Thursday, November 26, 2009

Normally, when I think about ramping up moisture levels in my hair, rarely do I spend more than quick minute thinking about the shampoo step. Why? Well because when I think of shampooing, I normally equate it with cleansing which usually involves removing, not adding. For the longest time, I'd spend countless man hours contemplating how I can increase moisture levels during the pre-poo, deep condition, and styling phase of my routine. Little did I know that I was missing a huge opportunity by not adjusting my shampoo to work with, not against, my overall moisture regimen.

So how do you get your wash to be more moisturizing?

Well first and foremost it begins with the pre-poo.. By the time you are stepping into the shower to wash, you should always be working with a head of pre-conditioned hair. I cringe when I think of those days long ago when I'd get into the shower with dry damaged hair while rubbing in a harsh clarifying shampoo to start off my routine (yeah, I know it's pitiful). By the time I was done, my hair would have formed one hard mass that I prayed to God the conditioner would reverse. I also look back on the days when I'd feel a sense of pride every time I'd work up a crazy lather in the shower like I wash shooting an Herbal Essence commercial or something. The foamier that lather, the better (or so I thought). In hinsight, cleaning the hair with a sudsing shampoo wasn't entirely bad considering how much of a product junkie I was and all the experiments I was putting my hair through.

So now my wash step has evolved. Today, shampooing is in lock step with everything else I do on wash days. Much of my gratitude for this new way of washing is directed at my new favorite shampoo of all time: Hair One Conditioning Cleanser!

Yesterday, I just picked up the most recent copy of Allure Magazine which had this to say about the conditioning cleanser.

"A hit with beauty bloggers, Hair One Olive Oil conditions, detangles, and adds shine without damaging detergents or harsh chemicals. It's the only hair care item you'll want."

I've reviewed the product in the past so I won't go into too much detail about how amazing Hair One is. What I will say is Hair One does it's purpose of cleansing the hair without working against my overall goal of conditioning the hair. When I pre-poo, I load the hair up with a concoction of heavy conditioners and oils. Hair One is able to cleanse the hair of all that without undoing all the good. I'm so glad hair one came into my life.

Ladies I urge you to spend a few moments considering your current shampoo and responding to this question. What does your shampoo do for you? Sure it cleans the hair but at what cost? We know your shampoo takes away dirt but does it also add value? If your answer to this question is not an overwhelming yes, then your shampoo isn't the One.

Hair One Olive Oil Cleansing Conditioner

Hair One Olive Oil Cleansing Conditioner

Monday, November 23, 2009

I interrupt my regularly scheduled posting to announce another Burt's Bees Giveaway. In my overzealous reaction to the wonderful results I was experiencing with Burt's Bees Avocado Pre-poo, I stockpiled several bottles in case of unforeseen emergencies. I gave one bottle away a couple of months back. Now I'm ready to give away another. I was really excited about the number of people who emailed me requesting to be considered for the random giveaway. I just couldn't hold on to this bottle knowing there's so many people out there who are dying to try this.

Here's the good news. Those of you who sent me an email to rela[email protected] are already entered for this second giveaway. If you didn't enter the first time, here's your chance!

Best of luck!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

It wasn't too long ago when my pre-poo only consisted of rubbing in some conditioner a few minutes before I jumped in the shower to wash my hair. I figured, "as long as I did something before I washed, I was in a pretty good place." That was before I got focused and decided to target specific areas of my wash routine for maximum effectiveness.

I know that achieving the moisture strength balance is the holy grail of healthy hair. This past year, I focused much of my attention to strengthening the hair. You might remember my hair fixer series and my posts on Asience as an example. It wasn't long before I realized that I was neglecting the moisture element of my routine. Sure I deep conditioned faithfully week after week, but since I was so intent on increasing strength, my deep conditioning did little for my hair in the way of moisture.

Which came first, the moisture or the strength?

Now that I look back on my routine modifications over the past year, I kinda wished I focused on moisture first then strength. Why? Because I believe that proper moisture levels can impact some of the breakage we're plagued with. Sure, I do believe that damaged hair needs additional protein, but some of us are treating our dryness with protein believing that protein is the end all to all of our hair issues. May I ask you to consider what happens to pretty much anything that has been dampened by water. What happens to it? Yes, it becomes moist but I'd like you also to think about its level of elasticity. Pretty much anything that has been fully permeated by water becomes more pliable and resistant to breakage.
For this reason, I have spent countless man hours contemplating how I can raise, and maintain, the levels of moisture in every strand of hair from this day forward.

Ok, let's get back to the pre-poo. Today, my pre-poo step is the most elaborate of my entire wash day routine. This is because I believe that a proper pre-poo sets the stage for moisture throughout the entire process. Not too long ago, I analyzed the amount of hair I would loose during my wash day process from start to finish and determined that it was excessive and unacceptable. That's when I decided to break down each step and look for improvement opportunities. I saw my biggest opportunity in the form of my pre-poo. I was doing it as a necessity but really couldn't identify it's true benefit to my routine. I had to think about this long and hard because I felt that my results from the deep condition were far superior to my pre-poo.

Then one day things changed. I made the decision that my pre-poo was going to lead the way with regards to results. I determined that if my pre-poo step was A.MAZ.ING, then every thing that came after that would be like icing on the cake. My pre-poo has evolved greatly to what it has become today. I won't go into great detail but now it includes steam, quality conditioners, oils, and other products. I demonstrate this step in my latest video that you can see below.

So what have my results been from amping up my pre-poo routine? Let me just say that I step into the shower (before I wash my hair) feeling like I've just done an intense deep conditioning. I no longer have to wait until after the conditioner to experience the feeling of having intensely nourished hair. Since my pre-poo is all about moisture, I know that I've addressed dryness right from the get go. That way, if I'm using a strengthening deep conditioner, I no longer have to fear excessive stiffness from hair that hasn't been moisturized properly. You guys have all been there, you're trying to repair your dry damaged hair with protein, only to find out that you end up with dry stiff hair after using your conditioner. Not a good place to be.

So the take aways from this first lesson in moisture is to assess your pre-poo and begin with the end in mind. If your intention is to bring about moist, supple hair, shouldn't you try to create moist, supple hair right from the start of your routine? Take some time to reassess your pre shampoo step. Are you using products that impact the hair, or are you just trying to get through that old bottle of conditioner that didn't work for you in the first place? Do you get the same feeling of excitement when you rinse out your conditioner as you get when you rinse before the shampoo? These are some questions to seriously think about as you continue to inch your way to hair perfection.

Stay tuned, for lesson two in our Maximum Moisture series entiled: What can your shampoo do for you?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

As I take a step back and assess the state of my hair, one thing I can say pretty confidently is that my moisture levels are fairly good. That's saying a lot for someone who isn't bunning 99.99% of the time. In fact, if you remember my regimen video, I pretty much wear my hair out more often then I style protectively. My refusal to bun constantly has created an even greater desire and need to stay two steps ahead of the two worst culprits to textured hair...dryness and breakage. What's even more amazing is that I don't use a bona fide "moisturizer" in the traditional sense of the word.

Over the next several posts, I'll be detailing specifically some of the little tips and tricks I've implemented into my routine to help impact moisture levels significantly. Some of the things I do you may have heard before. Some of them you haven't. Either way, I just want to put it all out there for you so you and your lovely head of hair can benefit.

We'll start this series off by talking philosophically more so than practically. My philosophy on perfect hair is to constantly work to improve those hindrances to your moisture/protein balance. I now also believe that though products are a great tool to helping you achieve the hair you want, the true actions that truly makes a difference is your overall strategy. What I mean by this is that you must think intently about ways to make noticeable impact, not just which product you should buy. You need to know the impact you want to make before you attempt to make it. And you must measure your results against your intentions.

When I first began to implement my strategy, I new that I would be using overwhelming force to get the results I wanted. This meant, I would be injecting moisture into every step of my process. My pre-poo would focus on moisture, my shampoo would focus on moisture, my conditioner would focus on moisture, my set would focus on moisture, my styling product would focus on moisture. Moisture was the only option available. There... would... be... no... other... choice.

So ladies join me, would you, as I recount the steps I took to get to where I stand today in the series entitled : Maximum Moisture, how I am beating the battle over dryness day after day.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I've talked about the importance of documenting your hair journey in previous posts. Well I just became the beneficiary of my own written documentation process when I came across a draft of an old post that I never published.

Just last week, while I was setting my hair, I thought about setting a goal of reducing the amount of loss (breakage and/or shedding) week after week. After analyzing my routine over and over, I still couldn't figure out what I needed to do differently to loose less hair. That is until I found this excerpt taken from my drafts folder.

Take a gander:

In my quest for glorious hair, I've often sat back and thought about the washing process in general. I know that wash day should be the one time of the week were I'm nourishing and replenishing the health back into my hair. But for some reason, I could never become comfortable with loosing a lot of hair in the process. Well not too long ago, I heard about a method of washing the hair in braids section by section. The idea never caught on with me because I figured that because I wasn't scrubbing the hair and overmanipulating, there was no need to go the extra step.

This week, however, I bought into the idea that I need to try something different if I want to experience different results. So here's what I did:

-A day or two prior to washing I pre-pooed with one of my fav conditioners. My schedule that day prevented me from washing. Actually, I didn't get to wash until two days later. The morning of the actual wash, I re-applied a bit more conditioner and some Alma oil and proceed to create four large braids.

-Next I stepped into the shower and took one braid loose so I can apply Keracare Dry Itchy Scalp shampoo liberally to my scalp. Then came the Hair One conditioning shampoo down the length of the hair. This product is so moisturizing that I am able to begin detangling with ease. Afterwards I apply a really moisturizing conditioner to that section and two strand twist.

-I repeated this step with each section seperately making sure to keep re-twist each section after applying shampoo and conditioner. By keeping each section separate, I found that I had more control of the entire process. I wasn't dealing with an entire head of hair at once, I could focus on one manageble section at a time.

-Finally, I took the sections individually and applied a heavier conditioner. I re-twisted once again, put on a plastic cap and went on about my business.

By the time I did my final rinse, you could imagine my glee when I washed the conditioner out of perfectly detangled hair. I rinsed each section separately. I also opted not to retwist after the final rinse. The results were amazing! I normally air dry in a pony tail and loose a ton of hair trying to work the tangles through. This time was a totally different experience. I had no worries once I stepped out of that shower.

This method does take a little bit more time than normal to execute but believe me, the results are well worth it. I can only imagine who easy rollersetting will be going forward. Today I'm going about my day as normal but I've got a bit of a swagger. My confidence is sky high because my hair feels good, looks, good, and will only get better.

I'm excited about being reintroduced to this method of detangling. I'm going to reinstitute this method into my routine going forward. Will keep you posted on how this works for me long term.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hair goals. We all have 'em. Whether you're striving for armpit, brastrap, or butt-length, chances are you're hoping to have reached a specific length by a certain period of time. Today I want to talk a little about hair goals and how we can get closer to the all allusive next step of our hair journey

What I'd like to do is take this opportunity to challenge you on your current hair goal. When I say challenge, I'm not asking you to give up your hair goal. What I'd like you to do instead is to reconsider how you vocalize and strive towards your hair goals. Actually, I'll start by asking that you change your vocabulary and replace hair goals with hair intentions. For instance, when you say "I want to have bra-strap length hair." That is an intention. By intention, I mean your desire to bring about something. In this case, your desire is to bring about healthy hair at a certain length. Simple enough.

Now let's talk about hair goals. For the purposes of this discussion, you should think of hair goals, going forward, as the results you want to create that will bring about your intention. Let me clarify. If your intention is to create bra-strap length hair, your goal should be to achieve the results needed to create hair that length. Let's take a look at some examples of what hair goals should actually look like

*Have more flexible hair that is resistant to breakage.
*Increase shine levels of the hair.
*Reduce the amount of breakage occurring during wash and set every week.
*Thicker even length ends via trims.
*Create a healthier detangling routine on wash days.
*Increase (and retain) moisture levels in the hair.
*Improve the deep conditioning step of wash to address protein/moisture balance.
*Take hair vitamins at least 4 times a week.
*Protective style at least 4 days out of the week.
*Stimulate scalp via massages on a nightly basis.

The list goes on....

As you can see, I'm recommending that you break your "goal" down into several action steps which you can implement directly into your routine. These more specific and actionable goals helps to keep your focus on what you really need to do get to your intended length. Sure you can keep walking around talking about mid-back but unless you address your breakage issue and set your goals accordingly, mid-back probably won't happen. What I'm asking you to do is shift your focus in a way that addresses specific issues in your hair care regimen, one at a time, until your hair has no option but to respond accordingly.

So from this day forward, think of your length goal as an intention you wish to bring about. Then break down the results you want to experience one by one and attack them like a wild animal attacks its prey. Also, by focusing on and hitting each one of your goals, you're not having to deal with the frustration of not having the length you want (yet). You can keep your eyes on one goal and focus until you have it conquered. All you have to do is focus on moisture, or strength, or thickness, or whatever.

It's all about harnessing the power of focus and directing that power towards overcoming obstacles. The intended length you want is just a sweet by-product of doing the right things.
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