“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?
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 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.
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.
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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I find that many women who are newly natural or even have been in it for a while struggle with feeling sexy in their natural hair. In my experience with dating with natural hair and now marriage, hair comes secondary to all the other many facets of who you are. However there are some things you can do to enhance your natural look.
- Don’t go overboard on the accessories. Your man wants to see you, not ten pounds of jewelry and accessories.
- Accentuate your best features. Eyes, lips, hips…whatever your gimmick is.. work it!
- Don’t feel pressured to dress naked just because your hair is natural. I’m not saying don’t get your sexy on…lol but do it with class!
- Loose curls and twistouts can be very alluring. Leave your twists in until it’s time to go out. Tip: Pull your twist apart a little for extra volume without disturbing the curl definition. A little volume is sexy.
- Don’t forget your ends scraggly ends distract from the style. Trim them, gel them or curl them with rollers depending on the style.
- Is their a particular style your man really likes? Give him what he wants..even if just for one night.
- Don’t forget your eyebrows. It’s amazing what perfectly trimmed eyebrows can do to frame your face. Get them trimmed professionally. If you don’t have eyebrows…like me, shade them in lightly with brown eyeliner or brow correcter.
- Pin-ups and updos are sexy. Why? Because they reveal the nape of your neck…enough said.
- Short hair don’t care! Dazzle him with a little something unexpected and girly like a small flower or hair pin. Also check out my post on styling options for your TWA.
- Wear your confidence. This cannot be said enough. If think you are pretty or sexy, then it will show to others with your body language. Your confidence (not cockiness) will make you even more alluring. Most all just be you. After all, that is who he is hanging out with, right?
Do you struggle with feeling sexy with natural hair? Or, what are some of your tips for natural hair fierceness?
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
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.
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
I have to start by saying that I was long overdue for a deep conditoning. As part of my hair goals for this year (see them here), I want to maintian deep conditioning every 2-4 weeks. I decided to try Miss Jessie’s Super Sweet Treatment. Miss Jessie’s makes a lot of claims (with a hefty price tag), so I wanted to put it to the test.
You know we all love “smell good.” This conditioner actually has a very sweet smell, though the term “sweetback” has nothing to do with smell…Anyway, I slathered a golf-ball size (recommended) of product on my hair from root to end. I used a wide tooth comb and my fingers to detangle my hair prior to getting under the dryer. I sat under a hooded dryer for about 20 minutes with a plastic cap on my head. The directions suggest that the growth properties are amplified with a stream treatment or under a hooded dryer but it’s written to be optional. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there on how long to deep condition or if applying heat is necessary. A general rule of thumb is just to follow the directions on the package. One thing I would suggest that Miss Jessie’s clarify in the directions, is that it says so leave on for 30 minutes, but doesn’t explain how. I suppose you could detangle for 30 minutes straight. Or, just walk around for 30 minutes with a shower cap. The other method they suggest is to allow the steam from the shower penetrate the hair for 15 minutes. Looking back, I think I will try that method next time since it is much less cumbersome and may add more moisture.
My thoughts about this product:
- The product promises elongated curls…ummmm…I don’t have curls. I have kinks. So, my shrunken afro didn’t seem any longer than before.
- My hair felt soft after using it.
- I didn’t struggle as much installing my mix of wet two-strand twists and flat-twists.
- Days later, my fluffy flat-twistout was still fluffy (Of, course I would retwist every other night.)
- I was delighted to find that this product also contains shea butter and centella extract which pormotes hair growth.
- As I always say, every hair type and hair need is different. Try it for yourself. You can find it in the store or order online at Target.com.
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