Healthy Hair Journey

One of my Beauty Resolutions of 2017 is to take better care of this hair of mine! My healthy hair journey is a little more complicated than most. I used to have shoulder-bra strap length (relaxed) hair for most of my adolescent, teen and early adult years. Due to my anxiety, I would pull at the hair in the back of my head constantly. To the point where i developed a bald spot. A little over a year ago, when I made the decision to cut off all of my hair, I was mentally in a place where I wanted to break my bad habits and start fresh. Having no hair freed me from the pulling. It made me feel beautiful. It forced me to face the issues and stresses that caused the habit in the first place. I began to work on creating the life I wanted. A life that allowed me to deal with my anxiety in a more healthy way.

Fast forward to the present. I am a fuxking mess lol. I’m dealing with imaginary stress I put on myself combined with real life stress and emotions. From loss of sleep to not being as strict with my diet as I would like to, my anxiety is pretty high these days. As a result of this, the pulling of the hair is at a disastrous level! People with anxiety tend to take part in self mutilation as a way of coping in times of emotional distress. This can be nail/skin biting, severe scratching and of course pulling of the hair.  So basically, I’m trying to have a luscious and luxurious afro but anxiety won’t let me be great!

Due to this, my TWA (teeny weeny afro) is damaged and uneven. But since I am always up for a challenge… especially a beauty related one, I’m going to fight this! I used the wonder that is the internet to look for a salon that suited me. I wanted one that specialized in natural hair, had a good product line and a treatment that offered steaming services. I found my perfect match in Ebony Styles Beauty Salon. The service I chose was called the Rescue Treatment which consisted of a Pre-wash condition, shampoo and deep condition under the hair steamer. I wanted a treatment that would help soften my hair and allow it to retain moisture.

I was taken care of at the salon by some lovely stylists. One of them being Ms. Merna, the owner of the salon. It has been around for over 15 years yet they maintain a standard of professionalism and artistry that businesses sometimes lose overtime. The patrons were women of all ages and backgrounds. The conversation ranged from legislation to self care. Ms. Merna was extremely understanding when I told her about my hair pulling. She offered me some helpful tips to overcome it. We also came up with an action plan moving forward. Even better, I am sooooooo so happy with the results. She trimmed the damaged ends and made my hair more even to promote healthy growth. It’s so moisturized and soft that all I want to do is touch it… but I won’t! lol

Hair Steaming Tip!!!

I am a big big fan of hair steamers! I once had a service at this posh salon in Buckhead, Atlanta where the stylist put me under a steamer and it changed my life! My hair was so much healthier following the service. No other salon I have visited since then had one so finding Ebony Styles Beauty Salon was a big deal for me. Hair steaming opens the cuticle of the hair, enhances curls, strengthens the hair and makes it more manageable to style. AKA everyone needs to get into this!

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KBeauty Saved Me

I have hooded eyelids. This means that unless I develop some to tier makeup skills, my eyeshadow game is limited. I am not a glam girl and until recently, I have never really done much with my eyes besides the occasional shaky eyeliner. However, it is part of my 2017 beauty resolutions to venture out more with my looks. I want to develop my makeup skills enough to not bore you guys with selfies that all look the same lol. 

Anyone who knows me knows my fondness for Korean beauty. I love their approach to skincare and they way they automatically associate outer wellness with inner wellness. I can spend hours scrolling through Korean beauty (KBeauty) videos even though I have no idea what they’re saying. In one of my late nights of scrolling, I saw a makeup tutorials section and immediately I noticed that the girls eyes were mostly hooded! Since then, I have been experimenting with their simple and subtle beauty looks. So far, I am loving it! 

 

Skin Rules

Everyone always asks me my skin care routine as if they can adopt it for themselves. While there are skin care habits that generally work for everyone and ingredients we should all avoid, what works for one persons skin probably will not work for the next persons skin. Good skin habits come from knowledge of self and how your body/skin responds to certain things. For example, my skin likes a balance of water based and oil based products while some people may find that water based products leave them dry af.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself (and find the answers to) to help you come up with your own skin rules

  • What is my skin type in warmer and colder months? (this will help you to pick the best products for your skin according to the seasons)
  • How much water should I be drinking for my activity level/lifestyle? (dehydration causes dryness and wrinkles!)
  • Do I have any vitamin deficiencies ? (this can cause breakouts)
  • Am I using products that help my skin? (be honest with yourself on this one! If your products leave you with residue or flaky skin that does not feel nourished, the answer is NO)
  • Am I practicing good hygiene? (washing your face and hands are extremely important)
  • Is my diet balanced? (diet is directly associated with skin health)

 

Here’s a chart to help you get a basic idea of your skin type! Mine is “normal” in the warmer months and “dry” in the colder months. What’s yours?

 

get_to_know_your_skin_2048x2048

 

 

Birth Control Business

My Birth Control Experiences

I promised I would save this topic for a later date. Well now is the time. Let’s talk about birth control… and how much I hate it. Many women (and girls) use it as a way to control their cramps and other physical symptoms of their period like acne. I was once one of them. I began my period at 9 years old. Every month I would become violently ill (fainting, vomiting, etc.). This meant calling out of work every month and missing out on school. PMS would leave me in a deep slump that was similar to depression. I would spend the week before sobbing and hating myself. So naturally, when the doctor presented birth control pills as a solution to my problem, I was hopeful. The dosage she gave me was low. It worked for a couple of months. Afterwards, we went higher. Each time I tried a new brand or dosage, it would work for a short amount of time and then the wrath of my period would return. It was bullshit. After a while, I gave up and didn’t take birth control for a few years.

Then randomly, my sickness got worse. My OB-GYN informed me that it was hormone related and that I should try this thing called NuvaRing to help me out. Im sure she had great intentions… Im sure she thought her medical knowledge and experience was going to be the key to saving me from monthly agony. After reading the side effects of NuvaRing (vaginal infections and irritation, vaginal itching or discharge, headache, nausea, vomiting, bloating, stomach cramps, changes in weight or appetite, breast pain/tenderness/swelling, headache and much much more) I decided I would go for it. There are very few things in this life I regret doing. Putting that little flexi circle of hormones into my vag is one of them. Everything went smoothly. I followed the directions. Put it in for 3 weeks and took it out on the 4th week so I could get my period. My period came. I still got sick. Then my period stayed. For 1 year. Not 365 days straight. Sometimes it would stop for a week or 2. I would think I was in the clear. Then it would return.

I consulted with three different doctors in that year. Each of them was completely baffled. One of them was convinced that I had done something to my own body to make it react this way. I got more sonograms than a pregnant woman. All three physicians recommended the same thing: an abortion. Even though there was clearly no baby up there. Apparently, the NuvaRing hormones interfered with the formation of the lining of my uterus. Every month, my body would try to rebuild itself, but the hormones had been so thrown off that it wasn’t happening. The abortion procedure consists of scraping away the lining of the uterus. The doctors were hoping that would allow the lining to come back regulated and healthy. I was not with it. I didn’t think it was a good idea. So i found natural ways to regulate my hormones. After a few months, I was back to my normal violently ill period. I was never more grateful for it!

Birth Control Industry

“Never has a drug whose target population is entirely healthy people been shown to be so pervasively carcinogenic in animals as has Depo-Provera”

-Medical Apartheid, Harriet S. Washington

The birth control business is shady af. Birth control is poisonous af. Prior to reading Medical Apartheid by Harriet S. Washington, all of my misgivings about birth control were simply due to my own experiences. I was skeptical about the use of synthetic hormones to regulate my living, breathing hormones. I was skeptical about the many side effects each birth control had no matter how much the doctor said there was a minor chance of them occurring. I figured if the birth controls are becoming better/more advanced, why the hell are the list of side effects nearly identical?!

Although Washington’s book is about the medical industry and its exploitation of black people in America throughout time, there is a particularly interested part about the inner workings of some birth control studies. For example, the Depo-Provera shot which was given to dogs (beagles), in 1978, before it was human tested. The shot was created with the intention of being a cancer treatment but seeing it helped to prevent pregnancy changed its destiny. All of the dogs developed breast cancer but didn’t get knocked up. So they moved on to phase 2: human experimentation.  Nearly 5,000 were injected. Because they were unable to find funding for the drug, it disappeared for a while. When I was in high school, the Depo shot was proposed to us as a new and easy solution to teen pregnancy. You didn’t have to worry about taking a pill every day and best part of it… no monthly period! I remember seeing commercials on TV for it and being envious of the girls I knew had it.

The birth control industry still texts on humans today. They usually do it in poor third world places like Nicaragua, Venezuela and various African villages. The notion attached to this is that black and brown women in these places are not only uneducated but also not cared about. Because the 17 year old girl in the Bronx does not care if 50 women had to become sterile in order to ensure she and her boyfriend can have unprotected sex. She was not taught to care. The saddest part is, sometimes these drugs are not just tested in third world countries. There have been incidents where drug research companies test birth control on young black and brown girls right here in the U.S. In cities with high teenage pregnancy rates like Baltimore drug companies are partnering with schools to administer birth control to students. This is wrong both because they are underage (with no parental consent) and because they do not have the girls medical histories and could be putting their health at risk.

Moral of the Story

If you read all of this so far, thanks! My point is, when you take hormonal birth control, you interrupt your body’s natural processes. Hormones are a vital part in every system within the body. When they are off balance, you are vulnerable. Also, many of them have life threatening side effects and can lead to major health issues like cancer. I’m not sure about you, but I would much rather have a baby than cancer. And from an humanitarian standpoint, when we give our money (or our insurance company’s money) to these drug companies, we condone their unethical business practices. We create a demand for a product that hurts other people. We give poor black/brown people around the world their death sentence.