Saturday, March 13

Protein Treatments

Loss of elasticity, serious damage and severe breakage are the three main reasons for protein treatments. Hair is made up of keratin, which is a type of protein.  When hair is colored, damaged by heat or a chemical is applied to it, protein is lost causing the hair to lose some of it's elasticity and strength. 

Much of the daily care and the little extras that you do to create a hairstyle chip away at your hair's cuticle, or outer layer. Protein treatments work to build the hair shaft back up, a monthly or bi-monthly treatment will keep it in shape.  You can use products that contain protein to improve your hair's elasticity and strength or create your own. Just remember to balance protein with moisture, because too much protein will eventually dry your hair out and cause shedding and/or breakage.

Basic Protein Treatment #1
1-2 c conditioner (adjust according to the thickness and length of your hair)
1 Egg
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
8-10 drops Peppermint Oil 

Basic Protein Treatment #2
1 Avocado
1/2-1 c Plain Yogurt
2 Tbsp Castor oil
5-8 drops Lavender oil

Thoroughly mix ingredients together. Section hair into four parts and apply treatment to each section. Be sure to work the treatment from the root of the hair to the ends. Place a plastic cap/bag on and wrap a towel on top of it so that the body's heat can help penetrate the treatment into the hair shaft. Let sit for 30 minutes and rinse out with warm water.

Friday, March 12

Moisture 101

Moisture is very important for natural hair and is one of the key factors for obtaining and maintaining healthy hair.  When hair is dry it feels brittle and hard and it's prone to damage and breakage.  When hair is moisturized it feels soft, silky and is more manageable. Natural hair requires a lot of moisture so after each shampoo or co-wash you want to seal in that moisture with an oil of your choice.

Keep in mind that if you're transitioning from relaxed to natural you're dealing with two different textures and that natural hair is dry.  Natural hair thrives on moisture and you may notice that at different phases of your transitioning your hair will immediately absorb the moisture you apply to it and you'll have to apply it again.  Be sure to moisturize the hair from root to end.

Two basic ways of moisturizing the hair is with water or oil.  Water based moisture is usually straight water or a combination of water, vegetable glycerin and essential oils. Oil based moisture consists of shea butter, olive oil, castor oil, sweet almond oil, etc.  When moisturizing with oil you may want to take in consideration the type of oil you use during the time of year.  For example it's common to use lighter oils such as jojoba, sweet almond, and coconut during the summer and heavier oils such as shea butter and castor during the winter.  Bottom line, find out what works for you.

Basic Hair Moisturizer/Spritz
1 cup distilled water
1/2 c vegetable glycerin or aloe vera juice or gel
8-10 drops lavender essential oil
1 tsp vitamin E oil

Pour and store in a spray bottle.  Shake well before each use.

Shea Butter Moisturizer
4 oz shea butter
2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp jojoba oil
1 tsp vitamin E oil
5 drops lavender essential oil
10 drops of rosemary essential oil (optional)

Thoroughly whip together with a hand mixer making sure that no lumps of shea butter remain. You can also put the shea butter in the microwave for 30 seconds (no longer than that or you compromise its beneficial properties) to soften it up a bit.  Store in airtight container once thoroughly mixed.

Monday, March 8

Hair Care Regimen

Finding a weekly or monthly routine that allows you to maintain the overall health and length retention of your hair can be done in three easy steps.
  1. Start out by removing processes and products that don't agree with your hair and add those that do
  2. Find a regimen that is most suited for your lifestyle.  As your hair and lifestyle changes your regimen should as well
  3. Stick with it. Black hair is fragile, which means it tends to be dry and prone to breakage. So it's important to nourish the hair so it retains it's overall health.

Here's an example of a basic hair care regimen.
  • Co-wash once a week or two weeks. If you feel the need to shampoo then be sure to use a sulfate free shampoo (rotate shampoos and conditioners so that the hair doesn't totally acclimate and stop responding)
  • Deep condition after each wash for 30-40 minutes
  • Rinse hair with cool or warm water (rinsing hair with hot water can dry it out)
  • Hot oil treatments provide added moisture
  • Seal in moisture with a butter (during the winter) or a light oil (during the summer)
  • Protein treatment once every six weeks (this is especially recommended for damaged hair)
  • Wear protective styles such as twists, braids, wigs, etc.
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