What Does Natural Hair Mean to Me?

Love the Curls You’re With: My Natural Hair Story

Have you ever heard the phrase natural hair ain’t for everybody? Well, if you’re like me, that might’ve made you feel some type of way. The same way you might feel if you get a little disappointed when you’re scrolling through Pinterest and all of the adorable hairstyles are for every texture but yours. Why can’t I get my twist out to look like hers, or what can I do to stretch my curls for more length like that? Curl insecurity is not exclusively your skeleton in the closet, girlfriend. It happens to all of us.

The Natural Hair Movement is all about positivity and black joy, but sometimes we too can be guilty of promoting unhealthy standards and comparisons when we should just be celebrating ourselves as we naturally are. It took me a while to come back to that. This is my story about figuring out what natural hair means to me.

Have you ever had curl-xiety? Tell us why, sis. Click To Tweet

Why Did I Go Natural?

I have been natural for about 7 years now. Most of our favorite naturalistas have fabulous stories about when they first became natural, and some women ever celebrate with naturalversary parties! But even if you aren’t on that extreme, you probably do remember when you first decided to join the club.

When I first transitioned, I was a college junior, and I wish I could tell you I had glamorous reasons to do so.

  • I was broke, and perms every two weeks were hitting my pockets.
  • I had just become a member of a sorority, and a lot of my new sisters had beautiful natural hair.
  • I wanted to go swimming more over the summer.

Any of those would do. But I do remember choosing to transition over The Big Chop because I was afraid of what people would think of me. That’s the moment my curl insecurity began to show. I started asking questions like What if my head is too big? What if it never grows back? What if someone thinks I look like a boy? At the time, all of those things mattered. I doubted almost every part of my transition.

Until, I finally started ditching the what ifs and embracing the beauty and spontaneity my hair gave me every day.

What Do I Love Most About My Natural Hair?

I love that being natural to me means listening to what my hair needs from me. My natural hair indeed does have a mind of its own. Still, when I really started to love my curls, it was because I realized my hair was in its element.

When it was humid, it frizzed.

When it rained, it thrived.

When it was scorching hot, it was super thirsty.

I couldn’t ignore what my hair needed just because I wanted to rock a cute look. At the end of the day, your curls should be as strong and vibrant as your look. Adding one or two steps to your routine to keep your natural hair healthy and happy won’t even take too long.

  • Finding a moisturizer that fits your unique hair type can be super easy.
  • Massaging your scalp feels great, and it stimulates growth.
  • Covering curls with a satin bonnet EVERY NIGHT will save a life!

Listening to my hair, and what it needs is my favorite part about being natural. When I want to rock a wash and go, I can give my hair a nice little refreshing start over. When I want to prolong a blowout, I can rock a gentle protective style.

I didn’t learn my haircare rituals overnight. It took me almost as long to find a wonderful moisturizer as it did for me to transition! Listening to my hair, and not being ruled by it have been wonderful for me. My reasons for loving my natural hair may be similar or even completely different from yours, but we’ve got one thing in common: the love for our curls is strong.

What do you love about your natural hair? #curlylivesmatter #loveyourcurls #ilovemynatural Click To Tweet

What Tips Do I Have For People Thinking About Going Natural?

My first tip is to completely ignore anyone who says natural ain’t for everybody. Of course it is; being natural just means you are being who and what you naturally are. No matter what your curl pattern is, or how fast you get and retain length, your hair should be your crown. And crowns do not come one size fits all!

My second tip is to find hair care products, hair stylists, routines, protective wear, hair tools, and styles that match your personality and individual hair needs. Being natural can make life spontaneous and fun.. Don’t make routines and treatments into work. Everytime I deep condition, I celebrate my curls!

In the end, natural hair means so much to me. I celebrate each year–minus the naturalversary party–and I love every moment of it!

Natural hair is a movement. Natural hair is love. But what does it mean to you? Click To Tweet

What does natural hair mean to you? Let us know in the comments section.

Black Hair Spot is the number one place to ask all your burning questions about black hair. We are a community of women dedicated to educating, entertaining, engaging, equipping, and empowering women to love their hair as much as we love ours! To learn more about us, contact us!

How to do Crochet Braids

Do you have a gazillion box braid inspiration pictures but you’re not in the mood to spend a lifetime on a salon chair.? Here’s an all you need guide on #CrochetBraids #BlackHair #NaturalHair Click To Tweet

Doing Crochet Braids without the Hassle


You might be dying to get some Rapunzel braids for your glow up this summer. But you’re not willing to sit for ten hours in a chair having someone pull and twist your hair.

Well the journey to getting your braids doesn’t have to be uncomfortable.

For a more time-saving and less intensive way of getting your Pinterest board braids, here is a guideline to help you out.

Why Crochet Braids should be your next hairstyle

Pinterest

Crochet braids are low maintenance hairstyles which are installed by using a latch hook needle on cornrowed natural hair. This style gained popularity within the black community in the 90’s and has made a valiant return thanks to the natural hair movement that has swept the USA. The cool thing about the crochet braids is that they look realistic and serve as a good protective style.

They are also time efficient. Crochet braids are as easy to put in as they are to take out, making them suitable for D.I.Y. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to do them as they only take about three hours to install. Like the weave, the first step is to cornrow your hair and then follow up with applying extensions. However, the difference is that the hair on crochet is loose and it is looped under the cornrows with a needle and fortified with a knot.

The best part about crochet braids is that they are inexpensive. The extensions won’t cost you more than $50 (unless you like your fiber high end) and you do not need to get a lot of materials to get them done.

How to Install Crochet Braids

pinterest

Things you will need:
Five to six pieces of fiber hair extension, preferably Kanekalon (Depending on the size of your head and the length of your hair. The bigger you head and the longer the style, the more extension you need)
Crochet needle (look in your local beauty store or on Amazon)
Comb
Scissors
Moisturizer and sealant

One of our favourite hair vloggers The Chic Natural shows how you can get stunning crochet box braids.

  1. Before you braid your hair, wash it with shampoo and hydrate with conditioner.
  2. To keep it simple, braid your cornrows front to back. The bigger the cornrows, the smaller the volume of the hair.
  3. Tuck your ends by collecting them into one cornrow.
  4. Prepare fiber. Ensure that all the strands of extensions you pick are the same size to maintain evenness.
  5. Take the latch.
  6. Open latch and insert extension.
  7. Start from the top of your scalp and work your way down.
  8. Close latch and pull the needle underneath your own natural hair.
  9. Take out needle on the other side and make a round loop with your hands on the fiber.
  10. Pull the fiber through the loop and then pass through the tail of the fiber.
  11. Secure the fiber by pulling the tail all the way to tighten. Make sure that the braids are not too big or thick as that can cause stress on your head. Repeat until you complete your hair
  12. If you want to make it look more natural, leave one line in front of your head and braid it normally. Or to add versatility to the hairstyle, you can leave out some hair to show your popping edges. Ensure that you take care of the hair by spraying it with conditioner. Try to use fiber that is similar to your natural hair texture for a unified look.

How to remove crochet braids

  1. Simply cut the fiber as close to the knots. Do it in front of a mirror to ensure that you’re not cutting your own hair
  2. Spray moisturizer to your hair to give your hair more slip to make it easier to undo it.
  3. After removing the extensions, unravel your cornrows and the knots should fall off.

Do’s and Don’ts of Crochet Braid maintenance

pinterest

DO

  • Clean your hair weekly. It will be difficult to get to your scalp, so use a cotton ball sprayed with water-diluted apple cider vinegar and gently massage it on your scalp. WARNING: apple cider vinegar does have a strong smell so do this when you know that you’ll be in the house all day.
  • Co-wash your fiber extensions and use products according to the texture of the hair
  • Moisturize regularly by spraying diluted leave in conditioner and then apply your favourite oil to hydrate your hair.
  • Cover your crochet braids with a satin bonnet before going to bed or get some satin or silk pillows.
  • Try different styles and colours with your braids. Make it fun to add a whole new dimension to your look

Read more about maintaining your hair braids here.

DON’T

  • Keep your braids in longer than eight weeks. Your hair needs to be detangled properly. If you go to long without regular care, your hair will be more vulnerable and thus likely to break off.
  • Use heavy braids. It causes stress and strain on your strands which could cause breakage.
  • Apply the crochet too tight. Skin tight braids causes mechanical stress and puts the health of your hair in jeopardy.
  • Scratch your hair. Having your fingers in your hair can cause scrapes and cuts on your scalp which could cause miniature bleeding. This can leave you exposed to infections.

Don’t be stingy. Tell a friend to tell a friend to tell another friend that you can have the braids you want without the inconvenience. Also, head to the comments section and let us know what’s on your mind – or on your head ☺!

What are Indian Hair Extensions?

Indian Hair Extensions – What you need to know

A woman’s hair is her crowning glory. So, if you’re into weaves, it makes sense to invest in good quality hair extensions that not only carry the style you want, but also last a long time. One of the top trenders right now is Indian virgin hair.

https://www.nicollesboutique.com/products/premium-indian-virgin-hair-extensions

What are Indian Hair Extensions

True Indian Virgin remy hair originates in India. Indian hair weave, also known as Indian Remy or Indian Full Cuticle Hair is Indian hair that’s harvested directly from the head of Indian women who donate their hair for religious reasons usually in temple. The hair is first put in a ponytail, then cut so that strands of hair don’t end up on the floor.

This methodical way of collecting the hair ensures that all of cuticles remain properly aligned. It’s this attention to alignment that produces the tangle-free quality that Indian hair is known for.

More and more women are choosing Indian virgin hair for it’s rich color and naturally silky texture.

Indian hair is right up there with Brazilian hair when it comes to quality and versatility. Indian virgin hair has key qualities that make it one of the top choices for hair extensions:

7 Key characteristics of Indian hair

  1. Quality – When it comes to quality, Indian hair is as good as Brazilian hair.
  2. Dark color – naturally dark, so blends well with many types of dark hair.
  3. Thickness – has fine to medium thickness, making it a very good match with most types of ethnic and caucasian hair textures.
  4. Versatile – Indian hair is extremely versatile due to its thickness and texture.
  5. Hair textures – In its natural state, has textures that vary from light wavy to deep curly.
  6. Manageability – Its ability to be flat ironed to a sleek and straight look, as well as its fullness and bounce, all combine to make Indian hair a favorite of hair extension wearers.
  7. Color – In spite of its naturally dark color, Indian hair can take on colored to blonde hair, and even lighter shades.

The only true Indian remy hair weave is the one from India.

8 Types of Indian Virgin Hair Extensions – Which one will meet your hairstyling needs?

Indian Deep Body Wave – also known as Indian Deep Wave – nice even wavy hair, with slightly tighter waves than the Indian Body Wave.

https://www.newstarvirginhair.com/best-indian-human-virgin-hair-extensions-deep-wave-pattern-weave

Indian Body Wave Human Virgin Hair Bundles – really tight curl pattern; pretty controlled ringlets; great luster and bounce that’s perfect for a natural, textured look.

https://www.dhgate.com/product/5a-grade-virgin-hair-products-mix-length/379411388.html

Jerry Curly Virgin Indian Hair Bundles – a unique type of Indian curly hair not available with many other hair extension types – featuring jerry-curl-like tight curls that show strength and beautiful luster; deep rich color.

https://www.dhgate.com/product/afro-jerry-curly-weave-hair-extension-brazilian/254159710.html

Indian Virgin Hair Loose Wave Bundles – soft and glossy loose waves; natural curl pattern that holds curls neatly in tact.

https://www.unice.com/unice-4pcs-lot-indian-virgin-hair-loose-wave.html

Natural Wave Indian Virgin Hair Bundles – natural, with bounce and body; easy to curl; texture is finer than other hair extension types; has a natural wave pattern that can be worn curly or straight.

https://www.unice.com/unice-virgin-hair-natural-wave-4pcs-pack-human-hair-weft.html

Indian Virgin Straight Hair Bundles – hair is silky to touch and has a natural look and texture; can also be curled or made bone straight.

https://www.dhgate.com/product/hot-selling-virgin-indian-ombre-bundles-hair/373978416.html

 

Indian Virgin Water Wave Hair Bundles – full and dense; cascading “s” hair pattern; silky soft; natural dark color

https://www.aliskyhairproducts.com/water-wave-virgin-indian-curly-hair-human-hair-weave-weft-3-bundles-300g-unprocessed100-indian-human-hair-extensions-p810516.html

Raw Indian Virgin Hair Bundles – raw hair in its totally natural state; extremely thick and dense; can be colored.

https://www.dhgate.com/product/grade-8a-raw-indian-virgin-hair-4-bundles/398277494.html

How To Install Indian Virgin Hair From a Hand-Tied Weft

Installing your Indian hair extensions properly, is key. Watch this quick video that breaks it down:

It can be tough to figure out what type of extension is right for you when you’re looking at weaves in a package. We get that, So we’ve pulled together 8 looks to help you visualize the possibilities.

Indian Deep Body Wave – Helps enhance your movie star look.

https://www.wowebony.com/lace-front-wigs-indian-remy-hair-deep-body-wave-lfw097.html

Indian Body Wave – Perfect to help you achieve a well-groomed appearance, making you look picture-perfect with flawless makeup.

https://www.rpghair.com/150-density-360-lace-frontal-wigs-body-wave-indian-remy-human-hair.html

Jerry Curly Virgin Indian Hair Bundles – For the fun-loving woman with a bubbly bubbly personality; jerry curly completes your look, getting it just right.

https://www.amazon.com/Moisture-Remy-Rain-Indian-Weave/dp/B00CHS1U4S?th=1

 

Indian Virgin Hair Loose Wave Bundles – Great for the young woman aiming for a well-kept, casual look.

http://hairbundlesnyc.com/index.php/product/loose-wave-bundles/ 

Natural Wave Indian Virgin Hair – when the goal is clean, youthful, natural-looking simplicity – Natural wave is the way to go.

https://www.sunnyshair.com/products/natural-wave-virgin-indian-hair

Indian Virgin Straight Hair – unbeatable glam appeal is what you end up with when clothes and makeup submit to beautiful virgin straight hair.

https://www.dhgate.com/product/6a-women-hair-products-indian-virgin-hair/260527320.html

Indian Virgin Water Wave Hair – also a good choice for a natural look; great for the younger woman wanting to look stylish, without aging.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/MS-Here-Indian-virgin-hair-bundles-wet-wavy-3-pcs-Indian-remy-wet-wavy-hair-amazing/32686066390.html

Raw Indian Virgin Hair – Perfect for the woman with the skin and facial structure to pull this off. When natural fullness, density and bounce are top priorities, raw Indian is just great.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_6bcaKr74o

 

Indian Virgin Hair: Q & A

Q: What is Indian Remy Hair?

Remy hair, is hair in which the upper and lower tips are retained in their natural state. This way, the cuticles of each strand align in the same direction, making the hair silky smooth and tangle-free.

Q: Can Indian virgin hair be bleached?

Absolutely. You can also cut and curl it however you want, just as you would natural hair.

Q: Do “raw” and “virgin”mean the same?

No. Virgin hair has been steamed, which changes the hair pattern. Raw hair is means no steam or chemical processing have been applied.

Q. Who invented hair extensions?

They were invented by Christina Jenkins, an American hairdresser.

How To Care For Your Indian Weave

As with all natural hair, proper care of your Indian hair is important if you want to get the best results. Here some tips to keep your locks in tip-top shape:

  • Wash and condition at least once every week, and particularly after swimming or exercise.
  • Avoid excessive use of leave-in conditioners, as they cause build up and tangles.
  • To protect your extensions, braid your hair into big braids before going to bed.
  • Never go to bed with wet hair, as your hair is most vulnerable when wet..
  • Brush your hair daily, beginning from the ends, and move up.

Due to its density, deep color, and quality, Indian virgin hair is one of your best options if you’re trying to decide on a weave type. Not only does it have great texture, but it’s also versatile enough to carry limitless styles, and works well with the hair type of most ethnicities.

To help you learn more about the weave, as well as the types of virgin hair extensions that you can choose from, catch us on Hair Talk, and read the other articles in our series on hair extensions: Brazilian, Peruvian, Malaysian, and Eurasian hair extensions.

Have your tried Indian Hair extensions? We’d love you to share your experiences in the comment section below.

What are Eurasian Hair Extensions?

https://www.capelliamore.com/product/eurasian/

If you’re ready to rock a new look and you’re considering hair extensions (we’ve already covered hair extensions – Brazilian, Malaysian, Peruvian, Indian) here’s the lowdown on Eurasian hair a new addition to the hair extension line up.

So, What Are Eurasian Hair Extensions you ask?

They’re a type of virgin Remy hair extension that is relatively new compared to the others. And, they’re becoming more and more popular among hair extensions that women are buying today.

As the name suggests, Eurasian virgin hair comes from women of a mixture of Asian and European descent.

Eurasian hair is definitely an attention-grabber and here’s why:

7 Eurasian hair facts you should know about

  1. Good Density – Eurasian hair has a similar density to Brazilian virgin hair.
  2. Fullness – Another important plus, Eurasian hair is known for its natural appearance and fullness, again, similar to Brazilian virgin hair.
  3. Distinctness – It’s texture and refined appearance distinguish it clearly from other virgin hair types.
  4. Processed Hair – Due to its texture which is more delicate compared to Brazilian virgin hair, Eurasian hair works very well with relaxed hair.
  5. Luster – Eurasian hair has low to medium luster, so not overly shiny.
  6. Blendability – One of the best qualities of Eurasian hair is that it blends very well with most types of natural hair.
  7. Manageability – Eurasian hair does not tangle or shed when cared for properly.

If you’re just joining the discussion on hair extensions, you may be interested in knowing that what we’re wearing as a hair extension today, is the brainchild of Christina Jenkins, the American hairdresser who invented it.

Types of Eurasian Virgin Hair Extensions

Eurasian hair extensions come in 11 types

Eurasian Deep Wave Hair Bundles – a natural-looking loose curl and wave pattern; can be straightened or worn wavy-curly.

http://www.baisihair.com/eurasian-virgin-hair/eurasian-deep-wave/eurasian-deep-wave-virgin-hair-extensions.html

 

Virgin Eurasian Kinky Curly Hair Bundles – soft and curly; recommended to be used in its natural curly pattern.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Eurasian-Virgin-Hair-Kinky-Curly-2-bundles-Bohemian-Curly-Hair-Style-Mink-Hair-Weave-Websites-Cabelo/32691152819.html

Virgin Eurasian Hair Loose Wave Hair Bundles – full, thick bundles; curly and soft, with a loose and natural-looking, deep curl pattern that easily straightens.

https://medusahaircompany.com/products/3-bundle-deal-virgin-eurasian-loose-wave

Eurasian Loose Curly Hair Bundles – can be textured straight; loose curl pattern curls when wet; curly, soft, natural-looking.

https://sweetnsassyhair.com/product/eurasian-loose-curly-hair/

Eurasian Deep Curly Hair Bundles – tight, deep curls; adds the appearance of thickness and strength where needed.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Eurasian-Curly-Hair-3pcs-lot-5A-Grade-Unprocessed-Virgin-Eurasian-Deep-Curly-Hair-Natural-Black-Human/2046087861.html

Eurasian Natural Straight Hair Bundles – great for achieving those more controlled hairstyles e.g. a bob; very natural hair that slays well; great texture; can be curled using a wand, curlers or rollers.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Top-10A-natural-straight-Eurasian-hair-weft-3pcs-unprocessed-virgin-human-hair-extension-braiding-hair-attachment/32502403469.html

Eurasian Natural Wave Hair Bundles – a slight change from natural wave hair; very versatile; produces a soft, slight “s” pattern; has a natural wave pattern that straightens very well; washing or wetting it causes a return to the natural wave pattern.

https://sweetnsassyhair.com/product/eurasian-natural-wave-hair/

Eurasian Spring Curl Hair Bundles – for that girly look; produces a ringlet- type, cascading curl pattern; bouncy curls can be straightened to appear straight.

https://sweetnsassyhair.com/product/european-spring-curl-hair/

Virgin Eurasian Kinky Straight Hair Bundles – also great forgiving a straightened appearance to kinky hair that’s stylish, while retaining softness and texture.

https://www.hairspells.com/3-bundles-with-44-lace-closure-eurasian-kinky-straight-hair-100-unprocessed-virgin-human-hair-natural-color_p0349.html

Virgin Eurasian Straight Hair Bundles – great for bob or total-control hairstyles, yet still beautiful and soft; does not have any waves or curl – curls may be created using rollers, curlers or wands.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/6A-Eurasian-Virgin-Hair-Straight-3-Pcs-Lot-Eurasian-Human-Hair-Extensions-Eurasian-Straight-Hair-Weave/32299500886.html

Virgin Eurasian Body Wave Hair Bundles – has a slight “s” pattern that becomes wavy when wet; one of the most sought-after types of Eurasian hair; very versatile when it comes to styling.

Eurasian hair extensions are soft and silky and there’s an extension type for every hair texture.

https://www.dhgate.com/product/honey-blonde-eurasian-hair-weave-body-wave/231197538.html

How To Install A Eurasian Weave

Eurasian virgin hair works with almost almost all hair types. Whether you choose Eurasian body wave, curly or natural, it’s important to install the hair extension properly. Check out this video on the right way to install your Eurasian weave.

From straight, kinky curl, or even spring curl, the natural appearance, lustre, texture, and curl pattern of Eurasian virgin hair makes styling easy and fun to experiment. You can draw some inspiration by checking out some of these looks that can be achieved with Eurasian virgin hair.

Eurasian Deep Wave – light-weight deep curls frame the face and shoulder; great for work – professional, yet stylish.

http://platinumlifextensions.com/product/eurasian-deep-wave/

Eurasian Deep Curly – Tight-knit curls with great volume and density; definitely has the glamor factor.

https://sntcollections.com/products/caribbean-deep-curls-1?variant=34350809420

Eurasian Kinky Curly – beautiful, kinky spirals and natural-looking curls for a look of youthful freshness

http://blackitalyhairco.com/product/eurasian-diamond-kinky-curly/

Eurasian Loose Wave – for that glamorous, model look; the result speaks for itself.

https://medusahaircompany.com/products/4-bundle-deal-brazilian-loose-wave

Eurasian Loose Curly – truly feminine; great choice when you want to achieve a soft, delicate look that hints at glamor

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Loose-Deep-Wave-Human-Hair-Eurasian-Virgin-Hair-Loose-Wave-Cheap-Hair-Bundles-3-Pc-Lot/32681824577.html

 

Eurasian Natural Straight – works well for the busy professional; good length; straight, natural, and practical.

https://www.amazon.com/Indus-Eurasian-Straight-Hair-Chestnut/dp/B00APVFRN4

Eurasian Straight – sleek and shiny length; ideal for the tall, sexy woman

http://nalasmane.com/shop/eurasian-straight-lace-closure/

 

Eurasian Natural Wave – Body and length combine in loose twirling waves for a youthful look; virgin hair can be dyed, so a great opportunity to go for bold.

https://www.allvirginhair.com/product/virgin-eurasian-natural-wave-blonde-613-ombre/

 

Q & A About Eurasian Hair

Q: Is Eurasian hair good?

Eurasian hair is virgin hair, which means that it is very good quality. Compare it to Brazilian, Malaysian, and Peruvian virgin remy hair extensions.

Q: What is Eurasian remy hair?

“Remy” is the characteristic of the hair in which the hair follicles all align in one single direction.

Q: What is Eurasian hair like?

Glamorous, sexy, natural-looking, and durable; this is how most women who have worn it, describe it.

Q: What’s the Eurasian hair texture like?

It’s thick, with a silky smooth look, making it an excellent choice for relaxed hair. With hair extensions, it’s important to match the extension to your natural hair texture.

Care & Styling Eurasian Hair

Eurasian hair is not a high maintenance hair extension. But it’s still important to take care of it. Washing and co-washing, as well as using a moisturizing oil, are the best ways to care for your hair. Use shampoos that don’t contain sulfates.

Treat your Eurasian hair extension as your own hair. Avoid applying excessive heat to your hair. Using hot tools too often can dry your hair, making it difficult for it to hold the style.

Be sure to use a good quality shampoo and conditioner, to keep your hair soft and manageable.

Be sure to seal the wefts when installing the hair. This will prevent tangling and shedding.

Using gels and spray will help keep the curls intact. But to prevent buildup, don’t leave these in your hair for too long.

Don’t brush the hair when it’s wet because hair follicles are at their most vulnerable when wet.

Moisturizing with a little almond oil every week, is a good practice. Do this when the hair is wet, to make it easier for the oils to penetrate the cuticles.

Eurasian virgin hair might not be the most well known when it comes to hair extensions, but things are changing, as more and more women discover its unique qualities and value for price when compared to other virgin hair extensions.

For more info on how to care for your natural hair as well as your extensions, we encourage you to check out our Hairtalk blog.

Tell us about your hair extension experiences, especially if you’ve used Eurasian hair. Help us help others get to know and love their hair too. We’re here 24/7.

What Is A Blowout For Black Hair

The Secret behind the Brazilian Blowout For Black Hair?

Have you ever wondered how some women can get their hair to look so shiny and smooth and flow so perfectly with every movement? We’re going to share their secret now.

The Brazilian Blowout Exposed

A blow out is a method of grooming natural hair in order to straighten it. It usually involves using a blow dryer that has a comb attachment. An alternative method is to use a blow dryer with a nozzle, a bristle, and a Denman, or paddle type of brush. During a blowout, the hair is styled at the same time that it’s meticulously dried with the blow dryer and brush.
But if you expect a regular or traditional blow out to produce bone straight hair, you will be disappointed. What you will achieve is hair that appears to be relaxed and much straighter than it was originally, but it won’t be as straight as you would get if your hair were permed. To get shiny, flowing hair that’s smooth and looks and feels like it moves when you move, you need a Brazilian blowout.

When Did We Start Wearing Blow Out Hair?

In 1954, George and Joan Johnson founded Johnson Products Co. Inc., which produced products for African American hair. One of the products that introduced the blow out that we know today, is Afro-Sheen, which made the afro style very popular. The blowout evolved from this, becoming popular during the 1960s-70s.

When used on natural hair, the traditional blowout gave the hair the appearance of added length and fullness, while creating that all-familiar rounded shape that characterized the afro style.

In those days, the traditional blowout was an easy way to straighten your hair and give it fullness and body.

Today, the Brazilian blowout or Brazilian hair straightening is a method used by professional hair stylists to straighten the hair in a manner that’s semi-permanent. This is achieved by embedding liquid keratin along with a preservative solution into the hair using an iron.

It’s a process that’s used to smoothen the hair, and is the only professional smoothening treatment that produces shine and slays frizz, while simultaneously improving the health and strength of your hair.

Unlike the traditional blow out that reverts as soon as the hair gets wet, the Brazilian blowout lets you exercise, and even if your hair gets wet, it doesn’t revert on contact with water. Also, you can clip and style it the way you want, straight after you’ve had it done. There’s no need to wait a couple of days, as with relaxed hair.

Brazilian blowout before and after:

http://www.hergivenhair.com/blog/tag/blow-out-kinky-hair/

A Traditional Or Natural Hair Blowout

https://blackhairinformation.com/general-articles/tips/10-best-tips-straightening-natural-hair/

Why Women Are Wearing Blowout Hair Today?

Although the blowout fizzled out for a while, women have embraced the Brazilian Blowout as a hair styling option that has brought it back into the spotlight, and here’s why:

Cultural Pride – More and more younger black women are embracing the cultural pride attached to their hair in its natural state.

Time – A Brazilian blowout really helps cut down on the inconvenience of the to and fro appointments to the hairdresser, often required for relaxed hair.

Health – Concerns about the effects of some chemical hair products are causing people to explore more natural options like the blow out.

Cost – Blow out hair is cheaper to maintain than relaxed hair, which requires more care, more products and more cost.

Generational Values – As more and more women embrace ways to wear their hair in a more natural state, they are passing these values on to their children, who are embracing them.

What makes the Brazilian blowout so popular you ask? Let’s count the ways:

Brazilian blowouts:

  • Create a significant reduction in dryness
  • Lock in curls – while keeping frizz at bay
  • Are Quick & easy – hair can be styled, braided, clipped or left free, immediately.
  • Are Suitable for all hair types – Whether you have coarse, kinky, frizzy or even fine hair, the Brazilian blowout works for every hair type, including relaxed hair.
  • Curl pattern remains intact – This means that unlike with relaxers, a Brazilian
    blowout will not permanently modify your natural curl pattern. Expect your hair to return to its natural curl pattern in roughly 10-12 weeks.
  • Don’t take a long time – It takes a little longer than an hour to complete the blow out in a hair salon. This is not very long when you consider that after the treatment, you walk out with hair that looks radically different, lasts for over two months, and is frizz-free.

Options For Getting A Blowout

Achieving bone straight hair is a challenge for most black hair types. But whether it’s kinky or coily, the appearance of silky straightened hair is possible. If you want to test the waters, you can try giving yourself a DIY blowout at home. But if if you want something with a more dramatic and straightened effect that’s guaranteed to make your hair stronger and healthier, then consider visiting a salon to get a Brazilian blowout treatment done by a professional hairstylist.


How The Brazilian Blowout Treatment Works

The thing that makes the Brazilian Blowout different from a traditional blowout is Keratin

Keratin is a type of structural protein. It’s a key component of human hair, and the outer layer of our skin. It’s formed from amino acids and cysteine. Cysteine is rich in sulphur, and is known for its hair strengthening properties.
Even though our hair is made up of mostly Keratin, it loses most of this protein daily. The reason for this depletion is the damage caused to hair through the use of hair treatments like coloring and perms, as well as styling tools. But it’s not just about the physical damage to hair. Stress is another factor that comes into play.

When hair is depleted of Keratin, it’s brittle, frizzy and dull, as well as being prone to split ends. The latest Brazilian Keratin treatments not only add this Keratin back to the hair, but also include low pH amino acids. The result is shinier, straighter, and stronger hair.
If you’re more of a visual person, then this infographic will help paint a clear and concise picture of what a Brazilian blowout treatment entails.

 

SOURCE: SOURCE: https://visual.ly/community/infographic/health/brazilian-blowout-treatment

 

The Brazilian Blowout On Different Hair Types & Textures – Before & After

If you want your blow out to look nice, know what it should look like when it’s done right.

This short video will demo the Brazilian blowout process being performed correctly, and lets you know what to expect from a trained stylist.

Brazilian Blowout Q & A

Q: What hair type is best for a Brazilian Keratin blow out?

Anyone with processed, frizzy, damaged, curly, or even Japanese straightened hair, can take advantage of a Brazilian blowout. The Keratin treatment it contains is good for all hair types.

Q: How will my hair look after a Brazilian blowout?

Your hair will have extreme manageability, shine, body, and bounce.

Q: Is a Brazilian blowout the same as a Brazilian Keratin treatment?

Yes. Brazilian blowout is the name of the process, while Brazilian Keratin treatment explains the key component of this type of treatment – Keratin.

Q: Can I blow dry my hair after a Keratin Treatment?

Yes, and in a fraction of the time it would have taken before the treatment.

Q: Can I still have a Brazilian blowout if my hair is colored?

Yes. The condition of color-treated and even highlighted hair actually improves with a Brazilian Keratin blowout treatment.

Q. Will the Brazilian blowout make my hair completely straight?

  • If you have curly hair, the Brazilian blowout will minimize frizz, while enhancing the natural curl or wave of your hair.
  • If you have wavy hair, it will appear straight and healthy after the Brazilian blowout.
  • If your hair is straight and frizzy, the treatment will promote shine and get rid of the frizziness.

Q. Does the Brazilian Blowout really last up to 10-12 weeks?

Yes. The results are cumulative. This means that with continued use, expect your hair to become healthier, which in turn yields longer-lasting results.

Q. What if I’ve already relaxed my hair. Can I still apply a Brazilian blowout on my relaxed hair?

Yes. Actually, chemically treated hair is the best candidate for the Brazilian blowout because it strengthens each strand with amino acids. Relaxed hair is more fragile.

Q.Is a Dominican blowout the same as a Brazilian Blowout?

No. The Dominican blowout – originated in the Dominican Republic. And although it too is a method of straightening the hair, its not the same.

Pros & Cons of blowing out your hair

One of the best things about blow outs in general, is that they are low maintenance. Here are some other important points:

What makes a blowout great:

Sheer versatility – so many more style options are available after getting a Brazilian blowout, that kinky, coiled, shrunken hair make difficult to achieve.

Tangle-free hair – a Brazilian blowout eliminates the issue of tangled hair.

It’s not permanent – Even though the results of a Brazilian blowout last long, they’re not permanent. So you will always have other options.

No noticeable hairline demarcation – As your own hair grows while having a blowout, it also blends together with the blown out hair, giving your hair a natural look.

Quick – A Brazilian blowout can be completed in less than one and a half hours. This is a big plus for the woman with a busy schedule who is always on the go.

What you should be aware of regarding Brazilian blowouts:

Cost – A Brazilian blowout looks beautiful when it’s finished, but it also doesn’t come cheap. Depending on where you do it and who does it, the cost can be well over $200.

Formaldehyde – This ingredient is present in some blowouts. If this is a concern, be sure to discuss it with your hairstyle professional beforehand, as it is possible to find blowout treatments that do not contain formaldehyde.

Still Requires Commitment – Even though a blowout does save time on trips to the hair stylist, once you’ve had it done it’s still important to go for touch ups when it’s time, if you want the best results. Since the blowout treatment does not come cheap, it makes sense to make the effort to ensure that you get the most out of your dollars spent.

Possible heat damage – A poorly done blowout can cause damage to the hair due to excessively high temperatures or direct heat.


My Brazilian Blowout Experience

My Brazilian Blowout experience taught me one big life lesson. Don’t make assumptions. Here’s what I learned:

Never judge a book by its cover. When looking for a hairstylist, it’s not a good idea to assume you’re in the wrong hands (literally) when you walk into a salon and an non-black stylist introduces herself as your Brazilian blowout specialist.

It’s about their knowledge and experience, not their ethnicity.

Having great hair can be pricey. I assumed that because I’d finally found the right stylist, I could afford to use her.

Finding a stylist that you feel comfortable with is only one leg of the journey. The more qualified and experienced the stylist, the more you can expect to pay. So plan for it.

Tell your stylist what you want. I assumed that my input didn’t matter. After all, my stylist is the expert.

Discuss what kind of style you want with your stylist before the blow out, instead of assuming that she will just know. It’s your hair, so your input is important. Hair stylists aren’t mind readers.

So there you have it, a Brazilian blowout is the standard when it comes to blow outs, these days, and many believe it’s worth every penny.

Are you ready to make that shift from kinky to silky? If the answer is yes, the Brazilian blowout may be one of your best options. The results speak for themselves.

For more information on your hair options, study our articles, and learn. Our top picks for this week are about your cuticle, hair growth, coloring your natural hair, and braiding. We have fresh, informative articles every week. Join us and give us your feedback.

What Is Texturized Hair?

Why Women Are Choosing To Texturize

You’ve always worn your hair natural, so making any kind of change will take some courage. Your stylist suggested a hair texturizer or relaxer, and now you have questions.

Chemicals are chemicals, right? So what’s the difference?

What Is Texturizer?

Texturizers are considered much milder versions of the normal chemical relaxer. They work by loosening the natural curl pattern of the hair without completely straightening it. When the curls are loosened, it makes the hair easier to handle and manage.

Unlike relaxer, a texturizer does not disrupt or change the natural curl pattern of the hair, so it’s not considered a relaxer, even though chemicals are still applied to the hair in order to achieve that texturized result.

Black hair in its natural state can be coily, curly or kinky. When hair is completely chemically straightened, the process is called relaxing.

Texturizers 101 – A Quick Reference Guide

The Birth of Texturized Hair

We’ve come a long way from the 1900s when C.J. Walker created a line of hair products specifically for African-American hair. The evolution of black hair care has continued and continues to evolve.

In 1909 Garrett A. Morgan accidentally stumbled on a formula that led him to create the first chemical relaxers.

In 1954 George E. Johnson introduced the first perm hair straightener initially for men, and then a product called the Ultra Wave Hair Culture, for women. By doing so, he created what would ultimately become the black hair empire, Johnson Products.

By the mid-1900s, the seemingly insatiable desire for longer, more Caucasian hair texture was at its peak. The success of singer/actress Aaliyah became a major reference point for these aspirations.

What are the benefits of Texturized hair?

Texturizer on natural hair gives it volume, life, and sheen. It’s also a very effective way to tame hair or thin it out when it’s simply too thick and wild in its natural state.

The way this is done is to apply the texturizer for a short time, so that it doesn’t completely straighten your hair, instead producing a looser curl pattern that’s noticeably softer.

How People Are Texturizing Today

In addition to hair that’s texturized chemically, texture can also be achieved in the form of curls, waves, layers, and colors. Note though, that hair color can also be considered texturizing when done skillfully. When placed strategically, bold colors can give the appearance of depth. When you tell your hairstylist that you want to texturize, be sure to explain which form of texturizing you want.

How To Texturize 4C Natural Hair

Texturized hair is best for men and women with short or medium length hair.

Short Texturized Hair

http://www.circletrest.com/african-american-natural-short-hairstyles/#.WkLYe9_ibIU

Medium-Length Texturized Hair

http://www.beautystylo.com/how-to-texturizer-hair-styles.html

People with medium hair should consider shaggy styles. To give your style some pop, add some shades in a random pattern.


Afro-textured Long Hair

http://lifestylechallenge.deborahgabriel.com/2011/08/05/can-black-women-over-40-grow-afro-textured-hair-long/

To Texturize Or Not – The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

What type of Texturizer is best for your hair

From regular or coarse hair to children’s hair, there’s a texturizer for every hair type, and even more products to help you take care of your texturized hair.

No-Lye Texturizer

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Motions-Enhance-and-Define-No-Lye-Texturizer-Texture-Softener-System-Kit/43160690

Texturizer For Coarse Hair

http://www.classycurlies.com/2012/08/natural-hair-truth-about-texturizers.html

Texturizer For Children

http://blackgirllonghair.com/2014/08/just-for-me-now-selling-texture-softeners-for-young-girls/

Hair Texturizing Products

Anti-Reversion & Styling Cream

https://www.softsheen-carson.com/texturizer

Repair Conditioning Treatment For Texturized Hair

https://www.amazon.com/Briogeo-Dont-Despair-Repair-Conditioning/dp/B00J4R760C

How To Care For Texturized Hair – Know The Facts

  • Texturizers are still chemicals, so regular treatments are very important, to keep the hair strands strong.
  • A texturizer used on hair that’s naturally wavy or straight, will not work. So, only use texturizer on natural hair that has the curls intact.
  • Texturize with an understanding of your hair type. The results of the texturizing process will depend on your natural curl pattern.
  • Bear in mind that when using texturizers on natural hair, the results may not be even. This means that some areas might turn out looser or straighter than others.
  • If not used correctly, texturizer may cause breakage to very fine hair.

What’s Great About Texturizers?

  • They loosen your curl pattern. Great news if you have very kinky/coily, hard to manage hair.
  • It’s easier to retain volume since hair is not completely straightened.
  • Texturizing also gives you tons of styling options because your hair is more manageable.
  • You can stretch out your retouch period for longer because the new growth blends easily with the texturized hair.

What you should know about Texturizers

  • They’re made with chemicals. If you have damaged hair and you’re a hater of chemicals, texturizing might not be for you.
  • It’s easier to texturize short hair and get good results. The results may or may not be the best on longer hair.
  • Since texturizing loosens the curl pattern, expect hair strands to be finer, and even lose some denseness.

We hope you’ve been able to glean some useful information from this article.

Not everyone is totally for or against chemically altering the hair.

A lot of people feel comfortable alternating between a chemical state and a natural state, to give the hair a chance to rest. It’s your hair and so long as your scalp and strands agree with you, then go for it.

Check back often to stay up-to-date with the latest articles on hair care and styling techniques for black hair. Need some ideas? Check out our articles 2017 Natural Hair Picks and What Is Hair Plopping.

Still need some answers? Get in touch. You have access to our articles 24/7. Study BHS hair care tips regularly!

How Does Hair Relaxer Work?

https://blackhairinformation.com/general-articles/opinion/6-hilarious-things-not-miss-getting-relaxers/

The tell-tale signs are there and your roots are hinting it’s time for a retouch.

But after five years of using the same brand, you’re ready for a change. You like the versatility that relaxing your hair affords you. So, you definitely want to continue. Yet, so many new brands have come into the market since you started relaxing. How do I know which one to buy? Let us help you figure things out.

So, What Exactly Is a Relaxer?

A relaxer is a lotion or cream that’s used to chemically straighten curly, coily or kinky hair, and there are three types:

Thio relaxers

– Using ammonium thioglycolate (ATG) at a high concentration, they work by breaking the disulfide bonds in hair.

Alkaline and lye relaxers

– A lye relaxer is made from sodium hydroxide (NAOH otherwise known as lye). This is mixed with petroleum jelly, mineral oil and emulsifiers to produce a relaxer that has a creamy consistency. This is the type of relaxer mentioned earlier – the one invented by Garrett Augustus Morgan.
The way it works is that when certain chemicals are applied, they penetrate the cortical layer of the hair shaft, which changes the structure of the hair.

No-lye relaxers

– Out of concern about the potential dangers of the sodium hydroxide found in traditional hair relaxers, many women have either gone natural, or have turned to No-lye” relaxers. And, within this category of relaxer, there are different types too.

Types of No-Lye Relaxers

– These relaxers work by using the same principles as lye relaxers, but they use agents such as potassium hydroxide, lithium hydroxide, or guanidine hydroxide in slightly weaker proportions.
Another type of no-lye relaxer is the one that uses ammonium thioglycolate.

The third type of relaxer is mostly used in relaxers for home use. The active ingredients here are ammonium sulfite and ammonium bisulfite. These are much weaker and work more slowly.

With so many brands to choose from, it’s important to know what you’re buying. This short video will help shed some light.

How To Choose Hair Relaxer

Why It’s Important to Know Your Hair Type

Don’t make assumptions: There are different relaxers for different types of hair and for example, just because your hair is coarse, doesn’t mean you need to use the strongest relaxer.

Relaxers For Sensitive Scalp

If you have a sensitive scalp here is what you should look for in a relaxer:

No-lye relaxer – Use if you have a sensitive scalp.

Natural plant extracts – Choose a relaxer that contains natural plant extracts, as these help soothe the scalp. Ingredients such as chamomile, sage, and aloe help minimize the irritation to your hair and scalp .

Labels – Look specifically for labels that say “made for sensitive scalps.” It’s clear from the onset that this relaxer is specifically formulated for sensitive scalps. They should contain chemicals that are less severe, which in turn reduces the harsh effect that relaxers typically have on the scalp.

Relaxers For Curly Hair

Lye relaxers – Choose a lye relaxer if you have extremely curly hair, or hair that’s very coily. It acts quickly and has a deep relaxing effect. It can be very harsh to your scalp, so use with caution and DO NOT let any type of relaxer sit on your hair for longer than instructed to do so.

The flip side is that though lye relaxers are harsher on the scalp, they’re gentler on the hair. Lye relaxers cause the hair to absorb and keep moisture more effectively. This in turn helps reduce breakage, making the hair stronger.

pH Level – This is important because a higher pH level means that the formula is stronger. It explains why lye relaxers should be used by professional stylists or someone who really understands hair and relaxers.

Relaxers For Damaged, Color-Treated Hair

These types of relaxers take into consideration the damaged state of the hair, so they’re milder. Many of them contain natural plant extracts that nourish your hair. The label will often specifically state “for damaged or color-treated hair”.

Applying Hair Relaxer – Best Practices

Maybe the first time you relaxed your hair you went to a professional stylist. But this time you want to try and do it yourself. If you are going to apply hair relaxer yourself, a good practice is to give your hair a deep conditioning treatment well in advance relaxing your hair.

We can’t emphasize enough, that to get the best results, relaxer must be applied to the hair properly. Also, don’t expect to get good results if you use the wrong relaxer for your hair type.

The Correct Way To Apply Relaxer To Natural Hair

This short video demonstrates how to do a touch-up or retouch.

The Correct Way To Do A Retouch

Styling Your Relaxed Hair

Once you’ve decided what type of relaxer you’re going to use on your hair, whether you will do it yourself or get your stylist to do it, you’ll want to think about how you want to style your hair afterwards.

Here are some short tutorials to inspire you with ideas on what you can do with your relaxed hair. New styles and techniques for relaxed hair come out everyday.

Finger Waves On A Pixie Cut – Short Relaxed Hair

Silk Wrap Roller Set – Gives Volume To Long Relaxed Hair

Curly Braidout On Relaxed Hair

Q & A On Relaxing Hair

Do hair relaxers work?

Yes they do, when applied correctly. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and choose a relaxer for your natural hair type.

Texturizers vs. Relaxers – What’s The Difference?

Relaxers are supposed to completely straighten the curl pattern of hair that’s curly/coily or kinky curly. Texturizers relax the curl pattern only slightly.

I relaxed my natural hair but it didn’t work. What did I do wrong?

It’s possible that you:

  • did not apply the relaxer correctly.
  • did not choose the right relaxer for your hair type.
  • did not leave the relaxer on your hair long enough.

What are some examples of hair relaxers?

For no-lye relaxers, you have many options:

  • There’s African Pride Miracle Deep Conditioning No-Lye Relaxer System (comes in regular and super)
  • Mega Growth Profectiv Relaxer Kit
  • Motions Silkening Shine Relaxer
  • Optimum Amla Legend No-Mix No-Lye Relaxer

What Is A Natural Hair Relaxer?

A word of caution: Just because a company uses the word “natural” on their Relaxer packaging, doesn’t mean it can’t damage your hair. Anything that alters the chemical structure of hair is a chemical. Relaxers that claim to be natural still contain calcium hydroxide.
The natural component is the botanicals that many contain to help condition and strengthen hair after the relaxing process. Some natural hair relaxers are:

  • PhytoSpecific PhytoRelaxer – does not contain calcium hydroxide; made with soy and egg.
  • PhytoSpecific PhytoRelaxer Index 1 – for fine and delicate hair.
  • The PhytoSpecific PhytoRelaxer Index 2 – for normal hair that’s thick and resistant. This one is good for hair that’s very kinky.
  • Soft & Beautiful Botanicals No-Lye Sensitive Scalp Relaxer, and TCB Naturals No-Lye Relaxer Kit are natural relaxers.

How long are you supposed to wait before doing a touch up?

It’s recommended that you wait at least 8 weeks before your next application. For touch ups, relaxer should only be applied to the new growth.

How to Care For Relaxed Hair

  • Relax your hair every 8 to 16 weeks
  • Wash and condition your hair once or twice a week using a gentle shampoo, and moisturizing conditioner that contains proteins.
  • Conditioner Only washing (CO-washing) is recommended if you need to wash your hair more frequently than once or twice weekly. It’s an excellent alternative to the traditional wash and condition routine.
  • Don’t use mineral oil or petrolatum on your relaxed hair as a moisturizer. They are not moisturizers. Their only function is to prevent the cuticle from being damaged and losing moisture.

Share your experiences with relaxers in our comments section below.
At BHS we care deeply about black hair. We want you to know and love your hair.

What Is Hair Relaxer?

Ready To Switch To Relaxed Hair?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muFV4zk-mDU

It’s 2018, the year of new beginnings! For one person, it might mean a new look. For another it may be a new hairstyle. For you, it’s something you never thought you would even consider, as in, seriously. You’ve always worn your hair natural, and just figured it would remain so, for eternity. But that was then, and this is now…

Knowing how much time it takes to style your natural hair, you’re entertaining the idea of relaxing your hair. After all, new beginnings require new moves, right?

But before committing to this relaxed hair thing, you want some more information. You want to know what to expect.

What Is Hair Relaxer?

A relaxer is a lotion or cream that’s used to chemically straighten curly, coily or kinky hair. By straighten, we mean that the natural curl pattern of the hair is loosened to the point that it is relaxed, or made straight. Bear in mind though,that relaxed hair does not have to be completely straightened. This part is a matter of choice, often depending on the result that you want, and more importantly, the current condition of your hair. The longer you leave it in, the straighter your hair becomes.

What Does A Relaxer Do To Your Hair?

The active ingredient in a relaxer (lye), will often be a strong alkali, though this does not apply to all relaxers. There are other relaxer formulations that are no-lye, and are based on ammonium thioglycolate.

Don’t confuse a relaxer with a perm. Sometimes people use the two terms synonymously. Yet, they are different because while a perm also chemically alters your natural hair when the formula is applied to it, the results are curls or waves. This is not the case with relaxer. The aim of relaxing hair is to obtain straight, not curly hair.

Origin Of The Hair Relaxer

Although there are different types, the relaxer as we know it today was developed by an
African American named Garrett Augustus Morgan. He discovered that when certain chemicals penetrated the cortical layer, they had the ability to change the structure of the hair. He stumbled upon this discovery while he was trying to solve a totally unrelated problem. This accidental experiment was a wild success because for many women it represented a quick solution to achieving that much sought after straightened effect, while by-passing the massive amounts of greasy oils, not to mention the amount of time spent using a straightening comb, in order to achieve the same (temporary) result.

Why Women Relax Their Hair

Everyday women choose to relax their hair for different reasons. Here are a just few:

Manageability – omen (and men) choose to relax their hair in a quest for a new look. Going from natural hair to straightened hair that’s easier to handle and manage, will be a major achievement.

Easy Styling – Natural hair though it can be, is not always hard to manage. But when it comes to relaxed hair, the possibilities for styling and creating new looks are absolutely endless on short, medium, or long relaxed hair.

To Avoid Workplace Issues – The truth is that braids and other ways of wearing natural hair, are still controversial in many workplaces. There is the idea of the politics of black hair. Some embrace the controversy, but you may not want to . It just makes sense to not go looking for workplace conflicts.

Tired of The Combing Routine – It might not take that long, but doing it over and over again gets boring after you’ve done it for so long.

Hair Is Too Thick and Truly Wild (no exaggeration) – Sometimes the decision to relax is purely practical. Those who don’t have this kind of hair may not be able to relate. But if you have to fight with your hair everyday, sometimes it makes sense to just give in gracefully, especially if there are other options that bring peace to you and your hair.

Appearance – Many have become unwilling converts to relaxed hair because they had to admit that it looked great on their friends, even better than when they had natural hair. So, they decided to try it.

Maturity – If you’ve ever been seventeen, trying to look 25, you might be able to relate to this. Sometimes it actually does help to look a little older.

What to expect when you relax your hair

When a decision needs to be made, having good information helps. So, if you’re a visual sort of person, this short video will help paint a clearer picture of what to expect when you relax your natural hair for the first time.

Maybe this isn’t your first time relaxing your hair. You’ve taken a break but now you’re thinking of getting back in the game. It always helps when you know you’re not alone.

Others have traveled down this path. Here’s one person’s journey:

Choosing A Relaxer

There are different types of relaxer on the market – lye and no-lye relaxers. The active ingredients in lye relaxers is sodium hydroxide, while the active ingredient in no-lye relaxers is calcium hydroxide.

Since no-lye relaxers are milder, they’re considered better for sensitive scalps. Most home relaxer kits are no-lye.

There are relaxers on the market for regular, coarse, damaged & color-treated hair. Although the way relaxers work is fundamentally the same, some are preferred over others.

A word of caution: Leaving relaxer on the hair for too long (over-processing) can cause damage and breakage.

Want to Relax Your Hair? Here is a Summary:

If you’re seriously contemplating relaxing your hair, here’s a quick overview of what this can mean for you:

Increased manageability – Your hair will be so much straighter, meaning that you’ll have limitless ways to style and wear your hair. This is one of the top reasons women relax their hair.

Reliability – Your hair will not revert to its natural state if it gets wet, or even if the sun is too hot, saving you time styling it again, not to mention the unnecessary stress.

Cost Savings – Most relaxers, even the ones that are somewhat pricey, are really not that expensive when compared with other popular options, such as wearing virgin hair.

Easy to match – There are different types of hair and hair textures. Yet, because there are so many relaxer products to choose from, you’re sure to find the one that’s most suitable for your hair. Thankfully, relaxers are not a one size fits all. From coarse, to fine, to damaged, there’s a relaxer type for every kind.

Time Saving – The process of relaxing your hair is very straightforward and does not take a lot of time. This is another big plus, especially for women who simply don’t have the time to spend on their hair.

You can DIY – That’s why you have so many options for relaxer products. From jars, to kits, you can relax your hair yourself. Although, you will need to follow the manufacturers instructions, these are generally not complicated. You can also check out our article on how to relax your hair

BHS is your resource center for ALL things black hair. Over here, we keep it one hundred, because we want the best for your hair. Do you straighten your hair? Why or why not?

Leave us a comment or ask us a question. We’ll point you in the right direction.

Your all-you-need-guide on How to do Box Braids

Behind every great woman is her glowing hair and during these cold and frigid temperatures, you need to keep your tresses protected. Best way to do this is with some chic and cool box braids. Click To Tweet

https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/401946335466113401/

It protects your ends. It grows your hair. It’s low maintenance. And will still make you look good.
It’s not a bird, it’s not a plane and it’s not coconut oil but it is box braids. And they are here to lend a helping hand, especially through the next few gruelling months of the dreaded winter.

 

Box braids aren’t the new kid on the block. They’ve been around long before Black Twitter coined terms like #NaturalHair , #BigChop or #LocMethod. In fact, they are so old that they can be traced back almost 5000 years ago in the plains of Africa. Practised in the southern regions on the continent, braiding was used by the Mbalantu tribe of Namibia to strengthen social bonds. Elder women of the community would congregate in one place with their children and would teach them how to braid.

They used thick layers of finely chopped tree bark and oils to base and uphold the hairstyle. Fast forward to today and extensions work just fine. There are many ways to wear box braids – up or down, small, medium or jumbo, in a solid color or in multiple colors and short or long.
Thankfully with modern technology, you don’t have to go through the stress of finding a salon and a stylist that can understand what you want. Instead, you can sit in the comfort of your own home (and heat) and do your own hair.

Getting to the nitty gritty of Box Braids

Source: Pinterest

Before giving the DIY guideline on getting popping box braids, there are a couple of things you need to be aware of:

  • It’s not going to be fun. Depending on the length and size, the process of braiding could take anywhere between six to twelve hours plus. The smaller and shorter the braids, the shorter amount of time you’ll be sitting in a chair. Get some friends to help expedite the process.
  • Clean and moisturize your hair before you plait it. It is advisable to wash your hair with shampoo and hydrate it with leave in conditioner.
  • Trim dry split ends. Cutting even the tiniest piece of hair may seem like torture but the braids attach and lock a lot easier with healthier tips.
  • Coat the tips of your hair with a little oil before braiding. The oldest part of your hair is often the weakest and needs to be protected. Coconut, olive or argon oil are great options but if you’re dedicated to another sealant, that is fine.
  • For the love of your edges, PLEASE do not braid the extensions tightly. The natural hair journey is already a long and hard road. You do not need a LeBron James hairline to make matters worse.

What you will need for your box braids

Four to eight packs of extensions – depending on size, length of braids and facial structure of hair.

  • Mirror
  • Edge control
  • Tooth comb
  • Clips
  • Scissors
  • Tub of hot water

Preparing to plait box braids

Source: Pinterest

In front of a mirror, section your hair into four box parts. Divide your hair in the middle – from your forehead down to your neck. Do the same with the bottom and top part of your hair. Ensure that the hair is evenly divided and that there is a straight and visible line at the roots. Use clips to hold three sections to prevent hair getting in the way.

  • Comb and detangle fiber to prevent it from tangling. Pay special attention to the ends and that they do not have any knots.
  • Part your natural hair in a box shape pattern. The thickness of your hair is determined by how big or small you want the braids to be. If you are doing small or medium sized braids, make them half an inch (2 cm) in thickness – about the size of your finger. For jumbo braids, section out about two inches (5.1 cm) of hair.
  • Proceed to take about one to two inches of the fiber and separate it into two sections – one part should be ¼ of the braid and the other should be ¾. Loop the braids over each other where the smaller section hangs over the bigger one.

How to do your Box Braids

  1. Put edge control or sealant on the piece of natural hair you will be braiding. Divide it in half and as you do so, place the fiber above it. Blend the one half of your natural hair with one of the legs of the extension. Do the same for the other half with the other leg of extension.
  2. Start braiding it along with your natural hair. Grip your natural hair while you braid it with the extension to prevent slippage.
  3. Continue braiding until the end of the hair.
  4. Braid each section until complete. Repeat steps one to three for the rest of your head.
  5. Braiding will take a while to finish so if you get tired, take a break.
  6. Once you are done, grab some scissors and cut flyaway hair on the strand and on the ends for a smooth texture. Do it in front of a mirror so you can see what you’re doing and that you’re not cutting your own hair.
  7. Dip the ends of your braided hair into a tub of hot water. Leave in for about 20 to 30 seconds and then dry off.

Do’s and Don’ts of box braid maintenance

DO

Cover your braids with a silk or satin scarf before you go to bed. Another alternative is to get silk or satin pillows.

Wash your hair at least once or twice a week. It prevents itchiness and build up in your scalp which contributes to the health and growth of your hair.

Always use conditioner after washing your hair. Spray hair with leave in conditioner then proceed to massage the scalp with your favourite oil.

Keep your fingers out your hair as much as possible. That means avoid scratching and pulling your hair as this causes stress to your strands.

DON’T

Keep your braids longer than two months. Six to eight weeks is the recommended time to have them. It is unhealthy for hair to go weeks on end without being detangled. Leaving in hair for too long can cause serious breakage.

Plait braids that are heavy or too tight. This creates mechanical stress on your hair which can cause long term damage to your hairline. How do you know it’s too much? If it causes too much pain.

Braid your baby hairs. They are called that for a reason. Instead, make them a part of your style by laying them down and using different curl patterns to make them pop.

For more detailed tips, check out this article.

Well, what are you waiting on? Stock up on what you need and get to working. Fabulous is only a braid away. If you like this tutorial, let us know if it worked and what you think. Make sure to share with your friends!

How to do a French Braid on Black Hair

Don’t know what to do with your hair? Why not try French braids. This simple but stylish look will have you ready for work, school or chilling at home. #naturalhair #backtoschool #backtowork #frenchbraids Click To Tweet

Source: Pinterest

Many of us have pictures of hairstyles saved in our phones, our Instagram’s and on our Pinterest boards. And somewhere in that collection, there must be at least one French braid hairdo you have been meaning to do but you don’t have the cash to head to your local hair stylist.

Well, thanks to the internet and you landing on this article, you can finally recreate the French braid style you have been meaning or wanting to do.
And no, you don’t have to be a professional to pull it off. You just need a few household items and to let go of your apprehensions to have the hairstyle you’ve always liked.

Oh you fancy huh?

 

A simple but beautiful French braid - black hair spot

Source: Pinterest A simple but beautiful French braid

 

French braids are a braided hairstyle where sections of hair are braided together to form a consistent woven pattern. The origins of the style can be traced back to North Africa, specifically in the mountains of Tassili n’Ajjer located in Algeria where there is 6000 year old rock art depicting women with three stranded braids. The style travelled north to Greece where it would be seen on statues, celtic warriors and lasses before it spread to the rest of Europe.

There are many different variations of this style – it can be worn up or down, be plain as Jane or look like a complicated maze. The most common is the two braided style where the hair is divided into two sections and plaited down in a three stranded braid.

The style is fairly simple to do but can become difficult with more coarse and textured hair. Do not fret. That’s where bobby pins, leave-in conditioner and a hair binder become your best friend

This low manipulation protective style can last anything between one to two weeks. It’s just as easy to put on as it is to take out and it helps grow your hair. Budget between 45 minutes to an hour (depending on how long and thick your hair is) to complete the style.

What you will need

Hairstylist Jazmine Davidson giving hair goals with this cute French Braid

Source: Pinterest Hairstylist Jazmine Davidson giving hair goals with this cute French Braid

 

  • Comb
  • Mirror
  • Olive, coconut or tea tree oil (or any oil of your choice which can act as a sealant)
  • Leave in conditioner or any other moisturizer
  • Hair sheen and mousse

How to French Braid your own Hair

  1. Wash and moisturize your hair first. Ensure that your scalp is clean and detangle hair before you start braiding.
  2. Section your hair into two parts.
  3. Tie the hair you are not braiding to prevent confusion.
  4. Add a coin size of sealant and distribute evenly on your hair while combing.
  5. Separate hair at your hairline and divide into three. Each piece should be 0.5 inches (1.3cm) in size and should be equal to make the braid look uniform.
  6. Weave the last (or back) portion strand under the middle section strand so that it is the centre piece. Then take the first (or front) and cross it under the center so it becomes the main strand.
  7. Pull strands tightly to prevent slipping. Feed new pieces of hair as you braid backwards and repeat step five.
  8. Ensure that equal amounts are added to as you braid along to maintain continuity.
  9. Use an elastic band to secure the hair at the bottom of the braid. Ensure to add sealant to your ends to protect them.
  10. Apply hair mousse to small pieces of hair left sticking out.
  11. Take the other half of unbraided hair from it’s ponytail and follow steps six to ten.
  12. Spray hair sheen to complete.

Do’s and don’ts of french braid maintenance

Instagram: curlygirlmomo Instagram naturalista Monique Renae flaunting her style

Because the French braid is an easy hairstyle to manage, you won’t need to fuss with your hair too much.
DO

  • Wrap your hair in silk bonnet or use a satin or silk pillow before going to bed.
  • Clean your hair. Use apple cider vinegar diluted with water and apply to a cotton ball. Gently rub the cotton ball onto your scalp to remove dirt and do it slowly prevent from interfering with braids.
  • Spray your hair with water and leave-in conditioner to hair on a daily basis to keep your scalp moisturized.
  • Use oils as a sealant
  • Try different styles once you feel comfortable with braiding. It gives you the ability to switch up your style without doing something drastic to your hair.

DON’T:

  • Scratch and over touch your hair.
  • Keep the French braids for more than three weeks. This is to prevent build up in your hair which clogs up your hair follicles.
  • Give up. If you don’t get it right the first time, try again. Braiding does get frustrating sometimes and the trick to getting better is to keep doing it until you get it.

If you like your result, share the magic with your friends and tell us what you think!

What is Weave Hair, and Will it look Nice on me?

http://www.ebony.com/style/best-wigs-weaves-black-women

Every-time time you think about a new look you experience the whole gamut of emotions. You are considering hair extensions, but you’re unsure about the terms. Is it hair weave or weave hair, or hair extension? This is your first time, so you want to understand what you’ll be getting when you go to buy your hair extension. Fret no more, you are in the right place.

So what exactly is a hair weave?

A weave is another word for hair extensions. Hair extensions are frequently used by women, especially black women the world over. They’re often installed by weaving them into the hair or gluing them to the hair from the track. When a weave is installed correctly, it looks beautiful and very natural.

How did hair weaving begin?

Even though it’s has been around for centuries, hair weaving as we know it today has come a long way. Hair extensions originated around 5000 B.C. in Ancient Egypt. At the time it was a status symbol, today, and women used to weave their hair to give it volume and thickness. Today, it’s a fashion symbol.

Why Do Women Wear Hair Extensions?

Every women will have a different reason for this hair styling choice. Here are a few that we know about:

  • Saves time – Hair extensions makes it easy to style hair quickly and save time.
  • The length – Greater hair length can be achieved with extensions than would normally not be possible with natural hair.
  • To cover up hair loss – Sometimes a weave is worn to cover up bald patches, or even hair loss due to health reasons.
  • Protection – Hair extensions protect the hair and help it grow and gain thickness.
  • To give the hair a break – It’s a good idea to give your real hair a break from relaxing and braiding. Hair extensions provide that opportunity.
  • Hair in transition – When transitioning from relaxed to natural hair, many women start by getting a weave, then allow their natural hair to start growing out.
  • Social acceptance – Society often portrays a beautiful black woman with long, voluminous hair. Since many female celebrities wear weaves, this only reinforces society’s standard, and many conform in order to be accepted.


Types of Hair Extensions

There are so many types of weave to choose from. But it’s easy to feel a little lost if you don’t know which is which. Hair extensions can either be Remy (virgin) hair or non-Remy. They come in different varieties, lengths, styles and textures.

Some Definitions:

Virgin hair – human hair that has not been chemically processed. This hair is harvested from a single donor.

Remy hair – This is 100% human hair that is harvested from the head of several donors, but in a way that maintains the alignment of the hair cuticles, in relation to other neighboring hair strands.

Non-Remy hair – The roots and tips are mixed. This means that not all the hairs lay in the same direction. Note that non-remy hair has been chemically processed.

Here are some popular choices for hair extensions.

Virgin Remy Hair – Curly Hair Weaves

Brazilian Hair Weave With Closure – Virgin Hair Deep Wave 3 Bundles With 1 Closure – Natural Color Kinky

http://www.sunnyqueenhair.com/brazilian-virgin-hair-with-closure-deep-wave-3-bundles-with-1-closure-natural-color.html

 

Indian Virgin Hair – Natural Hair 6A Indian Virgin Hair Loose Wave Bundles


Source: http://www.shopahoy.us/hair-weaves/yestar-natural-hair-6a-indian-virgin-hair-loose-wave-bundles-1pcs-100-grams-bundle-100-real-human-hair-weaves-more-wavy/

7A Malaysian Virgin Hair 4 Bundles

Source: http://beautydepartments.com/index.php/product/430-top-7a-malaysian-virgin-hair-4-bundles-malaysian-body-wave-human-hair-weave-unprocessed-virgin-hair-ombre-hair-extensions/

Peruvian Virgin Hair Bundles – Curly

Source: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Natural-Color-Unprocessed-Virgin-Peruvian-Bouncy-Curly-Hair-Weaves-Short-Peruvian-Virgin-Human-Hair-Wefts-3pcs/32387941412.html

There are also other types of hair extensions that are available in Remy and non-remy form. These also come in different lengths, colors, and textures. Here are some more varieties.

Wavy, Kinky, Curly, Or Straight, here are some hair extension hairstyle ideas.

Wavy Hair Weave


Source: https://manbeauty24.com/25-types-of-stock-of-wavy-weaves-hairstyles/

Crochet hair weave


Source: http://www.informationng.com/2016/08/stephanie-coker-flaunts-her-engagement-ring-and-its-a-stunner.html

Human hair weave – Indian Remy – Straight


Source: https://www.aliexpress.com/af/category/200004934.html?g=y&sk=aImIMr72r&d=n&terminal_id=2985e9329f024b7d863b01b4c77c4ab4&cpt=1515407821704&blanktest=0&origin=n&spm=2114.11010108.111.3.ptqHeb&jump=afs&aff_platform=link-c-tool&aff_trace_key=81583856b7d84b2189aacde8be7f995d-1515407821704-07299-aImIMr72r&CatId=200004934&catName=human-hair&isViewCP=y

Brazilian – Body Wave – Budget Hair Weave


Source: https://www.omgqueen.com/body-wave-cheap-virgin-brazilian-hair-good-quality-u-shape-wigs-buw02

Natural hair weave – Kinky Textured Wefted Hair (No Clips)


Source:http://www.hergivenhair.com/kinky-textured-wefted-hair-no-clips-p-1/

Remy Hair Weave – Body Wave


Source: http://worldhairextensions.com/blog/learn/styling-extensions/how-to-style-your-leave-out-to-blend-with-wavy-hair

Straight Hair Weave – Sew In


Source: http://hairstylesg.com/long-hairstyles/sew-in-hairstyles/

Curly Weave Human Hair – Curly Braids

Things to consider when choosing a hair extension

The beauty of a hair weave/extension is that with a few touches of the comb, you can easily transform your look as often as you want.

So, when choosing a weave, first decide on the the style you want – i.e., curly, straight, wavy, or kinky?

  • Curly – For a curly style, go for textured hair.
  • Straight – For a straight look, choose the silky straight. Think the Yaki straight hair, or Remy hair.
  • Wavy – For wavy hair style, opt for hair that’s versatile and has body, like Malaysian virgin remy.
  • Kinky – For kinky hair look, choose an afro-textured weave, and try to match it as closely as possible to your own natural hair.

Other things to consider:

Quality – Hair extensions can be a bit pricey, depending on what you’re looking for. The best type of hair extensions are 100% Remy Human Hair . They are the highest quality that you will find on the market and yield the best results in terms of durability and their ability to look the most natural.

Budget – Even if you have budget constraints, there are affordable options. This is because Remy hair comes in two versions – Remy, and non-Remy. There’s a wide variety to choose from, including synthetic hair, which will be less expensive.

Matching Hair Color – Finding your color match is not just important, it’s critical, if you’re going to avoid that fake or wig look that literally cancels out all the efforts and money that you’ve put into your hair.

Hair Texture – This is very important, particularly when it comes to Remy, virgin hair. The most popular virgin hair extensions on the market are Brazilian, Peruvian hair, Malaysian hair, Indian, and Eurasian hair.

Due to the texture and hair type, each kind of hair extension works better with certain ethnicities than it does with others. Alternatively, there are some types that work well with just about any type of hair texture, and therefore ethnicity. Remember that if the hair extension doesn’t match your hair in texture and color, it will not look natural.

Origin – Since the hair does comes from a human head, some women want to know where the hair comes from for cultural or even religious reasons and also how it’s harvested. If this is important to you, do your research and let the results guide you on your choice of one weave, over another.

Versatility – For some, the ability to weave (no pun intended) from one look or style to another in minutes or even seconds, is the greatest advantage of wearing a hair weave. sheer practicality of it often overrides all other options for styling hair.

Hair Weave Q & A

I’ve just had a hair extension put in. Is it Ok to dye my real hair?

It depends on the kind of extensions. Most human hair extensions can be colored to match and blend better with the natural color of your hair. On the other hand, synthetic hair extensions should not be colored, for safety reasons.

I want to apply my hair extensions myself. Do you have any DIY tips?

Installing a weave is a process that’s better left to a professional.If it’s not done properly, it can cause hair breakage due to the tension resulting from hair being pulled from the scalp.

If I wear a synthetic hair extension that’s braided, will it help it grow? I want to know if it’s only remy virgin hair that makes hair grow?

The answer is no. Normally, the decision to use virgin hair or synthetic hair is mostly a question of finances or choice. What is important with any type of braids is to avoid any kind of excessive tension, as this can lead to a type of hair loss called traction alopecia.


How long does it take to install hair extension?

Your hair stylist will be able to give you a definitive answer. It really depends on how the weave is installed. If it’s the glue method, which is the quickest, it can can be completed in 45-60 minutes. There’s also the track and sew method which involves portions of hair being braided into a track. The hair wefts are then sewn into place. The fusion method takes the longest, and can sometimes be done over several sessions.

I’m thinking of getting a weave but I have short hair. How long does my hair have to be?

It depends on the type of hair extension and the stylist installing the weave. For natural hair, this can be anything from one or two inches, up to as much as 5 inches. Some methods require longer hair. What you want to remember is that the length of your hair in the beginning can affect the results you get. If your hair is quite short, then you will most likely need to have your hair blended with layers before installing the extensions, so that it doesn’t show too much.

These demo videos show you the process of installing a hair weave.

The Sew-In Method – Brazilian Straight

The Glue -In Method

The Fusion Method – Using Silicone-Based Micro Links & Malaysian Hair

The Clip-in Method

These are also known as clip-in wefts. They’re available in long or short lengths and have clips that are sewn into the strand. The extension is clipped onto the hair with a snap shut method. This makes it easy and quick to put in and remove.

To Weave or not to Weave?

There’s no debate. Hair weaves are in! From the stay-at-home mom to celebrities and socialites, hair extensions are in demand. But use your judgement and weigh the pros and cons, then discuss them with your stylist before you make a decision on which type of installation method to use .

Here’s an infographic to give you a broader picture of what weave type works best with what method.

Source: https://www.moresoo.com/blogs/moresoo-hair-blog/3-most-popular-hair-extension-methods-pros-and-cons

Here’s what’s great about hair weaves

Installing can be quick & easy – Depending on the type , a weave can be installed in a few hours. Changing looks is a breeze, so a hair weave is perfect for women who love versatility.
The Length – Women with shorter hair can have long hair within just a couple of hours. It’s difficult for black hair to achieve the lengths that are possible with a hair extension. A hair weave can measure up to 30 inches long.
Protection – Wearing a hair weave helps protect the hair. This is good news for weak, damaged hair

Here are some things you need to know before your decide to weave

Cost – It’s possible to find a hair weave for almost every budget, but remember to factor in the cost of having the weave installed. If you’re on a tight budget then you might need to consider a cheaper way of adding length to your hair, like clip-ins.

Pain & Discomfort – If the hair is braided first, the tracks of hair will be sewn into the braids. The pain and discomfort occur because of the pulling that often occurs during braiding. If you have a sensitive scalp, or low tolerance for pain, consider using bonded hair extensions.

Quality – The good thing is that you can choose to pay more, or less for your hair weave. The downside is that you get what you pay for in terms of the results. Expect to pay a lot more for virgin remy hair than you would for synthetic hair.

Weave Care Tips That Help Your Hair & Scalp

Don’t neglect your own hair while wearing a weave. A good hair care routine will ensure that your hair stays healthy. Here are some things you can do.

Prep Your Hair – It’s a good practice to wash and condition your hair before putting in a wave. Use a shampoo that contains selenium sulfide or zinc pyrithione, if your scalp is dry and flaky.

Be Prudent – Even though a hair weave is durable, they shouldn’t be left in the hair for too long. Six weeks is long enough. Remove your weave within a reasonable time, and thoroughly clean and deep condition your hair.

Oil Your Scalp – Apply good quality natural oils to your scalp and massage thoroughly. If the hair is synthetic, there’s no need to add oil to the hair.

Avoid Wearing Extensions That Are Too Tight

When extensions are applied too tightly, it puts pressure on the hair follicles. This can cause the hair to fall out, and if care is not taken, it can lead to permanent hair loss.

Take A Break – It’s good to give your natural hair a break from time to time. Use this as an opportunity to check the overall condition of your hair and moisturize or deep condition, and trim the ends as needed. Try to explore other ways to groom and style your hair. Either way, the effort and time spent are a win-win for your hair.

Was this article useful? Did you learn anything that has motivated you to take action.

Leave us a comment below, we’d love to hear from you.

Whether this is your first time, or you’re a faithful reader, expect tons of up-to-date tips and advice on hair, style, and grooming every week. From serious hairtalk, to updates on celebrities, or even something as simple as which salon to go to, we’ve got you covered.

What is the Greenhouse Effect

Achieving one of the newest growth trends in the black hair community might be simpler than you’d imagine. The Greenhouse Effect, named after the popular hydration environments for tropical plants, promises hair growth without the addition of any chemicals, products, or expensive treatments. All you need is a thermal cap, some patience, and a little bit of body heat. But is all that glitters gold? Keep reading to learn more about where this fad came from and if the results are as good as they seem!

Keep it green with this botany inspired growth trend. #TheGreenhouseEffect Click To Tweet

Baggying Vs. Greenhouse Effect for Relaxed Hair

This is actually one of those hair trends that works just as well on relaxed hair as it does for naturals. The first question most people ask before trying the Greenhouse Effect is how is it any different from the Baggy Method. If you read our earlier post detailing that technique, you know baggying focuses on redirecting moisture to problem areas by isolation and application of product. The Greenhouse Effect method for hair growth does not encourage any additional hair products. All you need is the naturally occurring sebum secretion that happens when our skin gets warm and needs lubrication. If you’re still on the fence, The Greenhouse Effect is for you if:

  • You believe in all natural moisturization.
  • You definitely want growth, not just moisture.
  • You plan to leave the method in for a long period of time.

Although the jury is out on which method encourages more actual hair growth, The Greenhouse Effect method for hair growth is just that: a trend created to encourage and promote new growth. While it will moisturize hair in the process, if you’re looking to increase lubrication to the scalp or troubled ends, baggying might be more of a fit for you. Although, one can never go wrong with happy and well moisturized hair!

Does the Greenhouse Effect Really Work on Hair?

The downside to black hair trends is that none of them are one size fits all. While some may produce results for others, they might not be the right method for you. However, Greenhouse Effect hair touts some pretty hefty results, some based on theories rather than actual hard facts. Here are some of the ones that might yield possibility:

  • Sebum is thought to have hair growth results, but at the very least, it does moisturize.
  • Heat to the scalp increases blood circulation, therefore causing growth.
  • Sweat and steam serve as detoxifying agents in the greenhouse effect hair method.

While all of these sounds great, please do not attempt this method based solely on these theories. If you have tried similar steam driven effects on your hair and like the results, The Greenhouse Effect hair method might be one that is worthwhile. But in short, none of these have actually been proved true.

Does the Greenhouse Effect Hair Method work for you? Share your success or horror stories with us! #hairgrowthtrends #greenhouseeffect Click To Tweet

How Does the Greenhouse Effect Work?

Trying the Greenhouse Effect is simple. First, on clean and preferably dry hair, place a self-heating thermal shower cap on. Then, section of 30 minutes to an overnight period where you can keep the cap on your head and not over exhaust yourself. This method requires no additional oils, just you, body heat, and the natural oils your body creates when you sweat. It is not recommended to use microwaveable caps, because overheating is a real health threat. Nothing is worth that, sista!

After you’re done sweating, allow hair to air dry, and style with low manipulation. You can do this a couple times a week, but make sure to monitor if any hair growth happens from week to week to see if the method is actually working for you. Make sure to stay hydrated while you’re greenhousing!

Is trying the Greenhouse Effect Hair Growth Method worth it, or nah? Read on to see! Click To Tweet

Let’s get sweaty with the Greenhouse Hair Growth Method. Try it, and let us know what you think in the comments.

Black Hair Spot is the number one place to ask all your burning questions about black hair. We are a community of women dedicated to educating, entertaining, engaging, equipping, and empowering women to love their hair as much as we love ours! To learn more about us, contact us!

What is The Big Chop

Truth is, long hair don’t care, but short haired naturals matter too! Recently, with everyone from celebrities to best friends opting to chop relaxed or natural hair off to start a new regimen, there are a lot of common misconceptions about the big chop. We’ve heard everything from warnings of “head shapes” to beliefs that the big chop makes natural hair grow faster. Total honesty: being natural is not a one size fits all occupation. There are many ways to be natural and fierce, but if you’re looking for a fresh start, or if you’re interested in beginning your natural hair journey, the big chop might just be for you.

This post explores the origins of the big chop natural hair method, if it’s meant for you, and a few methods to help you take the big plunge!

Big Chop or Nah? Tell us how you began your #naturalhairjourney. Click To Tweet

 

Can I Go Natural Without Doing the Big Chop?

The big chop natural hair method refers to the process of cutting one’s hair to either begin or restart the process of chemical-free natural hair. If you’re like most, you probably received your first perm at a fairly early age. Reverting or transitioning natural hair can take a lot of time and TLC. Although both methods have a common goal of getting hair to its natural state, transitioning, or growing the permanent chemicals out of one’s hair, and the big chop are two completely different things. In short, yes. You can definitely go natural without doing the big chop. Here are some reasons people opt to chop it all off, though.

  • Big chop hairstyles can be empowering and a sign of new beginnings
  • Big chop natural hair can be healthier and easier to manage
  • Big chop hair has the opportunity to evenly grow out, and alter damaged curl patterns

Attention toward this method has amped up in the most recent years, thanks in part to celebs like Solange and Sanaa Lathan who big chopped for personal and professional reasons. If these women in the public spotlight can go bare, there’s nothing stopping you, girlfriend!

Sanaa Lathan shaved head

https://peopledotcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/sanna-lathan.jpg?w=450

Does hair grow faster after the big chop?

Even before big chop hairstyles became mainstream, a lot of natural gurus looked to the big chop as a way to promote healthy, and faster growing natural hair. Although it is not proven to be a “quicker” alternative to transitioning, performing the big chop can definitely help you monitor growth easier. When transitioning, it can be hard to manage two different textures, and with difficult manageability, comes the desire to shortcut and rush through healthy hair growth. Remember, there is nothing more important than healthy and happy natural hair.

Chop, chop, chop it off! Raise your hand if you’re post-big chop and proud! Click To Tweet

Am I Ready for the Big Chop?

It can be a frightening baring it all, but honestly, if you’re known for trailblazing with bold and confident styles, you were probably born ready for a big chop. It will take getting used to, but after some time and some adjusting, pulling off cool and chic big chop hairstyles can be just as easy and painfree as pulling off protective transitioning styles. Here’s how to know if you’re ready for the big chop:

  • If you’ve noticed and want to be proactive about managing damaged natural hair
  • If you’re looking to try something new, or you want a fresh start to your natural hair routine
  • If you want to try short hairstyles or adding color to your curls.
Transitioning or big chop? You decide. Let us know which method works best for you! #tochopornottochop #thebigchop #transitioning Click To Tweet

Are you a big chop naturalista? What factors led you to bare it all?

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How to Use Black Seed Oil for Hair Growth (And Prevent Hair Fall)

Black seed oil is one of the most potent plant extracts for growing thicker hair, stopping hair loss, and keeping good health in general. It has even been proven to kill cancer cells1, with no side effects besides better health. If it’s that powerful, just imagine what it can do for your scalp and hair.

Our advice? Before you scroll down and start reading the details, go pick up a bottle of cold-pressed black seed oil and start massaging it into your scalp. It’s time to grow more hair!

What is Black Seed?

Black seed is the common use name for nigella sativa. Nigella sativa has been used for thousands of years for probably a thousand different ailments. The oil has many names, including black caraway oil, black cumin seed oil and black onion seed oil. Black seed oil is more accurate, however.

In other languages, it’s called kalonji, or Indian cumin and hibbat al baraka, the blessed seed of Arabia. The Persians call it shuneiz and the Chinese, hei zhong cao.


The list goes on.

Medicinal Properties of Black Seed Oil For Body and Hair

It’s not a coincidence that the use of nigella sativa is so historically widespread. The benefits of black seed oil are:

  • pharmacologic [2]
  • antimicrobial, even when there is a resistance [3] built up to prescribed antibiotics.
  • analgesic – soothing to pain and itching, and also
  • antioxidant, anti-cancer, anti-fungal, antihistamine and anti-inflammatory.

The last two on this list are what distinguish black seed over other seed oils for hair growth abilities. But before we get to that, here’s a little reminder: hair and scalp specialists say hair loss is usually a symptom of an underlying medical condition.

Some of the most prevalent diseases these days are cardiovascular diseases, kidney disease, diabetes [4], thyroid disease [5] and cancer – among others. Each of the above-mentioned diseases can cause hair loss at some point – including some of the treatments for them, such as chemotherapy. Black seed oil is used in naturopathic medicines around the world to treat all of these ailments. The dosage is usually just a teaspoonful a day. And when the underlying cause of hair loss is treated, what happens? The hair grows back – and quicker, if you use black seed oil externally on your scalp.

#Blackseedoil combats what slows hair growth... diabetes... hypertension... cancer... thyroid disease... Really. Click To Tweet

How Is Black Seed Oil Good For Hair?

Many of the same characteristics black seed oil brings to pharmacology make it of great use for hair [6] health.

For instance:

  • Nigella sativa’s powerful antimicrobial properties help prevent scalp infections.
  • Antifungal qualities make it an ideal scalp serum for seborrheic dermatitis/eczema, the condition that usually causes dandruff. Nigella sativa heals better than anti-eczema creams [7].
  • This oil’s antioxidant properties can help protect the scalp from the normal aging process that thins the hair.
  • Black seed oil contains thymoquinone, an anti-inflammatory. Therefore it can be used to combat different alopecias. The alopecias that start with inflammation leading to hair loss are central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA), frontal fibrosing alopecia and traction alopecia. Black seed oil can help halt the permanent hair loss of scarring alopecias.

The same components of black seed oil that make it useful for fighting hair loss also make it great for hair growth.

Thinning hair? Bald spot? Find out why #blackseedoil is the best hair growth oil. Click To Tweet

How Black Seed Oil Grows Hair

Whether you have issues with hair loss or not, black seed oil grows new hair in either scenario.

  1. Because of nigellone and other antihistamine components found in black seed oil, it has similar properties as the antihistamine cetirizine [8], which has been found to regrow hair. Black seed helps increase the circumference of the hair strands and the density [9] of hair. Therefore, it can literally make your hair thicker and also give you more of it.The photograph below are before/after pictures of those who used the antihistamine cetirizine while suffering from androgenetic alopecia – genetic male or female pattern hair loss.
hair loss talk

https://www.hairlosstalk.com/interact/threads/new-study-topical-cetirizine-for-androgenetic-alopecia-shows-promise.106352/

Before and after. Black seed has similar properties as cetirizine, an antihistamine which grew the hair back of the individuals above during a 6 month period in an Italian study published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatments [10].

2.  Because of its anti-inflammatory components, black seed oil decreases internal scalp swelling that can interfere with hair growth.

3. The antihistamines in black seed oil can give you more hair by moving dormant hair follicles (we all have them) into the active growth phase.

4. Nigella sativa is particularly useful for those suffering from Telogen Effluvium6 (TE) alopecia, in which the hair follicle moves into the dormant, hair shedding phase (telogen) too early – and all over the head. Black seed preserves the hair follicles in the active phase in this case.

#Blackseedoil grows hair AND counters underlying medical conditions behind alopecia. Click To Tweet

What Type Of Black Seed Oil Should You Use For Hair Growth?

Cold pressed is the best form to use, whether you’re using it straight, or in a formula. Cold-pressed black seed oil is said to have a 100% skin absorption rate, whereas many other oils do not.


Toasting oil seeds usually increases their benefits, but not for black seed. Roasting [11] reduces the volatile oil content of black seeds, which include the active antihistamines nigellone and thymoquinone and other components that encourage hair growth.

How To Apply Black Seed Oil

Apply black seed oil to your scalp with clean fingers or a cotton ball once or twice a day, and massage it into the scalp for about 10 minutes. This method is followed, whether you’re using straight black seed oil or formulas that contain it.

Is It Better to Use It Straight?

It isn’t necessary to use black seed oil straight out of the bottle. For one, it’s expensive!

Based on that factor, alone, it isn’t better to use black seed oil straight (wink).  And based on a Routi Pharmaceuticals study conducted in Bangladesh, a test oil that contained only 5% black seed oil was still very effective at growing hair [12]. It can be blended with various other hair growth substances, or just in a plain carrier oil or natural lotion.

Apparently, the hair follicles don’t have to be smothered in black seed oil. But as long as the oil is present and able to spread easily across the scalp, the active ingredients do their job.

The key is to apply it directly to the scalp, and take the time to massage it in.

Beating Hair Loss With Black Seed and Herbal Oil

We know black seed grows hair, but if you’re suffering from excessive hair loss, what about keeping the ones that are already on your head. Sometimes those are more important!

The Routi study had excellent results with their test oil for hair loss. As mentioned above, it contained 5% black seed oil, but it also carried 5% Indian gooseberry (amla fruit) and 1.25% each of bermuda grass, fenugreek and henna.

The process to make the hair loss oil was very involved, so only the results are included below. In 90 days, the test oil reduced shed hairs from almost 400 a day, down into the acceptable range of less than 100 a day.

When left alone, the volunteers experienced a slow and steady increase of shed hairs.

Screen Shot 2017 12 28 at 11.37.48 PM

What Are Some Black Seed Oil Treatments For Hair Growth?

There are some black seed oil treatments that give excellent results at home, as well. The table below shows, in numbers, hair growth caused by nigella sativa when used alone. This is demonstrated by increased density of hair over a 3 month period. Hair growth continued for three more months after the treatment had stopped. The percentage of black seed oil used here, also, was a mere 0.5%. The study, from Italy, was published in the Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications in 20139.

Screen Shot 2017 12 29 at 2.23.15 AM

So if you combine black seed with other hair growth ingredients, it might work even better. In eastern traditions, black seed oil for hair growth is combined in the following ways:

  1. Black seed oil can be mixed into a carrier oil like coconut oil or castor oil as a hair growth oil. Castor oil will certainly help speed the results along, as it is a hair growth oil in itself. Not much black seed oil is needed to be effective, and a carrier oil helps the active ingredients spread over the scalp easily. You can mix in equal proportions, or put a teaspoon of each into a cup of water and shake well before using. It’s up to you!
  2. You can also cleanse and stimulate your hair follicles first by applying lemon or vinegar to your scalp. This is a traditional eastern practice. Or you can be lazy and mix one of these Vitamin C infused liquids in with the black seed oil. It’s fine either way. The main thing is to clear scalp buildup and clogged follicles, as these can work against your hair growth routine.
  3. Infuse an Indian hair growth herb, like fenugreek, into the black seed oil. For added power, grind dry fenugreek seeds and toss them into a bottle or jar you can seal. Cover the ground seeds with black seed oil and seal with the lid of the jar or bottle. As long as the oil is kept in a semi-warm, dark place, the active essences from the fenugreek will seep into the oil. Strain with a cheesecloth after two weeks. Then add a carrier oil to the strained off oil, if you wish.
  4. You can even do a modified version of all of those steps in one formula. Blend and strain fresh arugula leaves for their juice. It’s a hair growth herb, not just for salads! Add black seed, olive oil and vinegar to the juice for an Arabian hair loss formula [6].

Other Natural Oils For Hair Growth And Thickness

If you’re heavy into DIY, you won’t be shy to try out other oils that encourage hair growth. Try adding Jamaican black castor oil,  pumpkin seed oil or flaxseed oil to your black seed oil formula.

The Top 4 Black Seed Oil Brands

Each of these brands sells unrefined cold pressed black seed oil. They have been on the market for a while and are well-trusted by consumers for their unadulterated oil.

Sweet Sunnah (US): myblackseed.com

Cost: $45 for 16 oz.

100% Pure Cold-Pressed Black Seed Oil 16 oz.

https://www.myblackseed.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=10602

Amazing Herbs (US): amazingherbs.com

Cost: $49.99 for 16 oz.

Amazing Herbs™ Premium Black Seed Oil - 16oz

http://www.amazingherbs.com/therblacseed4.html

Panaseeda Black Cumin Oil (Canadian): panaseeda.com

Cost: $49 for 8.5 oz (250 ml)

Black Cumin Oil can revolutionize your immunity and health!

http://panaseeda.com/black-cumin-oil/

Nabi Blackseed (UK): nabiblackseedoil.com

Cost: About $9.50 for roughly 3.5 oz (700 ml)

Black Seed Oil Virgin 100 ml Cold Pressed

https://www.nabiblackseedoil.com/product/virgin-coldpressed-black-seed-oil-100ml/

How To Remove Black Seed Oil From Hair Easily?

Of course you can use black seed oil as-is. Because the skin absorbs cold pressed black seed oil completely, it does not cause build-up when used alone on the scalp. However if you use it twice daily in a formula with other oils, cleanse with a non-sulfate shampoo at least twice a week.

An Olfactory Word Of Caution

Black seed oil has a strong, resinous sort of smell. If you want to mask the smell, use less, or choose essential essences that are more or less in the same olfactory category, such as camphor, cedar or eucalyptus.

Want to know more about hair growth and hair growth formulas that work? Keep dropping by  BHS. Don’t forget to share!


References

1. Anticancer Activities of Nigella Sativa (Black Cumin)

Md Asaduzzaman Khan, Han-chun Chen, Mousumi Tania, Dian-zheng Zhang

Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2011; 8(5 Suppl): 226–232. Published online 2011 Jul 3. doi: 10.4314/ajtcam.v8i5S.10

2. Thymoquinone: an emerging natural drug with a wide range of medical applications

Mohannad Khader, Peter M Eckl

Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2014 Dec; 17(12): 950–957.

3. Antimicrobial activity of Nigella sativa L. seed oil against multi-drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolated from diabetic wounds.

Lorina Badger Emeka, Promise Madu Emeka, Tahir Mehmood Khan

Pak J Pharm Sci. 2015 Nov; 28(6): 1985–1990.

4. A review on therapeutic potential of Nigella sativa: A miracle herb

Aftab Ahmad, Asif Husain, Mohd Mujeeb, Shah Alam Khan, Abul Kalam Najmi, Nasir Ali Siddique, Zoheir A. Damanhouri, Firoz Anwar

Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2013 May; 3(5): 337–352. doi: 10.1016/S2221-1691(13)60075-1

5. The effects of Nigella sativa on thyroid function, serum Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) – 1, Nesfatin-1 and anthropometric features in patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: a randomized controlled trial.

Farhangi MA, Dehghan P, Tajmiri S, Abbasi MM.

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2016;16:471. doi:10.1186/s12906-016-1432-2.

6. Nigella Sativa Seed, a Novel Beauty Care Ingredient: A Review

Sudhir SP, Deshmukh VO and Verma HN

Int J Pharm Sci Res 2016; 7(8): 3185-96.doi: 10.13040/IJPSR.0975-8232.7(8).3185-96.

7. Comparison of therapeutic effect of topical Nigella with Betamethasone and Eucerin in hand eczema.

M. Yousefi, B. Barikbin, M. Kamalinejad, E. Abolhasani, A. Ebadi, S. Younespour, M. Manouchehrian, S. Hejazi

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2013 Dec; 27(12): 1498–1504. Published online 2012 Dec 1. doi: 10.1111/jdv.12033

8. Evaluation of Therapeutic Efficacy of Nigella sativa (Black Seed) for Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis
Abdulghani Mohamed Alsamarai, Mohamed Abdul Satar and Amina Hamed Ahmed Alobaidi

InTech 2012, Prof. Marek Kowalski (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-51-0288-5

9. Evaluation of a Therapeutic Alternative for Telogen Effluvium: A Pilot Study

Alfredo Rossi, Lara Priolo, Alessandra Iorio, Enrica Vescarelli, Martina Gerardi, Daniele Campo,

Donato Di Nunno, Simona Ceccarelli, Stefano Calvieri, Antonio Angeloni, Cinzia Marchese

Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications, 2013, 3, 9-16

10. A preliminary study on topical cetirizine in the therapeutic management of androgenetic alopecia

A. Rossi, D. Campo, M. C. Fortuna, V. Garelli, G. Pranteda, G. De Vita, L. Sorriso-Valvo, D. Di Nunno & M. Carlesimo

Journal of Dermatological Treatment 2017 Jun 29:1-3

11. Volatile Compounds of Black Cumin Seeds (Nigella sativa L.) from Microwave-Heating and Conventional Roasting

Mustafa Kirala

J Food Sci. 2012 Apr;77(4):C481-4

12. FORMULATION AND FINDING OUT THE EFFICACY OF THE HERBAL HAIR OIL OVER SIMPLE COCONUT OIL (PURIFIED) – A FORMULATION AND CLINICAL STUDY IN BANGLADESH

Md. Shahinoor Rahaman Dulal*, Hasib Sheikh , Mohammad Abu Taher , Mohammad Sayeed Ur Rahaman , Zakia Rahman and M.A. Malek

International Journal Of Pharmaceutical Sciences And Research 24 March, 2014


Your hair cuticle challenge: Look fly, not fly-away

5a6e39bd5a382cf79c72cba44f01f1fb

https://www.pinterest.com.mx/rosemarie0509/fab-hair-options/

The hair cuticle is your first line of defense, your last resort for moisture retention and your source of shine in your finished hairstyle.

Not only does the cuticle protect the cortex from undue harm, it also works overtime regulating the passage of moisture into and out of it. The cortex is at the mercy of the cuticle, with resilience or elasticity directly affected by any chinks in the armor. With such great responsibility, the cuticle has the power to make or break your hair flair.

Some say the best offence is a good defence, so let’s find out what we can do to keep our cuticle cute, cared for and under control.

But what is the hair cuticle?

The hair cuticle is the outermost protective layer of your hair strand. It is made up of a series of layered keratinized cells that work together to shield the cortex from damage. Since the cuticle has no melanin cells, or melanocytes, it does not contribute to the color of your hair.

Keratin protein cells, or keratinocytes, go through a life cycle of their own. They are produced in the hair follicle through a process of cell division and replication by the hair matrix. As the cells separate from the hair matrix, they die and are pushed up to fill the hair shaft. The dead cells harden and form various components of the hair shaft, some of which are designated to the cuticle. When referring to the cuticle, we specifically mean the shingle-like formation that builds the outer sheath.

Based on your hair type, you can expect to find a variation in the number of layers of cuticle. Not just from one head of hair to another, but also between strands on the same head of hair.  In fact, on some individual hair strands, that variation can occur from one side to the next.

An average straight hair strand has 6 to 10 cuticle layers, which are applied in a relatively uniform fashion. If you’re dealing with curls, however, you may have as few as 2 cuticle layers on the inner side of the curl and up to 10 on the outer side of the curl.

Depending on which way your curl rolls, straightening of that curl may cause the less protected side of the hair strand to be exposed to the elements. This could be one of the reasons why changing someone’s natural hair pattern opens it up to exposure to more damage.

The cuticle layers point in the direction of the tip of the hair strand, which makes total sense when you think about brushing your hair. And the reason why teasing your hair creates volume. You are essentially grooming against the grain, roughing up the cuticle and simulating the expansion of your hair strand’s natural thickness.

Opening and closing the cuticle

A nice tight, smooth cuticle provides the best reflective surface for the appearance of shine and healthy hair. We often sacrifice this layer in our attempts to change our hair into styles that are not innately natural for us.

Open to possibilities

When the call for change sets in, we have to lift the cuticle to gain access to the cortex where the genetic template to our hair type lives. Opening or lifting the cuticle requires alkaline substances to be directly applied to the hair.

The easiest and most common way to lift the cuticle is to wet your hair. Water naturally has the ability to penetrate the cuticle layer and enter the cortex to cause some swelling of the hair shaft. That swelling keeps the cuticle slightly open, or ajar and allows cleansing agents and shampoos to penetrate.

On dry hair, alkaline substances open the cuticle. Relaxers, perms and hair color have an alkaline base, which is why they are applied to dry hair. When the cuticle opens, it allows for a concentrated chemical solution to enter the cortex and make changes to the curl pattern or color.

Closed for successful styling  

Healthy Hair Cuticle

http://beautystat.com/site/hair/how-to-tell-if-your-hair-is-damaged-and-the-best-products-to-treat-it/

Healthy hair cuticle

The issue of closing the cuticle arises after every wash day. As stated earlier, water has opened the cuticle and, depending on your wash day routine, is now waiting to be closed up to resume its role of protection.

Conditioner is said to have the necessary pH to close an open cuticle and the best ones are designed to do just that. Your hair will actually feel softer when the cuticle is laying flat, or tightly closed.

Another way to close your cuticle is cold water. A cold water rinse after conditioning is reported by some to clamp shut those cuticle layers, while others say it has no effect but to make your shower unpleasant. Let me offer some anecdotal evidence that may persuade you to try your own experiment.

Living in a particularly cold climate, I often leave the house with wet hair. I’ve always let my hair air dry as an attempt to minimize frizz. On one notable occasion it was cold enough outside to cause my hair to freeze slightly, much like when you have a sculptural gel applied. Later in the day, while inside the warm comforts of my destination, I noticed a remarkable difference in the amount of shine and curl definition. Decidedly, a great hair day. Still looking for a way to replicate this without braving an icy cold shower, but I believe the cold works.

One other alternative way to close the cuticle that may rescue you from the cold rinse option is an apple cider vinegar rinse. Apple cider vinegar is acidic and helps to balance the pH of the hair. The perfect pH for hair is  5.5 – 6.5. Urbanbushbabies.com recommends a hair rinse recipe, consisting of 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar to 2 cups of water, to achieve a closed cuticle and increase overall shine.

FLARED CUTICLE

http://hairmomentum.com/

Do you have hair-raising cuticle damage?

Since the cuticle makes up the external layer of your hair strand, when it’s damaged you know it. Hair that feels rough to the touch, dry or brittle is more than likely suffering from a damaged cuticle. Existence of split ends provides definitive evidence of a damaged cuticle.

Damage to the cuticle happens, in part, through exposure to environmental factors, but is most likely due to personal styling practices, including chemical treatments. Damage tends to build up over time and can start out with minor chipping in the cuticle that later expands into greater weakness of the hair strand because of the gap created in the armor.

When you first see signs of split ends, the best thing to do is have your hair trimmed above the point where the split end starts. This will prevent the separation from traveling up the shaft and along the length of your hair.

Other signs of cuticle damage can be identified through hair breakage. When the cortex gets dried out, the dryness also permeates the cuticle. To look at it up close, you would see definite signs of cracking. Any point of cracking is like a fault line. This means where a crack appears, a break can, and probably will, follow. Excessive blow dryer use and hot styling tools tend to be the cause of these extreme drying conditions.

Minimize the hurt on your hair

There are a few things you can do to try to keep your cuticle in good shape. First and foremost, go easy on the applied friction. This is anything from the extreme of dry brushing to the simple act of going to bed without first covering and tying your hair down.

You may want to include some of the following practices in your hair care routine:

  • Aside from covering and tying your hair before bed, use of a silk or satin pillowcase will reduce night-time friction.
  • Change the way you brush or comb your hair. Try dividing your hair into smaller sections before attempting to brush out those tangles. Be gentle as you comb or brush out the knots, trying not to tear haphazardly at your mane.
  • When dying or relaxing your hair, be careful to only apply the product to virgin hair or new growth. This means when you’re touching up, your product should only cover the base of your hair, close to the scalp. Any overlapping of product can create excessive damage to previously treated sections.
  • Minimize excessive heat from styling appliances. Many of us use extra hot curling irons to improve the curl setting action. Experiment with your heat settings until you find the lowest one capable of giving you the outcome you’re looking for.

Porous cuticle problems

Black hair has a tendency to be porous. In curly hair, the convex side of the hair shaft has a thinner  cuticle than the concave side of the same shaft. That means you can have as few as two layers of cuticle protection on the outside of your curl and the inner side will have between six and 10 layers. Fewer layers means less protection from harm and abuse.

Some porosity issues have to do with the natural curl shape and how the cuticle characteristically lays as it follows the curve. If you think about what it’s like to try to pry open a box lid that has been nailed shut, a gap beneath the nail head makes it easier to pry open. As the cuticle “shingles” follow the bend of the curled shaft, they would naturally lift a little to navigate the turn. That structural gap can allow for penetration of wayward elements and either the escape of moisture or the penetration of chemicals or environmental toxins.

The best way to combat a lifted cuticle is to use some of the hair rinsing methods outlined above to close the cuticle as tightly as possible. If excessive damage is the culprit of your porosity issues, protein treatments are essential in repairing large holes and gaps in the hair strand.

Keep in mind that applying protein is not a long term fix because the actual hair strand is dead. It may fill the gaps temporarily but will wash out easily since there are no living protein cells to fuse with and rebuild the wall.

Although you can’t change the number of cuticle layers assigned to your hair type, a more permanent improvement of cuticle strength can arise out of proper diet and nutrition. Providing your body with the right nutrients gives the hair follicle more stable building blocks to work with as it processes and produces the hair fibre.

Make it a habit to inspect your cuticle regularly. Early intervention of self-inflicted damage can spare your hair from more trauma than is necessary. Remember to get your hair trimmed regularly and often.

Have you developed any tips and tricks when working with your cuticle? Share with us your successes and failures. We’re eager to hear from you!

The sebaceous gland: Oil shortage or overdrive?

frizzy greasy limp hair

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/beauty/hair/tips/a22023/fix-frizzy-greasy-limp-hair/

If you’ve ever experienced excessively dry, or possibly oily hair and scalp,  it’s more than likely the sebaceous gland played a part in it. Tasked with providing moisture and lubrication to our skin and hair, it holds the key to that healthy glow everyone raves about.

While trying to achieve your own definition of balanced hair greatness, discover the challenges you may face, ways to combat them and means to support healthy production from the sebaceous glands.

Skin deep source of moisture

Sebaceous gland anatomy

http://epomedicine.com/

The sebaceous glands are microscopic multi-lobed glands, which attach to the hair follicle’s duct beneath the surface of the skin. One or more glands may surround each hair follicle. Their purpose is to produce a waxy, oily substance called sebum, which is regularly deposited into the follicle where hair is being produced.

The glands deposit sebum into the hair follicle duct on the hairs, and bring it to the skin’s surface along the hair shaft. Located all over the human body, with the exception of the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet, this process is dominating your square footage.

The rate at which the sebaceous gland produces sebum varies from one person to the next and is subject to certain hormonal influences. For example, in children, the sebaceous gland is not active until the onset of puberty. Presence of androgens, male sex hormones like testosterone, increase sebaceous gland production, whereas the presence of estrogen is reported to inhibit sebaceous gland production. Since both men and women have their fair share of both these sets of hormones, over production is not gender specific.

Also known as a lipid, sebum is composed of triglycerides, wax esters, squalene, and metabolites of fat-producing cells. There are a number of responsibilities the sebum performs:

  • moisture for the hair fibre – as the sebum is deposited into the hair follicle duct, it naturally coats the hair, as it travels with the growth of the hair out to the skin’s surface.
  • lubrication of the skin – sebum keeps your skin waterproof since lipids don’t dissolve in water. Not only does it protect you from taking on too much water, it also protects you from excessive water loss. The film sebum makes on your skin regulates the passing of water so that dehydration is kept at bay. This property comes from the wax esters in the composition of sebum.
  • protection from wayward bacteria – a very fine, slightly acidic film forms on the surface of the skin as a result of the sebum, and acts as a barrier to bacteria, viruses, and other potential contaminants that might penetrate the skin
  • distribution of vitamin E – as a fat-soluble antioxidant, vitamin E is brought to the skin to protect tissue from damage caused by substances called free radicals, which can harm cells, tissues, and organs. They are believed to play a role in certain conditions related to aging. Vitamin E: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

Sebum overload

If you have an overly active set of sebaceous glands, you may experience either greasy looking hair, clogged follicles or at times both.

Greasy hair tends to be associated to fine hair types and the fair-haired. When this plagues you your hair will appear limp and oversaturated or heavy. It will not respond well to styling efforts.

Although this is not a typically natural occurrence for black hair, you could experience these symptoms from overuse of products and build up of applied oils and creams.

If you hair is particularly greasy, find a cleansing product that will support the rebalancing and distribution of oils on your scalp and hair shaft. Be cautious here. You don’t want to completely strip your head of oil. When you dry out your scalp, the sebaceous glands read that signal as requiring more oil to be produced and do the opposite of what you want.

Your scalp will display excessive oil in another way. It can cause scaly patches, red skin and stubborn dandruff. This is often referred to as seborrheic dermatitis. Excessive build up on the skin’s surface can also lead to plugged or clogged follicles. If not treated, the plugged follicle may stop producing hair and you may experience temporary hair loss.

In a dry spell

If you hair is looking dry and flyaway, you may or may not have under-producing, or blocked sebaceous glands. With curly hair, the sebum will not necessarily travel along the hair shaft because of the twists and turns. It’s possible you have normal sebum secretion, which is unable to travel without assistance. When that happens it sits on your scalp, potentially waiting to be reabsorbed.

Dry scalp is also directly related to a reduction in the production of sebum. As a result, the skin can become tight and itchy. The reduction in production of sebum may be due to blockage of the sebaceous glands, but that is not always the case.

Sometimes the scalp becomes itchy due to contact with allergens. Contact dermatitis is caused by irritants in soaps and shampoos. The difference here, contact dermatitis will flare up immediately after contact with the offending substance.

Dry hair will look dull and be more susceptible to breakage. If you are unable to stretch your hair without it snapping in two, you have overly dry hair. Intervention is required. You can try oils that are compatible with the chemistry of your hair and easily absorbed by your scalp without causing build up.

One of these oils is coconut oil. It has been discovered that the chemical makeup of this oil,  encourages penetration into the hair strand and passes with ease through the cuticle’s defense system. The lauric acid naturally occurring in coconut oil has a low molecular weight, and is able to penetrate the hair shaft, nourishing the hair with vitamins, minerals and the medium-chain fatty acids.

Aside from that, coconut oil is rich in antioxidants, and has antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. When used on hair, it improves scalp health, fights infections and fungus, supports hair growth, all while adding volume and shine without the common harmful chemicals.

Another good oil is olive oil. Olive oil is a source of squalene, one of the lipids found in human sebum. Squalene is said to assist in anti-oxidation, generates oxygen, stimulates immunity and regulates fat. Olive oil is an emollient, which means it’s able to penetrate the shaft to create a shinier appearance and improve elasticity. This is a great option that you may already have on hand in your kitchen.

Somewhere in between

The quest for normal hair is one pursued by many. Much attention is usually given to the problem areas relating to healthy hair growth, but we can’t forget the “normals” out there.

If you have regular or average sebum production along with strong, resilient and shiny hair, make note of your maintenance routine, give thanks and move on. You have been given a gift. Just stay on top of any changes as your hormonal balance begins to shift and adjust accordingly. You are the envy of many.

But what if you’re in between, but in a bad way. Schwarzkopf calls this a mixed condition. You may be experiencing overactive sebaceous glands, poor scalp condition and an overabundance of sebum. Best case scenario, this can be absorbed back into the scalp without clogging any follicles or preventing hair growth. However, you still have an issue with excessively dry, frizzy ends, subject to breakage. A dry hair/oily root situation is not ideal and requires a divided approach.

First, you need to apply some oil to your dry ends, ideally prior to washing. If you can allow your hair’s cuticle to absorb some moisture 2 to 12 hours prior to washing, it will protect it from further depletion. Then when washing your hair, focus your attention on the scalp area. Cleanse to remove excess oil but not to strip to the point of dryness.

Application of coconut oil post-wash may be the best course of action. In the case where the oily build up on your scalp is due to bacteria, the coconut oil has a built-in ability to fight infections and fungal deposits.

How to support healthy sebaceous glands and sebum production

It was stated earlier that male sex hormones, or androgens, stimulate sebaceous gland production. If you want to keep your sebaceous glands operating at their best, you can try including some of the following vitamins and supplements or eating a balanced diet of healthy foods.

Healthfully.com reports Vitamins A, B1, C and E, chromium, folic acid, and Ginkgo biloba are believed to increase androgen. There are also supplements like L-arginine, L-tyrosine, magnesium, nitric acid, selenium, and zinc, which have positive effects, as well. Androgen production is also believed to be stimulated with the inclusion of bananas, figs, and raw oysters.

Sebum production is believed to be supported with the inclusion of apricots, foods rich in antioxidants, beta-carotene, brewer’s yeast, legumes, liver, natural fruit and vegetable juices, nuts, papaya, persimmons, potatoes, sweet potatoes, wheat and whole grain products.

Common allergens and some poor food choices can lead to the wrong type of oil production and skin inflammation. These include certain dairy products, foods containing iodine, processed foods, refined carbohydrates, salt, seaweed, shellfish and trans-fats. Ingesting these can cause clogged pores or allergic reactions, if you are susceptible to them.

One of the best things you can do for yourself is drink plenty of water. Clean, filtered water will keep skin pores hydrated and flush away toxins that can lead to skin issues.

A healthy relationship

Buried in the skin, the close relationship between the sebaceous gland and hair health is undeniable. Good things grow from good ground. Keep your skin and pores healthy  and the subsequent hair will thrive and also be healthy.

Have you ever faced any challenges with out of balance or oily hair? Do you have irregular sebum production? In the comments below, let us know your hair type and what you did to combat these issues.

The Cortex: Providing Substance for the Human Hair Shaft

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If you’ve ever wondered why your hair is fine or coarse, brown or black, you’ve actually been questioning the contents of your hair cortex. Although the human hair shaft is comprised of the cuticle, cortex and, depending on the size of the strand, the medulla, it’s the cortex that makes up the bulk of the hair strand. It is also responsible for the display of your hair’s genetic code, which includes color, hair type and texture.

It’s this part of the human hair shaft that is the target for chemical alteration in regards to natural color and curl pattern and the most in need of protection by the cuticle.

What’s in your hair’s genes?

The cortex is a complex system of cells. There is a mass of cells called the dermal papilla which acts as the boss to the entire hair growth system. It is instrumental in the development of the original hair follicle and dictates the size of the hair fibre that will eventually be produced. (For more information about the hair follicle and how it reproduces hair, see Human hair follicle: Your hair growth factory.)

http://www.howtomakeyourhairgrowfastertips.com/the-structure-of-hair/

The larger or more broad the dermal papilla surface, the thicker the hair strand that will form within its respective hair follicle. Not every follicle on your head is exactly the same, however. This is why it’s possible to have varying textures or hair types on different parts of your head.

The hair matrix takes its direction from the dermal papilla. The cell division and replication that occurs within the hair matrix create the hair shaft and produce the necessary cellular material required to form the hair fibre.

Keratin and melanin cells both originate from this cellular process. These cells undergo a process of keratinization, which is fancy for die off and harden. The keratinized cells get pushed up into the follicle duct and advance the hair strand upward. In other words, they add to the base of your hair strand creating the growth you see above your scalp line.

Protein packs a punch.

Human hair is made up of a type of fibrous protein called keratin, which consists of a combination of 18 amino acids essential to hair health. It is an insoluble protein, which contains large amounts of cysteine. This particular amino acid is responsible for the rich sulfur content and plays an important role in the structure and cohesion of hair.

Within the cortex, the keratin is organised into protofibrils, composed of 4 chains of keratin. The protofibrils can be compared to a rope-like structure, where its strength is dependent on the bonds or bridges between the atoms of individual chains. These bonds are of variable strength.

Disulphide bonds are the strongest bonds, formed out of the attraction between amino acid cysteine and other sulfur containing molecules. The placement of these bonds form the shape and structure of your hair strand. Cysteine amino acids are capable of bonding with other cysteines further down the hair shaft and is the contributing factor to any curling of hair.

Curly hair has more of these bonds than straight hair. The follicle’s shape and resulting angle that it travels towards the surface of the skin allows for different parts of the hair shaft to come close enough together to allow a bond to form.

Acting on the sulphurated parts of the keratin amino acid chain, disulfide bridges can only be broken with the use of chemicals. Weaker bonds, such as hydrogen bonds, are ones that can be altered with the addition of water alone.

Found amongst these keratinized cells are pigment cells, or carriers of melanin.

Are you high on melanin?

The color of your hair depends on the shade and amount of pigment located in the cortex, with some influence coming from tiny air spaces found within the hair itself. Melanin represents only 1% of the total composition of your hair, so its influence is impressive despite its volume. There are two melanin types found to represent the spectrum of available hair colors; eumelanin and pheomelanin.

Eumelanin provides black and brown pigment and is particularly abundant among black populations. The absence of eumelanin dictates whether hair is blonde or not.

Pheomelanin provides pink and red colors and is the main pigment found among red-haired individuals. Aside from providing color, melanin’s functional purpose is for protection against UV-radiation. Pheomelanin is nowhere near as protective as eumelanin.

Are you starting to find white hairs? That means pigment is absent from the cortex. The contained air becomes reflective of light and is responsible for the whiteness. The difference between white and gray hair is generally associated with the overall mixture of white and colored hairs you have.

What shape do you subscribe to?

Mechanically speaking, the cortex is largely responsible for the elasticity and tensile strength of the hair fibre. It is made up of cortical cells, which when counted as one unit, comprise 75 to 80% of the strand’s overall volume.

 

http://swiftcraftymonkey.blogspot.ca/search?q=hair+chemistry

 

Until closer examination, the general thought was that every hair strand had a round shaped circumference. These cross-sections, representing various hair types, highlight the fact that hair strands are as unique as the head they come from. The composition of the cortex and the shape of the cortical cells included in it, define the outer shape of each hair strand.

It’s possible for an individual cortical cell to be one of two different classifications, where the combination of these differing cells dictate your hair type and resulting curl pattern.

Cortical cells define ethnic differences.

Not all cortical cells are shaped the same. Dr. Ali N. Syed does a great job explaining the complexities of the cortex. There are two main types of cells, ortho-cortical and paracortical. Para-cortical cells are shaped like spindles and are fairly consistent in shape, although overall size can vary from one to another.

If you have straight hair of Asian or European descent, your cortex will be primarily made up of these. Bone straight hair only has para-cortical cells, as they organize themselves in a uniformly stacked fashion. When hair starts to become wavy, or expresses some curl, you can expect to see the introduction of ortho-cortical cells in its structure.

Ortho-cortical cells do not have a uniform shape to them and one might even call them random in their makeup. Much like its para-cortical counterpart, they are also generated in various sizes.

Curlier hair types have a cortex filled with a majority share of these ortho-cortical cells, with a small amount of para-cortical cells, typically lining one side of the hair shaft. Considered an example of mixed race hair, you can expect larger, fuller curl patterns as a result of this composition.

The curliest hair types have equal shares of both otho- and para-cortical cells. It may be the struggle for cortex domination occurring between the two types that causes the exaggerated curl definition found in African descent hair.

An interesting hair type cross-section comparison between straight and curly hair shows the uniformity of straight hair clearly. The curly haired strand presents itself in a whorl pattern, much like you would see in a fingerprint. If you think about the vast number of fingerprints in the world, this could be some indication of the vast number of hair combinations that are actually possible.

https://www.slideshare.net/dralisyed/1-structureof-hair-euro-july-08 Left, curly hair – Right, represents straight hair.

Dry, broken and lacking elasticity.

The extent of the dryness of your hair can be attributed to something called cell membrane complex. There are two forms in the human hair strand. One type is found at the cuticle layer and another within the cortex used to bind the keratinized cells together.

http://yournaturalhair.com/

 

Cell membrane complex is a lipid material formed out of essential fatty acids, ceramides and cholesterol. It performs an important role in structure, tensile strength and elasticity. Let’s try to apply an analogy here to improve your understanding.

Think of the internal cell membrane like window putty. In older windows, when seating a pane of glass, they often used a putty because it was flexible and would allow for expansion and contraction of the glass during changes of temperature, without compromising its function. If that putty were to dry out, the glass would become loose and rattle if windy or possibly even fall out if moved.

Cell membrane complex operates in much the same way. It binds the cortex together, allows for flexibility in the hair shaft and provides a built-in pocket of moisture to keep the hair strand pliable and responsive to manipulation.

The cuticle has its own version of cell membrane complex with a slightly different composition. Responsible for protection and moisture retention, the cuticle is the first line of defense when washing your hair. A study was conducted measuring the effects shampoo had on the lipid layers of hair.

One shampoo application can be responsible for extracting approximately 50% of cuticle layer fats, with repeated shampooing increasing the reduction to between 70 and 90%. When the cuticle is doing its job, it is believed that the internal fats found in the cortex are not affected to the same extent.

When an extreme depletion occurs, the internal fats migrate from inside the cortex of the hair shaft to the outside cuticle layer in an attempt to remedy the depletion. You can imagine that if this cycle happens enough, the cortex will become dry and brittle and you will experience breakage.

Because the hair shaft is dead, the lipids don’t have the ability to restore themselves. Much like the window analogy, when the cell membrane complex is dried out it loses its functionality.

The sebum produced from the sebaceous gland would be ineffective in trying to coat the curly hair shaft since it would not have the benefit of gravity to help it slide along the shaft.

In most cases of extreme dryness, new growth is the best replacement.

There are reports that coconut oil has a natural penetrating ability when applied to human hair because of the chemistry of its fatty chains. Applying coconut oil may provide some temporary relief from dried out hair but the jury is still out on whether or not it would revitalize a cortex depleted of all its built-in moisture.

Water: Friend or foe?

We tend to have a love/hate relationship with moisture. On the one hand, we crave it to keep our hair looking healthy and free of frizz. On the other hand, when moisture asserts itself into your hair situation when you least expect it—think high humidity—you are less than impressed with what it does to your style.

So what’s a girl to do? Knowledge is the first line of defence. The proteins that make up the human hair have a natural affinity for water. When water is introduced, either directly or indirectly, as in the atmosphere, your hair strand seeks to soak it up.

Dr. Andrew Avarbock, who writes for the New York Times, claims that the better hydrated your hair is the less it will react to environmental moisture conditions. He explains that the swelling of the hair strand, evidenced by the appearance of frizz, is a direct result of dry, or porous hair soaking up water from the atmosphere. The introduction of water alters any existing bonds between your keratin proteins.

Many a battle has been lost with humidity, but if optimal cortical health plays a part in conquering this one, improved care is so worth it.

Give your cortex a head start

Knowing that your hair is made of protein, water and essential fatty acids, direct attention to your diet can provide positive results. Most people are not deficient in protein so we’ll focus on the increase of essential fatty acids and water.

One of the key essential fatty acids is Omega-3. You can find this abundantly in foods like salmon, mackerel, tuna, white fish, sardines, egg yolks, walnuts and hemp seeds. If these food sources don’t appeal to you, you can always try taking an omega-3 or fish oil supplement.

Increase your water intake. The more water you drink, the better your skin looks. Since hair is a direct descendant of your skin, keratinized protein, it makes sense that it will improve how your hair looks and functions as well.

Not sure you can see a difference? Watch your fingernails for clues. Also made of keratinized protein, your fingernails will display hydration deficiencies that are easy to recognize. If your fingernails begin to break more, look dry or lose their natural luster, you can be certain your hair will do the same, if it isn’t already.

As with most things, what you put into it is what you get out of it. Our bodies are no different. Try increasing your essential fatty acids and water intake and watch the natural shine and elasticity of your hair come back to life.

Have you made any observations about your hair’s cortex and how it responds to treatment? If you’ve got some hidden gems, please share with us below. It’s our goal to make everyone’s hair life better than ever.

Human hair follicle: Your hair growth factory

ATTENTION CONTROL FREAKS. You’ve cut. You’ve colored. You’ve curled. You’ve straightened. You’ve coaxed. And sometimes…you’ve even cried. There’s only one thing that has more control over your hair than you and that’s the follicle. Every defining feature of your hair originates from these micro-sized factories embedded in your skin.

The human body is actually covered with 5,000,000 hair follicles, excluding the palms of our hands and the soles of our feet. An average head will have 1,000,000 hair follicles on it with 100,000 of those covering the scalp area. That’s 100,000 reasons to try to understand why your hair is the way it is. From curl pattern to color, you’ll find out all you ever wanted to know about the production of your hair and more.

How hair is produced and grown

The hair follicle is first developed in the womb at about the 3 month mark. Epithelial cells grow downwards to form a plug in the skin and join up with the dermal papilla at the base of the follicle.

The dermal papilla is responsible for hair generation, size and color, since it directs the matrix cells used to build or form the hair strand. The larger the dermal papilla, the larger the hair fibre it will produce.

The matrix cells go through a process of cell division and differentiation and push upwards forming three enclosed cylinders; the outer root sheath, inner root sheath and what will later become that hair fibre you know and love.

The outer root sheath separates the hair fibre from the rest of the skin. It’s the inner root sheath that forms the mold that matrix cells feed into. This is actually where and how your curl is defined. This molded path determines the size of strand and amount of curve the completed hair will exhibit. Because every follicle is responsible for its own output, you can begin to see how variations in your curl pattern can occur on different areas of your scalp.

As the inner root sheath reaches the sebaceous gland, it begins to break down, leaving the hair strand free to exit the skin and ready to be styled. The resulting hair strand is a keratinized version of the hair follicle cells; a by-product of the hair follicle processes, which become factory output.

Due to the fact that the exposed hair strand is dead, as far as biology goes our efficiency ratings must be through the roof. Reduce, reuse, recycle has nothing on human cell use.

Stages of hair growth and development

For those of you stressing over the length of your hair, hair does not grow continually. Also of importance, growth stages can be vastly different from one person to the next. Understanding this may help to alleviate any anxiety you may have in this area.

The follicle is a tiny but powerful factory, which throughout the human lifespan hardly ever stops working. This hair shaft factory is unique in that it is the only organ in the mammalian body which, for its entire lifetime, undergoes cyclical transformations.There are 4 phases that a mature hair follicle passes through. These define the path of growth and development:

  • growth (anagen)
  • regression (catagen)
  • rest (telogen), and
  • shedding (exogen).

The hair growth phase (Anagen)

Hair growth is dependent on the individual’s age, hormones, and nutritional status, as well as physiologic and pathologic factors. The length of time spent in this phase determines the length your hair can achieve.

The human scalp hair follicles can stay in this phase from 2 to 8 years, thus producing long hairs. While in this growth phase, the matrix cells are continually dividing. As new cells are formed they push the older ones up the inner root sheath and eventually out beyond the scalp.

Normal hair growth during this phase is claimed to be 1cm every 28 days, which doesn’t sound like much. Again, your hormones will play a part in this production rate. As a result, you may experience slower or faster growth rates, depending on your specific biology. If you fall outside of the norm in failure to produce fast enough, it may be worth a trip to the doctor for a diagnosis of any underlying conditions or causes.

The good news is growth is not a synchronized event, so each hair passes through the three phases independently. At any given time, it has been estimated that approximately 86 percent of scalp hairs are in anagen, 13 percent in telogen, and 1 percent in catagen. Excessive hair loss may indicate external factors, such as stress, nutrient deficiency or chronological age.

The hair regression phase (Catagen)

This transitional phase is sort of like the clean up phase after a large remodel on a home. All the construction is done for now, but in order to say the house is complete and ready to stand on its own, a clean up process has to happen.

All of the cellular activity that was in overdrive is now slowing down and easing back from its place of prominence during the growth phase. The old hair shaft factory is dismantled so that a new shaft can be produced at the beginning of the next growth phase. This process is called apoptosis.

Apoptosis is a highly controlled form of cell death carried out by implosion, and is a critical factor of the hair cycling process. After cell fragmentation, the cells are essentially eaten, or reabsorbed.

As soon as follicle growth stops, degeneration starts. That is the typical or normal cycle of events. However, there are indications that the catagen phase can start prematurely and/or abort the growth phase. Some of these causes are chronic or severe stress, external trauma, hormone issues or chemical influences, such as prescription medications.

It is said that during the catagen phase, the dermal papilla finds its place of rest next to the epithelial bulge just south of the sebaceous gland. Scientists muse that if the dermal papilla does not manage to reposition itself in this way, out of the fats and into the dermis, that premature death of the follicle is possible.

Time for a rest phase. (Telogen)

The telogen, or resting stage, is when hair follicles stop making hair. At this point in the process, they dump their last cells on to the end of the existing hair fiber, forming a lump. This lump of cells acts as an anchor to hold the hair fiber in the tube of the hair follicle. This non-living hair is attached to the skin with a “club-like” root, but will eventually be pushed out or pulled out during combing or washing and replaced by a new growing hair.

The telogen stage typically lasts for two to three months before the scalp follicles enter the anagen phase and the cycle is repeated all over again.

Shedding the dead hair weight. (Exogen)

Five to 15 percent of scalp follicles are in the telogen stage at any given time. On average, people lose anywhere from 50 to 150 scalp hairs a day, so shedding this amount of hair may be considered normal. Shedding in excess of this may be due to an increase in the follicles of scalp hair in the telogen stage and should be addressed to contain hair loss.

It is not yet clear whether shedding is an active, regulated process or a passive event. If it’s passive, that would mean shedding occurs as a result of the new hair growth in the anagen phase dislodging the old hair from the follicle as it presses upward.

Hair growth and loss in humans is random and not seasonal or cyclical. At any given time, a random number of hairs will be in various stages of growth and shedding. In older people, the hair cycle shortens, the follicles gradually give up producing long, strong hair, and the hairs eventually become thinner and shorter. The overall result may be either a general thinning of the hair density, or even a degree of baldness.

Follicle health issues that prevent growth or create hair loss

When the growth phase stops prematurely, it results in unfavorable conditions like alopecia and telogen effluvium. Armed with this information, scientists are seeking cures by trying to control the onset of the next phase (regression) in their attempts to combat hair loss and disease. Preventing early onset of the regression phase, allows the growth phase to properly fulfill its commitment to new growth.

Here is a list of possible reasons, or ailments, that can bring about hair loss, thinning or poor onset development. If you are concerned that you exhibit signs for any of these, please consult your physician:

  • traction alopecia. Traction alopecia is similar to trichotillomania but occurs after using inappropriate hair styling techniques.
  • alopecia due to physical injury. Any physical damage to the skin such as burns or frostbite may cause localized alopecia.
  • loose anagen hair syndrome. As the name suggests, people who have loose hair syndrome have hair that is easily pulled out by brushing or even by rubbing on a pillow at night.
  • congenital triangular alopecia. This form of hair loss is the result of incomplete skin development and differentiation at the temples.
  • aplasia cutis congenita. This form of hair loss is the result of incomplete embryonic skin development.
  • alopecia due to neoplasms / cancer. Cancer in the skin can directly destroy hair follicles. Cancers elsewhere in the body may also indirectly affect hair fiber growth.
  • alopecia due to hemochromatosis. Most people know that iron deficiency causes hair loss, but not many people know that too much iron in the body is toxic and can also cause alopecia.
  • permanent surgery induced alopecia. Surgery can promote alopecia at the site of incision or, in some plastic surgery procedures, extensive alopecia can develop.
  • alopecia due to celiac disease. Failure to follow a gluten free diet can lead to diffuse hair loss in celiac disease affected individuals.
  • Infectious Hair Diseases. There are a wide range of potential pathogens that can infect the scalp skin, hair follicles, or the hair fiber itself:
    • scalp ringworm . Scalp ringworm, or tinea capitis, is a common infection of the scalp skin that cause cause hair loss.
    • kerion. A kerion is not an infectious agent in itself rather a kerion is the skin lesion that develops when an infectious agent that normally causes scalp ringworm (tinea capitis) becomes more aggressive.
    • lice. Hair lice are a common complication, particularly in children.
    • demodex folliculorum. A very common infectious parasite suggested by some to be involved in hair loss.
    • seborrheic dermatitis. Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the skin of unknown cause or origin, characterized by moderate erythematic, dry, moist or greasy scaling and yellow-crusted patches on various areas of the body.
    • bacterial folliculitis. One of the most common causes of infectious folliculitis is bacteria. This page reviews the nature of bacterial folliculitis and treatments.
    • candida viral or parasitic folliculitis. Though folliculitis is most commonly caused by bacteria and fungi, candida yeasts, viruses, and parasites can sometimes cause folliculitis.
    • furuncles and carbuncles. Normally infectious folliculitis is a relatively mild and limited scalp inflammation. However, sometimes the infection can be more severe and widespread. When this occurs, furuncles or carbuncles may develop.
    • syphilis. Syphilis typically has three stages; primary, secondary, and late (tertiary), with different symptoms at each stage of the infection. In the secondary and tertiary stages of syphilis, hair loss is common and obvious.
    • black piedra and white piedra. Piedra, meaning stone in Spanish, is an asymptomatic fungal infection of the hair shaft, resulting in the formation of nodules of different hardness on the infected hair. There are two basic types; black piedra and white piedra.

If you’re interested in learning more about Trichology, the study of hair, check out What is Trichology (And When You Should See a Trichologist) 

Color me curious

Wondering how your hair color plays into all of this? Simply put, you could say it piggybacks on the keratinized cells but it actually has its own process before that can happen.

Melanin is contained in granules inside melanocytes, but in this state it is unable to provide any color; it must be transferred to the keratinocytes. The melanocytes are mostly located in the bulb and cortical layer of the hair, sandwiched between the numerous keratinocytes.

The hair bulb at the base of the hair follicle is populated with melanocytes alongside the keratinocytes. These melanocytes are responsible for planting pigment, or melanin granules, into the cells that form the cortex of the hair shaft.

Pigment comes from two types of melanin, eumelanin and pheomelanin. Whatever your specific hair color, its determined by the ratio of each granule dispersed into the cortical cells. Until the melanin is absorbed by the keratinocytes, it is effectively dormant and incapable of reflecting color.

As far as the growth cycle goes, pigment production also turns on and off outside of the anagen phase. Pigment cells are meant to turn back on when the next growth phase starts for new hair. If the pigment fails to restart production, that’s when hair starts to turn grey.

At the close of each growth cycle, some pigment-producing melanocytes become damaged and die off. There is a melanocyte stem cell reservoir at the top of the hair follicle, which can replenish the bulb and keep pigment production going. When that reservoir of stem cells is exhausted, however, pigment production stops and hair turns grey.

Are grey hairs on your horizon?

Genetics are important factors in determining when we might turn grey. Currently, there are no reports linking it to stress, diet or lifestyle. A tiny fraction of the population can attribute greying to autoimmune disease, such as vitiligo and alopecia areata. Both of these can damage pigment cells and bring about greying prematurely.

You have approximately 100,000 follicles to nurture, influence and protect so that your hair keeps coming back again and again. Whatever your hair challenges, if you think they stem from an issue with your hair follicle, leave us a note in the comments. Seeking information on a specific topic not covered here? Let us know and we’ll get to work gathering the details.

Hair Anatomy 101: The Foundations of Human Hair

Have you ever had one of those days? You find yourself standing in front of the mirror, staring at the marvel that is your hair, asking yourself, “Why?” Why does my hair grow like that? Why are my curls so random? How did I ever end up with this color? Do your questions have questions?

Hair Structure - medulla, cortex, cuticle, hair shaft, sheath, matrix, hair bulb, sebaceous gland

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Knowing our hair, the specifics of what we are actually dealing with and how it functions in the grand scheme of things, can make all the difference in the world when trying to achieve the latest look.

We regularly wage war with the tip and shaft of the hair strand, while the root and bulb do their thing below the surface. Starting from top to bottom, we’ll take a closer look at the anatomy of human hair and how its parts function together to create a healthy head of hair.

The hair shaft defines you

First and foremost, all hair, from root to tip, is made up of a water insoluble protein known as Keratin, which consists of many amino acids as its primary units.

Home of the split end, the tip of the hair is the part that we regularly trim off in order to keep the rest of the shaft healthy. It is possible for the split end to travel along the shaft and effectively sub-divide the natural thickness of your hair. When that happens, your hair will become weaker and more susceptible to breakage. Regularly trimming is recommended by hair professionals everywhere.

Within the shaft of your hair strand are the three main components, or building blocks, of human hair; the cuticle, cortex and medulla. It’s the internal chemistry and makeup of these which define the characteristics and manageability of your hair, in general.

You could say, the hair shaft holds the key to combating whatever hair insanity you regularly deal with. Excited to slay that dragon, we’re going to examine these building blocks now.

The building blocks of human hair

Cross section of hair - medulla, cortex, cuticle

http://www.labmuffin.com

There are three main components to the human hair shaft. Each of these are further subdivided and have their own complexities and challenges. Starting from the outside in, the shaft is comprised of:

  • a cuticle
  • cortex, and
  • medulla.

What’s so cute about the cuticle?

The cuticle layer is clear and absent of any hair color or pigmentation. It is the reflective element light bounces off of to radiate shine. The tighter closed or more smooth the cuticle layer is the more shine your hair will display.

Every cuticle is formed out of a series of layers of dead cells. If you think about the shingles on the roof of a house, you can easily visualize how the cuticle layers might overlap on an individual hair strand.

It is important to note, not every hair cuticle is created equal. There can be variations in thickness from as little as 2 layers up to 10. Surprisingly, these variations can occur on a single strand of hair, as well as between different hair strands on the same head of hair.

The gatekeeper and first line of defense.

As a protective layer, the cuticle acts as a gatekeeper and strives to keep unwanted elements external to the hair shaft, while keeping beneficial elements, like moisture, inside.

Because of the multiple layers, there is a substance between each which binds them together so that they operate as one unit. The damage of that substance through chemical treatments, styling products and styling practices causes the layers to separate and reduce the overall protective quality.

As the first line of defense for your cortex and an important element in the finishing of your crowning glory, you can see why it’s important to keep the cuticle healthy and at its best.

Let’s see how the cortex works alongside the cuticle.

Sometimes the core. Always the cortex.

Because the medulla is not present in all hair types, the cortex can sometimes act as the core or centremost part of certain hair shafts. Whether the medulla exists or not, the basic structure of the cortex remains the same.

Much like the cuticle, there are multiple cells that work together to form the cortex. The cortex is the thickest part of the hair when considering the diameter of a single hair strand. It is made up of a series of protein-based rod-shaped cells that run parallel to the length of your hair. These cells are not always a uniform shape. TODO The cortex: Giving substance to the human hair shaft  – explores these differences and more in greater detail.

Defining your hair color.

Within the cortex, you’ll find the major source of your hair color. Your individual pigmentation or melanin content resides here and dictates the hue of your tresses.

It is the cortex, where keratin protein accumulates, that needs to be accessed in order to change hair color  with dyes and chemicals. The keratin cellular chemistry is what is changed to create new colors and styles.

When the medulla layer is actually present, there can be some melanin cells found there as well. Read on for more information on this “now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t” layer.

Maybe the medulla. Maybe not.

The medulla, found at the core of some hair strands, appears to be the greatest mystery to hair care specialists and scientists today. As you search the internet, you’ll discover the definitive conclusion that the medulla layer is not present in fine hair, whatever the color.

The underlying function of the medulla is still in question. Dr. Ali N. Syed, chemist and founder of Avlon Industries Inc. with over 30 years experience developing hair care products, states that the medulla is full of air pockets and suggests it may be responsible for any potential volume found in particular hair types.

It’s the criminal forensic scientists that get the credit for documenting different types of medulla. They have discovered a variety in the structure of the medulla across different hair types and have created four categories for medulla classification:

  • continuous
  • interrupted
  • fragmented, and
  • absent.

They also claim that Native American and Asian hair types have been found to have continuous medulla as well as coarse hair, since instances of double medulla has been found in men’s beard hair.

Medulla may not be so mysterious.

Black Hair Spot would like to be the first to draw some conclusions from the data they have gathered. First, take into account Asian hair and Native American hair tends to be bone straight and highly resistant to chemical restructuring, in the case of perms and waves. Then add to that the fact that beard hair, where double medulla had been identified, is typically classified as very coarse. We can deduce that the medulla layer plays a strong role in the pliability of the hair shaft and overall structure in hair typing.

A good metaphor for comparison might be a spinal column, since a medulla runs through the centre of your hair shaft, when present at all:

  • continuous or unsegmented would be likened to rebar, inflexible and straight.
  • interrupted and fragmented would show signs of variable flexibility dependent on the frequency and space between naturally occurring gaps.
  • complete absence of medulla would experience flat, lifeless hair that is difficult to hold shape or style; you might say, spineless.

With this assumption in place, it appears that the most extreme classifications of the medulla layer, continuous and absent, prove to be the most difficult to alter chemically.

We’re excited to see where the scientists, who are pursuing this subject, land. Whether or not the medulla is critical to the shape and style of your hair, one thing is for certain. Your hair would be nothing without the following supporting actors.

Introducing the supporting actors in your hair health story

It’s no secret that your hair health is contingent upon what nutrients you supply internally and what you expose it to externally. Those hair headliners of yours may claim the credit, but they don’t do it all by themselves. They have the benefit of some strong supporting actors, which help you to command the attention you deserve for those beautiful tresses. In truth, your hair wouldn’t even exist without these below the surface supporters.

In particular, your tresses are supported by:

  • the hair follicle,
  • hair bulb, and
  • sebaceous gland.

Time to take a closer look at how they help your hair to steal center stage.

The fortitude of the hair follicle.

The hair follicle is more in control than you might think. While we’re frantically trying to restyle the hair north of our scalp, the hair follicle is hard at work replicating that same genetic template we’re working overtime to defeat.

According to www.keratin.com, the entire inventory of our hair follicles, their distribution and spacing across our entire body is formed in the earliest days of our womb experience. That means whatever you’ve got is what you’ve got, for the duration. Keeping them all functioning is your best hope for maintaining hair density. See Human hair follicle: Your hair growth factory for more information about the follicle and reasons why it may fail to produce hair.

One might assume all follicles look the same and differentiation in hair type only shows itself once it emerges from the scalp or skin. Not so.

Think of follicles like tiny hair factories with preset molds inside. As the hair grows, it travels through this genetically designed mold  and comes out the other side with your established  curl pattern. So if your hair has tight tiny curls, the embedded path reflects that. Large curls? Same thing, different path.

The follicle’s main job is to produce and “house” the hair. It has its own system for growth, shedding and regeneration, so it’s always on the job replicating your trademark tresses. The hair fibre is rooted inside the follicle until it is shed for new growth.

Hair bulb: the anchor of your hair strand

The hair bulb is located at the very bottom of the hair follicle and is the anchor that roots the hair into the skin. It contains the living cells, which divide and replicate, and reproduce the hair strand.

According to webMD.com, blood vessels nourish the cells in the hair bulb and deliver the hormones responsible for common modifications of hair that occur at different stages of your natural life. Graying hair or change of texture and density are common as we age.

It is the hair bulb that has a mass of nerve endings. These are the source of the pain you feel when someone pulls your hair. They do not travel along the length of the hair shaft, which is why you don’t feel pain when your hair is cut. That part of your hair is actually dead.

Those nerve endings are also responsible for the goose bump feeling you get or even the ability to notice when someone has brushed up against your locks when you aren’t looking.

Sebaceous glands: our built-in oil refinery.

Responsible for keeping your skin and hair moist, the sebaceous gland is a sac that is located in the skin. It produces an oil called sebum, which empties into the duct of the follicle. This provides lubrication and moisture as the hair shaft grows up to maturity.

Not all sebaceous glands produce oil at the same rate. Another dictate of genetics, a person can expect anywhere from dry, moderate, oily and very oily effects from this gland’s output. See TODO The sebaceous gland: Oil shortage or overdrive for more information.

Also not uncommon are variations in the amount of secretion throughout the anatomy of any one person. If you’ve ever experienced dry scalp but have an oily T-zone on your face, you’ll understand completely.

Sometimes your hair follicle can be blocked with dead skin cells. When that occurs, the sebaceous gland doesn’t know to stop production so sebum fills up the duct and a plug forms. If you’ve ever had hair bumps, or acne, this is an example of your blocked follicles at work.

On the plus side, sebum is responsible for protecting the body from bacteria, while keeping moisture locked in.  When it finds its way to the scalp, or epidermis, it begins to perform this protective role. Vitamin A is reported to be beneficial with sebum production and may be important if you’re trying to have a more supportive relationship with your sebaceous glands.

There is much more to our hair than meets the eye. This broad overview is intended to start the journey, unwrapping the mysteries that both confuse and astound us, as we go.

This exploration is far from over. Check back with us as we continue to share more educational content in this series.

If you happened to learn something that you didn’t already know, please leave a comment sharing how we blew your mind today. Even if your mind wasn’t blown, if you were alerted to something new, we’d love to hear from you.

What is Trichology (And When You Should See a Trichologist)

 

Dr. Linda Amerson - Trichologist Dr. Linda Amerson, founder of hairandscalpessentials.com performs a microscopic assessment.

http://scene-chicago.com/scene/index.php/alopecia-totalis-awareness-by-dr-linda-amerson/ Trichologist Dr. Linda Amerson, founder of hairandscalpessentials.com performs a microscopic assessment.

Trichology is the science of the hair and scalp, their structures, diseases and functions. Every stylist should have a decent foundation in trichology, even if you’re the stylist working on your own hair.  And if you’re aspiring to be a hair genius, there’s no way around trichology!

For example, if you’re trying out a new style you’ve seen on YouTube, it’s important to know your hair type as compared to the hair type of the vlogger, right? If you have Type 3 hair, it isn’t going to do what Type 4 hair can do, and vice versa. Well, hair typing is only a very, very small part of trichology, as it deals with hair structure.

Hair structure also has to do with the components of the hair, such as the hair cuticle and hair cortex. With regard to the scalp, there is the hair root, the hair follicle and the surrounding supportive structures.

Why is this important? Knowledge of the structure of the hair and scalp lays the foundation for understanding their function. The healthy structures and proper functioning of the hair and scalp, in turn, help trichologists recognize the disease state, when it occurs.

Hair conditions usually start with the scalp. If the scalp isn’t doing its job correctly, there may be some obstructions to the hair growing out properly, and hair loss or hair breakage could be the end result. Alopecia fall into this category. 

However, there are scalp ailments that affect the hair only as secondary symptoms when left untreated, like dandruff.

So the scalp is very important. We’ll talk more about the scalp and its disease states a little later.

History of Trichology

If you thought a trichologist was a hair specialist, you’re right, literally. The “trich” part of trichology started off as “trikhos” in Greek, which means hair.

It looks like the British of the early 1900s thought “trich” sounded way better than “capillum,” which is Latin for hair. Capillum-ology is definitely a mouthful for “the science of hair.” And of course it had to sound scientific, not like hair-ology…

Speculation aside, para-medical (non-physician) hair science practitioners have been called trichologists since 1902. This is the year when the landmark College for Diseases of the Hair was founded in Britain. It would later be known as The Institute of Trichologists, as it is still called today.

And why did they go through all the trouble of founding such an institute? It’s simple: to beat hair loss.

Why Do People See a Trichologist?

Primarily, folks go to a trichologist because their hair is falling out. Ideally, a person with the symptoms of hair loss will go to a trichologist right away. Unfortunately, not many people know what the symptoms are. (The symptoms of hair loss are listed below, under Conditions That Affect the Hair.)

On the other hand, a person might go to a trichologist if they have itchy, burning scalp or  dandruff that’s way out of control.

In other words, if the problem isn’t super obvious, like hair that’s already falling out, or scalp that needs a brillo pad to scratch, we don’t usually look up a specialist.

It’s better to visit a trichologist when you first notice continued symptoms, than to wait until the issue develops into something that affects your social life and tampers with your self esteem – hair loss.

What Does a Trichologist Treat?

A trichologist treats the hair and scalp conditions mentioned above, and many others. Here are the main categories.

Conditions That Affect the Hair

With regards to the hair, a trichologist looks into the causes behind hair breakage, hair miniaturization (thinning in diameter) and hair thinning in density. All of these can be precursors to hair loss. A trichologist should be able to tell you which of these are:

  • Leading to hair loss
  • Standalone conditions not leading to hair loss
  • Due to genetics, and leading to hair loss
  • Symptoms of an internal medical issue, such as a hormonal imbalance, which may or may not lead to hair loss, depending on the condition.

So yes, it’s complicated. That’s why a trichologist is a specialist.

If the trichologist determines the hair symptoms you are experiencing i.e., breakage, miniaturization or thinning, are due to a form of alopecia/hair loss, or not, she will treat you accordingly.

Below are the different types of alopecias. Each alopecia originates in the hair follicles of the scalp.

Included are notes on the alopecias that greatly affect African American women.

  1. Cicatricial, or scarring, alopecias. Unfortunately, scarring alopecias are synonymous with  permanent hair loss.Note: Out of the different kinds of cicatricial alopecias, one form, central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA), affects 30-40% of black women. It begins at the top or crown of the head. Like other forms of cicatricial alopecias, once the hair is shed, the loss is permanent.Note: Frontal fibrosing alopecia is another cicatricial alopecia that affects black women. With this, the hairline recedes and leaves scarring.Hair chemicals and tension are possible causes for both of these scarring alopecias.
  2. Noncicatricial – non-scarring alopecias. This can be genetic, female pattern hair loss, which is characterized by hair loss in the crown for women. If the cause isn’t genetic, non-scarring alopecias usually have an underlying medical reason.
  3. Diffuse alopecias. These instances of heavy breakage or shedding can be caused by underlying health issues or chemotherapy.
  4. Trauma alopecias. This signifies some type of physical harm done to the hair or scalp.Note: Traction alopecia, breakage and hair loss around the scalp margin due to tension and inflammation of the hair follicles, falls into this category. Approximately 1/3 of African American women have traction alopecia due to chemical and style-related trauma like relaxers and tight braids. Traction alopecia does not usually signify permanent hair loss, but if the traction continues, it can lead to it.

While the word alopecia means hair loss, normally the hair doesn’t fall out right away. Instead it passes through different stages of breaking, miniaturization and thinning until it eventually falls out. If your hair is already falling out by the time you visit a trichologist, you may have already reached the latter stages of the condition that’s causing it.

Conditions That Primarily Affect the Scalp

Scalp conditions are different from alopecias, but conditions like dry scalp can cause hair loss or slowed hair growth as secondary symptoms, if left untreated. If allowed, some scalp conditions can cause hair loss.

Notes are again added to indicate issues that pertain to African American women, specifically.

  1. Seborrheic dermatitis. Also known as seborrheic eczema, seborrheic dermatitis is the most common form of dandruff and is caused by a genetic sensitivity to malassezia yeast.Note: This dandruff, characterized by greasy scales, affects people of different races equally. However, there are differentiated treatments for people of African descent, owing to the dry nature of our hair that isn’t shampooed as frequently as the hair of other ethnicities.
  2. Irritant or contact dermatitis. Skin-irritating chemicals found in relaxers and some shampoos, conditioners and other hair treatments can cause itchy, dry scalp and flakes. Depending on the severity, inflammation and pustules may also develop. Irritation can also be caused by excessive heat used near the scalp, or cold and dryness in the environment.Note: Dry scalp, which is so rampant in the black community, is sometimes a manifestation of irritant dermatitis. This may be due to a single cause, or a combination of irritating product chemicals, excessive heat used during styling and living in cold and dry climates.
  3. Psoriasis. This is an autoimmune condition that is characterized, in the scalp, by small, dry, silvery flakes attached to the skin. It is believed to be primarily a genetic condition that has environmental triggers, like stress.
  4. Pityriasis amiantacea. These are layers of scales that adhere to the hairs. This is usually accompanied by the presence of staphylococcus bacteria. In other words, it is a staph infection.
  5. Folliculitis. This is the infection and inflammation of hair follicles.Note: The form known as folliculitis keloidalis primarily affects black men, and at times black women, in the occipital area at the back of the scalp. This is believed to be caused by the sensitive nature of the occipital area of the scalp combined with the use of hair clippers.
  6. Acne miliaris necrotica is a sparse form of acne of the hair follicles.
  7. Ringworm of the scalp, or tinea capitis, is a circular fungal infection that can cause hair breakage and loss in the area.Note: Scalp ringworm likes dark, damp conditions. So if you’re protective styling, don’t leave the style in past the recommended time period, and make sure your scalp dries thoroughly when you cleanse it.

As mentioned above, it’s important to note that untreated scalp conditions can trigger others. For example, when scratched, the itchy flakes of seborrheic dermatitis, irritant dermatitis and psoriasis can develop into a bacterial infection of the scalp – pityriasis amiantacea. Irritant/contact dermatitis can develop into hair loss.

Time for Trichology Q&A!

Q. Can’t hair loss just be treated with natural remedies? When there are oils around that can help stop hair loss and encourage hair growth, like castor oil, why is a trichologist even needed?

A. If you choose to use natural remedies, remember that there is often more power in a formula that contains multiple hair growth and scalp health ingredients.

Another reason to see a trichologist is that if you have alopecia, there might be an underlying health condition behind it. Hair loss can be battled with natural formulas. But any underlying medical condition should be identified, also, to ensure the war is won.

A trichologist will team up with a medical doctor, or refer you to another specialist, if he or she suspects there to be an underlying medical condition.

Q. What happens at a trichologist visit?

A. Of course, a trichologist will examine your hair and scalp. A trichologist also looks at hair and scalp conditions holistically, so you can expect questions that will help the trichologist determine whether your personal environment and genetics are affecting your hair and scalp.

After the trichologist completes the evaluation, treatment may be suggested or dietary and lifestyle advice offered that will improve the state of your hair and scalp.

Q. What is the difference between a trichologist and a dermatologist?

A. A trichologist is a licensed specialist, but not a medical doctor. A dermatologist is a medical doctor that can practice  trichology, when necessary, but may not have the same level of experience dealing with hair and scalp issues as a trichologist would.

A trichologist can only recommend over the counter medication. A dermatologist can prescribe medication or perform biopsies or other medical procedures.

Do Natural Trichologists Exist?

Yes! Many sell their own anti-hair loss/healthy scalp product regimens online. Others even focus on black hair.

Trichologist Dr. Linda Amerson and HaircareEssentials.com, Arlington, Texas

Dr. Linda Amerson specializes in black hair. Visits can be scheduled through her website and Dr. Amerson’s products are also available for sale there.

Patou Salon And Spa, Washington, DC

French owner of Patou Salon and Spa, trichologist Patou Castay, gives free trichology examinations with every salon appointment. She also crafts relaxers and other products with botanicals and lower percentages of hair straightening chemicals.

Trichologist Lisa Akbari of Lisa Akbari Salon, Memphis TN

Lisa Akbari sells natural products and regimen kits, does hair consultations and offers natural hair licensing. Check out her radio show Ask the Hair Doctor!

The Trichology Clinic at TrichOOrganics, Westmeath, Ireland

TrichOOrganics owns the Davines brand of organic hair products, including the NaturalTech line that complements their trichology practice. Luckily Naturaltech is also sold in the U.S.

Trichologist David Satchell at the Eucaderm Hair Loss Clinic, Eastbourne, UK

David Satchell treats patients using his all natural, hand-crafted products and vitamin supplements for the hair and scalp. His products are sold internationally. There’s a marvellous selection of testimonials on his site. Having practiced trichology for some 40 years, Mr. Satchell is convinced that natural regimens work better than medicinal prescriptions.

Are you are experiencing unusual hair breakage, hair loss or hair miniaturization? Does your scalp itch, burn or flake? See a trichologist as soon as possible!

If you’ve already been to one, share with our readers what recommendations you received in the comments. You can help us spread the word about trichology and give hope to others suffering from hair loss by sharing this article on social media.

What are Malaysian Hair Extensions

What are Malaysian Hair Extensions and, when the ethnicity of hair matters

We’ve walked you through Brazilian hair and Peruvian hair extensions.

Now we’re back again talking to you about Malaysian human hair. You’ve read all of our articles on hair extensions yet still have lingering questions on how to distinguish between all of these types of hair. I don’t know anything about my own hair and even less about  hair on somebody else’s head, you say. We heard you politely make the point that you’ve never even been to Brazil or Peru, and now we’re sending you to Malaysia? For what? Hair?  You weren’t trying to be rude or anything, it’s just that honestly, why do they have to turn a simple weave into rocket science?

Hair extension gurus know how to easily switch from Brazilian to Peruvian, to Malaysian, and back again, in the twinkling of an eye. But even you gurus were once in her shoes. So, hopefully you can still relate.  Besides, you probably know someone in this same situation and it’s always a positive thing to share your knowledge, particularly if it will help someone.

A lot of people will tell you to only shop Brazilian virgin hair because it’s top quality. Though this is true, don’t turn your nose up  at Malaysian virgin hair just yet. In fact, before you hate on it, contemplate this:

Malaysian virgin is another type of hair extension or weave that’s popular on the market right

alongside Brazilian and Peruvian. As the name suggests, it comes from the south-east Asian country of Malaysia. What’s important here is that Malaysian virgin hair holds its own right up there with the others. It’s one of the best quality hair extensions available.  It’s the extension of choice for women who like low-maintenance hair that looks authentic and retains this authenticity over time.

The hair extension itself was invented by an American hairdresser named Christina Jenkins.  When it comes to weaves, the ethnicity of the hair, meaning its source, is a very important consideration because certain features and characteristics including texture and lustre (among others) can be peculiar to each type of virgin hair.

Key Characteristics of Malaysian Virgin Hair

Long curl life: Curls are long-lasting and don’t require extra products in order to maintain them.

Extremely silky and soft, with high natural luster: This is a very prominent characteristic. Added to this is its long life-span .

Low maintenance:  Because of its density, Malaysian remy hair extensions need less washing compared to other kinds of virgin hair, and can be reused over and over again while retaining its softness, smoothness, and fullness of texture.

Exceptional strength: This is one of the strongest types of virgin hair available, which is why it holds curls so well.

Highly voluminous and luxuriously thick: Malaysian virgin hair is your best bet when volume and thickness are critical. For example, go Malaysian if your hair is thin and needs an extra boost of  volume. It provides beautiful bounce and dense body.

But let’s be honest, these hair extensions are not cheap, and with so many types of virgin hair out there, you want to make sure that you know what you’re buying, how to care for it, and above all, that it works well for your hair and the look or looks that you’re trying to achieve.

Malaysian hair extensions come in 7 types:

Malaysian Virgin Remy Straight Hair – beautiful shine; long and sleek

Maylasian hair from samsbeauty.com

http://www.samsbeauty.com/service/Sensationnel-Unprocessed-Malaysian-Virgin-Remy-Human-Hair-Weave-Bare-AMP;-Natural-Natural-Straight-g-1348948.html

Malaysian Natural Wave Hair – delicate and light-weight, natural shine

julia-new-arrival-malaysian-natural-wave-human-vigin-hair-8-26inch-natural-color-human-hair-weave FROM juliahair.com

https://www.juliahair.com/julia-new-arrival-malaysian-natural-wave-human-vigin-hair-8-26inch-natural-color-human-hair-weave.html

Malaysian Body Wave Hair – silky to touch, holds wavy curls beautifully

Ms Lula Hair Unprocessed Malaysian Virgin Hair Body Wave 3 Bundles 100g pc Cheap Malaysian Body

http://www.shopahoy.us/hair-weaves/on-sale-rosa-hair-products-malaysian-body-wave-5a-malaysian-virgin-hair-body-wave-100g-malasian-virgin-hair-human-hair-3pcs-lot/

Deep Wave Malaysian Hair Weave – naturally flowing curl pattern; easily styled into wet and wavy

4pcs lot MSLULA Malaysian Deep Wave Hair Extension Virgin Curly Weave Human Hair Bundles Rosa Hair

http://www.shopahoy.us/hair-weaves/4pcs-lot-mslula-malaysian-deep-wave-hair-extension-virgin-curly-weave-human-hair-bundles-rosa-hair-products-top-quality-hair/

Malaysian Deep Curly Hair –  strong, long-lasting, S curl pattern

honey blonde malaysian hair bundles 3pcs

https://www.dhgate.com/product/honey-blonde-malaysian-hair-bundles-3pcs/253500933.html

Kinky Curly Malaysian Weave – tangle-free; tight, thick, neat curls

6A Malaysian Virgin Hair 3 Pcs Malaysian Kinky Curly 100 Unprocessed Human Hair Weaves Malaysian Curly

http://www.shopahoy.us/hair-weaves/virgin-malaysian-kinky-curly-hair-weave-extensions-3pcs-malaysian-virgin-hair-kinky-curly-human-hair-natural-black-free-shipping/

Afro Kinky Curly Malaysian Weave – bouncy and shiny, one-directional cuticles

ombre malaysian virgin afro kinky curly hair

https://www.dhgate.com/product/ombre-malaysian-virgin-afro-kinky-curly-hair/250431773.htm

With Malaysian virgin hair you have a plethora of style options

Be adventurous and keep experimenting until you find the looks that compliment you best:

msbeauty-weave-hair-malaysian-hair-grade-7a-remy-hair-extensions-virgin-straight-hair-products_p_269.html from msbeautyhair.com

http://www.msbeautyhair.com/malaysian/straight-wave/msbeauty-weave-hair-malaysian-hair-grade-7a-remy-hair-extensions-virgin-straight-hair-products_p_269.html Malaysian Remy Straight Hair – bone-straight, long and sexy

 

 

 

Malaysian Natural Wave Hair - looking the part - authentic, strong and glamorous

http://www.hairgawdess.com/wavy/15-malaysian-natural-wave.html Malaysian Natural Wave Hair – looking the part – authentic, strong and glamorous

Malaysian Body Wave Hair - feminine appeal, natural-looking

https://www.noxuhair.com/products/malaysian-body-wave Malaysian Body Wave Hair – feminine appeal, natural-looking

 

Deep Wave Malaysian Virgin Hair -  helps in your quest for a more youthful appearance

https://www.omgqueen.com/deep-wave-natural-color-high-quality-silk-base-lace-wigs-malaysian-virgin-hair-msw04 Deep Wave Malaysian Virgin Hair –  helps in your quest for a more youthful appearance


Malaysian Deep Curly Hair - power look;  combines beauty with a lustrous sheen   - Ali Bele Malaysian Deep Curly With Frontal 7A Mink Malaysian Virgin Hair Deep Wave Curly Lace

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Bele-Virgin-Hair-Malaysian-Deep-Curly-With-Frontal-Closure-mink-Malaysian-Virgin-Hair-Lace-Frontal-Closure/32708789514.html Malaysian Deep Curly Hair – power look;  combines beauty with a lustrous sheen

 

Malaysian Kinky Curly Hair - kinky yet feminine; cool-as-a-cucumber appeal - Amazing 7a Malaysian Kinky Curly Hair Weave 4 Bundles 18 Inch Curly Human Hair Weave Discount

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Amazing-Hair-7a-Malaysian-Kinky-Curly-Hair-Weave-4-Bundles-18-Inch-Curly-Human-Hair-Weave/32703352604.html Malaysian Kinky Curly Hair – kinky yet feminine; cool-as-a-cucumber appeal

 

Afro Kinky Curly Malaysian - In-your-face bold; hair that speaks - Malaysian Kinky Curly Hair 3 Bundles Curly Hair Weave Afro Kinky Curly Hair Malaysian Virgin Hair

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Malaysian-Kinky-Curly-Hair-3-Bundles-Short-Curly-Weave-Afro-Kinky-Curly-Hair-Malaysian-Virgin-Hair/32691833816.html Afro Kinky Curly Malaysian – In-your-face bold; hair that speaks

Now that you’re armed with some inspiration, the next thing to do is gain an understanding of how to install and remove your weave. If you can install Peruvian virgin hair, then removing Malaysian hair will be just as easy.

How To Uninstall Your Malaysian Hair Weave

Care & Styling Tips for Malaysian Virgin Hair Extensions

  • A lot of people don’t like it when their hair shines too much. Remember that Virgin Malaysian hair takes on a more natural look and lustre after the second or third wash.
  • Due to its natural shine and luster, using oils on Malaysian virgin hair can make it look fake.
  • Since Malaysian hair is endowed with thickness, it easily takes on a dry appearance, so it’s important to keep it properly moisturized.
  • Avoid drying your hair with high heat. Instead, air dry it as much as possible.
  • Protect your hair by wrapping it before you go to bed. Malaysian virgin hair is not known to tangle. Treat it well and you won’t get any bad surprises.

Benefits of using Malaysian Hair Extensions

  • Malaysian hair blends very well with relaxed hair.
  •  Malaysian wavy hair is great for women of African/Afro-Caribbean descent.
  • Malaysian virgin hair blends very well with African-American hair
  • Available in shades ranging from dark brown to natural off black.
  • Curls remain firmly intact, even after 2 or 3 washes.
  • Because it’s virgin hair, Malaysian hair suffers very little shedding and is tangle free

You have a right to look beautiful in your weave, so don’t let anybody force a look or weave on you, just because they use it and it works for them. If you’ve made up your mind to go for a  Malaysian weave, think about what sort of look you want, and one that matches your personality and dress style.

Next, consider which type would help create that look – Malaysian curly hair, straight, kinky, or even wavy, for example.

Decide on a method of installation. We talked about this in our article on Peruvian hair. Once you’ve installed your Malaysian hair, concentrate on proper care and maintenance to ensure you get the longevity out of your weave that Malaysian virgin hair is known for.

When it comes to styling your Malaysian virgin hair, the sky is your limit. As far as you can imagine, you can create it. Stay inspired through the tons of resources on our hair talk blog right here at your fingertips.

Do you have a question or a comment? Tell us. We want to hear from you.