Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Essential Oils (EO)

The essence of plants can be collected in a few different ways, but the end result is always the essential oil of the plant. Essential oil's (EO) smell good and can also be good for you in a number of ways. I like to use them to make bath salts for myself, and gifts for friends. EO gets used as a hair product by me too. Commercially you can find EO's in perfumes, makeup, soaps, scented cleaning products, incense, and aromatherapy products.


There are 3 ways that EO is gathered from plants:

1- Distillation: Flowers, leaves, wood, bark, roots, seeds, peel all can be used for this process. Most EO's are made this way.

2- Expression: Flowers (leaves, wood, etc.) are pressed, and processed like olives are for olive oil, then collected.

3- Solvent extraction: Method used when flowers (leaves, wood, etc.) are too delicate for distillation or expression. As suggested, a solvent like alcohol is used in the process. Alcohol easily evaporates leaving behind the extracted oil. Supercritical carbon dioxide is used in this method too. This is how decaf coffee is made.


There are TONS of essential oils for sale out there. Some that I see more frequently than others are:

Lavender- This is probable my favorite EO. It can help asthma, be used as a bug repellent, relieve headaches, and help sooth the scalp.

Myrrh- Can help itchy and chapped skin

Cinnamon- I LOVE cinnamon. I don't use the oil, but the sticks and power I use in abundance. It helps with headaches, stress, and can be added to tea to help sore throats and coughs.

Patchouli- Used to treat dry scalp in oily hair and for chapped skin

Rose- Can be added to shampoo and help with hair loss. It can also be massaged into the scalp for the same benefits.

Frankincense- Helps stop dry scalp

Sandalwood- Great anti-inflammatory and anticeptic

Tea Tree- Another fav of mine! It can help with acne, itchy skin, and dandruff.

Jasmine- Great for sensitive skin that's dry

Vanilla- Used mostly for its sweet scent

Chamomile- This one is very useful, but you should be careful with it. Some people can have allergies or sensitivities to the flower. Even chamomile tea can have this effect. It helps damaged cells from the sun, and can be useful against flakes from psoriasis.

***Tips on buying EO***

~Beware of words such as therapeutic grade, fragrance oils, perfume oil, nature oil, and/or aromatherapy oil. These aren't pure EO's, usually have additives, and other chemicals mixed in.

~The bottle EO comes in should be a dark amber (sometimes blue or other dark shade) colored glass. This helps filter and control the amount of sunlight that can enter the bottle. Heat and direct light can damage the oil and degrade it. The bottles are usually very small, containing only a few ounces. Some oils can deteriorate plastic, and contaminate the oil itself. This is also true for rubber, so avoid bottles that have a rubber dropper for the top.

~Certified organic EO's are very good, but I find are hard to find. As with all things organic they're chemical/pesticide free, which is always a plus.

Uses for Essential Oil:

Conditioner- Take 1 tablespoon of jojoba oil and mix with 3 drops of Lavender EO
  • After washing hair with warm water, massage the mixture into your hair. Concentrate on your scalp and the ends of your hair. Leave on for about 20 mins (wearing a shower cap or towel), rinse well, and continue as usual.
  • Helps fight dry scalp and hair
  • An alternative to jojoba oil could be olive oil, or tea tree oil. The amount of base oil can be modified to your needs, but EO goes a long way so you won't need many more drops of it
  • The Lavender EO can be substituted with any EO you enjoy for a different scent
Air Freshener- Use a few drops in an oil heater to scent the room
  • An alternative is to heat water on the stove (in a pot you're not using for food) on low. Add a few drops of EO and let the steam scent the room. Don't leave it unattended or on while you sleep. Be mindful of the water level too
  • Try different EO's for their therapeutic properties and just relax
Bath Salts- A mixture of EO and sea salts can be used to make bath salts. These are SO relaxing!!
  • The salts and oils will help condition and soften your skin
  • It can also be used as an exfoliate for feet or hands
  • Again, you can substitute Lavender EO for any of your choosing

Here is a batch of bath salts that I made using Lavender EO. I used a seashell for decoration and as a scooper! As soon as I open the jar the bathroom fills with the lavender scent. I love it!! I've made salts with vanilla, and cherry also. All have been successes.

Bug Repellent- I mostly use this for my dog, Scrappy.
  • Heart worms and other illnesses can be transmitted by mosquito's, fleas, and ticks. I'm not one for creepy crawlies, so anything safe to keep them, and their disease away I'm for.
  • In a handy water bottle I put warm water (for Scraps comfort) and a few drops of my trusty Lavender Essential Oil!
  • Spray on Scrap and hes bug free and smells good. My house does too when he runs around it, because I'm squirting him!
  • You can also spray it lightly on your pets bed, or spots it lays in a lot to help keep fleas and critters away
Body Mist- Oil can help condition your skin after a shower or bath.
  • Using the water and EO mixture, lightly spray yourself after a shower and let your skin absorb the oil.
  • You'll smell good and your skin will love you!
  • The Lavender Essential Oil can be substituted for any EO that you enjoy.
Hair Refresher- Your water bottle will be your bff soon, if you couldn't tell!
  •  When you wake up, or just to freshen up during the day you can spritz your hair with the EO/water mixture instead of plain water
  • Leaves a light fresh scent
I'm always experimenting and am sure this list will grow. There are endless ways to use essential oils. Do research and find some you like, or qualities you'd like to explore. Don't let the price tag scare you!! Can't forget to mention that. The bottles of EO are small, and the price tag that I usually see is around $12. This depends on the EO though!! Oils such as lemon or orange will be cheaper, because there's a lot of peel with oil to extract from. Other EO's will be more pricey, because it's harder to extract the EO from the plant. Often times companies will let you buy a sample size for cheap. This is a good way to try out different oils and find what you like!

Are there any EO's that I didn't list that you like? Do you have different uses for EO's? Post them below!!

Wash n Go!

I made it to DAY 14 with my finger curls!! The curls probably could've lasted longer, but I was ready for a change. Fourteen days is an extremely long time for me with one style. Sooo wash n go it was! I absolutely love wash n go's!! Lived on them for the longest time and never had an issue. This time I decided to try an Ecostyler Wash n Go. There was still plenty of the Ecostyler Argan Oil Gel left. The huge tub I showed in my previous posting, I bought at Sally's for about $8. You can also find it at dollar stores and other places, but Sally's has the best deal for the quantity you get.

As always I started with a freshly washed head of hair ^_^ Using hair clips, I sectioned my hair, detangled and started in the very back near my neck. I applied the Ecostyler similar to how I did for the finger curls. Once a small amount of gel was applied, I raked my fingers through the hair. While raking you'll see your curls become more defined. I do this for a couple passes then move on.

This is the back of my head and the finished result!!

  • You're getting the benefits of the argan oil
  • No damage from alcohol by using the ecostyler brand
  • Style will last a while because of the gel
  • Low maintenance
  • It's a wash n go--you're free to leave now
  • It takes a long time to air dry at room temp
  • If you air dry you may have a lot of shrinkage in length

To maintain this style at night I simply sleep on a satin pillow case. I don't cover my hair at night, because I don't want a bonnet or scarf crunching my curls up. In the mornings I use my pink water bottle (shown in previous posting). The only thing different with the water bottle this time is I've added 1 drop of pure Lavender Essential Oil (EO). A few sprays on my hair, fluff here and there, then I'm done!


~A diffuser may be used to dry your curls once the ecostyler's applied. This can save you some length if you're worried about shrinkage from air drying.

~To jazz up the look, clips, flowers, scarves, head bands, etc., may be added.

~You may use a different EO in your water bottle to get different benefits and scents. 1 drop is plenty, and goes a long way for a small bottle like mine.

Do you have other methods for doing wash n go's? Share!! Don't forget to subscribe, and to give some feedback  ^_~"

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Work it Out!

Is it ironic, or coincidental that I planned on blogging about working out with the finger twists, then I read about studies being done on women, their hair, and exercising? Hmm..lately there's a ton of press/media about natural hair--very interesting. Welp, as you can see, my finger curls have survived numerous workouts and made it to DAY 10!! There aren't really any tricks that I use to maintain my hair while I workout other than to continue my usual routine.

Working out and being healthy has always been something I've actively pursued. My hair during a workout or sports game isn't at the top of my focus list. When engaged, that's where my attention is for the moment. I don't neglect my hair however. The same measures you take to protect your hair daily can apply while working out. There's no reason to shy away from a good sweat. You don't have to choose between your latest 'do and an elliptical.

Leave-in conditioner is great to use if working out. It's also one thing I use in abundance when swimming is my exercise of choice!!! Completely soaking your hair will help protect and condition your hair from the chlorine. Even finally being able to use those hair clips, scarf, or bandanna is a good reason to break out the yoga pants. Earlier this year I dislocated my knee in a freak accident sitting on the couch and ended up in physical therapy. A MESS--I know! Doing therapy taught me that a really thorough ^_^   (aka hard, make your sore at first) workout can be done in 45 mins including a warm up and down. That's a whole 'nother blog though--back to the show!
Tools Used: Bobby Pins, Hair Flower (optional)

A french roll updo wasn't planned for today, but it came out really nice  ^_^"  This morning, I woke up early thinking that I would separate the finger curls and wear a fluffy fro. Before bed, I was thinking I'd probably do a wash n go using the Eco Styler. Both of those ideas went out the window when I started looking in the mirror and playing with the finger curls! I've had a few really good workouts in the last week or so, and thought that my hair might not last as long as I had hoped. After looking in the mirror, and getting a second mirror to check out the back, I was wrong. Grr to being your worst critic right? Initially, I tried to put in one huge flat two strand twist with a bang. I didn't like how it turned out, so entered the french roll.

Technique: Started at the nape of my neck on the left side. Next, I twisted and tucked the curls tightly as I moved towards the top right side of my head. There were curls left down on the top left side. I made a smaller roll with those in the same way. Both rolls were secured with plenty of bobby pins. The finger curls in the front of my head were maneuvered around to make a bang of curls.

Extra: The part that was made on the left side in between the two rolls was covered with a hair flower. The flower is held in with 2 bobby pins.


Friday, August 19, 2011


One of my all time favorite oils to pull out of the medicine cabinet is my old faithful tea tree oil! It can be used in many many ways. Tea tree oil is great to use for dry and/or itchy skin--scalp included. It can be used as body oil in place of lotions. To help my scalp, while wearing my finger twists I've been applying tea tree oil to my fingers, then giving myself scalp massages to rub it in. Anytime you massage your scalp (or anywhere on your body) it helps with blood flow, which can help promote healthy cells, circulation and hair growth.

 I once tried to hot comb my own hair..believe I was about 18---BAD IDEA!!! A section of hair at the very top of my head was burned off. It literally was about an inch of hair left. Picture those three hairs standing up on tweety birds head  O_o  Yea, that is what I had going on. EMBARRASSING! The hairs were also a funny beige color, because I literally had burned my hair off! Ran to my mom near tears, who laughed of course, because I was so upset. There wasn't anything she could do to fix it. Tea tree oil became my go to product soon after that. Massaging the area I burned off with the oil a couple times a day really helped that area recover, and grow back healthier. It probably took a good 5 months for the patch to catch up with the rest of my hair. Lesson was definitely learned from this!!!
**You can also do these tea tree oil scalp massages on your temple areas if you have thinning hair there.
BENEFITS (when used topically):
  • Antiviral (blisters, cold sores)
  • Antibacterial (acne, yeast)
  • Anti fungal (nails, fish tanks)
  • Antiseptic (acne, eczema)  
  • Helps manage dandruff
If you have an issue going on I wouldn't suggest skipping out on the doc, and subbing oil for an appointment. Do a little research if you're interested in the many uses of tea tree oil. As always, use your good sense when it comes to things like this  ^_^
There are many many types of tea tree oil's out there. Pure essential tea tree oil usually comes in a small colored bottle and is pricey. I don't often see this in stores, but it's widely available online. The bottle I picked up has tea tree, along with a number of other helpful oils. If you do use something other than pure essential tea tree oil make sure you check the ingredient list. Tea tree oil actually needs to be the base ingredient or close to it, or else you're not getting the most benefits from the product. You also want to steer away from products that have a base of mineral oil. Mineral oil is a product of petroleum and has no beneficial qualities.

Tea tree oil is the 2nd ingredient in this product
Other ingredients: soybean oil, safflower seed oil, rose hips, sweet almond oil, peanut oil (important to look for if you have allergies), aloe, vitamin e, sunflower seed oil, chamomilla, rosemary, sage, lemon peel, indian cress, white nettle, and more! If you're not sure about these other ingredients check back for future posts on essential oils, their benefits, and many uses!!!

Today marks Day 6 of my finger curls!! They're still holding and going strong! I'm still not covering my hair at night, but I am continuing to sleep on a satin pillow case. This morning I did a scalp massage with the tea tree oil, because my head was itching. Itchy scalp (or anything for that matter) drives me crazy, and I always need to solve it quick as possible. One thing I really like about tea tree oil is that it doesn't leave a greasy feeling behind. It rubs into your skin with little effort.

While massaging I stretched a bunch of curls at once to fluff any spots that I slept on. During the stretching process tea tree oil is being distributed to the curls, giving them a shine!

With styles like this I don't like hard parts. To make a part without it looking too intentional I used a large bobby pin to hold a section of hair to one side. This is easily done, because of the way I made the finger curls in this area initially.

That's the full extent of this "style"! After this, I hurried out the door to work. T-G-I-F!!

Left: It gets cold in the office!! Thanks for the handy, extra comfy blanket Ma ^_~" Oh yea, I added earrings
Right: Warming up outside on my lunch break, while reading. I <3 my Kindle!

That reminds me. I added a widget to my blog page for Shelfari. If you haven't check it out yet you must! It's an Amazon social network type site. You get your own "shelf", and on this shelf you can put books you love, have read, want to read, and/or own. After doing all of this you can find others who have similar book interests; ask questions before buying a book, etc. Check out my shelf on the left hand side of the blog. Do you have any book suggestions? Share!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Finger Curls

This weekend I had FULL intentions on going to a hair braiding shop and getting something done to my head! Usually in the summer I like to get my hair braided in some style that will last and I won't have to do it for a while. Another motivation was from some of my blog readers that wanted to know how to maintain healthy hair and scalp while wearing extensions. I promise I haven't forgotten about ya!

I washed my hair and started playing around. I rediscovered finger twists! I love these in my hair, but they take a lot of patience. This is the lone reason I don't do them often. One of the many pros to this protective style is that it'll last a couple weeks and will evolve into many styles.

Products used:
Creme of Nature Detangling Shampoo
Creme of Nature Argan Oil Foaming Wrap Lotion
Eco Styler Argan Oil Styling Gel


As requested I'll be giving more detailed steps on how I complete this style, so that it may be tried easier. If you have more questions feel free to shoot em my way! Thanks for that feedback.


When it comes to selecting hair products it can become very confusing and overwhelming fast! There are SO many products out and they all do a variety of things. There are a few things that I do to help narrow down products, and make it easier for me to choose. The first thing I look at when I pick something off the shelf is its ingredients. It's very important to me that WATER be the #1 (base) ingredient and not alcohol! Alcohol defeats the purpose of styling, especially when it comes to protective styles. The whole point of a protective style is to protect ^_^

Using a product that has a main ingredient of alcohol can be very drying to your hair. Hair that's dry is prone to breakage and damage (such as split ends) easier. If a product claims to have things in it such as shea butter, argan oil, etc., I look to see how far down the ingredient list that item actually is. If there's 10 ingredients listed, but shea butter is 2nd to last; that means there's very little of it actually in the product. If there's 10 ingredients and shea butter is 3rd or 4th then that item has a good percentage of shea butter in it. Don't be fooled by this!!

******Just for fun--next time you're at the store; pick up a bottle of lotion that claims to be shea butter lotion, or cocoa butter lotion, and check its ingredients. Are you getting your moneys worth, or the most out of the product?

You can see that water is the #1 ingredient in this wrap lotion. I also checked the "certified organic ingredients" out of curiosity. The organic ingredients in the shampoo are the coconut and sunflower oils. They both smell AMAZING!

Again, water is the 1st ingredient in the gel. Argan oil isn't where I'd like it to be, but I'll give it a try anyways. BONUS POINTS for having "Love and Pride" as an ingredient!!!!!

For finger twists I don't use many tools or products--I like to keep things neat and simple. The main tool used that's not pictured here is my own fingers!

Wide tooth comb- to detangle
Clips- to section off hair
Spray bottle- in case my hair dries faster than I can twist


As always, I start off with a freshly washed head of hair that's toweled dried! Next, I detangle, and part my hair into 6 sections using the clips to secure.

An issue I always run into when doing any type of style that covers my whole head (ex: 2 strands, finger twists) is not keeping the size uniform. I always go from back to front, and as the time goes on, and the closer to the front I get, the bigger the twists/curls get. To help curb this I made the sections toward the front smaller than the 2 in the very back. This way I won't be too tempted to change sizes.

One Section at a time:
Apply a generous amount of foam wrap lotion and finger comb it through. I used about 2-3 pumps per section.

After soaking my hair with the foam wrap lotion I clipped the section back up
This next part might be a little tricky if you've never done finger curls before. No worries, it's very easy to master! Finger curls are very similar to comb coils. When doing this style on myself it's easier to do finger curls, BUT when I do this on others it's easier for me to do comb coils. Weird--I know! The end result of both is similar. I'll try to take you step by step so that you may recreate this yourself!

I always start at the nape of my neck. Take a very small section of hair from the back clipped section. Then, a dab of the eco styler gel on your finger. Coat the hair with the gel concentrating on the roots and ends.

Start twirling the strand around your finger. As you do this the gel will be distributed along the length of the hair. You want to start at the roots, pulling taut. As you twirl make your way to the end of the strand. Not using an excess of the gel, make sure the ends are saturated. This will help prevent frizz when the hair dries, and as time goes on.

The more taut you have the strand, the tighter the finger curl will be. Once you've twirled it from root to tip, release--finger curl!! Repeat these same steps over again for more curls.

After doing a few you'll begin to see what this style will look like!

Length Check!!
Here I did a random "length check". I always get excited when there's noticeable growth to my hair!! I've definitely come a long way. Straightening my hair isn't something that happens often, but that would probably be more accurate than this method. Back to the curls!

Left: Shows how I use separate a strand for twisting from the section of hair I'm working with
Right: I use both hands while styling. One hand's busy twisting, while the other's holding hair out of the way

You don't have to make your curls as small as mine.
I will say this though--the bigger the curls the more chance there will be of them frizzing up and they probably won't last as long as the smaller one. Experiment and see what you like.
A Little More Than Halfway Done:

When I looked at this in the mirror I noticed some of the curls in the middle are bigger than the others. This is what I wanted to steer away from. I'm not redoing them, but will be aware of it for the rest of the style.

The back always takes me the longest to do. Once that part is finished the rest is cake! This style took me a while to do, but I was doing other things also. Scrappy (my puggle) got a couple of walks in, I had a snack or three, and a movie or two was watched.
Now, when you get to the last two sections in the very front of your head, this is where you can freestyle the do'. I like to have a part on the left side. To create this with the finger curls I part my hair as if a bang was being made. A part isn't necessary for this style. The curls can all lay going back, going to the left/right. You can be creative with this part.

To part, or not to part? That tis the question...
After I got this far it probably took 20 more minutes to finish. I always take my time on the front, because that's what people will see the most and first!

The front section of my head is the only part I actually needed to use my water bottle. If you twist on dry hair the end result looks different. You're also prone to more frizz from doing these curls on hair that's not damp.

Finito!! Finally Done!

I LOVE things that are different. Things that you don't see on the shelves in every store are what I'm drawn to. One way I like to accessorize my hair (besides flowers) is to use clip-on earrings!! Yes, clip-on earrings. I don't really go out looking for them though. Most of the ones I own came from my Granny's old costume jewelry collection. Avon sells a lot of necklace-earring sets---Granny has a ton of Avon and I go exploring ^_^ My ears are pierced, so I don't have a real need for the clip-ons. This is my solution! Do you have any creative ways to jazz up your hair, or do you have any variations of this style? Share!!

This is day three of the finger curls!! As the days go on your curls will loosen up a bit.

I haven't been covering my hair at all when I go to sleep. My trick?? A wonderful, soft, satin pillow case! Cotton absorbs moisture, so naturally a cotton pillow case will do just that. It will absorb the moisture from your hair. That's a big no no!

I clipped the earrings over a few curls and secured, so it's easy to take out.
Place a pair close together and it'll look like a single hair piece!
I'm going to post updates as I wear this style. These finger curls will be in for as long as I can stand em!! Check back to see the progression ^_~"
*****Note to self: Save blog drafts as you type, in case your phone goes nuts and deletes half of it!*****

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Myspace, afros, twists...and More!!

Not too long ago for some super random, strange reason, I remembered Myspace! Forgot ALL about that website, and me having a long lost profile on it. With some playing around of email-password combos I was able to login. Boy oh boy was I entertained for about 15 minutes! On my profile are a ton of pictures that go back a few years.

One of the things that stood out to me was how my hair has changed over time and how often. I rediscovered pictures of me with a relaxer, during my FIRST try at transitioning, after my BC (big chop), with braid extensions, with hair tracks, etc. It took me about three tries before I actually stuck with being chemical-free. Saying no to a relaxer was definitely not the easiest thing I've done. Now, there's no turning back for me =^_^= Enjoy!

My first couple attempts at transitioning:

I remember this hurting SO much to comb!! I had no clue how to manage my transitioning hair. That ultimately sent me back to a relaxer.
At the beginning I found it easier to maintain my do' by blow drying and straightening it. I do NOT suggest that if your ultimate goal is to have healthier hair!


Love roller-sets!! If I had a hooded drier I'd wear them more often.

Reasons I like Roller-Sets:
  • It's a SET style, so it'll last longer than a style usually would
  • You can set your hair by air drying
  • Even though your hair's "set" there's still versatility in styles you can wear
  • If you do visit a salon they're usually very inexpensive to get

Comb twists (coils), or finger twists is another great style! A different look with similar pros of roller-set styles.

Protective Styles:

Two Strand Twists curled with rollers

Single Braid extensions that a friend did for me back in the dorm days

Corn Row Braids with hair extensions. The hanging braids can be twisted into a bun at the neck for a different look.

Christmas with Scrappy!!!
Senegalese Twists with hair extensions that were curled with hot water

Pros of Protective Styles:
  • They help minimize breakage that your hair might incur from daily wear
  • Usually can be worn for a long period of time
  • With braid extensions I was still able to wash/condition my hair regularly
  • Easier to just "get up and go"
The last point mentioned might be one of my favs! I like to just get up and go...get as many winks in as I can . This is why wash and go's are at the top of my list for hairstyles!

My 24th bday party I believe

NERD Concert!!!!!!

Wash n Go Fro

Side View

Front Row of a N*E*R*D  concert

A very spontaneous shot! Was helping a photog out at an event.

Night out with my girl! Good times!!

Big bro and I!! Wash and go with short locs.
For the most part, wash and go's are preferred by me, because of what they simply are. In and out, but still looking good! There are a number of different ways that I go about doing my wash and go's.

Keep an eye out for that posting and others in the near future!  ^_~"   Don't forget to follow me for updates. I also LOVE feedback, thoughts, advice, etc., so keep it coming and thank you!!! *MUAH*