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With the best articles on caring for natural hair, Curly Nikki is your source for inspiration and advice. Find out about the latest styles and trends today!

older | 1 | .... | 206 | 207 | (Page 208)

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    by Erica Douglas aka SisterScientist 

    Ladies, can we agree that we live in a world of hair envy? We constantly want what somebody else has, and want to know why our hair cannot do what her hair does. However, achieving those results (without hair extensions) may be physically impossible due to genetics, age, or health. Big, voluminous hair is all the rage, and whether or not you have it is often determined by your hair density and your hair width.

    The Science Behind Your Hair Thickness
    First, let’s clarify the difference between hair density and hair width.
    • Hair density measures the number of hairs in a given area of the scalp
    • Hair width measures the diameter of each individual hair strand
    Before you start spending money on products that make claims to thicken the hair, first try to understand the cause of your thinning and become better informed on how products achieve these claims so that you can set realistic expectations. 


    "Hair cannot grow or expand to become any thicker... It’s biologically impossible"

    The thickness of a hair strand is ultimately determined by the diameter of the follicle. Once the hair has protruded from the follicle, the hair cannot grow or expand to become any thicker. It’s biologically impossible to do so because once the hair is out of the follicle, it’s a wrap – the hair is dead. The follicle is the hidden gateway in the dermis layer of the skin that produces the visible hair shaft that we are so obsessed with. At the very base of this follicle lives the papilla, the heart of hair formation, where blood vessels supply the nutrients to the cells that are naturally manipulated into strands of hair. This process is extremely important to the future outcome of the hair because the cells that are absorbing these vital nutrients contribute to the formation of the protein structure of the hair. Maximizing the nourishment to these cells helps to maximize the strength and durability of the protein matrix.

    Before these cells become what we visibly know as hair, they must first take a journey through many layers of the follicle. It is during the course of this journey where the hair strand thickness is determined. As hair is pushed through the follicular layers, it undergoes a process called keratinization.



    Keratinization: Where It All Happens
    Keratinization is the process that occurs in which cells are hardened to form the protein matrix that produces the rigid structure of the hair shaft. It is during this hardening of the cells where the hair starts to take the shape of the physical boundaries of the follicle.

    As the hair shaft hardens, it creates three layers: the cuticle (the outer most layer), the cortex (the middle layer), and the medulla (the core layer). The cortex primarily consists of rope-like proteins, such as keratin, and contributes to the bulk of hair thickness and inner strength. The cuticle is a thinner layer of protective covering to the cortex. The cuticle layer is made up of sheaths of cells (much like shingles on a roof) that overlap and are attached to the cortex at its base. The average human hair has seven to ten cuticle layers. Each cuticle layer is approximately 0.5 micrometers thick (1 micrometer = 0.0001 centimeter). The medulla is the thinnest layer. It is so small that it is often difficult to measure, and sometimes nonexistent in certain parts of the shaft.

    THE POINT OF NO RETURN (OR THICKENING)

    Once these three layers have hardened to form the hair shaft, this is the thickest your hair will ever be. I hate to say it, but the physical hair strand itself will progressively thin as it grows out of the scalp due to normal weathering from daily hair maintenance and exposure to the elements. As we comb and style our hair, we inevitably cause some level of damage to this cuticle layer, gradually chipping away at the surface. This is why you will often notice that your hair is thicker at the root than it is at the tip, because the hair at the tip has suffered through years of damage from daily hair maintenance. Of course you can always limit the damage the hair is subjected to by practicing healthy hair maintenance techniques and utilizing products that reduce physical damage, but you will never eliminate it.

    The Truth Behind Thickening Hair Products
    Now that you have been officially schooled on the science of hair thickness, I assume that you understand why it is biologically impossible for the physical hair strand to become thicker after it has emerged from the scalp. Therefore, it should make sense that products applied directly to the hair that promise to increase the thickness can only deliver the illusion of actual hair thickness. In order to physically grow thicker strands of hair, you would have to address the problem at the root (pun intended), but please understand there is nothing wrong with the illusion of thickness! We live in a world of instant gratification, so we often want results now. Lucky for us, products that provide these illusions of thickness can help us achieve many of our hair goals.


    CASTOR OIL
    One of the currently trending ingredients used in products that promise thicker hair is castor oil. There are a number of testimonials on the blogs that claim this method has achieved thicker hair. However, there is no scientific basis for these claims. After perusing through some of pictures, I believe that thickness could be misconstrued with hair density, as defined earlier. Improved hair density due to a castor oil treatment could be attributed to the lubricating of the scalp with an oil known to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which can help clear up bacterial infested follicles. This can most likely be achieved with other oils such as rosemary or tea tree oil. In addition, it is often encouraged to lightly massage the oil into the scalp. A scalp massage alone could possibly stimulate blood circulation, which may help the flow of nutrients in the papilla. In this case, results would not be limited to the use of castor oil, but any product associated with a scalp massage or scrub. In my opinion, this all comes down to a personal preference.

    DIY Castor Oil Experiment
    If you truly want to see if castor oil makes a difference, use castor oil on one side of the scalp and a different oil on the opposite side where there is similar hair growth. Apply each oil using the same technique and monitor the results over time. Regardless of whether there is scientific proof or not, applying castor oil to the hair and scalp will not cause any adverse effects, so it’s at least worth a shot.

    BIOTIN
    Another popular ingredient attributed to thickening hair is biotin. What is biotin exactly? Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin found in the vitamin B complex that acts as a coenzyme to produce fatty acids and metabolize amino acids, which form proteins. It is naturally found in foods such as egg yolks, soybeans, nuts, and milk. Also, the body naturally produces biotin, which makes it extremely hard to have a biotin deficiency. Biotin is most commonly associated with ingestible hair and nail supplements. However, the scientific evidence available that supports biotin as an effective growth and thickness enhancer is weak. In addition, most experts believe that biotin cannot be easily absorbed through the skin due to the size of the molecule. Therefore, topical treatments are also thought to be ineffective.

    What You Can Do to Thicken Your Hair

    What is proven to enhance healthy growth and thicker hair are the following:

    1. A HEALTHY, WELL BALANCED DIET
    The nutrients from your body are a direct source for protein formation of hair strands. If you do believe in the power of biotin to help stimulate growth and thickness, then your best bet is to use it as a dietary supplement rather than a topical treatment because it will be introduced directly into the blood stream. Although formulations can leverage other chemicals to bind biotin to the surface of the hair cuticle, I believe that if there is any truth in the effects of biotin, it would be most effective internally.

    2. INCREASE BLOOD CIRCULATION
    This can be achieved through physical stimulation of the scalp or exercise.

    3. A CLEAN SCALP
    Maintaining a clean scalp by removing dirt and debris from the follicular cavity is ideal for growing healthy, thick hair. Incorporating anti-dandruff shampoos or scalp cleansers periodically into your regimen will help to ensure that anything clogging the follicles that could possibly constrain the diameter of the hair is extracted. If you believe you have a more severe medical issue, you should see a doctor who may prescribe medicated solutions.

    Ultimately, we are limited by the boundaries of genetics to achieve a certain level of thickness. Also, as we mature, the follicular tunnel naturally becomes narrower, which in turn produces thinner strands of hair. We can always enhance thickness through the illusions of topical products, or add faux hairpieces to add volume. But if you truly want to achieve your maximum hair strand thickness, then I suggest that you start the process internally, at the root.

    Source: [1] Randy Schueller and Perry Romanowski, “Inside the Hair: an Advanced Hair Biology Model,” in Hair Care: From Physiology to Formulation, ed. Angela C. Kozlowski (Carol Stream, IL: Allured Publishing Corporation, 2008), 72.

    [1] Ibid., 73.

    Erica Douglas, better known as Sister Scientist, is a formulating cosmetic chemist who earned her degree in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University. She has dedicated her career to developing quality and innovative cosmetic products, and has been the scientific mind behind brands such as ORS Olive Oil, Curls Unleashed, and HAIRepair. She is currently the Founder/CEO of mSEED group, a product development, manufacturing, and business consulting company that specializes in implementing brand innovation and growth strategies for new and emerging brands in the beauty space.

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    image:@JEWJEWEBEE


    Let’s have a conversation about edges.

    For some naturals, they can present a challenge, to put it mildly. Edges must be “laid”, which is just another term for styling. If any celebrity or well-known person shows up with untamed edges, you’ll get everyone’s opinion about it, as Olympic gymnasts Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles, sadly, found out.

    Here’s the thing: it should go without saying that women can wear their hair and their edges any way they want to. However, it’s okay to be concerned about how your edges look because certain hairstyles indeed draw more attention to that area. Just keep the concern on your own head.

    Continue!>>>


    So, why do edges seem to have a mind of their own? Why are they so sensitive? Why do the textures vary so much from the rest of your head? And while edges are typically fine, hence the sensitivity, sometimes they can be quite coarse. What is up with that? Is your hair regimen completely failing you?

    Make Healthy Edges a Priority
    First, just like there can be varied textures on different parts of your head, your edges can have different textures as well. It’s totally normal. But whatever texture your edges happen to be, always keep them in good shape before thinking about ways to tame them.

    “I think it’s important to understand that there is nothing wrong with having diverse textures,” says Portland, Oregon-area natural hair stylist Amber Starks of Conscious Coils. “No matter what texture you have, be gentle and mindful of how much weight and/or tension is added to your edges, i.e., braids, tight ponytails, extensions, wigs, weaves, etc.”

    Watch Halfrican Beaute as she shares how to safely lay type 4 natural hair baby hairs/ edges by using jamaican black castor oil & gorilla snot edge control.


    Solutions for Edge Control
    Looking for the right edge product will involve some experimentation because one thing doesn’t work for everyone. And if your edges are coarse, it’s an even deeper challenge. But don’t let that tempt you to do something you might regret later. Starks recommends temporary solutions, i.e., something that can be easily reversible, such as leave-ins, gels, or a low-setting blow dry after putting in product (but don’t do it often).

    “I’m of the school of thought that if something makes you feel beautiful, take agency and feel beautiful,” says Starks. “But I would caution anyone against doing anything permanent like relaxing just the edges. For the most part, hair will grow back if you make a mistake. But relaxing can lead to chemical burns, irreparable damage and may not even achieve your desired outcome.”

    Another solution? Just let your edges be. Even if you forego relaxing, sometimes doing too much with styling products can cause damage as well. The fixation on edge control could end up being more trouble than it’s worth.

    Whatever you decide, Starks emphasizes doing your own research and being extra wary of anything that looks good on camera. Some of our most popular products for styling edges include Eco Styler gel, Design Essentials Honey and Shea Edge Tamer, The Mane Choice Laid Back Effortlessly Growth Stimulating Edge Control, CURLS Blueberry Bliss Control Paste , and Mielle Organics Flexible Hold Edge Control.

    How do you lay down your baby edges?

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    Hola Chicas!

    I field hella emails about hair vitamins:  

    Nik, have you tried Viviscal?
    What about Hairfinity?
    Will I see faster growth? 
    How long will it take to see results?" 

    I've addressed the subject of supplements before, and I'm pretty sure everyone knows what I'm gonna say next--

    There are no quick fixes, magic potions or lotions, just patience, consistency and a healthy lifestyle.  

    But wait, there's more!  And there is (at least) one supplement I honestly believe contributes to my luxuriousness. 

    Here's a question I responded to a couple of years ago- 
    Q: I need longer hair now! I feel like I’ve been stuck at chin length for a decade. What hair vitamin do you take? What about prenatals?  
    CN: ...My research brought me to Biotin and MSM. If you do decide to take a hair vitamin or multi, it should contain these two ingredients. Biotin promotes cell growth, the production of fatty acids, and metabolism of fats. MSM lengthens the hair growth phase (which means that you keep more hair on your head, less shedding = thicker hair). Using a combination of the two is beneficial for healthy hair. This winning combo, plus a quality multivitamin may aid in healthy hair growth.  To tie a bow on this, I don’t contribute my growth to vitamins. It’s just one part of the puzzle — a healthy diet, regular cardio and adequate water intake, will also help you maximize the genetics you were gifted with. In addition, gentle handling of the hair you’re already working with will keep more of it atop your head. Finally, it’s important to note that prenatals (compared to your average multi vitamin) don’t lead to astounding growth and increases in volume. Pregnancy hormones do that. And then, as if labor wasn’t enough, much of that hair falls to the floor. Fun. So as always, there are no quick fixes, just patience and TLC. 
    This still holds true.  I take (1) 5,000 mcg capsule of Biotin a day and (1) 1,000mg MSM/ 1,000 Vitamin C packet a day.  Every damn day.  I never miss.  When I'm really on my game, I remember to take a Rainbow Light One-A-Day, a food based vitamin by the brand I entrusted my prenatal health to.  This regimen costs me ~20 dollars a month, but I charge it to the game.  

    While I don't see the purpose in disrespecting the finances with the more costly, fancy 'hair vitamins' (~40 dollars a month), I do have advice for those that do.  If you're going to invest and ingest, at least give your body the best chance to actually absorb that ish. In other words, talk to your doctor about starting a probiotic regimen. 

    *attorney spokesman voice* 

    Have you or one of your loved ones taken all the rounds of antibiotics? Are you stressed the hell out? Is your diet a disgrace? Have you been popping birth control pills for more than 5 years? Does your pee go annoying-ass-Nike-shoe-yellow after ingesting vitamins? Then probiotics may be for you. 

    I fell into all of those categories! My gastroenterologist recommended them due to my colon, which stays frustrated. 

    According to Harvard.edu-
    "An estimated 100 trillion microorganisms representing more than 500 different species inhabit every normal, healthy bowel. These microorganisms (or microflora) generally don’t make us sick; most are helpful. Gut-dwelling bacteria keep pathogens (harmful microorganisms) in check, aid digestion and nutrient absorption, and contribute to immune function."
    NaturalNews states, 'You aren't what you eat: you are what you absorb!' They go on--
    "Many people suffer from poor digestion. In fact, you might say that most people aren't able to absorb the nutrients they swallow, so they remain in a state of nutritional starvation even though they're taking supplements that would otherwise be quite helpful.
    These people tend to scratch their heads, wondering why all the nutrients they're swallowing aren't having the positive effects they had hoped for. The answer to this conundrum is found in enhancing the absorption of those nutrients."
    They say to skip grocery store yogurt (as most are pasteurized and much of the beneficial bacteria is killed) and either make your own, or even whip up some sauerkraut.  Y'all know I don't do the kitchen, so after turning to the google, I bought what I consider to be among the best probiotics on the market.  I keep either this one or this one, in stock.  


    A regular probiotic regimen and a slightly more reasonable diet not only helps with the bloat, but my hair sheds less, which is a bonus, 'cause y'all know I'm #TeamVolume. I cut my own hair (in between professional shape-ups) to stay at boob length to keep my shrunken, chin-length bob tight.  With fine curls, this length is optimal for big, rude, natural hair.  And to make this work, I need all my strands!  So yeah, maybe it helps the MSM do its thang... or maybe I'm experiencing a placebo effect, but either way, I'll take it.  

    So there you have it.  Probiotics to foster healthy hair growth.  Do your own research (this ish is not regulated by the FDA, none of it is), talk to your doctor and make smart choices!

    Later Gators,
    Nik

    Do you take vitamins? Probiotics? Which ones?
    What has your experience been?

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    Photo Courtesy of Lorado -- Getty Images


    Hair care is all about preservation. Your hair is not living like your scalp; it can be temporarily repaired but not permanently restored. Everything in hair care is meant to help maintain and style it. As your hair grows and you retain length, your hair is healthiest at the roots and usually the most damaged at the ends, which is why trims help to retain length. Before purchasing products and building a new regimen, it is helpful to understand how damage occurs and basic ways to maintain your curls.

    Read On!>>>


    What is damage?
    There are three forms of damage: chemical, mechanical, and thermal damage. Chemical damage includes permanent color treatments, bleach, relaxers/texturizers, and the Brazilian keratin treatment. Mechanical damage includes regular maintenance from washing, detangling, and styling along with friction against clothing. It weakens the cuticle layer of the hair strands while chemical and thermal damage can weaken the cortex. Thermal damage includes direct heat from blow-dryers, flat irons, curling wands, and curling irons, which can weaken the cuticle and cortex layers.

    Since washing, combing, and styling help to maintain your hair and scalp health, mechanical damage is unavoidable and is the most common form of damage.

    If everything is damaging, what’s the point?
    It depends on what you want. If you want to explore various hair color and styles and retain length, using hair products lessen the damage that your strands experience. Now that you know about different forms of damage, you can tailor your regimen to your lifestyle and goals. Maintaining moisture, reducing frizz, and retaining length are the top concerns for most curlies, and here are things you can start altering in your regimen to achieve those goals.

    4 things to stop doing

    1. Using shampoo too often or not enough
    Shampoo is formulated to remove product buildup, dirt, and excess sebum from you hair and scalp. When the hair follicle is clogged, you can cause or exasperate your current scalp disorder. Using shampoo too often can also exasperate scalp conditions. Most licensed cosmetologists recommend cleansing at least one a week for a normal, healthy scalp. Also consider switching to sulfate-free products and other cleansing options absent of SLS.

    2. Skipping trims
    Trims do not make your hair grow, they help you to retain length. The hair shaft grows from the hair follicle in the scalp not ends, so your ends should be cut as needed to prevent dry, split, and frayed ends and breakage.

    3. Using heat tools regularly
    Regardless of the temperature or frequency at which you use heat styling tools, it is best to not use them regularly. Limit heat tools to 1-3 times a year, as using them daily, weekly, and monthly greatly increase the risk for heat damage, which is irreversible.

    4. Too much of anything
    Healthy hair requires balance. You can have too much of a good thing. Too much moisture, protein, and wearing the same hairstyle can all cause breakage. Your hair needs proper moisture-protein balance to be pliable yet strong. Consistently wearing your hair loose can create dry ends while always wearing a ponytail, puff, or extensions wears on the point of contact along the hair shaft.

    How do you prevent damage?

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    IG @minoire_models : Angelica 

    via xonecole.com by Char J. Patterson

    How you start your day can very well determine how it will go and even how it will end.

    Kicking off your morning with self-affirmations can be a major game changer for your entire day. It can up that confidence and help you accomplish so much more because you'll feel the strength to do it. I know I've had so many mornings when I just wake up in a funk, and that messes up my attitude for an entire day.

    Adding these self-affirmations to my morning regimen, and then even repeating them throughout the day (because it's very clear that things and people can test us), has seriously helped me learn that I can control how my day goes and how I feel throughout it. Check out some of my favorites below.


    "I'm More Than Enough"

    As women, it's so easy to think we're not doing enough. We're constantly facing this battle and balance between self-care and providing for everyone else around us, and that's before rejection is thrown into the mix.

    Having an off day can definitely make any woman come down way too hard on herself and make her feel like she's slipping. Having this daily reminder that you're not just enough but that you're more than enough can serve as a constant notice that you're doing an amazing job.

    "I Don't Sweat The Small Stuff And Choose To Be Peaceful"

    One night this week my husband and I had the smallest disagreement you can think of. I woke up the next morning and thought, "Am I still supposed to be mad at him?" I couldn't even remember what happened. I told him, and we laughed it off, but we haven't always been able to do that.

    When it comes to marriage, work, or anything that can be an unexpected challenge, it's so easy to sweat the small stuff and make it a much bigger deal than what it is. Going beyond just making the decision to not overexaggerate little things, and literally confessing that you won't do it, can help you laugh off the small conflicts that could have otherwise brought down your entire day and spirit.

    "I Can Succeed In Anything I Put My Mind To"

    Before you take on the day, say and believe that anything you go after will be successful. It doesn't have to be like every other seemingly ordinary day.

    While this affirmation is pretty self-explanatory, it also calls for action, because you can't be successful at something if you don't know what success looks like for you. Think about writing down everything you want to accomplish. Later, you'll be able to look back at the day and see it as a great one. Then, go after every aspiration that you wrote down with the belief that you can do it.

    If it doesn't turn out the way you plan, at least you'll be one step closer and can try again tomorrow.


    "I Love Myself Just The Way I Am"

    The morning seems to be the time where self-doubt and insecurities reign supreme. While we should be bright-eyed and twerking in front of the mirror from excitement about what the day will bring, it's easy to find ourselves picking apart every little detail of our inner and outer features.

    At some point, we just have to tell ourselves that we're perfect the way we are. Saying this affirmation will help you start the day with confidence instead of anxiety and self-doubt. Feel free to repeat it when you're tempted to look into the mirror in your car and examine every part of you. Whatever flaws you have, doesn't mean that you're not worthy of self-love.


    "I Don't Let Fear Stop Me From Trying New Things"


    While it's easy to hate fear, it's even easier to let it rule over us. With it, we tend to stay in the box that we've always rocked. Without it, there's no limit to how far we can go.

    I've always heard the statement fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. So what are we afraid of? Confessing this affirmation about fear at the beginning of the day can help you tap into your bravery for something small like trying new food that you would never eat, to something major like starting a business.


    "I Choose To Be Happy & Content Where I Am, On The Way To Where I'm Going"

    This affirmation is an amazing one because it not only makes it clear that you'll be happy no matter what situation you're in but also says you don't plan on staying there.

    It presents this perfect balance between being content and striving for more. It's a reminder to you that your life is an amazing one, but that there's so much more out there for you to experience. Saying this can not only make you feel better but inspire and push you to go after better.

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    by Tina Munzu 

    Hot oil treatments are my go-to for repairing dry brittle hair. They strengthen and condition the hair, give shine and help fight off dandruff. Best of all, they can be easily customized to meet your needs. I do a hot oil treatment monthly but I also love to treat my hair to one after my hair has been flat ironed or been in a long term protective style. Watch this quick and simple video to discover how you can start reaping the benefits of hot oil treatments today!

    Continue!>>>


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    @callmedr.b

    by Sabrina Perkins of SeriouslyNatural.org

    I'm all about green smoothies and how great they are for our bodies, but did you know they have amazing benefits for our hair too? With many of us over 30 and looking for ways to keep our hair healthy, vibrant and moisturized, what we put into our bodies is the best way to get and keep healthy tresses.

    Whether your hair goal is length, regrowing edges or staving off grays, there is a green smoothie that can help you with achieve it!  Optimal diet leads to optimal health and optimal health gives you optimal hair growth! Check out the four green smoothies below as they are great for your hair's health.

    Continue!>>>


    KALE SMOOTHIE
    Ingredients
    -1-1 1/2 cup almond milk (plain or vanilla)
    -1 banana
    -1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
    -3 ice cubes
    -2-3 kale leaves (use 4 or 5 if you’re brave enough)
    -blueberries (optional)

    Instructions
    Add all ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth.

    Benefits
    The kale is loaded with vitamins A and C which improve the flow of blood to the scalp to help with growth. The protein from the peanut butter and greens is to give nutrients to the building blocks of the hair. Also, the blueberries assist in UV protection, and healing damaged follicles.

    CUCUMBER COMBINATION
    Ingredients
    -3 1/2 cups cucumber, unpeeled, chopped
    -1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
    -Fresh lemon juice
    -Pinch of salt
    -Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
    -Crushed ice
    -Lemon wedges, for garnish

    Instructions
    Combine all the ingredients except ice and lemon wedges intro a blender and blend smoothly. Then place crushed ice into a glass, pour in smoothie, then garnish with lemon wedges.

    Benefits
    The cucumber gives the hair shine while Greek yogurt is for protein and our hair needs protein to rebuild damaged hair cuticles. Lastly, the lemon juice treats dandruff and other minor scalp irritations.

    SPINACH CALADA
    Ingredients
    -1 cup baby spinach
    -1 Tbsp. chia seeds
    -1/2 banana, cut into chunks
    -1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
    -3–5 ice cubes

    Instructions
    Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth and frothy.

    Benefits
    Spinach provides folate and Iron and iron helps red blood cells transport oxygen around the body. Iron deficiency (anemia) can inhibit the transportation of oxygen to cells and can cause hair loss.

    SWEET POTATO SMOOTHIE
    Ingredients
    -1 banana
    -1 small sweet potato (cooked)
    -2 cups almond milk (or more for desired consistency)
    -1 scoop protein powder (optional)
    -4 ice cubes

    Instructions
    Place all the ingredients in the blender and mix until you’ve reached your desired consistency.

    Benefits
    The sweet potato is filled with A, B6, C, D, and E. It also has iron, zinc, copper, calcium, potassium, niacin and magnesium and great for combating hair loss. Also, the protein powder is for strength for the hair follicles while the almond adds shine to the hair, assisting in treating dandruff and reduces scalp inflammations.

    Please note that if you drink a glass once you won’t see a result the same day, you have to be consistently drinking it for optimal results. I've been drinking green smoothies for breakfast for a while and noticing not only great results with my hair but my nails too.

    Let me know your recipes and how they work for you.

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    image: instagram


    I wish my hair would stop growing...said no one, ever. Curly and wavy women especially can relate. Even when our hair grows at a normal rate, tight curl and wave patterns make it seem as if the length barely budges. Sigh.

    But before you Google “hair growth supplements”, we need to have a chat. Slow-to-grow hair probably isn’t the reason you’re longing for Rapunzel-level length (or just a lob that makes it past your shoulders). As we age, hair can become thinner and even starting falling out, which often tricks us into thinking that our length is the problem. These nine supplements have been shown to promote thicker, stronger hair that looks fuller, healthier, and yes, longer.

    Continue!>>>


    VITAMIN A
    Vitamin A is an antioxidant that promotes skin regeneration and collagen production, making it ideal for healthy hair, skin, and nails. It is said to promote thicker hair and stronger hair follicles through keeping the scalp moist, which in turn stimulates growth. However, too much Vitamin A can have the opposite effect, essentially causing hair follicles to go into overdrive and resulting in hair loss. Make sure to read the vitamin label and avoid taking multiple doses so you don’t overdo it.

    SAW PALMETTO EXTRACT
    Paradi Mirmirani, M.D., a dermatologist at the Permanente Medical Group in Vallejo, California, tells NaturallyCurly.com that saw palmetto extract may improve the growth and fullness of hair. In one study, 60 percent of patients taking saw palmetto extract saw an improvement (whereas only 10 percent of the placebo group reported any improvement). This is another supplement to be careful with, though, especially if you’re taking birth control pills: saw palmetto has been shown to “decrease the effects of estrogen in the body” and thus, potentially decrease the effectiveness of birth control.

    VITAMIN D
    “The vitamin D receptor helps regulate your hair cycle,” says Dr. Mirmirani, who has her patients take vitamin D supplements whenever their levels are low. Even though experts aren’t exactly sure how the body’s vitamin D levels influence hair growth, most agree that it’s an essential vitamin for skin and hair health.

    BIOTIN
    Biotin, which is part of the Vitamin B family, is one of the most-recognized supplements for improving the strength and thickness of hair. Although the data from studies of biotin is inconclusive, Doris Day, M.D., a celebrity dermatologist in New York City, says, “I have some very happy patients taking biotin right now. Even though the data is mixed, there’s at least enough to support trying it out.”

    FOLIC ACID
    If you do decide to take biotin, you can increase your body’s absorption of it by pairing it with a folic acid supplement, as well. This study from the University di Bologna shows that folic acid helps the body metabolize biotin, boosting its effects.

    VIVISCAL
    One of the most respected hair growth supplements on the market is Viviscal, a Scandinavian supplement made with silica, Vitamin C, and fish protein. Dr. Day tells us, “I’ve observed it help with hair thickness and regrowth, especially around the temple area.”

    Celebrity hair stylist David Babaii is a fan of Viviscal, as well, after witnessing its effects on a client. “Within a month, I noticed growth of new hair and after six months, her hair was even thicker than before she started taking it,” he says.

    COLLAGEN
    As we age, the body’s natural production of collagen slows, which can result in wrinkled skin and thinning hair. Adding collagen, which is actually a protein, to your daily routine can counteract these effects by helping the body produce more keratin protein (which, by the way, makes up 90% of our hair). Collagen also stimulates blood circulation, which supports hair health by helping the body deliver essential nutrients to hair follicles.

    GLA
    GLA, also known as gamma linolenic acid, is considered an essential fatty acid of the omega-6 variety. Even though we need omega-6 fatty acids for a variety of reasons–including healthy hair and hydrated skin–the body cannot produce it on its own. Nuts and seeds, like almonds and pumpkin seeds, are great sources of GLA–but if you don’t get this essential nutrient from your diet, you can take it in supplement form to stimulate hair growth and keep your scalp moisturized.

    FENUGREEK
    Fenugreek is a herb that promotes healthy hair in two ways: you can take it internally or use it topically. Part of the Indian Ayurvedic tradition, fenugreek (sometimes called “methi”) has been shown to strengthen hair at the roots, preventing hair loss and thinning hair. You can take it as a supplement, or make a hair mask by mixing equal parts fenugreek seed powder and water and applying it from root to tip. Although there aren’t studies that prove fenugreek’s benefits, many people swear by it to promote hair growth, prevent dandruff, and add shine.

    Of course, the best way to promote thick, healthy hair is through a well-balanced diet. First, add these hair-healthy foods to your daily routine; then, supplement with vitamins as needed.

    Have you taken any of these supplements and noticed hair growth? What are some others that you might suggest for your fellow curly girls? Share them with us in the comments below!

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    IG @brialarine 


    Many woman want longer, thicker, shinier hair. We always see women flaunting their bouncy tresses in shampoo and other product ads. However, we buy into the advertisement without stopping to think that maybe there’s more to their hair care that using the branded shampoo or conditioner. Let's face it...people have different types of hair. Some people have thick and coarse hair while others have soft and thin hair.

    Even growing pollution has increased our worry about hair. We have forgotten nature and its many ingredients that help us to make our hair soft and shiny. No shampoo or conditioner can stand in front of natural ways of nourishing hair without any side effects. I personally believe that treating hair issues naturally helps to keep the hair healthy and shiny. In this article, I am going to share some natural ways to treat your hair. Let’s get to it...

    Continue!>>>


    Oil Massage
    Oil massage is a great way to provide nourishment to hair. With modernization, we have neglected the benefits of oil and opted for chemical products to treat our hair issues.By oil massaging in the root of the hair, we can provide strength and nourishment to our hair and make them strong and shiny. Oil also helps to revitalize the dead hair shaft [1].Hair massaging with oils like coconut oil or almond oil is one of the simplest, most easy and chemical-free treatments to improve your hair health.

    Recipe:
    Take coconut oil or almond oil in a small bowl. Dip your fingers and massage them on your hair roots. Leave the mixture overnight or for 2 hours. Wash it off with lukewarm water. Oil has the nourishing benefit that not just nourishes the hair but also moisturizes the scalp.

    Yogurt
    Yogurt can be found in any home. Applying it all over the hair helps to keep the hair soft and promotes hair growth. It is one of the best ways to condition your hair naturally.

    Recipe:
    Blend half a cup of yogurt and make it smooth. Apply all over your hair. Cover your hair with a towel and wash after 15-20 minutes.Yogurt is high in probiotics which promotes hair growth.

    Bottle Gourd Juice
    Bottle gourd is good for your health and also for your hair. You can use bottle gourd juice to treat hair issues such as hair fall etc. It helps to prevent grey hair, hair fall and improves the overall condition of your hair. To thicken your hair drink bottle gourd juice.

    Recipe:
    Just take out its juice and apply it on your hair. Leave for 30 minutes and wash it off.

    Apple Cider Vinegar
    To make your hair bouncy and shiny, apple cider vinegar is the best natural way to treat your hair.

    Recipe:
    (This is the best natural treatment to make your hair bouncy)
    Add apple cider vinegar mixed with warm water to your hair. After 5 minutes, wash it off. Following this treatment will make your hair bouncy.

    Baking Soda
    If you have styled your hair or used hair spray the previous night, this will make you feel that your hair has weighed down with the residue from harmful chemical sprays. To get rid of the residue, baking soda is the best natural way to treat your hair.

    Recipe:
    Mix two tablespoons of baking soda with water and make a mixture. Apply it all over your hair from the scalp to ends of your hair. Leave it on for 15 minutes and then wash. Use this treatment twice a month for deep cleansing.

    Olive and Lemon
    Having an itchy scalp will make you feel irritated while working. You can treat your itchy scalp with a mixture of lemon and olive oil.

    Recipe:
    Mix olive oil, fresh lemon juice and water and apply it to your hair. After 20 minutes, wash your hair. This treatment will add extra moisture to your dry scalp and reduce flakiness.

    Coconut Butter
    Coconut is full of nutrition that is good for your hair and body. Just like eggs, it has high protein and fatty acid content. You can reduce the UV damage on your hair with coconut butter.

    Recipe:
    Just apply coconut butter on your hair and leave it for few minutes. This is a great method to moisturize your hair.

    Final Words
    Natural ways are the best ways to treat your hair issues. Whether you have oily hair or dry hair, hair fall or dandruff issues, all of them can be cured and treated with natural remedies. Regular massaging of hair with oil not just nourishes the hair but also make hair roots strong. If you use any of the above mentioned treatments once or twice in a week, you will soon notice the benefit of these natural remedies.

    Miranda
    Miranda is a professional hairstylist based in New York. She has been in the fashion industry for the past 10 years and has been graced to work with the some of the top ranking professionals in the field.

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    Do you know what damaged hair looks like, feels like, and even acts like? Often, we get used to the way our hair behaves (or doesn’t) and ignore the signs of true damage. Bald patches, clumps of hair falling out, or thinning edges — these are easy to spot. But what about the other, less-obvious signs that your hair is in serious trouble?

    If you comb, brush, shampoo, chemically straighten, or use heat-styling tools or permanent color, the fact is, you are in some way or another harming your hair. Even pulling your hair into a ponytail too often can be destructive. Before you throw your hands up in the air and surrender, know that it is possible to prevent this damage. You just have to know what to look for.

    Read On!>>>


    Split Ends

    Easily mistaken for frizz, split ends are the damaged tips of the hair shaft that have split into two or three fragments. The ends are the oldest part of your hair and tend to grow increasingly porous over time, which is why many naturally curly girls emphasize oiling their ends. If your hair looks full and voluminous at the roots and much thinner at the ends, your ends are probably damaged. Getting a trim and focusing on moisturizing hair care are crucial to staving off further issues.

    Lack of Elasticity

    Hair is elastic, especially when wet, but one of the biggest problems with elasticity loss is that it can sometimes be hard to diagnose. Healthy hair has a high level of elasticity, and this is what gives hair its body, bounce, and texture formation. Elasticity is what makes hair styling possible and is a telltale sign of hair health.

    To test if your hair has lost its elasticity, stretch a strand while it's wet. If a strand breaks with little to no stretching, it may need more moisture. If it stretches a bit and then returns to its natural state, you have normal elasticity. If it stretches more than usual and then breaks, or feels limp and mushy between your fingers, then it needs protein. It’s important to have a balance of moisture and protein in our hair, and the best way to do this is with protein treatments. (Ideally, have yours administered by a professional, as too much protein can also cause damage.)

    High Porosity

    Porosity is how easily hair (like a sponge) can absorb moisture and chemicals, and damaged hair is more porous than healthy hair. Chemical treatments like coloring, chemical straighteners, and heat applications can cause hair to become overly porous. If you dye your hair, then you may have noticed the dye absorbing or processing more quickly on hair that is damaged than on the healthy parts of your hair. The flip side of that problem is that the color may fade more quickly in the highly porous sections every time you cleanse.

    The best way to prevent this damage is to decrease the chemicals and heat-styling products in your life. Since damaged hair is more vulnerable when wet, try styling or manipulating it when it’s dry and consider damp detangling to cause less damage. Incorporate protein treatments to add strength to the hair and temporarily close holes in the hair’s cuticle. Deep-condition and consider using apple cider vinegar and aloe vera to restore the hair's pH balance. Then,seal with an oil to help retain as much moisture as possible.

    Dry, Brittle, Lack Of Moisture

    Healthy hair is soft and supple and should never be dry and brittle. Not sure why your hair is dry no matter what you do? Consider these questions:

    1. Are you deep-conditioning after cleansing? You should.

    2. Are you protecting your curls at night by using a satin scarf or satin bonnet or sleeping on a satin pillowcase? You should.

    3. Are you drying your hair with a blowdryer on high heat? You shouldn’t.

    4. Do you incorporate oils into your regimen with pre-poos, hot oil treatments, or sealers? Maybe this is the time.

    Pick up a couple strands of your hair and run your fingers through it from root to tip. If it feels rough, that is a sign of dryness and possible damage. Do this test the day after washing your hair, as dryness can also be an indication of product buildup. Sometimes, dryness can be caused by the weather, hormone changes, or even medications, but often it’s simply too much heat, chemical treatments, or not properly moisturizing and conditioning your hair.

    Unruly Tangles

    Textured hair is more prone to tangling than straight hair is. If you are doing all the right things in your detangling session and are still wrestling with unruly tangles, then your hair may be damaged. This is a sign that you’re likely dealing with a few of the issues above; dry hair with roughened cuticles and frayed split ends is likely to snag and form knots. And, if your hair lacks elasticity, it will likely snap as you attempt to remove those knots. This calls for more frequent deep-conditioning and is potentially a sign that it’s time for a trim. Even if you want long hair, you can’t reach mermaid status by holding onto damaged strands that need to go.

    You know your own hair. If it was soft and full before and now it’s dull, thinning, tangled, and will not hold a style, then you know something isn’t right. If it feels different, looks different, or your old products just aren’t doing the trick, investigate to see if you have any damaging habits — and then stop doing them! Your hair will thank you.

    How can you tell when you're dealing with damage?

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    by Emilia Obiekea of AdoreBotanicals.com

    I enjoy making and creating products when I have free time. Ayurvedic herbs are wonderful for the hair and skin.   

    "According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, Ayurveda is considered one of the oldest healing sciences that have a holistic approach to health. It is designed to help people live a long, healthy, and well-balanced life. It has been practiced in India for at least 5,000 years. It has recently become popular again in western cultures and is used to treat illnesses and maintain balance in the body, mind, and consciousness through proper eating, drinking, and lifestyle.  Our hair, which is a vital parameter of external beauty, can also benefit from Ayurvedic treatments to maintain its health and look beautiful. These time-tested herbal hair care remedies have been the backbones behind the healthy and long hair of Indian women. Whether dealing with scalp problems, nourishing the hair follicles, or trying to steer clear of sulfates, parabens, or ingredients you cannot pronounce, Ayurveda can bring health and beauty to your tresses."
    I am sharing my own recipe for a home pre-poo/conditioning treatment that encourages healthy hair growth.



    The ingredients are as follows:

    Cassia Seeds
    Benefits: Gives hair a beautiful sheen.
    Nothing like cassia powder. Mostly used as a hot tea.
    A low key favorite of mine. Many use the powder but don't know about the seeds.
    Amount: 3 tablespoons
     

    Fenugreek Seeds
    (optional ingredient)
    Benefits: Prevents hair loss, promotes hair growth, helps strengthen hair shaft, light protein.
    Note: It has a very strong aroma. If you find it unpleasant just leave it out. Those that use it love it. 
    Prepare: Should be soaked overnight prior to using. It's beneficial but not necessary for most. 
    Amount: 2 tablespoons
    Soak in 1 cup of distilled water

    Whole Amla (dried)
    Benefits: Stimulates hair growth, has wonderful conditioning properties, strengthens hair at the roots.
    It is my preference to use Amla whole. It is fine to use powder. Use what you have of course.
    Amount: 3 or 4 pieces 
      
    Dried Rosemary
    Benefits: Stimulates the scalp, encourages growth, provides relief for irritated scalp, proves a nice sheen to the hair.
    An inexpensive, easily accessible herb.
    If pregnant it is recommended not to use this herb. I'm not a doctor.
    Amount: 2 tablespoons

    Dried Hibiscus/ Sorrel Flowers
    Benefits: Conditions hair from its softening effects due to the yielding of mucilage, promotes healthy hair growth, prevents hair loss, thickens hair. 
    Gives a nice rich red tone when in liquids. If your hair is light in color (ex: blonde) substitute this with Chamomile or another floral of choice to avoid any staining. Hair in the browns, reds and black tones benefit by using this floral. It adds a rich tone and has a light amount of slip for detangling. 
    Amount: 4 or 5 flowers

    Dried Mint 
    Benefits: Soothing scalp stimulant that is wonderful for dry scalp.
    Use any kind you like. Most people use peppermint. 
    *I use a mix of my favorite mints for my mint blend. I love the warm scent and the bit of tingle it gives my scalp.
    Amount: 2 tablespoons

    Neem Blossom Honey
    Benefits: A humectant that provides moisture and and shine when used. 
    Use any type of honey that you have readily available.
    *This is one of my favorite honeys. It is costly but this brand isn't very costly.
    Amount: 2 tablespoons

    Goat Milk  
    Benefits: Soothes irritated scalps and softens the hair.
    Can use coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk, etc...
    Amount: 1/2 cup

    Distilled Water  
    Amount: 1 cup of water
    Benefits: Pure water without any chemicals or additives. The simplest and best moisturizing component of any regimen.
    "Can use coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk, etc...
    Note: add the distilled water if fenugreek step was skipped.
    Photo Credit (Google)
      
    Process Steps
    1. Add 1 cup of distilled water to the Fenugreek seeds. Let it soak overnight.
    2. In the morning, warm the goat milk slightly. Then add the cassia seeds, hibiscus, amla, rosemary and mint.
    3. Cover and turn off the heat source. 
    4. Let it steep until it is mildy warm. 
    5. Strain the herbs from the infused milk. 
    6. Add honey to the milk and stir until the honey has dissolved. Adding it at this time helps to maintain the integrity of the honey. 
    7. Once the honey is full incorporated add the fenugreek water/ plain distilled water (if you skipped the fenugreek step). If you like to use the mashed fenugreek to infuse your water you can use it that way as well. 
    This solution is very nice for the hair. It can  be used as is, as a prepoo, as a post wash rinse (if using fenugreek follow up with something that smells nice to get rid of the scent) or added to your favorite conditioners. 


    Emilia Says
    Once everything is fully incorporated, I pour it into a dye applicator bottle. I apply the mask to my hair for 30 minutes to an hour and then rinse.  If using this as a prepoo/ pre-shampoo conditioner: I apply it to my unwashed hair, rinse, then cleanse and deep condition with another product.
    If using this as a conditioner, I apply it after my hair has been cleansed.  

    Enjoy!  
    Comment and let us know how you enjoyed it as well!


    *Disclaimer: I am not a physician. I love DIY and to share with others. If you are allergic to any of these ingredients do not try it. If you are unsure if you should consult a physician, of course.

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    Hola Chicas!
    Watch as Curlygaisha shares an alternative for your cleansing routine!  Bentonite clay mixed with ACV is a great way to cleanse, and clarify the hair without stripping it. This is especially good for  naturalistas with low porosity hair, as shampoo can be very drying.

    Watch Now!>>>

    Have you ever used bentonite clay to cleanse?! Share your results below!

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    Antoinette's Results of a Rosemary Rinse

    Before Pantene, Queen Helene and Head and Shoulders, women turned to their gardens, woods and fields for plants that met all of their beauty needs. Whether it be a cure to dandruff, premature balding, dull strands or a desire for a new color there was a plant that they knew could meet their specific demands. I think that as the world is beginning to become more synthetic the less we truly understand the implications of allowing such chemicals, toxins and mad men creations into our bodies. It is important to be knowledgeable and at the very least know that there are natural alternatives to every single demand that humans require whether in sickness or health. With that being said, I have begun my research into herbs that can treat and assist in hair. Let's begin with Rosemary. (My source for today's research comes from the book entitled "Back to Eden" written by Jethro Kloss).

    Why Rosemary?

    Rosemary is very common and easily accessible herb. It is green in appearance with thin, needle-like leaves with a deep, pungent smell. When it comes to it's contributions to hair it seems to be all purpose. Here is a brief list of its uses and benefits to hair...

    -Stimulates and improves circulation to the scalp thus encouraging hair growth
    -Due to it's antibacterial quality it gently cleanses hair
    -Increases shine
    -Fights premature graying
    -Relieves irritated, dry, flaky, dandruff ridden scalps

    Read More!>>>


    How Do I Use It?

    As with all herbs there are many different ways that rosemary can be applied externally unto your hair and scalp. These processes can be used with both fresh and dried herbs. But as with cooking, it is always recommended to use fresh ingredients. (If you don't use all of your herb initially, you can dry them and store for next time!) Here are the most common processes for external use of rosemary.



    Rosemary Infusion- What is that you ask? It's a simple as a cup of tea. Actually, it is like a cup to tea!
    • Simply boil water and add your rosemary to the water. 
    • Allow it to steep for 15-30mins and then sift away the leaves. You are left with rosemary infused water. 
    • The water can then be used for a rinse for any of the following; cleansing rinse, treatment for shine, treatment for graying, treatment for dandruff and scalp irritation. 
    • DO NOT RINSE OUT! (Remember to accompany rinses with a nice scalp massage as well). You may have seen Antoinette's Rosemary Infused Rinse in herPre-Poo Post

    Rosemary Oil- There are two ways that you can achieve an oil infused with rosemary.
    • The first which is the quickest but not necessarily the cheapest is purchasing rosemary essential oil (which is a highly concentrated) and adding a few drops to your oil which you use daily.
    • The second option is buy fresh rosemary and crush it within your hands to bring out the aroma. Put the crushed herb into a GLASS bottle (beer bottle, jelly, jars etc) and pour your choice of oil (olive, jojoba etc) over top the herbs. 
    • Try to pick an oil that is not temperature sensitive like coconut oil. 
    • Put the bottle in a cool, dark space and allow it to sit for 2-4 weeks. You can then apply this rosemary infused oil to your hair and scalp for the following; dandruff, scalp irritation, stimulate hair growth, scalp massage, added shine and luster.

    Rosemary Vinegar
    • Crush fresh rosemary and add to a jar ofapple cider vinegar.  
    • Follow the same steps as the oil and store in a cool, dark space for 2-4 weeks. 
    • After shampooing hair, combine 1/4 cup of your rosemary vinegar to 1-2 cup of water and rinse hair with it.  
    • DO NOT RINSE OUT. This is best used for the following; gentle cleanser, hair treatment for Ph balance, shine and conditioning.

    Where Can I Purchase the Rosemary Herb?
    You can find rosemary at any grocery and produce store. It is a very inexpensive and very accessible herb. If you are a gardener, look into adding this wonderful culinary and medicinal herb into your harvest being as though it grows easily and yields well.

    Well folks, I hope this was informative. I pray that we begin to take our health and beauty into our own hands and relearn practices that are indeed effective and harmless to our bodies. Next herb I am working on is going to be Burdock. As we learn the herbs we can then learn how to couple what with what until we are mixtresses in our own bathrooms and kitchens!

    Have you tried Rosemary in your hair recipes?

    This article was originally published in January 2012 and has been updated for grammar and clarity. 

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    IG @hermela

    by Jonna of BlackNaps.org

    Any other tea lovers out there? I know I’m not the only one who is a fan of a variety of teas. Drinking tea has so many benefits, whether you’re looking for energy or relaxation. I actually drink tea similar to how most people drink coffee, with milk or creamer. So tasty! Naturalistas are known for taking everyday kitchen items and using them in our hair care routine, and teas are no different. There are several benefits of using tea for your hair care regimen. Herbal hair rinses have been used for centuries to naturally soften hair, increase manageability, and restore luster, body and bounce.

    Continue!>>>


    WHAT IS A TEA RINSE?

    A tea rinse is done by pouring a cup of tea, commonly green or black, over the hair. Most commonly, tea rinses are used to reduce shedding or stimulate hair growth.

    HOW DO TEA RINSES WORK?

    The caffeine in the tea penetrates the hair follicles. The process is just like brewing tea you would drink. Bring water to just about boiling, and add 4-5 tea bags and remove from the heat until it is cool. Remove the tea bags, and then pour the tea into a spray bottle. Then you can spray your scalp and hair, cover with a plastic cap and let it sit for about 30-45 minutes.

    DO TEA RINSES REALLY MAKE HAIR GROW FASTER?

    Caffeine definitely penetrates hair follicles and may stimulate hair growth, but it’s impossible to say how much additional growth you might experience, if any at all. There have been studies that show tiny amounts of caffeine stimulate hair growth, but too much can have the opposite result and stunt growth. antiseptic ingredients in tea remove the dead skin cells and impurities that may block hair follicles, preventing their clogging and allowing hairs to grow again. EGGG, a compound found in green tea, can stimulate the hair growth by increasing the activity of dermal papillae. A powerful antioxidant, EGGG is also effective in preventing the thinning of hair.

    OTHER BENEFITS OF USING TEA RINSES

    Black tea enhances the shine and highlights in brunettes, rooibos is wonderful for red heads and for blondes, try chamomile. If you have a few grey strands, add two teaspoons of sage to your rinse. Sage will open the hair follicles, allowing the color to penetrate. Tea is rich in polyphenols, vitamin C and E, which ensure a shiny and soft hair, and protect against the damage caused by UV radiation. Also, these ingredients are known to strengthen the hair and restore the health of damaged, dry hairs.

    Tea has powerful anti-inflammatory effects, and acts by soothing the scalp and preventing its irritation and inflammation. This not only prevents dandruff, but it may also relieve symptoms of psoriasis. Green tea can increase metabolism, which can lead to faster hair growth. It also inhibits the production of DHT, a compound that promotes hair loss. Daily scalp massages with freshly brewed tea can increase blood’s circulation to the scalp and stimulate hair’s growth by providing higher amounts of nutrients and oxygen.

    Have you tried adding tea rinses to your hair care regimen?

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    IG @tolaniav

    by Kanisha Parks of ShesSaved.com

    In the natural hair community, there’s a lot of emphasis placed on getting healthy hair, growing long hair, and retaining length. All too often, we tend to think the answer is a certain product, vitamin, or “grow hair overnight” scheme, when it isn’t.

    I’ve been natural for about six years now and in the beginning, there was a lot of trial and error involved: emphasis on error. I wanted my hair to grow long and healthy but I wasn’t equipping myself with the three habits necessary to get it there. You don’t need an arsenal of products, 10,000 tools, or even a personal hair stylist. You can grow long, healthy, strong, and beautiful hair, no matter your starting point or texture. Start implementing these habits and your hair will prosper!

    Continue!>>>
    1. GAIN UNDERSTANDING.

    When you decide to grow your own hair, the first step is to learn about natural hair AND your own hair, because it is unique from any other head of hair you will encounter. It’s good to know about natural hair in general, but if you never examine your own waves, curls, kinks, and/or coils, you won’t be able to handle them properly. You should take the time to really do your research so that you won’t waste time buying products that aren’t suitable for your hair or creating habits that are ultimately just a waste of time.

    When I first went natural, I spent hours on YouTube and hair blogs, just immersing myself in natural hair, which was something I didn’t even know was a “thing.” At the time, there wasn’t nearly as much information available as there is now, so your task actually quite easy! But you must also realize that you have to eat the meat and throw away the bone. Every tip isn’t one you should acquire, and with time, you’ll find your groove.

    You’ll quickly see that there are many methods, routines, and regimens out there but you’ll find that everything isn’t good for your hair/lifestyle. Me, personally? I’ve learned that for my hair and lifestyle, it’s best to just keep it simple. I wash my hair once a week, following up with conditioning, and then deep conditioning with heat for 30 minutes. During the summer my hair is almost always in a bun, which I take down 2-3 times a week to moisturize and give my hair a break. Every other month, I install box braids to give myself a break from styling. This routine has helped me retain 2 inches of growth this summer, and it’s all because I spent time learning what is good for my hair.

    2. GET DEDICATED.

    You say you want long and healthy hair, but what are you doing about it? A few years ago I called myself getting serious about my hair journey, but I was still doing things to counteract any progress I was making, such as: using too much heat, neglecting my hair, leaving protective styles in for too long, not deep conditioning, not moisturizing, etc.

    Once you gain understanding, you’ll know exactly what you need to do to grow healthy hair, including: following a regimen, refraining from damaging hair practices like excessive heat and over-manipulation, deep conditioning regularly, maintaining a good diet, and drinking lots of water. But do you do it?

    If you’re still learning, don’t be afraid to try but just know that retaining length is going to take some sort of effort. The amount of effort depends on the person. My hair tends to be prone to split ends so I have to be very cautious and watchful of anything that will hinder me from retaining length, like slacking on my regimen or handling my hair too harshly.

    Ultimately, if you really want long and healthy hair, you’ll do what it takes to achieve it. It doesn’t take all of your time and a boatload of money to do it. Truly, being dedicated will take you farther than any hair product or miracle growth oil ever will.

    3. BE CONSISTENT.

    Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge and are really ready to put your best foot forward, consistency is all you need. There were many times in my hair journey when I made significant progress but I found myself growing weary, getting antsy, or was just tired of trying. Right when my hair was on the cusp of greatness, I would resort back to my bad habits because it was just easier.

    Sometimes you have to tell yourself no! So if you’re committed to refraining from heat for six months, don’t let yourself give in at month three. Don’t skip a week of deep conditioning or allow yourself any room for excuses. At times you may feel like it’s “not that big of a deal” but if long and healthy hair is your goal, consistency is essential because it takes time to see lasting results. It’ll take some discipline, but it will also be well worth it.

    As with anything in life, the more you put in, the more you get out. So if your hair isn’t where you want it, just know that it can get there! It’s up to you. So learn what you’re doing wrong, get serious about what you need to change, and just stick with it. You’ll get there!

    **************************************
    Kanisha is a Christian writer, author, and founder of ShesSaved.com, where she blogs about faith, natural hair, and more. She can be contacted for business inquiries at contact@shessaved.com.

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    IG @modelesque_nic 

    by Aziza Glass of www.azizaglass.com via BlackNaps.org

    I’m a scientist. With most problems I encounter, I tend to solve them as if they are an experiment. If I know that certain predictions should come to pass and do not, the problem is most likely located within my protocol or process. Fast forward to the moment I realized my hair just wasn’t growing the way it should. I decided to attempt to identify the culprit.

    Continue!>>>
    So I have some questions for you:

    Have you been stuck at the same length for months? Does it seem like it is going to take a decade before you reach your hair length goal? Are you trying to find the miracle product that will solve your problems, but it remains elusive?

    I have a suggestion–troubleshoot.

    What is a troubleshooter? Answer: an expert in discovering and eliminating the cause of trouble in mechanical equipment, or person who tries to find solutions to problems.

    Now you (the reader) or I (the writer) may not be experts in hair, but we can definitely attempt to figure out what is going on with what grows out of our scalps. Therefore, when I was trying to figure out the cause of my poor length retention, I decided to dissect my hair regimen.

    #1 Remove heat

    This may seem like common sense, but common sense isn’t very common nowadays. High heat has the potential to make your hair brittle or destroy your curl pattern by burning the cuticle. When I transitioned, I continued to flat iron my hair (I mean my wonderful beautician). When I moved away for school, it was difficult to trust someone else with the care of my hair, and I could never get the same results as back home. I tried to recreate it myself (sort of failed). I also realized that some of the new hair products I used might not have been created for direct heat application. For instance, if I’m trying a new leave-in conditioner, that conditioner may not be designed for direct heat from a flat iron. So I may be frying my hair in my effort to straighten it.

    Results – Besides limiting a potential contributor to my poor length retention, I was also forced to become more creative when styling my hair. This freed me from my addiction to direct heat. Initially, I gave myself a challenge of going one year heat free, which eventually (and effortlessly) became two. The only time I used heat was for deep conditioning.

    #2 Pay attention to the ingredients

    Once again you might say, “Duh.” However, for newbies in the natural hair game, you might not know how much you should read the fine print on hair products. With so many hair companies jumping on the natural hair bandwagon, there are a lot of products now that are marketed for “naturals” or “textured” or “curly” hair. In addition, there are people on YouTube and bloggers who make a living out of reviewing hair products for you. It’s easy to be lazy and give in to the advertisement. I know I’m guilty. When I started transitioning, I knew there were people who refused to use certain products if they had certain ingredients in them. But I thought, “Seriously…it doesn’t take all of that.” Well in following my troubleshoot method, the next potential problem I eliminated was products that contained ingredients that were often listed on the “Stay clear” list. This included alcohols, sulfates, glycerin, silicones, and mineral oil. Once I committed to removing these ingredients from my life, I was able to clear out my bathroom of all the product junk I had amassed. For every bottle or jar I kept, ten were given or thrown away.

    Results – I was forced to start doing research on why these ingredients were bad for my hair and which ingredients were good. My bank account was much happier, since I wasn’t spending money on everything with the remote promise of making my hair look like my favorite YouTube blogger. After I changed the products I used, my hair seemed to stay moisturized longer.

    #3 To comb or not to comb…that is the question

    It is the rule of thumb that in order for your hair to be untangled, it must be combed. Right?…WRONG. I strongly believe the way you untangle your hair depends entirely on your curl pattern and hair thickness. Those with loose curls can handle a wide tooth comb easier than those with the tighter curls. If you have thick hair, it’s harder to comb through versus hair that is thinner. What kind of hair do I have? …Tight and kinky-curly coils that are long and thick. For years, I had been combing my hair out using a wide tooth comb. I even bought the expensive seamless combs. I tried every kind of method to make detangling and combing my hair out easier and nothing seemed to work. Each time I would see my whole shower peppered with hair fragments–pieces of hair that broke out in my quest to thoroughly detangle my hair. Even more frustrating was knowing after all the time I spent combing my hair out, when it dried it seemed to tangle again. I thought I was just wasting time.

    A friend told me her sister had hair similar to mine and stopped combing her hair. I looked at her like she was crazy! That was like trying to tell me that a tiger makes a perfect housecat. She said she hadn’t combed her hair in two years and it was the longest it had ever been. I asked her why. Her response was, “My sister takes her time to finger detangle and remove hair that’s been shed. If there are fairy knots, sometimes she cuts them off and sometimes she doesn’t. She believes if she has already detangled her hair with her fingers, then the purpose of combing the hair out has already been achieved. Besides, when she’s finger detangling, she comes across knots that she patiently untangles. A comb would just rip through the hair without preference of what is a true tangle.” Although unconventional, the reasoning was sound and the results were promising. I decided to try it myself.

    Results– I proceeded to finger detangle my hair for several months and noticed shedding of long strands instead of the usual hair fragments. Later, I discovered my favorite detangling technique to date which you can check out here. After a month, I could see a significant difference in the length of my hair and a decrease in the amount of knots discovered.

    It’s been four years since I troubleshot my hair regimen. I’ve gone from being stuck at armpit length to (just recently) reaching my hair goal of mid-back length. If you have been frustrated by your lack of progress, I suggest you dissect what you are doing in your hair regimen step by step. If it doesn’t seem to be working, do not become stubborn and try to force it. Make some changes and move on. In the process, you will learn what works for you. After all, that’s all a part of the journey to becoming a naturalista.


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    IG @curlbellaa


    Detangling
    For many of us, it might as well be a four letter word. Some of us avoid it until our hair is on the brink of disaster, while others may do some form of it a few times a week or even daily. We all know the dangers of pushing detangling sessions too far back -- from breakage and matting to cutting out clumps of knots. But what about detangling too frequently? Is there a such thing as doing too much detangling?

    There's an old adage that says, too much of anything is bad for you. By and large, that tends to be true. Detangling is great for releasing shed hairs, making the removal of buildup easier, and not to mention, it is the cornerstone of every fabulous natural hair style. But when done too often, detangling can lead to the following:

    HYGRAL FATIGUE
    Every time we douse our hair in water, the shaft expands to accommodate the uptake in water. As it dries, the shaft contracts and returns to normal. This is a regular thing for all hair, and does not typically cause damage--except for when done in excess. Constant expansion and contraction (from doing daily wash and go's or daily soaking wet detangling) can cause damage to the cuticles and cortex of the hair, weakening them to the point of premature breakage. This does not mean that you should avoid moisture at all costs -- just pull back to spritzes of water or a refresher, or light moisturizers and creams instead of dunking your hair in water. The best way to tell if you have hygral fatigue is to take a few strands of hair the next time you wet it, and pull them gently. If your hair springs right back to its kinky, coily, or curly self, then you're good to go. If the hair takes a while to retract back (like an overstretched scrunchie), or just breaks in your hand, you've got hygral fatigue.

    EXCESSIVE CUTICLE WEAR/THINNING ENDS
    Another pitfall of excessive manipulation via detangling is wear on the cuticles -- especially the ends. Every time we touch our hair, we take a little cuticle with us. So even if you're doing the most gentle, coconut oil-only, 3 hour painstakingly slow detangling session, you're still causing your hair damage. When done on a regular basis (not excessive), the results should not significantly impact your hair health and length retention. But if your hands are in your hair detangling constantly, expect every move of a comb, fingers, or denman to chip away at the cuticle of your hair. You may not notice it at first, but gradually the ends will begin to thin out and look wiry.

    You may even find that your hair is having difficulty retaining moisture, because excessive detangling/combing has led to chipped cuticles along the shaft, causing moisture to be lost. If it's not too late, cut back on detangling and combing sessions now. To prevent further damage, begin incorporating protein treatments (like Eva NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask, Hydratherma Naturals Amino Plus Protein Deep Conditioner, or ApHogee Curlific Texture Treatment) into your deep conditioning regimen, and use leave-ins with protein (like It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In Plus Keratin, and ApHogee Keratin & Green Tea Restructurizer Spray) to help patch up the cuticle.

    How often do you detangle? Are you detangling wet or dry?
    What's your process and fav products?

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