My natural hair plays a big role in my path to living a more eco-conscious lifestyle.Going natural is what started it all. I have been accosted enough times in the natural hair section of Target to know that its a big deal to other moms and women out there. After being natural for 9 years, here are my pro-tips that make my life a lot easier.
Hair is just hair – I have shaved it all off, braided it, colored it and attempted to loc my fro. At the end of the day, I love my hair, but it does not define me. Remind yourself of that when your twist out flops. Throw a scarf on and move on with your day sis.
Find realistic hair goals -Sadly, the most popular natural hair gurus and online accounts tend to have a loose curl pattern. We all don’t look like that. Don’t waste your time coveting a pattern your hair will never confirm to. Find people who look like you and support them. Representation matters.
Get you a bonnet or silk pillow case – Cotton absorbs moisture and our curls need all the moisture they can get. Make sure to sleep with a satin scarf, bonnet or pillow case
Be kind to your fro – braids,weaves, and wigs are cute but if you are not careful, when you take them off, they will take your edges and sometimes even your hair with them. Give yourself time off between protective styles and make sure to do a deep treatment.
Simplify your routine – It is easy to waste money on products that you don’t need. Especially since the natural hair community is inundated with sponsorships and native advertising that suckers us in. Find people that give honest product reviews, find products that you can use on more than your hair (like shea and mango butters, almond and coconut oil) .
My routine looks like:
A deep conditioner or oil treatment
A conditioner or leave in conditioner to detangle with.
A butter to moisturize with after i’m done. Right now I am using a homeade mango butter mixed with a drop of melacula oil.
My partner has been on a home improvement kick. This past month has seen us visiting several different home improvement stores and weighing our different options. This got me thinking about actual steps folks can take to make their homes more eco-friendly and here is what we came up with.
Re-usable air filters – Did you know that you can purchase re-usable furnace and air filters for your home, depending on the kind you have, a simple power wash is all you need to clean it off and use it for several years.
Programmable thermostats – We have the Nest but there are a range of different kinds of programmable thermostats on the market. We love being able to keep the house on energy saving mode when we are away.
Energy-saving lights – These have been on the market for ages but it is good to always remind folks to make sure their bulbs are the energy saving kind. Its good for your pocket and the environment.
Better insulation – When we bought our house, we had an expert come check the insulation to make sure we would not be wasting money heating and cooling our home because of poor insulation.
Grow your butts – You read that right. Commonly used veggies like green onions, lettuce or garlic can be grown by just putting their roots or butts in water for a few days. Free food!
What are some ways you make your home a little more green?
Moon Time, Aunt Flo, Shark week, whatever you wanna call it, some people menstruate. I used to hate my period. I was terrified of staining my clothing, I was ashamed to be seen carrying a pad or tampon to the bathroom because it was gross and embarrassing. I would be incapacitated from the pain and was miserable. One day, I came across Precious Star Pads – a young british tween on Youtube who’s life goal was exploring RUMPs also known as reusable menstrual products and my period was never the same. Today, I wanna share ways that I built a better relationship with my period and how I made my moon time more eco-friendly
What I did to become friends with my period
When I became vegetarian, I ate a mostly plant based diet. Lots of fruit and vegetables. I drank loads of water and avoided processed foods. This DRASTICALLY changed my period. It became regular and I only cramped on the first day. When i’d fall off the wagon and eat a bunch of processed foods high in sugar or salt then my cramps would come back with a vengeance. I made the connection (duh) that my diet affected my cramps and about a week before my period I would clean up my act and eat clean and hydrate and have an easy period. Something which was novel and amazing to me because I needed heavy painkillers just to cope.
It is common knowledge now that most tampons and pads have known carcinogens in them. They are toxic. Once I started using RUMPs, my periods became lighter and less painful. Every woman I know who uses them has said the same thing too.
I tracked my period using an app and familiarized myself with my cycle. This allowed me be really in tune with my body and my natural rhythms. I knew I was pregnant within ta few days because I was so in tune with myself. I took multiple pregnancy tests and a blood test those first few weeks that came back negative (because it was too early to tell) but I KNEW I was pregnant because I knew my body.
I stopped treating my period like it was an inconvenience like I was told and started taking it easy (this is not an option for all menstruating folks) but made a huge difference for me.
Moon Time Helpers
RUMP’s are great because they reduce the amount of waste going to landfills and they are better for your health. Precious Star Pads has tried and reviewed several different types of RUMPS on her YouTube channel but I will share what I have and continue to use.
Sea Sponge for tampons – I don’t use these anymore but I much prefer them to tampons. I purchased a soft sea sponge. You add water to it and squeeze it into a tiny squoosh ball (they shrink tremendously) and insert it into your vaginal canal the same way you would a tampon. It expands as it absorbs your menses, you take it out, rinse it out real good, squoosh it back into a small ball and repeat.
Cloth pads – My go-to . I purchased some off of etsy and used them for years, including post partum. Just change them out like you would regular disposable pads and chuck them in the wash or into a bucket filled with water until wash day. Add some vinegar or some tea- tree essential oil for an anti-bacterial boost and you are good to go .
Free bleeding – Lay a towel or two down and go to bed in the buff. It will wash out honey.
Menstrual Cups – I have yet to use these, but they are next on my try out list. It takes a bit to find the right fit, but many people swear by them.
Periods are often a huge source of shame for people who menstruate, I think its time to change that narrative. Once my daughter is older, I plan on making her a moon box filled with different RUMPs, treats, and literature about the magic of periods so she never experiences the sad emotions I went through. I want to empower her to have a great relationship with her body and to be a friend to herself.
These internet streets can be treacherous. Full of trolls, nazi’s and “I can’t be racist, my best friends are black/mexican/asian” type folks. Its annoying and frankly, tiring. If your timeline is full of trash, here are some of my favorite blogs and websites that I feel are safe spaces for everyone, but specifically WOC. If you feel like fixing your fingers to type “why cant this just be a space for everyone not just WOC” then this post and this blog are probably not for you. See yourself out! Peace!
Black Girl in Om : Chock full of content and images, Black girl in Om is an amazing space to see black women be vulnerable, thrive and just be.
Hey Fran Hey : If you know me, then you have probably heard me gush about Francheska of Hey Fran Hey. From her youtube channel to her podcast to her website. She makes health and wellness approachable.
Another Sunday : A blog by author and self care aficionado Alex Elle. I love her honesty and transparency. Her Instagram and blog are both serene and full of self care tips.
The Lazy Natural : A tumblr blog run by Marenna, a great place for natural hair inspiration among other things.
Yolanda V. Acree : Fellow minimalist shares her travels and minimalism journey on her blog and YouTube channel and is very sweet, intelligent and down to earth
If you have any other blogs or websites you visit that you know are safe places, please share in the comments!
Cleaning the bathroom is my least favorite chore after washing dishes, I hate the smell of bleach and the harsh cleaning chemicals always make my eyes water or give me a headache. Once I simplified my regimen, cleaning the bathroom became a lot easier. To end the week, here as some ways to simplify your bathroom cleaning regimen.
As always use up what you have. Then reuse or recycle what you can. Take the labels and clean sturdy spray bottles and make your own cleaning solutions. I use a water, vinegar and tea trea oil mix.
Ditch paper towels for micro fiber or cotton clothes you can wash and reuse.
Vinegar is king. Because it is a disinfectant,you can use a vinegar to clean your entire bathroom.
Add baking soda to your toilet bowl and then add vinegar and scrub to clean the bowl. There are also wooden, compostable toilet brushes with natural fibers you can buy instead of plastic ones.
Vinegar and baking soda will also get rid of hard to scrub stains.
Clean your mirrors with a water and vinegar mix in a spray bottle.
A simple aromatic toilet spray is easy to make, add equal parts grain alcohol or witch hazel with water and then add your favorite essential oils for scent to a metal or glass spray bottle and viola!
Add plants to your bathroom to brighten things up and help purify the air.
That’s it! Nice and simple. If I missed anything, let me know in the comments below.