Hair Growth Cycle

Hair Growth Cycle

Do you know how your hair reacts to the seasons through out the year? Everyone has a resting period, where their hair does not grow. A period of time where they see slow growth and instead an increase in thickness, and everyone gets a growth spurt.
Learning when these things happen can help maximize the potential for retaining the length and thickness of your hair with every season. Knowing this ensures that I am never disappointed with my growth because I know when it will occur. My growth cylce goes like this:
Winter=Increase in thickness
Spring=Growth increase
Summer=Growth spurt
Fall=Resting
In the Winter I usually wear my hair in big-hair friendly styles (like braid outs, twist outs, bun with two sections, etc.). I also detangle once or twice a week. I am not concerned about thining my hair with excess combing because it is always soo big in the winter. My hair is drier during this season due to the cold, so I try to use butters as they are heavier than just oil.
In Spring I usually enjoy my hair for a bit with rollersets or whatever style hits my fancy. I know that I will have a good amount of new growth, but not so much that I have to stick to textured styles only. This is the season where I can experiment with styles and not worry about damaging my hair.
In the Summer my new growth hits with a vengence. I amp up my deep conditioning and co-washing and I usually stick with textured styles. I religiously do protein treatments to ensure that there is no breakage at the demarcation line and I do not use a lot of prouct. Usually this stretch consists solely of braid-outs, twist-outs, bantu knot-outs in different forms. I try to finger detangle daily to ensure that on my wash days the detangling process is not too bad. I am as gentle as possible when detangling, (oftentimes separating each hair strand from the other before detangling) to ensure breakage does not occur due to the two fighting textures.
In Fall I turn back to protective styling. Since my hair is resting and is not growing at all, I try to protect all the length and thickness that I have retained that year by protective styling. I ensure that I take my vitamins daily and drink plenty of water, changing my focus from external to internal.
Knowing my hair tendencies is truly the best way to retain length and optimize growth. Each season I truly just respond to what my hair needs, but I keep these observations in mind when making decisions.

Update

Update

So I am 8 weeks post and I just realized that I have been bunning it like a mad woman and I did not even realize it. I have not even used direct heat and I do not miss it!
As a result, I am putting myself on a no heat challenge for the year! I also plan to only do wet hair length checks this year. At the end of the year I hope to be pleasantly surprised by my growth. This will last December 23, 2009-December 23, 2010. That is right, a whole year.
This is going to be difficult and I must stay strong. No rollersets, no blowdrying and no flat ironing, but most everything else goes. I give myself no passes.
I am sure there will be inspiration threads galore throughout this year.
With me luck!

My Regimen Explained: Co-Wash

My Regimen Explained: Co-Wash

At the moment, I do not conditioner wash frequently. Sometimes at different points in the year, I will co-wash one to three times a week just depending on what my hair needs. Otherwise I co-wash in response to the weather. Hot months can equal dirtier hair and since I continue to exercise frequently regardless of the season co-washing can be a simple way to get rid of some dirt without using cleansing agents frequently.
Right now I am co-washing once a week after using my Ayurvedic Tea Rinse or Shampooing. Since I deep condition on dry hair before cleansing, I like to co-wash after just to be sure all of the cleanser is gone and to give my hair a shot of moisture or strength.
That is really it! Short, simple and sweet.

What I Look for in a Deep Conditioner

What I Look for in a Deep Conditioner

Here are the questions I ask myself when searching for a good deep conditioning product.
1. Is the conditioner thick or thin?
I prefer thick conditioners, but in the end that really does not matter.
2. Do you have to use a lot or a little DC for the product to do its job?
This can become a very important question. Are you going through so much product that the price is way too much? Is it really doing its job if you have to use the whole jar/bottle to make it work?
3. Do you like the product ingredients?
I have found many products that work, but have mineral oil, sulfates or cones. Those three ingredients are often not good for your hair in the long term. If you do choose to use a deep conditioner with these ingredients, what steps are you going to take to counteract their effect on your hair?
4. Does the conditioner leave your hair detangled, the same as before you applied, or a tangled mess?
If it leaves your hair tangled, get rid of it! Otherwise, as long as your hair is not tangled, I would keep it. However, if you are looking for a DC and detangling product in one, then your search may not be over.
5. Does your hair feel soft when dry?
Soft hair when dry is a must! Dealing with dry hair leads to breakage. Even protein conditioners should not leave your hair dry (that means your hair did not need the protein).
6. Does the effect of the conditioner last at least a week?
So very important. If your hair is feeling less than great two days after Deep Conditioning then your hair really is not deep conditioned. The effect of a deep conditioner should not be temporary, but instead long lasting. Your leave-in and moisturizer are just an aid in retaining moisture and strength, not the main source of nutrients.
7. Does the price outweigh the results?
This for me is always a question. I love many really expensive deep conditioners, but I just cannot see myself spending a ton of money on a conditioner as a student on a budget. I am at the point in life where I need to save, save, save; so why would I go and spend a ton of money on conditioner when I can find just as good conditioners that are less expensive.
8. Does the smell agree with your nose?
I personally cannot continue to use a product that makes me feel nauseous due to smell. No matter how good a product may be, if you cannot stomach the smell, then is it worth it?
Those are my criteria and they are harder to meet than one might think. There are so many so called deep conditioners on the market and often times trying them is the only way to determine their worth. However, once you do find that holy grail product, your hair will thank you forever!

Cones: From a Scientific Standpoint

Cones: From a Scientific Standpoint

When I was contemplating using products with cones years ago I decided to do some research. I wanted to really know in scientific terms why cones were bad for my hair.
Non-scientifically, cones can build up on the hair and block other products from penetrating the hair shaft. As a result you have to frequently use a clarifier that is strong enough to stop this cone build-up, thus allowing moisturizing and strengthening products to penetrate the hair shaft. But that is not really scientific.
The real scientific thing that I learned about why cones do not just soak into the hair like your leave-in’s, deep conditioners and other non-cone products is simple. It has everything to do with water solubility.
To explain this I am going to use a vitamin analogy: Water-Soluble vitamins are not stored in the body and must be replaced. Which is why we have to constantly eat foods that replenish those vitamins.
Well, its the same with hair. Water soluble products are not stored in the hair, so every week we replenish the “vitamins” in our hair with products. Cones are not water soluble, and at the same time not blocking “vitamins.” So, they make the hair feel great for awhile, but they do not provide the necessary nutrients that the hair needs to remain healthy. Instead they block out these nutrients over time.
So, if you do use cones, make sure you use water soluble cones. That way they are still contributing to the health of your hair and at the same time are not blocking out the other “vitamins” that other products give your hair.
You may be asking, how am I supposed to know which cones are water soluble? Well, I found a list a couple years ago telling this exact thing.
Amodimethicone – not soluble in water by itself
Amodimethicone (and) Trideceth-12 (and) Cetrimonium Chloride – mixture that is soluble in water in the bottle*
Behenoxy Dimethicone – sparingly soluble in water
Cetearyl methicone – not soluble in water
Cetyl Dimethicone – not soluble in water
Cyclomethicone – not soluble in water
Cyclopentasiloxane – not soluble in water
Dimethicone- not soluble in water
Dimethicone Copolyol- water soluble**
Dimethiconol- not soluble in water
Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein Hydroxypropyl Polysiloxane – water soluble
Stearoxy Dimethicone – sparingly soluble in water
Stearyl Dimethicone – not soluble in water
Trimethylsilylamodimethicone – not soluble in water
Lauryl methicone copolyol – water soluble
PEG-12 dimethicone – Water soluble silicone, transient conditioning
PEG-8 dimethicone – Water soluble silicone, high molecular weight
Phenyl Trimethicone – not soluble in water
PEG-modified dimethicone – water soluble
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*”Amodimethicone is never water soluble after being applied to your hair. It clings like any other silicone that is not water soluble.”
** Dimethicone Copolyol is a general term used for a group of polymers made from dimethicone and polyoxyethylene and/or polyoxypropylene. The following specific names for these polymers may be found on product labels: Dimethicone PEG-8 Adipate, Dimethicone PEG-8 Benzoate, Dimethicone PEG-7 Phosphate, Dimethicone PEG-10 Phosphate, Dimethicone PEG/PPG-20/23 Benzoate, Dimethicone PEG/PPG-7/4 Phosphate, Dimethicone PEG/PPG-12/4 Phosphate, PEG-3 Dimethicone, PEG-7 Dimethicone, PEG-8 Dimethicone, PEG-9 Dimethicone, PEG-10 Dimethicone, PEG-12 Dimethicone, PEG-14 Dimethicone, PEG-17 Dimethicone, PEG/PPG-3/10 Dimethicone, PEG/PPG-4/12 Dimethicone, PEG/PPG-6/11 Dimethicone, PEG/PPG-8/14 Dimethicone, PEG/PPG-14/4 Dimethicone, PEG/PPG-15/15 Dimethicone, PEG/PPG-16/2 Dimethicone, PEG/PPG-17/18 Dimethicone, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, PEG/PPG-19/19 Dimethicone, PEG/PPG-20/6 Dimethicone, PEG/PPG-20/15 Dimethicone, PEG/PPG-20/20 Dimethicone, PEG/PPG-20/23 Dimethicone, PEG/PPG-20/29 Dimethicone, PEG/PPG-22/23 Dimethicone, PEG/PPG-22/24 Dimethicone, PEG/PPG-23/6 Dimethicone, PEG/PPG-25/25 Dimethicone and PEG/PPG-27/27 Dimethicone.
Drawn from: Long Hair Community
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I truly hope this post made since. Please feel free to ask me to clarify anything and I will do my best to explain.

My Regimen Explained: Shampoo

2010 My Regimen Explained: Shampoo

My shampoo regimen is quite simple, I shampoo once a week. Once a week I use Elucence Moisture Benefits shampoo to strip any product from my hair that might be causing it to reject moisture. I find that Elucence Moisture Benefits Shampoo is very gentle and very concentrated so that a little goes a long way. Its perfect for weekly use.

Occassionally, maybe once every two months, or earlier if necessary, I use Elucence Volume Clarifying Shampoo. This shampoo is used to get rid of any calcium deposits from water and any left over product build up that the Moisture Benefits shampoo might have missed. Most often I use this shampoo after using loads of conditioner to get henna out of my hair. I do this to ensure that all of the Henna particles have left my hair.
That’s It!!!

Parabens

Parabens

Contrary to popular belief parabens do not hurt your hair at all (let me qualify this statement buy saying that some women do find them too harsh for their hair, but it does not block moisture like mineral oil or petroleum and it does not build up silk silicone). In fact they are used as a preservative in cosmetic products. However, the general fuss over not using parabens is internal.
A UK study (conclusions published in the early 2000s) found high concentrations of parabens in breast tumors. Parabens have been found to mimick the hormone estrogen when released into the bloodstream; this can cause abnormal cell growth, cancer, hormonal disruption, etc. Let it be known that this study states that LARGE doses created this result. However, this study does not say that parabens CAUSED the tumors, but instead they go on to say that deodorants (which all contain parabens) and are used underarms are directly related to causing cancer. The American Cancer Society was quick to put out a statement saying that they disagree with the conclusions of this study, but further research needs to be done on the subject of parabens.
On the flip side a 2009 European study shows that propylparaben and butylparaben (two most common cosmetic parabens) are not entering the blood stream through cosmetic products. They found that the parabens were only partially absorbed and metabolized before entering the blood stream. Thus no traces of parabens were found in the blood stream.
Info from:
Daily Beauty
FDA
Wikipedia
There is so much more info, so take a look around google and see what you can see.
Please be an informed user or nay sayer of parabens, not an uninformed fanatic. I completely understand the studies done with parabens and I choose to continue to use them. Eating parabens worries me more than topically applying them to my hair. I choose to be an informed unconcerned user of parabens.

Product Review: Nature’s Gate Aloe Vera Moisturizing Conditioner

Product Review: Nature's Gate Aloe Vera Moisturizing Conditioner

All I can really say to express the feeling that this product creates is WOW!
My hair is sooo very soft and even DETANGLED in the minutes that I wash my body in the shower when co washing.
This is really the best instant conditioner I have ever encountered and I have tried many (Herbal Essences Hello Hydration, Long Term Relationship, Vo5 Moisture Milks, Suave Humectant, J/A/S/O/N’s, Tresemme and soo many more).
Naturals if you are looking for a conditioner for detangling purposes only, this is it!
The product smells wonderful and the bottle is definitely not hard on the eyes. I paid $4 for an 18 oz bottle! That is an amazing buy considering how thick the conditioner is. This bottle will last awhile, but when it runs out I will try another from this collection. I’m telling you, don’t sleep on Nature’s Gate!

My Regimen Explained: Ayurvedic Powders

My Regimen Explained: Ayurvedic Powders

If you have followed my blog at all you know that I have tried so very many ways to use Ayurveda. It is through these various experiments that I have come to a good way to use these powders that is catered to my hair.
I use the powders usually once a week as a tea in two combinations:
Cleansing and Strengthing = Bhringraj + Amla + Shikakai
Moisturizing and Strengthening = Brahmi + Fenugreek + Hibiscus
That is right, two combination! I try to keep things as simple as possible.
I keep these combinations mixed in two separate mason jars and I make 25 tea bags of each tea combination (1 good sized teaspoon of powder in each bag). I then store these tea bags in two separate zip lock bags in my product bin. This makes the tea process easy as pie each week.
I always do a hot oil treatment before applying a tea rinse to protect my hair from the harshness of the powders. I never ever comb my hair after a tea rinse much like a co-wash. I discovered awhile back that combing my hair after a tea rinse leads to hair loss. I could speculate why, but instead I will just say, don’t comb your hair after a tea rinse.
After the hot oil treatment (this would be a good time to detangle) I hop into the shower, rinse my hair for 5 minutes, co-wash, rinse and then apply the tea rinse first to my scalp and then to my strands. I massage my scalp for a couple of minutes and then I go about the normal shower business. When done I rinse the tea out for another five minutes and follow with the usual leave-in, sealant and air dry.
I also do a henna gloss every six weeks or more ( my hair may not need it). I also store my henna in a separate mason jar. The mason jars are really one of my best ideas for storing the powders. I do not have a bunch of powders laying around so I know exactly when I need a new powder or set of powders.
C&S Combo Ingredients:
50g Bhringraj
100g Amla
100g Shikakai
M&S Combo Ingredients:
100g Brahmi Powder
100g Fenugreek Powder
100g Hibiscus Powder
Tea Rinse Instructions:
9 oz. Rose Water
1 tea bag
1 tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
1. Fill ceramic cup or mug with warm rosewater
2. Insert tea bag and let steep for 1 hr. to overnight
3. Trash tea bag and pour tea into applicator bottle
4. Add ACV and shake well