What is Silk:
Silk is a protein fibre produced by the mulberry silkworm’s cocoon. This natural fibre (thread) has a triangular prism-like structure which deflects light at different angles to help produce different colours. Sometimes silk is referred to as Mulberry Silk in reference to the leaves the silkworm feast on (less valuable silk are from silk worms that feast on Osage Orange and lettuce) for about 6 weeks to support its development and growth. Silkworms are caterpillars that descended from the Bombyx Mori moth. Once they reached their full potential growth of about 3 inches, they are then ready to spin their cocoons in a figure of 8 movements by raising their heads. They spin their cocoons around 300,000 times and the process can last anywhere between 3-8 days. A silkworm can produce a single strand of silk of about 100 meters long which is held together by sericin (Sericin is a natural produced gum). It takes around 2500 silkworms to produce one pound of silk.
History of Silk:
It is believed that the Chinese discovered silk around the 27th century BC (Before Christ) when the Chinese Princess Xi Ling Shi was the first to roll a cocoon of silk which had accidentally dropped into her cup of tea (allegedly). Since that incident the Chinese studied the life cycle of silkworm and became the biggest producers of silk whilst controlling the silk market (and keeping the silk making a secret) for 3000 years. There is evidence that silk does date back as far as 3000 BCE (Before the Common Era). The Chinese exportation of silk in the 3 century BC between Asia (where the Romans first discovered silk), Europe and Japan (by sea) is known as the silk roads.
The Chinese only allowed the women to farm silkworms and many women walked on silkworm farms. Silk was (and is still is) considered a luxurious item and was very popular amongst aristocratic and high society. The popularity of silk grew to a point where it had to be regulated for over a millennium for the use to only members of the imperial family. Silk had many uses outside of clothing, such as it was made into a luxurious paper where it was used to pay the governmental officials.
Around 500 AD (Anno Domini), Byzantium hide some silkworm in his walking stick made of bamboo, where the Byzantines were able to cultivate their own (this action marked the start of the silk Industry in the Eastern Roman Empire). The production of silk started to spread in Western Europe. Over time the Koreans and then later on the Indians were able to discover how making silk therefore making the Chinese lose their monopoly on producing silk.
Italian silk was far so expensive and the French started to make their own silk locally as they wanted lighter and less expensive materials. King Francis first of France approved a domination for silk production in the City of Lyon and so Lyon became Europe’s capital city of silk trade. By 1845 the European silk industry declined when the silkworms were hit with their first diseases and this increased the price of silkworm cocoons. Fashion was also changing in the aristocratic and middle-class circle which mean that the demand for silks in garment decreases. With all the mishaps happening in Europe, Japan became the world’s biggest silk producers up until the second world war. Today, China has regained their control and are now the largest producers of silk in the world.
The Making of Silk:
Once the silkworms have spun their cocoon and eventually enclosed themselves inside. To extract the natural silk thread, the cocoons are then placed into a boiling water. This softens the thread and dissolves the sericin. This step ensures that the full length of the thread remains intact and undamaged.
The threads are then unwind from the cocoon in individual long threads which are then wined to make a reel.
Once the threads are washed and degummed, they are then bleached and dried to prepare them for the dyeing process.
In the past silk dyeing techniques took dyes from nature and the local environment such as fruits and plants (like the indigo leaves) where the threads were placed and soaked in a boiling hot water of whatever fruit or plant, they want to extract the colour from. This process to repeated few times over days to get the desire tone and quality. However, in today’s most advanced technology, manufacturers opt to dye the threads with dyes such as acid dyes and reactive dyes. These dyes offer a far greater choice as well as to produce silk in a highly commercially demanding market.
The threads are then unwind on to a bobbin so that they lay completely flat to get ready for the weaving process. The process is call spinning and there are many different types of spinning such as: hand-spinning, mule spinning and ring spinning.
Weaving is where the silk comes together. There are many different types of silk weaving such as plain weave, open weave (most common weave), crepe and satin weave (please note there isn’t such material as satin and many materials/threads can be satin weave. Best to get silk woven into the satin weave).
If designers require special designs or pattern, then the Printing stage. Printing can take place as screen printing (this is traditional printing) or digital printing.
The silk is then treated using different chemical treatment which provides the lustrous sheen silks are known for as well as adding valuable properties such as crease-proofing and fire resistance. This final step is a most and it is known as the Finishing.
Benefits of Silk:
Silk is one of the softest, shiny, comfortable and breathable materials on the planet and it have many benefits to the skin and Hair.
Silk thread is very similar to human hair- It is 97% protein, 3% fat and wax and contains 18 amino acids, this makes it very kind and supportive to human skin.
Silk contains natural cellular albumen- this helps to speed up the metabolism of the skin cells.
Silk support the moisture in the skin and can support in the prevention of moisture loss in the skin or hair. This promotes the skin to rejuvenate, slow down the aging process (of the skin), relieves dry and/or flaky skin by locking in the moisture. It also encourages moisture balance in the hair.
Silk keeps the skin cool in the summer and preserve body heat during winter. It supports the body to regulate its temperature and provides thermal balance.
It can absorb moisture up to 30% its weight, it is very absorbent and dries very quickly by allowing good air circulation simply by the thread increasing in size. This property of silk makes the fabric great for perspiration whilst promoting the skin to breathe.
Silk keeps the moisture in the hair and doesn’t tangle up the hair as the hair simply glides over the smooth materials. Experts in the beauty field believe that it helps to keep the hair soft (it does this through the ability to balance the moisture in the hair).
Silk doesn’t create static electricity, so easily, so it keeps the hair strands in place, doesn’t cause frizz or breakage, doesn’t cling to the body and is very easy to iron.
Silk is very durable and will maintain its appearance and quality time.
Silk is very versatile and can be used for anything such as clothing, accessories, rugs, parachutes, beddings, just to name a few.
Silk is hypoallergenic, so it is a natural fungal repellant and doesn’t attract dust mites. Medical experts believe that it rarely causes allergic reactions.
Studies have shown that silk doesn’t cause the face to get wrinkled (on one side) at night when lying on silk pillows and beddings.
Balasa, O; Accessed on 05 November 2020; Great Benefits of Silk Fabric; https://www.ageberry.com/great-benefits-of-pure-silk-fabric/#:~:text=Great%20Benefits%20of%20Silk%20Fabric.%201%201.%20Silk,degree%20effects%20of%20aging%20and%20…%20More%20items
The Ethical Silk Company; Accessed on 05 November 2020; Benefits of Silk; https://www.theethicalsilkco.com/about-silk
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Image by <a href=”https://pixabay.com/users/paz_pao-3054267/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=4579365″>Paolo Zerbato</a> from <a href=”https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=4579365″>Pixabay</a>
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History of Black Seed Oil
Black Seed comes from the fruits of a small plant with pale purple, blue, or white flowers that can be found in Eastern Europe, Western Asia and the Middle East. The plant is called Nigella Sativa, but the seed has many different names such as Black Cumin, Black Caraway, Black Onion Seeds and Kalonji. This seed is also mentioned in the bible in Isaiah:27
Black seed has been used as remedies for thousands of years as well as used to spice food and drinks such as pickles, curries, salads, vegetable dishes and bread. The high quality of black seeds is used for food and drinks.
Black seeds have many benefits for the skin, hair and overall health of the body and form part of the ingredients for many beauty products, for example; Shampoo, Massage oils, fragrances, etc.
What is it?
Black seed oil is obtained from the seed using a cold compression method This allows the purest and highest potency nutrients from the seed retain in the oil; the darker the oil, the higher the purity. Black seed oil contains thymoquinone. Thymoquinone is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that may have tumour-reducing benefits.
Black seed oil is also high in fatty acid, but low in Omega 3 and rich in polyunsaturated fat, which means it is great for the heart.
Benefits for the Hair
Studies have shown that black seed oil helps to grow and strengthen the hair shaft diameter (fight against thinning hair) as well as adding shine to a lacklustre and lifeless hair. Black seed oil reduces dandruff, soothes itchy scalp and help fight against greyness.
Benefits for the Body
Black Seed has many health benefits both in the application and when indigested (capsule).
A 2013 study shows that black seed oil reduces the severity of eczema compared to prescribed medication. It can also help with acne according to different research because black seed oil contains antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
According to recent studies, black seed oil may help with treating cancer as thymoquinone found in the oil may be able to kill off cancer cells found in leukaemia, breast and brain cancers. These researchers didn’t conduct on human, but on cancer uses cells. A research conducted on rats in 2013 shows that the oil may reduce liver and kidney disease complication and improve these organ structures. An article from the Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism suggests that black seed oil may contain anti-diabetic properties and improve blood sugar. This sounds great for diabetics- but remember that these researches happen with animal participants and not humans. There is great news for men who want to have children but finds it hard. Research conducted in men found that the oil increases sperm mobility and sperm count. It may also help with Rheumatoid Arthritis and muscle spasms. The oil may aid in lowering Cholesterol (and supporting the health of the heart) as well as easing toothache
Black seed oil may cause a rash in some individual, so it is very important to do a patch test before using it.
The oil should not be used near the eyes, nose or other sensitive areas of the body.
Consuming black seed oil may cause stomach problems such as constipation, stomach upset and vomiting.
If you are pregnant or breastfeed, please seek medical advice before using.
Naturally Curly; Berley, S (2019); Natural Hair Growth Remedy: Black Seed Oil; https://www.naturallycurly.com/curlreading/kinky-hair-type-4a/hair-growth-remedies-black-seed-oil
Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322948#takeaway
Natural Food Series; Jessimy, M (2019); Black Seed Oil Benefits: For Health, Skin, Hair and Side Effects; https://www.naturalfoodseries.com/11-health-benefits-black-seed-oil/
Healthy Hubb: https://www.healthyhubb.com/black-seed-oil-benefits/
Beauty Best Care; Smith, J (2020); How To Use Black Seed Oil For Hair Growth; https://www.beautybestcare.com/black-seed-oil-for-hair-growth
Fresh, Body Mind; Ellie (2019); The Amazing Black Seed Oil Benefits for Hair; https://freshbodymind.com/black-seed-oil-benefits-for-hair/
Naturally Daily (2019); Black Seed Oil For Hair: 10 Benefits of Kalonji Oil; https://naturallydaily.com/black-seed-oil-for-hair/
Organic Facts; Staughton, J (2020); 5 Amazing Benefits Of Black Seed Oil For Hair; https://www.organicfacts.net/black-seed-oil-hair.html
NCBI; Yousefi, M, et al (2013); Comparison of therapeutic effect of topical Nigella with Betamethasone and Eucerin in hand eczema; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23198836
In Conversation with Trevor with Dr Solomon Guramatunhu on why he is against black women wearing weaves and artificial hair. This is very informative.
There are many methods of drying natural hair, but the three main methods are Heat Blow-Drying, Cool Blow-Drying and Air Drying. If one chooses to use a blow-dryer, the dryer needs to have different heat settings so that you can choose the right setting for your hair. Before we dive into the different methods of …
What is Grapeseed Oil
Grapeseed oil is a lightweight, mild cold-pressed oil extracted from the seeds of grapes using a hydraulic steel press. This method is said to retain the goodness and purity of the ingredients. Grapeseed oil has flavonoids, vitamin E, Procyanidin Oligomers, Proanthocyanidins (condensed tannins), Linoleic acid, many mighty antioxidants and several plant compounds to help fight free radicals and health benefits.
Grapeseed oil can range in colours from bright green to translucent and may have a weak sweet smell.
How grapeseed oil may benefit the hair
In 1998 an animal study shows that proanthocyanidins stimulate hair growth and these results could create a similar growth in humans. Other tests have shown (mostly in animals) that the procyanidin oligomers is contained in grapeseed oil can also induce hair growth in humans. These rich antioxidants found in grapeseed oil are believed to help treat hair androgenetic alopecia. Also, other researchers have shown if grapeseed oil is used as a carrier with essential oils such as Rosemary, Lavender, Thyme, and Cedarwood it may benefit people who suffer from alopecia areata (when the immune system attacks hair follicles) as it helps to grow stronger hair than just using grapeseed oil on its own.
Grapes have been used for medicinal purpose in Asia for thousands of years and in places like India, grapeseed oil is used to nourish and revitalised the hair as it contains oleic acid as well as linoleic acid and other fatty acids. Linoleic acid is an omega 6 fatty acid that helps stimulate hair growth.
Just like many other oils, grapeseed oil helps to seal in the moisture (water) on the hair strands and scalp and therefore keeps the hair hydrated for longer and helping the hair strands keep its elasticity and flexibility. Since this is a lightweight oil, it will not weigh down the hair like other oils such as castor oils, jojoba oils, etc.
Grapeseed oil contains leucoanthocyanins; these composites help to fight free radicals. Researchers believe that free radicals cause the hair to go grey and therefore this oil helps fight premature greyness as well as soothes inflamed scalp and reduces dandruff. Also, grapeseed oil contains a very high boiling point and have some anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties, making it a great heat protection for the hair (and skin).
How grapeseed oil may the skin
A 2002 study shows that the anti-inflammatory properties of grapeseed oil help to reduce swelling and redness of the skin. The oil also helps to lock in the moisture on the skin and leaves the skin soft, hydrated, supple and elasticated. Proanthocyanidin found in grapeseed oil is believed to even out the skin tone.
It is great a massage oil as it contains linolenic acid and vitamin E; these nourish the skin and absorbed easily by the body. Due to the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties, grapeseed oil is believed to protect the skin from UV sun rays.
Disadvantages of Grapeseed Oil
At the moment there are very few risks associated with grapeseed oil.
When consumed (cooking) it is believed that grapeseed oil may be unsuitable for people who suffer from blood conditions; using blood-thinning medications such as Warfarin and those who are about to have surgery.
Even though there aren’t any risk factors associated with grapeseed oil for cosmetic use, it will be wise to do a spot test for any allergies to the oil.
Watson, K (2019); Grapeseed Oil for Skin: Benefits and Uses; Healthline; https://www.healthline.com/health/grapeseed-oil-for-skin
The North American Essential Oil and Aromatherapy Expers (08/03/2020); Grapeseed Oil Benefits and Uses for Hair, Skin, Face, & Where to Buy; Essential Oil Experts; https://essentialoilexperts.com/grapeseed-oil/
Curejoy Editorial (2018); 7 Benefits Of Grapeseed Oil For Hair Growth; CureJoy; https://www.curejoy.com/content/benefits-of-grapeseed-oil-for-hair/
Naturally Daily Team (2019); 10 Amazing Benefits of Grapeseed Oil for Hair; Naturally Daily; https://naturallydaily.com/benefits-of-grapeseed-oil-for-hair/
Chockyfoodie (2011); What Are The Advantages & Disadvantages of Grapeseed oil; Ifood.tv; https://ifood.tv/ingredients/283380-what-are-the-advantages-disadvantages-of-grapeseed-oil
These are summaries of oils that are great for natural hair and provides an excellent environment for hair growth, hair strength and thickness as well as length retention.
In the future, each oil will get explored in more detail.
Grapeseed Oil: This oil is lightweight and great to use as natural hair protection as it has a high boiling point.
Olive Oil: This heavy oil, is magnificent at conditioning the hair and with its anti-inflammatory property, it can help prevent dandruff.
Coconut Oil: This lightweight oil can penetrate the hair shaft with its antiviral, anti-fungal, and antibacterial properties it can help prevent hair loss.
Argan Oil: Argan oil contains omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin E; this lightweight oil absorbed into the hair, providing great shiny and manageable hair.
Sweet Almond Oil: This oil is full of so much goodness, such as fatty acids, magnesium, protein, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin E, and antioxidants. It helps to seal in the moisture in the hair (keeping it hydrated for longer) and therefore providing elasticity without the greasy feeling.
Jojoba Oil: This is the only oil that is similar to the sebum oil (the natural oil the scalp produces). It is an excellent sealant as it locks in the moisture (water) into the hair.
Castor Oil: Castor Oil is a very thick oil that helps to thicken the hair strands and prevent thinning hair, breakage and hair loss.
Avocado Oil: This is another super oil that contains folic acid, amino acids, fatty acids, copper, iron, magnesium, proteins, and vitamins A, B, D, and E. It protects the hair from sun damages and good to use as a hot oil treatment.
Rapeseed Oil: Conditions the hair and helps to prevent hair loss, split ends and dandruff. It is rich in omega 3, 6 and 9 as well as vitamin E.
Mustard Seed Oil: This is another excellent hot oil treatment and support hair growth as it stimulates and encourages blood flow to the scalp.
Black Seed Oil (Nigella Sativa Seed): It has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant promoting a healthy scalp (creating a fantastic environment for hair growth) and reducing dandruff.
A young future entrepreneur (who kindly modelled Isabis for us with her straighten natural hair) explains how she straightens her natural hair whilst limiting heat damage. She talks about her regime, techniques and tools she uses to straighten her hair in the most time efficient way possible and how to keep it straight for a while.
If you are looking for the safest way to straighten your natural curls (coils or kinks), then this podcast is for you.
PS: This is Flourishing Crown first ever podcast and so we are producing the raw, unedited version as you can see our growth from our first every experimental podcast to future podcasts to come.
Apology for the outside noise