Waste Not, Want Not!


Readers I hate to waste time and money on beauty products. Before I try anything new on my hair, I either read up about it on the Web, read labels or ask friends and family for reviews and testimonials. That would be the 4c ladies, because that is where I fall on the hair type spectrum. I visit stores to check out prices, and root around on shelves to find the smallest size before considering spending my hard-earned dollars on something I might not like. For all my visits to beauty salons, I’ve bought a grand total of only two bottles of product from those places. I usually visit outlet malls, or wait for sales at drug stores before committing to those pricey jars and bottles of Aveda and Biolage. Even Giovanni, as divine as it smells and with its endorsements from a number of hair vloggers on YouTube, will only get a second look during a special. And sometimes I write to the company asking for sample sizes. Readers, lest you think I’m cheap about my hair, I’m not. I just hate the thought of pricey jars of products, tried and rejected, collecting dust in my bathroom drawers and cabinets.

So imagine how silly I felt when I went looking for a few small bottles of essential oils to create a mixture for a hot oil treatment the other day. I found what I needed alright. Plus a virtual horde of essential oils stashed in my bathroom cabinet. Can you believe it?

Take a look at all those amber- and indigo-colored bottles.

Go on, zoom in on those little holistic dynamos.

How could I have missed these?

Shocking, isn’t it? I dug up geranium, grape seed, lavender, myrrh, palmarosa, tea tree oil, vitamin E, ylang ylang and peppermint. All of that was in my cabinet, on top of … wait for it … the new supplies of virgin coconut oil and Jamaican Black castor oil (big up!), which I have been using. There is enough here to last me until the end of days.

This was a pleasant surprise and ridiculous at the same time.  I mean, here I am staying up two or three nights a week—four or five, really–to read up, until my eyes water, on ph balances, co-washing, recipes for homemade leave-in treatments and shea-butter based hair-dressing concoctions.  I could have been trying out my own the whole time! So I went on another research bender, looking up all the oils I’ve had in my cabinet for who knows how long. First I had to figure out how long they’ve been there, and whether they had lost their potency.  And I don’t think I can use all of these oils in my hair. I’m a little skeptical about the geranium, for one.

For the most part, though, I think I have enough here to mix some decent batches for soothing everyday scalp moisture (not literally; more like three times a week), and occasional hot-oil treatments.

Sigh. I put it down to sleep-deprived foggy headedness. But I can’t help it. I get so wound up at night after long work days that even after putting Baby to bed, I plop down in front of the computer for a session of fiction writing, filling out bills, laughing at Facebook updates or reading hair blogs. If I get to sleep before midnight, it’s rare. Hubby says I’m a night owl, but readers, it ain’t that glamorous to be a night owl. I’m not exactly sauntering past bridge and tunnel wannabees to get behind the velvet rope at a culturally hip club or restaurant.

Well, reader, no one said every turn on my holistic hair care journey was going to be simple. But I am hoping that they will be mostly smart.

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Update: If anyone has a recipe for an effective hot-oil treatment for 4c hair, or knows of someone who has, please be a gem and leave a comment and a link. Thanks!


To Kevin and the Rest, Thank You

Thursday morning I stepped onto my NYC-bound train feeling lousy. My stomach felt strangely queasy, probably because I had not slept well at all the night before. Baby awoke at minutes past one after a bad dream, Hubby is working around the clock on intense deadlines so he slept downstairs to avoid disturbing us when he got up for a 5 a.m. writing session, and I had congested sinuses.

So when I saw a solid row of guys sitting down, I didn’t like it. One Black gentleman correctly read my face, and gave me his seat. I was soooo grateful to take a load off, and thanked him as I sat down.

Thanks again to that guy and others like him, specifically Black men. I know I’ve come down on the ones who have been prodigious pests, and other bloggers and vloggers have blasted certain Black men for their poor behavior in public. But I have to tell you, after I sat down and my head stopped spinning, I felt like any guy anywhere in the Northeast who gives up his train seat is a local hero.

And there are many more guys like him, if you look closely. I was at the post office last year, sending off some packages, and was in line behind a woman, a sister, who was sticking stamps on a large stack of envelopes. She worked quietly, unfurling a long roll of postage stamps and she peeled them off one by one and stuck them on the envelopes. A Black man named ‘Kevin’ or so his company ID badge said (I wasn’t stalking! LOL.) offered to help her complete the task.  She said “Sure,” and gave him a stack of envelopes to work on. My hands were full of this, that and the other, so I couldn’t join the stamping party. But Kevin cut the stamping time in half for that woman, and helped her stack the enveloped neatly again. It was very pleasant to see people in New York City just being nice to each other, despite all their errands and job responsibilities. Kevin, whoever he is, appears to be a really nice guy, and I hope that he is being treated with the same neighborly generosity he showed that woman.

Now, if only he and that nice guy from the train this morning could influence their peers in a positive way, this whole sharp-elbowed, hard-driving Northeast region would be absolutely sunny and pleasant all the time!

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