Friday, 8 March 2013

Links and stuff

TLC recently had an episode of My Strange Addiction called Extreme hair, covering a woman with 21 ft long dreadlocks.
I didn’t succeed in finding the video of the show, but here is an interview with her showing her super long dreads.

I wonder how many times her hairs have shed off and been caught in the locs? Must be several shedding cycles in there.
I have to admit I do see the “weird” in it. I have always defended long hair as not being “weird” compared to say, super long nails. You can always just put your hair up and get it out of your way, which you can’t do with my example of super long nails.
But even I am having problems imagining you can simply “put away” 21 feet of locs, especially when they are usually thicker and heavier than regular hair.
According to the ladies at UTT who caught the show while it aired, they focussed a lot on how limiting the massive locs are for her and how it might be damaging her neck. Well, 10 pounds of hair is a whole lot, but I’m still amazed that such massive locs only weigh so little.
It was said she drags it along behind her or ties it up in a pouch on her bum, like you'd carry a baby in a carrier or piles it up on her head.
They also showed that she uses massive amounts of shampoo and never conditions, hm!
I did find these pictures from the actual episode: Link
Funnily the first picture didn’t as much make me impressed by her hair, but made me miss the US. My Filipino-American ex boyfriend had a kitchen almost exactly like that. Hah, funny how your mind works.

And speaking of long hair…
At first I was happy with this article: It is so very rare to read a piece on someone with very long hair that is even remotely positive.
I did however find myself confused a few times:
"You have to have patience to be in this house with all of this hair."
Russel says she once stepped on her own hair so she set some house hair rules which she calls "a big event."
All women in the family must tie their hair back while in the kitchen, especially around the stove.
In my 8 years or more on the long hair circuit it seems to me it becomes the norm to wear your hair up after a certain length, so this statement left me very confused.
But all is not for vanity.  Russel and her daughters have donated some of their hair (20 inches, tops) to Locks of Love, an organization that donates hair to children suffering from medical hair loss.
Barf! I am so sick and tired of LoL piggybacking on every. Single. Article. Or. Video. About. Long. Hair. And no one ever, ever mentions the truth: Their “donations” to children are rare in between, most hair is thrown out, the majority of useful hair is sold to extensions for profits for the board and oh, right, the “lucky receivers” have to pay for their wigs. Barf! 

This link led to another link: 
It started off well. For a couple of lines.
Then I read the first gem:
What's the appeal of having a 50 minute shower regiment and a plumber on speed-dial ?
Ehm, who does that?
I paid a visit to the Long Hair Community , a chat room that looks as if it too hasn't been trimmed since the dawn of the internet
*Gigglesnort* Aheum. Sorry.
'Longys', as they call themselves
Huh? We do? When? Where?
Wow, what do you know? 8 years or more in the long hair circuit and I learn something completely new from some random journalist-chick. 
Tailboner: Someone with hair that extends to their tailbone.
What the hell has this chick been smoking?
Maintaining a five foot plus mane requires more than just shampoo and conditioner. Those are "stretched" to a minimum to avoid brittle, dry ends, not to mention drain clogs.
Journalist-chick has a serious fixation on the drain clogs, doesn’t she?
Anyways. Shampoo is stretched, conditioner isn’t. Of course the drain-clog-fixation keeps her from realising such a basic fact.
Vinegar washes between washes to sap out the excess moisture.
A wooden wide-toothed comb is used (possibly for hours) for preliminary detangling followed by a Boar Bristle Brush or BBB which helps remove "greasies" and manages flyaways.
Finally cornstarch and even cocoa powder (for brunettes) is employed to pat out and absorb scalp grease without the hassle of a day-long shampoo process.
Wait, just 3 lines above this, the journalist reports that shampoo is stretched to a minimum so how come people suddenly have the hassle of day-long shampoos?
As a dyed-in-the-wool 'shorty ', with a pair of scissors at the ready in my bathroom and life-long urge to shave my head, peering into the minds of 'longys' is eye-opening.
Wait, I think I get it. She didn’t actually get the information at LHC. That would explain why she insists on longhairs being called “longys” and how completely wrong she is with her basic information.
Another dumb article full of misconceptions.

I really need to stop reading these.

Oh hey, is this drain clog-fixated journalist related to this guy?

Something a little more light-hearted: 


Maybe we should use this as a comeback when people push that tired old “You need a haircut!” BS

I trust everyone have seen this delightful fail by now?

The first time I saw it, I kept chanting “Let go of your hair…” inside my head, lol. It felt like she kept the heat on her poor hair forever! That little spiral of smoke that comes off at around 1:07 and 1:10 has me laughing a little too much for my comfort.
And yes, it is apparently a real video! 

I may have to try a few of these.

I also have to try the first one here:

It ends up looking like a flattened figure 8 bun variation.

And maybe some cool headscarf styles: 

Speaking of head scarves: Here is a very cool blog with lots of styling options.
The punny blog name makes me smile too. 

And see if I can get this to work with my length

And finally, silly but worth a chuckle...?

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Igor’s random recommendations

  • Acuvue one day contact lenses. I have been wearing contact lenses for 15 years or so and have tried a lot of different ones: Coloured, week lenses, month lenses. But these are simply the best and I keep returning to these. I order them from
  • Decubal bodylotion. Great, simple bodylotion that I keep returning to. This is a great example of counting the ingredients instead of reading them. Only 9 ingredients. I don’t think you can get this one outside Scandinavia though? I get it at the pharmacy and it is used at all hospitals here. 
  • Matas fodpeeling. This works like a mixture of an acid peel and a scrub. It’s absolutely wonderful for any kind of tough skin. Hands feeling a bit rough? Just do a pretend-hand wash with a few drops of this and slather with cream afterwards. Voila: Baby soft hands. Only available in the Scandinavian Matas chain.
  • Montagne Jeunesse dead sea facial mask. Best facial mask I have ever tried in my life, hands down! It might be a bit rough on sensitive skin, but it really sucks impurities out and leaves my skin squeaky clean. I find it in random beauty stores.
  • Sunsilk leave in conditioner. I love this thing. Creamy texture, good effect and a price I’m willing to pay (Unlike the vast majority of leave in products!) I get it at H&M.
I have chosen not to recommend any conditioners because everyone has different results. But if I were pressed for recommendations I would name the blue VO5 conditioner for CO washing and that orange Schwarzkopf Gliss conditioner that says something about “19 ingredients” for deep treatments. But then again, my hair is very easy to get along with and only seems to dislike Palmolive’s conditioners and too much protein.
Big recommendation for getting an epilator too. They leave you looking naturally hairless instead of those sharp edges from shaving or waxing. And it lasts for weeks too! I currently have a Braun silk epil 3, but I think it’s not as good as my old model which name I can’t remember.
Also not in the picture: Intrauterine device. Ladies, you should seriously consider getting one in copper if you’re in a committed relationship. No more weird hormones and side effects. 

Monday, 4 March 2013

Sebum and scritching

Sebum is one of those things that had a use in our ancestors but now serve no purpose anymore:  Such as goose bumps, the plantar reflex in infants, that wisdom teeth still exists when so few of us have room for them in our jaws and the leftovers of the third eyelid.
Sebum was supposed to keep our fur nicely water-repellent to keep us from being soaked, cold and get sick. Its real purpose can still be observed in furry animals, maybe especially sheep. I think everyone knows just how “greasy” a sheep’s fur feels. That is pure lanolin.
With our lack of fur, sebum serves very little purpose today. I guess “producing sebum” didn’t give us enough of a disadvantage to be bred out of the population.

Today it still serves a purpose in keeping the pH value in the scalp at a healthy level, providing living conditions for our benign bacteria population and keeping the skin lubricated so it wont crack and be damaged.
Sebum is produced in our bodies’ sebaceous glands, which can be found everywhere on the body except the bottom of the feet and the palm of the hands. It is a mixture of triglycerides, cholesterol, wax and proteins. Sebum itself has no smell, but when bacteria breaks it down it can result in a bad odour.

Over my years on the longhair circuit I have often encountered the idea that your scalp produces two kinds of sebum. I have yet to find any official books or recourses confirming this, but it seems to match my observations from myself and other longhairs.
They are often described as a “liquid” sebum and a “waxy” sebum:

The “liquid” sebum is what makes your hair greasy or oily and weighs it down. Some people also describe a change in colour as hair seems darker where the liquid sebum coats the hair. Some even describe being able to see the “border” on their hair of how far down the liquid sebum has come. There seems to be some discussion as to whether this one penetrates the hair strands or not. It does however coat the hair with its greasy oil and may protect it like a leave in conditioner. This type of sebum is chemically very close to jojoba oil (Jojoba oil is coincidentally a wax that turns liquid and behaves like an oil in room temperature, not an actual oil) which also doesn’t penetrate the hair strand but coats the surface.

The “waxy” sebum is what people often refer to as “scalp gunk”. It forms as a white, dandruff-like coating of the scalp. Most people seem to discover this when they unconsciously scratch their scalp and find a white, waxy layer under their nails. This should not be confused with dandruff which is caused by excess shedding of dead skin cells from the scalp. Neither should it be confused with product build up. This form of sebum doesn’t penetrate the hair strand. It also doesn’t move down the hair strands unless manipulated, but only collects at scalp level. When manipulated it will “flake off” in dandruff-like flakes or “roll off” like when removing a peeling mask.

I have tried to get an answer to whether the scalp also carries two different kinds of sebum producing glands, but haven’t gotten a clear answer so far. There are two different sebum-producing glands on the human body, but I’m not sure if it extends to the scalp as well.
A gland that release sebum is called a sebaceous gland. These are also classified as being “exocrine”, meaning that their active cells release their product to a surface, in this case the skin. The opposite, “endocrine” means that the gland releases its product to the blood stream.
One kind is connected to the insides of a hair follicle, meaning it releases the sebum to the insides of the tube where hair emerges from. You may be able to empty some of the content of this one to make washes more cleansing.  

The other kind connects directly to the surface of the skin (Epidermis) and releases the sebum to the surface of the skin. It is not connected to a hair or follicle.
Maybe the two glands carry their own ratio of liquid to waxy sebum?

No matter what, every individual has their own ratio of liquid to waxy sebum. Some people suffer mostly from greasy hair and some have a lot of scalp gunk. Some people produce very little of both and have dry scalp.
The production(s) of sebum can be provoked by harsh chemicals, heat and too much manipulation. A lot of longhairs have experienced that switching to gentler methods for cleaning will result in less sebum production. Working with the scalp instead of trying to dry it out to “clean” it will make the scalp ease down on the sebum production because it doesn’t have to work so hard to maintain its natural state.

Personally, when I tried to switch from shampooing 3 times a week to full-time CO, I hit a plateau where I couldn’t get under using shampoo once a week. I allowed my scalp to go completely greasy and “stretch” it as far as I could stand it. I had to give up after 9 days and wash a head of hair that was more grease than hair. But it seemed to have “broken” the plateau and I was able to go full CO wash after that (Since then I have used shampoo maybe once a year on average)

So what are the hair friendly ways to remove sebum?
Shampoo of course will remove it, but most longhairs will avoid shampoo if other methods are possible.
There are differences in how much work the two kinds of sebum take to remove.

The liquid sebum is the easiest to remove. CO or herbs seems to do it for most people. It can also be reduced with cold or warm WO washing, not hot since hot water will provoke more sebum production. Brushing a bit before washing will increase the effect from any form of washing because the sebum is brushed out and distributed over a larger surface and less concentrated.

Scritching is a popular method for removing the waxy sebum. Otherwise the waxy sebum can require detergents or lots or rinsing in combination with scrubbing. Sugar scrubs and herbs used for exfoliation are good too. I like to incorporate a good scalp massage in my cassia treatments. The grainy herbs are good for exfoliating.

To quote from Hair Geek Dictionary:
Scritching: Most common term used for mechanically cleaning the scalp. Using fingertips, brush, comb or massage devices to “scratch” sebum and dead skin cells out of the scalp.
This is not to be confused with massage. Massage is said to relieve the discomfort from a gunky scalp, but it doesn’t remove a lot of it.
Brushing also works to loosen up the gunk and free it from the scalp. Of course this doesn’t mean you should brush your hair 100 strokes per day like the old wives tale says.
However, no matter your method, there is a limit to how long you should manipulate your scalp to get rid of sebum. Too much manipulation provokes the scalp into releasing more sebum. If your scalp gets a tingly feeling, you are probably at the limit to how much more you should stimulate it. Massaging and manipulating your scalp to increase blood flow and hair growth is different. With that, you want the tingly, “activated” feeling.
For both kinds of sebum, oil will always help loosen or dissolve it. Oil dissolves oil. This is the same principle as the Oil Cleansing Method for skin works by.

Personally I use scritching as part of a treatment plan.
My tools for scritching:

  1. The day before I want to CO wash, I take my hair down and comb it with a widetooth comb.
  2. I scritch the scalp using a fine tooth comb in a narrow zig-zag pattern.
  3. I brush the scalp with my ancient, super hard bristled brush. (The only brush I ever feel can get “through” to my scalp)
  4. I use the scalp massager thing (What is this thing called?)
  5. Then I fill the bathtub about halfway and do a mermaid soak. Lying back in the tub is a good position to use your finger to massage and scritch the scalp.
  6. I finish with a rinse.
  7. Then I do a Nodosaurus overnight.
  8. Next morning I rinse out the length and CO wash the scalp.
Just because I think it was a fun picture, this is me, caught in the middle of a scritching session with my hair brushed all very my face like cousin Itt. Sneaky Hubby!