Thursday, 27 June 2013

Creating a Styling Routine

After washing comes the fun part – styling:

How will you moisturise?
The most popular way to moisturise type 4 hair is the LOC method (which stands for Leave-in, Oil & Cream). This method requires you to layer a water-based leave-in then a light oil (like coconut or jojoba) and then a heavier butter/cream (like shea or mango) over one another to seal in the water. The water moisturises your hair, whilst the other products form a barrier outside the strand to stop the water diffusing out. Due to the LOC method my hair has began to retain moisture all by itself (I’m so proud!) so I no longer have to do all three steps. You will also need to moisturise your ends regularly by spraying a light mist of water and applying some oil to it.

Will you use heat?
I was a heat junkie, I used to straighten my hair every week (sometimes two or three times a week) causing it to break off and never grow past my shoulders. So when I decided to go full hog with this natural thing I stopped using direct heat for a year. To be honest I haven’t really missed it! I’ve straightened my hair once since then because I was excited to see how long my hair was, but my impatience resulted in this:
Excuse the poor quality and that I'm not wearing make-up!
It was New Year's Eve and I was going out so had to rush. I didn’t wait for my hair to dry - which you definitely should! If not, bubbles can form in the strand causing splitting and breakage) so it ended up looking like I just blowdried it. Because it wasn’t fully dry so it just poofed up once I straightened it. Anyway I’ve kind of diverted from the point. Give your hair a looooong break from heat at first, after about a year you can start to add it back into your regimen. Zainab bought me a Vidal Sassoon Hood Dryer for Christmas and I love it! No more overnight drying sessions for me! But I only use it rarely or for certain styles (like rollersets). Seeing as my hair has grown quickly without heat I don’t see a reason to use it so much anymore.

What will be your signature style?
My current favourite styles now are plain twist-outs (flat twist outs are too much effort) and big ol’ buns because they’re so easy for me. But when my hair was shorter I preferred puffs and up-dos. Braid-outs (same as a twist-out but with braids) stretch hair more than a twist-out so allow you to see more of your length, but require more time to put in and take-out. You can also do protective styles like extensions, weaves, wigs (although you should leave your hair out for at least two weeks in between weaves and extensions so your hair isn’t constantly being pulled out of the follicle), corn-rows, up-dos, buns... Just have to decide which one is for you!

Maz x

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Product Review: Jane Carter Solution Hydrating Invigorating Shampoo

Hi guys! I wanted to write this post and share with you my experience of this product. In short, I hated it haha. But let’s go into more detail shall we?

Ooh pose for me baby, yeah!
I bought this Jane Carter Solution shampoo at the 2012 ‘Afro Hair and Beauty Show’ because I had heard so much about the brand. It was supposed to be an amazing product for naturals whether your hair type is kinky, curly or coily. I wanted to give it a fair chance, and following a previous blog post I thought I should give it three tries at least. Using my own rating system, this is how I scored this product. I’ll give each heading a score out of two so we get an overall rating out of ten. 0 being awful, 1 being ok and 2 being amazing! So here we go – lemme give ya the low down!

Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Gel, Purified Water (aqueous extracts of nettle, burdock and rosemary), Sodium Methyl Sulfolaurate, Disodium Sulfolaurate, Sodium Sulfoacetate, Sodium Cocoyl Glycinate, Sodium Lauroyl, Sarcosinate, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Cocoamidopropyl Betaine, Disodium Lauroamphodiacetate, Glycol Stearate, Sodium PCA, Polyquaternium-7, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract Fragrance, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Citric Acid

Consistency – The consistency is actually quite nice. It’s thicker than most shampoos and because of this I really hoped it would clean my hair without the overly clean feeling. We’ll discuss that ‘squeaky clean’ feel in a moment but it is creamier than most shampoos. There’s not much I can use to describe the consistency but until you see the product, this is the best I can do! Sorry :S I give this a one out of two.

Scent – Okay, this is completely down to a matter of opinion but I really hated the smell! It’s extremely minty and overpowering - the type of scent that would be lovely to clean a bathroom but other than that, doesn’t quite work. So yeah, not so great when the wind goes through your scalp but it does wash out. It just leaves a milder version of a not-so-nice smell. I give this a zero out of two. 

Moisturisationess – OMG. I was proper disappointed when I used this! My afro felt so dry afterwards. I could literally hear the crumpling noise when I put my fingers through my hair lol! This is where I get into the ‘SLS-free’ notion.  The product claims to have no sulphates but after further inspection contains a fair few. They are milder sulphates which aren’t supposed to damage or dry out natural hair, but I’ll let my hair do the talking - literally in this case. :/ I give this a zero out of two. Without a doubt! 

Slip – I don’t think slip is really worth mentioning with a shampoo product so in this case I won’t make a comment. Instead I’ll talk about…

Packaging - I think the packaging of the shampoo was quite nice. It’s a simple squeezy bottle that is easy to use and gives you the right amount of product. I like that the bottle is clear around the label so you can really see the consistency of the shampoo which was an important factor when I decided to try the product.  I give this two out of two.

Price – This is an American product so would generally be much more expensive, but it was £5 as I bought this at the hair show. The cheapest online price is on which is £8.59 + £2.25 P+P!  It’s a 237ml bottle of shampoo, and you do only need a small amount to get a lather but tbh, any product I don’t like will never be worth the price I paid for it, even if it was a few pennies. Realistically, £5 is okay considering that there are others that are extremely expensive (Miss Jessie’s - which isn’t so great!). But for the online price, I give it a zero out of two. 

So overall, I wasn’t very fond of the product, and have given it:

Sometimes I find that when you look at the models on the packaging, you can usually (emphasis on SOMETIMES and USUALLY guys) find out whether it works for you. Jane Carter products would most probably have been made for someone with a similar hair type to hers which seems to be a 3a/3b curl pattern. 

You do have to route around sometimes in order to find what works for you as no two naturals are the same. It’s bloody tiring though and isn’t really helping my pocket too much! But alas, I do it for you guys, and I shall continue to review the products I come across as often as poss. 

BTW, contrary to what Mariama said, I’m not lazy (grr) I’m a student midwife and it’s difficult to find the time for these blog posts. But I swear they’ll be coming thick and fast if I don’t collapse from exhaustion! Until next time y’all.

Zee xx

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Creating a Wash Day Routine

Washing afro hair can take a loooong time, so long that some naturals can dedicate a whole day (even a weekend) to just washing their hair. Personally I don’t have the time or stamina to spend a whole day washing my hair, so when creating a wash-day routine I decided to keep it simple and you should too! 

Unfortunately, I never look this good washing my hair :P
How often will I wash?

When I say wash here I mean with shampoo. Shampoo cleanses the hair and scalp by removing the sebum coating the strands. This leaves the hair dry as it allows water to escape from the strand. This is why after you wash you have to condition your hair also (conditioners contain substances which coat the strands like oil but do not get washed away as easily as oil does). As it is more difficult for sebum to travel down Afro hair then straight hair, Afro hair does not become greasier the longer it is left between washes (in fact it gets drier as the sebum builds up on the scalp) so it does not need to be shampooed as often. Because of this I would advise when washing your hair you start off doing the least, so start off shampooing once a month and if you find your scalp becomes dirty quickly between washes add another wash day.

But won’t my hair become super smelly?

No, because you can co-wash! Co-washing is using conditioner to cleanse your hair. Shampoo strips afro hair of moisture so washing too often with it can cause kinks and curls to look and feel lackluster. Conditioners on the other hand have enough surfactants in them to remove product build-up from creams and oils (hence why they bubble slightly when you wash them out) but don’t remove all of the moisture. So your hair will feel clean, smell nice and be moisturised. I co-wash when I feel my hair is becoming pretty dry (or if my hair smells a bit frowzy :S). 

Will you pre-poo?

As a type 4 natural with very coarse strands, a pre poo (applying oils and/or conditioner before washing with a shampoo) dramatically changed the state of my hair. Applying oil and conditioner before you shampoo means that your strands aren’t completely stripped clean once you wash them, retaining moisture. One of the things that helped my dry hair retain moisture was applying a pre-poo to it the night before my wash day. If you have oils in your pre-poo, you’re better off sleeping with it in your hair as it can take 14 hours for an oil to penetrate the strand. Conditioners fully saturate the hair in about 30 mins so you don’t have to keep them on as long.

Wash loose or in twists/braids?

If your hair is quite short you can get away with washing your hair loose, but the longer your hair gets the more likely it is to start tangling up (especially if it very kinky-coily). Once again do the least - start off washing your hair loose and if it knots up too much for your liking wash your hair in twists.

Detangle before or after?

I would advise detangling your hair with just a wide tooth comb at first. Don’t worry about buying Denmans or Tangle Teezers. If you are choosing to wash your hair in twists, detangle before hand so each twist stays detangled during the wash process. If you are washing your hair free, detangling it after shampooing when you have a deep conditioner in your hair. If you have just taken out braid/twist extensions or a weave detangle before washing! Otherwise after you wash you will be tearing out chunks of matted hair (believe me it’s happened to me before).

Don’t worry about washing your hair under a running shower…

Personally I don’t like standing under the shower to wash my hair, it can get very slippery with all that conditioner plus it’s a huge waste of water! I just bend over the edge of the bath. Some people even wash their hair in the sink so you don’t have to stand under a running shower if you don’t want to. Nothing bad will happen!

Other stuff…

Apple cider vinegar: A cold ACV rinse after conditioning is a nice way to reestablish the pH of your scalp. The scalp (and skin) is acidic so even pouring water on your scalp causes the pH to change causing the cuticle to open up. To close the cuticle pour cold diluted ACV (about 2 tbsps in a cup of water) after you’ve totally finished washing your hair. This will make your hair more shiny, soft and thoroughly clean. Also clean your scalp with the pads of your fingers, don’t scratch with your nails!

Maz xx

(BTW sorry we haven't written anything in a while. I've been pretty busy with exams and my dissertation, I've finally finished my intercalated year, wahey! So back to medicine! But for the mean time I'm on my summer holiday so I should be posting more often... Zainab though... she's just lazy)