Thursday, March 27, 2014

Healthy Hair on Youtube: Naturally High

What I LOVE about Naturally High is that her kinky, natural hair is super healthy and super long (almost hip-length).  It is rare that I see naturals with my hair type who are hip-length or this close to it.  (The only other one that comes to mind is Sera before her cut.)   It further weakens the silly argument that "black girls cannot grow long hair".

Naturally High shares some great hair care tips and interesting natural hair experiences on her YouTube channel. Here is one video in which she discusses, what I would call, a natural hair experience you would NEVER want to encounter: 

Product Review || ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor

NOTE:  This product was purchased at Sally's Beauty Supply.

Purpose: Add strength and softness in one step, effective against heat and chemical damage. (Do not confuse this product with ApHogee Two Step Treatment, which is a more serious treatment and hardens the hair.)

Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Stearolkonium Chloride, Cetyl Alcohol, Mineral Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Hydrolyzed Hair Keratin, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Trimethysiloxyamodimethicone, Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit Oil, Avocado Oil, Wheat Germ Oil, Linoleamidopropyl PG Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Hydrolyzed Glycosaminoglycans, Panthenol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Collagen Amino Acids, Squalane, Phytantriol, Petroleum, Polysorbate 60, Amodimethicone, Cetrimonium Chloride, Polyquaternium 10, Trideceth-12, C11-15 Pareth-7, C12-16 Pareth-9, Arachidonic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Stearyl Alcohol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Citric Acid, Fragrance, Disodium EDTA, DMDM Hydantoin, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Benzoate.

Number of trials: an average 2x per month (~5-6 months now)

How I used it:
Applied to the ends (the last few inches) of freshly washed hair.
Left on for 2 minutes under a shower cap for the initial trials.
For later trials, left on for 5 minutes with heat.


This reconstructor does what it says --  it strengthens and softens my hair in one step.  (I find the product most effective when I leave it on for 5 minutes and with heat.) Additionally, after a few months, I noticed less split end formation.  I would say that this reconstructor is great for if you need a little to some protein.  For more severe cases, you may want to step up the the ApHogee Two Minute Treatment.  Other than the above, there is not much else to say! :o)

PROS: pleasant smell, strengthen and softens my hair, quick use, less split end formation, reasonably priced ($9.99/$11.29)
CONS: none

RATING: Overall, I give the ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor 5 out of 5 stars.  

This product is ideal for those who:
- need protein conditioning
- experience a little (but not severe) breakage and splits

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Protective Style Lookbook || Zipper Braid and Bantu Knot Updo

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

Model: Pure Estrogen

Difficulty level: 3/5

Description: Braid along hairline and pinned up bantu knot-out.

Mixology || Coconut Oil Lotion Bars

This is a super easy recipe requiring only 2-3 ingredients!

Recipe Source: Coconut Mama

lotion mold, muffin pan or tins 

1 part Coconut Oil 
1 part Pure Beeswax
Essential Oils (Optional)

For the instructions, check out Coconut Mama.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Protective Style Lookbook || Easy Chunky Twists Updo

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

Model: Iydvina

Difficulty level: 3/5

Description: Chunky twists in the front and small twists in the back to form an updo.


Healthy Recipes || Adding Asparagus to Smoothies!

Recently, I've been experimenting with adding asparagus to my smoothies.  Why? Well asparagus is loaded with more nutrients than I've seen in most other vegetables.  One cup of raw asparagus contains:

20% DV Vitamin A
13% DV Vitamin C
16% DV Iron
70% DV Vitamin K
17% DV Folate
11% Dietary Fiber
13% Thiamin
11% Riboflavin
11% Manganese


The recipes that I did find online either added sweeteners (e.g., tablespoons of honey, vanilla) or just did not taste that great.  So after a couple of trials and errors of my own, I came up with this delicious recipe that, not only disguises the unpleasant taste of raw asparagus, but also adds a bunch of other nutrients.

1 banana
1/2 cup blackberries
2 cups almond milk
2-3 asparagus stalks (bump it up to 4-5 if you are brave enough)
1 tbsp natural peanut butter

Note: my fruits and vegetables are usually frozen after purchasing, but you can use fresh ones if you want and just toss in some ice for more of a smoothie texture.

Just blend all the ingredients together and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Hair Diary || Moving On From Small Twists

Wore this fresh set for 3 weeks.  This was day 1.
So, the month of February was one of super small (and "strongly twisted") twists.  I really enjoyed the versatility; I also enjoyed that they lasted long.  I have done small twists over the past months, but this was probably my smallest (?).

Anyway, after a little over three weeks in these twists, I wore the resulting twist-out for a couple days and then finger detangled prior to washing.  My hair, more or less, still looks like the last photo (scroll all the way to the bottom) with the exception that it is clean now.  I tried a set of jumbo flat twists but felt I looked like a little kid, so right now, I'm thinking I'll try jumbo twists over the weekend.  Until next time ...

And now for more hair pics:

Day 1.  Finished twisting.

Day 1: Finished twisting.

3 weeks later after 2 washes and much shrinkage.

The resulting twist-out, which was only worn for a couple of days.

Finger detangled and ready to wash for the next set of twists.

Study || Oil vs. Butter for Gloss, Combing, and Reduction in Split Ends

Many of us already know that in order to avoid breaking, dull hair we need some form of moisturization (i.e., water followed by an oil/butter/cream).  However, if we are just discussing oils and butters, which group is actually better for our hair?

A 2009 study on oils (Brazilian nut, mineral oil, passion seed, palm olein, buriti, palm stearin) and butters (ucuúba, sapucainha, tucum
ã) demonstrated that the former may be the better option when it comes to combing ease, gloss, and reduction in split end formation.  This conclusion is linked to the "molecular chain conformation" of triglycerides in oils versus in butters.  The triglycerides in the butters studied have more branches and higher melting points, both of which may increase friction and thus decrease the ease of spreading.  What does this mean in plain English?  Well, think of it this way: Because butters are harder to spread on the hair, they may not be as effective as oils in terms of combing ease, luster, and minimizing split ends.  (Some of you are probably saying "Duh!!" right now simply based on just experience.  Lol.)

Another conclusion from the study is that 
ucuúba butter improves the tensile strength of hair -- which is something that all the other oils and butters studied did not do.  The thought is that the low molar mass triglycerides of ucuúba butter are able to penetrate into the hair (you know, like coconut oil).

So, in short, choose the oil over the butter if you want more sheen + less breakage and splits.