5 Tips for Stretching Between Relaxers

Stretching between relaxers has several advantages to the person who does it. The chief reason, is that stretching gives a clear line of demarcation between the new growth and the relaxed part of the hair; this lessens the occurrence of over-lapping or relaxing an already relaxed part of the head. There is also the added benefit of the hair growing in thicker and stronger than before. Hence, stretching between relaxers is something than can be considered if you want a healthier head of hair in the long run.

Here are five tips that will help you in your quest to stretch between relaxers.

1.      Embrace your new growth- It is not something to be ashamed of or treated with disdain. Your new growth is to be cultivated like a finely blooming flower; it is not a bad thing to have two different textures at the same time, think of the long term benefits of stretching, such as thicker hair when you finally relax or the fact that you will have less breakage over time when your line of demarcation is clearly seen by your stylist. However you want to spin it, embrace the new growth and nurture it.

2.      Moisturize your hair like never before- the truth is the more post relaxer you are the more moisture is needed for both your hair types, especially at the demarcation line. This area especially should be moisturized daily. There are a variety of ways that you can moisturize this area: condition wash every other day, do not use shampoos with sulfite to wash hair during your stretching time this can dry the hair and cause breakage, deep condition with a moisturizing conditioner every week and use a moisturizer every day. After moisturizing remember to seal in moisture with a natural oil, the very best oil to use as a sealer while stretching is castor oil, though this is debatable, it seems to be the preferred choice among persons who are known for long stretches.

3.      After moisturizing thoroughly every week, you will need to do a strand test to see if your hair needs added protein. This strand test includes, getting a wet piece of hair from your comb or that has naturally come out of your head and pull both ends, if the hair is very elastic, which means you pull and pull and it stretches like an elastic band, then protein is needed. Protein cannot be overlooked in hair care and is very useful for hair strength. If your hair needs protein, add light- weight proteins to your regimen, every two weeks or so. Light- weight protein includes products like: ORS Hair Mayonnaise, Motions CPR or you can add eggs or yogurt to your moisturizing mixture.

4.      Detangling can be a beast when dealing with your two- textured hair. It is advisable to use a detangling conditioner for a final rinse to get the hair as smooth as possible after washing.

5.      Wear your hair in curly hairstyles. This will make your relaxed hair and your straight hair blend in together somewhat and the styles are easy to do and ensure that there is low manipulation of your hair. Curly styles are a great way for you to blend in the two textures and practice low manipulation. Do not comb out curly styles, co-wash them out instead. Attempting to comb out curly styles will make your hair break easily.

 

Should You Relax Your Hair or Not?

I get this question a lot mostly from persons who have a very beautiful head of natural hair. I generally ask a question to follow up, why do you want to relax your hair?

The thing is, if you are considering getting a chemical process done to your hair you should have some reason for doing so and you should be prepared for the process in order to keep your hair healthy and strong.

Many persons have different reasons for getting their hair relaxed, here are a few I’ve heard:

  1. The hair is easier to manage.
  2. I want to let out my hair sometimes.
  3. I am tired of combing my natural hair.
  4. All my friends have one.
  5. I can’t wait to just catch up my hair in a sleek ponytail and go about my business.
  6. It looks better than my natural hair.
  7. I want to look more grown up.
  8. My hair is too hard to manage.
  9. I want my hair to look like ‘a favorite movie star or artiste.’
  10. My hair is too thick.

 

Different strokes for different folks and I listen to all the reasons and I see shades of my own reasoning in some of the responses when I wanted to relax my hair a couple years ago. The good thing about my particular situation is that my mother did not allow me to get my hair relaxed until I could take care of it properly.

That’s right, you have to be able to care for your hair before getting your hair relaxed, because lack of care will eventually result in ugly damaged hair and pretty soon you will wish that your hair was natural. Enough of my own opinion, here are some pros and cons for relaxing your hair:

Pros:

  • A relaxed head of hair takes less time to comb and to groom.
  • You can wear your hair in more versatile styles.
  • It takes less effort getting your hair curly when relaxed than to get your hair straight when natural.
  • Relaxed/processed hair allows you to see your hairs length easier than natural kinky hair.
  • Relaxed hair is easier to comb through and thus appears easier to manage.

Cons:

  • Relaxers contain chemicals that can damage your hair and scalp if not applied properly. Relaxed hair is weaker than natural hair, no matter how strong it may appear, so if you can’t handle your real, stronger hair you may suffer from the same hair problems with relaxed hair or worst.
  • Relaxing your hair leads to dryness. Extra care has to be taken to keep the hair moisturized or it will break. Additionally, a combination of protein treatments along with moisture has to be observed so that the relaxed hair can be stronger.
  • To have healthy, relaxed hair takes more effort than it seems to have your hair looking healthy.
  • Relaxing your hair means a whole new way of treating your hair it cannot be business as usual.
  • Relaxing your hair can be expensive to maintain.

I am sure that there are many more pros and cons but these ten points should get you moving toward making up your mind. Whatever you do, just remember that relaxing your hair is a permanent option, make sure that you are prepared with knowledge before taking this step.

 

Causes of Grey Hair

Recently, I met a group of women whose ages ranged from 40-65, all from the same family and only the oldest lady among them had a dusting of gray hair along her hairline. I found myself wondering what on earth did they use to dye their hair and still keep it so thick and strong looking.

When I asked I was laughed at, they did not use any hair dye and their grandmother, who was still alive at 90 something was not completely gray. I was shocked and a little envious; my family has a premature gray problem, sorry issue (in case my mother is reading this). The fact is, gray hair can be caused from a number of factors, it’s not only those persons who are 40 and above who have to do battle with gray hairs, younger folks have the same problem too. Here are the causes:

1. The aging process- the less melanin your body produces, the more likely you are to get gray hair. If your body loses melanin fast, then your hair will be gray fast. If your body does it in a timely manner then you will find one or two gray bits popping up all over your head. Of course, the general rule of thumb is that the older you get the more progressively gray your hair gets. Studies show that your chance of going gray increases 10-20% every decade after 30 years.

2.  Smoking- this bad habit wreaks havoc on your hair generally but it is known to give you gray hairs sooner than usual. Smokers are four times more likely to have gray hair than nonsmokers. Not only that, smoking is linked to accelerated hair loss.

3. Genetics- if the general theme in your family is to start graying at a certain age then it stands to reason that you might start graying at the same point.

4. Stress and tension- have you ever known somebody who has undergone trauma and has gone gray overnight it seems? Studies have shown that this happens when the  thicker, darker hairs stop growing suddenly and the new hairs populating the head are thinner and appear translucent in the light. This gives the impression of overnight grayness.

5. Medical Conditions – there are some medical conditions such as thyroid imbalance (hyper or hypothyroidism), intestinal problems, Crohn’s disease and celiac disease, which cause pre-mature grayness.

6. Diet- somehow it all comes back to diet, gray hair can be caused by a deficiency of some key vitamins including the main one vitamin B12.

Treatment

There are actually treatments for pre-mature gray hair, the process can be reversed completely, if you read the above list you can see that there are some practical things that you can do if you find that you are prematurely gray. If premature grayness does not run in the family or you are not suffering from one of the diseases above then you can incorporate more of the foods that can counteract gray hairs such as bananas and potatoes and up your intake of Vitamin B12, and stop smoking. These are simple and practical steps to take if you are self conscious about your grayness. The article: How to Cover Gray Hairs Naturally looks at some natural treatment options that can be used to cover your grays without resorting to hair coloring.

 

Breaking Hair Remedies

As was discussed earlier in a previous article, there are several reasons why hair breaks, some of the reasons are internal-nutrition, stress and some are external-excessive heat, relaxing. We will look at some of the remedies for breaking hair.

  1. Hair Relaxers

The chief remedy to avoid hair breaking with relaxers is to stop relaxing hair. Simple suggestion but not a choice several persons are willing to take at this point in their lives. Thankfully, there are several things you can do if you have relaxed hair to mitigate breakage.

(A)  Stretch your relaxing time, so that it is easy for your hairdresser to see the line demarcating your new growth from your processed hair.

(B)   Choose a professional hairdresser who knows not to, under any circumstance, to overlap or switch chemical processes on your hair. There are various chemicals in relaxers, find out what the main chemicals are-sodium hydroxide, calcium hydroxide etc. do not switch them. I learnt this the hard way. Switching chemicals is NOT a good thing. If you make the decision to switch a particular relaxer with another one with a different chemical as the main ingredient, than the one you were using, prepare for hair breakage.

(C)   Only relax your hair when your scalp is healthy. Meaning no dandruff or scabs or extremely dry hair conditions. Deep condition, hot oil treat or use specific treatments until your hair is healthy again.

(D)  Neutralize after relaxing. Never let anybody short change you on this one. Every professional hair dresser knows that neutralizing the hair will stop the chemical from breaking down your hair any further. If this step is skipped your hair will just keep breaking down further and further until it breaks horrendously all over.

(E)   Choose relaxers that contain conditioners or add conditioners to those that don’t for a better result.

(F)   Moving from kinky/curly hair to bone straight hair can cause severe breakage after a while. The further your hair is broken down the more likely it is to break, so extremely straight hair is very stressful on your strands. If you want to have stronger, longer hair you can explore the option of shortening your relaxer hair time or ‘texlaxing’, ask your hair dresser about shortening your relaxer hair time to preserve some of your hair’s tensile strength.

 

2. Hair Dyes

Using synthetic dyes for a long time is a definite hair breaker, my mother had long, thick African hair but after several years of dying her hair with synthetic dyes her hair is a shadow of what it used to be. One remedy to this is to embrace your greys, I know that this suggestion will not go down well with everyone, it certainly didn’t with my mother, so my next suggestion is to consider looking into organic dyes (like henna for orange/red color) henna with indigo (brunette/black colors). Additionally, these natural dyes offer sheen and nourishment for your hair. Buy henna with caution though, many of the henna products on the market are mixed with chemicals. Check to see that the henna you are using is 100% natural.

3. Brushing and Combing

Look at the tips of your brush bristle, is it ragged and uneven and hard? If it is, it is creating trouble for your hair. Do the skin test with your brushes, run it down your arm with the same vigour that you do your hair. It will be painful and it may scratch your skin, that  exactly  what it does to your hair and scalp. Stop using brushes all together and observe your hair for a while. You will find that the hair does much better without a brush.

4. Excessive Heat

Heat makes hair straighter and relaxes the hair bond temporarily, that is why pressed natural hair becomes straight when heat is applied to it. The hair may appear silkier and softer but it is actually weaker. Hence, if you regularly put heat on your hair through curling irons, straightening combs and blow dryers, you are actually weakening your hair and it becomes susceptible to breaking. Try air drying your hair more often, after washing it, wrap it for a straight outcome, braids and twists for a curly outcome or set the hair with rollers, and leave it to dry naturally. Just this one thing can mitigate hair breakage drastically.

5. Water and Nutrition

Lack of sufficient water can make hair dry so drink up more H2O, your hair will thank you for it. Also, there are certain nutrients that encourage the growth of hair, skin and nails. You can eat more foods that are strong in these nutrients and you will see your hair and skin responding. Crash diets and yoyo dieting are hair strand killers; try to eat balanced organic foods and you will experience a positive change overall.

6. Hair Styles

There are some hairstyles that pull the hair and tug the scalp overtime these hair styles can cause hair breakage at the pressure points. The remedies for hair style issues is to try styles that do not stress your scalp or your hair. If you are a person who loves to wear their hair in a particular way, try to change up the points where you add pressure to the hair. Also avoid metal clips or anything with sharp edges that can rub along your strands and break them off at certain points, padded clips and soft scrunches are best.

7. Ingredients in Hair Products

There are some ingredients that are not supposed to go near your hair. Unfortunately, they are in many commercial hair products on the market. These ingredients can cause your hair to break after prolonged usage. Check out the list here.

8. Stress

Work stress, home stress, school stress, relationship stress can all cause hair breakage. Excess stress is quite damaging to your body system, according to Dr. Julian Mendosa in the book Less Stress, the intelligent and positive response to stress is to control it and to channel it in a constructive way.

Hair breakage can cause anxiety and depression especially if you are not really sure what the problem is. It is not unusual to feel frustrated with your hair and to consider just chopping off all of it when it is not looking the way that you want it to. Before you take out the scissors or do anything else, do a quick rundown of the checklist of what could be causing your hair breakage and then apply the appropriate remedy. It is best to know what the underlying reason for your hair breakage is and rectify it before using any products that purport to fix or repair hair breakage.

 

 

Breaking Hair- Causes

It is normal for people to be defined or described by their hair. After all, it is the first thing that people see. It is not unusual for people to be described by the colour of their hair, the length of their hair, and whether their hair is relaxed or natural. So, it is understandable that women are very mindful of how their hair looks. Nobody wants to be described as the girl whose hair is shedding like a dog or the girl with the fly-away, thin-looking hair.

There are several reasons why hair breaks; the following is a list of them.

1. Hair Relaxers

Relaxers break down the hair cuticle and lay it flat. Ultimately, relaxers are the chief hair breaking culprit for black women especially:

(A)   if the root of the hair is not healthy,

(B)   the application was not done in the correct way,

(C)    if relaxer is applied to otherwise relaxed hair including hair ends,

(D)   switching of relaxers,

(E)    relaxing too often,

(F)    length of time it is kept in the hair,

(G)   not neutralising after relaxing.

2. Hair Dye

The constant use of hair dye is very bad for hair health. Synthetic dyes are made up of potent chemicals that will dry out the hair shaft and cause split ends.

3. Handling Hair (Combing, Brushing, Washing)

Combing and brushing puts pressure on your hair strands. Brushing black hair is a very stressful thing to do to your hair, especially if the hair is relaxed. Washing the hair with harsh shampoos and with a forceful agitation can cause hair to break.

4. Excessive Heat

Excessive heat makes hair brittle and dry. There are some staple heat appliances that are used to style hair that actually fry the hair.

5. Stress and Medications

Stress and medicine can lead to hair breakage. In cases like these, hair breakage will stop when the underlying issues are addressed.

 

6. Nutritional Deficiency

If all your efforts fail to stem hair breakage externally, may be the problem is internal. Nutritional deficiency is a very ready culprit especially if you are on a diet. There are several key vitamins and minerals that aid in hair growth, a deficiency in these can cause hair to shed like crazy. These are:

  • Vitamin B
  • Vitamin E
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Silica

7. Towel Drying

It goes without saying but just in case you towel dry your delicate hair strands, stop. The vigorous rubbing of a towel can break your hair at the weak areas.

8. Pulling

Tight braids and ponytails and twists supported by rubber bands can pull on the hair and cause breakage. If you can see the scalp in gathered rolls or you can’t move your head after a hairstyle then the style is too tight and it will break your hair.

9. Appliances

Curling irons, hair dryers, blow dryers and crimping irons are all possible ways to break hair if these appliances are used on a regular basis and used improperly.

10. Sunlight

Frequent or prolonged exposure to sunlight weakens the chemical structure of your hair.

11. Hair Oil/Mineral Oil/Petroleum

There are certain hair products containing mineral oil and petroleum that can dry out hair and cause hair breakage.

12. Chlorine from Swimming Pools and Municipal Water

Excessive exposure to chlorinated water can break hair. If your water supply is too hard for you to drink then it is hard for your hair.

 

Five Reasons to Make Your Own Hair Products

I know we live in a busy world and sometimes we wear so many hats as ladies that manufacturer of hair products is not one that you would want to add to your resume. However, there are some advantages in making your own thing, especially, if you are concerned about the harsh chemicals that are put in today’s beauty products. Here are five reasons:

1. It is economical- When you think about all the products that you have to buy in order to make your hair silky and smooth or curly and soft you have to admit that going in your pantry and taking some of what you bought to eat and can be used in your hair is the sensible way to go especially if they can do the same things that the commercialised offerings on the shelves of your supermarket or beauty shop claim that their products do. Frankly, many of the products that we buy have added harsh chemicals. Women who care about hair are always on the look out for something that works. So our product pile up gets pretty high and costs more in the long run than a simple ingredient or two that can be found at the health food store.

2. It is better for your hair- When you are knowledgeable about the products that can be used for hair; you are better able to choose the ones that are tailor-made to suit your unique hair situation. Instead of going out and buying something for dry hair, maybe you can pick something in your back yard that works as well and may be the key ingredient in the product that you bought. The funny thing about reading the product list on hair products is that many times the key ingredient is ranked so low at the bottom of the list when other things like fillers and chemicals that have absolutely no use to your hair are listed at the top. When you make your own product you can control how much of the key ingredient that your hair gets and this can only mean a healthier head of hair for you.

3. To avoid the bad stuff- There are plenty of bad stuff in the commercial products that we use. They are not only bad for our bodies but they are bad for the environment. When you make your own products you can avoid quite a few of the bad ingredients that are added.

4. To pass on good hair habits to your children- Children live what they learn, you are probably doing the same things that your mother did to her hair when she was growing up because she passed on the same hair values to you. My grandmother passed on some hair values to me that I can never forget and these are the use of egg as protein in hair and the use of coconut oil as a suitable replacement for all the fancy petroleum based oils on the market. So you can start a natural product revolution in your own home that can influence the state of your daughter’s mane in the future.

5. To Force The Hand of manufacturers-  hair  product manufacturers use questionable ingredients in hair products because they are cheap. The hair industry is worth billions, the major consumers of hair products are black women. If more black women educated themselves about the ingredients used in their hair products and took a stand against them then the status quo would change.

 

10 Foods That Enhance Hair Growth (Vegetarian Edition)

There are several foods that can give hair growth a boost if eaten in moderation. They contain the nutrients that enhance hair growth that will nourish the scalp for optimal results. The key to eating foods for hair growth is balance, a mixture of complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals are important to ensure that the hair grows strong and thick. Too much or too little of these key nutrients and the hair will not do too well. That’s why when your diet is unhealthy; the hair appears limp and dull and breaks easily.

There are several theories espoused by nutritionists on what to eat for hair growth, not surprisingly in the field of nutrition there are debates and counter-debates as to what are healthy foods to eat or not. For those persons (like myself) who would like a simple list of the nutrients that make the hair grow, here they are: protein, iron (absorbable), B complex vitamins, vitamin B12, folic acid and zinc. Of course, the body is made to be in balance so eating a variety of natural foods in a balanced way should be pretty good for hair. The following list is vegetarian based because that is my dietary preference generally.

1. Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

Chickpeas are a very good source of protein, vitamin B6 and Zinc. Protein is needed for hair growth, and zinc and vitamin A work together to prevent dandruff and hair loss. Chickpeas can be had in a variety of ways and it tastes yummy. Other beans like lentils and kidney beans also pack a wallop in the protein department.

2.Eggs or Egg Whites

Egg whites are a fabulous way to get a complete protein addition to your diet. It is also a very good source of riboflavin and selenium.

3. Salmon

Salmon are a great source of protein, B vitamins including B12 and other vitamins and minerals.

4. Almonds and Other Nuts

Another good source of protein for vegetarians are almonds. They are invaluable in their contribution to hair health. Almonds, arguably the king of the nuts are low in saturated fat and contain nutrients such as calcium and magnesium, 20-25 almonds (approximately one ounce) contain as much calcium as 1/4 cup of milk.

Other nuts, such as Brazil nuts, contain selenium, which is an important mineral for the health of your scalp. Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that may help condition your hair. They are also a terrific source of zinc, as are cashews, pecans, and almonds.

5. Oats

Oats is an excellent source of easily absorbable iron, which is important to your hair and heart. Not only that oats also contains a whole host of vitamins and also minerals such as, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium.

6.  Brown Rice

Complex carbohydrates, feed energy over a longer period of time than refined carbohydrates, brown rice is an ideal form of complex carbs, when eaten with protein, it keeps you full for longer and its good for your hair. It’s also a good source of B vitamins and fiber.

7. Cottage Cheese

Low-fat cottage cheese is a good protein and calcium source. Top it with some fresh berries for an added serving of fruit.

8. Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits are an excellent source of Vitamin C. Vitamin C works with Iron to allow better absorption of Iron. Additionally, Vitamin C helps with the creation of collagen, an essential part of hair growth.

9. Soybeans

Soybeans contain significant quantities of iron and vitamin E, which improves blood circulation to hair follicles.

10. Dark Green Vegetables

Spinach, broccoli, Swiss chard and callaloo are excellent sources of  vitamins A and C, which your body needs to produce sebum (the hairs natural oil) which is secreted by your hair follicles. Additionally, dark green vegetables provides the body with significant amounts of iron and calcium.

 

 

8 Foods That Are Bad For Hair

The truth is there are times when we crave what is unhealthy for us even if we know that we should not be eating them. However, there are times when we have hair issues and we are doing all that we can externally to repair hair and to get it to look healthy when the issue may be an internal one.

Recently, my scalp was tender and my hair looked limp and lifeless for no discernible reason, I was doing all the right things, however, I overlooked one important point, my diet was in the pits. I allowed my craving for sodium-laden foods to completely derail my efforts to maintain a healthy diet and my hair suffered. Luckily, I realized my mistake and got back on track in time before my hair started shedding in earnest.

The following foods are not healthy for the body and if they are an addition to your regular dietary faire they may cause some health issues in the long run.

1. Sugar

Say what? There are so many things that contain sugar that are so delicious. According to Nancy Appleton in her book, Lick the Sugar Habit, sugar is like a drug, *gasp* and there are more than 146 reasons to not use sugar in your diet. A few of the hair related reasons are:

  • Sugar can make our hair turn gray prematurely because of its aging effects.
  • Sugar can lower the amount of Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) in the blood; Vitamin E is essential for healthy hair growth.
  • Sugar causes a loss of tissue elasticity and function, the more sugar you eat the more elasticity and function you loose, our hair is the fastest growing tissue in the body.
  • Sugar can interfere with the absorption of protein, this goes without saying, protein is very important for the structure of bones, teeth and hair.
  • Sugar upsets the mineral relationships in the body. The B vitamins are very important to hair and sugar uses a lot of B’s when it is being digested, this could go towards your hair.

Does this mean no sugar whatsoever in your diet? Well no, it means that you should eat natural sources for your sugar intake, like fruits and vegetables (beets, carrots). If you can’t quit cold turkey, then do it gradually, sugar is not good for you.

 

2.  Sodium (Salt)

I have intense salt cravings and a love affair with Doritos and Fries. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, sodium should be limited to less than 2,300 mg a day — or 1,500 mg if you’re age 51 or older, or if you are black, or if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease. Sodium is essential to maintain the right balance of fluid in the body and for the contraction and relaxation of muscles, so it is not a substance that should be avoided all together. It should be had in moderation; sodium in excess of 2000mg (1/2 teaspoon) per day on an extended basis can cause hair to shed.

3. High Animal Protein

An ounce of meat or fish has approximately 7 grams of protein. An excess of animal protein can create uric acid build up in the blood because the body cannot digest the extra. This uric acid is bad for hair and can cause hair to shed.

4. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

Depends on who you talk to, MSG is a slow killer or it’s the best thing that has ever happened to the food industry. The US FDA classifies MSG as relatively safe, independent scientists say not! Unfortunately, for consumers, MSG is found in so many products including ‘health foods’ that it seems to be omni-present, once you eat processed foods any at all MSG or its derivatives are lurking somewhere. MSG is known to cause a variety of health problems including hair breakage. It can be found in salty snack chips, sausage, soups, luncheon meats and sauces.

5. Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are man made and unnatural and there is nothing healthy about them. There are documentations of artificial sweeteners leading to severe allergies, deafness, PMS, migraines and hair loss.

6. Artificial Color

If you would think twice about putting artificial coloring on your hair it should be a much bigger issue when it comes to your body. Avoid foods and drinks that use artificial colors, and don’t give them to your children either.

7. Enriched Bleached White Flour

According to Dr. Edward Group many of the good things that were originally in the wheat flour was stripped out and the iron that is added back to the flour is metallic iron and toxic! Metallic iron is not available for use by the body, and was never meant to be consumed in the first place. Enriched flour is absorbed by the body not as wheat or a grain, in which case your body could use the energy slowly and effectively, but as a starch. Enriched bleached white flour because has no fiber and no nutritional value. How does this affect your hair? Your hair needs the iron and other minerals and vitamins that are available in organic wheat flour to flourish and do well. Too much enriched white flour in your diet is not a good thing.

8. Soft Drinks

One tin of soda (12 ounces) contains (10 teaspoons of sugar!). Sugar was already addressed but apart from the sugar, sodas contain cornsyrup and artificial sweetners and colors and empty calories. Apart from the fact that soft drinks consumed over time will make you fat and cause tooth decay amon other things, this drink is dehydrating to the body and is one of the key causes of dry hair!

Honorary mentions include: full-fat cheeses and convenience foods. These two can cause an oily hair dandruff condition and dry scaly hair. It is best to eat natural the majority of the time to maintain a healthy body and luscious hair.

Source:

Nancy Appleton, Ph.D., Lick The Sugar Habit, Avery; 2nd edition (April 1, 1996)

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sodium/NU00284

http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/enriched-white-flour/

 

What’s Wrong With Wearing Your Real Hair?

I know I am going to get into trouble for this but I am tired of seeing black women wearing false hair. It is so prominent now that some people would not be caught dead without having their ‘hair’ on. The claim is that it makes them look better. Heavens help us! Some of the weaves, wigs and other attachments look so fake and unattractive that *I sah*. Anyway, I am really worked up for this blog because recently a lady died from her weave glue and I just found out she is Jamaican. I am not espousing that everyone go natural. I couldn’t talk, I have relaxed hair.

All I am saying is that when you take care of your real hair, you can cultivate it to look very good, and even better than the fake stuff that is thrown, glued or sewed on to the head. All it takes is a little research and stop listening to the old wives tales that say that black hair can’t grow. The persons who say that, have no real concept of the science behind hair growth and no idea that some of the very practices that we participate in like wearing weaves and braiding our hair is keeping it low, tough and dry. I originally started blogging and writing about hair because I wanted to share  what I researched about hair through the years and how my once shoulder length hair is now almost to my hips. I am not mixed, at least not in my immediate family, yet I grew my hair.

The thing is anybody can do it, it takes a while but your hair can grow to great lengths. I agree that not everybody is genetically programmed to have great hair lengths, however, if you treat your hair right  it will look healthy and full and you will have no need of wearing other people’s hair, I guess the case of the lady who died from her hair glue should indicate to us that some hair practices can kill you.

Here’s a general list of things that you need to do in order to have lush, manageable hair:

  • Forget store bought shampoos riddled with chemicals especially sodium laureate sulphate.
  • Using heat to dry hair is not good. Heat is not your friend, it creates bubbles on your hair surface and will make your hair break overtime.
  • Do not use hard hair brushes.
  • Moisture and protein balance very important for black hair.
  • Conditioner is key to moisture and sealing cracks on your hair shaft.
  • Petroleum and mineral oils only trap moisture already on the hair shaft, it does not moisturize.
  • Coconut oil, castor oil and olive oil are good hair oils to use.
  • Less is more, the less products with added chemicals you use, the better off your hair.
  • Relax your hair as infrequently as possible. Try stretching your relaxers and learn alternate ways to care for your two textures between relaxers.
  • Search and destroy split ends before they split up to your roots.
  • Eat a balanced diet and exercise.

That’s it in a nut shell, check out my site blackhair101 for lots more information.

 

Happy New Hair (I mean… year)

The following list is a compilation of hair resolutions from the ladies in my family, my friends and myself for the New Year. As women we usually aspire to do the best for hair, body, skin at the beginning of the year and we make resolutions. Fortunately, the resolutions listed below are not hard to adjust to and follow. Hence, it is quite likely that one or two or all of these resolutions will resound with you this year. For myself, I struggle with number seven and twelve every year and I am hoping that I will be consistent in the year to come.

Have a fabulous year, I wish for you long, luxurious locks for the coming year, more blessings than you can count and knowledge, wisdom and understanding.

Here are the resolutions:

1. I will cut off all my scraggly, uneven, chewed up looking, dried hair ends and start afresh for the New Year.

2. I will retain four to six inches of my hair this year, whether my hair is relaxed or natural, through a good moisture building and retaining hair regimen.

3. I will not be using products that will dry out my hair, these include sulfates which are found in most over the counter shampoos, I will shop for those with no harmful chemicals added and products that were made to cater to black hair.

4. I will remember that less is more and the less that I do with my hair, including hairstyles (that are too tight and complicated) combing and fiddling with my hair, the more hair I will be able to retain.

5. I will throw away my regular hard hairbrush or save it to brush off my carpet or other tough materials.

6. I will use more natural organic based products in my hair and I will stay away from dyes and hair colors with p-phenylenediamine (PPD), which is listed on the box of even non-permanent “natural” products.

7. I will wash hair once or twice per week, deep condition every week and seal in moisture with an organic oil, and wrap my hair with a silk scarf every night. I will remember to do these things even if I am on vacation.

8. I will love my hair even if it frustrates me. Additionally, I won’t call my daughter’s hair bad even if her hair frustrates me to comb it, I will step away from perpetuating the myth that black hair is not good hair and I will not alter her kinky curls by using chemicals just because I find it easier to comb.

9. I will not allow my hair to go dry and brittle, which includes using heat excessively. Air-drying will be my friend for at least three weeks out of the four weeks per month, till the end of the year. I will also use my flat iron, curling iron and blow dryer sparingly.

10. I will stand up to my hair dresser and let her know that she is not the boss of me, so whenever I do not want my hair to be cut, she can’t make me.

11. It is ridiculous to believe that petroleum and mineral oil are moisturizers, and I will not buy any product label that has these two ingredients as the first two ingredients on any so-called moisturizer.

12. I will eat properly and exercise because I realize that a good balanced diet and a consistent exercise regime will give my hair and skin added benefits.

13. I will go natural next year, I have not seen it natural for close to twenty years!

14. I will not wear wigs or weaves next year. I am going to learn to take care of my own hair.

15. I will read product labels on all my hair products and try to find out how good or bad they are before I buy them.

16. I will do a porosity test of my hair every two months to find out if it needs protein or moisture and treat it accordingly.

17. I will be using more organic hair products, including natural oils and concocting my own recipes.

18. I will refer black women who are thirsty for hair knowledge, to the relevant sites and books which can help them with their hair care issues, I will not be selfish and hoard information from my friends and co-workers just because I want to be the only black girl with long hair  that they know.

19. I want to retain my six inches of  hair to see it at my waist next year.

20. This year I am going to care for my hair so that it can be thick and have lots of body.

Have a fabulous year!