Saturday, August 3, 2013

I'm Back!

Hello Beautiful!

I can't even begin to tell you what's been going on in my life! I will say that life's been keeping me quite busy these days, so I haven't made an entry in a while. However, I've been adjusting my schedule and I am starting to see light at the end of the tunnel! Other than booking tons of photography business (yes, I'm a photographer :-) ) and transitioning from corporate America, I bought a townhouse, and I've been planning an event. It will be an event that celebrates, adores, elevates, appreciates, and promotes loving your God-given tresses. We'll eat, socialize, network, have Q & A, and have a GREAT time! Find out more about it here!

Stay tuned for the next post! xo

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hair Q&A

Q:  Hi, I wanted to get some transitioning tips. I have come into my 5 month mark and managing the extremely different textures are becoming more challenging. Do you think that transitioning is worth it if I "may" never wear my hair in it's natural state?

E. Lytch

A: Well that depends. If you transition, but "may" not ever wear your hair in it's natural state you  could be putting unnecessary stress on your hair. Be clear why you're transitioning so you can have a plan and also get the best products. Are you afraid/not ready to "big chop"? Do you fear the change? Are you gathering more information on how to properly care for it? OR even If you transition, but still plan to wear it straight, make sure to keep your hair moisturized with a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner that works for you. Invest in the proper styling tools (i.e. blow dryer and ceramic flat iron) and products (setting lotion). Never, ever straighten your hair with oil in it, as it could fry your hair. Use it after you style...Just know that you'd risk getting heat damage, and if you ever decide you want to wear your hair curly/coily/kinky after so much straightening, it may not give you the texture you're seeking.

On the flip side, until you decide you want to eventually cut off your relaxer, try curly styles that last weeks at a time to blend the two textures. A few of the most popular choices are straw sets, roller sets using smaller flexi rods, flat twists, or feed-in (undetectable) cornrows with kanekalon braiding hair, and kinky twists. Try to avoid styles that cause too much tension, because that can lead to breakage---especially where the two textures meet. My first time natural, I was not patient and ended up re-relaxing my hair. So by all means, please be patient and learn what works best for you.

Tip: Pre-treating hair with virgin coconut oil and conditioner prior to shampooing will make your hair soooo much more manageable.


Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Pre-Treatment Recipe

Carol's Daughter is sponsoring  "Mixtress of the Month" on NaturallyCurly.com. I submitted a homemade pre-treatment recipe and I was the winner for the month of November. This is seriously creamy, delectable goodness for your hair. It's the new "Creamy Crack"!  I'll post the recipe, but you'll find the actual entry here.

173-the-creamy-supreme-conditioner-prepoo-conditioner.jpg
Ingredients:          


1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt
2 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil (at room temp)
1 tablespoon of raw honey


Mix ingredients very well. Apply generously to hair prior to shampooing. Cover with a processing/plastic cap and leave on for 30-45 minutes. Rinse thoroughly, shampoo, condition, and style! 

(Depending on hair texture, you can use this as an after shampoo conditioner...Finer textures may not tolerate the heaviness.)



The high content of protein from the greek yogurt, quality fat in the virgin coconut oil, the humectant properties of the honey make this pre-treatment conditioner one of my favorite recipes. Makes my hair feel like silk! I hope you love it too.



Each month a new mixtress wins $50 in Carol's Daughter products, so you should definitely enter your own favorite homemade recipe for a chance to win while there's still time.  ;-)

As always...Much love, joy, peace, and happiness to you! 

Monday, December 12, 2011

ALTERNATIVE BREAST CARE


Image from masterfile.com

It was Spring Break, 1996 and I was lying in my bed staring at the ceiling with my hands clasped behind my head. It felt great to have a break from the demands of the 11th grade. My mom walked in my room to let me know she was on her way to work. "Make sure you clean the kitchen and the bathroom before you go to your dad's...oh! and since your cycle started, you need to do your monthly self-breast exam," she said as she left the room. "Ok ma. Love you." Ugh! I hated those self-breast exams.

So as I was cleaning the bathroom, I got a glimpse of a decal hanging from the shower fixture. Of course, it was a diagram of a woman's breasts with arrows on them drawn in a circular direction. Her arm was raised above her head, and it listed directions on how to examine your own breasts. Being that my mother worked in a gynecologist's office she had access to these things everyday. I was a year away from being 18 and was not sexually active, so I had not started having pap smears or pelvic exams yet. I had actually learned how to do them initially reading Essence magazine along with advice from my mother. It was now time to shower and get dressed. This particular day, I had butterflies when it was time to do the exam. Reluctantly, I got in the shower and began my self-exam. Left breast: Nothing (whew!), or so I thought. The right side was a different story. On the outer edge near my armpit, I found a lump to match the lump that had just popped up in my throat! I can't begin to describe the roller coaster on which my heart dropped and the panic that came over me. Although I have always been the "glass-is-half-full" type, being uneducated about breast lumps at 17 led me to automatically assumed the worst.

Being that my dad was the most even tempered when it came to things like this, I told him first. That same day, he took me to see a gynecologist. She examined me, looked in my eyes, and gave me a comforting smile.

"You have lumpy breasts young lady, " she said.
"Ummm, okay. So what does that mean?" I asked.
"Give me your hand, feel this (referring to the lump I'd found). You see how this lump is hard and rolls around like a marble?"
"Yes," I said.
"Is it tender?"
"Yes," I answered.
"All of these variables are ruling out cancer. Usually, cancer isn't tender to the touch and it doesn't roll around like marbles. It's usually attached to the surrounding tissue and doesn't move. I'm almost positive you just have fibrocystic breasts, but to be sure I'd like to schedule a breast biopsy for you...By the way, you have a total of four. Two in each breast."
(Staring) "FOUR!? What causes them?" I asked.
"Other than hormonal changes, no one really knows for sure. All I can tell you is make sure you dramatically decrease or eliminate caffeine from your diet, and be sure you're receiving the best nutrition possible."

At 17? Yeah right! A few weeks later I had a biopsy. Unfortunately it was done surgically instead of through a needle. The surgery left an inch and a half scar on the outer edge of my right breast and inch and a half scar on the edge of the bottom of the areola on the left (can't even see that one). Ironically, the big lump I found on the right side had dissolved by the time I had my surgery, but the others had not. Soon after, the test results were in. Fibrocystic Ademona  (Fibroadenoma) was the diagnosis. Studies show that Fibrocystic Ademona is not cancerous, but high quantities or frequencies can increase the risk of breast cancer. That was the start of it. I was advised to have annual mammograms at an early age to keep an eye on them, as they can grow back.

Fast forward 15 years later to November 30, 2011. In a recent mammogram and ultra sound, Fibrocystic Adenoma nodules showed their ugly faces again in the right breast. Another biopsy will tell for sure...through needle this time. No more going under the knife. I found out that it could've been done via needle the first time too!!!! Humph! A friend of mine, who's a physician, once stated that everyone's body [naturally] reacts differently to stressful situations, harmful environments, etc. Some people gain weight, some break out (with whatever), some become easily suseptible to colds/flu, some people GROW things inside their bodies--be it cancer, tumors, endometriosis, etc.! WOW! This time around I am much better equipped to eradicate the situation. Knowing that I can control the environment in my body, I've become more serious about incorporating more wholistic nutrition, consistent physical activity, daily meditation, and other alternative treatments/preventative care. I'm on a raging path to being rid of them forever!!!! A healthy body lights fire to the immune system, and makes it nearly impossible for ANY illness to adhere to it, even if you're exposed.               

All of this has inspired me to research the origin of cysts, fibroids, and fibrocysts (and the like) in women---especially black women---and how we can use alternative treatments and preventative measures to keep them at bay. Ta ta for now.

Much Love, Joy, Peace & Excellent Health to you! <3

Sunday, November 20, 2011

CurlTalk Q & A: Becoming More Involved

Q: Hi Ebony.

This might be somewhat of a personal question, but I thought I'd take a chance and ask. The worst you could tell me is it's none of my business. Why aren't you more involved in the natural hair community? I mean, you obviously have been successful in your journey. I've seen some of the feedback you've received after being featured or interviewed on different natural hair sites. Most people were pleasant, but some were very hostile and I hope the hostility you received from some of the readers didn't put you off. Others could really benefit from your experience, dos and don'ts, styles and what have you.  I've been an admirer of yours ever since you started posting on Fotki a few years ago. I noticed that you only have only about two or three videos on YouTube. Do you plan to make more? I know I'm all over the place. I don't mean any harm, just would like to see more from you.

Olivia B.

Ebony C.

A: Hi Olivia,

First, thank you for supporting me and being in my corner.  I am asked that question quite often, but never in depth. As far as the hostility goes, that doesn't move me. I realize people are going to be who they are. However, I've made the mistake of posing a certain topic on a natural hair forum before, thinking I was kicking my feet up at home "sharing" in the midst of family, but quickly realized that not everyone will embrace you as such. My mother always told me that people will always find a reason to have a problem with you or crucify you..."They did it to Jesus, and HE was actually perfect," is what she'd say. Although the division between us turns my stomach, it's inevitable. There's always going to be some type of negativity in forums unless the moderators/administrators "don't play that."  I'm a very laid back person and negativity and foolishness are natural repellents for me. I guess you could say I'm allergic. LOL! Rest assured that no one is responsible for my lack of involvement...All jokes aside, I do become involved here and there, especially when someone asks me for advice or guidance. As for YouTube, I can be a bit shy on camera...unless it's a still photo. It also takes a lot for me to make a video because I do absolutely nothing to my hair other than twists, twist outs, and flat ironing. I'm trying hard to find other  styles that appeal to me, but haven't been successful yet. I'm still working on it. Thank you for being so patient with me thus far. I'd love it if you'd continue to be. I hope I've answered your question. Much love, joy, peace, and happiness. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Shampoo and Condition by Number? No Thanks!

The number one question I am asked on a regular basis is, "How long have you been natural?" It's runner up is, "What's your hair type?" Many people with textured hair rely on the highly popular hair-typing system, but I do not find it reliable when is comes to determining how to care for one's hair. For example, my hair (just looking at it) might be considered 4a in some areas and 3c in others...at least that's my short answer to the hair type question. A good friend of mine has a curl pattern almost identical to mine in appearance, but if you touch our hair you will find that hers is coarser and mine feels more spongy. What works for her hair does not work for mine and vice versa. Just because you share a similar or seemingly identical curl pattern with a curl friend, it does not mean that you use the same products or follow the same regimen. Honestly, I do not use the system for anything other than describing the APPEARANCE of someone's hair texture, or lack, thereof.

TO ME, the best way to determine how to care for one's hair is to take three important factors into consideration. Other than climate/season etc., my top three are: texture, density, and porosity.


http://www.thetech.org/genetics/ask.php?id=107
Texture usually refers to the shape and diameter (or size) of each hair follicle. Our hair texture can range anywhere from pin-straight to extremely curly. Follicles that are round in cross-section give rise to straight hair. Those out of which wavy and curly hair grows are oval. Very tightly coiled hair is due to the nearly flat, ribbon-like structure of the follicles. The size of the follicles determines if the individual hair strands are coarse/thick, medium, or fine/thin. Large follicles produce coarse/thick hairs. Small follicles produce fine/thin hairs. It is that simple! Equally important to our individual hairs' thickness, the number of follicles on our scalp determines the actual number of hairs crowning our head.

Density refers to how MUCH of that hair you have on your head.  Lots of hairs, whether individually thick or thin, equal thick hair. Sparse hair equals thin hair, even if the individual hairs themselves are thick. On average, our heads are covered with over 100,000 follicles.  Our hair thickness results from a combination of both the size of the follicles themselves and how many of them line our scalp. 


Porosity is the measure of the hair's ability to absorb moisture. This is determined by the condition of the hair's cuticle layer and is rated low, normal, or high. In normal, healthy hair, the cuticle is compact and inhibits the penetration of excess moisture into and out of the hair shaft. When the cuticle is overly compact and prevents the penetration of moisture, it has low porosity. Product and chemical absorption is dependent on porosity as well.  Be highly cautious if applying chemicals (i.e. color), especially if your hair is highly porous. The chemicals are likely to "take" faster than usual and the hair can be over-processed and damaged very quickly. Just as fast as highly porous hair absorbs moisture, it releases just as fast. On the contrary, hair with low porosity can be difficult to relax, perm, or color. Suburbanbushbabe gives a wonderful explanation of porosity on Curly Nikki's site. You can read about it here.

In short, you can have a head full of thin, curly hairs with normal porosity or very few thick strands of wavy hair that's highly porous...the combinations are endless. As you can see, there is so much more to it than "shampoo and condition by number". Stamping a number/letter combination on it, puts your hair in a box. You must take into consideration texture, density, and porosity. Coarse, dry, damaged hair will always need more intense conditioning whether the hair is straight, wavy, coily, or curly. Fine, dry, damaged hair, whether straight or curly will also need an intense conditioning---just not the same kind as it's coarser haired friends. As with everything, it varies from person to person. THESE are the factors that determine what products and regimens work best on YOUR hair. To ensure optimum hair care, please take the time to know your hair's characteristics.

Much love, joy, peace, and happiness!







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