Friday, July 15, 2011

Loctician Hair Tips from Nyesha Samuel

Natural Black Hair
Care Tips

When it comes to the gentle care of African American skin
and hair, there are various ingredients that well-made products contain. These
ingredients will help to rejuvenate your skin and hair and replace the
nutrients that are lost in day to day living.


Shea Butter Cream

Shea butter cream has long been known for its effectiveness
as an emulsifier and a moisturizing
. It is especially valuable in treating wrinkles, skin discolorations,
dark spots, blemishes, dry skin, acne, burns and for fading scars. Shea butter
also helps to provide natural protection from the ultraviolet rays of the sun.
It is easily absorbed into your skin, and it won't leave your skin feeling
greasy, as some other types of products can.

Shea butter cream helps to soften your skin, and may

be found in hair conditioners in its butter form. It helps to
revitalize and rehydrate brittle or dry hair. It will also keep hair from
breaking as easily, and make it softer to the touch.

Shea butter aids in evening skin tone, and gives your skin
back its natural luster. Since it absorbs quickly, it can penetrate deeply to
promote the growth of healthy skin cells.

Herbal Shampoo Conditioner

African American women often tell me that they have a
difficult time finding hair products to satisfy the natural needs of their
hair. Many of the products you see in magazines or commercials cater to women
who have colored or relaxed hair. This isn't helpful for those with
unmanageable, curly, thick
. An herbal shampoo, conditioner or rinse can help to revive
dry and brittle hair. It usually has a clean smell, which makes it easier to
use. It helps to promote a healthy shine, and aids in getting rid of frizzies.

There are other products that combine herbal shampoo
conditioner and nut oils, which can be very helpful for dry, dehydrated hair.
Your hair will drink in the moisture, and the proteins in the conditioner will
add shine and a final luster to your hair. They will also leave it soft and

Organic Hair Oil

Many African American women have found that organic hair oil
can help to leave their hair nourished and revitalized, and more protected from
aging's effects. They may have experienced some level of hair loss, due to
microbial effects on the roots of the hair and on their scalp. An antimicrobial
oil will break the glycerol bonds that leave your hair weak and more
susceptible to thinning.

Most types of organic
hair oil
will also contain vitamin E, which will help to keep your hair and
scalp healthy and rejuvenated. Natural oils help your hair to retain moisture,
since they don't break down easily, nor do they evaporate. Natural oils will
keep moisture within your hair, leaving it soft and manageable. Hair can also benefit from organic hair oil that will melt
when it is heated, and then condense on your hair as it cools. You can apply it
to your hair and it will evenly spread throughout all areas of your scalp. African American women will benefit from the combination of
Shea butter cream for their skin, and shampoos and conditioners, along with
natural oils, that leave their hair full and healthy.

Healthy Scalp, Healthy Locs

Nyesha Samuel, Publisher/Master Loctician,

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I tried the Curly Girl Method...

I first heard about the Curly Girl Method on the forums. I have always been a shampoo girl so when I read that it eliminated shampoo I didn't give this method a second thought. Plus, I was done with bandwagons by the time I heard of the Curly Girl Method. However, not to long ago I started washing my hair twice a week but I only used shampoo once a week. I liked how soft my hair felt after the co-washes plus I didn't need to DC after co-washes so they are somewhat of a time-saver. To make a long story short - I thought this would be a good time to try a modified Curly Girl Method.

To begin the Curly Girl Method I clarified my hair with a sulfate shampoo, deep conditioned with a -cone free conditioner and rinsed in cool water. After that first wash I followed it with conditioner washing only on wash days for one month.

Click Here for "How to Follow the Curly Girl Method"

My method was modified because I did not leave my hair loose and I still used oils on my hair. After one month of using conditioner only my hair was soft and there was little to no breakage but to be honest I really couldn't tell much difference between my shampooed hair and my no shampoo hair.

When I use shampoo I only use it on my scalp so the shampoo is not applied to the length of my hair anyway. I also steam and deep condition every wash day so shampoo has not had any ill effects on my hair. One benefit from this method would be that I would not have to do as much steaming and conditioning on wash day if I wasn't using shampoo.

I would say if you are curious about the curly girl method, give it a try. What have you got to lose? You may already have the products needed to get started.

Have you tried the Curly Girl Method? How did it work for you?

More from Ashley Alexis McFarlane

More great designs from Ashley Alexis McFarlane.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Go Diva!

One of the great ways to enhance your confidence is to take class that help you embrace and love being a woman. 

Studio is an exotic dance studio located in Bloomfield, New Jersey that
specializes in pole, belly and erotic fitness dance classes.  Founded
in 2010 by three friends, Ty Smith, Nikki Philip and Sonya Miller,
GoDiva Studio strives to assist women in discovering their sensuality
while simultaneously confronting the negative stereotypes associated
with exotic dancing, and using it for a positive purpose."


Not only
have these ladies successfully put a spin on erotic fitness, they
proudly represent the natural hair community while doing so.
For more information, visit the GoDiva’s website at Go Diva Studio.

Dry hair? Try a Hot Oil Treatment

The dry winter air can be harsh on your strands and so can the summer. This can leave you looking for a remedy for dry hair all year long. Have you tried hot oil treatments?

Many professional hair stylists recommend that hot oil treatments are done on a weekly basis. Let me be the first to admit that I only do them as needed - doing them weekly would be too much for my hair. Hot oil treatments can work by giving your hair strength and locking in the moisture it needs to prevent breakage.

Some common ingredients used in hot oil treatments are Olive oil, honey, canola oil, various body & hair oils, and essential oils. The oil choice that you use should be based on your hair's needs.

To do a hot oil treatment you will want to heat the oil first. Some people heat the oil in the microwave, I don't recommend this method for heating because the oil gets too hot too fast. If you do choose to use the microwave please make sure you let the oil cool before using. The oil should be warm-to slightly hot, NOT burning hot. I prefer to heat my oil by placing it in a plastic container and then setting that container in a bowl of hot water. The oil will heat up gradually with this method.

Then apply the warm oil to your hair (I like to apply to dry hair), cover with a plastic cap, and let the oil sit on your hair for 15-20 minutes. At this point you can then shampoo and condition as usual.

The results from an hot oil treatment may not be instant but with consistency you should begin to see an improvement in your hair.

Additional Reading
Do A Homemade Hot Oil Treatment
How Hot Oil Treatments Work
How To Do A Hot Oil Treatment

Natasha - Making That Natural Step

 Great photos from Natasha, author of Making That Natural Step and creator of the Journey To Nappy blog.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

HHCB: Conditioner

Decades ago hair conditioner was developed by a well known perfumer to soften men's hair, mustaches, and beards. Decades later silicone was added to this product and it became what we now have and know as modern hair conditioners.

The benefits derived from hair conditioners depend on the type of hair conditioner that is used. It is important to know that all hair conditioners are not created equally. There are thick conditioners, leave-in, ordinary, and hold conditioners. Thick conditioners are typically what many refer to as your deep conditioner. Ordinary conditioners are less thick and work well for many as a cowashing conditioner. Leave-in conditioners are even lighter and are applied and left on the hair after the washing process. Hold conditioners, not use often by many naturals, are conditioner the act like gels by which they are used to hold and set styles.

Conditioner and Natural Hair
For natural hair, conditioners can enable the detangling process to be easier by giving the hair some "slip." If your hair is ever extremely tangled, try applying a lot of conditioner and finger detangling first before using a detangling comb/brush. One of the biggest debates that you may notice in the natural hair community is the -cone vs non -cone conditioner. This is a decision that you will need to make for yourself as to which conditioner you prefer. Some individuals do just fine with silicone conditioners while others hate the way that their hair responds to the -cones in those conditioners. -Cones are ingredients used in some conditioners that can leave a plastic-like coating on the hair and may prevent the hair from absorbing moisture. Note: I said "may." I personally use -cone conditioners with no problem.

Co-washing is frequently mentioned with the topic of conditioners. Co-washing stands for Conditioner washing and it simply means to use conditioner as you would a shampoo for washing your hair. -Cone free conditioners are typically favored for this hair care technique. I prefer to co-wash by applying my deep conditioner to dry hair and then rinsing thoroughly.

What conditioner is best for you?
Choosing a conditioner can be overwhelming when you don't know your hair's needs. So the first step is to access your hair. Choosing a moisturizing conditioner for dry hair. Choose a protein-enriched conditioner for weak hair or choose a reconstructing conditioner for damaged hair. It is important to keep in mind that not all conditioners will work the same for all people and just because the bottle says it will do something does not mean that it is true. When selecting a conditioner to try, look for some samples. Save your hard earn dollars and avoid buying full sized products that may not work for you.

Get the Most Out of Your Conditioner
If your hair is thick, apply the conditioner in small sections. You will actually use up more product by just slapping on the conditioner in any kind of way. Read reviews and ratings, make your purchase decision based on what is important to you. I live by the "5-ingredient" rule before I purchase something new. Once you figure out which ingredients your hair loves, purchasing products will become easier.

Some Helpful Links
-Cone free conditioners
Chlorine fighting Conditioners
Deep Conditioning Tips

My Favorite conditioners: My Regimen

Read the other Healthy Hair Care Basics posts.

6 Natural hairstyles you can do in a rush

We've all had those moments when we have somewhere to be and our hair is a mess, it won't do right, or the style we had planned just did not want to work. In situations like that I like to have a back up style that I can do in a just a few minutes. Presently, I have a few that I keep in my in the back of my mind for those emergencies.

Here a are few styles that can save the day when you don't have much time:
Sassy Updo by MsAriella89
Quick Updo by tiashauntee
Asian-Inspired Mohawk by JourneytomyRoots 
Banana Clip Bun by aliciajamesmusic
Natural Hair Protective Style Updo by MyNaturalSistas
2 Styles: Quick fix for an old twistout or fro by nikanaturally

I would highly recommend (with all styles) that you practice them when you have free time. Creating a look for the first time when you in a rush can be frustrating. Save yourself that stress.

Got any quick style tips or suggestions? Please leave them in the comment box.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Product Review: Dr Miracles Follicle Healer

One of the best things about natural hair gatherings/meet-ups (other than the awesome people) are the free samples of products that you may not have even thought of purchasing. I honestly never thought I would purchase any of Dr. Miracles products because I don't like their advertising but....

I received this product back in April at the Curly Girls Rock event in Atlanta. There were actually two sample packs in my bag and I was glad about that because it gave me a chance to try the product more than once so that I could be sure what I experienced was not a fluke.

They say: "My Restorative treatment is fortified with tea tree oil, aloe vera gel, soy protein and vitamins E, B3 and C, which boosts follicle and scalp health leading to beautiful, soft, shiny hair

Ingredients: Water Deionized (Aqua), Polysorbate 20, Aloe Vera Gel, Hydroxy Ethyl Cellulose, Polyquaternium -10, Allantoin, Wheat Germ Protein, Panthenol,Menthone Glycerin Acetal , Menthol, Isopulegol, Menthoxypropanediol, Salicylic Acid, Melaleuca Alternifolia Oil (Tea Tree Oil) , Biotin , PEG – 40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Pantothenic Acid , Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Thiamine , Pyridoxine HCL, (Glycine Soja) Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Cetyl Pyridinium Chloride, Lionoleaic Acid (Vitamin F), Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) , Propylene Glycol , Diazolidinyl urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Fragrance.

I Say: My scalp tingled, my tangles melted away, and my hair felt amazingly soft after rinsing. I was thorougly surprised at how well this product worked on my hair. I applied the deep conditioning treatment to freshly washed hair and sat under the steamer for about 20 minutes. After steaming I rinsed with cool water and my hair and scalp felt so refreshed. I would absolutely purchase this product again. Now I just have to find it locally - I will be searching my local Beauty Supply Stores.

Interview - Erika from Empty Locket

Introducing Erika. Fresh faced natural beauty! 

Q: What is your hair story?  What kind of hair styles have you rocked, before embracing your natural hair?
A:  My mother permed my hair at the tender age of 5. I started out with two long, kinky, beautiful braids and ended up with brittle, bone straight hair up to my ears by the time I was sixteen. I was in high school when I began experimenting with various products and black rinses. One day I showed up at my childhood dominican hair salon and the stylist who gave me my first perm looked at me with a sad face and she goes "Ay mami why you hair look so bad?" 

I was ashamed of my hair ever since. I struggled with my hair all throughout my teenage years and it was shedding more by the day. I began to get braids which I hated. They'd pull and tug at my scalp. I hated the smell of the green gel they used, the smell of weave and burned hair and grease and throbbing headaches after I was done. A few years later, I cut my hair off just out of the blue one day.  I grew out an afro that was big enough to wear in a small puff, but it was still shedding. I was using vegetable glycerin and I had no idea what I was doing with my newly natural hair, I didn't know how to care for it at all. One day, my coworker and I were having a conversation about hair and she simply asks "why don't you get dreadlocks?" I thought about it all day and that night. I decided to do my research on locs and how to care for them. I wanted to go to a reputable salon to get them and I decided on Deeply Rooted in Atlanta, GA. I printed out two photos to show the stylist exactly how I wanted my locs to look :-P.  I drove 4 hours to Atlanta and my locs were born.

Q: Did you have any big fears about going back to your natural texture?
A: I have always been comfortable with natural hair but since it was so short, I didn't feel like it fit me or my personality. Some women look beautiful rocking a fro, but I did not and I knew that. I was especially afraid of how others would view me, but I quickly got over that and began to make the best of my hair as it was :).

Q: What are three products you can't live without for nurturing/styling your hair?

A:  I don't use many products on my hair anymore at all. For me, the health of my hair is mostly internal. So I'd have to say water, a good diet and my aloe vera gel.

Q:  You have a great  natural hair blog. What was your inspiration for starting the blog? And what has been the most rewarding part of your blogging experience?

A:  EmptyLocket initially started out as a personal blog where I had planned to talk about my love life (or lack thereof :)). But I  quickly realized that I was a lot more comfortable and interested in talking about my hair. A lot of my friends at college were interested in going natural and would always come to me for advice. I enjoyed educating them and seeing their faces light up when I'd give them transitioning tips, etc. It came as second nature to me and I decided to turn my blog, into a hair blog.

Q: How can we keep up with you and your journey i.e. blog, twitter, facebookfotkitumblr, personal or professional website? (Optional)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

"CurlyNikki Does Raleigh" - Recap and Pictures

I would say that 98% of this past Saturday was spent with CurlyNikki and lots of curly friends. Sadly, Nikki is leaving the area but she couldn't leave us before hosting an awesome event (with lots of samples) for the natural ladies in the area. Attendees were there from as near as Raleigh (the host city) and as far as Charlotte (a 3 hour drive). It was great seeing so many gorgeous, smiling, and natural hair ladies (and some men). 

The line at 5:00pm
SheaMoisture sponsored the meet-up so there were a variety of free samples passed out. Conditioners, shampoo, bar soap, and masque treatments. There were also door prizes so 8 lucky attendees each left with about 3 full size products of SheaMoisture products. Those products are normally $9.99+ each so to leave with 3 or more for free...that's a great day!

Unfortunately, I was so busy running around that I didn't even get any samples for myself. I have tried the Curl Enhancing Smoothie but I want to try something else from their line to see if there is anything my hair will fall in love with. I like to find products that are easy to shop for and available in local stores. SheaMoisture is everywhere so I really want to give it a far shot. 

tiashauntee, Nikki, & NaturalNixon
I hope everyone that came out had a good time. Please understand that NC heat is beyond anyone's control and the AC was set on 66°, it was just that hot. If anyone tried to speak to me and I didn't answer, I apologize - I was probably trying to remember what to do next and trying to make sure all the SheaMoisture sample were put out for all of you to enjoy.

At the end of the night NaturalNixon and I presented CurlyNikki with a remember us/see you again gift. We gave her some of her favorite wine and also some wine from one of NC wineries - Carolina Red. We're gonna miss Nikki, she is truly a wonderful person. So down to earth, no super ego, and just gorgeous inside and out. Nikki, we WILL see you again soon! Try to have fun up in State College. :)

 Check out all that hair!

Friday, July 8, 2011

10 Ingredients to Avoid Putting on Your Hair


Isopropyl alcohol: Isopropyl alcohol is produced by combining water and propene. Isopropyl alcohol is used as a water-drying aid for the prevention of otitis externa, better known as swimmer's ear. Isopropyl alcohol is used in keyboard, LCD and laptop cleaning, is sold commercially as a whiteboard cleaner, and is a strong but safer alternative to common household cleaning products. Isopropyl alcohol can also be used to (in conjunction with detergents which break apart plasma membranes) facilitate the extraction of chromosomes.

Mineral oil/petroleum: A mineral oil or liquid petroleum is a liquid by-product of the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline and other petroleum based products from crude oil. Mineral oil is generally safe for human contact and consumption and has been approved by the FDA in personal care and cosmetic products, as well as for an additive for food to 10 mg/kg of daily consumption. Mineral oil is a common ingredient in baby lotions, cold creams, ointments and cosmetics. It is a lightweight inexpensive oil that is odorless and tasteless. It can be used on eyelashes to prevent brittleness and breaking and, in cold cream, is also used to remove creme make-up and temporary tattoos. One of the common concerns regarding the use of mineral oil is its presence on several lists of comedogenic substances.

PEG polyethylene glycol: Polyethylene glycol (PEG) is a polyether compound with many applications from industrial manufacturing to medicine. It is the basis of many skin creams, as cetomacrogol, and sexual lubricants, frequently combined with glycerin.

PG propylene glycol: As a humectant food additive, labeled as E number E1520, As a moisturizer in medicines, cosmetics, food, toothpaste, shampoo, mouth wash, hair care and tobacco products. Prolonged contact with propylene glycol is essentially non-irritating to the skin. Exposure to mists may cause eye irritation, as well as upper respiratory tract irritation. According to a 2010 study by Karlstad University, the concentrations of PGEs, propylene glycol and glycol ethers in indoor air, particularly bedroom air, has been linked to increased risk of developing numerous respiratory and immune disorders in children, including asthma, hay fever, eczema, and allergies, with increased risk ranging from 50% to 180%. This concentration has been linked to use of water-based paints and water-based cleansers.

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)/Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES): commonly used in many soaps, shampoos, detergents, toothpastes and other products that we expect to "foam up". Both chemicals are very effective foaming agents, chemically known as surfactants. sodium laureth sulfate is somewhat less irritating than SLS, it cannot be metabolised by the liver and its effects are therefore much longer-lasting. This not only means it stays in the body tissues for longer, but much more precious energy is used getting rid of it.

Chlorine: a common disinfectant, chlorine compounds are used in swimming pools to keep them clean and sanitary. Chlorine is a toxic gas that irritates the respiratory system. Because it is heavier than air, it tends to accumulate at the bottom of poorly ventilated spaces. Chlorine gas is a strong oxidizer, which may react with flammable materials.

DEA/MEA/TEA: These two chemicals are often used in cosmetics to regulate the pH, and utilized with numerous fatty acids to change acid to salt (stearate), which then develops into the base for a cleaner. In 1996, the Cosmetics, Toiletries, and Fragrance Association stated that "These chemicals...should not be used as ingredients in cosmetic products."

Fragrance: Perfume oils are often diluted with a solvent, though this is not always the case, and its necessity is disputed. By far the most common solvent for perfume oil dilution is ethanol or a mixture of ethanol and water. Perfume oil can also be diluted by means of neutral-smelling oils such as fractionatedcoconut oil, or liquid waxes such as jojoba oil.

Imidazolidinyl Urea and DMDM Hydantoin: two of many preservatives that release formaldehyde. They are called formaldehyde-donors.

Toxic Ingredients

I never believe something that some random person suggested online, I always do my research. As you can see I looked up each ingredient and from this list I feel that it would be hard (not impossible) to avoid every single ingredient on this list. Some things are not as harmful in moderation so I can say with confidence that this list has not influenced me to change any of my product choices. 


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