Thursday, February 23, 2017

This is How to Keep Your Eyes Looking Younger Forever.

ismail Alminda | 8:04 AM
I was asked via email if I could share a few recommendations for a decent brand of eye cream.  After a few moments of reflection, I decided to respond by writing an entire article dedicated to creating a well-rounded eye care routine.
I'm sure we could all just buy some eye cream and be done with it but I'm suggesting we take a more holistic approach. There's so much more to caring for the eye area than just applying lotion over it.  The eyes are typically the first part of the face to show signs of aging so we have to be a bit more diligent to keep them young and healthy looking.

There's this debate about how we should handle the skin that surrounds the eyes.  A majority of the experts urge us to be ultra gentle around the delicate eye area.  This is because the skin is much thinner than anywhere else on the body.  This makes sense.

But, there's another small group of extreme anti-agers who believe the exact opposite.  Instead of treating the eye area with the greatest of care, they actually massage the skin using firm movements like pinching and kneading.   The theory is that this thickens the skin by causing it to create more collagen in the response.  I've read accounts of folks who used this method and rave about the results.  I subscribe to this way of thinking because it sorta makes sense.  I'm extremely diligent about my pinching massage regimen whenever I see any signs of crows feet.  I also pinch my top lids.  Pinching & massaging them on a regular basis has helped the skin thicken and kept them from becoming too hooded.

If fear strikes your heart at the thought of manipulating the skin around the eye,  then maybe you start with a standard eye massage.  One of my favorite techniques is incorporating Tanaka Massage.  The lymphatic drainage massage helps address your swollen puffy swollen eyes in an instant.  Plus the massage will increase blood flow to the area. Just remember, where there is blood flow, there is life.

One of the little-known secrets to improving the healthy appearance of the eye area is exfoliation.  If I look closely, I can tell the pores around my eyes get clogged from time to time.  That's probably a result of me avoiding getting cleanser in the eye.  We probably all do this to a certain extent.  Which is why it's important to exfoliate.  But instead of using a granular product, try a product with retinol or even retin A.  Or maybe even rosehip oil. They exfoliate by promoting cell turnover (while generating collagen growth).  In theory, these products should also help thicken the skin over time.

Lastly, let's get to nitty gritty of eye care---the creams.  After interviewing my aesthetician and watching consultations from other estheticians online, I give you this one important piece of advice.  Wear your eye cream CONSISTENTLY day and night.

Seriously.  My esthetician shared her own personal story of how diligence with her eye cream routine has helped thicken her upper lid, helping to prevent hooding. I should also mention that this girl is still in her 20's and still noticed a difference.  "I tell people all the time....when using eye cream, you have to do it every day---twice a day."  She went on to say "it takes a while for the product to impact the new skin cells forming below the surface. That's why I also recommend exfoliation to remove the dead skin."  

I watched a video where the esthetician inspected the skin of her client and immediately told the woman, "I can already tell that you're not consistent with your eye cream."  When asked how, she replied, "because you have this gray coloring around your need to use it twice a day." 

There you have folks!  Eye cream is an absolute must both morning and night.

I know that we typically reach for eye creams as the first option but I invite you to consider laying your eye products.  First by using an eye serum, then a cream. The serum will penetrate deeper into the skin than a cream can.   Maybe at night, you layer a serum, cream, and (rosehip) oil. As a result, you'll likely experience a greater benefit than creams alone.


3 Ways To Escape The Comparison Trap

ismail Alminda | 7:03 AM

Do you ever scroll through some of your favorite natural hair inspiration Instagram pages, and can’t help but to stare at the number of gorgeous women with full voluminous fros in envy? Or while watching your favorite YouTuber style her hair into a head full of perfect moisturized curls, do you immediately question why doesn’t […]

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

4 Natural Hair Practices That May Be Hurting More Than They’re Helping

ismail Alminda | 7:03 AM

The natural hair care wheel is one that is always spinning with new ideas and information to help us along our journeys. Like all new ideas and opinions, we have to weed through what is and isn’t right for us when it comes to our natural hair. Unfortunately, some trends from the bad side of […]

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Can the Blood-group Diet Help With Hair Loss or Longer Hair?

ismail Alminda | 7:03 AM

We always say that healthy hair leads to longer hair. We also think that a big part of any successful regimen is the nutrition. That’s what got me thinking: “Can the blood group diet help in the quest for longer hair?” I came across this diet when my sister –  also a naturalista – visited […]

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Naomi Campbell's Makeup Artist Taught Me the Secret to Perfecting My Mascara Application

ismail Alminda | 7:17 PM
I love watching beauty gurus on Youtube as much as the next guy. Even though they're a talented group of young women, there's nothing that compares to learning makeup application techniques from seasoned professionals.

They offer up simple tips and tweaks that make an immense impact on the final result.  So far I've learned quite a bit from Sir John, the man notorious for keeping Beyonce looking flawless. When I recreated a look from Kim Kardashian's makeup artist, I loved it!

This time, I learned the ultimate tip from the woman who's artistry helps to perfect Naomi Campbell's face.
I'm referring to Pat McGrath.  Who is Pat McGrath?  She's a British-born makeup pro deemed by Vogue as "the most influential makeup artist in the world."  The moment I found out who this woman was, I instinctively started digging around to see what I can learn from her.
It just so happened that I would uncover a tip that completely revolutionizes the way I put on mascara.  Maybe revolutionize is a strong term, but that's exactly the way I feel.  If you visit this site frequently enough, you might notice that I often touch on the topic of obtaining longer lashes.

I have what I call non-existent lashes.  They're short and wispy and pretty pathetic.

For a while, I debated getting extensions but I'm scared to death of becoming reliant on them and eventually thinning my already puny lashes.

The answer, in my mind, had to come from the application technique.  I needed to figure out a way to create visible spider lashes from the products I already owned.  My desire for spider lashes comes from a belief that spidery lashes give you the appearance of someone naturally blessed with length.  They make it seem as if you applied a coat of mascara to your already abundant lashes and this was the final outcome.

The intention was set.

It wasn't long before I stumbled on the answer that would change everything!

And all it took was a little tip sent to me directly from the woman works on the most beautiful faces in the industry.

//Pat's no-fail technique is this//

First Pat builds a solid foundation by applying mascara with the intention of separating the lashes.
Once that step is complete, the spider lash creation process begins.  Pat's glorious method is to add extra mascara to the individual lashes but "not necessarily on a comb through." She literally, "dabs" the formula on the lashes. In Pat's words, "you're kinda just painting the lashes."

Painting the lashes!  That's absolutely brilliant!

 The entire time, I was continuously running the mascara wand through the lash which was probably removing the added product from the lash.  Pat essentially wants us to saturate the lash.  It tried it and the results were perfect.  And because I allowed the first layer to dry, there wasn't an issue with overly clumpy lashes.  For the first layer, I used Heroine Make's mascara because the ultra waterproof formula holds my lashes perfectly in place.  To saturate, I applied Charlotte Tillsburry's Legendary Lash. This formula deposits lots of product to create a bold look. It was a match made in heaven.

This is yet another realized intention that I'll jot down in my little manifestation journal.  Try Pat's method y'all! It changes everything!


Black n' Curly Challenge Week 2 Update: Better than Good Hair

ismail Alminda | 10:17 AM
Black n' Curly Challenge Week 2 Update: Better than Good Hair
Wash day was such a dream.
I'm a few days late on this post, but just like that - week 2 is in the books! I've been having so much fun with the Black n' Curly Challenge. Every wash day, I stand in front of the shelves housing these beautiful, Black Owned products, and marvel at how far we've come in so few years.

The proliferation of hair care products for us, by us is nothing short of a miracle of God.

I hope you're finding as much joy in using Black Owned products as I am - because it's not just about having products made by women and men who look like us, and understand the unique needs of our hair. The natural hair space is one of the few corners of industry where we're regaining our agency and self-determination. As this challenge continues on, I hope that we're able to regain our footing all the way up the supply chain - to the point where raw ingredients, containers, printers, shipping materials - everything - is created by Black Owned manufacturing companies.

That's the dream right there.

But before I go too far down the rabbit hole, let's recap week 2.
Black n' Curly Challenge Week 2 Update: Better than Good Hair
Wash n' go courtesy of Kurlee Belle
Products Used
TRoots 5-in-1 Oil
Talk about a treat for itchy scalp! I used the TRoots 5-in-1 Oil is a pre-poo massage treatment, and my scalp was in love! Thanks to oils like avocado, jojoba, and botanical extracts of yarrow, sage, horsetail, nettle, and rosemary, my itchy scalp was calmed while my follicles were nourished to stimulate blood flow and growth. Plus my hair was sooooo soft and ready for washing the next morning.

Koils By Nature Refreshing Anti-Dandruff Hair & Scalp Cleanser
I feel like I reviewed this before (yep, here) - but it's been soooo long. And I'm so in love. Koils By Nature Refreshing Anti-Dandruff Hair & Scalp Cleanser is perfect for naturalistas who love the suds, but can't get down with sulfates of any kind. This beauty is based in botanicals and castille soap, delivering just the right amount of bubbles, without drying the hair out at all. Great slip, tons of moisture, and a clean scalp. What more could a girl ask for?

My henna mixes call for oils, and Koils By Nature Replenishing Hair and Body Oil is all I ever wanted. A powerful blend of apricot, rosehip, calendula, argan, and more, this oil made a perfect match in my henna mix. The oil left my hair  feeling super soft, shiny, and moisturized - successfully combatting the drying nature of henna. Plus I absolutely LOVE that the oil is fragranced with only essential oils - yup! Soft notes of bergamot, rose, and vanilla all up in this thang.

Black n' Curly Challenge Week 2 Update: Better than Good Hair
Henna video coming soon!
Obia Naturals Babassu Detangling Conditioner
I used the Babassu Detangling Conditioner twice - once as a leave in while I went to the gym (it was the only product in my hair), and once again in my henna mix (video on the way). Both times, I was impressed with the Babassu Detangling Conditioner - so much so that I'm looking forward to trying it out as a leave-in (you know I'm hard-headed lol)!

Another transitioner throwback! I'm not ashamed to admit that I went to the dog park with Bailey while deep conditioning with Kurlee Belle. It served me well too - my hair was super soft after rinsing. Catch my throwback review here!

Kurlee Belle Thirsty Kurls Leave-In Conditioner
I love how rich and creamy Thirsty Kurls is without being super greasy or difficult to work with. In fact, it served me well as my leave-in for this bangin' wash and go! Paired with Jelle Coconut Styling Gel, I had the perfect mix of definition on day 1, and volume in the days that followed - without needing to re-moisturize my hair.
Black n' Curly Challenge Week 2 Update: Better than Good Hair
Make sure you catch the vlog!
Kurlee Belle Jelle Coconut Styling Gel
As my hair regains health, I'm beginning to have a new appreciation for products like Jelle Coconut. The gel is heavy and thick in weight, but dries to a more medium hold. It provides touchable definition, shine, and hold without the super crunch. Don't get me wrong - I still rocks with my gel cast. But having soft hair on Valentine's Weekend definitely was the move, lol.

By the way, click here to check out my Valentine's Weekend GRWM+Vlog featuring Kurlee Belle products!

I was about two weeks behind on my monthly henna treatment, and my scalp was cussin' me out! So I got on board, and while I don't have a Black Owned henna supplier (yet!), I was sure to use my Black n' Curly products in the mix - Koils By Nature and Obia Naturals. My henna mix was soft, moisturizing, and did the darn thing! I filmed the whole process - so look for that video soon!

First things first - that henna treatment gave me life. I always feel like I have a new head of hair post henna, and this mix was no exception. Kurlee Belle allowed my wash and go to flourish in spite of the rain, and my hair is definitely turning the corner on this hydration thing. My crown area - although still immensely disrespectful, is beginning to settle down some. Hopefully by the end of the month I'll have figured out exactly why - and can report a solution to you all :)
Black n' Curly Challenge Week 2 Update: Better than Good Hair
You see that crown behaving (kinda) lol!
Thank God for Koils By Nature and that slip in the Refreshing Anti-Dandruff Hair & Scalp Cleanser...because my hair just wasn't having it. On wash days is when I notice that my hair is in some sort of transitioning phase...again. 

I admit that while I haven't been pressed about silicone use in the past, they've definitely been my bridge over troubled water when it comes to growing out my color damage. And although I see the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of the health of my hair, the absence of 'cones "unmasks" the damage cover-up job on the end of my hair. Without cones, the last inch and a half or so of my hair is...rough. Slip isn't a matter of convenience at this point, it's a necessity. 

I'm hoping that in the coming weeks, my ends will "settle down" and make things a bit easier for me. I know the cuticles are damaged from the color. I know the pH on the ends of my hair is way high. My game plan is to continue alternating between moisture and protein deep conditioning, become even more diligent in sealing my ends, keep my ACV rinses strong, and trim as necessary. 

Up Next
Next week, I'm test driving new products from Jane Carter Solution, and putting my own spin on goodies from Soultanicals, TRoots Beauty, Wonder Curl, Shecentit, and Inahsi Naturals! Stay tuned!
Oh - and did I tell y'all that I've been drowning my skin in Koils By Nature Hair and Body Butter every day? Walking around smelling like sugary sweet realness. I'll tell ya.

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Got any questions about this journey to going Curly Girl and using only Black Owned products? Leave 'em in the comments below!

Keep up with all things Black n' Curly here!

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Remove Your Self-Imposed Limitations to Make Room for the Impossible

ismail Alminda | 9:27 AM
Once upon a time, I attended a small gathering with a group of people who were on a path to personal success.  At the meeting, we were all encouraged to talk about our current intentions and share goals we achieved in our past.  

When it was my turn to speak, I felt pretty good.  For at least a year, I was hard at work on my goals and I had some great news to share.  My story began with the reveal of how I utilized the principles learned from "Write It Down, Make It Happen" to nearly double my annual salary.  In my mind, I had achieved a huge feat.  I was certain that the facilitator would use my story as an example of how to do it right.

But the exact opposite happened.
  Instead of congratulating me for achieving the impossible, he looked me intently in the eye and inquired "why don't you use this process to double your income again?" I stood there in complete silence.  Did this guy have the nerve to ask me to double my results? I tried to respond with something clever but the thought of stretching my comfort zone to that level absolutely frightened me.  

My mind was cool with the idea of going from one dollar amount to another. But when asked to double that amount again, it started to freak out.  

I hit "the limitation wall.

The limitation wall is something we're all familiar with.  

We all carry around self-imposed, self-created limitations.  They often lay dormant until we're faced with the possibility of actually achieving our desires.  As long as you stay within your limitations, you're operating within your comfort zone.   The comfort zone feels so warm and toasty that we never stray too far away.

The limitation wall is completely invisible. We're like those dogs wearing an invisible fence collar.  We don't actually see the fence, we just know that if we get too close, we experience a really uncomfortable feeling.  And, like the dog, we run back to safety.  But if we were to persist beyond the uncomfortable feeling, we could experience so many possibilities.  
We should constantly be seeking out our subconscious limitations.  Once we know they exist, we can figure out a way bypass it.  After the guy challenged me to grow my income to six figures, I started to familiarize myself with the idea of earning large sums of money. Part of the reason why my mind rejected the idea was because it wasn't familiar with that type of reality.  So I spent a lot of time online looking for people who earned six figures.  Familiarity truly helped me lower my limitation walls.  

Some goals I set and achieve easily.  Others remain stagnant.  The reason I make no progress is because of all the hidden limitations manifesting themselves in my (in)action.  This year, I have a couple big goals. Those goals are teaming with limitations laying just beneath the surface.   They're like termites eating away at the foundation of my goals.  My job is to unearth and destroy those limitations one by one.  And that exactly what I'm going to do.  

If you are having trouble figuring out what your hidden limitations are, start with your language.  Listen for where you tend to make the most excuses.  That's where the truth lies.  Excuses are how we verbally express our limitations.  

If there are things you know you should be doing, yet you remain stuck, you've hit your limitation wall. Don't just stand there, ask yourself the important questions and start chipping away at your fears.  Limitation walls aren't really there. We've put them there in our minds. We're keeping ourselves away from our own desires.  Let's stop doing this. Let's operate with zero excuses and limitless possibilities.


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