Tuesday, January 31, 2012

3in6: Starting Month #2

For the challenge guidelines, see this post.

Tomorrow, we'll enter month #2 of the 3in6 Challenge.  This February, I'll wear medium/large box braids every two weeks.  My regimen will consist of biweekly washes and conditioning.

Ladies, how did month #1 go for you? What will do in month #2?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Skin Care || Coping With Vitiligo

WHAT IS IT?: Vitiligo is a skin disorder in which the destruction of pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) creates white patches on various parts of the body. It can be as mild as one small patch or as severe as large depigmented regions across the body. Vitiligo usually spreads quickly when it first occurs. It may continue doing so for years, halt, or go through a resting phase before spreading again. The cause of vitiligo is unknown, but current studies note an association between the skin disorder and oxidative stress. Vitiligo can affect any race, but it is more visible in those with darker complexion. Though the condition may affect one's self esteem, it is not a life- or health-threatening condition.

PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT: Depending on the severity of the skin condition, one's self esteem can become severely impacted. Having obvious white patches on the skin can make one self conscious and affect one's self image, especially in a society where physical appearance is valued. According to one study, "majority of vitiligo patients experienced anxiety and embarrassment when meeting strangers or beginning a new sexual relationship and many felt that they had been the victims of rude remarks."

MEDICAL TREATMENTS: First thing is first; see a dermatologist if you suspect you may have vitiligo. The sooner you see one, the earlier it may be treated. Medical treatments range from cortisones to skin grafting to PUVA and more. For detailed descriptions of these treatments, click here.

NATURAL TREATMENTS: Assuming medical treatments have failed you, there are natural alternatives you may want to explore, such as L-phenylalanine, Ginkgo biloba, vitamin E, etc. Some of these options are debatable, but studies on Ginkgo biloba prove promising for ceasing the progression of vitiligo.

COVER UP WITH MAKEUP: Over the years, concealers and cover cremes have improved in durability and skin tone varieties. You may choose to conceal your vitiligo so that it is less visible or unnoticeable. Look into brands like Dermablend, M.A.C., Mary Kay, and Cover Girl for ethnic skin tones. To get your exact complexion, you can mix concealers within or across brands. Concealing the affected areas can help to boost your confidence.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS: Stay away from even complexion and skin lightening products, both of which may aggravate your vitiligo. Examples of such products include those with soy, licorice, and hydroquinone, to name a few. Include foods with antioxidants (which work against oxidative stress) as a regular part of diet. Examples include: green tea, tomatoes, black tea, carrots, cranberry juice, etc. Minimize stress in your life.

This is easier said then done, but when you have exhausted all treatments, do not let the skin disorder destroy your self esteem. Stay confident in your self image. Surround yourself with positive family and friends. Be grateful that the condition is not life threatening. Be thankful for what you do have in life.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Reader's Question: Low Porosity Butter Mix

"Porosity is the term used in the science of hair care to describe how easily water and other matter can diffuse back and forth through the cuticle layer and into or out of the cortex." - naturallycurly

Reader's Question: I'm just wondering is any of the butter mizes you mentioned would work for low porosity hair. My hair is kind of fine but also low porosity. Shea butter makes my hair soft but a bit greasy, do you have any moisturizer recommendations.

Loo's Answer: For low porosity hair, I would actually recommend using a humectant-based moisturizer after a good deep conditioning treatment. After washing your hair, rinse with hot water (not too hot), then apply a moisturizing deep conditioner. (The hot water and subsequent heat will help to lift the cuticles a bit.)  Let the conditioner sit for 20 minutes with heat, then rinse with warm water. Follow up with a moisturizer containing glycerin or honey.  (I recommend whipping a moisturizer of 1/2 part shea butter, 1/2 part mango butter, 1 part conditioner (I recommend V05), and 1/2 part glycerin.  If this mixture does not work for you, then check out the Hibiscus & Banana Leave-In from Curl Junkie (click here).  It contains even more humectants and is also geared towards fine hair.)

For porosity classifications and more tips of caring for low porosity hair, check out this article.

Friday's Length Retention Tip!

Do you want to reach your goal?  Then ...

seal those ends.  Regular moisturizing is insufficient for some people.  Sealing may be necessary to lock in the moisture and keep the ends supple.

The sealing process: Begin by moisturizing the ends of your hair with water (or a water-based moisturizer).  Then follow up with an oil (e.g., coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil) and/or a butter (e.g., shea).  That's it!  Be sure to seal after every wash as well.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday's Length Retention Tip!

Do you want to reach your hair goal?  Then ...

keep heat usage to a minimum.  Heat can translate into split ends galore, particularly when used inappropriately.  Try alternative methods (i.e., braidouts, twistouts, roller sets) to stretch your hair.

If you must use heat: Apply a good heat protectant from root to tip beforehand.  Also, if using a flat iron, use a relatively low or moderate heat setting and only 1-2 passes.  Lastly, use quality products and tools to minimize heat damage.

Loo's recommendations:
Heat protectant - Carol's Daughter Macadamia Heat Protection Serum
Flat iron - GHD
Blow dryer - Conair Infiniti (tension method)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

3in6: The Challenge Begins!

For the challenge guidelines, see this post.

Today, January 3, is officially the third day of 3in6.  I will be wearing jumbo twists every two weeks this month.  My regimen will consist of biweekly washes and deep conditioning.

Ladies, how do you plan to wear your hair for the start of the challenge?