Sun Exposure and What it Actually Does to Your Hair

We are all told to protect our skin in the sun because how harmful the sun is for our skin, but what about our hair? I like to think of our hair like fresh flowers in a vase; you get one chance to protect them and keep them fresh daily. But once you let them go, it is near impossible to recover.

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I always express that your hair is non-living, it is already dead and we are merely just preserving it. Over exposure to UV rays dries your hair out just as bad as heat damage or over bleaching. The sun will actually act as bleach and lighten your hair, causing discoloration and roots. Lighter or finer hair is susceptible to worse damage just as pale skin is to burn.

Two simple easy ways to protect your hair in the summer sun:

  1. When going out in the sun, coat your hair in coconut oil or Klorane Sun Protective Ylang-Ylang Spray. Yeah, your hair will look greasy but at least it will not be sizzling up in the toxic rays.

  2. Wear a hat. Not only are you protecting your face but you are also protecting your scalp. Plus, you will prevent bleaching your hair out, causing discolored roots or bleaching away a color/gloss you just paid to have done!

How to Properly Shampoo

Do you walk into the shampoo aisle and stand there just gazing at all the different shampoos not even knowing where to begin? Well you are not alone, even the professionals do it. There are so many different types of shampoos that claim to help issues you probably did not even know were issues.

  1. First let’s dive into what type of shampoo. I like to focus the shampoo choice on my scalp type, not so much on my hair type. You want to avoid a shampoo that is going to leave too much buildup.

    - Dry Scalp, I swear by Biolage Scalp Sync.

    - Oily Scalp, look for a clarifying, tea tree or deep cleansing.

  2. Have you ever actually read the directions on the back of a shampoo bottle? They are pretty vague; wet hair, lather, rinse. But sometimes you really have to get in there especially if you have a lot of hair. Your main focus when shampooing should be the scalp. I have 4 sweet spots I like to hit - the nape area, the crown, the temples and the top of the head. I like to scrub each area for at least 10 seconds. TIP: if your first - yes you should shampoo your head 2x if you are not washing daily - shampoo does not lather well, dip your head back to get it a bit more wet and that will create more suds for easy movement!

  3. Lastly, conditioner placement. I only put conditioner on my “ponytail” not on my scalp if I am trying to go a couple days without washing. Conditioner is when I like to focus my attention on my hair type - defrizzing, smoothing, moisturizing, or lightweight.

Think of shampoo and conditioner like your skincare routine - cleanser and a moisturizer!

The Hair Diet

You want good hair? It starts from within.

FOUR Major Effects to Hair

  1. Estrogen, Hormones, Period - play a huge part in hair loss and thinning, after ovulation you might see more hair falling out than usual, during pregnancy your progestogen is what makes your hair thick and luscious, and after pregnancy when estrogen levels drop is when you experience hair loss. Estrogen is the reason women do not bald like men do.

  2. Illness - practice self care and eat well.

  3. Stress - slow down and stop being too busy.

  4. Medication/Anesthesia - take a look at your medications side effects.

SIX Vitamins to Aide Hair Health and Growth

  1. Zinc

  2. Vitamin C

  3. Vitamin D

  4. Vitamin B-Complex

  5. Iron

  6. Omega 3's

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Here is a list of non-weird, diet conscious, budget friendly, normal everyday foods to include in your diet to help you achieve healthy hair.

  • Walnuts

    • Contain omega 3 fats, phytoestrogens and are high in antioxidants. Make this your go to snack or mix it into a salad. Walnuts are low in carbs yet rich in fiber, a quarter cup is only 190 calories. Sometimes I like to mix them with a tablespoon of chocolate chips.

  • Pumpkin Seeds

    • Another good go to snack or salad/yogurt topper. They contain iron, zinc and magnesium (which is good for blood flow aka hair growth). Low in carbs, high in protein and fiber and only 160 calories for a quarter cup. Bonus: Pumpkin Seeds are said to reduce risk of certain cancers.

  • Cruciferous Vegetables

    • Broccoli, Cauliflower, Kale, and Brussels Sprouts are my top picks! These types of vegetables are great for hormone balance and vitamin C. My favorite way to incorporate kale is by "flash-steaming" it and using it for a Kale Caesar Salad.

  • Mushrooms

    • Did you know mushrooms are one of the few natural food sources to contain vitamin D? Crimini, portabella, maitake, and white mushrooms contain the highest amounts of vitamin D. You can enjoy them so many different ways but, my new favorite, which our local deli makes, is marinated mushrooms in balsamic and rosemary!

  • Chickpeas

    • A great source of vitamin B-Complex and can be eaten so many different ways. From Banza pasta to roasted chickpea snacks, they can be incorporated in almost every recipe because of their compatible flavor. Chickpeas are only 120 calories for a half of cup and help with digestion and weight loss as well.

Sources include www.healthline.com , www.medicalnewstoday.com , www.mushroomcouncil.com .

The Best Dry Shampoo

I have never considered myself one bothered by fragrances until I was testing out dry shampoos. My goal, to find “the one”. I have, in the past, tried numerous brands - Dove, Amika, Redken, Pureology, Moroccan Oil, Eufora and so on - and they have either been too heavy, too light, too greasy or too smelly. I do not like an over powering scent that smells like you are covering up an icky smell, even though that is totally what we are doing. It reminds me of a smoker using cheap fruity perfume.

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I ventured to Ulta and picked up three different brands. The popular one amongst my friends, Living Proof, the most talked about on the internet, Batiste, and a brand that I was not expecting to see, Klorane, I had recently heard of the brand on the podcast Breaking Beauty. Here are my thoughts and break downs…

LIVING PROOF - Most expensive of the three at $14 for a travel size. I love the look and the backstory of the brand, the scent is good but is too much. The product when sprayed on the hand was white, really heavy and chipped off. I could not stand getting whiffs of the scent throughout the day.

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BATISTE - The cheapest of the three at $4 for a travel size. The brand has tons of dry shampoo options, it was overwhelming. It feels fine in the hair, no wow factor. The smell alone is like a cheap drugstore perfume but I cannot smell it during the day so that is good. On the hand it was a dark brown color (which I chose) and it was a light, dusty powder, not sticky.

KLORANE - My favorite. The original dry shampoo, created in Paris in 1971. The smell is fresh and clean. It made my hair smell good throughout the day, not too heavy, not flakey. The hand test, it was a great middle of the road, I chose the one for brown hair and it was not too dark like the Batiste. It was $10 for the travel size.

Now the question I get asked most is how to use it. First, you want to hold it 10” away from your head. I personally spray once down my part line, then I take a horizontal section on either side of my part around my temples. Then I take a horizontal part at the crown and sometimes one horizontal section from ear to ear in the back. Let stand for 2 minutes then brush it through roots to ends. I like to use the Spornette Luxury Cushion Brush!

Stress & Hair

‘Tis the season to be jolly, yet most of us are panicking and completely stressed out waiting for the holidays to be over. Last minute gift shopping, entertaining, portraying Santa and seeing family. Have you noticed your hair shedding more than usual?

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3 Ways Stress Affects Your Hair

  1. Blood Flow - when you are stressed out this reduces the blood flow to your heart, which affects blood flow to your scalp, which slows down the process of hair growth AKA telogen effluvium.

  2. Picking/Twirling/Pulling - when you have elevated stress and anxiety, you are more likely to start picking your split ends, twirling your hair or even pulling out your hair which is a disorder called trichotillomania.

  3. Sleep Patterns - not getting a good nights sleep prevents your body to recover, restore, and regenerate and your hair is one of the most vulnerable areas to take hit.

So my advice to you is to stop being “busy” and create time for you.


Travel Hair 101

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Nothing makes me twitch more than an over packer. I am definitely a minimalist and even when it comes to hair and beauty. So, for my 4-night Thanksgiving getaway to Texas, where the weather was mild and in the 50’s, I decided to treat myself to a blow-out to last the week.

I scheduled my blow-out the morning of my departure at BLO/OUT Blow Dry Bar in Philadelphia so I would be good to go for as long as possible. I packed a travel size dry shampoo, a cute claw clip, a brush and my curling iron to get me through the week. I use my claw while showering and I keep it in my handbag in case I want my hair up or out of my face because it does not cause a dent or crease in the hair. Also, try to avoid touching or running your fingers through your hair, it will just cause more greasiness.

Brush your hair often, morning and night. I typically do not use dry shamps until Day 3, but if you need it sooner that is okay. And I bring my curling iron for variety, I curled my hair on Day 4, you could do a flat iron instead if that is more your style.

There are many ways to alter this go-to, to fit your needs of where you are going and what you will be doing. But the key is, less is more and get your hair styled before you go. It is a nice way to start off a vacation and one less thing you have to think about.



Homemade Scalp Scrub

Scalp Scrubs are the latest hair craze that almost every brand is starting to market. It is a great way to remove dead skin and build up created from product, pollutants and sweat. As the premade stuff works great, you can easily make your own with coconut oil (repairs hair and moisturizes), apple cider vinegar (cleanses scalp and neutralizes your pH), and salt (the scrubber)!

HOW TO:

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  1. Mix equal parts of coconut oil and apple cider vinegar. Pour in a lot of salt so the consistency is thick. I chose a fine granulated pink Himalayan salt, you do not want anything too coarse because it will be too rough.

  2. You want to do the scrub in the shower or flip your head over a sink or tub because it gets a little messy. Apply to dry hair, on your scalp by splitting hair into sections using your hands and then apply the scrub, repeat to next section. Focus on “grimy” areas like the crown, nape, around ears, your part line, et cetera.

  3. Once all applied, run your fingers through your scalp and massage - again, focus on the grimy areas.

  4. Rinse, shampoo twice and condition just the pony tail so you do not get too greasy too fast.

Now you have a fresh, clean scalp! You can repeat once a week or once a month - whichever works for you!

PS - I also used the mixture as a body scrub, it is the perfect combo of exfoliation and moisturization.



Coconut Oil Hair Treatment

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For those of you who know me, know that I am obsessed with coconut oil as a hair treatment. It is an ancient hair product that has been used for centuries. It is all natural with no gimmicks, is cost effective and has scientifically proven results. So how do you use it?

Step 1: I like to first shampoo my hair twice with a clarifying or detox shampoo to remove product build-up, dirt and grease. DO NOT CONDITION, this will just create an extra barrier for the coconut oil to have to penetrate through.

Step 2: Comb your hair out with a wide tooth comb or wet brush. Your hair is in its weakest state when wet so you want to be gentle, no yanking or snapping.

Step 3: You are going to apply the coconut oil to your damp, combed out hair. There are a couple different varieties in which you can buy coconut oil - fractionated, virgin, refined - so whichever you choose is personal preference. I like to use refined because it is smooth and more bang for your buck. So I scoop out the oil, rub it in my hands and coat my scalp and hair strands. I will split my hair into subsections to make sure every spot is covered.

Step 4: Now I will twist my hair into a low ballerina bun. It is best to sleep with it over night however the longer you leave the oil in, the more it will absorb - Indian cultures say 14 hours is the magic number!

Step 5: After you have had enough, then you simply shampoo and condition your hair as normal and VOILA, healthy hair!

So how often should you do it? The more the merrier! Coconut oil will help prevent split ends and it is a great scalp moisturizer. I try to do mine weekly.