March 28, 2011

TWA Styles

Here is another one of my favorites that I wrote for Coco and Creme - Styling Your TWA (teenie weenie afro). Be sure to check out the YouTube video links at the end - there are some very cute styles that can be worn on TWAs as well as longer hair lengths :o)

I love the TWA stage. Although I never did a ‘big chop’, I’ve cut my hair several times and enjoyed wearing my TWA which always seemed to grow out very fast. But, I do understand that it seems like that there aren’t many style options especially when pictures of updos, puffs and big twist-outs on longer hair overflow the web.

So this is dedicated to TWA wearers who are seeking various style options. Again, there are styles that can be created with one or two inches of hair; the most simple, and probably obvious style is the wash-n-go.

Simply wash or wet your hair, depending on your hair’s texture you can add an oil or pomade, leave-in conditioner or an alcohol free styling gel, smooth the product through your wet hair to achieve texture and go. You have a textured TWA.

With a TWA you can also wear coils - finger coils or comb coils. Wash or wet your hair, start at the back and work your way up to create comb coils or finger coils. Depending on how long you plan to wear your coils and the weather, you may not have to add anything aside from a moisturizer. Coils are a very pretty style, that can be worn in the boardroom as well as the club.

My all time favorite are two-strand twists. All you need is one or two inches of hair to create two-strand twists. As soon as you can ‘grab’ hair between your fingers it can be twisted into two-strands.

You will have to make the two-strands tiny in order for them to stay twisted. And, again depending on your hair type, you may have to use an alcohol-free gel to help them stay twisted.

And of course, once you’ve put in your two-strand twists, you can also wear a twist-out. Put your two-strands in when your hair is wet (again you may have to add a little styling gel) then unravel them when they are completely dry to wear a twist-out.

Your twists can be worn for a week and then you can wear a twist-out the next, creating a two-in-one style.

You can also create flat twists with one or two inches of hair. You can create cute flat-twist updos with a combo of two-strand twists or even coils. You can even create flat twist-outs. You can flat twist wet hair, let them dry and unravel to create a textured flat twist-out. You can also do this with cornrows.

To get even more creative, you can add a few flat twists or cornrows to the front or side of your hair, secure them with some cute clips, barrettes or hair pins and wear the back out. Combining twists and/or cornrows to the front of your TWA as-is or textured are great unique combo-styles.

You can also put tiny box braids in your hair once it’s long enough to grab. Now this will require more patience because it takes a little longer and you will be working with three sections instead of simply twisting two, but box braids are also a cute style to wear during the TWA stage. You can also create Bantu knots with your box braids.

In most cases, box braids curl at the ends by themselves, or you can use a little alcohol-free styling gel to help them along, creating a pretty curly box braid style. Unbraid your box braids for a textured braid-out. And unravel your knots for a curly knot-out as well.

As you experiment with these different styles, and create your own, as well as accessorize along the way, your TWA phase will be over before you know it, so enjoy it while you can.

Check out the videos links below depicting creative TWA styles.

Peace and Blessings...

March 21, 2011

The Benefits of Virgin Coconut Oil

There are several benefits to using coconut oil on your hair.

Virgin Coconut oil has antibacterial, antifungal and antiparasitic, properties that can help with many scalp problems such as dandruff. It can also aid in length retention, because it strengthens hair strands to keep them from breaking.

Virgin Coconut oil is a great oil to use to soften your hair and condition your scalp. Virgin Coconut Oil can also be used as a weekly scalp massage oil.

The fatty-acids in coconut oil are the exact ones contained in sebum, the natural oil that our scalp produces. They both contain medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) which can easily penetrate the hair strand to and reduce protein loss.

Virgin Coconut Oil also prevents destructive free-radical formation and provides protection against them. It can help to keep the skin from developing liver spots, and other blemishes caused by aging and over exposure to sunlight. It helps to keep connective tissues strong and supple so that the skin doesn't sag and wrinkle.

In some cases it might even restore damaged or diseased skin. The oil is absorbed into the skin and into the cell structure of the connective tissues, limiting the damage excessive sun exposure can cause.

Ayuredic Hair Recipes Using Coconut Oil

For an Itchy Scalp:
Add 1 teaspoon of camphor to half a cup of coconut oil and store it in glass container. Massage this oil into your scalp before bed.

For Dandruff:
1. Add 1 teaspoon of camphor to half a cup of coconut or neem oil. Store it in glass container. Massage this oil into the scalp before bed. Wash with warm water after three to four hours or leave overnight.

2. Mix 1 teaspoon of castor, mustard and coconut oil each and massage into the scalp. Wash with warm water after three to four hours or leave overnight.

3. Mix one part of lemon juice with two parts of coconut oil. Massage into the roots of the hair regularly.

Peace and Blessings...

More Info:

March 14, 2011

Preventing Split Ends

Here's another topic that I've written about, but a popular one - Split Ends.

Split End Pic from P&G Beauty

Split ends, scientifically known as Trichoptilosis, happens when the hair's protective cuticle has been stripped away from the ends, causing a splitting of the hair shaft giving it a feathery appearance.

Avoiding trims, excessive brushing, heat, elastic bands, hair extensions, towel drying and even dry scalp are all causes of split ends. There is no ‘cure’ for split ends, the only way to get rid of them is to cut them off.

The ends of your hair are very important. Dry, split ends cause breakage while moisturized ends are more pliable and retain length. Some people shy away from trimming their ends because they do not want to lose length.

But keep in mind that split ends cause the hair to split all the way up to the scalp, which will result in you having to get a major cut. Split ends should be cut at least 1 inch above the split.

Another good way to prevent split ends, along with moisturizing, is adding ‘dusting’ of your ends to your hair routine. I would describe dusting as cutting off less than an inch of your ends.

When your ends start to feel crunchy, or you hear popping when you detangle, or start to see tiny hairs in the sink that are not old shedded hairs (with white bulbs at the tips) these are signs that you may need to ‘dust’ your ends.

But remember, only trim or dust your ends when necessary - you don't want to fall into a 'routine' of cutting your ends when they really don't need to be cut, especially if you want to retain length.

Also, when you come across one of those tiny knots - simply cut the knot off and move on, again it's not necessary to trim every strand.

The easiest way to trim/dust your own ends is when your hair is in box braids or twists. Simply cut a little (about a half inch or less) off the ends of each twist or braid.

To avoid having to make a drastic cut because of split ends, the best thing to do is to take preventive measures and protect them.

To protect your ends, get in the routine of moisturizing them during the week. Use oils such as shea butter, castor oil, olive oil or almond oil to protect your ends.

Conditioning after shampooing (rinse with cool water to close your hair cuticle), detangling with conditioner, and adding a monthly deep conditioner to your hair care routine also help prevent split ends, as well as avoiding heat, air drying whenever possible, and keeping your hair moisturized.

Wearing ‘protective’ styles, such as braids, cornrows or twists are also helpful in protecting your ends.

For those with longer hair, in colder seasons protect your ends by wearing silk or satin scarves around your shoulders to keep your ends from rubbing against wool coats and cotton sweaters, or wear protective styles like updos or buns.

Make sure that the hats you wear have a silk or satin lining or wear a silk/satin scarf underneath them. Cotton absorbs moisture and also snags your hair, therefore at night use a silk/satin scarf, bonnet or pillow case.

Peace and Blessings...

Devon Trichology Practice
Ultimate Cosmetics
Hair Finder

March 07, 2011

Skin Deep - Database to Check Product Safety

Again, I wrote about this in several articles on the internet but wanted to share one of my favorite sites for those who may not have heard of it - Skin Deep Cosmetic Database. (and I'm determined to keep my promise of keeping the blog up-to-date :o)

With so many products on the market today proclaiming to be ‘natural’ it can be very confusing determining which ones are truly natural versus those that contain a few natural ingredients.

And when it comes to reading ingredient lists, it seems like you need to be a chemist to understand them. For example, the average consumer might not know off hand that simmondsia chinensis is actually Jojoba.

Before experimenting with an igredient or even when I'm thinking about buying a product and I'm not too sure what a listed ingredient is - I look up the ingredient on the database. For me, the best way to determine what an ingredient it and whether or not it's safe is to research it.

Research may sound like a long, tedious undertaking, but with the database it's pretty simple.

According to the website, Skin Deep gets about 1 million page views per month, and is the world’s largest and most popular product safety guide. Skin Deep is an online safety guide for cosmetics and personal care products that was launched in 2004 by the Environmental Working Group.

Skin Deep’s database provides safety ratings for nearly a quarter of all products on the market; 62,551 products with 7,644 ingredients. According to the site, it gets about 1 million page views per month, making Skin Deep the world's largest and most popular product safety guide.

Skin Deep ratings are on a 0 to 10 scale; 0 being low hazard and 10 being the highest. You can search ingredients, product brands, and even get a shopping list of low hazard products.

Just simply type in the entire product name (exact brand) or ingredient and you will get facts on the product/ingredient i.e. what it’s used for, its rating, toxicity stats, as well as government and other agency studies performed.

In a matter of minutes you will have all the information you need to determine whether or not you want to purchase a product, or stop using one you already have

More information:
Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database

March 01, 2011

Videos - The Making of Shea Butter

Shea Butter is one of my staples - I like to use it raw and unrefined, as well as ultra refined from Wholesale Supplies Plus.

Shea butter originates from the Karite Nut tree, also called the Mangifolia tree, found in the semi-arid savannahs of West and Central Africa.

The Karite Nut tree, also called the "tree of life" can live for 300 years and almost all parts of the tree have some practical use. The bark is an ingredient in traditional medicines against certain childhood illnesses and minor scrapes and cuts. The shell of the nuts can repel mosquitoes.

The fruity part of the nut, when crushed, results in a vegetable oil that can be used in soap-making, cooking, and skin and hair care. The oil extracted has a relatively high melting point and is used in rural areas in the making of foods, traditional drugs and cosmetics. Shea is mainly exported as smoked kernels and can be used as an extender in chocolate as its properties are similar to cocoa butter.

Although in the last few years, Shea butter has become popular in the United States, it has been used by the women of West Africa for centuries. Shea butter can also help to protect the skin against the damaging effects of the sun, while repairing cellular degeneration.

It contains vitamins A and E, and has demonstrated both antimicrobial (kills or inhibits the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, or protozoa), and anti-inflammatory properties.

In most parts of West Africa, destruction of the Shea tree is prohibited because this little nut provides a valuable source of food, medicine, and income for the population. In fact, Shea butter is sometimes referred to as "women’s gold" in Africa, because so many women are employed in the production of Shea butter.

Shea butter may also help treat skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis; however, keep in mind that you should always consult a physician or dermatologist about serious or persistent skin problems. Shea butter is not recommended for people with nut or latex allergies.

Check out these videos on how shea butter is made...

The first is called - From Tree to Nuts

The second one is called - From Nuts to Butter

I thought these were really interesting. There are other videos on YouTube that show shea butter production as well - I didn't want to get too carried away posting them :o). The Greenpeople Company, Ltd has a YouTube channel with videos of making organic shea butter and how fair trade shea butter has helped villages in Ghana which are also interesting.

Sources Used
The Shea Project
Treasured Locks
Pioneer Thinking

Peace and Blessings...