Product Combinations: A Lesson in pH Balance (1)

Hey beauts!

Do we remember when AB took us back to school with her Hair Basics series? I actually liked those posts. Personally, it helps for me think in a logical sense, especially because I have a love for all things human biology. (I was that person that dreamed about anatomy class and spent all my free time in the dissection room, peeking into open body cavities).

Last week Thursday, I was one of the ladies that were treated to a pre-valentine’s dinner with Obia of Obia Natural, organised by Jullian R Addo of Bella Kinks. The highlight of that entire evening for me was when Obia came up in her beautiful red dress, and held up cards as she taught an entranced room of naturalistas all about pH and why it matters. I am going to attempt to do a recap for you. Please, please, don’t get put off just yet. You WANT to have this information and I promise you, it’ll be one of those ‘Aha’ moments!

WARNING: No pictures ahead :(.

What is a pH, anyway?

Potential Hydrogen. Potentiation of Hydrogen. Power of Hydrogen.

Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter. What we need to know is that pH is a measure of how much Hydrogen ions are contained is a solution. The more hydrogen ions that a solution has, the more acidic that solution is. The less hydrogen ions, the more basic that solution is.

Remember how when we learnt about H2O, we went around referring to water as H2O? That’s because water is the most common example of when a solution is neither acidic, nor basic. It’s just right; it’s neutral. So usually, when we talk about pH balance, we mean a solution that is synonymous to water.

Solutions (because we think of them as liquid), usually have both hydrogen ions (H+) and hydroxide ions (OH-). So an acidic solution = more H+, less OH-; and a basic solution = less H+, more OH-.

Is this making any sense so far?

Now, there is a pH scale that is used to measure how acidic, or basic a solution is.

1       2       3       4       5       6       7       8       9       10       11       12       13       14

most acidic                                Neutral                                                        most basic

What does this have to do with me and my hair though?

Hair has a pH that ranges from 4.5 – 5.5. This is the pH at which your hair is its healthiest. Of course, because you and I are different, some people might have a hair pH of 4 or 6, but typically this is the expected pH of healthy hair. For those of us who took some classes in agricultural science, we know that one of the characteristics of good soil for plant growth is that it should have a good pH that will promote growth. The same thing goes for our hair.

Ooookaayy… Now what?

The products you put in your hair have pHs too! And these alter the pH of your hair, and the structure of your hair!

As a general rule of thumb, bases open your cuticle and acids close your cuticle. Just like hot water opens your cuticle and cold water closes your cuticle.

Pause. This cuticle thing, I can’t see it. Why should it matter? Well, you actually can. The cuticle is the outer covering of your hair shaft (or strands). It’s what makes our hair strong and protects it from damage. But it is water resistant. So in order to get any moisture in, those cuticles have to be opened (or raised). So this means that in caring for your hair, you want to begin with products (and water) that open up your cuticles. Then, you want to end with products (and water) that close your cuticles i.e. locks in the moisture.

Ok. I’m going to let you sit on this for today. Tomorrow, we will look at our common household and store brought products, and determine if we use them in a pH balanced manner.

– Mee Mee

xx.

Product Review: Organics Hair Mayonnaise

Hey guys!

Today I’m reviewing a product you’ve most likely seen before (if you live in Nigeria, that is). Organics Hair Mayonnaise isn’t hard to find. I got a tub in January at Enumex Cosmetics here in Calabar, for 800 naira.

Ingredients:

Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Paraffinum Liquidum (Mineral Oil), Dicetyldimonium Chloride, Polyquaternium-32, Lanolin Oil, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Olea Europeaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, DMDM Hydantoin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Phenyl Trimethicone, Parfum (Fragrance), Dimethicone PEG-8 Laureate, Origanum Vulgare (Oregano) Leaf, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot)Seed Oil, Cholesterol, Soluble Collagen, Tocopherol, Ovum (Egg Powder), Panthenol, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, CI 19140 (Yellow 5), CI 42090 (Blue 1), CI 16035 (Red 40), Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Equisetum Hiemale (Horsetail) Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract.

Worth noting:

  • Water is the first ingredient.
  • The alcohols on the list are the good kind. They are fatty, non-drying alcohols.
  • Silicones!!
  • This DC has humectants, Glycerin and Panthenol, they help moisturise.
  • The protein in this is way down the list, so if you’re in need of a stronger protein treatment, I think you’d have to beef this up a little, add more to it.
  • Mineral oil is listed as the third ingredient. The first five ingredients are deal breakers for me when I’m reading a product label. I don’t think I’d have ever put this product anywhere near my hair if not for the fact that my hair was steamed with this at a natural hair salon last year.

Continue reading

Product Review: Nothing But Intense Healing Mask

nothing but

Hey guys!

AB here!! 🙂

After seeing quite a few reviews on the interwebs, I’d been itching to try products from the Sofn’ Free ‘Nothing But’ line. I stalked the website for weeks, so as part of my Christmas product haul, I decided to go with the deep conditioner, the Nothing But Intense Healing Mask.

First impressions:

2 thumbs up for presentation. I love the clear tub, I love the font and the colours on the labels.

DSC09060

I like the light citrus scent (I LOVE CITRUS) and the consistency of this product is just right. It’s like yogurt 🙂 Continue reading

DIY: A Deep Conditioning Hair Smoothie!

Last Washday found me separated from my hair products.

I tried a Henna treatment, and being the super strengthening protein treatment henna is, a moisturising deep conditioning treatment was VERY VERY necessary. My Intense Healing Mask was like 700 kilometres away, so I had to find something and no, I didn’t want to buy.

I wasn’t in the mood for my Honey and Olive oil DC either. It is soooo drippy and I can’t stand that for long. I wanted something thicker that day, and the internet led me to the Avocado & Banana Deep Conditioning Smoothie on KL’s Naturals. Avocado & Banana are good for the body, and for your hair too! This Deep Conditioner like other DIY organic deep conditioners is easy on your wallet, and super easy to make!

WHY TRY THIS?

Before we get to how to make this, you should know why I even bothered:

1. Bananas are believed to help with moisture and shine, and somehow fight shrinkage.

2. The healthy oils and Vitamin E in Avocado make this fruit a staple part of my diet. It’s an excellent fat burner especially for your belly. For hair, it is said to bring moisture, shine and softness!

3. Good old Honey is no stranger to me. It’s a humectant (meaning, it draws moisture into the hair), and for this reason it has been a staple part of my deep conditioning process for about a year.

IMG_4022

L-R: One very ripe avocado, 2 Bananas (I added one later), Jar of Honey. Smoothie Maker behind.

WHAT I USED

One ripe avocado

3 medium size bananas

Smoothie maker.

A little water (to help with the mixing)

HOW-TO

1. Cut your fruits up

2. Throw ‘em into your smoothie maker, blender, whatever mixer you’ve got

IMG_4027

3. Add a little water.

4. Blend/ mix till it’s as smooth as possible

real smoooth :)

5. Sieve <- very important tip K.L pointed out, to avoid getting bits left in your hair.

sievin'

sievin’

I sieved to be cautious, but nothing was caught in the sieve or later left in my hair because I used a smoothie maker to do my mixing, so my smoothie was perfectly smooth. (Does anyone mind enlightening me why smoothie makers aren’t as mainstream as blenders? If I had to choose one, I’d go with the smoothie maker! Smoothie makers don’t need as much liquid as blenders to mix well.)

Are you wondering “Where does the Honey go?” You can add your honey to the fruits at Step 2. At any point during Step 4, or even after.

The taste of honey makes me want to puke (Too sweet!) and I wanted to taste the smoothie first. So I added the honey after I was done blending the solids, and tasting the avocado-banana plain.

Very yummy smoothie, which I shall be making next time for myself, not my hair! Banana can be a little too much for me (my least favourite fruit!) so the avocado was a perfect match to tone down the sweetness. I love the heavy, smooth texture the avocado brought to this!

IMG_4036

This was how much I made, about the same size of my henna and I used up ALL of it. My hair is 8 and half to 9 inches long, medium-high density (that is, it is full)- so if your hair isn’t as long or thick, you may not need 3 bananas or one full avocado.

yes, hair! drink upppp :D

yes, hair! drink upppp 😀

RESULTS

Henna left my hair feeling dry, and this DC restored moisture to my strands! So yes, I endorse this. It works! Just take your time with the blending and sieving oh. You do not want bits in your hair! Had bits when I tried a Coconut milk DC and that was super annoying!

I had the henna on for 5 hours 30 minutes, so I left the hair smoothie in my hair for almost the same time, head wrapped in clingfilm. This was because I was really worried about the dryness from the henna. On another day, I think it’d be very okay for me to use this as I would use my other Deep Conditioners- put in hair, wear shower cap and steam for 20 minutes or baggy for an hour.

Lastly, I think it’s a good idea to make this fresh. It is so simple, I don’t see any reason not to. Fruits are the components of this DC, and with no preservatives involved, it could easily go bad.

Till next post,

Love,

AB,

xx