All Articles Tagged "African American hair"
Beauty products come and go. If you’re a product junkie, like myself, then you probably get a real rush from trying out the many new and exciting products with the latest exotic ingredients (marula oil, anyone?) But even with the myriad products to test out, there are a few that seem to keep making their way back into the seemingly endless rotation of hair potions bursting out of our overstocked beauty cabinets. Here are a few that may have found a “forever” home in your beauty closet:
Palmer’s Hair Success Gro Treatment
There’s something about this St. Joseph’s Children’s Aspirin colored hair cream, with it’s pleasant, but not quite identifiable smell, that turned me into a believer decades ago. Enriched with good-for-your-hair ingredients such as vitamin E, hydrolyzed silk protein and biotin (and even a few not-so-good ones: mineral oil and propylparaben to name a couple), this works wonders to seal hair after moisturizing with the leave-in of your choice, and keeps hair moist and shiny for days. It’s great for those fragile ends in particular. No matter how many wonderful hair butters I try and love, I always eventually come creeping back to this one.
As a self-professed (and rather obsessed) product junkie, I have spent a great deal of time trying many different products that I think might be good for my hair and make it grow longer. I have found, in my hair journey, that there are some very effective hair products from brands that seem to cater to straighter hair types that also work very well on my natural, fine, dry, porous, brittle, 4a/b hair. From conditioners that claim to moisturize and/or strengthen strands, to serums that are designed to deliver high-wattage shine, if it sounds good, chances are that I’ve bought it. If you don’t mind forking over some extra cash on your quest for healthier hair, you might want to give these brands a go.
Easily recognized by its distinctive forest green and yellow packaging, Rene Furterer is a botanically based haircare line that is formulated in France. Their supplements work very well and they have a whole system designed for thinning hair including intensive scalp treatments that are designed to stimulate growth at the hair root. Their Karité Intense Nourishing Mask is rich, creamy and really melts into the hair to completely coat and pamper each hair, soothing and smoothing the cuticle layer and adding shine.
Of the many problems that plague women and hair care, a HUGE concern is how to alleviate or get rid of itchy scalp. Sometimes scalp irritations are minor annoyances due to product build-up or changes in the weather. While no one is excited to see loose flakes of dandruff dotting their clothing, most times this will clear up with a specially formulated shampoo for dandruff. But in other cases, itchy scalp goes from a mild inconvenience to a full-blown, scalp-on-fire, can’t-keep-your-hands-out-of your-head type disaster of epic proportions. Anyone who has experienced these symptoms knows the pain of scratching or even massaging your scalp to the point that your whole head begins to feel inflamed and tender to the touch. Chronic bouts of itchiness will leave you wondering which came first – are you frantically digging your nails in your scalp as a result of the inflammation, or is the inflammation a result of all the scratching? It is a chicken-or-the-egg conundrum of the worst kind, and at the end of the day, who really cares which came first? All we want is relief.
Luckily, there are a few natural remedies you can try to see if you can finally win the war against the “itchies and the scratchies.”
Apple Cider Vinegar
A staple in the world of hair care, when diluted with water apple cider vinegar is used for its clarifying properties as well as its ability to help reduce hair porosity as a rinse due to its low pH balance. It also has anti-bacterial qualities that make it particularly helpful in treating an itchy scalp that is caused by bacteria build-up, and against any fungal condition (yeast on the scalp). Yeast don’t like an acidic environment so swabbing the scalp with an ACV solution can be helpful. Just be careful to make sure that you dilute it enough to a level where it is comfortable enough to put on your scalp, or else it will sting like crazy, especially if you have any abraded skin. The raw, unfiltered organic ACV is the best kind.
In case you decide to try the ACV, consider having some aloe vera gel on hand to soothe any stinging sensations that you may get. Aloe Vera can be used straight from the plant, or the organic gel can be bought commercially. Naturally emollient and calming, it is a great balm for the scalp that will also soften the hair and feed your roots.
Tea Tree Oil
Melaleuca Alternifolia, or simply “Tea Tree Oil” is ubiquitous in shampoos and conditioners for this very condition in large part due to its highly antiseptic qualities. It’s a triple threat to scalp irritations because of its anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Again, Tea Tree Oil should not be used full strength and is best when used with a carrier oil. Which brings us to the next tried and true product…
Ever seen a moldy coconut? That’s because the capyrilic acid in coconuts inhibit the growth of fungus. Incidentally, caprylic acid is also an active ingredient in a lot of vitamin supplements for women who are trying to suppress an overgrowth of candida (yeast) throughout the body. As always, look for the unfiltered, unrefined, organic extra-virgin coconut oil, cold-pressed if possible. It’s especially effective when infused with a few drops of tea tree oil.
Stay Away From This
If you co-wash instead of using an actual shampoo, this might be a good time to take a break and use a product that won’t just leave more build-up on your already beleaguered scalp. Do try to avoid shampoos with harsh detergents that will strip your scalp (and hair) of its natural oils, further adding to that dreaded tight and dry feeling. If your shampoo has sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate as an ingredient, it probably won’t be doing you any favors. Look for shampoos without sulfates and parabens and with nourishing oils that will soothe your skin.
Word to the Wise
One final word of caution: itchy scalp can be caused for a variety of reasons that are not always easy to self-diagnose. If you are experiencing symptoms that don’t seem to be responding to any treatments, or have broken skin or open sores on the scalp, please see your dermatologist or a licensed trichologist for an accurate diagnosis of your condition. In some cases, professional care may be required, for a complete analysis and evaluation of your diet, as well as any medications
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Long hair don’t care? Mmhmm…but everyone cares about how to grow their hair to that long length. And for your average black woman, growing long hair is a task of patience and healthy hair maintenance with a few misconceptions dabbled in. Yes, there is a prevalence of misconceptions floating around the black hair community about how to grow that hang time and have it swinging down your back. Relaxed or natural there is a scientifically backed method to growing your hair that really starts from the inside out. Here are 5 tips on long hair growth for Black women.
Most people have heard of henna, but many remain curious.
What exactly is it? Simply put, henna is a plant also known as lawsonia inermis that is cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, southern Asia and northern Australasia (yeah, that’s real). It is most widely used to dye skin and of course, hair.
A lot of natural and relaxed heads use it for the awesome benefits that it offers. The most widely known benefit is that henna imparts a lovely red color into strands that is not chemically based, so there’s no damage to your hair. If your tresses are really dark, henna can’t lighten it, but there will be a nice tint in the sunlight. Depending on the region that it was grown, the color will vary from an orange-red tone to dark burgundy.
Henna usage also results in smoother, shinier hair because it is able to completely coat and fill in any rough spots on frayed cuticles. Many believe that this locks moisture out, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. You can still oil and condition your hair as needed.
Henna is also one of the safest and most natural ways to strengthen hair since it is able to penetrate the shaft and bond to the keratin in each strand. By doing this, it makes the hair thicker and less prone to breakage.
The best type to use is body art quality (BAQ). BAQ henna is of the utmost class in terms of dye release, sifting and purity. You can find this at most local Indian stores or at trusted online shops such as mehandi.com and hennasooq.com. Make sure when purchasing that the box is dated. If it isn’t, it may be old or not pure henna. As a general rule of thumb, buy 100g for shoulder length hair, 200g for bra strap length and 300g for hip length.
Henna should ideally be mixed with an acidic component in order to release the dye effectively. There are plenty of mixes that you can make which use multiple ingredients. It really depends on what your individual hair likes and takes a bit of trial and error, but if you’re just starting out, the standard mix will do.
Standard henna mix:
- Pour the henna into a ceramic or plastic bowl.
- Mix with a half-cup of water and two tablespoons of lemon juice until there is a yogurt-like consistency. For a richer stain you may use only lemon juice.
- Wrap the bowl in saran wrap and let sit for a few hours. Keep out of direct sunlight.
- The henna will be ready when there is a slight brown film on the top. Sometimes this can take as long as 12 hours.
- Use gloves to apply to hair in small sections. *Tip – Damp hair makes the application process smoother.
- Wrap your hair in saran wrap to lock in moisture and leave on for 6-12 hours. A lot of women apply it at night and sleep in the mixture. If you opt to do this, just make sure to cover your pillow to avoid any unwanted stains.
- Rinse out fully.
- Hair may feel a bit dry at first. A good, moisturizing deep conditioner directly following any henna treatment is highly recommended.
Sometimes it takes a few applications to reap all of the benefits, but more often than not, you should see an immediate change in your hair.
How often do you henna? What’s your favorite mixture?
Don’t sweat it. It’s definitely possible to go hard at the gym and still have a nice hairstyle at the end. There are plenty of ways to wear your hair that will stay put and don’t involve a myriad of clips and headbands. Try these styles that will keep you looking fly at the gym and beyond.
Shedding by most accounts is a normal bodily function. When the growth cycle of hair is completed, it naturally falls from your scalp. But how do you know when you’re dealing with an actual shed strand and not breakage? You can always tell if you see the root is still attached – the tiny white bulb at the end of the strand.
Most women shed an average of 50-100 hairs per day, but at some point you may start noticing more hair than normal amounts around the sink, drain, pillow and floor due to the birth of a child, stress, dieting, birth control or just plain ‘ol heredity. Before you start stocking up on Rogaine and pills, know that there is a natural and safe solution out there that works – the black tea rinse.
Now, some people might start thinking, why in the world would you pour tea on your head? Isn’t that strange? The answer is no. It actually makes a ton of sense. Black tea contains more caffeine than a cup of coffee and caffeine is known to block DHT, which is the hormone responsible for hair loss. Thus, dousing your hair with caffeine can help prevent excessive shedding. Plus, black tea can typically be found at cheaper prices than coffee and the smell isn’t as strong.
The preparation of the black tea rinse is pretty simple. Boil around two cups of water and add 4-10 packets of black tea. (I used the entire box of 20, which is completely not necessary, but hey, I’ve been shedding a whole lot lately). Let steep over night.
After washing, slowly pour the rinse over your hair and let it sit under a plastic cap for 30 minutes. Follow up with a good deep conditioner.
*Note – make sure to wear an old T-shirt and to clean the shower directly afterward as black tea will stain. On the bright side, the staining properties can also bring out natural highlights in your hair.
My rinse resulted in not only less shedding, but also bouncy, shiny, soft tresses. I think I may start doing this every week.
What about you? Have you tried the black tea rinse? What did you think?
Everybody wants to take good care of their hair, but not everybody wants to spend an enormous chunk of change doing so. Thankfully, most items that are needed to cleanse, moisturize and protect can be found right in your home:
Baking Soda can be used to clarify any buildup on the scalp. One tablespoon to one cup of water should do, but if you have longer and/or thicker hair, you may need a bit more of each. It’s best mixed together in a spray bottle or an applicator so that you can focus directly on the scalp. (When you rinse, it will run down the hair). Massage and leave in for 1-5 minutes. Rinse thoroughly. You are now squeaky clean.
Stronger, Longer Hair Challenge
By Johnny Wright
Last week, I had an opportunity to attend the BET Awards and act as a correspondent on the red carpet. The annual awards show was hosted by Samuel L. Jackson and featured performances by Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, Frankie Beverly and Maze, Monica, Brandy, D’Angelo and more. It was truly Too Big To Miss. While on the carpet, I had an opportunity to get up and close personal with some my fav celebrities.
Check out my Top Celebrity Hair Picks:
Taraji P. Henson
Tell us your favorite hairstyle from the BET Awards.
Follow Johnny Wright on twitter @johnny_wright
Johnny is the Celebrity Stylist to First Lady Michelle Obama and Artistic Style Director for SoftSheen-Carson Laboratories, a division of L’Oréal USA. His work has appeared in InStyle, O! Oprah Magazine, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Vogue Italia and on SoftSheen-Carson advertorial campaigns for such publications as Essence, Ebony, Jet and Sophisticate’s Black Hair.
Join the Optimum Stronger, Longer Hair Challenge! Complete the Hair Survey and share your experience in the challenge by commenting below or tweeting us @MadameNoire with the hashtag #StrongerLonger for your chance to be our weekly winner and score amazing Optimum Care products!.
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Whether you’re new to the natural game, want to switch up your style or trying to grow out your relaxed hair, there’s something for you. Here are some of the best bloggers and vloggers out there for every hair need:
Since 2006, Afrobella aka Patrice Grell Yursik, has been dishing advice and style suggestions on her blog for natural-haired divas. She was the keynote speaker at Fro Fashion Week, has been featured in the NYTimes and even attended the 2012 Oscars. If there’s anyone you can trust to give you great hair tips, it’s this lovely lady.