Saturday, December 12, 2009

Give your hair a special treat for the holidays

Hello everyone, it's been a really long time since I've made a post. You won't believe all the changes I've had in my life... nevertheless, look out for continued posts on my blog.
Whenever the holiday season rolls around, we have family & loved ones in town and everyone likes to look their best. All of you that relax/straighten your hair here are a few really, really good tips:
- use a LYE CONDITIONING relaxer. The container must say "CONDITIONING". If you do not see this word, look for another product. I've used Revlon for years. Hawaiian Silk also is a product I've used and have been satisfied with. Lye relaxers never need to be mixed for any of you that do not know the difference between a lye and a no lye relaxer.
- choose the right strength relaxer for your hair type. Ex. fine hair & tender scalp please use a MILD relaxer. Coarser hair types use the REGULAR or SUPER strength.

- base your hair properly.

- move quickly & carefully.
-leave the product in your hair only for the time the product recommends... any longer causes overprocessing & hair damage. When hair is overprocessed it actually starts getting more on the kinky side, rather than being straight.
- After rinsing out the relaxer completely, use a really good moisturizing conditioner & leave in for about 5 minutes then follow with your first shampoo.

- use a neutralizing shampoo preferrably with the color code option; this way you know when all of the relaxer is washed out. You could follow with a moisturizing shampoo for the second wash.

- Condition again after you have washed your hair. If you're able to & have the time it's best to follow a relxer with a deep a conditioner. If you cannot do it the same day ensure by your next wash you do deep condition your hair.
Follow these tips and your hair will really remain healthy and moisturized with your relxer. Remember the introduction of chemicals to your hair makes it even drier than it may already be.

Excellence in Beauty!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I will be away... but not for too long.

Hey there...

I just wanted to let you all know that I won't have an entry in my blog for another few weeks because I'll be getting married soon. Anyone who's planned a wedding knows that alot of work goes into it. I'm at that phase now where it's requiring just about all of my time.

I promise that I'll be back to share some great hair, skin & product information with you.

Also, the blog has been greatly focused on hair & I haven't focused on skin as yet. I will be working on both healthy skin & hair when I return.

I appreciate your understanding. Talk with you all soon.

Excellence in Beauty!
Ms. Naturesk

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The scales/flakes are gone

Back in July, I made an entry showing you how my scalp looked. For a few years I've had a problem with my scalp, not knowing what was causing this itchiness that nothing seemed to resolve.

I've finally realized what caused it... it's the relaxer chemicals I use to straighten my hair. I'm not sure if there something I've become allergic to or if the formula has changed. I've also tried a few different relaxers, so, I'm not too sure about the formula being an issue. Now I know I have to protect my scalp very well when I relax and I have to calm my scalp down after the process is complete.

So, I've created a blend of oils that I use about 8-10 days after I relax and I have to wash my hair about 2-3 times during the 8-10 day period. After this, the itching and scaling subsides tremendously. If I treat my scalp at least once a week when it's time to wash, then it all goes away.

I'm so happy and so relieved that I found a solution and I could share it with you. I recently trimmed my hair after my last relaxer and enclosed images below of my scalp before & after. The image at the top left is what my hair looks like now.
Tell me what you think.

-------------BEFORE: ---------------------------- AFTER:

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Different Look

Hey everybody, it's been quite a while since I've stopped by to make and entry. It's not that I don't want to, it's that I've been extremely busy. Nevertheless, I had another simple summer hair do that I meant to share with you earlier in the summer. Sorry its so late.

I call this a "braid out". It's so easy to do and takes a few minutes to get together. If you have natural hair or your hair is relaxed you can do this.
1. Using a comb, part your hair down the middle. (hint: don't make the part a straight one)
2. French braid (see image below) your hair back before you go to sleep, or for a few hours. I think if it's braided for at least 4 hours, it would set.
3. Loose/unravel the braids in the morning with your fingers. (see image below)
4. Finger comb your hair. Do not use any other combs other than your fingers or you'll have one fuzzy big hair mess.
5. Moisturize your hair and/or apply hair sheen, so your hair is not dull.
6. Style as desired. I put a headband, pull part of it back (see image above) or just leave it out... just all depends on the mood or the occasion.
I've attached some images to see how mine typically comes out...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Thinning Hair?

Have you noticed that for one reason or the other you seem to be loosing more hair than normal? Ponytail feeling smaller? Seeing more of your scalp than you should? Then you are suffering from thinning hair and that is cause for concern. What do you do now?

First, determine what could be causing the loss then figure out how to correct & treat the problem. If you do not notice a difference, do seek professional, medical help.

If you're around the age 40-50, it's natural to see some thinning of the hair. Our hair follicles produce hair for a specific time and then the could stop or slow down hair production. So, what could you do to ease this problem...

1. Get rid of the stressful hairstyles... the braids, the weaves, the tight ponytails, the cornrows.

2. Check your diet. Are you getting your fair share of required vitamins & minerals? Think about supplementing your diet with vitamins for your hair.

3. Do you have a medical condition? Is this causing the thinning or what about the medication you could be taking? Notify your doctor if you suspect this is causing your problem.

4. Are you experiencing hormonal changes? Recently had a hysterectomy? Once your hormones are imbalanced, you will notice changes to the way your hair behaves and you will most likely notice thinning hair. Typically it takes about 1 year after hormonal treatment before you see improvements in your body including your hair.

5. What type of products are you using? Are they organic or claim to be natural? Look at the ingredients and get to know how good or how bad they are for you. Avoid shampoos with harsh ingredients like sulphates.

6. Do not ignore your hair & think the problem will simply "go away". That would be your biggest mistake. Pay extra attention and take extra care of thinning hair. Condition after every wash & deep condition at least once a month. Consider adding sage essential oil to your conditioner and/or shampoo, that helps to reduce falling hair.

7. Toss the no-lye perm, instead, shop for a conditioning lye perm. No-lye perms can be very drying for the hair & could cause hair loss over time. If you've been considering it or think you could live with it, go natural - ditch the chemicals altogether.

8. Brush your hair or massage the scalp to promote stimulation & circulation of the scalp, this is important to help with the hair growth process. You could also make your own stimulating scalp oil to massage the head with. Be sure to include jojoba oil. There are essential oils that will also help to promote hair growth like lemongrass, basil or rosemary.

Keep your hair on your head because it's beautiful!

Ms. Naturesk
Excellence in Beauty!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Silk Peptide Powder

It was time for me to deep condition and trim. I trimmed about 2" from my ends because it's been a little while since I've gotten around to trimming. I tried a new ingredient in my deep conditioner... silk peptide powder. I've heard of it, but never did purchase it before now. I will say that I loved the results. while my hair was masked with the deep conditioner, it felt so silky soft... I instantly fell in love. I purchased the silk peptide powder from the site:

Silk peptide powder is rich in amino acids protein which is easily absorbed by your hair and your skin and gives it a silky feel. In fact, it contains 18 amino acids that provide a great balance of moisture, shine and elasticity for your hair. The powder has a very silky feel to it and it is an offwhite colored powder. It also has a wonderful feeling in skin care products.
This product is perfect for your bi-weekly to montly protein fix for your hair. Add it to your deep conditioner mask and leave on your hair for 20-30 minutes under heat or 45 mins-1 hour + without heat. Over time it will help to strengthen hair, help with moisture retention and aid in stopping breakage because it helps with elasticity.
Make time to deep condition... your hair will thank you.
Ms. Naturesk
Excellence in Beauty!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Quick Hello

Hello my Naturesk Friends,

It's been a few days since I've made a post. I do have some great information to share with you, but have to dedicate some quality time to posting the details.

I'm currently planning a wedding and I'm sure you could imagine how busy I am. Please hang in there with me, I promise, I'll have some additional information for you in the very very near future.

In the mean time, please continue to send me your questions and comments. I always appreciate those.

Ms. Naturesk
Excellence in Beauty!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Yogurt Treatment Hair Mask

I know it's been a while since I've put up one of my recipes and I've heard from a few people that have tried some of the recipes I published on the blog and wanted to see some more. So, here's another one that I like because I love yogurt for my hair and my skin. I like to eat it too :)

What you need:
1 egg yolk,
1 tablespoon of plain yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 tablespoon almond oil

What to do:
Whip ingredients together well. Apply to hair and leave for at least 20-30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.

Benefits of the ingredients:
Yogurt is rich in zinc, calcium, lactic acid, protein, Vitamins B-1, B-2, B-6 and B-12 and yeast. The nutrients will work wonders for your hair especially because of the protein, zinc and Vitamin B complex which are all nutrients that our hair needs to remain healthy. It also helps to calm frizz and soften dull looking hair.

The almond oil and coconut oils are great emollients.

Honey is a humectant that will help keep & attract moisture to your hair.

The egg yolk is a naturally filled with cholesterol.
Ms. Naturesk
Excellence in Beauty!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Get Natural Looking Curls Without Heat/Great Summer Hair Style

Have you ever seen people with the prettiest natural curls and wondered how you could have the same beautiful ringlets without using any heat? You would not believe how simple it is.

I'm currently 10 weeks into my relaxer and still going (although I'm so tempted to run out to get a perm), nevertheless, it's still better for my hair and scalp. As you could imagine, I have to be very creative with my hair at the moment. So, I decided to give my hair some soft natural looking curls/ringlets. Here's how you could get the same look (you could do this with wet or dry hair)...

If your hair is wet-
  1. Use your favorite leave in conditioner, setting lotion or a small amount of styling mouse.
  2. Part your hair from the front to the back, allowing for about 5-7 braids going to the back of your neck. Braid your hair from the front using only two-strand twists & secure the ends with barrettes.
  3. Let it air dry, preferable overnight.
  4. In the morning, release the braids one by one & moisturize the hair & scalp.
  5. Separate to add more body.
  6. Style as desired.
If your hair is dry-
  1. Dampen with a mist of purified water or your favorite leave in conditioner or setting lotion.
  2. Part your hair from the front to the back, allowing for about 5-7 braids going to the back of your neck.
  3. Let it air dry for at least 4-5 hours.
  4. Once dry, release the braids one by one & moisturize the hair & scalp if necessary.
  5. Separate to add more body.
  6. Style as desired.

I've attached photos...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

What's Your Hair Type?

I remember the first time I saw 3a, 2c or 4b describing the type of hair someone has? My thoughts were... what in the world could that mean?!?! I'm sure there are many of you that are thinking the very same thing right now. So, I thought I would share with you what these number and letter combinations mean.

First the number... Typically describes the texture of your hair in it's natural state.
1 - Straight hair
2 - Wavy hair
3 - Curly hair
4 - Kinky hair

Then the letter... Typically describes thickness of your strands
a - Fine
b - Medium
c - Thick

Sometimes trying to figure out your thickness of your strands may be easier for some, but not for others... or you think it's one thing when it's the next. Here's a simple test you could try... Hold your hair and make a pony tail, now wrap all the hair around one finger. How many times did it go around that finger?

1 time: thick
2-3 times: medium
4+ times: fine

Hope this helps. Until next time...

Ms. Naturesk
Excellence in Beauty!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

No more Itchy Scalp

When I launched this blog, it all came from my quest to find a solution for my itchy scalp I had for a few years and to ensure I always have healthy hair & skin. I had also experienced some issues with my skin and started mixing my own skin moisturizers at home and now my skin is doing so much better. So, I figured I better find some solution for my hair, like I did for my skin.
I tried everything under the sun & listen to advice from tons of people. It's not until, I really started doing some research and ditched my over the counter products, like I said I would, and started using organic products, some of which I put together myself, that I have finally seen some relief. I reverted to using some products and ingredients my mom used on me when I was just a little girl. I realized that I had to experiment & find out what really works and what does not.

So, my vinegar rinse was a big help for me in terms of itch relief. I also have not relaxed my hair in about 10 weeks, so you know I need a perm in the worst way... but I'm hanging on. Because I'm paying caring hair and paying so much attention to it, I can go longer than 8 weeks without a relaxer. I'll show you a pic of what my hair looked like with all the flakes & dryness (you can also see all of my new growth). I can't belive it got this bad, but it's alot better now.
I'm still using my concoction, to ensure that my scalp returns to its normal. I will keep you updated. I'm so elated to finally stop itching... YEAH!!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

RIP Michael Jackson

We lost a true musical hero. There never was, neither would there ever be another like him... NEVER! He was unique, his music was captivating, his videos were simply outstanding and his style of dance - I don't even have a word that would describe it, but it certainly was out of this world. He was a pioneer and a trendsetter. I'm a huge fan of his music... then again, how many people weren't?!?! I personally don't know of any.
He's gone... but his legacy will live on for generations.
Ms. Naturesk!
Excellence in Beauty!

Nourishing your hair

Did you know that all the hair on your head that you comb and struggle so desperately to maintain is actually all dead tissue? It's actually the hair follicles from your scalp that is alive and produces hair (hair shaft). The hair shaft is really a dead cylinder of keratin. Believe it or not...

Even though the hair is dead, we must maintain it to ensure that it is healthy (even as dead as it is). What do we need to make sure the hair shaft is healthy? The hair needs moisture and necessary vitamins and minerals. Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, Minerals: Iron & Zinc and others like Biotin and Silica are great ingredients to look for in vitamins for hair.

Why is it important to take supplements specifically for your hair? The fact is, most of us do not receive the nutrients we need to maintain healthy hair from our food we eat daily. Therefore, we must supplement our diet with these vitamins & minerals. The same thing applies for healthy skin (ever wonder why more & more people have skin issues now).

Currently, I have some supplements that I use for my skin by Sanitas, called 'Complexion Clear'. Lucky for me, it also has some of the needed nutrients for my hair. In addition, I also take vitamins specifically for my hair.
If you have dandruff, one supplement you may want to add to your daily supplements is organic Flax Seed capsules. Not only is this great for a healthy heart, after a month of taking these capsules twice daily, you will have some relief from your itchy dandruff condition.
Hope you find a supplement that works for you. You will see a difference - I promise.
Ms. Naturesk
Excellence in Beauty!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tips For Effective (Basic Conditioning)

Have you ever felt like you've been conditioning and deep conditioning, but for some reason your hair is still dry or doesn't appear to be nourished? That has happened to me... until I realized how important it is to use a clarifying shampoo or vinegar rinse to remove excessive build up from the hair's shaft.

I also did provide a vinegar rinse earlier on in this blog that also serves to remove excessive build up to ensure your conditioners are able to deliver all of the nutrients to your hair & scalp. Be careful of the "cones" in conditioners... they make your hair feel so great when you do apply them and they do a great job of sealing your cuticle. However, they are notorious for leaving build up and possible scalp irritants. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you're effectively conditioning your hair:
  • Blot your hair to remove excess water before you apply your conditioner.
  • Gently massage the conditioner in your hair.
  • Use a wide toothed comb to release tangles and make hair more manageable.
  • Pay attention to the type of conditioner you have; is it a leave in or rinse out conditioner?
  • Remember to leave the conditioner for the time specified
  • If necessary, rinse it thoroughly (for rinse out conditioners). Otherwise, you'd be leaving the conditioner in your hair until it is washed the next time (for leave in conditioners).
  • Be extremely careful when detangling your hair while it's wet; avoid harsh rubbing, pulling or stretching.
  • Stay away from conditioners that have cetyl alcohol because they could dry out the hair.
  • Remember to always rinse with cool water to seal your cuticle for shiny hair.

Here are some other tricks to note:

  1. If you have severe tangling, do not start combing through from the root of your hair. Instead, start clearing the ends and work your way up. This would make the tangles closer to the root easier to comb through to the ends.

  2. If you do not use a clarifying shampoo when you wash, try not to use any hair pomade, grease or moisturizer at least 2 days prior to washing to ensure your conditioner is more effective.

Until next time... EZ conditioning!

Ms. Naturesk

Excellence in Beauty!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Know Your Ingredients - Part II

As I promised, here is our second list of harmful products you'll find in many store bought beauty products that you would like to stay away from. In reading some of these you would not believe how dangerous and toxic they are. I always wonder why are they approved for use in our perosnal products and/or food. I will have more to list in the near future... so, stay tuned.
Join me in becoming a label and ingredient expert:
Amonium Laureth Sulfate: causes skin irritation; water contaminant; could also contain the carcinogen I,4-Dioxane.
Benzyl Alcohol: strong neurotoxin; can also cause allergic reaction of the lung; may also cause itching, burning scaling hives and blistering of the skin; causes liver damage, coma and death in some animals.
Coal Tar: know human carcinogen; causes lung and urinary tract cancer; potent skin irritant. This ingredient has even been banned in most countries including Canada and the UK, but is still used in anti-dandruff shampoos in the USA.
Cocomide DEA (Ethanolamide of Coconut Acid): strong human skin toxicant and a suspected carcinogen; causes irritation of the eye, skin and lungs.
DMDM Hydantoin: contains formaldehyde; is a skin, eye and lung irritant and an environmental toxicant.
EDTA (Disodium EDTA): This is a neurotoxin that has been linked to brain damage in animals; causes liver changes, endocrine damage, fetal death and birth abnormalities in animals. It is made from formaldehyde and is actually approved for use in cosmetics and baby food (simply unbelievable).
Sodium Laureth Sulfate: know for eye and skin irritation; is a water contaminant; may also be contaminated with the carcinogen I,4-Dioxane.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: know for eye and skin irritation too; if used in toothpaste, may cause canker sores.
Talc: linked to skin & lung irritation and evcen with no asbestos, was proven to cause tissue injury and fibrosis.
Lanolin: Strong skin irritant and toxicant; linked to causing allergic reaction in the lungs.
Look for these ingredients in products that call themselves "Natural" or "Organic".
Until I bring your next list... Become a label expert!
Ms. Naturesk
Excellence in Beauty!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Do You Need To Condition Your Hair?

We've talked about cleansing and some tips to pay attention to when cleansing your hair and scalp. To have our hair looking its best, lets see if we do need to condition it or not. I don't know about you, but have you tried styling your hair without conditioning it? Isn't it difficult to manipulate? Don't you have many tangles to deal with? I know you're thinking God bless the person that invented the conditioner.
Life happens to our hair... we style, we dry, we curl, we pull, we gel, we flat iron and our hair looks great! Doesn't it? Meanwhile, the abuse caused by heat, products or rough handling lifts our cuticles, allowing necessary moisture to leave and this causes our hair to be dry, dull, brittle and become prone to knots and tangles. As this type of ill-treatment continues, the cuticles would eventually break or become frayed. That's how our hair breaks off or you end up with split ends.
We want to avoid breakage and split ends if we want to preserve and maximize our length. Not to mention, we always want our tresses to look FABULOUS! So it is absolutely necessary that we not only condition after shampooing, but as I've indicated in previous posts, we have to deep condition at least one a month (2X if your hair is much drier than the average person) and use a resonstructor (for chemically processed hair) to add strength back to the core of your hair shaft (cortex & medulla).
A good conditioner should help to:
  • Make hair manageable

  • Smooth down the cuticle

  • Seal in moisture

  • Prevent frizz

  • Add shine
If your conditioner is not doing these things for you, then ditch it and find a new one. As always, I recommend an organic conditioner. Be aware of products that advertise their products as being "Natural" when more than 50% of their ingredients are anything but natural. I also have postings on this blog called "Know Your Ingredients", become familiar with the most common offenders. I use different brands, but always read my labels to make sure that harmful chemicals are not included in my products.
More on conditioning coming...

Hair Care Tip - Water Temperature

Why is the temperature of the water important when washing and conditioning your hair?

When washing, you should wash with warm water. This helps to loosen dirt and some build up, but it also allows any excess oils to be removed easily. Clean hair without build up and oil makes your conditioner easier to penetrate. Better penetration means healthy hair.

If you have dry, itchy scalp or dandruff, stay away from water that is to warm or hot. This irritates the scalp if the water is too hot. Ensure that you're washing with warm water and rinse with cool water.

When you rinse with cool water, it allows your cuticle (outer layer) to close and lay flat. This in turn allows light to reflect off of your hair causing it to look shiny and healthy.

Never use cold water because this could cause changes of blood/veins to constrict and give you a headache.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Care for dreadlocks

To answer your request on summer care for locks...

Taking care of your locks in the summer is very similar to that of hair that's not locked, with few variations especially where conditioning is concerned.
Locks are fairly easy to maintain day to day; I know every few weeks you do have the task of locking your new growth and that does take time.

During the summer months while in the sun or part-taking in summer activities, you may be required to wash more often than usual. Make sure that you use a gentle clarifying shampoo to remove any residue or build up that may settle on the scalp from sweat, salt water, or products. Or try to use a shampoo that is designed not to leave any residue behind (this is very important if you have locks).

After ensuring your locks are completely dry by either air drying or sitting under a hair dryer since blow drying will leave frizz. Follow with a light or non-oily based moisturizer created specifically for dreadlocks (like Carol's Daughter Loc Butter); there are many other.
In between washes you could clean your scalp with witch hazel or sea breeze. If you have mature locks, you probably already know that. Remember that you have to keep your scalp moisturized and nourished to maintain healthy locks and a healthy scalp. So, deep condition your hair/locks and scalp using a non-oily based hot oil treatment.
Stay away from alcohol and alcohol based products. Also look out for these ingredients in your hair products, cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfates. They will dry out your hair and scalp and/or lead to irritation. Sulfates that are generally found in shampoos will strip your hair of it natural oils.
Locks are usually are thick and heavy and it would be a lot more comfortable if you wear your locks up and away from your neck & face to keep you cool. There are many really creative and attractive styles for locks. Many popular hair style publications do feature a section for natural hair and locks.

Ms. Naturesk

Excellence in Beauty!

Vinegar Rinse (Great for Normal or Itchy Scalp)

I've had quite a few questions about dealing with itchy scalp. I've put together a rinse that has helped me. I used it just this past weekend.

Here is the thing, the base would be the same to help with the various itchy scalp conditions, but based on what the itchy scalp condition actually is, you would need a different essential oil to treat it properly.

It's also important that I let you know that anyone can use the base to help clarify the scalp and better prepare your scalp to absorb nutrients from a deep conditioner or from your oils or pomade that you massage on your scalp. Have you felt that a product that did wonders for your hair seems not to work anymore? That's because product build up and residue blocks the absorption of the beneficial nutrients. So, if you have a healthy scalp then only use the BASE of the recipe. Use this every now and then; I'd say about once every 2-3 months.

What you need:
2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
2-3" of aloe leaf, peeled and scraped
1/4 tsp pure vitamin E oil
1 tsp baking soda (expect some foaming; a fun science project)

For Dandruff
add 3-4 drops of tea tree essential oil (helps tremendously with the itching)
and 3-4 drops of cedarwood essential oil

For Eczema
add 3-4 drops of tea tree essential oil
3-4 drops of lavender essential oil
3-4 drops of geranium essential oil
1 tbsp of andiroba oil (if you could locate)

For Psoriasis (there is no cure for this, but there is relief)
add 3-4 drops of tea tree essential oil
3-4 drops of German chamomile essential oil
1/2 tsp neem oil
1 tbsp of andiroba oil (if you could locate)

What to do:

  1. Gently massage this mixture on your scalp and leave it on for 3-5 minutes (max).
  2. Wash with a tea tree shampoo or a gentle organic shampoo.
  3. Follow with a tea tree conditioner or organic conditioner
  4. Style as desired
  5. Massage organic oil(s) to the scalp only; use one or a combination of jojoba oil, coconut oil, andiroba oil and add a few drops of the tea tree essential oil to your oil mixture.
  6. Repeat this at once a week until you see some relief. You could wash more than once a week, but do not use the vinegar rinse more than once a week
Relief is on the way...

Excellence in Beauty!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Summer care for your hair.

Some like it hot...
Some like it cold...
Many like the summer...

Summer is one of the most anticipated seasons of the year for many reasons: trips to the beach, vacation, time off from school, vacation, time to show off your fabulous summer wardrobe and body, bar-b-ques, family reunions, vacation (did I mention this already). You could probably tell I like to go on vacation.

It's just a 'feel good' time of year and what better way to feel wonderful about yourself, than to have fabulous hair through it all. So, simply prepare your hair to handle the summer weather, as your hair will be exposed to one or many of the following: the wind, the sun, salt water, chlorine, sand, dirt, smoke...

Here are some of my tips for surviving the summer:

  1. Give your hair a nice trim to get rid of any damaged, dry, over-processed split ends.
  2. Use a clarifying shampoo to remove any build up from exposure to salt or chlorinated water.
  3. Use a leave in condition prior to a trip to the beach or the pool.
  4. Moisture has to be your friend during these drier months, so, recognize when your hair needs moisture & apply.
  5. Use a moisture rich shampoo and conditioner.
  6. Deep condition at least once a week to replace essential moisture that is easily lost.
  7. Use a swim cap.
  8. Protect the ends of your hair by tucking them in as often as you could.
  9. Really, really try to stay away from blow dryers & hot curlers. I know it's almost cliche', but we all know it's important to avoid heat, much less during the hot season.
  10. Use low tension fasteners to hold your hair; if your hair is dry & your fastener is to tight, your hair will break & snap easily.
  11. Braid your own hair (avoid synthetic hair additions if you could). Braids & corn rows are still hot, not to mention, you won't have to worry about your hair everyday.
  12. If you're a hat person, wear one; they're always stylish.
  13. Try a new hair style. It's hair, it will grow back. New season, new you!

Now that you know what you should do to take care of your hair to look completely fabulous, now get your summer shopping & vacation planning moving and ENJOY every single day.

Feel free to share your summer plans or hair regimen.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Roller set today

I used my pre-shampoo butter, washed, conditioned and roller set my hair. I could not sit under the dryer for the full period because I was also cooking (you know how it is sometimes ladies). However, I did find some time eventually and sat under the dryer for about 30 minutes and the results were wonderful. In fact, I believe that I'll stick to this type of drying; why sit under the dryer for hours?

My hair was shiny and very bouncy. I personally do not like a lot of body from the scalp; so I just use a small a flat iron on a medium setting and flat iron the roots quickly. My hair lies on my scalp the way I like it and the rest is full of body.

I hope these pictures captured the shine & the curls. All I could say is, I'm enjoying my hair today. It's a great hair day :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Green Cleansing for your hair - Shampooing

I'm sure many of you would agree that your appearance is very important. Great hair is a sure-fire way to boost your attractiveness and self confidence. We feel great when we look good & your hair contributes to your overall great look. Let's talk about cleansing your hair...

Some people wash there hair everyday, others wash 1-2X a week and if you're not washing your hair at least once a week, then you may have some other issues.

We place great emphasis on keeping our hair clean, some condition & deep condition well. Question is, what are you putting in your hair and on your scalp. Remember the scalp is one of the most absorbent parts of our body. If you're using toxic products, guess what - it's being absorbed into your body. Choosing green/organic/natural products should become a priority of yours. If you use any great natural products, feel free to share them with others reading this blog.

Typically it's the detergent and/or the preservative in your shampoo that is of concern. In most cases sodium lauryl sulfate or, the milder version, sodium laureth sulfate. Some other culprits are cocoamide diethanolamine (DEA), ammonium laureth sulfate or any ethoxylated compounds. Most shampoos also have propylene glycol, which we learned is a no-no. Look for a safer ingredient like lauryl glucoside, which is a soapy blend of coconut oil, cornstarch ad sugar & will gently cleanse without the toxins.

Some shampoos boasts having some really great ingredient (e.g. Aloe Vera), unknown to most of us, there's a fraction of a fraction of "Aloe Vera" in the mixture. So minuscule we may as well say it just had AV. because there isn't enough of the ingredient to give it full credit.

There is special information for taking care of your hair if you went swimming in a pool or at the beach. I'll have a special article on my blog to help you maintain healthy hair after you've swam. Look out for it.

How often should you shampoo?
This would depend on your hair type and the state of your hair:

  • If you have fine hair, too much shampooing can cause dryness. So, do not wash daily.

  • If you spend a lot of time in the sun or wear a lot of styling products, shampoo more frequently. Remember to use a clarifying shampoo at least once a week. Note that daily shampooing is not recommended for any hair type.

  • For Hair type 3 or 4, shampoo at least once a week. You could use a clarifying shampoo followed by a moisturizing shampoo. I will say that I do not use a clarifying shampoo weekly. Understand your hair and know what it responds well to.

Some important tips to remember when shampooing:

  • Comb through your hair with a wide teeth comb prior to shampooing.
  • Shampoo your hair in the shower. Do not lean over your tub or sink to wash; this would cause more tangles.
  • You should not comb your hair while shampooing. First, when your hair is wet it is in its weakest state; combing it will make it break easily. Second, it's much harder to get the tangles out during your shampoo.
  • If your scalp is itchy or dry use a milder organic shampoo, like a chelating shampoo.
  • If you are hair type 3 or 4, you should not rub the scalp too hard or too vigorously while cleansing; it could cause bruising, irritation or cause the hair to stretch.
  • Repeat your shampoo only of you think your hair really needs it.
  • Use my pre-shampoo recipe below for hair that's dry or dries out quickly. If your hair is not very dry, you may consider using ever other 1 or 2 shampoos.
  • Follow your shampoo with a conditioner and detangle with a wide teeth comb.

Pre-shampoo Hair butter

What you need:

  • 3 tablespoons organic virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 tablespoon organic neem oil
  • 1 teaspoon organic spirulina extract
  • 10,000 IU Vitamin E
  • 2 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2 drops bergamot essential oil
  • 2 drops chamomile essential oil OR 3 drops of German chamomile essential oil for reoccurring itchiness or flakes on the scalp.
  • 2-3 inches of an aloe leaf
  • Measuring spoons, knife, blender & small container or bowl.

What to do:
  1. Cut the aloe leaf & scrape the inside (slimy & bitter part).
  2. Add the ingredients into a blender ( use a small blender if you have one). Blend all ingredients until it's well blended & distributed evenly.
  3. Massage the treatment onto scalp and distribute evenly along your tresses; ensure your ends are well covered with this butter if they appear or feel dry.
  4. Leave on hair for 10-15 minutes. Be careful not to let the oil get on your face. Essential oils could cause breakouts on sensitive skin.
  5. Rinse thoroughly in shower and proceed to shampoo as usual. (You will need to clean the shower after you're done because of the oil.)
  6. This is a great moisturizer and the chamomile will help if you have severe itchy/flaky scalp. Feel free to use this as often as you like for maximum effectiveness. This recipe yields enough for 1+ uses depending on the length of your hair.

I did not blow dry (YEAHHH)... instead I applied a natural blend of organic oils to my scalp & moisturized through the tip. I combed my hair into seven knots (see pic below), uncurled them & styled. The knots give a great curl patter that can yield many great styles. I like to wear my hair in a curly pony tail or pin it up like I was wearing a banana comb.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Dangerous and/or Toxic Cosmetic Ingredients (Part I)

Become an ingredient expert. I promise you that you will find at least one (or all) of these dangerous ingredients in almost all of your hair and skin care products.
Here are the first 10; I will give you more as time goes on (I promise)

Petrolatum (soft paraffin, white petrolatum, petroleum jelly) - this is derivative of petrol/ gasoline; it's a lung irritant and non-biodegradable environmental toxin.

Propylene Glycol (PG) - eye irritant and has been linked to conjunctivitis; can cause upper respiratory tract irritation. This is also found in your vehicle's anti-freeze.

Mineral Oil (liquid petrolatum) - causes blood and skin cancer formations in animals; eye and skin irritant; derived from petroleum; non-biodegradable environmental toxin.

Methylparaben - is used as a preservative in a lot of hair & skin care products. Known to be a skin & eye irritant; endocrine disruptor linked to breast cancer; environmental contaminant.

Polyparaben - in fact, and any other paraben is an irritant; also known to be a skin & eye irritant; endocrine disruptor linked to breast cancer; environmental contaminant.

Isopropyl Alcohol (SD-40) - human neurotoxin; skin, eye, and lung irritant; vapors causes drowsiness and dizziness, causes skin dehydration; may promote brown spots and premature aging of skin. This is also a derivative of petroleum.

Cetyl Alcohol - skin & eye irritant.

Ceteareth-(with any number after it) - Unsafe for use on broken skin; eye and lung irritant; contaminant with 1,4-Dioxane (found in fumigants and automotive coolant).

Dimeticone (Dimethicone) - petroleum derivative; environmental toxin. Used for it's silicone like properties especially in conditioners, but perpetrated as being safer than silicone.

Phenoxyethanol - linked to allergic contact uritica and dermatitis; endocrine disruptor and carcinogen in animals.

Create your own Herbal Shampoo (very simple)

What you need:
- Crush a few dried bay leaves
- Mix in a handful of dried chamomile flowers & 1 rosemary sprig.

What to do:
1. Place in a jug of 3 & 1/2 cups of boiling water. Strain after 2-3 minutes and mix with 1 teaspoon of your gentle shampoo.

2. Apply to your hair, massage well, then rinse.

Let's Grow!!!

Hair has three stages of growth:

1. The anagen phase - this is when the hair is actively growing, usually for 2-4 years. It varies from person to person due to a number of factors, like genetics. Our hair is at this phase for a good 93% of the time.
2. The catagen phase - also referred to as the transitions phase. The hair stops growing, but there continues to be cellular activity in the papilla (what we sometimes refer to as the root). This usually lasts for 15-20 days... about 1% of the time.
3. The telogen phase - also called the resting phase, when growth halts completely for about 90-120 days - 6% of the time. There is no additional growth at the papilla. that hair strand is forced out and the cycle begin all over again.

Some interesting facts about hair:
  • Hair grows about 12mm or 1/2 inch per month.
  • A single strand lasts up to 7 years.
  • Women have more hair than men.
  • Hair grows faster in the summer and during sleep.
  • Hair grows its fastest during ages 16-24.
  • Between the ages of 40-50 women tend to loose about 20% of their hair.

  • Hair becomes drier with age.

Black hair is different (let's face it) and we should treat it differently than non-black hair because the make up is slightly different. In most cases, our cuticle could be up to 2X thicker and this causes our hair to be closer to a type 3 or 4. Because of its kinkiness, it's more prone to drying out and thus will break easier than non-black hair. When we brush and comb, we have to deal with more tangles and more hair loss.

I'm a hair type 3b/3c and usually, I have less breakage or hair loss when my hair is straight. When I have a fresh perm or I blow dry my hair, I find I have less breakage. On the other hand I would damage the structure of my hair if I continually blow dry, flat iron or perm more frequently than every 8-10 weeks. So, for all of my followers with black hair, keep in mind that our hair is different.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Let's understand hair...

If we're going to really take care of our hair & ensure how we'll get to our maximum length, we must first understand it & understand how it grows.
It's important to know that our hair is mainly made up of protein; this protein is called keratin. Hair is also made up of moisture and other minerals. This visible part of your hair (the part we comb & style) is called the hair shaft. The hair shaft consist of dead tissue; the part of your hair that is not made up of dead tissue, is the root. Typically, we have to take care of the hair shaft to stop premature breakage, but we feed the root to ensure our hair continues to grow & grow healthily.
Your hair strands have three layers: the cuticle (the outer layer), followed by the cortex (which gives hair it's strength & elasticity) and the medulla (the center which consists of keratin cells). The real purpose of the medulla is not quite understood, however, specialists believe that it is responsible for carrying nutrients through the strand. They say, this may explain why hair is one of the first to be affective if you get ill.
You'll learn that sealing your cuticle is very important in protection the health of your hair strands. The images below show a perfect strand, the outer green lines show a sealed & perfect cuticle. The second image reflects a damaged & frayed hair strand. Most times damaged by harsh environmental conditions and/or abuse of heat.
One reason you rinse with cool water is to seal your cuticle after you have cleansed & condition. A lot of conditioners use silicones to help with this process. However, be aware of the various silicones... not all are good for your hair.

A perfectly healthy strand of hair ----------------------------------------->

A damaged strand of hair

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Being a bit naughty

I washed my hair today, but I have to confess, I was a bit naughty.

Not only did I blow dry, I also broke out the flat iron. I promise it was not my intention, but I simply did not have the time today to sit under the hair dryer. Sometimes, that's the way it goes, but ladies this should be the exception and not the rule. Stay away from the heat - it's the devil for your hair :) The more heat you use on your hair, the more dry & brittle it would be and that dryness would promote breakage & split ends.

I also put together my special butter that I've been using for the last 2 years on my skin. It has some great ingredients: organic shea butter & cocoa butter, olive oil, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, organic vitamin E...

I've also been doing some more research for you...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Time to Deep Condition

I will deep condition my hair today with products from my kitchen & you can too. This is a great deep condition that you should do at least once a month because sometimes we just don't have the time to do it on a more frequent basis. Not to mention, not everyone needs all this moisture or protein.

What you need:
I mixed, 1 egg yolk (you can also use the entire egg), 1 tbsp of honey, 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tbsp of coconut oil & a heaped tbsp of crushed avocado. I massaged from scalp to the end of my hair. For longer tresses, you may double the recipe.

Ingredient benefits:
  • The egg yolk is rich in cholesterol, honey is a natural humectant and will help your hair to retain its necessary moisture. Egg white is rich in protein & Vitamin A. ** remove the chalaza from the egg if you're able to. That's the little semi-solid white things you see after cracking open an egg.**

  • Coconut oil is full of nutrients & proteins necessary for healthy hair growth; it's also great for treating dry scalp (which I have at this moment).

  • Olive oil replaces moisture, elasticity & nutrients lost from your hair being exposed to the elements; it's rich in Vitamin E.

  • Avocado has hydrating benefits & will help do away with dull looking tresses.
What to do:

- For a good deep condition sit under a dryer for 15-20 minutes with a plastic cap on.

- Wash thoroughly.

- Remember to always rinse with cool (not cold) water. This will seal your hair cuticle and help to reveal beautiful, shiny hair.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

New Phase

OK, so, I've turned a new leaf... I'm going organic. No more parabens, no more glycol, no more sulphates.

I went to the organic store and purchased some organic hair cleansers and conditioner. I even purchase a special hair folice revitalizer. I'll let you know if it works before I tell you what it is. They say it takes at least 30 days to begin seeing changes. I even used a special concuction on my fiance's head. We'll see how that goes.

I've been doing my research and now I'll be experimenting before I tell you what works and what doesn't.

Friday, May 15, 2009

I've had it with over the counter hair products

Since I was a little girl, I've been using store bought products for my hair. However, my Mom & I always used items in our kitchen for deep conditioning. In fact, if there was a time we paid great attention to our tresses, we were in the kitchen or cutting an aloe leaf to scrape that bitter slimey stuff to use on our hair. We also used alot of this stuff on our skin.

Things like eggs, aloe (mentioned above), olive oil, andiroba oil, coconut oil, castor oil... even mayo. I believe you could find these things all in your kitchen... DON'T BE AFFRAID TO USE THEM.

I'm going back to basics... wanna join me?