Here's How Doing Yoga Can Help With Your Hair Growth

Photo Credit: Black Girl in Om

by Mary Wolff

When it comes to your curls, you already know how important it is to live a healthy lifestyle. If you are eating a diet packed with rich nutrients needed for healthy hair, your curls will show it. Did you know another way to get hair benefits is with exercise, yoga in particular? If you have never heard of the relationship between yoga and hair growth, let’s take a closer look at this hot topic.

3 "Secrets" to Natural Hair Growth You're Overlooking



by Danielle of http://www.okdani.com/

The general consensus from women seems to be that ladies with long hair have some secrets they’re holding on to. There must be some mystical combination of tools, products or techniques they use in order to get hair that grows past your shoulder blades. As of today my hair is just slightly past my waist and I’m still growing.

Natural Hair Troubleshooting

by Nicole of Hair Liberty

No one's hair is perfect! Pinpoint your specific hair issues and start finding solutions to your biggest hair problems.

Problem: Dry, Brittle Hair
Your hair feels dry to the touch. Sometimes, it looks wiry and/or feels stiff. The breakage never stops.

Solution: Your hair is telling you that it needs more moisture. Apply a water-based moisturizer once or twice a day. If your hair seems very dry, add moisturizer until your ends are slightly damp and then gently put your hair up while the moisturizer absorbs. Thick, creamy moisturizers are the best choice for damaged or chemically-treated hair.  You may also seal this moisture in with an oil.

Read More>>>

Break These Natural Hair Habits!- Natural Hair Care



Like with all ventures going natural is a journey all about trial and error and figuring out what works best for you. However, many of us have picked up quite a few bad habits along the way which can hinder our hair growth and health.

Making mistakes is all a part of the natural haired process, it is only after making quite a few errors that we learn how to care for our hair.

Doing your hair when you are tired

Some days the task of washing and styling hair can feel like a mammoth undertaking. But rushing through the process can be detrimental to our hair. This is especially true for the detangling process.
It is important to always protect our hair from damage and be gentle when handling our curls. So detangling our hair when we don’t have the time or patience can often result in tugging at knots, leading to breakage.

Read More>>>

Make Your Straight Hair Last Longer

by Nicole Harmon of HairLiberty

Use products that promise humidity protection

When your hair is straight, your roots are usually the first to revert back to curly. That's because sweat or humidity in the air has penetrated the hair closest to your scalp and made it swell. "Humidity-blocking" products condition your hair by wrapping each strand with a lightweight protective film. Follow up your leave-in conditioner with a thorough application of a styling cream or foam that says "humidity protection" or "anti-frizz". Try Tresemme Smooth and Silky Anti-Frizz Secret Crème, Hair Rules Blow Out Your Kinks, Motions Light Styling Foam, or Living Proof Straight Styling Treatment.

Choose a "flexible" hold hair spray or skip it

Most hairsprays make your hair stick together at the ends. If you run your fingers through your hair or put your hair in a ponytail, the hair-sprayed areas are likely to break. If you need to make sure every hair stays in place, choose a hair spray that says "flexible", "workable", or "natural" hold. Always spray from as far away as possible for the best results. To get the most days out of your straight hair as possible, skip hair spray altogether.

Protect your hair from shower steam using a moisture-wicking headband and a shower cap

You'll definitely wear a shower cap in the shower, but your hair may still frizz from the steam. Keep your hair away from the water by putting on a moisture-wicking headband like the ones made by Nike and Under Armour. The microfiber in the headband will absorb moisture and trap it between the threads of fabric. Put on the headband, then the shower cap, and keep your shower short.

Wrap or pin curl your hair at night and tie on a scarf

Your straight hair will last longer if the strands aren't allowed to rub up against each other while you sleep. If your roots revert quickly, take the time to pin curl your hair at night after applying a very small amount of moisturizer or serum to each section. Tie a satin or silk scarf over your head to keep your hair in place and your edges smooth. You can get away with less bedtime prep, but the better your hair is protected at night, the better it will look the next day.

Following these tips can make your straight hair last for weeks, but that's a long time to go without washing your hair. If your scalp starts to get itchy, it's begging to be shampooed and conditioned. You can buy yourself a few extra days by blotting excess oil from your scalp with an alcohol-free toner or a mixture of 1/8 cup aloe vera gel and 3 drops of tea tree oil. To keep your hair healthy with minimal breakage, it's best to shampoo and condition at least once a week.


Hair Liberty (def): The freedom to rock whatever style you want, whenever you want. Curly, straight, natural, relaxed, whatever! Free yourself! Go to hairliberty.org, to get expert advice for kinky and curly hair.

Myth of the Wash-n-Go

by Chai of Back to Curly

I’m sure many of us have watched & digested the natural hair video that’s evidently gone viral since the 1st hour of it’s posting several days ago. A young woman in clear visual distress, takes to her video phone to record a myriad of tribulations associated with her ‘unmanageable’ natural hair. It’s a doozy….certainly entertaining well throughout, yet once you’ve reached the end mark of the video you’re left wondering if in fact she’s just spilled the beans on what many newly naturals have long been feeling, but are either too frustrated to speak on, or are still in search of that ‘miracle product.’

After first viewing the vid, I chuckled and empathized as she guzzled her slurpie & hightailed it to the wig shop to cover up her TWA. I laughed but also felt a pang of sadness for something that has evidently ballooned into a clear unattainable idea of what it means to be natural today.

Can we talk about the Wash-n-Go for a sec? Mmmkkaaay.

A brief background on where I’m coming from first: As a woman who went natural a little over 10 yrs ago, I still feel there is a ton of lessons to learn as far as how to care for one’s hair. I doubt this will ever change, much like my skin, body and other aesthetics change over time and require different needs, so goes my hair.

Looking back over the years, it’s clear to see what was lacking in my journey. I had very little to work on as far as product knowledge, proper methods to wash/detangle textured hair…the importance of moisturizing…etc. There were very little resources at my disposal 10 years ago, and in hindsight while this may seem disastrous to those just going natural today, it was a personal blessing.

I did not have to filter through what’s today become the prodigal language for most naturals (wash-n-go’s, hair typing, protective styling..etc.) I’ve adjusted my vocab over the years to stay inclusive on the natural hair scene, but a part of me still continues to hold tight to what it was like not to have to worry about the debate & divisiveness that props up from the ironic misunderstandings.

Tami from What Tami Said makes an interesting point:

Drop in on a natural hair forum and you might think caring for natural hair is like nuclear physics. Gotta figure out your hair type…4c…4a…3c…To co-wash or not to co-wash?…Use this brush not that one…Buy this expensive product and that one, too…Let this thing sit on your hair for 30 minutes, followed by this thing and that thing for just the right curl…And a lot of this is done because we are supposed to look like the neatly curly women on the “after” side of that Miss Jessie’s page. Except most of us naturally don’t.

What she addresses here is the possible Tyranny of Natural Hair, a new conformist ideal we’re all attempting to mold into each time we struggle to understand the directions to yet another hair pudding or custard.

I generalize this all as the ‘Myth of the Wash-n-Go’ because this was my wake-up call. I distinctly remember watching Youtube vid after Youtube tutorial, trolling through the often times overstaturated forum boards filled with advice…standing in front of my mirror and attempting to recreate an image that would never…or could never be an authentic representation of me.

Truthfully, while I dish on the proper maintenance and stylings of the ‘traditional’ wash-n-go, hardly ever do I clock in under 30 minutes when attempting this style. I haven’t met many naturals who have either (save for the TWA gals, heeeey!), & I think this is why it’s often kept in the confines of the warmer months.

Realistically, what ultimately goes down is a washing/light conditioning/styling/slight drying = end time of 1hr (if that) . Now, like it or not natural hair…no matter how you slice it or style it, takes not just time…but patience. You cannot cut corners 9 times out of 10, and expect satisfied results. How often do many of us spend a minimum of 30 minutes in a Hair Salon & expect top notch results? Maintaining natural hair is all in what you know, how you use it…rather than what you use to achieve the perfect twist-out, braid-out. I don’t doubt there are many women who do get up in the a.m. brush their teeth, wash-no-go, and head out the door, coffee in hand to greet the day in less than an hour. Yet, for the majority of women living their own day-to day, whether with children or attached to a textbook…this is often not the case.

Today, I choose to take care of my natural hair because no one else will. I wash/style/condition because currently there are not enough hair stylists working their magic fingers on a woman with highly textured hair…I don’t trust that. I trust me, and what I’ve learned in the over 10 years that I’ve been on this journey. None of it was easy, nor did I expect it to be. I learned to manage the frustrations, overcome the inevitable obstacles and love that me & Fro are still here…taking compliments, biding time until the next lesson needs to be learned. Taking care of one’s natural hair can be easy…over time it certainly does, but much like other instances in life, you have to earn your place…follow your own path and demystify your own misconceptions of what going natural is really about. There is no singular ideal to having/wearing natural hair….no sameness to all of our looks & styles. Forget what marketing brands & companies who are vying for your attention ( & $$$) have to say. Reject the mold & begin to cultivate your own version of you.

Decoding Natural Hair Products

A Rough Guide to Hair Product Naming Conventions

by Joyful Mom of Happy Girl Hair

A reader (Hi Sarah!) emailed me with a terrific question. She asked me how to tell the difference between hair products and how to figure out what each one does. Shampoos and rinse out conditioners are obvious, and detangler is usually right on the bottle, but when it comes to other types of products you can buy for curly hair, it can quickly become confusing.

Of course, every company uses individual product names, but there are many commonalities between natural hair care companies. How many butters, creams, milks and hair puddings have you tried? So many seem to favor names of dairy products, and that can actually be helpful once you decode it. Sometimes, both the name and the bottle shape give great clues about how the product is intended to be used.

Here is a rough guide to product names and uses. The words in bold are those commonly found in the product name.

Detangler - These are meant to provide "slip" and moisturize lightly, so the strands of hair can glide past each other as the hair is combed. They can be sprays, have a lotion-like consistency, or they can come in tub.

Spray/Spritz/Juice/Mist/product that comes in a spray bottle - These products usually provide light conditioning and unless they have very specific instructions for use, they can used as a daily light leave-in for looser curls and/or fine hair, braids, twists, or locs, or as a curl revitalizer on non wash days. Sometimes they can also be used as detanglers. They can also be layered under heavier leave-ins or styling aids.
Pictured Jane Carter Solution Revitalizing Leave-In-Conditioner

Hair Milk/Milkshake/Shake/Hair Lotion/Leave-in -These products are meant to be used to provide daily moisture or refresh hair after sleeping. They can also be used after washing. While they are sometimes all that's needed for loose hair, they are not styling aids. Some companies make both hair milks and leave-ins. It can be hard to know which is lighter and which richer. If you can't tell from the ingredient listing, contact the company for clarification. Sometimes, you'll find a milk leave-in, or a leave-in milk - just to make it interesting.



Butter/Cream/Creme/Pudding/Custard - These usually come in a tub and have a creamy consistency, sometimes they are whipped. These are generally heavier moisturizers. The word butter often refers to cocoa butter, shea butter, tucuma butter, cupuaçu butter, mango butter, or other natural butters. These products can be used every day for those with dry, tightly coiled hair, or as an occasional treat for others. They can also be used under styling aids. Pictured: Curly Q Custard (this does have light hold



This where it gets trickier. The words Butter, Cream, Creme, Custard, and Pudding often appear in the names of highly moisturizing styling products. If you are unsure of whether or not the product is purely a moisturizer or a styling aid, look for the word "hold" or look for a list of product uses. If it's described as having hold and/or it's recommended for use in twisting, braiding, locing, or setting- it's also a styling aid. Read product descriptions carefully!
Pictured: Carol's Daughter Loc Butter





Products with the word "Styling"/Pomade/ Jelly/Gel/Definer
- These are always styling products. They are useful in helping braids and twists stay together, or for defining curls. Most have some conditioning properties as well. You will find these products in all types of bottles, tubes, tubs and tins.
Pictured: Original Little Sprout Whipped Styling Balm



Words like balm, nectar, and serum can apply to apply to many types of products so I'll say it again, read descriptions carefully! If you are still unsure about what a product does or how to use products together, never hesitate to call or email the company that makes it.

I want to be clear that it isn't necessary to have products from every category. Everyone is different and so much depends on individual needs and styling preferences. I hope I've made it just a little easier to choose the product you really want the next time you are looking to try something new. Happy curls!

© 2010 Happy Girl Hair

Creating a Hair Regimen


Evelyn of NaturallyCurly.com writes:

For those new to the natural scene as well as old time curlies who just haven’t gotten the hang of it, there’s nothing more overwhelming (and time consuming) than figuring out a hair regimen! Returning to your natural texture is usually a time of education and experimentation, but to avoid wasting products, money and energy, here is a starting point for creating and KEEPING your naturally curly hair regimen.

For help creating your healthy hair routine, check out the full article HERE!


CN writes:

My hair routine and products are currently undergoing renovations. I'll share the details soon!

Exercise and Natural Hair: A Match Made in Heaven

Maria of To Be A Naturlista writes:



I’m willing to bet the number one concern, or at least in the the top three, among the online black hair community is hair growth and retaining that length once gained. There are countless threads, blogs, vlogs and groups challenges dedicated to getting hair as long as possible. Women have admitted to swallowing vitamins, hormones, using hair growth oils, lotions, magic potions and shampoos made for horses all in the name of growing their hair. While certain vitamins do aid in the growth of hair, the point many miss is that vitamins serve as a supplement for what is lacking in one’s diet. In other words, poor nutrition and diet can affect the growth of our hair and while vitamins can step in temporarily, a more permanent fix is alteration to our diets that will result not only in healthier hair, but healthier people.

Just like a positive, permanent change in diet can result in a healthier body overall, exercise not only benefits our our shape but the growth of our hair as well. Regular cardio can mitigate conditions caused by hormone imbalance. Additionally it can lower and or eliminate one’s chances for diabetes. Hair loss is a symptom of diabetes. But be careful about what type of exercise you choose. All too often, when visiting my gym, I watch newbies, who are visually in need of exercise, go straight to the Nautlius room and proceed to concentrate on assisted weight lifting with all their might as a means to avoid running and other cardio. But consistent heavy weight lifting has been found to be a culprit of hair loss.

Additional forms of exercise noted for having a direct effect on promoting hair growth includes yoga. Yoga poses such as the downward dog and head stands allow blood to flow to the scalp. Hair follicles require a constant optimal blood flow to get nutrients and oxygens that stimulate hair growth. So even if you are sallowing tons of vitamins twice a day, if you have something restricting your blood flow such as high cholesterol, those pills may not even matter.

A 2008 study conducted by Columbia University found 31% of African American women sampled said they avoided exercise because it would interfere with their hair styles. While all the women acknowledged exercise is important, less than 25% actually met the CDC’s requirement for recommended exercise rates. It should then serve as no surprise that the American Obesity Association reports ”by race/ethnicity and sex the obesity prevalence was highest for non-Hispanic black women (39.0%) followed by non-Hispanic black men (32.1%).” Taking this into account, we need, more than anyone else in this country, to take a serious re-evalutation of what we are putting in our mouths and how we respect our body.

What does that mean for naturals? Because our hair choice thrives off of moisture, our hair is no excuse for not exercising. The benefits of exercise overwhelmingly out weigh any cons an extra wash session or two per week may offer: exercise along with a healthy diet promotes weight loss, prevents heart disease and diabetes, make us feel better both physically and mentally plus, it helps our hair grow!

Sources:

http://jscms.jrn.columbia.edu/cns/2008-04-01/zeveloff-obesityhairdo.html

http://www.obesity.org/statistics/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/58993-exercise-hair-growth/

http://www.holisticonline.com/remedies/hair/hair_loss_massage.htm#Yoga

Preventing Single Strand Knots

Check out BrwnBarbie's hilarious tutorial on preventing single strand knots:

Things to Think About Before You Loc


Hair Loc'ing 101
by Brittany of Clumps of Mascara

So you want to loc your hair. Or so you think. Actually, you're not really sure but you've been giving it some thought and have NO idea where to start. Girlfriend, I've been there. Deciding to loc your hair is a pretty big decision and while there is no right or wrong way to start locs, here are a few of my "Things to Think About Before You Loc" tips.

1) You BC'ed a month ago...are you SURE you want to loc now? I remember when I first chopped my hair back in '05, I got a dozen, "When are you going to loc?" questions. Enjoy your fro. Don't feel pressured to loc if you aren't ready. Still lovin' your loose natural hair? Keep rockin' it! Your hair will tell you if and when it's time to loc it up.

2) Decide what method you want to use and STICK to it. Locs can be started off and maintained by many different methods. From comb coils, braidlocks, Sisterlocks, freeform to 2-strand twists, it's super important to know what method works for your hair texture and lifestyle before you commit. I won't tell y'all how I adopted THREE methods in my very short journey. Insane in the membrane, is right. Ha!

3) Realize that locs are versatile. I get so many, "What can I do with locs"-type questions. Are you kidding me? You can do just as many hairstyles with locs that you can do with loose natural and relaxed hair. The options are endless and because no two loc'd ladies look the same, you will always have a unique style. BAM!

4) Prepare to just let go. Someone should have told me this when I first started loc'ing my hair. They call it a journey for a reason. As much as you may try to manipulate your baby locs, they are going to do whatever they want to do. They are going to be fuzzy and all over the place. The beginning months may frustrate you to no end and the best way to rid yourself of that frustration? Leave them alone.

5) Loc'ing does not mean a "total commitment to a hairstyle". If you love color, guess what? You can color your locs. You can cut them in layers, grow a bang, curl them, shave off one side---whatever fits your personality. It does not mean the end of doing your hair. But, if you're looking for low maintenance, locs can be that too.

Bottom line...locs are just an extension of natural hair and they aren't for everyone. Talk to locticians and current loc rockers and do a mess of research before you begin loc'ing. I'll tell you one thing though, I thought I loved my hair when I was a loose natural...my locs have given me another ridiculous amount of self-love.

Trimming Natural Hair



Charrise asks:


What is the most effective way to trim?

-Describe your hair (coily, curly, wavy, fine, coarse, etc.)

- Do you 'Search and Destroy', clip the ends of twists, or
straighten to trim, or go to a salon?

-How often do you trim? How do you know when the time has come?


CN's Response:

- My hair is fine and wavy (mostly s curls with a few coils).

-I conduct Search and Destroys and on occasion, will clip the ends of my twists.

-It depends on the condition of my hair. If my curls are acting a donkey and tangling and snagging no matter what I do, I'll snip the ends of the twists prior to rolling them for a Twist-n-Curl (I do this a few times a year). Usually it's a micro trim (less than an inch), but sometimes I'll chop off more (like last December).

I conduct Search and Destroys whenever I happen to grab a curl and can see more than a split end or two without straining. I do this while sitting in front of the TV, or standing in the bathroom mirror... even while on the internet. The lighting in all three situations is perfect! After snipping a few, I become anal and my sessions can last more than an hour. I cut just above the split and apply moisturizer as I go. After I finish a S&D, I'm usually on my way to re-style, because it leaves me with a frizzy, undefined mess.

So yeah, I trim when detangling becomes more difficult than usual, and when I too easily run across split ends.

Also, I buy my hair shears from Target, Sallys, Walgreens, or Ulta. I never spend more than fifteen dollars and ONLY use them for my hair. I threw my shears away in early January because my preggy hormones were making me reach for them more often than usual. I'll probably buy another pair in August.

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