Tag Archives: lifestyle

Why are natural hair products so darn expensive? How to cope

I found myself in the natural hair section at Target last night. I was trying to find my next product to review. There was another naturalista in the aisle. We were both standing there quite a while looking sort of perplexed. Finally, she broke the ice and said, “you know this hair oil is good, but this bottle looks a little beat up, and why are these products so expensive anyway?” I said, “You know, I was thinking the same thing…”
Changing how we think
Truth be told, some cheap products work just as well as the expensive ones. The decision we have to make is, “do I care about what is in this stuff?” Do I really care about sulfates, parabens, harsh cleansers and alcohols, mineral oil, petroleum, etc? These chemicals would not be on the market if they didn’t do the job of cleansing, smoothing and adding shine.  However, the question should then be, do want to save a buck at the expense of not giving my hair optimal nourishment and risking my health? We must keep in mind that whatever is put on our scalp is absorbed into the skin and into the blood stream.

I can’t speak for all expensive products, but there is some good reason why they are expensive. It is because they really do try to add high quantities of the best ingredients without adding fillers and other chemicals that make products cheap. Our culture has a long history of not being concerned about what chemicals we use to get the job done. Admittedly, I am weaning myself off of dollar store brands. I am changing my mindset from, “what is the cheapest way I can style my hair?” to “what is the healthiest, most cost-effective way I can get the results I desire?”
What is the cash-strapped naturalista to do?
Go ahead, buy that $2 bottle of Africa’s XYZ herbal oil. Just know that it’s mostly filled with vegetable oils, like soy or canola which probably work better in the kitchen than on your hair. The truth is however, it’s still oil, and while it may not have the nutrients and benefits of more expensive oils, it still does the job of lubricating dry/brittle hair, adding shine and sealing in moisture. The key is to determine is this product cheap because it’s filled with chemicals or is it safe, but just diluted.
Do your own thing
You may do better to buy the ingredients individually, like olive and coconut oil, shea butter, etc. and apply small amounts to your hair. Of course, do your research first when working with essential oils and raw ingredients. Get creative. You can also mix products like adding a little olive oil to a cheap styling gel for a banging twistout!
Be a good steward
Whatever you do, check the ingredients of every product before you buy. If you are going to spend the  money, make sure whatever the packaging says the product has in it is listed in the first five ingredients. If the package says it has jojoba oil and it’s listed toward the bottom and soy bean oil is first, then you know you have an imposter. If it’s a good product you don’t have to use ton of it to see results, so use sparingly. 
Stick to the basics
This hair thing is not that complicated. To look good and be healthy, our hair needs water, water, water, a gentle cleanser, conditioner (regular and leave-in), oil and something for hold when styling. Add to that, a haircare regimen, a healthy lifestyle and you have a recipe for success. 
Are you turned off by the price of natural hair products? How do you cope? Comment below.

Thank you Daddy for the little things, like trying to style my hair

One of my fondness memories as a child is of my dad styling my hair. Now he like most dads had ZERO experience in this area. In fact I have one word to describe my look for the that day…GREASY. My dad went the full nine yards. He pressed out my kinks with the hot comb and managed to slick my hair down into a side ponytail. By the end of that styling session, my hair and face was slathered in hair grease. You could easily spot me in room because I was glowing, you hear me?

This past Father’s Day made me think of that story and a similar story I had read about President Barak Obama. At a recent private dinner with four contest winners, he and Mrs. Obama shared memories of their young family. When talking about their children, the President fondly shares,

My favorite story out of this is Malia, when she was 4, she had a little dance thing. Well, Michelle was gone that weekend so I’m taking her to ballet. And I get her in her little leotard and her little stuff. I did her hair, put it in a little bun. We get to the dance studio and one of the mothers there right away comes up to Malia – she thinks she’s out of earshot of me and she says, ‘Sweetie, do you want me to redo your hair?’ And Malia who she’s 4 says, ‘Yes please, this is a disaster’ you know, she didn’t want to hurt daddy’s feelings.

Wow! Even at four years old, no daughter wants to hurt daddy’s feelings. We look up to our daddies and we only want to please them.Unfortunately, in some circumstances that image of “daddy” is stained and sometimes even shattered. When that happens we are left to pick up the pieces of the part of our identity. I can say that I am blessed to have had my daddy around, imperfections and all. It’s no secret that he struggled with and overcame drug abuse which at times made my childhood difficult.

So, I am grateful for the greasy forehead as I am sure Malia is grateful for that messy bun. We don’t ask for dad to be perfect–just be there. And moms, I know we do a lot, but let’s not forget to praise dad for the little things he does, even if he doesn’t do it “right.” Thanks, Daddy for little things that made a big difference.
Has your dad/male-figure ever tried to style your hair? What is the fondest memory of your dad or male-figure growing up?

Commit to a Happier, Healthier You: Take the Wellness Week Pledge

One day, after a grueling few hours at work on top all the things good and not-so-good going on in my life, I felt a bit overwhelmed. So, in the middle of the day, I decided to take a much needed break. Sitting under a tree eating a banana and cashews while listening to the birds chirp, my mind was able to empty out. I began to refocus and feel a real sense of calm. It was a moment where it was all about me, and nourishing my mind, body and soul. This week, March 19-25 is National Wellness Week presented by SpaFinder. Take charge of your mental and physical health. Discover simple, inexpensive ways you can take those “you” moments. Also, get amazing deals on spa, fitness and wellness services this week.
The Wellness Week Pledge 
I pledge to take charge of my health by taking these simple yet vital steps toward a happier and healthier life. By committing to achieve at least one of these activities each day of Wellness Week, I will make taking care of myself a priority, enabling me to do more, stay healthy, and live a longer, more vibrant and meaningful life. I pledge to:

  • Change my breakfast. I will kick off my day with a healthy meal that includes foods like oatmeal, yogurt, fruit, seeds, nuts, and whole grain cereals and toast. 
  • Choose to move. I will walk more by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further from the store or taking a desk break to go for a five-minute stroll. 
  • Hydrate. I will drink a glass of water before breakfast, lunch or dinner. 
  • Make my sleep a priority. I will build boundaries around my sleep by sticking to a set bedtime, and by not eating or working in bed. 
  • Embrace the power of touch. I will recharge myself and others through the simple act of giving or receiving a hug, foot rub or five-minute massage. 
  • Give myself the gift of silence. I will find 10 minutes a day away from screens of any type – phone, TV or computer and enjoy the quiet. 
  • Connect with nature. I will walk outside, breath more deeply and enjoy the outdoors for a few minutes each day. 

Get Amazing Deals on Spa Services
All week long, hundreds of spas, fitness and wellness centers are offering exclusive deals and 50% off prices. Take advantage of this opportunity to recharge by visiting SpaFinder.com to find out more about Wellness Week 2012 and deals in your area. Give a gift certificate to friend who needs to “them” moment as well.

What steps will you take this week to commit to a happier, healthier you? Please share your comments below.

What Whitney, Michael and Don Remind Us

In light of the news of the passing of Whitney Houston, I started to reflect on the pressure she must have felt to be the best and always stay on top. I started to reflect on our unhealthy obsession with celebrity’s lives and the pressure we put on them.  When someone passes, the first thing we do is look for someone to blame. We ask, what could we have done differently? Did we do enough to save her? It was Bobby’s fault! Yea, that’s it. Or, it was the yes-men that surrounded her. They should have snatched the drink out of her hand. The real truth is that celebrities like, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Don Cornelius are ultimately responsible for their own lives.

Yet, even with knowing this truth, their death still hurts because we can all relate to the process of dealing with our issues. It’s that “process,” I feel many celebrities are robbed of through pressure from the media, pressure to put on a good show, the pressure that naturally comes with aging, etc. Fast success mixed with deep soul issues is a recipe for disaster. The praise, the accolades only mask the pain deep down inside. When the applause stops and everyone goes home you are left alone with just you and the demons that hunt you. The pressure of mega-success and super-stardom can sometimes be too much for a human being to handle.
Where I feel celebrities, and people in general, go wrong is that our craft cannot be who we are. Our talent is just an extension of who we are, not who we are. I’m not a celebrity, but as an artist I can relate to the anxiety that celebrities must feel to perform and be the best. If I have a bad design or the client doesn’t like my idea, I have learned (and still learning) not to internalize those negative feelings. I take no credit in myself, but it is the grace of God. Believe what you want, but there is no denying that you must be connected to something deeper than yourself in order to handle the pressures of life. Whitney, Michael and Don remind us not to carry around our pain and to take time for inner healing.
Another thing I reflect on is, “man, why did Whitney and Don have to die in such a tragic way during Black History Month?” Someone on Twitter said, “Black History is cancelled this month.” I don’t buy that. These legends, icons of our generation are gone, but never forgotten. We must not forget the lessons they taught us. Whitney and Michael taught us to perfect our craft. Sure, they had raw talent, but no one can ever say that they did not put in blood, sweat and tears to be the best. Don taught us to be innovators and savvy business people. He taught us to find a void (under representation of Black music and images in media and advertising) and fill that void. Don taught us to be the change you want to create. Lastly, they remind us that we are human beings, fragile and yet resilient, weak and yet powerful beyond belief. So be encouraged and know your greatness.

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