The flat iron, or straightening iron, has long been used to straighten wavy hair. Few people, however, know that it is also very useful on short and even straight hair.
Ranging in width from one to four inches flat irons have a variety of uses. Some irons even have teeth to help grip the hair. You may be surprised to find that one of the following uses applies to your needs.
Use it to straighten long wavy or frizzy hair.
Use the flat iron to shine long or short hair.
Use the flat iron to ‘flip’ hair.
A flat iron is the perfect tool to use to create today’s trendy flip that sticks almost straight out and does not curl over on itself the way the flips of the ‘60s did.
Use the flat iron to correct a roller set.
If you set your hair with rollers, whether hot rollers or the wet-set variety, you may have experienced the problem of too much curl.
At this time the flat iron is a valuable tool to smooth out the unwanted bounce. In this instance, apply the iron lightly to the affected area. It will usually take only a small amount of heat and pressure to get rid of extra curl.
So don’t stereotype the flat iron. As you can see it has many uses for all textures of hair and many styles. With practice you will get the look you want.
You may have heard. There’s a current trend in hair care, of not using shampoo. Some women report they haven’t used shampoo in a year or more. Instead, they use only conditioner to massage into the hair and scalp, just as they would shampoo. Then they rinse and style. Proponents of this trend say it is much better for their hair and they notice better condition and texture.
It causes no harm to skip the shampoo and use only conditioner occasionally. Many of us shampoo far too often. Hair doesn’t usually get extremely dirty, unless our body produces an excessive amount of sebum. Skipping the shampoo once in a while allows for more natural oil in the hair as well as an extra layer of conditioner. Women with coarse or naturally curly hair receive benefit because hair is less frizzy.
Warning: Weigh the risks.
Let’s talk about the way hair grows. During the natural growing process of hair, there is a dormant cycle. The hair root has shed its hair shaft. A new hair is on its way but hasn’t shown up yet. It’s still under the skin, inside the follicle. It is during this time that skin cells, styling product, and dirt have a chance to clog the follicle, slowing or preventing new hair growth.
The natural process of shedding skin cells causes a build-up in and around hair follicles. Add to this, mousse, gel, and everyday dust and grime, and you are accumulating layers of follicle clogging materiel.
Shampoo is created to cleanse the scalp. Continual use of only conditioner, without shampoo, will cause layers of build-up, leading to scalp problems and possibly to thinning hair.
One More Thing
As they age, many people have a natural tendency toward thinning hair. Hormones change, and hair growth becomes sluggish. Neglecting the shampoo at this time, will speed up hair loss by allowing oils and shed skin to clog hair follicles.
If you feel led, skip the shampoo once in a while. Other times, use a good quality shampoo. It will cleanse your hair and scalp while leaving hair in good condition. A cheaper product often leads to dry hair and scalp.
Use a proven product such as Redken Genius Wash.
Everybody loves curly hair—on your head, not so much their own. Does your very curly hair just get too bouffant? Way too big. Does it look better when it’s wet than it does dry?
Some of us have very curly hair that is strong and springy. There is no need to scrunch it to make it curl. In fact, scrunching makes it go crazy.
Our very curly hair often requires a lot of control, but we want product that remains soft. We don’t want it to dry hard and crunchy—that just causes more problems when the wind blows.
More product—the right product—keeps the individual curls in their spirals. Without product, the hair tends to fan out- creating undefined volume and frizz.
So, to help control very curly hair:
Note: Many products produced for curly hair are intended to intensify curl. Those are for people with a little curl or wave in their hair. If you already have very curly hair, you won’t need them.
Curly haired women are always searching for the perfect blend of products and procedures to tame their curly locks. Many of us have spent numerous hours in the struggle. Hair stylist and curl expert, Quidad is no exception. She has dedicated the past 30 years to unraveling its mysteries. As a result, she has earned the respected title of “The Queen of Curl.” She is a salon owner with a team of stylists, all trained in curl care. She is an educator and the author of “Curl Talk.”
I relayed some common reader concerns during our interview.
Quidad, on the current trends.
Quidad says that curly hair is definitely in style right now. “The current trend is funky and fun with lots of movement and texture. Short looks with curls are very in right now… lots of bobs, pixies and chin length cuts. The alternative is long, funky 70s/80s shag.”
Quidad, on going from years of straightening natural curl to a nice frizz-free curly style.
“From constantly straightening the hair, over the years they have pulled the eternal life layer out of the hair. The hair can be brought back to life by repeatedly treating it with a deep conditioning treatment. This will hydrate and feed the hair, putting the life back into it so it’s able to perform.”
As we know, there are many different types of natural curl. Some people have beautiful soft round curls while others have tighter, kinkier curls. I asked Quidad what advice she has on treating our own individual types of curl.
“My rake & shake method is the ultimate way to be able to create your individual cur pattern. Using the rake and shake application and technique you are able to get beautiful, defined curls. You are also able to choose the diameter of the curl by the amount of hair that is between your fingers for the raking movement. For bigger curls, rake a larger section and for smaller curls, rake a smaller section.”
And what is the rake & shake technique?
“Pour styling gel into your palms and separate the hair into a 1 inch or 2 inch section (depending on how large or small you want the curl pattern to be). RAKE through the hair with your fingers vertically and then horizontally to evenly distribute the styling gel. After the raking has been completed, hold the section at the bottom and SHAKE. This allows the hair to bounce back into its natural curl pattern.”
I tried this technique after my next shampoo. It took more time than my previous methods but it was definitely worth the effort. It made a noticeable difference. My curls were rounder and firmer. They stayed in nicely for the second day with very little touch-up needed.
I had the privilege of trying out one of Quidad’s line of products, specifically designed for curly hair. Botanical Boost is a spray-in, leave-in conditioner. It contains an impressive list of herbal extracts and proteins. It is suggested for use with wet or dry hair. Used on wet hair, it is conditioning and provides protection from the elements. Used on dry hair, it revives curl and helps to get rid of frizz.
Quidad – pronounced Wedod – is not called the Queen of Curl for no reason. This woman knows curl.
If you’ve grown up with curly hair, you know the agony. You painstakingly push it into the smooth, shiny style you love—and it rains. Through the day, the humidity entices it into waves where you didn’t want them, frizzes the ends and poofs the whole style to twice as full as you wanted it.
Then, some woman walks up and screeches, “You have curly hair. You are so lucky!”
The sad truth is that ninety percent of curly haired women hate their hair. They spend forty- five minutes blowing it out, smoothing it into shape. And this is every time they shampoo. Then they have to avoid humidity at all cost, or spray it with a super-hold, anti-humidity hairspray. They gaze at fashion models and movie stars, longing for the sleek, shiny, straight hair.
But take heart Curly Girls, things are looking up for up for us. Curly hair is becoming stylish. Natural hair, with all its funky mismatched waves, is trendy.
Learning to love your curls, after years of contempt, isn’t easy. The answer may lie in condition, control and shine. Naturally curly hair almost always lacks hydration. Extra moisturizing shampoo and conditioner is needed to keep it in balance. Look for products with the words moisturizing, hydrating, or smoothing in the name or description.
Styling aids control the volume and keep the curls separated. I prefer a product that stays soft. A soft gel or styling cream keeps curls separated into ringlets and is more manageable. An anti-frizz serum or smoothing serum should also be applied. There are numerous lines of smoothing serums, frizz control, and curl enhancers available. Shine will come when the condition and control issues are dealt with. Many gels, serums and frizz aids are made to produce extra shine. The market is finally catering to curly haired girls.
Apply the products evenly, making sure to coat the entire hair shaft. Comb only enough to distribute the product and to remove tangles—or better yet—dump the comb and use only your fingers. Curly hair is at its best air-dried or diffused using an attachment to the dryer, keeping the curls in place. Scrunch only if needed. Many women have curl springy enough to curl without help. Scrunching is grabbing some hair and pushing the curl in while gently squeezing.
After it is completely dry you may loosen the locks with fingers or a large pick. Never comb or brush the hair after it's dry. This only increases the volume, separates curl formation, and frizzes the hair. Experimenting will show you just how much fluffing your hair will stand without morphing into a frizzy mess.
Fill a spray bottle with half water and half leave-in conditioner.
Keep the bottle on hand for mornings when you are not able to shampoo. The mixture spray will reactivate the styling aids and freshen your curls.
Start thinking about the freedom of not having to fight your curl. With proper care and products, curly hair is beautiful. All those straight haired women will be anxious to tell you.
You have discovered that you or someone in your family is infested with head lice. What do you do?
Don’t panic. Be thorough in following these directions and those on the packaged head lice treatment that you will find at the pharmacist. Paying careful attention to directions will eradicate the lice and prevent them from returning.
Caution: These medicated products are insecticides and should not be used on children under the age of 2.
Be sure to check with your physician or pharmacist before using them on anyone who is pregnant, nursing, or has asthma or other medical conditions.
Head lice are tiny parasitic insects that like to live among human hairs. If you are a parent of school aged children, you may know that head lice are epidemic in schools today. If you or your children have experienced being in infested with them, you may take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Every year, 6 to 10 million people in the US have head lice. Three quarters of those are school children under the age of 12. As you can see, this is a very common problem. While very annoying, they are not dangerous. They don’t spread disease, and contrary to popular belief, they seem to like clean hair as opposed to dirty hair. Head lice cannot live on animals. If your animals have lice, they will not infect you. – (Those are different lice.)
What do they look like? Adult lice are usually reddish brown in color with no wings and are about the size of a sesame seed. Females lay from 50 to 150 eggs that appear as shiny white, yellow, tan or brown dots. Empty eggshells are called nits. (Sometimes the word nit is used for both the egg and the empty shell.) Eggs are about half the size of a pinhead. Individual eggs are glued to hairs close to the scalp and hatch after 5 to 10 days.
What are the symptoms? The first indication of an infestation is itching or scratching, then, there may be small red bumps. Sometimes children will develop some swelling of their lymph glands.
To check for lice, use a bright light and look closely for adult lice and for eggs. Look from different angles since newly laid eggs are almost transparent. Adult lice will move quickly to avoid the light. Eggs and nits will be seen on the hair shaft. They can be distinguished from dandruff because they stick to the hair and are not easily removed.
Are lice contagious? Lice are highly contagious. They spread from person to person in group settings, such as schools, playgrounds, and slumber parties. They don’t fly or jump but they do crawl and they cling to hair shafts. They spread when children, or adults, get their heads together. They also spread from sharing combs, brushes, hats, clothes, even bed linens.
The Dreaded Age of Night Sweats
This is an aggrivating side effect of menopause. Many women will experience waking up in the middle of the night soaked with perspiration. Excessive perspiration is not always confined to the evening hours, but can surprise you at any time during the day. This problem is not only uncomfortable but will ruin any hair style.
Speak to your doctor or your natural foods adviser about controlling the symptoms.
Reduce the room temperature to 68 degrees or lower while sleeping.
Hair Styling: The fist thing women, with medium to long hair, will feel is hair clinging to the back of their neck. The best thing to do: get the hair up and off ther neck. Covered bands, scrunchies. clips, barrettes and bobby pins can be used to create ponytails, French rolls and other updos.
Shampoo with a good quality shampoo as often as necessary. Speak to your hairdresser about hairstyles that are easy, since you may be styling several times a day.
Hair color and permanent waves can be affected.
The salt from perspiration may affect the chemical processes of hair color and permanent waves. While a shampoo is customary before permanent waves, it is not often done before applying permanent hair color. If heavy perspiration is a part of your life, shampoo your hair with a cleansing shampoo before every hair color application as well as permanent wave. This will remove any salt residue and provide more satisfactory results.
Threading is an ancient method of hair removal. It is still used in many countries in the Middle East as well as India and Pakistan and in parts of the United States where residents of this culture are found. It is used to shape eyebrows and remove hair from the upper lip and other facial areas.
Cotton thread is twisted and rolled along the surface of the skin. This action entwines the hair in the thread, which is then lifted out from the follicle. This method lasts between three to eight weeks and is less invasive than other hair removal methods such as tweezing, waxing or sugaring. Only a slight pinch is felt when a relatively large area is covered each time. There are still cosmeticians skilled in the art of threading in certain areas and can often be found your local Yellow Pages.
I've become aware of a problem with this form of hair removal. Generally the practitioner controls one end of the thread in her mouth. This is very unsanitary. Bacteria and germs are transferred from the mouth, to the thread, and to the sensitive skin around eyes and face. There is the possibility of disease. For instance herpes virus may be spread in this way.
Are you overwhelmed by the business of life? The stress of it causes you become tense and even your scalp becomes tight. That tight scalp inhibits circulation and is hindrance to healthy hair growth.
For years hairdressers have known the best way to relieve stress and to relax the scalp.
That’s why every salon visit starts with a shampoo and thorough head massage. This massage increases circulation, stimulates nerve endings, frees knots of muscle tension, relaxes connective tissue and feels great. Professionals are trained in the pattern of manipulation for the most beneficial massage, however, it is a simple process to perform on yourself with almost the same relaxing and healthful results.
Using the following technique will get you started on taking better care of your scalp. You can create yourself by using a good conditioner and adding a few drops of essential oil. Try using lavender oil, chamomile or jasmine for anxiety and stress relief, or use grapefruit to uplift the spirits. Be aware that the essential oils are too strong to be used alone so be sure to mix them with the conditioner.
Use slow, steady movements for enhanced relaxation or vigorous massage for more energy.
Rinse your hair with warm water, and then wrap the hair in a warm towel to remove about 50% of the water. Loosen the hair and apply a massage lotion.
All of the manipulations will be performed with the pads of fingers and under the hair.
Start by placing both hands at each side of the back of the head, fingers pointed up. Slide the fingers firmly upward until they meet at the top at the head.
Next, repeat the movement, except move the fingers in one-inch rotations as they slide towards the top. Repeat this several times.
Now, place your hands in the front, palms on the forehead, fingers toward the top of the head and repeat the rotating motion while sliding the fingers toward the crown. Repeat this motion several times.
Next, place the fingertips at the sides of the head just above the ears. Use the same circular motion as you move your fingers toward the top of the head. Repeat several times.
Finally, place the fingertips at the temples and massage in slow circular movements.
Finish by firmly running the fingers of both hands from the front hairline to the back. Repeat this several times.
Remove the oils with a shampoo and condition to leave both scalp and hair in top condition.
There is no need to wait for a trip to the hair salon for all the therapeutic benefits of a wonderful scalp massage. All you have to do is spend a little time pampering yourself.
Lynne Chapman served as Hair Site Editor of BellaOnline.com for fifteen years. She is a professional stylist and colorist of more than forty years.