Hard Water and 3 Things You Can Do About It

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Hello ladies,

Something that my hair has been battling with since my return to the UK is hard water.  It has made my hair and skin care a little more challenging.  As many of my readers are based in the UK and the US where hard water is quite common, I thought it would be good to explain what hard water is, the effects it has on hair and how to combat its effects.

 

What is Hard Water

Hard water is water that contains dissolved minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, silica, etc.  The minerals in the water bond to the hair strand and creates a hard coating on the hair which makes it difficult for it to absorb moisture.  The more damaged and open your hair cuticles are, the more the minerals in the hard water will cling to your hair.
One way of knowing if the water in your home is hard is by looking at your taps and shower heads.  If there is a hard white-ish build up on your taps and shower heads. There is a likely chance that the water in your area is hard.

 

Effects of Hard Water on Hair

The minerals in hard water which bond to our hair can have the following effects:

  • It makes hair feel very dry, brittle and very prone to breakage
  • It makes hair more prone to tangling which often leads to breakage.
  • It can alter the natural color of your hair and give it a dull appearance.
  • It can dry out the scalp making it very flaky
  • It can make conditioning and moisturizing your hair difficult and less effective

 

Three Tips for Reducing the Effects of Hard Water

  1. Vinegar Rinse
    Diliuted apple cider vinegar has been used in hair care by many black women because it helps to return hair to its natural PH levels.  This helps to smoothen our hair , boost its shine as well as make it less prone to tangling.
    Apple cider vinegar also helps to remove the mineral build up in hair. Simply dilute a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into one cup of water.  After shampooing and conditioning, pour the mixture over your hair as a final rinse.
    Pay attention to how your hair reacts, if you don’t like how it makes you hair feel you should either use a more dilute mix or stop using it completely.
  2. Shower Filter
    Another way to avoid the effects of hard water on your hair is to buy a Shower filter. This will reduce some of the minerals from the water that comes out from your shower head.  There are many options to pick from online.

 

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  1. Clarifying Shampoo
    Another way to remove mineral build-up from your hair is to use a clarifying shampoo. Clarifying shampoos contain ingredients which can remove stubborn products and mineral residue that have been left on our hair and which mild sulfate free shampoos cannot.Clarifying shampoos should contain chelating ingredients such as Disodium EDTA  or Tetraacetic Acid).  A shampoo that contains chelating ingredients and is widely available is Ors Creamy Aloe Shampoo.  I use this to wash my hair every 2 to 3 months.Chelating or clarifying shampoos are quite harsh and should not be used for regular/weekly washing even if you live in a hard water area.

I hope you have found this post educative and I hope it helps if you think you have hard water issues.
My next post will be a hair care from within one because how we care for our bodies can have a big impact on the hair our body grows.  So if you’d like to learn what you can do to boost the quality of the hair you grow, come back soon!!

X

Lade

Learn | Change | Grow

The Challenges of Fine Hair and Tips For Caring For It

Hello ladies,

One of the many terms that ladies seem confused about is hair fullness versus strand thickness. I hope to clarify this in today’s post. I will also share the characteristics of thin/fine hair and some tips on caring for it.

 

Hair Density or Fullness

Hair density is about the overall fullness of your hair, ie, the amount or number of strands of hair you have on your head.  As black women, we have an average of 100,000 to 110,00 strands of hairs on our heads.  Of course some ladies have a lot more or less than this

Hair density or fullness can be classed as

  • low density ( a lower than average amount of individual hair strands),
  • medium density (a moderate/average amount of individual hair strands)
  • high density ( a lot of individual hair strands).

Strand Thickness

The thickness of hair strands refers to width or diameter of each individual strand of hair. Strand thickness can be classed as

  • thin/fine,
  • medium or
  • thick/coarse.

Please note that it is rare to have perfectly even hair. Many ladies have a mixture of strand thickness and density.  So it is possible to have a mixture of fine, medium and thick strands on the same head although usually many ladies will have one predominant type.
Using myself as an example, I have mostly thick/coarse hair strands but the nape section of my hair has a mixture of fine/thin and medium strands of hair.

 

 

Characteristic and Challenges of Fine or Thin Hair Strands

Ladies who have mostly fine hair tend to face some challenges with their hair because of its thin structure. Some characteristics of fine hair include:

  • it tends to feels softer and more fluffy than thick hair
  • It may be harder for it to hold some styles because of its softness
  • It is more susceptible to breakage. The cortex layer( the middle layer) of hair is the part that gives hair its stiffness and structural strength. Fine hair has less cortex and more cuticle layer ( outer layer) and this is why not as strong and able to resist breakage as thick strands of hair.
  • Fine hair can become too soft and weighed down when heavy oils and products are put on it making the hair look stringy and difficult to style. Fine hair can be easily overwhelmed with hair products in comparison to thick hair.
  • Fine hair is more prone to tangling. When the cuticle layer of hair is raised and damaged from age, heat styling, use of chemical colors, relaxers, aggressive styling, etc, the raised cuticles tend to latch and wrap around each other causing hair strands to matt and tangle. As explained above, fine hair has more surface area/cuticle layer than thick hair so it is more prone to tangling. The more tangles a lady experiences the more risk there is of breakage.

It is more challenging to grow fine hair to very long lengths because of these characteristics.

 

Tips for Caring for Fine Hair

The following tips are also useful for ladies with medium or thick hairs however they are especially important if you are a fine haired lady.

  • Don’t skip your protein deep conditioning sessions.  Protein hair products boost hairs structural strength.  If you have fine hair, it should give your hair more body and stiffness so it can hold styles better too.  I am not saying you should only use protein deep conditioners though.  You should still aim to have protein and moisture balance.
  • Be consistent with your hair care. Fine hair is less forgiving to lack of hair care than thick hair is. Basically a lady with thick hair can get away with bad hair care practices more than a fine haired lady can. Ladies with fine hair have more challenging hair journeys unfortunately and lack of consistency will only make this worse. The sections of my hair that have fine hair are way more challenging to manage than the areas with thicker hairs and when I haven’t been good to my hair, that is the section it is most evident in.
  • Avoid using high levels of direct heat which will deplete your hairs internal moisture making it even more prone to breakage. Try to air dry as often as possible if you have thin hair strands.
  • Protective styling is especially important if you have fine hair. Fine hair tangles easily but protective styles will keep your hair in a confined or fixed state so that it is not able to move around and tangle as much.
  • Detangle your hair regularly and always finger detangle first before combing.

I am sure this post will help someone out there and I hope your hair benefits from it.  Do you have fine or thin hair strands?  Which of the challenges listed above do you experience and how do you manage it?

My next post will be another educative post about hard water, its effects on hair and how to overcome them.
See you soon

x

Lade

Learn | Change | Grow

My Updated Hair Regimen

 

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Hello ladies,

Something I try to stress often is that consistency with your regimen is important for ladies who are on a hair journey. Creating a regimen that your hair responds well to is the first aspect of a hair journey but you will not see significant improvements in the health, length and thickness of your hair if you are inconsistent with your regimen.
There will however be some points on your hair journey where you need to review and update your hair regimen and hair products.
Some examples of when it would be a good idea to review your regimen includes –

  • When your hair has grown significantly – techniques and styles that what worked for you at one length may not work as well at a longer length. Using myself as an example, when my hair reached bra strap length, I had to begin washing it in large braids to prevent tangling and matting during the washing process.
  • If you decide to transition from relaxed to natural or vice versa
  • If your products no longer seem to be working on your hair or you discover new ones that work better on your hair.

Over the years, my regimen has evolved in some ways.
I have changed some of my practices and techniques. I have also made some changes to my staple products. I will discuss what those changes are below but if you would like to see my full updated regimen click here.

 

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Changes in My Techniques and Practices

My Hair Regimen

  • I relax my hair every 20 weeks.  I now relax my hair every 24 to 27 weeks due to my increasingly busy schedule.  After relaxing my hair, I wear it out for about 8 weeks. From week 9 I switch to my wig regimen but leave my hair out occasionally when following my wig regimen.
  • Shampoo 1x a week (wash hair in 10 calabar/box braids) When I am wearing my hair out, I now wash it every two weeks. My hairs length and thickness makes wash day quite time consuming so I made a lifestyle choice to switch to washing every two weeks. I try to keep up with moisturising and sealing to prevent dryness and breakage.

My Wig Regimen

  • Hair kept in 20 16 box braids under Hair by Type 4 wigs. I decided to make the box braids slightly bigger.
  • Shampoo every 3 weeks.   I now wash my hair every two weeks when following my wig regimen. My hair is more texlaxed now than it was when I initially began my journey and I noticed that when I leave the box braids in for three weeks my hair is quite matted and tangled which means I used to have more breakage than was necessary. I decided to begin washing my hair every two weeks to prevent this tangling and breakage and it seems to be working well so far.
  • Moisturise and seal the box braids twice a week lightly every day. Over the years moisturising the box braids just twice a week was no longer able to keep my hair adequately hydrated so I began to moisturise and seal lightly every day.

 

 

Changes to My Hair Products

  • Shampoo
    Elasta QP Crème Conditioning shampoo. This is still a great product but I have switched to Cream of Nature Argan Oil Sulfate Free shampoo. I prefer how the cream of nature makes my hair feel.
  • Deep Conditioner
    Moisture:- Motions Moisture Plus Conditioner I have recently switched to using Aussie Miracle Moist as my moisture deep conditioner. It works better for my hair than Motions Moisture Plus.
  • Leave-in Conditioning
    Protein:-Aphogee Keratin and Green Tea Restructurizer I still have and use this product occasionally but my go to protein leave in conditioner is now the Cream of Nature Strength and Shine leave in conditioner.
  • Daily Moisturizers
    Mixture of Cantu Shea Butter Conditioning cream and Lusters S-curl I also use Cream of Nature Strength and Shine leave in conditioner during the week. I use whichever one my hand gets to first…. :)
  • Oils/Sealants
    Nutiva extra virgin coconut oil (sealant) Currently, I use olive oil or grapeseed oil as my sealant.
  • Extras
    Braid spray
    (to mist the box braids when wearing my wigs) I now use Lusters S-curl for this purpose because it was easier for me to find the S-curl in Lagos. I only use a small amount daily to prevent moisture overload.

 

And those are the changes to my hair regimen ladies!!  I don’t know when next I will review and update it but for now, my hair is very happy with all of the above. Like everybody else, I just have to try to remain consistent.
Please note that if you review your regimen and are happy with your current products and practices you don’t have to change it. Stick to what works.
Have you made changes to your regimen lately? What change did you make and why?

The next post will be an educational one about the challenges of thin/fine hair strands and tips to maximize your hair growth if you have fine hair. Come back soon ladies.

X

Lade

Learn | Change | Grow.

Aussie Miracle Moist Conditioner – Product Review

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Hello ladies,

If you are familiar with my hair regimen you will know that I use either normally use either Motions Moisture Plus or Herbal Essence Hello Hydration as my moisture deep conditioners.

These are the moisture products that have worked best on my hair…..until now. I recently ran out of both and for some reason couldn’t find them in the stores I went to.  I decided to try a product that I have been aware of since the beginning of my hair journey but never tried out…. Aussie Miracle Moist!!!
My hair tends to feel a little dry even after I deep condition….but for the first time EVER and I really mean ever, my hair felt very hydrated and soft before I applied any leave-in conditioner.
The minute I rinsed out the conditioner I knew something was different in the best of ways.
In this post I will share more information about this product and how I use it in my regimen

 

What is Aussie Miracle Moist

Aussie Miracle Moist is a moisture conditioner which is designed for dry and damaged hair.
Like all good moisture products the first ingredient it contains is water/aqua.   It also contains a lot of moisturising ingredients such as Cetyl Alcohol and Cetearyl Alcohol.  These types of alcohols are fatty alcohols and are good for hair unlike some alcohols like Ethanol, SD Alcohol, Propyl or Isopropyl which can be drying to hair.

It does contain some silicones which some ladies prefer to avoid but my hair happens to love and by using a clarifying shampoo every few months I am able to remove potential build-up of silicones from my hair.
I can’t recall how much this cost me but it was very cheap which is great because the 250ml bottle will only last me 3 washes max.

How I Used It

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The product bottle does not give clear directions on how it should be used, it simply states that it should be used after shampooing and rinsed out.
I always deep condition my hair with a mix of protein and moisture conditioners.  Over the years I have learnt that this is what works for my hair.  Whenever I use moisture or protein deep conditioners alone, my hair protests by either being too hard and brittle or too soft and weak.  I always need a mix of the two to keep my hair in order.

On this occasion I mixed equal amounts of the Aussie Miracle Moist conditioner with Vitale olive oil conditioner ( my go-to protein deep conditioner).
I applied it to my hair as generously as possible and covered it with a plastic steam cap.   I used my heat cap for about 40 minutes and then I rinsed it out.
Like I mentioned above my hair felt amazing afterwards, it felt strong and soft and smooth. I was pretty sure it would feel great after I air dried and I wasn’t disappointed. I did use my Creme of Nature leave in conditioner but my hair already felt great even before I applied the leave in conditioner.

I normally have to moisturise and seal my hair on wash day or by the next day at the latest otherwise my hair can begin to feel a little brittle.   After deep conditioning with the Aussie, I didn’t have to moisturise and seal for several days after my wash day.   I should have but my hair just felt so good and I was really short on time but going forward I plan to stick to my regular moisturising and sealing schedule.
I don’t co-wash my hair but I know that Aussie is very popular with ladies that co-wash and I can see why.  It is light weight but highly moisturising so it is ideal for co-washing.

 

I hope you have found this post helpful.  Do you use Aussie Miracle Moist or have you used it in the past?  How did it make your hair feel?

I have made slight changes to my hair regimen over the last few year and so my next post will be a regimen and hair product update.  I’ll probably do a hair update in that post as well.
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See you soon ladies, I am so glad I am back to regular blogging at last.

Happy Hair Journey

x

Lade

Learn | Change | Grow

Save Your Edges!!

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Hello ladies,

I put up a client’s feedback some time ago on Instagram and since then I’ve been flooded with questions about edges and how to get them back.
I’ve written about hair loss at the hair line in previous blog posts which you can read here but the huge wave of questions I’ve had about it has made me realise that I should write about it from a different angle.

In this post, I will be talking about naturally thin hairlines and share tips to manage and regrow your hairline. Before I proceed I have to stress that when it comes to our hair, especially our edges, prevention is better than cure.

 

Naturally Thin/Receding Hair Lines

Not everyone has a perfect thick hairline or a hairline so low that it grows towards the eyebrows.  I certainly don’t have a thick hairline.  Some of us have naturally sparse/thin hairlines that has a receding shape.
If your hairline is naturally or genetically thin or has a receding shape, there isn’t anything you can do about it. You cannot change the way you follicles (hair roots) at your hair line have been distributed.

If you have a naturally thin and delicate hairline, you have a higher chance of losing hair at your hairline when you wear styles like braids, weaves and tight buns or ponytails.   Unfortunately because of the natural receding shape or thinness of your hairline, hair loss in these areas will look a lot worse than it actually is.
So if you have this kind of hairline what should you do:

  • Avoid styles that pull or place a lot of tension on hairline. I would say avoid braids and weaves completely but if you can’t, don’t let the stylist pull those fine baby hairs. Don’t use too many bundles of hair. make sure your bun isn’t too tight.
  • Avoid over styling your hairline; heavy gels, harsh brushes and the need to lay those edges will make your hairline thin out or recede even more. Try to use your palms to smoothen your hairline after moisturising it, if you must brush it, use a baby’s hair brush.
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I leave my edges alone majority of the time, my buns are never too tight and I don’t use hard brushes on my hair.

  • When you wear hats, scarves, bonnets, gele…etc don’t place it directly on your hairline. It should be behind or over your hairline not directly on it.  This is particular important for ladies who wear hats/scarves/gele often.
  • Keep hair well moisturised and sealed and don’t forget you hairline when doing so. A dry hairline will break easily when you try to style it.

 

Hairline with Breakage and Signs of Re-growth

So let’s assume that your hairline has been thinning for a while and you are not sure what you are doing wrong.
You have had bald patches along your hairline in the past but it eventually grows back.  You’ve noticed that the thinning is getting worse and you are concerned you will eventually have no hair left.

Ladies, if you are in this category it is important for you to get to the root of the thinning or patches before the hair loss becomes permanent.  In some case the hair loss could be hereditary, due to medication or hormonal changes (postpartum shedding). If you think your hair loss at your hairline is caused by one of these factors you should speak to your doctor or a trichologist.

With a lot of ladies however, the hair loss is often as a result of constant wearing of braids, weaves and wigs. We have to give our hair adequate rest from such styles. The over-wearing of extensions is often combined with lack of proper hair care whilst wearing those styles, for example some ladies relax their hair and install extensions a few days afterwards or some ladies choose to wear styles they KNOW tends to break their hairline.

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If your hairline is becoming increasingly thin and taking longer and longer to grow back what should you do?

  • Figure out what is causing the breakage and avoid it.
    The sooner you can figure out what is causing the hair loss at your hairline the better. Now I am not anti braids or weaves but IF you have significant hair loss every time you wear them ask yourself this, is it really worth it?
    Also consider if it is those hairstyles that is causing the breakage or is it lack of hair care when wearing those hair styles that is the problem.
    If your hair loss is being caused by your hairstyle choices you should consider safer styles to wear or safer alternatives, eg a braided wig instead of actual braids or a bun that isn’t pulled too tight.  If you don’t make significant changes to your hair care and the damage and inflammation to your line continues you may end up with permanent damage to your hair follicles.
  • Take good care of your hair, be gentle on your hairline and have regular scalp massages to stimulate the hair follicles and encourage re-growth.
  • Be patient!! Even with good hair care and safer hair styles it can take several months …a looooong time…. to see significant improvements with your hairline depending on how bad the damage was. Be aware that for some ladies who have suffered prolonged damage of their hairline, the hairs in those areas may remain a bit thinner than it used to be. This is the reason why damage to your hairline should be avoided.

 

Hairlines with Breakage and No Re-growth

If you have suffered significant loss at your hairline for a while and have not had hair grow on your hairline for several years, it is likely that you have permanent hair loss in those areas.
At this stage, it is often too late for scalp massages and good hair care to regrow your hairline. You may need a course of treatment from a trichologist who may be able to provide you with strong topical treatments (creams or ointments) which requires a prescription.

There have been advancements in hair loss management such as PRP therapy and laser treatments which may help, unfortunately these are quite expensive and they are not 100% guaranteed to work.  If these options fail, you may need to have hair replacement surgery which again is very expensive and in some cases may not work.

I don’t mean to scare anyone but it is important that I state the facts.  Please ladies, don’t let your hairline get to the point of no return.  Let your hairline rest and grow…whilst it is still able to.
I hope you have found this post helpful and that it encourages you to go easy on your beautiful edges.
My next post will be a product review of a moisture deep conditioner, I think I may have found the one ladies. …like for real for real.
Come back soon to find out what it is.

Happy hair journey

x

Lade

Learn | Change | Grow