Another year is here. A year to “get it right” if there are some things that, admittedly, you know you got all wrong in 2021 when it comes to your tresses. As for myself, I’ve got to admit that last year just might be the one that helped me to see the most personal progress. A part of the reason is because I applied some of the very tips that I’m about to recommend to you. So, if you’re ready for your hair to be longer and healthier than it’s been in a really long time, these 11 tips are some of the things that can help you to reach your goal.
1. Get More Vitamin D into Your System
Last spring, I wrote “A Lot Of Black Women Are Vitamin D Deficient. Here's The Fix.” for the platform. There are a myriad of reasons why Vitamin D is important to your overall health and well-being; however, when it comes to your hair specifically, it’s good for you because it stimulates the production of new hair follicles, helps to strengthen old ones and, because a Vitamin D deficiency is connected to hair loss — well, it’s clear that it is imperative to either take a supplement that contains this nutrient and/or eat foods that are high in Vitamin D. Some of those include salmon, cod liver oil, fortified cereals, fortified orange juice and eggs.
2. Eat More Foods That Are High in Zinc
Speaking of foods that you should be consuming, nuts like cashews and peanuts, whole grains, potatoes, kale and pumpkin seeds are all really good for you because they are high in zinc. Your hair needs zinc in order to thrive because it helps to keep your hair follicles moisturized. Not only that but zinc is great when it comes to hair tissue growth and repair. So, if you’re looking for a way to reduce breakage from the inside out, consuming zinc-enriched foods is an effective way to do it.
3. Invest in a Conditioning Cap
There’s no way that your hair is going to stay healthy and grow longer if you’re not deep conditioning it, pretty much on every wash day. If you want to go “2.0” on it, you should cop yourself a conditioning cap. It helps your hair to generate heat, so that whatever conditioner you are using, it will be able to deeply penetrate your hair’s cuticles. Natural Hair Insights is a site that has a list of some conditioning caps that are great for natural hair. You can check it out here.
4. Buy Yourself a Hair Steamer
Speaking of tools that will help to moisturize your hair, if you don’t own a hair steamer, there’s no time like the present to make a move. It’s something else that helps your conditioner to penetrate your hair. It also helps to produce elasticity. If you happen to have low porosity hair (which means it’s hard for your hair to maintain moisture), a hair steamer can keep moisture in your hair for a longer period of time. It can also reduce scalp dryness, itchiness and irritation. As far as the best hair steamers that are currently on the market for us, NaturalHair-Products can totally hook you up. Read their list here.
5. Use More Plastic Sectioning Clips
Trust me, if you’ve got super long, really thick and very curly hair, you are definitely going to need to get yourself some plastic sectioning clips. They will keep you from pulling out a lot of your hair (especially when it’s wet) while doing a lot of brushing and combing. They also work really well on wash days or when you want to detox your scalp (read more about why that’s something you should consider doing by checking out “Treat Your Scalp To A Little Bit Of Detoxing This Weekend”). By the way, plastic ones are better than metal ones because metal ones tend to snag your hair which can lead to tangles and breakage.
6. Treat Yourself to Some Almond Milk Rinses
Your hair is made up of mostly protein; so, of course, it needs protein treatments from time to time. All-out protein treatments are recommended every 4-8 weeks but if you want to do some upkeep in between those, DIY an almond milk hair rinse. By combining one-third cup of almond milk (for the protein boost), two tablespoons of honey (honey is a humectant which means it pulls moisture from the air) and one tablespoon of grapeseed oil (it’s loaded with Vitamin E and oxidants) and pouring the rinse on your hair and letting it sit for 20-30 minutes prior to shampooing and conditioning your hair, your locks will not only feel softer but stronger as well.
(By the way, signs that you need a protein treatment include your hair being spongy, being limp and not being able to hold a style. Also, if you’ve got high porosity hair — which means you’ve got “gaps” in your cuticles that make it easy for your hair to get too much moisture — you definitely could benefit from consistent protein treatments as well.)
7. Massage Your Scalp with Cedarwood Oil
Cedarwood essential oil is good for your scalp and hair for a few reasons. It increases blood circulation to your scalp, so that your hair follicles are able to receive the nutrients that they need. It contains properties that help to keep dandruff and product build-up from irritating your scalp. Cedarwood oil also reduces scalp inflammation, decreases stress levels and helps to keep your scalp and hair moisturized. And since a scalp massagealso stimulates hair follicles and decreases stress levels, I’m pretty sure you can see why adding a few drops of cedarwood to your favorite carrier oil, warming it in the microwave for 10 seconds and then gently massaging your scalp with your fingertips can feel super amazing while being really beneficial for your hair, from root to tip, too.
8. Use More Texturizing Serum
When it’s used in moderation, I’m a pretty big fan of hair serum; especially on natural hair. It gives your hair the kind of “slick” that makes it easier to style. It helps to bring sheen to your locks while adding lots of curl definition. It also reduces frizz which is always a huge plus. And if you decide to go with a texturizing cream, it can accentuate your natural texture without making your hair stiff (like some hair serums tend to do when there’s been a bit of build-up). Texturizing serum is also dope because it gives structure to blow-outs and can give you the perfect finger waves if that’s what you’re after. While there are plenty of serums on the market, a brand that’s currently getting a lot of attention in these streets (as far as a texturizing serum goes) is Davines. You can order it here.
9. Ease Up on Your Edges
I once read an article that said that the reason why a lot of us are obsessed with creating “baby hair” is because we’re still falling for the myth of what “good hair” looks like. Whether you believe that or not, what is a fact is hair around your edges and nape are pretty fragile (check out “7 Tips For Getting The Edges And Nape Of Your Neck To Grow Faster”), alcohol-based products will dry them out and could lead to breakage and the less manipulating you do to them, the better. Listen, I know more women than I should who were super caught up in having “laid” edges and/or being careless with lace fronts who are now bald around their edges as a direct result. It’s not worth it when it can be avoided; for a lot of us, taking the “less is more” approach with our edges is the key.
10. Be Super Gentle with Your Ends and Style More with Your Fingers
Your hair is always growing, so to think that you’re not gaining inches because it’s not doing just that is a lie. So long as you don’t have some sort of scalp or hair disorder, the main thing to focus on is making sure that your ends aren’t breaking off at the speed that your hair is growing out of your scalp. Here’s the thing — unless you are styling your hair in a way that calls for clean and precise parts (or you’re detangling on wash day), more times than not, you can survive styling your hair without combs and brushes. This is a good thing to know because when you opt for using your fingers instead, you can feel for knots and tangles; plus, it’s easier to control the amount of pressure that you apply.
As a result, you’ll have less tearing, less breakage and that means you’ll have longer and stronger strands. I won’t lie to you, styling with your fingers requires quite a bit more time and patience — but hey, if that means that there will be less hair in your comb and more on your head, isn’t it worth it? Exactly.
Sleep deprivation is directly tied to excessive hair shedding and even hair loss because a lack of sleep reduces the amount of melatonin that your body produces which can hinder hair growth. A lack of rest can also result in your hair being pushed into a “resting phase” where it no longer grows. So, if you know that you’ve been getting less than five hours a night, at least for your hair’s sake, try and push it up to seven. Something tells me that if you do it on a consistent basis, your hair just may surprise you when it comes to how it picks up a bit of speed on the growing tip. Keep us posted.
Featured image by Getty Images
After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
How Content Creators Hey Fran Hey And Shameless Maya Embraced The Pivot
This article is in partnership with Meta Elevate.
If you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, chances are the names Hey Fran Hey and Shameless Maya (aka Maya Washington) have come across your screen. These content creators have touched every platform on the web, spreading joy to help women everywhere live their best lives. From Fran’s healing natural remedies to Maya’s words of wisdom, both of these content creators have built a loyal following by sharing honest, useful, and vulnerable content. But in search of a life that lends to more creativity, freedom, and space, these digital mavens have moved from their bustling big cities (New York City and Los Angeles respectively) to more remote locations, taking their popular digital brands with them.
Content Creators Hey Fran Hey and Maya Washington Talk "Embracing The Pivot"www.youtube.com
In partnership with Meta Elevate — an online learning platform that provides Black, Hispanic, and Latinx-owned businesses access to 1:1 mentoring, digital skills training, and community — xoNecole teamed up with Franscheska Medina and Maya Washington on IG live recently for a candid conversation about how they’ve embraced the pivot by changing their surroundings to ultimately bring out the best in themselves and their work. Fran, a New York City native, moved from the Big Apple to Portland, Oregon a year ago. Feeling overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of city life, Fran headed to the Pacific Northwest in search of a more easeful life.
Her cross-country move is the backdrop for her new campaign with Meta Elevate— a perfectly-timed commercial that shows how you can level up from wherever you land with the support of free resources like Meta Elevate. Similarly, Maya packed up her life in Los Angeles and moved to Sweden, where she now resides with her husband and adorable daughter. Maya’s life is much more rural and farm-like than it had been in California, but she is thriving in this peaceful new setting while finding her groove as a new mom.
While Maya is steadily building and growing her digital brand as a self-proclaimed “mom coming out of early retirement,” Fran is redefining her own professional grind. “It’s been a year since I moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon,” says Fran. “I think the season I’m in is figuring out how to stay successful while also slowing down.” A slower-paced life has unlocked so many creative possibilities and opportunities for these ladies, and our conversation with them is a well-needed reminder that your success is not tied to your location…especially with the internet at your fingertips. Tapping into a community like Meta Elevate can help Black, Hispanic, and Latinx entrepreneurs and content creators stay connected to like minds and educated on new digital skills and tools that can help scale their businesses.
During a beautiful moment in the conversation, Fran gives Maya her flowers for being an innovator in the digital space. Back when “influencing” was in its infancy and creators were just trying to find their way, Fran says Maya was way ahead of her time. “I give Maya credit for being one of the pioneers in the digital space,” Fran said. “Maya is a one-person machine, and I always tell her she really changed the game on what ads, campaigns, and videos, in general, should look like.”
When asked what advice she’d give content creators, Maya says the key is having faith even when you don’t see the results just yet. “It’s so easy to look at what is, despite you pouring your heart into this thing that may not be giving you the returns that you thought,” she says. “Still operate from a place of love and authenticity. Have faith and do the work. A lot of people are positive thinkers, but that’s the thinking part. You also have to put your faith into work and do the work.”
Fran ultimately encourages content creators and budding entrepreneurs to take full advantage of Meta Elevate’s vast offerings to educate themselves on how to build and grow their businesses online. “It took me ten years to get to the point where I’m making ads at this level,” she says. “I didn’t have those resources in 2010. I love the partnership with Meta Elevate because they’re providing these resources for free. I just think of the people that wouldn’t be able to afford that education and information otherwise. So to amplify a company like this just feels right.”
Watch the full conversation with the link above, and join the Meta Elevate community to connect with fellow businesses and creatives that are #OnTheRiseTogether.
Featured image courtesy of Shameless Maya and Hey Fran Hey
Ready To Blush: 3 Ways To Wear Blush On Deep/Dark Skin Tones
Spring is here! What better way to add depth to your post-hibernation complexion than with blush? Blushes for deeper skin tones can be challenging. If I’m honest, my first attempts at including blush in my routine were a jump scare. Top beauty brands like Danessa Myricks Beauty, One/Size, Ami Colé, and Haus Labs by Lady Gaga have all launched blushes in preparation for spring. This is everything you need to know about applying blush to deep/dark skin tones this season!
The type of blush matters; deciding whether you want a cream or powder formulation makes a difference. Cream blush is generally more pigmented and hydrating, which allows for more control with product placement. Perfect for newbies and dry skin types. Powder blush, on the other hand, is more transparent and buildable.
The first way you can incorporate blush is as an all-over eyelid color or concentrated as a liner. This placement is whimsical and fun while keeping your features soft.
Wearing blush as an eyelid color or an eyeliner...
For deeper skin tones, complementary blush shades are king! Deep mauve and berry tones are my go-to shades. However, I've found that peaches and pinks are great additions for transition shades on the high points of the cheeks.
Wearing blush as a replacement for bronzer...
The second way you can incorporate blush is as a replacement for your bronzer or on top of your bronzer. For this placement, focus on sweeping the blush upward towards the temple.
Wearing blush in various placements on the face...
The last tip is to have fun and experiment with placement on your face shape. Try adding blush to the center of the lips to tie in a full look or add depth to a simple gloss.
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Featured image by Jorine Dorcelus/xoNecole