Natural Hair: What It Means to Me

For some people, natural is just wearing afros or stopping relaxers. To me it means much more. When I hear anything related to natural hair, I hear creativity, freedom, boldness, beauty… 

Natural hair: bold and beautiful

The styles that I have seen since I have started this journey are just stunning. Natural hair is so versatile; you can do literally anything you want with it. You can be sporting a fro one day, and comb coils the next day. Embracing your natural coils also increases your confidence, it really does! Choosing to transition or to do the big chop is not an easy decision. It’s a drastic change which requires a lot of courage and makes you more confident about yourself and your own beauty.

You will face critics and judgements, especially within the black community. You will have to develop thick skin and do what you think is best for you, despite other peoples negative comments. You will also need persistence when your hair doesn’t react the way you want it to. Sometimes, I wake up in the morning asking myself what am I going to do with this thick hair, but I usually get over it and try to be creative. Confidence is key, whether your hair is short, long, nappy or curly.

Natural hair and freedom

The freedom to be you, freedom from using relaxers, freedom from the stereotypes of unprocessed hair…
Being natural is accepting to be yourself, as God made you, and refuse the “standards of beauty”. Regardless of what we’ve been told from young and what the media’s image of beauty, I think natural hair is something to be proud of.

Another important aspect to take in consideration is the long term damage of strengthening products and extensions. For those who don’t know, this is what can happen to you. I hope it won’t, but it can.  

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Is it really worth it? Do you hate yourself that much to put yourself through that?

By Angele Amponsah

 Photo Source(s): vissastudios.com
africanhealthmagazine.com

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Baby It’s Cold Outside!

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Faux Fur Coat

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Stay snugly and warm in this cold season with this faux fur jacket by ASOS.

It has been crafted from a soft faux fur fabric. A beautiful cream pattern, animal print with a fully lined interior. This jacket has been cut with a regular fit and should see you through a few Winters!

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Wavy Locs

Pipe Cleaner Curls

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For the ones sporting dreadlocks, here is a tutorial on how to curl your locks. Super springy and full of life, click on the links and follow the steps.

Products Used

Organic root stimulator lock and twist gel from Pak Cosmetics

Black Pipe Cleaners at John Lewis

Watch the how to here:
Hair Tip: Flexi Rods can also be used to create a similar look but their size will determine how defined your curls will turn out. 

Part 1

Part 2

Source for Photo:
blackwomennaturalhairstyles.com

Locs Your Career into 2013

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Hosted by: Conscious Vibes

 

Saturday, 19 January 2013
Between 1pm – 5pm
Cottons Restaurant
70 Exmouth Market, Islington, London EC 1 

For the first time ever, Conscious Vibes – the UK’s leading online natural hair and lifestyle magazine that showcases pioneering dreadlock hair designs and cultural businesses will be presenting the findings from its ground breaking research. More information

New Year’s Resolutions Revisited…Again!

I don’t know about you but this year has gone by so fast! Do you remember when you it was the beginning of the year and you noted down all the resolutions/changes that were going to be made and adhered to? Now as 2013 is upon us, realistically, what did we stick to? Did we drop down two dress sizes, give up alcohol or quit smoking for good?! Probably not but if we truly want to accomplish these things, we have to change our way of thinking, otherwise they will remain goals we will never achieve.

Personally, I have dabbled in a few resolutions over the years and if truth be told, I have never achieved more than a week before losing motivation or completely forgetting about it. I am hoping that next year will be different as I have many personal goals that I would like to achieve in order to give myself and family a more prosperous life.

I have seen many people being taken away from us over the last few years with plenty more life to live and it has definitely been an eye-opener into why we should set positive objectives. Our resolutions don’t always have to be something which we have put in place each consecutive year, only to fail through lack of determination. Setting smaller goals will make them easier to achieve, especially if they are based on shorter periods of time. Many people always base their resolutions on themselves but, there are other ones that can be made to ensure an impact in your life.

Give these potential resolutions some thought:-
  1. Spending more time with your loved ones, as life is too short.
  2. Eating healthier, in aide of promoting a good well-being as well as healthy natural hair growth.
  3. Set aside a small amount each month to help with those potential rainy days.
  4. If you have a dream, share it with someone that you know will encourage you to stay on track and make this dream a reality – we have nothing to fear but ourselves.
  5. Make the absolute most of each and every day!

Let’s make 2013 the one to remember!

 

By Maria Kerr

Natural Eating Top Tips

For many of us who have started (or have always been in) our natural hair journey, we may have spent hours on end reviewing hair regimes, reading hair product reviews and getting to grips with that must-have hairdo. But what many of us fail to realise is that our natural hair journey starts from within, and without a healthy diet we will never achieve our true potential of healthy hair.

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I’m not going to preach like I’m a food saint (soooo guilty of washing down junk food with water to make myself feel better lol) but, I do acknowledge the benefits of healthy eating.  There are so many fad diets out there, that many of us feel that if we just choose the right one, those pounds will melt away but really and truly, if we are not ready to adapt our lifestyles in terms of eating right, we will never be able to reap the benefits of a healthy body.

I know as Christmas and New Year approaches, money will be swallowed up in all the festivities and it always seems like eating unhealthily is usually the cheaper option but, with a little thriftiness, this does not have to be the case.

Here’s a few tips to that will help establish long-term changes in your eating plans:-
  1. Make sure you eat breakfast (within the first hour of waking up), as this will help to kick-start your metabolism for the day.
  2. Make sure each meal includes a piece of protein, as protein makes you feel fuller for longer (curbing you urge to want unhealthy snacks).
  3. Limit the carbs (you feel you can’t live without) to a third of your plate – this allows you to enjoy the food you love without going overboard.
  4. To promote healthy hair growth try to include foods like Salmon, whole grains, dark green vegetables and low-fat dairy within your diet.
  5. Buy bulk meat/fish from the butchers/fishmongers, as it always works out cheaper than buying from supermarkets and can be frozen for another time.
  6. If you choose to buy fruit and vegetables from the supermarket instead of market type stalls, always opt for offers so you get more for your money.
  7. Try to carry a home made lunch to work/place of study as it will stop you from buying a calorie-ridden alternative.
  8. And last but not least…DRINK PLENTY WATER! – Aim for 2 litres a day and drink two glasses at a time if you find it difficult to consume the water throughout the day. 

#Let’sDoThis! 

By Maria Kerr

 Photo Source: madamenoire.com

Alternative Christmas Dinner

If you’re anything like me, there are times when you will feel different because of certain dietary requirements that you may have. Whether your lactose intolerant, vegetarian, vegan or just a fussy eater, Christmas is a time when this “difference” will be seemly highlighted as most dishes involve meat, wheat and or dairy. Subsequently the recipes below should inspire you to embrace your individual diet, and make the most of this Christmas period no matter what your food choice may be.

Nibbles/Starter: Gluten free
Spiced Macadamia Nuts

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These nuts are a just-right combo of spice and sweetness, and are perfect with a glass of something cold.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ tsp caster sugar
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp hot chilli powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 150g/5½oz macadamia nuts
  • 1 tbsp clear honey

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
  2. Whisk to combine the sunflower oil, lime juice and caster sugar together, whisking until the mixture looks pale.
  3. Keep whisking and add the garam masala, chilli powder, and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Add the nuts to the spice mixture, stir in the honey and mix together until the nuts are evenly coated.
  5. Place the nuts in an even layer onto the lined baking sheet and roast in the oven for five minutes before turning them over and roasting for a further 8-10 minutes until they have a shiny, golden coating and are no longer sticky. Watch carefully towards the end of cooking to ensure the nuts do not burn.
  6. Leave the nuts on the tray to cool. They will continue to harden as they cool and can be served either warm or cold.

Main: Vegetarian
Christmas veggie Wellington

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A show-stopping alternative to beef Wellington, this vegetarian recipe will have everyone asking for another slice.

Ingredients

For the filling

  • 60g/2oz basmati rice, cooked according to the packet instructions
  • pinch turmeric
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 600g/1lb 5oz brown cap mushrooms, sliced
  • 50g/2oz butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 2 free-range eggs, hard-boiled, chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the pastry

  • 250g/9oz ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • vegetarian gravy, to serve

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
  2. Combine the cooked rice, turmeric and lemon zest and set aside, covered, in the refrigerator.
  3. Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the onion and mushroom and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until softened. Set aside to cool.
  4. Stir in the cooked rice, herbs, cranberries and hard-boiled eggs until well combined. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  5. For the pastry, cut a 40cm x 20cm/15in x 8in rectangle from the puff pastry.
  6. Spoon the rice mixture down the centre of the pastry. Bring the sides of the pastry together and seal. Brush all over with beaten egg and chill for 30 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle the pastry parcel with sesame seeds and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until crisp and golden-brown.
  8. To serve, place one slice of the Wellington onto each of six serving plates. Pour over vegetarian gravy.

Dessert: Dairy Free
Rich Christmas pudding

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Make this pudding a couple of months before Christmas day. Feed it with booze regularly for the flavours to develop.

Ingredients

  • 225g/8oz golden caster sugar
  • 225g/8oz vegetarian suet
  • 340g/12oz sultanas
  • 340g/12oz raisins
  • 225g/8oz currants
  • 110g/4oz candied peel, chopped
  • 110g/4oz plain flour
  • 110g/4oz fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 55g/2oz flaked almonds
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 1 level tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 level tsp mixed spice
  • 5g/1 level tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 150ml/5fl oz brandy or rum

Preparation method

  1. Lightly grease 4x600ml/1 pint or 2×1.2 litre/2 pint pudding basins.
  2. Mix together all the dry ingredients.
  3. Stir in the eggs and brandy and mix well.
  4. Spoon the mix into basins. Put a circle of baking parchment and foil over the top of each basin and tie securely with string. Make a string handle from one side of the basin to the other so it is easier to pick the basin out of the pan after cooking.

Technique: Wrapping a pudding for steaming

  1. Put the basins in a large steamer of boiling water and cover with a lid. Boil for 5-6 hours, topping the boiling water up from time to time, if necessary. If you do not have a steamer, put the basins in a large pan on inverted saucers on the base. Pour in boiling water to come a third of the way up the sides of the pudding bowls. Cover and steam as before.
  2. Cool. Change the baking parchment and foil covers for fresh ones and tie up as before. Store in a cool cupboard until Christmas Day.
  3. To serve, steam for 2 hours and serve with brandy butter, rum sauce, cream or home made custard.

Merry Christmas 😀

By Ester Selassie

Photo Source(s): bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/

Going Natural…Should I?

Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t – Eleanor Roosevelt

This quote says it all. In life, no matter what you do or will do, you will be prone to judgement from people you know or even from people you have never seen in your whole life. It also applies to the process of going natural. Some people will not understand, tell you that you will not be able to comb your hair, nappy hair is ugly…and so on. Of course some will say “Go for it!”, but choosing to be natural is a PERSONAL CHOICE. I know doing something new is sometimes scary, but isn’t taking risk exciting? I believe that being natural gives you a little something more which makes you stand out.

Many of us “naturals” had the same questions when we started our journey.
Will it fit me? Hmmm, I do believe that if you were born with it, it will.
Which styles can I wear? That’s the thing with natural hair; there are so many hairstyles that you can wear: big curly afro, dreadlocks, flat twists, bantu-knot twist out (my favourite, I admit it :-D) … Don’t worry if you can’t make some of the styles you have seen, it takes a while to manage the different techniques. Do not give up!!

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How do I take care of it and which products should I use? Well, it all depends on your hair texture and until you stop using relaxers you won’t know. 

It’s crazy how women are becoming more and more confident about wearing their natural mane, even in the public scene. Celebrities like Yaya Dacosta Alafia (from ANTM) and Tracee Ellis Ross are strutting their natural tresses, and aren’t they beautiful? Yes, they are.

Will you take the steps?

By Angele Amponsah

 Photo Source(s):tumblr.com
fancyhuhhh.blogspot.co.uk

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Locks: A Cultural Act Or A Trend?

Locks or locking of the hair is mainly associated with Rastafarianism the Jamaican religion, culture and some see it as a movement. Binding the hair to form matted thick collectives of hair is all a part of the Rasta doctrine which states that members should refrain from cutting, shaving or putting chemicals in their hair. Doing the above is seen as Eurocentric, as opposed to being Afro-centric which is what the movement embodies.

A condensed history of Rastafarianism goes a little something like this..NaturalPride
During the 1930’s Haile Selassie the 1st became Emperor of Ethiopia. During this time in Jamaica there was a renaissance where the majority of citizens were descendents from slaves and the predominate religion was Christianity. Searching for a black public figure to lead or aspire towards, some Jamaican’s began to associate Haile Selassie with the second reincarnation of Christ, or as the late Reggae artist Garnet Silk refers to him in a well known song Christ in his kingly character. Another phrase used to illustrate Haile Selassie is the “Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judea”, and it is precisely this term that in my opinion leads you closet to the rationale behind Rastas wearing their hair in locks. The Lion or the Lioness is seen as being unregimented, wild, untamed, dominating and authoritative in its natural habitat. It’s one of the most feared mammals in the animal kingdom, subsequently “Rasta’s” associate themselves to the embodiment of this by wearing wild and free hair but most importantly natural hair that in some regards has at times been feared by those in the Western society. As comedian Paul Mooney claimed in regards to how Europeans feel about our hair he said; “If your hair is relaxed, then white folks are relaxed, if your hair is nappy they’re not happy” – Paul Mooney.

Even now in this contemporary society, finding a salon that caters for natural or locked hair can be quite difficult. You may ask how I know this, well for the majority of my life I had locks, and I was only able to find two salons (Morris roots, Tia’s Hair Salon) which catered for my hair style. I personally do not use the term “style” loosely at all, considering in these days it is most definitely seen as a cool and trendy hair style, in comparison to the more sacred reasons Rastas hold. Celebrities such as Lil Wayne (Left), Waka Flocka Flame (Centre) and 2 Chainz (Right):

NaturalPride NaturalPrideNaturalPride

Are all current successful American rappers who have illustrated the fact that is doesn’t have to be a religious choice, but just another way to experiment with your hair. Portraying that men just like woman wish to enjoy long flowing fabulous hair, and having locks makes this even more feasible as the hair achieves long length due to the fact that it does not shed. This is the key principle of not combing the hair out, which causes an interlocking effect.

Rasta’s believe you shouldn’t run a comb through your hair as this is envisioned as a “Babylon Ting”, which is a vernacular that refers to Western culture or the Eurocentric way. Conversely proving that you are Afro-centric by going against the grain of conforming, therefore allowing you to become more of an individual. But although this is a genuine reason for adopting “locks”, it doesn’t necessarily have to be linked back to any religious doctrine. Even though a Rasta may disagree, it is better in my opinion that the religious tie to wearing locks is lessened (not abandoned) but lessened. Due to the idea that more people may flock to this hair style if they know they don’t have to let’s say change their whole life style or belief system. Let’s face it, “locks” is about freedom and not feeling pressured to look like the majority, which in some regards is what being a unique individual is about.

By Ester Selassie

Photo Source(s): news.dm
thirstyroots.com
wiznation.com
sunshinedaydream.biz

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…Bold, Cold and Beautiful

The time has come again when we have to choose what is warm, rather than what is fashionable o_O. Wrong! Winter doesn’t have to mean that we have to dress in a dull and dreary manner and in fact, it is one of those seasons where you are able to stand out from the crowd.

Fashion is always a matter of personal taste and as a Naturalista, there are so many options that can be looked into for winter, as our diverse hairstyles can always be complimented by the correct attire.

This Winter is seeing the use of burgundy grace the shops. Everything from faux fur-lined coats to Nike Blazers are being brandished with this delicious shade of deep red. Accessorising this colour with hints of gold or cream, emphasises the richness of this colour, making it a easy go to choice, which can be adapted for work or play.

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For those of us who are a little more daring, the use of bright orange and or patterns, has been made available to show bold personalities. Using patterns within our dress code doesn’t have to be done in a garish or distasteful manner and can be blended in well with plain colours to achieve dramatic effects.

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The art of turning a mediocre outfit into a head turner, all lies in the accessories you choose. Many natural sisters have turned to wearing unique pieces which showcase all elements of natural hair styling. Gone are the days when gold or silver hoops were a must have item. If you are one who likes to rock a frohawk, the use of large earrings or oversized neck pieces allow that hairstyle to pop! The beauty of wearing a frohawk, is that it can be styled to be formal or informal, making accessory choice more specific.

NaturalPrideWinter doesn’t automatically mean that your other clothes will now have to be locked away, as layering is another way of creating a defined look. By layering, it not only gives you more scopes to create ‘new’ outfits but, it will be a lot friendlier to your pockets considering Christmas is just around the corner.

So when you are thinking about creating your next Winter look, consider the following:-

  1. What is the occasion? (Work, play etc)
  2. What colours would compliment your current hairstyle?
  3. Is it something you have worn before? If so, try changing an element so it doesn’t feel repetitive.
  4. Can you layer items to create a new look? (E.g. Long-sleeved blouse, covered by a waistcoat with an added statement piece i.e brooch)
  5. Have you covered your beginning (head – hairstyle), middle (neck to waist – accessories and clothing) and end (waist to feet – appropriate bottoms and the perfect footwear)?

So with our snoods (tubular scarf), coloured leather gloves (yellow with button detail) and hair fascinators at the ready, let’s create our new ‘black’ this Winter!

By Maria Kerr

Photo Source(s):glossfashion.com
allaboutthestyle.net
prweb.com
tumblr.com
vogue.it
moptopmaven.blogspot.co.uk

Transitioning To A New You

For many of us who have decided to embark on a natural hair journey, transitioning can be a way of weaning yourself off of the hair you have become accustomed to. When you have lived with chemically-treated hair for so long and the thought of sporting a level one haircut seems daunting, transitioning can be a way of maintaining your processed length whilst coming to terms with the new you.

Transitioning is always a personal experience which can have its’ ups and downs. The battle of trying to create new hairstyles that will blend both hair textures can be a chore to say the least and we all know, we want to make this process as pain-free as possible to achieve our desired goals. During transitioning, the hair is probably at its’ most fragile state and if due care isn’t taken, that Big Chop may approach faster than you anticipated due to hair breakage.

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Chunky Twist Out

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Chunky Twist Out

Unravel those twists and unleash your hair into this beautiful bold twist out!
Watch the tutorial and get the accessories below 

Products Used

Doris New York Leave-In Conditioner at Doris New York

Doris New York Olive Oil Hair Cream from Doris New York

Stay On Satin Edge Bonnet at Pak Cosmetics

Outfit & Accessories

Oval Hoop Earrings: from Warehouse

Black Shirt: from H&M

Denim Skinny Jeans: from River Island

Black Sammy Boots: from Kurt Geiger

Watch the Chunky Twist Out tutorial here:
Hair Tip: Your hair does not have to be blown out to create this style. You can also twist the hair from wet, make sure that the hair is dry before you lose it out. Your curls will be tighter and more defined for the final look 😉

Source for Photo:
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A Style We Love

The Flat Twisted Side Bun

Flat Twisted Side Bun

This easy elegant style can be worn at the office or for a night out… and it’s perfect as a protective style for the winter

Products Used

Spectrum Organic Coconut Oil unrefined from Vitaminsuk

Ampro Styling Gel at Cosmetic Solutions

 Accessories

Gold disc earrings similar at Fashion Jewellery House

Want To Learn How To Do It? Check Out This Video

Source for Photo:
blackgirllonghair.com

Emancipate your hair!

Love for oneself is about the complete embodiment of what makes us “unique”, in scientific terms what makes us unique is our DNA. Subsequently why is it that we don’t appreciate that different textures of hair make us who we are? Whereas perming and texturizing makes us all look similar-uniform, it literally takes away the bounce, volume and feel creating a seemingly more manageable palatable look. But as we know this look is short lasting, and once again our “natural” hair takes back authority.

This leads me to the conclusion that there needs to be an innate “love” for our hair as is. It is the act of our hair reversing chemical styling that convinces me that there needs to be a positive outlook on our beautiful strong hair. Whether your hair is long or short it is still considered hair alike. “Natural” hair can be worn as locks, as seen on celebrities such as Lauryn Hill (Left) and India Arie (Right):

Emancipate your hair India ArieEmancipate your hair Lauryn Hill

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Short and Sexy Finger Coils

Finger Coils

Finger Coils

This simple hairstyle is sensitive scalp friendly. It doesn’t pull and it adds a real sense of character to TWAs. Give it a go!

Products Used

Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie from Outer Beauty Supply

Palmers Extra Virgin Olive Oil at The Glamour Shop

Hair Comb Slides, x4 Pack clear in colour at Glitz4Girlz

Outfit

Ribbed Military Jumper from Nordstrom

Get The Look Tutorial

 Source for Photo:
naturallycurly.com

Curly Fro Work It Girl!

Defined Curls

Define Your Curls

Fancying some colour this season? Get this electric lipstick and master the look

Products Used

Design Essentials Natural Curl Enhancing Mousse at Design Essentials

Elasta QP Feels Like Silk Design Gel From Jinnys Mall

Jumbo Bobby Pins from NM Beauty

Accesories

L’Oréal Lipstick at: Superdrug

Owl Studs Earrings: Lissele Jewellery

Watch this tutorial to define your curls

Source for Photo:
celliie.tumblr.com