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Ask Felicia Leatherwood: Natural Hair Diet #FeliciaFriday

healthy eating

 

Natural Hair Diet 

by Felicia Leatherwood

Whenever we hear the word diet, we automatically think of constraint or limitation, but consider this…the word DIET meaning qualities, composition and a effect of good health.  Well have you ever thought about what goes in your body producing good results in your hair?  Healthy hair starts on the inside.
Like your skin, your hair needs nutrition from the inside out.  If your diet is deficient in hair friendly foods, or your digestion is not efficient, all of the creams, butters, moisturizers and hair treatments in the world won’t be effective at maintaining the longevity and health of your hair.  SO if you want a healthy shining crown, start by taking a hard look at what you eat, how you eat and when you eat.
What to Eat for Healthy Hair
Instead of focusing on specific nutrients or strict quantities of food in your diet, It’s recommended that you stick to wholesome, natural foods as the best and most palatable way to delivering a variety of nutrients to your hair.  The key is to eat foods that are whole,natural, organic and fresh!
Here’s your grocery list…
Dark Leafy greens, beets, summer squashes, broccoli, carrots and white daikon radish, and fresh green herbs such as cilantro, mint and basil are excellent choices for getting a rich supply of nutrients to your hair.  Be sure to add hair friendly spices such as cumin and tumeric to your vegetable dishes.  Spices help transport the nutrients from other foods you eat to the cells and tissues of the body.  Vary the vegetables you eat from day to day.  Vegetables contain vitamin A and C, folic acid and magnesium, all wonderful for a healthy hair life.
Whole grains and smaller legumes also offer nourishment to your hair without overtaxing your digestive system.  Grains contain fiber, vitamins and minerals.  Vary the grains you eat(Oatmeal, organic corn, polenta, rice are good grains to eat), beans, vegetables, herbs and spices like Rosemary(rosemary promotes hair growth by stimulating blood circulation)on vegetables or chicken, offering a cocktail of nutrients for your hair!
Protein is also a major part of good healthy hair and diet.  Proteins like fish, chicken or coconut or flax seed oil if you are vegan are vital to hair, because they are high in Omega 3’s, Iron and Amino Acids.  All needed to grow hair and produce natural oils from the scalp.
Include nuts in your daily diet.  Soak 8-10 almonds in hot water, blanch and eat with breakfast every morning.  Soaked walnuts are also good for hair health and color.  Soak nuts before eating them so that they do not tax your digestive system and flow out of you easily, leaving the good nutrients behind.
Next you need to know when to eat
A balanced nutritional diet is definitely key to promoting good healthy hair and longevity.  But knowing when to eat is equally vital in order to give your body the ability to convert the foods you eat into a form that your hair can assimilate and use to stay healthy and strong.
Eat the heaviest foods in your diet in the middle of the day, that’s when you body can really go to work digesting everything properly!  You want to eat lighter at breakfast and dinner.  Breakfast kick-starts your body when you wake up and by dinner you are winding down for the night, so you want to keep things light.
Be sure to always cook your meals in a positive frame of mind.  Everything is connected, so you never want to cook angry, stressed out or anxious because the negative energy imparts into the foods you are putting into your body and you don’t want the negative effects to show up in your hair or anywhere else for that matter!
Remember, your meal times are your time to take a minute to yourself, so you never want to multi-task while eating.  Do not work, talk on the phone or spend time in cyber space, i.e. be on the computer, while putting food in your mouth.  You always want to be in a calm, stress-free zone, while digesting your foods.  Do not eat on the go either, as you drive, walk or shop.  Be sure to give each meal your undivided attention.  You will see a big difference in the benefits of your hair!
Lastly, WATER is the Best thing you can ever digest!  I repeat drink WATER!  It’s a fact that if you get anywhere from 6-8 glasses of water per day, you will see healthier, skin, nails and hair!  DO your best to make sure you are getting the proper amounts of water each day and watch the difference it will make in your life!
Be kind to your mind, body and hair!
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Ask Felicia Leatherwood: The Top 5 Things You Can Do To Grow Your Hair Faster

Style: "Neutral"

 

Written By Felicia Leatherwood:

1)Have a consistent regimen

 Be sure that you have a system for your hair care and stick to it!  So, if you shampoo & deep condition your hair on Saturdays and do hot oil treatments on Wednesdays, be sure to stick to the same routine so that your hair will be on a schedule.  Then you can really see how well you hair does on a scheduled regimen and the benefits of doing this.

2)Hair growth supplements
First of all, lets be clear about what supplements are.
A supplement is known as something that is to be either taken with something else or aid in something else. For example, a vitamin is a supplement, however just taking a vitamin alone will not make you healthy. This must be accompanied by a healthy diet and exercise.
Here is a small list of some of the top hair growth products out on the market.  I have tried and tested these products and they really do work!
-Hairfinity Hair Growth vitamins
-Biotin vitamins
-Viviscal
-Ovation Cell Therapy
-ORS Temple and root stimulator
Be sure to read all direction and test in a small area of the head to be sure you are applying properly and your hair likes it.
DO all hair growth products work? Some work great but nothing takes the place of a good diet, proper rest and the right amount of water in your system.
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 3)Oils that help with hair growth
Jojoba, Carrot, Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Coconut oil, Rootspiration, Saw Palmetto and Rosemary oil.  These oils help stimulate growth by rejuvenating the cells on your scalp to produce more hair.  But you must apply regularly and also use the product for 1 whole year before stopping.
4)Hair growth exercises
-Inversion Method aka hanging upside down.  If you care to hang upside down for a while to carry the blood threw your scalp and bring life back into your hair.
Also regular scalp massages help stimulate growth.
And lastly Yoga.  Yoga keeps the oxygen flowing through your body so that you rebuild cells and grow hair.
5)Massaging the scalp;
– Nothing beats a good ole fashion scalp massage for about 20-30min a day to get that blood flowing and your scalp lose.

 

Do you have natural hair questions? Leave them here to receive expert advice from Felicia Leatherwood.

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Short Hair, Don’t Care!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ask Felicia: Are We Over The Natural Hair Scene? #FeliciaFriday

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Written By Felicia Leatherwood

I’ve been talking to several naturalist’s and bloggers and some of them are wondering what’s next for the natural hair movement?  After all it rose up so strong and proud, so some are wondering where do we go from here?
I have to be honest, when I stepped on the hairstylist scene back in 2000, natural hair was more of a trend and it wasn’t as creative as it is now.  There where more men rocking cornrows and coil out’s than women because the women were still in the “feeling sexy with a weave” state of mind, but we adored our black men with their braids and flat twist and afros.  We thought that when Allen Iverson hit the court, he was the finest thing out there and every woman who found him sexy wanted to braid his hair!
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Fast forward 14years later and there is a whole community of natural hair wearers, but this time it came with a twist…not only did the women show up to say “We are not going to allow any type of product of chemical to touch our hair,” we also showed up to empower, support, send love and occasionally criticize each other!  We showed up with attitude, flare, chicness and style.
So now that most of the naturalistas have the hang of what works for their hair and they have been to all of the meet-up and chats and now have a ton of samples to choose from as well as tutorials on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, women are asking what next?
Where do we go from here?  Well I believe some of us will be one with our natural hair and some of us won’t!   As things calm down and the smoke of excitement clears and everyone goes back to their mutual corners to look for the next best thing.  I think we will see the beauty in it all!  We will see women that just want to grow their hair no matter what they use, some women will still be product junkies, some will go back to wigs and weaves or relaxers and some will not care either way.  But mostly, I think where we are headed next is a feeling place that can’t be duplicated or taken away…something called confidence!  Out of everything the natural hair community  gave us, it was a sense of PRIDE and CONFIDENCE that we gravitated to more than anything!

 

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Ask Felicia: Best Way To Know Which Product Is A Friend Or A Foe

 

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Written By Felicia Leatherwood

So, one of the main Natural Hair topics is…moisture and how to know which products work best on our natural hair so that we don’t destroy it!

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Here is a great way to listen to your hair and know what it needs.

First of all pull out of your cabinet your top four choices for conditioning and styling your hair.
Second cleanse the hair using a nice clarifying shampoo like ION’s Clarifying Shampoo and then proceed to conditioner.  Now what you want to do is divide the hair into four sections and on each section place 1 conditioner at a time.  So you will end up having a different conditioner on each section of hair.
What you are looking for in results with this way of testing your products are, softness, manageability, detangable hair and most of all moisture.  It’s better to test your products in this way, because you can compare them to each other and your hair will always let you know what it likes and doesn’t like!
You can do the same for your styling products as well.  When it comes to testing your styling products be sure to keep a little pen and pad next to you, so that you can make notes about the products you are working with.
Remember what might work for you, may not work for you friend or family member!
This tip will help you find out which products are a friend or which products have become a foe!
Have fun with your hair!

 

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Ask Felicia: Have We Fallen For The Okie- Doke As It Pertains To Our Hair #FeliciaFriday

Written By: Felicia Leatherwood

People tend to make a lot of assumptions about why people go natural and most of those assumptions are based on their own beliefs about why everyone should be natural.  And along with those assumption comes a great deal of judgment about how others choose to maintain their hair.  But is that fair?  Who are we to judge someone’s choice to be straight, or wavy, or curly or kinky or relaxed!?!  Have we gotten off track with the meaning of the whole “I’m Natural” movement?

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 Personally, I’ve always believed that the choice to go natural was about freedom and self-love.   But after talking to lots of women about how they feel about their hair and reading numerous negative comments all over social networking, I’ve come to the conclusion that the way we feel about other people’s choices in hairstyles are generally a reflection of our own insecurities.

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 Many of us may grew up with negative stigmas implanted in our brains about our hair through constant verbal negative repetition, and even if our mothers didn’t say we had tight or tough hair, it was implied by the look on her face whenever she came with the jar of Blue Magic and the pressing comb!  Maybe we went to school with bullies who called us “nappy headed” or felt that we didn’t get that boyfriend because of our hair texture or type!    But that is not the case for everyone.  Not everyone grows up hearing that their hair is nappy, tough, rough and bad.   So, could it be that some of us want to march against the injustice of how others treat their hair because of our own negative self-perception?  Soooo many reason for us to be angry and judge what natural hair should or shouldn’t mean to others.

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 When the natural hair community first came out strong, it felt like a very pride-filled time, but as the days, weeks and years are flying by, there is an air of disharmony and mean-spiritedness!  What is happening to our strength and our confidence?  Why are we the only ones getting into debates every time one of us changes our hair; even creating forums to have other people decide what we should do with our natural hair and if it is appropriate for public view?  The negative chatter I have seen throughout social networking feels judgmental and sad.  People are throwing their opinions around like there is a shortage of negative gossip in the world; expressing opinions about women who are straight hair wearers to the children of celebrities who are barely able to walk!   Somehow, we seem to be losing our way.  So, let’s remove some of the emotional layers and get to the heart of why some of us feel it’s OK to attack one another because of how we choose to wear our hair.

 What can be done?  How can we bring the positive, loving, supportive community that once existed, back to it’s powerful place of strength, unity and Love?

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#FeliciaFriday- Me and My Big Chop!

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Written By Felicia Leatherwood

So I finally did the Big Chop and not because my hair had any type of chemical on it or was damaged in any way, but mostly because it was time!  It was time for me to release a lot of unwanted negativity and slow moving energy.  Don’t know if any of yall can relate, but sometimes you just have to release and let go.
18677_258357050796_676515796_4846130_7275713_nI found myself starting to become…what I call “hair obsessed.”  I started changing my hair a lot and still not being satisfied with any one hairstyle.  I started feeling restless and that’s when I discovered that my issue was deeper than my hair, and it was more about what was going on, on the inside, instead of the outside.   So, what did I do?  I chopped it!  I chopped it to get back to myself.  I lessened what I was making the issue be about and found out that I was thriving for so much more than the perfect hairstyle.  I was thriving for perfectionism and security.  Bad combination…you can’t be a perfectionist and feel security, if you’re always trying to find fault.  So now that I’ve finally gotten down to the nitty-gritty of it, I’m able to get freedom and love myself from a different place.  I absolutely Love my new look and my beautiful hair, no matter long or short.


This look has gained me more confidence, security and I don’t think about being so perfect, cause I am loved just the way I am!

Sometimes we gotta take inventory and make sure that the very thing we need to change is our attitude or frame of mind and not always our hairstyle!

 

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Felicia Leatherwood’s Favorite Natural Hair-Care Products

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Written By : Felicia Leatherwood

I am constantly being asked which products work best on what hair types or what are some of my favorite hair care products to use. So, here is my list for all of you product junkies out there and “naturals in the know”.

My favorite Shampoos:
-Activilong Paris – Natural Touch Shampooing Conditioner with Hibiscus & Aloe Vera
-Philip B African Shea Butter Conditioning Shampoo for all hair types with Vitamin  B5 and 16 Plant Extracts
-Hydratherma SLS Free Moisture Plus Hair Cleanser
My favorite Co-wash Products:
-Eden Body Works Cleansing Co-Wash
-As I Am Coconut Co-wash
My favorite Conditioners:
-LRC Mega Bounce & Body Potion Conditioner
-Activilong Natural Touch Hibiscus Aloe Vera Masque-Soin Conditioner
-Curls Coconut Sublime Conditioner
-tgin – Thank God I’m Natural – Honey Miracle Hair Mask
-Shea Moisture Anti-Breakage Masque for fine and thin hair
My favorite Protein Conditioners:
-Aphogee Protein Repair
-Hydratherma Naturals Amino Plus Protein Deep Conditioning Treatment
My favorite Leave Ins:
Kinky Curly – Knot Today Leave-in
Alikay Naturals – Lemongrass Leave-In
Koils by Nature – SheaAloe Leave-In
My favorite Styling Moisturizers:
-III Sisters of Nature Natural Curling Gelo
-Entwine Butter Creme Hydrator
-Eden Body Works Coconut Shea All Natural Curl Defining Creme
-Natural Splendor Curl Conditioning Cream
-Lotta Body Coconut/Shea Oil Moisturize Me Curl & Style Milk
My favorite Curl Refresher for Wash n’ Go’s:
-Alikay Naturals Wake Me Up Daily Curl Refresher
-LRC Shake n’ Go Detangler & Curl Refresher
-Beautiful Textures Curl Definer Mousse
My favorite Blow Out Heat Protectors:
-LRC Leave-In Condish with Bling Serum
-Eden Body Works All Natural Styling Elixir Coconut Shea Line
-Philip B Drop Dead Straightening Balm to maintain your blow out
-Koils By Nature – Shea Aloe Leave-In/Heat Protectant
My favorite Edge Control:
Hick Edge Control
Ubora Hold Gel
Sof n’ Free’s Nothing But Mold & Hold Wax
My favorite Scalp and Hair Oils:
Natures Blessings
Jamaican Black Castor Oil
Coconut Oil
Jojoba Oil
Argan Oil
Carrot Oil
 I hope this list helps a lot of people seeking to try new products and also discover what your hair likes to what your hair loves!
Enjoy a few of my favorite products!

 

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Ask Felicia Leatherwood: Your 5 Favorite Moisture Methods

natural hair needs water

 

Written By Felicia Leatherwood

One of the biggest most important and detrimental questions I get almost everyday, is “How can I get more moisture in my hair?”

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Well there are some wonderful ways to get more moisture in your hair.  Moisture is a naturalistas biggest concern with every changing season.  It seems as if our hair can never get enough moisture and we all know that when the hair is dry the shaft becomes brittle and splits!  So I’m going to help you get started with figuring out the best moisture method for you.
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Let’s start with a list of some of my favorite store bought moisturizers…
LRC – Lawrence Ray Concepts Shake n’ Go detangler and moisturizer
Alikay Naturals – Wake Up & Go Spray
TGIN(Thank God I’m Natural)Moisture Butter
Eden BodyWorks Coconut Shea Leave-In Moisturizer
Lotta Body’s Moisture Me Curl & Style Milk

Now let us go through a couple of quick ways to get moisture.  One of the best ways to open up your hair cuticles and get the moisture right down in there is to steam your hair.  Steaming really helps the shingles of your hair strand open up and when you have the perfect moisturizing conditioner, your hair becomes butter in your hands!
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Now if you don’t have a steamer, you can always put your favorite conditioner on your hair along with a plastic bag and wrap a steamed warm towel around your hair to create the same effect.  You may have to reheat the towel after 5min. and re-apply. Treatment time 20min.
The next best way to get moisture in your hair and it will probably last you longer, AND works great for type 4’s kinky curly hair is to moisturize over night.
Here is your night time regimen for moisture.
What you will need for your night time moisture;
1) 8oz spray bottle
2) plastic cap
3) extra virgin olive oil
4) Deep conditioner i.e. Wen or LRC’s Potion
5) H20
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Start by putting 2oz. or 4tablespoons of conditioner in a 8oz. spray bottle, then put 2teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil in the spray bottle and fill the rest of the bottle up with H20 aka water!  Shake vigorously and spray on hair, saturating the whole head.  Then place the plastic bag on head securely.  Next you will put a towel down over your pillow, incase your bag leeks the over night conditioner.  Do this method at least 3-5 nights for 1 week, unless you feel you need to repeat for more nights than a week and it’s not uncomfortable for you to get some rest.
The next day when you wake up, your hair should feel and look great and you can either wake-up & go or rinse out & style your hair the way you want!
If you have a question regarding this regimen, you can right to me on Instagram on Fridays for #FeliciaFriday where I answer all of your hair questions on @naturamagazine.com

 

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Ask Felicia Leatherwood: What’s With Straight Hair?

 

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Written By: Felicia Leatherwood

Can straight hair be considered natural? Or are all straight hair wearers doomed to be considered traders amongst the natural hair community?

 

Since I’ve been traveling around the world speaking to lots of naturals from Los Angeles to London, the question keeps coming up about straight hair mavens and do they have the right to be considered natural?

 

Some of the naturalista’s say that if a woman wears her hair straight she can’t be taken seriously as a natural, even if all she does is a flat iron or a blow out.

Naturals argue that once you put heat on your hair and change the natural curl pattern, you are no longer natural.

 

As a hairstylist that specializes in natural hair, I have to be open to what peoples’ decisions are when it comes to their hair and in all fairness, I have to say that I have never been anti-straight, but I am anti-relaxer.  I think that if you want to be considered natural because you don’t use chemicals on your hair, you have the right to do so!  I also think that natural hair is unfortunately not everyone’s cup of tea.

 

Consider this next time you side-eye a “straight hair wearer”… they may have circumstances that do not allow for natural hair-styles, i.e. husband, job or lifestyle.

 

Some women have written me telling me that going completely kinky curly has been quite a challenge for them and they just have not been able to catch the hang of it!  I can’t make anyone choose their own natural texture of hair if they are not ready for that experience, but I always try to encourage that they embrace their texture.

 

I have met women who have hair, that is 5 times thicker and coiler than most and I understand what a task it can be to start tackling your natural hair, especially if you have a big family and you are a 9-5 worker.  It can be a big commitment for you!  But you should give it a go at least once in your life before deciding it’s not for you.

 

Now back to the women who crucify you…

When I read thru some of the natural hair forums and some of the social networking sites, I see that there are a lot of negatives against women who straighten their hair, to the point that they are calling names and I don’t think when the natural hair movement resurfaced, it was meant for us to turn on each other in the way we have.

 

I remember a time when, if you didn’t have straight hair, you were considered poor or unkept and sometimes you would even get bullied for wearing your natural hair or braids or plaits and now it looks to be the other way around.  None of the chastising is acceptable because at the end of the day, you have to DO YOU and not be a follower.  But the meanness, the name-calling, the slurring all over the internet has been another form of black on black emotional crime!

 

How can we find other ways to encourage one another when it comes to our hair and not judge others choices with their hair?

 

Is it that some of us just have too much time on our hands or that being a mean girl is still encouraged and looked at as some form of power?  Do any of us really have the right to criticize or draw attention to what another woman chooses to do for herself as it relates to her hair?

 

Let’s take a survey!

Do you think that if you press, flat iron, or blow-dry your hair, it is no longer natural?

Or do you think that all hair is natural, just as long as you don’t use chemicals in it?

 

Tell us your thoughts…