Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Taking Care of your hair in winter

Winter is hellish for natural hair if you're not careful. Cold air, sometimes dry air, full blast heaters, wind that tangles your curls, and wooly hats that tangle up your ends. What's a girl to do?

Never fear, I am here with tips to surround your hair with loveliness.

1) Protect your ends

Collars, hats and scarves all rub against your ends and cause split ends, knots and breakage. Keep your ends away from your collar by wearing updos or a high bun. Alternatively, use a silk scarf over your collar, old lady style :-)

High bun

Throw a scarf over jumpers, coats etc so that the ends of your hair rub on the scarf rather than the fabric of the coat or jacket.

Make sure you keep your ends moisturised. Spray, moisturise, seal with an oil or butter.

2) Find a good moisturiser

Moisturisers that work in warmer months might not work in winter. Thicker oils, butters and creams are often good for winter months, such as shea butter, castor oil, or a thick leave in. Depending on your climate, humectants such as glycerin might not be as effective in winter due to the lack of moisture in the air, but I've found that glycerin works fine for my climate in winter.

Donna MarieSuper Buttercreme - get at

3) Keep your hair in protective styles

Winter is that time to rock all your twists, braids, buns, updos, extensions - weaves (although I'm quite anti straight weave).

Long kinky twist extensions\

Charlotte's pompadour

Hayley's updo

4) Keep your hair covered, protect it from the cold.

Hats, turbans and scarves are great for winter. If you decide to wear a wooly hat, make sure you keep your hair protected by using a silk scarf under your hair, or lining the inside of your hat with silk/satin material.

My turban attempt

5) Go easy on the heaters - try and wear a scarf inside the house if you;re going to have the heating on full blast, and spray your hair regularly to keep moisture levels up.

Peace, Love and Hair Grease folks xx

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Product Review: Lush Curly Wurly Shampoo

I'll get straight to the point for once. Free sample from Lush, Curly Wurly Shampoo, Used it, it failed - here's why.

So Lush Curly Wurly has these ingredients:

Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate,Desiccated Coconut,Cetearyl Alcohol,Propylene Glycol, Water,Fresh Organic Lemon Juice, Glyceryl Stearate & PEG-100 Stearate,Perfume, Linseed Infusion,Fresh Papaya, Lauryl Betaine, Fresh Free Range Eggs, Cocoa Butter, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Shea Butter,Organic Jojoba Oil,Avocado Butter, Vanilla Absolute, Vetivert Oil,Benzoin Resinoid,Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Alkanet Extract,Lanolin, Cetrimonium Bromide, *Coumarin.

Sounds decent right?? It sure is, apart from the DESSICATED COCONUT - not sure what smart Lush product creator decided that having a shampoo for curly hair was the ticket for putting chunks of flaky coconut in it. Bad idea Lush, bad idea. I rarely if ever have had to say that about Lush by the way, they usually have great stuff.

This shampoo made my hair clean albeit a bit dry-ish, and I spent ages getting coconut bits out of my hair. It has a gorgeous smell though, and good ingredients. I'm really upset it didn't work :-(.

 Guys, try this at your peril....

Peace, Love and Hair

Is natural hair just a trend?

So recently there has been a DELUGE (I like that word) - an INUNDATION (like that word too) of naturalism  (this is not a real word) :-). 

I know more naturals now than I've ever known in my life - and my life has been 21 years long. So many of my friends are going natural, even people who I thought would never rock the natural look. I'm happy, pleasantly surprised, and relieved that people are beginning to see the natural light. Or are they??

I've been natural all my life, so I've never had to 'transition' per se, but the mental transition that  I undertook on the road to accepting my hair was definitely a big one.

At 14 years old, when I decided I was going to wear my hair in a throwback Angela Davis style afro, it definitely wasn't the norm. I got laughed at by friends (mostly male friends), had stuff thrown in my hair, and was told by teachers at school that I wasn't 'there to make a statement'. There definitely wasn't a natural community that I felt was rooting for me.  I had to constantly fight the straight or long lose curl ideal that was pushed at me constantly. 

As I got older, and learnt to take care of my hair better, I usually got nothing but love for my hair from people, but it was still seen as something very unique, out there and a bit quirky.

Now, celebrities, corporate CEO's, doctors artists  - everyone, is going natural. I'm glad that people going natural now have better products, a bigger support base and more positive affirmation (although we've still got a long way to go), but I'm hoping that the mental transition that I  had to undertake when I went on the journey to accepting my unique texture is an experience they have also. 

My qualm is that when something is extremely popular, it's easier to not think about the meaning behind it as much. 
For example, the afro of the 70's was  political statement for many, but was also a massive fashion trend. The 80's came, and a lot of the revolutionary 'black is beautiful' seemed to be left behind in the decade before, as everyone jerri curled and relaxed their afros. Even women who I respect tremendously for their part in the civil rights movement of the 70's such as Elaine Brown, (former leader of the Panther Party) I've seen recently with relaxed hair. I don't necessarily think they 'de-enlightened', themselves at all, but it just goes to prove my point that something like natural hair, can become a trend jut as anything else can.

I guess what I'm asking is, is it a problem if someone goes natural, not from a massive journey of self acceptance, but just from a simple - I like afro's at the moment, that's my look for this year? 

Strangely, I have less of a problem with it that one might think. I think any period of time that  black woman is not using a relaxer, for any reason is a good thing. Creamy crack is whack.....

Having said that, I really hope that the 'trend' we're seeing at the moment is much more than a trend for the next couple of years, but a mass awakening that will help little black girls look at their Mum's natural hair and say - 'Mummy, when I grow up, I want my hair to look just like yours'.

Peace, Love and Hair Grease folks! xxx

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Old School Inspiration

The Afro's back in the day were on point. Nuff said....


 The beautiful Marsha Hunt

 Angela Davis (
Peace, Love and Hair Grease folks xx

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Black Girl Walking

“Yo, buff ting, ya looking nice today, still’. I walk past the bus stop, eyes focused on the crossing a few steps ahead. “Psst, psst - eh gorgeous, can I talk with you”, the thick West African accent cuts through my thoughts, and I glance to my side to be greeted with a smile, and a phone grasped by an expectant hand. I smile back weakly - ‘no, thanks’, and continue to walk briskly, while an angry voice shouts ‘You’re not that nice anyway!’ in my direction. I roll my eyes, slightly embarassed at the looks of vaguely amused passers-by. It’s nothing new - I’m just another black women, walking another street, in another town that could be anywhere in the world. 
I’ve been to Jamaica, America, Chad, Guadeloupe, and I happen live in England. They all have unique cultural habits, ethnic mixes, foods, outlooks and landscapes. One thing is for certain though - anywhere where there are black men, I can guarantee I will be approached by a random member of the male species who feels that it is his privilege- no, inalienable right, to have an awkward conversation with me that he hopes will inevitably end in the exchange of numbers and ensuing ‘hook up’ or date. Unfortunately for him, all he will receive is a polite ‘no thank you’, or depending on the manner he decides to approach me, a complete lack of response.
Why so harsh? you ask. How is a man supposed to find a good black women? Answer: Generally, not on the street.  As a black woman, I feel embarrassed, violated and intimidated when someone aggressively follows me and then demands that they have my number. There have been cases where I’ve been approached in a manner that hasn’t been intimidating. I’ve had simple compliments -‘I like your hair’ or ‘Sis, you look beautiful’, that made me smile, and in no way offended me, but sadly, they don’t form the majority of my experiences. 
I’ve travelled a fair amount in my short years, and no matter which country I’ve been to, I’ve noticed that white women don’t seem to have  to face similar interactions with their male counterparts. Sure, in certain areas you’ll get the odd builder wolf whistling from a wall, or on a night out a short skirt will attract a fair amount of cat calls, but day to day, I rarely see white guys stopping white women at random on the street and then hurling abuse at them if they refuse to entertain conversation. I refuse to believe that white women carry themselves in a way that commands so much more respect than I do, so what is it that makes (a large number) of black men feel that their behaviour is acceptable, or even strangely attractive? More worryingly, what in the psyche of these men tells them that a respectable woman would give her details out to someone who has quite obviously been malingering on a random street corner in order to solicit numbers? Or maybe these men are purposely looking for women who aren’t respectable, which makes me me even more concerned. Perhaps I should flip the question around and ask, what is it about black women that makes men feel that it’s ok to treat us like this? Someone, help me out here.
My Grandfather’s generation had a completely different mode of interacting with females than this generation, so I’m not sure I would be honest in just blaming my experiences on  the standard ‘psychological effects of slavery on black male - female interactions’. Maybe it’s a reflection of the general moral breakdown in society. Maybe the fact that the media portrays black woman as sexual playthings at every available opportunity also plays a role. It could be the fact that more black men grow up without a father at home now, than ever before, and so are at a loss as to how to interact with women on a meaningful level. Maybe it’s a combination of all these factors.
All I know is that I’m tired of having my daily routine interrupted by every Tyrone, Dick and Harry that wants some ‘digits’ from me. I love black men, but I wish they could show me some love by showing a little more respect.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Natural Hair Pet Peeves

I love my hair. Repeat. I LOVE MY HAIR. Sometimes, however, it can cause a wee bit of trouble. So here are my natural pet peeves ......

1) That first day after I wash my hair and it just refuses to cooperate.

2) The fact that I am constantly tempted to buy new products, and that a new natural product line springs up every 5 minutes, eliciting even more temptation.

3)Repeat number 2.

4)Detangling - I just really can't be bothered. I'm so lazy, it happens once a week if my hair is lucky.

5)The fact that 'normal' products always have petroleum, mineral oil or something else my hair doesn't agree with. Hence no.2 again.

6)I am apparently an exotic form of tropical mammal, because everyone seems to feel entitled to touch my hair.

7) Single strand knots.Ugh. Knots in general. Ugh

8)Ugly protective styles that make me look like an extra from Roots. (not all protective styles are ugly - but the bigger and easier the braids/twists on me, the worse they look)

9) Being seen as revolutionary just for being me.

10) My hair getting caught in velcro. Maybe that's just all hair though.

But....I still LOVE my hair. Wouldn't trade it for the world:-).

Peace, Love and hair Grease folks :-)

Monday, 7 November 2011

Trend: Chunky Box Braids

Anyone remember these (Janet J)??  Well, long chunky box braids are definitely the new trend at the mo. Now frankly, I don't care for trends or fashion - wear what you wanna wear regardless of what's in, but I do love this look. Here are a few pics to inspire.

Janet Jackson 


Solange again

Third time's a charm...

 Brandy (from

Jada - with a great updo.

A model with extra chunky braids

Solange again...with a lovely bun....


  1. You don't have to use really expensive hair - I found that the cheap synthetic hair worked fine. Obviously, if you can afford human hair, then it's better for your hair so go for it. ( I have my personal qualms about the whole human hair thing actually, but that's another post)
  2. Don't do them too tight - tight braids damage the hairline and cause traction alopecia.
  3. Moisturise daily with a spritz - water, glycerin, essential oils, conditioner.
  4. Keep them's better for your hair.
Disclaimer: Although I do post certain celebrities for their hairstyles please note I am by no means endorsing their music, lifestyle's just that getting permission to post pics from 'normal' people is a lot less easy.

Peace, Love and Hair grease folks!! xxx

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Natural Spotlight: Hayley Chisholm :-)

Natural Spotlight - the gorgeous Hayley Chisholm! Enjoy :-)

Curly Mohawk

Me: Hayley, 21, student. 
How long have you been natural for?
I have been ‘natural’ all my life and I used to straighten and blow-dry my hair quite often. However, in the last few years, I have drastically reduced the amount of heat on my hair to virtually none. 
Why did you decide to go natural or what inspired you? 
I decided to ‘go natural’ -stop using straighteners, hair-dryers- when I began university in 2008. This wasn’t really a conscious decision at first. I had moved out of home and hadn’t yet bought my own hair dryer or straighteners when I had to wash my hair, after getting a swimming membership.  I realised that if I was going to be swimming several times per week, washing and blow-drying, then straightening my hair, would not be a process which would be viable over a long period of time. 

Curly afro with breakage :-(

How long did it take you to transition? What were the main problems you found while transitioning?
It took me a while to get used to handling my hair without straightening it and also figuring out how often I should wash it. I was worried about chlorine damaging my hair, but also worried about washing my hair too frequently, which actually resulted in my hair becoming very dry, and eventually breaking after a year. I decided to cut quite a considerable amount off at this time!
What styles did you use to transition with?
I was very fond of a curly Mohawk, or a standard puff. I would often do two French plaits, or cornrows whilst swimming. This was a manageable/transportable style where I didn’t have to spend an hour in the changing room, returning my hair to a ‘fit’ state to be seen in public!
Twisted Puff
What were your favourite products while transitioning?
I used Dark and Lovely hair moisturiser, which I thought at the time, was good to use, but it is actually very greasy and does not absorb into my hair. I used Dax to slick back my hair with some Dark and Lovely hair gel. I washed my hair with just standard shampoo herbal essences, as I thought this was less harsh on my hair. 
What are your favourite products now?
I love eco gel made from olive oil; it’s not heavy on my very fine hair. I also use Jamaican castor oil and beeswax on my scalp. I use an organic olive oil moisturiser and occasionally some Dax when I want my hair very smooth.  I have a spray bottle to wet my hair when I want to style it and an array of scarves and ouch-less hair bands to tie my hair. 
First time straightened hair in 6 months after 2 years of regrowth.
How have people responded to your new look?
At first, people didn’t embrace my ‘new look’ and was often told I was brave for rockin’ my hair a certain way, which made it very difficult not to give in. However, over time I guess people have got used to it and ask for tips/advice now and again. I’m very amateur in the natural hair field though!
Have you got any advice  or words of wisdom for other new naturals or transitioners?
I know this is cliché but...
  • Stick to it and you will see results
  • Remember it always gets worse before it gets better! 
  • You don’t have to have a particular length/texture of hair to be natural, what works for someone else may not necessarily work for you. 
  • Just be patient and research before you experiment. 

Friday, 14 October 2011

Black History Month: A Tribute

When I see this photograph, it conjures up so many emotions. Anger, pride, admiration,  fear, shock, awe.

 Anger at the injustice, the suggestion that as a black woman, I am inferior - not good enough to arrive at the same places white women are, to walk in their entrances. 

 Pride - at the ability of my fore-mothers to carry themselves with dignity and kindness in the face of injustice.
Pride that they took the  candle of God-like love passed down from their grandmothers, and great grandmothers in their hearts, and dressed and carried themselves like women worthy of honour despite the dishonour thrown at them by others.

 Admiration - at their strength, unwavering courage. 

Fear - fear that we as a generation have forgotten, cocooned by an amnesia of our recent history and altogether often lacking in the resilience and faith of those who came before us.

 Shock - shock that someone could dare to trample on one of God's creature in the manner that they did, especially the beautiful and self-forgetting creatures that black women have been forced to be throughout history. Shock that this evil is a part of every human being and that we all have the capacity to become this. 

Awe - awe at how much has changed, at how much we have survived, at how free I am to sit and type this,at home while one of these beautiful black women I admire, my mother, is at work, talking, eating, managing - sharing the same entrances as the people who this women in the picture was unable to even sit with. We have come a long way. There is still a long way to go.

Peace, Love, and Happy Black History Month. xx

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Product Review: Lush Perfumes

I looovee Lush. let me repeat. I loooovvveee Lush. So much. I spend too much money there. It's quite obscene. Anyway, for those of you who don't know, Lush is a shop that sells all kind of yummy natural and fresh products.
I've tried loads of their stuff, but one of their product lines that I've really been enjoying is their perfume line. I love essential oils, aromatherapy, and any kind of smelly stuff. In fact, I probably have a tendency to get too smell happy. I also react badly to most shop bought perfumes and deodorants because of the chemicals in them (I get rashes etc), which can be really frustrating as natural deodorants aren't usually as effective, but Lush has been my top choice so far.

Lush perfumes come in 3 strengths. The big black bottle is the strongest, the thin atomiser is the next strongest, and the solid perfumes are the weakest. I only ever try the solids because £5 is pretty good to spend on perfume, plus you can carry them with you anywhere, and they last long enough to be worth the dosh.

So, onto the product review:

1) Karma Solid Perfume

I've shopped at Lush for ages, and ALWAYS hated this perfume. I thought it was earthy and hippy in the worst possible way. I also usually hate any scent that's mildly fruity. Buuuut...I recently went in to my local Lush to pick up my usual cleanser and moisturiser, and happened to sniff my way over to the perfume section. I sniffed Karma, to remind myself how much I hated it, and strangely, my nostrils caught a rather pleasant odour.

This perfume has  orange as a top note, and patchouli as a base note. It has quite a sweet, slightly fruity, but spicy scent.

You will either love it OR hate it. It's the kind of scent that if I wear it strongly enough, I will offend someone. I happen to be a convert...sample it in the LUSH shop and see what you think.
Pity about the name - i don't believe in Karma.

2) Lust

This is pure Jasmine. It's loud and heady, but a scent I always get compliments on. Again, i think you will either love it or hate it, BUT most people I've encountered love it.
It also has notes of Vanilla, which is another scent I absolutely love. The name rings quite true, it is, I believe, *blushes* fairly sensual, but, that was definitely not my intention when I bought it, I just liked the smell. Lol. (Had to put that disclaimer out there). Again, pity about the name.

3) Vanillary

Not much to say about this one. It's vanilla with notes of tonka and jasmine. It's pretty inoffensive, girly and smells like candy. Definitely not a love or hate like the other two, it was the first ever Lush fragrance I bought, and my favourite for ages until I discovered Lust.

All 3 perfumes are roughly £5, so head to your local Lush, and check them out!!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

How often should you wash your hair?

I remember hearing of competitions way back in secondary (high) school (not my school by the way, other schools :-/) , where people would see how long they could go without washing their hair.

3 weeks, 6 weeks, 8 weeks?? It was kudos to the person who had the longest run. I always remember thinking ' that is way gross!!', but for some reason, it was just acceptable for black women to not wash their hair that often. If you washed your hair more than once a week, folks would give you the side eye like 'whhaat? do you think you're white or something?'

So ladies, how often do YOU wash your hair? How often should we wash our hair?

Honestly, I'm not sure...I once met this girl in a hair shop when I was around 10 years old, who had the longest, thickest, lushest hair imaginable. It looked clean and healthy and shiny,  and I couldn't smell it from where I was standing. Her Mum swore she only washed it twice year. I was in shock. I think my Mum tried that tip for like 2 and a half weeks, and then gave up.

See, your scalp is skin. We wash our skin every day at least (I hope so...I'll say that again for some of you..I hope so..), so shouldn't we wash our scalp fairly frequently as well?? Also, presuming you're doing the healthy thing and exercising regularly, you sweat from your scalp - some more than others, and all that stale sweat can't be good lingering there for weeks. It is possible to cleanse your scalp without cleansing your hair, but it's a lllooottt more tricky.

The sebaceous glands on our scalp are a lot more than on any other section of skin. This means they produce more sebum (an oily fluid). Sebum keeps our hair nourished and soft, but dirt that finds our hair also clings to the sebum. So, our scalp needs regular cleansing...
Scalp Section
BUT, natural hair is very fragile and prone to dryness, so there needs to be a fine balance between keeping the scalp and hair clean, and not removing moisture. The tight curls of natural hair mean that sebum finds it harder to moisturise the entire hair shaft.

So how often should we ash our hair?

I think it's entirely up to the individual. I think any longer than 3 weeks or so is getting a bit yuck, in my opinion, but everyone needs to find what works for them.

Hair should't be smelling, or tacky and greasy before you decide to wash it. Also, your hair shouldn't look dull and lifeless, that's a definite sign that it's in for a wash.

 I generally wash my hair once every 2 weeks when it's loose in winter, and once a week in sumer. I use a mild natural shampoo, or co-wash with a  cheapie conditioner.

Tips for maintaining moisture - cleanliness balance:

1) Try co-washing. Washing with conditioner can help maintain  a clean scalp while not removing moisture.

2) Use a non-sulfate, all natural shampoo. E.g. Dr Bronners Castille Soap, Anita Grant Babassu shampoo bar....there are loads of others.

3) When washing, focus on shampooing the scalp and let the remaining suds fall down the hair, instead of lathering shampoo into the hair strands,

4) Wash your hair gently, don't scrub and rub, as this will make the hair more prone to breakage and damage.

6) Do water only rinses between washes.

Love, Peace, and Hair Grease folks x

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

"Loving you is easy cos you're beautiful...."

I don't usually think the term  'self love' is a good thing necessarily. It'd often associated with a form of psychology that I don't agree with, that focuses on self-esteem and tends to be quite narcissistic. Me, me, and more me, is the international anthem of modern society, which ironically, has chronic rates of depression, low self-worth, and body image issues.

So, interestingly enough, focusing so much on ourselves doesn't seem to be the answer to loving ourselves. There must be a better way. There must be a way to become comfortable with the person in the mirror. Or in my case, the afro that takes up half of the mirror space.

Black women have hair issues. I've mentioned that a lot. We spend the most time, money and energy on our hair out all races of women, but yet we still don't seem to be satisfied with it. It's a cycle - we spend money because we're not satisfied, then because we're not satisfied we spend more money. Is it possible to come to a place where we are satisfied with what we've got? Where we wake up in the morning, and not in vanity or self absorption, look at our hair, and smile and think "awesome"?

I think it is. I can say with 100% certainty that I've got to a place where I absolutely, totally, indefatigably LOVE my hair. I genuinely do. Not that I don't have bad hair days, or occasional panic attacks, but I wouldn't trade my hair for the world. Although I jokingly might say 'I would kill for so and so's hair...', deep down, I know I wouldn't have mine any other way.

So how did I get to that place of acceptance? Firstly, I found out who I was and WHOSE I was. I unashamedly believe that I am a child of God, and therefore am an important and beautiful member of this universe. If he took care to know each page and letter of the script of my life before I was even conceived, how can I not love what he made me to be? Every kink, curl, knot, and napp is a wonderful design from the Creator God. Genesis says that he SAW that it was good. Isn't that powerful? And so, I asked God to help me see how he saw in the beginning.

Secondly, I absorbed as many beautiful images of women who looked liked me as I could. My parents always surrounded me with positive images of black women, and as I got older, I would choose for role models people who represented me. These were women of all races who offered valuable things to the world, but in terms of beauty, I chose to counteract the Eurocentric standard of beauty offered to me by looking at images of women  - celebrities, ordinary women  who had hair like me, noses and mouths like me, skin like me, and place them as my standard of beauty. There's a wise phrase that says 'by beholding, we become changed', and it's true.

I chose to mentally close my ears and eyes to images that told me that I wasn't beautiful. Sure, I saw them literally, but on a mental plane, I actively rejected them.

Encouraging women to find beauty in themselves is something I'm so passionate about, because I know how long it took me to find it in myself. I hope this short word of encouragement helps someone else a little on their way to believing that they are beautiful. Not because I said so, but because God said so.

Peace, Love and Blessings x

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Yes, 'nappy' hair can be long...(some inspiration)

I for one, am sick of hearing that natural hair can't grow long, or that only a certain type of natural hair (curly - type 3 hair, can grow long). I'm fed up of people disqualifying me as a 'normal' natural because I have 'nicer' hair than them, and therefore it's a 'better' texture, and easier to manage.Uh - uh. All natural hair with good care, can grow. Yeh, there are genetic factors for certain folk, etc, but most people can grow long hair. So I thought I'd leave some inspirational pics...

Singer Nadia Turner

Model Aisha Cain

Singer Esperenza Spalding

Blogger Cipriana of UrbanBushBabes

Sera, who is from Sierra Leonne and has a greeat youtube channel :  

And finally....plain old me. 
(I'm not a singer, celeb extraordinaire..just a regular chick, who took care of her hair better and it grew).

There you go...4a, 4b hair..long as you like :-)

Peace, Love and Hair Grease folks xx