Happy 2 Year Anniversary

It’s my blog-a-versary. Yay! Can’t believe it’s already been two years. This blog is my second child (although sometimes neglected, lol). You’re all like family and I thank you for staying with me and joining me on the road to healthy low porosity hair. I’m going to try to do a give-a-way later this year, so stay tuned!

I’m wondering who’s my longest subscriber? Has anyone subscribed to lowporosityhaircare since February 2013?

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Thank you!

I want to thank my readers for all the support you’ve given this blog over the past couple of years. In particular, I appreciate your thoughtful and candid feedback and comments. Recently, I posted on a new oil that I began using, palm oil. One reader warned me about the environmental devastation linked to palm oil and suggested I make sure to use a sustainable brand. This week I had to the chance to sit down a read a little on palm oil and all its bad publicity. Scary stuff, to say the least. While I will add that I try to buy only organic and sustainable oils and that my oil was manufactured with sustainable farming methods. I don’t think I’ll buy another bottle, just knowing that it is the most exploited oil in the world doesn’t sit well with me.

I just want to say, I take all of your feedback into consideration and am really appreciative of you sharing your wisdom with me. For what’s life without learning and growing.

Any way, after this bottle of palm oil runs out, I’ll no longer buy it. I’ll also try to be conscious about the foods that I buy and make sure I buy foods that don’t use it — that’ll be challenging, as it’s in SO many products, but it’s worth it for the planet. Here are a few bullet points on why it’s important to avoid palm oil or seek a sustainable oil:

  • major contributor to climate change
  • deforestation
  • linked to extinction of certain species of animals
  • pollution
  • the list goes on…

For a quick read and powerful video on its effects, click the links below.

Hope you all had a nice weekend. We took peanut sledding for the first time and he hit the slopes like he’d been doing it since birth! Did you do anything fun?

Life Updates

Hair

Life has been SO busy. I’ve barely had time to do my hair. I’ve only had time for wash and bunning. My ends feel really moisturized and healthy from all the bunning.I did a flexi-rod set the other day that is not even worth photographing, what a waste of time, no volume or hold. Guess, I’ll be bunning it again this week. I feel like I’m losing some volume from the length, so am thinking about getting a shape-up this winter.

For the holidays, we’ll head back to Boston. I’m really looking forward to going back to the States for winter break, to see family and friends. Also, I’m excited to get my hair done. I’ve already booked an appointment with the stylist I usually go back to. Part of me wants to color my hair, although I probably won’t, since I’m already planning on having it flat-ironed while I’m there. I’m just really looking forward to someone else doing my hair. It’s grown a lot and wash sessions are a bit longer. My edges have finally started to grown in after all that postpartum shedding. However, they look strange, because the hair is really short and growing in, so is always really frizzy. I typically use gel to tame them.

Family

My little peanut is growing and developing at such a fast rate. Sometimes it feels like I blink an eye and things change. He took his first steps a couple of weeks ago. He isn’t fully walking, but occasionally he’ll muster up the nerve to stand up and take a few steps and then sit down. It’s so cute. His first steps he took towards me and said mama and then gave me a big hug. Yep, that little rugrat has my heart forever.
We’re in birthday planning mode now. I went back and forth for weeks trying to decide if I wanted to invite friends (Peanut’s baby friends and older friends). Finally, in the end I decided to have an intimate, cozy family party. I have a feeling we’ll have to entertain kids later on down the line and I really want this party to be a celebration for him. I’m afraid if I invite too many kids, we’ll be so worried about trying to make sure the kids aren’t bored that we’ll be too exhausted to capture the day and cherish it. There will be a couple of babies there, but again close family.

What did you do for your child’s first birthday?

Travel

My last post was on a short holiday in Italy.

I wanted to take you all with my on my trip to Italy, but our vacation rental didn’t have wifi. I’ll admit, it was actually a good thing. We traveled to the Mediterranean Sea to the Finale Ligure region in the northern part of Italy. What a beautiful area. The water was turquoise blue, the coastline jagged and wild and everyday was sunny and warm. The house we rented was literally right on the beach. Every morning we woke up and there was the ocean. We’d walk out to the water and relax on the beach everyday. Peanut loved it and he especially loved scouring the beach for rocks, who needs toys. He’s also obsessed with Italian food.

In any case, our trip was mainly for rest and relaxation and that’s exactly what we did. We visited some lovely towns, strolled around, went to cathedrals and on some walks to historical and world heritage sites, ate lots of lovely focaccia (a specialty of the region). It was loads of fun and I’d definitely return to this region. During the off-season, however, as I’ve heard it’s busy and crowded during the summer. There’s something so calming about being on a beach vacation in the fall. It’s something I’ve enjoyed doing for quite some time.

Another highlight of the trip. While we were staying at this lovely rental during the low season. I noticed a man sleeping outside underneath a vacation house. The owners weren’t there as everything was boarded up. Probably belonged to people who live there a few weeks out of the year. In any case, we noticed the guy slept outside every night. I finally worked up the nerve to go down and talked to him. We figured he was hungry, cold and in need of resources, so gathered a little money, food and water and chatted with him for a little. He said his name was Jim-Jim and that he was from Ivory Coast. His family was separated and they’d all left IC for a better life. He had some family travel to Syria and he made his way up to Italy. He didn’t know what to do and was trying to figure out a way to find work and find a better life. This is the story of many immigrants, thinking the grass is greener, I’m sure. He found Italy cold and unwelcoming. He’s been harassed and told to go home. It’s frustrating for him, as those people are really out of touch with reality and don’t understand the complex nature of immigration and the countries the people flee.

His story warmed our hearts and brought me to tears. I wish we could have done more. All he could do was cry and apologize when we gave him the things we could offer. He said he felt ashamed and didn’t do anything to deserve it. I just explained we’re all brothers and sisters. One day, when he sees someone struggling, I’d hope he’d do the same. His face still haunts my memory. For each day of our trip that remained, we decided to take him things to help him out, blankets to keep warm, as he was sleeping outside on cold nights, hygiene products, pants and socks – he only owned shorts and half-socks (i.e. they only covered half of his feet), lots fruits and food that could keep without refrigeration like sardines, crackers, etc. Jim-Jim was writing a book in French when we came upon him. It was titled “Annoying Others” or something like that. I hope he keeps telling his story and let it be a companion that he takes along with him. He embarked on a dangerous and very long journey, to go to a country and culture that he didn’t know at all. In Western and developed cultures, we call these kind of people transplants, expats, backpackers etc. Jim-Jim felt like he was looked at as less than a mosquito. A parasitic insect, with the sole purpose of taking resources from others and invading their personal space. Of course the issues of immigration are really sensitive and really complex. I know Jim-Jim will continue living as an invisible person within the boundaries of Italy and he has been paid and will continue to be paid next to nothing to work for the next farmer that offers him a physically tough and difficult job. I know I couldn’t do a lot, so I chose to just try to show some compassion.

I want to be make sure I teach my son daily to never take his life from granted and never look down on anyone. I really want him to treat every walk of life with love and respect. I have no idea what it’s like to see genocide, bombings and raping, etc., right before my eyes. For this and much more, I have so much to be thankful and grateful for.

One day maybe I’ll see Jim-Jim’s story on the big screen or in a book, I have hope in my heart that he’ll find safety and normalcy some day.

How have you all been? Are things in your lives crazy this time of year as well?

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?

Oh Hello Again

I am behind on some posts. When I get a few free moments, I will try to blog a bit. I have two very exciting product reviews coming up– one product is a shampoo (can’t believe a shampoo gave me stellar results). Another post is on reverse dry deep conditioning cleanse (I.e. deep conditioning on dry hair, then mud washing). I have a post on hydration tips that I’m working on. Finally, I’m hoping to put together a low porosity survey that I’ll be asking readers to fill out. The goal is to catalogue lo-po hair characteristics and products that work for you. Looking forward to chatting with readers again!

In the meantime, I have a girl’s night out this weekend and am so excited– much needed!! I’m leaving the boys at home, they’ll enjoy some nice father-son time together.

Right now I’m sitting under the dryer letting my twists dry a bit. Can I just say that tonight my ends and twists were so moisturized after washing and conditioning my hair. The pic below was after washing my hair, my ends curled up nicely, a sign for me that their moisturized. I cannot wait to share my product review with you all!! I will be stocking up on this product this summer when I visit the States!!

Do you have any fun weekend plans?

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2013 Highlights

Happy New Year Readers!! Looking back on 2013, I must say thank you too all for your thoughtful and interesting comments, for your informative input and for being apart of my blogging experience. 2013 was a big year for me with many ups and sometimes downs (but I always try to learn from the downs and focus on the ups). My top 4 highlights (saved the best for last):

CAREER
I had a complete career change. In 2012 I had a job that made me miserable, it promised a big salary, but it was long hours and I saw my husband literally 2 hours a day before going to bed. I dreamed of starting a family and enjoying life a little more, so completely changed my career. I’m now making less as a teacher, but love the excitement and passion I have for what I do.

BLOG/HOBBY
I started this blog out of frustration with my hair and discovering it was low porosity. I wanted to share little tricks and information I learned with others. I was content if my blog helped one person. However, I was overwhelmed when the comments poured in from several other lo-po readers and when over 100 people subscribed to my blog. I’m truly honored by it.

TRAVEL
I had fun travel adventures to France. I’ll continue this with my family, because traveling opens my mind and eyes and makes me more aware of the world and all its beauty.

FAMILY
The biggest highlight of this year was the birth of my baby boy!!! I dreamed about him for those 9 months and now that I have him in my arms its truly a dream come true! Motherhood is very challenging, it’s a new role, with a very high learning curve that changes every day– but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I love this little peanut so much my heart overflows with joy. At times I find myself waking up to watch him sleep and I’m still in disbelief that he’s mine!

What are some of your biggest highlights from 2013?

Would love your thoughts

I’m entertaining the idea of writing about broader topics on this blog. However, would like to gather reader opinions first: