Thursday, June 28, 2012

It never fails, whenever I enter a retail store, I'll swing by the hair product section. I used to do this for the purpose of finding quality products, but that ceased years ago. Nowadays, I venture over the hair aisle and gaze longingly at the combs and brushes. It's like I'm always seeking something better.  I'm on a constant search for a brush and comb capable of taking my styling routine to the next level.

 Even though I always find the same selection of combs and brushes from store to store, something deep down inside me always seemed to whisper "there's gotta be something better." Now, mind you, I did find some pretty amazing detangling combs in the past. But that wasn't enough to satisfy my insatiable urges. My search continued. Then one day, it happened....I stumbled upon The Mason Pearson line of hair combs and brushes while wandering online. The Mason Pearson brush looked awfully close to my Sonia Kashuk brush I picked up long ago while at Target.

Biggest difference was the price tag.  I think I paid around $15.00 for the Sonia brush, meanwhile the Mason Pearson would run around 7X the price.  The old Nadege would have flinched at the cost of this brush.  You see, years ago, I was a certified cheapskate. I wanted to pay the lowest price for anything and everything I purchased.  Meanwhile I didn't even notice how that way of thinking lead me to collect a series of sub-par quality products that I would have to replace and repurchase several times over.

Then I began to shift from a scarcity mentality to one of infinite abundance.  This change in mindset was not an easy one. But, looking back, I wouldn't have it any other way.  What I realized was that if I invested a little more opted for the best I could afford, I would get so much in return.  Soon, I became addicted to the quality which quickly over shadowed the cost.  When I realized that the brush of my dreams was over $100.00, the first question I asked myself was "what makes this brush different?"

Let me hightlight two of the features that contribute to the awesomeness of this brush:
-The brushes are known for their craftsmanship.  I've read several accounts of people who've had their Mason Pearson brushes for 10, 20, and even 30 years (I'm crossing my fingers that this is the last brush of its kind that I purchase).
-The bristles and nilon are said to be of superior quality.    My Sonia Kashuk looks almost exactly like my Mason Pearson with one exception.  My SK brush is showing obvious signs of wear and tear. To be fair, I've had the Sonia K brush longer and have used it more frequently. But I wonder if years from now, my Mason Pearson brush will maintain it's appearance better than its $15.00 counterpart.
-The nylon bristles are said to stimulate the scalp for healthier growth meanwhile the brush helps distribute natural oils throughout the hair giving it a nicer appearance.

What worries me the most with brushes is when they cause excessive harm to our hair.  Looking at my Sonia brush now, I wouldn't dare use it for fear of mechanical damage which may occur due to the condition it's in.  Mechanical damage is the type damage caused to the hair strand by an outside source.   I talked a little more on this topic in this post.  Combs and brushes are probably the biggest contributor of mechanical damage.  My strategy is to minimize that type of damage is by opting for the highest quality brushes and combs I can get my greedy little hands on.

Oh, and did I also mention that I picked up a couple of combs from their line as well?  At around $30.00 each, one has to ask themselves "is this girl crazy?"    Perhaps I am.  But perhaps I considered that if this comb can indeed protect my hair from excessive mechanical damage (even if the improvement is slight), then it's worth the cost.  I'm thinking that if this comb can allow me to retain more hair while styling, detangling, etc. Perhaps that's less money I will have to invest in quality conditioners and such.  Who knows.

I must admit that I have a pretty decent collection of quality wide tooth and detangling combs. But since these bad boys came into my life, things are different.   At first I thought I made a mistake investing $30.00 on a comb. Especially since the teeth on it more narrow than my traditional (and favorite) wide tooth that I always use.

It wasn't until I actually used this comb that I noticed an obvious difference between the Mason Pearson and my other combs that made me retire all of my combs for good.   You see, the Mason Pearson is quieter than my other combs.  "What the heck does that mean?" you ask yourself.
Well I'm glad you asked.  I never noticed this before I used my Mason Pearson comb but my plastic bone combs make a louder sound as I work it through my hair.  Obviously the sound I'm speaking of isn't extremely loud but it's still present.  The sound of friction as I comb my hair, is more evident when I use my large plastic wide tooth comb.  I correlate this to the possibility of more mechanical damage.  Based on the assumption that the more audible the sound, the greater the likelihood of excessive friction.  Just a thought....not a proven fact.

Not only that, my Mason Pearson comb seems to work through tangles just as easy, if not easier than combs with wider teeth. Oh, and I lost less hair too! Just sayin'.......

Since bringing these new additions to my all-star hair team, I must say that I'm pretty content.  My cravings for ultra-effective combs have been quenched (for now).  And I rest comfortably knowing that my hair is better protected during moments of styling.

Now here comes the disclaimer:

***Just because I spent a small fortune on some combs and brushes does NOT mean I've turned into Masha Brady, standing in front of the mirror, brushing my hair with 100 strokes a day. I'm still doing what I've always done which means that I detangle on wash days with product (preferably an oil for added lubrication) and I brush only when the occasion calls for it.***

I'm not gonna go crazy and over manipulate just because I have a fancy, schmancy, hair brush.  They are here to support my hair goals, not destroy them so I plan to use them and their amazing powers for good, not evil.  Years from now, as I look back on my decision to elevate my hair comb game, I know I will smile longingly at myself and softly whisper "you did good, did good."

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I can't believe how quickly this year is going by. I'm realizing that now's as good as a time to any to take a moment to reflect on our hair goals since we are midway through the year.  In doing so we can align our actions appropriately to ensure this year is a successful one.

This pic below the hair length of the young lady in black is my goal.  I just love how the hair effortlessly falls below her shoulders and how the ends are just as shiny and healthy looking as the rest of the hair.  And yes, I understand that she's more than likely wearing a weave but that doesn't stop me from striving to achieve that look.

I'd like to take this opportunity to assess where I am (compared to my goal) and what I need to do for the next 6  months to take me towards my destination.  In my assessment, I'll use a SWOT analysis.  That way I use a systematic approach in creating my strategy by analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to my current hair regimen.  From this, I hope to create an effective plan of action that will really speak with to my goals.  Let's get started.

I'd say a strength of my journey has been the ability to create healthy growth.  I wouldn't say that my hair grows faster than normal.  I'm talking more about quality of the growth versus the growth rate.  So for the next six months or so I will continue to leverage this strength by continuing to do the following:

Along with taking these internal products, I will also continue a practice that I've really only started consistently doing for the past few weeks.  Every morning (and some evenings) I've practiced the Sanford Bennett method of scalp massage which includes "pulling the hair and scalp" as part of the massage process.  I believe that doing this has helped me create the blood flow and stimulation to larger areas of my scalp in less amount of time then if I were simply massaging my scalp with my finger tips.  Doing this long term will definitely have a positive impact on growth. 

A huge weakness I see in my hair (compared to my goal) is in the fullness/thickness of my ends.  As a non-protective styler, I kinda expect this result as a bi-product of my decisions. That still doesn't mean that I'm not going to try things that alter my current situation.  One such action I've taken is to trim my ends.  Although this has helped, there's still more that needs to be done.  So I'm going to try a few other actions to protect my ends and help keep them healthy including:
  • Overnight pre-poo to elevate the strength of all of my hair including ends.  Sealing the conditioner in my hair with coconut oil (especially on the ends).
  • Testing out a new way of caring for my hair at night that promotes healthy ends while I sleep. If this method produces worthy results, I'll share on the blog.
I also have weak areas in my hair that don't thrive as well as the others.  Mainly, I'm talking about the back of my hair and my right side.  I'm familiar enough with my hair to know that the root cause of this damage is probably linked to neglect.  I tend to favor one side of my hair and that favorite side gets all the extra loving, conditioner, gentle detangling, etc. The other parts are pretty much left to fend for themselves.  I realize now that I have to be a little more equitable in how I treat my hair in the future.  So a focus for me, as I target my weaknesses over the next six months, is to have healthy hair all the way around.

An opportunity that I can leverage for the remainder of the year is creating the habit of being consistent.  I feel like I've amassed enough products and knowledge to really make an impact on my goals. The key is how I can do these things I've talked about day after day, week after week until substantial progress is made.  If I can remain consistent as doing all the right things, I will undoubtedly be signing the praises of my progress come six months from now.  

The biggest threat, I see, in my plan to move towards my goal is myself.  My lack of inaction, along with my destructive habits.  Setbacks are a huge threat to my progress so I'm focusing on doing all I can to avoid them like the plague.  Continued trimming, overnight deep conditioning, and making sure I set aside enough time for daily care and maintenance.  I'm simply at a point where I can not let a set back creep it's ugly head.....not now.   I'm really focused on doing things daily that move me closer to my goals.  It's like being on a treadmill....if I simply stand still, I will fall off (and possibly hurt myself in the process). For this reason I must keep moving even if it's one step at a time.

One thing that I'd like to do is acknowledge the progress made thus far.  It's important to take the time to recognize the result of the work put in up to this point. Sure, my journey hasn't been perfect but the more I am able to be grateful for what I have thus far, the more I will enjoy what I desire.  

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Salt. Who would have thought that I'd be writing a healthy hair post about simple table salt? However, this post goes way beyond the common Morton's salt we all probably have in our cupboards.  No, my friends, today I'm here to talk about something else.  My philosophy has always been to elevate myself in everything thing I do and this new find fits in right along with what I believe.

This salt I'd like to introduce to you is known as Himalayan pink salt.  What makes Himalayan pink salt to special is not just the cute pink color, but the nutritional value of this salt.  See, unlike our common table salt, Himalayan salt is unprocessed.  Common white table salt is equivalent to white bread in that the nutrients have been removed after it's been refined. Once we consume it, our bodies receive nothing in return. In fact, in some cases, the eating processed foods does more harm than good because our bodies uses it's nutrient reserves to digest food that gives back no nutrition in return.

Salt is something we consume in pretty much every meal.  What if the salt we ate contained over 80 easily absorbable trace minerals including silica, yes, I said silica.  The same silica that I rave about over and over again can be found in this special salt.  And what's even more amazing, is that the minerals in Himalayan pink salt are highly absorbable by our bodies.  Pink salt can also help promote a healthy pH balanced environment which is critical for optimal health. I touched a little on this subject on a previous post about alkaline and acid water.

Here's where it gets interesting.  A nine week study done in 2003 by the University of Graz (Austria) split participants into four groups.

-Group 1 participants drank 1.5 liters Fiji water only (Fiji water is slightly alkaline and contains silica as a trace mineral).
-Group 2 participants only drank tap water throughout the day.
-Group 3 participants drank 1.5 liters of Fiji water mixed with a solution of pink salt and water (also known as Sole)
 -Group 4 participants drank 1.5 liters of water mixed with a solution of table sate and water.

The results?  The group that drank the Fiji water and pink salt solution reported "increases in quality of sleep, energy, concentration, weight loss, and noticeable nail and hair growth.  The group with the next best results in the study was the group that drank the Fiji water only.  You can read more about this experiment here. Pink salt is said to have many more benefits but for the sake of our discussion here, we'll focus on the hair and nail growth.  These amazing benefits are possible because when our bodies are in balance, only good things can happen.  It like when the soil is fertile, the crops grow strong and healthy.  I figure that since I use salt when I prepare my meals anyway, why not use a salt that is amazingly beneficial for my hair and body.  Since I've discovered this little pink surprise, I've been using it for cooking.  I also add a pinch of pink salt to my water bottle. Next, I'll prepare the sole solution and add it to my bottle water for my early morning drink.   For those of you who might be concerned with the negative effects of the salt intake, you'll be happy to know that because nature of this salt,  it does not promote unhealthy effects like high blood pressure.  No more white table salt for me,  I'm gonna finish up my white table salt by using it in my shower water softener.

I've only been doing this pink salt thing for a week now.  The immediate benefit I experienced was the elimination of my chronic charlie horse.  Gosh, I used to get those things all the time when sitting at my computer desk.  Seems like when the pink salt came into my life, the charlie horses went away.  Oh, and one more thing...I used to crave salty snacks like chips and, lately, it seems like my "salty tooth" has been somewhat quenched by the addition of the healthy pink salt.  So far so good.  I can't wait to take it to another level with the addition of the sole solution and see what happens next.

Monday, June 11, 2012


For a while now, I've tried to make a habit of including affirmations as part of my daily routine.  Sometimes I'm consistent, sometimes I'm not. Part of the issue is that I viewed the process of saying "positive" things to myself as a task.  The affirmations didn't feel real to me and, most often, I found it difficult to incorporate the "positive feelings" which are a vital part of the affirmation process.

Affirmations, for those who aren't familiar, are simply words that one repeats to themselves which are positive and "affirm" the things we want in our lives.  If we actually listen to the incessant rambling of our minds, one thing that stands out is the overwhelmingly negative nature of our thoughts.  When we recite affirmations, we are making a conscious choice to insert positive messages into our thought cycle.  The whole point of the process is so we can begin to think new thoughts, take on new actions, which will ultimately lead to new results (reality) that support the words we affirmed.

For me, affirmations have sorta been a "hit and miss".  Sometimes I achieve great results, sometimes I don't.  Like I said earlier, sometimes I would feel like it was just a task when I said words in front of the mirror, and once I did it, I was done for the day.

But then something happened.  Last week, before I started my day, I recited a simple affirmation.  "Today is better than I expected."  Then I headed to the airport.  What I decided to do differently this time is raise my awareness of things turned out better than I expected it do that day.  So when I timed my airport arrival at 5:30 am but I arrived at 5:15 am, I said to myself "better than I expected!"  When the rental car location ran out of compact cars and upgraded me for free to a mid size, I repeated "better than I expected!"    When I pulled up to a toll booth and realized I had no cash. I had to leave my car and run over to the booth with a person in it who gave me the I money needed, I thanked her and  gratefully said to myself "better than I expected!"  I could go on but I hope you get the picture I'm painting.

From that day, I realized how important it is to actually AFFIRM my affirmations as I see glimpses of them in real life.  If, early in the morning, I say to myself that "I am fully comfortable speaking to a group of people," every time I speak to a group, even a small group of three people during lunch break, I can affirm to myself, "I am comfortable speaking to a group of people."  If my morning affirmation is "I love eating healthy foods,"  then I affirm that again when I eat a tomato or an apple.  The point of the process isn't just about saying empty words in front of a mirror, but to make it real by acknowledging when you see glimpses of your affirmation occurring in your real life.  When you do, you are able to include one of the most powerful aspects of affirmations and attraction--the feelings.  They say that in order to attract powerfully, I need to feel the feelings of having already accomplished or received my desires.  This can be hard to do when I'm reciting words to a reflection of myself.  Once I began affirming my affirmations as they happened, suddenly I couldn't help but to feel good about what was manifesting in the moment.

Oh, and one more thing, part two of this process is to not affirm when your actions, or the events of the day, DO NOT align with your daily intention.  If you  affirmed that "I am in control of my emotions" then suddenly you find yourself wanting to throw the nearest object at your co-worker, don't keep repeating in your mind about how much you want to punch this person, instead find something you can affirm in the situation. Perhaps it's something like "I am in control of my emotions, I could have reacted by doing ABC, but instead I chose to XYZ."  I am in control of my emotions."  The less energy you give to something, the weaker it becomes.  By not affirming the results that don't align with what you want to create, you are allowing it to become weaker.

My desire is that this post helps some of you who would like to see your intentions begin to materialize.  Sometimes what we say we want starts to happen but we miss out on them because we focus so much on negative.  Try using this re-affirmation process throughout your day today and see what possibilities you create for yourself.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


 "What on earth is she holding" (you ask yourself)?  "And why is she cheesin' like that?"  Well, I'll tell you why I'm so happy.  I'm smiling because in my hands is a single strand of hair that represents (what I would consider) a minor miracle.  You see, the strand of hair that is barely visible in this pic is "three-toned."   It's black/brown on the end, grey in the middle, and black/brown again near the root.  That's right ladies.  This strand of hair is one that was once grey and has since reverted back to its natural color.  Hallelujah!

As far as I know, only three of these strands exist.  The first I discovered while roller setting last week.  The hair shed as I was combing prior to rolling that particular section.  I nearly lost my mind when I saw this hair that was dark, white, then dark again.  I couldn't wait to share the good news so I set this strand aside so I could eventually take a picture of it.  Unfortunately, I didn't do a good job of securing that strand and it soon got lost among the other shed hairs that were a result of the roller setting.  I was so bummed when I thought I lost the only hair that represented solid proof in my being able to possibly reverse my grey.    Then, shortly after, I found another shed hair with the same three-toned pattern.  Later on in the week, I found a third.  This last one is actually still connected to my scalp.

I tried my darndest to take somewhat decent pics of this strand of hair as evidence of my miraculous change of events. Turns out that taking pics of a single strand of hair isn't as easy as I thought it would be.  In any case, take a look at these pics attached to see what I'm talking about. 

(up close pic of three-toned hair)

(three-toned hair taped on plastic background)

So what does this all mean?  Why are some of my hairs reversing in color?  How did this happen and how can I ensure it continues to happen?  To be completely honest with you, I'm not exactly sure.  The only thing I can do is take a moment to reflect on some of the shifts I've made to my diet and lifestyle in recent past to see if I can make some sort of correlation.

Cod Liver Oil
When I started to think back, the first thing that came to my mind was the Nordic Naturals Cod liver oil that I was taking in liquid form. Each morning, without even thinking about it, I swallowed a tablespoon of pure omega three goodness.  I started this around October of last year.  I did a quick search to see if this a viable cause of the darkening of my greys.  Wouldn't you know it, when I searched online for grey hair and omega 3 oils, many of the search results claimed that there was indeed a connection between pre-mature grey hair and cod liver oil.  I've taken fish oil in some form, on a consistent basis for a while.  But this is the first time I had taken Nordic Naturals in liquid form.  I'm sure this purified, high-quality oil, is much more powerful than the Wal-Mart brand I'd taken years ago.  And by taking it in liquid form, I feel like the body was more able to assimilate the oil than the capsule.  I'm sure I was also consuming more when I swallowed a spoonful than when I took 2 capsules.

Wheat Grass
Looking back into my archives, I noticed that I also started experimenting with wheat grass late last year.  I went back to check the post I'd written and, in it, I'd stated that I wanted to see how long-term use of wheat grass juice would impact my grey hair.  Could it be that I'm now seeing the fruits of my labor? I think the high levels of nutrition concentrated in these tiny little grasses is the reason why hairs are able to respond so well. I've got to make a small confession here and say that I halted my wheat grass practice once I started my gluten detox.  But if this hair transformation has anything to do with "the grass,"  then I might consider reintroducing it into my routine again for maintenance.  

Let's not forget that around mid-last year, I introduced silica to my hair routine first in the form of Hubner's silica gel then via the delicious bamboo tea.  I read on one site that grey hair could be caused by a trace mineral deficiency (silica being one of them).  Perhaps the introduction of highly absorbable colloidal silica to my regimen was the source of my hair's gradual shift.  If so, I need to make sure I maintain my silica consumption by having a glass of bamboo tea daily.

Honorable mentions
Although these next two actions I'll share with you may not be directly related to the changes I experienced, they both are said to positively influence grey hair.  The first honorable mention goes to nail rubbing which is said to create healthy nails, hair growth and reverse greys.  Unfortunately, I haven't been consistent enough with this practice to make an impact.  My friend who first introduced me to this method boasted not only on how thick his elderly father's hair was but also on how well it maintained it's natural color.

The other honorable mention will have to go to my new gluten-free lifestyle.  I'm mentioning this now because, like in the wheatgrass post, I sincerely hope this new way of eating will continue to attract multiple benefits to my life.  A gluten intolerance is said to inhibit the proper absorption of nutrients. My hope is that all the other nutritional changes I've made in the past will only be heightened by the shifts in my eating habits.  Since I've only been gluten-free for a few months, I know it's too soon to say it's had any impact on the three-toned hairs I've discovered.

Looking back, I'm glad that I was able to incorporate some of these changes to my routine.  Some of these, I've slacked on but I'm completely motivated to bring them back as part of my daily habits.  Overall, the greatest lesson I've learned from all of this is the power of nutrition on the health of our hair.  Happy hair growing!

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