5 Nail Care Tips for Women with Natural Hair

Having naturally curly hair is a blessing that often curses our nails. You shouldn’t ever have to choose between having a gorgeous full set or a hairstyle that slays.

Having naturally curly hair is a blessing that often curses our nails. You shouldn’t ever have to choose between having a gorgeous full set or a hairstyle that slays.

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June 2016

 

Prior to wearing my hair natural, I was completely against gel polish and acrylic nails. The price and the rigid state of my nails when returning to a regular manicure had always given me a bad feeling. So I stuck to what I knew. Every time I got my nails done, they would last about 4 days before becoming chipped due to me styling my hair. During that time, I was also taking swimming classes two days a week, which required me to wash and style my hair more often to protect it from damage. Soon enough it got to the point where I began to paint my own nails due to the money I felt was going to waste by getting my nails done every two weeks. But my nails were not getting proper maintenance, which is when I decided to get gel manicures and document my results. The goal of my journey was to have strong, healthy nails.

 

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July 2016- at brunch

 

What are healthy nails? In my definition, healthy nails are not thin and do not break easily. Because nails grow at different rates, length was not the most important factor for me. Over the span of four months, I experienced greater nail health as I practiced self-care techniques. Here are a few things that helped me maintain my nails without neglecting my hair:

 

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August 2016

 

  • Make an informed decision on what nail polish type you want to put on your nails, and where you’ll get them done. Google and yelp will be your best resources. I chose gel because it dramatically decreased the amount of breakage of my nails and added another week in between appointments. Do what works for you!
  • Don’t be afraid to bring your own polish to the nail salon. This nail polish has been a godsend for forming nails that don’t bend and break. They never supplied it at the nail salon, so  I added it for no extra charge!
  • Moisturize. Moisturize. Moisturize. Drink water to moisturize your skin. And always keep a good lotion for on the go. This will change your skin dramatically if you have peeling nail cuticles.
  • Hot water is a known enemy of nail polish. At times where our hands will be wet for long periods of time(i.e. Washing dishes or our hair), we can simply wear gloves or reduce the temperature of the water.
  • Make a habit in creating routine out of your nail appointments.Whether you get gel or regular polish, pencil in time to get your nails done monthly.  Leaving nail polish and picking it off yourself can do more damage to your nail bed than an acetone polish remover (*shudders*). If you’re unorganized like me, this could be a great first step to living a less sporadic lifestyle. And who doesn’t appreciate a little pre-planned TLC ?

 

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September 2016

 

We can all achieve healthy nails by being mindful of what we consume. All of our bodies are affected by what we eat, and also how we feel. An improper diet can cause brittle nails that (in my case) break easily. Extreme stress, for example, can lead to a pause in tryout body creating nail cells, causing grooves in the nail called Beau’s Lines. Being mindful of the way we are treating our bodies can impact our lives in a major way.

What Motivates You?

As many of you may not know, I aspire to be a wellness advocate. I want to uplift others and show people how to change their lives for the better. I am filled with joy when I put others before myself for their benefit. I don’t know what made me this way, but I know that I was meant to share my light with others.

While re-reading this book for the second time, I came across a section titled “Giving up the self you know.” As I mentioned in an earlier post, every time I read it, I gain something new. This particular section goes into detail about the how we see our world only from our limited minds. As a psychology major, I’m always eager to learn more about thought processes and mindset. So obviously I’m eating this stuff up. Reading more into the book, I begin to ask myself these super introspective questions.

 What fuels you to be your best self? When you’re physically and mentally exhausted, what drives you to keep pressing on? Who do you aspire to be in the next 5 years? 10? 

I’m always super critical of being aware of my motivations in life . That, and always having a positive intention with everything I do .To me, they are like the seeds you plant, and when you grow into who you’re supposed to be you’ll be a product of that motivation.  Of course, I fall short of my goals now and then, but these are two things that keep me on track when I don’t see a win.

I’ve learned that in most cases where money is your motivation, you’re almost always left feeling like something is missing. The same goes for attention, visibility, or any other selfish motivation. With all you do, do so with an an altruistic heart.

So…what motivates you?

 

Reflecting on Fall 2016

Monday 11:59p

Today started the last week of fall semester. My last as an undergrad. ALOT of feelings are arising. Thoughts like “Did I properly balance my social and academic life?” or “Can I still make up that assignment from September?” are crossing my mind heavy this week. Looking back at this semester, I had my days where I was the super-focused student, and those when I wanted to leave school and become a stay-at-home food blogger. Who hasnt?

Lately I’ve been focusing more crucially on who I’m becoming. Typical twenty-one-year-old coming of age stuff. I always tell my peers not to limit themselves but often forget to take my own advice. My family has never pushed me to be anything but myself, whatever that looks like for me. This caused me to be almost too understanding with myself when I fail. The one thing that has really helped me through my stagnant times where I don’t feel like doing anything is a quote I picked up in yoga teacher training. Budokon-style yoga embraces a motto stating “The way we do anything, is the way we do everything.” Super intense, but thats what has gotten me to put the same amount of effort into my coursework as I do perfecting a winged eyeliner technique. I think that for me, the most important thing in life is finding balance between my two extremes.

While Winter break approaches, there’s still a few things that I have to accomplish before I’m back to Cali. All of my finals are next week, and I still have grad school applications to finish. Both tasks mean I’m closer to leaving Howard, which is all too bittersweet.  Of course, I procrastinated and started applying to masters programs way later than I should have. But trusting in God’s plan, I know that I’ll end up right where I should be come Fall 2017. Crossing the finish line of graduation will feel SO great.

“Pearls are not found on the shore. If you want one, you must dive for it.”

Tuesday

Today, I let the bad vibes in

They crept slowly, as to not disturb my peace

Lingering, slow to the draw

Too much sadness suppressed by late lunch with a friend

Eager to rip through the high vibing frequencies and commence uncertainty, self-doubt, and insecurity.

Coupled with high expectancies

the worst parts of me took over

Suffocating me

Leaving me no breathing room to invite logic to take over.

Photo Cred: Allyson Gutchell

Careers Worth More Than Money

As a child, I aspired to be a pediatrician.My little sister as my only patient, I would proudly proclaim my  future plans of attending Johns Hopkins at every family gathering. Somewhere between then and my sophomore year of high school, that dream was indefinitely deferred when I discovered my aversion to blood. It was my high school sociology teacher that encouraged me to pursue a degree in the behavioral health field. Psychology worked for me because I could still fulfill my dream of working in a hospital and working with children. Seemingly, I had a well thought out 4-year plan (for a life at a university I didn’t even get into, actually).

Currently, I am at a crossroads. When interviewers inquire about my future career aspirations, the story I tell always varies. I see two paths that both contain a life I would be happy living. My mental image of both of these lives is so realistic, and both are within my grasp.I must focus on one, which is difficult without longing for the other.  One path contains my “money-driven career,” the other, my “heart-driven career.

My money-driven career goal includes me being a badass psychologist impacting young lives. I would gain my Ph.D. in Child Psychology and work in a private practice doing therapy living happily ever after in California. It’s honestly a practical goal for someone in my field. And although I would be well paid, I believe that I won’t be fully content. That’s where my heart-driven career goal comes in.

Something within me is telling me that I need more. There’s a greater calling for my life to share my journey with others. To be the light. I want to build community, spread love, and motivate others to be their best selves. My heart wants to travel, teach, and inspire. My only issue with this dream is that it doesn’t always lead to financial stability. With that uncertainty ignites anxiety, warning me to run towards something less uncertain.

Stuck between the two versions of my future, I know that God has the first and last word. I settle on a happy medium by still pursuing grad school programs and placing myself in spaces where I can learn and grow how to serve others. Right now, that’s what works for me.

“The process isn’t always perfect or comfortable. Nevertheless, try to treasure the moments in between the outcome you are waiting for” – Alex Elle

A Tale of Self-Love 

College is a strange place. Almost everyone is on the path to finding themselves, all the while dealing with the pressures of being in school. Between finances, grades, and maintaining a social life, stress can sometimes be inevitable. For a long time, I felt like everyone around me had this college life thing all figured out and I was the only one barely making the cut. While my friends had found their niche, I was still struggling to find an organization that matched my interests. What made things worse was the competitive nature of my school. We are taught to be the best at what we do, the true epitome of black excellence. The only thing that seemed to get me out of this rut was to work out. I could go for a run, and all of my negative thoughts were replaced with a feeling of empowerment. I loved the high from the “booty bootcamps” held bi-weekly in my dorm. With that realization came an interest in learning how I could stay happy, even when I didn’t have time to workout. I also didn’t want to feel reliant on my friends company to make me happy. So I turned to social media and did some digging. I found so many people, movements and organizations that were centered around self-care. This was one of the few times in which living in a crowded city worked to my advantage. There was a vast community of women on the path to wellness, and I wanted in.

All summer ’16 I was devoted to working on myself. By stepping out of my comfort zone, I was able to make so many new connections and learn so much about what I wanted in life. There was one point, around mid July, that I was at an all time high. I would wake up, meditate, journal, and practice yoga before tackling my daily tasks.


I am so grateful that I was imperfectly made. The journey to accepting myself despite my flaws has revealed to me a few things that come with the experience.
•You get what you give, meaning that whatever you put out into the universe is typically what you get back. Some call it karma.

•Your friends may not join you on the path to self-care. Your relationships with people will change. And you have to be okay with that.

•Being intentional with your actions matters. It makes goals more achievable,and just life more livable overall.

•You can’t do it alone. Having someone (a mentor, therapist, or a good friend) who supports your journey is going to keep you balanced.

•You will never stop learning and evolving. There will be a point that self-care is like a second nature to you, but you should always keep expanding your knowledge of self and others.
My self-care techniques include putting my sanity first (seriously), being honest about my feelings towards myself and others, and putting myself on the path to be the wellness advocate I aspire to be. I still exercise, and have even taken on yoga teacher training. Lucky enough, I have also been able to lead an organization on my campus that inspires young women to make fitness fun. These blessings occurred when I decided I would show up for myself. And it’s only the beginning.

Skincare Must-Haves from Lush

While others spend their paycheck at Sephora, Lush is the store that gets all my coins. As a woman of color, I am always skeptical about whether my skin type will be catered to by certain companies promising clear skin. A product review from lush was so necessary because I truly believe they are one of the best cruelty-free organic cosmetic brands(for all skin types).
What brought me to Lush was their well-known bath bombs. I wasn’t completely sold on their items due to the seemingly overpriced items in smaller packaging. After taking home and trying a few body washes and ample free samples, I was hooked. They often do in-store demonstrations of their products where customers can see and feel the quality of their products. There’s such transparency within their brand that made me feel like I was making an informed purchase.
Herbalism
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My daily cleanser that never fails me. I’m so in love with this product because it has lessened the greasy-ness of my skin significantly. Its grainy texture feels as if it is exfoliating and moisturizing at the same time. At Lush, they always say a little goes a long way, but this product is living proof. One small pot has lasted me months with daily use.
Grease lightning 
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The savior for oily skin.I use this product as a spot treatment for areas that appear shiny or red. Thanks to the tea tree oil in this product, I have noticed a decrease in redness overall in my T-zone. It’s small size also makes it great to store in your purse fork on-the-go use.
Smugglers Soul
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I’ve been using a sample of this face exfoliant for about a month now. Unfortunately, the product releases once a year around Father’s Day, so I wasn’t able to grab the biggest jar once I fell in love with this product. In contrast with herbalism, the consistency of smugglers salt is much finer. I use a very small amount twice a week just to get a deeper cleanse. I’ve found that this is great to use on days I wear heavy makeup.
D’fluff
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D’fluff takes the trophy for the best shaving soap ever. You can’t go wrong with this product. Aside from its soft pink hue and lovely strawberry scent, it actually works better than drug store shaving cream. A tiny amount will leave any part of your body amazingly smooth and moisturized. This product is also very lightweight and will finish quickly if you don’t use it sparingly. My rule of thumb is to use a nickel-sized amount on each area.