Let’s Play in the Mud (Clay, that is)

Thanks to my farm-raised mother, as a kid I always loved to run thru rainy puddles with my bare feet. I developed a special appreciation for pressing my toes into the squishy, coolness of mud and would later enjoy pulling night crawlers from their muddy holes during late nights in my neighborhood. My siblings and I earned money doing the latter from local fishermen and bait stores! While I still don’t mind walking into cool wet grass with my bare toes, I’d given up playing in the mud for more girly things like clay. Crafting ash trays and vases from clay was a favorite activity in art class and I always thought I’d pick it up later. While on the back to natural journey, I learned that many naturals wash their hair with mud/clay! If you didn’t know there are popular brands such as the one by Terressentials which can be ordered online. But you can also make your own, saving big $$$ just as I did last weekend. I already owned some clay which I use for homemade facials. In preparation, I wet my hair with a spray bottle:

You can buy Aztec brand clay at many local health stowethairwithspraybottleres, including Vitamin Shoppe, Raisin Rack and Whole Foods. Looking around on the internet I found some recipes. When determining a recipe, I sort of pick and choose the ingredients that I know my hair likes or NEEDS. I create my mix based on that information. This time, in the following order and in a plastic bowl (do not use metal as it changes the properties of the mix), I mixed:
2 tbsp Aztec Secret Healing Indian Clay (about $5)
1 tbsp Olive oil
1Tbsp of honey
Essential oils (depends on my hair needs – this time I used peppermint and basil)
1/3 c. of water or aloe vera juice (you can warm it a little for easier mixing). You may use more or less as it should be the consistency of pancake batter.

I then poured it into a bottle (must get a funnel for next time!). I applied the mixture to my dampened hair and scalp. I saturated my hair with the clay wash and rubbed it into my scalp. The basil and tea tree oils are stimulators, so it felt tingly! After applying, I put a plastic baggy on my hair and allowed the wash to perform magic on my strands! You can see from the picture that when I finished, I pinned the sections with bobby pins.mudappliedLetMudSit20Minutes

20 minutes later I washed it all out in the shower. Remember- this is actually for washing your hair so you don’t need to shampoo afterward. Don’t allow the clay to dry on your hair as it will become more difficult to rinse. Thoroughly rinse the clay from your hair with a cheap conditioner. I just took care of it in the shower which is how I lost my eye shadow and lipstick! LOLMudRinsed_ahhShrinkage

Afterward, I applied my leave-in and styled per usual. Now… this “shampoo” really does remove any product build up from your hair. You may not even know that you had any especially if you’re using products with silicones. For me, the wash encouraged my shrinkage (see the pic above) but left my hair clean, soft and shiny. I loved it and will do it once a week as I long ago abandoned shampoos. They leave my hair feeling stripped and dry which is why I mostly co-wash. Below is the twistout I got after styling. It’s full of shine, body and bounce!

That’s it folks! Will you or have you given mud washes a try? Share what were, or are your results!

Peace and love, naturally! AfterMudStyle

If you don’t know Missy Elliott…

Last night, singer/songwriter/rapper Missy Elliott performed with Katy Perry during the Super Bowl halftime show. Dare I say that Missy stole the show from Katy? Yes. I dare. From my Facebook feed, I encouraged Missy to “turn up” as she performed a medley of her hits including Lose Control. While I briefly wondered where was Ciara, I bounced around on my couch and sang- “I got a cute face, chubby waist, thick legs, in shape, rump shakin, both ways, make you do a double take!”

Not long after my post, a friend said that she’d never heard of Missy Elliott. Later, Buzzfeed revealed that my friend was not alone. I looked in disbelief at a post that shared the tweets of a bunch of folks who questioned Missy’s existence and suggested that Katy Perry was going to blow up the career of Missy just like Paul McCartney. Whaaat??!!! Who are these people?  Is there a music rock that people hid under during the early 2000s and beyond? Today I found out that if said rock exists, my CEO and CFO were under it also. Have they also never heard of Aaliyah, Timbaland and Ginuwine? I mean, I know boy bands were all the rage then, but this is tew much.

All this brings to mind a current music trend that has been bothering me a great deal. When I was growing up in the 80’s and 90s, my entire family could enjoy local radio stations. Deejays played artists enjoyed by my parents as well as those enjoyed by us youngsters. This means that adult artists like (to name a few) Natalie Cole, Chaka Khan, Barry White, Aretha Franklin, Luther Vandross, Hall & Oates, Phil Collins, Elton John, Stevie Wonder and James Ingram would get just as much radio play as artists enjoyed by those of us in the youth category, i.e. New Edition, Madonna,  Hi-Five, Bell Biv Devoe, Tevin Campbell, Whodini and LL Cool J. As one of those youth, I learned to love them all. There was diversity in music long before diversity became a subject in the workplace and in schools. It was a lifestyle. Hence, my confusion. Why did Missy’s appearance occur as a stumbling block for some viewers during the Super Bowl? There is no reason why any of the popular artists from the last 15-20 years should appear on a show and have a multitude of persons express oblivion to their very existence. It’s not like she’s even retirement age.  Herein is one of my complaints. Music doesn’t have an age, nor retirement date and neither should those who make the music. Yet that assumed expiration date is revealed when musicians like Missy reappear after even a brief hiatus.

One of my friends posted that Missy should return to the 2000s. I was further confused. This frame of thought around music is exactly what is killing the industry. It is part of what forces us to listen on radio to the same artists and their songs on repeat. As an adult, I should still be able to expect that my favorite artists are getting radio play. I am speaking of their new music, not those songs deemed good enough to be on the oldies but goodies stations. My generation loves music, has tremendous buying power and yet the music powers-that-be largely ignore us. We just KNOW there are some deranged 60-year old men (and women likely) determining what is cool enough to make radio. Like a dream killing Wizard of music, they pull the strings, tell US what is cool and what isn’t by simply paying the stations with the most access to repeat a handful of artists. They force us to like even the worst songs of Beyonce, Katy Perry (she’s cool), Rihana, Trey Songz, Chris Brown (whom I actually love) and a plethora of artists under 30. Meanwhile amazing artists like Tank, Goapele, Amel Larrieux , Raheem Devaughn, Slakah the Beatchild, Eric Roberson, Kindred and a host of other artists go ignored. So, heaven forbid an artist like Missy comes out of retirement so that the soup du jour can “make her career”. No people. Aaliyah sang it best- Age ain’t nothing but a number. Give all artists an opportunity to be heard beyond the pay-to-play schemes so that people can see there is more to music than top 40 and under 30! Additionally, mix up these radio stations. It’s nothing to hear Sam Smith on an urban station, but Top 40 stations will never play say… Mary J. Blige. Yet another reason, why artists aren’t know across genres. But I digress… It’s time for us (the consumers) to stop drinking the kool-aid. There is plenty of room in the pitcher but the big industry folks only wants us to stir in one flavor. We’ll call it cherry, but it tastes like a travesty. Now go- get your freak on!

P.S. If you dare follow her on Twitter, then you will see that Missy too was baffled and amused:

the new kids think I’m a new artist &I’m bout 2blow up like Paul McCartney Lord ha mercy chile I love me sum y’all

We’ll save the numerous other problems with radio and the music for another post.