YouTuber Spotlight: Ms. Jackie Aina

 

She’s sassy and sweet with an outstanding, humorous but blunt personality that will make you want to keep watching her videos for hours. She’s a fellow Leo, US Army Veteran with a passion for filming beauty, skin, and hair tutorials for all 1.5 million subscribers and of course, I can’t leave out that she’s a true role model for women in the African-American community. I think you can already guess who I’m talking about.

That’s right. The beautiful Nigerian Queen, Ms. Jackie Aina.

Growing up in a strict- Nigerian household, Jackie was always taught that she had to pursue a career in the medical field or even become a lawyer but of course, God had other plans. Ms. Aina knew that she’s been wanting to be a cosmetologist before she even knew what that meant. Jackie Aina has been a beauty guru for about 8 years and has always had a passion for makeup, hair, skin and your everyday beauty routine.

Prior to YouTube, she received her cosmetology license in Freelance Makeup at Vidal Sassoon. She was a freelance makeup artist for MAC cosmetics as well as Bobbi Brown cosmetics. She started to pursue a career in YouTube as a beginner makeup artist in 2009. She has been faithful to uploading videos doing different styles and looks for each season, sharing her personal stories about her past, present, and what is to come for her in the future.

What stands out to me about Ms. Jackie Aina is her open honesty about products that are on the market. She expresses to her following that she would like for more cosmetic lines such as Too Faced, Becca Cosmetics, Yves Saint Laurent, Lancome, Urban Decay, Smashbox, and Tarte to launch products for Women of Color. Jackie expresses to her followers that growing in the beauty industry was always a struggle for her when finding products for her skin color. It was always too light, too gray, or too chalky, etc for her skin type and shade. She recently announced to the beauty world that she will be collaborating with Too Faced to create a variety of foundations for women of color. This is very exciting news for all of the chocolate queens of the beauty community.

Another reason why I love Jackie Aina is because she is very honest and open in discussing the products she receives and reviews. She has a lot. Recently, Ms. Jackie Aina had the pleasure of meeting Kim Kardashian-West for her KKW Beauty Launch at Kardashian-West’s home in Bel-Air. She did an open and honest review of the “Cream Contour Kit” which is now available to watch on YouTube as well as many other honest reviews on skin care products, wigs, and other makeup. This gives the subscriber more of an insight on what to purchase and try and what to stay away from before spending that $56 on a highlight palette. There was never any incident where Jackie tries to tell her subscribers to buy a product because of the packaging or because of the name that is on the cosmetic line.

I truly commend Jackie Aina for chasing her dreams and spreading hope for women of color who would like to pursue a career in the cosmetology field or become a YouTuber. She has big plans for the African-American community and I hope to see more from her being that I have been a faithful subscriber for 4 years now! Jackie will definitely continue to make us proud and as she always says and promises in her YouTube description box, “Changing the standard of beauty, one tutorial at a time.”

 

Photo used: Jackie Aina’s Youtube Avitar

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Claudine’s Go-to Hair Styles

I think we can all agree that one of the major problems with having natural hair is styling. Taking care of natural hair can be very hard and tedious; or maybe it’s just me. However, over time as you learn more about your hair, you figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. some styles look better or are easier to maintain on certain textured hairs than others. So, we often cannot simply mimic styles that we see on others or online. I’m not saying it’s always impossible to get your hair to look a certain way but you may have to do a thing or two in addition to what the other person did, depending on your hair texture.

I have a head full of 4c hair, very kinky. Imagine having to comb and style my hair every single morning… no thank you! (haha) Over the course of my journey, learning and loving my hair, I’ve come across some hairstyles that I love, love, love, and they are really simple and save me about a week or two of having to style my hair, depending on how I choose to maintain it.  For all my 4c ladies, you can definitely try these out and let me know how it works for you, and if you don’t have 4c hair, definitely feel free to try and manipulate the style to get it to work for you hair texture.

I like to call these my signature looks because these are my absolute favorite go to and easy to do hairstyles, and they’re not time consuming whatsoever (well, maybe one of them). So, whenever my hair is not in a protective style (box braids, crochet, etc.) you’ll find me rocking these styles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above is a flat twist out, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. I put some flat twists in my hair and then took them out the next morning. For my particular look, I did about 8-10 flat twists. As you can see in the pictures, I have a part on the left side, allowing my hair to fall toward the right side of my face. I did two twists across the front, toward the right, two on the left side and the rest straight back. I also did bantu knots on the ends because I wanted the curls to be defined.

The first two pictures are the first time I did this hairstyle and I fell in love but as you can see, compared to the last picture, the curls are a bit looser. The reason being that, in the first two pictures this style was done on old hair (meaning, not freshly washed), whereas the second picture my hair was freshly washed and a little air dried. I personally prefer the first look because I’m not a big fan of super tight curls, I like my hair to be a bit stretched.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This next style I call “my puff puffs” which refers to the pictures on your right. As you can see, there’s one puff then there’s two. I find it hard to pick between them because they both have their good and bad days. Like I mentioned earlier, I prefer my hair to be a bit stretched before doing anything to it, because I want it to look a lot fuller and have some length to it (because shrinkage is real!). So, one of the ways I stretch my hair is by doing bantu knots on freshly washed hair, leaving it in for about a week and combing/brushing it out. As you can see in the first picture, my bantu knots are a week old. The second picture is my hair combed out and put into a high puff using a head band, about 3 or 4 days after the first picture was taken. The last picture is about a week after the second picture and I simply applied conditioner to my hair and parted it into two. I don’t comb my hair all the way out because I like to see the curls defined at the ends as you can see in the pictures. I do a lot of finger combing and hand fluffing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is just another way I stretch my hair before putting it into a single puff or two, using the flat twist method. The only difference is, the puffs are a bit rounder; these pictures were taken four days apart. Ultimately, there are different ways to achieve the same look, it’s whatever is best for you!

 

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The Never Ending Roller-Coaster: My Natural Hair Journey

Where do I begin? Who possessed my mother into putting classic Alkaline and Ammonium Thioglycolate, also known as, perm onto my 3c/4b coily curls?

When I was younger, my hair was shaped into a Jackson 5 Afro but was always in two pigtails styled in twists or the good old fashioned hot comb straightened hair with grease sizzled edges. I used to be a dancer so my mother had to figure out a way to make my hair more manageable and easy to detangle.

When I was around the age of 6-7, my mother took me to a hair salon where they gave me my first perm and boy oh boy, did it burn. The pain of the perm made me want to shed more than a few tears. Prior to getting this perm, I would constantly scratch my scalp which will create scars on the scalp and extreme burning sensations. As I’m typing this blog, I’m sort of envisioning the pain I felt back then.

I continued perming my hair until I was in 7th grade. I decided to transition from permed to natural because during this time my mother was also transitioning so she stopped taking me to the salons for touch-ups every month and once I started to try and take care of my hair I  noticed a difference in textures and I completely fell in love.

During the time of transitioning, I would constantly get blow outs from the Dominican hair salons or I would get box braids, twists, or two french braids with added hair. Throughout this process it was very important for me to at least get a trim every month just to let go of all of the permed ends. 

I wasn’t alone throughout this process. My mother also had a perm and was beginning to transition so for the emotional aspect of transitioning, she understood my frustration with my hair. I honestly had to learn a great deal of patience and I’m glad I did.

Once I reached my freshman year of high-school, I asked my mother if I can get my first real cut and I went from having long permed hair to a Dora like bob cut with bangs that were too hideous and embarrassing to even re-visit. By my sophomore year, my hair grew out and I was fully natural. Not a perm in sight but then I did another dangerous thing to my hair, can you guess what I did? Yup. That’s right, I bleached it. I bleached my entire head a platinum blonde and I thought I was killing the game. I ended up killing my curls, again.

I got tired of putting my hair through so much stress during all four years of high school and dying it from blonde to red, then red to brown, then brown to jet black and now back to purple, I knew I had to make a change. I promised myself that I would nurture my hair once I graduated.

My freshman year of college came and I cut my hair into a brown bob. I would constantly straighten it which also does damage to your curls so I began wearing weaves and trying to keep heat out of my hair. Yes, it is hard. I gave into temptation many of times for the first two years of college but I knew it was time to let it go.

I am now a Junior in college and prior to becoming a junior, I shaved my hair all off as a fresh start. Chopping my hair off is not only a physical growth spurt for me but also is helping me grow emotionally. I am learning to love natural hair and I have a long ways to go as far as my curls prospering. It’s a journey. A journey to acceptance and self-love.

 

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Am I Wasting My Time Living Through the TWA Phase?

What is a TWA?

For those of you who don’t know, TWA stands for “Teeny Weeny Afro.” It normally describes natural hair that is about ½ to 1-inch long, typically describing the post “big chop” style. This is normally the most annoying stage for most naturals because you can’t really do anything with it. It’s kind of just there. But that doesn’t mean it’s pointless or as plain as it sounds.

The biggest question that I’ve gotten would have to be, “how long does the TWA stage last?” Honestly, there’s no set time frame on how long you’ll have to withstand the TWA, but you can definitely have some fun with it! The most common time frame for TWA’s is anywhere from 1-2 years, maybe. I know that sounds like forever, but it goes by faster than you think. And when you’re dealing with the dreaded shrinkage, it may feel like you’re still in the TWA phase when in fact your shrinkage doesn’t reflect your hair’s true length.

The TWA phase can be a tedious one. Your hair is just starting to come into its own, and as it’s adapting, your hair continues to grow, your curl pattern can change as well, and sometimes that can mean different struggles and new findings when it comes to styling your new TWA. Some do absolutely nothing and just let their hair do its thing, some try their hand at a two-strand twist-out.

I know exactly what that feels like. For the first year or so of my TWA, I didn’t know what to do. I had previously become so used to styling my hair on an everyday basis, so when this came along I didn’t know how to not style it. I couldn’t style it! I barely had two inches of hair. That didn’t stop me from trying though.

My advice to anyone thinking of big chopping, or maybe you already have, just have fun. Don’t grow accustomed to one look or one curl pattern, because believe me, you’ll get used to seeing and styling a certain texture or curl pattern and then you’ll wake up one day with something completely different. A new struggle. Don’t let this discourage you because it can be a lot of fun…it IS a lot of fun. But it takes your patience to new levels for sure.

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5 Reasons to Go Natural

As African American queens, we have all had a specific thought run across our minds; “Should I go natural?”. Some of us have accomplished, attempted, or kept it as a thought. If you fit into the “attempted” or “kept it as a thought” category, this post is specifically for you! As far as my accomplished sistas, don’t worry, if you need some reassurance, this is for you too!

 

Here are 5 amazing reasons why you should go natural:

 

  1. Self Acceptance

First things first, accepting your natural hair is not as easy as it may sound for everyone. However, I can almost promise you that it is a beautiful experience. Accepting and going through the transition stage can be a pain but it is super interesting to see what your hair transforms into! You would almost think your hair is consistently playing the “she loves me, she loves me not” game, as much as you may switch from loving your hair one day and hating it the next! However, with time you learn to feel liberated! You feel free from trying to impress and fit in with society.

 

  1. Versatility

What is more fun than having more options? Perhaps nothing! Being a natural allows you to have so many style options. I have nothing against relaxers. However, you don’t get to experience anything other than straight hair. When you’re natural, you can rock the bush, afro, puffs, twists, and don’t get me started on the protective styles! There are endless to choose from! With that being said, versatility allows you to stay interested in your hair!

 

  1. Healthier

It is always better to take the healthier route! Going natural is the healthiest option to choose for your hair. Harsh chemicals can damage the hair now or later, sometimes both! Healthy hair will only allow your strands to flourish like a pretty flower.  No more damage from hair glue or heat!  You are now in your natural state and it feels so good!

 

  1. Debunks European and Western standards

In the past years, straight hair was the only hair accepted in society.  Straight hair was known to be the hairstyle and texture to give you beauty and poise.  Kinky and coily hair was known as unprofessional and inappropriate.  However, you don’t have to worry about your hair getting ruined in the rain because you have a weave or a relaxer in your hair.  Natural hair is becoming more and more visible in today’s society.  Companies want to be apart of the movement. The fashion industry is becoming more supportive of the movement too! Going natural allows you to support and expand on what is defined as the “beauty standard”.  

 

  1. Unique and Special

Being natural is so unique and special. Not only to you, but to other people as well! You could be walking down the street and all eyes will be on your hair! You will get questions on what you do to your hair, what products you use, and some people may even ask to touch your hair! That is how special and interesting natural hair really is! Natural hair is subconsciously praised believe it or not.  Natural hair has a wide range of textures, which is another reason why it is so special and interesting.   

So ladies, I hope these five reasons convinced, and reassured your thoughts on going natural!

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Product Spotlight: EDEN BodyWorks

As a black girl going through the whirlwind of emotions when starting your natural hair journey, our first question we ask ourselves is, “What products should I try for my curls?” or “Will this product work for my texture?” We go from Cantu to Creme of Nature to Curls, Miss Jessie’s and many more to achieve those beautiful braid-outs and trendy twist outs but to complete this look we need the one essential product that every curly girl should have: a to-die-for edge control.

EDEN BodyWorks Coconut Shea Control Edge Gel has my heart wrapped. During my journey, I recently stumbled upon this gem when looking for a gel that would lay and SLAY my edges and honey, this product will lay your edges to the edge GOD. When I first opened the product, I was skeptical about how much would be in the jar but there are about 6 ounces worth of product that can be used for about 6 months to a year. This product has a very lightweight consistency and doesn’t cause your hair to flake like snow around the edge of your hair.

Trust me, I wouldn’t want for you to look like Santa dusted his snowy jacket off on your edges girl, because I understand how bad that can be. Trust me, this product will have the maximum hold you need for the entire day.

When I first started using this product, I was shocked that it gave me the maximum hold I needed for the day. I probably had to reapply it once more after being in the sun all day but understand that sweat absorbs products so if you are a person who perspires a lot, you may have to reapply product. The good thing about this is, the product retails between $8.45-9 and at $8.75 plus shipping and handling on Amazon.com and is also available in different sizes if you don’t want to splurge on the big jar for your first try. You could also buy the big size for day to day purposes and the smaller size for travel. On the go products are a must when going through your natural hair journey and of course, edge control is too.

It is very important to also disclaim, this product was made without sulfates, dyes, parabens, mineral oils such as petroleum. Products with these chemicals can cause breakage to your hair follicles and thinning as well. It is very important that you read more about the pros and cons of chemicals in your products prior to starting your natural hair journey. After months of achieving those beautiful curls, you want to make sure you’re using products with ingredients that will help you maintain those curls.

For all of my animal lovers, this product is cruelty free and has not been tested on animals. So just a few reminders when choosing your to-die-for edge control, always check for chemicals, never splurge on $13 edge control, always purchase a travel size for on the go, purchase a silk/satin scarf from your local beauty supply store, and bam! Beautiful curls and edges that slay!

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Curly Hair 101: How to Tell the Health of Your Natural Hair

As curly girls, we know the amount of time that goes into maintaining and growing our natural hair. But are we taking care of our coils as best as possible, or are we doing the bare minimum because we know how tedious #WashDay can be? Check out the four indicators of healthy natural hair, and I promise you’ll never skip a deep conditioning treatment again!

1. Shrinkage

Your hair’s ability to draw itself in or “shrink up” as we call it, shows just how healthy your curls are. Seeing as though it hides our true length, shrinkage has proven to be one of the most annoying things for curly girls. But don’t worry too much, textured hair that shrinks up proves that your hair is at its strongest and most moisturized. Help to ensure the continued health of your hair with a weekly deep conditioning treatment to seal in moisture!

2. Elasticity

Elasticity or the “stretch” in our curls is closely related to the keratin in our hair. Think of healthy natural hair as a brand new scrunchie or rubber band; you can pull it as far as it will go and it still bounces back into its original position. On the contrary, unhealthy coils tend to be and look more lifeless, break easily, and struggle to spring back, if they do at all. Want to see if your curls can withstand the test? Gently tug on a strand or two. Do they bounce back into formation, break off, or struggle to get that curl back?

3. Shine

Shiny hair is normally hair that has a lower porosity and easily retains moisture. Healthy natural hair will shine without the help of oils and sprays because the shine comes from within. The next time you have the dreaded #WashDay, put your hair to the test by taking a curl and patting it dry (with a t-shirt or microfiber towel of course). Is it dull and lifeless, or springy and full of shine?

4. Fullness

The true fullness and thickness of natural hair can sometimes be a little hard to see, being that every curl is different and we tend to use so many different products, which can manipulate the look of volume in our hair. For example, certain cream based products can wear the hair down, making it look thinner. Naturally, fuller hair tends to “clump” together when it is combed or brushed. The best way to determine the fullness (or lack thereof) of your natural hair is to look at it in it’s natural, product-free, unaltered state.

How do you maintain the health of YOUR hair?

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Youtuber Spotlight: Queens & Curls

Our very own president of UC’s chapter of Curly in College has her own youtube channel. Keianna, who goes under the name “Queens & Curls,” is an expert in all things natural hair related. In her latest video, which is seen above, she shows us how she uses Curls products to achieve a three strand twist out. Her other videos include tutorials, her favorite products to use, and a wash routine.

Curly in College will be sharing her videos here on the blog, but in the meantime, check out Queens & Curls for yourself, and be sure to like, subscribe, and leave a comment if you like what you see.

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Valentine’s Day Inspired Makeup

Hello, fellow readers! Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and I wanted to give you all some idea and inspiration on how to wear your makeup this weekend!

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The makeup look I chose to create is very simple, and can be done with little to no expertise.

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I used e.l.f Primer, shimmery pink, blue, and white eyeshadow, Maybelline Eye Studio eyeliner, Clinique Acne Solutions foundation, Miss Manga mascara, and a simple red lipstick by L’Oreal.

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I added the adhesive jewels for fun. If you would prefer to use heart shaped jewels to go with the Valentine’s day theme, go for it!

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Below are a few images that you can draw ideas from!

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All of these designs are perfect for a night out, a simple Valentine’s Day party, or just something to try for fun! Which makeup design was your favorite??

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Homemade Holiday Facial Scrubs

I have oily, acne-prone skin and I am not alone. Exfoliating works wonders for those of us with problem skin by removing dead skin cells and other impurities. Simply exfoliating with a facial scrub once in the morning and once at night helps me maintain radiant and healthy looking skin throughout the day. There is a lot to benefit from when you follow a face cleansing routine. There are many pricey manufactured products meant to exfoliate your skin but contain mysterious and often harsh ingredients that can dry out the skin or damage it, defeating its intended purpose. Luckily we can all avoid that by making our own face scrubs at home. They are inexpensive and made with natural ingredients that will nourish your beautiful complexion. They also would make a thoughtful gift. If your skin is in need of a fix after a stressful week of exams, before the festivities begin, try out these holiday exfoliating face scrubs below:

Cinnamon & Nutmeg Face Scrub

 DIY-Cinnamon-and-Nutmeg-Face-Scrub-via-missysue

Image by Missy Sue [http://missysue.com/2014/03/cinnamon-and-nutmeg-face-scrub-2/]

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon of honey

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Gently massage the scrub onto your face.
  3. Keep the mask on for 10 minutes (it can stay on longer if needed).
  4. Rinse the mask off with water while exfoliating the skin with your fingers.
  5. Repeat 2-3 times a week for best results.

How each ingredient helps:

Honey: Prevents dry skin.

Cinnamon: Prevents blemishes and leaves you glowing.

Nutmeg: Reduces blemishes while exfoliating the skin and removing blackheads.

 

Chocolate Sugar Face Scrub

chocolate-face-scrub1-300x199

Image Via [http://homemadeforelle.com/10-simple-exfoliating-face-scrubs/]

Ingredients:

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/8 cup olive oil

1 tbsp cocoa powder

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.
  2. Lather generously onto clean face.
  3. Rub gently into the skin for 60 seconds.
  4. Allow to set on skin for 10 minutes, if desired.
  5. Rinse clean with warm water.

How each ingredient helps:

Olive Oil: Protects the skin against premature ageing and doesn’t clog the pores.

Cocoa Powder: Repairs skin cells.

Vanilla Extract: Its antibacterial properties cleanse your skin and makes it oil and dirt free.

Brown Sugar: Softer than regular sugars but strong enough to scrub away dead skin cells.

             

Pomegranate Beauty Scrub

pomagranate scrub

Image Via [http://www.homeremedyshop.com/30-amazing-diy-homemade-facial-scrubs/]

 Ingredients:

2 Tbsp melted coconut oil or extra virgin organic olive oil

2 Tbsp coconut or turbinado sugar

2 Tbsp pure honey

1 Tbsp ground pomegranate seeds (use food processor or blender)

1 tsp very finely grated organic orange peel (zest)

1 tsp rose water

Optional ingredient: 2 tsp organic cocoa powder

  1. Peel the pomegranate in the sink, in a big bowl and run cold water as you extract the seeds.
  2. Strain and rinse.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon.
  4. Apply the mixture while in the shower
  5. Gently massage the scrub into your skin.
  6. Continue your shower and rinse with warm water.

How each ingredient helps:

Pomegranate: Hydrates to the skin and fights acne inflammation.

Rose Water: Naturally tones your skin.

Orange Peel: Contains Vitamin C that makes your skin look radiant.

Fun Tip: You can also save a few drops of the pomegranate juice to mix with a bit of coconut oil or olive oil to make a lip stain which can also be applied with a Q-tip or can also be used as a cheek stain. (http://www.care2.com/greenliving/homemade-pomegranate-beauty-scrub.html)

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