Henna!

henna-powderNot for the faint of heart. No, seriously. If multi step beauty treatments are not your thing and mixing random things and then wrapping your hair in saran wrap/plastic overnight don’t tickle your fancy then don’t even try this cos it takes lots of planning ahead but the way your hair feels afterwards is sooo worth it.

Henna strengthens, conditions and thickens your hair. Depending on your hair colour and the type of henna you use it will also dye it. This e-book from Henna for Hair is pretty comprehensive on different types of henna, how to choose henna and how to apply it so I’ll just add a few things I have learned from my experiences. But before that I stress, read the book. There is nothing about the basics the lady hasn’t included so get to learning.

Yes, the gloves are necessary. I know someone who thought using little plastic bags on her hands was a good idea but unless you are like a ninja when it comes to making sure it wont get on your hands and stain them just take the plunge and buy them. Its either that or orange looking hands for a few weeks.

Either get QUALITY body art henna or get a brand you trust – no inbetweens. That box of henna in your local halal store that looks dented and the lettering has faded cos its been on the shelf so long is not what you want to have on your hair. Neither is the dusty one that the dude behind the counter assures you even his wife uses. How to differentiate pure henna and those with additives is outlined in the henna book link I put up there but if in doubt, get one from a brand like LUSH. All the better if you can google the product and see what experiences people have with it. Whatever you do, don’t just use the first thing you happen to stumble upon. Research and patience with search engines are your best friends.

Protect your floors! Once you have let it sit in a warm place for the required 12 hours the mixture can be kinda hard to handle, especially if you aren’t used to using gloves. So, get those old towels you aren’t particularly attached to and line your bathroom floor with them. Either that or you will end up like me crouched over spots on your bathroom floor with an old tooth brush and toothpaste cos some creative googling told you that would get rid of the stains. If it happens to land anywhere like on the wall (I blame the gloves!) wipe it off as soon as you can to avoid looking like you are experimenting with weird colour schemes.

Rinsing may take longer than you thought. This is especially true if you 1. have long hair 2. have thick hair  3. have a combination of the afore mentioned or 4. have locs. Rule of thumb is to rinse until the water runs clear and it may take a while. Those with loose hair have the slight advantage here because their rinsing will be relatively easy but for those with locs past shoulder length be prepared to stand under the shower until you become a prune. Embrace the idea, your hair will be so fabulous after you wont even care, I promise.

The harvest hair test is important. For those who use hair brushes and combs what this means is that you get some of the hair strands caught in-between the teeth/bristles and put some of the prepared henna on them so that you can get a general idea of that the end result will look like. Very important, especially if you are trying a certain type of henna for the first time. If anything is going to go awry, let it be on the hair that isn’t on your head anymore. For those with locs the harvest hair test may be harder to do but what I did is I snipped a tiny bit off one of my locs and then combed it out to get my “hair sample.”

This may seem like a lot to take in especially after you read the book and you wonder where to begin. But, once you identify what type of henna you want to use and where to buy it all it takes is mixing and using it a couple of times before you can go through the motions without even thinking about it. Henna for me has gotten rid of dandruff, coloured my hair a bit red (you can only see it under the sunlight really) and made it so so soft. It really is the absolute best for conditioning your hair and doing it once a month or once every couple of months will go a long way to naturally making your hair feel awesome. I declare this an asilia prime and will start getting other asilia bots to join in the fun 😀

my “eggsperience”…

Ok, so in my quest to feed my hair some protein, I finally bit the bullet and decided to use the egg treatment…cue cringe moment!  I tried looking for an alternative, really I did…but everything I read and watched sort of pointed to eggs.  So hey…the worst that could happen is I spend a couple of hours picking scramblies out of my hair right!?  So I got a container thing, put in an egg, a good sized dollop of ORS hair mayo treatment, a dash of conditioner (I’m not sure why, but I just did), a little olive oil, a little castor oil and mixed it all up…BY THE WINDOW.  Note winter is coming and so temps are like zero degree’s in the evenings and I figured the colder the less risk of the eggs scrambling right?  Yes I was paranoid like that.  So as I mixed everything in, I could swear there was an egg boogey look alike and the urge to gag took me over and that led me to putting in some tea tree to completely mask anything egg about this dodgy mix.  So I left it by the OPEN window while I changed (I don’t really trust room temps – threateningly warm me thinks lol).  So I then sectioned my hair in 4 parts, put some music on and sang along as I put the stuff on my hair.  Granted it was messy, but it wasn’t messy as say the yogurt mix which is good.  I initially thought I was going to leave it on for like half an hour, but miss tried and tested scramblie here said she left hers on for two hours.  So I figured, it’s on my head, I might as well right?  Thing is, with my scramblies paranoia, I was worried bout my body temperature warming up the egg mix so popped my head out of the window in sub-zero temps to make sure it stayed cool…much to the amusement of the same miss scramblie.  Good thing it was misty out and I don’t think people would spot serious old me sticking her eggy head out of the window in those temps.

Aaaanywhoo, so I washed out my eggy mix in yes freezing COLD water (disclaimer – hair care can result in the flu).  Admittedly even after aaall those precautions I still had some eggy boogers…ok ok they were tiny and were like 3 or 4, so I guess I did relatively well.  I then did a co-wash and bantu-knotted for the night.

Results?  Well, I really could feel a strength to my hair and because of the oils in there it was very well moisturized, so I guess it did something.  I’ve been having lots of shedding lately and looking closely at my lifestyle, my protein intake hasn’t been what it should be, so with this protein treatment, I am also planning to include more beans and protein stuff in my diet and hope the shedding stops.  So yes…Asilia Prime it was…egg on asilia bots!!!

Apple Cider Vinegar – How To’s and its Versatility

Ok, so I’ve always used Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar as a part of my salad dressing, but I had NO IDEA as to how versatile and beneficial Apple Cider Vinegar is. Apart from being an ancient remedy for just about everything; I read a few blogs and articles where people used it to aid in digestion, boost the immune system, as a detox, after facials, as a toner, in the hair, among many other unmentionables (Yeast infection anyone? 😀 ).

It was just too much for me not to try it! As I mentioned, I already had the Heinz stuff in my house but all the sites recommend using organic, non processed/ pasteurized ACV and so I went and bought some Bragg ACV. It is made from organically grown apples that are not heated or pasteurized. It is left raw and unfiltered and as a result it is cloudy and has a brownish color, reminiscent of oxidizing apples. Although Bragg seems to be the most popular organic ACV on the net, there are lots of other brands to choose from. The important thing is to make sure it is organic and still has ‘the mother’ in it. (When I first heard this it sounded like crazy cult talk! THE MOTHER!? 😀 ) Apparently ‘the mother has’ numerous health benefits. More about ‘the mother’ here.

So I got my bragg on started using it as a ‘daily detox’ first thing in the morning. One table spoon of ACV to a large glass of water. I was surprised to actually notice a difference! It leaves you feeling nicely flushed out, and doesn’t taste as bad as I expected. Highly recommended!

ACV drink recipe

1 Tablespoon of Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar
600ml Drinking Water
3 teaspoons of honey

(If you really can’t stand the taste you can add it to juice instead.)

Yesterday night after my moisturizing deep conditioner I decided to try final ACV rinse in my hair. I was skeptical because really, who puts vinegar in their hair?! I washed out my DC, used my herbal essences conditioner and rinsed that out and used the ACV mix as a final rinse, followed by a dash of water. I was so pleasantly surprised! My hair was softer and felt stronger too!

ACV hair rinse recipe

2 Tablespoons of Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Litre of (preferably distilled) tepid Water

I loved the effects and will try it again, to make sure it wasn’t a fluke! I’ll also try after a facial as a toner and see what happens. All in all, Organic full-of-goodness Apple Cider Vinegar – Asilia Prime!

Brainwashing the pups: Some hair care tips for newbies

So, when you get on this Asilia Revolution you inadvertently want to convert everyone around you! I live near my sister and my cousin who for the purposes of this blog shall be Sookie and Lulu (cheers to Kip for the names!). Sookie has teenie weenie braids on right now and relaxed resilient 4b (4G in her opinion!) hair somewhere underneath them. Lulu has usually lush 3c natural hair currently suffering from a “braid hangover”.

Kipepeo and I have preached the Asilia way and they are kicking & screaming to get away believers! Woop woop! We shall post progress pics in time but I thought this would be the perfect post to introduce some staples/tips for newbies.

5 tips for happy healthy hair

1. Protect

Lay off the heat. Lay off the heat. LAY OFF THE HEAT. Heat is one of the major obstacles to healthy hair, the worst being blow dryers, tongs, flat irons i.e. direct heat. Learn how to air dry, and if heat must be used, make sure the settings are low, and heat protectants are essential. (Air drying can give you hell at the beginning but it gets better, I promise. A post on this will follow in the near future.)

Smart styling is also a key factor in protecting. Use protective styles which:

  1. Protect your ends
  2. Keep your hair off your collar (abrasion with our collars causes frizz and breakage)

Protective styles include buns, up-dos, roller sets, braids and so on. (A post on these too shall one day follow.)


2. Moisturize

Hair loves moisture. Think co-washes, leave in’s and moisture DCs. As always, I must proclaim : Water is the best moisturizer. After moisturizing always remember to seal in the moisture with an oil such as olive oil, castor oil, jojoba oil and so on.

3. Deep Condition (DC aka Treatments)

This helps maintain your protein-moisture balance. DC at least twice a month, and switch it up between the two.

4. Cut back on the chemicals

Relaxers, and hair color/dye all weaken the hair. If you relax and intend to continue, stretch the time between your relaxers and DO NOT overlap the old relaxed hair. I mean NEVER EVER EVER “re-relax” already relaxed hair. This is a recipe for disaster. Chemical users, should amp up their moisture and deep conditioners to keep the hair happy after the chemical torture!

5. Find a Regimen and stick to it!

Healthy hair care is a continuous affair; you have to commit. The K.I.S.S theory works best for this. Find your staples: shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioners, moisturizers and oils. (Know the ingredients in your products. Find out if your “moisturizing shampoo” is really moisturizing or simply a marketing gimmick. Know the ingredients to avoid and those to embrace.) Once you’ve done this, decide how often you will wash, co-wash, deep condition and so on. Stick to your regimen, and your hair will love you for this. Here ‘s a great detailed article on regimen building.

Good luck newbies!  Heres to Sookie and Lulu!


Castor Oil and Me

I have a new love and his name is – CASTOR OIL!!!!  I am in love with the stuff.  I’m not too big a fan of the smell…but with what it does…smell? what smell?  So last time I used it on my face as a cleanser, I tried it on someone with some sugar like Jmmk did as a scrub and said person was wow’ed.  Now I’m using it on my hair.  I did random braids, but my ends – oh gawsh my ends.  You know when you can actually see the split ends with with tips and your hair sort of just looks at you and seems to say “seriously, how can I be treated like this?”  So I sprayed on some of this wonder formula and then rubbed on a bit of my darling castor oil on the tips.  I could immediately see the difference.  A little bit goes a long way and its fabulous.  Next day I put in a bit of moisturiser and sealed with castor oil – on my ends again and once again – magic!!  Definitely and Asilia Prime!!!

Moisture moisture moisture….did I say moisture?

This is one of the key factors that ensure your hair stays happy and healthy. Audrey Sivasothy a self made hair guru with beautiful locks to boot, explains all about the fine art of balancing protein with moisture here.

Before I got into a whole new world of hair care, as far as I was concerned some ‘hair moisturizing lotion’ such as this every other day would without a doubt keep my hair ‘moisturized’. However, I have come to learn that the only true moisturizer is water. Although a whole book could be written about moisture and the great deception that is most commercial hair care products, this post will focus on my leave in conditioner/moisturizer.

As part of my regimen, I make a point of keeping my hair moist through out the day. Because it is not realistic to heave around bottles of product with you as you go about your day, I needed a simple effective solution. In addition, because I knew from my research what my hair needed to remain soft and moisturized without weighing it down, I decided to make my own leave in moisturizer.

My ‘recipe’ is simple. The moisturizer is made up of mostly water, very little conditioner, a tad bit of honey – (honey is a humectant and therefore attracts and retains moisture), and a dash of EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) to help seal in all the goodness. I bought a spritz bottle that’s small enough to carry in my bag, and whenever I get a chance (or my hair feels like it needs it), I zip into a bathroom and moisturize it. Because I live in an extremely hot and humid country, it has really worked wonders.

Before I started this moisturizing regimen, my hair would be dry and frizzy by evening. Now, it is always slightly moist and doesn’t frizz like it did. Breakage has drastically reduced, and I believe moisture has contributed greatly to this. For beginners in the hair game, it should be among your number one priorities.

There are no hard and fast rules as to what ingredients and you should use, but do your research first. Water is always a must, and natural oils such as castor oil, coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil are great to seal in the moisture. You can even try add a drop of one of the essential oils. The rest is up to you.