Category Archives: Hair Styles & Tips

Quick Tip #25: Find Products that Can Do Double (or even Quadruple) Duty!

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This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon or eBay), 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. Thank you for your support!

 

 

Are you a budget-conscious naturalista? A college student? Or, just want to live a more sustainable, less-wasteful life? Then, you need to make sure your products can do double, triple, (or even) quadruple duty. This is not only cost effective, but it is also a way to minimize waste. And, startup is probably much easier than you think …

 

1. Make Two Styling Products from One

Instead of buying a foaming hair styler or mousse and a separate setting lotion. Find a moisturizing setting lotion that you can pour into (1) a spray bottle and (2) container with a foam dispenser top. When you need a setting lotion, use the spray bottle to spritz your hair before roller setting, etc. When you need a lighter product, reach for the foam dispenser to add light hold to a wash ‘n go or twist-out or to foam wrap your hair.

2. Use a Multipurpose Cleanser

Sick of all the bottles of shampoo, hand soap, and body wash piling up in your beauty cabinet? Then, use one product that can be them all! Because I have a sensitive scalp and temperamental hair, I’m not much of a fan of all-in-one hair cleansers, but this is a great option for people who don’t have any scalp conditions or sensitivities that are looking to pare down their collection of beauty cleansers!

3. Use an All-in-one Skin & Hair Care Product

If you love to use hair penetrating oils like extra virgin olive oil or unrefined virgin coconut oil to moisturize your hair, you can also use them as a facial oil cleanser, makeup remover, skin moisturizer, and deep conditioner add-in. For instance, although my hair hates coconut oil, my skin loves it! I use it to make makeup removal easier. I’ll slather a teaspoon of coconut oil all over my face (while wearing makeup) and then take a facial cloth and gently wipe off my makeup. This method removes most of my makeup in one go. Next, I’ll cleanse my face to remove any residual makeup, and then follow up with a good toner. If you are someone who likes to wear a lot of makeup, wears waterproof makeup, or are like me and just have a hard time simply removing your makeup, you should give this technique a try.

I also like to keep unrefined coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil around as a backup skin moisturizer post-shower or bath in case I run out of lotion. It leaves my skin baby soft and super hydrated. I’ll also add unrefined coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil to boost the hair strengthening or moisturizing properties of my deep conditioner. In addition, both oils are great add-ins for DIY skin and hair care products.

 

There are many other ways you can reduce your beauty stash or make it less wasteful, but these three areas are a really good place to start.

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New Hair Strategies for the New Year (2018)

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This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon or eBay), 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.

Thank you for your support!

After so many setbacks in the last two years of my natural hair journey, I’ve decided to make a huge overhaul of my hair care regimen. I spent the last six months of 2017 donating, selling, gifting, and using up my hair “product junkie” hauls. In the past, when my fave beauty supplier or retailer had a “buy 2, get 1 sale” or a 50% off promo, I felt the need to indulge even if my beauty cabinet was already stockpiled with shampoo, conditioner, and hair moisturizer. I felt like it gave me a chance to discover and try new products that would hopefully become my holy grail for cleansing, styling, and growing my hair. More is better right? Well, not always …

Truth be told, I am my family’s resident “go-to” for natural hair care product recommendations and samples, so I didn’t just horde my “extras!” I also don’t believe in being wasteful. Consequently, even when a product didn’t work for me, I always tried to find a way to repurpose it in a new way, remix it with other add-ons (like Jamaican black castor oil, apricot oil, or sweet almond oil), or augment it in with other products (i.e., deep conditioner) until used up. However, if my hair simply hates a product all-together, I’ll usually gift it to a family member or friend and then try to sell the unopened multiples. If that doesn’t work, I’ll donate it to a good cause (e.g., homeless shelter for women and children).

Two years (and several dozens of products) later, I have yet to find the ultimate product(s) to care for my multi-textured mane. I am hair product holy grail-less! I’ve endured the last 24 months of a barrage of brutal testing and trying of new products only to conclude that my hair didn’t mind yet didn’t love most of them or hated them all-together. I tried so many products, in fact, that I didn’t even have the time, effort, or energy to even blog about them all! Some worked (but only temporarily), others just didn’t even deserve an honorable mention. As a result, I tried to remember the last time I believed my hair was healthy and growing. After much thought and reflection, I’ve come to the conclusion that it was when I was DIYing most of my own hair products: from quick hair spritzes and leave-in conditioners to henna hair packs and hot oil treatments

The only reason I stopped was because I made the decision to go to grad school to pursue an advanced degree. As a result of my harried work:school life balance, it just became impossible to DIY any of my hair products (let alone to spend the time blogging about my hair victories and misadventures! I barely had time to work, go to evening classes, sleep, and eat (or bother doing much else other than group projects and countless research). Sigh ..

So, I started to do one of the things that I do best … research … I investigated various ingredients and hair care strategies. After a six-month long quest, I determined that an Ayurvedic-based hair care regimen would be best for me. Ayurveda’s natural approach to hair maintenance is what convinced me to make the swap from traditional on-the-shelf hair products that never seem to “take” to my hair. While I already practice some whole body care (e.g., exercising, clean eating, drinking plenty of water, etc.), I have started to become more aware of some vitamin and mineral deficiencies (e.g., iron) despite my healthy dietary habits. In light of this, one of my goals for this year is to focus on an improved hair lifestyle … using natural hair care products (or creating my own) … better monitoring my vitamin intake … maintaining healthy hair practices (see Hair Moisture 101, Hair Moisture 201, Hair Moisture 301, and Hair Moisture 401) … and the like.

In this way, by year’s end, I hope to strengthen, grow, and retain a healthier head of hair. Because I have multi-textured tresses (e.g., a combination of 3 different hair textures ranging from 3C to 4B) that is also extremely fine (small in diameter) and fragile (breaks easily even when being gentle with my hair), this is a challenge under the best of circumstances. However, I am hopeful that switching to natural products and hair care practices will help me to grow and retain greater length and, more importantly, strengthen my hair in such a way that it is less prone to breakage.

I have probably used up or given away about 80% of my stash. The remaining 20% is predominately made up of deep conditioners (that I plan to use for henna glosses) and a couple of other odds and ends (i.e., for when I travel). Here are some of the ingredients I have invested in that I can’t wait to start creating with (or taking) in the near future:

  1. Ayurvedic Powders: aloe vera, amla, bhringraj, cassia obovata, chamomile, fenugreek, henna, hibiscus, indigo, moringa, neem, rose petal, shikakai, and slippery elm
  2. Clays: bentonite clay and kaolin clay (for skin care)
  3. Essential Oils: bergamot, chamomile, cinnamon, clove, and ylang ylang. My essential oil collection already includes the usual suspects of tea tree, rosemary, lavender, and about a dozen other faves).😉
  4. Floral Waters: lavender hydrosol, rose hydrosol, and ylang ylang hydrosol 
  5. Humectants: glycerin and organic honey
  6. Oils: almond oilapricot oil, avocado oil, castor oil, Jamaican black castor oil, mango butter, rosehip oil, and unrefined shea butter
  7. Vitamins: iron and SugarBearHair Hair Vitamins

I am also considering purchasing some soaping supplies to make my own body soap and (maybe) shampoo, but I’m feeling a little overwhelmed and skittish, so we shall see! However, I bought two books for added instruction and encouragement: (i.) Easy Homemade Products for Your Skin, Health, & Home, and (ii.). Simple & Natural Soapmaking.

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Quick Tip #24: Don’t Be Afraid of Your Own Shadow!

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This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon or eBay), 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.

Thank you for your support!

Run out of your fave eyeliner? If you’ve read Quick Tip #9, you already know what to do! Well, if you also have super fine hair like me, you’ll need a similar fix you may reserve only for your brows. Don’t worry, you won’t need any messy temp hair sprays or goopy touch up kits here! Just gently dust an eyeshadow along your part (or hairline) to shade your scalp slightly. It will magically make your hair appear thicker in seconds! Just be sure that the eyeshadow matches the tone of your hair. Eyeshadow is a fine-haired girl’s BFF …

Happy holidays!

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Quick Tip #23: Get Some (Nail) Therapy!

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This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon or eBay), 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.

Thank you for your support!

 

Kocostar Nail Therapy

Have broken, damaged nails? Are your nail beds splitting and peeling? Don’t fret! Everyone experiences periods of stress or sadness about their personal appearance from time to time. If you’re feeling more grief than normal, it may be time to get some therapy … nail therapy, that is!

My sister gifted me some therapeutic intervention a while ago, and I never seemed to have time to sit still and actually use this unique beauty tool! When I did, I was blown away by how well it worked (and felt shameful about not utilizing this treatment sooner)! After peeling off my gel manicure (don’t judge!), my nails were left weak and damaged. After only ONE 30-minute application of this nail therapy, my nails looked shinier and felt much less fragile. It soothed and moisturized my nail beds while providing much-needed nutrition and strength to my overall nails. And, my skin (e.g., the tips of my fingers) felt baby soft. And, the best part? The results are immediate and lasting!

This intense, soothing treatment contains loads of botanicals and vitamins that protect and repair stressed nails while strengthening nails against splitting and peeling. If you are an excessive nail art lover, this nail therapy is a must for you! If you’re the busy, multitasking type who’s always short on time, don’t worry! You can treat your nails and still use your smart devices at the same time. For instance, while using the treatment, I was still able to check my emails on my iPhone with ease … For added protection during the week, I also used Sally Hansen’s Hard As Nails Hardener (in natural tint). Talk about a power-packed nail protection duo!

 

Ingredients:

Aqua/ Water/Eau, Glycerin, Paraffinumliquidum, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Polysorbate 60, Behenyl Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Betaine, ButyrospermumParkii (Shea Butter), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hydrolyzed Silk, Tocopheryl Acetate, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cera alba, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, 1.2-Hexanediol, Propanediol, CaprylylGlycol, IlliciumVerum(Anise)Fruit Extract, Soluble Collagen, AscorbylTetraisopalmitate, Ceramide 3, Milk Protein Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Oil, Citrus AurantiumSinensis (Orange) Fiber, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Fruit, Citrus Grandis(Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Disodium EDTA

Directions for Use:

Peel open each pack and place a mask on each finger. Leave on for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Massage remaining liquid from mask into the fingernail area (e.g., onto finger tips and finger nails) after removing the mask from each finger. Use as needed.

Storage and Handling Measures:

Keep product out of reach of children. Store at room temperature. Keep product away from direct light. Use immediately after opening.

Precautions:

Stop using product and consult a dermatologist or physician if the following occurs: swelling, red (strawberry) marks, itchiness and burning effects due to indirect or direct exposure to light.

PROS

  • Vitamins C, E, and ceramide provide shine and elasticity to nails
  • Milk protein and collagen protect nail roots
  • Portulaca extract and shea butter nourish and moisturize cuticles
  • Aloe vera and silk soften skin
  • Includes 5 packages (Only $4 per treatment)
  • While you care your nail, you can use your smartphone, i-pad, etc.
  • Great stocking stuffers or additions to gift baskets for the beauty enthusiast

CONS

  • This may be a first … ABSOLUTELY NONE!

 

Want more at-home spa treatment? The same company also has a foot therapy wrap made to exfoliate and soothe stressed feet! Check it out!

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

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This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon or eBay), 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.

Thank you for your support!

 

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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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.

Thank you for your support!

 

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.

Thank you for your support!

 

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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