Food for Healthy Hair

Black woman eating an apple --- Image by © A. Green/zefa/Corbis

Often we concentrate on the application of products to make our hair look and feel soft, shiny and strong. While these products certainly do play a part, we often overlook our diet and the real importance of nutrition in achieving a healthy head of hair.
Foods contain the nutrients (vitamins and minerals) needed to nourish our bodies and enable us to grow. When available in sufficient quantities, these nutrients contribute to radiant hair, skin and overall good health.
Some foods are particularly rich in the nutrients required for healthy hair. By incorporating some of these foods into a balanced diet, you may be able to reduce the product stash in your hair cabinet.
Protein is the single most important nutrient for hair because it contributes to the hair’s primary building blocks. Protein gives the hair its strength and minimizes its susceptibility to breakage and split ends. Protein-rich foods include seaweed, salted cod (salt-fish), chicken, yogurt, tofu, eggs and cottage cheese.
Iron is an important hair nutrient as well, as iron deficiencies have been clinically linked to hair loss. Hair follicles rely on haemoglobin for their nutrient supply and iron is a key player for maintaining healthy haemoglobin levels. Haemoglobin is the component of red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen around the body. Beef, shrimp, oysters and turkey are good sources of iron which is easily absorbed by the body. Vegan sources of iron such as blackstrap molasses; baked potato (with skin) and cooked lentils are less readily absorbed and should be consumed in conjunction with absorption enhancers like citrus juices or white wine.
A sufficient supply of B-vitamins is also mandatory for healthy hair. B3 (Niacin) promotes blood circulation to the scalp thereby aiding hair growth. B5 (Panthenol) and Biotin prevent hair loss; while B12 (Folic acid) assists in the production of red blood cells and ensures that iron functions properly. Vitamin B3 is present in chicken breast, yellow tuna and salmon while mushrooms, sunflower seeds, cauliflower, corn and broccoli are excellent sources of B5. A salad of tomatoes, romaine lettuce and carrots is rich in biotin but for B12, consider snapper, venison and scallops. Due to their water-solubility however, B vitamins cannot be stored in the body making it even more crucial that they are incorporated into the diet in adequate amounts on a daily basis.
Omega-3 oils have been long touted for promoting faster hair growth. While this has not been proven, it is widely agreed that Omega-3 oils contribute to overall hair health. Omega-3 is found in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines. It can also be found in nuts, olive oil, avocado and flaxseed.
A healthy scalp needs Vitamin A & C as they aid in the production of sebum (the natural oils produced by the skin). These essential vitamins can be found in carrots, mangoes, cantaloupe, and spinach.
This article wouldn’t be complete without the mention of water. Water accounts for a quarter of the weight of hair and is credited for making the hair supple and flexible. A lack of water can lead to dry, brittle hair that lacks shine. Drinking water at regular intervals throughout the day will help ensure that you’re getting enough water.
Being aware of a variety of foods containing the nutrients needed for healthy hair makes it easier to make the appropriate choices. You can appreciate that by just making small but consistent changes to your diet you can reduce your dependence on hair products and not only boast beautiful hair and skin, but overall good health.

writerbiopicbrown
HairObsessed is a Bajan living in Canada, who takes great pleasure in caring for her hair. She spends her days working in the IT field, but on occasion takes time to nurture her artistic flair for card making and event planning. She manages the blog Diary of a Hair Obsession which chronicles her journey towards healthier relaxed hair. The blog features product reviews, DIY styles and just about anything else hair related. You can find out more about HairObsessed’s hair journey at http://www.diaryofahairobsession.com.

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The Adventures of a Newly Natural (Pt. 9)

The Adventures of a Newly Natural

It’s been nine months since I did the big chop! Yay, me. My hair is getting some length now, so much that I have to air dry in twists now. The picture above is from earlier today after washing and detangling my hair. I’ll post more pictures later on in the week.

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Strength like Samson

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For ages black women have given and received messages about their hair being inextricably linked to their beauty, to their identity, and occasionally, to their strength. As well, anyone with access to a television or newspaper will have noticed that since the release of Chris Rock’s movie Good Hair, there has been a lot of chatter about the stuff on the heads of black women everywhere. Many of the unspoken norms for black women have been shared, style secrets have been spilled, and urban hair myths have been debunked. As a result, I feel a heightened awareness of the fact that, at any given moment, people could be staring at my head and wondering where my $1000 weave is. I travelled to Trinidad earlier this year and was awe-struck at the sights of some of the most beautiful natural hair that I had ever seen. Maybe it was the combination of the hair, the beach and Soca music, but that trip catapulted me from the “considering” phase that I had been in for two years, into actually planning my journey to go relaxer free. I decided to cut my hair short first to get used to the length and then stop relaxing. I was set. At the salon, my hair had been washed and I had told the stylist which Rihanna-inspired style I wanted. As he completed his first snip with the scissors, removing exactly 3¼ inches of hair – I had an anxiety attack. Suddenly I felt like Samson.

Samson (who would be played by me in this story) is a biblical character blessed with superhuman strength. (I’m a single mother. Enough said.) He is tricked by Delilah (enter conniving hairstylist) into revealing the source of his strength (his locks/my hair), at which point she hires people to shave his head while he sleeps. He wakes up with the strength of every other regular Joe, only to be blinded by bullies, imprisoned and destined to forever grind grain. Okay, there are some minor differences, but in that instant as I sat in the chair hyperventilating and wishing a plague upon this stylist’s home, I would have bet money that the story was the true account of a woman who had just come from getting her hair cut.

After about 30 seconds, I lifted my head from between my legs and regained my normal rate of breathing. The rest of the hair appointment went off without a hitch! (Much to the delight of the now traumatized hairstylist.) That was 6 months ago. I have since had half a dozen haircuts and am happy to say that I have been neither blinded nor imprisoned. 3 months ago I stopped relaxing my hair, as well. When I ran into a woman that I had not seen in quite some time, she stopped me to ask what I had done to my hair. “You used to have such long, straight hair! I remember it was past your shoulders.” She shook her head in disappointment, “Those who want it don’t have it and those who can get it, cut it off!” I smiled at her and said, “Maybe one day I’ll grow it back….or not. Who knows? After all, It’s just hair!” And to my own surprise, I meant it.


writerbiopicbrown

lady J

Lady J is the kind of chick you can usually find trying to learn something new. She’s learning about all this new natural hair on her head, learning how to make words dance and sing in her poetry and is also back at school to learn how to do her job in two other languages. Most recently, she has had her nose stuck in her MacBook, trying to learn how to improve and add to her new blog Pen to Pages (www.pentopages.blogspot.com)

 

 


 

Hair Problems: Porosity & You

hairporosity

Porosity is the measure of the hair’s ability to absorb moisture. This is determined by the condition of the hair’s cuticle layer (the overlapping scales of the hair shaft), and is rated as low, normal, and high. In normal, healthy hair, the cuticle is compact and inhibits the penetration of the hair shaft by moisture – both moisture going in, and moisture coming out. When the cuticle is overly compact and prevents the penetration of the hair by moisture it has low porosity. Hair with low porosity is harder to process, and is resistant to haircolor and perms. Low porosity hair must usually be softened prior to other chemical services. Hair with high porosity is hair whose cuticle layer is open and the hair too-readily absorbs moisture. Overly-porous hair also releases moisture easily and becomes dry and is easily damaged. Acid-balanced conditioning treatments are used to contract the cuticle layer and lock-in moisture on overly-porous hair.

Extreme caution must be used when performing chemical services on overly porous hair to prevent damage. Haircolor will take much more quickly and strongly in overly porous hair (and semi-permanent and demi-permanent haircolors will fade much more quickly). Perms and straighteners will process much faster in high-porosity hair as well. To determine the porosity of your hair, simply feel it – both when wet and when dry. If the hair feels straw-like and rough when dry, or if it feels gummy or slightly rubbery when wet, then you probably have a problem with overly porous hair.

©Hairfinder.com

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Skin Delicious Body So Fine Giveaway!

mymojooil

We’re choosing two winners this time!

More about it
This heavenly exotic blend is full of all the finest oils and rich butters that your hair and skin could dream of, all in one bottle! This super charged formula will protect hair from environmental stress, replenishes the protective layer and is guaranteed to soften and de-frizz the driest looking locks by adding shine and brilliance naturally!

Ingredients
Organic Coconut oil, Shea Butter (Fair-trade),Avocado oil, Mango oil, Jojoba oil, Aloe Vera Butter, Wheat Germ oil, Organic Cocoa Butter (Fair-trade), Sweet Almond oil, Certified Organic Pomegranate oil, Hemp oil, Grape seed oil, Sun Flower oil, Essential oil lemon, Natural scent

Question to win the Mojo Oil

Name one natural oil that is able to penetrate the hair.

cococreamrinse2

More about it
Experience instantly hydrated and healthy hair with this creamy medium to coarse treatment! Indulge long locks, dry tresses or curls in the ultimate daily hair rescue rinse. Adds softness & shine to unruly, dry hair, helps smooth over tangles and triumph over snarls. *Excellent thermal conditioning treatment as well.*

Ingredients
Aloe barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Juice, Ricinus communis (Castor Seed) Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol (Coconut Derived), Stearalkonium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Certified Organic Cocos nucifera (Coconut) Oil, d-Calcium Pantothenate (Panthenol Vitamin B5), Hydrolized Wheat Protein, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Limnanthes alba (Meadowfoam) Oil Lavendula angustifolia (Organic Lavender) Distillate, Anthemis nobilis (Organic Roman Chamomile) Distillate, Rosa mosqueta (Rosehip) Seed Oil, Salix nigra (Organic Black Willow Bark) Extract, and a natural yummy coconut scent

Question to win the Coconut Cream Rinse

What is a humectant? Name two natural humectants.

E-mail us at [email protected] with the answer!

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Will the REAL Carol please stand up?

carolsdaugh

While browsing through the hair care aisles of Wal-Mart, I happened upon a hair care line called ceXpress. The product names and packaging seemed oddly familiar, but it didn’t hit me until I got home… they reminded me of Carol’s Daughter products! I decided to look up the products and found even more interesting things.

“It’s important that consumers know where Carol’s Daughter is really made, what the relevant facts are and that the whole home spun story is nothing more than marketing spin,” says Donyale Bush of ceXpress (a.k.a Carol’s Express).

The defense against the complaint filed by Carol’s Daughter substantiates the high quality of Carol’s Express and ceXpress brands. Carol’s Daughter and the Carol’s Express brand were made in the same warehouses at the time the suit was filed. Neither brand was made in the kitchen as of the filing date of the suit.

“This is a desperate attempt to continue to exploit consumers for anywhere from $20-$45 per product, when we provide a high quality product in ceXpress at half the price. We provide the consumer with a nature-based product at a sexy value. We know this will make our customer base, which we know to be savvy customers scrutinizing every dollar in this economy, happy.”

So, what do you guys think?

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The Curly Girl “No-Poo” Method

curlygirlmethodpic

As most of you are aware, I no longer shampoo my hair. Instead, I wash my hair with conditioner! It’s the best thing I’ve done for my hair and I wanted to share the method as described in Lorraine Massey’s Curly Girl. Note: If you want, you can use shampoo on your scalp, and not your hair if you’re worried your scalp won’t be as clean.

  • Wash your scalp with conditioner (conditioner washing). Begin your routine by wetting your hair in the shower. Distribute conditioner on your entire scalp and massage your scalp with the tips of your fingers (not your fingernails). This rubbing action will loosen dirt and dandruff which can then be rinsed away. (Be sure to avoid silicones in your hair products, see the Warnings.) Thoroughly rinse your scalp afterwards. Depending on how dry your scalp is, you can conditioner wash, once a week, twice a week, or every day.
    • “The curly-haired can leave their hair hydrated with natural oils and clean their scalps quite well by rinsing only with hair conditioner once a week or less. Rubbing the scalp firmly with fingers is enough to loosen dirt.” – Lorraine Massey
  • Distribute conditioner throughout all of your hair and untangle gently. Use your hands or a wide-toothed comb. Start by untangling bottom sections of your hair and then gradually move upwards. Let the conditioner sit in your hair for five minutes or so for extra moisture. You also may want to part your hair at this point with a comb. Part your hair to the side to prevent “triangle-shaped” hair.

womanwashing

  • Do the final rinse of your hair with cool or cold water. This will decrease frizz and add shine. Leave some conditioner in your hair, especially in dry sections like the ends. It is fine to run your fingers through your hair gently, but do not comb your hair after this point.
  • Apply products to your hair. Do it while it is soaking wet if you have curlier hair, but wait five minutes or so if you have medium to wavy curly hair. Put product in your hands and rub them together to emulsify. Then, smooth or rake the product into your hair by sections. A common method is to begin with a leave-in cream or conditioner to decrease frizz and then follow with a gel for hold and definition. (Using your normal conditioner as a leave-in is fine too.) However, use whatever type and order of products you like. Next, finger shape the curls by scrunching them (cup your hair in the palms of your hands and scrunch in an upward motion) and/or twisting individual curls around a finger.
  • Gently scrunch your hair with a t-shirt, paper towels, or a micro-fiber towel to remove excess moisture, as a generic terrycloth towel will make your hair frizzy. You may wish to finger shape your curls at this time instead. Next, wait five or so minutes so the hair can permanently assume its current shape.
  • Decrease the drying time of your hair by plopping. Spread an old t-shirt or micro-fiber towel onto a flat surface (such as the toilet with seat down). Bend over at the waist and position your hair in the middle of the cloth. With your head touching the cloth, drape the back section of cloth over your head. Twist the sides until they form “sausage rolls” and clip or tie them at the base of your neck. After 15-30 minutes remove the cloth. If your hair is frizzy after plopping lightly graze the hair with gel.
    • Plopping works best for medium to long length curly hair. The curls usually become weirdly squished after plopping in shorter hair. See How to Plop Your Hair for more info. as well.
(Source)

How To: Faron’s Natural Hair Updo’s

Thank you to Faron for being a part of this!

faron1

Twisted Updo

Align Center
What You’ll Need:
  • A rat tail comb
  • Rubber bands
  • Hair/bobby pins
To start part you hair into a front and back half; secure the back half in a ponytail. Take 1/4 of the the front half of your hair off to both sides and braid/twist these sections. You can use a rubberband to hold them together. Take the remaining hair in the front section and create a loose flat twist with a zig-zag pattern, pin gaps together with hair pins then tuck the ends of the large flat twist and the braids/twists on either side under the large flat twist and pin in place. Release the back section of hair and put in large two strand twists; roll the ends & pin them down; there’s no right or wrong way to pin them, just stick with whatever arrangement looks decent.
faron2
Twisted Braided Updo

What You’ll Need:

  • A rat tail comb
  • Rubber bands
  • Hair/bobby pins
  • Hair moisturizer or gel

To start part you hair into a front and back half; secure the back half in a ponytail. Section off one-third of the front half and braid the hair into small/medium sized cornrows. Take the remaining two-thirds of the front section and two strand twist the hair going away from the cornrowed side. For the back half of the hair make a diagonal part starting high on the head and ending low; the objective is to leave out a section of hair on the top of the head that will be two strand twisted. Flat twist the hair below the diagonal part and secure twists with rubber bands. Connect the ends of the flat twists from the lowest to the highest and pin in place. Two strand twist the remaining loose section of hair. Use bobby pins to pin hair to one side. Using moisturizer or gel, twirl the ends of the two-strand twists around your finger to encourage curls & voila, you’re done!

faronwywn
Prices via Sally’s
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