:: REVIEW:: Yoruba Wax Dyed Scarf (by Busayo) from OSISIAfrica.com

I’m not sure if you’ve heard or not, but there is a new online store, OSISIAfrica.com,  which hosts a unique collection of African-inspired fashion! They have a variety of items available from clothing to accessories, all linking you to the profiles of the original creators  as well! In fact, I’m enjoying my Yoruba wax-dyed scarf by Busayo, which is sold in their store. I had a chance to chat with the founders (Harvard University students) so continue reading to learn all about OSISIAfrica.com!

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What was the inspiration behind OSISI?
We created OSISI because we wanted to make African-inspired fashion accessible to everyone.As lovers of African-inspired fashion, we spent a lot of time visiting African-inspired fashion websites to browse lookbooks and pictures. We realized, though, that we could not purchase any items because many of the websites do not have online stores. In the rare instance that we did find a store, the items were usually pretty expensive or difficult to incorporate into everyday outfits. To target this problem, we decided to create an online hub for African-inspired fashion, where customers could purchase affordable and easy-to-wear pieces. Thus, OSISI was born.

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Meaning of the word “OSISI”

Osisi means “tree” in Igbo, a Nigerian language. The “tree” is representative of OSISI’s ethos. OSISI is about reaching back to our roots — many of OSISI’s pieces are inspired by our designers’ home countries. OSISI is also trying to branch out – we want to reach anyone and everyone interested in African-inspired fashion. We’re attempting to bring African-inspired designs to the forefront.

How do you find designers to feature on your site?

We reached out to some designers, whose work we learned of through word of mouth, the blogosphere, and African fashion shows. Many of our designers also contacted us through our website, and we were happy to hear from them! We’re always eager to explore opportunities with new and innovative designers.

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What has been one of the most rewarding experiences so far in starting this new venture?  

The most rewarding experience has been working with our 14 talented designers. They come from 10 different countries, and from all walks of life (check out their bios on our site!). We are very inspired by their dedication to their art form. Not only do our designers make beautiful pieces, but they are also knowledgeable and excited about African-inspired fashion and the market for their designs. Working with them has been a great learning experience for us.

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Is there anything else you would like to share with our Natural Chica readers? 

Check out OSISI – our colorful handmade designs will add some spice to your wardrobe!

Also, if you want an item that is not currently available in your size, let us know and we will have it custom-made for you (please allow at least a week for production of custom-made items).

Finally, don’t forget to Like us on Facebook for some great spring deals, and the chance to win giveaway items!

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Disclaimer: The scarf was provided by OSISIAfrica.com with no obligation for a positive review. No monetary compensation was provided for this review.

Lilla Rose Mother’s Day Special!

Special Message from Lilla Rose!

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FREE SHIPPING on orders over $20 from 4/25 to 4/29.  This is a great deal that does not happen often.  Take advantage of it to get your Mother’s Day gifts and stock up for upcoming birthday and anniversarys!

NEW Flexi Clip design for Mother’s Day is a beautiful scrollwork heart and sculpted rose.  Look closely and you can see the mother and child intertwined within the heart.  Small Aurora Borealis beads add some sparkle and color.  This Flexi is available in limited quantities and only from now until the end of May so get yours before they run out – www.lillarose.biz/cliptomania.  Independent Consultant Linda Menke can help you with any sizing questions, you can contact her at cliptomania@ymail.com.

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Special Note: You can see my review of the Lilla Rose Flexi Clips HERE : ) 

5 Common Myths About Afro-Textured Hair by Dr. Phoenyx Austin

5 Common Myths About Afro-Textured Hair

by

Dr. Phoenyx Austin

Have you ever heard questionable facts about “Black hair” that made you think, “Hmm, I wonder if that’s true?” I sure have. Growing up I heard many so-called “facts” about Black hair. I heard other Black person say that it just wasn’t as easy for Black women to grow long hair like our White female counterparts. And when I asked why this was the case, I usually got an answer like, “Well, because Black people don’t have ‘good hair.’” In fact, it was comments like that that led me and many other Black women to relaxers. Supposedly relaxers were the key to having longer and more manageable hair. Kind of funny considering that my hair (I’m 7 years natural) is significantly longer (and healthier) than it was when I had a relaxer.

I know many women that are absolutely desperate for guidance on how to grow healthy and longer hair. But they have such a hard time doing this because they follow hair care regimens based on Black hair care myths. So what are these myths? I’ll get to them in a sec, but first let me say this: Through personal experience and research, I have learned the importance of taking personal responsibility for my hair and approaching hair care from a place of knowledge. The hair I have now is the result of time, patience, commitment to learning and most importantly, self-love. Those are the key things that you will need to help you achieve your hair goals- whatever they may be. Now let’s start separating fact from fiction when it comes to Black hair care (or afro-textured hair care).

MYTH # 1: Trimming ends will make your hair grow

Trimming your hair will not make your hair grow. Trimming is simply a form of maintenance to remove damaged ends, and to give hair a fuller “appearance.” Hair grows at approximately 1/2 inch a month. So if you want your hair to grow longer, you will need to do 2 key things: 1) Avoid excessively damaging your hair and 2) Trim your ends on an “as needed” basis.

MYTH #2: Washing your hair more than once a week will dry it out

This is something I’ve heard quite often. But it’s totally false. Water is actually a moisturizer and does not dry hair out. Mind you, if you have an issue with hard water, then yes, washing hair frequently could lead to dryness and breakage. I talk about hard water and how to tackle this issue in my book. Now let’s get back to the normal case scenario where hard water is not an issue… Under normal cases, you should wash and even ‘wet’ your hair regularly (when I say ‘wet,’ I mean simply mist with water).  Ultimately, washing hair regularly helps keep your hair moisturized and it also helps to remove product buildup. Product buildup can stunt hair growth (by clogging hair follicles) and it can also damage the hair itself (by blocking the absorption of moisture).

MYTH #3: You need to brush your hair to stimulate hair growth

Black women do not need to brush our hair to make it grow. Furthermore, brushing can actually be very damaging because it causes friction and damages to your hair shaft and cuticle. So toss your brushes- you really don’t need them. I put away my brush over 6 years ago and haven’t had a problem growing long hair at all.

MYTH #4: Black hair grows slower than other races

Every heard comments like, “She has good hair. That’s why she can grow her hair so long.” First off all, healthy hair is “good hair.” A person’s race, hair type, or hair texture does not determine whether their hair is “good.” Secondly, all hair (regardless of race) grows at approximately ½ per month. The reason afro-textured hair appears to grow slower is usually a combination of two things: 1. Afro-textured hair appears has a tendency to shrink up into a curly/coily state (making it appear shorter than its actual length) and 2. Afro-textured hair is more prone to breakage than other hair types- especially when women don’t take proper care of their hair.

MYTH #5: Natural hair is hard to manage- that’s why we need relaxers

First off, no one “needs” a relaxer. Second, natural hair will be hard to manage if you attempt to treat it like relaxed hair. The truth is many Black women have never learned how to care for or style natural hair. Many of us were given relaxers around the same time we were learning our ABC’s. So basically, there are many of us who know next to nothing about caring for our natural hair. Trust me, it’s not a case of natural hair being harder to manage. It’s a case of learning the skills necessary to take care of your natural hair, so you can achieve the hair goals you want.

Have you heard these myths about Black hair? Are there any other myths you’ve heard about afro-textured hair care? Share one important lesson you’ve learned about caring for your natural hair.

Follow Me on Pinterest Want to learn more on how to grow healthy and longer hair? Check out Dr. Phoenyx Austin’s new book If You Love It, It Will Grow! A Guide to Growing Long Afro-Textured Hair. Also available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Dr. Phoenyx Austin is a physician, media personality and author who offers advice on topics related to beauty, love & sex, and lifestyle. You can find Dr. Phoenyx Austin on DrPhoenyx.com,FacebookTwitter.

Journey to the Ph.D. – My conference presentation in San Francisco!

As some of you may know, my journey to attaining my Ph.D. in Materials Science & Engineering has been pretty simultaneous with my natural hair journey. I started my program back in Fall 2008 and it would be an understatement to say that it has been quite the learning experience over the past 4 years. As my educational journey has progressed, I’ve been getting more requests to share my experiences, so I’ve decided to start sharing more of that here!

One of the reasons I’ve been a little MIA for the past several months is because I had been preparing for my first oral presentation on my research at a national engineering conference, which took place this month! I had attended engineering conferences before and had even presented a poster during a poster session, but I had never before had the opportunity to present my research before a significant number of people representing engineering faculty and graduate students from all over the U.S. and even abroad! Needless to say, I was extremely excited about this opportunity but it certainly took a lot of work running the experiments, analyzing the results and fine-tuning the presentation to be ready for the conference.

One of the other main highlights of this opportunity was the fact that the conference took place in San Francisco, CA!! I had never visited before, so I was grateful for the chance to explore on my down-time during the week of the conference.

When I arrived, I quickly became acquainted with the steep streets, breathtaking landscapes and beautiful architecture of San Francisco…not to mention, miles of walking and navigating public transportation *smile* . I fell in love with the city quickly and truly enjoyed walking downtown and throughout the bay area, while exploring all of the different shops and off-chain restaurants.

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My presentation went extremely well and I know I have God to thank for that! Talking to people with different scientific backgrounds is always rewarding because it offers you a fresh perspective on your research. I received a lot of great feedback and the experience certainly was a huge motivator as I continue along in this journey.

I was able to relax for a bit after my presentation and I used this time to visit the breathtaking Muir Woods and the island of Sausalito (pictures don’t do those places justice!). It decided to rain the ENTIRE week I was there, but I didn’t let that hurt my explorations too much : )

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When I shared that I’d be giving this presentation, MANY of you reached out to me with kind and encouraging words and I sincerely thank you for that!! Please believe me when I say that I do not take your support for granted at all. I read and appreciate every kind word that comes my way. 

Love ya!

*Mae*

Dr. Phoenyx’s Banana & Coconut Milk Hair Smoothie

Dr. Phoenyx’s Banana & Coconut Milk Hair Smoothie

I just love this time of year! Don’t you? You’ve got gorgeous weather for days, barbecues, cocktails with little umbrellas, and weekend trips to the beach. There’s just one major thing you have to look out for- sun damage to your hair and skin.

This is a time of year when you should pay extra attention to how well your skin is protected and how well your hair is moisturized and conditioned when you’re outdoors. How do you do this? One, make sure to wear sunblock. And two, make sure you use hair products that contain lots of water and moisture-boosting ingredients. Which brings me to a lovely little hair treatment that works extremely well at keeping hair conditioned- my Banana & Coconut Milk Hair Smoothie.  It’s very easy to make (tastes yummy too!) and is loaded with essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help to nourish and protect your hair (and scalp) while you soak up the sun.

So what’s so great about the Banana & Coconut Milk Hair Smoothie? Let’s find out by taking a closer look at the ingredients….

Bananas: are rich in natural oils and vitamins that help to deep condition, restore sheen, prevent dandruff and maintain hair’s elasticity. Elasticity is your hair’s ability to lightly stretch and recoil under tension. Elasticity is something you want to pay very close attention to- especially if you want to grow hair to longer lengths. And I talk extensively about how to maintain hair’s elasticity in my new book If You Love It, It Will Grow! A Guide to Growing Long Afro-Textured Hair. (You can see Mae’s review HERE)

Coconut milk: is rich in protein and fatty acids, which makes it great for deep conditioning, strengthening and minimizing breakage. Coconut milk is also great because it contains natural sunscreens that help protect hair from UV damage. I practically live outdoors during the summer months- which is why I like using coconut milk (and products containing coconut) to help protect and re-condition my sun-kissed coils and curls.

For this smoothie you’ll need:

2 or 3 ripe bananas (I typically use 3-4 bananas because of my hair’s thickness and length)

½ to 1 can of coconut milk (13.5 fl oz can)

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree completely. The consistency of the smoothie should be thick and creamy like a milkshake

*It is very important that you thoroughly puree your smoothie. If you don’t, you may end up with hard to rinse bits of banana and white flakes in your hair. Trust me, this is not a good look!

2. Pour smoothie into a cup or bowl

3. Use cup/bowl to gradually pour smoothie onto hair and scalp. Thoroughly coat your hair and gently massage your scalp (you may want to do this step in the shower)

4. Relax and wait 15 minutes

5. Thoroughly cleanse your hair by co-washing. Or you can shampoo (make sure to use a sulfate-free shampoo), condition and rinse

6. Style as usual

And that’s all ladies! You now know how to make a really superb all-natural hair treatment that will help protect your hair, make it softer, add lots of sheen, and leave it smelling almost good enough to eat! Enjoy!

Do you make your own all-natural hair treatments? What are your favorites?

Follow Me on Pinterest Want to learn more on how to grow healthy and longer hair? Check out Dr. Phoenyx Austin’s new book If You Love It, It Will Grow! A Guide to Growing Long Afro-Textured Hair. Also available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Dr. Phoenyx Austin is a physician, media personality and author who offers advice on topics related to beauty, love & sex, and lifestyle. You can find Dr. Phoenyx Austin on DrPhoenyx.com, FacebookTwitter.