Ok, so why do people think sulfates are bad? Why is there this sudden rise in sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners? Are we all going to die from shampooing with sulfates?! No! We won't die. Honestly, there's nothing wrong with sulfates, it's just one of those crazes that has swept the nation and beauty companies see there's money to be made in a sulfate-free line of products, so they jumped on the band wagon.
All the organic-y people out there (before I get hate mail, I clearly realize not every person into organic products thinks this, I am being dramatic) think that chemicals are bad and the less chemicals the better, because everything from the earth is healthy and safe, right?! We know that's not true because arsenic is natural... anyways, some people out there like to use as few chemicals as possible because they think that makes them healthier. I also remember reading articles from years ago that sulfates make hair fall out. Since there are no medical studies to back any of this up, I don't see a reason why I should swap my lathering, cleansing shampoo for one that doesn't clean my hair as well. Also, every ingredient that's used in cosmetics has to be FDA approved. Let's have a little faith in our government, shall we?

I have used sulfate-free shampoos and I hate them. I can go several days between shampoos and after I used a sulfate-free shampoo, the next day my hair looked filthy. This was because it didn't clean my hair as well. According to the Beauty Brains, sulfates are the best way to get silicone (one of the ingredients in conditioners, shine sprays and serums that makes hair soft, shiny and untangled) off the hair . Almost everyone out there has some amount of silicone on their hair right now and if you aren't properly washing it off, it will build up over time. I think sulfate-free shampoos are not nearly as effective as regular ones.

Now, with that being said, there are some people out there who have very sensitive scalps and sulfates may be irritating them. Those people will probably benefit from using a sulfate-free shampoo. But by no means are people going to die and experience hair loss from a sulfate-based product. Give me my sulfates!

Do any of you kittens have a story you'd like to share about sulfate-free products? Do you like them? What made you try them? Leave a comment :) Meow.

Image: Google Images
References: www.LiveStrong.com

It seems like every girl wants long, pretty hair. Fast. I see it everyday: a girl with medium length hair is anxiously waiting for her hair to get long but it just seems to never get past a certain point and it has a bunch of split ends. She doesn't ever get it cut because she's "growing it out". But that's the problem: hair needs to get trimmed in order to allow it to keep getting longer. This won't make hair grow faster, but it will make it longer faster.

When girls get to that stage where they claim their hair "just won't grow", it's typically not a growing problem they have, but a breaking off problem they have. Once a hair strand gets a split end, it will just keep splitting up the shaft until it breaks off. If it gets cut off right from the start, it won't get a chance to break off much of your hair. This is why it's so important to get regular trims: nip those split ends in the bud!

If you're hair is pretty damaged, I would see a stylist every 4-6 weeks. Ask for a "dusting" instead of a "trim". This takes off a minimal amount of hair; it only gets the very tips off. It may be that you need a good trim at first, but after that, if you keep up with it, dustings should suffice. For hair that isn't overly damaged, I would recommend a trim or dusting every 6-8 weeks. Once hair gets super healthy (that's the goal here!) you will find that every 10-12 weeks is just fine.

I know some of you may be thinking, "Why is she posting about this? Isn't that pretty basic?" but I've found that a lot of people out there don't know this. And that's okay because not everyone can be a beauty guru, or a beauty cat!

So how does one properly shampoo and condition hair? It's easy: remember that shampoo is mostly for the scalp area and a few inches of hair away from the scalp. This is the oiliest part of our hair so start out shampooing in this area and work the rest of the shampoo down the strands to about midway. The ends will get shampoo on them just from rinsing and that's plenty for them. There's typically not a lot of product or oil towards the ends so there's no reason to scrub shampoo on them. Over time this will just be damaging anyways.

Conditioner is just the opposite: you want to concentrate it on the ends and work up the hair strands. Our scalps produce sebum (oil) which will condition our hair near the scalp so there's no need to concentrate conditioner there. If you feel like your scalp is dry, you can put a little there but I would caution using a lot because this will lead to oily-looking hair quicker. The ends are the driest part of our hair and need some extra loving to avoid split-ends, which is why we start conditioning here.

Did anyone used to scrub the ends of their hair? Or start applying conditioner at the scalp? Leave a comment and share! Meow :)

I'm sure many of you, when you were little, were told by your mom that if you wax your body hair off, it will grow back thicker and blacker. Am I right? Well, good news: that's not true! In fact, over time the hair follicles may get damaged and be able to only produce wispier, thinner hair. And it will never come back darker. Nothing from the environment can change the predetermined melanin in your hair. The reason hair seems to grow back darker is because, let's take arm hair for example, the hair on your arms has been exposed to the sun over the course of its' life and has been lightened by it. So when you take all of that hair out at once and lots of it starts popping back up at once, it's going to appear darker because it hasn't had a chance to be lightened by the sun yet. You don't notice this happening when it's only a few hairs at a time that are falling out naturally and growing back out.

Now, let's talk about shaving for a bit. My friends and I always laugh about how our parents would scare us after popping out of the shower when we were like eight and they found out we attempted to shave our legs. "Oh no! Now you're going to have coarse, dark hair grow back! Oh! You're going to look like a monkey!" And they scared us into thinking that our rash decision to pick up mom's razor would result in us looking like King Kong in a few days. Well, again, this isn't true. It seems true because when you cut a hair off right at the skin, it gets cut off bluntly (see picture below). When hair falls out naturally or gets pulled out (either by tweezing or waxing) it grows back out to a point, making it look thinner in diameter than it really is. And, like I said earlier, that leg hair had been lightened by the sun and none of this new hair that's going to grow out will have ever seen the light of day before, so it's going to be darker than the hair color you're used to seeing which also contributes to it looking thicker.

How many of you got scolded for shaving your legs when you were little? Or told that waxing was a devilish activity? Leave a comment!
See how at the tip of the hair strand it's grown to a point and how that's thinner than the part of the strand that's right at the skin? This is why shaving makes hair appear thicker/coarser when it grows back.

Images: Google Images
References: www.HairFoundation.org
In case you didn't already know, I'm a huge skeptic and very jaded by the cosmetic industry. So, when I heard about a shampoo and conditioner that had "apple stem cells" in it and that claimed to be volumizing and strengthening I was skeptical to say the least. I researched apple stem cells to see if there was any truth to this claim at all and surprisingly I found that there was.

According to a study in the International Journal for Applied Science, stem cells from a particular apple tree (Uttwiler Spatlauber) found in Switzerland could be beneficial to the longevity of skin and hair.

Why the Uttwiler Spatlauber and not your average Granny Smith or Washington? Because the Spatlaubers can stay fresh for an extraordinary amount of time which means they should have notably long-living tissue stem cells that other species of apples don't offer.

In this study they took isolated hair follicles and found that an addition of 0.2% of an extract of Uttwiler Spatlauber stem cells slightly postponed hair follicle cells from dying off- they continued to elongate for a longer amount of time. They also found that the extract, at a 2% level, significantly decreased the depth of crow's feet, when applied twice daily, after two and four weeks. Pretty much this magical extract positively influences viability and helps postpone stem cells from aging and dying off.

Hm. I guess I should try and not be so jaded all of the time, right? Sometimes what cosmetic companies claim is true...

Aloxxi is the shampoo I was referencing earlier. They claim to use "apple stem cell technology" in their volumizing and strengthening shampoo and conditioner, so I contacted the company to see if they were in fact using this species of apple in their products and they are!

Here are a few companies I found that claim to use these snazzy stem cells from the Uttwiler Spatlauber species:
Andre Walker Hair
Naturans (they're from Italy)

Images: Google Images
References: www.MibelleBiochemistry.com
                       International Journal of Applied Sciences: Plant Stem Cell Extract for Longevity of Skin and Hair

I was perusing one of my favorite beauty blogs, The Beauty Brains, awhile back and came across a post about something called a "polyelectrolyte complex" and I researched it more on my own and thought I'd share what I found. (What kind of Beauty Cat would I be if I kept amazing secrets like this to myself?!)

Pretty much what this polyelectrolyte complex is, is a concoction of positively charged (cationic) polymers and negatively charged (anionic) polymers. And since opposites attract (at least in the world of chemistry!) they kind of act like a bunch of little magnets. As the hair dries with this concoction on it, each strand of the split end starts coming towards each other, and sort of gets glued together. The split end is also partly mended by the adhesiveness of the polymer that forms a film once it's dried.

According to a study in the Journal of Cosmetic Science, the complex has been proven to work and doesn't cause build up on hair. It also rinses off with shampoo which leads them to believe it could be effective when used after shampooing. They also found that after combing, the complex was less effective, but effective nonetheless! They took 100 hairs with split ends, treated them with this magical complex, and 92 of them were mended. Then they combed them 2o times and 68 remained mended. Pretty amazing, right?

If you come across a product that claims to mend split ends, make sure it has these two ingredients listed: Polyquaternium-28 and PVM/MA Copolymer. If it doesn't have those, it's not worth your money.

I use Tresseme's Split End Remedy Leave-In Conditioner and absolutely LOVE it! My hair feels as smooth as butter and I enjoy knowing that my split ends are not noticeable so only I know about them. Well, and now you too, but don't tell anybody!

I am only aware of Nexxus, Tresseme and Joico to have this polyelectrolyte complex but according to Amazon, Joico's product has been discontinued. I know Nexxus and Tresseme are both owned by Unilver, so that makes sense that they both share this technology. I couldn't find proof on whether or not Joico is owned by Unilver. I'm curious as to why Joico discontinued their polyelectrolyte complex though. If anyone has any dirt on this, do share!!!

Images: Google Images
References: www.TheBeautyBrains.com
                       Journal of Cosmetic Science: Semi-permanent split end mending with a polyelectrolyte complex
Who out there washes their hair everyday? I don't! I do not have time to wash my locks and style them, from scratch, everyday. So one of my little weapons to tide me over until my next hair washing is dry shampoo. (It's also good for adding texture to hair that needs some "oomph", like fine-textured hair.)

How do you use dry shampoo? Shake the can really well and spray a little bit on small sections of hair that are greasy or dirty looking. Always give a shake before each spray. Brush it through your hair to help distribute it evenly (you can use your fingers to do this but I find it doesn't work as well if you have dark hair since the shampoo is typically light in color and can look a little dusty. A brush with a lot of bristles is best.) And voila! Magically clean-looking hair! Enjoy a few more minutes of sleep in the morning, kittens :)

Umberto's Dry Shampoo is amazing! The scent is mild which I appreciate because some brands make me feel like I'm inhaling cancer and it definitely hides the evidence of me not washing my hair for several days. It doesn't contain water which is a good thing to leave out in a dry shampoo since this can make your hair fall. I also love how it's conveniently available at Target. Have any of you tried this product or another dry shampoo? Leave a comment and tell me what you did or didn't like about it :) Meow.

Ingredients and what they do:
Isobutane: Aerosol propellant (replacement for chlorofluorocarbons, or CFC propellants)
Rice starch: Absorbent and bulking agent
SD Alcohol 40-B: Used as antifoaming agents, cosmetic astringents, solvents and viscosity decreasing agents
Propane: Aerosol propellant (replacement for chlorofluorocarbons, or CFC propellants)
Butane: Aerosol propellant (replacement for chlorofluorocarbons, or CFC propellants)
Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate: Anti-caking agent and absorbent  Cyclopentasiloxane: Hair conditioning agent and solvent
Silica: Used as an absorbent, anti-caking agent, solvent, bulking agent, opacifying agent and suspending agent
Cetrimonium Chloride: Anti-static and to prevent odor

Image: Behrman Communications
References: www.CosmeticsInfo.org

Want your hair to get really long? I mean realllllly long? Then here's a few things you can do:
1. Don't ever brush your hair when it's wet
2. Brush it minimally when dry. (Brushing 100 strokes isn't going to make your hair shinier...it will just cause more damage. Get your tangles out and be done!)
3. Try to let hair air-dry as much as possible. Blow dryers are your enemy!
4. Quit flat ironing your hair everyday. It's so damaging!
5. Don't ever use a hot tool (flat iron, curling iron) when hair is wet
6. Cover your hair with a hat when in the sun
7. Get your hair trimmed about every 8 weeks. Give or take a couple of weeks depending on the amount of split ends you have

Image: Google Images
I was recently asked on my Facebook page about what my suggestions were on a good set of hot rollers. First off, let me say that I love hot rollers! I think a lot of people feel they're dated and don't realize how time-efficient they can be.

There are so many hot roller sets on the market, it's hard to determine the pros and cons of each. To me, the most important thing is the type of clips or pins they have. If they come with metal pins (Fig. A), they're keepers. If they come with the clamp-looking clips (Fig. B) then they're no bueno. Reason being is that the clamp type will leave indents on the hair and the metal pins won't. Metal pins are hard to come by at the store, but search the internet and you'll find them. Another option is a plastic clippy with teeth, called a butterfly clip (Fig. C). Since there are so many teeth, they don't leave indents on the hair, but since they cover more of your hair up, it takes longer for the rollers to cool off.

Then there's all kinds of finishes on the actual roller or clamp: plastic, ceramic, velvet. I think it's easy to make hair fuzzy with velvet covered rollers, so if you're a beginner they're probably not a good choice. I think the ceramic clamps are a moot point because I don't like clamps so it doesn't really matter what the clamp is made of! Plastic is tried and true and it's what I choose to use in terms of rollers. My favorite combination is metal pins with plastic rollers. 

Here are some links to what I feel are good sets of hot rollers :)
Conair HS34R Compact Hairsetter
Revlon RV261 20-Roller Ionic Professional Hairsetter

Fig. A- Metal Pins
Fig. B- Clamp-like Clips
Fig. C- Butterfly Clip with Teeth
I'm not trying to plug this company, I just wanted to show you what type of container it came in since it's so different from traditional oil containers.
Kitties! Run out and get some coconut oil! Coconut oil has been proven to penetrate the hair strand and minimize protein loss, according to a study done by the Research and Development Department, Nature Care Division at Marico Industries Ltd. Coconut oil can penetrate the cuticle and cortex (the “shingles” and what the “shingles” are protecting) whereas mineral oil and sunflower oils cannot. Because it can do this, it keeps hair from being damaged when combing it while wet. Its ability to coat the surface of the hair strand and penetrate helps keep water out of the hair shaft when it’s applied to dry hair and left on for several hours before shampooing. When hair gets wet, it swells up and causes the “shingles” to lift up, making them vulnerable to breaking off. Use the coconut oil as an overnight treatment and shampoo it out in the morning. This will keep your fur, I mean hair, luscious and amazing :)
Image: Google Images
References: Journal of Cosmetic Science: Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage