Monday, 22 April 2013

Infused Oils/Herbal Oils

Infused oils also referred to as herbal oils are basically carrier oils like Olive, Coconut, Avocado, Grape seed and the lot that have been steeped, soaked or saturated with herbs. You know those oils in bottles, some fancy looking with interesting shapes that you find at the food section in supermarkets, food stores or some restaurants filled with all sorts of herbs and spices? Yeah, those are infused oils. I make my infused oils as needed so it is usually a tablespoon or two but they can be made in larger quantities and steeped for longer a week or more. I use my infused oil mostly in my deep conditioner or as a pre poo sometimes.

This is how I make my infused oil;
  1. Pick carrier oil of choice; I usually use coconut but have worked with olive as well.
  2. Select spices/herb/herbs of choice and place in a non-plastic bowl, I use a mini tea cup for this because it is ceramic keeps the heat in for longer and the oil and herbs “cook” for longer out of the stove; I have used rosemary leaves and ground mustard seeds so far. Both fresh and dried herbs can be used.
  3. Heat up the oil, about two tablespoons or less depending on its use, in a frying pan until very hot, takes less than five minutes. I make sure the kitchen windows are wide open for this.
  4. Pour the hot oil over the herbs
  5. Cover with cling film/saran wrap and leave to steep for anything between 8 – 24 hours and it is ready to use by this time as the oil will have picked up the flavour and scent of the herb and/or spice used.  I strain with a spoon and the remaining herbs usually end up in food. The time it takes to steep for me depends on what time I remembered to make the oil prior to my wash day but it has never been less than 8 hours.

Different herbs and spices have different benefits for hair. Rosemary for example is said to help prevent hair thinning and hair loss, it is a great treatment for dandruff and creates a healthy environment for hair growth by stimulating hair follicles. Alternatively the oil and herbs can be heated up together. The infused oil can be made without heat simply by combining the herbs and oil in an airtight container and leave for up to two weeks. I prefer the heating method as a shortcut as I currently make my infused oil on a need to basis. Infused oils can also be used as salad dressing or marinades on their own or in conjunction with other ingredients. I plan to start making large kitchen batches of infused oils soon (like next week after I restock on oils) which I can then borrow from to use on my hair. If you use certain natural oils for your hair and to cook, do not feel compelled to buy separate oils for your hair and kitchen, just buy one big bottle to use in the kitchen and keep borrowing from that to use on your hair; that’s what the applicator bottles are for it also saves you some money since it is usually more economical to purchase large size products. 

In other news have you all seen this video? Black Hair 101 love how she breaks it down! 

Friday, 19 April 2013

Mineral Oil and Petroleum Jelly

Do any of you ladies stay clear of products containing mineral oil or petroleum jelly? If so why? I for one use products that contain both in my hair, my Amla oil has mineral oil in it doesn’t bother me one bit I have a styling product that is compounded with petroleum jelly works well for me and I see no reason not to use it. I use Vaseline which is basically petroleum jelly on my lips when they are dry. I have talked about having super dry legs in another post I apply Vaseline on my feet first and then use a lotion on top of that works well for me, even baby oil is mostly mineral oil. I am just wondering how a product that has worked well for eons is now considered “bad”. In my quest to find out more about mineral oil and petroleum jelly I stumbled on these two articles by hair and beauty bloggers who also happen to be scientists. I am glad I did because unless my Doctor says so I am not about to stop using products with petroleum jelly or mineral oil in them.

What are your thoughts on mineral oil or petroleum jelly based products?

Monday, 15 April 2013

L4LPSC final check in and a relaxer update

So relaxer day has come and gone I touched up at exactly 22 weeks post yesterday (Sunday). I intentionally texlaxed this time I say intentionally because I have accidentally texlaxed  in the past only then I was not aware there was a name for it I always thought my hair did not “take well”. For those who don’t know texlaxing is when you intentionally under process your hair during the relaxing process to leave it with some texture as opposed to relaxing bone straight. This can be achieved by cutting the recommended relaxing time by half or adding oils and conditioners to the relaxer to slow down the process. I added about a tablespoon of olive oil to achieve this but I think I washed out a little bit too early, next time I will keep the relaxer in for maybe three more minutes, go back to relaxing from the back and add some more oil to achieve the texlaxed texture that I want.

My very first perm when I was around 19 going on 20 was done using Dark and Lovely and it is what I have mostly used ever since. I tried other boxed relaxers every once in a while but Dark and Lovely was always my number one choice. About 3 years ago my hairdresser cousin used TCB no base lye relaxer on my hair and I temporarily switched to lye relaxers until I realised that they were very harsh on my scalp I would start feeling the tingling sensation within five minutes of application, so I switched back permanently to no lye aka boxed relaxers which are much more gentle on my scalp. I decided to make a switch to ORS Olive Oil Relaxer in normal strength for a change this time round, it was my very first time using it and I will definitely be using it again.
The contents of the box; the plastic bag contains gloves which even though they fit I found to be a bit tight at the wrist. I have latex gloves as well which is what I would normally use but I couldn't be asked to take these off once I had put them on. That's the wooden mixing stick next to the gloves.
Now a word of advice and this only applies to people who don’t live alone, share bathrooms with other people in their house and apply relaxer in a different part of the house other than the bathroom. Make sure the bathroom you intend to use for rinsing is vacant if it means giving the other bathroom sharers a heads up please do simply because when relaxer needs to be rinsed out it NEEDS to be rinsed out there are no two ways about it. Having the kitchen sink empty on standby is also a good idea.
Deep Conditioners used
These were the steps I followed;
1.      Lightly combed my hair using a wide toothed comb just to make sure there were no tangles or anything. Based my entire scalp, ears, forehead and neck with petroleum jelly aka Vaseline; I don’t take any chances:)
2.      Sectioned my hair into four parts; made a part right down the middle and another part from ear to ear creating four parts. I then coated the relaxed part of my hair with a wheat germ oil based product that is compounded with petroleum jelly this step for me especially is very important because overlapping is inevitable in my case. Well more like I end up touching parts of my previously relaxed hair with relaxer because I use my fingers for application and smoothing.
3.      Mixed in the relaxer this consisted of pouring in the activator into the relaxer I mixed for about two minutes and added a tablespoon of olive oil to slow down the process.
4.      Wearing gloves, I started the application process from the front this time round. I noticed that the top of my head/crown area took to the relaxer very quickly and by the time I was starting on the back I could see it straightening rapidly this was one of the reasons I ended up washing out too soon since I didn’t want it to be bone straight. Next time I will go back to starting from the back; it takes longer to process. I am fine haired so I always take to the relaxer very quickly but I had never really paid attention to the front and back processing times before now. It took me 10 minutes to apply and lightly smooth using my fingers. I had started off with the backbone bit of a tail comb (when you hold the comb upside down don’t know what that part is called) which is how I used to relax years back but by the third line I changed to my fingers it is much faster for me.
5.      Rinsed out and neutralized using the ORS creamy aloe shampoo sachet that came with the kit I had my full size bottle to hand just in case but did not need it in the end. I must have spent a good 20 minutes rinsing out the relaxer
6.      I deep conditioned with a mixture of ORS Olive Oil Replenishing Pak, ORS Hair Mayonnaise, one tablespoon oilve oil and  Natural Classic Henna Treatment Wax for an hour. I sprayed my hair with AVJ before deep conditioning and DC’ed on top of that. I covered my hair with cling film/saran wrap and then covered that with a shower cap. I tried steaming using towel heat for about five minutes but gave up when the towel cooled down; wringing a hot towel is not my idea of fun. Towel heat is when you dip a towel in hot water wring it and then cover your hair with it, apparently the towel can be microwaved as well but I was not about to try that I get this feeling it will burn or something. I have unintentionally set fire to things in the microwave before so this fear is justified:) A few years back during lunch at work I bought a slice of pizza from a restaurant next door that had a take away/out section, brought it back into the staff kitchen and popped it into the microwave to heat up, what I didn’t know was that the brown paper bag it was wrapped in contained an inner aluminium foil lining; the bag was quite thick almost like a padded envelope it never crossed my mind to peep inside I just popped it into the microwave…that is how I almost burnt down the staff kitchen!
7.      Rinsed out the DC, t-shirt dried, sprayed AVJ as a leave in conditioner, applied castor oil to my scalp and finally moisturized with a mixture of the ORS Olive Oil Hair Moisturizing Lotion that came in the kit and coconut oil. I make it a point to try and use the other products that come in the kit when relaxing I didn't use the wrap set mousse though. This hair lotion is a bit too thick for my liking but it did the job and the quantity is not that much especially if you are full shoulder head and beyond. I then had it roller set, dried under a hooded dryer and then wrapped. Forgot to mention I have been t-shirt drying for a while now and I can feel the difference; it soaks up the water a lot quicker and doesn’t snag hair.
8.      I plan to do a henna treatment for strength followed by a co wash in a week’s time and then continue with my usual regimen.

This is where I was in December last year this photo was taken on Christmas Eve. To read the story behind the trim please see my hair story page.
Starting photo freshly washed and blow dried that I submitted for the L4LPSC taken December 24th 2012. I was partially accidentally texlaxed here and was about 7 weeks post relaxer.
This is where I am now almost 3 months and 3 weeks later.

Good retention!

I tried my best to straighten the ends using a blow dryer for the length check but they just wouldn’t co-operate. So this is the best I can offer since I do not currently flat iron and didn’t want to put too much heat on my ends just yet but you can see the difference. I am quite happy with my length retention and hope to retain even more in the coming months.  

Links: L4LPSC 2nd Check In

DC: Deep condition
ORS: Organic Root Stimulator