Phenomenal Professional Naturalista: Dr. Shelby Wilson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is your name?

Shelby Wilson

Where do you live?

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

What is your occupation?

Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Morehouse College

What is your educational background?

B.S. Mathematics and Computer Science, Spelman College 2006; Ph. D. Applied Mathematics, University of Maryland, 2012

How long have you been natural?

I’ve been natural since I graduated from Spelman in May 2006.

Why did you decide to “go” natural?

My original motivation was simple: Perms burn my scalp. I tried every technique possible, and couldn’t keep my scalp from burning. At some point, I just asked myself “Why?”, and decided to stop getting touch-ups. I still straightened my hair on/off for the next 6 years. In 2012, I moved to France and committed to not putting heat on my hair. It was in my time overseas that I took the time to learn how to work with my hair.

What is your go-to natural hairstyle?

When my hair is long, I typically wear it in a twist-out. When it’s short, I sport a wash-n-go.

Have you ever experienced any challenges in the workplace due to your natural hair?

I’m fortunate in that I work in a mostly black city (Atlanta) in a mostly black environment (an HBCU). So there’s very little pressure in my daily life to conform to certain hairstyles. But on multiple occasions, at professional conferences, I’ve been told that my appearance or hair was “unprofessional” or made people uncomfortable. Early in my career, these types of reactions really discouraged me. But I let these negative experiences spur my outreach activities aimed at changing the perception of what a mathematician “looks” like.

What do you love most about your natural hair?

I love how BIG it is!

What have you found to be most challenging about being natural?

Learning to accept what my hair “wants” to do. This can be related to the weather, the health of my hair, the time I have, or a slew of other things. My hair doesn’t always do what I want/plan for it to do. I had to learn to accept that and work with what I’ve got!

How do you maintain your “work-hair-life” balance?

This is something I really struggle with. Before I had kids, I had all the time in the world, and my natural hair was long, healthy and beautiful. Since having kids, I have trouble finding the time to put together professional styles for long natural hair. Now, I mostly opt to keep my hair short. This gives me a professional look without too much time spent on my hair each morning.

What words of encouragement would you offer to someone who is considering going natural, but may have reservations due to their profession?

Go for it!! Don’t let your colleagues send you the message “We can accept you as long as you’re striving for unattainable standards of beauty.” Also, find a good natural hairstylist. A good stylist will definitely have you looking super-polished and professional with your natural hair.

***

Follow Dr. Shelby Wilson on Facebook: Shelby Wilson Chembo, Handle: ScrabbitNicole

or visit: www.shelby-wilson.com and www.mathematicallygiftedandblack.com

Phenomenal Professional Naturalista: Mrs. Racquel Brown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is your name?

Racquel Brown

Where do you live?

Brampton, Ontario, Canada

What is your occupation? 

Instructional Coach, Peel District School Board; Founder of Empower & Equip, an organization that provides resources to support parents in their journey to raise passionate, empowered children

What is your educational background? 

Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education, Redeemer University College.

How long have you been natural?

14 years

Why did you decide to “go” natural?

When my husband and I decided that we wanted to have a family, I started to think about the impact that chemical relaxers could have on a baby. I had no scientific research to back anything up – it was just a decision that I felt was right for me and more safe for my baby.

What is your go-to natural hairstyle?

TWIST OUT, 110%!!

Have you ever experienced any challenges in the workplace due to your natural hair?

Well, when I went natural, I just jumped right in with a big chop! No transitioning, I just ripped the band-aid off and went for it. I Kept it short for a long time – my barber was my bestie! As is began to grow, I felt that I needed to flat iron regularly to feel comfortable around my colleagues. Now, to be clear, no one ever said “straight is great, and fro is no”; it was something that I just felt and never questioned. Over time I began to realize that I was the one who needed to be comfortable with my Blackness and stand in the truth that my hair is a huge part of who I am, and I need to own my right to wear it 100% natural—with confidence. Sooooo, enter big chop #2! I started fresh, and as it grew, I embraced it, and I have not straightened it in 7 years.

What do you love most about your natural hair?

EVERYTHANG!! The shape, the versatility, the sheen, the curls… LISTEN!! There is nothing like a fresh twist-out that is 100% behaving itself!

What have you found to be most challenging about being natural?

Sometimes Wash Day can be tiresome (maybe that’s why it is Wash DAY). I also have two daughters so Wash Day x3 can be a bit much. But I have a system, and I am slowly teaching my girls how to wash their own hair.

How do you maintain your “work-hair-life” balance?

Well, contrary to what some think, I do not spend hours twisting my hair every night. My routine is manageable and I don’t feel like my hair is “in the way”. I do have to strategically plan when I wash, twist, rock a puff…but all of these things are probably the story of every natural out there.

What words of encouragement would you offer to someone who is considering going natural, but may have reservations due to their profession?

IF you are wearing your hair straight because of external pressures or perceptions, whether real or imagined), that is a form of colonization that you deserve to be free from. Black women are crushing the European standard of beauty, and we will continue to do so. If we want the world to accept us for who we are, we first need to accept our beauty and wear our skin and hair with confidence. IF, however, you choose to rock your relaxer, weave, wig, locs, braids, twist-out, fro because it is what YOU choose, I say to you, “Go, on girl! Do your thing!” Once YOU have made that choice, walk with the beauty and grace of a beautiful Black queen.

***

Follow Mrs. Racquel Brown on

Instagram: @mrsracquelbrown / @empowerandequip

Facebook: @Racquel Brown / @Empower & Equip

Women’s Month 2018: Phenomenal Professional Naturalistas

During the month of March, Women’s Month, we take time to acknowledge and celebrate the phenomenal contributions of women to society at large!

In honour of this Women’s Month, The Natural Hair Advocate will be showcasing a roster of Phenomenal Professional Naturalistas: women who are doing AMAZING things in their respective sectors—from law to education, medicine to business—while also shining in all of their natural glory! Each of these women has proven that you can slay—both as a professional and a naturalista—and so we asked them the secrets to their success! Join us this month, as we recognize, applaud, and hear from these natural brains and beauties!

 

…Now you understand

Just why my head’s not bowed.

I don’t shout or jump about

Or have to talk real loud.

When you see me passing,

It ought to make you proud.

I say,

It’s in the click of my heels,

The bend of my hair,

the palm of my hand,

The need for my care.

‘Cause I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me. 

~ “Phenomenal Woman” by Dr. Maya Angelou

Black History (Month) is not a joke

What does Black History mean to you? For some of us, Black History is only important in the month of February; for others of us, it is recognized all year round. It’s who we are.

When I was in grade school, I remember Black History Month, for the most part, meant learning about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Harriet Tubman, or maybe even Nelson Mandela.  Whereas, at home, in addition to the aforementioned, it also meant learning about the more-often-than-not unsung heroes like Mary Ann Shadd, the Maroons, Mansa Musa, the Queen of Sheba, and a long roster of Black inventors, among many others. The list was endless.

Mary Ann Shadd, Abolitionist, Publisher, Lawyer (Public Domain)

Mansa Musa, Emperor of Mali (Public Domain)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do-rag

This week, however, a teacher at Archbishop Denis O’Connor Catholic High, a Greater Toronto Area (GTA) school, decided to forgo the usual Black-History-Month-go-tos and opted to wear a do-rag (a nylon headscarf) in his commemoration of Black History Month (click here for the story). The typically uniformed school allowed students to wear do-rags for their February dress-down day in honour of Black History Month, so the teacher donned a do-rag of his own “to [support his] coloured friends”.

 

Apparently, it was a joke.

While it is commendable for educators and educational institutions to actually make the effort to acknowledge Black History Month—and while many members of the Black community would like to see more variety in what is taught in schools about Black History—it is inappropriate for such efforts to be based in the mimicry of Black culture. (The minstrel show is really starting to get old now.)

Black History Month is a time to celebrate the accomplishments of African peoples and people of African descent, and to recognize our contributions to the world at large, not a time to mock our experiences.

According to one student, the do-rag idea was a suggestion made by a student on the Black History committee. Even if that’s the case, it’s troubling to know that wearing a do-rag is what Black students think our history represents—and it’s even more concerning that the school just went along with it.  It is clear that despite today’s Black renaissance of sorts, our youth are still not getting the history lessons they need to learn who they really are. We, adults, have to do more to change this: the lessons must start at home.

As for the non-Black educators out there who would sincerely like to make Black history relevant and meaningful to students, please treat our history in the same way you would your own—with true reverence and acknowledgment.  Do the research.  Do a Google search on “Black History” or “Black History Month ideas”.  Go to the library. Or better yet, if you don’t know, ask somebody. Ask the Black teachers.  Ask the Black parents. Visit a Black bookstore (if you’re in the GTA, check out A Different Booklist or Knowledge Bookstore). But whatever you do, please don’t use your “celebration” of Black history as an opportunity to denigrate us. Save your caricatures for art class.

 

Here are some Canadian Black History Resources, as a start:

http://blackhistorycanada.ca

https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/campaigns/black-history-month.html

http://www.cbc.ca/kidscbc2/the-feed/all-about-black-history-month

 

Here are some U.S.-based Black History Resources.:

http://www.pbs.org/black-culture/explore/10-black-history-little-known-facts/#.Wn6Bf2YZP-Y

https://edsitement.neh.gov/feature/edsitements-guide-black-history-month-teaching-resources

http://www.smithsonianeducation.org/educators/resource_library/african_american_resources.html

What do you think about Black History (Month)? Is it important to you?  Please share in the comments.

 

 

 

Baby, It’s Cold Outside, Pt. II: Hair Armour (or All Things Protective Styling!)

Winter is now in full swing, which means it’s time to suit your hair up with some protective styling armour for the chilly season, if you haven’t already! Protective styling is used as a means to shield the hair and scalp from exposure to harsh external factors, such as extreme cold, and to halt unnecessary manipulation that could lead to potential breakage.

When preparing to “put your hair away” for the winter, it’s important to ensure that your hair and scalp have been properly washed, conditioned, and treated, to keep the hair in a strong healthy state before styling, as such styles are meant to be kept for a prolonged period of time- anywhere from 3 to 9 weeks, depending on your individual preference and level of maintenance. To learn more about proper winter hair maintenance, click here.

Hair Armour: Protective Hairstyles

There are a number of different protective styling options that can be used to help preserve your hair during the winter season, including, but not limited to: box braids, goddess locs, faux locs, twists, crochet braids, wigs, and simply wearing a head wrap.

Box braids

Box braids: Extension braids made by incorporating either synthetic or human hair into sections of your own hair, and usually braided down your back. (Be mindful not to get these installed too tight or too small, as they can cause serious breakage along the hair line- preserve your edges!)

Extension twists: Extension hair twisted into sections of your hair, to create Senegalese, Marley, and Havana twists, depending on the texture of hair that is used. This is a relatively safe and beautiful style- even for those with fine hair– as long as the base of the twists are not done too small or too tight, and the extension hair is not too heavy.

Goddess Locs & Faux Locs: Hair is box-braided or twisted, and then wrapped with Kanekalon, Marley twist, or any other type of kinky extension hair. (Note: Goddess locs have a loose curl at the bottom of each loc; faux locs do not.) For these options, try to pick a brand of extension hair that is relatively light in weight, as the loss can become heavy depending on their size and length. Also, make sure that your sections are parted large enough to support the weight of the extensions.

Faux Locs

Goddess Locs

Crochet braids

Crochet Braids: One of the most versatile and time-efficient protective styles. Hair is cornrowed to act as a base for the extension hair that is then crocheted through the cornrows using a latch hook. This styling method is also one of the safest- just be sure to let your stylist know if you feel any pulling from your scalp, even if it’s slight. You can choose any type of extension hair to be crocheted into the cornrows.

Wigs: Wigs are a great way to quickly put away your hair- throw one on, and you’re done! Choose a wig that fits properly though: make sure that the wig doesn’t rest directly on top of your edges, because there is a chance that the constant friction of the wig against your hairline and potential movement could cause thinning (again, preserve your edges!)

Head wrap: Self explanatory: find a nice piece of fabric that doesn’t snag easily on your hair (for example, silk); wrap your hair up in a way that makes you feel fabulous, and go about your day! Avoid tying the wrap too tight– no need for a headache or damaging your hairline- and make sure that all your hair is tucked underneath the wrap; otherwise, it’s no longer protective! For more on head wraps, click here.

Now you can put your hair away and let it take a rest! And what’s great is that all of the styles mentioned above are pretty low maintenance: once installed, all you need to do is to tie them down at night, and you’ll be looking fly for the weeks to come!

Protective Style Tips

Once you’ve started wearing a protective style, it can be easy to completely forget about your scalp while your hair is on vacation! But here’s the secret, and it’s really simple: every now and then, spritz your protective style with some water or a protective style refresher (London Ivy Products and Up North Naturals both have great ones!); and no more than 3 times a week, just rub a little oil in-between the parts of your style (and by “oil”, we’re talking about the good stuff- the ones that can be consumed- 100% oils with no additives). The use of a good oil, in conjunction with some water, will help keep your scalp healthy throughout the lifespan of your protective style.

Finally, to clean your scalp, mix some shampoo with some water in a spray or applicator bottle. Apply the mixture directly to the scalp; massage with your finger tips; and rinse.

When it’s time for you to take down your protective style, do so with care, so you don’t cause unnecessary damage during the take down process. Return to your normal hair care routine, and then give your hair- and your scalp, especially- some time to rest before jumping back into another protective style.

Have you tried any of the protective styles above? Let us know which one is your go-to in the comments!

2018: Shifting into Purpose!

Happy 2018, everyone!!!

I am soooo happy to start the New Year! And I’m soooo happy to see 2017 go!

2017 was quite the year for me: a year of great gains but also a year of great losses.

I lost my Grandma.

Gained a new full-time job.

Launched a children’s book and gained an exciting side-hustle.

Lost my free time.

Gained experience in running a start-up with My Partner-In-Crime.

Gained an amazing group of sisters.

Lost my other Grandmother.

Gained knowledge, insight, and great friends at my 9-to-5…as well as a ridiculous workload.

Nearly lost my mind.

Lost respect for some people.

Left my job and gained my freedom back!

Needless to say, 2017 was stressssful! And though a lot of horrible things happened, I can honestly say that it was good for me to be afflicted (Ps. 119:71).

I came across this post on Instagram in November- at just the right time- and it gave me the confirmation I needed to trust God completely with my situation (thanks, @naturallycole_!)

Indeed, sometimes sh** happens so the shift can happen! I had some not-so-pleasant experiences in 2017, but they had to happen to remind me of my purpose and my potential, and push me to pursue my destiny!

So I thank the sh**-disturbers in my life for shifting me into my purpose while you were dishing out doo-doo, I was using it as manure!

2017 laid the groundwork for 2018, and this year, I know I’m shifting from STRESS to SUCCESS! Stay tuned…

How do you plan to shift from stress into success in 2018?

I Can’t Stop the Itchiness: When your scalp just won’t cooperate

Thanks for stopping by for another post, we welcome you warmly and hope you enjoy today’s read!

Today’s post is dedicated to the naturals who have to do double duty– caring for and maintaining their hair while also treating a skin or scalp condition. While there are many scalp conditions that can make growing and caring for your natural hair a bit more difficult, the focus of this post will be on a condition called Seborrhoeic Dermatitis (or SD).

What is Seborrhoeic Dermatitis (SD)?

Seborrhoeic Dermatitis is known to affect the areas of the body where sebum (your skin’s natural oil) is released, such as the folds of the nose, eyebrows, behind the ears, chin, scalp, genital area, etc. SD commonly manifests itself in the form of patches of dry, flaky, scaly skin that can range from super-dry to incredibly oily. The affected area can be very itchy, tender, swollen, bruised, and sensitive to external stimuli. There are many triggers that may cause SD to flare up, including stress, extremely dry or humid weather, excessive sweating, ingestion of certain foods, contact with common allergens (pollen, dust, pet fur, etc).

Treatment:

Currently, there is no permanent solution to SD.  The best thing to do if you suspect or know that you have this condition is to get referred to a good dermatologist to find out the severity of your individual case (severity varies between each individual); from there, s/he can prescribe you with medicated ointments, creams, shampoos to help you get the condition under control and to better manage it.

However, if you’d prefer to get an over-the-counter remedy, there are many options available to you.

Here’s a list of shampoos that can be used to help with your SD:

  1. Head and Shoulders Anti-dandrufff Anti-SD Shampoo: Active ingredient- 1% Selenium sulfide
  2. T-Gel: Active ingredient- 0.5% Coal tar
  3. Nizoral: Active ingredient: 2%  Ketoconazale

In general, all of these shampoos are used to help relieve itchiness, lift and remove flakes, soothe the scalp, and reduce inflammation of the affected area.

Now I’m sure you’re all asking the same question: What’s gonna happen to my hair? The truth is,  yes, all of these shampoos will dry out your hair to a certain degree; moreover, it is recommended that you use these shampoos frequently to keep the condition under control (a naturalistas nightmare!) However, don’t fret, as there is a work-around  that will keep your scalp happy, while also allowing your natural hair to thrive!

Here’s what you need to do on wash day:

  1. Wet your hair and apply your conditioner before your shampoo– this will help minimize the drying effect of the medicated shampoo on your hair.

2. Take your medicated shampoo, rub it between your hands, and then massage into your scalp- just focus on getting the scalp.

3. Let the shampoo sit for several minutes to ensure that it penetrates your scalp.

4. Wash out the shampoo and conditioner.

5. Follow-up with a deep conditioning masque or treatment.

6. Apply your leave-in conditioner and then seal your hair with whichever oil you prefer.

7. Cover your head with a plastic shower cap or bag for 15 to 30 minutes.

8. Uncover your head and style your hair, as desired.

On a final note, it’s important to be diligent and consistent when treating your scalp. Keep in mind that not every solution works for everyone across the board; so, yes, there will be a little trial-and-error involved in the process of finding the right SD regimen for you.

Finally, don’t despair about the shampoo completely drying out your hair- it’s okay- as long as you focus on the scalp while washing and ensure that you replace the moisture in your hair, as instructed above.

Getting your scalp condition under control is essential to your hair’s overall health and longevity- your hair’s home is your scalp– it can only be as healthy as your scalp is! So here’s to healthier scalps and optimal natural hair growth!

Do you struggle to maintain your hair health due to SD or a similar skin/scalp condition? Let us know your story, techniques, and remedies in the comments!

 

 

The Crown Was ALREADY Hers: A 2017 Natural Hair Win!

Miss Jamaica 2017, Davina Bennett! (courtesy of davina_bennett_)

Just a few days ago, the popular Miss Universe pageant came to a close. And although my fellow Jamaican naturalista Miss Davina Bennett didn’t win the title of Miss Universe, she has made a glorious win for the natural hair community!  Her confidence was showing, and her hair and skin were glowing, as she displayed her beautiful natural hair for the whole world to see, wearing it loud and proud on that stage!  Miss Jamaica fought back against the Western standard of beauty and owned her look, which must have made her feel empowered in the way that all women and men ought to, regardless of their hair texture.

In doing so, she has personified the following key affirmations which lead to naturalista success:

Miss Jamaica 2017, ripping the runway for naturalistas everywhere! (courtesy of davina_bennett_)

1. “I am not my hair, but my hair is an important part of me; therefore, I will wear it how I see fit.”

2. “The way I choose to wear my hair shouldn’t alter the way that others view me; I am still very much ‘me’- the same mind, spirit, personality- you name it!”

3. “My hair, which is my crown, shines beautifully at all times.”

4. “I have no need to fear: this is me in my purest state, and I’m comfortable enough to share it with the world.”

5. “Even if no one else will cheer me on, my hair stands tall and cheers for me at all times!”

Miss Davina Bennett, a natural beauty! (courtesy of davina_bennett_)

Miss Davina Bennett slays all day, every day; and we, at The Natural Hair Advocate, are here for ALL of it, and then some!!!

Thank you, Miss Jamaica, for making naturalistas all around the world proud!

 

How do you “rip the runway” that is Life with your natural hair choices?

How do you make sure you feel be(you)tiful in the skin you’re in?

Let us know in the comments!

Baby, It’s Cold Outside! Protecting Your Natural Hair in the Winter

 

It is undeniable that in many parts of North America, Fall is now in full effect…which means that Winter will be with us soon enough…le sighSo, with that, we must take extra steps to understand the effects that the chilly winter air may have on our kinky, curly hair, and work with our tresses to prevent the potential damage that can take place due to the colder temperatures.

A change in the weather can cause not only changes in our energy levels and skin health but also impacts the way our body grows hair, and how it produces and distributes its natural oils. Even so, it’s a common half-truth that cold temperatures can cause one to lose quite a bit of hair due to excessive shedding. While it is true that colder temperatures can cause the skin- including the skin on the scalp- to become excessively dry, in terms of hair loss vs. hair growth during the colder months, the body is actually at a slight advantage.

The reason why is because, like other mammals, humans tend to grow thicker manes during the winter months; this happens because when it becomes colder, the human body responds by producing and releasing melatonin (a hormone which regulates biorhythms, such as sleeping and waking). Melatonin is said to cause your body to balance out its natural hair growth cycle, which in turn causes the hair to become stronger and potentially grow thicker to counteract the cold.

So, what does all of this mean? Well, it means that you should have no problem retaining your hair length as well as maintaining your hair health despite the winter season, provided you make certain changes to your hair care regimen. (Click here to find out more about the behaviour of hair in winter weather.)

Here are some key changes you should make to your hair regimen to preserve your tresses during the cold weather:

1. First, if you already have a good hydrating, conditioning, and moisturizing hair care routine, please keep it up- you’re already ahead of the game!

2.  Coat your hair, as usual, from roots to ends with your moisturizing/conditioning product(s), paying special attention to the ends.

3.  Make sure you seal-in your moisturizing product(s) by using your preferred oil. ***Keep in mind that low porosity hair prefers lighter oils whereas high porosity hair has an easier time absorbing either thicker or thinner oils- you can also seal high porosity hair by using a natural hair butter (shea butter, cocoa butter, mango butter etc).

4.  Spray a mixture of water, a little oil, and some aloe vera juice on your scalp to help protect, mitigate, and/or reverse the effects of the very drying cold air.

5.  Deep condition once biweekly, at a minimum.

6.  Put your hair away in protective styles: wigs, braids, twists, faux locs, etc- there are a variety to choose from, and they’re all beautiful!

***Do not neglect to properly treat your hair before you put it away; keep it hydrated; and maintain proper scalp care while wearing your protective style, to ensure that your hair will continue to thrive*** 

7.  Consider purchasing a silk or satin lined hat for when you venture out into the cold. Silk and satin cause little to no friction against the hair and are wiser choices in comparison to cotton and knitted hats that can potentially snag and damage your strands.

8.  And finally, as always, please do listen to your hair! Give it what it’s asking for, and it will show you love through its beauty and glory…even though it might be cold outside!

 

How do you plan on protecting your hair this winter season?

 

Aloe Vera Juice Recipe

Hey everyone, here’s a quick recipe to make your own aloe vera juice!

Although this recipe is directed towards the use of aloe vera juice in the hair, it must be noted that this green miracle plant, also known as Aloe Barbadensis, Aloe Indica, and Aloe Barbados, has been used for generations around the globe. The popularity of the aloe vera plant stems from its great medicinal qualities, as well as its potential to be utilized to replenish and rejuvenate damaged and dead cells. The aloe vera plant has so many natural benefits that it is not uncommon for it and its extracts to be used in cosmetics, hair products, lotions, body butters, and even beverages for consumption.

Using aloe vera juice in your hair will help to soften and moisturize your strands, acting as a humectant that will draw water from the air into your hair. The juice will also work to reduce irritation and itchiness on the scalp when applied directly to the scalp, as aloe vera juice possesses anti-inflammatory properties. To find out more about the history and various uses for the aloe vera plant, please click here.

***Warning: When preparing to use any new product, whether homemade or store-bought, you should perform a 24-hour skin test to see if any allergic reaction sets in. To perform this test for aloe vera, cut a small piece of the plant, and then cut that piece in half to expose the gel/sap. Next, take the sap side of the stalk segment and rub it on a small section of your inner forearm. Allow it to sit for a minimum of 4 hours to a maximum of 24 hours and monitor for any reaction.

In like manner, before using a new product on your hair, you should try it out on a small section first. Results may vary, depending on your hair type and porosity. Use at your own discretion.***

DIY Aloe Vera Juice:

To prepare this mixture which will be utilized on your hair you will require a couple of items/tools:

  1. Aloe vera stalks (2 to 3 stalks)
  2. 1 and 1/2 cups of water
  3. A couple of drops of a preferred oil (ex. avocado oil works well)
  4. A spoon (to scrape the gel/sap from the inside of the aloe plant)
  5. A sharp knife
  6. A bowl
  7. A blender
  8. A strainer or cheesecloth
  9. A spray bottle

Method:

  1. Using the knife, carefully remove the barbs along the perimeter of the aloe vera stalks
  2. Take knife and carefully cut the aloe vera stalks length-wise down the middle; have bowl situated underneath to catch any gel/sap that drips from the stalks
  3. Using the spoon, scrape out the gel/sap from the inside of the plant into the bowl
  4. Transfer contents of bowl into blender; blend for 20 seconds
  5. *Optional: add scraped aloe vera stalks to blender and blend until smooth*
  6. Add water to blender, blend for 10 seconds
  7. *If aloe vera stalks were added to blender, strain*
  8. Transfer aloe vera juice to spray bottle
  9. Add a couple drops of preferred oil to spray bottle and shake
  10. Store in fridge to keep fresh
  11. When the time comes to use your aloe vera juice, remember, a little goes a long way! Shake spray bottle well, spray juice into hands, and rub throughout hair; or spray directly on to previously-sectioned hair. Afterwards, apply your regular hair care/styling products according to your personal hair regimen, and enjoy!

 Do you use aloe vera in your hair or skin care regimen? How has it worked for you?