Queen Crowned in Curls

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Circa Christmas time 1996 when big hair was always a part of me.

Growing up, I despised my big, curly hair. I had so much hair and no one in my family really has hair like me. No one knew how to take care of it, so I pretty much gave up on dealing with it myself. I’ve spent countless hours sitting on the floor between my mother’s legs while she detangled my hair and during my summers in Puerto Rico, it would be my grandmother dealing with my tresses. After spending an entire afternoon in the pool, she came across a huge knot in the back of my head. Tempted to cut it off, my abuelita drove me to a salon on the island and at just 7 years old, I got my first perm. Since then, I permed my hair every 6 months like clockwork.

I loved the idea that this “treatment” would make my kinks straight. At such a young age, I associated straight hair with beauty. People would tease me about my hair, saying that it resembles a brillo pad or a bush. Latinos, even the women doing my hair would say that I had “pelo malo” (bad hair). Then I would have older Caribbean women tell me how much they wished to have hair like mine. At the time I had no idea why anyone would want my kinks and curls. While I was trying to get rid of them, women were striving for them.

For years, my hair was never growing, never shiny, always begging for moisture and still I strived for straight hair. I never left my house without my hair being bone straight and absolutely refused anyone to see my hair in its natural state. My curls weren’t curls anymore, but I didn’t care. I felt beautiful with my straight hair.

It took me a long time to fully understand the damage these perms were actually doing to my hair. Today I would say that I was in denial about this treatment. By my sophomore year of college, I’ve decided to stop perming my hair but refused to give up the heat! I was still using my flat iron every single day, making sure there were no curls in sight.

I’m not entirely sure why I decided to ditch my flat iron, other than the fact that summer time was approaching and straightening my hair would be pointless with all the humidity in NYC. I went the entire Summer Sixteen without straightening my hair. Just with that, I noticed some length and my curls slowly coming back. I tested out products that my hair loved and products that my hair hated.

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There was a lot of trial and error and it took me forever to love my hair. Now that I’m older, I understand what it means to be satisfied with what was given to me and why all these women were dying for my hair. I can do pretty much anything with my hair. I can choose to do a wash and go and wear it naturally curly. I can do twist-outs or buns, big or small. If I want a change, I can straighten my hair and if I get tired of it, I can just go back to curly!

Don’t get me wrong… There are still days when I just want to shave my head off or go to the salon and get a wash and set! But I just put a little leave in conditioner, put my hair in a bun and conquer my day. Going natural, I had to accept that not everyday is going to be a good hair day. I had to accept that I have different textures in my hair. I’m going to have frizz. Some curls are going to be coily, kinky or loose. But the best part is seeing the transition. My curls are making a come back and I’m finally getting some length and hydration.

So if you’re thinking about going natural- DO IT! Love the crown you have. It’s irreplaceable.

Product Review: Blueberry Bliss Curl Collection

Being a curly girl requires plenty of trial and error. Sure, we didn’t ASK for curly hair, but it’s what we got and we have to take care of it, right? Right. Throughout my transition, I’ve tried multiple products from brands that claimed to work with all typed of curls. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t fall in love with anything. There are some products that worked really well for my hair type (3C/4A), but I always knew there was something better out there for me.

And of course, I was right!

I first heard about Curls while watching my favorite talk show, The Real. Mahisha Dellinger, CEO, was a guest on the show to talk about Curls’ new Blueberry Bliss line. Then one day while I was at Face Values, I took a look at the natural hair care aisle and saw a couple of the products from that line on the shelf. Each product from the line is less than $25. I bought 5 products and after my first use, I immediately fell in love!

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Products from left to right: Reparative Leave In Conditioner, Twist-N-Shout Cream, Curl Control Jelly, Reparative Hair Mask, Reparative Hair Wash

The entire line smells AMAZINGGG! Like, good enough to eat, amazing. The Blueberry Bliss line is designed to soften and hydrate the driest curls and help promote growth. This line of hair care includes products like a leave in conditioner, hair mask and growth oil. Even though I didn’t try everything from the line yet, I’m sure I will love the rest of it. But in the mean time, let me share with you what I did try.

 

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Blueberry Bliss Reparative Leave In Conditioner

For the longest, all I ever wanted was a leave in conditioner that wouldn’t make my hair feel weighed down the next day. This reparative leave in helped me to achieve just that. On wash day, this is the first (and sometimes the only) product I put into my hair after cleansing. And when I have day 4 or day 5 hair, my curls are still soft and I can always add more leave in into my hair for moisture. I also love using this leave in to detangle my hair. It makes combing less of a hassle, making my comb and fingers run through my hair smoothly.

 

 

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Blueberry Bliss Twist-N-Shout Cream

I’ve just started doing flat twists to my hair and I have been liking the results before I tried this product. I never used anything special in my hair specifically for my flat twists… until I found this cream. Typically, I let my flat twists sit over night, or if I’m in a bit of a time crunch, I let them sit for a couple of hours. On the packaging it says to use the cream and release your flat twists once your hair is completely dry, but I find that I love my results if my hair is damp.

 

 

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Blueberry Bliss Curl Control Jelly

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of using gel in my curls. I only use gel if I’m doing any bun hairstyles. This jelly definitely defines my curls and controls my frizz. It is super lightweight and doesn’t feel sticky or leaves white flakes. Once I’m done putting all my products into my hair, I finish off with this for my go-to wash and go style.

 

 

 

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Blueberry Bliss Reparative Hair Wash

I never really had a go-to shampoo for my curls, only because I never really found one that really cleaned my hair. So that’s why I decided to give this one a try. Usually I’ll wash my hair twice. The instructions on this bottle said to work the shampoo into the scalp and during the second time, to comb through the hair and leave it in for 10 minutes. I’ve never combed my hair with shampoo so I was skeptical to try it. It was a little hard the first time because with the shampoo, my hair has no slip. But once I rinsed my hair out, it felt so clean!

 

 

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Blueberry Bliss Reparative Hair Mask

This hair mask is meant to be used as a conditioner but can also be used as a deep conditioner. I’ve mostly been using it as a deep conditioner and it has been working wonders for me. Already, I’ve seen a small amount of growth and the driest areas of my hair are loving the hydration!

 

 

 

 

Long story short, this Blueberry Bliss line by Curls is the truth! It smells good, works phenomenally and definitely gives great results. Check out curls.biz where you can find products for all curls, kinks and waves.

 

Wash Day: Makeup Brushes Edition

DSCN1539Just like my hair, my makeup brushes have a wash day. I wash my brushes once a week, but if I’m feeling lazy, I can stretch wash day for 2 weeks. But I do not recommend doing that! Washing your makeup brushes is a tedious and time consuming task but it has to get done for flawless application. So, put on some music or listen to a podcast and let’s get to work!

Why do we need to clean our makeup brushes anyway? Aside from poor makeup application, when you don’t wash your brushes, you are contributing to bacteria build up. You’re hoarding all the eyeshadow, foundation, concealer, etc., in your makeup brushes. Dirt, oil and dust can be found in them too, which can and will lead to breakouts and irritable skin. AND… If you happen to share makeup brushes, whether it be with your sister, mother or roommate, you are now making yourself prone to viral infections. If you are going to share makeup brushes, please, please, please, be careful! Taking care of your brushes will increase their lifespan and each fiber on each brush will surely thank you!

There are many cleaners out there made specifically for make-up brushes. I’ve tried a couple of them but haven’t found one that I really loved. I happened to be talking with a freelancer at Sephora and she told me she washed her brushes with baby shampoo. My initial reaction was, “Baby shampoo?!”. But then it really all made sense in my head. There are no parabens, no alcohol and if this stuff is safe to use on babies, it sure is safe to wash my makeup brushes. There is sulfate in it, but that’s totally fine since we need to clean all that makeup build up.

A bottle of baby shampoo would last me about 6-8 washes and leaves the hairs of my brushes feeling super soft and looking good as new. Since using baby shampoo, I find that my brushes last longer throughout the week. In addition to using baby shampoo, I also use a brush cleansing palette by Real Techniques. It has textured surfaces to clean in between brush bristles for a deep cleaning. The surfaces on the palette are made to thoroughly clean small, medium and large brushes. I purchased my palette at FaceValues for $14.99 and it can be found anywhere Real Techniques is sold.

Cleaning time:

If you have any beautyblenders or makeup sponges, run them under water and scrub the shampoo into it. Keep adding shampoo if needed and squeeze it underneath running water to ensure that all the makeup and shampoo suds are out of there. Do not use the cleansing palette for your beautyblenders, as this can ruin them.

For brushes, rinse them under luke warm water first, then add a drop of baby shampoo to your brush cleansing palette. Repeatedly, make circular motions on the palette using the textured surfaces according to your brush size. Squeeze out all the suds and excess water. If you see the water coming out of your brush is not clear, keep scrubbing until it is! Once all your brushes are clean, lay them flat to air dry on a towel overnight and when you wake up, your brushes will be all dry and ready to go!

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What’s your method to washing your makeup brushes? Share in the comments below!

Protein Packed Hair Masque

Over the years, I have slowly grown to love my natural curls. It took a lot of TLC to get my curls to where they are today, but I want them to be better! Last summer, I did a no heat challenge for 3 months and I noticed that my curls were getting tighter and best of all, I was finally seeing some growth. However, once I started straightening my hair again, (maybe only 5 times the past year), I really neglected my hair’s health.

After much research, I finally found an all natural restoration hair masque that works great for my hair! This is a protein packed hair masque, so you should only use this if your hair is super dry, brittle and if you experience a lot of breakage. Too much protein in your hair can cause your hair to seem limp and straw-like.

Here’s the ingredients you need for this protein packed hair masque and the benefits of each:

  • 1 Avocado: Rich source of proteins, amino acids and vitamins and helps soothe the scalp
  • 1 Egg: The best source of protein for your hair and helps prevent hair loss
  • 1 Banana: Contains a great amount of potassium that helps soften the hair, prevents split ends and breakage
  • Coconut oil: Adds moisture, healthy fats with protein and antioxidants that deep conditions, heal and promotes hair growth
  • Castor oil: Carries Omega-6 which accelerates blood circulation in the scalp resulting in hair growth
  • Honey: Helps regulate and retain moisture

I start by whisking my egg in a bowl and smashing the banana so that it has a mushy consistency. I find that doing this to the banana helps it mix better into the masque. I combine the egg, banana and avocado into a blender and use the ‘Puree’ function and let the blender do its thing for about 45 seconds. Next, I’ll add the coconut oil, castor oil and honey into the blender. I didn’t put any measurements because it truly depends on what you feel your hair needs. This time, I use ‘Liquefy’ until everything is smoothed out.

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This is how the masque should once it comes out the blender

The actual application may be a little messy, so I suggest using an old t-shirt. Part your hair however you’d like, (I usually part in fours) and begin with the section where you feel needs the most care. Apply the masque from tip to root and once you get to the root, massage the section to stimulate your hair follicles. Once the masque is in your hair, leave it in for an hour and be sure to thoroughly wash your hair, then style as usual.

After using this masque, I noticed how much softer my hair became, the definition of my curls and how they appeared to be less frizzy. I’ve been using this masque about every 4-6 weeks and I know it’s going to take me a while to get my hair where I want it to be but regardless, I have been loving the results so far. I hope this masque works out for you too!

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Before Masque
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After Masque

Soft Skin is Always In!

I’ve recently took a Spring Break trip to the beautiful South Beach, Florida. While it was about 40 something degrees up north in New York City, I was having fun in the sun. Unfortunately, the heat and the sun dried up my skin by the time I made it back to NYC. So, I wanted to share with you how I used African Black Soap products to restore my skin back to greatness!

First off, if I’m wearing a full face of make up, I like to make sure that I’m removing ALL of it. I use Neutrogena make up remover wipes to take off my make up after a long day but I always feel like it never cleans beneath the surface. So to get a deeper clean feeling, I use Garnier SkinActive’s All-in-1 Micellar Cleansing Water, which not only cleans the make up that was left behind, but it takes away dirt and oil on my face, leaving my pores feeling refreshed!

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Something else that became part of my skin routine is Shea Moisture’s African Black Soap Acne Prone Face & Body Bar with Shea Butter. This soap has really helped control the oil in my T-zone and the clinical acne I used to have on my forehead. I rub the soap over my face in circular motions about 3-4 times week and rinse it with cool water.

For a mask, I absolutely love Shea Moisture’s African Black Soap Facial Mask with Tamarind Extract and Tea Tree Oil. This mask hydrates my skin and again, controls the excess oil in my T-zone. And even though the packaging doesn’t say it, I really feel like it helps lighten my dark under eyes. I use this mask only once a week and I apply it with a flat foundation brush. I leave it on for 15 minutes before I rinse it off with cold water.

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And of course, last but not least, moisturize with your favorite moisturizer. At the moment, mine is Ahava’s Time to Hydrate Night Replenisher. This lotion is on the pricier side at $51, but for a drug store brand, my favorite is Cetaphil’s Moisturizing Lotion.

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Black soap is a gentle cleanser and is commonly used by people that suffer from rashes, dryness and other skin conditions. Here are some of the great benefits of African Black Soap:

  • Improves skin tone
  • Helps heal problem skin
  • Reduces inflammation and skin irritations
  • Improves skin tone
  • Acts as a deep cleanser

There are many other uses for African Black Soap. What do you use it for and how has it improved your skin? Share in the comments below.

ipsy’s Glam Bag!

Since I’ve taken an interest in the beauty industry, I am always eager to try out new products. However, there is usually a trial and error process when you’re trying to find a product that you love and works for you. In the beginning of 2017, I signed up for ipsy to receive 5 beauty sample every month and honestly, why didn’t I sign up years ago? For only $10 a month, ipsy will send you a glam bag filled with 5 beauty samples whether it’s skin care, cosmetics or beauty tools. When you first sign up, you’re asked to take a beauty quiz so that your monthly glam bags are customized for you.

This month, my glam bag was pure perfection. I always know immediately when I see a metallic fuschia packaged envelope in my mailbox that my glam bag has been delivered. For the month of March, I received the Affinitic Snail Cream by Ladykin, Eyebrow Highlighter Pencil in Ivory by Chella, Freematic Eyeshadow in Marisa by Doucce, tartiest quick dry matte lip paint by tarte cosmetics and my favorite product in my glam bag, the Luxe Pro Blending Brush by Skone Cosmetics. I loved this glam bag mainly because these were products that I’ve heard of before, but never got the chance to buy.

I would definitely recommend ipsy, especially if you’re still trying to find what beauty products you like and don’t like. It’s super easy to sign up and it is definitely budget friendly. There are also many other perks to your membership with ipsy like earning points towards bonus products and tutorials of the products in your glam bag. You can check it out for yourself on ipsy.com.

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My ipsy Glam Bag for March!

DIY Lip Scrub

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Unfortunately, the cold weather brings us super dry skin. So it’s important that we stay moisturized, right? Our lips are one of the most sensitive parts of our skin and needs a lot of TLC. Aside from keeping your lips hydrated all winter long, it’s important to get all that dry skin off. Here is my absolute go-to DIY Lip Scrub. It takes less than five minutes and will leave your lips soft and moisturized.

What you’ll need:

We’re going to keep it simple. Combine the honey and the brown sugar until everything sticks together. It’s going to have a gooey consistency. To apply, I suggest you do this over a sink. Dampen your lips with warm water. Scoop some scrub with your finger and rub the scrub into you lips in small circular motions for about one minute. Once you’re done, rinse with warm water, pat your lips dry and use your favorite lip balm. For a more vigorous scrubbing, instead of rubbing the lip scrub in with your finger, you may use a toothbrush. Using a toothbrush alone, gets rid of the dry skin on your lips.

Benefits of honey & brown sugar:

Honey:

  • Moisturizes
  • Soothes and conditions skin
  • Exfoliates skin
  • Adds a natural shine

Brown Sugar:

  • Great as an exfoliator
  • Removes dead skin cells
  • Fights off bacteria
  • Keeps moisture locked in

How do you keep your lips moisturized during the harsh winters? Share with us in the comments below!