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Natural Hair Care

How To Stretch Your Natural Hair Heat Free!

22nd April 2015
stretch straighten natural hair

If you’re looking for a heat free method that will stretch your curls for an updo or protective style then you will love this method! I usually use this method to prepare my hair for a protective style that I want to wear for a while. This method eliminates frizz and holds my stretched curls in place and over time stretches them even further! I call it the “LoCoE” method because all you need is coconut oil, hair lotion and ecostyler Gel.

 

Things You’ll Need:

Coconut Oil, Hair Lotion (the thicker the consistency the better), Ecostyler Gel

    

*Recently found that the Olive Oil Moisturizing Lotion has sulfates! Try another similar product to avoid dryness.

 

Hair Prep

If you’re doing this method on freshly washed hair it is best to begin the method when the hair is slightly damp. Do your regular after wash regimen and try to exclude products that contain water as this will set your curls.

 

LoCoE Time!

1. Section off your hair into however many sections you’d like making sure that the amount of hair in each section can fit comfortably in the grip of your fist.

2. Take your coconut oil and place it over all of the hair in each section, don’t be shy with the amount!

3. Once you’ve covered each section of hair in coconut oil do the same with your hair lotion. As you place the hair lotion over the hair be sure to finger detangle and smooth it through.

 

4. As the hair lotion is being applied take your index finger and thumb and slide the lotion down the section of hair, you will see the hair becoming saturated and will begin to straighten out.

straighten and stretch natural hair

My Hair Beginning To Straighten

5. After you’ve stretched one section of hair place it in a bantu knot before you move on to another section, repeating these same steps with the other sections of hair.

6. Once you’ve finished allow the bantu knots to sit for 30-45 minutes and take them down.

7. Place your hair into two pony tails sectioning the front of your hair from the back and prepare for whatever protective style or up do that you usually rock

8. After your hair has been styled apply Ecostyler gel to the sides and the back of your hair for a stronger hold and even longer lasting smoothness.

 

I absolutely hate using any excess heat and try to explore heat free methods that will stretch my curls and keep them  that way. This method really does eliminate frizz, holds my hair in place , keeps my curls stretched and my ends moisturised under any protective style. I hope that this method works for you as well as it has for me!

Hot To stretch and  straighten natural hair

My “LoCoE” Method Turn Out: Straight Edges & Very Stretched Curls

 

 

 

Natural Hair Care

How Often & How You Should Trim Your Natural Hair

17th April 2015
How to trim natural hair

Trimming and washing your natural hair are two very important things that will lead to moisture retention and healthier hair strands. However just how often we do both of those things makes the biggest difference over all.

 

Why Trim?

Trimming is the most effective way to get rid of damaged hair and split ends. We all have them because curly hair is prone to dryness by nature. By removing dead ends the appearance and feel of your hair will improve 100% and will leave you with nothing but healthy hair strands.

 

The Effects of Never Trimming

There aren’t any detrimental effects on the hair by not trimming but this practice can cause a somewhat domino effect. For Example, say you’ve been natural for three years and have never trimmed your hair. The curly nature of natural hair requires a lot of moisture and sometimes the hair does get dry causing damage to the hair. The tighter the curl pattern and the finer your hair strand the more susceptible you are to single strand knots which are normal to get. Now your styles and curls aren’t as defined and the appearance of your ends are wild and feel crispy. Your single strand knots are begetting more knots and your split ends are now traveling up and ruining entire hair strands. So you finally decide to go for a trim and end up losing several inches of hair which you could have minimised had you trimmed your ends earlier. Thus the domino effect and serious length loss.

 

Can I Trim My Own Hair?

Many wonder if you need your hair professionally trimmed the answer is yes and no. I’d say no only if you’re hair is cut in a specific style and you want to maintain the fabulousness. I say yes in cases where you’ve been trimming your own hair and can visually see improvements from doing so. Trimming the hair is no art it’s simply removing damaged hair but having the eye for these ends and removing them all adequately without cutting off too much is not as easy as it sounds.

 

The Right Trimming Utensils

First off a good pair of sheers or cuticle scissors will suffice ordinary kitchen or crafts scissors won’t do. Each style of scissors have their own type of blade, cuticles scissors are the closest thing to sheers which are used in professional cutting and trimming. The blade is sharp and the handle is made specifically to cut hair at all angles comfortably. You need these clean cut’s so that your hair strand isn’t damaged by dull jagged scissors that can cause split ends.

 

How Often Should You Trim?

After your first trim you won’t need one for at least six months any sooner will be cutting off length that your hair has worked hard to grow. Pay attention to your hair, if you see an abundance of knots and split ends and it hasn’t been at least 6 months then your hair has a moisture issue. Addressing this first then going for a trim would be the best thing to do thus fixing the issue permanently leading to length retention.

 

Why Trimming Often Is Bad

Trimming the hair is only necessary to address specific issues such as the removal of damaged hair and split ends. If you’re trimming regularly as a preventive measure or “just because” then all you’re really doing is unnecessarily removing length. Trimming your hair often will not make a big difference in the health of your natural hair, only moisture does that.

 

How Much Is Too Much?

A good rule of thumb to follow is if you’re cutting off more than 3 centimeters of hair each time there is a moisture issue within your hair. When healthy hair is trimmed usually no more than a few centimeters is needed to be removed. One exception is if you have singles strand knots that are kind of high up on the hair strand.

 

How To Trim On Your Own

Trimming your own hair is tricky but definitely  doable as long as you’re knowledgable of what not to do. Be sure to trim in sections when the hair is wet. Stretch your curls down in each section and study the hair very closely. Damaged hair will be translucent and appear “wild looking” as well as being a different texture from the rest. Trim the hair as far down as possible as not to remove any healthy hair.

how to trimm cut natural hair

Notice The Wild Looking See Through Hair’s Towards The Bottom

 

How I Trim

I put my hair in twist in several sections (usually about ten) and I study the ends of my hair. This makes it easy to remove all of them adequately at once because you can actually spot where the damaged hair is.

how to trim cut natural hair

 

Trimming Split Ends

Be sure that when you’re removing split ends to cut a bit above where the hair stops splitting. This will ensure that you have removed all of the damaged part of the hair shaft.

 

Trimming/Cutting Single Strand Knots

When cutting single strand knots be careful not to pull on the hair strand too hard and to cut directly above the knot to minimise length loss. It will be hard removing a few inches of hair because of how high the knot is but it has to go at sometime. Knots can catch on to other hair’s and cause more knots so you’re doing yourself a favor!

 

The protective layer of our hair (the cuticle) wares down from combing, heat usage and chemicals so trimming is a necessity. Trimming your hair is a skill that can be learned and if you’re unsure go to a professional. They have the eye for removing all damaged ends that will lead to each and every curl being defined because you’re getting rid of dead weight. The difference in the appearance and feel of your hair will make you not miss the length that you’ve trimmed away and your styles will look even better!

 

***Remember there’s a difference between cutting and trimming, cutting refers to the removal of hair for a hairstyle and a trim is for the removal of damaged hair.

 

 

Natural Hair Care

What Shampoos & Conditioners Really Do

16th April 2015
Bottles

These facts and helpful hints will give you a better understanding on how to properly condition and cleanse your natural hair as well as the backgrounds on the very products you use.

History of Shampoo

Shampooing the hair has been around since ancient times originating in India where a variety of herbs and extracts were used to cleanse the hair. They used a very effective main ingredient that was derived from the pulp of the soapberry which is a natural surfactant. European travellers later brought this fascinating concept back to Europe calling it shampoo leading to the modern less naturally based shampoo’s most use today.

How Shampoo’s Made

The main ingredients in shampoo’s usually are a surfactant, sulfates, and a co surfactant. Other ingredients include salt (sodium chloride), preservatives, fragrances as well as other substances which control the texture, foaming nature, toxicity and ph level.

Function of Shampoo

The function of shampoo is to remove the unpleasant build up of oils and dirt from your hair they do so by effectively removing all oils including naturally produced oil’s. Shampoo with unnatural ingredients leave hair feeling dry because of the removal of naturally produced oil’s needed for moisture.

History of Conditioner

Conditioner dates back centuries mainly containing essential oils like jojoba and tea tree oil. Modern hair conditioner was brought about at the turn of the 20th century by a famous perfumer at the time. Modern science furthermore changed the ingredients which led to the conditioners that we use today containing hardly any natural ingredients.

How Conditioner’s Made

The main ingredients are moisturisers, reconstructors, detanglers, thermal protectors, oil’s, surfactants, preservatives and sunscreen. These ingredient do benefit the hair but are synthetically processed.

Function of Conditioner(s)

Pack Conditioners- These thick creamy mixtures bind to the hair and glue the hair’s cuticle like scales together. The high contents of surfactants lay on and form a thick layer over the hair. (Aussie 3 Minute Miracle)

Leave In- These tend to be thinner in texture and the surfactant structure leaves a lighter layer over the hair and acts like an oil leading to less tangled, smoother and easier to deal with hair.

Ordinary Conditioners- Combine both factors of leave in and pack conditioners, these are usually used after shampooing the hair.

Factors To Take Into Account

1. If you’re using shampoo use one containing natural ingredients that will gently cleanse the hair (they do exist). Demonising shampoo is a huge mistake due to the fact that they do cleanse and remove product build up which can stunt hair growth and cause dryness.

2. If you’re using a pack conditioner which usually is a deep conditioner or a conditioner that penetrates, remember that this is just a way to thickly coat your hair and is long lasting and not a permanent solution. If you’re using a leave in you can use it often and can aid your hair in  softness and manageability. If you’re using an ordinary conditioner be sure to check the ingredients and to not apply a lot of it directly to the scalp.

3. Your hair’s cuticles will be open due to the reaction of the water hitting your hair so really massage in the conditioner and allow it time to penetrate. If you have trouble holding moisture try using steam and a hot oil treatment after washing your hair.

4. Using natural ingredient based hair products is the best way to go as far as getting your hair to really become moisturised. The ingredients list of these products should tell you that most widely used hair products are far from natural and contain chemicals that benefit your hair but must be neutralised by other chemicals.

 

The science of washing your hair is pretty straight forward by doing research on this topic i’ve discovered that I could probably easily make my own all I need is a surfactant, a balanced ph level and something to moisturise my hair and I’d be good to go. Writing this has definitely made me want to try DIY methods but I can’t discount the pretty good products lines out there. All in all do your research ladies and always remember to read the ingredients list.

 

Natural Hair Care

Do You Know Your Natural Hair’s Porosity?

14th April 2015
natural hair porosity

Hair porosity simply means how well your hair holds moisture. Your hair is unique to you and factors such as hair porosity play a huge role in the behaviour of your hair. Here are some reasons and facts about why knowing your natural hairs porosity will make a big difference in your journey.

Your Hair’s Cuticle

Your hair is formed of layers the outer most which is the one that is visible to the eye is called the cuticle layer. This layer is made up of scale like layers that operate like shingles, moving up and down. This layer is what protects your hair and controls the intake of water. The cortex is where water is housed.

natural hair porostiy

Function of The Cuticle

The shingle looking layers lift up to take in water and moisture and then lift back down again. How often they lift and just how much moisture they let in is based on genetics, your surroundings (hot cold weather), diet and the chemicals that you use.

 

3 Types of Hair Porosity

Your hair’s porosity can be one of three categories low, medium (normal) or high.

 

What’s Your Hair’s Porosity?

Determining your hair’s porosity can be done by testing a few strands of hair. Make sure that these strands are clean hair with no product on them whatsoever. Drop the strands of hair in a glass of water and let them sit for about 3 to 4 minutes. If your hair floats for a while and is slow to sink that means your hair has a very low porosity. If it lingers in the middle then it is of medium (normal) porosity, if it quickly sinks to the bottom then your hair’s porosity is very high.

natural hair porosity

Low Porosity & Care

If your hair floated amongst the top of the glass then you have low porosity hair meaning the shingle like layers that make up your cuticle are very tight and for one reason or another are less prone to lifting and letting a lot of water, moisture or products in. That just means you have to use other methods to lift those shingles when needed like steaming and using products with metals like alkaline which cause the cuticles to swell and lift. Remember you can use all of the moisture rich products and hair regimens out there but for us low porosity chicks it won’t matter unless those shingles are open. Before my wash days I sit in my bathroom while the water runs hot and soak up the steam it creates then I put a shower cap over my head with my conditioner on it for deeper penetration.

 

Medium (Normal) Porosity & Care

If your hair strand lingered in the middle of the glass your hair is of medium/normal porosity. First off good for you!! This means that your cuticles (shingles) lift regularly to let plenty of water and moisture in. Keep up with whatever you’re doing to maintain this porosity and enjoy the natural shine of your natural hair.

 

 

High Porosity & Care

If your hair strand sank to the bottom very quickly then this means your hair is of high porosity. This entails that your hair cuticles (shingles) for several reasons contain a lot of cracks and openings that let a lot of water flow through. Hair with high porosity absorbs moisture and also quickly loses it. The best way to care for hair of this type is to use a lot of thick and creamy products like butters and oils for sealants. There really isn’t a way to repair the gaps and cracks but using methods like protein treatments and even aloe vera gel which bond to hair strands can fill in those cracks temporarily. The key is sealing every drop of moisture in and replacing it immediately once it’s gone.

 

Things To Be Cautious Of & Remember

While people with low porosity hair may want their cuticles to raise to absorb more water you do not want to drastically raise them by causing too much swelling. This can cause drastic effects to your hair. While you want your moisturiser and products to be able to penetrate, they will do so simply because they are of the right size and chemical structure to fit underneath the cuticles while they’re lifted. Conditioner causes the cuticles to lay down and shampoos that contain non ionic surfactants open them so if you co-wash try doing it on damp hair in the presence of steam. Your hair’s porosity can change based on products that you use and your diet so eat healthily and be careful of products that cause these changes (products with sulfates).

 

natural hair porositynatural hair porosity

 

Now that you know what your hair porosity is you can adequately choose products for your hair and see better results. Do your own research and constantly search for products that work best for you. My hair’s porosity changed because I used a product containing awful chemicals and sulfates don’t let this happen to you! Read those labels ladies. I’ve recently found powdered clay containing silica, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, lithium called Rhassoul that i’ll be adding to my hair regimen! Hopefully it will help lift my low porosity cuticles, I will post an update of the results soon.

 

 

 

Natural Hair Care

4 Simple Daily Practices That Will Keep Natural Hair Moisturised

12th April 2015
Moisturised natural hair

Dry hair is a battle that we all face due to the properties of natural hair however implementing these 4 daily practices into your natural hair regimen will keep your natural hair more moisturised and feeling soft. Keeping your natural hair moisturised has never been easier.

Water & Spray Bottle Recipes

Using water everyday certainly keeps a steady flow of moisture coming towards your hair and having an excellent spray bottle recipe will further more add to that. There are some amazing spray bottle recipes that benefit natural hair in several ways. See an excellent list here.

 

Oiling Your Edges and Ends

Edges are important for fuller looking hair and your ends are what retain hair length. Keeping these two important parts of your hair moisturised daily will help combat single strand knots and kick start the regrowth of your edges. Oil’s excellent for strengthening and moisturising are coconut oil, jojoba oil, castor oil, olive oil and avocado oil.

 

Drinking Plenty of Water

Our bodies use water for everything from lubricating our joints to hydrating our skin. Everything we ingest will show up everywhere especially in your hair. That’s why drinking more water on a daily basis will make a big difference in the moisture, look and feel of your hair. The more you put into your body the more your hair will have.

 

Bagging

On days where you don’t have anywhere to go or you’re wearing a style that doesn’t require stretched hair wear a shower cap for a few hours while lounging around the house. Especially if you use sealants daily this will help lift your hair cuticle and allow all of those oils and products to really penetrate your hair.

 

These 4 simple practices will help your hair by retaining moisture and in time train your hair to expect that level of moisture and not going into emergency moisture retention mode. 

Natural Hair Care

Sulfates & Natural Hair: The Low Down (Are they harmful?)

7th April 2015
why sulfates are bad

Sulfates & Natural Hair: The Low Down

A hot topic in the natural hair community is the usage of sulfates in hair products and whether they’re harmful or not. My on going battle with dry hair is one that has boggled my mind, trying different methods only to see the issue     temporarily alleviated. I didn’t realise that one of my favorite hair products that I’d been using daily since I’d gone natural contained sulfates. I can’t explain why but looking at the ingredients never crossed my mind. Seeing that I’ve been using this on my hair for nearly two years I’d say that I’m the perfect source to attest to the issues of using sulfate enlisted products. 

What are sulfates?

Sulfates are a synthetic ingredient that are created from the reaction between lauryl alcohol and sulfuric acid. It can be produced using ingredients such as coconut oil and petroleum and many other substances.

Why Are They In Hair Products?

They’re an excellent foaming agent that is cheap to use in the production of hair products and have the capability to remove massive amounts of dirt and oils that build up in the hair.

What Sulfates Do To The Hair

Sulfates can make the hair dry and brittle due to the fact that they’re engineered to clean so well. They completely strip the hair of essential oils that are produced naturally for moisture and therefore leave your hair dried out causing split ends.

Continuous Use of Sulfates 

Experts say that the continuous usage of sulfates has the potential to cause long term damage that will materialise in the appearance and over all health of the hair. In some cases these products can cause irritation of the scalp and eyes (which is why some shampoos burn when they come in contact with the eye). They also can cause severe reactions such as swelling of the hands and face.

3 Main Sulfate Products In Shampoos

Sodium lauryl sulfats (SLS), Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), and Ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS):

 

Sodium lauryl sulfats (SLS)- SLS is usually synthesized from coconut or palm oil then it is reacted with other chemicals to make the final product. It is also found in other essential products such as toothpaste, cleaning products, detergents, shaving creams and bubble bath. SLS can produce allergic reactions that make the skin more sensitive according to the National Institutes of Health Hazardous Substances Database. SLS is also a common eye irritant found in shampoos.


 

Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)-  SLES is a detergent and surfactant found in a lot of hygienic based products. SLES is a chemically similar to SLS and can dry out the skin and is another eye irritant found in shampoos.


 

Ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS)- ALS is a very high foaming agent that is mostly found in  body wash and shampoo products. It is also an eye irritant and according to the National Institutes of Health Hazardous Substances Database ALS can also become a respiratory irritant.

They’re Harmful but What’s The BIG Deal?

Putting chemicals like these in your scalp and skin is worse than eating them. Enzymes in your saliva aid in breaking down components in several things that we ingest and then flush out of our bodies. The scalp and skin don’t have that protection which raises the risk of these harmful chemicals becoming absorbed into our blood stream which will lay in wait within our bodies and cause health problems later in life. Products that have sulfates in them can also contain impurities due to the synthesising process that occurs from the production of sulfates. Ethylene dioxide is a precursor that is used during the formulation process that forms these impurities and is a possible carcinogen and organ system toxicant.

My Experience

When using hair products that contained sulfates which I’d done mistakingly for two years, I noticed that while they curl your hair up or even seem to make it softer they dry your hair out over a course of a few days. While your sealants are working hard to keep moisture in the chemicals in sulfates are taking it out. You can use any method you wish but continuously using products with sulfates will in fact keep your hair from retaining maximum moisture. The products never caused my hair to become so severely dry that it broke off but it did make my mission to have moisturised hair ten times harder! Within weeks of stopping the use of the product my hair retained moisture easier and my ends weren’t as dry and brittle. I thought all of this time that it was my hair that I was fighting with when really it was this product holding me back from moisturised hair. It’s not worth it and there are tons of other products out there with better ingredients that actually make a positive difference.

When Searching For A Shampoo

Shampoos without sulfate usually don’t foam because the foaming agent in most shampoos is a sulfate. Shampoos that use other surfactants (a substance which reduces the surface tension of a liquid) tend to be pricier because they use a different formulation. Sulfate based shampoos are thickened with cheap ingredients like sodium chloride which is terrible for your hair but this thickener doesn’t work in sulfate free shampoos formulations. Look for organic shampoos with 100% vegetarian ingredients with no preservatives, synthetic colors or fragrances.

Transitioning Away From Sulfates

If you’re transitioning away from these products your hair needs to be cleansed from any product build up containing sulfates and then highly moisturised. I recommend a good cleanser to remove build up then a weekly co-wash for four consecutive weeks implementing a deep conditioner two out of the four weeks. Google “sulfate free shampoos and conditioners” and take your pick.

Sulfates are a messy and nasty business that can pollute our bodies and dry out the hair in my research I found that these products are in several things that we use everyday! Check and recheck product labels again and again your body will thank you for it later. Who knows, maybe some health issues that you may be experiencing are due to the prolonged usage of  sulfates. Now that I’ve stop using them the moisture in my hair is so much more prevalent!  Sometimes it’s hard to break away from these products because they tend to be cheaper in price but the long term effects simply aren’t worth it. If you do use sulfate prevalent products  use those that contain no more than 1% in concentration. Take it from me, removing these products from your hair regimen is the key to the end of your dry hair battle.

 

Natural Hair Care

Natural Hair & Kinky Clip Ins Q&A

3rd April 2015
Kinky Clip Ins

Natural Hair & Kinky Clip Ins Q&A

Experimenting with different styles is something everyone does but when it comes to trying clip ins it can be a little tricky especially when it comes to finding them. I tried to do a lot of research on this before and I couldn’t find much. Luckily I’ve been wearing clip ins for almost three months now and what I’ve found is that there are a few things worth pointing out that aren’t so obvious. Here are some tips on finding, and correctly matching kinky clip ins.

What Curl Pattern?

Clip ins will most likely be presented in a bundle of hair, if this is the case go for the curl patter that your hair can achieve i.e. how you hair looks after a twist out take down. If you’re looking for a less defined look so that you won’t have to worry about blending go for a bundle that has defined ends and densely compacted hair with little visible curls or an afro textured bundle.

Different lengths = Different Hairstyles

Take into account the kinkiness of the hair and that it is susceptible to shrinkage. I bought a bag of 12 inch and 14 inch hair but in person they looked more like 10 and 12 inch hair. If you’re looking for at least arm length hair I suggest going with 24 inches and up. If you’re wanting a shoulder length curly fro a bag of 12 and 14 inch hair is ideal and for a fuller TWA 10 inch hair.

Where Do I Find Them?

Kinky clip ins aren’t the easiest to find but there are several online businesses owned by naturals who sell them. They’re great quality but most that I’ve seen are a bit pricey but are more than likely exactly what you’re looking for. A couple of good one’s are Curl Sistas and Heat Free Hair. For the natural that is looking for quality on a budget, there are several other sites that carry these clip ins. I found mine on ebay by searching “kinky clip ins”, I was suspicious but it was great quality hair and would buy from them again. This is a market after all simply find the one offering good hair at competitive prices.

For Full Looking Shapely Hair

If you’re wanting a look that has a lot of body buying hair at different lengths is ideal. If you want a full looking fro then buying a bundle that is two inches shorter than your other bundle is key. When you think about it the fullest looking natural hair has layers galore that give it that distinctive afro shape.

How Much Do I Need?

If you’re looking for a full head of hair then buying two bags/bundles is definitely necessary. It’s not one of those things that you might be able to pull off without that second lot, trust me!

Does A Person’s Natural Hair Length Matter?

Yes and no, these clip ins have tiny clips on the weft that can attach to almost anything. What needs to brought into length configuration is if your natural hair when wet can cover the weft of the track. I’d say if your hair length is just above your ears then you can definitely wear clip ins. (10 inch hair really does compliment a TWA)

Texture Does Matter

When shopping for hair pay attention to how soft in appearance the hair is. One thing I’d change about my clip ins is the texture. My hair blends the best with the clip ins after a fresh wash and l.o.c method which is frustrating at times. Natural hair doesn’t appear soft in texture so avoid hair that looks soft and overly shiny.

What To Avoid

Soft hair textures, shiny hair textures and shady looking websites. That’s why I chose to buy my clip ins through ebay at least with this company if there are any issues you can dispute them and expect quality due to regulations.

Keyword Searches

Kinky clip ins, afro clip ins, curly clip ins (for my looser curled ladies).

How Long Do They Last?

As long as you’re willing to take care of them, much like you’re hair they’ll need moisture and light detangling. These clip ins do require work.

Hairstyling Methods That Really Blend

Two strand twist (all sizes), flat twist, three strand twist and braids

Are They Right For Me?

If you’re looking for a semi low maintenance hairstyle that you won’t mind putting in a little work for then yes they’re right for you.

When I was searching for my clip ins these are things that I really wanted to know but couldn’t find simply because there isn’t much information being shared to go on at the moment. Hopefully these helpful hints will aid you in your search! If want a reference for the company I bought mine from send me a message and I’ll post a link!

Kinky/Curly Clip Ins

Kinky Clip Ins From Ebay

 

 

Natural Hair Care

Protective Styling Do’s & Dont’s

2nd April 2015
Woman with Afro Hair

Protective Styling Do’s & Dont’s

Protective styles are amazing for length retention and provide a low maintenance way to wear your hair. When choosing the right protective style it is beneficial to know exactly why you’re doing it and what steps you can take to ensure that the up keep of your protective style doesn’t create breakage or dryness. Protective styles should be chosen based upon a realistic idea of what works for you. If you don’t like using a lot of gel or tend to forget about moisturising when your hair is up and out of the way, go for a style that compliments that fact. Having a realistic and holistic approach to protective styling can allow your hair to rest and flourish.

What Are Protective Styles?

Protective styles are hair styles that require low maintenance and pull and tuck your hair out of the way. Length retention can be hard to achieve for some because the tighter the curl pattern the more you have to do to tame it and sometimes this causes breakage and stress on the hair. If your hair is left alone for longer periods of time the growth process isn’t being hindered in any way.

When Should I Use A Protective Style?

Protective styles should be used when you notice extreme breakage, when the hair is exposed to harsh cold weather, periodically to give your hair a break or simply when you want a break from styling.

What’s Cold Weather Have To Do With Anything?

Cold weather is stingy, our hair absorbs moisture from the air and winter air contains a lot less moisture and leads to frizziness and dryness making us want to do more to tame our hair for styling purposes leading to stress and hair loss.

Be Mindful of Your Edges

Most up do’s require gel to smooth the hair down and not all gel’s are created equal. Most of them leave your hair feeling dry and can cause an itching sensation especially around the edges. Since your hair is pulled up there is already some stress around the edges of your hair and for the sake of upkeep many won’t want to add water to moisturise so they lightly scratch. This is fine but repetitive scratching can cause breakage and scalp irritation. Using moisturising gel’s help and also taking your hair down and moisturising it after wearing the style for a few weeks can help as well.

Bristle Brushes For Smoothing

Bristle brushes for many are key in smoothing down hair and creating that slicked down look your protective style calls for. Styling with them isn’t a real problem but using them for maintenance and up keep on certain styles is. When your hair is pulled up using this brush to smooth down a few hairs that weren’t tamed overnight under your scarf can be counter productive to the health of your hair. Bristle brushes are densely packed with bristles that find and catch onto every curl pulling them outward like fingers in an unbaling fist. With your ends tucked into a pony tail and the rest of your hair being combed by these bristles you could cause knots and breakage. Instead use coconut oil and smooth upward with your fingers before bed and tie your hair down. This oil moisturises and is great at coating strands for smoothing.

Longevity in Wear Isn’t Always Better

The longer you wear a protective means that you’re leaving your hair alone and that’s always a good thing. However depending on the style this can cause negative effects. Mainly with up do’s the longer they’re worn the more likely we’ll have to smooth down fly away hair’s and add ton’s of gel and product. Taking down these styles every two to three weeks to replenish your hair’s moisture is key.

Don’t Forget Your Ends!

The ends are the oldest and most fragile part of the hair so tucking these away will be top priority. However if you haven’t prepared your ends properly they will become very dry. If you’re going for a style that involves tucking your ends away use a heavy strengthening oil as a sealant like olive oil. Olive oil is good at sitting on top of the hair and not moving which can seal in moisture effectively.

How Often Are Wash Days Needed?

Depending on the style you’re rocking wash days can be cut down for the sake of leaving your hair alone unless your hair feels dry. If you’re using loads of products for upkeep but only in a certain area of your hair then wash days can become infrequent (every three weeks) however if you’re thinking of doing this then implement a deep conditioner when you do wash. If your ends are dry then a take down and co-wash should happen asap.

Examples Of Protective Style’s

Wigs, half wigs, twist outs, bantu knot outs, buns, pompadours, up do’s, and braids. If you’re looking for some unique protective styles I have a few on my youtube playlist Natural Notebook  that are quick and easy. The youtube channel Tiffany Nichols Design has excellent protective styles that are docile and affordable.

I wore a protective style for six months and through trial and much error discovered a few key points in correctly protective styling. During that time I experienced tremendous growth while enjoying the benefits of low maintenance hair care. Protective styling is beneficial for everyone especially those with busy lifestyles and with the endless choices available there’s a style for everyone!

 

Natural Hair Care

The Natural Hair “Lingo” Guide For Newborn Naturals

30th March 2015
natural hair words

Okay so you’ve gone natural or are transitioning and after much research you’ve probably come across some forums that left you scratching your head as to what these people were talking about and being faced with all of these new things can make you feel like you’re in your first day of school again. Here are a few words along with definitions and even tutorials on the endless wonder that comes with being natural.

Big Chop– A phrase meaning the removal of relaxed hair by cutting or trimming so that all that is left are natural hair strands. “About to thug it out and go ahead and get my big chop over with.”

Bantu Knot Out– The practice of sectioning off your hair and taking one of those sections and twisting the hair until it spirals around into a resting snake like position.

Bantu Knot Out– A hairstyling method used to stretch the hair creating the appearance of loose waves. Watch a tutorial here.

Co-wash– A hair washing method where the use of shampoo is replaced by a good conditioner to retain more moisture and natural oils in the hair. Here is a good hair/co-washing method for wash day.

Creamy Crack– This phrase is a nickname that refers to relaxers.”I ain’t mad that you went back to the creamy crack.”

Faux Locs- A hairstyle that uses kinky hair to mimmic the appearance of dread locks.

Flat Twist Out– Styling method that entails creating a two strand twist that lays flat to your scalp, this style is great for more defined curls that also give definition at your roots.

Froin– The act of wearing the hair in an afro or afro based hairstyle. “Don’t feel like doing a twist out, guess i’ll be froin today.”

Locs– An abbreviated term for dread locks where the hair is continuously twisted and sealed at the ends with wax. This style is excellent for growing your hair out uninterrupted, however this look is permanent and must be cut off to be changed.

L.O.C Method– This acronym stands for Leave in Conditioner/Liquid, Oil and Cream and is a hair care regimen. This method is used after the hair is freshly washed or dry to retain moisture using the three listed products in the other stated.

Protective Style– This phrase means the practice of styling your hair in very low maintenance styles where your hair is either covered (i.e. weaves wigs) or left alone for long periods of time. “This winter weather is drying out my hair, I really need a protective style to wear.”

Moisture/Moisturise– When this word is used by a natural they usually mean that they’re going to, or need to apply water to their hair. “Does anyone know where my spray bottle is I need to moisturise my hair.”

Sealant– When this word is used it usually means the use of an oil, conditioner or cream that is applied after the moisturisation process to seal in the water. “Make sure that you use olive oil as a sealant after you moisturise.”

Slip-This phrase is in reference to the feel of one’s hair after or during the wash process or while using products. This entails that the hair strands are smooth and together and not frizzy or tangled. “After using that conditioner my hair has a lot of slip.”

Stretched Hair- When this phrase is used it is in reference to using a hairstyling method that greatly loosens the curl pattern creating nearly straightened hair. Bantu knots are usually used for this method. “Instead of using heat to straighten my hair I’ll just stretch it out.”

Three Strand Twist Out A Styling method that entails taking three strands of hair and creating a revers braid like plat. This style is great for looser looking curls. Watch a tutorial here.

Two Strand Twist Out– A styling method that entails the use of two sections of hair that are then taken and twisted around one another (much like platting) until you reach the ends of the hair. This style is very easy and basic for creating springy curls. Watch a tutorial here.

TWA– An acronym which stands for Teenie Weenie Afro. This is the phrase that women usually use when they’ve just had their big chop. “I’m not playing with this TWA today, short hair don’t care!”

Wash and Go– A hairstyling process used to greatly accentuate one’s natural curl pattern. This method is usually done on freshly washed wet hair. Watch a tutorial here.

I used a few sentence examples for the trickier words but overall most of these are pretty straight forward. Hopefully the next time you’re doing some research for your next hairstyle or new hair regimen you’ll feel more in tuned and apart of the natural hair community! If you’ve come across any unlisted words anywhere on the web please just ask!

 

Natural Hair Care

Q&A, Tips & More On How To “Go Natural”

28th March 2015
yolanda-spivey_black-woman-pretends-to-be-white-to-get-job1

If you’ve made it here then you’ve probably made up your mind, or are thinking about stopping the relaxers and going natural. The process of going natural is yours to choose and can be a difficult and confusing time. Here are some helpful tips and answers to most major questions on going natural that will hopefully make the process a lot easier.

After You’ve Stopped Relaxing Your Hair, What’s best?

This is the biggest turning point for a lot of transitioners, most would’ve gone most of their lives with relaxed hair so not knowing what to do is perfectly natural. The best thing to do after you’ve stopped relaxing your hair depends on how much new growth you have. If you have a lot of new growth and your comfortable with short hair then go ahead with your big chop. The big chop is what’s referenced to in natural land as cutting off all of your relaxed hair. If you don’t have much new growth then I suggest wearing braids or sew ins until your hair has grown out a little and can be cut.

Do I Have To Cut Off All of My Relaxed Hair?

Yes, simply because of the fact that once your hair has been touched by harsh chemicals such as those that are found in relaxers it will never be the same. More than likely your natural curl pattern has been stripped and will not match your natural hair in appearance or health and this will cause breakage because you virtually have two very different hair patterns in your head. After you get to know the beauty and luster that your natural hair holds you’ll want to cut those chemically processed strands off anyway.

My Densely Compact Natural Hair Grown Out With Sparse Straight Ends. Not A Good Look!

My Densely Compact Curly Natural Hair Grown Out With Sparse Straight Relaxed Ends. 

Your New Growth Is Your Natural Hair

As your hair grows out and your new growth begins to become more prominent take a moment to appreciate it. The new growth you see is your natural hair that many probably haven’t seen since they were little. Once those relaxed ends are cut you’ll be able to completely see your curl pattern and texture and this will be so exciting, especially after your first styling session.

Hair Styling During the Transition Period

If you’re wanting to wear your own hair during the transitional period then take heed that you might be subjecting yourself to unnecessary breakage. Your roots will be curly and wavy while the rest of your hair will be straight. The point where the new growth meets the chemically treated part of your hair strand is very weak and will more than likely break off (might as well go for the big chop!). Many naturals, as well as this one would suggest braids or a sew in, basically some sort of style where your hair can be left in peace to grow out.

Straightening New Growth To Match Your Relaxed Hair

Your natural hair responds very differently to heat, you will get to know this as you get to know your hair. While this may make your roots blend in a bit better with the rest of your hair for whatever style you’re wanting to wear it is not a good idea. By doing this you’re putting your natural hair at risk in very many ways which could majorly set you back when you’ve finally gone completely natural. Applying heat to your natural hair can permanently strip your curl pattern or change it. A straggly curl strand will stand out in a head full of tighter curls I have mine to prove it! You could also encourage dryness and breakage and during the transition period this could mean breaking off your natural hair that you’re trying to grow out.

Upkeep Of Hair While Transitioning 

The best way to take care of your hair while transitioning is to leave it alone and keep it moisturised! Especially your new growth. At this point it is still okay to grease your scalp.

What Will My Curl Patter Look Like?

Your curl pattern is due to many things such as your family background and genes. Don’t expect you hair to look like that naturalista’s on youtube that you oh so admire. Keep in mind that every curl pattern is beautiful from the loose S curl to the tightest wound coil. Another interesting fact is the curl pattern and texture of your hair will more than likely change as years go by of being natural. The longer you’re natural the more fruitful your hair becomes in sense and once it’s been nurtured enough it will blossom into it’s healthiest form. Also as your hair grows gravity comes into action and will put weight on your curls loosening them up the longer it grows.

Do I Still Have To Use Grease/ Grease My Scalp?

You will be pleased to know that the days of parting your hair in sections and lathering on sludgy grease is over! Your scalp needed to be greased because of the harsh chemicals from the relaxers you were using. Relaxers steal a lot of moisture from your hair and hinder the natural oils secreted from the scalp. Due to your hair being natural those oils will be released and uninterrupted.

Sooooo, Just A Few More Questions About Grease!

You can still use grease on your hair but there are some things to take into account as well as some downsides. Grease is a very effective moisture sealant but it is not a moisturiser, meaning it doesn’t add moisture to the hair it keeps whatever moisture that is already there sealed in. Grease also contains petroleum jelly and mineral oil which is somewhat difficult to remove from the hair and attracts dirt which will lead to you having to use a heavy shampoo to remove it. Doing this will clean your hair but as a natural you don’t want moisturising components to be totally removed in the shower from heavy cleansing this will lead to dryness and breakage. Oil’s do exactly what hair grease does with none of the downsides. Check out my post called 6 Praiseworthy Oil’s For Natural Hair to learn more about moisture sealants and their benefits.

Is Natural Hair Right For You?

Going natural is tough for some everything they’ve ever known about taking care of their hair is no longer applicable this is a new area that you’ll be entering into that will require a lot of work. For many their natural hair was unpleasant to see growing through as they were trying to maintain their relaxed hair which mentally results in many cases thinking that it’s ugly or and undesirable look. After I went natural my eyes were opened to the beauty of my natural hair and it changes a lot of your opinions on what is “normal.” If you’re willing to put in work and learn a lot about your hair then going natural will suit you just fine.

It was nearly four year ago when I decided to go natural, I stopped perming my hair and just wore weaves so that my chemically treated hair could grow out and it was one of the best decisions that i’ve ever made. The growth and beauty that comes with this process is almost spiritual and will change you as an ethnic woman. There is a lot to learn but there is a fabulous natural hair community that is behind you and dying to share information. Be sure to check out my post “6 Praiseworthy Oil’s For Natural Hair”, “Natural Hair Beginner’s Tool Kit, What’s Needed?, and “What All Newborn Naturals NEED To Know. These are all very informative and will truly enrich your journey. If you have more questions PLEASE feel free to ask!