Tag Archives: healthy hair

Hot Head Deep Conditioning Heat Cap

Standard

hothead2

 

As some of you know, I have been using a Hair Therapy Thermal Turban Heat Wrap for several years now with great success. However, a few months ago I saw posts from my curlfriends and fellow bloggers, RadiantBrownBeauty and AHairStory, about the Hot Head Deep Conditioning Heat Cap. I loved the look of the cap and both Michelle and Rece had positive reviews. So, needless to say, I was intrigued.

Therefore, a couple of weeks ago, I reached out to the creator of Hot Heads and Etsy shop owner, Sandra, to see if she would send me a cap to review. She graciously obliged and I got a chance to try out my new cap this past weekend.

But first, the deets.

via Hot Head:

The Hot Head heat cap is filled with renewable flax seed which will generate heat when warmed in the microwave. It’s reusable and is the most environmentally friendly way to deep condition your hair with heat at home. There is no need to plug it into an outlet or use batteries to power the heat. With a few minutes in the microwave, Hot Head will produce up to 30-45 minutes of gentle moist heat. The fact that there are no cords and no plugs means that you are free to move about while deep conditioning your hair.

Hot Head is available in multiple styles and is also reversible so that your look can fit your mood. When using Hot Head you can feel good about the way you look while conditioning your hair, and dramatically improve the results of your hair treatment.

MY REVIEW

As I said above, I used the Hot Head Deep Conditioning Cap this weekend. Actually, I used it twice. Because, after 3 weeks of not washing this mane (pregnancy fatigue definitely has me doing the least when it comes to hair), my strands desperately needed some TLC. Therefore, I used it for a pre-poo treatment, as well as for deep conditioning after I washed my hair. What did I think overall and how does it compare to the Thermal Turban Wrap?

Packaging: No frills and functional. As this is a smaller Etsy company, that is totally fine with me. I prefer not to spend my money on expensive packaging and cheap ingredients, though I know some appreciate “shelf appeal.” The most important thing was that the cap was accompanied with detailed and simple instructions (plastic caps sold separately). THERMAL TURBAN WRAP: The wrap came packaged in a large, nice box that I still use to store it. It also included two plastic caps some free hair product samples. 

Appearance: I love that the cap is reversible and has a solid terry side and a patterned fabric one. I’m all about animal prints and zebra is in my top three (after cheetah/leopard and giraffe). The cap comes in a variety of prints and colors, so there’s something for everyone! I also like the “quilting” that looks like a big daisy! Very cute! THERMAL TURBAN WRAP: The wrap is made with terry, non-reversible, and only comes in two colors, brown and white. The cap that I have has a tail at the back that you twist and secure to the front with velcro. But, there seem to be other versions that secure in different locations.

Construction/Durability: As I’ve only used the cap one day, I can’t speak to the long-term durability. However, it looks very well-constructed and strong. It is actually a little weighty, in a good way, because of the flax seeds. The fabric on the patterned side appears of good, strong quality and leads me to believe that it will not rip anytime soon. Terry can start to bead, get ratty, and pick up lint, especially with a thicker pile. But, I think that as long as I keep it stored away from other fabrics, it’ll likely be fine. The instructions on the site indicate that a lint brush can be used to remove excess lint, so that is simple enough. And, I also have one of those fabric “defuzzers” that I can use if it becomes too beady. So, not too worried about that. As to cleaning, I haven’t had to do that yet, obviously. But, the site says to just spot clean with warm water and a mild detergent. Seems simple enough. Finally, again, I can’t speak to long-term use of the cap, but I would expect that flax seeds truly are a sustainable source of heat and the cap will heat effectively for years to come. THERMAL TURBAN WRAP: I have had the cap for almost 4 years and, though the heat packs that insert into it seem to have deflated somewhat, it still works effectively. I was initially concerned that the heat packs might burst because they make a popping sound when heated, but to date they have not! The cap is made of a short pile terry, so it really hasn’t attracted much lint nor beaded in an appreciable way. And, though I use it to henna, I have done minimal spot cleaning. But, because the gel packs can be removed, the wrap can be thrown in the wash on the gentle cycle and air dried.

Content: Right off the jump I loved the idea that the Hot Head Heat Cap works via a sustainable and natural heat source. I don’t follow a strictly organic/natural lifestyle. However, I do like to be conscious of the products I use and the foods that I eat. Therefore, I try to incorporate organic and all-natural products to the extent that I can find them conveniently and affordably. This allows me to reduce my exposure to products formulated or treated with artificial or potentially harmful chemicals. So, the fact that the Hot Head uses flax seeds as the heat source is awesome to me! (Is there no limit to the wonders of flax seeds?!?!) THERMAL TURBAN WRAP: Gel packs are the heat source for this cap. I couldn’t tell you what’s in them, but I’m 99.9% sure that it is not natural and is some type of artificial chemical.

Ease of Use: Using this cap was as simple as throwing it in my microwave (with a rotating tray) for one minute on one side, flipping it inside out and microwaving for another minute. Then, I just donned a plastic cap prior to putting on the Hot Head Cap. If your microwave does not have a rotating tray, the instructions do indicate that it should be rotated at the 30 second mark on each side. I was concerned that the cap might be too small to fit all of my hair, due to my length, not thickness. But, I had no problem at all. Of course, I love that I can be mobile with this cap and do stuff around the house while DC’ing. THERMAL TURBAN WRAP: The wrap only takes 45 seconds to heat and, aside from the initial challenge of getting the gel packs into the wrap and getting it to lay flat, it is very easy to heat. As to putting it on, it is a little trickier to get it tight enough and secure the velcro in the right place. But, it is still pretty easy to use once you get the hang of it. I also have no problem fitting all of my hair under it. And again, since the wrap is cordless, my movements are not limited while I’m DC’ing.

hothead3After heating

Effectiveness: I found that the cap reached an appropriate temperature (not too hot, nor too cool) following the instructions. You could see the “moist” heat it generated as the cap became slightly damp in some areas after microwaving it. I also found that it stayed warm (not hot) for about 45 minutes, which is what I would have expected. The cap felt like it warmed evenly in the flax seed “pockets.” However, I could feel that the areas without the flax seeds were cooler. As the heat is still “contained” to the head by the cap, I don’t know if that would make one part of the hair more conditioned than the other. However, I did want to note that. THERMAL TURBAN WRAP: The wrap heats evenly, but it can get very hot. So the instructions indicate that it should be left to cool for 30 seconds prior to using it. I find that my cap stays hot to warm for 45 minutes to an hour and the heat feels uniform over my head. I usually heat it 2-3 times for a henna treatment, with consistent results. 

Pricing: The Hot Head Cap is $29.95 plus $6.50 USD shipping (plastic caps sold separately). So, it’s not cheap, but it’s not crazy expensive either. I am definitely a frugal person and won’t give up my money without some thought. However, given that I tend to deep condition with heat weekly and henna with heat every couple of months, the mileage I will put on this heat cap would definitely justify the cost (reminder: this cap was gifted though).  THERMAL TURBAN WRAP: The wrap is $21.95 on CurlMart.com, but I paid $16.47 for it because I had a 25% discount code at the time. As I write this, the cap is not available there though. It is available on DermStore.com for $29.99 with free shipping. It seems like it can also be found on eBay, Amazon, HairEnvy, and a few other sites for prices in the the $27-$32 range. Again, for me, the price is worth it because of how frequently I use the wrap.

Conclusions: I LOVE the Hot Head Heat Cap. In most ways, it is very comparable to the Thermal Turban Wrap. The quicker heat time and more uniform heat distribution of the Wrap are bonuses for it. However, the wider variety of patterns/colors, reversibility, simplicity of wearing, and, most importantly, the use of flax seeds as a natural and sustainable heat source, gives the Hot Head Cap the leg up in my opinion. So, I’ll definitely be using the Hot Head Cap going forward and will update you guys on whether it holds up for the long haul!

***************************************************************************************************************************

 Have you tried the Hot Head Deep Conditioning Heat Cap? If so, how do you like it?

Advertisements

Detox with Bentonite Clay

Standard

As you know, I’ve regressed and have been playing with mud lately. LOL! Nah, but really, I used a bentonite clay mask on my face last Tuesday and the prototype for a new Wonder Curl clay hair mask the weekend before that. Well, this has me wanting to revisit bentonite clay for my hair. I tried it once before a couple of years ago, but wasn’t impressed. But, I’m also a firm believer in, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” I also have been wanting to try my hand at making my own Terressentials Mud Wash. If you remember, I liked it, but not the price and shipping costs. So, I started researching this a while back and resumed again this past week. In my search, I came across this post on La Coco Bella and asked if I could share as I thought y’all might be interested in bentonite clay for hair too!! Lauren kindly obliged!! 

***********************************************************************************************************************
by Lauren of La Coco Bella

I have been using bentonite clay for 4 years and it’s been giving me BANGIN’ hair ever since. The results of treatments are phenomenal. I was first introduced to this clay back when I was stalking Fotki hair photo albums (do people still use those??). I can’t remember who, but I saw a girl use it as a hair mask and she was ranting about how it made her hair so clean, soft and defined. I used this treatment about 3 times a month for about a year and my hair was probably the healthiest it had ever been ... oh how I miss those days. lol. I’ll get there again. ;o)

I discovered that this clay was sold at Whole Foods for less than $10 for an entire pound (It’s usually sold in the facial care section). The brand I use is Aztec Secret Indian Healing clay, which is actually intended to be used as a facial mask (which is EXCELLENT for oily skin btw). In a nut shell, bentonite is a natural occurring green clay derived from volcanic ash and its super magical powers come from trace minerals like aluminum, iron, sodium, calcium, titanium but the main ones are:

  • Magnesium –It is a very necessary mineral in the body so cells in the body can survive. It is an anti-aging mineral used by the cells to function and produce energy. It rejuvenates and detoxifies the cells. Thus, without these minerals, the hair is not capable of growing and it becomes dull.

  • Potassium –This is the mineral that transport cellular wastes into the external surface so it will be washed away. Without this, the wastes build up, causing the cells to malfunction and will not be able to produce more cells. With potassium, the hair becomes healthy and supple making it resistant to breakage and split ends.

  • Silica– If silica is deficient, the hair becomes lifeless and dull, prone to split ends and the scalp turns dry for it aids in moisture retention. When the natural moisture is retained in the body, the connective tissues become resilient so, pre-mature aging possibility is hindered. Thus, silica can provide strength to the hair, stops hair fall and hair breakage.

Source http://www.vissastudios.com/bentonite-clay-hair

So I’m sure by now you’re like, what is so special about this daggone clay? Well, it cleanses, conditions and clarifies your scalp like no other. It literally sucks out all impurities, toxins, dirt, excess oil and restores your scalp back to “normal.” It’s anti-fungal and relieves itchy scalps. It’s like a magnet; it just attracts everything “bad” going on in your hair lol (this is why it is so good for your face). The best part is, it is not drying and actually conditions your hair making it more manageable, soft and light. I’ve noticed my curls stay defined longer and even a little more elongated.

NOTE: Yes I have tried the Terressentials Mud Wash (it’s still sitting in my shower) that Naptural85 made famous. Although the mud wash smells great and works well, the main ingredients are simply aloe vera juice, bentonite clay and essentials oils … all of which I have. So, I will use up the wash that I have and just continue make my own “mud wash.” It is WAY cheaper too!

So, I mix my powder with apple cider vinegar (ACV) and water. It fizzles like soda when you mix it … hehe, fun stuff. I recently tried aloe vera juice with a few drops of essential oils after one of my twitter curlfriends suggested it. The great thing about this clay is you can mix it with a bunch of things (i.e. coconut milk, marshmallow root, conditioner, yogurt, tea, etc.). I have yet to try any of these but I certainly plan to.

Oh, and I read somewhere that you should NOT use a metal spoon or bowl to mix. I guess the properties of the metal interact with the clay minerals and decrease the potency. Clearly I used a metal spoon … oops!

You can apply the paste on dry or wet hair, but I prefer wet because the water helps distribute the paste better. I keep my spritzer bottle at hand and spray each section as I go. I tend to go a little heavy with the application and make sure I really cover my scalp and massage it in. I am sure my excessiveness is just wasteful, but I’ve always done it this way. lol. Oh, and thank goodness I have an understanding/non-judgemental boyfriend, because I know I look craaaaazay.

See exhibit A….

Such a mess, I’m a big azz kid, I like to play with mud, haha. I’m sure you can do a better job at keeping it on just your hair and not all over the place like me. :o)

Told you I’m a little heavy handed, lol. Ever seen Link in that movie Encino Man? lol

I leave the clay in for up to 60 minutes, but you can leave it in for as little as 15-20. Rinsing out the clay is surprisingly a breeze, even after the clay starts to dry. It softens up almost on contact with water. But, be sure you rinse really well because I’ve missed a couple spots and had little dried up patches of clay on my scalp, lol, cuuuute.

Once you rinse, rinse, rinse, you’ll notice how incredibly soft your hair is. Some curlies even skip the conditioner, BUT if you’re a product junkie like me, you don’t miss out on any opportunity to use your fave conditioner. lol

If you are skeptical about this treatment, TRY IT. Your hair will LOVE it :o) Thank me later.

****************************************************************************************************************

So, as I indicated far above, I’ve been meaning to try this for a while … like, a year! LOL! So, I picked up some marshmallow root and nettle extracts last March or so at my local health food store. They are still unopened. Anywho, the plan is to try making my own mask with the bentonite clay, aloe vera juice (bentonite clay is alkaline, ACV brings the pH to a more acidic level closer to hair, but AVJ brings it to a pH in the hair range of 4.5-5.5), marshmallow root extract, nettle extract and maybe some coconut or EVOO. You know I’ll keep you guys updated on that!!

Do you use bentonite clay for hair? If so, what’s your recipe?! What benefits to you see from using bentonite clay?

 

My First Cassia Treatment

Standard

A few months ago, when I was replenishing my henna, indigo and zizyphus stash from Mehandi.com, I decided to order some cassia from too. I’d been wanting to try it for a while as an interim treatment between hennas, because it is supposed to have many of the same conditioning benefits sans the time-consuming and messy process!

What is Cassia?

via Mehandi.com

There is NO such thing as neutral henna or blond henna! Much of what is sold in boxes called neutral or blond (sic) henna is Cassia Obovata, usually with unlisted adulterants. Cassia obovata will make damaged hair silky, thick, lustrous, and helps keep your scalp healthy, just as henna does. This has a golden yellow dye molecule, but it won’t show up on your hair unless you are very pale blond (sic) or gray. Cassia will not make dark hair golden. Cassia will make gray or blond hair golden.

Those who don’t want the red color that accompanies henna may be interested in cassia as it provides many of the same benefits, without the deposit of the red dye (lawsone) molecule. It also isn’t supposed to cause the curl loosening that is a potential side effect of henna. That being said, it’s the deposit of the red dye that provides much of the strengthening, thickening and shine-enhancing benefits of henna. Henna is a plant resin that bonds to the keratin in the hair strand, carrying the pigment with it and filling in rough spots in the cuticle (hope that I got that right ;)!). Cassia is a different plant and though it coats the hair with a plant resin as well, it is not as strong. Therefore, the effects of cassia only last about 1-2 weeks, whereas the conditioning benefits of henna lasts 3-4 weeks and the color is permanent. However, preparing, applying and “marinating” cassia is far less time-consuming as it only needs to “sit” for 30 minutes and be left on the hair for 30 minutes to an hour. No gloves or bathroom protection are necessary either!!

My Cassia Mix & Process

Now that we got that out of the way ;), on Sunday I debated doing a cassia treatment. But, I was persuaded to go for it on my Facebook page (see here :)). I had applied a pre-poo mix of Aubrey GPB and Honeysuckle Rose conditioners mixed with Vatika Oil on Saturday. I’d previously read the instructions to apply cassia to dry hair, but after searching around a little, found that some applied it to wet, washed hair as well. So, I knew that I was okay to wash my hair first. During the same search, I also found that there are different cassia recipes just as there are for henna. So, I decided to make a pseudo cassia gloss using the same ingredients that I use with henna, with one exception. I used warm filtered water instead of green tea as adding an acid to cassia releases the yellow dye molecule. That isn’t a problem for my dark hair, but it might have caused my grey roots to yellow. No bueno.

So, with that, here was my process:

  1. Mixed 100g cassia powder with approximately 1 cup of warm filtered water and let it sit for about 30 minutes.
  2. Hopped in shower and shampooed hair in 6 twists with diluted DevaCare No Poo (diluting No Poo provides it with nice slip). Released each twist to lightly finger detangle and re-twisted before rinsing shampoo (20-30 min.).
  3. Got out of shower and mixed about 1/2 – 3/4 cup Sally’s GVP Matrix Conditioning Balm and 1/4 cup of honey into the cassia mix.
  4. Applied cassia mix to hair in sections, smooshing it on scalp and through length to thoroughly coat strands.
  5. Piled hair on top of head, wrapped it in plastic wrap and put on a plastic baggie.
  6. Donned Hair Therapy Heat Wrap for 1 hour.
  7. Hopped back in shower, rinsed and finger detangled with loads of Herbal Essence Hello Hydration (HE HH). Threw in some Suave Naturals Tropical Coconut conditioner too (just to use it up; won’t be repurchasing as it gives me no slip. I’ve been taking CurlyNikki’s advice and using it for shaving though ;)).
  8. Deep conditioned in 6 twists with Darcy’s Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Moisturizing Conditioner (1 hour w/heat wrap).
  9. Rinsed DC under tub faucet using Cool and Seal techniquewith diluted HE HH.
  10. Styled WnG with Sheilo Leave-in Protecant and Jessicurl Confident Coils Styling Solution using Rake & Shake technique.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My hair was still damp when it was time for bed, so I put it in a pineapple, made one big loose twist and formed a loose bun by securing the ends with a jaw clip. This morning, I released the bun to find my hair still damp. But, I used a little Wonder Curl Polishing Pomade to smooth out a little bit of the crunch anyway.


Excuse my “I just woke up” face please ;).

My Review and Results

Overall, I think this cassia treatment worked out well!! As expected, it was a lot easier and far less time-consuming than henna. It had a similar grassy smell, but that doesn’t bother me. I also got the same level of shine and smoothness that accompanies a henna treatment … unfortunately for me, that seemed to still be accompanied by curl loosening!! What the heck?? This is NOT supposed to happen with cassia! Okay, okay. I suspect that this may have to do with how much I conditioned my hair during this process … pre-poo, conditioner in the cassia, conditioner to detangle, deep condtioner. So, I’m hoping that my curls will bounce back with some protein-instilling Aubrey GPB conditioner (sans the Honeysuckle Rose mix) and another wash. But again, my hair looks and feels pretty good! In addition to being shiny and smooth, it feels very clean, light and fluffy.

Initial Conclusions
Depending on how my curls bounce back after my next wash session, I definitely think I’ll try cassia again in another month or so. Shoot, might as well … I have another bag of it ;)! Plus, the results are supposed to wear off after a week or two, so I really don’t expect the curl-loosening to be long-lasting or permanent. Since the whole process is so much simpler and shorter than henna with similar results, I’d definitely recommend it to anyone contemplating henna, but who is hesitating because of the color or time concern.

UPDATE: My curls did bounce back the following wash day. So, I’ll definitely try cassia again!

***************************************************************************************************

Do you use cassia? What’s your mix? What kind of results do you get with it?

Moisturized Hair: It Starts on Wash Day

Standard

When I’m in the guise of my alter ego, “Hairscapades” ;), I often receive or read cries for help that go something like this:

“Can someone please recommend a good moisturizer? My hair is always so dry!!”

I came across just such a question this past weekend on CurlyNikki’s Facebook page and I did my best to answer it. As I wrote the response, I realized that my answer to this frequent query might be helpful to other … so this post was “born.”

Now, here are a couple of disclaimers before we get started. One, my hair is a mix of regular and high porosity strands, you may need to modify some of these steps if your hair is under-porous. Two, my suggestions here are for hair that is really in need of moisture. It is not for hair that is over-moisturized and in need of protein to help it retain hydration. For more on dry, brittle hair that may be a result of over-conditioning caused by regular co-washing, overnight baggying, protein avoidance, etc., check out my posts: Moisture and Protein: Finding the Balance and Can I Over-Condition?

6 Steps to Building Sustained Moisture

Okay, now back to the question at hand. When, I see inquiries like the one above, I rarely make product recommendations for “daily” moisturizers. This is because, I think building sustained moisture starts on wash day. I think the importance of this day can sometimes be underestimated. Therefore, the advice I offer is related to techniques (and the products) that I have found successful in hydrating hair so that it will sustain the moisture level between wash days. This is not to say that a moisturizer will not be needed between wash sessions. However, by building hydration levels on wash day, re-moisturizing sessions during the week may be more effective and required less frequently.

So, here we go. These are the steps that I take to hydrate my hair and seal in all that “moisturiffic” goodness;).

“Naked” hair (left); hair with leave-in (right)

1.  Start with a pre-poo (on dry hair) prior to shampooing. Coat hair with a penetrating oil, like coconut, olive, avocado or Vatika (coconut oil base), which has the ability to enter the hair shaft and reach the cortex to moisturize the hair from the inside out. Leave oil on hair under a plastic baggie for a minimum of one hour up to overnight (heat optional).

What I Use: Right now, I’m loving Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose (moisturizing) or GPB Conditioner (protein) mixed with Vatika oil as a pre-poo. I alternate moisture and protein as needed.

2.  Wash with a non-stripping, sulfate free shampoo.

What I Use: DevaCare No Poo (diluted with water in a dye bottle for easier application and slip).

3.  If necessary, apply a moisturizing, cheapie conditioner to thoroughly detangle hair.

What I Use: Herbal Essences Hello Hydration (HE HH). Best detangler I’ve found for my hair so far.

4.  Deep condition (DC) for 15 minutes to an hour with heat. Then, this is key, COOL and SEAL. Cooling and sealing was a game-changer for me. The short of it is that you remove the heat source and allow the DC to cool in your hair for 10-15 minutes. Then, you dilute a regular daily conditioner in cool/cold water and apply it directly over the DC prior to rinsing everything out with cold water. For more details on this technique, check out my post: Deep Conditioning Tricks … Cool & Seal.

What I Use: I’m really feeling Matrix Biolage Conditioning Balm to deep condition right now (the Sally’s GVP version is good too). But, I’m also a fan of Darcy’s Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Moisturizing Conditioner, JessiCurl Weekly Deep Treatment, Shea Moisture Raw Shea Deep Treatment Mask and Carol’s Daughter Tui Hair Smoothie. I use HE HH or Aussie Moist as my “sealing” conditioner.

5.  After rinsing the deep conditioner, apply a leave-in conditioner thoroughly to wet or damp hair.

What I Use: I’ve been getting really good results with Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner as a leave-in. But, I also often rely on a modified Kimmaytube leave-in recipe (2 tbsp Kinky Curly Knot Today, 2 tbsp aloe vera juice – whole leaf, 1 tsp of oil [mix of EVOO, JBCO and jojoba oil]).

6.  Seal in the water, leave-in conditioner and any stylers/moisturizers used with an oil, butter or oil/butter blend.

What I Use: JBCO/EVOO mix.

Doing these things on wash day enables my hair to hold onto moisture throughout the week and between wash sessions. Oh, and if my hair is feeling a little dry a few days into the week, I simply apply a moisturizer (with water as the first ingredient) and re-seal with an oil. Happy hair!!

So, if  you are struggling with dehydrated hair, maybe some or all of these steps will help you!! Good luck!!

************************************************************************************

How do you build and lock-in moisture on wash day?