Lo-Po Shampoo Dos

Shampoo has a bad rep in the natural hair world. There’s a huge no-poo / curly girl following, who skip this step of their routine. While I don’t think shampoo is the essential ingredient for moisturized, healthy hair, I do think it’s a necessary and beneficial product. I typically use rhassoul clay as a cleanser and conditioner. However, I have a full plate and often don’t have time to mix up my batch of rhassoul clay every week. To make my life a little easier, I shampoo when I’m low on time. For my low-porosity hair, this is a less moisturizing, yet still nice alternative to my rhassoul treatment. It opens up my cuticles and helps my hair absorb the moisturizing conditioner that follows. It’s taken me a lot of trial and error to figure out what works best when shampooing my hair, but I thought I’d share my Lo-Po Shampoo Dos:

  1. Shampoo your hair from root to tip. I used to always think I could just shampoo my scalp and then suds would trickle down and remove any grime. I used the scalp technique for years and never understood why I battled build-up. Low porosity hair is very susceptible to build-up and needs a good cleaning to remove product and grime. I’ve noticed by applying shampoo all over, my clean hair is ready to absorb moisture after. You don’t have to apply a ton of shampoo a little goes a long way.
  2. Creamy, rich, moisturizing. When I use shampoo, I try to find one that is conditioning. I do try to avoid sulfates, when possible, but a cream based conditioner usually doesn’t leave my hair feeling stripped and dry.
  3. Do not detangle your hair with shampoo in it and do not tangle it too much in the process of shampooing, be gentle.
  4. Follow-up with a rich, deep conditioner. Whether it’s doctoring up your own blend or using a purchased deep conditioner, it’s essential to apply conditioner from root to tips and let it sit on your hair for a little (e.g. at least 15 minutes).

That’s it. What are some of your Lo-Po Shampoo Dos? Or do you follow a no-poo regimen?

Interesting link: http://www.blackhairinformation.com/growth/shampooing/co-washing-everyone/

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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!

 

Hair Aisle Junky

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I have about a drop of Giovanni Triple Treat Shampoo left. However, I still have a few bottles of other shampoo sitting in my medicine cabinet. So please tell me, why do I feel the need to detour down the hair aisle and grab this shampoo and conditioner? (bows head in shame). Ugh drug store hair aisle be damned!

Any way, I did want to try a creamy shampoo lately, as all of mine are clear liquid shampoos (coughs: excuses). I haven’t really used Garnier Fructic shampoo or conditioner, since my relaxed days. I’m wondering how it will work out. In any case, I’ll give these a try this weekend and report back with results. I can always give them to hubby if they don’t do anything for me. Have you ever tried Garnier products? Is your shampoo cream or liquid-based?

Kitchen Chemist: Low Porosity Castile Shampoo

This morning I attempted to whip up a low porosity shampoo that has a PH above neutral. The goal is that it will  open my cuticles, clean my hair and leave it  moisturized, but not stripped. Here are some pictures of the process. I haven’t tried this shampoo yet and will report findings once I use it tonight or tomorrow. I’ll follow-up with a conditioner to get the moisture in my hair and close my cuticles (as conditioner has a naturally acidic PH).

I won’t share the recipe for now as I will be the guinea pig first and test the results. However here are the ingredients I used: distilled water, shavings of organic castile soap, black strap molasses, argan and sweet almond oil, vitamin E, essential oils. It looks like a mud wash because of the molasses. This soap has a PH of 9 (about the same PH as my rhassoul hair wash).

Look forward to reporting findings!

Reader Review: Curl Assurance

Another great review from reader Natalye, big thanks for your contribution!

CURL ASSURANCE GENTLE CLEANSING SHAMPOO

Price: $20

What’s in it?

Water, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Lauryl Glucose
Carboxylate, Lauryl Glucoside, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Honey,
Matricaria Recuitita (Chamomile) Flower Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Brown
Rice (Oryza Sativa) Powder, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hydroxypropyl Methycellulose, Guar
Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Tetrasodium EDTA,
Fragrance.

How did your hair respond to it?

I love, love, love Curl Junkie products. The fragrances Curl Junkie products are to die for. I love
this sulfate-free shampoo. My hair feels clean, does not strip my hair, aides in detangling and
little goes a long way. It does have thin consistency which for some may take a while to get used
to. I do use silicone products and it thoroughly cleans my hair and removes any product buildup.
Also, did I say I love the smell of this product.

 

CURL ASSURANCE SMOOTHING LOTION

Price: $30

What’s in it?

Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Vegetable Glycerin, Slippery Elm
Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Panthenol, Simmondsia
Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Propylene Glycol,
Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Fragrance.

How did your hair respond to it?

I use this product as a leave-in conditioner. It can be used as a rinse out conditioner. Once again I
love the scent of Curl Junkie products. This this has a vanilla-cotton candy scent. The smoothing
lotion does contain oils, but humectants are at the beginning of the list balance out the oil. I find
that my hair does well with oils if humectants are in the product base. I apply to damp hair or
light spritz hair with water. This product has excellent slip and moisturizers my hair. I like to mix
this product with Ouidad moisture lock leave-in.

Lo-Po’s BFF I: Baking Soda

On Baking Soda and pH

In my earlier post “A Lo-Po’s BFF and Frenemy”, I discussed products that work brilliantly and terribly on my low porosity hair. To explain how I use these products and the results they yield, I thought I’d write a series discussing the items each week in detail. One item that I discovered recently that is inexpensive and readily available, is baking soda.

Baking soda is a really controversial product in the natural hair sphere. Some people think that it’s harsh, because it lifts the cuticles, which they believe does more harm than good, in the long run. Another controversy surrounding baking soda is its alkaline PH, which ranges from about 8-9. Some claim that it can alter the structure of curly hair and equate it to a straightener/relaxer.

In my opinion, this is highly unlikely, as a relaxer, which has the chemical lye or sodium hydroxide, has a PH of 14. In order for a product to chemically alter the structure and break down the bonds of the hair, it would have to be highly alkaline, as are relaxers. Relaxers are 1,000,000 times more alkaline than water and baking soda is 100 times more alkaline. See this blog for more information on baking soda and its effect on hair. I will list some blogs and sites at the end of this post, so that you find out about some of the arguments for and against baking soda.

Here is a short definition of pH:

PH is a measure of the alkalinity or acidity of a substance. It measures the concentration of Hydrogen ions (H+) measured against the concentration of Hydroxyl ions (OH-). When a substance has more Hydrogen ions than Hydroxyl ions, a substance is considered acidic. When water has more Hydroxyl ions than Hydrogen ions, the water is considered basic or alkaline. When there are an equal amount of Hydrogen ions and Hydroxyl ions (H20), the substance (i.e. water) is considered neutral (pH 7.0) [http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/PH]

Liquids with a PH less than 7 are acidic

Liquids with a PH greater than 7 are alkaline

Water has a  PH of 7 and is neutral.

Why I use Baking Soda 

My hair is prone to build up. I have to be very careful not to be heavy-handed when applying products. I wash my hair once a week to ensure a clean, healthy scalp. Last year I used sulfate-free shampoos to wash my hair. However, these shampoos still left my hair feeling just as dry and stripped as with sulfate shampoos. After sulfate-free shampoos, I tried using the “conditioner only” or “curly girl” method to wash my hair. This left me with loads of build-up. Looking back, this was probably due to the fact that most conditioners are acidic. “Low pH conditioners […] provide the hair with positive charge and thus more hydrogen bonds between the keratin scales, giving the hair a more compact structure (wikipedia.com).”

Because conditioners are more acidic and give the hair a more compact structure, they left my already compact low porosity hair with buildup. For a high porosity hair or even a normal porosity hair, this is great! I need a slightly alkaline product or a method (e.g. warm water) that will help lift my compact cuticles and allow me to let moisture into my hair shaft.

How I use Baking Soda

As a Clarifier

If I notice heavy build-up, flaky or white residue on my scalp, I clarify with baking soda once per month. If you plan on trying baking soda rinse, it’s best to never use more than 65 grams/ app. 4 TBSP of baking soda. I use very little and it’s still really effective.

  1. I place 1 TBSP – 2 TBSP of baking soda in about 2- 4 liters of warm water and mix it well. I pour this mixture over my scalp and hair, being careful to avoid my eyes.
  2. I put on a plastic cap and allow the mixture to sit about 15-20 minutes. Before rinsing, I gently massage my scalp, to break up any debris.
  3. Next, I rinse my hair with warm water thoroughly, being sure to remove all the baking soda.
  4. Finally, I follow this with a deep conditioner, rinse* it out with lukewarm water and style.

* I don’t always completely rinse my conditioner out, sometimes only rinse out 60 – 80 percent. I liken this to a leave-in.

This process leaves my hair clean, but not stripped. After applying my conditioner, my hair is softer and detangling is much easier. Since, my conditioner has an acidic pH, this is what I use to seal my cuticles.

As a Cleansing Deep Conditioner (DC)

If I feel like my hair does not have a significant amount of buildup, but is feeling somewhat dry, I will either replace my monthly baking soda clarifier with a baking soda DC.

  1. Mix 1 -2  TBSP of baking soda in 1 C of conditioner add a few TBSP of your favorite oil.
  2. Gently apply this mixture to wet hair, don’t rub or massage it into your hair, simply coat your hair with it.
  3. Cover your hair with a plastic cap and allow the mixture to sit 30 minutes.
  4. Rinse thoroughly with warm water, apply your conditioner of preference, let it sit  a few minutes or do another deep conditioner, detangle.

I liken this to a cleansing and deep moisturizing conditioner.

There you have it. This is how I use baking soda in my regimen. It leaves me with soft, supple, clean and shiny hair. I would say, I generally use baking soda once per month. I do have other products (e.g. rhassoul clay) that I also use, so I try to switch things up.

In the next post, I’ll discuss my Lo-Po hair frenemy: Aloe vera and Aloe vera gel. As the term frenemy implies, aloe vera can give me nice results, when used correctly, however, when used incorrectly my hair is a disaster. I tend to stay away from this product, but if you like it, I hope to give you some useful tips for making it work for low porosity hair.

Further Info on Baking Soda

For your reading or viewing pleasure:

Pro Arguments

Elle Magazine

Blogger: Chy Curlz

Youtube Vlogger and Blogger: Elle/Denim Pixie

Blogger

The author of this website is very leaning more towards pro, but also presents the arguments against. He also offers an alternative to using baking soda, diluted castile soap, which I haven’t tried.

Anti Arguments

Vlogger  – Kimmay

Naturally curly, takes an anti perspective, then offers a recipe that suggests using a large amount of baking soda– confusing or what?

Website

In my opinion, you have to do you research and see what works best for you. Many vloggers and bloggers probably fall into high or normal porosity category, which is why washing their hair in aloe or diluted vinegar, works wonders.

Have you tried baking soda rinses or DCs? What were your results.