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Freundschaft
This wall was painted in 2011 by kids to honor the reunification of Germany in 1989.
I took this picture yesterday, again not knowing we would wake up to horror in Europe. Last night a syrian asylum seeker who had been denied asylum injured 12 people in Ansbach.

If I was still living in Panama, my reaction would have been anger to blame the mistakes of the governments all of them. Now I am more tolerant, maybe it is the hair, the life or maybe the German kindness, possibly a mix of factors. This is my home now, at least for now Germany has made me feel welcome in every possible way, office workers are diligent & courteous, people in the street are friendly, my family all of them from Hamburg to Baden have welcomed me and shared love all over.

This is not a violent society like in the American continent, violence is the exception not the norm.
I am afraid that the german kindness can turn into hate and xenophobia because they feel betrayed by their government or by the massive flood of refugees due to bad decisions just like it happened in Panama when the illegal & legal inmigration due to the crisis in Venezuela started. Panama’s situation and Germany’s situation are entirely different, this is the first time a syrian commits a terror attack and no one in Panama has tried to blow up anybody; but my point is governments taking actions regarding people when they are not prepared for it is a source of social tension and as a consequence makes people vulnerable, that is something that both countries have in common.

If the reaction of turning xenophobic, vigilant and hateful of the people of Panama to the behavior and actions of a lot of Venezuelan  immigrants (arrogant, disrespectful, etc etc), off course not all of them are like that, but the bad ones have made  their mark; a few years back panamanians were completely welcoming to the venezuelans but after repeated offenses from one group to the other many panamanians are wary of foreigners now, if this change of heart of panamanians is any indicator of our human nature and predisposition for reacting negatively, I am very afraid for Germany.

I was so uncomfortable in Panama because very often you heard in the street foreigners hating on Panamanians and vice-versa, it was exhausting. I hope Germans do not change, but it seems they are already changing by voting for hate parties such as AfD or supporting hate groups like Pegida.

Let us remember how hard the world has struggled for unity and globalization, do not let hate destroy it.
Hate does not have nationality boundaries first a possibly afgan teen with an Ax, then a german with a gun, now a syrian with a bomb; they all have in common being people who commited terrible crimes.
Do not pray for Germany, engage for the world, join political movements, volunteer organizations, travel, talk to others and make your government accountable.
I hope for a successful recovery of the victims of these attacks and my condolences to the victim’s families.
Politicians decide, but the people sheds the blood. Sorry for the “activist” post but it felt wrong not addressing this.

 

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I Know Everything

Daily Prompt response.

Almost every single night the same pompous,pretentious looking woman walks by my apartment at around 10 pm, everything about her annoys me, her big voluminous hair, that make up! Oh Gosh I hate her make up, if you can call it that, so simple barely there and no matter how well dressed up she is, her tell tale sign of the carefree, mundane and meaningless life she leads are her ever present under eyes dark circles.

One of these days I will stay up properly dressed, with my hair done and perfect make up and tell her “if you want to go out and party every night at least look the part, fix that make up. Wear high heels and flatten that hair” Yes! my speech is perfect tomorrow I will do it, enough is enough.

The lights are so bright what am I doing here? Where was I? Oh yes! waiting for that low life, but where am I now? I must have…my head…oh the bus, oh the bus.

“Blood pressure dropping, give me IV fluids, get the crash cart…”

It is her! yes I will tell her, now she will know I know what she does every night, no more hiding what she carries in that bag. What is she wearing?, the beeping, this noise is annoying, I can not see.

“She is crashing, 1,2,3 Clear!”

I KNoww you…

A few hours later..

-Dr. Johnson do you know why the Jane Doe of the bus crash, said she knew you?

-I did not know her name and we never really spoke but I think she was my neighbour. She always looked a bit lonely and sad staring out the open window whenever I would be heading to the ER for my night shift; it is a shame really I think she wanted to say something, but I was always in such a rush. I wish I had taken the time to meet her, but you know always busy maybe this is a wake up call.

-Do you think she jumped in front of the bus?

-Maybe, I can not say, may she rest in peace.

 

This was my response to the daily prompt

 

I feel no shame and neither should you!       And a letter to my Mother

The Hair Lab Doctor

I thought very hard about writing this post, because it is very personal and also because it is not politically correct and adresses the sensitive topic of race.

It seems like nowadays we live in a culture of shame and today I will adress the shame of having “pelo malo” in Panama that is the phrase people in my country, use when referring to afro hair, which translates to bad hair.

I think it is just a form of casual racism and blackness denial that shames panamanians, even if they have light skin with mildly wavy hair, into frying their hair with flat irons and altering its natural curl pattern permanently with Relaxers and keratin treatments.

Today I feel no shame and never will again about who I am and how my hair looks, my multicultural heritage and my life choices, I used to be ashamed of my hair like a lot of women and girls with afro hair (without being aware of it) but today I say NO MORE.

When I was little I saw the most glorious set of hair on a beauty peagant and it was curly & big like mine is today thanks to the love and tips of many wonderful beautybloggers and vloggers. Back then mine was brittle and it hurt to detangle. My mom did not know how to do my hair because, I Got my curly fro from my dad so that was new territory for my beautiful, adorable & sweet mother. The information was not out there for moms of mixed babies. She loved my curls but I did not, until now.

My beloved mother had thin, fine, high density,wavy hair due to her caucasian, asian, and native american heritage. My mom loved everything black, she loved my hair so much and thought it was beautiful. I wish she could be here to be silly about it with me,she was so funny, but I know she is still watching over me. The point is we are not just a skin color or a hairtype, we are people and people of the same country and culture who should be united not divided by old hatreds and long standing privileges.


As much as my mom and my dad loved everything black the country in which I grew up, I feel, lives in black denial. The gold standard of beauty over there is caucasian and only 6% is in fact caucasian. Panama is a mix race country but somehow there is shame in embracing the part of our nation that came from Africa. I call that The denial of the Black Panama.

Back to the beauty queen with amazing curls? Well it turns out that with deep conditioner, finger curling,air diffusing and good hair care, today I get to see how my hair really is like I and that is the true model of the beauty peagant for me. Off course my hair is shorter and we look nothing alike. I am that beauty queen because I have the courage to walk out there and be as myself as I can possibly be with No apologies and so are you.

The irony of all of this, is that I now know I had the curls I coveted for so long secretly hidden under my flat ironed hair all along, if only the information to care for my hair had been available when I was a child.

I am not ashamed to write a personal story, I am not ashamed of remembering my mom as sweet as she was. She beat cancer even if she died, because every single day after her surgery she went out and did something amazing for others.

Dear mom today I realized I can be the beautyqueen I had always wanted to be and that you already knew I was. Sorry for not being there to save you. I was always away seeing the world and now your piece of the world is forever lost but not forgotten, never forgotten, your legacies stay behind, and I will work hard to move forward and keep changing the world through Education and science.

Dear Mother you were always silent about your accomplishments while others bragged loudly. I will tell the world how amazing you were. Love you my ever so gracious mother.

See you when the stars fall again.

With Love Your Daughter

My mom and my auntie, always doing good deeds

 

A product Junkie Rehab: The Cantu case

Hello Again Curl Friends. I had the idea of write this a detective story but I utterly failed so it will be factual.

Lately the Hair Lab is conducting financial planning experiments, aka trying to control the full blown Product Junkie in order to not go bankrupt.

Today I will share with you: The Cantu Case.

This is the 1st brand all curlies want, because everyone loves it. I only heard of it 3 years after the beggining of my journey. So I imported from the US and spent a lot of money on a relatively cheap product.  I had it imported because I thought it was hard to find it here in Germany so imagine how disappointing it  was when it did not work for me as a Leave-in for wash and go (my basic style) so I left it on the “products I hate” shelf, but somehow it felt wrong since this is top on curly girl product love, also the smell is just too pungent for me. 

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The Hair Lab: Twist out with Cantu

I still wanted to love it so I tried it again as a styling cream for a wash and go and my hair looked amazing for 1 day, then used it again for a wash and go, it was not good at all and I just gave up for about 3 weeks.

I started using it as an overnight prewash detangler and it worked wonders in making my wash days faster because of how detangled and soft my hair was the next morning.

A few months ago I was finally able to get good results with Cantu Shea Butter Leave in Conditioning Cream for my wash and go.

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The Hair Lab: Wash & Go Preliminary Result

Things I did different:

  1. I Used less product.
  2. Applied only in the sections of my hair that do not curl well and finger coiled (this product is great for finger coiling because of the slip and quick definition it gives)
  3. Tried my best to overlook the smell lol.
  4. Used it as a stand alone product, I did not used the LOC method.
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Finger curling only the upper layer of the hair

After it was 80% dry I lifted with a wide tooth comb and an afro pik and shook my head a LOT

My latest test included using 2 cantu products as follows:

  1. Conditioning cowash
  2. Cantu beauty leave in conditioning CREAM: the cream part is important to note as cream my low porosity high density, fine-medium very curly afro hair can not stand it, it is too heavy. Instead I used it as a very rich rinse out conditioner using the squish and condish method, this also deals with the scent issue.
  3. I oiled the hair with a coconut oi blend from the body shop
  4. I used Jane carte solution revitalizing conditioner as the only leave in product to heat protect.
  5. I used the diffuser in medium heat low speed and was ready in 15 minutes.

It def is not a holy grail product for me but I feel better knowing that I can get good results with it. Not all curlies are created equal and what one person might love the other might think meh. Still I enjoyed playing around maybe next time I can use it as Leave in again just to see what happens.  

 

 

 

 

Prisma, AI for the People

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Photo Credit: The Hair Lab

 

 

Prisma is a russian app created by Russian developer Alexei Moiseyenkov released last month that uses neural networks and artificial intelligence  (as other applications before it) to create “paintings” from your pictures. What makes it different, and maybe the reason for its popularity, is that it mixes well with current social media instant usage because it is remarkably faster than its earlier more customizable counterparts, which I also like very much and will write about soon.

How to use Prisma:

Basically take any of your iPhone pictures, choose your “filter” wait a few seconds and you get you AI customized photo painting. It has a set amount of filters from which your photo will be repainted, not just a filter on top but a new creation. So far the tech community and selfie instausers are equally excited. The app for android will be launched this month.

Some critics say it distances people from art, but I think I gives art to the people with the help of science.

5 Errores que cometí durante la Transición

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5 errores que cometí durante la transición a cabello Natural

1. Me hacía y me hacían plancha, ojo yo amo los rizos pero tb mi look lacio, para mi todo cabello natural es bonito, dicho esto plancha en la transición es mucho riesgo de ruptura capilar y big chop obligado yo tuve suerte y con buena técnica pero el cabello es frágil en ese estado. NO NO Lo haga.

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Just say NO asi sea la super Ghd ultimo modelo NO

2. No leer blogs de cabello natural, error grave y por eso 🖕🖕🖕eso pasó. Lea blogs no sea como yo.

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3. Querer complacer a la Jefa, no diré más de esto pero mis colegas me entienden.

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Credito: Tallncurly.com

4. Hacerse alisado en las raíces para que la plancha quede mejor. ¡Cringe! Esto es consecuencia de la 3.

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5. Vivía debajo de una piedra. Nadie nace sabiendo, conecta pregunta en redes sociales todos somos humanos buscando mejorar y juntos somos mas fuertes. No seas como yo en mi transición a menos que te guste hacer todo a lo loco entonces sí lol 😹😹😹😹 no seas una isla se un archipiélago, pero créeme los vlogs y blogs ayudan. No todo es correcto pero para eso esta el señor Google.image.jpeg

 

The burnt genie

Burn Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. Not sure how to participate? Here are the steps to get started. daily prompts, inspiration, postaday, Post Ideas https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2016/07/02/burn/

He asked me one question.

What do you wish for?

I answered, after thinking hard, happiness I said.

He seemed pleased, then he asked a number 2 question.

Are you happy?

I answered with a dreamy smile, yes I am.

He pondered for a minute with his smoky eyes a slit and his lamp on his lefthand.

He looked at me one last time and then turned around with his lamp, his smokey eyes and his silken robes. The wish granting genie left me alone, without uttering a single word of goodbye.

Too bad, he seemed like a nice guy, I really like his smokey eyes.

Curly Girl Chemistry: a Mini Guide!

The curly girl mini guide to deciphering the ingredient list on haircare products, is a bit of a blogging experiment for me. The idea is to translate a little bit of journal science into everyday information readily available for all curlkind.

Today Shampoo & Surfactants

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What are all those things in the ingredient list?


This post will be about surfactants which are basically detergents which clean and/or condition the hair and scalp in some cases.

To sulfate or not to sulfate? That is the question. A very common question for curly girls. Sulfates are part of the anionic surfactant group, are deep cleansers and are the cheapest products in the haircare industry.
The answer is maybe, it depends, not too much.


In the above table you can see the 4 types of surfactants or cleansing agents found commonly in Shampoos, conditioners, nopoos or cleansing conditioners.

Deep cleansers = anionic surfactants.

They usually lather and clean the scalp very well, but they have as a negative for curly hair a drying effect so if you are curly these agents should not be used everyday, once a week seems like a good enough frequency.

One reason a shampoo can be extremely drying is that it has a mix of 2 or more deep cleansers (as a curly girl this is something I avoid completely). I saw a shampoo that was called moisturizing but had sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate of course it will dry the hair, that is a no no no for curly hair.

Sulfates are known to cause irritation in some people, specially sodium lauryl sulfate which I have excluded from my haircare but other than that one most anionic surfactants do a pretty good job without causing problems, my favorites are sulfosuccinates & sulfonates because they have a smaller molecular size, hence less chance of causing scalp and skin irritation. I find Sodium laureth Sulfate ok as it does not irritate my skin either, but a lot of peopleavoid this ingredient.

Mild Cleansers = nonionic, amphoteric or cationic surfactants.

They usually don’t lather and are either added as a conditioning agent to make deep cleansers softer.

They are commonly used as the main ingredient in no poo products and conditioners.

The best ones as stand alone agents are the nonionic ones like cetearyl alcohol or any other fatty alcohol (these are hydrating alcohols unlike denaturalized alcohol which is drying) and the amphoterics like betaines, because they do a better cleaning job than cationic or natural surfactants.

Deep cleansers remove silicones, contamination & sebum while Mild cleansers can’t remove silicones, oils or butters.

Before starting to use a cowash or no poo product always wash your hair with a shampoo of your choice to remove any trace of hair products and dirt and make sure to not exclude shampoo completely from your routine in order to keep your scalp healthy.

Another good tip for successful cowashing is to avoid all silicones, butters and oils…and if product build up appears use a deep cleanser and then follow with a good deep conditioner.

No need to be afraid of deep cleansers just use them in moderation.

I hope this mini guide helps you and if you have any questions, just ask I am happy to help!

Let me know in the comments your thoughts!

Caring for Curly Hair can become expensive , so when buying products it is important we are selective about it.

Super Easy Wash Day! Update

Updated Fast Wash Day Routine

1. Oil pre poo (either overnight or just before washing hair)

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Mixed natural based oils free of silicones

2. Shampoo or Cowash (currently cowashing up to 2 weeks which is the point of tolerance to build up that I have)

3. Deep Condition: Leave on from 7 min-20 min with or without heat (generally a warm towel).

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I Have not been able to find a deep conditioner I like better than this one, so I keep repurchasing it!

4. Detangle: I use a tangle teezer brush and so far I love it! I will review each product individually in a separate post maybe if you like 🙂

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5. Rinse Out conditioner

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I rinse out 60% of the conditioner, so far it only works with this particular conditioning milk by Devacurl and I love it!

6. Leave in: Since I am currently doing a “silicone free challenge” these are the leave in conditioners I am using at the moment.

7. Diffuse, style or air dry and you are done!

My goal of having a simplified routine that works for me has been completed, detangling more than once during the wash day at least for me is unnecessary (and I only use my hair as a wash and go so hello tangles but it is still ok).

 I normally wash my hair with shampoo every week and cowash in between as needed. 

I stopped using shampoo about 2 weeks ago in order to properly try the effects of the very hyped Decadence line by Devacurl And they live up to the hype. Also I have only cowashed exclusively as part of my cowash silicon free challenge, but it is time to use shampoo again since I noticed some build up today and I will probably go back to weekly/biweekly usage of shampoo, still that does not change my preference for a shorter wash day. 

How is your wash day routine? How many products do you use? Have you tried any of the products in this post? Would you like a review of each product? Let me know in the comments section and thanks for reading!

Cheers 

The Hair Lab