A Conscious Blog

17 Oct 2016

Natural Hair Series: How to grow natural hair | #LAM

October 6th marked my 1.5 year natural hair anniversary. As it's Black History Month I couldn't think of a more befitting time to share my hair journey with you guys. I don't measure my hair, but my hair is between chin-neck length (when stretched/blow dried). However, my hair is mostly worn in its curly state so it's true length is rarely shown. Hello shrinkage!

During my last update I gave you tips and tricks for new naturalistas and in this post I'd like to share my hair regime with you. So in no particular order here goes:
  1. Wash (once a week-ish)
    I make my own African Black Herbal Shampoo from African Black Soap. I've been doing this for almost 5 months now. There are many recipes for this shampoo mix so have a play around with ingredients and adapt to your hair's needs. I adapted mine from Naptural85's video.
  2. Moisturise with water and seal using LCO method every 1-2 days as needed.
    Water/ Water & Aloe Vera Mix
    Giovanni Leave In Conditioner
    My shea butter mix
  3. Treat (monthly-ish)
    I make my own treatment concoctions depending on what I feel my hair needs. I'm always on the lookout for new organic DIY recipes, so if y'all have any to recommend me please holla :)
  4. Trimming. I don't follow a set regimen for trimming my hair. I trim my hair as necessary. I haven't trimmed my hair in about 6 months so at my next visit I'll be getting a trim.

  5. Combing. I don't comb my hair. I tried finger detangling and it doesn't work for me. I probably comb my hair monthly or when it feels very knotty. Due to my curl pattern my hair is always knotting and I realised that combing every day doesn't prevent it from knotting up so I just leave it be. I actually think excessive combing leads to hair retention issues and attribute this particular element to my hair growth.
  6. Styling. I'm not big on styling. I don't do much with my hair. My scalp is super sensitive and my hair doesn't like too much manipulation. Most of the time my hair is worn in a curly 'fro with my black bandana and I put a minuscule amount of gel on my edges to keep them laid. In terms of heat, I've only blow dried my hair 3-4 times in 1.5 years. I will blowdry my hair every 3-6 months to chart growth progress or if I'm getting a weave but other than that I'm not too into it.
  7. I do use a hair towel and don't wrap my hair at night. I also do use elastic bands sometimes. I know. These are big no-nos in the natural hair community. Shoot me? I'm kidding. In all honesty, though do you hunny. If there's anything I've learned in this natural hair journey, it's this: Everyone and their mother will have something to tell you about how you should do your hair and what would work best for it. Ultimately it's your hair and your journey. With trial and error you'll find what works for you. Also don't jump on the bandwagon of product hype. When I became a natural, coconut oil was made out to be the Holy Grail essential hair saviour. I have since found coconut oil to be drying for my hair. On my skin, EVCO is great, but on my hair it's a no-no. My best advice is to take what people say with a pinch of salt and find out what works best for you via research and experimenting :)

    DISCLAIMER: Previously I've said I was 3C-4A. I now think I'm 4A-B (I have random bits of 3C at the perimeter and back of my hair, but it's not much).

I say ish because although I try to follow this hair regime regularly, sometimes I get lazy or life gets in the way and I might skip certain things.

As always until next time, stay blessed and beautiful dolls. LAM xoxo

22 Aug 2016

#BOMB: IMAN Cosmetics

Hello my lovelies,

A few months ago I was contacted by IMAN Cosmetics to review some items from their (then new) alter ego range. Unless you've been living under a rock over the last few months you would have noticed there has been a hike in police brutalities murders towards people of colour in America, and at present the #BlackLivesMatter movement couldn't be more necessary. I'm happy to support #BOMBs (Black Owned Make Up Brand) on LAM.

Back to the review: I was sent a goodie bag which included their foundation stick, bronzer, lipsticks and lip glosses. I've been using the products for a while now so feel that I can give an accurate review as to how well the products fare with time.

Bronzer: Afterglow *

Nude Affair
Here are some nude lip combos I made playing around with the lipsticks and lip shimmers.

Left to Right clockwise: Nude and Muse, Socialite, Muse, Socialite

Night Affair
If you're after something a bit more dramatic, Diva or Drama Queen are great shades for going out or if you're #alterego is feeling a bit adventurous or daring.

I would definitely recommend you guys check out the range. The lipsticks are velvet-smooth and literally glide on your lips. The lip shimmers and lipsticks smell and taste delicious, and I really love the sleek chicness of their packaging. The foundation stick is very rich and creamy, so a little bit really does go along way so I can tell I won't need to be repurchasing it anytime as you deffo get good value for money.

IMAN is now available online in the UK. You can thank me later ;)

 In the comments section below make sure you let me know which lipstick you preferred on me? Also have any of you tried any of IMAN's products, if so, how did you find them?

As always until next time, stay blessed and beautiful dolls. LAM xoxo

19 May 2016

KFC launches chicken flavoured nail polish

Nope this is not a belated April Fools and no I did not just use a click-bait title to get you here. You don't need to go the opticians, your eyesight is fine my love, you're reading right. Believe me when I tell you that I'm just as shocked as you are about KFC's latest product. KFC has launched a chicken flavoured nail polish. What next? Flying pigs?

Unfortunately my best friend Google tells me that there still aren't any flying pigs. Darn. Back to the nail polish, it is available in two colours flavours 'Hot and Spicy' (a bright orange colour) and 'Original' (a nude beige colour). McCormick (FYI they're the company behind the KFC's famous chicken seasoning recipe) and advertising firm Oglivy & Mather are jointly responsible for these tasty nail polishes.
Image copyright: KFC Hong Kong
I love nail polish and I love chicken but never did I think I'd see the day when my two loves would be combined. For now the product is only available in Hong Kong.

So the all important question my lovelies is: If this product makes it to the UK will you be trying some of KFC's finger lickin' nail polish or are you gonna give it a miss? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. As always until next time, stay blessed and beautiful dolls. LAM xoxo

4 Apr 2016

Mahogany Naturals Product Launch- Part 2

Whilst at xSandy's I also got the chance to speak to the award-winning, mother of two, Tope Beesley, who is the founder of Mahogany Naturals.

Me: What was the inspiration behind Mahogany Naturals?
Tope: Firstly, I'm a natural hairstylist. MY client base is diverse, so I work with White women, Black women, Mixed Race women, and women with various hair types whether that's straight, wavy or curly. I am a mother-of-two, and having used store-bought brands on my daughters' hair and skin, I found that the products just weren't working. Y'know my daughters would get itchy scalps, have build up on their scalps and their skin would be dry, horrible and irritated. My vision was to create a Black-owned high-end brand, which uses completely natural products, is luxurious and was child-friendly.  
Me: What does your product range include?
Tope: So I have hair, bath, body and children. I have natural deodorant spray, body butter, body oils scrubs and more.

Me: Quite a lot of companies make natural lines, and then we as consumers sometimes find out later down the line, they're not natural. What's your stance on that?
Tope: I believe you are what we eat. When I say my products are natural, they are. My products are vegetarian-friendly.
Me: You've said that the demographic of your clients is diverse. How have you found support from different races?
Tope: It's funny you ask that actually, because I have noticed that a lot of my customers are US-based. I do feel that with the Natural Hair Movement taking off in the UK, we are starting to see more Black-British customers starting to jump on the bandwagon as well and that's also been reflected in my sales.
Me: Thanks for taking the time out to see me today.
Tope: No problem. Thank you. 

Website: www.mahagonynaturals.co.uk
Twitter: https://twitter.com/topebeesley

As always until next time, stay blessed and beautiful dolls. LAM xoxo

3 Apr 2016

The only Black-Owned Hair & Beauty Store in South-East London (Part 1)

On Saturday, I was very excited to go to xSandy's Hair & Beauty store. Mahogany Naturals was launching at the store, so it was a double celebration. In case you missed the memo or the title (am I being cheeky? Perhaps but it's all bants right? xSandy's is the first hair & beauty store to open up in Lewisham that is owned by a BLACK woman. Yes I put that in capitals. Why? Because I really want you guys to understand the gravity of what I'm saying.

Here's some facts and figures for you. In the UK, we spend £5.25 billion annually on hair and Black women account for 80% of that sales figure. The Black haircare industry is estimated to reach 500 billion dollars next year, from online sales, styling products and tools, hair & beauty stores etc. Statistics show that Black women spend double the amount other races usually spend on cosmetics products. Despite the fact that Black people spend so much in the industry, the Black community barely profits from any of the sales mentioned, because the industry is owned mainly by Asians. Disclaimer: I do not have a problem with Asians. But you must see that the fact that the Black dollar and the Black pound do not get circled in the Black community enough has contributed to the fact that we do not have economic independence as a community. This is something that is unique to the Black race, as many other races support their communities. Did you know in the Jewish and Asian community, money gets circulated for 15-20 days, but in the Black community, it only circulates for a couple of hours?
With this in mind I'd like to ask you: How often do you support black-owned businesses? Whilst you ponder the answer let's find out what the lovely Sandra had to say about her store, the ranges and lines she carries and her plans for the future.

Me: Why did you create your store?
Sandra: I decided to create this sore due to frustration. I became sick and tired of going into hair shops where the individuals that were serving me didn't know anything about the product or the brand. I think the last straw for me was when I went to a hair sop and asked for a hair moisturizer and the guy serving me offered me gel.
Me: WOW! How did that make you feel?
Sandy: I felt sad to be honest and then I asked myself: 'Why would I do that? Why would I go to someone who doesn't know anything about my hair type and then expect them to be able to help me?' And then I felt really insulted. I'd asked this guy for help, and he didn't really care to help me, he just picked up anything he could find off the shelf and gave it to me. When I asked him what the product was for he was dumb-struck.
Me: So you asked him for a moisturiser, but when you asked him what it did he was now dumbstruck? Wow!
Sandy: Yeah. When people in the store caught wind of what was going on it did create a bit of a storm, because other people could relate and understand my frustration. The general response I got was: "Yes. We understand sis. We know what you mean. That's just what these shops are like. But we can't go anywhere else to buy our products, cos where else sells them?" So I decided that this experience was never going to repeat itself and the rest as they say is history.

Me: I noticed that you have only Black female staff here. Any particular reason for that?
Sandy: Well yeah like I was saying before one of my main frustrations was going into stores where people knew nothing about my hair type yet were giving me advice on it, so I wanted to not replicate that here. Also one of things I'm really passionate about is creating employment opportunities for Black people, as due to the "glass ceiling" I know a lot of Black people do not have access to equal employment opportunities, so I really wanted to change that.

Me: What types of products can people expect to find at xSandy's?
Sandy: We are a hair and beauty so all things hair and beauty. We have weaves, wigs, frontals, in synthetic and remy hair. We have make up too from brands like Fashion Fair and Ojon. We also have skincare e.g. African Black Soap, Jergens, Palmers, and cleansers. We have natural hair product specials such as Ojon, Cantu, Mahogany Naturals and more.
Me: Any product exclusives?
Sandy: The wigs are exclusive to xSandys. We have a wide variety of colours and lengths to suit all.
Me: What are your plans for the future?
Sandy: To have lots of xSandy's all over London. By the end of the year I'd like to have 6 more shops.
Me: Thanks for your time
Sandy: My pleasure. Thank you.

Store Address
Email: haireverlasting@yahoo.com
Tel: 07968827772/ 02083184417

Tune into the Part 2 of this blog post, where I tell you all about the Mahogany Naturals product launch.

As always until next time, stay blessed and beautiful dolls. LAM xoxo

12 Feb 2016

#BlackFriday: Introducing Pride and Prestige Hair Ltd.

Apologies for the lack of posting, I'm in final year and atm I'm currently penning a 10K dissertation so blogging has taken a bit of a backseat. Talking of dissertations, it was my disso that sparked the inspiration for today's post. My dissertation is on natural hair and identity, and through research I've learnt that the vast majority of hair and beauty products marketed towards Black people, are sold by businesses which are run by people from other ethnicities- which is quite ironic and sad when you think about it as if that doesn't scream oppression, then I don't know what else does. One way that we can uplift and empower the our community is by reinvesting our money into our own communities and supporting Black-owned businesses, just as other races do. With that in mind, I am expanding the platform of #BlackFriday on #LAM to support Black-owned businesses. As there's no time like the present, without further ado I'd like to introduce you to a company called Pride and Prestige Hair.


Picture: Left- Russian Straight Hair with lilac custom dye & Right Cambodian Wavy Hair with purple custom dye

Pride and Prestige Hair are a premium UK virgin hair company brand. The company is the brainchild of Emmanuela Koranchie and Delawoe Adjaklo. Pride and Prestige launched in 2012 after Emmanuela and Delawoe identified a gap in the market for affordable, sleek and luxurious hair that did not break the bank. The hair types available include Brazilian, Russian and Peruvian. Kinky Curly hair will also be available on the site soon. Hair is available to buy as a frontal, single extension weft or a bundle deal (multiple extension wefts).


    Picture: Left- Brazilian Deep Wave with ombre custom dye & Right- Malaysian Straight Hair with ombre custom dye 

If you're transitioning or natural, perhaps wigs may be more your cup of tea? If so, fear not as they cater to you natural sistas too. Their weave bundles can be bought and made into wigs. In addition to their wig making services, they also offer bespoke hair dyeing services at super affordable rates. All the hair they sell is singly drawn (i.e. taken from one donor's head), double-wefted and true to length. I can personally vouch for their wig making skills as I've purchased a few of their wigs and receive nothing but compliments (and shock my hair is a wig) each time I pop one one can assure you I shall be back for more. One of the things I hate most about virgin hair companies is customer service, but I have found Pride & Prestige's customer service skills to be top-notch. stay up to date with all things Pride and Prestige, make sure you follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

Picture: Left-  Cambodian Straight Hair with Blue custom dye & Right- Brazilian Body Wave with custom dye

What's your fave hairstyle from the collection?
Have any of you tried Pride & Prestige before- if so, how did you find them?
What have your experiences with virgin hair companies been like?

If you liked this post please follow me on Bloglovin' or GFC so you never miss a post :) As always until next time, stay blessed and beautiful dolls xoxo

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