That’s a Wrap!

Click image to enlarge. That guy sticking up in the middle is the Freedom Tower, lit up with some patriotic red white and blue!

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a swanky hair blogger party hosted by Ojon in the penthouse of The Standard in New York City’s East Village. In addition to some excellent cocktails and a stellar view (at right), I learned so much more about curl textures very different than my own — my new-found knowledge will soon be cultivated into some interesting posts — and I immediately had to share an awesome product that I will be trying as soon as it arrives in the mail.

While speaking to a lovely woman from Essence.com about the perils of properly deep-conditioning at home, I mentioned how sad I am that I can’t fit my portable hood dryer into my Brooklyn apartment. She told me about the Hair Therapy Wrap, which essentially does the same thing as hooded dryers:

Courtesy amazon.com

You apply the deep conditioner or oil treatment, her favorite was Curl Junkie’s Curl Rehab, and microwave this thick towel-like cap until it’s nice and steamy. Then you put it on over your greased-up hair and leave it as long as you want. The thickness and something about the material retains heat really well, which is why it’s better than a regular old towel. Also, it won’t slip off as easily.

I’ll write another update once I’ve tried it myself, but I have high hopes! What a great solution to an often-messy problem.

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The Skinny: DIY Deep Conditioning

We’ve all seen the little tubes of hot oil treatments in the hair product aisles of our favorite supply stores, but I’m sure that you’ve also noticed the squat tubs of deep conditioners that have become ever-so-popular among most hair brands over the past decade or so. They promise to add shine, restore thickness to thinning locks, tame frizz and more. Some say to leave the treatments in for 5-10 minutes, others only 3. What’s the difference and what does it all mean?!?

Last night I treated myself to a deep conditioning treatment at Devachan Salon in Soho, and I took the opportunity to grill my stylist. First of all, why is this treatment any better than my purchasing their deep conditioner and doing it at home? Here are some tips she had that will offer you the first-class treatment from your couch.

1) The deep conditioner has to get into every nook and cranny on your head, including your scalp. After thoroughly wetting hair down with warm water and then squeezing it mostly dry, the stylist recommended separating hair into sections, like you see when women are getting their hair braided, except larger sections are fine. You work it into each section thoroughly, and run a dab of it along your scalp line between sections. It helps if someone else can help you with this since you can’t see your own scalp, but you can feel it out and maybe do this in front of a mirror to help.

2) As with the oil treatment, you should then cover your head with a plastic shower cap. This holds in moisture like a mini-ecosystem, allowing any lost moisture to be re-absorbed. Put a long piece of cotton, or rolled up paper towels along the edges to hold a tight seal, and prevent any conditioner from leaking down your neck.

Revlon hooded dryer: $33

3) If you have room, and this is very important, buy a mini (haha) hooded dryer. They aren’t as expensive and ridiculous as you think, although there is a range, it’s just hard to find a place to keep it in a tiny chock-full apartment. If you want to save moolah on expensive conditioning treatments, though, I highly recommend it.

4) Lastly, it’s recommended to leave the treatment in, sitting under the dryer, for at least half an hour. It’s pretty loud so watching TV may be a challenge, but you can read magazines and just pretend you’re in some fancy salon!

When it comes to the difference between an oil treatment and a deep conditioning treatment, I think it’s one of those things where two is better than one. Both have their purpose. I’ve read that olive oil particles are too large for hair to absorb, but I know that they have a great, lasting effect on my hair when I use them. I’d say that both treatments have their place.

As for which deep conditioner brands to buy, just make sure that they have lots of moisturizing elements, such as glycerin, aloe, any kind of oils and butters; and as always these ingredients should be high up on the list. My favorite brand, of course, is Devachan’s Heaven in Hair. Most others will be comparable, though, just make sure that they don’t have alcohol (drying) or harmful sulfate and chloride ingredients. The oil treatment can be made at home. Happy conditioning!

Leave-in Essential Oils

courtesy: womenshomeremedies.com

Sometimes even I have to battle dryness; usually if the heat has been on, or if it’s been extra-windy, or just through normal wear and tear. Our hair is like fabric and we have to treat it gently or it will break, become course, frizzy, and a whole host of other atrocities.

One thing I like to do when my hair has been feeling dryer than usual, and in between bi-weekly deep conditioning treatments, is to slick a nutrient- and moisture-rich oil treatment over my ends and to let it sit for one full night and day.

Worried about looking greasy at work or school? If your hair is really dry, it will soak up most of the oil while you sleep, and in the morning you can put it up in a loose bun. Try separating some of the greasier-looking bits with a wide-tooth comb, then forget about it until you get home. Wash it out with the lemon juice-conditioner mixture, or some No-poo, and voila!

(Note: I recommend using one of the quality store-bought oil treatments in this case, since the oil treatment detailed in this blog is less condensed and will make you look like a wet rat regardless of how much your hair soaks up. A few drops of condensed essential oil treatment, thoroughly distributed with your fingers and hands, is plenty. Experiment based on your hair-length.)

Bonus: If you go to the gym or hit the pavement to work up a sweat, you will be essentially steaming your scalp and hair, opening pores, and making the treatment even more effective!