everything I've learned about growing, maintaining, styling, and loving long hair

Posts tagged “beauty

no-poo success

So I’ve been doing the baking soda and vinegar routine for about a month and a half now.  I can’t tell you how impressed I’ve been!  I didn’t have any transition phase.  I haven’t used “normal” shampoo on a regular basis for years, so my scalp really had nothing new to adjust to.  My hair feels soooooo much better!!  It also looks considerably better, as you can see from the photos.  The curls are coming back, it’s shiny, it feels soft and healthy.

image  image

I finally bit the bullet and ordered some good shampoo and conditioner.  I’m not sure yet how I want to continue….. stick to no-poo for a while?….. switch back to shampoo and conditioner?….. use a combination of both?  I’m undecided.

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product troubles

If you’ve read much of my past blog, you probably know that my biggest complaint is finding a shampoo or conditioner I love……. and then they change it.  And the hunt for the right product starts all over again.  The past few years, things have been up in the air with products for me, never quite settling on one I love.  And in the process, using my husband’s Pantene in between.  😝

I finally settled (as in, I bought it more than once) on one my hair mostly likes, but it’s about $8 a bottle, and I can only get it online. (No stores around here carry it.) But money got tight, and I stopped ordering it. I used Pantene for a few months, just because we already had it, but my hair felt gross and got really tangled on the under side (a result of cones).  So, I stripped my hair and tried another product.  It’s organic, no cones, cheaper than the one I order, and I can get it in local stores.  However, after using it for a couple of weeks, my hair feels like it’s coated in wax!

So……. with all that, my hair is not in good shape.  It’s limp and heavy, it waves instead of curls, it frizzes as it dries, etc.  The only time I wear it down is when I flat iron it. 🙁  I seriously need a change.

Last week, I decided to get real basic and try the baking soda & vinegar routine.  I’m giving up shampoo and conditioner entirely for the time being.  I can already tell a difference after only one wash!!  I won’t be doing this long-term because I’ve heard it can be damaging.  I’m just hoping to get rid of all the build-up and get my hair back into decent shape.

On the up side though… my hair is thicker and growing faster than it ever has before!  (I’m sure it’s due to pregnancy hormones, since I just had my second child.)  I trimmed off a total of about 8 inches last year to maintain my length.  8 inches in 1 year!!!  How exciting is that?! 😊

Here is a video showing the baking soda & vinegar wash routine.

 


oil vs water

Years ago, when I first began my hair journey, I quickly discovered that some of the widely accepted and practiced methods for growing long healthy straight hair did NOT work for me at all.  In fact, sometimes it made it worse.  One of those practices is stretching the time between washes (as in, don’t get your hair wet in the shower) so the natural oils will have a chance to soak in.  Another is to apply oil to the ends of the hair where the natural oils never get a chance to reach.  I tried this for a few months.  It made my hair look and feel awful.  What I hadn’t yet learned was that curly hair is generally dehydrated by nature, and that my hair actually NEEDED the water I had been depriving it of in the shower.  I do try to shampoo only once a week or less, and I use a gentle shampoo, to keep from stripping away all the natural oils on my scalp and hair.  But I still get it wet, even when I don’t wash it.  Doing this improved the health significantly.

This article does a good job of explaining why.


Written by Jonathan Torch, owner of Curly Hair Solutions

At the base of every hair on every human, there is a gland that secretes a waxy material called sebum. The sebum is essential for supplying nutritious minerals to the follicle that moisturize and protect the skin and hair. The sebum has a tiny molecular weight that allows for deeper penetration and absorption of these minerals without blocking or clogging any other pores and cuticles – and to make it even better, the sebum evaporates without any residue.

When it comes to oils and our hair, we have had quite a long track record of using them! All around the world, humans have been using and bathing in oils; to try and replenish the missing moisture that preserves youthful glow and energy. Cleopatra, the infamous Queen of Egypt, was constantly in search of a more miraculous oil to preserve her beauty. The more exotic the oil, the bigger the price tag, and therefore, the more in demand it was. It was seen and believed to be cosmetic elixir.

To this day, oils are still extremely popular in hair care and therapy. Sales of oil-based products continue to grow every year, as more and more exotic and potent oils enter the beauty industry – and it`s completely understandable, as the benefits of oil on hair are so easy to notice. In particular, the look and feel of soft, shiny, and supple hair is most appealing to everybody who uses oils.

When I started to focus on naturally curly hair as my specialty, it became increasingly obvious to me that while oils make the exterior of hair look beautiful, there is a tremendous difference in the quality of the hair when comparing oil-based products and water-based products. My focus was on the end results: Style Management is incredibly easier to have when there is absolutely no silicone or oils coating the hair. Water is the healthiest moisturizer in the world – it is what makes up our atmosphere, it is what our bodies are made of, and it is an integral part of the hair. Water is essential to life, and hair automatically responds as a natural moisture magnet – it sucks up all the moisture it can, particularly when water is involved.

By understanding this common-sense fact, it became obvious that eliminating oils from the styling process makes it far easier to moisturize and style hair. Oil and water do not mix. While they both have their proper roles and benefits, they are very far apart in what they do. Oils act as a lubricator, cosmetically softening – and weighing down – the hair. When there`s a coating surrounding the hair, it becomes very difficult for each hair to group with other hairs to make a beautiful curl or a ringlet. Because of this effect, any movement to the hair causes flyaway hairs, essentially encouraging frizz. On the other hand, water fills the hair cuticle, encouraging grouping and joining of each hair, and this automatically creates a frizz-free curl. Water works every time in every scenario of curl formation in all weather conditions – and it`s the most natural thing I could base my products on.


tangles & knots

I don’t personally have a lot of experience with tangles, so I’m probably not the best source of information on this topic.  But I’m still going to share with you what I know because many times tangles is what keeps you girls from growing your hair long, or makes you want to cut it off.  If you are the type to brush through your hair, ripping out the knots as you go…. imagine me slapping your hand and saying “NO!” 🙂  Believe me, that’s the worst way for you to deal with it!  Few things make me cringe more than a child crying out in pain as her head is being yanked around by a brush in her mother’s hand.  The mother always saying, “She just hates having her hair brushed!”  Many times I have asked for permission to take over, and the little girl sat calmly and quietly as I detangled her hair.  No, she doesn’t hate having her hair brushed, she just hates the way you do it.

Like I said, I have limited experience.  I have been blessed with hair that simply is not prone to tangle.  I think it’s because it’s more on the coarse side.  However, I have dealt with a lot of different types of hair on other people, including very fine hair, tightly curled thick hair, and children’s hair.  Please keep in mind that different hair types have different needs.  These are just some basic principles that I have discovered to work well for me.

Tangles are very damaging to the hair and cause weak spots and breakage.  Here are a few rules to follow to avoid tangles, and to deal with them when they do happen.

hair1.  Avoid letting your hair loose on a windy day.  If your hair tangles easily, please follow this piece of advice!  I knew a girl who had to cut her knee length hair off at her waist because she spent a day outside enjoying the feel of wind in her hair.  She ended up with a huge knot.  Three different people worked on it over the next few days with very little success.  She cut the knot out, but it left a gap that was too noticeable, so she cut it all off.

So put your hair up or in a braid if you’re going to be out on a windy day.  The same goes for riding a motorcycle, riding in the car with the windows down, etc.  Don’t let the wind whip your hair.

Note:  It is a good idea to always put your child’s hair in a protective style (braid, bun, etc.) when she goes out to play.  Especially if she has very long or very curly hair.  Why subject your children to long, unpleasant detangling sessions when it can be prevented?  It will save you and her a lot of time and frustration.

2.  Condition!  I know you’re going to get tired of hearing me say this.  You’re probably thinking “that’s her cure for everything!”  Well, you’re not far off.  🙂  If your hair is dry or brittle, it will be much more likely to tangle.  A good conditioning routine can take care of this.  Proper hydration means your hairs are smoother and less inclined to catch on each other and knot together.

3.  Use a wide tooth comb.  This is something I started doing about 20 years ago and I never looked back.  I know there are many different types of styling brushes.  If you want to use a brush for styling, ok.  But don’t use it to detangle.

4. Start at the bottom and work up.  Never start combing or brushing at the top, even if you don’t think you have any tangles.  This can create tangles.  Also, work in sections.  If your hair is very tangled, smaller sections work better and you don’t get frustrated as easily.

Something that I found to work really well for my hair is to always detangle in the shower while my hair is soaking wet and conditioner applied heavily.  I usually stand under the shower head so the water runs down my hair while I’m combing.  You’ve probably heard that you’re not supposed to comb/brush wet hair because it will stretch and break the hairs.  It’s different when it’s coated in conditioner.  The comb slides through without stretching the hair (unless you run into a knot, at which point you will immediately stop and pull out the comb, then gently work on the knot).  It’s much easier for me than combing it dry.  By all means, do whatever works for you.

I’ve heard good things about the Tangle Teezer.  I have never personally used one, but 3 of the hair girls I watch on youtube rave about them.  If you’re not opposed to using a brush, it might be worth a try.


places to get hair stuff

I recently encountered a small list of hair related Etsy shops and I want to share them with you guys.  I haven’t personally tried any of their stuff, so I can’t recommend them from first-hand experience.  I just thought I’d put them up here to make you all aware of some new options.  Be sure to check them all out.  There are some very unique and beautiful pieces!

Sherry’s Potions & Lotions – handmade natural hair care products

NativWomn – handmade hair accessory organizers/travel bags

AKC Woodworking – hand carved wood hair sticks and hair swords

Grahtoe Studio – hand carved wood hair forks

Lark’s Hair Sticks – uniquely shaped hand carved wood hair sticks

Sirius Hairtoys – hand carved wood hair forks

Willow the Wisp – hand carved wood hair forks

RavensCroft – hand carved wood hair accessories (currently out of stock)

Mairzy Dozy – handmade metal hair forks (plain and decorative)

3 Grrrls Handmade – handmade hair sticks, decorative hair clips, and hair-friendly elastic hair ties

Aliarose – handmade hair sticks, some of which glow in the dark

SilverSkulls – handmade hair sticks


lose the towel!

A big issue with long hair is damage.  The more damaged your hair is, the harder it is to gain (or maintain) length.  Also, the longer your hair is, the easier it gets damaged.  Some of that, you just can’t help.  It’s nature.  But there are some things that we commonly do on a regular basis that actually cause damage to the hair.  Towel-drying is one of those things.  In case you haven’t noticed, towels have a very rough texture.  This texture grabs your hair and pulls and tugs it in different directions.  This can cause breakage.  And please tell me you’re not rubbing the towel over your hair to dry it!

Several years ago, I stopped using towels on my hair.  I learned first about plopping and started doing that with my towel with great success.  But a towel is heavy and hard to secure in a plop.  When I heard about using a t-shirt, I tried it immediately and never looked back.  A t-shirt is very soft (usually 100% cotton) with a smooth texture that doesn’t grab at your hair.  I had a lot less frizz, and over time, less breakage.  I simply love it!

If you have curly hair and you don’t plop, you should try it!  But drying with a t-shirt is not limited to curly girls!  Here are a couple of videos showing how to use a t-shirt to dry your hair.

This one is for those with straight hair that don’t want to plop.  She made this video at my request!  How sweet! 🙂  By the way, she has some great style tutorials so be sure to check out her youtube channel Torrin Paige

This one is for plopping.  There’s a lot of talking at the beginning, but the plopping explanation starts at about 8 minutes, so you can skip to there if you want.  This is basically how I do it.  You won’t need an extra long shirt, no matter how long your hair is.