Frobunni | Working out with your dog
Me and Sheppie taking a selfie. She really doesn't look that old
Today is Sheppie's (my German Shepherd-Chow mix) 14th birthday! Happy Birthday Sheppie, and in honor of this special occasion, I am dedicating this fitness post to her. So here it is, 4 ways to exercise with your dog!

Running with dog
This is the most obvious one; running gives both you and your canine friend a chance to burn calories and get outside. But don't forget to let your dog sniff around and use the bathroom. 

Tug of War
Sheppie used to love playing tug of war. Now that she is older, she doesn't play it as much because of the stress on her joints, but every so often, she gets these small bursts of energy, and we will play for a couple of minutes. This is a great game to play with your dog, but make sure you aren't too rough. You don't want to pull out any teeth.

Play with Friends
DC is full of dog parks, and if you live in a super pet area friendly area, take advantage of this. Your dog gets to run around and make friends, while you get pull out her puppy pictures and show them to her new poochy pals.

Frobunni | Working out with your dog
Typical Basset Hound lazing about
While it is Sheppie's birthday, I can't forget about my favorite little Basset Hound-Pointer mix, Diamond. While not as smart and fast as her sister, being a Basset Hound, Diamond likes to sniff around the yard and find stuff. So, if your dog is a scent hound or loves to track, hide some goodies around the yard, and walk around and help her find them!

Apartment Finding Apps

in , by FroBunni, Friday, October 31, 2014
Screenshot of Zillow Rentals app

Update: I didn't know Zillow bought HotPads. You learn something everyday...

The last time I looked for an apartment, I got the Apartment Guide book that can be found in many little newspaper kiosks around the DMV area (actually, now that I think about it, one of my friends gave it to me, lol). This time around, I have been putting my iPhone to good use and downloading and using apartment apps. Unlike the Apartment Guide book, the apps are more up-to-date and also show apartments that are owned by individuals as opposed to apartment companies, giving me more results. They also allow me to find apartments and email their respective manager all within the app, as opposed to finding the apartment in the book or online, and then sending them an email.

My favorite apartment apps are Apartment List, Zillow Rentals, and HotPads. All three of them show me apartments within a specific area; allow me to apply filters like price range, amount of bedrooms/bathrooms, amenities, etc.; and give me details on the apartment. But each one has its own pros and cons.

Apartment List
Pros: A customer service rep from Apartment List always reaches out to me when I send an email. This is wonderful and proactive. It also means that I have visited every apartment that I emailed through this app increasing my chances of renting through them. The customer service reps are always friendly and polite, as well as knowledgeable about the apartment.
Cons: Apartment List always gives me the address of an apartment, but not always the name or the name is buried somewhere in the details. This can get frustrating especially if I am trying to find more information or read reviews online.

Pros: I love that in the map section this app shows results for grocery stores, restaurants, parks, public transportation, etc. Since I do not have a car (at least for now), I need to make sure that wherever I live, I am within walking distance to most of what I need, as well as close to the metro or a bus line.
Cons: You can only show location results from one state, and this gets really frustrating if you are in a bi or tri-state area like DC. When I apply price filters, I would rather get all results for DC, MD, and VA, instead of having to pick a state and move back and forth between the three.
*Check out Zillows DC apartments listings here.*

Pros: I get house and townhome results on HotPads, which while most are out of my price range, they do allow the option for others who are looking for them. There also have been a few townhomes that I would be willing to move into, so it does give me a few more options than Zillow or Apartment List.
Cons: Out of the three apps, I get the least amount of responses from apartment managers on HotPads. I've sent over 20 emails, and only got 2 responses, which pales in comparison from Zillow, where I get a response about 50% of the time, and Apartment List, where I get a response 100% of the time.

All in all, these apps have really made my life easier. I have been more active in finding a place to live compared to when I was looking for an apartment last time. With their help, I know I will be on my way to finding a new place to call home.

Check back next week where I detail the pros and cons of living in DC, VA, and MD.

The Best, Shortest Workout Routine Ever!

in , , by FroBunni, Thursday, October 30, 2014
The Best, Shortest Workout Routine Ever!
Throughout this post, I have created 3 different 15 minute workouts for you. Here is the first workout!

I've documented my love of short workouts on the FroBunni before. I love short, intense workouts because you can get a lot done in a short amount of time. Plus, I find them much more fun and challenging than a steady, longer workout. Lately, I've been creating the best calorie torching, muscle toning, ab defining workout that you can get in 15 minutes...and I think I found it. 

Each 5 minute segment focuses on a different part of the body or type of exercise. The first five minutes are for abs and glutes because they are my favorite part of my body and I want to really focus on making them perfect. The second 5 minute segment is weight training or body weight exercises. This section builds lean muscle for a sculpted, toned body. Because the workout is so short, this part is made up of compound exercises or yoga poses that work on more than one part of the body at a time. And the final 5 minutes is for cardio, and as always, because I love super intense cardio, and I am only doing it for 5 minutes, it is always tabata, plyometrics or jump roping. Of course, I create a new workout each week because if I do the same workout repeatedly, I will plateau and I always want to make sure I am challenging myself.

0-5 Minutes
I start the first 5 minutes off with abs and squats. Why? Because they are my favorite parts of my body. If I do this section at the end, when I am fatigued, I will won't be able to concentrate on my form as much, thus I am not working those muscles as hard as I possibly can.  

The Best, Shortest Workout Routine Ever!
Workout #2

5-10 Minutes
The next five minutes are compound weight exercises. This means I am working at least two parts of my body as opposed to one, which means more calories burned and a more effective workout. So instead of just bicep curls, I doing bicep curls with alternating lunges. For some workouts, I replace the compound weight exercises with yoga poses. Yoga tones and sculpts the body while also centering the mind and reducing stress. I do yoga poses when I know I will have a hectic week. Because this workout is so short, I work on every part of the body - biceps, triceps, shoulders, back, abs, legs, and butt. 

The Best, Shortest Workout Routine Ever!
Workout #3

10-15 Minutes
Cardio, cardio, cardio. I love me some cardio, and I love my cardio super fast and super intense. So what better way to finish out my workout than with jump rope, tabata, or plyometrics. Both burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time. Both jumping rope and plyo burn twice as many calories as jogging, and even better, they keep burning calories after I finish working out. 

So try it out and let me know what you think!

The FroBunni becomes the MovingBunni

in , by FroBunni, Thursday, October 30, 2014

Well, I'm moving. While I just love my apartment, this one hour commute is horrible. I literally waste one hour each way commuting to work. This is 2 hours a day, 10 hours a week, 40 hours a month, and 480 hours a year. Yeah, I know, crazy, and the metro isn't exactly cheap either. I would ideally like to cut my commute down to 30 minutes each way (and preferably less than that). Since I know many people have trouble finding a place to call home in the DMV area, I figured why not document it (I will play it safe and be very vague on where exactly I'm moving from and where I'm moving to). 

So here's what I'm looking for:
1. A large to medium sized studio or one bedroom apartment
2. Within a 20 minute walk of a train station (Metro, MARC, or VRE line)
3. Some or all utilities included 
4. And the total monthly rent under $1500

Sounds impossible in this area, right? Wrong! I live in an apartment just like that. Of course, I did "sacrifice" to live in an older building with fewer amenities as opposed to a newer building with lots of cool amenities. That's ok though, I don't need a fancy new building to live in, and since I workout at home, I could careless about a gym. So all of this is very possible. 

Check back tomorrow for my review on apartment finding apps. 

Dear FroBunni: Tell Me About Henna

in , by FroBunni, Thursday, October 30, 2014
Henna for natural hair | FroBunni

Dear FroBunni,
I've heard a lot of great things about henna. It strengthens hair and darkens hair, adds shine, and loosens curls. I want to try it but I don't know where to find it or what to do with it. 

About Henna
Henna is a ground up power of the plant Lawsonia Inermis. It was used cosmetically in Ancient Egypt, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and South Asia. It can be used to create ornate decorations on the body, most notably the hands, and in hair care, it is used to strengthen and add color.

If you are interested in using henna, there are a few things to note. You mentioned that it will loosen curls and add color. This is actually hit or miss. For me, it did not loosen my curls nor make them more defined. Just as well, I know some women who used henna and it did loosen their curls. In terms of the color, it did deposit a lot of red into my hair giving it a reddish tint visible in both sunlight and lamp light (indoors). But, once again, I also know women who did not get any color into their hair. If you are using henna for these reasons, know that it may not do what you want. Now, henna does definitely strengthen hair by binding onto the keratin in hair.

Buying Henna
You can get henna from a health food store, Indian or Middle Eastern store, or online (I often got mine from Amazon). I wasn't married to a specific brand of henna, and honestly, in my opinion it doesn't matter. The only thing that you should pay attention to is the ingredient list. The only ingredient listed should be Lawsonia Inermis, which is the plant that henna comes from. If any other ingredient is present, put it down and walk away (some brands of henna do not just use henna and add chemicals that could cause severe skin rashes and allergic reactions).

There are "different" kinds of henna and they are indigo and cassia. As you can see, I put different in quotes because indigo and cassia aren't henna, they are two completely different plants. Indigo darkens hair to a dark black, while cassia won't add color but will strengthen and add shine to your hair. While this post is about henna, if you decide to use indigo and/or cassia, follow the same protocol as henna and make sure only the plant names of indigo and cassia are listed, which is indigofera tinctoria and cassia obovata, respectively.

Using Henna
I used to henna my hair between my 2nd and 3rd year of being natural, but I have stopped since then (hence why I am just full of knowledge on the subject, lol). I will say that while I did like it, it is very time consuming and I just didn't feel like devoting the time to do it after awhile (I may try cassia soon though, I've heard good things about it). The process of applying henna, washing, and conditioning my hair took between 4-12 hours depending on how long I left the henna on. When I first started using henna, I did it every week. I then decreased to every other week, and then once a month. I found that I didn't need to apply it weekly because the effects are fairly permanent (the henna binds on to the hair like glue). The color from henna does eventually wash out...but you're looking at up to six months to a year before you will notice any color fading. Here is my process for applying henna.

My hair freshly henna'ed and blow dried. You can see the reddish tint from the henna.

Step 1: Scoop 1/8 cup of henna into a bowl and mix with 1/2 cup of hot water. Let stand for at least 10 minutes.
Step 2: Add 1/2 cup of a moisturizing conditioner, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix all together, and let sit for another 10 minutes. (Mixture can sit in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours.)
Step 3: Rinse or wash hair (I just rinsed, but if you want color, your hair has a better chance of color depositing if you rinse or wash first as opposed to applying henna on dry hair).
Step 4: Cover your floor with newspaper to prevent the henna from getting everywhere on the floor (or just apply in the tub for easier clean up).
Step 5: If your hair is medium or long, section hair into at least 4 sections (I did at least 8, trust me, sectioning makes it easier).
Step 6: Start applying henna to hair in sections (you can wear gloves if you want, I didn't and had no problem with the dye rinsing off my hands after a couple of hours). Because I added conditioner, it is significantly easier to apply to hair than if it is a more water-y henna mix.
Step 7: Cover hair with a plastic bag, and let sit on hair for at least an hour, no more than overnight.
Step 8: When you are ready to rinse the henna out, fill the tub or a large bowl with water. Dunk hair into the water to loosen the henna. Doing this step before washing/conditioning helps to ensure all the henna pieces are fully removed from hair.
Step 9: Wash or condition hair. Condition with a moisturizing conditioner because henna acts like a protein (it isn't a protein though), and conditioning with a protein conditioner can make hair feel hard.
Step 10: Style as usual.

Well, that's about all I know about henna. Try it and let me know how you like it!

Have a natural hair, fitness, or beauty question, send me an email at FroBunni[at] and I will answer it on the next Dear FroBunni.

Xanthan Gum, Giovanni Ultra-Moist Line, and Back to Shampoo

in , by FroBunni, Wednesday, October 29, 2014
FroBunni | Natural Hair Puff on Wash Day
My puff after I washed and conditioned with Giovanni Ultra-Moist

Yesterday, I decided to see if xantham gum could be as a great as guar gum. I originally was going to wait until the weekend to try it, but per usual, I couldn't hold on that long (I missed my curls). I mixed the xanthan gum like I do guar gum - 4 oz of water and a tsp of xanthan gum. It thickened just like my guar gum, but it didn't dissolve. I strained the gel through some cheesecloth to remove any lumps.

In the shower, I cowashed with Giovanni 2chic Ultra-Moist conditioner, left a tad bit on my hair, then started applying the xanthan gum. It felt similar to my guar gum gel, and it did clump my curls, so I considered it a win. I pineappled my hair and went to bed.

This morning, I woke up, undid my pineapple hair looked dry. It felt unusually dry too. Nothing like my guar gum gel. I figured I would try to work with it for a few days. Well, after a couple of hours, I decided to wash my hair when I got home. My hair just didn't feel right.

Now, before all of this happened, I already decided to go back to shampoo. While I still haven't made the post, my hair color has changed a bit. I'm still not sure if it was because of the maple syrup or the baking soda. I looked back through my pictures and realized that I wasn't as active in taking pictures of my hair before I switched to baking soda. I wanted to know if my hair was really better with baking soda or without, and I knew I had to go back to shampoo to see. Since I love, love, love the Giovanni 2chic Ultra-Moist Deep Deep Moisture Mask, I decided to test other products in that line, and bought the shampoo and conditioner. I also picked up Herbal Essence Cleansing Conditioner.

Back to today, since I had already washed with baking soda a few days ago, I decided that I would test out the Herbal Essence Cleansing Conditioner. I began my wash as usual, rinsing my hair and then applying the hair felt super tacky. I looked at it and omg, xanthan gum is not water soluble. These small balls of hardened xanthan gum began forming in my hair. I started freaking out and realized that I needed to wash with shampoo. I hopped out of the shower, grabbed the shampoo and conditioner, and started washing. It felt oddly nice to shampoo again. I did miss the suds and the Ultra-Moist shampoo was moisturizing and didn't tangle my hair. I liked it, a lot. I rinsed my hair and applied the conditioner (by the way, the Ultra-Moist is my new favorite line). My hair was clean, really clean. There was no build up on my scalp or xanthan gum left in my hair. I applied aloe vera juice to my scalp and hair, sealed with olive oil and put my hair in a puff.

So, for the next two months, I'm going to see if shampoo is really the way to go. Will my hair tangle less? Will it be more moisturized? Will I retain more length? It will be interesting to see exactly how this plays out.

How the Paleo Diet Can Help IBS

in , , by FroBunni, Friday, October 24, 2014
I read this great article on alleviating IBS by eating paleo. Having been on the paleo diet before, I can attest that my stomach issues greatly decreased while I was eating paleo. Give it a read and let me know what you think!

Dear FroBunni: How do I get Second Day Hair?

in , by FroBunni, Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I can't get second day hair; I have to redo all my hairstyles, like this braid out, nightly.

"Dear FroBunni, Every time I try a hairstyle like a twist out, it looks good on the first day, but looks horrible on the second day. At night, I spritz my hair with some water, seal with shea butter, and put my hair in a pineapple, but the next morning, it always turns out frizzy and tangled. Is there some way for me to wear my twist out for at least 2-3 days as opposed to having to twist every night?"

To be honest, "second day" hair isn't something that I can get. I have to redo a style every night or else it looks frizzy and messy in the morning. The reason for this is that I have to moisturize and seal every night, and if I don't, my hair won't fare well the next day. Second day hair will require you to forgo the nightly moisture. Wetting your hair makes it shrink, thus ruining a stretched style. Instead, run some oil through your hair and then pineapple.

A couple things to note though, for one, you may need to moisturize your hair daily. If you find that your hair is getting brittle and dry, then you may in fact not be able to go more than 24 hours without moisturizing your hair, which means that second day hair won't be possible for you. Second, your hair may just not hold up well without redoing a style every day. Consider using a gel or a setting lotion, but you still may need to redo the style even with a little extra help.

Have a natural hair, fitness, or beauty question, send me an email at FroBunni[at] and I will answer it on the next Dear FroBunni.

From Big Chop to Now: Tips and Tricks for New Naturals

in , by FroBunni, Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Two months after my big chop, I bought lots of earrings and hair bows to accessorize.
Year 1
If you big chopped, you're not going to have much hair. All you can do at this stage is research in preparation for when your hair gets longer and just enjoy the ease of the first year (trust me, longer hair means longer time and more complicated). 
  • Research, research, research. Even though you won't be able to really gauge which products, techniques, or hairstyles work perfectly for you, you want to ensure that when your hair is longer, you're prepared.
  • Start loving your hair now. Stop using negative terminology to describe your hair and really take the time to appreciate all your curls and kinks even when you consider it uncooperative or difficult.
  • Accessorize! Since you don't have enough hair to style yet, get some earrings, headbands, flowers, etc to glam up your hair. 
  • Don't expect anything. It's nice to have goals, but if you're hoping for your hair crush's texture, you're setting yourself up for disappointment. Everyone is different and our hair does different things. It's fun to look, but don't covet.

During my second year, I wore my hair in a fro. I started trying different hairstyles later on in the year.
Year 2
This is the year to start trying new products, techniques and hairstyles. There will be a lot of trial and error and you will get very frustrated. Continue to persevere. It's worth it!
  • If at first you don't succeed, try and try again. You will be trying a lot of different hairstyles right now, and you won't get it right the first time. You'll probably go through at least 2 or 3 twist out or braid out techniques until you find one that you even remotely like. Keep trying, you'll get it!
  • Get your hands in your hair! You now have enough hair to really play in it and learn how it feels when it's well moisturized and healthy vs. dry, brittle, and unhealthy. Try different products, oils, and butters to learn which products work best for your hair.
  • Stay focused. I've noticed that a lot of naturals will get really frustrated this year, and return to relaxers. If you get frustrated, remember why you went natural, and focus on that instead of the negative.
  • Try a protective style. If you get really frustrating, consider trying a protective style. While I prefer protective styles with my own hair, like two strand twists, I know everyone is different. Find what works for you to get you over the hump. 
Showing off the texture in my twist out, I tried a lot of products during my third year and settled on Giovanni as my only moisturizer. 
3rd Year
You're no longer a newbie. You hair is growing, you know which products work for you, and you know how to get the perfect twist out. Now is the time to really zero in on the perfect regimen, and have fun playing with your hair.
  • Make everything a habit. You've figured out what works and what doesn't. Spend time perfecting you're regimen and making everything a habit so that it fits seamlessly in your life as opposed as feeling like you have to stop to take care of your hair. 
  • Have fun with hairstyles. Keep trying different hairstyles. Buy perm rods, flexi-rods, curlfomers, etc. Find that perfect hairstyle for you that will be your signature hairstyle.
  • Get an emergency hairstyle. While you're perfecting everything, you will still continue to get frustrated some times, so find styles that you know won't take to long to do and will always look good. For me, it's a low bun. 

In my fourth year, I finally began enjoying everything. Here, I am enjoying my length. 
4th Year and Beyond
By now everything should be a habit. You have you're regimen, your products, you favorite hairstyles and everything feels like second natural. The journey really never ends, so keep playing with hairstyles and even try a different product every once in awhile. 
  • There's always something new. There are always new hairstyles, techniques, and products to try, so keep trying. You never know, you may find something even better than your tried and true.
  • Don't go too crazy. I know I just said to try new things, but stay within moderation. No need to go broke trying every new product.
  • Just enjoy it! You're know your hair, you know you're beautiful, so just enjoy natural hair. It was worth it!
FroBunni | Should I wear my natural hair to an interview?

"Dear FroBunni, I am looking for a new job, and I really want to make sure I have the best chance of getting a job. Even though I love my natural hair, I don't think my natural hair will be well received at an interview. Should I straighten my hair or wear it as is?"

I get this question a lot, and in my opinion, I don't think your natural hair is going to matter that much. I know many naturals think that their hair isn't appropriate for the corporate world, but I think that is more so due to their own self consciousness. The only thing that will matter in an interview is HOW you wear your hair. You don't want to go in an interview with a frohawk or high volume, big hairstyle. You want your qualifications to shine during the interview, not your hair. 

TWA Just make sure hair is clean and well moisturized. If your hair is a little longer and you have hair falling in your face, just pin it back.
Medium Hair This stage is a bit more difficult because you probably can't yet get all of your hair in a ponytail. Try a flat twist going from the front of the head to the nape of the neck and gather the rest of the hair in a low ponytail. Or even try a half up-half down hairstyle gathering the top half of your hair into a ponytail or bun. You just want to make sure all of your hair is out of your face.
Long Hair
Ponytail or bun (and not a topknot).

At the end of the day, make sure that you are happy with how you look during the interview. The most important thing is to be comfortable, and if you are constantly worrying about your hair instead of focusing on the interview, it may just be best to straighten your hair or wear a wig. 

Dear FroBunni is a new feature where I will answer natural hair questions from my viewers

Foam (Sponge) Roller Set on Natural Hair

in , by FroBunni, Sunday, October 12, 2014

It's a well known fact that I love my foam roller sets. They create what I consider my signature style and they always turn out right (so long that my hair has dried first). I have been thinking about doing this technique with my foam rollers for awhile now, but just haven't really felt like doing much with my hair outside of a braid out. Well this past Wednesday, I finally decided to try it. 

I started by moisturizing my hair with Giovanni Direct Leave-In and sealing with a mix of coconut, olive, and castor oil. I light finger detangled a section of hair and then began twisting the hair like a bantu knot. I put a curler on the section of hair rolling all the way to the scalp. I had thirteen rollers in my hair when I was finished. In the morning, I took each roller out, rubbed some Giovanni Ultra Sleek Hair & Body Potion on my hands, and began to separate each section making sure to twirl the ends around my finger to reinforce the curl. The end result was soft hair and cascading curls. I love it!

My Natural Hairstyles

in , by FroBunni, Saturday, October 11, 2014
I take a lot of pictures (typical iPhone user, lol), but most don't make it to my blog, pinterest, or twitter for that matter. So once again, here are some of my hairstyles from the last few weeks.

This is a foam roller set; I will actually make a post on it later because it is a new technique that I used, and I absolutely love it! Stay tuned!

Perm rod set using the green perm rods. The bigger ones (i.e. black and brown) just create a gentle wave in my hair which isn't what I'm looking for when it comes to my roller sets. The one drawback is that they are a bit more difficult to sleep in than my foam rollers. 

Flexi rod set using the technique from the foam roller set above. I will make a post comparing the two later. I like this style, but the foam roller set is still my favorite. 

Braidout with four braids. I took about 3/4 of my hair and made two braids, and then I made another two braids with the small remaining section. 

Blowout. I compared this blowout with my last one and my hair is slowly getting longer. I am glad the monthly protein treatments are working. 

Healthy Recipes for the Week | October 5-11

in , , , by FroBunni, Tuesday, October 07, 2014

This week I decided to return paleo, but only for the week, and honestly, I'm not even full paleo. I definitely had sugar in my coffee this morning and a cinnamon bun for dessert for lunch. But last week, I OD'd on pasta and figured that I need to stick to mostly fruits, veggies, and meat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Paleo meal prep, salmon and veggie dinner

Curry Salmon with Roasted Carrots and Green Beans

I made this last week after I ran out of beef stroganoff. I mixed curry paste, fish sauce, and soy sauce and put it on the salmon. I tossed the veggies with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and threw everything in the oven to roast for 30 minutes. The end result, a delicious, healthy, gluten-free paleo friendly meal.

Chicken Salad with dijon mustard dressing

Chicken Salad with Dijon Mustard Dressing

I have a lot of lettuce that's about to go bad, so I made a salad. I seasoned some chicken with salt and pepper, sautéed it, and put it on a bed of mixed greens. The dressing was simple - Dijon mustard, olive oil, and lemon juice. Another paleo friendly, gluten-free meal.

Rice Flour Muffins with Craisins and White Chocolate Chips

I have a lot of rice flour (courtesy of me no longer using it in my, I also use it in my face wash...I may not want to make this again since it still has a purpose). So I decided to make rice floor muffins. The recipe was easy enough and I decided that I would add some craisins and white chocolate chips. It surprisingly is pretty good. A bit dry but I expected them to be since it was rice flour. All in all, it was pretty good gluten-free snack.

Check out my Natural Hair Feature on Frolicious!

in , by FroBunni, Saturday, October 04, 2014

frobunni natural hair
Shampoo vs. Alternative: My hair used to be frizzier, couldn't hold a style for long, and less defined when I was using shampoo. In the left pic, I was only out for an hour before my hair turned it a frizzy poof

Having natural hair, I have to be careful about what I put in my hair, and shampoo was one of those things that I just had to stop using. It made my hair dry and brittle, and when I detangled, I would have these huge hairballs that just seemed like overkill. And it didn't even matter what shampoo I used; Pantene, Herbal Essence, Suave, Shea Moisture, even my beloved Giovanni couldn't provide me with a shampoo that wouldn't strip and damage my hair. So, I decided to move away from shampoo and try more natural alternatives.

Baking soda for natural hair
Baking Soda
The first alternative to shampoo that I tried was baking soda. Before I adopted it into my regimen, I actually had tested it a few months prior. That mix was baking soda and water, and while it did make my hair shinier and more moisturized, my hair was always a bear to detangle. At the time, I thought it was the baking soda, so I stopped using it. But when I tried it again, I realized that without slip, which is present in all commercial shampoos, baking soda and water has absolutely no slip at all. So I added aloe vera gel, and my baking soda mix was amazing! It cleaned, detangled, and softened my hair, as well as removed build up on my scalp. Later on, I added maple syrup (which ended up changing the color of my hair but that's a post for another day). All-in-all, this is the perfect cleanser for my hair, but I can't help but to see if I can find something better.

Red Clay for natural hair
The most commonly used clay that I see naturals use is Bentonite clay. I've used that a few times, but it didn't clean my scalp the way I like. So I did some very light research and found that red clay is more effective at removing dirt than Bentonite clay. I used the red clay for a couple weeks while doing wash n gos, and I am happy to say that it does remove buildup better than Bentonite clay, but it does leave some behind. I still use it on occasion but I won't be buying more when I've used it up.

shikakai for natural hair
Shikakai and Hibiscus powder
I previously dabbled in Ayurvedic care, but not for too long and to be honest, it requires some more tries before I can make a full evaluation. Shikakai is used as an all natural hair cleanser in India and is said to promote hair growth, shine, and naturally darken hair. Hibiscus is said to do similar, except it is not as powerful of a cleanser and can leave a reddish tint to hair (since I drink Hibiscus tea, I was personally interested in its rejuvenating and anti-inflammatory properties). I washed with Shikakai and Hibiscus twice, and it was a very effective cleanser at removing build up on my scalp and hair. Plus, I had a lot less shedding than I did with baking soda (and I already barely have shedding with my baking soda mix). But, I did potentially have an allergic reaction to one or both of the powders (probably not hibiscus since I drink the tea regularly), but I am not sure. During the couple of weeks that I used it, I was also around someone's dog, and I am allergic to dogs (unless I have built up an immunity to their dander, like I have my own). I need to try these powders again, to make a full evaluation.

maple syrup for natural hair
I know what you're thinking, maple syrup to wash hair (and yes the real stuff, I'm from upstate NY and I know my maple syrup!)? But it does actually work even better than the clay. Maple syrup has saponins, which are glycosides found in certain foods that produce a gentle but effective cleanser when mixed with water. Maple syrup along with honey and agave are high in saponins. So are oats, beans and yucca. Some flowers are also high in saponins and include soapnut, bracken, horse chestnut, and soap lily.

For my maple syrup wash, all I did was mix 1 oz of maple syrup, 1/2 oz aloe vera gel, and 7.5 oz of water in an applicator bottle. I washed my hair and scalp with it, and to my surprise it did remove a reasonable amount of buildup on my scalp, but did leave some behind. Using saponin rich foods to clean my hair and scalp requires some more tries; I bought some oat flour and can't wait to try using that to wash with this weekend.