Sunday, May 31, 2015

En Route To Summer Braids Part Two: The Night Before With Karen's Body Beautiful Luscious Locks Hair Mask Deep Conditioner

Supporting black business continues. Ingredients for this include aloe butter, jojoba oil, nettle, and carrot seed oil.
The most important part of getting hair to that necessary softness is to use a good deep conditioner at least twice a week. Well, for me. My hair is super duper dry. Like a crispy deep fried brittle dry. Thankfully, new products have slowly recuperated damage. Still commending Kinky Curly for cleanliness, Shea Moisture for amazing conditioners, and clipping ends. I find all three components have been beneficial to summer braids journey.
Now moving forward to the next segment: trying out Karen's Body Beautiful. Like Kinky Curly and Shea Moisture, Karen Tappin's cruelty free line is free of parabens, sulphates, mineral oil, and other harmful additives.
Karen transformed her organic body care line from a modest home-based business to a blossoming enterprise with robust internet sales, a luxurious store and a chic spa. Karen’s foray into the rarefied world of beauty happened by chance. In 2003, Karen, an astute businesswoman, was successfully marketing custom gift baskets during the holidays. Alarmed by the presence of preservatives and possible carcinogens in some conventional bath and body products, Karen decided to create all natural alternatives to incorporate into her gift baskets.
After researching the cosmetic and therapeutic properties of natural ingredients, Karen developed recipes for a full spa line made from all natural ingredients, including lotions, soaps, scrubs, oils, candles and bath salts. Karen’s products were immediately a hit-so successful in fact that the following year she and her husband decided to focus their entrepreneurial efforts on selling bath and beauty products.
Here entails twas the night before protective braids,
another organic product breaks down hair barricades.

After washing with Kinky Curly's Come Clean, I swapped out usual conditioner for Karen's Body Beautiful's Luscious Locks Hair Mask Deep Conditioning Treatment, $24.99 at Target. I used more than a quarter. Sorry. I'm a product addict. And I knew my hair was extra thirsty on top of excited. This is always sold out. And for good reason. Alas, I combed conditioner through, put on a conditioning cap and watched two episodes of Jem and the Holograms-- 40 minutes. Karen said 20. I needed the bonus. I rinsed and tested strands. You know a conditioner is good and true when during twist making, it stays uniformed and shiny-- no product needed. Still, one needs leave in conditioner, oil, and cream anyway. The combing was manageable too. Solid plus. 
Little pic. I hope you all can just imagine how the texture felt. An indescribable feathery existence. These are part of photographic closeups. Part of a future series of Afro hair love. Very beautiful. Touchably beautiful. To sift fingers into this was a dream.  
Soft middle view.
My hair line is so healthy. I'm obsessed with the front view.

Monday, May 25, 2015

En Route To Summer Braids Part One: Kinky Curly's Come Clean + Shea Moisture's Raw Shea Butter Conditioner

Hair closeup.
Hi kinky hair friends! Let me tell you something spectacularly great.
Ever since the Philadelphia Protest held many weeks ago, a lot of inner conflict raged inside. One primary basis struck close. Buy black business. Support black business. I want to incorporate that motto in every sense of the word. Not just say the gospel. I need to live it. Breathe it. I champion black online stores. I champion black writers and black artists. I champion black art galleries and black museums. I champion black films and black filmmakers. I champion black vegans. I champion us.
My hair debate stirred as well. I grew up on Suave. Cheap Suave. Always 99 cents or near 99 cents region. Nowadays I purchase imported raw cocoa butter and raw shea butter from faceless cyber entities in order to make homemade hair and skin treats. Marshall's seduced me with their low priced vegan beauty products imported from Australia. Yes, they're great quality. Nice steal at half off! That protest, however, forced remembrance of my brothers and sisters here in the states. They know our hair. They know how it grows. They know its kinks and twists and furrows and burrows. They know because they are us.
Shea Moisture for example hails from family tradition: a grandmother from Sierra Leone concocting potions out of bathtub and selling them in modest quantities. She started at 19. Impressive. Although the company was founded in 1990 by her great grandson, massive respect for them saying that the company was established in 1912, the year she started selling her natural ideas all over her country.
Kinky Curly is a brand formulated for natural hair that is au naturale. Shelley Davis is the founder. She too had a penchant for creating hair products sans harmful chemicals, realizing that a few ingredients hailed from earth goes a long, helpful way. I loved what she had to say about customers in this old interview at Natural Chica.
I enjoy connecting with my customers. It is something I don’t get to do as much as I would like but I love the praise (of course, who doesn't) – the kind words that I get via email or even when I meet customers out in the streets of Los Angeles. When ladies tell me how Kinky-Curly has changed their life and how much they love their hair now…words can’t express how wonderful it makes me feel. With all the hard work that is put into running Kinky-Curly on a daily basis this makes it all worth it. In addition to this there are so many myths and misinformation that have been passed down from generation to generation. 
When supporting black business, a business catering to a specific need such as strong, beautiful natural hair with an added bonus of the Cruelty Free logo, makes it worth hard earned money.
Shea Moisture and Kinky Curly are tried out in the nick of time. My hair is embarking on summer Poetic Justice braids. Before I can undergo that luxury, I'm following these steps at Black Hair Kitchen. In this three part blog series, "En Route To Summer Braids," I prepare my nappy, kinky hair for full bodied softness and strength, taking time to care and nurture proper etiquette. In order to have lovely, stylish, protective braids (by an African braiding salon), one must have a healthy hair start. Knowledge filled Kinky Curly and Shea Moisture are imperative first steps to keeping my hair in tip top shape.

Light fragrant Kinky Curly's Come Clean is a godsend. I massaged my scalp, alternating between gentle scrubbing and massaging, surprised to feel foamy sudsy lather. Not many shampoos lather like this. That's fine and dandy to be sulphate free. It is a nice, bubbly lather, cleaning and treating dryness and dandruff flakes, loving kinks and curls. Quite top notch at the $11.99 price at Walgreen's. Usual wet dryness didn't arrive after rinsing. By wet dryness, I mean my hair seems brittle even in water. It always irked and frustrated me. So alas, I found another shampoo that wasn't going to let conditioner perform the important work alone. 
A new experience I wouldn't trade.
Shea Moisture's Raw Shew Butter Restorative Conditioner is amazing, especially with their Restorative Shampoo. Talk about out of this world oomph! My hair drinks up this sea kelp and argan oil blended elixir drug like it's Love Potion No. 9. Great conditioning formula. I'm almost out of my trial size portions- $4.99 each at Whole Foods Market. Bound to move onto Kinky Curly's conditioner to see how that works out. And if it doesn't Shea Moisture is a plus to lean back on.
Last night, I also performed the L.O.C. (leave in conditioner, oil, cream) method before twisting strands together. My leave in conditioner is just the Shea Moisture conditioner and water. I spray a generous bit on. Coconut oil is my oil choice for softness. Other times pure argan oil or Jamaican Black Castor Oil are other choices.
For the cream component, I went with gel. This is a great product for making some bonafide amazing twists. The only minus is the sticky dryness which is solely thanks to Jamaican Black Castor Oil. My hair, however, gets a very beautiful shine. Shine is always good. Plus the progress on the edges have been worth applauding. 
Clean hair. Finally. I think dandruff is slowly but surely going away. That is one of the biggest battles to dispose before summer braids. We're talking two months of protection. Hair must be in its healthiest condition. Thanks to Kinky Curly and Shea Moisture, my hair is getting a much needed boost.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Vegan Lemon Poundcake

Moist lemon poundcake will please the masses.
Wow! I come back and AfroVeganChick has surpassed the 100,000 views mark. Thank you all very much for continuing to visit and read recipes and adventures. It's been such a blessing to share vegan treasures invented and found on the world wide vegan web. I also send tremendous gratitude to product companies such as Daiya, So Delicious, Beyond Meat, etc. for linking people here. Just wonderful that you all still stop by.
Today is May 24th, Mom's birthday. As you know or if you can recall, Mom loves lemon. She has a special penchant for the zesty yellow sour fruit. With summer on the way, I thought it nice to have a lovely blast from the past-- lemon poundcake! Nancy's Organic Plain Yogurt gives this glorious cake moisture when combined with coconut oil and almond milk. I love Volcano's Lemon Burst Lemon Extract. Next to water, lemon juice, citric acid, and lemon oil are its primary ingredients. So you can imagine pure lemon flavor and not much else. Like lemonade meets plain poundcake. That's why I kept vanilla off the list.
I spoke with Mom briefly this afternoon. She said that this was good. Very good.
My suggestion is to make poundcake. This recipe is for two loaves. One for yourself and the other is for someone you love.

Vegan Lemon Poundcake Ingredients and Preparation

3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup cane sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup almond milk
6 oz. Nancy's Plain Soy Yogurt
1/3 cup Volcano Not From Concentrate Lemon Juice
zest from two lemons
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoon lemon juice
zest from one lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two baking loaf pans-- I used foil ones for a quick, easy cleanup.
Sift flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together.
In a medium bowl whisk coconut oil, almond milk, soy yogurt, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
Combine wet and dry well.
Add apple cider vinegar.
Pour into two prepared baking loaf pans.
Bake for 45 minutes to an hour.

First a modest brushing of lemon extract and extra lemon zest to give an enticing glazed finish. Refrigerate for an hour or two. Slice and serve cold.
Light, airy cake with just the right amount of lemon flavor.
Perfect with fresh organic strawberries and two scoops of So Delicious Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Ice Cream. Holiday weekend calls for it! :)