Sunday, September 1, 2013
Here is a video I made about the importance of Length retention with black hair! I finally started to understand that there is no magic vitamin or hair product that will make your hair grow any faster. However, Protecting your hair and treating it tenderly helps maintain the length. Staving off damage is key! Take a look! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESvNEdCuJpo
I am not one for the Length Check But since I am tracking my hairs health I wanted to share the pictures I have taken of my hair since July of last year!
I am no scientist. I never liked the subject in school either. Yet, everything around us is a chemical reaction! The subject of hair is a chemical reaction! Think about it, the combination of hair products form a chemical reaction with our hair that results in various results. Subsequently, if you want healthy hair, start with understanding simple science. Porosity levels in hair are an excellent place to get to know the effects of moisture retention and Black hair. One day while on Facebook, I stumble upon the video blog called “The Curl” produced by Carol’s Daughter. I had never seen this series, since I was still very unfamiliar with the natural hair vlogisphere. The topic they were discussing was hair porosity. I had never heard nor ever paid attention to his topic. What is porosity? Porosity is an object ability to take in and retain moisture. Wood is porous, cement is porous, soil is porous, and Hair is very porous. Or is it! Hair porosity comes in three degrees, low, normal and high. This is very important to any Natural hair diva to understand, mainly because it effects how we maintain moisture levels. Since our curly hair is naturally drier, and it inhibits the natural oils from the sebaceous glands from sliding down our strands, we need to know how to keep our hair moisturized and in good condition. I never knew this! No one ever told me this. THIS is ground breaking information that changes everything!! How does one find out how porous their hair actually is? In order to test your hairs’ porosity, do the following: 1. Take a glass of room temperature water 2. A strand of shed hair( not broken hair) 3. Wait for results: a. If it sinks you have High porous hair b. If it floats about in the middle you have Normal porous hair c. If it sits on top of the water you have Low porous hair. Each of these describes the various levels of cuticle openings on a strand of hair. I like to think of the cuticles as window blinds. They adjust letting in various levels of light in an out of your house. High Porous hair is equal to having the blinds open all the time! It’s nice to let the light in but at night the light from your house is going out too plus all your privacy. Normal porosity hair is like allowing some light in and some light out, Low porosity hair is like never opening the blinds no light in and no light out. When I tested my hair, I discovered that my hair was low porous. It floated on top of the water for a whole day! What does this mean to me? Back to Google I went! What this meant to me was I had dry, dry hair! My hairs inability to accept moisture meant that my hair stayed dried. All that oil and grease I put on my hair made it worse because the oil blocked any water from ever getting in. My research came up with tons of websites and tons of remedies! With us Lo-Po people, we literally have to open up our cuticles in order to infuse moisture into the strands. One of the treatments I came across was the Cherry Lola. This consists of baking soda, plain yogurt, and liquid amino acids which you mix up and apply to your hair. It is suppose to help open the cuticle infuse nutrients and moisture to the strand. I tried it and found it very messy and not particularly helpful. I washed it out and had very hard hair. I had to sit and think what would work. I liked the Baking soda idea because it is known to open up the cuticle, so I would keep this ingredient. I also liked what Kimmaytube said about using Aloe Vera juice in hair because it seals the cuticle. It started to click in my head that I could somehow combine the two in one treatment. This is what I came up with: 1. I pre-pooed with Coconut oil because it has the ability to soak into the cuticle regardless of porosity. 2. I rinsed my hair with an 8oz combination of one part baking soda and three parts water. a. This opens the cuticle. 3. I follow with a moisturizing co-wash and a deep moisturizing conditioner 4. I sit under my bonnet dryer for a half an hour 5. After I rinse my hair thoroughly and follow with a Aloe Vera juice rinse to seal my cuticle 6. Follow with the L.O.C. Method and style my hair. I did this and it really worked. My hair was significantly softer and manageable. My hair was also very shiny! I would advise to do this only once every two months. Using baking soda on the hair is very extreme and can strip the hair. For people with low porosity hair, heat is actually beneficial. Steaming in the shower or with a Hooded Steamer your hair with a moisturizing conditioner is excellent and actually the safest. I like to use my bonnet dryer on my hair. In my city, it gets so hot I just use a plastic cap, a knit cap and the heat to condition my hair. Once I found out about Porosity it was easier to find products that encouraged moisture to my hair. One ingredient that I shied away from is GYCERINE! Yes curl juice! It’s amazing that this throwback 1970’s product that was abundant in the seventies was relegated to the dusty bottom shelf of my local Walgreens. In addition to my other routines, I was going to include this product too! Glycerin is extremely humectants and attracts moisture from the atmosphere. I created a moisturizing spray using half water and half Scurl spray! In addition, I no longer wanted a cream that offered curl definition; this was not important to me. The most important thing was Moisture! I started looking for products with Water, Aloe Vera, Coconut oil, Pathenol and Glycerin. These ingredients are good for adding and attracting moisture to your hair! Anything else is filler. Trying these techniques for a least a month began to make a great difference in the quality of my hair. The moisture level in my hair was greatly affected and began to break less. ! I didn’t have to trim my hair because it wasn’t breaking! YEAH! What did I learn? Regularly spraying my curls with water and sealing it with oil was most beneficial. Our hair does well when slightly damp! Get to know the porosity of your hair! It makes a big difference in the quality of your hair.
Friday, August 23, 2013
Every four years, I seem to get inspired to create some magical hair potion. When I start reading about the latest hair trends, I start ordering, buying and collecting various oils and butters. My cabinets begin to fill with mystery concoctions that I have to eventually throw out. The product Junky in me begins to rear its evil head. I end up with a shopping cart of oils that I have no idea how to mix! Then I begin to slather these things on my hair not realizing what they are doing. I am just hoping for a miracle that shoots the hair from my scalp! The first thing I bought was a vile of lavender oil. I wanted to make that refreshing spray recipe Lorraine Massey wrote about. I loved it! Made countless spray bottles of it! Then I started reading about how Coconut oil was a miracle, helping the hair stave off Hydral Fatique(water overload) and penetrating the hair to the deepest level. So I bought some more Coconut oil. Quickly, I began accumulating bottles and bottles of oil! Yet, How was I to begin using them and reaping the benefits? The more I read and researched the more oils began to show up in my house. Avocado oil for hair growth, wheat germ oil for the amino acids, grape seed oil for low porosity hair treatments! All of these oils began to crowd my shelves. I started to accumulate recipe combinations; 1/3 avocado oil mixed with wheat germ and grape seed would pack a punch for your scalp! So many recipes! Then the little plastic bottles started to show up! Jees! I was an oily mess! My poor husband started to complain about the oily, greasy doorknobs! He wears glasses and every time he tried to hug me my oily hair would grease up his glasses! Once again, I was getting frustrated with the process. My hair was still very dry and it wasn’t curling at the ends! When I read about the L.O.C. method, it all became clear. L.O.C. stands for Liquid, Oil, and Cream. You see, I was under the impression that we moisturize our hair with oil. We have been doing this for years! For the longest time, we all thought oil equaled moisture. Who hasn’t had to hold the jar of Blue Magic Bergamot while our mothers put up our hair for the week! Our mothers put the oil on our hair to block the moisture from hitting our press and curls! Right? I had to get used to the idea of doing this in reverse! You literally have to LOCK in the Moisture with the oil then apply your styling cream to reinforce the whole process. I had to master this process.
What is the L.O.C. method?? What’s the Curly Girl Method??? I joined a group on face book called Kinky, Curly, Coily, Me! I asked as many questions as I could think of. The ladies on the site were so helpful and knowledgeable. I kept hearing about the L.O.C. method. Then I kept hearing about the curly girl method. What are these things? Then I kept hearing about Castor oil growth Challenges. Don’t people know that genes control your hair’s growth! I never had Long Hair; it’s just not in my genes!! It’s not my thing! Yet, I was curious. I had to sit for a second. How was I going to seriously get my hair back to its pre dye job healthy state? It was time to start reading! Back to Google I went. Through the NaturallyCurly.com website I found the Curly girl method, by Lorraine Massey as illustrated by one of the featured vloggers. I knew about Lorraine Massey because of her Deva Curl products I had tried when the money was good. Her eye opening book helped me to give up some of the bad habits and practices.
Christmas time rolled on and I was determined to feel grateful for something! I had decided to take on a new hobby. The Ukulele! While sitting in church choir, I saw one of the altos carrying a ukulele box to another room. It hit me, I can’t play guitar for shit! Why not try the Uke! It’s smaller, less strings and it looks fairly unintimidating. My husband is a musician as well; he plays the guitar and the bass. He works on weekends playing in a combo at a restaurant. His boss plays the Ukulele as well. He asked him if he had a random Uke I could practice on just to see if I could handle it. He lent me his old ukulele and I began studying it.
When I got back home, it was like nothing changed. First of all I was home. In my grandest dream, I thought I was going to have to send for my husband and cats. We were going to have to set up shop in Salzburg because I was offered work singing somewhere in Europe. As it turned out, sometimes dreams turn into nightmares. The festival was a great disappointment which led to a depressing 16 hour plane ride home to depression. I had one gig to look forward to. In kind, I agreed to cover the Soprano in a Beethoven 9 concert with a local orchestra. I was excited about this initially. When I came home it was all I had. I took the one recording we manage to get from the whole event, and create a video for it to shop around to various Opera companies and orchestras. I figured I put all that work into training my voice at the highest level , somebody should bite. I got nothing. Not even an “come in and let us hear you sing”. When we began rehearsing for the concert, I was confident in how I prepared myself, even though my heart wasn’t fully into it. I walked around the world like I had been battered and bruised by a heart breaking experience. My coach who helped me with my preparation dealt me a harsh blow when she said I should have been cast for the concert but I looked too old compared to the others. It hurt. Myself image was taking a bruising in the weeks after Salzburg. It was as if the world had changed right under my broad nose. Here I am, undeniably black, and I don’t fit in. Being the Christian woman I am I kept pushing. My duty now was to get a day job and continue with voice lessons and auditioning. The day job was proving more and more difficult to come by. After all, Los Angeles is one of the cities with the highest unemployment. I was able to sign up with my 10th temp agency. They were sending me out on assignments here and there. By this time I my hair was beginning to flourish again. I had braided it with some box braids and it looked okay. The hair that I used was so cheap it would unravel and the braids would tangle leaving me with a mess. I took them down and sported my signature twist and tuck. It was a neat hairstyle that I could undo into a nice textured afro! It was my go to “protective style”. Now at this point I was not so hip on the entire Natural hair lingo. I had gone natural in 1991 and all we had was Caesar cut and braids! Those were the terms we used.