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climbing deeper into this natural ish, pt 2

Avatar • Jan 31, 2009

so, about a week ago i proclaimed i was switching to all natural hair ingredients. for some background: my regimen is centered on protective styling. i keep twists or box braids in for 3 weeks, then take them down and do a clarifying treatment and deep condition. the plan is to try different ingredients/products every 3 week cycle until i find what works perfectly for my hair. my next clarifier/conditioner is feb. 16…

ok, here is pt 1 of the sequel…
i began by going to a storefront health food store in chicago, where an old white dude was lecturing customers on colon cleansings, and how his brand of green tea was the best. anyway, i picked out my sodium bentonite clay powder and castor oil, and an annoying helpful sales lady kept asking if i was going to do a colon cleanse. i didn’t have the heart to tell her i was using the stuff for my hair, not my bowels. so, i quickly paid for my things (about $20) and left.

the rest of my ingredients: honey, coconut milk, apple cider vinegar, olive oil and plain yogurt, i got for under $15 at Aldi. holla!

i returned home and mixed 3 tbsps of bentonite clay, 2 tbsps of apple cider vinegar, a big tbsp of plain yogurt, a couple teaspoons of baking powder, and about 4 tbsps of water. i think it was too watery… but anyway, i stepped in the shower, and soon realized that i didn’t quite know how to get the mixture from the bowl into my hair. so i ended up awkwardly bending over, and just-as-awkwardly scooping the mixture into my hair. *good times*

anyway, once i got it all in, i worked it into my hair, and… it. was. magic.

you have heard me sing the praises of apple cider vinegar in the past. well, i’m sorry, … but bentonite clay kicked acv’s ass! my hair felt clean, moist and soft all the same time… i didn’t even know that was possible. and the coil definition was insane.

i did some research about b. clay and discovered that

Bentonite clay is made up of a high number of tiny platelets, with negative electrical charges on their flat surfaces and positive charges on their edges. When bentonite clay absorbs water and swells up, it is stretched open like a highly porous sponge. Toxins are drawn into these spaces through electrical attraction and bound.”

and it’s a popular ingredient for colon cleanses (hence the sales lady’s question…)

so, my coils are well defined when my hair is wet, but usually disappear and napp-up when it dries. i was shocked to find, though, that my coils stayed defined even after my hair dried. and my hair felt… bouncy. let it be noted that i’ve NEVER used the word “bouncy” to describe my hair.

after my bentonite rinse, i really didn’t want to do a deep condition cuz my hair felt so good, and i didn’t want to mess it up. maybe i should have listened to myself, because things went downhill from there…

i heated up my deep condition mixture: honey, castor oil, olive oil, a little bit of water, (i forgot the cocount milk… maybe next time.) i repeated my awkward experience of transferring the mixture from bowl to head, put on a shower cap and watched 2 episodes of sex and the city.

when i returned to the shower to rinse my hair i felt… um… sticky (thanks honey), and my hair was nowhere as soft, moist or defined as it was after the bentonite clay mixture.

so, apparently honey is full of humectants, “a hygroscopic substance that easily forms hydrogen bonds with molecules of water. Humectants are often in many cosmetic products where moisturization is desired, including treatments such as moisturizing hair conditioners.”

i *guess*. i mean, i don’t doubt honey’s moisturizing properties. but maybe, for my texture, they’re not strong enough.

there was one consolation prize, though. a day after my disappointing deep condition, i saw the castor oil looking lonely on my bathroom sink. “what the heck,” i thought, and used it after my daily application of elasta qp mango butter (which i am phasing out, btw.) my gosh, my hair felt soft HOURS later. the castor oil sealed the moisture in a major way.

so in sum

Winners
Bentonite Clay
Castor Oil

Losers
Honey

Next Contenders
ok, so now i’m on a clay kick, and i heard that rhassoul clay is good for deep conditioning. so, it’s next in line to try.

i have to give a shout out to Moni… because i basically copped her amazing clarifying recipe. thanks girl!

write any thoughts or ideas in the comment box, and stay tuned for the feb. 16 sequel…

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Rhapsody in PURPLE!
Rhapsody in PURPLE!
11 years ago

Did you do to Kramers Health Food store? Thats were i go, i love it there.

Moni
Moni
11 years ago

I’m glad you liked it! Bentonite clay is the truth! If you plan on using it regularly you might want to decrease your baking soda or even eliminate it sometimes because it might dry out your hair over time. The way I apply my bentonite is to mix it to about the thickness of yogurt or thick pancake batter. Then I apply in sections, starting at the back, like I was applying henna or a perm. I make sure I get all of the hair and the scalp too.As for honey, I think it’s best as an add on with… Read more »

j
j
11 years ago

I haven’t heard time to research that Betonite stuff but it seems to be quite good as many blogs and fotkis are raving on about it. 

I am a little bit stuck in my ways since my current routine is great. I am however very very tempted by betonite clay. My stubborn self says to wait till next year and if everyone is still raving about it and nobody has suddenly grown a second head then maybe I’ll try it.

missglass
missglass
11 years ago

You have to be careful with honey if you use too much of it then you get that sticky mess

afrohippie23
afrohippie23
11 years ago

Glad to hear you are doing the natural ish! I’ve also recently started using primarily all natural hair products and I absolutely get a kick out of whipping stuff up! I’ve done stuff for my hair, my face, and cleaning products. It’s less expensive and I am reassured in knowing EXACTLY what I’m dealing with.

Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair
11 years ago

@rhapsody in purple… naw, i just went to the first health store i could find. i think b. clay and castor oil are staple health food store products

@ moni, yeh… i’ve noticed that a lot of women add honey to existing deep conditioners in order to enhance them. i won’t totally eliminate honey from my regimen… but i doubt it will ever be a main ingredient

Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair
11 years ago

@ missglass… yes, definitely!

@afrohippie23… i TOTALLY feel you on this. i felt so cool whipping my little mixtures together.

Yuki
Yuki
11 years ago

I love your blog so much. It’s not just about hair. It’s philosophical, spiritual, creative, educational, humourous, inspirational, and so positive! Thank you! : ) I’ve heard a lot about the benefits of Bentonite Clay for both hair and the colon, but have yet to try it for either! But after you singing it’s praises I guess I’ll have to try it for myself! : ) I’ve never used Castor Oil either. Is it very greasy? I’m trying to find an oil or butter that moisturises but isn’t too greasy. So far Shea Butter seems the best, but it kind of makes my hair look… Read more »

Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair
11 years ago

@ yuki,

thanks for those compliments, and i’m so glad you like the blog 🙂 i definitely go through a lot of trial and error (with the blog… and with my hair), and i’m glad you’re getting something out of it.

castor oil isn’t greasy at all. i have to stress though, that i don’t use it to moisturize… rather, i use it to *seal* moisture. i tried one day to use castor oil just as a moisturizer, and it didn’t work for me. so i definitely have to pair c. oil with a moisturizer.

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