Gray Hair and How to Care for it

2017-03-24 14.20.41

Hello Ladies

From the emails and comments I receive, I have come to realise that many of Hairducation readers have gray hair and would like to learn more about it.  Even if you don’t have gray hair at the moment, reading this post will help you know what to expect in the future.

In this post, I will explain how hair gets its colour, what causes hair to become gray and how hair changes when it becomes gray. Finally I will give some tips on caring for gray hair.

 

How Hair Gets Its Colour

Each strand of hair has three layers, the cuticle (outer most layer), the cortex (the middle layer) and the medulla ( the inner most layer).
Each  hair grows out of the hair follicle (the root of the hair).  In the hair follicle/root, there are some cells that produce colour pigments.  These colour pigments are distributed within the cortex layer of hair as it is growing out of the follicles.
This means that the colour we see when we look at our hair is actually in the middle layer of each strand and not in the outermost layer. The colour pigments in our hair acts as a protection of Ultra Violet (UV) rays from the environment. Basically colour in our hair acts like a sunscreen.

 

What Causes Hair To Become Gray

As we get older, the cells in the roots produce less colour pigments which makes the hair growing out of the follicle lighter.  Gradually the cells eventually stop producing colour pigments and die.  At this stage the hair growing out of the follicle turns white.

 

How Graying Affects Hair

There are many effects of loss of hair colour.

  • It will feel drier and more wiry
  • It will have less elasticity and strenght
  • It becomes more difficult to process with chemicals such as hair colours or relaxers. ie it may take longer for the the chemicals to work on gray hairs.
  • It becomes more prone to damage and breakage. This is because the colour pigments protect our hair fibres and when it loses this in built protection fromUV rays, it becomes more fragile.
  • Some ladies notice that their gray hairs changes texture, it may become more curly or may become
  • straighter than usual.
  • It may appear duller because gray hair does not reflect light as well as hair with colour pigments
  • The strands that are gray may look thinner because it contains less protein than hair with colour. Our hair is mainly made up of protein which gives hair its bulk hence it looks thinner when it loses some of its protein when it becomes gray.
  • Gray hair tends to absorbs chemicals from the environment and can turn yellow.

 

Tips for Caring for Gray Hair

  • Use products that are designed for gray hair. Products formulated for gray hair help to combat some of the effects of graying.  Shampoos for gray hair tends to contain ingredients which help to prevent yellowing and also helps to protect the hair from the effects of UV Rays
  • Cut back on the use of direct heat (blow driers, straightners and curling irons)
  • Deep condition and moisturise and seal regularly Gray hair needs to be hydrated regularly to help combat its dryness and brittleness.
  • Protect your hair from excessive exposure to the sun. If you intend to stay under the sun for long periods protect your hair from the UV rays by wearing a hat, scarf or head wrap.

I hope the information in this post will help you care for your gray hair well either now or in the future.
The next post will be my relaxer update post.  I stretched my hair for 6 months and a week.  This has been my longest stretch ever and I plan to share all the pros and cons of it in my next post.

Come back soon and happy hair journey

x

Lade

Learn | Change | Grow

 

How to listen to your hair

Listening to your hair is an essential part of the journey

Hello Ladies

Something that I heard a lot when I began my hair journey and I find myself saying to my clients all the time is; listen to your hair.

There are so many varying techniques and products used by ladies when caring for their hair.
At the beginning of a hair journey, you probably learn from hair care blogs and YouTube and it can be tempting to try every technique and develop a severe case of product Junkie-ism.  And you know what, it’s okay..actually…… I would say it is important to experiment a little or a lot at the beginning of your hair journey but if you are not listening to your hair, you will be wasting your time, your money and stressing your hair and scalp out.

In this post, I will share how to listen to your hair and when to listen to your hair.

 

How to Listen To Your Hair

Listening to your hair simply means to see how your hair feels and how your hair reacts, for example does it feel dry and brittle, is it too soft and weak, did it seem to break more when you tried something new. If you are able to assess/review how your hair feels and understand the principles of hair care, you will then be able to make adjustments in your regimen accordingly. The way your hair feels will act as a guide that will tell you what

So for example if your hair feels too soft or too weak, you will know that you may need to use more protein in your regimen or you may be moisturising your hair too. You may not be able to find an immediate solution but the point is seeing or reviewing how your hair feels will help you identify or narrow down where the problems may lie and you can make adjustments until your hair starts to feel just right.

 

When To Listen To Your Hair

To be honest you should always have a rough idea of how your hair is doing however two very good times to listen to your hair is:

  • When trying out a new product
    See how your hair feels when you use/apply a new product to your hair. When you applied the product did your hair become easier to work with or did it make your hair matt, tangle, feel brittle, etc. I once added aloe vera juice to a homemade spritz some years ago and immediately I applied it to my hair it began to tangle badly. I tweaked my formula so many times but it just was not working for my hair so I knew I had to let it go. Even though many ladies love how it made their hair feel, my hair was having none of it. A helpful tip I should share at this point is to avoid trying too many new products at the same time. Perhaps try one or two at a time. It will make it easier to determine how compatible the products are with your hair.

 

  • When experimenting with a new technique
    If you are trying a new hair care technique or method, eg co-washing, washing in sections, washing in braids or twists, the LOC/LCO moisturising and sealing methods, pre-pooing etc. Always see how your reacts during and after the process. Off course somethings take some practice before you get it right but if you have tried something 3 or 4 times and it just not working for your hair, go back to what you know does works for it.

 

  • When Starting A hair Journey
    This is the most important stage at which listening to your hair is essential. Unfortunately most ladies new to hair care don’t know how to judge the way their hair is feeling. Also many ladies new to hair journeys have very badly damaged hair and it can take several months before their hair begins to show signs of improvement. My advice for ladies in this position is that your hair should feel soft as opposed to brittle like dry grass. It shouldn’t sound very crunchy. Also your hair should feel strong as opposed to feeling limp and weak. Try a few new things and gradually you will begin to notice what seems to be working for you hair., ie what makes it feel soft and strong and makes it more manageable.

I hope you have found this post worth reading. My next post is this months up-do of the month which involves a whole lot of beads (thanks for the inspiration Solange).
x

Lade

Learn | Change | Grow

 

Bed Hair Options

Hello ladies

I often get asked how I wear my hair to bed.  Many ladies ask if I wrap my hair or if I take down my bun every night.
I wrote a post a while back showing how I used to cross-wrap my hair at night.  You can read that post here.

I no longer cross wrap my hair at night and I certainly don’t do a traditional wrap either.
How I wear my hair now depends on what style I have worn that day.

 

Option One.

If I have worn a bun or style that I plan to wear again the next day,   I simply cover my bun/style with a big scarf.
The next day I use a hair mist/moisture spray to moisturise the outside of the bun/style and use a brush to neaten my edges.  My hair styles are never  tight or uncomfortable so there is no tension and I can sleep comfortably.

 

Option Two

Sometimes after moisturising and sealing my hair in sections, I put it in large twists and pile the twists on my head and cover with a scarf.  I also do this if the style I have been wearing has gotten too rough and I’ve taken it down to detangle and moisture and seal thoroughly.

The next morning I simply undo the loose twists and restyle my hair.

These two options work well for me.  What do you do to your hair when you’re going to bed?

X

Lade

Learn | Change | Grow

SINGLE STRAND KNOTS

I used some knitting wool for illustration. Lets pretend that these are strands of hair.

Knots, tangles and matted hair can easily lead to breakage and damage so it is best to avoid them.
A common problem many natural haired ladies complain about is single strand knots also known as fairy knots. Although texlaxed and relaxed ladies can experience this sometimes it is far more common for natural haired ladies.

I am writing this post as an attempt to ensure posts on Hairducation cater to ladies of all hair types. In this post I will discuss what single strand knots are, the effects they have on hair, how to avoid getting them and what to do if you already have them.

 

WHAT ARE SINGLE STRAND KNOTS

Single strand knots occur when one strand of hair folds unto itself and forms a knot which eventually tightens until it forms a very tiny firm knot. They tend to occur towards the ends ( last few inches) of each strand of hair.

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Some strands may have one single knot while others may have several knots of each strand ( see the picture below.

I tend to notice the ones in my hair when I am moisturising and sealing and I feel the tiny knot towards the ends.  The reason they occur more often in ladies with natural hair is because their hair is full of curls, coils and kinks which curl and wind around itself more easily and more often than straight hair.

 

EFFECTS OF SINGLE STRAND KNOTS

Single strand knots can lead to bigger knots and tangles if other strands of hair latch on to the knot. Because the knots tend to become noticeable when it has already become extremely tight, it is often difficult to undo. Most times, they have to be cut out which will lead to thinner ends and shorter hair over time especially if there are loads knots to get rid off.

 

HOW TO KEEP THEM AT BAY

The following are normal parts of a hair regimen which we should be completing. It may not be possible to have hair that is 100% free of single strand knots but if you are notice that you are getting more and more single strand knots in your hair it me be a sign that you are slacking on one of the points below.

1) Keep your hair detangled and stretched
Knots are more likely to form when natural hair is left in its shrunken state. Natural that is well detangled and stretched is less likely to latch on to itself and form a knot. Thorough detangling can be time consuming but if longer thicker hair is what you desire you have to be willing to put in the time and effort it takes to retain as much length as possible. I tend to notice single strand knots in my hair when I’ve slacked on detangling for a few days.

This is a good point to remind us all that fingers are what should be used to detangle not a comb. Your fingers can feel and remove tangles in your hair whilst a comb will simply pull or tear through a tangle. Combs should only be used to smoothen hair after it has been finger detangled.

2) Moisturise and seal regularly
Moisturising and sealing helps to soften hair. The oil or butter which seals in moisture and lubricates the hair thereby reducing friction between the hair fibres. This helps the hair to slide more easily and have less chance of catching and looping round itself to form a single stand knot.

3)Wear protective styles
Styles such as buns, chignons and up-do’s protect our hair from physical and environmental damage but they also play a major role in keeping single strand knots at bay. These styles keep the hair confined so that it is not free to move and tangle around its self. They also help to keep natural hair stretched for longer.

 

HOW TO GET RID OF SINGLE STRAND KNOTS

If you already have single strand knot, what should you do? Cut it off. Some ladies try to untangle single starnd knots but this is usually only possible IF the knot is still a little loose. If however the knot has tightened and is very taut the best thing to do is to cut the knot out using a sharp hair shears/scissors.

I hope you have enjoyed this post and that you found it worth reading.  Have you experienced single strand knots?  What do you think is the cause of you getting them in your hair?
I have my final review of the Nazuri Curls review, another bun of the month pictorial and a hair update coming up next so come back soon ladies.

x

Lade
Learn | Change | Grow