The Healthy Hair Trinity – External Factors

 

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January 2010, September 2010 and December 2010

This post is the last of the Healthy Hair Trinity series and I have been looking forward to putting this up because out of the three factors that have an impact on the state of our hair, external factors are the ones we have the most control over.

I have been involved in the hair care world for almost a decade now and having spoken to hundreds of ladies about their hair, I can say without a doubt that external factors is where the vast majority of us get things so wrong.  Science has shown that we are ALL genetically are be able to grow at least 12 inches of hair…emphasis on at least.  This is subject to us being healthy of course (internal factors such as ill health can alter this.
Many of us have no medical issue or scalp disorder that is prohibiting or slowing our hair growth.  Often, it is what is happening to or what we do to our hair on the outside that causes severe damage and leaves us with hair much less fabulous than it is capable of being.  There are several external factors which can be damaging to our hair.  Correct hair care is the best way to deal with external factors.  In addition to this, we all have different hair types, fine tuning your hair care to meet the specific needs of your hair, is the best way to correctly manage your hair type so that it thrives.

 

Common External Factors that affects our hair

  1. Living in a hard water area.
    Unfortunately, many of us live in hard water areas and we then use this water to wash our hair on a regular basis.  Hard water is known to cause some many problems to hair and skin and I have first-hand experience of this.
    I have written detailed posts about hard water and how to combat its effects.  You can read the posts by clicking here and here.

 

  1. Extreme Weather Conditions
    Extreme weather conditions tend to negatively affect the moisture levels in hair and often results in damage and breakage. For example, exposure to very hot weather and UV rays can lead to discoloration and damage to the out layer of hair. Adjustments must be made to how you care for and wear your hair to protect it from environmental damage.  Ladies, you know I got you.  I have a written post about this which you can find by clicking here.

 

  1. Lifestyle – Exercising and Swimming
    It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise is good for our bodies and is proven to speed up hair growth.  Sweat residue however can leave bacteria on your scalp and hair fibres and can also make hair feel brittle when the sweat dries up. Build up of bacteria on the scalp will hinder scalp health and dry brittle hair will break easily.
    Chlorine in swimming pools will leave a coating on the hair which will nullify majority your hair care efforts because the build up of  mineral on hair will prevent hair products from being absorbed into hair fibres properly.  Yup, I have written posts that will help you adjust your hair care to reduce the risk of damage as a result of exercising and swimming.  Click here and here to read them.

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  1. Hair Care Practices and Hair Style Choices
    What we do or fail to do to our hair has a very significant impact on our hair.  Many ladies I have come across who are finding it challenging to keep their hair healthy usually have one or more of the following issues:
    A- lack of or irregular hair care
    B – regular but incorrect hair care – this includes using protein and moisture products incorrectly, using good hair care products the wrong way, using oils as a moisturiser, using the wrong products or wrong hair care techniques for your hair type, etc.
    C – damaging hair styles or incorrect protective styling

Prior to my hair journey I was definitely guilty of all the above.  What I and millions of ladies on healthy hair journey did to transform our hair was change what we did to our hair externally.

How do we care for our hair correctly?  Its simple,

  1. – Create and be consistent with a hair regimen that is suitable for your hair type  ( look up at the menu bar and read all the contents of the section called How to Care for Black Hair if you don’t have a hair care regimen and would like to create one for yourself)
  2. – Fine tune or adjust your regimen to be sure that it protects your hair from damage from the external factors listed above ( eg you may need to ensure your products are right for your hair type, tweak your regimen in winter or if you have been swimming  or if you move to an area with hard water)

As a bit of a recap of the healthy hair trinity, the point is this, genetics, internal factors and external factors all have a role to play in how each individuals hair will be.  External factors, particularly our hair care and hair styling practices are the aspects we have almost total control of.  Take advantage of that control!

Good hair care should –

  • Sustain and improve scalp health
  • Preserve hair fibres so that length can be retained.

I share the throwback pictures of my hair journey above and  below with the hope that it encourages more ladies to level up and take better care of their hair.    My genetics and internal factors did not change, the improvement in the state of my hair is solely due to me caring for it correctly.
I didn’t stop relaxing my hair I just made sure I did it the correct way and remained consistent with my hair care.  I still wear extensions but I make sure it is done in a way that preserves my hair rather than destroy it……and remain consistent with my hair care.    I am sure you get the gist by now :) and I hope you have found this Healthy Hair Trinity series to be  a worthwhile read.

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December 2010

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Sometime in 2013

 

My next post will be about drying our hair on our wash days.  Blow drying, tension blow drying, air drying, roller setting etc. all will be explained along with the pros and cons of each.  Don’t miss it!!

Happy Hair Journey

X

Lade

 

The Healthy Hair Trinity: Growth, Retention and Internal Factors

 

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Hair growth and hair retention are two different things.
There is still so much confusion out there because many ladies still do not understand the difference between growth and retention and why BOTH are important.  Until we are able to understand the difference between growth and retention, many ladies will continue to fall prey to products claiming they will help you grow an inch a week or magic hair growth scarves that grow your hair as you sleep. It is important to separate growth and retention, so ladies don’t go wasting money on dubious claims.
I have a big smile on my face right now reminiscing how many growth potions and magic hair scarves I bought prior to my hair journey.  Trust me I’ve been down that road.
In this post,I hope to help more ladies avoid mixing up growth, retention and help highlight the true function and purpose of hair care.  I will also set out some internal factors that have an impact on our hair growth rate. It’s a long one, so if you’re interested in learning, get comfortable and get reading.

 

Hair Retention

Retention is preventing the damage and breakage of hair that has already grown out of your scalp.
When the hair you have already grown is not getting damaged, not breaking off or being cut off, it will get longer as your hair continues to grow out of your scalp.  If you are able to keep (retain) the hair you have already grown, then over time as the same hair keeps growing out of your scalp, it will get longer.

Allow me to explain better using an example.  Imagine you would like to have very long nails, but your nails are always getting damaged and chipped so you keep having to cut it off, or let’s assume you bite your nails, will it get longer? NO,…..because the nails you have grown keeps breaking off or needs to be cut off because of damage or because you’ve chewed it off.
Is the problem that your nails are not growing?  NO, the problem is that you are not keeping or retaining the nails that you have already grown.

Ladies, the same theory can be applied to our hair, if you want long healthy hair but the hair you have already grown is breaking off or needs to be cut off because of damage, will your hair get longer and look healthy? NO.
Is the problem that your hair is not growing? NO, the problem is that you are not keeping or retaining the hair that you have already grown.

So how do you retain or keep the hair you have already grown??  The answer is hair care.
Hair care is essential for retention.  Hair care will help you prevent or minimise damage to your hair so that it does not break off or need to be cut off in high quantities because off the damage.
So like I said in the first post of this series and on my IG stories, hair care is very important and essential. Retention is the reason why hair care is important.  Hair care however does not make hair grow, hair care allows you to retain length.

That amazing shampoo and conditioner is not making your hair grow faster, it is helping you fight hair breakage and reducing the risk damage so that you retain hair.
That amazing moisturiser you use several times a week is not making your hair grow faster …it is helping you fight breakage and damage. That magic scarf does not make your hair grow but it will help you fight split ends and damage because it protects your hair from the cotton pillowcase you sleep on.  That scarf will not speed up how fast your hair grows out of your scalp.

So if retention through hair care is how our hair stays healthy and plays a big part in our hair getting longer, why should we care about continuous hair growth?  Why is hair growth still important?

 

Hair Growth

Hair growth is about how our hair develops within our hair follicles (hair root) and eventually comes out of our scalp.

When the hair cells are within the roots they are living cells but by the time they come out or grow out of our scalp they are dead cells.  This is why hair care products applied to preserve the dead hair fibres cannot speed up hair growth.  You can’t make your hair fibres grow faster by taking care of the dead parts.
If you would like to ensure you have healthy hair growth then you have to do so from within, ie work on or influence the parts of your hair that are still living.  This does not mean you should stop caring for your dead hair fibres, remember retention is important.

Now  to answer the question about why is hair growth just as important as hair retention?
If your hair isn’t growing, what will you retain? Or if your hair begins to shed at alarming rates and does not grow back or if your hair growth becomes extremely slow, it would be challenging to get longer hair length that looks healthy too.
As an example, imagine a lady’s hair became very damaged and all broke off or she decided to transition from relaxed hair to natural hair.  If she shaved it all off and then, her hair stopped growing, would she have any hair to retain, NO.

As a further example, imagine a lady’s hair grows to 16 inches and then stopped growing.  She carries on taking really great care of her hair but even with hair care over several years, the 16 inches of hair gets older and weaker and the ends needs to be trimmed a few times a year to remove the weathered and thinned out ends.  After several years of trimming, she would eventually have no hair left IF her hair stopped growing because the 16 inches will eventually all get trimmed off.
For a healthy looking head of hair that is also long, you need continuous hair growth AND hair retention.

 

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The Healthy Hair Trinity – Internal Factors

When thinking about Internal factors, besides wanting to help ladies identify dubious products claims by clarifying the function of hair care and hair care products, I had a second set of ladies in mind. The ladies who take exceptional care of their hair but are not seeing much progress with their hair and believe, incorrectly, they must be getting something wrong with how they care for their hair.
I also thought about the ladies who take great care of their hair but also know they have slow hair growth and do not realise that they may be able to improve their hair growth rates.

I have to point out that some internal factors are within our control and some are outside of our control.  The ones we can control however, can make a significant impact on our hair growth rate or help ensure we don’t slow down our hair growth.

  • Stress
    High and prolonged levels of stress can increase hair shedding rates beyond normal levels. Stress causes inflammation of the nerves around hair follicles, this combined with other internal factors can cause increased levels of shedding.
    If your hair is shedding at very high rates it will become thinner. Stress often manifesting in a physical ways and can affect our skin, hair and lead to other problems.  Reducing your stress levels is great for your overall health and for your hair too.

 

  • Deficiencies
    Deficiency in iron, other minerals and vitamins can also lead to increased rates of shedding as well as slowed down hair growth. Vitamin D stimulates hair follicles and lack of it has been linked alopecia. Many of the B vitamins influence healthy hair growth, Zinc also helps to stimulate hair growth. Iron deficiency has been proven to cause increased hair shedding and slow hair growth as well as many other symptoms. There are a multitude of vitamins and minerals needed to keep our bodies healthy and deficiencies in them can have an impact on our hair.Having a healthy balanced diet which meets the needs of your body is one way give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to be healthy and in turn grow hair at a good pace as opposed to a slowed down rate.  You have some degree of control over this internal factor as you can make eating healthy a priority, not just for hair but for overall health.Please note that some deficiencies are not caused by a poor diet alone. Also note that having a good diet may not be enough to correct some deficiencies. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies will require medical diagnosis and in some cases a prescribed medication to overcome.  Please see your doctor if you suspect you have some deficiencies.If you have suffered some hair loss as a result of deficiencies, you should see an improvement to your hair growth rate and reduction in your shedding rates a few months AFTER the deficiency has been regulated.

 

  • A variety of health conditions, medications and treatments. This includes some scalp conditions.
    Some medical conditions that can cause hair loss includes thyroid diseases, some types of alopecia, some types of scalp infections, severe scalp inflammations and infections, some types of lupus, etc. Please note that this list is not conclusive, I am only setting out a few examples.
    Nobody wishes to have health problems or medical conditions, unfortunately some people will have them.  The condition itself or in some cases the treatment of the condition can result in hair loss. Moisturising and sealing is not going to solve the issues in this case.
    Please work with your doctor if you have any conditions that may be affecting your health as well as your hair.

 

  • Hormonal changes.
    Many ladies experience what is known as post-partum hair loss after having a baby. In brief, when a woman is pregnant she has elevated levels of oestrogen in her body which causes her normal hair shedding to reduce dramatically.
    This is why many ladies note that their hair flourishes when they are pregnant.  After she has had the baby, her oestogen will begin to return to normal levels and the hair that should have been shed during pregnancy begins to fall out, sometimes at a very scary rate.    This hair loss is not caused by improper hair care and cannot be solved by hair care.
    It also does not mean the woman has a deficiency in oestrogen levels after birth.  This type of hair loss is a normal result of a woman’s oestrogen returning to normal levels after childbirth.  Within 6 months to a year after childbirth the normal hair growth cycle should be restored and the excessive shedding should have stopped.Other causes of hormonal changes and imbalances in the body which may result in hair loss or slower hair growth in some women include menopause or having a hysterectomy.
    Please note that what causes hair loss in a woman may not cause hair loss in another, for example some women do not experience severe postpartum hair loss.
    Concerns about hormonal imbalances should be raised with your doctor.

 

  • Diet and Fluid Intake
    In many ways this can be linked to point two (deficiencies) above.
    Please note that if your body is deficient in essential nutrients and vitamins and minerals, the body is designed to allocate the little amount to essential organs first.  And if there is any surplus vitamins and minerals at the time (when the deficiency is ongoing) it will be stored or reserved for future use by the essential organs.  Our bodies are amazing.  God is amazing. I hope this points helps to emphasise the importance of playing your part to avoid severe levels of deficiency…..try to eat well and drink a good amount of water. Healthy bodies have a much higher chance of  growing healthy hair at normal speed as opposed to a slowed down speed.

 

  • Lifestyle
    Some aspects of our lifestyles can have a positive or negative impact on our hair.
    For example, prolonged lack of sleep and  lack of exercise have been shown to have a negative impact on our overall health as well as our hair.
    Again these factors will affect hair from within but we have some control over this factors by trying to get adequate sleep and getting regular exercise which has been proven to help boost hair growth rate.

 

From the above, I hope you will see that you can positively influence your hair growth rate by working on having a healthy diet, drinking an adequate amount of water and playing your part to stay healthy by getting a good amount of sleep, exercise and reducing stress level.  I do realise that doing all the above is much easier said than done.
I truly hope that many will find this post has educative and that it has cleared up the confusion about hair growth as opposed to hair retention and that you know what you can do to support healthy hair growth.

Now, I am going to throw a spanner in the works and say something that is rather annoying which at first glance might seem to be in complete contradiction with everything I’ve just said in this post BUT stay with me ……..
Read up till the end.  It will make perfect sense.

Scalp massage as a hair care practice does in fact encourage or have an impact on hair growth  because it works on the parts of the hair that are still living.  Scalp massages encourages blood to the hair follicles by stimulating the nerves, muscles and blood vessels in scalp.  This helps the hair follicles receive nutrients and oxygen from blood flowing to it.
Scalp massages can stimulate faster healthy hair growth because they work on the living cells within. They influence internal factors.  Massaging your hair fibres will not stimulate your hair follicles because the hair fibres are dead fibres.  The scalp is alive and the follicles within the scalp are living.  It makes sense right?

The final post of this series will be about external factors and will be my favourite of the series because it will  show even further, the importance of hair care. Because, hair care is the best way to respond to many external factors and as well as the best way to counter the challenges we may face with our genetically pre-determined hair type.

Come back soon for my next post in which I will breakdown and explain this statement.

See you soon and happy hair journey

X

Lade

 

The Healthy Hair Trinity – Genetics

Hello ladies,

Happy new year!!!I hope you are happy and thriving wherever you are.

Hairducation is focused mainly on hair care, however hair care is just one of the aspects that is important to have a healthy head of hair.  I’ve come to realise that so many ladies believe that hair care alone matters when on a hair journey and although hair care is ESSENTIAL, there are other factors which will determine the state of your hair besides your hair care practices.
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Over the first few posts of 2019, I would like to give Hairducation readers a fuller picture of healthy hair.
If you follow Hairducation on Instagram you may have seen one of my IG stories last year  in which I shared that healthy and long hair is determined by three main factors: Genetics, Internal factors and external factors.  I like to call these The Healthy Hair Trinity.
I wrote a post a short while ago about these three factors which you can read by clicking on this link.  I think it makes a good introduction into The Healthy Hair Trinity series.

In today’s post, I will put up a reminder of which characteristics of our hair is determined by genetics.  The main focus of this series however is on internal factors and external factors and how these factors can either support or hinder your hairs genetic potential.

 

GENETICS & YOUR HAIR


The vast majority of the physical characteristics of our hair is determined by our genetic make up
Some of these characteristics includes

  • The colour of our hair
  • The texture and thickness of our hair strands
  • Density (number of strands)
  • How long our hair can grow and the speed of our hair growth                                                                                 

I once had a client who decided to transition to natural hair.  When she told me she had decided to transition, she sent me pictures of the type of hair she wanted to grow.  Predictably it was the Tracee Ellis Ross-esque curly kind of hair.  I had to burst that bubble and explain that her natural hair type would be determined by mother nature.

Focusing too much on another person’s hair may prevent you from embracing the qualities and beauty of yours.  Altering our genes is not really an option so accepting your hair type (either in its virgin or relaxed state) is very important.
What I find fascinating is that many ladies may never know what their hair’s true genetic characteristics are. This is because of the variety of internal and external factors that are preventing them from realising it potential.


So by now I’am sure you’re wondering what these internal and external factors are!!!!!
My next post will focus on internal factors, the significant impact they have on the “reality” of our hair and what control we have over these factors.  It will be a good read if I dare say so myself.

 

See you soon

X

Lade

Texlax Update and Length Check

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Hey ladies,

This is a quick quick post to share my texlax update, some surprising observations about the final month of my stretch, the actual length of my hair in inches and yup…a couple of pictures too.

The 7th Month and Texlax Day
You may have read my 6 months rant in which I talked about how much work stretching my relaxer interval to 6 months was.  To my utter surprise, month 7 was a breeze and I don’t know why.  I didn’t do anything different.  I am now convinced it was simply an attitude adjustment, I must have resigned myself to the fact that caring for my hair was going to be tough and accepting it made it seem easy.  (Note to self, an attitude adjustment can work wonders  or in other words, yes its tough, deal with it)

I was scared, legit scared, every time I thought about texlax day. I didn’t think I could handle it, I was sure something was going to go wrong because I’ve never stretched so long.    Texlax day came and everything was a breeze, so much so when I finished applying the “weakened” relaxer to my hair I paused and thought “something is wrong, this was too easy, I must have missed a step”.   But no, it was all around probably the easiest texlax day I’ve ever had.

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Length Check
I’ve been asked what the actual length of my hair is on several occasions.  I’ve always guessed and said it was about 20 inches.  I decided to measure my hair using a tape and to my surprise the shorter parts are 20 inches and the longest parts are 25 inches (I used a 24 inch tape).  The plan was to have the markings on the tape be visible, but my photography just isn’t that good…yet.  If you zoom into the picture however you can see the numbers on the tape I used.

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I am happy with how thick my hair has gotten and that I’ve retained a good amount of length too.   I have been trying a few new things which seem to be working well.  All will be revealed in due course 😊

The next post will be about Manshanu and hair butters.  Manshanu is also known as ghee or clarified butter.  It is very popular in the north of Nigeria and several ladies have given rather interesting feedback about it.  So, I intend to dig a little deeper, compare it with hair butters and share my findings with you real soon.

 

Happy hair journey ladies

X

Lade

Learn| Change | Grow

Essential Oils Revisited

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Essential Oils are extracted from plants and tend to be highly concentrated, have a strong scent and are volatile (evaporate very quickly).
They are so potent they must not be used directly, they must be added to a carrier oil before use.  “Normal” oils such as olive, coconut, avocado, grapeseed, almond, jojoba, Castor, etc are called carrier oils because they are ideal for “carrying” (being mixed with) essential oils.

Whilst carrier oils are great for sealing, act as great lubricants for hair and can boost shine, essential oils have a more therapeutic/medicinal function in hair care.

Although essential oils are not necessary for healthy hair care they are certainly beneficial.  There have been numerous scientific studies which show that essential oils have the following benefits:

  • They stimulate the scalp and promote healthy hair growth
  • They help nourish and strengthen hair follicles. When applied to the scalp, they are able to penetrate our hair follicles and impart their beneficial properties more directly.
  • They help wake up dormant hair follicles.
  • They increase blood circulation
  • They can prevent and fight inflammations which sometimes cause severe hair loss
  • Many essential oils contain anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-septic and anti-microbial properties
  • They help fight hair loss and premature greying due to their anti-oxidant properties
  • They promote scalp health

Please note that not all essential oils contain all the benefits listed above but all essential oils posses multiple properties which benefits our hair and scalp. Personally I use essential oils for three main reasons: Scalp health, overall health of my hair fibres and to stimulate hair growth.

 

 

How To Use Essential oils

I have written posts about using oils for healthy hair care which you can read by clicking here and here.  These posts will give you a tonne of helpful information that can make a significant difference to your hair regimen.  For your convenience however, I have pasted parts of the older posts, which show the ways you can incorporate essential oils into your hair regimen.

Pre-poo
A few drops of your essential oils can be added to the carrier oil or conditioner you apply to your hair as a pre-poo treatment.

Mixed Into Your Deep Conditioner
A few drops can be added to your deep conditioner. This will give have a stimulating effect on your scalp whilst you deep condition.  It will also enrichen your deep conditioner.

Scalp Massages
A mix of carrier and essential oils can be applied to your scalp and massaged in for a few minutes.

Please note that pregnant women should not use any essential oil unless they have been given permission by their doctor to do so.

 

 

New Additions to My Essential Oil Collection

Over the last year I have expanded my essential oil collection to 7 by adding Cedarwood, White Thyme  and Laurel Leaf.

Cedarwood
This is obtained from the wood parts of the Cedar Tree and has a woody sweet smell which I really like.  It is fast becoming one of my favourite essential oils and has the following benefits for hair.

  • It is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal
  • It promotes hair growth by increasing circulation to the scalp and has been shown in studies to help regrow hair and reduce thinning
  • It improves scalp health
  • It has mild sedative effect, so it is super calming and might help you nod off if you have trouble sleeping.
  • It is a natural antiseptic

Laurel Leaf ( also known as Bay Laurel essential oil)
This oil is derived from the leaves of the Bay Laurel tree.  I love it’s fresh and spicy scent and was not surprised to when I found out its use in men’s fragrance is prevalent.  It imparts a wide spectrum of benefits for healthy hair care such as

  • It is antiseptic, anti-fungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and also has natural antibiotic properties.
  • It is an astringent and this helps to prevent hair loss by tightening the grip of our hair follicles in the scalp.
  • It encourages hair growth
  • It helps to treat scalp ailments

 

White Thyme
This is obtained from the thyme herb and in my opinion smells like kerosene mixed with tea tree oil.  The scent and the oil itself is strooooooong and must be used in moderation!!!!  I am however able to look past this when I consider the benefits it has for hair which includes

  • It increases blood flow to the scalp
  • It help promote hair growth or re-growth where there has been hair-loss
  • It helps on the control of dandruff
  • It is antimicrobial and helps to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi.

 

 

Ladies do not sleep on essential oils, especially when you consider all the benefits listed above.   Essential oils are relatively easy to find across the US and Europe but for my ladies in Lagos they are not readily available but that will be changing because………. Cedarwood, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Tea Tree, Lavender and Rosemary will be available for purchase at Hairitage Salon very soon.

 
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Do you currently use essential oils in your regimen?  Which ones are your faves and how do you use them?

My next post will be a hair update and my first official length check.  I get asked very often exactly how long my hair is in inches, find out in my next post which also doubles as my texlax update.
I still don’t know how I managed to stretch to 7 months.

See you soon

x

Lade

Lean | Change | Grow