The most common questions I've been asked is about products... and I understand why.
Products are the most critical factor to this whole hair thing. So how do you choose the right products?
It's not easy to know what works best for you unless you try it. But where do you begin?
For starters, you need to determine what curl type and hair condition you have first? Our hair texture comes in so many varieties of curls it’s almost impossible to label it. But thankfully there's a chart with curl patterns to choose from. Click on the above navigation "What's my curl type" and "Hair condition"; you'll find some clarity.
The best way to match your curls to what's on the chart is to:
First, wet the hair, or even better, shampoo and condition the hair to remove all of the heavy products or build up. Once the hair is clean, go to the mirror and play in your hair. Move the curls around. You'll notice the different patterns there. Some may be loose curls while others are tight. Water shrinks the texture so that help with identifying the curls. Have you ever noticed the back of your nape have loose curls while the center of the crown is kinkier? Or the other way around? Sometimes it's do to genetics while other times it's how you manage your hair. The only way to know is by using the right products and learning to maintain it.
Why are products important?
Products are essential because It helps keep the formation of the curls, protects the hair strands, and feed the scalp. Without products, you can't expect your hair to be at its best. It's like bathing without soap and not moisturizing the skin after. It's crucial to choose non-toxic products because whatever you put on your skin seeps through the paws which can, of course, infect the body health. If you find that you are having a difficult time finding your curl pattern on the chart or the condition of your hair, then go to a hair specialist and ask for a consultation. It will help you understand the overall health of your hair and scalp.
SHAMPOOS & CONDITIONERS
Shampoo is a hair cleanser. Its job is to strip the hair and to clean it, but there are shampoos that are gentle on the hair. It will remove debris, dirt and buildup but maintain the natural oils in the hair. For some hair types that’s important. It all depends on the ingredients. We often hear about harsh chemical in the shampoos like Sulfates. But did you know there are several types of sulfates? Some specialist say that some sulfates are not as harmful as we are told and it's necessary to use it in order to remove all of the buildup on the hair.
There are several types of shampoos:
Clarifying shampoos: This gets rid of buildup and environmental pollutants from the hair.
Moisturizing shampoos: This contain humectants that attract moisture from the air and into the hair.
Conditioning shampoos: It cleanses but leave the oils and moisture for dry, brittle, and over processed hair.
Medicated shampoos: This is used to treat scalp diseases.
Detoxifying shampoo: This gets rid of everything in the hair including oils.
Conditioners are a necessary agent for your best hair experience. They’re needed to add back the Moisture, vitamins and natural elements that have been removed from the hair. Conditioner should be applied every time you shampoo your hair, especially if the shampoo is a cleansing or detoxifying shampoo. And also if the hair is in bad shape
Types of conditioner:
Leave-in conditioners: Its used to apply moisture to the hair after regular conditioning and before using any styling products.
Deep conditioners: It's especially useful to restore the hair to a healthy condition if it has been color treated or over processed. Deep penetrating conditioner or restructuring conditioner is used for dry or over-processed hair once a month or every two weeks, depending on the condition of the hair.
Herbal treatments: This is used to aid in scalp restoration and feed hair follicles to restore the strength of the hair.
Steam treatments: Steam is a great way to hydrate the hair to its healthy state using a highly moisturizing agent. It helps the hair to absorb and retain lost moisture. It’s the quickest way to bring the hair back to its healthiest state.
What is Sulfates?
Sulfates are chemicals used as a cleansing agent . They are surfactants, detergents and emulsifiers. You can find them in many cleaning supplies that you use to clean your home or wash your clothes with. There are several types of sulfates that are found in hair products.
1. Sodium lauryl sulfate
2. Sodium laureth sulfate
3. Ammonium laureth or lauryl sulfate
4. Alkylbenzene sulfonate
5. Ammonium or sodium xylenesulfonate
6. Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate
8. Sodium cocoyl sarcosinate
9. Ethyl PEG-15 cocamine sulfate
10. Dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate
Sodium Lauryl sulfate and Sodium laureth sulfates are the most commonly known. There are over 150 different names they go by. Sometimes it’s difficult to determine if your products contains sulfates if you don't know what you’re looking for. I myself get confused and I’m a professional.
The other names are
1. Sodium dodecyl Sulfate
2. Sulphuric Acid
3. Sodium salt sulfaric acid
4. Sodium salt
The reason sulfates are used is to create suds that help break down oils and buildup and hard minerals and to remove it easily. These detergents are considered Surfactants.
What is Surfactants?
surfactant səˈfakt(ə)nt/Submit noun
It's a cleansing agent that helps bind hard minerals together and allows the water to remove them easily.
What are some issues associated with using sulfates?
Some common issues are:
It is said that when its absorbs into the body, it mimics the activity of the hormones estrogen and may be the cause of women having cancer. When the body absorbs anything you put on it, it can be worse than if you consumed it. When you eat something, the stomach enzymes in your saliva and stomach helps to break down the chemicals and flush them out of your body. When you put them directly on your skin, they are absorbed directly into your blood stream without any filters which travels to the organs thus causes health issues.
*Scientist has not done research long enough to determine if Sulfates are really that harmful to the health but it’s good to be safe than sorry*
Here are a list of oils to use on your scalp and hair.
Oiling the scalp isn't for everyone. Some scalps are oily and some are super dry. Getting a consultation with a specialist will help you determine your scalp and hair needs.
*Some oils can cause allergies so it’s best to test it before applying it.
The scalp needs moisture, just like the skin on the rest of your body. There are several oils that are extracted from different sources
What is Carrier oil?
Carrier oil is oils extracted for seeds, nuts, and kernels of plants. Just like we
cook using theses oils. It’s also great to apply to the body.
Carrier oil come as a variety and has different properties. Not all of them are for everyone. Some can cause allergies so be cautious when trying new oils. If you’re not sure then consult your allergy specialist to determine if your safe.
Oils are good to mix together to give you a variety of nutrients needed. Also it's good to mix with treatments before shampooing the hair. It all depends on your hair texture and condition. Carrier oils are also good to use as a as base oil, it’s often mixed with an essential oil in a dilution of 0.5 to 5 percent for an adult, however the dilution
depends on the type of essential oil, where the oil is applied, and the size and health of the person.
Again! Be cautious when mixing oils. Also ask your Dr. if its safe to use while you’re pregnant.
Here is a list of excellent carrier oils to use to either nourish the scalp and or moisturize the hair.
This oil is one of the best hydrating oils on the planet. This oil is produced from copra, which is dried coconut meat. In a warm temp room, or if placed in warm water, this oil liquefies. This high moisturizing oil is excellent for nourishing the scalp, hair, and skin. It produces a healthy shine and helps to also minimize tangles. Coconut oil is good for the control of dry and diseased scalp. It can be used alone as hair and scalp oil or added to shampoo to add extra moisture.
is one of the lightest oils and is easily absorbed by the hair and skin. It also can act as a preservative in hair care preparations.
JOJOBA OIL (great for moisture)
Jojoba is an excellent choice as a healing hair conditioner in that the molecular structure of this oil is very similar to the natural oil or sebum that is produced by the sebaceous glands of the scalp. Hair that has been hugely damaged or that breaks, splits or tangles easily usually responds well to this moisturizer. The beauty of this oil is that you can use it straight or in a mix and it will work for just about all types of hair. Jojoba is also very stable and can be stored for years without going rancid.
Extra virgin olive oil has been used by people for centuries as both cooking oil and for beauty products. This natural oil is excellent for hair that is dry or damage, and also works exceptionally well on dry scalps. Olive oil is also suitable for use in hair treatments like the steamer and mixed with conditioners. It does have quite a distinctive color and scent and is rather heavy. This oil is also good to use with another, lighter carrier oil, like coconut or grape seed.
ALOE VERA OIL
Aloe Vera oil stimulates hair growth. The oil produced by the Aloe Vera desert plant is one of the best solutions for the human scalps, hair, and skin. This odorless oil, which is different from Aloe Vera gel, is rich in enzymes, vitamins, proteins, and minerals that support health. Not only does Aloe Vera oil help maintain proper moisture balances, but it also stimulates circulation which is helpful for hair growth. Excellent for dandruff, this oil will also soothe skin disease and burns and scars.
SWEET ALMOND OIL
This odorless oil nourishes dry, flaky, itchy, sensitive scalps. Even though it’s lighter than olive oil, this cold burnt oil made from almond kernels provides excellent lubricating and penetrating properties. This is one of the best oils for skin diseases. It’s been known to prevent stretch marks and scars. For those of you with nut allergies, be cautious when using this oil since it may cause severe itchiness and irritation.
Amla oil is a natural substance often used to promote hair health. Sourced from the Indian gooseberry fruit (also known as Emblica Officinalis or Phyllanthus emblica), the oil is said to fight hair loss, stimulate hair growth, and prevent prematurely gray hair.
Argan oil is extremely beneficial for hair and scalp and is often used as a
conditioner and hair treatment.
It's an oil that's highly nutritionist with vitamins like vitamin E which promotes healthy hair growth as it contains antioxidants. It helps boost cells and encourage them to produce healthy hair – it has even been used for hair regrowth.
Argan oil has many benefits when used on hair. It can act as a moisturizer for the scalp to fight dandruff and dry scalp. It can also promote the growth of healthy, hair as opposed to thin, brittle hair. It can even undo some of the damage done through chemical treatments and dyes and can be used to treat split ends.
Immediate benefits can also be seen in people who use argan oil on their hair. It is an excellent agent for taming frizz and promoting shine and gloss, as well as softer, more manageable hair.
Argan oil is non-irritating and actually reverses much of the damage done by artificial chemicals and treatments on hair. It is often used in its pure form for healthy, soft and shiny hair. Below are a few of the best ways to use argan oil on hair.
Applying fats like castor oil to the hair on a regular basis helps lubricate the hair shaft, increasing flexibility and decreasing the chance of breakage.
Castor oil may benefit those who experience dandruff or dry scalp. Due to castor oil’s ability to reduce inflammation, it may be an effective treatment for dandruff that is caused by seborrhoeic dermatitis.
Plus, applying castor oil to the scalp will help moisturize dry, irritated skin and may help reduce flaking. Be cautious in the amount you use. It can also clog the scalp is used excessively.
Avacado's are one of the most nutritionist filled fruits. It can be used as conditioning treatment or just the oil alone. It's rich in: antioxidants, minerals, essential fatty acids, biotin, vitamins A, B-5, and E. You can massage a small amount onto your scalp and it will help stimulate blood flow and unclog blocked follicles. This method helps fight hair loss.
WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL OILS?
Essential oils are good for the scalp and hair because they act as healing agents for many skin diseases and also as hair growth stimulator. They are distilled from the aromatic leave bark and roots of flowers and plants.
Essential oils are also used as aromatherapy. When inhaled or applied to the skin, the molecules of the oil influence the nervous system and brain areas (such as the limbic system). It affects the hormones, brain chemicals, metabolism, and other body functions.
Essential oils also has many health properties. Not only is it used for relaxation and aroma, it can sooth and even cure some skin diseases and allergies.
*Please consult your dermatologist before using it to heal any skin condition*
The best way to use it is to dilute it with a carrier oil. DO NOT APPLY DIRECTLY ON THE SKIN unless directed since it's highly concentrated and can irritate the skin. When you inhale it, its best to apply it on cotton swabs or balls.
*If you are pregnant, consult your doctor before using an essential oil*.
LIST OF HARMFUL CHEMICALS IN HAIR PRODUCTS
There's a lot of discussions relating to ingredients in hair products. Studies have shown that a high percentage of African Americans with diseases like fibroids, cancer, respiratory illness, eczema and more due to the use of these
highly toxic chemicals over the years.
Now that natural hair has been revolutionized, many people are becoming a lot more educated on their health and wellness. Below, you'll find a list of ingredients that are found in your everyday hair products that are sold on the
Benzene is a toluene, which can damage the respiratory system, irritate the skin, and cause developmental damage in fetuses. Research "Toluene" for more information.
Diethanolamine (DEA) Triethanolamine (TEA) stabilize the pH of hair products and are common allergens and eye irritants.
Formaldehyde is another preservative and extremely irritating to the skin and eyes. It is a known animal carcinogen and may increase cancer risk for humans as well. Keep in mind that certain preservatives release formaldehyde! So by extension, also look out for:
Fragrance is a catch-all ingredient. If the manufacturer put this on the bottle, it means they don’t want to tell you what else is in the product (and Fragrance is often a term used to hide Phthalates as an ingredient.)
Isopropyl Alcohol does its job of stripping away oils from your scalp a little too well, leaving your hair dry and brittle. Ethanol Alcohol, Ethyl Alcohol, Isopropanol Alcohol, Propyl Alcohol, and SD Alcohol are also known to do
Methylisothiazolinone is a common preservative in hair products, linked to lung toxicity, allergic reactions, and possible neurotoxicity.
Mineral Oil and petroleum are petroleum products that coat your hair and scalp so effectively, they suffocate them! These ingredients can cause acne, hindered skin respiration, imbalanced oil levels in your scalp, and skin irritation.
Parabens are xenoestrogens, included in shampoos as a preservative. They can disrupt hormones and even pose a cancer risk. You'll see them labeled on hair products as propylparaben, benzylparaben, etc.
Phthalates were banned from use in toy manufacturing in California, 2009, because of links between them and cancer. However, they are still often used in hair products.
Polyethylene Glycol dissolves oil and is commonly used in oven cleaners! Trust us, you don’t want this on your hair or skin. It strips away moisture and nutrients and is also a possible carcinogen.
Propylene Glycol is used to break down protein and cellular structure and is able to quickly penetrate the skin. It’s an active ingredient in antifreeze, and the EPA requires people to use protective gloves when working with it. Enough said...it should not go directly on your hair or scalp.
*Note the distinction between propylene glycol versus propylene glycol dicaprylate/dicaprate, which is a safe ingredient.
Retinol is very common in skin and beauty products but has potential associations with developmental and reproductive toxicity. While it is usually safe to use, it might not be safe to use during pregnancy.
Retinyl Palmitate is considered a gentler version of retinol, but it is often added to personal care products in higher concentrations than retinol order to be effective. It still has potential associations with developmental and
reproductive toxicity and has been found to enhance photocarcinogenicity (heightening the risk of cancer when exposed to UV rays.)
Silicones are included in a lot of conditioners and are not water soluble. They make your hair look and feel conditioned by coating the shaft, but they just sit and not penetrating the inside with moisture. They can also be difficult to wash
Sulfates strip oil and dirt out of your hair so well, they deplete the naturally produced sebum that moisturizes your hair. While sulfates can be beneficial for hair that gets oily quickly or has looser curls, they're usually a no-no for naturally curly hair.
Common sulfates: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
Synthetic colors, such as D&C Red 27 or FD&C Blue 1, are derived from petroleum or coal sources. These artificial colors are suspected to be carcinogenic, skin irritants, and linked to ADHD in children. The European Union has banned the use of these ingredients, which is a big red flag.
Toluene is a solvent that can dissolve paint and paint thinner, but it is also used in some hair color/bleaching products. This chemical can affect the respiratory system, irritate the skin, and even cause developmental damage in the foetus if expecting mothers are exposed to it. Commonly labeled as benzene, tuluol, phenylmethane, or methylbenzene.
Triclosan is a common antimicrobial chemical used in personal care products, but it is also a known endocrine disruptor and skin irritant.