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Cotton Recognizes Reuben Reuel of Demestiks New York

Way to go Cotton!

…ya know, the “fabric of our lives” folks? Yeah.

Welp, I was excited to see Brooklyn’s own Reuben Reuel of Demestiks New York as the latest designer to be featured in their Cotton Makers series. I’ve been following this young man’s work for some time and even got to see the line up close at The Natural Aristocratic Tea back in May.

Awesome sauce!

His vibrant Ankara pieces are super classy and crisp, receiving tons of exposure within and outside of the Big Apple. Sounds like I need to find this guy and get a Behind the Brand feature goin’!

If you don’t know about him, please watch. 

xoxo

Toia B.

*feature images via Demestiks New York

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Product Review: Naturalicious Moroccan Rhassoul 5-in-1 Clay Treatment

Wow. I haven’t done a product review in a minute and this one is SUPER late for a ton of reasons which I’ll spare you for now, so… let’s get to it!

Many moons ago, I posted on Instagram that I tried a certain Rhassoul & Bentonite shampoo bar. I was soon after contacted by the creator of Naturalicious, Gwen, who saw this post and thought I might like to try her Rhassoul Clay product- Moroccan Rhassoul 5-in-1 Clay Treatment- seeing as how I had a decent experience with the shampoo bar from this other brand.

Although I expressed that I may not get to review her product right away, Gwen was totally cool with that and was happy to send along the product anyway. She asked if I considered my hair to be kinky/coily or curly/wavy. Here’s what I got…

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How sweet… literally! :-)

Product Claim (from the creator herself):

“it’s the only ready-to-use liquid Rhassoul Clay cleanser available (meaning, you don’t have to mix it up or do anything special to it; it’s ready to use right out of the bottle). It’s designed to allow you to wash, condition, deep condition, leave in condition and detangle all at once (hence the name “5-in-1″)”.

I’m all for shaving down my wash time any way I can, so a product that claims to do all the steps… I’m intrigued!

INGREDIENTS: Moroccan Lava (Rhassoul) Clay, Deionized Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Vegetable Glycerin, Theobroma cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Olea europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Vitis Vinfera (Grape) Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Phenoxyethanol

Initial Reactions

Even though I wasn’t going to be using it just yet, the first thing I did when I received the product was sniff it. I did not like the smell, at first! Howwwwever, when I went to actually use the product, I took in a good whiff again. This time, I was pleasantly surprised that it smelled a lot like chocolate! Ha!! It was only then that I checked out the ingredients and yup, Cocoa Butter is listed as the fifth element in the treatment. My nose must have been having a bad day that first time. LOL! If you like the smell of chocolate, you’ll like this.

The consistency is kind of on the thick, creamy side, not at all watery or runny, as you would expect with a clay.

The Process

After soaking my hair in the shower, I began by squirting about a quarter size amount of the product into my hand for my first section (I always wash my hair in about 6 or 7 sections which I twist loosely beforehand). I unraveled the twist and applied the Clay Treatment to my scalp first, massaging with my fingertips. The little granules of the clay had a nice exfoliating effect and I felt a slight tingle once I was done massaging it through. There was no lather or foaming, of course, which may be a weird feeling at first if you’re not used to it. I had used a couple “no-foam” shampoos before so I was cool.

I then applied more of the product to my strands, raking it through for complete coverage. Once all the hair was cleansed, I rinsed with cool(ish) water, once again raking my fingers through my hair to detangle and also to make sure the product rinsed out thoroughly. My fingers were gliding through with ease.

My Experience

I can honestly say that while my hair was left feeling refreshed and thoroughly cleansed, it didn’t feel stripped of moisture at all. If anything, the Moroccan Rhassoul 5-in-1 Clay Treatment left my hair feeling softer, more moisturized and yet a little stronger at the same time… weird. Good weird. Although I’ve never really had an issue with the elasticity of my hair, that seemed to improve as well. While the experience was a good one and my hair felt great, I still applied a separate leave-in conditioner afterwards (on both occasions), just because it’s what I’m used to doing, not necessarily because I felt like I needed to.

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Afterwards, I put my hair in a simple protective style of two large flat twists.

Pros

There was no trace of buildup whatsoever. My hair and especially my scalp not only felt clean but upon inspection, it was clean. With those granules and that exfoliating action, this might be a good wash to turn to if you’ve been using quite a bit of product and want to get all that gook out. I was able to finger detangle with no problem and my hair felt like I had just done a combo of a protein & moisturizing deep conditioning all at once. Basically, it did what it said it would and saved me some time to boot!

Cons

My issues with the Moroccan Rhassoul 5-in-1 Clay Treatment have more to do with the packaging than anything else. As you can see, the bottle is a matte white. Because of this, I can’t tell exactly how much product I’ve actually used or how much I have left. Also, for the thick consistency of the product, a squeeze bottle of this kind is probably not best. I had to do some shaking to get the product to the opening and squeeze with some- not a whole lot, but enough- force. Maybe a pump would be better? Not sure but I know the line is still rather new and all those kinks will be worked out as production continues to move forward.

Would I recommend it?

Absolutely! You have all the benefits of Rhassoul Clay without the mess of mixing. All the work is done for you and then combined with other amazing ingredients to give you a full washing and conditioning experience. If you’re looking for a wash day time-saver, this is it. Cleanse and condition in one step then style as usual. Who wouldn’t love that?!

In two uses, it seems just from the approximate weight of the bottle that I may have used a little less than half, maybe about a third. At $19.99 for a 12 oz bottle, I’d say it’s worth it simply because of the convenience to the consumer who doesn’t have to spend time gathering ingredients and mixing. Interested? Get yours here!

Many thanks to Gwen for sending me this product to try! I love it. :-)

Have YOU tried Naturalicious Moroccan Rhassoul 5-in-1 Clay Treatment or Rhassoul Clay itself? What were your results? Share your experience below!

xoxo

Toia B.

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Hair Tip Tuesday: 5 Possible Reasons Why You’re Not Retaining Length

Have you ever felt like your hair growth has come to complete halt? Many of us have gone through this at one time or another in our natural hair journey. The fact is, your hair is always growing but you may not be retaining what’s grown. In other words, just as fast as it grows, it breaks, creating the illusion of stunted growth.

Here are five things to consider:

Lack of Moisture

Because our strands have twists, bends and curls, it’s much harder for the natural oil, sebum, to travel the entire length of the hair shaft from root to tip than it would for someone with naturally straight hair. So we need some help. On wash day, while my hair is slightly damp, I apply a leave-in then an oil or butter to seal that all in, giving special attention to the ends (since it’s the oldest part of the hair). I repeat every few days as necessary, especially if I’m wearing my hair out. Hair that is properly moisturized will have a nice elasticity to it and will be less likely to break, thereby allowing you to retain what you grow. Those whose hair may have low porosity may need extra help with steam or products that will help open up the cuticle to allow moisture in.

Poor Diet

Moisturizing your hair also includes water… as in drinking it. Are you drinking your water? Hmmm?! ;-) This is probably one of the first questions I ask women who complain about growth. It all begins on the inside. Garbage in, garbage out. If you eat nothing but junk, your hair/scalp is gonna reflect that. Water plus a balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables will help your hair to thrive.

Improper Use/ Overuse of Heat

Too much heat leads to dryness, dryness leads to breakage. I enjoy a blow-out myself but limit it to every two weeks at most. When using heat, be sure to use a tool that has adjustable heat settings (get that hot comb off the stove!) and always use some type of heat protectant so as not to over-dry the hair. Avocado and grapeseed oils are great natural heat protectants due to their high smoke points and will create a nice barrier between the styler and your hair.

Over-Manipulation

Is your hand always in your hair? STOP IT! I say that with love. :-) Over-manipulation, as I’m using it here, includes everything from combing to brushing to hand-in-hair syndrome. The less you manipulate or touch your hair in any way, the better. Wanna extend that twist-out? Instead of re-twisting every single night, try “pineappling” it (think Sideshow Bob) or gently twisting the hair in larger sections than you started with. This will cause less stress to the strands and give the hair less opportunity to break. Protective styles, pretty much any style that tucks away your ends and requires little to no manipulation, are a huge help with this. They help retain the hair you grow, not make your hair grow.

Funny story (kinda): I had a friend who was baffled at the fact that the hair one side of her head was so much shorter than the other. Come to find out, she had the constant habit of nervously fiddling with the hair on that side and it was breaking without her even realizing. Leave your hair alone!

Not Wrapping it At Night

…with a satin, silk or some sort of non-cotton material scarf. Sleeping on a satin pillowcase also does the trick if you hate sleeping with a wrapped head. You may think your pillowcase is harmless but those fine weaves can snag and pull at your hair, PLUS, the cotton will suck the moisture right out of it. And what did we already say about moisture or the lack thereof? Precisely!

So, is your hair growth seemingly at a standstill? I challenge you to take a good, long, hard look at your current regimen to see if there is anything you could be doing better.

If you have found yourself at this point and managed to dig your way out, share what things you changed in your routine to nurse your hair back to health! I’m sure you have some tips of your own so go ahead and chime in below!

xoxo

Toia B.

Chioma-Feature

Natural Fashionista: Chioma

Bright, bold colors. Simple style. Easy, breezy hair. These are the things that attracted me to our September Natural Fashionista, Chioma. Yet another social media find, she is truly making waves in the blogosphere with her “rock what you got” approach to fashion: re-styling pieces to create new, fresh looks.

Say hello!

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Hi Loves! My name is Chioma Brown and I write the Kentucky based personal style blog, Chioma’s Evolution of Style!

How long have you been wearing your hair in its natural state and what made you decide to take that step?

I’ve been natural 3.5 years. Relaxers were beginning to really damage my hair and irritate my scalp so my then hair stylist actually told me she would never apply another relaxer on me because she loved me and was worried about my hair. That’s so rare, and I love her for doing that for me because it forced me to do what was best for the overall health of my hair.

What do you love the most about your natural hair? Any challenges you’d like to share?

I love how versatile it is and I’ve honestly fallen in love with protective hairstyles. The back half of my hair is very tightly coiled so in humid weather, I experience major shrinkage. I have been styling my hair when it’s dry a lot more this year and that has helped keep my stretched styles elongated longer.

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Describe your hair care routine.

Right now, my hair care routine is very easy and minimalist as I’m currently wearing a protective style called Marley Twists. I plan to give my hair a break for a week and then try another protective style. My usual hair care routine when I have my hair out is to wash my hair every 1-2 weeks and deep condition my hair. I’ve been blowing my hair out with a heat protectant and twisting my hair with one of my favorite hair butters for elongated twist outs which I either wear out in a fro, puff, or in a faux hawk. I retwist my hair nightly and apply castor oil in my scalp every few days.

Do you feel that wearing your hair in its natural state has changed or somehow affects your overall fashion sense?

I think being natural has not only enhanced my confidence but my personal style.

How would you describe your personal style? Who or what inspires you?

Classic & Funky. I love bright colors and unique prints. It excites me to see how I can pair the two. I also love a classic midi skirt and I adore blouses and button downs.

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What’s the fashion scene like in KY?

There isn’t a very large fashion scene here in KY. There is a large preppier scene and urban scene. I believe I’m an eclectic mix of both with a splash of color and fun prints. I’m thankful for the ability to travel and experience other fashion scenes with my husband and friends and of course find inspiration online through fellow style bloggers and via fashion magazines.

If you could wear one thing every day, what would that one item of clothing be?

In the Spring/Summer: Skirts. In the Fall/Winter: Blazers.

I love that CEOS is big on styling pieces one already owns as well as style on a budget. Does this include thrift and bargain shops for you? What are your favorite spots?

Absolutely! Anyone who knows me or avidly reads my blog knows I love affordable yet quality clothing. I am an avid thrifter, some of my most treasured pieces in my wardrobe are vintage/thrifted. Some of my favorite clothing stores are H&M, Forever 21, Zara, Asos, Target, & of course Thrift Stores!

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Can you give us a few basic styling tips and offer some words of advice to our newbie naturals?

Wear clothing that flatters your body type, makes you feel confident and beautiful, reflects your personality, and just have fun with it!

Thank you so much for reaching out to me for this feature and for those of you reading this, it was a pleasure chatting with you! Hope to see your faces over on the blog! :)

Where can the readers find you on social media?

Keep up with my adventures here:

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Bloglovin

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Thank you, Chioma, for sharing your style and hair story with us! We’ll be on the lookout for more of you in the weeks to come. ;-)

xoxo

Toia B.

 

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Event Recap: Masters Brunch 2014

Last Sunday at The Moran Victorian Mansion in Bed Stuy Brooklyn, I was privileged to be counted among a group of inspirational and influential women in the natural hair community at this year’s Masters Brunch. The theme: The Natural Hair Revolution, Present and Future.

Sponsored by SheaMoisture and organized by The Supernaturals, the invitation-only affair brought together influencers from various facets of the natural hair industry- natural hair care professionals, actresses, vloggers, bloggers and of course, masters- all dressed in uninterrupted white as a symbol of unity.

Fellow blogger Ijeoma Eboh of Klassy Kinks and I happened to arrive together and were greeted by LaToya Johnston, one fourth of The Supernaturals (which includes natural hair care pioneer Diane Bailey, Imani Dawson of Tribe Called Curl and Natasha Gaspard of Mane Moves TV). We were handed sponsored gift bags packed with full and sample-sized products along with the book I Found God in My Hair by actress Tanya Wright who was in attendance as a panelist.

Photo credit: Nay Marie | www.naymarie.com

Photo credit: Nay Marie | www.naymarie.com

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We hadn’t made it further than the garden walkway before we were greeted by more familiar faces… and a pomegranate mimosa! #yummers

Once hugs and kisses were exchanged, we were encouraged to network and meet those who we may not have known. To help us along, each tabletop had printed questions to ask one another and fun activities to break the ice like taking a selfie with someone’s whose hair you admire, with your hair twin, etc. We were buzzing in no time! After a few glances, I finally placed the face of Arizona stylist Essence China {creator of this gorgeous style which gained popularity after being featured in Essence Magazine} and head over to her table to formally introduce myself and chat a bit. We’ve communicated on Instagram so it was a rather smooth transition. She was as sweet as she is beautiful.

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Group shots, selfies and usies came to a screeching halt when the announcement came that brunch was served. Everything looked delectable and my taste buds were not disappointed. Oooh-wee!

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With bellies full, it was time for the discussion to get underway. Imani introduced a stellar panel of women who represented different areas of the natural hair community: KinkyCurlyCoilyMe! Editor-In-Chief and vlogger Jenell Stewart, actress Tanya Wright, Essence Online Beauty Editor Deena Campbell and natural hair care pioneer Tulani Kinard.

Masters-Brunch-2014-PanelEach shared their perspective of the the realities of the natural hair movement as it stands and where they’d like to see it in the near future. Tanya expounded on what it’s like being a natural in Hollywood and shared a revelation she had while on the set of the hit show “24″. When preparing to shoot, Tanya decided one day that she would wear her own hair as it grew out of her head, going without the wig she had been wearing for some time. When she mentioned this to one of the crew, she was asked why she hadn’t done that all along. She knew he made a good point. That was a pivotal moment for her. I am big on realness and candor in these types of discussions and Tanya brought it.

Tulani Kinard definitely stole the show. As a pioneer in this game and mentor of many, she really broke things down, addressing us as would a caring mother. She told it like it was! One thing she stressed, which was definitely echoed by all, was the spirit of unity within the natural hair community. “There’s enough for all of us”, she said. So true. “There shouldn’t be one negative thing said about another person in this space. We need to work together”.

I more than enjoyed the food, gleaned much from the conversation, and the venue was… everything!

Many thanks to The Supernaturals for having me. What a lovely Sunday afternoon!

Trying to put together a recap video so you can hear some of the panel discussion for yourselves and view more pics. In the meantime, feel free to search the hashtag #MastersBrunch2014 on Twitter and Instagram for an overview of the brunch and to check out all who were in attendance.

Xoxo
Toia B.