The shock prevented me from getting angry.

Picture this a nice restaurant, at dinner time, a full house, a party of 6 having enjoyed a wonderful meal and as we are satisfied with our food we are happily drinking coffee and having a generally nice conversation about Japanese culture, traveling in Asia and sharing pictures of lovely puppies, a pair of adorable Chihuahuas.

Then silence ensues, the unthinkable has happened. Someone pulled one of my locks of hair.

I was unaware of the fact at first but a pulling sensation made me turn around and as I do so I see the smiling face of a waitress with a handful of dirty dishes quickly drifting away from our now silent table.

The shock at the realization of what had just happened prevented me from getting angry: sanitary regulations had been broken, a food handler was manipulating aloe vera covered hair!

How can this be? This is a restaurant, sanitation must be respected! The rules must be observed.

Meanwhile my husband was getting very very pale, I never expected he could be paler but he could. He expected rage, indignation or something terrible unleashed towards the waitress. What followed was more silence, and subsequently the half of the table that belonged to the healthcare sector, myself included, started to discuss the many levels of disgust at the situation that had just happened.

We wondered whether or not and how often she washed her hands and what madness overcame her to do such a thing as to handle hair & food at the same time, trying to divert the real issue.

She touched me without my permission and that was incredibly rude.

Meanwhile my husband continued to be silent waiting for the dragon to awake…and then…

Dracarys

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I wrote the above story, because I truly did not get angry because of the social situation in which it happened, but it did bother me and I wanted to express my discomfort to the waitress regarding her actions in respect to my hair.

I felt bad about my husband because he might have needed to translate in case I could not communicate my point effectively and he truly expected me to feel bad about what she did because well it was not OK and we have talked about natural hair/ curly hair related issues in other countries.

I wish this was fictional story, but it is not. Ok I am not the mother of dragons or anything else but I did feel my personal space violated and I found it very offensive having my hair touched, this had never happened to me before and now I truly understand all the memes about “Don’t touch my hair”

Here is how I handled the situation

I am a patient person, but I do not tolerate disrespect and I felt disrespected. I had time to process and think. Instead of blasting her or complaining to the manager I kept looking for her to explain to her, personally, what she had just done and why she should never do it again; she had straight hair in a messy bun.

It turned out she did not speak English nor German fluently and from what I understood she is from Hungary and said the word beautiful in German, so maybe her actions did not come from a bad place, but definitively disrespected me and my party and invaded my personal space. She remained quiet and with a neutral stare as I explained the best way I could, in German, why she should not touch my hair and how in doing so she was invading my privacy.

I obviously did not go into details about the cleanliness issue, but I highlighted how disrespectful it is to touch another person without their consent and with no previous notice. Once I told her to never ever do something like that again if she encounters another person with curly hair she started looking worried & uncomfortable, maybe she did know german after all, my intent was not to make her as uncomfortable as she had made me and my husband;  but to educate her in the hopes that she does not do this to any other person she encounters that has curls.

This was an unpleasant situation for all of us but we paid our bill in peace and did not allow it to ruin the rest of the evening. I asked the rest of my party their thoughts and everyone agreed that I did the right thing. I felt the need to help least one person Overcome their fear of causing discomfort, and that person was me.

What would you have done? Would you have stayed quiet? Would you have gotten angry?

Has anybody ever touched your curls without your permission?
How would you have responded to this situation?

I am a Khaleesi crowned in my curls.

PS. I am a Game of thrones fan as you may have noticed and I used that context to lighten up the mood of this very real issue for people with curly hair.

Cheers,

HairLabMD

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Happy Saturday Wordpress!

Today I decided to wake up “early” (for a Saturday) and just post a simple blog entry.

I always want to have everything perfect so I write drafts of product reviews, science based opinions that are more like educational posts based on facts rather than opinions but nowadays it seems like everyone thinks opinions and facts are the same, so I will call them “opinion pieces” that never make the cut; mostly because I don’t want to offend anybody or cause distress.

What do you think about the above statement?

I have 3 more questions for you today in this rainy Saturday Morning.

First question: Is it the same an opinion “I think this or that” without knowledge on the subject versus a “fact based opinion” i.e. Academic papers, peer reviewed scientific articles?

Second question: How many Drafts do you have pending to publish on your WordPress editor?

Third question: Are marketing claims more important than scientific evidence?

Disclaimer: I won’t judge you, neither attack you for thinking differently. I just wanted to start publishing my drafts and this was one of them and decided to start today. I edited the draft more or less following an idea I got from another blog, but the core content remained the same.

Kindly.

L. Maria aka HairLabMD

Trying new things is scary

So… I finally did it.

I have been working on designs for curly hair t-shirts since last year as a part of a project I had with some friends, but in the end it did not work out because we really did not have the time and I was no longer living in Panama so logistics were complicated.

The idea however of spreading positivity never left me, so I decided to create a small online store with a few designs. I wanted to wait until everything was perfect but nothing ever is and positive feedback motivated me to make it public that this project belongs to me.

Here 1st because it’s more intimate than on Instagramand I want to start really small.

I posted a picture with one of my T-shirts on my instastories and got comments inquiring where I got it, so I told them I made it myself and shared a link to my store and someone went as far as to look for international shipping information even though the online store is in German, because well I live in Germany. I was very surprised and I admit proud and happy to find interested people all the way to India!

I then asked some personal friends their opinions about this and all of them gave me positive feedback and advice and someone even requested a mug, so I created one!

It is scary to do this because it is out of my comfort zone, science/medicine/my privacy, and I don’t know how to promote myself, but here it is my 1st solo curly hair related project Ye Curly Shoppe

International shipping is available, because google translate works very well and german post is very efficient.

PS. It took me days & days to write this post, it somehow felt difficult to advertise myself but I followed an advise I was given to “just do it, you have nothing to loose and a lot to gain, even if it’s feedback on how to improve” so here it is my post about my new store.

Kindly,

L.

The HairLabMD

No Heat Challenge Lite: 2017 Update

Lite: “A simpler version, or subset, of something (especially software), in which complexity is forgone for the sake of easier application (or modified application); for example: Nintendo DS lite” Wikipedia.

I have a “problem” I am a flat iron & heat tools junkie and that is unlikely to change, unless I make an effort, but change is difficult;  so I propose a Lite Heat Free Challenge for the impatient Curly Girl. Care to join me? Then, read on!

The longest I had managed to be relatively heat free, before doing this challenge was 5 months now I can say I have been almost heat free for almost an entire year.

If you are struggling to give up heat cold turkey maybe the #noheatlitechallenge is for you

This is how I did it and maybe it can help as a guideline to create your own challenge.

No Heat Lite Club: The idea is to have a small community of curlies who still use heat because we are still in the heat transition phase or because we like it, while still allowing for some freedom once the need for heat becomes too much.

Rules of the Lite Club

First rule of Lite Club: rules are relative, more than rules we have guidelines.

Second Rule: The flat iron is forbidden, this one is the only guideline that must always be followed.

Third Rule: If you get bored, feel tempted or need help finding styling ideas always ask for help, the club will always be there for you.

Rule four: Have fun, try new things & share what works for you.

The Guidelines

  1. No flat iron during the entirety of the challenge. using it even once resets the “heat free calendar”
  2. Avoid the blow dryer except for diffusing.
  3. Diffusing allowances: Ideally always dry hair on cool, but low heat is allowed no more than once a week. Medium heat should not happen, but if it must then only once per month or it means reset of the “heat free calendar”.
  4. Start the “Heat Free Calendar” with a Complete Wash day Including all your important steps like pre poo, shampoo, deep conditioning and your preferred heat free styling method, mine is the wash and go.
  5. If your own a hooded dryer then try it out on the lowest possible setting, no more than once a week, if you don’t own one like me maybe we can find a good one together.
  6. Hot Rollers are allowed but only once a month and the drying and stretching should be done heat free. Blow drying + hot rollers also resets the calendar so choose this option wisely.
  7. Flexirods, perm rods, magnetic & foam rollers are your friends.
  8. Always protect your hair at night.
  9. Do a Wash Day only when you have time, for example on your days off ideally when you don´t need to leave the house. If you don’t have time try and refresh only or “put it in a bun” or “wrap it up”.
  10. Have Fun and try your best. We promise we wont judge!

Here are some style inspos for the Heat Free Challenge Lite:

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Style with Hot Rollers 

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Wash & Go

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Curly updo with bangs

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Half up curly do 

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Twist out

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Flexi Rods

 

My last flat iron: Sept 26 2016

Challenge Start date: Nov 27 2016

Challenge Duration: 6 months.

 

 

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4/16  vs. 27/11/16  wash & go

Let’s see if this Heat tools Junkie can survive six month without the Flat iron, join me and we can motivate and teach each other new tricks to stray true to the Curly life!…I can tell you now that I did survive 6 months & beyond without flat ironing my hair and I think my curks have improved quite a lot since the beginning of the curl journey, with it’s most dramatic transformation happening after I gave up direct heat.

Today is September 1st 2017 and I have not used a flat iron since September 2016, the 1st few months of the challenge were difficult because old habits die hard, but I found a very supportive group of curl friends to do it with. I followed the “flexible rules” for the 6 months of the challenge, in July I reintroduced medium heat because I needed to dry my hair faster and because I started playing with my texture to create big hair routines and it does not seem to be a problem for my curls, I will post in the future how I dry my hair using a diffuser but in the meantime you can follow my progress on instagram here on The Hair Lab and feel free to use the hashtag #noheatlitechallenge so I can follow your curly hair journey too!

PS. This is the picture of my last wash day! Would you like a full updated wash day routine & to know which products I used? Let me know in the comments 🙂

 

Minimalistic Hair care Goals by guest blogger Olive

I am very happy to introduce my very first Guest blog post for The Hair Lab courtesy of the lovely Olive and here she shares her experience with our little social media & lifestyle experiment called The Product Junkie Club

Hi, I’m Olive and I’m delighted to be The Hair Lab’s first featured guest writer on her fabulous blog!  You can find out more about me on my blog here www.findingolive.wordpress.com

I first met Lelia aka HairLabMD last year – let me be completely honest here, in this age of online intimacy I feel as though she’s my friend but I’ve not actually MET her. Not in the flesh I mean. We’ve been ‘friends’ since I started following her Instagram page last year, and she crept right into my heart when she began the #productjunkieclub. Basically we curly girls seem to be obsessed with trying all the products available in our quest for our hairs’ holy grail but I’ll leave it to her to tell you more about the principles as I’m here to tell you my experience with the club.

I was following loads of curly girls on Instagram and every time one of them posted a photo of their perfect curls given to them by their latest product haul I felt a frisson of excitement – maybe this will be the product that will take my curls from curl next door to curl bomb?  It never was. One day I was in my bathroom and something caught my eye – all my hair products. One medium basket and one large bag FULL of hair products, and apparently that’s not a lot compared to some curly girls hauls! I immediately vowed to stop buying anything until I needed it. Around that time I joined the #productjunkieclub and every time I emptied a bottle and didn’t replace it (because I already had the oil or leave-in or conditioner or whatever!) I felt as though I ruled the world. I began a journal of sorts detailing what product I’d just finished, how much it cost, its effects on my hair and whether or not I’d repurchase.  I’ve only repurchased one of those products in almost 18 months. Now that’s a lot of products, a lot of money and a lot of wastage. I still have 3 bottles of shampoo to get through but I only have one conditioner and 3 leave-ins to choose from on wash day (one of which is a sample pot that I don’t like, and the other two are definite repurchases!).

Now that I’m down to a handful of products I feel utterly liberated. I no longer look at the products, roll my eyes, sigh and wonder for ages what to use – I simply grab the shampoo (the one that needs to be finished before the rest), conditioner and one of the two leave-ins – honestly this minimal thing is for me – utter ease, liberation and relaxation in my bathroom now. And what of my hair? Well, thank you for asking – it’s clean, hydrated, healthy and happy – just like me.

The bag is gone and it’s just the basket left so I’m ready to take this to the next level. Next stop – my wardrobe, let the capsule wardrobe project commence!

Green Glitter & Sparkles
Olive