Hair Lessons From 2009

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year Ladies (and Gents!!)

I strongly believe that life always has a lesson to teach. Even when it comes to hair! So here are my top 5 lessons learned throughout 2009:

1. Dry hair doesn't have to be that way

Although natural hair is inherently dry, it really doesn't have to be that way. If your natural hair always feels dry, you can do something about it. Don't just accept the dryness for what it is. The things I've found as key to retaining moisture are using water and sometype of oil to seal moisture in. My last post Sealing in Moisture outlines a method to lock in moisture into the strands. Give it a try.

2. Less is more

The more you manipulate your hair i.e. combing, styling etc this includes even the good stuff DC'ing, oiling etc... the more mechanical stress you load onto the hair the more likely it is to break. Of course to have healthy hair, you have to do some of these things. So find a happy medium to minimize physical stress to your hair.

3. Only do what works for you!

I can't stress this enough. I frequent forums and there are always new products that are all the rage, bandwagons to hop on, and certain beliefs that others try to force upon you. But you've got to remember that although hair is hair, it can differ between individuals. So sometimes products/ methods that work for some else might not work for you.

For goodness sakes, do not shampoo 2 times a week if it irritates your scalp and you know once a fortnight is sufficient! Don't DC 3 times a week if it leaves your hair mushy! If grease or Pink Lotion works for you, then so be it!! Find what works for YOU! It's great to try something you think might work for you, but don't stick with it if your hair doesn't like it. Do what allows YOUR hair to grow and be healthy.

4. Take control of your haircare journey!

I learned this during my bad weave saga. I haven't let anyone else touch my hair ever since and it's been thriving. If you're lucky enough to find someone who will do your hair but also listen to you if you want something done a specific way without catching an attitude, then hold on tight to them! These people are hard to find.

So many of the ladies on hairboards have also had setbacks with scissor happy stylists. I mean, walking into a salon with Mid Back Length (MBL) hair and coming out with shoulder length hair. Or asking a stylist to only cut ONE inch and they cut off THREE! Don't believe me? Just yesterday there was a post on LHFC about one of the forum's favourite relaxed, waistelength heads - Sylver2 who had a bad experience with a scissor happy stylist. She went to the salon for a 2-3 inch trim and left with a 4-5 inch cut and is now between brastrap length (bsl) and midback length (mbl). So sad, but I think we can all take a lesson from this. It doesn't have to be about trims, it could be the way they are overlapping relaxers or combing your hair.

It's all very well and good to have a stylist or friend help you with your hair. But if they are also hindering your hair growth and health in some way, you need to speak up. If they don't listen, then thank them for their services and move on.

5. Consistency is Key!

I think this one speaks for itself. If you know something works for you. Stick to it!

Well there you have it. What did 2009 teach you?

My Hair and Homemade Coconut Oil - Sealing in moisture

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I'd probably say before I started using coconut oil, I never knew what moisturized 4b hair was really like. I'd just accepted the regular dryness for what it was. Every now and then I'd get that moisturized softness/cottonyness, but not for long. The 'normal' crunchiness would soon return. Meh.

So I've been using my homemade coconut oil for about 3 weeks (on both hair and skin), and of course .... I love it!! I'm about half way through it (about 1/4 cup left), so I'll definitely be making more in the next couple of weeks. I've been using it almost every day and it leaves my hair soft and really moisturized. Sometimes it's been the only thing I've applied to damp hair after washing, and it really does seal in the moisture. The moisturized feeling can last for days.

I went away over the past week and couldn't take any of my hair stuff with me. My hair stayed moisturized under my wig until I came back!!

Coconut oil is one of the few oils that penetrate and prevent protein loss from the hair shaft and also being an oil, it would create a diffusion barrier which prevents water from evaporating from the hair. Reasons it works so well!

So what's my moisturizing routine exactly? Well I'm using a method created by Chicoro. Let me tell you, this method really works. Before you put it off, let me just say, if you're having a problem with dry hair, JUST TRY IT! If it doesn't work for you (but I'm pretty sure it will), then so be it. But at least give it a go. I'm emphasising this because I actually came across Chicoro's method on her fotki about a year ago, and then just forgot about it ... I really wish I'd paid more attention back then, I'd probably have retained a little more length using this method. Ok, ok, I'll get to describing this miracle method!

It consists of applying 3 specific layers of products to moisturize and seal.

1) First apply a water based moisturizer. I realize people also refer to creams with the first ingredient being water as a 'water based moisturizer.' For this method, I'd suggest using something that's actually much more watery than that. No creams at this stage. I personally use a mixture of water and glycerine. I've gone back to a 50/50 mixture and it's working well so far. This adds moisture and the glycerine will draw moisture from the air, being an emollient.

2) Secondly apply an oil based moisturizer. I use my beloved coconut oil here. This seals in the moisture by creating that diffusion barrier.

3) Then a heavy or emulsified cream. I use Garnier Fructis Nutri-Repair. Heavier moisturizers sit on the hair and will seal the first 2 layers.

4) Lastly, she then suggests that you cover your hair. I've been wearing a wig when I leave the house or a scarf when I'm home. This prevents the air from stealing all the moisture.

That's it. It takes less than 5 minutes. My hair doesn't feel 'coated' or get 'build up.' I try not to be too heavy handed with the heavy cream leave-in part. You can find more information here:

If you do try this please let me know how it worked for you, if you had to add any variations or what products you used. Even better, also let other naturals know, because dryness is one of our biggest hurdles. This could very well be the solution they need, as it was for me.

How to make Coconut Oil (For hair and skin)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

So last weekend I got my creative cap on and made my very own ....... Coconut Oil!!! I love this stuff. I've been using it for the past week on my skin and hair. I love this stuff!!! My skin really drinks it up. My hair looks shinnier and feels softer, especially my ends. Did I mention I love this stuff?!!

And who's responsible for this, you ask. This video by MixtressTV:

As you'll see, the video is so straight forward and it made the process a breeze (with great background music to boot!). I pretty much followed her entire method and only did a couple of things differently. My process was as follows:

I used 2 coconuts. Cracked them open and shredded/grated the flesh. Boy was that hard work! Good bicep work out though! But I need a blender ASAP!

Shredded coconut

I poured 5 cups of warm water in total. I think mine was bordering on hot though (oops!). I added 3 cups first and squeezed, then 2 cups and squeezed.

Making coconut milk

I then strained the liquid out. I felt like I wasn't getting much liquid out so I actually squeezed handfulls of the soaking shredded mush over a strainer. I think my line of thinking was that this would help me get a higher yield. Don't think it helped any though, seeing as most of what I got back (pretty much got all 5 cups and a bit back) was water that I ended up throwing away. Doh!

Coconut milk

Put it in the fridge. The cream separates and you get a hard block forming at the top.

I left this in the fridge for about a day and a half (was way too excited to wait 2 or 3!!). Got the block out and threw the water portion away.

Coconut cream block

This block then gets heated. This is the part when you actually get the oil! I don't have a stainless steel pot : ( so I had to use a non-stick frying pan. I think it worked ok.

Initially the coconut cream remains white when brought to a boil

The sugars/ proteins (or whatever it is, lol) start to clump, leaving a clear liquid. That's the oil!

Strained the oil out with an ol' trustly tea strainer.

Coconut oil!! How cool is that?!

I think the video shows the oil being all poured out at once. My thinking was that I didn't want to 'burn' the oil. So when a reasonable amount 'formed' in the pan, I would pour it out, leaving the clumps in the pan and wait for more oil to come out, then poured that out... and so on. I learnt this method from NigerianQueen's fotki tutorial: How to Make Coconut Oil.

I was still getting oil at this point.

I was so keen to get as much oil out as I could. I cooked those clumps until and my mum politely asked me to open more windows. That's when I realized I needed to stop, because it looked like all I had left were bits of charcoal in the pan!! LOL.

The finished product! It looks golden brown initially, but turns white once it's hardened. I keep it in the fridge as suggested. Gives it a longer shelf life, me thinks. The yield is slightly more than half a cup.

My coconut oil in all its glory! : )

All-in-all, this was a lot of fun and a big learning curve. I had made coconut oil before with the help of NigerianQueen's tutorial. It's an excellent tutorial. Slightly different from MixtressTV's method. You'll probably see that I've kind of combined the two methods.

If you do decided to have a go, please please please let me know how it worked out for you. Which method you used, if you improved on any of the methods, if you made any mistakes etc. Hopefully we can all learn from each other's experiences.

This was a lot of fun and as Veronica puts it "Yeh I liked that, that was good, that was goood." It sure was! Happy coconut oil making!!

Copyright © 2009 Grunge Girl Blogger Template Designed by Ipietoon Blogger Template
Girl Vector Copyrighted to Dapino Colada