The Mystery of the curls

Some hair facts and why I think Curly hair specially afro hair needs more research.

Our hair strands are composed as follows:

Cuticle (outer layer)

Cortex

Medulla (innermost)

Source: Google

Let’s talk about the cuticle!

The cuticle is a chemically resistant region and consists of a flap of overlapping scales (keratinocytes) that look pretty much like shingles on the roof.

The shape and orientation of the cuticle cells are responsible for the differential friction effect in the hair,which translate on how likely the hair strands are to break, when in contact woth other surfaces for example brushes or other hair strands.

The cuticle is generally 6–8 scales thick for Asian hair, slightly less in Caucasian hair and even less in African hair. I was unable to find info on multicultural hair, but we can guess a wide spectrum.

A thinner cuticle layer makes African hair more prone to breakage, another feature unique to African hair are the multiple torsion points (because coils and kinks are smaller in size) that can result in breakage due to even simple Manipulation.

Cuticle, breakage and African hair

The apparent slower speed of growth is a source of frustration for people with African hair but the data is insufficient as to why this happens, a plausible explanation for this could be breakage; because traditionally African hair has been exposed to damaging agents such as relaxers, and physical aggressions such as tight braiding.

Even though the raw data is insufficient, in the clinical practice alopecia due to traction and chemical relaxers (lye or no lye), capillary botox, and Brazilian blowouts is common among individuals with African Hair because this hair is the most delicate of the spectrum. The cuticle protects the medulla of the hair and all these procedures require chemical bonds to break to reach the cortex and if not performed with the utmost care they can even affect the medulla which results in breakage and irreversible damage.

There is still so much to learn about curly hair and I do hope that the interest in embracing naturally curly hair provides us with a deeper understanding of our long overlooked locks from a science point of view. In the meantime I will continue to follow the development of my own multicultural hair following the one tool of the scientific method we all have available: Observation and I encourage you to do the same!

Final comments on Hair science

I started transitioning following mostly what I knew from medicine about hair and to be honest healthy hair is often overlooked. Things are changing and some information can be found in academic journals & dermatology books but mostly about scalp health. Healthy hair information is out there too, just not for people with curly hair since most studies are done on straight hair . We need information for everyone and not just a part of the population. That being said I feel things are looking good and I am very optimistic about the future of the curly hair community.

From brushed out hair for volume in June 2016 to an actual curly fro in August 2017, I think this year in hair has been OK

Draft from July 2016 (Updated September 2017)

PS. This is the last day of my one week daily blogging challenge. Let me know what you think in the comments section! Would you try a challenge like that? I found it difficult, but rewarding because I was able to complete it, despite having so many other things to do. The best tool for me was the post scheduling option, which I think I will continue to use in the future.

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About Affiliate links and referral codes?

Last week I received an email from an online store I use to buy some products that Are basically holy grails at very good prices.

They have a 21 year anniversary promo discount credit link, but did not have time to read thd mail until the weekend.

I have never used their discounts because I honestly never knew how to use them, but I did run out of one of my holy grails so well I will be buying sometime next month.

The email was quite clear about the rules of the contest and it seem legitimate.

It also made me wonder about a few things, so I have blogging questions.

  • Do you use affiliate links in your blog?
  • What do you think in general about these links?

On my last post about Shopping in Germany I used a referral code and I noticed that people did click on it, but nobody ended up purchasing the minimum required to get points or credits and I found that quite interesting. I think the offer was just not good enough to be attractive or that referral links are just odd, I myself have never used one.

I use the website iHerb to buy my Giovanni direct leave in and I get it in bulk (2/3bottles) so I don’t need to buy anything before my credits (it’s like 5%) expire.

I figured I would share my instareview of the product and if anyone wants to use this referral code to save some money can feel free to do so.

The rules are: You get $10 off with any purchase over $40 does not seem like a bad deal and I get an $11 credit on my 1st referral because they are celebrating 21 years, it seems like a cute idea and a nice way to get traffic their way and their customer service and delivery rates & times are pretty good

The code: If you want it Ask me in the comment sections or send me a message.

The offer is valid until September 30th and I figured why not. I have added the link but I can not guarantee it will work but it’d be nice to try it.

One thing though be sure to check the customs regulations of your country if you are US based there should be no problems, in Germany this offer might not work because of the amount of money they require, I keep my purchases at around $30 dollars to avoid customs issues.

This is how it looks like: https://www.iherb.com/?rcode= COR0548&pcode=21STYEAR

The Mini review:

Summer Holy grail #productjunkieclub

Giovanni Direct leave in Conditioner

This leave in conditioner has become one of my favorites for the summer. It is moisturizing, easy to find, inexpensive, even with my huge head of hair a little goes a long way. It is suitable for low porosity as well as high porosity and everything in between. I can finger coil my bangs and style the rest of my hair without changing products and it does not build up easily. Oh and last but not least…it is a life saver detangler.

*published originally July 11 on Instagram

Curly hair and Hot Rollers! Your new addiction.


I Love hot rollers for naturally curly hair! I have always been a fan of the retro glam mod, but with curly hair it goes to another level, and no matter how much I google “hot rollers curly hair” I don’t find much about the topic in the natural hair community, so I decided to make my own post.

Some iconic women who can really rock the hot roller sets:

Dita Von Tesse


Her hair is bone straight and she gets this beautiful results, imagine what you can do with naturally curly hair.

Angelique Noire


Simply gorgeous, adding diversity to the pinup scene.

After seeing these lovely ladies I hope I have motivated you to try this wonderful tool.

How to roller set:


Above is a standard illustration of the basic roller set, depending on what you want to achieve it can vary, but for begginers this is easy enough.

Part your hair in 3 sections right, middle, left and create 3 more subsections for a total of 9. Most hot rollers sets contain 20 or so rollers so you can then subdivide those 9 sections in 2, becoming 18. I use all 20 rollers, but Dita von Tesse recommends 24 (need to buy a few extra ones)

Hair must be clean and can be either air dried or blow dried. Blow drying gives sleeker results but if you dread heat a stretched air dried style or even a yesterday’s wash and go is ok. Use heat protector (oil based, since hair must be 100% dry before rolling).

Leave the rollers in place until they have cooled down, in the meantime eat breakfast, do your make up, pack up lunch, get dressed and voilà you are ready for a glam day.

My hot roller set


Remington Style KF20i ionic rollers

They take about 15 minutes to heat, so in order to save time I connect them while I shower. I like using a heat protect glove, since the corners of the roller can get a bit too hot for my liking, but it is not mandatory you won’t get burnt easily or anything.

For more info on setting techniques visit this link  How to roller set!


Some thoughts for natural curly hair:

  1. You already have natural volume, use it! No need to back brush to get the same effect as straight hair.
  2. Brushing if you want a very sleek look should be done carefully or you will end up with frizz, I prefer to smooth with my slightly oiled hands.
  3. If the humidity is high use lots of antihumectants and hairspray (I currently use osis+ antifrizz serum, loreal elnett hairspray, and for the rainy season I am trying new things but more on another post).
  4. Use heat protectant, non water based, I have used garnier wonder oil.
  5. Oil your hands slightly when removing the rollers to avoid frizz.
  6. When a wash and go comes out crappy, cover your ends with oil over night, sleep with loose braids and detangle gently in the morning (I used fingers and tangle teezer).
  7. Bad wash and go? No problem save it with a quick next day retro glam set!
  8. Be a full, confident, retro glam, glamorously fabulous Diva!

Let me know if you are also a vintage hair lover with natural hair.

Dr. L aka HairLabMD

Windblown

The rain has been constant in Germany since Monday, which is a good thing as I am not tempted to go spend my free time outside enjoying the sunshine.

This weather has allowed for some “experimentation” in terms of photography which I had not considered before. It has also allowed for more time to mull over my proposal 🤔

Back to hair like these dark stormy edits using the tools on my iPad. Nothing fancy but I liked it. Do you like this type of edits? If so then I will take the time to properly photoshop my photos in this style from now on.

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curls right before a Storm.

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or 3 curls not sure but same wash day.

Do you feel a "change", when the seasons change? Last year I felt like wearing my hair straight and I did, but this year I feel more like letting it fro as much as I can.

Cheers.

Tomorrow is the last day of my Daily blogging challenge. I will try to write something "Scienced up" & good but no promises. Blogging is not easy.

Dr. L

Relaxing at night unplugged(ish)

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

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

… 10:36pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Early bird blogging…not so easy

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

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

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

Have a happy and productive day.

Cheers,

Dr. L. aka HairLabMD

Early Morning Challenges are well Challenging

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers,

Dr. L

Anonymous no more!

Happy Sunday word press!

This draft has been sitting on my notes, for well, more than a year and the final product does not resemble the original post because a lot has changed since.

The original title was “I am not my Job”

It took a lot of encouragement from a friend outside the medical profession to get this blog started and I was adamant on keeping it private, anonymous; because this is not what “doctors do” but I am not just a doctor, I am a person.

I saw the prompt Overcome and decided to finally overcome my fear to post this opinion, that I always shared with my colleagues or classmates but being the youngest in my class by several years (advance class misfit here💪) my age was always a reason to dismiss certain “radical opinions”.

I am still not ready to share my full name but I have slowly transitioned from Anonymous to Hair Lab MD to L.

I am not my job, what inspired this post was a common saying in the Curly Community “I am not my hair” and I was like well I may not be my hair but my interest is hair now, natural curly hair.

I currently have no sponsors for the next medical congress I want to attend, because being in Germany, still on my Journey to validate my medical license, I do not work at a clinic that would sponsor my trip. This congress is exclusive to Hair Research and while my areas of interest and experience are more focused towards facial rejuvenation and anti-aging, my hair Journey has influenced me to want to work from a medical profesional point of view with hair, all hair types but specially curly hair; where from my sometimes frustrating searches of peer reviewed articles, I have noticed a lack of research focused on hair types other than caucasian straight hair and that is why my medical/science blog has been stuck for so long.

Now, cosmetic chemists they are publishing but again the approach is different; still my current inspirations are cosmetic chemists and I fantasize about what would it be like to sit among kids in their late teens doing a BA in Chemistry…the results of these fantasies are always awkward interactions and an absurd generational gap, but I remind myself that age is just a number which I will continue to not reveal because I truly believe age should not matter in the professional world. Qualifications and results matter more than how old or young you are.

My question for you is shall I “crowdfund” my Hair research congress attendance by rushing a side project I started recently and that has a clear long term timeline?

My idea is simple on stage 1: spread positivity using Curly hair tees, create awareness, mix in a little science, then go a bit more academic; is it wise to change plans? My own answer is not, but 15 year old me would have said well duh! Do it what gives…

I have until September 29 to register to attend the International Hair Research Congress, but the congress is not until November, so I would think I have time to sell a few tees instead of asking for “donations” but promoting them in a way that the proceeding would finance this congress attendance fee. It would give it, to me, somehow a feeling of community and a certain emotional value. I find the idea weird, but I also like it. So here are I am asking WordPress bloggers their opinion.

I want to attend and learn from what others who are in the field are doing.

My final goal is to be able to submit an abstract for a future European Hair Research Society Congress or any of it’s sister societies focusing in understanding the biology of multicultural and afro hair and get a grant for such purpose.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
b, yes I am not my hair but rediscovering my hair has also helped me rediscover my love for medicine & research. I have found new ways to love my career through hair.

Untitled too 

Flawed? Ugly? Weird? Eww yuk? Who told you that?

Society, your boss, a friend, an adversary a colleague or yourself looking at the mirror and hating what you see?
What you think becomes what you feel.
Think right feel right. Think right and you can cope, adapt and adjust regardless of the external forces against, or in your favor. Think wrong and you may become ill and you will suffer. This is not hopeful woo, this is science, neuroscience and in the same way as it took years of “hard work” for your brain to wire itself in a way that it will work against you (depression, low self esteem, personality disorders,etc) it will take hard work and professional help from a doctor, a therapist, a nutritionist, or a fitness instructor to help you improve your life and come to terms with how you look and more importantly, who you are.

Change can begin from the inside out, or from the outside in. I obviously like fitness, facial architecture & aesthetics, and now I like hair appearance and I firmly believe that if you want to improve yourself you are free to pursue it, but be mindful of the thought behind the emotion.

There is nothing wrong with using modern medicine to be better, it is not weak to get medical treatment for acne, it is not vain to get “work done”, it not arrogant to be fit and eat well; but the thought behind it, is what defines whether it is good or bad thing for you X or Y physical change.

Genetics & culture do play a role, in the perception of beauty, that is undeniable we might wish it would not be so but it is.  Do not aspire to be beautiful, you already are, aspire to be healthy.

How you look does not define you, but the world we live in judges our “look” and that is also a fact. I can’t disclose patient info but I can tell you that the medical profesion is not devoid of sociocultural biases on apperance. A female, beautiful doctor is still expected to be less competent than her fellow men, but so what? It only means she has to work harder to get respect that is all.

The only way to be happy is to be healthy.

The burnt genie

Burn Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. Not sure how to participate? Here are the steps to get started. daily prompts, inspiration, postaday, Post Ideas https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2016/07/02/burn/

He asked me one question.

What do you wish for?

I answered, after thinking hard, happiness I said.

He seemed pleased, then he asked a number 2 question.

Are you happy?

I answered with a dreamy smile, yes I am.

He pondered for a minute with his smoky eyes a slit and his lamp on his lefthand.

He looked at me one last time and then turned around with his lamp, his smokey eyes and his silken robes. The wish granting genie left me alone, without uttering a single word of goodbye.

Too bad, he seemed like a nice guy, I really like his smokey eyes.