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Natural Hair Care

Is Oil Washing For You?

3rd August 2015
oil washing

Oil washing is probably one of the most creative methods I’ve seen amidst the natural hair community and it intrigued me greatly. Naturally, I did some research took to youtube and discovered that quite a few people were doing this and they all were having different experiences. I couldn’t wait to try it out and I’m glad that I did I learned so much more about my hair! Here’s exactly what happened during my four week trial of oil washing.

What is oil washing? It’s a method used before washing your hair or in between your shampoo and conditioner application to retain moisture and to soften the hair. You coat the hair generously (depending on your hair type) with a heavy or light oil and then wash it out like normal. From my research people were mainly using olive oil which is due to the fact that most of the women had thick densely compacted tight curls. Olive oil is thick enough to coat without the greasiness like coconut oil leaves behind. Watch an oil wash in action here via the NappyChronicles youtube channel for a visual.

I began oil washing once a week for 4 weeks. I applied oil in my hair after cleansing with a conditioner and a light cleansing co wash shampoo at my roots to loosen any dirt or product build up. After doing this I applied olive oil to my hair and let it sit for 15-20 minutes under a bag. I then washed out as much as the oil as I wanted. I always left behind a good amount because it made my hair a lot softer and much more manageable.

I began seeing results after week 2. I noticed that my hair was a lot shinier and was beginning to soften! As far as moisture retention I saw no difference even after my 4 week trial had ended. Looking back on it now I understand why I didn’t, with all of the oil that I was placing in my hair it probably affected how much sebum my hair was producing. I think that if I were steaming my hair or doing hot oil treatments the moisture loss I was experiencing would’ve been cut in half. After all that olive oil was just sitting on top of my hair and probably creating a bit of a barrier between my hair shaft and the water that could’ve provided more moisture.

 

What I learned:

Oil washing isn’t necessary for my hair

It made my hair SUPER shiny to the point where people noticed & the shine was gorgeous!

It did nothing whatsoever for my moisture levels

It made the feel of my hair softer because the oil was able to distribute wonderfully & work its magic

This method is more of a beautification process for my hair rather than constructive to my hair’s health

 

 

If You’re Going To Try This:

Be sure to use an emollient (an oil that softens the hair) otherwise kind of a waste

If you notice you’re losing more moisture than normal don’t oil wash as often & if you’re using a cleanser like a shampoo or co washing shampoo make sure that you’re replacing that moisture loss

Don’t apply directly to your scalp as this might affect the level of your own naturally produced oils

It’s a pretty messy process but your skin will feel so soft if you wash in the shower

Let the oil sit on your hair for a while before washing it out

 

Overall if I ever needed my hair to be shinier or was looking for an easy to do method that would make my hair super easy to deal with after a wash I’d do an oil wash. Otherwise, I’ll stick to my steaming and hot oil treatments.

Natural Hair Care

6 Tips On Straightening Your Natural Hair

6th May 2015
straightening natural hair

As naturals we love our fierce curls and kinks that make our hair gorgeous and full of body. It’s a given that we’ll want to change up our hair style every once and while and rock straight hair (mainly for the length checks). However when straightening your hair you should know a few things that will keep you from a number of negative outcomes that could effect the health, look and feel of your hair.

 

You must prepare your hair properly especially if you’re straightening your hair after you’ve just washed it. A good way to lift your cuticle to absorb more moisture is by using a steamer with your deep conditioner as well as a good sealant. This will pump way more moisture into your hair and avoid dryness. Also try to avoid blow drying and straightening in the same setting as this will increase your chance of moisture making whatever products you’ve put in your hair beforehand a non factor.

 

The golden rule every natural should follow is always straighten your hair on low heat, you may want sleek and straight looking hair but using high levels of heat will cause damage. Remember straight hair will last only a few days and is not worth messing up years of work that you’ve put into the health of your hair.

 

Never straighten your hair without a heat protectant. There are many out there that work brilliantly in coating your hair strands and repelling heat penetration to the cuticle layer. I left this step out of my regimen when I straightened my hair a few years ago and stripped my curl pattern along the back of my neck. Heat protectants are inexpensive and normally come in a spray form and cause a lot of steam as you straighten your hair because they act as a buffer between your hair and the heat.

 

Always be aware of just how many times you’re going over a section of your hair with your straightener. Even with a heat protectant on your hair too much heat is still too much heat. During the straightening process the ultimate goal is to get the look you desire with very little heat damage.

 

Never attempt to fully straighten your roots. Your roots are where your new growth peaks and this hair is fragile as it is the newest and most under nourished part of your hair. You could strip your curl pattern and create straggly unnatural looking curls as well as cause the hair to weaken and break off.

 

Lastly, protect your ends by applying the heat protectant evenly and by properly moisturising your hair beforehand. Failure to do so will certainly result in dry and brittle ends that will lead to the loss of length.

 

Overall keeping these 6 tips in mind will lead to a much healthier straightening process. There is no sure way to stop heat damage from happening as using high levels of heat will always effect your moisture levels. Never hold unrealistic goals for your natural hair remember that it will look a certain way (poofy with a hint of kink) and will not be bone straight. Use light weight products that promote sleek looking hair like argan oil. This will help weigh down the hair even more and give a healthy finish to your look!

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.