Wednesday, December 31, 2008

More obsessing...

It's been months since I've last worn my hair down. What's stopping me? The rough car seat that has me leaning forward on the way to work, the warm sweaters that I normally wear because of the high AC (during winter time?!), the 1983 polyester wool chair that I sit in and then there are the people who think I'm ok with them touching my hair. Compliments are fine. Your germ- infested, freshly coughed in hands can stay far far away! ::exhales::
So I decided to give it a go. I awkwardly dealt with the drive to work but within five minutes of sitting down to my desk... the bun relieved my OCD and I was able to function like a normal human being. I don't know if I'll ever be the same again.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Discounted Aubrey Organics

Thanks for the tip LHCFers.

It's that time again ladies!

I'm talking about 2009 Hair Goals. I haven't thought long and hard about my goal because I know it's attainable and realistic. This year I've been hovering between APL and BSL and by the end of this year I want to get to full BSL if not past that.
I haven't worked out my protective styling schedule yet but... wait, remind me to add STOP PROCRASTINATING to the list. I plan on putting away the scissors for long periods of time, occasional dusting, babying my ends, moisturizing and sealing twice a day, and getting that seamless comb I've been stalking for months- for starters. I think a change in my sugar heavy diet could also have an effect on the state of my hair-but I'd be lying if I said I've made any serious commitments to curb the cravings. I'll have a detailed routine up soon.
What are your hair resolutions for 2009?

Dislike the product?

If you're still in the product trial stages of your hair journey, you're probably piling up on a few products that you don't care for. If you bought a product that had rave reviews and it ended up doing nothing for your hair or worse damaging it, you can simply give it away, sell it or you can call the company and voice your disdain for the product. Politely. Most times the company is more than willing to give you your money back, offer you a coupon or credit for another purchase or replace a bad/ damaged product.
I've called Neutrogena when there moisturizer made me break out and received a check in the mail by the end of the week and I've also called the ORS manufacturers when their moisturizer had separated from the oil and received another product.
Tools you will need when you call: A pleasant tone (don't yell, they want to help you), the product (to read the ID number from) and in some rare cases a copy of the receipt.
Do not be afraid to voice your dissatisfaction with a product! It helps the company to have great customer service reviews. That's why the company's number is on the product and that's why the contact us option is there on their website.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Edges reverting?

If your edges start reverting before wash day do not go in for the touch up. Heat styling dirty hair is a heat styled natural NO NO. You may notice that dirty hair straightens faster, it also burns faster and you're just baking in the dirt. Instead, apply a light oil to your edges (eg. coconut, jojoba, grapeseed), smooth with a boar bristle brush, then tie down for at least 30 minutes. Works every time!

A Fresh Start!

Don't you just love the look of freshly trimmed hair after a sudden bout of scissor happy bravery? Maybe not as much as I do.
I was supposed to muster up the nerve to allow a stylist to trim my hair but procrastination got the best of me, yet again, and I ended up being the unlicensed stylist for the day. My last trim was over three months ago and although I wasn't having splitting or breakage, my ends were a little uneven and dry. So in the spirit of starting off the New Year right, I chopped em off. All one and a half inches of em ::brushes shoulders off- literally, some hair was resting there::.
My method: Divide hair in 10 sections, take 2"x 2" sections within each division and trim as needed. That's it. After I finished cutting each piece, I put some coconut oil on the ends and twisted. When I finished the entire section I pin curled, tied down my hair with a scarf and went to bed. The result wasn't as tight and uniform as I wanted it to be but that's because I got lazy and did larger twists in the back.
2009, I'm ready for you...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Oil exacerbates heat damage

Many novice heat styled naturals ( myself included back in the day) have fallen prey to the end result of an oil-laden press. Here's the thing, that shiny bone straight look you were going for comes at a significant price. Using a high heat blow dryer or iron on oily hair is equivalent to cooking the hair. Also remember that a hot sunny day can affect your hair in the same way.

Pure Hype?

By now we've all seen the infomercials.
Well, it seems that the marketing geniuses behind Wen hair care products have simply found a highly exaggerated sales pitch to capitalize on the "sulfate free cleansing" movement.
There is nothing original or ground-breaking about Chaz's products and I recently found a Beauty Brains article that dismissed this product as nothing more than a co-wash. Beauty Brains further went on to say that similar results can be achieved with drug store brand cheapie conditioners like Suave and Vo5.
Lesson: I was curious about this $28 dollar a bottle product not too long ago, but years of empty promises kept me from grabbing my credit card. Always question products that make revolutionary claims. Do your research and most of the time you'll stumble upon a piece of information that let's you know it's just pure hype.

"My hair won't grow"

This notion that (channeling frequently used campaign '08 phrases) black hair can't grow is completely false.
So where does it come from? Decades of handed-down misinformation, leading to unhealthy hair care practices.
If you are not seriously ill, then your hair grows-all the time. When you shave, does the hair grow back? Do you have to clip your fingernails? Get touch-ups? Tighten braids? Wax those brows? Your hair grows, like any other race.Your only hindrance is that your hair is the most delicate of all the races and should be treated like expensive silk.
The curly nature of African American hair disturbs the flow of the scalps natural oil from the root to the tip of the hair. This leads to dry hair. Dry hair breaks easily. Relaxers, heat, the sun, and shampoo further dry out and damage the hair. This is why healthy hair care habits are detrimental to the state of black hair.

Of course, there are certain things you can do to facilitate a healthier growth environment and we will be investigating them thoroughly on this blog. But if we're going to be embarking on this journey to longer, healthier hair, we have to let go of this urban myth.

Friday, December 26, 2008

What's more damaging, relaxers or heat?

Chemical treatments, such as relaxers and coloring, thermal styling, and UV rays all lead to the softening of the keratin of hair. Any intentional process of altering your hair's natural texture is basically controlled damage to the protein structure of your hair.

Yes, relaxers permanently straighten the hair while thermal styling is meant to be temporary. Still, some naturals who've thermally straightened their hair had trouble getting their hair to revert and thus were left with straight sections of hair.

Yes, infrequent relaxers can be less damaging than frequent heat styling. Still "stretching" relaxers usually entails some method of heat styling which we know further weakens already soft protein bonds.

When I hear about a natural who has sworn off heat styling because of heat damage, many questions pop into my head: What was the temperature of the styling tool? Was it ceramic, tourmaline or neither? What was done to prep the hair? How often was she heat styling? etc.

Anyway, what's my answer? It depends! It depends on a number of factors ranging from hair type, to products, to frequency, to technique, the list goes on. What I do know, for sure, is BOTH can be abused and BOTH can be done safely. Everyone has to determine what works best for them. K?

Less Heat: Pin Curls

After I straighten my hair, I usually wrap it and go to bed. If I want a little more bump, I'll pin curl my hair as I finish straightening each section. When I finish my entire head, I leave it pin curled for at least an hour then wrap it. when I take down the wrap, I have a little more curl and body almost as if I had used a large curling iron.

Overwhelmed by oil choices?

There seems to be never ending oil choices that promise growth and thickness. Before you go out and purchase all of them, in this recession, take a minute to research a few of the most popular ones and arm yourself with basic information about what they do.
After you become acquainted with these oils you can slowly begin to try the more exotic alternatives.

Oils fall into two basic categories: Carrier oils and Essential oils.

I: Carrier oils are derived from vegetables, nuts and seeds. These are what you use to dilute essential oils.

-Jojoba oil is the oil that most resembles the natural sebum of hair and skin, it contains beneficial fatty acids, fatty alcohols and has healing properties for dry, damaged and breaking hair.

-Coconut oil is high in saturated fat, has an affinity for hair proteins, softens and moisturizes hair and is one of the few oils known to penetrate the hair shaft. It also provides UVA protection.

-Olive oil contains vitamin E, and has acidic properties that help to restore the pH balance of hair. It also helps restore elasticity to reduce breakage.

-Castor oil is believed to slowly thicken hair. It helps with hair loss, is great for dry brittle hair treatments and it is also a humectant with emollient properties

II: Essential oils are highly concentrated, volatile, aromatic, non oily, highly fragrant and are extracted from plants. These oils should always be diluted in carrier oils.

-Rosemary promotes growth, combats dandruff, stimulates follicles, contains antioxidants and helps prevent premature baldness

-Peppermint promotes growth, removes dandruff and lice, contains vitamin C & A and can be used for greasy hair

-Tea tree can be used as a dry scalp and dandruff treatment. It also corrects under-active sebaceous glands.

There are many more oils that you can try out and we will take a look at more of them but this is just your basic introduction to some carrier and essential oils.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Refined vs Extra Virgin.

Which is the better purchase?
Spectrum's Refined Coconut Oil from Publix or Emerald Laboratories Extra Virgin Certified Organic Coconut Oil from GNC.
The former is about $9 for 14 oz., the latter about $13 for 16 oz.
Manufacturer's of coconut oil say there is no distinction between virgin and extra virgin coconut oil as there is with olive oil. However, refined-expeller pressed coconut oil is said to be inferior as it loses it's rich smell and sweet taste. I have purchased and tried both of these products and now know these statements to be true. The GNC brand has a lighter consistency and penetrates easily into my hair so well that I don't use it to seal and I know of another fab heat styled natural who uses it to moisturize.
I learned my lesson. I still have 85% of the refined coconut oil in my product junkie pile. Always go for the all natural unrefined grade when it comes to oils for your hair and scalp.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Only someone obsessed with healthy hair care would...

...put on a silk bonnet after mistakenly letting down her wrapped hair because she knows that if she attempts to put on that Old Navy sweater while her hair is out some strands may get caught on the fabric.
Yea, I'm obsessed.

REDKEN Alternative?

Let's not get too ahead of ourselves, but there are some parallels worth noting with these two moisturizing conditioners.

-They both promise to combat and smooth dry, damaged hair and deliver manageability.

Park Avenue is about $6 at Sally's for 10 fl. oz. and Redken is about $14-$16 for 8.5 fl. oz. depending on where or how it's purchased.
I haven't been able to find Redken on foot and I'm not into paying shipping fees that are a third of the cost of the item, so I can only speak for Park Avenue. I would purchase this product again. The consistency is slightly creamy and I love conditioners that are on the thicker side. I tried it without adding anything to it and in conjunction with a steam treatment, my hair came out very soft and I noticed more elasticity. Detangling was also less of a torture. I'm not saying I would bestow the honor of the "staple" title but in this recession, before you go out and pay for Redken's advertising machine , try out this lesser known product and tell me what you think!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Who Are We?

We are the straight on Monday kinky on Sunday, "OMG, did you perm your hair?" type women. Our naturally chic options in hair styling make us rare and unique. We're not scared of a press but we choose to remain relaxer-free. There may not be very many of us now, but trust me, there's a Natural Hair Revolution going on and we are at the forefront of the transitioners movement. Let's show the relaxed women how it's done!