Monday, March 30, 2009

I know that this is a hair blog featuring topics mainly having to do with hair care but I just had to share this with you all. Coconut oil is one of my favorite oils that I always make sure to have handy. I'm addicted to the shine and suppleness I experience whenever I use coconut oil. I tell you truthfully that I wouldn't trust my braidouts to any other oil. Recently though, I discovered yet another use of this fabulous oil-shaving cream!

Yes, you heard me right, I spread a thin layer of coconut oil (in liquid form) on my legs the other day as an alternative to shaving cream and let me tell you.....I am never looking back. This stuff makes for an incredibly smooth shave leaving your legs silky smooth. I can't keep my hands off them. Now I know I'm sounding like a Nair commercial right about now but I feel that I have a moral obligation to spread the good news of this all natural way to shave. Best of all, I know I'm not slathering a bunch of synthetic ingredients from a product bragging to have an ounce of of plant oil mixed in with their chemicals.

For those of you who have questions about using oil for shaving let me first say that the oil does not interfere with the razor's ability to do its business. And no, the oil won't clog up the razor. The best part about coconut oil is that its a "watery" oil that is basically liquid in warm temperatures. Once you've stepped out of the shower and towel dried, you will not believe the difference. Soft, incredibly moisturized legs. I've even used this method in "other" areas and was pleased with the results.

So there you have it.....a quick tip on how you can have fabulous legs this summer with the help of coconut oil.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Last time, I talked about this awesome ayruvedic scalp massage treatment commonly practiced in Indian spas. Today, I decided I would treat myself to a modified version of the process while standing up and tell you guys about how it panned out.

First off let me just say that the best part of my experience was getting to use my new applicator bottle I bought from Sally's. This thing is magnificent boys and girls! The pointed tip made applying oils to my new growth a breeze. I felt as if I had so much precision and control during the application. It is by far the best two dollars I've spent in a long time.

So in my bottle I mixed some jojoba oil, meadowfoam seed oil, avocado oil, and amla oil. I created four ounces of oil blend in total. By the way, I didn't create some secret formula, I just mixed some oils together. I didn't measure. I had other oils to chose from but these were the closest to arms reach. I did, however, use more amla in the mix than the other oils. By the way, I should also mention that I did use some conditioner on the dry hair before I added the oil.

So I stepped in the shower and dampened by hair. I made sure that the hair was only damp, not wet. For me the difference between the two is that water drips down the back when its wet. Once my hair was damp I started to apply the oil mix. I concentrated on the scalp because of the amount of new growth I would have to contend with. Plus I hadn't washed in a while and my scalp was an itchy mess. Honestly, I thought that four ounces would result in a large amount of oil run off. Boy was I wrong! My hair drank up the oil like nothing and still was begging for more. After I used up my entire mix, I put on a plastic cap and killed some time cleaning the bathroom. Good thing I did because while organizing by medicine cabinet, I found a nearly full jar of coconut oil! I immediately began filling my applicator bottle with it and used some on my already saturated hair.

Moments later I rinsed and experienced a slight feeling of uneasiness as I touched my oil-laden hair. Next I clarified with Suave shampoo and followed that up with my Hair One conditioning shampoo. The result? My new growth felt amazing....well- defined and moisturized. Once the shampoo was washed out, I no longer had that "my hair is covered in oil" feeling. Now instead, my hair felt stronger and protected. I conditioned as normal and airdryed. I even decided to skip the hair fixer this go-around.

This process didn't feel like a regular pre-poo, it felt more like I was giving my hair a luxurious treatment! I can absolutely see the value in "oil washing" (I just made that up...I think..) going forward. Especially when new growth is involved. I'm sure naturals would love this method because I can't keep my hands out of my "kitchen." Even now as I air dry, my hair is still feeling moisturized strong. I normally load my hair with oils to tame whenever I air dry but not this time. Even my beloved shea oil is getting a break. If I had to sum up the results in one sentence I would say that my hair feels like the oil is in my hair as opposed to on my hair.

I love it!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I'm sure that most of us has some type of Indian ayurveda product in our hair product stash whether it be henna powder,amla oil, brahmi powder or whatever it is you fancy. I personally have been using amla oil for my pre-poos since forever and nothing quiet gets my pre-poo right like when I use the amla.

Whenever I prepoo, I first saturate my hair with a thick moisturizing conditioner, then I add a layer of amla over the conditioned hair. A couple hours later I wash the oil out and proceed with my wash routine. To be honest, I was pretty satisfied with my method of application until I saw this video on youtube. Its a promotional video for an Indian spa treatment facility. From the 1:00 minute mark to about 2:06, were are introduced to a demonstration of an ayruvedic treatment where nurishing oil is applied and massaged into the scalp and hair of a lucky recepient.

My first thought was, OMG! How do I learn to do this at home???
Well I don't quite have the answer yet but I do have some thoughts. First I need to refine how I apply my amla oil. Today I pour a small amount in my hand a little bit at a time and apply section by section.

For this treatment, I'll propably have to purchase a plastic application bottle like this one in order to apply the oil evenly throughout.

Next I have to chose a suitable place to apply the oil. I'm thinking the bathtub is th only place I can get away with pouring on that much oil without causing too much damage. My vision of the process would include a large cheap plastic bowl that will serve as the container for the oil run off. Finally I'll likely have to dampen my hair prior to applying the oil so I can replicate the smooth application process witnessed in the video.

I also considered mixing oils just because I don't want to use an entire bottle of amla in one sitting. Luckily for me, I've got tons of coconut, jojoba, avocado, sweet almond and other oils sitting around. I do think, that alma would be the main oil used the first go around. Ultimately, I do forsee this process serving more as a monthly treatment rather than a weekly ritual. Who knows, the labor involved in recreating the ayruvedic hair massage may not be worth the results. If, however, this method turns out to completely revitalize the look and feel of my hair, I'll find a way to work it into my routine at least twice monthly.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Not too long ago, while searching Sally's shelves for Hair One moisturizing shampoo, I passed an eye catching Motions display. I noticed that there was something different about the products, the familiar Motions labeling I was used to had changed. They were now advertising their famous product with a brand new ingredient, marula oil. I didn't let the new and improved look of the product packaging distract me from reaching the Hair One, but I did secretly vow to research this oil and learn as much as I could of marula.

Numerous product manufacturers are introducing this oil into their product line primarily because of two reasons, marula oil is highly stable (means it won't oxidize quickly) and because of the highly absorbent nature of the oil. Marula oil is not considered an "oily" oil, it's actually described as a "dry" oil. What this means is that if you rub marula into the skin, the oil will skin right in and absorb very quickly. Don't let the word dry fool you, marula is raved for its highly moisturizing effects on the skin. Because of its absorbent, moisturizing quality, you'll find marula is various skin care products including the natural products in your neighborhood Body Shop retailers.

I typically tend to buy plant oils in its pure form rather than purchasing hair products with the oil listed as one of the last ingredients. I don't have the patience for unecessary fillers that may only increase the likelihood of build up. Marula oil is not yet a part of my hair stash but I do see myself purchasing it sometime in the future. The qualities of this oil make it a great option for those of us with dry scalp. Think about how beneficial a moisturizing absorbent oil could be to dry itchy scalp. I also sometimes add a dab of oil to my facial moisturizer to give my skin some extra umph! Marula oil seems like it would be awesome on dry skin without leaving you all shiny and stuff.

While looking online, I noticed that most resources detailed the oil's benefit to the skin moreso than how it could benefit the hair. I imagine that marula would also be absorbed by the hair shaft almost as easily as with the skin. As I mentioned before, the qualities of the oil seem to be a godsend to dry scalp sufferers. I'm thinking the oil would work well in treatments where we include heat, such as the deep conditioning, flat-ironing, or rollersetting. My guess is that marula is not a heavy oil and won't weigh down the hair but you never know.

Once I am in possession of marula, I'll most certainly update you all on the realities of this oil. For now, I'll just jot it down on my hair product wish list.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Update time!
I wanted to follow up on the technique I described in my last post about how to wash the hair without producing a bunch of tangles in the process. A few days back, I decided to visit the Dominican Salon for a blow out. I actually despise getting a blow out because of the massive amount of tangles I would incur from the wash. Top that off with a busy stylist, a small tooth comb, and voila! (tons of damage).

This time I chose to be proactive. I washed, detangled, and conditioned my hair at home. When I got to the salon all I needed was a rinse and rollerset. Even though I got plenty of stares, walking in with wet hair, it was all worth it.
I think this was one of my best Dominican Salon experiences ever.

Let me tell you more about it via video.
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