Monthly Archives: December 2012

On the Scene with Elasta QP Products

Have you heard of the Elasta QP brand? Perhaps you are one like me you used this brand when you were relaxed. Perhaps your stylist introduced it you, and you could not believe how incredible silky your hair felt. Well, guess what naturalistas? Elasta QP has launched their new line of Olive Oil and Mango Butter products created with natural hair in mind. I had the pleasure of dining with the fine folks at Elasta QP and others on the beauty scene in Chicago at their Curl Cues product launch at the fabulous Public Chicago Hotel. The lovely Miss Tasheara Neshell, celebrity hair stylists to the likes of Jennifer Hudson, Kiki Palmer and Viola Davis was on hand to share her inside tips for using the product on live models.

The product line includes five anti-breakage products (Moisture Shampoo, Leave-in H2 Conditioner, Growth Moisturizer, Growth Oil, and Leave-in Conditioner) as well as three styling products (Curl Defining Pudding, Moisturizer and Curl Wax). I can’t wait to provide you with a full product review. I can tell you now that I’ve already been dabbling in the moisturizing cream with outstanding results. 

Sandy Hook is a National Youth Crisis: A Clarion Call for Change

It still hurts. Bad. The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut is unfathomable. Twenty-seven people were shot dead, and 20 of them children under age 10.  A parent should never have to receive the call that their child is dead due to gun violence. I live in Chicago were gun violence has become a norm. In 2012, there were over 500 murders in Chicago alone. Has anyone recognized that youth and young adults are at the heart of these gun violence tragedies—whether on the giving end or the receiving end? The tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut was carried out by a troubled young adult on innocent children.

This kid, was not just some deranged psychopath in his 40s. He was 20 years old, barely an adult. In fact, most of these “murderers” whether in the inner-city or affluent communities are barely adults. At the core of this violence, is a youth, parental, mental health and spiritual crisis. I’m sending out a clarion call to parents everywhere: PARENT YOUR CHILDREN. Adam Lanza’s mother Nancy is a victim is this tragedy, regardless if she had guns in the house or taught her son to shoot. I don’t want to go into blaming the victim. We don’t know what their relationship was like. However, generally speaking, I can say that this should be a wake-up call for parents to pay more attention to their children. Get old school. Get all up in their business. There is no such thing as privacy as long as you live in my house. My daddy took the lock off my door as a teenager, because he remembered when he was a teenager. He knew I was up to no good. Of course, we don’t want to assume the worse of our kids, but we need to stop living in La-La land. We are at war for the hearts, minds and souls of our children.
I’m sending out a clarion call to religious and civic leaders: SHEPHERD YOUR FLOCKS. Feed this starving generation with more than just religion and rules. Give them hope—something to aspire to. Be our role models again. Another call goes out to the state legislatures: WAKE UP! WE ARE IN A MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS. Stop cutting funds to mental health.  Let’s have real discussion about how we can get people in the community the help they need. Part of the problem, of course is getting people to recognize that they need help.
We also need to hold the entertainment industry accountable—be it gaming or Hip Hop. No lyric should be allowed to incite violence against another human being. We can argue “free speech,” but people are dying. We can’t possibly teach kids to avoid violence when we ourselves enjoy violent video games and violent, misogynistic rap lyrics because it has a nice beat. That’s just as bad as saying, “do as I say, not as I do.”  Change starts with cleaning up our own house first.  When are we going to start making hard sacrifices for the safety of our children and our community?
A note about guns
As stated by Father Michael Pfleger:
“Now is the time to Demand a REAL conversation about Guns! About Banning Assault Weapons, Closing the loopholes on purchasing guns (private sale, lost or stolen, mental illness) And TITLING GUNS LIKE Cars. We cannot simply talk about the tragedy in Connecticut or the streets of Chicago and refuse to take steps to STOP it from repeating itself again. If we don’t our sympathy is shallow…….”
Final thoughts
What was the first thing people did after the shooting in Connecticut? They ran into the house of God. They bowed their heads in prayer for the survivors and for our nation. To remove God from the equation in solving our nation’s problems is like going up a creek without a paddle. Commit to prayer for our children and our country. Be open to dialogue and creative ways of creating change. Let’s build on the momentum of this tragedy. Let’s honor the memory of the fallen by taking action.

Get Pillow Soft Curls on Kinky Hair (and other types)

Ever wonder the secret to gorgeous curls? Are you tired of the plain old twistout or braidout? Does the curl fall out of your bantu knots as soon as you take them down? The other day a lady complimented me on my hair. She was like, “Wow, it looks so soft and shiny…Can I touch it?” Proudly, I said, “Sure!” Normally, I might hesitate  but I was feeling my curls. Here’s my technique using bantu knots to achieve an optimum curl.

1. Start with stretched or blown out hair. If you are strictly a no heat person, then working with an old twistout or banding technique will do fine. Stretching will give you more length and flexibility and dry faster.

2. Go one section at a time. Section hair into medium to large chunks, about 1-2 inches wide.

3. Smooth out kinks with oil and a wide-tooth comb. I used Eden Body Works Jojoba and Monoi Oil and coconut oil to smooth out my hair. Using the oil will prevent hair from becoming too hard or flaking. A dab of oil on each section will do.

4. Do not use gel. Use a good curly pudding. For this I used Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding. A dab or two will do. You don’t want too much because the product mixed with oil will be too gloppy.

5. MY SECRET: Two-strand twist the hair before bantu knotting…why? Makes kinky hair more curly, and lasts longer. Kinky hair is thick, so the more sections you make, the more curl you can add.

6. Allow bantu knots to set over night. Before taking down your hair, squeeze the knot to make sure the hair is completely dry. It is still feels damp, or if too much oil is coming out, your hair will be frizzy and have little curl. If you have time, wait another day…seriously. Or, sit under a hooded dry on a low setting to speed up drying time.

Day 1 Bed Time 

You should still have enough curl left in your hair to not have to do much to it. All I did for day one is make sure my curls where laying uniform and gently crunched them under my satin hair bonnet.

Day 2 Bed Time (and beyond)
By the end of day 2, my hair was pretty frizzy. So, I decided to retwist and re-bantu only using a moisturizing cream. I focused primarily on smoothing product on my ends, then smoothed down from root to end. At Day 3 you might consider spritzing with water to rehydrate your hair. You can repeat the day 1 routine with the curly pudding which I find gives more sheen than just using the moisturizing cream. However, if this is my day to day style, then I like using just the cream for less build up. I would not do this past a week due to product build up and the potential for overstyling abuse.

Hope you enjoyed this style. Let us know if you have tried or plan to try this style.