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!

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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!

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

Hair Won’t Kill My Vibe…

English: Birch Bay has some of the warmest wat...

English: Birch Bay has some of the warmest water on the Pacific Coast, making the crescent-shape bay a favorite place for swimming during summer season. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the Summer season approaches there are some things to remember that will let you make it all the way to Fall without dry-outs or breakage. We’ll keep it short and sweet (We’re vacationing as well).

1. Water- Of course you need to drink it and often, but tis the season for getting in pools. Both chlorine and salt water pools will dry out your hair, but don’t let that stop your from enjoying yourself. Prior to getting in the water, take that Shea butter that we talk about and love and coat your hair well. Giving your hair this oil barrier will help slow the drying effects of the pools, lakes and oceans.

2. Riding- Plane, Bus or Car if you’re traveling this summer season, your head is on a seat and the moisture is being slowly sucked out. Stop by your local drug store in the hair aisle and next to the satin scarves you should be able to find a satin pillow case. Add this to your travel kit. We understand that you can’t always have on your scarf, sometimes the style is just too cute to keep under wraps, so place that pillowcase over the headrest and arrive in style.

Keep it simple, don’t think so much about your hair on holiday that you forget to have fun. Hair should not be a chore, just add a few good habits at a time. As always ask questions when it stops making sense. Enjoy!

With Imagination and a Hair Bag….

A Bobby-pin

A Bobby-pin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everyone at OohMyHair.com decided to bring you a “Must Have” list of products and tools to be sure that you’re ready for the journey. Our vets (natural for over 2 yrs) can benefit from this list as well.1. All Satin Everything- Wherever you put your head, do your best to have either a scarf, pillow case, piece of satin fabric there to stop the loss of moisture. Just as a paper towel absorbs so do all wood/plant-based fabrics. Satin helps your hair retain its moisture. Some of us even line our headrests in our cars. (It’s that deep)

2. Absolutely Shea- A tub of some whipped shea butter will help you get through the dry times (We don’t mind killing this issue, it’s important).

3. Denman Brush- An orange rubber based plastic tipped brush is great for removing dust and debris from your hair between cleansing. Start from the ends and work in small sections, brush in the same manner that you de-tangle and once you’ve cleared a section all the way to the scalp twist or braid it down.

4. Wide-toothed Comb- Even if you have a larger curl pattern, on your deep conditioning days, you will use this to avoid snapping any hair. The sound of the comb popping against your hair is an indication that something wrong is taking place. There’s nothing worse than trying to get through a head of hair with the wrong size comb for general hair care (Think about the scene in The Color Purple with the little girl hollering at the table getting her hair combed).

5. Side Combs- Keep a few side combs in your arsenal. You never know when you may be in the mood to rock a mean 1988 Vanessa from the Cosby Show Fro without taking a trip to the barber shop. Ladies that are able to achieve this type of afro can mold it into lots of fun shapes to create some unique and beautiful styles without much skill. If your curl is a bit more loose you can still use the side combs and let your hair take a life of its own with some fresh pin-ups.

6. Bobby-Pins – Because sometimes is takes more than a side comb to get the job done! Also, if you don’t want the ornamental element in your style, the bobby-pin can do the job without being seen.

7. Your absolute favorite leave-in conditioner. We completely love Jane Carter and Taliah Waajid, either line provides great moisture and lovely light scents that don’t kill your perfume’s vibe. Whatever your product of choice try to be sure there’s no alcohol in it and get your Soul Glo on when your hair needs that extra boost of moisture. It’s also nice after a good cleansing. Sometimes it’s nice to add moisture without dealing with so much oil.

Of course these are just the basics, I know one staff member that has a bathroom closet full of just about everyone’s product line. This list should get you through most Hair-mergencies and Tress-gressions between salon visits. Cleanliness, Moisture and Style…don’t leave home without them.

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

What’s in your bag? Share some of your go to hair bag essentials, we’d like to hear from you!

 

What’s The Deal with Shea Butter?

Vitellaria paradoxa (shea tree, karité), easte...

Vitellaria paradoxa (shea tree, karité), eastern Burkina Faso (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everyone tells you to use Shea Butter… Why?

Vitamins A, E and F are present in shea butter. A and E help nourish the scalp, while the fatty acids found in F both protect and revitalize the hair. This product protects against split ends, weather damage and keeps the hair shiny and smooth.

Raw Shea is best for your hair, however I suggest a whipped version that uses olive or grape seed oil as a carrier to thin out the paste. In certain styling situations, un-whipped Shea may cause difficulty in achieving certain looks. Breaking up the paste allow you to not only stretch the product, but the consistency is a bit more manageable in my experience.

There are many products that boast intense moisture, but Shea is top of the list in overall benefits. Don’t forget, the fact that you are avoiding chemicals like parabens, methylparabens, EDTA and a host of other additives found in many over the counter products you are creating the optimal enviornment for growth without excessive breakage….or alleged cancer causing agents.

There are many products that contain a host of inorganic additives, read the labels and do a quick Google search on anything that seems out-of-place. Most of this journey is about discovery so ask questions when things stop making sense.

Still holding on to the length…

So you’re not quite ready to take the plunge and get rid of your relaxed hair. Here are somme facts about your hair to keep in mind.

Curly or Straight:

You can’t have it both ways, your hair is it’s strongest when there’s not abrupt change in texture down the shaft. This is a great time to explore the world of twist sets. If you’re not quite ready to go full curl then a blow out maintained in a wrap may be the style for you.

How to rock either one:

To achieve a set, you only need to start with well conditioned hair and a pattern in mind. Braiding or twisting the hair in a consistent pattern from scalp to ends allows you to take the stress point away from where your curls and straight ends meet. This reduces breakage and allows you to test out some look. If you decide to start with wet hair you may need some product to help the relaxed ends conform.

Note:if you’ve been getting professional relaxers that maintain a slight curl in your wet hair you won’t have as many problems as if you’ve been going for bone straight and working out of the box, it’s not likely that this set will hold up through humidity.

If you start dry, you will need a water based product to start your set. Try to avoid mineral oil, petroleum based products as they shut down the cuticle of the hair and will not assist you in holding the look.

Allow the set to dry completely and when it’s time to take it down finger comb to separate the curls/waves.

Should you chose to keep your hair straight, just remember to be mindful not to allow too much new growth to stay unstraightened. This is due to the weak spot that is created more so than appearance. I do not suggest trying to achieve this look at home as you may apply too much heat or tension to your hair. I also suggest you maintain a  Shea butter regimen

Shea Butter

Shea Butter (Photo credit: LilyBaySoap)

to keep the moisture that the heat removes.

Satin scarves will help maintain both looks at night. Retwist the set if possible to keep it fresh, and wrap your hair the same as you would in your relaxed hair days.

Enjoy!

Hope this helps you get a game plan together to keep those relaxed ends in check.

The first week after the big chop!

Lauryn Hill at Central Park

Lauryn Hill at Central Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Congratulations! You’ve taken a large step into this journey and you decided it was best to dive in head first. Depending on your curl pattern you may be experiencing straight patches and flyaway hair. If you conducted the ceremonial ritual at home, there’s a chance that you may need professional assistance soon. Some of the questions that I’ve encountered from people in this stage include:

Why doesn’t it look like an Afro?

Why isn’t it even, even though I keep chipping away at the stray pieces?

I love the curl when it’s wet, how can I keep that when it’s dry?

Answers:

This is the week of discovery. Freshly cut ends on any texture of hair need some time to settle. Increase your water intake, grab some Biotin and be patient. If you have the curl pattern that will produce a stunning Afro as pictured, this is where you pay your dues.

Try not to clip at the stray hairs, until your curl pattern starts to really reveal itself, which will probably be this time next week.Then it’s time to select an approach. The nightly care for hair that’s long enough to twist or braid includes moisturizing the hair and sectioning it off into braids to retain the moisture, the more you chip away, the more difficult that process becomes. If you’re not comfortable roughing it out, this may be a good time to get a braid style. Be mindful of the tension put on your hair. Some braid stylists, even now that natural is popular, put additional stress on the hair because it may appear to be difficult to manage. A professional will be sure to analyze your hair prior to attempting a style to be sure it is executed in a manner that does not compromise your hair health.

This is the time to observe your hair, your curl pattern is not ready to be diagnosed yet. I suggest holding off on purchasing an abundance of products until you see what you can come up with as naturally as possible. A whipped Shea butter product from a trusted Shea Processor will provide light-weight moisture which allows your hair to breathe and come into its own.

Hopefully this puts some of the first week jitters at ease. Leave comments and feel free to send questions. I’m here to help.

~Margaret Ellen