Friday, March 18, 2011

To Oil or not To Oil

O.K. Curlies

Due to the fact that I have been experiencing some itching in my scalp lately, which I have contributed to the growth of my hair, I wanted to write a few words about it. Well, you guys should know that I believe "SHARING IS CARING".

Due to this development, I have been on the look out for advice as to whether it is good for me to oil my scalp or not. I have never been a fan of grease, due to the fact that I find grease to be heavy, weigh down my hair too much, and lets be realistic I live in the tropics so if you have a greased down head that sun is sure to fry your scalp and your hair. I ran into an article where a dermatologist stated that we should treat our scalp as we do our skin.....DUH!

WHY, is it that we can all be as smart as we want to be and miss out on the most elementary things?

Anywho he suggested that if we experience itching or flaking of the scalp it is because like our skin, it is dirty, and that we need to wash our hair more often, maybe every 3 days.....hmmmm I don't know about that one guys because as much as I love to mess with my hair I like to keep my styles in for at least a week. However, a light bulb went off in my head! When my hair was shorter my go to style was a wash and go. I use to co-wash my hair every morning put in some moisturizing product, and went through the door, but since my hair has gained some length I try to wear it in protective styles that will last all week so two strand twists, buns, and braids are my style choices of late. Thus, even though my hair gets moisturized daily the products are going on my hair not my scalp....

(See where I am going with this?)

It just dawned on me that I have been ignoring my poor scalp and it must be feeling a little dejected! It was so use to getting watered and conditioned everyday and all of a sudden I turned on it and only cared for it the one day of the week (wash day). So this brings me back to my original question, to oil or not to oil my scalp. I have read countless articles on the subject most either pro or con the process of oiling our scalps however, I most recently ran up on an article on that was not bias and really just left the decision up to me.

Here is what I gathered from the article. Hair oils can moisturize our scalp and help in stimulating our pores thus allowing us to produce more healthy, natural oils. However we must remember the "what’s good for me may not always be good for you" rule. We must also keep in mind the following cons;

1. Oil gathers the pollutants and dust in the air.

2. Over-oiling can leave us looking greasy.

3. Heavy oils can weigh the hair down depending on how thick or fine your hair texture is.

Now some pros;

1. Massaging oil into our hair creates stimulation and thus improves blood circulation as well as is


2. Oil gives extra shine.

3. Oiling the scalp can counteract dandruff and dry scalp

4. Oil can act as a conditioning agent for our hair and prevent it from being dry or brittle.

Now as I am newly natural (14months) I believe that all my research has shown me that oil is not really a moisturizer but it locks in moisture. Therefore in order for the oil to be moisturizing we must ensure that our hair has already been moisturized with a moisturizing product or better yet water.

O.K. guys I have made up my mind. Have you? Let me know your thoughts on this and if you wan to know what oils are good for what then here is the link to the article.

Please let me know your thoughts on this subject.

Thanks for reading curlies!



Hello Curlies!
Since I wrote a blog about my adventure in straightening my hair I decided that it was only fitting to write one about my return to my curly state. Let me state that saying I was nervous as I prepared to hit the shower today, and wash my hair back into its natural existance is an understatement. My heart was racing, my thoughts were jumbled, and I said a prayer before I hit that water...LOL.

As the hot water hit my head and I felt the heaviness of the water push my hair on my back, the first thought that came to my mind was "why isn't my hair shrinking?"  I kept massaging my hair and waiting for the customary feel of density that I have grown so accustom to in the 14 months I have been natural. After a few minutes (which seemed like 4ever) out of the corner of my eyes I saw some curls slowly springing back to life. As I continued to squoosh my hair together all my curlies seemed to just pop to life! WHAT A RELIEF...:)

I kept my hair straitened for 6 days, and I never applied any extra heat to them.  The first day I did a dry wrap but I didn't like the results, my hair seemed to flat to me and lifeless. I guess after becoming so used to a head full of curls the flatness disturbed me. So, the second night I did some large pincurls in my hair after adding my shea butter mixture and the next day wala, beautiful, shiny, bouncy, hair is what I came out with. So for the remainder of the week I continued putting the pincurls in my hair before bed and sleeping in my satin bonnet.

I found that wearing my hair straight was more work than I really cared to be involved in. The pincurling, the making sure I didn't wet my edges, looking at the weather forecast to see if it would rain..Lawd it seemed like I spent the entire week on edge trying to protect my straight stressess.  I found that my scalp felt tender, probably because I was messing with my hair every night and morning something that I rarely do when my hair is curly, and, on or about the 3rd day my scalp began to itch, something that never happens when I have my curls.

Over all, the experience was pleasant.  Would I do it again? Yes, maybe once a year or every 6 months or so just to clip the ends and see how healthy my hair is growing.  I much rather prefer my curls though.  Now this experience has solidified my decision to go natural for only in my natural state could I experience all this versatility and choices over how to wear or change up my hair.  So there you have it curlies I SURVIVED MY STRAIGHTENING EXPERIENCE AND NOW ITS BACK TO NORMAL FOR ME....Hello wash n go, two strand twists, puffs, twist outs, box braids, braid outs, mini twists, and cinabbun!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

ts your money….but really

O.K. guys lately I have seen you tube bombarded with natural sisters who are expressing their hurt and feelings of betrayal by a certain natural hair company that has increased their prices at a rapid speed. I have listened to the rants, the cries of betrayal, and the yells of let us all unite and boycott this company. While I truly believe that buying power is the strongest power yielded by consumers I ask myself if our energy could not be better spent on positive and uplifting things.

Now don’t get me wrong. If it wasn’t for some of these same you tubers I would have never heard of the product which I love and my hair loves as well, soooooo I can understand how one can feel disappointed that one has promoted a product not only because of its great quality but also its affordability and then they go and double their prices without even a second thought. I could understand how the consumer can feel like the company has basically bamboozled them into liking the product and then when they have them on the hook like a fish reel them in with high prices. In an industry where many of us can become product junkies and leave a big chunk of our salaries on the shelves great pricing for a product that does what it promises can be the bridge to prosperity for many a small company. My question is, is the price hike a bi-product of the present state of the economy or just greed? Well, I will never know the truth to that answer but I do know the following;

1 You as a consumer have the power to choose where and how you spend your money.

2 Most of these natural products can be made at home by just purchasing the ingredients and working on   your own formula…it might take some time but it can be done.

3 Business is business and most people are in a business to gain profits or make money

4 If you were not asked personally to promote a product and paid for doing so then why do it? Why get offended because the company has changed prices?

5 If a company changes its prices to rapidly and you feel it’s unfair just don’t buy it anymore hit them where it hurts choose to spend your money elsewhere.

Now personally I have mentioned these products in my videos and given reviews simply because I use them and I love them. I can say that I will continue to purchase them due to the fact that my experience with the product itself is favorable and I personally don’t have the time to make anything at home nor am I a chemist so I rather not. Throughout my lifetime both natural and permed I have spent many a dollar purchasing products that never did what they promised; products that if I look in my bathroom shelves are just there collecting dust because I am too lazy to throw away for lack of a better word. I see my hair as an investment now, and if I have found something that works and even with the price increase I find reasonably priced I will commit to stick with it. It is a personal choice that I implore, no I challenge all of us to make. Use your purchasing power people its o.k. to leave it but it is also o.k. to still believe in the product and purchase it.
Now this is just my humble opinion as a humble consumer. What is yours… gentle….


For decades women have been meeting up in hair salons and sharing their successes and woes over a roller set, wash, perm, or blowout. I question if the same bonding occurred in their homes with their children over the grease and cornrows. Now, I can only talk from my experience and say that in the past when my daughters sat down to comb their hair there was no bonding to be had during the experience. If I recall correctly there were tears shed, shouts of “Oweeee you pulling to hard”, cries of are we done yet and me feeling frustrated that I even had to attempt to make this hair look cute LOL. I can look back on those times now and laugh but there was no laughter in my voice back then.

In my journey to embrace my natural roots (ha see the pun) I have found a new way to bond with my daughters and yes even my son. It seems that everyone in my household is interested in what I say about our hair and what I buy to put in our hair. All of a sudden even my 15 year old son (Emil) has opted to no longer cut his hair short and wear waves but is working on obtaining a neatly packaged afro. It is amazing how much I learn from my daughters while sitting at my makeup/hair vanity while my 12 year old (Eshae’) and I moisturize our hair and prepare it for bed. My 17 year old (Elisa who is permed) has all of a sudden gotten out of her “its all about me, matter of fact teenage attitude” to join us at night and watch and engage in the more than interesting conversations that occur around our hair rituals.

As a single parent with three active kids most of the times I feel like I am running a well oiled machine and not a household, always having to keep a tight schedule between football practice, dance practice, basketball practice, volleyball practice, track practice and lets not talk about the appearances and games. I get tired already just writing about it. It seemed to me that there was never enough time in the day to talk to the kids I mean really talk. Of course I took every opportunity to ask how school is, do you guys want to share anything, but most of these questions were asked in my car on the way to or from school, work or any given activity.

My natural hair journey has not only given me an exciting and educational way to learn more about myself but it has also open the door for me to bond with my children. We sit at the table every night and my daughters tell me so many simple things about their day, some funny some that raise a red flag and alert me that I have to pull out the mommy card and nudge them in the right direction. Through our nightly hair ritual I have been able to become a better listener, my kids feel more relaxed to share, and I am better equipped with the necessary information to ensure that my parenting skills stay on point.

So you see, its just not hair! It’s just not about to perm or not to perm for me its all about bonding. It’s about being able to create that comradeship that you find so often in a beauty salon amongst women of all walks of life and social and economic backgrounds within my home with my children.

So, I welcome you to the Aska natural hair corner where you can sit run some coconut oil through your stresses, relax, and share your day experiences freely.

A funny story....The Rainy Day!

O.K. so I am going to share a funny and embarrassing story with all of you. It has been raining nonstop on this island for two days straight. I mean this is hurricane rains without the darn wind. So any who on Monday the rain started and we were hungry in my office. Like when you feel boxed in you get the munchies, sooooo my staff decided that since I was the boss and drive a 4wheel drive I should do the food run to pizza hut for the goodies. My staff had plenty of reasons for sending me out such as;

1 You have a designated spot to park so your parking spot will be there when you return

2 You don’t have a perm so if you get wet your hair will still look good

3 If we leave this office in this rain there is no way we are coming back!

Being the good boss that I am  I acquiesced and braved the rain. Well everything was going well I was jamming to one of the local radio stations put my jeep in 4wheel drive and headed to pizza hut. Sounds normal thus far huh. Well, well, well, upon arriving to the restaurant I took of my 4 inch heels and slipped on some flip flops in order to walk through the river of water that was running on the street leading to the restaurant. I picked up the food and thought oh oh I don’t have enough hands to carry this food, and an umbrella but two nice young men came to my rescue and opened the door for me while I opened the umbrella and proceeded through the door with the loot. I took one step an down, down, down, I went…the steps were so slippery that I lost my footing and properly bounced down 4 stairs on my butt…bounce, bounce, bounce, I went. Pizza, wings, lasagna, pasta all over the place let’s not talk about the umbrella. It was just me dumbfounded on my rear sitting in the pouring rain in a 3piece suit and tie to in shock to even get up quickly.

When I finally got my whit’s about myself and got up, gathered my ego, my messed up food, and umbrella I made it back into the restaurant to reorder the food. As I was explaining to the manager my mishap and why I was dripping wet, and not to worry I wasn’t going to sue, all he could do was stifle a laugh and apologize. In between his apologies and offers for free drinks and dessert he looked me in the eye and said well thank god your suit is blue because I can’t tell its wet and your hair looks beautiful. At that point what could I do but laugh along with the manager, and thank God I had the great idea to go natural…..the end, se acabo, finito!

Thoughts of a Caribbean Child

You would think that growing up in a Caribbean Island we would be more aware of how to take care of our hair, however, I find this to be so not the truth. As a child living in a Hispanic household where my mothers hair is full of silky curls, her lack of knowledge as to how to manage my hair that was not so silky was passed on to me. For a better part of my life all my mother new how to do was make sure my hair was clean and brushed back into one thick braid or ponytail. My mother had no knowledge of how to tame my hair or do two strand twists, or cornrows simply because her hair was easy to manage. Therefore of course I was excited when at the age of 13 I could finally get a perm. As I got older I never fretted about my hair it would grow nicely and because I have never been a hair person I would chop it of and keep it moving.

Being blessed with two gorgeous daughters whose hair is not particularly easy to manage, I myself never new what products were best to nurture their hair. As many Caribbean people do I simply washed it and greased it, it never mattered what ingredients were in the grease just as long as it helped me keep those cornrows in place and helped their hair look shiny.

Now that I am natural once again and I am educating myself as to what products love my hair and my hair loves back I am in awe of how little of those products are available in the regular hair market her on my island of ST. Thomas U.S. Virgin Islands. Most of my products I have to purchase on line. I am also amazed of how little we Caribbean people know about the versatility of our hair, how locks or dreads (sister locks) as we call them here are not the only styles that we can rock as we get older and opt not to go the way of a perm.

I get stopped everywhere and asked how did I get my hair that way, what did I use to get those pretty curls, is there a texturizer in my hair? I always stop and explain what is in my hair how I achieved the look and encourage the person to try it with their young daughter or if they are natural to do it on their own hair. Most people reply “oh no my hair is real African hair not like yours” to which I say every one of us has good hair, coily, beautiful, full hair. I wonder how many people have experienced a self awareness once they went natural and were able to see themselves as God intended them to be? Now don’t get me wrong I have nothing against a good perm, my eldest daughter has a perm in her hair and even though she has been contemplating putting locks in her hair she is still very attached to her perm LOL

Sooooo I did It! I straightened my hair! (just temporarily lol)

O.K. curlies so my last blog was about my trepedation as to wether to straighten my hair or not. I read your responses and then I decided to go ahead and do it.  Honestly, I wanted to see how my ends were and to do a trim on my hair due to the fact that I have been 14 months natural and have not visited a hairdresser since I Bc'd. I also want to be able to do everything myself to my hair so visiting a hair stylest to do a trim was a no no for me. 
 I want to say that I love the results, I like my curls 100% better but one of the benefits of being natural is to have versatility, and for me that means being able to switch it up and go straight if I want to.  There is no other way to learn than to take the plunge and do it so I did.  I took great precautions when straightening my hair, believe me I was careful. Here are the steps I took to protect my hair and achieve healthy results;

  1.  I applied henna to my hair. (I was scheduled for a henna treatment any ways)
  2. I applied a moisturizing conditioner to my hair, heavily. I applied the conditioner in sections as if I was giving myself a perm and then I slept with it in my hair, I also sat under my hair steamer for 15-20 minutes.
  3. The next morning I washed the conditioner out of my hair and I applied Maximus hair straightening gel and The end  gloss.
  4. I then proceeded to blow dry my hair using the tension method. I used my denman paddle brush and my ionic blowdryer with the concentration attachment. I kept the dryer 4-6 inches away from my hair and kept it moving ensuring that the heat was distributed evenly.  
  5.  After blow drying I parted my hair in 4 sections and proceeded to use my maxiglide to straighten my hair. I kept the temperature between 3-5, due to the fact that I have much curlier hair in the crown area of my head.
  6. I pin curled my hair by sections and then did a dry wrap.
  7. The next day I let out my pincurls applied my shea butter mix ensuring that my ends got the most and simply finger combed my hair.
 Soooo the results where bouncy, shiny, and hair that is full of body. You be the judge guys.  In my next post I will talk about how my hair reverted back to its curly state and if I see any difference in my hair. 

To Straighten or Not to Straighten | That is the question :)

O.K. Curlies so I am having a dilemma with myself and would love to hear how you guys feel about it.  O.K. So in 2011 I have decided to work on retaining length. Safe to say that I spent the first year of being natural concentrating on learning about my hair, how to manage it, how to keep it curly, how to comb it style and basically deal with it. Once I passed the TWA stage it really got interesting.  So now that 14 months have passed and I am confident in my knowledge to keep my hair healthy I have decided to pay attention to its growth and I have assigned this second year my hair growth challenge.

So here is my dilemma.... I am trying my best to stay away from heat for the entire year which shouldn't be that big a task because I have no desire to wear my hair straight. However, I did recently purchase a maxiglide and I am dying dying to try it out. I want to try it out for various reasons; 
 1. to see if it was worth my investment (or do I just give it away ) 
 2. I would like to see if my ends need a trim I have not trimmed it in the 14 months I have been going natural and if I am going to grow my hair for the year I would like to get rid of any damaged or frayed ends.

So what do you guys think should I try my maxiglide and deal with any frayed ends if any?  Help me decide Dolls!