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Product Mis-labeling

This is a very intriguing and informative post that was sent to me from Tasha of Journey to Nappy. The article discusses misleading organic/natural product labeling. Check it out!

I came across a very interesting article on the natural lifestyle site – NaturalReview. This site is chalked full of extremely interesting and very pertinent lifestyle information to help improve your way of life, generally speaking.

I have placed the links to the articles at the bottom of this post.

In this eye-opening article (published since mid-2011), the Center for Environmental Health has posted a list of hair care product manufacturers which are being sued by other companies for mislabeling their products as ‘ORGANIC’.

Mislabeling products is something that I would have dealt with very lightly in a much older post. It is an issue that I feel strongly about. You see, I am one who tries to purchase only hair care products which are organic or at least free of most of the harmful chemicals and other substances. And that is difficult as it is here in Barbados. It bothers me that dishonest companies would play on the sentiments of hard-working consumers who are doing their part in making the planet a greener place. And I am not upset solely because I wish to do my part, but for all others out there who are trying to do the same. And some of these products are at times astronomically priced!!

Here is the list of the companies with only a few of their products which the Center has identified as having misleading product information. Some of these companies may have more than these products which have allegedly been mislabled:

Advantage Research Laboratories, Inc./Murray’s Worldwide, Inc.: Parnevu T-Tree No Lye Conditioning Relaxer System
Aubrey Organics, Inc: Collagen & Almond Enriching Moisturizing Lotion
Beauty Without Cruelty/Lotus Brands, Inc: Organic Aromatherapy Facial Cleanser
Boots Retail USA Inc: Boots Amazon Forest Brazil Nut & Vanilla Body Wash
California Inside & Out, Inc: Out of Africa Handwash Tea Tree with Essential Oil
Colomer U.S.A.: Crème of Nature Kiwi & Citrus Ultra Moisturizing Shampoo
Cosway Company, Inc/Head Organics Company: Clearly Head Conditioner
Curls, LLC: Curlicious Curls Cleansing Cream Organic Shampoo
derma e® Natural Bodycare/Stearns Products, Inc: Psorzema Body Wash
Hain Celestial Group: Jason Thin-to-Thick Conditioner and Baby Avalon Organics Silky Cornstarch Baby Powder
House of Cheatham, Inc: Organics by Africa’s Best Hair Mayonnaise
International Trade Routes of New York, Inc/Laboratorios Phergal: Naturtint Green Technologies Permanent Hair Colorant
Kinky-Curly Hair Care: Kinky-Curly Spiral Spritz
Kiss My Face Corporation: Hold Up Styling Mousse
Lafe’s Natural BodyCare/Lafe T. Larson, Inc: Deodorant Stone With Holder
Morrocco Method, Inc: Euro Organic Oil Simply Pure Hair & Scalp Therapy
Namasté Laboratories: Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Replenishing Pak
Nature’s Baby Products, Inc: Nature’s Baby ORGANICS Shampoo & Body Wash in Vanilla-Tangerine Scent or Lavender-Chamomile Scent
Nubian Heritage Group/Sundial Group LLC: Coconut & Papaya with Vanilla Bean Extract Body Wash
Nutrition Resource, Inc. dba NutriBiotic: NutriBiotic Everyday Clean Conditioner Botanical Blend
Rainbow Research Corporation: Rainbow Baby Oh Baby Unscented Organic Herbal Shampoo
Renpure, L.L.C: Renpure Organics I Love My Hair! Body and Shine Shampoo
Strength of Nature Global, LLC: Elasta QP Intense Fortifying Hair Conditioning Treatment
Sundial Brands/Sundial Group LLC: Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo
The Himalaya Drug Company: Organique by Himalaya Toothpaste
Todd Christopher International, Inc/Vogue International: Hydrating Teatree Mint Conditioner

Quite frankly, I hope they are made to answer to these charges and stay away from doing it in the future. When a consumer reposes their faith in a company based on what their label says, it ought not to be taken lightly.

What is quite disturbing is seeing the SHEA MOISTURE ORGANIC RAW SHEA BUTTER MOISTURE RETENTION SHAMPOO on the list! That is the shampoo I swear by. I will still use it, as it works. But, I would like to know what ingredient is there in that shampoo that is not ‘organic’; whereby making the company’s claims null and void. There in lies my concern. Either it is, or it is not. There are a few other companies listed whose products I have used before but not the exact product listed above.

Here is the link to the post as it appears on NaturalReview – ORGANIC Mislabeling
Follow this link to the see it on CEH.ORGMislabeling lawsuit


Red Clay in Hair

I tried Red Moroccan Clay on my face a few months ago and I liked the results a lot.
I thought I could use it in my hair. Same awesome properties right? Moisturizing and cleansing.
I found a blog that featured clay in the hair, The Black Hair Diary. I felt confident to try it.
Here’s what happened:

I left the clay in my hair for about 1 1/2 hours.
I rinsed it out. My shower looked like the famous scene from Psycho.
After getting it all rinsed out, I definitely noticed a cleaner softer feel to my hair.
My curls felt defined and I even got my swing on. Yeah, I was whipping my hair.
Unfortunately, I do have to go to bed. Laying on drying hair, usually ends up matted in the morning.
That’s why I’m bagging it tonight. Plastic conditioning cap (shower cap) and handkerchief.
We’ll see if this can be a wash and go for tomorrow morning. . . .


Weekend In Photos

I hope that everyone enjoyed the holiday! My family did some traveling in the last three days: 1 night in Springfield to visit my family, 2 nights in Green Bay, WI, an afternoon in Chicago, and we’re HOME! I got my husband a ticket to the Packers/Bears football game for Christmas night hence our stay in Wisconsin. We’ve had a lovely time for the last few days!


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We’re Going Mobile!

I just wanted to let everyone know that le salon des naturelles has gone mobile! That means if you’re on the move with your newfangled iPhones and Blackberries and you need something to read, bookmark us! Because we’ve got a sleek mobile design that’s easy to navigate with your thumb and forefinger!

Here’s what it kinda looks like:

We don’t have the $99 dollars to sink into making an actual Apple app. But we can tell you to bookmark our website. Check it out!


Interview with Lorraine Massey: The Original Curly Girl

Phoning a Curl Guru

It’s 8 in the morning when my cellphone alarm goes off. I roll out of bed in an old baggy t-shirt to talk to Lorraine Massey: author of two books, owner of four New York City salon/spas, a prominent leader in the Curly Girl Revolution. I know our discussion will take place over the phone but I should at least put some pants on.

I wait almost an hour. Sitting on the couch, I glance at the time and pray I don’t sound like a bumbling idiot to this woman. While I wait, I read more about her career. A career that sent her to the far east to style hair. I remember working in Bangkok as an English teacher a few years ago but can’t imagine styling hair there. Hob-nobbing with the fashion elite and being the Michelangelo of their collective tresses. . .

I dial the Skype. The pleasantries ensue. I thank her for speaking to me and ask if she wants me to talk about the blog or if she wants to get right to it. She gets right to it.

Lorraine: I’m glad you’re doing this. This is special. We’re still a grassroots movement. . . But women are getting ready. Little by little. I think if you’ve finished my book and you’re still hesitant, you don’t really want to go there. . . yet. The information is out there, you just have to research. If you’re still complaining  in 2011 that ‘my hair is blah blah,’ well then you’ve chosen your path. There’s information out there if you want it.

I like her. A lot. Her frankness is refreshing so early in the morning and sets the tone for the rest if our conversation.
Me: It seems like the Curly Girl’s Revolution is here, like you said, it’s grassroots. People are getting on YouTube or making their own blogs. It’s more democratic now.



“So what do you think took women so long to say: ‘Hey, this is okay, I like this hair?’

Well because there’s more of us! It’s freedom! It raining today and I call it Freedom Rain. I’m not afraid to get my hair yet. I think it’s just an accumulation that started with a few women standing up for themselves. It’s not easy to do, though, standing up for yourself.

Yesterday, I had this gorgeous women come in. She’s a model actress. She had the most intense gorgeous curly hair. And she tells me, ‘You know, they’re telling me that my hair just isn’t good for TV.’ It’s so old! It’s old news already, this hating your hair. I told her, ‘Babe, you’re beautiful. You have to stand up and tell them, this is the way I am.’ I mean, if I straightened that hair, she’d look like she was wearing a helmet! I told her to stand up for her curls. Maybe you’ll lose a few jobs, but with you standing up for yourself, you’re telling more people to respect you for you.

Lorraine goes on to say that women feel depressed about their hair and ask for a quick straightening fix. That “depression,” Lorraine maintains, will stay there with you, waiting for you until the next day, after the straightener has worn off. Hair, she reminds us, is just a symptom of a greater problem.

People don’t like it, but I’m like a Yorkshire Terrier. I will go there. I will tell you how you’re damaging yourself. If you want me to straighten it, you have to go somewhere else. There is no amount of money that will make me feel good about blow frying.

So as a hairdresser, you’ve still got your ethics about you?

[Laughs] There is still a soul! I have a soul and I do keep it authentic. Every single day I get behind that chair I cannot sell out. I would rather you be pissed off at me because I’m not going to do your hair. . . rather me scorch it ‘til it’s parched and crispy.

I have to say that’s more ethics than most doctors offer.

The thing is, it comes at a price. I’m not well liked in the industry. It’s better to have a handful of hardcore curly girls than a bunch of clones. I get women who say, ‘I just want something different.’ I tell them, ‘Trust me, my curls can look five different ways in one day. I’ve never had the same hair day in my life.’ Change for the better, not to look like everyone else. If you’re going to look like everyone else, who’s going to look like you?

Ah-hah Moment

Lorraine’s says her “moment of clarity” happen in the middle of working on a client’s hair. She describes it as the catalyst that made her quit the industry.

I quit hairdressing for a while. I quit working by their standards. The blow frying and stuff. I call it glorified laundry. I shampooed hair until it was all stripped and dried out and then I would have to iron it. It’s enough to give you Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

One day, I was blow-frying this woman’s hair until it smoked. I was just taking all the life out of it. I stopped and told her, ‘I can’t do this anymore. I can’t be responsible for burning your hair like this. It’s going to take me forty-five minutes to blow-fry it, but it’s going to take two minutes to unravel once you hit the streets.’ Because it was really humid and rainy outside.

So she asked, ‘Well, what about the other side?’ [Laughs] Because I hadn’t finished! So I had someone else take over. I told her that I knew it meant losing her as a client. ‘But do know this, I will be here when you’re ready to really look at what you have.’

I lost quite a few clients but I was ready to. I had to gather the ones that were ready to accept themselves. Instead of hairdressing their hair, I decided it was time for me to undress their hair.

I went out on my own and I opened Devachan, a beautiful tranquil place. Through word of mouth, people were saying things like: “No, she works with what you have. She doesn’t straighten or shampoo.’

It was just a handful that turned into two handfuls and now it’s big. But it took a long time, Babe. It’s been about sixteen years of one curly girl telling another curly girl.

Going Rogue

Lorraine’s voice dips to a conspirator’s whisper as she tells me, You should know that I have a bad reputation in the hair world.

I laugh, incredulous to what she says. She mentioned it earlier in the interview and I didn’t pick up on it. What? Why?

Her tone is now unapologetic. I go against  what the manufacturers tell you to want. Buy the shampoo, buy the heat tools. Everyone is worried I’ll take away their business with my honesty. They’re scared to lose business by teaching a curly girl to love her hair as opposed to the “weekly/weakly” blowouts. There is big money to be had in keeping a curly girl in denial. We keep the hair industry in business.

Hating to beat the “doctor” metaphor horse, I had to tell her, Well now it sounds like you’re the rogue doctor who says, ‘I’m not going to prescribe these pills to you. If you’re sick, you need to diet and exercise.”

Well yeah, and sometimes I have to give a placebo. A client will come in and say, ‘I don’t like this bit right here, can you help?’ So I pretend to cut it off and they’re all: ‘I love it! It beautiful!’ I didn’t do anything but present them with their natural hair and they’re happier with it. As far as doctoring goes, a lot of it is psychology.

Curls Transcend Race

In Lorraine’s book Curly Girl: The Handbook, she covers curls from all over the world. Botticelli Curls to Fractal Curls, your curl type is covered. In the current Natural climate, black women are starting to really finding themselves. They are getting to the “root” of their hair insecurities and accepting themselves. It’s common to believe that a Black curly girl has a vastly different journey than the White or the Latina curly girls. Lorraine illustrates that it’s all the same hurt.

When I sat down to read your book, I was just so surprised how similar your journey was to the average Black woman’s. The whole draping a sweatshirt over your head to mimic long swinging straight hair. . . that’s the childhood desire of many young Black girls.

Exactly. Thank you. But I was met with suspicion when I tried to interview some Black women [for the book]. Some told me ‘You don’t know me or what I’ve gone through.’ I had to tell them, ‘I might have a different curl type then you, but I have the same fears and desires.’ I hated my hair for the same reasons. Feeling not good enough can be a universal feeling.”

More Tips for Curly Girls

You give your clients autonomy over their bodies. You help them and send them out into the world to help themselves. You ever worry about being out of a job eventually?

Lorraine is not worried. A terrible hair cut at the age of fifteen, at the hands of a hairdresser, pushed her to learn how to cut her own hair.
What I do it teach women to take care of themselves when no one else will do it. I’ll always be there teaching the next curly girl.

She has plenty of tips for those willing to put in the time to change their lifestyle to a more holistic one. Since she included so many natural hair and skin remedies in her book Curly Girl: The Handbook, I ask her what her favorite natural ingredient was.

I love ginger. It’s great for everything. You can make a tincture from it for your face, or dab it on a cotton ball for a makeup remover. You can run it through your hair. Plus you can freeze it and bring it back later. It’s a natural thermogenic plant that just warms the body up. People don’t think about it sort of stuff enough. We don’t pamper ourselves with good things nearly enough.

All right, so what’s the biggest mistake a curly girl can make?

Lorraine’s tone is tired.
100% Shampoo. It’s something we’ve been doing since we were kids, every other day or whatever. We have this belief that we must wash ourselves frequently and with these detergents and sulfates. It’s like, no wonder your hair is dry and frizzy. Duh. What have you been dehydrating it in? On top of that, these shampooers want to flat iron it. Obviously, making it even drier.

Some of the ingredients in shampoo can be comparable to stuff that’s under my kitchen sink.

Exactly. You may have paid a lot for your products, maybe that has a nice fragrance, but the ingredients are all the same and your hair really pays the price. It’s the same with relaxers. ‘Oh no, this relaxer is safer and nicer than this one.’ No! It’s all the same junk!

Everyone wants a magic potion, Babe. But I keep telling them YOU’RE the magic potion. We have to make sound decisions for ourselves by doing the research. We have to be our own advocates.

Laughing to Keep from Crying

Lorraine proves not to be such a taskmaster. She’s as lighthearted as she is genuine.
Every once in awhile, you have to be able to laugh about this sort of stuff. The business of hair can be serious enough.

She recalls telling a client, You know, your flat iron is actually a panini press for bread and cheese?!

Lorraine also recounts her worst fears come true with her own daughter. “My daughter doesn’t straighten her hair. She knows that would be almost sacrilegious, right? (her daughter is in the background laughing) But I did find one flatiron in her bedroom.

[Gasp] What?!

Yeah, well I called her out of her room later that day and asked: ‘What are this?’ Like I had found drugs in her backpack. Of course, she says, ‘It’s not mine!’

I’m holding on to them for a friend?

Right, right. Her friend actually squealed on her though. ‘Yeah, she uses them.’ But I have to say that she hasn’t done that since. She actually encourages her friends against it and stays true to herself. I mean she and my other kids really live it.

I always joke, after my memorial service, they’ll all decide: ‘Oh, now that mom’s gone, what will we do with our hair first? Blow-fry it or shampoo?’

Over your dead body?



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Is Blue Magic Really the Ticket?

So last night, your girl Ev and I were chatting on the phone. I was using Skype because I needed both hands free to twist my hair. I’m happy to say that when we were done talking I was finished with my hair and I that felt great. Evelyn, I think I will call you every time I do my hair, if you don’t mind 😉

But before I sat down to call Evelyn, I was watching this video to motivate myself to do the hairdo:

This is from YouTuber, jcokes7 and she’s all about doing her twists with hair grease, more specifically, the Blue Magic Organics. She wasn’t sure how she liked the product itself, but she did like the outcome and so did I! Her twist came out great! Her hair looked springy and well defined, with the movement we want from our twists. 
But then jcokes7 told us how she felt about petroleum. We all know those are the first and foremost active ingredients in products like Blue Magic, not to mention mineral oil and lanolin. However, she was a little heated about was the cancer causing claims people made against petroleum. This frightened me. I had no idea that there were carcinogens in Vaseline type products. jcokes7 made it clear that she wasn’t going to let products like Blue Magic dictate her life. While I applaud her making a stance on such a highly contested subject, I’m still concerned about what petroleum does.
While the jury might still be out on whether petroleum is a carcinogen or not, I am bothered by such a heavy product weighing my hair down. It is definitely true that petroleum is too heavy and suffocating on your scalp and hair shaft. It is true that no moisture will reach your scalp or shaft and build up will occur. 
jcoke7 did mention that when she washed her hair, it really needed it. As in, it was quite dirty. That’s not surprising at all. When I was using Blue Magic religiously, I washed out a lot of build up and dirt. Because if you’re taking that grease out into the environment, stuff in the environment with cling to it (i.e. dirt and debris). And you’re walking around with that stuff until you get around to washing your hair.
My solution? I’m sticking with my raw shea butter.

Last night, I mixed mine with coconut oil and used that mix on each twist. The next morning I undid the twists and got some great definition without the excessive greasy feeling on my fingers. My twist out was voluminous, but light weight enough to have movement. Plus the natural ingredients of shea butter and coconut oil make for no-nonsense and safe application.

Rest assure that there are no cancer scares at all with raw ingredients. If you’d like to make your own Shea butter concoction, try out Evelyn’s recipe! Happy and safe twisting to all of you ladies!


Strawberry Face

Tonight is going to be a natural spa night! I’ve got a couple items in the kitchen that I’m not going to eat soon and I figured I’d put them to good use. I have some ripe strawberries from a fruit salad. I ate all of the watermelon and cantaloup chunks first, leaving about seven or eight strawberries. They’re generally not my favorite fruit to eat. But I’m going to put them to good use!

Strawberry Face Mask:

7 or 8 strawberries
3 tsp honey                                                                          

  • Mash strawberries in bowl until pulpy
  • Mix in honey 
  • Slather on face and rinse off in 10 mins

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Depending on the Kindness of Strangers

Sometimes I feel like this young man
While we were waiting on our chicken gyros at Pita-Sub yesterday, I was telling Noah about my day when I felt his eyes wandering up to my hair. Without a word, he quickly grabbed a napkin and got up from the table. He plucked something from my afro and threw it in a nearby trashcan. He looked as if he had averted a minor crisis. “You don’t want to know what that was,” he said as he sat down.
I didn’t. 
I appreciate it when my husband removes stowaway insects from my hair. When I find them, it is a minor crisis. I thought about it and realized that strangers and friends alike are usually quick to extract things from my hair. It’s usually noticeable leaves, flower petals or in the case of yesterday. . . errant critters. 
When we were spending the weekend in  Atlanta, GA, Noah and I were sipping coffee at a sidewalk cafe when a gentleman passed by. He took one look at my full-on-fro and said, “Let me get this for you.” He pulled a flower from my hair with the grace of a birthday party magician. “There you go.”
What could I say aside from thank you?
That’s just one of many experiences I had where people have behaved like our chimp cousins, grooming without hesitation, as if there is nothing unusual picking through a stranger’s hair to retrieve debris. I thank them all. Without them, I walk around with unintentional hair accessories. 
With hair that’s a foot away from my scalp, I never know what’s going on without looking in a mirror. I don’t have the time to examine my hair in a mirror every minute of the day, so it’s nice to have a community who’s diligent about keeping me fly.
My many thanks to you, The Pickers.