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Okra for fast hair growth



Hi All,

When I was growing up my grandmother, who was Jamaican, used to have Okra with steamed fish. It would be on the table in a serving bowl and when it was taken out it was slimy and smelly. To this day I cannot bring myself to try it! I'm pretty adventurous when it comes to food. I love my chicken foot soup and ox tail and Sushi is a staple in our house. Hell Ostrich burgers wouldn't put me off but I don't think I could every try the slimy goo that is Okra. My friends at school used to tease me that you can make it into a drink! Yeuch!

However I recently found out that you can use Okra (externally) on your hair! I kid you not Okra can be used to stop breakage and encourage super fast hair growth. I had to check this our and did a little research.

According to Mr Wiki:

Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus Moench), known in many English-speaking countries as lady's fingers or gumbo, is a flowering plant in the mallow family. It is valued for its edible green seed pods. The geographical origin of okra is disputed, with supporters of South Asian, Ethiopian and West African origins. The plant is cultivated in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions around the world.

What is it that makes Okra good for your hair?

Okra is a good source of vitamins A, B complex (B6, Thiamin) Vitamin B, C and E, iron, zinc and calcium. It is rich in fiber, low in calories and fat free. Okra also contains high amounts of Folic acid.

This makes it a great conditioner for mistreated damaged hair replacing lost nutrients. It is also wonderful for dry relaxed hair.

I found lots of recipes online on how to make Okra gel. But if you don't fancy messing around with this there are several hair products in the market the contain Okra:


  • Sisay International sell a whole range of products including an Okra cleanser (rather than shampoo), a conditioner, moisturiser and okra jelly . I am head over heels for their Okra Hair milk which I have been using while I am transitioning. 
  • Lush sells a hair conditioner for dry damaged hair. Lots of Great online reviews for this high street product.
  • Shescentit also has a breakage control Okra conditioner.



Have you made your own or tried any Okra products?

Although I still wouldn't eat this I am definitely a convert and use it on my hair daily. How about you?

Embrace Your Inner AfroDeity
Leilu




References:
^ National Research Council (2006-10-27). "Okra". Lost Crops of Africa: Volume II: Vegetables. Lost Crops of Africa. 2. National Academies Press. ISBN 978-0-309-10333-6. Retrieved 2008-07-15.

Sisay International

Lush



My Mummy is now natural


I am so proud of my Mummy for finally deciding to go natural. Three years ago after experiencing severe scalp problems she stopped relaxing her hair but using a closure she continued to wear weaves. This just exacerbated the scalp problems. All the pulling on her hair and having her scalp covered up, getting sweaty and dirty for weeks just made it worse. She did change her weave every 6 weeks but in the past I had been known to keep mine on for months and the dirt was unbelievable.


When I went to visit her last week she was sick of the scratching. Using the tail of the comb to abuse her scalp more as she could get in between to weave to scratch properly. She asked me to cut it off. I had to ask her if she was sure. Was she truly ready to embrace her natural hair. She said she was sure. I was shocked by this as when I told her and my Aunts about my journey the looks on their faces wasn't exactly jubilant.

Anyway, I went with her to a hair store and we bought a wig so that if in a couple of days she changed her mind, which I totally expect her to she could pop that on. Low and behold I visited her a week later and she was so happy with her hair Even though my Aunts, who also sport weaves, didn't like it she still kept her natural hair and started to style it herself and was truly loving it!







I have never seen her so happy. She sends me pictures of new styles all the time now and all my life I have never known her to be completely happy with her hair. She has of course had natural hair before but just a TWA in the 70s. I think she is enjoying the abundance of natural products on the market and is experimenting and styling daily. As someone who works with young people I am especially proud of her as they will also benefit from seeing someone they look up to with natural hair.

Embrace Your Inner AfroDeity
Leilu


From Fuzz to Frizz


Arggh! I just want to scream from the roof tops: Black hair is not frizzy.

Frizzy hair is under moisterised hair. Dry hair which has become very porous and has lost it’s ability to retain moisture is usually thought of as frizzy.
Watching an advert like this has haunted black women for years. There is this belief amongst black people that our hair is frizzy and somehow needs taming.  As a black person it has been hard for me to understand why I could never have hair that had, and I quote a guest on the Tyra Bank Show here, 'the white girl flow'. Even when my hair was relaxed it never looked like that and I felt this need to somehow make it do something that it will never do. I needed to tame my frizz make it soft, silky and manageable.  If I had just understood that even with relaxed hair my hair type would never look like this I would have been a much happier person. Happy with my style choice. Every persons hair is different and my relaxed hair or my natural hair will be different to other people.

Years ago  our hair was deemed fuzzy and in the past I have even been called a fuzzy wuzzy. I kind of feel like I am still being called fuzzy wuzzy when they show a woman with frizzy hair (looks like an afro to me) and say that this is 'bad hair', you need to do something to it. If you take anything away from this post, understand that your hair is not fuzzy, it is not frizzy, it is just different. This is your hair type. Love it. Embrace It. Whether that be relaxed natural, braided or otherwise. Believe that this is the way God intended your hair to be. It is not frizzy, it is black hair and you do not necessarily have to tame it, but you do have to love it.

Rant End!

Embrace Your Inner AfroDeity! 
Leilu

What it Means to be a Black Mother



Over the last year, I have truly agonised over my hair. I wanted to keep it straight but I was completely sick of relaxers. I couldn't get my head around the whole chemical thing and knowing a lot about some of these chemicals from working with them in a laboratory just put me off completely. I have only been relaxing for the last few years mostly after braids broke my hair off at University and it was easy enough to manage this type of hair when I was a young single woman studying. My life has changed dramatically over the last seven years and I now have a family. In particular I have a daughter, Ruby. She is now two years old and has a full head of curly hair that I struggle to comb as she will not sit still!

My decision to stop relaxing came from my professional life which is bizarre because that was the reason I had stayed relaxed for so long. However, from a personal perspective it is so important to give our daughters positive role models. I want my daughter to be free to choose how to wear her hair and I feel that as her mother her first choices will be come  from her impressions of me. I feel that she needs to see me with my natural hair so that she can be proud of her curly natural hair first, before she makes a decision to do anything else to it. 

Why is it so important to make sure our young black women feel confident and empowered about their hair? To be quite honest I always agonise over what it means to be born a young black woman in Britain. She is already in a world (albeit a changing one) where a black woman's beauty or intelligence are not accepted as being on par to her white counterparts. In the beauty industry we are almost ignored and in the working world we have to be exceptional to prove our self worth.

Giving my daughter the confidence to find out who she truly is, is my greatest desire as a parent. I am glad that my son Sebastian has so many good male roles as a young black boy growing up in Britain (my husband, my Dad and my brother). I want to make sure that the first impressions of the women in my daughters life are positives ones. Starting with me. 

Embrace Your Inner AfroDeity 
Leilu


Pictures from the Roots to Relaxers Seminar

I was so engrossed in talking to people at the exhibit and listening to the conversations I completely neglected to take many pictiures. EPIC FAIL.  I did manage to take two great pics!

Anyway, here they are:

This wonderful lady was kind enough to let me take a picture of her comb shaped like Jamaica!

This comb was brought in by one of the participants and it was quite interesting to see how the front teeth had been broken away after years of combing. 




The Evolution of Our Hair is An Evolution of Our History: Part II


The Evolution of Our Hair is An Evolution of Our History: Part II

The story of the UK black hair style evolution is not just a story about hair dressing but a story about the History of African and Caribbean peoples in the UK. How our styles changed over the years was influenced by changes in our circumstance.

I was fortunate enough to attend a seminar/workshop at the Fitzwilliam Musem in Cambridge. This was ‘Roots to Relaxers’, which was part of the African Comb project which will be exhibited in the museum in 2013. The first speaker Sandra Gittens author of ‘Afro Caribbean Hairdressing’ took us through the history of black hair in the UK starting with Cleopatra and her braids to Little Richards’ Elvis inspiring quiff, to the Windrush era through to Mel B’s wild fro in the 90s and the most modern incarnation of black hair Nikki Manaj and her specific type of individuality. The second speaker June gave a presentation on our modern hair styles(weaves, relaxers, canerows), their pros an cons and our need for choice. She later lead a brief discussion with a group of teenagers that she had brought with her about how they wear their hair now.

The second presentation by freelancer June Forbes, who has worked in the hairdressing industry for 25 years, was a wonderful segue way into  modern tale of how we wear our hair now as we need to manage these differing hair styles. I really found interesting listening to her experience in the hair industry over the years, the different styles she has worked with and how the introduction of home relaxer kits and home straightener has opened the door for great damage for our hair. She also mentioned that our hair changes texture after puberty so relaxing hair prior to puberty can be greatly damaging.
Towards the end of the presentation, she expressed her sadness at the cannibalisation of black owned hair companies. The money going into buying wigs and weaves is money is being taken away from research into good black hair products and as such lots of cheaper ingredients which are not good for our hair type are making it on to the market. This struck a cord with me, we are hurting ourselves and others by allowing others to take over what should be a black industry. We are the only ones who use black hair products. The hair that is brought from India and other countries isn't always taken in a ethical manner and that money is not ending up in the hand of the people who the hair belongs to or into the hands of the black community.

She later lead a brief discussion with a group of teenagers that she had brought with her about how they wear their hair now and it was incredible to hear their experiences of hair at school.
A young 25 year old told of how he was not allowed to wear his hair too low cut as it was seen as aggressive (Skin Heads) and other told how boys in some schools are  not allowed to wear cornrows.  How should a young man of colour wear his hair then? Of course as soon as this young man left school he felt this uncontrollable need to grow it out as long as possible and have fun with it. It was clear from the younger generation that the need to be be ale to chop and change their hair when they liked to show their individuality was very important to them.
Speaking with some of the other participants it was obvious that our experiences of hair over the decades and the choices we made about how we wore  our hair were so different to each others and  to those of young people today. 
My main hope for young people, as I have littles ones of my own, is that going into secondary school and the working world there is more understanding of our hair and that they are able to choose their own style rather than being forced into one.




The African Comb Project
Fitzwilliam Museum 
Cambridge
This project is multi-disciplinary and will combine new archaeological, anthropological and sociological research with community engagement. It will trace over 5000 years of history of the African comb from the Pre-dynastic period of Egypt to the Twentieth century in UK and US, and will include oral histories and personal testimonies that will document attitudes towards hair and grooming in the present day.

Please contact 01223 332904 or email fitzmuseumeducation@lists.cam.ac.uk

The Evolution of Our Hair is An Evolution of Our History: Part I



The Evolution of Our Hair is An Evolution of Our History: Part I


The story of the UK black hair style evolution is not just a story about hair dressing but a story about the History of African and Caribbean peoples in the UK. How our styles changed over the years was influenced by changes in our circumstance.

I was fortunate enough to attend a seminar/workshop at the Fitzwilliam Musem in Cambridge. This was ‘Roots to Relaxers’, which was part of the African Comb project which will be exhibited in the museum in 2013. The first speaker Sandra Gittens author of ‘Afro Caribbean Hairdressing’ took us through the history of black hair in the UK starting with Cleopatra and her braids to Little Richards’ Elvis inspiring quiff, to the Windrush era through to Mel B’s wild fro in the 90s and the most modern incarnation of black hair Nikki Manaj and her specific type of individuality. The second speaker June gave a presentation on our modern hair styles(weaves, relaxers, canerows), their pros an cons and our need for choice. She later lead a brief discussion with a group of teenagers that she had brought with her about how they wear their hair now. (See Part II)



This first presentation by Sandra Gitterns told a story that is very different to that of the our American peers. It was also not one of imitation of our white masters, but one of trend setters and style icons, with a very distinct sense of individuality. 


 
         Mary Seacole                      Lady Sarah Forbes Bonetta               Windrush Exhibit Poster 

Starting as far back as Cleopatra who wore wigs and braids and moving through history to  black women using hair pieces to create plaits in the victorian era. During the WindRush era the Pressing Comb and many straightening apparatus became popular in the 50’s which created new and varied styles. Wigs and weave in the 60s became an easy way to wear our hair and this was often, due to damage from the harsh chemical relaxers of the time and also because of convenience, because the damp British air caused many straightened styles to revert to their natural state. 


   Bob Marley                                  Marsha Hunt
The evolution of the natural styles such an ‘the Afro’ and Dreadlocks  in 70s was the first time many felt proud of their naturally curly hair and for many not wanting to conform or 'imitate', this was a welcome change. They felt the need to say that they were black and proud, making this type of hair style seem like a very politically charged choice and to many still is today!


In more recent times the Curly Perm became popular in the 80s and was worn throughout. Asymmetrical cuts and colour featured in the 90‘s which can possibly be traced to hair dressing accidents and these styles were emulated by other races. 
Alexandra Burke                                   Mel B
We were then back to the Wigs and Weave in the late 90s and through the 00s another era of hair which has seen other races, wear their hair as black men and women do.The Natural Revolution seems to have taken hold now in the 10s along with the need to express ourselves as individuals and have choice about our hair styles.

I felt that that the story of our hair history and our history is in indeed very cyclical. A lot was changing and going on around us through the ages and to express ourselves it all seemed to come out through our hair. We have indeed come full circle with the way that we wear our hair and the way we feel about ourselves in British society and there is so much to be learnt about ourselves from our ancestors.


The African Comb Project
Fitzwilliam Museum 
Cambridge
This project is multi-disciplinary and will combine new archaeological, anthropological and sociological research with community engagement. It will trace over 5000 years of history of the African comb from the Pre-dynastic period of Egypt to the Twentieth century in UK and US, and will include oral histories and personal testimonies that will document attitudes towards hair and grooming in the present day.

Please contact 01223 332904 or email fitzmuseumeducation@lists.cam.ac.uk


Sources:
Sandra Grittens @ the African Comb Seminars.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Seacole
http://fabgagrehab.wordpress.com/category/music/
http://fashionxx.wordpress.com/category/alexandra-burke/
http://thelondonnigerian.com/?p=43428
http://www.last.fm/music/Soul+Glo/+images/60639205
http://www.starscolor.com/3646-grace-jones/
http://fashionbombdaily.com/category/black-history-month/page/5/
http://jazzinphoto.wordpress.com/2009/03/27/marsha-hunt/

JBCO As Seen in Black Hair Magazine


You guessed it Sunny Isle Jamaican Black Castor Oil has been featured in Black Hair Magazine, here in the UK! They featured it in their 'Tried and Tested' section across from the article 'Naturally Fabulous' all about the  CurlVolution event which so many attended!

A Shout Out to all who were there!

You can purchase Jamican Black Castor Oil and so much more from the AfroDeity Store.

Embrace Your Inner AfroDeity 
Leilu



Introducing Andrea: Lego Friends


I was really annoyed at first about the introduction of so called 'girly' Lego Friends. That is until I discovered 'Andrea' the curly haired black female Lego Friend. Usually the ethnic doll of any range or cartoon is a brown doll with long straight hair as if they can fit every ethnicity that isn't white into that one doll or cartoon character. I wouldn't let my husband purchase these obviously 'girly' toys as I believe in equality of the sexes. However when I saw the scientist Lego Friend at LegoLand complete with laboratory and that there was a black Lego friend, I was converted!
Andrea is as far as I know the only black female minifig that Lego offer. Both my son and daughter had great fun with her and even integrated them into our Lego chess set!

In terms of girls getting into science an technology, I was really thrilled to see this video where a young girls from the Netherlands robotized her Lego friends lab!



Pretty Awesome!

So from here on end I will no longer hate on the Lego friends. I think my dislike for them stems from my own prejudices about so called girl toys and the way that people like to divide the sexes especially at a young age. 

Note:I still think men and women should be allowed to compete together (darts, shooting, snooker, golf... why not?)

Anyway I digress: Yay for Andrea! 

Embrace Your Inner AfroDeity
Leilu

Jamaican Black Castor Oil for Caucasian hair

Jamaican Black Castor Oil for Caucasian hair

Hi All,

I get this question a lot, Can Jamaican Black Castor Oil be used on caucasian hair? (or asian hair) This oil is 100% natural and is suitable to all types of hair and skin. Here is a beautiful before and after picture of someone with caucasian hair that has been using Jamaican Black Castor Oil and you can see that her thin ends are now full and thick!

Using Jamaican Black Castor Oil on Caucasian Hair Before and After

Because of the name of the oil, particularly the word 'Black', people are sometimes a little put off as they think this oil is only for afro, curly hair. Jamaican Black Castor Oil can be use for all hair types. It is 100% natural and the castor oil is not extracted using salt. As stated on the label of many brands: NO added salt, just 100% pure natural oils. The 'black' in the name is an Americanism added to distinguish this oil from the clear castor oil you can find in most pharmacies. The oil is actually a golden brown to dark brown colour and is not actually black. See our post on 50 Shades of Jamaican Black Castor Oil for more information on the colours that you might encounter when purchasing this oil.

All types of Jamaican Black Castor Oil
Jamaican Black Castor Oil has many varied cosmetic uses for the hair, skin and face. It can be used as a hair growth aid, as a hair and scalp conditioner, as a skin moisturiser, to grow eyelashes and can even be used to treat acne.

Authentic Jamaican Black Castor Oil is processed the traditional Jamaican way. The organic castor seeds are roasted and ground by a manual grinder and then the crushed beans are boiled to extract 100% pure, dark brown, organic oil. It has a medium consistency, a light ashy aroma and ash content.

Compared to other oils this is a very thick oil and perhaps with thinner hair types mixing with jojoba or coconut oil is advised. The thick oil can be difficult to remove from your hair if you apply too much. If you are trying to get this on to your scalp an applicator bottle will make sure that you apply to the roots and not get too much all over your hair. 

Still looking to purchase this amazing oil and haven't been able to find it, click on one of the product links below.

Hope this helps!!

Embrace Your Inner AfroDeity 
Leilu