So far I’ve written two Island Remede posts, the first on aloe, the second on coconut oil. And the last time I wrote one, my brother Dominic contacted me to say um, you spelled “remedy” wrong. So I’d like to take this opportunity to explain that no, it was intentionally spelled like that, as it was said by old time Trinidadians who spoke French creole. My grandmother did, and my mother still says little phrases too, like “remede.” And if you don’t know, now ya know!

In the Caribbean, the hottest new beauty products often don’t arrive on shelves until months and sometimes years after they’ve made the rounds of North America and Europe. So you’ll find that women there tend to take a creative approach to beautifying treatments. The raw pith of the aloe plant does wonders for the skin and hair, as does coconut oil. And you can add good old fashioned brown sugar to the list of ingredients every bella should have in stock. Brown sugar is the bomb for so many reasons.

One of the most popular beauty dilemmas I get Ask Afrobella questions about, is dry scalp. An itchy, flaking scalp can be attributed to several things — climate change, inadequate hair products, or just plain ol’ dandruff (which is caused by an overgrowth of a common fungus, and can be attributed to increased oil production, stress, or hormonal changes). It took me quite a bit of trial and error to diagnose my scalp issues, and to find a solution that finally worked. And I gotta admit, all the Selsun Blue, Head and Shoulders, and Neutrogena T-Gel didn’t help me half as much as good ol’ brown sugar did. I gotta thank Lorraine Massey for this bit of advice, it’s been a life changer!

In case you don’t already own a copy of Lorraine Massey’s Curly Girl, you should definitely check it out. I paid less than $10 for my copy, and it’s chock full of great advice for a variety of curl textures. The blogger of Toddled Dredge explains the Massey method here, and I’ve adapted her brown sugar scalp scrub to suit my own purposes.

Once a week, I do a scalp scrub with conditioner and coarse brown sugar (I hear turbinado sugar, also known as demarara, or Sugar in the Raw, works well too).

Here’s how I do it.

1 — Part my hair roughly into four sections before entering the shower. You can use big clips to secure, or just your fingers. I don’t get technical, I just need to see and feel where my part is.

2 — Get a saucer, pile it with three or four heaping tablespoons of brown sugar, and take it into the shower. Taking great pains NOT to get the sugar wet before I use it, I wet my hair first.

3 — Add anti-dandruff conditioner of choice. My current favorite is Optimum Care Dandruff Solutions moisture rich conditioner. Honey Brown Sugar recommends Hair Mayo for her brown sugar scrub.

4 — Before the conditioner has had a chance to melt into the sugar, start scrubbing! Gently work brown sugary conditioner along the part, and especially along the hairline (where embarrassing flakes always appear). Scrubby scrub scrub till all the sugar’s gone.

5 — Rinse thoroughly, because you don’t want leftover sugar in your hair or behind your ears, or dripping down the back of your neck. Et voila, your scalp feels oh so clean and flake free.

I do this every week, and thus far * knock on wood * my scalp issues seem to be at bay. This, after months of using all kinds of pre-shampoo and post-shampoo dandruff lotions and potions. Keep in mind, what works for me might not work for you, and everyone’s beauty issues are different… but if you’ve had itchy, flaky scalp issues and tried everything on your drugstore shelf, let me know how regular scalp scrubs work for ya.

The exfoliating pleasures and benefits of brown sugar don’t stop at my scalp, I also love it when my lips get flaky (a little Vaseline, or olive oil and my lips are smooth and soft), and as a decadently delicious body scrub. To wit: Bare Budget Beauty features the simplest of recipes — brown sugar + olive oil + a hint of vanilla extract will make your whole body smell yummylicious and feel oh so soft. My husband loves it.

Sugar scrubs tend to leave the shower stall a little messy and a lot slippery, so watch your step while you’re in there!

This post wouldn’t be complete without a little D’Angelo, am I right, bellas?

Random bonus — when I did a Google image search for brown sugar, this image came up. Very Afrobella-appropriate, no? I love it!

Do you have any brown sugar beauty treatments? Do tell!

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