23 Sep

How to Choose Good Hair and Skin Moisturizers

Isn’t it frustrating to purchase what you think is a good effective moisturizer for your skin or hair to later discover that they are crap?

 

moisturizers for hair and bodyMany so called moisturizer creams and lotions available on the market will actually dry out your skin and hair. If you are anything like I was, you wonder why. After all, the skin and hair moisturizer packages say that they are moisturizers. So, then why is it that after applying these so called moisturizers, you find that your hair and/or your skin is dried out very quickly? Or even more disappointing, you discover that after applying the moisturizer, you don’t see or feel a difference at all. You’re left with the same dry hair or the same dry skin.

I’ve discovered that just because a product label says the word “moisturizer” on it does not mean it is a good effective moisturizer or really a moisturizer at all! You have to investigate further before you buy any product that you are seeking to moisturize your skin or hair with, for any real length of time. This is where the ingredient label tells it all.

Effective Moisturizer Requirements

For a moisturizer to be effective, it MUST contain water (or a wetting agent such as aloe vera juice) as the FIRST ingredient. If the first ingredient is anything else (ie. an oil) you may as well put it back on the shelf. It will not do the job no matter what the product manufacturer says.

I am an African American with dry skin and dry hair tendencies and have found that water in my moisturizers is not optional. It is required. This holds true for skin moisturizers and hair moisturizers. The first ingredient must be water/aloe vera juice. Why

It’s simple. These ingredients hydrate. Just like your internal organs require water to be hydrated, so do your skin and hair. However, water alone does not make a moisturizer effective. Right next to and after water on the ingredient list should be an oil. Pure Olive oil, Jojoba oil, Coconut oil, Aloe and Shea butter are all great oils to formulate your skin and hair moisturizer.

Ineffective Ingredients

In contrast to water and an oil being the first two ingredient on the list for an effective moisturizer, there are three ingredients that may very well make your moisturizers ineffective. These would be:

Petroleum and Mineral Oil – These are lubricants that sit right on the surface of the skin or hair and do not penetrate either of these surfaces which is required for true moisturizing to take place.

Isopropyl/Benzyl Alcohol – Alcohol in general is very drying. Remember, before there were acne creams, people used to use alcohol to dry out their pimples? Enough said.

Of course there are certain chemical ingredients that you should also avoid because they are no good for you, but for the sake of this article, which is to point out the ingredients that make a skin and hair moisturizer effective, I won’t get into those.

Three Moisturizer Ingredients with Big Benefits

Once you’ve found a moisturizer with water/aloe vera juice as the first ingredient, oil as the second ingredient and none of the above bad ingredients, there are other ingredients that prove beneficial for the hair and skin. These would be Vitamin E, Keratin and CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10 – generally found in skin care products) are antioxidants and help revive dull, damaged hair and/or skin. Keratin helps to stimulate the growth of cells to produce additional collagen which is required for smooth, supple skin.

So, the next time you go shopping for a moisturizer (which may be when you are done reading this article), make sure that the ingredient label (cream, lotion or spray) reads with water/aloe vera juice as the first ingredient, oil as the second ingredient, no petroleum, no mineral oil and no alcohols. This is essential for good, effective moisturizers. Your hair & skin will notice and feel the difference.

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14 Jul

Taking Advantage of Humid Weather for Hair Growth

moisturized natural hair

How summer humidity can aid with natural hair growth.

moisturized natural hair

It’s growing season. The warmer the climate, the better it is for your hair. Increased humidity can provide your hair with a sort of green house effect environment. Yay!

Here are some tips on helping your hair to grow during this humid season:

Increase those scalp massages!! The heat may have your hair in a perfect setting for growth but you need to take advantage of all that humidity. (Hopefully, you don’t live in a dry, hot climate. I’m a New Yorker so, I embrace the 2 months of humid weather while they’re here!). Massage your scalp morning and night if you can. Stimulate that growth and let the humidity do the rest. Here’s what I use to aid with my massages (I love it!):

- Keep your hair well moisturized. The heat can leach moisture from your hair (not as much as in the winter, but still) so keep it very moisturized so that it doesn’t dry out while you’re in the sun.

Use a product that contains protection from the sun. Alternatively, natural products like grapeseed oil and shea butter provide some sun protection for your hair.

Embrace the wash and go. I mean really. Wash….and go. OK maybe I’m leaving out a little. Put in your products that will prevent frizz and then go. I get the softest, moisture filled wash and go’s when I apply my heavy moisturizing products. But here’s the thing, the humidity will kill your style if you don’t apply a little alcohol free gel to the mix. Now, the thing that’s going to make this wash and go super soft and hydrated is to seal everything in with a natural oil AFTER the gel. So, the oil is the last thing you will use and baby, will your hair love you at the end of the day!

I was literally walking around with totally undefined hair the other day but then I realized something. It was the softest, most moisturized poof ever! So, while I say embrace the wash and go, put your hair up into a loose high ponytail or other wash and go style that keeps your hair contained. I’ve seen some really cute styles on Youtube. Here is one video I absolutely adore:

 

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29 May

All Natural, Single Ingredient Conditioners

natural conditioner

The use of natural substances to condition the hair. Focusing on natural ingredients for hair care to prioritize health. natural conditioner Conditioners are probably the most important products in a hair care regimen. If I had to have just one hair product it would be a conditioner. Conditioner can be used to lightly cleanse, “conditioner” (duh) and even style the hair. Without a conditioner, your hair would be weak and dry.

Since, we are focusing a bit on health this month I wanted to share some of the ways you can incorporate all natural products into your hair regimen. There are hoards of conditioners on the market. I don’t always use all natural conditioners just because I’m such a huge lover of silicones :-) However, if I were going to focus on single ingredient conditioners, these would be it:

  • Eggs – A food yes, but also a powerful protein treatment
  • Honey – This is a natural humectant that helps your hair to absorb moisture. Honey can be used to
  • Avocado – Rich in vitamins, avocado is beneficial for stimulating hair growth and strengthening hair follicles
  • Coconut Oil – Helpful for retaining moisture, strengthening the hair from within and adding shine
  • Goat’s Milk – This is my latest and greatest natural ingredient that while it can be used alone to condition and strengthen the hair, it’s even more powerful when paired with natural oils and honey. I shared in an older post, how my hair was affected by a DIY Goat’s Milk conditioner that my friend Hairscapades shared here. I’ve been using it a little over a month now and I have seen great improvement in the strength and shine of my hair. Goat’s milk is a hair strengthening treatment that every hair type can benefit from

There are many natural substances that your hair can benefit from as ingredients. These are just the tip of the iceberg.  If you are serious about cutting chemicals out of your life, incorporate some of these into your hair care regimen. Both your hair and your health can benefit.

Do you use all natural conditioners or do you prefer others?

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