Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Deep Conditioning Treatment of the Week: Honey-Mayo Miracle Masque

     As a 4c kinky haired girl, I try to deep condition my hair at least once a week so that my hair gets the nourishment it needs to keep growing. For the past few weeks, I've had my hair in Senegalese twists, which I uninstalled about a week ago. After many days in the sun and at the pool, my tresses were in dire need of moisture and repair. This week I returned to my tried and true, semi-homemade hair masque to restore my fro to its full glory. I started using the DR. MIRACLES FOLLICLE HEALER  deep conditioner treatment last winter, and to my surprise, I really really like this product! I originally started using this product because I detested the smell of the mayonnaise mask I was using at home. I liked the benefits of using mayo, but I just couldn't stomach the smell or the texture. Luckily, I came across this Dr. Miracles product in the isle of my local dollar store, and on a whim I added it to my Mayo masque. I named this deep conditioning treatment the Honey-Mayo Miracle Masque. Check the ingredients below:
the follicle healer treatment cost about $1.25

2-3 Tblsp of MAYO

2-3 Tblsp of HONEY


 1-2 drops of  OIL (I used olive and vitamin E oils)

* make sure you have equal parts mayo and honey for a consistent texture.

     I mix these ingredients in a small mixing bowl and the mayo was transformed into a caramel colored- silky textured hair masque. What's more, I didn't smell mayo at all! I prepped my hair for deep conditioning by spritzing apple cider vinegar on my scalp and strands. I then applied the mixture to my hair and waited about 45 minutes, then I co-washed and styled my hair as usual. I give this treatment 4 out of 5 ankhs because my hair just loves it. My curls are SOFT and SPRINGY the next day too. Just look at this super defined twist out! Let me remind you, I have 4c hair and achieving definition is veeerry rare!

defined strands after untwisting.

this is what my hair looked like after fluffing and separating.

smiling because my hair is crazy defined, frizz free!


P.S. Let me know if you use this recipe and if it works for you too!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Senegalese Twists: My Summer Protective Style

     Summertime is here and so is the unbearable heat and humidity. Instead of fighting with my hair to keep it moisturized and stretched this summer, I've decided to wear SENEGALESE TWISTS for the next few weeks. In the past, I went to a braiding salon to get my twists installed, but I figure I've seen enough Youtube videos to install my own. I used about 5 packs of KANEKALON braiding hair, a leave in conditioner by Beautiful Textures and COCONUT OIL to moisturize my own hair. I used the basic method of braiding at the root and two-strand twisting the remaining length. To finish and seal the ends, I bonded the hair with a lighter and dipped the ends in boiling water. I wanted them to be long and full which is why it took more than the standard three packs of hair. The total cost of this style was about $15, and the twisting took about 10 hours total, spread out over two days. Here are the results!

I'm ready for the beach!

What protective styles are you rocking this summer?



Friday, May 17, 2013

Aphro Aspirations Celebrity Spotlight Edition: Solange

     Anybody who knows anything about me, knows just how much I am obsessed, perhaps too obsessed with Solange Knowles. I however, like to think that it is a healthy obsession, because let's face the facts here, Solange is way inspirational. My fascination with all things Solange doesn't just stem from the fact that she wears natural hair, but the fact that she's an amazing vocal artist who isn't afraid to express herself creatively and say exactly what is on her mind at any given time. Those of you who follow her on twitter know exactly what I'm talking about. Her "take no prisoners" attitude is the essence of what it means to be an individual and to honor your most authentic self. Oh! Not to mention, she just started her own record label --Saint Records with Sony. This woman defines badassery. If you don't know what I'm taking about, just take a look at the pictures below.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Bantu Knot Out on Pressed Hair

Just a few pictures of my hair today. I typically do not do BANTU KNOT OUTS because I don't think my hair is long enough. However, I pressed and trimmed my hair for the first time in about five months (view this post for more details!) and I thought Bantu knots would preserve the stretch from the flat iron AND create really pretty waves the next day. Turns out, I was right! I put my hair in about 10 bantu knots last night, and here are my results! What do you think?



Monday, May 6, 2013

AphroKiKi Vlogs: 3 Year Anniversary Edition!

I flat ironed my hair on a whim and these are the results! Also May marks my third year anniversary without creamy crack! YAY!

Friday, April 19, 2013

An aphroKiKi Review: Carol's Daughter Monoi

Click here to try these products for yourself!
     It's been a while since I've done a review, and I've been postponing this one for two reasons. The first reason is that I've just been enjoying these products so thoroughly, and secondly, I wanted to make sure they actually delivered the results promised.
     Before I get into the actual review, let me just say, these were a Christmas gift and I don't normally spend exorbitant amounts of money on hair products! That being said, I probably won't make them a part of my weekly routine because they are a bit pricey-- at least to me they are-- for those naturals who got it like that and can afford to make high end hair products a part of your regimen, I ain't mad at ya! Well, maybe just a little. Even though I would consider them to be high end hair products (the conditioner cost about $20 and the split end sealer was $25), these products are not all natural (!!!) But, moving on!
     I began using The Carol's Daughter MONOI REPAIRING CONDITIONER AND REPAIRING SPLIT END SEALER in January. Used in conjunction, these products claim to produce 92% less breakage and 93.3% fewer split ends instantly. The conditioner contains Cetyl alcohol, glycerin, and fragrance. Speaking of fragrance, both of these products are VERY HIGHLY scented, almost to the point where it can be a little overwhelming at first. It smells as if they emptied an entire bottle of expensive perfume into the container. I found that after about 2 uses I got acclimated to it, and I even got a few compliments that my hair smelled great. Also, the conditioner has Shea butter, Coconut oil, and two sulfates-- Behentrimonium Methosulfate and Centrimonium Methosulfate. So as far as ingredients go, the conditioner has a balance of the natural and synthetic.  I noticed that the thick, creamy texture of the conditioner really agrees with my 4C hair and works well as a Co-wash conditioner. Though it didn't leave my hair feeling stripped, it doesn't provide the best slip, so you really want to make sure that you detangle your hair well beforehand. After rinsing, my hair felt soft and silky-- probably due to the hydrolyzed silk. In total, you get 8.5 ounces of conditioner which is good for about 5-7 wash days. I alternate between the Carol's Daughter conditioner and the Organix Coconut condtioner, and I only really use the Monoi collection when my hair is feeling fragile and can use a boost.
5 months without a trim! Look at my ends!!!
    After Co-washing and light blow-drying I applied the split end sealer, starting with my ends, and working my way up the hair shaft to the roots. I didn't notice an immediate change, but my hair did feel smoother. The following day, my hair was less frizzy and my twist-out was more defined. I've used the split end sealer pretty consistently over the past three months, and I do notice less shedding and breakage. In fact, I may continue to purchase this product, once every three months or so, because I do feel like it has helped me retain  length. I haven't had to trim my hair at all, and whenever my hair gets a little frazzled, I slick some of it on, and my hair looks freshly trimmed the next day. The SPLIT END SEALER is more of a serum than a creme or butter in consistency and is alcohol, paraben, petroleum, and mineral oil free. Like the conditioner, it contains Monoi oil and a blend of Tiare Gardenia Flower and Copra Coconut Oil. It also has another of my favorite ingredients, Babassu oil which is very strengthening.
     If I had to choose, I would recommend the split end sealer over the  conditioner because it's a life saver! I'm sure they work best when used together; I really have noticed a difference in the texture and resiliency of my hair after prolonged usage of both of these items. If I had the cash, I would probably make them staples because they deliver what they promise. If you're hair is in need of some TLC and you want to treat yourself a bit, these are definitely the products to splurge on!



Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Regimen Reloaded!

I'm so hype about my hair today!
Product Dream Team!
After a week of utter lethargy, I'm back in the swing of things with my regimen. Well, at least for now I am. Also, I've added a few new products and procedures to my hair care routine. I recently started using COCONUT OIL, which I am now obsessed with-- not only does my hair love it, but so does my skin. I will probably use this stuff until I die (not to be morbid, but real talk, I will). I also bought CASTOR OIL, which I use to seal my ends-- again, I really should have started using this stuff earlier. My hair is shiny and moisturized with each application, plus, it's a really light oil so it doesn't weigh my hair down. I want to briefly mention two new products that I will be reviewing sometime in the near future. The first is Carol's Daughter MONOI SPLIT END SEALER and Organix COCONUT MILK CONDITIONER. I've used them together for the first time today and I'm so pleased with the results! Here's a picture of what my hair looks like today; this is a braid-out on FIRST DAY HAIR!!! I know my 4C girls feel me on this because my hair never looks this stretched or this defined the day after washing it. As a part of my wash-day regimen, I clarified my hair with diluted apple cider vinegar which I let sit for about 10-15 minutes. I then co-washed with Organix Conditioner. After my hair air dried about 30% of the way, I applied the coconut oil and split end sealer to my hair in small sections which I then blow dried (using the tension drying method..check the YT for tutorials). Note that I only dried my hair about 75% of the way, on medium heat, and let it air dry over night. I braided with African Pride's BOUNCY CURL PUDDING (review coming soon). I took down my braids this morning and I'm so hype about the results. I hope you all are having a great hair day too! 



Monday, April 15, 2013

AphroKiKi's Deep Conditioning Treatment of the Week

Coconut oil, Olive Oil, Honey, Egg (for added protein)
So it's that time in my regimen to deep condition. I've actually been avoiding my hair regimen for a few days (which I now regret!), because of unnecessary laziness on my part. I'm ashamed to admit that it's going on two weeks since I actually washed my hair. Alas, I have to take care of my strands eventually, and there is no better way to nurse it back to health than with a hot oil treatment. I combined Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, and Honey for my deep conditioning treatment. Whenever I use this combination of ingredients, my hair is instantly softer, shinier, and moisturized. I mix them all together, heat in the microwave for one minute, and apply directly to my scalp and hair shaft. I let it sit for about 25-30 minutes, then I co-wash, apply leave-in conditioner, and then I can decide on a style. It's a long process, but you natural gals are already accustomed to time-consuming hair care! WE GOT THIS!
That's it for now! Gotta go wash my hairrrrrs! 


Saturday, February 23, 2013

AphroKiKi Update!

I've been away from this blog for a apologies for the absence. I've been very busy sorting out my life and as it turns out, my hair! After a mere two weeks after I took down my twists, I re-installed them. I just wasn't ready to deal with my weekly hair routine. My current twists have been in about two weeks now, only they're not twists anymore-- it's a twist out! I copied The Damn Salon's concept of Urban Twists and made it my own. However instead of paying $200, I did these at home for about $20 (and there are equally if not more FIERCE). I used a little more than two packs of Kanekalon and Toyokalon hair.Check 'em out and tell me what you think!

Until next time loves!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Farewell Marley Twists!

This style was a great way to switch up my routine.

Now  that it's week 4, it's time to say goodbye!

I could keep them for  two more weeks, but my hair needs some TLC.

Now I'm off the take them down and do a hot oil treatment!

Bye Bye Marley Twists!

Product Junkie Diaries: Out with the Old, In with the New

     I must confess that I am a recovering Product Junkie. If there was a support group for natural hair product addicts, I would be among the first to sign up. Now that it's 2013, I'm beginning to see the error of my ways (and the exorbitant totals on my Target receipts). In 2013, less is more. This post is about the products I used in 2012 that didn't make the cut for 2013.
      Let's start with the shampoos. 2012 was the year I discovered sulfate-free shampoo. My inaugural sulfate free poo was Nubian Heritage's Honey and Black Seed Heat Protectant Keratin Shampoo ($10 at Target). A few notes on sulfates-- they are cleansing agents placed in shampoos. Unfortunately they can be very drying,and strip the hair of the natural oils it needs to stay moisturized. Typically they are listed as Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. I'm still doing my Co-Wash Challenge, so I've discontinued using shampoo for the next month at least. The Honey Black Seed shampoo is definitely a step up from regular shampoos; it is silky and slippery in texture, and it didn't seem to strip my hair. My curls were fresh and bouncy when I stepped out of the shower, and easy to detangle. In addition to the honey, this product also contains coconut and shea oils. The smell is a bit underwhelming-- it's really not appealing in any way, but it does get your hair and scalp clean. Even though this product wasn't in any way damaging to my hair, I won't be using it in 2013 because I don't need it! However, I may consider finishing my current bottle in the summer to better protect my hair from the sun's damaging rays.
      I also briefly used TRESemm√©'s Luxurious Moisture shampoo for 2 wash days. This was an unintentional buy; I thought it was conditioner in the store! It's a little thicker than most shampoos, and it's very smooth in texture. It felt nice and silky on my hair but after I rinsed it out, my hair felt a very dry. This was the last shampoo I used before I started my Co-wash Challenge. It isn't sulfate free, but it is alcohol free. It could be a nice alternative to other shampoos for that reason-- that and it cost about $4.
     Another product I'm not head-over-heels about is the Shea Moisture Organic African Black soap Purification Masque. It aims to relieve dry itchy scalp and it contains Plaintain Enzyme, Tea Tree and Willow Bark Extract. I used this product as a pre-poo and deep conditioner. Although this product has AWESOME ingredients, I feel like it didn't do very much for me. I will say that it did temporarily relieve my itchy scalp. It is gooey and slippery in texture, grayish in color, and smells a little bit like banana bubble gum (if that makes any sense...let'st just say I wasn't in love with it.) In accordance with the Shea Moisture creed, it consists of all natural ingredients, is sulfate, paraben, and paraffin free. It cost about $10 at Target.
      The last product I can do without in 2013 is Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine Blow Dry Protector. It's supposed to be infused with argan oil, but considering that I can't pronounce most of it's ingredients, I think it has less argan oil and more synthetic ingredients that could harm your hair. I'm not sure it protected my hair at all from the blast of my hair dryer. It cost about $7 at Walmart, and I consider it a definite waste of money, because I no longer blow dry my hair 100% of the way. The best heat protectant is a leave-in conditioner followed by an oil to seal in the moisture. There is nothing remarkable about this product-- at least that's the verdict of my 4c hair! I think it might work best for texlaxed or relaxed hair.
      This concludes my Product Junkie Diaries! Hopefully I'll be smarter about buying products that I don't serve any purpose for my hair in 2013, and I'll be sure to follow up with a post about my staple products this year. What products did you use in 2012 that you wish you hadn't?

 Keep it Nappy,

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner Review

     I've wanted to do this product review for a while now, and I'm finally getting around to it! I bought Shea Moisture's Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner back in November, and it has quickly become a staple in my everyday hair care regimen. This conditioner can be used as a deep conditioner, a leave-in conditioner, and as a styling agent. I use it as a leave-in conditioner on wash day, and as a moisturizer on my twist out and braid out styles.
100% Organic and only $10!
    What I love about the Shea Moisture line is that it is dedicated to making 100% organic products. I had absolutely no problems reading and understanding the list of ingredients in this conditioner-- the three main components are Shea butter, argan oil, and sea kelp. The Shea butter is for moisture and repairing damaged hair and scalp, argan oil builds elasticity and strengthens the hair, and the sea kelp detoxifies the hair of impurities and residue. I have been using this product  for a little over two months, and I definitely notice a difference in my hair. It is softer, stays moisturized for longer, and it feels stronger. Because I wear my hair out often, the creamy consistency is perfect for protecting my fragile 4c strands. Now that my hair is in Marley twists, I do not apply it directly to my hair using my hands; instead I've diluted the conditioner with water and I just spritz it in my hair every morning and every night, followed by herbal oil to seal in the moisture. I like using the mixture of water and conditioner because it automatically makes my hair softer and more manageable, and I will probably continue to use this "hair milk" concoction after I take my twists down. I use a quarter sized amount in a spray bottle which I fill with water and then shake vigorously until the conditioner is diluted.
My twists are holding up nicely!!
      I honestly think that this product is perfection in a bottle. Seriously, this conditioner for dry and damaged hair has brought my strands back to life. Before I started using it my hair was dry and brittle, now it's moisturized and resilient. It is also sulfate free, paraben free, and color-safe. Plus it smells really nice-- it is a pleasant mixture of earthy and herbal scents. I can also detect the notes of sea kelp. For some, the scent could be a deal-breaker but that totally depends on your personal preference. I will add, however, that this may not be the best product to set styles with, merely because it more than likely will not supply enough hold and your twist outs will not be as defined as they would with a butter or creme. However, because I use this product as a leave-in only, I will continue to buy it because it's completely organic and it only costs $9.99 at Target for a 12 ounce container which lasts me about a month and a half. I'm not looking for the next best thing in the conditioner area because I'm convinced that the Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner is the absolute best for my 4c hair, and I will use it on my hair for a long time to come. I really hope they don't discontinue it or change the formula. I may buy it in bulk just in case!

The natural hair product junkie,

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Aphro Aspirations

Naturally vibrant.

Naturally comfortable.

Naturally fierce.

Naturally carefree!
 Disclaimer: I do not claim ownership rights of any of the above photos, and sources are located in the captions. I always try to give credit where credit is due. Stay inspired naturals!


Monday, January 7, 2013

Marley Twists: My Winter Protective Style

Havana Marley Afro Puffy Kinky Twists. 

     I spent the last five hours of my young adult life engaging in what felt like a rite of passage: braiding my hair. YAY! For my first time braiding and twisting with extensions ever, it really wasn't as terrifying and awful as I thought it would be. I'm not exactly sure what to call the finished result-- it's a combination of Marley Twists, Afro puffy twists, and kinky twists. Regardless, they're on my head for the next month or so and I'm pretty pleased with them. Not gonna lie, when I started I was intimidated by the amount of the natural hair on my head (especially because it's so thick) and figuring out the proper technique for installing the twists, but after watching a few excellent YouTube tutorials I felt emboldened enough to navigate the treacherous waters of Hair Braiding 101.  I used Prism's 100% Kanekalon and Toyokalon hair which cost about $6 a pack. I only used 2 and half packs so I have plenty left over for touch ups. Because I installed this style  myself I saved  a ton of money-- you cannot beat a $20 protective style that will last you 2-3 months.
Quick Messy Updo.
I tried to make them shorter at the top and near the back.
  I learned more than a few things about braiding with extensions. Number one: make sure your real hair is detangled, conditioned, and that the moisture in your hair is sealed. When other people braided my hair, they didn't know the first thing about detangling my 4c hair which made for a very uncomfortable experience for me. On the contrary, I know exactly how to detangle my kinky hair so I had no issues in that department.Number two: Section your hair for manageability and accessibility. I sectioned my hair off (about 5 total) and two strand twisted the sections I wasn't braiding and clipped them out of the way. Number three: Pick a method of installation and stick with it. The method I used was pretty basic; I attached the extensions to my hair with a braid and then twisted the remainder of the hair. The beginning is honestly the trickiest part of the whole braiding situation, but once you get past that, it's pretty much smooth sailing. Next time around, I want to improve the way I part my hair (I got pretty lazy about it in the back) and use smaller parts in the front. All in all, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I've tried to install twists and braids in my hair before, and needless to say I was in the dark. Just ask my college roommate. We've had plenty of laughs over my hair braiding attempts. For example, I once went to a bar with half my hair in raggedy kinky twists and the other half fro'd out! I unsuccessfully disguised my hair with a beanie. It was all in good fun I guess, but I will never have to do that again! What was your first successful hair braiding/twisting experience like? I would love to hear about it!


Friday, January 4, 2013

Ankhs and Aphros

     This post is about two of my obsessions: Aphros and Ankhs. Not only are they beautiful in their own right, but I feel like these two aesthetic elements compliment each other so well. They're like bread and butter, peanut butter and jelly. I feel like they just go together. This belief probably stems from a long time fascination I have with Erykah Badu and the Ancient Egyptians, but what can I say? I love neo soul and ancient civilizations! Yesterday, I channeled my inner Erykah and wore a single ankh earring (purchased at a festival in Atlanta last year), a handmade beaded necklace gifted to me by my cousin, and my best accessory-- a super kinky afro, courtesy of a mini twist out.

The Ankh is a hieroglyph symbolizing eternal life.

To me, the ankh symbolizes creation and creativity.

     I apologize for the quality of the photos (I look kind of green!) as my digital camera is currently out of commission until I can find the cord to charge it. I lost it in a move a few months back and I haven't been able to take pictures everyday, which is so unfortunate because picture taking is essential to my happiness. Until I find the blasted cord, I have to rely on my webcam. Le sigh. Anyhow, I just wanted to share two of my favorite things. I am contemplating getting a tattoo of an ankh or Nefertiti this year because I am absolutely intrigued with Ancient Egyptians-- it was such a beautifully vibrant and interconnected culture. As for my afro, it symbolizes discovering my own personal truths and continual upward movement and growth. It's so much more than hair. But I don't have to tell you Naturals that-- it's something you already know. =)


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thoughts on Thursday: To Flat Iron or Not to Flat Iron?

     Let's talk about something that is a little controversial in the natural hair community: heat manipulation! The impression I get from watching several Naturalistas on YT, the verdict on flat ironing  is very divided-- some naturals use heat with much success  some forbid and abhor it, and others remain undecided. I think I'm of the undecided/ neutral variety. It's very hard for me to say what someone should or shouldn't do with their hair because I believe in experimentation, especially if you're newly natural and you're just learning about all the wonderful things your hair can do. I've straightened my hair four or five times, and each time I achieved different results. I always made sure to use some form of heat protectant-- whether it be oil or some other heat protectant product (I hear grape seed oil is great for this). Furthermore, I only flat iron my hair once or twice a year, usually because I want to check my length and trim my ends if needed. I will say this much-- I have never succeeded in getting my hair bone straight. My natural texture is extremely thick and because I never get it super straight, it ends up looking like a blowout after one day.

     I won't sit here and say that I'm not somewhat paranoid about what heat manipulation is doing to my hair. Sometimes I worry that straightening my hair could be stunting my growth (even though I only do it twice a year) or that I may get heat damage and my kinks wont bounce back. To ensure that I'm protecting my hair from heat damage, I deep condition my hair two or three days before I flat iron, and I wear styles like braid outs or flat twists that stretch my natural pattern. I notice that when my hair is already stretched, half of the flat ironing battle is already won. I proceed to add oil to each stretched section, comb through to detangle, blow dry on low heat, and THEN and only then do I pass the flat iron over my hair--and I was surprised to find that just one time is all it takes! Another lesson I learned, is that I shouldn't apply heat to my hair when it starts to revert; instead I should wear styles that really showcase my stretched hair. All of these tips I picked up by watching hair videos-- gotta love YT!

Two days post flat iron: It looks like a blow out!
     I flat ironed my hair about two weeks ago just to gauge my length and see how much my hair had grown since last year. I was happy to see that I retained a few inches and that my ends were in pretty good condition. I probably wont use intense heat on my hair until May, which marks the anniversary of my last relaxer. It will be interesting to compare photos of my relaxed hair with photos of my flat ironed natural hair. Every once in a while I get the itch to flat iron, but then I hear my inner voice preaching to myself that heat should be used in moderation. What do you think? Do you incorporate heat styling into your regimen? Or do you think that flat ironing your hair is plain unlawful? I would love to hear thoughts, ideas and suggestions!