October Updates

So in about a week, I enter my third trimester. I’ll miss the second trimester. It’s the phase in pregnancy where I feel the most energetic and attractive. With my son, I grew most in the third trimester and with this baby, I think it’ll be the same, although I’m now the size I was with my son during my 8th month. In short, I’m hitting that penguin carrying a balloon while getting her waddle on phase. Time is going by really fast at the moment and I’m very excited at the idea of having another little peanut to add to our family of three.

In the hair world, I’ve been religiously doing rhassoul clay treatments once per week. I follow that up with a deep conditioner consisting of a light oil, e.g. grapeseed and moisturizing conditioner. I then sit under my bonnet dryer for 20-30 minutes, add a leave-in, mostly concentrating on my ends, a light layer of gel (currently trying: Kinky Curly Curling Custard), twist my hair and seal the ends of my twists with an oil.  My two favorite conditioners for deep conditioning at the moment are Aussie Moist (still love this brand) and Tresemme Naturals. Finally, I sit under the dryer for about 20 minutes and let my hair partially dry, before heading to bed.

As you can see my routine, hasn’t changed much. The only thing I’m doing differently is weekly rhassoul clay treatments. I’ve noticed that I’ve retained some length and the overall health of my hair has improved drastically. I attribute this positive change to two things: a much needed cut I received this summer and a visit to the doctor. This summer, I went to my childhood hairdresser. As I sat down in his chair and he unraveled my bun and began washing my hair, he grew quiet. “Is everything ok?” he asked. Worried and somewhat confused, I stared at him puzzled. “I’m not trying to scare you or make you worry, but last year your hair was the epitome of health, right now it’s shedding heavily and feels very dry and brittle. Has anything changed in your diet, are you really stressed out at the moment?” He spoke gently and softly, as he handled my hair with great care. I brushed it off and reassured him that my first trimester was stressful, but now I was doing much better. I chalked it up to the doctor ordered bedrest for 2 weeks, in which I couldn’t thoroughly wash my hair and deep condition it.

He stopped his line of questioning and just gave his final two cents. “Ok honey, just make sure you’re getting enough iron, protein and taking your prenatals. You also might want to bring this up with your doctor. I’m not a medical professional, but often when things aren’t going well internally, it manifests on the outside and I see a major difference in your hair, love.” We then went on with our usual banter and celebrity gossip, as we transitioned out of the medical screening process.

Personally, I don’t eat a lot of meat and try to limit my intake, I don’t drink milk, but would occasionally eat a yogurt here and there. However, recently I’d started to entertain the idea of going vegan, after reading some articles and watching some documentaries. I hadn’t told him, because I thought he’d judge me. As soon as I returned home from summer vacation I began looking for a new doctor and decided to have some bloodwork done. It turns out, my B12 and iron were low. There are many women who suffer from low iron levels during and postpartum. However, the doctor indicated that my B12 levels were probably low due to dietary restrictions. I felt like a fool for starting a journey into something unknown without doing my research properly, especially being pregnant and all. I started to read and noticed many vegans have to supplement B12 in their diets. Low levels can be dangerous for cell development and the nervous system, as well as memory functions. My doctor immediately recommended weekly injections of B12. She also administered iron directly into my bloodstream. I’m feeling much better since this treatment and less tired, which I’d always attributed to my being a mom and being pregnant, which believe me, still exhausts me, but I am feeling more energetic than prior.

After my injections, I went back to doing research and discovered there are two types of B12 supplements, one that is absorbed easier by the body, methylcobalamin (mouthful I know) and cyanocobalamin, which is considered more harmful than beneficial. At my next visit, I checked with the medical assistant to determine what form of B12 their office uses and found out they only had cyanocobalamin in different brands. From what I’ve learned, Switzerland does not offer B12 prescriptions and this is the only form used countrywide. Probably due to its low production costs. I stopped my weekly injections and have now ordered a daily supplement. I’ve gone back to eating meat here and there from fear. I think after my pregnancy I’ll pick-up from where I left off. In the meantime I’ve ordered to books and will research this lifestyle more in detail, before proceeding.

Sorry for the long post and rant. I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes, if your skin or hair starts changing or deteriorating in appearance, it might not be due to a hair regimen, but to internal reasons. In my case, my hair feels better than it did a few months back, it’s feels healthier, thicker and shinier. I don’t think that’s 100% due to my regimen, but also to the fact that I’ve sought medical attention for the things my body was lacking.

I guess I have to thank my hair dresser, MD for this one. Have a lovely Sunday!

By the way, I’ll be updating and simplifying my regimen section, as there are some aspects of my regimen, which I don’t use on a regular basis. I’ll also try to include a frequently asked questions  section. I receive many emails often with the same type of questions and thought this might be helpful for new visitors and less frequent followers.

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Have a beautiful Sunday!

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That Time of The Month Hair

Why did I even bother pre-pooing?!

This post may be a little TMI for some. However, I can’t help but address this topic, based on my experience. My hair is typically predictable and easy to care for, given I follow my low porosity regimen. Although, there is one time during each month where it’s drier, more tangled, duller and harder to care for and that’s during menstruation. Shortly after “Aunt Flo” has made her visit, my hair gets a breath of life and looks instantly healthier.This is probably due to the drop in hormones during the start of the cycle and the increase in hormones after and during ovulation.

Since my hair is unwilling to cooperate with me during that time, here are some tricks and I use.

  1. Increase conditioning. During this time of the month, I try not to skip deep conditioners and moisturize my hair more.
  2. Protective styling. I don’t wear a lot of protective styles. I like to wear my hair out. However, you’ll find me in a bun one week out of the month. I just tuck it away and don’t bother trying to force it to do what it won’t.
  3. Increase H20 intake. I generally try to drink enough water, but am more conscious of my fluid intake during this time.
  4. Eat more healthily. See above.

Do you notice any differences in your hair around that time of the month?

Keep Calm, Stay Hydrated

I’m a strong advocate for health. I think that healthy hair starts from the inside out. On this blog, I often praise natural ingredients, such as rhassoul clay and rave about my favorite products, like Kinky Curly Knot Today. However, these are only topical applications and in the long run, while they help protect and cleanse my hair, they aren’t what make my hair healthy. A healthy diet, rich with fruits, vegetables and PLENTY of water help purify and hydrate the body, which can reap benefits for your hair. It’s so important that we get our daily intake of water. This is particularly important to me, since I am breastfeeding the peanut. I know I know it’s not always easy to get 8 oz of water a day. So I thought I’d share my favorite immune-boosting and hydrating drink with you. It’s simple, easy and delicious. I make 2 liters of this and am able to finish it all within a day.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 liters water
  • 1 bag of green tea
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • 4 – 5 lemon slices
  • (optional grated ginger)
  1. Heat 1.5 liters of water. Add one tablespoon of honey and mix until dissolved. Add tea bag (and grated ginger),  let it steep for about 15 – 20 minutes.
  2. In a glass pitcher, add .5 liters of cold water. 4 – 5 lemon slices
  3. Once the green tea cools add to the mixture in the glass pitcher. Pop this in the fridge for a couple of hours or until chilled and enjoy as much as you’d like.

This drink it really light and refreshing for summer. It gives me an alternative to drinking straight water all the time. I even place it in a wine glass and enjoy it at lunch time. Makes me feel all fancy and sophisticated– even when I’m sometimes covered in green peas and sweet potato purée (the peanut has discovered the joy of blowing raspberries lately). Guess I can forget about those lovely white summer pants. Lol!

What’s your favorite way to drink water. Are you a purist or do you like to mix things up a bit?

5 Easy Tips for Creating a Healthy Hair Regimen

1. Don’t go product-gaga

With more and more women wearing their hair in its natural state, there are a lot more products available on the market for diverse textures. I know it can be tempting not to scoop up every product we see when perusing the hair aisle or the internet. However, if you’re newly natural or just looking for an effective routine, I suggest not giving in to this urge. Buy 1 (2 at the most) product (s) to try on your hair and give your hair a few weeks to see how it responds. If we use too many products at once, it’s difficult to know what works and what doesn’t work for our hair.

2. Ask a friend or seek out the internet

Not sure what products work for you? Find a friend with similar hair texture and more importantly porosity and ask for recommendations. Or ask a stranger, sometimes I see someone with great, healthy hair and wonder how they achieved it. It never hurts to simply ask. I always find starting with a compliment and then asking always helps break the ice. Alternatively, you can find tips from bloggers and vloggers. The internet is a huge resource.

3. Don’t break the bank

Try not to spend too much on products, when developing a regimen. Find some solid affordable products that work. You can always pamper yourself on special occasions (holidays, birthdays, etc.) and try out some higher end products. In addition, if you have an inexpensive product, you can always make it fancy by adding special oils or honey and giving yourself a conditioning treatment.

4. Be gentle with your hair and walk away from the comb when you’re frustrated

When I first went natural and reached an awkward stage (coughs: major mullet), my hair was sometimes more difficult to detangle. I’d get so frustrated I noticed I was a bit rougher in my movements with the comb and as a result breakage would ensue. Actually, this was even more so the case when I was transitioning from straight to curly hair. So, try not to style your hair when you’re tired or just take a break if you need.

And finally…

5. Make a schedule

Pick out the days you want to wash and condition your hair. Think about the styles you’d like to try and how long they will carry you through the week. If you’re in the TWA (teeny-weeny afro) stage or have short hair, you’ll probably wash or wet your hair more than once per week. Once I was able to pull my hair back, this changed my schedule and gave me more flexibility. However, a schedule still benefited me greatly and kept me from getting to lazy with my hair.

….This is not a step, but more words of advice. Enjoy your hair at all stages. When I cut all my hair off, I was so concerned about length. I wish I had just enjoyed that moment longer, because length will come, when it comes. I’d always wanted to do something drastic like cut my hair really short and once I cut it, I spent all my time wanting it longer. Now I enjoy the stage I’m at, because I’ve noticed, although with longer hair you can easily just bun it, you also have longer washer sessions (wonk, wonk, wonk). So do you and love what you do at each stage (same applies to life in general).

Do you have any healthy hair regimen tips for readers? If so, would love to hear them!

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.

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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.

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?