Hair Garden Whipped Shea Butter

HGshea

One of my personal favorite products in the Hair Garden line is the Whipped Shea Butter. This particular blend of shea butter and oils get is labeled the “preservation formula” because that is its main function! My belief is that healthy hair comes from the inside. Once the hair grows out of the follicle, it is up to you to maintain its suppleness and health.  Shea butter is rich in Vitamin A and E making it great for your skin and hair. It has great moisturizing properties and coats the hair shaft which is excellent for protecting and sealing moisture into the hair. Olive oil is another ingredient in this product because it is an excellent conditioner and improves elasticity. Honey is a great humectant which also has anti-bacterial properties. Peppermint stimulates and improves circulation as well as balancing the pH of the hair and skin. Castor oil coats and softens the hair and stimulates the scalp. What makes this product special is that it also contains an amino acid concentrate that strengthens the hair and skin and improves its elasticity and aids in moisture retention. This product works great as a leave-in conditioner following the Hair Garden Cleanser and also is excellent for your daily moisture needs. This product is also great for baggying and banding! Enjoy the optimum benefits of this product by applying to wet or damp hair and only apply a small amount to avoid making the hair too oily. Contact me at hairgarden@live.com to find out how to get a jar of the “preservation formula”!

You Should Be Pre-Conditioning!

Pre-conditioning your hair is also known as a “pre-poo”. This is basically the process of pre-softening, conditioning and preparing the hair prior the cleansing process, which can be stressful on very coily hair.

Naturally, our bodies produce sebum to lubricate our hair and scalp, correct? When we cleanse our hair with detergents it strips the natural protective layer of sebum we have which can lead to dry or dehydrated scalp and hair. Our natural pH is also altered when we do this which can also result in dry hair and scalp. The combination of dryness and elevated pH can also lead to frizzy hair. This is why for some hair types, cleansing followed by conditioning alone is not effective in maintaining proper moisture levels.

Avocado and Coconut Milk Pre-Conditioner

You can pre-condition with one oil like coconut oil or you can make a simple cocktail of nutritious goodies for your hair. I prefer the simple and nutritious cocktail way! I like for my personal recipes to consist of a fatty base, a carrier oil and an essential oil. Why, you ask?

1. Fatty/thick base – Avocado (my favorite!), palm oil, honey, full fat yogurt.

  • These work to help soften the cuticle of the hair. They are thicker and will help coat the hair as well. Thicker oils are great lubricants for the friction involved in the anticipated cleansing.

2. Carrier oil – Coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, castor oil.

  • These oils have smaller nutrient chains that can penetrate the hair even easier once the cuticle is softened. They also “carry” the benefits of the essential oils to the hair and body.

3. Essential oil – Rosemary oil, peppermint oil, lemongrass oil, tea tree oil.

  • These are oil pressed from different herbs, flowers, plants and fruits. They have many therapeutic and healing properties for the scalp and follicle and are also beneficial for the hair. They are in concentrated form and can be delivered to the body by adding drops to a carrier oil.
Pre-Conditioning Treatment

You can pre-condition before every cleansing. I prefer doing it every few cleansings. I usually leave it on for an hour or so covered with a processing cap. I found that a no or low lather cleanser is best for my hair so I opt for the low lather when I precondition. I follow with small amount of a natural commercial conditioner like Giovanni or Shea Moisture. My final step is to use my pH balancing treatment and then I rinse lightly with lukewarm water.

You can use any combination of these and a variety of many more oils. I just listed the few that I use regularly but you can try any of your  favorite oils. Take a look at a few of the pre-conditioning recipes that I have tried under the Deep Conditioners category! I would love to hear what you tried and how it worked for you!

-Aphropuphs

Sealing Your Ends

 

endsOnce your hair leaves the root, it depends on you to maintain its health and moisture. Sometimes applying the product to your hair with open palms doesn’t get the product everywhere it needs to be. Sealing my ends is part of my personal natural hair care regimen. My hair has low porosity, which means it is harder for it to absorb moisture so sometimes I have problems with my ends being dry. Sealing your ends evenly distributes the product to each strand and smoothens the cuticle.

I seal my ends while my hair is still damp after every shampoo or co-wash and once in between depending on how long I go between washes. I seal my ends with a different mixture products depending on my hair needs at the moment. I use different combinations of shea butter, aloe, olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, and essential oils. I often slip and become a little heavy-handed with the product making my hair extremely oily. Be careful not to do this because it can end up clogging pores, making hair clump and unmanageable and resulting in hair getting dirty faster.

Sealing ends is very simple and can be quite relaxing. I enjoy the time I get to spend exploring my hair and massaging my scalp. I do it while watching my favorite television show or listening to music. I take my hair in tiny sections, ranging between about the size you would use if doing a micro braid or box braid, depending on the length and density of your hair. I separate the hair with my fingers and rub a small amount of product between my thumb, index, and middle finger and proceed to smooth it down the strand of my hair from the scalp to the ends. I make sure I focus on the ends in particular because this is the whole point in sealing! I continue this process until I have sealed my entire head. I go through it with my extra-soft boar bristle brush to smooth and catch any excess oils, detangle with a wide tooth comb. I usually do this before bed so I braid it down before I go to sleep.

 

I can tell the real effects of the products I’m using because they are now reaching the places they usually miss. In the morning when I take the braids loose and comb my hair the result is a super-soft, shiny afro!

Dusting Your Ends

When growing a healthy head of hair, it is essential that you trim your ends regularly! This can be a scary experience with natural hair especially for those who are working on retaining length. I trim my own ends at home but I use  a method called “dusting”. I trim small amounts of hair more frequently to avoid having to have a big trim. I may dust every 3-4 weeks instead of trimming every 6-8 weeks.

If you are uncomfortable with cutting your own hair, interview a series of stylists familiar with your hair texture and pick the one you have the most confidence in. If you want to try it yourself until you find a  stylist or if you just want to do it yourself at home then the method I use may work for you.

I twist my hair in several small two-strand twists. Make sure the twists are smooth ensuring the curls have taken on their natural pattern. I use hair cutting shears. I found a pair at the beauty supply store for about $14. Extend the twist and clip the ends. I clip about the same amount off of each twist. I take off about a centimeter. That’s a little less than half an inch.

Clip the ends of your twist or braid when dusting. This is a demo braid!

Notice how the braid is smooth until it gets to the end and then gets fuzzy. This is the portion you want to cut because it has had the most styling damage! Like I said in the caption, that is a demo braid just to give you an idea. You want all the braids or twists to be about that size or smaller if possible to ensure you get as many damaged ends as possible. I usually use twists when I dust my ends because I follow-up immediately with a hot oil treatment  with hair still in twists. The twists mostly come undone themselves during the hot oil treatment so it reduces my takedown time before the shampoo.

"Dusted" ends
“Dusted” ends

After dusting my ends and doing the hot oil treatment, the result is soft, full, even hair that I can comb through with virtually no tangling! I hope you have equally as pleasing results!

Naturally Me

The ever growing extension of me

coiling wild, healthy, and free

The way it was intended to be.

Naturally me.

What you’re getting is what you see.

Beautifully, genuinely, intensely, naturally me.

I love me

enough not to wear parts from another’s anatomy

Satisfied with the color, texture, and length that God gave me.

Forgive me if I am not as pretty as I could be

because I don’t wear my hair like the majority of society and my community.

But I refuse to sit back and die slowly

altering my beauty because of what you may think of me.

-Aphropuphs

Another Natural Hair Poem

I came across this poem in a book I was reading last  year, The Color Complex. I came across it again and wanted to share it with my fellow natural hair lovers. Enjoy!

“To those of my sisters who kept their naturals. Never to look a hot comb in the teeth. Sisters! I love you because you love you.” – Gwendolyn Brooks

You have not bought Blondine

You have not hailed the hot-comb recently.

You never worshipped MarilynMonroe.

You say: Farrah’s hair is hers.

You have not wanted to be white.

Nor have you testified to the adoration of that state

with the advertisement of imitation

(never successful because the hot comb is laughing too.)

But oh the rough rough Other music.

The Real.

The Right.

The natural Respect for self and seal.

Sisters!
Your hair is celebration in the world.

A poem by: Gwendolyn Brooks

Untitled: A Natural Hair Poem

The “me” I once hated

is now the “me” that I embrace

from my expressive cheekbones

to the beautiful nose spread across my face.

A head full of tiny curls

once called unmanageable and wild

were always a mystery to me

ever since I was a child.

One day curiosity got the best of me

and as I sat in the barber’s seat

I told him to shave off everything.

I walked out with my head up high.

People asked, “You cut your hair off! Why?”

I responded with a smile,

“It’s hair, not a limb, so no need to cry.”

From the fade, to the TWA, to the BAA

I enjoyed my natural mane at every stage

I am now beautiful because I said so

wearing my hair the way God made it grow.

I’ve fallen in love with the natural hair

I was finally getting to know.

I love everything about my natural hair

from the spring of my curls to the smell of it.

I get my natural hair wet

just for the hell of it.

I can’t keep my hands out of it.

My fingers are always flirting with my hair.

I try to keep my hands occupied with other things,

but they always find their way back up there.

Free from the poison that once imprisoned me

mentally, physically, politically, and spiritually.

Confidence is at its peak

because everything you see is 100% me.

Written By Aphropuphs

MSM Supplement

I started taking MSM back in October after reading a wonderful article about. I speak very highly of it and a lot of people are curious about what it is and it benefits.  I put this together to shine a little light on this wonder supplement

What is MSM?

MSM stands for methyl sulfonyl methane. It’s an organic sulfur compound that occurs naturally in plants and animals. It is found in the lignin of pine trees. It greatly differs from regular sulfur (sulfuric oxide) which is processed into sulfuric acid and is toxic to the human body. MSM is white and regular sulfur is a yellow color.

MSM is the most important raw material for building new cells during the healing process. It is an acid forming mineral that is part of the chemical structure of the amino acids methionine, cysteine, taurine, and gluthione. Amino acids are the building blocks of our body’s proteins. The more MSM our body has to work with, the more protein we develop resulting in faster hair and nail growth and healing of the body’s tissues. MSM is considered food so it is easily absorbed and utilized by the body.

What does it do?

MSM is found in human, hair, skin, and nails. It’s also found in hemoglobin and all body tissues. 1/3 of the hair’s strength comes from disulfide bonds (sulfur bonds). After your body assimilates the MSM it turns into an acid which becomes part of the amino acids that produce the protein in the hair (ethnic hair is 93%-97% protien), skin, and nails. The more MSM your body has to utilize, the more it has available to build the necessary proteins needed for faster hair and nail growth and healthy, new skin cells.

MSM has many other important benefits to your body. It supports the connective tissues like tendons, muscles, and ligaments. It makes the cells in the tissue more permeable, allowing fluids to pass through more easily, therefore, releasing toxins and reducing inflammation. This makes MSM helpful to those suffering from arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, gout, muscle pain, and constipation. It is used by many athletes because it accelerates the healing process. It’s even given to race horses to prevent muscle stiffness.

MSM is also needed for insulin production so it is good for those with diabetes. It  also disinfects the blood, helps the body resist bacteria, and protects cell protoplasm. It’s beneficial to those who have problems with acne, allergies, asthma, yeast infections, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic fatigue, migraines, and ulcers.

MSM deficiency can lead to problems like scar tissue, wrinkles, varicose veins, hardened arteries, digestive disorders, dry skin, joint problems, and inability to fight allergies.

How much MSM can I take? What can I take with it?

I have seen recommendations of dosages ranging from 1,000 mg- 6,000 mg, but the amount you  take all depends on your body size, age, and the severity of MSM deficiency. It has an extremely low level of toxicity, similar to water. Excess MSM is secreted through the urine within 12 hours of consumption.

Studies show that when MSM is taken in combination with zinc, silica, and biotin, the skin reaps the most benefits. Vitamin C depends heavily on MSM for optimal absorption. The more vitamin C your body is able to absorb, the faster the healing process.

MSM can be found in sulfur rich foods such as onions, garlic, brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, sunflower seeds, lentils, soy beans, turnips, wheat germ oil, and red raspberries

WARNING: MSM should not be consumed by those who have kidney issues. It makes you more susceptible to kidney stones.

I hope this has given everyone a good idea of what MSM is. I purchased MSM from GNC, but recently saw it at Wal-Mart for $1 cheaper. I take my MSM about 1-2 times a day in addition to prenatal vitamins ( for hair, skin, and nails only! lol). I am going to add biotin to my cocktail now. While taking prenatals and MSM alone, I experience about 1/2 inch+ of growth a month. Make sure you drink plenty of water when taking these supplements to aid in flushing the toxins out of your body!

DID YOU KNOW? –>The disulfide (sulfur) bonds that MSM creates, which accounts for 1/3 of the hair’s strength, are the same bonds permanently destroyed by chemical relaxers.

The Caramel Treatment

Last summer, I was looking online for an all-natural conditioner that would give my hair a major boost in moisture and make it softer. I came across The Caramel Treatment and decided to give it a try after doing my homework and learning as much as I could about it. I wanted to make sure I was only conditioning and not altering my natural curl pattern.

Hair before caramel treatment

 I tried the treatment twice and I could really tell a difference in my hair. It was much softer, I experienced less shedding, and my curls were more defined. It is recommended to use this treatment no more than once a month. If used frequently, you may not be able to tell see the benefits of it.  The effects of this deep conditioning treatment last about 3-4 weeks on my hair.  I’m sure results will vary from person to person, depending on the texture, porosity, and overall condition of the hair.

This is the original recipe. I tweaked it to meet my needs and so can you!

Caramel Treatment—>Honey (6 tablespoons), Olive oil (6 tablespoons), molasses (3 tablespoons), bananas (2-3 overripe, soft), water(4-6 tablespoons), apple cider vinegar (1 tablespoon), cornstarch (1-2 tablespoons), wheat germ oil (1 tablespoon).                   

I had everything but the wheat germ oil so I substituted it with jojoba oil and almond oil. I mixed it all in a plastic bowl with a hand mixer and then poured it into a saucepan and placed it on the stove. I let it simmer for 30-60 second mixing rapidly with a plastic fork. I added more cornstarch as needed until it became the consistency I wanted. I poured it back into the plastic bowl and applied it to my hair in very small sections starting from the back. Sources suggest using an applicator brush to apply but I just used my fingers. Once my hair was completely saturated I covered it with a shower cap and left it on over night. (The first time I tried the caramel treatment I only left it on for 4 hours.)

Caramel Treatment

 

Hair saturated with caramel treatment.

 

I shampooed well with castile soap making sure I got all traces of the cornstarch and followed with a cholesterol conditioner. I could feel a difference when I was shampooing. I was able to finger comb through my hair with no snags at all. When I was rinsing the conditioner out, my hair felt heavier due to all the moisture it absorbed. My curls were definitely more defined and once I did my braidout and let it air dry, it was super soft. Almost like a fluffy, cottony texture. I was very pleased with the results. In the weeks following, I did several co-washes and a few shampoos. I didn’t feel the dryness return to my hair until around the third week.

Wet hair after caramel treatment

It made my hair feel soft like it does when I used to use Cantu Shea Butter leave-in, except my hair was soft like this on a daily basis without having to apply lots of product. (I stopped using Cantu because of some of the unnatural ingredients).

Dry hair after caramel treatment

 I would recommend this treatment to anyone who has really dry hair and is experiencing a  lot of breakage and shedding during styling. This treatment has also been recommended for those who are transitioning to natural hair or those who do relax their hair. The higher porosity of the hair allows it to absorb more of the benefits of the treatment and makes hair easier to straighten. Natural hair that has had not been color treated and has had minimal heat styling has lower porosity so it is harder for the treatment to penetrate the shaft, so leaving it on longer (like overnight) is advisable for best results. I would also recommend a trim before doing this treatment so you can give your healthy head of hair a great start!

The Seed That Grew My Hair Garden

Welcome to Hair Garden! I am so pleased that you stopped by my site. I’ll use my first post to introduce myself and explain to you why I am so passionate about what I do. 

I started Hair Garden, LLC in 2009. I am a natural hair care consultant and natural hair stylist. I love HAIR  in general but have a special relationship with natural hair. It all started in middle school. My friend and I would read though Teen, Seventeen, and YM mags all day during summer break. Many of the AA models had something on their heads that we were so intrigued and curious about- their natural hair! We wondered if our hair would look like that if we stopped relaxing it. We saw pictures of ourselves when we were younger before our 1st relaxers but had no real acquaintance with our GOD given hair. Ever since those days, I have been infatuated with everything about natural hair.

I got most of my earlier experiences with natural hair from male clients before I went natural myself in 2002. This is when the cornrow fad first exploded. All the guys wanted braids and I knew how to braid! Their hair was full, beautiful and grew to amazing lengths. A lot of my friends (myself included) didn’t understand why their hair wouldn’t grow as long as the guy’s hair- The Creamy Crack! Women have been putting this product on their hair for years with the same negative results, but somehow expecting a miracle to happen. Women now know the harmful effects of this product and refuse to stop using it, because they don’t want “nappy” hair.

I did my 1st big chop in Sept 2002. In 2003, I walked into a salon wanting to get my hair cornrowed with extensions. I was greeted by bewildered looks and sympathetic smiles. I was turned away by 3 salons that day. Some asked why I wouldn’t just relax my hair, because it would “look better.” They called other stylists in the lobby to touch and look at my hair as if I were some type of spectacle. None of them had ever dealt with natural hair and weren’t about to start that day. I was confused. I am black. I went to a black salon to get my hair braided, but they can’t do “my” hair? They were calling other salons to see if they could help this poor girl. I ended up find a stylist a week later after calling every salon in the phone book, but she had to press my hair before she could braid it. (sigh) I found 1 natural hair care salon but $100 was way out of my struggling-college-student budget.

From that point on, I dedicated my life to caring for natural hair. I was living in a college town and many of the natural students encountered this same problem. I was baffled that these experienced stylists had no idea how to deal with black hair as it grows out of our scalps. I could now understand how children were having relaxers applied to their hair before they could even walk. This is when being natural became more than just a hair style for me. This is when it became my message, my beauty, my pride, my livelihood.

I have many interests from natural hair care, natural hair politics, and holistic health to human rights, self-improvement, and dating. I am new to the blogging thing so please forgive me if I do not do things the traditional blogger way! I hope you enjoy all I have to offer! Thanks for stopping by!

%d bloggers like this: