Showing posts with label dry hair. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dry hair. Show all posts

Dec 31, 2014

Candice's Hair Diary: Casual Curls

When I'm around him, I turn into Feyoncé.

 For the overwhelming majority, I've been keeping my hair super casual lately. No fancy rod curls, flexirod sets, or fancy updos. Also no: mini-twists, braids, Havana twists... nothing. Just good old fashioned twist-outs like the ancestors used to do it. And apparently my hair loves it when I keep it low maintenance.

Hello strange patch of fuzzy hair in the front that doesn't hold curls

What my hair doesn't love, though, is any high tension styles. I've learned another good thing about the growth I've seen. In the level of difficulty to care for my hair, longer hair has become much easier to manage than my shorter hair. I don't have to pull as tight and I don't need such heavy products. Longer hair weighs more, and benefits more from gravity. Yay gravity! But my longer hair still does not function well with the humidity. Rain is Khani's kryptonite. Check out the life-cycle of a fabulous hairdo on a humid day:

Top left: 7:30 a.m. Top Right: 8:00 a.m.
Bottom left: 9:00 a.m. Bottom right: 11:45 a.m.

Also, I am becoming more aware that caring for my ends should never be neglected. I think that is my weakness in hair care. And although my hair grows pretty quickly, the dryness factor can go from 0 to 100... real quick (I just resisted the urge to put more lyrics behind that reference.). So it is high time I start making a conscious effort to retain this length and protect my ends. Consistency is key. So when you see me in these Nashville streets, expect to see more of these styles:

Dear buns and twists... I've got nothing but love you.

In the short, short time since my last hair diary, I've been through a bunch of physical changes. I saw some excess shedding and increased dryness. Turns out I was pretty ill. Let me gently remind anyone reading this that healthy hair starts from the inside. You can't get your dehydrated, vitamin/nutrient starved, sick body to produce thick, healthy, luscious natural hair. There is no hair product to correct malnutrition. Speaking of nutrition...

Ignore the stuff in the backgrount. 2014 has been overall great for me nutritionally.
Yay for body-positive changes!!

P.S. Speaking of hair products, R.I.P. to Titi Branch. I JUST fell in love with Miss Jessie's a couple of months ago. She was the co-founder of the brand with her sister. Mental illness hits close to home for me, so instead of the usual questions, I'll end with this:

If you or anyone you know is dealing with suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.


Jan 20, 2014

Candice's Hair Diary: Winter Regimen

I know that it's been a while since I've done a hair diary. The hard part now that I'm back on track is that I have so much to say, and so little time to type it all. Basically, I've been having a big old love fest with my hair. It's been a lot of fun. I've been natural for years and sometimes I feel I'm just getting into the swing of things. I asked Melissa how I should set my natural anniversary. Is it the day I stopped getting relaxers, or is it the day I had all the remaining relaxed hair cut off? What do you think? Leave your answer in the comment section.

That day I tried something a little different... 

I've been wearing my hair slightly different to keep boredom at bay. I received this compliment from a fellow natural the day I wore a simple puff. It totally made my day. And the one time I let my hair not be so big for a couple of days, I fielded questions all day about my "haircut". Sometimes I played along, but mostly I would explain how some natural hair works, and then stretch a curl out so that they could see that all of my hair was there.

All day I got questions about my "haircut". I was very entertained.

So... I've been having the best hair days ever lately. My afro has been big and lush, my curls have been curly, and I've even seen a decrease in my single-strand knots. I really can't complain about the relationship between Khani and I. I treat her well and she returns the favor. My winter regimen is so easy! I wash my hair every 10 days or so. Right now, I'm very satisfied with Trader Joe's Nourish Spa Shampoo, or their Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo. I deep condition (which means I use regular conditioner with a plastic bag and a blow dryer) with every shampoo. I switch my conditioners often, but the same Trader Joe's brand conditioners or Carol's Daughter Chocolat conditioner have been staples for months now.

After washing and conditioning, I moisturize my wet hair with aloe vera gel and seal with a homemade shea butter mix. I retwist it most nights, and remoisturize with water, aloe, and shea butter. When the water doesn't make my hair come back to life, that's a sign that my hair has been coated with shea butter, and it's time to clean my hair again. Simple works for me. And it works really well. The styling that I get to do with Khani (my hair) has taken a turn for the better.

Listen... when I say my hair has been giving me everything lately?! It definitely has.

I've even started getting some shine back. I started off with shiny hair, and then all of a sudden it became a "low luster" brand of kinks and curls. It was something I noticed, but I didn't throw a fit over. I feel like I'm getting that old thing back. I really have no complaints with my big and cooperative hair lately. I've been wanting to get it straightened and maybe trimmed, so that's next on the to-do list. So far, it's been tolerating the winter blasts and dry artificial heat really well. I'm going to stick to my regimen until I find a reason not to.

Versatility. 2 days, 2 completely different styles.

I know Valentine's Day isn't for another month. But Khani and I have been sweethearts and I can't get over it just now. I should serenade her Keith Sweat "Make it Last Forever" song. (Don't judge me when there are people who talk to plants.) It's funny that this love fest began again once I reminded myself that "It's just hair." Go figure. 

There is room in this curly love circle. Got something nice or awesome to share about your hair? You can also share your winter hair care tips in the comment section.

Dec 3, 2013

Discussion: I Forgot My Headscarf

Are you a mobile natural who commonly forgets her headscarf or bonnet? It's a common thing for some of us, myself included. I've been traveling a lot lately. And when I'm not traveling, I often spend the night at my home away from home. Being on the go so much makes it incredibly easy to forget to bring some protection for my hair. Yes, I can go everywhere and leave all 5-7 of my scarves and bonnets at home.

It's easy to remember to pack a scarf if you are planning an overnight trip. But we all know some trips aren't planned. A late night out might mean you crash at a friend's place. A steady relationship could mean you sleep over your beau's house regularly. If you haven't done the logical thing and left a silk/satin scarf at a places where you frequently sleep over, here are a few helpful tips to protect your strands while you slumber.

Yes, this is my shirt on my pillow. It's a natural hair lifesaver!

Wearing a silky shirt? Put it over the cotton pillowcase. It's simple, right? Cotton is nice, but it doesn't play well with hair that is prone to dryness. So take that cute shirt off, and put it on or around your pillow. Cotton blends and softer fabrics make it easier to get a good night's sleep without worrying about morning hair. Softer fabric not only feels great on your skin, but it works wonders for keeping moisture in your hair at night. Get your money's worth out of that blouse. It can double as a pillowcase (or covering). It's definitely worth the trouble... unless your hair is full of oil and will permanently damage that silky shirt by morning. In that case, let the cotton soak some up of that grease. (Just kidding... kinda.)

Put your hair in a bun. Not just any bun. A high bun. Give yourself the highest bun you can manage. A bun on the top of your head, means that your ends are tucked up high. When sleeping, the top of your head is much safer than the sides or back of your head. These areas are usually exposed to much more friction while tossing and turning at night. Besides, once you've been natural for a while you quickly learn to keep a few elastic bands and bobby pins within arm's reach. It's a logical alternative if you don't have a scarf handy, and your hair is unfit to sleep on your soft, silky shirt. Or if your shirt is made out of wool.

Braid or twist your hair down. Okay. What if you didn't wear a shirt, and you don't have any elastic bands or pins? You take your two hands, and you twist or braid. You braid your hair down, and tuck those ends. But I don't want him to see me in braids! Well natural lady: 1. Him seeing you in braids is better than him seeing and hearing you try to untangle that matted mess in the morning. 2. Did you bring your water bottle and hair products? If you go out to breakfast/brunch, your hair will be off-balance ALL DAY. 3. You didn't even wear a shirt! You are well past the point of worrying about him seeing your nighttime braids!

So that's it. If you have a  problem remembering your headscarves or bonnets, we've given you three very easy options to save your hair. Being natural doesn't mean that you have to carry around a briefcase full of moisturizers and products for a 40 minute routine every night at bedtime. And you don't have to rush home at night like a curly Cinderella. But it does mean that sometimes you have to be a little creative when it comes to keeping your hair looking  in amazing condition.

Have you ever tried any of these ideas? What do you do when you forget your hair scarf?

Nov 19, 2013

Candice's Hair Diary: Dear Big Hair, I Care

Yes. Yes I do care about my big hair. I've been rocking a legitimate afro lately. I wouldn't be honest if I said I haven't enjoyed walking around with an eye-catching fro. I went a few weeks where I wore my afro every which way. I wore it to the side, in a high puff, in a low puff, and free as a bird. It was so much fun... until the single strand knots started coming. Single strand knots are like the loud, annoying drunk person that comes in the party and starts accidentally knocking things over. And I have a bad habit of snapping them off with my fingers. I know I'm not supposed to do that, but they are so annoying. I soon figured that it would be best for my hair and I if I put the afro away for a while. So all I have done lately is reminisce on the fun times I had as I let my fro frolic in the wind.

Since single strand knots had to rain on my parade... I had to do what's best for Khani (Yes. My hair has a name. Doesn't yours?) and put her away. So that's what I did. I tucked her away and let her get some rest. Because wearing a fro for that long takes work. I thoroughly detangled my hair nearly every day. I moisturized every day. Did I mention that I detangled every day?! That takes commitment. Oh the ladies in the 70s must have been all about that detangling life. I miss my big afro hair, but I've been wearing stretched and protective styles the past few weeks. I appreciate the break from detangling, and the minimizing of single-strand knots. Also the moisture retention, ease of manipulation, and time saving--- okay. So protective styling has its own benefits. Get into this totally accidental chunky twist style. I was preparing to take these down when our editor Melissa coerced suggested that I keep them in as a protective style. 

Talk about THICK hair...  

Besides giving my hair a break, I've also gone back to my kitchen mixologist ways. I've been making everything from face masks to shea butter mixes. My life has seen a rise in stress lately. Everything was getting out of whack... my skin, hair, diet... EVERYTHING. I really had to make an effort to find some time to decompress and get some rest and relaxation. Thanks to the recent holiday, I succeeded. And if you're wondering what r&r looks like:

My day of conditioning. I gave my hair and skin some much needed attention.
I don't mind showing the crazy side of my conditioning routine. It had been way too long since I paid attention to my skin. But neglect always shows itself eventually. I started to develop a gross breakout, so I knew it was necessary. My hair and skin benefited so much from the attention. I almost felt bad for forgetting to pay attention to myself. I came out on the other side looking like a normal human being. I came out on the other side looking like a normal human being and feeling like a shiny new penny. That's how I feel once I buffed away the stress and put some moisture back into my face and hair. I'm thinking of setting an appointment with myself so that I remember when it's time to do a deep condition and/or a facial. 

What's your favorite protective style? And how do you remember to make time for yourself? Let me know in the comments below.

Aug 20, 2013

Candice's Hair Diary: One Step Backward, Two Steps Forward

Yes. I took one step backward. I had the rest of my hair cut. Technically, it is a step backward from reaching my hair goals. Amber removed the rest of my colored ends. She said they didn't look too damaged, but they were dry. And that's the part that I just could not get jiggy with. The constant dryness was so annoying. (Not all color is bad or really drying. If you are new to my hair story, you can see what happened, then come back.)

I have tried several different deep conditioning methods. I've used condiments, oils, natural store-bought products, unnatural chemical products, and I've done them with and without heat. I've done the most I could for my hair and I was still hard pressed to get the bottom of my twists to hold together. My colored ends just refused to not be brittle and dry. They had to go. My hair works a lot better now. When I make a twist and try to seal the ends, they actually twist together!! And I could never get my hair to be all the way shiny and moisturized anymore before this final cut. But check out this shot.

I can't remember the last time my hair had so much shine.
This was the 2nd day wearing my bun, with no additional product.
So I'm back to my natural color now. I was a red head and then I rocked the "ombre" black and brown (The red color faded to a nice brown. I liked it so I kept it.) and I haven't had colorless hair for almost 3 years. It felt weird to realize that my hair color wasn't my real color. Completely dark hair has taken some getting used to. Besides, anyone who really knows me will tell you that I'm a much more "colorful" personality than I am dark. I'm already planning on getting color in my hair sometime in the future. And not because I hate my hair or have any self-esteem or self-loathing issues*. I just think color fits my personality a lot more.
My boyfriend and I... being colorful.
Love this twist-out. It happened after keeping my hair in twists for 4 days.

But you know what doesn't fit my personality? This bald spot in my head. Yes, it's still there. I'm going to pray that it's not permanent. I was made aware of it again this week when I put my hair in a bun and literally had to manipulate my hair to cover up the shiny scalp in the front left side of my head. *sigh* I just want my edges back.
In the front is a middle part. But on the side... there used to be hair there.

And finally, I made a wig!!! I'm not going to get too detailed because this post has already been so long. I'm going to put the details in a separate post. But it was SO EASY! I just watched a few YouTube videos and got the gist of the wig-making process. I already had the hair for vacation. The additional products only cost $10. I still have some adjustments to make on it, but I've already worn it in public and I got more compliments.  But here is the wig after it was sewn, but before I cut it. You'll just have to come back to see the final product, along with instructions the steps I followed and photos of the process.

So that's it. I've had quite a month of hair fun. I'm back to the point of loving experimenting with my hair and actually enjoying it. I think we all go through hair phases, and I just needed some space. But absence really does make the heart grow fonder. I'm loving my hair lately. How about you?

*Is is weird that in 2013 it's still necessary to put a disclaimer on your self-awareness because of a hair choice? Let me know when this ends.

Jul 30, 2013

PRODUCT REVIEW: Hydratherma Naturals Daily Growth Lotion

What do we all want when it comes to natural hair?  Of course some want definition, others want products that aid in stretching, but most of what I hear is that we want long, soft hair. Less breakage means more growth and retention. 

A few years ago when I was living in DC I was scouring the web for new products that would keep my hair soft permanently and came across a website called Healthy Hair Journey.  The owner of the line had all sorts of information about her products and also documented her own healthy hair journey and how these products helped her hair to grow and while keeping it soft and lovely.  The entire line is great but I swear by the Hydratherma Naturals Daily Growth Lotion.  It is packed with all kind of great oils, from Avocado, to Emu, Shea butter, and Olive oil along with a few others. 

I found out that my hair loves Emu oil.  It is great oil will many benefits, it helps with cell regeneration on the scalp and restores your hair follicle and shaft. 

A 4 oz bottle will cost you about $14 and the 8 oz $19. This is a product that is packed full with oils so you don’t need much.  When I first started using it I started out with a small amount and built on top of that until I achieved my desired softness. I saw a huge boost in growth retention.  But it should be used daily in order to see results. 

If you have tried this product or are planning to, let us know your thoughts. 

Jun 26, 2013

DISCUSSION: Diabetes and Hair

I know you have heard the expression "Health Over Hair" quite a  bit lately. There are several reasons that you should focus on overall health instead of healthy hair. The main reason is because if you focus on the former, it will usually make the latter so much easier to obtain. However, today's discussion focuses specifically on how diabetes management affects natural hair.

A quick biology lesson: When you eat, your body tries to convert as much of the food as possible into sugar so that it can be used for energy. The body uses a hormone called insulin to convert sugar to usable energy. This is how you produce energy to blink, breathe, and shake a tail feather. Unused sugar is usually stored as fat or filtered out of the bloodstream by the kidneys.

Diabetes (or sugarthe sugar, or sugar diabetes) is the body's inability to regulate the amount of glucose (the scientific name for sugar) in the bloodstream. When someone is diabetic, there's a kink in the process above. Either the body doesn't produce enough insulin, or the insulin doesn't work well enough to convert the glucose to energy and get it out of the bloodstream. So the glucose has nowhere to go. It just sits in the bloodstream and the body's kidneys work overtime to bring the glucose levels down to normal. Diabetics have to be cautious of what they eat because insulin levels (and blood glucose levels) aren't regulated. Too much sugar and the kidneys work overtime to filter the blood. Too little sugar and the body doesn't have the energy to carry out the basic functions of life.

But what does this have to do with my hair?

Ok, so now that the basic biology lesson is over, here is how it affects your hair. When your blood sugar runs higher than normal, you stress out your kidneys and your kidneys stress out everything else. One of the ways your kidneys filter excess glucose from the bloodstream is through urine. But the more glucose there is to filter, the more urine your body has to produce. And producing urine takes.... WATER.

Do you see where this is going now? The more urine you need to produce to filter out excess glucose, the more water is required to leave your body. And because regulating blood sugar is more important that most functions, the body will use water resources to get it done. And that's the way it's supposed to be. And if you're not good at prioritizing health over hair, don't worry. Your body does that for you. It doesn't allow water to nourish your hair and scalp and ignore blood glucose. You are built to prioritize important functions like blood sugar regulation over less important things like shiny, moisturized hair.

If you are natural and diabetic:

  • Make regular visits to your physician and monitor your blood glucose levels.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • If you are overweight, shedding a few pounds can really help manage blood sugar.
  • No matter your weight, exercise can help regulate blood sugar.
  • Drink plenty of water.

So there you have it. Healthy hair is not less important than overall health. It's actually a part of overall health.   Whether you're a diagnosed diabetic or you just have a tendency to binge on cupcakes and candy bars... make sure sugar isn't the causing you hair problems. It's important that you take care of your entire self; because exhausted kidneys and shiny, bouncy curls just don't go well together.

Do you have diabetes and natural hair? Do you have ANY health condition that impacts your natural hair care? Leave a comment below.

May 15, 2013

Discussion: Why Protective Styles Are Not For Everyone

Protective styles are considered to be an essential part of hair growth. If you are new to natural hair, a protective style is a style that protects the ends of your hair shaft. The ends are oldest part of your hair, so they are the first to become fragile and split or break or knot. When the ends are hidden from the weather, and they receive minimal manipulation and friction, the style is considered a protective style.

Cute. But this is not a protective style.

Most Important Part of your Hair Regimen…
Cute. The hair doesn't move, and the ends are put away.
This is a protective style.
Although the protective style is chic and adorable, I'm convinced that it is not for everyone. The lady in the protective style picture above has little to no texture to her hair. It has either been heat styled or she has relatively straight hair. Most natural hair looks NOTHING like that without being straightened with a high temperature styling tool. With that amount of heat styling, it defeats the purpose of the protective style. Here are just a few reasons why protective styles may not be for you.
  • I'm natural but, I don't know how to flat twist or braid.
  • I'm natural but, I can't wear my twists out because my hair shrinks too much.
  • I'm natural but, my hair is an awkward length and I can't bun it or pull it up for an up-do.
  • I really love showing off the length of my hair. I don't do well with shrinkage.
Now, before anyone begins to insist that all of the reasons above are fickle reasons that anyone can "get over", remember that at some point we all had to learn how to prioritize our hair rules. We all love to look like what we feel is our best self. That's like someone giving you a muumuu to wear 4 days a week. Personally, I never got over the fact that I love showing off the length of my hair. I will wear my twists out, but usually it's tucked away under a beanie hat. My type 4 hair shrinks a ridiculous amount. Although my hair is shoulder-length, my twists barely touch the middle of my neck. And it takes prayer, planning, and a mountain of products to get my hair to lay down for a bun. So unless I spend hours doing fairly small twists OR I heat style before twisting, in my mind I end up looking like young Celie.

I have come to learn and live with my extreme shrinkage (I'd say it's well over 50%). And it used to be a problem for me. I understand a woman working hard to grow her hair but never knowing how long it is because it's always curled over on top of itself. And when you twist it, you have these short, stubby, twisty knobs of hair. Being pressured to leave your hair like that makes you give a side eye to the natural hair community. And now that more companies have decided to stick their hands in the natural hair money pot, there are a plethora of products that claim to reduce or even eliminate shrinkage. I haven't tried a single one of them that work for my hair. The point is, it's okay if you don't like to wear your hair in shrunken twists. It's okay if your twists aren't long enough to pull back or pin up. If you are not funky enough to wear a braided mohawk style, don't. Don't force yourself to look like anyone other than yourself because of your hair.
Cute. Protective. Not for everyone.

This doesn't mean that all of your hair will fall out or that you will never reach your length goals. However, it does mean that you have to be extra generous when caring for your hair until you find a protective style that makes you feel like the best version of you. You should know that if your hair is always out and exposed to the elements, you shouldn't also go home and sleep on a cotton pillowcase, nor should you constantly fiddle with your loose strands. Take extra steps to keep those fragile ends moisturized. You might even have to twist your hair before bedtime. But if it makes you more comfortable in your skin, go for it.

I love seeing this look on women.
But when I try to do this side-bang on  myself, I'm always unimpresed.
The hair rules for natural hair weren't etched in stone on a mountain. This is my opinion, so tell me yours. Have you ever felt pressured to wear your hair in a way that doesn't fit your style or personality?

Feb 21, 2013

DISCUSSION: What's our obsession with SMOOTH edges?

Photo source
As I sit at my desk I'm looking at several samples that companies have sent for the NIN team for review. There are two products that promise "smooth edges" no matter what your natural texture. I sit back and think, what's the natural hair movement's obsession with smooth edges?

I have to admit, I was addicted to the smooth edge phenomenon when I first natural.  So much so, that I would to put relaxer on my edges. I know! I know!! Only, my close friends knew about my secret relaxer addiction. After awhile, I realized that my hair was growing nicely (even my edges) and I no longer needed to relax them. I was finally ALL THE WAY natural. Oh yeah, I found one of those products (ORS Olive Oil Edge Control) that laid down my edges without the help of my chemical advocate.

But why, why was I so addicted to smooth edges?! I know I'm not the only one. Do a quick search on YouTube and there are more than 900 videos on the topic - 900!! No matter what the texture, everyone is obsessed with laying down those edges. I Have some guesses:

  • Maybe we are still addicted to how our relaxed hair used to look. 
  • Some think that smooth edges still gives us that 'good hair' notion of life. I know we like to act like to we are so far removed from the 'good hair' thoughts and theories but I think the eternal quest for smooth edges keeps us close to the thought. 
  • The notion that your hair can still be conquered is seen when other people can congratulate you on your smooth edge game. 
  • Smooth edges also let's others know that your 'natural' is kept up, not unkempt.

Now,  I know I'm not about to walk around with a less than stellar edge game, but sometimes I let my hair do it's thing to give my edges a rest. We know that pulling edges to tight can cause some traction alopecia or breakage. In addition, using various gels and edge definers can dry your hair out. So, what's the deal - if we know we can cause damage, why are we still obsessed with smooth edges?

Let's discuss in the comments section.

Jan 8, 2013

Candice's Hair: Annoying Hair and Weave Fails

On the positive side: I recently wore real lipstick in public. Not  lip gloss, not lip glass,  and not lip tint.
Real lipstick color. I was satisfied with myself.

I'm still nursing my color damaged ends. I've said it for months, but sometime soon I will cut off the remaining 1 1/2 to 2 inches of damage. But I am definitely not ready for that to happen yet. I'm being a baby about saving my hair, but within the next 2 months I promise you will see an overly dramatic post as I have the rest of my damaged kinks removed. I've put it off long enough. But on less than stellar hair days I usually keep my ends hidden (like in the picture above).

In other hair news, my hair was SO annoying last month. I was super annoyed that I keep getting single strand knots and that my twist outs were not turning out right about 50% of the time. I was also annoyed that it seemed to take longer and longer for my hair to dry. But I'm having more success nowadays. I've made it my goal to keep my hair stretched as much as possible. I mean, I love a good afro, but it just doesn't serve me well when it comes to meeting my hair goals. And  it's an even smaller deal when I think of my long term goals of school and graduation and my future career. I would much rather be a super-success and have my hair twisted back than be less successful with a FANTASTIC 'fro.

Of course, I'm not putting up the crazy, fuzzy hair days.
I only take pictures on good hair days. Enjoy!
But being honest, I do have hair goals. And I know that keeping my hair stretched will help me reach my hair goals faster. That way, I can rock my super afro occasionally. In the meantime, I've been trying to try some new things with my hair. Below this paragraph, you will see reasons that I won't be sporting havana twists until I get a lot more practice in. Installing extensions is not as easy as youtube makes it look.

I just.... I don't understand how a twist could  turn out THIS horrible. 

So... I will continue working on my weave installation skills. Right now they are HORRIBLE. But maybe one day I will learn to install hair. I'm always open to tips and suggestions. I'm trying to expand my hair options that do not include going to a salon. Am I the only one who is a fish out of water when it comes to extensions? Who is your favorite Youtuber for extension tutorials?

Dec 5, 2012

Discussion: Porosity Over Curl Pattern

For most of us, the weather outside is getting colder. That means that we have so many more reasons to worry about moisture.

First of all, it doesn't rain nearly as much in the winter. The air is dry and moisture in the hair is lost more quickly to the atmosphere. Also, we use artificial heaters much more often to stay warm. This dries out the air indoors just as much as outdoors. POOF! More moisture gone. And finally, fall/winter fashions are the best (in my opinion. I will happily discuss this in the comment section). But the fabrics are heavier. Therefore, the wool and super plush cotton and fleece are made closer to our hairlines to keep our necks warm. If you have the smallest bit of length, these fabrics will rub and siphon the rest of the moisture out of strands. With all of these obstacles, it makes sense that everyone is more moisture-conscious. How do you know the best way to keep your hair moisturized in these ultra-dry times? I have learned that advice based solely on your curl pattern is useless.

"I want you to suffer" ---the person who assigns hair care solely on texture.

When it comes to moisture, the idea is to get moisture to stay in your hair. Just like pores in your skin, pores in your hair are openings (in the cuticle) that allow things like water into and out of the hair shaft. If your hair dries out really quickly, it's probably highly porous. If it takes 1.5 days for your hair to dry, it has a low porosity. Or click here to read about the porosity test. And that's what you need to know to control moisture.

High porosity hair has many openings in the cuticle. These openings readily absorb water into the hair. That means in dry climates, these openings readily lose water to a dry environment. So you can be soft and lush at 8:00 a.m. and stiff and dry by 2:30 p.m. The best thing you can do to keep moisture in your hair is layer hydrated hair with cream and seal it with dense oils (see photo) to keep water from leaving.

Shea Butter works wonders for highly porous hair. This is an original, by the way.
Normal porosity hair has fewer openings, but still have enough to easily absorb water and nutrients and moisturizers. These can penetrate the hair and leave at a normal rate. So when the air is drier and colder, hair may need to be moisturized more often. Also, a nice, light oil to seal in moisture can only do good to normal strands (unless you have oily hair).

Low porosity hair has very few openings. This hair does not allow most things to penetrate the cuticle. Low porosity hair can be hard to color, hard to moisturize, and once saturated usually takes a long time to dry. The key to keeping moisture in this type of hair is gentle heat. Gentle heat lifts the cuticle layers and allows more hydration and moisture into the hair. Once the hair cools, the cuticles relax and since there aren't many openings, the moisture retention increases. Avoid heavy oils or greasy products. It will likely block the few openings on the hair, and cause a filmy buildup.

Results of my porosity test (from my instagram) 3 hours in. AND I cheated, lol.
I have low porosity.

That was a lot of information. But if you are reading this part, you made it through. And now you can make it through the winter with lush curls that aren't zapped by the dry air, or suffocated by products that it can't absorb. So... did I leave anything out?

What do you do to help retain moisture during the cold and dry winter season?

Nov 20, 2012

Stylist Chronicles: Kaneesha Martin at Mahogany Suites

Can Kaneesha handle all this!

Lucky me! Last month, a hair stylist, named Kaneesha Martin of Mahognay Suites in LaVergne, TN, contacted me about gifting me a styling service. Hmm . . . if someone wanted to tame this mane, why not?! Plus, I hadn't had my hair professionally done since going natural. This would be a great experience.

So, Keneesha and I set up a time, and I was on my way. I scheduled my appointment  right near wash day so she cold tame my hair in all it's madness. It was shrunken, slightly dry and definitely needing a wash. I knew my professional experience would be different because Kaneesha emailed me asking if I had any current issues with my hair. The service included a spa/steam treatment. She wanted to use products that would help with any issues I had. At this time, right after removing my braids, my hair was pretty dry and shedding.

Oct 15, 2012

Ashiya's Hair Diary: What Has Been Joined Together

If you're thinking of starting locs, the smartest thing you can do is take a picture of what you want your locs to look like when they are shoulder length with you.  This will give a good stylist the blueprint for forming your locs.  I was not so saavy at the time I started mine, so I did my best to describe them.  When I said "small in size", my stylist at the time took me literally.  Since then I've lost more locs than I care to remember simply because they were so thin.

Recently, a friend suggested that I combine some of my locs to make them stronger.  I really didn't consider it until I was introduced to singer-songwriter Valerie June. Valerie's locs are beautiful and their strength cannot be denied.  When I found out she combined some of her locs, I was all in! I started with two locs and over a three week period I had combined many of the locs in the front half of my head.  It was such an amazing difference!

While my locs won't be as full as Valerie's, I finally found  a good place for me.  Combining my locs changed the overall look of my hair AND it may have been what I needed to find real relief from chronic dry hair!  I can't believe I waited so long to give it a try.

Its going to take a bit of work to ensure the new locs form properly.  I've taken a cue from Chelsea Jackson of Chelsea Loves Yoga and look at the maintenance as a form of meditation

Maintenance became much easier after I watched this video from loc star, Chescalocs.  In this video, she shows how to smooth out frizzy locs and I love the trick for taming loose hair!  My "new locs" will be completely formed before we know it! 

Oct 8, 2012

Candice's Hair: Happily Weaveless

So I finally finished taking my hair down. It took a lot out of me. I found the best way was to cut the twists close to where my real hair was, spray, and then detangle each individual twist as I took it down. It took about 6 hours to remove the twists, but I felt so victorious and I was happy to be back to my own hair.


But now I have a new battle. My hair is SO DRY after removing extensions. I sprayed my hair with a leave in conditioner while I had the twists, but I guess no regular conditioning treatments left my hair thirsty. Not just regular thirsty, either. I mean dehydrated, middle of the desert, 'seeing hot oil treatment mirages' thirsty. The day I took my hair down, I went to the African Street Festival (have you seen the pictures? Click here for our facebook album. Or here for the blog.).  My hair didn't fully dry and I was out in the sun and heat for hours. NOT a good idea for dry hair. This only increased my hair woes.

After hours and hours of deep conditioning. (Two sessions of at least 2 hours in a week).
Better, but I still have a ways to go. 
After hours of conditioning, protein treatments, and 2 washes. And no, my hair didn't get mushy. I'm not exaggerating on the thirst of my hair. It's getting back on track. My ends are still colored, so I have to be extra gentle with them in order to continue retaining length.

It's almost fall, and I'm excited style my REAL hair. So I plan to keep conditioning so my styling won't damage my hair. I'm also wondering how I can make some of the Marley twist styles I posted work for my thick, kinky hair.
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