hair · YouTube

Everything You Need For Your Natural Hair

Today I focus on the basics of natural hair products and tools. I explain the uses of the products in order to clear up confusion for new naturals. Sometimes YouTube can be confusing and natural hair can also be expensive.

I just want to share my knowledge.

Advertisements
hair · YouTube

How I Detangle my Natural Hair

Today I show you guys how I used to detangle my hair when it became really knotted and dry. These days I never let my hair get to this stage as I try to prevent hair damage as much as possible. The idea is to prevent damage vs trying to fix or conceal it.

It is important that we learn to properly manage our hair as most of us have been conditioned to think natural hair is “difficult” and “unmanageable”.

Please subscribe to my channel and tell me what you think. As always comment your thoughts and share to anyone you think would enjoy it!

Miscellaneous · Uncategorized · West Indian Life

You can’t pour from an empty cup

“You can’t pour from an empty cup”. Most of us have seen this quote floating around on the internet, but what does it really mean? The literal interpretation seems very obvious; if a cup is empty you can’t get anything from it. However, for the sake of this blog post we’ll focus on the figurative meaning.

“What’s the figurative meaning?”, you ask? Well I take it as ‘if you’re low on energy you won’t be able to help those around you’.

Too many times we forget this. We forget that we’re human beings and we need the same love and attention we give to everyone else. How many times have you listened to your loved ones’ problems? How many times have you felt abandoned when you needed them to reciprocate?

We give, and we give and never get, until it seems like there’s nothing left to give. Until you feel empty and hollow inside. In my short time on this earth I’ve come to realize that you can’t wait for someone to fill you up. You have to do it for yourself dear.

I’ve learnt that lasting happiness and fulfillment comes from within, not from other people. People can make you happy, I don’t discount that, but LASTING happiness comes from your own internal joy.

You don’t have to do big things to make yourself happy. Have you ever heard “it’s the little things that count”? Well guess what? It works when you do it for yourself as well. I’ll even list some of my personal favourites.

1) Eating ice cream and cake for breakfast. It’s naughty but it makes me feel so good.

2) Turning off my phone and reading a few chapters from a book. Usually a book I’ve already read as I know for a fact there will be no ugly surprises.

3) I play with my makeup. I usually swatch shiny eyeshadows and go “waaaaw” even though I’ve worn them several times before. I’ll even try on a few lipsticks.

4) Jam to upbeat music on my ipod and dance like a crazy person. This is my personal favourite because it gets my blood going. Sadly it’s no longer a viable option as my ipod kicked the bucket after 7 long years of faithful service.

*Send me a new Ipod Lord*

So you see, it doesn’t take much to “fill up your cup”. If you want to be of service to people, start by being of service to yourself.

Please comment below and tell me your favourite things to do when you need a pick me up. Don’t forget to like my blog post and subscribe!

hair · Miscellaneous · West Indian Life

The Shea Moisture Commercial

I have exams…I shouldn’t be writing this article.

Like most naturalistas on the internet I saw Shea Moisture’s joke of a commercial last night 24/04/2017. Just to give a brief recap the ad features three women; 2 white and one bi-racial/racially ambiguous woman talking about their hair struggles. Now if you’re already confused don’t worry you should be. Shea Moisture’s core buying audience is mostly black women with kinky hair…yet there were none in sight.

IT IS HARD TO FIND NATURAL HAIR PRODUCTS THAT WORK FOR KINKY HAIR. For months people have been complaining that Shea Moisture has changed some of their core ingredients and that the products no longer work. Now we know why; Shea Moisture has been gentrified.

They are trying to make their products work for white and black hair but we all know that is impossible. Most white people have straight fine hair and on the other spectrum you have me; coarse kinky hair. Buying products at the hair supply store has always been a game of Russian roulette when you have kinky hair. Now there will be one less brand that caters to me.

Let’s talk about the red head’s “struggle”. Apparently for six years she dyed her hair platinum blond and now she can finally be a redhead. Are we seriously trying to equate that to the struggle of black women and their natural hair?

Let me illustrate real struggle. I returned natural when it was less popular in my country, the movement was just about to begin. One Monday I wore a twist out with bobby pins to pin my hair back out of my face, I felt cute. I went to work that morning and received many compliments, I was on cloud nine until my supervisor intervened. She dragged me aside to scold my hair, “why would you wear your hair like that to work? It is inappropriate for the customers to look at. They don’t want to see that!” I was dumbfounded.

Let me put this is context. I live in the Caribbean, 80% of the citizens are described as afro Caribbean. Meaning we are black with kinky hair. Yes ladies and gentlemen the slave mentality is that deep.

How was the hair that grew out of my scalp inappropriate?…She then dragged me to the other female supervisor who promptly agreed with her. I was so angry I cried. You see this is the discrimination black women face everywhere. I worked as a teller at a bank so I understand the desire for us to look “neat” but pray tell why my 3C co-worker was able to wear the same hairstyle? Apparently her hair was never inappropriate.

I am all for inclusivity with the Shea Moisture brand, I am not saying white women shouldn’t be able to buy their products. However, instead of making the few products that work for kinky hair suit straight hair, how about making a separate line? Shea Moisture for straight or wavy hair. I am happy natural hair is being more accepted but the journey is definitely not over.

Please don’t be afraid to comment and give your honest opinions. I’d love to read your thoughts.

Uncategorized · West Indian Life

The Bittersweet Life of a Millennial (in the West Indies)

Millennial – A person reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century. 

So basically anyone born between 1980 and 2000 (more or less).

Now that we have defined the term millennial, let’s take a peek at the actual millennials themselves. I should note that I am 21 therefore a millennial, so I am subject to bias, but you probably already knew that.

You hear so much about the American, the Canadian and the European millennials, but what about those in the Caribbean? Surely our cultural differences skew our experiences.

Let’s start with our similarities:

  • Student debt

This is self explanatory but let’s talk about it some more incase someone didn’t know. MILLENNIALS ARE DROWNING IN SCHOOL DEBT. Most of my peers cannot even dream to build  a home before they are 30, they’re too busy paying back their student loans. This goes even further than owning a home. What about entrepreneurs? How can they think about investing in themselves when half their paycheck goes back to the bank every payday.

I have firsthand experience as I worked at a bank, I saw student loans up close and personal. It frightened me. I do not blame the banks, their job is to supply loans they do not create the demand. Literally half of their paychecks would go towards their loan. The biggest irony? The amount left in the account was always less than what they made BEFORE their degree.

  • HIV/AIDS Epidemic

The Caribbean is the second most HIV/AIDS infected region in the world and there are several reasons for this. Firstly, everyone thought HIV was a male homosexual disease and FYI the Caribbean is VERY HOMOPHOBIC. (It’s technically illegal to even be a homosexual in my country). “So if the disease only affects ‘bulla man’ why not just let them die out?” I can imagine that was the mentality back then. Except HIV/AIDS is extremely non-discriminatory and by the time they realized this, it was already too late.

I know what you’re thinking, “when last somebody dead from AIDS?” . Yes, anti-retro drugs work much better at prolonging lives. However, there are two issues; one they are EXPENSIVE and two VERY DAMAGING to your other organs. So yes, people live longer, but at what cost?

Why worry about the cost though? The millennials will pick up the tab…Image result for side eye emoji

Now for the differences:

  • Bonds and Brain drains

These are technically two issues but I’ve decided to lump them together in the name of context. A bond is a very common thing in the Caribbean, it’s basically a piece of paper you sign with the government for your tertiary education in exchange for your soul! *dramatic much*. They pay for your economic costs, tuition, living expenses etc. In return you must come back to your home country and work for the duration of the bond + 2 years (in my country at least). Rumplestiltskin anyone?

You must think this is barbaric and unfair , truthfully it isn’t… it really isn’t. You see donkey years ago you didn’t have to sign bonds in order to get free or subsidized tertiary education. However, over the years less and less people would return to their home countries after completing their degrees.

So, what happens when you invest MILLIONS into your best and brightest and they don’t return to pay their dues? Why a brain drain of course.

Countless doctors, lawyers, scientists, analysts etc. we have lost to brain drain. Well why did they leave you ask? Why money of course…it’s always money. Wages are much lower in the Caribbean than the UK and North America. Why slave away in a developing country when they can make big bucks in the ‘Big Apple’?

So now you have this dilemma. Do I run away and make lots of money? Or do I stay and build my country? I chose to be an economist because I want to be directly involved in the welfare of my country, but is it fair to expect the same of my peers? Some see it as me simply doing my duty, while others see it as self sacrifice. I cannot judge them, even I am acutely aware of how much more money I would make if I migrated.

However, this is my country. They have given me my entire identity. The least I can do is contribute so that others may have the same opportunities I was allowed.

  • Cultural Abandonment

This is the last but certainly not the least accusation against us. Apparently we’re diluting our culture or throwing it away for the American lifestyle.

Riddle me this, is it that we are throwing away our culture or is the culture evolving? Truthfully I think it is a bit of both.

Carnival is the biggest example. There are several origins for Carnival in the Caribbean depending on the island, but one theme is consistent; Carnival is an escape from oppression. The masqueraders’ costumes were cultural representations of the islands. Now? They have been reduced (quite literally) to skimpy underwear and feathers. Personally I have no problem with this, give the people what they want and the people want to whine up in town half naked.

Do you consider this abandonment of the old ways? Or an evolution of an old custom.

To conclude I agree that we have much more opportunities than our parents and grandparents. Not to mention an increased standard of living but it’s not all a field of roses. Or maybe it is. I imagine going through a field of roses SEEMS fun until you’re there and you feel the thorns.

Please tell me your thoughts, even if you disagree. ESPECIALLY if you disagree. I love to hear opposing thoughts as it offers new perspectives and insights. I hope you enjoyed my little think piece!

bulla man – a derogatory word for homosexual male

whine – gyrating your waist to music

donkey years – a long time

Miscellaneous

Grades and Self Esteem in the West Indian School System

Let me start off by giving some background information about myself. I am a level two Economics students at the University of the West Indies Cavehill Campus and I am what you might call “bright”.

My entire life I’ve been known as “smart” and “nerdy” and quite frankly it’s true. I am also aware of how fortunate I am in my ability to master the schooling system. However, that’s it. I am good at the SYSTEM, I am in no shape or form superior to my peers. My brain is simply suited to the rigorous teaching methods employed on our students.

Did you know I was poor in athletics, art and computer science? Luckily for me these things aren’t as heavily graded as math, science and english. You might be thinking “why is she even telling us this?”. Be patient, I’m setting up the story.

You see when you’re good at something you tend to attach it to your self worth. My entire life has revolved around how well I did in school. This might not seem like such a bad thing…until you get a bad grade of course. As a teenager a bad grade meant I wasn’t good enough. It meant I was a failure. I might as well just ‘chuck’ myself into the river (BTW I cannot swim). I was conditioned to believe that failure in school, meant failure in life.

Skip forward a few years later; I’m a student at UWI. My aunt messages to tell me my cousin (her son) is crying. He’s having a melt down because he’s realized he has made a mistake on his exam. My cousin is six years old. At six years old he has already attached his self worth to his academic performance. My heart is heavy because I know that feeling all too well. In my opinion there is too much pressure placed on students’ academic performance. However, I do not blame the parents.

I look around me and I can’t help but notice 90% of the Vincentian students here attended the top female and male secondary school. That is NOT a coincidence. Your placement in secondary school almost sets your educational path in stone. The parents know this so they push their children to excel. (Perhaps I will speak more on this topic in another post)

This HAS TO STOP. We must not segregate students so early based on academic performance. I know CXC and the governments are taking strides in fixing these issues, I see their efforts. However, too many students are marginalized because of this system. The same way I learnt to attach my self worth to my grades, who’s to say other students don’t do the same?

How many students would have given up before the journey even began? We think of school as a race, but a race is a competition and school should NEVER be a competition. Education should not only encompass science, english and math. It should be designed to nurture artistic minds as well as mathematical minds.

There are so many people with amazing talent and skill, I am in complete awe of them. Yet, according to the world I am the success and they are the failure because I happened to grasp Pythagoras theorem better than they did. It should not be so…it should NEVER be so.

Please, I beg you, let your children know they have worth even if they don’t place first in class. Give them room to hone other skills besides what is taught in the classroom. Remember a carpenter or mechanic is no less important than a banker or a lawyer.

Thank you for reading, please don’t be afraid to comment and add your thoughts!

hair

My Top Five Natural Hair Mistakes

Four years ago I decided my hair was too damaged to be revived. At the time I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, I just knew that my current state was unacceptable. My hair was thin and fragile and quite frankly ugly.

I decided I was going to “grow it out” and then make up my mind as I went along. Looking back on that stage I realize that I made several mistakes. So, I’ve decided to share my misfortunes with the world to help other people along. I don’t want you to fall into the same potholes I did. So here are my Top 5 Natural Hair Mistakes :

1. Big Chopping vs. Transitioning

Boy how I wished I had just shaved my head instead of transitioning for 8 months. Now I’m not here to convince you against transitioning, this was just my experience. During my transitioning period my hair grew approximately one inch…you read correctly ONE BLOODY INCH!

My hair shedded more than a sick dog and was matted worse than a rug. Detangling Barbie’s hair was easier than mine. When I finally big chopped my hair grew like a weed.

2. Shaping my TWA

For those of you who don’t know, a TWA stands for ‘Teenie Weenie Afro’. When I had my hair cut, I literally just told the barber to cut the straight ends off. I wish I had had my hair shaped because it would have made styling my hair much easier. My hair grows quicker in my nape and crown giving my afro an odd shape. Getting it shaped to fit my face would have saved me A LOT of meltdowns.

3. Nappy Hair Acceptance

I understand that some people view the word ‘nappy’ negatively, however, I do not. I have learnt to accept the word for what it means; tightly coiled hair. Too many times we use that word as a derogatory word. I have learnt to love my hair in all its kinky glory, and you should too!

4. Frizz Acceptance

Frizz is the definition of natural hair. It happens, get over it. You will never win and life is easier with frizz. Besides, how else will you get that voluminous fro?

5. Changing my Natural Hair Routine

As my hair grew the products that worked well started to fail me. I was reluctant to admit that they were no longer working and kept forcing my hair to do what it DID NOT want to do. Sadly it’s just a part of the journey. My hair used to love coconut oil now it makes my scalp inflamed. If you notice your hair is acting different and you haven’t changed anything. It just might be that your hair is no longer responding to a product you’re using.

Tip: Try eliminating one product at a time until you find the culprit. 

Leave a comment below telling me your natural hair mistakes. I’d really love to know!