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How to Care for Natural Hair During the Winter Months

I have a love/hate relationship with the long winters that are common here in Colorado.  On the one hand, you have fun times in the snow and beautiful scenery.  On the other, unpleasant bouts of dry skin

curlyincolorado.com haircare natural hair
My hair is softer and more manageable thanks to using Olive Oil

and hair.  I realize that other states get plenty of snow like we do here in Colorado.  Thing is, we also have a dry climate which can seem even drier during the wintertime.  This seasonal change can lead to skin that soaks up lotion like a sponge.  It can also be a burden to my already thirsty natural hair.

Each year I have to change my hair regimen in order to adapt.  It’s either that or come spring I’m mourning the loss of valuable inches.  I usually keep grapeseed oil on hand which helps to seal in the moisture from one of my favorite hair milks.  That works just fine during the warmer months.  For winter though, I have to act like I live north of Winterfell and get medieval on these curls with something heavy like shea butter or castor oil. Continue reading “How to Care for Natural Hair During the Winter Months”

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Keeping My Hair Moisturized While Protective Styling

www.curlyincolorado.com keeping hair moisturized protective styling
It’s a wig!
protective styling with
this full cap wig by Freetress

Last week I started a personal protective style challenge.  A protective style is one that protects the ends of your hair by tucking them away.  My personal challenge is to style my hair this way for a few months.  This will be challenging because I prefer to wear my hair down more often than not.  Hopefully this will lead to the length retention I need in order to gain a few more inches this year.  I plan to do this by wearing my hair in up dos and
under wigs.

Right now,  I only have two wigs and plan to purchase a couple more.   I’ll also be styling my hair in buns, braids and flat twists when I’m not wearing a wig.  I’m doing all of this to keep myself from manipulating my hair.  I suspect that the constant styling
I’m used to has led to my hair length plateau.  For me, more styling
tends to lead to more trimming.

www.curlyincolorado.com keeping hair moisturized protective styling
The moisturizer that saved the day!

Before braiding my hair up last week, I cleansed my hair and scalp with a sulfate free shampoo.  I towel dried my hair and applied leave-in conditioner and grapeseed oil to seal in the moisture.  I assumed that this would be enough to keep my hair moisturized for at least a couple of days.  I also used Eco Styler hair gel to smooth my edges down.  Lastly, I braided my hair into two dutch braids like the ones in my braiding video.  Then I wore my wig during the day and wrapped my hair up at night for about two days.

I  thought that the products and the fact that my hair was braided meant that my hair would stay moisturized under my wig.  Boy was I wrong!  A couple of days later I took my hair down and my hair was so dry.  I quickly applied some moisturizer and then sealed with the grapeseed oil again.  I braided it back up and hoped for the best.  The next day, I could tell that my hair was feeling softer but I still wanted to give it more moisture.  I ended up cleansing my hair again and conditioning.  I decided to do a wash and go style using a heavy conditioner as my leave-in, moisturizer, oil and then gel.  My hair had so much life!  The moisturizer I think was the key.  My leave-in conditioner was not enough on its own.

www.curlyincolorado.com keeping hair moisturized protective styling
My current combination of products
to keep my hair moisturized while protective styling

After wearing my hair curly for a few days, I decided to try again.  This time, after my cleansing routine, I applied a heavy conditioner as my leave-in, moisturizer and grapeseed oil.  Then I brushed my hair back into a simple bun.

I can tell a huge difference in how my hair feels.  If this combination of products works for me, I will continue to do this throughout my protective style challenge.

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Scalp Psoriasis and Natural Hair

www.curlyincolorado.com scalp psoriasis natural hairThe fall and winter tends to be the time of year when we hear more about protective styling.  With the colder temperatures and drop in humidity, a lot of naturals will do this in order to protect their tresses.  I admire all of the different styles from braids to twists and pretty up dos.  However, this is usually the time when I really just want to hide my hair from view.  That is because I suffer from scalp psoriasis which tends to last over a long period, beginning in the fall and lasting into the winter.

There is plenty of information online regarding psoriasis.  In my case it shows up on my scalp and skin in small spots that spread out over time.  Years ago, I sought treatment and advice from medical professionals who unfortunately did not help me to understand the condition.  They prescribed steroid creams which led to my worst spell with psoriasis ever.  Later, I found out that psoriasis is an auto immune disease which means the immune system is out of whack somehow.  Since the digestive tract makes up about 70 percent of the immune system, I tend to focus my efforts there.  I do this by eating a diet rich in clean foods and focus on staying hydrated.  I’ll explain more on my diet and supplements in another post.

The tricky thing about having scalp psoriasis while having thick, curly, natural hair is that the flaking that develops can be hard to get rid of.  Using oils can reduce the appearance of flakes but can also increase the production of them.  This means I end up cleansing my hair and scalp more often.

I try to stay away from harsh shampoos during this time because the frequent washing is already a lot of manipulation on my hair.  Sulfate based shampoo leaves my hair feeling stripped and can lead to tangling.  When I cleanse my scalp with a sulfate shampoo I try to follow it up with a pH balanced shampoo or an apple cider vinegar rinse.  I’ll do this once a week and then use a sulfate free shampoo on other days.  I end up cleansing my hair and scalp up to three times per week in total.

As far as protective styling goes I’ve found that wearing hats and wigs are the most comfortable for me right now.  I don’t have to worry about flakes being visible when I’m out which is a boost for my confidence.  Other times, a wash and go style is my go-to because it is quick and easy.  I also don’t worry as much about the frequent washing because I usually refresh the style every two or three days.

Read Here for  How I Clear Up My Psoriasis with Diet and Supplements

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Olive Oil Pre-Poo for Dry Hair

www.curlyincolorado.com olive oil pre poo shampoo dry hairJust thought I would share that my hair is making a turn around thanks to my new bestie Extra
Virgin Olive Oil.  This stuff is amazing!  I’m so glad because I was really beginning to worry about where my tresses would end up without some major TLC.  One of the ways I have incorporated the oil is demonstrated in my video below.  I’m learning how important a good pre-poo treatment is if I’m going to continue using shampoo.

I have used mild shampoos and sulfate free versions in the past.  I noticed though that they didn’t always remove all of the product from my hair.  Last summer, I was using shampoo all of the time because we were doing lots more swimming.  It all caught up with me and resulted in dryness that my natural hair is not accustomed to.  Also, the dryness that comes with the Colorado winter weather doesn’t exactly help either.  So, I’m super excited that the olive oil is working for me.

WATCH HOW I DO A PRE-POO WITH OLIVE OIL
Also, my braid outs have been looking a lot better since I’ve started using the olive oil.  I first apply leave-in conditioner, which lately is Cantu Shea Butter Leave-in, and then put a little oil on the section. Then I braid it up and finger coil the ends.  My hair is turning out a lot softer using this method because I’m moisturizing the hair from root to tip.  So it’s olive oil for the win!  I’ll be using this in my regimen for the next few months and post an update on how my hair is doing.

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Review: Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy-Ultra Shea Shampoo

At the beginning of the summer I was sent some products for review.  When I agreed to give my feedback,  I was not aware of which products I would be receiving in the mail.  I was very happy to see that they were from the new Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy line.  I saw this line in stores and was wondering if the products would work for my scalp.

I have scalp psoriasis which tends to show up during the drier months (usually wintertime).  For some reason though, I started seeing a lot of flaking and irritation in the spring when I was on the tail end of my Curly Girl Method trial.  When the products arrived in the mail I was primed and ready for something to relieve me of my scalp woes.  I’ll do the review in two parts for the shampoo and conditioner.  The other products were not used for long enough to make a difference in my scalps’ condition therefore I do not have an opinion on them.

Ultra Shea Cleanse & Nourish Shampoo

Ingredients

Water (Aqua), Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Dimethiconol, Glycol Distearate, Sodium Chloride, Fragrance, Carbomer, Dimethicone, Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate, Zinc Pyrithione, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, DMDM Hydantoin, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Stearic Acid, Citric Acid, Tallow Acid or Palmitic Acid, Zinc Sulfate, TEA Dodecylbenzenesulfonate, Sodium Isethionate, Poloxamer 407, Laureth 23, Laureth 4, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, PEG 9M, Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Elaeis Guineenis (Palm) Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Xanthan Gum, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Methylisothiazolinone, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Mica (CI 77019), Bismuth Oxychloride (CI 77163), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491)  

Claims

  • Proven to lock in moisture and provide long lasting nourishment for extra dry scalps
  • Gently cleanses to remove product build-up and allow scalp to breathe
  • Formulated with Nutrium 10™ Moisture Lock system, a rich blend of shea butter and natural oils, including vitamin E, sunflower, coconut, almond, soybean, argan, and palm


Upon first use I felt that the shampoo was heavenly.  The sulfate gave it a very rich, velvety lather.  My hair did not feel stripped like with other sulfate shampoos.  The sweet almond and vanilla scent reminded me of the Suave Professionals Almond and Shea products.  It did not linger on the hair although it was very fragrant while shampooing.  My initial reaction was that I would definitely think to use this product again whenever I needed to cleanse my hair and scalp.  After several washes, all weeks apart, I realized that the product was not doing anything to help with my itchy, flaky scalp.  My husband also has dry scalp but not to the same degree as my psoriasis.  He stated that he did notice some improvement while using the shampoo.  This led me to believe that the product may work for those who have mild scalp irritations.  Something like scalp psoriasis may require something stronger and more effective in treating scalp conditions.  

Overall, I do consider this a shampoo that works well with thicker textured hair like mine.  However, I did not notice any improvement with my dry scalp.   I am currently using milder shampoos that also provide cleansing without stripping.  I do not feel as if I will be purchasing this product in the future only because of the sulfate and silicones present in the ingredients list.