Blaquer Friday

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The not surprising decision in Missouri, the subsequent turkey eating followed by mass commercialism and spending has had me up in arms for the past five days.I’ve ranted, railed and wailed about Missouri, Florida and Ohio. And after reading a comment from my dad on this very blog, I’ve decided to make a change.

I’ve read so much today about not buying anything won’t make a difference, that they’re going to get their money anyway.  And I want to scream again. But all that’s doing is giving me a headache and not getting anything done. Like my father said , “It’s not about me personally.” I just know that I personally can make a change. 

This, it doesn’t make a difference mindset is so defeatest, lazy, and myopic. You don’t think your black dollars make a difference to the black business owner? You’re dead assed wrong.

When I moved to Philadelphia in 1987 in the winter, I didn’t realize that by August I would be knee deep in financial aid paper work, registration and dry wall, spackle, paint, carpet, paper cuts, labels. Sometimes working until after the sun set. This was West Coast Video, and it was my father’s store.

He employed family, friends and their kids from the neighborhood. Working there helped partially finance my college education – books, clothes, numerous cups of food truck coffee and eggs on Kaiser breakfast rolls, bus passes and lab fees. Because financial aid only pays for so much. I worked there, in the neighborhood that my father  and brothers sisters and my cousins grew up in. I watched him making a business work and giving back by building and making his business there. He could have done this anywhere, but Lancaster Ave, or Overbrook/West Philly (that’s what I call it) is where it was.

It wasn’t just about the money either. Experiences were had – I met Will Smith there (yes, that one), hanging out at the basketball court across the street before work on a Saturday watching my dad and his friends play against their sons. Water ice and mustard pretzels. My life is forever changed because of that experience. 

My dad is an entrepreneur. Always working, never giving up.

And that spirit, coupled with what’s going on now has led me to this buying guide, with links to online, black owned businesses that I have ordered from and/or support by word of mouth.

I don’t have the money to buy these products myself at this time, but with social media, you can now support in so many other ways. If you’re looking for something unique, wearable art, aromatic bath and body items…..here’s a list of just a small sample of what’s out there. 

You do make a difference by redirecting your energy. It may not be college, it may not be a grand vacation. Some months it’s the house payment, the car, shoes…….it takes just one….

All of these are health, beauty and fashion.  I will put up a more detailed list by description within the next few days. 

Hair and Beauty and Fashion
Sisters With Beauty
Geminii Flyii
Alikay Naturals
Oyin Handmade
Lamik Beauty
SereNiti Bath and Body
CurlBOX
Global Couture
ynobe shop
My Hair Crush
Pur Body Naturals
Koils By Nature
Coco Curls
Obia Natural Hair Care
Natural Girls Rock

Food
Lola’s Sweet Cake Company

Health and Lifestyle
level 3 LIFE

Ramblings

I realize it’s been a long time since I’ve posted here. Many of the subscribers may have gone in to other more popular blogs for natural hair and beauty.

I’m not even sure what to really say anymore, except my feelings were and are hurt. And by people who said they followed, read, and subscribed to my channel.  Then I realized they mistook me for Jouelzy (how you can get Josey and Jouelzy mixed up I have no idea, but what ever)

Reaching out to people who ignore you, don’t help you because your base isn’t big enough, or you don’t live in Seattle (I’m from there people, born and raised, but again, whatever) how much am I supposed to take when I don’t know if you’re ACTIVELY reading. I shut down the Facebook page because NO ONE WAS READING IT. unless I tagged Beyonce. Post a picture of myself, nothing.

I hate feeling this way, and I hate not even being enough to be mediocre. I shared a picture on a group page I belong to, and not one person said anything. But a long haired natural, likes comments, love galore.

Even in my real life, people don’t acknowledge you unless you’re doing what they tbi k is the right thing to do.

And I’m saddened by it because to me it says you’re of no value, even with your education, and intelligence, YOU MEAN NOTHING.

And that’s just from the people I know in real life. People who SHOULD SUPPORT YOU LIKE FAMILY AND ACTUAL FRIENDS.

I had someone tell me that it’s because my voice is loud, I can come off as aggressive?
Right, okay, because being quite and docile gets me everything I need? How does that even work exactly?

This could be the depression talking, but I refuse to take medication that keeps me from sleeping.  People tell me the things I post are negative, so they don’t respond to me. But things like unfair treatment of black people, affect me, so you’re basically telling me I can’t talk about myself? So I’ve resorted literallynto just posting pictures of sniffles and unicorns.

That got two likes yesterday.

Why won’t the universe let me be mediocre? Because it sure won’t let me be great.

Dear Natural Hair Movement,

If all you’re doing is criticizing, not putting yourself out there with solutions to said problems/issues/picadillo du jour, I invite you to kindly have a seat , pour yourself a nice cup of tea and shut up. I’m tired of people, most notably, those in the natural hair community, who CONSISTENTLY exhaust with their self righteous pseudo Angela Davis/bell hooks feminism when they haven’t even done a cursory glance of the internet, let alone read anything they put out, and then want to tell mthat my opinion on what’s really wrong in the community trivializes the black female experience.

Let’s be clear, I’m a light skinned, natural, fat, black woman. But I’m black. My experience as such ain’t better, just different. If you want to get real with me, bring mirrors to the conversation, because it has two faces and they both seem to be yours. 

Change doesn’t happen overnight, and if that’s what you’re expecting, you’re going to be disappointed. Look, the whole Texture Discrimination, Curly Nikki/Ebony outrage anthe conversations it’s sparked have been great for the community, but they consistently focus on the bickering and perpetuate a crab in the barrel mentality that I just cannot be a part of. This page and my blog….no MY ENTIRE LIFE, is about respect – for me, my opinion and those of others, even when they may disagree with mine. As long as that opinion is not based on ignorance, incorrect information and just plain old laziness.

I say all this, because I read the comments on the videos that are posted, and the blogs written. The comments section alone is one of the reasons why I’m done with the ‘community’. I’m at least 25 years older than some of these women. And I’m disgusted by them. I don’t understand the social and cultural and political issues of being a natural woman? Kiss my EBA. I’m 47 years old. Woke up black for all of them. Hair straight. Black. Put on a wig. Black. Natural. Black.  But I don’t understand. Robbed at gunpoint once unemployed more times than I want to count. Still owe Sallie Mae a grip of coin.  But I don’t understand the struggle.

Here’s the black assed bottom line:

I live it every day. Do I let the issue ruin my life? No. I can’t, because this life ain’t just about me. I have a daughter to raise.

These chicks steady up in arms about this one curly haired white woman expressing her opinion on a curly haired website and can’t understand why I’m not jumping on the twitchunt to break her down? But these same chicks, next week theyll be putting up prayer quotes and green smoothie recipes, talking about support.

Some of it is downright laughable, because so many in the movement, doing shows and sitting on panels are serious about this and their craft. Others are satisfied to be paid in product. But as one of the naturals I interviewed last year, Diana Ramsey from Sisters With Beauty stated, the rest are being paid in “bubble gum and ligloss.”

Do we even know our worth, the power of our collective voice? Which is measured in the dollars we spend and where we spend them? Did you know that in 2012, the estimated worth of market was $684 million, with an estimated projection of $761 million by 2017? Or that what’s not a part of that number are the dollars spent from general market brands, weaves, wigs, extensions, independent beauty supply, e-commerce, styling tools, and appliances? If that is taken into account, the worth jumps to close to $500 billion?(1) And while relaxers are down 15% since 2011, they still account for 21% of the black hair care market?

But we are over here bickering about texture, and selling what we create for a pittance of what we are worth. We continue to blame OTHERS for what is done to us and refuse to accept accountability.

This is not to say that the systemic issues that have been a direct result of being black in America, are not real. They have shaped how we look at, treat and deal with each other and other races, and will continue to do so. Yes we need our own spaces to be able to discuss why our blackness is seen as threatening, and why the reminders of our hair texture speak to that. Why we are consistently asked to hide, deny and make ourselves small so that we can just exist and make a way in this world.

But to dump all of that on Sarah (waterlily716) is irresponsible and misguided.

Could be he situatuon have been handled better? Of course. Could some bloggers/bloggers done a better job of positioning the article, preparing, working with, partnering NETWORKING to make this the hard conversation we need to have? Yes.

It wasn’t done, and now you have all these bombastic, one note, twitchunters, who have not even done a simple Google search to get facts to back up their opinions. You have bloggers screaming, “go check this out and let her know….” call to arms posts and then want to recant and say “No, that’s not what I meant to do or say….” You have people who genuinely see someone like Sarah as someone who I can network with to make the community better, be called apologist, not really black, and sellout.

And you wonder why I want to be done with this clique-ish?

The issues that plague the black community are not easy to solve. We need to be able to communicate effectively, without tearing down the person who says them. Each experience is valid. Isn’t that what Lupita told us? Do we not believe her?

Keep the discussion going below.

(Footnote: taken from the blog, on Huffington Post by Antonia Opiah, The Changing Business Of Black Hair: A Potentially $500 Billion Dollar Industry, posted on 03/25/2014. Read the full article here the Huffington post

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Perspective…..

My first blog post back was going to be a diatribe. That all changed when I read Meechy Monroe’s recent blog post.

I’ve been arguing and going back and forth all day with people who I just disagree with fundamentally. Texture discrimination, inclusivity, exclusivity….

It’s all pointless when you find out someone in the community is going through it – FOR REAL!

I’ve followed Meechy and her sister Ms. Vaughn off and on for most of my three year journey.  Meechy was the one I gravitated towards because she was so relatable and we shared the same hair texture.

But her smile is what keeps you coming back. Bright, personable, approachable and relatable. Which is why reading her story made me cry today.

Maybe it’s just the frustration of the day, hectic work and responding to webcast comments, a longer than normal bus ride home, it was all frustrating. And then I read her story, and see that smile, because it’s still there. And then reading her story made all that go away.

I said it last night, and again, this hair texture thing, its not that big a deal. Our lives, how we treat each other, and love each other is.

Get well, Meechy.

Read her story here:

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http://meechymonroe.com/open-letter-my-fans/comment-page-1/#comment-53016

Donate to her medical expenses here:
 http://gfwd.at/1o5hSGK

Robin

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The Journey

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Roads are never easy. Some may be paved, while others are rocky. But those smooth roads hide nails, glass and other obstacles.

I love this blog and what it has become. It’s changed me. Moved me from my introverted self to explore more. I’ve even met new friends because of it.

But as it’s grown, so has my desire to turn it into something that I’ve always desired to have, the power to educate and influence. To hold an audience captive, crack jokes and then have them go home and try what I’ve talked about. It’s something I do when I discover a new blog or YouTube channel. Try a new conditioner, recipe, or hair style. Even the makeup is fun.

So, when I decided that I wanted to really focus the blog on hair, I knew it would be an investment. Yes of money, but also of time.

Investing in a web hosting site for a professional page, $200. HD camera? $300. New computer, with thediting software (and not a MAC, with the software built in) $600. Product budget, 50-60 per month. Makeup, don’t even get me started. But all of that is an investment. Even my husband helped, when he knew I was serious.

He even said he likes the change, and isn’t one of those men who looks sideways whe. His wife decides to return to her natural hair. He didn’t even complain when I cut my hair. Although I know he likes it longer. He’s the one who bought the upgraded Nikon, tripod and lighting. Not to mention the editing software.

Investment. It was the support of my husband, and my daughter who’s recently joined me in some of the videos. She’s hilarious, and everyone loves her energy.

Investment isn’t just money. I mean it is at first which is why there are so many who do it now, and have turned their hobbies into a full time career, complete with sponsorship and collaboration with companies.

But the biggest investment is the time. And let me tell you, editing video is time consuming. Getting notes, preparing schedules, hoping the lighting is right. The Basics series took two weeks to plan, get the right products, figure out the order I wanted to shoot in, and still shoot additional footage for other topics.

It’s not easy. But I enjoyed it.

And then life happens. Because I have a regular paying job where I am for 8 hours a day. My husband is in school, investing in himself to be able to do what he has found his passion to be. But, with all that planning, comes the dealings of financial aid, a car that won’t start and a child who’s summer vacation is juat starting.

I recently received a raise. A whopping .10. And that raise changed EVERYTHING. It moved us into a different pay range, and that affects financial aid. Which affects my husband’s education.

He’s supported me in my dream and I cannot just say to him he cannot persue his. So that means, jobs or in this case an additional one, and that means time. Time I cannot afford to spend on the blog right now, because my LITERAL family needs me.

So, in my absence, and I don’t know how long that will be, there are still videos and the Facebook page with information. And I’m still folowong companies and bloggers to get knew ideas for when I hopefully come back.

But as of today, The Good Curl, the way you know it is no more. Thank you for support and I wish you all the best on your natural hair journey.

See you around the internet.

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Back to Basics Series: Ingredients–Silicone

back to basicsThere is a lot out there about what to use and what not to use. I’m of the mindset that ‘good’ and ‘bad’ in terms of my natural hair care are subjective and selective.

I remember when I first went natural, I used Aussie Moist conditioner. I then switched it up to the Hello Hydration, then I used VO5 Moisture Milk. Then I changed, because I read somewhere on the internet that the silicones in these products is bad for your hair and naturals should not use them at all because they keep that much needed moisture from penetrating the hair shaft and feeding our hair and keeping it quenched.

So I started reading labels, and doing more research on what silicones are, and I learned a few things a long the way.

  1. My hair felt dry and non moisturized with some conditioners that didn’t contain them.
  2. My hair was breaking when detangling
  3. Application, and not necessarily the ingredients, is equally important.

timthumbIt’s really amazing, because when I first started my journey back to natural, I never thought I would turn it into a blog, or do as much research as I’m doing now. I’m glad I am, because there is so much information out there, and it’s confusing. I’ve also learned, that if you don’t do the research, you spend more money than you really need to in the long run. Don’t get me wrong, I like buying new product to try on my hair. It’s just that nothing is more disheartening than buying a product, putting it on your hair, and then spending 15 minutes in the shower, crying because you feel like you put Elmer’s glue on your hair instead of a co-wash, and they claimed to be all natural, no chemicals and no SIILICONES.

Yes, there’s a story behind that Elmer’s glue comment. My sister, who’s been natural a lot longer than I have, helps me out with products. Things that she likes and things that she doesn’t get equal share with her, and I appreciate it. I tried a conditioner that she had brought, and I should have listened to my younger sister when she said the product was ‘Utter Shat’ (I edit, because it was a LOT more colorful than that. Ha Ha). But it was that experience that led me to believe that my hair does well with some ingredients that get all kinds of natural hair shade in our community.

SILICONES

These ingredients provide slip, reduce breakage, help in heat styling and make hair feel softer. These ingredients are commonly found in shampoos, hair conditioners and styling products. Some are used in conditioners, such as amodimethicones. Others are used to aid in color-enhancing products and color-corrective products because they increase the hairs shininess and glossiness. These are called phenyltrimethicones.

As I stated, that previous sentence is loaded with hard to pronounce words. And, let’s be honest, hard to pronounce is often equated with ‘that can’t possibly be good for you,’ logic. However, the ingredient does work well for many of us. It’s in a lot of naturals favorite products, some of which I mentioned at the outset. So how can something that sounds like and is a chemical, actually have any benefits?

According to The Science of Black Hair:

not all “cones” are bad and many are quite useful. “Cones” actually help with your ability to effectively detangle your wet hair. Much of the sleekness and softness we get from rinsing out our conditioners is thanks to those pesky “cones.”

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – DO WHAT’S GOOD FOR YOU AND LISTEN TO YOUR HAIR. It will tell you exactly what it needs, and when. And it’s why reading labels, and knowing WHERE an ingredient is on the list is equally important. If your conditioner is say, a deep conditioner, more often than not, the first ingredient should be water. Even in your rinse out conditioners, water is the primary moisturizing ingredient. Now, if the ingredients after that are –cone this that and the other. Stop. Anything like that, and knowing that silicones COAT, then you know that too much of it is not beneficial to your hair. And not so long ago, a lot of these products contained those heavier silicones. But companies have gotten smarter about formulations. Cones such as Amodimethicone and Cyclo are more stubborn, and harder to remove. So if you are a co-washer, know that you’re going to have to use a shampoo to remove them, at least once a week. It’s one of the reasons why I’m not solely a co-washer, even with conditioners that are silicone free.

So how do I find out what to use? After using Hello Hydration for the final time, I let my hair just air dry and didn’t put any other ncX95nocBproduct in it. My hair felt soft initially and it was easy to detangle. But after it dried, it felt coated and heavy. And while I liked what the conditioner did for me when I was transitioning, when I cut the last of the relaxer from my hair, it just didn’t work the same way it had previously. I then switched to the TresEmme Naturals Nourishing Moisture. They have changed their formula, and it now includes isopropyl alcohol (drying). And even though it’s farther down on the ingredients list, I still didn’t want to risk it. So to combat that I add Castor Oil to the mix, and my hair loves it. This is important because I use this conditioner as a co-wash, because it doesn’t contain silicones. I’m still researching the rest of the ingredients, and I’m sure it’ll change if I find something that I don’t want to use. But that’s all what reading labels and educating ourselves is all about.

Anyway, other ingredients to avoid in a deep conditioner are mineral oils, petrolatum, heavy proteins. These provide minimal results and only coat the hair. I’m not saying that they’re bad, I’m saying that you’ll have to use a stronger cleansing method to remove them when you do wash.

I’ve followed this reasoning, again from The Science of Black Hair, when looking for moisturizing and silicone use:

  1. Cleanse. My hair is HiPo (high porosity), medium density, 4a/b, fine. So I choose a moisturizing shampoo, that isn’t too heavy, but leaves my hair clean. My favorites of the moment are my African Black Soap from Chocolashea and Organix Coconut Milk Shampoo. Both cleanse, and don’t weigh down my hair.
  2. I apply my conditioner, with the castor oil. If I deep condition with the TresEmme, I’ll add this. If not, I’ll use one of the deep conditioners I have on hand. My favorites right now are EVA NYC, L’Oreal Oleo, or the Palmers Protein Pack. I then cover and let it sit for an hour. I don’t have a drier, so I leave it on longer to allow the natural heat from my scalp to do the work a drier would.
  3. Rinse, and apply my leave in, which is the Miss Jessie’s Leave-In Condish.

So remember, read your labels, and do your research. And above all, do what’s best for you and your hair.

Robin

The Good Curl Title Page

Watch “The Good Curl | June IPSY Bag” on YouTube

Good Evening

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Here is this months IPSY bag review. I will be bringing these back. And this months bag was great. Carol’s Daughter, Nikka K, Ofra, Realtree and NYX.

If you would like to subscribe, here’s a link and if you link your social media you can possibly get off the wait list faster. I thoroughly enjoy getting new makeup, hair and beauty items every month. 

Join IPSY here: http://www.ipsy.com/r/290e

The Good Curl | June IPSY Bag: http://youtu.be/bBhGQiJ0BI4

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Back To The Basics–Ingredients

Sorry this blog post is late, but last week got pretty busy at my PAYING gig. Just know that overtime is a cruel mistress. 

back to basicsAbout two weeks ago on my Facebook page, I stated that I was going to go down a list of ingredients, because I see a lot of misinformation on the internet about ingredients in products. I guess my frustration is with the fact that people read labels and they see these ingredients, but they don’t actually look up what they do and how they’re created and what they’re used for. They then turn around on forums and share how these ingredients are bad for our hair, or don’t work for them so don’t use them, even though your hair responds well.

Understanding what these ingredients are, how they’re created and what they do in our hair and skin is important. Which is why I recommended the book The Science Of Black Hair. This book has done a lot for me in helping me understand my hair as well as what will work best for it. I can’t recommend it enough. It’s one of the reasons why I decided to included reading labels as part of my Back to the Basics series. And since I didn’t really write a blog post for glycerin, I will link to my Good Curl Facebook page so you can read that information and follow me there.  In my glycerin post, I mentioned that it’s a great ingredient, but works differently in opposing climates and during different times of the year. So, reading the label is important, but knowing what the ingredient does in the summer versus the winter is crucial. Also knowing that it’s not going to work the same in say, Houston, as it’s going to work in Tacoma. So, when we say that we hate an ingredient, maybe we don’t understand what it’s supposed to do and how it reacts to the environment that we live in. It’s one of the reasons I always mention it when I respond to people who ask me questions about products and what I’m using in my hair.

So, this weeks ingredients are Alcohols, specifically the ones listed on the ingredients lists on shampoos and conditioners. The reason I picked these is due, in fact, to seeing a lot of responses to questions about products that leave hair feeling dry, crunch and hard. And the culprits mainly seem to be alcohol. But knowing the difference between isopropyl (rubbing alcohol) and cetyl alcohol is extremely important.

The alcohols I’m referring to are the types of alcohols found in many deep conditioners, as well as many of the leave-in conditioners we use. And for my hair, I’ve found that many of the ingredients that get the poo-poo side eye from many in the natural hair community, actually work quite well on my hair. And, because I actually shampoo to clarify, removing many of those ingredients, such as silicones, doesn’t damage, or cause my hair to not grow. If anything, these ingredients provide my high-porosity, medium density 4a/b hair with the protection it needs to grow healthy.

FATTY ALCOHOLS timthumb

Most of us see them on labels listed as Cetyl-, Cetearyl-, and Stearyl alcohols. As I’ve already stated, these are most commonly found in moisturizers and are used as thickening agents in many of our products, including lotions for our skin. They are mostly derived from stearic acid deposits from shea nuts and coconut oil, but can also be made from animal fats. 

When looking at moisturizing deep conditioners, you really want a conditioner with lots of “fat” in it. Okay, what do I mean by fat? You need a moisturizing deep conditioner that contains lots of fatty alcohols. Fatty alcohols are “hair friendly” alcohols, unlike the alcohols found in finishing sprays which are often drying to the hair. Common fatty alcohols are ones like cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, and myristyl alcohol.

From Wisegeek.com

Shampoos and conditioners often use cetyl alcohol to help moisturize hair. It protects hairs ‘cuticles and helps them lie flat to prevent dryness and frizz. While conditioners with fatty alcohols can be effective moisturizing agents, it is perhaps even more important for people to choose a shampoo containing them. Many shampoos strip the hair of moisture, and may become too dry if the moisture isn’t replenished after cleansing. At the same time, people with oily hair may not benefit from shampoos containing this substance as much, because their hair is already lying flat. These are the NON DRYING/DEHYDRATING alcohols, and should not be confused with what we find in rubbing alcohol.

Cetearyl Alcohol is a fatty alcohol as well, and used in as an emulsion stabilizer, opacifying agent, and foam boosting surfactant. It can leave the skin feeling soft and moisturized, as well as hair. It is also used in water-in-oil emulsions, and oil-in-water emulsions. It is most commonly used in conditioners and other hair products. 

Good Curl Tip:

I strongly suggest you do your own research when reading labels and use your smart phones when shopping to look up ingredients to help you make the best informed decisions when purchasing and using them on your hair.

As a matter of fact, three of my favorite deep conditioners contain this alcohol and my hair responds with moisturized curls and lasting moisturization. My favorite deep conditioners of the moment are EVA NYC, Palmers Coconut Protein Pack, and L’Oreal Oleo Therapy Hair Mask.  I will also include a video of these products to accompany the blog and that should be up later today.

As always, make sure that you spend the time to educate yourself on the products you use and make choices that best suit YOU on your natural hair journey. The internet is a wealth of information, use it wisely. And if you are having issues, such as losing hair, breaking out, or finding that you’re skin is a bigger issue, see a dermatologist, or your family doctor to get a diagnosis from a PROFESSIONAL. I can’t stress that last part enough.

Next ingredient up – Silicones.

Thanks for all of your support.

Robin
Creator and Editor–In-Chief
The Good Curl