Where have I been?

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Hey natural beauties!

It’s been too long! You may or may not have noticed that my blogging has been somewhat patchy to non existent in the past few months. 2 weeks after my birthday in May when i wrote this post about how generally crappy i was feeling that day i found out that I was pregnant with my first child! As you can imagine from that point my mind was blown and my thoughts were planted firmly elsewhere, I felt an instant need to remove myself from everything and take care of myself in order to nurture the fragile little life growing inside me. I also suffered with nausea in the beginning though thankfully no vomiting. Looking at screens actually made me feel more nauseous!

The pregnancy came completely unexpected to me, to the point were i hadn’t even realised i was pregnant until i was 8/9 weeks in. But, it was very much welcome. We met our son Heron exactly 4 weeks ago as far a i’m concerned he’s perfect in every way. I would say that though, wouldn’t I😉

In other good news my partner and I married in September, a small but lovely ceremony with our closest friends and family. It was such a joy filled day I couldn’t have asked for better. So its safe for me to say that the past few months have been pretty eventful and amazing.

Currently I’m feeling more creative and inspired and will start to slowly pick up where i left off in terms of my beauty business and blog plans. Most importantly get to know my son and find a workable balance between parenting and aspiration. I am trying to work blogging back into my weekly routine again, feeling a bit rusty, but hopefully it will all start to flow again. I also look forward to reconnecting with all of you  and catching up on so many of the blogs i’ve missed reading over the last few months!

 

Ibi x

 

 

Happy 2015 Natural Beauties!

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I’ve been a little quiet on the blogging front but I promise to fill you in soon!! I would just like to wish you all a very happy and joyous 2015! a big welcome to all our new subscribers, thanks for your support. Exciting things to come in 2015 so stay tuned.

Best wishes to all,

Ibi x

 

HNB Meets: Bola

Hey natural beauties! Apologies for the prolonged absence, will fill you in at a later date. In this weeks HNB Meets natural hair blogger and crafter know as Curly B runs us through her natural hair story.
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1. Tell us about yourself…
Hello, my name is Bola and I was born and brought up in South East London. I’m a born again Christian, wife and mother of two. I studied Graphic Design Illustration in London and I love anything to do with craft and sewing.
I had natural hair up until the age of 14. Sadly I hated my natural texture at this time. Straight hair was the trend when I was a teenager and I really wanted to fit in. While growing up I didn’t hear any positive comments regarding natural afro hair, only negative. Afro hair needed to be “fixed” was the opinion of many around me and so I adopted the same thinking. I was also bullied for wearing my natural hair in school. It was often called that ‘picky’ kind of hair. I relaxed my hair when I was 16 and did so for 10 years.
When I met my (now) husband he boldly expressed his dislike of my relaxed hair. He said it wasn’t the real me. I knew this deep down but I would just brush off his comments with the excuse ” afro hair is to hard to manage, that’s why I relax it”.
When our first daughter was 14 months old. I suddenly started to think about how she would view her identity (being of mixed heritage) and how she would feel about her hair. I wanted her to love and appreciate the way she was created, but how could she if I wasn’t thankful and comfortable with the way I looked? I wanted to be a good influence and surround her the positivity about afro hair which I never had. Another conviction I had was that I realised I cared too much about what other people thought and that worry hindered me from wearing my hair in its natural state. I also became more aware of the health dangers associated with using relaxers. These were some of the reasons why I went natural.
2.How long have you been natural? did you big chop/transition? 
I had my last relaxer in April 2011. I transitioned for 6 months but became irritated with managing two different textures so I big chopped in October 2011.
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3.What were your initial thoughts/feelings after going completely natural and how do they differ today?
I was a little worried about chopping all my relaxed hair off and just having my short natural hair but I kept on remembering the reasons why I had chosen to go natural – that it would grow, it was beautiful as it was and my daughters would see what their mother really looked like!
4.Where your family/friends supportive of your decision to go natural? 
My husband was really pleased and he didn’t mind me having short natural hair at all. My mum couldn’t understand why I would stop relaxing my hair but she didn’t discourage me from going natural. The friends I told were really supportive and thought it was great. They said natural hair was beautiful just the way it was. That was a great encouragement to me.
5.Did you have any regrets? 
None at all!
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6. What would you say is the best/worst thing about having natural hair. 
The best thing is the versatility. I never imagined natural hair could be styled in so many ways, one day it can be long and straight and the next short and textured. There is so much you can do to afro hair. The worst thing I would say is the ease at which my hair tangles if left to itself.
7. Give us a little insight into your hair regimen 
I usually:
  • Wash my hair twice a month.
  • Rinse my hair with ACV twice a month.
  • Deep condition with my homemade mayo, yogurt and olive oil mix twice a month.
  • Spritz my hair with aloe vera gel mixed with water a few times a week.
  • I have hennaed my hair twice this year and my hair always feel great after using it.
  • I finger detangle 95% of the time. It has taken me a while to develop this skill but it is definitely reduced the breakage I was experiencing when I was detangling with a brush.
  • Moisturise with my homemade leave-in conditioner whenever I feel my hair needs it, which is usually every couple of days. It all depends on what style I’m wearing and how I manipulating my hair during the week.
  • Seal my hair using my homemade whipped Shea butter mix.
I’m actually in the process of tweaking my regime so that I can better protect my ends from damage. For the past few months I’ve been trying to reduce the number of times I wash my hair, the idea was to help stop tangles and unnecessary breakage during the wash process. Also I wanted a really simple regime where I spent less and less time doing things to my hair. But I’ve discovered that my hair and scalp really loves and needs regular washing. My hair is definitely healthier when I regularly cleanse my scalp and keep stretching my hair to the minimal.
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8.What’s your current go to hairstyle? 
Definitely loose two strand twists or chunky twists. They are so easy and fast to do and can be pinned in numerous ways to create different styles.
9.Have you encountered problems at work/school due to being natural? 
N/A
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10. Where there any bloggers that were influential in your decision to go natural?  
kinkycurlycoilyme was the blogger I watched the most when I first went natural. I generally just looked at loads of photos on pinterest of women with natural hair and I started to fall in love with my 4C texture.
11. What is the single most important piece of advice you would give to anyone thinking of going natural. 
Make sure you are sure of the reasons why you are going natural because there may be times along the journey that you’ll feel like giving up ( I think especially in the first year) and you’ll need to recall those reasons to encourage and keep you on track.
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12. What is the natural hair scene like where you live? 
I see a few women with natural hair in South London but the majority have relaxed hair or their hair in braids. I think the natural scene is slowly growing in the UK but it’s probably still not as popular as in the US.
13. Tell us how you protect your hair from damage. 
I have discovered that my hair really needs more oil applied to it during the week to stop ssk knots and tangles and protect it from damage. I also believe my regular protein treatments (e.g. deep conditioning and henna treatment) also help protect against damage.
Big thanks to Bola for sharing her hair story, you can find her online in the following places.
Website: curlyB.co.uk
 
 
Instagram: @curlyBola
 
Twitter: @curlybola
 

HNB Meets: Sandeey

Hey natural beauties! Back after a short(ish) break .

This week HNB Meets UK based natural beauty Sandeey, who shares her natural hair story with us! Enjoy!

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Tell us a bit about yourself and the life of your hair before going natural. 

I am Sandeey and I had long relaxed hair for as long as I can remember, before my decision to return natural. By long, I mean bra strap length. I really did not have problems with my hair except that I didn’t like the flat look. Hair loss at my edges and advice from a good friend made me embrace my natural hair.

How long have you been natural? did you big chop/transition? 

The last time I used a relaxer was on June 4th 2010 (yes I remember the date J ). I guess I can say I have been natural for almost 4 years. I had planned to transition for a long time but I transitioned for 8 months and cut off my relaxed ends. I couldn’t wait!

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What were your initial thoughts/feelings after going completely natural and how do they differ today? 

I felt so good going completely natural but I was not totally confident at first to rock a TWA. It took encouragement from my boyfriend (now my husband) to wear it out. Now I am super confident. Even when my hair is at its worst (when it chooses not to obey), I wear it with confidence.

Did you have any regrets? 

I have no regrets. If I had to do it again, I would. Probably earlier! I never liked relaxers because my scalp always reacted badly. I don’t need to go through that again. Also, I am in love with my hair.

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What would you say is the best/worst thing about having natural hair. 

The best thing about going natural for me, is the freedom I have with not having to schedule an appointment at the Salon every month! I take care of my hair myself so I do what I want, anytime I want. The worst thing is realizing you had more hair than you thought and learning how to take care of it!

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Give us a little insight into your hair regimen 

My hair regimen changes but the constant is my weekly washing and deep conditioning. I change products especially with location. I do not go out of my way to find products that aren’t easily accessible. I just check ingredients and if I like them, I use them. If it works for me, I continue. I recently realized that the best way to moisturize my thick strands is to use more of the product (leave in conditioner, hair moisturizer, coconut oil). I use my leave in first, then hair moisturizer, followed by coconut oil. I used to use a pea size amount of each product but my hair would always go dry. Now I use more and it stays moisturized for at least 2 days.

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What’s your current go to hairstyle? 

My current go to hairstyle is the braid-out. I love it! I also love buns because they are so easy! I used to love twist outs but I discovered that braid outs keep the hair stretched out more.

Where there any bloggers that were influential in your decision to go natural?  

Oh yes! Kimmay Love (YouTube). Looking at her hair made me decide to keep my transition period short. I was so excited about the process. I learned my hair techniques from her. Also, BlackGirlLongHair website was a good source of information while transitioning. I also saw CurlyNikki’s website as a source of inspiration during my journey.

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What is the single most important piece of advice you would give to anyone thinking of going natural.Embrace the beauty of your natural hair and never wish you had another texture!

What is the natural hair scene like where you live? I currently live in the UK and I see a lot of naturals here. I cannot help but smile when I see them. Natural hair is so beautiful!

You can find Sandeey online via

Hairoflife.wordpress.com (blog)

@hairoflife (instagram)

 

Untangling The Politics Of Black Hair – VIDEO

Hey Natural Beauties!

My blog has been left a little neglected lately, I had not intended to abandon the blog for so long. In the past few months there have been so many changes, moving house twice, moving away from London. I was feeling pretty exhausted and I think its healthy to let the brain just chill under these circumstances, which is why I have not been around social media much. As some of you know I am also working towards to launch of my product line and had not found the balance between working on that, blogging and holding down my day job. I am not a naturally organised person, but realise that in order not to completely burn out, i’m going to need to get some order in my life! Any way, I will be posting again more frequently as soon as I have installed the order that i’m looking for, In the meantime I watched this really interesting debate on black hair that was held in the London Selfridges department store and hosted by Intelligence Squared. I’m not majorly political when it comes to my own hair as I have been natural almost my whole life, but i’m definitely interested in the dialogue that surrounds it and there were some interesting points made. Let me know your opinions on what;s being discussed! Its definitely worth watching!

– ibi xx

HNB Meets: Nekisha

On this weeks HNB Meets: natural beauty Nekisha takes us through her hair story.
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Tell us a bit about yourself and the life of your hair before going natural.   
My name’s Nekisha from the beautiful Caribbean isle of Antigua & Barbuda! I have always had “sal’ head” (salt head) which is how we, in the Caribbean, describe kids whose hair was excessively short and “picky”. Growing up, I relaxed my hair to literal death. In my late teens (19 +) I started wearing weaves on a constant. At one point I did not own a shampoo or conditioner in excess of a year because as soon as one extension was removed, I was at the hair dresser’s the next day getting my hair washed, treated and a new set of extensions installed. I did not have any love nor a connection to my hair. By age 24, my hair was so limp and lifeless that it truly could go no further and I did the most radical thing I had ever done – I big chopped!
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How long have you been natural? 
I first big chopped at age 24 which was in April 2010. I had not heard or taken any notice of the “natural hair movement”, if I can call it that. I just knew my hair needed a change. I struggled with moisture retention and having zero knowledge on how to take care of my natural hair so I returned to the relaxer in July 2011. I did my second big chop in late Sept 2011 and found a community of local naturals on FB called Natural Soul Sistas. I learnt a lot but I again went back to the relaxer in Dec 2012. That proved a disappointment and I had my last relaxer March 2013. They do say 3 time’s a charm and I have no intention to return to the creamy crack! So, technically, I have been natural now for exactly 1 year🙂
   
What were your initial thoughts/feelings after going completely natural and how do they differ today?   
Because I have jumped from relaxer to natural and back again so many times, I cannot imagine not having my natural hair! With my hair being so fine/thin, when relaxed I always had to find a way to fill it – braids, extensions etc. With my natural hair, even though it is still thin in density, my coils give me a ‘fullness’ that I appreciate.There is NOTHING I miss about relaxed hair. I had no expectations when I big chopped. I have now accepted and fully embrace my kinks.
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What would you say is the best/worst thing about having natural hair.  
The best part of having natural hair is the confidence and self appreciation that comes along with it. You tend to embrace more things about yourself when you let go of society’s version of beauty and learn to love yourself just the way you are. The worst thing for me is having such a slow growth rate (throughout my entire life) coupled with extreme shrinkage! I can’t help but wish my hair would grow a little faster so that I can try out some new styles – like roll, tuck and pins. I can’t wait to try those!
What is the natural hair scene like where you live? 
The natural hair community is booming more than ever here! We’re only 108 sq miles, but a lot of women have been taking the plunge and embracing their hair; even the young ones in high school! I love walking down the street and seeing a fellow natural with a fierce twist out and saying, “I love your hair”. I make an extra special effort to compliment the young ones as a way to boost their confidence and help them stay on track.
 
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Give us a little insight into your hair regimen   
I follow the KISS rule – Keep It Simple Sista! I wash with shampoo once a week, deep treat / deep condition after ever shampoo and oil rinse before moving on to applying my leave-in and twisting my hair to dry. I also try to co-wash once a week especially since I have been on a Castor Oil Challenge. I have recently been incorporating ACV rinses in my wash process as well. I have been using Castor Oil on my scalp 3 – 4 times a week for almost 2 months now and I never sleep without my satin scarf.
What natural methods do you use as part of your regimen and what are the benefits, e.g./ clay wash, oil rinse,scalp massage,steaming etc
I came across the Oil Rinsing Method a couple months back and that has absolutely helped my hair to retain moisture after cleansing. I love it and will definitely continue to make it a part of my regimen. I have also taken to massaging my temples with castor oil in an effort to stimulate growth in those areas. One day, I know I will see a difference🙂
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What’s your current go to hairstyle? 
I am on a flat twist out hair diet at the moment. I especially love it with a side part.
What is the single most important piece of advice you would give to anyone thinking of going natural?
Returning natural can be one of the best decision you can make for yourself. There is a feeling of empowerment that comes from looking at yourself ‘all natural’ and feeling content thereby. The most important piece of advice I can offer is to beware of information overload. Learn to discern and not jump on every natural band wagon that you come across. That will only leave you feeling defeated, exhausted and broke!
And I absolutely must add that we must not compare our hair to everyone else’s. Our hair is uniquely ours and all we have to do is learn to take care of OUR hair to the best of our ability.
You can find me here:My natural hair blog Black ZULU
My beauty DIY tips and tricks blog Color Me Beautiful

 

 

Lavender Nights – Massage,Hair & Body Oil

Hey natural beauties!

This morning before leaving for work i made myself a new batch of hair and body oil infused with Lavender taken from a plant i grow at home.

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Lavender is absolutely one of my favourite herbs! I use it to help me relax and get my mind and body in the mood for sleep each night. I like to add a few drops of lavender essential oil to the bottom of my shower in the evening and breathe in the vapour as I wash away the day.

Lavender helps to open up the sinuses and provided respiratory relief so if you are suffering from cold or flu symptoms Lavender can help.

For dandruff a few drops of lavender mixed in a paste of Aloe vera gel, honey and clay can be used as a pre-poo scalp mask. Lavender is also said to promote better hair growth so a mask made with Lavender can also be beneficial for this.

As I mentioned , Lavender promotes a restful nights sleep, which improves the tone of your skin, promotes more balanced skin, allows for the body to regenerate and repair itself which is done mostly when we get some shut eye.

Other benefits include mental clarity and increased concentration, improved mood and a general feeling of wellbeing. I only use Lavender in the evenings as for me it is closely associated with relaxation and sleep.

 

Making infusions is very easy, select a natural oil, i’ve chosen almond make sure your plant parts are free from moisture, I leave them overnight on a piece of newspaper to dry out once i’ve cut them this will prevent mold from developing in your oil. lavender 2

Pop your herbs into a clean airtight bottle or container and immerse them in your oil of choice. Do not shake the bottle as this can cause air bubbles with can allow for mold! Instead, carefully tip your bottle upside down, and repeat until you are sure the entire contents is covered.

I will put the oil by a sunny window for a day or two as the plant will still react to sunlight and emit its nutrients into the oil. Then i will keep it in a dark cupboard for 3 weeks to complete the infusion.

Thats it! and after 3 weeks you will have a luxurious body oil that is safe to use on hair and skin and can double up as a decadent and relaxing massage oil. What could be better than that?

Have you tried making your own natural body oils?

 

Thanks for reading!

Ibi xx

http://www.heynaturalbeauties.com

http://instagram.com/heynaturalbeauties

 

HNB Meets: Ekene

In this weeks HNB Meets: natural beauty Ekene shares her hair story with us.

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Tell us a bit about yourself and the life of your hair before going natural

Hey Natural Beauties! Ekene here🙂 I’m a Nigerian girl. I’ve only been a lawyer for a few months so it still feels weird to say it, but that’s my day job.
My relaxed hair was pretty healthy. It was dense, I had edges lol and I had no split ends. It was about shoulder length though. I didn’t know, I didn’t expect it could grow any longer.

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How long have you been natural? Did you big chop/transition?

I got my last relaxer on September 30, 2011. I transitioned for 8 months and big chopped May 31, 2012. However, after an unfortunate hair incident, I re-chopped in October 2012.

What were your initial thoughts/feelings after going completely natural and how do they differtoday?

“FREE”. Honestly, even though I wasn’t madly in love with my kinks after my BC, that was how I felt. Free. Liberated. And it isn’t any different today. There are things I can’t or refuse to do with my natural hair that I did while relaxed (I miss straight centre-part weaves) but natural hair definitely gives me more freedom to choose and switch things up. Hair styling aside, my kinks on their own? They still give me the same feeling- freedom.

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Were your family/friends supportive of your decision to go natural?

My mom wasn’t. I actually cried the day before my BC because of something discouraging she said. My sister was, and so were my friends. Dad and everyone else were on the fence. They didn’t care. Mom accepts my hair now though🙂

Did you have any regrets?

It wasn’t easy, but one thing I’ve never felt on this journey, is regret.

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What would you say is the best/worst thing about having natural hair?

The best thing about having natural hair for me is the versatility of my texture. I’m always amazed when I do something new or when I see others doing wonders with their hair. The thing I like the least about natural hair is frizz. I’m beginning to style my hair more, and in this humidity, frizz is something! I’m learning how to make my styles last longer or should I say, learning to ignore the frizz and the urge to change my hair when it starts to frizz!

Give us a little insight into your hair regimen.

My hair regimen is pretty simple. I moisturize 2-3 times a week. When I have a style in, that’s me spritzing my hair with water 3 times. When my hair is out, I co-wash wash 2-3x a week, and moisturize after each wash. I make sure to deep condition every week.
Washday is like Spa day for me. That’s when I do the most. Washday comes every 4 weeks. I like to shampoo on Washday, and try new things, treatments I ordinarily wouldn’t have the time to do.

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What’s your current go-to hairstyle?

I honestly don’t have a go-to hairstyle. I used to have one though- the fro. I love my kinky halo! But all that combing cost me a lot of length last year, so I’m off that.

Have you encountered problems at work/school due to being natural?

No problems at all.

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Were there any bloggers that were influential in your decision to go natural?

Curly Nikki, and the bloggers & style icons on Black Girl Long Hair. Vloggers: CurlyChronicles and FusionOfCultures. I really liked this old blog- MopTopMaven, and more than anything, I was able to relate with a senior of mine from secondary school- Bellajoya of Roots Don’t Lie.

What is the single most important piece of advice you would give to anyone thinking of going natural?

Do it! But make sure you’re going back to YOUR natural. I know, the media and natural hair IG pages bombard us with very full, luscious, usually very curly heads of hair, which are legit and beautiful, but going natural means you’re going back to YOUR natural. YOUR hair may be dense, it may not. It may be really kinky or really curly. You may not grow 3 inches in a month. It’s easier when you just accept your hair as it is.

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What is the natural hair scene like where you live?

The natural hair scene here in Nigeria is growing. More people are learning the truth behind the negative myths about African hair. There are natural hair events, and finding products isn’t the hardest thing in the world- most of our Natural hair stores are online- websites, blog shops, email & phone orders. Natural hair salons are also popping up. The only thing is that Lagos has the most and after it, Abuja (the two biggest cities) but with time, I believe every state will catch the bug.

Tell us how you protect your hair from damage

I don’t heat style. I’m not against it, I just don’t feel my hair is long enough. So this keeps me free from heat damage. These days I limit myself to mostly finger-detangling and I always, always sleep with my satin bonnet.

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What natural methods do you use as part of your hair and beauty needs and what are the benefits e.g. clay wash, oil rinse, scalp massage, steaming, etc

I love mudwashing! It’s my go-to when I’m feeling lazy on Washday. It’s shampooing + deep conditioning + detangling all in one. My hair is always very clean, well conditioned, and such a breeze to run through. My coils love it so much, they pop!

 

I blog about hair at The Kink and I http://www.thekinkandi.wordpress.com
http://www.instagram.com/thekinkandi

http://www.facebook.com/thekinkandi

I tweet too: @kene_co

 

A Beautiful Weekend to All of You!

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Hey natural beauties! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

I’m working hard this weekend trying to finalise some of the details of my business venture. I’ve officially registered my organic and natural business The Afro Hair & Skin Co. whoop! whoop! and i’m super excited to show you all my gorgeously natural hair and skincare products! Still a while to go yet, but i’m hyped anyway!

Thanks to all of you who have subscribed,visited and supported my blog, i really appreciate it ALOT! and i’m so happy to have discovered so many brilliant and insightful blogs in return.

I was recently listed as one of Bella Naija’s “amazing nigerian natural hair bloggers” which is such an awesome honour that someone felt to suggest my blog!

Getting into my stride at 33, feeling creative and excited for new challenges and possibilities! I’m planning to expand the blog to incorporate some more aspects that reflect my interests, and as way to play around creatively, but my primary focus is still to share information that I hope everyone finds useful in regard to more natural and healthy ways to look after our bodies. I’ll leave it there, thanks again for your support!

Don’t forget i’m now on instagram and will be sharing hair and beauty tips there too!

@heynaturalbeauties

Ibi xx

 

All Natural “Skin Peel” using Organic Brown Sugar!

 

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My skin 5 mins after scrub, no make-up used.

So lately my skin has been throwing mood swings. Call it hormones, recent cravings for all things sugary and sweet since my birthday excesses. Its been rotating between extreme dryness to oily breakouts, I knew 33 wasn’t going to be easy. Today I remembered an old simple beauty ingredient that I haven’t used in ages, brown sugar!

Brown sugar is packed with glycolic acid and alpha-hydroxy acid which you will often findbrownsugar-sugar touted by high end skincare brands for crazy prices. Glycolic acid is very sought after in beauty care for resurfacing and skin peels which are an expensive way and sometimes risky way of achieving and maintaining glowing skin. You will commonly find these ingredients being used as part of spa treatments, but no need for that because glycol acid and alpha-hydroxy acid are actually sugar derivatives, and by exfoliating using Raw organic and unrefined brown sugar you are  getting all of the goodness directly to you skin, without the risk factor.

 

Today I decided on a simple resurfacing or exfoliating scrub using a natural soap bar made using only plant oils and no additives, I decided to do it this way rather than blended with oil as its been such a long time since I used brown sugar, i wanted to see the benefits clearly and as oil will add a glow to the skin making it difficult to see the true effects of the brown sugar.

Brown sugar is very moisturising on its own, but you can add oils to make it easy to apply. The sugar can be very rough and grainy in its organic unrefined state so a little trick i use is to add a few drops of warm water to soften the grains, so not to scratch my skin but not so much that it turns into soup!

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I’m really pleased with the results, the  brown sugar scrub has restored some colour back into my face at the same time getting the deeply cleansing benefits of brown sugar. Exfoliating stimulates circulation so the glow can also be attributed in part to the gentle scrubbing of the skin. My face feel gorgeously soft and smooth and I can feel a slight moisture barrier on the skin provided by the sugar. Amazing! and cheap and cheerful! This is definitely a keeper and will be finding its way back into my staples.

Whats your go-to for skin emergencies?

 

Thanks for reading!

Ibi xx