Photo via filmsor.net
By Mwabi Kaira

In the ongoing conversation about skin hues and how uncomfortable the world seems to be with dark skin, Academy award winner Lupita Nyong’o has fared well and seems to have come through pretty unscathed since emerging in the public eye back in 2013. Other than former NBA player Gilbert Arenas dumb remarks about Lupita only being cute with the lights off, Lupita is a media darling and well loved and accepted. She is a red carpet favorite and always makes the best dressed lists. She has been on the cover of multiple magazines including Vogue, Elle, Essence, In Style, Marie Claire, Glamour, and was even named one of People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful while making the cover. She is the face of Lancome ads, and has dolls made in her likeness. Her poise and classiness are bar none and the fact that she has accomplished everything while celebrating her natural beauty make her the epitome of black girl magic.

Lupita will team with Simon & Schuster to write her debut children’s book “Sulwe."

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The picture book is aimed at readers between the ages of 5 and 7. “Sulwe,” means “star” in Luo, Lupita’s native tongue and is the story of a 5-year-old girl growing up in Kenya. Sulwe has the darkest skin color in her family, a fact that makes her uncomfortable and determined to find a way to lighten her skin. As the story unfolds, Sulwe embarks on a whimsical adventure in the night sky that, coupled with advice from her mother, helps her see beauty differently.


Lupita was not always the self-confident Goddess we know now and gave a speech about it in 2014 at an Essence Women in Hollywood Luncheon. The speech went viral and was a pivotal point for young girls who thought lightening their skin would make them feel more beautiful. She encouraged them by saying,
“I hope that my presence on your screens and in magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel validation of your external beauty, but also, get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside.” 
 The speech going viral is where the idea of “Sulwe” was born explains Lupita,
“I felt really grateful that it had this impact and at that time it occurred to me that there was an audience that this was resonating with, but the age group that really needed to hear this wouldn’t necessarily hear the speech.”
Dark skin is not just an issue in predominantly African countries; South America, India, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, and South Korea are all countries who sell skin lightening creams. The sad untrue belief is that lighter skin gives you a better life. Sulwe’s story will resonate with children from all over the world and teach them that self love and acceptance are the key. Children learn life lessons at an early age and books are a huge way in which they learn.

“Sulwe” will hit the shelves next January. Will you buy it?

Mwabi Kaira is an African girl navigating her way in an American world.  She is of Zambian and Malawian heritage and moved to the USA in 1993.  Writing has been her passion since she could put a sentence together on the page. Mothering her sons is her pride and joy.  She has been an avid runner since 2013 and has run 10 half marathons and a full marathon.  Keep up with her athttp://africanbeautifulme.blogspot.com/

Shena and Mom
Born in Flint, and raised outside of Tallahassee, Fl, Shena is a social worker, mom, and sister girl who loves hanging out with her friends. She also loves her mom. Find out what makes her naturally glam!



How long have you been natural?
I've been natural for ten years.

What are your fav products?
Shea moisture curl smoothie, carols daughter hair milk, as I am co-wash, eco gel-olive oil or coconut oil.

What's your favorite look?
I like to change my hair color because I think it gives me a different look even if I have the same style. Unfortunately, my natural hair color is a dull and dusty color that always seems to be darker than I would like.

Shena with her kids
What do you do for fun?
I’m a mother of two so they keep me busy, but I love hanging with friends. Out for drinks, traveling, and now being an active planner (a life of organization is in the near future).


How do you stay healthy?

I joined a gym in Sept., so I’m exercising 3x a week and planning lunches (at least m-thurs. weekly). I cook a lot too so I think that helps my family eat healthy. Also, I'm trying to drink more water daily. I can feel it in my skin, body, and hair when I don’t.

How has having natural hair contributed to your life?

I’m pretty confident at this point because it has been a while and it now seems the healthiest thing for my hair. Perming was definitely damaging my hair and stripping it to the max (I wore color often too). Plus a lot more women now are natural so it is encouraging to see that as well.


Did you have any positive hair role models growing up?
I'm not certain about positive hair role models. My mom's hair is super fine and curly too (she’s biracial), so I couldn’t look at her hair and see my own. A number of my friends and their moms wore their hair permed so I did as well.


Did you have 'hair envy' with your mom?

As a young kid I never really thought about different textures than my mom. I had really long hair and my mom always kept my hair in very neat braids and ponys. I never had hair envy with my mom. She is and always was beautiful to me and I feel I look just like her in a browner skin. I love my hair because it has always been soft, manageable, and a part of me.


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If you'd like to be featured in Naturally Glam submit your photos to [email protected] and answer these questions!

1) Where are you from/live and how long have you been natural?
2) What products do you use on your hair?
3) If you have a business, are in school, have a blog, products you sell, a job in a field you'd like to talk about, have initiatives and organizations you'd like to highlight, advice to give, or family that you are proud of and want to share, please do.
4) How has having natural hair contributed to your life? Your self-esteem?
5) What's been the best part of your natural hair journey or your hair journey in general?
6) What do you do for fun?
7) How do you stay healthy 

By Veronica Wells

Coconut oil is lauded as the superstar of any natural hair care regimen. And I get it, my hair loved this natural oil...until it didn't. My sister and I were in Turks and Caicos when we discovered that we could not stop scratching our scalps. For me, the itching was mild but my sister’s scalp was in crisis. Large chunks of dried skin were falling out of her head. It wasn’t long before we realized it was the coconut oil that was causing this reaction. After a couple more tries, it was with a heavy heart that we said goodbye to all of the products in our arsenal that contained coconut oil. (In theory, many of them still occupy space on our bathroom shelf.) The transition hasn’t been easy. Coconut oil is in about 80 percent of hair products for Black women. So you have to be careful.

If you find that your scalp is itchy even after you’ve washed, oiled and styled it, or you already know you have a coconut allergy, here are some products that will be lifesavers for your hair care regimen.


Queen Nefertiti’s Grow Super Long Hair, $13.00

I know this is not a very large or well known brand. But I saw this at the health food store on 125th in Harlem and decided to give it a try because--it didn’t contain coconut oil and I needed a good, heavy butter-like product to condition my scalp and penetrate my locs on wash day. This product was perfect for that. While you can feel it contains all natural oils and herbs, it still manages to go on lightly. It doesn’t leave your hair feeling weighed down and it smells delicious.

Jane Carter Solution’s Moisture Nourishing Shampoo, $8.00

From my experience most of Jane Carter’s products don’t contain coconut oil. I recommended this shampoo because, unlike so many others, it does what the bottle says it will. When you wash your hair with this product you’ll know your hair is clean without feeling like you’ve stripped your tresses of the oils they so desperately need.

Oyin’s Ginger Mint Co-Wash, $11.99

I really can’t say enough about this product. It’s my favorite on the list mostly because conditioning is so important. My locs felt INcredible after I applied this on my hair after a good shampoo. The mint stimulated my scalp, opening my pores without being too abrasive. (Some even got into my eye and it didn’t even burn.) It smells delightful and leaves your scalp feeling invigorated and your hair hydrated.

Camille Rose Naturals, Almond Jai Twisting Butter, $16.99

This is for the “free haired” naturalistas. I haven’t used this product myself but I watched as my sister used it for one of her twist outs and it produced some of the most defined, longest lasting curls I’ve seen on my sister’s head. This twisting butter features “gourmet ingredients” like almond, aloe vera and honey, among many other natural and delicious oils. And it smells like cake in the jar but isn’t as loud on your actual head.

Ancient Egyptian Anti-Breakage & Repair Antidote Oil, $17.99

If I was really taking care of my hair like I was supposed to I would set aside time to give myself hot oil treatments, especially in the winter. The cold winds can be particularly rough on our hair. This anti-breakage oil can be used as everyday moisture or for more intensive hot oil treatments. This product contains oils like Kalahari Watermelon, Baobab Seed oil, Castor and Evening Primrose. I haven't tried this one personally but I love Mane Choice's products so this one, with these fabulous and fragrant ingredients, sounds like it has the potential to be another winner.

I should also note that all of these products are created by Black women, so there’s the extra incentive of supporting our sisters to go along with this list.



Do you have any fav products that don't contain of coconut?


Veronica Wells is the culture editor at MadameNoire.com. She is also the author of “Bettah Days” and the creator of the website NoSugarNoCreamMag. You can follow her on Facebook and on Instagram and Twitter @VDubShrug.
We're approximately 60 days away from spring.  That's a little over 8 weeks.  And that's just enough time to trim down in time for warmer weather.  I dunno about you but this recent cold spell has been a disaster for my fitness journey.

Cold weather makes me eat more, wear oversized clothes, and move less.  These three ingredients create the perfect environment for extra weight to creep in.  With only 8 weeks left until we're wearing normal clothes again, it's time to ramp up our fat burning.

And I've got the perfect workout to do it.  Before you break out your jogging shoes, I want to remind you there's better workout that's scientifically proven to burn more fat more quickly.
But first, let me share a story.  I recently went for a wellness checkup.  Before seeing the doctor, the nurse collected basic data to determine my health status.  After taking my blood pressure, she measured my current heart rate.  Once the result appeared she asked, "are you a runner?"

I let a small laugh and asked her why she would ask such a thing?  She then advised me that my resting heart rate was similar to others who lead an active lifestyle. According to Google, my heart beats per minute fell in the same range as well trained athletes.  I am......not a well-trained athlete.  Far from it.

In fact, I describe myself as leading a sedentary lifestyle.  I'm home most days and if I'm working all day, I'll barely get any steps logged in my Fitbit.  So why was my heart rate at such a healthy level?  I'll tell you why! It's because, when I'm trapped in the house all day, my only exercise comes in the form of rebounding on my mini-trampoline.   Lately, I've been using it as a stress-relieving/idea generating tool.  Whenever I'm stuck and don't feel energized, I bounce for a few minutes to generate momentum. When I get the blood flowing again, ideas form and my mood gets an instant lift.

Somehow, those little jumping sessions must have an incredible impact on my heart health.  That's the only explanation I could think of.

It turns out that my hypothesis was probably correct.  Because a study conducted in 2016 showed that working out on a trampoline was even more effective than running when it comes to conditioning the heart.  And, better yet, those who rebounded regularly burned more fat than their counterparts who were on a running regimen.

Study participants were broken up into 2 groups--runners and rebounders.  Both groups were asked to maintain their normal eating and lifestyle habits for 8 weeks. During those 8 weeks,  participants worked out 3 days a week for 30 minutes a day.  Oxygen consumption capacity (amount of oxygen processed by the body) was found to be greater in the group that rebounded versus the runners.  In fact, the oxygen capacity of the trampoline group was double that of those who ran for 30 minutes.

Best of all, they noted that those who worked out on a trampoline experienced a 31.6% reduction in body fat compared to a 20% reduction in the runners.

I've experienced rapid toning and fat loss when I consistently rebound for 30 or more minutes a day while watching my favorite shows. I barely broke a sweat because bouncing not that difficult of a workout.

 I made the investment and purchased a high quality rebouder and I don't regret my decision one bit.  At the time, I read a bunch of claims about how rebounding works every single muscle and cell in the body using a simple movement and I took their word for it.  But now, we have published studies that support the incredible benefits of this wonderful exercise.  And that heart rate reading reinforces that I made the right decision.

If you're one of those people who like to find ways to hack life (get more from what you put in), then you should take a serious look at the wonderful world of rebounding.  Imagine how powerful it'll be to strength train while utilizing rebounding as your cardio.

If bouncing on a trampoline isn't your thing, but you still want to trim the maximum amount fat by spring, try this type of workout instead.


We're approximately 60 days away from spring.  That's a little over 8 weeks.  And that's just enough time to trim down in time for warmer weather.  I dunno about you but this recent cold spell has been a disaster for my fitness journey.

Cold weather makes me eat more, wear oversized clothes, and move less.  These three ingredients create the perfect environment for extra weight to creep in.  With only 8 weeks left until we're wearing normal clothes again, it's time to ramp up our fat burning.

And I've got the perfect workout to do it.  Before you break out your jogging shoes, I want to remind you there's better workout that's scientifically proven to burn more fat more quickly.
But first, let me share a story.  I recently went for a wellness checkup.  Before seeing the doctor, the nurse collected basic data to determine my health status.  After taking my blood pressure, she measured my current heart rate.  Once the result appeared she asked, "are you a runner?"

I let a small laugh and asked her why she would ask such a thing?  She then advised me that my resting heart rate was similar to others who lead an active lifestyle. According to Google, my heart beats per minute fell in the same range as well trained athletes.  I am......not a well-trained athlete.  Far from it.

In fact, I describe myself as leading a sedentary lifestyle.  I'm home most days and if I'm working all day, I'll barely get any steps logged in my Fitbit.  So why was my heart rate at such a healthy level?  I'll tell you why! It's because, when I'm trapped in the house all day, my only exercise comes in the form of rebounding on my mini-trampoline.   Lately, I've been using it as a stress-relieving/idea generating tool.  Whenever I'm stuck and don't feel energized, I bounce for a few minutes to generate momentum. When I get the blood flowing again, ideas form and my mood gets an instant lift.

Somehow, those little jumping sessions must have an incredible impact on my heart health.  That's the only explanation I could think of.

It turns out that my hypothesis was probably correct.  Because a study conducted in 2016 showed that working out on a trampoline was even more effective than running when it comes to conditioning the heart.  And, better yet, those who rebounded regularly burned more fat than their counterparts who were on a running regimen.

Study participants were broken up into 2 groups--runners and rebounders.  Both groups were asked to maintain their normal eating and lifestyle habits for 8 weeks. During those 8 weeks,  participants worked out 3 days a week for 30 minutes a day.  Oxygen consumption capacity (amount of oxygen processed by the body) was found to be greater in the group that rebounded versus the runners.  In fact, the oxygen capacity of the trampoline group was double that of those who ran for 30 minutes.

Best of all, they noted that those who worked out on a trampoline experienced a 31.6% reduction in body fat compared to a 20% reduction in the runners.

I've experienced rapid toning and fat loss when I consistently rebound for 30 or more minutes a day while watching my favorite shows. I barely broke a sweat because bouncing not that difficult of a workout.

 I made the investment and purchased a high quality rebouder and I don't regret my decision one bit.  At the time, I read a bunch of claims about how rebounding works every single muscle and cell in the body using a simple movement and I took their word for it.  But now, we have published studies that support the incredible benefits of this wonderful exercise.  And that heart rate reading reinforces that I made the right decision.

If you're one of those people who like to find ways to hack life (get more from what you put in), then you should take a serious look at the wonderful world of rebounding.  Imagine how powerful it'll be to strength train while utilizing rebounding as your cardio.

If bouncing on a trampoline isn't your thing, but you still want to trim the maximum amount fat by spring, try this type of workout instead.