Thursday, August 25, 2016

Why You Need Collagen Supplements for Healthy Hair, Skin, and Body!

ismail Alminda | 4:57 PM
Why You Need Collagen Supplements for Healthy Hair, Skin, and Body!
My Neocell Bounty
Truth telling time: the second I turned 31, I started low-key freaking out about my skin. Not just about psoriasis and keeping it at bay (read more about that here), but capturing and maintaining a youthful glow, tightening pores, and reducing breakouts.

First, I went on a wild goose chase for Vitamin C serums. Them thangs are expensive and come in tiny, tiny bottles. Then, I started hearing whispers on the internet about collagen. So I sank my coins (not really, it wasn't that expensive lol) into a pack of Beauty Bursts from Vitamin Shoppe during their BOGO sale. They tasted great, and I made it through the 30 day supply with ease.

Then I forgot to re-up.

All hope was not lost - to my pleasant surprise, while going through my e-mail inbox (it's a jungle in there), I discovered an e-mail from Neocell, makers of the Beauty Bursts. After checking out their website, I realized there was a greater reason to collaborate. Between my vanity mission for healthy skin, and my #livelongandprosper mission with #30DaysofDope sat one particular product - Neocell's Collagen Sport Ultimate Recovery Complex protein powder.

Before I get into all the amazing ingredients and benefits, let's have a lil science lesson - shall we?

The Science of Collagen
First things first - collagen is a type of protein (more precisely, a long-chain amino acid) that naturally occurs in our bodies. Aside from water, collagen is one of the most plentiful resources available in our bodies - and acts as a building block for skin, tendons, hair, and bones.

Collagen is broken down into three different types - collagen 1, 2, and 3. Each type of collagen contains different proteins that serve different functions and for this reason, are paired differently for optimal absorption in the body.

Collagen Types 1 and 3
Collagen types 1 and 3 are often paired together, as they support skin, muscles, bone health, and hair and nail growth - thanks to the 19 amino acids present and their essential functions. Over 90% of the collagen in the body is contains types 1 and 3. The amino acids present in these collagen types help promote a healthy metabolism (study), stabilize collagen production in the body, and build protein within the body (hey muscles and hair!).

Collagen Type 2
Collagen type 2 helps restore the fluids and function in the cartilage and joints of the body. While types 1 and 3 are present throughout the body, collagen type 2 makes up 50-60% of the protein found in the joints. Taking a popular supplement for joints like glucosamine, chondroitin, or hyaluronic acid? Collagen type 2 has all of the above, and then some! Type 2 collagen is used best when taken in the evening or right before bed.

Why Take Collagen Supplements?
If our bodies produce collagen, why spend the money on collagen-based supplements like the ones offered by Neocell? The answer is simple - age. As we get older, our ability to produce collagen diminishes. That's why with age, our hair thins and becomes more brittle, wrinkles begin forming, skin thins and sags (yikes!), our metabolism slows, and the joints start creaking. Add in stress, poor diet, and hormonal imbalances - and we've got a real situation on our hands.

That's why I'm about that supplementing with Collagen life. Here are some of the benefits:

Benefits of Type 1 and 3 Collagen
  • Minimizes fine lines and wrinkles
  • Increases bone strength (36% of bone is made up of types 1 and 3)
  • Fixes weak and damaged nail bed
  • Thickens fine hair
  • Slows hair loss
  • Improves circulation
  • Increases glycine production which helps build lean muscle and burn fat during sleep
Benefits of Type 2 Collagen
  • Eases joint stiffness and pain
  • Reduces popping knees
  • Supports back, jaw, and joints
  • Reduces inflammation in the joints
  • Cushions and lubricates joints 
  • Strengthens joints
So to sum things up, for that #foreveryoung skin and poppin' curls, supplement with types 1 and 3 collagen. To stay sprig, spry, and mobile, supplement with type 2 collagen.

Ok so...where exactly can I get this collagen stuff?

Glad you asked!

It just so happens (as mentioned in my intro), that I was already on the right track with Neocell Beauty Bursts. Beauty Bursts are actually a great source of collagen types 1 and 3. Click here to find where to purchase Beauty Bursts at a retailer near you.

For type 2 collagen, Neocell makes a pretty dope chew called Joint Bursts, that not only have type 2 collagen for joint support, but contain turmeric to help fight inflammation as well. I tried them for 30 days, and they served my joints well - helping me squat and lift without joint drama. Plus, they're pretty tasty (they give me sweet tropical vibes). Click here to find out where to grab Joint Burst chews near you!

Neocell Collagen Sport
But the real hero for me? Neocell's Collagen Sport Ultimate Recovery Complex. It's a protein powder with amazing nutritionals and amazing benefits. If you've been following my healthy living journey via #30DaysofDope and 30daysofdope.com, then you're no stranger to Neocell's Collagen Sport. I took it regularly during the July #30DaysofDope cycle, and loved it. It gave me energy and strength - and I made some serious strength gains! And if you read this post, then you know in preparation for the September 2016 Cycle, I've gotten even more laser-focused on my goals - to the point of getting a head start on following a dedicated nutrition plan and meal prep.

And let me tell you - Neocell Collagen Sport is 137% a part of that meal plan. I'm gonna share with you why in three quick parts:

Collagen Sport Profile
  • Macros: 30g protein, 2.25g carbohydrates, 0.5g fat, 0g sugar, and 123 calories per serving (those numbers are amazing - especially if you're looking to lose weight or get stronger!)
  • Gluten, sugar, lactose, and artificial flavor-free
  • Contains 15g of collagen types 1 and 3 (see 'The Science of Collagen' above for the benfits)
How I Use It
I use Neocell Collagen Sport two different ways:
  • As a plain shake with Califia Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (I don't recommend this right out the gate if you don't regularly drink protein shakes...it's a steeeeep 'getting used to' curve)
  • As a part of a specialty drink (recommended). I either add it to a fruit smoothie with blueberries and acai, or use it to create a protein-infused caramel iced coffee (click here for the recipe). 
Why You Need Collagen Supplements for Healthy Hair, Skin, and Body!
Via #30DaysofDope Instagram
Pros - Benefits I've Experienced
When taking Neocell Collagen Sport, a couple of things happen. One, I have amazing energy - without the jitters. It's a great morning or smoothie shake base, for this reason. It also keeps me full - thanks to the high amount of protein. As I mentioned a few paragraphs up, this stuff is no joke if you're looking to lose weight or build strength. In my case, I'm looking for both. Not only have I already hit my 2016 goal of squatting 200 (I'm at 205, and it's only August), I'm making strength strides in other areas - even running HIIT sprints and the stairmaster.

Oh and perhaps the biggest bomb of all - while incorporating Neocell Collagen Sport into my meal plan, I've dropped 7 pounds and 1.5 inches on my waist in a week (7 days). I expect the weight loss to slow and stabilize to something less drastic in the coming weeks, but just know those stats alone gave me tons of motivation to forge ahead. Let me know in the comments if you want a separate post on exactly what I did for those 7 days (hint: I didn't starve).

Cons/Drawbacks
Really, there's only two drawbacks that aren't really drawbacks when I think about it. First, the taste takes some getting used two - at least 2 to 3 shakes in. Not that it's nasty (y'all should already know I don't do nasty), but it's not super sweet. And coming from someone who was virtually addicted to sugar, transitioning to something that's only a fraction of the sweetness that you're used to can be difficult.

The second, I haven't had much success locating Neocell Collagen Sport on the ground. The only thing I was able to find about this product was placing an order via customer service - (800) 346-2922. 

The Bottom Line
Neocell's Collagen Sport protein powder is an essential part of my meal plan and fitness goals for the September 2016 cycle of #30DaysofDope, and for the rest of 2016 to be honest. It's a super unique product with benefits that far surpass the other protein powders I've tried on the market. I highly recommend it - so far I've tried the French Vanilla flavor, but Belgian Chocolate is up next. Stay tuned to see what I make with those!

Got questions about supplementing with Neocell or protein in general? Drop em below!



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How To Respectfully Tell A Fellow Natural Her Hair Is A Mess

ismail Alminda | 3:02 PM

black women talkingIt’s no secret, the topic of hair in the black community is a touchy one. We live in a time where so many uninvited opinions are thrown around which often lead to tension and arguments. Trying to suggest to another woman of color who you’re not related to or even close with can be tricky. […]

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This Fashion Bomb Daily Cardi B Photoshoot Was Everything

ismail Alminda | 1:11 PM

CardiBFashionBOmb-696x522I feel like we have been talking about Cardi B all month long and not that I am complaining she is definitely very entertaining. This time Cardi B made waves on the Internet because the Rapper and Love and Hip Hop vixen did an awesome photo shoot with Fashion Bomb Daily. Cardi kept it all […]

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DIY Greek Yogurt, Green Tea, and Manuka Honey Hair Mask For Strengthening and Growth

ismail Alminda | 7:02 AM

Greek yogurt green tea and manuka honey hair maskGreek yogurt (or any yogurt really) is an ideal base for any DIY hair mask or cream. Not only does the average 1 cup serving have over 17 grams of protein to strengthen your hair, but it’s great for moisturizing, combating dandruff, and controls frizz after intense dryness. The enzymes found in Greek yogurt also […]

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Missoni: A CHAT WITH THE CO-FOUNDER OF URBAN BUSH BABES; Cipriana Quann & HER IDENTICAL TWIN SISTER TK Quann

ismail Alminda | 3:57 PM

Photographer: Viola Rolando
 
 
“Urban Bush Babes is the “definitive source for natural hair, fashion, health, music, film, lifestyle and arts & culture” co-founded by Cipriana Quann and Nikisha Brunson. We had a chat with Quann and her identical twin sister TK, aka musician TK Wonder, on fashion, natural hair and their sources of inspiration.” -Missoni
 
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TK and I sat down with Missoni to discuss fashion, politics and changing the face of the “standard beauty” in the industry for their ongoing series; “Missoni Moments”.
 
Scroll below to view our discussion
 
Can you tell us a little about where Urban Bush Babes came from, and how you developed the concept?
 
Cipriana – Urban Bush Babes was always about creating a platform where women of color could feel comfortable being themselves. So when I cofounded the site in 2011 with Nikisha Brunson and my sister, TK Quann joining in 2013, we wanted to show the multifaceted lives of different women—we’re chefs, we’re lawyers, we’re students, we’re doctors, we love Pink Floyd, we could be in the middle of the woods fishing… I just wanted to show different examples of what wasn’t being shown in mainstream media. And it kind of blossomed into much more than just women of color. The unifying message of it is to be who you are and love yourself, because when you love yourself, you’re able to do anything. We wanted to promote that platform and do it while showing a side of beauty and fashion in a more diverse way.

 
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Photo Aug 23, 9 13 25 AM
 

Growing up as identical twins, did you find it hard to become your own person? Were – are you – the kind of twins who do everything together, or the kind who fight hard to put some space between each other?
 
TK – I’ve never found it difficult to become my own person. I think other people growing up found it difficult since quite often as children we were referred to as “twins” instead of our names. My sister has always been my best friend and I feel incredibly fortunate that we work together. I have been in a relationship for eight years and my boyfriend jokes when he hears my phone ring or when he sees me dialing a number because he knows most of the time Cipriana is calling or I’m calling her. I can never get enough of my sister. Why would I? She is incredible.
 
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Photo Aug 23, 9 43 51 AM
 
You have devoted a lot of work to the creation of a more inclusive standard of beauty, one that takes into account the specificity of black girls, particularly hair styling. Would you like to tell us a little about that?
 
Cipriana – Yes, perceptions have changed, however mainstream acceptance could be greater. Sometimes people are so hung up on this old idea of what beauty represents, whether it be hair or beauty, that they refuse to see our differences is what makes us beautiful. This ideology that blond hair and blue eyes is more appealing in the eyes of certain companies is asinine, and their acceptance of that ideology is negating the beauty of diversity when it comes to the color of one’s skin, lifestyle choices or the natural state of one’s hair. The ideology of “good hair” within the industry and communities is absolutely absurd.
 
TK – I think we’re particularly focused on diversity in the industry. I joined UBB over three years ago and I know in the beginning when Cipriana cofounded Urban Bush Babes the focus was quite a bit on natural hair, however the platform always embraced many different topics. Diversity is a platform that is incredibly important to us, and exhorting brands, audiences and platforms to welcome the idea that diversity is no longer the minority. Companies or brands shouldn’t hesitate to feature women or men of color in fear that it will stunt their revenue or their growth.
 
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At this time in history, your work takes on a distinctly political flavor. What is your relationship with politics?
 
Cipriana – Some people believe that fashion and politics can’t mix, but we believe fashion is what you make it, and it is a big part of our life; but what is happening around us socially and politically cannot be ignored for the sake of the latest “trend”. Some people believe that taking a stance on anything politically or socially will thwart potential jobs, and this may be true, but sometimes you have to be the change you want to see and always talk about and give voice to those who cannot be heard. I have learned long ago that living a life walking on eggshells, caring so much what others think in a way that stifles your true nature is no way to live, that is not life.
 
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For more photos, details on the looks above and to read our complete interview, including my thoughts on being a twin, the impact our mother had from youth to adulthood, how our interest in fashion began, and our personal icons in and outside the fashion industry click here



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4 Ways To Get The Most Out Of A Natural Hair Expo

ismail Alminda | 3:06 PM

@ChsnaturalhairexpoNatural hair expositions and events are all the rave in large cities. Since moving to DC, I’ve noticed that just about every other week to month there is some kind of event going on relating to natural hair. I love it! Before attending my first event, I have to admit, I was a bit apprehensive. […]

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[Mark Your Calendars] MAC to launch a Taraji P Henson Capsule Collection

ismail Alminda | 9:13 AM
I just got wind that MAC is launching another celebrity inspired makeup line and I couldn't be more excited.  Typically, I admire these mini collections from afar.  Probably because the colors aren't always as wearable as I'd like.  But they're finally releasing a line that I'm truly happy about.
This time, their muse of choice is Taraji P Henson.  But instead of using her infamous character Cookie Lyons as inspiration, they opted for hues that Taraji herself would wear.
She's all about bronzy, glowy skin, a bold winged eye, and the perfect nude lips.

Where do I sign up?

Just one glance at the collection and I was sold.  I mean....just take a look at the Mineral Skin Finish (MSF) powders.  Are they not the most beautiful things you've ever laid your eyes on?

I need Taraji Glow MSF powder in my collection like yesterday!

Also included in the collection is a nude lippie that I'm also coveting.  Listen, the last thing I need is another nude lipstick but I still haven't quite found that elusive perfect shade of nude.  I'm crossing my fingers that "Strip Me Down" is what I've been waiting for.  Strip Me Down is described as a deep -toned beige (matte formula). It appears to be a darker shade of nude than what I currently own which is why I'm really looking forward to trying it.

The rest of the collection consists of 2 mascaras, a liquid liner, and a makeup brush.  I'm curious to see if the liner and mascaras have a darker pigment than what's currently available from MAC.  
If you're as excited about this collection as I am, you'll only have to wait a couple more weeks.  As early as September 6th, you can order the Taraji collection from MAC's website or head to your nearest MAC boutique on September 8th to shop in stores. 



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