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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

Sunday, 1 February 2015

BUDGET HAIR BLOGGING: 5 Favourite Ingredients

This post is for people like me, trying to make finances stretch over the January/Febraury period. 

I figured I'd share my most recent Budget Blogger hair mix with anyone who's also trying to limit their hair spending. These are my essential ingredients for mixing up my homemade deep conditioners.
My 5  FAVOURITE INGREDIENTS
For HOMEMADE CONDITIONERS

Mayo vs Yoghurt 
My hair responds well to both of these and as I learned from @Naptural85,  Mayo tends leave my hair feeling slightly more moisturised than the yoghurt, while the yoghurt seems to leave my hair feeling slightly stronger than the mayo.
I usually choose one of these as a base, depending on what I think my hair needs most; then I follow up with a selecton from the following ingredients.
Olive Oil 
My hair doesnt really like olive oil. It doesnt seem to absorb very well for some reason (but thats just me). However, it does give my hair good slip, which is very important for reducing tangles and basically making the whole hair wash process A LOT easier.
Honey
I used to avoid honey as I found it quite a tricky one. To much and it just becomes a sticky problem. But I have found that with the right amount it seems to give a boost to the deep conditioner's moisturising ability. Apparently it's a natural humectant, which basically means it draws water towards it.
Coconut Milk
Aahhh my fave! 
My hair loves it. It seems to provide the perfect balance of stength and moisture to my hair. I think it's the combo of proteins & fatty acids that it contains.
This is my fave out of all 5 ingredients.
MAKING IT STRETCH
With that in mind, I recently mixed up all the above (minus the mayo, as I was more in need of a protein boost), with what I had left of my Shea Moisture DC. 
I tend to use this homemade method when I'm running low on, but not quite out of, my deep conditioners. You know when it's not enough to do the whole head but a bit too much to just throw away. I mix up what's left with some of my fave ingredients, so I have enough for at least one more session. 
This mix of Shea Moisture plus my faves, is what I used to give my hair a protein boost before I recently did that blowdry and trim.
You can find my other homemade hair mixes >here<.
What are your fave ingredients?

Thursday, 29 January 2015

JANUARY HAIR HABIT

Over the last few years I seem to have unintentionally developed a habit of blowdrying and trimming my hair in January. 
I guess if we're going with the "New Year, New Hair" mantra, then there couldn't be a better time to get rid of those rachet ends.
For me however, it's simply a case of being completely reckless with my hair during the holiday season, then realising the damage I've caused, and the fact that there's no real form of repair, and that I'd be doing more harm than good by trying to hold onto those rough ends, that makes me desparate to get rid.
WHY BLOWDRY?
I prefer to blowdry my har straight(ish) before trimming it because it allows me to see the damaged ends more clearly than when my hair is coily.

WHAT'S THE PROCESS?
1 - Wash and treat hair
I do a protein treatment to strengthen their hair in prepartion for the heat later.
You can learn more about protein treatments >here<.
2 - Blowdry hair in sections
(I'm not great at blowdrying my hair so I strongly reccomend searching youtube for some good vids.) I use the comb attachment and a high heat but on low force. I also use my Blended Beauty Straightening Glaze as my heat protectant.
3 - Trim Off Rough Ends
It's vital to use sharp hair scizzors when trimming or cutting your hair, or you're liable to do more harm to the strands. (Check out this article from Black Girl Long Hair, for more info)  
4 - Put those freshly exposed ends away and try to treat them better from now on!

WHY TRIM THE HAIR?
Not everyone agrees with trimming Afro hair, because it usually 'seems' to takes so damn long to grow; and if you take care of the ends you don't need to trim them. 
However I think it's fine to trim afro hair and just like any other hair type, it's healthier for it.
Plus, I'm not always great at taking care of my ends, so when they're become nothing but a bushy mess of ssk's and splits, then I know they've gota go. Otherwise they make the process of doing my hair 10 times longer, by causing extra tangles.
Plus, it's not like damaged hair can ever truly be repaired, so I prefer to get rid.
LENGTH OBSESSED?
If you are length obsessed, the downside to this method is not realising how much you've taken off. When the hair is straighted it's easy to become a bit deluded about length and cut off more than you realise.
(BEFORE)
It's important to remember that once you've washed your hair and your coils come back you will have lost a lot of length. If thats something that worries you, then either take a little less off, or trim your hair in its natural state, so you can see your new length as you go.
(AFTER)
Personally, I'm not really a fan of my hair in it's blowdried straightish state so I couldn't wait to wash it out and get my curls back.
(FRESHLY WASHED)



Tuesday, 6 January 2015

PREJUDICE vs POWER


RACISM AT REVLON

I'm sure you've probably heard about the recent Revlon 'racism' incident.
In brief, Revlon CEO Lorenzo Delphini has been accused of making various racist and offensive remarks against Black people, Jewish people, and Americans. The accusations have been made by Mr Alan Myers, who was previously Revlon's Chief Scientific Officer but who is now suing the company for unfair dismissal. 

For more details you can read the article on The Independent, which opens with the following:
"The chief executive of beauty giant Revlon believes he can "smell" black people when he walks in a room, that Jews "stick together" and hates "dirty" Americans, according to allegations made in legal filings..."

INSTA-DEBATE
I first came across the news on Instagram via @WomanInTheJungle's page.
As you'd expect, allegations such as these, whether true or false, are going to cause a stir, but I felt that Wunmi had the right approach with her powerful comments in response to the situation.
"We need to start taking control of our black coins... One thing that (allegedly) PIG is right about is that every other race will help their own get to the top before they help another race." (@womaninthejungle)

You can read the rest of what Wunmi had to say >here<
Rather than focusing outside, on the problems other people might have with us, she turned the debate around to encourage us think about what we're doing to help or hinder ourselves as black people. Similarly, a couple of my other favourite UK Instagramers, leant their support to this line of thought. Check out this post by @brownbeautytalk:
"Following on from that Revlon incident, the only thing I can draw from it is that consumers need to give Black beauty brands as much attention as they do mainstream brands." (@brownbeautytalk)

PUT YOUR POWER TO WORK
Instead of complaining about victimisation again, and looking at how everyone else is "against us", maybe, in certain circumstances, we need to look at ourselves, and how we hold ourselves back.
Maybe it's about time that we STOP placing our power in other people's hands.

I cant help but echo some important points made on the subject of Black 'consumer power'. Firstly the L'oreal research >here< which reveals that black women in the UK spend 6 times more on hair care than white women spend. That means (on average) for every £1 a white woman spends on hair-care, a black woman is likely to spend an additional £5 extra. (Did you know we had money to burn like that?) 
Secondly, we're spending bigger bucks but we don't have ownership of any of the products or even the places where they're sold.
 
When I think about it in these simple terms, it appears to be quite an 'enslaved' mindset. Always giving out, and never getting back; all in a vain attempt to be included in a beauty standard from which you still get excluded. 
Big businesses are about one thing - making big money!
If we retracted our money from companies that disrespect and many times reject our image, we would make a big dent. Furthermore, if we redirected our money into our own representation, we would probably generate more black-owned brands that were of a higher standard, that we could buy from.

IT'S MORE THAN JUST OUR MONEY

Yes, it always comes back to money for the big businesses, but our power is huge even before we get to our finances. Again, check out the BBC article that explains:
"So called viral (word-of-mouth) marketing is important for selling to ethnic groups because products targeted at them often get less coverage in mainstream media." 
We know this to be true. When was the last time you saw a TV advert for a shampoo for Afro hair? (Seriously, if you've seen one please share!)
In make-up ads, when you do see black women, how often do you see women with deeper, rich, darker shades of brown skin? If and when you do, it's noticeable, right? That very noticeability is exactly what makes that ad the exception that proves the rule - that products for black women get less coverage in the mainstream.
The online world that we as black hair and beauty bloggers and supporters, have developed for ourselves, is worth millions to big companies. They rely on us to create consumers. So it's time to think about who and what we are supporting, as well as how and why. 

START TO STRENGTHEN EACH OTHER - HELP ME!
I felt motivated to write this because I understand the importance of supporting home-grown brands, but I also enjoy and buy, big mainstream brands too. However the debate re-ignited my determination to try and do more to support black owned businesses, and I hope it encourages others to do the same. 
So help me out, what black owned hair and beauty companies would you recommend?