Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What to Look for in a Conditioner

All products do not work the same for every person. It is important to find at least one shampoo that works well for you. Two or three would be wonderful so that you can alternate. Of course there is the option to make your own shampoo. Here are 4 things to look for in a conditioner.

The first item to look for in a conditioner is a fatty acid base. These consist of oils and butters. Some examples of essential fatty acids are avocado, olive, castor and coconut. Some examples of butters are shea and mango.  Look for a conditioner that has a minimum of ingredients. If the ingredients cover the entire back of the bottle or container, that may not be the product for you. The exception is when the product ingredients consist of natural botanicals like aloe vera, comfrey and/or horsetail. Giovanni products have lots of ingredients listed but they are natural.

Look for essential oils in your conditioners. The top ones are sage, rosemary and lavender. Peppermint and meluca or tea tree are some to look for as well. Each of these has different actions and benefits and properties.

If you are not sensitive, try to find products with protein in them. Protein is divided into two types. It is either derived from animals or plants. Some animal proteins are silk proteins, collagen protein or animal protein. Some examples of vegetable protein are wheat protein, soy protein, corn protein, pea protein or vegetable protein. Keratin is a protein as well. Based upon what I know today, my understanding is that keratin is derived from animal sources.  

Lastly, try to find a conditioner that contains some form of amino acids. A quick an easy way to get them is to add them to your product. Many stores that cater to bodybuilders have products that contain amino acids. Try to find a plain one and mix it into your conditioner.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Caring for Dreads 101

Dreadlocks are one of those hairstyles that yield diversity to various looks from updos to Mohawks and cascading waves. Although you don’t have to suffer through the trial of detangling hair with this style, having locs doesn’t mean that haircare should be put on a back burner. You still need to schedule regular visits to your stylist and pay close attention to proper maintenance. Celebrity Hairstylist Felicia Leatherwood, who is the talent behind many of Jill Scott’s hairstyles, gives a few tips on properly caring for locs.

Salon Visits 
Leatherwood says it’s important to have locs “blessed” (touched up) at least once a month but it’s what goes on between salon visits that’s really important to the hair’s health. “In between that time, it’s important to oil the scalp but make sure the locs aren’t left with moisture,” she says.

Allowing hair to fully dry after a shampoo is key because locs are thick and can hold moisture so there’s a risk for bacterial buildup to occur, she says. That’s why it’s important to give hair ample time to completely dry by either air drying or sitting under a hooded dryer. If not, you could be stuck with a smelly mildew odor. Thinning could also occur as a result of bacterial buildup on the scalp. Leatherwood recommends using Listerine to rid hair of the scent. “It won’t go away overnight but it will definitely improve,” she says.” That’s what Listerine does, it fights germs and bacteria.” An anti-fungal shampoo such as Nizoral, apple cider vinegar and which hazel can also help rid hair of the unpleasant scent.

Oil The Scalp 
Leatherwood also says it’s a rule-of-thumb to oil the scalp after each wash for moisture. Jojoba, olive, rosemary, ylang ylang and other essential oils are great options to keep scalp from becoming dry and flaky which helps to prevent breakage.