"I'm using it as an eye treatment"
I bought some liquid MSM, here are the 5 ways I'll use it
"I'm using it as an eye treatment"
Going low carb: "Wonder if my hair will fall out."
Fast forward a couple of weeks and I find myself sitting at a table eavesdropping on a conversation where a guy is discussing his low carb eating in preparation of a Cross Fit competition. After finding my way into the conversation, I learned that he wasn't just going low carb but was actually following the Paleo diet. That's when he started sharing more about the Paleo way of eating and how it included avoiding rice and grains, not because of the carbs, but because these types of foods weren't part of the natural diet of early man. He went on to tell me that wheat wasn't really good for us to consume.
After our conversation, I sought out to learn more. The things I learned, in the days that followed, stunned me. Instead of focusing on a low carb diet, my search lead me to gluten and how I might possibly have gluten sensitivities. Let me first start out by saying that I haven't taken any tests nor have I been diagnosed with gluten intolerances. This is something I'm playing around with in my head based on what I've learned so far. Allow me to list out why I feel that gluten has been a negative influence in my life.
If you've followed my blog for a while, you know that I've suffered from seborrheic dermatitis for many years. SB is essentially a skin condition the causes excessive flacking dry itchy scalp. These symptoms can also appear on the face, in the ears and behind the ears of those who suffer from the condition. Thanks to using apple cider vinegar daily as a toner, I've been able to manage the peeling on my face (thank God). My poor scalp has been through so much peeling and flaking. What concerns me most about the SB is that when it gets out of control, it impacts hair growth (especially in my edges). When I treat areas that have major flaking, it never fails, that the hair in that area has thinned out big time. Thinned out edges are "not the business." So of course I'm highly interested in finding something that can actually address the root cause of my dermatitis. Then I stumbled across this article which states as plainly as day, that "the main foods to watch out for in the case of seborrheic dermatitis are wheat (gluten) and dairy. I eat dairy so rarely that I'm almost positive that it's not the main culprit in my case. Wheat, on the other hand, is something I take in on the regular.
Not long ago, I stood in front of the mirror and thought to myself "seriously, I still have acne even though I'm well past my teens and 20's!" How much longer will I have to suffer through these random, embarrassing breakouts? Well I think I may have found my answer. It took no time at all to find resources online that link acne to food intolerances such to wheat, dairy and the like. I think it was this video that sealed the deal for me after watching another video where this woman shared her acne journey and having resolved it after learning that food allergies were the source of her heartache. Additional research only solidified my theory that perhaps my acne is linked to the food I've been eating. I tend to eat dairy with my wheat (on sandwiches) so if dairy is also a root cause eliminating gluten may take care of the dairy issue as well.
Do you guys remember my post with pics of Melyssa Ford getting her workout on? In it I mentioned my "lady gut." For as long as I can remember, I've always had this small gut even during the times when I considered my self fit and in shape. Now I'm wondering if my round little belly is a form of abdominal distention which is basically swelling and bloating linked to food intolerances. After reading several accounts of people who were able to have a flat stomach again after removing gluten from their diets, I was more than hopeful about (possibly) looking like Melyssa Ford by summer time. Oh and of course, a diet with minimal to no gluten can also contribute to weight loss overall.
Grey Hair & Hair Growth
I have a few grey hairs. I figured that since most of my other woes could be linked to gluten, could the few greys I've seen popping up also be triggered by my food intolerance? A Google search was conducted on whim and wouldn't you know it, this thread came up where some folks claimed to have their hair color reversed after taking on a gluten free diet. That alone got me excited but what really wet my whistle was finding a couple of other threads where folks were signing the praises of their new found hair growth after removing gluten from their diets. This is attributed to better absorption of nutrients by the body. Folks who are gluten sensitive have difficulties absorbing the nutrients from the food digested because the small intestines are not functioning at 100%. So what about my friend who lost a lot of hair while on Atkins? One theory I read was that because Atkins followers tend to consume extremely low amounts of carbs (around 20 grams per day) which can lead to the person avoiding consuming certain fruits and veggies which provide essential nutrients needed for healthy hair.
I'm not 100% certain if I'll notice any difference in the symptoms above after removing gluten from my diet, but with everything I learned so far, I feel like I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. So I'm going all in with great optimism because I would be elated if I experienced improvements in my energy levels, my hair, scalp, skin and body. Although my symptoms aren't severe, I would love to see noticeable improvements in each of these areas. I'll keep you all posted as time goes on.
Damaged Areas: "Should I big chop or nurse back to health?"
I've been asked this question several times from those who've reached out to me. This scenario is near and dear to my heart because I have found myself in a crossroads where I've had to make decisions on whether to cut my damaged sections and start all over or go the opposite route and try to somehow nurse my hair back to health.
- If the damage is widespread and affects most of your hair, a big/mini chop is the best solution. But this option is a temporary one if your regimen still doesn't address the root cause.
- If the damage is concentrated in certain areas, consider the option of nursing back to health ONLY after you've spent some quality time assessing what contributed to the damage and what you can do to address it.
- Try to think of at least three factors that may have contributed to damage. In case your first answer doesn't lead to the root cause.
- If you are concerned about aesthetics (meaning you don't want to walk around with one side of you hair looking healthy and the other looking a chewed up mess) consider wearing protective styles while you nurse.
- If you choose to nurse, pay VERY close attention the results of your actions to make sure you are making progress. Don't choose the option to nurse your hair if you won't make certain that you are adjusting your actions for the better. Failure to do so can lead to even more damage.
- If after choosing to nurse your hair, you see the situation is becoming worse, proceed to cut then start over with healthy hair practices and observe your actions going forward to make sure they aren't contributing to the damage reappearing in the future.
- A major trim(to address damage) is not the same thing as a regular trim (for maintenance and aesthetics). You should still schedule in maintenance trims even if you chose to "nurse it back to health".
Motivatin Monday: Do one thing different!
One Action creates => An immediate result & Long-Term Results
I've applied this technique to my hair care journey several times. Whenever I see too much hair loss, breakage, etc, I try to shift something in what I'm doing. Sometimes the shift is small, but it's always significant and it always produces new results for me. Think about it, what new results could you produce if you adjusted your actions in the one area of your hair routine that you seem to struggle with most?
What I'm excited about is this principle can work in any scenario. Every time I produce less than desired results, I'll ask myself, "what can I do differently?" For those of you who are interested in learning more about the book, there is a free PDF download available here.
"Pretty Protective Styling": Fabulous Side French Braid
Since I'll be manipulating a little more, I vow to take on even greater precautions against breakage and elevate my hair care techniques to the next level. So here's the first hair style I'd like to share with you. My inspiration came from browsing online on a lazy Saturday when all of the sudden I saw this amazing picture. Without even thinking about it, I started plotting on how I could replicate.
Since my hair wasn't freshly washed, my first thought was to load my hair with moisture. That's when I grabbed my spray bottle which contains a mix of ingredients. If memory serves me correctly, my mister blend includes spring water (no hard water minerals), some apple cider vinegar (to seal in cuticle layer), Biolage daily leave in tonic (conditioning & moisturizing) and maybe a little bit of coconut oil (protein). I may have even added some Cera Repair or another oil to the mix. There's no secret formula to this, I just add ingredients that serve a purpose in creating the results I'm looking for.
While the ingredients are pretty hair healthy, my favorite aspect of this is the actual spray bottle itself. I purchased from Sally's, I think, and only paid a couple of dollars for it. But this bottle is invaluable to me. Prior to this one, I've purchased and tossed beaucoup bottles because their spray mist wasn't fine enough to meet my expectations. A fine mist is a non-negotiable for me because I need the product to spread evenly over the area and moisturize without over saturating. This allows me to mist prior to manipulation and create softness and flexibility without too much moisture. If the hair is too wet, the likelihood of breakage while styling is high. If the hair's dampness is just right, your hair moves and bends at your beckoning without fear of harm or excessive damage.
What I did to create this style was pretty simple. After misting the hair and applying a bit of oil, I started to move my hair to one side using my hands. I did this until all the length of my hair was on the left side of my face. Once I was satisfied with the framework, I began braiding in one loose side braid. It took a couple of tries in order to get the look just right.This style lasted around 3 days without rebraiding so I'll grant it the status a protective style. For those three days, my hair was not manipulated. The only thing I did was add a little Gleau to the length of the braid from time to time. At night, I pinned the braid back and tied with a silk scarf. By the way, when the braid was tied back, the style looked just as good. This means that the overall look is still cute even if there isn't a long braid cascading down your shoulders. while I wished that my braid was just a tad bit longer and thicker, this style can pretty much work for any length hair. If my hair was shorter, I'd pin the braid back and rock some fabulous earrings for extra glamour. After sharing this look on Facebook recently and many of you commented on how this would make a great summer look. I completely agree and I'll definitely be rocking this look come summer. Hopefully by then my braid will be longer....
Reader Email: Dry hair, Detangling and Hair Journey Struggles
What are the symptoms of dry hair?
To me dry hair is simply hair that looks and feels brittle to the touch. Dry hair may also appear frizzy. Dry hair will generally not feel as soft and will not have much elasticity. Compare a tree branch on the ground with one still on the tree. The one on the ground has dried out and will snap easier if you tried breaking it in two. The branch on the tree will take a little more effort before you can break it. Hair that snaps too easily can signify a protein issue but it could also mean the hair is suffering from extreme dryness.
How should I change my regimen if it's dry or greasy?
When my hair is too dry, I amp up my deep conditioning to level 10. I take no short cuts. Instead of letting the conditioner stay in my hair for an hour, I may deep condition overnight. I also take my time applying the conditioner so every strand is coated. This has helped me tremendously. Every product I use on wash days, from my shampoo to conditioner, to leave-in is working is one magnificent team to create moisture for my hair.
Is there a way to wrap the hair incorrectly and if so, what is the right way to wrap my hair?
Honestly, I was never that efficient at wrapping my hair. The process created a little too much over-manipulation for my taste. Wrapping is one of those techniques that, when done right, creates beautiful results. If I were a person that wrapped my hair regularly, I would invest in quality brushes/combs that are extra gentle on the hair since the brushes/combs are the main component of proper wrapping. Prepare the hair for the wrapping process by making sure the hair is properly conditioned and moisturized. Never wrap hair that is feeling too dry or fragile and breaking. Another piece of advice I would give you is to switch up from wrapping to other techniques from time to time. Too much wrapping in one direction can lead to thinning. It's kinda like if someone walks on the same path in the grass, eventually, that area will no be as healthy as the other areas.
How do you know if you have 4B or 4C or both?
Chances are you might have more than 1 texture. So you can be 4B & 4C or you could have 4B and 4A hair (or all three). I don't expand much about texture because my philosophy is more about giving the hair what it needs based on what it's telling you (not necessarily the texture). Meaning I look for signs of dryness, breakage, shedding, dullness, etc and address those issues one by one. This is the reason why people of different textures are able to receive value from the blog.
How do you properly detangle the hair?
I start with proper tools. Then I make sure I have enough time so I'm not tempted to rush during the process. This weekend, I filed and painted my nails before detangling. The I began removing the tangles while standing in front of a mirror. I'm not sure why but doing this made me present during the process and I believe I was more careful overall and took more care not to loose as much hair. Start detangling from the bottom of the hair up. I also hold on to sections within sections while I'm detangling. Meaning, if I'm detangling the ends, I hold the section with one hand (exposing the ends), and detangle with the other hand, this allows me to minimize the tension along the length of the strand from the combing process.
What kind of flat iron should I be getting?
I wrote a post on flat irons a while back. The good news is that flat irons are getting better in regards to quality and the protection offered to the hair from excessive damage. My tip would be to save up and invest in a quality iron, especially if you plan on using it at least monthly. Also, look for quality heat protectants. If you can find a quality heat protectant that can give you superior results, go for it. The little bit of extra money you spend on heat protectancts will help keep you from having to spend the money later on fighting the heat damage.
Do you know of very simple recipe for Deep Conditioning?
I like to mix my deep conditioners for greater results. You'll often find me mixing oils like olive oil or coconut oil into the mix. I've also added honey, and even powdered nutrients to make my deep conditioners even more effective. The sky is the limit. Check out this post on how to take your deep conditioner even deeper.
What was the hardest part of your hair journey? What keeps you motivated?
My journey has been a long, difficult one. I don't protective style much so retaining length has been an uphill battle. Plus I've suffered from extreme shedding caused by my seborrhic dermatitis, I could never find a moisturizer I liked so I battled dryness until Gleau came into my life. The worse part of my journey has been the setbacks cause by my own behaviors. For the last couple of years, I've been nursing damaged areas back to health slowly and surely. I've learned so much from that experience. I don't write these posts because I have perfect hair, I do it to learn on how I can improve my hair. I'm still battling even now but I see some progress and I've never been happier. I've come to learn that what I do today will create results for me tomorrow so I keep going even when I do see results right away, I keep going.
What keeps me motivated is the fact that my hair keeps growing no matter what. It's doing it's job. My job is now to help it remain healthy and adapt my behaviors accordingly. If I see even just a little bit of progess, I get excited. Progress isn't just about length for me, it's about less dryness or less breakage or less of anything that negatively impacts my hair. If I focus on tiny improvements on a consistent basis, I know it'll add up to greater progress in the long run.
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