DIY Treatments for Super Shiny Hair!

IMG_0039In today’s article, we focus on treatments to help create blinding shine! Some are types of products, others are techniques I’ve used for years :)

The best part is…you can do that at home for free! Check out my favorite treatments to help deliver amazing shine without excessive heat or chemicals!

1) Deep Conditioning

Deep Conditioning is the best way to add shine to the hair as it increases the moisture level within the hair strand, allowing the cuticle to reflect light and create shine. A dry, dehydrated hair strand will absorb light, making the hair look dull and brittle. Therefore, the best way to create long lasting shine is to deep condition once a week with moisturizing conditioner for 20-30 minutes under a hood dryer. Focus on moisturizing conditioners that are rich and emollient. Let it penetrate for 20-30 minutes under heat or steam. Lastly, air-dry or set hair on roller, rods or braids to help retain more moisture in the hair.

2) Cold Water Rinse

One of the easiest ways to get long lasting shine is to perform a final rinse with cold water.

This will seal the cuticle and impart a shine or sheen to the hair that will last all week. If your are uncomfortable taking a cold shower, especially in the winter, fill a water bottle with cold water and one or two ice cubes. Spritz hair right before setting or air-drying.

3) Porosity Control

Porosity Control is a treatment designed to regulate hair’s porosity, which is the hair strand’s ability to absorb moisture.

Low porosity means the hair is resistant to water. High porosity means that water enters and leaves the hair shaft rapidly, causing the hair to constantly feel and appear dry and dull. Hair with average porosity is considered normal.

For highly porous hair, which is typically caused by over processing, weekly treatments with Porosity Control can help regulate dry hair and impart major shine. Just shampoo hair and apply the treatment in sections. Let penetrate for 5-10 minutes and rinse!

4) Oils and Serums

Oils can also be used to add temporary shine. A pea size amount every other day will keep the hair shiny without being weighed down. Jojoba will give you the greatest amount of shine but it can be heavy. Instead, opt for Avocado and Sweet Almond Oil for a light sheen without the heavy residue. Avoid using too much as it can make the hair greasy.

Serums are silicone-based products that seal the cuticle and create temporary shine. Use a dime size amount on wet hair to lock in moisture. Avoid using too much as it can build up on the hair over time.

5) Oil Sheen

Oil Sheen is basically aerosolized oil and silicone. It will coat the hair shaft, adding a nice sheen and fragrance to the hair. But, the results will be temporary. Spray on the hair after styling and go!

6) Semi Permanent Rinse

A clear semi permanent rinse will add major shine that will last for weeks. This is my go to technique for locking in shine for weeks.

For best results, apply to clean, damp hair and let penetrate under a hood dryer for 30 minutes. Then, rinse and style. Try John Freida Clear Glaze or Sebastian Laminates for best results.

7) Henna

A clear (or color) henna treatment will also add long lasting shine, as well as strength and volume, to the hair.

8) Eggs

An egg treatment will not only add shine but softness and strength to the hair. Check out this tutorial on how to do a DIY Egg Treatment!

9) Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

An ACV rinse will seal the cuticle, locking in moisture and shine. It will also act as an astringent for the hair, removing product residue.

Mix 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar to 1 cup of water. Add a few drops of an essential oil (like lavender) for fragrance. After shampooing, pour the mixture over the hair and let sit. Rinse and then apply a deep conditioner or leave-in conditioner.

10) Honey Pact

Honey is a natural humectant, which will add moisture and shine to the hair. Check on this tutorial on how I do a DIY Honey treatment!

Add 1/2 cup of honey to damp or wet hair before washing and let sit for 20-30 minutes.

5 Steps to Thicker, Fuller, Healthier Ends!

images-3Want thicker, fuller ends? Here are a few tips that have helped me over the years!

1. Use a Boar Bristle Brush

If you wear your hair straight (relaxed or natural), use a 100% natural boar bristle brush every other day to help distribute the natural oils from your scalp to the ends of your hair. This is the BEST way to condition your ends (better than any “moisturizer”), especially if you straighten your hair and wear it out regularly.

Simply brush the hair gently in sections from the scalp to the ends.

The brush comes in many different “strengths”. Use a soft brush for fine hair and medium/hard for thick hair. Avoid the brushes with plastic teeth as they can snag and break your hair.

You should immediately notice how much softer, shinier and smoother your hair and ends look and feel. Try to make this a habit and you will notice stronger, healthier hair and well conditioned ends.

2. Avoid Daily Heat

A lot of women use a flat iron or curling iron in the morning to help style or freshen up their hair. And I understand! It is very tempting to take 10 minutes to flat iron out a dent or add a few curls for some volume.

But, the consistent application of heat to the ends of your hair can start to wear away the protective cuticle layer of the hair shaft, exposing the cortex and making the ends appear dull, dry and damaged. The ends will no longer hold a curl and will start to split and break off. This requires more frequent trimming, which slows down length retention.

The way to avoid this is to plan ahead. A moisturizer should be applied to the ends nightly to keep them lubricated and a drop of oil should then be applied to seal the ends and keep the cuticle layer protected.

Then, for sleek styles, the hair should be wrapped at night or brushed back and covered with a satin scarf or cap.  For curls, satin rollers can be added to the full head or just the ends.

In the morning, you simply undo the wrap or unravel the rollers. If the wrap created a dent, simply rewrap in the opposite direction and let sit for 10-15 minutes as you continue to dress. If the curls are a little to tight, wrap the hair and let sit for 10-15 minutes as well.

So, before you hit the sack, think about how you are going to wear your hair tomorrow. Taking 10 minutes to plan ahead will do wonders for your ends.

3. Seal and Protect Ends

To prevent split ends, make sure to nourish, seal and protect the ends on daily basis.

Before wrapping or adding satin rollers, apply a dime size amount of an oil based or water based moisturizer. If using a water based moisturizer, seal the ends with an oil. If using an oil based moisturizer, you can skip this step.

For curly styles, spritz ends with leave-in conditioner, aloe vera juice or water and seal with a natural butter.

These techniques will help prevent the ends from drying out and will protect from daily styling stress. For extra protection, keep hair up in protective styles like the one pictured above.

4. Apply Product to the Ends First

On wash day, always apply the product to the ends of the hair first and work your way up to the scalp. This goes for relaxed and natural hair.

Most women start by applying leave-in, serum, moisturizer to the scalp and then distributing the product with a wide tooth comb or denman brush. However, using this method, most of the product gets concentrated at the scalp and absorbed as it moves down the hair shaft. So, the ends tend to get neglected in the process!

Instead, start by applying a small amount of product to help detangle the hair and then apply a more generous amount of product to the ends. Detangling the hair will help ensure that all the ends will get treated.

5. Cold Water Rinse to Seal Ends

For shiny hair and healthy ends, always conclude your wash cycle with a cold water rinse. It will help close and seal the cuticle, which is extremely important for the ends.

After rinsing our your conditioner, turn the water to lukewarm or cold. Rinse the ends thoroughly for 2-3 minutes and then proceed to rinse the rest of the hair. If you can”t stand the cold water, hop out of the shower and rinse your hair in the sink so you don”t freeze!

Do you have any tips for fuller, thicker ends? Leave them in the comments below!

Stretching Relaxers to Transitioning – How to Make the Leap!!

Transition Hair PicsIf you are already in the habit of stretching your relaxers, transitioning may seem like it will be a breeze!

But once your newgrowth hits the 3 month mark, there are few things to keep in mind. With “Stretching”, the goal is to preserve the relaxed hair, not the newgrowth. The newgrowth will eventually be relaxed so the goal is to simply to keep the relaxed hair healthy and breakage free.

With “Transitioning”, the goal is to preserve the newgrowth, not the relaxed hair. The relaxed hair will be trimmed away. Most people have stressful transitions because they focus on the preserving the relaxed hair while constantly straightening their newgrowth in order to maintain their typical hairstyle. To have a successful transition, you have to shift your mindset towards a new objective.

Although I am now back to relaxing, I went through the process of transitioning and did NOT preserve the newgrowth. The end result was that I had heat damage that made my newgrowth look relaxed!

As a result, I wrote this article to help current transitioners avoid the same mistakes :)

1. Trim Regularly

With stretching, the goal is to stretch your trims so that you can retain more length. With transitioning, the goal is to trim more regularly so that there is less stress on the demarcation line. Many women want to avoid trimming to keep their hair long but doing so will only make your hair looks like its thinning. Regular trimming will keep the hair looking full and healthy during your transition.

2. Start Incorporating Natural Products

As you move from stretching to transitioning, consider incorporating more natural hair products into your regimen. These products will keep more natural oils in the hair, which is critical as you transition.

3. Develop a Timeline and a Plan of Action

The best way to have a healthy and stress-free transition is to develop a Transitioning Plan of Action.

A Transitioning Plan of Action is an outline of what styling techniques you will use during your transition. Start by identifying a set period of time (I recommend 3 month intervals) and listing the techniques you will use during that time.

A few tips:

  • Straightening techniques (blow outs, roller sets, wet wraps) are best for early on in the transition.
  • After 4-6 months, opt for styles that minimize stress on the hair like braid outs, twist outs and air drying.
  • Avoid using too much heat on the new growth as it can lead to permanent straightening.
  • Avoid tieing down or slick hair back regularly as this can lead to thinning edges.
  • Avoid styling hair in the same style for more than 2 weeks in a row. Try to rotate styling techniques!

Sample Transitioning Plan of Action

0-3 Months

Wash: Sulfate Free Shampoo, Deep Condition weekly (alternating protein and moisture)
Style: Wet Wraps, Roller Sets, Blow Out/Curls, Airdying loose and then adding steam rollers

3-6 Months

Wash: Sulfate Free Detangling Shampoo, Deep Condition weekly with Moisturizing Conditioner under steamer, Nexxus Emergencee every 6-8 weeks to protect demarcation line
Style: Rod Sets, Curlformers, Airdrying in buns, braids and twists, Bantu Knots

6-9 Months

Wash: Wash with Sulfate Free Curl Cleanser, Deep Condition weekly with Moisturizing Conditioner under steamer, Nexxus Emergencee on demarcation line and relaxed ends.
Style: Braid Outs, Bantu Knots, Twists, Braids (box, cornrows, micro)

9-12 Months

Wash: Wash with Sulfate Free Curl Cleanser, Deep Condition weekly with Moisturizing Conditioner under steamer. Start using curling cream to activate curl pattern.
Style: Braid Outs, Bantu Knots, Twists, Braids (box, cornrows, micro), Wash and Gos

Hopefully, this guide will help you shift your mindset from preserving your relaxed hair to nurturing your natural newgrowth. The goal is to end up with healthy, damage free natural hair.

Pump It Up – Five Quick and Easy Ways to Add Volume to Thin or Thinning Hair!

rollersAre you tired of stying your hair only to watch it fall flat within a day or two?

Are you constantly trying to find ways to give your hair more volume and “swang”?

Check out these tips on how to pump up the volume!

1) A New Haircut

Nothing helps plump up thin or  thinning hair better than a new chic cut! Layers, side bangs or a cute new bob will help add dimension and thickness to the hair.

2) Color

A semi-permanent rinse is a great way to create the appearance of thicker hair. Opt for lighter colors that will help camouflage any thinning spots or edges. Semi-permanent color is a great choice because it does not contain ammonia or peroxide so it will not damage your fragile strands.

3) Use Root Lifter or Setting Lotion

Spray a root lifter or setting lotion and pop in a few satin rollers at night for instant volume. Or, spritz roots and flip over hair to add an instant fullness.

4) Texture, Texture, Texture

Roller sets, bantu knots, braid outs and flexi sets camouflage thin hair effortlessly. The curls add significant texture, depth and volume to the hair. A tighter curl will also last longer than a loose curl, which helps prevent the hair from falling flat during the day.

If you prefer straight styles, start with a volumizing rollerset on rollers one size smaller that you typically use. Then, loosely wrap for sleek hair. The roller set will provide volume at the roots and the wrap will have soften the curls.

5) Use Protein Shampoos for Thickness

Pick up shampoos with wheat and rice protein as they will add thickness and luster to the hair. Follow with a deep moisturizing conditioner for softness and shine. My personal favorite is Aphogee Shampoo for Damaged Hair – it will give you mega volume!

Hope this helps! How do you pump up the volume with your hair?’

Five Reasons to Try Basin Washing!

Sometimes taking care of your hair can seem like such a chore! Why?

First, shampooing your hair adds an extra 10 minutes to your daily shower, which means wrinkled fingertips and borderline steam suffocation.

Then, you get to hop out of the shower, towel off and apply deep conditioner.

Next, you get to sit under the dryer or steamer while your hair conditions but your skin starts to dry out. Applying lotion seems silly because after you deep condition, you get to….hop BACK in the shower and rinse out the conditioner.

Then, you get to work with cold, wet hair as you roller set or start on your blow out.

And after your hair is done, your makeup is smeared (or non-existent) and you’ve sweat so much you need another shower.

It’s no wonder why we dread “hair” day!!

Well, I’ve recently made the switch to washing my hair in the sink aka basin washing! Here is a brief tutorial and a few reasons why you might want to give basin washing a try!

DIY Basin Washing Tutorial

1. Flip hair over so your hair is inside the bowel and the back of your head can easily make contact with the faucet head.
2. Turn on faucet and make sure the water stream can hit the base of your head. Note: You can always let the water warm up first.
3. Thoroughly saturate head first, turn the head from side to side so the water can reach all areas on the head.
4. Turn off faucet and apply shampoo to the back of the head, eventually working the shampoo to all areas of the head.
5. Rinse thoroughly. Repeat.
6. Lightly squeeze out excess water from the head.
7. Either flip hair over and apply conditioner as your normally would or keep head flipped over and start applying conditioner from the back of the head.
8. Deep condition and rinse out the conditioner with cool or lukewarm water.

Five Reasons to Try Basin Washing

1. It’s Faster

I’ve found that basin washing cuts the time it takes to wash and condition my hair in half. Since the water does not have to reach all areas of the body, you can wet and wash the hair more quickly.

In addition, you do not have to lather and cleanse the whole body so you can shave off an extra 5 minutes from the entire process.

2. It’s More Comfortable

Hopping in and out of the shower can be a pain, especially during the winter months! Basin washing allows the rest of the body and face to stay nice and dry. Already showered for the day? No, need to shower again just to wash your hair. Full face of make-up? No need to worry about raccoon eyes and/or washing away all that hard work!

3. Basin Washing Wastes Less Resources

Since you can turn off the water faucet while lathering, you save water. Great for those of us who have to pay a water bill!

In addition, I now only use a dish towel or hand towel to dry my hair. I just need to dry my hair, not my entire body. This way I can avoid drenching my bath towel. No more hopping out of the shower to a sopping wet towel!

4. Easy Clean Up

Rinsing out that deep conditioner can lead to slippery showers and clogged drains. With basin washing, just can use the same hand towel to easily wipe down the sink after you are finished and a drain catcher will catch any shed hair.

Also, instead of creating a product landfill in the shower, all products can be stored underneath the counter for easy access.

So, stop pissing off your roommate, significant other or spouse. They will thank you!

5. More Effective Washing

With basin washing, you can flip up your head while you lather and use the mirror so make sure you aren’t missing any areas. This makes washing a lot more effective.

If the water pressure in your shower is weak or the water stream from your shower head is spotty, basin washing can way more efficient. You can easily allow your hair and scalp to come into contact with the faucet head and water stream by simply rotating your head.

Note: If you have consistent or persistent neck or back pain, basin washing should be avoided as it may aggrevate pre-existing conditions! I would also avoid basin washing if you are rinsing out hair dyes, relaxers or other chemical treatments.

Anyways, just some food for thought if you are struggling with hair day! Do you basin wash? What are your tips and techniques?