Posts tagged ‘hair growth’

Feed Your Face! Foods That Are Not Only Good For Your Skin, But On It.

I focus quite a bit on hair care, but today I want  to talk about skin.  Skin care is a beauty essential!  We so often focus on makeup products to make our skin appear fabulous and neglect the skin underneath.  If you want beautiful glowing skin forget the expensive cosmetics ( although I have them myself) and try some of these natural treasures for a beautiful face.  Of course diet is the most essential factor to gorgeous skin, but if your not quite up to par with your diet – here are some easy chemical free options to help revitalize your skin and get back your glow!

Natural Essentials For Your Beauty Regimen

1.  Oatmeal soothes dry, irritated skin

2. Cucumber, yogurt, avocado and honey moisturize

3.  Aloe vera, is a great moisturizer, and According to Shalini Vadhera, author of “Passport to Beauty,” aloe vera gel reflects as much as            20 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays.

4.  Jojoba, also a moisturizer, is an antioxidant

5.  Tea tree helps treat acne and oily skin

6. Clay help cleanse pores and detoxify skin

7. Sugar works as an exfoliant

These are just a few natural wonders to keep on hand, but there are many more.  I will be posting more of my favorite mixtures, but here a few to get you started.

Honey-Cocoa Butter Lip Balm

2 tbls. olive oil
1/2 tsp. honey (I have not tried this recipe with agave nectar yet)
3/4 tsp. beeswax — grated
1/2 tsp. pure cocoa butter
Flavored oil of your choice (like peppermint or vanilla)
1/4 tsp of vitamin E oil

  •  In a small saucepan, heat oil, honey, wax and butter over a low heat until just melted.
  •  Remove from heat and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes.
  •  Stir in flavoring and contents of vitamin E capsule.
  •  Pour into containers of your choice.

Mayonnaise-Coconut Oil Dry Skin Treatment

Makes 1 application

2 tablespoons real mayonnaise ( you can use Vegenaise as a vegan option)

1 teaspoon coconut oil

 Blend both ingredients.

  •  Smooth onto face, neck, rough elbows and knees or anywhere else you feel might benefit from it.
  •  Leave for 20 minutes.
  •  Rinse off thoroughly with tepid water.  If you like you follow with jojoba or coconut oil.

Tightening/Toning Lemon Egg White Mask (Vegetarian)

Makes 1 application

Juice from a lemon 1 1/2 Tbsp
1 egg white

  •  Beat together the egg white and lemon juice for 3 minutes.
  •  Apply directly to your face, avoiding the eyes.
  •  Leave on for 30 minutes.
  •  Rinse off with warm water.

Confessions of a Vegan

Due to some recent life stressors I have become reacquainted with an old friend (or foe) – milk chocolate.  I have “broken vegan hedge” for the first time in a year.  It was more than once or twice, the vegany police would have surely revoked my vegan powers and hauled me away. (Just for the record in spite of what my friend J thinks I did not become a vegan for the super powers)  I digress, the reason for this confession is the lovely glowing skin I’ve had since becoming a vegan is less bright and less clear.  I have been riddled with acne break outs over the past 2 1/2 weeks.  Now sure hormones and stress play a role, but I would get occasionally stressed and monthly hormonal before the milk chocolate and my face bore no ill effects…so I’m back off the chocolate and working to repair the damage.  I’ll be posting some of the natural acne remedies I found as well as some great natural ways to lighten hyperpigmentation secondary to inflammation (dark marks from the old zits).  So stay posted!

XOXO HippieChicChick

Entering The Promised Land Of Protective Styling

First time ever putting twist in my hair. Hair twisted with Kanekalon jumbo braid hair.

So due to a very busy schedule and upcoming move (super excited about the new space…dreading packing up the current one), I’ve decided to rock a protective style for a bit.  I love the term “protective style”, and in my case it’s very literal… It’s protection from ME!  From an itchy scissor finger during that awkward length stage to the time sucking chaos that  life sometimes presents, my hair occasionally needs protection from me.  Sounds like a strange thing for someone who is virtually obsessed with natural hair care and actually enjoys taking care of their hair to say but it’s true.  I had big plans for my hair, after my big chop March 26th of this year I decided to become a henna head when I reached collar bone length (my ultimate goal is waist length)- and almost 5 months to the day I’m there!  I’ve been eagerly researching for awhile,  had already started the blog article, and finally bought my henna and made a date with my lovely tresses.  I planned on a cozy little evening at home with my coils and some lovely hot tea, I figured wine and first time henna application would not be a good combo, and then it happened…LIFE.  All within the few short days between making my date and being able to keep it…  I found out I had to move a lot sooner than expected so my casual apartment hunting got a lot less casual; I had a three day convention fast approaching; I had to book and plan my mother’s 2 month trip to see me here in New York; I had an unexpected death in the family; an art show to prepare for; and all on top of my normal busy schedule.  I couldn’t see how I would have time to sleep, much less do anything with my hair! So I jumped onto YouTube, and got a quick tutorial on how to put in a protective style, I choose twist.  I had never done them before, but the YouTube tutorials made it look easy so I gave it a go.  Now it turned out..well…not great, I definitely have lots of room for improvement, but it’s not too bad and should last for the next couple of weeks.

Naturals protective styling can be a well needed break not only for your hair but from it when life gets a little overwhelming.  You can even do it yourself,  if I can so can you! And would you say 4 hours and 8 bucks is worth the few weeks of peace of mind and added time you’ll get? ummm YES!  Even though my hair didn’t turn out quite the way I thought, I still like it, and it was way easier to do than I thought. Now I’m totally psyched to experiment with some new styles- when I get the time that is…

xoxo hippiechicchick

Why “Going Natural” Isn’t For Everybody.

This statement is heard often by naturals, usually coming from those who are not, a blanket reason as to why some choose to continue chemically altering their hair texture; or it’s used in a derogatory way toward those with kinkier hair textures and no curl pattern, the prime target for relaxers from the beginning.   Many natural are confused by statements such as this, if not flat out annoyed by it, “How can some thing that naturally grows from your scalp, is genetically programmed by your DNA, and as congenital as the color of your skin –not be for you?”

Some with this point of view will say their preference for processed hair is just about style, or because “kinky” hair is not a flattering look on them, or relaxed hair is less work, even “I would go natural if I had ‘good hair’.”, usually referring to a silkier hair of a less coarse texture.  I, like many other naturals, used to think this expression was just, well, silly. I can say now the longer I’ve been natural and the more people I’ve come across- I’ve come to believe there is some truth to this statement.  Yup! Me a die hard natural does think that being natural is not for some people. Why?

Natural Hair Is It Just About Hair?

Now let me clarify the point that I do not advocate the use of toxic chemicals for anyone, especially subjecting yourself to the hazardous exposure of  harmful treatments for vanity’s sake.  I don’t think that’s for anyone! I’m talking about mind set.  The variety of reasons a person decides to embrace their natural hair texture is as varied as the beautiful array of textures you’ll find among natural hair.  For some natural hair is just about hair- no more, no less.  I started out in this category, but over the months and years as my hair transitioned so did my way of thinking; thinking not only in relation to my hair but myself.

My Story

I’ve always been a pretty self-confident person, so the concept of self-acceptance was not something I ever gave much thought (much less thought I needed to work on). I’ve always kind of marched to the beat of a different drummer and did my own thing, not really caring if it was the “cool” thing to do or not. Even with all that confidence, my point of insecurity has ALWAYS been my hair; so years ago the thought of “going natural” was utterly insane, I know that statement sounds insane, but I could not fathom not relaxing my hair.  To me “going natural” meant the exposure of my Achillies’  heel, the loud and proud boast of my biggest insecurity, why would anyone do that?!?  My hair never had any terrifying experience with relaxer( save my teen years) and I was always able to retain length and thickness with the relaxer, so saw no reason to change.  Then 5 years ago I walked into a Dominican salon for a relaxer and blow-out and walked out with pin straight (unbeknownst to me irreparably damaged) hair.  Long story short, that was my last relaxer, but I was no where near ready to accept my hair, I just started getting my hair pressed.  Different monkey, same back.  I became positively aqua-phobic, never left the house without an umbrella- NEVER!  The rain would expose my big secret, at this point I wasn’t even sure what that secret was ( I hadn’t seen my natural hair since I was 7 1/2 years old), I just knew natural hair was, bad hair.  I continued my natural journey in this perpetual state of transitioning and terror, till finally I big chopped ( I say big chop even though when I cut my hair it was below chin length) letting go of my relaxed ends and finally embracing my natural hair….or so I thought.

Reality…

I did not like my natural hair, I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, but what I found once I started doing my own hair wasn’t it.  Not to mention that I was completely clueless as to how to care for it.  The entire time I was transitioning I went to a stylist.  I stood in the bathroom mirror hair freshly washed and conditioned, ready to detangle….no so much…I covered my frizzy lopsided afro and rushed down the street to a girlfriends house (she had been natural for ages), hoping no one would see me and begged for help.  From that day I became a typical product junkie, and spent, well lots, on trying to find the right product for my hair to get it to look the way I wanted it to.  After a few weeks of trial and error and not leaving my house, I was back at the salon- and my love of flexirods began.  Yet another monkey, same back.  I could have these amazingly sleek, frizz free, super cute spirals and still be natural- yay!  Well after I figured out what I spending in roller sets to maintain this “look”, I thought going natural was supposed to be apart of simplifying- I’m spending now more than ever!  So while I couldn’t do my own roller sets I could flat iron like a champ, but keeping up those sleek tresses cost me a second big chop.  Lesson Learned.  I then became determined to actually learn my own hair, learn what it needed, and how to work with it, period.  I felt it was ridiculous to be a grown woman and not know how to comb my own natural hair, but frankly that was the position I was in, relaxed hair- knew it like the back of my hand, but this- no clue.  I’m the kind of person who likes to be informed and when I want to know the ins and outs of something I research it like a fean, natural hair was no exception.  The more I learned to care for my hair and understand my texture, the more I was able to see the beauty in it.  When I stopped exposing my hair to heat, I realized the frizzy straight mess that was on my head was heat damage, I learned that I actually had waves, coils and curls.  The longer I worked with my hair the acceptance I hoped to acquire, turned to love….until one day after a normal wash and go. I found myself feeling my soft springy spirals and coils and hearing myself say out loud ” I love my hair, I love my hair…” and then I had a sudden flashback of my relaxed days of me blow drying and flat ironing my coils- literally burning my hair into submission. Flashbacks of leaving my relaxers on for longer than needed to get my hair straighter. Flashbacks of hating summer days filled with humidity, of fearing the beach and swimming pools- sure my hair would look great when wet, but as it dried the truth would be revealed- my hair is not straight-my hair is nappy.

Flashbacks of the many times I would say to myself and out loud ” I hate my hair!”   (Hated it because it would usually not do what I wanted, which is be pin straight.) Understanding only now that the processed fried mess that used to be on top of my head was not my hair but the damaged remnants of falsehood of trying to be something I’m not… and justifiably something to be hated.

But my hair – the beautiful soft coils that grow from my head, are a natural extension of my beauty and heritage, an extension of me and therefore justifiably loved!  This love of the one thing about myself I truly disliked, enabled me to love myself unconditionally.

Why Not For Everyone?

In my opinion accepting your natural hair has a lot to do with accepting yourself, not the image of yourself you project, not the image of the you – you would like to be…but just YOU as you are.  Unfortunately not everyone is in the frame of mind to do this. I said before natural hair is as congenital as the color of your skin, well sadly there are those that if they could change their skin color as easily as their hair texture- they would.  No matter the culprit- there are people in the world who do not accept themselves as is.  If you do not, or at the very least are not even willing to make the journey, maybe at this time your  real self  is not for you.  But don’t give up on them naturals,when someone says” Being natural isn’t for everyone.”- what they are really saying is they are not ready (maybe even afraid) to take the journey. So keep being naturally fabulous and be willing to offer them the help they’ll need when they’re ready for it. Like once upon a time someone did for me.

Naturals be proud, not only of your natural beauty but of your love and acceptance of yourselves as you actually are, not as someone else has told you, you should be.

XOXO, hippiechicchick

 

Rhassoul Clay, Why Deep Condition With Mud?

So anyone that has discussed natural hair with me knows what bentonite clay is, knows that i LOVE it, and of all the tools in my natural hair and beauty arsenal, this clay is one of my favorites!  Now I’ll start by saying,  I’m not a “if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one your with”, kind of girl.  If I find something I’m absolutely in love with, and works wonders for me- I stick with it, and don’t stray easily.  So it took a while for all the buzz surrounding the rhassoul clay in the natural hair community finally caught my attention, and true to my nature prompted me to start researching, here’s what I found…

 Rhassoul Clay

 Rhassoul clay comes from Morocco and sometimes is referred to as Moroccan Ghassoul Clay, it is naturally found and mined from  deep within the Atlas Mountains in the northeastern region of Morocco.  After the mineral-rich clay is extracted via the mining process it gets washed and sun-dried.

Did you know that rhassoul clay has been used for over 1400 years as a soap, shampoo, and skin conditioner?  I didn’t, and it’s still used today in the finest spas all over the world.

The word rhassoul comes from the Arabic word “rassala” meaning “washing”. Moroccan Rhassoul Clay can be used as detoxifying cleanser, skin conditioner, shampoo, and facial and body mask. It has a number of outstanding benefits that surpass those of other clays because it contains the highest content of silica, magnesium, potassium and calcium, and because of its absorption ability.

Mineral Content

  • Silica- 58%
  • Aluminum- 2.47%
  • Iron- 0.64%
  • Sodium- 2.3%
  • Magnesium- 25.2%
  • Calcium- 2.34%
  • Moisture- <8%

Studies that shown that Moroccan Rhassoul Clay reduces dryness, improves skin clarity and elasticity and has extractive abilities that remove impurities and unblock pores, even stubborn blackheads. As a hair treatment, Moroccan Rhassoul Clay cleanses the hair, removing impurities, and leaves hair bouncy and voluminous.

Clinical studies have shown that a single use of Moroccan Rhassoul: (Although several sites discuss this studies findings, I have been unable to locate the actual study, so am unable to definitively confirm the findings)

  • Reduces dryness (79%)
  • Reduces flakiness (41%)
  • Improves skin clarity (68%)
  • Improves skin elasticity / firmness (24%)
  • Improves skin texture (106%)
  • Removes surface oil and oil from inside and around comedons
  • Removes dead skin layers, resulting in a general smoothing of the surface skin

After my research and the review of one of my favorite YouTubers (Whitney aka Naptural 85) I had to try it for myself!  I purchased Anita Grant’s rhassoul deep conditioning  cubes, which you can find here Anita Grant Rhassoul Deep Conditioning Cubes

I LOVED THEM!!! My hair felt amazing! I did not bother to section my hair prior to application as I usually do when cleansing, and I was rockin’ a 6 day old twist out when I tried this product,  so my hair was far from detangled. I wanted to give it a true test, and it passed wit flying colors!  I applied the clay (after I dissolved the cubes  in warm coconut milk and mixed well) to my hair and after about 5 min I could already feel how much softer my hair was, and my hair was falling apart…easily separating… making tangles non-existent!  I have not to date used any product that has made my hair feel so fantastic.  My love affair with the bentonite clay is not over, but has been diminished in light of this new rival.  I have not decided yet, but I may be switching altogether.  My only issue with the Anita Grant cubes is that they are not vegan (they contain honey) I did not realize this before I got them, but I plan on mixing up my on vegan version of this deep conditioning recipe (I’ll be sure to post once perfected).

As much as I loved the way the clay makes my hair and skin feel,  perhaps the best part about Rhassoul clay is what it does not contain: no petrochemical derivatives, no synthetic preservatives, no surfactants or artificial colors … all of which are common in most soaps, cleansers, and shampoos.  Amazing products that are safe and free from harmful chemicals, makes this hippie chick very happy!

References:

http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/learn/rhassoul.php

Bentonite Clay, Why Wash Your Hair With Mud?

BENTONITE CLAY..WHAT EXACTLY IS IT?
Bentonite, also referred to as Montmorillonite, is one of the most effective and powerful healing clays used to treat both internal and external maladies. Bentonite can be used externally as a  mud pack,  in skin care recipes, and to cleanse your hair.  Bentonite clay carries a strong ionic negative charge, the negative charge seeks something positive to attach to.  There are a few types of bentonite clay, but the two most commonly used for hair and skin are sodium and calcium.
How Does It Work?
Can clay really properly cleanse the hair? You bet, and better than your chemical laden shampoo!  The reason cleansing with bentonite clay is so effective is because of the uniquely strong ionic negative charge which essentially act as a “magnet” attracting to itself any substance with a positive ionic charge.  Substances that carry a positive ionic charge include toxins, bacteria, viruses, parasites and other impurities.  The clay attracts these impurities, drawing it out of the hair.  These substances are both attach themselves to the outside of the clay molecules (sticking to it like Velcro) and are absorbed into the clay molecules; as you rinse away the clay it carries all of the impurities with it while leaving the much needed natural oils in tact.  Giving you clean hair without stripping it like shampoo. With the added benefit of containing no parabens, mineral oils, silicones, ect. like most shampoos.Both clays,( Sodium and Calcium) swell and react when combined with water but the calcium swells less making it possible to pass through the colon for internal detoxification freely. Whereas the Sodium Bentonite, when mixed with water, creates a swelling of 7 times the amount making it extremely absorbing, so this type is suitable and beneficial for external use (like on the hair and skin).
Sodium Bentonite, Why Beneficial For Hair?

Sodium Bentonite Clay has a high negative charge, and therefore a strong “attraction” to heavy metals and toxins that it comes in contact with. With this stronger charge, it is able to pull in more unwanted  toxins from the hair, thoroughly cleansing the hair by removing product buildup allowing for better moisture. Better moisture means healthier, stronger, more beautiful hair! Not to mention easier styling. This type of cleansing I found left my hair feeling incredibly soft and shinny, added shine is due to the combination of  acidic fluids like ACV or AloeVera Juice (I use Aloe Juice).  There have been claims that cleansing with the bentonite clay can enhance your curl pattern and makes hair more manageable, now while I could find no scientifically documented proof to back this up, I have personally found this to be true.   When I was still using shampoo and conditioner I used to DREAD wash day.  I have very, very thick hair and lots of it! So the task of detangling was always one of exasperation for me.  I used to use, without exaggeration, close to half a bottle of conditioner and wide tooth comb designed especially for detangling to get through this head.  And it would still take loads of time, and patience – both of which I tend to run short on.  Since I started cleansing with the bentonite clay, wash day is a breeze! My hair does not really get tangled anymore!  I’ve noticed a significant decrease in single strand knots, I am now able to easily finger detangle my hair (which means less breakage from combs and brushes), and time, WOW, maybe 4-6 min max to detangle my whole head!  As far as enhanced curl pattern I have notice more defined slightly looser curls since using.  If you can’t tell I LOVE CLEANSING WITH THE CLAY!

BENTONITE CLAY…HOW TO MIX
  1. Combine Bentonite Clay and equal parts Apple Cider Vinegar( and/ or ) Aloe Vera Juice, and a few drops of essential oils of your choice ( I like to add lavender, sweet orange, and rosemary).  Mix to the consistency of batter.  Be sure to only use plastic or wooden utensils when mixing, as the metal will lessen the effect of the clay.  Each batch will vary from person to person, mix enough ingredients to cover the thickness and length for your hair.
  2. I prefer to section hair in 4-6 sections( this helps to ensure all of my strands get attention) and apply mixture to damp unclean hair.
  3.  You can use the clay as a mask, allowing the mixture to sit on the hair for 15-20 minutes (apply a plastic conditioning cap so mixture does not dry).  I recommend the mask for those who use lots of styling products and heavy butters, as you may have more build up).  For myself and those who use little to no products and natural oils and gel, I recommend massaging mixture into hair (one section at a time) gently pulling downward on strands smoothing the cuticle for about 2 min.
  4. Rinse mixture with lukewarm water until all clay is rinsed from the hair.  It is important to rinse thoroughly! If clay is left on the hair it will continue to work and cause hair to become dry.
  5. You can stop the cleansing process here or follow up with a deep conditioner, I use my recipe for my all natural deep conditioning treatment. If you want the recipe click the link :) https://hippiechicchick.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/all-natural-deep-conditioning-treatment-2/
  6. Seal in moisture and style hair as usual.

For those of you who are not mixologist or just don’t have the time to be,  Terressential Pure Earth Hair Wash is amazing, and what I use when I’m to lazy to mix my own!  I included a link to their website in the reference section at the bottom of the article.

So You Know…

This is info taken directly from the terressentials  website, I don’t work for them or anything, I just found it extreamly helpful when I first started using the bentonite clay to cleanse with so wanted to include it here.

“Chemical hair treatments permanently alter the outer layer of the hair shaft creating a porous cuticle – under a microscope chemically treated hair looks like Swiss cheese. Once hair is damaged by chemical colorings, perms or straightening chemicals, people are sold a myriad of synthetic products that artificially coat the hair with plastic or protein polymers to make it look and feel undamaged. The more damaged the hair, the more porous it becomes; the more porous the hair, the more it absorbs these synthetic “protein” polymers (e.g. soy, wheat or oat proteins – that are NOT edible foods), plastic polymers such as PVP (petrochemical polyvinyl pyrrolidone) and gum coating agents. These are the substances the “mud” removes in the detox protocol, but the detox process takes time.

Sometimes when people begin using the Hair Wash, their hair may feel stiff, sticky, oily, heavy or dry. This feeling may persist until the residues of protein and plastic polymers have been completely removed, but if you’re patient, the end result is worth the wait! After using our “mud” for one to three weeks, most people love it and find it a joy to use. As new hair grows in to replace old damaged hair, you’ll probably be amazed at the difference. For some folks with very chemically damaged hair, they may not like the way their hair feels after the detox, because our Pure Earth Hair Wash contains none of the vinyl or protein plastic polymers to coat their hair to make it feel or look undamaged.

If you intend to continue using chemical treatments for your hair, you will probably not be happy with the look of your hair when it is cleaned with the clay cleanser and finally free from the synthetic plastic coating agents. Chemically damaged hair without plastic coating agents may appear to look darker because the hair is roughened and will not be shiny and reflect light. Damaged hair can also look straw-like and feel rough to the touch. Damaged hair tends to tangle much more easily and is weakened because of the chemical’s erosion to the cuticle leaving it more susceptible to breakage.”

Bottom line is if you have severely damaged unhealthy hair, you may not want to use the clay, as it will call you OUT! 

I get asked about why I use the bentonite clay instead of shampoo and condition often, I tried to cover it all, but if I left you with questions still feel free to post them in the comments section! Happy hair cleansing!

XOXO Hippiechicchick

P.S. There are other cleansing and conditioning clays, I will post about theses in the future!

Refrences:

http://www.terressentials.com/

http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/learn/bentonite.php

How To Keep Natural Hair Moisturized

I think the single biggest misconception among those with kinky hair texture is that oil is a  moisturizer. But many feel the need to add excessive amounts of oils to the hair and scalp because black skin produces less sebum (aka oil) right? Wrong! Consider this myth busted.  The reason afro-textured hair tends to be dry is because the sebum has to travel the length of the hair to coat the strands. The kinkier the hair, the more difficulty the sebum has traveling down the hair, therefore the more dry or dull the hair looks.  There are of course exceptions to every rule and there are some who produce more or less oil than average, but this is in reference to healthy scalp function.

Hair needs moisture to maintain good health and elasticity. What is the ultimate moisturizer?  WATER!  This makes  water-based products and of course water itself the best things to use to achieve the greatest moisture benefit!  The hair optimally should be nourished and treated daily with water, even if it’s just a refreshing spritz.  The molecular structure  of water allows it to penetrate the hair shaft, moisturizing the hair. Oil molecules are too large to penetrate the hair shaft and therefore sit on the strands acting as a barrier.  This serves an extreamly useful and beneficial purpose for the hair, but moisturizing is not one of them.  With that being said, here is an exception…

Moisturizing Oil?

Coconut oil is It is also one of the few oils that penetrates the hair shaft. Studies have confirmed that the ability of coconut oil to penetrate the hair shaft is likely due to its low molecular weight and straight linear chains. These characteristics coupled with its high affinity (or attraction) to hair proteins cause the coconut oil to penetrate the hair shaft.

It is easy to see how the ability to penetrate the hair shaft and the high affinity to proteins makes coconut oil so beneficial for the hair. Not only does the high affinity to proteins help it penetrate the hair shaft, but it also discourages protein loss and reduces the occurrence of hygral fatigue. Studies conducted in India confirm that when compared to mineral oil and sunflower oil, “coconut oil was the only oil found to reduce the protein loss remarkably for both undamaged and damaged hair when used as a pre-wash and post-wash grooming product.” Another study suggests that coconut oil reduces the ability of the hair shaft to swell and thereby reduces the likelihood of hygral fatigue. Hygral fatigue is caused when the hair swells and constricts due to the absorption and loss of water. This makes coconut oil a most excellent oil to pre-poo with.  (Pre-pooing- A treatment applied prior to cleansing. It usually consists of oils and applied a few hours before cleansing or the night before the cleansing. This is usually performed to help the hair maintain necessary moisture during a cleansing  process.)  

Determine Hair Porosity

Our hair is naturally porous ( Having minute holes through which liquid or air may pass).  This means just as quickly as we fill our tresses with moisture it can escape.  The cuticle is the outer layer of the hair, it’s made up of scale like cells that look similar to shingles on a roof.  These “shingles” can be raised or tightly compact which determines the level of the hairs porosity.  Determining your hair’s porosity is very important, because it will largely effect how you moisturize and retain moisture for your hair.

  • Low Porosity

Low Porosity

Low– po is when the cuticle of the hair shaft is tightly compact.  This type of hair is more difficult to moisturize, as the compact nature of the cuticle does not allow moisture to easily enter or leave the hair shaft.  You will notice your hair takes longer to get thoroughly wet, and both water and product tends to just sit on top of the hair as opposed to entering it.  To moisturize this type of hair heat is actually a good thing.  Now hold up! Put down the blow dryer and back away from the flat iron!  I mean we are usually taught to use cool to cold water when washing and conditioning hair to seal the cuticle and add shine, but for low-po hair you should cleanse and condition with warm water. The warm water will help to temporarily lift the cuticle allowing moisture to enter the hair shaft more easily.  After cleansing and conditioning you can rinse with cool water or acv to close cuticle.  You will also benefit from using a hooded dryer or heat cap when deep conditioning.

  • Normal Porosity

Normal Porosity

No- po hair is when the cuticle is compact and permits moisture to pass through the hair shaft into the cortex as necessary, but does not allow too much moisture to penetrate the cortex. This hair type is pretty easy to moisturize and keep moisturized, and should stay moisturized with regular cleansing and conditioning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • High Porosity

High Porosity

Hi-po hair has a cuticle with wide spaces in between the cuticle and the shaft.  High porosity hair is a sign of damage secondary to chemicals (including color),  heat, or rough manipulation.  Although your hair may feel dry it is capable of absorbing A LOT of water, due to the large openings in the cuticle.  Generally the more porous the hair the more moisture it tends to absorbs.  Since our aim is to moisturize, this seems good, but more is not always better- sometimes it’s just more; and too much moisture creates a whole new set of problems.  Like over drying, high porosity hair absorbs more water when wet – but also looses more as it dries.  Hi-po hair can also stretch beyond a healthy limit due to the increased weight of  hair when full of water, this constant stretching of the hair causes it to become weaker and more prone to breakage.  For hi-po hair minimizing if not eliminating heat is a good idea and consider dry finger detangling with oil as opposed to detangling with a brush or comb while hair is wet and more fragile.

 

 

 

 

Porosity Test

After hair is cleansed and free from any and all products, place a strand in a glass of room temp water.  Normal to low porosity strands will float. High porosity hair will sink to the bottom of the glass from absorbing loads of water and becoming too heavy to float.

 

Why Oil Is Also Important

Since our hair is naturally porous, after we get the moisture in there- how do we keep it?  Here’s where oil is the the most important. It sits on the hair shaft since the molecules are too large to enter it, coating the hair and sealing in moisture.  Oils also lubricate our strands making the hairs slide over each other more easily reducing tangles and friction.  It is important to use the oil to seal already moisturized hair. If you use oils without  moisturizing before , the oil will seal the moisture out of the hair strand and lead to a coated feel and eventual dryness. Build up from heavy oils is one of the main culprits in a scenario where we feel like no matter what we do, our hair is still dry!  You may have to remove current build up first, and then the moisture can get in.

Keeping your hair properly moisturized will minimize breakage keeping hair strong and healthy for maximum length retention. Even if long and strong is not your goal, I’m sure beautiful hair is.

References:

http://journal.scconline.org/pdf/cc2005/cc056n05/p00283-p00295.pdf

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15224783

It’s Not A Bad Dream….It’s The Braid Shop!

  Talk of  the braid shop simultaneously strikes joy and fear into the heart of many, especially naturals. We excitedly relish the thought of our new funky- fresh ultra fly hairstyle, combined with the added benefit of “protective styling” for our beloved tresses, and then the glorious fact that we don’t have to do much to maintain this beautiful all be it temporary look.  All of the pros of hair braiding seem to dreamily dance around our minds overshadowing the potentially hair and health hazardous cons.  One of the main cons being the braid shop itself.   I have personally had nothing but negative experiences every time I have gone to a braid shop.  Now once or twice sure, everyone has an off day and things don’t always run smoothly that is just a part of life; but every time?   Repeated and consistent negative experiences means there is a problem!

Now don’t get me wrong African Hair Braiding is a beautiful art form that takes skill (even talent) and has a impressive and long standing history.  I’m not talking about decades, but centuries.  The oldest known images of hair braiding are found in artifacts found in 2630 B.C.

815 B.C. Artifact housed at the Birmingham Museum of Art

Hair braiding has been one of the most enduring and long-standing  traditions in the African  and now the African-American culture.   “Cornrows or Canerows” for example have their roots (pun intended) in the early agricultural responsibilities of African slaves.    African slaves were forced to work the fields as farmers, and the Africans took the techniques they applied to the fields of their owners and applied these to their hair. They used “tools” or combs to make parts in the hair symbolic of the soil, and then fertilized their crop by oiling the scalp, and then trimmed and shaped the crop they had worked to cultivate.   This beautiful practice has been reduced, at least in my personal experiences, to “The Braid Shop”.  A place where dirty surroundings, unprofessional attitudes, and shady fluctuating  prices (literal by the minute) seem to be the norm.  And if you have “natural” hair you are often met with complaints, told your hair is too thick to deal with, charged more money, given an attitude of exasperation by your hair braider, or even told straight out ” to get a relaxer”.

Why Braid

Well style preference aside, hair braiding can help in retaining the length or the growth achieved during the period of having the braided  in the hair.  This protective style means less manipulation like brushing, combing, or heat styling and since less stress is put on our strands they have less chance to breaking.  Minimizing damage to the hair means maximizing length retention!  When hair is added to braid styles, the extra hair can act as a protectant for the hair shielding it, and when the hair is gathered together, grouping the strands, this gives them added strength and resilience.

A common misconception is that braided hair requires no care, untrue!  Hair and scalp should be kept clean and moisturized.  This will optimize the benefits of this brief vacation for your hair and from your hair.

Dangers For You and Your Hair

A common side effect of tight braids is traction alopecia,  a hair loss condition caused by damage to the dermal papilla and hair follicle by constant pulling or tension over a long period. It often occurs in persons who wears tight braids, especially “cornrows” that lead to high tension, pulling and breakage of hair.  Traction alopecia at the nape or hairline aka “edges” is usually reversible, however when this condition occurs in the center area of the scalp it is usually not.

Hair that has been damaged, newly chemically processed, or weak and brittle is not  recommended for braiding. We often braid hair to hide damage strands, but the added tension and stress on hair that is already in a weakened condition can do more harm than good.

If unclean hair combs, clips, etc. are used on your scalp there is risk of infection.  This risk is even greater if the skin on the scalp becomes compromised or damaged during the braiding process. Infection occurring in the skin could lead scarring of the scalp and permanent hair loss!  We opt for tighter braids to longer preserve our hairstyle and stretch our dollar, but the discomfort and damage tight braids can cause is not worth the extra week or two you get to keep your style.

Back To The Braid Shop

My latest trip to the braid shop was unfortunately no different from the ones before.  I called ahead and was very specific as to the style I wanted, and asked the time frame which it would take.  When I asked her how much it would cost to have my hair braided her response was, ” How much do you usually pay?”.  I kid you not, and this should have been my red flag to call a different shop.  I told her I had not had this style done before, to which she said  “ok” and then quoted me their price, I scheduled my appointment.  I showed up the next morning, 15 hours after I made the appointment, and as I walked in the shop and sat down I was told it was going to cost more money.  When I asked why I was told that she misunderstood what I wanted when we spoke over the phone, and the price she quoted me was for a style that would take 20 min, the style I wanted was going to take an hour.  I then reminded her that when I asked her for the time frame to braid the style I inquired about over the phone she told me it would take an hour, but if the price was now going  up I was not longer interested in getting my hair braided.  I was then told that she would make an exception because I was a new customer and I could pay the price originally quoted to me over the phone.  As the hair braider began to work she asked me to change the style I asked for ( I asked for 5 fat cornrows, one in the center and two on each side), she asked me to do 6 rows 3 on each side.  I politely declined, and she said, “no problem” and began braiding.  After my hair was half completed I was informed that she would have to do 6 rows instead of 5 because my hair was thick.  I said no, and asked her if what I asked for was impossible to do, her reply ” no, but it’s more work, and it’s the same thing”, I said it is not the same thing it changes the style I want and the placement of my part- not a fan of center parts- the hair braider then begrudgingly took down a portion of my hair to re-braid my hair in the style I originally asked her for.  After she was done my braids were uneven in size, not uniform in direction, and did not look like the work of a professional African hair braider.  I realize I could have had her take it all down and redo it, but 1) if she did such a poor job the first time, why would the second time be any better and 2) my “tender-head” could not have taken another session.  So in short me making her repeat her work would have hurt me more than it would have hurt her…and therefore was not an option.

My “professional” braids

As you can see, my braids are not done very well, I could have done this myself…and I can’t braid.  In expressing my frustrations to others I have learned, and sadly so, that my string of bad experiences with braid shops is common.  I have not been to every braid shop on the planet so I cannot say they are  all bad, not only is that unfair but I’m sure untrue.  A braid shop with consistent prices,   clean environment, professional attitude, and cares about the health of your hair as much as their bottom dollar- MUST exist! At the very least,  I can dream…

xoxo hippiechicchick

References:

Me:)

History of Hair Braiding

Traction Alopecia, Emedicine.com, Basil M Hantash, MD, PhD, Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH, Updated February 2005

%d bloggers like this: