So…..let’s talk about this Shea Moisture Commercial

If you’ve been following my blog or you know me, then you know many of my Holy Gail products are produced by this company. You can ask almost any natural what is the first product they tried and I can almost guarantee 80% or more of them will tell you it was the Curl Enhancing Smoothie. When I first went natural and tried this product, it helped me fall in love with my curls. I know my love for this product and many others was part of why seeing this ad was so disheartening. If these were crap products, I wouldn’t care about the ad. But in sharing the sentiments of many others, the ad felt like a mockery of our complex relationship with our hair.

When Shea Moisture created the ad “Everybody Gets Love,” they stated the intent was to focus on how to turn hate into love. The intent was good, but the execution was poor. Apparently, the ad that was posted was only a snippet of the entire campaign. The ad featured women from different backgrounds and different hair types discussing their “struggles” with hair hate and how they overcame that to now embrace and love their hair. I know you saw those quotes around the word struggles.

The ad didn’t START off bad. It opened with a mixed girl with looser, curly hair saying how “people would put stuff in my hair!” But “as I got older, I learned how to do it and how to love it!” She’s legit….but the other ones…“I used to think I’m not supposed to be a redhead. So I died my hair platinum blonde for 7 years!” Ummm….ok. Then a blonde who exclaimed “I didn’t know what to do with it!” Girl, bye! So you honestly expect me to be sympathetic when your hair is the beauty standard in which all women are measured against? They have no clue what it feels like to have society tell you directly and indirectly that your hair is ugly, dirty, unacceptable, problematic, and unprofessional.

She Moisture Ad Image

After the ad caused such an uproar, the company CEO, Richelieu Dennis, issued an apology. But by then, it was too late for many angry black women consumers who completely swore them off and threated to take their money elsewhere. In the days following, he appeared on a series of interviews to continue his damage control efforts and regain customer loyalty. The particular interview I listened to was his radio interview on the Breakfast Club.

Shea Moisture Apology

He stated the ad shouldn’t have been released, because it did not go through the appropriate review process and someone at the company “dropped the ball.” But how does a company that’s been in existence for over 20 years not have a more thorough process to review and approve content before it’s released? Even a basement start-up would have a more thorough review process than that.

I believe the ad was meant to be released as-is in their attempt to capture a new audience and compete with larger brands. I understand the need for growth and sustainability in a saturated market. But one way to overcome saturation is differentiation. Remaining loyal to your core consumers and not abandoning them like many brands do during their expansion efforts will set you apart from the competition. Your core audience who built your brand shouldn’t feel like an afterthought in your growth efforts. If we brought you success, then remain loyal to us and we will likely continue driving that success.

But this recent ad doesn’t completely surprise me. Do you recall their “Break the Walls Campaign” where they were attempting to persuade companies and consumers that there no longer needed to be a segregated “Ethnic Hair Care” section? That didn’t go over well. But a discussion on that campaign could be its own separate post.

So, even though I am disappointed by the ad, I’m willing to move forward and continue to support the brand. I do love their products based on performance, quality, price point, and availability. Plus, the company is still black-owned and I do applaud their Community Commerce initiative. This initiative seeks to alleviate poverty and support female entrepreneurship in countries that source and make some of the key ingredients in their products. I believe the company has learned from this PR nightmare and will make a greater effort in the future to ensure the voice of their core audience is never lost.

So now that the dust is starting to settle, what are your feelings towards the ad and the company? Will you continue to support them?

Shea Moisture Post Selfie

 

IBS: Diagnosis to Victory, Part III

If you’ve been following my journey, then you know from my March update that I started working with a Nutritionist. Even though I purchased The Complete Low-FODMAP Diet book, and it has been helpful, I wanted the guidance of a professional to help me through the elimination phase. I wanted some type of guidance with regards to where to begin and how long the elimination phase should last before I start re-introducing certain foods. She stated the elimination phase varies per person. For some it could take six weeks for their symptoms to improve; while for others it could take up to a year (Fix it, Jesus!).

At her recommendation, and the recommendation of the GI doctor I spoke with last year, I stopped drinking coffee at the end of March. This actually wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. I realized most of the time, I was drinking coffee to keep warm (#TeamAnemia). So instead I drink hot water and lemon which seems to satisfy my need.

Most of the research I found regarding caffeine and IBS is that it is primarily a trigger for those with IBS-D (diarrhea) since coffee is a stimulant and can make the digestive tract work faster causing lose stool. I haven’t seen much in relation to IBS with constipation. However, I have noticed my movements are starting to become more regular (insert happy dance!). I’m thinking there is a correlation between coffee and my digestive system because when I would drink coffee, I noticed my stomach would make loud gurgling noises. That should have been my signal to stop drinking coffee, but, what can I say? I’m just stubborn like that!

Second Nutritionist Visit

On m second visit, she suggested I finish dinner 1-2 hours before bedtime, because when you lie down it makes it more difficult for your body to properly digest your food.

She gave me a list of probiotic foods, such as Kefir, Kimchi, Sauerkraut, or Yogurt with live active cultures. I probably won’t try yogurt since I had flatulence last time I tried yogurt. Probiotic foods can help improve digestive health. I just need to get over the strong smell of Kimchi!

She provided meal and snack Ideas. Some of the meal combinations I currently eat and some of the other suggestions seem appetizing! But, eating at home isn’t the challenge. What honestly causes me the most anxiety is when I eat away from home, because I can’t be certain how the food is prepared. I feel bad (although I shouldn’t) because I have to ask questions or request that certain foods be removed from the dish so I don’t experience IBS symptoms.

With that said, I have had some pretty good dining out experiences. I don’t eat out much, even before I started the elimination diet. When I have dined out, I tried to order from the Gluten Free Menu options. But….there were times when I assumed something was gluten free or safe to eat and that proved to be the wrong assumption. So I learned the hard way to never assume, ALWAYS ask!!

In addition to dietary changes, there are some medications and supplements that I began taking. The first being Dicyclomine, which helps reduce gas, bloating, and constipation. Magnesium, which is a natural muscle relaxer. The colon is a muscle, so if the muscle is more relaxed that will promote regularity. And I must say that an added benefit is that I have experienced AMAZING sleep since taking magnesium! So if you have challenges with getting better sleep, then definitely try this and you will be lights out!! I also take Miralax, which is a laxative and we all know what those do. Lastly, I take digestive enzymes to help me better digest my foods.

From my research, what was consistent is that it would take a combination of dietary changes and medications/supplements to help improve my symptoms.

After my March Nutritionist visit, she told me I don’t need to see her again unless I started feeling worse or until my symptoms have cleared up and I am ready for the re-introduction phase. Bring on the avocados! Lol

As sweet as she is, she doesn’t appear to be a specialist for this particular diet. Our visits were short (less than 30 minutes) and she didn’t provide a customized meal plan, which I was expecting to receive. She provided documents to me that were more generic. So I will continue to monitor my progress, try to adhere to the list of foods to avoid, read labels, research, take my medications/supplements, and seek help from various Facebook groups.

So, like Dori I’ll “just keep swimming!” 🙂

 

 

Moisture Love Hydration Collection Product Review

I am such a creature of habit, so once I find products my hair loves, I tend to stick with those. But lately I’ve been challenging myself to step out of the box and try new products from different brands. I know that keeping up with all the different natural hair brands can be overwhelming. I feel like there’s a new company emerging every day! To help me determine which brands to try, I look for companies that are black-owned and if they are owned by a black woman, then even better! I also look at the quality of the ingredients. I try to use products that don’t contain silicones, sulphates, mineral oil, parabens, or a laundry list of ingredients I can’t pronounce. So I was excited to learn that Moisture Love was a product line that fit those criteria! They have a signature collection that is devoted to maximum hydration. We curly girls definitely need all the moisture we can get to keep our curls healthy, defined and selfie worthy! J

So, if you want to follow along with me on wash day and see my results, then just keep reading!

 

Before washing
Pre-Wash Hair

 

Product: Gentle Embrace Hydration Shampoo

Key ingredients: Distilled water, soy protein, and sugar extract

The shampoo had a very thin watery consistency, but actually lathered up very well. It was gentle, yet effective at cleansing the product build up from my curls since I may or may not have needed to wash my hair the week prior. I see you judging me! This shampoo also had some slip to it which was nice since most shampoos don’t offer much assistance with detangling. Even though the shampoo contains protein, I didn’t notice that it made my hair stiff at all. The only con I have with the shampoo is the packaging. Due to its consistency, it would have been easier to apply the product to my scalp if it had an applicator tip.

Product: Deep Indulgence Replenishing Conditioner

Key ingredients: Purified water and tons of extracts, oils, and butter! Some of which include horsetail, nettle, lavender, rosemary, sage, chamomile, avocado oil, castor oil, argan oil, and cocoa butter

I only highlighted some of the ingredients. But this rinse out conditioner is jam packed with goodness! It was a great complement to the shampoo. It made my hair soft and also helped me detangle. I normally deep condition my hair instead of using a rinse out conditioner. But this product performed like a deep conditioner in that my hair felt the same way it typically feels after using a deep conditioner. So it was still very moisturizing and left my hair soft.

Product: Kindred Spirits Moisture & Style Cream

Key ingredients: Aloe vera juice, shea butter, cocoa butter, jojoba oil, and coconut oil

My hair LOVES aloe and coconut oil, so I knew I was in for a treat! Before I applied this product, I used some of the replenishing conditioner as a leave in conditioner. This styler was thick and creamy like a custard. I look for thick creams since I have thick hair and need a product that will keep my hair moisturized for several days. When a styler is thick, I notice that it aids in both moisture retention and curl definition.

Product: Seal with a Kiss Finishing Oil

Key ingredients: Marshmallow and horsetail with their proprietary blend of oils: avocado, argan, macadamia, castor, and rice bran

I used the finishing oil last to seal in the moisture and add shine after my hair was twisted. I applied it to my scalp as well. Adding this finishing touch left my twists all plump and juicy looking!

 

Finishing oil
All done!

 

 

After twisting my hair, I slept on my satin pillow case. If you don’t have a satin pillow case, you really need one in your life! Sleeping on a satin pillow case allows my hair time to dry overnight, reduces frizz and prevents dryness.

In the morning, I carefully removed my twists to prevent frizz. Then I separated and fluffed my hair to my liking. My wash and style experience was great! My hair was clean, shiny, moisturized, defined, and my curls were buttery soft! I think one of the reasons why my hair turned out so well was because I used the entire product line from start to finish. Companies create products that are meant to complement one another when used together. And did I mention all of the products smelled like butterscotch?! I’m a sucker for sweet smelling products.

If you would love to pamper your tresses with this collection, then click the link below! Trust me, your curls will be happy!

And a HUGE “Thank You!” to Moisture Love for the opportunity to review their collection and share my results with all of you!

https://www.moisturelove.com/

@moisturelove on Instagram & Facebook

Style

 

 

 

“It’s My Hair” TAG

It's my hair tag blog post pictureHello, curlies!! I came across this natural hair tag on YouTube, so I thought it would be fun to answer these same questions here on my blog! If you end up doing the tag, then let me know so I can read it!

Here we go!

Q. Why did you start your hair journey?

I was tired of my hair breaking off. My hair kept getting shorter and shorter without me even cutting it. It was so damaged from relaxers, permanent color, and constant flat ironing that I knew I needed to make some changes quickly if I wanted the long, healthy hair I once had

Q. How long have you been on your hair journey?

I’ve been natural since November 2009. That was my last relaxer

Q. Are you natural, relaxed or transitioning?

Natural, duh! Lol. But I did transition instead of doing the big chop. I was too scared to chop off so much hair at one time. My face is too round for only 1-2 inches of hair

Q. What is your length right now?

Hip length

Q. What is your goal length?

Tail bone length or as long as it will grow and still be healthy

Q. What is your hair texture?

Like most naturals, I have more than one hair type going on! The back is 4a while the front and sides have some 3c mixed in

Q. Health or Length?

Health, always. There is no point in having long hair if the ends are split and un-healthy

Q. If you could only live with one hair product what would it be?

Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Leave-in Conditioner. This product is amazing! It’s lightweight, but packs a punch. It defines my curls like no other and keeps my hair moisturized for several days

Q. What’s the worst product you’ve ever used?

Elasta QP Anti-Breakage Leave-In Conditioner, Olive Oil & Mango Butter. I was surprised by how much this product dried my hair out! The ingredient list is pretty good. I don’t believe its curly girl friendly, but the less desirable ingredients were listed toward the bottom of the ingredient list, so I assumed the product would still work well for me. I also saw a lot of people online rave about it, plus it was buy one, get one fee. So I thought I came across my new holy grail, but I was wrong

Q. What is your “go to” hair style?

A bun! I’m a self-proclaimed “lazy natural.” I don’t know how ladies can rock a fresh twist-out every day. I need something that is quick, chic, and convenient

Q.Are you a product junkie?

Nope. It’s tempting, but the way my bills are set-up….I just can’t. I like trying new things, but I try to only incorporate one new product at a time

Q. How often do you trim your hair?

I don’t trim on a set schedule. I just trim on an as-needed basis. If I were to create a schedule, I wouldn’t trim more than 4 times per year. But, by all means, do what works for you

Q. How often do you use heat?

Almost never. I know this attributes to how long I’ve been able to grow my hair. I think the last time I flat-ironed my hair was in 2010. I used to diffuse my hair on wash day. But now I just allow my hair to air dry

Q. Do you take hair supplements?

Not at this time, but I would not be opposed to it to help me reach my goal of tailbone length

Q. Favorite oil?

Hands down it would be coconut. Coconut oil has made my hair stronger and it has molecules small enough to penetrate the hair shaft and improve the health of your hair

Q. Who is your hair crush?

Naptural85. She’s amazing and I have probably watched all of her videos. I like her personality, video quality, plus her hair type is very similar to mine. I use her videos to help me with product suggestions and different techniques. She’s also the queen of DIY

Q. How long does it take you on a wash day?

Are you coming to help me?! Lol. Just kidding. I am not sure. I don’t time myself. My wash day time varies depending on how long I choose to deep conditioner my hair. I like to deep conditioner for an hour, but sometimes I want to finish wash day sooner so I will only deep condition for 15-30 minutes

Q. Worst thing that has happened to your hair?

Constant heat styling without using heat protectant, and of course, relaxers

Q. Do you dye your hair? If so, what color?

Yes, I dye it black. I used to color my hair often when I was relaxed. I used to have blonde streaks. Then I was a red head for a while. But I like how black looks on me. It makes my hair look shiny!

Q. Do you co-wash or shampoo?

It depends on my hair. If I have a lot of product build up or if I just colored my hair, I prefer to use shampoo to thoroughly cleanse it. Otherwise, I co-wash and that works just fine to clean my scalp and hair

Hopefully me answering these questions helped you learn more about me and also helped you along your own journey! Don’t forget to tag me in your post or video!

And if you haven’t done so already, please subscribe to my blog for more natural hair and wellness information!

IBS: Diagnosis to Victory, Part II

I created my first blog post about my diagnosis in October 2016. It’s been a few months since then, so I wanted to update you all on how I am feeling these days and ways I am trying to manage my symptoms.

As of today, February 20th, I am feeling pretty good. I am still experiencing symptoms of distension and constipation. The gas hasn’t been nearly as frequent. So some of the changes I’ve made are working. But I still have work to do if I want to get closer to feeling like the old me. If you notice, I didn’t mention bloating. That is because, while reading up this condition, there is a difference between bloating and distension. Bloating is the feeling of increased of pressure in the abdomen. While distension is a measurable change in the circumference of the abdomen.

The most recent change I made is trying to adhere to a gluten free diet. I had no idea it would be this difficult. It seems like it’s in everything! So now, I am training my mind to be a label reader again. I say again, because when I was losing weight, I was reading labels and looking at the calories, sugar, and macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat). Now I have to train my mind to read the label to make sure it says “Gluten Free” or read the back to see if it says “contains wheat.” Gluten is the main protein in wheat, rye, and barley.  I can definitely tell that eating wheat does not agree with me. I noticed my symptoms were triggered when I ate wheat. I just refused to believe that all of a sudden I couldn’t digest wheat properly. I had been eating it my whole like. Like, I grew up on Wonder Bread! But I do recall a rather thought provoking quote that stated something like “are we allergic to food? Or are we allergic to what’s been done to it?” I don’t believe I am allergic since I don’t experience any external symptoms when I consume it. But I definitely feel it internally. The quote makes sense because if you think about how a piece of wheat looks and then consider what process wheat has to go through to be turned into products like bread and pasta, it makes you wonder what they are either adding or removing during the production process that makes the end product difficult to digest.

As mentioned in my first IBS post, it is recommended that I follow a Low-FODMAP diet, which is an elimination diet. So removing foods from my diet that can trigger IBS symptoms and then re-introducing some items back into my diet. To help me better understand what is happening in my body, I purchased “The Complete Low-FODMAP Diet” book written by Sue Shepherd, PhD and Peter Gibson, MD. This book also contains recipes you can eat during the elimination phase. I haven’t finished the book yet or tried any of the recipes thus far, but I plan to do so in the future. For now, I am using recipes I already have and then trying to modify them to fit the diet.

To also help me with the elimination diet, I decided to visit a Nutritionist for support. I just didn’t feel comfortable going through this process without medical supervision. I visited her towards the end of February and have a follow-up appointment with her at the end of March. She also gave me background information on the condition and a list of foods to avoid. Some of the foods I don’t eat often, so I’m not bothered that I have to eliminate them. But there are some foods that I love, such as watermelon, avocado, mushrooms, cashews, blackberries, mangos, honey and peaches. Just typing them out hurts my soul!!  But I have to consider the bigger picture, which is identifying my trigger foods and working towards managing my condition. I should also instead focus on all the foods I can still eat.

I am going to do my best to stay positive because I know my situation could be worse. Even though there is no cure for IBS, I am thankful there are ways to manage the condition to the point where I can feel like I’m cured. I also know this experience is bigger than me. There is someone else dealing with this condition who may feel hopeless, but perhaps after watching my journey, they will be encouraged to keep going!

Low-FODMAP Diet Click here to see a list of foods that are part of the diet.

Natural Hair Do Over! – 6 Things I would do Differently

Hindsight is always 20/20. With any journey, we have moments of reflection where we consider what we would do differently if we had the chance to do it over. This doesn’t mean I have regrets, but there are some things that If I knew then what I know now, I would take a different approach to my natural hair journey.

Subscribing to YouTuber’s who don’t have the same hair type – Now don’t get me wrong. I think you can still benefit from subscribing to a diverse group of naturals. But mainly subscribing to YouTuber’s with type 2 or type 3 hair and you have type 4 hair could cause you to have unrealistic expectations about your own hair. If you try to follow their same techniques and product suggestions you may end up disappointed when you don’t achieve the same results. There were some popular YouTuber’s whose names I kept hearing, so I figured it would be a good idea to subscribe to them. I subscribed to some YouTuber’s with fine, 2C/3A hair when I have thick 3C/4A hair. So when they were combing their hair with a fine tooth comb….ummmmm. I knew that would not work for my lion’s mane unless I wanted to snatch out clumps of hair! So, I started following more people like Naptural85 whose hair is similar to mine in terms of hair type, length, and thickness. There were parts of her regimen and some of her products suggestions that I would use that were very effective. But if they did not work as well for me, it was easy for me to make tweaks since I had that foundation.

Dry Detangling– Some naturals swear by this technique. I kept trying to make it work for me. But on wash day, I would lose way too much hair! My bathroom looked like the floor of a hair salon at the end of a busy Saturday. I knew if I kept doing this, I would not reach my healthy hair goals. So I searched for other techniques and tools and discovered detangling on wet hair instead. I understand the logic behind some people dry detangling, because hair is weakest when it is wet. But with the proper technique, tools, and a little more patience, you can minimize breakage during this process of wet detangling.

Being Influenced by Fancy Marketing – Some companies have more aggressive marketing and spend more money to capture our attention with fancy graphics and slogans. Don’t fall for the hype! Just because you don’t see heavy marketing from a company doesn’t mean their products are any less effective. Your Holy Grail may come from a company most people have never even heard of. Instead of being influenced by marketing, I would encourage you to peruse your local beauty supply store or drug store. Find products that can actually deliver beyond the product claims on the front of the label. Validate any claims based on the back of the label. Check the ingredient list. You may get my attention by telling me a product has coconut oil in it, but if it’s hidden amongst the laundry list of other ingredients, then I am less likely to benefit from it.

Not Accepting that Trial and Error is Part of the Journey – Confession. I am impatient. I want things to work the first time and I get frustrated when that doesn’t happen. When I first tried braid outs, they came out pretty blah. So I started doing twist outs instead since they were easier and my hair turned out better. But one of the many benefits of natural hair are the different styling options. I believe that almost any style can work for any hair type. Some styles may take more trial and error for us to achieve our desired results. So the key is to keep trying until the style works out for you. Now I switch between braid outs and twist outs based on the look I’m going for. Now, if I could get Bantu Knots down, that would be great! Lol

Feeling The Need to Straighten My Hair – I am not anti-heat, but people will tell you that you need to straighten your hair to trim it or to do a length check. Nope! You don’t need to. I have not flat ironed my hair since maybe 2010. If I want to trim my hair, I comb it out, use some high quality shears and trim what needs to be trimmed. If I want to see my hair’s length, I just pull it down. I like keeping things simple when I can!

Wearing My Hair Out Every Day – I know you want to show people what cha got! But exposing your hair every day to the elements and the friction against your clothing could lead to dryness and breakage. I was proud that I was embracing my natural hair and wanted people to get to know this new part of me. But I have way too much hair to wear it out every day. For me, it would take more time to get ready in the morning and I would go through way more product just to keep my hair moisturized. So during the week, I wear a bun, twists, or a roll tuck n pin style. I save my braid outs, twist outs, and occasional wash and go’s for the weekends.

I’m thankful for these lessons, but if I could go back in time, knowing this information would have saved me a little time, money and energy.  So my hope is this information helps you along the way. You don’t have to believe and do everything you see. Be inspired, but also be flexible and know there is not just one way to achieve healthy, natural hair.

So let’s talk! What are some things you learned after going natural that you would go back and change if you could?

natural-hair-do-over-post-picture

Getting Back on Track After the Holiday’s

One of the many pleasures from the holiday season was eating yummy food!! One of which was cookies J I had sooooo many cookies! As in…. RIP to ALL the cookies I devoured!!  But, going into the new year, my body definitely let me know I ate in a way it was not accustomed to. I started to beat myself up over it and feel like I failed in promoting a healthy lifestyle. I had to avoid my first instinct which was to be more restrictive with my food choices. But in reality, that wasn’t a solution since that would be a form of punishment. It would be like telling myself “since you over-indulged, you’re in trouble now and you have to make up for it!” When we allow our minds to travel down that path, we we’re setting ourselves up for a vicious cycle of over-eat, repent, under-eat, then the cycle repeats itself. So I decided to push forward and go back to what I was familiar with. I try to practice a lifestyle where I can eat what I enjoy, but in moderation. There is no one size fits all definition of moderation. Moderation looks different for everyone. The main point in practicing moderation is knowing you can have what you want; just not all of it, all the time. We are human and it is OK to enjoy life!

My typical lifestyle choices include drinking plenty of water – usually a gallon a day. Practicing portion control by using a food scale, measuring cups and measuring spoons. Eating clean, whole foods in the form of lean protein, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. I also use MyFitnessPal daily to track my water, meals, and workouts. So the remedy wasn’t to go to the opposite end of the spectrum; but to get back in balance. Get back in touch with myself and my goals. To love myself and give my body what it needs to be healthy to support my goals.

None of us are perfect and we all make choices we aren’t pleased with, but the point is to be kind to yourself and re-focus. You cannot change the past. You can only propel forward and use the past as a lesson. So, yes, when the holiday’s roll around again this year, I plan to enjoy myself. But just be more mindful about what I am eating and how my body will respond.

I am sure I am not the only who needed a fresh start and a system re-set. So I created a 90 Day Wellness Challenge called The Comeback Season! This group will offer support, community, and accountability!! There will be weekly meal plans, weekly workout video’s that can be followed at home or in the gym. There will be live Q & A’s each week led group leaders where you can also receive product information. The group will be facilitated by a certified holistic health coach, a certified personal trainer, and wellness consultants, such as myself.  This is an exclusive VIP Facebook community for people who seriously want change and most importantly, RESULTS!! If you’re interested, we would love to have you! You may email me at sajenkins@live.com. In the Subject Line, please put “The Comeback Season” so I can provide you with more information. This challenge is not a diet, but a foundation you can use to build a healthy lifestyle. Diets are temporary; quick fixes. But, when you make lifestyle changes, you are making changes that are sustainable for you.

Happy New Year!! ( I think I have until January 31st to keep saying that, right?! Lol)