Almost every day, there seems to be a new miracle ingredient that promises to revolutionize haircare; powerful moisturizing, 5,5000x stronger hair, frizz-banishing, super nourishing, mega growing - the list goes on and on. Usually the new miracle ingredient is some sort of uber exotic oil that costs $40 for .5oz, and in truth, won't be any more discernibly different than your run of the mill virgin coconut oil that cost $7.

Today, we're going to take a different approach and talk about an ingredient that:

  • Is essential to healthy hair and growth
  • Is naturally occurring
  • Can be replenished fairly inexpensively

What ingredient is this? Ceramides.

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Ceramides are one of three types of oils found inside the cuticle of the hair. For those that care, 18 MEA (methyl eicosanoic acid) and Cholesterol are the other two. Ceramides exist inside the hair cuticle to act as a cement of sorts, keeping the hair in tact. Hair cuticles are often thought of as densely packed shingles on a roof, and ceramides are the glue that keeps the shingles together (flattened, as opposed to raised).

Hair strength, elasticity, moisture retention, porosity, shine, smoothness, and resistance to weathering/breakage all depend upon how flattened cuticles are. Raised cuticles allow moisture to escape more readily, increasing porosity and the likelihood of breakage and weathering.
Note: Hair naturally weathers over time, but this can be accelerated when cuticles do not lie flat. On the other hand, when cuticles lay flat, hair is shinier, retains moisture better, feels smoother, porosity and elasticity are improved, and of course, the hair is stronger. All of this is possible with proper amounts of ceramides in the hair.

Much like other elements of hair, through chemical processes (coloring), heat (blow drying, flat ironing), washing, and general handling can weather and deplete the amount of naturally occurring ceramides in the hair. Utilizing products with ceramides in them will help restore proper balance within the hair, and minimize damage.

It should also be noted that ceramides are most beneficial for hair that has been chemically treated--relaxed or colored. Natural hair benefits from products containing ceramides too; it is just that as with any conditioning, nourishing, or restructuring ingredient, the more damaged the hair, the better it works.

Luckily, ceramides are readily available in tons of products - either naturally occurring or synthetic. Both are valuable to hair, but the synthetic ceramides more closely mimic those inside the hair cuticle than plant based ones. When determining if your hair products contain ceramides, look for the following ingredients:
  • 2-oleamido
  • 1-3 octadecanedio
  • Wheat Germ Oil
  • Safflower Oil
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Hemp Seed Oil

  • L'Oreal Total Repair 5 Damage Erasing Balm (my favorite)
  • Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Moisturizing Conditioner
  • ORS Hair Mayonnaise
  • Nexxus Humectress Ultimate Moisturizing Conditioner
  • Redken Extreme Anti-Snap Leave-In Fortifier
CN Says- 

Want more? Check out this link!

My name is Barbie (that is my real name) and I am originally from Boston but I currently live in Washington, DC. I am a recovering product junkie who occasionally relapses on days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

How long have you been natural?
I have been natural for about 2.5 years.

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What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper& why?
I was a big chopper because I had a really short pixie cut and there was no way to really transition that being said what motivated me to go natural/big chop was a combination of hating the hair salon (I loved my hair dresser I just hated spending hours upon hours sitting in the hair salon), my obsession with Tracee Ellis Ross and her hair and my then growing affection for Amber Rose’s low cut. Basically all of those things converged into the brilliant idea to shave all my hair off and grow it back natural.

How would you describe your hair?
My hair, whose name is Lola by the way is so many things; unruly, kinky, curly, annoying and amazing. My sides and my nape are thinner and prone to breakage. The crown is a looser texture the other areas are a bit kinkier.

What do you love most about your hair?
What I love most about my hair is the confidence it gave me. Being natural but especially rocking a super low cut really helped me see myself as beautiful.

What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy or difficult or both?
I think the most memorable part of my journey is knowing that I am part of a movement, a community of women who are embracing their natural hair and each other. Being natural or going natural isn’t always easy. Trying to figure out your hair can be daunting and we all know that people can be less than supportive about your decision to go natural. To have a community of women who can help with product suggestions or a just a positive perspective is just so dope!

What are some of your favorite hairstyles?
I always feel like a boring natural. I don’t really experiment with my hair. I have only rocked a puff once and I have never done a braid out! My hair is either in a twist out or in braids.

What have your experiences been as a ‘natural?’ Any memorable reactions from family or others?
My best reaction to being natural was when I was rocking my hair in a super low/brush cut. I met a friend’s mom for the first time and her first words to me were, “What happened to your hair?” I was completely taken aback (thinking oh no she didn’t) but I quickly responded with a simple shrug and said, “I shaved it off.” Outside of the occasional disparaging remark about nappy hair, people are pretty positive about my natural hair.

What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
My hair regimen is simple I co-wash every week (usually on Sunday) with Nubian Indian Hemp and Tamau. If my hair needs to be shampooed I’ll use U.R. Curly Soya Shampoo. I haven’t been deep conditioning (I know the horror) but I recently bought b.a.s.k. beauty Y.A.M. Nectar and Cacao Bark Deep conditioners so I am going to get back to it. I use Qhemet Biologics Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee (keep in mind a little goes a long way) as my leave-in, a little evoo and then I twist with the Qhemet Alma and Heavy Cream. I re-twist almost every night it’s a lot of manipulation but right now it’s what works for me. Some of my favorite products are the entire Obia Naturals line, Oyin Hair Dew, Koils by Nature Moisturizing Shealoe Leave-in. I could go on and on but I will stop there.

What are some of your favorite natural hair websites,YouTuber’s, or blogs?
I like Quest for the Perfect Curl, Curly Nikki, and Urban Bush Babes.

Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words...
Just love yourself, from root to toe.

Where can people find you for more information?
I have a blog which I promise myself I am going to resurrect by the beginning of 2014 I have a YouTube page under chichappenz and I am on Instagram again under chichappenz.

Global Couture is trying to spread the word about embracing your natural hair. Love your HAIR, if it is wavy, curly, kinky or coily.

Written by Christina Patrice of MANEOBJECTIVE

For the majority of the time I spent transitioning, I never bothered purchasing a leave-in conditioner. Not a single one.

As far as the blogs were concerned, leaving some of my regular conditioner in my hair after washing, or mixing some concoction of conditioner, water, and oil was good enough. While there are certainly benefits to the aforementioned methods, now that I am completely natural, I tend to rely more on products that are labeled exclusively as post wash leave-ins. Why? We'll get to that in a second. But first, let's break down a few facts:

Read On!>>>

The Foundation of Moisture Retention
I'm sure you are familiar with the LOC, LCO, and other methods of layering products to maximize moisture retention.

The L in both methods is often interchangeably referred to as "liquid" or "leave-in". Essentially, the idea is to first apply a water-based product to the hair.

I like to stick firmly to leave-ins for this particular step of the method, because I can be assured that the water content in the product moisturizes my hair, while the conditioning agents soften, tame frizz, and help eliminate snarls and tangles. All the while I can be confident that the product won't weigh my hair down, coat it too much, or make it feel waxy when dry.

It's Not All the Same
Leave-in conditioners are actually formulated differently. They tend to be lighter, and more watery than standard rinse-out conditioners. Regular and deep conditioners are designed to have certain ingredients stick to your hair after washing out, which can lend itself to buildup if used regularly as a leave-in.
Leave-in conditioners are designed to well, be left in the hair and do not contribute so easily to said buildup. Because rinse out conditioners are "stronger" in a sense, they also have the potential to cause irritation on the scalp due to being left in.

And depending on which conditioner you use and how much, it can result in white flaking on the hair (from personal experience). Both irritation and white flaking are unlikely with specified leave-ins, because they are created to serve that exact purpose in remaining on the hair.

Do You Really Need Another Product?
The honest truth is, maybe. I know, such a cop-out answer, right? But it is true.
Whether you need a leave-in, DIY concoction, or to repurpose regular conditioner is totally dependent upon your hair and what works best for you.

In my DIY days, I found that concocting my own mix was perfect for moisturizing and softening my transitioning tresses that I wore in protective styles 80% of the time.

But as a fully Type 3-something natural who relies heavily on 4 and 5 day wash and go's, I can't afford to risk buildup from regular conditioner. Nor do I want to further aggravate my scalp psoriasis.

So, leave-in conditioner it is for me! But if you are going to go the DIY or regular conditioner route, heed the following:

  • If you make your own mix of conditioner, water, and oils, be sure to make only enough for a few days (3 max) at a time. Because the preservatives in the product are diluted from their original formulation (due to the water and oil), your mix can go bad in a few days. Prolong the shelf life with tea tree oil, Vitamin E oil, and store it in a cool place away from sunlight (fridge not recommended for mixes containing oils that are solid when cold).
  • If you are going to use regular conditioner as a leave-in, avoid the scalp (it is best to start 1 - 2 inches from the scalp) when applying product. Also, avoid using conditioners with silicones in the first 5 ingredients if you do not regularly use shampoo. If you are a regular shampooer, silicones are not an issue.

Leave-In Recommendations
In case you were wondering, my two favorite leave-in conditioners right now are:
-Koils By Nature Moisturizing Shealoe Leave-In Conditioner
-ApHogee Curlific Moisture Rich Leave-In

What's your leave-in situation? 

So only Jay could turn up a struggle town like State College.  He packed the Bryce Jordan Center and showed out for 2 hours straight with all the classics.  He pretty much killed it.  But it wasn't until he let that beat drop on Drunk In Love and did his verse that I got my whole, entire life.  It was totally worth disrespecting the finances.  Oh and for the record, Jay really does 'Bring 'Em Out' because I saw more of my people than I've seen in my entire 3 years here! #YayBrownPeople

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That's the homie Melissa on the right (you probably recognize her, she's everywhere!) And Melody in the middle!  A State College native, she won the extra ticket and kicked it with us last night! 

She's got a dope hair situation too! #FitRightIn

best photobomb EVER! 

Later Gators!