I have been natural for 7 years now. WOW. It definitely has been an uphill battle, but I would not change a thing. I have learned a lot about 4c hair, maintenance, what not to use, and loc repair. I also feel closer to my African roots and conscious of my ancestor’s findings.
Many have jumped on the bandwagon simply because locs now is a trending hairstyle. I chose it because it aligned with my free spirit and gives me more free time. I want to extend some seeds of wisdom so others can learn from my milestones and mistakes.
Don’t Be a Product Junkie
It is relatable that hair products have a special type of allure. The sweet smell. The moisturizing texture. The model with picture-perfect hair posing on the front of the bottle. Don’t binge on tests/trials with too many hair products. The buildup will be hard to get out of your locs.
You don’t want to overspend on hair products when you know that the natural route was meant for simplicity. Think of oils that you love to use for your food. Olive oil, jojoba oil, and black seed oil are all perfect ingredients to add to a bottle of water. Lightly spritz your hair to retain moisture and then let it be. Too much manipulation can be detrimental.
Self-Love Your Roots
To each his own, but I often get perplexed by those who claim they love their hair but perm their baby edges! Like what? You can’t nourish one part of your hair while chemically frying the outline. That sounds like an oxymoron to me.
Investing in self-love can save you from financial ruin in the future. If you want to retire comfortably or even early, you have to start teaching yourself how to budget. Love the natural beauty you were born with. Be self-aware of the educational expenses you can cover when less is spent on outward appearance.
Learn Loc Lingo
You can’t just rely solely on a loctician. Do needed research so you can find which type of locs you prefer. So far there are:
Two Stand Twists
I started my locs with comb coils, then transitioned to interlocking. And now I’m maintaining a semi-freeform look. It’s giving Lauryn Hill vibes. More of thick bushy curls, versus a manicured scalpy look.
When I think of the pain my ancestors went through, I often wonder as a descendant why add more? Wigs are ok from time to time, but the constant pain of pulling, weaving, perming, or ironing 4c hair is a road I’d rather not travel on ever again. Next up on my loc journey is a much-needed trimming and loc repair. An enriching protein treatment. Possible dark coloring to cover up lint/buildup. But nothing major.
Ultimately, I want all of my Queens to have healthy hair. Rock styles that stay true and authentic to you. Live your best natural life.
Would you like to start a loc journey yourself? If you have, how is it going?
Morroco is a beautiful African country situated in the Northern region. It is known for its vast natural resources and minerals. One popular component of Morocco that has garnered global sales is their red clay, otherwise known as “rhassoul clay”. It has a brownish-red color. It can only be found in the Atlas mountains of Morroco, and it contains numerous healing properties. Research shows that its unique mineral composition can be very beneficial for your hair and skin.
Rhassoul Clay Benefits For Hair
Your skin on your scalp contains sebum secretion. When this secretion is imbalanced, it can cause flakiness and irritation on your scalp. Dead skin cells also need to be properly exfoliated. That is where rhassoul clay can come into action. It can clear out your dead skin cells, which in turn creates space for your natural hair to grow. It also balances out the sebum secretion so dandruff can be fought off.
Rhassoul clay contains saponin contents. This content is commonly used in shampoos. It can also be singled out as a shampoo alternative. Plant materials also contain this natural cleansing agent. To create your own shampoo, just mix ghassoul clay with rose water until it becomes a paste. Add essential oils such as coconut oil and lavender oil. Continue to mix. Massage it into your wet hair and scalp, and then rinse it off. You will feel surprised as to how clean, soft, and healthy your hair feels.
Moroccan red clay is more well known for its use as a hair clay mask. It is a natural conditioner that will leave your hair feeling soft and silky. A component of sand that is called silica is in this clay. Silica is an exfoliant, and it can give your hair sheen.
Curly hair can make detangling a challenge. But with minerals such as sulfite and magnesium, rhassoul clay can make your hair more manageable. You deserve natural remedies that are not full of damaging toxins.
Rhassoul Hair Mask Recipe
To make a rhassoul hair mask that is unique to your hair texture, you will need these ingredients:
Rhassoul clay powder
Steps you should take:
How thick you want your hair mask to be is up to you. On average rhassoul clay needs 2 tbsp. of warm water for every 1 tbsp.of clay powder. For 1 clay mask, you will need about 1 to 2 tablespoons of clay.
Mix the warm water in. Make sure to get any lumps out so that it develops into a paste. Using a wooden spoon and bowl is best.
Divide your hair into sections. Apply the mask generously starting at the roots of your hair and working your way to the ends. Wearing gloves is important during this process. The rich texture makes it hard to get off of your skin. Make sure your scalp is well covered as well.
Let the mask permeate your hair. Put a cap on and keep the mask for 20 to 40 minutes. If you have some clay mask over, you can transform it into a face mask.
Now it’s time to rinse it out. When rinsing your hair out you should make sure you are in the shower. Its thick texture makes it hard to get out of your clothes. Take your time to wash it all out. Once you are done, you don’t need to shampoo or condition. The clay mask serves as a 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner.
Rhassoul Clay Benefits For Skin
Our skin can easily capture a lot of toxins and waste in the air. We live in a world where chemicals from manufacturing take a toll on our health. Human greed has placed capitalism over our livelihood. So keeping our skin detoxified is up to us.
Clays have detoxifying effects because they contain ions. Clogged pores can cause acne and breakouts. Morrocan red clay brings out the impurities and pollution from the pores in your skin.
When our skin has excessive oil, it can create pimples and blackheads. Moroccan clay soaks up the extra oil, leaving your skin feeling clean and refreshed.
Eczema and psoriasis have inflammatory effects on your skin. This can negatively impact the appearance of your skin. It gives you a look of discoloration. This might give the impression to others that you don’t wash your skin well when in actuality you might be suffering from a skin disorder. Mix rhassoul clay with some coconut milk and apply it to the affected areas. Leave it on to dry, and then wash it off to get some soothing relief.
Loose pores contribute to loose skin. This can cause premature wrinkling. Moroccan clay has natural astringent properties that can tighten your pores leaving your skin healthier and vibrant.
Rhassoul Skin Mask Recipe
A rhassoul skin mask is similar to a hair mask. The main difference is that less red clay is needed. It is simple to make and you can add your personal favorite essential oils to make it unique.
One tablespoon of Rhassoul clay powder
Two tablespoons of warm water
Few drops of a esssential oil
Steps to take:
You need 2 tbsp. of warm water for every 1 tbsp. of clay powder. Only one tablespoon of clay powder is needed for one face mask.
Mix the warm water and clay thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Add in your favorite essential oils. Only a few drops will suffice.
Apply the mask with your fingers and allow it to dry. It should stay on your face for about 10 minutes.
Rinse it off well with warm water.
Morrocan red clay contains aluminum and magnesium, so you should avoid using it if you have allergies to these minerals. You can purchase Moroccan red clay from most beauty and health food stores.
Rhassoul in Arabic means “to wash.” Their clay has been used by so many different cultures for thousands of years. If you are on this natural hair journey with limited funds, using this clay is a great way to go. It purifies, detoxifies, conditions, and smooths your hair and skin. You deserve to feel beautiful without overspending.
Any questions, comments, or concerns? Sound off below!
Many self-made bosses jumped for joy when they heard about Netflix coming out with a new series, centering around the life of Madam C.J. Walker. It was inspired by her great-great grand-daughter A’Lelia Bundles’ biographical book “On Her Own Ground”. As Black History Month comes to an end, let’s all learn more about the first black female millionaire in America.
Madame C.J Walker’s real name is Sarah Breedlove. She was born on December 23, 1867, on a cotton plantation in Louisiana. Her parents were slaves. By the time they had her they were free, which made her the first in her family to be a free-born child. By age 7 she was an orphan and by age 14 she got married. One of the reasons she married so young was because she was trying to escape an abusive household. By age 20 she was a widow and had a 2-year-old daughter.
Sarah knew she did not want to live a life of financial distress. Plus she had a baby looking up to her. So by 22, she moved to St. Louis Missouri. There she became a part of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, where she met many business-minded black men and women. This inspired her. She was a washerman only making a measly $1.50 a day, but she had dreams of building an empire.
By the early 1890s, Sarah had financial troubles and a scalp disorder. Her hair was falling out and she needed a solution. She became her own hero and created hair care treatments with home remedies. She used Annie Turbo’s Malone “The Great Wonderful Hair Grower”. Annie was a successful black hair care entrepreneur. She recognized her ambitious spirit and hired her as a sales agent.
From Rags To Riches
Sarah moved to Denver Colorado in 1905. There she fell in love with Charles Joseph Walker, an advertising agent, and got married again. With that marriage she reinvented herself, learning about marketing from her husband. She changed her name to Madam C.J Walker and created her own hair care line. Her husband was a great supporter. He was the driving force behind her getting promoted all across the country. Before she knew it, she went from making $1.50 a day to gaining thousands of customers and employing 3,000 workers. Indianapolis became the state where she relocated, and from there she built a factory for her products. She created countless job opportunities for women of color. She educated, trained, and encouraged many through her various clubs/conventions. With 40,000 workers in the United States, Central America, and the Carribean, she truly transformed herself into a self-made boss. Her net worth was the equivalent of several million dollars by her late 40s.
As she got older, she developed high blood pressure, which caused the health of her kidneys to deteriorate. But that did not stop her from being a kind, giving person. In her will, she asked that one-third of her money be given to her daughter. The remaining two-thirds was to be given to charity.
To this day there are hair products bearing her name. Madame C.J Walker Beauty Culture is available at Sephora retailers. The United States Postal Service issued a stamp in the remembrance of her. She proves that if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, your past does not determine your future.
The year 2020 has ushered in new fads and crowd-pleasing hairdos. So hold your applause while we go over the top hairstyles that many Queens will be rocking in 2020.
The Braided Bob
Many braiders will be busy this winter season because the braided bob will be a must-have protected hairstyle. Are you feeling like the Egyptian ruler Cleopatra? Then throw in some gold beads to make your hair pop. Embellished braids are also a hot look. Adding color and/or hair ornaments will make you stand out as unique. Don’t forget to keep your moisturizer close by. If you do not moisturize your hair while they are in braids your natural hair will break off. Shorter braids mean less time sitting at the salon. That is why the braided bob is in high demand.
Bangs don’t only have to be worn with straight hair. Many who have curly textured hair are cutting the front section of their hair to create bangs. To add some flair, you can put your hair in cornrows and let your forehead be covered with beautiful curls. And if your hair is already short then there is no need to get scissors.
Micro braids used to be a popular option for women of color. It gives off a professional vibe and can be styled in many ways. But now with the natural hair movement in full effect, many are opting for micro locs. Women of color are the leading demographic in the United States to own a small business. We do not have the time to spend hours in a chair installing micro braids. We want faster alternatives. Micro locs look neater than traditional locs and have more versatility. They can be started by creating tiny braids, twists, or interlocking.
When marches for fair equality were in full effect, both male and female African Americans would proudly wear full afros. To end Jim Crow laws blacks would march the busiest streets in the country to slow traffic and business revenue. Their afros could be seen from far away. Now with hair color being more advanced, structured cuts are being used on afros. The same way a gardener would trim a bush is the same way our afros are being worn with individuality.
Wet N’ Wavy Hair
The “I just got out of the shower and don’t have time to blow dry my hair” look will continue to trend in 2020. You can slick it back with a Cantu styling product. Pairing it with feline eyeshadow will surely make heads turn. It is a very easy look to maintain and it does not require that your hair is drenched in water. After your hair is washed as you go about your day, the H2O will eventually dry up. So you have to use a product like Super Wet Gel that will give your hair a long-lasting wet look. To find a product that works for you will take some trial and error. But it’s worth the research.
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With winter in full effect, our Queens want a quick easy hairstyle that is gorgeous and protective. New natural hairstyles are popping up, and when examined closely you can tell that they are trying to mimic a tribal look. Afro puffs were hot back in the ’70s when a lot of women of color were fighting for civil rights and revolutionizing the way they wore their hair. Since the summer Afro Bubble Ponytails have been favored as the go-to protective hairstyle. Now with many people being “woke” to the discrimination that natural hairstyles face in the workplace, relaxers are becoming a thing of the past. Nobody wants to put on their strands creamy crack, so the versatility of our hair is now being showcased globally.
Why Relaxers Are No Longer Popular
For many years, Afro heads straightened their hair to get that exotic look. I remember I wore a relaxer on my hair until I became a teenager. I used to dread going to the hair salon because of the hairstylist’s facial expressions. What was not expressed in words was conveyed in body language. The task of getting through a thick head of 4c hair is not an easy one. By the time they reached the back of my hair, my scalp was already burning. Tears would fall from my eyes as they told me I still had to wait some more minutes before they washed it out. The burn you feel from having a relaxer in your hair for too long can be compared to taking a lighter and putting it on your scalp. I truly believe that hairstylists would leave the relaxer in my hair longer than what was recommended because my hair was so coarse. Scalp burns are not the only side effects of relaxers. Uterine fibroid also can result from perms.
The market research firm, Mintel, estimates that by 2020 will be the smallest area of the black hair market. Hair relaxer sales fell 38% between 2012-2017!
The early to mid-2000s saw a huge shift in how we perceived African beauty. Being a 90’s baby I noticed many R&B groups rocked a perm and/or long weaves. But by the early 2000s, Nollywood movies exploded in popularity and viewership. I notice that the standard of beauty in these movies was light makeup and natural hair. Even in Brazil, online searches for “Afro hair” have tripled in the last two years. So it is safe to say that natural hairstyles are trending and are here to stay.
Ponytail hairstyles are a great hairstyle to wear at the gym, work, or even a formal event. They help to keep your hair out of the way so you can focus on your daily routine. Nadula is an astounding hair company that offers affordable ponytail hair extensions. They have a buy one, get one 50% policy for those who purchase 2 of their ponytails. With their array of different curly textures, you can’t go wrong. Spice up your natural hair with Nadula’s ponytail weaves.
How To Achieve The Afro Puff Bubble Ponytail Look
Some like beads. Others like silver/golden hair clips. Whatever accessories you choose to use, just make sure you follow these steps correctly so that you can get the look that you desire.
First, part your hair into sections. Section your hair into the number of ponytails that you want. For a child, many of them like to rock smaller ponytails.
Second, apply the gel to the scalp of your sections. Hold each section down with rubber bands to keep the ponytail in place.
Next, add the Marley or Afro hair that you purchased to your natural hair. Lay it against your natural hair and keep your real hair in the middle. Skip this step if you are just using all of your own hair. Clip-ins are perfect for this look.
Lastly, twist the accessories around sections of your ponytail to create the “ball” look.
For a visual tutorial, here is a step by step instructions from YouTube content creator Nneoma Okorie:
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West Michigan is a melting pot full of many different cultures, ethnicities, and personalities. But what really makes Michiganders stand out from the rest is the amount of creative professionals we have. Look on the tag of any product and you will see the “Made In Michigan” sign . The natural hairstyle movement is producing many unique creative hairstylists in the Grand Rapids area. Very frequently you can see an event created that shows off our local Queens rocking their afros, coils, and locs. In this interview, light is shed on Ms. Jewel Richardson, my loctician, who is an amazing master loctician.
How long have you been natural? Why did you choose to go natural?
I have been natural for 30 years. Freedom is why I choose to be natural. I want to love myself the way I was born. If you are choosing chemicals then you are choosing not to be the way you were born.
How did your family and friends feel about you going natural?
My mother was happy. My family was raised that way so it was not seen as a huge deal. I went natural after I left Grand Rapids and went to Atlanta. My friends were not really fond of it, so it was when I changed my environment that I changed my viewpoint.
What products do you use for your hair?
Light oils for my scalp. I only shampoo my hair twice a year. I clean it once in a while because the oil and grease buildup is a protection to my hair. Aloe. And oils. Water contains acid and dries your hair. Oils will seal in and moisturise your hair. Mousse. Daily hair and scalp rejuvenating spray if I want to twist and wrap it. Styling: bobby pins, headwraps, and cloths. I flat iron my locs because you can do everything with locs beside comb it.
What accessories do you like to use on your locs?
Cowry shells, pony beads.
What must have products should every natural hair Queen have?
Must have products is Aloe. Chocolate indie b mask, chocolate conditioner. Shea butter is a product that you can use in many ways. You can press and twist natural hair with shea butter.
What is your mission as a hairstylist?
Being an example of loving myself the way I was made. Having the opportunity to educate and encourage. When I am talking about natural hair, I am more specific to Type 2- Type 8. It is the people who have a Curl, or an S or a 2 to their hair. Straight hair has different needs and desires. Most people of color can not look at their hair in the mirror for 30 minutes without having a hatred for their hair. Embrace your natural hair.
Not only is Ms. Jewel a hairstylist, she is also a activist, a poet, a mother, and a dancer. She founded West Michigan Jewels of Africa, a traditional African dance and drum Troop. Her love for people, natural hair, and our community is very commendable.
African Beauty And Braids blog has been featured on blog.feedspot.com as one of the Top 50 Natural Hair Blogs and Websites For Black Women in 2019 !!! It ranked at number 45. (https://blog.feedspot.com/natural_hair_blogs/) Thanks for all of the likes and shares. It is my dream to get it to be a part of the top 10 natural hair blogs in the world in 5 years or less. Through more content, adding a subscription, creating ebooks, a newsletter, getting it monetized, and increasing my viewership/readers, this can be attainable. Much love to all of my supporters. Much love to all of my Queens around the world. Always remember: you are beautiful, you are smart, and you are important.
I have had my locs for four years and 9 months and man, they have grown . Many people have asked me : Are they real? Is that yarn?
Yes! These are my real locs and no, this is not yarn.
How did I achieve this growth and thickness?
Stimulate Your Scalp
Just like a plant needs water to grow, your scalp needs water to stay hydrated and healthy. You can buy a empty spray bottle from Dollar Tree and just fill it up with water. Spritz your hair several times a day or whenever you have a chance. You can massage the moisture into your locs with a brush. This helps a lot to prevent breakage and thinning.
Since my doctor suggested that I go on a diet I have been taking a break from Popeyes. Drinking a lot of water, eating your fruits and vegetables ( strawberries is better than sour-patch kids , and carrots is better than Cheetos), will create length retention and thicker hair. Your body is over 50% water, so drink lots of it!
Put A Scarf Over Your Pillow
If you are lazy like me than you know you never put a scarf on your head before you go to bed. Girl do you? Well if you don’t , a solution to your laziness is to just put a satin scarf over your pillow. Personally, I just put a regular scarf over my pillow. It keeps the lint away. There are also “Satin Du-bags”. They sell them online and they are specifically made for locs.
Lock In The Moisture With Oils
Image Credit: Amazon, Walmart, Dollar Tree
Water is not enough to keep your locs healthy. You have to lock in the moisture with oils. My personal favorites are coconut oil, olive oil, and Wild Growth Oil. Wild Growth Hair Oil is an amazing product for any type of hair. This oil is popular worldwide. Wild Growth Oil really helped my hair when I was first starting out. It helped me go from this:
To this :
Don’t Re-twist Often
What I notice some locheads will do is frequently go to the loctician to get their locs re-twisted. Over twisting can cause your hair to break at the roots. Sometimes I mindlessly twist my locs with my hands. Playing with your hair can make it easy to break off. It is recommended that you wait at least 4 weeks to get your locs re-twisted. I only re-twist a couple of times every year.
Let Your Locs Be Free
Always manipulating your hair with twist-outs and different styling can weaken your locs. You have to treat your coils like a newborn baby that constantly needs care. If you use a lot of rubber bands that can also weaken your strands. Most of the time, I just wear a headband or a scarf and let it flow freely. Make sure you don’t wrap your scarf too tight though, because that can create tension to your roots. I am living proof that with proper moisture, a healthy eating lifestyle, and minimal styling, you can grow long, thick, locs!