Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hair Practices: Co-washing

Hi Ladies,

Let's talk about the ever so popular co-washing. I remember when I first heard about co-washing it was such a weird concept at the time. I had just started my healthy hair journey and taking care of my natural hair was such a pain (I was natural at the time). Now, I dont think I can go a week without  it....

So to start, what exactly is co-washing?

Co-washing is washing your hair with conditioner. Yes, thats what I said, washing your hair with CONDITIONER.

Why would someone wash their hair with conditioner?? *confused face*

Traditionally, we all associate washing our hair with that sqeaking clean feeling that shampoo gives us.  This method of cleaning is what has been showcased in the media for years, but, what we fail to realise, is the race of the women and the type of hair in these commercials. Straight hair gets oily and weighed down faster because natural sebum can move freely down their strands. So in this case, once the hair is not processed, they can use shampoo to strip the oil from their strands. In a couple of days, because of their hair texture... their hair is going to get oily and weighed down again..and they shampoo again. This is fine for naturally straight hair that has not been processed in anyway.

We African women on the other hand, need to clean our hair using different methods. Our hair is naturally dry because its difficult for sebum to move down curly textured hair. Relaxed hair or any other type of processed hair is also dry because of the chemicals. This is why we all have that extra step of sealing in moisture. So how do you clean hair that deperately needs all the oils it can possibly get? 

Yep, thats it, COWASHING!!

When to co-wash?

Now just to clear things up, I am not against the use of shampoo. To answer the question, it depends on the individual.

I use diluted shampoo (containing sulfates) once a week on my wash day, then I follow up with a co-wash (instead of shampooing twice) and then a good deep condition. I use silicones, gels and heavy butters in my hair... so once a week I strip everything out to prevent build-up. I also co-wash mid week on Wednesdays.

How to co-wash?

Firstly, it's best to use a cheap conditioner because you are going to need alot of it. I think the best way to co-wash is to apply the conditioner to the length of the hair (not on the scalp as much), especially to the new growth if stretching or transitioning. Use a downward motion to apply the conditioner from root to ends, this helps move unwanted substances down and out of hair. You can also finger detangle at this time to remove shed hairs. Now to clean the scalp, stand under the shower, using the pressure of the water, rub your scalp in a circular motion using your finger pads. While you do this step, the conditoner should be washed out of your hair. Please do not pile your hair up to the top of your head like in the commercials...that is tanlge city.

Benefits of co-washing:

-Well first and foremost, the most obvious benefit is cleaning the hair without drying it out.

-If you exercise or swim regularly co-washing is definately a good way to clean the hair multiple times a week without drying it out. It is also excellent for people who naturally sweat alot in their heads.

- Co-washing makes detangling a breeze as it softens up the hair, this makes it very useful to transitioners and long tem stretchers. I always de-tangle when my hair is full of conditioner.

-If you use gels and other holding products its advisible not to leave these products in your hair for a long period of time, especially if your use gel everyday to hold down your edges. This is why I co-wash and re-style my hair mid-week.

Wow, I really didn't intend for the post to be this long but I really wanted you to understand this concept as it has made such a huge difference in my hair journey.

As usual, thanks for reading and feel free to ask questions/leave comments.

HHJ,

Ren









Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Healthy Hair Styling: Protective Styles

Hi Everyone,

Protective styles.... that seems to be the buzz word on Youtube lately so I just wanted to add my 2cents. Now firstly, what is a protective style? A protective style is any style where your ends are fully covered.

Benefits of protective styles:
-Key in retaining length as ends (oldest part of hair) are protected from frequent combing, rubbing on clothing, stress etc. If you notice the ends of your hair breaking off all over your bathroom counter and pillows this is the perfect time to do a protective style.

-Aids in stretching relaxers...with most protective styles the new growth is stretched and not being manipulated

-Just to give your hair a break from constant combing and stress on the strands.

 The key to protective styling is ensuring that the hair was deep conditioned well . The hair should then be sprayed with a leave-in/ water based spritz that contains glycerine  so that moisture would continue to be pulled into the hair (in tropical climates that's always humid) and sealed with a oil or butter.

After styling the hair ensure that you spritz it regularly (3-4 times a week)  with a water based leave-in that contains glycerine, aloe vera juice and light protein.This is very important especially for long-term protective styles like locs and weaves. Also, there is no need to try to seal in the moisture after the hair is styled by applying a butter or oil as this can cause build up on your hair and prevent moisture from getting in. However, butter can continue to be used to thicken up and lay down your edges.

Examples of protective styles


-Temporary loc extensions
For this style, my hair was braided and synthetic afro kinky hair was wrapped around each braid. Should be left in maximum of 2 months. One and a half to be on the safe side.




-Sew in Weaves
This can be full sew ins where are your hair is cornrowed or a partial sew in where some of your real hair is left out. Ofcourse in the case of the latter, it would be a partial protective style.





-Buns and Up Do's

 When using this type of protective style try not to manipulate the hair every day, style on wash day and preserve for the week adding accessories for a different look. Just a couple ideas below.


 



-Wigs, Half wigs,phony ponies and phony buns
Wigs, phony ponies and buns are all fully protective, a half wig gives partial protection unless the hair is styled in a way where the ends are tucked away.




NB: braidouts, twist outs, twists, bantu knot outs, flexi rod sets, roller sets etc. are low manipulation styles, they are not protective.

Hope this was helpful, as usual, feel free to ask questions.

God bless
Ren

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hair Theory: Sealing in Moisture

Hey guys,

Now that you have gotten all that moisture into your hair-shaft how do you keep it in there? Coming out of the hair structure post we see that there are cuticles on the outermost layer of the strand. These are like tiny scales... when they are open they allow substances to enter and leave the strand freely. The trick is to get them open inorder to get the desired substances inside, then to close them shut so that these substances are trapped inside. Below I am going to discuss some of the ways we can trap/seal moisture into our hair..

1. Ph

Our scalps natural sebum is acidic. Our hair thrives in slightly acidic environments as it closes the hair's cuticle. Diluted Apple cider vinegar and aloe vera juice are both acidic and are effective in closing the cuticle. The best ph range for our hair is 4.5-5.6 . You can also purchase ph testing strips to measure the ph of hair products as it is not normally listed on labels.  

2. Oils and butters
Oils  and butters seal moisture into the hair by forming a barrier over the cuticle. It does not close the cuticle but it covers it thus trapping water inside the strand. I like to post pics so I did a little experiment to show you what I mean. I know the results are obvious but just for fun...here goes

I put two cups with equal amounts of water outside for the same period of time (about one week) the only difference was that one cup had a layer of oil over the water.

                                                                  Before:
 

                                                                       After:
Results: The cup with the layer of oil had significantly more (almost half) water than the other one. The oil sealed the water and prevented it from evaporating. This is similar to how it works with our hair strands, using a hair butter on wet or damp hair is a good way to do this.


3. Temperature
Similar to our pores, heat opens the cuticle while cold closes it. It is a good habit to use cold water as your final rinse on wash day.

4.Silicones
Silicones are non-water soluble substances that can be found in most hair products. They operate in a similar manner to hair butters by forming a thin layer over the cuticles to prevent water loss from the strand. The reason silicones have become such a 'bad word' in the hair world is because they can cause build up on the hair strand which can prevent water from entering the shaft. It is wise to use a good clarifying/stripping shampoo when using silicones.

It is important to note that these methods are to be used on hair that has been deep conditioned and moisturised (wet/damp), It can actually harm your progress to use these methods on dry hair.


I hope this concept of sealing moisture into the hair has become clearer to you. It is vital to healthy hair and relatively easy to incorporate into your hair regimen.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more...

God Bless!!

Ren

Monday, February 6, 2012

Healthy Hair Styling: Bantu Knot Out

Ok ladies..I'm Back!!

Sorry that I have been MIA for a little while. But to make it up to you Im back with a healthy stretched style that is to die for.... the BANTU KNOT OUT!! Again these stretched styles are key in maintaining the health and length of our hair as it reduces tangles, single strand knots and painful damaging detangling sessions. It is also low manipulation & low maintenance which = less breakage/less stress on our strands

This style is even easier than a braidout for me and the results are just as beautiful. So the process for doing this style is very similar to the braidout: Wash and deep condition hair, spritz with leave-in, seal with hair butter, evenly distribute gel/holding product to each section then twist around and around until it starts to knot at the bottom.. continue to wrap the hair around itself until you reach to ends.

This is what it should look like when you are done:


I did 8 large knots and went under the dryer. The most important step to the process is allowing the hair to DRY COMPLETELY before taking the knots down.


This is what it looks like after the knots are unrolled. I then separate each curl into two pieces being careful not to disturb the curls too much.


And here is the finished style!!

What do you guys think?

I also wanted to talk to you a bit about night routines that would allow you to wear your hair in a stretched style like this for a  longer time, sometimes even up to a week. The key to maintaining this style is low manipulation. When going to bed, loosely pin the ends up, against your head making sure that you do not stretch the curl. They put on your satin bonnet

ABSOLUTELY DO NOT get your hair WET when in the shower, this would wreck the style immediately.

When the style is losing its form you can do the bantu knots on dry hair and let it re-form overnight or you can wear some cute messy buns and updos

Hope you guys will try the bantu knot out and that it would become an easy go-to style that you can rock with confidence.


Feel free to hit me up with any questions.

God bless,
Ren

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Hey everyone,

Just wanted to wish you guys God's grace, peace and blessings for 2012!!!

When a new year rolls around we all spend some time reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the new year with alot of hope. I believe that this new year is going to be an amazing year of growth/progress in each aspect of my life and to celebrate this hope/excitement.... guess what I did!!!!

I COLOURED MY HAIR!!! Well, part of it at least lol





I was just feeling to change things up a bit... its not too bright.. because im all about healthy hair.

What do you guys think? You like?
Ill do a post later on this week about taking care of colour treated hair!!

GOD BLESS!!