Why My Natural Hair IS A Political Statement

I never considered my natural hair a political statement, until it was one.

After cutting off relaxed my hair in 2011 strange things started to happen. People started to ask me if I was fighting the power. Black men started calling me sista. People thought I was earthy. It was weird. I mean I love me some Erykah Badu (not that recent Twitter ridiculousness that she decided to bless us with last week) but I'm not that girl. Correction, I am that girl and I tuck it in because most people ain't ready. But still, I was a little confused as to why people were assuming that my hairstyle was some sort of revolt against society.

Around the same time, friends and acquaintances of the caucasian persuasion started to give me hair advice. They would see a happy, curly, whirly chica on TV and say "Oh you should wear your hair like that!" and I would have to explain to them that while I am happy my hair is neither whirly or curly so that would be a NO. They would try to hide their disappointment  and we would quickly change the subject.

These interactions sparked an interesting conversation within myself about what my natural hair meant to me AND to others. I started to realize that my hairstyle choices have an affect to those around me.  While I don't want to over emphasize the "importance" of my presence, I realize that it is crazy to see a black woman embracing her beauty and walking in confidence. So many black children have been conditioned to apologize for their looks: "Oh don't worry about this, my hair appointment is tomorrow" or "I can't go, my hair isn't done". Seeing so many black people enjoying and embracing their God given beauty is fairly new. When my (well meaning) white friends felt entitled to tell me how I should wear MY hair (that's a different conversation), they were unknowingly telling me that I was making them uncomfortable. They were quietly screaming, "Hey! Come back over to something we understand!" Which is crazy to me because "it's just hair".

Long story short, when I went natural it was not some political statement. My intent was never to join a revolution. But I did.

Why You Should Slather Yourself in Coffee

Drinking coffee may give you the bubble guts, but rubbing it on your body has a few benefits.

O I already over shared a little bit in the opening but seriously coffee wreaks havoc on my stomach. It's awful. That being said, coffee has some amazing skin benefits you should probably know about. 

Learn how to make you own coffee body scrub here!

Okay so now that you've seen mellow like a contestant on naked and afraid AND learned how to make your own body scrub let's talk about why this stuff is awesome sauce.

Coffee has some amazing skin benefits. First and foremost it is a great and gentle exfoliant. Exfoliation is so important especially if you want to look younger and brighter but you want to make sure that you're not using something that is too rough on your skin. For me, coffee is the perfect middle ground and I definitely look brighter after using it. The caffeine in coffee also promotes cell regeneration and circulation. It's an all around win!

Now let's talk about the olive oil. The Holy Grail (after coconut oil of course) enhances exfoliation so it's a dream team when combined with coffee grounds. And after use, you won't have nasty clogged pores just beautiful glowy skin.

I really just added coconut oil because I like it but it also has properties that will enhance your natural beauty. Coconut oil is a natural moisturizer which will leave your skin nice and hydrated. BUT be careful not to use too much because it can clog your pores and cause acne. Coconut oil is also a natural antibacterial which will help your scrub keep longer if you don't use it all at once.

Random: I once went on a date with a guy who had an obsession with honey. I knew as soon as he told me that that he was not The One. Weird food fetishes aside, honey is pretty great for you skin. Honey is actually a natural antibacterial as well and can help prevent acne. Along with all of these other ingredients, honey helps to give you a natural and youthful glow.

Hopefully I've convinced you to start incorporating a coffee scrub into your beauty routine! Now tell me, what is your favorite beauty ritual?

 

 

Natural Hair | Finding Confidence After the Big Chop

You finally took the leap and cut your hair.... But you've lost your confidence. Now What?

First of all, Congratulations! Whether you went straight for the big chop or were a long term transition, going completely natural can be tough. All of a sudden you have this new hair that you may have never seen before and it might not look like what you imagined. What's a new naturalists to do? Here are some tips for feeling confident with your new natural hair.

Finding Confidence After the Big Chop

Finding Confidence After the Big Chop

 

1. Accessories are a must. An easy way to amp up your natural hair look is to dress it up with fun, colorful, and bold accessories. This tip is especially great for those with short hair. A pair of long dangly earrings or a bold statement necklace add a gorgeous feminine touch to your new look.

2. Experiment With Bold Makeup. If you have a new short look this is the perfect time to play with makeup. Because your face is now str the forefront of your style you can really play with colors or techniques that you've never tried before. Try playing up your eyes or a bold red lip which makes every look glamorous.

3. Protective Style until you are more comfortable. If all else fails try some different styles until you feel more comfortable with your natural hair. Short haircuts can be intimidating and lack variety until they grow out. Protective styling is a great option for those who aren't completely comfortable with their natural hair. Braids and Twists are an awesome low maintenance style for those with little time to worry about styling everyday. If you are looking for a sleeker look, wigs and weaves are a great choice. If you are looking to protective style for a longer period of time, be sure to care for your hair while in the style.

How did you style your big chop?

Kisses,

Joelle

 

Perfect Gifts For The Product Junkie In Your Life

or for yourself...

"Tis the season of giving! Finding the perfect gift for the one you love can be stressful and time consuming. Most of us opt to give a simple gift card of cold hard cash but nothing says I was thinking about you more than a personalized gift. 

If you know in woman (or man) with natural hair, chances are they are a product junkie with a lengthy wishlist full of products and gadgets. Below is a list of some of the hottest natural hair products sure to please any naturalista you know if given over the Holiday season.

A Natural Hair Wishlist

A Natural Hair Wishlist

Cool Weather Natural Hair Do's and Dont's

Prevent severe hair damage in cooler weather months.

Cool weather brings many beauty challenges: dry skin and brittle hair are definitely not the least among them. Managing natural hair in cooler months can definitely be challenging especially for those of us focusing on retaining length and maintaining health. Here are some simple dos and don'ts for those of us who would like  to maintain the health of their hair.

Keep your natural hair healthy and strong this winter.

Keep your natural hair healthy and strong this winter.

 

DO practice protective styling.

I know that we've heard this time and time again but protective styles are the most effective way to retain length because it shields the hair from harsh elements AND extreme manipulation. Protective styling is not limited to braids, weaves, and wigs. Easy and low manipulation protective styles include twists, mini twists, simple braids, and updos.

Don't Neglect your hair during protective styles.

One of the biggest mistakes naturals make in regards to wearing protective styles (especially wigs weaves etc.) is to completely neglect their natural hair. Lack of washing, moisture, and a dirty scalp can lead to major setbacks in your natural hair and are counter productive. Make sure that you continue you to give your hair love and attention. Leave Protective styles in for six weeks at the most and give your hair time to breathe in between.

Do keep your hair conditioned and moisturized.

Condition. Condition. Condition! I cannot say it enough. This is the number one rule of natural hair and it is especially important during the winter  months. The cold air can suck the moisture out of your hair faster than you can say "it's freezing". For this reason, it's important to stock up on and invest in great leave in conditioners and moisturizing products (I prefer cream based products).

Don't skip protein treatments

Many naturals talk about moisture and conditioning  and say nothing about creating a moisture/protein balance. It is possible to to over condition your hair which makes hair soft, mushy, and weak. Protein treatments help strengthen hair and can help fill gaps in the hair shaft.

Do Take this time to straighten your hair.

Cold weather months are the best time to straighten your natural hair; the low temperatures help preserve your straight styles and will prevent you from having to touch your style up with a flat iron. If you need a step by step guide on straightening your natural hair there are many tutorials on Youtube.

Don't use excessive heat.

Any go ahead to use heat should also come wit a warning and I would be remiss if I did not urge you to use caution. Not only can extremely high temperatures cause permanent damage that can only be "repaired" by cutting it away but using heat repeatedly can also cause damage. If you choose to heat style your natural hair this fall or winter be aware of these risks and only straighten your hair two to three times during this time. 

These are my tips for maintaining natural hair. What are yours?

Joelle

How to Look Better Part Two

Smiling is a foolproof way to look and feel better

Let's chat some ore about how to look and feel better in 2015! I know that so many of us are looking for the next product or makeup technique to help us be the fairest of them all, but we all know that true beauty starts from within. At least that's what Disney taught me.

My first tip for looking better in 2015 is to LOG OFF. I wish I could say it one thousand times but I still don't think it would be enough. So many of us are obsessed with our social media platforms that we never fully take our attention off of them. Every meal, thought, picture, or memory is somehow shared with the entire world. I implore you to STOP. Even if it's for a few hours, enjoy a phone free meal or have a conversation while riding in the car. I promise you'll enjoy yourself.

My second piece of advice is going to sound odd but it is so necessary and simple: Be selfish! I know someone just clutched their pearls but let me convince you that this isn't a terrible idea. No body (and I do mean nobody) can look after you like you do. You truly have your own best interests at heart while others (who may have good intentions) will have their own interests at the forefront of their mind. Don't feel bad for doing something completely for yourself or saying no to something when it does not fulfill any of your wants and needs.

This last little nugget is going to be the toughest for most women as we are our own biggest critics. Four simple words will change your life: be nice to yourself. Does that sound crazy? it shouldn't! I find it funny that a woman would look in the mirror and tell herself that she's fat or ugly or just not ENOUGH period when she would never even dream of saying that to another woman's face. Ridiculous! We have to stop searching for our shortcomings and weaknesses and start celebrating our strengths. Imagine a young girl could hear everything terrible you thought about yourself. Would you want her to repeat it? I didn't think so. 

How will you all achieve looking better in 2015? Let me know in the comments!

Until Next Time.

Kisses


Joelle

Mini Twists | The Ultimate Protective Style

Causal Look with Mini Twists

Winter is upon us and I think I'm in love... with my hair! I went natural in November 2011 so in a sense it's our anniversary. Despite living in my natural beauty for three years, I think I'm just now getting the importance of winter hair care. I love to wear my hair out so protective styling is difficult for me but I think I may have found the perfect solution: Mini Twists!

Mini Twists are definitely not new in the natural hair community- many naturals attribute their journey to waist length hair to the style- but sometimes it's nice to revisit the simplicity of the tried and true. I plan on leaving my hair in this twists for about three weeks and I'm really excited to see some healthy hair growth and length retention.

Tips for a Successful Mini Twist Installation

1. Section Your Hair. This will keep you from going insane! I started my hair in about 8 to 10 sections that I put in large twists. I then broke each twist down in sections. I continued this method until I was ready to break each twist into it's own section of mini twists.

2. Style on dry hair. I can only imagine that installing mini twists on wet/ damp hair would be a nightmare complete with the dreaded "product hand" and long hours spent with heavy arms. I styled my mini twists on dry hair and then washed my hair with the twists in. Because of this my hair was pre- stretched making twisting easier.

3. Don't be afraid to style. Just because your hair is up doesn't mean you can't have fun! I set my twists in a gorgeous rod set and I plan to explore more styling options. Your hair should never be boring and times when you are protective styling are no exception.

Want to see how I'm keeping my twists fresh and stylish while I sleep? check out my video on youtube!

So tell me, what's your favorite protective style?

Thanks for reading! Until Next Time...

Kisses,

Joelle