As I'm currently on a journey to grow out this hair of mine, a part of me feels like I'm back in school again. I say that because I am constantly—and I do mean, constantly—researching products, tips and naturalistas who can help me to achieve my ultimate goal: longer hair than I've ever had that is very healthy and totally natural.
As far as the naturalistas go, some of my faves include (these are their IG accounts, by the way) naturallytemi (who I believe I recently saw in a Suave commercial—big ups!), naturalneiicey, torichloemiller, univhair.soleil, sadoraparis, evaniwithav and maryamjhampton. All of them have fabulous hair, super-informative YouTube channels and are proudly natural. As far as the products go, I'm actually not that much of a product junkie; at least, not when it comes to commercial brands. But what I will do is find an herb, an essential oil or some sort of other natural item and test it out. Doing that is what inspired me to provide you with this list.
If you've never heard of any of these before, don't feel bad. I honestly didn't either until not too long ago. But if you are looking for some super-effective-even-if-they're-not-mad-popular all-natural things for hair growth, I'd be totally shocked if you and your hair and scalp do not fall in love with all of the following.
1. Moringa Oil for Hair Growth
Moringa oil comes from a plant that is mostly found in the Himalayan mountains. The cool thing about it, from its seeds to its bark, is it's edible and packed with antioxidants. As far as your overall health, moringa oil is good for you because it contains three times more iron than spinach (good to know if you're anemic or you have heavy-flow periods). Moringa oil also contains amino acids to keep your cells in good shape. It's also got a great reputation for giving you an energy boost, healing ulcers and reducing arthritic pain. Plus, if you're a new mom, it's an oil that has the ability to significantly increase the flow of your breast milk.
What makes moringa oil so good for your hair is because its high amount of Vitamin A will strengthen your hair follicles, its high amount of zinc will prevent your follicles from experiencing atrophy and, all of the Vitamin E that is in it, will increase blood flow to your scalp so that your hair follicles will get all of the nutrients that they need. Healthy follicles mean healthier hair from root to tip. As a bonus, if you massage your scalp a couple of times a week with the oil, you'll see less split ends too. You can learn more about it in oil form here.
2. Chebe Powder for Hair Growth
I am pretty intentional about not abusing the word "love", but when it comes to my hair, if there is something that I am absolutely falling in love with, it's Chebe powder. If you've got any kind of 4-type hair, you will too because it has been hailed for decades as being an ingredient that will help you to grow tailbone-length tresses.
Chebe comes from an African shrub known as Croton Gratissimus. If you commit to using it 1-2 times a week, it will remove fungus (including the fungus that causes dandruff) from your scalp, restore the pH balance of it as well, and deeply moisturize your hair to the point that breakage will truly be a thing of the past. For women with 4-type hair, it is a highly-praised solution for gaining length retention. It really is!
I won't lie to you, Chebe powder is not the cheapest stuff on the planet; but I choose to see it as an investment—a very worthwhile one at that! As far as the best way to apply it, I recommend making a paste out of it and applying it to your hair on a wash day. Oh, one more thing—in order to get the best results, it's a good idea to leave it on for 4-6 hours before rinsing it all out. Hey, I never said it wasn't high-maintenance; what I am saying is it's a total game-changer. (Learn how to make a Chebe powder hair mask here.)
3. Arnica for Hair Growth
Arnica is a European flowering plant that is pretty popular in homeopathy. Some people take it as an herbal supplement while others prefer to apply it as a gel directly onto their skin. Although it is used to treat muscle pain or to help to heal the swelling process following a surgical procedure, too much Arnica can prove to be toxic (when taken internally), so make sure to speak with a doctor, health practitioner or homeopath before consuming it.
Arnica's super strong anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties are what make it a great hair remedy. As an oil, it will strengthen the protein of your hair strands, reduce dandruff, slow down premature greying, help to eliminate split ends and increase the lifespan of your hair overall.
I had a hard time finding a naturalista doing a video featuring this oil, but if you'd like to purchase an organic brand of it, you can find a good one here.
4. Red Palm Oil for Hair Growth
If clean eating is one of the goals that you set for yourself this year, add some red palm oil to your diet. It's an oil that is derived from the oil palm tree that is able to fight heart disease and promote weight loss. It's got a lot of Vitamin E in it and more antioxidants than tomatoes or carrots. Many health professionals also credit it for healing asthma, treating liver disease and protecting your skin from UV ray damage, making it an ideal oil to cook with.
Red palm oil is also the kind of oil that you can put on your hair. We already touched on what Vitamin E can do, but two additional bonuses are this oil can prevent greying and slow down hair loss. You can get a wash day routine tutorial here. (Head's up, the oil is literally red and can stain, so don't use it while watching television in your living room. You need to be able to apply it where it won't stain your stuff!)
5. Brahmi for Hair Growth
Something Ayurvedic medicine uses quite a bit is the plant Bacopa monnieri, also known by its "nickname" Brahmi. It contains compounds that reduce bodily inflammation, strengthen brain function and is even known to treat ADHD-related symptoms. Also, if you're someone who struggles with stress and/or anxiety, Brahmi is the kind of herb that will naturally reduce your cortisol levels while boosting your mood.
If you happen to deal with excessive shedding, Brahmi powder is definitely something that you should try. It protects your hair's roots, strengthens your hair follicles, and can also relieve dandruff or dry scalp flakes. For a walkthrough on how to make this particular kind of hair mask, click here.
6. Beef Tallow for Hair Growth
If you're vegan, this is a hair solution for hair growth that you'll probably want to pass on; if you're not, this is one to definitely consider. If you don't know what beef tallow is, it's a healthy form of fat that comes directly from grass-fed cows. It contains loads of vitamins A, D, K and E; so much that a lot of people apply it directly onto their skin. It's great for your hair because it reduces itchy scalp, smooths out any frizz and, it's able to give your hair some really amazing shine.
A young sistah sells the concept of using it pretty darn well here. What she uses is a combo of whipped beef tallow and Chebe power as her night haircare routine. Not sure how you can go wrong there!
7. Hibiscus for Hair Growth
There's a pretty good chance that you've at least heard of hibiscus before; especially in tea form. If you are an avid tea drinker, it's a cool one to add to your collection because it's got lots of antioxidants in it. Not only that, but hibiscus can help to lower your blood pressure, improve the health of your liver, fight bacteria and free radicals, and it aids in weight loss.
As far as what hibiscus can do for your hair, the benefits are kind of endless. It encourages regrowth in thinning areas, strengthens your hair follicles and slows down the appearance of greys. And, thanks to all of the Vitamin C that is in hibiscus, it can boost collagen levels so that your hair has less breakage. Hibiscus can also trigger dormant hair follicles so that they can start growing again. To learn how to make a DIY hair rinse, click here.
8. Bhringraj Oil for Hair Growth
When the Indian herb Bhringraj is used in powder form, it is able to strengthen your vision and even improve your hearing abilities. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, Bhringraj is also able to relieve joint and muscle discomfort and, when applied directly to your temples, reduce the pain that is associated with headaches and migraines. Also, because it is used heavily with Ayurveda treatments, Bhringraj also considered to be a very powerful liver cleanser.
But perhaps what it's best known for is how it can improve the quality of your hair. When applied as an oil, it is able to immediately relieve dry scalp, reduce hair fall, add shine, reduce greying and, if you massage it onto your thinning areas three times a week, it can even fill in bald spots too. One YouTuber shouts out how the oil has worked for her hair here.
9. Organic MSM for Hair Growth
The technical name for the dietary supplement known as MSM is methylsulfonylmethane. Some people consider it to be a "miracle supplement" because it decreases joint pain, restores muscle damage that is associated with working out, reduces the pain and stiffness that's associated with arthritis and it can boost your immune system as well.
Organic MSM is fabulous for hair growth because it contains a sulfur compound that is naturally found in the body. It's the type of compound that makes hair stronger and can even help with hair growth too. The best way to get the most out of MSM is to take it in supplement form (500 mg, twice a day) or pour a couple of teaspoons of MSM powder directly into your hair conditioner.
10. Hops for Hair Growth
Hops is a flowering plant that is used for insomnia, restlessness and irritability. Sometimes it's also used for bladder infections, post-menopausal symptoms and even underarm body odor. Skin-wise, hops can help to improve skin discoloration over time. Hair-wise, it's really powerful when it comes to reducing dandruff and hair fall. If you want to learn how to DIY a potent hair growth oil that includes hops, click here.
Apply it 1-2 times a week, preferably at night, and watch how much longer and fuller your health becomes by year's end!
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Many have wondered if one time is ever enough to see Queen Bey. Some argue yes. However, many of us on the opposite end of the spectrum, including myself, would disagree. Beyoncé's "Renaissance World Tour" is a universal yet varying experience for everyone who attends. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, the concert is "transcendent." For millennials, we have over two decades of her catalog that has served as the soundtrack for many of our lives and painted a personal portrait of our most coveted thoughts. Her music provides mental clarity and self-expression by serving as a universal language that has united fans from all walks of life through community, fashion, self-acceptance, and healing.
With a multi-layered approach to her artistry, just as she did on that winter day in December 2013 with the infamous digital drop of her self-titled album, she changed the game again on February 1, 2023, when she announced her world tour in support of Renaissance, her seventh studio album. Her cultural impact set the internet ablaze, with everyone trying to gather their coins, barter for presale codes, and figure out which cities to attend. The group chats were lit, and the Beyhive was stressed trying to get their hands on tickets.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
Unfortunately, I was in that number. As the concert dates passed by and the one in my city drawing near all roads led to disappointment. With time ticking on the day of the Miami show and less than two hours to spare, my wallet bit the bullet, and I purchased three last-minute tickets, costing roughly $700.00 a piece (including fees) for me, my 9-year-old and 16-year-old nieces in Section 121 at the Hard Rock Stadium. With 10 minutes before showtime, we eagerly awaited the Queen to take the stage. A sea of metallic fringes, cowboy hats, disco fans, and western boots were in full effect and filled the entire stadium.
As the lights dimmed, a flood of emotions instantly overtook my body. It continued with each note she belted, along with nearly 50,000 roaring fans. The reverberating sound of the music through the stadium transported me from one era of my life to the next. As a teen girl in her bedroom daydreaming about her first love to blossoming into an unapologetic Black woman who is still on a road of self-discovery while learning to lean into the power anthem of "You won't break my soul." For over two hours, and with each set, I felt joy, love, peace, and a commanderie with fellow concertgoers. It was therapeutic as I danced like no one was watching and sang as if I were alone in my bathroom mirror.
There were no bars held, and I realized at that moment, "Nobody can judge me but me." The "Renaissance World Tour" proved to be so vast, and my Black girl joy was re-invigorated. It was magnetic and liberating, and I had to attend again, but this time, I needed to be up close and personal; I needed to be on the floor. In the days that passed, I watched more social media clips in different cities and asked myself if I would really splurge again to attend another Renaissance show.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
After all, this would be my thirteenth time (maybe more because I lost count) seeing Beyoncé live, whether she was on tour with Destiny's Child, as a solo artist, or doing a live appearance. I contemplated for a while, but it worked itself out on its own. I was gifted two tickets and the next thing I knew, I was off to LA to attend another Renaissance show with floor seats at SoFi Stadium during Beyonce's 42nd birthday weekend! This time, things were different: no kids were allowed. It was adults only this go round.
Although the energy at the Miami and Los Angeles shows was empowering, infectious, and a celebration of life, happiness, and identity, they each provided their own unique experience. However, both concerts were what I needed for my well-being, leaving me with sore feet from dancing the night away, on vocal rest for the next few days from screaming at the top of my lungs, and on an indefinite high on life.
My introduction and love for Beyoncé began in 1996, while my older sister lived in Houston, TX, right before Bey hit the scene in 1998 with "No, No, No" as a budding R&B member. Her evolution twenty-seven years later as an international superstar and into womanhood has been an incredible journey to witness. As Mrs. Carter reminds each of us in the audience every night before the curtain closes, "I want you to remember this moment, where you're standing, who you came with, and take it with you. I hope you feel inspired."
I truly felt inspired, so thank you, Queen Bey. You awakened my inner child, and I will definitely remember these moments and take them with me.
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Feature image by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood