the skin. The mixture needs to set over night or for about 4-5 hours to get proper dye release. The dye from the henna adds a unique coloring quality to the hair. The greatest thing about it is that it's all natural, hypoallergenic, and the best part of two heads will look the same after a henna treatment. For women with black hair sometimes the hair will look darker and in some it will impart a red/auburn tint to it (sort of like taking a red crayon and coloring on black construction paper). For some the henna dye is clearly visible, where as others you'll only be able to see it in certain lighting (like the sun).

So why use henna in the first place? Henna actually thickens the hair strand and helps to strengthen the hair. So with repeated use the hair becomes thicker and stronger. Henna can also help with hair growth. Because the hair is stronger there is less breakage. In natural African American kinky curly hair henna can also help loosen the curl pattern which I love. Henna is one of my favorite things to use on my hair as I absolutely love it. My hair has changed dramatically due to it.

So tomorrow after leaving henna on for about 4 hours I will do a 1 hour deep conditioning treatment with Jessicurl's Weekly Deep Treatment, which is rich in yummy ingredients for hair. I am super excited to see how this will turn out. Oh and by the way, my hair is still in twists and I will be applying the henna with the twists in my hair. I may have to re twist after but we'll see. I will post my results tomorrow night!



Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Ok, I just checked the mail and I finally got my hat! It's pictured above! I love this hat. It's especially made for curly hair. The inside is satin lined which eliminates friction and breakage. It doesn't try out the hair and helps minimize static. It's super cute and super warm and it was only $25 with shipping included. I've been looking for a winter hat for so long that was safe for curly hair. The site makes hats for adults and children in different styles and colors. I think every curly should have one of these to protect against the harsh winter air as well as be wonderfully stylish. The only downside to this site is that it took about two weeks for the hat to arrive and there is no faster shipping options, but it was worth the wait.

Routine Update...

Ok for about two weeks now I have been wearing my hair in medium sized twists and wearing up do's just about everyday. I re twist once a week and deep condition twice a week, with a henna treatment thrown in here and there. I also added Wild Growth Hair Oil to the routine as well, more for moisture than anything else. So this is what's happening thus far. When I re twisted my hair on Sunday there was a significantly less hair in the comb which means less breakage. My hair is nice and moist thanks in part to the WGHO and conditioner/oil mix. Styling my hair in the morning is super quick and easy, which I love as I am up 4 out of 5 work days at 3 am. Plus, wearing up dos (loosely) keeps the hair from rubbing against any clothing and getting snagged. I love the ease of twists. I haven't noticed any growth yet but the fact that there is less hair in the comb after a week of not combing makes me pretty excited as I'm keeping more hair on my head. So so far so good. No complaints. I'll probably keep this up for the rest of the month and on into March. Thus far, thumbs up!



Sunday, January 10, 2010

Wild Growth Hair Oil

My curiosity finally got the best of me. The other day while browsing around in Sally's, I picked up my usual bottle of Wild Growth Hair Oil Light Moisturizer and out of curiosity I picked up the original formula. I've read tons of reviews about this product, almost all of which positive with the exception of the smell. So, I thought I'd give it a try. At the very least it could help moisturize my hair. So I got home and opened up the bottle and most of the reviews were right. This product does smell like beef jerky! The oil was thick and a dark honey color. So I massaged a few drops into my scalp and added some to my actual hair. The smell was awful. So I had to follow it up with my conditioner, water, and oil mixture which thankfully has a few drops of peppermint oil for fragrance. The peppermint oil pretty much knocked out the smell. I didn't really notice much difference in my hair at this time.

This morning I washed my hair and did the same routine with the hair oil and leave-in mixture. I untwisted and re twisted my hair and noticed that my hair felt much softer. Softer than it had ever felt before. For a few minutes I just stood there touching my hair. It felt great. Eventually I re-twisted my hair and styled.

So conclusion? So far so good I'm liking this product. The product does smell but it's pretty easy to cover up. So I'll keep using and see what happens. Even if I don't get the hair growth at least I'll get the softness.



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Keep It Simple, Baby!!

OK, I will admit. I am totally paranoid about winter breakage and damage especially living in the harsh New Hampshire winter environment. The high winds on some days don't help either. I've had slow but great progress thus far with my hair and I want to keep it that way. Protective styling is the way to go and low manipulation. Sunday, after deep conditioning I put my hair in several two strand twists and during the week I sleep with my silk scarf and pillow case with the strands in. I pin my hair up during the day for protective styling. I plan to deep condition twice a week and co-wash twice a week as well and restyling once a week. I plan to keep using my conditioner, oil, and water mix as a leave in and to add moisture. I will keep my vitamin regimen and my exercising at 5 days a week. I plan to do this "Keeping it simple" technique for the entire month of January and see how well my hair grows.
Ciao- KinkyShea
P.S: These pics were taken after being at work since 0430 and an hour and a half workout. Not bad, eh?

Twists in Up-do

Length Check with Twists

Top of Head

Back View