Dry Brushing

brushI won’t even lie and say I wasn’t a little bit skeptical when I heard about dry brushing. If I could raise my eyebrow it would have gone higher with every mention of how it eliminates cellulite, cleans the lymphatic system and removes toxins from the skin.

I don’t know if it does any of the above but one thing I know it does do is facilitate soft smooth and did I say soft? skin. So. What you will need according to the internets is a natural bristle brush and 5 minutes of your time before you shower.

Im not sure if the brush I have has natural bristles but its what I had around so its what I used. So, starting from my feet and working my way up I used circular motions to brush the skin. Circular? Yes, this is a must. Skin is sensitive, you don’t just go rubbing it up and down with no mercy. Whether applying lotion, putting on a mask or dry brushing, a gentle circular motion is always best. No exceptions.

Dry brushing shouldn’t include the face and neck area because the skin is too sensitive for that and it already benefits from all the masks, moisturizers and exfoliation you already pamper it with. After dry brushing shower as usual and moisturize your damp* skin.

I don’t know about cleaning lymph nodes and curing cellulite (there is no such thing as a cure for cellulite. If Oprah and her billions have failed to find one – and she said she has been looking – then us regular people might just as well give up and live with it) but it does give great looking skin. I know the argument could be that skin is as a general rule, soft already but this makes it smoother and softer. Maybe it’s the removal of dead skin cells or something. It only took a couple of sessions to notice a difference to other asilia bots should try this and tell me if I am imagining my own things.

Asilia prime for sure, though don’t blame me when people look at you funny when they see you carrying a shoe brush into the bathroom … 😀

* don’t know if I have mentioned this before but moisturizer shouldn’t be applied to dry skin. After showering pat yourself dry and then apply your lotion to damp skin – it helps lock in some moisture.

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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 😀

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!