Which Multi Do you Take?


Hola Chicas!

I'm a huge fan of green drinks, but since I'm preggers, I'm taking a prenatal. I researched vitamins the same way I did natural hair, and decided that Rainbow Light One (a food based vitamin-- some argue that these are better than the ones that contain minerals and vitamins chemically derived in a lab) would be one of the better brands to invest in. My doc said it doesn't matter in any way, and that Flinstones Chewables would be just as effective, lol. I hate the size and smell of the RL prenatal, but I suppose it's doing what it should. I like that it contains appropriate amounts of each vitamin and the proper form of vitamin A (Beat-Carotene). I've been taking it for nearly 6 months now.

Before I started taking my prenatal, I had a glass of Green Vibrance every morning. It was the only vitamin/supplement that I could 'feel' working. It gave me energy and with breakfast, kept me feeling full until lunch. Unfortunately it tastes like swamp butt, and MUST be mixed into apple juice for it to be considered palatable. While vacay'ing in Vegas last year, I had nothing to mix it with except for a bottle of Dasani. I poured the packet in, shook it up, and took a sip. I gagged. It was horrible... not even an acquired taste. I choked half the bottle down and vowed never to be without juice again. Despite the ass taste, I'll definitely go back to it once the little munchkin arrives.

Prior to Green Vibrance I was an avid user of Trader Joe's Super Crusade. An independent study was performed (on TJ's and many other vitamins on the market), and they concluded that it in fact contains all the ingredients the label claims. Good, right? Shame on those folks making supplements out there that are lying to us :-( I also love TJ's because the pill is relatively small (the size of a Tylenol gel capsule), goes down easy, and the price is right!


So chicas, what vitamin is in your medicine cabinet? Have you noticed any changes in your new growth-- shinier, fuller, stronger?


Later Gators,
Nik


p.s. If you have a hard time remembering to take your vitamin, keep them on your night stand (with a bottle of water of course!). I ALWAYS forget in the morning, and usually at night too, lol. Now that I keep them near the bed, it's the last thing I see before I go to sleep and it's super easy to reach over, grab them, and pop one. I never forget now.

Deep Conditioning- Question of the Day


Hola Chicas,

I woke up at six this morning with a ton of energy! I cleaned the house, did a few loads of laundry, rinsed my henna, and applied my deep treatment and heating cap. While I stood in front of my foggy mirror loading up on conditioner, I was thinking two things, (1) does adding three conditioners to my hair really do any good, and (2) hurry, hurry, hurry and finish so you can eat, lol. I'm always hungry.

But yeah, whenever it's time to DT, I can never decide on which conditioner I want to use, so I end up using several. Today, before getting out of the shower, I loaded up on Yes to Carrots and TIGI Moisture Maniac, and once out of the shower, added quite a bit of Jessicurl Weekly Deep Treatment. Are three conditioners doing more than what any one of them could do alone? Probably not... maybe so :-) I honestly wouldn't know, because even when I plan to assess a particular product's effectiveness on my hair, I lose my mind and feel the need to put everything but the kitchen sink in it.

So my questions to you are:

How many conditioners do you look to for an effective deep treatment? Which ones do you use? If you've ever switched it up (used one, or several), did you notice a difference in the results?

My Natural Curls Fare Better in Stretched Styles


Hola Chicas!

I've noticed (and shared on multiple occasions) that my hair fares better when it is dried in a stretched out state (twists, braids, or bantu knots). It prevents tangles, helps me to retain moisture, and reduces splits and single strand knots. Also, as long as I don't play in the resulting braid or twist out too much, the next detangling session is much less daunting.

When I was a Wash&Go girl, I had a ridiculous amount of mats, knots, and splits. My hair felt drier and the moisture (from wash day) only lasted a day or so. During this phase in my natural journey, my hair never grew past my shoulders.

I've seen many a fotki where the chica grew her hair from TWA to mid back length by Wash&Go'ing daily! On the other hand, I've seen many naturals that swear by stretched styles.

So which are you? A Wash&Go'er or a Stretcher, and what has your experience been with each?

Favorite Detangling Conditioner


What's yours?


Y'all know I'm a Product Junkie (PJ), but I always return to the same ones (herbal essence hello hydration or totally twisted, and DevaCurl). That says a lot about those lines and how my curls feel about them.
Right now, however, my favorite detangling conditioners are Yes to Carrots and Yes to Cucumbers! I feel that they provide just as much slip as the Herbal Essence conditioners, with a bit more moisture and higher quality ingredients. Of course this comes with a higher price... so we'll see if it's still a fav in the coming months. It takes a ton of conditioner to detangle my hair, and I can go through a bottle in 2 weeks.

So ladies, which slippery, moisturizing, and luscious smelling detangling conditioner is tickling your fancy?

Natural Hair-- Length Dreams


At what length will you be content?

If I was asked this question three years ago, my response would've gone something like this- - 'as long as possible! down to my butt!' Since then, I've learned that when my hair gets past BSL (bra strap length), things get a bit tricky-- detangling becomes a pain and maintenance , a headache. Also, my hair takes on a weird shape, and looks thin, flat, and lifeless. I feel that a chin length bob suits my face and personality very well... and for that, I need to maintain curls that fall between APL (arm pit length) and BSL stretched.

What about you? Do you want hair to your toes, or does a TWA rock your boat?

Falling In and Out of Love- -Natural Hair


Question:

Are you and your curls besties right now? If so, what do you contribute it to (i.e. a specific product, tool, or technique). If not, what do you think the culprit is?

Natural Hair and First Impressions


Kara writes:

Do you feel that people judge you by your hair before they get a chance to know you?


To take it one step farther, do you ever find yourself thinking that straightening your hair for that interview, for your first day of class, for that fancy banquet, or for the family reuninon is probably not such a bad idea?

Going Natural Ain't No Joke!


LaTanya writes:

Being natural these days seems to be a growing trend..everywhere I go I see people that are either natural, transitioning, or thinking about transitioning. Many times these are women that were die hard "permies." When asked for advice, I tell them as much as I can, but they often become bored with what I am saying, and remark, "Oh wow, I thought having natural hair would be easier."

I am often quoted as telling friends, "Going natural is not for the faint at heart..." What do the rest of you ladies think? I have been natural for almost three years now and there are days that I long for "Becky" hair but I remember that when I was relaxed, I didn't have the thick and healthy hair I do now.

Weigh in!

Our Hair, Our Men... Food for Thought

CurlyKye writes:

Does my husband really like my newly natural hair and hair experiments because he loves me (and doesn't want to hurt my feelings) or does he like it because he really thinks it's cute on me?

Could I deal with it if my husband decided that he wanted to change something about him or on his body that has been the same since we met?

How do you feel... what do you think your partner REALLY thinks about your? How do you cope with it?

Is Heat Styling Worth It?... Part Deux


In response to 'Is Heat Styling Worth It?', Alicia J. asks:

Why is it seen as a HUGE no-no to straighten natural hair? Many naturals frown on the act of even thinking about doing a blow out or flat iron. As long as one takes extra precautions (deep conditioner, gentle manipulation, heat protection product, etc.) before, during, and after straightening, I don't see a problem with it. I mean we pride ourselves in having the versatility of curly hair so why not explore all options?? I'm just saying.....

Decoding Black Hair Product Advertisements

Crystal E. writes:


Hi ladies,

I am completing my masters in Mass Communication, and for my research, I am undressing hair product advertisements in Essence and Ebony magazines. I am interested in knowing how you all view the following ads. Any response you provide, short or long, is appreciated!
Some questions you may think about when viewing the ads are:
  • What does the textual message say to you?
  • What message do you gather from the models' pose?
  • Do you find the ad acceptable?
  • What does the name of the brand mean to you?
  • What does the ad say to you about black women, hair, and beauty?
You do not have to answer these questions specifically. I just wanted to prose a few for your thoughts!

There are 4 ads:

1)
Long Aid- 1980s

2 & 3) African Pride ads- 1990s

4) Dr. Miracle's- 2000s.


Thank you, and I look forward to reading some of your thoughts!


(Click to Enlarge)




Is Natural Hair A Trend?


Shantrice writes:


"Is Natural Hair just a trend? Or will it fade?"

I LOVE my natural hair and I feel as if I will never resort back to the harmful chemicals in relaxers. I just feel free from a bondage that I so willingly let enter my world. But recently, I've seen quite a few women on twitter and fotki, etc. saying that they're going back to what they know, or their hair isn't fun anymore, so a change is in order.....basically going back to having a relaxer! I would love to see how the CurlyNikki community feels about this!

Thanks,
Shantrice
Weigh in ladies!

Is Heat Styling Worth It?

Tawanna writes:


This may be controversial, or at least it is in many forums. This is the topic of heat styling- is it worth it in the long run?

Some naturals use heat often, and some, only a few times a year for trims and length checks. One thing I notice is that at some point they usually indicate needing a hair cut or a patch of hair that will not revert back after years of heat use, whether used often or not.

I am curious about this topic because I have a family member who is recently natural, and another family member who has always been natural. The first loves her curls but tends to use heat as often as weekly or bi- weekly to cut down on the frizziness. (She will blow dry, and then twist.) The other, has been natural all her life, but always straightened. Now she wishes to explore wearing her curls, but they just seem to not curl right. They are kind of limp and lifeless in my opinion. I just wonder if it’s really worth it. I’ve toyed with the idea, but haven’t done so yet.

Weigh in divas!

Naturals in the City-- Food For Thought

Shea M writes:



Hi CN Community,


When making the decision to transition from relaxed to natural hair, what role does the "neighborhood" you live in play in your decision and confidence? For example, easier to go natural in a predominantly White suburb or Black neighborhoods in the inner city?

Thanks :-)

Natural Hair and Confidence

Naterra writes:


A friend and I were discussing how much more confident I am, now that I wear my hair natural. We couldn't quite put our fingers on one particular reason, but came up with three:

1) Natural girls stand out. Whether we want to or not, so we are forced to keep our heads held high! Because we stand out, we have to be able to stomach the negativity of others that are unable to make the leap.
2) Natural girls are comfortable in their own skin. I always considered myself confident, but freaked when I first went natural. Why?, you may say....because I was pretending to love me!
3) Natural girls are fierce and we know it. Many have stated that natural hair is like a cool accessory. It makes us dress, think and act differently and it works!

Can you think of any reasons why Curlies are more confident?

Natural Hair Products and Organic Foods?

This topic was submitted by Brandiss:


I know that most women with natural hair are aware of the "bad list" of product ingredients that we should stay away from. The bad list contains mineral oil, parabens and the list goes on. From what we hear and read online, we know that these substances can absorb into our bloodstreams. BUT, my problem is with the folks who obsess over ingredients in their hair products, but turn right around and stuff Big Macs and Ball Park franks down their throats on a regular basis. I think some people really have their priorities mixed up. Granted large amounts of these "bad list" ingredients may cause some type of effect, but I think we should be more concerned about what we put INSIDE of our bodies. Everyone wants beautiful hair, but I think that involves more than just hair products. That's what really counts. If you put good in, good will come out.

Weigh in ladies!

Food for Thought and Hair Today

Question:

**How do you really know a product is moisturizing? Do you blindly trust in the ingredients, or do you look for tell-tale signs? **

I was thinking about this last night while doing my hair. The products that make my hands feel soft, even upon rinsing thoroughly, (instead of sticky, coated, or weird), I judge to be super moisturizing. How about you?


Hair Today:

So what do you think I did? A hint-- Amel with a twist ;)
The first person to guess the hairstyle will win a free box of Cassia (thanks Nmoultry!).
Leave your response in the comments below!

Black Men and Natural Hair

The beautiful and insightful Leslie, of Naturally Leslie, will be contributing cultural pieces to CN.com weekly!Check it out, and weigh in!

So one topic that tends to come up over and over again on the blogs is related to how men view our natural hair. I've shared before how I never had an issue with this since all of my serious relationships happened after I had been natural for quite a while. But I know many women are very concerned with either attracting a man or keeping the one they have with natural hair. My personal opinion is that if you're single, you'll attract men who like natural hair. But if you're already in a relationship, while you should always be considerate of your partner, he/she should love you no matter what, even if it takes some adjusting.

So over on
Essence.com they took it to the streets of NYC to find out what some men really think. Looking at the variety of answers, I would say this is probably a sampling that is fairly representative of most men.

A lot of guys prefer the natural but some admitted they like it better straight. One thing all pretty much agreed on is that they DON'T like a weave/glue/tracks. Well..it's nice to see they at least agree on one thing.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

“I like natural hair, yeah I do. There is something about a girl who can rock natural hair—she’s a little more edgy, a little more secure with herself.”
“Natural hair is the best. I’ll take a perm but I prefer natural. I’ve never dated anyone with a weave but if my girl now decides to get one I would still be with her.”
“I like straight hair for the most part. I just think it looks better. And I guess I became accustomed to it growing up with my mother and sister—they always wore their hair straight, so that’s all I was used to seeing. I’m not a fan of weaves. They just rub your face and it feels like basketball shorts, it doesn’t feel good.”
“I have a wife and she wears natural hair and I love it. I remember I used to date this girl and I thought it was her real hair until I found out later that it wasn’t. I don’t like all weaved and glued-in hair because then it comes out and you’re shocked. I can do braids.”

So there you have it ladies.
Head on over to check out the rest then come back to weigh in! If you're out there dating, what have been your experiences? If you were committed when you went natural, how was your partner's reaction? And I want the men of CurlyNikki to throw their two cents in as well...don't stay silent on this one!!!

A Representation of the Natural Hair Community!

A CN.com reader writes:


Nikki,

I just want to say thanks for all the hair advice you have given! As a teen still in high school, it is challenging to find supporters for natural hair when most black girls have always reached out to extensions and relaxers to "fix" their hair. I decided to use my inspirations in my Advanced Placement Art class, to represent the natural hair community. I just wanted to share my drawing with the CurlyNikki.com community to show that all your hard work has changed the perspectives of beauty for many women.

Thank you!

Jolianne
CloudyWithaChanceofcCocolate.blogspot.com


Now that's some God given talent!!! Excellent work Jolianne :D What do you guys think?!

Black-Latino Identity--Naturally Leslie

The beautiful and insightful Leslie, of Naturally Leslie, will be contributing cultural pieces to CN.com weekly!Check it out, and weigh in!

I used to be a Spanish teacher and one thing I always found interesting was how my students did not know that you could be Black and Latino/a at the same time. They did not know that there were any Black Mexicans or that some Puerto Ricans are as dark as some Africans. This is interesting considering that "In 1570, enslaved Africans outnumbered Spaniards in Mexico three to one, but were reduced to only 10 percent of the population by 1810. On the Caribbean islands, Blacks outnumbered Whites by as many as 23 to 1." Brazil, whose people are often depicted only as light-skinned with wavy hair, has the largest Black population (fascinating article about race in Brazil) outside of Africa. It is no wonder though since most images we see of Hispanic people are either the light skinned Ricky Martin & J.Lo types or the brown-skinned indigenous "Indian" types. While those are definitely accurate descriptions of many Hispanics, you rarely see dark brown men and women representing Latino beauty in the media.

I think about people like Sammy Sosa (Dominican Republic, baseball player), Celia Cruz(Cuban salsa singer) and Zoe Saldana (Dominican/Puerto Rican actress from NY), just to name a few, who are all Latino but to many Americans are just considered Black.






This is a complex issue for many dark skinned Latinos. Some call themselves Afro-Latino (or more specifically Afro-Cuban, Afro-Panamanian, or Afro-Puerto Rican, etc.), which clearly emphasizes their African heritage. Other call themselves both Black and Latino. Now on forms, there is a "Black (not of Hispanic origin)" box that you can check which I assume is to address this very issue. However, not all darker skinned Hispanic people like to be referred to as Black. For some, this may be an issue of not wanting to be lumped into the "Black" category which brings the burden of many negative stereotypes and disadvantages. For others, "Black" simply may not fully represent the full experience of who they feel they are. This is an excerpt of an interesting article talking about the identity issues that come with being Latino with African ancestry:
"Interestingly, efforts to increase awareness regarding Afro-Latino culture and plight can be found on the campuses of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). At Howard University, Nadine Bascombe heads Cimarrones, a 50-member black student union of Caribbean, Central, and South Americans that recently expanded to include a chapter at Benedict College in South Carolina. Before Afro-Latinos can even begin to link the black-Hispanic communities, more Afro-Latinos must embrace their African heritage. "Within the population of what are considered Afro-Latinos, not all people identify with being black, so they'll join the Latino organizations because it's more of an assimilation of being white," says Bascombe, a junior. "It seems that if you relate yourself to being black it's something negative, so with that problem existing within the Afro-Latino population, not too many people run towards having an organization with that name."
This all came to me as I was looking at Latina.com and came across two beautiful Black Latina models. The first is Arlenis Sosa Peña who was discovered in the Dominican Republic.




The second is Sessilee Lopez, who is a self-described African-American fashion model of Dominican and Portuguese decent), on the cover of Latina magazine. If you click the link it will take you to a letter to the editor written by a woman expressing her emotion over seeing a dark
skinned Latina as the cover model.



I think no matter how you choose to label yourself, people will always go on what they see first. Unfortunately, there is still so much negativity surrounding what it means to be Black because of the history of stereotypes and under-representation (in a positive way) in the media. I think it's cool that we are beginning to see more and more people of color being represented in a positive light in our culture.

Clearly, there is no "one size fits all" descriptor for any ethnic or cultural group of people. This is a broad topic and many people have very strong opinions about it. So...do any of you consider yourselves to be Black and Latino/a? Do you know anyone who is? If so, what has been your experience with this identity? I only ask because I find it fascinating how we as Americans deal with the complexities of race (a social construct in my opinion), color and identity.

What do you guys think?

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