Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Hair Care Basics: Moisturizing and Sealing

What is moisturizing
Moisturizing is the process of introducing water to the hair; note that the emphasis is on water. No matter what cream, lotion or spritz used on the hair, water is essential. Our hair thrives when it is well moisturized and it craves moisture to stay hydrated at all times.

Keeping hair well moisturized is important for length retention as it  prevents hair from getting brittle and breaking.

How to moisturize
The path to well moisturized hair starts on your wash day sessions when you drench the hair in water before, during and after cleansing and also deep condition the hair to introduce moisture. While deep conditioning is done at least once a week, in between these sessions the hair will still require hydration. This can be done through the use of moisturizers which may be referred to as;
  • Milks
  • Spritz
  • Creams
  • Lotions
  • Smoothies
 When in a protective style such as braids, weaves etc a liquid spritz (either bought or DIY) is more suitable for moisturizing.
To qualify as a moisturizer the first ingredient of a product should be WATER, sometimes it may be in the form of some herb-infused solution, but the presence of water is paramount. Plain water is the ultimate moisturizer and this can be used on its own or in a Do-it-yourself mix.

At the start of your hair journey it is advisable to moisturize twice a day to build up moisture levels however as your hair gets healthier once a day should be sufficient. You may however find that your hair may stay hydrated and allow you to go more than a day between moisturizing sessions. Again, this depends on your own hair; another reason why it is important to understand your hair.

Seal in the Moisture
After the application of the hair moisturizer or water, it is important that the moisture is sealed in to prevent the hair from drying out in the shortest period of time. Look at it this way; the hair has been moisturized but as you know the atmosphere and weather conditions can draw out the moisture just like it would from any other material that was drenched in water. To keep the moisture in it is recommended to SEAL after moisturizing, kind of placing a lid on a bowl of water to prevent evaporation.

Sealing involves the application of an oil or mix of oils over the hair strands after moisturizing. Butters such as shea butter, mango butter etc can also be used as sealant for hair. The oil or butter serves as an occlusive agent preventing the loss of moisture to the environment. Natural oils are preferred as sealants because of the unique properties which they pose that serve to promote healthy hair.

Moisturizing methods
In hair forums and blogs you will come across several methods of moisturizing hair including;
  1. Moisturize and Seal (M&S): The is involves the application of moisturizer and then sealing with an oil or butter.
  2. LOC Method: L.O.C stands for Liquid, Oil, Cream; in this method the products are applied in this order, a liquid product, followed by an oil based product before the application of a cream based product. For example L: Water O: an Oil and C: a styling cream or butter.
  3. LCO Method: This is a modification of the LOC method as it was argued that oils should be the final step as they serve to prevent anything from entering the hair cuticle. For the method the liquid based product will be applied first, followed by a cream based product and then finally it is all sealed with oil.
It is advisable to experiment with all methods and find what works for you considering your own hair and the products you are using.

Points to note

  1. Water is the number one moisturizer; it must be present as the first ingredient in any moisturizers.
  2. Moisturizing is incomplete without sealing in the moisture with an oil or butter.
  3. Oils are NOT moisturizers.
  4. Water moisturizing method being used; the process of keeping hair hydrated is incomplete without the sealing in the moisture.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Hair Care Basics: Conditioning

Soure: Google

An important part of any healthy hair regimen is conditioning; conditioners restore moisture lost to the shampooing process and improve the hair’s manageability (Audrey Davis-Sivasothy, The Science of Black Hair). There are several different types of conditioners including instant/rinse out conditioners, deep conditioners and leave-in conditioners which can be either moisture replenishing or protein reconstructing.

Based on their ingredients conditioners may serve to replenish moisture or strengthen the hair, it is important to determine the needs of your hair in choosing your deep conditioners. A moisture replenishing and protein reconstructing or strengthening treatment is necessary for all hair types because it is important to maintain the hair’s moisture-protein balance.

Conditioners typically contain several ingredients such as water, plant extracts, oils (natural or synthetic), butters, emollients, conditioning agents such as panthenol, proteins (hydrolyzed silk proteins, aminos, egg proteins etc), humectants, silicones and many others.

Instant/Rinse out conditioners are useful for co-washing or detangling, silicone-free rinse-out conditioners may also be used (mixed with water) as a leave-in conditioner or moisturiser. This is incorporated in several regimens like the Curly Girl Method, Tightly Curled Method and Maximum Hydration method. They are also useful for DIY conditioning mixes and can be tweaked for the purpose of deep conditioning (through addition of oils, herbs or humectants such as glycerin or honey).

Deep Conditioning should be a part of a healthy hair regimen and is recommended to be done weekly. Commercial deep conditioners are often described as deep conditioners, masques, deep treatment, etc.

How to deep condition

  • Slather conditioner on the hair strands, it is advisable to do this in small sections to ensure that (as much as possible) all strands are coated. 
  • Cover hair with a processing or shower cap 
  • Leave on for the recommended time or longer (as you desire). For effectiveness, heat can be incorporated through the use of steamers or heating caps. 
  • Rinse with warm water
  • Do a final rinse cold water to close the hair cuticles.
It is very important to balance the use of moisturising and protein conditioners; too much moisture or too much protein will lead to setbacks on your journey. A strengthening protein conditioning treatment should always be followed with a moisturising conditioning treatment to avoid the hair being brittle.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Tuesday Tips: How to flat twist

Hello Ladies,

Today I am sharing a video by Sumetra Reed (who rocks the most beautiful twist outs) on how to flat twist. Hope this helps someone!

Happy Hair Growing!

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Hair Care Basics: Cleansing (Part II)

Here's the second part of the series on hair and scalp cleansing

How to shampoo
Shampoo should be applied to the scalp and not hair! There is always the general misconception that it needs to be applied to the hair strands in order to cleanse but this not the case.

The actual cleansing action is initiated by the massaging movement of the pads of the fingers. After much trial the method I have found to work for me is to rinse first with water while gently massage my scalp with the pads of my fingers before proceeding to apply shampoo to the scalp and repeating the massaging action.
Shampoo does not have to be applied to hair strands; the run off of the shampoo is enough to cleanse the hair strands. 

No Shampoo Cleansing Methods
There are several other cleansing methods that do not involve the use of shampoo and we look at a few below;

Water-Only Method: this involves the use of only water to cleanse; basically the movement of the pads of the fingers agitates and dislodges the dirt which is then rinsed off. This method would only work with a regimen that does not involve the use of non-water soluble silicones, heavy creams and oils.

Baking Soda Cleansing: there are several available recipes for the use of baking soda as a cleansing again. Typically a few tablespoons of baking soda are diluted with water and applied to the hair and used in the same way conventional shampoo would be used.

Conditioner Washing: this is commonly referred to as co-washing; it involves the use of conditioner (most often a light runny rinse-out conditioner) to cleanse the hair. The idea behind this is that conditioners contain cleansing agents and this in addition to the action of using the fingers to dislodge the dirt would serve to effectively cleanse the hair. With the growing prevalence of co-washing, there are now conditioners available that are labelled as cleansing conditioners.

Mud Washing: There are several formulations that involve the use of clays, most common is Bentonite Clay to detoxify and cleanse the hair.

Points to remember
  • Which ever cleansing methods being used, ensure to use the pads of the fingers in a massaging action on the scalp.
  •  Longer hair is best washed in sections to prevent tangling.
  •  It is important to examine the ingredients of your shampoo to check for the presence of sulfates (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Lauthreth Sulfate)
  • Sulfate shampoos are drying to the hair and it is not advised to use these weekly.