Thursday, February 28, 2013

Moisturizing Your Hair When Wearing Extensions

Hi beauties,

I tend to have hand-in-hair syndrome (don't worry; it's not serious), so in addition to variety, I wear hair extensions as a protective style so I can leave my hair alone. Lately, I've become obsessed with Marley Twists mostly because I can do them myself! #WIN

The evidence of my obsession:

Exhibit A: December 2012
Exhibit B: January 2013
Exhibit C: February 2013

But leaving my hair alone doesn't really mean leaving my hair alone. Just because my hair is in twists or braids doesn't mean I don't have to do anything with it. Nothing is worse than taking down your twists/braids and seeing that you retained NO length. Ok, there are plenty of things that are worse, but you get my point. To ensure that my hair isn't dry and brittle when I take my extensions down, I follow these steps:

Step 1
I mist my hair morning and night with a mix of water, my favorite conditioner, my favorite oil (varies), and an essential oil. It's as simple as that. The mix varies depending on the day, but it's important that the main ingredient is water. You might need to spray your hair more often depending on the weather. You will eventually get a feel for whether your hair needs to be misted once a day, twice a day, or more.

Step 2
About every two days, after misting at night, I use an oil to "seal in" the moisture. See, water is what moisturizes our hair, but you need an oil or butter to seal in that moisture. If you don't seal, the water will evaporate and your hair will still be dry. You can use coconut oil, olive oil, shea butter, etc. Basically, whatever your hair likes. If your hair is more dense/thick/coily, you can use a thicker or heavier product. But whatever you choose, use it sparingly. Using too much product can result in build up making it impossible for water to penetrate your hair the next day when you mist your hair again. If water can't get into the hair shaft, you can't possibly seal in moisture.

Step 3
Once or twice a week, after using the oil, I use a hair cream. The difference between hair creams and hair butters is that creams are water-based. I find that creams soften my hair and provide additional shine and luster. If you're familiar with the LOC method, that is exactly what I am describing: liquid, oil, cream. I believe the LOC method originated with BlackOnyx77 (video below):

Side note: Is it a requirement for all natural hair videos to be over 10 minutes?  

I use this method whether I have extensions or not. The only difference is that I tend to use a little more water, oil, and cream when I have extensions to make up for the fact that the extensions also are soaking up that goodness.

How do you care for your hair while wearing extensions?

Monday, February 25, 2013

My Fun Pants

Hi beauties,

My name is Sheri and I have an affinity for "fun pants."  I love wearing things that people say they don't think they can pull off. (Side note: Don't shy away from clothes that you don't think you can "pull off." My philosophy is: if you wear it with confidence, you will look great.) As you have probably picked up from previous posts, I love prints and patterns. These pants are fun and add an interesting element to an otherwise boring outfit.

The 90s called and want their pants back. Too bad, not gonna happen.
These pants are awesome and it takes a lot of willpower on my part to not wear them ALL.THE.TIME. They're so comfortable, they're just a zipper, button, and belt away from pajama pants.

Fun pants: F21+, similar here and here;
Top: ASOS, similar here and here;
Cardigan: F21+, similar here;
Shoes: Betsey Johnson (only available in leopard, size 5.5)
I decided to pair the pants with an oxblood shirt with a henna eye design and black cardigan. I love oxblood because it flatters basically every complexion. I added the black cardigan as a layer to create a more polished look and defined waist.

Do you have any items in your closet that you call your "fun ________ (fill in the blank)"?

Celebs in "fun pants"
Left to right: Jessica Alba, Kristen Stewart (don't judge me), Beyonce
Who wore it best?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

You know all those things you put in your hair? Here's why you should eat them too!

Hi beauties,

You know I'm not recommending drizzling your favorite store-bought conditioner over a salad! Why not? Because that's crazy, that's why not.

But there are certain staples I use in my hair, like olive oil for example, that could do some good in my tummy as well. Some naturals even put bananas and avocados in their hair as a deep conditioner. I hear the clean-up is messy and we all know...

Sweet Brown said it, so it's true!
If banana/avocado deep conditioner clean ups don't scare you, (and, more importantly, if they work for you), by all means do not let me discourage you. But just know there are also benefits to eating those and other things we put in our hair too:

I'm going to be completely honest and say that bananas are my second-most hated fruit. (Apples are #1, in case you were wondering.) Anyway, everyone knows that bananas are high in potassium. But did you know that a potassium deficiency can actually cause your hair to fall out?? EEK! For those of you who also hate bananas, there are a ton of other potassium-rich foods. The USDA lists tomato paste, orange juice, beet greens, white beans, and potatoes as good dietary sources of potassium, and hey, they have more potassium than bananas! In case you were wondering, when used topically, bananas moisturize the hair, improve shine, and help prevent and control dandruff.

When used on hair, avocados make your hair soft and shiny, and it's excellent for hydrating the hair. Avocados contain B vitamins (thiamine, biotin, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin), beta-carotene, copper, vitamin E, vitamin C, and healthy fats, that also do your hair some good when eaten. All of these nutrients are essential for hair growth, so get to snacking! Added bonus: certain nutrients are absorbed better when eaten with avocado. A study found that when participants ate salad that had avocados, they absorbed FIVE TIMES the amount of carotenoids (a group of nutrients that includes beta carotene) than those who didn't eat the avocados.

Step 1: add a sprinkle of salt. Step 2: nosh.
Olive Oil
At this point, I'm sure you've heard allll about the benefits of olive oil, so I won't bore you. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats and can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, the number one cause of death. I put this stuff in my hair constantly, but cooking with it more can do me some good!

Aloe Vera Juice
It's very common for naturals, myself included, to add a bit of aloe vera juice or gel to water as a daily spritz. But it's also really good for you when ingested. As a matter of fact, as I write this, I'm sipping aloe vera juice diluted in water. I'm not going to lie--it's not the best tasting thing in the world. So why am I torturing myself? Aloe vera juice contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, E, folic acid (B9) and niacin (B3). I know what you're thinking-- sounds a lot like the nutrients you can get from eating avocados, so why bother? The thing is, aloe vera juice also has a number of awesome health benefits, including: detox, healthy digestion, natural immune support, and helps regulate weight and energy levels. In a nutshell, it's really awesome for your health!

This is the brand I drink and use in my hair.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Every now and then (maybe once a month?), I do an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse in my hair. I use about two thirds water and one  third ACV. I just dump it on my hair after I wash and condition and it adds shine and makes my hair feel strong. I've actually used the refined and raw versions of ACV for my hair and haven't really noticed a difference between the two. But for ingesting, make sure you buy the raw, unfiltered, unrefined, undiluted kind with the "mother." I just pour about a tablespoon or two (I never measure) into a bottle of water and drink. I actually kind of like the taste. It's obviously vinegar-y, but it's also sweet. I know I said I hate apples earlier, but this doesn't count.

This is the brand I drink.
Anyway, apple cider vinegar is great for detoxing as it helps remove toxins from your body more quickly, and also helps the body break down fats so you can use them rather than store them. It also makes your skin look great!

You think I have this glow just 'cause?
Last, but certainly not least, is WATER! Water is literally the best moisturizer for your hair AND it's free! I spray my hair with water day and night, especially in the winter months when my hair can feel more dry. We all know drinking water is good for us, but here's why: drinking water helps keep your body hydrated--that is your hair and skin too. This means that drinking lots of water makes your hair naturally soft. It also helps you maintain a beautiful glow because it helps clear and tone your skin.

What are you going to start eating/drinking for a healthier body and hair? Which foods will you eat or drink more of now that you've read this?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Love Affair with Stripes

Hi beauties!

I've been loving stripes and decided to fully embrace my inner Stripe Queen last Saturday by rocking this:

Pants - F21+;
Shirt: ASOS (sold out; similar here)
I've had these pants for a minute and they are NOT very easy to wear. There have been at least two or three times I put these pants on and then stared at my closet wondering what to wear with them. For now, when I wear these pants, I'll just go with a solid top since that's what has worked so far. (Any other ideas???)

Aside from the fact that it took me forever to figure out how to wear these pants, I actually do love them. They're super comfortable! They're listed under "jeans" on the website, but the fabric is much softer than denim. I also like the combination of thick and thin stripes, which makes me less paranoid about Beetlejuice comparisons.

I don't care who you are. You will not look good in this outfit.
Now, can we talk about elbow patches? Why? Because they're awesome! I like them a lot but I'm wary of getting too many shirts/cardigans with elbow patches. Stripes Queen is one thing, but Elbow Patch Queen is another. The one sweatshirt will do.

BONUS: Check out this cool hairstyle I rocked with the outfit, courtesy of SistaTV! It didn't turn out quite like hers, but not bad for my first time, right?

Being silly for the camera.

This hairstyle made me feel super fancy! And apparently, super silly.

Til next time....

Sunday, February 3, 2013

How to Style your Teeny Weeny Afro (TWA)

Hi beauties,

A good friend of mine recently went natural and asked me to do this post. Initially, I wasn't too thrilled to write about this because when I first went natural, my hairstyle choices were very limited. I wasn't really creative and had no idea what to do with my few inches of hair. My main hairstyles were:

The Microphone, and
The all too familiar microphone lol.   I thought I was cute.

Mini-ish twists.

Pretty boring, right? Well, learn from me and don't be boring! There's so much you can do with your TWA. Here are just a few tips that I wish I knew about when my hair was shorter:

1. Coil out

Beautiful, right?!

This hairstyle is super cute and the best part is you can do it yourself! Here's a great how-to video I found:

Keep in mind that you should use products that work for you. She recommends mango butter, but you can just as easily use shea butter, aloe butter or whatever other butter you like. Make sure your hair is wet and detangled when you do this hairstyle! In my opinion, this hairstyle actually looks best on super short hair, so coil away!

2. Accessorize with flower clips

This might be a no-brainer to some, but it wasn't to me so I felt the need to include it anyway. Flowers in your hair are a quick and effortless way to spruce up your TWA.

3. Hair color

Go blonde and be fierce!

Because, why not? Your hair at this point is short and the color will eventually grow out, giving you an effortless ombre look. Or if that's not the look you're going for, trim your colored ends as your hair grows longer to easily go back to your natural hair color. Your TWA is already a bold hairstyle, so why not add a bold splash of color? If anything, it's better to learn if your hair reacts badly to color now, while your hair is short.

4. Make-up

Be creative; the possibilities are literally endless!

I know, this isn't a hair style, but when your hair is short, you may be looking for ways to vamp up your look. Wear a bright lip or do a smokey eye. It will make your short hair look even more edgy and will make you feel even more beautiful and bold!

5. Wardrobe

Go for a comfy casual look, or be bright and bold in print.

You know I wasn't gonna end this post without talking about clothes! Again, this is not a hairstyle, but allow your fierce TWA (or your natural hair, in general) to be accompanied by a fierce wardrobe. Whether you prefer a casual look or a dressy look, make sure you feel amazing in whatever you are wearing, and ultimately, you will look amazing!