Is Your Hair’s Porosity Affecting Your Style?

As an intuitive, I get what I call spiritual “downloads” on a regular basis as I am always in tune to receive them. This is true when it comes to my hair also. Lately my hair has been going through some weird changes and it’s almost like the texture of my hair has changed. Immediately I began to seek guidance as to what was going on because I’m a person who prefers my hair to be shiny and moist looking rather than wearing a dry look style and it was looking very dull.

I began to hear the word “porosity” and immediately felt that the porosity of my hair was “low”. I had never researched hair porosity before but after hearing this was intrigued to immediately do so. I wanted to share my findings with my Get Healthy Hair Now community.

The first thing I discovered was that, as I was sensing, my hair does have a low porosity. There are two methods you can use to find out how porous your hair is.

The Float Test: Take a couple of strands of shed hair and drop them into a bowl of water. Let them sit for at least 4 minutes. If your hair floats, you have low porosity. If it sinks, you have high porosity.

The Slip’n’Slide Test: Take a strand of hair and slide your fingers up the shaft (toward the scalp). If you feel little bumps along the way, this means that your cuticle is lifted and that you have high porosity. If your fingers slip smoothly, then you have low porosity hair.

I chose to do the float test. 20 minutes later my hair was still floating on top of the water.

How does the porosity of your hair affect it?

Hair Porosity Denika Carothers

LOW POROSITY:

The cuticle layer of hair with low porosity is tightly bound with overlapping scales that lay flat. This type of hair is usually considered to be healthy and is often very shiny. When you try to wet low porosity hair it repels moisture and is difficult to process because it resists penetration of chemicals. These are the heads of hair that when relaxing take a long time to straighten.

Low porosity hair is also prone to product build-up from protein-rich deep conditioning products which can leave the hair feeling stiff and straw-like. If you have low porosity hair you should stick to protein-free daily conditioners and you can add humectants such as glycerin or honey. When using a deep conditioning treatment, be sure that it is free of protein and use moderate heat to help open up the tightly bound cuticle.  Using moisturizers that are rich in emollients such as jojoba oil and coconut oil and humectant products, which attract and hold moisture to your hair, are very beneficial to low porosity hair types. Choose light liquid-based products that won’t sit on your hair leaving it oily or greasy.

MEDIUM POROSITY:

Medium porosity hair often requires less maintenance than low and high porosity hair. The cuticle layer is looser which allows for just the right amount of moisture to enter the hair cuticle while preventing too much moisture from escaping. Medium porosity hair tends to hold styles well and can be relaxed and colored with predictable results. It is important to note that these processes over time can cause significant damage to your hair and increase its porosity. Deep conditioning occasionally with protein conditioners can be beneficial to medium porosity hair however do not include proteins in your daily hair regimen.

HIGH POROSITY:

High porosity hair can be as a result of damage caused by chemical processing or the  environment. It has gaps and holes in the cuticle which allow for too much moisture to penetrate the hair leaving it prone to frizz and tangling in weather that is humid. Simple acts such as bathing, shampooing and swimming can create damage and breakage due to the fact that highly porous hair can absorb high amounts of moisture. Using anti-humectants in high heat and humid climates will help to seal your damaged cuticles and prevent excess moisture from the air being absorbed. Highly porous hair can also lose moisture easily and so using leave-in conditioners, moisturizers and sealers will help your hair to hold the moisture you are giving it. Following up with a heavy hair butter can help to fill in the gaps of your damaged cuticles protecting the hair from losing too much moisture.

What I found to work for my curly hair

Bi-Racial Hair Denika Penn Carothers

After my research this is what I came up with for myself as a low porosity curly hair naturalista (and ironically I did all of this before and had great hair! LOL):

  1. Apply product to damp hair. Because my hair absorbs a lot of water while washing, if I let some of the water go by allowing my hair to dry a little (or blot it dry with a towel) before applying product the product absorbs better.
  2. Use a detangling comb or brush. Proper distribution is acquired throughout the hair by using a detangling brush or comb after applying the product. My preference is to use the Denman brush which I absolutely love! Remember that hair is most fragile when wet so you want to do this by running the brush/comb gently from end to root.
  3. Squeeze out the excess.  If you use too much product or it has a tendency to turn white taking forever and a day to dry, then get rid of the excess by simply grabbing small sections of hair and sandwiching it between your index and middle finger and gently running your finger down the hair shaft to slide the excess product off.
  4. Smooth your hair. If you choose to use heavier products like butters it may be more difficult to squeeze excess product out. In such cases simply smooth it in by grabbing a small section of your hair, place it between the palms of your hands then smooth down the length of your hair until the product disappears.

While it is impossible to change the porosity of your hair without causing damage, you can help to lift your cuticles safely and temporarily for better product absorption by applying products that are alkaline in nature such as a baking soda rinse after cleansing your hair. (When using a baking soda rinse, be sure to always rinse the product out afterwards.) After the treatment, you can apply product. With your cuticles raised, it will be easier for your hair to absorb the product. Once you are done, you will need to reseal your cuticle to prevent frizz, which you can be done easily with an acidic product like aloe vera gel.

In the science of hair care, Porosity is the term used to describe how easily water and other matter can diffuse back and forth through the cuticle layer into and out of the cortex. Hair, like a sponge, is capable of absorbing water and other substances from the environment, and is also susceptible to losing precious moisture and lipids to the environment. Maintaining an optimal balance of moisture in your hair preserves its suppleness, strength, and shine.

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Why You Should Take Supplements AND Use Transdermal Products

healthy scalp Denika Penn Carothers

For almost every woman who has been pregnant and taken pre-natal vitamins, you know that one of the benefits is strong, luxurious and growing hair. I remember for me personally, especially when I was pregnant with my son, my hair was amazing. It had an amazing shine, it was healthy and it grew about 5 inches. After I had him however, and stopped taking the pre-natal vitamins, what I experienced was thinning in the area of the widow’s peak which is towards the front of the hair line.

Instinctively I knew that what I was experiencing was as a result of no longer taking the supplements in addition to all of the nutrients that were being depleted from my body by this amazing baby boy through breast feeding. Twenty five years ago I realized the importance of taking supplements internally for optimal hair health and growth.

Fast forward 15 years and I learned about transdermal products and their effectiveness in supplying the body with needed nutrients. To understand how transdermal products work you need to understand a little about the skin. Years ago the skin was considered a barrier. Today we know that the skin is a permeable layer through which chemicals pass directly into our bodies. The skin is made up of several layers: the epidermis (the part we can touch), the dermis (where the blood vessels live) and the subcutaneous tissue called the hypodermis. A product that is transdermal is able to penetrate all three layers, delivering medication or nutrients through the bloodstream.

In order for transdermal delivery to take place the molecular structure of the product needs to be small enough to penetrate. This enables the product to be absorbed into the skin, or in the case of your hair the scalp, in order for delivery of the nutrients to take place. If a product contains oils or ingredients that have a larger molecular structure than the skin, they will just sit atop of the scalp and not allow for penetration. What this means is that even if the product contains ingredients that are great for hair nutrition and hair growth, the nutrients are not able to penetrate for optimal benefit because the molecular structure of the product is larger than the skins.

When the body is nutritionally deficient, which is the underlying cause of many hair issues, and we take internal supplements for the hair, because the body is an intelligent system it is going to pull nutrients for those organs that are more deficient, i.e. the kidneys, liver, etc. So what is left over will be delivered to the hair, which might not be a whole lot depending on the deficiencies. Using a transdermal product, such as can be found at http://www.theherbalnatureway.com, can provide the hair with direct delivery of the needed nutrients. This is why it is always a good idea to use internal supplements and transdermal products in conjunction with one another for optimal hair health and growth.

Remember as within, so without. What manifests on the outside of the body is always a reflection of what is going on inside the body. For more information on how to have healthy hair, visit http://www.gethealthyhairnow.com.

Multi-Textured Head of Hair (excerpt from What Is My Hair Type? And What Difference Does it Make?)

Multi-Textured Head of Hair Denika Penn Carothers

Do you have the experience of more than one texture of hair on your head? Are some parts wavy while others have tightly coiled curls? Do you have some parts that are completely straight and do not curl, say at the nape or at the front of the head? Is it frizzy, tight and course in the crown of the head? Welcome to the world of the multi-textured heads of hair!

The reason for different textures could be as a result of heat or chemical damage or the Creator just must have made you that way. The first reason will eventually resolve itself, the second we all have to live with. So how do you manage a head of hair that is multi-textured? Firstly by accepting it! It is important that you accept that that’s just how your hair was created (trust me adopting this perspective makes your relationship with your hair a lot easier lol).

Most heads of hair experience two different textures. Usually the most different texture is in the crown of the head where the hair tends to be more coarse and of a tighter curl definition. Many naturals also experience a completely different texture of hair at the nape or around the edges. If you are like me you may also experience different textures on either side of your head. I have a looser curl pattern on the left side of my head than I do on the right, my hair at the crown is tighter and tends to be more frizzy, and at the nape of my neck my hair is softer.

Learning how to provide the needs of each texture will make life a whole lot easier on “hair days”. Based on the philosophy that your hair is only as strong as its weakest link, you want to ensure that you give each part the tender, love and care it needs. Here are some tips for you:

1.  Always section your hair before detangling. This will ensure that each section gets what it needs.

2.  Be sure to use products that are designed to address the issues that you consider to be the most challenging. If your hair is very dry and frizzy, use products that are specifically formulated for this being sure to give more to the areas that require more.

3.  Be sure to add a protein conditioning treatment if your hair is very coily and dense. This will effectively help the hair to retain moisture and strengthen the weaker strands. Be sure to always follow a protein treatment up with a deep conditioning treatment that provides moisture.

4.  Apply your styling product in sections, especially when trying to achieve a wash and go. This will ensure adequate coverage and give you the ability to thoroughly work the product through the hair while smoothing and defining the hair in the process.

5.  Use sets such as braid-outs and twist-outs to blend the different textures so they look uniformed. If your ends are straight you can blend by using flexi rods or a curler on the end rolled on an angle like a candy cane.

If you are consistent with these practices, you should start to experience the hair becoming trained and will see results such as stronger, more defined and manageable hair.

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Author: Denika Penn Carothers, Natural Hair & Hair Products available on Amazon or at http://www.gethealthyhairnow.com/companyspotlight2.html

 

Nzuri Kra-Z Gro Day 3 Review

Essential Oils and Your Hair

Essential Oils and Your Hair

Essential oils are beneficial for many things, one of them being our hair. The best thing about essential oils for me is that they are all natural. They come from the heart of nature and I am a firm believer that everything we need for health, and cures for sickness, disease and ailments can be found in nature.

Some of the best essential oils and their benefits for hair are:

  • Chamomile Oil – Is considered to be one of the most soothing essential oils for hair and scalp. It keeps the scalp from drying out and is great for dry brittle hair.
  • Peppermint Oil – Stimulates circulation and blood flow to the scalp, improves hair growth and is very nourishing.
  • Myrrh Oil – Great for dry scalp and helps to treat dandruff. It is also great for the skin.
  • Lavender Oil – Helps with itchy scalp and aids in preventing dandruff; helps to prevent breakage and improves hair growth as it conditions.
  • Rosemary Oil – Stimulates the hair roots, promotes healthy growth and increases circulation to the scalp.
  • Tea Tree Oil – A natural hair tonic that helps prevent bacterial and fungal problems. It unblocks sebaceous glands and stimulates the scalp.

There are some key things to know when working with essential oils:

  • Most essential oils should never be used undiluted on the skin. Instead they should be combined with carrier oils.
  • There are a few essential oils that are generally recognized as safe to use undiluted. Lavender and tea tree oil are two of them.
  • Most essential oils are high in antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties.
  • Never use an undiluted essential oil on a baby or child as children have much more delicate skin than adults have and tend to be sensitive to the potency of essential oils.
  • Avoid the following essential oils while pregnant or nursing and skip using them completely in your first trimester: Aniseed, cedarwood, chamomile, cinnamon, clary sage, clove, ginger, jasmine, lemon, rosemary & sage (this is only a partial list. Do your research).
  • To test if you’re sensitive to an essential oil combine one drop with ½ tsp carrier oil and rub on the inside of your arm. Wait a few hours and if no redness or itching develops you’re most likely okay to use it.
  • Do not take E/O’s internally, especially oils like wintergreen and eucalyptus. In fact there are some essential oils that are considered toxic and should be avoided even through skin contact so it’s best to do your own research. Luckily though these are NOT common E/O’s.
  • Keep all E/O’s out of the reach of children and avoid eye contact.

Author: Denika Penn Carothers, Natural Hair & Hair Products available at Amazon or at http://www.gethealthyhairnow.com

http://www.gethealthyhairnow.com/companyspotlight2.htmlEssential Oils

Are You Embracing Your Natural Beautiful?

“Love is the great miracle cure. Loving ourselves works miracles in our lives” Louise L. Hay

We have been conditioned by society to not only judge one another’s beauty but to put our beauty into categories. Hence we have done the same thing with our hair, especially in the African American culture. We have a range that goes from “good hair” to “nappy hair”. But I ask you to pose this question to yourself… What REALLY is good hair or nappy hair? Hair is hair! Yes it comes in different types and different textures, but who is the authority on whether it is good or bad?

I have always been told that I have “good hair” but since becoming educated on what good hair really is, I see all hair that is healthy, clean and groomed as “good” hair. And it is important that when we each look at our hair in the mirror, we appreciate that what we see is the specific type and texture that the Creator wanted us to have. Last time I checked EVERYTHING God made is good, by His own account.

Your beautiful is your beautiful and my beautiful is mine. Who I AM can only be defined by myself unless I, by my allowance, give that power over to others. The power to achieve lies within every individual and self-love is the first thing that we need to strive to have, by doing so we are able to show others how to embrace their natural self, as we embrace ours. After all who we are inside is always manifested outside of ourselves… as within so without.

My mission and focus is to bring awareness to the Natural Self and the importance of self-love, self-acceptance, self-healing, self-understanding, self-empowerment and self-awareness.

So let me put these questions to you to ponder on and answer within yourself:

  • How do you identify yourself?
  • What do you see when you look at yourself in the mirror?
  • Are you accepting of yourself and your natural beautiful?
  • Are you allowing others to define who you are?
  • Do you project to the world how you want to be seen.
  • When you receive opposition from others, do you try to identify what the lesson in the experience is for you? Are you receiving that which you give to yourself?

Honesty begins within. What the world sees in us is what we project out to it. Are you projecting your love for your natural beautiful?

Author: Denika Penn Carothers, Natural Hair & Hair Products available at Amazon or at http://www.gethealthyhairnow.com

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How to Manage Bi-racial Hair Part 1

 

Well I don’t know if I would consider myself the “authority” on this subject but I am definitely a subject of this subject. As a bi-racial individual my hair has always been made out to be a challenge by every adult around me when I was a child and later on by me, having taken on everybody else’s opinions about my hair as I was growing up.

I heard everything from “your hair is so thick” (said with a furrowed brow and much expression in the voice) to “girl you have TOO much hair” (usually said by the hair stylist who I was paying to do my hair) to “girl you have good hair! What you relaxing it for?” (this coming from those who said it with an attitude because they wanted hair like mine).

When I made the decision to go natural, after relaxing my hair for 30 plus years, I learned there was a whole new aspect to my hair that I had never discovered before. Now at first it was definitely a pull and tug scenario, with many days of temptation to go and buy a jar of relaxer and slap it on my head, but as I allowed my natural hair to make its way on to and out of my head, I discovered something beautiful. I discovered that I had amazing hair, with amazing curls that was easy to manage once I embraced what it naturally was.

The most important thing I learned about my bi-racial hair was that it LOVED and NEEDED water and that I couldn’t over water it. Water helps hair to maintain its elasticity, softness, natural shine and strength and is the most natural source of moisture.

I also learned that my hair performed better when it was conditioned more than it was washed. What I mean by this is that I learned that conditioner can be used to clean my hair without drying it out. So I cut my shampoo washes down from once a week to once a month in the beginning stages. Now, however because I do apply conditioner and gel to my hair in between washes, I co-wash (wash with conditioner) every other week and shampoo on the alternate weeks.

Many “naturalistas” will tell you to detangle with a wide tooth comb. I have found that this does not work well for the overall look of my curls. I find that when I detangle with a comb my curls have a tendency to swell rather than lay, which is how I prefer them. My preferred method of detangling is with my fingers. Now you may, with eyes wide open, be wondering how on earth you detangle a thick head of hair (which most bi-racials have) with your fingers. The trick is to apply A LOT of conditioner to the hair before detangling. This is true for whatever method you choose to use to detangle. I apply conditioner to my hair in four or six sections to be sure that my hair strands are completely coated with the product. I also detangle my hair in sections once I have applied the conditioner. I promise you that if you use this method to detangle it will be so easy to do. In addition to the section being saturated with conditioner, if it is also very wet the fingers tend to slide on through.

One of my favorite conditioners to use is the Pantene Pro-V Daily Moisture Renewal.Bi-Racial Hair Denika Penn Carothers