[Source: Hurt2Healing Magazine]

Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): When I initially met you, one of the first things I noticed was your flawless skin and the healthy condition of your hair. What products do you use, and how do you maintain the condition of your hair and skin?

Alethea Muhammad (AM): First I want to say how much of an honor it is to do this interview. I love Hurt2Healing…everyone can benefit from it!

I use all natural products for both my skin and hair. When I say ALL Natural, I’m talking about products that most beauty supply stores would not offer us. Nubian Heritage is a Black owned company that offers some of the best products imaginable! They have a line of soaps with coordinating creams and lotions that are all vegetarian and they smell awesome! I’ve been using their products for years! They also have a hair pomade called Nature’s Blessings that is olive oil based. This is a product I’ve used from when I’ve had locks 7 years ago to my natural curly texture today. I’ve also used this on all of my children from birth and beyond. Another favorite of mine are hair products from a company called KinkyCurly, which offer great solutions for detangling and styling natural hair. And, last but not least, my all time favorites 100% shea butter, Pure African Black Soap, and cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil are always great for both the hair and skin. The skin is very porous so anything you use will eventually end up in your bloodstream.

(EM): How much of an influence does weather have on the condition of hair and skin? Can you give some remedies in how one can prevent hair and skin damage in various climates? Is sunlight good for hair and skin?

(AM): Weather can be a bigger influence if your hair is chemically treated. A lot of sunlight can change the color and texture of your hair if it is chemically treated or colored. I wear my hair covered on most days, but I love to give my hair sun exposure because of the rich vitamins within the sun’s rays. Precipitation does not add any damage to the hair unless it is continuously exposed to acid rain. Sun exposure for the skin is always a debated subject because dermatologists will always recommend sunscreen. However, I have always believed in the natural healing power of sunlight, so in the summertime, you’ll probably see me at the park or beach with the rest of the children! (Laugh)

(EM): How much of an influence does a person’s diet have on the condition of hair and skin? What foods and drinks should one refrain from in order to acquire and maintain flawless skin and healthy hair?

(AM): Diet is the main factor in maintaining great skin and hair! My teacher, Elijah Muhammad, teaches that pork, alone, removes .03 (3 one-hundredths) per cent of the consumer’s beauty. Everyone can testify that they’ve seen someone that “looked ill”. So, you can’t have healthy skin and hair but have a diseased body. I have a primarily vegetarian diet with occasional fish (no scavengers). I drink mostly water and on occasion I’ll have a smoothie or a probiotic drink called Synergy. I also avoid artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, a lot of greasy and fried foods, white starches( white potatoes, white bread, white rice), and too much chocolate- even if I believe chocolate is a part of most women’s DNA. (Laugh)

(EM): What are some common reasons for hair and skin damage? How can one begin damage control immediately?

(AM): So much of our hair and skin is damaged by the use and abuse of chemicals. Most common hair treatments (perms,colors,etc.) require the use of gloves. This alone is a sign that the chemicals are too harsh for us to use. Yet, constant self hatred and the mis-education of proper hair and skin maintenance sends us back to those chemicals that we later on regret. To begin damage control, we have to first, STOP using these chemical processes. We can’t begin damage control with the very agent causing the damage. I recommend seeking a natural hair care professional who is very experienced in the transition between chemically treated hair and natural hair. I love Zayd’s Naturally Natural Hair Studio here in Houston!

(EM): What type of chemicals should one steer clear from when product shopping? In addition, I’ve seen women and men use over the counter as well as prescription scar removal creams and bleaching creams to even out skin tone. What are the dangers of such products and what healthy alternatives would you recommend?

(AM): In choosing hair products, I recommend to read, read, and read again! A lot of products that boast to be “natural” or for “natural hair” still contain harsh chemicals (many of whom I can’t even pronounce.) The USDA has approved the usage of chemicals found in many beauty products that are carcinogens (cancer causing agents.) and/or may cause perpetual discoloration and scarring. Some of those to avoid are propylene glycol, mineral oil (petroleum,petrolatum,etc.), sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), sodium fluoride, cocoamide (DEA, TEA, MEA), kaolin, bentonite, synthetic glycerin, lye, aluminum and its derivatives, hydroquinone and any ingredient that starts with “artificial”.

(EM): What vitamins are essential to healthy skin and hair and why?

(AM): I’ve always been bad about taking supplements. I try to get my nutrients with food first. So, a diet rich in folic acid, calcium, iron, and protein should do the trick. I eat a lot of navy beans which contain all of the above vitamins and many more that are essential to great health.

(EM): How can H2H readers find you; email, website, etc.?

(AM): My husband and I recently launched a new organization, called Crescent Visions, with an aim to reconnect our families, businesses, and communities by providing an avenue of free networking and other unique opportunities. Please visit us online atwww.CrescentVisions.com for more info.

Thank you Sister Ebony!

(EM): You are very welcome Queen, and thank YOU!