My Natural Hair Journey

I have been wearing my hair natural for 8 years now.  When I first went natural, I chose to big chop as opposed to transitioning. I wanted to feel that sense of immediate gratification.  There were a few times in the beginning of my journey that I considered going back to the “creamy crack,” but I am glad that I stuck it out.


I went through a long process of trying to find what actually works for my hair.  I consider myself a “reformed”’ product junkie.  At the beginning of my journey, I tried almost every product on the shelf hoping that it would work for my hair the same way it worked for another individual.  I eventually learned that we all have different textures of hair and that not all products work the same for each person.

I have gone through a big chop five times since originally going natural.  I am currently rocking a TWA now.  I consider myself a lazy natural.  Meaning that I don’t want to spend an excessive amount of time styling my hair.  I actually think I’m burned out from the days of perming my hair and spending so much time flat ironing and curling and what not. I also think the joys of motherhood and having to keep up with my son has a bit to do with that as well. Presently, short hair is just so much easier for me to maintain.  I will probably eventually let it grow back out, but I am enjoying this stage right now.


To care for my hair, I co-wash weekly.  I shampoo every other week unless I have product buildup, then I’ll shampoo more frequently using a clarifying shampoo. I always use a leave-in conditioner and I deep condition my hair every other week.  I follow the LCO (liquid, cream, oil) method after washing my hair.   This method works better for my hair.  I have used olive, coconut, grapeseed and jojoba oils on my hair.  My hair seems to like grapeseed oil best.  It’s very light and does a great job when it comes to sealing my hair.  When it comes to styling, I use either Care Free Curl Gold activator to add a bit of moisture and shine, at other times all I use is Luster’s Pink Oil Moisturizer. Yes, they are old-school, but they work great on my tiny fro.

I love my hair and again, I am so thankful that I kept it natural instead of going back to the relaxer.  How is your natural hair journey going?  Have any of you fallen off the wagon and decided to go back to relaxing?

 

 

SKINCARE BASICS

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Adopting A Healthy Skincare Routine

We all know that daily skin care is important, right?  Our skin is the largest barrier that we have to protect us from infections. Healthy skin also helps us to age gracefully.

Some of us are under the misconception that you need the most expensive cleansers, moisturizers, and latest tools in order to properly achieve healthy skin. That, however, is not true. Your daily regimen does not have to include a ten or twelve step process. A good skin care regimen requires proper cleansing, exfoliation, toning, and moisturizing.

Here are the basic steps you should follow in order to achieve healthy skin and maintain a “youthful” glow.

LB Skincare Photo 2
CLEANSE
Cleansing is essential to remove oil, dirt and dead skin cells. Cleanse your face twice a day to remove dirt, makeup, and excess oil. When cleansing, be very gentle with your skin.  You also want to pat your face when drying as opposed, to rubbing.  

There are many different types of cleansers on the market.  Here’s a simple breakdown of a few of the different types of cleansers available:

Bar soaps can be a bit more drying than other facial cleansers. They can strip your skin of natural oils, therefore they tend to be more suitable for those with oily skin.

Lotion/Gel cleansers are mild cleansers that are best suited for those with dry or sensitive skin.

Foaming cleansers can also be a bit drying. Therefore, those with oily skin tend to do better with a foaming cleanser.

Medicated cleansers contain acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Salicylic acid helps to clear blocked pores while reducing swelling and redness. Benzoyl peroxide exfoliates the skin and kills bacteria.

Be sure to choose a cleanser that is best suited for your particular skin type. You may have to actually experiment to see which one is best suited for you. You always want to choose the cleanser that is most gentle on your skin.


EXFOLIATE
No matter your skin type, you can benefit from exfoliating.  Exfoliating removes dead skin cells from your pores while revealing new skin cells.

Choose a gentle exfoliant as opposed to a scrub. Pay attention to your skin as well.  Some people can get away with exfoliating on a daily basis, while others may only be able to do it once a week.  Do what is best for you and your skin.

TONE
A toner can help to remove any leftover traces of dirt and makeup.  People with oily skin or those prone to acne can especially benefit from using a toner.

Our skin is naturally acidic. During the cleansing process, that balance is thrown off.  Your skin will naturally produce more oil to try and restore that balance which of course results in oily skin.  Applying toner helps to restore the pH balance of your skin after cleansing.

MOISTURIZE
Lastly, you want to make sure that you properly moisturize.  You should incorporate a moisturizer into your skin care routine as early as your twenties.  

Make sure that you use light handed, upward strokes to apply moisturizer to your neck and face.  Be extra careful with the sensitive skin around your eyes.  Remember that less is more.  If you apply a thick layer of moisturizer, it can lead to breakouts, because your skin cannot absorb it properly.

You should moisturize twice a day.  Your daytime moisturizer should include an SPF to help protect against the sun’s rays.  Most nighttime formulas do not contain an SPF but instead contain anti-aging ingredients.  Be sure to choose a formula that is compatible with your skin type.

One of the most important and often overlooked aspects of healthy skin is simply H2O.  Drink plenty of water on a daily basis – the rule of thumb is at least 64 ounces per day.  By incorporating these basics into my daily routine, I have been able to achieve healthier looking skin.

Do you follow a daily skincare regimen? What are your essentials? Share them with us.

My Top 5 Drugstore Beauty Products

 

 

The amount of money that we spend on makeup and beauty products can quickly add up.  So when I find a bargain that works well without breaking the bank, I am pretty excited.  Below I share with you 5 of my favorite drugstore beauty products.  

 

Facial Cleansing Wipes

Skincare is very important.  Most nights, I follow a very strict skincare regimen.  There are however, times when I am in a rush to get to bed, and I just want to cleanse my face quickly.  Garnier SkinActive Refreshing Remover Cleansing Towelettes are my saving grace.  They do a great job of removing ALL of my makeup (including mascara).  Unlike some other wipes, these are very gentle on my skin.

Garnier Wipes

Mascara

Mascara is the one product that I do not leave home without. If I don’t apply any other makeup, I have to have my mascara. I love the Elf Volumizing and Defining Mascara.  It lengthens my lashes without adding too much volume to them. It provides a good coverage for everyday wear,  and does not run.  And with a $2 price tag, you can’t beat that.

Elf Mascara

Foundation

L’Oreal Paris True Match Super Blendable Makeup is my fave! This liquid foundation provides a very lightweight coverage and it matches my skin tone perfectly.  I don’t like a heavily made up look, so this foundation is perfect for me.

Loreal C7 Makeup

Exfoliating Scrub

I use a facial scrub 2 – 3 times a week to remove dead skin cells and to give my skin a youthful glow.  L’Oreal go360 Clean Deep Cleansing Exfoliating Scrub is very gentle on my skin.  It comes with a facial scrublet to help gently exfoliate and cleanse your skin.  It does a great job of cleansing and exfoliating without drying out my skin.

360 Clean with Scrublet

Lip gloss

I am a lip gloss lover! LA Colors Moisturizing Lip Gloss in Tickled Pink is one of my favorites. This gloss does a good job of moisturizing.  It goes on smoothly and leaves my lips nice and shiny – just the way I like ‘em.

LA Colors Lip Gloss

What are your favorite beauty bargains?  Share them with us!

 

 

 

Eden BodyWorks Natural Pudding Souffle Product Review

 

EdenBodyworksReview

I was excited to give this product a try because I’d heard so many great reviews on it.  I decided that I would use this as a part of my wash and go routine.  I purchased this pudding souffle at my local Wal-Mart for about $8.

The description states that it “adds moisture to dry, thirsty tresses using an exotic blend of all natural ingredients formulated to reduce frizz, enhance textured styles and provide a soft, shiny finish.” Before applying the souffle, I shampooed my hair with Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo, and  conditioned with Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner.  I did not rinse out my conditioner.

While my hair was damp, I applied a small amount of coconut oil to my hair, and then I applied the Eden Body Works Natural Pudding Souffle. This product is very thick in consistency. It also has a nice, but very light coconut smell to it.  During the application process, the product felt very sticky to me.  I applied a good bit of the product to my hair completely from root to tip. I then allowed my hair to air dry.

After my hair was completely dry, I noticed white flakes on top of my hair.  My hair was also extremely dry.  The only pro was that my curls were nicely defined. It did not give me the results that I was expecting, so I was a bit disappointed.  The directions did state “for best results, use with Coconut Shea Leave in Conditioner.”  I don’t know if that would have made a difference, or not. I haven’t completely given up on this product.  I am going to try the full line of Eden Body Works products (shampoo and conditioner) along with the pudding souffle to see if I can achieve better results.

Have you tried this pudding souffle?  What was your experience?  Leave us a comment below.
Ingredient List: Water (Aqua), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil , Vegetable Oil, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Cetyl Esters, Glyceryl Dilaurate, Steareth-20, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Milk, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Lactobacillus/Tomato Fruit Ferment Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Keratin Amino Acids, Acyl Coenzyme A Desaturase, Cetrimonium Chloride, Glycerin, Sodium PCA, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Hydrolyzed Silk, Panthenyl Hydroxypropyl Steardimonium Chloride, Fragrance (Parfum), Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol

 

Adopting a Healthier Lifestyle

When it comes to building healthy habits, small decisions add up over time. Healthy eating habits , along with other lifestyle changes will help you to achieve your desired weight, gain mental clarity, and increase longevity. Below, find ideas on ways to be healthier every day:

  1. Have a drink.  By drink, I am referring to water.  The majority of us do not take in  the recommended daily amount of water.  Did you know that your body is 57-60% water? Therefore, water makes up more than half of your body weight. We lose water each day when going to the bathroom, sweating, and even during breathing. Our bodies lose water even faster when the weather is hot, when we are physically active, or if we have a fever. If we don’t replace the water we lose, we can become dehydrated.
  2. Move a little.  Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), exercise can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer.  Exercise also helps to lower stress levels, and improve sleep quality as well as reduce your risk for depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Regular exercise will help to strengthen your bones and muscles and also improve your mental health as well as your mood.
  3. Adopt a healthy diet. Add more fruits and vegetables to your daily meals. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables can help reduce your cancer risk. That is one reason the American Cancer Society recommends eating at least 2½ cups of these foods every day. By choosing  brightly colored produce, you get a better mix of vitamins, and antioxidants. These nutrients help to ward off disease, slow the aging process and boost your overall health.
  4. Kick that habit to the curb.  Tobacco smoke contains many chemicals that are harmful to both smokers and nonsmokers. Smoking has been found to harm nearly every bodily organ and organ system in the body and can diminish your overall health. Some of the  benefits of quitting smoking include: normalized heart and blood pressure rates, improved circulation, less coughing/wheezing, improved sense of smell and taste and a lowered risk of cancer and heart disease.
  5. Reduce sugar intake. Added sugars (like sucrose and high fructose corn syrup) contain a lot  of calories without any essential nutrients, which is why they are referred to as empty calories.  Excess  sugar consumption can lead to insulin resistance, high triglycerides, increased levels of bad cholesterol and increased fat accumulation in the liver, and abdominal cavity, and it can have an adverse effect on your metabolism.
  6. Avoid processed foods.  Processed foods are typically loaded with added sugar, and we know that sugar in excess can be harmful. Processed foods also contain several artificial ingredients that include preservatives, artificial colors, and artificial flavorings. They are also very high in simple carbohydrates while containing very few nutrients.
  7. Laugh a little.  Laughter causes physiological responses that protect your body from disease and helps your vital organs repair themselves. A study by the John Hopkins University Medical School showed that humor and laughter can also improve memory and mental performance.
  8. Shut down those electronics.  This is one I struggle with. Electronics are a part of life in the 21st century, which means that  we are exposed to the light that our devices emit.  The light exposure from our electronic devices promote wakefulness.  You should “unplug” your devices at least two hours before bed. This gives your brain a chance to unwind and get ready for sleep.
  9. Pray/Meditate daily.  Regular prayer and meditation has been shown in numerous scientific studies to be an important factor in living longer and staying healthy. According to a  Huffington Post article, “individuals who prayed daily were shown to be 40 percent less likely to have high blood pressure than those without a regular prayer practice.”  Prayer has also been known to boost the immune system and lower stress levels.
  10. Spend some quality time with loved ones. Eat dinner together. Participate in activities as a family. Have a family night each week (encourage your kids to choose activities).  Attend weekly worship services together.  Develop holiday traditions with your family.  As you foster healthy relationships with the ones you love, you will live a fuller, more meaningful life.

What are some of the ways that you maintain a healthy lifestyle?  Share with us below.

 

 

The Benefits of Using Grapeseed Oil

As a naturalista, I am pretty sure you use some type of oil on your hair.  Whether it’s coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, or castor oil – you are probably familiar with them all. At different times, and for different reasons, I happen to use all of the above.  I have noticed that my hair really loves grapeseed oil, therefore I have made it a regular part of my healthy hair care regimen.

Grapeseed oil is an excellent choice for both your skin, and for your hair. It is very lightweight, so it does not weigh your hair down. Grapeseed oil is high in linoleic acid which is a type of omega-6 fatty acid, and rich in antioxidants.  It is also rich in Vitamin E, which is essential for hair growth. This oil helps to strengthen your hair from root to tip.  One of the reason’s I love using grapeseed oil is because it does not leave my hair with a greasy feel, and it does a great job sealing in moisture.

Grape Seed Oil

Not only do I use grapeseed oil on my hair, but I use it on my body as well It is an excellent moisturizer and helps to combat dry skin.

How I Use Grapeseed Oil:

  1. I gently massage it into my scalp to moisturize my scalp and combat dryness.
  2. I use it as a sealant for my hair. I apply it after washing my hair to help seal in moisture.
  3. I use it as a hot oil treatment for my hair.
  4. I use it as a skin moisturizer.  I add a small amount of  grapeseed oil to my whipped body butter to enhance its moisturizing effects.  Because grapeseed oil is odorless, I sometimes use it alone after a bath or shower in the place of my normal coconut oil.

How do you use grapeseed oil?  Let us know in the comments.