Thursday, 29 May 2014

5 May Articles

Just some of my fave memories/ places/ people this month… can't wait for June and what should hopefully be the perfect start to a warm and fun filled Summer!

Life in Instagram

[Top Left to Right]
[1] Maya Angelou , appreciating the works of this remarkable woman. Truly an inspiration
[2] Wedding fever, creating memories with my faves
[3] Big sis & Little sis, always time for a selfie!
[4] Appreciating how loved and blessed I am
[5]Sundays are for family
[6] New easy hairstyle fave
[7] You are Beautiful

[8] The power of words
[9] 6 months post transitioner chop length check video
My new addiction, Quartz Crystal Jewellery. Handmade by Brickrunway
A fun and quirky read I came across during my last salon visit - by Phillip Kingsley
Much needed trip back to Ghana
Gorgeous beaded slippers from Accra Art Center. I can't wait for the sun to come out so I can wear these!

Avec amour...


Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Transitioner Checklist: A Transitioners Guide To The Perfect Regimen [Part 2]


So following on from the first post of this mini Series on Things You Need To Know Before Transitioning, you're now most probably wanting to know how to get started, which products work best for transitioners, how to avoid breakage, which transitioner styles to rock etc. Well, this post and the third part of this Series [coming soon], will help you with exactly that! First of all let's get to regimen building and one of my most frequently asked questions

Which Regimen Works Best For Transitioning Hair?

There is no go to regimen for transitioners as I'm sure you can imagine. With so many different hair types out there and more so a head full of many different textures in itself, the "ideal regimen" differs for each individual. There are however some ways to enhance each step of the "transitioning hair regimen" in order to cater to some of the most talked about transitioner issues such as tangling and breakage. So here we go, some of your questions answered...

What is "Pre-pooing" and how does it benefit my Hair when transitioning?

If you haven't been doing this already, now may be a great time to start. 'Pre-pooing'  is simply the act of preparing your hair for shampooing. Shampooing can strip our hair of essential nutrients and moisture so the goal of pre-pooing is to reduce the 'shampoo stripping effect'. In most cases it also helps detangle your hair prior to washing which of course means less shower tangling i.e less breakage. Another extra is, if you choose to pre-poo with an oil for example [depending on which oil you use and for how long] you may be able to reduce the amount of water your hair penetrates. But wait, water is good for our hair, no? Yes indeed it is! However there is such a thing as too much water penetration which can over expand the shafts of our hair in turn also leading to our dear friend 'breakage'.

Recommended ProductsAny oil should do the trick, simply coat your hair with this prior to washing. I am a huge fan of the Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Extreme. Whilst it is on the pricier side it definitely does the job plus some. There are also a few other pre-poo products on the market, be sure to do a review and ingredient list check so you get some info on the product before you dive in.

Which Shampoo do I use and how do I prevent it from stripping my Hair?

Transitioning does not mean as I once thought that you need to stack up on a whole new stash of products. For the most part it's worth sticking to what your hair has always liked and trying your best to make whatever you use more moisturising/effective. How can you do this?

Method Add some Oil to your Shampoo
Outcome Adding oils to anything makes them more lubricative, which in turn means easier detangling. You can also add a few drops of essential oils as well as the base oil, the properties are endless! I love using essential oils in just about everything, here are some fave recipes!

Method Add a small amount of Conditioner to your Shampoo
Outcome Many people swear by mixing Conditioner with Shampoo to make the Shampoo more moisturising and less stripping. Whilst this technique can most certainly do that, it can also lead to product build up caused by conditioner deposits being left on your hair and scalp. It's definitely worth trying the Shampoo/Conditioner mix to see how your hair takes to it, but be sure to thoroughly rinse your hair afterwards. I did this occasionally during my transition on a 'not too dirty' scalp and it worked a treat. 

Method The rule of 'everything in four sections'
Outcome Sectioning your hair in four or more sections helps to reduce tangling and makes just about every step of your regimen a whole lot easier! That's all there is too it! #PinkySwear 

Recommended ProductsI pretty much used any Shampoo during my transition with some of the above methods. But if you're after a brand new Shampoo here are some worth trying: Earth Science Deep Conditioning Shampoo, AsIAm Cleansing Pudding, AsIAm Coconut Cowash

How often do I Deep Condition and what are the best DC products out there?

On a usual day I would say this depends on how dry your hair is, which as a transitoner is likely to be pretty often! In most cases once a week or at the very least twice a month should suffice [for frequent heat users then the former would apply]. As for how long to let the DC sit on your hair, it's definitely worth checking out the product label suggestion, but in most cases a 15 minute to 30 minute session with a heated tool such as the HairTherapyWrap will have your hair feeling baby bottom soft, and the DC should have done it's job! Finally, be sure to switch it up! Your hair will be in need of both protein and moisture so try and use a protein DC at least once a month.

Recommended Products: [Protein Deep Conditioners] ORS Replenishing Pak, Shea Moisture Anti-Breakage Masque, Original Moxie Re-Wind Protein Treatment, Queen Helene Cholesterol Conditioner. [Moisturising Deep Conditioners] Curl Harmony Intensive Repair Deep Conditioner, As I am Hydration Elation, Philip Kingsley Moisture Extreme Conditioner, Tresemme Naturals

Do I need to use a Leave-In and if so which would you recommend?

Leave-ins are often a God send for transitioners because they usually serve the purpose of moisturising and detangling all at the same time. Check out the recommended products below for a list of great leave-ins which act as both a detangler and light moisturiser.

Recommended Products: Kinky Curly Knot Today, Jane Carter Solution Revitalizing Leave-In Conditioner, Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream


Moisturise & Seal - I am often asked why moisturisers are needed when leave-ins exist. The truth is some leave-ins work perfectly as moisturisers however depending on which leave in you use, a good moisturiser can always come in handy. As for how often to use a moisturiser I personally believe that a good moisturiser should not have to be used everyday, especially if followed up with an oil to seal the moisture in. You can give every other day a try and see how your hair feels. If it's dry you may need to moisturise more frequently or try another moisturiser. It all boils down to ingredients and consistency. See what your leave in offers and how it makes your hair feel.

Scalp Care - This should work in the same way as your regimen prior to transitioning, if you are after general scalp care and also stimulating scalp oils then here are some products I can most certainly recommend

Recommended Products: Jane Carter Solution Scalp Nourishing Serum, Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Aloe Vera Gel, Apple Cider Vinegar, Phillip Kingsley Scalp Tonic

Finally, and I really do mean finally! Don't forget to wear a satin or silk scarf to bed or even better get yourself a silk/satin pillowcase to avoid your hair from frictional damage caused by your hair rubbing against the coarse texture of our pillows. We'll save breakage and protective styling for part three! 

P.s here is part one just in case you missed it!

Avec amour…


Monday, 12 May 2014

6 Months Fully Natural Length Check & Life Updates

Happy Monday Loves!

I sat on the train on my way to work today wondering if you all know how grateful and thankful I am for your friendships and support. It's not always so easy to put that out there because, well, words can only say so much… but after four plus years at this writing/blogging thing, I must say the passion is greater now than it was years ago when I merely considered the idea of a 'blog'. I just wanted to say thank you and to let you know that I am always thinking of you!

P.s I realised I forgot to post this yesterday so just in case you missed it, I filmed my 6 months fully natural length check.

Avec amour…


Friday, 9 May 2014

Transitioner Checklist : Things You Need To Know Before Transitioning [Part 1]

If you're thinking about going natural or have recently started your transitioning journey you'll probably have a million and one questions, concerns, and be super excited and nervous all at the same time! 

Having tried my hand at transitioning for two years, I sat down last weekend and took a trip down memory lane which led me here to this post! I thoroughly enjoyed my transitioning journey but I can't say it was a walk in the park! I wish someone had told me some of the things I only came to discover half way down the line or in some cases, once fully natural. So in light of that I've put together a little something from me to you to help you prepare for your journey… 

Things You Should Know Before Transitioning

Texture Wars
If you're a bit of a hair nerd like myself you're most probably familiar with the term 'line of demarcation' a.k.a the point where your chemically treated hair meets your new growth, otherwise known as the 'breaking point'. After a few months of being "chemical free" you'll most likely be fascinated by your new growth and its texture, and this is the best time to be because your hair needs all of the attention it can get. Moisture, moisture, moisture! Your hair needs to be kept moisturised! The point at which both hair types meet is very fragile and it's important to ensure that both hair types get some TLC i.e. frequent Deep Conditioning and keeping your hair moisturised. Although you may be getting rid of your chemically treated hair at some point, it's important not to abandon it as this will cause it to break off and leave you with a head full of uneven strands. 

But it's not all so bad, it gets better! There comes a point during your transition when your hair grows out enough and can better handle the weight of your chemically treated hair, which means by this time not only have you better mastered your transitioning regimen but your hair is also less susceptible to breakage.

Heat Temptation
If you've enjoyed the most part of your hair journey rocking super straight hair then there's no denying that you may want to stick to what you know and wear your hair in a straightened state for the most part of your transition. Whilst that is possible it's definitely not a good idea. I would advise steering well clear of heat for the most part of your transition because this weakens the protein bonds in our hair, leading to easier breakage at the 'line of demarcation'. If you are craving heat then at least wait a few months so that you have an understanding of what your hair does and does not take well to. Plus don't forget you can achieve sleek looking hairstyles using flexi rods and by rollersetting.

Up Your Protective Styling Game
This is a great way to fight the urge to use heat on your hair... Braids, wigs and properly installed and maintained weaves can help you fight the heat urge and are also great for putting your hair away during the colder months, or when you simply want a new look. Of course take note: overdoing it with protective styling can also do more damage than good. Give your hair a break between styles, a few weeks or a month is usually good and means you can give your hair a good treating before your next protective style. Here is some inspiration from my good old transitioning days! [Creta Girl Wig], [Braids], [Lace Wig].

Just Too Many Opinions
Whilst my natural hair has been embraced by pretty much everyone in my social circle I know that this may not be the case for everyone. The comments and opinions of others can so easily alter our mindsets and have us forget what we know to be true. No one is to blame for this, it's simply a matter of taking charge and surrounding yourself with positivity and with people who can better help you achieve your "hair goals'. So block out the noise and get active on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook groups. The haircare community is huge and there is always someone that wants to have a good chit chat about their transition or natural hair experiences. Here are some of my favourite "haircare talk" spots: CareForYourHair , WITJ, Curlbox, Hairlista.

Get Ready To DIY
I'm a huge supporter of salons and stylists I really am, but one of the reasons for this and why most of my salon experiences end well is because I know my hair well enough and get quite vocal when someone else is looking after it. This has only backfired on me once! My point is try and get to know your hair before putting its care into someone else's hands. There aren't many stylists who are experienced in dealing with transitioning hair so it's best you get to know your hair before they 'attempt' to. Personal Tip: Youtube and haircare blogs are great places for haircare advice and tutorials.

The Three B's
Be Brave, Be Bold, Be Beautiful. The first step to successfully transitioning begins with a change of mind. How do you define beauty, is it solely external or internal, are celebrities your benchmark? I hate to get psychological on you but it's something worth thinking about. Transitioning is definitely a brave step, and not something that should be played down, stepping out of your comfort zone can be difficult but once you do and you overcome your stereotypes, only then can you move on to the second B… Be Bold. Now that you feel more confident about your decision to go natural embrace it and show it off, transitioners can have so much fun with hairstyling too! Don't believe me? See for yourself [1], [2], [3].  

Finally, be Beautiful. This one should be easy because no matter you think, it's what you are 'fearfully & wonderfully made'.

Love Always,


Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Marshmallow Root & Slippery Elm Leave-In Detangling Spray [DIY]

I'd heard about the wonders of Marshmallow Root as an ingredient that gives a whole lot of slip sometime last year, but I couldn't figure out where for the life of me to find it in the UK! Well, that was until I discovered iHerb and how inexpensive it can be if you need to do a bulk shop. Which I did, plus some!

Whilst there are some leave-in conditioners that do an absolutely amazing job at detangling my hair I've been long searching for a homemade alternative that is a bit lighter on my pockets! My savings goals this year permit very little product junkism or lavish haircare spending, so I was determined to make my own concoction and boy am I glad I did, it's pretty darn amazing!

I couldn't not share the recipe, so here it goes! [p.s I posted a video on this too!]

Marshmallow Root Herb - softens, high mucilage, provides slip, nutrient rich
Slippery Elm - provides slip, protects against sun damage, high mucilage
Aloe Vera Gel - conditioning, provides slip
Argan Oil - adds shine, smoothes, antioxidant
Vitamin E Oil - antioxidant [increase shelf life], adds shine
Lavender Essential Oil [optional] - used in this recipe for scent

*properties are haircare specific

Baldwins UK - Slippery Elm
Sheabuttercottage - Argan Oil
iherb - Marshmallow Root
Holland & Barrett - Aloe Vera Gel & Vitamin E Oil
Naturally Thinking - Lavender Essential Oil
Superdrug - Spray Bottle

Method: Check out the video for steps on how to make this yourself

Avec amour...

Thursday, 1 May 2014

My Hair: Twist Out On Damp Hair

I decided to try a new hairstyle, well not quite new but let's say I tried some new things in order to perfect a twist out I hadn't quite figured out how to master. I wish you could have seen my face and how long I spent in front of the mirror in admiration of how well it turned out! #girlyissues

 If I had to put the so called 'twist out success' down to just three things, they would definitely have to be: parting placement, products used and patience - here's the scoop:

Phase 1
So I washed my hair, then jumped out of the shower, chucked an old T-shirt over my head and then left my hair to dry for 20 minutes.

Phase 2
After 20 minutes I whipped the t-shirt off, sprayed some of my Homemade Leave-In Detangler onto the section of hair I wanted to twist, followed by a quick detangle with the Felicia Leatherwood Detangling brush, and then began to twist.

I usually part my hair on the right hand side of my face and then do two medium sized flat twists on each side of my parting, i.e. four in total, followed by about 10 single two strand twists. This time however, I skipped the flat twists and did medium sized twists twists all over using my much loved Aunt Jackies Curl Cream

Phase 3
Well that was pretty much it! After twisting I reached for my Misto Oil Sprayer #GodILoveThis and misted my hair with some Almond Oil. Then I chucked on my headscarf, went to bed and unraveled my twists with a little bit of Almond Oil the next morning.

So what made this time special?

- Gave myself a deeper parting to create a different shape 
- Dried my hair for a longer period of time [I usually only dry for 5-10 minutes]
- Took my fine time!

Any Twist Out Tips or Success stories, you know I want to know!

Avec amour…