Saturday, June 30, 2012

Natural Hair and Exercise: Hair Products I Love!

Hey ladies! I am back from my Vacay so I will continue the Natural Hair & Exercise Series. 

 I have been experimenting with different natural hair products for the past few weeks. It has been quite a journey trying out various styles and products. I think that I have finally found the regimen that works for me.  I roller set my hair with perm rods and sit under the dryer for about 45 minutes. I use Just Natural Organic Hair Care Products. I have found that these products keep my hair really soft and moisturized. These products have helped me survive the D.C. heat wave and my intense workouts. So far I have tried their Shampoo,  Leave-in Conditioner, and Protein Treatment. My roller set lasts about 4 days and I maintain it by pin curling it at night.

The Just Natural shampoo is the only shampoo that I have found to leave my hair soft. It is not harsh like other shampoos. Also, it is Sulfate free which is important for people that wash their hair

I have never tried a protein treatment before. My hair was soft and more manageable after using this, it works well the shampoo and leave-in. 

I apply the leave-in conditioner after the shampoo and protein treatment. This conditioner makes my hair really easy to manage before I do my roller set. 

If you have never used Organic products in you hair you must give these a try!

This is how my hair comes out. 

Additional tips:

I have learned that it is important to separate the hair into sections. This technique makes it much easier to manipulate. I part my hair into four sections before washing it. I wash each section to make sure I get my hair clean. When I apply the leave-in I keep the four sections but then go through and apply the conditioner to smaller sections (like you apply a relaxer). This makes easier for me to manage and apply the conditioner evenly.

Do you have any tips?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Charles Barkley and Weight Watchers

I caught a preview of Weight Watcher's newest commercial with Charles Barkley as the spoke person. I think that it is awesome that Weight Watchers is trying to appeal to men, particularly Black Men. Just in case you didn't know this obesity crisis is affecting men too. Unfortunately men are less likely to do something about it. So hopefully the Barkley Ad will encourage men to make lifestyle changes.

Ladies you can help the men in your life by encouraging healthy eating and an active lifestyle. I've been tricking my Hubby into eating healthy stuff for the past couple of year. It's crazy because he is back down to his college weight and now he keeps me on track.

For resources for your hubby, brother, father, etc. see below:

A great blog: Healthy Black Men 

Black Fitness Blog

What do you think of the Barkley Ad?

I will admit that I cannot understand why they put him in a dress.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Black Hair and Exercise: Is Going Natural for You?

As I go through the process of transitioning from relaxed to natural I have been doing a lot of reflecting. One of the reasons I began this process was because I wanted to find a low maintenance style that would make it easier for me to exercise. After making the big decision (to go natural) I vowed to learn how to care for my own hair. I have watched countless youtube videos, consulted with my sister (a Hairstylist in Chicago), several friends, and family members.  I researched the best products to purchase, bought a really good (expensive) hooded hair dryer, rollers, etc. Needless to say this process has cost me a lot of time (and $$!). In this past week I have attempted to style my hair three times. The first time I did a roller set with perm rods and it came out pretty decent. The second time I tried to do a Bantu Knot Out and it was a major FAIL (I did not even bother to take pics). I did a second perm rod set last night. I haven't taken it down yet, so I will let you know how it turned out.

Anyway, if you are considering going natural I want you to know that it requires a huge time investment. You have to experiment with various styles and products. If you elect to do the BC (big chop) you will have an easier time because you are only dealing with one hair texture. If you elect to transition you have to work with curly styles that allow you to blend the hair textures together.  No matter what you decide you should do your research. Go to youtube, look at hair blogs like, and research hair products.

From my experience thus far going natural is NOT low maintenance (unless you do the BC). But it is a learning experience. I am learning to care for my own hair. Also, working out with curly styles lasts much longer with my work outs. My first perm rod set lasted about 4 days and I worked out everyday (including running).  See below for the results of my first perm rod set. To style my hair I used Jane Carter's products. So it's not easy but I'm luvin' it!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Natural Hair and Exercise: Transitioning Tips 101

I'm so lucky that my Sis is a hair stylist. She works at a hair salon downtown Chicago and just so happens to be an expert on transitioning from relaxed to natural hair. She has been helping me through the process so I asked her to write a post for you all. See the post below and be sure to check out her blog Kinky Hair Girl.

The pic above is my first DIY rollerset. More detailed pics to come!

Hair Care advice for Transitioners from Kinky Hair Girl:

Hello Readers, I apologize for not updating in such a long time. I have been doing a lot of research and product knowledge classes.

A lot of my clients are continuously me the same questions. "How can I go natural without cutting my hair?", "What are the best products to use, while transitioning?".

So, that is the topic for my post. ''The Big Transition"

If you want to keep your length while transitioning, it is possible but difficult. There are many ways to go bout this but one thing that is very important is that you You must understand that when you straighten your hair you stretch out your curl. Therefore setting back your natural goal. What I always recommend my clients is to start treating your hair as if it is already curly. Which means start doing the natural styles. Like I said it will be a difficult path but you can achieve your goal. Here are my tips on achieving your goal.

Natural Styles

1.  When doing natural styles use rods at the ends of your hair. Because the relaxed hair is still straight you need to use the rods to make it curly. Try the smallest rods so that they may be tight and last longer.

2. Make sure to clip your ends exactly every 6 weeks. When you are going through the transition your natural hair will get tangled with your relaxed hair. To prevent that clip at least 1 cm of hair every 6 weeks.

3. Hair should be conditioned under the dryer/ under cap with hot towel for 10 mins. every two weeks. Your hair will be very dry during this time. So this is a very important rule.

4. One of the easiest ways of styling while transitioning is doing rod sets. Why? Because its a curly style and when you sweat it will not be that noticeable when your hair starts to revert.
Virgin Olive Oil or Coconut oil. Just a quarter size every two to three days. It will keep your hair soft and easier to manage. Stay away from greasy products, they coat the hair and does not allow moisture to penetrate.

5. Drink lots and lots of water. There will be a point where your hair will feel very dry, that is okay and normal. Just stay hydrated.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Natural Hair and Exercise: How to maintain hair during a workout

As many of you know I am transitioning (going back to my curls). I have been doing some research/experimenting to find solutions for maintaining my hair and exercise. I know I told you last week that I was going to do my own roller set but I ended up going to my hair dresser on Saturday. I had a last minute special event to go to. I couldn't take any risks with my DIY style. Anyway, I got my hair curled (see pic above) on saturday afternoon and so far it is has survived three days of exercise. I did flow yoga (yes I sweated) on Sunday, cardio (elliptical) and weights on Monday, and I just finished with 45 min on the elliptical and core exercises (e.g., planks). See below to see how my hair looks now. By the way I pin curl my hair at night and leave that way at the gym. I do not touch my hair until it is completely dry. FYI: I am 4.5 months post relaxer

I definitely, think pin curling at night and leaving it that way while at the gym is  a good strategy.

Sorry the pic is blurry (I was obviously on the go) but you get the picture, my hair was still curly

NFG Hair Maintenance Recommendations :

1. If your hair is curly then you should pin curl it at night and leave the pin curls in while at the gym
2. Let your hair breathe while you work out, put a headband on it to catch the sweat (but do not wrap it up tight)
3. Do Not touch your hair until it is dry
4. Try a dry shampoo to refresh your style (I am currently trying to find a really good one)

Do you have any tips ?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Healthy Eats in Washington, D.C.

I have lived in D.C. for about 3 years now. My hubby and I are always on the lookout for new healthy places to eat here. We are fortunate that D.C. has quite a few healthy takeout and dine in options. So if you are in the D.C. area be sure check out one of the many salad bars like Chop't and Sweetgreen. These restaurants have tons of healthy options like Kale and Quinoa. Also, most of the restaurants below are chains so you can find them in several areas (around D.C.). My favorite Chop't salad is the Harvest Cobb.  Most of the sites below have calorie info online.

I think a key to staying healthy is doing research about your food (e.g., nutrition info). So if you have not done so already take sometime to see what healthy options there are in you city. That way when you need a meal in a hurry you know exactly where to go.  Check out the list below for healthy eats in D.C

What are your go to healthy take out spots in your city ?
 I have a trip to Atlanta in a few weeks, so if you know healthy places there please share!

Fitness Goddess Faves

1. Chop't  - Try the Harvest Apple Cobb

2. Sweet Greens - try the guacamole green, and the Fro-Yo!

3. Mixt - design your own

4. Chix- try a brown rice bowl

5. Chicken Out - you must try the baked sweet potato wedges

6. Teaism - you must try the brunch here, it's delicious

7. Hot Food Bar Whole Foods

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Natural Hair and Exercise: So much to learn

So I told y'all I am transitioning to my Natural Hair. I have not had a relaxer for four months (pic above is how my hair looks now) and so far I have been wearing my hair straight. Now that I have made the commitment, I want to start wearing more textured styles. But I am so worried about how this will effect my exercise routine. So I have just been doing a ton of research. It's amazing how much info there is on Natural Hair. There are so many styles, products, there is even a Natural hair vocabulary (e.g., TWA = Teenie Weenie Afro). I am just so amazed (and overwhelmed) at how much info there is. I am in the process of figuring out what will work for me. Unfortunately, there is not that much out there about natural hair and exercise. So as I go through this journey, I will share with you all my successes, challenges, good hair days, and bad hair days (:-/).

Right now I am in the preparation stage. I have ordered a hooded blow dryer, bought some Jane carter hair products, and some Cantu Shea Butter (see pics below). I have seen so many recommendations for the Cantu Shea butter leave in conditioner (everyone says it must be used alone--do not put anything in your after you put on the leave in). Jane Carter had a trial pack at Target for 19.99 so I scooped one up. I plan to do my first flexi rod set this weekend. My Sister is supposed to come help me out. She is a Hair Stylist in Chicago and does natural hair all the time. So I will let you know how it goes (pics comings soon and maybe even a video).

One more thing......
I got super lucky today and ran into a Natural Hair expert at Target. I met Mama Naturalista, an expert from several natural hair blogs (e.g., curly nikki). She gave me tips on transitioning and some good sites to get cheap products. She also gave me a thumbs ups on the Jane Carter products and Cantu Shea butter. I think the best advice she gave me is to recognize that everyone's hair, workout routine, and various other lifestyle factors are different so there is no perfect style. Also, she said don't become a product junkie (it's so hard though).

She recommended and 

I can't wait to get some curls into this head!

What are your favorite products?
Favorite styles?
Any tips for a newbie???

Product Review: Bai

Ladies you know I like to keep you updated with new healthy products. Here is my product review of Bai5:

I recently tried a new drink called Bai.  It's an antixodant drink that is made from coffeefuit and white tea extract. I tried the Costa Rica Clemintine version and it was quite tasty. It was also only 5 calories (10 cals for the whole bottle).  It does contain erythitol (a naturally occurring sugar alcohol) which is also in some brands of chewing gum.  There is a little bit of an aftertaste with the low cal version but I find this to be true for most diet drinks.

I find products like this to be okay in moderation.  Of course you must make sure you get your eight glasses of water per day first. So if you are craving something low cal, sweet, and no funny aftertaste, then try Bai5.

Have you tried it??

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Natural Hair and Exercise: Tips for Transitioners

A few months ago, I decided to join the ranks of Natural Hair Goddesses. I just got sick of putting chemicals in my hair and worrying about sweating out my wrap. Also, I became curious about what my real hair looks like. What I did not consider is how the transition would effect my exercise routine. I am now 4 months post relaxer and I have been on a journey to find a style that works for exercise and transitioning hair. I have stopped every sista at the gym and looked at countless blogs and youtube videos. There is a lot of info out there for transitioners but the info for women that exercise is lacking. So I decided to share what I found with you all. The two styles that seem to work the best are perm rod sets and Bantu knot outs. The great thing is there are tons of DIY videso. I plan to try the perm rod set this week. See below for example videos to get the style.

Do you have any suggests for natural or transitioning hairstyles?

Perm Rod video

Bantu Knot Outs