Not too long ago, a girlfriend of mine sent me a picture of her hair. After shoot, about a decade of being natural, she decided that she wanted to get another perm and chile, her hair is all down her back. After I said a few cuss words under my breath (because she never struggles with hair growth while my tale is a bit different), I decided to use her as inspiration as I'm still on the journey to grow mine out. So far, it's looking like this fall and winter are gonna do more for my progress than this past spring and summer did. And a big part of that is because I'm actually being focused on implementing some fall/winter hair hacks that I learned about a couple of years ago, but I wasn't the most consistent in.
If one of your 2021 goals is to gain a few more inches come, say, March, I've got 10 tips that could have you actually being the envy of your friends when it comes to hair length retention.
1. Eat More Vitamin C
First up, consider adding more foods that are high in Vitamin C into your diet. There are a couple of reasons why this is a good idea, as far as your hair is concerned. For one thing, Vitamin C is loaded with antioxidants that can help to reduce oxidative stress; that's the kind of stress that can affect hair growth (and not in a good way) over time.
Another cool thing about Vitamin C is it helps to trigger the production of collagen. That's a good thing because collagen is what helps to hold your hair follicles and the dermal layer of your hair together so that your hair is able to retain length. Some Vitamin C foods that are in season this time of the year include broccoli, oranges, Brussel sprouts, kiwi, butternut squash, leafy greens, and pears.
2. Do an Herbal Tea Rinse
I wouldn't be surprised in the least if something that you're drinking more of, right through here, is herbal tea. Aside from a cup of hot cocoa, there are few things that feel more warm and comforting than tea on a chilly day. Well, the next time you're making some, make enough to create an herbal rinse for your locks. Remember, herbal tea is full of all kinds of nutrients so, pouring some of it onto your hair will help to promote healthy hair growth.
For instance, if you go with black tea, it can decrease the hormones in your body that may be triggering hair loss (black tea can reduce hair shedding too). Sage tea is able to prevent oil build-up on your scalp. Rosemary tea is known to increase hair growth. Green tea is the ultimate scalp soother. Peppermint tea stimulates your scalp and increases blood circulation. All you need to do is put two cups of water into a pot and add 2-3 tea bags of your preferred tea. Once the water is boiling, turn down the heat and let the tea steep for 15 minutes. Then, once it has cooled completely, pour the tea onto your hair after washing and conditioning it. Let the tea sit for 30 minutes and then rinse a final time with cool water (it will help to seal your cuticles). Your hair will instantly feel softer and your scalp will feel revived.
3. Massage Your Scalp with Bergamot Oil
One of the best ways to de-stress is to give yourself a scalp massage. It can also benefit your hair in the long run because it helps to increase blood circulation to your scalp which ultimately encourages hair growth over time. If you want to really pamper your locks, warm up a little bit of bergamot oil. This spicy-yet-citrusy oil contains anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that can help to soothe an irritated scalp and keep a healthy scalp in great shape, so that long-term growth can transpire. Just mix 5-7 drops of the oil into one-fourth cup of a carrier oil like almond, grapeseed or coconut. Zap the mixture in the microwave for 10-15 seconds, put some on your fingertips and then use your fingertips to gently massage your scalp for 15 minutes or so. It will feel heavenly and your scalp will only benefit from you doing it.
4. Turn the Heat Down
Because there is oftentimes less humidity during the colder seasons (more on that in sec), the less heat that you apply to your hair the better. Now, as someone who is team blowout, I'm not saying that you should go without your blow dryer or flat iron entirely. However, make sure that you use styling tools that are made out of ceramic, that you stay around a medium-level of heat, that you apply a thermal heat protectant and that you keep the "less is more" approach from now until spring. Heat-damaged hair is irreparable. The only real solution is to cut it off. If you keep that in mind, each and every time that you apply heat to your tresses, it should help you to constantly handle your hair with extreme care.
5. At the Same Time, Apply Some Steam
On the flip side, something that can definitely do wonders for your hair is applying steam to it. Think of it as being a humidifier for your hair. Since you already know that you need to work a little overtime to make sure that you replenish the moisture that fall and winter zap out, steaming your hair can help to lift the cuticles of your hair, so that water is able to deeply penetrate your tresses, giving it more elasticity and making it more manageable too. As a bonus, if you know that you struggle with dry scalp, steaming your hair can also soothe your scalp while increasing blood circulation to it too.
Some people steam their hair by putting a plastic bag over it and standing in a hot shower for about 10 minutes. Or, if you'd prefer to use a literal hair steamer, there are some good ones on the market that are less than a hundred bucks. I've got one of them for you right here.
6. Make Sure Water Is the First Ingredient in Your Hair Products
You might think that cold wet weather would equal your hair getting a lot of moisture, yet actually, that isn't really the case. As the temperatures begin to drop, oftentimes that results in low humidity. Then, if you add to that cold harsh winds and then the central heat going up in your house in order to keep your body warm, again, it's very easy for your hair to become zapped from the moisture that it requires in order to remain healthy and avoid breakage.
That's why, if you do happen to be a bit of a product junkie, it's a good idea to look for items that list water as its first (or at the very least, second) ingredient on their label. That way, you can be certain it's something that is full of moisture that can help to keep your hair protected.
7. Keep Your Ends Off of Your Clothes
Personally, my favorite time of the year is the fall. I like the beauty of the season. I also like how it provides us with the opportunity to layer our clothing like nobody's business! Still, with all of the flannel, tweed, velvet, wool, and corduroy that a lot of us are rocking, when we wear our hair in a style where our ends are constantly rubbing against the fabric—whew, that can not only zap the moisture out of our hair but it can lead to constantly snagging (and fairy knots and breakage) too. So, as much as you can, try and style your hair in a way where it's not rubbing against all of your fly fashion. Also, on wash day, make sure to seal your ends. The more extra conditioner your ends receive (because they are the oldest part of your hair 'n all), the better.
8. Invest in Some Baobab Oil
Speaking of your ends, an oil that doesn't get brought up much (tell me if you've heard of it in the comments) is baobab oil. Oh, but it should. Baobab oil is great because it's loaded with fatty acids, Vitamin E, calcium, tannins (which are basically tea compounds) and beta-carotene (which is a precursor to Vitamin A). Something else that's dope about this particular oil is it's loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. All of this works together to strengthen weak hair cuticles, deeply moisturize your strands and "feed" hair follicles, so that your hair can grow healthy and strong. Applying a little bit of this oil every morning and night to your ends can help to protect them from the bitter cold that can try and zap the moisture out of your tresses.
9. Be Careful with the Hair Accessories
Remember what I said about how certain fabrics can dry your hair and snag your ends? Some hair accessories that are currently all the rage are hair clips, velvet hairbands, and fancy hairpins. Those things and a dope fedora are never gonna go out of style. Those are all prone to do some pulling and snagging too, so just make sure that before putting them onto your head that you dab a bit of light oil (like sweet almond, avocado, or jojoba) and that you're extra gentle when taking them out. Oh, and that you definitely don't sleep with any hair accessories on your head. Oh, one more—that you make sure your wool hats are lined with satin.
10. Wear More Wigs
So long as you've got on a quality wig and you take extremely good care of the hair that is underneath it (check out "This Is The Way To Properly Care For Your Hair While Rockin' A Wig"), I think fall and winter are the perfect times to become Regine (the real ones know what I'm referring to) and rock your wig out! It's a great way to keep your hands out of your head, protect your hair from the harsh weather elements and give your tresses the stressless time that it needs in order to grow. Plus, what keeps your hair warmer, right? Definitely bless yourself with a wig in the next couple of weeks. Watch your hair thrive because you did. Enjoy these next couple of seasons, sis. From head to toe. Literally.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
The first big leap was moving to a new city and getting settled into my new home. The next big leap? Was finding community and belonging. Moving to a new city excited me! I looked forward to having my own apartment, decorating it, and exploring what the city had to offer. I also found excitement in the thought of meeting new people and expanding my connections. When it actually came down to it, I felt nervous. I heard that making new friends as an adult can be hard because we all have different responsibilities and schedules that may not align. I knew in order for me to really feel at home in my new city, I had to create community.
Having a community of people who I can share memories with, lean on in times of need, and inspire each other is something I always valued. I took a moment to truly center in on what I desired from the new friends I would make. Then I realized it all would have to start with me. I had to be centered and confident in who I was to attract who I desired to be aligned with. As someone who moved to a new city and established quality friendships, I gathered these six tips that helped me feel grounded and create community in hopes that it will help you, too.
6 tips to start building community and making new friends in a new city:
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Be true to yourself
Do you know who you are? If someone asked you to describe yourself in three words, what words would you use? In order to develop deep friendships, you must be a friend to yourself first. Know what refuels you and what zaps your energy. Self-study your habits and why you do the things you do. All this will be important to keep in mind when looking to create bonds with others. Every day there’s all kinds of people telling you who you should be, how you should act, or what you should wear. At the end of the day, the only opinion about yourself that truly matters is your own. Spend some alone time with yourself indoors or out at an event you like to truly discover who you are in this season of your life.
Pray about it
Before you step out into the world and cross paths with all kinds of people, it’s important to pray about building your community. God outlines what true friendship looks like in numerous Bible verses such as "Iron sharpens iron." - Proverbs 27:17 and “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” - Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. If you desire friendships that last, pray about what you seek in friendship. I remember praying for mentally stable, happy, and whole women who moved through life with abundance mindsets. Take a moment to journal about the community you want to build and then pray on it.
Go to fun events to meet people who share your interests
Most metropolitan cities like Washington, D.C., New York City, and Atlanta are known to have strong young professional communities and events where you can connect with others. I highly encourage you to attend events in or near your community to see what the city is like and meet people. It’s likely that the people at the event have the same interests as you, which is a great way to start a conversation. You can start by searching for events on Eventbrite or following Instagram pages that highlight events happening in your city.
Carlos Barquero/ Getty Images
Accept that you won’t be compatible with everyone you meet
While living in your new city, it’s likely you’ll meet a variety of people. Please know that everyone you meet will not bud into lasting friendships, and that’s okay! You are uniquely created and not made for everyone. Then you’ll meet people who are good for only surface-level connections, and then you’ll have your girls who you can get deep with. I think sometimes people can look down on surface-level friendships, but not everyone needs to fully know you. That’s a privilege to have and to accept within yourself. Continue to check in with yourself and be real about who you crave to spend more time with and who is nice to see for a monthly or quarterly catch-up.
Join Facebook groups & GroupMe chats
If you haven’t used Facebook in a couple of years, it’s time to dust your profile off. Facebook Groups is a great place to join online communities for people who just moved to a new city like you. Typically, you have to agree to the group’s guidelines, and then you can join. For example, you can search for groups in the Facebook app by using keywords like women, Black girl, or [the name of your city] foodies. With the GroupMe app, you’ll have to be invited to join an already existing group. While you’re out and about networking, don’t hesitate to ask if they’re in any online groups/communities they recommend you join too.
Be friendly to folks in your neighborhood
When I first moved to my new apartment, I spent the first week walking around the complex and working in the community spaces to get a better feel of it. I was able to meet people in my neighborhood, enjoy small talk, and learn more about what the community has to offer. Step outside of your comfort zone and work in your apartment’s community space or a local coffee shop to connect with others.
Overall, you may feel alone in your new city, but I guarantee you’re not. There are other people experiencing living in a new city too, and all you need to do is find each other. I hope these tips help ease the nervous feelings you have about building a new community and inspire you to make a new friend today!
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