Thursday, 28 March 2013

Not Another Natural Hair Tale

I am trying not to make this blog about my natural hair journey because there are so many bazillions blogs out there about it. However, these past two months have inspired me to write this post. I decided to go natural sometime mid August last year (2012) but I didn't big chop my hair until November. While I was glad that I had B'Ced, I felt very vulnerable and open with a tiny little afro. 

Source

I was so worried about what my family members (especially my mum and dad) will think when they see me. My mum was in no way happy with my new look but because my dad loved it, she didn't give me much hassle. Her greatest concern was that all my ''potential boyfriends/partners'' and/or men will not find me attractive with natural hair. Four months in and my thin, scanty and lifeless hair gained so much volume, life and kinks.

Contrary to my mum's concerns, men have been my greatest supporters. For every lady (a few though) that has asked 'why I cut my hair?' I have had a man come in my defense, even before I could utter a word. I try not to mention to people that I am on short hair because I am going natural, I don't want to start explaining my reasons to closed minded people. 



To my awe, many ladies have approached me to ask how I do it and what they should do when they go natural? I get inspired each day by the number of questions I get from strangers about my hair and the friends around me that have started considering going natural. Another huge inspiration for me these past two months, are two newly acquitted younger teenagers (10 and 12 years old) I have come to know. The 10 years old has been disturbing her mother about cutting off her relaxed hair from the first day she met me. She tells her mother that she want a big chop like mine. Her mother had to eventually do it earlier this week after a month of persistent asking.

The other 12 years old asked her mother about it but she got a big NO. So she decided to do it on her own with a scissors. (What have I done? Don't want to start an army of lil rebels). Her mother is fine with it now though. When I heard the story of these two precious ones, I felt humbled and overwhelmed with joy. Not because I have an issue with relaxed hair but because my actions have inspired people that I didn't make an effort to inspire. I have been considering adding some colours to my hair but with the amount of little eyes around me, I don't think I will do anything too crazy. We don't want mothers holding meetings over my hair and their kids rebellious behaviours. 

So far my hair journey has been a very worth well one. The biggest news of all and the main reason why I decided to do this post - My mother said to me today ''K----! I think I want to go natural like you''. *My mouth drops*

Monday, 4 March 2013

What about Sunscreens?

Source: http://moblog.net

My previous blog talked about the 7 Must Haves in Every Naija Chic's Bag and the number one on the list was a sunscreen. The 'talk' about sunscreen has been on my mind for a while now. I am gradually trying to minimize the amount of toxins/chemicals going into my body, I believe the environment has just enough for me without the need to add more. If our forefathers didn't need these chemicals, why do we? Many of the sunscreens in the market contain very toxic chemicals that in the long run are harmful to us. 

The Environmental Working Group says 56% of active sunscreens contain the chemical oxybenzone, it is known to penetrate into the skin and acts as a photo-sensitize. Experts believe that oxybenzone is linked to hormone disruption and potentially to cell damage that may lead to skin cancer. The Environmental Working Group has compiled a list of 700 name-brand sunscreens along with the toxic chemicals they contain. Check their website for more details www.ewg.org/sunscreen/. Oxybenzone is not the only ingredient to be on the lookout for, as Retinyl Palmitate is another one to check. When exposed to UV light, its' compounds break down and produce toxic free radicals that can damage DNA and cause gene mutations, which is a precursor to cancer. A recent study also found that retinyl palmitate applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight, may accelerate the development of skin tumors and lesions. 

To be honest, I still occasionally use creams and make-ups that contain oxybenzone but I have also been testing out other natural alternatives. I did a bit of research that I have started incorporating alternatives and wanted to sure a bit of it on this blog. As we all know, we are what we eat and our appearance, in most cases, is a by-product of what we have ingested. I am going to started with the internal factors that help prevent sun damage then move on to the external factors. Please note these factors do not work independently as we are more complex than that.

Antioxidant Rich Diet

By definition, Antioxidants such as glutathione, vitamin C, vitamin A, catechins, alpha lipoic acid and vitamin E are substances that can help prevent the effects of free radical damage in the body. Antioxidants neutralize the process of oxidation and cellular damage; hence sun damage, aging and disease. The consistent need to replenish antioxidants in the body is very important because the amount of antioxidants in your blood decreases when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Anti-oxidant rich foods include dark green leafy vegetables, green and black tea, organic dark cocoa (chocolate), tomatoes, water melons, pawpaw (papaya), carrots, small red beans, garlic, apples and oranges are among the countless. Sounds like a broken record but a diet rich in antioxidants is the body's best shield and armor


Source: http://www.denverpost.com



Healthy Fatty Foods

If all fats were bad then fats wouldn't still exist. Omega-3 Fatty Acid, an essential fatty acid that good for your heart. It is not only good for your heart; it is helpful at fighting off free radicals, which can occur as a result of overexposure to UV rays. Fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel and trout are full of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil or Omega 3 supplements are great options when you cant easily access these rich fishes. Other foods with healthy fats that are great for your skin are avocado, flaxseeds, nuts (almond, peanut, cashew, walnuts and pistachios), extra virgin olive oil and extra virgin coconut oil.

Water

The sun rays dry out your skin, leaving it deprived of vital nutrients needed for cell repair. Giving your skin back what the sun took keeps it fully functional. Water is an essential ingredient for cell repair and it allows the body to better fix damages associated with sun exposure.

Clothing

Covering up the skin with light clothing when out in the sun is a great way to minimize sun damage. Sun hats, sunglasses, parasols, light scarves/shawls are among the options available.

Ingredients Consciousness / Natural Sunscreens

I recommended Aubrey Organics Natural Sunscreen in my previous posts because I kind of trust the Brand's products. They provide all-natural, safe and effective personal care and lifestyle products with no paraben preservatives, no petrochemicals, no artificial colors or fragrances of any kind. Zinc oxide has been stated to be very safe sunscreen ingredient. However, a few people have reported allergic reactions to it. What I have to say about this is that not every good thing is for everyone. For example, some people are allergic to nuts but yet nuts are healthy foods. So do your research, check the www.ewg.org website for harmful ingredients in whatever sunscreen you intend to purchase. Just be ingredients-conscious.

Natural & Organic Oils/Butters

So many oils and butters such as Shea butter, coconut oil, palm oil and olive oil contain sun blocking properties. Although, a few users have reported that it made them darker. Whether true or not, I cannot confirm that but I am going to do a post about this later. Shea butter provides natural ultraviolet sun protection up to about SPF 6 and yes that might appear a bit low but it is not bad when coupled with right clothings' and diet. Coconut oil is another oil, especially for those that find butters too heavy. It is a moisturizer and sealant. Any oil/butter you decide to go for make sure it is unrefined, organic and extra virgin.


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