HGN Blog

Naturally Me

The ever growing extension of me

coiling wild, healthy, and free

The way it was intended to be.

Naturally me.

What you’re getting is what you see.

Beautifully, genuinely, intensely, naturally me.

I love me

enough not to wear parts from another’s anatomy

Satisfied with the color, texture, and length that God gave me.

Forgive me if I am not as pretty as I could be

because I don’t wear my hair like the majority of society and my community.

But I refuse to sit back and die slowly

altering my beauty because of what you may think of me.

-Aphropuphs

Another Natural Hair Poem

I came across this poem in a book I was reading last  year, The Color Complex. I came across it again and wanted to share it with my fellow natural hair lovers. Enjoy!

“To those of my sisters who kept their naturals. Never to look a hot comb in the teeth. Sisters! I love you because you love you.” – Gwendolyn Brooks

You have not bought Blondine

You have not hailed the hot-comb recently.

You never worshipped MarilynMonroe.

You say: Farrah’s hair is hers.

You have not wanted to be white.

Nor have you testified to the adoration of that state

with the advertisement of imitation

(never successful because the hot comb is laughing too.)

But oh the rough rough Other music.

The Real.

The Right.

The natural Respect for self and seal.

Sisters!
Your hair is celebration in the world.

A poem by: Gwendolyn Brooks

Untitled: A Natural Hair Poem

The “me” I once hated

is now the “me” that I embrace

from my expressive cheekbones

to the beautiful nose spread across my face.

A head full of tiny curls

once called unmanageable and wild

were always a mystery to me

ever since I was a child.

One day curiosity got the best of me

and as I sat in the barber’s seat

I told him to shave off everything.

I walked out with my head up high.

People asked, “You cut your hair off! Why?”

I responded with a smile,

“It’s hair, not a limb, so no need to cry.”

From the fade, to the TWA, to the BAA

I enjoyed my natural mane at every stage

I am now beautiful because I said so

wearing my hair the way God made it grow.

I’ve fallen in love with the natural hair

I was finally getting to know.

I love everything about my natural hair

from the spring of my curls to the smell of it.

I get my natural hair wet

just for the hell of it.

I can’t keep my hands out of it.

My fingers are always flirting with my hair.

I try to keep my hands occupied with other things,

but they always find their way back up there.

Free from the poison that once imprisoned me

mentally, physically, politically, and spiritually.

Confidence is at its peak

because everything you see is 100% me.

Written By Aphropuphs

MSM Supplement

I started taking MSM back in October after reading a wonderful article about. I speak very highly of it and a lot of people are curious about what it is and it benefits.  I put this together to shine a little light on this wonder supplement

What is MSM?

MSM stands for methyl sulfonyl methane. It’s an organic sulfur compound that occurs naturally in plants and animals. It is found in the lignin of pine trees. It greatly differs from regular sulfur (sulfuric oxide) which is processed into sulfuric acid and is toxic to the human body. MSM is white and regular sulfur is a yellow color.

MSM is the most important raw material for building new cells during the healing process. It is an acid forming mineral that is part of the chemical structure of the amino acids methionine, cysteine, taurine, and gluthione. Amino acids are the building blocks of our body’s proteins. The more MSM our body has to work with, the more protein we develop resulting in faster hair and nail growth and healing of the body’s tissues. MSM is considered food so it is easily absorbed and utilized by the body.

What does it do?

MSM is found in human, hair, skin, and nails. It’s also found in hemoglobin and all body tissues. 1/3 of the hair’s strength comes from disulfide bonds (sulfur bonds). After your body assimilates the MSM it turns into an acid which becomes part of the amino acids that produce the protein in the hair (ethnic hair is 93%-97% protien), skin, and nails. The more MSM your body has to utilize, the more it has available to build the necessary proteins needed for faster hair and nail growth and healthy, new skin cells.

MSM has many other important benefits to your body. It supports the connective tissues like tendons, muscles, and ligaments. It makes the cells in the tissue more permeable, allowing fluids to pass through more easily, therefore, releasing toxins and reducing inflammation. This makes MSM helpful to those suffering from arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, gout, muscle pain, and constipation. It is used by many athletes because it accelerates the healing process. It’s even given to race horses to prevent muscle stiffness.

MSM is also needed for insulin production so it is good for those with diabetes. It  also disinfects the blood, helps the body resist bacteria, and protects cell protoplasm. It’s beneficial to those who have problems with acne, allergies, asthma, yeast infections, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic fatigue, migraines, and ulcers.

MSM deficiency can lead to problems like scar tissue, wrinkles, varicose veins, hardened arteries, digestive disorders, dry skin, joint problems, and inability to fight allergies.

How much MSM can I take? What can I take with it?

I have seen recommendations of dosages ranging from 1,000 mg- 6,000 mg, but the amount you  take all depends on your body size, age, and the severity of MSM deficiency. It has an extremely low level of toxicity, similar to water. Excess MSM is secreted through the urine within 12 hours of consumption.

Studies show that when MSM is taken in combination with zinc, silica, and biotin, the skin reaps the most benefits. Vitamin C depends heavily on MSM for optimal absorption. The more vitamin C your body is able to absorb, the faster the healing process.

MSM can be found in sulfur rich foods such as onions, garlic, brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, sunflower seeds, lentils, soy beans, turnips, wheat germ oil, and red raspberries

WARNING: MSM should not be consumed by those who have kidney issues. It makes you more susceptible to kidney stones.

I hope this has given everyone a good idea of what MSM is. I purchased MSM from GNC, but recently saw it at Wal-Mart for $1 cheaper. I take my MSM about 1-2 times a day in addition to prenatal vitamins ( for hair, skin, and nails only! lol). I am going to add biotin to my cocktail now. While taking prenatals and MSM alone, I experience about 1/2 inch+ of growth a month. Make sure you drink plenty of water when taking these supplements to aid in flushing the toxins out of your body!

DID YOU KNOW? –>The disulfide (sulfur) bonds that MSM creates, which accounts for 1/3 of the hair’s strength, are the same bonds permanently destroyed by chemical relaxers.

The Caramel Treatment

Last summer, I was looking online for an all-natural conditioner that would give my hair a major boost in moisture and make it softer. I came across The Caramel Treatment and decided to give it a try after doing my homework and learning as much as I could about it. I wanted to make sure I was only conditioning and not altering my natural curl pattern.

Hair before caramel treatment

 I tried the treatment twice and I could really tell a difference in my hair. It was much softer, I experienced less shedding, and my curls were more defined. It is recommended to use this treatment no more than once a month. If used frequently, you may not be able to tell see the benefits of it.  The effects of this deep conditioning treatment last about 3-4 weeks on my hair.  I’m sure results will vary from person to person, depending on the texture, porosity, and overall condition of the hair.

This is the original recipe. I tweaked it to meet my needs and so can you!

Caramel Treatment—>Honey (6 tablespoons), Olive oil (6 tablespoons), molasses (3 tablespoons), bananas (2-3 overripe, soft), water(4-6 tablespoons), apple cider vinegar (1 tablespoon), cornstarch (1-2 tablespoons), wheat germ oil (1 tablespoon).                   

I had everything but the wheat germ oil so I substituted it with jojoba oil and almond oil. I mixed it all in a plastic bowl with a hand mixer and then poured it into a saucepan and placed it on the stove. I let it simmer for 30-60 second mixing rapidly with a plastic fork. I added more cornstarch as needed until it became the consistency I wanted. I poured it back into the plastic bowl and applied it to my hair in very small sections starting from the back. Sources suggest using an applicator brush to apply but I just used my fingers. Once my hair was completely saturated I covered it with a shower cap and left it on over night. (The first time I tried the caramel treatment I only left it on for 4 hours.)

Caramel Treatment

 

Hair saturated with caramel treatment.

 

I shampooed well with castile soap making sure I got all traces of the cornstarch and followed with a cholesterol conditioner. I could feel a difference when I was shampooing. I was able to finger comb through my hair with no snags at all. When I was rinsing the conditioner out, my hair felt heavier due to all the moisture it absorbed. My curls were definitely more defined and once I did my braidout and let it air dry, it was super soft. Almost like a fluffy, cottony texture. I was very pleased with the results. In the weeks following, I did several co-washes and a few shampoos. I didn’t feel the dryness return to my hair until around the third week.

Wet hair after caramel treatment

It made my hair feel soft like it does when I used to use Cantu Shea Butter leave-in, except my hair was soft like this on a daily basis without having to apply lots of product. (I stopped using Cantu because of some of the unnatural ingredients).

Dry hair after caramel treatment

 I would recommend this treatment to anyone who has really dry hair and is experiencing a  lot of breakage and shedding during styling. This treatment has also been recommended for those who are transitioning to natural hair or those who do relax their hair. The higher porosity of the hair allows it to absorb more of the benefits of the treatment and makes hair easier to straighten. Natural hair that has had not been color treated and has had minimal heat styling has lower porosity so it is harder for the treatment to penetrate the shaft, so leaving it on longer (like overnight) is advisable for best results. I would also recommend a trim before doing this treatment so you can give your healthy head of hair a great start!

The Seed That Grew My Hair Garden

Welcome to Hair Garden! I am so pleased that you stopped by my site. I’ll use my first post to introduce myself and explain to you why I am so passionate about what I do. 

I started Hair Garden, LLC in 2009. I am a natural hair care consultant and natural hair stylist. I love HAIR  in general but have a special relationship with natural hair. It all started in middle school. My friend and I would read though Teen, Seventeen, and YM mags all day during summer break. Many of the AA models had something on their heads that we were so intrigued and curious about- their natural hair! We wondered if our hair would look like that if we stopped relaxing it. We saw pictures of ourselves when we were younger before our 1st relaxers but had no real acquaintance with our GOD given hair. Ever since those days, I have been infatuated with everything about natural hair.

I got most of my earlier experiences with natural hair from male clients before I went natural myself in 2002. This is when the cornrow fad first exploded. All the guys wanted braids and I knew how to braid! Their hair was full, beautiful and grew to amazing lengths. A lot of my friends (myself included) didn’t understand why their hair wouldn’t grow as long as the guy’s hair- The Creamy Crack! Women have been putting this product on their hair for years with the same negative results, but somehow expecting a miracle to happen. Women now know the harmful effects of this product and refuse to stop using it, because they don’t want “nappy” hair.

I did my 1st big chop in Sept 2002. In 2003, I walked into a salon wanting to get my hair cornrowed with extensions. I was greeted by bewildered looks and sympathetic smiles. I was turned away by 3 salons that day. Some asked why I wouldn’t just relax my hair, because it would “look better.” They called other stylists in the lobby to touch and look at my hair as if I were some type of spectacle. None of them had ever dealt with natural hair and weren’t about to start that day. I was confused. I am black. I went to a black salon to get my hair braided, but they can’t do “my” hair? They were calling other salons to see if they could help this poor girl. I ended up find a stylist a week later after calling every salon in the phone book, but she had to press my hair before she could braid it. (sigh) I found 1 natural hair care salon but $100 was way out of my struggling-college-student budget.

From that point on, I dedicated my life to caring for natural hair. I was living in a college town and many of the natural students encountered this same problem. I was baffled that these experienced stylists had no idea how to deal with black hair as it grows out of our scalps. I could now understand how children were having relaxers applied to their hair before they could even walk. This is when being natural became more than just a hair style for me. This is when it became my message, my beauty, my pride, my livelihood.

I have many interests from natural hair care, natural hair politics, and holistic health to human rights, self-improvement, and dating. I am new to the blogging thing so please forgive me if I do not do things the traditional blogger way! I hope you enjoy all I have to offer! Thanks for stopping by!