Phenomenal . . .

Phenomenal . . .
Life, Growth, and Connection (This sunflower was nourished by my hands.) 2010; Photography by Benita Blocker. Please become a follower of this blog.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Straight hair Revisited: disulfide bonds

Disulfide bonds are strong covalent bonds that help make up the hair protein/structure. Relaxers soften these bonds at a carbon and sulfur link to allow for a permanent straightening of the curl pattern. Permanent wave solutions soften these bonds between two sulfur links to allow for a permanent curl reformation around a perm rod. These two chemicals break the disulfide bonds at two different places within the same bond so they will cause breakage if overlapped. They are not compatible. So relaxers reduce natural curl in the hair by causing a permanent chemical change in the hair. Direct heat from hot tools break both hydrogen and salt bonds to allow for temporary straightening or temporary curling of the hair. "Hard to curl" hair may require working spray/styling spray in combination with heat to hold the curl. Typically, curls will hold longer with "direct heat" curling versus curling with a flat iron. The flat iron breaks only the hydrogen bonds; therefore giving a softer hold.

Extremely hot direct heat can soften the disulfide bonds in the hair to become permanently straighened like a relaxer. Hard pressing is an art form that requires expertise as to not burn the hair out.

Heat is heat whether flat ironing (heating inside out) or direct heat (which heats outside in). I am leaning toward direct heat being safer only because most people can not see the damage from the flat ironing until it completely broken.

When looking at new "infrared cookers" that cook foods at high temperatures without losing moisture. It sounds great for food, and I understand the concept for hair too. However, you can hold a curling iron in your hair for extended periods of time to let the "heat" penetrate through the hair, but you should not hold an "infrared" flat iron in one place for any extended period of time. You may be "cooking" your hair without knowing it.

Wet sets, roller sets, and air-drying will always be the healthiest option for growing straight hair out to longer lengths.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pre-Tempered Marcel irons

Tempered marcel irons similar to the old cast iron skillets seem to hold heat more evenly and hold heat much longer before needing to reheat. When comparing the pictures of the two smaller marcel irons, the one on the right is tempered.
Some irons are pre-tempered and ready to use. The brand Golden Supreme usually offers pre-tempered irons. The packaging should say "pre-tempered and ready to use." They cost a little more but are built solid. Kizure brand irons also offer some pre-tempered irons. I actually feel that the shape of the Kizure brand pressing comb is easier to press hair with.
When comparing the pictures of the two large marcel irons, the one on the left is tempered.

How do you temper the non-tempered marcel irons? If my memory serves correctly, then I was taught . . . to heat the non-tempered iron up to "red hot" temperature then dip it into some hair oil or curling wax. Then let it cool down. Then re-heat the iron to "red hot." Then let it cool down again. It should be tempered and ready to use. Watch the stove carefully while you are completing this process; you do not want to start a fire!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Flat Iron DANGER: Breaking Hydrogen bonds

Do you know how flat irons work? According to online research, flat irons emit infrared waves or far infrared waves that penetrate through the hair cuticle in order to temporarily break hydrogen bonds and allow the smooth flat iron plates to reform the hair shape into a straighter look.

Where else have we heard of hydrogen bonds breaking? Oh yes, WATER also breaks hydrogen bonds as well as salt bonds in the hair temporarily, and then as it dries around something like a "magnetic roller," it reforms a new "dry" shape .

Hair is at its weakest state when it is wet because the hydrogen bonds are in a broken state.

So if flat irons are breaking the same hydrogen bonds, then we are temporarily weakening our hair by using them, hoping that we get no breakage and hoping that the infrared heat waves that are affecting the inside of the hair do not damage or erode the actual hair cuticle.

Is it worth the risk? Should we stop using flat irons? That is a personal decision as with any hot tool or chemical. All types of heat and chemicals can temporarily or permanently weaken the hair. However, frequency of potentially damaging procedures should always be kept at a mininum.

Most thermal protectants have some keratin support in them to assist the hair in strength since hair consists of keratin as well.

However, flat ironing everyday is like "tanning" everyday. It is not healthy. The infrared heat from the sun can be dangerous to our skin if overexposed. Therefore, overexposure to the infrared heat from flat irons can damage the hair cuticle eventually opening the hair strands up for breakage.

Now, can you imagine "flat ironing" damp hair? That is very intense "internal" heat as it dries the external hair shaft. Is the steam beneficial at this point? Probably more beneficial to coarse, natural hair, but probably less beneficial to relaxed or color treated hair.

Consider returning back to the curling iron at home or going to the salon for the traditional marcel curling irons. These irons use direct heat instead of infrared heat. Curls and body hold longer possibly because hydrogen and salt bonds are temporarily broken versus just the hydrogen bonds. Please see my separate article to come.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Jennifer Lopez: Platform/stage Hairstyling

Jennifer Lopez is aging very gracefully at age 41. This is a picture of her from the Golden Globes Awards 2011 show. As a presenter on stage, bigger is better because your audience is so far away. The use of hair extensions and lash extensions can be used to get more dramatic looks. However, the longer and healthier your own hair is will determine how naturally you will be able to cover and wear "extensions." The good thing about this awards show is that most of show is not dance performances. So most of the celebrities can attend and just be plain beautiful! Congratulations to J Lo on becoming one of the newest "American Idol" judges!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Quick Grey Roots Coverage for hairline and part line.

Are you fighting grey roots or a white hairline? You want to save both time, money, and buy yourself about two more weeks without permanent color? Consider the Roux Tween time stick. Just spray the appropriate color stick with leave-in conditioner then apply in the direction of the cuticle. Keep spraying the stick and reapplying as needed. It should go on your hair while it is dry. I think this brand is the most popular color stick on the market. I keep the "dark brown" and the "light brown" available in the salon for use . . . but your local beauty supply store carries them too!

If you are shampooing your hair at home, then consider also adding this leave-in temporary color by Roux. Color #18 Spun Sand seems to be a nice color blend for brown hair. If your hair is black, pick a darker rinse color. How to use it? After rinsing your final conditioner out, just pour a little Fanci-full leave-in rinse around your hairline and your estimated part line area. Style as usual. You may have to dab a little more around your hairline if the initial application of the rinse does not hold. Also, Roux came out with a foam/mousse version of this rinse. I have not tried it yet, but this liquid version works great! It seems to lay the edges/hairline down a little too! Yes, a bonus for for coarser hair! Careful, if you have finer hair. Also, I recommend buying from a Sally's Beauty Supply to make sure that the stock is fresher. You may still have to use a little of the Roux 'Tween Time color stick too, but it will buy you a week or two without the extra chemicals!

On a side note, please take the time to become a "Follower" to support my blog. Becoming a Follower is different from becoming a Subscriber. Thank you to all of my current followers as well! Love ya!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Brunettes are taking the lead in sex appeal!

Mila Kunis stars in the movie "Black Swan" which is receiving a lot of 2011 Oscar buzz. You can acheive this hairstyle by getting a long layered haircut. The bang area should stop below chin level and should be used as the guideline for the rest of the layered cut. A large barrel curling iron along with using Aquage working spray on each section prior to curling will help with holding the curl.
Miley Cyrus is working her own "Black Swan" look in her video "Can't be Tamed." (picture credit from I did not focus on Miley's hair because she was not going for the "tamed" look in this video . . .

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snowed-in? "Pre-shampoo" Hair Treatments

So you are snowed in and you need to shampoo your hair? Why not consider a "pre-shampoo" hair treatment? The treatments go on dry, lightly soiled hair; no processing cap necessary. If you have oily hair, then you do not need it! Examples of treatments: 1) Ojon Restorative Hair Treatment contains nuts and is great for coarse or thick hair. It smells like a mixture of coffee beans and incense. It works great as an overnight treatment. It can be purchased at Sephora and a few other places. 2)Minardi Fortifying Pre-wash Therapy is a great treatment for fine or thin hair. You can apply generously on dry hair and leave on for about an hour. 3) If you have a favorite "Hot Oil" Treatment, then the same principle applies . . . weigh it down and shampoo it out.

All of the "pre-shampoo" treatments should be shampooed out. They are designed to weigh the hair down while nourishing the hair shaft when you have dry hair. Then you can shampoo, condition, and style as you normally would. You should see a shinier coat of hair!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Haircolor results too dark?

So your haircolor results came out too dark? What happened? Here are a few possible reasons:

1)Some permanent hair color lines such as the Avlon's Moisturcolor line and the Schwarzkopf Igora10 color line (see separate article on Igora10 color) line will deposit darker if left on (processing) for too long. Between a "slow" foiling application time and the full recommended processing time -- timing can get quite long resulting in a more dark and/or intense color. Consider starting foils from the back of the head if you are worried about darker deposits. (Stylist talk here.) Remember lighteners are a totally different ballgame. Lighteners are accelerated lifting agents. Speed is important! But in regards to permanent color, a 45 minutes processing time may need to be shortened to 15 minutes if the application time took 30 minutes from the placement of the first foil or stroke. If you have resistant grey hair, then the longer the processing time; the better the coverage usually. Some professional haircolor lines such as Wella and Goldwell seem to stabilize regardless of how long the processing time.

2) Your natural haircolor plus product buildup could interfere with the haircolor lifting to the desired lightness. If your natural hair is dark, then a lightener may have to be used first then another color to get the true color that you want. A highlift permanent color can work on dark hair in lieu of lightener when desired results are in the brown family.

If you use a permanent box hair color, consider picking a color lighter than what you want. If it goes too light, it is safer to tone down the haircolor than to try to bleach out haircolor that is too dark.

I recommend mild shampoos with sulfates in them for your first shampoo after a color service just to make sure the "bad stuff" is washed out. Then go into your sulfate-free shampoo.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Celebrity Look - Oprah Winfrey and her wings

This is one of Oprah Winfrey's most classic hairstyles of 2010! She is still spreading her wings and soaring into 2011 with her new television network!

In order to achieve this style, you would need to have you or your stylist to treat the hair with a protein reconstructor followed by a moisturizing conditioner to reinforce the hair for heat styling. Rinse thoroughly. Then add leave-in conditioner for thermal protection. Some of the most popular ones include "It's a 10," and Joico Leave-in Detangler. If you need slip in the hair, then add either Pureology Supersmooth Elixir or Alterna Bamboo Smooth Oil. Carefully, with the Bamboo oil if you have thin and fine hair. Distribute leave-in conditioners with a wide tooth comb, then blow-dry. In order to get this flip/wing styling, a fresh haircut is needed along with a 2 inch flat iron. Also, please do not forget your carbon comb for creating the waterfall movement in the front fringe area. A non-sticky styling spray and shine serum should be distributed through the hair prior to flat ironing in order to hold the flips; yet, it should maintain the body and movement.

I am going to assume that Oprah gets haircolor, relaxer, and heat styling. Double processed (color plus relaxer) hair requires regular conditioning treatments. "Not just a deep conditioner." Many times people say deep conditioner, and it means that they added heat. Cheap conditioner with or without heat is still a cheap conditioner. A treatment should say "treatment" on the tube or jar and typically may cost you an extra $15 to $25 if added to the salon service. If you color your hair once a month or use a lot of heat, then you need a treatment once a week. Talk to your stylist about brands like Schwarzkopf and Redken. These brands have treatments that work with all hair types, and the jars/bottles may retail for between $25 and $90 for home use.

I wish continued Congratulations to Oprah Winfrey and the launching of her new television network channel OWN! I love the OWN logo colors: purple, green, and coral/orange. It reminds me of a rainbow. Diversity and prosperity.