How Do You Wash Your Hair?

Did you know there is a plethora of ways to wash your hair that involves very minimal usage of shampoo? Here are three ways of washing that you probably knew little to nothing about.

Water Only Washing

I stumbled across this video on YouTube about washing with water only. With me having really short hair I wash with only water all of the time. However, I had never thought about it in regards to longer hair. I was thinking: “How does that work out?” I mean, there is product build up happening. After watching the video I read a blog post that also talked about washing with water only. Obviously this is a thing and maybe I should partake in this “thing” as my hair grows out because washing my hair is serious business. So I need something that is effective and does not take all day. I have taken the liberty to bless you all with the blog post so you don’t have to search for it. http://blackgirllonghair.com/2015/08/can-water-only-washing-improve-natural-hair-growth/

Co-Washing

What is co-washing? Co-washing is short for “conditioner-only washing.” It means skipping shampoo and relying solely on conditioner, whether you’re a daily or a weekly washer. The result is something between squeaky-clean and second-day hair—that is, smoother, softer, and easier to manage. Co-washing may not be for everyone, but I like it. It does cut down on wash time and is not this arduous process. See, the thing with co-washing is that it does not totally clean your hair. However, it is great for in between wash days for when you semi clean hair, but you also need to get up and go. It is also good for detangling your strands before shampooing.

Dry Shampoo

I will admit that I was a little skeptical about dry shampooing. In my mind, it’s like putting dirt on top of dirt. Apparently that’s not what it is. Basically, it’s a powder or spray formula that works to soak up excess oil, water and residue from your scalp and hair, leaving your hair with a refreshed smell and texture. It’s pretty much a spray wash-n-go in a bottle. The bigger question would be: Can black women use dry shampoo? We can and we should. If you are a woman who works out a lot then dry shampoo would be very beneficial for you. Here is a great article that explains dry shampoo and gives recommendations on some good products out there on the market. http://www.clutchmagonline.com/2014/05/15-dry-shampoos-black-women-should-try/

What’s better than using dry shampoo? Making it yourself. Here is a link to making your own dry shampoo: http://www.thirtyhandmadedays.com/2015/05/diy-dry-shampoo/

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What other ways of hair washing do you know of?

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Who has time for Wash Day? A working mom reflections on the practice

As I stumble out of bed on the 4th day post day light savings time, I start reflecting on how much I’ve learned about hair care & regimens since starting Iyami Naturals. More specifically, I am amazed about all that can go into wash day—from pre-poo, co-wash, hot oil treatments, deep conditioners, how you can DIY all these products for your hair, etc. I’m really in awe of all the tasks that can be involved in a process that I naively thought only included 2 or 3 steps. I read about how my blog partner, UrbnRebel, can take up to 1.5 hours just on her pre-poo regimen . Another blogger, Imani Dawson, discussed how she was able to shrink her routine from eight to two hours.  All I kept thinking as I read is how the hell will I make time for this? As a working mom, I barely have time to sit down and enjoy an episode of Scandal or How to Get away with Murder let alone spend hours on a lengthy hair care regimen. It doesn’t help that my husband currently works on the weekends which is usually when I wash my hair, so you can imagine the struggle I go through to keep up with a consistent routine to maintain the healthy state of my tresses.

The largest stressing point for me during the wash day process is the time in the shower when I can’t keep my eyes on my 3 year old. This process can take a while because I usually also comb through my hair after placing on conditioner. As you all know, we can’t leave little children unattended, especially a curious child like mine that likes to assert her independence and do things like this….

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Ella at 2 years old has figured out how to reach the peanut butter on the kitchen counter

Or this….

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Ella at 3 years old wanting to participate in wash day (this is a few weeks ago)

Needless to say, I’ve had to find ways to maintain a hair care regimen while keeping my eyes on my little one. These are strategies I’ve tried so far to have mini wash days:

  1. Wake up earlier: My daughter usually wakes up on the weekend around 8a so I’ll wake up around 6am to start my wash day. This has been successful especially when I want to deep condition my hair. On the off chance that Ella wakes up earlier, I’m usually almost done with the washing and conditioning part which takes most of my attention away from her since that happens in the shower.
  2. Quick wash:  Waking up earlier would solve my time issues around wash day, but sometimes doing that just isn’t an option. Every now and again a girl would like to sleep in too. On the days I’m scheduled to wash my hair but can’t carve out the time earlier in the morning, I may have to do a quick 15-minute wash right before my husband leaves for work. This is a no fuss process—wash my hair once, rinse, place on conditioner, wash the rest of my body, rinse hair, and I’m out!   I would then comb out my hair after I get out the shower so that I’m in the same room with my daughter once my husband leaves.
  3. Joint Wash Day: My daughter’s hair has to be washed too, so there are many times when I’ll do a quick wash for both of us while showering. Now that she’s older I’ll even let her help by placing products in and/or combing her hair. We tend to make it a fun activity so that she will enjoy wash day.
  4. Washing my hair outside of the shower: I also have the option of washing my hair in the sink or the bathtub. I’ve tried this strategy at least once leaning over the bathtub. Each option has its challenges but it does allow me to keep a better eye on my daughter versus being in the shower.
  5. Skipping weekend wash day: Hey…sometimes my weekend just slips away which results in not having the time to wash my hair at all. I usually make this up by trying for a quick wash on a day my husband is home at night during the week.

Taking time for a wash day can be challenging for anyone especially given that this practice can take several hours depending on your natural hair care regimen. These time constraints are often magnified for us working mothers, especially those working full-time or working while attending school, because the amount of time you have to take care of yourself is really really limited. The strategies I’ve tried have varying degrees of success, but it’s still a very creative juggling act to handle it all.

To my working moms out there, what strategies have you used to maintain your wash day regimen?

To my expert naturalistas, do you have any tips for working moms that will help us maximize our wash days?

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Pre-pooing and Hot Oil Treatments: Are they essential to your hair care regimen?

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Firstly, what is the difference between pre-pooing (pre-shampoo) and hot oil treatment? They are very similar and virtually serve the same purpose of adding and retaining moisture to dry hair and maintaining a healthy scalp.

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Pre-pooing is great for all hair types especially 4c hair which tends to tangle more during any type of manipulation from styling or prepping for you wash day. Pre-pooing is essential when you use shampoos. Most shampoos have a tendency to dry your hair out because it strips the natural oils from your hair. This can more so be determined by how often you shampoo your hair. Do you wash everyday, every other day, once a week? I personally shampoo about once or twice a month to get rid of any product build up that has accumulated on my hair from styling and what not. If I choose to shampoo more often I use a moisturizing shampoo such as, Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow & Restore Shampoo w/Shea Butter & Apple Cider Vinegar which does not require me to pre-poo when I use it. Black castor oil and shea butter help to seal in the moisture while apple cider vinegar aids in clarifying and regulating pH levels of the scalp. I only pre-poo when I am using a clarifying shampoo.

My personal pre-pooing products that works for me in this exact order are as follows:

  1. WATER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You can use a spray bottle with water in it to saturate your hair and then apply your pre poo ingredients. The key to moisture is always water.
  2. Burt’s Bees Avocado Butter Pre-Shampoo Hair Treatmentburts bess
  3. Jamaican Black Castor oilJamaican-Black-Castor-Oil
  4. Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oilcoconut oil

 

I like to let it sit for about an hour, then sit under a dryer with low heat. I may also sit outside to allow the heat to penetrate through for about 20-30 minutes, then rinse it out and proceed on with shampooing my hair. There are a variety of combinations that you can use for your pre-poo regimen. I have tried many different ways and my hair responds best to these three products.

We will touch on hot oil treatments in our next post. Stay tuned………

What is your pre-poo regimen?

Spring is in the Hair: What is your hair’s character?

A key step to understanding how to take care of your hair is learning about the cast and crew that define your hair strands. Determining your hair type or curl pattern will help you fine tune your product and style selection to those that work best given your hair composition. It will save you time and money from doing things that just won’t work for your hair.

Admittedly, I’ve never taken the time to understand this prior to cutting my hair.  Therefore, I went through a variety of products before I found a regimen that seemed to work. Now I’m wondering am I doing what’s best for my hair with the products and styles I’ve currently selected without knowing my hair type or porosity. I figure what better way to understand my hair’s character than to explore it through this blog.

To determine my hair type I had to wash my hair and let it air dry without adding products. I started my research on hair typing and porosity while I let my hair dry. There is literally an ABUNDANCE of information about these subjects on the Internet. I found some really good articles from Naturally Curly, Curly Nikki, Curl Centric, and Healthy Hair Dimensions just to name a few.  I settled on merging information from the Curly Nikki and Healthy Hair Dimension articles to better understand how to classify my hair.

Andre Walker system

The Andre Walker system is most widely used to classify hair type. Hair types are categorized into 4 main categories and 3 subcategories based on curl patterns as follows:

  •  Type 1: Straight
    • 1a: Straight fine; 1b: Straight Medium; and 1c: Straight coarse
  • Type 2: Wavy
    • 2a: Wavy fine; 2b: Wavy Medium; and 2C: Wavy coarse
  • Type 3: Curly
    • 3a: Loose curls; 3b: Tight curls; and 3c: corkscrew curls*
  • Type 4: Tightly Curled (kinky)
    • 4a: Soft tight coils; 4b: wiry tight coils; and 4c: z patterned tight coils*

*Note: Subcategory c was defined after the Andre Walker system was published.

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Source: Natural Hair Mag


L.O.I.S. system

The L.O.I.S. system is a comprehensive classification that takes in consideration curl pattern, strand size, and texture. The pattern is categorized based on if your hair strands most resemble one or more of the letters L, O, I, or S.

Strand size is determined by comparing a strand of hair to a thread size. If your strand is smaller than the thread, then your hair is thin or fine. Your hair is considered medium size if it’s the same size and thick if it’s larger than the thread.

Texture is defined as being either “thready”, “wiry”, “cottony”, “spongy”, or “silky”. Your texture is defined by how much shine, sheen, and frizz can be found in your hair.

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Source: Natural Hair Mag

Other hair typing systems

I decided to classify my hair using the Andre Walker and L.O.I.S systems, but there are others like F.I.A and Mizani hair typing systems that you can use to determine your hair’s character. Black Hair Information.com challenges you to ditch the complicated hair typing systems and define your hair based on if it’s fine, combination, or coarse.

Porosity

It is also important to discuss hair porosity. How porous your hair is refers to how well your hair is able to absorb and hold moisture. Knowing your hair’s porosity can help you choose the right products to maintain moisture in your hair. You can do the Float or Slip ‘n’ slide test to determine if your hair has low, medium, or high porosity. I decided to do the Float test. My hair will have low porosity if my strands float in the water after sitting in a cup for about 2-4 minutes. It will be of normal or medium porosity if it sinks mid-way and high porosity if it sinks to the bottom of the cup.

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Source: Kriya Botanicals

What cast & crew make up my hair’s character?

My hair type and porosity are as follows:

  • Andre Walker: Combination 4b/4a
  • L.O.I.S: Combination O & L; thin strand size; and cottony texture
  • Porosity: My hair took a while to sink under the water; therefore, my hair has low porosity

Determining my hair type was a little more challenging than I expected especially when trying to define texture under the L.O.I.S. System. I’m glad that I completed this activity so I can be more mindful when selecting new products and styles in the future. Classifying your hair type is a useful exercise but don’t fret if you can’t define your tresses to one type. Just like my hair, most women have blended strand composition. If you don’t know your hair type or porosity, next time you wash your hair, examine a few strands using one or more of these typing systems and porosity tests to begin the journey of learning about your glorious crown in its natural state.

What is your hair type? Which hair typing system and porosity test do you prefer?

March marks a new beginning: Spring is in the Hair!

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Spring is approaching for us folk living in the Northern Hemisphere! Although Spring is literally known for the seasonal change to warmer weather and longer days; it also represents transition, a new beginning, rejuvenation, and growth. The upcoming season may have you thinking about making a change. You’ve read all of our February blogs on how to physically, mentally, and spiritually love your self and now you are ready to apply this by giving yourself a new look. Maybe you have been toying with the idea of cutting your hair or as we call it, undergoing the BIG CHOP, for quite some time. Alternatively, you may not be quite ready for that drastic step, but are interested in taking a break from the salon and trying your hand at maintaining your natural tresses. Or you may be already wearing your hair naturally but are not quite sure you have the right regimen and are looking to try different products. Wherever you are on your readiness for change spectrum, Iyami Naturals is challenging you to make the change NOW! Spring is in the Hair! Just as this season marks birth and new beginnings, our content this month will focus on the beginning of hair care basics so you will have the tools to successfully make the transition. So don’t fret and make the change! There is no time like the present!

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Photo Credit: Keturah Ariel

Self-Love: Who said short hair isn’t sexy?

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Short hair is always a debate that has no right or wrong answers. Grant it, short hair is not for everybody, but what you do with your hair is ultimately your decision. As a woman with short hair, the experience is always an adventure. Men either love it or hate it. I asked a few of my guy friends their opinions of short hair and the feedback was mixed, but very honest.

Brandon P., 34, ,Business Owner, Los Angeles, CA

Urbn Rebel: Do you date women who have short haircuts similar to male haircuts?

Brandon: I sure dooooo!!!!! I don’t mind it at all.

Urbn Rebel: Do you like short hair and/or long hair? Why? Why not? What is your preference?

Brandon: I have no preference of the two. A Queen Goddess will come with all sorts of angles of beauty. I’ve seen perfect beauty with short hair and with long hair. To say that I have a preference puts me in a box that I don’t wanna be in and will set me up to miss something if I’m only focusing on having just one preference.

Urbn Rebel: How would you react if your lady, who had really long hair, came home with a typical male haircut?

Brandon: I would be heated if she did that…only if it didn’t look better than when it was long. So now I gotta be all fake and act like I like it to preserve her feelings…. As opposed to her consulting with me first and we speak about it… this way “WE” would both be prepared of whatever comes from it and woulda been able to understand and value each other’s view points. It’s not mandatory that she woulda done that, but it woulda shown some extended courtesy from her end… which always goes a long way.

Urbn Rebel: Do you like natural hair? By natural, I mean, growing out of her head in its natural state. Not straightened nor hair added.

Brandon: I love natural hair and I love all the fresh ass dope looks too! However, natural does not always convert to attractive. I experienced some of the Queens harp about men not wanting their women to wear weaves anymore, but when they go natural they don’t get the response that they were hoping to get. Just because you go natural doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about fashioning it and making it look attractive. Some of us just can’t wake up and not do anything to ourselves and expect super fresh results and compliments. Some can, but some can’t. I’ve seen some f*cked up a** natural looks before, we all have. (laughing)

Urbn Rebel: Would you approach a woman with short hair even if you don’t care for short hair? Why? Why not?

Brandon: Oh yes I would! Women with short hair for some reason create an optical illusion to me (I think) and it makes them look more curvy…. And I looooooovvvvvveeee them curves!

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Short hair is liberating

It doesn’t matter what we went through to get here. Whether it was a bad break up, an illness, too much tension from weaves and braids, an allergic reaction, LIFE! Some of us are tied to our hair and just want the freedom that comes along with short hair.

Not everyone takes a fancy to short hair, and that’s ok.

Here are a couple of nay sayers who bring the hateration and holleration to our short hair dancerie:

Dee, 35, New York,NY

Dee: I do not date women who have short hair.

Urbn Rebel: Why not?

Dee: I like long hair. Long hair is my preference because there’s something sensual and connecting about playing in her hair while we cuddle and enjoy each other’s presence. It also brings out her femininity in my opinion.

Urbn Rebel: How would you react if your lady, who had really long hair, came home with a typical male haircut?

Dee: Well, we would already have had the conversation about my preferences. So unless it’s medically related or she shaved it off for a cause that we both agreed on, we probably wouldn’t be together anymore.

Urbn Rebel: Do you like natural hair?

Dee: I love natural hair. I don’t hate wigs and/or weaves, but her own hair is my preference.

Urbn Rebel: Would you approach a woman with short hair even if you don’t care for short hair?

Dee: For dating, no. To make friends with or become acquaintances, yes.


 

Ty, 47, Handbag Designer, Los Angeles, CA

Urbn Rebel: Do you date women who have typical male haircuts?

Ty: Depends on how attractive she is.

Urbn Rebel: Do you like short hair or long hair?

Ty: Partial to long hair. Long hair is more feminine. Since I was a little boy, I always thought it symbolizes beauty. Long hair is my preference.

Urbn Rebel: How would you react if your lady, who had really long hair, came home with a typical male haircut?

Ty: I would not be happy because if she knows I like long hair then I would feel disrespected.

Urbn Rebel: Disrespected? How?

Ty: If we didn’t discuss it, then I feel like she doesn’t care about my opinion.

Urbn Rebel: Would you approach a woman with short hair even though long hair is your preference?

Ty: It depends on how short. Is it Halle Berry short or bald like Mr. Clean? I think it’s too manly. I think, personally, most men would prefer long hair.

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Short hair is sexy at any age, any size and on any shape.

Happiness comes from within. If short hair makes you happy then DO YOU BOO! People can help boost your confidence and pump you up, but that confidence is yours. Own it. Be committed to it.

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No one can take your beauty away.

How you present yourself shows how much you love yourself. Love your beauty and others will love it too.

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It’s not about what others think.

If a person really cares about you, he or she will support your decision. Your beau might even be the one to help you with your cut.

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Shannon, 36, Los Angeles, CA “I think women with short hair are sexy and bold.”

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Ryan, 46, Los Angeles, CA “Short hair, long hair, no hair is all good as long as the scalp is healthy.”

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Short hair adds character.

With short hair, you can showcase your features and play up your personal style.

“I would approach a girl with short hair if I think she’s pretty and has some type of style or energy I can vibe with.” -William, 32, Educator, Los Angeles by way of New Jersey.

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Short hair is fly.

Short hair always adds a little something to your overall look. That je ne sais quoi. It’s like that secret ingredient.

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Short hair is low maintenance.

Before you say anything, it does not mean NO maintenance. When you make the decision to cut your hair you do have to upkeep it. Now is the time to become BFFs with your barber. Also, get a set of clippers for when you can’t make it to the shop, and keep your scalp clean and moisturized.

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You should always be your #1 fan.

So if you’re thinking about doing the big chop, do it for you. Be fearless.

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Urbn Rebel for Iyami Naturals

 

 

Self-love: How I came to love wearing my hair in its natural state

Reading the Buzzfeed article, 17 Reasons Why Natural Hair is Not a Good Look, reminded me of all the reasons why I didn’t initially choose to wear my hair in its natural state. I work in health care operations management and as a fairly new administrator at the time, I always wanted to maintain what I thought was a professional image. I just didn’t see how wearing my hair naturally would fit into that image and as a result would alternate my hairstyles between hair extensions, chemically relaxed hair, and other protective hair styles.

My hair journey didn’t start with me making a declarative statement of going natural with long healthy hair or that I wanted to stay away from chemically treated processes for health reasons.  It took time and significant hair loss for me to realize that I needed to make very different choices about how I managed my hair.

My journey manifested around 2013 a few months after having my daughter, Ella.   As I review old pictures, I noticed that my hair slowly lost its volume during that year. I essentially ignored it and continued with my usual methods to style and maintain my hair.   It wasn’t until January 2014 that it was more obvious to me that my crown was in trouble.

By February 2014, it was evident from my birthday pictures that I was holding onto a bad relationship that clearly should be over. But just as bad relationships go, I was the last one to realize it.

I waited until April 2014 to finally cut my hair. I don’t have a picture to show my tresses at its absolute worse (as it my birthday pictures weren’t bad enough), but by this time, I probably had about as many long strands of hair as the onions do in this picture.

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Yes, it was that bad. I visited my stylist,TaLauna Beverly, to undergo the BIG CHOP and her response was “ Girl, what happened to your hair?!” What did happen to my hair? The combination of hormonal changes; the stress of trying to balance being a first-time mom and working full-time in a demanding job; continuing to expose my strands to tension and chemical relaxers; and then not using proper techniques to care for my hair left me with very little to take care of.

I was initially angry that I had to cut my hair. I had never worn it naturally short on purpose in my life. I worried about what the surgeons, staff, and senior leadership would think about me now that I had very little hair. I felt insecure, less attractive… Would my husband like it? How would I manage this? How soon could I perm my hair so I could go back to my usual routine? Those were the many questions that circled through my mind as I learned to deal with this new short hair scenario. I was so out of my comfort zone.

I had reached the crossroad in my hair journey and had to make a decision which path to follow. I could perm my hair again and eventually return to the same way I was managing my hair or I could explore the unfamiliar path of wearing my hair in its natural state. I decided to try a more natural approach especially since my current predicament was a result of my “status quo hair care practices”. I quickly realized that I had to let all of that initial self-doubt and insecurity go! Internalizing those types of negative thoughts would only make me appear insecure, self-conscious, and unhappy. Moreover, they had the potential to totally ruin my life if I were to let them.  I decided that I would OWN my current hair state and focus on finding a regime for healthy hair, no matter the length.

July 2014
July 2014

And so I made a conscious decision to only wear my hair in its natural state. I washed my hair at least once a week using Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter shampoo and conditioner and style it with various curl custards or crèmes from Shea Moisture, Miss Jessie , Kinky Curly, and Jane Carter Solution to name a few. I would also deep condition my hair at least once a month with Kinky Curly Stellar Strands thanks to my sands, Monique (shout out to Monique for giving me those samples!). My current regime includes Shea Moisture shampoo/conditioner/gel soufflé, Coco Girls Moisturizing Style Cream, and the Kinky Curly deep conditioner.

As to be expected, my hair grew but it’s now healthier, fuller, and longer than my hair has ever been. I won’t say that I will never wear hair extensions or protective styles again, but I will always place more emphasis on the health of my hair and not jeopardize that just to meet a certain standard of beauty. My advice to those considering the natural transition or if you are like I was, holding on to unhealthy hair and maintenance practices, let go and make the transition! There are so many resources and hair products available to make the transition less awkward. If you have doubts that it will look good, it will—you will do all that you can to make sure you’re fly rocking your hair in its natural state. If you think your hair won’t curl a certain way, it will— you will find the right products to enhance your curl pattern. Ultimately, I’m here to tell you that all the self doubt and insecurities you may feel about wearing your natural hair will eventually be unfounded once you decide to travel down that road. So Just do it!

Jamila Dainty