Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Healthy Hair it Possible?

Photo from

This season I've gotten ton's of questions regarding healthy ways to dye or highlight hair.  In the photo above this beautiful Naturalista used a hair dye that has been around for years called Manic Panic.  I worked at Sally beauty supply in 1998 for a few months and that stuff used to fly off the shelf.  Mostly punk rockers who wanted bright vivid colored hair would buy it so it didn't strike interest for me to try it.  Who would have thought I'd see such a beautiful color come from those same jars (Purple Haze and Ultra Violet). This photo really makes me what to color mine...gorgeous.  Here is what Manic Panic looks like and the various shades you can choose: 

If you want to go lighter I recently learned of 2 plant based hair dyes that have no ammonia and/or no peroxide.  Both ingredients cause drying and breakage that is more severe for those who choose to go from a very dark shade to a very light shade.  What made this a great alternative to me was the lightening must be done in steps called "Progressive Coloring".  For instance, my hair color is dark brown.  If I wanted to lighten it to golden blond I could actually do so by lighting no more than 2 shades lighter than my natural color at a time until I reach my desired shade.  It makes so much sense that by doing so the hair is subjected to much less trauma then from going from dark brown to platinum blond in one session. From the information on both websites both brands are quite similar. They are both plant based and claim to offer healthier permanent hair coloring capable of lightening up to 2 shades. They both offer complete grey coverage as well.  Soft, shiny, long lasting, damage free hair color are what both claim to offer even with repeated use.  However, there are a few differences.

  • Available in 29 shades
  • Contains peroxide
  • NO mineral oil, silicone's, heavy metals, artificial fragrance, SLS, or formaldehyde derivatives
  • Contains Sunflower extract to keep color fresh for at least 5 weeks
FAQ:Q. I am African American, and my hair is very coarse. Will Naturtint® work for me?

A. Yes. All Naturtint® hair color products are developed and tested on a number of different hair types; they pass several exhaustive quality controls before being released to the consumer. One of the toughest tests that Naturtint® passes is the Gray Cover test, which ensures complete gray coverage.  For more detailed information about NaturaTint visit [HERE]


Available in 30 shades
Available in 16 Semi Permanent(no peroxide washes out in 6-8 washes) Vegetal
Claims to offer no damage coloring
Contains Peroxide (permanent)
How is Herbatint different from other hair colors?
Herbatint contains NO AMMONIA and is very, very low in peroxide (3%) –some colors can have up to 20%. The color is derived from the actual source i.e. vegetable and herbs. Vegetal (semi permanent color) contains no ammonia and no peroxide and is very, very gentle to your hair. The color is also derived from natural sources.
For more information on Herbatint click  [HERE]

My Henna results

And of course there is Henna, Cassia and Indigo...all are plant based hair dyes that offer deposit only coloring without the capability of lifting or lightening the natural hair color.  Results from henna may vary based on the natural hair tone and color and if the hair has been previously colored. Color is easily noticed in sunlight or bright indoor lighting.  For more information on Henna, Cassia, or Indigo click [HERE]

TIP: Always use a good protein conditioning treatment a few days before or after permanently color treating your hair. This will keep the hair strong and prevent breakage and damage.

Highlighting Hair Rinses:

 Chamomile: this will lighten fair hair. Pour 2 cups of boiling water over 1/4 cup of chamomile flowers. Cool; strain before using.

Rhubarb: This will also lighten hair. Use 1/4 cup chopped, fresh rhubarb to 2 boiling water. Cool: Strain Before using.

Sage, Lavender, and Cinnamon: These willl darken hair. 1/4 cup of sage, lavender or 3 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces to 2 cups boiling water. Cool and strain.

Hibiscus Flowers:
These will give red highlights to light or dark hair. Use dry flowers or herbal tea containing hibiscus flowers. Steep the flowers in boiling water to the shade you desire. You can always go darker so start out with a weak mixture.

Wishing all of you a Colorful Summer in 2012!!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Caribbean Rice n' Peas w/ Spicy Plantain Chips~ Vegan

Hay Mon! Tonight was all about that Caribbean flavor cooked nice and healthy.  A few weeks ago I visited Jamaica Gates a local Jamaican restaurant in Arlington, TX.  This was the 2nd time I'd eaten and so far everything I've ordered there I've thoroughly enjoyed.  This last visit really sparked a desire to recreate a couple of dishes I'd ordered. Keep in mind, this was a last minute meal so I had to improvise a little bit.  I will list the traditional recipe for Rice n' Peas as well.

2 cups Basmati Brown Rice
1 can Kidney Beans
1 can Coconut Milk
1/4 cup Diced Onion
1tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Plantain
1 tbs thyme leaves
1tsp chopped fresh garlic
1/8 cumin, chili powder, and powdered cayenne pepper
Dried Cilantro to sprinkle
Sea Salt to taste

 Rinse rice and bean is cool water to remove starch and bean juice.

Turn stove on medium high and pour measured olive oil inside of the pan.  Saute' onion and garlic for a few minutes in pan until onions turn light brown before adding water, coconut milk and beans.
 Add seasoning and spices.
The last thing I added was sea salt.

Cover and simmer on low until rice is tender or water has dissolved. Note: I will never make this dish using brown least not Basmati.  I suggest parboiled brown rice or Jasmine rice.

I like to cut the ends  off first then a thin cut along one side of the plantain...gently peel the skin off.

Gather ingredients and pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
 Rinse in cold water to remove starch from cut plantains remove from water and allow to set on paper towel to absorb excess water
Cayenne Pepper

Garlic Powder

Chile' Powder

Combine 1/8-1/4 tbs of each of the above seasonings to your desired tasted with extra virgin olive oil and place plantains in a bowl.  Place cut, seasoned, and oiled plantains into a baking pan and allow to bake in oven for 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Remove lid from rice n' peas once rice is tender (cooking time will vary depending on type of rice used). Makes 4 cups.

Garnish with Cilantro leaves. 

Traditional Jamaican rice n' peas  includes one stem whole uncut fresh thyme, one whole uncut habanero or scotch bonnet pepper, and scallion. Once water and coconut cook down from rice and peas remove thyme stem, pepper, scallion and serve.

Bon Appétit !

Mid Year Hair Reshaping

It's that time again.  July 3rd I decided to give my fro a nice new reshaping.  I cut my hair January this year and retained all that I grew over the past 6 months.  As a stylist I have to be sure I keep my hair in top condition because I change styles so often. This time instead of keeping the same bob shape I usually like I took it down a bit more on the top and front and opted for a round shaped fro.  I honestly don't know how many inches I cut but I'm guessing about 2 from the front/top around the lower perimeter of my hair with another 1 inch all around including the nape which grows loosely curled and gives me a " tail" look in the back.  I wanted the back to be very blunt and straight across.  Of course I used the same method of cutting I used in January cutting my hair in it;s natural state on dry, stretched hair.  Here are shots of it immediately after the cut :

 As show in the photo above and below, the majority of my hair was cut off from the front and crown to give my fro a round instead of bob shape.  I really love it!

 A lot was cut from the nape as well where my curls are much looser.  Remember, curly hair doesnt have to be's the shape that I focus on as I have no intention on straightening my hair anytime soon.
 Whenever I wear a fro people tell me they didn't think my hair could go into an afro.  Well here is a shot of my roots. As you can see they are very wavy which is why as long as I do not use any gels, creams or liquid type products it will fro out nicely.

 This is a photo taken the next day after it was wet.  It is shorter however just like when I cut it in January I love fresh haircuts.  My ends in the photo below are nice and plump again. This next 5 months I will be focusing on keeping it in great condition just like I did this past 6.5 months.

Since my ends were nice and freshly cut I wanted to wear a style that would keep my ends nice and protected so I decided on Bantu Knots. These are great for keeping my hair nice and stretched, moisturized for longer periods of time while my ends are protected from the heat here in Texas.

I really like Bantu Knots.  Especially large ones. This is a very good protective style and I plan on wearing them more often. 


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Texas International Hair Show 2012

This year I was invited to attend the 2012 Texas International Hair Show, July 1-2, in Mesquite, TX just 15 minutes from downtown Dallas.  As fate would have it I was scrolling down Facebook and noticed a status update from a friend stating Thando Kafele was looking for local Dallas natural stylists to accompany him at his booth at the show styling hair.  Needless to say although I'd heard nothing about the event that was coming up in 2 days, I jumped on the opportunity and immediately sent him an email.  I left it in God's hands and the rest is history.  

Thando Kafele (pronounced Ta-hando Kah-fay-lay) is one of the most known Natural Hair stylists/educators in the industry.  His 15 year plus resume includes Celebrity natural hair styling for Lennox Lewis, India. Arie, Manny Ramirez and his work has been featured in Ebony magazine, Braids and Beauty, and Authentic Hair.  He is the owner of TK Salon in Brooklyn, NY and the Senior Stylist at Loc's n' Chops located in Manhattan.  Kafele is the first Loc stylists in the industry who competed and won Natural Stylist of the year and all he does is loc's so you know this Brotha is bad! He attends the IBS show, and also one of the first recognized Natural Hair Loc Stylists at Bronner Brothers Hair Show.  Among his many achievements, Mr. Kafele has is own hair oil called K-Oil and  is also the international spokesperson for Jane Carter Solutions Products as well and the creator of Team Black, a natural hair styling team of 5 stylists including himself, J.Valentin, Simone Hylton, Queen Roshae and Folami Saunders each from all over the country.  Who knows, Amber Frank may be the 6th addition to Team Black representing Dallas, TX ;o).

I'd been following Thando Kafele on Facebook long before I'd even thought of becoming a natural hair stylist.  To have an opportunity to work along side him was truly a blessing.  I attended the hair show with no expectation aside from doing my best at styling the hair I styled while there.  It was definitely a wonderful experience.  Mr. Kafele is now a professional friend in the industry who extended his professional industry insight as well as personal insight on living my best life.  He went above and beyond mentoring and even put me on the spot a few times during his workshop when it came to my knowledge of natural hair care and educating others on correct verbiage to use when speaking about natural hair styling.  One of the many things he said to me that I will never forget were when people come at me with the "who do you think you are?" attitude my question in return should always be " Who do I think I am I NOT?"  The belief that I am talented enough to achieve anything I choose comes from within, therefore who am I NOT to believe being unreasonable at times and stepping outside of my comfort zone is where my success lies. So simple yet so profound to be respected, appreciated, and compensated. Mr. Kafele advised those 3 words remain embedded in my mind as expectations in every aspect of my life.  It was a life altering experience I will forever hold dear in my heart and spirit. 

 It was the first time I'd ever worked as a team with other stylists Jackson Emile from Houston, TX (not shown) and Fatima Matthews (far right), a local Loctician in Carrollton, TX...the pleasure was all mine.  

Hair Show Highlights!
 It was great to see the Matriarch of natural hair care and braiding at the show Isis Brantley.  I am forever grateful to this Sister for paving the way for every single licensed hair braider in the state of Texas. Had it not been for her going to jail and standing up for her belief that hair braiders do not have to invest 1600 hours of time in studying and training to become a cosmetologist, spending thousands of dollars at a cosmetology school learning nothing about Afro textured hair, I would not be able to live my passion.  Much love to Sister Isis.  I stopped by at chatted with her briefly (she even gave me props on a style she'd seen I'd done) as she twisted this brothers hair with speed and precision...all without using comb! 

 I love unique earrings and attend these events always in search of a booth that has some.  I came across this booth and was AMAZED by the beautiful artwork, sarongs, necklaces, incense and much more. This was the only booth I patronized while there.  As I was speaking to one of the owners he'd asked where I was from and when I told him California, he told me all of them were also from cities in Southern Cali. It was nice meeting folk from home.
 I bought a wooden necklace for my son with the shape of Africa medalion, some wooden hair accesories and a really pretty Bob Marely Sarong....can't wait to rock that baby!

 For more information or to purchase items shown of the  3rd World Roots Collection located in Baton Rouge, LA visit

 The OG's of hair care products Dudley's was in the house!
 Some really talented Cosmetologists and Make-up Artists come from this school.
 The DJ at this booth had the entire convention center rockin'

 Lashes going down for $20...this booth stayed packed

 For the fly Brothers who understand the importance of dressing for success ;o)

 Mocca Make-up Booth

Custom foundation by Mocca

 Walking down the corridors of the convention center I was checking out these ladies being photographed for the hair show and had to get my own snapshot!

It wouldn't be a hair show without Barbers...Wahl represented!
Barber Competition going  down!

1st place winner! 
The trophy was almost as tall as the Barber that won it...
My apologies for the blur...the artwork on the smock was the same artwork on this Brothers head! 1st place well deserved.
Hair Styling was also going  down everywhere...

Hair Trendz was a booth nearby... talk about straight shiny hair, it was beautiful!

 Texas Top Ten Stylists Booth....keeping hope alive 2013 will have some Natural Hair Stylists included in the top ten!

 This stylist getting her net weave on!
 Positive engergy...Namaste!

 I love this Cleopatra blunt and beautiful!

 I had to stop and photograph this Barber cutting this Sistah's hair with shears and a comb the old school way! That's talent!

 A HUGE turn out...

 Saving the best for last...
He wasn't happy about the incorrect spelling of his name :o)
 Tee Shirt's going down at the Kafele Booth


 Kafele and I putting in work!

 Kafele's work...

 Kynxx work...

For more information about Thando Kafele  [click here] .  For more Kynxx on Facebook [click here]
Until we meet again...