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Do you still co-wash?


Cowashing? are you do you still do it?

When I started on my hair journey back in 2008. Cowashing was all the rage. Everyone was doing it. A few years later  and 'experts' were saying we shouldn't be doing it. Then even years later on other 'experts' were developing formulas for products that co-wash your hair. More recently I've seen it in main stream magazines like Company and Cosmopolitan, saying cowash is the newest haircare trend.

The main stream media had now Columbused 'the co-wash' and were now telling us why we should be doing it. But do naturals still co-wash?

What is Co-Washing?
Co washing is a term used for washing your hair with a conditioner rather than shampoo first and then conditioner. This can be useful if you have an active lifestyle. Going to the gym and shampooing everyday with a harsh shampoo, could eventually cause some problems. (Remember Shampoo Roots, Condition Ends) So if you jog or workout daily, just conditioning the hair, freshens it up enough for a day or two, until you are able to cleanse properly with your shampoo or regular cleanser.

Why did we start co-washing in the first place?
The main reason women of colour started co-washing was the realisation that the suphates such sodium lareth sulphate which are found in many off the self supermarket shampoos were washing away the oils in our very dry and 'not oily' hair. Essentially most of these shampoos were not developed with dry curly hair in mind. As such, people opted to stop shampooing all together or to alternate a full wash with co-washing.

As more and more products have flooded the market however which are SLS free or mild cleaners, this has become less of a problem. A few ladies even swear by cleansing with clays.

Some brands like Carols Daughter and Curls Unleashed have formulated co-washing products. These are conditioners formulated so that you can use them inbetween shampoo days.

I would say that it is still important to cleanse your hair and scalp properly with a shampoo or cleanser formulated for removing dirt and oil at least once per week if you are planning on adding a co-wash to your regime.

Here are a few cleansing conditioners and co washes you can pick up online or on your local High Street.

For my UK peeps

 

For those of you in the United States

 

Are you still cowashing?

Embrace Your Inner AfroDeity
Leilu

What is INCI and why is it on our cosmetic labels?


What is INCI?
INCI or the international nomenclature of cosmetic ingredients is a chemical namaing systems for those ingredients found in cosmetic products.

Where can it be found?
The EU Cosmetic Directive controls how cosmetic products are labelled and tells manufacturers exactly what is required on the labels of their products. This includes a list of ingredients with their INCI names. On each cosmetic product, either on the product itself or on its outer packaging you will find a list of The ingredients INCI names. In most cases they will be in descending order of their quantity. So the ingredient at the beginning in most cases Aqua (Purified Water) will have the highest concentration in that product.

Often a manufacturer will put both the INCI name as well as their common household name on the label however this may not always be possible as space is limited on the label and there are still a many other required pieces of information.

Why do we need INCI?
All cosmetic products sold in the UK and EU must adhere to the EU Cosmetic Directive and the ingredient information must be identical for the same product across the EU. The reason INCI names are used is because it stops any ambiguities as to exactly which ingredient is in any language. This international standard is recognised across the EU.

In quite a few instances, I have seen comments on forums from people saying that they don't recognise the name of xyz ingredient, is it harmful? No Cocos Nucifera and Butyrosperum Parkii are not harmful in fact they are the names of natural ingredients, but you may know them by their other names  Coconut Oil and Shea Butter.

Some common cosmetic ingredients and their INCI names

Purified water - Aqua
Cocos Nucifera - Coconut Oil
Tocopherol - Vitamin E
Butyrosperum Parkii - Shea Butter
Simmondsia Chinesis - Jojoba Oil
Olea Europaea - Olive Oil


I do hope this post is helpful 

Embrace Your Inner AfroDeity
Leilu

Sources
www.ctpa.org.uk

What is so bad about shrinkage?


What is so bad about shrinkage?


Going natural can be a beautiful thing. Few things are more inspirational than fully embracing your natural curls and are more exciting than trying out different styles and looks to accentuate your do. However one thing that stops many women from starting or continuing on their natural hair journey is shrinkage. Many naturalistas detest shrinkage because it makes your hair appear to be shorter than it actually is. As natural hair loves moisture, it tends to hold onto it VERY tightly forming curls that make hair look very short. This is very common in natural Afro hair and is primarily seen after your hair has been washed.  Shrinkage can also occur due to environmental moisture for example when the climate is humid. Artificial environments where moisture is present such as in the bathroom or shower can also lead to shrinkage of your hair.

It’s Not That Bad
The reason many women prefer to avoid shrinkage is because we want proof that our locks and our curly hair are growing and shrinkage prevents us from getting that proof! However, shrinkage is natural and normal in curly hair and can even be a sign of healthy hair. Coils that spring back once they have been pulled on show elasticity and strength. Also, shrinkage protects your hair as afros and curls can avoid surface friction because they do not come into contact with your clothing as often as other hair styles and textures. So maybe it isn’t that bad. If you are still worried about shrinkage after you have washed your beautiful afro hair, here are some tips that might put back a spring in your step.

Make It Work!
There is no need to be a victim of shrinkage 100% of the time. You can stretch your hair in a variety of ways so that it more accurately reflects its true length. One way is to braid your hair and another is to use twist outs. The longer these are worn, the more the hair grows in length and in width. You can also use Curlformers, roller or straw sets to keep the cuticles smooth and obtain soft, sleek curls sans shrinkage. Banding and Bantu knots are good options as well. There are also some more permanent solutions for shrinkage like ‘heat training’ and using chemical products but be wary of these methods because when they are used regularly they can significantly damage your hair. Don’t be too hasty about getting rid of shrinkage permanently – it’s a sign that your hair isn’t damaged and is strong enough to bounce back to its original state.

At the end of the day, is shrinkage really a bad thing? No! If fact it’s a good thing. Not only it is a sign that your hair is healthy and strong, it also makes your hair more versatile giving you the ability to make the dramatic change from a cute short Afro look to a silky straight diva look in just a few hours. So embrace shrinkage, it is after all just a natural part of having natural hair. Work with it, instead of against it and both you and your hair will be happier.

Embrace Your Inner AfroDeity
Zunammie K.

Dont Forget to enter our February giveaway for GoldCrush Hair Vitamins.

Did Beyoncé just re appropriate black culture and legitimise the Afro?



The Naturalution has been in full swing now for some 9 - 10 years. Many women have tried it, hated it and gone back to their previous styles, some have embraced it and some still struggle. High profile celebrities like Solange and Viola Davies made you feel like it was OK to be a black and a woman and wear your hair the way out grows out of your head. Something many still struggle with, because well our hair is different. But in recent years it has felt like we are nearly at a point where the next generation will no longer have to apologise for their hair, or be afraid that it is messy or unprofessional.

So when the internet went all kinds of crazy yesterday for Beyoncés 'Formation' I am not sure what prompted me to actually take a look. Probably a comment about the imagery or the fashion.  I'm not a fan I rarely watch music videos, and sorry what? Beyonce who? Ain't nobody got time for that! You have to bear in mind I haven't seen a Beyoncé video since 'Baby Boy' with Sean Paul was on MTV. I know I have been out of the loop a really long while.

The video was dedicated to the #BlackLivesMatter campaign, it's loud, it's crass, there is far too much gyrating and swearing for me but the imagery, the fashion, I cant believe I actually loved it and the Super Bowl performance with the stylish black panther dancers with afros and berets. OMG! I was like did Beyonce just take 'Black' back!



Beyonce's Formation
Please note you should be over 18 to watch this video and if you are over 18 it is not for the faint of heart. I have chosen not to share it here because of this.
To watch the video check out Black Girl Long Hair 
15 Black Cultural References in Beyonce’s ‘Formation’ Video You Might Have MissedClick Here

Black Americans have started talking about cultural appropriation a lot recently. Where white artists sing songs dressed in sterotypical black 'ghetto' styles and sing what would be called 'black' songs and behave like they are what many stereotype as 'black' but they then don't care about black issues or problems that face black people in the poorest areas of America, the people they are trying to emulate. Being black shouldn't be treated like it is a fashion accessory, I cant just take my black off, it is a part of me, not an accessory.

Beyonce has never been political before and calling her sexually charged dance moves feminism,  well... that never really sat well with me. This new video is all kinds of ...well.. lewd, you couldn't let your kids watch it. But it made a statement! A big one. Many related to The New Orleans Police Department switched off the Super Bowl during half time as they found what Beyonce was singing about and the video offensive and anti police. In the video she is sat atop a New Orleans Police car which at the at the end sinks into New Orleans post Katrina flood waters.

I am no Beyonce fan and of course she is going to make a ton of money from this and many wiill say she is using this just to get rich of the struggle etc etc but what made this video seem important to me is that both black and white fans will see this. People will hate it, People will love it but most of all people will talk about it. They are always talking about Beyonce anyway so why not for the right reasons

Beyonce owned being black! Hot sauce, and all and she did it in such a stylish way. Having large nostrils and an afro may all of a sudden not be something to be ashamed of. We need more main stream artist to do this. They have the ear of a nation and in some cases the ear of the world.


My favourite bit

"I love my baby heir, with baby hair and afro" 

Blue Ivy!!! with her unapolgetic gorgoeus curls, she slayed.

I had just finished watching a video from BuzzFeed about why every black history month in America there is always someone who asks 'Why there isn't a white history month'. Black History Month in the UK is celebrated in October and we need our kids to understand that they are important too. Its not about celebrating the colour of your skin. Its about being OK with the colour of your skin, especially when you are told on a daily basis that because of your skin colour you don't matter. Most of my white friends don't get racism. To them racism doesn't exist  and I get that because for them racism doesn't exist. They have never experienced it or seen it happen in their little middle class bubbles. I get that, but if I tell you that I personally experienced racism don't make out that I am crazy because that wouldn't happen. Experiencing things like that daily can really make you feel insignificant.


Well for me Beyonce tried to take black back and re-appropriated her culture. I was quite amazed by it really. People always attack her for a blonde weave and the fact that she looks almost white in most photos or videos. But guess what black comes in many shades and people have the right to do whatever they want with their hair.

And the afros in the Video, all I can say is YASSSS!!! Gurl! I love it!

Edit: I also love how the white media are generally saying "Big Up Beyonce" and I keep seeing comments from black people saying " A weh she come from all of a sudden". You know what, at least she bothered. We love to find fault with everything, but we can't seem to celebrate a simple declaration of "Young, Gifted & Black, that's where it's at" for the modern era.

So did you love it, hate, think she could have done the same video with far less gyrating. 
Leave a comment!

Embrace your Inner AfroDeity 
Leilu

Garlic for Hair Loss?




Garlic for Hair Loss?

There are many reasons why we may begin to lose hair. Sometimes it might be a change in diet, it might be a reaction to some form of drugs or products and it could also be alopecia which is an autoimmune disease where patches of hair fall out resulting in smooth, round hairless patches on the scalp. Regardless of the cause, hair loss can be devastating and can severely impact self-esteem and appearance.Yet, there is something that can be done! There are many natural cures that can help and even reverse hair loss so you don’t have to spend TONS of money on unnecessary treatments and chemicals which can sometimes make matters even worse! One such cure might be even lurking in your kitchen pantry. Did you know that garlic can be used to treat hair loss? Yes garlic

Benefits of Garlic for Hair

Garlic is what I would call a super-food as it has so many health and beauty benefits that it should not be overlooked. Garlic can save your beautiful locks as it promotes healthy hair growth and stops hair breakage. It is one of the best remedies for hair loss, including alopecia, as it contains essential vitamins and minerals such as copper, zinc, sulphur, Vitamin B, Vitamin C and Iron. It also reduces symptoms of irritation and provides nourishment to the hair follicles which can be blocked by DHT (Dihydrotestosterone, the main cause of hair loss in both women and men) or a bad diet. It can also kill germs and microbes on the scalp that may be affecting the scalp and stopping healthy hair growth. Garlic increases hair thickness and can therefore hide apparent balding and hair loss. It also boosts circulation and detoxifies the body thus boosting the function of the immune system and promoting the growth of healthy cells and hair.

How To Use Garlic To Treat Hair Loss

There are many ways to add this perfect remedy for hair loss to your beauty regimen. To solve the problem of hair loss, gently crush a garlic clove on the balding spot on the scalp an hour before going to bed. The juice from the garlic should be spread firmly and evenly on the area. It should be left on the scalp for 60 minutes and then olive oil should be added to the area. You can leave the treatment on overnight but please wear a shower cap. As soon as you wake up, it would be best to shampoo you hair right away. You can also add garlic to your shampoo and conditioner. If you can’t stand the smell of garlic in your hair, you can try garlic supplements. However, you should consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet.

Garlic, although it is generally overlooked as a solution to most health and beauty issues, has been used throughout history to resolve various ailments including hair loss. It packs a powerful punch against most hair problems and conditions, and as such it is able to improve appearance and therefore self-esteem. So if you are tired of constantly losing hair, having to hide behind caps and wigs, then it’s worth trying out this simple remedy for hair loss. Why not give it a try? There is nothing left for you to lose and so much to gain!



February Giveaway with Gold Crush Hair Vitamins

Our February Giveaway is in association with GoldCrush Hair Vitamins


Its our second giveaway! We've teamed up with Gold Crush Hair Vitamins to give you something truly special for the spring months.

London-based beauty supplement company, GoldCrush is a super vitamin with a difference,  a revolutionary beauty vitamin with no toxic fillers. The unique formula contains 21 key nutrients for healthy hair and is one of only of a few such supplements available in the UK completely free from any bulking agents or fillers. 

GoldCrush Hair supplements have been specially created to nourish hair, skin and nails for optimal growth and cell regeneration. The formulation, containing a blend of vitamins and minerals including Zinc, Selenium and Vitamins A, B and C; when taken daily as part of a haircare routine, helps to improve general health and physical appearance with visible results in just two weeks.



We'll be giving away two bottles of Gold Crush Hair Vitamins in February.

Just enter your email address in the orange bar below, click the turquoise button, and we'll enter you into our February giveaway. This is a giveaway not to be missed, enter today.

Alternatively buy GoldCrush Hair Vitamins here.

https://www.goldcrushhair.com/#_l_60

Also coming up in March:

Just when you thought it couldn't get better we've also teamed up with ColourCones for five sets of ColourCones to be given away in March!!! We are very excited about this and will be telling you more about this amazing giveaway over the next few weeks leading up to March.

Check out my review of ColorCones showing why I think they work so well for Afro hair.

Embrace Your Inner AfroDeity
Leilu

Why are Preservatives Necessary in Cosmetics?

Science 101: Why are Preservatives Necessary in Cosmetics?



In order to make commercial cosmetic products, ie. those products that we use on our skin and hair, those products you encounter on a day to day basis, a preservative is necessary. 

What is a preservative?
A preservative can be natural or synthetic and is added to food products, pharmaceuticals or cosmetics to prevent spoilage, whether from microbial growth or undesirable chemical changes.(Source). Typically they add nothing to the actual effectiveness of the product but they prevent the growth of microbes which are hazardous to health and cause disease.

Some examples of common preservatives you will see in your every day products are parabens, formaldahyde donors, phenol derivatives, quats, alcohol, organic acids and many others. However in more recent years,  consumers would like their hair and skin care products to be 'green' and 'natural' and are shying away from parabens and many of the traditional preservatives.

Why do we need preservatives?
Cosmetics can be contaminated very easily by microbes, which can cause infection and be damaging to our health. Without a preservative, cosmetics would have to be stored at a low temperature and require fresh, sterile applicators for every use, which means no fingers ladies! Gram negative, Gram positive, yeasts, and moulds have all been found growing in different types of cosmetics. (Source)


What is a Paraben?
Parabens are a class of chemicals used as preservatives in cosmetics. they are mainly used because of their bacterial and fungicidal properties and are particulary popular because of their high efficacy and low cost. They are produced by the esterification of para-hydroybenzoic acid with an appropriate alcohol.

Parabens are amongst the most effective, broad spectrum preservatives on the market and have been used and tested over several years. However several cosmetic brands have been released as paraben free due to controversy from a Danish study.

Are these preservative dangerous?
A danish study showed that when paraben cream was applied to the backs of healthy male volunteers that the chemical could be measured in their blood after a matter of hours. Parabens are known to be absorbed, metabolised and excreted quite quickly so this would make sense.

"Preservatives are designed to kill cells. That is why they are effective. Unfortunately, that is also why they are potentially hazardous. They do not easily discriminate between good human cells and bad microbial cells but ultimately, the risk from using preservatives is significantly lower than that of using unpreserved cosmetics" (O'Lenick,, 2010).

So far there has been no link to the possible carcinogenicity of parabens and their continuous use, hence the ongoing scientific debate. These ingredients have also been used for years with lots of supporting safety data and they are still legal for use in the EU. 

In recent years Phenoxyethanol has taken the place of parabens in many cosmetic lines. In the EU, this preservative can only be used at levels below 1%.

How is this regulated?
Preservatives are regulated by the EU Cosmetic Regulations and in cases where there may be cause for concern that people may be allergic to an ingredient, an ingredient may be banned (as has been the case for many fragrances) or a maximum permitted limit is put in place. It is because of the EU Cosmetic Regulations that products made here in the UK most go through rigorous tests before they are placed on the market anywhere in the EU and their ingredients and amounts declared.

In the EU if a cosmetic preservative is not listed in the Cosmetic Directive 76/768/EEC, you cannot use it unless you go through the processes to have it approved, which can be very costly and complicated.

Once a preservative has been established for a formulation, the product must go through a Preservative Efficacy Test to establish how long the product will be viable before it is compromised by microbes. 

You can see that preservatives are therefore necessary for the safety of commercial cosmetic products.


Is there such a thing as a 'Preservative Free' product?
Truly preservative free products only last for a very short time, meaning that you can only buy them in very small quantities. Small companies are often able to offer products with 'natural' preservatives but often these will have a short shelf life and many of the preservatives will only combat the growth of a small number of microbes. 

The alternative to buying green preservative free products is to make your own.

Some preservatives you may be able to use in those products you make yourself at home:

Neem Oil - Used in India since the time of Sanskrit, Neem has really proved its worth and is one of the most powerful oils on the market today. As well as being anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, it is also an anti-protozoan!

Rosemary Extract - We’ve previously told you about the wonders of rosemary oil for your hair, but who knew it could work miracles for your skin too? Rosemary extract works against aging processes such as dark spots, thickening and wrinkling, as well as being anti-bacterial and anti-microbial.

Honey - Made by busy bees, honey is known for being highly stable against microbial growth because of it’s low moisture content and water activity, low pH and anti-microbial constituents.

Bee Propolis - More from our buzzy friends, propolis is a mixture of beeswax and resins collected by the honeybee from plants. Used by bees to protect the hive, offering both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal attributes, the Greeks and Romans would use it to heal skin abscesses!

Embrace Your Inner AfroDeity
Leilu






Resources:

Anthony J. O'Lenick, Jr., (2010) Siltech; Cosmetics and Toiletries; Comparatively Speaking: Cosmetic Preservatives; http://www.cosmeticsandtoiletries.com/formulating/ingredient/preservatives/91617569.html?page=3
http://chemistscorner.com/alternative-cosmetic-preservatives-what-are-your-options/
http://chemistscorner.com/how-to-prevent-contamination-in-cosmetic-products/