Category Archives: Hair Styles & Tips

Quick Tip #17: Use Coconut Oil CAUTIOUSLY!

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Fresh Coconuts (Set of 3)

Ok, scientifically coconut oil IS NOT a protein but, in a sense, I feel like it behaves like one because it contains lauric acid (a medium chain fatty acid that binds easily to protein in hair). Because of this, coconut oil has the ability to penetrate the hair shaft (due to its low molecular weight), reducing protein loss and strengthening the hair’s structure. It also creates a “hardening effect” due to its ability to change viscosity so quickly (i.e., from a liquid to a solid state) at low temperatures. As a result, harsh winter winds, for example, can create stiff hair very quickly. In addition, repeated use of coconut oil can cause protein build-up, drastically reducing hair’s elasticity and causing follicles to become dull, dry, brittle, easily tangled, and more prone to breakage.

Have you been overusing coconut oil? If so, consider utilizing a deep conditioner or moisturizing hair mask to restore the protein:moisture balance of your hair. Need a complete restart? Try a reconstructor instead.

 

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Quick Tip #16: Hack for Storing Bobby Pins (and other things!)

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quick-tip-16

Use a traditional magnetic
paper clip holder in a new way!

If you’re anything like me, you’ve got bobby pins everywhere … in your pocket … in your purse … on your vanity … on the bathroom floor … in your hair … The list could go on and on. Storing them can be problematic because you need them at the ready but don’t necessarily want them in a pile of 50 on your bathroom counter. Want your bobby pins neatly contained yet within arm’s reach? Buy yourself a magnetic paper clip holder. No, you’re not going to swap out your bobby pins for paper clips. But, you are going to use them to store them. Because the paper clip holder is magnetized, you will no longer have to stress over dumping over your collection of bobby pins just to get the one (or 20) you need for your hairstyle of the day. You can simply grab and go like the civilized hair aficionado I know you are (or want to be). 😉

Use color to organize your bobby pins in style!

Add a touch of whimsy!

Need to #getorganized? Buy several and use one to store bobby pins and the others for hair pins, small hair clips, or miniature hair accessories. They come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. You can go traditional or avante garde. I personally love the bright bold coloring of the open bowl style. You can use one for each type of bobby pin! Or, you can go contemporary with a dual top holder. Either way, I think my Spring cleaning just got started early!

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Quick Tip #15: Say, “No!” to Traditional Towels

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quick-tip-15

I know, I know! You refuse to give up your traditional loop towel for a T-shirt. I agree. A T-shirt just doesn’t dry hair as efficiently (or neatly). I, too, tried drying my hair with a T-shirt, and it just DID NOT work for me! I’m sorry, but it’s just not for everyone!

However, traditional towels can cause friction, frizz, and even lead to hair breakage, especially over an extended period of time. So, what’s a naturalista to do? Use microfiber instead!

I love microfiber hand towels and bath towels. And, over Christmas, I received a Turbie Twist in an adorable chevron pattern. The best part? It dries my mane quickly so I can moisturize my hair without it being sopping wet (or waiting hours on end for it to completely air dry).

I’ve been using microfiber for a while, but my Turbie Twist has become a game changer. With the Turbie Twist, form meets function because it’s both cute and practical. I often wrap up my hair and then eat breakfast, check e-mails, etc. Then, after about 30-60 minutes, I’ll untie my Turbie Twist and moisturize my hair. It has virtually erased the “waiting game” during my hair wash routine. Gone are the days of being self-imprisoned at home while I wait for my hair to dry! I absolutely love my Turbie Twist, and I think you will love it, too!

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Quick Tip#14: Ditch the Arctic Rinse

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arctic-rinse

You’re probably used to doing a cold-water rinse in the summer at the end of each hair shampoo and condition session. If you’re a really good hair aficionado, you also do it in the wintertime, too. But, stop! Those arctic cold hair rinses you’ve been suffering through are unnecessary. I know, I know. You’ve been told that cold water rinses help to close the hair’s cuticle, thereby creating more moisturized, shiny hair. However, according to Dr. Eric Pressly of the University of California at Santa Barbara, this is a complete myth.

The process of opening and closing the hair’s cuticle is a very fast one that requires deft balancing of pH levels. Chances are you’re not taking a pH probe or litmus paper into the shower stall with you. Because there are minimal differences between hot and cold water, even if you were, it would likely be a waste of time given that hair is dead and lacks blood vessels and nerves. In fact, according to Anabel Kingsley of the Philip Kingsley Trichological Clinic, cold water could have the adverse effect of constricting the scalp’s capillaries, preventing vital nutrients from reaching it.

I personally never noticed much of a difference after doing cold water rinses, and I’ve been doing them loyally for over six years! In fact, recently (in the past month or so), I stopped doing them and swapped them out for a warm water rinse instead. My curls have been loving it. #happyscalp

To be honest, I’m kind of ashamed that I stuck with something for so long that produced ZERO results. The upside? No more cold water rinses means less time in the shower, which means a simplified hair regimen, which means a happier coily curly me. And, now, you can have that, too, as my little, early Christmas present to you. You’re welcome (and Merry Christmas)!

Still want to get your arctic rinse on? Go for it! Just know that the shinier hair you notice right after is all in your head. 😉

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Quick Tip #13: Protect Your Ends!

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quick-tip-13

We all know that the ends of our hair are the oldest and most fragile parts of our mane. But, protective styling isn’t the only way you can save your strands. Have fine, fragile hair like I do that prevents you from utilizing most protective styles? Then, adopt a simpler, more streamlined approach. Use oil! I like to use castor oil on the ends of my hair. I usually buy the large 32 oz. bottle from the Heritage Store because it is hexane-free and cold-pressed. Buying in bulk also allows me to guarantee I’ll have plenty of this lusciously thick oil on hand (given that I like to use oils in various applications). If you’re a fellow DIY product mixtress like I am, you’ll want to do the same.

I originally started using castor oil when I was transitioning from relaxed to natural. After using it several times a week for a month, my brittle and damaged relaxed strands actually started growing again. Although I have been fully natural for a few years now, I realized that my trusty castor oil was just sitting in the back of one of my beauty cabinets. I think I had somehow associated it with transitioning from relaxed to natural and stopped using it. So, in the last two weeks I have readopted castor oil back into my healthy hair regimen, and my hair has been loving it! I simply use it to seal my ends after moisturizing or whenever my ends feel weak or brittle. This thick oil instantly revives my tresses and protects it from friction or over-manipulation. Have fragile ends like I do? Give castor oil a try!

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Textured Bun with Faux Bangs

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This textured bun is super easy and can be done on freshly washed or previously styled hair. This works best on stretched or mostly stretch hair (i.e., a previous twist-out) best.

1.     Create a U-shaped part at the front of your head (for your faux bangs).

2.     Gently pull the rest of your into a high ponytail. Secure with an ouchless elastic or ribbon tie.

3.     Use perm rods to roller set your bangs. Section your ponytail and rollerset each section. I used the orchid cold wave rods by Diane.

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Front View with Orchid Rollers

Side View with Orchid Rollers

Side View with Orchid Rollers

4.     Add a satin bonnet, and you’re ready for bed!

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Side View with Satin Bonnet

5.     In the morning (or whenever you’re ready), gently remove the perm rods. It should look something like this.

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Look Prior to Styling

6.     After admiring your banging curls, create your favorite bun. You can do a simple roll and tuck or something more complicated. I just gently combed through my curls, lifted up half of my ponytail, pulled it forward to the left, and pinned it in place. Then, I took the remaining half and did the same, pinning it to the opposite side.

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Front View
(After Creating Bun)

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Top View
(After Creating Bun)

7.     Fluff your bangs to softly loosen some of the curls.

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After Loosening Curls

8.     Lift your bangs (to make them easier to pin).

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Don’t apply too much tension …

9.     Add a bobby pin on each side about halfway. This will create the faux bang effect.

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After Adding Bobby Pins

10.     Here is what it looked like when I finished!

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The End Result: Top View

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The End Result: Side View

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Henna: Third Time’s the Charm!

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Third-time Charm

For my third henna treatment, I used a 2:1 ratio of body art quality (BAQ) henna and indigo powder. I mixed 34 grams of (BAQ) henna with just enough steeped peppermint tea to create a paste. I let it sit for 24 hours. Then, the day of application, I mixed 16 grams of indigo powder with enough bottled water to form a paste.  Next, I added the indigo powder paste to the henna mix and stirred the two together until well-blended.

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Indigo Powder + Water Mix

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Henna Mix + Indigo Mix Blended Together

I applied the mixture to all of my strands in sections and saran wrapped my hair. I left the henna/indigo blend in my hair for 60 minutes while sitting under a hooded dryer. Then, I co-washed my hair. It took a lot more effort than when I hennaed my hair and when I used henna and amla powder. I had to co-wash my hair 3 times to remove the mixture from my hair. Then, I deep conditioned my hair for 30 minutes under my hooded hair dryer. Next, I moisturized my hair with my lavender hair spritz, and sealed in the moisture with some whipped shea butter.

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Results achieved after my
first henna treatment.

Results achieved after henna/amla treatment.

Results achieved after my
henna/amla treatment.

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Results achieved after my henna/indigo treatment.

My first henna treatment resulted in a dip-dyed hair effect on my ends where some permanent hair dye remained. The amla powder dialed down the bright, coppery tones from my initial henna treatment. However, this indigo mixture really helped to balance out my overall hair color while imparting really natural reddish brown highlights. It took three tries to get the effect I wanted, but I was finally able to achieve the overall color I desired. So, going forward, future treatments should impart the same effect all over my tresses … and all without harsh chemicals or the fear of damaging my fragile, fine strands! I couldn’t be more pleased.

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