Why You Should Skip the Clothing Resale Stores and What to Do With Your Clothes Instead

Well that was a mouthful...

Spring is really trying to come through despite the blizzard that I'm looking at through my window which means most of us are trying to clean out our living spaces to make room for all the new things we plan to buy this season and in the summer. If you're anything like me that means that you take an in depth look at your closet and decide that most of it just has to go. At this point you may be tempted to pack a bag of your latest and greatest that you just don't wear anymore (or never got the chance to wear for whatever reason) and take a trip down to the nearest clothing resale shop. let me help you with that: don't. I promise you that it's not worth it and unless you take your designer wares to a high end consignment shop you will barely recoup any of the money you spent.

Now you may be asking why I harbor such a strong dislike for clothing resale shops and I am here to tell you. As I said, you BARELY receive any return on investment (not that designer clothes are actually a smart investment). A designer bag originally purchased for $200+ MIGHT get you around $50 and the store will turn around and sell it for $100-$150. At that point you may as well sell the bag yourself. These stores generally have a list of things or styles that they can buy for any given season and despite having the coolest, most on trend clothing you may not have what they're looking for. And let's be honest, not everyone on staff will be fashion savvy enough to understand your unique taste. 

So now you have a pile of clothes that you need to get rid of but some crazy lady on the internet machine told you not to go to a real store. Well what are you supposed to do now? I'll tell you:

Host a Clothing Swap or Give to a fashionable Friend

There are certain items I don't mind giving away but then when I look at my closet there are certain things that NEED to go someone who will love them the way that I did. Instead of selling these items or giving them away to charity, I give them to the person I have in mind. Another option is to host a clothing swap with people who have the same level of style as you.

Give Items to a Charity Like A Women's Shelter

I'm not a fan of for profit charities such as The Salvation Army or Goodwill because their prices can be a bit ridiculous. that being said, most major cities have men's or women's shelters  that are in need of clothing among other things. 

Sell Your Clothing On Your Own

This is the most obvious option but it does require a little more involvement than just dropping your clothes somewhere and leaving them forever. Sites like eBay make it easy for regular people to sell their clothes and you'll probably get closer to your purchasing price than you would at a resale shop.

How do you get rid of your old clothes?

 

Diva by Cindy Stimulating Hair Growth System Review

For brown girls who just want their hair to grow...

Diva by Cindy products are alcohol free.

Diva by Cindy products are alcohol free.

Diva by Cindy Stimulating Shampoo is definitely my favorite product from the line.

Diva by Cindy Stimulating Shampoo is definitely my favorite product from the line.

The Diva by Cindy Super Pro Hairdress claims to help grow hair.

The Diva by Cindy Super Pro Hairdress claims to help grow hair.

Let's talk about products!

Diva by Cindy was created by former registered nurse, Cindy with the aim of helping those dealing with hair loss. With an alcohol free formula, these products have "good for your hair" ingredients such as panthenol, rosemary, aloe, and peppermint. The goal of this line is to leave the hair silky, shiny, and healthy.

Stimulating Shampoo

I always seem to find a favorite in every product line I try and for Diva by Cindy it's definitely their stimulating shampoo.I was a little scared to try this one because it had a few ingredients that I usually don't use. That being said, I actually love the shampoo. The smell was very minty and when I put it on my scalp, it FELT minty. Most shampoos containing sulfates would dry your hair out and make it dry and difficult to detangle. When I went to detangle my hair the comb ran right through! I was so surprised and excited. My hair also didn't even feel dry. This one is definitely a keeper.

Stimulating Conditioner

The Stimulating Conditioner has the same month smell and feel as the shampoo. While I like the texture of this product, I did feel that it was lacking the slip that I needed to properly and thoroughly detangle my hair. That being said, this is great conditioner to use if you are planning on straightening your hair. It is very light and because it doesn't contain ingredients such as shea butter and heavy oils it doesn't leave your hair weighed down and heavy. 

Leave In Detangling Conditioner

This one was tricky for me: I don't love leave in conditioners that come in spray bottles. Why? Because I have a ton of hair and I feel like it doesn't get to all of my hair. Again, this product is best for use before heat styling. The Panthenol (which is a derivative of the B5 vitamin) is great for your hair as it supports the production of protein rich tissues. After using it in failed rollerset attempt, I saw no heat damage which i credit to the use of this product. 

Super Gro Hair Dress

Unfortunately, I don't have any definitive thoughts on this product. I've only used the Diva by Cindy line a handful of times over the course of less than a month. Because of that, I can't really say that this has helped my hair grow. Also, I have never suffered from significant hair loss so I don't have any way to test the product out and provide quantitative results. BUT, it smells really good!

A Girl, A Dress, and A Skirt

I have waited my entire sartorial life for this moment.

Let's also talk about these earrings from BURLINGTON #iCant

Let's also talk about these earrings from BURLINGTON #iCant

Dress + Skirt = Genius

Dress + Skirt = Genius

Dress | Skirt | Shoes (Similar) | Earrings (Similar)

I feel like I have reached my fashion peek: my whole life, I have known that the day I got to wear a dress WITH a skirt I would #slay (no need for humility here it's just the truth) and here I am doing just that. Seriously though, I had an event over the past weekend that required me to wear black and silver and while I generally don't enjoy feeling obligated to wear certain attire or colors I was really excited when I found this Calvin Klein skirt on super sale. The only problem? I didn't have a top to wear with it and my level of pickiness was not conducive with my timeline. 

Fast forward to the ninth hour and I had a lightbulb over the head moment: wear a dress you already have as a top! I'm not going to lie but I feel like I discovered the secret to crispy on the outside gooey on the inside grilled cheese sandwich (btw if you have the scoop, PLEASE tell me). It's the little things, I guess.

Kisses

I Am (NOT) A #CarefreeBlackGirl

I'm feeling all sorts pressure to be magical right now.

 Super black, not quite so magical.

 Super black, not quite so magical.

2016 was a year for black women. Like for real. We were excelling, achieving, and just being over all great. Everyone was moisturized and our hair was growing. We were winning gold medals, starting businesses, and being champions of social justice. It was amazing. And just a little overwhelming.

Not because black women were achieving. Not because we were winning. But because all of a sudden there was this immense pressure: to be great, otherworldly, and even carefree. Great, I can do but those other two? Nope. Not I. I don't possess any magical powers and despite waiting for over a decade I still have not received an invitation to Hogwarts. And Carefree? The way these bills are set up? Nah. That's definitely not me. But all of a sudden I found myself pretending to be these things. I could totally be the flower crown wearing, AfroPunk going, highly overachieving, boss ass black chick. Because that's what I was supposed to be.

Numerous think pieces have already been written about how the narrative of the "strong black woman" is problematic. While seeming to be a virtue, this stereotype is dehumanizing and limiting. I can honestly say I feel the same way about #blackgirlmagic and #carefreeblackgirl. Created to empower and encourage these catchphrases completely neglect  all of us who aren't carefree: those of us struggling financially, dealing with depression, going through a rough patch. Where do we fit in? 

I'll go ahead and say I don't fit into this magical and carefree spectrum. I stopped fighting it and just accepted the facts. Sometimes I'm going to be depressed, sometimes I will actually care what people think, and apparently I will never actually have magical powers. So, no, I am NOT a carefree black girl. And I'm completely okay with that.

5 Signs You Need to Cut It (Your Hair)

When those split ends go half way up your hair... you need to cut it.

What my hair would look like if I stopped trying to avoid getting regular trims.

What my hair would look like if I stopped trying to avoid getting regular trims.

Let's face it: Us "Natural Girls" hate to cut our hair. I get it because I'm the same way. When you endure wash days that sometimes take up to eight hours and protective style nine months out of the year and care for your hair like you would a newborn child, cutting off those precious strands is just NOT an option. That being said sometimes you just have to let go of a little length in order to have healthy hair. If you're on the fence about getting a trim, here are 5 signs that you definitely need to cut your hair.

1. Excessive Breakage | About 2 years ago I experienced a major natural hair setback that had a lot to do heat abuse and processing my hair with color (we'll talk about that on another day). I finally knew that I needed a real cut when my hair was just breaking off left and right. A stiff breeze could blow by and large amounts of hair would just come out. Bear in mind that shedding is not the same as breakage. Shed hair will have a little white bulb at the root whereas breakage will not.

2. Extreme Dryness | Whenever my hair is frizzy and dry at the ends I know it has to go. Dry hair splits and breaks and we don't want said dryness to travel up the hair shaft and damage the rest of the strand. Hair that is damaged to the point of being constantly dry cannot be remoisturized or repaired it simply needs to be cut.

3. Limp Hair | This applies specifically to heat damaged hair. It is one of the easiest signs of damage to spot when you have a head full of healthy curls and see limp noodle hair at the ends. These spots will respond to manipulation as far as curling but the natural pattern will never return.

4. Split Ends | Harder to spot by the naked eye split ends are the ultimate thief of length! Like dryness split ends will travel up the shaft and damage otherwise healthy hair. Split ends cannot be repaired! I promise you there is no miracle product that will put your hair back together you just have to cut it.

5. Flat Hair | I firmly believe that my twist out will tell me everything I need to know about my hair. Because my hair is normally extremely voluminous and big, when my twist out or other curl styles start to hang lifelessly I know I need a shape up and a trim.

Hope this helps you all! Be sure to check out my video where I show you how I do a light trim/dusting at home. And let me know, how often do you trim your hair?

 

 

3 Ingredient DIY Detox Drink

In with the good, out with the bad.

This simple DIY Detox Drink will remedy a few days of bad decisions AND the common cold.

This simple DIY Detox Drink will remedy a few days of bad decisions AND the common cold.

Mondays are always a kind of day or reckoning for me: my gut and my bank account are there to remind me of all of my bad decisions. Fortunately, I have a remedy for at least one of those problems that costs under five dollars (if that) and gives me tons of energy.

I like to drink this first thing in the morning if possible and maybe again mid day. While this does encourage a healthy "movement" it's nothing like the "flat tummy teas" that you see everyone hawking on instagram.

3 Ingredient Detox Drink

Ingredients

1 cup of water

Juice of Half a Lemon

Thumb Sized Piece of Ginger, Sliced

Honey, to taste (optional)

Instructions:

Combine water, ginger slices, and lemon juice in a small saucepan and turn stove on to medium high heat.  Let the mixture come to a boil, reduce heat, and cook for about 3 more minutes. Pour the heated water into a strainer over a cup (unless you like particles touching your mouth while you drink, I don't, it's gross) and add honey. Enjoy!

Every time I drink this, I immediately see a decrease in bloating and feel an abundance of energy.

What do you do when you need to get back on track from a few days of bad eating choices?

My Fluffy Puffs Natural Hair Product Review

Ya know, just business as usual over here...

I'm not going to lie, this feels weird... BUT here we go..........

I have to recommend that you guys try these products. They are definitely dope. Support #blackgirlmagic

A few weeks go I posted a picture on Instagram (join the fam and stuff) and the owner of the hair care company My Fluffy Puffs contacted me and asked If I was interested in trying her products and after an online investigation and seeing how cool these product looked I had to say yes. These aren't my normal shampoos and leave ins that I get at Target: I have actually never tried a  real shampoo bar OR a product with Biotin in it so I was pretty excited.

I started off with the Rhassoul Clay Shampoo and Body Bar and I have to admit that using it was a strange experience for me. I'm used to liquid shampoo in a bottle and while I have used Bentonite Clay before I've never experienced Rhassoul Clay (Although I have heard amazing things). I started by sectioning my hair off and realized that was a mistake. I feel as though the purpose of a shampoo bar is to cleanse the scalp deeply.  The first round of cleansing I saw a lot of dirt coming out of my hair/scalp however because my hair was dirty from sweat and product there wasn't a ton of sudsing going on. But that second wash though? Suds galore AND the curls were popping.  The shampoo bar left my hair feeling squeaky clean but oddly enough not stripped. There was no matting, tangling, or brittleness.

The Bottom Line | GET IT! It's the bomb.

To moisturize my situation I picked up the Tropical Mango and Monoi Whip. The smell of this is amazing and left my hair easy to style. Any girl with thick, coarse, type 4 hair, knows that's no small feat. I think that this hair product will great for me when it gets ridiculously cold and dry outside. That being said, I'm going to store it for about a month or so. This isn't so much a reflection of the product so much as it is me knowing my hair. Shea butter and other heavier oils don't like me unless it's super cold and my hair is in a protective style.

The Bottom Line | I know this is about to be my boo in about a month so I know I'll update you then.

Lastly, I used the product I was most curious about, the Twist Frosting with Biotin. I've never actually tried a product with Biotin in it and while I could not find any research that says Biotin applied topically will help your hair, I'm sure it couldn't hurt. Full confession, I didn't read the directions before I used this for the first time so I did a twist out on completely dry hair and apparently you're supposed to use the Twist Frosting on damp hair. Take two, I applied the twist frosting on about 75% dry hair so there was a little dampness after I used my normal leave in conditioner. Initially I was nervous as there appeared to be some white flakes popping up meaning that my products didn't play well together. To my surprise the flakes dissipated and I was left with juicy twists and an even more bomb twist out (again, join the instafam). 

The Bottom Line | Yasssssss. Do it.

I hope you guys check out My Fluffy Puffs! If you do tell me what you think,

5 Natural Hair Mistakes NOT to Make This Winter

Winter is coming...

it's (almost) the most wonderful time of the year: everyone is wrapping up in large knit scarves, wearing Ugg boots and drinking Pumpkin Spice Lattes even though it's still a smooth 75 degrees outside. Everyone, that is, but me. Why, might you ask? Because the fall and winter months wreak havoc on my hair.

After five full years of having natural hair, I think I've mastered surviving winter . And because i'm feeling generous (and because it's actually the reason I started blogging), I figured I'd share what I've learned with you.

Wigs are great protective styles for the winter months.

Wigs are great protective styles for the winter months.

5 Natural Hair Mistakes Not To Make This Winter

1. Using too much heat... Winter may as well be called silk press and roller set season for those of us who wear our natural hair. After all, the cold months are the most ideal time to straighten your hair: there is little to no moisture in the air, everyone wants to look fancy for holiday/ family events, and we all want to see the length and process we made. That's all well and good but don't get overzealous! We all know that using too much direct heat can cause heat damage, breakage, and dryness which would be no good once you want to wear your hair curly again.

2. Neglecting hair while in protective styles... Just don't, okay? Yes I know you're wearing a wig... you still need to wash your hair. But my box braids look so clean and dirty hair grows faster... no it doesn't. Oh and by the way...

3. Deep Condition For Your Life.... for real. DC ing is not optional. I don't care if you're protective styling or wearing it out you have to deep condition regularly. I switch from bi weekly during the summer to weekly during the winter just to make sure I have enough moisture in my hair to outlast the harsh temperatures.

4.  Going out with wet hair... your mother told you that it would make you sick and while that's not completely true it can damage your hair. Imagine walking around with wet hair in below freezing temps. What do you think will happen? There's a possibility that your hair could freeze and break and that's not cute.

5. Don't "Overprotect" your hair.... if you're like me then you would probably keep your hair in protective styles all winter long. But back to back to back high manipulation protective styling can put a ton of stress on your hair and edges. I try to give my hair a break of at least seven days between styles so that it can recover from what was possibly a long period of stress.

Let me know what your tips are for maintaining healthy hair during the winter are!

Curls Unleashed Shea Butter and Honey Curl Defining Creme

The natural hair snob is humbled by a product she never thought she'd try...

I'm a snob. Well Only when it comes to my hair. I'm definitely the girl that can stand in the beauty aisle for an hour reading every single product's ingredient label, checking my phone for reviews, smell testing, texture testing, etc. It's a bit of the problem.

After a six month long no buy during which I vowed to use up my embarrassingly large product stash I looked in my bathroom cabinet to discover I had no styling products. THE HORROR! I need a fix and fast so I decided to go to Wal-Mart. Again, THE HORROR (I'm a Target girl). With low expectations I went to the "ethnic beauty" section (more on that later) and started my usual routine. I read, and tested, and analyzed, and finally decided that for the price of just under ten dollars, the Curls Unleashed Shea Butter and Honey Curl Defining Creme would do.

Maybe it's because I wasn't expecting much but this product really blew me away. My initial choice was based on those first five ingredients that I'm always obsessing about (the first five being the ingredients used in the largest quantities in the product and thus the most effective.); water, coconut oil, shea butter, and soybean oil were all right there. Color me impressed. But still, I was cautious. I mean this was a five dollar product.

Using this creme left my hair soft, fluffy and moisturized. The fro was definitely on point. After using it to install some mini twists I had seriously juicy and well moisturized twists. At this point I was sold. The Curls Unleashed Shea Butter & Honey Curl Defining Creme (that's a mouthful) will definitely have a permanent home in my stash. I honestly feel like I've hit the proverbial jackpot in this affordable product especially for the price point.

Have you tried the ORS Curls Unleashed Shea Butter & Honey Curl Defining Creme? What are your thoughts?

3 Lazy Length Retention Hacks

The struggle of wanting your hair to grow and not wanting to do anything to it continues...

Confession: I am obsessed with my hair and how it's growing. Another confession: I hate actually having to do anything to my hair. It's a strange tug of war where I basically want to do the least and get the most in return. This probably says a lot about me as a person but that's not what we're talking about right now. After 5 years of experimenting with my natural hair, cutting it and watching it grow and cutting it again, I have discovered a few tips, tricks, and hacks to growing your hair out and keeping your length.

1. Low Manipulation | Let's be honest here: protective styling can be a pain in the ass. No one likes to sit in a chair for 8 hours while your edges are being abused for 6 weeks of box braids and a sore scalp. Of course they look cute but is it worth the trouble? I find that low manipulations styles are just as great for retaining your length as long term protective styles. Try styles like mini twists, twisted updos, or simple buns to keep your ends protected (and your hands out of your hair) without the hassle of a complicated protective style.

2. Keep Your Hair Stretched | As a super kinky, coily haired gal this tip is key for me. Shrunken hair equals single strand knots and tangles and those equal extreme breakage. Ain't nobody got time for that so I make sure to keep my hair stretched as much as possible. I style on stretched hair, I keep my hair twisted (stretched while washing), and when I'm not out and about you can bet my hair is in some twists. This prevents unnecessary damage and fooling with my hair.

3. Wrap it Up | Listen, I'm not trying to be all up in your business here but you need to protect your hair while you sleep. I'm not even saying you have to re twist it; a satin pillowcase or scarf will do. Cotton rubbing up against your strands can cause dryness and breakage and leaving you hair out can cause extreme knotting and tangling. Save yourself from crazy split ends and just wear a scarf.

 

Super easy right? Like I said before, we're trying to do the least here and doing these three things can save your hair.

How do you retain your natural hair length? sound off below!