Friday, January 29, 2010

Product Review: Tropical Traditions Pure Virgin Coconut Oil

*Seeing as how this is my first product review, please be patient/understanding with me!*

A couple of weeks ago I received a jar of Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil. When I first opened it, I was a little confused. It was rock solid! LOL The next day, after sitting in my sauna-like house, it had softened up so I began my experimentation with the coconut oil!

Before I get into the review, let me explain something. Last winter I noticed that my skin had changed. For some reason (not sure if it was due to diet, medication or what) it had become extremely dry. Regardless of how much lotion I slathered on in the mornings, by lunch my legs and arms were not really soft & smooth. I'd read that coconut oil was beneficial for skin as well as hair, so I figured I'd try it. I began using it with the Vaseline intensive care that I usually use, and noticed that it actually lasted! So I started using just the coconut oil and I love it! I can tell a difference in my skin's overall appearance, even fresh out of the shower before I put it on. The biggest difference can be seen on my elbows. They weren't as smooth as I'd like since they're always rubbing against the rather rough arms of my office chair. After only about a week of consistently using the coconut oil they are so soft & smooth! I'm trying to find some way to incorporate the coconut oil in some kinda homemade foot scrub. (#random: I *heart* DIY pedicures, even more than going to get my feet done professionally.) All in all, I am extremely pleased with the results and I'm definitely gonna continue using virgin coconut oil as a part of my daily skin care regimen.

I am not as pleased with the results of using coconut oil in my hair. I tried using the coconut oil and EVOO as a hot oil treatment and I followed the steps that I found online to the T. I was expecting super soft tresses after that; the results were less than stellar. Fortunately I've never really had a problem with really dry hair, so it's not like this was a major issue. But still, for all that time & effort, I felt like there should have been a noticeable difference. I may try this treatment again and either let it stay on my hair longer, not use a shampoo when I wash it out (or use one that's sulfate-free), or try mixing in other ingredients. I'll update with a part II on how that turns out, should I do so. In the meantime, I am using the coconut oil occasionally just to oil my scalp, especially around the edges. No big TA-DA or anything with that, but at least it gives my hair a nice lil shine when I do it.

Overall, I think I will continue using PVCO, but probably more so for my skin than my hair. Has anyone else used PVCO for their hair and seen positive results? If so, share your secret, por favor!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Interview with a Transitioner

It's been a long time coming, I know, but my promised interviews have begun! I could think of no better person to start with than my twin-cousin, Shari. She started her journey to naturalista status a few months before I decided to give it another go and has provided support and encouragement for me along the way! She is truly a Pretty Girl, inside and out, as you will see from the pix and the interview!

Name: Shari M. Briggs

Age: 24

Location: Tallahassee, FL

Occupation: graduate student

How long have you been transitioning/natural?

I have been transitioning for over 11 months

BC or no? If yes, was it planned for a certain length/date, or a spur of the moment type deal? If no, what styles do you use while transitioning?

I haven’t BC’d yet, but I will in a couple of weeks on my 25th birthday! I planned to transition from birthday to birthday and then BC. While transitioning, I have used several styles. In the early stages, I just flat-ironed my natural hair to blend with the relaxed hair. After that got tedious, I started trying out styles that more closely resembled all-natural hair: flat twists, straw sets, twist-outs, etc. Recently, I’ve resorted to sew-ins and braids because the 2 textures are “interesting” to deal with.

After her last touch up.

What made you decide to go natural?

There were a couple factors in my decision. 1) My college friends played a STRONG role in me moving off the fence. Everyone in my circle of friends, with one exception, has natural hair. Seeing them embrace their natural beauty inspired me to embrace mine. 2) Relaxers were ravaging my scalp beyond belief! I had horrible dandruff as well as a spot at the back of my head that would have large chemical burns, no matter what relaxer I used or how long it stayed on. It had gotten to a point where I just expected to have bad burns…

What has been the biggest challenge for you? Have you found anything to make the transition a bit easier?

My biggest challenge has been getting used to the fact that I can’t do the same things with my natural hair that I’ve done in the past with relaxed hair. I was highly upset a couple of months ago when I tried to wrap my hair! BIG mistake! I’ve had to let go of a lot of my tried-and-true hair products and hair styles. Getting to know what my hair likes and dislikes has been an interesting step in this process.

Have friends and family been supportive? Have you faced any criticism for your decision?
My college friends have been the BEST! Each of them has helped me at some point on this journey, whether it was helping me pick out products to try or helping me pick out the right weave! My mother and father have been hilarious! My mom questions me because she remembers how thick my natural hair was as a little girl, but she has straightened my hair when I was home. I’ve nearly convinced her to go natural! My dad just jokes about who I’m going to be the next time he sees me because I change hairstyles so much now. LOL!

Her friend and hair inspiration, who is now one of MY inspirations!

Are there any particular products that you’ve become fond of or that worked well for your hair?

I’m actually still searching for something that will TRULY keep my hair straight in humidity; that has been tough. Other than that, my styles have not required much product other than setting lotion. I will definitely do more experimentation once I BC; then I will have more freedom in my style selection.

Some individuals in the natural hair community see permed hair as a sign of self-hatred or accepting a Euro-centric standard of beauty. What are your views on relaxed hair?
Since I’m edging on the age of 25 and have had a relaxer since I was around 5, I really don’t see it as self-hatred and have no ill will towards relaxers or the women with them. Some people perm their hair because they don’t know how to truly deal with their natural texture; I’ve had to learn this along the way myself and I’m still learning. Also, women that are busy tend towards perms because they are definitely less time-consuming, from what I’ve experience thus far; I’ve considered slapping the creamy crack back in just to save myself some time. Yes, permed hair does give us more European features, but our hair so much more versatile than theirs will ever be! With that, I say, to each her own!

What tips or advice would you give others who are considering going natural?
Make sure you are confident in the journey that you are about to embark on! Some people will love and embrace you; others will think you’re crazy. But in the end, it’s about loving yourself for who you are and not for whom others want you to be. Fight the good fight and resist the creamy crack!! LOL! Also, if you get discouraged, look up natural hair blogs and websites. They have saved me several times! Seeing other women’s hair journey has inspired me and gave me something to look forward to when I BC. I’m so excited! Lastly, surround yourself with supporters. Real friends won’t disown you because you change your hair…

Any additional comments concerning your experience?


About a week ago (wet & dry).

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I've Got Coconut Oil!

Now can someone tell me what to do with it?

Hello, hello! Last week I signed up to receive a free sample of Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil so that I could do my first product review. I expected some travel-sized bottle to arrive in the mail. Instead, today I got this huge jar! I'm excited because this means I not only get to try it out on my hair, but my skin as well. From what I've been reading, pure coconut oil is beneficial to hair, nails, skin, and aids in weight loss as well. Since it is pure coconut oil, it should be okay to ingest, but I'll definitely double & triple check that before I do. Anyway, just wanted to share! Product review coming soon!

Oh yeah, if you have any recipes or ways you use coconut oil, please share! Y'all know I'm new to this so any and all help is greatly appreciated! Just send it to

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Ten Natural Hair Commandments

by Laquita Thomas-Banks (Taken from Clutch Magazine)

For those of us who have made, are in the process of making, or contemplating the great Exodus from chemical hair straighteners…

I – Thou shalt be thankful for the hair that adorns thy head. Your hair is your ‘crown of glory’ treat it as such.

II – Thou shalt not idolize the hair that adorns another’s head. The hair on your head is unique, it’s what makes you you.

III – Thou shalt not take the hair that adorns thy head in vain. Be aware of the damage that chemicals and heat can cause, some of the damage is irreversible.

IV – Remember to take the necessary time to pamper thy hair. Create a routine, set aside specific days for sealing your ends, massaging, trimming, washing, conditioning and styling your hair. A healthy head of hair will be your reward.

V – Honor thy mother, father and ancestors for the beautiful traits that they have bestowed upon thee, one of which is your natural crown of glory. Wear your natural hair with pride.

VI – Thou shalt not attempt to use a fine-tooth comb to detangle thy hair. Even before using a wide-tooth comb, use your fingers to detangle, and when detangling always start from the ends and work your way up towards your scalp.

VII – Thou shalt not be ashamed to wear your natural hair in public. Wigs, weaves, braid extensions etc. are all wonderful temporary ‘protective’ and ‘transition’ styles, but they don’t compare to the beauty of your natural hair.

VIII – Thou shalt not kill the hair follicles on thy head – with high heat, harsh chemicals or tight styles. Stay away from pore clogging, dry scalp causing petroleum based products; use natural essential oil based ones instead. Be gentle with your hair, seek out professional stylists who have experience in styling your hair type.

IX – Thou shalt not bad mouth thy neighbor’s hair. Be respectful and encouraging to those who have not yet chosen to wear their hair natural. Negative comments will only turn them away from the natural hair community.

X – Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s hair; thou shalt not covet it’s texture, nor it’s curl pattern, nor it’s length etc. Appreciate the hair that you were blessed with. Try different styles and accessories that accentuate your very own personality and style.

My issues are IV & X. Like I've always stated, I'm not a "hair girl" and have never really had to do much to my hair. I'm slowly growing out of this and starting to do more for my own hair as I learn more about it. And yes, I'm guilty of coveting other naturals! I've seen soooo many gorgeous pictures out there, and I'm constantly saying "I hope my hair does that" or "I wish my hair looked like that." I'm gonna try to do better, I am!

And if you've read this blog for any amount of time you know why IX is in red. no explanation needed for that one; it is what it is!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

BC Coming Soon!


I think.

I have three dates in mind that I'm looking at, but I have a length goal in mind too, so it may depend on whichever happens first. Since I'll be hitting 25 this year & that's a number of major importance to me, I was thinking of doing it on my birthday (May 15 in case you wanna start shopping for a present LOL). Then there is the cruise that I'll be going on in June. I really don't want to be dealing with hair considering the drunken debauchery fun I plan on getting into. Or I could put it off until July when I hit the one-year mark...

But then there's the length issue. Right now I'm looking at about two inches of newgrowth, with my hair at about 7" long. I'd really like to have 5" left once I cut the perm-- simply cuz I really think my face is too fat for anything shorter & I want to be able to play around with it some. I'm not sure if I'll be able to reach that goal by any of the dates I mentioned.

At any rate, I'll be doing the BC this year. I'm excited... and very very nervous! I'll try not to chicken out!

For those of you who transitioned from relaxed to natural hair, how long did you go before the BC? Or did you BC at all? For those that are still transitioning, do you have a set time or length in mind?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Tale of Two Textures

Twenty-four weeks. Twenty-four long, withdrawal filled weeks! Yes, it has been 24 weeks since my last hit of the creamy crack. I have amazed everyone--my stylist, parents, friends, coworkers-- by sticking with it this long. I have done much better than I did a few years ago when I attempted to transition. I credit having more support (thanks to a host of beautiful ladies online who are either already natural or transitioning like me), more education on the subject (internet came through on that too) and change in my personality as far as determination, self-expression and individuality.

Now I'm at that weird point where it's very obvious that I have two different textures going on. I did not get this far last time, so it's all new territory from here. I've been trying to hide the fact that all of my hair does not look the same. But since it's kinda hard to do that without heat, I'm limiting that. So now I have about two inches of thick, poofy waves and about five of straight hair. Honestly, at first I hated it. I looked at my hair and saw a struggle. It's a really weird feeling: I'm not ashamed of the natural hair, and I knew it would be different from the relaxed portion. I knew it would look like this once the transition was complete and I was okay with that. But seeing it with the relaxed hair... It was like bacon and ice cream. I LOVE both of em & I could eat both every day, but I ain't trying to sprinkle bacon bits on my sundae! (Sorry, I'm a little hungry.) My point is, I love both, but I didn't like the idea of them together. So what I've started doing is forcing myself to wear styles that basically show off both textures. I figure if I go ahead and put it on full display I'll be more comfortable when I do finally do the big chop. Will it work? Who knows, I'm not a psychologist. I'm just trying to find something--anything--to make the transition a little less shocking for myself...

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Years!

Happy New Year to all of my followers (and anyone who happens to stumble across this blog). May 2010 be a year of health, happiness and continued blessings for you & yours!