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Celebrating Your Hair, Style and Life July 2011, Edition 1


NATURAL ENTREPRENEURS Akua of Sheabutter Cottage and Jamyla of Oyin Handmade


BEAUTY TIPS Wedding Make up with Alison Cameron


Challenge .

Q: What do 1920s star Josephine Baker and Angelina Jolie have in common?

Published by The Natural Haven

Copyright All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Views and opinions by contributors may not represent views of the publisher.


Disclaimer All information presented here is not a substitute for professional advice for example use of certain products when pregnant or in the case of allergies.

CONTENTS 05 Editor’s Welcome The Basics 06 VINTAGE HAIR The Gibson Roll. Autumn of Curly Chronicles shows us her vintage hair updo.


08 GOING NATURAL It’s All in Your Head. Nicki Valcius writes on the

mental transition for those thinking about going natural. 10 SUMMER SWIM Shrinkage, Sea Salt and Chlorine. Protecting your natural hair as you swim. 12 WEDDING BELLES Make up Artist Alison Cameron dishes all her best hints and tips for brides.



16 ONE DRESS FIVE LOOKS Lifestyle Blogger Monique shows us how to rock one dress.


23 NATURAL BUSINESS Natural Hair is big business. Fairtrade and ethical star Akua talks to us about Sheabutter Cottage and her best business tips.


25 NATURAL BUSINESS Oyin Handmade owner Jamyla Bennu talks to us about her handmade ethos and how she started up in her kitchen to go on to become a huge brand. 28 CONTRIBUTORS Quick guide to all our key features and sponsors.

Editor’s Welcome | 05

Edition One July 2011

Welcome to Natural Bloom! This magazine is dedicated to celebrating the style and achievements of women. Our cover girl Monique is a real typical example, she is an engineer and a budding style maven. She is also a pretty good cook and her blog is packed with delicious vegetarian recipes. 100% Natural Shampoo Bars Find us on Etsy Shop - Laquita33

We as women with natural hair have so many diverse interests which are not really reflected in the natural hair world online. The majority of topics generally hover around long hair and celebrities with natural hair. Therefore we are banning those topics and homing in on you and what you like, what you do, where you live and how you holiday! Our fun vintage bloom challenge travels through history and tests your search skills. It is my hope that we can honour women of the past as we enjoy our lives today. Natural Bloom wants to celebrate you and your hair! We are publishing bimonthly and our next edition will be out in September 2011, so read this one end to end and do come back for more!

Ruby (Jx - thenaturalhaven)

06 | Vintage Style

Vintage Style The Gibson Roll !

Chic vintage inspired looks are a huge style favourite. Lace and tulle are making huge waves in fashion matched with the curly updos of the 1930s and 1940s. Today’s vintage hairstyle is titled ‘the Gibson Roll’. There are many variations on how to create the look but specifically for natural hair, it had to be Autumn of of Curly Chronicles on Youtube and The Retro Natural Blog. This beautiful hairstyle is very elegant and requires at a minimum, approximately 6-9 inches of hair. Feel free to ‘cheat’ and use a small piece of foam to add volume to your roll.

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Step 1: Preparation This style is pretty adaptable and is suitable for both stretched and unstretched hair. If you like, you can lightly mist your hair with water to allow it to be manipulated easily as you roll it. Step 2: The Roll You will need to roll your hair upwards. If you are using the foam, try to conceal it as you move upwards. You can of course use two mirrors to allow you to see the back and front. Step 3: Pin it up! Secure the roll with bobby pins. Work with one hand holding the roll and the other placing pins to ensure that you do not unroll the hair before it is pinned in place.

Style Notes The Gibson roll neatly tucks away all the hair ends making it a beautiful protective style. Its simple elegance also makes it perfect for a formal job interview. For weddings or evening celebrations, think about adding a decorative flower or crystal pin to add a little more dazzle to the hairstyle.


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GOING NATURAL It’s All in Your Head by Nicki Valcius I did something quite odd when I went natural. I transitioned after my Big Chop. Not my hair obviously, but my mind. The mental transition is arguably the most important part of “going natural.” For some women the transition is quick and easy – after all it's just hair. For others (at least for me), the mental transition is a conscious and continuous reprogramming of their ideas about hair, beauty, and their self-esteem. Most women who grew up straightening their hair did so because of the underlying idea that their hair needs to be fixed. That is the first lie. The sooner a woman accepts that her hair is perfect in all its kinky, curly, coily, cottony, nappy glory, the sooner her hair will thrive.

After years of caring for straight hair, I had to learn how to care for the stuff that was growing out of my head which was unequivocally not straight. I had to learn how it would look (My natural hair doesn't always shine. That's okay), how it would behave (My natural hair shrinks. That's okay) and how to treat it (My fine tooth combs and high heat blow driers are now obsolete. That's okay). Research was essential to this process. Forums, blogs, and videos are filled with the wisdom of women who have been there and done that. I studied it all as if I were preparing for an exam. If you learn the ins and out of your natural hair early, you can skip over the panicked, fearful stage of having no idea what do to with your new 'fro.

Going Natural | 09

My biggest mistake was relying on others for validation. After my BC, I wore a scarf around the house for three days, so my family would not see. I sent pictures to all my friends, demanding their opinions. And, when my mother insisted I get cornrow extensions before a family trip because, “You can't travel with your head looking like that,” I caved. I don't think I'm the only one. The hottest topic among new naturals (besides how to define the curls that they don't have) is the mean things people have said about their hair. The wise words of Katt Williams aptly put things in perspective. In a skit called self esteem, he advises women that we need to stop waiting for men to verify any aspect of ourselves. We have to think that we are worthy and we are beautiful because when we think we are, then

WE ARE, regardless of another’s perception. When I stopped letting my opinion of myself depend on the perception of others, I got my swagger back and I was whipping my TWA like it was my job. Going natural is hard, but being natural is not. With the right tools and knowledge the search for “manageable” hair will be behind you. Once you have confidence and pride in yourself and your natural hair, nothing can tear you down. Here are some affirmatives to get you started: Yes, you can be professional. Yes, men will still approach you. Yes, your hair is beautiful.

Summer Swim Natural Hair Sea Salt Chlorine & The Fifteen Minute Rule

Summer is the best time to head for water! Swimming is a fantastic all round exercise for both your heart (cardiovascular) and muscles (strength training).

whether outdoors by the ocean or indoors in a pool, here are a few tips to help you take care of your hair and make your summer altogether more wonderful!

Whether you are an avid swimmer or a learner, Step 1: Barrier Oil the one thing that many naturals fear with For pool swimmers, chlorine is the main swimming is shrinkage and handling wet hair. concern. Studies have shown that chlorine can soften the hair cuticle and over time weaken As beautiful as the girls in the picture are hair (JSCC pp371-384 1987 and pp229-242, (gorgeous vintage 1950s swimsuits), their hair 1982). is suited for basking in the sun and not getting wet. Braids or twists are the first step to easing The best method is to prevent or limit the shrinking worries. Braids have greater staying amount of water that contacts the hair. The first power and staying extension free will allow you step is to use an oil which can act as a barrier to wear a swim cap comfortably. AND penetrate into hair preventing water (and the chlorine it carries) from getting into the hair. If you are planning to swim this summer Coconut oil has been reported to do this

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scientifically and the structure of olive oil suggests it may also behave in the same way. Mineral oil, however, does not act in this way. While it forms a barrier outside the hair, it does not penetrate into hair to limit the amount of water getting into hair. In the grand scheme of things, however, any barrier is better than none at all. Hair conditioner is often touted as a good barrier but it is designed to wash off easily once in contact with water. Silicone containing conditioners may be a little harder to wash off and therefore these may possibly be better than non-silicone conditioners. Step 2: The 15 minute rule 15 minutes is the time it takes for water to fully saturate hair. Therefore, try and wet your hair

before swimming in the pool or sea. Once hair is saturated, the theory is that it will be harder for the chlorine water to get into the hair. Step 3: Swim Cap Whenever you can, wear a swim cap. They are not designed to keep hair dry but they do limit the contact with water (and the chlorine or salt in them) and protect the hair from the full friction onslaught while swimming. Step 4: Wash your hair Post Swim For both sea and pool water, the real key step is to wash and condition hair after the swim. Rinse hair thoroughly in water for at least 2-5 minutes before adding shampoo or conditioner (for co-washers). This rids the hair of the majority of salt or chlorine.


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On the prowl for a beauty feature, I came across Alison Cameron who is a London based make up artist specialising in bridal make up. As an added bonus, she is also natural! The fact that she covers a whole range of skin tones immediately drew my attention since pictures really are worth a thousand words! Here is her insight into how she entered the industry, amped up her skills and most of all a few DIY tips for those of you keen to improve your own skills. How long have you been a make up artist and how did you get into it? I've been a make up artist for 5 years starting out in 2006. I began my career working for MAC Cosmetics. I actually used to be a professional backing dancer but in 2003, I became a born again Christian and as my relationship with God grew I decided that I wanted a change. Something that didn’t involve me prancing around in short shorts (she laughs). I knew a bit about make up, thankfully enough for the good folks at MAC to take a chance with me. I passed my make up test and was unleashed on the general public at the MAC counter Fenwicks, Brent Cross, London. It was there I learnt my craft, the customers show you no mercy (you better know what you are talking about!). Brent Cross attracts a lot of different types of people so I had plenty of practice working with all skin types, tones, cultures and attitudes. A bride came in one day and asked if I did Bridal Make up. I was a bit hesitant at first but then I agreed. On the day I was a tiny bit nervous but after I had finished I had such a

sense of achievement and I was hooked! I love weddings and I have never looked back. I genuinely have a passion for make up and it gives me real joy to know that my handiwork has made someone feel better about themselves. Beauty secrets - If a woman prefers minimal make up what products would you recommend? -A good mascara to open the eyes up. -A concealer to hide blemishes and under eye circles. -Powder if your skin is combination/oily. -Natural coloured blusher to brighten the face and give it some depth. -A tinted lip balm for moisture and a touch of colour.

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What is the easiest way to transform day make up to night make up? Black eyeliner smudged for a smoky eye and/or a bright lipstick. Either Red or Pink. Ruby Woo, Girl About Town and Up The Amp are my favourite lipsticks all by MAC. Beauty Don'ts - What are the ultimate nono's for different races (Black, Asian and White). For Black skin- Stay away from eye shadows that have too much white pigment in them such as silvers because they tend to wash the face out. Also invest in a good eyebrow pencil, black liquid liner eyebrows are not cool! For Asian skin- Watch out for your under eye concealers, go to a reputable make up counter and invest in a quality product. Concealer that is grey or too red will leave you looking tired. For White skin- Easy with the fake tan, aim for an even application and try not to go too dark. Patchy, orange tan is not cute. Tell us about your services (What do you offer/What do you charge/Where can clients go to find out more about you)? I am a UK (London and Surrounding Counties) based freelance make up artist, specialising in Bridal and Special Occasion make up. I travel to clients and I offer a bespoke service. Bridal make up starts from £150 with Special Occasion Make up from £60 depending on location. You can visit my website at Natural Bloom readers get 10% off simply by quoting ‘Natural Bloom’.

One Dress Five Looks | 17

One Dress Five Looks

Page 16: Dress worn as shirt - French Connection; Jeggings - Joe's; Blazer Banana; Shoes - Urban; Broach - Anthro; Necklace - Anthro Above: Yellow Cardigan - Anthro; Shoes Everybody via Anthro; Tights - Urban; Scarf - Anthro; Earrings - Gift Right: Sweater - Anthro; Shoes Boutique 9 via Anthro; Necklace - Anthro; Earrings - Anthro; Tights - Hue via Anthro Next page: Spotty Tights - Target

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Dress (worn as top) - Fcuk; Pants - Limited (c. 2004); Shoes - Anthro; Necklace - Anthro; Bracelet - Anthro; Headband Anthro; Ring - J. Crew; Earrings - Anthro

16 | Trimming

Natural Entrepreneurs

Sheabutter Cottage | 23

Sheabutter Cottage

Akua Wood

We put out a call to businesses selling products for natural hair and one of those recommended for interview by our readers was Sheabutter cottage. It is a UK based business established in 2004 and shipping natural hair and beauty products worldwide.

As I make things myself, I choose ingredients that I would use myself as well as those the customer would want.

We quickly pinged an email to Akua and set up an evening skype chat. The passion for her business was clear and she was more than willing to offer advice to other businesses.

I am trying to expand but I have to bear in mind that unlike in USA, here in UK we have to pay for laboratory tests and this makes it more expensive for a small business.

Congratulations are in order as Akua has recently received several awards including company of the year at the African Women in Europe Awards.

I really want my products to be handmade and so I have to pace myself as I expand and slowly introduce new products. I make small batches to ensure that the ingredients are fresh and that the batch is of good quality.

Here we talk hair products, ethnicity, shipping and business! As a scientist, ingredient choices always intrigue me. How do you select the ingredients that you use in your products?

Do you have plans to expand your range – naturals love conditioners and leave ins etc?

I also source from all around the world, so sometimes I will be waiting for a shipment of cupuacu butter from Brazil and shea butter from Ghana in order to make a new batch.

24 | Sheabutter Cottage

Do you think hair products are limited to ethnicity or do you think it is possible for products to be used regardless of ethnicity? I think that hair products can be used regardless of ethnicity. People have different textures but I have had feedback from both people of African origin and Caucasian origin giving positive reviews for the same product. We recently conducted a survey and the major reason why people did not like buying online was the shipping cost. What do you think about that? In order to get a good shipping rate you have to sell very large volumes. For most small businesses, these discounts do not apply and the shipping has to be charged at cost. Understandably some customers will be unhappy if they are looking to buy a small item and the shipping ends up being more expensive than the product itself. I would just emphasise that the shipping rate is not inflated, unless a business is sending out large volumes, it is just not possible to get a discounted rate and we have to charge accordingly. What advice would you give to others wanting to go into a similar business? Research into what you want to do. Just because someone else is making this product does not mean that you also have to jump on the band wagon , make sure that you have you have your own unique selling point. One thing that I notice about the bath and body business is the business name selection. Sometimes people label themselves with titles such as '‌... soaps' or

use 'bath and body' in the title. However this is limiting when you want to diversify your range in future, so try and pick a more general name. Is there anything else you would like to add? Gosh (she laughs), there are so many things I want to say now that we begin talking about business set up! I think that juggling many hats is really difficult and you have to be prepared for this. There are so many roles to play - mother, wife, business woman and potion mixer. It is definitely something to prepare for. I think that the time it takes to be successful is really relative. Some people say it takes 3 years to turn a profit but for some it is actually 6 years. I think in the first year people think that they will have made a certain figure but it is not always the case. The initial investment is high and expansion of the business may be necessary to catch up with demand. I think it is important to stay with a vision and learn a lot as you go along. I am still learning! Some people pay for PR but I think that sometimes it is too early, why not make some money first? Free advertising is available for small business too, take advantage of social networks – twitter, facebook and the like!

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Oyin Handmade

Jamyla Bennu

Oyin Handmade is yet another reader recommendation. Established in 2003, the business has gone from strength to strength and sells natural hair products in several stores both in US and UK. Here we discuss science, product choices and the future of Oyin with Jamyla! The origin of the name Oyin is Nigerian, why did you select it, what does it mean to you? I was raised by Panafricanist Black American parents who gave us all Yoruba naming ceremonies. These are beautiful ceremonies where the child is introduced to the community and to life by a shared tasting of foods and spices that represent different elements of life. I remember the priest singing a rousing song about 'oyin' when the time came to talk about honey and its representation of sweetness and joy. It's been my favorite word ever since. When you first formulated your products (before selling them) who did you test the products on other than yourself? My friends and family members, intrepid voyagers that they are!

As a scientist I am interested in how you formulated your conditioners and leave ins. How did you select the ingredients and the quantities of each? As a non-scientist, (she smiles) my understanding of the scientific method is that it entails a lot of trial and error - as well as keeping good records, researching phenomena, posing hypotheses, and being willing to experiment. These products were created as part of a long process during which I was learning about my hair, learning about the ingredients in commercially available hair products, and learning about natural ingredients and their effects on the hair and each other. It was so exciting to learn about the ability of honey to act as a humectant, the ability of oils to nourish and help the hair shaft hold onto moisture, the ability of flax seeds to form a mucilage/gel when boiled or soaked, the properties of emulsifiers to help oil and water form a bond... etc. I had the idea that if ingredient A does one thing and ingredient B did another thing, mixing them together would produce effect C...

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As far as quantities... at first it was basically just, ‘hmm, let me try a little bit of this, and a little bit of that!' ...I wanted to cram together as many nutritious ingredients as I could fit into one product! I would then tweak the recipes bit by bit until I reached a formula that seemed just right to me. I went through numerous notebooks during this time!!

There is a current debate on ethnicity being a determining factor to purchasing a product. Do you think that your products can be used on anyone regardless of ethnicity?

Absolutely. Ethnicity is only one indicator of the type of hair one has, but everyone of the same ethnicity doesn't have the same kind of hair. I I do not have a scientific educational find that hair type and hair needs are far more background, a chemical engineering degree, or accurate indicators of the type of products one anything like that. I have been learning as I go should buy than ethnicity alone. along, and am still learning every day. I think this might be why our products have such a Our products tend to be wonderful for folks focus on natural ingredients, cooking, etc. with hair that needs moisture, protection, and Since it started in my kitchen I began by using gentleness. we've had rave reviews from food-grade ingredients that were nourishing, people of African descent with highly textured rather than picking chemicals with xyz reactive coils, kinks, and curls; mixed race people of all property or whatever. blends with curls, coils, and waves; and European descended people with coloured or dry hair that needs extra pampering. People with hair that gets oily easily don't often fare well with richly moisturising products like ours. Knowing your hair's wants and needs can guide you more clearly to products that will work for you, than blindly purchasing products based on their marketing or your racial identity. Do you have any new products in development, are you going to join the other major curl brands and go to target? We have a few new products in development for instance, we've been working casually on a creamy leave-in refreshing lotion for '2nd day' styling and moisture on the go. It had taken second fiddle to our task of cutting our customer queue down from approximately 2 weeks to under 4 business days (which we are still SO psyched about!) Funnily enough, we did receive an invitation from target in 2010 to present at their new products meeting. We decided it wasn't the

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right move for us at this time, since we Last question I always ask - Is there wouldn't be able to supply the quantities they anything you would like to add that I have require without making drastic changes to our not asked? formulas and/or outsourcing our production. I'd like to encourage your readers to feel We founded Oyin to share our love for empowered in their hair care choices - I love handmade, natural, nourishing, 'home-cooked' that your blog (thenaturalhaven) is so products, and our customers' love for and information-packed because educated loyalty to those products has fueled our growth consumers are our best friends! We want you in a steady, sustainable way over the years. to have fun with your hair, to learn what it needs, and to purchase our products because We feel like it's more important to continue to they are the BEST for your hair or skin... not serve our products to our beloved customers at just because we say so. We want you to their present quality, rather than risk sacrificing understand what your hair needs and make an that quality to achieve instant national educated choice! distribution at this particular moment. It's also important to apply that same scientific Instead, we're planning to continue in our initial method to your own hair and skin care - learn plan of working with boutiques, salons, shops ingredients, learn what things do, and don't be and natural stores as a means of developing afraid to experiment! Many of our products are an independent distribution network. It may head-to-toe, in that they can be used to nourish take a little longer before we're at your local both hair and skin. We don't prescribe this shop, but we are excited to continue to grow cream for your ankles and that cream for your along with other small and independent hair. We tell you what's in them and what they businesses as we bring our products to an are designed to accomplish, and encourage ever-wider circle of oyin honeys! you to use it as it works best for you. What advice would you offer to a budding small business? One thing I'm learning the hard way is that you can't do it all! This was a difficult lesson for me to learn since for so many years when oyin was much smaller, my husband and I did do it all! As we continue to grow, though, it's not only very liberating to hand over different aspects of the company to different 'honeybees' who work with us, it's vital to the growth of the company. It's important to work in one's strengths and just because I have been filing the taxes and doing the PR (for instance) up to now, doesn't mean I'm necessarily the strongest person possible to do those things. It's important to hand them over to someone who can really rock those jobs, freeing me to do something that only i can do!

Contributors | 28







Sheabutter Cottage



Sofull Sista (





Nicki Valcius

Kandy Curls



NValcius (


BoBeam by Laquita WHERE TO FIND:

Etsy - Laquita33

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Celebrating Your Hair, Your Style and Your Life