June 30, 2008

'No Poo' Shampoo Method

If you have visited a number of natural hair care sites you may have stumbled upon the term 'no poo' or 'low poo' method of shampooing. The 'no poo/low poo' method derives from shampooing you hair with shampoos or conditioners that do not contain harsh chemicals that are found in shampoos.

The main chemicals that the no pooers are trying to avoid are: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate - SLS, Sodium Laureth Sulfate - SLES. Now some low pooers may use shampoos that contain SLS substitutes Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate - ALS, and/or Ammonium Laureth Sulfate - ALES.

These are all foaming cleansing chemicals found in shampoo also used in everything from engine degreasers to laundry detergent. The amount that is found in most shampoos is reported to be 'safe' when it comes to brief use followed by thorough rinsing, and concentrations of the chemical should not exceed 1% if products are intended for prolonged use.

There are many claims that SLS even causes cancer which is a myth. Check out these sites for more detail. http://www.revolutionhealth.com/conditions/breast-cancer/myths-facts?s_kwcid=ContentNetwork1026685944 and http://www.pathguy.com/sls.htm.

There are reports of people who have suffered from severe eye and skin irritation cause by SLS.

Check out these sites for more info on SLS. http://healthsearch.wordpress.com/2008/05/28/dangers-of-sodium-laurel-sulfate-sls/ and http://www.rapunzelsdelight.com/health_topics/noxious_shampoos.htm#Sodium%20Lauryl%20(Laureth)%20Sulfate%20~%20%20SLS.

Experts suggest that you should make sure you rinse your hair thoroughly when using a shampoo that contains any of these detergents. Some low pooers opt to use shampoos that contain ALS (not as irritant) versus SLS.

These chemicals, along with other harsh detergents found in most shampoos do there job well, they strip the oil and dirt out of your hair but also strip the natural moisture from your scalp. Along with rinsing thoroughly, it is also suggested by shampoo manufacturers that you use a conditioner (to replenish moisture) directly after shampooing.

Again, the best way to be worry free is to avoid these products. Seek out shampoos that do not contain them. Now this may be easier said than done. Like I said, most products have, if not two, at least one of these chemicals. It is also good to shop around for low prices when you are seeking a no poo - shampoo.

There are several castile soap based, organic and vegan shampoos on the market. Dr. Bronner http://www.drbronner.com/ is an example of a great vegetable oil based castile soap great for no-pooing, and Aubrey Organics is another http://www.aubrey-organics.com/ which also features skin care products as well.

Peace and blessings...

June 25, 2008

Basic Tools for Natural Hair

What type of tools do you need for Natural hair maintenance?

Well, the list is very simple; your hands (of course), water, and moisturizer. Those are the basic tools that you need to maintain your natural hair. Some with naptural hair elect not to use a comb or brush, but for those who want to detangle without only using their hands, a wide tooth comb and brush need to also be a part of your list.

Of course, your hands are probably a given, but water is an important tool that is often forgotten about. Naptural hair loooves water. Water is a great detangler/moisturizer. In the summer, when I wear box braids I keep a spray bottle filled with water mixed with a little water soluble eo - (essential oil - I like lavender) in the refrigerator.

I lightly spritz my head after coming in from a day under the hot sun to give it some moisture. When it dries, the lavender leaves a nice clean smell. I also use the water mixture before and after I take down my braids to help with detangling. The water and eo mixture can also be used with extension styles as well.

Now during the cooler months, and depending on what hair style you are wearing (like a transition style that requires your permed ends to be straight or curled) it may not be wise to use simply water as a moisturizer. When it comes to a moisturizer you will have to experiment with a few to find out which one your hair likes best.

An important note on moisturizers : The moisturizer I am referring to is 'hair moisturizer' a moisturizer put on for your hair, to be gently massaged, rubbed or brushed through your hair and to ends - to give it a healthy-looking sheen and to prevent dry ends. Some people 'religiously' use moisturizers on their scalp - the old 'grease your scalp' mentality. In reality you do not have to 'grease your scalp'. Our scalp produces it's own moisturizer called sebum.

Some people who have dry scalp and/or dandruff believe that 'greasing' their scalp helps or prevents this, but it does not. Dry scalp and/or dandruff are actually a result of too much oil on your scalp. Dandruff can be managed by a mild anti-dandruff shampoo or if more severe you should seek the care of a dermatologist. For those with oily scalp tea tree oil with it's natural drying antiseptic qualities is a remedy. Check out this website for more details http://www.ishrs.org/articles/scalp-skin-conditions.htm.

Some people have a reaction to oil-based moisturizers. So for those who are prone to break-outs due to oil-based products, you should look for moisturizers that are water based - water should be the first ingredient. Also when looking for a moisturizer be conscious of products that contain 'cones' Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, silicone, etc.

These ingredients are usually found in conditioners and shampoos, but are also found in moisturizers. Again you must experiment with products to see what's best for your hair, but it's been my experience that moisturizers that contain 'cones' especially ones that you plan on using daily or even weekly, tend to leave natural hair sticky and gummy, and result in scalp build-up.

Seek out moisturizers that contain ingredients close to our scalp's own sebum like shea butter, sweet almond oil, jojoba and mango butter, and make sure they are high-up on the ingredient list. And for those who can not break the habit of 'greasing' your scalp you can massage your scalp with the balls of your fingers to distribute these natural moisturizers throughout your scalp.

Now to cut out the hassle of trying to decipher ingredients on the back of products, the simplest thing to do is to use natural products. Although you will also have to experiment with these, you will not have to worry about putting chemicals on your hair. Natural products can be a bit more expensive, but if you keep the products you use to a minimal, and keep in mind less is better to extend your products, in the end you may find that you will actually save money in comparison with the products you used before you were natural.

Check out this site http://www.fromnaturewithlove.com/ (and Naptural Links at the bottom of the blog) for natural ingredients/products.

Peace and blessings...

June 16, 2008

'Transitioning' Versus 'The Big Chop'

There are two steps you can take to start your naptural hair journey - 'transitioning' or 'the big chop'. But in the end both will end with the same result - cutting off the permed hair. There is no such thing as washing out or stripping a perm - a perm is just as it's name states - permanent. The natural texture of your hair is 'permanently' changed unless you cut it off and start again.

Now the most dramatic way to start your naptural hair journey is to do a 'big chop'. Big chop meaning shave your head bald. Although this may sound drastic it is the safest, easiest way to go natural because you don't have to worry about dealing with two textures of hair, permed ends and natural new growth. You can camouflage your new do by purchasing stylish wigs and even hats. Another bright side is you would not have to worry about buying styling products for a while and use that money on pretty scarfs or head ties, and earrings to accessorize your new do. You can also do a 'big chop' after you grow an inch or two of new growth. Then you will be sporting a 'TWA' - Teenie - Weenie - Afro :o)

Transitioning, of course, is less dramatic. Transitioning is exactly what it sounds like; you are moving from one state- permed hair, to a new state - natural hair. As you are 'transitioning' from the perm state to the natural state, you are allowing your hair to grow, new growth to come in without re-perming, i.e. no touch-ups. Now during this transition some still apply heat, curling iron and/or straightening comb to the new growth area to keep the textures looking the same, but this is not a good idea because the heat will have to applied too often and will eventually damage the new growth, and you will end up having to do a 'big chop' as a result.

Unfortunately, there is really no other guaranteed way to keep the new growth and the permed hair looking the same while you are transitioning, so the best thing to do is to camouflage the new growth. This can be done by using a non-alcohol gel, pomade, or even a little water and conditioner depending on the texture of your hair, to smooth/brush down the new growth, then cover with a silk/satin scarf to set it in place, and this will have to be done every night or even in-between outings.

Or, instead you can simply purchase scarfs and/or headbands to wear on top of the new growth to camouflage it. You can also opt to wear your two-textured hair in transition styles such as braids - extensions or using your own hair (neither not done too tightly ) or curly wet sets, which will blend in the two textures nicely. One of my favorite transitioning styles was wearing cornrows or flat twists in the front of my head (braiding/twisting the new growth area) and the rest of my hair (permed portion) out either straight or curly in the back.

The one thing you have to be extremely careful of when transitioning is dealing with the two different textures of hair. New growth is very fragile and can not be handled the same way as the permed texture. You may even have to use different styling products to deal with the two textures of hair. The best thing to do is to focus entirely on your new growth (natural hair). You will have to experiment with different (preferably natural hair products) on your new growth as it gets longer and use these products on your permed ends as well.

The other thing you must do is as your new growth grows, start cutting off your permed ends. I recommend when you have at least an inch of new growth, cut off an inch of your permed ends, and keep doing this until you have a head full of natural hair. I can not give an exact range of time when you will have a complete full head of natural hair but check out this hair growth site http://www.pg.com/science/haircare/hair_twh_21.htm.

Also another one of my favorite naptural hair sites is http://www.motowngirl.com/content/ - I came across Motown Girl through the Nappturality.com family. Now her site is filled with naptural pictures, how-tos, product reviews etc. I love it. It is what I plan my blog to be someday :o)

Okay that is all for now, until next time.

Peace and blessings

June 12, 2008

Happy Blog-day To Me :o)

Go- go- go- go - go shawty it's your blog day...gonna party like it's your blog day... :o)

Okay, once again I have started another blog - this time I am going to keep this one up-to-date.. I promise :o)

Okay seriously now - about 'All Naptural'

'All Naptural' is a natural hair care blog. First of all 'Naptural' is a play on the words 'natural' and 'nappy' (referring to ethnic hair in it's 'natural' state -- chemical-free). Now some feel that the word 'nappy' when referring to ethnic hair is negative, and that it implies ugly, coarse/kinky, hard to comb hair.

My nappy hair, although it may be hard to comb at times (especially when using the wrong tools), is not ugly and can be worn in tons of beautiful styles. Therefore, I feel that the word 'nappy' as well as coarse hair should be looked upon in a new, positive light. I am happy to be nappy :o)

Nappy/natural hair is healthy and beautiful, and one of the goals of this blog is to focus on it's beauty. I plan to post information on going natural i.e. growing out perm, by either transitioning or doing the 'big chop' (cutting if all off), maintaining naptural hair, and of course plenty of beautiful naptural hair pictures. I will also post napural hair care daily routines, styles, product reviews and homemade product recipes.

I will start today by listing my most favorite Naptural hair community site, http://www.nappturality.com/. This site is very informative and a great start for anyone who is either thinking about, just curious about, or already have natural hair. You have to subscribe (it's free) to see the pictures, but I also recommend that you donate as well to be able to post your own pics, get inside info and other benefits. Enjoy :o)

Quote of the Day: "Do not remove the kinks from your hair--remove them from your brain." Marcus Garvey

Until next time, peace and blessings.