My complicated relationship with social media

Good day, WordPress friends!

A few things that you might know about me because they are obvious: if you follow me on Instagram dr_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 and to be honest I was not in my element. This does not mean I will give up, but it does pose a question…why was I using Instagram in the first 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. Last December I returned to instagram, and I find myself enjoying it again.

I returned to a book by Sir Ken Robinson and this book helped me to get back on track with my blogging goals. The key point of this book is about finding your element. It’s rather difficult to explain briefly, but it is a 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 first attempt at reinventing myself as a blogger of sorts in a visual media format, as an experimental approach to determine what I enjoy about 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 time.

Your essence remains the same regardless of looks, in the same way the cherry trees blossom at a specific time in Spring and they stay the same tree the whole year round.

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

 

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.

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

Relaxing at night unplugged(ish)

Disclaimer: I scheduled this post for 7:00am, it is near 11:00pm now and I figured I do want and need to sleep a little longer, so no early morning workout and no blog post in real time.

Yesterday’s post was full of typos and mistakes that I haven’t fully corrected yet. I was tired when I wrote it upon waking up. I kept it short and shared a photo of products I like and this started a small conversation in the comments section that I enjoyed…all this to say I used a Shampoo because I remembered it and yes I am also very sleepy right now, yikes! 7:30 am update, I was so tired last night that it got scheduled for 1:00am instead of 7:00, surely I must have been very tired indeed.

… 10:36pm

Tonight I kept it simple no Instagram, just a wash night for me with no worries about the outcome.

I found myself enjoying a very relaxing time, I felt all my day tiredness just melt away as I cleansed my hair with no selfie or intastory present in my mind. No prepoo, no deep condition. No extras, minimal effort maximum relaxation.

I added a few drops of essential oils just for fun, inspired by my fave Conditioner, to the Low Shampoo of the Boucleme line I posted yesterday, mixed them in a bowl and diluted with a little water to make washing easier and it felt really nice.

I followed with Giovanni tea tree triple treat rinsed it out and then reapplied as a leave in because it is so light weight that it can be used like that. I followed with Mielle organics gel, it is almost empty and while it’s not the absolute best in performance, however very good, just is the wonderful happy smell that makes me pick it up even if I have “better” choices.

I wanted to air dry, but this rarely works for me. Ended with a flat top and decided to diffuse some and finish drying overnight with my hair on a high bun wrapped in a satin scarf.

I still wanted to document this new wash day and since I needed a blog post for tomorrow I did it today and used the tools that WordPress gives us to make life easier.

These 3 essential oils are always in my aroma diffuser, it was funny to feel myself life a human diffuser when I was using the hair dryer.

Do you like essential oils and if so how do you use them?

Early bird blogging…not so easy

Good morning and I need coffee, normally I would use a vacuum but today it will be the french press. This challenge is exhausting, I won’t workout today, but I blogged or at least tried to.

In the spirit of Product Junkie Club I present you with my favorite gel & conditioner combo of the last few months

Want to know more about these products let me know in the comments section! Or my InstagramThe Hair Lab !

Have a happy and productive day.

Cheers,

Dr. L. aka HairLabMD

Early Morning Challenges are well Challenging

I am trying to get back into the habit of wake up early, do things, workout, be productive.

I am quite tired and I’ve only been at it less than a week.

The challenge includes daily blogging. To be honest it’s just too early for me to write a full blog post, or edit drafts (my original intent) so instead I share a #transformationtuesday photo I posted yesterday on Instagram

Well that’s it, Good Morning Europe and I need coffee…would it be acceptable if I also blogged about coffee here?

Back to curls, I hope this motivates you to believe that your curls are magical and that can come back if you just treat them with love.

Cheers,

Dr. L

Silicone Free Challenge for Natural Hair

As you all know I am a naturalista that uses sulphates and soluble silicones after determining they are safe and effective products for me that are as long as the mix of ingredients is not overly drying and they are pH balanced. That being said I love a challenge here and there.

I checked my product cabinet, and to my surprise I have more products with silicone than not so I sorted the products to see what I had to work with. Yes I wrote cabinet in the previous sentence OMG I have a “cabinet”, when I had keratin blow outs or relaxers or creamy crack on my hair I simply used shampoo, deep conditioner and a rinse out conditioner that also functioned as a leave in, Oh!the simple times LOL.

My product cabinet is now divided in products with silicone and without silicone so I decided to simply use only the products that were silicone free as part of my challenge. I also purchased a few new silicone free products and was actually amazed.

My original intent was to also co-wash during the entirety of the challenge but I had to stop at the 2 week point mark because of product build up and reintroduced anionic surfactants such as coco-sulphate and sulfosuccinates and my hair was still very hydrated towards the end of the challenge, the key to that I think is the pre-poo.

The results

After a week of unmanageable frizz my hair started to show more curl definition and so far product build up was not an issue. After that while it looked great my scalp was not feeling fresh and I was getting more tangles than usual so I switched back to shampooing on an “as needed basis” for last 2 weeks of the challenge.

Some products I used during the challenge were Devacurl One Condition Decadence line, Cantu (Co-wash and Leave in), Curls Blueberry Bliss Leave in conditioner. In terms of price Cantu is the cheapest, in terms of final results I preferred Decadence plus Blueberry Bliss; but all products I used made my hair feel happy :). I will start writing product reviews sometime next month once I have a little more free time.

Tips for a successful Co wash. My Silicone free Challenge experience

  1. Shampoo or clarify with a Deep cleanser before starting the Challenge
  2. Be 100% sure the products you are using do not contain any form of silicone
  3. Shampoo if you get product or dirt build up
  4. Do it with an actual co-wash product, that way you can experience the maximum benefit and if you like it you can then either change to a regular conditioner with similar ingredients or stay with the co-wash.

 

IMG_9962

The Hair Lab: Week 4 Silicone Free Challenge