Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Time Has Come...

Well...hello everybody! It has been a long time since I last posted anything and I wanted to come on to address my absence. First of all, let me just say that I sincerely appreciate all of you who visit the site, read, comment, and overall support Naturally Leslie. Secondly, I want you to know that if you have sent an email asking a question or making a request of some kind, you were not intentionally ignored! I simply have not been able to devote myself to blogging the way I did in the past.

Over the last few months I have been consumed with work, motherhood, and just life in general. Since the last time I posted we bought a house and moved on top of everything else that was going on. My little baby is now a cruising, babbling, days-away-from-being-a-one-year-old little boy. While it has been a whole year since his birth, to me, time has flown by and I still feel new at this mommy thing. I have found that I simply don't have the time or energy (baby just started sleeping more than 3 hours at a time like a month ago...eek!) it takes to devote to blogging. That sucks for me because I have truly enjoyed the time I spent with all of you in this virtual realm.
I also realized that while deep down I love natural hair and pretty much anything to do with it, I am also a bit bored with the whole thing. I've been natural for 12 years now and honestly I am no longer as fascinated by styles, regimens, products, etc the way I once was. Call me jaded! I totally get how a newbie or even someone a few years in can still enjoy it all but I have to say, I think I've maxed out...for now anyway!

So all in all, I want you to know that while I have not been around, I appreciate you. Your readership, your support, your patience. I am not going to be posting anything else but I wanted to come on a say good bye officially. I am going to put up an away message on my Naturally Leslie gmail account stating more or less this same thing in case people skip reading this and send me an email!
I hope you all have a wonderful journey, both with your hair and in your lives. I bump into readers all the time so please feel free to say hey if we cross paths out in the "real world", lol! I wish you all the best in your personal and/or professional endeavors and it has been a real pleasure sharing this experience with you.

Peace and lots of love!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

40+ Naturals: Meet Michel!

NL: When did you decide to go natural and what went into that decision?

I decided to stop relaxing my hair last year. I have been a curly head all of my life and have often gone long stretches without relaxing but last year, I just decided no more. My last relaxer was in October of 2010.

NL: Did you transition over time or do a big chop?

At At this point I am not going to do a big chop. My hair is almost top of armpit length. When straightened and I have about 5 inches of new growth. I plan to keep growing it out and trimming out the straightened parts gradually.

NL: What are some of your favorite products and styles?

I have a lot of favorite products. When doing research on the internet and youtube, I came across people who were using castor oil, rosemary shampoo and organic coconut oil for growth. I regularly shampoo my hair with Rosemary shampoo and condition with Matrix Biolage with rosemary and Suave Humectant conditioner. I also use Garnier Fructis leave in Conditioner along with Hawaiian Silky. Other favorites that I use are Sally’s Silk leave in, Ojon Restorative conditioner and Eco Styler with Argan oil.

NL: Describe your expectations and feelings before you made the leap to natural. How did you feel post-transition?

My expectations before going curly was that it would be more difficult to style and take care of hair. While it has not been the same and I have to put in more work into my hair, I feel it is much healthier. I can see a big difference between the diameter of my hair shaft before and after relaxing. The relaxed hair diameter is much smaller than the new growth. I feel my curly hair growing in is much stronger than the relaxed portion.

NL: What have been the reactions of family, friends, etc to the newly natural you?

The reactions that I have gotten have been pretty positive. The best one was last week when my 20 year old daughter touched my hair and said, “Mommy I love your curls.”

NL: Describe what it was like to return to work after going natural.

The reaction I have received have been fine. I substitute teach at different schools and wear my hair both curly and straight.

NL: Overall, what has been your greatest discovery about being natural?

My greatest discovery about going natural is that, I love my hair, and it’s versatility and it has the ability to grow long when taken care of properly.

NL: What advice would you give to another 40+ woman who is considering going natural?

My advice to women who are over 40 and want to go natural is to “Go For It”! It’s a great journey of discovery and love. You learn to love and accept yourself for who God created you to be-Unique and wonderful. Curly heads have the benefit of wearing their hair in so many styles and can switch up whenever they want too. It’s a great journey!

Thanks Michel!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Natural Hair: Natural Recipes

Tips for Pampering your Natural Hair !

Healthy Scalp, Healthy Locs

Nyesha Samuel, Publisher/Master Loctician

These 3 products are the perfect combination to keep your hair healthy and moisturized this season.

There are few things that will pamper African American hair like butters that include Shea butter. Shea butter is smooth and luxurious for your hair, and it will help your hair maintain a smooth and hydrated look. These are non-guilty pleasures, such as you might experience when you get a massage, a pedicure or a manicure.

Shea Butter Body

When you think about creamy hair butters, one of the first types that comes to your mind will be Shea butter. Some creams will all rehydrate your hair to some degree, but Shea butter is one of the most lavish ways to keep your hair healthy.

Shea butter helps to rehydrate your hair, and it forms a protective coating that aids in preventing loss of moisture in the winter months or in dry climates. When you add Shea butter to other ingredients that nourish your hair, they will help keep it radiant and healthy.

Hair butters are luxuriously hydrating, due to the nut and seed oils that form the basis of the blends. The oils in Shea butter creams are made by pressing the kernels or seeds of the nuts from which they are derived, and cooking the mixture that remains until the oils and fat are released.

Clarifying Shampoo

You probably have days when it seems that your hair is heavy and in a mood to misbehave. African American hair may react to exposure to pool chemicals and other outside influences, and it will be harder to comb. That's how you will know it's time to use a good clarifying shampoo.

Your hair develops a build-up of many different kinds of hair care products. Gels, mousses and hair spray, as well as mineral and hard water deposits can cause a build-up on your hair over a period of time. Even some conditioners and shampoos can make your hair feel limp, greasy and dull. Using a clarifying shampoo can help get rid of those deposits, and will make your hair shinier, and give it a new start.

As a rule of thumb, you can use clarifying shampoo once or twice a week, to help your hair rebound from everything you put it through. If you swim often, the chemicals in pool water will cause your hair to become dull and lifeless. Even if you only use small amounts of product in your hair, it can still need clarifying once a month or once every other month.

Here’s an Herbal Shampoo recipe that you can try at home;

Organic Herbal Shampoo Recipe

Two cups of distilled water
1 1/2 tsp. Soapwort root
*30 drops of essential oil
Decorative bottle

Directions for Organic Herbal Shampoo

Bring water to a boil
Add soapwort root, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and cool for an hour.
Add oil and stir thoroughly
Bottle and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

If you don't grow your own soapwort, you can find soapwort root (dried) online or at your neighborhood health food store.

*You can use a number of different essential oils, either alone or in combination to create a signature fragrance: lavender, rosemary, geranium, rose, and sandalwood are only a few.

Rosemary Hair Oil

You can create a lavish lavender and rosemary hair oil to treat your hair and bring back its lustrous look. Rosemary harbors antioxidants that will help to nourish and strengthen African American hair. Avoid buying products over the counter, because these may have synthetic ingredients rather than the natural ones that will help your hair recover from the rigors of work and play.

The best way to purchase rosemary hair oil is in a bottle with tinted coloring, because excess light can cause a breakdown in the ingredients that could result in the oil losing its effectiveness. Lavender is sometimes blended with the rosemary oil, to make an essential oil mixture that will treat your hair gently and naturally.

Below is a great Hair Oil recipe you can make at home;

*1/2 cup of dried rosemary leaves

*1/2 cup olive oil

Combine ingredients then heat up until warm. Strain. Coat the entire scalp and ends of hair with the oil mixture. Wrap hair in a plastic bag or shower cap. After that you can wrap a towel around your hair over the plastic or you can sit under a hood dryer with just the plastic wrap and no towel to aid the oil in penetrating your scalp and hair. Do either method for 15 to 20 minutes. Wash hair twice to remove the oil. Use the treatment twice a month or when your hair needs a deep conditioning.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Natural Hair: Braided Mohawk Style

Check out this style from Dominique-Alexis of

Braided Mohawk

braided mohawk

Skill level: Advanced

Turning heads and receiving compliments from all, a braided Mohawk is a hairstyle only for the daring! The key to mastering this style is using the most unique braids imaginable leading up to the curly/wavy/straight hair.

For further instructions, click here!

There are two basic ways to do this hairstyle: with extensions and without. Keep in mind that the longer the hair, the more extreme the style seems.

For this style, you need:

You get bonus points if you use curly extensions or a color different than your own in the back! Or do flat twists instead of cornrows!

braided mohawk
Natural Curly Braided Mohawk

For natural hair …part your hair in three sections, all parts going straight back. The thickness of the parts is up to you, but remember that the middle one is the one that makes up the actual Mohawk part of the hairstyle.

Click here for a curly frohawk and additional instructions!

Pin the middle section up. Start braiding your cornrows up towards the middle of your hair, secure with a rubber band when you run out of hair to add to the cornrow.

Wanna see more braid hairstyles? Click here!

Keep cornrowing and repeat on the other side for a look that is absolutely incredible! I made her hair curly by doing two-strand twists the night before, then taking them out the following morning, but this is opional.

braided mohawk
And One with Extensions Added!

For hair with extensions added …since you’re adding so much hair, part hair straight down the middle. Select the most difficult style that you can handle and start cornrowing the extensions up towards your part.

When you run out of hair which will allow your cornrows to stick to the head, tie with a rubber band and fluff the ends up. Continue until finished and repeat on other side. Now, you’re ready to rock the streets and dominate the dance floor!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

YouTubetorial: Getting a Clean Scalp

I saw the title of this video by You Tube's PrettyDimples01 and immediately wanted to share with all of you. If you're like me and struggle with some scalp issues, you probably enjoy learning as much as you can and trying new ways to keep the scalp healthy. I especially liked this video because I also wear twists a lot and do not always want to remove them to cleanse my scalp.

The original goal for the video was to be able to wash the scalp without getting the rest of her hair wet. As you'll see later on, things did not go exactly as planned however the resulting style was still beautiful. It gets pretty funny a few minutes in when you see what method she attempts to keep her twists dry while she cleanses!

Click to watch:

After all is said and done, the takeaway for me was the fact that she accomplished getting her scalp nice and clean using an easy, thorough method and simple products. Even though she ended up having to wet her hair, she was able to extend the life of her twists and achieving a new look.

Have you ever tried this method to get your scalp clean? If so, what were your results? Also what, if any, wacky methods have you tried when it comes to your hair?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Natural Hair: The US Surgeon General Explains Why Health Should Trump Hair

If you do a google search for Black women, hair and exercise, 12.5 million results pop up. There are seemingly endless blog posts, articles, and videos dedicated to the dilemma so many black women face regarding their health and hairstyles. The ability to exercise freely without the worry of ruining or sweating out a style is one of the main reasons some Black women decide to ditch the chemicals and embrace their natural texture.

I know that in this forum I am preaching to the choir and this is not new news. But, in case you are unaware of the issue, this excerpt sums up the sentiment:

According to the American Journal of Public Health, less than 30% of minority women in the united states get the right amount of exercise, one of the reasons being "The hassle of keeping their hair looking good".

"They don't want to mess it that style up once they leave that salon, because it's like look what I just did, I just sweated this out, and now I have to go back and curl it the exact way she did it," says Hair Dresser, Kendra Johnson. {excerpt credit}

It may seem like a trivial concern to people with loosely textured tresses. I can see how straighter-haired women may not understand why their kinkier-haired counterparts would sacrifice their health and fitness levels for beauty. However, for those of us with kinky and curly locs, we understand the pressures that come with attempting to be deemed socially acceptable, especially in the workplace. Even with all the advances in the natural hair movement, many women (and men for that matter) continue to face discrimination and unfair treatment due to rocking their naturally kinky, coily and curly hair.

Well according to the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin, this issue is serious and not just limited to African Americans. In a recent interview with CNN Health, Dr. Benjamin explains:

"Other ethnic groups would come up and say the same thing. I’ve heard it from Hispanics. I’ve heard it from a couple of my older white patients that I have at home. They’re saying I get my hair done every weekend- I don’t want to be exercising after I get my hair done." {excerpt}

According to Dr. Benjamin, it is as much about money as it is about looks.

"If you go out and spend $40-50 to get your hair done, you don’t want to go out and get it all sweaty and wet that afternoon before you got to show it off." {excerpt}

(Click here to read the interview in its entirety.)

While I did not get into regularly working out until a few years ago, well after going natural, I can totally relate to not wanting to mess up a fresh style. As most of us know, in addition to being expensive, often times a trip to the salon is time consuming. Time and money are precious commodities to most people I know and it is logical to not want to waste either. Now I have much more freedom with natural hair so workouts no longer phase me. (Ahem, when I am on my workout game. Currently my "game" consists of broken sleep and mommy time, lol. But I digress...)

After reading all of Dr. Benjamin's interview, I was interested in what others had to say in response and I scrolled through the comments. Uuuuugggh. Why did I do that? Sometimes I forget just how ignorant, uninformed, and down right racist people can be outside of my natural hair blogiverse. I guess one good thing always comes from it, though. Just when I think we are over-saturated with info about natural hair, my stuff included, I see we have oh so far to go to reach the masses. So many people still just don't understand Black hair and all its complexities.

Anyway, what are you thoughts on the interview? If you are relaxed/transitioning, how do you fit in both health and hair? If you're natural, have your workouts increased or stayed the same?

For some YouTube inspiration, check out this video from BeautifulBrwnBabyDol's channel. In case you don't know, she works out a lot and has many cute styles that stand up to her sweat sessions.Love her!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Natural Hair: Erykah Badu to Host Natural Hair Parade

{Image from}

The buzz around the net is that Erykah Badu will be sponsoring and hosting a natural hair parade in Dallas, Texas over the Labor Day weekend! This is a free event to celebrate natural hair and share knowledge in the process.

Some more info about the parade:

Isis Brantley, also known as the "guru of natural hair care," is celebrating 31 years of natural hair prowess and, being a spokeswoman for black ancestral culture, is throwing the "Nation's First World Natural Hair Parade And Festival" in Dallas, Texas. Read the rest here.

Do you live in the Dallas area? Would you attend a natural hair parade? If you go, send pics!


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