Thinking about embracing your curls?

When I 1st started the natural hair journey ( I chemically altered my hair, not only heat damage it) I had a specific look and goal in mind.

I wanted my hair to be as kinky as possible because that is my father hair type and I absolutely love his hair.

I simply assumed my hair would turn out like my dad’s. I kept using heat because my curl was not what I wanted it to be, I became instead a naturalista with natural straight hair regularly using my flat iron with heat protection & protein treatments of course.

Some time later, along came Instagram and thanks to my friend from Curly community. The Hair Lab was born. My blog & IG account became my journal where I logged my progress and my fails always trying to figure out how to fix the mishaps. In no time I started falling in love with the flexibility my hair had to offer, gave up heat entirely and now my curls are as kinky and coily as ever with loads of volume. I adjusted my goals to what I had and it paid off.

I would not change my frizzy head of curls for anything, it still gets annoying at times the work I need to put into it and it still surprises me how different in can look depending on how I do the wash day routine, but we can get into that once we have the basics in order.

A few things I wish my fairy godmother had told me before I started!

1. Take a deep breath, you might be overwhelmed at first, but there is no need to worry we are here for you.

Do this at your own speed.

Take it slow if you need to, no judgement, no rush.

You can either transition and cut the damaged parts little by little or get a big chop and start fresh, but do it only when you are ready.

No pressure.

2. Keep it simple.

If you can’t or don’t want to buy a full set new products at 1st, do it one by one by like adding a good leave in conditioner, styling gel or cream to your routine while you finish the old products and learn to read labels.

When the journey starts the hair is rather damaged so very fancy products are not an obligation, be comfortable with your own budget.

Use less heat, or even better no heat at all, this will help prevent breakage in the demarcation line which is the point where your old damaged hair gets in contact with you new natural curlywurly-frowywavy new head of hair.

3. Take the time to observe your hair.

Is it fine, is it dense, wavy, curly, kinky?

I recommend you to not obsess about curl typing, this early on.

You will learn later as you familiarize with the curly terminology and your own hair.

If you would like to know how I started to learn about my own hair feel free to read my 1st blog post The Hair Lab Scientific Method

4. At first the chemical or heat damaged hair will be highly porous so look for deep treatment masks and products with keywords such as repair, strengthen, restore; they usually contain protein and protein is what damaged hair direly needs.

5. Chemical damage cannot be reverted, I cut my hair gradually for about a year. Heat damage can revert with proper care. I did not chop off my heat damaged hair, instead I gave it super intensive care doing what I call a “partial curl recovery” as I was unwilling to cut the hair all over again.

6. Be patient, have fun and don’t compare your beginning to the middle of others, surround yourself with good vibes only.

Embrace your curls be them wavy, curly, kinky, coily or everything in between they are yours and you will learn to love them, I promise it will happen.

The journey is challenging but it is totally worth it and your curls, waves, kins, and coils will love you back with good care.

7. Naturally curly hair is for everybody.

Whoever has it and wants to wear as it grows out of their head can wear it curly.

No matter the shape, texture or color curly hair is not a problem; it has just been misunderstood for many years.

I’m here to help you every step of the way in any way I can so don’t feel shy to email me or post your questions in the comments section.

I will do my best to help you get started!

If I could do it, anybody can!

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The product junkie club Spring 2018

We decided to have yet another challenge & I write we because I got brainstorming help from one of my curl friends!

This challenge is starting to become a yearly thing for me and this time we have more curlfriends joining welcome Hispaneek

A few ideas for the challenge

  1. This is a freestyle challenge so each one of us brings a personal twist to it.
  2. There are no forbidden products, all you need to do is test your old products and if you need help deciding whether to use them or not ask the rest of the group and we might be able to help.
  3. Organize your products by categories.

The old products

  • Garbage bin: those with smells or ingredients that We hate and the very old ones, let’s say older than a year must go in the bin. *If you don’t remember when you bought a product it is best to send it to the bin. I ended up with a huge bag of this kind that was discarded.
  • The “I like you, but forgot about you” bin: Self explanatory, basically products we liked even holy grails but stopped using in favor of our excessive hair product shopping. Prioritize to finish these ones first.
  • The Swap/gift box: Here I include products that other naturals loved but that somehow did not become a favorite for me; but that have a good quality and/or overall good reviews. This serves 2 purposes: making another curly happy and if you can’t swap it give it as a present and help to reduce waste, might be your curl friend just found a Holy grail thanks to you. This can also apply to unopened products that you have failed to use due to whatever reason but you think a fellow curly can love. I have received a few nice things from fellow curlies already and it really did make me very happy.
    • This challenge is open to everybody, everywhere. It is more like a club of curly friends who shop too much.

      Our hasthtag #productjunkieclub2018

      Our Ethos: shop smarter & more consciously

      Our Goal: reduce waste and in the process save money or invest our money only in good products suited to our hair type.

      A few ideas to get you started to clear out the old to make room for the new

      1. Group products by brand and use them together on the same wash day according to your hair needs & routines (try the same wash day at least 2 times in a row, if you like it continue the same routine until finishing the products or if you need or want a change).
      2. Repurchase of Holy Grails is allowed, so don’t worry you can keep your curls happy.
      3. Have a budget idea: setting up a budget is up to you, but using the base of another challenge I participated in (& failed miserably at) aim for $30, £30, €30 a week or the equivalent in your local currency, or whatever sum you can afford for hair care products. This is just a guideline.
      4. Buying products to complete existing hair lines is ideal. You can also choose to not buy anything so the budget goes from 0-30 depending on your intent. My personal intent is to reduce waste, so it makes sense for me to purchase less items and aim for zero expense, obviously this did not happen but for a few short months; once my holy grails ran out I repurchased mercilessly but lifestyle changes do take time!
      5. Don’t give up!

      Shopping (saving) ideas

      1. Take advantage of seasonal sales for your favorite products.
      2. Enter giveaways.
      3. Get a subscription box, I joined one for £20 pounds plus shipping & I got at least 5 full sized products in each box to try at an accesible price. I have still have yet to try many of them, but the ones I have tried so far have been very good and at a fraction of their retail price.
      4. 2 empties allow you to purchase one completely new product you have not tried before and empty holy grails can always be replaced as they empty so your curls are always on point.
      5. Look for eco friendly packaging when possible to reduce waste too.

      If you want more info about these shopping hacks let me know in the comments section, or on my instagram.

      Happy, conscious shopping!

      P.S. This is not a competition, but a collective effort to improve our consumer habits as a curly community.

      Share your findings positive or negative but always saying something nice, if you follow me on IG The Hair Lab you know I am all about positive vibes so just be kind when sharing the fails, be kind to yourself & others in this curly hair adventure.

      Other curly girls who have joined me since the beginning in this effort to shop more responsibly are

      Curlymamaxx
      Curlysue291

      Feel free to follow their accounts for inspo & great tips.

      We have had our ups & downs but little by little we are getting there.

      May the odds be ever in your favor” may The Hunger Product Junkie Games begin.

      May the force be with you

      Hi my name is Lelia and I am a product junkie.

      Reinvent Yourself and find your Element

      Good day, WordPress friends!

      A few things that you might know about me because they are obvious, if you follow me on Instagramdr_vasquez_md, is that I’m not very good with the social part of media, and with the media part of social as well.

      It was fun at first but then it became a chore as I started to follow certain guidelines.

      I noticed that creating my posts was taking longer time & to be honest I was not in my element, this does not mean I will give up but it does pose the question why was I using Instagram in the 1st place?

      I thought Instagram would boost my readership here, but it did not rarely anyone clicks on my link in bio. I tried too hard to get the perfect selfies, the product showcases and ultimately ended up neglecting my blog post content creation, which I enjoy more than taking selfies.

      I then stopped using Instagram altogether because it was not fun anymore and I felt that I had no time for that and missed a few good opportunities to do collaborations with people whom I admire.

      I returned to a book by Sir Ken Robinson and this book helped me to get back on track with my blogging goals, and the key point of this book is about finding your element, it’s rather difficult to explain briefly but it is good read if you need to refocus.

      My Science based Hair blogging goals are to find my element and stay there and produce content there, but also to have fun while doing it.

      I share with you now, my 1st attempt at reinventing myself as a blogger of sorts in a visual media format, as an experimental approach to determine what I enjoy of content creation asides from writing long wordy pieces for this WordPress blog.

      I hope you like this raw edit, mixing lots of hair shots & nature to reflect the permanence of things while constantly changing at the same.

      Your essence remains the same regardless of looks, in the same way the cherry trees blossom at a specific time in Spring.

      You will blossom when the time is right and it’s never is too late to bloom.

      Puddings, Smoothies, Milk in Hair? And 2 year anniversary blogging musings

      For people outside the Curly world ( which includes wavy, curly, kinky and coily hair) concepts like a hair milk or a curling custard could be quite confusing, well for us curlies it can be too.

      When I first opened the blog almost 2 years ago I got offered a collaboration with Naturally Curly, my favorite curly hair educational resource.

      They approached me for my opinion on the topic of why beauty brands use food names to entices us.

      There is in a academic circles a phenomena called food imitating products which is aimed to make the consumer associate a cosmetic with food so they feel safe.

      Another question I was asked was about product consistency and if it made a difference, to be honest back then I had not tried enough products to speak from experience, now as a product junkie in Rehab I can confidently say that in my case yes it does a big difference; but it’s a tricky subject and a matter of trusting the marketing from the manufacturer.

      For the full scoop click the link below🤗

      https://www.naturallycurly.com/curlreading/curl-products/this-is-why-beauty-brands-use-food-to-entice-you/

      I still feel intimidated by platforms like Facebook or instagram to promote my personal projects or achievements in the blogging universe.

      I do not like conflict online, and in WordPress I have found is my safe place, where I can write with no word count limit and I can engage in friendly conversations.

      After a year on IG writing about hair or sharing selfies I still do not know if it is the right platform for me.

      I will continue as long as it is fun, and I admit that it has been fun so far albeit time consuming. If I do leave instagram altogether, I will send my contacts to those who have helped me learn more but it will be a silent goodbye.

      My focus right now is working on my public outreach writing skills and my wordpress “toolkit” skills to optimize my blogging experience.

      I wanted to publish this little note on a Thursday in the spirit of throwback Thursday in September 2017, but I was too shy to do so.

      Today is my 2nd year blogging anniversary and felt like getting personal & finally sharing my thoughts & feelings about my usage of social media, but also because looking back it was a pretty big deal to have been asked for my opinion when my blog was still more or less anonymous and I was not confident enough to “self promote”.

      I still need to work on promoting myself and have gotten so much help from other bloggers on instagram and for that reason alone, I stay in social media trying to improve. WordPress is my forever comfort zone, I have a few followers but I do have readers that silently give me their support and to my readers and curl friends I say thank you for staying with me on my journey to bring more science into our daily lives.

      Kindly,

      Dr. Lelia aka hairlabmd

      Hair Shopping in Japan? and everywhere else…with iherb

      This one is going to be short and sweet and with a discount code!

      I just ordered my 1st batch of products online to my new address in Japan. I decided to restock on my favorite detangler kinky curly knot today before running out because this product is in high demand on iherb (where I regularly buy online) as well as the curling custard.

      I still have plenty of curls products but I am almost out of kinky curly. I know this is truly a holy grail brand for me because I start considering a new order before my current stock runs out, the detangler is simply the best one I have used so far, I have another fave but since I can’t get it online in Japan due to import regulations this is the only one I can get, the other one is the giovanni direct leave in hehe.

      Have you tried kinky curly knot today? I will share with you another mini review in case you are wondering about it.

      I use it as a detangler, deep conditioner, rinse out & leave in conditioner so it is a product I use up quite quickly.

      It has amazing slip and a very mild fragrance that does not linger. It contains film forming agents such as marshmallow root that help to a certain extent to block humidity but it is mainly moisturizing, suitable for any porosity and tangle prone hair will like it a lot (mine does) for best results in extreme weather conditions (rain, unstable weather) it is best paired with the curling custard of the same brand. It is vegan friendly and although chemistry is part of nature all the ingredients are naturally derived, it is a rather standard brand that has been around for years but for me it was a big Discovery sometime last year. A consideration for people with fine hair is that it has a thick consistency as far a leave in conditioners go but if used in small amounts or diluted in your hands with water it does the job without weighing the hair down, this is the main reason I also use it as rinse out deep conditioner, sometimes I leave about 40~60% on my hair and use it as a base for my styler.

      Do you have a holy grail among the products in the picture?

      All of these are among my holy grails, but I am slowly prioritizing which products are the absolute go to’s and if I had to choose one over the other I would say kinky curly gives me more consistent and predictable results in all weather conditions and it’s easier to access by international curlies.

      Do you Live in Japan too & Don’t know where to get it?

      Here is an affiliate link for it in Iherb japan which basically ships anywhere, the link should include a 5% discount code 😉

      Rest of the world

      Alternatively go to Iherb.com select your country of choice and use this code: COR0548 at checkout and get 5% off your 1st purchase (I think they have a $40 minimum purchase to be able to use codes but I would have to double check, let me know if you you use it how it worked).

      My package should arrive by November 6 so I will update you on the shipping as soon as it gets here but Yamato transport is very reliable and I expect a good delivery on time.

      Update on the delivery (Nov 4th): My package arrived November 1st and I placed the order on oct 28 that is pretty fast international shipping for me. Yamato transport always reliable!

      Have a Happy weekend my friends.

      Cheers!

      L.

      PS. This is not a sponsored post, never done one but since everyone can refer friends using the reward system so figured why not make it available and see how it works. Ihavs been using iherb for quite sometime now and feel confident enough to share the findings.

      My Wash Day Essentials

      Pre_Shampoo

      For this I use either a premix oil or a product designed as prepoo.

      I apply the prepoo for 10-30 before washing my hair or leave on overnight if the prepoo is designed for that purpose. At this stage it is possible to dry detangle hair if a suficient amount of product has been applied but this varies depending on which product I choose.

      I only prepoo if I will use a deep cleansing (anionic surfactant) shampoo afterwards.

      Shampoo

      The correct way to shampoo is to apply a small amount of product to your fingertips and then massage the scalp, the foam will cleanse the rest of the hair, if needed I use a shampoo brush in a soft massaging motion left to right only on the scalp.

      Deep Condition

      I Always deep condition after washing with a deep cleansing shampoo. I normally don’t use heat but a lot of people do so if you like you can deep condition with heat or without; totally up to you. Some products do require heat activation, so this something to look out for when buying products. I normally section my hair in 4 sections and leave the deep conditioner in buns/twists for 30 minutes under a plastic cap then I rinse out.

      Detangle

      I use my fingers and a tangle teezer but this a matter of personal choice, I do it after the deep conditioning because my hair is mostly detangled by then and I can be gentler, plus it saves me time.

      Rinse out conditioners

      I use them either as deep conditioners enhanced with oils or as a leave in conditioner.

      I apply it with the method squish and condish and leave most of the conditioner on the hair.

      Styling

      This is the most variable part of my routine but I mostly use kinky curly curling custard and the boucleme gel as basic stylers when I want a quick uncomplicated wash day.

      Drying

      I usually diffuse because I get better results on day 1, but this means more frizz and shorter duration of the wash day, so now that Autumn has begun I try to air dry as much as possible, but I do prefer diffusing my hair dry.That’s it! If you have any questions feel free to let me know, I have other more detailed wash day routines but this is my basic everyday wash day. Hope you enjoyed this post 🙂

      For me latest wash day I used Briogeo oil to gel overnight prepoo, next morning shampoo with kinky curly come clean followed by kinky curly knot today plus a few drops of tea tree oil as a deep conditioner, fully rinsed out and styled using a single styler, kinky curly curling custard, let it air dry et voilà.

      The Mystery of the curls

      Some hair facts and why I think Curly hair specially afro hair needs more research.

      Our hair strands are composed as follows:

      Cuticle (outer layer)

      Cortex

      Medulla (innermost)

      Source: Google

      Let’s talk about the cuticle!

      The cuticle is a chemically resistant region and consists of a flap of overlapping scales (keratinocytes) that look pretty much like shingles on the roof.

      The shape and orientation of the cuticle cells are responsible for the differential friction effect in the hair,which translate on how likely the hair strands are to break, when in contact woth other surfaces for example brushes or other hair strands.

      The cuticle is generally 6–8 scales thick for Asian hair, slightly less in Caucasian hair and even less in African hair. I was unable to find info on multicultural hair, but we can guess a wide spectrum.

      A thinner cuticle layer makes African hair more prone to breakage, another feature unique to African hair are the multiple torsion points (because coils and kinks are smaller in size) that can result in breakage due to even simple Manipulation.

      Cuticle, breakage and African hair

      The apparent slower speed of growth is a source of frustration for people with African hair but the data is insufficient as to why this happens, a plausible explanation for this could be breakage; because traditionally African hair has been exposed to damaging agents such as relaxers, and physical aggressions such as tight braiding.

      Even though the raw data is insufficient, in the clinical practice alopecia due to traction and chemical relaxers (lye or no lye), capillary botox, and Brazilian blowouts is common among individuals with African Hair because this hair is the most delicate of the spectrum. The cuticle protects the medulla of the hair and all these procedures require chemical bonds to break to reach the cortex and if not performed with the utmost care they can even affect the medulla which results in breakage and irreversible damage.

      There is still so much to learn about curly hair and I do hope that the interest in embracing naturally curly hair provides us with a deeper understanding of our long overlooked locks from a science point of view. In the meantime I will continue to follow the development of my own multicultural hair following the one tool of the scientific method we all have available: Observation and I encourage you to do the same!

      Final comments on Hair science

      I started transitioning following mostly what I knew from medicine about hair and to be honest healthy hair is often overlooked. Things are changing and some information can be found in academic journals & dermatology books but mostly about scalp health. Healthy hair information is out there too, just not for people with curly hair since most studies are done on straight hair . We need information for everyone and not just a part of the population. That being said I feel things are looking good and I am very optimistic about the future of the curly hair community.

      From brushed out hair for volume in June 2016 to an actual curly fro in August 2017, I think this year in hair has been OK

      Draft from July 2016 (Updated September 2017)

      PS. This is the last day of my one week daily blogging challenge. Let me know what you think in the comments section! Would you try a challenge like that? I found it difficult, but rewarding because I was able to complete it, despite having so many other things to do. The best tool for me was the post scheduling option, which I think I will continue to use in the future.

      About Affiliate links and referral codes?

      Last week I received an email from an online store I use to buy some products that Are basically holy grails at very good prices.

      They have a 21 year anniversary promo discount credit link, but did not have time to read thd mail until the weekend.

      I have never used their discounts because I honestly never knew how to use them, but I did run out of one of my holy grails so well I will be buying sometime next month.

      The email was quite clear about the rules of the contest and it seem legitimate.

      It also made me wonder about a few things, so I have blogging questions.

      • Do you use affiliate links in your blog?
      • What do you think in general about these links?

      On my last post about Shopping in Germany I used a referral code and I noticed that people did click on it, but nobody ended up purchasing the minimum required to get points or credits and I found that quite interesting. I think the offer was just not good enough to be attractive or that referral links are just odd, I myself have never used one.

      I use the website iHerb to buy my Giovanni direct leave in and I get it in bulk (2/3bottles) so I don’t need to buy anything before my credits (it’s like 5%) expire.

      I figured I would share my instareview of the product and if anyone wants to use this referral code to save some money can feel free to do so.

      The rules are: You get $10 off with any purchase over $40 does not seem like a bad deal and I get an $11 credit on my 1st referral because they are celebrating 21 years, it seems like a cute idea and a nice way to get traffic their way and their customer service and delivery rates & times are pretty good

      The code: If you want it Ask me in the comment sections or send me a message.

      The offer is valid until September 30th and I figured why not. I have added the link but I can not guarantee it will work but it’d be nice to try it.

      One thing though be sure to check the customs regulations of your country if you are US based there should be no problems, in Germany this offer might not work because of the amount of money they require, I keep my purchases at around $30 dollars to avoid customs issues.

      This is how it looks like: https://www.iherb.com/?rcode= COR0548&pcode=21STYEAR

      The Mini review:

      Summer Holy grail #productjunkieclub

      Giovanni Direct leave in Conditioner

      This leave in conditioner has become one of my favorites for the summer. It is moisturizing, easy to find, inexpensive, even with my huge head of hair a little goes a long way. It is suitable for low porosity as well as high porosity and everything in between. I can finger coil my bangs and style the rest of my hair without changing products and it does not build up easily. Oh and last but not least…it is a life saver detangler.

      *published originally July 11 on Instagram

      Curly hair and Hot Rollers! Your new addiction.


      I Love hot rollers for naturally curly hair! I have always been a fan of the retro glam mod, but with curly hair it goes to another level, and no matter how much I google “hot rollers curly hair” I don’t find much about the topic in the natural hair community, so I decided to make my own post.

      Some iconic women who can really rock the hot roller sets:

      Dita Von Tesse


      Her hair is bone straight and she gets this beautiful results, imagine what you can do with naturally curly hair.

      Angelique Noire


      Simply gorgeous, adding diversity to the pinup scene.

      After seeing these lovely ladies I hope I have motivated you to try this wonderful tool.

      How to roller set:


      Above is a standard illustration of the basic roller set, depending on what you want to achieve it can vary, but for begginers this is easy enough.

      Part your hair in 3 sections right, middle, left and create 3 more subsections for a total of 9. Most hot rollers sets contain 20 or so rollers so you can then subdivide those 9 sections in 2, becoming 18. I use all 20 rollers, but Dita von Tesse recommends 24 (need to buy a few extra ones)

      Hair must be clean and can be either air dried or blow dried. Blow drying gives sleeker results but if you dread heat a stretched air dried style or even a yesterday’s wash and go is ok. Use heat protector (oil based, since hair must be 100% dry before rolling).

      Leave the rollers in place until they have cooled down, in the meantime eat breakfast, do your make up, pack up lunch, get dressed and voilà you are ready for a glam day.

      My hot roller set


      Remington Style KF20i ionic rollers

      They take about 15 minutes to heat, so in order to save time I connect them while I shower. I like using a heat protect glove, since the corners of the roller can get a bit too hot for my liking, but it is not mandatory you won’t get burnt easily or anything.

      For more info on setting techniques visit this link  How to roller set!


      Some thoughts for natural curly hair:

      1. You already have natural volume, use it! No need to back brush to get the same effect as straight hair.
      2. Brushing if you want a very sleek look should be done carefully or you will end up with frizz, I prefer to smooth with my slightly oiled hands.
      3. If the humidity is high use lots of antihumectants and hairspray (I currently use osis+ antifrizz serum, loreal elnett hairspray, and for the rainy season I am trying new things but more on another post).
      4. Use heat protectant, non water based, I have used garnier wonder oil.
      5. Oil your hands slightly when removing the rollers to avoid frizz.
      6. When a wash and go comes out crappy, cover your ends with oil over night, sleep with loose braids and detangle gently in the morning (I used fingers and tangle teezer).
      7. Bad wash and go? No problem save it with a quick next day retro glam set!
      8. Be a full, confident, retro glam, glamorously fabulous Diva!

      Let me know if you are also a vintage hair lover with natural hair.

      Dr. L aka HairLabMD

      Windblown

      The rain has been constant in Germany since Monday, which is a good thing as I am not tempted to go spend my free time outside enjoying the sunshine.

      This weather has allowed for some “experimentation” in terms of photography which I had not considered before. It has also allowed for more time to mull over my proposal 🤔

      Back to hair like these dark stormy edits using the tools on my iPad. Nothing fancy but I liked it. Do you like this type of edits? If so then I will take the time to properly photoshop my photos in this style from now on.

      <<<<
      curls right before a Storm.

      <<<<
      or 3 curls not sure but same wash day.

      Do you feel a "change", when the seasons change? Last year I felt like wearing my hair straight and I did, but this year I feel more like letting it fro as much as I can.

      Cheers.

      Tomorrow is the last day of my Daily blogging challenge. I will try to write something "Scienced up" & good but no promises. Blogging is not easy.

      Dr. L