Friday, June 25, 2010

For those of you who are familiar with this humble blog, you know that I'm always striving to take the care of my hair to the next level. In the past, I've written posts boosters you can add to your leave-in to take the experience up a notch. I also took that same concept and applied it to the deep conditioning step. Now, I'm focusing in on the step just in between the deep conditioning and leave-in. A step that many of us may not think much about. That step, my friends, is the rinse.

Before, when you thought of "the rinse", the image that crossed your mind probably consisted of the simple act of rinsing conditioner out of your hair. Well today, I'm here to provide you multiple options. I want to tell everyone of the wonderful selections available in the world of the final rinse.

Here we go.....

Tea Rinse
Also known as an herbal rinse, this step consists of pouring herbal tea over the hair and scalp just after the wash. Once applied, you can then proceed to the deep conditioning step and rinse both the tea and the conditioner out at once. You can also opt to rinse with tea after deep conditioning as the final step to your wash. The benefits to rinsing with tea are said to positively impact the health of your scalp and minimize shedding. Some who've tried this method do say that the results are similar to having used a protein conditioner. For this reason, I recommend you break out your moisturizing conditioners when you rinse with tea. This type of rinse is safe enough to do weekly. If you find it to be too drying on the hair, then you can alternate to every other wash or as needed.

Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
This is one of my favorite rinses. As someone who suffers from an overactive scalp, this rinse is exactly what the doctor ordered. Just to refresh your memory on the benefits of this rinse, ACV helps to clarify the hair and remove build up. Because of it's low pH levels, ACV helps seal the cuticle layer locking in the moisture and protein from your deep conditioner. Make sure to dilute apple cider in water before applying to hair and scalp. It can be a bit strong if left undiluted. What I like most about this type of rinse is that you are providing a direct benefit to both the hair and scalp in one shot. Long live ACV rinses!

Cold Water Rinse
Closing the cuticle is one of the most important steps in our wash. Why spend all that time, energy and product only to allow the cuticle layer to remain vulnerable to chipping and splitting? Cool water is the perfect finisher to your weekly wash. Cold water rinses help increase stimulation to the scalp, and can also minimize shedding. Oh, and don't forget about the shine! When your cuticle layer is nice and flat, your hair strands reflect light much more easily. The result? Healthier looking, smoother hair.

Oil Rinse
Got tangles and dryness? A much needed oil rinse may just be the answer for you. Unlike the other rinses in described in this post, oil rinsing isn't done in the last step of the wash. This method actually involves adding oil to the hair after the wash but before the conditioning step. Once you've applied the desired amount of oil, you rinse with warm water then proceed to deep condition. You can play around with oils you prefer for this method, depending on how many weeks post you are etc. You may decide to go with a lighter oil like jojoba or coconut oil or something thicker and more nourishing like castor oil depending on your hair's texture and how much detangling your hair needs. Either way, your hair can definitely benefit from adding this step to the routine whenever your hair could use a little kick.

Clear Color Rinse
Though I haven't used a clear rinse in years, I can clearly remember the immediate difference in the look and feel of my hair after applying a clear rinse. Instantly my hair became shinier and more manageable. Now that I think about it, I may pick up a bottle of clear rinse next time I'm at the Ulta store with coupon in hand. Years ago, I used Jazzing clear rinse because it was cost effective and readily available. This time, I'll try to seek out some higher quality products like Fekkai salon glaze or Sebastian Colorshines. These brands claim to help seal in the cracks in the strand that lead to dry, dull looking hair by adding a layer of protection on the strand that allows the light to easily reflect. Who knows, maybe the sealing of the cracks may lead to less breakage and better protection during manipulation. Who wouldn't want that?

Conditioner Rinse
Last but certainly not least is the conditioner rinse. I know you're thinking to yourself, "why would I rinse with conditioner after I deep conditioned?" That's a great question! I've asked myself that same question in the past until I re-implemented the conditioner rinse to my routine. If you're like me, some of your favorite deep conditioners are pretty good at providing strength and moisture. But often, they excel a bit better at supporting the hair's strength more so than offering up moisture. It would be great to have an all in one conditioner that gives superior slip and moisture, but in case you haven't yet found the one, why not try adding another quick step to your wash? A conditioning rinse is nothing more than deploying your brightest and best moisturizing conditioner to finish the job once you've already deep conditioned. What you do is rinse out the deep conditioner out then apply a super-moisturizing water-based conditioner for the last few minutes prior to rinsing. The result? Hair that's soft and strong but without the stiff feeling that we all hate. The best conditioners for this use are the ones with little to no protein on the label. If you do find protein, it's usually lower on the ingredient list. Although there are some products out there branded specifically for this purpose, any moisturizing conditioner will get the job done.

With so many rinse options for healthier hair, why choose just one?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A week ago I made another lousy attempt at airdrying. For those of you who don't know, air drying is not my strong suit. If I'm not careful, I end up with an unfortunate situation complete with tangles and unruly hair. Last wash was a disaster to say the least. I won't go into much detail but what I will say is that I spent all of last week with highly unattractive hair. So this week's wash was really important. I had to make sure I undid all the damage caused by allowing my hair to dry in such an undesirable condition. Needless to say, after yesterday's wash, my hair is signing a different tune. So what I've decided to do is take a moment to recognize the all star cast of products that worked hard to bring life back in to my hair. You guys all did your thang and I am so grateful for each and every one of you. So without further ado, let the shout outs begin! First off, I have to confess that for the past 2 months or so, I've strayed from using this product consistently. This week however, when it came down to pre-poo, I knew I had to reach for the best. Of course you guys know I'm talking about my Burt's Bees! Thank you Burt's, for starting things off right for me, this time, every time.
Next it was off to the shower where I shampooed with Hair One. Because of the time constraint, I knew I'd have to forgo the full fledge deep conditioning process in the traditional sense of the word. This time, I'd only have a few minutes to make things happen. So I employed three amazing conditioners to do a quickie on my hair. Because of you Alter Ego, Biolage, and Silicon Mix, my hair is back to life. Not just any life, abundant life.
My newfound love, Redken Extreme Anti Snap partnered beautifully with my Salerm leave in to create a magical rollerset. Here's to the both of you.
Finally were would I be without "softness in a bottle" Gleau Nourishing Oil Blend. What I appreciate most about this oil blend is how it consistently brings shine, softness, and moisture to my strands each and every time. Gleau, you are the perfect ending to a perfect wash day experience. Kudos to you!
Team, you all worked so hard to beautify my hair, I thought it was only right to pay homage in a public forum for all the world to hear. Once again, thank you all and I look forward to many more wonderful experiences such as these.

Monday, June 14, 2010

You guys already know that I'm a huge fan of scalp massages. They are so good for us in so many ways. Any part of the body that receives increased circulation thrives as nutrient rich blood floods that area. When nutrient rich blood is directed to the scalp, your hair reaps the rewards. Your hair follicles are the direct recipients of this rush of blood flow and soon you begin to notice your hair growing thicker as a result.

Lately, I've tried to be on my game when it comes to scalp massages. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the amount of new growth I have makes it a little more difficult to reach the scalp and make a huge impact. While I absolutely love my hand held plastic massager, sometimes I prefer methods that can get more done in less time. I know the plastic massager will work wonders on troubled areas such as the crown or nape, but I also felt like I needed an all over massage technique that could be done fairly quickly.

One thing that really concerned me about traditional scalp massages is how much manipulation is involved. I've always wanted to have an auyervedic massage done complete with all of the oils and spices. In fact, after posting this video last year, I found a local place in the area that performs this type of treatment. Sadly, because of my fear of coming out of the process with a boat-load of tangles, I can only enjoy by way of a video. I even had to forgo those heavenly scalp scrubs at the Dominican Salon because of the insane amount of tangles they would create just before running a small tooth comb thru my hair.

Well now I'm happy to say that I've found another way of massage that is still very effective and covers a large area. Best of all, you are barely manipulating the hair so there's no fear of negative side effects. This technique is one used by clients prior to undergoing a hair transplant. In order to create a "lax" scalp, and in an attempt to have the patient produce more samples available for grafting, he/she is encouraged to massage the scalp for several weeks prior to treatment. I've tried this technique for the first time last night and I was really impressed at how stimulated my scalp felt afterwards. I'll be sharing two short videos with you to help you visually see the process. The first vid is meant detailed instruction of the process, the second video is short demonstration.

Because most transplant clients tend to have hair positioned near the back of the head, these videos tend to focus on that area. When you perform these techniques, feel free to move about the entire scalp concentrating on any particular areas of concern. I love this method because my entire head feels stimulated in such a short period of time and it's by far one of the easiest, hair friendly scalp massage techniques I've seen. Give it a try tonight and see how easy it is. Give it a try for 60 days and see how healthy it is for your hair.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

So I spent Saturday evening at a friend's house re-enacting both fun and challenging games from the popular TV game show "Minute to Win It." Overall, game night was entertaining to say the least. The night, however, took a turn for the better when, midway through the evening, one of the party-goers removed her hair claw clip to reveal this....

From that moment on, I thought quietly to myself on how I would strike up a conversation with her to discuss the particulars of her absolutely fabulous head of hair. So I waited patiently as attendees failed and succeeded at various physical and mental challenges using only common household items. Finally the moment came when people, tired from the nights events, started to depart for home. At this point, I still hadn't figured out a smooth transition from natural conversation to the topic of hair. So I did what I thought made sense.............
We're both beginning to pick up toilet paper pieces, ping pong balls, and other randomness off the hard wood floor when out of nowhere I ask "is your hair natural or relaxed?"
She responds that she relaxes her hair and has done so for years. Next, I dropped the awkward question. "Can I take a picture of it?"

Without even giving it much thought, this person who I literally just met granted me this unusual request of having the back of her head photographed. I'm sure she probably thought the few pictures I took of her would satisfy my curiosity. She had no idea that phase two of my plan would consist of an impromptu interview detailing the steps she takes to care for her lovely tresses.

It turns out her regimen is pretty simple. She just does what works for her hair and it's rewarded her with the wonderful gift of luscious lengths. I wasn't forward enough to ask her to stretch her curls out but I wouldn't be surprised (judging from the pic above) if her hair reached waist length.

So here's the scoop:
  • She visits the salon every 3 months or so to receive touchups using a mild relaxer from her stylist. Right now she's in a super long 6 month stretch. This isn't the norm for her. In fact, she states that her stylist will probably not be pleased when he finds out how long she's going without a touch up.
  • Between salon visits, she washes weekly and deep conditions with Proclaim or Redken products.
  • After washing she allows most of the hair to air dry. She then follows up with a blow dry to remove any remaining moisture, and proceeds to flat iron.
  • She applies a Redken Smoothdown serum whenever she uses her iron. Once she's done, she puts the iron away until the following wash. I checked out this product's review on Folica. It looks to be pretty effective. I'm making a mental note to check this product out next time I'm strolling down the aisles of my local Ulta store.
  • She helps seal in moisture throughout the week with an oil product from Kera Care.
  • I asked if she had ever suffered any set-backs. Surprisingly enough, she said that her set backs came when she wore ponytails on a daily basis. The stress from the additional tension caused extreme breakage at the nape. She lifted the hair do demonstrate and I could see the difference in length between her longest layers and the hair at the nape.
  • Her method of making a triumphant comeback from her setback is to wear the hair down or use hair claws in lieu of tight ponytails.
  • She also admitted that her current regimen does not cause or contribute to excessive breakage. This means she can continue doing what she's doing knowing that she can easily continue to retain length.
  • Finally, she stated that though she has allowed 6 months to pass without a touch up, she plans to continue relaxing for now.
So that's pretty much it. I just wanted to share with you my experience with a real life hair inspiration. I didn't go any deeper into the questioning (although I easily could have) for fear of seeming like a deranged hair lush but I'm glad I at least mustered up the nerve to get the pics.

'till next time.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

So let's discuss two very different products made especially for use before the shampoo. Burt's Bees Avocado Pre-Shampoo butter and OJON restoratives hair treatment mask. Both products are made by companies who don't market exclusively to the ethic market. Both products boast of natural ingredients as their claim to fame. Although some similarities exists, there are some notable differences between the two products. Lets discuss:

You guys have heard me rave about Burt's Bees in the past. Even with my past success, I still couldn't get past the desire to have my very own jar of Ojon. I mean, the mantra of the company is "The People of Beautiful hair." Who couldn't stay away from a product like that? So I finally picked up a jar at Sephora and paid the equivalent of nearly 6.5 tubes of Burt's Bees. That's right, the Ojon Treatment was around $60.00

Burt's Bees definitely beats Ojon in the price category.

As far as the ingredients are concerned, Burt's Bees is an all natural product and so is Ojon but Ojon's main attraction is Palm Nut Oil. Before you guys start googling where you can find Palm Nut Oil, I will tell you now that it's pretty much impossible to find. Word is that the Ojon folks have the exclusive rights to this ingredient. You may find Palm Oil but that isn't exactly the same as Palm Nut Oil. Their featured ingredient is said to have the ability to penetrate the hair shaft nourishing from the inside out. Hence the name "restorative mask".
So for this round, Ojon has it!

Next let's talk about scent and texture. Both products have a thickness consistency similar to a hair grease. And both are able to melt easily into the palm of the hand just by the simple act of rubbing hands together. One, however stands hands and shoulders above in the scent category. Burt's Bees has a fresh pleasant smell that makes the entire experience that much more enjoyable. Ojon, on the other hand, has a scent that reminds me of a smoky pool hall. There's nothing like intentionally making your hair smell like you spent the evening in a smoke-filled room. I could let Ojon get by with the "natural" scent only if the scent completely disappeared after washing. Sadly, this wasn't the case. Although the scent was not a strong after washing, I was still turned off by the experience.

Another score for Burt's Bees.

Okay, so let's talk about what really matters. The results! I gotta hand it to both of these products. Burt's Bees and Ojon are both high quality created by reputable brands. But for some reason, I feel like Burt's Bees is more of a "regular use" type of product while Ojon seems like more of a "once in a while" treatment option. Both produced good results for me but nothing can compare to the excitement I felt when I first used Burt's Bees. I knew from that day that I had found a product for life. Ojon, on the other hand, I would describe as "nice to have" product more so than a "need to have." I also feel like BBs is more of a moisturizing product while Ojon leaned a little more towards strengthening.

Bottom line, both products do what they claim but I feel Burt's Bees is a much better purchase if you compare their price, result and scent. For those of you curious about Ojon, like I was, I think you can ask for samples as your local Sephora store so you can try it out for yourself. Burt's Bees pre-poo can be found at Ulta's.

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