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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What Will My Summer Style Be?

Summer is upon us! Yes!

Now that leaves me with a problem..I have to figure out a summer hairstyle! I pretty much live in Hell's furnace (Alabama) and I know for certain that I will not wear my hair down everyday. It's too hot for all of that. I know I will probably bun but I want something I little more low maintenance. I'm thinking about just getting cornrows and calling it a day. More to come on at as I make a definite decision.

Also....:trumpet fanfare: I have hit my growing season! Woo-hoo. I have recently discovered that my hair grows slower during the fall/winter months and faster during the spring/summer months. I figured this out the other day when I was washing my hair. I realized it took considerably more effort to get through my hair-well more effort than expected to only be 6 weeks post. Once my hair dried, I noticed that I have bunches of new growth! So with that said, I plan to take full advantage of this. Hopefully, I can retain every bit of growth I get and (eventually) get to APL!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I've Come a Long Way, Baby: 2 Years Into My Healthy Hair Journey

I don't really like to post pics of my hair before I started taking care of my hair. Simply put: it was a mess. My hair was so thin and brittle and I didn't even realize it. I thought it was supposed to be like that. I noticed something was wrong when I saw that my hair was breaking all over the place. In the morning when I would unwrap my hair, I literally had a sink full of hair plus more hair all over my bathroom floor. This was a problem. I googled hair breakage and I stumbled onto LHCF.

That was March 2008 and my hair looked like this:

Ugh. My crown was all broken. It is a wonder I had hair on my hair at all. At the start of my journey, I didn't relax for 8 months. I kept my hair braided mostly or up in a phony pony. I would wash and DC weekly and my hair thrived. However, my ends were still kinda raggedy. :/

I did a lot of product experimentation during this time too. By the time November rolled around, my hair had thickened up again. I decided to relax (it was the lesser of 2 evils for me, at this point I was pulling out my flat iron everyday to straighten and I didn't want to do that). However, I was still unsatisfied with my ends. I decided I would cut my hair into a little bob, like this:

That style lasted all of 2 months before I decided to cut my hair into the cut that you have seen so much of on this blog. I admit that for me, cutting my hair and starting from scratch has been the best thing I could've done for my hair. It allows me to learn how to take care of my hair as each stage of growth and provided an opportunity to start over without the massive damage my hair had at the start of my journey.

Well folks, there you have it. I wonder what the next 2 years of my journey will bring! :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Needed a Reality Check...

Well really I needed a length check. I hadn't done a length check since December and I have been wearing my hair in protective styles for so long (had it in a bun of some sort for about 4 weeks and did a flexirod set this past week) that I began feeling like my hair wasn't growing. Yeah, I needed to do a length check today.

Sooo....I came home today and washed my hair with my beloved Elasta QP Creme Conditioning Shampoo (SN: I tried using all natural shampoos but they strip the heck out of my hair, I think the sulfate-free options are my best choice). I then DCed with ORS Replenishing Conditioner, put in my Jane Carter Solution Revitalizing Leave In, and then proceeded to blow dry and flat iron.

The top picture is from December and the bottom is from today, March 11. My hair is definitely making progress slowly but surely. that I've indulged myself (ha ha), I will probably wear my hair out tomorrow and put it back up on Saturday. I haven't decided yet. My hair probably won't be out longer than 3 days though. I'm starting to see that there is something to this low manipulation/protective style thing after all!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Hair: Getting the Healthy Hair Diet, pt 2

So let me start off this post by saying that my diet is by no means the perfect diet. I love sweets and I have a certain soft spot for Starbucks and Chick-fil-A. Nevertheless, I try to eat well most of the time. Additionally, there have been times in my life where my eating habits were terrible (mainly: undergrad and the 1st year of grad school) and it reflected in my hair. My diet (in addition to poor hair care practices) left my hair dull, brittle, thinning, and broken.

Below I will list certain healthy hair nutrients and foods you can eat to incorporate them into your diet. Please keep in mind that this list is not all inclusive. For the sake of length, I have chosen to keep it short and keep it to the basics.

Protein: We all know that protein is the building block of hair. Therefore, it makes sense to eat enough of it. Incorporating enough protein into your diet ensures that your hair is strong. If you find that your hair is brittle or weak, ensure that you are eating enough protein in addition to upping your protein based product use. Foods: Poultry, lean meats, Fish, Nuts/Seeds, Yogurt, Peanut Butter, Grains (like bread or pasta)

B Vitamins (Niacin, Panthenol, Vitamins B6 and B12,etc): These vitamins are essential for healthy hair growth and play a role in preventing hair loss/breakage. They can also help prevent premature graying. Foods: poultry, beef, fish, eggs, whole grains, beans, seeds, peas, nuts, leafy green vegetables, fortified breads and cereals.

Vitamin E: Plays a role in healthy circulation (increases oxygen uptake). Foods: asparagus, avocado, egg, spinach, whole grain foods.

Vitamin C: Plays a role in immune function, which ultimately leads to healthy hair (makes sense, when you are sick, you hair doesn't look its best). Also a cofactor in the synthesis of certain molecules (e.g.-collagen). Foods: Citrus, berries, kiwi

Vitamin A: Important at the level of your scalp-keeps hair follicle lubricated. Foods: Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Collard Greens, Mango, Broccoli

Biotin: This is another B vitamin but it is so essential to hair growth. It protects against dryness and helps in the elasticity of hair (which ultimately can reduce breakage). In addition, biotin deficiency can manifest itself as hair loss. Foods: Eggs, Liver

Minerals (Iron, Copper, Zinc, Magnesium): Some play roles in hair growth (Iron) while others play roles in hair loss (zinc, copper). Don't underestimate the importance of these minerals because they have huge roles in hair structure (at the protein level) and growth. Foods: Legumes, Poultry, Fortified breads and cereals, green leafy veggies like spinach

Water: Provides moisture to hair (self explanatory I suppose). Try to drink as much water (around 8 glasses daily, more if you are active).

To summarize, just pay close attention to what you are putting in your body. Learn how to read food labels and keep away from the junk foods as much as possible! Don't feel like you have to eat a set amount of healthy foods daily or that you have to deprive yourself. Just try to eat a healthy diet filled with various foods. Also, try to limit your sugar and caffeine intake (which isn't easy and is something I struggle with DAILY). Your hair will definitely thank you for it.

The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Hair: My Observations and Personal Experience, pt 1

This particular blog has been on my mind for a while now. Lately, I have noticed that when it comes to hair care a lot of people, myself included, focus on the topical things they can do. Even when giving advice, we focus on what we can do for our hair. Don't get me wrong, deep conditioning, washing often, and moisturizing have done wonders for my hair. However, I think one thing that should receive more recognition is nutrition. It has become evident to me that when your nutrition is on point, it reflects in your hair, skin, and nails.

I came to this revelation via a stumbling block in my own healthy hair journey.A couple a weeks ago, I wrote a post about how I had been shedding a lot lately. I even purchased a conditioner to help with it. Then I thought of something. I have always been a shedder for as long as I can remember. I also remembered that back in high school I was told I am mildly anemic. This means that I have low iron in my bloodstream.I never really did anything about it and suffered through being cold and lethargic all the time. Could this be tied to my excessive shedding? Well, I looked it up and iron is an important mineral for healthy hair! Iron plays a role in healthy circulation and when you have enough of it, you get enough circulation to the scalp which equals healthy hair. When you don't have enough iron, your circulation will be focused on the most necessary of functions (e.g.- getting blood to your organs and other living tissue). Of course! This makes perfect sense. From then on, I began focusing on getting more iron into my diet, without the help of supplementation. For that reason, I eat a LOT of chicken and turkey. I also eat a lot of whole grain cereals (Frosted Mini-Wheats is my favorite). I have definitely noticed a MAJOR improvement in my shedding levels.

What are some other nutrients you should be aware of and how can you incorporate them into your diet? Stay tuned for part 2