Posts tagged ‘limp curls’

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

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What’s In My Spray Bottle

Image   I think almost all naturals have a spray bottle, some even carry a mini one for their bags, and fill it with all sorts a nurturing goodies to be sprayed on their lovey locks at will. I am no exception, I have many of them, I’ve learned to love and appreciate this useful tool in my natural hair arsenal! I often get asked what I use in my spray bottle, so here it goes…

My Spray Bottle

Distilled Water –  Distilled water is pure with no additives or trace minerals, distilled water should be used as opposed to regular old tap water due to the high mineral content of hard water. This results in deposits on your hair. Buildup of calcium and magnesium on the hair shaft can cause hair to feel rough, dry and damaged; the opposite of what we want for our hair.

 

Aloe Juice–  Aloe vera juice, with its excellent moisturizing properties can serve as a natural conditioner to deeply moisturize the hair strands. So, if you are struggling with dry, damaged and unmanageably frizzy hair, then aloe vera juice is your friend!   The enzymes found in aloe vera gel and juice act as a hair growth stimulator. So, you can use aloe vera to promote hair growth. It can also help to control dandruff.

 

Agave Nectar for vegans or Honey for those who are not – I add a bit of agave nectar if I feel my hair is dryer than normal or especially frizzy, not only helps with dryness and frizz, but add shine.  I add this only if I feel I need it.

 

Lavender Essential Oil –  It is a good treatment for dandruff and itching, helpful in controlling hair breakage and improving hair growth.  Daily massage with lavender oil has proven to help significant re-growth (click link for recipe for lavender oil hair growth solution) https://hippiechicchick.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/lavender-oil-and-hair-growth/.  Oh and it smells fantastic!

 

Rosemary Essential Oil –  Rosemary oil stimulates the hair follicles, and healthy scalp means hair can grow longer and stronger.

 

Sweet Orange Oil – This essential oil has a wonderful light fragrance, and like lavender has calming and anti-stress qualities. It stimulates the scalp increasing micro-circulation, great for dehydrated scalp. Also acts as an antiseptic.

 

Jojoba Oil – According to the Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, jojoba oil is an ideal cosmetic ingredient for products designed to moisturize and protect, due to its chemical composition and stable nature.  Jojoba is structurally similar to the sebum our skin produces naturally. The Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine explains that if your scalp is dry, jojoba oil acts as a substitute, moisturizing the hair follicle and preventing tangles and coarseness. If there is excess sebum, jojoba oil breaks down the buildup, cleaning hair, scalp and hair shaft. Jojoba oil dissolves residue buildup from hair products, as well as environmental pollutants.

 

How To Use

Give your bottle a good shake before each use ( as the oil and water will separate) and spritz hair daily or as needed to add moisture.  I use this same spray bottle mixture for twist outs along with my tried and true flax seed gel (click link for the recipe) https://hippiechicchick.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/flax-seed-oil-and-gel/ . Its is also great for those who use the LOC method.  This mixture is also great for caring for hair while in a protective style.  Contrary to popular belief (or wishful thinking) our hair still needs care while in a protective style.  My hair is currently in a braided style and I lightly spray hair twice daily with this mixture (a.m and p.m.)  When spraying in the evening before bed I apply very little of my oil mixture ( jojoba, lavender, orange, rosemary, tea tree) to scalp and braids.  I use a bottle with a long pointed tip so that oil can easily be applied to scalp and hair without over doing it.

This formula works really well for my hair, I hope it works just as well for yours!

xoxo hippiechicchick

Beer…For Your Hair?

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So the absolute saddest moment in my post gluten life was when I had the full realization that I would no longer be able to have beer.  Yes I know there are a variety of gluten-free beers about, but any beer connoisseur will tell you, “It’s just not the same.”  So while this delicious blend of malt and hops can no longer bring joy to my pallet, it can make my hair soft, shiny, and bouncy.   I have not used anything else that makes my curls and coils spring to life so rapidly! If you feel like your curls are falling a little flat, want to quickly revert hair back to curly if you’ve straightened it, or just want another option for a protein treatment- Beer is your friend!

How it Works

When you soak, rinse, or spritz your hair with beer, its natural ingredients coat each strand and lend hair-nourishing benefits. In addition to B vitamins, the proteins found in malt and hops are said to repair damaged hair and boost overall body. Meanwhile, the maltose and sucrose sugars in beer tighten the hair’s cuticles for enhanced shine.

Although it is debatable whether the corn, rice, or wheat protein in beer can actually deposit on your hair to form a strengthening film, there is no question that it makes hair seem thicker. This effect may be attributed to the proteins left on the hair fiber, though beer also seems to slightly swell the hair shaft.

You can use a beer with low or no alcohol. It’s probably better to use traditional brewed beer made from hops to maximize nutrients and minimize chemicals (since most commercial beers are loaded with stuff you probably shouldn’t be putting in your body, let alone your hair). But I use plain old O’Douls.

Highlighted Benefits:

  •  can add bounce and shine to your hair.
  •  softens the hair.
  •  can increase the elasticity of your hair.
  •  tightens hair cuticles and brings limp  hair to life.

My Recipe

1 bottle of O’Douls non-alcoholic beer

1/4 cup evoo

Allow beer to flatten over time, or heat till warm. And mix in evoo (you can add other oils if you like or leave out oil altogether) I prefer to use a warm mixture with added oil, this works well for my low porosity hair.  After application gently massage in mixture from root to tip, and allow to sit on your hair for aprox 5 min. Then rinse thoroughly with warm water.  DUE TO MY GLUTEN ALLERGY I DO NOT LET MIXTURE SIT ON MY HAIR AND SCALP, BUT RINSE IMMEDIATELY. I still see wonderful benefits without any unwanted side effects (like itchy scalp).

This treatment can be done once a month, or as needed (your hair will let you know)

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