Friday, May 25, 2012

Off Topic: Poppy Nail Art.

One of my hobbies is nail polish.  I've recently started playing with nail art.  This is the poppy manicure I did for Memorial Day.  I followed the cutepolish youtube tutorial below.  Cutepolish has great tutorials for nail art newbies.  I used a small dotting tool and made several dots for the poppy centers instead of the large dotting tool shown in the video.  I used Sinful Colors Aquamarine for the base and Wet 'n Wild Megalast Heatwave and Wet 'n Wild Black Cream for the poppies.
Poppies always make me think of the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz.  Poppies...poppies...poppies.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hair Cuts

Frankly, I don't want to write this post.  Why?  A great document already exists on the Facebook group Wavy Hair Community on this subject.  My post will only be a pale imitation.  Please go read the Wavy Hair Community file "Haircut Advice For Wavy Hair".  You must be a member to read it.  Not a member?  You should join.  It is a fun wavy hair group. You'd rather not join? Well, I guess you are stuck with me then.  After I finished writing this post, I wasn't completely satisfied with it.  But, it is the best I can do.  It has the key points for a wavy cut- long layers, no razor, no thinning.  I wish I knew more about cutting hair and could write a more complete post.

Long Layers
Layers help to show off your waves to their best advantage.  If your hair is one length, the top layers weigh down the under layers.  Your under layers can't wave as well under the weight of the top layer when your hair is all one length.  You want long layers (as opposed to layers that start higher on the head), because you want the top layer to be long enough to show the wave pattern. You want to get a few bends in before the first layer is cut. With chin length hair, the layers should start about eye level.  With hair that hits the shoulders, your layers should start mid ear to the bottom of the ear, depending on the length.  Longer hair?  I don't know.  I'll let you know when mine gets that long. :)

Where do your waves start?
If your hair doesn't start to wave until ear level (common for wavies) and you cut your hair to a chin length bob, you might not have much wave left.  You may end up with hair that looks mostly straight but likes to flip up and stick out at the ends.  

Face Framing Layers
You might want some face framing layers in front.  This will help bring attention to your face and show off your bone structure.

No Thinning Shears, No Thinning
If your hair is layered normally, all the hairs in one clump/one wave will end at about the same place.  The hairs will hang and wave together as a unit.  If your hair is thinned, there are shorter pieces within one clump. The shorter pieces may not want to hang with and play nice with the longer pieces.  The hair will not want to wave together  You will get little frizzy shorter hairs that stick out all over.

No Razors
Razors are split end makers.  If your hair is cut by a scissors, each individual hair is cut horizontally across the strand. When your hair is cut with a razor, each hair is cut closer to vertically down the strand.  There is more newly cut surface area if razored.  More newly cut surface area is exposed to the elements to be damaged.  The larger exposed cut area means hair is more prone to splitting.  With razor cuts, you get hairs cut at different, varied lengths, You get the same problems with waves not hanging together as described above with thinning shears/thinning.

Wear your hair wavy to the appointment.
Some people are visual learners and some oral learners.  I'd guess most stylists are visual learners, because they were drawn to a profession that involves visualizing hair.  If you go into the salon with straight hair, you will tell your stylist you normally wear your hair wavy.  But if s/he is a visual learner, the stylist may remember what they saw (straight hair), not what you said.  (This happened to me.)  Go in dressed in your normal style. You want the stylist to have a sense of your style.

Diva Haircuts
Deva trained hairstylists cut each curl individually.  Because this type of hair cut takes more time to complete and requires more training, it is more expensive.  Each wave will end exactly where it is best for your hairstyle.  Are Deva haircuts worth it for wavies?  It depends on several things.  First:  It depends on the skill of your particular Deva stylist (duh).   Second:  Does your hair always clump together the same way?  If so, a diva cut may be for you. If your hair clumps differently each time, you may end up with hairs of different lengths within a clump.  Third: Does your hair shrink a lot when it dries?  Deva haircuts are done on dry hair.  Some people have hair that shrinks different amounts in different places as it dries.  With a regular wet haircut, the layers can be even when wet, and uneven when it is dry. A Deva cut will have even layers when dry and wavy.  Fourth:  Do you alternate between straight and wavy styles?  If you alternate between wavy and straight styles, a Deva cut may not be for you.  The layers on a Deva cut may be even when wavy, but might not look even when styled straight.  I've never had a Deva cut and have no personal experience.

I came home from my haircut and it looks terrible.
It took (or will take) you quite a while to learn how to get the best out of your waves.  You can't expect your stylist to be as able to style your hair as well as you can style your own hair.   Also, some people find their hair freaks out for a few days after a haircut.  I don't know the science behind what causes hair to freak out. But, I've read enough reports about hair freaking out, I have no doubt this is true for some people.  Give your hair a few days and style it yourself before you judge your haircut.  If it is a terrible haircut, just remember that hair grows.  It isn't much of a comfort, but it is true.

My under layer is straighter and peeks out from behind my waves.
Have your stylist cut the straight under layer so it is the same length as the wavy layer directly above it when your hair is dry. When your hair is wet, the straight under layer will be shorter then the wavy layer above it.

See also:  Dorm Room Curly- Curly Cuts: How to Talk to Your Stylist to Get a Great Curly Cut  This contains tips on how to find a stylist and how to talk to your stylist.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Flax Seed Gel

Homemade Flax Seed Gel is a fantastic curl enhancer with a high success rate.  Flax Seed Gel (FSG) is also cheap and easy to make.  What's that?  Did I hear you say the thought of turning on a stove scares you to death.  Well you can buy some FSG (this shop may be out of business) here at Botticelli Botanicals.  Or Sweet Curls Elixirs  on Etsy.   Or Jessie Curl Rockin' Ringlets Styling Potion is pretty much FSG.  But, it really isn't hard to make and it only costs pennies a batch.  You can do it!

If you try Flaz Seed Gel for the first time from Sweet Curls Elixirs, I'd suggest either 1) plain FSG, 2) FSG with aloe (if you know your hair likes aloe) or 3) ordering a formula for your hair type  Or, maybe order a small bottle or regular and one for your hair type and work toward the perfect FSG for you from there.

FSG is a curl enhancer and helps to define waves/curls.  It doesn't have any hold on its own.  Many people who have hair that gets weighed down find FSG is a product they can use.  When you are trying FSG,  use more FSG then you think you should.  If you have wavy hair, you will probably want to top FSG with another gel with more hold.

Here is a youtube video on how to make FSG.

Here is the jumbo sized Curltalk thread on how to make FSG.  Here is Science'y Hair Blog's FSG recipe.  WS of Science-y Hair Blog lists some add in and tricks    to make FSG thicker and have more hold.  Hold is something most wavies will want. For your first batch, make the basic recipe.

You can customize FSG to fit your needs.  If you have dry hair, you can add oils.  If your hair likes humectants, you can add glycerin.  For hold you can add honey or agave nectar.  For hold and to thicken the gel, you can add corn starch, xanthan gum, hydroxyethylcellulose, or arrow root.  I like to soak my seeds overnight to make the gel thicker and have a bit more hold.  Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) can be added to make FSG more curl enhancing.  Some people (like me) find epsom salt too drying for their hair.  The gigantic curltalk thread has about a million ideas for things you can add.  If you don't like the flubber-y texture (see pic), mix your FSG with an immersion blender (stick blender).  The flubber-y texture also makes FSG jump out of your hand and run down the drain. Don't say I didn't warn you.  :)  With all the possible add ins, I'll probably never be done experimenting with my FSG recipe.

I suggest you read Science-y Hair Blog's post on preserving homemade hair gel.  She also has info on how to sterilize your equipment and containers, READ IT (last paragraph).  Did you read it yet?  Well make sure you go back and read it.   Keep as much FSG as you will use in a week or two in the fridge.  You can freeze the rest.  I've read that you can freeze and reuse the flax seeds for a second batch.  If your FSG smells sour, it has gone bad.  Toss it.  You can add preservatives to help keep your FSG fresh.  For more info on preservatives, you can read the giant FSG thread on curl talk and/or read the above Science-y Hair Blog link.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Science-y Hair Blog's Gelatin Protein Treatment

Science-y Hair Blog's gelatin protein treatment (A.K.A. IAgirl's protein treatment) is a popular PT that is cheap and easy to make. The original recipe and many tips and tricks and options are listed on Science-y Hair Blog's Recipe Page.  This is the link to the curltalk gelatin PT thread. 

The protein in gelatin is hydrolyzed collagen protein.  This is the same protein used in Aphogee 2-step and Nexxus Emergencee.  Size matters with protein, you want hydrolyzed. Amino acids are too small and most food proteins, like egg proteins, are too large. (some experts say large proteins can eventually make their way into hair) The gelatin protein treatment is popular on the Wavy Hair Community and Curltalk.  If you decide you like it, you can buy a big box of Knox gelatin at Walmart.

Blow dryer method tips:  If you need a hard hit of protein, use the blow dryer version of this PT. IMHO it works as well as Aphogee 2-step,but without the horrible stench.  If you do the blow dryer version, start with your blower setting on low.  Once your hair has set (like jello) and no longer blows around, you can crank your blower setting up to high.  When you try to rinse this PT out, it will seem like it doesn't want to rinse out.  Give it a minute or two for the gelatin to rehydrate.  Then it will rinse out with a little work.  When it is rinsed out, your hair may feel rough or hard.  This is normal.  A deep treatment will make your hair feel normal again (unless your hair is over proteined).  See my video on how to do the blow dryer version of Science-y Hair Blog's Gelatin Protein Treatment at the end of the post.

My Gelatin Protein Treatment Testimonial
My routine before Science-y Hair Blog's gelatin PT was:
Overnight coconut oil prewash every time I washed, spritz and condish method every time, and cowash most days. I did this summer and winter. Even with all this effort, my hair was barely moisturized in summer and almost moisturized in winter.

After doing IAgirl's/Science-y Hair Blog's PT for a few months:
In winter (low to very low dews) I only have to do an hour-ish of coconut oil prewash. I can also skip a day if I want, and I couldn't before. I no longer spritz and condish. My hair is properly moisturized.
In summer (normal dews) I don't use coconut oil very often, I don't spritz and condish, or cowash and my hair is still moisturized.  I can also use a less moisturizing conditioner in the summer.

This PT has just made my life so much easier. I was working so hard to keep (or almost keep) my hair moisturized before. Now I feel like I'm off the hair treadmill. I know that the credit goes to IAgirl's/Science-y Hair Blog's PT because I was CG for a year before trying this PT. My hair had already had time to recover from sulfates and heat styling.
Thanks Wendy of Science-y Hair Blog for creating this protein treatment.

My recipe and method for the gelatin PT:
Gelatin PT (My more moisturizing version)
1 tsp + 1/8 tsp gelatin (half packet)
1 T water
1 T honey
1 T oil (half coconut and half olive)
1/2 T conditioner (Renpure Organics, red bottle)
1 T yogurt
(I no longer add citric acid, based on advice from WS.  Protein likes a more neutral base.)

Dissolve the gelatin in the water.   Add honey and coconut oil so they will dissolve/melt.  I warm the water in the microwave.  This takes only seconds.  Keep an eye on it because it will boil very quickly and can boil over in a small container.   Mix in the rest of the ingredients.

To begin with, I shampoo or cowash.  Then I towel dry hair and apply PT.  I leave this on one hour, but you can leave it less time.  Read the original recipe in the above link for more options.  Rinse and towel dry.  I use either Renpure Organics Conditioner (red bottle) for 10 minutes or Curl Junkie Repair Me (or another DT) for 30 minutes to 1 hour.  I only need Repair Me in the dry winter.  Rinse and style as usual.
This is a video I did showing how to do the blow dryer version of Science-y Hair Blog's Gelatin Protein Treatment.  
Part 2.  Not much to see here, I just rinse out the protein treatment. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Which Ingredients are Sulfates? & Ways to Wash Your Hair.

Which ingredients are sulfates?
Sulfates to avoid include:  Alkylbenzene Sulfonate, Alkylbenzene Sulfonate, Ammonium or Sodium Xylenesulfonate, Dioctyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate, Ethyl PEG-15 Cocamine Sulfate, Sodium Cocoyl Sarcosinate; Sodium Laureth, Myreth, or Lauryl Sulfate; Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, and TEA-Dodecylbenzenesulfonate.  C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate is a different class of surfactants, but many people find it to be as harsh as sulfates.  You may want to avoid this as well.  This list of sulfates is from Live Curly   Live Free.

One key to having healthy hair is to not over wash it. You want to use the least cleansing method/methods that work for your hair.
Alternate ways to clean your hair.  This list is moving from least cleansing to most cleansing.  Once you have used one of these methods, condition and style as usual.

Water Washing-  To water wash, you wet your hair and scrub the scalp with the pads of your fingers.  Scrub a lot.  If you are used to shampooing, you will have to scrub a whole lot more then you normally do.  When you think you are done, scrub more.  Water washing is cowashing without the conditioner.  Water washing adds less moisture to your hair then cowashing.  If cowashing is too moisturizing for your hair, swap some or all of your cowashes with water washing.  Do not use water washing as your only method of cleaning your hair.  You must also use one of the other methods listed below.  Update:  Water Washing only can work for wavies, but you have to follow a specific method.  I'll write a blog post in the future about how to do this.

Cowashing (conditioner washing)-To cowash, you use conditioner instead of shampoo.  Scrub the roots of your hair with conditioner.  Use the pads of your fingers and not the nails.  Scrub more then you would with shampoo.  When you think you are done, scrub some more.  Continue scrubbing as you rinse your hair.  This helps the water from the shower reach the roots of your hair and makes it easier to get the conditioner rinsed out.  If you cowash exclusively, you must be careful not to put anything in your hair that cannot be removed by conditioner. Here is my post on which ingredients to avoid.
Below is my video demonstrating a cowash in a sweatshirt.  I showered in sweatshirts to help all the wavies learn to cowash.  I hope you appreciate it.  :)

Cleansing Conditioner-  This is a conditioner with mild cleansers in it. The cleansers mean it gets your hair cleaner then cowashing.  One example is Curl Junkie Daily Fix

Condition Wash Condition (CWC)-  Coat the ends of your hair with conditioner. You can either go from the ears down, or just skip the first few inches.  Wash the roots of your hair with shampoo.  This method helps protect the dry ends of  your hair while cleaning the roots.  Try to keep the shampoo and conditioner separate.  When you have rinsed, condition your hair.

Low Poo (non sulfate shampoo)-Sulfate free shampoo is milder then shampoos that contain sulfates.  I should say that for the vast majority of people, sulfate free shampoos are milder then sulfate shampoos.  Some people find sulfate free shampoos to be as harsh as any sulfate shampoo. It is common for people with wavy hair to low poo about once a week.  This varies from person to person. Some wavies low poo daily, some low poo every few months, and others cowash exclusively.

Diluted Sulfate Shampoo- You can dilute sulfate shampoo to make it milder.  Keep in mind that when you dilute products, you also are diluting the preservatives.  Either mix up what you need every time you shampoo, or mix up about a weeks worth at a time and keep it in the refrigerator.  Science-y Hair Blog has more info on how to do this.

Sulfate shampoo (regular shampoo)-Some people will find that they need to use an occasional sulfate shampoo.  This occurs most often in wavies with fine hair.  If your hair needs occasional sulfates, use them and don't feel guilty.  Sulfates are only bad if they are bad for your hair.  If your hair needs sulfates, sulfates are not bad for you.  I'd suggest avoiding all sulfates in the beginning stages of CG.  It takes some time for hair to adjust to the CG method.  It also will take you some time to get to know your own hair.  When you are familiar with your hair's needs, and you find you need a sulfate shampoo...Go for it.

Pre wash treatments-  A trick to taming shampoo is to oil your hair before you wash it.  This helps prevent shampoo from stripping all the natural oils from your hair.  This is most often done with coconut oil.  I have more information about coconut oil prewash treatments here.

Protein Part 1- What it does, Link for protein haters, Which ingredients are protein?

Protein does two main things for hair.  1)  It shores up the hair's inner structure, making it stretchy.  This makes hair stronger.  There are long chains of protein in the cortex that stretch like rubber bands.  Adding protein to hair helps keep these chains in good repair.  2)  Hair that is damaged is damaged permanently, but protein can go a long way toward temporarily repairing that damage.  Protein temporarily fills in the openings/holes in the hair's cuticle.  Having the "holes" closed helps hair hang on to moisture and protein inside the cortex.  Fixing the "holes" makes hair shinier, and makes it act healthier.  Curls will bounce up after a protein treatment if you need one.

Protein needs to be kept in balance with moisture.  Too much of either protein or moisture will give you hard brittle hair.  Not enough moisture will give you dry, rough hair.  Not enough protein your hair will be limp.   I'll do a separate post on how to diagnose hair.

I highly suggest you read this article, if you haven't yet (it was linked in another posts).  It explains protein and moisture balance in hair.
The Fine Art of Protein and Moisture Balancing for Black Hair Care.
The article is about African American hair, but the information is true for all hair.

So does this mean you should run out and put some protein in your hair?  No.  Protein isn't friends with all types of hair.  If your hair is non porous, you do not need protein (unless you have fine hair).  In non porous hair the cuticle lies flat and does non need to be repaired.  If you have coarse hair, you do not need protein (unless also porous, then proceed with caution).  Coarse hair has enough protein in its cortex already.  Adding more protein to either of these hair types will give you hard, rough, brittle hair.  Some people have bad reactions to very small amounts of protein in hair products.  These people are protein sensitive.  See the protein sensitive board on if you think this is you.

Protein is a miraculous thing for hair that needs it.  It adds bounce, shine, strength, can help with frizz, and make hair act healthier.  Porous hair needs protein.  (use caution if you have coarse, porous hair).  Protein will help temporarily fix the damage done to your hair.  Fine hair tends to like protein, no matter what the porosity.  There isn't much room inside fine hair's cortex, because it is relatively smaller then the cortex of medium or coarse hair.  Fine hair seems to always be lacking protein in its interior.  If your hair needs protein check out the Protein Lovers Forum of

This link (posted previously) has pictures of curly hair needing protein and hair with too much protein.
The Pittsburgh Curly:  Protein vs. Moisture

Protein ingredients usually have protein in their name.  Some exceptions are amino acids (very small, mild "proteins"), collagen, and keratin.  Protein can be ingredients in styling products, leave in conditioners, conditioners, etc.  It takes time for protein to make its way into the hair's cortex.  It is more effective in things that are left on the hair  (gels, leave in conditioner, etc.).  It is least effective in shampoo, which is only on the hair a minute.  The single most effective way to get protein into hair is with a protein treatment.  Follow a protein treatment with a deep treatment or a moisturizing conditioner to balance out the protein.  More on this in upcoming posts on protein.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Protein and Moisture Balance for hair.

The article below is a must read for everyone.  Everyone interested in healthy hair needs to have a basic understanding of protein and moisture balance.  In order for your hair to be healthy and for your curls and waves to live up to their potential, your hair must have the optimum amount of protein and moisture.  You want to keep protein and moisture balanced in your hair.  Too much or not enough of either will cause problems.  To understand this, read this article.  The article refers to African American hair, but applies to all hair.  After you read it, you may feel a person only needs to add more protein OR more moisture.  However, it is possible to be low on both protein AND moisture (I'm often low on both).

The Fine Art of Protein and Moisture Balancing for Black Hair Care.

When you begin to care for your hair, you have probably done some previous damage to your hair.  You have likely used hair dye, curling irons, flat irons, repeatedly brushed your hair, etc.  If you have damaged your hair, your hair will need protein.  Protein can help temporarily repair damaged hair (porous hair). The other thing protein can do is to shore up the inner structure of hair.  This helps hair support itself, and therefore gives you bouncy waves and curls. 

So does this mean you should run out and put some protein in your hair?  No.  Protein isn't friends with all types of hair.  If your hair is non porous, you do not need protein (unless you have fine hair).  In non porous hair the cuticle lies flat and does non need to be repaired.  If you have coarse hair, you do not need protein (unless also porous, then proceed with caution).  Coarse hair has enough protein in its cortex already.  Adding more protein to either of these hair types will give you hard, rough, brittle hair.

 This blog post shows pictures of hair with too much protein and hair with not enough protein.  The author of the blog has coarse, porous hair. 
Pittsburgh Curly- Protein vs. Moisture

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Humectants and Dew Points

I am not a scientist.  I'll add links to blog posts of people who thoroughly understand the science behind this stuff.

What is a humectant?  A humectant is an ingredient that draws water to itself.  In normal dew points (see below), humectants draw moisture (water) to your wavy/curly hair from the air and make your waves/curls bounce and behave.  In dry weather (think cold winter or desert), there is no moisture in the air.  In dry weather (low dews) humectants cannot draw moisture from the air, so humectants pull moisture from the only place they can find it, your hair.  In humid weather (sticky air, think summer in the south east), humectants draw too much moisture to hair and cause frizz.

Which ingredients are humectants?  The link I've posted has a list.  The main humectant that seems to cause problems is glycerin.  If you only avoid glycerin in high or low dews, you may be fine.  Every one's hair is different.  Some people can use humectants in low dews without any problems.  I'm not as familiar with high dews (I see few of them), but I would guess there are people who can use humectants in high dews without issues as well.
The Curl Chemist has a list of humectants at the end of the article.   Honey isn't listed, but it is also a humectant.

Dew Points
Relative Humidity is the percentage of water in the air.  Dew points are the temperature at which it will rain or snow.  If your temperature is 70 and your dew point is 50, when the temperature drops to 50, it rains.  Again, the links explain this stuff much better.   Dew points are what you want to pay attention to for your hair.  You can find what your dew point is on Weather Underground  or go to Naturally Curly's home page and click on the frizz forecast.

Science-y Hair Blog explains humidity and dew points more scientifically.
Seasons are Changing- Dew Point Visual Aid

Low Dew Points
Low dew points may start at under 45 to under 30, depending on your hair.  For my hair, a low dew point is under 30.  Avoid humectants, especially glycerin.  Use as moisturizing products as your hair can handle without being over conditioned.  Use more moisturizing rinse outs, more DTs.  You may need less protein.  Even if you don't normally use a leave in, you may want one in low dews.  You many want to seal your hair with a couple drops of oil will seal the moisture in.  After your leave in conditioner, apply a small amount of oil and style as usual. Buy a humidifier for you house.  Even if you only have a small one for your bedroom, your hair spends 1/3 of its life there. When I have low dew points, I avoid glycerin.  I find I only have to avoid glycerin in things that are left on my hair (leave in conditioner and styling products).  You might need to cowash more and low poo less often.

Science-y Hair Blog on dealing with low dew points.
Autumn to Winter Hair and Humidity

Normal Dew Points
Between 30-45 and 60-70.  Use humectants.  Humectants are your friend in normal dews and will make your hair bouncy and lovely.  My hair's ideal dew point is 65.

High Dew Points
Above 60-70.  Avoid humectants, especially glycerin.  Seal your hair with oil to seal the excess moisture out.  You should seal the same way as I described for low dew points.  You will probably need less moisturizing products.  You may not need a leave in conditioner, even if you normally use one.  You may find you need to add more protein into your routine.  You may want to low poo more often and cowash less.

Curl Talk High Dew Point Support Thread
High Dew Point Support- Wavy Edition

This link has the dew points broken down into more categories and more information on what to do at each dew point.  You can find this information at the end of the post.  If you only read one link on this page, read this one.
Pittsburgh Curly- Dew Points
This link has info on anti-humectants (A.K.A stuff for sealing hair)
Curl Chemist- Humidity, Humectants and the Dew Point.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Coconut Oil

Why coconut oil?
Coconut oil is on the short list of things that can penetrate your hair's cuticle. When it penetrates into the cortex, it helps condition and strengthen your hair.  Coconut oil helps your hair retain protein when used in a prewash treatment.  If you are protein sensitive, you may want to avoid coconut oil because it can help your hair retain protein.  Coconut oil also helps prevent hygral fatigue when used in a prewash treatment.   What is hygral fatigue?  You know how if you stretch a rubber band, it returns to the same shape.  But, if you stretch the rubber band over and over and over, it no longer returns to the same shape.  When your hair is wet, the weight of the water makes it stretch.  Then your hair dries and goes back to the original shape.  Eventually, your hair will no longer return to its original shape.  That is hygral fatigue.  Coconut oil (in a prewash treatment) prevents your hair from soaking up as much water, this prevents hygral fatigue.  Since coconut oil prevents the hair from swelling with water, it may also prevent the cuticle from opening as it swells (becoming porous/damaged). Coconut oil can cut down on friction while combing, therefore cutting down on damage.

Much of the above info is from this link.

Coconut allergies are rare, but they do exist.  You may want to do a patch test.

How can you use coconut oil for hair?
My favorite way to use coconut oil is for prewash treatments.  I'll explain how to do one later in the post.  You can mix coconut oil into conditioner to make it into a deep treatment or simply to make conditioner more moisturizing.  You can use coconut oil to seal. (see below)   I mix some coconut oil into my gelatin protein treatment.  You can add coconut oil to flax seed gel.  You can rub a very small amount of coconut oil on you hands to scrunch out the crunch.  I use coconut oil as a pre-hair dye treatment.  This helps keep your hair in better condition when you dye it. You can coat your hair with coconut oil before swimming to protect it from chlorine damage.  Some people add some coconut oil to their ends at night to keep them moisturized.  For many, their hair will soak up the coconut oil before morning.  For me, alas, my ends are still oily in the morning.

How do you use coconut oil to seal hair?  Sealing is adding a very thin layer of oil  to seal in moisture (dry weather/low dew points) or seal out humidity and prevent frizz (humid weather/high dew points).  Add the coconut oil after your leave in conditioner.  Use very little oil, like a few drops.  Rub a small amount of coconut oil in your hands and smooth it over your hair.  Many people find it easier to do this by going one section at a time.  Style as usual.

What kind of coconut oil should I get and where do I find it?
Coconut oil is sold in the cooking oil section of most grocery stores, health food stores, some Walmarts, and many places online.  What kind should you get?

ORGANIC OR NOT ORGANIC?-  IMHO, the soil it is grown in and  the ground water will be able to tell if your coconut oil is organic.  Your hair will not be able to tell.

EXTRA VIRGIN- From what I've read this term is meaningless for coconut oil.  It is just a marketing ploy.

REFINED OR UNREFINED?   Unrefined coconut oil has a lovely coconut scent.  Refined coconut oil doesn't smell like coconuts.  If you don't like the coconut scent, go for the refined.  Many of the studies done with coconut oil use the refined coconut oil, so the refined coconut oil will work.  My personal opinion from my experience is that the unrefined works much better.  I can add more unrefined oil to my hair before it looks oily. This says to me more of the unrefined oil is penetrating the cuticle better and therefore it is working better.  Refined coconut oil works, but I believe unrefined works better.

In India, they use Vatika oil.  Vatika oil is coconut oil plus some ayurvedic herbs including henna and amla.  I haven't tried this yet, but it gets good reviews.  You can buy this online, or possibly at an Indian grocery store.

How do I do a coconut oil prewash treatment?
Ah, the coconut oil prewash treatment.  This is the whole reason I love coconut oil so very, very much.

Add coconut oil to dry hair.  Add enough coconut oil to make your hair look like you have had the flu for a week and haven't had time to wash it.  (That is a stupid description, but it is the best I can do.)  Your hair should look oily, but it does not need to be an oil slick.  Leave the coconut oil in your hair 20 minutes to one hour before washing your hair.  You can choose to leave the coconut oil on as long as overnight. If you leave it in overnight, either use and old pillow case or wrap a scarf around your head to protect your sheets.  The longer coconut oil is on your hair, the more the oil is able to penetrate into the hair's cortex.

How easy or difficult coconut oil is to remove varies from person to person.  I can remove it with a water wash followed by a rinse out conditioner. Many people can cowash coconut oil out.  For others, a low poo will not remove the coconut oil from their hair.  For this reason, I suggest you do a strand/small section test the first time you try a coconut oil prewash treatment.  After you have washed your hair, continue with your regular routine.  Some people find a cowash removes coconut oil better then a low poo. 

How often you should do a coconut oil prewash will also vary from person to person.  I can do a coconut oil prewash every time I wash without any problems.  When my hair was very dry, I did an overnight coconut oil prewash every time I washed my hair.  Others cannot do prewash treatments anywhere near that often or their hair will be oily and possibly over conditioned.  I'd guess once a week might be an average amount of time between coconut oil treatments for most people.

Here is my Youtube video that shows how your hair should look with coconut oil in it for a prewash treatment.

Here is a Wavy Hair Community link to my video on how to do a coconut oil prewash treatment.  You must be a member to view the link.  This is the video that I filmed before starting my Youtube channel.  I was having issues getting videos to upload directly to blogger, so I started a Youtube channel.  There is no info in this video that isn't in this blog post or the above Youtube video, but I thought I'd leave the link anyway.

How do I do my first coconut oil prewash treatment?
I suggest you do a strand/small section test the first time.  For some people, coconut oil is hard to remove.  If you are one of them, you don't want to end up with an oily head of hair.  I'd also suggest starting with 20-30 minutes and working your way up to more time if you wish.  The longer coconut oil is on your hair, the more coconut oil will penetrate into your hair's cortex.  If it turns out coconut oil is hard to remove for your hair, you'll be glad you left it on a shorter time.

How do I use coconut oil to prevent damage from hair dye?
Add coconut oil as done in the prewash treatment.   I've only done this a few times, but I feel it keeps my hair in better condition after being dyed.  In the giant thread from The Long Hair Community, many people believe coconut oil pre-dye treatments help hair dye take better and more evenly.  They even suggest using coconut oil pre-dye treatments for resistant gray hair.  The Long Hair Community thread says that coconut oil (and argan oil) chelate copper.  A proctor and gamble study shows that chelating copper can help with dye uptake.    I can't comment personally on the better dye penetration since I changed my hair dye at the same time I started adding coconut oil pre-dye treatments.  I do an overnight coconut oil treatment before I dye my hair.  These links, especially The Long Hair Community link, have more and better information on using coconut oil before dying hair.
The Long Hair Community- Possible way to protect hair from conventional peroxide damage.
Curlies Curl Forum- Pre-oiling with coconut oil before chemical colour to help prevent damage.

There has been talk on the internet about coconut fading color, especially red hair color.  I've never found this to be true.  Here is a Beauty Brains link on the subject.  Spoiler alert:  They don't know if coconut oil fades color either.
Beauty Brains:  Does Coconut oil fade hair color?  

How do I use coconut oil to help prevent chlorine damage from swimming? 
Science-y Hair Blog says to add coconut oil similarly to the way you would add it for a prewash treatment, but you should be able to use a little less oil, and then swim cap. The Natural Haven suggests you apply coconut oil, soak hair with tap water, wait 15 minutes, apply more coconut oil, put on a swim cap, swim.
Science-y Hair Blog-  Your Hair on Chlorine.  (there are pics of hair under a microscope)
The Natural Haven-  Swimming Questions

How do I use coconut oil to prevent dry scalp?
Basically you just massage coconut oil into your scalp 30 minutes to overnight before you wash it.  I've added a video by Waterlily716 on how to do this.

What else can I use coconut oil for?
I use coconut oil for several other things.  Before I tell you about them, let me caution you, coconut oil is slightly comedogenic (pore clogging).  If you are acne prone, test a small area first to see if it clogs pores for you (varies from person to person).  Coconut oil has been shown to have a low SPF when tested in some studies (To my knowledge, the evidence is not conclusive.).  What does this mean to you?  It means that if you add coconut oil to your skin and go out in the sun, you might be adding some SPF and you probably aren't making matters worse.  You aren't turning your self into a rotisserie chicken.  One more thing.  Just for the record, I'm not a person that thinks just because something is natural, it is automatically better.  My routine is filled with natural and decidedly not natural products.  I choose coconut oil because it works.

Chart that shows SPF's of oils. 
The Beauty Brains thinks Coconut Oil's SPF is around 7.
Can I Use Coconut Oil as a Sunscreen?

I use coconut oil as a after shower oil.  Some people have replaced their lotion with coconut oil.  I use coconut oil as a cuticle oil. A woman at the Wavy Hair Community with very dry skin shaves her legs with coconut oil occasionally.  I also use coconut oil as a under eye moisturizer.  It can be used as a facial moisturizer.  I use it as a make-up remover.  Dr. Oz (doctor with a TV talk show) says it is very good for chapped lips and also has health benefits when eaten.   It is great for popping popcorn.  Coconut oil has a high water content, so it steams like crazy when you pop popcorn.  It will look like it is burning, but it isn't.  It makes your house smell like a movie theater.  I haven't tried yet, but really want to use coconut oil to make homemade magic shell for ice cream (I'll probably skip the added spices in the recipe).

I'd love to hear about all the ways to use coconut oil that I haven't mentioned in this post. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What You Should Know if You Plan to Post on Curl Talk.

I want to make it clear that Curl Talk states all this stuff in its user agreement.  I'm not trying to accuse them of anything.  Some people don't read the user agreements.  Some people may not have read the agreement in a while.  Since links on my blog will send you to the Curl Talk Forum, I wanted to tell you about some things I think you should be aware of.

Naturally Curly uses Curl Talk quotes from members in their articles and post links to threads in their articles.  Their current policy is not to ask or inform a member that their quote has been used, that a thread they posted on has been linked in an article, or that a thread they started has been linked in an article.  Naturally Curly is currently looking at a way to inform members after the fact that a quote or thread has been used.  They expect to be able to do this in a few months.

When you post on Curl Talk, it is easy for the posts to become conversational.  I've seen people post about their husbands, their kids, their health problems, etc. The feeling is the threads are temporary.  The are at the top of  a forum for a few day and then disappear into the sea of threads.  I feel, if a thread is linked to an article, the thread becomes more permanent. Everyone has different levels of privacy they would like to maintain.  Some of you will not care if you posted about your husband and that thread is linked to an article.  Some of you would not want that to happen.  Be sure to keep in mind that you can be quoted and threads can be linked at any time.  Make sure you don't post anything you wouldn't want quoted in an article.

Here is just one example of the way threads have been linked in articles:
A Curl Talk member decided to post some photos of herself as a comic relief post.  She took a few progressive photos of her hair as she brushed it.  In the pictures, her hair got progressively bushier.  She posted this thread on the 2 forum, because she knew we wavies would get the joke.  Many wavies have been told that they should go brush their hair.  Wavies know that if you do brush you hair, you  get big bushy "Hermione hair".  The posts in this thread were comments like "LOL", "My hair used to look like that when I didn't know not to brush it".  The meat of the thread was the original poster's pictures.  This thread was linked to an article with the title "Wavy Manifesto:  I Don't Brush My Hair".  This article was about the pictures and would have made no sense at all without the link to the thread with the pictures.  The woman who posted the pictures was not aware the article existed.  The original poster was eventually informed that this article existed through the grapevine by another Curl Talk member.  I don't think any of us members guessed that an article like this was a possibility when she posted the brushed hair thread.  My personal belief is that in this specific case (and future similar cases), Naturally Curly should have gotten the member's permission to link her thread in an article.  Naturally Curly does not agree that they should have asked her first and they have no plans to do things differently in the future.  Trust me, I asked them several times. has a policy that they do not use member pictures in articles.  However in this case, they found a way to use the member's pictures without technically breaking their own rule.  IMHO, they broke the spirit of their own rule by finding a loophole.  The thread and article were meaningless without the pictures.

If you post, keep in mind that posts are regularly quoted by other members.  Even after begins to inform people about threads linked to articles, you will only have so much control.  You can delete your post and/or pictures after a thread has been linked to an article.  But, if your post has been quoted, you will be out of luck.  You cannot delete what another member has quoted. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that if you post it, Naturally Curly owns it.  If you are an author, scientist, hair professional, etc., this is something to keep in mind.  You may not have any current plans of using your hair knowledge for a project, but that may change in the future.

Monday, May 7, 2012

What do I need to start the Curly Girl method?

I believe it is best to start slow.  Start with either cheap products or samples until you get a sense of what your hair likes and does not like.  This will save you money, because not everything is going to work.  Check the travel sizes in stores for CG products.   The Curl Talk member KathyMac sells samples of some of the online brands that cater to curly and wavy hair (Spiral Solutions, Curl Junkie, Donna Marie, etc.).  Click on the Fotki in her signature to see her list of products.  The only way I know of to order from her is to be a member of Curl Talk.  Send KathyMac a private message.  Tell her what you want to order and your zip code and she'll tell you what your order will cost.  Her shipping is reasonable.  I was very pleased with her service and I've never read anything but glowing reviews.

If you end up with big bottles of products that don't work for you, you can sell or swap them on the Curl Talk swap boards.  Some women's shelters will take used hair products.  You can shave your legs with conditioner.  I remember one member who used conditioner in place of fabric softener.  You can use your shampoo as a body wash.

I'm going to mention some products.  Always double check the ingredients list in case the formulas have changed.  These are just some of the options available.  This post has links to lists of CG products.  Some people start with the Deva line, because is makes things easy.  When people finally settle on products, very few are still using the Deva line. The L'Oreal EverSleek line is CG.  The other L'Oreal Ever-Whatever lines are a mixed bag of CG and not CG.

To start, you will need:

1.  Something to dry your hair with-  You do not want to use terrycloth because terry cloth is damaging to hair. Choose one of the following.  I prefer microfiber, because it gets my hair dryer then the other options.

Microfiber towels-You can use microfiber towels from the automotive section or you might find microfiber towels marketed for cleaning.  You can also get microfiber towels made for hair.  The brand name of mine is Aquis.  Turbie Twist makes a microfiber version of their hair turban.

Flour Sack Towels- found in the kitchen towel section of stores.

100% Cotton t-shirts-  It is a good use for your old 100% cotton shirts.  Some people find long sleeve t-shirts work best for plopping.

2.  If you are wavy, you should have a non sulfate shampoo on hand.   Most wavies find they need an occasional non sulfate shampoo.  Shea Moisture Retention Shampoo (Target, CVS, Sally's,Walgreens), Deva Care Low Poo (Salons, Ulta), and Jessicurl Gentle Lather Shampoo (Online) were voted best by the Wavy Hair Community.  Other ground options are most of the Organix shampoos (their conditioners are not CG) and Burt's Bees Super Shiny Grapefruit and Sugar Beet.

3.  You should get a cowash conditioner.  Can you cowash with your rinse out conditioner?  Yes, but I wouldn't recommend it for most people. Almost everyone will want something more moisturizing and relatively thicker for a rinse out conditioner.  For a cowash condtioner, you will want something that cleans well and is thin enough to spread easily.  Vo5, Suave Naturals,  or Tresemme Naturals Volumizing are good cowash options. 

4.  Your need a rinse out conditioner.  This conditioner will be thicker and more moisturizing then your cowash (unless you need very little moisture for your hair).  There are many rinse out options.  You can use either a bit of your rinse out conditioner or your cowash conditioner as a leave in conditioner.  You do not need to buy a separate leave in conditioner to start out.  You may or may not choose to buy a separate leave in later.  For a moisturizing rinse out option, I personally like Renpure Organics (red bottle, hard to find on the ground now, but Amazon has it).  GVP Conditioning Balm (Sally Beauty, generic Biolage) and DevaCare One Condition are loved by the Wavy Hair Community.  Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisturizing is a great medium moisture conditioner.

5.  A product for hold.  Most people choose to use gel.  When your hair is 100% dry, you can scrunch out the crunch of gel.  Some gel options are LA Looks Sports or Curls gel, Volumax Mega Gel (Sally's) , Ecostyler (ethnic section of Sally Beauty or CVS), Herbal Essence Totally Twisted, Spiral Solutions Firm Hold Gel (contains aloe, online, natural), Sweet Curls Elixirs Crazy Curly Hard Hold Elixir (online, natural, has aloe), Aussie Instant Freeze (drugstores), Biosilk Rock Hard Gelle (very hard hold).

6.  A go to updo.  Something you can do fast.  While you are experimenting with new products and new styling methods, you will have failures.  It is inevitable.  On those days you will want a way to quickly put your hair up.  Check my updo page (tabs at the top of the page).

7.  A wide tooth comb.  You can just use your fingers to comb your hair, but you will probably want a comb.

Things you don't absolutely need, but will probably want:
8.  A diffuser.  Water can make your hair heavy and pull out your waves downward as they dry.  Diffusing can help remove some of the water weight.  Without the water weight to pull hair down, your hair will have more curl.

9.  A curl enhancer.  Most people find they need more then one product to get the waves they want.  It is common for people to use a  gel for hold and a curl cream or jelly product for curl enhancement.  Homemade Flax Seed Gel is a good place to start. It is very cheap to make and has a high success rate.  This is a good one to try if you have fine hair.  Flax Seed Gel does not weigh down most fine hair.  If you would prefer not to make your own, you can buy it at Sweet Curls Elixirs on ETSY (online).  Other great options are a curl enhancers with aloe as a ingredient.  Aloe works great for curly and wavy hair.  Some options are Spiral Solutions Curl Enhancing Jelly (online), Kinky Curly Curling Custard (Target, whole foods, online), As I Am Curling Jelly (Sally's).  For a curl cream- Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie (Target, Walgreens), Curl Junkie Coffee-Coco Curl Cream-Lite (online), Shea Moisture Curl & Style Conditioning Milk (Target, Walgreens) or AG Recoil (online).

10.  Treatments. You may want to get a deep treatment or a protein treatment, depending on your hair's condition and properties.  I suggest you test treatments, especially protein treatments, on a small section/curl of hair before trying it on your whole head.  It might save from a whole head of awful. 

For a Deep Treatment you need something that is more moisturizing then your regular conditioner.  For a deep treatment, you can simply soup up you regular conditioner by adding oils, honey, etc.   It is good if your deep treatment has ingredients that can penetrate the hair's cortex, such as olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil.  DT options include:  Curl Junkie Repair Me (online), Spiral Solutions Deeply Decadent Moisture (online).

Protein Treatments (if your hair needs protein):  I'd suggest the gelatin protein treatment on the recipe page of Science-y Hair blog.  It is very cheap to make and very popular.  It is a very strong PT, so keep that in mind.  Because it is so strong, you may want to start with one of the other options first.   (my post on the gelatin PT)  Other options are Spiral Solutions Repairing Protein Treatment (online), Joiko K-pac (salons) and it's Sally Beauty knock off (both contain mineral oil, which is hard to remove for some hair and easy for others), Nexxus Emergencee (Walmart, CVS), Curl Junkie Repair Me (online), Ion Effective Care (Sally's, they sell cheap sample packs, milder PT).

11.  A Hair Analysis.  A hair analysis can take a lot of the guesswork out of picking products for your hair and save you money in the long run.  I personally recommend GoosefootPrints on Etsy.   You can see my sample GoosefootPrint analysis here.  Another option is the analysis at Live Curly Live Free. 

This post on The Wavy Tales was written to help new wavies.  It is similar to my post, but from another point of view.  Double check the ingredients on the product mentioned.  The post is a few years old, and some formulas may have changed.

Thank you to all the members of the Wavy Hair Community who helped with product suggestions.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Structure of Hair

You can find better explanations if you look elsewhere on the web, but here is my cliff notes version of the structure of hair.  This is what I think you need to know if you have wavy or curly hair.  I am not a scientist.

The inside of the hair is the cortex.  The cortex is filled with strands of keratin protein.  The proteins form long stretchy rubber band like strands.  These strands give hair it's strength and help support waves and curls.  Fine hair (small diameter of a single hair) is always lacking in protein because the cortex is smaller and can't hold the proper amount of protein easily.  Coarse hair (large diameter of a single hair) has enough protein and and adding more protein (in hair products) can be too much protein.  I talk about this in some of my other posts.

The outer layer of hair is the cuticle.  The cuticle is like scales on fish or shingles on a roof.  It is actually 4-12 layers of fish scales or shingles on a roof (estimates vary and it varies by ethnicity).  The closed cuticle keeps the proper balance of moisture and protein inside the cortex.  The "shingles" laying flat (closed) also reflects light and make hair shiny.  When the cuticle becomes damaged from heat, sun, wind, brushing, dyeing, straightening, perming, etc., you may lose a layer or more of "shingles", the "scales" will open up, or it may loose some individual "shingles".  You may even get a hole in you cuticle.  Through these openings, moisture and maybe some protein will escape.  When this happens, you hair is not as healthy.  Again, more on this later.  The picture (above left) is of damaged hair under a microscope.

If you looked at a cross section of hair, very straight hair would be a perfect circle like looking at the top of a straw.  The curlier hair gets, the more egg shaped the cross section gets. It is like when you squeeze a straw between your fingers.  Kinky curly hair, usually found in African Americans, is almost flat.  Kinky curly hair not only has C shaped bends like curly hair, it also has torsion twists.  Now try to envision shingling these hair shapes.  The straight, circular based straw would have the "shingles" lie flat against the straw.  The flattened oval shaped kinky curly hair with C shaped bends and twists would have shingles that did not lie flat against the base.  The curlier your hair is, the more likely for your "shingles" to be open (a.k.a. porous).  If your hair is porous, you need to replace the moisture that has escaped and close the openings in the cuticle using protein.  (more on this in later posts)  The structure of curly hair causes it to have very different needs then the needs of straight hair. Curly hair must be treated differently to keep it healthy.   I suggest you read this post to understand the difference between kinky and curly hair.  I will also add that people of all ethnicities and curl types may have some kinky hair mixed in with their curly or wavy hair.

For further reading on hair structure see these random links I have bookmarked:
Exploratorium Magazine, Better Hair Through Chemestry 
Black Girl Long Hair- Sturcture of Hair Close Up

Saturday, May 5, 2012

My Routine

I get questions about my routine from time to time and I thought it would just be easier to put it in a post.  This is more information then you could possibly want.  Just skip to the parts you are interested in.  If you are unfamiliar with the styling methods mentioned, check out this post.

I have fine to very fine, thin (not thin enough to cause problems), naturally porous (40% kinking), 2b hair with normal elasticity.  My hair needs a lot of encouragement to clump.  Ecostyler is a magic clump maker for me.  My modified super soaker method also helps me get clumps.  When my hair was shorter then shoulder length I would plop in a microfiber towel to encourage curl, and then use a combination of the Smaster's method and Pixiecurl diffusing.  Biosilk Rock Hard Gelle (BRHG) gives me fantastic hold.  BRHG helps hold hair in place while it drys and therefor helps encourage curls.  When my hair got longer then shoulder length, I no longer use the Smaster's method because it didn't make much difference. 

Prewash coconut oil treatment-  I do this when I have time and when my hair seems dry.  Sometimes I do my whole head, sometimes I only add oil from the ear level down. I add enough oil to make it look like I've had the flu for a week and haven't felt well enough to wash my hair.  I leave it in for a minimum of 20 minutes, but usually for an hour.  If my hair seems very dry I'll leave the oil on overnight.  Be sure to sleep on an old pillow case or wrap your hair in a scarf to prevent staining your sheets.

Washing:  In the winter (very cold, low dews)- I cowash with Suave or water wash.  I use Renpure shampoo (low poo), red bottle, or Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo about once every 10 days (as needed).  I condition with Renpure conditioner, red bottle.

In the summer (normal dews)- I low poo with  Renpure (red bottle), Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo, or water wash.  I make a diluted version of the Renpure or Shea Moisture by diluting it with water and using xanthan gum to thicken it.  I make small batches and store it in the fridge.  When I add a Pedaheh's Recipe page to this blog, the recipe will be included. I use Renpure (red bottle) to condition. I'm looking for a medium moisture conditioner to use some times.  The one I was using had a formula change.  I usually condition from the ears down.  Sometimes I'll mix some Ion Effective Care (from Sally Beauty Supply) with my conditioner to boost the protein.  Sometimes I will use Ion Effective Care Treatment as a medium moisture, protein conditioner.

I finger comb to detangle with conditioner in my hair.  Then I use a wide tooth comb and part my hair with the conditioner in.  I'm careful not to disturb my part as I rinse out conditioner.

Once a month I shampoo with Ion Swimmer's Shampoo to remove hard water build up.

Modified Super Soaker:  If you are not familiar with the super soaker method, read this link and watch the video on page 2.  The video should help explain what I'm talking about.  I rake a pea size of leave in conditioner into my hair.  I use Renpure Organics Conditioner (red bottle).  I may just skip the first few inches of my hair or I may add leave-in only from the ears down.  If I'm smart enough to remember, I rake my hair up and away from my scalp.
The next step is to cup my hands together and fill them with water.  I bring my hands to my roots, gathering hair in them on the way to my scalp. When I remove my hands, I will have lovely dripping clumps.  I do this for my whole head.  When I'm done, I scrunch out as much water as possible.  Then I scrunch in a 50/50 mix of ecostyler and flax seed gel ( in normal dews) or salon care aloe gel (sally beauty supply) and flax seed gel (in low dews).  I scrunch out as much water as possible with my hands.

Plop:  I plop into an aquis microfiber towel.  I owned this towel before starting CG and haven't tried other ones.  I do prefer microfiber to t-shirts or flour sack towels because microfiber dries my hair more.  I plop 20 minutes-ish.  When I take down the plop, my part is still there.

Diffuse:   I pixie diffuse around the perimeter of my hair for about a minute per section.  Then I wet my hands and scrunch in a dime size of Biosilk Rock Hard Gelle.  (Smaster's method).  I go around the perimeter of my head again, pixie diffusing.  Then I either air dry to finish or sit under a hooded dryer in the cold winter.

Second Day Hair:  I'm lucky, because second day hair is very easy for me.  I finger comb.  I mix a pea size each of FSH and Renpure conditioner or use only Renpure conditioner.  I scrunch this into the ends of my hair.  

Treatments: I do a protein treatment (PT) once a week.  I usually shampoo before a PT, but sometimes I cowash instead.  I alternate between my version of the gelatin PT (the original gelatin PT recipe is on the (recipe page of Science-y Hair Blog) and Ion Effective Care.

Gelatin PT (My more moisturizing version)
1 tsp + 1/8 tsp gelatin (half packet)
1 T water
1 T honey
1 T oil (half coconut and half olive)
1/2 T conditioner (renpure)
1 T yogurt
1/8 tsp citric acid

I warm the water in the microwave.  This takes only seconds.  Keep an eye on it because it will boil quickly.  Dissolve the gelatin in the water.  Add honey and oils so they will melt/dissolve.  Mix in the rest.

To begin with, I shampoo or cowash.  Then I towel dry hair and apply PT.  I leave this on one hour, but you can leave it less time.  Read the original recipe for more options.  Rinse and towel dry.  Add either Renpure for 10 minutes or Curl Junkie Repair Me for 30 minutes to 1 hour.  I only need Repair Me in the dry winter.  Rinse and style as usual. 
On the alternate weeks, I use Ion Effective Care as my PT.  I leave it on 15 minutes to an hour, depending on how much time I have.  Sometimes I need to follow with a rinse out conditioner (renpure), and sometimes Ion Effective Care is moisturizing enough on its own. 

What do I do in high dews?  Updo and/or tears. :)  Sealing doesn't work for me and I'm still trying to figure out how to cope with high dews.  Luckily for me, there aren't many high dew days where I live.

The Products:
Coconut oil-  This is a Holy Grail (HG) product for me. Helps moisturize dry hair.  Coconut oil also helps prevents hygral fatugue. The link takes you to a blog called The Natural Haven.  The Natural Haven has great info on coconut oil (do a blog search for coconut oil to find the info).  My blog post on coconut oil.

Renpure Orgaincs Shampoo (red bottle)- I haven't tried a ton of non sulfate shampoos, so I can't really judge them fairly.  This one works fine and doesn't strip my hair.  It has amodimethicone toward the tail end of the list.  I don't worry about it since I use the Ion shampoo once a month.  In theory, the Renpure shampoo itself should remove the amodimethicone.  This product is getting hard to find on the ground.  I'll probably need to find a new shampoo.

Ion Swimmer's Shampoo-You can buy this at Sally Beauty Supply.  I use this once a month to remove hard water build up.  I don't use it more often because my weird hair actually prefers some hard water build up .  This contains C14 16 Olefin Sulfonate.  Some people find C 14 16 Olefin Sulfonate to be as harsh or even worse then any sulfate.  I haven't had any issues, but I only use this once a month.

Renpure Organics Conditioner (red bottle)-  When I started, I had very dry hair.  I found three conditioners that worked for me.  One is no longer CG.  The other conditioner I liked was Sally Beauty's  GVP Conditioning Balm (generic version of Biolage, I give it a 7 out of 10 for moisture).  I like Renpure a little better because it is slightly more moisturizing for me, 8 out of 10.  This product is getting hard to find on the ground.  I may go back to GBP conditioning balm.

Ecostyler Krystal-This is another Holy Grail (HG) product for me.  It is a magic clump maker.  You can find this in the ethnic section of Sally Beauty Supply or CVS.  Sally Beauty has a tub for about 4$.  It goes on sale for about 3$ almost every other month.  This product feels weird on hair.  I'm so used to the way it feels, so I can't really describe the feeling.  Ecostyler Krystal has both glycerin and wheat protein.  Some hair doesn't like wheat protein and you may want to avoid glycerin (humectant) in high or low dews.

Salon Care Firm Hold Gel with aloe-I ordered this from the Sally Beauty Supply website.  IDK if they have it in brick and mortar stores or not.  I must warn you that this gel has an unpleasant smell.  Luckily, the smell doesn't linger at all for me.  This gel doesn't work as well for me as Ecostyler, but it works.  Since it does not contain glycerin, I can use it in the dry winter.

Flax Seed Gel (FSG) -It is hard to quantify what FSG does.  It sort of coaxes my hair into behaving.  It tames it.  It adds moisture and shine.  I add a lot of extras to my FSG for more hold.  I'm still playing with my recipe. My post on FSG.

Sweet Curls Elixirs Crazy Curly Hard Hold Elixir-  This aloe and flax gel magically makes my hair curly in the winter.  I can use this on its own or along with Biosilk Rock Hard Gelle.

Biosilk Rock Hard Gellee (BRHG)-  HG product. If they ever stop making this gel, I will cry actual tears out of my eyes over gel.  I won't be proud of myself, but I will probably cry.  I love this stuff so much.  It has the strongest hold of any gel out there.  People often mix this with their gel or use a pea size over another gel.  I use about a dime size.  This gel holds my fine, hard to encourage curls in place as they dry.

Gelatin Protein Treatment-  HG product. This protein treatment completely changed my hair for the better.  I use my own version (see above recipe).  It helps my hair retain moisture by closing the "holes" in my cuticle.  If your cuticle has lots of "holes:, moisture escapes through the "holes".  I used to have to work really hard to keep my hair moisturized before I started using this PT.  The gelatin PT makes my hair feel more like hair.  It adds elasticity.  It shores up the inner structure of my hair so it can better support itself.  I just flat out love it.
My gelatin PT post.

Ion Effective Care- I use this in several ways.  I use it as a protein treatment, I use it as a rinse out conditioner, or sometimes I mix this with my rinse out conditioner to add protein. 

Curl Junkie Curl Rehab-  I have a love hate relationship with this one.  It does a fantastic job of moisturizing my hair.  You only need to use a small amount, so you don't go through it quickly.  My hair is not a fan of shea butter.  It seems to leave my hair coated.  IDK if I'll buy this when I run out or look for another deep treatment. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Wavy Hair Community

Come join us in the Wavy Hair Community on Facebook.  It is a group dedicated to wavy hair.  It is a closed group.  Non members can see the member list, but can't read the posts.  Just request a invitation to join.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Curly Girl Products

I'm going to give you these links, but you have to promise, cross your heart, hope to die that you will double check the ingredients on your bottle.  Product lists are impossible to keep current.  Ingredient lists are always changing.

Going No Poo, Goodbye Shampoo Click the links on the right side for other Curly Girl (CG) products.  This blog includes products that have the ingredient amodimethicone.
Healthy Curls List products that are also protein free.
Curl Girl Journey Has products listed on the left side of the blog.
There is also a list on the Facebook group Wavy Hair Community.  Request an invitation to join.
The Pinerest page of Tiffany Anderson-Taylor/Curl Whisperer/Live Curly Live Free founder/Struts Wife (she has many names) recommends CG products by hair texture.
Most of the products on Wavy Hair Community Product Reviews are CG.

The Wavy Tales has great CG product reviews.  Her post The Conditioner Scales ranks conditioners by how moisturizing they are.  How moisturizing a person finds a conditioner varies from person to person, but the rankings are still very helpful.