Summer Regime 2016

Hello to you all!

I'm so sorry I've been away so much this year. There's so much to do and so little time. I have so many ideas for blog posts and videos but not very much time I can commit to producing them at the moment. Hopefully more opportunities will arise soon.

Here are the videos giving you an update on what I've been doing with my hair this summer.

Part 1 - Recorded at the end of June

Part 2 - This video was recorded after 8 weeks of doing the regime

I hope they'll be helpful to you!
 

B

x

 

Natural Wedding Hair and I Don't Care

Natural Wedding Hair and I Don't Care

2015 has been a busy year. What with moving house and giving birth to our third daughter there has been enough excitement for a good while. I've also been working on a few natural hair projects one of which was doing a friend's hair for her wedding at the end of the summer. This was an excellent experience but nerve wracking to say the least. I thoroughly enjoyed the time experimenting with styles and discovering how my friends twa 4C hair reacted to different products and techniques.

During one of our hair consultations I mentioned how I really admired her for going against the grain and wearing her natural hair for her wedding day, I wish I had done the same for mine! We got onto the subject of how some people around her reacted to her decision to wear her natural hair. Sadly there wasn't much encouragement. "Aren't you going to get a weave?" Some asked. When my friend refused a weave, others even suggested that "You could get a natural looking weave?". I personally thought this was very rude as it implied that her natural hair wasn’t good enough. 

What a shame. Despite these discouragements my friend went ahead and commissioned me to work on creating a simple wedding style with her natural hair without the use of extensions, weaves or wigs. She really wanted to feel and look like herself on her special day so she didn't succumb to the pressure to conform to what other people thought was the 'appropriate' type of hair to have for a wedding.

So here was the finished style. She chose a perm rod set with a loose flat twisted bang. Her beaded hair band and pearl bobby pins were from Accessorize. I used Cantu Shea Butter as the leave-in, coconut oil for sealing and shine and Creme Of Nature’s Moroccan Argan oil Foaming Wrap Lotion for the set. For a little edge control I used ORS Olive Oil Edge Control.

So are you thinking about your wedding day hair?
Here are three things I would consider:

1. Make Sure You are Comfortable with Your Hair on the Day

Don't let others tell you you must not do this or that because it's your wedding day. If you're someone who always wears a weave or wig because you're unsure about how to adequately care for and style your natural hair (because you’re new to this natural hair stuff) then perhaps doing an all natural style for your wedding day may not be for you at the moment. 

Although, if you have the confidence, I would of course encourage you months before the wedding to at least try some styles on your natural hair to see whether you can make it work for you and feel at ease with the styles. If not, then by all means wear your hair in a style YOU are comfortable with, and if that means using extensions or attachments then so be it! When I first big chopped there were many times I just didn't know what to do with my hair and if someone came to me and said I MUST wear my natural hair out for an occasion I know I wouldn’t have been confident because I just wasn't ready early on in my journey. I didn't know enough and I was still learning how to manage and style my hair. On the other hand of course, if you're someone who does rock your natural hair on a regular basis then don't feel you have to suddenly change the way you look to please others on your special day just because they don't deem natural hair to be acceptable for an occasion.

2. Remember Natural Hair Can Look Good For a Special Occasion

Whether you're the bride or a guest don't limit yourself by believing you simply can't create something truly lovely with your hair. Even if you have problems areas you can try and work around those and see what can be done despite your issues. My friend had an area at the back of her head where the hair was very short but we worked round this by carefully considering the placement of the accessories and the hair at her crown. Be sure to meet well in advance with your stylist so you can be sure that the style you want actually works. Ensure you do a couple of trial runs until the style is just right.

3. Remember It's Natural Hair - Embrace Its Qualities.

If you are choosing to wear a natural style then don’t fight against your unique texture and pattern. Seek out styles that accentuate the features your hair possesses. Natural hair has fantastic sculptural aspects - use them! . Consider your head and face shape and hair length. Look for examples online which are a close match to your own desired look and see how you can adapt those styles to suit you. My friend was happy to work with the fact that her hair has tight kinks and coils and refused to lay completely flat around her edges. She was comfortable with her hair type and at the end of the day it didn’t actually matter whether a few coils sprung up here and there. She was comfortable embracing her natural beauty and if I must say so myself, she looked stunning.

Stay true to yourself.

B

x

Water Only Method and More...(Belated post!)

Water Only Method and More...

July and August have been busy busy busy. The summer holidays are here and the children are off from school which means there has been less time to work on hair videos. With that said I've decided to put my reviews of UK products on hold this year and perhaps resume it another time. I really enjoyed using the products and discovering the growing number of black owned UK companies producing natural hair products sans the drying substances that are so prevalent in the majority of hair care products today.

I'm currently working on a few projects of my own at the moment which has further reduced the time I've been able to spend on reviewing other products. I would also like to do more hair styling videos in the near future but we'll have to see if time permits!

Anyway, so what's been going on with my own regime?
As it's been summer I should have been increasing my moisture intake however I've slacked on this a little and of course your hair always tells you how it's feeling. I've noticed some smaller broken hairs when I've been moisturising and sealing my hair so I know it's time for me to up the moisture intake and also have a trim too. I'm also due a henna treatment but I'm waiting for my moisture levels to increase as It seems that the more I henna the less porous my hair becomes.

However there's something else I want to try out in my regime, something that I've been hearing more and more about in the natural hair community and that's the water only washing method. This is when you use warm water to wash your hair each day and only use natural oils to condition your hair in the process. In a way I already do this method as I don't use shampoo any more but I still use conditioner or ACV to cleanse my hair. I want to try this method for 14 days to see what happens. I'll be using coconut oil so my hair doesn't dry out too much. The coconut oil also helps to impart shine as well as ensuring hygral fatigue doesn't affect my hair too much with the constant wetting and drying of my hair. I'm interested to see whether I might get the same results as the MHM (Maximum Hydration Method) but with a simpler regime that could suit me when I want to wear my hair out in an un stretched state without it tangling too much.


Regime
What I plan to do is divide my hair into two braids then simply wash my hair in the shower scrinching and preening as I go, removing shed hairs then braid up each section. Then I'll quickly run cold water over the braids ( to close the cuticles) , dry my hair with a cotton T-shirt and press through some coconut oil and that's it. Check out the video below to hear more about the process.

B

x


 

Sheabeutimia Conditioner June Review

June was the month for conditioning. With the scorching weather we've had here in London its been time to crank up the moisture and conditioning within my regime. I used Sheabeutimia's Hemp Seed Oil Moisturising Conditioner for last month. 

During June I regularly bagged my ends to ensure moisture levels remained topped up. I also used the conditioner for deep conditioning. I mixed it with coconut oil and grape seed oil and then applied it all over my hair and left it overnight. I also used the hemp seed conditioner to cowash my hair. All in all I found it a good moisturising conditioner to use especially since it contains aloe vera and glycerin, two musts when it comes to retaining moisture in warmer weather. Watch on for the full review.

B

x

ROOT2TIP Products Review and Perm Rod Set Trial

ROOT2TIP Products Review and Perm Rod Set Trial

For the month of May I tried two products from ROOT2TIP. The first was their 'Quench Anti-breakage Creme' and the second was the 'Detangling Leave-in Conditioner Honey Rain Juice'. I wanted to try these products when doing a perm rod set. I've never used perm rods on my hair but I've been curious about what kind of sets I could achieve so I decided to have go while testing out these products.

The Set

I think the products worked well for the set and would have really done the job if I had changed a few aspects of the set. There are 4 things I should have done. Firstly, I should have really stretched my hair out well. I believed the stretch I had was ok but when I took out the rods you'll see that my roots look just a bit too puffy! Anyway, if I did the set on freshly threaded or blow dried hair the results would have been closer to what I was looking for. Secondly, I should have perhaps used flexi-rods as they have a longer area on which to twist the hair around therefore creating an elongated curl. Thirdly, the rods should have been left to dry properly! But I just didn't have the time that day! And fourthly, my hair needed to be wetter, perhaps with water or even a water based setting spray to give just a little extra hold.

More Thoughts

I was fairly happy with the set but I wanted to see how the products would work on a classic twist out on damp hair so after putting together the video review I quickly tried it out. I spritzed my hair with loads of water, then spritzed my hair with the conditioner and lastly added a little of the creme. I love, love, LOVE the definition!

IMG_2597.JPG

 

I think these products work better on damp hair that is set in a compressed style with braids, twists or bantu knots but I also think they are versatile enough to use in other ways. The creme perhaps as a conditioning creme to nourish dry ends and the Leave-in as a spritz to refresh your hair in-between styles.

Check out the full review video above if you would like to know more.

Check out the rest of the fabulous range at ROOT2TIP...another UK company producing great natural products for kinky, coily girls.  

B

x





Afrocenchix Moisturiser And Shampoo Review

Afrocenchix Moisturiser and Shampoo Review

I've really enjoyed trying out these products from UK companies. There seems to be so many who  are striving to produce products that are highly beneficial for curly, coily hair. Us curlies should be really thankful that there are finally people who want to cater to our particular hair needs.

During April I used the 'Smooth' moisturiser from Afrocenchix. I had high hopes for the moisturiser and it did not disappoint! This creamy, lotion like moisturiser instantly imparted moisture (and lots of other natural oils) to my hair. As soon as I smoothed it along my hair it felt so soft and smelt amazing. I love products that smell like yummy desserts, and this one conjured up thoughts of fresh zingy lemon pie...mmm I felt like making one there and then. (Anyway, back to reality) I used the moisturiser when I took my hair down from my usual bun or to rehydrate my bang area which easily becomes dry due to the fact that I manipulate it more often.

Here is a bun style I did using the moisturiser. As you can see the twists were shiny (but not greasy), juicy and well defined.

twistfringe_2.jpg

Check out the full video review below!

Have you tried Afrocenchix moisturiser and or shampoo before? What are your thoughts? I'm eager to try out the rest of their range perhaps in the coming months.

B

x

With U in Mind Mango Butter Review

With U in Mind Mango Butter Review

I hope everyone one had a nice Easter holiday! Mine was quite eventful what with moving house and having a baby on the same day! Anyways I still managed to continue my use of the mango butter I got from UK company WithUinMind who sell a nice range of natural butters. I tried both the plain and the orange blossom scented mango butter which was divine! Both were wonderfully smooth and creamy but the scent of the orange blossom was a real treat to experience, it smelt so yummy! Check out my review on the butter below. 

For the month of April I have been using the moisturiser and shampoo from Afrocenchix. Check out my review in the coming weeks.

B

x

Hug My Hair Multi seed Oil Review

Hug My Hair Multi seed Oil Review

Hello Ladies! I'm back a month later with my review of the multi seed oil from UK haircare brand Hug My Hair. Check out my video for the full review.

I really liked using this oil last month as it was light and gave my hair a lovely shine without it being too greasy. Check out the twist out I did using only the oil and water. It held really well.

Anyway, give it a go and see what you think!

Next up for the month of March is mango butter from With U in Mind. I'll be predominately using the butter as a sealant for my hair however I may add some into my deep conditioning mix or even directly onto my scalp as it seems lighter in texture than shea butter. Check out their website here.

B

x

 

Bunning- Protective Styling Fine 4C hair

Bunning for 4C Naturals

Ah protective styling! This is an essential element in my regime as a fine haired 4C naturalista with high shrinkage. If you've watched a few of my styling videos you'll see that I'm always searching for good protective styles that allow me to protect my ends, reduce tangles and single strand knots. I also like protective styles that don't take too long to install or uninstall and also allow me to cleanse and moisturise my scalp during the time I wear it.

Last month I tried some african threaded styles and these were great for stretching the hair and keeping it clumped together (which helped me retain moisture). However the only issue I had was that they didn't always fair well when washed. Sometimes they were ok and other times not so.

Then along came the bun! This is not a style I had previously tried as a protective style partly because I hadn't discovered how to easily detangle my roots with steam. So doing a style where my roots were left out of sections meant I would have to face a massive tangled job later down the line.

Fast forward to now - I can now try styles like buns which I believe can be good for protecting your hair as long as they don't place too much tension on your edges and you ensure you attend to your ends.

I've been wearing buns for the past 4-6 weeks and I must say that I've really enjoyed the easy up keep of them. Below is a video showing the simple bun that I do. In the morning there's minimal manipulation- no combing, no separating, no nothing. My edges lie flat because of the compression of the scarf during the night.

I wear the bun for two weeks at a time. Which is a breakthrough for me as I usually have an itchy scalp after about 4 days of washing my hair. The small change that I've made to my regime while wearing a bun is that every night I spritz my hair AND scalp with a water/oil mixture. I then place a plastic bag over my head, tie my scarf around it and go to bed. During the night my hair and scalp stays damp. In the morning I take it off and let my hair air dry and that's it. It's known as the Green House Method.

I now wash my hair every two weeks and deep condition overnight every two weeks. I'm hoping that I can keep this regime going for a good while as it means I manipulate my hair less and less which in turn will allow me to continue to retain length.

I think this method and the bun styling has really helped my hair retain a good level of moisture during the last month, and of course my henna treatments has helped with keeping my protein levels up too. When these are balanced my hair is happy.

How has your winter regime been? Do you have a favourite winter style?

Stay tuned for my next videos about scarf styles while wearing a bun and length retention. 

B

x

 

 

New Series// Review UK Natural Hair Products

New Series// Review UK Natural Hair Products - Hug My Hair Brand

Hello everyone! In this video I’m discussing a new series I’m starting in 2015. I have recently discovered quite a few UK companies that produce handmade natural products for hair and skin. I'm quite happy with the products I currently use and I'm by no means a product junky, but I thought it would be nice to try out some of their products and give them a bit more exposure. 

So many of us find it hard to get hold of good products in the UK and often turn to ordering from worldwide/US companies however I think we have some good UK companies developing products which contain beneficial natural ingredients. These products may be an alternative for naturalistas who are not mixtresses but would like to use quality products with lots natural goodness in them.

The first product I will be trying for the month of february is from Hug My Hair  .I will be using their ‘Seal n Shine’ hair oil Which contains great oils such as jojoba, grapeseed, hemp and vitamin E oil. Check out the rest of their products via their online store.

Please note I’m not getting paid by any of these companies! I’m simply wanting to support some of our UK product companies and compare the effectiveness of their products to the ones that I currently use.
Enjoy!

B

x

 

African Threaded style //2

African Threaded style //2

Have you ever tried african threading? I believe there are lots of styles one can create using this method however I haven't seen many online which I feel I could wear on a day to day basis. So recently I have been trying to create some of my own!

I love using african threading on my hair. Not only as a gentle way to stretch my hair but also for day to day protective styles. Here is another easy style using threading which you can dress up or down depending on the occasion.

See what you can come up with!

B

x

 

Hair out and about

4C Hair Out and About

Last saturday I went to wedding and decided to blow out my hair...well... try. 

I hardly ever use heat on my hair, perhaps twice a year but I thought I would give it a try for this occasion and do a length check while I was at it.

One piece of advice I wouId give to others when blowing out their hair (in addition to making sure you use a good heat protectant) is to make sure you properly detangle your hair. I did not. lol, I don't even know why I'm laughing because sorting out my roots and ends properly at the end of the day was not a laughing matter! I didn't really have the time to dedicate to properly detangling AND blowing out my hair that morning but I tried anyway. I used the tension method or else I would have had a lot of breakage using the comb extension due to my semi detangled hair. I used Cantu Shea Butter leave in and whipped shea butter as my heat protectants. I think I used a little too much of the leave-in which made my hair too wet and therefore increased the time I spend trying to dry my hair. I managed to get some length from the blow out and it was nice for the day but It's definitely not a style I will be revisiting on a regular basis as it requires too much time and the opportunity for breakage and tangles on my hair is high. ( I also don't particularly like how my hair feels when it's bone dry). How do you find blow drying your fine hair ladies?

B

x

 

African Threaded Hairstyles

African Threaded Hairstyles

Here are a couple of quick styles to do on hair that has been chunky twisted or african threaded. These last me all week or longer and what I love is that I don’t have to manipulate my hair until I come to take them down but I can still change my style daily if I choose, just by re-pinning the twists/coils in a different direction and accessorising.

Have you given african threading a go?

Bx

Flat Twist Simplicity

The Simple Natural

In a previous video I said that loose two strand twists were proving to be a really easy go to  protective/daily style, and they were until I came up with another way of reducing the time I spend on my hair, easing the process of detangling and further protecting my fragile ends. And this is it. A semi flat twist style- yeah, not anything amazing but extremely helpful to me in my weekly routine. Check out my video to see more!

B

x

 

Listen to your hair... The first step in 4C haircare

Listen to your hair...

Listen to your hair. This would be the one great piece of advice I would give to anyone who is seeking to properly maintain their natural 4C hair. Over the last 3 years I've learnt loads about what my hair responds well to and what it reacts against. It's been a long process but I think my hair and I are starting to understand each other! 

Are you struggling with dealing with your 4C hair at the moment? Does it seem like you've tried all the suggestions and pieces of advice given in the natural hair community. I know I have, and the wealth of information can over whelm you. But I would definitely say... start by listening to YOUR hair.

There are of course general principles of maintaining 4C hair which are very useful. These should be your starting point.

In short the basic principles are:

  1. Moisture (WATER, WATER, leave-in conditioner and more WATER)
  2. Seal (butters and oils)
  3. Low manipulation (reduce frequency of styling hair, limited heat and usage of dyes),
  4. Protective styling (to help retain moisture, reduce ssk knots and protect fragile ends)

OK so the second aspect to look at is your hair.

I would definitely describe my hair as 4C BUT I have 3 different textures within that '4C' range. Each texture needs its own particular care. Check out my latest video on managing different hair textures.

Hair texture lowdown

Hair at the side front-

  • Very fine
  • Very fragile 
  • Forms tiny coils 
  • Breaks if I look at it 
  • Needs gentle handling 
  • A no comb zone!

I find this hair the hardest to grow because of its features. It dries out really easily so I've responded by ensuring I spritz this area everyday and seal with a heavy shea butter. Flat twisting this area also helps retain moisture. I find I retain the most length when this hair is regularly in a protective style.

Hair at the crown

  • Coarse
  • Wavy, kinky curl pattern
  • Looses moisture rapidly 
  • Breaks easily 
  • Grows slowly

This hair is very coarse and seems to eat moisture up like anything. I also try and spritz this area everyday and not handle it too much during the week. If it's given what it likes then it grows well and has lots of body even though the hair here has a similar density to the hair at the front.

Hair at the side - The best hair of all!,

  • Fine 
  • Clumps well 
  • Defined coils
  • Retains length no matter what I do 
  • Retains moisture well 
  • Grows the fastest

Hair at the back - a mixture of the hair on my crown and sides.

This hair is probably the most predictable and if you give it moisture and seal it well, and leave it alone it usually just grows well by itself.

What is your hair like? Do you have problem areas? Or perhaps your hair is mostly one texture. If so, watch it carefully when you apply water, leave-in conditioner and a butter/oil to it. How long does it retain moisture? Does it dry out quickly? What does it do when it's wet? Shrink up or hang loose? Asking these questions will allow you to move forward in the development of a regime that will really allow your hair to flourish.

B

x