Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Montgomery Hair Examiner

I am's newest Montgomery Hair examiner! If interested in more of my articles exclusively about hair care, visit my page!

Thanks! :)

All about Co-Washing

Co-washing is a great way to rehydrate thirsty hair and scalp. The term "co-wash" is short for "conditioner wash." The process involves simply cleansing your hair with a moisturizing conditioner, instead of shampoo that contains chemicals that can be overly drying to your hair. A moisturizing co-wash is beneficial because conditioners contain small amounts of detergent that cleanse the hair and scalp, but also restores moisture as it cleans.

African Americans find the most advantages from co-washing since kinky or curly hair tends to be naturally dryer than straight hair.

Just about any moisturizing conditioner is co-wash worthy. The key is "moisturizing." Grabbing a protein conditioner may not be the best idea for co-washing, since protein conditioners focus more on strengthening than moisturizing. The plan behind co-washing is to add moisture. Too much protein can have the opposite effect causing hair to become hard and dry.

Many people like to take advantage of using cheaper conditioners for co-washes, because the benefits are just as rewarding without over spending. A few cheapies include VO5, Suave and Herbal Essence.

How often you choose to co-wash is up to you. You may find that you only need to co-wash when your hair feels dryer than normal. For some people that can be everyday, once a week, or once a month. Everyone's hair is different, and it may take more or less to improve the amount of moisture in your hair than someone else's.
Although co-washing is a great way to improve moisture, be mindful of moisture overload. There is such a thing as "too much moisture." If your hair begins to feel mushy or extra stretchy when wet, you may need to co-wash less often.

It is important to remember if you co-wash frequently to use a clarifying shampoo at least once a month in order to remove any extra buildup on your hair and scalp from your conditioner.

Remember, adequate moisture in hair means less tangles, less breakage, and stronger healthier hair. If you are looking for a way to restore the moisture in your hair, try co-washing a few times and see how your hair reacts. It may be exactly what your hair has been waiting for!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

How I acheive my Braidouts!

Last week I decided to do a braidout on my hair. A braidout is a low manipulation wavy/curly style that is great for any hair whether it's relaxed, natural, or in the transitioning phase. I enjoy braidouts on my relaxed hair because it is a nice alternative to straight hair and it gives me a more "natural" look. If you are looking for a new style, the braidout is easy, non expensive, versatile, and beautiful. There are many different ways to create the "look," however, I am going to share how I like to do my braidouts and the technique that works best for me.

What you need:

  • A comb for detangling
  • A moisturizing leave-in conditioner
  • Small perm rods
  • Damp hair
The technique:
I always do my braidouts on freshly washed hair while it is still damp because I like a more defined curl. You can do your braidouts on dry hair if you desire a looser wave.

1. After rinsing out my conditioner, I detangle my hair using a shower comb and apply Silk Elements Moisturizing Leave-in conditioner.

2. Next, I part my hair with my fingers into block like sections (I avoid parting with combs because I do not desire a manufactured look. I like for my braidouts to look natural, therefore I like "messy" parts). I've found that about 10 plats is enough to acheive the look that I like...medium sized defined curls.

3. Then I proceed to plat my hair down to the ends and roll the ends with small perm rods. Some people like to cornrow their hair when doing braidouts, but I have found that plats work better for me, especially on damp hair to avoid unnecessary breakage. I leave the plats in overnight and sleep with a satin bonnet.

4. The next morning, I take my plats down and use a hair pick to pick my roots in order to get rid of the parts and to add volume to my hair.

That is all there is to it! As far as daily maintainence, I am sure to scrunch in a moisturizer and oil as a sealent in the mornings, and I sleep with a silk bonnet on at night. The braidout worn down usually lasts me 3 days before it becomes frizzy. Once the frizz begins, I start wearing my hair up in a clip with headbands for style, creating a cute crinkly updo!

This style is not only a great look, but it is also healthy for your hair because it does not require you to comb or manipulate your hair for days aiding is less breakage. I love it!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Smashbox Makeup Review

After running low on my Mac sheer pressed powder and concealer that I had been noticing was becoming too dark for my complexion, I decided to give Smashbox makeup a shot and purchased the travel sized set (perfect for someone new to Smashbox) from Ulta last week for $49. The set includes the brand's Photo Finish Foundation Primer, High Definition Foundation, High Definition Concealer, and Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder. I noticed there were four sets to choose from based on complexion-- Fair, Light, Medium, and Dark. I purchased the Dark kit. I don't believe a set has been created for those with a deeper complexion just yet, however I was informed by a Smashbox Rep that they are indeed working on foundation for those with deeper skin tones.

I must say, I was impressed with this kit simply because it includes four of what I consider to be MUST HAVE products, and you are able to mix and match the products for different "looks." For an example, for a fresh and clean look, you can use the primer, foundation and concealer. If you were more interested in a complete finish, you would use all four of the products provided in the kit. If you are only wanting minimal coverage, you can use just the primer and the concealer. I love the idea of choice!

So down to the nitty gritty. About the products:

Photo Finish Primer extends makeup wear, fills in fine lines and pores, and creates smoother looking skin. I personally noticed that the primer provides me with a more "matte" finish after applying my makeup, which is something really important to me when dealing with an oily "T" zone.

High Definition Foundation provides medium to full coverage depending on how much you decide to use. It is oil free and contains SPF 15. I'm all about protecting my skin!

High Definition Concealer covers those imperfections and dark circles and puffiness under the eyes. I honestly like Mac's concealer more because it seems to cover better. This particular concealer is more of a liquid and just does not apply as well as my beloved Mac.

Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder provides a wonderful radiant finish and is not dry like other powders as it provides all-day moisturization (without leaving you oily) which is great for skin! It also is said to minimize signs of aging. I believe the powder is my favorite product in the set because I can use it with the foundation or without and it looks great either way. It is the best item in this kit for smoothing out my complexion.

Over all I give these four Smashbox products a 4 out of 5. I like that it offers full and minimal coverage, it doesn't leave me looking "ashy," and it blends well. I can enjoy a matte finish without my skin becoming overly dry. I love love LOVE the primer and powder, and I'm satisfied with the foundation. I just don't care for the concealer because I'm used to Mac's better coverage. The rest of the products however, are definitely worth trying!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Oil for Optimal Skin

Cleaning your face can become a pain, especially for those with sensitive skin, when every product on the market irritates your skin. Many products contain harsh chemicals that leave skin dehydrated, itchy, or even too oily causing even more breakouts. I can personally attest to using products that were too strong leaving my skin burned and peeling.

A few months ago, my mother stumbled upon the Oil Cleansing Method on the Internet. I must admit I was thinking, "My skin is already oily, wouldn't cleaning my face with oil just cause my skin to be even MORE oily causing breakouts?" But after researching the method, I understood the benefits of using oil. I must say, I've had compliments on how clear my skin is!

So let me explain what I've found at Using the Oil Cleansing Method left me with glowing CLEAN skin, free of blackheads, pimples, and other unsightly imperfections. When washing your face with a lot of the "oil sucking" products out there, you cause your skin to go into overdrive as it tries to compensate for the oil that it has lost...causing guess what?? More oil! I always wondered why after washing my face with some products my nose would instantly begin to shine! Some chemicals in products are so harsh that they can irritate your skin to the point that it is inflamed and trapping dirt, which can cause future breakouts.

So how does applying oil cleanse the skin? Oil dissolves oil. Oil is not what causes breakouts. Hormones, the buildup of dead skin and debris, and bacteria are the real culprits along with other factors. Even your natural oil helps to protect and moisturize your skin--not harm it.

It is very important to know what oils to use, how much to use, and exactly how the method works. Do not grab vegetable cooking oil from the pantry and slather it all over your face expecting life changing results! Your basic and most important oil for the Oil Cleansing Method is Castor oil. Castor oil is a healing and cleansing oil, as well as an anti-inflammatory. Sounds good huh? Castor oil isn't going to do the job by itself, however. Since Castor oil is so thick, many people choose to cut it with another thinner oil also proven beneficial to the skin. I personally like to cut mine with EVCO (Extra Virgin Coconut Oil). Other "cutting" oils include EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil), Sunflower Seed oil, and any natural cold-pressed vegetable oil. No mineral and refined oils!

As you can probably imagine, it does not take much oil to do the job. One deep cleansing session requires an oil blend about the size of a nickle. Massage the blend into your face for one or two minutes to remove dirt and makeup. Next, grab a washcloth and run it under water as warm as you can stand it (not scalding hot) to make a "steamy towel" and hold it to your face for about 30 seconds to a minute. The steam releases the oils from your pores that carry dirt and impurities. Wipe, and repeat the "steamy towel" step two or three more times. It is said that the method should be done "regularly but not too frequently." I do the method about once or twice a week and I've had great results!

I give the Oil Cleansing Method a 5 out of 5. I love how it gives my skin a natural glow, doesn't leave it irritated and keeps it clear!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Delicious honey--A sweet treat for your hair!

Your sweet tooth may not be the only one craving a sugary fix. If you are a victim of dry brittle hair, your hair may also benefit from a sweet treat--Honey. Honey has proven to be very beneficial to ethnic hair. How? Well, honey is a natural humectant, meaning it naturally attracts and holds moisture. Because kinky and curly hair tends to be dryer than straighter hair, those with ethnic hair may find that their hair benefits from additional moisture. The sweet treat is also an antibacterial and anti fungal, which can aid in hair loss prevention.

Do not let its stickiness fool you. When applying a honey treatment correctly, honey will not cause your hair to become a hard sticky mess. It will actually leave your hair shiny and feeling soft and moist. Honey is often mixed with a conditioner and/or an oil (such as olive oil). You can choose to deep condition your hair with this mixture, or apply the mixture as a "prepoo" on already damp hair. Because the hair is already damp, the honey mixture goes on just as a regular conditioner would--not sticky. Some women like to apply honey alone to their damp hair. I prefer to mix mine with a conditioner and olive oil to provide my hair with a great "slip" when combing it out in the shower.

Some women also use honey as a natural hair lightener as it contains hydrogen peroxide.

I tried a honey treatment and my personal recipe and results are as follows: I mixed a tbsp of honey, a tsp olive oil, and about a cup of Mizani Moisturefuse Conditioner and applied the mixture to my hair. I sat for 30 minutes under my dryer. The treatment resulted in my hair feeling very moist and healthy, and I did notice more shine. I did not notice a change in the color of my hair after the first use. I give the honey treatment a 4 out of 5, only because I prefer my hair to be dark. I will probably use the honey treatment no more than once a month since I am only interested in the moisturizing benefits and not lighter hair. :)
Image courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons Public Domain