31 August 2014

The Max Hydration Method (sort of)

If you follow me on instagram you will know that I'm currently obsessed with a new method for retaining moisture in 'Type 4' high porosity hair, The somewhat lengthy Max Hydration Method helps hair to reach it's maximum hydration potential, resulting in moisturised hair and defined curls. People have been calling it a method to create/maintain wash and go's for 4C hair but this is very misleading. The main purpose is retaining moisture as opposed to creating 'type 3' like curls.

This misunderstanding almost had me turning my nose up at MHM along with the what seemed like many steps and pricey suggested products (I'll get to that!)

The method was originally created by Pinkecube on  the Black Hair Media Forum, however there are many examples and how to's on line about the method, most are quite confusing at first, the best one I've found so far is here  

The Max Hydration Method is a series of 5 steps that should be done over 7 days (everyday!) when this is completed you can do the MHM every 2-5 days

Step one (Recommend for those who have not done MHM before)

The cherry Lola treatment which  consists of the following ingredients

Greek yogurt (2 cups)
Baking soda (2 tbsp)
Organic apple cider vinegar (2 tbsp)
Raw coconut liquid aminos or liquid Soy aminos (2 tbsp)
Raw honey (1/2 tbsp)
Unsulfured molasses (1 tbsp)
Half an over ripe plantain or banana
Avocado (3/4 tbsp)
1 egg (optional)

I chose not to do the cherry Lola treatment, because I didn't have all the ingredients and to be honest it looks like hard work. However for the full results it is suggested

I decided to do the following steps

Step 1 (you can skip this on day one if you do the cherry lola treatment) 

Clarify with ACV using a 50/50 mix of Apple Cider vinegar and water. I spray the mixture onto my hair.

Step 2

Co- wash and de-tangle with a deep conditioner, I alternated between Shea Bliss from Beunique and Vatika Naturals Black Seed Oil Hair Mask. I ran this though my hair (I didn't need to detangle as I have in mini twists) I wrapped my hair in cling film and put a hot towel on my head until it cooled. I then went to bed and slept with the treatment still on.

Step 3

In the morning I washed the conditioner out of my hair completely, Then went on to use a clay mix
made with one cup of bentonite clay to two cups of water. I added one spoon of Agave Nectar (Honey is suggested) and one spoon of olive oil. the mixture should be watery. I left it on for 15 minutes then rinsed it off in the shower.

Step 4

Once I rinsed out the clay I used a Leave in Conditioner, I started using Tresemme Naturals conditioner but switched to a watered down mixture of Shea Bliss.

Step 5 
Finally is the gel stage, it's suggested that you use all botanical products with this method, I used a mixture of Aloe Vera and Agave Nectar which was great at first but became very sticky. I then switched to a botanical gel but I still didn't like the way it felt after all the effort I found the hardness of the gels counter active to the softness of the moisture retained. I have now decided to finish the MHM by using Big Hair Whipped Shea Butter (a small amount)

These steps are not exactly the approved method of MHM but it's working for me and I'm seeing results, my hair is beautiful and moist, as a result of that my natural curl pattern can be seen. I am wearing my hair in mini twists, so some of the definition I have is from them. but I feel my hair is in a great place and I shall continue on with the method every 3 days from now on.

To be honest I'm being very half arsed with the method with skipping stages and and not using the suggested products, however I'm still happy with the results which is soft hydrated hair for longer than 5 minutes! It's a long process for the first 7 days, you need to be quite committed even with skipping parts it took up time, but the results are worth it! I didn't go broke buying new products I only brought the Bentonite Clay especially for the method (which was £7.00) I used what I had available at home making compromises when needed so don't let the suggested product list scare you off trying this method (or a variation of it) the list is SUGGESTED not a must! I think the additions of ACV and the clay are what has made the difference for my hair with the over night treatments. I haven't gone into details into how the method works but you can learn a lot from www.msdeekay.com 

28 August 2014

The New Black Online Retailers: Sable Beauty + Antidote Street

Just last year I was ranting and blogging about the lack of beauty outlets for or inclusive of women of colour. from the high street to the web it seemed that only white people (an occasionally Asians) wore make up, did their hair or had any interest in their personal grooming! what a difference little over a year makes, I've noticed a vast amount of online retailers dedicated or inclusive of women of colour. It doesn't surprise me that the revolution is online as the high street is so not interested in us (but that's another blog post altogether!) two websites that have me excited are SableBeauty.com and the newly launched AntidoteStreet.com

Sable Beauty is the first online luxury beauty store with bespoke beauty products from brands I love such as Antonia Burrell and Dr Jacksons all the products available are  sourced exclusively to meet the diverse beauty needs of women of colour. This site is a must for those who love luxury brands that actually work and benefit our beauty needs. You will definitely discover new brands via this site. The customer service is brilliant and they have an awesome blogzine available via the site. 

Another site to look out for is Antidote street which offers grooming essentials for men and women of colour, The site aims to take the hassle out of shopping for products especially those one that aren't easily available in the UK, the site also has a lot of up and coming UK based brands such as Big Hair (which I love!)  and Anita Grant (which I also love!) The products on the site are affordable and varied. I hope to see more UK brands  available on the site as I think it's important that we buy British where possible. The site is well designed and looks very cool I can not wait to see what comes next!

I'm looking forward to the future of these online retailers, the revolution has begun!

7 August 2014

The Summer: Updates From My Crafty Summer

Hello my darlings, sorry about the lack of blog posts, however I'm having a product detox. Though I'm thankful to all the brands that gift me wonderful products to review it can give us bloggers product overload resulting in spotty skin and dry hair from chopping and changing our regimens (I know I know poor us!) I've been focusing on my day job raising Miss Freya and working as a salon fairy for Headmasters. I've also been having fun crafting this summer due to my love of fashion and my lack of fashion funds! Freya and I have been having lots of fun being covered in glitter and feathers!

My DIY adventures don't just stop at making head pieces, I've also made a makeshift photo
studio using roofing felt which Freya and I have been having lots of fun with. In other news I had the chance to speak at Hairology last month which was awesome! I met some great new people and ran into a few old faces too. (Laila of Fusion Of Cultures being one)

It's been a great summer, I'll be back soon with beauty reviews for Antonia Burrell and Sable Beauty for now I'm just having to much fun playing with the cherub pictured below! Follow our adventures on Instagram @naturalbelle 

How have you spent your summer?

28 July 2014

The DIY Flower Headdress

I'm in love with floral headdresses, I've seen a lot of headdresses around and the nicer ones can be upwards of £25. I wanted to try my hand at making one for Freya. I managed to pick up all the materials from my local Wilkinson's  under £15 they have a wonderful selection of artificial flowers from £1.50

You'll need;

Selection of artificial flowers
Garden wire
Floral tape
Wire cutters
Tape measure
Elastic or ribbon

1- take your wire and measure out the length you need, I suggest measuring your child's head and adding a few inches in case you make a mistake (you can cut off any access later) 

2- Measure out 3 lengths of the wire, you can get thicker wire if you want but I find the thinner wire more flexible. 

3- take your tape and wrap it around your wire, this will help to blend the headdress and also make the headdress more comfortable, cover the full length making sure no wire is exposed

4- when all the wire is covered create the shape of your headdress, using the wire cutter cut the artificial flowers to your desired length. then arrange the flowers around the headdress to get your shape and design right before you tape the flowers to the wire.

5- Once you have your desired design start to tape the flowers to your wire, make sure they are secure. The tape is very flexible so if you make a mistake just cover with more tape.

6- when all the flowers are attached to your liking, use elastic of ribbon to secure the ends of your headdress, this will help it sit on the head securely, I suggest elastic if you are making for a child. Again you can secure with tape for extra security use a little glue then cover.

*If you are making this for your little girl be sure not to leave them unattended with the headdress, it does have some small parts that could come off with a little force.

3 July 2014

The Deodorant: PitROK Crystal Spay Deodorant

I've been trying out PitROK Crystal deodorant from Oganicopia.co.uk. I always thought my natural beauty swag was let down by my use of regular deodorants, most off the shelf deodorants contain, Parabens, Aluminium and Propylene glycol which is found in antifreeze, these toxins are also very easy to get into our bodies, especially those of us that shave our underarms toxins can seep into the tiny cuts in our skin and may cause problem with our breast areas. There are many natural alternatives most of which I have heard mixed reviews for, and the fear of being the co worker that smells of BO I have continued to use regular 'antiperspirant'.  
However after using PitROK I'm a convert! PitROK comes in a spray or roll on. I prefer sprays as rolls ons have been one of the reasons that I haven't tried a natural alternative before now (I just find then unhygienic). The spray is for sensitive skin and is fragrance free, and provides day long protection when used on freshly washed skin, I've been using it for 7 days and it works! This product (like many regular 'antiperspirants') does not stop you from sweating it does however completely eliminate the odour. The first few days of wearing the deodorant I was very self concious, I asked several people to smell me throughout the day just to check I didn't smell! one of my co workers said 'you just smell of nothing' which is better than BO! It's also quite hot at the moment and the and though I still perspired (because girls don't sweat right? we seductively glisten) but even on the warmest day there is no odour. Great thing about the PitROK spay is that you can add essential oils to it so if you want an aroma you it will be personal to you.

PitROK Crystal deodorant:

Does NOT block pores.
Free from Aluminium Chlorohydrate and Aluminium Zirconium.
Free from Parabens, SLS/SLES, Propylene Glycol, Silicone.
Fragrance Free.


Aqua, Ammonium Alum, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract
Glycerin, 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1, 3-Diol, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate
Limonene* *(Ingredient of Grapefruit Seed Extract)

PitROK has a range of products available at www.organicopia.co.uk, Organicopia is a website dedicated to health and well-being, the brain child of Will and Emily (two ridiculously attractive people who are a definitely advocates of healthy living) the site has a selection of products that is growing daily all picked for you well-being in mind. 

28 June 2014

The Light Exfoliant:Antonia Burrell Luminous Light Polishing Powder

I've discovered another wonderful product from Antonia Burrell, Luminious Light Polishing Powder is a fine powder that gently exfoliates skin. It works into a smooth foam that leaves my skin soft and glowing after every use.

Luminous Light Polish Powder contains Zinc PCA which helps to calm inflammation, reduce shine and mattify the skin and is clinically proven for its anti microbial and anti ageing properties, combined with Avena Sativa which is a rich anti oxidant, which helps to reduce redness and restore pH.  LLPP contains Tea tree Leaf that purifies and acts as an anti bacterial ingredient. Betaine is is also found in LLPP clinically proven to firm the skin, by stimulating collagen fibroblasts, reduce redness and inflammation.

This is another great product from Antonia Burrell, her ability to understand skin and use of natural ingredients has it as one of my favourite brands. LLPP is simple to use, and last a very long time! I've had the product over 3 weeks I've been using it 2 times a week and it looks barely used. It's cliché but a little really does go a long way. Antonia Burrell products are really helping me with my quest to be foundation free, I mean why bother when your skin looks so fab!


Sodium Lauroyl Glutamate, Tapioca Starch, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Meal, Sodium Myristyl Glutamate, Alumina, Tea Tree Leaf Powder, Betaine, Polyactic Acid, Pullullan, Xantham Gum, Zinc PCA, Lauroyl Lysine, 4-Terpineol.

21 June 2014

The Newbies: Big Hair Beauty

Today I'm highlighting yet another home grown natural hair brand. I'm a huge fan of British brands, and I'm impressed with the number of brands that have emerged in the last 6 years since I have been blogging. Not only are we producing products to rival the American leaders but we are producing women of colour entrepreneurs  (who runs the world? GIRLS!) New brands are emerging all the time one of which is Big Hair Beauty, Big Hair is a natural line with products up to 100% natural for all hair types. Big Hair is the brain child of Melissa Sinclair, who like so many was frustrated with the lack of natural products available she has produced a capsule collection of four products that are very beneficial for caring for afro hair. The line consists of Soft Clean, SLS Free Shampoo, Moisturising Milk, Leave In Conditioner, DEEP Conditioning, Hair Treatment and  Moisture Me, Whipped Butter.

The products range from £9.95 - £14.95 all the products are of a high quality and looks great. The stand out product for me is the Moisture Me, Whipped Butter which is awesome!  rich with Avocado Butter which my hair loves for its lightness yet ability to lock in moisture the butter is 100% natural and a little goes a long way. This is a most for really kinky hair textures I found that it works in my hair when applied wet or dry and is amazing for sealing my ends. This definitely something I'll be adding to my product arsenal. 

Moisture Me, Whipped Butter 

Avocado Butter (Persea Gratissima), Shea Butter Seed Oil (Butyrospermum Parkii), Sweet Almond Oil (Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis), Vitamin E (Tocopherol), Sweet Orange Oil (Citrus Sinensis)

Soft Clean, SLS Free Shampoo I prefer to use shampoo bars, but as liquid shampoos go this isn't bad at all. it left my hair feeling clean without leaving it feeling dry however I feel I had to use a lot to get the though my hair

Soft Clean, SLS Free Shampoo

Aqua (Water), Decyl Glucoside*, Coco-Glucoside**, Aloe Vera Leaf Juice (Aloe Barbadensis), Shea butter (Butyrospermum Parkii), Pro-Vitamin B5 (Panthenol), Eco-Cert Approved Preservative (Phenoxyethanol & Caprylyl Glycol), Soybean Oil (Glycine Soja), Xanthan gum, Shea Butter Seed Oil (Butyrospermum Parkii), Sweet Orange Oil (Citrus Sinensis), Mandarin Oil (Citrus Nobilis), Citric Acid (neutraliser to balance pH)
*Derived from sugar
**Completely biodegradable, derived from coconut oil

Moisturising Milk, Leave In Conditioner is 99% natural, initially when I squeezed this out of the bottle it looked a little bit grainy which I thought was weird for a hair milk which is usually quiet smooth, however once I rubbed the lotion between my palms is smooths out and doesn't go grainy again once in your hair. This product has good slip but for my hair I wouldn't be able to just use this as a leave in without adding something thicker as my hair just drank it up. That being said I put this in Freya's hair is it worked wonderfully, leaving her hair with little corkscrew curls that are super soft. 

Moisturising Milk, Leave In Conditioner

Aqua (Water), Aloe Vera Leaf Juice (Aloe Barbadensis), Meadowfoam Seed Oil (Limnanthes Alba), Murumuru Butter (Astrocaryum Butter), Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii), Natural detangler and conditioner (Behentrimonium Methosulfate* (and) Cetearyl Alcohol**), Vitamin E (Tocopherol), Eco-Cert Approved Preservative (Phenoxyethanol & Caprylyl Glycol), Pro-Vitamin B5 (Panthenol)
*Derived from rape seed oil
**Fatty (good) alcohol derived from coconut and palm oil

DEEP Conditioning, Hair Treatment is another stand out product from Big Hair, Rich with Moroccan Rhassoul clay, which my hair loves. This is a great treatment and at an amazing price. What I love about DEEP Conditioning, Hair Treatment is the airy consistency, I find (though I love it) Rhassoul heavy treatments can be a bugger to get on the hair, This product however goes on like butter and doesn't drip! My hair was left very soft after using the treatment it's definitely an affordable treatment to add to your regimen.

DEEP Conditioning, Hair Treatment

Aqua (Water), Natural detangler and conditioner (Behentrimonium Methosulfate* (and) Cetearyl Alcohol**), Cocoa Butter (Theobroma Cacao), Banana Powder (Musa Sapientum), Avocado Oil (Persea Gratissima), Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera), Moroccan Rhassoul Clay, Honey (Mel), Aloe Vera Leaf Juice (Aloe Barbadensis), Castor Oil (Ricinus Communis), Glycerine (Palm Free), Vitamin E (Tocopherol), Pro-Vitamin B5 (Panthenol), Optiphen Eco-Cert Approved Preservative (Phenoxyethanol & Caprylyl Glycol)
*Derived from rape seed oil
**Fatty (good) alcohol derived from coconut and palm oil

Overall Big Hair Beauty is a strong line, they have a sampler pack so you can try the whole range for under £15, The founder is very hands on and active via social media always willing to answer question and the brand has a very good vibe. Check Big Hair Beauty out at www.bighair.co.uk

16 June 2014

Hair Talk Returns With The Diaspora Diva

It's been a while since I've dedicated space on Natural Belle to the Hair Talk segment, I got a little tired of asking the same formulaic questions, so I decided to set up a series of email interviews, talking to natural women from across the globe who have something interesting to bring to the natural hair debate. I was honoured that my first interview was with the beautiful Emma Dabiri AKA The Diaspora Diva. We met at Curlvolution as we both spoke on the panel with Taren Guy. The panel was great fun but we both agreed that more time was needed to get into things. So this is an introduction to a UK blogger you may not know, as well a chance to ask a few more questions of Emma....Enjoy!

Introduce yourself, what do you do? 

My name is Emma Dabiri, I am a PhD researcher in Goldsmiths. I also teach African Studies at The School of Oriental African Studies. I blog and write as The Diaspora Diva. You can find me @TheDiasporaDiva and  www.thediasporadiva.tumblr.com

How long have you worn your hair in it's natural state? 

Since 2012

What prompted your choice to return to your natural state? 

At first it was political actually. I know for many people it isn't, but for me it was. I was tired of trying to be something I'm not. I hoped that I would eventually grow to like it aesthetically but that took time. A few weeks after I got the big chop I actually rocked a couple of weaves. It was mainly the shock of
having my hair so short. I hadn't had a relaxer in about 1.5 years when I finally chopped so it wasn't even short in a cool way, but was a horrible inbetween length that really didn't suit me! I also didn't know how to style my hair at the time. If it was that length now I could totally work it.

What was the turning point when it came to caring for your hair in it's natural Texture?

Probably after about a year of refamiliarising myself with it, I felt like I could look after it properly and get it looking the way I wanted, but to be honest I'm still learning.

What are your go to products?  

I'm very low maintenance. For me that’s one of the beauty's of natural hair, the fact that I can be. But I do need lots of organic shea butter and extra virgin coconut oil. They are must haves! At the moment I am using Shea moisture shampoo and conditioner and they seem to be doing what they should!

How has your choice impacted your life? 

If I am wearing it out in a huge Afro I can feel really conspicuous in certain spaces . People might like it but it can still feel like its almost a performance in someway. I don't always feel like that, but I do sometimes and I sometimes wish people were just more used to seeing Afro textured hair. I work occasionally as a commercial model and my hair really dictates whether I work or not. If I have it set and looking like its straight I get a lot more work than if I just rock up with my 'fro. That being said I can get booked if its in its natural texture but styled in a certain way. I wear a lot of braided styles.

Do you feel their is fair representation of natural hair or women of colour in the commercial modelling industry, do you feel a certain type of look is sought after?

 There is very little representation, particularly of natural hair. You do regularly enough see maybe, one mixed-race model with a group of white models in a commercial. 9 times out of 10 they will have loose curly hair, maybe with blonde highlights, that seems a popular look!
If the model has type 4 hair she will most likely have a weave. You do occasionally see kinkier textures but I think that is still considered very niche or seen as being explicitly 'unconventional' or 'retro'.

Have you come up against any kind of texture discrimination in regards to your hair type?

Absolutely, I don't have the typical curls associated with being 'mixed'. If my hair had been more curly I probably never would have relaxed it in the first place. In-fact I probably preferred curly hair to the relaxed look. I used to relax and then sit for hours under the dryer with literally hundreds of curly perm rollers in my hair to achieve that look. It was funny because after all that work and processing, everybody would assume that was my 'natural' texture. I heard Karyn Parsons-Rockwell (Hilary Banks from the Fresh Prince saying something similar). Buy anyway my hair has a more kinky texture.
That being said when I went back to natural I discovered that my hair has about three different textures and I do in-fact have some curls. Id say my hair is kinky-curly. I almost felt like some kind of traitor when I discovered my curls ha ha

I had the opportunity  to meet you on a natural hair panel, do you think it's still important to talk about natural hair or black women's hair as a whole? 

Yes, I do think its a conversation that needs to be had. Afro hair remains stigmatized and largely invisible. Its still a highly emotive subject and when you talk about it tensions can rise. I've been surprised by the extent to which they can in-fact.
But what I really want is to just want normalize Afro hair and get it to the point  where we don't have to think about whether or not wearing our hair natural in its will effect our  employment prospects or not . Where there is no longer a debate about whether or not it is political.

A lot if the discussions surrounding afro hair is based weave V natural Debate ending in the diplomatic conclusion that we have choice, do you feel the decision to wear your hair in weaves, relaxed or natural is that clear cut? 

No nothing is ever that neat really. Ideally a woman would be able to make full use of all the versatility that black hair styling has to offer without it being seen as revealing something fundamental about who she is, but I think we are still a long way off that. People continue to make -often inaccurate- judgements based on hair style.

What do you think of the emerging natural hair scene in the UK? 

It's good that that community is there and that women are connecting and supporting each other. Hopefully the growing presence will help to normalise afro textured hair.

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