Posts Tagged ‘natural hair care’
Dandruff used to be a serious issue for me. There were not many days, in my dandruff laden past, that I could go without seeing a flaky scalp. However, I was able to get it under control and actually, I have ended my dandruff issues completely!
For years and years, a dry, flaky, scalp haunted my head. I took trips to the dermatologists and all to no permanent relief, until I took my hair care journey in another direction. I started to see concrete results when I stopped using sulfate shampoos. Also, I immediately saw results when I stopped chemically relaxing my hair. However, not everyone will want to take on the same regimen as I have, so in addition to my own personal success tips, you may opt to try a number of things.
Tea tree essential oil, infused in a carrier oil (such as olive oil), will often work to keep the scalp clean of debris. Try lightly oiling the scalp with the tea tree oil.
Try shampooing the hair with a sulfate-free shampoo or shampoo with a shampoo less often and co-wash in between shampooing. Conditioner Only washing will keep the scalps natural sebum (oils) in tact, without stripping the hair.
Do not block the pores of the scalp with certain products such as petroleum or mineral oils. My hair, in its natural form, does not like those products; without them, I remain dandruff- and build-up free!
The acidity balance of the scalp or the pH balance is a contributor to the amount of dryness or oiliness of the scalp as well. More details to come on pH balance and your hair in the future!!!
The Essentials – Products I Need for My Type 4 Hair
Shea Butter – heavy butter for sealing in moisture, softens hair
Aloe Vera Gel (AVG) – for hold, natural moisturizer, promotes growth
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (EVCO) – makes hair manageable, seals in moisture, pre-poo
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) – prepoo, sealant, carrier oil/mixes well w/other oils
Castor Oil – thickens hair naturally, sealant
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) – balances porosity, cleanses scalp, curl definition
VO5 Moisture Milks or Suave Naturals Conditioner – cowash conditioner, cleanses w/o stripping hair
Henna – natural thickener, strengthener, dye/colorant
These are the absolute essentials that I keep in my arsenal. Other products vary – the DC and protein treatments of my choice. As you can see, I focus on natural products that do the trick better than most synthetically constructed products. Try these out and see if you get some of the same benefits as I have listed above. You can’t go wrong with them. Most of them have multiple uses – which I love!
Making Natural Hair Appear Longer: Stretching Shrunken Hair
Women have become creative in ways to “stretch” the shrinkage that comes with having true afro-textured hair. Shrinkage is a dilemma that naturals face every time water touches our textured hair. Though shrinkage may be embraced when manipulating the hair into certain styles, often styles requiring length are limited due to the hair drawing up (I’ve seen natural hair with 75% shrinkage). Below are a few ways to stretch shrunken hair, making your natural hair appear to be longer (closer to its true length).
Use a blow dryer. Blow dryers can obviously be used to free the hair from its shrinkage, but they must be used with caution. A low setting and a heat protectant must be coupled with using this tool, because the direct heat has the ability to alter the textures of the hair if not used properly and carefully.
Use rollers under a hooded dryer. This works like a charm for some, giving them length, without compromising the volume of the hair. The indirect heat is not damaging as flat irons or blow dryers would be.
Use the banding method. Many ladies can be found on youtube using this method to stretch the hair by wrapping rubber bands, scrunchies, and small cloths around the hair to extend its position, stretching the afro in result.
Put plaits in the hair and allow it to air dry. Plaits have been known to stretch the hair more than it would if the hair were left to air dry with two-strand twists or without any styling at all.
“Pineapple” the hair by pulling it up into a high pony at the crown of your head. The “pineappling” method stretches the length of the hair up to the crown, by extending it after it has been in that position over time. Be sure not to pull the hair up too tightly, or you will cause tension on the strands.
Co-Washing Natural Hair
The benefits of CO-washing (Conditioner Only Washing) may be recognized far and wide. Co-washing is simply washing the hair with conditioner only. Shampoo is eliminated from the process. Co-washing has been known to help with detangling, combing, and promoting overall growth of the hair by keeping the scalp clean and moisturized without stripping the hair of its natural oils like most sulfate-containing shampoos do. Many naturals have given co-washing two thumbs up, attributing the method of cleansing the scalp to: defining the curl pattern, softening the hair, and making it more manageable.
If you choose to try co-washing it is done best with the cheaper conditioners. For most naturals, moisturizing conditioners (I use VO5 Moisture Milks and love it; review coming soon) work best, as moisture is imperative to our natural curls. All the while, we do not require as much protein as relaxed heads since we don’t have chemicals stripping our hair of the natural protein its infused with. Using a protein based conditioner will actually cause protein overload and result in unwanted breakage.
The conditioner is applied to the hair, slightly massaged into the scalp, left on for a few minutes, then it is rinsed out. You may choose to let the conditioner penetrate the hair shaft by letting it sit on a bit longer, or with a shower cap, however, with the cheap conditioners, you may find that you don’t want some of the ingredients sitting on your hair for too long. Most of us find it beneficial to leave that job to the Deep conditioners. You may repeat the process if you so desire. Naturals may co-wash daily or once a week; the frequency is very flexible, that’s a plus to being natural – the freedom!
A couple of things that you don’t want to forget :
- You still will need to use a shampoo for clarification to remove any product buildup you may experience over time.
- Avoid heavy conditioners, esp those with petrolatum, mineral oil, etc.
- Avoid moisture overload and reduce the frequency of co-washing if you experience such.
- Just b/c you co-wash with a moisture conditioner, don’t totally cut out a heavy protein treatment (every 6-8 weeks more or less) or light protein(1-2x a week), as it’s important for the hair to keep a healthy balance of both.
- You are at liberty to deep condition the same day if you want
Although some naturals (none that I’ve talked to might I add) may not like the co-washing process, when done correctly, co-washing has proven to be very helpful in cleansing and treating our tresses. If you decide to try this process, take heed to the way your hair responds and don’t hesitate to listen! As you will be able to adjust the frequency and overall co-washing routine to its optimal level for your tresses!
Until next time…Happy Healthy Hair Growing!
With things being geared more towards global climate awareness each passing day, “green” products are selling quicker than lace fronts. Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps are prime examples of economical “green” products that will work for your tresses, not against them. Amidst many other functions, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps can be used for washing the hair. I decided to give this product a try in an effort to incorporate more natural products into my regimen to tame my newly natural hair. I currently use the tea tree version of the 18-in-1 Hemp soaps, which I chose not only to cleanse my hair, but in order to combat my dermatitis (dandruff) issues as well.
I did not quite know what to expect from Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps as far as my hair goes, I have used them for bathing and even stain removal with impressive results (yes when they say 18-in-1 they are not joking!). However, I was confident in knowing that Dr. Bronner’s use of organic ingredients would not damage my hair. I have 4a/4b hair that contains very “kinky coily” curls. If I can use it, then this product can be used on all hair types. Natural and relaxed heads alike may see great results from using Dr. Bronner’s on the hair. After using this product, I have yielded amazing results. My scalp feels better than it ever has with the sls, petrolatum, and mineral oil laden products that I’d used before I knew better (thanks bhp). Here’s a summary of the results…
- A little goes a LONG way
- Lathers easily
- Cuts product build up, w/o drying out the scalp
- Scalp looks and feels clean as a whistle
- Does not strip the hair of its natural oils
- No sls, petrolatum, mineral oils, it’s 100% Vegan
- Will tangle hair if not careful
- Tea tree scent doesn’t appeal to all
How To Use It:
- Mix one capful in a cup of water and pour on scalp per the directions, or wet hair with water and squeeze tiny amounts of the soap into your hair (front, back, middle) and work into an instant lather.
- In order to minimize the tangling, do not scrub or scratch your hair as most often do, but gently massage the product into your hair and scalp; it will do wonders.
- Rinse out product without too much manipulation.
- Apply your conditioner or oil after and continue to style as usual.
Water, Saponified Organic Coconut and Organic Olive Oils, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Tea Tree Extract, Citric Acid, Vitamin E.