Pure Essentials Closing Sale

Hey NYC beauties! For those who like to support local businesses (as “we” New Yorkers like to do :P) this place Pure Essentials has a sale, 20% off because sadly, it’s going out of business. Their last day is Thursday. It is on 1st Ave between 79 & 80 streets. If you live in that neighbourhood ( or feel like taking the 6 train to 77St this week) stop by! I got all this stuff at 20%off! Plus the guy threw in the toner (L’Oreal Hydrafresh) for free. New products to try! Woohoo!

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Product list:
-Nubian Heritage African Black Soap
-Ambi Black Soap w/ Shea Butter
-Desert Essence Coconut Shampoo
-Desert Essence Coconut Conditioner
-Hair Rules Blow Out Your Kinks (for when I am finally brave enough)
-Mill Creek Botanicals Tea Tree Shampoo
-Mill Creek Botanicals Tea Tree Conditioner
-L’Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black Mascara
-OPI Don’t Mess with OPI Nail Lacquer
-L’Oreal eye makeup remover
-L’Oreal Hydrafresh toner
– Eucerin Daily Protection Moisturizing face lotion.

All products are things I haven’t tried except for the Hydrafresh toner. I love the toner, it keeps my face clear and it helps prevent razor bumps.
I will be reporting back soon on my product haul.

Xox
D&A

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Winter switch up!

Hey curls! Miss me much? I’ve got a few updates and tips for the winter season. It’s my first winter in NYC and as my friend wisely said “In this city, you have to be an all-terrain-person!
So how do you make your hair all-terrain? Here are my thoughts. They will be coming to you in two installments.

1) Protective styling. Can’t stress this enough. Here are some looks I’ve tried out recently.

20121210-201011.jpg here’s a tutorial link. I couldn’t figure out how to do a horizontal French braid so I did more of a flat twist. I need to practice this look. I call it my “hat hair”

Here’s another

20121210-201622.jpg borrowed from naptural85’s infinity twist tutorial
Here’s another tutorial I like but don’t have a picture of myself in it.
And here’s me just messin’ around with an old twist out.

20121210-202320.jpg That’s really just a loose side bun.

Here’s me making an ugly sad face in this look from naptural85

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All these looks are there to protect my hair by minimizing its exposure to the elements but they are also designed to fit better under my hats, which brings me to tip 2…

2) Cover your head. There are many reasons you should do this- to keep warm, to keep protect your hair from the elements. Winter air can be drying and damp hair can freeze in the cold, expanding and disfiguring the hair shaft. (Think about when you put a full water bottle in the freezer) also, the heat of indoors and the drastic temperature shift from indoors to outdoors can also dry your hair. That said, you should cover up but most winter hats are made of coarse materials like wool and fleece that cause friction and rub against the hair, resulting in damage and frizz. There are solutions to this.
A) buy winter hats with satin lining. The good thing about this is that the satin is sure to stay in place as a smooth, non absorbent barrier between your hat and your head. The cons are that they are not always easy to find and you are limiting the kinds of hats you can wear if you ONLY buy those kinds. They can be hard to come by too. Also the lining may not stretch all the way to the edge of the hat, leaving you with some exposure to harsher fabric.
B) Wrap your hair in satin and then put the hat on. This is pretty simple and protective. The problem with this is that it can be hard to get all my hair under the scarf if I don’t twist/ bun it. And the scarf and hat can start slipping off your head, making you look silly. Bobby pinning may help with this.
C) Pin a satin bonnet to the inside of your hat. I haven’t tried this one but it seems good because you can remove the bonnet as you change hats. But I think it can look clunky and not as seamless depending on your hair and your hat.
D) Fabric glue your bonnet at the rim to inside your hat rim. Again, I haven’t tried it but it could be great or it could get messy and again look like a clunky fit. Look for a washable fabric glue at your local Walmart.
E) Sew your own lining. Here is a YouTube tutorial for sewing in a fleece lining. I imagine you could do the same with satin. Haven’t done it but it seems like a good plan. Of course, it’s a little more work and skill involved but I have a friend who has done it and says it hasn’t taken her too much time or skill since she is not a sewer.

So there is part one. In part two I will be telling you about what products I am using and the right application techniques. Hasta luego!
Daria and Angela

I’m HOOOOMMEEE!

Hello Hello Hello!

from sunny (well, more rainy these days) Trinidad. I got in Tuesday the 10th and I’ve been doing some hardcore relaxing so not much to report. A few things:

I think my Mum is scared of Angela. We went out to run a few errands and I had Angela out at her fullest.  This is the convo that followed

Mum: Daria you ent comb your hair?

Me: Yes Mummy I combed it. This is how it looks

Mum: But you walk out the house with it just so?

Me: Well since we’re driving I was going to pull it back (My fro has been known to obstruct a driver’s view, mine included)

Mum: well you mustn’t leave the house with it looking unkempt.

Me: sigh…okay Mummy (pulls back hair. I did not come on vacay to argue with Mum) It’s just an afro like the wig you used to wear in the 70’s

Mum: (indignant) no mine used to be neat. We kept it short.

What I don’t think she gets is that styles, even as they recur, evolve so the afro of yesteryear, while still cute, might seem a bit dated. Also, while natural hair is fairly common in Trinidad, it is generally worn in protective styling. Trini style tends to veer away from things that are too bold. We are really jeans and t-shirt people.

Later my Mum spotted a lady and laughed saying her hair looked like mine “That’s not an Afro that is an A-FRAID!” I had to laugh. Oh Mother.

Anyway I at least wore it in a puff for her. Surprisingly my father who once LITERALLY did not notice an elephant in the room* observed the change right away (no positive or negative opinion, he just observed it) I have been rocking a top-knot mostly and have been wearing Shea Moisture conditioner and gel in my hair. I did try out this one look to take a new visa photo. In visa pics, your hair cannot obstruct your face, which Angela tends to do…

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I achieved it by leaving conditioner (silicone free!) in my hair to loosen the curl pattern. I used gel to hold it and then side parted my hair, rolling the wider side inward and securing the front of my hair into a half pony. Simple! Note: I stress using silicone-free conditioner because leaving conditioner with “cones” in your hair too long can stop moisture from getting in and eventually drive out your hair.

Other fun observation: Maybe it’s because this has been a particularly humid summer in DC, maybe it’s because my hair is not as dry as it used to be or maybe it’s because my hair is now natural: maybe it’s a combination- but when I had a perm I would feel the texture of my hair change the second I touched down in T&T but this time when I came home I noticed no great shift. It was interesting!

I will let you guys know more about my adventures in style as my holiday continues.

With love

Daria & Angela

* My mother collects elephant stuatues and one day we were shopping and fell in love with this majestic white piece. It was probably 2 feet tall and had a flat load on it’s back so we could add a glass table top and make it a centrepiece in the living room. I don’t remember the price but my Mum wasn’t sure how my Dad would feel about the purchase. She asked me how long I thought it would be before my father noticed this white elephant sitting in our living room. I guessed about 2 weeks. Well, fourteen days later my father comes home in the evening and quite confused goes to my mother “BUT HOW LONG WE HAD DAT ELEPHANT IN DE LIVING ROOM?!” and that is my father, bless his heart.

Make-up!

I have just started getting into make-up as well as hair and it’s one of those things: the more you know, the less you know you know. Apparently I’ve been putting mascara on wrong!!! So my friend Michael took me to Ulta for the first time in my life and tonight I am going for a bday hangout with my urban decay palette and smashbox powder and primer. I also discovered the solution for the liquid-liner challenged: felt-tip eyeliner pens. They give you that same liquid look. Not bad for a first attempt, huh?
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Cost and Value Tips

I’m a big believer in the Marshall’s slogan. “never pay full price for fabulous!” I got most of today’s outfit as hand me downs and I’ve already received quite a few compliments.

When it comes to hair products…that’s usually where I splurge. I don’t wear a lot of make up and 90% of the clothes I own cost me (note: cost me) less than thirty dollars.
So since I know a chunk of my pay is going to Shea Moisture etc. I am trying to figure out ways to save. When I am not reading hair blogs I’m typically checking out Daily Worth, Get Rich Slowly and I Will Teach You To Be Rich.
Here is some consumer advice.

Tip1-
Don’t throw it away just yet. If it’s broke- maybe you can fix it. I am not a fan of the ever popular kinky-curly knot today shampoo/conditioner. I bought a set a while back and have been trying to get rid of it for ages. I finally found a solution for that conditioner. It has done nothing for me in the shower but since it’s a leave-in I decided to add it to my usual spray bottle of water/ olive oil. It actually makes a great detangling/ moisturizing spray! Try using products in different combinations and ways. Don’t confine yourself to the directions on the bottle. This is not a pharmacy prescription.

2)Use products for household chores/ other purposes:
Did you know shampoo can help lift grease stains from clothes? Or that conditioner makes a great shaving cream? (as good as the real thing, if not better). Just because you’ve gone sulphate/ silicone free doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy those products in other ways. Most things have more than one purpose.

3)Stretch your products:
Add olive oil to a a hair product that needs a moisture boost. Add water to products that are too thick. Make them last. If you use Dr.Bronner’s Castille Soap, for example, note on the bottle it says that it  can be diluted.

4)Use baby shampoo. Sulphate-free products like Shea Moisture get expensive. Using tip#3 and adding a little oil to a gentler product like baby shampoo may be the next best thing.

5) Comparison shop. Before trying a new product, check its reviews for gosh sakes! It seems obvious but before I learnt about natural hair I just bought what sounded good on the label. If your friend uses a product then you can ask to try hers before you buy a ten dollar bottle for yourself. Shop around for low prices and check the clearance aisle at your local Target. Lastly, remember to check the quantity of a product. If you have two similar products check the price per ounce. Is it worth it to save that dollar on the 8 oz. jar when the 12 oz. jar of a similar product is a dollar more?

6) Make your own: calculate- is it cheaper to buy groceries and make your product or buy the product itself? Example: $20.00 worth of groceries will be enough to make 4-6 times one Diva Smooth bottle (it’s called a caramel treatment. YouTube it) and still have some ingredients like grapeseed oil left over. However is it cheaper to buy and boil flaxseed or just get a tub of ecostyler gel? (I have never tried to do either so I couldn’t tell you) l guarantee there is a kitchen recipe or homemade alternative to almost anything you want to put in your hair. Just ask naturallycurly.com or even Mr. Google. Then compare the cost of buying vs. making. You can check the prices of groceries on many store websites like safeway.com. Usually these recipes can be made rather quickly.

Hope I helped, guys. Here is a pic of my hair, nicely slicked back after spritzing with the kinky- curly mix.

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I will be updating this post, adding helpful links for these guidelines later today so stay tuned.
Xox
D

Mercury Poisoning from Skin-Lightening Creams

http://www.thegrio.com/health/medical-officials-find-mercury-in-lightening-cream.php

Just read this crazy article about skin-lightening creams containing mercury! While I have (unsuccessfully) tried creams to fade spots and scars, I have never prescribed to the image of lighter skin as a sign of beauty and thank God I don’t if this is what happens!

A Moral (& Fashion) Dilemma

Like I promised you guys, not all my posts would be about hair. This weekend I got into a little ethical pickle involving a party dress. It was one of my girlies’s bday and we were all ordered to come out in our best dresses and heels for a night at a popular downtown DC lounge.

Being kind of a homebody, I’ve put off updating my party gear for a while. I decided it was time for a new look. I went to the mall near my house and checked out the local Macy’s and JC Penny. That’s fancy for me. I’m mostly a Target and Marshall’s kind of girl.(My designer stuff all came from Filene’s or Nordstrom Rack but I digress…) I tried on a dress that had several elements I love: strapless and colourful with a cool print. Plus it was Baby Phat, which I hadn’t cared for since High School. Impressive: Kudos, Kimora!

The dress cost more than I had wanted to spend and with its distinctive pattern I wondered if I could wear it again without looking like a repeat offender. It being the last in my size, I bought the dress Friday night thinking if I found anything else shopping Saturday, I would return it. No luck at the H&M type stores so I stuck with the dress from before and stepped out looking fabulous.

The next day I tried to see if the dress needed a wash but despite my dancing the night away to Whitney Houston (RIP) it still looked and smelled clean. Then I saw the tag was still inside the dress…I could, potentially return it if it wasn’t going to be worth it to me. You know the math: cost of dress/ number of times worn= real cost of dress.

What do you do when you have a moral, economic, and fashion crisis all rolled into one? Take it to Facebook, I decided. I posted a picture and briefly explained my dilemma, eliciting a “shame on you” for my big sister/ moral compass/ fashion junkie for even entertaining the idea. The same number of people expressed moral indignation as said it would be okay to return the dress if I didn’t think I would use it again. I was surprised nobody said what I had always said about buying with intent to return, which is that it’s just tacky. One friend even joked she owned a price tag gun in case she ever changed her mind. Most people said keep the dress because it looked good on me and I would probably find occasion to wear it again.

I had to agree. It would be a shame to part with my pretty dress once we bonded over Whitney. Besides, my sister raised a good point: it wasn’t fair to the person who would buy the dress after me. My boyfriend raised another good point: that was that person’s concern. It’s the buyer’s responsibility to make sure the product is right when you buy it but I hate when stores toot that, citing a “no refund” policy. Those are usually stores to which I never return. What did I do? I cut the tag off. Yay for ethics and a pretty dress!

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Time for some TLC

Day 1…

This has been a rough week on my hair (partly my fault, I’ll admit). The weather’s been terrible and I haven’t been detangling. I have just been slapping some moisturiser (curl enhancing smoothie) over it. Despite some efforts to at least oil my scalp, it’s still feeling a bit dry so I’ve bought some Shea Moisture African Black Soap Balancing Conditioner (what a name!) I put it on my scalp and (lightly spritzed) hair to seep in overnight, then wrapped it up in a satin scarf. Tomorrow I will do my regular yoghurt routine and let you know how it turns out. We’ll see how my scalp feels at the end of the week but here are my first impressions:
It has a thinner consistency than my restorative shea moisture conditioner and it smells like black soap (which smells like plantains since that’s what it’s made from). Now I love plantains but I’m not sure I want to walk around smellin’ like Sunday lunch. However I will say my scalp feels so far so good. Even when I put coconut oil on my scalp it helps only minimally. This is better so far. This conditioner is not a leave-in they say. However I use rinse out conditioners as leave-ins all the time. (see my “emergency wash n go” post) As Kanye says “who’s gon’ stop me huh?!” 😛

Day 2…

I was too lazy to do the yoghurt and figured, as it said on the bottle, the conditioner was a good enough pre-poo on its own. By the time I washed my hair this morning my knots had melted away. I washed, and used the last of my moisture retention conditioner and some of the new black soap conditioner (both by Shea moisture). Then dried with an old cotton pillowcase (I use satin ones now but waste not, want not!) then did my usual coconut oil (mostly on the scalp), curl smoothie (tinier bit than usual) and gel (kccc).Then scrunch and I’m off. Seems to have a good shape so far and my hair is as soft as if I’d made one of my usual Deep Treatments. So I guess I’ve found a lazy solution. Let me know what you think.

xox D