Thursday, May 30, 2013

Protective Styling

Like most naturals, I don't like doing my hair on a daily basis. I have to wear a protective style or I will get extremely lazy. Since November of last year I have been wearing various protective styles. I have done random length checks but protective styles have saved my hair. Between work, school, personal and family circumstances I have not have time to style my hair free.

Why protective styling? I have 5 good reasons for protective styling.

1. Low Maintenance
2. Retains Growth
3. Time Savers
4. Keeps Hair Soft
5. Versatile

The three styles that I have been going to are: high buns with Marley or Kanekalon braiding hair, Senegalese Twists, or sew ins. Ask of these styles allow my hair to grow naturally without all of the pulling, straining, bobby pins, headbands, or all of the other things is natural sistas like to use in a daily basis.

Not only do these styles save me time and save my hair, they're very easy to maintain. With the bun I take it down and wash my hair once a week or once every two weeks and put it back up. With the Senegalese twists I clean my scalp with with a water and tea tree oil mixture. Some people wash their but I personally don't like to because mine get really frizzy. With the sew ins I wash it every two weeks just like my own hair. With all of the styles I oil my scalp with my oil mixture.

Here are a few pictures of me wearing my protective styles!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Homemade Flaxseed Gel...I LOVE this stuff!

Organic Root Stimulator Lock and Twist Gel vs. All Natural Homemade Flax Seed Gel

Organic Root Stimulator Lock and Twist Gel

I have been using this product faithfully for a few months since I have embarked on this journey. Twist outs, wash and go's,  braid outs, bantu knots, roller sets, and EVERYTHING else. Needless to say, I love this stuff. I gives me a good hold but it never flakes and my hair never gets hard. And the best thing about it is that the first ingredient list is WATER! Great, huh? Now really, what could be better than that? Well firstly, let's check out the ingredients:

ORS Lock and Twist Gel Ingredients

Water, Coconut Milk, Soybean Oil, PVP, Polyquarternium 37, Propyl Paraben, Methyl Paraben, DMDM Hydantoin, Propylene Glycol, Fragrance, Sucrose

Now the first three ingredients are all things that I can pronounce and that I am familiar with. Let's dig deeper into the rest of them:
PVP: It is likely this will cause build when it is in your shampoos and conditioners; however, it is pretty safe in your gels.
Polyquaternium: This ingredient seems to have the same effect as the PVP
Propyl and Methyl Paraben: some studies on animals show that parabens can lead to breast cancer 
Propylene Glycol: It's a humectant. This is a clear, colorless, thick liquid. Can penetrate the skin better than glycerin, but is less expensive. Second in moisture-carrying abilities only to water. Can also be used to dissolve ingredients. Rumors have circulated that it's bad but no proof.
Sucrose:  This seems to be safe. Made from Coconut Acid and known for being a mild cleanser and foam builder, as well as for conditioning and keeping the product from separating into its oil and water components.

(for more info on what your products have in them, check out this great website:

So the ingredients in the ORS Lock and Twist Gel don't seem to bad at all. So I actually did a good job by picking this up that was suggested by a friend. BUT let's look at the flax seed gel...

All Natural Homemade Flaxseed Gel

I made my first batch of flaxseed gel two days ago and immediately I saw the difference between the ORS Gel and the flaxseed gel. Because the flaxseed gel is all-natural and is highly concentrated with fatty acids, my hair hair felt SO good. In addition to how it felt, the hold was beyond amazing. Normally when I use the ORS gel, I have to tie my hair down for 30 minutes for my edges to stay slicked down....I didn't have this problem with them flaxseed gel. Admittedly it is really gooey and the consistency is like egg whites BUT I can look past all that if it's going to the job. The downfall of this is that it will only keep for 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator. My ORS gel will last until I use it up. Before we completely rule out the ORS gel based on ingredients, let's see what's in the flaxseed gel:

 Flaxseed Gel Ingredients

Water: We all know what water does...!!!
Whole Flax Seeds: High in fatty acids, including Omega-3's. Flaxseeds are known to influence healthy hair growth and overall health in general
Tea Tree Essential Oil: This is a good essential oil. It is a natural antiseptic. Because of it's antibacterial properties, it is good in treating conditions of the scalp such as dandruff and itchiness
Rosemary Essential Oil: Good essential oil known for it's stimulation properties; promotes hair growth
Vitamin E Oil: Has preservative properties. Excellent moisturizing oil as well as an antioxidant. Has great benefits for skin and hair.
Jojoba Oil: Good oil for promoting hair growth with its antibacterial properties.

The Winner isss.....

Flaxseed Gel!!!

It's no question why! The flaxseed gel is all natural. Despite the fact that it doesn't last past 1-2 weeks, you just have to lessen your mix and you'll be fine. Oh, did I mention that it's a good buy? I was able to purchase a good size bag of whole flax seeds for less than $6. Here's the recipe below:

2 cups water
1/4 to 3/8 cup of whole flax seeds
3-5 drops of tea tree oil (optional)
3-5 drops of rosemary oil (optional)
3-5 drops of vitamin e oil (optional)

Many people like to add aloe vera gel to their flaxseed gel mixtures but for now I will stick to the ingredients above.

Boil water. Stir in flaxseeds. Allow the water-flaxseed mixture to congeal. You should have a thick and slimy consistency. If it is not the consistency that you want add in a few more flaxseeds. Keep stirring. Stirring will prevent the flaxseeds from sticking together and to the pan. Once it starts to thicken and foam, the gel is ready to be filtered. Strain the mixture to separate the gel from the seeds. Add your oils. Refridgerate.

*Make sure you store in an airtight container
*I use a pair of old stocking to strain the gel through

So simple and it works wonders...what's better than that?! If you have any questions let me know. Peace Chic Sistas XO

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Water: The Ultimate Moisturizer

Time: seconds
Frequency: Everyday to every few hours

What is Spritzing?

Spritzing is the term that many naturals use when referring to refreshing or moisturizing their hair. It is a practice that should be added to your daily regimen. Notably, the best thing that can be in your spray bottle is good ol' water. It is the most accessible substance on the planet and it's no question why it's good for the natural sista! If I must break it down....planet Earth is made up of approximately 70% water and the human body is comprised of 55-78% water. Need I say more?! If I must...since the body is made up of nearly 55-78% water we MUST drink 1 to 7 liters of water per day to avoid becoming dehydrated. So if our bodies need H2O to stay hydrated, then our hair needs it as well.

Why is it Important to Spritz?

Spritzing your hair with water (or water mixtures) can be very beneficial to your hair. As I have learned on this natural hair journey, watering your hair (like a plant) is the only way your hair will get moisturized. It is the ONLY natural sistas: IF IT DOES NOT HAVE WATER IN IT, IT IS NOT MOISTURIZING YOUR HAIR! The only other things that will penetrate your hair shaft (never aa good as agua) are the beloved olive oil and coconut oil. Spritzing or watering your hair helps to keep the hair moisturized, nourished and healthy. I use many variations of water spritzes while others just keep it simple with the water.

What's in My Spray Bottle?

Firstly, let me start by mentioning that the spray bottle will become your BFF! It's so easy to use and if you're mixing different things you can just give it a little shake and you have all the goods combined in one convenient place :)

Rosewater Spritz

This is a new spritz that I'm trying. Although it comes in its own spray bottle, I like to be complicated and create my own concoctions. I filled a small spray bottle approximately 1/3 full with rosewater, then I added a few drops of rosemary oil (like 10), a few drops of castor oil, and filled the bottle up with water. Initially what got me to buy the rosewater is how divine it smells and then I got home and did a little research. I found out that the pH of rosewater is close to the pH of hair in its optimal state, so it helps to repair the porosity. This in turn allows the hair to retain the proper amount of moisture and the cuticle will remain smooth.

Everyday Tea Tree Tingler

Just to wake my strands up and to stimulate my scalp, this is my go to spritzer! I absolutely LOVE Tea Tree Oil and I feel as though my life would be neglected without I use it in everything! This mixture leaves my hair so moisturized and my scalp so stimulated!
1-Spray Bottle
1 tbsp-Castor Oil
1 tbsp-EVOO
20-40 drops-Tea Tree Oil
Anything that I'm missing out on Chic Sistas? Please let me know what's in your spray bottle! XO

Monday, June 25, 2012

Tea Tree Oil-I Wouldn't Dare Live Without It!

If you do not know by now, I mix tea tree oil with absolutely everything!
It is a natural antiseptic and it is also known to stimulate hair growth. It is extracted from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia, commonly known as Narrow-leaved Tea-tree which is native to the northeast coast of New South Wales, Australia.When used correctly it will clean the impurities from your scalp and treat and eliminate dandruff. Tea tree oil stimulates hair growth not only by increasing the health of the hair follicles but also because the oil boosts overall health and immune system stimulation.

It is an essential oil...
Tea tree oil is an essential oil and it should be diluted because it is extremely strong. Before using directly on the scalp or skin it is recommended to do a skin test using only a few drops of tea tree oil. By mixing the tea tree oil with one of you favorite carrier oils you will quickly fall in love with this oil.

Why I love it?!
I love the tea tree oil because it naturally cleanses my scalp. Since it is an antifungal/antibacterial it relieves my scalp of any impurities. Before I started using the tea tree oil on a regular basis, my scalp was always really itchy and I would experience dandruff. After approximately a week of using the tea tree I did not have anymore of those problem. In addition to treating my itchy scalp and dandruff, it has also been known to treat cradle cap, baldness, psoriasis and much, much more!

How I use it...In just about every mixture that I make I add the tea tree oil.
To Seal Moisture > Shea Butter Mixture: Shea butter, EVOO, Few Drops of Tea Tree Oil
Clarifying Shampoo > Giovanni's Triple Treat Invigorating Shampoo
Deep Condition > Giovanni's Triple Treat Invigoration Conditioner
Moisture > Water Mixture:Water, Few Drops of Tea Tree Oil, EVOO
Treatment > Castor Oil Mixture: Castor Oil, EVOO, Few Drops of Tea Tree Oil

Just a few drops is VERY effective! Just add a couple drops to your shampoo and/or conditioner and you will be amazed. XOXO-Chic Sista

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Castor Oil for Thinning Edges and Thinning Hair Challenge

In addition to the No Heat, No Extensions Challenge, I will also be trying to get my edges to grow back out by using castor oil. I know it seems odd because castor oil is a known laxative; However, it is also a very good natural oil for baldness and thinning hair. 

During this challenge I will apply the castor oil mixture to my scalp approximately 2-3 times a week. At least once a week I will use it as a pre-shampoo or a pre-conditioner. The mixture will allow for my hair to retain the moisture that is necessary for my hair to reach an optimal level of healthiness. There are various things that the castor oil can be mixed with. I will use the following oils in my mixture:
  1. 1 tablespoon of castor oil
  2. 1 table spoon of extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1 tablespoon of jojoba oil
  4. a few drops of tea tree oil
  5. 1 tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil (I don't always use this)
Since the castor oil is so thick and sticky, it is important for it to be diluted with other oils so it will not leave the hair feeling heavy or sticky. 

The Jamaican Black Castor Oil is the most commonly used brand of castor oil that many have been using for their castor oil challenge; however I purchased the Walgreens brand of castor oil. I will be using this brand for 3-4 weeks and I will eventually switch to the Jamaican Black Castor Oil so that I will be able to see if there is a different between the two. My research has led me to believe that castor oil is castor oil and as long as it is 100% castor oil and it is cold-pressed then the results should be the same.

I know that I will not see drastic hair growth and thicker edges in two weeks (that's how long I've been using the castor oil), but in approximately 4-6 weeks I hope to see some thicker new growth and thicker edges.

I have 3 YouTube videos that further explain my Castor Oil Challenge. Leave your feedback and subscribe to my channel. Thanks Chic Sistas XOXO--Andrea 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

AVC--Apple Cider Vinegar!!! YESSSS it stinks but it's like MAGIC!!!

 I am in LOVE with Apple Cider Vinegar! Here's why...

Background Info
Hair is naturally acidic with a pH of 4.5-5.5 making it close to the pH of the Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) rinse. With that being said, many of the shampoos and conditioners we use in our hair are strong bases. The ACV rinse helps to restore hair back to its normal pH.

Using the Apple Cider Vinegar rinse makes the hair softer, shinier , and more manageable. It is a good conditioner, cleansing agent, and germ killer. Another benefit of the ACV is that it closes the cuticles.

How to Mix
I use one tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar to one cup of water. Usually the total amount of ACV rinse I use is a total of two cups of water, meaning I use two tablespoons of ACV. Some people rinse the mixture out but I do not. I actually apply my conditioner once I have applied the mixture. Once I have my deep conditioner in my hair I let it sit for 30-45 minutes, and then rinse. Also, you can use it a a leave in conditioner and style after application.

How Often
Whenever I shampoo or co-wash I do an ACV rinse. So that equals approximately 2-3 times a week. Do not worry about the smell because once it dries it is no longer stinky.

For Dandruff and Itchy Scalp Relief:
Apply full strength Apple Cider Vinegar to your scalp and let it sit for 45 minutes to an hour. Before rinsing out massage the ACV in to your scalp. Also, for an extra strength treatment, infuse ACV with a few drops of tea tree oil.

To Loosen Dandruff:
1 ounce of ACV, 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 1-2 drops of rosemary oil, 1-2 drops of tea tree oil, and 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

For Extra Shine and Softness:
50% Apple Cider Vinegar, 50% Water, blow dry, then add natural Shea Butter

Don't believe ACV works wonders??? Once you try it, you will wonder how you lived without it!

What is your Apple Cider Vinegar routine?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My Top 10 Tips for Transitioning to Natural Hair

There are tons of things to do while transition to natural hair. Many transitioners do not want to do the BC(big chop) because it is so drastic. Some transition without chopping off their hair; however, this can be a difficult task because you are working with two types of hair (natural & relaxed). For this reason, you must take extra good care of your hair while it's in transition. Natural hair tends to be a lot drier than your relaxed hair and this can lead to a lot of breakage at the line of demarcation (where your natural & relaxed hair meet) and shedding due to the breakage. Here are my top suggestions for those transitioning to natural hair:
  1. Condition, Condition Condition!
    • Use silicone free conditioners to reduce product build up and to add moisture into your hair
  2. Minimal Styling
    • The more you handle you hair the more strain you are putting on it. Keep your hands out of your hair by trying low maintenance styles
  3. Take Vitamins
  4. Moisturize
    • Natural hair tends to be fairly dry. Use water based products to retain moisture the seal in the moisture with shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil mixtures
  5. Don't flat iron
    • Trying to blend the two textures is probably one of the worst thing to do while you're in transition. This can cause the hair to break at the demarcation line or even cause permanent heat damage
  6. Find your go-to hair style
    • Find what looks best on you and rock with it! For me it has been the twist-out. It's simple and it's cute!
  7. Detangle your hair when it is wet
  8. Protect your edges
    • The most fragile part of our hair is usually the edges and the nape. Try not to put a lot of tension on these areas when styling. Do not use harsh styling tools (rubber bands, bristle brushes, etc), bobby pins with the rubber ends are my favorite!
  9. Cut off the damaged/relaxed ends gradually
    • Eventually you will have to let go of the ends that are not natural. Either you will cut them off or they will end up breaking off
  10. Make sure your scalp stays clean
    • Us naturals love to try new products, but sometimes this cause a lot of build-up in our hair and on the scalp which ultimately prevents our hair from absorbing the moisture it needs. Shampoo as needed and Co-wash frequently to prevent build-up and  to clean your scalp
These are a few things that have helped me transition to natural hair over the years and hopefully they will be helpful for you. Do you have any tips you would like to share??