Sunday, April 29, 2012

Protective Styling = Powerful Progress! A Relaxed Hair Health Feature


I'm really excited about sharing this post today.  From the moment LHCF member, "pre_medicalrulz," shared pics of her progress in our email communications, I just knew she had to be featured on the blog.  Not too long ago, I wrote a post about caring for the hair while protective styling under weaves/wigs.  That entry was inspired by several emails I'd received from readers who struggled to retain length with protective styling with extensions.  I'm happy to say that miss "pre_med" was doing just fine with her length retaining strategy.  Her only concern was regarding her ends which seemed to struggle more than the rest of her hair.  We talked about doing a blunt cut trim before her next install as a possible solution to her concern.  By the time she shared her next update with me I was elated!  Then she contacted me to share her most recent update and I knew for sure that I had to share her story with the world. 



  
1.  What is your hair type? I am a 4 something, possibly a B.

 How would you describe your hair? When I was young I use to think my hair was coarse because that's what people told me but as I learned to handle it, it's simply thick, lush and strong. 

2. How often do you touch up/relax? I make it a point to touch up every 16 weeks. No less than 14 weeks at the minimum. 

3.  What is your current length? Somewhere between MBL and WL air driedI haven't straighten since Dec so I don't know the true length. Only air dried.

Tell us more about your air drying process.  If successful air drying is trying to get a straight look then I'm not the one to ask. LOL. I simply air dry. No scarf method or any other tricks that other ladies do, just simply let it hang out. It doesn't bother me much only because it's about to be put under a wig or in a bun once it's dry. 

4.  Please share your regimen. What do you do daily, and weekly, to care for your hair?

Daily: Moisturize with Elasta QP Olive Oil and Mango Butter. Seal with any oils. I recently started using Organix Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage Serum as a sealant. Nightly: it's under a bonnet in a loose bun or several plaits. I'm either under wigs or a lose bun throughout the day. 

Weekly: I deep condition every week. Sometimes I use shampoo weekly as well but mostly wash with conditioner only. I deep condition no less than an hour and a half. My wash/conditioner/protein products are all Nexxus products. I also do weekly protein treatments. My hair can stand it. 

How often do you wear your hair out vs. protective styling?    I rarely, rarely wear my hair out. I will wear it out all day on the day I wash or all day on a fresh relaxer but that's about it. Even on special occasions it's in a high bun

5. You've made some huge progress with your hair journey. What do you attribute most to your success? 
Protective styles has given me great length retention. If I never protective styled I believe my hair would not have shown fast progress in 4 month spans as it did. But I can only speak for myself. I also believe protein and moisture balance was 2nd in command. Without this balance, I would have had so many set backs. 

6.  Have you had any setbacks/trouble along the way?
 I use to have set backs with the front of my hair and end up needing to take off 2 inches or so.

7 How did you overcome your setbacks?
I stopped wearing stocking caps solely under my wigs and started using satin durags as a base. I also laid off the half wigs and started wearing full coverage wigs. That way all my hair is tucked away safely. 

8.  How are you able to maintain such thickness overall? 
Honestly, I haven't been doing anything special on purpose for the thickness. However I have noticed if you lay off the heat (curling irons, flat irons), air dry all the time, and stretch your relaxers at LEAST longer than 12 weeks; thickness happen on its own. For some people at least. 

9.  Looking back at your journey so far, is there anything you would do differently? or wish you would have done sooner
Absolutely. I started my journey a little over a year ago and I wish when I first started that I was confident enough to start off with a fresh cut. I tried to start my progress on weak ends and 8 months within my journey I showed no signs of retention until I chopped 2 inches of the weak ends off. After that, it was retention after retention after retention. 

(March 2012)

10 Someone is reading this right now who's about to start her hair journey. What advice would you give her? 
You have to try things out for yourself and then stick to what works. Simply pay attention to the way your hair responds to certain products. It will tell you what works and does not work. In the beginning keep it simple and basic; daily moisturizer, moisture shampoo, moisture deep conditioner, protein conditioner/treatment and oils. And please do as much research before you start your journey. You want progress not set backs. Ask questions and reach out to people who are also on a hair journey for support and advice. 

11. Do you do anything additionally to support your hair? (nutrition, vitamins, exercise)?
 I do not take hair vitamins nor exercise excessively. However, I still believe for many people these things play an important part in overall hair growth and health. I recommend people use what they need. If hair vitamins give a person a boost in overall health, then I think that person should continue to consume hair vitamins. 

12. Is there anything else would you like to share that I haven't asked you about?
 Don't quit. In the beginning you'll expect fast results but just be patient. Just don't quit. It's so worth it. 

I just love looking at pics of  Pre-med's hair and, the way she's going, she'll be waist length in no time at all.  Here are the takeaways I got from her sharing that I'm reminded of:
  • Deep Condition, Deep Condition, Deep Condition!
  • If you are serious about retention, protective styling and low manipulation is the answer.
  • One of the first steps to a healthy hair journey may just be a proper trimming.  Lately, I've been paying close attention to the women I see, when I'm out at about, who have thick hair. One commonality that I can tell, is that they have blunt, or will trimmed ends, 98% of the time.  That is too much of a coincidence for me to ignore.  


(latest update: Waist Length "Yay!")
I love sharing features and I hope to share many more inspirational hair journeys with you all.  If anyone would like to share their journey and progress on the blog, be sure to contact me so we can make it happen!
Sunday, April 22, 2012

My journey to flawless, clear, glowing skin

Along with the hair journey, I'm currently embarking on other journeys in my life.  One of them is my skin care journey.  In previous posts, I've mentioned the constant battle with acne I've been engaged in ever since I was a youth.  This year, the decision has been made to take an aggressive approach on obtaining healthy skin.  Ever since the beginning of the year I've focused many of my energies on creating healthy, clear skin.  I've invested money on products, I've a followed a defined morning and night time routine, I've shifted my eating habits.  All of these new actions have helped me to see progress in my skin health but I still will not satisfied until my skin is flawless.

Along with all the actions I was taking to help my skin, I also created some affirmations that I recited on a regular basis.  I would say things like "I love how clear and beautiful my skin is" or  "my skin is clear, flawless and it glows."  I verbalize my affirmations because I believe it draws me closer to my intentions and it draws my intentions closer to me as well.  Another thing I would do is stare at pictures of women with amazing skin so I can absorb the images into my subconscious making my intentions that much more powerful.

Then one day it happened.  I was introduced to a skin care professional who had a huge part in creating the beautiful skin of the very women who's skin I would stare at day after day.  Turns out that many of these women frequent a day spa nestled in swanky Beverly Hills.  The woman who created this spa has been in business in the same location for over 23 years and she's built up quite a clientele. The moment I received a piece of information about the whereabouts of this spa, I immediately started plotting on how I could get there. Even though this infamous spa was located on a different coast then I live on I had no reservations.  Lucky for me, my job affords me the opportunity to fly to California from time to time and such an occasion occurred this week.


I arrived at my appointment at least an hour early because of my excitement.  As I sat in my vehicle across the street in eager anticipation, I noticed a young lady stepping out of the spa looking all kinds of fabulous.  I got a chance to get a closer look at her as she returned to the salon and her skin was immaculate.

I secretly daydreamed of the moment when my skin could someday look like this.  As I stood behind her in line, I over heard her scheduling a follow up appointment for the next time she flew into the town the following month.



 While I waited for my appointment time, I took a moment to browse around the establishment and took note of the various celebrity photos on the wall.  Some I recognized, some I didn't.  Immediately, my gaze fell upon the signed picture of Stacey Dash and a smile flashed across my face.  "Stacey's skin is amazing and I'm standing in the same place that helps create her gorgeousness."     I also hear that Nia Long is another loyal client.  Tami Roman from Basket Ball Wives once tweeted that she used Lady Dee's facial scrub to promote healthy skin.  Tami also has amazing flawless skin.  Meagan Good is also rumored to be a client.




Finally, it was time to have my skin serviced.  Much to my dismay, the person who would be working on my face wasn't Lady Dee but a woman from Russia by the name of Helen.  To be honest, I was a little bummed.  Helen brought me to the back room and proceeded to fire off a series of questions regarding what I currently use for my skin.  On that day, I just so happened to have an active breakout. Just a week or so prior, I consumed gluten because I had to fulfill a responsibility granted to me as a judge on an Iron Chef type team building event at work.  In order to judge the teams fairly I had to consume prepared dishes in which bread/wheat flour was a main ingredient.

Helen looked at my skin and said (in a stern, heavy Russian accent). "You are too young and beautiful to not have beautiful skin."..... "I will make your skin beautiful okay."
"You trust me?"  "You trust me, okay."  "I will make you skin beautiful." "I take before and after picture of you. You see the difference okay?"

Something about her direct style and the heavy accent stirred within me emotions of trust and compliance (mixed in with a little bit of fear and submission).  Helen had heavy hands that felt extremely powerful. In the months prior, I visited two estheticians but none had hands like Helen.  To be honest with you, I was a little afraid when it was time to do extractions. I didn't know how much force Helen would use and how much pain I'd have to withstand.  I held my breath and hoped for the best.  I took to the extractions like a champ and Helen acknowledged my bravery afterwards.  My favorite part of my experience was the facial, neck and shoulder massage.  Helen (with those powerful hands of hers) identified areas of stress located in my shoulders and proceed to work them out to the best of her abilities.

When the facial was completed, we walked together to the receptionist desk and Helen proceeded to share with me before and after photos of various clients who suffered with extreme cases of hyper-pigmentation and acne. In some of the photos, what appeared to be birth mark type scarring on the faces of some clients were removed completely.  I was amazed.  While I do suffer from acne scarring, I felt like my skin wasn't as extreme as the faces in the photos. This brought even more confidence in the results I could achieve from consistent services.  We talked about me coming back for a peel. Apparently this peel would be the answer to all of my prayers.  I reminded her that I lived on the other side of the country.  She shared that she has clients fly in from New York, Miami and, other states on the east coast, that are willing to travel regularly to maintain gorgeous skin.  I purchased several of the recommended products and, with tip, my tab came up to around $280.00.

It's been almost four days since my appointment and my skin just seems to look better as the days pass.  The most obvious difference I'm noticing is in the texture of my skin which is much smoother and brighter than before.  It's starting to show signs of a healthy glow. Helen promised me that if I use the products religiously, my skin would continue to improve even between appointments. Smooth skin is only half the battle. Eliminating the deep scarring is my ultimate goal.  So I've got to find a way to to return for a skin peel.  Once I do, I'll share my experience as a second installment to this blog post.

Before I go, here are some lessons I've learned from this experience that I'd like to share with you:

1. It's about being willing to step out and doing what it takes to achieve the results I want.  Sure I could have continued buying products and doing other things within my comfort zone but they probably wouldn't have created an extraordinary result.

2. People who have achieved extraordinary results take extraordinary actions to get there. Yes, I could have looked at Nia Long, Stacey Dash's skin and said.. "(sigh) oh well, I could never get my skin to look like that, they must have amazing genes."  So now whenever I see someone with the results I want to create, I start to ask myself "what kinds of things are they doing (consistently) to achieve this result?'

3. Thirdly, it's about being consistent.   I struggle with this limiting belief that once a result is obtained, nothing more is required.   I'm now learning that even when a goal is achieved, we still need to maintain the behaviors the created the result otherwise, progress won't be made.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hair Food Recipe: Poke Power!


Today I'd love to share a quick recipe for a dish I've been enjoying ever since I was first introduced to it's deliciousness while on my trip to Hawaii. It's called Poke (pronounced poke-ay) which is relatively easy to prepare (no cooking involved) and it's really yummy.  I love sushi and seafood so I gravitated to this dish the moment I first laid eyes on it. I was served Poke as an appetizer but I like to create enough of it to enjoy as a main course.  So let's get started, but before I do, I'll inform you that I don't measure anything so I apologize in advance for not having proper measures listed.  Everything is according to taste so if you like a lot of something, add more!

What you will need:

-Raw fresh Tuna (cut into chunks)
-Green onion (sliced thinly)
-Red pepper flakes
-Thin Dried Sea weed strips (I found them at an Asian grocer)
-Toasted black sesame seeds
-Sesame oil
-Soy Sauce (low sodium)

I start off by rinsing the tuna and cutting it into large chunks and tossing them into a shallow bowl. Then I usually add the chopped onions.  I used to buy whole green onions and slice them up myself but I'm no longer involved in this manual labor since I realized that Walmart offers them already pre-sliced.  I've experimented with these pre-packaged onions on several occasions and they have a pretty decent shelf life.  I definitely eat more green onion because now of how convenient they are.


The order of the ingredients doesn't really matter much.  But I like to ad the red pepper flakes in earlier so they get a chance to soften under the moist ingredients.  Also, the sliced seaweed come pretty stiff. They too will soften but I like to add them near the end, maintaining the some of the stiffness because it adds a nice contrast to the softness of the tuna.



In the pic below, I've added the black sesame seeds, the seaweed, and and sesame oil.  When you add the soy sauce, start off with a small amount and increase gradually to monitor the salt content.  These seaweed strips add  a nice taste plus they are pretty salty so I like to leverage the seawead for it's natural sea-saltiness over the soy sauce.   Using less soy sauce also allows you to taste the unique flavors each ingredient brings individually. 


The final product tastes pretty close to the real thing I had in beautiful Hawaii.  I've served this dish over white rice and also over a bed of spinach or field greens in a salad.  While in a Whole Foods once, I noticed they had a "low carb" sushi dish which was raw spicy tuna served over field greens with sliced avocado.  That's what inspired me to add fresh sliced avocado to my Poke salad and the results were amazing.  I threw in the avocado on the greens so it wouldn't disturb the flavor of  the Poke. 

In these pics, I used much less soy sauce then I'm used to which left the tuna nice and pink. In the past, when I added lots of soy sauce, the tuna soaked up the sauce and the left overs became overly salty and the tuna lost it's brightness in color.    I adore this dish because it's flavorful and chock full of omega 3s and protein. Add the seaweed, which is loaded with minerals, and the red pepper flakes to increase circulation and you've got a recipe for a healthier body and (of course) healthy hair! I also just realized that it's a raw food entree that helps me increase the amount of raw foods I enjoy. 

I hope you love this dish as much as I do.  I look forward to sharing more hair healthy dishes with you in the future.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I now have a tortoise! (again)


This is most likely my most random post ever. Completely unrelated to hair but I just had to share the good news. I have an African Spurred Tortoise! Let me clarify....my tortoise has returned to me! Or should I say, "I think my tortoise has returned."   You may be a little confused so let me explain further...

It all goes back to 3 or 4 years ago when my father, out of now where says he has a surprise for me and hands me a tiny baby turtle.  At the time, the tortoise was small enough to fit in the palm of my hand and weighed only a few ounces.   When I got it home, I felt like it was totally out of place in my home so I tried to build and outdoor enclosure for it.  My lack of experience with tortoise enclosures turned out to be a recipe for disaster for the little guy.  After two weeks or so of safely living in my home, I place him outside in his makeshift enclosure and, within 2 hours, my tortoise was gone.


My husband and I discussed several scenarios of the possible fate suffered by the baby tortoise including, him being eaten by a hawk or garden snake.  Other theories came to mind but we were stumped as to what happened.  Fast forward four years and we have new neighbors move in.  It wasn't until they were good and settled when my husband noticed that the neighbors had, in their back yard, a giant tortoise that could easily weigh over a hundred pounds!  This, of course, brought back the memories of the baby tortoise we once had.  He and I always joked that this tiny baby animal could possibly out live us and could weight over 200 lbs one day.


I figured that since our neighbor had a giant tortoise of their own, we could live vicariously through them by peering out of our back window into their yard, and marveling at this magnificent creature.  Then, out of nowhere, my husband tells me "I think your turtle is in the back yard".  We live near water so we get all kinds are turtles that stop by from time to time.  But turtles and tortoises are not the same.  Of course, I'm in total disbelief as I walk to the back while explaining to him the difference between a turtle and a tortoise ( and not getting my hopes up).


Then, it happens, I lay my eyes on the tortoise and suddenly I'm filled with excitement!  I can't believe I've found my turtle!  Where has he/she been all this time?  What has he been doing?  How did he survive this long without us noticing him?


Then my rational mind came to play and I realized that this could very well be a tortoise that escaped from the yard of my neighbor only a couple of homes down.  Is it possible that they have a slew of tortoises over there that we haven't noticed?  But to be honest, I think his size probably correlates with the amount of time my baby tortoise has been gone.  He's probably around the size of a football.  The neighbor's tortoise is at least 20 times the size of this one and we've eyed their backyard enough to have noticed other tortoises if they had any.  Who knows?!   Either way, I'm celebrating as if my long lost tortoise has miraculously returned to me.


I apologize for the randomness but who knows, maybe I'll be inspired to write a post titled "10 healthy hair tips I learned from owning a tortoise."  Hey......anything can happen.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dark and Lovely Fashionista Model Search-Your time to shine!

PRESS RELEASE!!!

Dark and Lovely and Essence Magazine have partnered once again to present the search for the NEXT “Dark and Lovely” Fashionista Model Search. One lucky winner will receive a trip to NYC, a $5,000 shopping spree with a celebrity wardrobe stylist, a makeover with a celebrity hairstylist and be featured in ad in ESSENCE Magazine. The winner will also be unveiled during New York City Fashion Week.

dark and lovely

Are You Dark and Lovely?
Prove It!
SoftSheen-Carson® Dark and Lovely® and ESSENCE Magazine
Are in Search of the Next Dark and Lovely Fashionista
New York, NY (April 1, 2012) The search is on for the next Dark and Lovely® Fashionista! Partnering for the third year in a row, SoftSheen-Carson®Dark and Lovely, the #1 ethnic haircare brand in the world in partnership with ESSENCE, the premier lifestyle magazine for African-American women, announce its2012 Dark and Lovely Fashionista Model Search. The national contest begins on April 1st and will continue throughJune 30th. One lucky winner will be revealed in her very own Dark and Lovely ad to be featured exclusively in an upcoming issue of ESSENCE magazine.
The Grand Prize winner will receive a trip for two to New York City, a $5,000 shopping spree with a celebrity stylist and a hair makeover by a celebrity hairstylist. The winner will be formally announced at a grand unveiling event in September during New York City Fashion Week.
Additional contest prizes include: First Prize Winners (5) will receive $1,000 and new Dark andLovely Healthy-Gloss 5products. The Second Prize Winners (25) will receive a Dark and Lovely Fashionista Gift Pack.
"The Dark and Lovely FashionistaModel Search celebrates the style and strength of all women," stated Nicole Fourgoux, General Manager, SoftSheen-Carson. “We are proud to partner with ESSENCE magazine in search of the next Dark and Lovely Fashionista. Fashionistas defy the mold, redefine barriers and set the trends we all soon follow. Their passion is one that Dark and Lovely honors and embraces.”
Fashionista contenders can enter to win the national contest by visiting www.essence.com/iamdarkandlovely,uploading a personal photo and expressing in their own words ‘Why are you Dark and Lovely?’
For official contest rules, please visit www.essence.com/iamdarkandlovely. No purchase necessary.
Sunday, April 8, 2012

Thinning Hair: The causes and how to address it

Thinning hair is a topic that I haven't really touched on in the past.  Lately, I've been in communication with a few lovely ladies who seem to be dealing with this unfortunate circumstance.  So I figure that now would be as good time as any to address this issue.  I myself experienced thin/thinning hair about a year and a half ago, and believe me, it was not fun.  I remember not being able to proudly wear my hair down without feeling self conscious about the way may hair looked. Now that I'm on the other side, I feel compelled to help others in their quest for thick, healthy hair.


Causes
The thing about thinning hair is that there are a multitude of factors that contribute to it.  Thin hair is a result of something.  Our job is to seek out and identify what's causing the result. If the cause isn't clear, trying to solve the problem may prove to be pointless.  Finding out the true cause may take some work on your end, but if you are serious about making a change, this will be well worth your while.

Conducting a Root Cause Analysis is key in situations like this.  This is pretty much the process of "peeling the onion" so to speak to find out what really lies beneath the surface.  One of the best techniques I've heard of so far, for conducting a root cause analysis is asking "why" three to five times until you get the most powerful answer.  For example, in my case it would go something like this"

Q: "Why is my hair thinning?" 
A:  Because my hair has been shedding like crazy


Q: "Why is my hair shedding some much?"
A:  Because every time I comb or detangle, I lose a lot of hairs


Q:  "Why am I losing so much hairs when I comb or detangle?"
A:  Because my hair follicle isn't strong


Q: "Why are my hair follicles weak?"
A: Probably because my scalp is unhealthy


The example was a simplistic version of the exchange I had with myself. The actual process took a lot more contemplation before I realized the correlation between my scalp health and my shedding.  Since we're on the subject of scalp health.  If there's anyone out there who has dry/itchy scalp please take a moment to check out these pictures as an example of the impact that can have on the thickness of our hair.  I changed my habits immediately upon viewing these pics.  What I learned from the reviewing those pictures is that the opening on the scalp where the hair grows can actually be blocked off. Once blocked, the hair suffocates which retards growth.  Your scalp is the "soil" from where your hair grows, make sure it's as healthy as possible.


Stress management
The impact of stress on our hair is huge! For those who don't believe me, take a look at the hair of a President at the moment he is elected then take a gander again two-four years into his term.  The difference is like night and day.  Most obviously we see it in the greys that seem to take over in just a few short years.  Hair fall is another result of stress.  I have an unproven theory as to why this could happen.  Remember my post on promoting growth during winter months?   In it I talked about increasing blood flow as a key to growth.  When we are under a lot of stress we are in a state of anxiety, worry, sadness etc.  These types of emotions can considered "fear" related emotions.  I'm using the word fear because it's the opposite of faith/joy/growth.  As we constantly operate in a state that resembles fear, the body begins to conserve and restrict blood flow to the most important areas of the body (like your internal organs). In a state of fear, our body also provides blood flow to the legs in anticipation of the need for "flight."

With all this constriction going on, our scalp suffers, receiving less blood flow than normal. Before you know it, our hair begins to fall out.  Also when we're stressed, we usually don't eat healthy so our blood flow contains fewer nutrients. We also tend to remain more sedentary which further minimizes circulation. Add this all together and you have the recipe for thinning hair.  If you think you are the sufferer of stress related hair loss, you have to take action to shift your state to one where you experiencing joy.  This creates a level of openness all over.  When you are in an open, relaxed state, things start to flow again. Not just inside but in your external world as well.  If you don't know where to start, beginning by taking daily walks while breathing in some fresh oxygen as deeply as you can.


Over processing
Thee biggest issue most women who relax tend face is an unhealthy scalp and thin hair.  I think the biggest factor in this is over processing when we relax.  Over processing could mean using a relaxer strength that is too much or relaxing the hair too frequently.  I remember the days when I would touch up every 6-8 weeks with a super strength formula.  This meant I would relax my hair anywhere from 7-9 times a year!  Now that I'm stretching and using a milder formula, I relax between 2-4 times a year.  You can guarantee that, not only is my hair thicker than in the past, but my scalp suffers less from not having the relaxer massaged into it a bunch of times throughout the year.  Over processing is the equivalent of boiling pasta until it's all soft and mushy vs. boiling it al dente.  My hair is the thickest it's ever been because I've left some life in my hair and I give all the credit to the fact that I'm under processing my hair.

Age/hormonal
With aging comes change.  Our skin changes, our bodies change, our hair changes.  Thinning hair is one of the signs of aging.  This means that we have to fight against the normal effects of getting older.  If we conducted a quick root cause analysis of what happens when we age, one of the causes could be the loss of nutrients and our body's inability to absorb nutrition from our food at the same levels as our younger years.  For example, when I was researching from my silica blog post,  I remember reading somewhere that our natural levels of silica deplete rapidly with age.   Most if not all of our nutritional stores diminish over time.  And of course, our bodies then prioritize and decide where to allocate the nutrition it receives.  If you suspect that your thinning hair age related, then your next course of action is to combat this with all the strength and might that you have. If I were facing aging related hair loss, I would take time to identify the biggest gaps between what's happening in our bodies when we're younger vs. what happens when we age.  Then I would systematically seek out ways to close those gaps.  Basically, I would try to mimic youth as much as I could through lifestyle changes.  I'd focus intensely on increasing the level of circulation throughout my body, I'd buy the highest quality supplements available for greater absorption,  (women studied who took the most absorbable form of silica were able to enjoy thicker hair in six months time), I'd eliminate high inflammatory foods that create excess free radicals and eat the most nutritious foods I could find,  I'd study those individuals who seem to reverse the signs of aging and incorporate their practices into mine. Basically, I would tell my body that it's young again with my actions and watch my hair respond accordingly.

Stimulation and Growth
Remember our friend, Sanford Bennett who at the age of 72 looked healthier and more vibrant than he did at 50?  Along with a more youthful body, he created "thicker, more luxurious hair" simply by increasing the amount of circulation to his hair follicles through a special scalp massage pulling  technique.  Sanford claimed this technique would increase circulation and strengthen the muscles of the scalp and blood vessels that feed our hair follicles.  I just read a pretty interesting article in which a study was done of men in Japan suffering from male pattern baldness.   What these men all had in common was that their level of circulation to the scalp was 2.6 times lower than the control group.  In the article, several methods are discussed that can impact circulations levels and hair growth. The one method, which interests me the most is, hyperbaric oxygen (hbo) treatment.  This is a treatment in which the participant receive 100% nourishing oxygen to their cells.  The benefits of hbo have been geared to faster healing of injuries and scars but many notice an increase in hair growth as well.  Last year my husband introduced the hyperbaric chamber to me while he was searching videos on YouTube.  He shared that this oxygen treatment helped athletes recover from their injuries sooner and all I was thinking was "I wonder if all this pure oxygen can help with hair growth?"  I guess my theory wasn't far off but, because of the costs, I haven't had a chance to experiment. We even went as far as to contact local practitioners who offered the service but we never followed through with it.  I wasn't gonna leave well enough alone so I searched for an alternative.  Check out this site which explains a simple breathing technique that mimics some of the benefits of hyperbaric chambers. 

Nutritional Supplementation
A focus on proper nutrition is critical whenever one is dealing with thinning hair.  Increasing blood flow is half the battle, we also need to ensure the blood flooding the scalp is nutrient rich.  I was truly inspired today when I read this blog post showing actual pics of a woman's hair turning from grey to her natural hair color simply by incorporating green juices into her diet.  Juicing is powerful because the nutrients come in a form that doesn't need digesting.  The good stuff is ready for immediate assimilation!  Another option I would incorporate is adding to my hair diet with a cocktail of supplements that support healthy strong hair.  Biotin, silica, omega-3s would be very high on my list along with MSM, seaweed, and a liquid multivitamin for optimal absorption.  Even the tea I drink would promote healthy hair.  Green foods would be a daily practice because of the amount of nourishment contained in them.   A while back I set the intention of wanting my hair to appear so lush and healthy that people could attribute my mane to my healthy eating without even asking me about it.  I wanted my hair to represent the manifestation of my healthy lifestyle.  My goal is to have Kenya Moore, amazon-looking hair and eating in the healthiest way possible is how I will make it happen.



Patience
Finally, one of the most important things needed to address thinning hair is patience.  If you choose to incorporate any of the tips shared here, they aren't going to happen open night. Instead, let them represent long-term shift in your lifestyle.  Set a lofty intention and your actions will adjust accordingly.  Be persistent in giving gratitude for your hair and be grateful to the new hairs that will come into your life.  Find comfort in the fact that nothing is permanent and recognize the power you have to create the head of hair that you desire.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How Beyonce's work ethic is inspiring my hair journey





This year I'm really trying to create new experiences in my life.  What I've been learning in the few short months of 2012 is how much work it actually takes to bring my goals results into reality and then maintain them.  Nowadays, whenever I see someone who is successful (in whatever endeavor) I think about all the focus, work, and dedication that person has invested to make that happen.


Everything we see and experience in reality is the result past actions (or inactions).  If we look at something as simple making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, it all starts with a thought.  Someone says to themselves, I want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  That person then walks over to the kitchen then begins collecting the ingredients needed to make the sandwich, once the ingredients are located, the process of assembling the sandwich takes place.  Before you know it, she has brought her intention into reality. It's important to note that simply thinking about a PB&J sandwich, doesn't make it happen.  There are certain other steps that need to take place.  Then there are times when we think to ourselves, "I would love a thick, juicy steak right now."  But then we end up fixing a Cup 'o Noodle instead.  What happens in this instance is we didn't align our actions with obtaining the steak.  Instead our actions state "I'll settle for a Cup o' Noodle."

So when we think about our hair journey, we would a probably agree that what we desire most is healthy hair.  But, as we all know, having thick healthy hair is kinda like enjoying that fancy steak.  Sure we all say we want it, but often times we're not ready willing to put in the work required of us.  Hey, sometimes it easier to just put a cup of dehydrated "food" in the microwave and keep it moving.  I often communicate with folks via email providing insight on how one can create healthy hair. Sometimes, during the communication, I learn that the person been inconsistent with deep conditioning, she doesn't really moisturize or seal and pretty much hasn't been taking the basic steps required to promote healthy hair.   Her actions are not saying "I want thick, healthy hair", they are saying, "I'll settle for mediocre, Cup 'o Noodle, hair."

When I study individuals who have a strong work ethic, what I learn from them is they have a high level of drive for taking action which has absolutely nothing to do with whether they feel like it or not.  It's not a "have to", or "want to", it's a "must"!  They work hard day after pay perfecting their craft and soon they are rewarded for all relentless efforts.   Look at anyone who's at the top of their game.  Once you start to study their behaviors you will also learn that the actions that created the success continues long after the results have manifested.

One person who comes to mind is Beyonce.  I wouldn't call myself a fan but I remember learning something about her as I watched a live performance once via youtube. The entire time I kept thinking about how she made these tiny little gestures and movements that took whatever she was doing to the next level.  As a matter of fact, every time I've seen her perform, she's always on level 10.   And she keeps pushing herself to go harder and farther. The result? She's arguably the most successful female artist of the past decade.

Take a look at this video so you can get a glimpse of what I'm talking about....


 

 When I listened to Beyonce's interview, I heard words like "stamina", "get focused," "I just have to fight through it," "my eyes are on the prize..." "be driven and be a fighter."  When she shared those words, she was referring to world class athletes but I'm here to say that they are also the formula for success for our hair journey (or anything else we desire).  Now, anytime find myself experiencing results that aren't what I intended, I ask myself, "how much of my focus, time, and energy have I invested into really making this happen?  How consistent am I being with my actions?  Am I paying attention to the details?  Do I notice when the small signs of damage begin to appear?  How much am I willing to give in order to see my desire become a reality?

I'm inspired once again to rededicate myself to realizing what I want.  Keeping my eyes on the prize is critical.  Every wash day, I'm not gonna think about how much time this process will take, instead I focus on how much healthier my hair will look and feel.  As I focus my attention on the larger goal, my hard work seems less demanding.  After all, the work lasts for a few hours but the rewards of the time we put in lasts way beyond.
 

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