Natural Socialite

Archive for April, 2011|Monthly archive page

In the News: CNN Report on Hair Loss in Black women

In Natural Hair, Natural Hair News, Self Help Series, Socialite Says on April 28, 2011 at 10:08 am

 

I ran across this article on CNN Health and thought I would share it with you guys.  The article reported information from a study suggesting that hair weaves and braids are causing many black women permanent hair loss.  This made me sit back and take a look at my own “hairstory” and examine all of the unhealthy measures I have taken (in the past) to keep my hair fried, died & laid to the side.  I have vivid memories of my childhood next door neighbor and I trying to get our hair silky with curling irons & hot combs in the privacy of my bathroom. We wanted our hair to look like the glorified straight-haired beauties that we saw in the magazines & on tv, and in my opinion subconsciously felt as if what we had was somehow inadequate.

This article even makes reference to central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia, also known as CCCA, which was at one time known as “hot comb alopecia” because “it was attributed to the use of hot combs to straighten curly hair.”  Wow. 

This isn’t (shouldnt be) news to us. We know the potential dangers of weaves, braids, perms, etc, etc, etc; and how they can cause hair loss, breakage, burns and loss of sight (relaxers) if done improperly.  We know this.  My question is why do we continue to do these things?  Why do we sometimes torture ourselves for beauty?

I’m not trying to get all deep on y’all, but sometimes we really should take a look at ourselves and evaluate why we do the things we do.  I had a happy childhood.  Don’t get me wrong.  My parents were the best that God could have given me, so please don’t even think of going there.  I just want to make sure that if I ever have a daughter that I teach her that she is beautiful just the way she is.  I need her to know that there isn’t anything that she will ever need to alter about her hair, skin etc. in order to fit in to anyone’s standard of beauty.  I will do that by starting with myself.  I am doing that by embracing my own natural beauty.  After all… God makes no mistakes.

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Reader Request | Is there a “healthy” way for me to color my natural hair?

In Education, Reader Submissions on April 26, 2011 at 11:58 am

Q: Charlotte, I’m frustrated with rinses that only last a few washes at best, are there any more permanent options out there that are healthier for my hair?

A: Thank you for your question.  I am sure that there are others out there that have the same concern.  While our natural hair is as beautiful as it is, it seems that we all get that “itch” to color our tresses and create our own harmonizing hues.  Many of you know that my major hair crush is a stunning natural beauty with rich honey blonde hair by the name of Whitney Mero (side note: which I actually just discovered is the birth sister of my sister from another Mister *inserts scream here*), and I have obsessive dreams and aspirations of mimicking her mane style & color sometime down the line.  My main fear however, has always been that I will end up on the “I was natural for 3 years but I colored my hair and it all fell out and broke off” list and be forced into an unwanted 3rd big chop.  Not cool.  At all.

To properly answer your question, I first want you to understand exactly why there are limited options for those of us who may be fearful of opening that “color door”, and what is actually happening when we lighten [lift] our natural hair color.

The pigment of your hair comes from the inner two layers. When you bleach your hair, you damage the shingles that create the covering of the hair shaft. The dye, which slips through the gaps in the outer layers, swells to give your hair a different color. But the prior or current damage the bleach caused allows the dye to slowly slip out of the hair, so we end up losing the full body of the hair faster than if we had just left it alone.

Black hair is drier than other types of hair, which naturally makes it more prone to damage. If your hair color is naturally black or dark brown, you have to actually lift the color a few shades (2 or so) to see any difference.  In order to do this, your hair must be bleached, which cannot be done with pure plant (natural) products. You must use bleach and peroxide developer mix. While this method is effective, it strips the protein from your hair is extremely hard on the hair as well.

  • If you do decide to color, just be smart about it.  I would highly suggest a semi-permanent option which will be less harsh on the hair.
  • Visit a professional. I would highly recommend seeing a licensed hair professional that is also designated as a color specialist.
  • Start with your hair in optimum health. Do not color your hair if it is brittle, broken, and if you have split hairs. You are writing your own invitation to I’m not trying to be harsh but if you cannot maintain the health of your hair without color, more likely than not, you are not quite ready to maintain color treated hair. 
  • Shampoo hair with products that are sulfate-free.  Moisturizing shampoos are best.
  • Nourish your hair with a weekly deep conditioner or mask treatment in order to help prevent (and repair) damage
  • Try body art quality henna from a reputable source. Henna is a natural colorant and strengthener, and comes with all types of additional health benefits.  Henna is not permanent, but it may help satisfy your color fix.

I’ve personally heard good things about the coloring experience at the Aveda Salons.  While I have not tried their services myself, I can appreciate their use of conditioning plant oils & their acknowledgement of the “dangers” traditional coloring as well as their commitment to protecting mother earth. 

From the website:

Discover hair color with the energy of plants. Our innovative formulas leave hair essentially damage-free—infused with conditioning plant oils for shinier, healthy-looking color.

Full Spectrum Deep™ Creme Color for Dark Hair
Transforms dark hair to light—vibrant, true-to-life tones from a single, simple process. All from a 93% naturally derived* formula, so color is healthy-looking, luminous—and it’s gentle on the Earth as on hair.

Shades of Enlightenment™ Advanced Lifting Creme Hair Color
Blondes awaken with the first permanent hair color system that’s 97% naturally derived*—capturing the active energy of plants.

Full Spectrum Deposit-Only Color Treatment
This 99% naturally derived formula* delivers rich color that lasts up to eight weeks. Treatment formula actually improves the condition of damaged hair.

Full Spectrum™ Protective Permanent Creme Hair Color
A 97% naturally derived formula* which delivers superior permanent color that resists fading—keeps hair shiny and essentially damage-free.

  *from plants and non-petroleum based minerals

Have you colored your natural hair?  What was your experience?

How Porosity Levels Could be Causing Your Dry Natural Hair

In Dry Hair Remedies, Recipes on April 25, 2011 at 9:40 am

 

Is your hair dry, brittle or damaged? If you have tried every moisturizing treatment and deep conditioner product that you have seen on various natural hair boards and your hair is still as thirsty as the Sahara, then you could be suffering (yes, suffering) from issues of porosity.

What is porosity?

Porosity refers to the hair’s ability, or inability, to absorb water or chemicals deep into the cuticle layers and cortex. All hair is naturally porous and somewhat permeable to water. Hair is literally like a sponge, capable of absorbing water and other substances from the environment, and also susceptible to losing precious moisture and lipids to the environment. Maintaining an optimal balance of moisture in your hair preserves its suppleness, strength, and shine.

What causes your hair to have porosity issues?

Excessive abuse from combs, brushes, and heat styling tools, the sun, over processing from chemical relaxers [perms] and permanent colors, as well as the continued use of sulfate-rich shampoos and changes in hormone levels are all reasons that your hair could have issues of porosity.

Note:  I would seriously invest in some ph strips to test the acidity of your hair care products. High pH shampoos lift the cuticle allowing moisture to evaporate, so make sure you are using shampoos that have ph levels under 6 (pure water has a ph of 7).  Elasta QP Crème Conditioning Shampoo is good. You can also opt to eliminate shampooing every time you wash and just do conditioner only washes (co-wash).

How do I know if my hair is suffering from poor porosity?

There are a few ways to check for poor porosity, but I think that this is the easiest way (at least for me) to tell. Take a few strands of shed hair from your comb or other styling tool and place them in a bowl of water. If your hair sinks to the bottom quickly (less than a minute or so), then it’s porous.  The sooner it sinks, the more porous your hair is. If only one part of the strand sinks, you have a spotty porosity problem. This is not uncommon.

You can also get a fair gauge of your hair’s porosity by paying attention to how quickly your hair dries.  Porous hair dries very quickly, and hair that takes a long time to dry is typically less porous.  If your hair is almost completely dry before you dry off after your shower, then your hair is likely porous!

What can I do to fix this?

The easiest way to fix the damaged cuticle layers of your hair is through protein conditioning. Protein fills in gaps, binds to damaged places, and mends individual exterior scales along the cuticle. Regular protein conditioning improves the hair’s porosity by reinforcing the cuticle layers and allowing the hair shaft to better hold on to the moisture it is given. Don’t overdo the protein treatments though.  Too much protein will make your hair even drier.

Suggested Product: Mizani Kerafuse Intensive Protein Treatment

[Note: This is the only commercial product I have tried to correct porosity, so this is the only one I feel comfortable recommending.  There are other protein treatments available on the market such as Aphogee & Roux Porosity Control so look at the suggested application methods, price, etc. to determine what’s best for you]

Tips for use:

  1. Shampoo, rinse & towel blot
  2. Separate hair into 4 sections for easier application
  3. Apply approx 2oz of product to the hair, making sure to cover the entire hair shaft
  4. Cover hair with plastic shower cap and use heat cap or sit under warm dryer for 10 minutes
  5. Rinse thoroughly with cool water to close the hair shaft [which keeps hair shiny].  Hair is now ready for deep conditioning treatment. It is ideal to use a plastic cap and condition for no less than 30 minutes.

 You can also however opt for a natural alternative to porosity treatments. Apple Cider Vinegar rinses are great for hair that has raised cuticles because the acidic nature of the ACV helps tighten and close those raised cuticles which will help your hair to retain moisture. In my attempt to keep from spending so much money on hair products, I have made this my go to treatment and because I don’t have serious porosity issues, it honestly works just as well for me.  If you can deal with the smell, then by all means go for it.

Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

1/3 cup ACV

3 cups of Distilled Water

How to use:

Combine both ingredients in a plastic cup and rinse hair with mixture after you have shampooed & deep conditioned.  This should be used as a final rinse and should not be rinsed out.  This is also a great clarifying rinse & can be done once per month.

 

 

**Big Chop Tips**| Using Quality Scissors

In Hair on April 22, 2011 at 11:31 am

 

I’ve heard many people question the point of going to a salon just to do the Big Chop, when they can do the “same thing” in the comfort of their own bathroom salon.  While cutting off your relaxed ends is definitely more cost-effective, without proper tools, you could be writing yourself a prescription for dry hair that is hard to keep moisturized.

Don’t risk leaving your hair prone to those dreadful split ends. Scab hair is already rough to deal with for newly naturals, so don’t contribute to it by using your household shears. Also remember to always clean your shears after each use, and store them in a dry environment to prevent moisture buildup as moisture on your shears can result in rusting.

You don’t have to break the bank when purchasing adequate shears for home use. There are options available for under $25 that will help give yourself a more professional home trim.  By investing in a good pair of shears, you will save yourself a lot of time and frustration down the line.

10 Summer Tips for Healthy Natural Hair | Natural Socialite

In Education, Seasonal Hair Care on April 22, 2011 at 10:25 am

Summer sun rays, chlorine & salt water can make natural hair look dull, feel like straw and can fade your new coppery color.  Just as you want to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UVA & UVB rays, you should exercise the same level of care when protecting your hair.  Summertime sun protection doesn’t just mean taking care of your hair when you are on the beach or sipping cocktails poolside.  You should be just as conscious of the sun’s damaging rays whether you are walking the dog or manicuring your lawn.

Sure.  You’ve worked hard all winter shielding your hair from the elements with protective styles, caps, scarves and what have you. You’ve religiously worn buns, make sure your ends were tucked in, and you probably even tried every “natural looking” wig you saw your favorite vlogger review on YouTube. If you are planning any sort of daytime outdoor activities this summer, just make sure you exercise a similar level of care to make this winter’s work worth while.

Protect you hair & skin this summer with these tips:

1. Cover your hair! It’s your best line of defense in protecting your hair: get a good hat (wide-brimmed) if possible, or get creative with scarves that hide your hair from the sun. Channel your inner June Ambrose!

2. Braid hair or wear a ponytail when swimming. It will protect some of your hair from chlorine or salt water effects

3. Rinse hair immediately after swimming in chlorinated water and use a conditioner with a low pH value (about 3.5) to smooth the cuticle and lock colour particles in.

4. Use a quality conditioner with moisturizing ingredients to deep condition your hair on a weekly basis during the summer. Look for ingredients such as wheat germ, jojoba oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, silk amino acids, etc. You can even try mixing a few oils together. These oils applied to the ends of your strands will work great on frizzy hair.

5. Avoid products that contain synthetic oils such as mineral and/or petrolatum oil, as they further dehydrate your hair. Also avoid products that contain drying alcohol, such as hair spray, mousse and some gels.

6. Your hair needs to be treated more gently during the summer. Use a specific mask to make it soft and rinse with fresh water to seal the hair cuticle and impart natural shimmer. Allow your hair to dry naturally do not use hot styling tools (blow dryers, hot irons, rollers).

7.  Pay special attention to the ends of your hair; after all, they are the oldest part of the hair. Mix a bit of a conditioner with a natural oil, apply, and comb through ends; leave in for extra protection.

8. Wear a PVC-free swim cap that thoroughly protects the hair when possible.

9. Opt for styles that keep your ends protected, such as braids, two-strand twists, cornrows, flat twists and buns. You can use extensions, if you like, but if your hair is long enough, you can use your own hair

10. Once the sun goes down, let it all hang out! You have worked hard to protect your hair & now you get to show it off.  Release your natural curls & all of their glory!  Show the world what you are working with!

How do you protect your hair in the summer?  Please share your tips!

Do Prenatal Vitamins Really Help Hair Growth?

In Education, Natural Hair, Products, Socialite Says on April 21, 2011 at 10:31 am

For as long as I can remember, I have always heard that taking prenatal vitamins can aid in stimulating hair growth. Now when you are actually pregnant, your body actually produces more estrogen than normal which locks the hair into the growth phase, encouraging additional growth. But what about taking prenatal vitamins when you are not pregnant, and just want more of a growth spurt for your marvelous mane?   Believe it or not, there is no reliable research available that supports this claim.

If you are someone who actually has some sort of vitamin deficiency, then there is some evidence that vitamins can help, but if you already have a somewhat healthy diet & lifestyle, prenatals won’t miraculously work wonders for you. In situations where you do lack some sort of vitamin deficiency, then a daily multi-vitamin will just about do the same thing.

The difference between prenatal vitamins and multi-vitamins is that prenatals usually have more iron (which is why you may get an upset tummy) & folic acid.  People usually target prenatals as the growth culprit because the vitamin B in folic acid accelerates growth of fresh cells, which replace the old cells and calcium helps in maintaining a healthy scalp. This increased dosage may however have adverse affects on people with some health conditions, including those of the liver and kidney.

If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant prenatal vitamins should definitely be high on you list, because protecting the health of your baby is what’s most important.

Please consult with your doctor before taking prenatal vitamins when you are not pregnant.  If you have insurance, it’s usually cheaper for your OBGYN to write a prescription for prenatal vitamins anyway because you can end up just paying your copay.

Fighting to be Frizz Free | Anti-Humectants & Natural Hair

In Education, Natural Hair, Product Reviews, Products, Socialite Says, Style Guide on April 21, 2011 at 9:01 am

Before

Summertime is quickly approaching and in my super humid climate, that means FRIZZ FEST 2011!  Humidity seems to find me, even if I’m inside hiding behind barricaded doors.  I remember the first time straightening my hair straightened after my big chop, and the horror I experienced when I woke up the next morning to a full-blown fro.  Mortified and hopeless, I was convinced that I would never see my luxurious locks in a straightened state again. It took me visiting a very knowledgeable (and amazing) hair stylist who was also a natural sister herself, to learn that all was not lost.  She educated me on why humidity causes natural hair to frizz, and what I could do to combat my flat-iron reversion. Whether you are natural and wear your hair curly, or choose to break out the flat-iron every now and then…. anti-humectants can be a girl’s best friend.

Now I’m no scientist, so I can’t tell you the science behind what makes this stuff work.  I can just tell you what I know based on a little research & a whole lot of experience (good & bad).  If you need to know the whole molecular mumbo jumbo, then feel free to read this.  If you just want to get the gist of things and have a banging hair day, then read on my dear.

Anti-Humectants are literally moisture blockers that provide a barrier between your hair & the environment while repelling water from the hair.  For obvious reasons,  a good anti-humectant will not be water based.  In many products, the ingredients used for anti-humectants are silicones. This is because they seal your hair against the humidity. They are not very moisturizing but they can be effective.

On the contrary, there will also be times when using humectants are a more favorable choice.  Humectants can help moisturize the hair in dry climates. These products will actually pull the moisture from the environment and help keep your tresses hydrated.

After

My favorite commercial anti-humectant product is hands down the Aveda Brilliant Anti-Humectant Pomade. The Aveda line is typically expensive in general and this product is no exception, so make sure you ask if they have samples available when shopping in the store.  Natural anti-humectant options (to name a few) include  hydrogenated castor oil, palm oil, beeswax, shea butter & castor oil.

Key tips to remember:

1. Know when & where you use your products.  Humectants (dry climates) = add moisture ; Anti- Humectants (humid climates) = repel moisture

2. Make sure your hair is clean, conditioned, detangled, and well rinsed before heat styling.

3. Use a leave in and heat protectant prior to using blow dryers, curling irons, and flat ironing tools. Do not use oil prior to heat styling your hair!

4.  A little goes a long way!  You can always add more product, but once you have used too much…. well…

*Note* My hair lasted about 11 days before “reverting” which is nothing short of a miracle :0)

Aveda Anti-Humectant Pomade Ingredients:

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Isopropyl Palmitate, C18-38 Acid Triglyceride (Mixed Plant (Melange de Plantes)), Bio-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate 1 (Source: Coconut (Noix de Coco)), BIS Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate 2 (Mixed Plant (Melange de Plantes)), Castor Oil (Ricinus Communis), Phenyl Trimethicone (Silica (Silice)), Cyclomethicone, Fragrance (Parfum), Glyceryl Laurate (Mixed Plant (Melange de Plantes)), Rice Bran Oil (Oryza Sativa)

Carol’s Daughter | (is there really) Beauty in Diversity Campaign

In Education, Natural Hair, Natural Hair News, Self Help Series, Socialite Says on April 15, 2011 at 7:58 pm

CD Founder Lisa Price had found what she calls a diverse group of new spokeswomen to serve as the faces of Carol’s Daughter. Cassie, Selita Ebanks, and Solange Knowles will now serve as Beauty Ambassadors for the multi-million dollar hair & skin care company. Now I don’t know about you, but when I see these ladies grouped together (whom are all definitely beautiful in their own way), the last thing that comes to my mind is the term diverse. I pride myself on trying to see past skin color, but when you title your campaign “Beauty in Diversity”, I feel as if you have indirectly given me consent to call you out on it.

In an exclusive statement provided to YBF.com by Carol’s Daughter Chairman and lead investor, Steve Stoute says,

“I am so happy and proud to have Solange, Cassie, and Selita join the Carol’s Daughter family. They, together with Lisa Price, Mary J. Blige and Jada Pinkett Smith, share our passion of bringing beauty to a variety of skin tones and hair textures.

Um, sir… did you see this picture?  What “variety of skin tones” are you referring to?  Are we now considering Cassie’s half shaved head a new hair texture?  Maybe -1a? Oh, ok…

“Carol’s Daughter doesn’t have just one direct demographic.  Solange’s hair is a different texture than mine.  So is Cassie’s.  Our skin and body types are different.  Today, people are blended, & I think the three of us are a prime example. Women in my family range from vanilla to the deepest chocolate,” said Selita Ebanks in her statement to WWD.

Girl, please.

I have personally supported the Carol’s Daughter line for years now (even before transitioning to natural was ever a thought), and many of her products have provided me with favorable results. I can’t take away anything from the quality of products she provides, whether for my skin or my hair, but I will not fail to voice my opinion about what seems like a blatant attempt to ignore the beauty of sisters like myself who have supported her before she was “mainstream” & advertising on QVC.  I understand that some moves are “business moves”…. I totally get that.  But when you completely cut out the representation of beauty that has helped you to become the beauty mogul that you are today…. .. no ma’am.  At this point, I truly question whether Lisa Price can see the true beauty in diversity.  I am just frankly disappointed that she chose to buy into white America’s depiction of a beautiful African-American woman.

Lisa Price, you have disappointed me.  Despite my undying love for your scrubs, lip glosses, body butters, hair pomades, elixers, and my very favorite, the Tui line…. I must refrain from purchasing your products again.  Now I will finish using the arsenal of CD products in my overflowing cabinets, but all future purchases will be suspended until a public apology is issued & until you adequately represent the beauty of the brown-skinned sistas who loved you when you were just Marguerite’s grand baby.

Naptural Roots Anniversary & Launch Party| Atlanta, GA

In Mixers on April 15, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Seattle-based Naptural Roots Magazine will be celebrating their anniversary with a launch party on April 29th in Atlanta, GA.  The festivities will be held from 7:00-11:30 pm at Othello Event Hall located at 1170 Sylvan Road. Founder LeeAnne Dolce and her staff will have live artist performances, walking art exhibits, great food, vendors, and a fashion show to make sure you have a blast! They will also be giving out some special awards to recognize people who are world changers in the Black Community!

Ticket Prices are $10 for General Admission ($15 at the door), $15 for VIP Admission ($20 at the door – includes priority admission and swag bag!), and $75 for Vendor Space (includes 2 entries, table, chairs, and table covering). Purchase your tickets for this event here if you will be able to attend. My favorite part of this entire launch party is that a portion of each ticket sale will be used for their Nappy Headz Book Series in an effort to help our children learn to love their naturally fabulous selves! I cannot wait for a chance to purchase these books for my god-daughter!!  Please note that this is a 21 & up only event.
From their facebook page:

“The Mission of Naptural Roots is to celebrate and develop the entire naptural person by providing information and resources in our key areas: natural hair care, beauty (skin care and body), health/fitness, spirituality/wellness, and financial vitality and general lifestyle. We want to empower our readers to make the small changes in their lives that result in big life changing (and sometimes life saving) events!”

Make sure you send me pics off the wonderful time you had at this FAB event!  Please contact LeAnne Dolce at ldolce@napturalroots.com or 888-414-6020 ext 100 for more information.

Jill Scott’s Shame Video|New Natural Hair Envy ♥

In Natural Hair, Socialite Says, YouTube Videos on April 14, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Jill Scott recently premiered the video for her newly released song ” Shame” on Essence.com.  Jill looks fabulous!  I am seriously loving the asymmetric cut curly wig she is rocking in this video! Since my newfound obsession with natural looking curly wigs I have been looking for different ways to wear them.  This will definitely be my new experimental look! Check out Jill’s behind the scenes video shoot:

 Jill’s new album “Light of the Sun” hits stores on June 28th. For more information on Jill Scott visit www.MissJillScott.com