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Welcome to The United KinKdom!
I hope you enjoy your stay and be sure to subscribe to www.TheUnitedKinKdom.com so we can stay in touch.
My blog is dedicated to celebrating Afro hair and the experiences of UK Naturals. Dont be a stranger, spread the word and lets keep Uniting the KinKdom one curl at a time. International visitors are ALWAYS welcome. Enjoy!
Much Love Crystal Afro x
(Natural since Jan 2011) (Contact Me: crystalafro@hotmail.co.uk) View my complete profile

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

MY MINI-BREAK IN PARIS


A couple of weeks ago I did something that I haven't done in about 3 years.
I took a day off work to go on holiday abroad!!!!
Granted, I didn't go very far, but my 3 days in Paris with 12 of my girlfriends from work, was magnifique!

We left straight from work on Sunday evening; hopped on the Eurostar, and before I could believe it, we were in France. We only had one full day to go sight-seeing, vintage shopping and of course indulge in some food and wine before heading back to work on Tuesday afternoon.

I'm very much a city girl, so I loved looking out for the street art and artists.
Check out some of my favourites in the grid below. The guy playing football up the lamp post was especially impressive, and so was the guy cutting hair on the street. I was tempted to ask if he could cut Afro hair, but I changed my mind.


Paris is a beautiful city, although we did nearly get pick-pocketed on the Metro.
Aside from that it was lovely.
I couldn't help but notice that quite a lot of black women were rocking their natural hair. I found this really positive to see and it makes me wonder how far across the continent the the growing influence of women 'going natural' is spreading. 
I recently found out about a natural hair event that will be taking place in Paris this October - In The Hair Show. Although I won't be able to go, I'm excited to see that Fusion Of Cultures (Laila-Jean) & Woman In The Jungle (Wunmi), are going to be special guests. 
If another opportunity to attend a French hair event comes up I'd definitely like to go. Who knows what wonderful things could happen as we strengthen our connections across the diaspora.
Until next time,
BISOUS!
xoxo

Saturday, 16 August 2014

SHEA MOISTURE FOR SUMMER 2014

Thanks to the lovely people at Shea Moisture who were kind enough to gift me this amazing bundle of hair and body products from their various ranges; THIS is how I plan to see out the rest of Summer!
In the 3 and a bit years that've been natural, I quickly discovered that Shea Moisture is one of the most popular brands for natural hair. With that in mind, I'm sure you'll understand just how excited I am about recieving these products.
However, for those of us here in the UK it hasn't always been easy to get a hold of, and when we could find it, it was pretty pricey.
Nowadays it's not so bad. You can find Shea Moisture in most Black hair shops in London, at least (read here), and the price is bit better than it used to be.
As someone who's trying to avoid silicones, as well as a few other ingredients, it can be quite a challenge to find a good quality, decently priced product (particularly in the case of conditioners), but Shea Moisture is one of the main brands responding to the demand.

I've only ever dabbled with a couple of Shea Moisture products. Mainly the African Black Soap Balancing Conditioner. For some reason it completely disagreed with my hair and wasn't the fabulous experience I'd heard so much about. 
A number of people reassured me that the right Shea Moisture product/range for my hair is out there so I'm looking forward to trying the selection; especially the ever popular Coconut & Hibiscus range.
I'm also looking forward to trying out the different range of body products, especially the baby lotions that I can already tell you, smell incredibly good.

So, roll on the rest of Summer!




Tuesday, 12 August 2014

HOW NOT TO HENNA FOR THE FIRST TIME!

I've been meaning to share this experiment with you for what feels like the longest time!
A few months back (here) I mentioned buying some henna.
I'd heard that it can be used to strengthen hair (a bit like a protein treatment) so I decided to create my own experimental homade hair strengthening/protein treatment.

THE RECIPE
(Don't try this at home....yet!)
As I said, this was a complete experiment so I wouldn't recommend anyone else try it, as I can't guarantee the results will be favourable, and I think the overall recipe needs some tweeking.
I can't remember the exact measurements but I used approximately:
1 bag of Henna
1 cup of black tea (regular tea without milk/sugar)

4 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons of Aminos
1/2 A 400g Pot of Greek Yoghurt
The mixture was quite lumpy and grainy at first, but it became smooth and a bit more of a mud-like consistency after I added the yoghurt.
(It probably would've been a lot smoother if I'd used something more appropriate than a plastic knife to mix it.)
In all honesty, the mixture smelled awful, but I'd been planning this for a while so I wasn't going to back out.
READY TO USE
Due to a busy schedule I wasn't able to use the mixture until 2 days after I'd made it.
I had heard that the longer you leave a henna mix the stronger the colour becomes.
With this in mind I was curious to see the effects on hair as dark as mine. Could henna really be strong enough to colour even my hair? Was I about to turn myself ginger?
I was ready to risk it.

APPLICATION
Applying it was as mucky a process as any other homemade recipe I've used, but since henna is a powerful dye I tried to be a bit more careful and avoid letting it drip down my face.

It was still a bit grainy and wasn't as great a detangler as I'd have liked, so I had to be very gentle when finger combing it through my hair. I covered my hair with plastic, as usual, and left the treatment on my hair in twisted sections, for about 1 hour; but I cant remember whether or not I applied any heat (sorry people! Bad blogger! I know!). I don't think I did.
THE RESULTS
Anyway, when it came to rinsing it out, my hair was left feeling slightly stronger than before, but I wasn't too bowled over at first, and I found it difficult to rinse out all of the grainy bits. I'll definitely try and do a better job of mixing next time.  
However, by the next day I did notice a significant difference in how much stronger my hair felt. Perhaps I had been too tired to notice it initially. 
As the week when on I was sure the treatment had made a big difference as I found my hair wanted more moisture than usual. I found the Shea Decadence Leave-in and Latte, were the perfect answer to this. Using these as post-treatment products left my hair feeling perfectly balanced – strong but moisturised.
I’d definitely try this again although I may play around with the recipe in the future.
SIDENOTE
Unfortunately the henna did not change the colour of my hair, at least not in a noticeable way. Occasionally, when the light hit it, I thought I could see a tint of colour, but nothing major. However, it did successfully dye my hands a particularly potent shade of orange!
The pictures fail to do it justice. My hands, especially my palms, looked like wet wipes for the cast of TOWIE.
It took at least 2 weeks for the colour to fade from my palms but there was no getting rid from my nails. I had to wait several weeks for my nails to grow the colour out. Even now, Im sure I can still see a hint of orange just below the tips!
The moral of the story – Don’t try this at home!
 If you do want to use henna, research a tried and tested recipe (I’m still working on mine) and whatever you do, make sure you USE GLOVES!!
If you have any more tips on using or mixing henna, please leave a comment below. :-)