Ciao Bella

Soon I’ll be heading on a road trip to Italy with friends and my little family. I thought about doing some travel updates and bringing you all along with me on the trip. What do you think? Fancy spending a little time in bella Italia ? If so, I’ll try to blog while on location and share my experience with you (that is if the baby travels okay and we’re all well-rested). If I were rich, I’d pack you all up and bring you with me. =)

 

Kitchen Chemist: Deep Conditioning Mud Mask

So, my hair hasn’t looked this good in a long time. It’s shiny, soft, moisturized; Curls are popping and even my ends feel good. I’m not sure if it’s a fluke, so I’ll have to test it out again over the next few few weeks.

 

At the moment, I’m trying to develop my own rhassoul clay deep conditioning mask and a detangler with my new favorite ingredient, slippery elm (if you’re a fan of KCKT, you might recognize this ingredient) . I want to give it a few more tries before posting on the process. However, I’m liking the results thus far.

Side note: am I the only one who is team 2nd day hair? I really don’t like how perfect and uniform my hair looks on day 1. I actually pull my hair up into a pony tail on day 1, as I’m all about that slightly messy, more stretched 2nd day look.

Oh and good news, my postpartum shedding has finally calmed the heck down! My edges are starting to grow back in, although the texture of my edges changed somewhat. Did anyone else experience texture changes as a result of pregnancy?

Repost: An Introduction to Low Porosity Hair

Hi Lovelies,

I’m still here and haven’t forgotten you. I miss my blog family!

Things have just been so busy lately. I’m working, raising the little peanut and embarking on a new venture, all at the same time. Some days I’m just floating on the surface, but I’m not drowning, so my glass is half full.

Baby boy keeps me motivated and on my toes.  Little man is trying to walk and getting down right mad (almost throwing a tantrum– toddler world here we come) if I so much as suggest helping him walk while holding both of his hands. He will only allow me one hand so he can waddle to and fro at the park. Call me emotional, but why do I already feel like he’s walking out the door and going off to college. I think I’ll be an emotional wreck on his 1st birthday– at least he’s not old enough to be embarrassed by me just yet.

I’m reposting my blog’s first post. Many of you might recognize this post.  I get a lot of questions from new readers on low porosity hair. I’m thinking about putting up low porosity 101 page that way the quintessential information is available to everyone, without them having to search the blog for it. So without further ado:

An Introduction to Low Porosity Hair

Hair porosity is your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture (i.e. water). Retaining moisture is the key to healthy hair. In order to properly care for your hair, understanding your hair’s porosity is a pre-requisite.

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There are three types of porosity: low, high and normal. Porosity is determined by the position of the cuticle, which is the outermost part of our hair made up of a layer of overlapping dead cells. It provides the hair with strength by protecting it from harsh elements and by protecting the inner structures of the hair. It also controls the water content.

Normal porosity

If you have normal porosity, consider yourself lucky. Normal porosity hair requires the least amount of maintenance. It easily draws in water, however does not allow too much water to enter the cortex. This type of hair tends to be shiny, hold styles well and is easy to process (e.g. color, highlight, perm). A occassional deep conditioner and light protein benefits this type of hair.

High porosity

Think of your hair as a sponge. It can absorb its weight in water and easily allow all the water to escape. Cuticles of high porosity hair are too open and allow too much water to enter the cortex. However, just as easily as the water enters, it also escapes rapidly, making it a challenge to keep moisture. This type of hair may be damaged, because of chemical processing. High porosity hair benefits from heavy creams, thick oils or emollients and butters, to seal in moisture. It also benefits from routine protein treatments, which may help to fill in some of the gaps in the cuticle. Additionally, cold water rinses, low PH products such as diluted vinegar or aloe vera, help to seal the cuticle.

Low porosity (lo-po)

The focus of this blog will be on low porosity. Despite the plethora of information on the web about porosity, there are not enough sites that thoroughly discuss caring for low porous hair. This type of hair has flat, shingled cuticles. Picture the shingles on the roof of a house, when it rains the water simply glides off the structure. As you can imagine, it’s challenging for water  to enter the hair shaft. This type of hair often takes a while to wet in the shower and it takes forever to dry. Product buildup is a common complaint, as products just seem to sit on top of the hair. Chemical processing is long and difficult.

The trick with low porosity hair is getting the moisture in the hair shaft. Once it’s in, the hair retains moisture quite well and is lustrous and shiny. One of the most helpful methods is deep conditioning with heat or steam to open up the cuticle and help the hair absorb moisture. Additionally, washing and rinsing the hair with warm water helps loosen up debris and open up the cuticles.

If you’re low porosity and looking for some useful tips and advice, well, you’ve come to the right place. This blog will be dedicated to lo-po hair and more methods for caring for lo-po hair will be discussed in detail on this blog. I’ll also include my experimentation with my lo-po hair and what works and does not work for me.

In the meantime, to find out your hair’s porosity. You could take a clean, freshly washed (without products) strand of hair and place it in a cup of water:

If the hair stays afloat for a long time (more than 1 hour), without ever sinking, you’re likely lo-po

If the hair immediately sinks to the bottom of the glass,  you’re likely high porosity

Keep in mind, this is not a glass half empty or half full matter. Whether high, low or normal, the important is figuring out how to properly care for your hair. What’s your hair porosity?

Modified Baggy Method

I mentioned a while back in a post on methods of moisturizing lo-po hair that the baggy method never worked for me. I’ve never been a big fan of this method. I didn’t like how soft and weak my hair felt after applying it, didn’t like sleeping with plastic on my head, and I don’t think this type of method is ideal for a healthy scalp– in fact, I think it can promote fungal growth, but that’s another story. Anyway, I was thinking about doing a modified baggy soon. This would involve, putting my hair in pig tails and simply covering the ends of my hair, which are usually more prone to dryness. In addition, I’m thinking about mixing up some rhassoul, oil and a little vinegar or aloe and applying this mixture to my ends only and leaving it on over night. What do you think? I’m hoping rhassoul’s moisturizing properties and ability to open the cuticles and remove toxins, will benefit my ends.

Have you ever done a modified baggy version?

Messy-Chic Bun with The Baby Bliss Wand

I splurged and bought a curling wand the other day. I picked up a Baby Bliss Titanium wand. I don’t know what it is about fall. For some reason in the fall, I always want to try new styles.

Messy-Chic Bun

Before using the wand, I used the tension method to blow dry my hair. This involves just applying low heat to the hair, while gently stretching/tugging at the hair with your hands. It’s less manipulation than direct blow drying and gentler on the hair. I’ll post some links on the tension method below (as well as “no blow dry method” for those who are not into applying any heat to their hair). I didn’t have time to curl my entire head, but I curled a few sections to frame my face. I threw my hair up in a low chignon for a messy-chic  look. I like the result and think I’ll give it another shot, however I might just do this on an old twist/braid out and skip the blow dyer the next time I try it.

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Regarding the curling wand that I purchased… UGH, It’s alright, I guess. I thought it came with a protective glove, but instead it comes with some weird “finger glove”. How cheap and unreasonable can some companies be?? I’m terrified of burning my fingers , so will have to get comfortable with using it or put on a pair of oven mitts, lol! PS – the entire time I used the wand, I could not shake the image of that girl who burned her hair off while curling her hair.

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Seriously, this is so awkward to use… They should call this protective lobster claw, as glove is really deceiving.

 

Have you ever curl wanded (is that even a word) your hair? What wa your experience?

Links

Tension method

No blow dry, blow dry method

Sharing is Caring

I’m interested in the blogs you follow and the YouTube channels you’re subscribed to. It’s always nice to be introduced to new channels or interesting blogs via word of mouth. Please share your top 5 YouTube channels and/or Blogs in the comments section. I have more than what’s listed below, but thought I’d keep it simple. Here’s mine in no particular order of importance:

Vlogs

Dearnaptural85 – Wholesome, funny and positive family blog. I mostly watch for their adorable 2-year-old. She is seriously the cutest!! Another reason I like this show is that is has an almost Cosby vibe at times. And let’s face it, I haven’t seen a positive image of a family of color like the Cosby on TV in a very long time.

Whatsup Moms - DIY, parodies, simple recipes, adorable kids and more.

Unwritten Rules – I heart this short web series. It’s about corporate workplace politics. The themes often have to do with race. However, they are topics that are presented in a witty and humourous way, bringing light to very important topics. I wish there were more shows like this, covering not only topics do to with race, but also gender issues, ethics, etc.

Blogs

Smitten Kitchen - Delicious recipes that make my mouth water and funny anecdotes to go along.

Curly Nikki – Curly hair bible and anecdotes about her family and adorable kid.

 

Now your turn. =)

 

Maximum Hydration Method: My Thoughts

Hi Everyone,

There a big buzz around the web about a new method of moisturizing and defining naturally curly hair. This method is called MHM, short for maximum hydration method. I’ve received a few comments from readers asking me whether I’ve tried it or am willing to give it a try.

I won’t be trying this method and will discuss my reasons in this post. However, this is not to say you shouldn’t try it, because it seems quite effective and the feedback from those who have tried it has been overwhelmingly positive. So, this post is not “casting shade” on the method, but just reassuring those out there with curly/kinky hair that don’t use this method that they can still have healthy hair without the MHM.

I’m not going to reinvent the wheel. If you aren’t familiar with the method, then check out this link to find out more.

So, without further ado. My top 5 reasons.

1. TIME

I don’t have time for a 5 step wash and condition process for one day, let alone every day for an entire week. The MHM requires a baking soda clarifier, finger detangle, deep condition, clay rinse, leave in conditioner every day, over the course of 7 days. I love my hair, but that’s just a little too much love for me.

2. CONSTANT EXPOSURE TO HIGH PH

If you read my blog, you know I often recommend high PH/alkaline products, to open up the cuticles and help the hair absorb moisture. I still believe this is the best method for low porosity hair to receive moisture. I’m just not sure that exposing the hair to high PH products (baking soda and clays), multiple times per session and every day, could have long-term consequences on the hair shaft. I don’t have any scientific evidence, that is just one concern I had when reading about this method. I love a good baking soda deep conditioning treatment, but I don’t think I’d do it everyday. I have rhassoul and baking soda as options to use during my weekly/monthly regimen, but not daily.

3. SEEMS COMPLICATED

There are a lot of steps involved in this process. I’d be afraid to forget one. These days, the simpler the regimen the better. I went natural for the simplicity and for my health. I don’t want to feel trapped in another hair relationship, as I did with my relaxer. If I’m too tired to wash on wash day, it’s not the end of the world. Call me a committment-phobe, but I just can’t give that much time to my hair.

4. COST

The ingredients in this regimen don’t come cheap if you need them all (exception: baking soda).

5. TIME (TO REITERATE)

I think high hydration can be achieved for low porosity hair by using deep conditioners, High PH products such as rhassoul clay or baking soda. These items help open up your cuticles to receive moisture. A solid weekly to twice per week regimen, can help you get healthy, soft and moisturized hair. So if you don’t have the time to commit to the MHM, it doesn’t mean your hair will suffer.

I’m very interested in hearing about everyone else’s experience with the MHM. Since I’m not doing it, I can live vicariously through you. So keep your comments and feedback coming. It’s always nice to see people, finding tricks that work for them.

Have you tried or will you try the MHM?

Rhassoul vs Bentonite Clay

Rhassoul Clay Bentonite Clay
Ingredients Clay found in the Atlas Mts. High percentage of silica, magnesium, potassium, and calcium

 

Volcanic ash sediments, has a high percentage of silica and iron
Uses Detox, face mask, skin treatment, cleanser, conditioner

 

Detox, face mask, skin treatment, cleanser
Slip (1: terrible – 5 great) 5

Nothing makes detangling as easy as rhassoul clay. My curls come out defined, smooth and clumped

 

3

My hair wasn’t as easy to comb through

Softness 5

Gives me HIH syndrome

3.5

My hair was soft after, but I still felt I had to follow-up with a conditioner, as it wasn’t as soft as I’d like it to be.

 

Preparation 4.5

Water, a little aloe or vinegar, mix and apply. Although my mix is always slightly runnier than I’d like.

 

3

This was very awkward to mix, the clay swells up as soon as water hits it and the mixture was really thick.

Appearance of hair 5

This always gives me a nice healthy shine

4

My hair looked very clean and shiny, although on the 3rd day it looked a little waxy to me.

 

Would I recommend this for low porosity hair Definitely, this stuff is golden! In my low porosity holy grail products I’d recommend it for an occasional hair cleanse/detox, but I don’t think I’ll add this to my list of low porosity must-haves.

Upcoming Post: Bentonite Clay

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I finally got my hands on some bentonite clay. Many readers have asked my opinion on it and now I’ll finally be able to give it. I’ll be reporting my results and doing a comparison on rhassoul and bentonite clays later on this week. In the meantime, I’m washing my hair for the second time this week— what?? This is a rare occurrence for me, but I couldn’t wait to try the clay.

Do you prefer rhassoul or bentonite?