Friday, October 22, 2010

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Product Review Burt's Bees Very Volumizing Pomegranate & Soy Shampoo

I like Burt's Bees chapsticks, lip jars and body lotions so I figured I would try the shampoo.  I like to use more natural based shampoos that are clear in color, the bottle said that it was 97.20 natural. It contains glycerine and honey both of which I like to use on my hair.  The product was reasonably priced at 9.99 for 350 ml and easy to find.  It smells decent-not overpowering.

HOWEVER it left my hair with a strange ultra dry and filmy feeling.  When washing my hair I could barely run my hand through my locs with out a feeling of resistance.  This product was horrible for my locs and I'm very disappointed.

Perhaps the shampoo was not meant for my hair because it is a volumizing formula. Perhaps on straight hair the filmy resistance would result in more body.  I suppose by avoiding making hair feel silky would allow it to have more "poof".

I would NOT recommend this shampoo for loc wearers.

Out of 5 stars I would give this 2 simply for the smell.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Locked hair equals pothead?

There is still a lot of politics around natural hair.  Some members of the black community are against it, claiming that it's "slave hair" or for people stuck in the past, which is totally ridiculous in my opinion, there is nothing wrong with hair that naturally grows out of a scalp.  As far as I see blacks are the ones most likely to alter their hair texture or sew other hair textures on.  I'm not condemning that, because to each her own.

In the last 4 weeks I've had two occasions where someone implied I was a pot head, I can only guess they made that judgement based on two things, my race and my choice of hairstyle.

1. Situation one:  I go out with a white friend, he purchases a pipe, that could be used to smoke weed and the woman who sold it to him assumed that he was buying it for me...huh?  I only helped him pick the colour he carried it to the till and paid for it, yet it must have been a gift for the lock-haired black girl. Just because he paid for my meal doesn't mean that he's buying the pipe for me.

2. Some random idiot riding a bike.  After giving me a lecherous look he then blurted out "Do you know where I can get some weed?"  That kind of bullshit doesn't just happen to lock-haired people.  I remember being out with my family when I was little and one douche bag asked my dad if he knew where he could get some weed. 

These stereotypes are just great, the people asking for it are the ones smoking it probably with friends of their own race, yet they feel that blacks know where it's at.  In my experience no one loves weed like some white folks.  B.C has a reputation for being a "pot place" yet the black population there is tiny. Many non-blacks  smoked weed in high school, smoked it in college, still smoke it now that they are "respectable"citizens and smoke it at rock concerts.  In their experience they may have encountered more than one black weed dealer, but enough to suggest that any random black person is dealing?

Once again people with likely little knowledge of black culture other than Bob Marley, "Jamaica mon", rap videos and rap songs feel entitled to treat what they see as our common reality. The next person who asks me about weed is gonna get a piece of my mind.  I'll give them something to confirm the "angry black woman" stereotype. 

Have any of you been pre-judged for wearing your hair in its natural state?

Whatddya Know Sisterlocks in Edmonton

I ran into another locked lady with sisterlocks today, I was surprised to find out that there is a certified sisterlock installer in Edmonton at a store named Rhema in Edmonton. Her hair was gorgeous and kind of made me wish I hadn't went with traditional locks--oh well.

For those of you that want more info contact the store Rhema, you can find the number on the internet. 

Friday, June 4, 2010

Locs - Get the Gunk Out

Build up happens.

If you notice your locks are getting dull this could be a reason why.

The next time you wash your hair, take some time to look in the mirror and take your nails and squeeze them down the lock, if you have a lot of creamy stuff coming out it may be time for clarification.

I like Neutrogena clarifying shampoo.  I wet my hair thoroughly, squeeze some of the water out and use a heavy spraying bottle and put half water and half Neutrogena clarifying shampoo in it.  I shake it up to make it nice and sudsy and then spray my locs with it.  I do it in sections so I can really scrub my hair well, because I want the shampoo to penetrate the loc.  After I've scrubbed my hair really well I keep the suds on my hair for about 10 minutes.  Then I agitate my hair and rinse rinse rinse and then I rinse and rinse and rinse (I'm sure you get the point) Then I check by running my nails over my locs to make sure that no gunk is coming out.  If your hair has a lot of build up you may have to do this process over a few weeks to get it all out.

If my hair is really gunky I rinse it with water, take about 2 tablespoons of baking soda and water and make a runny paste in my hands.  I then rub it all over my hair.  Do not think that adding more baking soda will make your hair cleaner, it will leave turn your hair white and then you will have more rinsing out to do.  After I've lightly coated my hair with baking soda then I spray it with the clarifying shampoo and scrub.

I follow up with an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse.  I use 2 tablespoons per 1 cup of warm water and add about 2 tablespoons of honey and stir it until it dissolves. If you use cold water you will have a harder time dissolving the honey. The honey helps to make my hair shiny.  Then I throw it over my hair.  The Apple Cider Vinegar offers further clarification and adds to the shine of the locs.  I do not rinse it out.  It smells funny but the smell goes away as the hair dries.

I then follow up with a light misting of a mix of olive oil, water, jojoba oil glycerine and leave in conditioner. I like Garnier Fructese it's cheap, smells nice and makes my locs feel soft.

Then Voila! Clean, moisturized, and shiny locs.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

So you want to (dread)lock your hair? Or your child's hair?

This is just a hodge podge of things to consider, I am not speaking with regards to those that wear locks for religious reasons, or specifically to organic hair lockers or free-formers.

Some people start locks and "drop out" not because they don't want them but because they didn't know what to expect or what to do. 

Societal considerations:

Will your employer be O.K with it? Will new employers be O.K with it?
Will your school or sports team be O.K with it?
Do you realize that some people may stereotype you as a weedhead, revolutionary or something they perceive as negative?
Are you aware that some people will try and discourage you and start spewing myths like locs are dirty, unprofessional or unattractive?
Are you aware that you may be ridiculed for choosing a style that is not"conventional"?

There are several ways to start locks so do some research... some common ways of starting are microbraiding, twisting and interlocking.

If you are especially active e.g sweat a lot or swim a lot you probably want to consider starting with microbraids or interlock, early phase twists come out pretty easily.

Sisterlocks are a whole different kind that are very very small and usually have to be done by a professional.


Depending on the method you choose and how long you've had your locks,  if you change your mind you may be able to comb them out.  With interlock you most likely not be able to.

If you change your mind you will have to grow your hair out for a bit without retwisting it and cut your locks off.


"good looking" locks don't happen over night.  There will be stages where your hair sticks up, you can't do much with them, they look fuzzy etc. You can embrace the journey, but you may feel frustrated at some point but they will lock and look lovely!

Keep in mind that everyones locks will look different.

Locking hair takes time it can take months even a year and up to get them really locked up, it doesn't mean that they cannot look nice in the main time.

In the initial phase you may not be able to wash your hair for a while, there are "dry shampoos" that will help to keep your hair clean  Filthy hair doesn't have to be a part of the locking process at anytime.

In the initial phases you may experience itchy scalp.  This is somewhat normal and you have to play around to find a product that doesn't irritate your scalp as much.  You may have to massage your scalp at times to reduce the itching and support scalp stimulation since you will no longer be combing or brushing your hair. 

Parts and sizing:

If you think at one point you may want to style your locks pay attention to the part size and placement, part the hair in a neat pattern that suits you.

Make your parts to basically match the thickness of the locks you want.  Keep in mind that as your locks mature they will thicken up a little bit.

If someone is starting them for you ask them specifically how they are going to part your hair, tell them how big you want your locs so they don't just start doing something you don't want. Make them show you and tell them what you want!

There are a lot of beautiful lock styles out there. 


I'm sorry but locks and lint go hand and hand.

Are you willing to cover your hair at night, sleep on a satin pillow or avoid  wooley linty materials?
Are you willing to try and avoid getting them sandy?
Are you willing to commit to washing them and keeping them clean yet keeping them moisturized?
Are you willing to ensure they are dried properly to try and avoid mold..yes mold


Do you know how to do your choosen method of retightening e.g . twisting, palm rolling or interlocking?
Are you willing to learn?
Are you willing to pay to have it done?
How often you retighten is up to you and how your hair grows, but avoid doing it too often it can lead to thinning locks.


It may take a while to find the right products it comes down to trial and error, some people simply twist with oil and water or lemon juice and others use store bought products.

Are you willing to switch to clear shampoos and other things that will not build up in your locks?

Are you willing to at least try and avoid things like mineral oil and petroleum to try and avoid lint and build up?


Take some time search some blogs, join a few forums and check out  Youtube to see what others have to say.  There is a lot of really great information out there.

Research involves those "just in case" scenerios like

What to do if a dreadlock breaks off, you can sew it back on among other things
How to conceal lint?
How to make your locks larger

Monday, May 31, 2010

Sunscreen and vitamin D deficiency

I'm not one to lay out in the sun and I only tend to wear sunscreen on my face, which seems to be a good thing.

Studies have shown that people who always wear sunscreen often suffer from vitamin D deficiency.  Vitamin D is needed for absorption and utilization of calcium and phosphorus in the body -- both also essential to the health of the skeleton.

I was surprised to find that many black people suffer from vitamin D deficiency, but it turns out that black skin produces less vitamin D than light skin.  I'm not sure that it is needed for us to wear head to toe sunscreen all of the time. In this day and age it seems that people are especially concerned with protecting the skin of their children.  If they do not burn easily and will not be out in direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time, it may do them some good to let the go outside with out it, at least from time to time.

I have not heard that sunscreen is harmful, but when I read the ingredients I am pretty weary of covering myself with it, even though I will continue to use it on my face when I go in the sun for long periods of time.

Dark skin: Dark skin produces less vitamin D than light skin. The risk of vitamin D deficiency is especially high in dark-skinned people who live far from the equator. In the U.S., 42% of African American women between 15 and 49 years of age were vitamin D deficient compared to 4% of white women. The problem is more severe in persons of African origin who live in Canada
Vitamin D deficiency can be serious if untreated, because it can lead to a variety of conditions, diseases and disorders. These include rickets, osteomalacia (adult rickets) and osteoporosis. Complications of vitamin D deficiency include bone fractures and disability. Current research suggests that vitamin D deficiency may also be linked to the development of hypertension, depression, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and an increased risk of cancer.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Experimental homemade (dread)loc hair spritz

Here is a homemade spritz recipe that I came up with. It leaves my hair feeling soft and sheeny and smells very nice.

I use a 236 ml spray bottle.

Once again sorry, I do not have exact measurments.

Fill the bottle with half lemon juice, I use RealLemon from the bottle
(Lemon, some what antiseptic, contains natural oils, slightly fragrant, feels good on scalp, supposedly helps speed up the locking process)

Add about 3 drops of tea tree oil
(Antiseptic, but not enough is used to smell it)

About 1 tablespoon of Castor oil
( A nice thick moisturizing oil that adds shine, but not enough is used to smell it)

About 5 drops of jojoba oil
( A wonderful oil that mimics the natural oil of the skin)

About 4 tablespoons of olive oil
(Another great moisturizer that adds shine)

Fill the rest of the bottle with rose water
(Smells great, I use the real rose water not the artifical stuff, smells like roses,but is not overpowering)

I keep the bottle in the fridge so when I spritz my hair it feels cool and refreshing.  Shake it vigorously and if your oils seem stuck to the sides of the bottle rinse the bottle under warm tap water for a few seconds.

***warning: supposedly lemon juice may lighten hair, It hasn't been sunny enough to test this, I wouldn't mind a bit of lightening anyway.  I'll keep you posted on what happens when the sun comes out. 

Friday, March 5, 2010

Help for dry lips

Canadian winters wreak havoc on my lips.

On occassion I scrub my lips lightly with a mix of brown sugar and honey to exfoliate them. Sometimes I also slather on lip balm and then brush my lips lightly with my toothbrush.  Don't scrub too vigorously or you may get small irritation bumps around your lips.

I wouldn't suggest medicated lip balms.  They seem soothing at first but just seem to enhance the dryness causing you to apply more and more. 

This is not for everyone but I also use lanolin.  Lanolin is used in a lot of ointments and hair/skincare products, it is my understanding that lanolin contains sheep fat. It is very very thick and yellowish in color and has a distinct odor.  I wouldn't say that it is smelly and you cannot smell it when it is on your lips, it kind of smells like crayon wax.  If you are interested a pharmacist will sell you a large jar of it.  Mine cost 17 dollars and was purchased probably about 5 years ago.  You don't need much so after 5 years my jar is still half full.  You can also put it on very dry elbows and knees as well as feet.  After I give my feet a scrub I slather them in lanolin and then put on socks.

In terms of lip balms Burts Bees chap sticks in the tube seem to be working for me, I especially love the pomegranate kind, however I'm not to keen on the lemon-lime kind in the jar.

Lastly if you are really in a bind and you have no lip balm available rub the natural skin oil that forms on your nose on your lips.  I've done it before...when no one was watching ;-) It works.

Dealing with dry and discoloured elbows and knees

Excessive dryness can cause the skin on elbows and knees to become discloured, dry and cracked.  To combat this try using lemon juice.  You can use freshly squeezed lemon or do as I do and use Real Lemon from the bottle.  Put it on a cotton pad and rub it on the elbows and knees.  Do not rinse it off.

Also be sure to keep elbows and knees well moisturized.  Aveeno  skin lotion and Cetaphil Moisturizing cream or lotion work well for me.  Both can be found in your local drug store, however you will get more for your money if you purchase them at Costco.  Walmart also has its own brand of Aveeno which costs less, I have not tried it though.

If your elbows and knees are extremely dry and are starting to darken you may want to consult your pharmacist or doctor, it could be eczema and you probably will need more than lemon or skin lotion to help clear it up.

When applying hand lotion I always do my elbows as well whether they look dry or not.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Get in the Kitchen to Hair Condition - Spritz for (dread) locs

locs require special care for a variety of reasons. They need moisture but you should avoid things that cause build up and attract lint and dirt.

Homemade loc spritz:

Mix olive oil, almond oil and jojoba oil in a bottle with witchhazel. Of all of the oils most of it should be olive oil. Shake and spritz.  You can add your favorite essential oil or alcohol free perfume for fragrance.  Once again I do not have exact measurements it is a matter of trail and error and personal preference.  I tend to add more olive oil when it's dry and cold out.  No the olive oil smell doesn't stay on the hair.

I use witchhazel, which can be found at a drugstore, instead of water because locs can get dry rot.  If they are kept wet/damp they may be susceptible to getting mold in them.  Witchhazel is a mild astringent/antiseptic that can also be used on things like bug bites and minor wounds. Sometimes I use it as a facial toner, when I'm breaking out.

Get a bottle that gives more of a mist than a direct stream. Spritz the hair, give your hair a quick rub nnd shake to keep the oil from just sitting on the surface that's it!

You don't have to shampoo natural hair - try a co-wash instead!

Co-washing is simply using a conditioner to wash your hair instead of shampoo.  The harsh detergents in shampoos can often strip black natural hair of oils causing dryness and tangeling.  Since black hair tends to be dense it's not really needed to remove all of the oils to keep it from going limp. The conditioner combined with the agitation of your fingers will still remove odour, sweat, dirt and hair products.

Pick up your favorite non-expensive conditioner and wash your hair with that.  I used to like to use Aussie Moist conditioner.  You'll probably find that your hair will be softer and more moist than if you use shampoo.

On occasion use a shampoo to really kind of clarify your hair. For those of you that "grease" your scalp because it is dry/flakey co-washing may help reduce the scalp dryness thus stopping the need to "grease" your scalp.  I never did scalp "greasing"  it just caused my scalp to sweat and get stinky.  I think it used to help cause my face to break out too.  

However with my locks I do use shampoo. For a while I've been using Dr. Bronners Castille Soap.  It can be found in health stores.  I don't co-wash my locs because locs are basically strands of matted hair.  I do not really want to loosen my locs, however I condition with a traditional conditoner about once every 6 weeks to keep them healthy.  I use natural oils like Castor or olive oil to condition them about every second wash.

Get in the Kitchen to Hair Condition

I've said it a few times already but I like to use natural type products to take care of my hair.  You can get in the kitchen to hair condition.  A lot of things that we eat are good conditioners for natural hair.

Hair conditioning recipes:

I deep condition with olive oil, heat it up apply to hair and put a plastic cap/bag on hair. I also do the same with Castor oil.  You can go under a hair dryer or put a towel in the microwave for a bit and then wrap it  around the plastic cap. I then rinse it out with warm water and then rinse my hair with as cold of water as I can stand. I mean COLLLLD it helps to reseal the hair follicles.

When wearing an afro I used to mash up avocado, olive oil, maybe a 1/4 of a bannana , about 3 tablespoons of plain yogurt and a little honey, maybe a teaspoon. Once again put a cap on your head and let it sit.  I haven't done this since I've had locks I don't want anything to get stuck in them since this mix can be a bit chunky and very creamy.

Keeping Natural Black Hair Moisturized

Here is something simple, cheap and natural that worked for me.

Simply mix glycerine and water in a spray bottle, shake it and spritz the hair with it.

Glycerine is a clear, sweet tasting, slightly thick substance that you can buy at your local drugstore.  It is not expensive and can often be found in the area of the drugstore that sells withchazel and almond oil. It costs less than 5 dollars for a pretty decent sized bottle - also keep in mind that you will be diluting it with water.

This is the same glycerine that is put in suppositories and is used for the same reason.  In a suppository glycerine attracts water to the bowel the help dissolve hard feces.  I'm only talking about glycerine and doo-doo because it also attracts water/moisture to hair and skin.  If you can put glycerine inside of your body it is safe to put on your hair. You will find that glycerine is an ingredient in a lot of bath soaps for the same reason.  I tend to be drawn to hair products that are more natural.

I do not have an exact measurement of how much water and how much glycerine to use because everyone's hair is different.  If you have more of a loose curl or silky texture you probably want to use a bit less glycerine in your mix because it may weigh your hair down. If you have a tighter curl and more wooly texture you may want to add more glycerine.

It basically comes down to trail and error.  With repeated and excessive use it may cause your hair to become slightly sticky or limp, however when it gets to that point it's probably time to wash your hair anyway.

A glycerine/water mix is also great for men's/boy's hair because it is odourless.

If you'd like you can add a bit of jojoba oil and your favorite essential oil to your spritz  for fragrance.  Jojoba oil is one of the closest oils to the natural oil produced by human skin.  You can buy it  at a health store. It is fairly expensive considering the size of bottle that you will get but you only need to use a few drops.

Lastly you can put the glycerine/water spritz on your skin.  I wouldn't recommend it as a daily lotion because your skin will feel a bit sticky, you may want to use it at bed time on occasion if you have really dry skin.  It's great for dry areas like elbows.  Also if you are showing your legs and want a nice healthy sheen on your legs you can use a very diluted glycerine/water spritz to get a nice healthy sheen.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Product Review - Jamaican Mango & Lime Lock Gro

I finally got my hands on some Jamaican Mango & Lime products.

I purchased the Lock Gro

It claims to

  • Stimulate Root Growth
  • Prevent Itchy & Dry Scalp
  • Strengthens Locks
  • Prevents Breakage
The directions say to apply a generous amount  to twists & locks daily.

Here's the verdict:

I don't like it.  It smells good and made my locks feel soft and gave them some shine but after about 3 weeks of use I had horrible build up.  I washed my hair again today and there was sticky white goop embedded in my locks.  I've never had a problem with build up before.  I actually had to wash my hair with dishwashing soap to get some of it out!  Typically I use Dr. Bronner's Castille Soap and on occasion Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo (both products can be found in Edmonton)

I think it is because it contains petroleum which is not good for black hair.  Petroleum eventually will stifle the hair and contains no actual moisturizing properties of its own. It doesn't penetrate the follicle and may actually stunt hair growth because it doesn't allow the hair or scalp to breathe. It seals in existing moisture but keeps out additional moisture while managing to attract dirt and dust.  I knew this before I bought it but I heard good things about the Jamaican Mango & Lime product line.

Why Petroleum Is Bad For Black Hair

I'll be putting this product away and will only use it rarely for a shine boost when going out.