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With the best articles on caring for natural hair, Curly Nikki is your source for inspiration and advice. Find out about the latest styles and trends today!

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    Photo by Bryan Allen Lamb

    Written by Mike Orie of

    According to USA Today, over 40 million students currently have student loans across the United States. This amount now totals to over 1.2 trillion dollars in debt. Chicago singer, by way of St. Louis, Krystal Metcalfe falls into that category. In her new release "Sallie" Metcalfe speaks on her personal experiences of being an artist indebted to student loans.

    Continue Reading

    The song takes a humorous yet accurate stab at many millennials experience with student loans. Daily phone calls, high interest rates, and sacrifice on home mortgages. "We can't never go out to eat. Gotta stay in the house."While Sallie Mae may have been replaced by Navient Solutions, it's a name that everyone knows. "Now it's personal..cause you got my parents involved." 

    "I wrote this song on my couch with my guitar, as a playful blues. Drowning my sorrows in laughter and song...singing about being broke. The message I'm hoping to convey with this record is that it's ok to voice your frustrations, channel them into art, and inspire people," says Metcalfe.

    Although a very somber feeling remembering the mass amounts of student loans Metcalfe and I both share from our alma mater, Columbia College Chicago, I'd be remised to not mention how much this time has transformed her into the powerful artist she's becoming. Krystal Metcalfe is at the forefront of talent being produced in the heart of Chicago. It's the struggle that appears to bring out the quality music we're hearing today. But in her music, you hear so much more than struggle, you hear passion, talent and a powerful voice that is earning her mainstay in the music industry. If you've ever had any form of students loans, financial hardships or debt, it's a song you can definitely relate to. Sallie is a single from Metcalfe's much anticipated upcoming EP "In Real Life" set to release at the end of the summer.

    If you happen to be in the Chicagoland area, you can catch Krystal Metcalfe performing this Sunday, July 10th  at the Taste of Chicago on the Budlight stage from 11:50am-1pm. You can check out more of her music here.

    "Cause the way you harassing's gotta be against the law."

    Mike "Orie" Mosley is a freelance writer/photographer and cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the co-founder of music and culture website In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie.

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    Where Does it Come From? 
    Among the many botanical based ingredients currently popular in hair care routines, amla is perhaps the one that seems the most mysterious, at least from a chemistry point of view.

    Amla is derived from the fruit of the Indian gooseberry or Phyllanthus emblica L., a deciduous tree found in both the tropical and subtropical portions of the Indian and Southeastern Asian countries.
    The lemon-sized fruit is greenish yellow with attractive vertical striations and has a bitter, sour, and sweet taste. While amla fruit is primarily composed of water, it also contains a variety of sugars, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, minerals, and contains very high amounts of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). For many centuries it has been prized by practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine as well as many other groups for its reportedly amazing medicinal attributes as well as for its beneficial properties for hair and skin.

    What Does it Do? 
    Advocates who support topical use of amla for hair claim that it is has many uses:
    • cleansing agent
    • deep conditioning treatment
    • dandruff remedy
    • prevents graying of hair
    • darkens hair without use of dyes
    • imparts shine
    • improves hair growth
    Read On!>>>
    Too Good to Be True? 
    It certainly sounds too good to be true. What exactly is in the amla that is sold for domestic use? Does its composition and chemistry lend any credibility to the many bold claims?

    Unless you are fortunate to have access to the fresh fruit, amla is generally available as either a powder or oil. The light brown powder is obtained by drying the entire fruit and grinding it into a powder. The amla oil is actually made by soaking the dried fruit in another oil such as coconut, sesame seed, and sometimes mineral oil. Some of the components of the dried fruit seep into the carrier oil, which is filtered to remove the bits of fruit prior to market. This means that most amla oil products being sold are actually more of a botanical infusion of amla in coconut, sesame, or mineral oil. Although it is possible to extract the fatty acids from the seeds of the amla fruit in the same manner as they are extracted from coconuts, avocados, shea nuts, and argan fruit, it has not been the traditional manner of using this fruit.

    Amla Oil
    Oils labeled “amla oil” are actually perhaps more accurately called infusions of amla fruit in an oil base.

    The carrier oils used are primarily sesame, coconut, almond, or mineral oil and sometimes contain other botanical extracts, such as Ayurvedic herbs, rosemary, and even henna.

    It is likely that most of the effects of these products can be attributed to the oil and other actives in the product. Unlike the powdered fruit, these oils contain virtually no vitamin C, as it is not oil soluble. However, there may be some of the phytochemcials, gallic and ellagic acid, present in the oil mixture so it may provide some of the benefits, such as the antioxidant effects, as well as the antifungal and antiviral. Some darkening of the hair may also occur over time with repeat use, although this seems less likely than with the powder.

    How to use it
    If you wish to try amla in this form, look for one in a plant-based oil to derive the most benefit, and use it as you would coconut or almond oil. You can use it as a scalp treatment, a deep conditioning treatment, or simply add it to your leave-in conditioner, styling product, or directly to your ends.

    What About the Powder? Is it Good for Us? 
    Since the dried powder is made from the whole fruit, it contains all of the nutrients found in the amla, including the fatty acids from the seeds, glucose and the complex carbohydrates, vitamins, phytochemicals, protein, and minerals. The fatty acids found in the seeds are predominantly polyunsaturated ones (~63%), with the remainder being made up of 27% monounsaturated fatty acids and 9-10% medium to long chain saturated fatty acids.

    So, What Does All That Mean?
    These molecules are generally too large and unwieldy to penetrate into the cortex of a hair strand, so they coat the outside of the hair and provide some slip and emollient properties.

    That's It? Slip and Emollients? What Else Does Amla Have? 
    Amla powder also contains large amounts of vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, and also may stimulate collagen growth in scalp tissue.

    Vitamin C also has antimicrobial properties that can help fight dandruff and other infections of the scalp. The mildly acidifying properties of vitamin C may also enhance the strength and quality of the cuticle layer of the hair and add some shine. Too much vitamin C can be drying to the hair though, so this is probably a good reason to use this powder only occasionally.

    Doesn't Amla Powder Darken Hair, Too? 
    Two other interesting components of amla powder are phytochemicals gallic acid and ellagic acid. Gallic acid is a phenol molecule that has antiviral, antifungal, and antioxidant properties. It was also used to make ink in Europe and the Mediterranean regions for at least 2,000 years. While it has not been studied for this purpose, perhaps gallic acid is the agent responsible for the anecdotal reports of gradual darkening of the hair when amla is used over time. Ellagic acid is a polyphenol found in many fruits, especially red ones such as raspberries. It is also documented to have antifungal, antiviral, and antioxidant properties.

    It seems doubtful that amla powder can prevent graying of hair or that it can perform any miracles, but it does seem as if it could provide some benefits to hair.

    How to Use Amla Powder
    1. Soak the amla powder in water to form a paste, which can then be applied to hair as a mask or used to scrub the scalp. The aroma from this fruit can be fairly unpleasant, so you can add a small amount of an essential oil or botanical extract to give it a more pleasant scent. 
    2. To prevent a mess, use a shower cap to cover your head while the mixture has some time to sit on your scalp and hair. 
    3. Once you have allowed the treatment to sit for a while, gently remove it by rinsing hair under warm, running water and carefully working it out of your hair. 
    4. Follow up with conditioner if your hair feels like it needs more slip. 
    5. Another way to use amla powder is to simply add some to a small amount of conditioner and apply it after it has had a chance to become slightly hydrated. Rinse normally.
    So What's the Verdict? 
    It is always fun to try new things, or in this case, really old things. Although it is not likely to be a miracle cure for all that ails you and your hair, amla does sound as if it could provide some benefits for your hair and scalp.

    Curlies will need to make sure they add plenty of moisturizers and emollients if they use the powder, as it does not have much to offer as far as conditioning on its own. If you already incorporate amla in your regimen and love it or tried it and hated it, we would love to hear about your experience!

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    IG @diomara_d

    by Ariane of

    One of the most annoying things is an itch that just won’t quit. If you find yourself constantly doing that old head pat to relieve the itchies, you might want to look into the reasons why you are getting an itchy scalp in the first place.

    Here are some common causes of an itchy scalp and solutions for relief:


    #1 Product Buildup

    You might be over doing it a little too much with your products. So much so that your scalp can’t breathe and in return you are getting an itch from clogged up pores.


    Clarify: Use a clarifying shampoo or you can clarifying using a mixture of water and apple cider vinegar or water and lemon juice.

    #2 You are allergic to something that you have been using

    Unknowingly, you may be agitating your scalp by using something that is not agreeing with you. This can be a hair product or even from extension hair (more about: why braiding hair could be making your scalp itch).


    Simplify the products that you are using and keep a journal of what you are using along with your scalp’s reaction to determine what may be the culprit.

    #3 You have a dandruff issue

    Dandruff is a common issue that many of us face and could be the cause of why you have an itchy scalp. Especially if you are seeing flakes along with your itch this could be why your scalp itches.


    Use dandruff shampoos like Head and Shoulders or Selsun Blue. You can also try shampoos that have tea tree in it, like Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Shampoo or Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Shampoo. Many recommended using oils for dandruff, but research suggests that this could further exacerbate the problem.

    #4 You are using something that is too potent

    If you like to try DIY products that ingredients like Apple Cider Vinegar or even Rosemary Oil, you must dilute them. If they aren’t diluted these ingredients are much too potent and will cause scalp irritation, you may even get scabbing if you are not too careful.


    Ingredients such as Apple Cider Vinegar need to be diluted in water. Which means If you have 8oz of water, you may only need two tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar. Essential oils like Rosemary Oil or Lavender must be diluted in a carrier oil like sweet almond oil.

    #5 You could have a skin condition like Psoriasis or Eczema

    If you have eliminated all of the above causes for why your scalp could be itching and none of them have worked it is possible that you may have a skin condition.


    Book a trip to your dermatologist so they can evaluate. They can prescribe topical creams that may help keep the issue under control.

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    IG @prii_babii

    by Sabrina Perkins

    Summer is finally here! Goodbye to the big clunky coats and hello sundresses and crop tops. No matter what style they choose to rock, a major challenge that some naturals always seem to face during the hot and steamy summer months is keeping their hair hydrated. That's right, some naturals face hydration problems in the summer as much as they do in the winter!

    But there are ways to incorporate moisture into any summer routine that will leave your strands hydrated and soft. Here are 5 ways to keep your hair hydrated this summer:


    Apply Heavy Oil/Cream Before Getting In The Water
    Whether you’re bathing in the ocean or relaxing in the pool, your hair can get dried out from both of these if you’re not careful. Salt water doesn’t draw much moisture out of the hair, but it does leave some very horrible-feeling build up, while chlorinated water strips the hair of moisture and oils completely!

    By adding a layer of protection to your hair in the form of a heavy oil, cream or conditioner, you’re creating a barrier that will prevent your hair from losing a substantial amount of moisture. It also helps to wet the hair first so you are repelling even more chlorinated or salt-water (a wet sponge doesn't soak up more water).

    Use Products With Humectants
    Humectants draw moisture from the environment which helps both replenish and retain moisture in the hair throughout the day. Since there will be plenty of humid days in our future, we may as well make the most of them! Look for products that contain glycerin, honey and elastin.

    Drink Plenty Of Water
    One of the best ways to keep your hair hydrated, is by hydrating yourself! Staying hydrated in the summer is pretty much a no-brainer and with most fruits being at their peak season, you can get your days’ worth of water in with little to no fuss! Consume fruits like melons, cucumbers, and apples in addition to drinking at least 4 bottles of water a day (equal to 8 glasses). I find that it’s fun to infuse my water with different fruit like strawberries, lemons, limes, pineapples, sprigs of mint and cucumbers to liven up the flavor a little bit.

    Deep Condition
    This should already be part of your regimen anyway, but be sure to deep condition your hair weekly if you’re planning on being out in the sun a lot. The blazing sun not only draws moisture out of the hair, but it can actually cause heat damage as well as bleaching! We need to keep these strands healthy and strong so after a day at out in the heat, be sure to deep condition with something that will replenish the moisture without leaving the hair weighed down or greasy.

    Protect Your Strands
    Protective styling pretty much goes without saying, but I know how it is during the summer-wanting to fro it out as much as you can before the dreaded cold returns. If you do plan on wearing your hair out, be sure to apply a moisturizer or serum that contains some type of SPF. Although we’re privy to applying sun block to our skin, not many of us know that it needs to be applied to the hair as well. Shea butter boasts as a natural sun block, but there are other products that you can purchase for the sole purpose of SPF protection for your hair.

    Another great way to protect your strands during the summer is by wearing a hat or a head wrap. I love to utilize head wraps during the summer for days where it’s just too hot to wear my hair out. Hats are also great for those carefree days where you’re trying to be functional without compromising your slay.

    What are some ways you hydrate your hair during the summer?

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    IG @blasiandoll11

    Q: Hello, I’ve heard that too much protein can be bad for hair and cause it to become dry and eventually break off. I have a conditioner called Abba gentle conditioner that has protein but when I use it my hair looks and feels great. So is there any truth to this?

    TheBeautyBrains Responds: 
    This notion that too much protein is bad for your hair comes up quite often. I’ve even heard the concern raised that you can have “protein sensitive hair.” But when you look at the science there’s no mechanism for topically applied protein causing hair to break. So what’s going on here?


    I think this myth got its start from the relaxed hair community. People with African-American hair often relax it which can be VERY damaging. The relaxation process breaks the disulfide bonds in hair which makes the hair more porous. Hair that is extremely porous can soak up too much of the quats, fatty alcohols, and silicones from regular conditioners. This over-absorption makes hair feel mushy. So, special conditioners where developed for relaxed hair that contain LOWER levels of these ingredients. These are often referred to as “protein conditioners” because they contain (sometimes high) levels of proteins. Since the proteins don’t provide as much conditioning, it’s possible that the lower level of conditioning agents (not the higher level of protein) could result in more breakage because the hair wasn’t as lubricated.

    This appears to be the origin of the “protein conditioners cause hair to break” meme. From there it spread to the general population so know we have a lot of people believing this and asking the same question. There is one area where proteins MAY be of legitimate concern and that’s where it comes to skin allergies. But that’s a different story.

    What say you? How does your hair respond to protein conditioners? 

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    IG @4evermckenie 

    Hola Chicas!

    Check out this quick and easy routine by DiscoveringNatural to keep your toddler's curls hydrated, detangled and popping!  Enjoy!

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  • 07/11/16--06:26: CurlyNikki's #AskAway Monday
  • My sister, Syl, is a married woman! #Summer16 #MorePicsToCome

    Hola Chicas!

    It's Monday and I'm on the roof!  If you've got hurr, life (or whatever and what have you) questions, ask below!

    I'll do my best to get to them all!

    Later Gators,


    the result of a chunky twist-out on dry hair (old roller set) using Jane Carter's Twist-Out Foam-- I was super impressed... great definition, shiny and not flaky or crunchy! I didn't add any water or any other product-- just one or two pumps per twist (I created 15 twists and rolled the ends on skinny flexi rods).  xoxo

    Curlformer set on the Boogie using a little coconut oil + JC's Twist-Out Foam and Set it Free on the ends.  #OnTheGrow 

    #RioAgain #Lapa



     that paragraph before 'bliss, joy and happiness', tho
    *Silence of the Heart - Robert Adams* 

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    IG @kiitana 

    by Ariane of

    My first impression of mambo crochet braids is that they are a beautiful style, but my biggest concern was that they could possibly be uncomfortably heavy. Luckily, that isn’t the case and they are worth all the rave that they get.


    #1 Once you get past doing your cornrows installing the twists is a breeze
    Since the hair is already pre-twisted there are no worries about styling the hair once installed, once they are in there, that’s it. In total putting in the twists took me an hour or so.

    Also because these twists are thick, you really don’t want to over do it with putting a whole bunch of them in. My pack included 14 twists each and I used a total of 5 packs.

    #2 The hair is lightweight
    I actually wanted to go with a shorter length (the 12 inches) but ended up going with 18 inches because that’s all the beauty supply by me had. I desperately needed something done with my hair so I just went with it, even though I feared the hair would be heavy and hot. The hair is very lightweight, soft and pretty comfy to sleep with at night. No regrets here!

    #3 You get two styles in one
    After you have worn your twists for a few weeks, you can unravel your twists for a twist out style to change things up. I am so looking forward to how they will look when I undo them!

    #4 Long lasting style
    Unlike the curly crochet styles you don’t have to do much to maintain their appearance other than wrap your hair at night and moisturize your real hair as needed. ( See this: DIY Anti Itch Braid Spray Recipe For Moisturizing) While the curly styles are still my favorite overtime it can get tangled and matted, but with braided styles this is not a concern.

    #5 They are the perfect vacay style
    If you have any plans to swim in the pool or at the beach you don’t have to worry about your style being completely destroyed. We already have a post on the best types of curly crochet hair to swim with, but braided and twisted crochet hair is probably even better if you worried about style preservation.

    #6 No worries about it taking centuries to remove
    As with all crochet styles they are very easy to remove and take even less time to take out than most crochet styles. (Simply undo your cornrows to remove) In total I have 70 twists so that’s way less twists I have to worry about getting out than if I had a smaller sized twisted hair, so the removal will be done in a flash.

    I love the hair that I got from my local beauty supply and I would provide a link to it, but it doesn’t seem to be easily found online. However, a popular brand that I have used before, the Janet Collection Mambo twists, are readily available online and may be at your local beauty supply.

    When it comes to long term protective styling crochet braids are my go to.

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    by Tiffani Greenaway of

    20-year old Gabrielle Douglas made history in 2012 when she became the first U.S. athlete to win both team and all-around gold medals. She's also the first black gymnast in Olympic history to become the Individual All-Around Champion.


    Gabby made history again just this week, joining the 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Gymnastics Team on Sunday, and announcing that she'll be part of Mattel's "Sheroes" lineup with her own Barbie doll on Monday. She joins ballet dancer Misty Copeland, actress Zendaya, and revolutionary director Ava DuVernay in the collection designed to inspire little girls to follow their dreams.
    “I’m so excited," said the gymnast. "My older sister and I used to play with Barbies and create these dramatic fantasy stories, so it’s such a huge honor,” she told Huffington Post.

    Gabby and her teammate Aly Raisman are the first U.S. women’s gymnasts to make two Olympic teams since Dominique Dawes and Amy Chow in 1996 and 2000.

    The Sheroes line celebrates women "who inspire girls by breaking boundaries and expanding possibilities for women everywhere," says Mattel. Gabby's hope is that kids playing with her doll will take away her number-one lesson: Stay true to yourself, and go after your dreams, People reports. “Just be you and love yourself and embrace yourself and just really go after what you want,” she says.

    Cheer Gabby on in the summer Olympics in Rio starting August 5th, and get your Gabby Barbie here.

    Tiffani Greenway is the wife and mom behind MyMommyVents, a New York city parenting blog. Her tips have been seen on Yahoo Parenting, Mommy Noire, and Fit Pregnancy. Find more of Tiffani's work at

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    IG @tolaniav

    by Charlene Walton of

    Paraben free. Sulfate free. Silicone free. Yes, we’ve all seen these words plastered across a lot of products but what does this stuff really mean? What’s really inside natural hair products and how does it affect your hair? Often, we gravitate to what sounds great on the front of a label. But the proof is in the pudding aka the ingredients. Brands are required to list the scientific name of ingredients on the labels, therefore; you may think an ingredient is harmful simply because you can not pronounce the word. I’m here to tell you that’s simply not true. Here’s how to understand the ingredients in natural hair products the next time you’re about to spend your coins on the latest product or if you’re shopping with us at of course!


    Understanding Ingredients In Natural Hair Products

    What is a sulfate?
    A sulfate in the most general form is detergent. Sulfates are found in hand soaps, dish-washing products, laundry detergents and yes shampoos. Sulfates have grown to get a very bad reputation because they completely strip the hair and leave behind a rough, brassy-like feeling to your stands. Although this could work in your favor to remove extreme product build up, there are moisturizing sulfate free options that will still allow you to have a great cleanse like the tgin Moisture Rich Sulfate-free Shampoo or the Obia Naturals Neem & Tea Tree Shampoo Bar. If you do choose to use a shampoo that contains sulfates, following with an intense deep conditioning treatment is definitely a must do.

    What is a paraben?
    Parabens, in simple terms, are a class of preservatives widely used in the cosmetics industry due to their ability to limit the amount of bacteria growth, mold, and yeast in products. Due to this reason, it is common to find parabens in moisturizers, lipsticks and shampoos as parabens are also odorless, tasteless and colorless. But the list does not stop there. Parabens are one of the most widely approved and used preservatives also found in our daily consumer goods such as lotions, deodorants, and hand soap. So what is the big deal? According to an article by Sister Scientist, in 2004 the Journal of Applied Toxicology was the first to report the appearance of parabens in breast cancer tumors. Since then and due to other reports curly women have been avoiding parabens like the plague; however, further research is definitely needed. As of today, there has been no definitive link of parabens to breast cancer, just claims in multiple studies. This does not mean you should not avoid parabens if you feel strongly about this issue. As with any other health claim, do your research before making a definitive decision. The good news is there are tons of amazing hair care brands to choose from now formulated without parabens.

    Mineral Oils vs. Natural Oils
    The main drawback with mineral oil is that it does not penetrate the hair shaft. The oil simply coats the hair, without providing any additional nutrients. Due to this coating, it is harder for moisture to enter the hair and similar to silicones a great shampoo session is needed to cleanse the hair after using. Simply co-washing after using mineral oils will only do so much. Remember products always work best on freshly cleansed and clarified hair. Natural oils like argan oil, avocado oil and coconut oil with low molecular weight actually penetrate the hair strands while nourishing the hair and scalp key vitamins like vitamin E.

    Good Alcohols vs. Bad Alcohols
    The word “alcohol” might sound scary but not all alcohols are created equal so don’t run away just yet. General store-bought, isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol), should not be used on the hair as it is too drying so you won’t see that on a label anyway. Fatty alcohols are considered “good” because they often provide slip to our favorite conditioners. Here are the most common alcohols you will see:

    Fatty Alcohols that Provide Slip
    -Behenyl alcohol
    -Cetearyl alcohol
    -Cetyl alcohol
    -Isocetyl alcohol
    -Isostearyl alcohol
    -Lauryl alcohol
    -Myristyl alcohol
    -Stearyl alcohol

    Common Scientific Names Listed as Ingredients in Natural Hair Products
    Now on to some of the hard to pronounce ingredients. Don’t be fooled by these scientific names. Clearly as you can tell these are some of our favorite oils and butters.

    -Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)
    -Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil
    -Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil
    -Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil
    -Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil
    -Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter
    -Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil
    -Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera)
    -Panthenol (Pro Vitamin B5),
    -Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E)

    Common Proteins Listed as Ingredients in Natural Hair Products
    Understanding which products contain protein is also important to determine what your hair needs. Maybe your hair is protein sensitive and you need a strictly moisturizing option. Check for these ingredients to help in determining which conditioners and masks are best for your hair.

    -Hydrolyzed wheat protein
    -Hydrolyzed keratin
    -Hydrolyzed silk protein
    -Hydrolyzed Oat Flour
    -Variations of hydrolyzed collagen
    -Variations of hydrolyzed soy protein

    Have you been intimidated by hard to read ingredients in natural hair products? Let me know in the comments!

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    by Tiffani Greenaway of

    After a stellar BET Awards, we just knew that VH1 was going to do an equally amazing job with their VH1 Hip Hop Honors on Monday night--but the show is trending for an entirely different reason.


    Although the broadcast celebrated female pioneers in hip hop like Queen Latifah, Missy Elliot, and Salt-N-Pepa, it's Atlanta rapper Rich Homie Quan's performance that has everyone talking.

    Quan took the stage to rhyme with honoree Lil' Kim on the 1995 anthem, "Get Money." Rocking a Coogi sweater, he tried to emulate the Notorious B.I.G.--and forgot the words.

    Quan stumbled over the lyrics, rapping about playing "Nintendo with Cease and Alamo."

    Hip hop lovers hung their heads in shame, and Black Twitter went in.
    Classic hip hop deserves to appreciated--the whole reason behind the VH1 Hip Hop Honors. If you're going to get on stage with a legend, do them justice and learn the words.

    What you say, what you say, uh.

    Tiffani Greenway is the wife and mom behind MyMommyVents, a New York city parenting blog. Her tips have been seen on Yahoo Parenting, Mommy Noire, and Fit Pregnancy. Find more of Tiffani's work at

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    Chicago Curlfriends!

    Come out and join me and Dark and Lovely at Walgreens this Saturday, July 16th, at 1pm for a free meetup.  I'll be giving away and signing copies of my new book, 'When Good Hair Goes Bad'and talking all things hair! Be sure to get there early as supplies (and space) are limited!

    Later Gators,

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    by Sherrell Dorsey of Organic Beauty Vixen

    Last night, while working into the wee hours of the night on articles for other publications that I write for, I got distracted by a few tutorials on how to maintain dread locks. This November I will be four years strong as a locked goddess but let me tell you that even with a few years under my belt, I’m still learning how to properly care for my hair.

    I started my journey with human hair kinky twists, allowed the new growth to come in and gently palmed rolled the roots while snipping off the extended hair. While my hair is now shoulder length and somewhat healthy I do have the occasional breakage and thinning. After a trip to Good Hair Salon back in June, my stylist Zue showed me how to “interlock” my new growth to keep my locks strong. I was intrigued and eventually started to use this method for regular maintenance in addition to palm rolling.

    Read More!!>>>>
    Now I’m not sure which way to continue my locking process to ensure that my locks are healthy and “properly” locked. With interlocking, you use a latch-hook to loop the tip of the hair through the root of your hair securing your locks at the base.

    Pros of Interlocking:

    • It looks a lot neater
    • Lasts a little longer
    • You can immediately get your hair wet without the fear of it unraveling

    Pros of Palm Rolling:

    • Less labor intensive
    • Creates a cylinder look
    • Is extremely easy to do with the right locking products 
    However, excessive palm rolling can make the locks weaker causing them to break.

    So what’s a girl to do? I need some help and your thoughts on how I should go about doing my locks. Do any of you do a combination of both?

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    IG via @naturalchixs

    by Michelle Thames of

    I began my natural hair journey in 2009. I transitioned for 24 months, then I finally cut the remaining relaxed ends from my hair. Through the years that I have been natural, I can tell you that I am never turning back! There are so many benefits and my hair is more healthier overall.

    Rain is no longer the enemy
    Yes girl, you no longer have to run in the house when it starts sprinkling outside. I just usually say “oh look its raining”, and go on about my business, hey may hair may grow LOL!

    Natural hair is so versatile. You can rock a wash and go, a perm rod set, twist out, high bun protective style (all in the same week) if you want! Remember that your hair is unique, and because of that styles on other naturalistas may not look the exact same on you. Remember that your hair’s unique personality is what sets it apart from everyone else!

    You can scratch your head
    You no longer have to worry about scratching your head because you are scared the relaxer will burn your scalp! Yes girl scratch that scalp if it itches!! Go for it, you have nothing to lose!

    You don’t have to worry about sweating your relaxer out
    Your girl just invited you to a house party and you are skeptical about going because you forgot that you just got a perm and you are going to sweat it out, oh wait… you don’t have a perm anymore. Go and be the life of the party *cut it, cut it, cut it*.

    You can save money

    Well I know most may disagree with this, especially if you are a product junkie. If you find products that work for you, and do product swaps with your curlfriends to try new products instead of buying them you can save some coins! Seriously though, relaxers cost almost $100. I was going every 4 months and it was a lot to handle. Now that I have learned to do my own hair I go to my stylist two times a year for a trim and to get my hair straightened.

    What are some other benefits of being natural?

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    by Jonna via

    Hair loss, also known as alopecia, can have an effect on your entire body, not just your scalp. There are several forms and causes of alopecia, but traction alopecia is one that is totally preventable. But is it reversible? First, let’s talk about what traction alopecia is and what causes it.

    Traction alopecia occurs when the hair is being pulled too hard from the follicle, which results in hair breakage and alopecia, or hair loss. As the hair follicle is pulled, the hair bulb continues to grow closer and closer to the scalp surface, until eventually the bulb is no longer able to receive nutrient supply from the bloodstream and stops growing. Wearing braids or twists that are too tight, are a culprit, as well as wearing weaves and extensions too tightly, or for extended periods of time. Chemical processing can be a cause as well.

    If you’re experiencing traction alopecia and are able to determine that in the early stages, it is completely reversible. However, if it goes untreated, it can result in permanent, irreversible hair loss. Here are some steps to take if you have discovered you’ve been affected by traction alopecia:

    Stop wearing tight hairstyles. Hairstyles such as cornrows, braids, twists, with or without extensions, sewn in hair and tight ponytails can cause traction alopecia. So you want to avoid wearing these styles if you are experiencing early onset hair loss. Continuing to wear them over a long period of time can cause irreversible damage. Look for hair stylists and braiders who care about your edges. If you’re sitting in a salon, and the stylists is pulling your hair too tight, speak up. If you’re ignored, get up and walk out.

    Cleanse your hair and scalp regularly. Cleansing the hair and scalp using products for dry, damaged hair, or those with peppermint or tea tree oils are great for ensuring the hair follicles are open and the blood flow to the scalp is stimulated. Add a scalp massage in during your cleansing routine to stimulate the scalp even more. Applying heavy oils to the scalp can clog hair follicles, making it difficult for them to thrive. You also don’t want to wash too frequently, which can dry out the hair and scalp.

    Avoid using chemicals. Using chemical relaxers or coloring can cause traction alopecia in and of themselves if processed incorrectly. If you are experiencing traction alopecia, you want to avoid any chemical processing of the hair at all so you don’t cause even more damage. Give your hair time to recuperate and rejuvenate.

    Focus on healthy eating and exercise. Making improvements in your diet and activity is a way to help revers traction alopecia from the inside. A diet rich in protein, zinc, biotin, vitamin E and omega 3 fatty acids helps aid in hair growth. Regular exercise also stimulates the scalp and blood circulation, as well as relieving stress which can also affect how our hair grows.

    Seek professional help. If your traction alopecia worsens, you definitely want to see a clinical trichology practitioner or dermatologist. They can help determine what stage of alopecia you’re in. If it is in the late stages, there are no medical treatments to reverse the damage. Hair transplants are the only option, and while they can be rather costly, most times they are very effective.

    When it comes to traction alopecia, prevention is vital. Try to avoid it all together by taking the utmost care of your edges and not pulling too tightly for buns and ponytails. Only have chemical processing done by a licensed and experienced professional, and speak up if a hairstylist pulls your hair too tightly. And look of for thinning or balding so that you can catch traction alopecia in its early stages.

    Have you or anyone you know experienced traction alopecia?

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    Written by Mike Orie of

    "They thought it was cool to burn crosses on your front lawn as they hung you from trees in your backyard
    They thought it was cool to leave you thirsty and stranded, Katrina
    He thought it was cool to carry a gun in his classroom and open fire, Virginia Tech, Columbine, stop the violence
    They thought it was cool to tear down the projects and put up million dollar condos, gentrification
    They think it's cool to stand on the block hiding product in their socks to make quick dime bag dollars
    They think it's cool to ride down on you in blue and white unmarked cars busting you upside your head."These are the words of Ayesha Jaco from Lupe Fiasco's 'The Cool.' I found myself playing this song on repeat throughout today.

    Continue Reading

    One year ago today, Sandra Bland was unjustly killed. She was pulled over for failure to use her turn signal. A video below shows former police officer Brian Encinia applying unnecessary force to Bland, who challenged Encinia for his unjustly actions. It was shortly after this moment that everything would become a blur. The Texas state police department would attempt to argue that Bland would commit suicide while in jail, a story that none of us bought. "Good morning my beautiful Kings & Queens." This is how Sandra Bland would start numerous Facebook posts in which she would enlighten her followers about Black History. Like many of us, Bland realized she served a larger purpose. A member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc, Bland was known for being very vocal about race. She was pulled over in the midst of traveling through Texas, excited to start her dream job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University. A 2009 alumnus of Praire View, Bland graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Agriculture. This occurrence happened just weeks before she was scheduled to begin working at Prairie View as a summer programming associate in the school's Cooperative Extension Program.

    via GIPHY

    For centuries, Black women have been at the forefront of the movement fighting for equality, justice and peace for ALL Black people. Sandra Bland was no different. There is irony in the fact that Bland, a member of a historically Black sorority, a graduate of a HBCU, and a very proactive member in our community when it came to inequalities. Irony in the sense of ignorant rhetoric towards our community, yet she was slain while in the midst of doing just that, taking care of her own. But isn't that what privilege looks like? Denying one's access while demanding their own. Her spirits moved many, including myself. It was this moment that I opened my eyes to the importance of realizing that #AllBlackLivesMatter. In the midst of everything going on, Bland was already doing the one most important thing we all can do, supporting the Black community in both her words and her actions. Today, like many days were tough for me. Scrolling past videos of police brutality, racist comments made by ignorant citizens hiding behind fake profiles and somehow finding a balance of my mental health. But it was remembering her purpose and her legacy that helped push me through.

    Sandra Bland never deserved to die. Although one year later, it's now even more important that we remember to #SayHerName and the countless others in our community that are consistently unjustly killed in the fire of police brutality. If you're reading this, you must know that we need you. Now is the time to no longer second guess your calling, your passion or your purpose. And when you come to realization of this, never forget the importance of weaving in your strengths, talents and goals to advance the African American community. Where were you on July 13, 2015 when news first broke?


    Mike "Orie" Mosley is a freelance writer/photographer and cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the co-founder of music and culture website In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie

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    Hola Chicas,

    Usually I don't even bother to share interviews about myself anymore, but this interview is about US. Thanks Erickka Sy Savané!  

    Check it out!  

    Later Gators,

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    When there are issues with getting your hair to grow, it’s important to rectify the situation both internally and externally. A number of factors contribute to reduced hair growth, from your scalp being too dirty or your pores being blocked from build-up.

    It is true that nothing but time can make your hair grow, but there may be ways to help stimulate hair growth. Check out these options to give your curls extra encouragement.

    1. Peppermint Oil
    With a fresh aroma, this strongly concentrated oil must be diluted before applying the scalp. It penetrates the scalp and stimulates the hair follicle, allowing for more oxygen production that gives your curls the green light to grow.

    Apply it directly to the scalp with a gentle massage and cover for 20 to 30 minutes.
    Check out this DIY Peppermint Pre-Poo recipe to help stimulate blood circulation to your scalp.

    Read On!>>>
    2. Lavender Oil

    This sweet smelling product has antibacterial properties that keep the scalp clean and the pores open. It helps to reduce issues that can prevent hair from growing like excessive dandruff.

    Use this fragrant herb as a rinse by boiling it in water and allowing it to cool. You can also use it as a deep conditioning treatment by infusing it with oil for three or four weeks before using.

    3. Rosemary Oil
    Hailed as one of the most effective oils in hair growth, rosemary oil is known for its scalp stimulating properties. It gets the blood circulating in your scalp, which also assists with thinning edges and balding spots.

    Try diluting this essential oil with jojoba oil and gently massaging it into your scalp.

    4. Stinging Nettle
    This herb does double duty. Allowing stinging nettle oil to sit in your hair overnight can help combat hair loss and also give your curls a boost in the growth department. The nutrients help regenerate the hair and prevent the overproduction of DHT, a hormone that contribute to hair loss.

    You can purchase this herb in oil form and leave it on overnight or make a tea and use it as a rinse.

    5. Jamaican Black Castor Oil
    It can be incredibly frustrating to have a nice, full head of curls with noticeably thinning edges due to heat usage, over-styling, or other types of damage. Now that you know how to treat your hair better, you can make amends by applying Jamaican black castor oil to your trouble zones. As with any remedy, patience is required but if you are persistent about using it, the thickness of your edges will return.

    Use a soft toothbrush and dab some JBCO on the tip. Brush the oil onto your edges in a circular motion, just like brushing your teeth. This will stimulate your scalp and you will get the benefits of the oil. 

    6. Aloe Vera
    This mega hair growth stimulant is jam-packed with more than 20 minerals and an abundance of vitamins like A, C, and E (just to name a few). It helps hair grow by reducing the overproduction of sebum -- an oily substance that your scalp secretes. Excessive sebum can slow hair growth by clogging your pores. Because it is an antibacterial, aloe vera works by zapping that oily build-up and allowing your pores to breathe.

    Experiment with both aloe vera gel and juice by making a daily growth spritz. You can add whichever essential oils you prefer, but follow the basic recipe here. Spray that onto your trouble areas and massage with your finger tips. 

    7. Sage Oil
    This oil increases blood circulation to your hair follicle. It also aids in controlling excessive sebum from the scalp. If your curls are limp and your strands aren’t growing, sage oil might be the move for you.

    Combine sage oil with a dollop of coconut oil for a soothing, scalp stimulating pre-poo. About 3 drops to 1 oz of coconut oil should be sufficient. 

    8. Onion Juice
    The smell might be less than pleasant to some (or most) but this DIY treatment has been used for ages and for a good reason -- it works! Thanks to its high sulfur content, it is incredibly effective in stimulating and increasing your blood circulation.

    Blend or chop onions and then strain the juice. Apply to your hair for 15 min. and then wash thoroughly.

    9. Apple Cider Vinegar
    When your scalp is battling build-up, trying to get your curls to grow is an uphill battle. Product build-up, dirt, and grime all contribute to disrupting your scalp’s natural pH levels and effecting growth. Restore balance and stimulate hair growth with an ACV rinse following your shampoo. It will leave your hair soft and give it shine.

    Create a mixture of half ACV and half water. Pour this over your scalp after shampooing. Massage into your scalp and rinse out with cold water. 

    10. Eggs
    Eggs are full of all of the major essential vitamins and minerals (except for C) including zinc, iron and selenium.

    Try beating an egg and applying it to your hair in order to increase oxygen and blood production to the scalp. This application also assist in healthy cell division. Rinse it out after 20 minutes with cold water (warm water makes it curdle and stick to your hair) and shampoo.  Give it a few tries in order to gauge results.

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  • 07/15/16--08:12: Celebs Speak Up for Justice

  • by Tiffani Greenaway of

    We've criticized athletes and celebrities for not using their platforms to speak about the injustices in our community. We've called them to the carpet for remaining tight lipped in the face of the mass shooting in Orlando or the massacre of Black men across our country.


    In the wake of the recent police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, celebrities are beginning to use their voices for change.

    On Wednesday night, rapper The Game gathered 100 actors, athletes, and media personalities, including T.I., Meagan Good, Tina Lawson, Omar and Keisha Epps, Tisha Campbell Martin, Niecy Nash, Cedric The Entertainer, Tasha Smith, Terrence J, Jesse Williams, Larenz Tate, Nate Parker, Boris Kodjoe, and Compton's Mayor, Aja Brown, to discuss solutions for the crisis we face. The Game posted a message on Instagram about the meeting, held in a private location. "...this time we're collectively taking a different approach at burying these problems once & for all. This is a fight for everyone..... Not just blacks, but everyone.... & all races, ethnicities, cities, states, countries & continents were brought up & we had a very peaceful meeting where voices from all entertainment groups were heard & no leaf was left unturned..."

    A photo posted by The Game (@losangelesconfidential) on

    Wednesday night's ESPY Awards opened with an impassioned statement from NBA stars LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Paul.

    "The system is broken. The problems are not new, the violence is not new, and the racial divide definitely is not new, but the urgency for change is definitely at an all-time high," said Anthony. "The racial profiling has to stop. The shoot-to-kill mentality has to stop. Not seeing the value of black and brown bodies has to stop. But also the retaliation has to stop. The endless gun violence in places like Chicago, Dallas, not to mention Orlando, it has to stop. Enough. Enough is enough," Wade added.

    And Jesse Williams kicked off the movement with his deeply moving speech at the BET Awards. “This award is not for me,” he said. “This is for the real organizers all over the country, the activist, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do.” He continued, “We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries. And we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil -- black gold! -- ghettoizing and demeaning our creations and stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. Just because we're magic, doesn't mean we're not real.”

    More and more celebs are using their voices to to promote social change. How will you use your voice?


    Tiffani Greenway is the wife and mom behind MyMommyVents, a New York city parenting blog. Her tips have been seen on Yahoo Parenting, Mommy Noire, and Fit Pregnancy. Find more of Tiffani's work at

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    IG @rerefined 

    by Sabrina Perkins

    For many naturals, the wash and go is hard to achieve but more often than not it is because you are not giving way to variations on creating one. No one method is ideal for everyone but the style is absolutely achievable for everyone!

    Want to learn two popular wash and go styles that will treat your hair well and last you for days? We did too, which is why we went on a hunt for the best routines we could find. These ladies have been in the natural hair game for a while now, and we are going to be featuring their go to wash and go styles that could be used all summer long.


    Yasmine of Carib Curls

    Products she uses:
    •Giovanni’s 50:50 Hydrating Calming Conditioner
    •Karen’s Body Beautiful Sweet Ambrosia’s Pomegrante Leave In Conditioner
    •Olive oil
    •Camille Rose Natural Curl Make Gel
    •Shea Moisture Curl Enhancer
    •Full Brush

    Her method:
    She starts by washing with her Giovanni and then rubs in Karen's Leave-in conditioner into her hair generously, smoothing it as she applies. To moisturize the hair, she adds her SheaMoisture Curl Enhancer and Olive oil. Finally, she applies her Camille gel generously, working section by section.

    Her tip is to stretch out the hair, apply gel in small sections and then use her brush to blush downwards, elongating the length. She finger curls the ends to add more pop to the curls. She lets the hair air dry and that’s basically it. Her curls turned out really bouncy, shiny and healthy looking. To refresh the hair, she just uses water.

    Adrianne Jaye
    Products she uses:
    •Spray bottle of water
    •As I Am Leave-in conditioner
    •Shea Moisture Detangler
    •Eco Styler Gel

    Her method:
    She co washes her hair, then pats it dry somewhat with a towel. She then sections the hair into four and then works with the sections (she has really full hair). She sprays down the section with water and then applies her detangler from root to tip. She adds leave in conditioner and then combs out with a wide tooth comb to get out tangles.

    Finally, we get to the gel stage. She applies the gel from the root all the way down. She scrunches the hair after application to add volume and then separates the strands. Repeat with all the other sections. She prefers to blow dry her hair with a diffuser attached to it to get her roots dry faster.

    What's your favorite wash and go style?

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