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 🙂

 

Should I fear Parabens?

The quick answer: no

For the long answer: I quote the American Cancer Society and the summary is no too.

“Parabens are chemicals used as preservatives and as food additives. They can be found in many types of make-up (like lipstick, mascara, concealer, and foundation) and skin care products (like lotion, shaving products, and sunscreen). Parabens can be absorbed through the skin.

Intake of parabens is a possible concern because studies have shown that parabens have weak estrogen-like properties. Estrogen is a female hormone known to cause breast cells (both normal and cancerous) to grow and divide…

In 2004, a small study found traces of parabens in some samples of breast cancer tumors…there are some points about the study findings:

They looked only for the presence of parabens in breast cancer samples, it did not show that parabens caused or contributed to breast cancer development in these cases – it only showed that they were there. What this meant is not yet clear.

…parabens have weak estrogen-like properties, the estrogens that are made in the body are many times stronger…natural estrogens (or hormone replacement) are much more likely to play a role in breast cancer development.

This study did not contain any information to help find the source of the parabens found in the breast tissue – it’s not clear if they might have come from antiperspirants or from some other source.

Most people are exposed to parabens…studies have found some form of parabens in the urine in up to 99% of people in the US…so far, studies have not shown any direct link between parabens and any health problems, including breast cancer…many other compounds in the environment that mimic naturally produced estrogen”

A few Myths & Facts about Parabens

Myth: Parabens cause cancer.

Fact: Parabens have been extensively studied to address this claim and have been deemed safe.

Myth: Parabens are harmful to skin & hair.

Fact: Some people are allergic to parabens & fragances in cosmetics therefore those who are sensitive will have a negative reaction and should avoid them. It is important to visit your doctor if you have any skin concerns, a physician is the most qualified person to help you with your skin concerns.

Myth: Parabens are bad for the environment or “nasty” beauty.

Fact: In a study published in 2015 parabens were found in Marine life, but there seemed to be no negative effects on the study subjects. The significance of this finding is yet to be determined, and probably more studies will be conducted in the future. As of today no environmental damage can be attributed to parabens, partly because what is known about this compound is that it degrades quite fast so it does not seem to accumulate.

What is the use of parabens, anyways?

Parabens are preservatives and preservatives are important to keep our personal care products free of contamination by bacterias or other harmful agents and extend their shelf life, they are not active ingredients but more of an agent necessary to maintain the integrity of a product from it’s manufacturing process until the moment it reaches the consumer and while it is being used by said consumer, basically all of us.

Preservatives are not a bad thing, fear mongering is.

Let me know if you have any questions and if you would like to see more posts like this one in the comments section or find me on IG: The Hair Lab

Summer Holiday Haircare tips

  1. Always wear a sunscreen for your hair & skin.
  2. Always saturate the hair before swimming.
  3. Head scarfs & Hats are a must, they protect the hair from the aggression of the environment and look super cute.
  4. Do not be afraid of silicones, they do help protect your hair just make sure to remove them well after the holiday is over.
  5. Co-wash if you intend to use the pool or swim at the beach for several days in a row.
  6. Keep at hand a spray bottle with either water only or water mixed with your fave conditioner.
  7. Take a travel kit with a few curl essentials either repack in small travel bottles your holy grails or buy one with a full set of products. I will try to review my favorite travel kit on a future blog post.

There are many ways to saturate the hair before swimming

1. Water only: this is particularly useful when using public pools where conditioner might not be allowed and/or as a courtesy to fellow swimmers.
2. Apply deep conditioner before swimming or any kind of conditioner for that matter just let it get absorbed into the hair and coat it very well. I like Aussie hair 3 minute reconstructor because it’s a good one for on the go.
3. Seal with oil before swimming so that way you reduce the amount of external agents that can enter the hair shaft, you can saturate with water 1st and then seal or just seal with oil if you like (I don’t do this as I use products with silicones that have a similar function but I think it is not a bad idea)

After Sun Hair Care

Apply a good conditioner right after swimming even if you don’t wash or co-wash your hair right after your swim, this step will prevent your hair from drying out more until the time that you do so and at the beach it would give you a very nice “summery look” and maintaining hydration while you enjoy the sunny days by the pool or at the beach.

Once back home

Clarify with a deep cleansing shampoo. I like kinky curly come clean and if this step is not enough you can also use clay masks such as bentonite clay to remove any traces of product and keep your scalp clean and free from build up.
Deep condition as soon as you get back home, and more frequently, 2 times a week would be ideal; your curls will thank you for that.
Consider doing a protein treatment if your curls are still feeling off balance after deeply cleansing & frequent deep conditioning.

It seems like a lot to do but you can pick & choose how to protect your hair, this is just a collection of things I have found useful and I hope they can help you too.

Big big big hair Curly Hair Routine

About the wash

Prepoo/Detangle with a conditioner with good slip, I used L’oreal Botanicals Fresh Care Camelina.
Massage scalp with a shampoo brush.
Alfa Parf Volumizing shampoo, focusing on the roots and avoiding piling up the hair on top of the head.
Alfa Parf Volumizing conditioner for about 3 minutes
Then applied more conditioner while still in the shower, using the squish to condish method, in which you take soaking wet hair and scrunch in conditioner without rinsing it out so it works like a leave in conditioner, you should hear a squish-squish squishy sound. The idea behind this is that the water provides the hydration pulling the conditioner along with it into the hair fibres.

Styling wet in the shower

Without removing the excess water I applied all my styling products with my head flipped upside down.
First use a primer like condition & sculpt from Jane Carter Solution, which helps to set your curls but without weighing them down; something very important when going for really big hair.
Then I applied a small amount of Jane Carter solution curl defining cream specially in the lower layers and scrunched very well with my hands.
This seems a bit complicated but honestly it was quite fast, the whole process took no longer than 15 minutes.

Drying

I carefully scrunched some more with a soft tshirt, this removes excess product and water, you can also use a microfiber towel; just make sure it is a soft fabric as this step can encourage too much frizz, this big hair routine takes advantage of frizz but it also needs some curl definition to work, at least for me.

I set my curls using a hair dryer with a Remington diffuser attachment but any conventional one should work to be honest.

Start with low heat alternating with cool shot, then you can either use a devafuser attachment to lift the roots using cool mode or skip this step and continue using your conventional attachment at medium heat alternating with cool, dry until about 60% dry without any attachment only medium heat.

Tips & tricks

At about 60% dry I like to spray a volumizing mist like Shea Moisture yucca & baobab Volumizing Moisture Mist for fine thin hair focusing on the roots, I find that if I use a Volumizing mist, I can really give that extra hold to my hair strands so they go up and stay up.

I continue drying the roots using my deva fuser attachment low speed/low heat until 90% dry and then finish off by removing all diffusers and drying at medium heat/low speed and a final with a cool blast all over.

About the Volume

Once the hair is 100% dry you can use a hair pik to increase the volume of the top layer, you can encourage frizz if you do it vigorously (this is how I do it) or preserve the curls if you go more delicately, just make sure it is 100% dry or you wont be able to control the desired texture.

I also use my fingers to fluff some more. I used a pea size amount of nourish & shine to not frizz to much while fluffing, but any lightweight oil or butter is fine.

My hair type

I have high density, fine-medium thickness, low porosity hair and it is quite frizz prone so this routine also allows to take advantage of the frizz for a lot of volume while still retaining some curl definition.

The haircut

FYI: I have a layered cut with short layers on top to be able to create a voluminous final result and long layers in the back.

….And that’s it big hair for short-medium length hair in less than an hour!
If you have any questions or comments please let me know, I’d like to hear from you. I preferred to take a video so you could see the texture but for more pictures & routines feel free to visit my IG: The Hair Lab PS. I did not manage to take many pictures that day so I included a texture snapchat vid…and the only selfie I could find. I will write another post using the same routine with different products where I did take a proper selfie 🙂 let me know what you think of this routine!

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.

Are you a Product Junkie?

 

Winter Holy Grail

11 Useful Tips for the Curly Girl Product Junkie

  1. Set up a monthly budget for haircare products according to your income and stick to it. Once I noticed I was spending too much money in products I found this to be the most useful intervention. My monthly budget is 100 Euros per month, if there is a particular product or hair tool that is more expensive than that then I wait until the beggining of the next month to make the purchase. Set a stablished amount and stick to it.
  2. Don’t impulsive buy when you visit the drugstore. Some products might be on sale or very cheap, but it is better to read about it first. Buy according to your hair needs, know your curls, for instance you might be protein sensitive and see a great protein treatment is on sale, but it is not the right product for you so it will only sit on your shelf.
  3. Trade products that did not work for you with friends and family, you both might benefit from the deal.
  4. Keep a list of your stock of products and buy first the type of product that is running out. I keep a shelf for styling and finishing products for example so that I can see if the balance is tilting more towards oils (my guilty pleasure) or leave in conditioner (my favorite product) while I am running low on curl definers or stylers before purchasing a new oil I check if there is not another product that I actually need.
  5. Don’t be too hard on yourself, if all of the above failed do your very best to keep your hard earned coin together while not feeling guilty about a few moments of product junkism weakness, revisit your goals and strategy and repeat.
  6. Donate barely used products to charity and quantify how much money it is you are giving and consider a fund for donations instead of excessive shelf products.
  7. Shop online in a store with a rewards program or on a beauty supplier and ask for free samples of products you might want to try in the future or join a products subscription box service and keep within budget while still trying new things!
  8. Be alert for the sales of your holy grails and stock up and then adjust the subsequent months budget.
  9. Review your product cabinet when the seasons change, it might be some products that did not work in summer work for winter and viceversa. Try them in a different season and if it is a no no then kiss them goodbye.
  10. If all else fails reset and go back to your holy grails until you find a way to sort out your product junkie cabinet( at least that is what I am doing just now, getting rid of all my products in order to return to a few holy grails that were just perfect for my hair & skin)
  11. Have fun!

When I started his blog in April I was not a product junkie, now I can confidently say I am a product junkie and I need to go back to keeping it simple as a new hair goal. I will try to use all the products I have or try and trade them although I have no fellow curlys in my vecinity for now.

Cheers!

Devacurl One Condition Decadence Results


Dr. L

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I wish my shelf was as tidy XD

¿Shampoó Cowash?

Esa es la gran pregunta cuando iniciamos la jornada de cabello natural, a simple vista el consenso es no use shampoo, pero un cuero cabelludo limpio y sano es la base de un cabello saludable, entonces que hacemos? Pues, aprender a usar bien nuestros productos y decidir qué nos funciona y que no por experiencia propia; eso sí, con buena información de base. El shampoo contiene agentes llamados surfactantes para cumplir con su funcion de limpieza y esta es la razon principal por la cual el cabello se reseca. La técnica correcta es  aplicar una pequeña cantidad, masajear el cuero cabelludo y no poner todo el cabello en la coronilla sino lavarlo ordenadamente solo con la espuma que va cayendo del cuero cabelludo que es lo que realmente necesitamos limpiar.

Cowash es lavarse el cabello con un acondicionador o un producto conditioning cleanser o no poo, hay muchos nombres y marcas pero lo importante es tambien utilizarlo bien si escogemos cowash debemos primero haber lavado muy bien con shampoo en el wash day anterior y partir de un cuero cabelludo limpio para ver si esto nos funciona. Es absolutamente necesario no utilizar siliconas porque los “cowash” contienen surfactantes muy debiles es decir son limpiadores suaves y no son capaces de remover todo el sebo, los productos acumulados y la contaminacion ambiental del cabello. La forma correcta usar cowash es mojar muy bien el cabello aplicar abundante cantidad y masajearlo en el cuero cabelludo distribuyendolo bien en todo el cabello, dejalo puesto varios minuto enjuaga muy bien y listo.

El Cowash es muy popular entre las naturalistas y vale la pena hacer la prueba si tu cabello tiende a estar muy reseco, entre más rizado el cabello mas tiende a ser seco.

“El cabello rizado siempre estará seco” y “usa mucho producto” son dos frases que todo peluquero experto me ha dicho y doy fe de que es totalmente cierto e incluso hay una explicación para ello, pero como este post es para las que han hecho big chop o transición reciente lo dejaré para otro escrito.

Un poco de la ciencia de todo esto y ¿Que son los surfactantes?

Los surfactantes son agentes limpiadores comerciales presentes en todo tipo de producto de limpieza desde jabones de barra hasta shampoo de linea profesional.

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Tipos de Surfactante

Hay 5 tipos de surfactantes (limpiadores o acondicionadores)

Anionico: Aporta limpieza profunda, puede resecar el cabello.

Cationico: Suaviza el cabello, casi no tiene habilidad limpiadora.

No Ionico: Limpieza más suave posible y acondicionador.

Amfoterico: Limpieza Suave, no irritante para los ojos, aporta hidratación al cabello, muy versatiles y suavizan el cabello.

Surfactante Natural: limpia muy poco, excelente espuma.

Existe la percepción de que los sulfatos son malos, pero de hecho son útiles y económicos agentes  para remover el detritus que se acumula en el cuero cabelludo; usados con buena técnica y moderación son excelentes aliados en el cuidado del cabello natural, sobretodo si tendemos a usar geles, aceites o mantecas muy pesadas.

Muchos shampoos con sulfato no resecan tanto porque también contienen acondicionadores que suavizan su efecto. Los productos con bases tales como el sodium y ammonium laureth sulfate y el sodium y ammonium lauryl sulfate son los mas baratos en su produccion por lo tanto no deben ser costosos para el consumidor final, si un producto tiene estos limpiadores de base debe ser barato.

Espero que esto te sirva para aclarar dudas y hacer mas fácil tu proxima compra de shampoo o acondicionador para cuidar tus rizos.

Más adelante te compartiré más información, para ir conociendo poco a poco lo que nuestro cabello necesita, como lo necesita y así recuperar tus rizos, ondas, rulos, crespos o tirabuzones.

Metodo LOC: Leave in conditioner, aceite y crema de peinar.

Mi opinion: Rara vez hago cowash porque tengo mejores resultados con el shampoo, utilizo todo tipo de shampoo pero prefiero los que tienen coco-sulfato, olein-sulfonatos y sulfosuccinatos porque limpian profundamente sin resecar mucho y lo hago 1 o 2 veces por semana. Solo hago cowash cuando no tengo mucho tiempo disponible. Es importante usar shampoo de la forma correcta o sea siempre prepoo y acondicionador profundo o al menos un acondicionador con aclarado dejado puesto 5 minutos.

Cuentáme qué más te gustaria aprender en este laboratorio del cabello! Comenta o escribeme 

The Hair Lab MD

The Hair Lab Scientific Method

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Photo credit: Science Buddies

The Scientific Method is so far the best tool we have in science to distinguish fact from speculation and while we don’t all own complex equipment at home to create experimental conditions for our Hair analysis, we do have the most important thing of the scientific method.

That is…OBSERVATION: This is the first & most crucial step, to care properly for our hair we first need to know everything there is to know about it and for that we should observe carefully. Is it dense, does it have a tendency to shed, do I have dandruff? There are so many things we can learn just from observing our hair and how it reacts to the products we apply to it. Observation is key to love and manage our curly hair as we should.

After that first step the “fun” begins…

ASK Interesting QUESTIONS: All questions are interesting when it comes to self discovery and “transitioning” or “big chopping” or curly hair haircare. You will learn (if you don’t already know) that the natural hair journey has a lot about self discovery in it. It’s amazing the surprises our changing hair holds in store for us. Enjoy the ride!

RESEARCH & HYPOTHESIS: OK, this one is tricky but let’s try it out together.  Once you have specific questions about your hair, pick the most important one for you and look for background information from reliable sources it can be a hairdresser, a friend you trust, even a medical doctor and of course serious websites like for example Naturally Curly and well Google Scholar. Once you have your information try to predict what results you could get, thus formulating your hair hypothesis.

EXPERIMENT: Here we must be careful, because it’s our beloved hair we are talking about; but with the power of knowledge you can feel confident in testing and trying different things and actually find out that it is a lot of fun! At least for me it is fun 😃. Usually the first experiment would be something simple like replacing your current products in the hypothetical situation, that for instance, your hair is dry for more moisturizing ones. As confidence & knowledge grows so does your hability to experiment more freely, based on observations, good questions and background research.

ANALYSIS & CONCLUSION: This is basically when you decide whether or not your hair experiment was successful for you or not. One thing that can make your journey easier is writing things down, step by step and revisiting these steps regularly and make small or big changes depending on your results.

This is basically how I personally started approaching my natural hair journey, like an experiment.  I have previous experience as a reseacher in the lab and in the hospital, but you do not need to have this background in order to enjoy your hair journey back to your curly true self.

My fun experiment is still ongoing; and now I also blog, run hair Instagram & facebook accounts, participate in collaborations with other bloggers and so on. Just now,  sharing all this with you is another type of experiment for me, that has given me a lot of joy in the form of lots of new curl friends from all over the world.

I hope I will be able to inspire you to make a change too.

If you have questions feel free to ask, all questions are good questions just remember to always “say something nice”.

PS. Just know that even in science we are not limited by our hypothesis or our research questions, sometimes you have one question and find an answer to another question you did know you had. In terms of hair my very personal view point is that “if something works do not change it just because the hype is leaning in another direction”, with your hair you are the CEO, the big boss, you ultimately have the final hair say.

Cheers!

The Hair Lab MD<<<<<<<

Special ingredients! What are they? Should you care?

“New hydrating ultra moisture honey, olive, coconut, argan Madness Shampoo and Conditioner”

Gosh I would love to try a product made out of those 4 ingredients exclusively, if you know about it please let me know.

Shampoos and conditioners have all sorts of chemical components (yes, all natural brands are also created using chemistry) that make or break a product, but what really matters is the base ingredients, how they mix together, the molecule size, how big or small an ingredient is can determine how it will be absorbed in the scalp and hair shaft and off course the pH, a pH balanced shampoo is so much better for the hair than a natural alkaline “cleansing agent”.

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Source: Google Scholar

Special ingredients are what each cosmetic product has as a unique individual characteristic, and also a powerful marketing tool.  They can improve the quality of the product to another level; but they can also increase the price either because they are rare ingredients, they are costly to produce or because it is a hype and it sells well.

How to invest wisely? How to know the difference, quality vs hype? The simple answer is with science.

The base of every product is more or less the same, so once you have found a mix of base ingredients that work for you usually ( for simplicity lets say the first 5 ingredients) you can look for add on special ingredients.

Lets try it with shampoo, because we have this great info-graphic available. If we have a good base of detergent, conditioners, sequestering agents and thickeners we are highly likely to get good results regardless of it having or not the most precious golden oil from a beautiful country, off course if its a good product and has the special additive it will be an even better product.

A good add on special ingredient, with a good base will certainly increase the quality of the product, and is worth the price tag; but a good add on with a bad base means money wasted in developing the product and by the final consumer.

A good base for curly hair in terms of shampoo has only 1 detergent if you see 2 types of deep cleaning agents in a “moisturising shampoo” do not buy it, it will dry the hair out and eventually will make you believe that all shampoo is bad for curly hair when the problem was a bad mix.  Always use pH balanced shampoos, any shampoo with a pH above 5,5 will highly likely irritate and dry out the scalp. I am aware we can not check the pH of products on the hair care aisle but some state it in the label and we have no choice but to believe.

Special ingredients should be high on the list if the product claims to be made exclusively or mainly out of that ingredient, but if the product only states that it contains the ingredient and you like the first ingredients lets say 5-10 and then see a special additive you would like to try that is also fine.

The idea is to shop wisely and to not fall for misconceptions or marketing tactics either in favour or against certain products.

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My favourite Special ingredient: Argan oil  Source: pinterest

 

I feel no shame and neither should you!       And a letter to my Mother

The Hair Lab Doctor

I thought very hard about writing this post, because it is very personal and also because it is not politically correct and adresses the sensitive topic of race.

It seems like nowadays we live in a culture of shame and today I will adress the shame of having “pelo malo” in Panama that is the phrase people in my country, use when referring to afro hair, which translates to bad hair.

I think it is just a form of casual racism and blackness denial that shames panamanians, even if they have light skin with mildly wavy hair, into frying their hair with flat irons and altering its natural curl pattern permanently with Relaxers and keratin treatments.

Today I feel no shame and never will again about who I am and how my hair looks, my multicultural heritage and my life choices, I used to be ashamed of my hair like a lot of women and girls with afro hair (without being aware of it) but today I say NO MORE.

When I was little I saw the most glorious set of hair on a beauty peagant and it was curly & big like mine is today thanks to the love and tips of many wonderful beautybloggers and vloggers. Back then mine was brittle and it hurt to detangle. My mom did not know how to do my hair because, I Got my curly fro from my dad so that was new territory for my beautiful, adorable & sweet mother. The information was not out there for moms of mixed babies. She loved my curls but I did not, until now.

My beloved mother had thin, fine, high density,wavy hair due to her caucasian, asian, and native american heritage. My mom loved everything black, she loved my hair so much and thought it was beautiful. I wish she could be here to be silly about it with me,she was so funny, but I know she is still watching over me. The point is we are not just a skin color or a hairtype, we are people and people of the same country and culture who should be united not divided by old hatreds and long standing privileges.


As much as my mom and my dad loved everything black the country in which I grew up, I feel, lives in black denial. The gold standard of beauty over there is caucasian and only 6% is in fact caucasian. Panama is a mix race country but somehow there is shame in embracing the part of our nation that came from Africa. I call that The denial of the Black Panama.

Back to the beauty queen with amazing curls? Well it turns out that with deep conditioner, finger curling,air diffusing and good hair care, today I get to see how my hair really is like I and that is the true model of the beauty peagant for me. Off course my hair is shorter and we look nothing alike. I am that beauty queen because I have the courage to walk out there and be as myself as I can possibly be with No apologies and so are you.

The irony of all of this, is that I now know I had the curls I coveted for so long secretly hidden under my flat ironed hair all along, if only the information to care for my hair had been available when I was a child.

I am not ashamed to write a personal story, I am not ashamed of remembering my mom as sweet as she was. She beat cancer even if she died, because every single day after her surgery she went out and did something amazing for others.

Dear mom today I realized I can be the beautyqueen I had always wanted to be and that you already knew I was. Sorry for not being there to save you. I was always away seeing the world and now your piece of the world is forever lost but not forgotten, never forgotten, your legacies stay behind, and I will work hard to move forward and keep changing the world through Education and science.

Dear Mother you were always silent about your accomplishments while others bragged loudly. I will tell the world how amazing you were. Love you my ever so gracious mother.

See you when the stars fall again.

With Love Your Daughter

My mom and my auntie, always doing good deeds