All Articles Tagged "healthy hair"
Using the right shampoos, conditioners, and moisturizers will all have an impact on the overall health of your hair. However, what you eat also affects how healthy and strong your hair really is. With the right diet consisting of the optimal foods listed here, you can treat your hair from the inside out instead of the other way around. Here are 14 foods that are known to promote healthier and stronger hair.
If you’re like many ladies out there, one of your resolutions for 2013 might have been to take better care of your hair. Or perhaps you’ve joined a challenge to kick the year off. If “growth” is the magic word for you in 2013, check out these growth aides, some of which are widely reviewed and have huge followings on the myriad black women’s hair sites out there in the cybersphere.
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If you’re on a quest for beautiful hair that is resplendent with health, you have probably heard of nutrients such as panthenol, keratin, biotin and collagen. There is a good chance, however, that you have not heard about a very important amino sugar called GLYCOSAMINOGLYCANS (also known as mucopolysaccharides).
Glycosaminoglycans have shown promising ability to stimulate hair growth in clinical tests. They lengthen the anagen or growing stage of a hair’s strand’s life cycle, thereby giving hair an extended period of time to grow longer. Another benefit of this substance is that it has the potential to reduce hair loss, so if excessive shedding is a concern, you might want to look for conditioners that have this all important ingredient in the mix.
Some products that have glycosaminoglycans (mucopolysaccharides) are:
Although it was originally formulated for use on horses, Mega-Tek is widely touted as a miracle product for inducing hair growth and thickness in black online hair care communities. Some say the original formula has changed, and the makers of Mega-Tek even took the same ingredients and tried to give it a marketing makeover by introducing a similar product that was aimed at women. Devoted sisters “recognized game” for what it was and didn’t take the bait, going as far as to order the original Mega-Tek from equine supply stores. It is commonly applied directly to the scalp, but some do use it as a conditioner.
I’m all for women wearing their hair in the way that makes them feel their most beautiful and confident (well, at least in theory, tacky lace fronts and shellacked hair excluded). And as the internecine
battle conversation about natural v. chemically processed hair continues, I think India Arie’s song “I Am Not My Hair,” is more relevant than ever.
However, in my own hair journey, and as I read about other women’s hair stories, I am convinced that every Black woman should go natural at least once in her adult life. Here’s why:
Caring for Natural Hair Makes You Focus on Yourself More.
In our hectic lives, between juggling professional, familial and other obligations, often the first thing that falls off of our to-do list is making time for ourselves. Taking care of natural hair often requires setting aside time to properly maintain our tresses, and an added benefit is that it really is time that we spend looking inward and being nurturing and loving to ourselves.
Learning About Natural Haircare Teaches Us So Much About Other Aspects of Our Health.
I’m sure that many women would agree that in learning about caring for natural hair, they’ve gained knowledge about healthy living – eating clean organic foods, avoiding certain chemical ingredients, getting proper rest and exercise, drinking LOTS more water. I never realized just how important eating sulfur rich foods help, not just my hair, but my overall physical well-being. The same goes for minerals such as silica.
Caring for Natural Hair Expands Our Notions of What is Beautiful.
Whether you spent a year or more transitioning, or did the “big chop,” moving into uncharted waters with your hair can be uncomfortable and even scary. The good news is that growth and evolution occurs outside of our comfort zone. Growing hair out from a “TWA” can present challenges, especially if we tended to “hide” behind our hair in the past, it can feel naked and vulnerable. Coaxing out our true texture, experimenting with different makeup choices and accessorizing with earrings and other embellishments that we normally wouldn’t wear as we embrace our new and changing looks and style possibilities can be life-affirming.
Most Women Need to Learn What Their Natural Hair is Even Capable Of Achieving.
Since we were young girls, too many of us have been indoctrinated to believe that our hair is something to be conquered. Even the slightest little kink of new growth would have many of us running out to slap some relaxer in our hair. Well that mentality had us killing our hair, leaving it ravaged and over-processed. Going natural forces us to confront our own texture, and remarkably, many women find that their hair is not nearly as unmanageable as they believed it was, and the majority find that their hair can grow longer than they even realized it could. The psychic benefits of this is tremendous because it’s almost impossible to grown healthy hair if you have such negative self-talk about your hair in the first place.
While the natural hair movement has definitely taken off. There are still a lot of black women who prefer to maintain their hair with a relaxer. And many of them feel left out in the healthy hair tips discussion. But is it valid to completely dismiss one with relaxed hair as being incapable of maintaining healthy strands?
It is true that a relaxer is a chemical alteration to your natural hair structure. A relaxer essentially breaks down the disulfide bonds (which make hair curly) in the hair follicle and caps them so that they do not reform, thus causing the hair to be permanently straight. Now while some may refer to relaxers as “controlled damage,” that does not mean that relaxed hair isn’t capable of being maintained as long, healthy hair. If relaxed hair is beyond being healthy, then anyone who colors their hair, another process that breaks the bonds in hair follicles, could also call their strands just as unhealthy.
What really does the most damage to relaxed hair is over-processing while applying the relaxer and the way one treats their hair post-relaxer. The hair typing chart is just as useful to women who wear relaxers as it is to women with natural hair. Therefore, if you understand the texture of your natural hair you’ll have a better understanding of how often to relax your hair and various methods that you can use to stretch your hair in between touch ups. Getting relaxers too often and not giving your scalp and hair a chance to breathe will lead to your hair falling out because it is over-processed. Generally speaking, reapplying less than 3-4 weeks after your last touch-up will lead to over-processing. Also, there is absolutely no need for maximum/super strength relaxers, and you most certainly want to avoid lye relaxers. While it is best to have your hair relaxed by a qualified professional, for some, the at-home applications are the only financial option. Try sticking to ‘kiddie’ perms and be patient when applying it to your hair. Make sure to work it properly and evenly throughout your hair for best results. Don’t just throw an extra strength relaxer into your hair haphazardly, as it will over-process your locks and leave you with burnt clumps of hair. Do not forget about the neutralizing shampoo as well. A relaxer is highly alkaline on the pH balance scale, and neutralizing shampoo is so important because it neutralizes the disulfide bonds mentioned early, stopping them from processing your hair and leaving you with the straight result. Because neutralizing shampoos are acidic (to bring down the alkaline pH balance of relaxers) do NOT use them post washing out your relaxer, as they will overly dry your hair out.
Just as with any other hair texture, the bulk of the damage can be done by how we maintain our hair. Just because one has a relaxer does not mean that they can apply heat to their hair every day, forgo washing it and slather any old product into their hair. It’s even more important for those with relaxers to mind the products that they put in their hair because they don’t want it to further break down the bonds in the hair follicle. Using products that are highly acidic are counterproductive to maintaining a straight relaxer. It’s best to try and maintain hair at a close to neutral pH balance (7 pH) as possible, starting with a good deep-conditioning process that you do regularly. Minimize the amount of brushing and direct heat that is applied to the hair. You already put a relaxer in, there is no need to flat iron it every day.
Lastly, know that any high-alkaline product will cause your hair to straighten. Michelle Obama’s very laid hair has been all the rage at the Democratic National Convention, as it gleams and flows in the spotlight. Word on the curb is that she uses a non-chemical relaxer called PhytoSpecific that contains the organic salt, guanidine carbonate, the same ingredient used in relaxers and Nair (hence why if you over-process your hair, it falls out). For women who are loosening their curls with ‘Silkners’ and texturizers it all comes down to the same process.
You can achieve healthy hair even with a relaxer. It all comes down to having an understanding of your hair, a good dose of patience, and a healthy hair regimen. There’s no quick fix to healthy hair.
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This article is for you if you’ve thought or said the following things:
“I have a child with a head full of hair and I don’t know what to do with it!”
“Oh baby, my child’s hair looks nothing like mine, what do I do?”
“Oh baby, my child’s hair is so dry/fine/curly/kinky/thick, I’m just trying to figure out how to keep it healthy!”
Are you a parent who is struggling to figure out how to deal with your child’s hair because they don’t have a similar texture to your own? You’ve mastered the art of your hair and then your bundle of joy comes into the world with a beautiful head of hair that you just can’t figure out. Or maybe you always go to the salon to care for your hair and it’s not a good idea to try and convince your two-year-old to sit still to get their hair done at the salon too. It’s a common problem that plenty of parents face, but I’m here to ease the struggle.
You’ve thought about pills, procedures, even considered going the Monistat route, but realized that the quick fix is not always the safest. Although genetics will play a role in your hair’s terminal length, there are steps that you can take to boost growth and reach your optimal hair health. If it seems like you’ve tried everything and nothing is working, check out these ten steps that will help you achieve your goals of healthy hair– the natural way.
There’s an old wives tale that brushing your hair 100 strokes per day will help it flourish, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Tugging stresses your tresses point blank period. This also goes for twirling strands around your finger, constant combing (yes, even with a wide-tooth comb) and styling hair daily. The best way to avoid this is to wear hair in a way that allows you to easily refresh with minimal manipulation such as twist-outs, ponytails and roller sets.
Healthy hair is always the way to go. However, sometimes women occasionally sacrifice the health of their hair for style. But there’s ways to achieve stylish hair dos without doing hair don’ts and comprising your healthy hair. Here’s some do’s and don’ts of achieving the following great styles and looks while maintaining healthy hair.
Color me Blonde
Coloring your hair can be a great way to switch up your look and add some spice. But it can also be one of the most damaging style choices, especially if you’re trying to go much lighter than your natural hair color. Whether relaxed or natural, using permanent color to dye your hair can be a treacherous deed, so why not try an alternative natural dye? Henna is a great option, as you can condition your hair while coloring. LUSH Cosmetics offers a great line of premixed natural henna blocks that are easy to mix down and are infused with cocoa butter and other natural moisturizing oils. If you want to go black, brown, blue-black or red, henna is an easy option. For lighter colors, you might have to do several henna treatments to gradually lighten your hair.
Braids and weaves are instant style changers and can also help to protect your hair and even help it grow, but you have to be very careful with how you install your styles. Protect your edges! Try to keep minimal tension on your edges. If you are getting a weave, be careful with the braid pattern and how tight the braids are. Remember that hair is being sewn on top of the braids, which is going to further tighten and pull your hair. Too much tension can result in severe hair loss and partial baldness. Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (CCCA) is a real disease that leads to baldness and scarring and can be caused by poorly installed weaves/braids (cc: Naomi Campbell). If you are going to a hair salon where they blow dry your hair before braiding, either ask to have your hair blow dried on low heat or do it yourself before arriving at the salon. This is especially true for naturals with a kinkier and more fragile hair type. Before heading to the braid shop, stretch your hair and then gently blow-dry your hair damp with a heat protectant to minimize breakage.
Want to turn your curly coils or wavy hair to straight? Rather than going straight for the blow dryer and flat iron, try a method that doesn’t require direct heat such as roller setting your hair. There’s all these fancy flat irons that promise to protect your hair with new technology, but ceramic, nano tourmaline, whatever, is still direct heat, and if done too frequently or at too high of a temperature, it can damage your hair. If you’re relaxed, roller setting is great because it’s easy to achieve and leaves you with full body hair. Siting under a hair dryer set at mid-temperature is a healthy option for your hair as opposed to reaching for a flat iron. If you have a kinkier natural hair texture, shrinkage is real and many combat that by regularly blow-drying their hair out (blow out). Unfortunately, that causes excessive breakage and halts hair growth. Trying no heat methods of stretching your hair, such as braiding or simply washing your hair in braids can work wonders and be good alternatives to constantly blow-drying your hair.
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By Jessica Dufresne
It’s the never-ending black hair debate: which is a safer option, natural or relaxed? Too often, relaxing gets the shaft, mainly because of the age-old assumption that it’s too damaging. (The moral arguments are a whole other topic.) In reality, the only times when relaxing is bad is when it’s not applied correctly, done too often, or you’re simply not taking care of your hair. Contrary to popular belief, you can have perfectly healthy, strong hair with a perm—as long as you know what and what not to do.
Why not relax?
So is it actually possible to have healthy locks despite perming? “Absolutely,” says celebrity hair stylist Tippi Shorter. “It is a chemical that alters the natural structure of your hair, but there is most certainly such a thing as healthy relaxed hair if you’re using it properly.” Shorter, who works on the healthy manes of Beyonce, Alicia Keys and Jada Pinkett-Smith, among others, says any damage experienced is due to “over-relaxing, using products that are too harsh on the hair, and trying to get an unrealistic finish.”
Just like Shorter, hair stylist Winston Scully, a 22-year hair industry veteran and owner of Hair Vibes salon in New York, contends that when it comes to relaxers, it’s all about the process. In fact, he says what causes damage is when a relaxer is left too long on the hair. Its active ingredient, lye (which comes in the form of different types of hydroxides: sodium, calcium, etc) has—as we all know—the power to break down any substance (remember the scene in Chris Rock’s documentary, Good Hair, where the soda can melts?)—but that’s only if it’s allowed to sit for an extended period of time. So as long as your perm is washed out when it’s supposed to be, you won’t have to worry about your hair melting off your scalp.
When you do decide to perm, it doesn’t pay to shop around or to assume you know which one to use. Shorter says just like all hair types are not equal, neither are all relaxers. “There are brands that I favor because they contain way more essential oils, they’re gentler, they don’t smell, they don’t irritate the scalp, they have a no-lye version, a sensitive-scalp version, or are compatible with hair color.”
According to Scully, while all relaxers contain a type of lye (the chemical that breaks down the curls), the conditioning agent is what separates the Hawaiian Silkys of the world from the Mizanis. “[when deciding which perm to use] I’m looking for one that contains the conditioning agent that is going to be beneficial to the individual’s hair.”
And how do stylists know which is best for you? Both Shorter and Scully agree that’s determined by careful examination of the hair and by experience. That said, both also discourage women from doing home perms. “I’ve seen so many horror stories,” says Shorter. “I know times are tough financially, but it’s hard for me to recommend or suggest someone to do it.” However, she does concede that if self-perming is a woman’s only option, “ I will try and steer [her] the best way possible.”
Time heals all damage
Overprocessing occurs when a relaxer is applied onto already-straightened hair—so it’s imperative to wait before touching up, or risk damage (and in case you think going natural will solve that problem, Shorter and Scully beg to differ). When you visit a new hairdresser, make sure it’s been at least six weeks since your last touch-up. The exact time to wait will depend on your texture and cut, as some women can go as long as 12 weeks in between touch-ups, while others may need them as frequently as every two weeks. Keep in mind that a good hair stylist will not perm your hair if you don’t need it (no matter how much you think you do).
Keep it tight
Regardless of whether or not your hair is chemically treated, the same maintenance rules apply: regular deep conditioning; trims every six to eight weeks; moisturizing your scalp; and even the right kind of roller set. A good set will leave you with a bunch of rollers on your head, as opposed to a few, which occurs when there’s too much hair per curler (and that volume, says Scully, causes stress on the hair). And, of course, your nightly habits matter: wrapping or roller setting and wearing a silk scarf are highly recommended.
How you choose to wear your hair doesn’t speak to the type of person you are, but how you take care of it does. You can use a relaxer for most or all of your life and, if it’s done right, it won’t cause any damage to your health or hair. The bottom line is there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with chemically straightening your hair, and it’s not a question of being addicted to “creamy crack;” if something works for you and doesn’t jeopardize your well-being, stick with it. There’s an old saying that everything ain’t for everybody and the same applies to hair.
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Healthy hair is a product of healthy eating. And while some women can get away with eating unhealthy foods without their hair suffering, others aren’t as lucky. It’s almost a no-brainer which foods are probably detrimental to healthy hair (think the same foods that are unhealthy for your figure). Still, just as there are foods bad for your hair there are plenty that are proven to prevent split ends, retain growth, add luster, and improve texture.
So before you re-up on your monthly hair vitamins try adding these foods to your grocery list and begin implementing them into your diet. They naturally provide all the ingredients of hair vitamins, and usually more.
Ultimately when you increase your intake of these healthy foods, you should try to decrease your intake of those tasty, but unhealthy foods full of sugar, sodium, and unhealthy fats. While there are a variety of foods that provide you with the extra nutrients needed for healthy hair, here are seven key foods to get you started.
Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which aid in hair and scalp health (amongst other things), Salmon is a magic fish for hair growth. While there are other fish that are also good for hair growth, salmon proves to be one of the best, according to dieticians.
“Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and proteins that help keep your scalp healthy and your hair shiny, said Andrea Giancoli, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, in a recent article on LiveStrong.Com.