Monday, July 28, 2014

Rausch Herbal Detangling Conditioner Spray

I randomly bought this detangling spray at local independent pharmacy for £10.95. How I miss those places. They stock lots of hard to find products from Europe and when I paid for the spray, they gave me this bumper sample pack for free! It contains luxe sized samples from Bioderma, La Roche Posay, Ren and Nuxe. 

Anyway back to the conditioner spray. It's from a Swiss brand and doesn't contain mineral oil or silicones. That was the selling point for me because usually detangling sprays are loaded with dimethicone. The active ingredients are mostly plant based and there a light fresh scent. On the label it says: "Natural valuable extracts of horsetail and birch immediately detangle normal hair, leaving it silky smooth and shiny. Protects the hair's surface and makes long hair sensitive children's hair easier to comb."

As for it's conditioning and detangling qualities, they are light. I can't really tell if it's just nice smelling water or otherwise. Maybe my hair is too damaged and dry. I'll use it up but won't buy again. While I really wanted this to be a HG product, it wasn't effective enough for my hair.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Does Hair Grow Faster If You Cut It?

If you've arrived here because you were wondering if regular trims result in faster growing hair, the answer is simply no.

I'm often told by friends that cutting hair will trigger it to grow faster. But how do the roots know when the ends are cut? It does'nt. Hair is dead, like fingernails. We all trim our nails but no matter how often we do it, they still grow at the same rate. 

My firm belief is that hair growth and thickness is built into your genes and can only be influenced by hormones/drugs. Nutrition is also a factor. The only things you can do is avoid hair damage and have a healthy diet.

What's probably kept the myth alive is that as a consequence of trimmed hair, there's less chance of breakage when brushing/combing because damaged hair tangles easily. Fresh cut ends also gives the impression of fuller hair.

My ends were so ratty that not even detangling spray helped pass a comb through my hair. It was silly of me for not trimming properly. My hair snagged and shed with my daily brushing. The ends felt like straw. Not even the "search and destroy" method of cutting split ends helped. Getting rid of forked splits still left behind the majority of damaged hair. Once damaged, it will not be healthy again.

Keeping strangly old ends is not worth it. I'd rather just maintain healthy hair so I had proper trim today. I only had a cut about three weeks ago but asked for 1 cm off (the previous was three months ago.) The hairdresser said I needed an inch off so happy to agree. 

My hair feels smoother and I no longer have crunchy thin ends. It looks and feels healthier and I don't lose so much hair when brushing. I will keep up with the trims from now on!

11 Natural Oils For Hair and My Absolute Favourite

If you haven't used pure natural oils to nourish and protect your hair, or you want to ditch the commercial oils with chemical additives, the best place to start is probably in the kitchen! Here's the round up on all the oils I've tried and my favourite which I never leave home without it.

1) Olive Oil - as mentioned you can start trying natural oils for hair from your own kitchen as it's a common ingredient for cooking. Any kind will do as long as it's cold pressed. It's nourishing and is perfect for mixing with treatments as it's a bit heavier than some oils. I add it to my henna treatment for moisturising my hair. 

While this oil has an array of heath properties it's worth noting that all natural oils do but hair doesn't metabolise like our digestive systems. I won't go into the nutritional properties of these oils. It's just good to know what you're using on your hair is all natural and even edible.

2) Coconut Oil - The first natural oil I tried as a hair treatment. I bought pure unrefined coconut oil from an Indian grocery store and it's cheap. This oil penetrates the hair shaft so it nourishes from the inside. To be honest, I can't tell if it does or not although it has been documented in published studies. I just know that's a lovely smelling oil which is good to use for pre-shampoos. 

It solidifies when the weather is cold so it's good for scooping out of a tub. When it's hot, it's liquid and is best stored in a bottle. The only problem is that I don't find it moisturising as a leave in. It makes my hair ends crunchy and stringy. Read about how I use coconut oil in my post here

3) Jojoba Oil - has been known to "trick" the skin into thinking it has produced enough oil and thus balance oil production. It's chemically comparable with the human sebum. That's the theory and the reason why I moved on from coconut oil. It's spreads well and doesn't give that stringy effect when used as a leave in. Feels moisturising and enriching on the skin. 

4) Sweet Almond Oil - I find this feels similar to jojoba oil but lighter. This oil is high in vitamin E which is the reason why I don't bother about using the Tocopherol in my mixes. This is a good all rounder oil. Very nourishing and doesn't have a scent.

5 ) Castor Oil - this is the unrefined version and is widely available as a laxative when taken orally. It's well known to also thicken hair, especially eyelashes. The reason why I bought it was to regrow my hairline and it works but it only enhances what mother nature gave you. It won't make you grow hair where there was none. For something that's all natural, it's worth trying out if you are trying to recover from hair loss. 

I put it on my hairline before bed and within a few days, baby hairs are growing longer. The only downsides is that you have to keep using it for the effect. It's a thick and sticky oil. It's hair thickening properties is due to it coating your hair. If you're using it on your hairline, it will look and feel greasy so it's best used mixed with other oils as a hair treatment.

6) Argan Oil - I used to carry a 10ml bottle of this oil in my handbag and used it to seal my ends. It's light, odourless and absorbable. While it's all the rage with commercial hair products today, I don't think it's more superior than any other type of natural oil. Twenty years ago no one had heard of it and all of a sudden it was like the world's best kept secret in hair care. It's a good oil but for me, I think it's similar to sweet almond and jojoba oils.

7) Black Jamaican Castor Oil - this oil is harder to find but it's touted as the best kind of oil to grow your hair on Youtube. I bought mine from an ethnic hair and beauty store called Paks. It's "black" because the castor beans are roasted before the oil is extracted. Apparently the hair growing properties is in the ash so I bought the extra dark version. It has a smoky smell that dissipates after application. So far it's working to not only grow my hair line but also I'm using it protect my eczema patches. As to whether it's more effective than normal castor oil, that remains to be seen and I will update in a few weeks time. 

Since castor oil is thick and sticky, its easiest to dispense it from a nozzle tipped applicator bottle. 

8) Shea Butter - not really an oil as it's waxy textured and can be a thickener for making your own lotion. You can use it as a lip balm or heavy duty hand protectant. I use it to seal my hair and weigh down frizzies. The raw unrefined kind has a smell so I use it sparingly. The is great for taming and moisturising my hair without oiliness.

9) Grape Seed Oil - reknown to be super light and making heavy oils runnier. I bought a cheap supermarket version which I presume was not cold pressed. I liked it because it did'nt have a smell and it's indeed light. You can get away with using a fair bit without looking greasy. However it makes my hair feel dry, like it's only coating the hair and not nourishing it. I used the rest of the oil for cooking.

10) Rosehip Oil - It's pricey and worth it, especially for keeping wrinkles at bay. The orangey oil is rich in fatty acids and makes the hair feel moisturised. I feel that it absorbs better than any other kind of oil and if you buy the pure cold pressed carrier oil version, it doesn't have that fried chip smell. This cheaper version is paler and odourless which makes it perfect for hair application. This is my second favourite oil for hair. 

11) Avocado Oil - this is my absolute favourite oil. I find it light and easily absorbable. I love the healthy green colour. There's no crunchiness or smell. I'm also using it as a face moisturiser by applying pure aloe vera gel after cleansing then smoothing on a few drops of oil. My hair and skin just soaks it up. Many commercial hair products contains avocado oil but why use it with chemical additives when there's the unadulterated thing?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Queen Helene Cholesterol Hair Conditioning Cream And Adding Egg For Protein

I've become so obsessed with African hair care that my girlfriend from Barbados thinks I'll be growing an afro soon!

I went to Paks Cosmetics in Finsbury Park for the first time. They have THREE shops on the same street, two for wigs and one for products.

There was so many products I wanted to try. They all promised wonderful things with the words: super grow, hair fertiliser, hair food, and mega thick hair. They sell cosmetics, hair care, toiletries, hair dressing and beauty supplies. My neck almost hurt having to look at everything as I passed through the aisles.

I found Queen Helene Cholesterol Hair Conditioning Cream which I've always wanted to try and believe it or not, a huge tub was only £1.99! I also bought Jamaican Castor Oil £5.99, an applicator bottle 79p and a Blue Heaven kajal stick 59p. Cheaper than online and better value than anything from the high street. I was tempted to impulse buy and forced myself to leave the store. Although I don't think it will be long before I'm back...

I tried the Conditioning Cream after my gym session today as a deep treatment. I shampooed my hair with Bawang and smothered this thick creamy goop all through my hair and scalp. The instructions says to mix it with a little warm water which helps spread it along. I used two scoops with my fingers. The cream smells like plain cold cream, no added scent.

I put on a shower cap and sat in the steam room for 10 mins, pottered for 5 and rinsed it out. Surprisingly it rinsed really easily for a heavy product. I suspect it's because there's SLS in it.

My hair felt hard as I rinsed out the cream. I wondered if it had moisturised at all. As it dried, my hair felt drier than usual. I put on a little avocado oil on the ends and my hair felt better and it seemed to soften. I had volume, body and shine. Softness too but not the ends. For the price I couldn't fault it. It has no silicones and didn't make my hair flat.

The next time I used it as a protein treatment by mixing it with a beaten egg. It was a 25% egg and 75% cream mix and it was perfect for distributing through my hair. I put on a shower cap, wrapped a towel over it and sat in the steam room for 10 mins. (I really had to be careful not to cook egg in my hair!)

Having freshly shampooed hair is not essential although it's in the instructions. As long as your hair isn't super greasy, rinsing hair with warm water is fine. The treatment rinsed off clean and although my hair was hard, it felt strong. Much better than stretchy and fragile!

When my hair dried (and I picked out a few bits of white membrane), I put a few drops of avocado oil on my ends and my hair was phwhoarrrrrrrr!

That's the only way I can describe the result in one word. My hair was shiny, strong full of body and healthy looking. I love this treatment so much, it's a weekly essential. Who needs a separate protein treatment when you have eggs in the kitchen?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

How To Henna Hair The Easy Way

I bought Rainbow henna from the States two years ago and it was time to use it up considering my hair has gotten so thin. I read that henna coats your hair so with repeated use, it gives more body and shine. Anything to give my weightless frizzy hair weight, I have do it! 

In the morning I mixed 1/2 cup of henna powder (this one was mixed with indigo to give a brown tone) with very hot water and 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to release the dye. I'm not doing this to colour my hair but I think the molecule that coats the hair shaft is in the dye. After it cooled, I added the oil from 3 vitamin E capsules and 4 tablespoons of olive oil. I let it develop for two hours although some people do it overnight.

An Indian friend of mine said that henna is drying to the hair. I think that's explained by the acidic liquid to make the paste. Some people add egg to their mix but I read from this website that it hinders the dye setting in. It says the same for oils but my hair is dry and fragile-it needs oils! I recommend downloading the free e-book from the website. It's a comprehensive guide on dying hair with henna.

As henna paste is thick and very messy, I applied it in my friend's backyard. I smeared vaseline around my ears, nape, temples and forehead. Now here's the easy trick to putting henna in your hair - tip your head forward and apply it to your hair upside down. With latex gloves, smooth on the henna starting from the roots at the nape. It's handy to have a mirror nearby so you can see if you missed areas or if you've applied to much. If you apply henna to upside down hair, it's easier and less messy. 

Once the henna is evenly distributed through the hair, I twisted it into a bun on the top of my head and secured it with a plastic clip. Then I took off the gloves, put on a shower cap and wiped off any stray henna.

I watched a movie and had lunch at home with my friend :) The henna was in my hair for three hours but it could have stayed on for a few hours longer. 

When I rinsed it off I immediately noticed how smooth my hair felt. Then I applied a hair masque to moisturise. I half blow dried my hair (because there is still dye wet hair and I did'nt want to stain anything) and sealed my hair with shea butter. 

The result is healthy looking and feeling hair. I should have shampooed because not all of the olive oil rinsed out. My hair doesn't feel any thicker. I'll be sure of the result after the first wash in case the hair masque had anything to do with it. In any case I want to add layers of henna for weight and protection so it feels like a good start. 

The reason why I didn't post before and after pics is because henna on brown/black hair has no colour changing effect. Anyone who says otherwise is not referring to pure henna powder. Henna cannot lighten hair. It gives colour if your hair is light enough but if it's near black, you'll only get red highlights visible in sunshine.  

My hair feels stronger, soft and shiny. Just like a hair treatment but the effects are much longer lasting and there are faint highlights. In the next three weeks I'll do the treatment again before my trip to the Azores. When I run out of this henna, I'm going to buy pure henna powder from the Indian shop.

Just to update, my hair felt really dry a few days after but after an overnight oil treatment it was soft and moisturised again.   

Monday, July 7, 2014

Oiling Your Hair with Alma And Coconut Oils

I used to think it was too messy to do an overnight oil treatment. But it's time to try it. My hair has become drier and more split than ever. I shed a lot and the sad thing is that I don't even colour or use a hair straightener. 

So I decided to try oiling my hair with alma oil. This one is called Brahmol which I picked up mega cheap for £1. It was too cheap not to try out, even though it was mostly made of mineral oil.

The ingredients. 

As for the mineral oil, my girlfriend who has amazingly fine and resilient hair, puts baby oil in hers all the time. (It was her who recommended oiling my hair.) I did a bit of research the more scientific sources does say that mineral oil is safe to use and holds moisture well. 

So on a "wash day", I poured a teaspoon at a time on my fingers and gave myself a head massage. Then I distributed more along the lengths of my hair. The first thing I noticed was how shiny my hair was and it wasn't sticky, although of course it was very oily. The mineral oil feels softer than the other plant based oils I've used. 

I put my hair in a high bun and sleep on a towel over my pillow. I shampooed my hair twice the next morning and the results were stunning. My hair was soft, super shiny and there was less frizz. It behaved itself throughout the day. It was even straightener than usual!

The downside is that the oil has a strong sandalwood herbal scent. I find it really off putting because it smells like nasty incense. I had to top up the treatment with a bit of Heenara oil because I couldn't handle any more of the smell. After my hair was washed, most it was gone.

As for the Heenara oil, I used it solely for the next oil treatment because I wanted to compare coconut oil to mineral. As you can see there were coconut oil solids which did'nt melt away with the rest of the oil. In winter, this oil is completely solid. 

A closer look at the oil.

I bought this specifically because there was no mineral oil. Alma is the third ingredient.

And the verdict on which oil is the best? Both made my hair soft and shiny but the Brahmol, gave the best results. My hair after the Heenara felt dry and I think that's because of the coconut oil. I will use this bottle up to mix it with Brahmol.


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