Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Do You Want to Be Featured on RC?


I am accepting applications for my #FridayFeatures! This is a new segment where on a Friday I will post a blog post that will tell YOUR Healthy Hair Story!
I will post anyone's hair story. Just fill out the information below and send the information to rapunzelsconsultant@outlook.com

Are you relaxed, natural, or transitioning? 
How long is your hair (inches or by milestone--Shoulder Length, Bra Strap Length, etc)? 
What can you tell me about your hair before you started your Healthy Hair Journey (HHJ)? 
What was the catalyst that started your journey? 
How did you learn to take care of your hair? What was your starter regime (if you remember)? 
How was other's reactions to you starting your HHJ? 
How do they feel now that you've been on a HHJ? 
What is your current regime and your holy grail products? 
Do you have any hair issues or problem areas that you are working on? 
What are your long-term and short-term hair goals (This can be in terms of length or just increased hair moisture retention)? 
Please include pictures! 

As an example, here are my answers. I answered short-handed for some questions because my whole hair journey can be found on the page "Hair Journey" and my current hair regime can be found on the page "Hair Regime".

Are you relaxed, natural, or transitioning? Natural
How long is your hair (inches or by milestone--Shoulder Length, Bra Strap Length, etc)? Midback Length, 21 inches
What can you tell me about your hair before you started your Healthy Hair Journey (HHJ)?
In high school, it hovered around ear and neck length. Starting in 2011, it hovered around shoulder-length and arm pit length. It was damaged, breaking, and hard to control.
What was the catalyst that started your journey?  
I was tired of being ignorant about my own hair. Others threw it in my face that I knew nothing of how to style and take care of my hair.
There were several catalysts:

  • When my sister didn't feel like doing my hair and/or I couldn't afford it, but I had school. I would have a mini-meltdown in the girl's restroom of my high school looking at my unkempt, out of control hair. I had no idea what to do with it and anytime I would touch it, it would break. A few were sympathetic but most made me feel horrible for the state of my hair. I was not allowed to touch my hair after accidentally pulling my hair out at 7 years old. Therefore I had no idea how to care for it, and I suffered for this ignorance during high school. I've literally cried over my hair.
  • Walking around in public with unkempt, ugly hair, and it caused my self-esteem to plummet. 
  • Having family members make fun of me for my hair and refusing to style my hair. 
  • Unable to fix my sew-ins when they started looking bad.  

I knew I had to take my hair care in my own hands. I was tired of being at the mercy of my family members (they could easily decide not to do my hair, and then my hair would look horrible), and I was tired of going around hating my hair. I was tired of relying on sew-ins and having ugly hair. I wanted long, beautiful hair, and finding African American women on hair forums and blogs who were able to grow out their short, damaged hair gave me hope and motivation. Honestly though, the ridicule I received in regards to my hair was the highest form of motivation.

How did you learn to take care of your hair? What was your starter regime (if you remember)?  
I used Google a lot. I subscribed to a lot of hair blogs and lurked on LongHairCareForum for hours. I was desperate. I was tired of my low-self esteem and self-consciousness that stemmed from hating my hair and not knowing how to care for and style it. I do not remember my hair regime at the time.
How was other's reactions to you starting your HHJ?
I had a whole bunch of people who didn't believe that I could grow my hair. My brother believed in me, and recently he told me that he'd never thought I'd grow my hair as long as I did. It made me feel good because he was my #1 believer while others laughed at my dreams. I've also heard from many that they believed it was impossible for black girls to grow their hair long. Now their hair is shorter than mine!
How do they feel now that you've been on a HHJ? Many who knew my hair as short and brittle are amazed at how much my hair grew.
What is your current regime and your holy grail products?
Wash 2x week, PT 1-2x month Scalp exfoliator 2x week Search & Destroy 1x month.
Low manipulation styles always.
 I alternate products and I am in search of my holy grail products. However, usually I've been using the full Mielle Organics line for everything from my shampoo, cowash, deep conditioner, leave-in and my scalp oil mix (their Mint Almond Oil is the basis for my scalp oil mix). My protein treatment is Aphogee 2 Min and I've been using it when my hair feels like it needs it (has been 1-2x month lately). I've been using Neutrogena T/Sal Scalp Build-Up Control Shampoo for my scalp exfoliator.
Do you have any hair issues or problem areas that you are working on? My crown area is my problem area. It breaks easier than the other areas. It needs more TLC than the others and perhaps more moisture (I'm still not 100% sure what's wrong with it and I hope this Komaza Care Hair Analysis will help me out in pinpointing what's going on there). The hair issue I'm combating is moisture loss in this summer heat and humidity. I am currently focusing on moisture retention.
What are your long-term and short-term hair goals (This can be in terms of length or just increased hair moisture retention)?  
  • Short-term (Hopefully reached by Dec. 2017) Tailbone Length Straight
  • Long-term (Who knows when) Bra-strap length or Tailbone Length curly 
  • Hair in a perpetual moisturized state

Please include pictures!  
Hair Curly Goal

Straight Hair Goals.TBL. Chicoro

Moisturized State Goals--Beautifully Hydrated. Chicoro

Straight Hair Goals-TBL. Chicoro

Hair BSL-TBL curly goal

Hair Curly Goal

Hair Curly Goal

Hair Curly Now-Shoulder Length. Healthy Hair Journey is far from Complete.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Accelerating Hair Growth with Peppermint Oil

I came across this study on peppermint oil accelerating hair growth, increasing hair thickness, and increasing the number of hair follicles on the scalp.
The study was  performed on mice, so the results may not directly correlate to results on humans. However, I still believe this study to be highly beneficial.

According to the study, "This study investigated the effect of peppermint oil on hair growth in C57BL/6 mice. The animals were randomized into 4 groups based on different topical applications: saline (SA), jojoba oil (JO), 3% minoxidil (MXD), and 3% peppermint oil (PEO). The hair growth effects of the 4-week topical applications were evaluated in terms of hair growth, histological analysis, enzymatic activity of alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and gene expression of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), known bio-markers for the enhanced hair growth. Of the 4 experimental groups, PEO group showed the most prominent hair growth effects; a significant increase in dermal thickness, follicle number, and follicle depth."

 The mice group that I concentrated on while reading was the peppermint oil group. The mice were shaved and then the compound was applied to the shaved area once a day, six days a week, for 4 weeks. The group that used peppermint had a more significant increase in hair growth than the other groups. By the 4th week, this group had 92% hair growth while the Minoxidil, a product used to fight hair loss, group experienced approximately 55% hair growth.  By week two, the peppermint oil group had 95% and 66% more increased dermal thickness than the other groups. Additionally, by the 4th week, it had 120% and 81% more dermal thickness.   The rapid increase of hair growth and the increase of thickness started from week two. In addition to  proving that peppermint oil caused rapid hair growth and increase in hair thickness, the study also revealed that "the number of hair follicles increased as the hair regrew." At week four, the mice group using peppermint oil had 740% and 307% more hair follicles than the other two groups.

Taken from here

In order to understand this study, you need to understand the phases of hair growth. These mice's hair growth was in the telogen stage and the peppermint oil induced a rapid anagen hair growth. The oil actually forced the hair to grow while it was supposed to be at its resting stage!

More on these two phases according to Avanti Electrolysis's article:

"Telogen phase
During the telogen, or resting, phase the hair and follicle remain dormant anywhere from 1–4 months. Ten to fifteen percent of the hairs on one's head are in this phase of growth in any given time. The anagen phase begins again once the telogen phase is complete. The preceding hair strand is pushed up and out by the new, growing strand. The process causes the normal hair loss known as shedding.
Anagen phase
The anagen phase is known as the growth phase. It begins in the papilla and can last up to eight years. The span at which the hair remains in this stage of growth is determined by genetics. The longer the hair stays in the anagen phase, the faster and longer it will grow. During this phase, the cells in the papilla divide to produce new hair fibers, and the follicle buries itself into the dermal layer of the skin to nourish the strand. About 85% of the hairs on one's head are in the anagen phase at any given time."
Screenshots taken from the study are below. Please read more on the actual study's website here.

How can you utilize this information?  

I've been applying a homemade scalp oil as often as possible. This is wash day (after I wash and style my hair. I style in 8 braids for a braidout, apply the mix to my scalp, and massage for a minimum of five minutes), prepoo day (I section my hair in four and apply coconut oil to my hair. While my hair is sectioned, I apply the mix to my scalp and massage for a minimum of five minutes), and 1-2 days in between.
My oil mix consists of Mielle Organics Mint Almond Oil, olive oil, castor oil, peppermint oil, and jojoba oil. These oils are great for the scalp and jojoba oil mimic our scalp's natural sebum.
I recommend just using MO Mint Almond Oil because it already has peppermint oil in it. Pour it in an applicator bottle (the basis for my scalp oil mix is this oil. I poured it into the applicator oil above and then put in a few drops of the other oils and shook to mix) and apply it to your scalp a few times per week.

If you have any hair questions, feel free to email them to rapunzelsconsultant@outlook.com.

See you Wednesday for #TheWashDayExperience!

Oh, Ji Young, Min Ah Park, and Young Chul Kim. “Peppermint Oil Promotes Hair Growth without Toxic Signs.” Toxicological Research 30.4 (2014): 297–304. PMC. Web. 28 June 2016.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

#WashDayExperience: How to Tell If Your Hair is Moisturized

I learned a lot about keeping hair moisturized from CoilyQueensRock.com
It is difficult to know if your hair is truly moisturized or not when you start your healthy hair journey.
Moisturized hair have few single strand knots (ssk), is easily detangled, has shrinkage, stretches without breaking, coil/curl definition, and there is no webbing. Most importantly, your hair retains moisture for three days.

I used to think wearing braidouts and twistouts were causing my ssk, but I have had a significant decrease in ssk this past month. I was going to start primarily wearing roller set styles but I decided to give my trademark braidouts another try. I thought that the roller set styles will decrease my ssk because my hair will be stretched. However, as I said earlier, my hair has had a significant reduction in ssk although I've been wearing braidouts. I believe this is due to the fact that my hair is starting to retain moisture better. 
   It takes a while to get your hair to the point of perpetual hydration and my hair is still not to that point. However, it is good to first realize that your hair is not adequately hydrated before you can fix it. If you do not even notice that something is wrong and what is wrong, then how can you help fix the problem?  
Dehydrated Hair Vs. Hydrated Hair 
  • Is your hair frizzy? Does your hairstyles (twist outs/bantu knot outs/braid outs) lack definition? Is your hair rough and does it break easily? Is it hard to manipulate and do you experience constant ssk? 
  • Is your hair soft and flexible with definited coils and curls? Are your hair styles defined? Can you go days before having to apply a moisturizer or leave in spray? Can you retain your length? Does your hair have sheen and is the natural color deep and rich? Is your hair smooth and not rough? Do you have a low amount of shedding and ssk?   
If your hair is more of the second one, then congratulations! Your hair is adequately moisturized. If not, then you need to improve on your methods in order to increase the moisture levels and retention in your hair. 
How Learning How to Notice the Symptoms of Dehydrated Hair Helped Me
 The length of my hair is a breeze to detangle and it is easily detangled under running water (an effect of moisturized hair is being easily able to be detangled). However, my roots were the problem. It did not detangle so easily. It was also very rough. I first noticed how rough my roots were when I first started practicing roller sets. The results of my sets were always the same: length of my hair was smoother than the roots.
What was the problem? While applying my LOC products after my last wash day, I realized the problem: I do not effectively moisturize the roots.
   When applying products, it is important to apply from root to tip. I've always focused on my ends because I've always known the importance of preserving the older part of the hair, which is more prone to breakage due to wear, tear, and age. However, in paying so much attention to my ends, I've neglected my roots.
I realized I do not apply product very well to my roots because I've been worried about getting the product on my scalp. I wanted to prevent scalp build up as much as possible. Now that I've been using a scalp exfoliator (check out this post here), I do not have to worry so much about scalp build up. I can efficiently cleanse my scalp and rid it of build up and debris trapped in my hair follicles by using a scalp exfoliator.
   I never would have noticed the problem with my roots if I did not see the symptom of dehydration: webbing. My roots were hard to detangle because they were webbed! When I noticed the weebing in my roots while I was applying my LOC products, I realized that my hair was not adequately hydrated. Because I was able to recognize the symptom of dehydrated hair, I am able to fix the problem by solving the cause: my negligence of my roots.
Therefore, first realizing you have a problem and then realizing the cause  step one in helping your hair become perpetually moisturized.
How to Moisturize Your Hair  

  • Only use products with ingredients that do not dry out your hair.  (CoilyQueens said to avoid products with these alcohols: Denatured, SD alcohol 40, Witch hazel, Isopropanol, Ethanol, SD, Propanol, and Propyl) The more natural and short the ingredient list, the better.
  • Always use a moisturizing conditioner after you shampoo.  
  • Always apply shampoo only to your scalp.
  • Deep condition at least once a week. 
  • Chelate at least once a month in order to remove any build up on your hair, thus letting it accept moisturizing products easier and more readily. 
  • It can take up to 6 months for your hair to become adequately moisturized (you can tell by no webbed hair and also your hair stays moisturized for 3 days).  
  • For more information on hair moisturization, check out CoilyQueen's post here.  
Some "Controversial" Things She Had To Say 
I call these controversial because they go against what many believe, but she does make sense:  
  • "Do not waste time on the LOC method or the LCO method these methods are not necessary. You need to get your hair cuticle to lay flatter that is your goal, not piling products on top of  your hair. The Loc or LCO method gives you a false sense of moisturized hair." 
  • "Co-washing means washing your hair with conditioner. Do not use co-washing as a substitute for shampooing your hair. Conditioners do not cleanse the hair well enough. Conditioners are not made to clean the hair they are made to be applied AFTER  hair has been shampooed."   
  • (In reply to a comment about why she recommends to wash at least once a week, when so many women are told that natural hair should be only washed twice a month) "Those who say to only shampoo hair whether 4C or 3A only once or twice a month are in error. It is not the curl pattern that makes your hair not retain moisture it is the condition of your hair cuticle which keeps it from retaining moisture. Water is the best thing for your hair and it will turn your hair growth around if you stick with a weekly shampoo regimen. 4C hair is not drier than any other curl pattern. Washing your hair weekly is recommended because daily you accumulate: dirt, bacteria, dead skin cells, dried sebum on your scalp and all of these things must be removed in order to have a healthy scalp. What would happen if you only washed your skin once per month? Not good right? Hair, skin nails should all be kept clean. Most black women stay away from water because of the inconvenience of shampooing and detangling their tightly coily hair. But if you read my other articles you will be able to create a healthy daily hair care routine, that greatly reduces the amount of time it normally takes you to wash, detangle and style your hair. Read my other articles you will further understand my rationale behind keeping clean hair. Read, "Understanding your hairs porosity", "3 steps to growing longer and stronger hair" and "The nine day moisture retention method".........Remember water is a friend to your entire body, do not shy away from it because of the incorrect information given by some. If you follow the suggestions here within 2 weeks you will see a major difference in your hair and after months on this program you will see a great difference and marvel at how healthy your hair is......"
In Conclusion 
She is the first blogger who I've seen extensively address the questions that many naturals would love to know the answers to: What is moisturized hair? How can I tell if my hair is moisturized? What techniques can I do to moisturize my hair? Which products and ingredients should I look for or avoid? How long does it take until my hair becomes adequately moisturized
I highly recommend checking out her site to see her thoughts. I do not base my regime off of her and instead I created my regime based on my own knowledge of hair care and my knowledge of what works for my hair. However, I love to incorporate some parts of what others believe if I see it to make sense. Therefore, although I do not change my routine with each new information, I try to take away what I can from it. I do not follow her exact regime, which she does list on her blog, but I do take away much of her information and adapt it to my own regime. Before reading her blog, I never knew what webbed hair meant! 

Thanks for the read and see you at the next #WashDayExperience :)

*I wrote this post with my ideas on the subject and what the blogger of CoilyQueensRock.com has said on her blog.

References & Links to Find Out More

Monday, June 20, 2016

Hair Tips from LHCF

Hey y'all!

I started my healthy hair care journey by visiting the popular African American hair care forum LongHairCareForum.com There is a thread which members list hair tips and I've compiled my favorite tips from the thread below.

Have fun reading!

  • Make "vitamin paks": 
Purchase 2" x 2" or 2" x 3" small plastic ziplock bags. You can make a month supply of "vitamin paks" by placing your daily supplements in the bags and putting them in a little storage container on the counter, shelf, or in the fridge. You can grab a pak each morning to make sure you take your daily supply of vitamins. You can even keep paks at work as back-ups for those days you forget to take your daily vitamin pak from home.

  • Put an applicator top on your shampoo bottle or transfer your shampoo to an applicator bottle. This helps to apply the shampoo directly onto your scalp to help with massaging and cleansing the scalp. 

  • Most conditioners work fine without heat. In fact, deep conditioning with dry heat (sitting under a hard bonnet hair dryer) will make your hair dry and difficult to deal with (I just use my own body heat to "warm up" my deep conditioner by applying a plastic bag on my hair while deep conditioning). 

  • When shampooing/conditioning or detangling in sections, try parting those sections straight with a rat tail comb. It will keep breakage around the parted area at a minimum, else the breakage will become more noticeable over time. 

  • Whey protein (powdered form for protein shakes) can accelerate hair growth. 

  • When using oil, place it in a  spray bottle  and lightly spray throughout hair for even distribution, focusing on the ends; comb through. This will prevent hair from being too oily and weighed down.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Tracking Hair Milestones with Curly Hair

Those with straight hair or who can straighten their hair are able to track their milestones using the length check markers such as shoulder-length (SL), back shoulder blade length (BSB), bra strap length (BSL), mid-back length (MBL), and etc.


However, if you prefer to wear your hair curly, this might not work as well. Curly hair has shrinkage, and based on curl type and size, someone's curly hair might sit at a different length than if it did if it was straight. Recently I saw a photo on Instagram of a girl with my dream hair curly. Very big and very curly. My hair curly almost rests on my shoulders but not always and not quite.

As you can see in the picture on my hair crush's Instagram (follow her @inkedcurls), she says her hair is a little past bra-strap length straight. My hair is a little past mid-back length straight. Because she has a looser curl pattern than mine, her hair hangs lower when it is curly.
Therefore, as you can see, the usual length check markers does not work for those with curly hair. (By the way, and I am being random here, if anyone can tell me what my hair type is, please answer in the comments lol).
  I am creative when I want to check if my hair has grown since I can not rely on how long my hair looks. I received inspiration from random times when I realize my hair has gotten longer and also this thread on LongHairCareForum called "FINISH THIS SAYING: YOU KNOW UR HAIRS GETTING LONG WHEN".  
Curly Hair Milestones

  • There are certain things that you can and cannot do with your hair.  When you realize you can do things to your hair that you previously couldn't, then that is an indicator that your hair has grown longer. I remember when I could barely put my hair in a ponytail. Then I remembered when I could only put it in a ponytail when it was straight. Then my straight hair ponytail almost reached the back of my shoulders. Then, at BSL, my straight hair ponytail reached the back of my shoulders. Now, my curl hair ponytail can reach the back of my shoulders. Although my hair is curly, I know it has grown because previously only my straight hair could've reached the back of my shoulders in a ponytail. 
  • How big your hair is. Curly hair usually grows up and out instead of down. Before, I could lay down on my silk pillow without worry. Now, my hair has grown so up and out, that my hair overflows the pillow and touches the sheets and the curtains that falls across the bed from the window. Therefore, although I have a silk pillowcase, I still have to wear my silk cap. Even if my head is firmly placed on the pillow, my hair will have too much overflow to be sufficiently protected.   
  • Other's comments. Frankly, the #1 reason why I know when my hair has grown is based on other people's comments. Others would tell me my hair has grown longer before I've even realized it myself. I look at my hair everyday and wash it every 2-3 days, so I get used to its appearance and length. Therefore, it is other people who are far more able to realize a change in its appearance and length than I am.After they have noted that my hair has gotten longer, then I start noticing the other milestones such as my hair has gotten bigger, it can no longer fit my PuffCuff the same, or that I can do more things with it than I could say, half a year ago. 
How do you realize your curly hair has grown? What are the curly hair milestones you use to track growth?

Monday, June 13, 2016

How to Do Product Reviews

Hey y'all!
I'm working on product reviews for Mielle Organics, an all-natural product line by a beauty with long, beautiful natural tresses. I have been putting it off, however, because I believe certain things that people should do before they review a product. These are listed below.
1.) Use the product for a certain amount of time exclusively. 
Although I purchased the line during MO's Black Friday sale, I've been using it off and on, sometimes alternating with other product lines. By doing this, I cannot effectively see how THIS line alone works on my hair.
        One reason for this is because you cannot know how well a product works on your hair with just one use. If you did not clarify your hair before your first use, it could still show effects from the previous line you were using. It takes more than one continuous use of the product line exclusively to learn how it really affects your hair. It takes multiple uses for a product's effects to really show.
   Therefore, for product junkies like myself, it is hard to know how well products really do work on our hair because we are constantly switching back and forth between several products and product lines.  During the time I've started using Mielle Organics, I've also tried out Deva Curl and E'tae Natural Products among others.  
I suggest using a product exclusively for 3 months to half a year in order to find results in terms of length retention, moisture retention, elasticity, and overall health. This is why I won't post product reviews too often. I want to be able to give thorough reviews based on long-term use and results.
2.) Use the product in multiple ways.  
There are more than one ways to use a shampoo, conditioner, or deep conditioner. The first time you use a product or product line, you should follow the directions. Oftentimes, people do not have success with a product or line because they do not follow the directions. Using a product as it is intended will usually give you the best results. However, sometimes using the product as it is intended does not work well. In this case, use the product in different ways.
    For instance, a conditioner that is supposed to be used after the shampoo may work best to use before the shampoo as a prepoo and as a detangler. If you did not get good results as a conditioner, then you might have great results as a prepoo or as a detangler. Or, the conditioner could work best as a leave-in conditioner for the L.O.C. method (liquid/oil/cream) especially if it is very moisturizing and creamy.
  Another example is shampoo usage. You might use a shampoo as it is intended and apply it to your hair. However, this might not work for you because applying directly to your length dries it out.  Opt for applying it to your scalp instead for best results. If you only used the shampoo in one way, you might of thought the shampoo was a horrible product. By changing your technique, you can learn how to make the shampoo work for you.
Changing how you use a product can show you how a product you might've mistaken as a "bust" could in fact be a "holy grail product". It is important to use a product multiple ways before labeling it as a bust for your hair. You could miss out on a great product.
3.) Note the ingredients. The first five ingredients in a product make the most impact on how the product will impact your hair. You should check these out so you can eventually learn which ingredients work and don't work in your hair. If you know your hair acts up when aloe vera is in the ingredients, then you can prevent yourself from wasting money on a product that you will ultimately regret. Before you even buy a product, you should know which ingredients are no-no ingredients for your hair so that during the time period which you use the product exclusively, you do not do more harm than good to your hair. This also leads into the next point.
4.) Sometimes a product really is bad for your hair. If you do not know that your hair hates aloe and you keep using a product with it and have very very negative results, please stop using the product! Sometimes no matter which way you use the product or how long you use it, the product is not only a BUST but also very DETRIMENTAL to your hair! I know many naturalistas who would keep using a product even if it doesn't work because they do not want to waste money. However, this can cause damage and a lost of length. If a product is making your hair dry and tangled, then the product can potentially cause you split ends and breakage. Stop using it.

I hope you all enjoyed today's post! I will post a review on the Mielle Organics line as soon as I am able. It will be unbiased and I hope very helpful for you to learn whether or not to try them out. You can purchase products and learn more about the line here.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Hair Care Reader Q & A #1

Today's question comes from Clarisa of Pittsburgh, PA: 
"For conditioners what products do you find to be most moisturizing? And what makes them hold moisture? Have you tried a method called the greenhouse method? If so may you tell me what you think about using that method and how it benefitted your hair growth." 

Q: For conditioners what products do you find to be most moisturizing? And what makes them hold moisture?  
Short answer: Products that contain water, emollients, and slippery ingredients. Products with humectants are optional.
Long answer:
      Moisture comes from water, so products with water on the ingredients list will provide moisture. It is incorrect when people think that oil moisturizes hair. There is no water in oil. It cannot moisturize hair and using it in that way with the absence of any liquids will keep hair dry. First look at the ingredients list of your hair products and check for some form of liquid such as purified water--found in Trader Joe's hair products, aloe barbadensis leaf juice--found in Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner, water (aqua, eau)--found in most hair conditioners, Aqueous Botanical Infusion of Phyllanthus embilica (Amla) Extract--found in Qhemet Biologics Moringa Tree Conditioning Ghee or even Bay Leaf Infusion (Laurus Nobilis) and Fresh Watercress Infusion (Nasturium officinale) found in LUSH's H'Suan Wen Hua.  
   As you can see, most conditioners will have water listed as the first ingredient because conditioners are supposed to provide moisture and slip to the hair. The first five ingredients in a hair product are the ingredients that take up the most percentages of the hair product, so in order for a conditioner to be moisturizing, it has to have a good amount of water in it. However, just having water does not mean that a conditioner will be moisturizing. Certain ingredients beside water will provide hair with moisture such as marshmallow root, honey, glycerin, slippery elm, fenugreek, and flaxseeds.
In my opinion, moisturizing ingredients should have these properties: emollient, slip, humectant, and softening to hair.
   Ingredients that provide slip is important because it helps you to detangle your hair. Slippery conditioners are usually moisturizing conditioners as well. In my opinion, to be a moisturizing conditioner, it must have emollients, be slippery, and hydrate your hair. According to Naturally Curly.com,   "Slip is the slipperiness of a product and of course the more slip the better as it will help remove tangles, knots and your hair from coiling around itself.  When discussing slip we are normally discussing conditioner and detangling products."   
Another thing to look for are ingredients that have mucilage, which is "a thick gluey substance formed by large polysaccharides (sugars)" and it "plays a role in the storage of water and food, seed germination, and thickening membranes" in plants. (http://mynaturalhairgrowth.net/detanglingherbs/)
"For hair, mucilage provides the much needed slip for manageable detangling. Water enables the transport of mucilage in between the hair fibers where the slimy consistency makes the strands slippery. By getting in between the strands, mucilage temporary weakens strand cohesion. Without strand cohesion the strands glide past each other easily; allowing for easier separation and removal of shed hair. Aside from mucilage, herbs also come with a plethora of water-soluble minerals and vitamins all of which nourish the hair and sooth the scalp while detangling."
"Any herb containing at least 15% in mucilaginous compounds is classified as a mucilage herb but by their very nature most plants have mucilage. This is the ideal percentage if the goal is to create a detangling mix. " 
Another important thing to consider are ingredients that are emollients, which are " non-cosmetic moisturizers that improve hydration, which keeps the skin soft and flexible" (http://mynaturalhairgrowth.net/detanglingherbs/).   "Emollients...work by forming an oily layer on the top of the skin that traps water in the skin" (http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-20275/glycerin-topical/details).
Lastly, humectants are ingredients that are great to bring moisture into your hair because they literally suck moisture from the environment and infuse it into your hair strands. Be cautious, however: during the winter and really dry temperatures where there isn't any moisture in the air, humectants have the opposite affect. They instead take moisture from your hair and pull it into the environment. 
Ingredients with Mucliage: 
Marshmallow Root 
Properties: emollient, slippery
When you look for a moisturizing hair conditioner, if you see marshmallow root in the top ingredients, then that product is certain to be very moisturizing. Conditioners that contain marshmallow root are Kinky Curly Knot Today, Camille Rose Naturals Curl Maker Marshmallow and Agave Leaf Extract, and Milk + Honey Tangle Free Pudding. The part of the root that is moisturizing is the mucilage polysaccharides, which not only binds to the hair to make it appear thicker (great for fine-haired individuals), but it is a slippery substance in itself. Because marshmallow root is similar to glycerin, which is a highly popular and well-known emollient, this further shows how it is a great addition to a hair product.  
Slippery Elm  
Properties: slippery, hydrating, softening
Similar to marshmallow root and fenugreek, slippery elm has a lot of mucilage and provides slip. According to Lavishly Natural, slippery elm has nutrients that heal the hair at a cellular level which is pretty hardcore. Besides providing hair products with slip, it softens hair and soothes the scalp by soothing all inflammation (remember: hair health begins at the scalp). 
Properties: slippery, hydrating
Irish Moss  
Properties: slippery, hydrating
Properties: hydrating, emollient
According to Botanical Spirits,  it "Has medicinal effect to reduce balding, hair fall, and hair thinning.  The seeds contain hormone precursors that replenish hair growth. It is a natural emollient lecithin, known to strengthen, moisturize and promotes hair growth. Additionally, fenugreek seeds are a good source of proteins that are highly important in rebuilding and strengthening the hair shaft making it effective in restoring damaged and falling hair."
Ingredients that Attract Moisture/Water to Hair (humectants)
Properties: emollient, humectants
 Properties: emollient, humectants
"an emollient that softens skin and moisturizes hair" (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/what-is-marshmallow-root-skin-hair_us_55cb731ae4b0f1cbf1e6fcaa) 
Calendula Flower  
Attracts moisture to hair (http://botanicalspirits.com/Natural_ingredients).  
"Good" Alcohols that Condition Hair: 
Cetyl Alcohol 
Properties: Emollient 
A fatty alcohol produced from vegetable oils such as palm oil and coconut oil.  It is use a surfactant and emollient to add lubrication to hair. 
Cetearyl alcohol  
Stearyl alcohol 
Other Ingredients to Look for:  
Glyceryl stearate 
Propylene glycol (humectant) 
Sodium lactate 
Sodium PCA 

AVOID Products with these ingredients: 
Isopropyl alcohol
Propyl alcohol
SD alcohol 40

*-Cone products get a bad rep because many people find them drying. They act as a barrier and when they are put on the hair, they lock out any moisture from getting into your hair. This means that if you use a product with a -cone and then put on a moisturizing leave-in, the leave-in will not be able to penetrate the barrier the -cone creates. This can cause hair to become dry and subsequently, it can cause it to break. However, I've found -cones to be great in fighting humidity because it keeps moisture from the outside from coming into the hair.  
     What I do is I do not use shampoos, conditioners, or deep conditioners or protein treatments with -cones. If I use a shampoo with a cone then if I use a conditioner, the moisture cannot get into the hair strand, which causes dry hair and breakage. However, I do use a -cone filled product after I apply my LOC because it assures me that the moisture is locked into the hair strand. The LOC method is to seal moisture in the hair by having the oil and cream act as a barrier, keeping moisture into the hair. Adding a cone-filled product after I LOC ensures that the moisture is kept into the hair and it prevents excessive moisture from getting to the hair, which can cause frizz and ruin hairstyles. The heavy duty -cone product I use is the Lok & Blok. I noticed my hair more moisturized than usual after using the Lok & Blok because my moisture is being kept into my hair and not escaping into the atmosphere. Therefore, despite popular belief, -cones are not necessarily drying to your hair. It depends on how you use it. With that said, I would not use a humectant product before I put in a cone-filled product since they are trying to do two different things. The humectant will try to pull moisture from the environment while the -cone filled product is trying to prevent this from happening. Another reason why -cones should not have as bad as a rep as it does is because it is just an emollient. In fact mineral oil, which is another ingredient with a bad rep, is an emollient as well. What mineral oil and -cones try to do is just prevent moisture from escaping the hair.  

Personally, the products I've been finding to be very moisturizing to my hair are: 
Deva Curl No Poo 
Deva Curl One Condition 
Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner (LOVE this! Very moisturizing)  
Qhemet Biologics Moringa Tree Conditioning Ghee 
LUSH  H'Suan Wen Hua 
*The last two are very slippery, so much so that I can use it to detangle my dry hair. Usually I am only able to detangle under running water. 

Q: Have you tried a method called the greenhouse method? If so may you tell me what you think about using that method and how it benefited your hair growth. 
Short answer: Yes. It helped me to retain moisture.
Long answer: I had incorporated the greenhouse method (GHE) off and on from 2012-2014. I was most serious about it in 2014, where I practiced it at least 3 times a week. I found that simply placing a shower cap or plastic bag (and optionally a beanie or satin cap) on my hair and leaving it on overnight helped me to keep my dry hair moisturized.  I did not have to repeat the LOC nightly after the first night. Every night, the LOC is "reset" because the body heat warms up the hair, making it damp, and the dampness causes the leave-in, oil, and cream to work again if that makes sense.  
I think that if you are having problems with keeping your hair moisturized, then the GHE method is an easy way to do that. I had a problem keeping my hair moisturized from 2012-2014. Now I only need to apply the LOC once a week on wash days and then my hair is fine until the next wash day. I do not re-moisturize nightly or daily or in between wash days. Now I do not have  a reason to use the GHE method.  However, this accomplishment took time. Until you reach that point, I feel like the GHE method is highly beneficial. The reason why I do not apply the LOC every night when I GHE is so that I do not get product build up. Too much product can weight down curls, making it look limp or frizzy. Just the fact that the GHE method kept my hair moisturized benefited my hair growth because I did not get breakage from dry hair (no breakage=greater length retention) and plus, moisturized hair = less breakage = healthy hair. 


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

#TheWashDayExperience: Why Your Hair Isn't Growing

Who Is This Addressed To?
This post, as you can tell, is about why your hair isn't growing.

This post is a wake up call that you, yes YOU, need to stop pointing the fingers and realize why exactly your hair does not seem to grow.

Your hair is breaking at the same time that it grows.
This is correct. Your hair is growing but YOU are NOT retaining it!
Imagine me gripping you by the shoulders and shaking you.
I want you to wake up!

This post is towards all those girls who complain about having short hair but do not put in the adequate amount of effort. I cannot shake you in real life. So I am shaking you virtually.

YOU need to get committed to a hair regime. Honestly, it does not matter whose hair regime you are following. Just follow the basics: shampoo, condition, and deep condition once a week at least.
This order is just something that you need to force yourself to do.
At least once a week.
It won't kill you to do this. It won't kill you to take an hour out of your day to shampoo, condition, and deep condition your hair at bare minimum.

Many times women come to me for advice. Some have known me since high school or grade school, when I had short and breaking hair that could barely fit into a ponytail and I wore weave most of the time. Others met me after I already grew my hair out.
They both want to know how they can get their hair like mine.
That is fine. The problem is that they continuously ask and continuously complain about their hair but do not do anything about it.
The reason why your hair is not retaining length is because of YOU.
I'm sorry, but I had to say it.
It is YOUR duty to research the countless information regarding hair care. It is YOUR duty to invest time and money to your hair. If you do not, so be it. However, when you are complaining about having short hair, remember who is truly at fault.
I understand this post sounds extremely harsh. I also know there are really people out there who have medical conditions that prevent them from retaining length or making it extremely hard to do so. I am not addressing those who have medical conditions or actual reasons behind why their hair won't grow. There are many medical conditions that result in hair loss and hair thinness. Also, there are people who prefer their hair to be short.

This is not addressed to those people.
This is addressed to those with no medical conditions or anything of the sort preventing them from retaining length. This is addressed to those who constantly complain about having short hair and blaming everything else except what is really to blame.

Top Reasons Why Your Growth is Stalled

If what you are doing to your hair is not working, please rethink your methods.

One of the things I hear from women is that they are using sew-ins as protective styles in order to grow out their hair.
In theory, this works.

Sew-ins, extensions, weaves, and wigs could be very helpful tools in protecting the length of your hair so that as your hair grows, your length is retained. Therefore, in theory, your hair should get steadily longer.

The problem is that this does not always work. I know girls since high school who have used this same excuse. In particular, I've known someone for five years with this excuse. If her method worked, her hair should be thirty inches by now (hair grows six inches a year).
Many women who I know have been using this excuse but their hair length has been stalled or decreased during the time they have been using sew-ins.
If you are doing the same thing continuously and it is not working, why continue to do it? If you were at work and you did something the wrong way and did not get any results from it, would you keep doing it? No? Then why would you keep doing it to your hair?

Stop with the excuses. If you actually want to grow out your hair, you need to take initiative. You need to be proactive. If your regime is not working, change it. Research hair care. Buy products with good ingredients (ingredients that you know are good via research). Learn about your particular hair.

If you keep hiding it in braids or weaves, you will never know how your hair works. How your hair responds to certain styling techniques and products. The best method to detangle your hair. If airdrying or blowdrying your hair is best. These and more are things you will never learn about your hair if you constantly hide it.

In fact, those women who I do know who managed to grow some length from weaves immediately had the length broken off because they did not know how to adequately take care of their hair. This happened to me. When I used to wear weaves all the time in high school, my hair grew to below bra strap (BSB) length. I tried to stop wearing weaves because I was so excited to finally have long hair! But I abused my hair by straightening it all the time, and I knew nothing about shampooing, conditioners, prepoos, deep conditioners, etc. My hair broke off back to shoulder length in no time.
 October 2010

March 2011

October 2011

October 2012

 I went through a period of shoulder length hair -> being a little consistent with a vague idea of a regime and getting to arm pit length -> stopping the regime and reverting back to shoulder length. And the cycle continued.
Until I became tired of this cycle.
Tired of relying on weaves and wigs to feel happy about my hair.
I wanted long hair. I needed to get serious. I needed to get consistent.
I finally reached the point where I realized it is MY fault I could not retain length. My hair was capable of growing, I had seen it. If I want to keep the length I grow and reach lengths I've never imagined, then I need to get my head in the game. I need to get serious.

This is the point YOU need to reach.
Are you serious about long hair?
Think over your methods. Obviously something is not working.

What is not working?

You do not sleep in satin caps or on a satin pillow case. I don't care if you are over your boyfriend's and you want to look cute for him.  If you are serious about retaining length, this is non-negotiable. If you are very self-conscious, then bring your own satin pillowcase.

You use heat regularly on your hair. I understand that straight hair is cute, but do you care about your hair looking cute OR do you want to retain your length? Think about priorities. If you are using heat once a week and you haven't retained length in years, switch to only using heat once a month. If that does not work, once a couple months. Or once a year. Or never. I'm sorry, but sometimes although YOU love heat your hair does not. This is something I had to realize myself. I used to love the look of straight hair. My hair does not like being straight and it sure does not like the process of getting straightened. I had to rethink my priorities: Did I want straight, damaged short hair or very long and healthy curly hair?  Ever since I asked myself this question, I started embracing my natural hair texture and now I prefer my curly hair over my straight hair. I have also grown my hair the longest it has ever been.

You do not trim your hair. Scissors is not the devil. You need to cut off your split ends (travels up the hair strands and breaks off hair, leading to hair thinness and breakage), weathered ends (weathered ends can become split ends), and some of your single strand knots (shed hair wraps around ssk, resulting in huge knots and problems).

You love sew-ins, but sew-ins do not love you. Some people do great retaining length with sew-ins. Others, however, stay the same length with sew-ins. If you are not noticing any progress, maybe sew-ins are not working for you. Also, in many cases, when your hair grows under the weave, the new growth tangles with the shed hair (remember, hair sheds up to 100 hairs a day. When your hair is braided under a weave, the shed hair is unable to detach from your real hair. Instead, it becomes tangled with your real hair, leading to matting and breakage). In other instances, weaves and braids can cause permanent hair loss: "Recently, a shocking study reported on by CNN revealed that weaves and braids may contribute to a type of permanent hair loss known as central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia, or CCCA, a form of baldness that begins at the crown of the head and leads to scarring. A staggering 59 percent of black women who participated in the study had hair loss on the top of their scalp" according to this post.

You are not consistent. Consistency is most important. Set a time once a week to wash, condition, moisturize, seal, and style your hair. Make your hair care a priority. Length might not happen overnight because your hair must become healthy before it can retain length well. However, do not give up. Your hair will grow.

Other posts to check out are these:
8 Tips to Get Your Hair to Grow Faster & Longer
How Braids and Weaves are Causing Black Women to Lose Their Hair
10 Reasons You're Losing Length
7 Reasons Why Your Natural Hair Is Breaking

I hope that this post serves as a wake up call to at least one person. I want that one person to realize that if they are serious about growing their hair long, it is possible but they need to rethink what they have been doing up to this point. It was a long process for me to re-evaluate my hair care methods and to take it seriously. Sure, I had wanted long hair my whole life, but I did not take it 100% seriously until I was tired of yo yo-ing between shoulder length and arm pit length. I knew I could achieve the length I desired and I was disappointed that I haven't taken it seriously.

When did you reach the point where you decided to take your hair growth in your own hands?
What was keeping you from retaining length? Mine was not being consistent and using heat.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Maintaining Low Manipulation Hair Styles


This post is on how to maintain low manipulation hairstyles such as braidouts. twistouts, and bantu knot outs.
The Braidout

Night-time Routine 
   The Pineapple  
        The Pineapple is a technique used in order to preserve curls overnight. It is simply piling your curls on top of your head and keeping them in place using a ponytail holder or the Puff Cuff. I use the Puff Cuff because it does not hurt my hair. The pineapple does preserve curls but it can change the style and even loosen curls a tad bit. This is why when I set my hair in the first place for a braidout, I try to use 8+ braids. The more braids, the tighter the curl. The tighter the curl, the longer the curl lasts. I can go more days with the same braidout set the longer the curls last. Therefore, although the curl can change slightly from utilizing the pineapple technique and I am unable to enjoy the same exact braidout style, I can make alternative hairstyles from the braidout style in my day 2+ hair. I do not braid or twist nightly as some naturalistas do to preserve their style because I think this causes too much manipulation. As long as you made tight curls for day one and preserve it with the pineapple, you shouldn't have to rebraid or retwist your whole head. However, if one strand becomes fuzzy or no longer curly, I do braid that one strand again (and maybe even squirt it with water to revitalize the setting spray I'd used to form the braidout in the first place) in order to make it curly again.
Day 2+ Hair 
    Alternative Hairstyles that Preserve the Curl
              I pineapple to maintain my curls, but sometimes the "style" of my day one hairstyle is lost. The upside of this is now I can experiment with different styles on my braidout hair that looks best on slightly stretched, curly hair.
The Cascade 
One option is the Cascade, which is a hairstyle created by braiding a French braid from your nape to the top of your head and then letting the rest fall over your face.
Top Twist Out
A puff is an easy style to use on day 2+ hair. If I am doing the puff on day 2+ hair, I just keep my pineapple in from overnight. The top twist out is just curls held on top of your head by a ponytail holder or Puff Cuff.
Curly Double Buns
 This hairstyles retain the curls from the braidout and was achieved with regular non metal ponytail holders.
Top Curly Bun
This is another hairstyle that retains the original style's curls. It is a loose bun using a ponytail holder that shows off the curls.


Curly pigtails is an easy 2 day+ hair style because I just make two ponytails on the side of my head using two junior sized PuffCuffs.
Alternative Hairstyles that Gets Rid of the Curl 
These hairstyles are great for day 2+ hair because they can be easily done on hair that has already been stretched. However, because these hair styles causes you to manipulate your hair too much (by braiding for the crown braid or pigtails or smoothing out the curls for the top knot bun or double minibuns), they do not preserve the curls of the original hairstyle.
Crown Braid


Top knot bun using a bun maker

double minibuns