Use This Ingredient to Retain Moisture in Dry, Brittle Natural Hair

 photo courtesy of Beemore


Lecithin is an essential component of every cell in our bodies. Lecithin is a basis in the structure of cells that prevents the hardening of cell membranes. It is a fat that can also be found in several foods including soybeans, meats, vegetables, and egg yolks. According to Drugs.com, “Lecithin is the common name for a series of related compounds called phosphatidylcholines.” Healthy cells lead to a healthy body and maintaining a body’s resistance to many diseases that take advantage of damaged cells. One of the most well-known benefits of lecithin is supporting cardiovascular health, but some even say it aids in weight loss and relief of arthritis. Lecithin is natural-occurring in the body. It can also be consumed either through foods or as a supplement. The majority of commercial lecithins sold in the market today are from soybean, sunflower, and grape seeds.

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Should You Be Using Tea Tree Oil for Your Natural Hair?




Uses of tea tree oil
A renewed interest in natural substances has increased the availability of tea tree oil as a home remedy, and has also inspired research into its composition and beneficial properties. While it should never be taken internally due to potential toxicity, it is fantastic for topical treatment at home of:
  • dandruff
  • hair growth
  • acne
  • ingrown hair
  • superficial wounds
  • bug bites
  • thrush
  • athlete’s foot
  • fever blisters

Your Moisturizer Needs These 4 Ingredients to be Effective

 
by Susan Walker of Earthtones Naturals

If someone were to ask me what is the number one challenge with natural hair my answer would be maintaining appropriate moisture levels. This topic has been covered extensively but dry hair is the the number one complaint of many natural women I hear from and it warrants further discussion.

There has been a lot of confusion about what moisture actually is, how to moisturize hair and what ingredients should be included in an effective moisturizer. Products containing emollients such as mineral oil and petroleum, natural oils and butters as well as silicones have been marketed as moisturizers. Women have used these products with no relief to their dry hair. Brittleness has continued with ensuing breakage. Because of this we need to take a deeper look into this concept of moisturizing our hair, dissect the formulas and really understand what makes a product an effective moisturizer.

What is Moisture?
Moisture is a property of water and this element makes the best moisturizer. Hydration contributes to the pliability and elasticity of the hair. Because water can quickly enter and exit the hair it’s difficult for it to remain moisturized for long periods of time with just water. Factor in conditions such as high porosity and chemical damage and keeping the hair hydrated seems as though it’s a losing battle. This is where an effective moisturizer is crucial.

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Castor Oil: The Natural Solution to Hair Growth

By Dr. Phoenyx Austin of DrPhoenyx.com

I’ve known about this natural emollient since I was waist high. And I particularly love this oil because it is extremely rich vitamin E and essential fatty acids that are important for healthy hair growth.

A few benefits of castor oil:

  • Is an excellent emollient and humectant for skin and hair
  • Is a treatment for hair thinning and hair loss
  • Prevents the dry and itchy scalp
  • Has anti-fungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties- so it can be effective for treating skin/scalp infections like ringworm.
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The Two Ingredients that Make Your Conditioner Work




 by Susan Walker of Earthtones Naturals via Three Naturals

In a previous post we discussed the importance of conditioners to your hair care regimen. It is, in my opinion, the most important part. Given the role this product has in maintaining the health of our hair, we need to examine what we’ll likely find in conditioners that make them so important.

The main conditioning agent in conditioner is what’s called a cationic surfactant. Cations are positively charged particles and they are attracted to our negatively charged strands. They adsorb onto our hair meaning that they sit on our hair; they don’t penetrate. Additionally, they resist being washed off by water alone. They improve the hair’s softness, aid in detangling, help to seal the cuticle and make the hair more manageable.

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The Key to Finding the Perfect Leave In? Shop by Hair Width




by Nicole Harmon author of Coils & Curls: The Hair Product Handbook

It takes just the right blend of water (for moisture) and emollients (for smoothing) to tame coils and curls. The emollients are the tricky part. Too heavy and they’ll weigh your hair down, too light and you’ll end up with frizz.

To find the right leave-ins for your hair, it’s important that you understand your “strand thickness," otherwise known as "hair width", which can be categorized as “fine to medium” or “medium to thick”. When you see those words on a product label, they’re not referring to how much hair you have; they’re describing the thickness of each individual strand on your head.

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5 Uses and Benefits of Shea Butter You Haven't Thought of Yet


by Veronica Jacobi via NaturalBella

What is Shea Butter?


Shea butter is a natural conditioner for hair. It is produced from the Shea-Karite tree nut, which is a native tree found in the tropics of East and West Africa. It provides extraordinary moisturizing properties and is therefore known as “mother nature's conditioner”.

It’s been utilized for decades in areas of Africa not only for the hair but also because of its skincare and therapeutic qualities. Shea butter is also known to heal burns and injuries, and to get rid of surgical marks, dermatitis, and stretch marks. Apart from medicinal uses, some of the most common uses for Shea butter include using as a natural moisturizer for your body and face, and as a conditioner for dry hair.

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DIY Detangling Leave-in Conditioner- Add Slip & Volume With This Ingredient!



It may have a strange name but it is a powerhouse of goodness and a great natural detangler for your tresses. Slippery elm (Ulmus fulva) is a small tree native to eastern Canada and eastern and central United States. Most commonly found in the Appalachian Mountains, it has a reddish brown truck with grayish white bark on the branches. The inner bark is where you will find its medicinal value, which is collected in spring from the bole of larger branches, dried, and powdered. For centuries Native Americans have used slippery elm as an herbal remedy for wounds, boils, ulcers, burns, and skin inflammations. The University of Maryland Medical Center has also been used orally to relieve coughs, diarrhea, sore throats, and stomach issues. Drugs.com says it was not just used for medicinal purposes by the Native Americans, as it was also useful for building canoes, baskets, and shelter.

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The Right and Wrong Way to Use Glycerin for Hair



It seems that naturally curly folks have a love/hate relationship with glycerin. There is a lot of information, and misinformation, about this seemingly simple substance. I thought I’d shed some light on the chemical makeup of glycerin and how it affects curly hair specifically.

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Ingredients for the Slip Addicted Natural



Are you addicted to slip? You know…slip! Our hair tends to be dry and the older it gets--or further from wash day--the dryer it gets. Curly or coily hair tends to curl or coil around itself and create tangles or knots (yes, knots) when dry. Many of us are always on the hunt for products that will properly coat the knots and tangles and allow them to glide through with a comb or our fingers easily and without much friction. Slip just describes how slippery a product is and that’s usually conditioners with some natural oils. Slip is a curlies best friend but what makes up the BEST slip? There’s an actual science to it and it’s more than what’s the most popular or the most expensive. It’s what’s in the makeup of the product. Here are a list of ingredients we see every day on the back of bottle and jar and as we skim over them do we really know what they do and how they give us the best slip possible? Now, it’s time to see what makes all those products work so well.


Common Hair Conditioner Ingredients


I received a few questions yesterday about ingredients in conditioners, especially alcohols.  Remember alcohols like Cetearyl, Cetyl and Stearyl are fatty and act as softeners or emollients.  They're not drying like SD alcohol, SD alcohol 40, Alcohol denat, Propanol, Propyl alcohol and Isopropyl alcohol. Check out this re-post for clarification! 

 
Most of us with curly hair are pretty well-versed now in the need for our hair to be very well hydrated and conditioned. But what exactly does this mean? There are so many products on the market that claim to be the solution for our dry, frizzy tresses, but which do we really need? Also plentiful are the words used by marketers and hair care experts when telling us what we need for our hair to be healthy and beautiful. Among these are humectant, moisturizer, emollient, detangler, reconstruct/repair, and color protecting. What do these terms really mean, and what ingredients should we be looking for if we desire some of these properties?

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Top 10 Ingredients to Look For in Natural Hair Products



The more we embrace our natural texture, the more we learn that organic and natural hair products work best. There are hundreds of ingredients found in nature that can be used in hair products. Healthy ingredients aren't for textured hair alone! These ingredients work to make everybody's hair healthier. Below is a list of ten popular ingredients in natural hair products and what they provide for our hair.
1. Shea Butter
High in fatty acids, shea butter is an emollient — meaning it provides a layer of oil on top of the surface of a hair strand, significantly reducing the amount of moisture (water) lost. This is what Naturally Curly girls mean when using products like this to "seal" their hair.

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How Do Hair Conditioners Work?


via TheBeautyBrains- 

What are hair conditioners supposed to do?
Remember that hair is dead! It’s a common misconception that hair can be healthy. Hair can be no more healthy than a shoe lace, a cotton blouse, or any other non-living fiber. The hair on your head is not living tissue. It is dead, keratinized protein. Hair cannot be healthy. Of course, it can look healthy or not-healthy but that’s not the same thing. Conditioners help give your hair a healthier appearance (and reduce breakage) by smoothing the hair.

The biology of hair (cuticle versus cortex)
Look at your hair under a microscope, or, if you don’t have a microscope handy, you can Google a picture of it. You’ll see it’s covered by small scales, known as cuticles, that look a little like the shingles on a roof. As the hair grows, the cuticles form in such a way that the leading edge is facing toward the end of your hair shaft.

When you back comb, you’re scraping the edge of the cuticle in the opposition direction. This action causes lifts the cuticle up and makes it stand away from the hair shaft. The more cuticles you lift up, the more volume your hair will have because each little piece of cuticle will push away the hair shaft laying next to it. You can create tons of volume by combing this way.

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Cosmetic Chemistry 101- Common Hair and Skin Care Ingredients


via TheBeautyBrains-

This article on cosmetic science is primarily intended to benefit anyone interested in chemist careers (or aspiring mixtresses) but hopefully the general natural hair community will find this information useful as well!

Surfactants
It is amazing how little time is devoted to surfactants in college when you consider the importance they play in so many industries.

What are they? Surfactant is a shorter way to say “surface active agent”. These are molecules that have the property of reducing surface tension, thereby allowing oil and water to form stable (temporarily) mixtures.

Examples – Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycol Distearate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Polysorbate 80

Why are they used? Surfactants are used for various purposes in cosmetic formulas including
* Detergents – for cleansing
* Wetting agents – for helping formulas spread more easily
* Foaming agents – to produce consumer friendly suds
* Emulsifiers – to create stable mixtures of oil and water
* Conditioning agents – to improve the surfaces of hair and skin
* Solubilizers – to help mix fragrances into water-based formulas
* Preservatives – to keep cosmetics microbe-free
* Special Effects – to improve the look of certain formulas

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The Science Behind Hair Conditioners- Common Ingredients



Most of us with curly hair are pretty well-versed now in the need for our hair to be very well hydrated and conditioned. But what exactly does this mean? There are so many products on the market that claim to be the solution for our dry, frizzy tresses, but which do we really need? Plentiful also are the words used by marketers and hair care experts when telling us what we need for our hair to be healthy and beautiful. Among these are humectant, moisturizer, emollient, detangler, reconstruct/repair, and color protecting. What do these terms really mean, and what ingredients should we be looking for if we desire some of these properties?

There are numerous types of conditioners available in the marketplace, so we will examine some of the more common categories. My hope is to aid the consumer in understanding what the proposed benefit of a particular type of conditioner is and also what ingredients can be expected to help achieve the desired outcome.


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Apple Cider Vinegar and Natural Hair Care



Vinegar has been used as a health and beauty aid for thousands of years to brighten skin, soften hair and improve health. Now, as with all things natural, simple, cheap, and “green,” it is experiencing resurgence in its popularity as consumers become more conscious of the effects products may have on their health and on the environment.

Many marketers of natural soaps recommend the use of apple cider vinegar in particular as a rinse aid when using their product.  And many other web sites and message boards extol its virtues as well.  Here, I’ll discuss how best to use vinegar to care for your hair.

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Ingredients Commonly Found in Hair Products


Compiled by Tonya McKay

This is a dynamic list; I’ll update and amend as necessary.

CN Says:
-Grab your favorite bottle of conditioner or styler... I'll wait. 

 -Flip it over to review the ingredients.

-Do a 'ctrl +f'' (or control + find, or a command + f, or the like) and type in the ingredients that are too long to pronounce. You'll be amazed at which ones are emulsifiers, detergents, preservatives, etc. Cool stuff. You'll never be in the dark again!  You'll also be more prepared the next time you hit the hair care aisle.  Be especially mindful of the first 5 ingredients (the only ones that truly matter) in each of your favorite products (take note!) so you know what to look for when selecting new products.  

Anionic Surfactants
Detergency, foaming:
Alkylbenzene sulfonates
Ammonium laureth sulfate: can be drying to the hair
Ammonium lauryl sulfate: can be very drying to the hair
Ammonium Xylenesulfonate
Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate
Sodium cocoyl sarcosinate
Sodium laureth sulfate: can be drying to the hair
Sodium lauryl sulfate: can be especially drying to the hair
Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate
Sodium myreth sulfate
Sodium Xylenesulfonate
TEA-dodecylbenzenesulfonate
Ethyl PEG-15 cocamine sulfate
Dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate

Amphoteric Surfactants
Used to provide mild cleansing, as well as some aid in foaming:
Cocamidopropyl betaine
Coco betaine
Cocoamphoacetate
Cocoamphodipropionate
Disodium cocoamphodiacetate
Disodium cocoamphodipropionate
Lauroamphoacetate
Sodium cocoyl isethionate

Open to View Full List>>>

Magnesium Sulfate- Curly Friend or Foe



What is Magnesium sulfate?

Magnesium sulfate is an ingredient often touted as a natural curl booster or curl activator for hair. It is typically used in leave-in conditioners and curl enhancers, both commercially available and homemade, and it is applied via a spray-on delivery method.

Many people have noted that their hair often responds remarkably well to the initial application, but further uses yield dry tresses that behave in an unruly fashion. Several explanations have been put forth for this phenomenon, but there still remains some confusion as to why it happens.

By delving into the protein structure of hair and curls, and how magnesium sulfate interacts with these, we can gain clear understanding of the mechanism by which magnesium sulfate enhances curl pattern and retention, and also why the effects seem short-lived and eventually become unpleasant.

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Antioxidants in Hair Care Products




Most of us have been recipients of much indoctrination regarding the benefits of antioxidants, both for our health and our appearance. Eat your multi-colored vegetables, drink your freshly-obtained green juice, take your vitamins, and slather on expensive skin creams loaded with these nebulous molecules, and you will be fit, appear young, beautiful, active and healthy, right? With claims like these, it seemed inevitable that hair care products showcasing these materials would make their debut on the shelves of hair salons, health food stores, and drug stores, and of course, this is the case, especially in the natural market sector.

But are these ingredients truly beneficial when used in topically applied hair care products, or are they simply a clever marketing strategy with minimal effects? A consumer armed with knowledge of what oxidative damage is, how it occurs, and what can be used to protect against it has the advantage when evaluating product claims and making purchases.

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Curly Cocktails: A Beginner's Guide




Quick True or False Quiz:

Your bathroom houses a LOT of hair care products.

When you see a new curly product on the shelf, you HAVE TO buy it.

You’re creative.

You like options and variations.

You have so many products, you could put “CVS” above your bathroom door.

If you answered true to three or more of the above, you’re probably a Product Junkie AND you like to experiment with hair products. We like to call this process “cocktailing” (sorry, no Grey Goose included). The NC forum CurlTalk has endless resources for cocktail recipes, but here is a quick introduction into the science of curly cocktails.

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