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Get The Facts On Keratin Treatments

by Trichologist, Dr. Kari Williams

Keratin is the building block of hair. It is a natural protein found within the structure of the hair strand. It binds to hair, reinforcing the structure, strengthening the hair, creating a shinier appearance and ultimately promoting healthier hair.

Keratin Treatments claim to not only provide stronger shinier hair strands, but also tempt curly girls with the promise of reducing frizz with a straighter look that can last up to 3 months and not damage their curls.

Fact check: Keratin does not straighten the hair.  Therefore, there are chemicals in the product that are creating a straight hair strand that can ultimately lead to excessive breakage and hair loss if you are not careful.

Formaldehyde was the active ingredient that had a lot of manufacturers of Keratin Treatments under fire because the product was causing harm to the professionals who inhaled it and created health risks for the consumers. As a result, “formaldehyde-free” treatments have been introduced the market. A lot of consumers are being misled with this advertising. While they are hoping to get a healthier alternative to the straightening treatment, the truth is—they are not. These products contain glutaraldehyde (or glutaral) or glyoxal which are another form of formaldehyde and a part of the aldehyde family. These chemicals assist in the process of straightening the hair. These chemicals are carcinogens and are not good for humans to ingest or have repeated or long term exposure to through touching or breathing. Other companies who promote smoothing or keratin treatments may not use these specific chemicals but other compounds in the aldehyde family of chemicals. When these chemicals are heated past 420 degrees they have a similar chemical reaction, as would traditionally based formaldehyde. In addition, the heating tools used to seal the product into the strand are so hot; alone they can cause damage and breakage to the hair strand.

These products are not FDA approved and there are reported allergic reactions on the scalp and hair loss. Unlike relaxers and perms that chemically and permanently alter the bonds in the hair strand to produce a straight hair, the aldehyde compounds in keratin treatments sit on the strand and is slowly washed away every time you shampoo. The problem with this is you are walking around with a head full of formaldehyde (or some form of it) for weeks.  You are sleeping with, eating next to, and absorbing this chemical until your next shampoo or two. Unlike other chemical processes that are on the hair a short time and stop after it is properly shampooed and rinsed out, there is an ongoing chemical reaction taking place in your hair with the “keratin treatments.”

I advise you to understand all of the risks associated with Smoothing and Keratin Treatments before choosing them as a temporary styling option. I know some women who have no complaints and get great results, but this is not guaranteed for everyone. Anytime you apply heat to your hair you are taking the risk that your curls may not return consistently throughout your head.  I know that a lot of curly girls want to preserve their curls, so this treatment may not be the way you want to go.

Check out this article on the problems some consumers encountered with a Keratin Treatment: http://www.clutchmagonline.com/2013/10/class-action-lawsuit-unilevers-keratin-smoothing-kit-heads-trial/

Dr. Kari Williams is a Trichologist, Licensed Stylist and Natural Hair Care Specialist. Learn more about Dr. Kari at www.drkariwilliams.com



Hairply is a new site serving up natural hair products one deal at a time. Started by Ashley Lawal, a fellow natural who decided to take her love for small business combined with an ad agency background to launch the Hairply platform.  She understands how fun but at times overwhelming it can be to sift through all the great products out there.  Hairply will help naturals tame their inner product junkie, while still giving a full experience by bringing weekly deals focused on one great product line at a time.  By joining Hairply, naturals can choose the products they want to try at a value.

To kick-off the countdown to their official launch in January 2014, Hairply is doing a giveaway sponsored by one of their upcoming featured brands, Utopian Body.


The Giveaway

Two Natural Chica readers will have a chance to win one Utopian Body Set. Each set includes, the Hair. Body. Massage Oil and Arometherapy Hair Mist and will come in either Tropical Candy or Heavenly, two of their best selling scents (US shipping only).

Hair . Body . Massage Oil:

Utopian Body oils include nourishing nut and seed oils, plant extracts (known for their medicinal properties) and uplifting flower botanicals. Our oils are multi-functional and can be used as bath accents and everyday moisturizers. Premium Oils used include:  Olive, Avocado, Argan, Almond, Castor, Grapeseed, Castor, Carrot, and Vitamin E. Nourish, heal, restore and moisturize your dry hair, scalp and skin with Vitamins C,E and antioxidants!

Aromatherapy Mist:

An “oh so natural” way to refresh your luscious locks and natural styles with our uplifting and relaxing Utopian Body Aromatherapy Mists. Great for hydrating your “wash and go” styles.

Our signature scents will awaken your senses and have you smelling scent-sational!


To Win

Simply subscribe to Hairply by entering via the Rafflecopter instructions below.

Increase your chances by liking them on Facebook, following them on Twitter and/or Instagram

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Hairply Social Media Links

Hairply Coming Soon Page: http://www.hairply.com

Hairply Subscribe Link: http://ow.ly/qk61L

Hairply Facebook: www.facebook.com/hairply

Hairply Twitter: www.twitter.com/hairply

Hairply Instagram: @hairply

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


:: SPOTLIGHT:: Jill Riley of Alapure

This month, I’m helping to host a special challenge with a new company called Alapure that makes quality natural body butters and lotions that I have fallen in love with. Because they are a new company, I wanted you all to have a chance to learn a little bit more about this brand and the founder, Jill Riley. I am a true fan of their products and their healthy lifestyle mission!



1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what prompted you to launch Alapure? Any challenges you had to face and overcome in launching this new business?

My name is Jill. I am multicultural woman in my fifties often mistaken for someone in her twenties. Like all women, I want to be beautiful. Beauty is the result of many things and physical beauty is not just good genes. I believe that beauty starts with taking care of your body. That means exercise and fitness, having a healthy diet and a good skin care routine. A fit, healthy woman with beautiful skin can’t help but feel good about herself and exude emotional beauty which we all know as confidence. Now that is beauty. For me, it all began when I entered a high-impact cardio exercise competition. Preparing for that competition required a special diet and a focused exercise regimen. After that competition, I decided to continue exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet. At about the same time, I began experimenting with different skin concoctions for myself. I did it for fun. I would often mix different brands of lotions together; add other ingredients and essential oils to existing products etc., to come up with a unique blend for my skin.

Jill Riley packaging alapure lotions

Jill Riley packaging Alapure lotions 

alapure body butter and lotion

I was able to further tweak my skincare recipes from beauty tips and secrets I learned from my travels around the world over the past 20 years to over 34 different countries. In 2012, when I visited to South Africa, I hit the jackpot ingredient. It was Marula Oil. I further researched Marula Oil and learned of its healing, moisturizing and anti-aging benefits. I realized that women in the US would benefit from this. When I got back to the US, I experimented with some Marula lotion.  There was something different about this lotion. It was like no other lotion I ever used before — it felt like velvet! I wanted to give multicultural women in America the opportunity to experience Marula Oil and my special lotion/butter recipe, and so I was prompted to launch Alapure and the Alapure Lifestyle.

maula fruit

african tribe and culture

2012-Learning about an African tribe and culture in South Africa

The biggest challenge I face with running a small premium cosmetic company is getting people to take a step up from the mass-produced, chemically-laden inexpensive products that are so abundant in the marketplace to an all-natural product that is a little bit more expensive.  That is where confidence comes in. You know you have a quality product that people are going to love so you just keep plugging away. It’s also why the Alapure Icon symbolizes Strength, Confidence and Persistence.

alapure icon

2. Can you share with us what the formulation process was like for your products? What are the key beneficial ingredients and their properties?

Once I learned about Marula Oil, I knew that I wanted it to be the key ingredient in my products. I can’t say enough about Marula Oil – you really have to experience it to relate to what I am talking about. It is rich and non-greasy; it moisturizes with ease, it heals and it leaves the skin with a glow I have not seen before. Think about it – Marula Oil has about 70% to 78% of the fatty acids required for healthy skin. It is also rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin E – all good for beautiful skin.



marula fruit bunch

I also learned about Tamanu Oil, another remarkable essential oil that is native to Indonesia. It is very similar to Marula Oil and boasts great healing abilities. I was able to see and learn more about the Tamanu tree at the botanical gardens in Singapore earlier this year.

tamanu tree

The Tamanu tree (Calophyllum inophyllum) at the botanic gardens in Singapore. Tamanu Oil is used in Alapure Body Butters.

All my products contain ingredients that promote lasting benefits for the skin like Aloe, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Rosehip Oil and Jojoba Oil to name a few, so a little usually goes a long way with maximum benefit. I know what benefits I wanted the product to produce as well, how I wanted the product to feel. After that, it was a matter of working with experts to determine the right percentages of ingredients to formulate the final product. Another important point was what I did not want in my products – things like parabens that your skin doesn’t need.

3. On your website, you mention the Alapure lifestyle. Can you explain what that entails?

The Alapure Lifestyle encompasses everything positive that goes into revealing one’s beautiful self. I realize that the lotions, creams and products we put on our bodies are great at enhancing what is already there. The Alapure Lifestyle focuses on what is already there. I believe that having a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and rest as well as staying hydrated all play vital roles in one’s skin health. In other words, the most radiant beauty emanates from the inside to the outside and the Alapure Lifestyle embodies this belief.

4. Can you tell us about the women’s cooperative you work with in Africa in obtaining the Marula oil?

Fair trade is the exchange of goods where fair prices are paid to the producers in developing countries. I made sure to work with a company that shares my position on fair trade. The company from which I source the Marula Oil has a community based empowerment program for the production of high quality products from raw materials gathered by the women in the local South African communities. Their aim is to empower the workers by providing far-reaching economic and social benefits, while upholding the highest international environmental and fair trade standards. I am pleased to know that I can help to empower these hardworking women and their families. I am planning to visit South Africa again in 2014 to establish direct connections with the workers.


african workers

5. Do you have any advice for other new small businesses that want to deliver beauty products with high quality, natural ingredients?

  • Don’t try to offer all things to everyone. Instead, focus on what you know and care the most about and use that as your starting point.
  • Research thoroughly, the partners (suppliers, labs, designers, etc.) with whom you wish to work. A good partnership is key to success.
  • There will be challenges along the way. Don’t become discouraged by them. Let them strengthen you. Stay positive, stay focused and enjoy the journey.
  • If you are working with a shoe-string budget as I did, be prepared to wear many hats in the beginning. You will have to do and learn all aspects of the business. It is not always as easy as it seems but there are benefits to knowing your business inside out.


6. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

The earth is in constant rotation around the sun. This allows us to experience the beauty of the seasons. Similarly, we have to keep in constant rotation of our lives. In other words, we have to keep learning, growing and accepting new challenges. This, in my opinion is what makes life exciting. If we remain stagnant in life, we will miss the beauty and the rewards of change.


Don’t forget that you can sign up for the Alapure Lifestyle Challenge and get 40% off of your order of an Alapure product! Not only will you be able to save on your order, but you will also be eligible to win an Alapure prize pack worth over $100 if you participate in their one minute video challenge! Details HERE. Hope you check Alapure out! 


Lately, I’ve been falling in love with pieces with gold accents! To me, gold accents can be very classy and instantly adds a bit of glam to your look. For this look, I was so grateful to receive a custom structure clutch by Mel C. featuring a classic gold shoulder chain.

Mel C Clutch

When I received the custom clutch in the mail, I knew I wanted to pair it with a simple but classic look.

front view with clutch with logo

What better time to bring out my metal plate belt from ASOS to finish the look.

Full body with clutch with logo

Dress: Mossimo

Shoes: Tahari

Belt: ASOS

Clutch: Mel C.

Some of my other favorite gold plate belts

For more info on Mel C. clutches, visit:

Follow: Instagram: @clarmeli86
Contact for custom orders at: hardwareclutch@gmail.com
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the Mel C. clutch for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. All other items featured were purchased with my personal funds. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

For me, getting a new pair of glasses used to mean standing around for about 30-45 min. after my eye exam, perusing through the store’s frame collection to finally settle on a pair of frames that was reasonably cute for my price range. Online eyeglass retailers are definitely becoming a more suitable option for many people, offering a wider collection of frames for significantly discounted prices. Glasses.com recently reached out to me and welcomed me to experience their online ordering experience at no cost to me. Since my hubby was more so in need of glasses than I was, we decided to document his experience instead!

Glasses.com is an online eyewear retailer that carries sunglasses and prescription eyeglasses from designer brands such as Oakley, Maui Jim, Ray Ban, Ralph Lauren and more. My husband had too much fun with the Glasses.com 3-D virtual try on app that I downloaded on my iPad for him to use. It really helped him make his selection as he was able to see a more realistic representation of what the frames would like on his face from all angles (you can see the vid below to see what I mean).

The engineer in me was really impressed with how seamlessly they were able to measure the distance between the pupils and adjust the frame proportions for his face by a simple scan through my iPad’s camera! In addition to the very addicting cool virtual try on app, they also have an in-home try on service if you’re the type of person who wants to see them physically on your face before you purchase.

After playing with the virtual try on app, he finally decided on some circular frames from Modo. When they arrived, he put them on and they were a perfect fit! He liked them so much that he didn’t even protest when I asked to take some pics of him with his new glasses (he protests ALL pics lol).

murph glasses summary

 Overall, we both were pleased with the ordering process on glasses.com and hubby’s even more excited about his new frames! If you’re looking for an online eyewear retailer that offers a wide selection of frames from low-end to high-end, I would suggest you give glasses.com a try.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/glassescom

Twitter: https://twitter.com/glassescom

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”




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