Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"Shedding, biotin, and pH, OH MY!": Has black haircare become an obsession??

Nowadays it seems like everyone is on some type of hair journey. Since starting my own, about 2 years ago, I've come across many fads and lots of new terminology. It's been well-known within the black community that black women tend to take their hair seriously, but while looking through discussions on hair boards, I've always asked myself: Do black women take this hair journey thing TOO seriously??

There has been a relatively recent push towards black women reclaiming their crown and glory by doing away with weaves, "stretching" their relaxers, transitioning to natural, not depending on hairdressers, and just taking better care of their hair. While most are simply searching for ways to obtain more healthy, luscious locks, there are lots of women that are trying to prove that black girls can have long hair, too. That's all fine and dandy, but, I've also been noticing a sort of frantic, obsessive, "go-to-any-lengths-to-get-long-hair" trend in the online haircare communities, which sorta concerns me. Many take this hair thing just a bit too seriously. Here's a few topics I've noticed over the last two years or so.

  • "Can I make BSL in 5 months if I'm EL?" (Not happening.)
  • "I don't wear my hair out EVER because I want to stop one hair from ever breaking off my head!" (A hair journey should be enjoyable, not a jail sentence.)
  • "What hair type am I?? HELP!!!! I need to know NOW!!" (Knowing or not knowing your hair type will not, in any way, stop you from being successful with your hair journey)
  • "If I take 20,000 units of biotin will my hair grow faster??" (Biotin is water soluble, so that excessive amount that you're putting in your body will only be flushed down the toilet.)
  • "I need to buy litmus strips to make sure all of my products are pH balanced!" (With all due respect to those who test the pH of their products, this is highly unnecessary, as most women with long hair don't turn into Bill Nye the science guy in order to obtain their hair goals.)
  • "I had 50 shed hairs today! I counted it in the shower! Should I put garlic in my hair to stop the shedding???" (Shedding is natural and if you didn't shed, that would be a problem.)

The point is: the hair journey isn't just a means to an end, it's a change in the way you take care of your hair. If you use the basics to care for your hair (i.e., keep your hair and scalp clean and moisturized, use protein if necessary, and avoid excessive heat usage, rough manipulation, over-manipulation, and damaging chemicals or products), you're on your way to that goal of APL, BSL, or even, WL hair. It won't happen in 2 months, it may not happen in a year, but as long as you employ those steadfast hair rules, along with some tweaking for your personal hair needs, you'll get there! Don't be so fast to jump on every hair bandwagon that promises immediate or rushed results. Relax. Enjoy the hair journey and learn along the way.

Have you ever succumb to any of these crazy hair trends?? I know I have! I'd love to hear your story!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Product Junky-ism? Nope! Just a few of my faves!

Shame on me. I've been blogging for over a year and have yet to dedicate a blog to my favorite products?? Tisk Tisk.

Here's some of my "staples", how I use them, and why I love them:

*Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (EVCO):

Coconut oil is one of my favorite, favorite, favorite products ever of all time. I get mine from GNC (Now Brand), because I know they're 100% natural with no additives.

Pre-poo: I apply a generous amount of coconut oil to my hair before a wash. Put on a shower cap and leave it in my hair for about 1 hour.
Deep Condition: I apply a generous amount of coconut oil to my conditioner, put on a shower cap, and either sit under the dryer for 20 minutes or just leave the conditioner/EVCO mix in my hair for an hour or so. Sometimes, overnight.
Moisturizer: I mentioned in a previous blog how coconut oil is one of the few oils that penetrate the hair shaft. For that reason, I use it as a moisturizer often.

It's lightly scented, 100% natural, gives the hair a beautiful sheen, and prevents protein loss from within the hair shaft. It is also one of the few oils that is able to moisturize. It's versatile (I also use it on my face as a moisturizer or my skin if it is really dry), and easy to find! It's also edible and full of nutrients!

*Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Leave-in Conditioning Cream

I use this as my daily moisturizer. I part my hair into medium-sized sections, and apply a pea-sized amount to each section. It keeps my tresses highly moisturized without weighing it down.

It works! I've gone through many "moisturizing" products and this, by far, is THE most moisturizing, in my opinion. It's also crazy cheap!

*Aphogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor

My baby!

Aphogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor is my light protein of choice. I apply it to my hair after a shampoo, as a conditioner. Sometimes, I put on a shower cap, and sit under the dryer for 20 minutes or so.

Most hair needs protein, and this provides it without drying out the hair, or making the hair brittle. It smells good, but not overpowering. My hair always feels much much stronger after I put this protein conditioner in.

*Hair One Sulfate-free Cleanser

Shampoo/Hair cleanser: I apply the Hair One just as the instructions indicate on the label. I wet my hair, then apply a good amount of the Hair One, as per the instructions, to the front, back and middle of my hair. I massage it into my hair and scalp and leave the Hair One on for 5 minutes or so for it to do it's cleansing work, while it moisturizes my hair.
Conditioner: After a regular shampoo, I apply the Hair One throughout my whole head, put on a shower cap, and leave it in for 10-30 minutes.
Leave-in conditioner: After shampooing and conditioning my hair, I take about 3 pumps of the Hair One, and rub it throughout my hair as a leave-in conditioner. It provides that extra moisture after a wash, and aids in detangling.

It's extremely versatile, and it's fantastic in all of its intended uses. I love it as a sulfate-free shampoo/hair cleanser because your hair gets really clean without drying out, and without harsh sulfates/detergents. It can be found at Sally Beauty Supply.

BEWARE!!! Many shampoos claim to be sulfate-free, but in fact, are not! Most shampoos that claim to be sulfate-free contain the sulfate "Ammonium Laureth/Lauryl Sulfate (ALS)". Why do they claim to be sulfate-free, then? Because most times, when people speak of sulfates, they are referring "Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate (SLS)"--which is more harsh than ALS. However, ALS is still a harsh detergent. If you are looking to go sulfate-free, please read your labels!

These are my favorite products that I own! I've tried many things on my journey but none have had the staying power of these 4 products I just listed. It's all about finding what works for your hair, not following hair trends. And remember, keep it simple! Your hair product list shouldn't be looking like your grocery receipt! When choosing a product, don't be stuck on a certain name or brand. Read your labels, know your ingredients, and expand your horizons. Sometimes "black" hair products aren't necessarily the best for our hair!

What are your "staples"?