Interview: Self-Love Coach Stephanie Verna

Images are property of @lovelearnbloom

Self-love and self-acceptance is an important topic in the hair and beauty industry. Unfortunately, these industries have and still do portray beauty as something that we must create because it does not exist within us. “Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s Maybelline.” These are the messages that we are inundated with as consumers on a daily basis, they prey on insecurities with the goal of increasing sales and profit.

At Blossom, we strive to promote self-love. Our message will always be “come as you are”. We don’t want our products to change you, we want them to honor you.

To discuss self-love more in detail, we interviewed fellow curly-girl and self-love coach, Stephanie Verna.

Images are property of @lovelearnbloom

When Stephanie isn’t working as a full-time IT trainer and part-time English teacher, she’s spreading her message of self-love on her blog, Instagram and Youtube channel Love, Learn, Bloom.

Describe yourself.

I’m a resilient warrior, fear-conqueror, and mountain-lover. In general, I am an introvert but if I am comfortable with someone, I will seem extroverted. I love learning and applying what I learn to level up different aspects of myself and my life.

Images are property of @lovelearnbloom
Finish the sentence: Self-love is…

getting to know yourself deeply, embracing everything that makes you YOU, and loving yourself through every phase in your life.

When did you start blogging and making videos on self-love?

I’ve been blogging since 2009 but self-love was not my main topic.  I took a break from blogging and decided to start a new blog on self-love in 2019.

I started my blog because I want to share all that helps me to be happy, healthy, and balanced, regardless of the challenges I’m facing, and it all stems from self-love.  Helping others love themselves fully and be who they are created to be is what inspired me to create this blog.  And, reaching as many people as possible with my message is what pushed me to create my YouTube channel.

In the natural hair community, we’ve seen a lot of progress in terms of self-acceptance and self-love. It’s not always easy to accept one’s curly or afro hair. Even if we flood our Instagram feeds with these images, this is not always reflected in mainstream media. Have you always loved your curly fro? If not, what helped you get there?

I’ve always liked my hair in all the different states it has been in, even if I’ve been frustrated with it sometimes. In 2005, I went to a barber and cut off all my hair, because I wanted to let it grow naturally, after seeing a picture of myself as a child, with a huge smile and a big fro. I had never really seen my hair like that before and fell in love with the happiness emanating from the picture. Back when I cut off all my hair, natural hair was not a trend.  I didn’t become natural to be part of any community, nor did I do it to be rebellious.  I think I just wanted to go back home to myself.

My advice for people who don’t like their hair is: embrace what God gave you.  This is what makes each of us unique and beautiful.


What tips do you have to help someone on their journey to self-love and self-acceptance?

Self-love is not easy but very necessary if you want to truly be who you were created to be and live a happy life with fulfilling relationships.  It all starts within you.  Your love for yourself is the foundation for all the relationships you will have in your life.  Do what suits YOU on your self-love journey.  It’s not a one-size-fits-all journey.  It’s not linear either.  There will be ups and downs.  Be patient and gentle with yourself.  Have fun on this journey as well.

multipurpose head turban wax print
During the COVID quarantine, many of us became more active on social media to stay in touch with friends and family. What’s your view on achieving self-love in the age of social media:


“If your Instagram feed makes you feel inadequate, give it a makeover. Know that you are allowed to start over and have a new style of feed that is more aligned with yourself. If an account doesn’t inspire you, bring you joy and positivity, unfollow it. You don’t have to keep subjecting yourself to that.  Part of self-love is doing what makes you feel good and cutting out what makes you feel bad (emotionally, mentally, physically or spiritually).”

What is your haircare regimen?

I shampoo once a week (in summer twice a week). Detangle with a conditioner in my hair. Once or twice a month, I do a hair rinse with fresh rosemary infused in hot water with a bit of apple cider vinegar. I leave the rinse on my hair and scalp for 5 to 10 minutes. Once a month, I do a hair mask. Every few months, I do a scalp scrub with a homemade recipe. Sometimes, before shampooing my hair, I oil my scalp and hair with a homemade recipe. I leave this on for a few hours or overnight. In between wash day, I might wet my hair and finger detangle to hydrate and refresh my strands. For styling, I use Blossom’s precious leave-in conditioner and oil.

What’s your self-care routine?

My self-care routine involves eating to nourish my body and prevent disease, moving or challenging my body through workouts, yoga or dance, taking baths, sleeping early, meditating, treating myself to something that will make me happy.

Thanks so much for sharing your experience. If readers would like to know more about your work, where can they find you?

You can find me:

Caring for Little Curls: Tips for Parents

Photo by: @eyeforebony

We receive a lot of DMs from parents caring for their children’s curly hair. To learn a little more about this part of our Instagram community, we ran a short poll.

one-third of parents said they had straight hair while their children have curly hair.

about 40% of parents said they don’t feel satisfied with resources available to them to help them care for their child’s hair.

When asked what challenges they encounter, some responded:

They aren’t sure how to maintain their child’s curls after wash day without washing them daily.

Their child dislikes having their hair washed.

Their child doesn’t like their curly/afro hair.

Detangling is time-consuming.

We’ve written this article to answer some of the questions we receive and to offer some simple tips and tricks. We like to say a successful hair routine involves the 3 P’s: Positivity, Planning and Products

Positive Mind, Positive Thoughts

Photo by: @eyeforebony

Start with a positive outlook and use positive language. Curly hair requires more preparation than straight hair. If you have straight hair and your child has textured hair, you might encounter challenges or become frustrated when caring for their hair. One thing to understand is your approach, particularly language and mood play a major role in your child’s self-esteem. Remember words have the power to inspire, motivate and persuade people, so use them wisely.

If you’ve ever said the following phrases, we’ve offered you some alternatives below: 

Instead of: Her/his hair is difficult to deal with. 

Try: I’m learning how to best to care for his/her beautiful curls, it’s been challenging, but we’re getting there.

Instead of: Her hair is unruly, wild, messy.

Try: Her hair is voluminous, beautiful, free, unique, etc.

Instead of: It takes forever to do her hair.

Try: We have a decent hair routine and while it takes a bit of time, it’s a moment for us to bond. 

Plan Your Routine and Try to Stick to It

I hated wash day as a child. It took hours because my hair was (and still is) really dense. My Mom worked long shifts and the simplest solution for her was to straighten my hair with a hot comb. Thinking back, though I hated the process, I loved the opportunity it gave me to have one-on-one time with my Mom. I come from a family of four kids, so those moments were rare. All of this to say, wash day truly is a moment for you and your child to spend some quality time together. Moreover, it’s an opportunity to teach your child about self-care. In my house, we call it “me-time”, I put on music or an audio book, load the tub up with toys and let them have their moment. When they’ve had their fun, I do their hair and we chat together.

The amount of time that you wash your child’s hair depends a lot on their hair type and length. Typically curly hair gets washed as much as twice a week to as little as every other week. Remember, curly hair tends to be on the drier side, so it doesn’t require daily washing.

Here’s an overview of my kid’s washday schedule:

shampoo. 1-2 x per month – remember shampoo dries out curls so we don’t do this often.

condition/detangle. 1 – 2 x per week.

hydrate. apply a leave-in conditioner to wet hair (done after rinsing out their conditioner and sometimes after refreshing their curls).

deep condition. 1 – 2 x per month, especially during winter months when the air is very dry.

refresh with a spray bottle. as needed. If their curls feel dry I give them a light spritz for a moisture boost.

protective style. each time I wash my daughter’s hair I put her hair in one or two loose braids. I do let her wear it out if sometimes, but upkeep is easier when it’s tied up. For more information on protective styles, check out our previous post.

Products Make the Difference.

Generally, if you have a good conditioner and leave-in conditioner, you’re good-to-go. Make sure the product doesn’t have silicones or a lot of chemicals. Our leave-in and conditioner are gentle and simple enough for kids and adults, as well as for all curl types. If my kid’s hair is on the drier side, leaving their conditioner on for 10 minutes extra while they play in the bath, generally does the trick.

If you have curly hair, you might have a bottle of shampoo that lasts 6 months to a year and use a conditioner per month. That is too say, we don’t shampoo our hair often. For my kid’s hair, my husband and I, alternate between Weleda shampoo formulated for babies and a gentle solid shampoo. Currently, we are trying a local brand, Mellow Skincare that offers a zero-waste shampoo bar, gentle enough to use on curly hair. The founder, Angela, has a little one with curly hair.

Whatever you decide to do, try to use products from companies that value sourcing ingredients that are not harmful to your little ones.

Two extra P’s Worth Mentioning

Keep your routine simple, give yourself a pat on the back for raising strong, confident little ones and stay PATIENT. Eventually, you will find what works best for your and your family.

Also, my kids love to be involved in taking care of their hair, so allow them to PARTICIPATE as well. This can be as simple as spritzing their hair with a spray bottle. My kids think this is hilarious. Or detangling a small section of their hair in the bath.

photo by: Olivia Bauso

Helpful Resources

That’s it. We hope that we kept it simple enough. Below you’ll find a list of resources, in French and English. We’ve kept it short because with Google most of us can seek out what we need.

  1. Mahine Stylist, a Swiss curly hair stylist. Follow her on Instagram for inspiration and tips, during the quarantine, she’s offering video tutorials upon request.
  2. Youtube channel by Linda Barry, a mom based in Switzerland. She has some video tutorials with her adorable toddler.
  3. Some videos of parent’s wash day routine for different hair types (we don’t endorse all of the products used, but the technique is excellent)!

loose curls: Video °1, Video°2

tight curls: Video °1, Video°2

Your Curls in Quarantine: Pantry Hair Care Essentials

Pantry Hair Care Essentials

Like many of you, we find the current situation confusing, worrying, strange and sometimes amusing (some of the most creative and funniest memes have resulted from this quarantine). Though times are uncertain, we’re certain great acts of kindness, creativity and new approaches to business and well, life, in general, will result from this. And we will get through it, together. During this time, we’re hoping to provide some helpful and informative content to keep your curls on fleek.

Hair products might be the furthest thing from your shopping list right now and we totally understand. Since many of you are home and might have some spare time on your hands, it could be a good time to show your curls some love. So we’ve put together a list of budget-friendly, hair care items that might just be in your pantry. We’re here for you fam!

Alternative cleanser/Shampoo

Oats

Oats contain saponins, which are naturally attracted to dirt and oil and do a remarkable job cleansing the hair and scalp. Research shows oats cleanse the hair as well as traditional shampoo removing most oil deposits from the hair (J Drugs Dermatol, pp 167–170, 2007, https://www.thenaturalhavenbloom.com/).

To make your oat shampoo, boil about a 1/2 cup of oats in about 3 dl of water for 2-5 minutes, strain the oats (use them for your porridge), keep the oat water and allow it to cool. Massage the water into wet hair and rinse.

Multipurpose Conditioner/ Leave-In or Styler

Flax seeds

Not only are these loaded with omega 3 fatty acids and fiber, but they’re also a fantastic staple for your curls. The process for using these is a little more involved than the oat shampoo, but it’s worth the results. By boiling the seeds, you can extract a gel/mucilage that can be used to detangle your hair, provide light hold and hydrate your curls. Basically a three-in-one product. Please note, the flax gel must be refrigerated or froze to prevent mold. Here is one of our favorite videos for instructions:

Flax Tuto 1

Hair Mask

Aloe vera.

Aloe gel is a wonderful product for your hair. If your hair needs a little extra love, use this as an alternative deep conditioner. Aloe contains enzymes that repair your skin cells and nourishes your hair and skin.

To use aloe to treat your curls, carefully remove a leaf from your aloe plant, open it and rub it onto damp, clean hair, allow to sit for 15 minutes and rinse. Alternatively, you can make it into a gel, as shown in the video below. Like flaxseed, aloe spoils quickly, so make small amounts and refrigerate or freeze. Bonus: you can also rub this on your skin and enjoy its cooling and healing properties.

Do you have any pantry/home remedies that you recommend?

This month we will host a giveaway. Want to win our leave-in, conditioner, and masque. To enter to win, tag us on Instagram with the hashtag #blossomshopch or send a picture of your curls with the subject “quarantined curls” to hello@blossomshop.ch. We’ll choose a lucky reader/follower at the end of the month. Open to participants in Switzerland.

Sending all of you our positive vibes (from a distance of course).

Our Guide to Protective Styling

If you have tight curly hair, you’re probably very familiar with protective styling. It’s a method used by many type 4 naturals to protect their hair from harsh elements (e.g. wind, sunlight, cold air, etc). The main idea is to use low manipulation hairstyles, that tuck the ends away, to reduce breakage and retain length. In this article, we’ll review different types of protective styles and discuss whether they truly work. Additionally, we’ll discuss the ABCs to successful protective styling.

What are examples of protective styles and why are they beneficial?

Buns, two-strand twists, braids (with extensions or without), wearing a headscarf and wigs are examples of low manipulation hairstyles. The pictures below highlight the variety of protective styles that can be used on curly hair.

But do they work?

The ends of the hair are the oldest part and most prone to dryness and breakage. Protective styles allow us to hide the ends of our hair and reduce their exposure to friction (e.g. rubbing against clothing) and weather conditions. They also allow a hairstyle to be worn for several days, without restyling or combing, which makes the hair more susceptible to breakage. All of this in return makes it easier to keep the hair hydrated, which as we know is the key to healthy hair. 

Besides all of the health benefits, let’s talk about the amount of time protective styles save us. Curly hair is beautiful, but let’s face it, it takes more effort than straight hair to care for. Since your hair stays in protective styles for several days to weeks, it trims time off of our morning routines.

Tips for successful protective styles.

Now that you’ve had an idea of what protective styles offer before you run out and start practicing this method, there is a general rule of thumb you should follow. Like most things, not all protective styles are healthy. There are some things to avoid when using protective styles.

Keep it loose.

Just because your ends are tucked away in braids or a bun, doesn’t mean you’re protecting your hair. A tight, slicked-back bun should be avoided because it put strains on the hair, and more severely puts you at risk for traction alopecia.

Defined by wikipedia as “…gradual hair loss, caused primarily by pulling force being applied to the hair. This commonly results from the sufferer frequently wearing their hair in a particularly tight ponytail, pigtails, or braids…” 

Tip 1: Try low buns that allow you to wear your hair loosely tied back. 

Tip 2: Try asking your hairstylist to install loose twists or braids and try not to braid your edges.

Don’t forget water is your best friend.

Wearing a wig or installing braids, doesn’t mean you can forget about your hair for a couple of weeks. Be sure to mist your hair with water (and apply a bit of leave-in) every 3 – 4 days to keep it moisturized. And remember to cleanse your scalp if you plan on having a protective style for longer than 2 weeks.

Beauty sleep.

At night, be sure to sleep on a satin pillowcase or use a satin scarf to tie your hair up. Cotton pillowcases increase friction and dry out the hair.

multipurpose head turban wax print
Our multipurpose satin-lined turbans

Protective styles are a beautiful way to keep your hair protected, but also to unleash your creativity. If you’re talented at styling your hair, you can really have fun with different styles. Or you can just keep it simple. Either way, your hair will thank you for giving it a break from all of the styling. 

Do you wear protective styles?

Is Your Water Ruining Your Curls?

abigail-lynn-517207-unsplash

You’re always sure to cleanse your curls to remove build-up. You deep condition your hair on a regular basis. You trim your hair when needed. Basically, you’re doing the ABCs of maintaining healthy strands, but somehow you still suffer from tangled, dull and lackluster hair. If this sounds familiar, there might be a simple answer to this problem.

Common causes of dry, matted curls

While there are a lot of factors that can reduce the vitality of your curls. Some commonly cited examples include:

  • overusing heat styling tools
  • over-processing hair (e.g. harsh chemical dyes or improper application)
  • poor nutrition and fluid intake
  • being iron or zinc deficient

While these examples are most commonly reported, there is another cause that is often overlooked and that’s hard water.

What is hard water?

Hard water is high in mineral content, especially calcium and magnesium. This is in part due to the fact that it runs through porous rocks, such as limestone, picking up minerals along the way. In contrast to hard water, soft water contains fewer impurities, because it runs over non-porous rocks such as granite or slate.

How does hard water affect my hair?

“Hard water and well water can negatively affect both the color and texture of your hair. It causes color fading and dryness, which leads to frizz because of the excess mineral buildup in hair.”

-Mark Mena, celebrity stylist to Christy Turlington, Nikki Minaj and Mindy Kaling

source

Hard water tends to make the cuticles of the hair stand up. As a result, hair often feels rough and tangled. It can also form a film, making it challenging to moisturize your hair and often causing flaky scalp. On top of this, if you use soap as your shampoo, hard water will often interact with molecules in the soap and leave deposits and buildup on your strands. Note: this is why we always suggest following a shampoo bar with a vinegar rinse (more details below). Additionally, this is why our triple herb soap contains a chelating agent: citric acid and sole (water that is fully saturated with salt).

Interesting fact: Did you know scientific studies have associated hard water with increased eczema in babies and children?

How do I know if I have hard water?

If you suspect that you have hard water you can go to this website and find your region and rating. http://trinkwasser.svgw.ch/index.php?id=814&L=0&m=kn

Additionally, there are tale-tell signs that you can observe in order to confirm the quality of your water. You probably have hard water, if your…

  • …hot water kettle always has a layer of white film on the bottom.
  • …dishes are spotted with white water marks after removing them from the dishwasher…
  • .. soaps are detergent don’t lather much..

What can I do about it?

Don’t worry we aren’t going to propose you pack up and move somewhere with softer water. There are techniques you can integrate into your routine to reduce the impact.

Filter it. You can purchase a carbon filter for your shower head like the one pictured below.

Image result for shower filter

Use an acid. A simple, cost-effective solution is to use apple cider vinegar. Once per week, after cleansing your hair, apply a solution of diluted vinegar (1 – 2 tablespoons to 2 cups of water). Pour it over your hair, rub it in for two minutes and rinse. This helps to remove limescale deposits. You could also use citric acid rinses as your acid 1/2 – 1 teaspoon in 2 cups of water.

photo by rawpixel

Use a clarifying shampoo. Personally, I find this type of product too harsh for my tight curls. If you do decide to use one, I’d suggest no more than 3-4 times per year.

Install a water softener. A tank filled with salt brine is used to exchange sodium ions with magnesium, iron and calcium ions, which results in softer water. This is a costly alternative and more complicated than installing a filter.

Do you have hard water? What are some of your remedies?

Our shop is open during our summer holidays! However, shipping is suspended until 15/7. Thank you for your patience.