Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cleansing Conditioner: New Hype or Hair Care Treasure?

Well, in the midst of pre-poo’s, conditioner washes (CW), deep conditioners, and leave in conditioners, emerges cleansing conditioners. They are the hottest thing on the market right now; touted for producing clean, hydrated, silky hair. The WEN cleansing system and its Sally’s Beauty knock-off, Hair One, are at the top of the cleansing conditioner list. Though I’ve done more than my share of successful conditioner only washes, I have to admit that these new cleansing conditioners did peak my interest. So let’s take a look at what makes these new products so special.
Hollywood stylist, Chaz Dean, creator of WEN, believes that sulfates in most shampoos can be very damaging and stripping to hair so he created these cleansing conditioners to clean hair without stripping it. So the question is can hair really be better off in the long run by cleansing with a conditioner. And if it does work, will a regular drugstore conditioner produce the same effect?
I’m really big on comparing product ingredients and getting the most for my money when it comes to product shopping. So let’s see what the significant difference is in these WEN conditioners and the plain ole drugstore stuff.

WEN conditioner ingredients: ($28 bucks)

Water, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Rosemary Leaf Extract, Wild Cherry Fruit Extract, Fig Extract, Chamomile Extract, Marigold Flower Extract, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Amodimethicone, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Polysorbate 60, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B-5), Menthol, Sweet Almond Oil, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Methlisothiazolinone, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Citric Acid, Essential Oils

Burt’s Bees Super Shiny Grapefruit & Sugar Beet conditioner: ($8 bucks)

Water, cetrimonium bromide (and) cetearyl alcohol, sucrose ester, glycerin, honey, betaine, sclerocarya birrea oil, glucose, citrus grandis (grapefruit) peel oil, citrus aurantinum dulcis (orange) peel oil, citrus medicalimonum (lemon) peel oil, citrus tangerina (tangerine) oil, citrus aurantifolia (lime) oil, zingiber officinale (ginger) root oil, citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) oil, polysorbate 60, glucose oxidase, lactoperoxidase.

Suave Biobasic Conditioner: ($4 bucks)

Water (Aqua), Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Dimethiconol, Fragrance (Parfum), Quaternium 18, Potassium Chloride, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Propylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, TEA Dodecylbenzene Sulfonate, DMDM Hydantoin, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Rosemary Extract (Rosemarinus Officinalis), Sorbitol, Goldenseal Extract (Hydrastis Canadensis), Glycerin, Algae Extract

From the looks of it, no significant difference can be seen between these conditioners, other than the price tag. In fact, Burt’s Bees seems to be packed with substantially more cleansing ingredients, the citrus oils, than the WEN. Of course, it's important to understand that heavy product users will not be able to get a real good clean with conditioner only; you will need a good clarifying shampoo. But for all others, conditioner only washing is a great way to keep hair moist and clean.
As an avid conditioner only washer, I don’t see any reason to jump on this new hair care hype. So I’m gonna stick with my old favorites. Why don’t you check it out for yourself?

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Battle for Thickness

The average woman spends hundreds of hours washing, drying, and styling her hair each year, yet many are not always happy with their results. If you have thin and fine hair, then how to thicken hair is a constant search. As we grow older, there is a tendency for our hair fibers to become finer and shorter over time, but years may elapse before any obvious difference is seen. Because “fine” is not necessarily thin, you should understand what fine hair really is."Fine" refers to the diameter of a single strand. So, you can have fine hair that's abundant, because you can have many individual strands per square inch. You can also have fine and thin or thinning hair, which means you've got strands that are small in diameter and on top if it, you don't have a lot of them.
So, exactly what is the prescription for getting rid of dry brittle hair and growing shiny, thick, bouncy hair? Let’s look at some factors of hair health. Healthy hair starts from the inside, at the root of each follicle, the blood supply that feeds it and the nutrients we consume play an important part of the process. The consumption of nutrients and the blood supply to the roots of the hair affect the hair growth. Vitamin B in all its forms is a key player to thicker hair and the prevention of hair loss. It is also reported that an iron deficiency can cause a woman’s body to stop producing hair until the iron is replaced. Foods high in iron are liver, lean red meat, chicken, pork, salmon, egg yolk, pumpkin seeds, dried peas and beans, bran, blackstrap molasses, prune juice, raisons, peanut butter, apricots, green beans, walnuts, cashews, pecans and almonds. Iron absorption is increased by Vitamin C, so it seems we also need to make sure we get the recommended amount of that nutrient by eating oranges, grapefruit, potatoes, broccoli and brussel sprouts, red and green peppers, tomatoes, cabbage and collard greens. Nutritionists say that too little protein in a diet can cause dull hair and a loss of luster. We can get the protein that is recommended daily from meat, chicken and fish as well as soy and milk products and even stinging nettles (boiled).
Apart from having a balanced diet, essential oils can also be used to promote thicker hair. Having your veggies, nuts, and eggs in the recommended quantities will be very beneficial for the health and beauty of your hair.
In short, our nutrition has the most noticeable and consistent impact on the health of our hair. So eat healthy and grow healthy!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hair 101: S.O.S. for Healthy Hair

If your hair needs rescuing you’ve come to the right place! Add a few of these hair remedies and watch your damaged hair become a thing of the past!

CONDITION: Hair that lacks moisture and needs additional moisture to replenish the hair shaft
REMEDY: Hot Oil Treatment
BEST FOR: Dry hair and scalp, chemically treated, and natural hair. Use once or twice a month.
HOW TO USE: Massage through wet/dry hair. Cover with a plastic cap. Sit under hooded dryer for 15-25 minutes. Or let sit for 30-45 minutes. Shampoo and condition. Or once a week combine a quarter size amount of pure organic olive oil (available at health food stores) with a deep conditioner. Cover with a plastic cap and sit under a hooded dryer for 15-35 minutes or cover plastic cap with a hot towel wrapped around head and let sit for 45 minutes to an hour.
SUGGESTED PRODUCTS: African Pride Wonder 8 Oil, Coconut oil

CONDITION: Cleanse hair and scalp. Restore moisture
REMEDY: Moisturizing Shampoo
BEST FOR: Relaxed, color treated and natural hair
HOW TO USE: Ok, that is self explanatory
SUGGESTED PRODS: Nexxus Therappe, Cream of Nature Ultra Moisturizing, Dark and Lovely 3-n-1 Detangling Shampoo, Ojon Ultra Hydrating Shampoo

CONDITION: Exfoliate the hair and scalp of debris, product buildup
REMEDY: Clarifying Shampoo
BEST FOR: Those with active lifestyles. Note: Clarifying shampoos contain no moisture, so those with color should be cautious.
HOW TO USE: Shampoo as normal and follow with a moisturizing shampoo. Use once a month or every other month.
SUGGESTED PRODS: Mizani Purifying shampoo, Organic Root Stimulator Uplifting shampoo, Revlon Herbal Deep Cleansing shampoo

CONDITION: Help stop and prevent breakage, split ends, and shedding of hair. Also strengthen the hair cuticle.
REMEDY: Reconstructor/Protein Conditioner
BEST FOR: Damaged or relaxed/color treated hair or natural hair. Depending on hair's condition, use once or twice a month, natural hair, once a month.
HOW TO USE: After shampoo, apply to wet hair. Cover with plastic cap and sit under hooded dryer for 15-30 minutes. Or wrap a hot towel around the plastic cap and let sit for 45 minutes to an hour. RInse. Towel Dry. Follow with a moisturizing conditioner.
SUGGESTED PRODUCTS: Affirm 5-in-1, Joico K-Pak Deep Penetrating, Mizani Kerafuse Protein Treatment, Aphogee Two-Minute Keratin Reconstructor, Nexxus Emergencee

CONDITION: Infuse moisture into the hair shaft and scalp, as well as coat the hair cuticle.
REMEDY: Moisturizing Deep Conditioner
BEST FOR: Relaxed, color treated and natural hair
HOW TO USE: After shampoo, massage through hair. Then cover with a plastic cap and sit under a hooded dryer for 15-20 minutes. Or let sit w/o heat for 30-60 min.
SUGGESTED PRODUCTS: Keracare Humecto, Nexxus Humectress, Mizani Moisturfuze, , Joico K-Pak Intense Hydrating Treatment, Optimum Care Rich Conditioner, Organic Root Stimulator Hair Mayo or Olive Oil Replenishing pack, Ojon Ultra Hydrating Conditioner

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Faster Hair Growth in a Bottle: Myth or Fact?

In our fast paced society, we are always looking for ways to cut time, save money, go faster, do more, and do it better. Well, hair care is no different! Billions of dollars are spent every year in search of that “miracle” product that will fill in our thinning hair lines, repair heat damaged hair, smooth the frizzes, and grow the long hair we’ve often dreamed of, without the assistance of weaves. In my search for the “grow-hair-to-my-waist- in-a year” guaranteed results routine, I’ve come across hundreds of tedious regimens, countless you-tube how-to videos, and numerous commercial products that promise to grow my hair 1 inch EVERY month! Well, we all know that what works for one may not work for another. So how do we find what works for us? What are the common elements in all hair care routines? Simple! Any well rounded hair regimen will include cleansing, strengthening, and conditioning. Cleansing the hair is accomplished by a hair specific rotation of clarifying and conditioning shampoos. Clarifying shampoos thoroughly remove product build-up and heavy oils from hair; while conditioning shampoos offer softness, detangling, and moisture. Strengthening the hair is vital to growth as well. The hair is strengthened through regular application of protein based conditioners for 15 minutes or more. However, applying protein too often can also lead to hair breakage; as it does serve the “harden” and fortify the hair. So it is essential to follow all protein treatments with moisturizing conditioners. Conditioning the hair aids in keeping it lubricated and moisturized, helps build elasticity, and gives hair a natural, healthy sheen.
So when you’re struggling to put together an effective regimen to grow your hair or just keep it in optimal health, remember you can keep it simple and still get results by just ensuring that you include each of those three elements. Happy hair growing!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Protective Styles - Are They for You?

Any hairstyle that doesn't brush up against your clothes is a protective style, also called a "No Contact Style." When your hair reaches shoulder length, it's at the most vulnerable point. Without the use of protective styles throughout the week, the ends of the hair will continue to rub back and forth across cotton shirts and blouses causing severe splitting damage and breakage. Since your hair will be making contact with your clothes, this is the time to wear your hair off the shoulders. When you leave your hair out in the open air every day, the ends will soon dry out. If this is allowed to continue over the course of weeks or months length potential may never be seen. When the hair grows at least 3-4 inches past the shoulders, it is not so vulnerable to break. The ends of your hair will not be sweeping against your clothing but will be lying on your clothing. This is less friction against your hair. Undeniably, there are still many women with shoulder length hair that won't seem to grow past that. Protective styles are a great way to push the hair past this growth plateau. Although, there are many women who can grow their hair to great lengths without ever resorting to protective styles-for many of us, protective styling is a very effective hair growing and retention tool. The ideal protective style is one that has been achieved without heat. Reducing the amount of heat in your regimen is critical to the success of your growing out journey. Hair that is heat styled less tends to thicker, fuller, and healthier. Protective styling for relaxed heads is the optimal styling choice for maximum retention.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Scalp Stimulation and Hair Growth

“Scalp-stimulating” massages are a crucial part of your healthy hair regimen. Massages should be done daily to improve circulation, help nourish the scalp and keep the skin loose, which allows the blood to flow easily to the roots of the hair.

How to Do a Proper Scalp Massage :

Place all ten fingertips firmly on your head. Arch your hands and make sure the palms aren’t touching the scalp. Remember, only the pads of the fingers should be pressing against the scalp. Stay in this arched position and “scrunch” the scalp by drawing your fingers together. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and then spread the fingers apart. Imagine flexing and unflexing the fingers, while the fingertips are resting on the scalp. Repeat this technique at different positions on the scalp; moving from front to back, then back to front.

After massaging, your scalp will feel tingly and refreshed. After you’ve gotten the hang of it, you might try adding essential oils or herb-infused oils to your daily massage. Regular massages with nutrient-rich oils can do wonders for abused hair that needs a bit of life and shine and to leave it silky smooth. Try the following scalp-stimulating oil mix with your next massage.

  • 1Tbsp./10 ml Coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp./10 ml Almond oil
  • 1Tbsp./10 ml Evening primrose oil
  • 1Tbsp./10 ml Jojoba oil
  • 5 drops Rosemary oil
  • 5 drops Chamomile Roman oil
  • 5 drops lavender oil
  • 5 drops peppermint or tea tree oil

Learn more healthy hair care tips.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Most Common Reasons for Breakage When Using Relaxers

Why are so many African American women experiencing problems with their hair? It could be due to the fact that about 95% of us use chemical relaxers in our hair. These are the most common reasons women experience breakage when using chemical relaxers.

Applying relaxers to damaged hair. Relaxers should never be applied to already damaged hair, or on someone who has had scalp damage. Hair should be in its best shape before attempting to chemically relax it. This means that the porosity and moisture content should be normal. If hair is not at its best, then protein and moisture treatments should be used to restore the hair to a healthy condition. The relaxer should not be applied until these issues have been completely resolved. A hair analysis can be used to determine if porosity and moisture content is normal.

Over processing the hair. Excessive use of relaxers or applying the chemical to previously relaxed hair, is the most typical misuse of these chemicals.

Not performing a strand test. A “strand test” should be performed prior to applying a chemical relaxer to gauge the result of applying the chemical.

Not using a protective cream on the scalp. A protective cream should always be applied to help protect the scalp from being damaged or burned.

Not properly neutralizing the hair. After the hair has been processed for the appropriate amount of time, the relaxer must be completely removed with warm water. Then a neutralizing formula is used to lower the pH of the hair. If the pH is not lowered, the hair will break. This is because the chemical will continue to work on the hair strand weakening it further.

Pulling or Combing Hair While Relaxing. From the time the relaxer is applied to the time it is neutralized, the hair is in an extremely fragile condition and must be handled carefully. Avoid all pulling, tugging, and excessive combing of the hair during this time.

Not using protein and moisture treatments. Protein and Moisture treatments should be used to restore some of the natural moisture and proteins that have been stripped from the hair by the relaxer.

Not moisturizing daily. Daily moisture is needed to keep the hair soft and supple. If newly chemically straightened hair is not properly moisturized, it can become brittle, dry, damaged and break. Relaxed hair will tend to be drier and break easier than natural hair.

Using excessive heat. Excessive use of heat tools will only further damage chemically relaxed hair. This is due to the fact that they work by drying the hair our ever further. If heat tools are used, then they should be used along with thermal protectants. Use of heat tools should be limited as much as possible.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Relaxers Causing Problems for Black Hair Growth

Many black women have reported chemical relaxers to have caused hair breakage, hair thinning, lack of hair growth, scalp irritation, scalp damage, and hair loss.

Relaxers straighten the hair by breaking down protein bonds in naturally curly hair, and thus loosening the natural curl pattern. However, these protein bonds are what gives the hair its strength. When the hair is straightened, it actually changes the basic structure of the hair shaft. The chemicals penetrate the hair’s cortex and enter the inner layer of the hair. They go on breaking down the bonds and stripping the hair of its strength and elasticity. This is why breakage is commonly experienced by women who use relaxers.

Relaxers are made with very strong chemicals. In fact, the straightening effect of the chemicals used in relaxers was discovered by Garret Morgan while working on an invention for sewing machine lubricating liquid. The chemicals used in relaxers are also used in household drain cleaners. This demonstrates the strength and potential effect of these chemicals. The ph value of chemical relaxers vary from 10 to 14 and are very effective as a straightening solution. However, these very strong chemicals can cause severe damage to hair and skin.

Essentially, there are two basic types of chemical relaxers: Sodium Hydroxide (lye relaxers) and Guanidine Hydroxide (no lye relaxers). While it is common belief that no lye relaxers are not damaging, this is not true. Both of these types of relaxers can cause damage.

If you make the decision to chemically relax your hair, you need to make sure that you only allow it to process for the amount of time indicated on the instructions and that you properly neutralize. It is also important to use protein and moisture treatments to keep the hair strong. Follow these tips to keep hair healthy and promote faster hair growth.