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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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    I have all kinds of irrational fears.

    I'm not good enough, smart enough, strong enough.

    I can't focus long enough to complete a big project.

    I can't handle having lots of money.

    Read On!>>>

     I annoy people by being who I am.

    If I don't hurry up, someone else will do what I want to do and they'll do it better.

    If I'm hugely successful, people won't like me.

    I can't handle criticism.

    If I keep raising the bar, I won't be able to sustain it.

    If I fulfill my purpose in life too soon, will I die?

    What if I die before before I finally get my life together!!

    Drama, I know. I could go on and on. Misuse of imagination. Worst case scenarios. These thoughts steal my creativity and trigger anxiety, nervousness, jealousy, confusion, lack of motivation, uncertainty, procrastination and self-sabotage.

    Make your own list of fears and then ask yourself, Are these statements true? How do I know they are true? Where do these thoughts come from?

    And most importantly...

    Do these thoughts make me feel stronger or weaker? Who could I be or what could I do if I didn't believe these things? What if I strategically practiced ways to change these thoughts to ones that empower me?

    Have you ever considered that you could change your mind? Prove yourself wrong? All you need is a WHY. To start, your WHY may be as simple as knowing that you want to give yourself a different experience.

    What would it take for you let go of your fear and learn to ignore it? And if you did, how could your life change?

    Writing has been my vehicle to overcoming fear.

    When I'm scared, I stare that fear in the face by writing about it -- turning it upside down and all around and flipping it into something productive that I can work with and use to inspire myself and others.

    All the miracles and changes that have happened in my life over the past few years were first ramblings and scribbles written in my journal and on my blog. Through tears and worry and fits of obsession, I wrote my way through transformation and that is how I plan to make art and thrive for the rest of my life.

    If this post is hitting home & you love writing like I do and want to make it a bigger part of your life -- a creative outlet, a self-discovery practice or a livelihood -- there is still time to join me and dozens of women like you in the Words That Move online writing workshop which is starting on April 20. All the details are here.

    P.S. In case you missed it, on Wednesday night, I hosted a free creative coaching call on ways to overcome writer's block and revive and enhance your writing process. You can get the replay details here.

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    Say what you want but the 80’s were awesome. They had the big hair. I love big hair and so do thousands of other women. Volume or "big hair" is loved by most women, and believe it or not but having curly hair does not guarantee volume. Not all heads are the same and many curlies with fine, low density hair and are seeking volume. I know I do. The bigger the better. I want hair so big it hits the door frame when I walk in a room.

    Read On!>>>

    Now, not everybody wants the big, crazy, oh my goodness big hair like I do but many do want more volume for various reasons. Some want volume to lessen the appearance of thin hair, others just like fullness, and then there are others that want a voluminous style for a new look. Many think that women with curly hair naturally have no problems with volume but that simply is not true. Density and width are factors in whether your hair will have full volume.

    Whatever your reason, volume can be achieved with the right tips and even hair products. Most of us know the hair hacks for volume like:

    • Drying hair upside-down
    • Get a layered cut
    • Scrunch your hair
    • Pick your roots with a pick
    • Add extensions
    • Style on damp hair
    • Stretch your hair with a blow dryer
    Now, those are not the only ways to add volume and if those are not working or you are in need of additional support, trying volumizing hair products may be the solution. All the tips above will not do much good if you are using products that weigh down your tresses, making your hair look flat or thin. Here are some product types to try for adding all the volume you desire.
     
    Use dry shampoo... on first day hair
    Dry shampoos are making a big comeback and mostly because they are great second and even third-day hair for curlies. Many curlies are realizing that over-washing your tresses are too harsh for your strands and they are perfect for adding volume to your hair. Garnier says, “The dry shampoo, contains a blend of orange citrus and grape extract, immediately refreshes and bodifies lifeless locks, instantly creating volume you can see and feel.” Most of us appreciate how our hair tends to get bigger throughout the week, but as soon as we wash it we lose the fullness. Dry shampoos will clean your scalp and hair without the use of water and disturbing the volume of your second or third-day hair.
     
    Thicken while you condition
    Ever thought about conditioning and adding volume at the same time? L’Oréal EverStrong Thickening Conditioner gives your hair extra strength along with volume as “The EverStrong Sulfate-Free Fortify System contains L’Oreal’s patented Amino Acid Complex, which helps weak, thinning hair to look thicker while caring for the scalp.”
     
    Use double duty stylers
    Stylers are the products we use to give our hair the hold, style, and look we desire. They come in the form of creams, serums, gels, and even mousse so you have a variety to choose from. Try choosing a styler with a thickening formula as there is real science behind the ingredients and thickening effects in products like Living Proof Full Thickening Cream. According to Living Proof, “PBAE (or Boly[beta]-amino esters) creates a micropattern of thickening dots on every hair strand, making hair look and behave like textured, full, thick hair.”

    Oscar Blandi Hair Lift Instant Thickening & Strengthening Serum uses the power of sodium hyaluronate (thickener), which “attracts to the hair shaft & plumps by providing deep penetrating moisturization (and) Rice Starch Powder absorbs excess oils in the hair to naturally plump the hair shaft”. These are the special ingredients that actually thicken your hair.

    Alterna Bamboo Volume Plumping Strand Expand has the power of phyto-nutrient rich organic maca root in lightweight lotion that instantly plumps every strand...Organic Maca Root Invigorates & energizes hair from the inside out helping to improve volume on three dimensions: fullness, thickness & lift.”

    Do you have a favorite hair thickener?

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    Hola Chicas!
    For those of you that are new to CN, Fierce Friday is a way to celebrate our natural hair, displaying our dopest styles and best hair days... for inspiration and motivation. Wanna be featured? All you have to do is upload your favorite pics to Instagram with the tags #FierceFriday and #CurlyNikki. Be sure to share a brief description of the style, where you were headed, why you felt amazing, and thangs of that nature!

     Thank God I'm natural because I get to show my daughter that being natural is beautiful. That being natural is bold. That being natural is awesome. That being natural is authentic. That every kink, coil and curl on her head is just how God made her, beautiful inside and out and God doesn't make not one mistake @happycurlhappygirl

    Two french braids and this #Queen is out the door. #PROTECTIVESTYLES #AmazingNaturalHair #berrycurly #curlynikki #covergirl #nolye @mrsdcstylist

    Shoutout to @ipsy for this gorgeous lip color, Hunk by @nyxcosmetics, in my March Glam Bag. Definitely had me feeling like spring. Another shoutout to @curlbox for the @official_darkandlovely Easy Twist Gel and Butter @kianaturally


    The rain got the best of me but at least my face still look nice @iamkayfitz

    Quick, easy, and cute emoji. Kinda my signature style if my hair isn't out in braidout. Waves looking freshhhh. #naturalhair #twostrandtwist #flattwist @keebrifrye


    Braid and Curl this morning. Ima go ahead and call this one a SUCCESS! @gemtrendsetter


    Wash day! Detangling takes awhile #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlynikki #bighairbetty #trialsntresses #bighair #teamnatural #nhdaily #berrycurly #luvyourmane #myhaircrush @kayshari88


    #fingercoils #SheaMoisture #natural #teamnatural #mixedchicks #curls #curlyhair #CurlyNikki #FierceFriday @uneditedoriginality

    Throwback to good hair days #nofilter #tbt #curlbox #curlynikki #fiercefriday #curlygirls @faith_fit_curls

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    Professor Daddy #WeBothCallHimThat #TMI #NikkiGetsGoodGrades 

    Hubby has been teaching courses since his Duke days and it became something of a tradition for me to attend a section or two toward the end of each semester to show support and serve sexy from the back of the classroom.  The tradition has blossomed and now he has two girls sitting in the back of the room.  I took Boog up to American University yesterday for her to audit Dr. Daddy's class and she sat quietly (save for the couple of farts... she's windy... like her momma) and even taught him a lesson on sight-words at the end of the day.

    Spring break is ending but the sun is still shining so I'm off to find some shade and a drank.  Cheers to the weekend!
    xoxo
    nik

    What are your weekend plans?

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    Hola Chicas!

    Did y'all read GG's post yesterday on identifying and writing out your fears?  Read it. Do it. 

    So one of my biggest fears is that I'll lose my iPhone, and if that ever happens... y'all will think I've lost my whole, entire mind.  I have gajillions of ramblings in the Notes app-- mostly snippets of inspiration for future posts and projects-- but also, fears.  Lots of 'em.  And when a lack belief (that's all fear is, lack of faith) crops up, I type it up.  And guess what?  That simple awareness, the recognition of the fear, is enough to squash it. And here's why--

    Read On!>>>

    --it's no longer unconscious! You're no longer operating blindly from that belief, from that level of awareness. There's levels to this ish, and when you explicitly identity your fears, you've just leveled up!  Congratulations! #WhereMyCup #Cheers

    Here's an example.

    Let's say you're up for a promotion in a month, but up until today, you've been living from the belief that you weren't good enough for it... you weren't smart enough, you weren't quick witted enough, you weren't educated enough.   Up until today, you believed (unconsciously) that someone more capable or worthy would receive the position.  That they would somehow receive what was meant for you.  Up until today, you tried to feel good when you thought about the the promotion, you told yourself you had faith, but deep down in the pit of your stomach, you had this feeling... you didn't believe it was possible.  And up until today, you successfully ignored that feeling.  You suppressed it. You denied it. 

    But today is different.

    Today, you faced that feeling of dread, of fear.  How did you face it? You sat with it for a second (a few seconds is all it takes).  That's it.  You stopped everything you were doing, you relaxed your entire body and with that, your mind.  And in that instant of peace, that moment of clarity, allowed yourself to become aware of that ridiculously negative train of thought that accompanied the 'bad' feeling.  For the first time, you were not your thoughts.  You were no longer thinking from them, you were looking at them!  You became aware of the thought,'This promotion is mine'followed immediately by that familiar heavy feeling in your gut and the thought, 'girl, bye. Don't get your hopes up'.  And BOOM, just like that, those fear-based thoughts and beliefs were no longer unconscious. They became conscious and you transcended them.  #LevelUp

    For some people, just becoming aware of the belief is enough.  Because when you see that it's not true (it's just a belief and no belief is inherently true), you can simply choose another one.  You can choose one that is more in line with who you are, or better yet, who you want to be! Now you can give thanks for that limiting belief and the lessons it taught you and tell it to move the hell on.  And now, you can choose, 'I am worthy of this promotion'.  You can also choose to define that feeling/sensation in your stomach as 'excitement-- anticipation for the receipt of the promotion' rather than 'dreading the inevitable disappointment'... you have the power to do that.  To choose.  So choose wisely.  It really can be that simple, if you allow it to be.  And if for some reason you can't allow it to be that simple, you can-

    1.  Have complete and utter confidence, blind faith, that everything is happening in your best interest. That no matter how afraid you are, no matter how bad you feel or how much you appear to be suffering that this is a test... you're learning lessons, absorbing them, transcending them and sooner than you know, your blessing will show up.  And it will be more amazing than you ever could've conceived of with your little ol' human brain.   So what do you need to do? Have faith, choose happiness and know that everything is working out for you AND to the benefit of others! #ShareYoGifts

    2. Remember that God wouldn't give you a dream that you couldn't achieve.  You have never conceived of or imagined anything that you couldn't bring to fruition. I remember when I would rock my natural hair and people would go all screw face and ask, 'now what are you gonna do with it?'. They don't say that so much anymore, because they also got that nappy :)  If you can imagine it, it's already yours.  It's up to you to find the courage and the passion to see it through.  It's up to you to have more faith than fear.   And when you choose faith, confidence and happiness, the kingdom is yours.  #LevelUp

    Later Gators,
    Nik

    p.s. Let's talk more about choosing happiness and faith next week! I have some really simple tips on how to do it and get instant results.  xoxo

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    Tell me a little about yourself and your hair journey.
    My name is Chauntalia Wise. I am from Atlanta, GA. I’ve recently just relocated back to Atlanta after living in Japan and the Philippines. My natural hair journey began March 25, 2013. I transitioned for 8 months. My original transition goal was one year; however, I grew tired of seeing two different textures when I looked in the mirror.

    How long have you been natural? Have you always embraced your curls?
    I’ve been natural now for one year and seven months. The 25th of November will be one year and 8 months for me. Before going natural I never knew I even had natural curls. I started getting perms when I was 5 years old.

    Read On!>>>

    What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper& why?
    I was motivated to transition because I had bleached my hair honey blonde and it begin to break off very badly. I went to YouTube and came across @naturalneiicey and immediately fell in love with her hair and her length. I felt that my hair had the same potential. Eventually I also saw @mahoganycurls and knew going natural was a must for me.

    I was a transitioner because I’ve never had short hair. I was afraid of short hair and scared that I wouldn’t know what to do with it. I was also serving on active duty military in the Marine Corps at the time and didn’t want to deal with the hair regulations for short hair.

    How would you describe your hair?
    My hair is thick; but not coarse. It will curl up with any wet product or just water now. It has to stay moisturized or it will break off. My curl pattern is very dominant. It’s not hard to see my curls and I don’t have to do much of anything to create a curl in my head.


    What do you love most about your hair?
    I love the fact that my hair is HEALTHY and growing. Most of all I’m so in love with my curls. I’ve only blow dried my hair twice during my natural period and both times I wanted to just cry.

    What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy or difficult or both?!
    My most memorable part is definitely my BC. LOL. I went into my friends bathroom and literally, wet my hair and just begin to cut away. I came out and she had the most PRICELESS look on her face. It hit me a few days later that I had just cut off all of my hair lol. The journey has been easy for me. I do wear it up or put away a lot so I’m only dealing with my hair twice a month at the most.

    What are (or were) some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles or current dos’?
    My favorite transitioning hairstyle and current is the BUN. There’s so much you can do with a bun. I just love them. They look so sophisticated.

    What have your experiences been as a ‘natural’? Any memorable reactions from family or others?
    I cut my hair off before I moved to Japan so no family members ever actually saw my short hair. By the time I saw them again, my hair was already long again. I was always styling my hair in Japan and I had nothing but positive feedback and reactions.

    What is your hair regimen?
    Before my hair got to this length, my regimen was washing and deep conditioning my hair EVERY two weeks. Then I would always do a protective style. Now I wash it every 3-4 weeks only because the process is longer and I’m in nursing school so my time is constrained. I tie my hair up faithfully every single night though.


    What are some of your favorite natural hair websites,YouTuber’s, or blogs?
    Favorite YouTubers are @naturalneiicey @mahoganycurls @tarenguy @longhairdontcare2011(RIP)
    I just love youtube in general and watching hair videos and hair journeys. But those are my favorites.

    Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
    If you are going natural or are currently natural, be PATIENT.  It will grow. Less is always more. Stay away from heat as much as possible. Moisture Moisture MOISTURE! And always tie up your hair. Remember, you are what you eat.

    Where can people find you for more information?
    I can be found on Instagram @wilhilmeta2
    I am currently working on a YouTube page but it isn’t up just yet.

    Global Couture is trying to spread the word about embracing your natural hair. Love your HAIR, if it is wavy, curly, kinky or coily.
    See more at http://globalcouture.blogspot.com/ and Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
    Are you naturally fierce? Email us to share your hair journey atglobalcouture@aol.com.

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    Fiona writes:

    As wedding season has now arrived and I too prepare for my big day this summer, I have put together a video and some looks for my potential big day 'do! I've decided to take the plunge and be a DIY bride so I hope these photos and video can inspire other naturals too.

    Watch Now!>>>


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    Re-post from 2013, 'cause we're going to touch on this later this week! 

    Spoiler alert- if you haven't mastered recognizing and defeating negative beliefs & fears yet, attack it from an other angle-- relax your body to relax your mind.  And when your mind is at peace, you can be the joyful, naturally happy person you were meant to be and blessings you didn't even know you had coming will flow and flow and flow and flow, effortlessly!  So start practicing this today so you can #LevelUp !

    off to commit pre-meditated mischief, no doubt.  

    Hola chicas!

    I was catching up with a friend yesterday (also a first-time-mom, also stressed the hell out, also salty that no one gave her the real) and we talked about the necessity of the 'self-check'. This is especially useful for those of you that have a hard time becoming aware of the negative thoughts ('aka' your inner critic) that leave you clinging to your last nerve. And while some stress is normal and expected, the prolonged, always-seething-under-the-surface kind should not be... that's where we get into trouble. As I'm sure you know, stress can lead to depression, illness, weight gain and the inability to turn-up and get your whole, entire life.

    So, right now, I want you to take a deep breath, and quickly become aware of four things-

    Read On!>>>
    1. Your Shoulders.
    Go on, relax them.  They were jammed up to your ears weren't they? Mine live up there.

    2. Your Tongue. 
    Strange, I know. Take note if your tongue is plastered to the roof of your mouth.  If it is, its tense and so are you. Give it permission to relax and gently fall to rest toward your lower jaw. For that matter, also relax your jaw!

    3. Your Tummy. 
    I'm willing to bet that if you're reading this, you're neither at the beach nor posing for a pic, so why is it sucked in? Liberate her! And also read up on slow, diaphragmatic breathing (belly breathing).

    4. Those cheeks!
    And I'm talking the ones behind the thighs, not the ones beneath the eyes. Sometimes we don't realize when all of the craziness is going on that we're sitting an inch higher than we should be. You may be doing it while you're just standing there. The term is 'butt gripping' and believe it or not some clinicians have linked butt gripping to lower back pain. So come ladies - #ReleaseTheCheeks!

    #AintNobody

    Psychological issues manifest physiologically. It is presumed that if you can squash the physiological signs of stress (the clenched jaw and high shoulders), that some of the jacked up psychological stuff you're dealing with, especially the more trivial ish, will resolve on its own. #ChooseHappiness #LevelUp

    So several times a day, at least once an hour, for 2 seconds, do a full body scan (set your phone alarm to remind you!).  Become aware of any tension and give yourself permission to relax... let it go, release it!  Within a week or two, it'll become second nature and whenever you find yourself on edge emotionally, you'll immediately relax your stomach (or wherever you collect the most tension) and your mind will follow.  It's not magic, but it will feel like it.  You won't even have to review your thoughts and beliefs, because the more you practice this (body awareness, presence), the less chance your mind will have to go off the rails.  One dope side-effect of body scanning (that I'll elaborate on later this week), is that since you're no longer in a hackles-up, tense, resistant state, your desires... the ones you've been desperately waiting on for the last 2 years... they just show up!  When you release the resistance, your blessings flow to you, effortlessly.  You don't even have to ask.  #GodKnows
    Of all the tips and tricks that I'll share with you to change your life, this one will have the quickest impact, if you actually do it.  Also, for all of you that find it 'difficult' to stay present, this activity of body awareness, will show you that you are always, effortlessly here, now (you have to be present to scan your body!).  Give it a try and remember to breathe, boo.

    So, check-in... ask yourself, 'self? we good?' 

    Were you tense? Are you usually? How do you relax?

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    Tell me about yourself!
    Hey Curlies! My name is Nikki Jean. I’m a Trinidadian gal living life in Philadelphia,PA. I’ve been natural for 3 1/2 years!  I’m a licensed cosmetologist and make-up artist. I also dibble and dabble in the hospital field in the psych ward.  I’m an open speaker and very passionate about talking to teens and adult about domestic violence, depression, rape, drugs and abuse.  In my lifetime, I have faced many different hardship and experiences, having dealt with those experiences I’m able to help others by giving them solutions and encouraging them. I seek to inspire others by teaching self awareness and self esteem. One way I do that is sharing my experience going natural. I share with the world really seeking to help one person to love themselves more, enjoy who they were created to be, and to understand their true beauty is within and the outside is only a reflection of the inside. By doing this I’m able to reach out to people I never thought I could. I receive many different messages from girls all over the US about how much I inspired them to become natural and really love themselves. I am very grateful and thankful for that.


    READ MORE>>
    Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper? What was your journey like?
    I was a transitioner that caved and did the big chop! I really couldn’t deal with the two textures and I also had no clue what being natural meant. I ended up rocking wigs that first year of being natural. Once I started wearing my hair out I turned into an insane YouTube fanatic! I was on YouTube non-stop trying to gather as much information I could.

    Had you always embraced your texture?
    Not even a little bit.  I believe since my family is so diverse, curly hair was just not the business. My great grandmother is white. My grandfather is from Venezuela, and my mom’s sisters are Indian.  I got my first relaxer at 5. Even though my hair was relaxed, when it would get washed I would always have curls. I would always ask to wear it curly, but I was told no. Relaxers ended up taking over until I got pregnant. The I wanted everything I did from there on to be organic and natural. From foods, drinks, to what I put on my hair and in my body.  Thats how the whole natural girl came about.

    How did family and friends react to your decision to go natural? What was your response to them? 
    When I big chopped no one knew because I was so embarrassed. I wore wigs until my son was born.  None of my friends had a problem with it, only my family, especially my mom.  She just didn’t think it was professional.  We butted heads for the longest about my hair, but 3 1/2 years later she’s accepted it. Now she lets me take care of her hair and likes to wear her hair curly, even though she is highly addicted to that creamy crack. She will never stop getting relaxers!

    Describe your hair (fine or coarse, thin or thick, highly porous, low, etc.)
    I have low porosity thick hair.  It’s very hard to keep my hair moisturize; that’s actually one of the hardest things I deal with now.  I have it down to science. My hair must get some type of liquid in it everyday.

    What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to your hair? 
    The only thing I could think of thats “crazy” is coloring my hair (4 times) and cutting it so many times.

    What’s your biggest hair related regret?
    Not going natural sooner. My beauty school did not even touch on the subject or mention anything about natural hair ! My second biggest regret would be coloring my hair so much.  Since I colored it, it has never been the same texture which is probably why it's so dry.

    What's your current hair routine? How often do you wash, condition, and style? Favorite products! Deets!
    I try to wash my hair once a week, but sometimes I can stretch it to 2 weeks.  Sundays are my wash day. I start with an olive/coconut/grapeseed hot oil treatment that I leave on my hair for 20 minutes. I sit under the dryer.  I then shampoo with Joico K-Pak Shampoo and follow up with my homemade deep conditioner with Aloe Vera juice, Coconut Milk, Joico K-Pak Revitaluxe Bio-Advanced Restorative Treatment ( my main ingredient) followed by with my favorite oils: JBCO, Coconut oil, Avocado oil, Tea tree oil, Rosemary oil, Peppermint oil etc… I keep the deep conditioner on for 30-60 mins while sitting under the dryer. I wash that out, detangle and condition one last time with the Joico K-Pak Conditioner.  I keep my hair in 4 sections the entire time while I’m doing this process.  I then do the L.O.C.O method. Then I do a braid and curl (12 -15 braids) using all Camille Rose Natural products except an oil I make to seal which includes: JBCO, Coconut oil, Sweet Almond, and Avocado Oil.


    What’s your favorite hairstyle? Where do you get hairstyle inspiration?
    My favorite styles besides wearing it down and big would be up-do’s and protective styles. I’m always trying out new styles and techniques. If the styles fail or I have no time, I’m quick to put my hair in a big side puff and call it a day.

    Who is your curl crush?
    @foreverflawlyss, @shinestruck, @mini_marley, @nimsay8838, @etcblogmag, @itsmyrayeraye,@moknownshair , @msvaughtv,  and @donedo

    How do you maintain your hair at night?
    I re-braid my hair every night, going less and less with how many braids I do.  I use my curl re-freshener spray that has Aloe Vera gel, Kinky Curly leave in conditioner, oils and water.

    How do you maintain healthy length?
    I maintain healthy hair by trying my best to keep my hair moisturized, cutting away at any dead ends, protein and deep conditioning treatments, being cautious with heat, detangling and different types of protective styles.

    What's the best thing about being natural?
    The versatility of natural hair is incredibly amazing!  I can turn my hair into 3b to 4c.  The styles are endless that we can create with our hair.

    Where can folks find you on the web?
    Instagram - @cre8ivebeauti
    Facebook - Nikki Jean

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    If you are puzzled by the title of this article then you must have missed all the hoopla surrounding this quick means to gain around an inch of hair growth in a week. Who does not want to grow their hair faster? I know many women do and a quick Google search will tell you that this is nothing new. You can find thousands, possibly even millions of articles about hair growth and hair loss.

    Read On!>>>
    How does hair grow?
    Hair grows from the root at the bottom of the hair follicle and blood from the blood vessels in your scalp feed the root. This creates more cells and makes the hair grow. The hair is then pushed up through the skin as it grows through the sebaceous glands that add sebum to the hair to keep it soft, but too much can make the hair greasy. The hair dies by the time it protrudes from the skin so believe it or not hair is dead. Hair grows fast and the only part of the body that grows faster is bone marrow. On average, most people grow about a quarter to a half-inch a month or up to six inches a year.

    What is the Inversion Method?
    This is a new trend that claims to increase hair growth. The method is carried out over a period of seven days. You give yourself a scalp massage nightly with an oil and invert (tip upside down) yourself or just your head. Some choose to lean their head over the side of a bed, stand upside down, sit in a chair and lean over, or another variation of inversion for up to four minutes. Be careful as you can become dizzy, light-headed, or disoriented when trying this. This method claims to increase the blood flow to your scalp and stimulate the hair follicles, which will result in quicker growth, but does this work?

    The Science behind the inversion method
    This is what trichologist Dr. Kari Williams has to say about the inversion method:

    “Everyone is on the hunt for the newest ‘trick’ to grow hair, when the best ‘trick’ is found in the simplicity of maintaining a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise and a nutrient-rich diet. Healthy hair is a reflection of a healthy body. Increased blood circulation to the scalp can simply be achieved through scalp massages using deep rotary movements. These movements manipulate the tissues in the scalp, which stimulate blood flow, improve cellular functions and cellular regeneration. So you can stand on your head if you want to, but it's not necessary. You can simply massage your scalp and get the same benefits without the possible risks.”

    Verdict on the Inversion Method
    Scalp massages are great for increasing blood flow to the hair follicles, conditioning the scalp, strengthening the roots, and even reducing stress according to Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. Many do it nightly with great results so that alone is a winner in my book but coupling it with the inversion method has not been scientifically proven on humans for quicker hair growth. If you are physically fit, not pregnant, or do not have high blood pressure then you may want to give it a try, but as for me I will stick with the scalp massages. Here’s one of my favorites massage oil mixes.

    My Nightly Stress Reliever

    1 tbsp. of jojoba oil
    Few drops of lavender oil
    Extra-small ramekin

    Mix oils in extra-small ramekin before massaging throughout the scalp gently and in a circular motion.

    Have you tried the inversion method?

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     by Kanisha Parks of BlackNaps.org

    Not only is this style fairly easy to execute (depending on your routine) but it showcases the beauty of your natural curl pattern and can be modified into other styles as well. When wearing wash and go’s as an easy style for busy routines and active lifestyles, it can be helpful to know how to keep this style up for 5-7 days until wash day comes around again. Here are some tips to help guide you:

    Read On!>>>

    1. Moisture is key. When wearing a wash and go, it’s important to moisturize your hair daily. This step will be different for every head of hair, but spritzing with water and applying a leave-in conditioner or oil such as coconut oil will certainly add and keep moisture in your hair. If you want to have more elongated curls, try not to over-wet the hair during this step, as this will lead to reversion.

    2. Have a consistent night routine. For this step, many naturals employ the use of the “Pineapple” method for this step (throwing the hair up into a loose pony at the top of your head in order to provide stretch), just as The London Curls does in the following video.You can also do a “modified” Pineapple method by doing a loose low pony or even two or three ponytails: switch up the method however you need in order to fit your hair texture/length. You can also band the hair in order to stretch it. Just remember to utilize your satin scarf and/or pillowcase to keep your curls from drying out or frizzing.


    3. Activate those curls! When you take your hair down in the morning, it may be a little stubborn. Using a curl activator such as Cantu For Natural Hair Moisturizing Curl Activator Cream like Hair Mary does in the video below will help activate your curls by defining them and adding moisture and shine. 


    4. Don’t disturb the curl. Throughout the day, it will be tempting to play with your curls but if you want your style to last all week, do your best to refrain! Playing in your hair too much will definitely cause the curls to frizz up.

    5. Implement another style. If push comes to shove, you can always extend the life of your wash and go up by adding an accessory, doing an updo, or another hairstyle. Here are five hairstyles from Mo Knows Hair to help you do just that:


    How do you maintain your wash and go?

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     Tiffany Nichols writes:

    For many naturalistas a blowout is typically done right before you straighten your hair.  However, many women would love some styling options outside of a flatiron.  In this video, I share 3 simple yet creative looks to try when you do your next blowout!

    Watch Now!>>>



    How do you rock your hair post blow-out?!

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    It always seems like the dumbest sh*t pops up on your instagram feed when you're minding your own business, like honestly.

    Read On!>>>

    That's how it happens, you're mindlessly scrolling enjoying the plethora of eye candy from Man Crush Monday, then BAM the #KylieJennerChallenge is dead center in front of you. I could blame myself and the people that I follow but no, not me, I blame the internet.

    And her...I blame her (lol j/k cuz y'all sensitive).


    If you are so lucky to be unhip and not know what I'm talking about, unfortunately for the purpose of this post I'm going to fill you in.

    So the #Kyliejennerchallenge is another one of these idiotic internet challenges like the cinnamon challenge or the ice bucket challenge (yes, I know that one was supposed to be for charity). This challenge however involves (more often than not) teens and young children putting their lips inside of a shot glass, cup, or jar, and sucking to create an air vacuum for what is clearly an ungodly amount of time to make their lips double in size to eventually look like Kylie Jenner's.


    *pause for side eye*

    I know...I know they're teens...they don't realize the damage they could be doing...liiiiiiiike bursting blood vessels, permanently deforming their face, creating bruising around their mouths, loosing feeling to their lips and so on. Kids are already reportedly having issues with the effects lasting way longer than expected, beyond minuets and hours and even lasting into the next day which becomes a problem when it's time to go to school.


    What started out as all fun is now highly embarrassing and leaving children with facial bruises in the days to come. There is even one "report" of the glass bottle exploding and slicing a guys mouth open (yes guys are doing it too).

    Like...come on son, LOL I CAN'T....how does this even sound like a good idea?

    But of course aside from the sheer stupidity of this challenge, the overwhelming hypocrisy and race related issues come to mind. Now I must admit very rarely do I pull the race card...if ever (because undoubtedly that's what I will be blamed for doing...and being an overly sensitive black women by those who may not understand how deep this ish is), I MEAN COME ON!!!

    Wasn't it not too long ago that THESE big lipped images were being thrown in the faces of people of color? That our features were being made a mockery of? Our hips, thighs, lips, curves and don't even get me started on the hair! Features that we can't help but to inherit from our ancestors, were shamed and we began to try so hard to make ourselves..."less black". Weaves, skin bleaching, tribes in Africa who once saw their curvy bodies as beautiful, getting on diets to be slim and it's not just black women....because this is not just a "black thing". Many women of color from spanish, brazilian, arab and indian cultures take part in the self hate too. There are india and arab women who regard "lighter" skin tones in their culture as "better".

    Google racist black cartoons and any of these over drawn big lipped images are sure to come up



    And now, along comes Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian and those same features that we were taught to hate, be ashamed of, try to hide are somehow...stylish, on trend and coveted.


    As long as it's NOT on a woman of color right?


    I know our features are beautiful...our skin tones in all of their hues are beautiful, but it pains me to think of how many little girls stare in the mirror each day thinking that they are anything less that an image of beauty because the media tells them they're not.Or that their features look good...just not on them.

    It's amazing to me, simply amazing that over the years...even as I have grown up, I've seen tan skin, big butts, big hips and big lips become "in style" but on white women and to know the history of how we as women of color were objectified, laughed at and tormented for our curves and "d*ck sucking lips" (popular phrase when I was in school) all the way back to slave days....the drawings and pictures are there, do your research kids.

    It's almost funny and sadly I can't help but laugh, but it's really a valuable lesson. Not only for women of color, but all young girls.

    The same things that they try to make you hate about yourself are the exact things that they envy now or will want later. No matter if it's your intelligence, your looks, your style, your personality whatever. 9 times out of 10 if someone is putting you down about something, it's because you are a threat to them, they want to break you down, they want to make you feel insignificant they don't want you to know your power.

    Because if for one second you loved and believed in yourself...you would already have them beat.

    So if it's you big ol' brain or your big ol' lips, lol, embrace it, define your own beautiful because if you wait for society and the media to praise and adore your features on you as they come...you may die waiting and don't worry what anyone has to say...you're a pretty girl regardless.

    Follow Deanna on IG!

    Weigh in! What say you?!

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    glam idol, Lovely Mali

    by Minaz Aslam of HairBuddha.net

    Natural hair care is all about listening to your hair’s need. If it’s dry, brittle and stiff, add more moisture. If it’s soft and mushy and over-elastic, add more protein. It’s that simple. Very often it’s the moisture that we lack. In healthy conditions, our hair has a moisture content of 10 to 12 per cent. Anything less will cause it to become stiff and brittle. And brittle hair equals more breakage.

    The key to healthy and beautiful hair is to keep it well moisturized. Daily or frequent moisturizing will increase your hair’s elasticity and flexibility and therefore reduce breakage. Plus, hydrated hair feels soft to touch and appears shiny and lustrous.

    Read On!>>>
     It’s easy to buy moisturizing products from the market. But, the benefit of using homemade stuff is that you have more control over the ingredients and you can tailor make to your hair’s needs. And it’s fun to experiment, blend and try out. The homemade moisturizer recipes I am going to share with you are very easy to create and most of the ingredients are already in your kitchen.

    Here are 3 lovely moisturizing hair masks to make your hair look & feel pretty:

    1. Honey & Olive Oil Hair Treat
    This is a superb hair treatment to add in tons of moisture into your hair. Both honey and olive oil are great humectants, meaning they attract and hold onto water molecules. Honey is a natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. So this mask will also help with dandruff and scalp irritation. Olive oil is rich in antioxidants, including vitamin E. It works great to improve the hair’s elasticity and is immensely rejuvenating and softening for dry, dehydrated scalp conditions. With so many benefits you are in for an awesome treat.

    To prepare this mask you will need:
    • 1 tablespoon Honey
    • 2 tablespoon Olive oil
    • 3 drops Peppermint essential oil (optional, or essential oil of your choice)
    In a small bowl, stir all the ingredients together until well mixed. Apply the mixture to your hair and massage it into your scalp and hair. Put on a shower cap and leave the treatment on for about an hour. Then, wash your hair as usual. You may not need to condition your hair, see how it feels.
    Note: Honey has a mild bleaching effect over time, and can lighten your hair color. If you don’t want to alter your hair’s color then substitute it for dark molasses.

    2. Rhassoul Mud Moisturizing Mask
    The rhassoul is a natural mineral clay mined in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. It has been used by Moroccan women for centuries to care for their skin and hair. This lovely nutrient rich clay hydrates hair, improves elasticity, and makes hair super soft. It has an ability to removes toxin and impurities that can build up on the hair and scalp. The high silica content of the clay helps to sooth irritated scalp conditions like dandruff, decrease breakage and add shine and lustre to hair.

    To prepare this mask you will need:
    • 1/4 cup Rhassoul clay
    • 1 tablespoon Olive or Avocado oil
    • 60 to 70 ml Warm water
    • 4 drops Lavender essential oil (optional or essential oil of your choice)
    Mix all the ingredients thoroughly to make a runny paste (add more water if required). Apply in small sections, starting from the roots and working down to the ends. Cover with a plastic cap and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Rinse with warm water.

    For extra kicker use a herbal infusion instead of plain water. Make herbal infusion by pouring 1 cup of boiling water over 2 tsp of marshmallow root. Allow to steep for 15 minutes and strain. You can also use other hair nourishing herbs such as rosemary, elderflower, peppermint, marigold, burdock, and amla.

    3. Avocado Dry Hair Conditioner
    Avocado mask is excellent for those who want to moisturize as well as strengthen their hair - especially people with fine, brittle hair. The fats in the avocado - oleic acid and palmitic acid - are easily absorbed by the scalp and hair. Plus, these fats also coat your hair and form a protective barrier, reducing the moisture loss and keeping hair soft and flexible. The natural proteins in the avocado strengthen the hair shaft, and add body and shine to your hair. Avocados also contains vitamins A, D, E and phytosterols, all of which nourish your scalp skin and also help with itchy, irritated scalp. With the goodness of fats, vitamins and protein, avocados are nature’s hair balancing formula.

    To prepare this mask you will need:
    • 1 ripe avocado
    • 1 tablespoon avocado or olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon honey (optional, for extra conditioning)
    Blend all the ingredients into a smooth & creamy paste. Apply this mixture to your scalp and hair, make sure all areas are covered. Cover your hair with a shower cap and leave it on for 1 hour. Wash the hair with one of the natural hair cleanser and let your hair dry naturally.

    Seal the Moisture
    If your hair is highly porous it will lose moisture more rapidly, leaving your hair dry again. To keep the moisture from escaping too quickly, do not forget to seal the moisture inside the strands. Plant oils and butters make wonderful sealants. You can choose oils such as olive, sweet almond, sesame, avocado, castor Or butters such as shea, cocao (preferably whipped with some oil), babassu and murumuru. Take a pea size amount of butter (or 2 to 3 drops of oil) in the palm of your hand, rub your hands together, then work it through your hair, paying attention to the ends.


    How do your moisturize your hair? 


    Minaz Aslam is a holistic hair blogger. She believes that healthy body is the foundation for healthy hair. Raised in a home where fresh food and natural remedies was a norm, her knowledge and passion for herbs and oils is deep rooted. She creates DIY hair and skin potions and is always on a hunt for wise age old remedies. Every morning her day starts with yoga and meditation. Minaz shares her all natural hair care tips on hairbuddha.net that helps readers transform their hair from good to gorgeous.

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  • 04/23/15--07:26: Tiffany Is Naturally Glam!

  • Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper? What was your journey like?
    I’ve done it all. I’ve been the Big Chopper, the Big Shaver, now I’m transitioning (until I get tired of the ‘permed ends’ and will just chop it all off).  I regret, one year (during my divorce) my hair was about 7 inches natural,  I went to the barber shop and shaved it ALL off.  I vowed to NEVER do that again.  I missed being natural. So now here I am today…I’m BACK!!!

    Had you always embraced your texture?  
    No. Natural, is a LOT of work (when you don’t know which products to use).

    How did family and friends react to your decision to go natural? What was your response to them?   
    They all loved it.  I’m a free spirit and natural fits my personality to the tee.  And now that I’m in the public eye…the “wild and free” is PERFECT!!!

    READ MORE>>




    Describe your hair (fine or coarse, thin or thick, highly porous, low, etc.) 
    It is coarse and THICK.

    What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to your hair?  
    Dyed a “patch” in the front blond. Wow. Yikes.

    What’s your biggest hair related regret?  
    I regret cutting it after I got through that “hard stage” of natural.

    What's your current hair routine? How often do you wash, condition, and style? Favorite products! Deets!  
    I wash it about once a week.  I love Miss Jessies products.  The cowash, the leave-in conditioner, the Curly Pudding, and the Buttercream are my ABSOLUTE must haves.  Pricey, but MUST have.

    What’s your favorite hairstyle? Where do you get hairstyle inspiration?  
    My favorite hairstyle is double strand twist bantu knots.  I get my hairstyle inspiration from me.  The free-er and wilder, the better.


    Who is your curl crush?  
    Definitely Wanda Sykes

    How do you maintain your hair at night?  
    Satin bonnet

    How do you maintain healthy length?  
    Trimming it about once a month. Sometimes I miss a month or two.

    What's the best thing about being natural?  
    I just absolutely LOVE the freedom of it.  It’s not the EASIEST or cheapest to keep, but when it’s right, it’s ALL THE WAY RIGHT!

    Where can folks find you on the web?  
    Twitter or Instagram: @creatiffpoetry Facebook: Tiffany Scott (Tiffany Diggs)

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    Upon reading the title of this article one could immediately see this question as a no-brainer. After all everyone talks about the importance of moisture and deep conditioning so how is this even possible, right? Well, you can have too much of a good thing, and before you decide to keep scrolling on to the next article, there are a few points you should know about hygral fatigue.

    Read On!>>>
    What Is Hygral Fatigue?
    Hygral fatigue is the result of constant, excessive swelling of the hair cuticle as water is absorbed and the contracting of the hair cuticle as it dries. Often associated with porosity issues, this continual swelling and contraction can lead to weaker strands over time, causing the hair to stretch beyond normal and eventually lead to breakage. In essence, the hair shaft is working overtime when too much water penetrates and leaves the hair quickly. Although everyone's hair and texture is unique, here are a few things you may be practicing right now without knowing the potential harm:
    • Perpetual overnight conditioning
    • Deep conditioning longer than the recommended use
    • Rewetting a wash & go style daily without allowing the hair to completely dry
    • Solely using moisturizing conditioners that are void of protein
    So what’s a girl to do to prevent hygral fatigue without fearing a simple wash day?

    The Balancing Act
    The key to avoiding hygral fatigue is having the proper balance between moisture and protein. According to the Science of Black Hair: A Comprehensive Guide to Textured Hair, if the protein structure is intact then the hair fiber will resist excessive expansion when wet, so ensuring a proper protein structure through timely conditioning is essential. Therefore, you should create a hair regimen that alternates between moisturizing and protein-based conditioners throughout the month. Check for ingredients in your deep conditioners such as hydrolyzed wheat protein, hydrolyzed keratin, and hydrolyzed silk protein just to name a few, which will help restore the needed balance and repair weakness all in one step. Solely using a moisturizing conditioner that is void of protein does not provide strengthening properties and may eventually lead to breakage.

    Preventing Hygral Fatigue
    If you believe your hair suffers from hygral fatigue, there are a few steps you can do to prevent this issue.
    • Limit the amount of time your hair is drenched in water, such as overnight conditioning. After rinsing out your conditioner, opt for sealing the moisture with a great leave-in conditioner. 
    •  Pre-poo with an oil like coconut oil, olive, or avocado oil, which are small enough to penetrate the hair shaft, attach to the protein structure, and reduce the amount of swelling to the hair cuticle.
    • Utilize pH-balanced products to help close the hair cuticle combating overly porous hair.
    How to Tell If Your Hair Is Over-Moisturized
    Low elasticity is one of the main indicators of over-moisturized hair. If your hair has a hard time stretching when wet and does not return to its natural state after pulling, your hair more than likely has low elasticity. Research shows elasticity cannot exist when there is an imbalance of moisture and protein. Keratin helps to strengthen the hair strands ultimately reducing breakage when stretched, while moisture aids in helping the hair stretch and return to its natural state.

    Overly moisturized hair is also associated with a limp, gummy-feeling of the hair when wet. This is where most women turn to intense protein treatments, such as the Aphogee Two Step Protein Treatment or lighter treatments such as Joico Moisture Recovery Treatment Balm. However, before jumping headfirst into either one of these options, it is best to consult a professional stylist if you are unsure of your needs. Too much protein can send your hair into the opposite spectrum of hygral fatigue resulting in protein overload, also known as protein sensitivity, which can also result in breakage. Remember it is all about balance.  

    Has your hair experienced hygral fatigue? How did you deal with this issue?

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    by Kanisha Parks of BlackNaps.org

    Since going natural, you’ve probably questioned the importance of having a leave-in conditioner in your regimen. Some leave-in conditioners seem like an extra, unnecessary step in your arsenal of products and many naturals choose not to use them at all. Others, especially those who enjoy using the LOC method, always tend to have a leave-in conditioner handy.

    Leave-in conditioners may not seem as important as using a shampoo or conditioner, but they actually serve many purposes: to nourish and moisturize the hair, prevent breakage and split ends, soften the hair, tame frizz, and aid in detangling. Many leave-in conditioners have water as one of their first ingredients: these are mainly great for replenishing dry hair with moisture. Still, others may not even have water listed as an ingredient. The focus of these types of leave-ins is more about sealing in moisture while ensuring easier detangling and smoothness. Both of them can also aid in prevention of damage/breakage, and strength.

    Read On!>>>
    For me, personally, leave-in conditioners are definitely a staple when it comes to my hair. Spritzing a leave-in on my hair instantly makes my curls look and feel more moisturized and defined than they do immediately after I’m done washing my hair. One of my favorite leave-ins is the Jane Carter Solution Revitalizing Leave-In Conditioner. This product alone defines my curls and gives me immense shine. I follow up with a cream (usually Cantu Shea Butter’s Moisturizing Curl Activator Cream)and Vatika coconut oil and then style.

    If you’re wary about what a leave-in conditioner can do for your hair, here are a few reasons why you might consider including them in your regimen if you aren’t already:

    1. Moisture.
    Yes, water alone is moisture but a great leave-in conditioner can have many other ingredients that aid in boosting your hair’s moisture. For example: aloe vera, which naturally helps your hair retain water/moisture, rosewater, which also replenishes your hair’s moisture, and glycerin, which will pull moisture from the air into your strands.

    2. Strength.
    Many leave-in conditioners include protein to help strengthen your hair: for example, hydrolyzed wheat protein, which is small enough to be absorbed into the hair shaft and fortifies the hair against breakage.

    3. Added bonuses!
    In addition to supplying moisture and strength, a great leave-in conditioner can also provide shine, boost curl definition, eliminate frizz, refresh your curls, and help sustain your hair until your next wash day.

    What's your favorite leave-in?!

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    Hola Chicas!
    For those of you that are new to CN, Fierce Friday is a way to celebrate our natural hair, displaying our dopest styles and best hair days... for inspiration and motivation. Wanna be featured? All you have to do is upload your favorite pics to Instagram with the tags #FierceFriday and #CurlyNikki. Be sure to share a brief description of the style, where you were headed, why you felt amazing, and thangs of that nature!
    I think she was afraid to love sometimes.... I think it scared her.... Because she was the type to like concrete things like , the ocean ... Something you could point to and know what it was... And I think that's why she struggled with love.... She couldn't touch it ... She couldn't hold on to it and make sure it never changed…@priceless_tamara

    Wash and go lips • Intrigue by @fashionfaircosmetics hair • #washandgo using @motionshair color care sulfate-free cleanser and deep moisture masque #naturalhair @keliise


     
    throwbackthursday #gabriellewig #curlswithlove @curlswithlove


    Twist-out on 2 week old hair..Enjoy your Friday!! #naturalhair #teamnatural #fiercefriday #curlynikki @smilingtoday1

    #Twistout on blow dried #naturalhair. Loving the body and softness @SheaMoisture Tahitian Noni & #Monoi blow out cream gave me @discoveringnatural

    Heading out for my Mom's bday! Chunky braidout that I didn't let dry all the way because I was really just trying to stretch my hair @strawberricurls

    Fluffy fro #naturalhairdoescare #amazingnaturalhair #curlynikki @sflow21

    The face you make when you're having a good curl day #naturalhair #washngo #risetour2015 #shrinkage @kathiemohammed

    Pastel pink because it's Easter #NaturalHair #BlackIsBeautiful #CurlyNikki #RayBan @myafrocan

    Because my Mommie is the best photographer (not to mention the most lovely human being)…ever @chenoia


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    I've learned a lot in the last 5 years--

    1. Miracles happen.
    2. Needing nothing attracts EVERYTHING. Effortlessly.
    3. "Never argue with idiots, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience." #NoLifeTho #LipstickAlleyHeaux

    Read On!>>>
    But the most gangsterest, life-altering thing I've adopted (which led to my ability to choose happiness) is getting my mind to shut the hell up.  I read The Power of Nowa couple of years ago (and told y'all to read it too, if you haven't, read it, if you read it, read that ish again) and it turned my world upside down.  Eckhart (and many others) showed me exactly what my world, at any given moment, consists of--

    1. My body (physical feelings/sensations happening HERE, NOW)

    2. Thoughts (images and/or words happening HERE, NOW)****** THIS.

    3. The stuff in my immediate vicinity (objects--like a table, computer, flower pot, etc. HERE, NOW)

    And yet, with only three things going down in any given NOW, we stay overwhelmed, frustrated, depressed, anxious... clinging to our last nerve, mostly because of #2.  Thoughts are disrespectfully loud and for most people, running non-stop with no interludes. It's been happening for so long that you probably don't even notice. #WeAddicted

    We stay lost in thought.

    For example, while in the shower finger detangling, you're-- wishing FOLK would and then plotting what you'll do if they try, worrying about the future (having bae say 'we need to talk' and feeling like you're in defcon five) and ruminating on the past (on what you should've said in response to that backhanded ass compliment from your neighbor last week).

    But look,  FOLK ain't here... Bae hasn't called yet, and your neighbor is somewhere minding hers.  It's just you... and all that hurr, and all that slippery conditioner, standing under a glorious shower stream. None of that other stuff is happening where you are, at this present moment... except for in your mind.  You're making yourself miserable.  You're running thru the 6 #WithYoWoes, fretting about worse case scenarios that probably won't play out and attempting to solve problems that haven't even presented themselves yet.  You're giving this ish life. So stop it.


    Benefits of Mindfulness
    I'm sure you're familiar with mindfulness and the phrase, 'being in the present' and how it can help you lead a happier life. Some of you have probably tried 'the practice' and gave up.  Some of you logged it away as something you would try later, and some of y'all may think it's crap.  In the last two years, I've read approximately 250 books on this (and related topics) and after only a couple of months of persistence, saw the following benefits--
    • All of sudden Psalm 46:10 'Be still and know that I am God', made all the sense. #HesHere
    • Creativity, business plans, divine inspiration, insights, miracles... in abundance.  Got an issue that needs solving? Stop thinking about it and watch what happens (kinda like when you can't remember that guy who sang that one song back in nineteen hundred and ninety five and you try really hard for like 15 minutes and then go about your day and then at like 2 am, you sit straight up in the bed and yell, 'SHAGGY' #MisterBoombastic)
    • Better moods. When I feel myself going 'there', I stop, breathe and remember that nothing is wrong unless I'm thinking about it.  And if something is wrong, here and now, I'll either deal with it or not. Done. 
    • Better listener- hushing my inner noise gave me the opportunity to actually hear the other party and then offer meaningful responses and insights, instead of just half listening and anxiously waiting to interject my (often unwarranted) opinions and perspectives. 
    What it feel like, tho?
    Many books I read shared why you should practice mindfulness, but I'd find myself trying to figure out if I was doing it right (which is just more damn thinking).  And while this is all murky, subjective territory, it's kinda like that moment when-
    • your eco car shuts off at the red light
    • you drive under an overpass during a rain storm
    • the wind (which was being incredibly rude to your curls and dope sundress) stops for a sec
    In those moments, you instantly register the stillness, the peace, the quiet-- and you get quiet too.  Silence on the outside helps you recognize the silence on the inside.  Another example to make it more experiential (can't remember where I read it) is to grab your cell phone.  Cut the camera on and scan the room.  The camera is registering the scene, but it's not labeling anything ('look at my struggly computer')... it's not providing commentary ('it's been running really slow lately'), it's not judging (I need a new one). It's just 'looking'.  Unlike the camera, thoughts are incessantly judging what's on display, critiquing, commentating.   Thoughts are kinda like a narrator.  Do you remember Beavis and Butthead and how they'd talk over music videos? It's like that...  life is happening and all the while you have this really loud, quite judgmental, sometimes funny soundtrack laid on top of it.  And just like with your TV, you can mute that ish.  And when you do... #PeaceBeStill.

    How to do it
    • Body scan- relax your body to relax your mind. Only takes a second.
    • Simply being aware of the thoughts (instead of lost in them) slows them down-- you automatically #LevelUp
    • Every time you notice that you're lost in thought, come back HERE and focus on something present in your environment-- like your breath, or your body (or present sights and sounds)! They're always right here, in the present moment.  I used to set an alarm to go off every half hour for most of my waking hours to remind me to come back. Once you get in the habit of being present, it becomes the new normal.  #SnapBack
    • Do it while you're doing your hair.  Wash day continues to be my most 'unconscious' time.  It's boring and I stay lost in thoughts about nothing.  Try stopping thoughts for just a few minutes of your wash day #BetYouCant #KeepAtItTho
    • Unless those thoughts (of past woes or future worries) are actually leading you to take some kind of action, just...stop, boo.  
    source
    • Re-read Power of Now and learn to recognize your inner body (that was my favorite), or get in the gap between thoughts and hang out there.
    • Stop right now, and listen for a sound that you can't hear.  Don't think about it.  Just do it. Listen for a sound you can't hear.  That's presence.  That's it! -Graham Ellis
    • To piggyback on the above and make it more clear, put on a pair of headphones and play a song.  I prefer trap, but you know, whatever works.  Now, listen for the silence. Listen to the silence that's all around the music, the silence that allows the ratchetness to be perceived.  That silence is stillness... it's presence, it's NOW. Stay there.  Pretty soon, you'll be able to find the silence behind, within and all around every sound, even the annoying ones-- like crying babies that don't belong to you and car alarms.
    Lastly, you can't not be here (thoughts don't actually take you away from the present).  You're always here, now.  Always.  When tomorrow comes, it'll be NOW.  But more on that later :-)  I promised you a post on how you can use this calm and peace to choose happiness (the real kind that isn't tied to material things) and get those blessings flowing, but you need to work on this first. #TheresLevelsToThis

    Later Gators,
    Nik

    Do you practice mindfulness? Share your insights and tips below!

    Are you present during wash day?

    If not, where does your mind go? Past or future?

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    Question: Is No Poo a good way to clean hair?

    Allie asks…What’s the deal with this “no poo” craze? Does the hair get more healthy because of the natural oils you use? I’ve seen on Pinterest people talking about using baking soda as a cleanser and apple cider vinegar as a conditioner.

    To answer Allie’s question we review several alternate ways to wash your hair.

    The Ultimate No Poo
    This means you don’t clean your hair AT ALL. Not even rinse it with water.

    Does it work? Sure. You don’t actually have to shampoo your hair. Of course, it won’t be clean either. It will be less damaged and probably look more shiny. However, it may also look and feel greasy, smell funny, and be difficult to style in any way except laying flat on your head.

    Shampoo free poo
    This is rinsing your hair with water.

    Does it work? It will certainly refresh your hair but it won’t remove heavy styling residue. (And, as we’ll explain, you’re still damaging your hair even without the shampoo.)

    Read On!>>>
    Cowashing
    Also known as conditioner washing or “co-poo” this simply using a conditioner to wash your hair.

    Does it work? Yes, because conditioners contain surfactants (although a different kind than the ones used in shampoos.) Also, they are used at much lower levels so they don’t clean as well and conditioners may have more oily materials which leave your hair feeling dirty. For everyday cleaning you’ll likely be disappointed by using conditioner as your hair cleanser. It can also start to build up on hair and feel heavy. It will also attract a lot more dust, pollen, and dirt from the air. The WEN brand is probably most popular in this regard but you don’t have to spend a lot of money to try this. Look for an inexpensive silicone free conditioner like the traditional VO5 and Suave products.

    Reverse shampooing
    This involves applying conditioner or an oil to your hair BEFORE you shampoo. The idea is that you’re “using up” some of the detergency of the shampoo on the “fake oils” so less of the “natural oils” are stripped away.

    Does it work? Yes, to some extent. We did some experiments and saw some reduction in color fading. But it has the same negatives as cowashing.

    Dry shampoo
    This is typically an aerosolized powder (for example, starch) that you spray onto your hair and brush out. (also sprinkle in versions)

    Does it work? Absolutely. The powder absorbs excess oils from your hair and then you brush the powder out. It also is scented so it’ll leave a bit of that fragrance behind. But it doesn’t clean your hair nearly as well as a regular shampooing. It also may leave a white residue and can leave hair feeling gross. However, if you want to skip a shampooing day or two this product is good in a pinch. It’s also good for color treated hair because it will help reduce the amount of color lost. We developed one of the first mass market dry shampoos and saw a secondary benefit which was “second day hair.” Gave hair better texture on the second day so it styled better.

    Alternative shampoos
    This is washing your hair with something other than shampoo (like baking soda or vinegar.)

    Does it work? It depends on what your shampoo substitute is. Some people think they can use body wash instead of shampoo. And you can…but chemically body wash is almost identical to shampoo so there’s no extra benefit. (In fact if anything it will leave your hair feeling worse.) What about baking soda and/or vinegar? Baking soda is NOT a good idea. It’s not a good oil absorber so it won’t work like the starch in a dry shampoo. Plus, it has a very high pH which can slow down the restoration of the acid mantle on your scalp. Theoretically the high pH can damage the hair as well by causing additional swelling. Vinegar has a low pH but other than helping to remove mineral buildup, it doesn’t really provide any benefit. The idea that the low pH closes up the cuticle and makes hair shinier is just a myth.

    No-Rinse shampoos
    What is it? Here’s another way to wash your hair without water. The formula is a real shampoo except you don’t rinse it out. The most popular brand is No Rinse Shampoo. The formula is much runnier than a regular shampoo so you don’t need water to make it lather. Just put it on dry hair, work through with your fingers and watch it foam. Then wipe out the foam with a towel for clean hair.

    Does it work? This formula will work better than the dry shampoos. It can clean your hair better than a conditioner. But it won’t be nearly as good as a regular shampoo. But if water is in short supply or you just don’t feel like hopping in a shower, this no-rinse shampoo might be for you. Also, you may find the residual surfactant that’s left on your scalp can be irritating.

    Sulfate free shampoo
    Honorary mention: Again it’s a matter of personal preference. Sulfates are excellent cleansers and if you have very greasy hair or use a lot of styling products will probably will welcome them. On the other hand if your scalp is easily irritated or if you think you’re prone to dryness you may not like the way they leave your hair and scalp feeling. The sad thing is that most sulfate free products work very similarly to sulfates. There are only a few detergents that have really been proven to be demonstrably milder.

    Why is washing and drying damaging?
    Two reasons: the hair fiber swells when saturated with water which causes uplifting of the cuticle. Drying the hair does not reverse all of this cuticle lifting and once the cuticle is lifted it can become loose.

    The second reason is that you have to dry your hair. If you’re using a towel to any extent you’re causing a lot of friction by rubbing the hair. If you’re using a blow dryer the high heat can cause damage. Of course if air drying your hair must be perfectly safe, right? Not necessarily.

    One study found that air dried hair sustains more damage to the Cell Membrane Complex (CMC), the sandwich-y layer of proteins, lipids, and covalently bonded fatty acids that is the “glue” that binds cuticles together. Once the CMC is damaged cuticles can become dislodged more easily which leads to rough damaged hair which may eventually split and break. The authors hypothesize that because air drying takes so much longer than blow drying that some internal components of the CMC are exposed to water for much longer time. This water exposure over time causes a buckling in the CMC layer. Blow drying removes the water more quickly so the CMC doesn’t have a chance to buckle. While this is intriguing discover there are two major caveats: first, this is a single study and one should never completely believe a surprising finding that comes from only one study; more research needs to be done. Second, even though blow drying appears to cause less damage to the CMC, it does cause MORE surface damage. Therefore you’re trading one kind of damage for another by air drying hair.

    Is No Poo better for hair’s natural oils?
    This is another myth. Let’s talk about how oil (also known as sebum) gets on your scalp in the first place. Sebum is generated in tiny sebaceous glands beneath the surface of the skin. These glands produce an oily substance that reaches the skin’s surface through hair follicles. Some sebum is a good thing – it’s a natural moisturizer and it keeps your skin and hair soft and supple. (Of course some people are prone to excess sebum production and that can be too much of a good thing.) The proponents of this myth must think that washing your hair strips away the natural oils so that NOT washing hair leaves more natural oil on your hair. Right? No, not really.

    Actually, stripping away oil with a shampoo will make your glands produce more oil. To understand how this works, you have understand how sebum production is regulated – in other words what turns the sebum glands on and off. It turns out that it’s the presence of sebum on the surface of skin that controls sebum production. How is that possible?

    If you want all the details check out this study in which scientists stripped oil off skin and then measured how long it took the skin to re-oil itself. But their bottom line is that the presence of oil on the skin’s surface sends a signal to the sebaceous glands to turn off. This signal is caused by either the pressure of the oil in the follicle or by the creation of a chemical signal that travels back down through the skin. But then why doesn’t shampooing make your scalp oilier and oilier? That’s because the oil production levels off very quickly.

    *The Beauty Brains bottom line*
    To sum up the science: Any time you’re wetting and drying your hair you’re damaging the fibers and stripping color. Therefore, any alternative that eliminates water will reduce damage and keep color from fading. But there is certainly no evidence showing that at home solutions like baking soda and vinegar are better for your hair than shampoo. In fact, some alternatives (like using baking soda) may do more harm than good but other than that it’s really just a matter of personal taste.

    What's your method of cleansing? What has your results been?

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