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?

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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?

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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Color And Lo-po Hair: BFFs?

Thinking about coloring my hair, but am afraid of damage? At the same time, I think my low porosity hair might benefit from color more than someone with high porosity hair. Note: I’m not advising you to bleach or dye it a new color every week or even color it. This is just my crazy obsession at the moment. For some reason, I’m thinking a gentle semi-permanent or permanent dark color might result in moisturized hair, granted I take appropriate steps (condition, condition, deep condition).

I’ve been toying with the idea for the past few months of dying my hair medium brown or a dark reddish brown. My hair is already in this family shade, but I’d like to have a more intense shade of brown.

I’ve been doing a little reading and from what I’ve read, permanent hair dye has an alkaline PH ranging from 8-9. Semi permanent 7 (neutral) – 8. Hair color that uses bleach is very alkaline, ranging from 9 – 11. This makes sense, because in order for hair to accept color, the cuticles must be lifted. Since semi permanents have less need to penetrate the hair shaft (I.e. temporary color that fades with washes), the PH is neutral to slightly alkaline.

My experience with color and natural hair:
Two summers ago, I highlighted my natural hair. It didn’t damage it and I was sure to deep condition on a regular basis. However, since I had honey brown highlights, I had to bleach my strands to get it lighter. Personally, I wouldn’t do it again. While it didn’t do any damage, my hair felt slightly drier and I had to give it lots of TLC.

Now, you’re probably wondering why I’m sitting here toying with the idea of color…. Well bleach is much harsher on the hair and has a very alkaline PH. I think it’s more drastic to go a lot lighter than your hair color, rather within your color family or go darker.

I’m thinking if I do a medium brown or black…I’ll use lots of conditioner and deep (heat) conditioning during the application, to let moisture in and help the color take. Specifically, apply color and give it time to take then add a cone-free moisturizing conditioner on top of the dye letting it sit a bit, rinse, then deep condition with heat.

I noticed my highlights can sometimes look frizzy, which I enjoy in summer, as it gives a sun dyed, beach bum kind of vibe. However, I’m thinking a deep brown should impart shine. As, low porosity hair, when properly moisturized, is often very healthy and shiny. It’s particularly shiny when it’s a dark color. (Ref:
http://www.naturallycurly.com/texture-typing/hair-porosity).

So if and when I take the plunge, I’ll be sure to keep you updated. I definitely need to do more research first though.

Any readers have recommendations for gentle color systems? Ever dye your hair, if so what color? What was your experience? Have I gone cray cray lol!? Sound off in the comments section.

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Round 2: Oil Rinsing Update

My hair is on day 5, since my wash day, where I slightly adapted my oil rinsing method. This time around, after my first rinse, I basically left in about 60-70% of my conditioner (Tresemme Naturals). In addition, I opted for coconut oil. After, I applied a small amount of diluted KCKT and on top of that a very small amount if flax gel.

This time around my hair is only starting to feel somewhat dry today (I.e day 5). I plan on moisturizing it tonight and then washing it again Thursday night. I will be trying this again to test the results.

I’m not sure what my consensus on oil rinsing will be. I need to try it for a bit before I say whether it’s worthwhile. I’m very curious about the potential of this working as a modified curly girl method (which has never done anything for me). Until then don’t feel obligated to rush home and try this. (I sound like a TV warning. “kids don’t try this at home!” lol!) Perhaps it’s safer to observe my experiment a bit first.

Hair days 4-5:

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On another note, I just want to say thank you to all of my readers that have continued to follow me. And especially for your congratulatory and thoughtful emails and comments. It’s really touching to know there are so many caring people out there.

Round 2: Oil Rinsing

Yesterday I washed my hair. I can never go longer than a week without washing and wash day always feels like a giant exhale to me. #hairwasonitslastleg

As previously done, I separated my hair into 4 sections. Shampooed. Applied my oil of choice, coconut oil. Applied conditioner and rinsed under very warm water. Conditioned again and detangled, plastic cap, 30 min deep condition. Rinsed.

First, coconut oil has never done anything for my hair, so I usually use it on my skin. This time around, using it as an oil rinse yielded amazing results. Did I notice a difference this time around? I kind of think my hair felt even softer than last week, when I used EVOO. However, I did do a DC with the oil and conditioner in my hair so that could have been why my hair felt softer. Coconut is known to be one of the few hair oils that can penetrate the hair shaft… So maybe its healing and moisturizing properties are stronger.

My hair still felt like straw when I applied the oil. It’s surprising how soft it gets after that second condition.

After my deep conditioner I rinsed my hair, leaving a small amount of conditioner (Tresseme Naturals) in my hair. Applied KCNT and a small amount of gel, then put my hair in about 12 medium-large twists to achieve a fluffier look and save time. Ain’t nobody got time for long wash day sessions. Especially when preggo with my first, there’s only so much energy I can devote. I can only imagine how challenging it will be after the baby arrives.

So there you have it, right now I’m still a fan of OR. I hope by using a little conditioner a la Curly Girl Method, my hair will stay moisturized longer than last time. Last time, I was reaching for the KCKT on days 3 and 5.

Speaking of Curly Girl, tried it in the past and it never worked for me. Anyone else ever experiment with the curly girl method?

Have a good weekend!

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Oil Rinsing on Low Porosity Hair

Oils and I have never really been best friends. However, I’ve always hoped that I could find a way to incorporate them into my routine. My wishes might have been answered. Awhile ago, I was surfing the net and I came across a forum on oil rinsing. The person raved about the results of her oil rinsing trial and it just so happens she has low porosity hair. This made me really curious. So after months of thinking about whether to oil rinse or not, I threw caution to the wind today. It’s still too early to give you my verdict, but I do have some positives to report.

First, for those of you who have never heard of oil cleansing, here’s a quick overview on the process:

Shampoo (optional) + coat hair with a small amount of oil + condition under a stream of very warm water, to rinse out some of the oil and detangle.

Easy enough, right?

This was the first time I’ve tried oil rinsing and thus far I’m happy with the results. I won’t tell you whether I recommend it for lo-po hair until I’ve tried consistently for at least a month. Right now, my hair is damp and in twists, so it’s difficult to say whether it’s effective. I’ll have to see how my hair dries and report back to give you a weekly update.

For now, I’ll walk you through the steps I took and the results I achieved from my first oil rinse.

1. After a trip to the swimming pool, my hair was really dry and in desperate need of moisture. I started off by sectioning my hair into three parts. I shampooed my hair to remove any chemicals from the pool and prepare it for the oil rinse. Next for each section I worked about a handful of extra virgin olive oil into my hair, starting at the ends and working my way up.

***Initial thoughts: disappointed, my hair felt like straw as the oil hit my strands. It never felt soft or supple. Feeling very skeptical.

2. At this point, some suggest sitting under a plastic cap for 30 m – 1 h for a deep, conditioning oil treatment. I decided to go straight to the last step and apply my conditioner (Suave Shea and Almond). I massaged the conditioner into my hair, one section at a time, then attempted to detangle. My hair had a couple of tangles and the comb didn’t glide through it. So, I decided to condition a second time, using more conditioner this time. Suddenly, my hair felt soft, yet strong and smooth. The comb sailed through my hair as the warm water rushed over it. I was truly impressed with the results. I couldn’t stop running my fingers through my hair.

Once I got out of the shower, I examined each section closely. My hair looked remarkably darker and shinier. It was still very easy to comb and very soft and fluffy. I had less curl definition than I usually do when I wash my hair, especially in the front, where my hair is a bit looser. However, for strong and soft hair, I could definitely sacrifice curl definition! I decided to twist my hair and let it air dry over night. Only time will tell whether oil rinsing is an effective moisturizing method for lo-po hair. So I’ll report back with results.

My theory on why this method would work is that conditioners contain emulsifiers that allow water and oil to blend. You probably rinse off some of the oil in the wash process. However, some of it probably binds to the conditioner, allowing you to seal-in moisture and deeply penetrate your hair shaft. I really hope my results live up to my expectations!

Have you ever tried oil rinsing, what was your experience?

Castor Oil and Low Porosity

A few weeks back a reader told me she had success using Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave-in/Detangler, but after she sealed it with castor oil her hair turned frizzy and shrunken. She then asked me whether castor oil worked on low porosity hair. As always on my blog, I’m a strong advocate in saying what works for one person might not work for everyone. However, I hypothesize that castor oil is not beneficial for many lo-pos and that it might even work against retaining moisture in lo-po hair.

Castor oil or Ricinus oil has been praised for its beauty benefits. Many people boast that it helps them in thickening their hair and combating thinning hair. It has both antifungal and antibacterial properties and is a humectant for the hair and skin. When I read about these wonderful properties, my first reaction was to run out and buy a bottle of cold pressed castor oil. I started using it to seal my hair and like many things that haven’t worked on my low porosity hair, I continued to use it until I achieved the results I expected. That never happened, so I had to back away from the bottle.

Why didn’t castor oil work for me? Well for one, I think it is a heavy oil and way too thick to use for my hair type. It weighed my hair down and blocked out moisture. This happened even when I used a small amount or mixed it with a lighter oil. I noticed I had constant buildup on my hair and scalp when I used castor oil. In fact, I’ve read that overtime castor oil can build-up in the hair. As castor oil dries it tends to form a hard film. This is probably great for high porosity hair, but a recipe for disaster for low porosity hair. Additionally, the film is not water-soluble, which means it is necessary to use a shampoo to remove it. It can also attract dirt and oil to the hair, creating an even thicker layer of film around your strands.

Do I recommend using castor oil on low porosity hair? I wouldn’t recommend it, but if it works for you that’s great. However, I think there are other light to medium oils out there that can benefit lo-po hair. If you have a large bottle of castor oil lying around and don’t want it to go to waste, maybe try mixing it with a lighter oil and using it on area of the skin that are prone to dryness. On a side note, the properties of castor oil, could have a lot to do with your environment. I live in a dry arid conditions. If you live in a humid and hot environment, perhaps you will experiences different results with castor oil. In any case, I tend to stock 2 – 3 oils in my medicine cabinet. These are oils that are light enough to moisturize my face (e.g. jojoba or sweet almond) or medium and moisturizing enough to moisturize my body (e.g. olive oil, apricot, avocado). Since my hair doesn’t need a lot of oil it’s not what I concentrate on when finding products that work for my hair. I tend to focus more on leave-ins, cleansers and moisturizing conditioners.

Do you use castor oil? Has it worked for you? If so, how do you apply it?

Moisturizing Tips

So your hair has been freshly washed, deep conditioned and now you’re ready to moisturize! Moisture is essential, my hair craves it and well moisturized hair means healthy hair. For low porosity hair this can be a challenge.

Here are a few tips to help you moisturize your hair:

Apply your leave-in to damp instead of soaking wet hair.

After you’ve washed and conditioned your hair, either let it air dry until it’s damp or wrap it in a cotton t-shirt for 3-5 minutes. Applying your leave-in to damp hair will allow your hair to absorb the moisture. When hair is soaking wet and full of water, it’s a lot more difficult for your hair to accept extra moisture.

Water

Make sure your leave-in has water as the first ingredient. My leave-in, Kinky Curly Knot Today doesn’t have water, so I dilute it with water.

Use light heat (optional)

I sometimes partly dry my hair on low heat, I find it helps my hair absorb the leave-in, especially, when I style my hair in twists.

Stretch

When possible, try to allow hair to dry in a stretched style like twists. After I moisturize, I usually twist my hair. When I release my hair from the twists, it’s supple and soft.

Remoisturize

Water is the key here. During the week if your hair starts to feel dry. Dilute some leave-in with water and apply it to your hair.

Note:

I didn’t mention oil, because it doesn’t work for everyone. Sometimes, I seal my ends with oil and sometimes I seal my hair with a very light oil. However, sealing with oil isn’t an essential part of my regimen, so I often skip applying oil. Also, moisture always start with water. So, sealing your hair is a personal choice.

What are your key steps to moisturized hair?

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?