Knot Today!

Fairy Knots and how to prevent them.

Single strand knots (trichonodosis) are definitely a nightmare, especially during the colder months.  Many kinky, curly and coily peeps have probably found out that single strand knots come with the territory of being a natural.  I hate the feel and look of pesky little knots that appear on the lower end of the hair…and those double strand ones…OMG!  The good news is even though they are totally unavoidable, you can decrease the amount of knots in your hair tremendously by taking a different approach to your hair care routine.  Here are some tricks to decreasing those pesky little knots:

1) Seal your ends regularly.  I usually seal with a butter (shea) or oil (castor, olive, jojoba or coconut).  Make sure to apply a water based moisturizer before sealing.

2)  Keep your hair stretched.  Straighter hair has a harder time knotting.  Two strand twists have become my best friend during the winter months.  Not only does it help in stretching my hair, but it protects my hair and helps to distribute moisture and oil to the ends of my hair.  Other styles to consider include braids, braid outs, bantu knot outs, buns, etc.).

3)  Moisturize and deep condition-then deep condition some more!  Hot oil treatments and mayonnaise treatments have worked miracles on my hair.  If your hair is conditioned and moisturized, then it is less likely to have knots and split ends.  Sometimes after moisturizing my hair I sleep with a plastic cap under my silk scarf.  My coils and curls are beautifully moisturized and soft in the morning.

4)  Wear a silk scarf, satin cap or sleep on a silk pillowcase at night to protect and prevent the hair from snagging, rubbing, drying and breaking.

5)  Don’t leave your hair out as much and decrease the wash and go’s.  Leaving the hair out so much can be disastrous during the winter months.  Wearing hats/caps are good too, but be sure to protect your hair even under the caps by maybe wearing a silk scarf.  It really depends on what style you are going for.

6)  Use a wide tooth comb for styling and detangling.  Finger combing is also good.  Remember to detangle from the bottom of the hair upwards to the root, and to use a little water if needed.

When all else fails and you are still plagued with knots, just clip them off using the search and destroy method.  Sometimes I do this just because I hate how the knots feel and look. (Do not break or tear them off, as this can cause further damage to the hair.)

You will still get fairy knots from time to time, but hopefully the above tips help!  If you have any suggestions, feel free to share them.

Learn, Laugh, Grow and Live!

Peace and Blessings!

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Published in: on January 1, 2012 at 7:42 am  Comments (1)  
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Kinky, Coily & Curly Hair Care Myths

Kinky, curly, coily hair is often misunderstood.  Stereotypes and myths about textured hair have been passed down for generations.  Below are 8 hair care myths.

1)      Afro textured hair doesn’t grow as long as straight hair, or hair with a looser curl pattern. Hair grows, no matter the texture.  Every hair texture needs specific things to thrive.  Learn what your hair needs.  Remember, hair grows on average ½ inch per month.  This equals to about 6 inches per year.  How we manipulate our hair determines our hair length, this includes what we put into our bodies.  Breakage, split ends, heat damage, dry, hair etc. decreases growth.  Protective styling helps to keep length.  Remember, there is no such thing as good or bad hair.  Hair serves the same purpose on everyone, no matter the race. There is just a difference in how the hair grows out of the scalp.

2)      Products make your hair grow.  There are no chemicals that increase the rate at which hair grows out of the scalp.  Products may help your hair keep moisture and therefore obtain length.  If there was a secret ingredient, then we would all have hair down our backs and the hair journey would be easy.

3)      Trimming your ends will make your hair grow faster and longer.  Hair is dead: there are no nerve endings or blood vessels.  Your hair is constantly growing.  What you do with the ends of your hair has no effect on what comes out of the scalp.  It is about retaining length.  Your hair ends are older, which means that it’s more delicate.  Trimming the hair just makes the hair appear neater and gets rid of split ends. 

4)      Greasing the scalp causes hair growth.  Your scalp produces its own oils.  Many of the products on the market for curly textured hair contain chemicals such as petroleum and mineral oil that can clog the pores, attract dirt and cause buildup.  It takes longer for oils to reach the ends of kinky, coily, curly hair.  Focus on the ends and not the scalp.  Remember the ends are the oldest part of the hair and tends to be drier.

5)      Coily hair is stronger.  It may look stronger, but the curlier or coilier the hair, the more fragile it is because the cuticle layer is thinner.  Fragile hair must be cared for in a gentle way to keep length.

6)      Brushing your hair makes it longer and shinier.  Brushes actually tug at the hair follicles and can make them weaker and cause split ends.  Use a brush only when styling.  If you must brush your hair then use a natural boa bristle brush, and not a plastic one.  Do not treat curly or textured hair like straight hair. 

7)      Washing the hair too often will make it dry.  Water is an essential moisturizer.  Washing the scalp/hair gets rid of dirt and build-up, which is necessary for hair health and hygiene.  It’s true that excessive washing with harsh chemicals will dry out the hair and rid the hair of its natural oils, but it is more important to note that it’s the harsh chemicals found in certain products that can aid in damaging and drying out the hair.  Not only should we wash our hair, but it is important to also clean the tools used to style it.

8)      There is a magic vitamin or pill that makes hair grow.  Vitamins and minerals can help in keeping the hair healthy and add nutrients, but there is no such thing as a magic growth pill.  Hair growth and health depends not only on what you put in your body, but also in the way you manipulate and take care of your hair.

Don’t believe everything you hear or read.  Do your research and learn what works for your hair. Our hair length and texture does not make us inferior.  If you learn to manage and take care of your hair and body, it will grow healthy and long.  Learn what your hair likes and dislikes.  If you buy the right tools and manipulate your hair carefully, your hair will be fine.  Be your natural, kinky, curly, coily and fabulous self!  You are unique and so is your hair, which means that it should be handled in a certain way.  Healthy hair takes time and patience.  Let’s take a proactive approach in our hair care: accept, listen, understand, look and learn!

Learn, Laugh, Grow & Live!

Peace & Blessings!

Published in: on November 27, 2011 at 1:19 am  Comments (1)  
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Hair Typing

Hair typing is a system used to describe and categorize hair textures.  Our hair comes in various textures, colors, shapes and density.  Hair in general is hard to categorize because of the variations on everyone’s head.  I believe that GOOD hair, no matter the texture; kinky, coily, curly or straight, is healthy hair.  Hair serves the same purpose on every person no matter which race: it is the patterns and textures that requires different maintenance and products.  The curlier the hair, the greater the amount of disulfide bonds and vice versa.  Hair typing systems are in no way the Holy Grails of hair.  They just serve as a way for people to get a sense of how their hair looks, and how one can better care for their hair type.

Oprah Winfrey‘s hair stylist, Andre Walker developed one of the most well-known hair typing systems.  In Andre Talks Hair (1997), Walker divides hair into 4 categories:

Type 1: Straight Hair.  There are 3 subtypes in this category: 1a (fine, thin & soft); 1b (medium textured with body waves); and 1c (straight with body but resists curls and shaping more).

Type 2: Wavy Hair: not necessarily straight or curly.  Wavy hair has a coarse “S”-shaped pattern and lays flat against the scalp.  There are 3 subtypes in this category: 2a (easy to handle and style, S-waves when stretched); 2b (medium textured that tends to frizz and has a distinct S-wave); and 2c (coarser than 2b, distinct S-waves, resists styling more and has a tendency to frizz.

Type 3: Curly hair: has a loopy “S” pattern, lots of body and is easy to straighten and style.  Type 3 hair is usually shiny and soft, and the curls are well-defined.  Unlike type 1 and 2, type 3 hair only has two subtypes: 3a (shiny and big, loose curls); and 3b (medium curls that resembles ringlets or corkscrews).

Type 4: Kinky Hair: kinky, coily or tightly curled, and fragile.  Type 4 hair shines less, but is very soft and can feel silky to the touch.  It also has the least amount of cuticle layers amongst all the hair types, which makes it more prone to damage and breakage.  Though this is the case, with proper care, type 4 hair has the potential to grow to great lengths.  Just like type 3 hair, type 4 hair has 2 subtypes: 4a (tightly coiled hair that has an “S” pattern when stretched); and 4b (less defined “Z” curl pattern that has a wiry texture and less moisture).

Lesson: Hair should not define an individual, but it still plays a great factor in the way we look.  Like Oprah says in Andre Talks Hair (1997), “its how you fell about your own hair that matters…Hair grows on your head; your attitude about it grows inyour head” (p12).  Healthy hair requires the right products, tender love and care.  Love yourself as well as your hair, whether its straight, wavy, curly or kinky.  Embrace your hair texture!

 

Learn, Laugh, Grow & Live!

Peace & Blessings!

 

10 Essentials for Healthy Hair (6-10)

 This post concludes the series on the Essentials for Healthy Hair.  In part one, we learned that healthy hair starts from within.  This post focuses on how to physically handle your hair for beautiful locks. 

6) A good conditioner:  Condition, condition, and condition more!  Leave-in conditioners and moisturizer conditioners are best.  For those with kinky, curly and coily hair, thicker or creamier conditioners are good.  Again, try to stay away from sulphates.  It is important to read the back of labels because a lot of what is highlighted on the front of hair products are not key ingredients.  If the key ingredients you are looking for are not listed towards the beginning of the list then put that product back on the shelf.  Keep your hair balanced with both protein and conditioner.

7) Scalp messages: I love scalp massages;they’re relaxing and they feel so good.  Scalp massages stimulate the scalp by opening up blood vessels to increase blood flow and circulation.  This means fewer split ends and hair breakage.  Massaging the scalp allows hair follicles to receive the necessary nutrients for hair growth, while strengthening the roots of the hair and promoting thickness.  Using oils to massage the scalp can also decrease dandruff and dry scalp.

8) Little or no heat: Heat can be a friend and a curse to kinky, coily and curly textured hair.  Too much heat is damaging to the hair.  Even too much hot water can harm beautiful locks.  If you must apply heat, try to use thermal protection.  Try air drying your hair and experimenting with styles that need no heat at all, such as braids, twists, and bantu knots.

9) Trim Ends: Let’s face it; trimmed hair looks healthier.  Our hair goes through a lot due to the environment, products and styling options.  Most professionals suggest trimming your ends at least every 6-8 weeks.  Only trim your hair when needed because every head of hair is different, and some people can go longer if they treat and condition their hair regularly.  Hair trimming is an essential to one’s healthy hair regimen. 

10) Low stress life:  When you are stressed it shows on your hair, skin and nails.  Stress damages hair follicles, causes graying and thinning, and in some cases it prevents hair growth.  Identify what’s causing you to become stressed.  Meditation, exercising and massages are helpful in reducing stress.

Lesson: The hair is the richest ornament of women.  ~Martin Luther

Learn, Laugh, Grow and Live!

Peace and Blessings!

Published in: on July 29, 2011 at 3:02 pm  Comments (4)  
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Aloe Vera as a Hair loss Treatment

There are many products on the market that promise hair growth, but one of the best kep secrets for hair loss treatment is Aloe Vera.  The aloe vera plant is mystical and has been used in many cultures for centuries.  Believe it or not, those thorny plants have great benefits.  Not only is aloe vera used as a form of medicine, but it soothes and moisturizes the skin, makes your hair healthier and acts as a hair loss treatment.  Not to mention, the aloe vera plant is affordable, natural and easy to keep.  What makes this plant so unique, is that the enzymes in the aloe vera gel stimulates hair growth, stops dandruff and fights against Alopecia.

Aloe vera also:

-helps to maintain stronger hair

-heals damaged hair

-regulates the pH of hair

-can be used as a hair gel to moisturize and polish the hair

-acts as a source of vitamins and minerals (vitamins A, C, E, B12, folic acid, manganese, copper, zinc, calcium, iron) as well as amino acids.  I’m not a fan of eating or drinking aloe vera naturally, as it has a very bitter and unpleasant taste.  There are some pretty good aloe vera drinks on the market that are tasty.

-soothes an itchy scalp

-stops hair fall

-contains anti-flammatory properties

-increases blood circulation and prevents hair thinning

-cleanses and conditions the hair to make it softer and shinier

You can buy an aloe vera plant from any nursery.  All you have to do is crack open a leaf and extract or squeeze out the gel and apply it to the scalp.  If the real plant is not available, you can buy 100% pure aloe vera gel from your local drugstore. (Note: make sure it’s as close to 100% pure aloe vera as possible or at least alcohol free).  There are lots of products that contain aloe vera, but I prefer to use the gel from the real plant.

I use aloe vera as a hair treatment at least twice a month.  Sometimes I mix it with a little coconut oil or olive oil.  Afterwards, I rinse with water and my hair is incredibly different: its smoother, softer, shinier and thicker.

Happy Growing!

Learn, Laugh, Grow and Live!

Peace and Blessings!

10Essentials for Healthy Hair (1-5)

Unhealthy hair that’s frizzy, limp, dry, brittle, dirty and full of split ends is unattractive.  Below are just some of my top essentials for healthy hair.  They are in no specific order, but I have found that they have worked for me. 

1) Water: Water is a chemical substance that is essential to human life.  Think about it, your body is up of close to 80% water, depending on your size.  Most health advocates recommend at least 6-8 glasses of water a day to keep our bodies properly hydrated.  Water not only cleanses the body of impurities, but it acts as a moisturizer for our hair.  Hair naturally grows from the inside to the outside of our scalp.  Water energizes the nerve endings on our scalp and roots.  When our bodies have adequate water, then our hair looks healthy, shiny, supple and soft…it’s necessary for healthy hair growth.  Since our hair and nails are last to receive water and nutrients, it is necessary for us to drink an adequate amount of water.  For the kinky, curly, coily people, don’t be afraid of spraying some water on your hair every day.  It keeps our hair soft and is the basic form of moisture.

2) Use the right Hair Tools: Hair tools can aid in hair growth or assist in hair loss.  Some of my hair tools include a wide tooth/shower comb, soft boar bristle brush, ouchless hair bands/ponytail holders and a satin or silk scarf.  The key is less manipulation on your tresses.  Be as gentle as possible because the more you yank, pull or play rough, the more hair you lose, which can lead to extensive damage over time.  I have type 4 hair, and finger combing works fine for me most of the time.  Try not to comb your hair when it is dry.  Combing should only be done when the hair is wet or with some sort of conditioner in itProtective styling is also great.  Some people may not like protective styling because it can become boring after a while, but do whatever works best for your schedule and sense of style.

3) Carrier oils and Essential oils: Essential oils are great; not only are they therapeutic, but they stimulate the hair follicles to promote hair growth.  (I’m am not very fond of petroleum-based products, but if they work for you, then by all means use what works best).   Carrier oils are plant-based and derive from a plant, seed, nut or kernel.  Essential oils are extracted from portions of the plant such as leaves, barks and roots, have a distinct aroma and evaporate more easily.  With this in mind, it is important to note that not all essential oils are created equal, and some of them are artificial and synthetic and used as perfume or fragrant oils.  Pure essential oils should be diluted either with water or carrier oils for best results. 

Carrier oils                           

Sweet almond oil,    Grapeseed oil,    Castor oil,    Jojoba oil,   

 Olive oil,    Emu Oil,    Evening primrose,    Avocado oil,   

Aloe Vera oil,    Sesame oil,    Wheatgerm oil,    Rosehip oil,   

Coconut oil 

Essential Oils 

Rosemary oil,    Lemon oil,    Peppermint oil,    Tea Tree oil,

Ylang-ylang oil,    Sage oil,    Basil oil,    Lavender oil,

Thyme oil,    Chamomile oil,    Grapefruit oil,   

Cypress oil,    Orange oil                                

4) Diet and Hair vitamins: Eating a healthy diet rich of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, vegetables and protein will not only lead to a healthy head of flowing hair, but supple skin.  Try to keep processed foods, cookies, starches, soft drinks and sugars at a minimum.  A balanced diet is necessary for good health and beauty.  If you feel as if you are not getting the essential vitamins and minerals naturally, try a multivitamin supplement.

5) A good shampoo: Too much shampoo is harmful to kinky, curly and coily textured hair.  Most shampoos contain sulphates which can strip the hair of its natural oils, causing it to become dry and brittle.  I prefer to dilute my shampoos with water or use a non-sulphate shampoo.  Only shampoo your hair when needed.  A good shampoo and conditioner is essential in replenishing the hair.  Most of the time, a conditioner wash will suffice. 

Lesson: Healthy hair starts with a positive mind, body, spirit and attitude.  What’s on the inside will always reflect outwards. 

Learn, Laugh, Grow and Live!

Peace and Blessings!

My Hair story: Why natural?

Going natural was one of the hardest decisions of my life. Cutting my hair was a no-no. What if I’m not accepted for my hair choice or if I’m teased? What if my hair texture is not what I really expected, or what society deems as good hair or professional hair? What products should I use and how would I style my hair? Quite a bit right? I was so scared about the results that I forgot about my hair goal: to grow healthy hair.After years of chemical processing and heat damage, it was time to make a change. I became tired of curling irons, hot combs, scalp irritations and missing out on outdoor activities like swimming (those with kinky-curly hair know what I’m talking about!). The last straw for me was when I lost about 60% of my hair due to a bad chemical relaxer. I was mortified and depressed. I kept my hair loss a secret by using clip-on extensions and wigs that were close to the length of my hair before the chemical mishap.  I didn’t have the will power to go cold turkey with relaxers, so I eased my way into using more natural products.  I even started making a few of my own treatments and conditioners and I finally noticed growth. Losing my hair was stressful and depressing, but I soon realized that it was not the end of the world, and that my internal health effects my external appearance: specifically hair, skin and nails.  I learned that healthy hair takes work and patience.As time went on I wanted more. I became fascinated about hair, the way it’s structured and how to take care of it. YouTube and hair blogs became my addiction.  Vloggers like fgrogan, Nikkimae, SimplYounique and Sera2544 are just some of my favorites.  My last relaxer was in June 2010. I always wondered how my natural hair look and felt. I was seven years old when I got my first relaxer, so I really had no recollection of my “natural” beauty…just pictures, and of course memories of my mom and my aunts saying how thick my hair was and how hard it was to manage.

I decided to do the big chop on January 3, 2010 and it was one of the best decisions of my life. My father and brother thought I was going crazy. They are of the belief that a woman’s hair is her “crown and glory”. My mom was initially shocked, but she actually liked my short, natural style after a while. She even decided to do her big chop in March 2011.End result: I am so happy about my hair progress. Besides the financial benefits, I have more freedom. That’s not to say that if you get relaxers you’re committing some awful sin, but for me relaxers eventually did more harm than good. Instead of focussing on length, I am more focussed on the overall state of my hair. Over time I have learned to appreciate my true self. I love my hair…its kinky, curly, coily and a hot mess at times, but still beautiful the way God intended. I may not have a great hair day every day, but life is not perfect…you take the good and the bad and make the best of it.Lesson: Anything good in life requires hard work, dedication and patience.  Stay true to yourself. If you worry about what others think and say, it may prohibit your growth as a person and above all deter you away from the path God has for you.

Learn, Laugh, Grow, Live!

Peace & Blessing!