After a while, every DIY recipe starts to look the same. Avocados, bananas, mayonnaise, olive oil, and eggs all begin to sound a bit trite.Everyone has a whipped shea butter tutorial that only differs by oil variations but not with Duchess Gabrielle. Gabrielle creates this luxurious homemade hair cream with ingredients that had me running to Google. This cream is infused with 11 different herbs! Where they do that at? The various butters, oils, and gels allow this creamy goodness to double as a sealant and styler. Check out the recipe below and watch the video below for a tutorial.

*Ingredients
  • ¼ cup aloe vera juice
  • 3 oz coconut oil
  • 3-4 Tbsp Gabrielle’s dry hair blend (marshmallow root, mullein leaf, elder flower, burdock root, stinging nettle, lavender, comfrey leaf, flower, sage, parsley, chamomile, and calendula)
  • 3 Tbsp emulsifying wax
  • 1/3-cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp flaxseeds
  • 2 oz illipe butter
  • ½ tsp lavender
  • 1 tsp Liquid Germall Plus
  • 3 Lotioncrafter BTMS
  • ¼ cup marshmallow root
  • ½ tsp orange sweet oil
  • ½ tsp rosemary oil
  • 2 oz shea butter
  • 1/3 cup unrefined avocado oil
  • 3 cups water
*Tools
  • Bowl
  • Blender
  • Glass or plastic storage jar
  • Knife
  • Measuring spoons
  • Rice strainer
  • Saran wrap
  • Double boiler pot
  • Wooden spoon
*Directions

GEL PHASE
  1. Put the dry hair blend into the rice strainer and pour steaming hot water over the blend. Allow the tea to steep for an hour.
  2. Boil the flaxseeds in water and reduce the heat to simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Strain the gel solution into a bowl and add the aloe vera juice.
  4. Pour the tea from the dry hair blend into the gel solution and stir in the Liquid Germall Plus.
  5. Cover this mix with saran wrap and place to the side.
BUTTER PHASE
  1. Cut the coconut oil, shea butter, and illipe butter into smaller section. This helps the butters to melt faster in the next step.
  2. Place the shea butter and illipe butter in the double boiler until completely melted. Then, turn off the stove and add the coconut oil until it is completely melted.
LIQUID OIL PHASE
  1. Pour unrefined avocado oil and extra virgin olive oil into a bowl.
  2. Transfer the melted butters into the bowl with the avocado oil and extra virgin olive oil.
  3. Return the oil mix to the double boiler.
  4. Add the emulsifying wax and the Lotioncrafter BTMS.
  5. Remove the mixture from the stove and return to a bowl.
  6. Stir in the orange sweet, lavender, and rosemary oils.
  7. Allow the oil mixture to cool to room temperature.
  8. Pour the gel solution into a blender and slowly add the liquid mixture. Once the blender begins to choke, the emulsification process is complete. In order to avoid disintegrating the mixture, do not over blend. The blend should have a creamy consistency.
  9. Fill the glass or plastic storage container with the final cream mixture.
  10. Store the cream in a cool place and let it sit overnight before using.This DIY is definitely for the crafty natural and will leave your hair moisturized for days on end. 

This one is clearly for the advanced mixtress!  
What do you think? Will you give it a try?! 
by Shelli of Hairscapades

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a couple of months now to highlight, share and co-sign on a trick that I read on CurlyNikki long ago, but only started employing more recently. There are several viable and effective options for detangling naturally curly hair: dry with oil, slightly damp with oil and/or conditioner, wet and saturated with conditioner, fingers, wide-tooth comb, Denman, etc. I’m not going to go into the various techniques here, but if you want to learn more, check out this detailed post on CurlyNikki: Detangling Methods for Natural Hair.


So, back to the point of this post. Over the last year and a half, I have mostly finger detangled my hair dry during my pre-poo routine. However, for the majority of my twelve years natural, I only detangled when it was completely wet and saturated with conditioner. Every now and again, I revisit the wet method and this weekend was one such occasion. I didn’t pre-poo, because I was doing a henna/indigo treatment and wanted to apply it to dry hair. So, my detangling process didn’t start until the henna/indigo conditioner rinse.

Let me tell you, putting my head under the shower stream once my hair is wet and saturated with conditioner really helps dissolve the tangles! In the past, I would wet my hair, add tons of conditioner, maybe add a little more water and go at it with the wide tooth comb. I generally only went back under the water stream when it was time to rinse. But the last few times I’ve wet detangled, I repeatedly put my head under the shower stream when I hit snags, adding more conditioner as needed. The water running down the conditioner-covered strands really seems to help melt the tangles down and out of my hair with a little assistance from my “nimble” fingers.

So, if you’ve never tried this and find yourself conditioned up, but needing a little help with a nasty snarl, turn to your new friend, the shower stream. You may be pleasantly surprised by how helpful “she” is!!
Is the shower stream your friend?

CN Says:
I concur. I'm always pleasantly surprised at how easily the water stream dissolves my knots. Try it!

Should I Get Bangs?

I like to think that I’m one minor adjustment away from becoming the perfect woman—the Gwyneth Paltrow I always knew I had inside me. Imagine going baby blond—suddenly you're adding "Kennedy" to your Carolyn Bessette. Do a Key Son workout DVD and you'll know what it feels like to be Daria Werbowy (spoiler: awesome). Put on the right red lipstick, and now Liv Tyler is referring to you as the "Chunginator." I'll put it to you this way: in lieu of a linen closet, I keep a closet full of skincare, hair products, supplements, and makeup purchased with the hope that I would someday be able to look at myself in the mirror and think, "There she is."

And, until last month, I had yet to consider the most alluring and terrifying of image transformers: Bangs. Fringe. La Frange. LaBeouf. Whatever you call them, that swath of above-the-eyes hair has the ability to make or break a woman or a Bieber. They could go terribly wrong, but did fear hold back Lou Doillon from shrouding her face in mystery? Did Rooney Mara turn down The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo because of a requisite trim? What Would Grimes Do? Better yet, What Would Suri Do? And, after binge-watching Funny Face and The Devil Wears Prada, I decided it was time I took my blunt cut into Freja Beha territory.

"I'm getting bangs!" I announced to the office with the pride of a newly engaged woman. And, like all good, concerned boss-friends, they suggested that I ask hairstylist Ashley Javier to fashion temporary faux fringe for me before making any rash decisions. "Like a hair piece?" I clarified. "He did the same thing for Annabelle [Dexter-Jones]," Nick said, explaining how Javier could color-match and cut a few clip-on styles to send me home with before I took scissors to my real hair. And after a phone consultation with the extremely wry and charming Javier—“I don’t do 'cuts,' I do careers,” he told me—I set up an appointment to visit his sunny Flatiron salon.

I was greeted by a hot tea, a terrier, and a rainbow arrangement of fake bangs. In other words, I had taken the subway and an elevator to heaven. I thought that I would get the ball rolling by whipping out my own set of color-matched clip-ins—until I realized I'd made the mistake of ordering ones made of synthetic fibers. "I can't believe my scissors are going to cut this," Javier said, laughing. He would not be able to dye my faux hair, nor could he do much in the way of taming or styling, out of fear that too much heat would melt the—yes—polyester. Thankfully, the color was more or less spot-on and Ashley was able to look past my naiveté.

After cornrowing a two-inch-wide section of my real hair back over (to which the faux bangs would be clipped), Javier swiftly chopped polyester and talked me through the World of Fringe, which includes:

1. The bi-bang: A Birkin-esque bang that can be swept to the side so it disappears into the rest of the hair.

2. The brow bang: Cut right above the brows, so the eyebrows are still visible.

3. The girly bang: Cut one finger-width above the eyebrows, it's a "very Sandra Dee" bang, ideal for shorter lengths.

4. The baby bang: Audrey Hepburn mini fringe.

5. The fetus bang: An extremely graphic, very edgy, choppy bang that is two-and-a-half fingers above your eyebrows.

All the while, we laughed, played with hairstyles, talked references, and weighed the pros and cons of each look. It felt adventurous and extravagant. I was the Tai to his Cher. And, like any good tryst, when we were done he asked if he could light a cigarette before telling me about his childhood, about his passions (hair), and he even showed me a painting he was working on. He told me that I looked the prettiest in the girly bang, but that he'd want to hang out with fetus-banged me, so I left with one fetus bang [2], one girly bang [3], and one bi-bang [4].

I spent a week in those beautiful, bespoke face-merkins, but as much as I liked them, I ultimately decided I wasn't ready to commit. It's the same way I feel about getting a dog. Of course I want it, but it wouldn't be fair. I don't have time to take care of bangs, and I really do enjoy the freedom of not having to style them or have such a signature look everyday. And I couldn't be happier that I went temporary, because I'm no longer taunted by the mystery of 'What would I look like?'

Here's what I learned about getting bangs, both faux and real:

1) When going fake, invest in real hair if you can get it. It's much more versatile, and you can manipulate it to match the texture of your own hair.

2) As a general rule, bangs should never go wider than the arches of your eyebrows. This will not only keep your face from looking wider (an unfortunate reality of a lot of fringe), but will also keep you from looking like you have a bowl cut on the front half of your head. We can't all be Willow Smith.

3) If you're going to taper your bangs (and not cut straight across), make sure the length is consistent at least within the gap between your eyebrows.

So, this time, I did not get banged. But, the experience left me with the itch to change something, so I made an emergency hair appointment and chopped off a full five inches—right to the collarbone. A day later I ran into Leandra Medine who told me point-blank, "I like your hair. It's not short enough." I'm still very much on the journey to revealing my inner Gwyneth.

—Mackenzie Wagoner

Photos by Mathea Millman

Give Your Lover A Lock Of Hair

Well, it's Valentine's Dayif you celebrate that kind of thing. Me, I celebrate my love for my boyfriend every morning by shoving the single pillow we share over his face before turning on the light so as not to shock his delicate eyes. I guess his very own pillow would be a good V-Day present this year... But back in the day, people were weirder about love and exchanged dead cells that grow in strands out of their bodies. Then they made jewelry out of it. You can find specimens like this on Ebay, labeled "mourning jewelry" because when people died, their survived-bys would clip and encase a strand of their hair to keep in remembrance. My mom actually clipped a strand of my hair when I was a baby in anticipation that the gentle, kind, loving little girl would eventually die...and be replaced with the the saltiest little bitch to enter into day care. Seriously: it's in a chest next to the one time I apologized to her on a notecard attached to a hideous clay sculpture glued to a plastic fork.

But the hair lockets weren't all made from dead people—living, breathing lovers gifted each other locks of hair as well. Imagine a young blond farm girl snipping off a ringlet and tucking it into a locket before handing it off to her beau who just got a job with the Pony Express. (They all died of dysentery...or something. The farm girl's father was relieved; he didn't like the guy that much anyway.) It's pretty! Pretty creepy. But don't all romantic gestures make someone cringe? I feel nauseated every time I see a couple bragging about their nice, clean living room on Instagram, so to one-up their obvious attempt to disgust me, I've created a keychain of my hair to give my boyfriend [1]. Because—alert Pinterest—real-hair braided keychains are the new mourning jewelry.

This isn't the first time I'll be giving a guy some of my hair. Once I sent a lock of my virgin, spun-gold ombré (Jared Leto-level ombré, I swear) to a long-distance boyfriend. And thank god I did send it out, because now I can ask him to return it, to bring in to show my colorist on my quest to get that perfect color back. "Hi, hope you're well! Sorry for the break up. Hey, do you remember that time I sent you a piece of my hair? You wouldn't happen to still have it would you?"

At the time, it felt very romantic, and it's because the gesture, while bizarre as all get-out, is very romantic! You're giving someone you love an actual piece of you. Just make sure it's not a piece of you that you really need, like hair from the top of your head or the nape of your neck—clip from the middle-back section of your head where nobody will ever notice the absence of a small chunk. And rather than snipping off enough to make an elaborate braid, just go with a lock tied in a pretty satin bow and place in a Hallmark card next to that iTunes gift certificate you picked up while in line at CVS (don't worry, the romantic snip of hair cancels out your crappy non-human-made gift), and make your boyfriend happy...after he pays your dowry like in the good ol' days.

—Annie Kreighbaum

Photo [1] by Annie Kreighbaum, Photos [2-8] courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art.



The more we embrace our natural texture, the more we learn that organic and natural hair products work best. There are hundreds of ingredients found in nature that can be used in hair products. Healthy ingredients aren't for textured hair alone! These ingredients work to make everybody's hair healthier. Below is a list of ten popular ingredients in natural hair products and what they provide for our hair.
1. Shea Butter
High in fatty acids, shea butter is an emollient — meaning it provides a layer of oil on top of the surface of a hair strand, significantly reducing the amount of moisture (water) lost. This is what Naturally Curly girls mean when using products like this to "seal" their hair.

Read On!>>>


2. Coconut Oil
Many natural hair products contain coconut oil, another emollient perfect for sealing moisture into the hair. Coconut oil provides both shine and strength to locks, making it a popular ingredient for naturals.
Coconut oil can also be used as a leave-in conditioner for for thicker textured hair. Because the natural hair oils have difficulty sliding down the curls, you'll need to use an abundant amount of coconut oil.

3. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera can be used to promote hair growth, stop hair loss and treat scalp problems. The easiest way to use aloe vera is to mix some aloe vera gel into your shampoo or conditioner.
You can also apply aloe vera gel into your scalp and gently massage it in before rinsing it off. You should notice an improvement in the condition of your scalp and hair in about two to three months. Make sure to leave the aloe gel or juice on for at least two hours before rinsing or washing your hair. This treatment also works to promote hair growth, since aloe vera contains an enzyme that stimulates hair follicles.

4. Vegetable Glycerin
Natural Hair products containing vegetable glycerine act as strong humectants—meaning, they attract and bind water to themselves. Vegetable glycerine also creates a layer of oil over the hair strand, thus aiding in the retention of moisture. Try combining it with aloe vera juice to create an even better moisture spritz!

5. Jojoba Extract
Jojoba is another humectant perfect for adding to damaged ends. Because it is very similar to your natural hair oils, jojoba oil can be used to balance oil production at the scalp, aiding overproducing glands that cause oily hair. Jojoba is also non-greasy and will give your hair a healthy, natural shine.

6. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is an emollient that seals and softens the hair. The "extra virgin" on a label means it was produced using only physical means (no machines involved) and has no chemical treatment to alter it. Use it as a quick pre-shampoo or a deep conditioner.

7. Castor Seed Oil
Not only is this vegetable oil a humectant, castor oil also has anti-fungal properties. This will ensure a clean scalp, with the hair follicles clear and prepared for better hair growth. Some apply it to the temples to increase the thickness of thinning edges.

8. Honey
Honey is a light humectant that also has antibacterial properties. Check out Oyin Handmade products! They use tons of oyin (the Yoruba word for "honey") in their sweet hair treats.

9. Avocado/Avocado Oil
Many natural hair products use avocado since it's packed with vitamins A, D, E, and contains more potassium than bananas. Easily absorbed into the skin, avocado oil is a quick way to get multiple nutrients onto your scalp for improved hair growth.

10. Tea Tree Oil
With potent antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, tea tree oil is a soothing remedy to a dry scalp. It is an essential (concentrated) oil, so a little goes a VERY long way. Over-application of a potent essential oil may actually cause irritation.

As many of these ingredients are indigenous to other countries, we strongly suggests buying these products "fair trade," where the people who make the product from harvest to packaging are paid fair wages!

Organic and unrefined versions of these ingredients work best and ensure the retention of nutrients.

What are some of YOUR favorite ingredients in natural hair products?