Braid it up, Sew it in

English: Chameleon hair extensions, Smithfield...

English: Chameleon hair extensions, Smithfield Market, Winetavern Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland, January 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We received a great question from one of our readers this week that is natural, but looking to explore the wide world of weave.

“when you used to wear sew-in’s how did you take care of your hair? how did you wash it? i am considering trying it for the first time but I’m unsure about it.”

Let’s break this down into sections. There are two parts to care for in a sew-in. The hair that grows, and the hair that shows.

The hair that shows most likely comes with instructions for care. There are many types of hair extensions so for that, just be mindful of the packaging.

The hair that grows needs to start off strong. I suggest a deep conditioning treatment immediately prior. Throughout the life of the style, the scalp should not be left to dry out. Remember that the string in this style is most likely made of polyester which will absorb the moisture from the braids at the base. If you intend to keep the style over a long period of time, I suggest professional assistance when cleansing.

A sew-in is a great alternative when applied properly. Know the difference between secure and tight, and do not ignore the signs of undue tension like small white bumps at the hairline, severe pain, or the inability to make facial expressions (we’ve all been there).

Overall, a sew-in will provide the flexibility to style with heat, forget your scarf here and there and play a bit more without worrying so much about daily damage. This can count as a protective style, if it is applied correctly and professionally maintained. Try it!

Thanks for asking questions folks, keep them coming!

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Front Labels vs Back Labels

Shelf Life (Kallisti)

Shelf Life (Kallisti) (Photo credit: Topsy@Waygood)

This post is for everyone on the natural journey. Those of us living the loc life, the beginners and the vets.

We selected our paths and lifestyles in many cases seeking a better way of going about accepting and managing what we were born with. We are a group of people constantly seeking hair truths, the proper products, foods and fabrics that are conducive to our respective journeys.

With that, there are lots of marketing executives that are aware of the trigger words that draw our attention to a product. They grab our attention with blurbs like:

  • “paraben free”
  • “no mineral oil”
  • “olive oil infused”
  • “with Shea butter”

However I challenge you to flip to the back label most mass-produced cosmetics contain preservatives and chemicals that extend the shelf-life. Seek the labels that contain the least unrecognizable names on the back label. Beyond the links to cancer and skin conditions, often these products put your hair in a dependent state, meaning the more you use them, the more you need to use them.

Lanolin for example, creates a soft feel immediately after being applied to the hair, however once fully absorbed the hair and scalp become extremely dry and in need of moisture, which causes you to use more product to alleviate the symptom. Usually this causes you to seek an entire moisture “system” and buy other products within the line to tailored to solve a problem they created.

Be a critical consumer. Know that you should not have to lock in to a “system” to achieve the look and feel you desire, and be aware that some of the “hair-mergencies” are caused by the fine print on the back of the packaging. Read that label!

The team here at OohMyHair.com has a lab/kitchen (a labitchen, since you know we love to make up words), and in this labitchen we hope to find the solution to hair care without any chemicals. We have a product still in the testing phase, but we were working on the labels today, and thought we should let you know what happens behind the scenes. After all, we are here to help.

As usual, ask questions when it stops making sense. Enjoy!

Protective Styles

In the natural hair community, you hear lots of people throwing around the term “protective style”. This term has been attached to some pretty damaging styles so let’s break down what needs to be taking place to qualify.

Condition 1- Moisture is not being rapidly drained from the hair.  Synthetic hair and wood products wick away moisture from your hair.

Condition 2- The hair is not being pulled at unsafe tension levels. Pulling hair too tightly  in braids can cause the hair to fall out in the high stress areas.

Condition 3- There is not a daily duty to constantly re-style and manipulate using heat or a comb. Excessive flat ironing or combing around edges of weaves for “blending” purposes leaves your hairline still in jeopardy.

We spent a little time on YouTube this weekend and noticed that there were some tight twists, mock locs, yarn wraps and weaves being labeled as protective styles. It’s not so much that they were incorrectly labeled, as they were not accompanied with the level of information that a newbie DIY hair Diva needs to know. Moisture regimens as well as how long to keep a particular style with a particular medium (fabrics, synthetic hair, etc.) were all missing from some of the Kitchmatology  tutorials.

By no means are we saying stay away from, weaves, braids or wraps. We are saying remember why you’re getting the style in the first place. There may be instances that you have a style that you need to achieve for a certain occasion and in many of those cases you won’t keep the style for long. But if you are seeking a protective style for the purpose of giving your hair a rehabilitative break, keep in mind the points listed above. Remember you want to send your hair on vacation, not a work trip.

 

We love the style posted above by the way! Versatile, extremely low maintenance, and hair is available to be thoroughly moisturized.

As usual, ask questions when things stop making sense. Enjoy!

The Color Factor

We love LA Hair on We TV and if you’re looking for some great hair tips when you’re not on this site, Ms. Kim Kimble and her crew drop gems throughout the show in between the drama. Check it out! (Didn’t get paid for that plug, just love their work)

On last night’s episode Ms. Kimble was working on Lil Mama. Lil Mama is known for her Poppin’ lip gloss and hosting America’s Best Dance Crew. The secret behind the health of her extremely lightened hair is the absence of a relaxer.

Your stylist knows this already, but if you decide that you would like to lighten your hair you can avoid the breakage by starting with natural hair. There are stylists that are able to do both without your hair falling out, however, in many cases, there’s not much they can do to save your hair if you insist on the double process.

Hair Color is so much fun, and if you were unsure of the transition out of having relaxed hair, keep in mind the amount of fun you can now have with color, without the fear of tearing up your hair. As with any chemical process, there’s a new regime of maintenance required to keep your hair healthy, but with the help of your stylist, you can achieve some fun and funky looks.

The style achieved last night was a sleek golden bun with a funky front sending a resounding “anything you can do, I can too” from the curly crew! Natural hair provides the most versatility for the stylish Diva that wants to do it all, and change it up often. We hope this encourages you on your journey.

As usual, ask questions when it stops making sense. Also follow us on Twitter at the bottom of the Home Page. We Live Tweet on LA Hair nights! Enjoy 🙂

Heat and Hair

English: Hair Iron 日本語: ヘアーアイロン

English: Hair Iron 日本語: ヘアーアイロン (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Got a question from a reader this week that I thought would make for a good post.

“…is it ok to put heat in my hair if I’m trying to go natural? My last perm was 6 months ago…”

At the six month mark you should have at least six inches of new growth. This is a good time to consider clipping the ends and starting an Afro, as this is the fun length. Heat in natural hair is the same situation as heat in relaxed hair, you cannot un-burn your hair, so heat should be used in moderation. When it comes to building on your curl pattern, be aware that the more you straighten your hair, the more it will train itself to not curl. That exact situation is what caused my second/third “Big Chop” because although I did not have any relaxer to cut off, my ends became used to my straightening routine and my Afro went floppy. I suggest testing some low/no heat styles to see if you’re able to stay away from heat if your goal is to maximize your curls.

Keep the questions coming the answers may help someone else along their journey so don’t be shy. Thanks for reading!

Spray Bottle Love

English: A spray bottle.

English: A spray bottle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s a tip that I remember from my first summer of being natural.

Buy a spray bottle that will fit in your purse and each day fill it with your favorite leave-in conditioner and a small amount of water. When you’re wearing a English: A spray bottle.style that tends to dry out through the day, use this mixture to bring your hair back to life.

When I heard this piece of advice, the only thing that I could think or see in my head was the image of the 1980s Curl Craze epidemic that had people spraying activator on their heads constantly, tearing up the furniture. However, a take-away from that dark moment in Black History is the fact that we had a grasp of the importance of moisture in the growth cycle of our hair.

 

Here are a few spray bottle recipes:

In a 3 oz Sprayer-

General Upkeep

  • 2 oz. favorite leave-in conditioner
  • 1oz water
  • Shake and spray

 

Nussle in you hair Spray- (not for color treated hair)

  • 1/2 tsp Shea butter
  • 1/2 tsp cocoa butter
  • 4 drops of essential oil (pick your favorite scent) *remove this step is hair is color treated
  • 2 oz favorite liquid leave-in
  • shake and spray
  • Keep the mixture out of the sun to preserve the essential oil scent

 

Reset Button- good for re-styling the front on the go

  • 2 oz warm water
  • 1 oz favorite liquid leave in
  • small ball of Shea butter
  • Drop the small Shea butter ball in last and shake well while still warm

Hope these give you a few ideas. Try your own recipe. If you would like to use essential oils in your mixtures opt for a colored bottle to reduce sun exposure. If you can find a plastic amber-colored bottle or one that does not allow light to pass through in general. An aluminum bottle is suggested only if you have perfected your mixture in a see-through container. You want everything to blend well before you spray it to avoid clogs and uneven distribution.

As always ask questions when it stops making sense. Enjoy!

Slip Free Scarf…

Satin bedding

Satin bedding (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let’s start off acknowledging that there is no such thing unless it’s a bonnet with unbearably tight elastic.

The lies people tell to sell product is unreal. We tried this contraption which is sold at the superstore that shall not be named “W____art” and there has been a nightly struggle to wake up and find the thing ever since. My suggestion would be to use a variation of a loc-sock to keep your hair covered at night, or break in a satin bonnet and see how that goes. Those hair store square satin scarves will work much better than the long rectangle.

I purchased the no-slip scarf  because I needed something to line my hair for a decorative scarf style. The first day wearing it, I ended up with a massive headache because the stretch material pulled much more than I anticipated. It was a subtle but steady tightening, which ironically is what caused it to come off my head by gradually slipping back.

I would have faired better getting satin bedding and pillow cases, at least then the only thing I’d have to worry about are the fitted sheet popping up on the ends of the mattress.

I don’t ever want to bash someone’s product directly but hopefully you’ve put enough together to avoid the scarf with preposterous claims.

 

As always, ask questions when it stops making sense. Got a crazy product story? We’d love to hear about it.

Have you taken the Quiz?

We are all in absolute LOVE with Jane Carter Hair Care Solutions. So much so, that this plug is brought to you out of pure satisfaction with the product line and we are in no way being paid.

English: A new Target located in Miami

English: A new Target located in Miami (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

To be honest, we hadn’t really spent much time on their website as we’ve been going freestyle in the trenches, taking trips to Target and falling in love without really having a method. But, prior to crafting this blog post we took a trip to see if there’s something that we’re missing… AND THERE WAS.

Jane Carter has a hair quiz that will match you up with the perfect products for your hair. Just like us, she does not waste much time getting into the 3c, 2b conversation, she provides pictures to help you determine what hair type is most like yours. We suggest our early stage readers take the quiz and fall in love as well.

http://www.janecartersolution.com/prescription-start.html

Transition in the mind…

Most of you know I’m on the Loc Journey. This is just about the most difficult hair decision I’ve ever had to make. This, I feel is more permanent than a relaxer. I have committed to one hairstyle, and that’s the first time I’ve ever done that in my entire life. When my hair was natural and FREE, I could have any style that I could imagine, and weave was not an option that the heat took off the table. Now I feel like the rebellious version of a “Side-part Under” (The Game, TV show fans will catch that reference). I am aware that this takes patience and in time I will be able to rock the funky styles and welcome some beautiful indecision onto my head. This however feels like what I’d imagine jail feels like, which is not too hard to imagine since I’ve been in Navy boot camp.

There has to be someone out there that knows what I’m going through and has some advice. And if there is not a versatile loc solution, I may be forced to create one. What’s a Diva to do?

This is also the longest time that I’ve put nothing but Shea in my hair, which hopefully proves beneficial in the long run, but I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t miss the sweet smells of manufactured green products. I’ve been avoiding using products that my Loctician doesn’t provide in an effort to not end up with locs that look dirty and stink. As I get things ready for the set I’m building (small-scale, don’t get too excited) I feel the jealousy welling up in the fact that I can’t PLAY anymore. Trust me ladies, if you’re starting your natural journey and not sure of how to feel, I’d insert lucky, because free hair is so much more fun!

Sorry to rant today, but I felt the need to let you know where I am on my own path. Hopefully you got a little laugh and some motivation. If you’re wondering about other Ooh News, we are working on getting things in place to do demos! It’ll take a while to get all the supplies, but in the meanwhile we will be conducting product reviews. Thanks for keeping up with us, and as always, ask questions when it stops making sense. Enjoy!

Butter Baby!!

Let’s start by saying that it takes quite a bit to get a product review out of any of the team here at OohMyHair.com but this product has proven to be the jam! This has stood up to the texture test and provided moisture across the board in a consistent manner from silky wispy curls, to tight coils and kinks. Of course the amount of product needed varies across types but the end result is not greasy.

Here’s the fun fact: This product has been the choice for dry twist sets. It’s a water based product so there’s just enough moisture added to put the hair in a state that it is able to hold a set without soaking your hair. This had been the trick to the overnight set for a few of us.

As nice as it is we do not recommend it for the loc journey because the cleansing schedule is different on that path. Some experienced build-up after a long period of time (three weeks). So, if you’re a frequent cleanser, this product is great.

It’s available at most stores, but it is not on our list for green products because of the preservatives present. Of all the “bad stuff” this is pretty good. Share your experience with the product below. Do you agree? If not, tell us why.

http://elastaqp.com/haircare/item/18-olive-oil-mango-butter-moisturizer