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!

Ayuda! “Mi cabello no coopera”

Esto es algo que a menudo nos sucede en la jornada de cabello natural.

Ya saben que hablo castellano, sin embargo; admito que escribir en castellano se me hace un poco dificil y me he puesto como meta este año incluir más entradas en el blog.

Así que inicio con algo común en la jornada de cabello rizado natural y en todo tipo de cabello a decir verdad: resequedad capilar.

¿Que hacer cuando nuestros rizos no cooperan o tiende a estar secos y deshidratados?

Debemos tener Paciencia: el cabello rizado, crespo y ondulado se deshidrata con mayor facilidad que el cabello lacio, por lo que requiere mayor cuidado.

Es clave tener una rutina de lavado enfocada en hidratación: les comparto lo que habitualmente hago para mantener mi cabello hidratado

1. Prepoo: Aplicar aceites, cremas, tratamientos o acondicionador antes del shampoo, esto ayuda a proteger la hebra del cabello del agente limpiador. Un datito importante es no utilizar mucho aceite porque luego se necesita más shampoo para removerlo. Mis favoritos son productos a base de aceite de aguacate o aceite de almendra.

2. Shampoo o cowash: yo habitualmente utilizo shampoo pero si no acumulas mucho producto puedes limpiar el cabello entre shampoo solo con acondicionador. La frecuencia de shampoo varia desde 2-3 veces por semana hasta 1 vez al mes. Si tu cabello esta reseco y usas shampoo todos los dias ve disminuyendo la frecuencia hasta que encuentres tu equilibrio. Yo uso shampoo 1-2 veces x semana y entre lavados refresco con agua, en lo personal el cowash no me gusta porque predispone a enfermedades como la caspa, si sufres de caspa cowash esta contraindicado. El shampoo es importante para evitar acumulacion de productos, suciedad o contaminacion en el pelo, si notas que tu cabello se siente pesado o muy reseco puede ser que necesites una limpieza más profunda y un buen shampoo limpiador y una mascarilla de arcilla para cabello sean buena idea, hace poco hice esto para recuperar mi cabello y me ha funcionado bastante bien.

3. Acondicionador profundo: Esto es primordial para todo tipo de cabello rizado o tratado con tintes o químicos. Hazlo cada vez que utilices shampoo y dejalo puesto hasta 30 minutos, si deseas cúbrelo con una toalla tibia y un gorrito acondicionador. Algunas mascarillas se pueden poner por 1-3 minutos y dan buenos resultados, pero si deseas más hidratación 30 minutos es suficiente. No es recomendable utilizar estos productos durante toda la noche al dormir ni por periodos extendidos de tiempo ya que pueden dejar el cabello en un estado de fragilidad.

4. Acondicionador regular: Me gusta siempre aplicar una pequeña cantidad de acondicionador hidratante si siento que necesito un extra despues de la mascarilla, a veces la mascarilla me deja el cabello tan suave que se me olvida pero procuro hacerlo con frecuencia; este punto es opcional pero si el cabello esta reseco utiliza acondicionador de enjuage siempre.

5. Leave in conditioner, crema de peinar o serums: dependiendo de si tu cabello es fino, medio o grueso puedes usar ya sea un acondicionador que no se enguaje, una crema de peinar para cabello medio y grueso o un serum si tu cabello es fino o con ondas suaves.

6. Metodo LOC o LCO: esto es más para cabello rizado o crespo de hebra media o gruesa y cabello ondulado grueso, ayuda a obtener definicion. L: liquido agua o leave in conditioner, O: aceite, C: crema de peinar.  Basicamente se trata de utilizar leave in conditioner, aceite y crema de peinar o leave in conditioner, crema de peinar y aceite, el orden se decide experimentando. A mucha gente le funciona sobretodo cuando el cabello esta muy reseco. Yo en lo personal lo hacía al principio hace un año o así pero notaba que me dejaba el cabello muy pesado y es que aunque tengo mucho cabello (densidad alta) el 70% es de hebra fina y media y comome gusta   más volumen que definición hago LC, L ó solo C pero si buscas maxima definicion y mantener la hidratacion vale la pena probar este método.

7. Tratamientos de proteina: Esto lo hacía con frecuencia cuando mi cabello era altamente poroso, eso si desean lo tocamos en otro articulo. ¿Como saber si tengo cabello de alta porosidad? Para facilidad todo cabello teñido, con alisado o en transición y con daño por calor es de porosidad alta con lo cual se beneficia con tratamientos de proteína. Estos tratamientos dejan el cabello un poco pesado pero sirven para fortalecer si es necesario. Se puede hacer uno una vez por mes y aumentar o disminuir la frecuencia segun necesidad. Weleda y Bioland tienen productos reestructurantes bastante buenos y disponibles en America Latina.

Espero esta guia sea de utilidad y si desean otro tema, me pueden comentar que les gustaría.

InstaCompare? No thanks. Friendship please.

iDisclamer: The only science involved in this post came from the developers of apple that created this iPad and of the creators of the internet, the rest is just my opinion not as an MD or a scientist but as a “Curly Girl”, reader discretion advised.

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Weird disclaimer is it not? Still, I am trying to make a point and I will get there.

I officially joined the Natural Hair Community in March 2016, with my 1st Curly Community fan page post, and my 1st hair instagram account, later on in april the Hair Lab was born.

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I never saw another curly girl IG, or blog or web page until last year after I had cut off all my chemically straightened hair. Why? My 1st contact did not cause a good impression and I left. In 2013 or so I googled about curly hair and the first impression was mostly of a competitive, divided, toxic & overall negative environment, my sources where limited to the USA; but that was my turning point of thinking OK I know medicine, I have the books the journals let’s do this on my own terms, I do not need that negativity in my life. You know what? it was great; it gave me time to understand the anger and decide that to each their own and that there are so many different subsets of Natural Hair Communities not only one.

I never googled about hair outside of google scholar since then until 2016. I did my transition alone and yes I made many mistakes and no I do not know how to braid my hair, yet.

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Finger curling pre hair blog vs post hair blog lol 

Find your Element

I clearly did not belong in the community of the 1st encounter I had, I now understand where they come from though and I empathize with some, but it was not my element as Sir Ken Robinson puts it, now I Have found my hair element the part of the community that helps me grow.

I belong here in what I call the “curly community”, the name is irrelevant but I avoid using certain terms to avoid controversy. I may or may not write about it in the future; but for now about my lovely curly community.

Our community is inspirational, professional in our own individual way it includes hairdressers, students, doctors, restaurateurs, journalists, photographers, models, engineers, moms you name the profession and we can find it, off course bloggers and vlogers too. In this group “our clique” we are responsible in the way we share our journey, we promote self-love and growth instead of comparison charts and above all we strive to be positive, humble and real.

We always cheer for each other no matter if it is something big or small, we genuinely wish the others success, we do not compete we grow together.

Today I can say This hair journey has given me more than hydrated locks, it has given me women and friends I admire from afar and who are great role models for the younger girls out there looking for powerful, positive female role models.

We do not compare each other, we support each other and learn together, we are friends.

Thank you for your friendship my (curl) friends.

5 Errores que cometí durante la Transición

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5 errores que cometí durante la transición a cabello Natural

1. Me hacía y me hacían plancha, ojo yo amo los rizos pero tb mi look lacio, para mi todo cabello natural es bonito, dicho esto plancha en la transición es mucho riesgo de ruptura capilar y big chop obligado yo tuve suerte y con buena técnica pero el cabello es frágil en ese estado. NO NO Lo haga.

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Just say NO asi sea la super Ghd ultimo modelo NO

2. No leer blogs de cabello natural, error grave y por eso 🖕🖕🖕eso pasó. Lea blogs no sea como yo.

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3. Querer complacer a la Jefa, no diré más de esto pero mis colegas me entienden.

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Credito: Tallncurly.com

4. Hacerse alisado en las raíces para que la plancha quede mejor. ¡Cringe! Esto es consecuencia de la 3.

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5. Vivía debajo de una piedra. Nadie nace sabiendo, conecta pregunta en redes sociales todos somos humanos buscando mejorar y juntos somos mas fuertes. No seas como yo en mi transición a menos que te guste hacer todo a lo loco entonces sí lol 😹😹😹😹 no seas una isla se un archipiélago, pero créeme los vlogs y blogs ayudan. No todo es correcto pero para eso esta el señor Google.image.jpeg

 

Wash day! Is your wash day too complex?

How long is your wash day?

Sometimes for the fun of it I follow all the steps I can find for my wash day and I have found that for me simple and “short” (if you can call short any curly girl full wash lol) is better.

My 45 minute wash day is a little like this:

  1. Coconut oil pre poo night before
  2. Shampoo (in 4 or less sections)
  3. Deep condition (10 mins with hot towel)
  4. DETANGLE (once with tangle teezer, wide tooth comb and finger detangle)
  5. rinse out conditioner.
  6. Styling

My 90 min wash day

  1. Overnight pre poo night
  2. Conditioner DETANGLE-1 (finger detangling + wide tooth comb)
  3. Shampoo (in 4-6 sections)
  4. Deep condition (30 mins with hair cap and blow dryer)
  5. DETANGLE-2 (with tangle teezer, wide tooth comb and finger detangle)
  6. rinse out conditioner.
  7. Styling

My 2 hr plus wash day

Hot oil treatment for 30 mins leave in it on for up to 2 hours with no heat and then add the 90 min wash day or deep condition for 2 hrs.

The crucial and most time consuming step is detangling and it should be present in all curly hair wash routine at least once. It is really not necessary to detangle more than once as long as it is super well done or the hair is not too tangled, if you wash your hair twice a week and refresh with a cowash chances are your hair will get less tangled and the need to detangle will be less. So its a matter of either doing shorter wash days more often, as long as you deep condition your hair (up to 2 times a week is is perfectly fine), this is not a problem and is actually great for refreshing from the summer time heat and activities.

Hair Experiment #1: Coconut Oil 

Coconut oil and its hability to penetrate the hair shaft in order to improve appearance and reduce hair tangling.

The original study investigated 4 oils:

  1. Coconut oil
  2. Olive oil
  3. Sunflower oil
  4. Mineral oil

Today I will try coconut oil.

What they measured was the capillary adhesion(CA) of hair fibers, while we can not measure this at home, today we follow more or less this guide for “testing the feel” of coconut oil infused hair fibers which is basically what CA measures, the hability of the oil to penetrate the hair shaft.

Who can benefit from this type oil pre treatment?

I found this quite useful when my hair had a lot of heat damage as the porosity of my hair was higher than it is now. I no longer use raw coconut oil in my routine.

Anyone doing the transition from chemical relaxers/keratin straighteners or with damage due to heat tools can benefit from this type of strengthening pre treatments.

Dyed hair also tends to have higher porosity so it will be great for you too if you have a nice balayage or other coloring process regardless of hair texture.

Commentary: In case of low porosity or fine hair I think that it might not be such a good idea since most oils and all butters will form a film and just sit on top of the hair contributing to product build up.

As with everything curly hair there is a learning curve, but knowing the science behind of what we do and why we do it can help with the decision making process.

I have not revisited the olive oil “test” but I will probably do it again as my hair is feeling a little dry after the summer fun.

Updated: September 2017

The Hair Experiment 

  1. Apply coconut oil to dry hair, this will help the oil to enter the hair cortex, finger detangle & cover with a plastic cap.
  2. Apply moderate heat for 10-20 minutes and let product sit and cool down (you can use the blow dryer in low setting, cover with warm towel or spend sometime in the sauna as part of a spa night). I used the blow dryer/ warm towel set up.
  3. Style as usual (I used the macadamia hair smooth curl step by step that I posted previously).

You could follow the same procedure with sunflower oil if you wish to try it, since in the study both oils when exposed to heat lowered even more the capillary adhesion, meaning that more oil penetrated in to the hair shaft which in turn protects it from Hygral fatigue one of the culprits of breakage.

The Same principle also applies for Olive oil but the use of heat provided no further improvements, so no need to use heat (in this case what you can do is mildly heat the olive oil in itself, it is quite pleasant and was one of my first “tests” and I loved it).

Mineral oil is ineffective in reducing capillary adhesion and that’s the reason why you will always find online advise against it, so yes I won’t use mineral oil, but this also means it can potentially be a good sealant of moisture by forming a film so it could be effective in theory to protect the hair from external aggression (sun, heat, etc) although it serves no purpose within the hair shaft in itself.

What does this mean in Practical terms?

In summary coconut oil, olive oil and sunflower oil can penetrate into the hair shaft helping to prevent breakage, strengthening the hair fiber and improving overall appearance of hair health, done in moderation (every 1-2 weeks) it might help to reduce breakage which in turn can potentially help preserving existing hair growth.

Personal Update on coconut oil 2017

My personal experience is that when my hair had heat damage it worked quite well but as it got healthier coconut oil ceased to be effective for me & even caused my hair to alter it’s curl pattern in a way I did not like, it loosed up my curls instead of giving me any of the above mentioned benefits. Also I had skin issues with coconut oil.

I still use some products that contain coconut oil in moderation but I no longer use it as an oil treatment.

Let me know if coconut oil works for you and which other oils would you like to learn about, if I can find a peer reviewed study and discuss I will try and share.

Kindly,

Dr. L. aka HairLabMD

10 Datos Útiles para Sobrevivir y Disfrutar la transición a Cabello Natural

  1. Tener paciencia:
    El cabello toma cierto tiempo para crecer así que cambios dramáticos normalmente no suceden, no olvidar que otros han pasado por allí y que no estamos solos hay muchos en esta jornada. ¡Animo!
  2. Acondicionador: Mascarilla profunda hidratante al menos una vez por semana.Siempre usar leave in conditioner.Aceites para sellar la hidratación del cabello.Método LOC ó LCO (L eave in liquido O leos,aceite, C rema de peinar) el orden depende de cada persona y como se siente mejor, a mi LOC no me funciona pero al inicio de la jornada si me ayudo bastante es cosa de ir conociendo el cabello de poco a poco. Lo importante acondicionar, bien y frecuente.
  3. Desenredar: Usar acondicionador para desenredar el cabello antes de lavarlo (mojar un poco poner el acondicionador mezclado con algún aceite, el de Oliva es bastante bueno, no usar más de 1 vez por semana y desenredar para luego lavar; así protegemos el cabello de ruptura).
    Usar los dedos preferiblemente (toma tiempo).
    Si no hay tiempo peine de dientes anchos de buena calidad. Yo utilizo un Tangle Teezer pero cualquier peine suave flexible y manejado con cuidado puede funcionar
    Empezar de la punta a la raíz.
  4. Corte de puntas:
    1-2 pulgadas cada 6-8 semanas hacerlo de forma regular y si aparecen muchas puntas quebradas cortar tan pronto sea necesario. Esto es si optas por hacer la transición como yo lo hice, otros se hacen el big chop y listo!…bueno tiene su ciencia pero yo no pasé por el big chop, solo he leido la experiencia de otros.
  5.  No usar calor:
    Secar al natural siempre para no maltratar el cabello de por sí frágil (muchos recomiendan evitarlo los primeros 1-2 años, en realidad depende de la salud de tu cabello).
  6. Peinados sin calor:
    trenzas
    twist outs, Bantu Knots
    rollos, rulos, rollers magnéticos o de foam cubiertos en satén
    Esto permite mezclar las dos texturas y que se vea más bonito el look.
  7. Peinados protectores:
    Cornrows
    Buns
    trenzas
    pelucas
  8. Educación:
    Me recomendaron un libro que al parecer facilita el periodo de transición y al empezar a leerlo realmente inicia muy bien. Explica un poco de la base científica de nuestro cabello.
    “The science of Black hair” si leen inglés tal vez sea buena inversión. Lo pueden encontrar en Amazon.com
  9. Ser Feliz contigo misma, aceptarte como eres y no tener pensamientos negativos hacia tu cabello, ni hacia ti misma.
  10. Compartir en comunidad y no desesperarse para cumplir nuestro objetivo de vivir una vida libre del Alisado, si así lo deseamos o de decidir seguir con alisado si pensamos que nos conviene más.
  11. Tomarse Selfies: Ok, Ok no es vanidad…la idea de las selfies es solo para que puedas seguir tu propio progreso, no tienes por que publicarlas si no quieres yo hasta ahora es que publico los cambios para motivar y aunque mi cabello no esta de propaganda igual lo quiero tal cual es y no me da vergüenza compartirlo y si ayuda a alguien mas a decidirse por aceptar el cabello rizado sobretodo a las chicas mas jovenes tanto mas mejor.

2016 vs 2017

Mi cabello me gustó desde que me corte todas las puntas con keratina pero la verdad si comparo las fotos tenía mucho maltrato por calor. Yo pensé que nunca dejaría la plancha pero la dejé y mis rizos cooperaron. Si yo pude, tú también puedes!

Animo la dedicación a aceptar nuestro cabello como es paga 🙂

Actualizado Septiembre 2017

The Hair Lab: Se habla Español

imageBienvenidos a The Hair Lab:

Este es un espacio para compartir tips de cuidados para cabello en transición de alaciados químicos a naturalmente rizado. Sigo consejos de bloggers y peluqueros que admiro y además le doy un twist científico buscando las evidencias en “journals” médicos que apoyan esos tips o los contradicen, según sea el caso.

Aquí experimentamos, cuestionamos y sobretodo nos divertimos aprendiendo cómo amar nuestro cabello en todas sus formas. En Panamá es muy común utilizar el cabello alisado químicamente por muchos medios y esta página quiero compartir mi re-descubierto amor por los rizos 100% naturales.

En general me es más fácil escribir en inglés, debe ser porque desde que tengo memoria trabajo en inglés; pero haré mi mejor esfuerzo por escribir también es español. Todas las sugerencias sobre temas para compartir son bienvenidas.

Esto para mí es también un experimento porque es mi primer blog e igualmente sigo aprendiendo algo nuevo de mi cabello básicamente todos los días y es simplemente fascinante.

Sobre qué tema te gustaría que escriba en Castellano? Da una vuelta por el blog y ayúdame a escoger qué tema traducir para tí.

Go Team Natural!

Dr.L