Category Archives: Hair Styles & Tips

Quick Tip #21: Make Your Own DIY Hair Ties & Headbands

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Are you constantly losing your hair ties or find yourself buying new sets of headbands month after month? 😡Well, it may be high time that you made your own! 😲 Don’t worry, it’s super easy to do, even if you aren’t an avid DIYer like myself. (Honest!) All you need is some yardage of hair elastic and a pair of fabric shears. That’s it! (FYI: The non-sewer in me is jumping up and down!💃😄)

Just measure the elastic to the length that you want (or need). You can create a hair tie or headband of any size or width. Cut the elastic, and knot (or double knot if you want a little extra security) the ends. If you’re feeling paranoid, you can add a dot of fabric glue in-between the knotted fabric. If you’re the type to be extra (Raises hand!), you can use the straight edge of a burn tool to lightly seal the ends and prevent fraying. (Yes, please!) Repeat until you have made all the hair ties and headbands your heart desires. 😍 Money saved and midnight runs to the Big Box for more elastics are no more … You’re welcome. 😉

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Heatless Blowdry: How to Stretch Natural Hair via Wet Wrapping

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I’ve been trying to find ways to stretch my natural hair. Although I loved my blowout after using The HONEY BLOWOUT Treatment, I wanted to try to see if I could get similar results with a method that didn’t involve heat. Because I have very fine hair, I was worried about the long-term effects that the consistent use of heat might have on my strands. Watch the video below to see what I did and what my results looked like.

Spoiler Alert: I think I prefer the way my hair looked with the heatless option better! LOL. Let me know what you think!

 

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Soothe your Itchy Scalp with Baking Soda!

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This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon, eBay, etc.), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.

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Creative Commons License by WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Trash Can Image Shared by RyGuy
Chalice Image Shared by Locutus Borg (José-Manuel Benito Álvarez), Photo Adapted

 

While doing research for a natural hair treatment to calm a pretty bad seborrheic dermatitis flare up I’ve been experiencing recently,  I stumbled upon a DIY scalp mask made with baking soda. I almost didn’t try it because the testimonials seemed evenly split down the middle between raving reviews and angry backlash! Some naturals said it broke off their hair and swore never to use it again on their tresses while others claimed to have finally found their holy grail hair product. I spent hours trying to figure out which camp to believe more. Out of desperation for wanting to relieve my itchy, inflamed scalp, I ultimately decided I had NOTHING to lose (given all the ups and downs and downs and downs my hair has gone through in the last two years). And, I have to tell you, I’m so glad I did!

For months years, I have been struggling to maintain the moisture:protein balance of my hair … and failed miserably! I would spend most of my free time attempting to moisturize my dry, parched mane … to no avail most days. I grew weary of trying various hair moisture products, techniques, and trends—all of which didn’t seem to do much, at least not long-term. After a few mildly successful short-term fixes, I inevitably ended right back where I started, with dry hair and an inflamed scalp!

I initially started out with a 50:50 ratio of baking soda to conditioner (½ cup each), but the mixture was a little watery. So, I ended up adding another 2 ounces (¼ cup) of baking soda to the mixture. However, it still wasn’t quite thick enough for my liking, so I ended up sprinkling more baking soda into the mix until the thickness I wanted was attained. So, I probably ended up using about 1 cup of baking soda to ½ cup conditioner. The application process was pretty simple. I started by pre-pooing with my Honey Blowout treatment, then I layered on my Pantene Moisture Boost Shampoo. After rinsing out my hair, I used my microfiber turban to soak up the excess water. Next, I mixed the baking soda and conditioner together in an applicator bowl. I tried to localize the application of the mask to my scalp, but that proved impossible, so I ended up applying the mask from root to tip to ALL of my hair.

I created workable segments by dividing my hair into quadrants. I used an applicator brush, and applied the mask to my scalp and hair in small sections (like you would a relaxer). After each section was completely coated, I smoothed it from root to tip to make sure all of my hair was coated. I repeated this process for the remaining three quadrants of my head. When I was done, I popped on a processing cap and waiting an hour.

I instantly noticed that this scalp treatment seemed to have a similar effect as henna on my hair in that my curls became very defined and super elongated (as long as the mix remained in my hair). Unfortunately, although the application process was easy, it was SUPER messy! Messier than henna treatments! The baking soda/conditioner mix got everywhere … on the bathroom counter … the floor … the wall … everywhere! It was sort of a nightmare. I also felt like I almost needed to take a shower again. I had so much baking soda on my face and my neck that I had to use several facial cleansing cloths to remove it!

I later found out that I should have let my hair dry to about 80% before applying the mask, but who has time for all that (LOL)? After an hour, I rinsed the mask out of my hair without much incident. Next, I deep conditioned my hair for 30 minutes with ion’s Summer Solutions Deep Conditioning Treatment, and rinsed it out. I would say that I detangled my hair next but, honestly, after the baking soda mask and deep conditioning treatment, my hair basically detangled itself. I ran my fingers through my hair from root to tip, and it was virtually tangle free.

This baking soda treatment instantaneously assuaged my itchy, flaky scalp, and calmed all inflammation. After two weeks of a brutal seborrheic dermatitis flare up, that’s no small victory! I also noticed a difference IMMEDIATELY in the look and feel of my hair. Before even using the LCO method to moisturize my hair, my fine, low porosity strands were noticeably smoother, less frizzy, and slightly elongated. Days later, my hair was still moisturized and only started to feel slightly dry (on the ends of my hair) on day 3! Can you say, “game changer”?

I used VO5’s Tea Therapy Blackberry Sage Tea Revitalizing Conditioner. I initially thought that next time I should use a slightly thicker conditioner, so the process won’t be quite so messy. However, upon reflection, my final mixture was fairly thick. So, I’m thinking the fact that I didn’t let my hair dry sufficiently before applying this baking soda mask is what caused all of the mess. Next time, I’ll try not to be in such a rush and will wait at least an hour before applying the mix to my strands. Other than that, my scalp loves the results!

I think the reason this worked so well is that I have (1) extremely low porosity hair and (2) product buildup. Even though I wash my hair weekly and have a shower filter, I live in a very hard water area. Over time, I think my hair just became coated with mineralized water and too much product. I think that may be the reason why I have been struggling to moisturize my hair in the last two years! Honestly, I didn’t think I had any product buildup, but because my hair is low porosity, it is more prone to it. One of the things I haven’t really been doing consistently the last couple of years is clarifying my hair. I’m realizing now more than ever that clarifying is a must for my fine, low porosity strands. So, I will probably start doing it on a monthly basis (in combination with a healthy rotation of deep conditioning and protein treatments) from now on to better maintain the moisture:protein balance of my hair.

Need a hair reboot or scalp refresh? Here are the basic steps:

  1. Wash your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo or gentle cleanser.
  2. Let hair dry to 75-80%. Avoid using this mask on dripping wet hair. (You’ll thank me later!)
  3. Mix baking soda and conditioner. Baking soda is a “weak alkaline” with a pH of 9. However, how much you use will depend on your hair’s porosity, how fine or thick your hair is, and how adventurous you feel. So, you will likely need to play around with ratios. Some only use 1 TBSP of baking soda to a ½ cup of conditioner. Others, like me, go full strength and use ¾ cup to 1 cup of baking soda to ½ cup of conditioner. If you have high porosity, relaxed, or colored hair, I would use a smaller amount. If you have low porosity hair, you can probably get away with using more. When in doubt, be cautious and start out small. You can always build up to a stronger mix later if you feel your hair needs it.
  4. Divide hair into quadrants, apply the baking soda mixture from root to tip. Working in sections makes the application process go much more smoothly.
  5. Don a processing cap. Wait 30-60 minutes.
  6. Rinse hair with warm water.
  7. Deep condition hair with a moisturizing hair mask for 20-30 minutes, and then rinse out with warm water. Because I have low porosity hair, I always deep condition under a hooded bonnet dryer.
  8. Use an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse (or other hair neutralizer) to rebalance your hair’s pH level. I used a 50:50 ratio of ACV and distilled water.
  9. Detangle.
  10. Moisturize and style hair.

 

WARNING:

If you have high porosity or chemically-altered hair (e.g., hair that has been relaxed, permed, color-treated, etc.), I highly recommend (1) a patch test or strand test first and then (2) using small quantities of baking soda (i.e., 1 tsp to 1 TBSP max) with a conditioner. Water mixtures, alone, are not enough to off-set the alkalinity of baking soda. While doing my research, I found that most of the people who experienced “breakage” or excessively dry hair either only dissolved the baking soda in water (instead of conditioner) or had highly porous hair. So, if your hair starts to feel dry or brittle after using the mask, refrain from using the baking soda hair mask until you feel your hair needs it (i.e., has product buildup, becomes resistant to most products in general, etc).

 

 

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Quick Tip #19: Organize your Stash Creatively!

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I have a type “A” personality. I like to have a place for everything and everything in its place! When you live in a small space, organization becomes even more important than those blessed with more ample square footage. Whether my aim has been to efficiently decorate my dorm room (in years past … ahem…), maximize my vertical storage space in a super tiny city apartment, or just prevent clutter and stay organized, here are some of the storage and organization systems I currently utilize. Remember, just because something is called a “bookcase” doesn’t mean you have to use it for books!  Some of the best solutions I’ve come up with to meet my storage needs involve using items in a different way than originally intended (or marketed). And, that’s okay! Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

(1) Large Shower Caddy by 3M

Although I use this in my bathroom, I DO NOT use them in my shower. Instead, I use several of these to keep my hair and beauty products (e.g., my beloved S-curl No Drip Moisturizer) at hand. I like to keep my current go-to products at the ready so that I am not constantly walking back and forth between my bedroom and bathroom for face wash, hair moisturizer, gel, etc. It just makes life so much more less frustrating. My larger products (or products I don’t use every day), I store elsewhere (on a black 4-tier shelf that holds up to 350 lbs). I originally purchased 3M’s spice caddy, but it was just too small. This large shower caddy fits my needs much better. I bought several and staggered them on my bathroom wall to create hair product storage, no shelf installation required!

(2) Tension Pole Corner Shower Organizer

I love my tension pole corner shower organizer. I use it to store my shampoos and concitioners, shower gel, body scrub, etc. I originally found this gem at Bed, Bath, & Beyond. I have the one by Spa Creations in chrome (with the snap down frosted plates). Unfortunately, I don’t think they make that version any more. Here are several other options that are similar: (i.) BINO Tension Pole Corner Shower Caddy in nickel(ii.) Koval Inc. Tub Shower Caddy Bathroom Organizer Tension Pole with Baskets (available in black, white, or chrome), (iii.) Yosoo 3 Tier Triangular Shower Tension Corner Pole Caddy Shelf Storage(iv.) InterDesign York Tension Caddy (available in bronze, matte black, pearl white, satin, and silver), (v.) Zenna Tension Corner Pole Caddy (available in bronze, oil rubbed bronze, nickel, brushed nicked, and nickel and bamboo), and (vi.) CREATEASY Tension Shower Caddy .

Houseables Acrylic Makeup Organizer, 7 Drawers, Clear, Cosmetic Cube Case, Box w/ Dividers & Top Tray

(3) Acrylic Makeup Organizer

I absolutely adore my Houseables 7-drawer Acrylic Makeup Organizer. It comes with a top tray that I removed and use to store my essential oils. I originally purchased mine for $180 two years ago, and now it sells for about $70 less! I’m so jealous. I store large bars of soap in my bottom drawer, travel-sized products and samples in my sixth drawer, eye shadows, blush, and various palettes in my fourth and fifth drawers, concealer, foundation, and setting powders in my second and third drawers, and tools and other accessories in my top drawer. It has been a truly invaluable investment in terms of keeping my makeup and beauty products organized, all in one place, and easy to see all at the same time! It was expensive, but I have NO regrets!

(4) Organizers within Organizers

Inside of my 7-drawer Acrylic Makeup Organizer, I have other organizational systems. If you have a huge compact collection, you will love Alegory’s acrylic compact organizer. I use this for my additional face powders (i.e., my contouring powders, eye brow powders, bronzers, and other loose powders). I also utilize Alegory’s eye shadow organizers for my large mineral eye shadow collection.

 (5) 4-tier (or more) Shelf Systems

I use a 4-tier shelf by Whitmor to store my larger beauty items (i.e., my foot tub or salon-sized hair products) and to house more delicate items (i.e., my Chanel, Prada, and Sean John perfume stash), or keep items I use infrequently (i.e., my first aid kit or other personal care items) out of the way/sight. Because I live in such a small space, to maximize storage, I even use my top shelf to house seasonal linens. I added small and medium-sized wire baskets will chalkboard tags to further streamline my storage.

 (6) All-purpose Cabinet Storage

I purchased Mainstays Storage Cabinet in Northfield Alder to use as part linen cabinet and part storage to house my larger supply of oils and butters for my DIY hair and beauty projects.  It serves my multi-purpose needs perfectly.

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Hair Talk on Hair Health, Hair Loss, and Vitamin Deficiency

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Most of us understand what it is to struggle on our journey to healthy hair. And, a few of us (like myself) comprehend all too well the obstacles we face and may likely always encounter on the road ahead to a luxurious mane. If you exercise, eat a nutritious diet, drink plenty of water, and avoid unhealthy hair practices, you will obtain super long, floor-length hair, right? Not so fast! Just because you do the right things at the right time doesn’t mean you will get the results you want. Watch the video below to find out why!

 

 

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Quick Tip #18: Keep your Brushes Clean!!!

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Your hair brush and comb can become a vacuum for dust, bacteria, and old product. All the more reason to keep it clean on a daily basis. I make a habit of washing all of my brushes and combs every time I wash my hair (once a week). I sometimes use my makeup brush cleaner. When I ran out, I started to use my sulfate-free shampoo. But, that got pretty expensive. So, I switched to a gentle cleanser, like a baby shampoo. It’s economical AND effective! A clean brush and comb makes for healthy hair, so be sure to keep your clean!

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Quick Tip #17: Use Coconut Oil CAUTIOUSLY!

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This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon, eBay, etc.), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.
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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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