You’ve heard of shea butter, but have you heard of shea oil? During the extraction process of the shea butter, a small amount of liquid oil is extracted directly from the nut.
This oil is separated from the butter and becomes shea oil. The Shea Nut is a fruit native to Africa, which has been in use for millennia as a skin cream, a barrier cream, hair moisturizer and wound healer. It is very high in oleic acid (fatty acid) which has benefits for the hair and skin. It is used in soaps, creams, lotions and as a pure oil. It has a high saponification factor and is a must have ingredients in soaps. You must get this oil OK?
Shea nut oil has many of the same benefits of the butter as it is beneficial for assisting with skin conditions such as cutaneous dryness, dermatitis and dermatoses, eczema, solar erythema and burns. It blends exceptionally well with home made beauty products and can be used from 3% to 20% in creams and lotions, soaps and balms. It can also be used 100% pure as a moisturizing skin or hair serum or massage oil.
Shea nut oil is not a cooking oil and you will not find it in the supermarket. Search out natural wholesalers and you will find it listed as an ingredient in brittle hair remedies and skin conditions as well as being sold pure. It is rich and concentrated. You only need a small amount to get major shine and conditioning benefits.
You can use shea oil as a hot oil treatment much the same way as with other oils. It will give you an added benefit when you are looking for something to combat dandruff, psoriasis or itchy scalp conditions as it soothes as well as moisturizes. It is absorbed readily by the skin where it begins to heal from within. I find combining this oil with apricot oil in a 40:60 ratio is a dynamite remedy for the “winter-hair” woes.
Use a little daily, on your two strand twist as well, to get longer life from that style.
Did you know they make oil out of the kernel (pit) of the apricot fruit? Apricot kernel oil has a long history in Asia and the Middle East, having been used as a treatment for brittle hair and dry skin for centuries. The apricot fruit is closely related to the peach and nectarine, and a ripe apricot has a flavor similar to a plum. It is full of vitamins A, E and C, rich in carotenes, and minerals including potassium, iron, zinc, calcium and manganese. It is a rich source of both linoleic and oleic acid (essential fatty acids).
Like avocado oil, apricot kernel oil is a gently and delicate oil, often used in baby products and needs to be kept from air, light and heat sources or it will degrade and spoil, so either store in a dark cupboard or seal in a dark-glass container. It is not always an oil that is easy to find, so you may have to do some hunting in Asian or Middle Eastern food stores or health food outlets to source the best oil.
Apricot kernel oil is not as effective as grapeseed oil when it comes to hot oil treatments on very damaged and brittle hair, but I have found it can be used more regularly than grapeseed oil for daily scalp and hair massages. It does not seem to build up or coat as much as grapeseed or castor oil with daily use but it is just as conditioning.
Apricot kernel oil mixes well with other oils and blends easily into creams and lotions. That makes it a very valuable addition to your pomades. It is light enough to use in a whip.
Apricot kernel oil is a wonderful massage oil base. Try a few drops of an EO in a tablespoon of apricot kernel oil. Put some in the palm of your hand and rub together until it warms. Now place your hands wherever it hurts. It is so quickly absorbed through the skin that pain relief and relaxation is almost instant.
I love this oil – it is one of my favourites, and a staple in my hair regimen.
A highly prized oil, this light oil is also one that has major benefits for the skin.
This nutrient-rich oil is derived from the crushing and pressing of grape seeds. It is chock full of antioxidants and oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs).Grapeseed Oil is light and is quickly absorbed and utilized by the hair, so it is a great alternative for people with sensitive skin. It can help prevent breakage and smooth the hair’s cuticle, re-balance the scalp’s sebum and encourage growth and length retention. So it has MAJOR benefits for your hair as a carrier oil for anti-dandruff remedies and conditioning mixes.
I am often asked about "natural" hair dyes and coloring.
Many compaies today are claiming to be "natural" with "organic" ingredients, this includes hair care coloring suppiers. The bottom line is, most if not all of the products you see in supermarkets contain chemicals that could be harmful to you.
This article discusses the most common ingredients, even in "natural" hair coloring products.
I want to stop relaxing. What do I do?
There are many factors to take into account when you are trying to decide if you should enroll in School 1 BIG CHOP or School 2 TRANSITION. Here is a little test you can take to see which way may be the best for you. Add up the numbers according to your answers and click on your final score below. Note that your results don't mean you HAVE to transition a certain way, it's a guide to what you may be able to do.
Is your relaxed hair damaged? (split ends, breakage, tangly, limp, rough, extra dry?)
If your relaxed hair is badly damaged, you will have to either cut it off or cover it up.
- How much time are you willing to devote to learn about styling the 2 textures?
As much as necessary (5)
A fair amount (10)
A little (15)
- How skilled are you at styling your hair ?
Very Skilled (5)
Not Skilled (20)
- For how long do you want to keep your relaxed hair?
For as long as possible (5)
For a little while (10)
Not long (15)
I don't (61)
Check Your Score------> <45 points, 46 - 60 points, > 60 points
Once you determine what the best method may be for you to transition, check out the Transition Tips and Styles articles.
See Scores Below!
Your score indicates the best path for you to follow is to cut the relaxed hair off and start your napptural journey wearing a twa (teeny weeny afro). Depending on how much new growth you have, this could mean you have as little as 1/4 inch of hair or 2 inches of hair.
There are a few ways you can do this. You can go to a professional stylist, barber, have a trusted friend help you, or you can do it yourself. Nappturality recommends you have a professional stylist do this to ensure your hair is as even as possible, but if you decide to try it yourself, there are a few rules to follow.
The scissors you use must be specifically and exclusively used for cutting hair. Don't use scissors that have been used to cut anything else. Using the wrong scissors may mean you are cutting split ends into your hair. Make sure you get off to a good start by using the correct scissors.
You must ascertain the line of demarcation. This is the line where the relaxed hair and new growth meet. To do this you must wet your hair. The two textures should be clearly visible on freshly washed hair.
Once you can see this line, you can proceed to snip the hair off, cutting slightly into the new growth.
Once you have cut your hair, treat yourself to a hot oil or deep conditioning treatment.
Take a look in the mirror and enjoy what you see. It's the real you!
Your score indicates the best path for you to follow is to transition for a short period of time. This means that you will be happiest if you can hold on to your relaxed hair for a short amount of time while working with the two textures. You probably are adept at styling your hair and are willing to learn a few more skills in order to wear longer hairstyles while transitioning.
Your transitioning may take anywhere from 2 to 6 months.
It may be an option for you to transition with braids or a weave. If you aren't a skilled stylist with your hair or if you are getting frustrated with the two textures, consider having extensions put in for a little while, giving your hair a little length before cutting off the relaxed ends. Be sure to read the section "Extension Route" for help with extensions.
Keep in mind that if your relaxed hair is severely damaged, it is recommended that you cut it off. You will not be able to manage two textures if the relaxed hair is damaged because breakage is inevitable. If this is the case, you may want to enquire about a loose weave because individual braids may put too much tension and strain on your hair, causing more damage.
You may be interested in learning how to straw set and roller set your hair. Also, flat twists and two-strand twists (extensions or natural) are options which can help the two textures of hair look similar. Check out the section on Transition Styles to learn more about styling your hair.
Your score indicates that you may be able to transition for an extended period of time. Your transitioning may take up to 12 months. Any longer than that may prove counterproductive for your napptural hair.
To transition for a long period successfully, your relaxed hair should not be over processed and/or extensively damaged. If it is, you should either cut the relaxed hair off and wear your hair at it's napptural length, or try wigs or extensions until your hair reaches a length you are comfortable with.
If you plan to work with the two textures on a Long Transition, you should be willing to learn new skills in styling and to take the time to learn. You will need patience and products to help you with the styling. If you have long relaxed hair, as your napptural hair grows you will be confronted with styling issues you will need to be prepared for.
Three important tips for long transitioning include:
- Always deep condition your hair whenever you wash it.
- Do not use heat repeatedly on the new napptural growth in order to straighten it to match the relaxed hair.
- If your hair shows signs of breakage at the line of demarcation, consider cutting the relaxed hair off early.
Go to the Transitioning Tips and Styles sections of the Forum for some help with your transition.
As a a child I can remember sitting on the kitchen floor next to our gas stove cringing as my mother pressed my "nappy" hair. There was no doubt I was going to get burned because the heat of the pressing comb caused unwavering fear that made me jump. I couldn't wait until I got old enough to get a relaxer. I was convinced all my misery would be put to rest!
35 years later I've come full circle. I am exalted by the relaxing process, dealing with thinning hair, thinking twice before swimming but most important, thinking a relaxed style would make my life easier! WOW, when I think of the # of years relaxing, it gives me goose bumps!
Wish me luck. Blessings!
When I removed braids back in May that I had been using as a transitioning method I had no idea what to do with my hair and had not yet familiarised myself with the YouTube natural channels nor read any books on black hair care.
So in my ignorance I applied a permanent black colour to cover some grey hairs and to try to get my hair to shine! I also took to using ceramic straightening tongs every day until I found the process tiresome.
But by then, just a few weeks later, the damage was already done. My hair was bone dry and some sections of my hair no longer coiled when wet but hung limply from my scalp - so I cut them off.
After conducting some online research and reading a few books I came up with a hair care regimen to nuture my hair back to optimum health and promote growth. So here is my routine. Sunday is the day I dedicate to washing my hair.
1. PRE SHAMPOO CONDITIONER
My hair is already in twists, so I undo each twist and apply a mixture of pure coconut oil and castor oil, paying special attention to the ends. When all the twists are undone I rub a little more of the mixture in my hands and massage it into my hair and scalp. I then cover with a heat retaining cap for 45 mins before rinsing out.
I use Essential Organics Moisture Infusion shampoo and lather only once.
I use Essential Organics Moisture Infusion conditioner. I section my hair, detangle with the conditioner and twist, before covering with a heat retaining cap and leaving it for 30-45 mins.
4. LEAVE-IN CONDITIONER (1)
I use a home made mixture of Aubrey Organics leave-in conditioner, aloe vera juice, castor oil and jojoba oil. I massage this into the whole head.
5. LEAVE-IN CONDITIONER (2)
I then section my hair and apply pure coconut oil mixed with a little olive oil to each section, before sealing the ends only with Shea butter and jojoba oil and twisting.
DAY TO DAY PROTECTION
I wear a satin cap when I'm at home and sleep on a satin pillowcase. If I have to go out I wear a hat with my satin cap underneath!
DAY TO DAY MOISTURE
Every morning I spray my hair and scalp with a mixture of distilled water, vegetable glycerine, aloe vera juice and a little olive oil.
CHOICE OF PRODUCTS
The reason I use coconut oil as a pre-shampoo conditioner is because it is recommended in The Science of Black Hair for its unique protection against hygral fatigue. I also use coconut oil and olive oil as a leave-in conditioner because these are the only two oils that can penetrate the hair shaft and are therefore excellent at repairing dry hair!
So far so good. My hair is looking visibly much healthier, it is soft to the touch and has a natural lusture. I don't mind keeping it twisted and wearing hats as I would rather wait until it has grown out a bit before experimenting with different styless!
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YOU WILL NEED
- 2 kg (4.4 lbs.) ripe, fresh avocado.
- Overripe is OK, underripe is not
- 1 L (4.2 cups) coconut cream
- 1 large cooking pot
- 1 large mixing bowl
- 1 large piece of cotton or muslin cloth, tightly woven
- 1 blender or food processor
- 1 wooden spoon
- 1 small, sterilized, airtight glass container, preferably dark
- Scrape the flesh off from the avocado into your blender.
- Pour the coconut cream into the blender.
- Blend the avocado/coconut cream to a smooth paste – you don’t want any chunky bits.
- Pour the paste into your cooking pot and cook slowly at low heat, stirring every 5 minutes
- Do not allow the paste to burn or scald. If it starts sticking to the sides or bottom it is burning!
- Cook the paste until all the moisture has evaporated out of it and it is firm, then remove from heat.
- Place your cloth over the mixing bowl and put the cooked mixture on top of the cloth over the bowl.
- Proceed to squeeze the ball of cooked avocado to extract the oil into the bowl. Squeeze hard to extract as much oil as possible. You can even jimmy-rig up a tourniquet of sorts using the wooden spoon if you are able.
- Pour the oil into your jar. That’s it! You have made your own avocado oil.
Believe it or not, what remains in the cloth can be used to wash dishes. Or you can put it in the garden or compost bin.
Argan oil is made from the edible part of the nuts inside the shell of the fruit of the Argan tree. The Argan tree is native to the southwestern areas of Morocco. It has gained in popularity in recent decades throughout the world because of the medical benefits of its extracted oil Moroccans have been benefiting from for generations. Indeed, Berber women have used it for centuries as a beauty treatment for skin and hair.
Naturally occurring fatty Acids make up about four fifths of the Argan oil compound. Along with Vitamin E, lipid compounds derived from fatty acids, carotenoids, polyphenoles, acids and antioxidants, Argan oil provides a myriad of benefits for cardiovascular health, high blood pressure and hypertension type ailments. It can also reduce the appearance of stretchmarks.
The benefits of Argan oil are multi-fold. It nourishes the skin, keeping it moisturized and protecting against environmental damage. It also repairs damaged skin and reduces wrinkles. When taken internally, it aids in digestion and decreases bad cholesterol absorption. When used on the hair and scalp, Argan oil strengthens and adds shine and luster without building up.
Argan oil is beneficial for people recovering from conditions which have affected the health and growth process of the hair such as alopecia and thyroid disorders. It helps improve the hair’s elasticity and smooths the cuticle.
It is not necessary to heat the Argan oil before using it on your hair. The best way to use it for intensive repair is to first, detangle your hair. Smooth a generous amount of oil on your scalp and throughout your hair, from scalp to ends. Massage gently and distribute the oil evenly. Wrap your hair in a hot towel or plastic wrap/cap with a hot towel over the top and allow to remain on your hair for at least 30 minutes. Use a gentle shampoo and wash the oil out.
You can also use a little oil on your hair and scalp daily, between washes.
So if you suffer from hairloss or damage, Argan Oil should be in your regimen.