Monday, June 29, 2009

I have so many hair related ideas and updates just floating around in my head.  I figured that I would just put them in writing as a mini-post.  We're all family here so I figured that I could give you guys a quick peek on some of the topics that I'll be working on in the upcoming weeks.

First of all, please excuse the randomness of this blog post.  It's really just me putting my thoughts down quickly in writing.  But I just had to share because I'm really excited about what is to come.  

So here it goes.......

  • My Asience conditioner and hair mask has arrived.  I can not wait to review it.  You couldn't believe my frustration when I just finished my most recent wash and set only to find the mail man at the door with my package.  It took almost everything I had inside not to jump back in the shower and redo my hair just to try this product out.   
         Review coming this weekend!

  • I've purchased some PH strips and had some fun playing with my hair products.  I was surprised at the PH levels of some of my products.  I'm still learning and testing but I can't wait to share my experiences with you all.  I may even turn some of my experiments into a video.  

  • I have an idea about a way of  improving on the satin/silk scarves we use to tie our hair down with.  I'm playing with the idea of finding and using other types of material that will protect the hair and not absorb the precious product we put on the hair.  I'm not even sure such a material exists but I hope to experiment until I uncover a better hair scarf.  

  • In my never ending quest to create better than expected hair, I've stumbled upon an oil blend that really makes a difference on the look and feel of my hair.  Ever since putting this blend together, I've pretty much forgone every other leave-in moisturizing product I've ever used.  Just recently I provided a sample of this product to my mother-in-law while she was down on vacation.  She was sooooo happy with the results that she literally left her hair products in my bathroom when she flew back.  She even called me days later telling me that she received multiple compliments on her hair from both her sister and her coworkers.   I'm thinking about putting this blend together in sample sizes and seeing if  others experience some of the same results that I and my MOL are experiencing.   Time will tell......

"I feel so much better now."

Friday, June 26, 2009

I can't believe how hot the temperature is this summer. July hasn't even hit yet and I've already become a victim of spontaneous sweating in the early morning hours of the day. One huge side effect of this extreme heat is the rapid fluid loss occurring in such a short time frame. We all know the importance of staying well hydrated, especially during summer months, but I'm here to spread the word about the wide array of healthy fluids we can use to satisfy the thirst of both our bodies and our hair.

As I sit here, people watching at my local sandwich shop, I'm taking note the myriad of people purchasing iced lattes and cold sodas in hopes of experiencing some type of refreshment. What they aren't thinking about are the missed opportunities to provide the body nourishment not only with the sandwiches they consume but also with the drinks they wash them down with.

I'm constantly trying to figure out how to give my body (and my hair) more of what it needs most. I think right now is the perfect opportunity to replenish, not only what the body losses, but also what it's missing, by consuming highly nutritious fluids. When you are out and about this summer, consider including the following thirst quenchers into your day-to-day.

Fresh Food Juices!

The list is endless but I'll attempt to name a few and allow you to get creative. But a general rule of thumb you should follow is, "if you can't get it into you diet then drink it!"  If  you've been missing opportunities to incorporate greens into your daily eating, drink it! Nowadays you can get a variety of prepackaged organic fruit and vegetable juices chilled and ready to drink. Bolthouse, Odwalla, and Naked are just a few brands out there with lots of different choices ranging from carrot juice to green super-foods to high antioxidant fruit juices. Whenever I'm not being a good girl with my eating habits, I also make sure to pick up a bottle as a way of making things right.  Check out the back label of this juices when you get a chance, they are loaded with nutrition and best of all the liquid vitamins go straight to the bloodstream.  

Don't let the choices stop can also drink up the myriad of other health food drinks available like coconut water, aloe and acai juice the list goes on and on. Don't forget about nut milks that are loaded with protein. By the way, Acai contains essential fatty acids which is always a good thing. A general rule of thumb you should use when reaching for a drink should be did it once come from a fruit or veggie? Is it in it's most natural form possible? 

**Disclaimer** Whenever reaching for juices, make sure to read the label so you are not consuming drinks that have high (man made) sugar contents.

Supped-Up Smoothies!

Ok so when it's reeeeally hot, you start looking for an icier beverage choice. Instead of an iced coffee, why not a smoothie? I'm talking about the specialty smoothies that use real fruit/veggie bases.  You can also pay  a bit more for healthy boosters like multi-vitamins, spirullina, protein, and so on. Sure these drinks cost a bit more than if you were to just buy a soda but think of all the fabulous benefits. Also, most of the time they sell these smoothies in large serving sizes which can really fill you up. Smoothies often serve as meal replacements for me on those days when I don't feel like grabbing a heavy lunch. Again make sure that you are opting for the most natural options available and treat yourself to the health boost option of your choice.

Good 'Ole Fashion H20!
If your budget won't allow for fancy drinks then water is the next best thing. Actually, you should keep a bottle of water handy at all times. That way whenever the feeling of thirst comes upon you, you'll be only an arms reach of some refreshing h20. Water is the most natural form of rehydration out there. Water helps your body on so many levels it's not even funny. Think about it, without water for three days, you're dead.
You skin, your nails, your hair, your organs, your cells, all of it is depending on you to give it as much water as it needs to thrive. Not survive, but thrive. Start right now to incorporate more water in your daily habits. Drink some first thing in the morning and keep a bottle handy at all times. 

High Antioxidant Teas!
In our quest for cooling ourselves down let's not forget about the traditionally hot drink, tea! Of course in the summertime you can opt to have your tea served on the rocks. I know what you're thinking, "what do antioxidants have to do with healthy hair?"
That's a great question! As you may already know, healthy teas are revered for their high antioxidant levels. Antioxidants search out and destroy free radicals in our bodies. So what's that got to do with our hair? Well just as free radicals cause premature aging in the skin and cells, so can they also create premature agin in our hair follicles. This means are shortened life for the hair strand. Shortened hair life means that you'll have a tougher time reaching those coveted hair length goals you've been dreaming about. Do your self a favor and enjoy a nice cup of  antioxidant-rich tea.

Stimulating Lemonade!
You know how everyone was doing the Master Cleanse for weight loss and whatnot, well after reading about the nutritional benefits of the fresh squeezed lemon, the cayenne pepper, and maple syrup, I thought to myself, "why can we drink this anytime?" According to the online Master Cleanse manual, the ingredients of this weight-loss lemonade provide the body the necessary requirements to function optimally even while we forgo solid food. Think about how great it would be to start off your day with a stimulating nutrient filled lemonade. Best of all this drink is relatively inexpensive and easy to make at home. Another benefit is that you can control the sugar content by adding as little or as much maple syrup as you like. This drink wakes up the digestive system and improves circulation all over the body. Don't wait for your next cleanse to enjoy this healthy lemonade mix.

With so many nutritious beverage choices out there you have no excuse to but drink healthy. Why even bother drinking yucky soda that does absolutely nothing for the hair and is worse on the body. I've done my part in spreading the knowledge. Knowing is half the battle, the other half is up to you.

Happy Hair Growing!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Image by delila

The other day I picked up some more Roux Porosity Control to replenish my hair stock pile. As I purchased this product, I silently smiled to myself and thought about how thankful I was to have a product so work well for me that I actually want to repurchase (for the fourth time). When you read the product label, the ingredients will not seem all that impressive (or pronounceable). What does stick out though is the clearly stated pH level of 4.5.

You'll find few other product brands with their pH levels expressed so plainly. Why even have that information displayed? Does the pH level really make a difference?

The normal pH range of healthy hair spans from about 4.5 to 5.5. This range is slightly acidic. When we relax our hair, the pH levels rises to a highly alkaline with a pH level of around 11. I should mention here that all chemical services are alkaline. This includes coloring the hair. When your hair's pH level drops below 4.5 the cuticle layer contracts. Above 5.5 the cuticle layer opens up. A pH level of 5 is considered ideal for the hair. It's the hair's sweet spot if you will.

As you can probably figure out, we don't want the hair's pH level to fall below 4.5 or higher than 5.5. Cuticle layers that are too contracted/constricted will not allow for our daily moisturizers to properly penetrate. Open cuticle layers essentially means that your strands are vulnerable. It's like going out to battle with no means of protection. When we don't pay attention to the pH levels in our products, it can be a disaster waiting to happen.

So now we're at a place where we have to begin to think about two main focus areas when it comes to the health of the hair. The first being "does my hair need more moisture or more strength?" The second being "are the products I'm using too acidic or alkaline?"
When I first used Porosity Control, I found that it worked best when mixed in with another one of my conditioners. No matter which one it was, the impact to my hair was obvious whenever I coupled it with Roux. Looking back, I'm guessing that this was because some of the conditioners I use are more alkaline than they should be. Roux worked to bring the pH levels of my conditioners to a more desirable place where they could better impact the look and feel of my hair. I, however could not prove this theory because, unlike the straightforward nature of Porosity Control, other product manufacturers don't chose to make themselves and, where they land on the pH scale, as transparent.

Now that I'm armed with this type of information, I have no choice but to take incisive action to use this information for my hair's overall gain. The good news is that we can take this matter into our own hands. With the use of simple pH testing strips, we can identify which products help and which one's hurt us in the struggle for perfect pH balance. Even as we now speak I've already made plans to locate and purchase some litmus paper and get to testin! I think this experiment will be both fun, educational, and beneficial to the hair. I am extremely excited about this topic and the possibilities. I'm all gitty about the thought of creating a conditioner mix that falls at a pH level of 5.0! More posts on this topic to come as I learn and experiment.

Until next time!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Image by woolyman

"I have a confession to make."
"I'm on a long hair journey and I don't like protective styling."

Sure, I wear buns from time to time but I do it for the wrong reasons. I bun not to experience the benefits of healthier ends. I bun only when the condition of my hair does not allow me to wear it like I would prefer.

If it were up to me, I allow my hair to hang freely every day of my existence. I love feeling my hair between my fingers in times of boredom or just because. The reason I choose to extend my lengths is so I can display it proudly so..... why must I wait?

Don't get me wrong, I completely understand the immense benefits of hiding my ends. In fact, it is because of great hair heroes such as Wanakee and others who first introduced me to the hair lengthening method of protective styling. Without their sound advice my hair probably would not be what it is today. But yet a small still voice within me screams, "let your hair down!"

So now I'm faced with a decision, should I go against everything that is within me and attempt the seemingly impossible mission of growing long without the aid of protective styling? Am I headed into a direction which will certainly become a dead end? Will my desire to proudly display my hair as a peacock displays his feathers be my hair's downfall?

Though the odds are set against me, I opt to do what's best for both my hair and my spirit. My hair wants to be protected from dryness and subsequent damage. I am aware of this and fully respect it. I am prepared to take on this uphill battle of retaining length without consistent protective styling. If I am lucky enough to come out the victor, my hair will be amazing because of it. If I can develop routines and healthy hair habits that allow my hair to grow in length and thickness despite the odds,then I can do anything.

So literally, all of my thoughts and intentions have been focused on creating the healthiest hair possible without or without the aid of constant protective styling. I know that this may mean waiting a little longer before reaching my hair goals. But I figure that if I can create moisturized strong hair as the result of my experiments, I'll have fun trying.......

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I'm really proud at how consistent I've been with documenting my experiences and struggles in my revived hair journal. I'm on a mission for perfect hair and I can't afford to leave my desired results to chance. One of my secret weapons in this battle will be the insights I gleam from my documented hair memoirs and, I'm happy to say, the learnings have already begun. Though not much time has passed since I've brought the journal back, I've already identified some wonderful improvements that I hope to have a major impact on my overall results. I'll share with you all some of my early learnings and will continue spread any nuggets of wisdom as they are revealed to me in my writings. The past couple of weeks have been crucial with regards to breakage avoidance and moisture retention. My last relaxer was late February/early April. Not sure the exact date but that is what I have my hair journal for going forward. The warm weather, coupled with my consistent vitamin usage, have made for a very robust new growth spurt. One major faux pas on my end was my inability to remain consistent with consuming green drinks in the morning. One of the most powerful side effects, for me, of green super-food drinks is the greater manageability of my textured hair. When I did the right thing with regards to my green drink routine, my new growth thanked me. So now I've learned my lesson and the green drink routine is back! My goal is to stock back up on my spirullina powder and get to 'crackin! Some tweaks to my hair routine have come about because my diligent approach to hair care. For one, I've started my pre-poo step by locating the most damaged areas of the hair and paying extreme attention before moving on to the rest of the hair. I finally figured out that I've developed some patterns in my hair routines that have led to the creation of damaged areas. I figured the only way I can reverse this damage was to change up how I take care of my hair. So long story short, I leave the healthiest parts of my hair for last whenever I deep condition or pre-poo. *Tip* Generally we tend to pay closer attention to the hair we can see (i.e. the front and sides of the head), make sure you also give equal attention to the entire head of hair whenever you moisturize or deep condition. Next, I've also begun treating my pre-poo step as I do the deep conditioner. I no longer just apply product to the hair when treating it. I now cover my hair with a plastic cap and towel for deeper processing both when I pre-poo and when I deep condition. The results of this slight shift in routine are impressive. Moisture levels are high and the amount of breakage i am experiencing this many weeks post is incredible. My hair is definitely liking this. I have no doubt in my mind that this method will do wonders for my hair long-term. I'm extremely grateful for these insights that I've received in such a short while. Right now my mind is completely open to any and all ideas of how to continue on this hair improvement journey I am on. Not sue where this journey will lead me, but I'm glad that I have some company with me as I go. Thanks for stopping by.
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