15 October 2010


 The Sesame Street video “I Love My Hair” got me started. Please see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enpFde5rgmw&feature=player_embedded
Natural Sistas, self-aware and saving their hair.  Lye or No-Lye, we are lying to ourselves if we believe that we must use chemicals to support our self-esteem. Relaxers are corrosive materials that are chemically destructive. Sodium hydroxide is lye and caustic soda.  It is used in industry for heavy duty cleaning; oil drilling; and making paper.  No-lye relaxers contain substances such as guanidine hydroxide, lithium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, ammonium sulfate, or other harsh chemicals.  Guanidine is used in manufacture of plastics and explosives; potassium hydroxide known as caustic potash and chemical cremation; ammonium sulfate is a flame retardant.  Yes, that’s what some folks want.
For straight hair, women, specifically cosmetologists, expose themselves to skin burns; eye problems; gastrointestinal issues; blood pressure problems; and organ damage caused by these chemicals used to meet a hardhearted vanilla criterion of beauty. They also expose the rest of us to these chemicals when they get washed down the drain and into our waterways.
Natural hair is so organic. It is beautiful, versatile, wavy, straight or curly and most of all, strong.  Look at the ends of your hair right now. Instead of relying on false shampoo, conditioner or cream advertising to “end split ends” you can simply maintain the ends with regular trims. Natural hair is more able to withstand our harsh environment. Humidity gives it that extra bump in the curls; the wind does not take the hair with it; and the sun does not make it brittle.
I love my natural hair. I can wear it curly, “poof” (as my kids say), or straight.  I’ve learned to work with what sprouts from my beautiful brown head. Women have options. Our cultural creativity has birthed a multitude of absolutely wonderful natural styles from free wavy or curly, afros, braids, plaits, twists, locks, fades and bald. There is heat, but we must use it carefully and limit exposure. There are pomades and lotions.  I prefer organic coconut oil.... and I can cook with it, too.  
I straighten my hair every now and again because I feel like it. When I do, I wash and let air dry. Then I loosen the tight curls a bit with a blow dryer before I hit it with a quality ceramic flat iron.  Most of the time, I just wash and go with my hair in a bun or curly pony tail.  I limit attacking my hair to avoid conditions such as dryness, breakage and baldness resulting from pulling; tight hairdo’s; and non-natural substances.
Natural hair is so much less expensive to maintain. I save my time and money doing what I want to do for me; not anyone else.  My family wins too. I spend that 4-10 hour salon time hugging my kids and hanging out with my husband; the dollars supporting my family and our future; and my worry on something other than letting my hair define my true essence.
I’m finishing up with the “eco and not so-friendly” shampoos and conditioners I have at home, but I’m working on a homemade concoction to wash and condition my hair.  I’ll write up that trip later.
Thanks: publicdomainpictures.net

14 October 2010


The bottle says, “eco +”.  The plus must mean the chlorine bleach and silicate salts.  The caution states do not mix with ammonia or other cleaning products … avoid eye contact … and you get my drift.  This stuff could kill us, but it’s, “Friendly to LAKES and STREAMS”.   The Federal Trade Commission revised guidelines for companies that make environmental claims in ads.  The guides apply to environmental claims in marketing materials; logos; brand names; etcetera.  For interesting reading, please see:  http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/grnrule/guides980427.htm
I’m not waiting anymore for the corporate “green?!”.  Our family is about 10 laundry loads into homemade detergent.  I spent less than a dollar and 20 minutes playing chemist in the kitchen.  Our clothes are clean and I don’t smell up the laundry room with the sea breeze, powder fresh clean scent, and other stuff that makes me sneeze.
Recipes are all over the internet.  I tweaked one to fit the pots in my kitchen.  Instead of bleach, I put a bit of vinegar in the “bleach tray” on the washer.
1 gallon Water (hot) (16 cups)
1/2 bar Castile Soap (grated)
1 cup Baking soda
  • Melt grated soap in a saucepan with enough hot tap water to cover. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring frequently until soap is melted.
  • In a large pot, pour 1 gallon water. Heat. Add melted soap, stir well.
  • Then add the baking soda, stir well again.
  • Use 1/2 cup per full load, 1 cup per very soiled load.
I cut a bar of soap in half and grated it (be careful with knife) into a large pot – the size you would use to make soup or chili for the whole family.  I poured about a cup of water into the pot and stirred as the soap melted. I heated a gallon of water, hot like tea, in another pot and poured that into the larger soap pot (that way, I use all the melted soap). Add the baking soda slowly ‘cause you will have a huge white foamy mess!  After the detergent cools, use a funnel to pour into an old recycled laundry detergent container; mine was from an online eco-friendly company, but the stuff is too darn expensive!  Note:  Timesaving shortcut: 2 oz or ¼ cup liquid pure castile soap.  Warm the water; add baking soda; stir; add liquid castile; stir; and let cool.  Cool!  Shake the bottle each time you do laundry. Try it and let me know what you think. 

Thanks: publicdomainpictures.net

03 October 2010

Something New, Something Blue

SHOUT OUT to my sister for buying organic blue agave.  It is a natural sweetener from the Blue Agave plant.  I tried the crystallized natural sweeteners and did not like them for one trivial reason or another. 

My sister added a teaspoon or so of blue agave in Earl Grey tea and it cut the bitterness.  I drink organic green tea everyday and got used to the mild flavor, so I was not too hip on the rich Earl Grey, even though it was my favorite tea back in the day.  The EG tea was so good.

I purchased the Organic Raw Blue Agave Nectar and have been using it all week.  Ignore the scent; it is not honey.  It has a distinct aroma that screams healthy.  The fluid is a light syrup (nectar) that has a slight sweet taste.  I put about two teaspoons in my huge 24 ounce cup of organic green tea.  Wow, I get more tea flavor than I do with raw natural sugar.

I just put some on my fingertip for my 5-year old.  First question, "Does it stink?"  I did not let him smell it.  He said, "It tastes a little good, but I need more."  I gave him another fingertip.  He asked me if I liked honey and then said, "It has not that much flavor."  Uh, it is not supposed to kid.  It's an enhancer. The next time my husband makes pancakes, I'm going to try it on the rest of the family.

Thanks: publicdomainpictures.net

01 October 2010

Back When...

Before we got married, we knew we wanted children. I started reading up on pregnancy and potential issues for harm.  Okay, no playing in dirt - check; no fingernail polish - check; no smelly cleaning supplies - check; no hair perms - what?!

My last perm was early 2001. The transition wasn't too bad.  I let my hair grow out and then cut the ends a bit at a time. The last time I got my nails done was for the wedding... in 2001. The next thing I did was stop cleaning!  I didn't clean squat just before and during the entire pregnancy.  My husband was great at taking care of lots of things when I was a round mound.  Healthy kid born 2003. Next healthy kid 2004.  Done. 

Since back when, I've changed the make up of our supply cabinet.  We transitioned out of the chemicals to to eco-friendly products.  Spent years on expensive products and recently changed to much less expensive concoctions.  I'll tell you about them in the coming weeks.

Black in action soon.