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Stretched or Clumped: Which option works for you?

14 Nov

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The picture above is from PinkeCube, her hair type is 4c, PinkeCube is using the ‘Maximum Hydration Method’ to define her curls. Her curls are amazingly Clumped and Moisturised. To understand how PinkCube has obtain this level of curl definition, read below and watch her video.

Fuzzy Hair 

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We natural hair heads (specially type 4b and c) are used to see our hair in a fuzz. A kind of a ‘cloud’, with no really curl definition… And we’ve learned to love and rock it ! Many of us have tried so many ‘Wash n Go’s with no real satisfaction, that we don’t even know that we could choose otherwise ! And frankly our ‘cloud’ looks truly gorgeous 🙂  But, wearing our hair in an afro (not clumped) is not ideal for length retention…

Now, if we choose to, our fuzzy head could be a full head of well clumped, well curled, well moisturised, hair; and that, totally naturally (no wave, no weave, no Texlaxer). (Thank you #PinkeCube) Or a head of well stretched hair…Let see how we can retain hair length by keeping our cloud Stretched (which protective styling does) or keeping it Clumped (with maximum hydration)

 

Stretched Hair

We generally strugglScreen Shot 2015-11-01 at 23.51.44e to define our curls and most of us don’t even believe it is possible for natural 4b/c to have a defined curl pattern ! Since we believe it has no curl pattern, we wear it ‘fuzzy’ ! In its fuzzy state, our hair, will have the tendency to catch on fabrics and rough surfaces. Catching on and pulling will lead to the hair breaking up!  Repetitive catching on and pulling will lead to no length retention! So although an afro is beautiful, it is not the best, if we plan length retention…

Unless, like many Youtubers and Naturals you opt for styles that stretch our ‘cloud’, then protect the strands from breaking.. Protective styling options (Buns, twist, …), or low manipulation stretched styles (bantu-knots out, twist out, braid out..) allow to reduce the amount of kink in the hair, reducing therefore hair ‘snaps’ by ‘catch and pull’.

The Youtuber that best represent to me low manipulation stretched styles for length retention is JoStylin. JoStylin is now HipLength, thanks to keeping her hair stretched and in protective styling on a regular Basis. (Credit to JoStylin)

 

Clumped Hair
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Now, some Naturals including some Youtubers, barely do ‘Protective Styling’ or stretch their hair and still manage to retain a great deal of length !

How to they do it ?
The secret lady is to get your cloud to form a head of well defined curls. That way, when the curl pattern is well defined, there is almost no need for protective styling!! Why is it ? Because, the individual strands of hair have less chances to catch on fabrics since they are clumped together into defined curls.

The best way to get our hair to clump is the MHM (Maximum Hydration Method – PinkeCube). See article here

The Youtuber that best represent to me low manipulation clumped styles for length retention is Bootyfurl. Bootyfurl is now TailBone length thanks to saturating her hair with moisture (and very often ‘bagging’ her hair). (Credit to Bootyfurl)

 

So Ladies, are you more #Stretched or #Clumped ?

You can choose either methods or both, as ways to always ensure that your hair is always well moisturised and protected from breakage ! That will make significant difference in your hair length retention journey 🙂

Type 4c Hair – Maximum Hydration Wash n Go

14 Nov

Yessss ! You read it well ladies !!!

Curl definition method for type 4 Hair ! Even us type 4c ! 

That sounds like real HEAVEN, right ?  And thanks to our Brillant PinkeCube, many of us are discovering the true beauty of our hair when it is properly hydrated ! And I mean Saturated with Hydration !

You thought your hair wouldn’t, couldn’t ‘Curl & Clump’? Gurl please ! Play the video, your mind will be blown away ! This ‘Maximum Hydration Method’ is simply fantastic ! The method infuse your hair with moisture, leaving it soft and manageable. Your curl pattern will be apparent, and your hair will still have movement.

Definitely not the usual ‘Wash n Go’ ladies !

So from all 4c Naturals around, massive thank you to you PinkeCube for sharing your knowledge and helping us loving our Kinks !!

Hair Handling: Determine your hair type

29 Oct

Why do we start by assessing your hair type? Because we know you want to know! Haha !Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 23.35.00

More seriously, determining your hair type will actually help with basic understanding of your hair needs. It will help you select the right hair care regimen for your hair, as well as styling options.

The key understanding in hair typing is : the tighter your coils, the more fragile your hair is (more prone to breakage). The tighter your coils, the more potential rupture points there is. If you take the time to look at an individual strand of your hair closely, you will notice that where your hair curls it is usually thinner. This is one o
f the key reasons, why type 4 hair tend to be shorter. They can break way more easily. 

The key point of finding roughly your hair type is to be able to give it adequate care, and do appropriate protective styles (if needed). Type 3 hair, are less prone to breakage that type 4 (due to their looser curl pattern that tangles less and has fewer ‘breaking points) and therefore require a bit less emphasis on protective styling for the strands. But, types 3 and 4 require both moisture and protection of the tips (ends).

Hair Handling: Type 4 hair characteristics

29 Oct

(Credit to Naptural85)

If you consider that your hair will grow on average 1.5 cm a month (which is  a bit more than 15cm a year), you won’t keep those 15cm if every single day your hair snaps and breaks because of harsh manipulation, dryness and regular friction. Little by little the growth is eroded letting you believe that you have reached your ‘genetically determined length’. Our hair breakage is general not really visible (because we mainly loose little bits of coils at the time). So since it is not that visible, it is generally not alarming to us. But don’t be fooled! You will need to address it if you want to retain your growth.

Our hair grows from the roots which are embedded in our scalp. To retain growth every year it is essential to prevent breakage of the strands and tips and keep the hair moisturised !

Please read on to make sure to apply those simple principles correctly

Hair Handling: Weathering

29 Oct

What is Weathering?

Weathering describes damage done to the hair and the progressive breakdown of the hair fibre. Weathering can have many causes (lack of moisture, harsh grooming…) and lead to unhealthy hair.  You will see below the different types of weathering that can affect Type 4 hair length retention and how to reduce weathering.

Hair Handling: Protect your strands (1)

29 Oct

 Understanding ‘Catch&Pull’ and the importance of ‘Protective Styling’

Type 4, due to its coily nature will have the tendency to catch on fabrics and rough surfaces. Catching on and pulling will lead to the hair breaking up!  Repetitive catching on and pulling will lead to no length retention! Many of us have experienced going to bed without a scarf/ bonnet, with our hair not in protective style and waking up to find little coily bits of hair all over the place. Or even at some point hearing or feeling the little ‘snapping’ when the hair breaks.

Type 4 hair requires lower manipulation and low friction, especially when it is in its coily form, so the coils won’t snap. But one of the main key success point to retain length with Type 4 hair, is to reduce the risk of ‘snappage’ by keeping your hair ‘straightened,’ in the form of braids, twists, buns, box braids etc… The protective methods that aims at keeping coily hair ‘un-coily’ (straighten) are great to reduce risk ‘snappage’— except if they are done too tight and break the hair by exercising too much tensile force.

No more harsh grooming Ladies ! When you detangle your coils, please be gentle. The same way the coils can hook on fabric it will hook around the teeth of a comb. And fast, hard combing will rip the hair which is hooked on the comb. This is one of the reasons why most of us think our hair never grows ! We rip it off !

You want to avoid strand breakage to the maximum. And harsh grooming does cause strand breakage. You have no length retention when you break your strands on a regular basis.

If you are combing on dry hair, it is better done without tools, just with your fingers, to slowly remove your knots. With afro hair the comb gets stuck in the hair resulting in more damage and then more friction.

When afro hair is damp, friction decreases. When hair becomes very wet and water fills the spaces between the fibres, friction decreases as water acts as a lubricant. But, on chemically treated hair the water acts to hold the fibres together like a glue. This makes them difficult to separate and increases combing resistance or apparent friction. 

When combing on wet, damp hair (Best option ! As it allows to reduce friction, so the tool used can more easily glide in the hair), some start combing near the tip, other near the roots. It does not really matter, the most important is that you are gentle with your gesture, and do not rip through the knots and coils..Most YouTubers start at the tip and gradually go back up to the root. Your call ! But be gentle and apply some conditioner or moisturiser to facilitate the gliding and reducing the friction. It is advised to use a wide tooth comb. The smaller the teeth, the more ripping potential. The same advise would apply to the use a brush such as a Denman Brush.

Be wary of your Styling Accessories

Use looser styles if possible and try to avoid hair ties with metal pieces, as these can catch on and pull out hair (snatching it).

Hair Handling: Protect your strands (2)

30 Oct

Understanding Dryness and Moisture

Type 4 hair, due to its coily nature will have the tendency to be dry. The sebum (natural oil secreted by the scalp) is not able to flow to the end of the coily hair. The dryness of the Type 4 Hair will cause it to be naturally quite brittle. Moisture gives to the hair the ability to be supple and elastic. With low or no moisture content hair is prone to breakage.

Water helps to make hair more flexible allowing it to be manipulated with reduced risk of breaking.

Water is a fundamental component of human hair. Water has a profound effect on the properties of the hair fibre. When damp or wet it becomes more stretchy, softer. Moisture is crucial to limit the damage to hair during grooming, styling. The water content of a strand of hair impact how much it can bend. More water making the fibre softer and easier to bend. This way hair growth can be retained as less damage to the strand means that the hair can continue to be present for more years.

Considerate handling when washing, combing, styling natural hair as well as protective styling (e.g braids and twists) is crucial to length retention. Dry hair will snap easily even with gentle force, this is why moisture is important even in a protective style.

It is important to realise that you cannot permanently get rid of dry hair !

Added moisture is temporary. As our hair is naturally dry, it will switch from its moisturised state to its default dry state. For that reason hair care regimen should include regular moisture addition. Adding water to hair and preserving it in the strands with oils and moisturisers is crucial to hair suppleness and in the long run length retention.

How often you should moisturise your hair? Your best indicator will be your hair’s feedback. You should be able to assess weather your hair is getting more brittle and need more moisture or if it is too moisturised and has become limp !  A good balance is key and very unique to each individual.

Side note: Hair dried using a dryer (hand held, hood, heated roller or curling tongs) has lower moisture levels than hair allowed to dry naturally.

Hair Handling: Protecting your Tips (ends)

30 Oct

The tip of our hair is its oldest part and the most fragile (because hair grows from the roots, the roots are always the newest sprouts !). The tips are drier and more brittle. No matter how fast your hair grows, if the tip is brittle, it will break and you will not retain length. When damaged /brittle hair break, while new hair grows, it does appear as if your hair is not growing. So, increase moisture focus on your tips as well as protective styling (where your tips are tucked in) are imperative.

Hair is made of Amino-acids. Cystine (an amino acid naturally present in hair) is consistently lower in the tips of damaged hair compared to their roots, while cysteic acid (an amino acid) is found in increasing amounts. Cysteic acid occurs from the oxidation of cystine and is not a naturally occurring amino acid in normal hair.

Trimming your hair on a regular basis. It may sound counter-intuitive but trimming your hair can actually promote hair retention. When split ends develop, it does weaken hair and causes it to break. If you trim regularly, it will significantly reduce split ends, leading to stronger and better-looking hair. Trimming can require to remove as little as few millimetres to few centimetres.

How to know how much to trim? Assess by looking thoroughly at your hair and trim what is needed. No point in keeping damaged hair. But a trim is not a cut neither. No point removing too much, too often, otherwise you will not see the result of your hair care regimen, you will cut it all.

Hair Handling: Protecting your edges

30 Oct

Many of us have done it! In the attempt of having a sleek hair style or when aiming for a ‘do’ to last longer, you have applied excessive tension… Repetitive excessive tension can lead to hair on your edges being damaged, broken. Sometimes, the damage can be temporary, but on certain occasions, we may have pulled too much, too often and have damaged the follicle permanently. And if the follicle is damaged, there will be no or low re-growth.. So, ladies, please be extra gentle with your edges. Don’t braid as tight, it will only cause damage on the long term.

How to know if it is too tight? If you cannot move your head properly, if you need to take a paracetamol to withstand the pain, if the tension causes little pimples where the hair is  snatched…It is definitely TOO Tight ! You are at risk of causing traction alopecia ! Now, the symptoms do not need to be so extreme for a style to cause damage, so please listen to your edges, give ’em some love 🙂 Look at them regularly and adjust your styling so you won’t break those edges…

Other weathering effects include chlorine from swimming pools, friction from towel drying, sea, and wind.

Hair Handling: Shine and Sheen

30 Oct

It is generally believed that shiny hair equates to hair in very good condition. Curly hair only appears shiny when the curls are very well formed and composed of lots of hair fibres. This is why in a general manner Type 3 hair appears shinier than type 4 hair. (More on hair sheen and shine in Build your regimen section)

Type 4: Tips for hair retention

30 Oct

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