A Little Chemical Reference

Acetylated lanolin Rating: Okay This is basically concentrated lanolin (lanolin with water removed). Used as an emollient. Repels water better than regular lanolin, because its water has been removed, so it’s more concentrated. This means that when it’s put on hair or skin, it prevents water loss, keeping the surface more moist. It’s known to give a velvety feel to the product it’s used in. If you are allergic to lanolin, you will most likely be allergic to this as well.
Alcohol Rating: Caution This group of ingredients has a dual personality. One form of alcohol is emollient, moisturizing, and thickening; Cetyl alcohol and Stearyl alcohol are examples of these. The other half are very drying for skin and hair. SD alcohol, Ethanol, Ethyl alcohol, Methanol, Benzyl alcohol, Isopropyl alcohol, or Denatured alcohol are examples of the very drying “grain” type alcohols that should be avoided if possible. It’s not as bad if it appears near the bottom of the ingredient list, because there is very little of it in the product to cause problems, but avoid if near the top of the list. Also, they aren’t as bad if you have them in a product you will rinse out quickly.
Alkyl Benzene Sulfonate (aka Dodecylbenzene Sulfonates, Alkylbenzene Sulfonates, LAS) Rating: Avoid “Can strip hair color. Strong, irritating, drying cleanser”. Though they are great at cleansing, they are irritating, and defatting. May also leave the skin feeling sticky, and perform poorly in hard water.
Alkyl Betaine Rating: Okay Mild cleanser.
Alkyldimethyl Amine Oxide Rating: Okay Gentle cleanser that may be too mild to wash away styling products.
Alkyl Sodium Sulfate Rating: Avoid Drying cleanser.
Allantoin Rating: Okay Made from urea. Soothing, and can reduce inflammation on the skin. It can’t do anything for the hair, though. Can soothe the skin—but rinsed away when it’s in shampoo before it can do anything for it.
Aloe vera (aka Aloe barbadensis) Rating: Okay Since hair is dead, it can’t be repaired. Aloe has no effect on it. May act as a humectant, (holds moisture to hair) though.
Amino acids Rating: Okay Amino acids are the building blocks that proteins are made from. There are many different types of amino acids, and each one functions slightly differently, though they all work on hair in basically the same way. Amino acids actually function in hair products as humectants more than anything else.(— However, hair is dead, so these can’t repair it any more than dumping bricks on a broken wall will fix the wall or pouring yarn on a sweater will fix your sweater.)
Ammonium laureth sulfate (aka Ammonium lauryl Ether sulfate, ALES) Rating: Okay Gentle cleanser. It is the ammonium salt of sulfated ethoxylated lauryl alcohol. It can be derived from coconut. Sulfate is an effective cleansing agent that remove oils and dirt from hair and skin. It produces a lot of foam and softens the skin.
It also helps to prevent an emulsion from separating into its oil and liquid components. Ammonium Laureth Sulfate can cause eye and skin irritation.
Amlica embilicus seed oil (aka Amla seed oil, Indian gooseberry oil) Rating: Okay Oil made from the seeds and pulp of the fruit of a small leafy tree that grows in India. Rich in vitamin C. Known as the world’s oldest hair conditioning oils. used as a treatment for hair and scalp problems. Amla oil, which one of the world’s oldest natural hair conditioners, is prepared from dried amla berries which have been soaked in coconut oil for several days in order to extract the oil soluble vitamins from the fruit. It not only brings forth a rich, natural shine and soft texture, but also helps rejuvenate hair that is dull and damaged.
Apricot kernel oil (aka Apricot oil; Prunus armeniaca) Rating: Good Oil made from the orange-colored fruit of the Prunus armeniaca tree [Winter 7th ed., pg 83]. A non-fragrant emollient oil made from the pressed pits of the apricot fruit.
Babassu Oil (aka Orbignya Oleifera Oil) Rating: Okay An edible oil from the kernels of the babassu palm, Orbignya barbosiana, grown in Brazil. Can be used in foods, but it’s an expensive oil.
Balsam Rating: Avoid Tree resin. It can build up and harden on hair, making it brittle. May cause skin irritation and/or sun sensitivity. Best not to use on a baby’s skin.
Beeswax Rating: Caution Thickener that can be emollient and hard to wash out. (For locs: Avoid. This stuff is really hard to remove.)
Benzyl alcohol Rating: Caution Can be drying and irritating in larger amounts. If it’s low on the ingredient list, it’s probably diluted enough that it wouldn’t be a problem.
C11-15 Pareth-3 Rating: Okay Made from a mixture of Polyethylene glycol and Fatty alcohols. The higher the number, the thicker it is. Used to keep product from separating into its oil and water components.
Cellulose Rating: Okay Plant fiber. Often used in products to keep them from separating into its oil and water components.
Ceteareth-20 Rating: Okay Thickens product, and keeps ingredients mixed together.
Cetearyl alcohol Rating: Good Used as an emollient, emulsifier, conditioner, and thickener. Not the same as SD alcohol or ethanol. This is actually a mixture of Cetyl Alcohol and Stearyl Alcohol
Ceteth-2 (aka Polyethylene (2) Cetyl Ether; PEG-2 Cetyl Ether) Rating: Okay Used to keep the product mixed so it does not separate into its oil and water components, as well as a thickener. Made from a mixture of Cetyl Alcohol, Lauryl Alcohol, Stearyl Alchohol, and Oleyl Alcohol, mixed with a gas (Ethylene Oxide). This ingredient is made from Cetyl Alcohol and Ethylene Oxide, but anyway…. This comes as a white, waxy solid which is water soluble. Found to be emollient and non-irritating to skin. Ceteth-2 is often used because it is found to be mild, and stable at various pH levels. It is easier to mix into ingredients than Steareth-2.
Cetrimonium bromide Rating: Okay Used as a disinfectant and cleanser in shampoos and skin cleansers.
Cetyl alcohol (aka 1-hexadecanol, palmityl alcohol, C16 alcohol, hexadecanol) Rating: Good Common ingredient used as an emollient, thickener, and keeping the product mixed together. Non-greasy. Can be made from coconut fatty alcohol, or synthetically. Not found to be an irritant. Also used to increase foam, and to make a product less transparent. Used in a wide range of products, from hair conditioners to facial cleansers. Cetyl alcohol is the oldest known of the various fatty alcohols. It’s been around since 1813. It is known as being a very safe ingredient, and is very compatible with other ingredients.
info from loc’ed life

Burros Banana Bonanza


Burros Banana Bonanza


Love Each One

I am about to wash my hair, and I just thought of something:

My friend asked me how my hair was doing a few days ago, and I said the typical “fine”. But I thought a little more about that question. I can’t really talk about my hair as a collective anymore. In other words, each dreadlock has a little life of its own. I know each one personally. The ones in the front are all in the same “clique”, they are like the “plastics” in the movie “Mean Girls“. They don’t need help from anybody, and can look good without much effort. The ones in the back all belong to individual tribes. Some are weak, some are strong, some are lazy, some are content, some are ambitious, some are stubborn.

And I love each and every one of them!

Burros and Yucca

I went fruit and veggie shopping today at Food City! (check out the link on 5 reasons to go to food city) I got some new things to try. Burros bananas and yucca root (cassava).

Burros bananas:

Burro Banana

Usage: Eat fresh, baked, or add to fruit salads or desserts.

When ripe, the skin of the burro banana is yellow with black spots. The flesh is creamy white or yellow and the fruit will be soft with some firmness toward the center when ripe.

Avoid: Avoid bananas with soft spots, black or moldy stems. Gray-yellow or dull yellow bananas are an indicator of improper temperature handling and will probably not develop full flavor.

Seasonal Information

Available year-round from Mexico.

Burro Banana Nutritional Information

Serving Size: 1 medium banana (126g)

Amount Per Serving

Calories 110

Calories from Fat 0

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 0


Cholesterol 0mg


Sodium 0mg


Total Carbohydrate 29g


Dietary Fiber 4g


Potassium 400mg


Sugars 21g

Protein 1g

Vitamin A 0%

Vitamin C 15%

Calcium 0%

Iron 0%

Vitamin B6 20%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Source: PMA’s Labeling Facts

Burro Banana is Low Fat and Sodium-free. It’s also a good source of fiber and potassium, and a great source of vitamin C & B6, Cholesterol-free.


Cassava is a shrubby, tropical, perennial plant that is not well known in the temperate zone. For most people, cassava is most commonly associated with tapioca. The plant grows tall, sometimes reaching 15 feet, with leaves varying in shape and size. The edible parts are the tuberous rootand leaves. The tuber (root) is somewhat dark brown in color and grows up to 2 feet long.

Cassava thrives better in poor soils than any other major food plant. As a result, fertilization is rarely necessary. However, yields can be increased by planting cuttings on well drained soil with adequate organic matter. Cassava is a heat-loving plant that requires a minimum temperature of 80 degrees F to grow. Since many cultivars are drought resistant, cassava can survive even during the dry season when the soil moisture is low, but humidity is high.

Around the world, cassava is a vital staple for about 500 million people. Cassava’s starchy roots produce more food energy per unit of land than any other staple crop. Its leaves, commonly eaten as a vegetable in parts of Asia and Africa, provide vitamins and protein. Nutritionally, the cassava is comparable to potatoes, except that it has twice the fiber content and a higher level of potassium.

The cassava used in Indies International Cassava Chips is known by the Latin name Manihot Utilisima. It is grown in the farm lands surrounding the town of Bogor in West Java, Indonesia, about 37 miles south of Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital city.

In Indonesia, cassava is used in a variety of food products, the same way potatoes are used in the U.S. They can be used as vegetables in dishes, grated to make pancakes, dried and ground into tapioca flour, or sliced and made into snack chips.

I’ll be trying the sncak chips!

Black is as Black does!

This is a lovely quote I saw on Facebook…Had to share it!


“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” Let’s take “Black” back. Blackness should never lead to unhealthy decisions. The very function of culture is to make life better. So the next time someone says – in jest or all seriousness:”Black girls don’t swim.”, “Black people don’t eat sushi”, “Girl, Black girls don’t hike”, “Yoga? You ain’t Black” Tell that person, Black is as Black does. Live your healthiest, most fulfilled, most productive life – let’s call THAT Black. Bet. [Credit: Quote by Audry Lorde]

I’m No Longer a Junkie

A Product Junkie, that is..

I don’t use any fancy, and, or expensive shampoo, conditioner. I don’t put anything on my hair except a little sweet almond oil as I twist while my hair it’s still wet. It is one thing to be off the creamy crack, but can you wean yourself off other chemicals that could be clogging your pores, or making your skin sensitive with harsh fragrances?

Workin’ It

Working out is a wonderful thing! Moving your body, makes you feel full of life. Even if you are not able to eat right every day, getting your heart rate up is such an important part of staying healthy.

Once you hit a point when after working out, you feel like your energy is sustained for a few hours, then that is when you start to think of exercise as a necessary, daily energy boost, much like people and their coffee.

I also believe in making exercise FUN! Here are a few things that I like to do, or that I hope to do to really WORK IT!

Dance, Dance, Dance

Walking (a mile a day)







100 Best Health Foods #6: Mangoes

Yes, these are actual mangoes in my crisper! Yum! (they were 4 for $1 at Food City by the way)

Why mangoes?


Unlike other fruits, mangoes have a high Vitamin E content!

Healthy skin yall!

High pectin content: reduces “bad” cholesterol!




Mango Tango Tomato Salsa
6 medium ripe tomatoes
1 onion, chopped fine
1 large mango, halved, seeded, peels, diced (kind of hard to do with all that juice, smack lips…)
2tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
tortilla chips

Old look at new job in new city

Today was my first day in the new cancer research lab. Studying myeloma, but that is not important. At least not for this post!

I had a wonderful experience! Not only because I enjoyed learning about the research, but because felt like nobody was judging me or was startled to see that I was (1) black (2) female (3) looked very young and (4-my favorite) that I wore a head wrap! I wanted to show them right off that I was going to be my normal unique self! I think they respected that and also respected the fact that I was confident, friendly, scientifically literate, and willing to learn! I hope that every part of me stood out, my look, and my ability to be a positive addition to the lab! There are so many things to worry about when you are pretty much alone (ethnicity and culture) in every aspect of our life, so I have decided to just be me, and worry about one less thing! This time, it went over well, I just hope it stays that way! Or at least continues to get better.