31 October 2014

The Giveaway: Win 1 of 3 Air Motion Brushes



Hi Dolls, Fancy a chance to win one of three AirMotion Pro brushes? AirMotion Pro has joined forces with Natural Belle and is over you the chance to win a AirMotion Pro Brush in pink or white, just use the widget below. I suggest you enter as this is quite possibly the best brush on earth! check out my review of the AirMotion Pro brush here & good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

22 October 2014

The Shampoo: Serwaa Clay Shampoo



Clay cleansing has definitely been one of the most important discoveries of my natural hair journey. Clay cleansing is an amazing way to clean your natural hair without stripping it of it's natural oils (ya'll know how much our hair loves it's natural oils!) as part of the Max Hydration Method I've been using clay rinses which I've been mixing myself, which just adds time to an already lengthy regimen. So I've been looking into ready mixed clay cleansers and I've found the perfect one by Cioccolatina from the Sheabutter Cottage.  Serwaa Clay Shampoo mixes Bentonite Clay with Shea and Cocoa Butter for a 100% natural product that cleans hair like a dream.

I've been using Serwaa Clay Shampoo since I purchased it at a local event, the shampoo leaves hair very clean but not dry. The best thing about this shampoo is that I am able to work the product into my hair and DETANGLE! yes you heard me right this shampoo has SLIP! whilst the product is on your hair you can finger detangle with ease like a co wash product. Don't get it twisted though, Serwaa Clay Shampoo is definitely not a co wash product when it is rinsed out, your hair is almost squeaky clean. If you love clean strands but  are anti shampoo this may be for you.



Prices start at £4.80 which is excellent value for an all natural, ethical and vegan product and you don't have to use very much at all. Serwaa Clay Shampoo will definitely be going in my re buy pile.



aqua, butyrospermum parkii {shea butter}, theobroma cacao {cocoa butter}, potassium cocoate {saponified coconut oil}, ricinus communis {castor oil}, hectorite {rhassoul}, argania spinosa {organic argan oil}, bentonite, althaea officinialis {marshmallow}, hibiscus sabdariffa {hibiscus}, arctium lappa {burdock}, panthenol, eclipta alba {bhringaraj}, hedychium spicatum {kapoor kachli}, veg. glycerin



2 October 2014

The Update: Max Hydration Method & Me


Where do I start with the all consuming Max Hydration Method! My life revolves around Freya and Max Hydration, Clay treatments come before, Laundry and Sex (Sorry Mr NaturalBelle I have a treatment that needs to come off in 10 minutes!) I want to give up, but I know the secret that binds us to Max Hydration.......my hair feels unreal! 
I'm not shitting you my hair feels like cashmere, my curls are popping  (IMO). And this is coming from someone who isn't even fully invested in all the stages (catch up on what I'm doing here). I've noticed that my hair coils much more than usual, the clumping of the coils is coming together slowly but that really wasn't my main aim, I'm finding that I'm manipulating my hair a lot less (less finger coiling needed) The part of MHM that's had me struggling most is the Gel stage, it wasn't working for me until I made some Flaxseed Gel which has completely taken my hair to the next level. If you want to see how MHM works for defining curls don't follow my journey as I don't care for curls. I want hydrated hair with less breakage and shedding and I want to maintain the hair that I have. MHM is working for me right now.

After doing the 7 day challenge which consists of doing the MHM steps everyday for 7 days, I now do the following steps every 2-4 days 

  • Rinse with Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Deep conditioner with any deep conditioner my faves are from Big Hair Beauty, Mahogany Naturals & BeUnique 
  • Finger de-tangle only
  • Bentonite Clay rinse with ACV, Water & Olive Oil
  • Use a Leave in conditioner I love the Whipped Butter from Big Hair
  • Finish with DIY Flaxseed Gel
  • LEAVE MY HAIR ALONE UNTIL THE NEXT WASH!




The Brush: Air Motion Pro More Than Just A Tangle Teezer With A Handle?



Of course my child is perfect in every way! she farts flowers and is a baby genius. However even I have to admit that bath time is a struggle, combing out Freya's hair is a bit of a mission to say the least. Due to my hands off approach to styling opting to have her roam free when she is not at nursery. This does leave us with a birds nest at the ends of the week. Like most people I dug out the Tangle Teezer and struggled to grip hold of it whilst dealing with a wriggly 2 year old. I found that as good as the Tangle Teezer is at de-tangling I still had to section the hair and take time or Freya's very curly hair would sometimes tangle in the brush I have also found that Tangle Teezers can cause breakage on very curly hair. Then I got my hands on the Air Motion brush which I initially believed was a Tangle Teezer with a handle, which rectifies one of the grips I have with Tangle Teezers. However I have been using the Air Motion on Freya's hair for a few weeks and have noticed how much easier it is to brush her hair. If you want details on how the Air Motion brush works you will have to visit the website, because it's like some kind of science that Nasa could of thought up! 



The 'brittle configuration' takes the stress from daily brushing leading to less breakage. For the purpose of the review I brushed Freya's hair with the Air Motion Brush when it was dry and it really does smooth the hair, and I didn't hear a peep out of her. No Tears. NONE. The spokes of the Air Motion Brush are longer and more flexible than the Tangle Teezer. So I'm finding the brush allows for more fluidity. The bristles are also smoother too, I've found on closer inspection of my Tangle Teezer there are a few seams on the bristles which snag and break the hair.



In My opinion the Air Motion brush is better than the Tangle Teezer on Freya's Type 3 hair. I don't use combs or brushes in my hair so I'm not in the position to tell you if it works on kinkier textured hair. at £11.95 it's a great bit of kit to have in the battle of bath time! Buy Here



The Mini Fashionista: How To Have An Insta-Cool Baby & Not Go Broke



If you follow Natural Belle on Instagram then you know that I love to dress Freya up in cute clothes, she is quite the fashionista and have taken over my Instagram with her diva demands and on point shoe game! You can't log into Instagram these days with out seeing some kid looking cuter than you and I'm not ashamed to say that I'm pretty much addicted to baby fashion.
That being said I'm not about to go broke for kids clothes that they can only wear for 6-9 months tops, and if you ever see me purchase a designer handbag for Freya you have permission to punch me in the face!
I'm not Beyonce and Freya is not Blue Ivy, we are average people with an average income so we have to be frugal to be fly. Here are my top tips for having a stylish baby on a budget.


Keep It Simple

Contrary to popular belief Freya does not have a whole bunch of clothes, she has more than she should (due to my shopping addiction) however she doesn't have a crazy amount. If you follow our daily posts you will notice that she wears a lot of the same items just styled differently. We also keep things age appropriate! no crop tops or hair pieces (yes I've seen babies with hair pieces on Instagram) children should look like children not grown people (or strippers).

Top Tips

Keep clothing in the same colour palette, Freya has a lot of black, grey, blue and denim, meaning we can always mix and match outfits everything goes together. 
  


Sales

where possible I refuse to pay full price, especially for baby clothes, my favourite shops to hunt out a sale bargain are Gap, Zara, River Island and Next. I refuse to pay more than £8 for a single item, I love Zara kids clothes however they are on all kinds of crack if they think I'm going to pay £16.99 for a minimalist style vest. So I'm always hunting the sale rail for little gems.

Top Tip

Buy clothes for the next season in the sales, so when the a/w clothes go on sale stock up on coats and boots for the following a/w in larger sizes. When Freya was 3 months old I brought her a coat for age 1-2 and she still wears it now and it was £5!

Don't forget that sales run for a while in the UK, check out the sale near the end of it's run for amazing mark downs, great things can be found in the 'dreg sales'

Think outside the box, the reason something ends up in the sale is because no one wanted it full price. there are some truly ugly clothes in the sales but with a little imagination (and styling) all clothes can look cute when paired with on trend pieces and small person swag!



DIY

Have you seen all those wonderful headbands on Etsy? or the leather Moccasins worn by all those cute babies? well they cost a fortune, and while I don't knock anyone's hustle, with little to no skill you could probably make them yourself at a fraction of the price.

Top Tips

Head to the fabric store and ask for remnants or off cuts, they will usually give you them for free and you can use them to make some awesome DIY hair clips.

Patterns are available to buy online, and with just a small amount of sewing skill you can make dresses and tops for your child, it's also fun! (and addictive)


Gender -Shemder

Shop the boys department, I find that boys clothes are cheaper, and as a mother who is not a huge fan of pink, boys clothes are my saviour from a life of bows and sparkle.


Top Tips

I love the minimalist look for kids, think Scandinavian Minimall, neutral colour palette and no fussy details. however that stuff is expensive. I recreate the look by shopping in the boys department as they tend to have less details on the clothes.

Boys tee's are my favourite thing to purchase I buy them big so Freya can wear them as dresses.


Let Them Be Little

As much as I love dressing up Freya she couldn't care less about what she wears, she is a baby, for now she enjoys dressing up and taking pictures with mummy, it won't last forever so I'm making the most of it. When it comes to Freya's clothes we are all about function and we are not precious about them she gets muddy and covered in food daily (don't let the Instagram feed fool you, I take her pictures early in the morning by mid day she looks like lil kim!) Let your kids be kids.



11 September 2014

The Giveaway: Antonia Burrell Luminous Light Polishing Powder


My Love for Antonia Burrell Skincare is no secret, and I want to share the joys buy giving two of my followers the chance to win my favourite product from Antonia's linE. The Luminous Light Polishing. Powder Luminous Light Polish Powder contains Zinc PCA which helps to calm inflammation, reduce shine and mattify the skin and is clinically proven for its anti microbial and anti ageing properties, combined with Avena Sativa which is a rich anti oxidant, which helps to reduce redness and restore pH.  LLPP contains Tea tree Leaf that purifies and acts as an anti bacterial ingredient. Betaine is is also found in LLPP clinically proven to firm the skin, by stimulating collagen fibroblasts, reduce redness and inflammation. 

Enter via Facebook or using Your email address with the form below, this giveaway is international and ends 22nd September 2014. Good Luck!

The Protective Style: Freya's Bantu Knots


I have posted about Freya's hair regimen a few times now, and those who keep up to date know that I'm a fan of fuss free styling when it comes to children's hair. I get a lot of questions about hair styles for toddlers and my reply has always been to let their hair be. However recently I have had to start putting Freya's hair in protective styles, due to an outbreak of Head Lice at her nursery. I really didn't want to spend hours braiding Freya's hair (not that she would let me!) or putting ornate baubles and hair ties in her hair. But I've managed to find some simple styles that I can actually do!



I only style Freya's hair twice a week for nursery, in Bantu Knots, tops knots or four chunky braids. I would never EVER  consider putting Freya's hair in extension braids or any kind of extensions reserved for adults, no matter how kinky or coily your child's hair is these styles are not an option (please don't do it!).


A protective style is a any style that protects the ends of your hair, so if you don't have time to twist or braid your childs hair a bun will do. If like me you have a lice problem, spray the hair with a fine layer of hair spray this prevents the lice from gripping onto the hair and laying eggs! (eeeeek!) 



My go to style for Freya's hair is Bantu Knots, they are very easy to achieve, section hair into 6-8 sections, I use a little bit of aloe vera gel to smooth the hair, then I twist the hair from the root working my way down. This creates a knot effect as the twisted hair coils around itself I secure it with a snag free black hair elastic.



I'm currently Guest Blgging at Mogul Mommies, I have detailed post up on how I treat head lice naturally along with Freya's revised hair regimen check it out here


31 August 2014

The Max Hydration Method (sort of)



If you follow me on instagram you will know that I'm currently obsessed with a new method for retaining moisture in 'Type 4' high porosity hair, The somewhat lengthy Max Hydration Method helps hair to reach it's maximum hydration potential, resulting in moisturised hair and defined curls. People have been calling it a method to create/maintain wash and go's for 4C hair but this is very misleading. The main purpose is retaining moisture as opposed to creating 'type 3' like curls.

This misunderstanding almost had me turning my nose up at MHM along with the what seemed like many steps and pricey suggested products (I'll get to that!)

The method was originally created by Pinkecube on  the Black Hair Media Forum, however there are many examples and how to's on line about the method, most are quite confusing at first, the best one I've found so far is here  

The Max Hydration Method is a series of 5 steps that should be done over 7 days (everyday!) when this is completed you can do the MHM every 2-5 days

Step one (Recommend for those who have not done MHM before)

The cherry Lola treatment which  consists of the following ingredients

Greek yogurt (2 cups)
Baking soda (2 tbsp)
Organic apple cider vinegar (2 tbsp)
Raw coconut liquid aminos or liquid Soy aminos (2 tbsp)
Raw honey (1/2 tbsp)
Unsulfured molasses (1 tbsp)
Half an over ripe plantain or banana
Avocado (3/4 tbsp)
1 egg (optional)

I chose not to do the cherry Lola treatment, because I didn't have all the ingredients and to be honest it looks like hard work. However for the full results it is suggested

I decided to do the following steps

Step 1 (you can skip this on day one if you do the cherry lola treatment) 



Clarify with ACV using a 50/50 mix of Apple Cider vinegar and water. I spray the mixture onto my hair.

Step 2

Co- wash and de-tangle with a deep conditioner, I alternated between Shea Bliss from Beunique and Vatika Naturals Black Seed Oil Hair Mask. I ran this though my hair (I didn't need to detangle as I have in mini twists) I wrapped my hair in cling film and put a hot towel on my head until it cooled. I then went to bed and slept with the treatment still on.

Step 3




In the morning I washed the conditioner out of my hair completely, Then went on to use a clay mix
made with one cup of bentonite clay to two cups of water. I added one spoon of Agave Nectar (Honey is suggested) and one spoon of olive oil. the mixture should be watery. I left it on for 15 minutes then rinsed it off in the shower.

Step 4

Once I rinsed out the clay I used a Leave in Conditioner, I started using Tresemme Naturals conditioner but switched to a watered down mixture of Shea Bliss.



Step 5 
Finally is the gel stage, it's suggested that you use all botanical products with this method, I used a mixture of Aloe Vera and Agave Nectar which was great at first but became very sticky. I then switched to a botanical gel but I still didn't like the way it felt after all the effort I found the hardness of the gels counter active to the softness of the moisture retained. I have now decided to finish the MHM by using Big Hair Whipped Shea Butter (a small amount)



These steps are not exactly the approved method of MHM but it's working for me and I'm seeing results, my hair is beautiful and moist, as a result of that my natural curl pattern can be seen. I am wearing my hair in mini twists, so some of the definition I have is from them. but I feel my hair is in a great place and I shall continue on with the method every 3 days from now on.


Verdict
To be honest I'm being very half arsed with the method with skipping stages and and not using the suggested products, however I'm still happy with the results which is soft hydrated hair for longer than 5 minutes! It's a long process for the first 7 days, you need to be quite committed even with skipping parts it took up time, but the results are worth it! I didn't go broke buying new products I only brought the Bentonite Clay especially for the method (which was £7.00) I used what I had available at home making compromises when needed so don't let the suggested product list scare you off trying this method (or a variation of it) the list is SUGGESTED not a must! I think the additions of ACV and the clay are what has made the difference for my hair with the over night treatments. I haven't gone into details into how the method works but you can learn a lot from www.msdeekay.com 




28 August 2014

The New Black Online Retailers: Sable Beauty + Antidote Street


Just last year I was ranting and blogging about the lack of beauty outlets for or inclusive of women of colour. from the high street to the web it seemed that only white people (an occasionally Asians) wore make up, did their hair or had any interest in their personal grooming! what a difference little over a year makes, I've noticed a vast amount of online retailers dedicated or inclusive of women of colour. It doesn't surprise me that the revolution is online as the high street is so not interested in us (but that's another blog post altogether!) two websites that have me excited are SableBeauty.com and the newly launched AntidoteStreet.com


Sable Beauty is the first online luxury beauty store with bespoke beauty products from brands I love such as Antonia Burrell and Dr Jacksons all the products available are  sourced exclusively to meet the diverse beauty needs of women of colour. This site is a must for those who love luxury brands that actually work and benefit our beauty needs. You will definitely discover new brands via this site. The customer service is brilliant and they have an awesome blogzine available via the site. 



Another site to look out for is Antidote street which offers grooming essentials for men and women of colour, The site aims to take the hassle out of shopping for products especially those one that aren't easily available in the UK, the site also has a lot of up and coming UK based brands such as Big Hair (which I love!)  and Anita Grant (which I also love!) The products on the site are affordable and varied. I hope to see more UK brands  available on the site as I think it's important that we buy British where possible. The site is well designed and looks very cool I can not wait to see what comes next!


I'm looking forward to the future of these online retailers, the revolution has begun!



7 August 2014

The Summer: Updates From My Crafty Summer


Hello my darlings, sorry about the lack of blog posts, however I'm having a product detox. Though I'm thankful to all the brands that gift me wonderful products to review it can give us bloggers product overload resulting in spotty skin and dry hair from chopping and changing our regimens (I know I know poor us!) I've been focusing on my day job raising Miss Freya and working as a salon fairy for Headmasters. I've also been having fun crafting this summer due to my love of fashion and my lack of fashion funds! Freya and I have been having lots of fun being covered in glitter and feathers!





My DIY adventures don't just stop at making head pieces, I've also made a makeshift photo
studio using roofing felt which Freya and I have been having lots of fun with. In other news I had the chance to speak at Hairology last month which was awesome! I met some great new people and ran into a few old faces too. (Laila of Fusion Of Cultures being one)



It's been a great summer, I'll be back soon with beauty reviews for Antonia Burrell and Sable Beauty for now I'm just having to much fun playing with the cherub pictured below! Follow our adventures on Instagram @naturalbelle 






How have you spent your summer?

28 July 2014

The DIY Flower Headdress




I'm in love with floral headdresses, I've seen a lot of headdresses around and the nicer ones can be upwards of £25. I wanted to try my hand at making one for Freya. I managed to pick up all the materials from my local Wilkinson's  under £15 they have a wonderful selection of artificial flowers from £1.50

You'll need;

Selection of artificial flowers
Garden wire
Floral tape
Wire cutters
Tape measure
Elastic or ribbon



1- take your wire and measure out the length you need, I suggest measuring your child's head and adding a few inches in case you make a mistake (you can cut off any access later) 


2- Measure out 3 lengths of the wire, you can get thicker wire if you want but I find the thinner wire more flexible. 


3- take your tape and wrap it around your wire, this will help to blend the headdress and also make the headdress more comfortable, cover the full length making sure no wire is exposed



4- when all the wire is covered create the shape of your headdress, using the wire cutter cut the artificial flowers to your desired length. then arrange the flowers around the headdress to get your shape and design right before you tape the flowers to the wire.



5- Once you have your desired design start to tape the flowers to your wire, make sure they are secure. The tape is very flexible so if you make a mistake just cover with more tape.


6- when all the flowers are attached to your liking, use elastic of ribbon to secure the ends of your headdress, this will help it sit on the head securely, I suggest elastic if you are making for a child. Again you can secure with tape for extra security use a little glue then cover.





*If you are making this for your little girl be sure not to leave them unattended with the headdress, it does have some small parts that could come off with a little force.





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