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?

A blessing in disguise!

I receive so many emails and comments from readers that sound a little like this:

“Help, I have low porosity hair!” “Ugh, I’m about to relax or texlax this situation, because this low porosity hair is no joke” “My hair is dry and dead, because it’s low porosity” “My hair will never grow, because it’s low porosity”

I would like to say to everyone lamenting over their low porosity hair, you should be celebrating.

  • You have beautiful, healthy and low to no damage hair. Next to normal porosity, low porosity hair is considered very healthy, because once it receives the necessary moisture, it thrives and retains the moisture.
  • Low porosity hair that is well moisturized glows and shines.
  • Once you figure out what works for your hair, it will grow to great lengths and look healthy

You should consider this hair as a blessing. It might not be where you want it to be now. However, once you give your low porosity hair the key ingredients, regimen and environment that it needs. It will thrive and it will shine like a star. The key is just application and patience.

Don’t worry, it will grow as well. For inspiration see vloggers: https://www.youtube.com/user/denimpixie and https://www.youtube.com/user/aliciajamesmusic

Next time you think about getting a relaxer or texlaxer, because you’re tired of your low porosity hair. Just remember, low porosity hair takes longer to process than normal or high porosity and it’s more difficult to process. While possible, this might not be considered an easy solution.

So with that being said, embrace your lo-po hair and let’s keep finding ways to keep it moisturized and healthy.

Were you excited or disappointed when you found out you had low porosity hair?

Parenting Hair Tips

I’m still here. I still have hair and low porosity hair at that. My posts are not as frequent as before, because I’m enjoying being a mommy to my little peanut and learning about my new role as a mom.

I have so much respect for parents. I mean, some people make it look so effortless. Parenting changes your life in so many ways (good ways, mostly). No day is identical and each day is a new discovery, not only for me but for my son. Thus, my hair regimen changes regularly. I’m lucky if I can wash my hair once per week. Rhassoul clay weekly washes have become monthly hair spa treatments. Deep conditioners and oil rinses– what are those! Although I don’t have time for all of those wonderful (yet lengthy) healthy hair practices. I still try to do an abbreviated version.

So here’s my list of tips for busy low porosity moms (or anyone for that matter) on the go.

1. Larger sections. Wash and condition hair in two sections instead of four sections.

2. Shampoo to reset your hair. No time for weekly mud washes? Find a gentle cleansing shampoo that will do the job and cleanse your hair once per. I don’t really co-wash, because I find my hair needs a weekly reset.

3. Quick DCs. No time for a deep conditioner? Dilute a bottle with half conditoner and water, apply it to soaking wet hair, detangle, let it sit for a few minutes while you continue with your shower rituals – semi quick deep conditioner. Sit under a blow dryer after applying your leave-in and styling your hair. I find this leaves me with more moisturized hair and helps the leave-in penetrate my hair.

4. Care for your ends! Seal your ends with an oil to keep them protected. Every other night, dampen your ends or apply a leave-in (with water as the main ingredient), to your ends. I use Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie to do the trick.

5. KISS. Do simple styles. If I have time I will do a twist out or braid out. If not, I put my hair in a bun and do a twist out on a few strands of hair to frame the face. You can also braid the side of your hair and put your hair up into a side pony, for a fun, free-spirited look.IMG_3497

 

6. Make a date. I may not be able to do rhassoul clay washes weekly, but I schedule a monthly date in my calendar and make sure my husband or another family member is around to take the baby while I enjoy my little spa day. Sunday is usually the best day for this.

There you have it, my simple tips to keeping healthy hair when you’re busy and low on time.

What would you add to this list?

LoPo’s Frenemy I: Aloe Vera

I hope everyone has a lovely Valentine’s Day with your loved ones and not your frenemies. Speaking of frenemy, aloe vera has been one of mine.

It does have many beauty and hair benefits. It has slightly acidic Ph, ranging between 4.4 – 4.7. It works great on skin that’s been exposed to too much sun and harsh, dry winds. Many people use aloe vera as a gel. Or they use the juice from the plant as a leave-in or sealer.

When I heard about aloe’s healing properties for the hair, I immediately jumped on the bandwagon and started using it. The results were not at all good, but I couldn’t understand why. My hair would frizz up at the moment I applied aloe vera and when I mixed it with my leave-in conditioners, the product build-up was horrible. I kept using it, because I was convinced it was supposed do something for my hair.

One day, I ran out of my aloe juice and went a few weeks without using it. I noticed my hair had less frizz and less buildup than before. Sometime passed and I restocked my fridge with a bottle of aloe juice and went back to using it. That’s when a light bulb went off and I realized my “good hair weeks” had suddenly come to an end. I didn’t understand why my hair didn’t respond well to aloe until I figured out my hair was low porosity.

In essence, applying aloe to my hair, after cleansing with conditioner (i.e. cowashing) and rinsing with cold water (which, will be discussed in later posts), was not efficient for my already compact cuticles. This probably caused them to be more compact and lock out moisture. Imagine a set of shingles on a roof (low porosity hair), covered in plastic tarp (aloe juice)– yep, that rain is just going to roll off the roof of the house! Remember water has a neutral Ph of 7 and aloe vera a Ph of 4.4 – 4.7, thus it can’t lift the cuticle, as it has a Ph less than 7.

Now, just because aloe didn’t work for me, doesn’t mean it’s a horrible beauty product and it can’t work for me. My problem, was that I was just doing it all wrong. I still love using aloe on my face, it’s a very refreshing moisturizer! I don’t use it often on my hair, however, here are some helpful tips I do use, to make it work for my low-porosity hair:

  • Use aloe only as a sealer for the ends. If the ends of your hair are often dry and split. Simply mix a small amount of aloe into your leave-in or apply it directly in its pure form to the ends of your hair.
  • After an alkaline hair wash, in my case, baking soda wash, apply aloe as sealer on top of your leave-in. You could just put some in a spray bottle and spritz it lightly on your hair.
  • Add some to rhassoul clay mixture (will be discussed in later posts), for an ultra moisturizing deep conditioner.

Voila, those are ways I make aloe vera work for with my hair and not against it. I never apply it to hair as a deep conditioner. I try to mainly use it on my ends, unless I’ve washed my hair with a high Ph product/ingredient. I add it to my rhassoul clay mixture, which works quite nicely with aloe. I would not suggest mixing aloe into baking soda wash.

Again, I don’t use it often and my hair seems to be doing really well retaining moisture. It’s never had this amount of shine, beside when it was really short (twa).

Do you use aloe vera juice or gel on your hair? How do you use it?

Introduction to Hair Porosity

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.

http://happykinksforever.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/natural-hair-madness.jpg?w=652

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.

hair porosity diagram

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 the porosity of your hair. 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?