Winter Scalp Care

Have you ever experienced itchiness, flaking during winter time?

The answer is probably yes, at least for me it is specially now that I wear my hair naturally curly and pay attention to it!

The reason why this happens is a generally a dry scalp, it could also be due to dandruff but then it would not be a seasonal thing…but we will get to that later.

The scalp is part of our skin complex so the same way the rest of our body is exposed to lower external temperatures, dry heating indoors and overall winter abuse (so much drama XD) our scalp also suffers, but there is hope. I will share with you a few tips that help me keep my scalp happy, my hair growing and my winters carefree.

  1. Keep your scalp clean: It is true that shampoo has a drying effect in our scalp but don’t rule it out completely in this season because we don’t want to end up in a situation where we create so much build up that end up getting dandruff making matters worse.
  • 2. Cleanse your scalp correctly: This point varies from person to person but a few general guidelines can be followed:

    Avoid harsh shampoos for example 2-1 shampoos tend to contain more than one deep cleanser, the same is true for shampoos for oily hair.

      Do not let go too long in between (shampoo) washes, this is the season to cowash midweek or once a week depending on your previous schedule to replenish moisture and remove debris from your scalp at the same time.

        Use warm water to cleanse, avoid hot water as it will only help dry out the scalp even more.

        • 3. Scalp Massages: Consider including oils in your routine even if you normally avoid them, nightly oil scalp massages can go a long way in keeping your scalp healthy and itch free during winter. A few good options are castor oil, black castor oil and jojoba oil.
        • 4. Use scarfs and hats to protect not only your scalp but your hair from the harsh weather.
        • 5. Exfoliate your scalp: You can make a basic sugar scrub with olive oil, jojoba oil, or coconut oil or get commercial scrubs as well.
        • 6. Stay hydrated: Even if we don’t sweat as much in winter as we do in summer the insensible losses from our skin, breathing, etc. puts us at risk of being dehydrated; so make sure to drink plenty of fluids!
        • In case of dandruff all of the above also applies, but make sure to not skip on your regular antidandruff shampoo and if the dandruff worsens or scabs and skin lesions appear on your scalp make sure to visit your physician to figure out the issue.
        • Cheers and Happy Holiday Season
        • Dr. L.

        ¿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

        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.

        What_Is_Argan_Oil

        My favourite Special ingredient: Argan oil  Source: pinterest

         

        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