Leave-Out: Week 3

A few weeks back, I posted on experimenting with my regimen, specifically, skipping my leave-in. I like a minimalist approach so if I can edit my routine and drop some unnecessary steps that’s a win my book. Here’s a picture from week 3 leave-out experiment. I simply sealed with coconut oil.

Twist Out:Leave Out

About three days post wash, I usually moisturize my hair with a small amount of leave-in or just oil and a little water.

What I’ve noticed over the past few weeks:

  • Softer, shinier, bouncier next day hair.
  • When, reapplying moisture to completely dry hair (as needed basis) my hair seems to drink up the product. It never does this when it’s damp or wet.
  • Less frizz. My theory, fewer products to interact with dew point levels…. just a wild guess.
  • Faster styling and drying times.

I’ll continue with my leave-out experiment this entire month to monitor my results. Have any of you tried skipping your leave-in or experimenting with your regimen?

 

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Low Porosity Friend V2: Slippery Elm

It’s been a while since I’ve added some new lo-po friends to my list of products. That’s mainly because, when I find a good thing, I stick with it. However, I do like to experiment from time to time. Recently, I’ve found a couple of ingredients that do that my hair loves. I’ll discuss one today.

If you’ve followed my blog from the beginning, you know that I absolutely love Kinky Curly Knot Today. Recently, I started to think to myself, what is it about this leave-in that makes my hair so soft, my curls so defined and detangling a breeze. Light bulb: check the ingredient list. That’s when I became curious about experimenting with some of the ingredients on the list to see if I could use them on my hair in their pure form. One of the ingredients, high on the list is slippery elm and man am I happy I did. 

Let me set the scene. My hair has been in a slump lately. It looked dry and rough and all kinds of bad. I decided to have a spa night. I pre-conditioned my dry hair with Shea Moisture Deep Conditioning Mask, let it marinate, while I chased the little one around. Note: this stuff works horribly on my hair wet and it’s no wonder, shea butter, while it’s a wonderful sealer for my skin, it does nothing for my hair. Why do I keep trying to convince myself to use it!! Any way, I used it as a pre-poo hoping for better results. It was ok, I guess. I shampooed my hair with the conditioner on my ends. Then followed up by detangling with slippery elm and adding in conditioner to moisturize my hair, letting it sit a few minutes then rinsing. Um, can I just say, my curls were clumped and so juicy. I did a twist out and my hair felt so good the next day. I actually did a happy dance!!

 

So here are the deets on the process and the benefits of slippery elm.

Slippery elm is found in Central and Eastern US and Eastern Canada. The inner bark of this tree has medicinal properties and it’s used to treat many superficial and internal problems.

Slippery Elm Detangler Recipe

slippery elm bark - Steve Gorton/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

-2 TBSP slippery elm bark + -1.5 – 2 cups hot water

Pour water into a container, mix in slippery elm bark until dissolved. Let sit until water cools.

The slippery elm will form mucilage, voila your detangler.

I imagine if you  could use a tea cloth to strain the particle, but I didn’t and it wasn’t a problem.

Add your favorite conditioner while the slippery elm is in your hair.

Why slippery elm for lo-po hair?

  • I don’t know what the PH of slippery elm is, but research shows that it has an alkalizing effect and is often used to help with acid reflex. Remember for lo-po hair alkaline products are typically beneficial in helping open up the cuticle and moisturize the hair.
  • The mucilage that the elm releases makes detangling a breeze. The strands clump and are weighed down, which helps the fingers and comb glide through your curls. My hair shrinks up easily and is typically really light weight. This tends to result in lots of tangling and long detangling sessions. Not with slippery elm, it takes me 5 – 10 minutes.
  • It promotes growth (bra strap length, here we come)
  • Makes your hair soft and smooth (lord knows I need it with all this new hair growth returning after postpartum shedding, I literally hair a halo.)
  • Heals damaged hair

Need I say more. Have you ever tried slippery elm?

 

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?

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.

photo 1(13)

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.

photo 2(14)

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

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?

Upcoming Post: Bentonite Clay

source

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?

3-1 Treatment Results

If you read my earlier posts (1, 2), you know that I’ve experimented a little with some natural ingredients (if not click on links 1,2). Well, this morning I unraveled my braids and I’m pleasantly surprised with the results of my 3 in 1 (step treatment). Recap: rhassoul and nettle scalp mask, black tea, rosemary, paprika and marshmallow root tint/color rinse and conditioner, were all applied to my hair and then rinsed simultaneously. This saved me time, allowed me to deep condition my hair, which I don’t do these days.

I really, really like the results of this process. I’ll try to do it once, every other month if possible. My hair is super shiny, soft, defined, moisturized and it looks and feels SO healthy. I notice that my highlights, which have grown out and are only on the ends of my hair, are now a chocolate brown and not as brassy as before. My hair looks a little darker, but it could be a results of all the shine, from this moisturizing treatment.

I highly recommend it for anyone interested in trying. If you don’t have all the ingredients on hand, I’d say the essentials you could try this alternatives, which might be easier to find:

Natural shampoo: diluted apple cider vinegar applied ONLY to the scalp (if you’re low porosity, you know what applying this all over your hair can do (if not, read this). However, applying this directly to your scalp can help lift dandruff and build-up.

Temporary color rinse/tint: strongly brewed black tea or coffee, if you want the solution to be a bit thicker or viscous, try boiling some flax seeds, drain the seeds with a strainer or muslin cloth and add the thick solution to your brewed tint.

Condition: Any conditioner you enjoy using mixed in with the color or added on top of it will do.

There you have it. Have you been whipping up any concoctions in the kitchen lately? Do you think you’ll give this 3-1 treatment a try? If so, let me know what your results are.

Kitchen Chemist 3-1 Treatment

Today I tried something a little different. I wanted to pamper my hair a little after putting the little one down for the night. I decided to try this idea of a 3 in 1 hair treatment: shampoo/conditioner/all natural hair tint. As mentioned in an earlier post.

Here’s what I did during each step:

Shampoo

Whipped up a small amount of rhassoul clay, water, vinegar and stinging nettle. I’ve mentioned before that rhassoul clay is a gentle, moisturizing, detoxifying all natural cleanser. Well, recently, I learned that stinging nettle has great properties for the hair as well. It can be used to fight hair loss (postpartum shedding, the struggle is real!), to improve the appearance of hair, and remedy dandruff. Basically all good and natural things that promise great results. Yay! I whipped up these ingredients into a thick pudding texture and rubbed  it gently into my scalp and let it sit.

All natural tint/color rinse

Earlier in the day, over a stove, I simmered 2 TBSP of marshmallow root, a few sprigs of rosemary, 2 black tea bags and a TBSP of paprika for about 20 minutes and let it cool.

— On the ingredients –

Marshmallow root is a herb known to help with detangling, as it’s very slippery and secretes mucilage, which has been shown to be beneficial for softening the skin and hair. If you use my favorite leave-in/detangler KCKT, you’ll notice that it’s a key ingredient.

Black tea imparts shine and darkens  hair. It also increase softness, manageability, shine and encourages growth.

I threw in some fresh rosemary from my herb garden too. Rosemary stimulates growth and slows down graying and has been shown to darken hair.

I read that paprika has natural red dyes. Since I wanted a darker color, with hints of red I added it.

Note: this tint/color is not permanent, because permanent color strips the hair of color. However, I hope to achieve something like a temporary black rinse.

Conditioner

For the conditioner, I added Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle to my natural tint, once it cooled down and a pinch of baking soda to raise the PH so that my hair would accept the color rinse and open up my cuticles to receive the conditioning treatment. Really, a pinch is all I needed. I then applied parts 2 & 3 to my hair in sections, coating each strand and detangling along the way, as I distributed it out of the bottle.

I let all of this marinate in my hair and on my scalp for 20 – 30 minutes and then simply rinsed it out of my head with lots of care. And conditioned my ends quickly for good measure.

My hair was fluffy, soft and very shiny after this treatment. I can’t tell if my hair is darker, but the color definitely looks shinier and I see hints of red more now. I’ve braided it up for tonight and sat under the blow dryer for a little (20 minutes) to help it absorb the leave-in and dry faster. I’ll come back with more details on the final results when I take my hair out of the braids tomorrow.

Sorry for my rambling and disorganized post, it’s pretty late here.

Back to B.A.S.I.C.S

If you read my last post then you already know that I haven’t been showing my hair enough love and giving it the attention it needs. Sometimes life gets hectic and honestly I don’t have the time for complicated hair regimens. Still to make sure my hair stays healthy and looks healthy, I’ve decided to just keep it simple and give it time to breathe. Simplicity really is the key to many things in life, I think so, at least. So here is my rule of thumb for keeping it basic.

B – Be gentle

A – Always detangle

S – Shampoo/mud-wash once per week

I – Intense Conditioning

C – Creamy, moisturizing leave-ins

S – Style without manipulating too much

 

That’s it. More than that is not necessary. How do you keep things simple?

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Oil Rinsing and Shopping in My Medicine Cabinet

Lately, I’ve been super fast on wash day. Having a child, has made me one of the most effective people, time-wise. Time flies when you’re raising a life, so I generally try to structure my day to get as much done as possible. I know my grocery store inside-out and can do a week’s worth of shopping in under 20 minutes. #Putmeonsupermarketsweep!

Any way, gone are the days of my 3-4 hour-long wash days. They are now generally 45 minutes to an hour. I either use my mudwash or shampoo (see my recent post on a shampoo product review), then condition my hair with a light, slippery conditioner. Lately, that has been Trésseme Naturals. I then apply oil (e.g. grapeseed oil) on each section of my conditioned hair, concentrating on my ends (voilà: reverse oil rinsing). Next I rinse the conditioner and oil, leaving a small amount in my hair for added slip. I apply a rinse out conditioner and let it sit for a few minutes (voilà deep conditioner) and go on with my shower rituals.

I notice my hair melts like butter at this phase of my wash regimen. Especially, with the “new” conditioner that I’ve used lately. That conditioner is Giovanni 50:50 Balanced Hydrating-Calming Conditioner. I’ve had this product in my cabinet for over a year, but didn’t give it much thought. I’m not sure if it’s because I oil rinsed before applying it to my hair.  However, all I can say is that my hair feels so soft and luscious when this touches my strands. I’m almost in disbelief. My hair seems to also stay moisturized for days after.

So there you have it readers, this is the conditioner that I’ve fallen in love with for the moment.

The scoop on Giovanni 50:50 Hydrating-Calming Conditioner

Claim: Promises to add moisture, shine and manageability as well as smooth frizz. That claim is true, it did all the above for my hair. In fact, the moisture and shine stayed with me for days.

Texture: Very thick, creamy and buttery in consistency.

Lather: Excellent, I love a conditioner that lathers nicely, helps me with detangling.

Smell: Soft, somewhat floral, but not overpowering.

Price: It’s  on the pricier side, about $8.00 for 8.5 ounces. However, as stated earlier, a little goes a long way.

Negatives: While I love Giovanni products and their modern sleek look, this bottle is not effective for getting out all the conditioner. Don’t get me wrong, I will be adding water to it and shaking it up until I get every last drop out of it. Although, I do wish more and more manufacturers would just start making upside down bottles. Just sayin’…

Have you ever tried this conditioner? Or any other Giovanni products? What conditioner are you in love with at the moment?

Have a great Sunday everyone!