Are “Gentle” Surfactancts Also Damaging?- Cleansing Natural Hair



Dear Tonya:
Why is it that some products formulated with “gentle” surfactants and marketed as natural or sulfate-free actually seem to be more drying and damaging to my hair? I thought these products were supposed to be more gentle and kind to my fragile curls.

Read On>>>

FAQs- Deep Conditioning and Natural Hair

Hair Liberty's Nicole Harmon, our Resident Curl Chemist, is answering your most urgent hair questions. Got one for her? Email me at [email protected] using "Hair Liberty" in the subject line and she may answer your question right here on the blog.

What is deep conditioning?

“Deep Conditioning” is often suggested as a remedy for dry or damaged hair. The goal of deep conditioning is to strengthen damaged hair and prevent breakage. To deep condition you must use a conditioner that contains ingredients that can absorb into the hair strand. Examples of penetrating ingredients include hydrolyzed protein, amino acids, cetrimonium bromide, panthenol and some silicones.

Does deep conditioning require heat?

No, it’s a common myth that deep conditioning requires heat. If a conditioner works with heat, its instructions will tell you to apply heat for a specific amount of time. Heat will only increase the effect of a conditioner if it has been formulated with penetrating ingredients. Conditioners that require heat don’t work better than conditioners that tell you to apply and rinse after a few minutes. It all depends on the ingredients.

I like sitting under the dryer. Is there any harm?

Yes, sitting under a bonnet dryer for long periods of time with conditioner in your hair can cause harm. The instructions on your conditioner tell you the safest way to use the product. Studies show that preservatives and other chemicals in cosmetic products can cause eczema and a type of alopecia called telogen effluvium.

We’re used to thinking of eczema as a skin condition that runs in families, but frequent exposure to cosmetic chemicals can cause a type of eczema called “acute contact dermatitis”. Symptoms of acute contact dermatitis include itching, bumps, tenderness, and dry patches. Studies show that acute contact dermatitis on the scalp leads to a form of short-term alopecia called telogen effluvium. The condition causes excess hair shedding for up to 6 months.

When you leave a conditioner on longer than the recommend time you may be increasing your exposure to cosmetic chemicals that have been linked to eczema, alopecia, and more serious health problems like cancer. Adding heat increases your exposure even more.

Can I sit under the dryer if I only use natural/organic products?

It will always be safest to follow the instructions on your conditioner. Just because a product is labeled “natural” or “organic” doesn’t mean it’s safer than anything else. Some natural ingredients cause more allergy problems than synthetic ingredients. There are also loopholes in FDA guidelines that allow manufacturers to omit certain ingredients from the label. The manufacturer is the only one who knows exactly what’s in the bottle and whether it’s safe or not to use the product with heat.

I think I have contact dermatitis on my scalp and excess shedding. What do I do now?

1) Make a decision today to follow the instructions on your products. Don’t leave in rinse-off products and don’t let rinse-off products sit on your scalp for long periods of time.
2) Visit a Dermatologist or Trichologist for a scalp evaluation if possible.
3) Don’t scratch your scalp when it itches. Micro-cuts on the scalp can lead to bacterial infections.
4) Be patient. Itching, bumps, and the other symptoms of acute contact dermatitis usually go away within 4 weeks after the exposure stops. Excess shedding due to telogen effluvium should stop within 6 months.
5) For extra softness and easier detangling when you wash your hair, do a pre-shampoo oil treatment each week.

References:

AetnaInteliHealth. Health A to Z: Eczema. Available at http://intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/WSIHW000/9339/9501.html.

Antonella Tosti; Bianca Maria Piraccini; Dominique J. J. van Neste. Telogen Effluvium After Allergic Contact Dermatitis of the Scalp. Arch Dermatol. 2001;137(2):187-190.

CW Hughes, E. Telogen Effluvium. Medscape Reference. Available at http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1071566-overview.

Environmental Working Group. 2008. Study: Almost Half Of All ‘Natural’ Personal Care Products Contain Known Carcinogen. Available at http://ewg.org/node/26160.

Flyvholm MA, Menné T. Allergic contact dermatitis from formaldehyde. A case study focusing on sources of formaldehyde exposure. Contact Dermatitis. 1992 Jul;27(1):27-36.

Toribo, J., et al. "Allergic Contact Dermatitis In A Girl Due To Several Cosmetics Containing Diazolidinyl-Urea Or Imidazolidinyl-Urea." Contact Dermatitis (01051873) 63.1 (2010): 49-50.



Hair Liberty (def): The freedom to rock whatever style you want, whenever you want. Curly, straight, natural, relaxed, whatever! Free yourself! For more info, visit
www.hairliberty.org

Shampoos for Dry Natural Hair- How to Pick the Right One




Question: How do you choose a mild shampoo for fine hair that's prone to breakage?


Humectants, Weather and Hair Care Part 2


by Susan Walker of Earthtone Naturals

As a review of last week’s post we found that the state of your hair relies on a few things, and a very important factor is moisture. Weather can strongly influence the condition of your hair with conditions of high moisture and low moisture having various effects on the hair. Furthermore, specific ingredients like humectants can be detrimental if not used properly in extreme weather conditions. The amount of humidity in the air can be assessed by using the dew point. The higher the dew point, the more moisture in the air; the lower the dew point, the less moisture there is. You can determine the dew points for your area by checking out various weather channels or online.

Read On!>>>

8 Ingredients That Aren't As Scary as They Sound



Before dropping a product into your basket at Target, Ulta, or in your cart on CurlMart, how much time do you spend reading the ingredients? At this point in the game, probably more than you have in your entire life.

Whether you're an ingredient snob and only purchase products made with the best of the best, a clean living curly who believes in eating and using only whole and natural products, or a natural newbie just taking it all in, there's one thing we can all agree on--ingredients can sound confusing, scary, and like you need an advanced degree in material science to understand how to pronounce them.

Luckily, not everything that looks and sounds terrible is. Relax, naturally curly world-- take in these 8 ingredients that sound all sorts of naughty, but are really pretty nice!

Behentrimonium Methosulfate
Because of how harsh traditional shampoo and cleansers can be, many of us turn away from anything that has the word "sulfate" in it. But the truth is, behentrimonium methosulfate is a far cry from the sodium lauryl sulfate that dries out and damages our kinks, coils, and curls. In truth, behentrimonium methosulfate is neither drying nor a sulfate. It is actually a super gentle surfactant made from non-GMO (imagine that!) rapeseed (canola oil), and is one of the mildest detangling ingredients out there. It doesn't cause buildup, or irritation to the scalp. You can find this gem in products like Kinky Curly Knot Today, Camille Rose Naturals Fresh Curl, and Lawrence Ray Concepts Shake & Go.

2012 Hits and Misses To Date...


Hola Chicas,

I've tried a number of new products and rather than drag this out over several posts, I thought I'd fill you in right quick... right here! And although some of these products were gifted (noted below) rest assured that (as always) my reviews are real, unpaid and unbiased. Enjoy and weigh in!


***HITS***

Tigi Bed Head Candy Fixations Totally Baked Volumizing and Prepping Hair Meringue

Ingredients- water, polysorbate 20, glycerin, sucrose, PEG-60 almond glycerides, polymide-1, PEG-17 dimethicone, fragrance, phenoxyethanol, cocamidopropyl betaine, caprylyl glycol, PVP, sodium lauroyl sarcosinate, citric acid, disodium EDTA, sodium chloride, sodium lauroyl lactylate, methylisothiazolinone, sobic acid, citral, limonene

Description- Start your style with this sweet treat! Bed Head Candy Fixations Totally Baked is a super light, creamy formula that provides shape retention to add to the life of a hairstyle. This humidity resistant meringue provides a light hold, giving you weightless motion. Bed Head Candy Fixations Totally Baked gives you a long lasting boost, style and texture.

My thoughts- Y'all know I'll try damn near anything that touts 'volumizing' on the label. And while it performs very well as a styler, sadly, I can't say that it made my hair look any thicker. The hold is light and flexible and it (somewhat) withstood the Florida humidity. I'll be shelving it soon because my hair doesn't do so well with glycerin in the summer (highly porous and it needs no help absorbing more atmospheric moisture). The ingredient list is atrocious but I was pretty impressed with the results. This was gifted from TIGI, and I'd probably repurchase come Fall.

Original Moxie Hair Bling

Ingredients-Jojoba Oil; Jojoba Esters; Mango Butter; Tucuma Butter; Beeswax; Stearic Acid; Vitamin E; Essential Oils of Bergaptene-Free Bergamot, Clary Sage, Grapefruit, Lavender, Tangerine & Vanilla (3% Dilution).

Description: Hair Bling is a blend of oils, butters and waxes that delivers high shine along with amazing softness and subtle hold.

My Thoughts: Shine? Come on with it! Softness? All day. Subtle hold? Ehhh... It's a great product to add some sheen to your situation, but it did nothing for holding or defining my dry twist-outs. In fact, Jane Carter's Nourish and Shine has more hold and it doesn't have much of any. This would make for a great sealant and while I wouldn't purchase it (it was gifted), I will gladly use the rest of my tin with a smile.

Original Moxie Lux Locks


Ingredients- Distilled Water; Vegetable Glycerin; Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol; Soy Butter; Ucuuba Butter; Soy Wax; Olive Oil Infused With Amla, Bhringraj, Burdock, Comfrey, Horsetail, Kelp, Neem, Stinging Nettle, & Yucca; Jojoba Esters; Castor Oil; Organic Unrefined Shea Butter; Fractionated Coconut Oil; Beeswax; Phenoxyethanol (and) Caprylyl Glycol (Paraben & Formeldahyde-Free Preservative); HE-Cellulose; Polyquaternium-10; Organic Aloe Vera; Vitamin E; Essential Oils of Black Pepper, Clove, Rose, Rosewood, Vanilla (3% Dilution), & Ylang Ylang.

Description- A rich styling butter that delivers moisture, shine and definition.

My 2 cents- Okay, this one is worth a try if you're looking for a soft hold product for your (wet or dry) twists, braids or even wash and gos. It gave me some pretty amazing hair in Los Angeles-- shiny, moisturized, soft and defined. This too was gifted and while I liked it for my dry twist-outs (especially days 1 and 2), it built up on me after a few days (to be expected) and I probably wouldn't purchase. I haven't used it on wet hair (as it is intended) but I've heard nothing but good things. Try it and report back!

Davines Natural Tech De-Stress Leave in


Ingredients-aqua (water), cyclomethicone, c12-15 alkyl benzoate, dimethicone, hydroxypropyltrimonium hydrolyzed wheat protein, dimethiconol, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, disodium edta, imdazolidinyl urea, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol, tetrasodium edta, parfum/fragrance

Description- Davines Natural Tech Well Being De Stress Be-Phase Shelter spray is a unique product that conditions and protects both the skin and the hair. Shaking the bottle well before use mixes the two separate parts of the product for ultimate effectiveness. The wheat proteins incorporated into this sheltering spray provide intensive hydration and conditioning effects, while dimethicone and UV filters work against damage by protecting from the sun, chlorine, salt water and pollution. Using this product regularly can also help to prevent new split ends and breakage.

My thoughts- I was introduced to this product by Marie of Shi Salon in STL. This was the only product that she used on my damp hair prior to blow drying and flat ironing and it left my hair feeling like silk. There was no residue... almost as if my hair was product-less. It remained soft and moisturized for a week. Needless to say, I bought myself a bottle and have since purchased another bottle via Amazon. It may not be heavy enough as your solo leave-in, but would make for a good primer before your heavier leave-in products. It's full of silicones, so if you're on the Curly Girl diet, steer clear. Two thumbs up all the way over here :) I even apply it to my dry ends throughout the week.

Davines MoMo Deep Conditioner

Ingredients- Aqua (Water), Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Behenyl Alcohol, Centrimonium Chloride, Behentrimonium Chloride, Dimethicone, C30-45 Alkyl Methicone, Buxus Chinensis (Jojoba Seed Oil), Lauryl Alcohol, Panthenol, Silybum Marianum (Silybum Marianum Seed Oil), Amodimethicone, Dicaprylyl Ether, Rhizobian Gum, Tocopherol, Benzophenone-4, Ethylene/ Propylene/ Styrene Copolymer, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides Citrate, Butylene/Ethylene/Styrene Copolymer, Potassium Sorbate, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxylethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Citric Acid, CI 19140 (Yellow 5), CI 42090 (Blue 1), CI 15985 (Yellow 6), CI 16035 (Red 40), Parfum (Fragrance)

Description- Davines MOMO Moisturizing Revitalizing Creme Conditioner from Italy adds incredible moisture to the hair. Thanks to the exceptional moisturizing power of its components, MOMO Moisture Revitalizing Creme Conditioner is for dry and dehydrated hair. It works in response to the specific needs of moisturizing the hair.

My thoughts- Hands down, this is the best damn deep conditioner I've tried in a long time. It truly rivals my other favs (Jessicurl Weekly Deep Treatment and Curl Junkie Moisture Rehab), providing slip for detangling and tons of moisture. It leaves my hair feeling soft and smooth (not coated) upon rinsing. This is another product Marie introduced me to and I purchased it from her (expensive!) and will most certainly buy it again. The fragrance is light, herbal and pleasant.

Sunny Isle Jamaican Black Castor Oil

Ingredients- A vegetable oil derived from the seeds of the Ricinus Communis plant.

Description- Sunny Isle Jamaican Black Castor Oil is processed the traditional way. Our Organic seeds are roasted and ground by a manual Grinder and then the crushed beans are boiled to extract the 100% pure, dark brown, organic oil. It is the darkest Jamaican Black Castor Oil because we roast our beans longer which produces more Ash Content in our oil than any other oil on the market. More ash content increases the effectiveness of the oil. Therefore the Sunny Isle brand will strengthen and increase the length of your hair faster than any other brands on the market today.

My thoughts- Just when I thought I couldn't love castor oil anymore, Sunny Isle gifted me a bottle of their Black Castor oil. It's rich and dreamy! I cut it with Argan Oil and I'm honestly dreading the day my supply runs dry. It's good stuff for sealing as well as for warm oil treatments. When I'm bunning, I run it through my length and apply to my edges and sometimes even rub some into my scalp (put it in a color applicator bottle and go to town!). I'm super impressed and I will most certainly purchase in the future. For those of you looking for a product to act like a serum (the silicone laden ones), this oil is for you boo!

TIGI Glaze Haze Serum

Ingredients- cyclopentasiloxane, dimethiconol, dimethicone, isopropyl palmitate, dimethicone copolymer, fragrance, water, oryza satvia (rice) bran oil, polysilicone-15, propylene glycol, bambusa vulgaris extract, hydrolyzed soy protein, saccharum officinarum (sugar cane) extract, hydrolyzed keratin, phenoxyethanol, methylparaben, sorbic acid, butylparaben, ethylparaben, potassium sorbate, isobutylparaben, propylparaben

Description- This sweet treat candy coats each strand to fight humidity, add shine, and help speed up drying time. Delicious Crème Brule scent. TIGI Bed Head Candy Fixations Glaze Haze Benefits: Smooths flyaways. Adds luminous shine. Speeds up blow-dry time. Helps resist humidity for up to 12 hours.

My thoughts- If you've tried one silicone serum, you've tried them all. Seriously. But I really like that this one isn't greasy. It has a thicker consistency and actually did pretty well in the Florida humidity earlier this month. I was gifted this product from TIGI and would definitely purchase.

CURLS Coconut Sublime Moisturizing Conditioner

Ingredients-Purified Water, Cetyl Alcohol (derived from coconut) Stearalkonium Chloride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, Certified Organic Coconut Oil, Panthenol, Certified Organic Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Certified Organic Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, Certified Organic Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Certified Organic Gardenia Tahitensis Flower Extract, Methylheptyl Isostearate, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hydrolyzed Corn Starch, Benxophenone-4, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Fragrance, Caramel

Description-Looking for a conditioner that provides MAXIMUM moisture and softness for your dry curly tresses? Look no further. Coconut Sublime Conditioner is guaranteed to soften the kinkiest curl, moisturize the driest lock, and detangle the most unruly tresses. Great for all curly hair textures especially dry, damaged, and chemically treated kinky, medium or coarse curly hair.

My Thoughts- Another great product from CURLS. It's super slippery, moisturizing and rinses clean. I use it as an instant conditioner prior to applying a leave-in and my hair is still detangled and soft when I begin the styling process. It smells divine too! It was gifted from CURLS and I'd definitely purchase.

Sof'n Free 2 in 1 Conditioning Shampoo

Ingredients-Water (Aqua), C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Acetamide MEA, Sodium Lauroamphoacetate, Glycol Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Polyquaternium-10, PEG-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, PEG-23 M, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Olea Europea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oill, Milk Protein, Plukenetia Volubilis (Sacha Inchi) Seed Oil, Fragrance (Parfum), Diazolidnyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Salt, Linalool, Hexyl Cinnamic Aldehyde, d-Limonene.

Description-Infused with moisturizers and hair healthy natural ingredients, its rich, luxurious lather thoroughly cleanses hair and scalp without stripping it of natural oils.

My thoughts- One of the best 'moisturizing' shampoos I've used in a while. It does what many other similar products DON'T... actually cleans your hair. My scalp is cleared of the gunk and yet my strands don't get that dry hay feeling. The moisturizing properties also help begin the detangling process. This product was gifted from Soft'n Free and I'd probably purchase due to the 4.99 price tag!

***MISSES***


Dr. Miracles Curl Care Hydrating Shampoo + Conditioner


Shampoo Ingredients-Water (Aqua EU), Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Polyquaternium - 10, Honey, Simmondsia Chinenesis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Hydrolyzed, Tocopheryl Acetate Wheat Protein, Retinyl Palmitate, Zea Mays (Corn ) Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Menthol, Panthenol, Glycol Distearate, Cholecalciferol, DMDM, Diazolidinyl Urea Hydantoin, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Parfum (Fragrance), Benzyl Benzoate, Citral, Citronellol, d-Limonine, Geraniol, Hexyl Cinnamic Aldehyde, Linalool

Shampoo Description- Dr. Miracle Curl Care Rehydrating Shampoo with vitamin A, E and panthenol to rehydrate curls as it gently cleanses. This product has no sulfates, parabens, sodium and phthalate and is a low sud formula. The unique natural complex, with honey and vitamins, helps hold curls for up to 12 hours.

Conditioner Ingredients- Water (Aqua EU), Cetyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Polyquaternium - 7, Honey Amodimethicone, Butyrospermium Parkii (SheaButter), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, Menthol, Menthone Glycerin Acetal, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Cholecalciferol, DMDM Hydantoin, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Parfum (Fragrance), Benzyl Benzoate, Citral, Citonellol, d-Limonine, Geraniol, Hexy Cinnamic Aldehyde, Linalool

Conditioner Description- Dr. Miracles Curl Care Nourishing Conditioner conditions and softens every curl. This unique natural complex, with honey and vitamins, helps to hold culs for up to 12 hours. This product has no sulfates or parabens and is excellent for kinky, curly or wavy hair.

My thoughts on the Poo- So I'm not very particular when it comes to aromatics, and have used products with mint but this... this was different. It was much too much and the steam from the shower... it was ridiculous, like nauseating. It felt like it was in my mouth, my throat... all up in my nose. I thought it was just me, until hubby complained about 'the new shampoo in the shower' and he ain't picky. I wish I can remember how it performed... I feel like it was actually pretty decent. This was gifted from NC and I won't purchase until they make some fragrance tweaks.

My thoughts on the Conditioner- I have to be honest... I wasn't a big fan of Dr. Miracle's 'I hate my frizzy natural hair' marketing tactics from a while ago, but that didn't stop me from giving their new curly line a fair shake. But again with the mint! It had slip and probably good moisture, but I couldn't focus. The products are reasonably priced and accessible (Sally's), but I just... I can't. If you really, really like mint, try it out and send me your review!

Curly Hair Solutions Extenzz

Ingredients- Aqua, Lecithin, VP/VA Copolymer, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Panthenol, Silk Amino Acids, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Flower Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract Sodium PCA, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Straw Extract, Equisetum Arvense Extract, Macrocystis Pyrifera Extract (Sea Kelp), Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Polyquaternium-37, Trideceth-6, Parfum, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Dicetyldimonium Chloride, Polyquaternium-11, Oleth-20, DMDM Hydantoin, Hydroxypropyl Guar, Isoceteth-20, Oleyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol/Ceteareth-30, Cetrimonium Chloride, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Polyquaternium-7, Disodium EDTA, Lactic Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Isopropyl Myristate, Benzophenone-4, Polyquaternium-10, Polyacrylamide

Description- Extenzz is the ultimate non-chemical curl styling relaxer. By using the correct combing techniques, Extenzz allows you to manipulate your curls into a looser, well defined, frizz-free curl without the look and feel of heavy oils. Benefits: * Tight curls unwind easily * Softens wiry course hair * Dries curls looser * Stops frizz in all weather conditions * Re activates with water * Styles last for days * Re groups out of control curl and wave patterns into control defined curls * Dries clean, no flaky or greasy feel

My thoughts- So the marketing team clearly struggled with this one... I'm not in favor of the 'non-chemical curl styling relaxer' phrasing and I'm assuming they must have missed the memo that there is another similarly named product on the market that touts penile enlargement benefits. At any rate, I was hoping for two things (1) stretch for my wet set two-strand twist-outs, and (2) protection from the humidity. Again, my fine, highly porous hair swells in nasty weather and leaves me with rough hair that becomes tangled and prone to damage. I need a product that will smooth and flatten my cuticle and I was hoping this was THE miracle product. Spoken like a true PJ, right?! Well, I used this over the Curly Hair Solutions Leave-in and the result? Well, I didn't love it. It did provide good definition, but my shrinkage was exactly the same and my hair had uncharacteristic spider web frizz by the end of the day. *sigh*
It was gifted from NC and I would not purchase.

Curly Hair Solutions Silk Leave-in

Ingredients- DI Water, Isopropyl Myristate, Cetrimonium Chloride, Cetearyl Alcohol (and) Ceteareth-33, Silk Amino Acids, Jojoba Oil, Panthenol, Hydroxypropyl Guar, Oleyl Alcohol, Fragrance, Propylene Glycol, Glycerine, Oleth-20, Polyacrylamide, DMDM Hydantoin, Germaben II (and) Chamomilla. Paraben Free Silicone Free

Description- Curly Hair Solutions Silk Leave-in Conditioner smooths the rough cuticles that are responsible for frizzy, flyaway hair. Silk Leave-in Conditioner is non-greasy and never builds up, so you can use a generous amount against high humidity and high heat appliances (irons & blow dryers). Silk Leave-in Conditioner leaves your hair feeling clean, shiny and soft.

My thoughts- Wow, I had such high hopes. Gifted from NaturallyCurly, I was planning to use this underneath some stylers I had on hand, thinking it may be just what the doctor ordered for the summer... all glycerin free and stuff. It has a great consistency (not creamy, not runny) and goes on smooth for easy coverage. The tons of slip made styling (wet set two strand twists) a breeze but I was left with dry, dull, frizzy hair. Fail. Not purchasing but I may revisit with some other stylers.

TIGI Mega Whip

Ingredients- water, C12-15 alkyl benzoate, cetearyl alcohol, VP/VA copolymer, lithium magnesium sodium silicate, propanediol, cetyl esters, petrolatum, PVP, glyceryl stearate, synthetic beeswax, phenyl trimethicone, phenoxyethanol, fragrance, capryl glycol, PEG-100 stearate, acrylate/C10-30 alkyl acetate crosspolymer, hydroxypropyltrimonium hydrolyzed corn starch, disodium EDTA, aminomethylpropional, polyaminopropyl biguaride, laurtrimonium chloride, methylisothiazolinone, methylparaben, butylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, propylparaben, sucrose, limonene, linalool

Description- Whip into dry hair for light texture with a flexible hold. Delicious Sweet Dreams scent.

My Thoughts- Thought it'd be the cure all for my dry twist-out needs. I'm no fortune teller but even I could predict that a product I could bead up and roll off of my palms post application (think rubber cement), was gonna fail. It left my hair feeling coated and dirty. It was gifted from TIGI and I most certainly won't be purchasing this one.

*Remember, these are my experiences... you may have different results!*


Share your hits and misses below!

Any product recommendations for me?

Skills Notes: Product Ingredients




by Shelli of Hairscapades 

So, I was thinking about how overwhelming it can be when you first discover the online natural hair web-iverse. There is sooooo much information out there and some of it is very technical, while other is anecdotal. And, while the education can be enlightening, it can also cause more issues than remaining ignorant!! Been there …  done that. LOL!! However, I do believe there is a “sweet spot.” You know … that point where you’ve read enough, watched enough and tried enough to make informed decisions about what products, techniques and regimens will work for you and also know enough to figure out on which ones you should take a pass? *Singing* “Walk on byyyyyyyy.”

Well, all that being said, it may take some time to reach your very own personal “sweet spot.” Shoot, it took me a year plus! LOL! But, I thought that I might be able to help some reach their spot more quickly and navigate some of the ins and outs of natural hair by providing some fundamentals in a simple format, as well as links to additional information for those desiring more details. And thus, the idea for Skills Notes was born. (Yup, Skills Notes. Hairscapades was too long and Skills has been my nickname since college.)

So, with that, welcome to the first installment of SKILLS NOTES!

 
PRODUCT INGREDIENTS

SULFATES: Cleansing agents found in many shampoos. Traditional sulfates can be harsh and strip hair of necessary moisture and oils. However, there are now many cleansers on the market that are sulfate-free and/or formulated with mild sulfates.  

WHO NEEDS TO KNOW: Those who are following the Curly Girl (CG) method, the Tightly Curly Method (TCM) and/or those with dryness issues. 

WHY: These individuals should avoid harsh sulfates and seek sulfate-free or mild sulfate alternatives.

For more information on sulfates and the alternatives, check out these articles:
Naturallycurly.com: Which Sulfates Are Safer Than the Others?
CurlyNikki.com: What’s in Your Shampoo

SILICONES: Conditioning agents used in shampoos, conditioners, stylers, serums and glosssers that provide slip and shine. Most ingredients ending in “cone,” “col,” “conol” or “zane” are silicones. There are four basic categories of silicones: water-soluble, slightly water-soluble, non water-soluble but repels build-up, non water-soluble and build-up prone. Non water-soluble silicones can eventually prevent the hair from absorbing sufficient water/moisture to remain hydrated, which can cause dry hair.

WHO NEEDS TO KNOW: Those who are following the CG Method or the TCM and/or conditioner only regimens. 

WHY: These individuals should either avoid non-water soluble silicones, use mild sulfate or sulfate-free shampoos that remove silicones or incorporate a “clarifying” sulfate shampoo into their regimen as needed. 

Want to learn more? Check out these articles:
NaturallyCurly.com: The Real Scoop on Silicones (silicones explained)
NaturallyCurly.com: What’s the Scoop on Silicones (chart with recommended cleansing agents by cone)

PROTEINS: Protein is used in many conditioners to reinforce and strengthen the hair structure, especially when hair is damaged or weakened by chemicals (i.e. permanent colors and/or chemical relaxers and perms). Protein treatments should be followed by moisturizing conditioners to restore elasticity or the hair may become brittle and feel dry. “Protein sensitivity” is a term used for hair that responds negatively to protein, either because the hair has sufficient protein or becomes brittle despite post-treatment moisturizing conditioners.

WHO NEEDS TO KNOW: Everyone. 

WHY: Ensuring that hair is strong and moisturized aids in appearance and reduces breakage that can impede length retention goals.

For a listing of proteins as well as tons of other useful information, check out this link:
CurlyNikki.com: Curls 101 FAQs

GLYCERIN: Humectant found in many products that is used to attract water into the hair shaft.

WHO NEEDS TO KNOW: Those with porous and frizz-prone hair, those with low porosity hair and those with dry hair. 

WHY: In humid climates (i.e. high dew points), glycerin can cause high porosity hair to frizz and tangle. For those with dry or low porosity hair that is hard to moisturize, glycerin can help draw water from the environment into the hair and help reduce/eliminate dryness. Many curl activators contain glycerin in order to aid hair in moisture retention and some naturals/curlies have found success with these type of products.

For a list of common humectants, see the CurlyNikki.com: Curls 101 FAQs link above.

ALCOHOLS: There are two basic categories of alcohols used in hair products: short chain drying alcohols (bad) and long chain “fatty” alcohols (good). Short chain drying alcohols evaporate quickly, so they are used in products to decrease the time it takes hair to dry. In contrast, long chain “fatty” alcohols are lubricating, moisturizing and “film-forming” in order to lock in moisture.

WHO NEEDS TO KNOW: Everyone. 

WHY: Short-chain drying alcohols should be avoided whereas long-chain fatty alcohols are fine and can be sought out for their moisturizing properties.

Drying alcohols: SD alcohol, SD alcohol 40, Alcohol denatured, Propanol, Propyl alcohol, Isopropyl alcohol

Fatty alcohols: Behenyl alcohol, Cetearyl alcohol, Cetyl alcohol, Isocetyl alcohol, Isostearyl alcohol, Lauryl alcohol, Myristyl alcohol, Stearyl alcohol, C30-50 Alcohols, Lanolin alcohol

MINERAL OIL: Mineral oil is used in products as an emollient, to seal in moisture, block humidity and enhance clumping/curl formation. It is non-water soluble. Mineral oil does not penetrate into the hair shaft to moisturize on its own. It simply aids in sealing in water/moisture. Mineral oil has gotten a bad rap, because it is often used in products with other ingredients (like petrolatum and lanolin), which are sticky and/or greasy. These combination of ingredients can cause build-up on the hair and scalp, as well as attract dust, dirt and lint from the environment. Some naturals avoid mineral oil at all costs, but it does have benefits. Cosmetic grade mineral oil can be light and non-sticky.

WHO NEEDS TO KNOW: Those who follow co-wash only/shampoo free regimens and those with scalp issues. 

WHY: Products with mineral oil combined with petrolatum, lanolin and some vegetable oils can be sticky, greasy and build-up on the hair and clog the pores of the scalp. Therefore, they require a cleansing agents to remove.  

Want to learn more about mineral oil and how it stacks up against coconut oil? Find more information here:
NaturallyCurly.com: Using Mineral Oil for Hair
NaturallyCurly.com: Mineral Oil vs. Coconut Oil – Which is Better?

PETROLATUM: Petrolatum is used in products to seal in water, provide a barrier against heat and chemicals and add sheen to the hair. It is non-water soluble. Petrolatum is sticky, which can attract dust, dirt and lint from the environment. It can cause build-up on the hair and clog the pores of the scalp. Petrolatum is found in many traditional hair “greases.”

WHO NEEDS TO KNOW: Those who follow co-wash only/shampoo free regimens and those with scalp issues.

WHY: Products with petrolatum, lanolin and some vegetable oils can be sticky, greasy and build-up on the hair and clog the pores of the scalp. Therefore, it requires a cleansing agent to remove.

PARABENS: Preservatives used to extend the shelf life of products by protecting against a wide range of microorganisms. The most common parabens found in cosmetic products are methylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben.  

WHO NEEDS TO KNOW: Those who want to use all-natural and/or organic products exclusively. Those who want to avoid this preservative due to concerns about toxicity and studies that indicated that parabens disrupts hormones and were detected in breast tumors. 

WHY: Self-explanatory.

For more information about the FDA’s position on parabens and the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) assessment and recommendations, check out these articles:
 

And that’s it for the first edition of SKILLS NOTES, Product Ingredients!

**************************************
So, how’d I do?? What ingredients would you add to the list of basics?

The Anti-Aging Ingredient That Actually Works (and strengthens your hair too!)




Which anti-aging ingredients really work?
When it comes to anti-aging products it’s easy to be tricked into spending a lot of money on products that aren’t worth it. That’s because there’s so much pseudoscientific misinformation out there about anti-aging cosmetic ingredients. Also, once you buy an anti-aging product, it takes you a long time to determine if it’s really working for you or not. That’s why we’re going to focus some of our podcast episodes on specific anti-aging ingredients, Today we’re talking about ceramides.  

Read On!>>>

How to Troubleshoot Your Natural Hair Growth Problem

IG @modelesque_nic 

by Aziza Glass of www.azizaglass.com via BlackNaps.org

I’m a scientist. With most problems I encounter, I tend to solve them as if they are an experiment. If I know that certain predictions should come to pass and do not, the problem is most likely located within my protocol or process. Fast forward to the moment I realized my hair just wasn’t growing the way it should. I decided to attempt to identify the culprit.

Continue!>>>

The Un-Natural Ingredient in Your Favorite Curl Creme


by Tiffani Greenaway of MyMommyVents.com

Walk into your local beauty supply store, and you'll find tons of products that promise longer, stronger, healthier hair. From castor to monoi oil, cleansing conditioners to conditioning repair creams, the choices are endless. But as you scrutinize the labels looking for parabens and cones, you may still be damaging your hair--and much more.

Do you know what's really in your products? "All natural" might not always mean what you think. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) analyzed over 1,000 products marketed to black women--and found that 1 in 12 contained chemicals that can be hazardous to your health.

Continue!>>>

DIY Recipes for Long, 4c Hair


   Photo Courtesy of Craving Yellow


While the natural hair community is booming with lots of products that are organic, paraben-free and sulfate-free, it is still bursting at the seams with mixtresses who create their own hair remedies. It sure does not hurt to mix up your own hair treats once in a while. In fact, many well established brands began right at home by mixing up ingredients that proved to produce great results. These three DIY recipes are easy to make and are budget-saving.

Read On!>>>

Rehab Your Natural Hair After Using Heat




There are three hair treatments that all naturals should do post heat styling. These treatments add moisture back into the cortex of the hair strand, fill in any missing gaps in the cuticle, and increasing the hair’s elasticity.

Read On!>>>

Will Grape Seed Oil Prevent Heat Damage?


via the Beauty Brains-

Lilypad asks:
I’m transitioning from relaxed to natural hair and a lot of blogs and video bloggers tout grape seed oil as a heat protectant when blowdrying or flat ironing hair because it has a high smoke point (about 420 °F). Is there any truth to this claim? The smoke point refers to the oil’s use in cooking but does it apply to hair as well?

Read On!>>>

The MOST Important Step in Your Hair Care Regimen


by Susan Walker of DrWalkerWellness

Now this is just me; but in my opinion nothing is as important as a step in hair care regimens that many naturals rush through. No, it’s not detangling (although that is uber important) and it’s not necessarily moisturizing the hair (also important). It’s the step that makes a lot of those other aspects of your regimen a lot easier.

Read On!>>>

The Curly Haircare Commandments



The world is filled with rules, guidelines, shall and shall not’s so is there really any surprise that the natural hair community has them as well? Some are vital to make this journey easier while, others are less important, and you can’t forget the ones that are downright silly. Despite all of that, we have to give them their "just due" or we would never forgive ourselves for omitting them!

Thou Shall...
Always wear a satin bonnet and/or use a satin pillowcase at night

Oh honey, don’t even get me started on how important this actually is. Wearing a satin scarf, satin bonnet, or using a pillowcase is the difference from looking our best in the morning or looking like you have an extra dry bird’s nest living above your shoulders. It is also important because allowing your hair to rub against a cotton pillowcase or sheets can cause dryness, which can lead to breakage so beauty sleep also involves your hair!

Thou Shall...
Be patient with your hair and your journey

Going natural is not for the trendy. It is a lifestyle change that requires commitment and patience. Your hair is learning how to be natural and it takes time for you and your hair to figure out what the two of you are doing! Understand the process will be different for everyone and that your journey is a personal one that should be appreciated and nurtured.

Read On!>>>

4 Ingredients Not to be Afraid Of




Sometimes, reading the ingredient list of a natural hair product seems more like a sci-fi marathon, or a trip back to 10th grade chemistry. Maybe it's a little bit of both.

While there are some controversial ingredients to be wary of, there are a few that sound absolutely terrible but in fact, are innocuous. Or even better, they turn out to be great for your hair. Here are 4 ingredients you don't need to fear:

Read On!>>>

Curl Junkie Giveaway!


Happy Monday,

I don't know about you, but I'm in the Christmas spirit! I've downloaded all of my favorite Motown Christmas carols, and set Frosty the Snowman, and Rudolph to record on DVR. I'm ready... although I've done NO shopping, lol. So since my Christmas has started many weeks ahead of schedule, I thought yours should too...

Up for grabs? A delicious cocktail from......Curl Junkie! Find the product description and ingredients below:

In order to get your hands on these products (a 55 dollar value!), head over to the forum and share what topics/ideas/styles you'd like to see covered on CN.com. On Monday, December 14th at 5pm, one winner will be randomly chosen! Good luck curlies :)


Curls in a Bottle
Description: Curls in a Bottle (tm)! is the ultimate solution to maintain and enhance your curls every day. This lightweight hair styling product is great for all hair types (esp. wavy-curly; fine hair types can use this as their only styling product! Normal-Coarse hair types may want to use a leave-in underneath to help add weight to curls) and gently conditions your hair while controlling frizz and adding shine to help your curls pop! This product has a light, fresh, Orange Creamsicle scent! Click here to check out a customer's transformation using the product!


Ingredients: Water, Hydroethylcellulose, Agave Nectar, Propylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Matricaria Recuitita (Chamomile) Flower Water, PVP, Panthenol, PEG-8 Dimethicone*, PEG-8 Raspberriate**, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Fragrance. *Water soluble-rinses clean!, **Derived from Raspberry Oil.


Curl Rehab
Description: Give your hair the moisture it deserves. Check your dry, frizzy curls into rehab! Let your hair drink in a wonderfully rich, yet lightweight, 98% natural/naturally derived cocktail of Aloe, herbs, and healing butters & oils to rejuvenate and restore your precious curls! Wonderfully scented with the rich and beautiful Gardenia flower with a hint of Coconut and mystery, this treatment is excellent for taming frizz with much needed moisture. This is a real treat! This treatment is lightweight, yet moisture packed. Give everyone curl envy!

Ingredients:
Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Cetearyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail) Leaf Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Leaf Extract, Melissa Officinalis (Melissa) Leaf Extract, Mentha Piperita (Pepperment) Leaf Extract, Yucca Leaf Extract, Rosa Mosqueta (Rosehip) Fruit Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Theobroma Grandiflorum (Cupuaçu) Seed Butter, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Vanilla Planifolia oil, Cananga Odorata oil, Lecithin, Fragrance, Citric Acid.


Curl Fuel
Description:
Make your curls show themselves! Curl Fuel feeds your hair with needed moisture and curl enhancing ingredients to help add shine and definition and coax those curls out of hiding! Bring those dead curls to life and help tame fly-aways. A few spritzes is all that is needed! Say goodbye to bedhead and achieve the ever desired "2nd day" hair! This curl enhancing spray can add instant moisturization and shine when you don't have time to wet/wash your hair. Exotic Herbal / Coconut / Citrus scent. 98% natural/naturally derived ingredients. Give everyone curl envy! Now in an larger 8 oz. size!

Ingredients: Water, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, (Vegetable) Glycerin, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Panthenol, Agave Nectar Extract, Sodium Chloride (Sea Salt), Polysorbate 20, Avena Sativa (Oatstraw) Extract, Jasminum Grandiflorum (Jasmine Absolute) Oil, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Rosemarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Oil, Santalum Spicatum (Sandalwood) Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Fragrance.


Good Luck!!

My Products

Since March of this year, I've only used conditioners and all natural butters for moisture and styling. In years past, I've used everything from Sebastian Potion 9 to Fantasia IC to 'define' my hair, but it seemed that I was sacrificing health for beauty. My hair never grew past shoulder length, and my ends were snapping and popping all over the place. After reading Teri's blog- which is all about leaving in conditioner after detangling, I decided to give it a try.


All I can say is WOW. My hair has made a complete 360 since 2005. It stays hydrated and the shine is brilliant. I leave in one conditioner, one deep conditioner (yes, my hair is that dry), and shea butter. Below, you can find each of my current faves, along with ingredients and a pic, if available. Check out My Regimen for details on how I use each one.

Shampoo:
Giovanni 50/50 Shampoo- I purchase this at Target for 8 dollars and some change.
I'm loving this! I use it once a week for the most part, prior to detangling and DTing. It doesn't contain sulfates, but it still gets my hair clean (removes the amodimethicone in my DevaCare). It leaves my hair soft, not stripped.



Ingredients:
Water, Extracts of Rosemary Oil, Nettle Oil, Thyme Oil, Birch Leaf Oil, Chamomile Oil, Clary, Lavender, Coltsfoot Leaf, Yarrow Oil, Mallow, Horssetail, Oil, Soybean Protein, C12-14 Oletin Sulfonate (coconut derived), Cocamiddopropyl Betaine,Vitamin E, Trace Minerals, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxymethdyl glycinate, Sodium Chloride (sea Salt) And Grapefruit seed * Certified Organic

Co-Wash Conditioner:
Herbal Essence Hello Hydration- You can find this at almost any grocery or drugstore.
Check out my description in this post.

I can't find the re-formulated ingredients. Just know that this one doesn't contain cyclopentasiloxane.
Leave-in Conditioners:
DevaCare One Condition- Get it here or ULTA
Words cannot express how much I love this conditioner. It is ultra moisturizing, provides great slip and smells great (if you don't mind an orange-cream smell)! It has a slight hold, which is why it is the perfect leave-in. I highly rec' this one ladies...you must try it :D I give it 11 stars out of 10.


Ingredients: Aqueos Extracts of: Achilea Millefolium, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria), Cymbopogon Schoenanthus, Humulus Lupulus (Hops), Melissa Officinalis (Balm Mint), Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary), Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel; Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Behentrimonium Choloride, Amodimethicone, Centrimonium Chloride, Cetyl Esters, Orange Peel Wax, Olive Oil, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Trideceth-12, Diazolidinyl Urea, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Ascorbic Acid, Fragrance, Red 40, Yellow 5.


Jessicurl Weekly Deep Treatment- Purchase here.
According to the Jessicurl site: "Weekly deep treatments with heat really moisturize and strengthen the hair, and they're just plain fun to do. This treatment works best with a plastic cap and left on for 20 minutes. This thick conditioner uses cocoa butter and shea butter to add some serious moisture to your hair." This stuff is simply amazing. I use it as a DT and a leave-in.

Ingredients: Water infused with Lemongrass, Nettle, Burdock, Kelp, Marshmallow Root, Horsetail, Basil, Bay Leaf, Oregano, Rosemary, Peppermint, Sage and Thyme, Aloe Vera Juice, Behentrimonium Methosulfate and Cetearyl Alcohol, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Glycerin, Lecithin, Fragrance,Diazolidinyl Urea (and) Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate.

Un-refined Shea Butter- I use shea butter on my skin at night, my hands, my feet and everywhere else!!!! For my hair, I use it like a pomade. It holds my curls together really well and protects it without a greasy or gunky feel. I'm in love with shea butter and I'm contemplating leaving my husband for it :D

Benefits of Shea Butter:
-Daily skin moisturizer (face and body)
-Dry skin relief
-Dry scalp
-Skin rash- including diaper rash
-Skin peeling, after tanning
-Blemishes and wrinkles
-Itching skin due to dryness
-Sunburn
-Stretch mark prevention during pregnancy
-Sun and wind protection
-Even skin tone
-Reduce blemishes and scarring
-Absorbs quickly without leaving a greasy residue
-Helps restore elasticity to skin
-Restores luster to hair

Occasionally, I still use DevaCurl Set it Free- purchase here or ULTA.
I use it to smooth frizzies on second and third day hair. It works like a charm every time, and also aids in locking in moisture. A little goes a looooong way. Shea butter has almost replaced the need for this product, but it still has its place.


Ingredients:Aqueous Extracts of: Achilea Millefolium, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria), Cymbopogon Schoenanthus, Humulus Lupulus (Hops), Melissa Offcinalis (Balm Mint), Rosmarinus Offcinalis (Rosemary), Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Isopropyl Myristate, Acrylates/C12-22 Alkylmethacrylate Copolymer, Ceteareth-20, PVP, Beeswax, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Lipids, Sodium Hydroxide, DMDM Hydantoin, Fragrance.

Back to School on a Budget!

by Elle of Party Over Hair

Unfortunately the summer is almost over, and now it's time for many college students to head back to campus and prepare for yet another academic year. During my college years, I attended the University of Connecticut, in which I lived on campus. Although I wasn't natural yet, it was usually around this time that I would start preparing a list of all the things I needed to get before heading back. I basically spent my college years wearing weaves, so I never really had to incorporate buying hair products into my list. Now we all know buying hair products eventually can become a little costly, and being a college student, that can pose as a major problem. Well, good news. I'm here to help. I figured I would compose a Back to School List of hair products for my college girls on a budget. The last thing you want to do is spend over $50 for hair products when you know you're going to have to buy textbooks soon. So hopefully this little list helps, I'd love to hear from some of college naturals and what they think should be added to the list.

Also, I'm a big fan of Target & Walgreens. So I tried to get the best value price between both stores, as well as helping you get more bang for your buck! You can follow this list for the best prices, or just go to either store because both of them do carry all the products I will be listing!
CONDITIONERS:
A cheap conditioner for co-washing can go a long way. Plus, you can always add some oils & other natural ingredients to your own deep condition treatment!
  • Clairol Herbal Essence Hello Hydration Moisturizing Conditioners, 23.7oz - $3.89 [Walgreens]
  • Aussie Moist Conditioner, 33.8oz - $6.49 [Walgreens]
  • Suave Professionals Moisturizing Conditioner - Almond & Shea Butter, 28.0 oz - $3.49 [Walgreens]

LEAVE IN CONDITIONERS:
A cheap alternative to leave-in conditioners is just using the conditioners you co-wash with. Some people may question this method, but I assure you it's perfectly fine.
  • Giovanni Direct Leave In Conditioner, 8.5 oz - $7.99 [Target]
  • Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioning Repair Cream, 16 oz - $4.99 [Walgreens]

DEEP CONDITIONERS:
For deep conditioners, to be cost efficient, I'd recommend just using your current conditioner & add some ingredients, such as EVOO & honey. No need to go out in purchase anything!

PRE-POOS:

You really don't need to purchase any products for a pre-poo treatment. You're better off using some of your conditioner or oils, or both as a pre-poo.

SHAMPOOS:

For the first four months of my natural hair journey, I didn't use shampoo at all. Instead of using shampoo at the time, I just purchased the cheapest bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar I found & called it a day. Whenever my scalp felt like I had build up, I just did a ACV wash. You obviously know your hair better than I do, so this can act as another cost efficient substitute.
  • Suave Professionals Moisturizing Shampoo - Almond & Shea Butter, 28 oz - $3.49 [Walgreens]

STYLERS:
For styling, I personally think you can't go wrong if you use either Eco Styler or Shea Moisture. EcoStyler works amazing for TWAs, as well as long hair & Shea Moisture is just all around a great product to have.
  • EcoStyler Gel w. Olive Oil, 16 oz - $2.99 [Walgreens]
  • Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Conditioning Milk, 8 oz. $9.99
  • Shea Moisture Organic Curl Enhancing Smooth, 12.oz $9.99
OILS:
Aside from your conditioner, I think Oils are one of the essential products you'll want to have available at all times. Oils can be added to any of your products to give it an extra HUMPH and they work great for DC & Pre-Poos. Plus, if you have access to a microwave, you can warm oil up for about 12-15 seconds & give yourself a nice oil massage!
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Look for the cheapest, biggest bottle you can find at your local grocery store!
  • Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
EVERYDAY KITCHEN INGREDIENTS:
There may be times when you want to give your hair a special treatment without going broke. I personally like walking around my kitchen finding ingredients that I can throw in my hair, so I feel you'll never go wrong if you have some everyday kitchen ingredients around. These are some basic ingredients that can help spice up your DCs or when used together work great as Protein Treatments.
  • Honey
  • Mayonnaise
  • Bananas or Organic Banana Baby Food
  • Eggs

MUST HAVE HAIR PRODUCTS:
These are things that you definitely will need to have, along with all your products!
  • Satin Scarf, Bonnet or Pillowcase
  • Wide Tooth Comb
  • Sheer Stockings [To use as hair ties]
  • Plastics Caps
  • Hard Bristle Brush

Is there anything you'd add to the list?

The Dos and Dont's of Deep Conditioning Natural Hair



Should you leave your conditioner on for 30 minutes, or 3 hours? Protein or moisture based? Does a $8 deep conditioner work just as well as a $38 one? Can I use food to deep condition my hair?

If your deep conditioning sessions consist of a lot of trial and even more error, then you need these no-fuss dos and don'ts of successful deep conditioning:

DO...

Keep it Regular
Hair that is deep conditioned regularly is more manageable, softer, less prone to breakage and frizz, and is able to retain length.

Remember that whatever "regularly" means is determined by you. Some naturals and transitioners deep condition their hair every 3-4 days. Some, every 2 weeks. I personally aim for once a week, twice a week if I'm lucky. My recommendation is to start out weekly - if your hair begins feeling weak and limp, lessen to every two or three weeks. If it still feels dry, pump it up to twice a week.

Heat it Up
If you want your deep conditioner to work double duty and make your hair feel super soft and smooth (or super strong if it is protein based), heat it up. According to JC of The Natural Haven, heating your deep conditioner up to 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) increases the amount and effectiveness of adsorption (the good stuff that sticks to the hair) of said conditioner. Long story short, warm conditioner works better.

Try heating your deep conditioner in a hot water bath instead of the microwave for best results.

Read On!>>>

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