28 August 2012

Guest Post: Exercise, The Enemy Of The Afro?

It’s been almost three months and my love affair deepens by the day. It was a slow burner to start and I felt put upon and drained of my time and energy. Then came the compliments, and an awareness of the physical changes in me. Finally like the season, I blossomed and developed a full blown crush….. on my hair (what else would I have been talking about?) Though it hasn't been plain sailing; indeed quite the contrary.

Exercise is not my friend, it is my enemy. The problem is my somewhat rotund physique ensures the gym is a necessary evil I must endure to curtail the inevitable onset of obesity. What was once an unpleasant task of a twice weekly exercise regime, in the days of braids, where I’d invest in sweetly scented sprays, sheens and oils to mask the smell of sweat (grimace but you know it’s the truth) and slept after a quick blow dry; has become an arduous rigmarole since the onset of natural hair. Now my hair is no doubt cleaner thanks to my twice weekly washes, deep conditioning, nightly twist outs and detangling. There is however the bitter joy in the morning, trying to style an uncontrollable mop of angry hair still to fully dry out from the night before.

27 August 2012

The Giveaway: More Than Hair **closed**

Uknaturals is holding an event in aid of raising money for breast cancer research
on Sunday 9th September 6pm-10pm,  at the paradise,19 Kilburn lane, Kensal Green, London W10 4AE

They aim to raise £1000 on the night
tickets are £15 and 30%of ticket sales will be donated to charity, they will be hosting a raffle with proceeds going to charity.
Each guest will receive a goody bag from KeraCare and Curls!
The organisers have offered up TWO tickets for Natural Belle readers (You must be UK based)  and all you have to do is like UKnaturals on Facebook and comment below with your contact details (this can be an email address or twitter handle)
the giveaway closes 1st September, Good Luck!

OOTD: Any Time Now....

I'll be officially full term on Wednesday! So things could get going any time now, I feel as big as a house and hope it's not much longer till the big day!
I have been thankful for many things during this pregnancy, all the support from friends and family, that I have had a healthy safe time and that I haven't had to purchase any maternity clothes!
I'm now finally on maternity leave so no more early morning or late nights just nesting, relaxing and getting excited.

Scarf from Brick Lane
Top from Jane Norman
Necklace & Harem Pants from H&M

24 August 2012

The Apartment: Solange Knowles

Solo gives a glimpse into her eclectic abode in NYC via Elle Magazine

OOTD: Casual Friday

Every day is casual Friday these days! I finally have new glasses I got these from glasses direct, they are by a brand called Scout and are vintage style glasses called 'Marilyn' 

19 August 2012

The Blog: Esperanza Spalding

Esperanza showcases her eclectic style on her website in the form of a Style Blog the blog shows us where we can get some of her key pieces that make up her style.

The Snippets: Life Via Instagram

Hey Peeps!
Life has been pretty hectic these last few weeks, with finishing up at work, get all the last minutes bits and pieces for baby belle, and trying to rest (insomnia is no joke!) I've hardly had time to do any blogging (bad times!) I have however been sharing snippets on Instagram, from my indecision to start my lock journey to my new hair colour*
Life is pretty full but stay tuned for event news from Crystal Afro, My hair Colour Post, HedKandi Models Own It  nail polish review and more baby updates 

*My hair colour was done professionally at Aveda using Aveda Professional use colour which is 97% naturally derived the colour is a purple/burgundy shade 

Follow Me On Instagram @BelleIsNatural

15 August 2012

Janelle Monae For Cover Girl

Janelle Monae has been named the new face of Cover Girl Cosmetics, the monochrome songstress. Janelle joins a long line of cover girls such as Queen Latifah and Pink. You can see why they have picked the dynamic performer, with her unique style and flawless skin she is sure to be a great addition.

The Review: Mahogany Naturals

Another day another yummy natural product to try!  I was sent a some goodies from Mahogany Naturals, first up a tried the Rhassoul Cocoa & Honey Deep Hair Treatment (£19.95) 100% natural formula contains Rhassoul & Coco Butter to name a few.
The best thing about this product is the ease of use, usually Rhassoul come in solid blocks that have to mixed up. which is great but can be a little time consuming, RCHHT is ready mixed. The smell of chocolate is intoxicating  and the product has amazing slip.
The one negative perhaps is that I would have preferred it to be a a little thicker in consistency, it made a applying a little messy.
RCHHT rinsed out easily with warm water and worked wonder my coils are intake and springy which is a good sign that they are well moisturised.
At almost £20 this one is definitely to be saved for a hair treat but it does the job nicely!

(Aqua)Purified water,Rhassoul,Raw honey, (Theobroma Cacao) Organic cocoa powder, Theobroma cacao Unrefined cocoa butter, ,( Aloe Barbadensis) Organic aloe vera, (Olea Europaea)Extra virgin olive oil, (ulmus rubra)Slippery elm,Guar, emulsifier,essential oils

11 August 2012

The Cover: Noisettes

Long awaited new album from The Noisettes to be released 27th August called Contact, I'm in love with the cover art!!

10 August 2012

Ask Belle: Shrinkage!

 Hi Belle
 I'm going natural for the first time in a really long time and im pretty familiar with the routine of how to take care of my hair but I'm having problems with styling it because my hair shrinks like crazy  especially when i wet it . and i don't want to blow dry it it all the time because of heat damage  i was wondering how do i keep it stretched and looking good and healthy without the blow dryer and also when i do twist they shrink dramatically and doesn't look right when styling it.
Shrinkage unfortunately for some is just one of those things for us naturals especially those of us with exceptionally kinky hair. My first instinct is to tell you to embrace what your hair want to do naturally as someone who has spent lots of time fighting a loosing battle against shrinkage!

However I know many of you find it hard to deal with lack of length and the tangles that can occur, there are   quite a few heat-less options for you to try.

Stretched Twistouts
Twistouts are a great way to stretch out your hair and add curl definition, some find that their twist shrink up when they dry a way of combating this is to bobby pin them.

  1. detangle hair freshly washed wet/damp hair 
  2. two strand twist as usual
  3. take one twist at a time and stretch the twist around your head securing with a bobby pin at the end
  4. repeat and leave to air dry (over night is best)
  5. the nest day you will have stretched out twists 
  6. remember climate will cause shrinkage.



chic masterpiece AnnalieseI so want to be your best mate :D 


Pineappling & Banding
Pineappling is place your hair in 1-8 hair bands to elongate the root of your hair this can be done on wet or dry hair and helps to keep styles such as the curly fro for longer.
banding is similar and can also be done on wet or dry hair using hair bands along the length of your hair.

check out YouTube for the many tutorials on the above methods and more


7 August 2012

The Multi Tasking Oil: Jamaican Black Castor Oil

8oz Bottle

Those of you that follow me on twitter will know I've been raving about Jamaican Black Castor Oil (£13.90 8OZ) I've incorporated the oil as a part of my simplified hair and skin care regime.

Hair: I'm still wearing my hair in low maintenance mini twists (as I contemplate my loc journey) JBCO is the best oil I've used in terms of sealing in moisture. I applied to my wet to damp hair and leave to air dry and my hair is left soft to the touch and super lustrous! and doesn't leave my hair oily to the touch.

Scalp: The day before I shampoo I use JBCO on my scalp as an intensive scalp treatment on the weaker parts of my scalp (I have thin area on my crown) I have mixed it with peppermint oil (a stimulant) and use as part of my head massage to get the circulation going!.

Skin: I use JBCO on my skin daily, just a very small amount (it goes a long way) work in the same vain as sealing the moisture into my hair.

A little goes a very long way, and though it is thicker than many oils is not as thick as regular castor oil and absorbs nicely.

On Hair....

Sometimes referred to as raw/unrefined JBCO, this oil is pressed from organic castor bean which is grown and produced on a farm out in St. Thomas, Jamaica. 

It is not as thick nor sticky as the organic Indian castor oil we supply and has a slight smoky scent.  Fantastic as a hot oil treatment, it can also be applied externally to soothe dry skin- Akua Wood

...and Skin

I purchased this oil from the Sheabutter cottage after being given a 10ml sample. they accept paypal

Skin Care: African Black Soap

I've been using African black soap (£3.00) from The SheaButter Cottage for the last couple of weeks, this isn't so much a review as we all know the benefits of using all natural products on our skin and hair but more to highlight a sometimes forgotten beauty staple.

The SheaButter Cottage formula only contains, Unrefined coconut oil, unrefined shea butter, cocoa ash (doh), and water and is made by a small group of women in (Ghana ethically and fair!) 
African Black soap is great for relieving acne, clearing skin blemishes and even removing make up. Beware of fake African black soap, it is hard and died black and does not hold the benefits of the real McCoy! which is unscentedbrown and patchy in colour and quite soft.

I've been using African black soap daily as a facial wash and body wash, it leaves skin clean but not tight and can also be used to shampoo hair though I haven't tried that yet.

Due to me baby proofing my life my skin care regime has been stripped back to African black soap, water inside and out, Jamaican Black Castor Oil all of which are natural and multi tasking!

Shea Butter Cottage owner Akua Wood Explains the benefits of African Black Soap.

Make up free, not wearing lipstick my lips are this colour.
The African black soap was a part of my pamper box given to me at my baby shower by Akua 

The Style: Momma & Daughter

Stylish mother and daughter Hannah & Vita feature on StylelikeU. Hannah a vintage clothing buyer shares her unique style with her student daughter Vita see more here

6 August 2012

The Recipe: Tuscan Green Clay

Tuscan Green Clay is a powerful bactericide that is highly efficient at drawing oils & toxins from your skin.
It contains a bounty full of essential healing minerals and phyto-nutrients including Silica, Copper, Aluminium, Magnesium, Calcium, Cobalt, Manganese, Zinc, Iron, Potassium, Selenium, Sodium & Phosphorous.

Tuscan Green Clay, aka: Montmorillonite, was discovered in the late 19th century in Montmorillon (the Poitou-Charentes region of France), but now Green Clay can be found in many locations bordering the mountainous region of France, such as Italy.

Over 200 cultures, including the Ancient Egyptians and pre-Aztec Amargosians, have used the clay in cosmetics and for medicinal purposes. There are many cosmetic companies that still use Tuscan Green clay in their eye shadows and other mineral make up.

 Green Face Mask
Face Masks are used to stimulate circulation, gently remove dead skin cells, absorb impurities, tone & strengthen connective tissues to leave skin smooth, fresh & glowing.

For the following recipe simply:Add 15 to 20 ml of spring or distilled water to 25 grams of Tuscan Green Clay 
Make sure that you add enough water to make a nice thick clay paste. 
Apply the paste to your face (avoiding the eye area) 
Leave it on for 10 minutes or until thoroughly dried 
Rinse off with warm water or an herbal infusion of Organic Lavender *or* Organic Rose Buds 
Follow up with a cold water splash 
Pat your face dry

Use this face mask treatment no more than once or twice a week and follow up with a light non-greasy facial oil like Organic Sapote Seed oil or Papaya oil.

If you have an acne spot, cut(s), grazes, minor burns, stings or insect bites apply a dab of warmed honey (Agave Nectar for vegans) mix with a thin paste of Good Ol' Green Face Mask.
Apply to the surface of the infected area. 
Allow to dry.
Then rinse off with cold water.
This treatment will draw the impurities to the surface.
For your body
Sprinkle a little Tuscan Green Clay on your body or feet to absorb odours and wetness.

As a Poultice 
Tuscan Green Clay is effective in relieving muscular, arthritic or rheumatic pains by decongesting the affected area(s).

Pour 50 grams of Tuscan Green Clay into a large Pyrex jug
Cover with 30 ml of water
Mix with a spoon or fork to form a smooth paste 
(add more water if required)
Leave for up to 45 mins for the clay to absorb the water
Spread the paste onto a piece of clean gauze or pure cotton strip of cloth
Apply directly to the affected area and secure it. 
Leave the poultice in place for up to an hour, sprinkle the cloth poultice with a little water and do not allow the paste to dry out.
In Your Bath 
The anti-inflammatory properties of Tuscan Green clay are extremely effective in relieving aches & pains. 

Run your bath water, toss a handful into your bath and gently ease in - you should instantly feel it start to soften & revitalise your skin, whilst alleviating tension. 

Recipe via Anita Grant

The Hairspiration: Natural Belle On Tumblr


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