Tag Archives: hair care

seal-ends2

Save your hair! Tips on sealing your ends

Our ends are the most fragile part of our hair. They are the very reason so many African-American women experience breakage and tend to have shorter hair. This does not have to be the case. We can do this! Aside from the need to be gentle with our hair to retain length, we must also properly seal our ends. Since the moisture from our scalp has a hard time getting past all our coils and curls, our ends dry out really fast. To seal your ends mean to “lock” in moisture to your strands using oil or butter. Here’s my technique. Of, course you can make adjustments based on your hair type.

Water
First, to seal your ends you need to start with wet hair. Our hair needs lots of moisture so that it will not dry out and become brittle. It’s a good habit to practice sealing your ends after washing or as needed to control dryness. Be sure to towel blot the excess water. If the hair is too wet the products we apply will slip off. Also be sure to re-wet the hair with a spray bottle of water as the hair begins to dry out during the sealing process.

Water-based moisturizer
After adding water, you will want to use a water-based moisturizer or conditioner that lists water as the first ingredient and contains no petroleum, lanolin or mineral oil. During this process, I also like to detangle my hair with my fingers by gently running my fingers through my hair to pull the hair apart and loosen tangles. Then, I take one small section at a time and coat it with the moisturizer from root to end.

Oil
For your oil, try olive oil, grapeseed oil or shea butter. Some recommend coconut oil to seal ends, but I find it to be too light for this process (not enough slip + absorbs too much into the hair). Apply a small amount of oil to each small section from root to end. Add a little extra oil to your fingertips and pinch and smooth down the ends. If you find unruly spit ends, trim them. Sealing will not save them.

I like to twist each section as I seals my ends because I find it easier to manage my hair in twists. For those with shorter hair, you may find twisting to be unnecessary. I find it helpful to place my hair in a protective style after sealing. This way, you give your ends some rest from styling.

Your turn:
Do you seal you ends? How often? What products do you find most useful?

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Quick Tips for Dealing with “Wet Hair Syndrome”

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Have you ever had this problem? “Wet hair syndrome” You take the time moisturize your hair with oil and water, but then the entire day your face and neck are dripping oil…I mean, not just dripping, but oozing with oil! The other day I was in that situation where the left side of my face was oozing oil and I couldn’t stop it. Even more embarrassing, I had sit in the dentist chair and when I got up it reminded me of the scene in “Coming to America” when Daryl’s family left Jerry Curl juice stains on the McDowell’s couch. Yuck!  Here are some tips to avoid that from happening:


1. Apply, the minimal amount of oil. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of putting too much product. Sometimes we have the mentality of the more product I use, the more benefit. Instead, use a small amount and gently work the oil in. To ensure you use a small amount, rub the oil into the palms of your hands first.

2. Remove excess moisture w/ a towel before styling. Get a large towel soak up the excess. Press and squeeze the oil and water out of your hair. If you are detangling, and preparing for a wash, this does not apply, because you will wash it out anyway.

3. As a last resort, blow dry the hair on “low” to dry up the excess moisture. If you have a diffuser, that’s even better because you are not putting direct heat on the hair. Plus, a diffuser will allow you to target specific areas like the roots only to avoid damaging your ends.

4. For a wash-n-go that is still dripping wet, try loosely wrapping it with a sheer scarf to catch the water. Try not to disrupt the style too much. The sheerness will allow it to still air-dry.

5. If the style lends itself to wearing the scarf in a bow, that will catch any drippage that you have from oozing onto your face. Also, wearing a pretty scarf around your neck will at least prevent the water and oil from dripping onto your clothes.

Either way, try to follow step one to avoid this problem altogether.

Have you had this problem? What are some of your ways of dealing with this?

Dealing with Itchy Scalp in Between Stylings

“AHHHH!!!” is usually the sentiment I feel as I vigorously scratch my head. There’s nothing like a good scratching, right? WRONG! Scratching can lead to many problems like breakage and hair thinning. You can scratch an itch, but vigorous scratching is a no, no. The leading causes of itchy scalp are dry scalp, buildup, perspiration, dandruff or other skin conditions. The best solution is to first determine the cause of itchiness to find your plan of attack.

I believe one of the biggest reasons as to why Black women suffer with itchy scalp is that we oftentimes do not wash our hair enough. When you do not cleanse the scalp, skin cells can build up on the scalp and cause itching and dandruff. I find that if I wash and condition my hair once a week, I do not have problems with itchy scalp. If I let the time in between washings go into the two-week and three-week zone, I’m in trouble. So, what can you do if you have spent lots of hours or money on an elaborate style that you are not yet ready to take down?
Essential Oils
If you have dry or itchy scalp its bests to use an essential oil that absorbs into the scalp. Some great oils to try for soothing the scalp are peppermint oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, and tea tree oil. Olive oil can be used as a scalp massage. Jojoba oil is great if you suffer from dry scalp because it is structured similarly to the sebum oil our body naturally produces. It can also be used as a hot oil treatment. Be careful because although essential oils are absorbed easily by the scalp, too much oil can cause build up which worsens itchiness. Also, tea tree oil can cause allergic reaction or worsen eczema. Lastly, peppermint oil should always be diluted with water or mixed with a carrier oil like olive oil. There are plenty of products on the market like oil sprays, spray mists, shampoos, etc. that you can try.

Witch Hazel 
Witch hazel has been used for centuries and is known for its healing, soothing, and antiseptic properties. I used witch hazel almost exclusively to scrub my scalp when I was locking to cleanse my scalp. It is cheap and readily available at your local drug store. Dab the witch hazel onto a white cloth, cotton pads or Q-tips and gently scrub the scalp. Don’t be alarmed, you will see a lot of dirt coming up.
Herbal Cleansers
These work similar to witch hazel because it is antiseptic. It smells a lot better and leaves the scalp with a fresh, tingly feel. This product does contain alcohol, so I would not suggest using it if you have an irritated scalp or sores. You can also find herbal cleaners in the hair aisle.
Scratching
If you must scratch, do not use your fingernails. Instead, use the tail end of a rat tail comb to gently scratch. Fingernails are sharper than we think and can make scars in the scalp and damage the hair follicle. Also, fingernails carry bacteria and can spread infection.
What about greasing the scalp?
“Greasing” the scalp is an old school remedy. Get some TCB Hair Food or Blue Magic and life is good…NOT! Try essential oil massage instead. Hair grease, which contains petroleum and mineral oil, sit on the scalp and hair and do not allow moisture to come in. Plus these products cause build up which make itching worse.
Rule of thumb, if you know it’s been a week or more since your last wash, then it is probably time for a wash. Hopefully, some of these remedies will work for you.

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Taking Down Mini-Twists Without Damaging Your Hair

mini-twist roller set (view tutorial)

As many of you know, I love doing dry mini-twists (view tutorial). There is sooo much versatily in them. It almost gives you the feeling having loose straight hair (not that straight is better…lol). But all good things must come to an end. A good rule of thumb is to take down mini-twists after 3 weeks before the hair starts to loc. (I’m guilty of leaving mine in longer…) For me, taking them done is a process.  Here’s the thing, if it took me almost 8 hours to do them, it will take about half as long to take them down. There is no way I would have to time to do that all in one sitting. So, I wear my hair twisted and untwisted over the course of several days until all the hair is untwisted. I even untwist while sitting at my desk at work. Crazy? Maybe. Realistic? Yes! Here’s my process and pics.


The Takedown Technique

hair partially untwisted-love this…

First off, I get my jar of stiff herbal oil (not grease) and coat the twist from root to end. It is important that your fingers and hair are coated with oil to prevent breakage. You can use a liquid herbal oil, but I just find it more cumbersome. I would not, however, use a smoothie or butter creme for taking down mini-twists. I find that the wetness of these products gives me more tangles. If you want to nourish your strands as you take your hair down, mix oil and a little shea butter.

back view-I know there are
some twists that I missed. lol

Let Your Fingers Do the Work

Full Mini-twistout

I begin untwisting at the nape of the neck and work my way up along the edges and temple. I leave the front for last.  I start in the middle of the twist and poke my index finger in between the two strands and slide it down pulling the twist apart. Then I repeat that step at the top of the twist and slide the rest of the twist apart. Sometimes the twist does not pull apart easily. The hair that was shed during the course of time gets tangled into the hair forming a knot. Here’s the part where patience is a virtue. To save your hair, dab some more oil on the tangle and carefully remove each strand from the knot. Sometime rolling and unraveling the knot in between your index finger and thumb will loosen up the hair, making it easier to pull apart the strands. I do not use a comb.

After Care
If your hair and scalp is not too dirty, flaky or itchy, you can get away with wearing a mini-twistout for a few days. The crinkles that are formed are really pretty. I would recommend applying a light coating of your favorite hair lotion, milk, smoothie or creme to add moisture to the hair. Believe me, you hair is thirsty after being twisted for so long, especially if you did wash or apply water during that period. After removing mini-twists, really baby your hair and be kind to it. Follow up with an intense moisturizing shampoo and deep conditioning. If you like this post, you will also like our Facebook and Twitter Posts