Thursday, December 8, 2011

Hair journal introduction / newbie advice.

My old journal is here: <--- That site no longer exists and my old hair journal is gone forever, sadness.

Click any of the links in this entry to get more information on that particular subject.

After researching hair care for the past year and (about) 3 months I have reached a point in my journey where:
- I know what my hair likes and doesn't like
- I know how to make my hair and scalp happy
- I finally accepted that growing long hair is a journey not a race
- I am loving my hair every day and have accepted it for what it is
- I am truly enjoying my hair journey

This is the rating system for each method, product:
*     = hated it, won't try it again if you threaten my life;
**    = did not like it, probably won't try it again
***   = it was ok, not the best thing ever, not the worst
****  = like it, will probably do it again
***** = love it, the best thing to ever happen to my hair

As of right now this is what I've tried out and these are the results I got (a synopsis of my old journal):

- Washing methods :

Shampoo bar: isn't always consistent in its results, sometimes it is difficult to wash out pre-wash oils. Rating: ***

Sulfate free shampoo: works well, doesn't foam, makes it difficult to wash oils out of my hair, takes two shampoo to clean my hair. Rating: ***

Baking soda and ACV wash: didn't clean out oils from my hair, without pre-wash oiling my hair was very dry. Rating: *

Soapnuts wash: did not remove oil from my hair, made my length frizzy, my hair smelled like vinegar between washes, my scalp got instant build-up and flakes. Rating: *

Conditioner Only washes: made my length happier than ever, brought out my natural waves, made my scalp very happy when followed by an ACV rinse, did not remove scalp build-up very well. Rating ****

Condition, Wash, Condition: the shampoo ran down my length and stripped the conditioner off, my length was not as happy as it could be, my scalp did not get build-up issues. Rating: ***

SLS shampoo and cone-free Conditioner:  removes all scalp build-up, makes my scalp rebel and get super oily very fast (6 hours after washing), keeps my length happy with the right conditioner, kills my waves, is not the best option for every wash, more of a once in a while to remove build-up wash. Rating: ***


Henna: makes my hair stronger, colors hair red (in my case auburn), conditiones hair, prevents split ends, give hair slip, makes hair very shinny (glossy), difficult and messy to apply and rinse out, some people hate the smell (I love it). Rating: *****

Neelibhringadi Ayurvedic Hair Oil: diminished my shedding dramatically, calmed down my scalp itching, makes my hair grow an inch a month, smells awful, has to be used every other day (3 times a week) to work properly. Rating: *****

Coconut oil: works great for pre-wash overnight length oiling, leave-in and hot oil treatment. Rating: *****

Castor oil: worked for the first 2 weeks when I grew one whole inch of hair, but then it didn't help me anymore, it make me shed more and it made my scalp itchy, but it does give me a halo of new hairs if I use it for a month (so I believe it increases my thickness). ***

Apple Cider Vinegar: used as a final rinse (one tea spoon ACV to one 8oz cup of water), balances out my scalp acidity, helps calm down the itches, makes my hair smooth/shinny, it makes my hair easier to detangle, it makes my hair feel soft, the vinegar smell sometimes lingers when my hair is dry. Rating: ****

Deep conditioning treatment (4 parts silicone free thick conditioner, 1 part aloe vera gel, one part honey that has been in the microwave for 30+ seconds): makes hair very soft, smells wonderful if the conditioner smells wonderful. Rating: ****

Suave conditioners: cheap, work great, smell wonderful, used for CO washes may be connected with increased shedding or the shedding might be caused by scalp build-up (not sure). Rating: ****

Microfiber towel: helps cut air drying time in half, diminishes frizz, is light and soft. Rating: *****

Best things to do/not to do for healthy hair:
- keep hair braided or in a bun as often as possible to avoid mechanical damage from wind, tangles, etc., while avoiding ponytails
- avoid hair ties at all costs (especially if they are secured with metal)
- use hair sticks, hair forks, flexi8, ficcare, spin pins and hair pins to keep buns in place
- use satin scrunchies or ribbons to tie off braids or replace hair ties
- avoid chemical dyes and treatments (perms, Brazilian blowouts, etc)
- avoid using any type of heat styling (curling iron, straightener, blow dryer)
- avoid harming hair while washing (pilling hair on top of head, rubbing towels on hair, using shampoo on the length unless absolutely necessary, etc)
- always air dry
- protect your hair from the sun (SPF type hair products, henna, hats and silk scarfes, etc)
- never use a regular hair brush, a narrow tooth comb or a plastic comb with ridges on the teeth
- use wide tooth combs without seams and always start detangling at the ends and slowly work your way up
- be as gentle with your hair as possible and try to go as natural as possible with your hair products
- embrace and learn to love your natural hair color and texture, the more you fight it the more damage you cause your hair

Some damage-free or minimal damage alternatives:
- natural styling products (clear aloe vera gel, flaxseed gel, beer, lemon hair spray, gelatin hair mousse)
- heat-free styling (wrap hair straight, braid waves, bun waves, rag curls, pin curls, headband curls; you can always do a search for heatless curls/waves/straightening for more tutorials)

With cassia, henna and indigo you can (All about cassia obovada, henna, indigo):
- get red hair with henna
- cover grays
- get black hair
- get brunette hair
- blonde hair (this is for natural blondes)

There is no full-proof way to prevent damage while lightening your hair color (from brown or black to blonde) although there are ways to minimize the damage
- if you only want to lighten your hair a bit then you can try alternatives such as: honey lightening and cinnamon (google those methods for more information)
 - or you can use coconut oil to Minimize chemical dye damage and alternatives

Always remember that once you damaged your hair there is no going back, you can only learn to care for the new hair that's growing in. So if you bleached, permed, chemically dyed your hair and straightened it, blow dried it, heat styled it every day NOTHING will make it healthy again, you can't un-fry an egg. So don't expect any miracle product to fix your abuse, just learn to care for your hair properly, be good to it, arm yourself with patience (this is a journey not a race) and grow out/cut off the damaged hair while growing beautiful, healthy hair. Good luck to us all. :)

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