Homeschooling Is Lethal

If you have underaged kids, they’ve been sitting in your hair pretty much since March. It’s October, and our mirrors are not telling quite the same story they did before all this started. So if you’re now embarking on some form of remote schooling or full time teaching of your own children, consider supplementing that game plan with anti-aging products.

Trust me. I’ve been teaching my child for a while, with all the highs and lows that go with it. So if you’re new to this, let me explain why it’s good to get ahead of the game – even assuming you look the exact same as you did in March. (Right.)

Think of some of your teachers in the past (and don’t tell me you never misbehaved). How many had downturned lips? Were there any with despondent, drooping eyes? How about the near constant smirk? Ever noticed that one corner of some teacher’s nose was always a little higher than the other… in disdain?

As time passes, facial expressions leave their mark. Have you been giving your child lots of threatening looks for poor behavior? Or perhaps you’ve repeated, “I am the teacher, here!” at least 10 times during the past few weeks. If so, I want you to try something. Make a plain face – no expression, no smile. Now look in the mirror. Have you noticed a little tightening here and there? This is your face getting accustomed to the repetitive motion of its muscles.

Don’t be mad. I’m just trying to help. So now let’s have a lesson on how to avoid (further) premature aging due to stress.

What Aging Looks Like

Twitter @chop466

The initial signs of aging can differ by facial structure. Do you have hooded eyes? Hooded eyes are characterized by a fleshy browbone area. If you have them, your signs if aging will appear here first. The eyes get heavier and more sunken with age and crows feet and bagging occur. Even if you haven’t noticed any of this happening, grab a collagen eye serum for the semester anyway. It’s an ounce of prevention.

If you don’t have hooded eyes, aging will then usually be observed first in the lower half of the face. This is where the collagen between the lower cheek and the mouth begins to degrade, even if the rest of your face still looks fresh. If you’re over 40, or getting close to it, and happen to be caring for children, observe this area and set to work with the following.

Glycolic Acid

A chemical exfoliant like glycolic acid stimulates the epidermis and increases circulation. It helps keep the muscles under your skin from becoming stagnant. Low circulation contributes to the degradation of the skin and fatty layers of the face, too.

Glycolic acid is not a miracle ingredient, but it’s pretty close. Younger looking skin can be seen almost immediately after starting a regimen with this alpha hydroxy acid. It sets up a system of constant, gentle exfoliation of the face. Just don’t go above a concentration of 10%, if you’re using it at home.

Most glycolic acid products work about the same. However, some are sold with mechanical exfoliant additives like microbeads. These are not only unnecessary, but can dull the new skin that’s surfacing due to glycolic acid.

Oh, and if you’re going out, use a sunscreen. (Yes, I mean you.) Glycolic acid makes skin photosensitive, and who wants to go hopping from the frying pan into the fire with fine lines?


Speaking of fine lines, retinol is the fine-line-enemy. Just rub the solution right into your rough spots, or all over your face, if you like. Retinol and glycolic acid can be used in conjunction. You’ll need a sunscreen outside with this one too.


Ingesting collagen goes a long way to defeat the symptoms of aging, as collagen is one of the bodily stores that lowers significantly with time. Collagen creams can be expensive, but both glycolic acid and retinol stimulate collagen production in the skin. If you feel it’s not enough, ingesting collagen peptides can aid the process. They are also flavorless in your morning cup of joe before school.

The biggest thing is that whatever curriculum skincare routine you choose, stay consistent with it. Kids Skin can be trained to adjust with consistency.

“I am the —!”

“Teacher here?”

“I said stop interrupting.”

How to Recreate Lupita’s Hair from Black Panther

Can you get the elegant grace of Nakia’s (Lupita Nyong’o) Black Panther hair? Of course!

Naturally? 100%. And easy, too. Find out how below.

To Look Like Lupita, What Hair Type Works?

Without a doubt, Lupita has type 4c natural hair. This style was created for naps. Yea.

More than that, anyone who’s going to try pulling it off must have very thick hair. Otherwise the knots are going to be spaced further apart, and  you’ll end up with a different look.

I would guess that if you have really thick hair that ranges between 4b and 3c, this style might work out okay, but the results won’t look quite the same as Lupita.

Okay moving on.

What Hair Length Will Give Me This Black Panther Look?

No you don’t have to do a big chop haircut to get this style going on. This is a perfect twa style, but as long as your hair is shorter than neck length, you’re good. Looks like about 5 inches of hair worked nice in Black Panther.

Of course, the longer your hair is, the more volume your knots will have in the end. Nothing wrong there! Length can work to your advantage too if your hair is not super thick.

How To Style My Hair Like Nakia?

Did I say knots above? Yes these are very similar to bantu knots! What makes Nakia’s knots different is that they are installed closer to the scalp, instead of mounting up vertically. .At the same time, they are not kept tightly wound, but are styled somewhere in between knots and a knot-out. Sort of.

How to:

  1. Start on clean hair. Use a styler like natural gel – one that provides hold and sheen without crunch – a natural hair product like Camille Rose Naturals Aloe Whipped Butter Gel.
  2. Section off small sections and form the knots. If you look carefully, Lupita has more than 100 knots in there!
  3. While Black Panther lead stylist Camille Friend told the New York Times that she knotted the hair close to the scalp, the description in the article actually sounds a lot like small pin curls.
    Pin Curl Hairstyles For Short Hair Beautiful Pin Curls on Tapered Natural HairPin curls can be wound like flat bantu knots and secured with a hair pin, as shown above. Alternately, because 4c hair can secure itself, you can try making the knots, by twirling right at scalp level, like Camille Friend says. Then tie the knots down with a scarf to secure them while they dry. 😉
  4. If you want your style to last longer, do this on wet hair.  The PR pics from the movie show how this unique curly hairstyle transforms as the days wear on.

hairnbyutwriter hair lupita-nyongo-black-panther
Day 1 hair.

hairnbyutwriter hair lupita-nyongo-black-panther2
“Day 2” hair. We really don’t know for how many days the style was in, hence the quotations.

hairnbyutwriter hair lupita-nyongo-black-panther3
“Day 3” hair.

Suffice it to say, your hair should look like Day 1 hair when you’re done. It will fluff out on its own in subsequent days, as you can see in the pics. But if you create the fluffed out look initially, the style won’t last as long. That’s up to you.

5. Once your hair is completely dry, remove the scarf or pins. (You can use a hooded dryer to help them dry quicker.)

6. The last step is to take a pick (or tip of a (rat tail) comb, like Camille Friend) and lift the roots gently.

How to Get Nakia’s Black Panther Hair Color, Naturally!

I’m glad the stylist didn’t dye it blue, or I wouldn’t be able to help you here! I promised to deliver this style naturally, and henna can be used to get those deep mahogany highlights. How? With vinegar.

The color step is optional, and more involved, whereas the hairstyle itself is quick and easy. So I put the color routine last instead of first.

  1. Mix henna with apple cider vinegar to form a paste the consistency of mayonnaise.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 12 hours in a warm spot.
  3. Uncover and add a few tablespoons of sugar for moisture.
  4. Beat the mixture again. It should be sticky. Let it sit for another hour for the sugar to completely dissolve. You can add essential oils at this stage to help mask the smell, if you like.
  5. Apply to hair in sections. You should have enough henna mixed that your head is completely saturated in it and is a gooey mess. 🙂
  6. Wrap your head in plastic wrap tightly, so no air is allowed in. Keep all that in your head for 12 hours.
  7. Rinse thoroughly and condition but don’t use shampoo. The color continues to develop the next day. So wait a day, then you can use a sulfate-free shampoo.

Again, all that is optional. You won’t need the color highlights to get hair like Black Panther’s Nakia. You’re going to be turning heads anyway, whether it’s mahogany, black, brown, blonde or pink.

Interesting fact? All the styles in Black Panther, including Lupita’s, are actually wigs created by Ms. Friend for the set.

Photo credits: Matt Kennedy/©Marvel Studios 2018

Want an article like this for your natural hair blog? Contact me!

Soultanicals…Please STOP!

Remember you and your group of girls laughing so hard that you couldn’t breathe? With the frozen cheese smiles, eyes squeezing tears out and the sound of, “Eeeeee!”

To get the “He, he, he,” out, you had to slap your hands on something right?

Stomach hurting! “Girl, STOP!”

Well that’s what I’m telling my girls at Soultanicals. Stop! When what I really mean is, “Please keep going. You’re on a roll.”

What’s In a Name

Some of the classic Soultanicals products have a rhyme to them that reminds me of going out with my girls and laughing and carrying on. It’s all in the way you say it. “Hair-Blaze-Curl-Glaaaaze!!” Really fast.

I swear to you, I go over the Soultanicals website just to recall those days. Because besides having really innovative formulas, I just really love their product names.

I would buy up their store, if I could, and giggle through the pages as I’m doing it. Between their retro, psychodelic funk packaging and the names, their marketing speaks, girl. It speaks.
Oh, and I’ve seen wallpaper like that, back in the day.

Here are some more names. (See if you can say them with me.)

  • Knap-pay-lishus Kank-Drank  (Hair Sorrell Knappylicious Kink Drink)
    -of course you’re not supposed to say the S in Knappylicious
  • Afrotastic Curl’LASTic (Afrotastic Curl Elastic)
    -I’m pretty sure they wanted to leave out the E, too.
  • Mango Dip Detanglin’ SLIP  (Mango Dip Detangling Slip)
    -A cute little mango is dipping her foot into a slippery pool here. The imagery they create! Am I the only one who sees this??
  • Frizz-Whizzzzzz (Frizz Whiz Curl Defining Leave-In)
    -a’la game show
  • Hershea Luuv Polishin’ Fudge (Hershea Love Polishing Fudge)
    -now Hershey’s Chocolate isn’t letting go of their name anytime soon, but I guaranTEE you, there is a chocolate girl out there somewhere who’s dubbed herself Hershey Love.

Just saying.

If you happened to click the links in this article, you’ll see that most of their products have been sold out. Of course that’s not just due to the names. But Soultanicals, keep going!!





How to Get Into Customized Beauty

If you’re making products, one of the top beauty trends for 2018 that directly affects you is personalized beauty. With this, your leads enter their hair or skin type and their beauty goals into questionnaire fields on your website. The results yield an instant click to buy that’s either a recommended product, a prototype of a new look or both.

There are dozens of companies out there who are taking the guesswork out of beauty routines – and mining a whole lot of data to boot. They are discovering, real time, what people want and are mining that info by beauty demographic to make their offerings even better. Sweet.

That’s not to say traditional market research has become irrelevant. After all, you still have to know what messages to throw out there to pull your ideal customers in. And before that, of course you must also know exactly who your ideal customers are.

The difference between traditional beauty marketing and these guys in customized beauty is how they are staying on top of the game by constantly having a finger on their lead base. And once a person fills out the survey on their site, they do a quick, almost irresistible, conversion from lead to customer – right there on the same page (or so it appears to the consumer).

I confess, I’m loving how hair products like Form Beauty,  Function of Beauty and Prose Hair have taken surveys to a whole other level. As consumers, we are intrigued when companies help us find out more about ourselves. If you’ve ever flipped through a magazine to find the personal questionnaires, you know how big of a draw they are.

Well, those hair product companies manage to use the same kind of draw then deliver the same kind of instant gratification at the end. Except this time it’s in the form of a physical takeaway product!

So that’s the up side.

On the down side, in my humble opinion, is the use of DNA for customized beauty. It’s a little too far into the Big Brother world for me. But Coty joining up with Amazon Echo is tempting! Obviously this is not the same lackluster Coty from decades ago.

How You Can Do This

So if you’ve been spending time (and money) in the kitchen or laboratory coming up with product lines for different hair/skin types… consider cutting your costs by making a base product and incorporating customization.  All you have to do is add a few ingredients to the your base per customization. Or make three or four different bases and customize those.

Then make up your questionnaire, and post it to your site. Each set of answers leads to a different product, so it’s a good idea to have as many products as the number of answers your survey will generate.

So if there end up being 100 different sets of possible results from your questionnaire, start thinking of the ingredient combinations you can use to create those 100 different products. If you know your ingredients well and are a good formulator, it won’t take you very long.

Now I’m not saying this is how Form, Prose Hair and Function of Beauty do it. I’m sure they have their own methods. I’m saying this is an easy way that you can start doing it.

Get into the game for 2018!



Natural, Vegetarian Cold-Emulsifier

I won’t tell you how longs it’s been since I’ve been experimenting with making my own cold emulsifier. Well, long enough.

A natural, vegetarian, cold emulsifier is a natural product maker’s dream. Natural, as in harmless, because in the cosmetic world, the word “natural” is laughable. Vegetarian, as in, we all want to be cute, just not Miss Piggy style.

And for the fun part, no heat is needed to form the emulsion! No more peeking at thermometers and shaking, shaking and rotating …only to watch the oil slowly separate from the water. And on other days giving something a quick shake and leaving it in the fridge. Then coming back to a perfectly emulsified product. Ha, ha. The irony.

So yea. One day I set up the hunt, digging and digging until I struck gold. In Scotland.

The company is Once the Sucragel cold emulsifier in my eager hands, I’ll let you know how it goes.



Sprangz does a take on African hair banding/threading

You can find the other natural hair accessories Sprang offers here.

Want to know what is hair banding for natural hair and how bands stretch and style like African threading? View my article on Black Hair Spot.