10 Flat Ironing Tips

learn from these mistakesAutomatically, I assumed that because in the past my hair would always resist heat, I could never get heat damage. ERKKKKKK! WRONG!!! Boy oh boy was I wrong, wrong, wrong. I had a few flat-iron fails in my time and after all the frustration  I was determined to get my hair straight by the hook or the crook. So I committed a few flat ironing sins and now my hair is paying dearly the price. I didn’t protein reinforce my thin tresses, turned the heat up way too high, left the heat on my hair way too long and now one side of my hair is damaged. Although my hair looked beautiful after I was done, the consequences I now have to endure. I didn’t do all the things listed below, however, I would love to provide a few guidelines when applying direct heat to your hair. I speak from experience.

Protein Treat  & Deep Condition Before & After Heat Application
Moisture is extremely important for hair period. So before you flat-iron make sure the hair is properly conditioned and moisturized. Also, since the hair strands are made up of 91% protein, it would only make good sense to reinforce the structure of the strands with a protein based treatment before applying direct heat. It doesn’t have to be the same day or same week but sometime before you apply heat. I guess somewhere in the back of my head I knew this but was just too lazy. It would mean that I would actually have to go to the store to buy a protein treatment (I know the alternative).

After you’ve flat ironed your hair you may want to do another protein treatment depending on how long you maintain your straight hair. Some people maintain for a week, weeks at a time or months. Unfortunately I can only maintain for a few days. Remember protein treatment can last for up to six weeks if done correctly. Which brings me to my next point.

Plan Plan Plan
If you have even the slightest idea that sometime in the near future you would love to straighten your hair with a flat-iron or any other heat taming machine, do yourself a huge favor and plan way in advance for it. That way you will mentally and physically prepare for the process and you would be able to avoid some of the pitfalls I faced. Trust me your hair will thank you immensely for this.

Use A Heat Protectant
Usually this process of heat taming takes a long time for me because I have to wash, detangle, condition, blow dry and then flat-iron my hair. Once my hair is clean I extract water with either a T-shirt or towel then apply a heat protectant. For now I have Tresemme Thermal Creations. I spray generously on damp hair before blow drying. Once my hair is dry, I like to apply Proclaim Heat protectant. Reason being, it’s not heavy (great because I have fine hair), it keeps the hair soft and shiny, it has a great smell, and it really controls the frizz. Then I proceed to iron out my hair. A good heat protectant will do what its supposed to do, act as a barrier/shield between your machine and your hair.

Avoid Oil Before Ironing
Oil plus direct heat equals frying. Your hair will also smell burnt. It’s fine to apply oil afterwards to give a little shine and weight. But if you don’t want to walk around smelling like burnt hair don’t apply oil before you flat-iron and don’t leave the heat on too long.

Adjust the Temperature on the Flat Iron
First of all that Chi flat-iron don’t play. It was all the way turnt up HAWTTTTT!!! My advice to you is to use a flat-iron with adjustable heat temperature settings and always test run on several small areas of hair. For example, where your hair is thickest and thinnest start with a low temp and move your way up to see up to what degree of heat the hair can take without frying it. Hair burns at 451 degrees. For the record the Chi does have adjustable settings I just felt my hair needed a lot of heat.

A One Time Slow and Steady Motion
This point goes back to point 2 above. You have to plan. If you plan you’ll have adequate time to flat-iron your hair properly and not rush through the process. Now instead of doing multiple run overs, run the flat-iron through each section of hair once in a slow and steady motion. I’m not talking about turtle slow because you don’t want the heat sitting on your hair for anything over 10 seconds (my best estimate). On the other hand, hurrying through may mean missed sections which means going thru again which could equal hair damage. I know sometimes the Asian can come out in us once we’re armed with the hot tamer machine but please be mindful that our hair strands are fragile.

Work In Small Sections
Ole people say one one full basket. The same principle lies true here. The smaller the sections the better. Especially if your hair is thick or you have multiple textures that you’re working with. This means you can run though once and you’ll get a smoother finish. Working in big chunky sections means that it will take longer for the heat to penetrate all the strands which means you have to leave the heat on longer which makes your hair more prone to heat damage.

If Its Smoking Its Burning
Usually where there’s smoke there’s fire. Don’t ignore the warning signs. If your hair is smoking its burning. If its burning it will fall off. If it falls off you’ll be mad at yourself. Remember slow steady motions. Don’t let the iron sit on any one section of your hair for more than 5-10 seconds. A word to the wise is sufficient.

Flat Iron Dry Hair
For best and long-lasting results hair should only be flat ironed once dried. This does not mean that the hair has to be blow dried. It could be air-dried and stretched via banding methods, twist outs or braid outs, bunning or your favorite method.

Flat ironing wet hair is a definite NO NO and a recipe for disaster. Flat ironing damp hair will only result in frizz and possibly burnt hair. Flat ironing dry hair will give you optimum results. Not potato chips dry but dried and moisturized.

Wrap Your Hair At Night
After all that hard work, and trust me its a lot of work, don’t ruin your pretty hair by neglecting it at night. Wrap you hair and tie it with a silk or satin scarf. Doing this will allow your hair to have a curve when you let it down in the morning hence there will be no need to reapply heat.

So there you have it. Although heat damage is subjective, if you incorporate some or all of the preceding tips your hair should come out looking fine and revert to its natural state once you wash it. Always do what is best for you. Heat damage is serious and sometimes the only way to restore the damage hair is to cut off the damaged part. Remember an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

Happy Heat Taming!!!


How Not to Stress Your Edges: 7 Tips to a Healthier Hairline

If you are struggling with thinning edges there’s help. But first we have to find the cause of the problem. Many times the culprit is how we handle our hair other times the issue can be health related such as alopecia. So here are a few tips to handling your edges correctly. The key is to always be gentle with your edges since that area is more fragile than any other.

Don’t Braid the Edges to Tight
When getting extensions hold down the roots in order to prevent your edges from coming out. This will help alleviate some of the tension on your roots.

Allow Some Time Between Braiding
If you love to braid your hair that’s fine (extensions or natural). Ensure that you’re not doing it back to back to back. Leave some time in between so that your hair can actually rest. Take this time to deep condition and treat your hair. Let your hair loose sometimes get to know your hair :).

Leave Your Edges Out
When getting extensions (weave or braids), leave a small amount of your edges out. You can always use a little bit of gel, hair polisher or a silk scarf to smooth it down.

Try Using Looser Headbands and Bonnets
Sometimes the headbands and bonnets that we use to accessorize may be too tight. It looks cute once the style is done but it’s not so cute when your hairline is gone. Opt for looser bands. And if you’re like me and can’t stand the tension this will also help to prevent headaches.

Try Not to Brush Edges Excessively
I’m guilty of this  sometimes. I love the sleek look of my edges whether or not my hair is in a ponytail. Try using a softer bristle brush or a silk or satin scarf to achieve this sleek look.

Stimulate the Scalp
Rejuvenate your hair follicles by stimulating blood circulation. This will help your edges to grow back. Gently massage the affected areas at least twice daily using the pad of your fingertips.

Incorporate Oils in your Hair Regimen
Oils such as Vitamin E, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Coconut just to name a few have tremendous benefits which aid in blood circulation resulting in hair growth. When massaging your hair line try using one of the oils listed above.

Remember hair does not grow overnight so you have to be patient and consistent with your routine. Try using some of these tips and you should be on your way to reviving or improving your edges.

Happy Growing!

Feature Friday | Meet Dr. Saran P King

IGC: Please introduce yourself.
Hi Caron, thanks for having me. My name is Saran P King and I’m a physician at the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre here in Antigua.

IGC: Tell us your hair story. {Why have you stayed natural for so long?}
I have been natural most of my life, but my “healthy hair journey” only began a bout a year ago. I have always loved my hair and all the curls it had, which is why it has been natural for the most part but I longed for a change. I never liked to see my hair bone straight so I decided to texturize my hair about eight years ago hoping it would still have some curl to it. That was an EPIC FAIL. LoL! My worst nightmare came true and the texturizer made my hair, you guessed it, bone straight. I was so upset with myself and I began the journey of long term transitioning from the moment I stepped out of the salon, lol. It took about a year for all the texturizer to grow out and I kept it in its natural state for a year and a half.

Once again, longing for a change, I decided to give the texturizer another chance and this time it turned out exactly as I imagined: curly, soft and full of bounce. I kept the texturizer, retouching 2-3 times a year, but not knowing how to take care of my hair back then, I experienced severe breakage after two years. Once again I long term transitioned and have been natural ever since and loving every bit of it.

IGC: Who or what is your hair inspiration?
Wow, that is a tough question and the list of persons would be almost endless. But I would say number one on the list would be You, :). I remember seeing your hair in a wash and go some time ago and drooling over all the curls in your hair and wanting that for my hair too, then you introduced me to YouTube. I became a YouTube fanatic and went crazy with all the beautiful ladies on there. There are too many to mention and I wouldn’t want to single out any one person because I have learnt a lot over the past year and I would say they have all inspired me and taught me on my journey.

IGC: What is your current hair regimen and some of your favorite hair products to use?
I wash my hair every week, sometimes twice a week depending on how I style my hair or what products I use during the week. Every other week with shampoo and conditioner and every other week with just conditioner. I deep condition every week, put in my home made leave in moisturizer, then make medium to large size two or three strand twist most of the time.

My favorite products to use other than water would have to be 100% shea butter and extra virgin olive oil, both of which are in my home made leave in conditioner. I love them both and so does my hair.

IGC: What are your favorite hairstyles?
My favorite hairstyles would have to be mini two strand twists (which I don’t do much of these days because it takes too long :() and the simple bun.

IGC: Do you have a hair goal?
My two main hair goals are to have healthy hair and to have waist length hair.

IGC: Name five things you love about your natural hair the most.

  1. I love the way my hair curls up when it’s wet and when I do a wash and go
  2. I love the fact that it is 100% my hair growing from my scalp
  3. I don’t have to worry about sweating it out when exercising
  4. That it doesn’t matter if it gets wet when it rains or if I go to the beach
  5. That I have the option of a straight look without committing to a texturizer or a perm

IGC: What has been the hardest part of your journey thus far?
The hardest part was mostly at the beginning, trying to keep my hair moisturized but now that I better understand my hair it has been much easier and I know exactly what my hair needs.
IGC: What are some other challenges you face in your hair journey?
My biggest challenge is coming up with new hairstyles. My hair is in twist most of the time and struggle to come up with something new.

Another challenge I face is dealing with single strand knots. My hair has to be throughly detangled weekly and moisturized twice a day to help reduce knots from forming.

IGC: Do you see natural hair becoming more popular in the mass media or are relaxers set to still be dominant in the coming years?
I have seen and I am seeing natural hair becoming more and more popular as the years go by. More people are returning natural for whatever reason and being criticized less for doing so. I do believe in the coming years there will be more people with natural hair than with relaxers.

IGC: What advice can yo give to someone who is natural, transitioning or contemplating the idea of returning natural?
The first piece of advice I would give is to ignore all the negative feedback that you may get from other people, especially friends and family and do your research.

Secondly, don’t compare your hair to anybody’s hair because every head of hair is unique and beautiful in its own way.

Lastly, embrace, understand and love the hair that was given to you.

IGC: Where can we find your presence online?
Well Caron, I recently started a blog. It’s about living a healthy lifestyle from inside out.

Blog: antiguabarbudagirl.wordpress.com.

YouTube Channel: AntiguaBarbudaGirl

Twitter: AntiguaBarbudaG

Facebook: Saran P King

Email: antiguabarbudagirl@live.com

Saran I would love to thank you for doing this interview with me. It’s always a good feeling to know that I’ve inspired someone to love and embrace their natural hair and to even return natural in some instances. 

Ladies let’s show Saran some love.  Please leave a comment and don’t forget to rate, like, subscribe and share. Also, head on over to Saran’s blog where she writes about health and life. 

Sealing The Moisture!

Keeping your hair moisturized is quintessential to maintaining elasticity, preventing breakage, and most importantly helping to keep your hair looking and feeling soft. Water is the BEST moisturizer for our hair and as such water-based moisturizers provide the greatest benefit.

So what is sealing the moisture?
This simply means locking moisture (water) in your hair using an oil or oil based product of your choice. Our hair is naturally porous and this makes it very difficult to retain moisture in our tresses. It is very important to moisturize and seal in the moisture in order to prevent breakage. Remember, oil is not a moisturizer. It is a sealant.

How do you describe moisturized hair?
Hair that is not moisturized is crackling to the touch. When dry hair rub against each other it tends to make a rough sound and feels brittle. Moisturized hair on the other hand is quiet. When scrunched together it doesn’t make a sound, it has a soft touch and it is not wet.

How to moisturize and seal it in.
1. Wet or dampen your hair. If there is no water there is no moisture.
2. Apply your favorite water based leave in conditioner.
3. Use a coat of your favorite oil or butter to seal in the water and leave-in.
4. Style as normal.

1.  Use oils and butters that are thick, example, castor oil or Shea butter. This will help
to lock in the moisture for longer periods.
2.  Wring excess water from hair if it is soaking wet. That way when you apply your oil
based sealant it won’t slip off your hair strands.
3.  Apply a little extra oil to your ends since they are the oldest part of the hair and
need more hydration.
4.  Placing your ends in a protective format such as a braid or twist can really keep
your ends together and reap more of the advantages of moisture once they have
dried. So tuck those ends away or just keep them from friction on your shoulders.
5.  Avoid manipulating your hair until its completely dried. This means higher chances
of your ends retaining moisture longer.
6. Listen to your hair. While some people only need to moisturize and seal once or
twice a week, others may need to do it everyday.
7. Sleep on a satin or silk pillowcase and/or use a satin or silk hair bonnet while you
get you beauty rest. Cotton tends to draw the moisture from your hair leaving it dry
and brittle.

I hope I’ve helped in some way! If you have any questions about sealing or locking moisture in your hair leave them below and I’ll try to answer them the best I can.

Hair that is moisturized!

10 Essential Hair Care Tips For Year Round Summer Hair

Natural hair care is especially important for those of us living in the Caribbean who are exposed to the damaging heat from the sun. Below, I have complied a list of tips that have helped me along my hair journey. These tips are designed to help improve the quality and health of your hair. I hope these tips will be beneficial to you! 😀
  1. Don’t Forget to Moisturize
    Hydrated hair is happy hair.  Our warm, sometimes scorching hot temperatures in the islands can dry out the hair thus causing stress to our tresses. Try using a hair moisturizer or hydrating oils daily. You can also lock moisture in your hair by misting the hair with water and then seal it in by using your favorite oil or hair butter.
  2. Turn Down the Heat
    Limit the use of heat appliances such as blow dryers and flat irons. If you need to use hot tools, it is suggested to deep condition prior to use and also use a leave-in conditioner and a heat protectant. In addition, look for tools that have a thermostatic setting and will allow you to use “low” heat when styling. When possible, its best to allow the hair to air dry after a wash or co-wash. Heat can dry out your hair and constant use will cause the hair strands to break, deteriorate  and eventually break off.
  3. Don’t Swim Naked: Wear A Cap
    In the Caribbean, we’re privileged to be surrounded by crystal clear, blue sea waters. In Antigua & Barbuda, we’re blessed to have 365 white and pink, sandy beaches. One for every day of the year. On hot days we’re tempted to go for a swim to cool off the heat. It is essential that we protect out hair by wearing a swim cap. Should your hair become wet, it is best to wash the hair using a sulfate free shampoo and a moisturizing conditioner. The same will apply if swimming in a pool.
  4.  Protect Your Hair at Night
    Protect your hair at night by sleeping on a satin or silk pillowcase, and/or wearing a satin or silk bonnet/scarf. This will prevent your hair from the friction cause by the cotton fabric of your pillowcase and will help hair to maintain its moisture. The result will be hydrated, luscious curls.
  5. Choose Protective Hairstyles
    Protective styles protect your hair ends from breakage and helps with length retention. It  prevents the hair from brushing against the fabric of your clothing. These styles include buns, pin ups, braids, two strand twists, wigs, etc. Basically any style that keeps the hair off the shoulders but are not to tight or otherwise damaging.
  6.  Deep Condition or Deep Protein Treatment
    Deep conditioners and deep protein treatment help to penetrate the hair shaft, protecting it from breakage while strengthening the shaft. Deep conditioner treatments should be incorporated into your hair regimen at least once a month to provide lasting moisture that will calm the hair and make it easier to style.
  7. Read Product Labels
    Look out for products that have alcohol, sulfates and ingredients whose names you cannot pronounce and avoid them. These products tend to dry out the hair. And we now know that dry hair is unhappy hair.
  8. Detangle on Wet Hair Only
    To help with detangling, use a wide tooth comb on hair that is wet and saturated with conditioner. Combing and detangling on dry hair can cause the hair to tug, snap and/or tangle. Also, you can try using your fingers to detangle first before using a comb. That way you can undo any knots and tangle without snapping the hair.
  9. Document Your Hair Journey
    Take lots of pictures and record length checks and other hair events to mark the progress of your hair. That way you can look back and see where you’ve made mistakes and try to correct them. You could also see trends and cycles with your hair and how your hair reacts to certain products and practice in your hair care regimen. Keep a written journal and take pictures.
  10. Do Natural Hair Your Way
    All natural heads are NOT equal.  Therefore, you have to find products and regimen tailored specifically to your hair needs.  What works for one head may not work for your head. So please no comparing and complaining!