Why Natural Hair is Dehydrated

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Photo by Matheus Henrin.

Read Part Two Here: Why Perms Are Afraid of Water

Read Part One Here: Hair and the Nervous System


Natural hair is actually not as dry as it sometimes looks, but the reason it is typically drier than other styles is all in the hair strand.

There are, for the most part, three kinds of hair strands. There may in fact be more, but let us stick to the basics:

Straight – Rounded Shaft
Wavy – Oval shaft, grows in a slanted direction
Curly, Nappy – Flat or oval shaft that grows more on one side than the other creating a curve. It slants backwards folding over in a tight or loose spiral. Don’t be afraid to refer to your hair as Nappy, it just means curly and is not a bad word.

The human body is quite a creation. Everything about it was created to heal and renew. From the digestive system, that is purposed to clean and purify the body of its toxins and waste etc., to sleep, that is purposed to rejuvenate the body, we’re indeed magnificently made. The body actually already has everything it needs within itself to sustain itself, including hair.

Sebum is a naturally oily substance found in hair. It is secreted by the sebaceous glands that lubricate the hair and skin and gives some protection against bacteria. Straight hair appears shinier because it’s easier for the sebum to travel down the hair shaft.

On the other hand, hair in its natural state is curlier, with bends, curves, and slants that make it more difficult for the sebum to make it down the hair shaft. This is especially true in the case of loc’s when the hair is in a knotted-like state. As a result, I tend to apply oil to the ends of my locs more so than the root, which is naturally oilier because of the sebum. Use of shampoos and conditioners that dry out the hair can also contribute to dry hair.

Natural hair is dehydrated because the Sebum has a hard time getting past all that curl, sometimes never actually making it all the way down the hair shaft. Making natural hair often appear drier than it really is.

For dry hair, apply a mixture of Shea butter, olive oil, coconut oil, or any oil of your choice to the hair and scalp. Africa’s Best Herbal Oil is excellent and inexpensive. You can use it by itself or add it to Shea butter. If your hair accumulates a lot of dandruff or dry flakes, add tea tree oil to your herbal oil for a natural medicated remedy.

Why Perms Are Afraid of Water

55bbba8913bb130476c921638a3be69aThis is part two in a three part series.

Read Part Three Here: Why Natural Hair is Dehydrated

Read Part One Here: Hair and the Nervous System


If you don’t know about the health deficiencies of the relaxer by now, then you just don’t know. Perms and relaxers have been a long time favorite of many women, but this beauty regimen comes at a high price – hair breakage, scalp irritation, stunted hair growth, and even permanent hair loss.*

The government name for the perm is Sodium Hydroxide, a dangerous chemical that eats away at any part of the body that it contacts, including hair. It is a powerful chemical known as lye and caustic soda and is found in many industrial solvents and cleaners, including flooring stripping products, brick cleaners, types of cement, and many others. It can also be found in certain household products, including:

• Drain cleaners
• Metal polishes
• Oven cleaners

The interesting thing about the drain cleaner is that the Sodium Hydroxide helps clear away the hair often found corked at the bottom of bathtubs and sinks. What does this have to do with the hair on our heads? While it’ll take quite some time to explain all of the information concerning the harmful effects of the perm, let us focus on the topic at hand, why are perms so afraid of water?

We’ve all been there. You just got your hair lyed, dyed, and laid to the side! What the beautician just did to your hair is nothing short of amazing. But you can’t get it wet. You can’t go swimming, and heaven help you when it rains!

Our hair is made up of layers. The outer layer protects the hair shaft. When the layer of protection is damaged with the use of chemical relaxers, this causes the ends of your hair to split. This damage can travel up the hair shaft and cause hair breakage, resulting in damaged uneven hair. Some say to trim the ends, but the truth is that perms and relaxers are quite jealous of the hair’s natural state so it promotes split ends. They dry the ends of your hair and wear down the protective layer.

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Relaxers in African American hair work by allowing the chemicals to break the protein bonds in the hair to change its shape and make course hair straight. But by breaking the bonds that give hair its strength, it is left weak and vulnerable (poor hair). So when water hits the already weakened hair bonds, they become like useless limp strings. It also weakens the hair follicle, making relaxed hair more susceptible to breakage.307988-61011-30The hair has a particular wave pattern that is held by two sets of physical side bonds and a set of chemical side bonds. The physical side bonds are not as strong but are more numerous, while the chemical side bonds are much stronger, but there are fewer. Because of this, someone with permed hair is recommended to wait a few days before shampooing or wetting the hair to allow the hair time to “normalize” and fully adjust to the new wave patterns.

Perms change the shape and texture of the hair through the use of strong chemicals. Your perm is afraid of water because it is as if it just had surgery and needs time to heal and adjust to the new pattern.

Update: 25 Minutes a Day – Reward Yourself

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Sooo….

Awhile ago I published a post about taking 25minutes out of your day to exercise. You can walk, run, swim, or move your leg back and forth. You can carry the baby around or substitute chores that require electronics (like the washing machine) by doing them by hand. I also mentioned that I will do more posts on updates and such. So here’s what I did today:

  • Sean T25: Alpha Cardio (includes, sprints, jumping jacks, etch.)
  • Breakfast (after workout): 1 Banana, Strawberry Parfait Smoothie, Water (I’m not a very big breakfast eater which I heard is bad but whatever lol).

What I want to do today is talk about rewarding yourself and using that as a catalyst to workout more. The hardest part of any workout, at least for me, is not starting, but starting back up again after you have already started. I took a two week hiatus and today was my first day back (it was supposed to be yesterday). Once you get it going it’s good but when you stop that’s the struggle. But while shopping for food I discovered a fun way to both discipline and reward yourself to help stay motivated. Get yourself a healthy treat and restrict yourself from eating it until AFTER you workout. If you cheat on yourself, POST ABOUT IT. Let the world know you messed up so you can get that encouragement from your peers for next time. We often look at mistakes as a bad thing and are told to keep our faults hidden, but the truth is that exposing the negative gives way to the positive. The struggles we have are hard to change because we have not admitted to the problem, we have not exposed the issue so it remains an issue. As the old folk say, “Tell the truth, shame the devil.” So my admittance is that I stopped working out for about two weeks, and my treat of choice was the parfait smoothie. As soon as I bought it (since I happen to love smoothies) I wanted to devour it! I kept going to the refrigerator to look at it and it was just calling my name. BUT, I told myself that I couldn’t drink it until AFTER I worked out. So as a punishment, since I didn’t workout yesterday I couldn’t drink it. Instead, I held out until today after my workout and it was sooo good! This was my treat for having stuck to what I said I would do and to admitting where I faulted.

Recipe Sunday: The Mung Bean

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So I have a niece with extreme allergies. As a result she is a vegetarian, but not just a vegetarian but extreme vegan. Her allergies are so bad that she cannot eat meat and is pretty much allergic to anything you can find in the dictionary. So anyway, I invited my sister and my nieces to my home to chill one Sunday afternoon and my sister mentioned we were having burgers.

Burgers? But niecee can’t eat burgers”.

Oh yes she can”, said sis, “She can eat these burgers”.

And this is how I was introduced to the Mung Bean.

My sister (we’ll call her V for now) made some of the most delicious vegan burgers I’ve ever tasted for them not to be made of meat. Now mind you my household is meat-a-tarians. I don’t have to define that for you do I? So yea, we meat eaters around here. But we both enjoyed the burger alternatives. Throw some cheese on there and make it up like a regular burger and Burger King ain’t got nothing on you. She made them thick and meaty too. V also makes imitation steaks out of these. So today I would like to share some information with you on the Mung Bean from an Article V gave to me written by a woman named Kim @ Affairs of Living:

Sprout-Mung-Beans-Step-9“If you eat beans, but haven’t yet ventured into the wonderful world of mung bean, you must! Mung Beans are used in many ways in SE Asian, Indian, and Middle Eastern cuisine. They are soaked, ground and used for flat-breads. They are sprouted and served raw. They are processed into noodles. They are peeled and split, and used to make dal, where they take on a smooth, velvety texture that is a true comfort food. They are cooked whole with coconut milk to make a sweet soup. They are mashed and used as fillings in sweet buns and deserts. They are cooked plain and added to various rice dishes. Quick cooking, full of protein, and easily digested, mung beans are considered to be an extremely healing and nourishing bean. Because they are small, they are easier to digest than larger beans, and are recommended for cleanings the body toxins. In Ayurveda medicine, they are considered tridoshic, meaning people of every constitution can find nourishment in the mung bean. And in Chinese medicine, mung beans are considered a cooling food and are recommended for detoxification, clearing heat, reducing swelling and edema and promoting urinary tract function.

34603-org-mung-beans-500Dry mung beans can be purchased in a variety of ways. Whole, they are bright and green. Or you can purchase them split where they take on the name moong dal. You can get moong dal either with the skins still on and or peeled-once peeled, they are light yellow. I love peeled moong dal, it is probably my favorite. I generally buy mung beans at the Asian markets, where they are the cheapest (this is also where V buys hers).

Hint: You can also use the mung bean as a flour!

“Additionally, it is high in iron, folate, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and potassium. Mung beans are also considered a low glycemic food, and are perfect for people concerned about blood sugar spikes. Using mung bean flour combination with other flours is a great way to add extra protein, fiber, and healthy, slow-digesting carbs.

Homemade Mung Bean Flour – Gluten Free, Vegan, High Protein

Yield: Approx. 2 1/4 c Flour.

Ingredients:
2 c mung beans (either whole or peeled or split or a mix)
Equipment:
Coffee Grinder or High Power Blender

Roasting the Beans:
1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Spread beans evenly on baking sheet. Place in oven and roast for 20 minutes until golden, stirring every 5 minutes to prevent burning.
3. Remove from oven and cool completely.

Grinding the Beans:
1. In a coffee grinder or high power blender, grind the beans in batches. I used a coffee grinder (No, not me, Kim) and ground 1/2 c beans at a time.
2. Grind for approx. 30 seconds, shaking beans in grinder to evenly mix.
3. Once your beans are ground to a fine powder, transfer to a large bowl and grind the next batch.
4. Once all of your beans have been ground, let the flour cool (Grinding warms it up!) and then transfer to an alright container. Store in a cool place.

Recipe Sunday – All Natural Homemade Deodorant

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Today’s Recipe Sunday comes from an ingredient given to me by a sister of mine. For the record she’s more into this kind of stuff than I am. I love natural hair, toothpaste, shampoo, soap and stuff like that, but I’m not so sure I’m on the whole natural deodorant bandwagon. I don’t particularly like to sweat though your naturally supposed to, and I’m not all that into the smell of my own DNA. However, this is a really nice ingredient for all you naturalist out there; smells good and very simple to make. You will need:

1/4 cup Baking Soda
(don’t you just love this stuff? It’s good in practically anything)
1/4 cup Arrowroot Flour OR Cornstarch / Potato Starch
6 tbsp. Coconut Oil
Essential Oil of choice

Step 1: If your Coconut Oil is solid, melt it slightly. Here’s how I do mine:

Take a piece of foil paper and a skillet. Line the skillet with the foil under a low flame. It will melt quickly, smoothly, and a lot less messy than the microwave.

Step 2: Mix the Baking Soda, Arrowroot Flour, and Coconut Oil together into a smooth paste. Make sure it’s nice and smooth. No lumps allowed.

Step 3: Add an essential oil of your choice for fragrance

Step 4: Store in your jar of choice in a nice cool place. If it gets too warm it will melt into a liquid. Do not store in the refrigerator or it will also melt into a liquid after it thaws. Just store it in a nice cool place. You can actually use this right away too.

Pros and Cons:

The positive about natural deodorant is that it lasts longer. After the initial shock of getting used to wearing it, you actually don’t have to use it every day and because sweat doesn’t make you smell, you won’t be musty. And while you will sweat, sweat is normal and good for you. It cools down the body, removes toxins, helps you to breathe better, improves circulation, and your metabolism accelerates.

The negative about natural deodorant, in my opinion, is that while it last longer, you will sweat and this can be the cause of an unpleasant smell and I just don’t play that. But, let me be fair: The sweat itself does not smell actually; the smell comes from the bacteria in your skin breaking down the sweat secretions released from the sweat glands. So it really depends on finding that happy medium of what works for you. While sweat itself does not smell, sweating more can make you smell even though it’s not the sweat that stinks but the bacteria that works with the sweat. Hope I didn’t confuse anyone there, but I think you so get it. 🙂

Burdens

burdenI don’t understand why some of you burden yourselves. Life is hard enough that we don’t have to add unnecessary baggage. Like, why do I have to buy the organic egg vs. the regular egg? The organic salad vs. the regular salad? And what’s wrong with tap water? 100 yrs ago we couldn’t have dreamed of buying water and yet here we are. I bet you they ain’t tripping over water in Africa though, or in some third world country where they drink water you wouldn’t even bathe in. Goldberg gonna be selling you air next though, then there’s gonna be a debate about which air tank is the healthiest. There is just so much more important things in the world to worry about than what we choose to carry. Sometimes it’s not the load that breaks us down, it’s both how we choose to carry the load and the load we choose to carry.

Hair and the Nervous System

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Photo by Matheus Natan

The year 2009 was big for me. I moved away from home, went natural, and advocated for it by producing a documentary after watching Chri Rock’s Good Hair. I set out to do my own research and interview my own people to find out the root cause of all this hair talk. After all, if I was to maintain my natural hair, I had better know why.

Since the release of “I am NOT My Hair: Perms, Weaves, and Hot Combs,” I’ve done more and more research, and I have been able to speak with sisters from all over the U.S. about their hair journey and to offer the DVD as an opportunity to cause a change in their hair health.

Today’s article offers a few tips to help better understand this stuff on top of our heads called hair. As is my custom, I’ll split it into three separate posts.

– Hair and the Nervous System – 9/11/14
– Why Perms are Afraid of Water – 9/12/14
– Why Natural Hair is Dehydrated – 9/13/14

Hair and the Nervous System

I live in the country, and there are a lot of bugs around our home. Sometimes I can pick up their sounds before they get too close because it almost sounds like there are wasps in my hair! I have been natural for five years now, and on the left side of my head, the hair on that side can pick up the sounds of those tiny irritating bugs.

That’s because hair is a hereditary extension of yourself, is connected to your nervous system, and acts as antennae.

“Hair is an extension of the nervous system, it can be correctly seen as exteriorized nerves, a type of highly-evolved ‘feelers’ or ‘antennae’ that transmit vast amounts of important information to the brainstem, the limbic system, and the neocortex. When hair is cut, receiving and sending transmissions to and from the environment are greatly hampered. This results in ‘numbing-out’.”

–  http://banoosh.com/blog/2013/07/12/hair-is-an-extension-of-the-nervous-system-why-indians-keep-their-hair-long/

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Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

While it’s fun to play around with our hair and to try different styles, hair is not some miscellaneous body part of ours, which makes us think deeply about the role of the hairdresser.

Hair and hair health is just as important as other bodily functions like skin and nails. It’s not about the style of the hair making one more or less righteous (this is not a natural vs relaxed debate), but this is more so about hair health. How to treat our hair, and what combination of hair products is more or less beneficial.

Have you ever sat down to ponder why a piece of hair can identify who you are? Why do witches use strips of hair to perform witchcraft? Or why the biblical Samson lost all of his power by letting Delilah cut off all his hair? That’s because your hair is part of you and always has been.

The ancient and native peoples knew about this link between long hair, health, and spirituality. They never cut their hair voluntarily. Short hair was a universal sign of slavery, shame, defeat, and a loss of power and identity. You are not a bad person for cutting your hair or wearing a short style. This is only to demonstrate how seriously people have always looked at hair. Many would only cut their hair in the event of captivity, for mourning purposes, or hygiene. It was seen as a way of blocking out the energies of the world.