Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Healthy Hair on Youtube: Traycee

This is for my relaxed/texlaxed ladies!  In the following video, Traycee (who is approaching hip-length) talks about texlaxing to maintain thickness, products with protein, and more ...

Mixology || Simple Detangler Recipe Using Shea Butter and Oils

This recipe is ideal for undoing an old set of twists or braids.

4 tbsp coconut oil
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp melted shea butter (optional, but makes the process much easier)

All you need for this detangler are coconut oil, olive oil, and melted shea butter. Apply this mixture to dry or damp hair, allow it to set, and then proceed to finger detangle. (Leaving coconut oil on dry hair overnight has been demonstrated to reduce combing damage.)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Protective Style Lookbook || Elegant Updo on Curly Mini Twists

By popular demand, this is a series showcasing various protective hair styles.  Protective styling does not have to be boring. :o)

Model: MsTanish

Difficulty level: 3/5

Description: Twists are curled and pinned to the side.  Marley braid hair is added for fullness.

Study || Food-Packaging Chemical (DEHP) + Diabetes Risk in Children

Check out the following excerpts from recent research on DEHP (a food-packaging chemical) and diabetes precursors in adolescents:

"Mono-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (MEHP), a DEHP metabolite, activates peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor(PPAR) g transcription more selectively than rosglitazone,[12] a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity.[13] This selective upregulation appears to explain the differential effects of rosglitazone and MEHP, in which MEHP produces a phenotype of insulin resistance in cellular models,[14,15] and in vivo.[16] Given that PPAR plays key roles in lipid and carbohydrate metabolism,[17] these ļ¬ndings provide biological plausibility for DEHP metabolites in insulin resistance. ..."

"Di-2-ethylhexylphthalate (DEHP) is an environmental chemical commonly found in processed foods [and food packaging]. Phthalate exposures, in particular to DEHP, have been associated with insulin resistance in adults, but have not been studied in adolescents."

"Urinary DEHP concentrations were associated with increased insulin resistance in this cross-sectional study of adolescents. This study cannot rule out the possibility that insulin-resistant children ingest food with higher phthalate content, or that insulin-resistant children excrete more DEHP."


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Hair Diary || Incorporating a Protein Conditioner Into My Regimen

Time for a wash!
So a few "Hair Diary" entries ago, I talked about adjusting my regimen so that I can reach hip-length by late 2014.  In this same entry, I also discussed an experiment with a new detangling method.  (Here is that entry for those who missed it.)  So what is the update on that?  So far, so good.

Other than tweaking my detangling method, I also need to incorporate protein deep conditioning to help with length retention.  Why?  The ends of my hair are the oldest and thus most worn and susceptible to breakage.  During my first five years as a natural, I rarely (probably less than a handful of times) used protein conditioners, but that might have to change if I want to reach hip-length.  So that being said, I have been using ORS Replenishing Conditioner after the past few washes.  (This is separate from my detangling conditioner - Suave/Tresemme.)  I will report back with an update on that in the near future.

And now for some more hair pics:

Pre-shampoo treatment on the go.  Coconut-oil drenched hair in jumbo flat twists.

Mandatory shrinkage comparison.  (LEFT) Mostly shrunken wet hair.  My hair shrinks more than this once dry. (RIGHT) Stretching that same section of hair.

All done twisting.  I do not usually twist on wet hair, but I was on the go.
Planning to keep this in for 3-4 weeks.

Attempted back shot of the twist bun.

A new staple in my regimen.

My Exercise Routine for When I am Super Busy

When it comes to exercising, the biggest obstacle I face (and many others might face) is finding the TIME.  Yes, the time.  My motivation exists ...

I want to be the healthiest that I can be.  I want to keep my heart healthy.

I want to boost my mood (my happiness).
"When we exert ourselves the brain releases endorphins -- the same neurotransmitters that give us a natural high when we fall in love." ~ Dr. Timothy J. Sharp, 100 Ways to Happiness
I want to stay youthful.

I want optimize my hair growth.  (You can read more about the "theory" in this earlier post.)

I want to tone up a little (not too much ... been there and done that).

So, yes, the motivation is there, but finding the time is difficult given a busy schedule.  However, truth be told -- and I have always believed this -- we make the time for things to which we want to give time. That being said, with the time that I am able to carve out in my day, sometimes I can fit in a 30-45-minute workout and other times, all I can really devote is 10 minutes.

Hence, my interest in the "high intensity workout" craze that has been sweeping the exercise world lately.

I've tried a few here and there, but it is this one that I LOVE, have been using for a while, and recommend (after you first consult with your doctor to get the o.k.).  The video is free (available on youtube); the instructor is very clear, motivational and easy to understand; and the pace really gets your heart rate up and your muscles working.  I highly recommend stretching before and after the routine to get those muscles loose.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Protective Style Lookbook || Two Chic Up-do Styles (Natural OR Relaxed)

By popular demand, this is a series showcasing various protective hair styles.  Protective styling does not have to be boring. :o)

Model: Jsong

Difficulty level: 3/5

Description: Two up-dos on stretched medium-length hair.

Mixology || Natural Blackhead-Busting Blackout Mask

This recipe is from blog.  For more details and more DIY recipes, check out the blog.

2 capsule of activated charcoal
1/2 tsp of bentonite clay
2 tsp of water

Mix (using a plastic or wooden spoon only) all the ingredients together into a smooth paste, and spot test the mask on your cheek or underside of your wrist.  Wash face with a mild cleanser and pat partially dry.  Apply the mask evenly avoiding the delicate skin around the eyes and lips, and let sit until dry (~7-10 minutes).  As the mask dries, it feels tight on the skin, which can sometimes feel a little itchy.  (If you start to feel uncomfortable, wash the mask off.)  After the mask dries, wash it off, pat face gently with a clean towel, and let the skin breath or apply a mild all-natural moisturizer.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Re-post || 4 Lesser-Known Practices of Naturals with Long Hair

Originally posted on BGLH.

What do CiprianaFrancheskaGeniece and most other long-haired naturals have in common when it comes to regimens?  Well, it is no secret that protective styling, low manipulation, minimum heat usage, and washing in sections are generally a must.  But what other components of our regimens have helped us to achieve long, healthy hair?  Here are four that are generally overlooked:
1. Washing: Conditioner washes or pre-shampoo treatments
When it comes to washing our hair, we either do an oil/conditioner treatment prior to shampooing (i.e., pre-poo) or we use conditioner as a shampoo substitute (i.e., co-wash).  Why?  Because pre-pooing and co-washing help us to avoid the drying effects of shampoo, which can lead to brittle, breaking hair.  Additionally, certain pre-poo treatments, like coconut oil, can strengthen the hair and minimize hygral fatigue (i.e., stress on the hair due to water uptake and eventual evaporation). Those of us who do use shampoos generally go for sulfate-free ones, which can further decrease any drying effects.   However, even with sulfate-free shampoos, many of us still pre-poo for added protection.
2. Trimming rarely or dusting instead
Many long-haired naturals go a year (yes, a year) between trims while a few go six months at the minimum.  Some long-haired naturals do not trim at all and just “dust” or do a “search and destroy”. A “dust” involves trimming ¼ inch or less off the ends.  Doing a “search and destroy” involves only trimming those strands that have visible split ends.  What is the bottom line?  Generally, we only trim when our hair absolutely needs it AND we keep our hair fairly healthy so that it does not need one often.
3. Staple Products: Oils and inexpensive conditioners
When it comes to staple products, we generally love oils and conditioners, and they do not have to be fancy, expensive brands either!  Conditioners help to reduce dryness and breakage. Oils either replenish or seal in moisture, depending on the type.  Additionally, oils help to minimize knots and tangles, which can be death to our length retention.  Some of us long-haired naturals also love to add oils to our conditioners to provide extra slip for detangling.
4. Detangling: Wide-tooth, seamless comb or fingers
When it comes to detangling, we generally use our fingers and/or a wide-tooth, seamless comb.  Those of us who use combs usually do so on conditioner-soaked hair and with the K-cutter or a bone (or resin) comb to avoid snagging and ripping.  Those of us who finger detangle do so on wet or dry, lubricated hair depending on what works for us.  Whether we detangle with our fingers or a wide-tooth, seamless comb depends heavily on our hair texture, density, type, and styling process.  What about the brush and thin-tooth comb?  Many of us steer clear of them.
Though these are the more common techniques of healthy, long-haired naturals, you will find that a few of us stray from these basics.  Ultimately, what works for one individual may not work for another, so learn what works for YOU!  Hopefully this can be a guide, but most importantly, keep in mind these three concepts:
Less is more!  Keep it simple!  And leave your hair alone!

Skin Care || Clearing Up Eczema

Ambrosia discusses how she clears up her eczema:


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