Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hair Therapy

I've been a bad girl... I have not posted a blog in more than a month. I need to get on a weekly schedule, sometimes harder said than done. And I will get to a much needed post about my pet peeve with the beauty industry and mobile technology, a blog post that's been sitting in my draft folder for almost three weeks.

Today, I'm having some fun experimenting with ideas for hair treatments. I have very fine, curly hair that tends to be overly dry. I've been using a few different products to both moisturize and style, and I love to make hair cocktails from different products. My current favorites are:

Ouidad's Moisture Lock and Climate Control - this combination is lightweight (a little goes a long way with the Moisture Lock) and the Climate Control can be applied lightly for a natural look or more heavily for more structured curls. This product is good, but I don't find my hair to look “great” for a whole 8 hours. That's why they make the curl boost, which doesn't do much for my hair.
Nelly's Capillary Mask and Aloe Life's Skin Gel – I really like this cocktail. I apply very little of the Nelly hair mask as a leave-in conditioner and then a nickle-sized amount of the aloe gel. The aloe gel is unscented and the smell is unpleasant, but it mostly disappears after it dries. This blend is definitely great for my hair, making it look moisturized with nice, spiral curls. The one down side is that it is not lightweight, so volume isn't great.

In addition to styling products, I use a deep conditioning masks at least twice a month, even though I aim for one a week. So with that in mind, my experiment today focused on creating a weekly therapeutic oil blend for my hair. The idea sparked from a bottle African Shea Oil kindly gifted to my boyfriend and I by his mother.

According to the product's website, Shea Oil can be applied to the “hair and scalp to add moisture to dry, brittle hair; to prevent weak hair from breaking, fading or thinning out; to prevent dandruff; and revitalize split ends. Shea Oil will protect hair from the damaging rays of the sun, hair dryers, perms and dyes. Unlike petroleum based products, it will not clog pores and block hair shafts. Use it as a conditioning sheen to maintain hair's natural shine and improve manageability.”

This sounded wonderful to me, so I researched other products that I've heard are good for moisturizing hair: coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil and wheat germ oil.

Virgin coconut oil has a history of being used as a hair and skin moisturizer and contains lauric acid, which is said to reduce hair loss (source). Olive oil is a common ingredient in hair products that promise moisturization, and it was readily available in my kitchen. According to Wikipedia, Jojoba oil is a liquid wax. I remember one hairstylist telling me that the reason that Pantene works is because it has wax in it. I don't know if this is true and she admonished against wax-based products, but my logic is that jojoba oil might be a good compromise, especially in a deep treatment formula. There are several websites and forums that discuss the nutritive properties of wheat germ oil for hair and many of the reviews were positive, so I wanted to give this vitamin E-rich oil a shot in my hair blend. I thought about almond and avocado oils, but I'm trying to keep my recipes simple. I'm limiting myself to five different oils to start with.

My goal is to both moisturize my scalp and hair. I mixed the oils and let them “melt” together in a hot water bath in the sink. I applied a very generous amount at the top of my head, and then massaged it onto my scalp. My hair was dry but not clean. I get ready in under 15 minutes, so products have to be easy-to-use. If I have to wash my hair, let it dry and then do a hair treatment, I'm not going to be a happy customer.

Finally, I ran my fingers until the oil evenly coated my locks. Following some advice on a website, I used a plastic shower cap and let the oil blend sit for 60 minutes. I rinsed it in the shower with warm water. The first thing I noticed was it that it was still very viscous. I “felt” the product rinsing out of my hair, and it even coated the bath tub. Note to self: apply much less product to prevent slippage while bathing. What I did enjoy was rubbing in the oil all over my body as it ran from my hair. It felt like a magic hair and body treatment all-in-one! 

After towel drying, I flipped my hair over and combed out the curls. I know, I know.. tons of stylists say not to do this, but it gives my roots tons of volume and gives my the slightly-wild Shakira look that I really like. The curl formation was surprisingly nice. They don't look weighed down despite the waxy feel of the hair. Overall, I think the oil blend did exactly what the ingredients promised. Next time, I'll reduce the amount of jojoba oil because I think it was more waxy than necessary, and I will also apply less.

Thanks for reading about my hairscapades... as always any feedback, ideas or suggestions are very welcomed!

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