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.

Coconut Oil 3 Ways

Coconut oil has definitely earned its right to be called a superfood. When I first heard about all these things you can do with coconut oil, I thought it was all lies. But after trying out a couple of these things for myself, I must say – BELIEVE THE HYPE! Coconut oil might be the healthiest thing you can have in your kitchen and it has multiple uses for your skin and body.

Before we get into it, lets talk about the benefits. First and foremost, the best kind of coconut oil you can get is organic and unrefined. This is the purest form and has the highest antioxidant levels. Organic and unrefined coconut oil is extracted from fresh coconuts, while protecting all its beneficial properties.  Coconut oil is considered a healthy fat and can be consumed to improve cholesterol. When used on the skin, it helps cracked or flaky skin heal faster and can help soothe psoriasis and eczema.

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Here’s a picture of the coconut oil that I use. I found it at Face Values for $9.99.

Make-Up Remover

Aside from make-up wipes, if I’m feeling extra oily one day or I just have way too much make-up on, coconut oil will definitely help me take off any hard to remove make-up. I simply scoop out about a quarter hand full of coconut oil from my jar and begin rubbing it on my face and the oil with break down all of my make-up. Then to clean off the oil, I take a warm, damp wash cloth and wipe everything off.

If you’re anything like me, you have oily skin. My skin will produce oil like there’s no tomorrow. Here’s the thing: when there is no oil on your face, your skin will think it needs to produce oil. However, you can manipulate your skin by rubbing coconut oil on your oiliest areas. Then your skin will say, “Woah. There’s too much oil here. Let me stop for a bit.” Good oil will take away bad oil. Makes sense? Great!

Hair Moisturizer

I once had a manager that was Indian and she would always talk to me about Indian hair. She told me when she was a young girl, every Sunday her mother would rub coconut oil into her and her sister’s hair and that’s how, she said, her hair was so long and shiny. After encouraging me to do try it, I of course did. Obviously, my hair didn’t miraculously grow to the ground, but I did notice more shine and less frizz. Coconut oil will give you shiny, frizz free, moisturized hair. But don’t for get that scalp your hair comes from! When you massage coconut oil into your scalp, you are opening up your hair follicles to promote hair growth.

I found that when I heat the coconut oil in the microwave for about a minute before putting it in my hair, I get the best results. Section your hair in half and start from tip to root. I encourage you to start from the tip because this is where your hair is the driest and when you get to the root, massage your scalp. Then usually I leave it in for an hour, or if I have nothing planned that day, I leave it in the whole day. Make sure to wash out all the oil from your hair. We don’t want oily skin OR oily hair.

Cooking Oil

Yes, it’s true. You can cook with coconut oil. As I said before, coconut oil is filled with tons of antioxidants and healthy fats. So why wouldn’t you want to cook with this superfood? My favorite thing to eat when cooking with coconut oil is a fried egg. Simple and easy, right? Typically, I would use an entire tablespoon of butter just to cook one egg but with coconut oil, all you need is a teaspoon. Let the oil dissolve in the heat and cook your eggs how you normally would.

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