Thursday, 31 October 2013

Clean Your Hair With Mud!

Yes, you read the title correctly.  Now, I'm not talking about your average everyday growing carrots kind of mud. This is a special kind of mud called Rhassoul and it's pretty amazing.  Rhassoul mud/clay comes from Morocco and it literally means 'to wash'. I use it when I feel like treating myself to some good clay lovin'. Rhassoul is buried deep in the mountains and is able to absorb impurities from the hair and provide it with nutrients.  It is a special kind of clay as it does not strip or dry out the hair as it cleans it, making it an excellent alternative to harsher cleansing clays.

How do I mix the clay? 

The clay comes in powder form so there is a little bit of DIY involved. I put the desired amount in a suitable bowl (usually about 4 table spoons) and put in enough water to cover it. I then wait and let the magic happen. After about 5 minutes I stir the mixture with a plastic spoon, add in some honey and a splash of extra virgin olive oil and make sure it is the consistency of a thin paste.

How do I use the clay in my hair? 

When I use this clay, I still loosely follow my usual wash day routine. So, I pre poo/deep condition dry hair and rinse it out after about 30 minutes.  I then blot my hair with a t-shirt so it is damp and put my hair into 4 sections.  I apply the mixture from root to tip, twist it up and let it sit for about 30 minutes.  When it is time to rinse, I have to spend a bit more time because this stuff loves to cling to your hair, otherwise you will be left with grainy bits in your hair and I don't think you want that (unless you're into that sort of thing).  I don't use a conditioner after the clay, I just apply my leave in and seal it with an oil or butter and I'm good to go. My hair feels soft, clean and wonderful.  Try it out, see if your hair enjoys some clay lovin'.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Are You Really Natural?

More and more people are going natural and it is a beautiful thing, but there are some comments I have heard. There seem to be these rules and regulations popping up and some of them are quite interesting. To me, natural hair is hair that is not chemically treated to alter the texture, however there appear to be rules that stop people ‘qualifying’ as natural. I’m going to go over the most popular ones I have heard.

‘You are not natural if you apply heat to your hair’. Applying heat to your hair does alter the texture of hair, but it is not permanent (unless you get heat damage). One of the wonderful things about natural hair is that it is extremely versatile – you can wear it in a naturally curly state or you can wear it straight. I don’t think applying heat to your hair reduces your natural credibility or means that you are not natural.

‘You are not natural if you wear weaves or hair extensions’. This is quite a controversial topic, but I feel like it has more to do with preference rather than defining whether you are natural or not. People wear weaves or extensions for many different reasons, sometimes it is to change up a hairstyle or used as a protective style for the hair; I think it is an individual preference.

‘You are not natural if you don’t do protective styles’. This is a strange one for me as a protective style can help with length retention, but I don’t think it should be used as a marker for whether you are natural or not.

‘You are not natural if you don’t use all natural products’. I personally use mainly natural products, but that is out of choice and because they work for my hair rather than me seeing it as a ‘natural rule’.

These are just a few that I have heard and I'm sure there are several more out there. Have you heard any natural 'hair rules'?

Monday, 21 October 2013

Apple Cider Vinegar: Hair Edition

When I think of apple cider vinegar (ACV), I feel happy inside. I use ACV on both my hair and my face and can see myself using it for a long long time.

I use it on my hair once a month to give it a deep clean and get all the nasties out. I use this in place of a clarifying shampoo and it works very well for me. I pre poo, wash and condition my hair as normal and then do a final rinse with diluted ACV (1/3 ACV 2/3 water). I personally use organic ACV with the ‘mother’ in it (a strange thing floating in the vinegar that is packed with nutrients) because it has all the goodies in it.

Why am I putting vinegar in my hair?
ACV is a brilliant cleanser. It will get rid of stubborn dirt and clean the hair and scalp without stripping them or making them feel dry. It is also good for dandruff and dry scalp problems.

Why do I use it after the shampoo stage?
If ACV was only good as a cleanser, it would make sense to use it during the shampoo stage rather than when the whole process is finished, but it does have another use. ACV restores the hair to an appropriate PH level which encourages healthier hair.

What are the results?
After the ACV rinse, I have soft, shiny and clean hair. I do temporarily smell like a vinegar head, but the smell does disappear quite quickly! I am very happy with the results and recommend it.

Hope that helped!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Getting Used To The Feeling

Before I started my hair journey, I would put hair grease and industrial strength gel in my hair. I was used to the feeling of ‘coated’ hair and thought that was what my hair was supposed to feel like. Once I became more aware of natural products and realised I should probably wash my hair more often, the feeling of my hair changed. It went from feeling greasy and weighed down to fluffy and light and originally I thought that this meant my hair was dry because I was so used to it feeling a certain way.

When I made the switch to (mostly) natural products, it was definitely a new feeling. I was used to the stripped, hay feeling from only using sulphate shampoos and was slightly confused when my hair still felt soft after washing it with a sulphate free shampoo. I thought that my hair was still dirty, but it was nice and clean.

So, if you do make the switch to more natural products, don’t be discouraged by the way your hair might feel, it is a transition that it needs to get used to.

Hope that helped!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Natural Hair Kit

I hear a lot of people say that they can’t go natural because it is ‘too expensive’ or there are ‘too many products to buy’ but this is not necessarily the case. I think that there are four or five main things that make up a natural hair kit and the rest are optional.

1: Shampoo – This is to cleanse your hair and ensure that there is a healthy environment for your hair to grow

2: Conditioner – This provides you with the moisture/protein your hair needs and it replenishes the moisture your hair may have lost during the shampoo step

3: Leave in conditioner/ moisturiser – one of the characteristics of curly/ natural hair is that it gets dry. In order to maintain healthy hair, the hair needs to be hydrated with a water based leave in/ moisturiser

4: Sealant – putting water in your hair is excellent for hydration, but water evaporates, therefore you need an oil and/or butter to lock in the water

5: Styler – this is optional for some as moisturising and sealing could be the final step. A styler could be a gel or a mousse that you use to get a desired look

Therefore, if you are thinking about going natural, you do not have to remortgage the house to buy products!

Hope that helped!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Stoptober! Hair Edition

I've been thinking . . .

I have been inspired by the concept of Stoptober (a campaign to stop people smoking for the month of October) and think that it can be incorporated into hair care (minus the whole smoking thing). So, with that in mind, I thought about things I do that don't necessarily benefit my hair and came up with a couple of things. One of them was that I wait too long to trim my hair. I don't really enjoy trimming my hair - the last time I went to the hairdressers, she tried to cut my hair with kitchen scissors! I am going to have to teach myself to trim my own hair and get over my scissor fear.

Another thing is sometimes I stick to my routine too much. For example, if my hair is getting a bit dirty on Thursday, I might wait until wash day instead of addressing the issue there and then.

I am going to use the concept of Stoptober to try and stop as many bad hair habits as possible and see if it has an impact on my hair - maybe you can join me.