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A Brief Natural Hair Journey Story

big chop, afro textured hair, natural hair, kinky curly hair
My TWA after the Big Chop in Spring 2009

I was on Instagram going through my timeline the other day when I realized how many naturalistas I have met since joining in late 2013.  It occurred to me that I haven’t really talked about the beginnings of my natural hair journey which is now going on eight years.  I honestly can’t get over the fact that I have been natural since the spring of 2009.  Prior to that, I had relaxed hair and didn’t even know there was such a thing as, “going natural.”  So I thought that I would share a brief “natural history” with all of my new readers and followers.

My hair journey started all because I couldn’t figure out why my hair was stuck at one length.  At the time, my hair was dyed, relaxed and I used heat constantly.  The reason for my stunted growth was pretty obvious but I was completely oblivious.  My store bought, auburn hair color put my hair porosity levels on the high end which meant it was constantly dry.  This was in addition to having a relaxer.  The two chemical processes left my hair with twice the damage.  Then there was the heat.  I loved using heat on my hair everyday.  Sure, I wrapped my hair at night, but I still did touch-ups with a curling iron or flat iron each morning before work.  I basically didn’t know how to care for my hair.  I just knew how to style it and there’s a big difference between the two. Continue reading “A Brief Natural Hair Journey Story”

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Review: Hollywood Beauty’s Olive Creme for Dry Hair

One of the most popular topics over at the K.I.S.S. hair forum (or any forum for that matter) is which moisturizer works best.  For a long time the word “moisturizer” was a bad word in my newly natural regimen.  I had become accustomed to avoiding products that contained mineral oil and petroleum which is often found in “moisturizers” for curly, relaxed and afro textured hair.  Still, the homemade spritzes and butters I learned how to make were either too heavy or too wet for my hair depending on the style.  For a while I started using leave-in conditioner to moisturize and sealed that with one of my favorite oils.

Finally, I decided to purchase a product to add to my regimen after reading a suggestion in one of the discussions on K.I.S.S. .  That product was by Hollywood Beauty which I have to admit was never a brand I thought of ever trying.  I guess I assumed that there would be a lot of the “no-no” ingredients in their products.  I was surprised to find that their Olive Creme was mineral oil and petroleum free.  Instead I found ingredients like, Olive oil and Calendula extract.  I decided at $4 (USD) it was at least worth a try.  I’m on my fifth jar now and can’t say enough about it.

The Ingredients:

Deionized Water (Aqua) , Isopropyl Myristate , Glycine Soja Oil (Soybean) , Olea Europaea Fruit Oil (Olive) , Stearic Acid , Stearyl Alcohol , Glyceryl Stearate , Vitamin E (Tocopheryl Acetate) , Matricaria Extract (Chamomilla Recutita) , Calendula Extract (Calendula Officinalis Flower) , Vitamin B (Yeast Extract) , Macademia Oil (Macademia Ternifolia Seed) , Vitamin A (Retinyl Palmitate) , Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera) , Rosemary Extract (Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf) , Sage Extract (Salvia Officinalis Leaf) , Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) , Great Burdock Extract (Arctium Lappa Root) , Triethanolamine , Methyl Paraben , Propyl Paraben , DMDM Hydantoin , Imidazolidinyl Urea , Fragrance , Yellow #5 (Cl 19140) , Blue #1 (Cl 42090)

My son likes to call it, “Yoda Creme” because
of the pale green color

While the ingredients are not 100% natural, I still find that this product does a good job of keeping my hair moisturized without leaving a heavy, greasy feeling.  I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t really expect much from the Olive Creme but it is now one of my staples.  It even works well when my son’s curly (3b/3c/4a) hair is starting to get the, “frizzy halo”.  I just spritz his hair down with water first and then apply the creme throughout his hair and we get another two days of soft curls before wash day.  He dubbed it “Yoda Creme” because of the pale green color and we still call it that.  


I of course love to add it to my Argan Oil Eco Styler Gel along with some Castor, Coconut and Grapeseed oil for my DIY Eco Styler Custard.  I also use it after applying my leave-in conditoner when I pull my hair back or braid it up for air drying.  The only thing I would complain about is the scent.  It’s not like some of those other products out there that smell good enough to eat.   It just has this faint, old fashioned women’s cologne smell or something.  It doesn’t matter because I just ignore the scent.  I can always add some fragrance oil to it to make it my own.  I’m just glad to have found a product that works well and is affordable for me and my family.

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DIY Eco Styler Gel Custard Recipe

After many months of searching for an alternative to Eco Styler Gel, I finally resigned to the fact that it’s the only gel that gives the hold and definition my curls crave.  Still, I always got the dreaded dry, crunchy feeling everytime I used it.  I usually apply a leave-in to my wet hair and seal the moisture in with an oil underneath the gel.  No matter what, I kept getting the same result.  After reading through the book, Curly Girl, by Lorraine Massey, I found out that the crunch or “cast” the gel leaves behind is actually a good thing.  This is when you know your curls have been set into place.  I found this to be true because after air drying, I’m usually able to fluff and style my hair without worrying about losing my curl definition.  The book suggests that you scrunch the hair to remove the crunch but I sometimes kept getting a dry feeling after this step.
I figured out that the combination of an oil and a mositurizer underneath the gel gave me much softer hair.  This however led to applying lots of products one by one.  By the time I reached the front sections of my hair it was dry and not as manageable.  I wanted a way to apply the products quicker so I decided to just whip them all together and came up with a nice custard consistency.  I’m realizing that this is a much easier way to apply my products and my curls love it!  
Here’s the recipe I came up with



Eco Styler Gel Custard



6 oz. Argan Oil Eco Styler Gel (or fill a 12 oz container half way)
2 Tblsp. Hollywood Beauty Olive Creme Hairdress for Dry Hair*
1 Tblsp. Castor/Coconut Oil Mix**


Place ingredients in a small container.  Whip together until all ingredients are combined.   The mixture will have a pudding like consistency. 



*You can substitute another moisturizer; one that pairs well with Eco Gel
**I use a 50/50 Castor/Coconut oil mix to seal my hair.  For this recipe I just used 1 Tblsp of my pre-mixed oil.

The Application

After cleansing and conditioning, I apply my leave-in conditioner (currently Paul Mitchell’s The Conditioner) to my hair while it’s still wet.  Next I section my hair into four sections to keep my hair up while I’m styling.  Within each section I make small parts and apply my Eco Gel Custard.  I use a smoothing and raking motion to help give the curls definition.  I’ve also started sealing the hair with oil after applying the gel custard for an even softer hold but this is optional.  Then, I let it airdry for about an hour or so before I use a blow dryer on the roots.  You can also plop the hair with a T-Shirt to help with the drying time or just continue to air dry.

Final Thoughts

I’m finding that the mixture also works on my edges when I wear my hair up.  I haven’t done a braid-out or twist-out with it yet but it looks like it may give good results.   I’m going to continue to play with the recipe but this version seems to work well on my hair which is a 4a/4b texture.  I’ve also started using it on my son’s curly 3b/3c/4a hair and it is also responding well.  The only thing I noticed is that I’m getting a lot more shrinkage because my curls just love the moisture.  To get more hang time I usually just stretch it by pulling it back at night.


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Henna and Indigo Results

I finally got around to ordering my indigo so that I could cover my burgundy hair color with something a little more modest.  I’m sure the bright red henna’d hair I had before is appealing to some but it was not my cup of tea.  I wasn’t quite ready for the lengthy two step process where you henna first, rinse out and then apply indigo for a jet black result.  Instead, I mixed one package of Godrej Nupur Henna (50g) with 100 grams indigo.  I ordered the indigo powder from Butters-n-Bars.com which is the same online store where I get my raw unrefined shea butter.

I kept the henna mix pretty simple as always and just mixed it with a mug of strong green tea to help the dye release.  I added enough water to give the mixture a smooth, almost pancake batter consistency and let it sit overnight.  The next day, when I was ready to apply it, I mixed the indigo into a paste with just plain water and added it to the henna.  I don’t add oils anymore because I read that it can slow the dyeing process.  I applied the “Hendigo” to my hair like a clay mask and covered with plastic wrap.  Then I waited for four hours before rinsing and then co-washing several times to get it all out of my hair.

The application took very well to the majority of my hair but left my grey strands with just a tinge of color.  I’m planning on doing another application to the roots and grey hairs sometime this week ’cause I don’t need everybody knowin’ how old I’m getting.  If my greys are still too obvious afterward I may reconsider dyeing my hair all black with the two step process.

My stubborn grey strands are still noticeable 
I like the reddish brown tone in the sun

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Biking with Natural Hair

My Bike Helmet
with Flat Twists Underneath

My family and I love going on outdoor adventures.  This summer we have been doing a lot more bike riding together.  I always make sure that the kids wear their helmets but I haven’t really been into wearing mine. 

That was until I noticed nearly every other adult on the bike path wearing theirs.  At the very least they had on a cap for sun protection.  So I decided it was time to get out the old bike helmet.  Never mind the fact that it makes me look like Kazoo from the Flintstones.  Safety first, right?  The only thing I had to figure out though was what to do with my thick, curly hair underneath. 

When I go for a bike ride in the morning, the solution is pretty simple.  My hair is usually in twists or braids from the night before so I just wait until after the bike ride to take my hair down.  This means shuttling the kids to school while wearing a satin scarf on my head but hey, I know I’ll be cute later on in the day, so that’s alright.  I don’t even bother removing the scarf because it protects my hair while under the helmet.  Another option is after a braid out when my hair is more flexible, I can get my hair to “lay down” under the helmet without too much of a fight using bobby pins. 



Flat Twists under Helmet
Back View

 Other times though when my hair is up in a bun or puff, the helmet doesn’t really work.  Still, in Colorado you really can’t get away without some type of sun protection.  The high elevation here can make for some serious sun exposure so I still like to wear a visor and leave my hair up on top of my head like in the pic below. 

So there you go Natural Hair Queens and Curly Goddesses…now there is no reason not to rock your head gear while on your bike ride.  Be safe and happy riding.

Rockin’ the Bun with
My Visor