13 Oct

Tips for Maintaining Length on Fine Natural Hair – Part 2

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Continuing with sharing tips to maintain length on fine natural hair, now we are going to talk about  the actual care of your fine tresses. You can read part 1 here. Picking up with the tips…

Wash Hair in 6 Sections

For my hair at the length it’s at now, I’m finding 4 sections is not enough. The crown tends to be a bit more stubborn and requires much more gentle handling. You may find that your crown is the same. I’ve read a lot of ladies complain about their crown area.

On wash day and while applying my pre-poo (another good thing to protect your strands), I section my hair in 6. This way I have the front, middle and back sectioned off. I can attend to washing and conditioning each section more easily and finger detangling (yet another great thing for fine hair) is easier as well. I noticed that I was able to wash my hair much faster in 6 sections vs. 2 or 4. Faster = easier = less manipulation.

Protein, Protein, Protein!

You always read/hear about the importance of moisturizing natural hair. That’s important, no doubt. A dry head of hair will snap, crackle and pop. Moisture is critical. I get it.

BUT, protein. So many ladies have said they have “protein sensitive” hair. I’m sorry ladies but I don’t agree there is such a thing. I believe the amount and type of protein should vary by individual head. For us fine hair curlies, a regular regimen of protein is critical.

Protein not only adds “weight” to our strands over time. It helps to curtail breakage.  Since our hair is made predominantly of protein, it makes sense. I use protein in my hair regimen weekly. I alternative the protein I use between Aubrey Organics GPB (Glycogen Protein Balancing Conditioner) and a tweaked version of my friend Shelli’s goat’s milk conditioner recipe. I’ve found my happy protein spot! I experience very little breakage between and on wash days. That’s because my hair is stronger thanks to the protein.

Back to the topic of moisture though; after any protein treatment you need to follow it with a moisturizing deep conditioner to balance out that protein application. The only exception I have found is with the use of Aubrey Organics GPB. This product balances your moisture and your protein. ♥.

Seal Your ends daily

Since fine hair is lighter in weight, it’s also much easier to split in two…or three…or four.  Sealing your ends with a thick product like Jamaican Black Castor Oil or Shea Butter will help keep those ends fused together. Sealing my ends has made a huge impact on how much length I retain.

Tedious though it may seem, sealing your ends on a daily basis will fight splitting and single strand knots. This is one of your best defenses against breakage. Fine hair may weigh down with heavy oils so avoid using a heavy sealant on the entire hair shaft. That’s why we focus on the ends. Plus, as you’ve undoubtedly heard…the ends are the oldest part of the hair. Matter of factly, seal slightly up above the end. That hair is old too :-)

Trim Individual Hairs by Feel

Last of all, we all know the importance of trimming hair. While it doesn’t impact the growth of your hair, having healthy ends will keep your hair from looking raggedy and worn.

It’s a good idea to get a professional trim at least once a year but in the interim (maybe more if you regularly heat style), you can maintain your length by only trimming off visible damage. In the case of a fine hair lady, “seeing” the damage is a bit of a challenge so going by how your hair feels can help you hone in on damaged strands.

Since the idea is to retain length, you don’t want to chop off perfectly healthy hair. Therefore, trimming individual strands is helpful for retaining length. On wash day, I feel my ends for little balls (not knots). I figured out these were splits forming after snipping one off and holding it under a microscope LOL (that’s the life of a true fine hair gal!). Sure enough it wasn’t a single strand knot. It was a split. Clipping just the individual hairs in this condition helps with retaining length. Over time, the hair is a bit less even but when you wear your hair in it’s curly state most of the time, who cares about even?

fine natural hair

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13 Oct

Tips for Maintaining Length on Fine Natural Hair – Part 1

length retention on fine hair

It’s no secret that I like long hair. I personally believe that a woman with a head of long hair is a full reflection of God’s crown and glory upon her. Some may disagree because there are obviously women who have short hair that “appears” not to grow or they choose to wear their hair short. Then, there are those who just don’t believe in a God at all. I’ma pray for y’all :-)

For the ladies who choose short hair, this article is probably not for you. It’s more for the ladies who want to see their hair grow to longer lengths and are willing to do what it takes to retain as much length as possible. And while, the tips I’m about to share can be helpful to any lady seeking long tresses, I’m specifically addressing my fine hair sisters since I am one of them lol. I can only share what I notice is working for my hair type – fine and moderately dense.

fine natural hair

As we all know, getting your hair to grow to long lengths isn’t always an easy feat. While your hair DOES grow, if you don’t retain most of what has grown (yes, there’s always some breakage), you will be wondering if it’s growing at all.

For those of us with fine hair, the quest to obtain long luxurious locks is even more challenging. (So not fair. I know right!) Natural hair that’s fine has yet another roadblock to growing long. For every twist and groove along our natural hair strand (the curliness), there’s an opportunity for breakage. At least our straight, fine hair sisters don’t have that part to worry about.

As a fine haired natural for over 10 years, I believe I’ve picked up some tips along the journey that I’d like to share with fine hair ladies like myself who want long hair. That’s not to say I know it all. I just know what I know…what I discovered works for hair like mine. It took some trial and error but here are the tips I believe will help my fine hair sisters maintain more of their hard earned length.

Wearing Your Hair Out

You CAN wear your hair out. Whaaaat? Yup. You heard me girl. Your hair growth journey doesn’t have to be about socking your hair away every single day until you get to your desired length. Instead, when you wear your hair out, you need to be diligent about protecting it.

Your twist outs, braid outs, loose curls etc. will be rubbing on your clothing and can certainly cause breakage from the friction. This can be x2 when you are commuting to wherever you are going on a given day. Therefore, consider putting your hair up until you get to your destination. Large claw clips work really well at clipping your hair up and off of your shoulders. Then, when you get to your destination you can release the clip, shake and be fabulous. Keep that claw clip handy for putting it up throughout the day.

Low Manipulation vs Protective Styling

This is nothing new to you I’m sure. You’ve heard about protective styling and low manipulation styling. However, the key I’ve found is you can protective style til the cows come home (I’m a city girl. Not sure where that came from lol), but if you have to do a lot of manipulating to get that protective style in place, it will cause your fine hair more breakage than length retention. I learned this the hard way with mini twists.

Mini twists are NOT for everyone. The finer your hair, the more susceptible it will be to breaking when it’s time to take those twists out. Instead, opt for medium sized twists. They are a lot easier to manage and require much less manipulation.

If you are going to do a protective style, opt for shorter term styles. The longer you leave a style in your hair, when it’s time to take it down and out, there’s more of a chance for breakage due to webbing of the new growth that now needs to be detangled. Even if you wear braids, when your new growth starts coming in there is some tangling. Keep your protective style in for 2 weeks max. Fine hair doesn’t like to be bound up much longer than that.

Twist, Don’t Braid Ends

box braids

Braids can be a great protective style but depending on how you do them, you may be manipulating your hair way too much. That manipulation is evil! Why? Breakage of course? (isn’t that what we’ve been talking about? lol)

After a few times wearing my natural hair in braids, I realized that I was causing breakage when it was time to take them out. I was doing too much to unbraid. I would use my fingers to try and unbraid and then had to use my rat tail comb to help. So, now what I do is when I get to about a 1/2 inch of hair down the braid, I twist the remainder of the hair.

When it’s time to remove your braids, you’ll find it much easier and a lot less manipulating to your hair, when you just have to untwist your ends vs. unbraiding them.

Bunning Your Hair

bun on fine hair

Still thinking of protective styling (and this is my final word on the subject…promise). Buns are a fine haired chica’s best friend in the protective styling department. Buns require very little manipulation to do and you don’t even need to thoroughly detangle your hair to bun (save full detangling sessions for wash day).

However, bunning can also cause breakage. If you are going to rock your hair in a bun for a length of time, consider changing the placement of the bun every few days. You’ll also want to take down that bun and moisturize  your hair daily. That brings me to my next tip. To be continued…

*As I was writing this article, I realized that it was getting to be quite lengthy and you know how y’all get ADD online lol! Part two will be up later today and will delve more into the care of your hair. We strictly covered the styling part today :-)

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09 Oct

Skin Problems, Causes and Medical vs. Holistic Treatments

skin problems and holistic treatments

Skin problems in women of color is not a new phenomena. Our skin is more prone to problems (ex: acne, hyper-pigmentation) due to the amount of pigment contained within.

Of course, skin problems are increasing as a result of environmental-pollution, eating habits and other factors that seem to be prevalent in this “modern day” society we live in. There are various types of skin problems that trouble humanity from simple skin problems to skin cancer.

Some skin problems are more common in different racial groups, and even different age groups. Middle age, fair skin women are more prone to conditions such as Rosacea.

African Americans are more susceptible to serious cases of Eczema. That doesn’t mean that if you don’t fall within a specific ethnic group, you won’t or have never experienced the condition.

A Cause for Every Symptom

There can be many causes behind the various skin problems. There are also very specific symptoms associated with each type of skin problem. A dermatologist is the best one to identify and diagnose skin problems. He or she won’t look at a case of eczema or psoriasis and confuse it with a case of acne. The different types of skin problems (and there are many) are associated with specific symptoms. Once your particular skin problem has been diagnosed, there are various courses of treatment available.

In returning to my earlier comment about our “modern day” society, the flip side to it is that the medical community has made huge advances in science and treatments for various medical conditions, including skin problems.

Depending on the type of skin problem you have and its severity, you have access to cures and very successful treatments.

Holistic and Alternative Options

I prefer a holistic approach over heavily laced chemical medications. There are times however when natural cures are not the best option. For example, if you have a bacterial infection, modern medicine might be your best option.

For Eczema, natural holistic treatments are a great alternative. For mild cases of acne, natural skin care products are a viable alternative. It’s really a personal choice how you want to treat certain conditions. Medical doctors will almost always guide you towards modern medicine. (ex: using topical corticosteroids to treat Eczema).

The problem with most medication is there is usually some form of negative side effect. Natural cures don’t have the side effects that most pharmaceutical and over the counter drugs have, so they are worth trying first when the condition isn’t very serious.

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