Monday, December 5, 2011

Breakage...The Best Treatment

It happens to the best of us, whether we co-wash, pre-poo, deep condition, or go organic breakage is can still occur. While many articles address how to prevent breakage I haven't seen a whole lot of discussion on what are the major culprits that cause breakage. There are the obvious offenders, heat damage, chemical damage and dryness but there are also internal factors such as hormone imbalance, dehydration and even stress. In addition wearing braids-while categorized as a protective styles- can also contribute to the demise of healthy hair.

So how does one treat and stop the hair breakage cycle? The best treatment is only as effective as the appropriate diagnosis of why hair is breaking.  Determining why your hair is breaking is the initial step in determining the best way of treating your hair. Here are some basic qiuestions to ask when trying to determine why your hair may be breaking.

First look at where your hair is breaking? Is is the edges, the crown, where your new growth is? Is it just one of the four quadrants? Around the crown could be an indication of stress and/hormonal imbalance. Edge thinning and breakage is often result of pulling hair too tightly away from the face (braids, ponytails, high-puffs, etc.) If the breakage is in a quadrant it could be an indicator of applying heat to the same section first every time you press.

Then look at the condition of hair that is not breaking closest to the hair that is breaking.  What are the differences in texture and length? Is this hair more or less dense? Because we have combination hair we have to often condition our hair based on the thickest and most dense hair type we have. Fine hair needs are different from coarse hair needs.

What is the overall condition of your skin? Yes, your skin? Is it dry, oily, or combination. Does the skin around your eyes look tight or rested? This is the primary indicator of mineral deficiency and dehydration. Healthy, hydrated hair is like healthy hydrated skin; it glows.

If you are transitioning hair is prone to breakage because the chemically processed hair is weakened and often stressed as a result of the different textured hair making its way on the scene. Combat this fight by encouraging your straight hair to act like the curly hair. Do rod or straw sets and two strand twist with a moisturizing gel such as Ecostyler, which has a medium hold and is alchol free. 

Remember the key to treatment is proper diagnosis!

Curl Diva

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Kinky Curly What's your type?

No matter what blog or discussion board you go to, the same question comes up. "What's my hair type?" There are several systems of determining hair type and perhaps the most renowned is that established by hairdresser Andre Walker-Oprah's Beautician. For the the past four years I have been "courting" off and on, a shampoo and conditioner made by Alafia. It's all organic and can be found at your Local Whole Foods Market. I wasn't too thrilled when they expanded their line and changed their formula (they even renamed it Beautiful Curls) BUT I did like the chart they provided to help determine your hair type and compatible hair products t and I bought the shampoo and conditioner anyway. Beautiful Curls Care Guide 

Two reasons I like(d) this product:
Organic Hydration and Wonderful Citrus smell.

Biggest complaint:
Whole Foods Market is 45 minutes away :(

I plan on doing a product review on the new line really soon. Check back often or visit me on my youtube channel.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mini Two-Strand Twist (Protective Style)

Micro in the front and Mini in the back
 Winter is here and that means that my wash and go has been tucked away until Spring returns. In the meanwhile, I have unpacked the protective styles of winter.

This past Thanksgiving Weekend I washed my hair with a Shea Moisture Reconstructive Shampoo Condition Mix. My hair rejected the idea of Shea Moisture (again) so I think it may be tired of this particular product. Sigh~ So I used the Shea Moisture Deep Conditioner just to make sure it wasn't just dry but my hair didn't like that either. I ended up leaving it on about an hour before washing it completely out. I couldn't even detangle with it. I then added about an oz of  Kinky Curly Knot Today (KCKT) and 1 oz of almond oil to my sectioned off hair and detangled. Using a blow dryer and a paddle brush I straightened hair section by section. Once hair was straight I began twisting very small sections from the nape working my way up. Once I got to the front I divided the section size in half making micro twist. In the front I was also careful to use a rattail comb to make clean parts because that is what people see. I twisted using my Pomegranate Mango Whipped Shea Butter. I snipped ends that looked raggedy (frayed) less than a 1/4 inch.

At night I sleep with a satin bonnet on. In the morning I refresh with Shea Moisture Coconut Habiscus Spray. Every other day I oil my scalp with Whipped Shea Butter. My scalp tends to itch more when it is exposed.  The picture above is second day hair of the finished 3 hour process. Don't be intimidated by time when it's the care of your hair and if you have little ones like I know there are plenty of interuptions. Remember this...You're worth the investment!


Friday, November 11, 2011

Some throwbacks should be left back!

Grease is making a comback?!?

Okay, so we all remember those days of sitting between someone's legs having our hair braided and our scalp "greased." It seems as though some of the hair naturalists who originally avoided "grease" like the plague are now returning to the roots of our grandparents. Some hair naturalistas are even arguing that "grease" of old is comparable to modern day hair butters.  What? Really?

Well, being a teacher I thought I would dispel that argument. So here is my case AGAINST grease and FOR Butter and how the two are different.

The traditional goal for using butters or "grease" has been to moisturize the scalp. The scalp is skin and there is essentially only one way to effectively hydrate it; that is from the inside out. Drink plenty of water. The skin can absorb some moisture but that happens only at the surface level (the epidermis). As you can see from the diagram the root of your hair is far below the dermis where moisturizers do not penetrate.  In order for any moisture to be absorbed into the skin it has to penetrate the pores and enter the dermis. These molecules must be very small to penetrate the . pores. Skin by design is created to protect our bodies from toxins and keep moisture and heat in. Most often what happens is a smal amount of the what are skin comes in contact with may pass through  and enter the body but most often lotions and creams merely rest on the skin forming a barrier. This can create the allusion of moisture but often it's temporary and when one takes a bath the barrier can be broken down or washed away.  With that said there is no scientific way to determine if what you put on your skin will be asborbed (beneficially or harmfully) into ones body; despite what the beauty industry may claim.

Most ingredients found in typical grease have a toxic affiliation as the base. The main ingredient in Blue Magic and other "grease" is patrolatum which is the source of both kerosene and gasoline. In at lease one country (EU) this has been banned because of its link to breast cancer. Petrolatum is a nonregulated chemical and therefore there is no information available on how much of it (if and when it is absorbed) is toxic to the body. It is stated as being harmul when ingested. According to Patrolatum has no reaction to water which suggests to me that it cannot be absorbed in the skin to create moisture.

Butters are different in the fact that they are usually derived from natural sources that are proven to cooperate with water and have beneficial properties for skin, hair and health. The most common bases of butters are shea, cocoa, mango (bases are the first ingedient on the product's list). In hair butters beeswax may also be included. All of these ingredients are derived from nature and have proven beneficial components that can be absorbed safely by most users (everyone has differentiated allergies).

In the case of going back to grease...I suggest we make that throwback a thing of the past.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Condition Wash Condition...not really anything new

Today, I read an article that talks about an alternative to co-washing. It's been called the condition wash condition method. For me it's not really anything new. I use this method when my hair is dry (straw like). I discovered this method quite by accident when I had a bad experience with a Natural Shampoo that completly stripped my hair. This method entails the following (flexible) method:
  1. Wet hair with warm water smoothing in one direction. (Usually I am in the shower so away from the forehead). Hair should be saturated.
  2. Apply a deep conditioner. All the conditioner to sit on hair while you shower.
  3. Apply shampoo (leaving conditioner in) work through hair the same way you applied the conditioner. (At this point I generally finger comb or use a very wide tooth comb).
  4. Rinse out both shampoo and conditioner. Working from forehead to nexk.
  5. Apply a good leave in conditioner andfinger comb to ensure hair is detangled.
* Before I apply the final leave in conditioner I generally add a quarter size amoun of almond oil from root to tips.

This is my method as I mentioned before this method can be tweaked to your hair. I find this method allows my hair to be less tangled and I can maximize moisture as well.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The To Do List of Natural Hair Care

Growing out healthy natural hair; this is what I have learned so far:

1.      Do drink plenty of water every day (at least 4 cups).
2.      Do eat your veggies (cabbage, tomatoes, spinach and mushroom) each have one or more of the following vitamins E, K, C, B2, B6 and A, which all contribute to hair growth and strength. Also, both zinc and calcium are essential to your daily healthy hair diet. If you cannot eat all of these take a multivitamin supplement.
3.      Do invest in an organic shampoo and leave in conditioner.
4.      Do get regular trims.
5.      Do use heat in modesty.
6.      Do use a moisturizer every night before putting on your satin bonnet.
7.      Do detangle hair while wet with a good brush such as Evolve Dual Brush and a moisture- rich detangling conditioner.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Two Strand Twist Out Using Jamaican Mango & Lime Lock Gel

It has been raining so much here that I have been battling humidity for almost two months. I have decided to go back to my two strand twists (protective style) in order to save both time in the morning and maintain definition longer. I'm entering year two of my grow out challenge. This is what I am doing differently this time around. When I two strand twist I use a shea whipped body butter underneath Jamaican Mango & Lime Lock gel. This defines my hair and moistures at the same time. For my scalp and maintaining of ends I am currently using Carol's Daughter Macademia Heat protectant oil in the morning and the whipped shea body butter at night. So far so good! This picture was taken on day three of my twist out.

At night I sleep with a satin bonnet on that's wrapped in a knit fabric. I wrap the satin bonnet because it tends to slide off at night. The scarf holds it in place. In the morning I let the humidity from the shower revive my curls and I fingertoss the routes backwards (holding my head upside down). Sometimes I use Shea Moisture's hold & Shine Mist from their Coconut Hisbiscus line.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Hello fellow Curl Divas & Dudes,

Spring is here and summer is right around the corner (at least it is according to the calander). According to the forecast it'll be spring showers the next two weeks here :(

For the summer I am revisiting the Kinky Curly hair line. I haven't used them for five years because I didn't like the initial results but ladies and gents can I tell you that after following the directions this time around I am loving two things about this product; the first, third and fourth day curls! Yes, a little water and leave in conditioner and they curls are good as new! Second the fact that my hair doesn't shrink too much.

So, here's what I don't love. The product is only good for wash in goes when it is hot outside. If it is humid or cool it takes forever for your hair to dry; sometimes all day. The other thing I'm less than thrilled with is the thickness of the Spiral spritz. It's more like a gel. I would like my gel in a bottle please. Other than that I can say my hair does love this product. It was initially a bit crisp the first day but I put a little almond oil in it and it was fine.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Kinky-Kurly Crunchy???

After not using Kinky curly for over five years, I decided to try the product line again. This time I went into the process an educated curldive. I first went to Kinky-Kurly's webpage and watched the application tutorial. WoW Knowledge! I did as the video suggested using all of the product line (it costs me a whopping 60.00+ at Wholefoods Market). It is less as Target BUT there always sold out and where I live even though we have several targets there is only one store that carries this product. I am off topic. LOL Okay, so I washed my hair with the KK shampoo and then conditioned with the KK Knot Today. Using a Goody two sided brush I detangled. Since my hair is 3B/C combo I rinsed most of the conditioner out before applying the Curling Custard. I have Medium length hair (shoulder length when straightened) so this process took about an half an hour. I applied the product using the shingling technique because I didn't really care for the tackyness of the product (it dries fine it's just a bit to slimy for me when wet). Since it was 80 outside I let my hair air dry. At the end of the day my hair was a little bit hard like I had used a light gel. Not sure what happened but I am guessing to much custard not enough conditioner. I was able to spray with a light oil sheen and the crisp to my hair was gone. Overall, I am very satisfied that I was able to get three days of wear so far by adding just a bit of water and small bit of spritz in the front. I will repeat this process next weekend and post a youtube video under CurlDiva! This time I will make the adjustments as stated earlier. I think the thicker your hair is the better it is tp leave in the conditioner.

Caution! Unlike other products Kinky

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Grow Out Goal & Challenge

Hello Curly Divas and Dudes! :)
(I can’t leave the men out)

I am docujournaling (yes I made that word up) my progress to grow out my hair. I have been natural since the summer of 2003. I took the plunge and did the BC (big chop) then I went to the barbershop where the barber turned my BC into darn near scalped. I successfully managed to grow may hair half way down my back within a three year period. What happened? I made the mistake of putting hair color in it. It dried my hair out and basically turned it into straw. I recently had a similiar expereince with a Carol Daughter's shampoo-but was able to recover. I digress :) In 2007 I once again did the big chop and wore it short for about a year before growing it out again. I have had two children since then and experienced the ups and downs of hair growth and minor shedding. I have been growing my hair out for almost two years now (no dye or chemicals) and I have managed to grow it healthily to my shoulders. I am going to see how long it will grow and document the journey of year three and beyond here. The challenge is to grow it in its natural, healthy, curly state without cutting (with the exception of maintenance trims) or chemicals of any kind.  I invite you to join me on my journey!

Thanks for reading!