Popular Oils, Butters, Natural Ingredients and How to use them on Natural hair

1. When you want to take advantage of the humidity:
Glycerinhoneyaloe vera juice
Why: Humectants (moisture retention).
How to use: Add to a moisturizer or a leave-in.

2. When you want an oil-based sealant:
Soybean oilgrapeseed oilcastor oilavocado oilsweet almond oil
Why: These oils can reduce moisture loss.
How to use: Use separately or add some to your moisturizer.

3. When you want a light sealant:
Jojoba oilgrapeseed oil
Why: These oils are light compared to other oils.
How to use: Use separately or add some to your moisturizer.

4. When you want a heavy sealant:
Olive oilshea butter (melted) mixed with any oil
Why: Olive oil is one of the heavier oils. Many butters (such as shea) contain fatty acids like oils but are heavier than oils.
How to use: Use separately or add some to your moisturizer.

5. When your scalp is itchy:
Tea tree essential oilaloe vera juice
Why: Some find either of these substances to be soothing to the skin.
How to use: (Tea tree) Use a few drops with water or a carrier oil. (Aloe vera) Use straight or mix with water. NOTE: If you are pregnant or have a health condition, please consult your doctor before using essential oils.

6. When your scalp is dry:
Jojoba oilaloe vera juicegrapeseed oil
Why: Jojoba oil is light and said to be very similar to our sebum. Aloe vera juice is light, moisturizing, and soothing to the skin.  Grapeseed oil contains a high amount of linoleic acid, which has been shown to protect against moisture loss (British Journal of Derm. 1976 Sept;95(3):255–64).
How to use: (Jojobagrapeseed) Massage a few drops into the scalp. (Aloe vera) Use straight or mix with water.

7. When you want a moisturizing or softening oil:
Grapeseed oilsafflower oilcastor oilargan oil
Why: These oils tend to leave the hair feeling soft and moist.
How to use: Use separately on damp hair or add some to your moisturizer.

8. When you want a moisturizing or softening non-oil:
Glycerinaloe vera gel/juicerosewaterhoney, water
Why: Glycerin and honey are humectants (good for moisture retention). Aloe vera gel/juice and rosewater are moisturizing. Water is the best natural form of hydration.
How to use: Use separately, add to your moisturizer, or mix one (or more) ingredients to create a moisturizing spritz. Glycerin and honey work best when applied to damp hair or mixed with water.  NOTE: Adding water, aloe vera juice, orrosewater to a whipped butter can create an environment for bacterial and/or fungal growth.

9. When you want shine or sheen:
Castor oilcoconut oilavocado oilapple cider vinegar
Why: Castor oil has been shown to impart sheen (J Cosmet Sci. 2003 Jul-Aug;54(4):335-51). Coconut oilavocado oil, and apple cider vinegar are ones that many naturals swear by.
How to use: (Castorcoconutavocado) Use separately or add on top of your moisturizer. (Apple cider vinegar) Use as a post-wash rinse with cold water for 5 minutes.

10. When your shampoo is drying:
Coconut oilolive oilargan oil
Why: These oils are moisturizing and lubricating.
How to use: Pre-poo with any of the above oils or add to shampoo.

11. When your shampoo is not cleansing enough:
Baking soda
Why: Easily lifts oils and dirt.
How to use: Mix a little with your shampoo. (Be sure to follow up with an apple cider vinegar rinse.)

12. When you want more slip in your conditioner:
Shea butter (melted), coconut oilolive oiljojoba oil
Why: Lubricating.
How to use: Add some to your conditioner.

13. When you want a more moisturizing conditioner:
Glycerinhoneyshea butter (melted), argan oil
Why: (glycerinhoney) moisture retention; (shea butter) emollient.
How to use: Add some to your conditioner.

14. When you want a more strengthening conditioner:
Coconut oilgelatin, other hydrolyzed protein (e.g. keratincollagen)
Why: Coconut oil has been shown to penetrate the hair and reduce keratin loss (J Cosmet Sci. 2003 Mar-Apr;54(2):175-92). Hydrolyzed protein, including gelatin, provides reinforcement by temporarily patching the cuticle layer.  For maximum strengthening, go for conditioners containing hydrolyzed protein.
How to use: (Coconut oil) Best used as a pre-poo to minimize breakage, but may also use post-wash. (Gelatin) Mix with an avocado, yogurt, and/or oils to create a strengthening conditioner. (Other hydrolyzed protein) Find a commercial conditioner with this ingredient.

15. When you want more hold and definition:
Shea buttermango butterbeeswaxflaxseed gel
How to use: Add some to your moisturizer or use separately.

16. When you want to add fragrance to your mixture:
Lavender essential oiljasmine essential oilrose essential oilorange essential oil
Why: These oils are some of the better options for specifically adding fragrance.  Lavenderjasmine, and rose have floral scents while orange has a citrusy scent.
How to use: Add some to your moisturizer or spritz.

17. When you want a lighter, less oil-based whipped butter (e.g., warm weather):
Aloe vera geljojoba oil
Why: moisturizing, but light
How to use: Mix a 1:1 shea butter and aloe vera gel mixture (or a variation of this recipe).

18. When you want a heavier, more oil-based whipped butter (e.g., cold weather):
Olive oilcoconut oilgrapeseed oilavocado oilcastor oil
Why: moisturizing and sealing
How to use: Mix a 1:1 or 2:1 shea butter and oil(s) mixture.

Found on Black Girl Long Hair

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Easy Shea Butter Mix

This is my recipe for a really simple, no whipping needed, shea butter mix. I don’t think it really matters what oils are used, these are just what I am using at the moment.

Depending on how thick you want it, you can change up the proportions, using more shea butter for a thicker mixture. 

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DIY Moisturizing Deep Conditioning Mask

I’m not very big on spending tons of money on deep conditioning masks in stores, because they usually come in such small quantities and I have a LOT of hair, lol. So I tend to just make my own healthy hair fixes. Sometimes, I will add castor oil, jojoba, or sweet almond oil to the mask, but what is listed below are the true, major components when it comes to moisturising my dry, coarse, kinky-curly natural hair. 

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8 Herbs & Oils that Promote Hair Growth
1. Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil is an extract of the Jojoba plant found in California, Arizona and parts of Mexico. Jojoba oil has been used for hundreds of years by American Indians to moisturize and grow hair. The molecular makeup of jojoba has similar characteristics to the natural oil the glands of the scalp produce. Jojoba oil can be purchased at herb shops and can be applied directly to your hair or you can add a few drops to your favorite conditioner to promote hair growth. Jojoba is hypoallergenic and will not harm your hair or scalp. Aloe vera is another product used by Native American Indians to promote hair growth and is also an excellent moisturizer for your hair.

2. Wheat Germ/Aloe Vera/Coconut Milk

Mix ¼ cup of wheat germ, ¼ cup of aloe vera and ¼ cup of coconut milk and use this product as a natural shampoo. Aloe vera can be purchased at drugstores and herb shops and can also be applied directly to the scalp as it will open pores on the scalp that may have previously been blocked and will allow the hair follicles to grow. The American Indians also used and continue to use several kinds of oils to promote hair growth such as emu oil, rosemary oil, and mustard oil.

3. Peppermint Oil

A few drops of any of these products can be massaged directly into the scalp to stimulate the hair follicles and promote hair growth. Peppermint oil is also a good scalp stimulator but must be diluted before application. Mix 3 drops of peppermint oilwith 3 teaspoons of water and massage into the scalp. These oils can be purchased at herb shops and all are hypoallergenic and not harmful to the hair or scalp.

4. Lavender Oil/Lavender Water

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia or Lavandula officinalis), native to the Mediterranean, is now grown in temperate climates worldwide. For centuries, lavender has been used by herbal practitioners to prevent baldness and to encourage new hair growth. Lavender contains potent anti-bacterial agents that soothe and heal scalp infections. It is useful in treating dandruff and adds volume to the hair shaft. Place a few sprigs of lavender in a glass container and cover with extra-virgin olive oil and cover tightly. Place in a cool, dark spot and allow to age for 3 to 4 weeks. Use the lavender infused oil as a daily scalp massage. Apply and leave on overnight. In the morning, wash hair with a gentle organic shampoo and style as usual.

A daily rinse of lavender water (bring water to a boil, add a few sprigs of lavender, reduce to simmer for 20 minutes, then cool) will impart a delightful fragrance and shine to hair. Apply lavender as a daily rinse after shampooing.

5. Burdock Root Oil

Burdock (Arctium Lappa) root oil, also known as Bur oil is one of the most important herbs used to restore hair. Burdock promotes healthy hair by relieving scalp irritations and improving blood circulation to the hair follicle. Burdock root oil supplies natural phytosterols and important essential fatty acids to hair roots, and has been traditionally used to reduce and reverse hair thinning. It is a key ingredient in many hair restoration treatments.

6. Saw Palmetto

Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) has been used for centuries as both a food staple and as a healing medicinal herb. The herb produces a dark red berry which is dried and then pulverized into a fine powder. Saw palmetto is available in several forms including ointments, capsules, tinctures and teas. Recent scientific studies have shown that Saw Palmetto may have beneficial effects for those suffering from benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH); male pattern baldness and other conditions associated with excess DHT (male hormone) production.

7. Stinging Nettle

Stinging Nettle (Urtica Diocia), found growing naturalized across America, blocks the conversion of testosterone into DHT. Excessive DHT contributes to hair loss in both men and women. Stinging nettle can be purchased in either pill or capsule form and is said to be more effective when used in combination with saw palmetto. Nettle can be harvested in the wild (use gloves as the leaves are covered with tiny hairs that cause a stinging sensation upon contact with human skin). The fresh leaves can be submersed in olive oil in a glass jar. Seal and place in a cool, dark spot for 2 to 3 weeks. Apply the oil in an invigorating scalp massage. Stinging nettle essential oil is frequently an ingredient in organic shampoos and conditioners.

8. Rosemary

Used for centuries in cultures worldwide to promote hair growth and delay the onset of gray hair, Rosemary oil stimulates blood circulation of the scalp. A refreshing daily rinse of rosemary leaves simmered in water retains hair color. The rinse is most effective on dark hair. A few drops of rosemary oil can be added to olive oil and used as a scalp massage oil.

Article found on Black Girl Long Hair

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It took me a long time to figure out a successful detangling method for my hair. I have used wide tooth combs in the past and they worked well for me, but I have found that finger detangling causes me the least amount of breakage and doesn’t take a lot of time.

I always detangle on damp hair, wet with a spray bottle with water. I also add a mix of coconut oil and a detangling conditioner (currently using ‘Luv Naturals Don’t Be So Clingy’) as needed. I detangle my hair working in sections, about 10 sections on my whole head.

There are three main things I do when finger detangling -

  • Separating the strands - This is the first thing I do to separate any parts of my hair that are clumped together. This gets rid of the big tangles. I don’t separate each strand individually, but i try to work through as small sections as possible. 
  • Pulling out the shed hair - After I have gotten most of the knots out, the next step is to pull on the ends of my hair to remove any shed hair. This is really important because shed hair gets caught up in my strands and is the main cause of breakage for me.
  • Finger combing - Only after I have removed the major knots, I will use my fingers as a comb and rake through my hair. Generally, after completing the first two steps my fingers will go right through. This step helps me feel for any smaller knots which I can then try to unravel.

That is basically it! Finger detangling may seem daunting when you first try it but once you get the hang of it it doesn’t take much time at all and the amount of hair you loose will be significantly smaller. I definitely attribute my ability to retain my length to finger detangling.

3

Okay, so avocado oil is officially everything. I deep conditioned my hair today with the addition of avocado oil and my hair literally felt like butter! The moisture and softness I received is exactly identical to when I use the avocado fruit two weeks ago. This oil is definitely a new staple. I don’t know where it’s been all of my life, but it is here to stay. 

I am obsessed. It also had my curls and coils poppin’, lol. And it also makes a great detangler for my type 4 hair! 

Success! 

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Maintaining Healthy Ends

When I first started wearing my natural hair out i noticed that a lot of my styles looked messy and limp, and I realised that this was because my ends were in terrible condition. Although damaged ends are less obvious on naturally curly/kinky hair, they can really affect the look of twistouts/braidouts or any out style. 

Some people prefer to trim their hair on set schedule and this works for them. However, I have found that dusting my ends regularly is the best for me. It keeps my ends from ever getting to the stage where it causes more breakage to the rest of my hair. 

What I do - whenever my hair is in twists (i.e. when I am washing it or doing a twist-out) I inspect the ends of the twists. If I see that there is significant thinning like it pictured above, I trim.

So far, I have needed to do this dusting about once a month. As you can see above, I never have to cut a significant amount of hair and I haven’t noticed any difference in length retention from doing this. If I find that my hair is particularly damaged, I will do a bigger trim to make sure any split ends are definitely gone. 

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Quick Mini-Detangling Session!

Sooooo I definitely need to wash my hair lol. This morning, it was in a loose ponytail and at this point in time,  it’s very dry. But that is okay, because I’m reserving my wash day for tomorrow.  Usually, the biggest pain for me is the detangling session that precedes wash day. However, because I have decided to have a wash day on a weekly basis, I have incorporated a new step into my routine to make things easier for me. 

I have learned that because my hair is prone to tangles, especially when any shedding gets caught in my strands, I need to minimise shrinkage and maximise having stretched hair for detangling to properly take place.

  1. I now generously spray my water + jojoba oil mixture on my hair, and lightly finger detangle each section (7 in total) to remove some of the shedding. I also gently remove any tangles, and that is why I love jojoba oil and water together. Water helps to loosen the tangles, and jojoba oil is effective in removing them.  

  2. And instead of twisting each section, I braid. This ensures that my hair is completely stretched and moisturised, so that I am able to effectively detangle my hair when the time comes.

This step took a total of about 15-20 minutes tops. The incorporation of this has worked well so far, and has also allowed me to cut down time on detangling time drastically. 

Hair Porosity Test - Low Porosity

So after 3 years of being natural I finally decided to do a porosity test on my strands. From looking at various descriptions I always thought I had medium to low porosity hair but the strand test I did confirmed that my hair is severely low in porosity.

For the strand test, you are supposed to lay your clean strands in a bowl of water and wait to see how quick it sinks. If it sinks in less than 2 minutes, you have higher porosity hair, and if it takes longer or doesn’t sink at all you have low porosity hair. Based on this test, my hair was very low porosity. The strands never actually sank. This means that my hair has a very hard time soaking up the water.

After doing a lot of research on low porosity, the main pieces of advise I have found are - 

  • Focus on moisturising rather than sealing - the problem with low porosity hair is getting moisture into the strands to begin with. Moisturisers with a high water content are a must, which is probably why my DIY Leave-In Conditioner works so well on my hair. Oils that penetrate the stead such as coconut oil are also good.
  • Steam / deep condition - To encourage moisture to penetrate the strands, heat/steam can be good to lift the cuticles. I recently bought myself the Heutiful steamer and have noticed the difference it makes in my hair so I will definitely be using it every time I deep condition. I have previously used Hair Therapy Wraps which work well as well.
  • Avoid heavy sealants - heavier sealants such as butters will tend to just lay on top of low porosity hair, weighing it down. I tend to only use heavier sealants like shea butter on my ends and use a lighter oil for the rest of my strand and have found that this works well.

The hair porosity test is something I would definitely recommend anyone do as it can help you shape your regimen more suitably to your needs.