Monday, January 26, 2015

How to Combat Dryness with Henna

I posted about my first henna experience almost a year ago.

Now, I've mastered it!

I've never had hair as soft, silky and full of volume and bounce as I do right now.  I too found henna drying, I drenched my ends in 100% coconut milk, normally I'd dilute coconut milk in a 1 part coconut milk, 4 parts aloe deep conditioner but this time, I used 6 tbsp (2 coconut milk ice cubes, frozen from the can) in my henna.

So, 100g HennaHut henna, 25g Amla, 6tbsp coconut milk and a little more water to desired consistency.  Awesome!  But,I did use a low poo conditioner to rinse the henna so that may be adding to the fabulous outcome but I'm pretty sure that coconut milk was the magic ingredient.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Where do I start?

Here I am, 18 months into being a no poo curly girl and I think I've finally got it ;)

First and formost, I'm talking about high porosity curly hair that tends to be dry.  As crazy and counterintuitive as it sounds, in the beginning, you must brush to move sebum as quickly as possible.  Preening isn't enough on curly hair, we need the help of the brush.  You know water resets your curls, so after brushing you need to drench your curls, then rehydrate them.

Aloe vera gel is great because it hydrates from the inside, out, its awesome.  As well, using apple cider vinegar as a rinse is a great conditioner.  I use it at higher ratios than most because it is THAT conditioning.  As well, it helps the hair cuticle lay flat, holding in the hydration to prevent even further dryness, and making the hair smoother and less frizzy.

Deep conditioning (I avoid my scalp) is important to keep hair hydrated and happy too.  I'll add a link to my DIY styling recipe's.

Extra oil is needed too.  Jojoba is closest to natural sebum, and is lightweight.  For more oomph, Shae butter for very dry hair was a great suggestion as well.

Oiling hair is important, start from the ends and add it in tiny amounts to the hair until you meet the sebum.  If you need to spray or wet the hair, continue doing thus until brushing gets easier and sebum  makes its way down the length of your hair.  At some point, you'll have enough and not need to add.  The brush will glide by that point, especially wet and saturated with ACV.
 ** Brushing curly hair will cause breakage unless its thoroughly hydrated.

Now washing... Depending on how long you currently go between washes, will determine how fast and how easy this part will be.  If you already only wash one a week, this will be easier.  If your scalp is more dry than oily this will be easier because you will be able to go longer and longer over time between washes.  Saturating your hair with water then rinsing with ACV will help stretch these times. Many people only do this...  Its called AO or acid only and it works!!

Your scalp... Scratching gently all over is called scritching, I do it very often.  It helps loosen dead skin cells and keep the scalp skin healthy.  Massaging happens before and after I brush.  To clean or not to clean... I had an oily scalp.  I was able to cleanse only my scalp and do AO on the lengths of my hair.  It depends on how oily it gets, how you feel and what you can tolerate, but I've learned although day 8 hair is crappy for me, by day 10-11 I look like a goddess!!!  I would never have found that out if I hadn't stretched my washes longer and longer.

 As an incentive, by about 6 months in, I was (and still am) washing my scalp every 21 days.

I would not recommend low poo.  I would hesitate from soap bars or any stronger sebum removing wash.  CO right now is an option, it may make transitioning and going longer between washes easier, but survey says, AO, CO, henna only and my personal favorite, shikakai as  washes are in 90% of curly success stories!!!

Here's what works for me, 50%/50% ACV and flat ironing to last 21 days - yes! I'm serious!

This is my hair story :)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Shikakai washing

I get my shikajai from a local Indian grocery store.  I pay $2.99 for 100g and it lasts me 3-4 washes.  I only wash once every 3 weeks so this lasts me a long time.

I put my powder (maybe 1/3 cup of powder or even less) in an old stocking.  I add warm water in a cup with the stocking in it and squeeze and squeeze.  Because my curly hair holds the teeny tiny grains from the shikakai and I can't brush my curls once dry, this makes me happier.  I then put the liquid in the same squirt bottle as I will put my acid rinse and squirt it all over. In the shower on wet hair (a choice)  I massage the scalp and behind the ears lol  and rinse.  I also rinse out that stocking for use again ;)

I do use my ACV (apple cider vinegar) acid rinse after because my hair loves it!!!!  Shikakai alone doesn't need an acid rinse though, it is already ph balanced for hair and scalp.

Some people add a little Amla for shine or reetha/soapnuts for extra cleansing in their shikakai wash.

I also detangle with a wide tooth comb with the ACV soaked hair.

I do the same after henna.  I mermaid rinse soaking in the tub for some time getting as much henna out, then standing shower rinse again with water.  I only use water to rinse out my henna.  I add my ACV mix and verrrrryyyy gently detangle with a wide toothed comb with ACV still in.  Then rinse again, and repeat as needed.

I plop to dry after that.

Basically, I wash with shikakai or use henna as a wash since I'm only washing once every 3 weeks.

I do have a low poo on hand for hairdresser visits though ;)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

My Hair Story

Once upon a time, I thought my curly hair looked great!  Not!  It was a nest!

Then I started highlighting, using expensive products to combat the dryness and damage and getting $200 haircuts (plus tip) to get volume and enhance the curls I was blessed with.  I won't ever regret SAVING the thousands I'd spend on products as well!!

Now, I'm pretty happy with the versatility of my hair.  I'm even more happy with how little I have to do and spend for a healthy scalp and head of hair!

Above is in March, after a long, cold, dry winter 20 months low and now no poo.  This is 2 weeks after henna with 2tbsp of coconut milk as my wash, rinsed with only water, then a week later, flat ironed on medium heat and a little jojoba oil added.

This is 28 days after a henna only wash and 54 days since I washed with shikakai & deep conditioned my hair.  This is sebum nourished hair, no dryness, no smell, NO WATER!!! All I do is brush, and very VERY occasionally, as in once before an event, I used pure cocoa powder as a dry shampoo dusted on my three finger tips dabbed on the scalp and brushed out really well to absorb a little sebum to give my roots a little lift.

It looks flat, it is.  It's heavier than I'm used to but softer than baby hair, and super healthy!!  I'm trying to get sebum to make even my ends that soft and healthy before my next wash.   I do nothing but brush - That's pretty much it!  We call this Sebum Only (SO).  But I couldn't maintain it more than 44 days straight.  I needed a deep conditioning by then.

Here are pictures going back in time over the last 15+ months from current pics to back when I started... You'll notice the sebum coated hair appeared thinner, but it was really the dry, damaged cuticle being healed! I do use heat to straighten my hair one week after washing though, it helps me brush and maintain it. For a special event, I'll wash with water and apple cider vinegar and roller set my hair.

Note:  I wash and wear curly for a week using aloe vera gel for hydration and slight hold.  On day 7, I gently flat iron my hair on medium heat in very small sections leaving the last 2-3 inches untouched.  When finished, I use the flat iron on those ends to curve under.  It's then 2 more weeks of daily brushing before I wash again.  

I'm on a 21 day wash cycle.

 The pics toward the end are still back when it was damaged, requiring regular deep conditioning as I experimented with wash methods.


And when my love of henna began...

And here's where it all started, dry, frizzy and damaged.

I can wear it straight, wavy, curly, up or down and my hair has never been more healthy or hydrated!

I love being 18+ months no poo!