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Farmgirlin’ And African American Hair – A Tough Mix

Every African-American woman out there knows that the sun can do a lot of damage to hair. We have to protect it with an arsenal of treatments. You see, straight hair grows out of a round shaft, and so it stays stronger than hair that’s curly or kinky. Everyone else has oval to oblong-shaped shafts. It makes the hair bend and twist as it grows out, creating breaking points. Yay. It means that curly or kinky hair is much more delicate and needs special attention. And with everything from the elements to relaxers, our African American hair may not be as healthy as it can be. So with this information in mind you can now create a covenant with your hair. Agree to treat it right and formulate an understanding with it. Get a good rapport going and you’ll have a relationship that shines – literally!

I first realized I had to reconsider my entire hair routine when it became more and more damaged by the sun. This was apparent when I started my first garden which kept me outside most mornings. Remember, I came from a web design job that would have me indoors all day and night if I allowed it. When I was able to stay at home, a lot of things changed, especially my hair. With the freedom to be outside more, it completely dried out! I became desperate and had to rethink everything I did to it. That included straightening it with the flat iron occasionally (rather than daily), getting rid of the curling iron altogether, and changing all the products I used to buy. Now that I’m a (wannabe) farm girl, I am outside all day, every day. I do NOT want my hair to get dry and brittle this time. It could become damaged beyond repair (the trials of taking care of African American hair). So I take precautions with a few very easy steps. Here’s how!

African American Hair Care 101

If you relax your hair, it’s always better to start with a product that is chemical-free. If it’s organic then you have a win-win situation, right? So if you don’t use one already, seriously consider finding a healthier relaxer, because the chemicals in most of the popular relaxers on the market will certainly seep right into your skin, adding unwanted toxins to your body. There are several relaxer kits out there that are really terrific. Keep an eye for them, and do your research! I like to keep a relaxer in my hair to maintain manageability. My personal favorites are: Natural Hair Care Oasis and Organic Root Stimulator. And please visit blackhair101.com, blackgirllonghair.com and the Naptural85 Channel on YouTube for homemade recipes too!

The Right Products For Black Girl Hair – #1 Hair Care Tip

Now I have just two words: Carol’s Daughter. And I won’t say anything about any other company from here on out. For that I am really sorry, because it’s a bit pricey. The cheapest bottle of shampoo is $13.00! Wow! My only regret is how much money I dumped into this company. The founder started her hair line by using items from her own kitchen, so I am on a mission to come up with homemade products that you and I can create to save money. I promise. In the meantime the #1 thing I do is to have the right products. I make sure I am always well-stocked with this short list of products from Carol’s Daughter. (And check out Transitioning Movement for more styling tips from Carol’s Daughter.)

» Shampoo
» Conditioner
» Hair oil
» Hair milk
» Hair butter

My favorites are the Black Vanilla or Tui shampoo and conditioner and the Tui hair oil. Smells amazing.

African American Hair Care Tips For Farmin’ Ladies
 Hair Care Tip #2: Hair Milk in the Morning

As I mentioned above, I had to change the way I pamper my hair. The hair routine I found (and tailored) on the Carol’s Daughter website for African American hair is the best one so far. I’ve been doing it ever since. As soon as I wake up I apply a good amount of hair milk to my hair and pull it up into a ponytail or bun. And sometimes I cover it with a scarf which usually depends on the weather (especially if it is really hot). Yes, I have given up the idea of looking glamorous in the early morning hours. (Of course we are the glamour girls of yesterday, but there is a time and place for that. Hey wait, who says a scarf ain’t glamorous?!) So once again, #2 – while doing the early morning daily chores, hair milk goes in and then hair goes up.

Hair Care Tip #3: Don’t Shampoo Every Day. Do Oil or Condition

My schedule keeps me in a ponytail or bun and/or scarf until sometime around 8:00am. After that I can then take time to shower and get gorgeous. (blush) Now, this may seem a bit strange, but the next step is crucial to my hair maintaining a healthy state. Let’s call it “To Wash Or Not To Wash” since that is exactly what I decide from day to day. Somewhere along the way, I learned that it is not beneficial to your hair to wash it everyday! In fact, daily shampooing is extremely drying and should be avoided if possible. Who knew? So now I check my schedule before jumping into the shower for items like, oh, visiting my mom. For that, I probably should shampoo. Step #3 is one of the following: massage hair oil into the scalp and freshen hair with a bit more hair milk – or – if shampooing, use the conditioner afterwards followed by massaging in some of the hair oil.

Hair Care Tip #4: Deep Conditioning

As a treat, #4 is added to the routine for deep conditioning. The treatment can be applied about every two weeks to once a month. That’s where the hair butter comes in. I go a bit beyond the basic instructions on the jar and apply an ample amount of the hair butter to wet hair, then submerge a towel or head wrap into hot water and wrap my head, leaving it on for a good 20 minutes. Always wash your hair afterwards.

Hair Care Tip #5: Drink Your Water

That takes care of the outside, and now the inside. Yep, you heard me right. For #5, we need to hydrate. Water may be drying to the point that you shouldn’t shampoo every day, but it is crucial to drink lots of it for a healthy scalp. As it turns out, most of us are not drinking enough water, so here is a simple way to figure out how much you need each day: Multiply your body weight by .65 (.55 for cold climates and .75 for hot climates) to determine how much water to drink. (livestrong.com) Urine should be light in color and you should be using the restroom throughout the day. Done. Now onto the foods.

Hair Care Tip #6: Eat Healthy for Healthy Hair

#6 should come as no surprise. We need to eat right for healthy hair. And that’s if you have African American hair or not! The foods won’t surprise you either, they are not unusual items and you probably already have them. But try to eat more of them if your hair is damaged in any way. Out of all the resources I’ve checked online they all say pretty much the same thing:

» Salmon, Walnuts, Avocados, Eggs, Bananas, Sweet Potatoes – for omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B-6 and B-12, and iron
» Carrots, Spinach, Broccoli and Swiss chard – for vitamins A and C
» Oysters, Beans, Cashews, pecans, and almonds – for (more) iron, zinc, and biotin
» Meats – for protein
» Diary – for calcium

A pretty well-rounded and expected list. The most important nutrients for healthy hair seem to be the omega-3 and zinc rich foods, which I’ve seen over and over again on a lot of sites from webmd.com – ehow.com. But do you know what is interesting? None say to supplement the foods with packaged vitamins. All will tell you to eat for healthy hair. Hmm. Okay then, let’s start loading up on these (real) foods. Sounds good to me!

Note: Need to style it for a day in town? Try this technique that needs no heat!

Well girlfriends, I certainly hope this helps. Remember that we are not all carbon copies of each other, so you must tailor this routine to get the most out of it. Sun or no sun, let this serve as a starting point to getting a head of beautiful, healthy African American hair!

How to Tie a Headscarf in the Jerusalem Twist Style

1. You’ll need a large square scarf
2. Fold the scarf into a triangle.
3. Lay the scarf on your head so that the two side corners fall before your shoulders and the middle corner falls to the back of your head. The edge of the scarf should be lined up with your hairline above your forehead.
4. Take the two side ends and switch them, pulling them to opposite sides, behind your head. Make sure you switch them over the scarf tail and not under.
5. Twist the two ends as you wrap them around the crown of your head.
6. Tuck the two ends securely around the temple.

How to Tie a Headscarf in the Bun Style

1. You’ll need a large square scarf
2. Fold the scarf into a triangle.
3. Lay the scarf on your head so that the two side corners fall before your shoulders and the middle corner falls to the back of your head. The edge of the scarf should be lined up with your hairline above your forehead.
4. Cross the two front corners to the back of your neck and tie once.
5. Tuck in the third corner beneath the two corners that were just tied.
6. Wrap the two remaining corners around and around the corner that was just tucked in.
7. Tuck in the small left over pieces.

Source: eHow.com

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Ripen Your Tomatoes While Indoors

Summer is the time to grow tomatoes, after which you can simply preserve and store them as you like. However, it’s not always that you get to harvest fully ripe tomatoes before fall comes and you’re left with halfway-ripened tomatoes just days before the first frost.

Once the frost hits, you won’t be able to harvest anything since tomatoes stop developing in cold weather. If you want them to survive the first freeze, a row cover or sheets can help but it won’t be much help without heat and sunlight afterwards. The best chance you have at getting red tomatoes is to pick your half-ripened tomatoes now and get the job done indoors. If you can see some patches of red on them, it’s likely that they’ve started ripening and all you need to do is finish the job.

About Ethylene

This gas is produced and used commercially all around the world to ripen produce such as fruits because there are usually picked while green so that they can be shipped. It may sound weird since you’ve been trying to avoid artificial additions to your crops so why even mention ethylene? Well it is also a naturally produced gas that’s made by fruits like apples and bananas while ripening. Place the half-ripe tomatoes with a ripe apple or banana and watch them ripen up. You’ll need to place them in an enclosed space to fully ripen. Use any one of the following methods:

Use a Paper Bag

Based on how big of a bag you have, you can place about 5 to 10 tomatoes in it along with a banana or apple that’s ripening. Leave the paper bag in a warm place and remember to check on the banana or apple for signs of spoilage.

Use a Plastic Bag or Big Glass Jar

Both of these work well in place of a paper bag, enclosing the space and concentrating the ethylene gasses. Place about 2 green tomatoes per bag/jar along with a ripening apple or banana. But keep in mind that these containers can trap moisture very well too, so you’ll need to make holes in the bag or the lid of the jar (or open them often to let moisture escape) to prevent spoilage.

Trap Them In Their Own Gases

No apples or bananas? No problem. Tomatoes put off a small amount of ethylene gasses on their own, but it’s tricky to ripen them before the fruit begins to rot. Enter newspaper, it’ll speed things up. Place newspaper along the bottom of a cardboard box and put your tomatoes on top. Make sure to keep space in between each tomato and place them in a single layer. Add another layer of newspaper over the top and close the box. Store in a warm place and check often.

Hang Them Up

This is in case a frost is quickly on its way and you don’t have the time to individually pick each one. You can remove the entire plant and then hang it upside down in a cellar or garage where temperatures will be a little warmer. Even though you’ll be removing the entire plant, this method can give you more flavorsome tomatoes since they remain on the vine longer.

If you’re planning on using any of my above-mentioned tips for ripening your tomatoes, remember that it’s always better if the tomatoes have a little bit of redness to them, or are halfway-ripened. Good luck with the upcoming frost!


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