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.

 

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.

Curl Café Buena Gente: Community work

I love coffee, I love hair & I love community work. 

Last summer I tried a little social media experiment: Bring people together with similar interests that also happen to have curly hair via instagram! 

The experiment worked and here is what we did together. 

We first found a common cause that was close to our hearts, most of us did not know each other before the curl café and after that have remained friends and kept sharing our curl tips. Even though it was about drinking coffee, tea, and having curl conversation in the end what really brought us together was wanting to help others even in a small way. 

In total 9 people got together to donate and most went to the coffee shop and a few others due to schedulling issues sent their cash donations via wire transfer in order to purchase the goods for the elderly care home. We even got a spontaneous donation by the coffee shop that hosted us. 

When you have good intentions things do work out! 

The care home sent a list of needs! Here they are plus a card

The curl café team!

Don Vicente Coffee

Hogar Bolivar care home

As I reflect upon 2016 and my complicated relationship with Panama, I realize that my happiest moments there have always been related to volunteer & community work. This community spirit was somehow instilled in me by both my parents, no matter how busy all of us were there was always time to cook for someone or make a special donation or host a free origami workshop, something. 

My volunteering goal for 2017: is find an animal shelter were to work on my free time. Do you have a volunteering goal? Share it with me in the comments! Want to get started? I can help, just let me know. 

Have a happy life! 

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<<<<<<<

Cabello ondulado, cabello fino, cabello crespo. Parte #1 ¿Qué Onda?

Hace mucho que no escribo en español, pero lo extrañaba y me sentí experimental; así que les comparto este post Fusión.

Para Empezar algunas definiciones para hablar el mismo idioma de cabello y aclaro son un poco prácticas y no tanto “de libro”.

¿Qué es el cabello ondulado?
Un punto intermedio entre cabello rizado y cabello lacio.

Es posible estilizarlo con calor para lograr un lacio marcado rápidamente. Incluye los Patrones de rizo 2A, 2B y 2C (ya saben que esa clasificacion no me gusta pero bueno). Puede ser de baja o alta porosidad.Grueso, fino o mixto.Puede ser Corto o largo.

¿Que es el cabello fino?

Pues para fines practicos es un cabello propenso a la ruptura capilar, muy delicado y puede ser ondulado, rizado o crespo. Debe ser manejado con extremo cuidado y exponerse en la menor medida posible a quimicos fuertes como el vinagre de manzana, el bicarbonato de sodio, los shampoo 2 en 1. No se deben utilizar aceites pesados como el de coco o castor y las mantecas deben ser evitadas. El mejor aceite para este cabello: argan. Jojoba, aguacate y macadamia tambien son recomendables.

¿Que es el cabello crespo?

Es el cabello mas delicado de todos e incluye los patrones de rizo 4a-4c. Tiene tendencia a la resequedad y ruptura capilar, no debe ser expuesto al calor en la medida de lo posible y durante la transición es absolutamente necesario evitar el calor.

El cabello Crespo o Kinky-Coily es un cabello que durante la transición  es “alérgico a la plancha” por lo delicado que es, sin embargo es uno de los mas hermosos en su estado no estirado Natural.

Hoy me dedico al cabello ondulado pero muchos de estos tips también aplican para cabello fino y crespo, de allí esta agrupación tan poco usual.

Tips de cuidado de cabello ondulado

1. Secado con blower a temperaturas bajas: en este punto hay mucha controversia, pero parece tener sentido hacer esto porque al secar al aire puede tender al frizz con más facilidad que los otros patrones de rizo.

✨Siempre usar difusor si se le tiene temor al frizz.

✨secado invertido con el cabello hacia el suelo

✨Secar completamente.

Mi opinión: si no desean usar calor también pueden intentar envolver el cabello en una toalla de microfibra hasta que esté casi seco y ver si les funciona.

2. Decidir el estilo: liso con blower y plancha(o rollos y tubi tubi) o definición de rizo con blower y difusor y enfocarse en un look.

✨Liso: Hidratar bien y usar pretratamiento, protector de calor obligatorio y si el cabello es fino mejor evitarlo.

3. Usar un solo producto para peinar:

🔸Deber ser Ligero: No cremas o butters pesados ni  leave in conditioner en crema, a menos que se desee poca  definición aka beach waves.

🔸Mousse: uno que me gusta mucho es el de marca Aussie

🔸Leave in conditioner: preferible en spray para alta definición.

🔸Se puede usar un fijador hair spray suave para finalizar

4. Cuidados habituales de cabello rizado

✨Secar con tshirt o toalla de microfibra

✨Desenredar correctamente.

5. Dormir sobre seda o satin.

Hay de todo en el mundo del cabello, y lo mas importante es ser feliz sintiendose comodo con uno mismo.

Tschuss

Dr. L

A product Junkie Rehab: The Cantu case

Hello Again Curl Friends. I had the idea of write this a detective story but I utterly failed so it will be factual.

Lately the Hair Lab is conducting financial planning experiments, aka trying to control the full blown Product Junkie in order to not go bankrupt.

Today I will share with you: The Cantu Case.

This is the 1st brand all curlies want, because everyone loves it. I only heard of it 3 years after the beggining of my journey. So I imported from the US and spent a lot of money on a relatively cheap product.  I had it imported because I thought it was hard to find it here in Germany so imagine how disappointing it  was when it did not work for me as a Leave-in for wash and go (my basic style) so I left it on the “products I hate” shelf, but somehow it felt wrong since this is top on curly girl product love, also the smell is just too pungent for me. 

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The Hair Lab: Twist out with Cantu

I still wanted to love it so I tried it again as a styling cream for a wash and go and my hair looked amazing for 1 day, then used it again for a wash and go, it was not good at all and I just gave up for about 3 weeks.

I started using it as an overnight prewash detangler and it worked wonders in making my wash days faster because of how detangled and soft my hair was the next morning.

A few months ago I was finally able to get good results with Cantu Shea Butter Leave in Conditioning Cream for my wash and go.

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The Hair Lab: Wash & Go Preliminary Result

Things I did different:

  1. I Used less product.
  2. Applied only in the sections of my hair that do not curl well and finger coiled (this product is great for finger coiling because of the slip and quick definition it gives)
  3. Tried my best to overlook the smell lol.
  4. Used it as a stand alone product, I did not used the LOC method.
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Finger curling only the upper layer of the hair

After it was 80% dry I lifted with a wide tooth comb and an afro pik and shook my head a LOT

My latest test included using 2 cantu products as follows:

  1. Conditioning cowash
  2. Cantu beauty leave in conditioning CREAM: the cream part is important to note as cream my low porosity high density, fine-medium very curly afro hair can not stand it, it is too heavy. Instead I used it as a very rich rinse out conditioner using the squish and condish method, this also deals with the scent issue.
  3. I oiled the hair with a coconut oi blend from the body shop
  4. I used Jane carte solution revitalizing conditioner as the only leave in product to heat protect.
  5. I used the diffuser in medium heat low speed and was ready in 15 minutes.

It def is not a holy grail product for me but I feel better knowing that I can get good results with it. Not all curlies are created equal and what one person might love the other might think meh. Still I enjoyed playing around maybe next time I can use it as Leave in again just to see what happens.  

 

 

 

 

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

 

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.

 

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The Hair Lab: Week 4 Silicone Free Challenge

I want to love this product, but can’t!

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This is probably the first “for natural hair” product I have purchased and so far I am not loving it.

The first time I tried it I used it to replace my usual leave in conditioner one that so far I have not seen in the raving reviews honor roll, but that for me works wonders. I purchased this cantu product because is a super beloved brand. My hair felt heavy and oily even somewhat gluelike, I thought maybe it was a bad mix and left it at that.

The Second time did a twist out and the result was great, although it took forever to dry and I thought maybe it was because of my low porosity hair; since the definition and hold was great I started liking the product.

Now I have finally run out of my macadamia oil leave in conditioner, I used it again as wash and go (my staple style, twists are nice and I cant braid for the life of me plus I have no patience). The results where less than flattering, it dried very slowly, its a sticky, oily, frizzy, undefined, tangled mess on day one, will have to wash again tomorrow. The  smell is also fatty and “humid like” hard to describe but not very pleasant, so far the worst smelling product I own. I did not mix it with other products.

Anyone else had similar stories with this or other popular natural hair products? Any tips on how to use this particular cream?