Monday, 26 December 2011

Removing Yarn Braids

Hi all and Happy New Year!! 

It's that time! Yarn braid removal! 

I wore my yarn braids for 8 weeks, having installed them on October 15th. I started the removal on December 16th and finished on the 22nd of December.

I initially thought removal was going to be quick and easy, but I was wrong. I didn't spend most of the day removing the braids, just hours here and there, but it took longer than I expected. My first take down was quite quick - it was for a day or two with breaks and errands inbetween. 

Anyhow, taking down yarn braids requires care and caution because you could cause breakage to your hair if you don't remove them properly. 

Tools you may need:

  •  Scissors
  • Conditioner of choice (mine was Dr. Organic Manuka Honey Conditioner) 
  • Spray bottle with water 
Optional items may include: ponytail holders or sectioning clips

I mixed the left over conditioner with some water and put it in the spray bottle. I used the spray bottle to spritz my hair and the yarn braids to provide some extra slip so that the yarn can be removed easily.

To save time, it is best to cut off a section of the yarn where your hair is not present. Here I grabbed a braid and try to cut about 1/2 inch away from my actual hair. This saves time. Also since the yarn is burned at the end, it is much easier to cut the end off because unraveling that will take a lot of time. 

The bit of yarn cut... you can dispose of it. 


When removing the yarn braids, I tend to unravel the braids or unbraid them (I find this the easiest and fastest method). However, if you don't know which bit of yarn your hair has been braided with, removing yarn braids can be quite difficult. Mostly because your own hair can get tangled with the yarn, making unraveling the braid almost impossible. It is very important to be patient at this point. Try grabbing a string of yarn above the tangle and pull it out to help make the untangling process easier. The tangles you may face makes the process more time consuming but it is better than doing damage to your hair. 

After removing the yarn you can then finger or comb detangle the sections and twist/braid them together until all the yarn braids have been removed. After the removal, you can proceed to either shampooing, cowashing or deep conditioning, depending on your hair and scalp needs. 

A few things which you may face is a snapping sound when unravelling. Since yarn is a fibre, the snapping sound may occur as you are unravelling and separating the fibres. If you have very fine hair, you may find it difficult to differentiate between the yarn and your hair itself. It is therefore important to stay patient and use other tools such as a mirror or ask someone else to help you in the removal. 

The process of removing and sometimes installing yarn braids can take time. But I find that the benefits of wearing yarn braids outweighs the negatives because it is such a lightweight style and your hair stays in good condition (provided you stay on top of your regimen. This is why I'll be doing them again very soon.

Happy hair journey ^o^ 

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Review: Lush Australian Igloo Sugar Scrub

I went to Lush a few weeks ago. It is a store which attracts me every time I walk past. Their handmade goodies can be smelled yards away from the shop. 

The packaging claims and instructions:

Excerpt from Lush;

A festive wintery scrub to wake up sluggish skin.
Not everyone would think to try a fusion of the Arctic Circle and Australia – but we think we’ve pulled it off.
This little igloo is made with lots of fine sugar, so you can gently scrub your skin.  But because it’s winter, we’ve included plenty of other things to perk you up and fight the darkness.  
There’s bicarb to soften the water and make you feel smooth.  Then there’s Siberian pine to give a little lift to your heart with its smell, reminiscent of hot sun beaming through pine forests in springtime.  We then travel to the other side of the world with Australian sandalwood and eucalyptus, because they both smell fantastic and are great for balancing the skin. 
Then to soften you up a bit, we’ve hidden a little core of coconut oil inside the sugar, which will leave your skin smooth and moisturised. There’s even dried rosella in here, which helps calm skin and reduce redness.
This may be a tough scrub with a look of crisp winter on the outside, but its smooth coconut centre and soft scent with hints of greenery will leave you all warm and snuggly inside. Read more.


Green = natural 
Black = synthetic

Sugar, Sodium Bicarbonate, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Cream of Tartar, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Dried Rosella , Siberian Pine Oil , Eucalyptus Blue , Sandalwood Oil, Cocamide DEA, Lauryl Betaine, PEG-6 Caprylic / Capric Glycerides, *Citral, *Coumarin, *Limonene, Methyl Ionone, Perfume, Colour 42090


How I used it:
I divided the sugar scrub so that I could use 1/4th to exfoliate my skin in the shower.

The 1/4th piece was enough to exfoliate, I could have even used less if I wanted to. The sugar scrub becomes quite soft when it comes into contact with moisture and it is easy to spread onto the skin. The skin feels like it is being exfoliated, without the sugar grains being too harsh on it either. It is quite gentle for a sugar scrub. 

The scent reminds me of a forest, but it is quite mild scent so it's not too overpowering (which is a plus because I'm not a big fan of forest or pinewood scents). The sugar scrub doesn't dry the skin out after using it, but you may want to moisturise your skin depending on how it feels after. 

I don't use the sugar scrub often because I have other means of exfoliating, but I do like the sugar scrub and it is quite inexpensive and quick and easy to use. 

Saturday, 29 October 2011

How I did my yarn braids (genie locs)

Hi all,

This is a tutorial of the yarn braid/genie locs protective style I have done recently. I worked on it for a week (due to lack of free time) and I completed the style last weekend.  

This is my second time using yarn braids as a protective style. I first did this in August. It was very easy to manage and maintain and it was the ideal protective style for me while going on vacation. I had the yarn braids in for about eight weeks and this didn't lead to any issues with my hair (breakage or thinning edges). 

I used;

  • 100% acrylic yarn
  • Four sectioning clips
  • Spray bottle (contains water, aloe vera juice and rose water).
  • Oyin Handmade Burnt Sugar Pomade
  • Qhemet Biologics Burdock Root Butter Cream

I sectioned my hair in four and worked section by section. I finger parted (I prefer to finger part, rather than using a rat tail comb to) further sections for braiding and used the sectioning clips to keep other hair out of the way.

I lightly spritzed the hair to be braided, then used a little bit of Qhemet Biologics Burdock Root Butter Cream and finally sealed with Oyin Handmade Burnt Sugar Pomade. 

I then took two strings of yarn and interlocked them as shown on the left. I spritzed the strings and pulled it taut and proceeded to braiding the section of hair.

I made sure the yarn was secured to my hair without putting any tension on my hair or scalp.

After finishing the braid, I tied the ends together to prevent the yarn from unraveling. 

After I finished braiding all sections of hair, I cut the strings from the knot, just leaving the knot. I went over the knots with a candle flame to tie it to prevent it from unravelling (be really careful when doing this, don't hold the flame by the yarn for too long or otherwise it will catch fire). 

My finished results;

What I like the most about yarn braids; 
  • They are very light
  • They are easy to moisturise and keep your hair moisturised
  • They are less harsh on your hair (in comparison to synthetic braids)
  • They are inexpensive (I got my yarn from House of Fraser's, the brand Patons and it only cost me about £1.99)
  • They are versatile
  • They make your hair look like locs, without you having to loc your hair.
While there are upsides to having yarn braids, there are also some downsides;
  • They feel heavy when wet
  • Takes too long to dry
  • Removing yarn braids can be time consuming
  • They can loc in your hair if you leave them in for too long
I enjoy having yarn braids. I feel my hair gets moisturised better while the weight of the yarn is not putting any tension on my hair or my scalp. 

Before doing yarn braids, be sure it is something you want to do as it can be time consuming to put in and take out. Be sure you are buying acrylic yarn and not cotton wool. The reason for this is because wool locs in your hair. To distinguish between the two, read the information labels and also look at the price (yarn tends to be much cheaper than wool). You can also twist yarn into your hair and make yarn twists instead. 

Happy hair journey ^o^

Friday, 21 October 2011

The Natural Lounge; Naturally Fabulous

Hi all,

On October 8 I attended The Natural Lounge's Naturally Fabulous event. It is my third event/meet up of the sort and it included socialising, music, poetry, hair talk and buying + product swapping.

I purchased the VIP ticket for this event and the benefit that came with it was a goody bag. I have to say, it was a very impressive goody bag, I was taken by surprise!
The goody bag with the Naptural Roots logo.

All the goodies that I found in my goody bag!

From left to right Organic Root Stimulator;

  • Silk pillow case
  • Coconut Oil
  • Uplifting Shampoo
  • Aloe Shampoo
  • Hair Mayonnaise 2x
  • Hair Fertiliser
  • Olive Oil

  • Mixed Chicks Sulfate Free Shampoo
  • Hairveda's Vatika Frosting
  • Komaza Care Shea Butter Hair Lotion

  • Cioccolatina Equia Hair Oil
  • Solomon's Daughter Mango + Apricot Lip Butter
  • BeUNIQUE Mango Twist
  • Afrocenchix Moi Moisture
  • Koils by Nature Nourishing Hair and Body Butter (Unscented)
  • Tangle Teezer

What I purchased from some of the vendors with my own money;

The items I purchased at the event

  • Aubrey Organics GBP Shampoo
  • Cioccolatina Monoi Soap
  • Blended Beauty SilkShake
  • Pretty Curls Tropical Twist Shea Butter
  • Shea Moisture Hold and Shine Moisture Mist
  • Mmm... Hair Revitalising Hair Spritzer
  • Earrings
  • Hesh Shikakai
  • Gubdanda Shea Coop Shea Baobab and Guava soap bar
  • Tucuma Hair Butter
  • Shea Butter and Jamaican Black Castor oil samples

A book which I won in the raffle.
The book signed!

The goody bag was just amazing and my buys were really wonderful too. I won't have to purchase anything for quite some time! As for the book, I look forward to starting it as soon as my schedule becomes a bit less hectic.

The Natural Lounge event was a success. There are many positive reviews on the event by other attendees. I'm really pleased I went and it was definitely worth the money. I was able to see my friends from previous hair events and I was also able to meet new people and see bloggers etc. There is a natural hair community in the UK and we are only growing! 

Happy hair journey ^o^ 

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

What if your hair hates a product?

Natural hair care is a process of trial and error. Finding something which works for you, whether it be a routine or a product, can help you have a smooth and comfortable hair journey.

Natural hair is also extremely diverse so it is no surprise that one product may have a positive effect on one person while having a negative effect on another.

There are a couple of things you can do with products that don't work for you or products that you don't like instead of binning them. The number of things you can do are;

  1. Try looking at other ways of using the product. Chances are the product you're using, is not working for you because of the way you're using it. For example with hair gels, you may scrunch your hair to reduce the crispy feeling the gel gives your hair. For protein treatments you may want to finish up with a moisturising treatment or a simple co-wash to restore that protein - moisture balance.
  2. Try diluting the product. If the product is too thick, either use little of it or dilute it with water or an oil to allow it to be more easily distributed through your hair or scalp. The opposite can be done if the product consistency is too thin - mix it with a butter or use very little.
  3.  Try mixing the product with an oil. For example, oils may be added to gels to reduce the crunchiness of the gel.
  4. Swap products with other naturals at meet ups - this allows you to try new products without having to spend more money. You can also swap the products with any natural outside of a meet up.
  5. Give products away to family or friends - this is if you really don't mind being generous.
  6. Give products to a homeless shelter or a women's shelter - besides clothes, hygiene products are very helpful as well.
Whatever you choose to do with your products, knowing where you stand with it is progress. You can move on to try something different which might just be the product for you.
Happy hair journey ^o^

    Monday, 13 June 2011

    Saving conditioner!

    One great thing about being natural is that you can tailor your hair regimen to suit your financial situation.

    Rinse-out conditioners are thicker and heavier versions of a leave-in conditioner and can be diluted to be used as such. This is a way you can make your rinse-out conditioners last but also have it double as a co-wash (conditioner wash) conditioner and a leave-in conditioner. Use your favourite rinse-out conditioner and either;
    1. Dilute your favourite conditoner with water. This can be 1 part conditioner and three parts water or 2 part conditioner and two parts water - it's up to you what type of consistency you want from the resulting conditioner.
    2. Dilute your favourite conditioner with a choice of oils such as castor, avocado or jojoba oil, again it's up to you to choose the measurements depending on the consistency you want.
    3. Do a co wash but don't rinse out all of the conditioner, leaving some in your hair. 
    The same method can be applied to shampoo's, however this is sometimes done for the following reasons;
    1. To reduce the harshness of the shampoo especially if it contains SLS (sodium laureth sulphates) or ALS (ammonium laureth sulphates)
    2. To make a shampoo as moisturising as possible (oils, conditioners and glycerins may be added to dilute the shampoo and to make it as moisturising as possible).
    Happy Hair Journey ^o^

    Sunday, 12 June 2011

    You don't have to modify the Denman!

    You must be thinking, 'why are you saying that? *sly eye* Do you like getting your hair ripped out?'.

    Well no I do not... but the Denman has a series of brushes called Vent and Free Flow. These brushes have a widely spaced teeth compared to the Classic Styling Brushes range they have.

    A few months ago I did purchase one of the Classic Styling Brushes, the D14 (with five rows) as shown bottom right;

    The Denman D31 (with 7 rows) is the brush on the left. There are less teeth making it more widely spaced compared to the D14. I purchased the D31 very recently and I'm very pleased with it. The Denman D31 is also bigger. So for fairer comparison, I will compare it with the D3 Denman brush (with 7 rows) as shown below:

    Denman D31

    Denman D3

    The Denman D31 packaging has a sticker which says 'widely spaced pins, ideal for thick and afro hair'.

    It's quite obvious that the Denman D31 has wider spaced teeth and less teeth as well. So there is no need to buy any of the Original Denman brushes and then to modify them as shown in many tutorials on YouTube and on other blogs. Just jump straight for the Denman D1431, D31 and D41 if you do like the Denman.

    Happy hair journey ^o^

    Natural Hair Movement Gains Followers...

    ... Among Afro- American Women.

    The article that lead to the writing this article was this one. 

    A couple of problems with the Independent article, in my opinion, is that it completely ignores the natural hair 'movement', within the UK. It either ignores that, or is ignorant of the fact that it does exist. 

    We have had natural hair meet up and events, but currently also British naturals on YouTube and on blogs as well.

    When we will get the same recognition as our sisters across the Atlantic, I do not know. But it would have been nice if they looked into this closer to home.