Natural Beauty – Joanna Pascal

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What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Joanna Pascal and I’m from the beautiful spice island Grenada.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Well I am simple lady who loves the Lord and I enjoy spending time with my family. I am a medical student with a passion for helping others. Naturalista, health enthusiast, motivator, avid reader, knowledge seeker. I am the founder of  SpicyNaturals, the first natural hair community in Grenada.

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How long have you worn your hair natural and what made you decide to do it?

I have worn my hair natural for most of my life.  I have always loved my natural hair so returning to it was an easy decision. However, I have been natural now for 3 years and 4 months. What really pushed me to return natural was the fact that my hair was growing long but was not as full and healthy as it was in the past.  So I started cutting my hair every time I went to the salon until it was neck length. Then finally after travelling, not trusting any one with my hair, my hairdresser back home passing away, I decided to transition and take care of my hair myself.

When did you first realise that you love your natural hair texture? What exactly do you love about it? Describe your hair.

I’ve always loved my natural hair texture.  I love the softness, manageability, kinks, curls and shrinkage. I experience a lot of shrinkage and so I have a love hate relationship with that.

What is your hair regime? What do you do to keep it healthy and to retain length?

My hair regime is pretty simple. The pre-poo is a major part of my hair regimen. I do it before co-washes and shampoos. Now basically I pre-poo, co-wash and do one of my DIY treatments or rinses every week. I shampoo 1-2 times a month. On the day I shampoo, I do a deep conditioning treatment as well.

Protein treatment once a month.

Ayurvedic powders such as henna once or twice a year.

Moisturizing my hair is important so I moisturize on wash days using my Giovanni leave in conditioner, followed by my SpicyNaturals hair oil and shea avocado hair butter.

Refresh my hair with my DIY hair mist every 1-2 days.

Scalp massages once or twice a week if I remember.

My main products are Giovanni Tea tree shampoo, Giovanni smooth as silk conditioner, Giovanni direct leave in conditioner, SpicyNaturals Tropical Twist Hair Oil, SpicyNaturals Shea Avocado Hair butter, Shea Mositure Curl Enhancing Smoothie, Sarenzo Purple Passion Twisting Cream, Eco Style Gel and DIY treatments.

What have your experiences been as a natural, including reactions from friends, family and colleagues? Have you experienced any opposition from anyone in your life regarding how you wear your hair?

I have had mostly pleasant reactions from family, friends and colleagues. I actually have no recollection of any negative reactions or opposition.

What is your favourite go-to hair style for days when you don’t have a lot of time?

Twist outs are my go-to hairstyle.

What is your hair goal?

My hair goal is simple – healthy lengthy hair. I would actually love to reach mid-back to waist length.

What is your best hair advice to someone who is thinking of going natural, but who is apprehensive about doing it?

Returning natural is the way to go, I definitely endorse it. It is a great experience and can be life changing. It sure has been for me. Going natural gives the best of both worlds, versatility without having to sacrifice chemically altering you hair.

However, I am aware that it can be difficult at times, discouraging even but having a good support system can make the process much smoother. The key is to have a few naturals and transitioners who you can go to when you need encouragement. Find naturals or transitioners who are at about the same point in their hair journey as you are, and also others who are at your ultimate hair goal so you have something to look forward to.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt during your natural hair journey?

The biggest lesson would be to embrace your natural hair, every aspect of it. Realise that everyone’s journey is unique, it is important to do what works for you. Learn your hair, experiment with it and feel free to be different in your approach. While there may be general guidelines it is important to not get too bugged down and make this journey a burden.

What is your favourite life lesson?

In spite of situations and circumstances God is in the midst of it all and He is faithful to see me through if I just trust in Him and have faith in His promises.

Where can we find you online? Website/blog/Instagram/twitter?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SpicyNaturalsGrenada

Instagram: @spicynaturals

WordPress: http://spicynaturalista.wordpress.com/

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Detangling Natural Hair

detangling

Detangling our natural hair is something we all have to come to grips with every time we plan on cleansing our hair, or creating  a new hairstyle. Depending on how you approach it, it can either be a painless and dare I say quick experience, or it can leave you with a brush full or broken hair and dashed dreams of reaching your hair length goals. Since detangling is key to removing shed hair and retaining length, here are my top tips for detangling your mane.

1. Work on stretched hair

I find it so much easier to detangle my hair when it’s in a stretched state, such as an old braid-out, twist-out or even a bun. It makes it possible for any tangles and matted sections to separate easier than when it’s in its original curl.

2. Divide hair into sections

I divide my hair into 4 sections, and work on 1 section at a time, while I keep the other sections twisted or pinned up. Trying to work on all your hair at once can lead to one tangled up situation and before you know it, you’ll have more tangles than what you started out with. You know that saying “divide and conquer”? Well it’s never been more fitting than for this scenario.

3. Detangle on damp hair

For the sake of manageability, I never detangle on dry hair. I simply take my spray bottle and mist my hair with a bit of water to make my hair more malleable, which decreases the chances of breakage.

4. Add a lubricating oil

Work your favourite oil into your hair as you detangle. This will provide slip to your hair that will make detangling easier and help to slip hair strands out of any knots you may have. It will also help to slide your detangling tools through your hair.

5. Apply conditioner

If you prefer your hair to be quite wet during detangling, apply your conditioner that provides the most slip. Often a combination of oil and conditioner create a dream platform for quick detangling.

6. Choose finger detangling over brushing or combing

If your hair is very fine or prone to breakage I would definitely consider tossing the  brushes and combs in the bin. Although it’s more time consuming, finger detangling has worked wonders for me by allowing me to retain my length. At the most I’ll use a wide-tooth comb, and that’s only occasionally. When you use your fingers, you can actually feel the knots and tangles,  as opposed to using brushes and combs, which can lead to tugging and pulling and eventually breakage.

7. Start from your roots

I detangle by holding a section of my hair in my hands, pushing my thumbs through the strands, and gently pulling the tangles apart all the way to the ends. If you use a comb or brush, I recommend starting from the bottom and working your way up.

8. Cut knots out

If you have a knot that you can’t undo no matter the amount of water, oil and conditioner you’ve added, cut it out with a pair of hair scissors.  I always hate having to do this, but rather a little snip than risk even more of the surrounding strands becoming entwined in the knot. Also, resist the urge to just pull the hair out.

I do a major detangling session as part of my pre-poo before I cleanse my hair, so I’m killing two birds with one stone. It usually takes me half an hour. Even though my hair was shorter a year ago, it actually took me much longer to detangle back then as I was still trying to figure out the best way to go about it. Since then I have managed to cut down on my detangling time by  incorporating these techniques and keeping my hair detangled throughout the week, so by the time wash day rolls around it’s not such a dramatic affair.

I’ll end by saying that whether it takes you 15 minutes or 3 hours to detangle, patience has to be your middle name. If you try and hurry the process, your hair is going to end up everywhere except on your head. Rather leave it for a bit and come back to it later when you have more time.

How do you detangle your hair?

3 Easy Deep Conditioners to make at home

If you live in a country where it’s difficult to access products for natural hair, or if you’re simply on a budget, fear not, because here I have 3 very simple and cheap deep conditioner recipes that I regularly use myself  and they all leave my hair feeling amazing afterwards. Try one of these whenever your hair is crying out for moisture and strengthening, or just include one of them as part of your regular wash day routine.

Add your favourite conditioner to each of the recipes to serve as a base for your deep conditioner. The amount you use will vary according to the length and thickness of your hair.

Cleanse your hair as you usually would, and follow it up with one of these deep conditioners. Cover your head with a shower cap and wrap it in a towel to prevent the conditioner from dripping down your neck. Leave it on for at least half an hour, before rinsing it out well. Style your hair as desired.

You won’t be sorry you gave this a try.

1. Avocado Deep Conditioner

avocado.

This is my holy grail of deep conditioners and I consider this recipe as a spa treatment for my tresses. The fattiness and thickness of the avocado will leave your hair deeply moisturised and will provide lots of slip for detangling, which will be made even easier due the acidic pH of the apple cider vinegar, as it encourages the hair’s cuticles to flatten.

1 slightly over ripe avocado

3 tbs coconut oil

3 tbs honey

1 tbs apple cider vinegar

Put the avocado in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients, and voila, there you go! Alternatively, if you don’t have a blender, chop the avocado as finely as you can, and push it through a sieve so that you only use the smooth fruit that comes out the bottom. Do not use the stringy bits that will stay behind in the sieve as it will get stuck in your hair and take forever to rinse out.

2. Coconut Oil and Honey

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This is a very simple recipe, but because of the strengthening and moisturising properties of the 2 ingredients, this conditioner will leave your hair looking fabulous for days.

4 tbs coconut oil

2 tbs honey

Place the coconut oil and honey in a bowl and whisk together. If the coconut oil is in a solid state from cold temperatures, place the bowl containing the oil in a larger bowl filled with hot water in order to soften and melt it down.

3. Egg Deep Conditioner

eggs

This is a great recipe if you are in need of a bit of a protein boost. I only use egg occasionally on my hair, but  this is an easy recipe to fall back on as eggs are usually something most of us have in our kitchen.

2 tbs olive oil

1 – 2 tbs honey

2 eggs

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.

Do you make your own deep conditioners? Share your recipes below and let me know how well it’s been working for you. 

Love your natural hair, no matter what the texture

GirlswithNaturalHairThere are so many times when I’ve heard it said: I can’t go natural because my hair is not as “thick”, or as “beautiful” or “insert any word you’ve heard before”, as yours. Well, I want to make it clear that no matter the texture of your hair, there is no such thing.

I’ll admit, there have been times in my life when I wished I’d had really smooth and long straight hair, most notably in my primary and high school years. Looking back I’ve often wondered why this was the case, when I can’t get enough of my curls right now. But then I remember that there are still many many women out there who believe their natural curls and kinks are ugly, and that it’s not considered desirable, professional or acceptable in today’s society.

I am by no means an expert on history, but I honestly believe a great deal of it has to do with the fact that women of colour were indoctrinated with the idea that only straight hair is sexy and beautiful, and that anything else is nappy, or kroes. In  South Africa’s apartheid history, the Pencil Test was one of the tests applied to people of colour to determine whether they should be classified as white or “coloured” (persons of mixed racial heritage). The Pencil Test involved sliding a pencil or pen in the hair of a person whose racial group was uncertain. If the pencil fell to the floor, the person “passed” and was considered “white”. If it stuck, the person’s hair was considered too kinky to be white and the person was classified as “coloured”. The classification as “coloured” allowed a person more rights than one considered black,” but fewer rights than a person considered “white”.

In the so-called coloured community of Cape Town where I’m from, the largest community of mixed race people in Southern Africa, it seems that the desire to have silky straight hair has also become somewhat of a cultural trait. Here you will often hear women express the desire for more European or Asian hair.

Often during the years that I’ve worn my hair in its natural state, I would get the question, “Aren’t you going to blow dry your hair straight?” for whatever event I would be talking about with friends and sometimes family. It could have been for a job interview, a wedding, a graduation, or any do considered important. It was almost as if my curls were okay for everyday comings and goings, but just not good enough for  special events. I know that this type of talk doesn’t only happen where I’m from, but it continues to make me sad whenever I hear it.

When I have a daughter one day, I want her to grow up loving her natural texture, no matter what it is. I don’t want her to start out thinking that there is something wrong with her hair and that she has to alter it somehow.

Even though we have come a long way, to a large degree the idea of straight hair being sexier and more desirable is still perpetuated by the mainstream media. I’m so happy for the online platforms that exist, where beautiful women across the globe who are rocking their natural hairstyles can talk about hair maintenance, health and acceptance in  a world that often isn’t as supportive or as accepting.

I honestly do not have anything against women who choose to straighten their hair. But let’s please look at the reasons why some of us are still applying harmful chemicals like relaxers, as well as damaging processes, such as excessive heat to our hair, and start by addressing these issues. Don’t freak out if you don’t have time to straighten your locks  before that interview or date. Anyone worth their salt will be drawn to you by much more than what is represented on the outside alone.

Fall in love with your natural hair, and if you already have, just continue to love it.

xxx

More women ditching hair relaxers

TWA3“Hair relaxer sales are suffering as the natural hair trend is on the rise in black hair,” reports Mintel, a global market research group.

I don’t know about you, but for me this is excellent news. Even though this is an American study, to me it simply means that more women are embracing their natural textures, and are thereby more accepting of themselves.

According to the research, which was released late last year,  relaxers account for just 21% of black hair care sales. In addition:

  • “The sector has declined 26% since 2008 and 15% since 2011, when sales reached $179 million. It is the only category not to see growth.
  • It was estimated that the relaxer segment will reach $152 million by the end of 2013, down from $206 million in 2008.
  • Shampoos and conditioners formulated for black hair were estimated to reach $257 million by the end of 2013, up from $211 million in 2008.
  • The styling-products segment has increased from $220 million in 2008 to an estimated $268 million in 2013.
  • The hair colour market was forecast to see sales of $36 million in 2013, compared to $32 million in 2008.”

I have not seen any official figures for South Africa yet, but judging from the rise in South African natural hair blogs as well as the slow but steady increase in availability of  natural hair products, there definitely seems to be a demand for natural resources and an awareness that natural is the way to go.

According to Allarice Prinsloo, a transitioning naturalista from Jo’burg, she stopped relaxing her hair 5 months ago because it was overly processed. “Too many relaxers and heat damage from blow-drying and flat-ironing caused my hair to become brittle and break off. It would literally be lining my pillowcase when I woke up in the morning!  So I simply decided to stop the madness and to start respecting my hair.”

With the Mintel research also reporting that forty-eight percent of black women believe natural or curly hairstyles exude confidence, here is hoping that even more women of colour across the globe embrace their natural selves.

Information via Beautystorebusiness.com