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Natural Hair

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Allure Magazine Afro Controversy: Cultural Appropriation or Admiration ?

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The August issue of Allure Magazine has been the talk of the town since it release, due to a very controversial article on how Caucasian women can achieve an afro on their naturally straight hair.  Titled: You (Yes,You) Can Have An Afro *even if you have straight hair* , pictures a white woman with obviously manipulated, textured hair, demonstrating what they believe an afro looks like. The article even goes into detail on how this demographic can achieve the “look.”

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This article created outrage among African-American women because for one, they didn’t use a black woman to represent this so-called trend, two they didn’t bother to give readers the history of the Afro, and how important it is to black culture, and three many perceived the article as just plain ole’ cultural appropriation. Oh, and need I not forget that the style isn’t even an Afro, its a Twist-Out!!!!

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After all of the backlash on the article, here is what Allure had to say:

The Afro has a rich cultural and aesthetic history. In this story, we show women using different hairstyles as…individual expressions of style. Using beauty and hair as a form of self-expression is a mirror of what’s happening in our country today. The creativity is limitless — and pretty wonderful.”

Okay, I get that, but they still didn’t touch on the fact that the history extends from the African-American culture.

Personally, I’m not upset that they chose to shed a light on the Afro as a trendy hairstyle, but I do believe that if they wanted to be most authentic and not offensive, then they should have used a model that was more appropriate.  I’m not against other races experimenting or rocking hairstyles that are most known to my culture, but I do have a problem when people don’t give credit to the source.

But, hey that’s just my two cents! What are your thoughts?!?

Xoxo

Malia

Images: Twitter/ E News/ Allure

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Natural Chica Talks Being a New Mommy, Natural Hair & Getting her Ph.D. (INSIDE)

Most of you know her as “naturalchica,” the natural hair guru and YouTube sensation but, today I got to meet Dr. Maeling Murphy, recent Ph.D. recipient, new mommy and vibrant curl girl.  We talked about life after receiving her doctoral degree, and some new exciting projects that she’s working on.

I dont want to give it all away :)! So, check out our convo below to find out more.

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Can you tell me about yourself?

  • My name is Maeling, and I am a wife, new mom, blogger and materials scientist and engineer. I have a lot going on right now but I am definitely focusing on being a new mom first while still sharing natural hair and lifestyle information on my site, NaturalChica.com.

I know that you recently received your Ph.D., can you tell me what your experience was like?

  • I started my Ph.D. at Georgia Tech back in the fall of 2008 and my area of study was in materials science and engineering, but my specific research topic focused on biomaterials. It was a very intense process for me with lots of up and downs. It was a true test of perseverance… very, very trying times. I thought about quitting a couple of times, but I am so thankful that I had great support from family and friends that really helped to push me through, and that they were able to celebrate the culmination of my program with me at my graduation ceremonies earlier this year. Graduation actually took place a month after I gave birth to my son. Having him there at the graduation was pretty amazing especially since I was pregnant with him while I was writing my dissertation. If anyone reading this is thinking about enrolling in a Ph.D. program, I would recommend pursuing a research area that you are highly interested in because it is going to take a lot of motivation and perseverance to finish.

 Do you plan on diving straight into your field now, or in a few months or so?

  • Right now I want to be home with my son for a while because spending time with him is really important to me. I definitely see myself working in the area of science, but for right now I am interested in creating another website or YouTube channel focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). I have been involved in science and engineering programs since high school, so I have a lot of information and experiences that I would like to share with others who are interested in pursuing similar paths.

Do you plan on merging your current brand (naturalchica) with your STEM website, or will they be two separate entities?

  • I think they will be two separate entities.

What sorts of things did you experience with your hair during pregnancy, and post pregnancy?

  • I was expecting to see a lot of changes with my hair, but I actually didn’t observe any noticeable changes at all. I also haven’t had any post-partum shedding yet and the texture of my hair didn’t really change during the course of my pregnancy. Of course there were tons of changes with the rest of my body but surprisingly nothing with my hair.

What advice would you give new mommies on maintaining the health of their hair during and after pregnancy?

  • During your pregnancy, it is so important to stay hydrated. There are so many changes going on within your body and hydration is key. I know when you are pregnant, especially further along, it can be hard to keep up with cleansing your hair and styling but try to set aside some time to do so because it can also help you to feel better emotionally. With all of the different changes going on, it’s so important to take some time for you. I know for me, I made my hair washing day like a spa day. Even after having the baby it is still very important to me to keep up somewhat of a schedule because it really does make you feel good.

 So do you have to actually schedule time to do your hair?

  • I actually covered this in my latest YouTube video, “Natural hair regimen with a newborn.” Basically, I have to wash and style my hair when I can. Sometimes washing to styling can take several days because I have to do it in stages. For example, I’ll wash my hair while the baby is napping, and then it will be time to feed the baby and change his diaper, and then I’ll put my conditioner in, and then maybe its time to feed the baby again, then I will rinse the conditioner out and then I will put my hair in big twists so that I can keep it stretched until the next day when I can actually style it.

 Do you have any staple styles that you are wearing now that are easy to maintain?

  • Twist-outs are my number one style because they take the least amount of time to do and I can wear a twist-out for like a week or two. It’s very great for moms or just anyone who has a limited amount of time.

What products are you currently using on your hair?

  • I am currently using a lot of products from Shea Moisture. I’m a brand ambassador for them and I love using their products because they have many different products for people with different hair types. I have color in my hair still, and so they have some lines specifically for that as well, but right now I’m using the Manuka Honey line because it is great for sealing in moisture. For my twists, I like their Jamaican black castor oil styling lotion because it gives great hold.

What impact would you like to make on not just the natural hair community, but on women of color in general?

  • It would be great to have the kind of impact where women feel empowered and feel like they can basically pursue anything that they can think of. I’m always trying to learn new things and develop new skills and I hope that my enthusiasm for learning and life in general can trickle down to the people who read my blogs and watch my videos so that they become encouraged to pursue their dreams and set high goals for themselves. That’s the kind of impact that I would like to have on the women who enter my circle.

What’s next for you, what are your future plans?

  • I really want to start sharing more STEM-related information, in addition to keeping up with the natural hair and lifestyle information. I’m still kind of working out my schedule because I do have a newborn, but my new mission is to get the STEM information out there, and do interviews with other women who have careers in STEM or are pursuing STEM-related educational paths. I basically want to do the same thing for my STEM journey that I did with my natural hair journey where I can document what my STEM and Ph.D journey was like, and also provide encouragement for others who are on that path.

I’m co-hosting our 5th annual Naturally Pretty event this fall in Atlanta with Mimi J. so stay tuned for more details!

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Peppermint & Coconut Oil Pre- POO

Pre-poo Recipe

NaturallyCurly user CurlyConundrum shared her recipe for a DIY pre-poo, and it’s so simple we can’t believe we didn’t think of it ourselves! With just two ingredients, you can  “deliver a blast of moisture to your scalp and hair.” She finds that it helps to untangle curls, as well as protecting your hair from being stripped of natural oils.

What You’ll Need

  • coconut oil 1 – 2 tbsp (olive oil works too)
  • peppermint oil 5 – 10 drops

Directions

Thirty minutes prior to showering, wet your hands with the mixture and rub it into your scalp and hair from roots to end. You can also leave it on overnight for a conditioning treatment.

If you try this recipe out for yourself, be sure to leave a review and let other curlies know how it worked for you.

 
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Natura Beauty of the Week: Briana Milbourne

 

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Who is Briana Milbourne? 
My name is Briana Milbourne. I am from Baltimore , Maryland. I am a college student studying Fine Arts and also theater. I love painting, drawing, and acting most of all.One of the most important things to me is living free because everyone needs to take a moment and enjoy life before everything passes you by. Being humble will take you on a never ending journey. I love helping people, putting smiles on faces, and warming hearts.

Talk to me about your natural hair journey (how did it start, challenges and experiences etc.)
I’ve always had long hair so in 2008 I cut my hair into a very short style to change up my look. I was still using CREAMY CRACK ! Well in 2011 I decided to let my hair grow back. So my natural hair journey began. I struggled with twist outs, bantu knots, braid outs and everything you could possibly imagine. Shortly after I was introduced to my best friend! Miss Wash-and-go. Wash-and-go was my best friend. As my hair grew longer I wanted color so I went blonde and never went back. Like every natural the daily struggles of finding the right products can be tricky but its worth it completely.

What was your process in learning how to accept your natural tresses?
I had to accept that I have very fizzy hair. Humidity is not my friend. But, I learned that products will help but I can’t ever rid myself of frizz forever. I assured myself that my hair is fizzy but its mine and its healthy and I’m lucky and blessed enough to have hair to take care of.

What is your hair-type, and what are your go-to natural hair care products?
I have 3b/3c hair little to no shrinkage at all. My go to natural products are Shea moisture, Carols daughter, and Mixed chicks. I love coconut oil, castro oil and avocado oil. Palmers protein treatment are GOLD !

What’s your style, how do you rock your natural hair?
My style is very free it changes often like the seasons, but I always wear my fro out or up in a pony puff.
If you could describe your hair in 3 words, what would they be?
FRIZZY.FREE.FABOLOUS

Who is your hair crush?
My hair crush is Serria Issac instagram: @sensualserria

What is your advice for someone that is considering transitioning to natural, but may be a little apprehensive?
Get ready for a journey to gain healthy hair. It’s time to fall in love with your hair and enjoy every length and stage. Don’t be afraid of change, your hair will grow !

Complete this sentence: Natural hair is….
Natural hair is Freedom

What’s next for you? (what are your plans for the future)
Future plans would be graduating with my undergraduate degree, and going to study abroad in china. Study more about acting and film.Also I am planning to help sick individuals with art therapy.

How can our readers keep up with you? 
Instagram: @_iambam
Behance (online portfolio): Briana Milbourne

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Ask Felicia Leatherwood: Natural Hair Diet #FeliciaFriday

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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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Preserving Your Wash and Go

Wash and go’s are one of the best perks to me since going natural.  Never before was I ever able to gel my hair and run out of the house, knowing that my hair would take care of itself as it dried throughout the day! It’s a blessing and a curse though, because it can be very difficult to maintain a wash and go.  read more

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Natural Hair Calls for Natural Treatments, and Aloe Vera is the Answer!

Via NaturalHealings

You’re probably used to seeing this soothing ingredient in skincare products, but aloe vera can also work wonders on hair. The ancient plant helps promote hair growth, tames frizz, conditions and acts as a cleanser.

How can one plant do all this? Aloe vera is a nutritional powerhouse. It is full of vitamins, minerals, polysaccharides, fatty acids, anthraquinones and essential amino acids. The gel also has humectant qualities, which seals in moisture, and keeps frizz to a minimum.

The biggest thing to note is these ingredients each boast qualities that help natural hair stay smooth and lustrous. The fatty acids have antiseptic qualities and anthraquinones are believed to have antibacterial properties. Sounds like the start of a great hair cleanser.

If you’ve suffered from hair loss or breakage, aloe vera may help. With the help of important vitamins and minerals, aloe vera can promote strong and healthy hair. Because of its pH-balancing and cleansing properties, it keeps the scalp clean and hair follicles clear.

Before you head out to your closest drugstore to stock up on aloe vera shampoo, conditioner and styling products, consider getting your aloe straight from the plant. Fresh aloe gel can be mixed with a few other ingredients, like essential oils and coconut milk, to create a powerful hair treatment. The bonus: It’ll be free of preservatives or other hard-to-pronounce ingredients. If you don’t live in a dry climate, you can grow aloe vera in a pot indoors or find individual leaves at Asian markets and some natural food stores.

Check out this infographic on Aloe Vera. It goes through the history and uses around the globe for the plant. I bet you will find even more uses for this amazing plant than you thought possible!
What to Know About Aloe VeraNatural Healers

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Why Protective Styles can be More of an Escape Than a Preventative Styling Method

 

Do you wear protective styles to actually “protect” your hair from day-to-day wear and tear, or are you just wearing them as an excuse to not deal with your hair?

This is a question that many of us struggle to answer because deep down inside no matter how bad we want to actually be this strong fearless naturalista, we still battle with insecurities that come along with wearing our natural hair.

I’ll be the first to admit, that I used to just wear protective styles, so that I didn’t have to deal with my naturally kinky tresses.  I used to be so ashamed of my hair that I would cover it up with weaves and braids, just so that I didn’t have to face the facts.  But, over the years, I came to the realization that I could buy all the hair that I wanted to alter how I looked on the outside, but it had no affect on the battle that I was dealing with on the inside.

It wasn’t until I did the big chop, that I came to terms with the beautiful creation that God placed on my head. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still have my love hate moments with my hair, but now I wear protective styles because I like having the flexibility to always switch up my look, instead of being dependent on it to make me feel beautiful.

I came across this article on CurlyNikki, written by Chelsea Satine of BlackNaps.org that inspired my post. I have attached a sneak peek of it below for you to check out.

Why do you wear protective styles? Talk to me.

Protective styling is probably one of the best things invented, not only does it get us through the harsh summer and winter months, it also gives us a new look when we run out of options and styles to do with our natural hair. However, although protective styling is great, do you think we use it as a crutch sometimes? I know I do! I can remember tons of times when I installed some braids or twists, because I simply didn’t have time or didn’t want to deal with my hair. Of course this does not seem like a problem to some, but in my opinion, it is. Here’s the problem, with using protective styling as an escape:

-When your hair is not as manageable as it usually is-and it sometimes isn’t- if you choose to resort to protective styling before taking care of your natural hair, this may lead to more breakage. Instead of protective styling, try deep conditioning!

-You’ll probably start investing more in protective styling than your natural hair. Braids, weaves, or twists range anywhere from $80-$200 or more. Imagine if you invested that much in hair products or if you went to a hair salon to treat your natural hair.

To view more click HERE

Xoxo

Malia

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Stretching Your Curls: A lesson on Blow Drying Your Roots

Via Shanti Terry of Let Me Let You Know

Ah, the quest for lessening natural hair shrinkage!  It seems like every week I see a new product that claims to elongate, stretch or loosen curls for natural hair.  At first, I jumped on the bandwagon with every one that came out. The only thing I got from any of the products I ran out to buy was a dwindling bank account and the same shrunken hair I had before using anything.  I’ve come to terms with the fact that there is likely no miracle product out there that will make your curls longer.  There are, however, techniques that you can master to achieve curl elongation.  Today, I’d like to discuss my favorite one: blow drying those roots!

Now, if you are the type of curly girl who shys away from blow dryers, ALWAYS, then this post is not for you.  I used to be that way until I found the benefits of using a blow dryer here and there.  Blow-drying is not something that should be done daily or with extreme heat, but it’s not THE DEVIL either.  The method I’m referring to today only calls for blow-drying once every few days, and you can do it with low heat.  So you get great results with minimal damage.  Here are the steps:

1)   Wash and condition your hair, finishing up with a good water+vinegar rinse

2)   Get  4 ouchless hair bands and partition your hair into 4 sections (two in the front and two in the back.

3)   Apply an oil (preferably a heat protectant oil like grape seed oil), then your leave in, then a styler, then your favorite gel, raking each product through, one at a time.

4)   Put the hair in the section back into the ouchless hair band and repeat the steps above on each section.

5)   Once you’ve raked all products through and placed all your hair back into the bands.  Carefully slide the bands down to the middle of each section.  Place your fingers gently around your hair and lightly pull, just enough to stretch the curls and create some tension.

6)   Get your diffuser, set it on low and blow dry directly at your roots for 2 to 3 minutes on each section.  Move the dryer around.  Do on top underneath and on each side of the hair section. 

7)   Remove the bands from each of the 4 sections and give your hair a good shake!  From here, you can either let it air dry the rest of the way (shaking it periodically, so the curls don’t set sticking together) or give your hair another two minutes of blow-drying while holding your head upside down.  Try both ways to see which you like better. 

8)   Voila!! You’re roots are stretched, giving you elongated curls!

I’ve been doing this for the last three months, and I absolutely love it!  I haven’t noticed any significant changes to my hair thus far.  I mean, I haven’t seen any more knots or dryness than what’s usual for my hair.  I suggest you give it a try at least once to see if it works for you.  If you’re worried about damaging your hair, save it for special occasions when you really want to show off some length.  I hope this method helps you!

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DIY: Lemon Coconut Shampoo… What a Treat!

 

 

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I put the lemon in the coconut and mix it all up!

I was on BlackDoctor.org, when I came across this delicious recipe that I just had to share with my Curls. This shampoo is easy to make, free of parabens, sulfates and it is infused with essential oils.

Check out the recipe below:

Ingredients:

Organic shampoo base (most health food stores and Amazon sell it)
Organic coconut oil
Lemon essential oil

Directions:

-Measure out your shampoo base. For an 8 oz container use about 1 cup.
-Add 1 tablespoon of organic coconut oil.
-Stir in the coconut oil slowly until your base turns to an opaque stale-like color.
-Add about 20 drops of the lemon essential oil (use more or less depending on how strong you’d like it to be).

To read more of the steps, click HERE