Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Style 2012

This Christmas I took out my twists and rocked a twist-out. The pics below were before brunch (no, I didn't wear the antlers the whole day, lol). 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"What Do You Use to Deep Condition?"

I know this may come as a bit of a shock, but I actually just got back to deep conditioning regularly. For the past few months I hadn’t been paying much attention to my hair and I wasn’t giving it the attention it needed. There–I said it! Phew! Now that I’ve got that off my chest, lol, I can write the rest of this post!

Admittedly, during the summer months I don’t think my hair requires that extra moisture. So fortunately for me, those few months without regular DC’s didn’t have drastically negative effects on my hair. But in the winter, I think most naturals will agree: DC’s aren’t an option if you live in colder climates. You know how in the winter you have to moisturize your hands several times a day with lotions and creams just to keep them from being dry? This is because the dry air–both indoors and outdoors–draws the moisture out of your skin. And it does the same to your hair. Without the proper amount of moisture–and the right sealing techniques–in your regimen, your tresses can become dry and brittle, leading to unhealthy hair that is vulnerable to breakage. This also makes it difficult to retain length. More on this in a later post.

I’ve tried a few store bought deep conditioners, but nothing seems to work as well for me as the formula I mix up in my kitchen. I’ve posted it before (Yummy Moisture Treatment), but I've recently changed it up. I’m less precise with the measurements now since I just eyeball it for consistency, and sometimes I use a different conditioner as the base, but I still achieve great results.

¼ cup of a moisturizing conditioner
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (“EVOO”)
1-2 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 tbsp brewed green tea*
1 tbsp honey (optional)

*The green tea is something I’ve recently started adding for its smoothing properties. Yes, due to its acidity it is known for closing the cuticles on the hair shaft (hence the smooth feel of my hair), and the purpose of a DC is to bring moisture into the hair shaft. But for whatever reason this DC formula still moisturizes my hair incredibly well. I like to think the tea helps seal in the moisture. In the past few months I’ve taken to using brewed green tea in several parts of my regimen as it helps keep my thick, dense hair smooth and detangled throughout the washing and styling process.

Olive oil is a great natural conditioner that can penetrate the hair shaft, making hair soft and shiny. Its antioxidant properties are also healing and nourishing to the scalp. It is best to use extra virgin olive oil, as it is olive oil in its most pure form.

Grapeseed oil is a light moisturizing oil that is easily absorbed by the hair. The Vitamin E and linoleic acid in this oil assist in promoting hair growth and strengthening hair. 

I leave the DC in my hair under two plastic shower caps and wrap stretchy headbands around my hairline to seal down the edges. Then I top it off with a winter hat and leave this on for 2-3 hours, sometimes overnight. I take these measures to create a "greenhouse effect" on my head to help the conditioner penetrate my strands. 

"How Often Should I Wash My Hair?"

I often hear this from women who are transitioning or newly natural. It’s a good question because keeping your hair and scalp clean is key to growing healthy hair. Dust particles and lint are easily caught up in the kinks of our hair, and when these particles combine with product build-up, this can lead to clogged hair follicles on the scalp and tangles in the hair. Clean hair is also manageable hair.

A good general “rule” is to wash your hair at least once a week. But the frequency of your wash day is going to be determined by your lifestyle. If you exercise several times a week then you’re going to want to consider washing your hair more than once a week. But if you exercise only once a week or not at all, then you can probably get away with washing only once a week. The key is listening to your scalp and hair. A scalp that is frequently itchy all over is “asking” to be washed. Also, when you look at your hair and you can easily see lint particles or product build-up, then it’s time to wash it.

The bottom line: you have to figure out what works for your hair. Some naturals can get away with washing their hair less often. For example, I haven’t gone for a run in the past 14 days. Two weeks ago yesterday, I washed my hair and set it in large twists. I took the twists out this past Thursday and rocked a twist-out for two days then bunned it for the Walk the Talk event and didn’t take it down until Sunday night. Aside from the fact that I had to wash all that gel out, I knew my hair needed to be washed because A) it had been two weeks and that is my hair’s limit when I don’t run (when I do run, I have to wash it once a week); and B) I massaged my scalp after taking out the bun and I could literally feel the dirt on my scalp, plus it was itching. I cleansed with a sulfate shampoo diluted with distilled water and a little grapeseed oil and slept in my deep conditioner.

What do I use to DC? Stay tuned to find out ;)

FHGN Hits the Red Carpet!!

This past Saturday, ForHis Glory Natural hit the red carpet for the first time! This was my first fashion event, so my dear friend and celebrity stylist Tish Thomas, Director and Founder of #1 Fashionista Inc., styled me. I was beyond excited!!

Walk the Talk is hosted by Philadelphia teen Fashionista Tweety Elitou and is described on her blog as an event that “has become one of Philadelphia’s most talked about affairs as it has pulled together many distinguished fashion stylists, designers and bloggers from as close to New York and as far as the Virgin Islands” ( I must quickly admit that I would not have been able to get into this event if not for Tish’s connections. While mingling with the 100+ guests, Tish introduced me to several people and by the end of the evening I’d become acquainted with photographers, bloggers, local business owners and more. (And of course I exchanged business cards, which was great!) But better yet, I walked away from the event with new friends. So in my book that was a successful event!

Now of course you know I had to make sure my hair was on point!! LOL! For the look Tish wanted to achieve, she suggested a high bun. I was relieved because after our trip to KOP Mall on Friday, I didn’t have any time (or energy) the night before to wash and set my hair for a braid-out as I’d originally planned. Fortunately I’d taken out my twists on Thursday night so even though my hair was dirty (I’ll talk about that later, lol!) it still looked nice as I was reaping the benefits of “second day hair.” I whipped out my sock bun, my green tea spray bottle, hair ties, bobby pins, gel and…ta-da! I had a huge high bun, lol. This was my first time pulling a twist-out into a sock bun and I loved the texture it gave to the style. It was a nice complement to the look Tish put together as well.
Love how my twisty coils were poppin'!
It looks a bit fuzzy because I didn't have a chance to take a pic until
the end of the night.
My dear friend and Director & Founder of #1 Fashionista, Inc. Tish Thomas
You can keep up with Tish and her latest projects here.

Didn't Tish do an amazing job?! I was so thrilled with the finished look!!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Heatless Waves on Straightened Hair

I am thoroughly enjoying wearing my hair straight this week. My hair is the longest it has ever been and it's been a looooong time comin'! LOL! But I quickly grew bored with bone straight hair so I did a little experimenting. I wanted to add waves to my hair without using more heat. I once watched a Kimmaytube video where she used Bantu knots to add waves to her already straightened hair. After perusing YouTube the other night and coming up empty handed for other heatless methods for my hair type, I decided to do the Bantu knots.

I conditioned my hair with coconut oil (my hair loves coconut oil), focusing on the ends so they would be smooth. I thoroughly brushed my hair with my Denman then did a zigzag part from my crown on down the back of my head (picked up this tip from Nina Pruitt of YouTube; it helps you blend your hair better once you take it down). Then I took one section at a time and set each knot in the direction that I wanted my hair to fall (picked up this tip from my Mom last night, God bless her! she's so knowledgeable about hair!). To secure each knot I put a bobby pin at the base. The results were, well, you tell me! I love it!! More body instead of just straight hair. Lovin' it!  I was only slightly disappointed because when I did it the first time it didn’t hold very long, which I kind of expected since I hadn't used a product to set it (didn't want to add to the already heavy load of products on my hair from the straightening process...silicones, etc.). BUT I noticed that after a few nights of doing this my hair did hold the waves better. :) Note: I took all the pics right after take down.



*Update: I simplified this technique by conditioning my hair each night with coconut oil, focusing on the ends, and twisting my hair into two buns-one at the crown and one in the back, then covering with my satin scarf. Every morning I would take down the buns to reveal wavy, shiny hair. On my really lazy nights I would only twist my hair into one bun at the crown and I would still achieve desirable results. Also, I learned something new about my hair: when it's straight, even though it's strong, it still needs to be handled with care when it comes to keeping it tangle-free. I found that my ends really suffered from using the Denman and/or wide-toothed comb too much while my hair was in its straightened state.

Waist Length...Technically

I’m not even sure how to start this post because when I straightened my hair four days ago (which was the first time since May) I wasn’t expecting much growth because I hadn't been as diligent with my regimen. So I was definitely surprised to discover that it had grown to my waist at its longest point. And to be quite honest, I wasn’t that excited. I know, I know. It’s been a goal that I’ve been focusing on for months and it’s because of that goal that my hair has grown at all. But it didn’t happen the way I intended. Okay, now I sound like I’m whining so let me start over.

When I set a goal, it’s all good if I hit the goal, but if I blow it out of the water and hit it with excellence or better yet surpass it, then I feel like I’ve succeeded. Yes, I hit my goal of waist length hair…but it wasn’t with healthy ends so it doesn’t really count to me. I take full responsibility for the split ends though. A combination of laziness and lack of time contributed to those unhealthy ends for sure.

I’ve always envisioned having a full head of healthy hair when I hit the goal, so that is my goal still. But I took pictures of my length check on Monday so I can remember this moment of my journey. It serves as a crucial reminder of the Slight Edge (a must-read, by the way) and how everything in nature–especially us–is in a constant state of either growth or stagnation and decay. We have control over where we fall on that scale by the little things we choose to do or not do every single day to improve ourselves and grow. I’m not doing the book any justice though. It is the precursor of all “self-help” books, the foundation upon which you build self-help principles. A must-read, as I said.

I trimmed it on Tuesday because I couldn’t stand how the ends were tangling. Then I had my Mom check my work and take off a little more yesterday (she’s the only person I allow near my head with scissors! Lol). I still love my long hair, even though it’s a bit shorter now. And I must say, I am really enjoying wearing my hair straight! I think I might wear it this way more often…hmm….

I’m sharing the pictures to inspire other ladies out there who may read my blog and wonder if they too can have long, healthy hair. If you’ve never read my bio on here, having long hair down my back has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. If I can do it, anyone can do it! Be encouraged, Ladies!

Thursday, November 8, 2012


I feel like that's what my hair has been screaming since I added green tea to various parts of my regimen. It seriously feels like the "missing link" to my routine and I am so happy I found out about it! 

So why green tea? Apparently this antioxidant-rich beverage is acidic like our scalp and hair, which have a pH of anywhere between 4.5 and 5.5. That is why it's best to use pH-balanced products and/or products that are slightly more on the acidic side. Products that match the acidity of the hair close the cuticle. More on this in a moment....

When I first added green tea to my regimen, I'd use it as a final rinse after washing. But once I saw the results - soft, clumped curls with incredible slip - I became curious and began experimenting with it. My most brilliant idea yet (well at least I think it's brilliant, lol) has been my green tea spray bottle. In the natural hair world I'd always heard that it's important to keep a spray bottle with water (distilled or purified if you have hard water) so you can keep your locs moisturized. This is true. But let me tell you, the day I switched out plain distilled water in my spray bottle for green tea was one of THE best days in my natural hair life!!

And my daughter's hair? Oh my gosh, it works wonders for her hair! It absolutely loves green tea. Her hair is now softer, more moisturized and less frizzy, and easier to detangle. I mean, her curls POP!!

Ok back to the chemistry part (who would've thought I'd be so interested in chemistry in my adult life?? lol!!). Before I discovered the many benefits of using green tea in my hair, I used to think the only way for my hair to get properly moisturized was by opening the cuticles and adding moisture and then sealing them. But this is what I've figured out that has literally changed the way I look at my hair care routine: 

The majority of the steps in my regimen need to keep my cuticles closed. Why? Because closed cuticles equals fewer tangles, and fewer tangles means less damage when I detangle. 

Now, I know all about steamers and how they work. I've been under one before and my hair felt buttery soft afterwards. So I know and understand that using steam and indirect heat to open the cuticles and help deep conditioners penetrate the hair shaft are beneficial and effective. (I've also donned a plastic cap and sat under a bonnet dryer to get the same results but for some reason that hasn't really worked for my hair.) So, since I can't get a steamer anytime soon, I have to work with what I've got and with what I can do, and keeping my cuticles closed seems to be working for me.

Here are some other ways I've incorporated green tea into my regimen:
  • Conditioner - I add green tea to my water-based conditioner, along with olive oil and grapeseed oil. Stir until smooth.
  • Shampoo - When I need to use a sulfate shampoo, I add the shampoo to a separate spray bottle and dilute with green tea instead of plain water. My hair feels much less dry and still has some slip.
  • Style - Instead of using regular distilled water to style my daughter's hair, I dampen her hair with green tea then add a little Shea Moisture Reconstructing Conditioner as a leave-in. The green tea and conditioner work together to seal moisture into her hair. Her hair is silky soft afterwards.
Note: after brewing the tea you have to refrigerate it.

My first braid-out that I set using green tea. Oh! And my braids dry
FASTER when I set them with green tea! BONUS!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

New Pre-Poo Formula

I finally remembered to pre-poo for this week's wash day (yay!). Due to my hectic week, my intentions of braiding my hair every night (like I did last week) flew out the window. So my hair was quickly becoming a tangled mess. I decided to whip up a pre-poo with conditioner - something I'd never tried before. When I have remembered to pre-poo in the past, I've only used coconut oil, which was great, but it doesn't give me enough slip for a thorough finger-detangling. By using my moisturizing conditioner as the base to my pre-poo today, I was able to finger detangle much better.

What is a pre-poo? It is pre-conditioning your hair with moisturizing products (particularly oils) that can penetrate the hair shaft (like coconut oil) prior to washing your hair. To experience the best results, pre-poo the day before wash day.

Here's what I used to pre-poo today:
  • moisturizing conditioner (base)
  • castor oil
  • olive oil
  • apricot kernel oil
I didn't measure anything but just eye-balled it to make sure it wasn't too drippy. Then I sectioned my dry hair with my fingers and began applying the pre-poo starting at the ends. To prevent my hair from tangling again, I twisted up each section after I was done.

Once I worked all the pre-poo through my hair, I took out all the twists and pulled my hair into a high bun. I slapped on a headband and some earrings so I could run out to do a few things. And that was it! So simple. I hope I can incorporate this into my regimen. I'm so excited to see the results when I wash my hair tomorrow! :)

What do you use to pre-poo?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Green Tea Rinse

As I continue to research natural hair care techniques, I find more and more interesting stuff. Like the use of herbs in cleansing and conditioning the hair. Who knew that cup of tea could be good for your hair, too?! I was sure surprised at this!

In my week of braid-outs post I mention using green tea as a rinse to top off an all-natural wash day routine (i.e. no store bought shampoos or conditioners). I prepared the tea and allowed it to cool. I rinsed out my squirt bottle and filled it with tea. I doused each twisted section of hair with the tea. And can I tell you, it felt SO GOOD!! It was absolutely invigorating! And my hair was soft, well-moisturized and sealed to boot! ;) I will definitely be incorporating this into my regimen as often as possible. It's a great conditioner and sealant due to its acidic nature.

Have you done any tea rinses? What kind of tea did you use and what was your experience?

A Week of Braid-Outs

Last week I began the week with a slightly different wash day. My goal was to cleanse, condition and detangle my hair using only natural products. Until recently I'd always been skeptical of all-natural regimens. But another blog that I've been reading recently has been leading me to believe that it is possible - and maybe even yields better results.

With that in mind, I cleansed with an ACV rinse using distilled water instead of tap water for the first time. My goodness, the slip was amazing! It was much easier to finger detangle my hair. I could literally feel the difference with the distilled water. It was awesome lol.

Next, I conditioned with a mixture of oils: coconut oil, olive oil, a little castor oil and a little jojoba oil. I had no idea what I was doing but my inner-mixtress was feeling creative! LOL! I finger detangled some more, twisted the four sections then put on a plastic shower cap while I finished showering. After about 5 minutes I rinsed my hair. There was lots of slip due to all the oil and my hair felt very soft. Right before hopping out of the shower I rinsed with a green tea rinse (brewed with distilled water) - I'll post on this later because the results were phenomenal!!
When I got out of the shower, I was all prepared to braid my hair and seal with my natural oil blend and gel as usual. But when I saw how oily my hair was, I realized I could skip the oil and get away with using only a little gel. I braided it up, slept in it and had to release them before they were dry the next day. However, once my hair was out of the braids I saw how truly oily it was - too oily! So I decided to co-wash again and leave in some conditioner. I once again braided my hair and released them the following day. It wasn't as oily but was still quite moisturized.

The following night I did something that is normal for many naturals but something I'd honestly been avoiding because of laziness and scheduling: I braided my hair up before going to bed, moisturizing with a light, creamy and water-based leave-in which I focused on my ends. The next morning...WHOA!! I was super happy with the results!! Buttery-soft, defined and detangled hair!!
I did this all week. By the end of each day, the definition would fade and my hair would get bigger and fluffier, threatening to take over the entire city LOLOL!!! (Now I understand why some naturals have nicknames for their manes because mine certainly has a personality! And I can't help but wonder what God was up to when He gave a reserved and quiet gal such a big, loud head of hair.... ;)) Sometimes I let it do its thing; other days I attempted to rein it in, lol (that's right, "attempted").

By the end of the week, I began to see and feel lint build-up when I ran my fingers through my hair, so I knew it was time to wash. But aside from the over-oily start of the week, I was really pleased with the results of my braid-outs for the week...and proud of myself for committing to braiding and moisturizing my hair each night. :)
This pic cracked me up! I look like Pinocchio!! LOL!
I did something different: instead of sticking bobbi pins in the front
to keep my hair out of my face, I kept the front braid in at the base at first.
I really like this idea. The simpler the style for me, the better.
I'm definitely going to use this again.
Took the front braid all the way out to see the full results.
I parted my hair on the side at an angle when I sectioned it for braiding.
It had been a while since I'd parted anywhere but dead down the center.
I really like the side part. It gives an entirely different look and feel.

All of the pics capture my hair right after let-down. I meant to take pics of how huge it looked by the end of the day! Maybe I'll post pics of that later ;)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bun with a Side of Sass ;)

This is a quick post on how I styled my hair on Thursday night. We had to run to a meeting and I was crunched for styling time. I stretched my hair by lightly wetting it and moisturizing with a creamy leave-in, then setting it in braids for a couple of hours. I released the braids and pulled it into a high ponytail. (I'll do a post later on how I bunned it.) The front, crimped part of my hair was braided several nights before, so it was completely dry and moisturized with shine to boot!
Please excuse the bathroom pics! I was crunched for time lol
Oops! A lil flyaway. Oh well. I spritzed with water and slicked
my hair down with gel.
Love the healthy shine in the front

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Soft, Detangled WnG


I tried something crazy today. I left in my conditioner and put my LEAVE-IN on TOP! I know, sounds silly. But the idea came to me when I needed a quick fix after my run and before going out to dinner. Here's what I did.

I've returned to my ACV rinses and co-washing instead of using my softened shampoo recipe. Since I'm running more now, I want to be sure that I don't strip my hair but also get my scalp and hair clean. So I started there.

I sectioned my hair in half and did my ACV rinse. Then I sectioned it into four and applied Vatika coconut oil, which has henna, coconut oil, lemon extract and other natural oils in it. Then I applied conditioner, followed by a quick finger detangle. Then I topped with my Shea Moisture leave-in. After applying the products to each section, I braided my hair to create a uniform curl pattern and hopefully define the frizz in the front. Well I nailed the back but the front still frizzed, as I suspected it would.
Taking the braids out
Love the definition in the back
Braided the front with two on each side in my attempt to tame the frizz
My hair was sooo soft and incredibly moisturized!

I'll definitely do this again. My favorite part of this style is how well detangled my hair seemed to remain, because usually WnG's equal another detangling session for me!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Conditioning MESS!

In my desperation to find the perfect deep conditioner for my hair, I decided to head to my kitchen and whip something up. I'd often read about an avocado, coconut milk and honey conditioner on various sites, so I gave it a whirl. I didn't measure anything but instead added ingredients so the consistency would be creamy, not runny.

I forgot to take pics of the application process, but my new method for keeping my hair detangled while it gets DC'd is twisting and bantu-knotting each section after applying the conditioner. I donned two disposable shower caps and sat under my bonnet dryer for 15-20 minutes. Then I put on my winter hat to keep the heat in and wore that for a while.

When I rinsed it out, I got a surprise...stiff, not soft hair! Of course, this isn't how your hair should feel after a good DC. I didn't think there was any protein in the coconut milk, but there was protein somewhere in that concoction because my hair felt like I'd just given myself a protein treatment! No problem, I thought. Since my hair is more porous in the front and at the crown, a little more protein was not a bad thing. So I applied a moisturizing conditioner and rinsed before getting out of the shower. (After a protein treatment, always always ALWAYS apply a moisturizing conditioner/deep conditioner, depending on how intensive the protein treatment.)

I thought I was in the clear...until I was in the middle of twisting. What was that?? Tiny, brown little twig-like pieces all over?! But since I was so tired and didn't want to waste the product I'd already applied, I finished twisting, threw on my scarf and hit the fluffies.

Will I try this again? I don't think so. At least not with that same brand of coconut milk! 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Women vs. Women

I recently read about an interesting phenomenon.

You walk into a room full of women. You feel eyes watching you, looking you up and down. Even if nothing is said, you can sense that you're being evaluated - your size, your outfit, your hair, etc. On the flip side, you're sitting in a room full of women and another woman walks in. Now you find yourself evaluating her appearance. Why is that? 

The article where I read this suggested that women tend to do this because we feel the need to determine whether the other woman entering the scene is more attractive/put together/beautiful than us. But I want to probe a bit further. Why do we feel the need to do this? It's almost as if we feel threatened by another woman's beautiful appearance.

What's your take? Do you agree?
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