Plans for the New Year including Incorporating the Crown and Glory Technique.

It's that time of the year again when (I hope) we reflect on the year just gone past, pat ourselves on the back for the progress we made, identify and understand the mistakes we made and the reasons why we made those mistakes, and take deliberate steps to improving ourselves. I'm not referring to just hair here, but everything that concerns our person - professionally, spiritually, financially, personally etc.

This year was a very bitter sweet one for me - I lost a lot but gained ground in other areas and have had to learn that sometimes, some of the most beautiful things will grow out of the ashes that remain from our fiery trials: KL's Naturals/KL's Natural Beauty Bar is my beautiful thing and I am most grateful to God.

 I have also learnt that regardless of how bad a situation seems, it is your perspective of that situation that determines whether you are drowned by it, or strengthened by it. The last 2 lines of the poem 'Invictus' have stuck with me:

'I am the Master of my Fate,
I am the Captain of my Soul'

I have made this my mantra and no matter how hard I fall, I will get up, dust myself and with an even greater determination, strive to achieve my dreams.

Hair wise, I realize that in my attempt to be a walking advertisement for the Salon, I have been over- manipulating my hair - particularly in the last 3 months. Furthermore, getting so busy with setting up the store and salon and trying to make sure everything runs smoothly has left me with less time to pamper my hair the way I am used to. I live by and love structure so not being able to be consistent with my regimen (Sunday Wash, Wednesday Ayurvedic deep conditioning and co wash) has often left me frazzled and my hair, none too happy with me.

Eating Your Way To Healthy Hair.

Sometimes we focus so much on what we’re putting on our hair that we forget that great looking hair actually starts from within. Eating a healthy, well balanced diet and drinking a lot of water should be the first step in attaining a healthy, luxurious mane.

Moisturizing our hair shouldn’t start and stop with our moisture based products but should also take into consideration the amount of water we’re ingesting. Drinking lots of water flushes toxins from our bodies and helps keep the hair hydrated from within – properly hydrated hair means less brittle, breakage - prone hair.

I was fascinated to find out that every time we eat, our scalps and our nails are actually the last places in our bodies that nutrients are passed on to during the natural breakdown and distribution process of our digestive system! Therefore if our meals are lacking in abundant nutrients and beneficial minerals; the little nutrients contained in our meals will first be distributed to the vital organs of the body meaning there will be no nutrients left to pass on to the scalp!

Product Review - Elasta QP Mango Oil and Olive Butter Moisturizer.

I've tried this product on both my relaxed and natural hair and I LOVE IT! Like an unfaithful lover, I have at different times in my search for THE perfect daily moisturizer, cheated on this product by going in search of something that I thought surely was better than this; but every time, like a repentant cheat, I'd come back, tail tucked between my proverbial hind legs, head cocked to the side, arms outstretched and I am welcomed back into the creamy folds of this heavenly smelling moisturizer.

I first tried this when I was still relaxed and I was in need of a creamy protein based moisturizer to alternate with my (then) daily moisture based moisturizer (Luster's S Curl No Drip Curl Activator and Moisturizer) and it was love at first touch.

Of course I jumped on every product band wagon there was soon after going natural (who am I kidding? way before I went natural I was already a product junkie) and always wanted to try new stuff that was supposed to be the best thing for natural hair.

Blowouts, Big Hair and My Twisted Updo Using Braiding Hair!

I had planned on going the whole nine yards with straightening my hair (blow dryer and flat iron) so I could do a proper length check but by the time I'd done a blow out with the hand dryer, I was too tired to be bothered with a flat iron to straighten it further, so I just made do with the semi straightening the blow dryer gave.

In preparation for my my blow out, I pre poo'd over night with my Vatika coconut oil, and in the morning shampooed with the Design Essentials Curl Cleanser, Deep conditioned with the Keratin Deep Conditioning Mask from Shea Radiance ( my hair had been in my last style for 2 weeks so I felt the need for a strengthening deep condition).  Applied my leave in (Kinky Curly Knot Today) and let it air dry for about half an hour then applied  my heat protectant and straightening serum ( IC Fantasia Hair Polisher and Heat Protectant).

 I then blow dried on low speed medium heat with a paddle brush and the above picture is the result! As much as I'd hoped to carry the 'big hair' hair look for a while, the impossible humidity made it all shrivel up in a couple of hours!

Rhassoul Clay - The Natural way to Glowing Skin, Cleansed AND Moisturized Hair!

When I tell people that I use clay to wash my hair sometimes, I always get the same look. You know, the one that's a mixture of incredulity and doubt with some eye rolling thrown in for good measure. But as I always tell them - don't knock it till you've tried it!

I've only ever used two kinds of clay to treat my hair and skin - Bentonite and Rhassoul - and in my opinion, Rhassoul is the better clay, hands down. Bentonite is more of a detoxifying clay, drawing impurities from the hair (and skin) so I find it to be a little bit drying and will only use a few times a year to get rid of gunk.

One of the most intense at home facials I've ever done was Bentonite Clay mixed with Apple Cider Vinegar - I swear it felt like someone had affixed the hose of a vacuum cleaner to my face and was sucking everything out of it!! Even my mouth will be puckered for the period the mask is on because of the tightness of the mask. (The brand of Bentonite clay I use does say 'Feel your face pulsate' and ' World's most powerful facial' - they weren't joking!)

After I'd done a couple of bentonite clay masks for my hair, I found out about Rhassoul clay, tried it and could immediately tell the difference between both clays - seriously every knot and tangle in  my hair literally melted apart when I used Rhassoul clay. It was AMAZING!

Okay so what exactly is Rhassoul clay? According to Wikipedia, it is a natural mineral clay mined in the Atlas mountains of Morocco and has been used for centuries by Moroccan women to cleanse their hair and skin. If you've ever gone for one of those popular and intensely satisfying Moroccan spa treatments (Hammam) where dead layers of skin are literally sloughed off  your body leaving you seemingly a shade or two lighter and your cellulite is reduced leaving you with more toned skin ? Well, the clay used in this spa treatment is Rhassoul!

Apple Cider Vinegar Rinses For Healthy, Shiny Hair!

I must confess the first time I heard about using vinegar in hair I thought: surely, it aint that serious?! But as with everything else, I was intrigued, tried it out and (on this occasion) was sold!

To explain why Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is so beneficial to our hair, we first need to understand the pH balance in our hair, in the products we use and how they interact with one another.

Think of those 12 inch rulers we used in primary/secondary school and imagine it to be a scale (but make it 14 inch) - with the first half of the scale being acidic and the last half of the scale being alkaline while the middle is neutral. Healthy hair (and skin) has a low acidic pH of 4.5 - 5 meaning ideally, products that we use in our hair should fall into this range. The lower the acid pH range of the product we use (but not the extreme end of the acidic spectrum), the more tightly closed the cuticles become - protecting the inner cortex of the hair strand, preventing damage and giving the hair a sheen as the tightly closed cuticles reflect light.

Now when we use products with a high pH (where they now fall into the alkaline range) they cause the scales on the hair's cuticle to lift, swell and open - leaving the inner cortex unprotected and vulnerable to damage. Relaxers and permanent color fall in the very high 10 - 13 range and this is why a 'neutralizing' shampoo is used after relaxer application to get the hair back to it's normal 4.5 - 5 pH range.

NITC 7, My Funky Updo and Overcoming My Fear of Public Speaking!

Phew! The last couple of days have been hectic and loooong but so rewarding! The 7th edition of Naturals In The City held yesterday the 30th of November at the lovely Omenka Gallery in Ikoyi: it was my first time at the meet up and not only did we have a stand to showcase and sell our products but I had been given the honor of speaking to the lovely ladies present about Ayurveda in Natural hair care (thanks again Natural Nigerian!)

Now, I am FRIGHTENED when it comes to speaking in front of a crowd of people and I had worried myself silly right before I went up to speak. This fear is one I'm determined to conquer and late last year I took steps towards that by enrolling and participating in a public speaking course at the Lagos Business School. I believe it's helped me because I was able to calm my nerves and speak as clearly as possible (yay!) When I recall some horrendous episodes in the past when I literally melted when I got in front of a group of people, I just cringe in embarrassment - maybe one day I'll be brave enough to recount some episodes here for your enjoyment :)