Tag Archives: natural hair

Six Benefits of Two Strand Twists

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Two strand twists are a staple style in the natural hair community and can be suitable for different hair lengths. Here are the benefits I have found by regularly styling my hair in this way. Putting your hair in two strand twists does not have to result in you looking like Celie in the color purple, or looking like a school girl. They can be both glamorous as well as practical. Here are six benefits:

Nikkimae's thick two strand twists.

Nikkimae’s chunky two strand twists.

Two strand twists are a great protective style

Styling your hair in this way is basically putting it away. There’s not much manipulation (if any) required, once this style is complete. Two strand twists are an excellent style for meeting your hair growth goals. It is very satisfying to see how much length has been retained once the twists are taken down. Even if you decide to wear your twists down, rather than pinning them up into an updo, you will at least be using a low manipulation style. Tucking your ends away will fully protect them and lead to even more length retention.

They are convenient

Although the initial installation of the twists can be time consuming, two strand twists save you time in the mornings. If you have a busy lifestyle and don’t have time to be styling your hair regularly, try two strand twists.  If done with the best method, they can last at least two weeks. They also work well for people who work out regularly as they hold up pretty well compared to styles that involve maintaining curls such as braid outs or twist outs.  When they start to look a little messy you can easily redo the front twists, rather than taking them all out and starting from scratch. They are also a practical style to do when going on holiday.

It is easier to moisturize your hair in two strand twists

To moisturize, simply spray lightly with water or a leave in conditioner and seal with a natural oil. Your hair is completely accessible with twists and you don’t have to worry about ruining the style. With other protective styles such as weaves and glued on wigs, your hair simply isn’t accessible. Any slight moisture with a twist-out can cause frizz and compromise the longevity of the style. This is not the case with two strand twists. Any frizz created is nothing that some water, aloe vera juice and a satin scarf couldn’t fix.

Two strand twists are very versatile

While your hair is in two strand twists, you can still enjoy many styles. They can be causal, formal,  intricate and original. Leave the twists down or pin them up into an updo. Combine the twists with flat twists or install them loosely for volume. They can be done large, medium or small, depending on your preference and how long you want to spend installing them. I enjoy wearing my twists in a bun, using a sock bun or pinning them to the side to create a low side ponytail. You can also try different decorative accessories, like flower clips and stylist head bands. Here are just some variations of two strand twists you can try.

  • Loose two strand twists
Loose two strand twists.

Loose two strand twists.

  • Twisted side bun 

This is one of my favourite two strand twist styles. I like to accessorize it with a large flower clip.  I also adapted this style to create a low side jumbo braid.

  • Intricate updos
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Updo

They create a great twist-out at the end of the week

If you have an event to go to, simply take them out gently and you will have a great twist-out. Smaller twists create more definition and larger ones more volume. You could leave your twists in during the week then take them down for the weekend. They don’t have to stop you from enjoying your hair, quite the opposite in fact.

They are relatively easy to maintain

As mentioned before, If your twists start to look messy, simply redo the front ones that are visible. If you want to redo the whole head you can use your existing twists as a template.   Re-twisting your existing twists saves you time sectioning and parting your hair all over again. You can extend the life of the style for as long as you choose to, or until your next wash day. Some people even wash their hair in the twists and simply re-twist.  This is likely to reduce knots and tangles and make the hair easier to manage during washing.

Here are a few quick tips for maintaining your twists.

  • Keep your edges neat by spraying them lightly with water and putting your satin scarf on firmly. After 10-15 minutes your edges should be laid flat and neat.
  • Use aloe vera juice to banish frizz. The Ph level of aloe vera causes the hair cuticles to lay flat on contact. The result is less frizz and more shine. You can use aloe vera gel on your edges or lightly spray the juice all over your twists.
  • Use a rat-tail comb to part your hair neatly when installing the twists. This will help them appear neat for longer.
  • It is easier to install them on stretched hair as well, especially if you want length. You can stretch your hair using a blow dryer (try the tension method) or a heatless method.
  • If your twists start to shrink and you want your length back, wrap your twists at night. This is done in the same way relaxed hair is wrapped. Take a few twist at a time and wrap them in one direction around your head and pin down.
High Bun with Two Strand Twists

High Bun with Two Strand Twists

Do you wear two strand twists? Share your styling tips below.

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Another Celeb Showcases their Natural Hair

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Porsha Williams is yet another celebrity to reveal what’s underneath their weave, on Instagram. The Dish Nation and Real Housewives star took a quick selfie with her natural hair, just before installing her trademark waist length weave, captioning it: “Natural for 2.5 sections”. Many commented rightly on how beautiful her hair was and even how healthy her edges looked.  It does make me wonder why many celebrities continue to cover their natural tresses with weaves or wigs of a completely different hair texture. Perhaps their natural afro-textured hair isn’t considered glamorous enough for their world.

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Porsha recently posted this picture on Instagram

Many claim it is simply to ‘protect’ their hair. I understand that weaves and wigs can be a great protective style, and celebrities often manipulate their hair for events, photo shoots etc. However, too much of anything is never good and we have seen the effects of perpetual weaving from such celebrities as Naomi Campbell, Countess Vaughn and Tamar Braxton. The thinning of the hairline or hair in general, can often result, especially if they use chemicals as well. Maybe this is why such celebs take the ‘ real hair’ selfies, to prove that not all of them are balding under their weaves, and they could rock their natural hair if they wanted to. So why don’t they, ever? Of course a person can do whatever they want with their hair, and asking such questions runs the risk of being called a ‘natural hair Nazi’. However I have previously pointed out the benefits of not being over reliant on weaves and wigs and I stand by this.

Tamar Braxton

Tamar Braxton

Porsha currently has her own online business selling weaves called Go Naked Hair – ironically, truly ‘going naked’ would perhaps be to take the weave off – so she obviously has a vested interest in wearing and promoting weaves. Most people would kill to know where their favorite celebrities obtained their weaves! The point is, she is getting paid to wear weaves (it’s her business) and present a certain image of herself.  So it’s understandable why she prefers weaves to her natural hair. Many in the entertainment industry such as Beyoncé and Rihanna are getting paid to dress and present themselves a certain way.

Nikki Minaj may not have received as much attention or been considered controversial had she not worn those elaborate, multi-colored weaves for years. Her real hair also appears to be long and healthy but was never seen until her ‘real hair’ selfie. I hope we can teach our young girls to consider this and not be heavily influenced by pop culture, especially when it comes to their appearance. I’m seeing girls younger and younger with waist length Kim Kardashian-esque weaves. Unfortunately, some of us end up looking like we are in costumes every day, emulating celebrities who wear such weaves to perform in shows and on TV.

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj

Porsha’s hair looked beautiful, and many accredited it to using the weave as a protective style. It appears to be natural as well. Some celebs use the term ‘natural hair’ when they are showcasing their chemically straightened hair, but that’s another debate entirely.  There are women in the entertainment industry who wear their hair natural, Janelle Monroe, Solange Knowles and Esperanza Spalding for instance. Occasionally we see some of them wear wigs or weaves, including those which match their natural hair texture, but their natural hair is their trademark style. This dispels the myth that we need to rely on weaves to protect our hair, women of other races do not have to do this. It seems to be more to do with image than protective styling.  It would be a shame if a person went most of their adult life, never experiencing their natural hair, other than for ‘2.5 seconds’ just before installing yet another weave. Especially when their natural hair is so beautiful.

Esperanza Spalding

Esperanza Spalding

What do you think of these ‘real hair’ selfies? Share your thoughts below.

Is your hair preventing you from working out consistently?

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Since the Madam CJ Walker’s straightening tools were invented, working out has conflicted with hair styling and maintenance, for many in the black community. People would straighten their kinks and curls, but any slight moisture on the scalp would cause their precious straight hair to revert back. The time and pain experienced during this process, meant that reverting back so quickly was not an option. Parents would  warn their little girls to look after their hair, to preserve the style for as long as possible. Even playing outside and running around could pose a threat to the hair.  In an 1982 article by Ebony Magazine, reader Pam Proctor recounts the many missed opportunities to swim or participate in sports because her hair would ‘go back’.  Then came the years of relaxers, which, are still going on til this day.  Some subscribed to this notion of ‘sweating out the perm’. This may be why stereotypes have  formed about black women in particular, not participating in swimming.  Not wanting to get their hair or weave wet, has typically been a reason given for avoiding it.  Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, but many of these stereotypes started because of hair..

So how have attitudes changed since then? With access to the internet and the growth of the information age, people are becoming more informed about health and fitness. More of us, from all races and backgrounds are learning about prevention rather than cure. People are taking responsibility for their health and know that a lifetime of dependency on prescription drugs and medicines isn’t their only option.  Unfortunately, certain diseases are attributed more towards people of African descent (type 2 diabetes, certain cancers for instance). Most health problems are connected to poor diet and a lack of physical activity, Staying active is a huge step towards taking control of your health and breaking the cycle of disease.

Hair should be the last thing that prevents you from working out. For those who don’t want to be another stereotype or statistic; here are some tips on staying motivated to workout and not allowing your hair to get in the way.

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Plan your hairstyles around your working out, not the other way around

After styling your hair in a fresh twist out or spending an uncomfortable night with your hair in flexi-rods, the last thing you want to do is go to the gym and sweat profusely. A fresh new hairstyle can instantly switch your mind off workout mode. However, you could workout Monday to Friday and do a new style for the weekend. Consider flat ironing your hair as a treat rather than a necessity. Even if you regularly flat-iron, you can still wear curly and wavy styles, don’t be so hung up on achieving that bone straight look all the time.  You could even plan your styles around certain workouts that aren’t as strenuous. If it’s cardio day tomorrow, keep the hair in a bun, but if it’s weights day, your hair should not get too frizzy. If you have a special occasion coming up, you could prep your hair after your workout, and it will be ready for the event the next day.

Find your workout hair style

This depends on how you are styling your hair for the week. A protective style is probably the easiest style to manage when working out. Two strand twists, pinned up or put into a ponytail, work well. I prefer to put my hair in a puff, as it is the most convenient style for me.  If I want to preserve a twist out or curly style, I work out with my hair in a loose pineapple. Go for a style that keeps the ends of your hair away from your neck and off your forehead, so they remain dry. If your ends remain dry, your twist-out will still be somewhat evident, even if the roots become a little damp or frizzy.  I also find wash and gos hold up well when working out. To maintain a wash and go, I put my hair in low pigtails. Then I take them down when I am finished, give the hair a little shake, and I am ready to go.african-american-woman-running-400x295-300x295

Keep your hair up for as long as possible, after a workout

Unless you are taking your hair down to wash, perhaps leave it in a puff or pineapple. This will prevent your ends from becoming frizzy while your scalp dries.  It will also keep the hair taut at the roots so your hair is more stretched when it is taken down.

Avoid working out with your scarf or bonnet on

Sweating helps to regulate your body temperature by removing excess heat. We usually lose a lot of heat from our head. A scarf may cause you to retain more heat during a workout, as the heat is restricted from escaping. It is important that your scalp remains breathable, so the body does not become overheated. This can end up having a negative impact on your workout overall. If you want to keep your hair sleek, spray your hair with a mist of water after your workout, and then put the scarf on to sleek the hair and edges down. After 15 minutes or so, the hair will appear sleeker once the scarf is removed. From my experience wearing a scarf while working out never really prevented my hair from becoming frizzy anyway.

Practice co-washing more frequently

If you are working out during the week you will want to wash your hair more frequently. Many would want to avoid exposing their hair to frequent shampooing because of the drying effect this can have. Frequent co-washing is considered kinder to the hair and even moisturizing. Wash and gos may also work well for this reason. Check out the post: Stretching and styling your hair after washing for convenient styling ideas.


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Focus on the benefits of working out

Frizzy hair is not as serious as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stress or depression. Just a few health issues exercise has been proven to prevent or treat. The hair challenges that exercise may present, are minor in relation to the benefits. Such benefits will not be seen unless you workout consistently and make it a lifestyle rather than just a New Year fad. People who exercise also have a longer life expectancy and generally are better off physically and mentally. Besides, when you take care of your body, your hair and skin will thank you for it!

We have all been guilty of it at some point. How do you manage your hair when working out? Share your tips below.

Halle Berry takes ex to court for straightening their daughter’s hair

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It has been reported that Halle Berry has taken Gabriel Aubrey to court, claiming that he has straightened their daughter’s naturally curly hair. Halle is reported to be furious that Gabriel has straightened their six-year-old daughter’s hair and has appeared to have lightened it with highlights.  She is convinced it’s because he does not want their daughter to appear African-American. Court papers also reveal allegations that Aubry made racial slurs towards Halle in the past.

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In court documents, Halle said, as a result, Aubry has caused Nahla ‘potential psychological and physical damage’. It could also cause her to wonder ‘why her natural appearance is not good enough’.  The judge ruled that both parents must allow their daughter’s hair to grow back naturally and are not allowed to change its natural state.2378FE8F00000578-2847893-image-4_1416866316156

The couple split in 2010 and have had various court battles over custody and child support. They have joint custody of Nahla and Halle currently pays Aubry $16 000 a month in child support.

What are your thoughts on this? Many have commented, by saying that the girl is far too young to have her hair straightened or touched with chemicals, in any way. I would have to agree. However, chemical relaxers and heat straightening (remember the hot combs?) are the norm for young girls in the black community. If we are outraged when white people do it, we should be equally outraged when we hear about girls- younger than Nahla- subjected to much more drastic measures, within the black community. All to fit a European standard of beauty.

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Share your thoughts below.

Where do your hair extensions really come from?

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I remember when the choice of hair weaves for black women were limited.  At the local beauty supply, you would find the obvious synthetic hair, and brands labelled ‘human hair’.  But such hair was actually made from synthetic fibers, designed to mimic human hair. Whether this was clever marketing or blatant false advertising, such companies managed to get away with this.  Today, with the wealth of hair extensions now available, the choice has definitely improved.  Unfortunately, the deceptive marketing still exists.

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Asian, Brazilian and Russian hair are well sought after. Many weave wearers envision women in other countries, with hip length hair, going to an organization to sell or donate their hair and have it carefully removed.  Many are under this illusion that such hair is handled meticulously with the highest standard of care, before reaching worldwide markets.  This couldn’t be further from the reality.  Sam Piranty, for his article: the salons that hope you can’t tell goats and humans apart, traveled to China to examine the hair extension industry. He found that most of the hair, produced in Hunan province, is a mixture of human and goat hair. This hair is mainly sold to African clients; including Nigerians, Ghanaians, Congolese and South Africans.  He interviewed a Chinese shop owner, who said that such hair use to be sold in Europe and America. “We say it is Indian hair or Brazilian hair, but in fact it is normally Chinese hair or even goat hair. They never realize. This is the only way we can keep things cheap”, said Lilly, a Chinese beauty supply owner.

A mixture of human and goat hair.

A mixture of human and goat hair.

Riqua Hailes, owner of Just Extensions in Los Angeles and The Weave Express in Washington D.C, traveled to various Asian countries, to see firsthand where the hair comes from. She was prompted to do this after finding inconsistencies in the hair extensions she received from suppliers. She traveled to China, Cambodia, Malaysia and India.  She will also be travelling to Brazil and Russia  later in the year.

China

Most human hair extensions or weaves are labelled with the names of various countries, indicating the origin.  Many women today are choosing to spend more money on weaves, hair extensions and wigs. Rather than  buying synthetic hair, which doesn’t last as long and knots easily, many are choosing to invest hundreds of dollars in human hair.  When a packet of hair extensions is labelled Brazilian, Malaysian or Indian, people are willing to pay a lot more money for it.  Women like the option of curling their weaves, applying heat and wetting the hair. All of which isn’t always possible with cheaper synthetic hair. Manufacturers know that these labels create an image of quality. “Chinese hair is often considered cheap in the extensions industry, because it isn’t donated hair” says Hailes. “So in order to be on the same playing field as other exporters, they will market it as Brazilian or Malaysian hair, which can go for twice the money”.

The hair that comes from China is imported from India. But it is not from women who come forward to donate the hair. Neither is it removed meticulously and stored in the best conditions.  It is simply collected shed hair, gathered from the salon floors and, hair brushes. Hair of this kind is referred to as non-Remy hair.  “Non-Remy hair is less desirable in the extensions industry. But China collects this hair, cleans it and mislabels it as being from a higher-quality hair extension source like Brazil, Russia or India”, says Hailes.  So such hair can come from a number of different people, be gathered from the floor, combs or hair brushes in India or China, and be labeled Brazilian hair.

Production Practices

Another point to remember is that the standards of hygiene in developing countries will not be as strict as they are in Western Countries, like the United States. Strict regulations for how such products are cleaned, stored, transported and produced are unlikely to exist or be enforced. So don’t be taken in by the glossy packaging and the picture on the front. You have no way of knowing for sure what the hair has been exposed to or even where or who it came from. The hair is usually treated with chemicals, the effects of which are unknown until a person has a reaction to them.

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In Cambodia, Hailes found women who sold their hair, for as little as $5 to $8.  Many felt like they had no choice and were doing it to feed their families.  In India thousands of pilgrims visit community temples to donate their hair. Shaving their heads symbolizes washing away the past and a fresh start. Hindus believe sacrificing their hair to the gods will lead to their prayers being answered. Some do this once, while others may do it annually. The hair is auctioned off and some of the money goes towards funding community projects.  You may remember seeing images of this in the Chris Rock movie Good Hair. Check the labels of your weaves and hair extensions. If it is labelled Indian, Malaysian or Brazilian but says it is distributed from China, it is probably deceptive. Smell the hair as well, as shed hair will have a smell of acid and silicone.

Malaysia

Upon travelling to Malaysia, she concluded that ‘Malaysian hair’ doesn’t exist. Hair labelled ‘Malaysian’ is typically purchased directly from China.  There is unlikely to be one distinct feature of Malaysian or Brazilian hair anyway. Both countries consist of people from different ethnic origins and backgrounds. As a Brazilian person can have African, European or Asian ancestry, what would constitute Brazilian hair? You will find many different hair types there; from Afro-kinky to straight hair. In Malaysia, there are different ethnic groups, including Chinese and Indian, all of which may vary in hair textures. I await her report from her visit to Brazil, but it wouldn’t surprise me if she comes to the same conclusion.  The hair is produced and shipped from China, but simply labelled Malaysian or Brazilian, to make it competitive and give the illusion of better quality.

In Conclusion

1. Wash your hair extensions or wigs before use.

The reality is, most hair extensions are produced in countries that do not have the same laws and sanctions for production practice that exist in western countries. To ensure that the hair is clean, gently co-wash it and allow it to air dry before use. If it is human hair and of the quality it claims to be, this should not damage the hair.

2. Read labels

If the hair claims to be from India, Russia or Brazil, check the shipping information. If it was shipped from China, it is likely to be misleading information and is probably hair produced there. Remember that Malaysian hair was found to not exist.

3. Don’t fall for gimmicks

The texture and quality of the hair speak for itself. The shipping information tell you where the hair really came from. Unfortunately, when it comes to hair extensions, you don’t always get what you pay for.  Don’t be so quick to part with your money just because clever or even deceptive marketing is used. Hair produced in China is often shed hair collected from brushes and salon floors, labelled to deceived consumers and charge twice as much as it is worth. They are even willing to sell goat hair as human hair. Do not be deceived.

4. Examine your hair extensions closely

Remember to take note of the  feel and smell of the hair. Hair that has been put through chemical cleaning will have a harsher texture. It will also have a strong chemical and silicone odor. These are signs of hair that has been produced in China using the practices mentioned previously.

5. Treat weave or extensions as an occasional luxury, not a necessity

No one, who is in good health, should have to depend on weaves or hair extensions. When there is a dependency, there is a certain desperation  to have it.   Black women fund this industry more than any other group, yet most of this money doesn’t even go to black owned businesses. The growth in the natural hair industry has seen a growth in black owned businesses within the hair and beauty sector. More and more women are learning to love their natural afro textured hair. We are even producing and purchasing wigs, weaves and hair extensions that reflect our natural hair, rather than sourcing Asian or Brazilian hair that may not look as natural on us.

Be sure to check out both articles:

The salons that hope you can’t tell goats and humans apart.   http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-28894757

The real story behind where your hair extensions come from.

https://www.yahoo.com/beauty/the-real-story-behind-where-your-hair-extensions-come-101266901210.html

Were you surprised by this information? Do you trust where you purchase your hair extensions from? Share your thoughts below.

Products in Australia for Natural Hair

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Since moving to Australia I have had to say goodbye to Shea Moisture products and access to all the products showcased by of my favorite vloggers and bloggers. Even in the UK there is much more access to American based products online, through sites such as beautybyzara.com. So far in Australia, although there have been attempts to provide this, it has not been successful. Most of the products are available on ebay.com.au, but the shipping costs get you every time. Beware of sellers that offer ‘free shipping’. They usually double the price of the item before they offer it.

However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t products available to women with naturally curly or kinky hair, here in Oz. If you find products with all natural  ingredients, it is likely to be suitable for your hair type. It may not be marketed towards our specific demographic, but that doesn’t mean it will not work well with your hair.

I have always been a ‘just juices and berries’ kind of girl.  As long as I can order shea butter online, have access to natural oils and can make my own flaxseed (Linseed) gel for styling, I’m pretty much sorted. I also use the Terressential Mud wash for washing my hair, which I purchased in the US. I stocked up on some products  last time I visited the States and I plan on doing the same when I go to the UK. Prices here in Australia are distressing to say the least, so it makes sense to stock up whenever you travel outside the country. However, not everyone has that opportunity.  So over the next few weeks I will be sharing the products I have bought and used, right here in Australia.

Shampoo – Giovanni Brazilian Keratin and Argan Oil

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I decided to try a new wash and go technique (I’m determined to succeed and won’t let this go 😀 ). It stressed the importance of clarifying the hair before attempting to define your curls. The Giovanni Tripple Treat Shampoo was recommended for clarifying. Giovanni products are now available in Australia. Try your local health food store like Healthy Life, which are found in Westfield Shopping Centres. They should have Giovanni products in store. If not they can order any for you. It can take up to two weeks to receive your goods though. They didn’t have this particular brand in store so I chose to use one that was on the shelf. I wasn’t patient enough to wait two weeks.

Instead, I  purchased Giovanni Brazilian Keratin and Argan Oil Ultra -Sleek Shampoo.  This claims to clarify and moisturize as well as: smooth every strand, create shine, and banish frizz.   It also states to contain no phthalates, artificial fragrance, dyes, sulfates, parabens and PEGs.  It is said to be for all hair types.

Here are the ingredients:

 Aqua (purified water), sodium cocomphoacetate, decyl glucoside, sodium lauroyl sarcosinate, cocomidopropyl betaine, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, panthenol (pro-vitamin B5), beta carotene, guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, argonia spinosa (argon) kernel oil, hydrolyzed poulinia cupana (Brazilian cocoa) keratin extract [phyto-keratin], aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice, aspalathus linearis (rooibos tea) extract, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, macadamia ternifolia (macadamia) seed extract, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter) extract, sodium benzoate, citric acid, potassium sorbate, polysorbate 20, gylcol distearate, sodium PCA, phenoxyethanol, natural fragrance

Note: sulfate-free shampoos may not contain sodium lauryl or laureth sulfate, but may still contain other surfactants,  for cleansing and forming.  Sodium lauroyl sarcosinate for instance.  These can still have a drying effect on some hair types. But for deep cleansing or clarifying, such detergents are considered necessary.

I have been so use to co-washing and using the mud wash that I had forgotten what it felt like to experience rich lather when washing my hair. It was great, my hair was lathering up a storm. It removed all residue thoroughly. My hair literally felt squeaky clean. Prior to using this shampoo, I would use Apple Cider Vinegar. This shampoo felt stronger than the vinegar for clarifying and I believe it was more through in removing residue.

I was concerned that my hair was going to dry out and I couldn’t wait to put conditioner in it. After conditioning, the balance was restored.   My hair felt both clean but moisturized. Make sure the conditioner to follow is  rich and creamy and doesn’t have any silicones or other harmful ingredients.  Even when using the shampoo, my hair didn’t feel dry. It simply didn’t have any slip because it was so clean. I wouldn’t equate this to drying my hair out.

I personally wouldn’t use this shampoo too frequently unless I was going swimming often. If you regularly use products which contain synthetic ingredients such as silicones, mineral oil or petroleum, perhaps you would need to clarify more often.   I would probably use it once a month or whenever I felt it was necessary.

After using this shampoo, I noticed that my curls were more defined than ever. This was simply because there was no residue to weigh down the strands, at all. This shampoo also contains frizz fighting ingredients such as aloe vera.  The keratin protein will work to strengthen the hair and reinforce it’s natural curl pattern.  Therefore this type of shampoo may work in treating hair that is suffering from heat damage.  It is better to use this in conjunction with products that are moisture based rather than protein based. This will ensure that the hair maintains an appropriate protein to moisture balance.   I have ordered the Triple Treat shampoo, so I look forward to trying this one as well.

Please be aware that results may vary depending on your hair type and hair needs.  This is not a sponsored post just my own opinions :).

Stay tuned for some more product reviews next week.   Have you tried this shampoo or any Giovanni products? If you live in Australia, which shampoos have you tried?

Hair Care for Children

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Last week there was a lot of debate about baby Blue Ivy’s hair, after a ridiculous petition was created on change.org to ‘comb her hair.  It received over 3500 signatures.  It also brought natural hair into the forefront again and made me question if the stereotypes about it still exist. The woman who started the petition claims to have natural hair herself and has since said it was a joke. Perhaps people should think twice before ‘joking’ about somebody’s child or ridiculing a baby’s hair. So, what is good practice when it comes to hair care for children at various stages?  Here are 6 points that I believe are important for managing our children’s hair. Stayed tuned for more next week.

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Less is more when it comes to newborns and babies under 2 years

Not much should be done with their hair at this stage as their scalps are very sensitive; any manipulation is likely to cause damage or pain.   The hair fibers will  be developing and changing rapidly. In the early months their hair is usually fine, wavy or curly. As they grow, their hair will develop more texture. Most of us have baby pictures of ourselves with softer, loosely curled hair and probably believe it is a contrast to our hair now.  It is also common for newborns and young babies to have uneven hair and bald spots . The most likely area for a bald spot is at the back of their head. This is due to them constantly sleeping on their backs and the friction caused by rubbing. To prevent or minimize this, rub a little coconut oil on the affected area to protect it and lay them on a satin blanket.

Shampoos are not considered necessary at this stage either; a simple rinsing with warm water will suffice.  As the hair grows in texture and thickness, co-washing can be introduced.  A light moisturizer may be used daily to  style and nourish the hair.  As the hair thickens, a thicker moisturizer can be used, followed by a light oil for sealing.

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More moisture is needed for toddler years and older

As a child’s hair texture thickens and matures, the hair fibers will require more moisture, to keep them supple and pliable. A lack of adequate moisture will weaken the hair and lead to breakage. Avoid products that are too harsh for textured hair. With the growth of the natural hair community, there are now a plethora of products catered to natural hair.  Many of these products are 100% natural and free from drying ingredients, like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or silicones. There are a number of kinder shampoo and conditioners that are sulphate-free. Use conditioners that are rich and creamy for adequate slip when washing and detangling.

Low manipulation styling is key

Low manipulation styling should be practiced as the norm. Avoid heat, chemical relaxers and weaves (yes I have seen young children with weaves), as these can hinder healthy growth.  Traction alopecia is most prevalent with women and young girls of African descent. This is a cycle that must be broken.  Most of our bad habits relating to hair started in childhood.  The reasons we are known as the race with the shortest hair is because of generations of chemical use, excessive heat,  lack of knowledge about our natural hair and, an over-reliance on tight weaves and braids.  It is not because there is anything inherently wrong with our natural hair, or because it doesn’t grow.

Don’t fall for marketing gimmicks.

Be wary of marketing gimmicks such as ‘no tears’ formulas in baby shampoos.  These products are marketed as being gentle, but are just as strong and drying as adult shampoos. They still contain high dosages of detergents and surfactants. Being easy on the eyes should not be the only qualifying factor, as they can still be harsh on the hair and have little conditioning values. Afro-textured hair is prone to dryness by its nature. Baby shampoos strip already fragile curly or kinky hair types, leaving the hair shaft unprotected.

Also, be aware that relaxers targeted at children are not gentler than adult relaxers, the ingredients are the same. The only difference is the children on the packaging. The same goes for texturizers, which work the  same as relaxers. Both use the same ingredients, either sodium hydroxide or Calcium hydroxide.  They permanently alter the natural curl pattern, strip the hair of its elasticity and straighten kinkier hair textures. Texturizers rarely leave the hair wavy or curly like it appears on the box.

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Consider using no shampoo and conditioner for the under 5s

A shampoo free regimen is best for those under five years of age. Young children this age typically do not need to use shampoo of any kind on their textured hair, unless it has been heavily soiled (food, playing in the sandbox, swimming etc).  No shampoo or conditioner-regimens insure that moisture is reinforced within the strands and is not depleted due to the harsh detergents found in shampoos. This may be a method to consider if your child’s hair continues to suffer from excessive dryness no matter what shampoo you use.

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Butters, oils and leave in conditioners

There are many products with petroleum and mineral oil that claim to combat dryness.  Instead, these ingredients coat the hair and prevent moisture from being absorbed. This leads to dryness and causes a dependency on the product, causing you to constantly reapply it for temporary relief.  Such products have resulted in dry, weighed down tresses for many of our children.  Baby oil is 100 percent mineral oil for instance.  Instead use natural oils such as coconut oil, grapeseed oil or avocado oil, for sealing and styling.  The type of moisturizer used depends on your child’s hair type. Thicker, kinkier hair works well with heavier butters and creams, whereas looser curls and finer hair would need lighter products, so it is not weighed down.

The simple use of water in a spray bottle will suffice, or a water based spray or leave in conditioner can be used. You can purchase detangling sprays, leave-in conditioners, creams, custards or simply make your own water, oil and conditioner concoction.  Nourishing butters such as avocado, cocoa, mango and shea can also be used instead of mineral oil or petroleum.  The same moisture-sealing rules apply with children. Hair must be moisturized with water, or a water based moisturizer and sealed with an oil or butter.  This will help the hair retain moisture, promote shine and improve manageability.

Shea Moisture for Kids

Shea Moisture for Kids

Next week will include: appropriate hair tools, methods of styling and washing your children’s hair.

Please share your hair care tips for children below?  What did you think about the Blue Ivy hair petition?

 

Sources: babycenter.com

Davis-Sivasothy; The Science of Black Hair

The “fringe sign” for public education on traction alopecia:

http://escholarship.org/uc/item/1h81c7s1