The trials, triumphs, and truths of the natural hair journey

Wow! Where has the time gone?

Oh wait, you didn't think I went through the TWA (teenie weenie afro) stage? 
Yes ma'am/sir! While I've finally reached my personal hair zen, the three years it's taken to get here has been nothing short of a journey; and it started with the TWA! 

Learn the why, when, and how's of my decision to go natural in this video:



While some people ease right in, I gotta keep it real! For me, the first year of going natural is HARD!!!. When talking to newly naturals, I refer to this time as "the hump". You go in thinking it's about hair but very quickly you find that it's about sooooooo much more! 

I've always prided myself on being a lioness- strong-minded, self-determined, driven, and never-easily led. Despite these qualities, I was surprised by how much I too had internalized the myths, untruths, and hurtful stereotypes society projects onto women; particularly women of color as relates to the ideals of beauty. Until it was gone, I never understood how my hair was so inter-mingled with my sense of beauty, confidence, and even self-worth.

Starting with denial and ending with acceptance, I can gladly say that I've made it through!
How about you? What part of the journey are you in? What feelings have you dealt with?

Have you gone through the stages of natural?
Check it out. Not only will this video inform, it will truly inspire and uplift you!


STAY ENCOURAGED FRIEND!!!
Like you, I've made many mistakes and learned many lessons. Fortunately, it's only hair. IT WILL GROW BACK!

Just remember, while healthy hair practices, great products and perfect technique are important, the key to success comes down to one thing; 
P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E!

Don't take my word for it. Check out these natural hair queens!


Stick with it!
With a bit of education, a dab of Quench and a touch of patience, you too can reach healthy hair zen!

                                                                                                                                                                       
         
        December 2009
                                 
               November 2012
    
Chime in Journeyers!  
What stage of the journey are you in? 
What has been the most important lesson you have learned along the way? Share your thoughts in the comments section or click on the icon below to chat with us in the Facebook group page! 
See you there!

Problems??? Click here>>> https://www.facebook.com/groups/JourneytomyRoots

Winterize Your Hair Routine!


You've winterized your wardrobe. 

How about your hair routine?



Unlike the humid days of summer, winter air is much drier. Given this, even the healthiest head can experience dry hair and tight, itchy scalp. Avoid it all by winterizing your routine. Here's how...

  • Go ahead, take the appetizer and the desert! Treat your hair to an appetizer and dessert. In hair lingo we'd call that a pre-poo and deep condition treatment, respectively. Both spoil your hair with extra vitamins, nutrients, proteins and moisture! This is one time when pigging out is a GOOD thing! 
    • Learn all about pre-pooing and deep conditioning (including a DIY recipe) here>>> Pre-pooing 101
  • Kick the -ates! If you haven't already, move to a sulfate-free shampoo during the winter. Sulfates are detergents. While great for cleansing, sulfates are very drying to the hair! So shelf the sulfates during the cold months. 
  • Hold the humectants! Humectants are substances that attract water. Great, right? Not always. During the humid days of summer,humectants extract water from the air. During the arid or dry days of winter, humectants extract water from your hair! Humectants commonly found in hair products include Panthenol (Pro-vitamin B),  propylene glycol , PEG compounds, hydrolyzed proteins (ie elastin, collagen, silk keratin), vegetable glycerin, honey, and sugars (ie fructose, sucrose).
  • Swap the jacket for a coat! You've packed away your thin summer jacket for a thick winter coat. Do the same with your oils! Replace your thin oils like grapeseed and extra virgin olive oil for heavier/thicker oils and butters like castor, coconut, jojoba oil and shea butter. 
    • Learn about natural carrier and essence oils here>>> Oils 101
    • Are you using the right technique when applying your oils? Click here to find out >>>Applying Oils
  • Stop showing so much skin! Protective styles are great year-round but just like summer dresses and sandals, skin is best show in the summer! If your protective style exposes your scalp to the dry winter air (ie cornrows, bantu knots, etc.), you'll likely notice that your scalp feels tight . If you're wearing extensions, you'll notice it even more because the added hair steals moisture from your own hair and scalp. This is especially true if you're using fake or cheap hair. Much like cloth, fake or cheap hair will absorb additional moisture from your hair. So invest in good hair and as much as possible, choose styles that shield your scalp and ends.
  • Spread the Love! While too heavy for the sweaty days of summer, applying sealant to your scalp is a great way to prevent and relieve winter's tight and itchy scalp. Run a little of your winter oil over your well-watered scalp! Need something thicker/heavier than oil? Prefer the feel/consistency of hair grease? Make your own!
    • Try it!: Mix shea butter and natural oil to your desired consistency. A ratio of 2: 1 is fairly consistent with hair grease. Example: Add 1/2 cup of shea butter with 1 cup of your favorite oil(s). Be sure to add a bit of honey or tea tree oil to your mix. Both are natural preservatives! Just remember. If you use tea tree oil, use sparingly. Like all essential oils, a little goes a LONG way!
    • Buy it!: Not a DIY type? Try my product! Quench is a mixture of shea butter, essential oils, aloe vera gel, vegetable glycerin, minoxidil (Rogaine), honey, vitamin E and natural fragrances. Got thirsty tresses? Quench them! 
      • Pick it up under the "shop" tab of my blogsite!
    • Note: NEVER apply synthetic hair grease to your scalp. Unlike natural sealants, the main ingredient in hair grease is typically mineral oil or one of its cousins; petrolatum, petroleum and paraffin. Shea butter feeds your hair vitamins and minerals. It protects with natural sunscreens and it stimulates with natural anti-oxidants. Mineral oil does none of these things. Applying it to your scalp seals in water but it suffocates your hair from receiving added water and oxygen. It attracts dirt and it requires a harsh detergent to be removed....and this will lead to further drying.
  • Cover it up! Despite the myth, wearing wet hair in the winter does not cause colds. Colds come from viruses, not cold weather! Nonetheless, it's good to cover your head to keep warm and more importantly, to slow down the rate at which moisture escapes from your hair. So cover it up!
    • Cotton and wool suck your hair dry so only cover your head with hats, hoods and scarves that are lined with silk or satin. Not lined? Fret not my friend. Check out this quick tip video for a work-around!





Voila! Your routine is now winterized!

What are some steps you take to winterize your hair routine? Share in the comments or come over to the chat room to share! >>> CHAT!

                                                         

Natural Oils



The natural oils commonly used in hair and cosmetic products can be categorized into two buckets- essential oils and carrier oils. 
Learn all about both in this video tutorial and the blog below! 

Essential Oils:

Essential oils are called such because they carry the "essence" or scent of the plant/flower/vegetable from which they were derived. Essential oils are often used as perfumes or to give fragrance. Essential oils are VERY strong/highly concentrated so a small amount goes a long way! Using too much of an essential oil can cause irritation/burning. Common essential oils include peppermint oil, lavender oil, rosemary oil, tea tree oil, lemon oil, and tea tree oil.

Try it!: 



Tea tree oil (malaleuca oil) is an essential oil with natural antimicrobial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Because of this, tea tree oil makes a great natural preservative. Add a few drops of tea tree oil to your homemade/DIY concoctions to keep them sanitary and to preserve their shelf life! Because of its camphoraceous nature, tea tree oil (like peppermint, rosemary, and eucalyptus oil) is also good for combating scalp problems such as sensitivity, dryness, and itching. After using an electric razor (ie after a son's haircut or after shaping up your hairline) blot a bit of tea tree oil onto a piece of cotton. Rub the cotton across the hairline, behind the ears and across the forehead. The tea tree oil will prevent the development of hair bumps and limit skin irritation! See how I use it my video on Shaping up Necklines>>>


Lavender oil is one of my favorite essential oils. With its calming scent, lavender has been used for centuries to lower stress, reduce anxiety and facilitate relaxation. Add a few drops to a hot bath and dab a few drops along your pulse points to relieve stress at the end of the day.

Carrier Oils
Carrier oils are called such because they are great for "carrying" or diluting essential oils. Carrier oils seal in moisture, feed your hair (vitamins A.B, C, D, E, proteins, amino acids), stimulate growth (anti-oxidant cell regeneration), and protect your hair (natural sunscreen)! Common carrier oils include grapeseed oil, castor/Jamaican black castor oil, olive/extra virgin olive oil, almond/sweet almond oil, coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, argan/Moroccan oil, apricot oil, and jojoba oil.

Try it!

Grapeseed oil is a carrier oil that acts as a great heat protectant. With a smoke point of 400+ degrees, grapeseed oil will protect your hair from the high heat of a blow dryer, flat-iron, or pressing comb. I used grapeseed oil to protect my hair during my first flat-ironing. It worked wonderfully! Check it out>>>

Castor oil is a carrier oil thought to reverse thinning or balding. Use castor oil along your edges or in other areas where thinning/balding is a problem! While plain castor oil is great, Jamaican Black Castor Oil aka JBCO is even better.
 Made from the darker castor beans of Jamaica, JBCO is a rich treatment that should be part of every healthy hair routine. One of my staple/must-have products is the Strong Roots Red Pimento Hair Growth Oil by Tropic Isle Living. It's a rich blend of JBCO, organic coconut oil, glycerine, lemon oil, lavender oil, and the growth-stimulating red pimento oil. Get it online from Oils from Jamaica (www.oilsfromjamaica.com). Use promo code JTMR and you'll get a small discount to help with shipping! Learn all about it in this video review>>>


Despite being called as much, jojoba is not a carrier oil but instead a wax. More than any other oil, jojoba oil closely resembles the structure or skins' natural moisturizer, sebum. For this reason, jojoba oil is a GREAT option for folks with oil sensitivity (ie those with nut-based allergies or those who have skin breakouts as a result of using oil).



Extra virgin olive oil is a carrier oil that is great for cooking and even better for sealing, feeding, and protecting your hair. While olive oil is great, extra virgin olive oil is better for the hair because it is less acidic and goes through less processing than olive oil. If nothing else, most of us always have some EVOO in the cupboard...use it! Dilute your favorite natural butter (shea, coconut, mango) by adding 2 parts extra virgin olive oil to one part butter!

Where can I get them?
Now that you know about oils, you may be wondering where to pick them up. Nowadays more and more grocery and convenience (ie Target, WalMart, Big-Lots, etc) stores carry various oils. Sometimes you'll find them in the cooking section and sometimes you'll find them in the vitamin/herbal supplement section. Three of my favorite places to get oils are Trader Joe's, Whole Foods Market, and online at Vitacost (www.vitacost.com). While GNC and Vitamin Shoppe also sell various natural oils, I find that they are a bit more costly than the other options.

Quick Tip:
Try this quick trick to use oils without making a mess!


Chime in!

What are your favorite natural oils? How do you use them? 
Share in the comments section below or come on over to the chat room and chime in! 


Cowashing & Nopooing 101


Since going natural, there are a couple of things I swear by. One of them is cowashing or nopooing.

What's it mean?
  • Cowash: To cowash is to cleanse the hair with conditioner instead of shampoo. 
    • Thus conditioner (co) + washing (wash) = cowash
  • Nopoo: To nopoo is to cleanse the hair with something other than a sulfate-based shampoo. It may be conditioner (= cowashing) or it may be something else. Examples of non-sulfate cleansers include saponified oil bars, glycerin bars, African black soap, etc.
    • Thus cleansing - shampoo = nopooing
Why cowash/nopoo?
The cleansing ability of most shampoos comes from sulfates. Sulfates are salts that bind to dirt, oil, product, etc. Water then rinses this bound debris from the hair. In addition to dirt, product, and oil, sulfates remove sebum, the hair's natural moisturizer.

While excess sebum causes the hair to be oily, your hair is meant to have some level of sebum at all times. In the right balance, sebum keeps the hair moist, pliable (resistant to breaking), and protected from the sun. When used in excess, sulfates remove ALL the sebum from the hair. Removing all the sebum from your hair leaves it dry, limp, and fragile.

The benefit of cowashing/nopooing is that these techniques limit (cowashing*) or eliminate (nopooing) the use of sulfates. By limiting or eliminating the use of sulfates, you limit or eliminate the potential for drying, stripping, and damage.

Q: Don't most conditioners also include sulfates?
A: YES! While most conditioners also include sulfates, they include them in MUCH lower concentration than shampoo. Thus cleansing with conditioner leaves the hair clean yet not damaged.

How do I know if my product contains sulfates?
When reading an ingredient list, sulfates are easy to find because they usually end in the letters "ate".

The most common sulfates used in cosmetic products include:

  • Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), 
  • Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), 
  • Ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS), and 
  • Behentrimonium methosulfate (BMS) 
Sodium lauryl sulfate is the harshest of these sulfates and should be avoided whenever possible. It's usually found in cheap and low-quality cleansers. Behentrimonium methosulfate and its cousin Behentrimonium Chloride (BC) are much gentler cleansers. They are often used in infant and sensitive skin products. You'll also find them in the higher quality cosmetic products. When picking a shampoo or conditioner, look for products that include these instead!

Learn more about sulfates here>>>

Exceptions:
While sulfates can be drying/damaging to the hair, there is a time when they should most definitely be used. Sulfate-based shampoos should be used anytime you've used a product with significant levels of mineral oil (or its cousins petrolatum, petroleum, paraffin, and paraffin wax).

Mineral oil, petrolatum, petroleum, paraffin, and paraffin wax are low-quality, non-water-soluble humectants that bind tightly to the hair. This means they sit on top of the hair and are not removed by water alone. Rather, these ingredients must be removed by a strong cleanser such as a sulfate-based shampoo. So after using products with mineral oil, be sure to cleanse the hair with a sulfate-based shampoo. Just be sure to pick a product with one of the more gentle sulfates.

Learn more about mineral oil, petrolatum, petroleum, paraffin, and paraffin wax here>>>


Try it!

Cowash: Some of my favorite cowashers include Tresemme (Naturals, Flawless Curls, or Remoisturize) Conditioner and Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Conditioner. Get either at your local WalMart, Target, drugstore or grocer.

Nopoo: Some of my favorite liquid nopoos include Tropic Isle Living Jamaican Black Castor Oil and Shea Butter Shampoo or SheaMoisture Moisture Retention Shampoo. You can get the JBCO Shampoo online at Oils from Jamaica (http://www.oilsfromjamaica.com). Use promo code JTMR for a small discount!!! You can get the SheaMoisture shampoo at your local WalMart, Target, or Walgreens.


Some of my favorite solid/bar nopoo cleansers include the all natural bars made by Hekalu Naturals (http://hekalunaturals.com) and those made by Lia Naturals (formerly Jarmelia's DIY Hair and Skin Care Products (http://www.diyhaircareproducts.com). 



Learn even more about cowashing and nopooing (and see me do it) in my video tutorial. Haven't subscribed to my YouTube channel? Please do so and please "like" the video>>>


Share your thoughts! 
Do you cowash/nopoo? What are your favorite products? 
Share your feedback in the comments section below or better yet, join us in the Journey to My Roots Chat Room/Group on Facebook. 
See you there!!!!!


Join us by clicking the picture above or the link below!

PSA: Silk Bonnets, Night Scarves, Curlers, and Pajamas in Public

Is this what's hot in the streets?
Perhaps I was raised a bit prudish but WTH is up with folks wearing silk bonnets, night scarves, curlers, and pajamas in public? Is this what's hot in the streets these days?

Sadly, this look has become quite the trend. 
It seems daily that I'm visually assaulted by someone wearing a silk bonnet and some pajamas in public. 
Be it Target, the grocery store, the local 7-11, wherever; these folks could care less! 
WHY people? WHY?

Check out this video PSA on the topic...


Look, I know some people have medical issues that force them to wear loose-fitting clothes, perhaps pajamas, in public. But I'm willing to bet good money that MOST of the people doing this have no issue besides laziness. 
Yep, I said it, L-A-Z-I-N-E-S-S!!! 
I mean how hard is it to put on a comfortable sweat suit and throw your hair into a pony-puff/pony-tail/afro? It's not hard at all! 

Sure, we all have days where we don't feel like doing our hair. 
But trust me, even then, there are better options than a nasty silk bonnet or night scarf. 

Check out this video for a super simple alternative...



So consider this a public service announcement...


Get your life together! 
You're too young, too beautiful, and too able to do better. 
Show a little respect for yourself and others.
Take a shower. Put on some clothes. Do something with your hair!
THANK YOU!

So what about you?
Are you seeing a lot of silk bonnets, nigh scarves, curlers, and pajamas in public? 

Apparently it's quite the trend. Check out Ms.QTStyle's video on this topic...


What are your thoughts?
What do you think about this trend- yeah or neah? 
Share  in the comments below and come on over to the Journey to My Roots Group 
on Facebook to chime in...See you there!


Click the picture above or the link below to join the group and the discussion>>> http://facebook.com/groups/JourneytomyRoots

Humectants 101 (and a DIY Vegetable Glycerin Spritz)



What are humectants?: 
Humectants aka dessicants are substances that attract and help to retain water.

Why use them?:
Humectants are great for attracting and locking water into the hair.

What are common humectants?:
Common natural humectants include glycerin, honey, beeswax, jojoba oil (actually a wax) and butters (shea, mango, coconut). Common synthetic humectants include propylene glycol.

How do you use humectants?
Add humectants to your routine by including them in your prepoo, your deep conditioner, and your moisturizing spritz. Check out how I add honey to my prepoo/deep conditioner mix!


When should you use humectants?:
Because humectants attract water, there is much debate about whether to use them in the summer or year-round. Why? It's less about summer/winter and more about humidity/aridity.

Humectants work by attracting water. When the air is humid, that means water is pulled from the atmosphere towards your hair. When the air is arid (dry), humectants can actually draw water away from the hair and strangle it off.


As for the debate, I think this is one of the many areas where naturals stay doing the most. It's just not that serious. I mean think about it; if the humectant pulls water away from the hair, where is it really going to go in that short period of time?????? The humectant is just going to pull water towards itself which means if anything, it's just pulling the water to the outer layer of the hair follicle. You can avoid this and prevent the water from escaping by using anti-humectants such as silicones (preferably water-soluble silicones in hair glossers and anti-frizz serums) or a good nourishing humectant that has some weight such as shea or mango butter. They will help to seal the water in versus letting it escape.

Try it! :
In this video tutorial I'll show you how to make a super simple, super moisturizing vegetable glycerin spritz. This humectant spritz is GREAT for adding moisture when your hair is feeling a little dry and you don't have time for a wash. It's also great for sprucing up day two styles. Try it!


What are your favorite humectants and how do you use them? Share below in the comments section. 

Prepooing 101

Pre (prior) + poo (shampoo) = Prepoo
Prepooing is a great way to protect your hair from the harsh sulfatess in shampoo or detergents in sulfate-free cleansers (aka no-poos).

There are two common ways to prepoo:
1. Oil: Apply your favorite oils to your hair and allow them to set for several hours. 
Optional: Sit under a warm hood dryer to ensure that your hair's pores open up and soak up all the goodness.

2. Conditioner: Deep condition your hair PRIOR to shampooing. The conditioner will feed your hair all of the great nutrients, vitamins, proteins, and anti-oxidants needed to strengthen it and prevent it from being stripped by the shampooing process. Allow the conditioner to set for at least one hour.
Optional: Sit under a warm hood dryer to ensure that your hair's pores open up and soak up all the goodness.
Rinse then shampoo, condition, deep condition (optional) as regular! 
Try it!
Check out this video to see how I mix my favorite prepoo recipe. 
Matter of fact, I use the same thing for my deep conditioner too! 



What is your favorite prepoo recipe? Share in the comments section below!

Loving the 'fro I Grow!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE my 'fro! 
See my 'fro progress going all the way back to the TWA (teenie weenie afro) stage!

What is Your Hair's Name?


Is it our love-hate relationship, the fact that we spend so much time together, or the interest re-invigorated by our natural hair journey that causes us to name our hair?

I call my hair Millie. Me and ole Millie have a thing going on. Some days she wants to be pet and other days she gives you the side-eye just for looking her way. Love her or hate her, I've learned to live with her. LOL!

What is your hair's name? Share in the comments and come on over to Facebook and let's chat more about it! https://www.facebook.com/JourneytomyRoots

Tresemme, Quench, African Pride Product Reviews

In this video I review Flawless Curls/Curly Hydration Shampoo and Conditioner by Tresemme, Quench by none other than Journey to My Roots, and African Pride Leave In Conditioner. Check it out!


A Headband and a Hairpin, Bad Hair Day Saviors

No matter your hair day, with a hairpin and a headband, you can work miracles.
Try it!


New Quench Review!... by Natural Hair Corner


Quench is a homemade hair oil and butter made for Natural Hair. It was created by a You-tuber/  Blogger named "JourneytomyRootsalso known as Kimberly Gray. Quench lock's water moisture and keeps hair moist for days. Quench provides your hair with a natural sunscreen, maintains a balance for your scalp, feeds your hair, adds shine and strengthens your hair. Quench also help grow your hair fast with its Anti-oxidants stimulated cell regeneration. The Castor oil and minoxidil 2% ingredients in Quench plays the major role for hair growth with this product. Their properties help reverse thinning and promote growing thicker hair. Minoxidil is known as Rogaine.
  
Rogaine has been around for years to help treat thinning and balding hair. 
"JourneytomyRoots" has also given customers the choice to special-order Quench without Minoxidil if preferred. If your pregnant or nursing you should use the one without Minoxidil. 



Quench has great ingredients: 

Some of the main ingredients are: Whipped African Shea Butter, Vitamin E, Natural Oils, Castor Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, all Natural 
Preservatives, Minoxidil and more. It also has a cinnamon stick that can be used to mix up the product.





My Review: 

I definitely like this product. I use the one with the Minoxidil 2%. I just order my second-order today. I used it about every other night, but you can use it everyday. It's really given my hair great shine and moisture. Quench has also sort of like a peppermint smell and it has a great tingling feeling on the scalp. Peppermint oil is one of the ingredients in this product. The Peppermint oil delivers a cooling effect to the scalp. It also helps stimulate the hair follicles so hair can grow.I've really seen a difference since, I've been using Quench.  My edges have grown out since I've been using Quench. Its can also be used as a styling product to do braids and twist. Quench is definitely a product to purchase. 
If you would like to review more on Quench or make a purchase, you can check out:  http://journey2myroots.blogspot.com/p/shop.html.

With reviews like these, how can you not try it! 
Order today by visiting the "Order Quench" tab of this blogsite. 
Thank you...and thank you Natural Hair Corner!