Archive for October, 2007

Incorporating Green Into My Health and Beauty Regimen

Lately, I’ve been researching how I, as an individual, could help the environment.  Global warming is such an urgent issue and I’ve found that little things such as investing in energy-saving light bulbs (uses less electricity), eliminating plastic/paper bags, using environmentally safe household cleaners, etc., would make a big difference in the future.  Global warming is even more so a concern for me as it will be my children inheriting this future.  Not a good feeling, but I am hopeful things will get better.  I’ve also been researching organic foods and products.  It was amazing to find so many companies who are committed to producing eco-friendly products.  

Check out these products:   

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PALLAS ATHENE SOAP, 2 bars for $5.00, 5 bars for $8.00 – Their Pure Soap™ is certified vegan soap.   It is 100% biodegradeable, which is very important, and not animal tested.  It’s also 96% organic.  Ingredients: Fine saponified oils of organic olive, organic palm, organic coconut, organic shea, and castor bean; with added vegetable glycerin, distilled well water, natural vitamin E, and natural vitamin C.   A biodegradable product is one made out of natural ingredients that can safely and quickly break down, and return to nature (soil or water).  Like castile soap, Pure Soap™ has a lot of uses.  It can also be used to make shampoo, toothpaste, laundry soap,  etc.  I love to see companies give back and Pallas Athene Soap does just that.  This company donates soap to several charitable organizations. 

Kiss My Face Lip Action Lip Balm, $3.49 at Whole Foods.  Flavors are Berry Warm, Eco-Coco, Mango Melt.  One dollar from every sale of this balm goes to the Alliance for Climate Protection.  As we now realize how urgent global warming is,  finding solutions that will make things better for the future is very important.

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DR. BRONNER’S and Sun Dog’s Magic Organic Body Lotion, $9.99, 8 oz. (Orange Lavender, Peppermint, Patchouli Lime, Lavender Coconut).  These lotions are made with pure organic oils (jojoba, coconut, hemp, avocado) and have no preservatives or synthetic ingredients.  For fragrance, only organic essential oils are used.

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REUSABLE BAGSHappy Bags – Modern Cotton Totes, Series I, $19.95 – Plastic bags are polluting our environment (need petroleum to make them), they’re toxic, and takes years to break down.  I didn’t realize millions of trees (forests) are cut down every year in order to produce  paper bags.   Reusable Bags has an incredible selection of recycled bags, reusable totes, water bottles, lunch bags made out of organic and recycled cotton, canvas, hemp, bamboo, etc.  The products are affordable (under $10, up to $45.00) and is a great way to avoid plastic/paper bag use.

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PERFECT PADSDeluxe Maxi Pads (pack of 3), Microfleece $26.99 or Pure organic cotton $30.99.  Perfect Pads is a reusable cloth menstrual pad company that offers pads that are washable, super absorbent, slim fitting, and leak proof.  The pads are made out of combined organic cotton and hemp materials.  They offer several pads, as well as panty liners, which handle light to heavy flows.  Also great for urinary incontinence as well.  Economical and are available in a variety of colors. 

Five Little Ways You Can Help the Environment

  1. Buy energy-conserving light bulbs. 
  2. Buy a reusable shopping bag or tote.
  3. Buy environmentally safe household cleaners.
  4. Wash clothes in cold water.
  5. Support green companies.

Preparing Kinky-Curly Hair for Cold Weather

Unfortunately, my wash-n-go summertime hairstyle is officially coming to an end.  Daily spritzing and conditioner washes will be put on hold, while heavier hair products will be put into rotation.  This is a must in order to protect and prevent hair damage for those of us who live in cold weather climates.   My idea of heavier products would include butters such as shea, shealoe, mango, or cocoa butters.  Pomades, as well as some hair stylers (consisting of the aforementioned butters), are also appropriate and should be incorporated into your routine.  Since oils also differ from light (grapeseed) to heavy (castor), switching these up would also be a good idea.

I’ve included a couple of my cold weather favorites.

PROTECTIVE STYLES – Protective styles are hairstyles that may be left in for a length of time, especially styles where the hair ends are protected from the elements.  Don’t forget winter coats and accessories (wool collars, hats, scarves) may also cause damage by pulling and rubbing the hair.  

  • Braids (box, cornrows)
  • Bantu knots
  • Twists
  • Coils/comb coils
  • Ponytails, etc. 

STYLERS

POMADES

OILS AND BUTTERS  – Check out From Nature With LoveOils By Nature, or local suppliers for the following oils and butters.  The prices are reasonable and you can order as much or as little as you’d like.  Remember a lot of the oils are available at your neighborhood grocery stores, drugstores, or beauty supply stores (BSS) as well.  Be creative and experiment.  It’s so easy to blend your own hair oil and hair butters.  

  • Olive oil/olive butter
  • Aloe vera butter/aloe vera oil
  • Almond oil/almond butter
  • Cocoa butter/cocoa oil
  • Mango butter/mango butter
  • Shea oil/shea butter
  • Shealoe butter (shea butter + aloe vera)
  • Avocado butter/avocado oil
  • Castor oil (drugstore)
  • Africa’s Best Ultimate Herbal oil (BSS)
  • Hot Six Oil (BSS)

PROTEIN TREATMENTS – Used to strengthen hair and help prevent future damage.  I try to do a protein treatment every 1 to 1-1/2 months, but be careful not to overdo it.  Doing protein treatments too often or not being aware of the protein content of daily haircare products (shampoo, conditioner, stylers, etc.) can cause protein overload.  This can, in fact, actually cause damage resulting in hair that is hard, dry, and stiff, which will eventually break off.

  • Aubrey’s GPB Shampoo
  • Lustrasilk Shea Butter Cholesterol (BSS)
  • Elasta QP Breakage Control Serum (BSS)
  • ION Repair Solutions Hair Reconstructor Treatment (Sally’s)

HATS AND SCARVES

Check out my Winter Hats for Kinky Curly Hair post below.  Don’t forget that vintage or consignment shops, as well as second-hand stores (The Salvation Army) have a vast selection of hats and scarves. 

Winter Snoods and Other Hat Goods for Kinky-Curly Hair

This winter I refuse to smoosh and force my 4+ inches of nappy hair glory to conform to a hat that’s too tight this winter.  I want to be able to remove my hat, finger fluff my hair a little here and there, and rock whatever style I’m wearing, be it twists or an afro.  The solution to my problem?  Snoods, also known as rasta, berets, hippie, dreadlock, tams, sock hats, etc.  Etsy has some of the most beautiful handmade hats I’ve ever seen.  What I love the most is that the hats are handmade, unique in color, texture, and styles, and won’t be found anywhere else.  Some businesses even allow hats to be specially ordered or custom made.

Etsy has some very artistic and creative people.   I’ll definitely be highlighting some more of my favorite businesses from this site in the near future.   Handmade bath and body products, jewelry, clothing, housewares, etc., are just a few of the many categories that are available on Etsy. 

Here are some of the beautful hats I fell in love with.  If you desire more info regarding the hats, please feel free to contact the businesses per the links provided.  I was impressed by these very pleasant ladies who are quick to respond to any questions you may have.

Purple Sage Designz – I love, love, love this handmade biz.  At this time, she has 40+ hats for purchase (snood heaven for me).  She uses yarns of cotton, acrylic, wool blend, and hemp to make some of the most beautiful hats.  She has several styles and designs available (the flapper cloche hat is one of my favorites).  Check out this talented lady’s  other items available which include adult and kids clothing/accessories (flip flops are too cute), aprons, bags, etc.   

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Lolabear’s Lovely Fiber Things –  What drew me to Lolabear’s Lovely Fiber Things were the colors of the yarns she uses to create her hats.  I fell in love with the colors and the intricate designs of her hats.  This biz owner is a very inspiring individual who uses a wide variety of yarns which include synthetic blends of acrylic and microfibre, mohair, cotton, rayon, wool, etc.   She’s seriously making me think about taking crochet classes.  Also worthwhile checking out is her beautiful handmade sweaters, scarves, and felted bags (awesome).

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The Yarn Basket Online – Check out The Yarn Basket Online.  What I love about this talented lady is that she also makes hats for the little ones, sizes 0-3 months all the way up to children 12 yrs. old, as well as adults.  The colorful beanies with visors for the babies are just too adorable.   The Yarn Basket’s creations are made with yarns of acrylic, cotton, wool, blends, etc.   The store includes snoods, headwraps, bun covers, gift wrap, as well as body products.  Custom as well as bulk orders are accepted.

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These are just a few of my favorite hats found online.  As winter is fast approaching, let me know of any other stores (online or offline) you know that sell rasta, dreadlock, or hippie style hats or scarves. 

Plus Size Fashion + Wedding + Maternity

It’s amazing how fashionable plus size clothes have become, including the wedding and maternity choices currently available.  Monif C defines what “big sexy” is in my book.  The clothes are sexy, sophisticated, and glamorous.  I’m definitely gonna add the “convertible dress” to my Christmas wish list.  No big sexy closet should be without a dress that can be worn 20+ different ways. 

David Bridal has the most elegant collection of plus size wedding gowns I’ve ever seen.  Lane Bryant’s wedding collection is noteworthy for its gown selection and affordable pricing.  Lane Bryant also has an extensive maternity collection (clothing, accessories, etc.).  For the bride-to-be who is also a mother-to-be, check out Nicole Maternity Wholesale.  A very impressive selection of plus size maternity clothing, including formal dresses, can be found here. 

JCPenney has all the staples a mom-to-be desires.  Their maternity line is extensive and includes a full maternity clothing line (tops, bottoms, tees, dresses, and lingerie).  Their wedding gown selection is very small (only 4 dresses), but very reasonably priced.  I don’t have to tell you about baby, furniture, housewares, gift + registry, etc., departments as JCPenney has been a staple for years to so many customers. 

JCPENNEY.COM

Plus Size Maternity and Wedding

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NICOLE MATERNITY WHOLESALE.COM

Plus Size Maternity and Wedding

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DAVID’S BRIDAL.COM

Plus Size Wedding

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MONIF C

Plus Size Fashion

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LANE BRYANT

Plus Size Wedding

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I’m alway seeking plus size fashion both online and offline.  Please share your plus size shopping experiences.

Using Carrier and Essential Oils on Kinky-Curly Hair

CARRIER OILS

The following carrier oils are staples in my daily hair and skin care routines.  I apply directly to my hair or skin, add to conditioners or shampoo, or blend together my own hair oil.  For those who can’t apply oil directly to hair, adding oils to your conditioner or shampoo, or doing a hot oil treatment will give you the same benefits.

Here are a couple of my staples.

  • Sweet Almond oil – Perfect for those of us with sensitive skin.  This oil is commonly used in soap, lotions, and hair products. Contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and E, as well as essential fatty acids (good fats).
  • Olive oil – Plenty of benefits using olive oil.  It’s good for heart health (cooking), skin, and hair care.   Many health practitioners encourage cooking with olive oil.  It contains a large amount of monounsaturated fatty acids which lowers LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and increases the levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol).  Olive oil is easily absorbed and conditions hair and scalp very well.  I sometimes wash my face with it.
  • Castor oil – Rich in ricinoleic acid (triglyceride of fatty acid), castor oil can be used to treat skin conditions such as fungal infections, softens cuticles,  and great as a massage oil.  Castor oil has another major use, which many of us are familiar with; it’s also a laxative.  Castor oil added to hair care products helps to seal moisture, soften, and thicken hair.  
  • Coconut oil – Another oil good for heart health (cooking) and hair.  Coconut oil contains lauric acid, a fatty acid responsible for helping to maintain the immune system.  Known to aid in weight loss efforts.  Excellent light oil for those with sensitive skin.  Helps to retain moisture in the hair and skin.  
  • Vitamin E oil –  Vitamin E is a well known antioxidant and when added to homemade products, helps to keep them fresh.  Vitamin E acts as a rejuvenator and protectant for scalp and skin.  Good for hot oil treatments.
  • Jojoba oil – This oil is actually a liquid wax which is similar to our own skin sebum (the oil which lubricates skin and coats the hair).  Because of this, jojoba oil has excellent absorption and smoothing properties.  Good for sensitive skin and great as a facial moisturizer.  Great for scalp and frizz-free hair health.
  • Sunflower oil – Another oil that is good for heart healthy diets.  Because it moisturizes and provides a protective skin barrier, it is frequently used in anti-aging or mature skin products.  Sunflower oil is a light oil has high amounts of vitamins A, D, and E.  Great body oil, especially right after a shower either alone or added to your favorite body lotion, which provides added moisture. 

ESSENTIAL OILS

These are some of my staple essential oils.  I only purchase “pure”, never synthetic essential oils, especially since I have sensitive skin as well as allergies.  Carrier oils (listed above) are used to dilute essential oils because most essential oils should not be applied directly to skin.  Pregnant women, please do your research.  Check contraindications associated with essential oils before using them.  

  • Rosemary oil – Great blended with citrus oils (lemon, lime, etc.).  Promotes hair growth and scalp health.  Increases circulation.  Those who are pregnant, have epilepsy, or high blood pressure should avoid using this essential oil.
  • Lavender oil –  Lavender oil has cleansing and healing properties.  Also an amazing hair and skin refresher or revitalizer.  
  • Peppermint oil – Blends well with lemon, rosemary, lavender, and tea tree essential oils.  Helps promote hair growth.  Peppermint has a cooling effect to the skin, reduces itching and irritation.  Love the smell and tingle of peppermint. 
  • Grapefruit oil – Great blended with peppermint, lavender, and other citrus oils.  Promotes hair growth and a great essential oil to add to massage oils.  Also a known handmade product stabilizer.

SIMPLE RECIPES

  • Pre-Shampoo Hair Condish – Two tbs. mayonaise or honey, 4 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil, 1 egg, a few drops of either rosemary, lavender, or peppermint oil.  Mix together and apply to dry hair.  Leave on 20-30 minutes, rinse, then shampoo.   My hair is so soft after using this.
  • Scalp Massage Treatment – Twice a month I massage my scalp with a combination of 1 tbsp. olive, 1 tbsp. coconut, and 1 tabsp. castor oil, cover hair, and leave on overnight.  After shampooing the next day, my hair is soft, silky, and shiny.
  • Herbal Tea Spritz – I use green, chamomile, peppermint, or lavender teas for this summertime favorite.  Boil 1 herbal teabag of your choice in 1/2 cup of water.  Add 1/2 cup of conditioner, stir to blend.  Once cool, add to spray bottle and refrigerate.   Add more water or aloe vera gel if you prefer a thinner spritz.  

I purchase my carrier oils and essential oils from local grocery stores, vitamin shops,  online sites such as Ebay, From Nature With Love, and Mountain Rose Herbs.  Have fun experimenting and making your own skin and hair products, but again,  please research the benefits of essential oils, uses, as well as their contraindications.