What’s With Protective Styles?

               I keep hearing the term, “Protective style,” amongst naturals. Coincidentally, it’s always the ones with hair weaves who claim they are protective styling. Perhaps with all the bad publicity that Black women used to receive over wearing hair weaves, this is what I’ll call the “feel better” term. But, it is what it is. Just say, I have a sew-in, or I’m wearing a wig, or these are Marley twists, or whatever, but don’t confuse the new “natural” with the fancy terms.

That said, what can you do to protect your natural hair and why would you do it? You can protect your hair with virtually any style that protects the ends of your hair and prevents frequent manipulation of the hair. That said, your typical wash and go would not be a style considered to protect the hair because the ends are left exposed. Also, a wash and go would require one to manipulate the hair more often than not. Styles such as buns, twists, braids, weaves, and even wigs are much better options to protect the ends and keep one from manipulating the hair more than necessary. See how the natural hair is protected with some of the styles seen below.

                                          

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While I never say, “I’m going to wear a protective style,” I do say,” I’m going to get a sew-in so I don’t have to do my hair as much for a particular length of time. Or, I’m going to twist my hair.” It’s easier to say and the average person knows what you mean. Most recently, I’ve been wearing a sew-in because I was swimming 3-4 days per week over the spring and summer. I decided to protect my natural hair because the chlorine was so harsh on my hair. It often felt dry and hard immediately after a good swim. Sometimes, the shampoo wouldn’t even lather. It was horrible! I had to use nearly 1/2 bottle of conditioner on my hair to soften it back up. If you’ve been in the natural hair game for a while, you know a good conditioner doesn’t come cheap!! While I did wear a swimming cap, I was swimming real, continual laps, and alternating strokes. Needless to say, the water does not and did not respect the cap! My hair was a mess. I don’t do braids – it’s not my thing at all, so someone suggested a sew-in and that’s the road I took.

Why would you opt to wear your hair in a style that protects your hair? Keeping the hair up may reduce breakage and help you retain length. You would still have to take it down at regular intervals to shampoo it and condition it properly, but less manipulation per day means there’s less chance of breakage overall.

So there you have it. If you want to get braids, get braids. If you want to wear a hair weave or a wig, then just get it. If you just want to change your style without affecting your real hair, that’s fine too. But we need not term it, “protective styling” to confuse the general population. After all, when you were little, your mother didn’t call you to say, come here and let me protective style your hair. She simply put your hair in ponytails or french braids and called it “doing your hair.”

Signing off-

Natural LeeLee

5 Natural Ways to Protect Yourself Against Viruses

colds and flu medicinesIt’s that time of year again; when viral infections ramp up and people run to the doctor’s office or the nearest drug store for relief. For some, they’ve already waited hours in Urgent Care only to be told they will have to go home and let it pass because there’s no antibiotic that will help with a viral infection. Now, you may think you’re one of the lucky ones if you have a bacterial infection and can get a prescription, but technically, you’re worse off. Antibiotics are actually one of the most over-prescribed medications by doctors. As a result, it’s been stated that antibiotics are losing effectiveness; thus jolting a never-ending cycle to fight against bacterial infections. So what can you do?

Remember, your body is designed to heal itself provided you fuel it with the right sources. There are many natural, yet potent germ fighters to help you rid of and/or prevent the germy, fun-snatchers that tend to make you feel miserable. Below there are 5 natural ways to protect yourself against viruses:

  • Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. In fact, it has many uses beyond fighting germs, virus, bacteria, and mold! Mix 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and 1-2 teaspoons of organic honey into 8 oz. of filtered water and drink it 2-3 times per day.
  • Garlic. You can consume garlic raw, in pill form, or by adding it to your food. Either way, it’s been used for years for medicinal purposes because of its antibiotic, antiviral, and antifungal properties. You could even add it to a fresh, fruit smoothie to prevent bacteria that causes infections.
  • Echinacea: If you look around you, you’ll see that Echinacea has been added to several over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, cough drops, and more. Why? It’s because it’s being recognized as a formula to treat a variety of infections. While many people will buy cough drops that contain Echinacea to help them feel better, you could cut out all the extra unnecessary corn syrup and just take the pill or drink it as a tea. The choice is yours.
  • Goldenseal: This herb not only boosts the immune system, it’s like an herbal antibiotic. It has been known to treat inflammatory conditions, so some have used it to fight upper respiratory infections, digestive inflammation, and other infections caused by allergies or infections.
  • Turmeric: Turmeric has slowly, but surely gained notoriety in my herbal medicine cabinet. I’ve even taken turmeric shots made with organic honey and fresh lemon juice. This antibacterial and anti-inflammatory plant has been highly touted as effective in treating bacterial infections. In fact, some have said it’s one of nature’s most powerful healer. You can take these in pill form, as a tea, or make immune booster shots. You be the judge.

The Cure for Split Ends

IMG_4790A split end is just as it sounds; a hair strand that has split at the end. There are many products out there that claim to “repair” split ends, but honestly, it’s only a temporary fix. Think of a split end in this way: If you split your nail, you are able to use tricks like dab it with nail glue, file it smooth and polish it. After all of that, it will appear that your nail is whole again, but it is not. It is a temporary fix and the nail is even more delicate than before. At the slightest bump, that nail will split again. A similar scenario would result in the same case for the split ends in your hair. You would be able to disguise the appearance of the hair and use products that will temporarily merge the ends together, but at the end of the day, the hair will still be damaged.

You can do your best to prevent split ends by keeping your hair properly moisturized, limiting the use of heat-based styling tools, manipulating the hair as gently as possible during styling, and keeping it free from tangles. Though these tips will not guarantee that you will never get split ends, it increases the probability for healthy hair with little to no split ends. Once your strands are damaged and split, the cure for split ends is a pair of shears. That’s right….you have to cut the damaged hairs off. There’s no other way around it. In fact, any other story told can be chalked up as a myth. I’ll repeat it. The only cure for split ends is to cut off the damaged ends.

On a good note, hair will continue to grow, healthy or not. If you take the steps to protect your hair and treat your ends, it will grow long and healthy. If you do not take the steps to preserve healthy hair, the hair still grows, but the growth will appear to have halted because of the damage taking place. Rule of Thumb: Work to prevent damaging hair effects and trim your ends regularly. Now you have the preventative tip and the cure.

Naturalistically Speaking,
Natural Lee Lee

The Baggying Method?

ImageI was reading someone’s website article today and there were questions and comments about the baggying method. In case you have never heard of this method, it’s supposedly when an individual shampoo and conditions the hair. However, in the conditioning phase, a bag is placed over the hair and the conditioner is allowed to sit for a length of time before the conditioner is rinsed out.

As a former professional hairstylist, we frequently used this particular “method” that is now a coined as the term “baggying” by those with natural hair as a service with a specific purpose. However, when we provided this service, it was simply called “deep conditioning.” I’m not certain why someone named it baggying since the process is exactly the same as a deep conditioning treatment. Therefore, to clear up any confusion, if I ever mention deep conditioning as a process, that means, place a plastic cap over the hair. LBVS. Sitting under the dryer for a number of minutes, typically 20-30 is ideal, but allowing the body to generate its own heat will work as well.

Deep conditioning is an important process, but it certainly should not be a very frequent process. As a stylist, deep conditioning was recommended after relaxers to restore balance and moisture, to replenish moisture on dry and/or brittle hair, to strengthen damaged hair, etc. It was not used each time any service was provided for every client.  If a patron’s hair was relatively healthy, a regular conditioning process was all that was needed and applied. Here’s a tip: Too much of any good thing can be bad. Therefore, don’t overdo the “deep” conditioning (baggying) treatments. Providing your hair what your hair needs when your hair needs it is a better approach. This is true for all types of hair, not just natural hair. I hope this helps ladies!

Naturalistically Speaking,
Natural Lee Lee

 

Ology Dish Liquid

Ology Dish Liquid“Hey mom, don’t forget to pick up more dish detergent.” Those were the dreaded words I read via text messaging as I was cleaning off my car from the tenth snowfall of the day (okay, that’s an exaggeration). What she didn’t know was that I was ready for nothing more than going home, taking off my wet clothing, showering, warming up, and calling it a night. But noooo, she just couldn’t let me have my moment of sanity.

She didn’t wash dishes the night before because I couldn’t bear leaving the house to venture out in the Winter Wonderland, so I couldn’t let more dishes pile up because of my laziness…once again. Sigh. I scanned my brain quickly to strategize an escape from my car to a storefront’s door. All of the parking lot spaces are far away from the door except…..I got it….Walgreens!  Yes, I could park by the door, run in, pick up the soap in a jiffy, and head home.  Yes, that was the best course of action, only I wasn’t certain that Walgreens had dish soap and if they did, it would probably cost an arm and a leg, but I told myself it was worth a shot since I really didn’t want to go anyplace else.

While Walgreens did carry dish soap, it was a rather small selection. However, I was pleasantly surprised that they carried a “plant based” dish soap by Ology. While I’ve used other Ology products (and I think it’s exclusive to Walgreens), I’ve never seen the dish soap, so I was intrigued and overjoyed. I’m into all things natural, so it’s never a hard-pressed sell for me to try any naturally derived product. The results?

Ology Dish Liquid lived up to its claim on the bottle. It cut through grease and grime without us having to soak our dishes overnight and it left our glass-made  dishes sparkling. For a natural product with no harsh chemicals, I definitely cannot complain. It had a price tag of double that of a normal bottle of detergent which will definitely warrant me to coupon scout for future purchases, but it’s definitely a winner in my book. Next time you’re out, pick up some Ology products and let me know what you think. Hopefully, you’ll appreciate using natural products that gets the job done.

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