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HAIR REGIMEN AND TIPS FOR TRANSITIONING TO NATURAL HAIR

Transitioning3

Photo credit 4chairchick.com

We are gaining more and more transitions! It’s good to see that more and more people are encouraged to go natural. This is my one year nappyversary and six months post the big chop.  I can proudly tell you that I will never go back to relaxed or textlaxed  hair again! Let me tell you why: I’ve fallen in love with my pure unadulterated texture, I love the volume and the versatility, I love the styling options… the list is endless! There is only one problem that tends to overshadow all of the advantages; its high maintenance and requires dedication. But guess what…. so does relaxed hair. If you don’t take care of your hair, you will not achieve optimum hair growth. Even if you think you are because you have long hair, try following a routine and you will see that your hair could actually do much better. Remember my mantra: Good hair is a mixture of nature and nurture, if you don’t have it naturally, fake it till you make it by taking good care, simple!

Whatever your hair type, you need to find the right balance of protein and moisture to optimize your hair growth.  However, while transitioning, you’ve gained a new enemy called the line of demarcation. This is the line where the relaxed hair will meet the natural hair and ultimately the point at which the relaxed will start to fall off no matter what you do. If you are like me and love to hold on to length, I’ll give you some tips on how to keep both textures until the big C. I must say though that it’s normal for the relaxed to appear weak and eventually big C itself as the natural hair grows. This is the point I advise people to just go ahead and chop off.

Here is a  hair regimen that you should follow; you may alter it here and there to suit you as time goes on. The whole idea is for you to start with the basic concepts and instinctively, you will know through practice which part of the routine you can stretch longer or  shorter etc.  Be honest with yourself and don’t be lazy! Lol. When you fall off track, fall back in ASAP. Here it goes:

What you need.

  1. Moisturizing Shampoo and deep Conditioner
  2. Protein shampoo and deep conditioner
  3. Clarifying shampoo
  4. Co-wash conditioner
  5. 2 leave in moisturizers- Liquid for rainy seasons and creamy for dry seasons or dry hair
  6. Oils
  7. Wide toothed comb ( as you become more natural, finger detangling is best but for now use a wide toothed comb to wean yourself off!)
  8. Steamer/shower cap
  9. Raw natural products eg shea butter mix, natural honey etc to mix with your deep conditioners or for pre-shampoo treatments (optional but helps a lot to absorb deep conditioners)
  10. Patience and persistence.

What to do.

EVERY WEEK

You should deep condition once a week. This is the most important thing to do in your regimen. If you are to skip anything, don’t skip this!

How: Mix your deep conditioner with raw Shea butter or oils and apply to your freshly shampooed or co washed hair and leave on for at least 30 mins preferably with a steamer. If you don’t have a steamer, no worries; use a shower cap and leave on for an hour.

Recommended deep conditioners:

  • If your hair is 50% or more relaxed (beginning of transition): Keracare Humecto mixed with raw Shea butter/oils/ TR shea and mango butter mix ( great because it has butters, carrier oils, essential oils, vitamins) OR Aubrey Organics honeysuckle rose conditioner mixed with raw Shea butter/natural oils/ TR shea and mango butter mix ( great because it has butters, carrier oils, essential oils, vitamins
  • If your hair is more natural than relaxed ( towards the end of your transition): Carols daughter black vanilla smoothie OR Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle rose conditioner also mixed with the butters or oils

EVERY TWO WEEKS

Shampoo strips your hair of its natural moisture and even more so as you go natural. So, shampoo every two weeks.  The week you do not use a shampoo, you should co wash instead and deep condition.

Recommended Shampoos:

  • Beginners: Keracare sulphate free moisturizing shampoo, Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle rose shampoo
  • End of transition : Carols daughter Black vanilla shampoo, Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle rose shampoo

EVERYDAY

Moisturize with leave ins and seal with oils in that order, every single day! What is important to note here is that the more chemically treated your hair is, the more natural protein you have lost. The opposite is true for natural hair: natural hair generally requires less protein.

Why am I telling you this? You don’t want protein overload which will lead to breakage. Many leave ins have protein in them and they are very useful for ladies with relaxed hair and transitioners. However, once you cross the line, you need to switch to leave ins with less or no protein. Do naturals ever need protein? Yes, but it’s better to get the required dose periodically through protein treatments than to overload your hair with protein daily.  Got it?

Moisturize and seal from the tips up. You don’t need a lot, a little over a tablespoon is enough.

Also massage oils into your scalp daily for 2 minutes for blood circulation which stimulates hair growth.

Recommended leave in conditioners:

  • Beginners( more relaxed hair): Giovanni Direct Leave in (creamy), Carols daughter Black vanilla leave in (spray), keracare leave in.
  • End of transition/ Naturals: Kinky Curly Knot Today (protein free), Carols daughter hair milk leave in conditioner

EVERY 4-6 WEEKS

You need to do a hard protein treatment to strengthen your hair every four to six weeks.  Use your protein shampoo and deep conditioner at this point. Check previous blog post for more step by step details on how to do protein treatments.

Note here that protein treatments vary in strength from hard to mild. As mentioned earlier, you will need a stronger protein treatment if you are relaxed or if your hair is color treated. Nevertheless, I advise clients to do a strong treatment at least every 2 months then follow up with mild protein leave in if chemically treated or transitioning. If you are mostly natural or completely natural, after the strong protein treatment, use a protein free leave in.

Recommended protein treatments

Beginners: Aphogee shampoo for damaged hair followed by Aphogee 2 step protein treatment and balancing conditioner (very strong), ORS hair mayonnaise (moderate-if its too mild you can break an egg into the treatment)

End of transition/naturals: Carols daughter monoi shampoo and conditioner (moderate), aphogee 2 minute keratin treatment (mild), aphogee 2 step protein and balancing conditioner (strong)

You can easily make a mild treatment strong by adding eggs and/or natural greek yogurt to your mild mixture. Pls don’t add anything aphogee 2 step treatment, its very strong!

EVERY 6 WEEKS

You also need to clarify your hair every six weeks. This is basically stripping your hair purposefully from all the product build up to have fresh clean hair to start all over with. You must deep condition after clarifying your hair otherwise it will become very dry

IN-BETWEENS

If you have time, you should co wash mid-week, in between deep conditioning treatments. If you don’t its not a biggie but make sure u co wash each time you wet your hair if u r not going to deep condition eg if you are a muslim and you perform ghusl. When you braid or conrow your hair, co washing is also a good option. Don’t forget that co washing should be performed as an alternative to using shampoo. In fact, most naturals co wash more often than they shampoo but for starters, let’s do it 50:50 and gradually progress as we get more comfy with co washing.

I suggest you keep a diary to keep tabs of everything. It may seem demanding in the beginning but as time goes on, it will become part of you and it gets easier.

One piece of advice, make sure your water heater and shower heads work excellently! Makes a world of difference!!

Please read previous blog posts for details on how to do moisture and protein treatments, how to co wash, moisturize and seal etc.

With practice and patience, I guarantee you will see results!

Big announcement: For your convenience, we now stock our products, toools and accessories at the Fusion Store located at the Capital Hub Mall in Abuja. Visit us!

 

HAIR MAINTENANCE CLASS-SEPTEMBER 2015.

Hello ladies!

The blog is back in full swing! I’ve been MIA for legitimate reasons but I’m back and I promise not to leave you guys for so long again. Just a few weeks ago, I organized a basic hair care class in Abuja and the turn out was amazing. I presented what I regard as a very basic way to first, understand African hair and then to learn how to kick-start a basic hair regimen.

There is so much we can do to take care of our hair/ retain length and trying to sift through all the information out there can be overwhelming. This power point presentation will serve as a visual blueprint to taking that first step. Hopefully, this will make hair maintenance a breeze. Use it, refer to it, share it (tag us!) and contact us with any questions that you may have. I look forward to many more classes!

Always remember: No one can EVER understand your hair like you.

Pls click in the link below and download the presentation on your computer or phone. Enjoy!!

HAIR MAINTENANCE CLASS

A Basic Hair Regimen

Beautiful hair is a combination of nature and nurture. If your hair is long and healthy looking without having a hair routine, just know that means it could be even more healthy/beautiful! Do you know where to begin when it comes to a structured routine for your tresses? Don’t worry; a hair regimen doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive, but you should make time to perform a basic set of steps on a regular basis to keep your hair healthy.

A hair regimen is simply a hair maintenance routine that will prevent hair breakage thereby promoting healthy hair growth. It’s a hair care system that you can use to support your established hair goals. Here are the basic steps you need to do regularly;

  1. Shampoo: Everyone knows they need to shampoo their hair to get the dirt and build up out but how often we should shampoo can be tricky. In my opinion, once a week is safe especially if you have chemically treated hair. If you are natural, you can shampoo less often perhaps every two weeks but you will need to co-wash in between.
  2. Deep Condition: This is one of the most important part of a hair regimen because moisture is what most of us lack. Our hair needs that deep moisture treatment every week especially if you use a lot of heat on your hair, if its dry season or if your hair is naturally dry. Otherwise, you can probably get away with deep conditioning every two weeks. Use a high quality moisturizing deep conditioner, not a protein one. You need to check labels to be sure of what you put on your hair. Egs of moisturizing deep conditioners are Keracare Humecto , Carols Daughter Tui or Black Vanilla Hair Smoothie and Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner. 
  3. Protein Treatments:  Protein is needed to strengthen hair but it must be used with caution. We often do not know the difference between moisturizing deep conditioners and protein treatments and as a result, tend to over use protein. For relaxed ladies, use protein once a month at first and gradually reduce frequency to once in six weeks. For natural ladies, once in two months is ideal.  Relaxed ladies also need stronger protein treatments that natural ladies because the relaxer breaks the protein bonds in the hair. Egs of protein treatments  are ORS Hair Mayonnaise, Aphogee Reconstructors, Carols Daughter Monoi line, Aubrey Organics GPB.
  4. Co Wash: This is not mandatory to be honest but it helps. This is particularly helpful to natural ladies for detangling in between washes/dcs and to Muslim ladies when they perform their ghusls. It’s a hair saver! Lol. You should cowash mid-week or whenever you need to. Egs of cowashes are CD Hair Milk Cleansing Conditioner, As I am coconut co wash.
  5. Daily Moisturizing and Sealing: This is a MUST for everyone!! You should use a leave in conditioner (cream or spray) followed by a sealant (oils or butters) daily. Yes! Every single day. In fact, when the weather is very dry, twice a day. You shouldn’t use a lot each time so as not to cause too much build up. A table spoon of leave in and a teaspoon of sealant is sufficient at each time. Remember to always start from your ends! Egs of leave ins are Giovanni direct leave in conditioner, kinky curly knot today, CD black vanilla or tui leave in etc. Egs of sealants are all natural coconut oil, olive oil, jojo ba oil, shea butter , mango butter etc (try out TR Customized Butters).

Please refer to previous blogs for in-depth details on each of these steps.

In summary, here is a basic hair regimen that you can follow. As time goes on, I’m sure you will find what works best for you in the gray areas and tweak it a little  bit to suit your individual hair needs:

•Sunday: Shampoo, deep condition, moisturize, seal.

•Monday: Moisturize and seal

•Tuesday:  Moisturize and seal

•Wednesday: Co wash, Moisturize and seal

•Thursday: Moisturize and seal

•Friday: Moisturize and seal

•Saturday: Moisturize and seal

•Once a month- six weeks / once in 2 months (natural hair): Protein treatment.

If you choose to deep condition every two weeks instead of every week, you could co wash the first weekend in between deep conditions as well. The whole point is not to let your hair dry out.

Remember: No regimen is complete without nightly protection in the form of a silk or satin hair cover or pillowcase.

So go on and begin your hair regimen today. No more excuses!!

Redefining your hair

TRESSESS redefined FINAL LOGOWhen we think about hair, there are certain misconceptions that we have because that’s what we are used to. It’s time for us to change the way we think about hair and to promote healthy hair growth. There are so many misconceptions but I have narrowed down to the most important ones that are peculiar to Africans:

1. Our hair does not grow beyond a certain length unless you are mixed or you come from a family of women with long hair.

This is not totally true. Although genetics plays a big role in the length and texture of hair, it doesn’t mean that your hair cannot grow simply because you are black. It is all about developing a healthy hair regimen that will reduce breakage and split ends thereby retaining length. Think about it: your hair grows from your scalp. For relaxed ladies, you begin to feel new growth as early as 3-4 weeks post relaxer. Guess what? That’s your hair growing. The mistake we make is that we neglect our ends/tips, moisturize the scalp only with heavy creams and we are left with dry frizzy ends that break off on a daily basis. By practicing unhealthy hair habits, you don’t retain length and that’s why your hair won’t grow past a certain length. To change this, you need a total lifestyle change in the sense that you need to care for your hair on a daily basis. Moisturizing and sealing your ends daily is a must!

2. The hair needs to get dirty before a relaxer touch up.

I can understand why people think this. When your pores are clogged with dirt and heavy creams, your scalp is kind of protected from the chemicals and you don’t get burns. But what you are also doing is preventing your hair from growing for weeks because you have clogged your pores. You can get the same effect by simply basing your scalp with the same heavy cream just before your touch up. This is the ONLY time such mineral oil based creams are useful. Lol. So please you can wash and deep condition your hair up to 3-4 days before your touch up.

3. Relying on the salon to do what’s best for your hair.

Nobody knows your hair better than you! The salon can help and advice but the information you give whoever is advising you is crucial. If you have a stylist that listens to you when you when tell them certain things about your hair and advice you based on what you tell them,  you are lucky. Many of them, however, are ignorant and take a ‘one size fits all’ approach to hair. They are more concerned about how your hair looks when you leave their salon than anything else. Besides, your hair needs to be cared for daily and only you can do that. I suggest that you take your time to understand your hair, experiment with good products to see what your likes and talk to well-informed people who listen, like us! 

4. We have to stick to one line of products.

By this I mean many of us think that if we use the kera care shampoo for example, we have to use kera care conditioner and no other brand. There is no such rule. If it works for you, fine but I have found is that sometimes my hair may love the shampoo but the conditioner just leaves my hair dry and frizzy. What to do? Keep the ones that work and substitute the ones that don’t for another brand. That’s why you have to be very vigilant while taking care of your hair to know what works and what doesn’t. Most hair product manufacturers produce everything to target all potential customers but they all have their strengths and weaknesses. What we do is to try a wide range of products to see what generally works for more coarse textures because that’s what most of us have. Most of us are type 3c-4c (1 being fine/straight and 4, the most coarse/curly/coily/fragile). We recommend products based on your hair type and the information you give us. So whether the products are from the same line or mixed from different lines, the most important thing is to get the desired results.

5. Braiding/Weaves/Plaits automatically grow the hair, no extra work needed.

If these alone grew hair, most of us would have waist length hair by now! Lol. The braids themselves don’t pull out more hair from your scalp; they only help to protect your hair from daily manipulation, breakage and shedding if and only if you care for the hair properly while it is braided. In other words, these are protective styles that require the hair to be moisturized as much as possible to avoid serious breakage when taken off. Most of us neglect our hair under a weave or in braids and expect growth when we take them out. The hair will grow but more will break when taken out so at end of the day you’ve lost more than you’ve gained. I repeat, nothing beats moisturizing your hair with water based leave ins and sealing with penetrating or coating oils daily to avoid breakage. If you can, deep condition your hair in the braids. If you cannot, do not leave braids for too long because your tresses need that deep moisture from time to time. As for weaves, you can take them out deep condition and put them back on.  For people like me who plait their natural hair, its easy; co-wash, deep condition, moisturize, seal!

So quit the myths and start a new hair regimen your hair with our support! Call, ping, and come see Tresses Redefined at the Fusion Lifestyle Shopping Event on the 7th of July at the BMO Arena Wuse 2, Abuja.  We are your one stop shop for your hair care needs. Lots and lots of products, tools and accessories to choose from plus our complimentary hair consultation! See you soon! 

MY TEXLAX EXPERIENCE: JOURNEY TO TRANSITIONING??

texlax3So I have been thinking of going natural – certainly not to make a political statement, not that that is bad – but because I want  to have healthier, chemical free hair as well as try something new, exciting, different! Why not? But no! I still love the sleek look. I don’t want to have to use too much heat (damaging heat for that matter) just to get my hair straight.  But then again, natural hair is more versatile. I have the option of doing wash and go styles, twisting my hair, and still straightening it once in a while. Wait.  Once in a while? Nahhh. There has got to be a compromise. So I did my research and found that there are many others like me and the solution is to texlax.

My hair peeps, I am so excited about my new-found love for texlaxing that I can’t stop touching my hair!! Texlaxing is simply using a milder relaxer, keeping it in for a shorter period and/or skipping the smoothing part when you apply relaxer to your hair.  Essentially, you get the same results as texturizing/semi-relaxing so you can very well use a texturizer to achieve this. This process loosens your curl pattern thereby improving manageability while retaining some texture, volume and versatility. Most importantly, it is much healthier for your hair than relaxing.

On the day I was supposed to get my touch up, I decided to try texlaxing instead of relaxing bone straight. I used Mizani mild lye relaxer as opposed to the regular and sometimes even coarse strength I used in the past. Apparently, lye relaxers do not dry out your hair as much as no-lye relaxers, although the latter is milder on the scalp. The stylist based my scalp with coconut oil, and applied the relaxer generously to the new growth only.  She did this really quick as time is of the essence during this process.  It probably took 7-9 minutes total application time. Next, she smoothed my edges with her fingers only.  It is important not to comb the relaxer through your hair when you are trying to texlax because you don’t want to get bone straight. Immediately after smoothing, she washed out the relaxer, there was no wait time.

Protein reinforcement! I did my aphogee treatment after washing (see the protein treatment blog) because chemicals, no matter how mild, weaken the hair and protein will help restoretexlax 2 strength. The result: one word, luscious!! The new growth is kind of wavy but you have to look closely to really see it. So now I have texlaxed hair at the roots and relaxed hair at the tip. Right now, I am eight weeks post relaxer and I have managed the two textures very well by ensuring I have the moisture/protein balance. I plan to gradually trim my relaxed hair every time I get a texlax touch-up until I have a head full of texlaxed hair.  Alternatively, I may keep my relaxed ends and do a big chop eventually. It all depends on how it looks after my next few touch ups.

So far, I love the added texture and volume this process instantly gave me without compromising manageability which was my biggest fear.  I also love that this is a healthier option for my hair as we all know that chemicals are very damaging. With is, I’m beginning to appreciate texture in my hair and I feel like I am slowly transitioning. Soon, I just might……………

Remember: Because of the moisture in the air, this is the best time of the year to revive your hair! Get the right products and use the right methods. For those of you in Nigeria, call Pamela on 08064236689 today for products and complimentary tips.

FIVE GREAT TIPS FOR YOU DAUGHTER’S CURLS.

1. DON’T RELAX IT- MANAGE IT.baby hair

Don’t be lazy. If you relax your princess’s hair because it makes it more ‘manageable’, you should take the time to learn products and techniques that can help maintain the hair. Use specific brands that cater to kinky hair, even better children’s kinky hair e.g. Carols daughter princess collection, kinky curly kids, mixed chicks etc. There are tons of detanglers, conditioners and curl enhancers out there you can use to tame what you once thought was unruly. Our daughters are young and fragile and relaxers are damaging not matter how mild. No-lye, olive oil infused, texturizer, whatever! They are toxic chemicals and adding chemicals to their hair will damage their fresh new hair. Thinning, limp or damaged hair, scalp problems  or even balding edges are some of the worst nightmares for every woman and I’m sure you don’t want that for your baby girl. Relaxing children’s hair from a very young age can, unfortunately, not only cause these kind of problems but make them permanent as well, reducing the number of hairstyle options, creating a whole lot of issues that could have been avoided completely. So why do it?

2. DIY- MAKE THE TIME.

Don’t depend on the salon to take care of your daughter’s hair because they will not. The health of her hair is in your hands and it’s your responsibility to give her the best. By this, I don’t mean you have to do the plaits yourself if you do not know how to. Do the maintenance i.e. wash, conditioned and properly detangle at home before you take her to the salon or whoever will do her hair. This is the only way to ensure that it is done the right way; avoiding breakage as much as possible. Personally, I shampoo and deep condition my daughter’s hair every other week (co-wash the plaits/twists in between) and I plait it while it’s wet, I have eliminated blow drying completely. Blow drying is also very damaging if done often, so the best way to avoid that is to do it while it’s very manageable i.e. when it is wet and conditioned as opposed to  when it is dry and frizzy. You will be amazed how soft the hair is in its wet state and how beautiful the plaits will turn out. Try it!!

baby twist3. KEEP IT SIMPLE- DO PROTECTIVE STYLES.

Most of us are good at this and that’s a good thing. However, protective style doesn’t necessarily mean plaits with beads at the ends. Have fun – do two strand twists, buns, ponytails, bantu knots ( a mixture of cornrows and twists). The reason I love natural hair is that it is actually more versatile, you have a lot more options than relaxed hair.

4. STICK TO THE RULES- MOISTURE, PROTEIN AND MORE MOISTURE AND SEALING.

The same rules apply to your daughter’s hair. Yup! You should deep condition weekly or fortnightly, do protein treatments once a month to every six weeks, and moisturize and seal daily. Create a regimen that suits her hair and stick with it. Remember, to get good results you need the right products and the right method to use the products. Try to use all natural or organic products for natural hair as they work better for natural hair. Products like Aubrey Organics and Carols Daughter are GREAT for natural hair.

5. DONT FORGET TO TRIM.

The fact that the hair is curly and you cannot see the split ends doesn’t mean they do not exist. The ends of the hair are the oldest parts because hair grows from the root.  If the ends are neglected, they can begin to split; causing damage even further down the hair.  It may be counterintuitive. But, trimming the ends can actually lead to having longer hair.  If you notice the ends of the hair are very dry, you might want to make sure you are doing a good job conditioning.  If you notice they looked frayed, more tangled than normal or split, have them trimmed. I neglected this for a long time with my daughter.  But, since starting, I immediately noticed an improvement in the manageability of her hair.

So start having fun with your princesses!! Hope you found the tips helpful!!!

AIR DRYING AND NO HEAT STYLING FOR HEALTHY TRESSES

AIRDRY Happy New Year ladies!! I wish you the very best of 2013 and beyond. I hope one of your resolutions is to take better care of your hair. Now that we know how to nourish and strengthen our hair, we need to know how to seal the deal on optimum length retention. That’s why I feel a write-up air drying is very important. Enjoy!

What is air drying?

This simply means leaving your to dry with natural air and without the use of any heat (hand dryers or blow dryers). I know what you are thinking – no, I can’t do that! My hair will won’t look nice, it will puff up, frizz and become completely un manageable. Not true. You just have to know how to do it correctly. I’ll tell you how in a minute.

Why should we air dry?

Heat damages your hair causing it to break and prevent hair growth.  Therefore, air drying is the best way to retain length. Air drying allows normalization of moisture levels as the cuticle and cortex do not have all the moisture forced out of them with hot air.  Further, air drying utilizes almost no stretching or manipulation – both of which can be extremely damaging. This is not to say that you should eliminate heat completely. I will suggest that you use heat only on special occasions. Since I learned the trick of air drying the right way, I have only used heat twice. I must say that air drying makes a remarkable difference to health and length of my hair.

Now the hair is washed and deep-conditioned/co-washed, what’s next?

For air drying, products are key. You need to moisturize and seal while your hair is still damp. The first thing to do is to blot your hair with a t-shirt to absorb the excess water. Next, put in a leave-in conditioner. Leave-ins come in creamy or watery form.  You can use whichever form you prefer as long as it has good moisturizing properties. Keep in mind that you don’t need to use a whole lot of moisturizer to get results. In fact, it’s the opposite, too much will weigh your hair down, make it extra stretchy and prone to breakage. A teaspoon-tablespoon of creamy moisturizer or about 7-10 puffs of a watery moisturizer should suffice depending on the length and thickness of your hair. When applying, don’t forget to start from the tip/ends of hair and work your way up to the roots and then massage the scalp. Follow this with a sealant ie a natural oil of your choice (coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, castor oil etc.), using the same application method.

Comb your hair with a wide tooth comb to distribute the moisturizer and to ensure that the hair is fully detangled. Strands that are bunched up will dry matted so make sure you detangle and smooth thoroughly. The first hour of the air drying process is extremely important. This is because when your hair is wet, it has the most “memory” and as such, this time is critical to the outcome of your air dried hair. At this point, you should put your damp hair in a very low bun (the tail end of your head) and tie a silky scarf over it for the first hour. If you have short hair, simply detangle, smooth to the back and tie with a silky scarf. This process will keep your hair flat and help avoid frizz. Please avoid cotton scarves as they will absorb product, moisture and nutrients from the hair.

After the first hour, remove the scarf to allow air into the hair. I promise you once the hair is dry it will be silky smooth!

But how can I get the roller set/blow died effect without using heat?     FLXIRODS                                                                                       

If you want curls, when your hair is almost dry, roll them unto flexi-rods, satin rollers or magnetic rollers. You do not need to cut the lines like they do in the salons. Just divide your hair into small sections using your fingers and roll. Let your hair dry completely.

For the blow dried effect, after you take out the flexi-rods or rollers, wrap your hair starting from the center of your head, going round and round till you get to the edges. Tie a silky scarf overnight and voila! The result of all these methods will be smooth, healthy, bumped ends without the need for heat

As with most hair care skills – practice makes perfect.  Once you discover your magic combination of products, and you master the method, your hair will thank you with moist luscious health and enhanced length retention so put down the tools of torture, and start air drying!

P.S. The hair products have arrived Abuja and they are moving off the shelves super-fast!! Please contact Pamela Hagher for yours today on 08064236689 . She also consults for free so don’t miss out!!!

CO-WASHING: THE TRICK TO REVIVING DRY HAIR.

hair       Hello ladies! I have been MIA for very good reasons!! Hope you all are well? Here is the 411 on co-washing.

Co-washing is simply washing your hair with a conditioner instead of a shampoo. As we discussed in previous weeks, we are expected to shampoo our hair once a week, moisturize with leave ins/moisturizers and seal with oils daily. Often times, this is not sufficient/ deep penetrating enough for very dry hair. Also, shampoos strip our hair of its natural moisture, so shampooing too often could dry the hair. Therefore, co-washing is a very good alternative to washing too often.

When should we co-wash?

Most people co-wash mid-week, in between weekly shampoos. Others who shampoo every other week alternate between co-washing and shampooing weekly i.e. shampoo and deep condition this week, just co-wash next week. Personally, I co-wash when I feel the need to. If I feel like my hair is dry mid-week, I will do a quick co-wash to get that deeply moisturized feel as opposed to the coated feeling leave-ins and oils can give you sometimes when your hair is really dry from within.

Muslim ladies, listen up!! I’m convinced that co-washing was invented for you!! Lol. Why?? All those our special monthly, weekly or even daily ‘wankas’(ghusls, ritual baths, whatever you call it!!). You just had your hair done at the salon, it is all nice and sleek and suddenly you are ‘dodging’ because you don’t want to do wanka to spoil the beauty of your hair-did!!!!! Lol! You know you do it! Co-washing is the solution.  In other words, you should never pour a lot of water on your hair without following it with a conditioner, even if you have plaits/braids/cornrows on. This is because water alone will evaporate and leave your hair dry and frizzy.

Co-washing is very good for braids or plaits. Ladies, please you should never use rubbing alcohol to clean your scalp when you have braids on. That is just wrong!! Co-wash instead. Your hair still needs to be moisturized even when you have braids to avoid breakage when you take out the braids.

 How to co-wash.

Simply wet your hair, massage a good moisturizing conditioner into your scalp and hair, rinse thoroughly. You will be surprised how clean and revived your hair will be. It’s simple, it’s fast, it’s very very effective. 

What are the best co-washing conditioners?

Any good moisturizing conditioner will work. However, most people prefer to use cheaper, watery, instant conditioners like hair milks. Watery conditioners are generally cheaper and less viscous, meaning they’ll slide easily onto the strands for cleansing and rinse away cleanly. These conditioners have a runny, lotion-like consistency unlike deep conditioners which are often more like creams. Save the super rich, thick and creamy conditioners for deep conditioning.

You need to check the silicone content of your instant conditioner if you plan to co-wash very often.  Silicones are ingredients used in hair products to lubricate the surface of the hair so it feels smoother and combs easier (Makes your hair feel slippery and less tangled). It also reduces porosity and loss of moisture from the hair. However, silicones cause product build up in your hair, which is why I still recommend you shampoo at least every two weeks.  Some people, especially natural heads, skip shampoos altogether and stick to co-washing with silicone-free conditioners. In summary, if you plan to co-wash more often than you shampoo, then you should find a silicone-free conditioner. Otherwise, you are good since the regular shampooing will reduce the silicone build up.

I recommend  moisture milk, Suave tropical coconut, Herbal Essences Hello Hydration, Aussie moist conditioner, carols daughter hair milk co-wash cleansing conditioner or any watery low protein instant conditioner. Some people dilute their deep conditioners to use as instant conditioners. It’s all a matter of preference.

What’s next?

Air drying and no-heat styling! Watch this space! But before then I will like to hear more from you.  Do you have a hair regimen? What works/does not work for you?  Do you see a difference? Let us share our experiences. Looking forward to chatting soon….

Q & As on moisturizing your hair by Sauda Musa

Hello ladies. It has been two weeks!  It was nice to get feedback from you and I am glad that you found the write-up self- explanatory.

Do you have dry, thirsty hair? Do you “steam” your hair once every month? Do you “oil” your scalp and hair with heavy-looking creams and the like? Do you want to know what’s best for your hair? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, this is for you! Here is the 411 about moisturizing your hair.

What is moisture in the hair context?

Simply water. Water is the ultimate moisturizer but as you know, water evaporates, therefore we need other ingredients to keep it in our hair. All other ingredients in shampoos, conditioners etc. aid water absorption and retention.

What is a moisture treatment?

 It is a treatment that hydrates the hair by absorbing water into your hair shaft and keeping it locked inside for as long as possible.

How important is it?

 Extremely important. The most important part of your hair care routine, even more important than protein treatment.  Hair is more likely to break from dryness than any other cause. Therefore, we should moisturize our hair religiously. It cannot be over-emphasized.

What are different ways we can add moisture to our hair?

There are three main ways: Deep conditioning, co-washing, and daily moisturizing and sealing.

What are these?

Deep conditioning – Using a thick creamy looking water-based conditioner to restore lost moisture to the hair.

Co-washing- Using a conditioner only to wash your hair and restore moisture.

Daily moisturizing and sealing – Using a water-based, leave-in conditioner to moisturize your hair and a sealant (oils) to lock the moisture in.

How?

Deep conditioning– Wash your hair with a moisturizing shampoo. Remember to be gentle while washing your hair to avoid tangles.  Apply a good quality deep conditioner starting from the ends and working your way up to the scalp, massaging it in. Concentrate on the ends.  I usually add a tablespoon full of natural shea butter (I melt it by microwaving it) and a teaspoon of honey to my deep conditioner. They are humectants and aid absorption of water into the hair. These will help especially if your deep conditioner is not one of the best out there.

 Cover with a plastic cap and go under a dryer/steamer for 15-30 minutes. If you do not have access to a steamer, no worries, you can just leave it in while you take care of other things around the house or tie a scarf to go out or leave it in overnight.

Before you rinse off, gently comb with the widest tooth comb you have. Again, remember to comb from bottom to top, not top to bottom. At this point, your hair should have slip. Your hair has got slip when it is completely tangle-free and breaks minimally when you comb it wet. That’s what you want to achieve every time you deep condition your hair. If you follow this approach and you do not get the slip, try a different deep conditioner.

How often should we shampoo and deep condition?

You should shampoo and DC once every week. Your hair and scalp need to be cleansed from the dirt and product build-up. Also, two weeks or longer is too long a time to DC for the type of hair we have. No matter how much you moisturize your hair daily, we need that deep, penetrating treatment to replenish.

How can we identify good moisturizing products?

First, look out for the words moisturizing, hydrating, replenishing, conditioning, nourishing etc. When you see those words, you know that the product some moisturizing elements at least. Second, look at the ingredients to make sure it does not contain petroleum products.  Every good moisturizing product will have water/aqua as its first ingredient followed by other ingredients that aid water absorption (glycerin, butters, honey, oils, fruit extracts etc).

The third thing I look out for is protein (hydrolyzed silk protein, keratin, soy protein etc.). Protein is not necessarily a bad ingredient in moisturizing products. However, if the protein content is high then you don’t want to use that product weekly.  But how do we know how much protein is in it? If the protein is one of the first five ingredients listed then the protein content is high, if it is at the bottom of the list then it is most likely low.  To be on the safe side, it is better to avoid products that contain protein altogether. I must say that it can be challenging to find such products.

What products do I recommend?

Shampoos and Deep Conditioners: Aubrey Organics honeysuckle rose shampoo and conditioner, Keracare moisturizing shampoo and Humecto, Neutrogena triple moisture shampoo and deep recovery mask, Mizani moisturizing shampoo and Moisturefuse conditioner,  Carols daughter tui  or black vanilla shampoo and hair smoothie, Crème of nature ultra moisturizing shampoo and nourishing conditioner.

Where can I get all these products?

We have been getting a lot of demand for hair products. For those of you in Abuja, Nigeria, the products will be arriving very soon!!! Please contact my partner, Pamela Hagher (she is a hair guru, by the way!!) for more info. Her number is 08064236689.

 What’s next?

Next week we will discuss co-washing and daily moisturizing and sealing in detail. You want to stay connected to seal the deal on adding moisture to your hair! Also, please follow us so you get  e-mailed everytime we post.   

P.S.-I recommended the motions line 2 weeks ago for protein treatment. Apparently, it has mineral oil , I can’t believe I didn’t see that. I am so sorry about that. I have taken it off the product list.

Have a blessed week ahead!!!

Hair Basics for Beginners by Sauda Musa

All hair types are made up of protein and are essentially dead things. That’s why it doesn’t hurt when you cut it off! What is different about black hair? Why do we need to take care of our hair in a different way from others? Our hair is simply structured differently. The ‘kinkiness’ of our hair makes it physically more difficult for the natural oil our hair secretes from our scalp to travel along the length of the hair shaft. Apart from the difference in appearance, the components of our hair that make up our hair shaft make it more likely to be dry and/or to break. Because of this difference, black hair needs are different from the needs of other types of hair. 

When I say “black hair” I mean the black race generally which includes mixed races, essentially anybody that has black blood. Now, there is a broad spectrum of black hair even on one head!! You may have straight hair in front, thick hair in the middle and curly hair at the back. Black hair varies like that!!  As Africans, one thing is for sure, we have the kinkiest if the kinky and the driest of the dry! So we need to take care of our hair even more than the African – Americans (because most of them have mixed somewhere down the line).

Because our hair appears thick and coarse, you might think that it is tougher than other types of hair and it can survive more abuse. Quite the opposite! Our hair is the most fragile. It breaks more easily than any other hair types because of the reasons I mentioned. It simply lacks the elasticity that caucasian or other types of hair have so we have to ‘create’ it.  The question is how?? I will focus on chemically treated (relaxed) hair because that is what most of us have and that’s what I have experience with.

Our hair needs a balance between two ‘powerful forces’: moisture and protein. Protein adds strength and moisture gives elasticity. When your hair breaks, it is as a result of imbalance of moisture and protein. Therefore, too much of any is bad, and lack of any is catastrophic! There has got to be that balance.  You can analogize it with hormonal imbalance or when your body does not produce a particular hormone, it practically disrupts your system. 

How to achieve balance? You have to come up with a hair regimen that includes moisture and protein treatments periodically.  I say ‘come up’ instead of ‘follow strictly’ because what works for me may not necessarily work for you. For example, I do strong protein treatment once a month and mild ones every two weeks (I will explain, don’t worry!) because after experimenting, I have realized that is what works for me. So what I will provide to you will be a guide that WILL work to a large extent and based on the way your hair responds, u will know if you need more or less of something.  Got it?? Lol!

In between these moisture and protein treatments there is still A LOT that needs to be done daily! I will be unleashing them week after week so you don’t get overwhelmed or discouraged. Taking care of your hair takes patience and dedication so you have to make up your mind to do it and be consistent. This week we will focus on protein treatments but before we go there I need you to do a small ‘exercise’. Bring out all the hair products you own. Everything! Shampoos, conditioners, leave-in conditioners, oils, serum etc.   Look at the back of each of them where it reads ingredients or contents. If any of them contain mineral oil or petrolatum or lanolin (petroleum-based products) throw them in the bin!! Yes, I said so!!  Why? Because those products will do NOTHING for your hair. These are basically cheap fillings that manufacturers use. They seal the moisture out of your hair by coating your hair shaft and giving it the illusion of moisture. In other words, they prevent moisture from entering into your hair. Dangerous! Run away!! Unfortunately, most of our hair products especially in Africa, contain these things so it’s very important to watch out for them.

Now that we are all clear, we can move on from all that boring stuff!!

PROTEIN TREATMENTS.

Protein is very important to your hair because it gives your hair strength. Your hair needs to be strong, otherwise it will break. But if it is too strong, it will also break.

When and how often should we do protein treatments? If you have chemically treated hair, right after you relax your hair and every month thereafter. Why? Because the relaxer damages the protein structure of your hair by breaking the protein bonds and depending on the type and strength of the relaxer, and level of bond breakage you incur, you will need more or less protein than others.

Just to give you a sense of my routine, I do a strong-moderate protein treatment right after I do a root touch-up/relax my hair, followed by moisture treatment the week after and then very mild protein the following week, then moisture again for the next two weeks, then strong-moderate protein again. So strong-moderate protein every month and a mild one in between. Ignore the moisture treatments for now.

What do I mean by strong, moderate and mild protein?  Simply different hair products. Some proteins are stronger than others. The protein content of a hair product could make up 0.4 percent or 40 percent of the product; it really depends on what your hair needs. You will have to play around with different products to know how strong they are on your hair.  However, we have to use protein with caution. It is very very easy to over-use protein. Daily or even weekly use of the mildest protein can cause an imbalance between the protein and moisture levels of your hair. I must say that most hair products contain one form of protein or the other in them, which can make it really tricky.  As a beginner, I will only do protein treatment once a month. I only added the mild protein in between because I realized that my hair needed it. That may not be the case for you.

How to do it.

Wash your hair with a good protein shampoo. First, wet your hair then apply a generous amount of shampoo starting from the ends and work your way up to the scalp. Massage into the scalp gently in small circular motions so as to avoid tangling the hair. You may also wash like you are combing through with your scalp and hair with fingers. Rinse off shampoo. You should shampoo your hair just once except you feel your hair is still dirty. If you just relaxed your hair, this should be the last wash.

Condition your hair with a protein conditioner. You can either use any good protein conditioner out there (there are tons) or you can simply add an egg to your moisturizing conditioner (if you can stand the smell).  Apply a generous amount on the hair and scalp, concentrate on the ends/tips.  Follow the instructions on the bottle strictly; don’t exceed the time limit because protein can make your hair too hard if you stay too long. You can either stay under a steamer or just cover with a plastic cap and sit for the stipulated amount of time (usually not more than 30 minutes). Rinse thoroughly. Follow up with a moisturizing conditioner, especially if you are using some of the stronger protein treatments. This is to achieve that balance. One thing to keep in mind is our hair always always needs moisture so you have to keep rehydrating (I know it is a lot of work). You can either deep condition (that way you’re done with deep conditioning for the week!) or just do the regular follow-up conditioning if you don’t have much time. Again, you should make sure your ends/tips get special attention because it’s the most important part of your hair to moisturize.

Comb through with a wide tooth comb, starting from the ends and gradually working your way up to the roots. This way, you are detangling gradually thereby avoiding breakage. Rinse thoroughly. Dry your hair with a 100 percent cotton t-shirt (u can steal your brother’s or husband’s lol). Pat your hair with it to soak up the excess water. You can also slide it over your hair.   Towels are ok too if you just blot the hair to soak up the water. DO NOT scrub your hair with a towel. That scrubbing will break your hair. This is one reason out of a thousand reasons why I’ve reduced visits to the salon – less control. Lol!

Apply a leave in conditioner or moisturizer. It can be liquid or creamy, as long as it has good stuff in it. The good ones are water-based and no not contain mineral oil, lanolin or petrolatum. When moisturizing, start from the tips and work your way up to the roots/scalp. Always, always make sure you spoo your tips because that’s what breaks off and causes split ends. You can section your hair into two or four before you moisturize for even distribution. It is very important that you don’t overload your hair with products (I used to be very guilty of this) Just as a guide, use a table spoon full of creamy leave in conditioner or moisturizer for your whole hair. This is because you will be moisturizing daily and too much just weighs your hair down. It is unnecessary to coat your scalp with moisturizer, just massage a little bit into your scalp. It’s the massaging effect that will help to stimulate hair growth, the moisturizer is just to make it easy to glide through your hair while massaging. The left-over moisturizer on your fingertips will definitely suffice. Note that a lot of leave-in conditioners or moisturizers contain protein. You want to avoid daily use of such moisturizers. Always read the label of what you are buying. 

Seal the moisture in with an oil of your choice. Oils do not moisturize, they are seal the moisture into the hair. If you do not seal the moisture in, the hair becomes dry again in no time. Whether its olive, coconut, argan, jojoba or carrot oil, use a little to seal: less than a teaspoon. Use the same method; seal the tips first and work your way up to the roots. I will talk more about moisturizing and sealing next week, God willing.

PHewwww! It is finally time to style. If you are going to use any form of heat make sure you use a heat protector/serum. It is best to air dry. I will do a whole segment on how to air dry without compromising on style in the nearest future.  

 Repeat the moisturizing and sealing every night. Tie a satin or silk scarf to bed.

 Product recommendations.

Protein shampoos: Aubrey Organics GPB shampoo, Aphogee shampoo, Mane and Tail Original Shampoo, Carols Daughter monoi repairing shampoo.

Protein conditioners: Aubrey Organics GPB conditioner (strong), ORS (Organic Root Stimulator) Hair Mayonnaise/Replenishing Pak (moderate), Aphogee two step protein treatment for damaged hair or Aphogee two minute reconstructor (strong), Mane and Tail conditioner(moderate), Carols daughter monoi repairing conditioner/hairmask (mild-moderate).

Leave in conditioners/moisturizer: Carols daughter Black Vanilla Leave in Conditioner, S-curl no drip activator/moisturizer, herbal essence long term relationship leave-in split end protector for long hair, neutrogena triple moisture silk touch leave-in conditioner.

Oils: Any 100 percent natural oil: coconut oil, jojoba oil, extra –virgin olive oil, argan oil, etc.

Ok! I think this is a good place to stop for the week. I will let you guys digest this first and then next week we will be blogging about moisturizing your hair in all of it different forms. It is the most important part of your hair care regimen so make sure you check it out!! Have a great weekend girls!! Please share the link to encourage me!! Lol!!