Hair Regimen and Styles

Natural Hair Trends: Why they don’t matter

Lately, I’ve been noticing some pretty crazy natural hair trends on youtube and all over social media. Some of them may work, some of them don’t, others are just dangerous. I’m going to break down a couple of these trends, explain how they claim to work, and most importantly, talk about why they are not worth your time.

The Max Hydration Method:

Ah, yes, the max hydration hooplah. This intrigued me because those of us with curly and kinky hair textures are always looking for ways to moisturize our hair. The very basis of our hair care is centered around this idea. The MHM is a 5 step process that involves multiple rounds of conditioning, deep conditioning, bentonite clay application, and more conditioning. All of this work will lead up to the possibility of a wash and go for 4c textures, especially.

I’ve tried the MHM and it does work, but who on earth has time for that! The reason why it works is because you’re literally conditioning your hair every day. Of course your moisture content will improve if you do that. I’ve been wearing wash and go’s every day for the past few weeks and opted not to do the Max Hydration and my curls have been just as defined over time as the MHM. The key is to improve your hair’s moisture content in the long term, rather than finding a quick fix leave-in conditioner. So, don’t worry, you don’t have to give up a week of your life just to achieve a wash and go…that’s just disrespectful.

The inversion method:

This is probably the most foolish thing I’ve ever heard of. The inversion method involves a combination of scalp massages with oil and flipping your head upside down to promote blood circulation to your scalp in order to stimulate hair growth. People have claimed to grow one inch of hair in a week and have documented their week long “journeys”.

I have not tried this method because I’m a rational human being. Here’s why it’s not worth your time or your health. It’s simply dangerous to regularly be upside down for 5-10 minutes at a time for a week straight. You can become light-headed, faint, and alter your blood pressure. Not a good idea, especially in the name of hair care. Most people that struggle with hair growth are really struggling with length retention. You can’t rush nature. You can, however, be gentle with your hair, keep it moisturized, avoid breakage, and before you know it, you’ll notice more hair on your head. This trend is the perfect example of seeing something too good to be true and it actually being too good to be true.

This last one is a little less of a fad and more of a common practice that I think isn’t necessary: long term protective styling.

The basics of natural hair care is centered around retaining moisture. If you retain moisture, your hair won’t break and therefore, retain length. One way to retain moisture and avoid breakage is by simply not touching your hair at all! So, put in a protective style for 3 months and let the magic happen.

Here’s why I don’t like this: it’s BORING!!! What if I want to wear my hair out? what if I want to change my style after a week? Sure, if I wear my hair in protective styles for 4 years my hair will grow all the way down to my ass, but there must be another way to enjoy my loose and free? I’ll say it again, I’ve been wearing wash and go’s. It involves very little manipulation, I get to wear my hair out, I moisturize my hair in the best way possible (by soaking it in water and conditioner), I can easily switch to a different style, and it’s fast! Protective styling can be beautiful and creative, but they’re not the only thing necessary to retain length. The key to retaining length is one thing: moisture. If your hair is truly moisturized, you can retain length even if you regularly heat style. What causes breakage is dryness. Yes, it’s easier for some textures of hair to retain moisture than others, yes, all of these trends, styles, and challenges are meant to provide new ways to retain moisture. My point here is that natural hair care should be easy, not complicated. You don’t need to get caught up in all the trends, they might cause more harm than good. Just be gentle, patient, listen to your hair, and it will retain length. It’s pretty much that simple.

Here are a couple of resources I’ve used to help simply my hair routine:

Anthony Dickey from Hair Rules Salon in N.Y. has revolutionized the wash and wear and broke down a lot of common beliefs about black hair care.

A lot of naturals stand firmly against heat styling. I myself, love to rock my curls more than anything, but there were a lot of things I didn’t know about heat styling and why it can become so damaging. Anthony Dickey has demonstrated how moisture can transform the health of your hair and make it more flexible for heat styling.

 

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A Little Inspiration, Hair Regimen and Styles

How to Combat shrinkage

20140427-014040.jpgA few nights ago, my friends and I were getting ready to go out and we all have naturally curly hair. They we’re blow drying their hair and I thought, ‘why not do a blow out myself?’ After all, it had been well over a year since I applied any sort of heat to my hair and it would be fun to see how big my fro could really be. Within the hour, my hair had shrunken back to its normal state when I do a heat-less twist out.

I was frustrated because I wanted to show off more length and I was loving the way my hair looked. A few days later, I tried doing a blow out again. I figured, last time, I really didn’t thoroughly blow dry my hair and this time I would do it right. I started on dry hair, detangled with a comb, used the tension method to stretch my hair, then I put my hair in braids for about an hour. Still within the hour, I had a TWA. To make things even worse, my ends started to become brittle and break off just days later.

My hair is so fragile that a blow dryer even at its lowest setting can cause issues. Combs can break my hair with a few run- throughs. After a little bit of thought, I realized that there’s not much I can do to fight all of my shrinkage without damaging my hair. I can stretch it out and it will probably hold it’s shape for a while, but still my hair only shows off 40-50% of it’s length. So how do you really combat shrinkage?

My answer is that you don’t. Instead, you embrace it. Do whatever you need to do to manage your hair. For some of us, twist outs or braid outs are helpful to manage our hair in a stretched out state. That being said, it’s ok if you can’t show off every inch of hair you grew. Instead focus on other things like how healthy it looks, how much volume you have, or how beautiful your curl pattern is. All of those things are also a great testament to how much effort you put into caring for your hair. It’s much less of a headache.

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A Little Inspiration, Hair Regimen and Styles, Products

I’m giving up on the waist length journey

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I’m getting to a point in my natural hair journey where I’ve learned a lot through trial and failure. I’ve never had long hair and I was beginning to become obsessed with growing my hair long. I’ve done protective styles, tried so many products, and have done treatments to grow my hair long. But you now what? I want to enjoy my hair. I want to wear my hair out! My hair has never been this long dispute the fact that I’ve cut it a few times in efforts to maintain it and keep it healthy. I know that protective styles help to retain length. I know that sealing my ends is important. I also know that organic products work well for me. That being said, some protective styles cause more harm than good, some products that are not organic work better for me than Shea Moisture ever did, and sealing my hair too often can cause a lot of build up. There are so many tricks in the book on how to grow long natural hair, but I don’t want to imprison my self over these regimens and follow the curve of natural hair care because even in this community we are all still really different and there is nothing (not even water to moisturize) that works inclusively for everyone.

So, I’m giving up on the waist length journey! This doesn’t mean I’m going to neglect taking good care of my hair, but this does mean that I’m going to redirect my focus. My focus is going to be on keeping my hair healthy, moisturized. I do enjoy wearing up-dos and twists and will do so when I feel like it, but I’m not going to keep myself on a strict regimen to grow another inch. My hair has always responded well to just a good routine with moisture regardless of how often I wear it up or in braids/twists. As long as I don’t see excessive amounts of breakage in the sink, then I know I’m doing something right.

Here are some staple products that I’ve been using that have been working really well for my hair recently:

Kinky Curly knot today leave-in conditioner

Moroccan oil styling cream

Moroccan oil intense hydration deep conditioner

Camille Rose Naturals avocado moisturizing cream

Black Jamaican Castor Oil

Here are a list of products I want to try or go back to using:

Henna I definitely want to try using henna for deep conditioning and transition away from the Moroccan Oil deep conditioner because it is on the pricier side.

Terressential’s mud wash Since I’m not using shea butter based products any more and I find myself with much less product build up, I would love to transition back to the mud wash. Usually when I wash my hair it’s to put moisture back into my hair, not necessarily because I have a greasy scalp. So, I think the mud wash will be good enough to maintain a clean and healthy.

I’m also going to put some Aloe Vera Juice in my spray bottle of water for longer lasting moisture in my hair.

I would love to simplify my hair regimen even more and just have a daily moisturizing routine with just my spray bottle. Apply the castor oil every 2-3 days and wash my hair with mud. If I need a deep conditioning, hopefully the henna will work.

Lastly, I’m working on drinking lots and lots of water. It makes it way easier for me to wake up in the mornings, my skin is better, I feel better throughout the day overall, and my hair doesn’t dry out as easily. I went out and got a good water bottle and my goal is to always have it filled up and close by so I can drink a little every chance I get to stay hydrated!

I’m going to finish out some of the products I have first before going to get new ones because they do work really well. I just want to move in the direction of a simpler routine that is cheaper.

So, where do you guys stand in your hair journey? Leave your comments below 🙂

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Hair Regimen and Styles, Products, Skin Care

5 non-traditional ways to use argon oil

One of my favorite oils to use is argon oil. It may be on the pricier side, but it’s worth the cost. It absorbs wonderfully into my hair without leaving residue, it maintains my ends and keeps them from breaking, it keeps my skin looking and feeling like silk, and it smells amazing.

There are, however, other uses that I’ve discovered argon oil can fulfill that I wanted to share.

  1. Make up primer Before I apply make up, I apply just a couple drops of argon oil all over my skin. It makes my make up last so much longer and gives it a better finish. For me, my skin can sometimes look a bit dry when I use a powder foundation, and using the oil as a primer takes care of that issue completely and keeps my skin in good condition no matter how long I have make up on.
  2. Moisturizer This is probably more familiar way that argon oil can be used, but what I like to do is rub down with my home made mango butter, then go to some tough areas like my elbows, knees, and hands and apply a little argon oil. It’s wonderful way to avoid dry skin and get a little glow.
  3. Nails I’m not huge on getting my nails done, but I do like to keep them filed and free of hang nails. After giving myself  a mini-mani-peti I like to apply argon oil over the beds of my nails to keep them strong and shiny.
  4. Lips Before going to bed, I apply a little bit of argon oil on my lips so that they don’t dry out over night. It’s also great to use right before applying lipstick for a perfect long lasting application.
  5. Skin highlighter I like to apply a couple drops of argon oil on your collar bone, cheek bones, shoulders, the center of your legs (if you’re wearing a shorts or a shorter dress/skirt), mainly where the light naturally shines on your skin for that effervescent glow.

There you have it! all new ways to use this amazing gold-like oil. If you liked this article, ‘like’ NaturalsUnited on facebook, follow us on tumblr, and instagram 🙂

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Hair Regimen and Styles

How to do two strand twists on Natural Hair

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One of the most basic styles and techniques for maintaining natural hair is the two strand twist. It’s a great protective style, it helps your hair retain moisture, and it looks badass.

Recently I’ve been making some subtle, yet, significant changes in my natural hair regimen in order to prevent breakage and keep my hair healthier.
So, I’m going to explain step by step how I achieved these 2 strand twists.

I started out with freshly washed hair to ensure that I didn’t have any product build up from previous styles.

Next, I sectioned my hair so that it would be more manageable.

Section by section, I started twisting small pieces of hair. With each piece, I added some Moroccan oil intense hydrating cream, some argon oil, and finished off with the kinky curly curling custard.
when applying the products, I smoothed my hair with the pads of my fingers. I didn’t rake them in. This way, there is a lot less breakage as I worked through my hair. This technique also rids shed hair and detangles your hair. I knew my hair was fully knot free when that section feels equally sleek from roots to ends.
I also twisted my hair very loosely and twirled the ends rather than twisting the ends. This ensures that they’ll readily accept moisture later in the week when I reapply product.

So let’s recap: with each piece of hair, I smooth in (with the pads of my fingers) Moroccan oil intense hydrating cream, followed by argon oil, followed by kinky curly curling custard.
I twisted my hair loosely leaving room at the ends for a gentle finger coil.

and one more thing: avoid stealing a couple strands of hair from one side and switching them to the other just because your hair isn’t even. Later when it’s time to take the twists down, your hair will be much less tangled and you’ll have little to no breakage

So there you have it! This is how I do my two strand twists 🙂

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