Can Skincare Products Stop Working?

Photo by Ryan Arya from Pexels

Skincare has made scientific leaps and bounds over the past ten years, at least in terms of what’s available to a wide audience cost-wise. I don’t know, maybe our favorite Hollywood stars from the 90’s always had vitamin C, retinol, and glycolic acid at their disposal. It doesn’t look like it. (Ba-doomp-doomp. Ching.) It’s probably safe to say skincare advancements that help everyone look younger are relatively new.

But what are the long term effects, if any, of using such advanced skincare? I mean, we’re no longer dipping our noses in honey, here, these are raw chemicals. What happens when the jig is up? Can skincare products stop working? And what happens if the skincare you buy is based more in feel-good, smell-good than in actual science? Let’s answer some of these questions.

Are Skincare Products Regulated By the Government, Like Food?

In the US, the Food and Drug Administration is responsible for regulating both food and cosmetics that go on the market. When it comes to cosmetics, however, the FDA is only making sure that the product is labeled accurately. Whether it works as stated or has dangerous quantities of some chemicals is up to the manufacturer.

There are a few ingredients that are restricted by the government. Apart from that, no testing is required for the skincare products you’re using and the industry is largely based on trust.

That said, there are a variety of products that don’t work period, or that stop working quicker than what’s stated on the label.

Do Collagen Creams Work on Lines and Wrinkles?

As a molecule, collagen is too large to be absorbed into the skin topically. So the answer is, “No.” It might provide some hydration benefits, though.

Solution. When taken internally, however, collagen peptides can help improve collagen levels in the body. Eventually, those benefits might make it around to your skin.

Retinol, vitamin C, and glycolic acid do help with collagen production at skin-site. But there are a few problems with these, too.

How Quickly Does Vitamin C Skincare Expire?

First of all, turn the product around and make sure you have the best form of vitamin C for skincare, which is L-ascorbic acid. If your product contains a different form of vitamin C, look on the website to see if they have a good reason behind that.

L-ascorbic acid is the main ingredient in vitamin C skincare that’s worth it salt. It sparks collagen production in the skin, making it very effective at helping to fight signs of aging. But because ascorbic acid is an unstable compound, it becomes ineffective quickly when exposed to oxygen, heat, and light.

Tube packaging that doesn’t permit the entry of light helps keep ascorbic acid active. Otherwise it will oxidize within three months. You can tell by the change in color of the product to yellow or brown.

Solution. If you’re pretty sure that you’re not going to use your vitamin C product within three months, it’s best to buy an ascorbic acid powder. That way you can mix a little with your favorite moisturizer or serum as you go along. The benefits are more potent this way. Just make sure not to use too much.

How Quickly Does Retinol Skincare Expire?

Retinoids are derivatives of vitamin A. They are also known as retinols, isotretinoins, or tretinoins. Retinoid-based skincare reduces inflammation and increases cell turnover. For this reason it works well on acne, acne lesions and signs of aging.

But the problem comes in with the reactivity of retinol with oxygen. Like vitamin C, retinol is an antioxidant. So when it comes into contact with oxygen, it reacts, changes, and becomes less effective at its original job.

Solution. If you’ve purchased a retinol serum that uses a dropper, there’s plenty of oxygen going into that bottle all the time. If you happen to keep it refrigerated, it might last you three months.

Does Glycolic Acid Expire?

Apparently this molecule doesn’t expire, although, naturally the product should be used up before the expiry date. Glycolic acid products tend to come in clear bottles with no special dispensation gadgets. So we could guess that heat, light, and oxygen don’t affect it at all.

Glycolic acid works about as effectively on acne, scarring and signs of aging because it turns over the skin cells. It also stimulates collagen production in the skin. But you’ll find over time that you need to keep increasing the dosage for the glycolic acid to work on your skin.

Solution. As the percentage of glycolic acid in a solution gets higher, it’s recommended to use it less frequently and to have it applied by a professional. Just so you don’t burn your skin off.

Do you really need all of these components in a skincare regimen?

Well, no. You don’t need all of them. It depends on how your skin reacts and what it likes best. Another factor to consider is whether you can get your money’s worth before the product expires.

…And When the Jig Is Up?

When the aging process advances so much that none of this gives you the results you want, it’s time for botox. Sorry. Your skin will age. At 70 you won’t look the same as you did at 20. It just isn’t going to happen like that. So prepare for the day when you will look… old.

All these chemicals produce temporary results. So even if you stop using them for a few days, you will notice the difference. That’s a boon for the companies selling these products, but for the consumer it means you’re basically hooked for life – unless you can get accustomed to seeing wrinkles and age spots in the mirror.

They know just how self-conscious you are about preserving your looks. So new products keep coming out, and percentages of active ingredients keep getting higher until the day finally comes when you can adjust to how you really look as you age.

How The Ordinary Fixes Pandemic Premature Aging

When was the last time you got tissue wrapping with your shipment?! ‘The Ordinary uses simplistic designs in order not to pass on packaging costs to customers.’ Nah. At their prices, they really are just the Robin Hood of skincare.

Has your skin been affected by the pandemic? I’m aging, okay. But the loss of collagen over the last year has been astounding. Then one day, my facial tissues began to slip. And they kept slipping!

I won’t get into the brands I was using. But I was slathering on vitamin C and glycolic acid products hoping for a change. Eventually, I found out that your skin actually hits a plateau, and there are times when you need something stronger. This was one of those times!

The Ordinary had been on my radar for a while, but honestly every time I went to their website I got confused. I was like, what the heck is this, people! I am not a chemist! So I continued to forego.

But as the situation became dire, and I started to block my camera on Zoom calls, a decision needed to be made.

What Should YOU Buy From The Ordinary?

Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion

I made up my mind to just buy what I had been accustomed to buying, at the lowest strength available. Here’s what I ended up with:

  • Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion. I wasn’t currently using a retinol product, but when I had been, some years ago, the results were great. This is an emulsion, as the other had been. So add to cart.
  • Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5. I know hyaluronic acid helps aid elasticity, so that your face stays in place despite the pull of gravity. It seemed my face didn’t just need the plumping that hyaluronic acid provides, but something to sort of stick my face back to my face – elasticity. Plus my glycolic toner already had hyaluronic acid. Add to cart.
  • Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG. I had already been adding a little coffee to my under-eyes prior to the Covid pandemic – time for better technology.
  • Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution. I’ve always had great results with glycolic acid at unmentionably low concentrations – i.e., the concentrations were so low, brands forgot to mention it. With glycolic acid, I had fewer fine lines, more plumping and more glass skin, like for real – glass skin. But lately, those results were too temporary. I would use it, and my skin was ugly and a-droop in a few hours.
  • Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA. It says it repairs the skin barrier. So just in case I messed everything up and burned my skin to kingdom-come, I bought the large size. Add to cart.

First Impressions: Out Of The Ordinary

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

Admittedly, my skincare products have never cost more than $25. But what was I getting? A plastic coated jar or bottle thrown into a box.

With The Ordinary, I spent less than $40 for five products. And, dearie, I got tissue wrap! Scroll up to the picture I took up top if, like me, you haven’t seen that in a while.

Then as an additional welcome, I got a thoroughly detailed email about their philosophy and science vs. nature in skincare products. Although The Ordinary uses plenty of natural essences, they believe chemicals have a bigger place in the world of results.

After using their products for less than a month, I agree.

Put Your Fears Aside – The Ordinary is (Mostly) Mild

Although The Ordinary uses plenty of natural essences, they believe chemicals have a bigger place in the world of results.

After using their products for less than a month, I agree.

(After pic! Back to normal. >>)

How did all this work? Well, I have to say that most of these products are really mild, despite the feeling that you’re taking the risk of being someone’s chemistry experiment. When I first opened everything up, I actually thought the retinoid was the caffeine eye serum (the writing is a little small) and happily put it all over my eyes. No my eyes didn’t tear and the delicate skin didn’t bubble. It took away the dark circles, though! I’m not recommending anyone else do that, and I haven’t done it since, but their stuff is overall pretty mild.

Except for the glycolic acid. It burned. I put it away until all hint of irritation was gone – which took about two weeks. Then I diluted it 50/50 with water and tried again. It toned very well, and I saw evidence of glass skin returning. I will alternate it at night with the retinoid, use less water over time, and try to get back here for an update.

[Update: I had to discard the retinoid as it’s supposed to be refrigerated so it can last three months. It had already stopped working and started putting little bumps all over my face after about a month, so I ditched it and am using glycolic acid (full strength) now. After three days of glycolic acid, my texture issues are mostly gone.]

I found the caffeine solution to spread better if applied over the moisturizer. Otherwise, it’s so viscous, I’m afraid it will help wrinkles set in as it dries. It has improved my dark circles, though.

The hyaluronic acid was thick and sticky, too, but a drop spread around well on wet skin. I think it has helped more than the retinoid to restore my face – not my skin, my face.

It took less than a month for my face to go back to normal. I don’t know if that has to do with melanin or not.

Don’t Let The Ordinary’s Scientific Language Put You Off

Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution.

So if you’re dealing with a hefty dose of premature aging, now you know where to go and what to do when you get there. Don’t let the scientific language put you off, just buy what you’d normally use, at the lowest available strength.

My trust of this company has led me to experiment more and order other products. But see for yourself. I think you’ll love the parent company, Deciem, too.

**Why no affiliate links? The Ordinary products are cheapest on the Deciem website. I’ve also noticed a lot of complaints circulating about counterfeit The Ordinary products. So for those two reasons, I decided to just give my opinion in the hopes it will help another face-slipper on a budget.

Weave or Wig? Let’s Be for Real.

Due to visible texture differences, I’d say the bottom of her hair is a halo extension.

I work in the beauty industry and I’m gonna tell you, I see new hair companies cropping up all the time. I don’t mean hair product companies, I mean hair companies that sell hair.

It’s a huge business. In the scheme of things, the growth of human hair companies is right after that of hair loss companies. Is there a reason for this?

Well, yes and no, sorry, yes. 

Are hair extensions bad for your hair? To be frank, hair extensions rip folks’ hair out, so I would say, “Yes”. Wigs are a little better, but if they are worn constantly, they don’t allow the scalp to get sufficient air which can cause hair growth problems. And if you’re wearing the same one over and over, it breeds bacteria.

But all this is addictive, right? There’s nothing quite like getting the hair of your dreams in a one day process. Long, strong and straight… 

Wait. Did I say this was somebody else’s hair?

Where Hair is Produced

That lace front you’re wearing is likely made from the hair of hundreds, if not thousands, of women who sold their hair to make it through the week or had it forcefully taken from them.

The hair industry is largely unregulated. Hair companies only know that maybe 20% comes from Hindu temples in India where the hair is donated for religious reasons. What about the other 80%? No one really knows. Rather I should say no one really wants to know.

Those tape extensions look really nice, don’t they?

How to Tell if Someone Is Wearing Someone Else’s Hair

Sounds stolen, doesn’t it?

Well, anyway, let’s break from the ethics for a minute and get straight to practicalities.

Black women. Most have hair that in its natural state is thick and short. When straightened, it becomes thin – more so over 30 years of age. There are exceptions, of course.

White women. Hair grows longer but tends to get really thin around 30 years of age and over. Naturally, there are exceptions.

So all these people over 30 – black or white – who are sporting bouncy, voluminous locks are probably wearing somebody else’s hair.

But before we say, “Do your thing, girl,” let’s look at the consequences.

Bald spots.

The consequences are baldness, baldness, and more baldness. I hope I’m being clear. Anything that weighs on and pulls in your hair follicles is going to eventually pull out your natural hair from the root.

Constant pulling also causes inflammation inside the scalp. Inflammation fosters permanent hair loss because the hair follicles die under its pressure.

From Weave to Wig

So now it’s permanent wig time to hide the bald spots. 

Unless you have a Hollywood supply of decent human hair wigs – please, really, no synthetic hair – you’ll be wearing the same two or three choices. Considering the way wigs are woven, there is really no way to get them thoroughly disinfected without ruining them. So you’re looking at breeding bacteria, fungus and more complicated alopecias. 

Just say bye-bye to healthy hair period.

Is anyone listening?

Do Your No Makeup Makeup Like A Pro

Okay I love makeup, but I don’t always wear what’s popular. I tried blue lipstick once. Nah. I never wanted cat eyes. My facial bones stand out already, so I don’t need extra angles. I have brows that are already bushy, and I don’t want dark wings on my forehead.

Shall I go on? It’s been a weird 5 years or so. Thankfully, this is the year of a more natural looking beauty. So I’ve been told. I’m in. 

No more fear of getting the cakeface totally wrong or looking unpolished at the other end of the spectrum.

But what’s with all these reports about celebrities coming out on Instagram wearing no makeup, like, for real? My thought process goes something like this:

“That you?”

“I’m in for this!”

“Ugh. Wait. You have on foundationblush …and eyeliner!”

So instead of believing the hype, I look for what’s supposed to be nonexistent. No eye bags or dark circles? Unless you’re 15, I’m guessing you are concealing. “Oh! Is her neck a different color?” (Yep.) These are sure signs.

Well, let’s just say there is a way to get a no makeup look without people like me that are trained to look for makeup doing a classic double take.

A Skincare Routine is #1

Listen, collagen starts to degrade in the human body before 21 years of age. So even if you just officially became an adult, get a skincare routine. On your “no-makeup” days, start with exfoliation and a toner. Then do your facial massage when applying your moisturizer.

Improved circulation to the face can give you a glow like you’re already sporting highlighter.

Me with only a little eyeliner – no filters. That’s after two weeks of a consistent skincare routine. (Yea, consistency… I won’t show you what I look like today, because I haven’t been on my game.)

Concealer

It isn’t just for taking off years around the eyes. That’s too obvious. Instead blend it into imperfections around the face, then go for a light dusting of powder to even out your skin tone without the need for foundation.

Eyes

Instead of using concealer around the entire socket, pick up a nude matte eyeshadow pallette and go to work. The first shade you chose should match the skin around your eye so well that you can go around the entire eye. Do one eye at a time mimicking our natural facial structure with one or two other colors in the palette besides.

My Warrior II matte eyeshadow palette by Juvia’s. Top right is my perfect “concealer” match, and center top is for creating shadows.

Lashes

Curl them first. Use one coat of black mascara, but only if your lashes are naturally dark. Otherwise use brown, aka Heidi Klum. (She has minimal makeup here, despite the headline.) Make sure to brush it out well. No clumps! No clumps! There you go.

Lips

Remember when you were in high school and you popped lip gloss on… and that was it? Guess what, a shiny lip gloss not only plumps your lips but it draws attention away from other areas of the face. The nice(r) thing about gloss is that you can use a liner to define your lips too, without anyone noticing.

Blush? None.

Highlighting? A little, if you must, as long as sparkles are kept out of the mix.

Any questions, class?

I’m here for you in the comments.

Let’s Get Your Natural Blowout Straight, At Home

Yes you can.

You could do it. Yes, of course. Go borrow Mom’s hairdryer from the Ice Age and get that blowout done! No? True, you’ll only be in the bathroom for hours huffing and puffing to hold that heavy thing up. And did it ever get hot? No. Okay, let’s get back to 2021.

Technology has us all running to keep up with the latest, so let’s see what’s new in hairdryers and get it done right. Tourmaline? Ceramic? Titanium? Which will give us hair that runs with the breeze – even if it’s just for a week?  

What Is A Natural Hair Blowout?

Blowouts are designed to give movement and flow. You can almost see each hair move in the same direction as the head turns. Beautiful. That’s a good blowout. 

Blowouts can be accomplished on pretty much any head of hair. To get that swing, Type 2 hair needs it too! For curly and coily hair types, the process becomes more involved. That’s because you’re breaking down the natural curly bonds of the hair to assume a straight structure, get rid of frizz-like-never-before, and produce movement.  

Stretching Your Natural Hair or Blowing It Out?

We’re not just stretching the hair here. If that’s what you’re after, you can stretch your hair with braids or knots. Stretching the hair is perfect for checking your true length or for trimming damaged ends. But don’t use a blow dryer to stretch your hair! After all, why take the risk with heat damage, if you’re going to bun it back up anyway?

That’s not what we’re after. We want it to whip then revert in a week or two back to curls.

The Tools: What Does A Great Natural Hair Blowout Require?

There are a couple of essential items you need to get a good, moving blowout at home.

Movement Sans Damage: a Bonnet and a Bunch of Rollers

Rollers, what?? Let me say this up front. If you’ve ever blow-dried your hair and eventually suffered breakage, it’s because putting focal heat on wet or damp hair causes bubbles within the hair shaft. In short, that means brittle, dry hair that eventually breaks. 

The best way to avoid damage and retain a straight blowout is to use rollers on very small sections and dry your hair first using a bonnet attachment. (It is old technology. So don’t let anyone see you.)

Once your hair is fully dry, only then use a blow dryer. Yes, this is the Dominican blowout method. Before you stop reading, compare the length retention of Dominican hair and ours and get back to me. (Ahem, it’s the same hair.) Our normal straightening procedures make us constant targets for big “trims” at the salon. 

That point aside, it’s just easier to straighten the keratin in your hair when it’s already partially straight. As in, we blow dry first then use a curling iron. Check. 

Okay, so use rollers that are big enough for your hair to only wrap around one, or one and a half, times. The curls aren’t the point, but stretching the keratin is. So roll with tension. Rollers also give a lift to the roots and that’s where the movement starts!

In a salon, they use hard, plastic rollers. For home use, a few dozen Velcro rollers will be easier to work with. 

Round Brush

A round brush is the second step to get movement. 1 ¼” or 1 ½” barrel brushes are the easiest to handle because they’re the same size as the average curling iron. Go bigger if your hair is longer. After your hair is dry from the bonnet, use the round brush to streeettttch each roller section straight with the fantastic heat of your new blow dryer. Focus the dryer on each section, one by one. The coarser your hair, the harder the bristles you will need.  

Hair Dryer

Blowouts require a good blow dryer. We need the right shape, though. If you can’t maneuver a 12” nozzle around your head with a round brush, what’s the point? 

Your blow dryer also needs to be powerful enough to straighten curls and coils – at least 1600 watts are needed. But unless you’re a pro, it can’t be too powerful or too hot, or instant damage will result. So which type will combat frizz and give you the movement you’re looking for?

Which Type of Dryer for Natural Hair Blowouts?

Cut. Got a friend with a story about her hair reverting unexpectedly at a party? She probably used her mom’s dryer. Take two.

Okay, so here’s what’s up. There are basically three types of hairdryers in the at-home market, although you’ll find some that have more than one technology: tourmaline, titanium, and ceramic.

Ceramic

With ceramic dryers, the heat from the dryer passes through a ceramic device that changes the structure of the heat and allows the hair to heat up evenly. That means you won’t have patches of breakage from the dryer distributing too much heat too suddenly. 

Titanium 

These dryers give off an abundance of negative ions with even heat. They seal the cuticle of the hair, preventing frizz and excessive damage. There’s a problem with titanium, though. It heats up so quickly that it’s hard for the average user to control the levels of heat applied to the hair. So it’s probably better left to professionals. 

Tourmaline 

Tourmaline basically heats evenly like ceramic, but it uses ionic technology to produce shine and reduce frizz. You could consider it a milder form of titanium.

Good news: Many dryers are both ceramic and tourmaline, making them great for at-home blowouts – more movement, less frizz!

Other considerations: Wattage

We don’t need the wattage to be so high that the minute you turn on the dryer it frizzles your hair up into smoke! You guessed it, super-high wattages are for professionals. Of course, we want the dryer’s strength to be enough to do the job in about an hour, (No, thanks, Mom. Keep your dryer.)  Still, for novices, look for watts between 1600 to 1875 – no higher than 2000. 

Best Blow Dryers for Natural Hair Blowouts

We kept an eye on the shape and weight for ease of use.

  1. Andis 82105: Tourmaline Ceramic Styling Hairdryer

Okay, it looks old school. But the shape of this dryer makes it easier to work with while using a round brush. It also comes with a brush attachment that will give you some tension – just not as much as a round brush. It has 1875 watts.

Note: We wouldn’t recommend the hot air brushes that have a round brush shape as none of them go over 1100 watts. They’ll straighten your hair, sure, but it won’t last.

  1. Remington Impact Resistant

Made just for resistant coils and curls, this dryer combines all three technologies. It’s ceramic, tourmaline and titanium. It’s 1875 watts. Because it has titanium, I would start working with the low heat setting first.

  1. Conair Infiniti Pro Smooth Wrap

This 1875 watt dryer also has a short nozzle and it uses ceramic and positive/negative ionic technology. It reduces frizz but is best for looser curl patterns. 

The Art: How to Get That Flow from a Natural Hair Blowout

The best results I’ve seen from blowouts have been in the Dominican Republic. Now I know Dominicans have a bad reputation, and not all of it is false. But if you’re able to do your Dominican blowout at home, you won’t have to worry about anyone putting a spoon of relaxer in your conditioner, right? Some stylists do that because of a lack of technique. 

But imagine Dominicans doing this process every two weeks and still having healthy-looking hair. No, it will probably never revert to their original curls and coils. We recommend you only do a blowout a few times a year. Your hair won’t suffer, and you should revert to your natural texture without any issues. 

Here’s the full process:

  1. Wash with a clarifying shampoo then deep condition and rinse. It’s better still if you wrap the deep conditioning product onto your hair and apply heat to allow the product to penetrate.
  2. Roller set with a water-based leave-in conditioner. You could also layer your heat protectant in this phase by using a straightening balm instead. Don’t be heavy-handed. 

Otherwise, your hair will revert in less than a week as the product wears off.

  1. Grab that hairdryer bonnet. It mimics hooded dryers that give a constant, indirect flow of air. Did you know that for wet hair, the dryer should be kept 15cm away and used with a constant motion? The proper way to use a blow dryer on wet hair will only give us a frizzy, tangled mess! We recommend a larger bonnet to keep the air flowing constantly. Check!

    Hairdryer bonnets are designed to slip right over the barrel of your dryer, and the tube is at least three feet long for indirect heat.
  2. Use focused blow-drying on the hair with a heat protectant and round brush only once your hair is completely dry.
  3. Flat iron, with no extra product added – and only if necessary.

Now here’s the thing. Silk presses are way more popular than the Dominican blowout. But because they skip the hooded dryer step, it will damage your hair more than the Dominican blowout ever could. Remember no direct heat on wet hair! If you keep silk pressing, and your stylist keeps cutting your “ends”… eventually you might be using a silk press wig instead. 

The Products: What Does a Great Natural Hair Blowout Require?

Use no oil-based products with heat! Our hair loves oil, but using oils with heat literally leads to frying. Ah, yes! That old smell of burning hair in the kitchen. You get my point.

A Good Conditioner

Don’t just start with freshly washed hair. It’s good to prepare your hair before the blowout by using a good hydrating mask or deep conditioner.

Heat Protecting Serum

Now here’s the thing, hair can only accept temperatures up to 130 (266F) before damage starts to occur. The highest most blow dryers go is 140C. 

Dow, a manufacturer of silicone products, wants us to know, “Silicones [form] protective film to help prevent water loss from the hair shaft caused by the heat of dryers or heated styling tools.” You’ll need a good heat protectant because heat destroys the inside of the hair first by boiling the water inside it and evaporating it. Healthy hair is about 25% water.

Heat protectors allow you to use high temperatures while protecting some of the integrity of the hair. Heat protectants do not protect the hair fully, so some damage will still occur. Proper technique and a good heat protectant will help out.

Because most heat protectants are made with silicones, the downside is that you might need a sulfate-based shampoo to get it out fully.

Note: You do not want water in your serum before blowing it dry as, again, your hair will boil from the inside. The serums below contain no water or oil.

Straightening Balm or Leave-in Conditioner 

Straightening balm is another type of heat protectant serum. There are usually more conditioning ingredients added. Some of the best balms are:

These do contain water, so I would use these like leave-in conditioners by smoothing a little into the hair before rolling during the first phase of drying.

How Long Will My Natural Hair Blowout Last?

It really depends on the humidity in your area, so don’t expect miracles. However, if you wrap it nightly, your straight hair should last at least a week.

We also like using a little no-water serum combined with pin curls or Bantu knots. But if you’ve reached day five and your hair wants to revert, use a little water-based serum or leave-in conditioner instead with your knots.

Can My Hair Handle A Natural Hair Blowout?

Blowouts, well, heat period, are really only for certain types of hair. In short, your hair needs to be able to endure the heat so that it doesn’t break off while you’re blow-drying. 

Fine hair

Hair that is thin in diameter is usually not as strong as hair that is thick in diameter. If your hair strands are thin, but your hair is abundant, you’re probably thinking that a blowout will help you reduce tangling. That’s true – if you have good tensile strength. And even if you do, know that your hair is more fragile than coarse strands.

Weak tensile strength

Grab a strand of hair from your comb or brush. Stretch it between your fingers. If it pops easily, forget about that blowout. 

Damaged hair

Heat will exacerbate breakage if your hair is already damaged. Use protective styling until you feel comfortable cutting off all the damage, then try a blowout.

Working With “Problem” Natural Hair in a Blowout

Curly hair that has thick strands blows out easier than coily hair. Here’s what to do if you run into “problems” with virgin, coily hair.

Resistant hair

I should call this healthy hair. It’s hair that has never been straightened – or “trained.” Make sure to use plenty of rollers to get each strand as straight as possible in the first phase. You’ll almost certainly need a flat iron in the end. Sometimes a point is reached where the hair just refuses to go further. Wrap it and leave it for the next day.

The weird thing is that, regardless of texture, Dominicans use very little product when doing a blowout. We’re used to applying a lot and that can make your blowout revert almost as quick as you unplug the dryer. So change a few habits, even if they are different from what you are used to getting at the salon. 

Keep in mind that, in school, your hairstylist had extensive education about hair Types 2A and 2B. Some things from cosmetology school apply to most hair types, but when dealing with coils things are learned along the way. Then there’s word of mouth, and you know how fast that travels about hair. Regardless of what anyone says, there’s always room for new straightening techniques, a little more science, and a lot less burnt and damaged hair.

So go hand your Mom back that hairdryer from 1952. She’ll be asking you to do her hair in a minute with your new one anyway.

Here’s How to Grow Back Your Hair Naturally After Pandemic-Related Hair Loss

Make products? Here’s a writing sample that conveys important information without sounding like an encyclopedia.*
Male androgenic alopecia… but honestly it all goes pretty much the same in the follicle death process. Keep reading. Photo via Univ. of Melbourne Dept. of Medicine

People start losing hair for many reasons, but these days there’s a lot of talk these days about people having hair loss from stress. Yes, Pure D. Stress. Sometimes there’s a background cause like medication, an autoimmune disorder, covid-19, hormonal changes, or Stress’s ugly cousin named Trauma. All of these things can cause premature aging, but who wants to lose hair on top of that?

Stress Hair Loss From the Follicles

Whatever type of hair loss you’re enduring, your scalp went through pretty much the same process to get there. It concerns the little pore-like structures on your head that hold your hair in place – the hair follicles. You might be dealing with traction alopecia or are getting little bald spots from playing with one or two spots in your hair. So here, your hair follicles met Pure D. Stress because of your yanking on them, loudly proclaimed they weren’t going to take it anymore and went to sleep.

The only problem is that while your follicles are in this sleep state, your hair falls out. It’s actually normal that about a hundred hair follicles go into the inactive sleep, or telogen, phase and eventually shed hair. What’s not normal is for two or three hundred to go into telogen at the same time and cause more hair loss than usual. That’s not mechanical stress like when you’re pulling on your hair follicles. Hair loss all over is usually emotional stress – what a lot of us have been dealing with this past year sitting at home alone, or with kids that use you as their entertainment, or with a loved one you can’t stand.

This kind of diffuse hair loss can also be related to trauma from losing family members – not because your follicles dropped strands from pulling your edges back too tight. 

Hair Loss Cycles

Whatever the reason, we need to get your hair follicles kicking again. Get ’em out of bed and doing jumping jacks, or whatever it takes, to produce hair again.

Hair follicles work in cycles. So a follicle will grow new hair, hold on to it for a time, go to sleep and shed it. If you are losing hair, they are holding on to it for a shorter time and going to bed early.

Unfortunately, if they sleep for too long, they can die and can never grow hair again.

Harsh Styling Means Hair Loss, and Sometimes Follicle Death

There are clinical names for hair follicles going from sleeping to dead, like androgenetic alopecia, frontal fibrosing alopecia and central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia. Those last three are forms of hair loss that disproportionately affect women due to strenuous styling practices like:

  1. Repeated tight pulling of the hairline or crown with extensions or weave, and
  2. Years of hair relaxers, perms or hair dyes depositing corrosive chemicals into the hair follicles, and
  3. Extreme heat on the scalp from flat irons and blow dryers.

Some of us engage in all three practices at once… right?

As a warning sign the scalp sheds hair to let you know that what you’re doing is just too much. If you don’t put a stop to it, the hair follicles of the scalp can become inflamed. You won’t see the inflammation, but it keeps the hair from growing at a normal pace, sheds what is there and eventually scars – after which no hair will grow. Yes. Disaster!

Hair Loss Is (Usually Pretty) Gradual

The good news is that, like most other forms of alopecia, the process is pretty gradual – unless your hair is literally coming out in clumps because of chemo or a traumatic episode. Because most types of alopecia boil down to the same problem, inactive hair follicles, the solution is also pretty much the same, too: putting and keeping as many hair follicles as possible in the growth phase. So let’s get to the good news.

How Hair Growth Products Work

I don’t want you going out shopping for minoxidil, but it works. Luckily, there are natural oils that do pretty much what minoxidil does: increase the blood flow to the scalp to keep the hair follicles from going to sleep. There are other oils that work like the hair growth drug finasteride and wake up dormant hair follicles.

I linked some scientific studies below so you know natural stuff is legit, too, and can do pretty much the same things as minoxidil and finasteride. They also don’t have any side effects, are multipurpose and are cost effective. If you’re into natural hair care already, you probably have some of these in your home already. In case you don’t, I restricted the list of oils to what’s readily available.

Growing Your Hair Again

“Wake up!” It’s time for hair follicle jumping jacks.

  • Castor oil or Jamaican black castor oil – mimics the body’s natural hair growth stimulator PGE2.
  • Pumpkin seed oil – even when taken orally, it can increase hair density up to 40% for men suffering from genetic alopecia.
  • Rosemary essential oil – compares well to Minoxidil regarding the rate of growth after six months
  • Peppermint essential oil – works quickly to put more hair follicles into the growth phase.

Natural Substances That Help More Hair to Grow

Your hair follicles need certain building blocks to build hair and help it grow faster. Keratin, which makes up 96% of the hair shaft, can help – that’s if your follicles have more if it available.

Natural Hair Growth Extenders

Sounds kind of like we’re adding extensions here. We’re not! I’m talking about keeping your existing hair in for longer. Our hair follicles hold on to hair for two to six years, normally. The longer it stays, the longer your hair grows. If you’re losing hair, it’s not even lasting for the two year minimum, but falling out before that time. So we need to try to extend the time the hair remains in it’s follicles, and keep the hair follicles from falling asleep prematurely.

US Hair Growth Products

Pumpkin Hair Serum– contains pumpkin seed oil and peppermint @NatHairQueen 

Groganics Head Full of Hair Creme Hair Dress – contains castor oil and peppermint, but the star of Groganics products is pea sprout extract. Pea sprout increases the number of hairs on your head that are in the growth phase. @My_Groganics

UK Hair Growth Products

Creamy Cafe Latte Leave-In Detangle Conditioner – a rich cream that contains castor oil and coffee for to keep your follicles wide awake and functioning like they should @anitagrantllc

TLC Naturals Grow It Caffeine Stimulating Shamoo – it contains caffeine, DHT blockers adn salicylic acid, to combat inflammation.  @tlcnaturals

By Aaron Wallace product line with black seed oil @byaaronwallace

There are so many more. If you make products from some of the ingredients listed here and I missed you, just drop me a line: hairandbeautywriter@gmail.com

And whether you whip up your own or choose something that’s pre-made, I wish you a full head of hair… and less stress in your life!

*Now for my pitch: The above is a sample of my hair care research and writing. It’s written in my own personal voice, but hey, I can mimic yours if I see a sample of your writing. Let someone write for you, because you really don’t have to do Ever-Thing yourself. Need someone to take care of your blog? Drop me a line here: hairandbeautywriter@gmail.com

Homeschooling Is Lethal


If you have underaged kids, they’ve been sitting in your hair pretty much since March. It’s October, and our mirrors are not telling quite the same story they did before all this started. So if you’re now embarking on some form of remote schooling or full time teaching of your own children, consider supplementing that game plan with anti-aging products.

Trust me. I’ve been teaching my child for a while, with all the highs and lows that go with it. So if you’re new to this, let me explain why it’s good to get ahead of the game – even assuming you look the exact same as you did in March. (Right.)

Think of some of your teachers in the past (and don’t tell me you never misbehaved). How many had downturned lips? Were there any with despondent, drooping eyes? How about the near constant smirk? Ever noticed that one corner of some teacher’s nose was always a little higher than the other… in disdain?

As time passes, facial expressions leave their mark. Have you been giving your child lots of threatening looks for poor behavior? Or perhaps you’ve repeated, “I am the teacher, here!” at least 10 times during the past few weeks. If so, I want you to try something. Make a plain face – no expression, no smile. Now look in the mirror. Have you noticed a little tightening here and there? This is your face getting accustomed to the repetitive motion of its muscles.

Don’t be mad. I’m just trying to help. So now let’s have a lesson on how to avoid (further) premature aging due to stress.

What Aging Looks Like

Twitter @chop466

The initial signs of aging can differ by facial structure. Do you have hooded eyes? Hooded eyes are characterized by a fleshy browbone area. If you have them, your signs if aging will appear here first. The eyes get heavier and more sunken with age and crows feet and bagging occur. Even if you haven’t noticed any of this happening, grab a collagen eye serum for the semester anyway. It’s an ounce of prevention.

If you don’t have hooded eyes, aging will then usually be observed first in the lower half of the face. This is where the collagen between the lower cheek and the mouth begins to degrade, even if the rest of your face still looks fresh. If you’re over 40, or getting close to it, and happen to be caring for children, observe this area and set to work with the following.

Glycolic Acid

A chemical exfoliant like glycolic acid stimulates the epidermis and increases circulation. It helps keep the muscles under your skin from becoming stagnant. Low circulation contributes to the degradation of the skin and fatty layers of the face, too.

Glycolic acid is not a miracle ingredient, but it’s pretty close. Younger looking skin can be seen almost immediately after starting a regimen with this alpha hydroxy acid. It sets up a system of constant, gentle exfoliation of the face. Just don’t go above a concentration of 10%, if you’re using it at home.

Most glycolic acid products work about the same. However, some are sold with mechanical exfoliant additives like microbeads. These are not only unnecessary, but can dull the new skin that’s surfacing due to glycolic acid.

Oh, and if you’re going out, use a sunscreen. (Yes, I mean you.) Glycolic acid makes skin photosensitive, and who wants to go hopping from the frying pan into the fire with fine lines?

Retinol

Speaking of fine lines, retinol is the fine-line-enemy. Just rub the solution right into your rough spots, or all over your face, if you like. Retinol and glycolic acid can be used in conjunction. You’ll need a sunscreen outside with this one too.

Collagen

AnthonysGoods.com

Ingesting collagen goes a long way to defeat the symptoms of aging, as collagen is one of the bodily stores that lowers significantly with time. Collagen creams can be expensive, but both glycolic acid and retinol stimulate collagen production in the skin. If you feel it’s not enough, ingesting collagen peptides can aid the process. They are also flavorless in your morning cup of joe before school.

The biggest thing is that whatever curriculum skincare routine you choose, stay consistent with it. Kids Skin can be trained to adjust with consistency.

“I am the —!”

“Teacher here?”

“I said stop interrupting.”

How to Recreate Lupita’s Hair from Black Panther

Can you get the elegant grace of Nakia’s (Lupita Nyong’o) Black Panther hair? Of course!

Naturally? 100%. And easy, too. Find out how below.

To Look Like Lupita, What Hair Type Works?

Without a doubt, Lupita has type 4c natural hair. This style was created for naps. Yea.

More than that, anyone who’s going to try pulling it off must have very thick hair. Otherwise the knots are going to be spaced further apart, and  you’ll end up with a different look.

I would guess that if you have really thick hair that ranges between 4b and 3c, this style might work out okay, but the results won’t look quite the same as Lupita.

Okay moving on.

What Hair Length Will Give Me This Black Panther Look?

No you don’t have to do a big chop haircut to get this style going on. This is a perfect twa style, but as long as your hair is shorter than neck length, you’re good. Looks like about 5 inches of hair worked nice in Black Panther.

Of course, the longer your hair is, the more volume your knots will have in the end. Nothing wrong there! Length can work to your advantage too if your hair is not super thick.

How To Style My Hair Like Nakia?

Did I say knots above? Yes these are very similar to bantu knots! What makes Nakia’s knots different is that they are installed closer to the scalp, instead of mounting up vertically. .At the same time, they are not kept tightly wound, but are styled somewhere in between knots and a knot-out. Sort of.

How to:

  1. Start on clean hair. Use a styler like natural gel – one that provides hold and sheen without crunch – a natural hair product like Camille Rose Naturals Aloe Whipped Butter Gel.
  2. Section off small sections and form the knots. If you look carefully, Lupita has more than 100 knots in there!
  3. While Black Panther lead stylist Camille Friend told the New York Times that she knotted the hair close to the scalp, the description in the article actually sounds a lot like small pin curls.
    Pin Curl Hairstyles For Short Hair Beautiful Pin Curls on Tapered Natural HairPin curls can be wound like flat bantu knots and secured with a hair pin, as shown above. Alternately, because 4c hair can secure itself, you can try making the knots, by twirling right at scalp level, like Camille Friend says. Then tie the knots down with a scarf to secure them while they dry. 😉
  4. If you want your style to last longer, do this on wet hair.  The PR pics from the movie show how this unique curly hairstyle transforms as the days wear on.

hairnbyutwriter hair lupita-nyongo-black-panther
Day 1 hair.

hairnbyutwriter hair lupita-nyongo-black-panther2
“Day 2” hair. We really don’t know for how many days the style was in, hence the quotations.

hairnbyutwriter hair lupita-nyongo-black-panther3
“Day 3” hair.

Suffice it to say, your hair should look like Day 1 hair when you’re done. It will fluff out on its own in subsequent days, as you can see in the pics. But if you create the fluffed out look initially, the style won’t last as long. That’s up to you.

5. Once your hair is completely dry, remove the scarf or pins. (You can use a hooded dryer to help them dry quicker.)

6. The last step is to take a pick (or tip of a (rat tail) comb, like Camille Friend) and lift the roots gently.

How to Get Nakia’s Black Panther Hair Color, Naturally!

I’m glad the stylist didn’t dye it blue, or I wouldn’t be able to help you here! I promised to deliver this style naturally, and henna can be used to get those deep mahogany highlights. How? With vinegar.

The color step is optional, and more involved, whereas the hairstyle itself is quick and easy. So I put the color routine last instead of first.

  1. Mix henna with apple cider vinegar to form a paste the consistency of mayonnaise.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 12 hours in a warm spot.
  3. Uncover and add a few tablespoons of sugar for moisture.
  4. Beat the mixture again. It should be sticky. Let it sit for another hour for the sugar to completely dissolve. You can add essential oils at this stage to help mask the smell, if you like.
  5. Apply to hair in sections. You should have enough henna mixed that your head is completely saturated in it and is a gooey mess. 🙂
  6. Wrap your head in plastic wrap tightly, so no air is allowed in. Keep all that in your head for 12 hours.
  7. Rinse thoroughly and condition but don’t use shampoo. The color continues to develop the next day. So wait a day, then you can use a sulfate-free shampoo.

Again, all that is optional. You won’t need the color highlights to get hair like Black Panther’s Nakia. You’re going to be turning heads anyway, whether it’s mahogany, black, brown, blonde or pink.

Interesting fact? All the styles in Black Panther, including Lupita’s, are actually wigs created by Ms. Friend for the set.

Photo credits: Matt Kennedy/©Marvel Studios 2018

Want an article like this for your natural hair blog? Contact me!

Soultanicals…Please STOP!

Remember you and your group of girls laughing so hard that you couldn’t breathe? With the frozen cheese smiles, eyes squeezing tears out and the sound of, “Eeeeee!”

To get the “He, he, he,” out, you had to slap your hands on something right?

Stomach hurting! “Girl, STOP!”

Well that’s what I’m telling my girls at Soultanicals. Stop! When what I really mean is, “Please keep going. You’re on a roll.”

What’s In a Name

Some of the classic Soultanicals products have a rhyme to them that reminds me of going out with my girls and laughing and carrying on. It’s all in the way you say it. “Hair-Blaze-Curl-Glaaaaze!!” Really fast.

I swear to you, I go over the Soultanicals website just to recall those days. Because besides having really innovative formulas, I just really love their product names.

I would buy up their store, if I could, and giggle through the pages as I’m doing it. Between their retro, psychodelic funk packaging and the names, their marketing speaks, girl. It speaks.

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/2465/7853/products/pumpkinkaolindetox__06941_776046df-8408-4702-aff3-15be22de7848_360x.jpg?v=1508378352
Oh, and I’ve seen wallpaper like that, back in the day.

Here are some more names. (See if you can say them with me.)

  • Knap-pay-lishus Kank-Drank  (Hair Sorrell Knappylicious Kink Drink)
    -of course you’re not supposed to say the S in Knappylicious
  • Afrotastic Curl’LASTic (Afrotastic Curl Elastic)
    -I’m pretty sure they wanted to leave out the E, too.
  • Mango Dip Detanglin’ SLIP  (Mango Dip Detangling Slip)
    -A cute little mango is dipping her foot into a slippery pool here. The imagery they create! Am I the only one who sees this??
  • Frizz-Whizzzzzz (Frizz Whiz Curl Defining Leave-In)
    -a’la game show
  • Hershea Luuv Polishin’ Fudge (Hershea Love Polishing Fudge)
    -now Hershey’s Chocolate isn’t letting go of their name anytime soon, but I guaranTEE you, there is a chocolate girl out there somewhere who’s dubbed herself Hershey Love.

Just saying.

If you happened to click the links in this article, you’ll see that most of their products have been sold out. Of course that’s not just due to the names. But Soultanicals, keep going!!

 

 

 

 

How to Get Into Customized Beauty

If you’re making products, one of the top beauty trends for 2018 that directly affects you is personalized beauty. With this, your leads enter their hair or skin type and their beauty goals into questionnaire fields on your website. The results yield an instant click to buy that’s either a recommended product, a prototype of a new look or both.

There are dozens of companies out there who are taking the guesswork out of beauty routines – and mining a whole lot of data to boot. They are discovering, real time, what people want and are mining that info by beauty demographic to make their offerings even better. Sweet.

That’s not to say traditional market research has become irrelevant. After all, you still have to know what messages to throw out there to pull your ideal customers in. And before that, of course you must also know exactly who your ideal customers are.

The difference between traditional beauty marketing and these guys in customized beauty is how they are staying on top of the game by constantly having a finger on their lead base. And once a person fills out the survey on their site, they do a quick, almost irresistible, conversion from lead to customer – right there on the same page (or so it appears to the consumer).

I confess, I’m loving how hair products like Form Beauty,  Function of Beauty and Prose Hair have taken surveys to a whole other level. As consumers, we are intrigued when companies help us find out more about ourselves. If you’ve ever flipped through a magazine to find the personal questionnaires, you know how big of a draw they are.

Well, those hair product companies manage to use the same kind of draw then deliver the same kind of instant gratification at the end. Except this time it’s in the form of a physical takeaway product!

So that’s the up side.

On the down side, in my humble opinion, is the use of DNA for customized beauty. It’s a little too far into the Big Brother world for me. But Coty joining up with Amazon Echo is tempting! Obviously this is not the same lackluster Coty from decades ago.

How You Can Do This

So if you’ve been spending time (and money) in the kitchen or laboratory coming up with product lines for different hair/skin types… consider cutting your costs by making a base product and incorporating customization.  All you have to do is add a few ingredients to the your base per customization. Or make three or four different bases and customize those.

Then make up your questionnaire, and post it to your site. Each set of answers leads to a different product, so it’s a good idea to have as many products as the number of answers your survey will generate.

So if there end up being 100 different sets of possible results from your questionnaire, start thinking of the ingredient combinations you can use to create those 100 different products. If you know your ingredients well and are a good formulator, it won’t take you very long.

Now I’m not saying this is how Form, Prose Hair and Function of Beauty do it. I’m sure they have their own methods. I’m saying this is an easy way that you can start doing it.

Get into the game for 2018!