Hair Growth Challenge Update

Eleanor J'adore - Hair Growth Challenge Update

I know I’m about a week late with this, but I just wanted to give a shout out to the first round of winners of the Mandy’s Hair Growth Challenge. Thoko Radebe, Claudine Mandisa Messieur and Prudence Ogunlade, by now I’m sure you all know that you’ll be the lucky recipients of some fabulous Rockin Naturals products. This, all for just regularly commenting and interacting on social media with Mandy from The Mandy Expedition.

If you want to know more about what the challenge entails, follow this link as well as this one.

Silly girl that I am, I didn’t measure my hair at the beginning of the challenge, so I’ll do so now.

Front: 39 cm

Crown: 47 cm

Left Side: 42 cm

Right Side: 41 cm

Back: 38 cm

With my recent intercontinental move I’ve been slacking with applying the mixture regularly, but I managed to get myself back on track this week. And since I have no idea at what rate my hair usually grows, I’ve decided to use this growth phase as a base for future measurements.

Are any of you, lovely readers of this blog, participating in this challenge? If you are let me know. I’d love to know what results you’ve seen so far.

Love your curls,

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5 ways to reduce natural hair damage and breakage

The Fro

Even if you take the most loving care of your hair, some form of mechanical damage is inevitable. The mere acts of just washing and styling our hair can lead to a minimal amount of breakage, no matter how cautious we are. I’m sure we all know by now that  moisture is key to natural hair. Without the necessary moisture, our hair becomes dry and brittle, which leads to breakage. However here are five practices to be weary of  if you’re still experiencing excessive breakage.

1. Do not use heat (excessively)

Frequent and  high temperature use of heat are going to lead to heat damage. There’s just no getting around it. So make sure that you use heat as little as possible throughout your regime, and if you can’t do away with it completely, use a heat protectant and set the dryer on a low heat setting.

2. Stay away from the chemicals 

Chemicals such as relaxers and the like break down the protein bonds of the individual hair strands. It can also cause severe burns to the scalp. In addition, hair dyes are extremely drying to the hair. It’s possible to limit all this damage through regular protein and deep conditioning treatments both before and after the chemical processes, but ultimately some form of damage and breakage is unavoidable.

3. NEVER dry comb / detangle your hair

If you’re always trying to detangle or comb your hair while it’s dry, you best believe you’re going to experience breakage galore. Adding water or a moisturising product such as conditioner – along with an oil for an even smoother experience – will soften the individual hair strands and make them more flexible, enabling you to glide through those tangles.

4. Avoid constant restyling

It’s simple: The more you manipulate the hair, the more susceptible it is to damage and breakage. So it stands to reason if you only style your hair once every few days or weeks, you’re likely to experience less breakage simply because you’re not constantly handling your hair.

5. Don’t be scared of protein

As hair comprises 90% protein, it makes sense that we should replace  the protein lost to manipulation and damage. This doesn’t necessarily mean doing an intensive protein treatment. If you’ve consistently been looking after your hair, it can be as simple as regularly adding strengthening ingredients into your routine. Examples  include plain yoghurt, avocado, egg  and my personal favourite,  coconut oil, which is highly effective in reducing  protein loss.

These steps have all worked collectively to ensure that my hair stays healthy and strong. Let me know if there are any other ways to prevent damage and breakage to our natural hair that I can add on to this list?

Thanks so much for reading and love your hair,

xxx

Winter hair care for natural hair

While it’s all Summer lovin’ for us folk in the Northern hemisphere, my natural girls in South Africa are experiencing the complete opposite: dry, cold Winter air competing with them to rob as much precious moisture from their strands as possible. We all know that the ensuing dryness can lead to weak and brittle hair, which is why it’s vital to protect the strands at all costs during the chilly months.

Believe it or not, it is possible to get through the Winter without letting your hair get damaged. Here’s how.

Wash your hair more often

Dry hair is only going to be moisturised by the one true moisturiser – water. Therefore it stands to reason that the more you moisturise, the longer your hair will stay hydrated.

Deep condition more often

Deep conditioning really does do wonders for putting back moisture lost through the elements. It doesn’t have to be expensive either. A simple home-made conditioner comprising some everyday kitchen ingredients can work wonders. Check out some of my favourite DIY deep conditioners over here. Once applied wrap your hair in plastic wrap or put on a shower cap, cover with a towel and leave it on for anything from 30 minutes to an hour (or more) to ensure deeply nourished strands.

Try and oil rinse

Coating your hair with oil before or after you’ve applied your conditioner is another way to ensure softer and longer lasting moisturised tresses. Oil rinsing is great because it reduces the chances of single strand knots from forming, it makes detangling easier and it’s a natural shine enhancer.

Use the LOC / LCO method to moisturise and seal 

If your hair is really suffering, use the LOC / LCO method to lock in moisture. If not, dry and brittle ends can lead to breakage and split ends. Try using a thicker oil like avocado or castor oil to seal the ends. These two oils work well as they are really thick and do an effective job without congealing in the cold weather the way coconut oil and shea butter do. See this article to get the how-to for the LOC / LCO methods.

Try low manipulation / protective styling

Wearing your hair up and out of the way with the ends protected is an ideal way to help prevent moisture from escaping the hair. Have a look at this piece for advice on simple protective styling for ultimate length retention.

Keep your hair off your back and shoulders

Hair resting against woollen collars, scarves and jackets can cause havoc on your ends because of the friction from the fabric, so try to wear your up on the days you choose to wear clothes made up of these types of fabrics.

Line hats and beanies with a silk / satin scarf before you put them on

I think this is pretty self explanatory. The silk / satin will protect your hair from the drying out effect of the woollen hats and beanies.

Wear a satin bonnet / scarf and sleep on a satin pillowcase

It may sound like overkill to do both, but trust me your tresses will thank you for providing the extra barrier to prevent moisture from escaping.

Moisturise from the inside

As with my Summer hair care tips, making sure you moisturise your body from the inside too will go a long way in keeping both your skin and hair healthy and hydrated.

I’ve made use of all these tips during the past Japanese Winter, and I managed to keep my strands healthy, strong and moisturised for the best part of it. I was also able to retain the length, so much so that I was surprised at how much my hair has grown, including a trim at the end of the Winter.

If you have any more tips that you think I should include in this list, please let me know in the comments section below. That way I can compile and share them with my other readers. Also, if you have any more questions that I can answer on how to keep your hair moisturised and soft during the Winter, jot them down below and I’ll try and help as much as I can.

Thanks so much for reading and as always, love your hair…

xxx

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Hand in Hair Syndrome – What is it and do you suffer from it?

woman-with-naturally-curly-hair

So you’re still in the new phase of discovering your curls and can’t believe how soft and bouncy your natural hair is. You just want to touch it and play with it all the time. You are in awe of it and constantly catch yourself twirling and twisting your curls around your finger while you are watching TV, reading a book, or while you are deep in thought. Sometimes you just pat your hair to make sure it’s all still there. You might even feel the need to try out a new hairstyle every single day. If you find yourself guilty of this on a continuous basis, I can confirm the diagnosis is Hand in Hair Syndrome.

While this sort of behaviour is completely understandable – I mean, who would want to deny you the pleasure of  revelling in your new-found curls – I can’t begin to describe what a detrimental habit this can turn into. If your goal is to retain lots of length, you seriously need to rethink your strategy and stop this NOW as it can wreak havoc on your tresses.

This is why

  • The on-going friction from twisting and playing can cause split-ends.
  • You can end up causing knots from the constant friction, which can sometimes only be cut out.
  • The continuous tugging and touching can lead to frizz and breakage.

How to stop the madness

  • Wear a protective or low manipulation style.
  • Something as simple as a bun or wrapping your hair in a scarf will do the trick.
  • Every time you catch yourself playing in your hair remind yourself of your hair goals and how doing this will detract from reaching them.

Admittedly, while writing this piece I find my fingers in my hair from time to time, so this is definitely one of the few cases where I’d say do as I say and not as I do. But I think a lot of us naturals are guilty of this naughty little habit. The times when I am most at risk of this behaviour is when I arrive home from work and I let my hair down after it’s been up in a bun or ponytail the whole day. That’s when I really have to remind myself of my healthy hair goals.

So my final piece of advice  to you as well as myself is simply this: As difficult as it is just leave your hair alone!

Do you suffer from Hand in Hair Syndrome? What do you do to overcome  it?

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Simple protective styling for ultimate length retention

High Bun, Protective Style

Choose a bun for simple protective styling.

We are finally seeing a glimpse of Spring  here in Tokyo and with that I’ve been reflecting on how much my hair has grown over the last year that I’ve proactively been caring for it. Protective styling has definitely been a major contributor to this and my hair couldn’t be happier. The longest strands on my head is now bra-strap length. Say what? Never in my life have I had hair this long. This is all due to  a combination of keeping my hair moisturised and in protective styles i.e. keeping the fragile ends wrapped up and shielded from the elements.

There are some great protective styles, such as box braids and twist extensions, wigs, weaves and mini-twists, but if you are someone like me who likes to keep things simple, here is my protective styling regime that has ensured a head full of longer and stronger strands. Follow these steps for fabulous hair.

Cleansing and deep conditioning 

Wash your hair in sections and twist each one up before you move on to the next.

Styling

Twist / braid your hair up and let it air dry. Don’t twist /  braid all the way to the very ends as this can cause knotting and eventual breakage. Simply coil the ends of your hair around your finger.

Simple everyday protective styles

1. Wear your twists as is. Pretty them up with a cute bow, hair clip or scarf.

2. Scoop all your twists up into a ponytail, or bun it up for a double dose of protection.

Once your hair has dried a day or two later feel free to undo the twists (or keep them in for however long works for you). Following that change up your look and wear a different protective style.

3. Wear two braids on either side of your head. This is how I achieve my knock-out braid out.

4. Pull all your hair into one big massive top-knot bun.

5. Do two jumbo flat twists on either side of your head and tie it all into a low bun close to your neck.

6. Wrap all your hair into a bun and tie a scarf around it.

These styles can all be achieved in a matter of minutes. I literally only have 10 minutes to do my hair in the mornings before work and these are the styles I usually opt for. The times when I stupidly only give myself 5 minutes (darn those extra 10 minutes in bed) I’ll settle on the high bun. (I’m a nursery teacher so I find it best to keep my hair up and out of my face in any case.) I realise there’s nothing elaborate about these styles, but they definitely work. So try these quick and easy ways to ensure hair that is protected, looking chic and most importantly, retaining length.

Let me know what your protective styling regime is and how it’s working for you.

xxx

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