Making Your Own Mud Wash

Betonite Clay has been a popular product in the natural hair community, many using it in place of shampoo to cleans their hair. Bentonite Clay is a multifaceted product that can be used as a facial and to fade scars on the body. Many people rave about its healing properties and its detoxifying and defining benefits for hair. Going with the trend, I purchased a tub of the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay from my local Vitamin Shoppe about a year ago. I have since used it to cleanse my hair and as a facial, but I’ve never really gotten into the hype. Most people mix Aztec clay with water, apple cider vinegar, or aloe vera juice, all of which I have tried. I’ve always found it to be a little too messy to apply and difficult to fully wash out. Recently I got the urge to make my own mudwash because after almost two years of being natural I still haven’t gotten up the audacity to purchase Terresentials Mud Wash. A few of my friends love Terresentials, but it’s a little too expensive for me to invest in as a broke post grad. Through Youtube and Pinterest I’ve seen people making their own mud wash using Aztec clay and I decided to give mines another chance in this recipe.

I initially viewed Naptural85’s recipe for DIY mud wash for some guidance, but ultimately I decided to wing it and come up with my own mixture. I never measure things and I’m too ADD/impatient to follow directions so I brainstormed ingredients I had in my cupboards and started mixing. I decided to use Aztec clay, honey, apple cider vinegar, glycerin, castor oil, water, and a little conditioner. Before I started mixing I thought back to how I disliked how messy applying the clay had been in the past, so I wanted to fine a way to make the application process less messy. Naptural85 used an applicator tube, but since I didn’t have any empty ones on hand I decided that mixing it in a Ziploc bag might be a good idea. And it was! I threw all my ingredients in a Ziploc, held he bag tightly and shook it to mix everything together, then cut a tiny whole on one end and applied it to my hair like I was icing a cake.

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The addition of honey, glycerin, and conditioner made the mixture a lot smoother than I was used to. This time around refrained from mixing with a metal spoon, which makes the clay clump together. The mud wash went on really smoothly and was easy to distribute. I was able to detangle my hair pretty well as I used the Ziploc to apply some of the mixture to each section. I sprayed my hair down with water before apply ing to make things a little easier. When it was time to wash it out i didn’t see any chalky white residue like i usually did. There were a few areas that felt like they retained a little residue, but overall because the mixture was smoother and had a lot of emollient ingredients, it was easier to wash out. The mud wash made my hair feel soft and moisturized after a few days of being really dry. I would definitely make it again, next time adding in essential oils for a nice scent. I encourage you to make your own mud wash because its a really great alternative to shampoo. I co-wash most of the time, so I’m always looking for other good ways to detoxify and clean my hair. The ingredients and supplies I used for this DIY are below.

The mixture was smooth and the Ziploc made it easy to apply
The mixture was smooth and the Ziploc made it easy to apply

I used: About 6 Tablespoons of Aztec clay, apple cider vinegar, honey, water, castor oil, Trader Joes Tea Tree Conditioner, a Ziploc bag, and a hair band to secure the bag

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A Love Song To Our Hair


So today I came across this dope music video while scrolling down my Facebook timeline. It’s called Natural Curly Hair by Benjy Cinco ft Rome D’Carlo. A Facebook friend from my fellowship program posted it because she is one of the natural haired beauties featured. Already winning points for the Bonita Applebum sample, Natural Curly Hair is a summery ode to natural hair and the beauty of black women. It provided good vibes and got me to thinking if there are any other cool songs that cerebrate our natural hair and beauty. After a little research I found a few songs that will give you hope when your naps just won’t do right and your jar of coconut oil isn’t enuf. Press play and enjoy : ).

I Dont Care (About My Frizzy Hair)- Shameless Maya & Friends

I Love My Hair- Sesame Street

Flawless-Beyonce

Beautiful Skin- Goodie M.O.B

Electric Lady- Janelle Monae

Natural- Arrested Development

The Makings of You- Terrace Martin ft. Overdoz & Kurrupt

Fallin’- Pac Div

As a bonus heres a link to a mixtape all about natural hair. What songs make you fall in love with your naps all over again?

U R Curly Quinoa Conditioner: A Review

The beauty supply store up the street from my mother’s house is pretty much Candy Land for anyone who likes anything related to hair and skin care. It’s like Wal-Mart, but for hair products. It’s pretty much the ultimate super power as far as beauty supply stores are concerned. These days they have everything and I was gleeful when I found out they finally carry the U R Curly product line. I had been longing to try the U R Curly Quinoa Conditioner ever since I had seen it floating around the Internet via various blogs and Pinterest boards. I purchased the conditioner a few weeks ago, and finally had the chance to use it this week after removing the Marley Twists I have had for the past 6 weeks.

At $8.99 the conditioner comes in a 10 fl. oz. bottle. I am a budding conditioner junkie so I have a lot of other conditioners for the U R Curly brand to live up to. Overall it held its own and I absolutely enjoyed how it treated my hair.

My Current conditioner collection. I mean really...who needs 9 conditioners)
My current conditioner collection. I mean really…who needs 9 conditioners)

Overview: As I stated above, the conditioner will run you around $9 for a 10 oz. bottle. It is free of any non-plant alcohols, parabens, dyes, and sulfates. It is not completely natural as I generally prefer, but it does contain many ingredients that are good for natural hair such as Castor Oil, Absynnnian Oil, Quinoa, and Water. I used it after cleansing with a mix of As I Am Cleansing Conditioner and an apple cider vinegar rinse I picked up from a local market. The conditioner has a lovely lavender and mint scent and provides a tingling sensation that I always appreciate in conditioners. It has a thinner consistency compared to most of the conditioners I use on a regular basis, which means I had to use more than I thought to cover all of my hair.  After using the conditioner my hair felt very soft and clean. What I loved most was how it really defined my curls and minimized frizz. I never do wash and go’s, but this time around my hair was so defined and failed to shrink as much as usual so I gave it a try and it actually looked great. I don’t know if this was all the doing of the U R Curly Quinoa conditioner so take it with a grain of salt. As I stated before, it did take a lot of the conditioner to cover my hair and I believe I used a little more than a quarter of the 10 oz. bottle for one wash. At $8.99 for one bottle I was hoping to get a little more use out of the conditioner, but it is in a relatively small bottle and with such a thin consistency, it’s doesn’t look like that will be so. That fact aside, it’s a great conditioner and I would purchase it again. A bigger 25 oz. bottle is available for $19.99 and I will definitely keep that in mind the next time I purchase a bottle of this conditioner.

Ingredients: Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Stearalkonium Chloride, Hydrolyzed Quinoa, Glycerin, Polyquaternium-10, DMDM Hydantoin, Menthol, Crambe Abyssinica Seed Oil (Abyssinian Oil), Fragrance, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate

Pros: Provides curl definition, minimizes frizz, softens hair, moisturizes

Cons: Pricey, thin consistency

 

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Luscious Locks Shea Butter Hair Mask: A Product Review

First off, if you’ve never been to a product swap, you’re missing out on a magical experience, and you need to figure out how to attend one ASAP. I went to my first product swap this past semester. Hosted by my alma maters natural hair student group, it was held in one of the social rooms of our student union. Because it was my first product swap, I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew what I was looking for. I was on a mission to get Kinky Curly Knot Today. When I arrived,  it was me and a handful of of women representing all spectrums of the natural hair rainbow. I enjoyed my opportunity to socialize with these women who had a wealth of knowledge about hair, or not so much knowledge, or who mixed their own whipped shea butter in their dorm rooms. Soon after all the kinky hair related small talk, the magic commenced. The host of the swap laid out the products, and I spotted my gold at the end of the rainbow, Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave in Conditioner. After we all went through what products we brought and were allowed to start swapping, I dove in for the kill and got my slightly used bottle of Knot Today leave in conditioner. I probably sound like a product junky, but it was an amazing experience sifting through all these products and deciding which ones I wanted to try. There were so many different products from Organix Kertin Line to Carols Daughter. Any who, in addition to my leave in conditioner, I also picked up a bottle of Koils by Nature CocoAloe Deep Conditioner. I was satisfied with myself and packed them in my bag and prepared to leave as some of the other ladies stayed to watch Chris Rocks “Good Hair”. On my way out, I noticed a few unsnapped products left out on the table and a tiny tub of deep conditioner stuck out. It was Luscious Locks Shea Butter Hair Mask. I asked the host “can I have this?” She nodded quickly, I stuck it in my bag, and the rest is history.

So after that probably pointless story, I’m here to give you all a review of the hair mask that almost escaped me months ago that day.

Luscious Locks Shea Moisture Hair Mask (2 oz, $3.50)

Overview: After a little Googling, I’ve deduced that Luscious Locks is a little known brand. They don’t have their own website, only an online store, and the Shea Butter Hair Mask doesn’t have many reviews. It comes in two sizes, 2 oz. and 8 oz., which are $3.50 and $12 respectively. According to the packaging, it’s free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, paraffin, gluten, mineral oil, and synthetic dyes. It’s infused with Argan Oil and Shea, and has a really fresh fragrant scent that I can’t definitively identify. I guess I’ll deem the scent artificial shea butter smell because it smells like most other somewhat processed hair products that claim to be shea butter scented. It also contains some other decent ingredients including Carrot Seed Oil, Vitamin E, and Green Tea extract. It has a thick consistency that can make it a tad bit difficult to spread throughout the hair.

First, I cleansed/co-washed my hair with apple cider hair rinse and Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle conditioner. Following the co-wash, I put the hair mask on after dividing my hair into four sections. The 2 oz. tub was just enough to cover my hair. I had to add a tiny amount of water to allow the hair mask to spread onto my hair more easily and evenly. I let it sit under a shower cap for 30 minutes. It produces slight suds upon washing it out and it made my hair smell very fresh and clean. Overall, it gave my hair great slip and helped minimize frizziness. I would purchase it again for those reasons alone. My hair felt well conditioned and soft, and it helped define my curl pattern. The 2 oz. tub is pretty much a one shot product. When stretched, my hair dust my shoulders, and it took almost the entire tub to cover my hair. The 2 oz. is probably more appropriate as a sample size, so I would suggest getting the 8 oz. if you’re really invested in using this product.

Pros: Scent, Provides great slip, Minimizes frizz and defines curl pattern, Provides softness and conditioning feel

Cons: 2 oz. is barely enough for one wash, has some unidentified ingredients, a little “too” thick

Ingredients: Deionzed Water, Shea Butter, Avocado Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Argan Oil, Soybean Oil, Panthenol, Vitamin E, Carrot Seed Oil, Green Tea Extract, Chamomile Extract, Lavendar Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance

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3 Apps To Keep You Healthy

At only 22, I have had a myriad of jobs that have left me with a lot of stories to tell. I have been a Nurse’s Aide, a cashier, a community organizer, an Arts and Crafts teacher, a camp counselor, and many more. The world of work all started for me when I was 13 and I got a job working on an inner city farm. Yes, I said a farm. My mom signed me up for a program called DIG, Durham Inner City Gardeners, which turned into my first part time job. We planted everything from squash to basil and snapdragons, which we would harvest and sell at our local farmers market. DIG gave me more than my first paycheck, but also a vast amount of knowledge about caring for fruits, herbs, and vegetables, and where our food comes from. Nine years later, I’m probably still the best at cutting basil, but I’m also a food justice advocate. I now know the importance of food justice and knowing where your food comes from. Since than I try to make an effort to eat “clean” and buy local. The process of transitioning form relaxed to natural also made me more aware of things I was putting on and in my hair and body. I figured if processed things weren’t good enough to put in my body, they weren’t good enough to put on my hair and skin either.

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This focus on living a clean lifestyle has led me to seek out many resources to help guide me along the way. Technology has played a big part in keeping me educated on healthy food and natural body products. In the age of Google, you can find a webpage offering just about anything you want to know, but there are also cell phone and web apps that have been incredibly helpful for me. Its important to know the ingredients in our food and body products, so here are a few websites and apps that have been helping me out.

 

Fooducate
Fooducate

Fooducate is a website and cell phone app that provides you with information about the ingredients and macronutrients in just about any food you can think of. You can type in anything from Nutella to fresh vegetables. It even provides information for most store brands. You can also scan product barcodes. It rates products on an A-F scale and than provides a justification for each score, including reasons why you should incorporate it into your diet or not.

Skin Deep
Skin Deep

 Skin Deep Cosmetic Database is an awesome app and website developed by Environmental Working Group (EWG). Similar to Fooducate, you can scan or type in most cosmetic products and it provides information about its ingredients. Skin Deep rates products on a scale of 1-10 and lets you know if any of the ingredients have been linked to cancer, allergies, or developmental problems. It’s very useful when I’m in a store trying to decide between shampoos or body washes and I’m unsure of any of the ingredients listed on the back.

Dirty Dozen
Dirty Dozen

Dirty Dozen is EWG’s app that helps guide shoppers through pesticides. It provides a handy list of the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen, as well as a general guide to buying produce. The Dirty Dozen is a list of the 12 fruits and vegetables that generally have the highest pesticide content, that professionals recommend buying organic. The Clean Fifteen is a list of the most pesticide sparse fruits and veggies that are safe to purchase because they are minimally processed. EWG consistently updates and adds to the list as they continue to do research about pesticides and where our food comes from.

Are there any websites, apps, or other forms of technology that help you live a healthy lifestyle?

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A Lush Life

I spend way too much time in Whole Foods, Vitamin Shoppe, and online searching for and purchasing all-natural hair and body products. The price tags aren’t the best, but I genuinely appreciate organic and mostly natural products because of their benefits. This is mostly because with a degree in Public Health, I know way too much about carcinogens to knowingly continue to put them in my body. So thus, I have dedicated myself to clean eating and using predominately all natural products. Not doing so hot on the clean eating front (because I live in North Carolina where Bojanles and Cook Out are easy and abundant), but killing it on the natural product front. A few years ago I discovered LUSH, a company that produces cruelty free vegan beauty and bath products. Although LUSH is very pricey, I love supporting their business not only because they are all natural, but also because they are dedicated to providing a productive work environment for their employees and creating economic growth in the US.

For some odd reason I didn’t know that LUSH had a location in North Carolina, and I had only been hitting up their stores when I was in DC or New York. When my best friend told me there was one in Raleigh, I ran over, almost literally, and treated myself to a few things.

 

Rub Rub Rub ($21.95)

(photo credit:http://lushkeepitfresh.blogspot.com)
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Rub Rub Rub (Buy Now) is an in shower sea salt body scrub that can be used to exfoliate and prep the skin for shaving. It’s an electric blue color, which I love, and has an invigorating patchouli and lemon scent. Although it contains sea salt, the granules are small and softened so the scrub isn’t too abrasive on the skin. I like the fact that it goes on smoothly and produces slight suds. After using Rub Rub Rub, my skin is very soft and smooth post shower. Because I have dry skin, I would prefer a bit of a harsher exfoliator, but overall I have been enjoying using it. I’ve read a few reviews on Rub Rub Rub that state that it works really well for lightening darkened skin, most notably the underarm area because of the amount lemon and citrus juices it contains. I’ve been using it under my arms for the last few days and will give an update if it does help lighten over time.

 

Vanilla Puff Powder ($6.95)

(photo credit:http://lushkeepitfresh.blogspot.com)
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This Vanilla Puff Dusting Powder (Purchase) almost didn’t make it into my bag, but I’m glad I purchased it. It’s an absorbent fragrant powder that has a myriad of uses. So far I have used it in many ways, including as an eye-lid primer and to reduce shine on the T-Zone of my face. The sales associate recommended that I use it to reduce sweating in my bra and to prevent “chub rub.” Anyone who has experienced chub rub knows that it is of the devil and can be terribly uncomfortable. The powder works OK on these fronts, but you have to use quite a bit to make sure the inner thighs are coated adequately. I like the fact that it reduces friction and provides fragrance, but I’d still prefer Shield Guard for anti-chub rub. A little goes a long way with this little bottle of powder, and I would definitely purchase it again.

 

Tea Tree Toner Water ($9.95)

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The Tea Tree Toner Water (Buy) is the one item I knew I’d be walking out of LUSH with. My best friend recommended it to me a while ago, but I had never had the chance to buy it. Just like many combination skinned girls across the world, my mother has told me to use Sea Breeze astringent on my face for a little over a decade. Recently I had been trying to find a natural alternative to this and the toner water came right on time. It comes in a spray bottle, so I can spray it directly on to your face or onto a cotton ball, which I really enjoy. Most non-alcoholic astringents haven’t worked well for me (i.e Witch Hazel), but so far the toner water does a great job at reducing oiliness, removing build-up, and minimizing any bumps I may have. I’m currently monitoring it to be sure it doesn’t dry out my skin in anyway, but overall I would recommend it.

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A Black & Sexy Summer

Black folks and our representation in media has taken an interesting turn throughout the 2000’s. In the 80’s and 90’s black and brown folks were speckled across big and little screens like a neutral toned rainbow. With shows and movies like A Different World, Martin, Living Single, The Best Man, and Crooklyn the everyday experiences of being a black person in America were pretty well illustrated, not to mention we were killing it in other media arenas including music and print magazines (because be honest Vibe hasn’t been the same since 03’ and the 90’s-early 2000’s provided us with the quintessential rap and R & B collabo’s).

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But than came the mid 2000s when black and brown folks became scarce in TV line-ups, and our favorite minority actors and actresses were deduced to being the token friend in the means of “diversity”. Needless to say, the lack of black stories has not gone unnoticed. Many years and think pieces later, there has been a rise in black directors and actresses taking things into their own hands by creating venues for media content featuring black voices, one of those being the crew behind YouTube TV channel, Black & Sexy TV. Dennis Dortche, Jeanine Daniels, Numa Perrier, and Brian Ali-Harding have come together over the past 3 years to tell the comedic, romantic, intelligent, inspiring, and sometimes unfortunate everyday stories of black twenty-something’s, and it makes for brilliant television. I live for Black & Sexy TV because it peels back the stereotypes of blackness and in turn provides real life stories that I can directly see my friends and myself in. Black & Sexy TV provides me with great narratives, awesome music, eclectic aesthetic, and surprisingly a host of amazing hair crushes. In celebration of the  July 4th season premiers of two of my favorite shows on the channel, “Hello Cupid” and “RoomieLoverFriend,” I wanted to share some of my favorite naturalistas of Black & Sexy TV.

Ashley Blaine Featherson
Whitney (Ashley Blaine Featherson)

Hello Cupid is probably one of the best shows on Black & Sexy TV. The cinematography, editing, and styling are amazing for such a noble production company. While falling in love with the show, I also fell in love with leading lady Ashley Blaine Featherson, also known as Whitney. On “Hello Cupid”, Whitney is the queen of effortless chic. She can usually be seen rocking a sleek puff or twist out. She makes a little go along way with her hair and it constantly makes me jealous. One of my favorite styles from her is featured in the double date episode (which was sponsored by Kinky Curly products) where she has a high bun accentuated with added in Marley hair.

Jeanine Daniels/Deon
Deon (Jeanine Daniels)

You ain’t never seen a Caesar cut rocked by a lady so fly until you have seen Deon of “That Guy”(except maybe Erykah Badu, but she’s THE Erykah Badu…she’s in a league of her own). Jeanine Daniels plays Deon, a fun loving, attitude having, big earring wearing girly tom-boy who is the third musketeer to leading men Mike and Judah. Mike and Judah are the guys your mother warned you about, but Deon attempts to keep them humble. She keeps her hair closely cut and neatly edged up, and occasionally accentuates her features with flashy earrings or simple make-up. I love the fact that she can make a low cut so versatile and feminine.

Chick (Numa Perier)
Chick (Numa Perrier)

“The Couple” features the cutely dysfunctional nameless couple, Chick and Dude. Of the 8 Black & Sexy TV shows, “The Couple” has been the most tangibly successful as it is currently being developed into a series for HBO. Chick, played by actress/director/co-creator of Black & Sexy TV, Numa Perrier, is another Black & Sexy girl who does a lot with a little. Her hair is often worn in a twist out, parted on one side, or pinned back. It’s very grown up, but also very care free and fun. Chick is most notable for her ability to make a simple hairstyle look formal as seen in the premier episode of “The Couple” and the Valentine’s Day episode.

Nia (Shawanna Davis)
Nia (Shawanna Davis)

Shawanna Davis is Nia in “That Guy,” Deon’s best friend and the mother of Judah’s child. Up until recently she was referenced more than we actually saw her in the show, but now she is getting her own spin off this Fall. Nia is a fashionable, conscientious, and sassy single mother who goes between protective styles and allowing her natural hair to fly free. My favorite style from her so far has been her long brown highlighted Marley Braids, which she usually wears down or in a bun. Check out BeBeautifulLA.Tumblr.com, Shawanna’s beautifully curated blog.

Robin (Hayley Marie Norman)
Robin (Hayley Marie Norman)

 Robin is the other leading lady in “Hello Cupid” and a total opposite of Ashley Blaine Featherson’s character, Whitney.  Robin is a vegetarian, yoga aficionado, who probably serves on Solange’s e-board for the Coalition of Carefree Black Girls. Her tresses are usually worn in a simple curly fro, and occasionally pushed back with a headband. Her golden blond hair color makes her stick out in a crowd and compliments her skin tone beautifully. Her most memorable look is her picked out fro at a 70’s party in the most recent episode of “Hello Cupid.”

You can watch all the Black & Sexy TV series on YouTube here. Don’t forget to check out the recently premiered episodes of “Hello Cupid” and “RoomieLoverFriend” that premiered on July 4th.

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Why You Should Be Using Rosewater On Your Hair

Every natural has a spray bottle containing some DIY moisturizing concoction perched somewhere in their room. Usually equal parts water, leave in, and oils, having a simple moisturizing spritz for your hair is just something you must do. Because of its moisturizing and healing properties, aloe vera juice or gel is often a frequent ingredient in DIY moisturizing sprays. Many naturals swear by aloe vera juice, but I never felt that it was benefiting my hair when I used it in my spray bottle mixtures. Because of the magical wonderland that is Pinterest, I stumbled across Rosewater which has been a great addition to my moisturizing spritz.

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Rosewater is an easily accessible super ingredient with many beneficial properties for hair and skin. I originally went on the search for a bottle of it because I read that it worked well as a light fragrance and morning refresher for the skin. I found an 8oz bottle of Heritage Store brand Rosewater at Vitamin Shoppe for $6. I started off spraying a little on my face in the morning or throughout the day, but after more research I found that Rosewater could work even better for my hair. Not only is Rosewater moisturizing, but it is also conditioning, antimicrobial, and stimulates blood circulation. After getting my hair braided, I mixed rosewater and castor oil in a spray bottle as a moisturizer and it worked amazingly for preventing my hair from feeling dry and brittle. I always go a little longer between washes while I have my hair braided, and the rosewater mixture was great at refreshing my hair and adding a light fragrance. Its antiseptic properties helped kill some of the germs and reduce product build-up that I had. Rosewater can also help reduce dandruff and stimulate hair growth by promoting blood circulation. Its like super water for your hair! There are various brands of rosewater that can be found online and in most health food stores. I encourage you to give it a try in one of its many uses and share your results with us.

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Below is the recipe for my Rosewater Moisturizing Spray. It’s great for braids and protective styles, as well as general everyday use.

Rosewater Moisturizing Cleansing Spray:

¼ cup Rosewater

1.5 Teaspoon of Glycerin

2 Teaspoons Coconut Oil (Or oil of your choice, I recommend a light oil)

Additional tap or distilled water as needed

Play around with the measurements and see what works best for you

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Eau de Curly Girl: Perfume For Your Hair

       Thanks to Andrea from one of my new favorite YouTube channels, AndreasChoice, I have recently been on a dedicated search for a hair perfume. I didn’t even know hair perfumes existed, but now that I do I most definitely cannot pass up the opportunity to have a fragrant fro. As of late my go to body scent is Bath & Body Works Amber Blush. I’m all about warm scents with hints of citrus and amber, so I want a hair scent that falls in line.
Selecting a hair perfume is a little different than selecting a body fragrance. For one, you definitely have to make sure the fragrance doesn’t clash with any of the hair products that you use. If you’re not, you could end up emitting an overwhelming or unpleasant scent. I have also been cautious of the ingredients that they may contain, aiming mainly to avoid alcohols, sulfates, and parabens. I want my hair to smell lovely, but not at the cost of dryness or extra build up. You can find various brands of hair perfumes at stores like Ulta and Sephora, as well as online. I have found that many popular perfume lines include a hair fragrance, including Angel by Thierry Muegler and Pink Sugar by Aquolina. I have yet to select the perfect scent, but below are a few options that us curly girls balling on a collegiate budget can afford.

UO Apothecary Hair Perfume (Urban Outfitters,$6.95)

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Urban Outfitters has a surprisingly dope selection of natural hair and body products. Their hair perfume is alcohol and cruelty free, plus its comes at an awesome price! It comes in various scents such as Red Currant and Woods & Turberose. You can purchase an 8oz bottle in Urban Outfitters stores or from their website.

Mane Teeze Hair Perfume Collection (Mane Teeze, $35)

(photo credit: http://www.maneteeze.com/#!product/prd1/453938661/hair-perfume-collection-3-x-50ml)
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The women behind Mane Teeze offer a diverse collection of hair perfumes that come in three scents: Haute Mess, Black Widow, and Social Butterfly. The line is sulfate, paraben, and cruelty free and they claim that the fragrances are subtle enough not to conflict with your body fragrance.  They are sold individually in 50mL bottles for $35 or in a set of three for $85 on ManeTeeze.com.

Black Amber & Lavender Scented Hair Perfume (Sugamommy, $14.95)

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Black Amber & Lavender scented anything is right up my alley, so I was excited to find Sugamommy hair perfumes on Etsy. There are various other scents and they are full of great ingredients such as Organic Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Ecocert Beet Sugar Extract,  and Algae Extract. This line of perfumes is also awesome because they are custom made to order and you can add in various finishes including oil, hydrating mist, or shine.

No. 5 The Hair Mist (Chanel, $68)

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This is definitely a splurge item, but I decided to include it because Chanel is such a classic fragrance, plus we should all treat ourselves every now and again. This hair fragrance comes highly recommended by various beauty bloggers and Oprah’s beauty team because it has a light but lasting scent, and its oil based and alcohol free. Chanel offers their hair mist in many of their other signature scents including Coco Mademoiselle and Chance. If I ever feel like embodying Marilyn Monroe, but with a fro, I’m sure I’ll reach for this.

Delicieux Hair Perfume (Yummi Hair Care, $10)

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Yummi Hair Care’s Delicieux hair fragrances come in various scents including Pomegranate Daquiri and Raspberry Splash. They are filled with healthy ingredients such as grapeseed oil and silk amino acids. It’s reasonably priced and alcohol free. You can purchase a 4 oz bottle at the Yummi Hair Care Etsy store.

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And She Braids Too

High fashion powerhouse, Vogue, dropped an artful video featuring Lupita Nyong’o today, and just like every other time Queen Lupita does anything, the Internet went wild. This video didn’t feature Lupita performing a monologue or stunting on us with her fashion as usual, but it showed her engaging in one of her favorite hobbies: braiding hair. What can’t she do?!

In the short video titled “Braids,” Lupita tells us about how her aunt taught her to braid and twist, as she corn rows a friends hair on camera. All while looking fly, I might add. Her desire to learn the craft came from a disappointing visit to a braid shop in NYC while she was an undergraduate. Throughout the video she skillfully braids the hair of her six closest friends, and shares some of her views on braiding and hair with a subtle passion that is genuinely beautiful. In her eyes, braiding someone’s hair can be “intimate”. She saw it as her “side hustle” and a hobby that gave her the opportunity to connect with others. The short clip is a cute look into her life that adds to her enigmatic presence in pop culture, but also humanizes her, and makes her more relatable. As an African woman myself, it was great to see her doing something that so many women in my family do in their day to day lives. Hair braiding is a cultural symbol that is engrained in the community of black Americans and Africans throughout the Diaspora that has recently been co-opted by sources of high fashion media. As braids show up on runways and fashion spreads, they are becoming trendy, and people who are blind to elements of black culture have believed it to be a “new” hairstyle. In some ways this video helps take ownership back, all while embracing the art form of braiding and natural hair itself.

In cultures across the world, hair is a woman’s crowning glory. To me it’s a physical expression of oneself and identity. Natural hair, and the beauty of black women in general is often chastised and belittled in our society, and that’s one of the many reasons Lupita has been such a breath of fresh air. She is a different picture of “black womanhood”, and to many the physical manifestation of the black woman that is often forgotten in mainstream media. “Braids” is a simple but poignant embrace of the beauty of black hair, African culture, and Lupita herself. I loved it and I encourage you to watch it here!

photo credit: http://hiphollywood.com/2014/06/braided-up-lupita-nyongo-reveals-haircare-hobby/

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