Friday, 28 January 2011

Bald to long

As one of the few who started growing out from bald, I thought I would type down some of my experiences and advice.

I started growing my hair out after I had cut it all off due to extreme damage. I was considering bleaching my hair and a friend of mine told me to use lemon juice, "Because it's natural and gentler on the hair." I thought that made sense since I didn't know that the acid in lemon juice is very good at breaking up protein bonds. What does 80% of your hair consist of? Protein!

The result was that my hair got extremely damaged and I wasn't a patient detangler, so I damaged it even more. I was literally ripping out squirrels! It felt and looked like hay. So, I had to cut it very, very short to get rid of the damage. But I thought about it and decided that since my healthy hair was no more than a month of growth "long" I might as well just shave everything off. Just to for once in my life trying to be completely and utterly bald.

Bad things about starting over from bald/extremely short
You will have to get through all the awful growing out-stages
Hair will be all layers
People will look at you strangely
You risk sunburn on your head
You need gel or the like to keep hair out of your eyes
You will need to have your short hair cut into shape along the way or you get that icky microphone hair and that will take even longer to grow out

Good things about starting over from bald/very short
You get the chance of getting rid of all your bad hair habits
You can get to clean and moisturize your scalp as well as your skin
Hair will be too short to actually tangle so you won't get any detangling damage for a year or so
You will appreciate it more

Would I recommend it?
I don't think so. If you think about it, you'll have to realize it will take at least two years before you can even put your hair up in a pony tail. Two years… think about it. It's a long time before you're through it. Would it be worth it?

On the other hand, if your hair is or is going to be very short, why not? Consider it a once-in-a-lifetime experience in line with bungee jumping or other horrifying yet thrilling experiences.

0 to 2 months, 0 to 1 inch long hair
At this "length" you can throw away all your previous routines. I suggest that you don't use shampoo or any traditional hair products since there's so little hair to wash anyway. Threat your scalp like your facial skin: Clean, wash, tone and moisturize with your regular skin care products.
Try to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime chance to really spoil your scalp. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!
Remember that those short hairs will be your ends for lots of years. Stimulate your scalp to grow them strong.
Stock up on sunscreen! Remember that your scalp has been protected under your hair most of your life and is very sensitive. Add lots of high factor sunscreen every time you step outside the door. Use a higher factor than you use on the rest of your body - the skin on our body is used to it but your scalp is not.
Styling options: none, really. Hair will stick out straight up and not really have any possibilities. If you want to style somehow, try using leave in-conditioner designed for hair and scalp. You can use aloe vera gel, but most likely you won't need a product with a lot of hold.
Avoid harsh styling gels since it will get on your scalp.
Hair styles: none, really, but knock yourself out with scarves, bandannas, cute hats and wigs! Buy some fake hair and put under them to play around.

2 to 4 months, 1 to 2 inches long
Hair will start to lie down at this length.
Keep up with the moisturizing and sunscreen as long as you feel you can "reach" the scalp and the cream won't be stuck in your hair. Start using "real" hair products to shampoo and condition your hair. Find some designed for hair and scalp
Try measuring the hair you shed to see how fast it grows. At this length it will be very accurate because you can measure with a real ruler.
Stock up on aloe vera gel and products designed for hair and scalp.
Styling options: different styles with gel or leave in-conditioners. Aloe vera gel offer both scalp care and some hold. Try playing around with the part. It can make a huge difference to your appearance!
Avoid gelling hair down. It just looks weird at this length.
Hair styles: scarves, bandannas, cute hats and wigs. Buy some fake hair and put under them to play around.
Begin to use headbands to hold the front lengths back from your face or use small clips and claws to pin pieces back.

4 to 14 months 2 to 7 inches long
Now the hair will start to get in your eyes! It's a very annoying length and you will need to start gelling it up or sweep it to the side. Try using leave in-conditioner if you don't need as much hold as the aloe vera gel offers.
This length is great to really notice your hairs natural growth pattern. Work with its swirls instead of fighting it. This information will come very handy as it grows longer. Where does it part naturally?
If you aim for one length hair it will be too short to put up in a pony tail.
Stock up on: Lots of pretty little clips, barrettes and claw clips. Leave in-conditioner and aloe vera gel is still necessary.
Styling options: Gel up, gel to the side and lots of little clips to hold it. Try playing around with the part. It can make a huge difference to your appearance!
Avoid the dreaded "mushroom" cut (long hair on the top and short at the bottom) if you have a lot of volume in your hair!
Don't give up! This length IS very annoying, but it WILL pass. You WILL get through it and have a life of wonderful long hair.
Hair styles: Scarves, bandannas, cute hats and wigs. Buy some fake hair and put under them to play around. Begin to use headbands to hold the front lengths back from your face or use small clips and claws to pin pieces back.
Try doing little piggy tails with lots of lose hair poking out around it. High piggy tails may be able to pull hair away from your face. You can make little messy buns too at this length. Try dual high buns (aka "Mickey Mouse ears").

14 to 28 months, 6 to 14 inches long
Now the hair will be long enough to put in a pony tail! When you pony tail you can follow how more and more of the hair on the back of your head can be put up. See the "line" creep down towards your neck.
As soon as you can, stop using harsh styling products and switch to gentler leave in-products when you no longer need the strong hold.
Hair styles: Scarves, bandannas, cute hats and wigs when you feel like it. When your hair gets longer, wigs can be hard to do if you have too much hair to hide under them, so take your chances now. Use headbands to hold the front lengths back from your face or use small clips and claws to pin pieces back.
Try doing piggy tails and you can make little messy buns too at this length. I really liked the cute double buns at this length. Also do French braids to pull layers back form your face.

28 months and more, 14 inches and more
Hair will now be shoulder length or longer. Most people will consider this length "long"
You will be able to make the first "real" buns and braids
Stock up on: Inspiration to play with the length!
Styling options: Soon all styles will be possible! Look around to get inspired to play with your new length.
Avoid letting the idea that "women over 30 need to have short hair" or other similar idiotic ideas get to you!
Hair styles: Piggy tails, ponytails, braids, French braids, buns, double buns and many more.


I hope this is useful to someone!

Latin to English ingredient list

• Aloe barbadensis: Aloe
• Anthemis nobelis: Roman chamomile
• Cereus grandiflorus: Cactus
• Cinnamonum zeylancium: Cinnamon
• Citrus (medica) limonum: Lemon
• Citrus Aurantifolia: Lime
• Citrus aurantium bergamia: Bergamot
• Citrus aurantium dulcis: Orange
• Citrus Grandis: Grapefruit
• Citrus paradise: Grapefruit
• Commiphora myrrha: Myrrh
• Corylus avellana: Hazel nut
• Coryocar brasiliense: Pequi seed
• Cucumis Sativus: Cucumber
• Emblica officinalis: Amla
• Eugenia caryophyllata: Clove
• Eugenia caryophyllus: Clove
• Fragaria vesca: Stawberry
• Fucus vesiculosus: Seaweed
• Jasminum officianale: Jasmin flower
• Juglans nigra: Walnut
• Juglans regia: Walnut
• Lavendula angustifolia: Lavender
• Lawsonia inermis: Henna
• Medicago Sativa: Alfafa
• Mentha piperita: Peppermint
• Mentha Viridis: Spearmint
• Oenothera biennis: Evening primrose
• Olea europaea: Olive
• Panax ginseng: Ginseng
• Passiflora quandrangularis: Passion flower
• Pelargonium graveolens: Geranium
• Persea gratissima: Avocado
• Phyllanthus emblica: Amla
• Pogostemon cablin: Patchouli
• Prunus armeniaca: Apricot
• Prunus cerasus: Bitter cherry extract
• Prunus dulcis: Almond
• Retinyl palmitate: Vitmain A
• Rosmarinus Officinalis: Rosemary
• Saccharomyces cerevisiae: Yeast
• Simmondsia chinensis: Jojoba
• Syzygium aromaticum: Clove
• Topocopheryl acetate: Vitamin E
• Triethanolamine: Yeast
• Vaccinium augustifolium: Blueberry
• Vanilla planifolia: Vanilla
• Vitellaria paradoxa: Shea butter
• Zingiber officinalis: Ginger root

Supplements and hair growth

Note: This article deals with supplements only. If you want to know the vitamin contents of food sources or which foods to eat for the most of a vitamin, there are online resources for that.

I like to view the supplements that boost your hair growth as the pieces of wood that holds a barrel together. Each piece of wood can represent each vitamin or mineral necessary for the hair growth.
The water can't go higher than what the shortest piece of wood can hold and loading up on a few vitamins won't help much unless it's balanced with other supplements
A good supplement routine can maximise your growth and hair quality but of course lots of people have grown an amazing mane without taking additional supplements.

Let's start with the basics
Food and supplements are absorbed from the digestive system, broken down to cell-friendly nutrients in the cells and led through the bloodstream attached to the red blood cells. The nutrients go to the follicles through the capillaries. The follicles are located in the corium and the hair strand grows out through the epidermis to the surface. Attached to the follicle are a sebaceous gland to keep the follicle moisturised and a tiny muscle that when contracted will make the hair stand up.
In the bottom of the follicle is the hair bulb which contains the only living cells in the hair. The cells here are dividing rapidly and push the new cells upwards towards the surface (Actually these cells are dividing so rapidly that chemotherapy that is designed to attack the uncontrolled dividing cells in cancer clusters attacks these cells, which is why chemo-patients lose their hair) The cells are aligned in cylindrical layers and die before reaching the surface of the skin so all the hair we actually see is dead cells. When pulling out a hair you can see the hair bulb as a light, onion shaped growth. No matter what advertisings want to tell us, the actual hair strand is dead


To make sure that nutrients are absorbed in the body you need your digestive system to function well. If you suspect you have stomach problems you should see a doctor
But nice, simple hints for a better digestion are:
Aloe vera in juice or tablet form can help your stomach function better
Exercising at least a little each day
Extra fibre in food or supplement form
Getting enough sleep
Getting enough water
Yoghurt contains bacteria beneficial for the digestive system

Keeping the blood flow to the follicle high will send more nutrients to the bulb and aid the growth
Simple hints:
Exercise at least a little each day
Ginkgo biloba increases the blood flow
Limit coffee intake as the caffeine constricts blood vessels
Massage will increase the blood flow to the effected area temporarily
Staying warm (Hats are good both for heat and protection from the wind whipping and tangling and protection from harmful UV rays) as cold constricts blood vessels
Stop smoking if you can, if not, cut back as much as possible
Try to avoid lengthy stress as it lessens blood flow to the surface of your body

It's a little tricky to put down recommended doses. The recommended daily intake and upper limit doses have changed many times and studying is still done on the subject. Many sources disagree with each other, especially on how high damaging doses are. Don't panic if your vitamin bottle name other recommended doses than what are written here
There are two things to take into consideration though:
The fat soluble vitamins are the most risky ones to overdose on. These vitamins stores in your body whereas the water soluble vitamins don't. With the water soluble vitamins, the body absorbs what it needs and the rest is discarded in the urine. As long as you don't suffer any kidney problems, it shouldn't cause any problems
As written in my barrel-comparison, you might actually not get anything out of the overdose except to pay for a lot of supplements that in the end only results in smelly pee

Supplements for healthy hair growth

Antioxidants
For normal cellular maintenance, growth, and division, free radicals must be sufficiently neutralized by antioxidant compounds. Plants and animals maintain complex systems of multiple types of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, and vitamin E as well as certain enzymes. Low levels of antioxidants, or inhibition of the antioxidant enzymes, causes oxidative stress and may damage or kill cells. Antioxidants help your skin build up a natural resistance to UV rays and protect from burns and stress. It's not a sun protection you should count on, but every bit helps. Put short; antioxidants protects your skin, scalp and thus hair from environmental stress and damage

Calcium
First a note on minerals: The term "mineral" is archaic, since the intent of the definition is to describe ions, not chemical compounds or actual minerals.
Calcium is essential for living organisms, particularly in cell physiology, where movement of the calcium ion functions as a signal for many cellular processes and physiology. This mineral work together with magnesium to ensure healthy hair growth. It takes part in muscle and digestive system health, builds bone, clears toxins and helps the blood stream.
Recommended daily calcium intake for adults ranges from 1000 to 1500 mg. It is recommended to take supplements with food to aid in absorption.
Warnings: Too much calcium can inhibit the absorption of zinc, iron, penicillin and certain types of Parkinson's medicine; An acid found in chocolate can inhibit calcium absorption.

Chromium
Trivalent chromium (Cr3+) is part of the production of insulin which helps prevent hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, both of which can cause hair loss.
In the United States the dietary guidelines for daily chromium uptake were lowered from 50-200 mcg for an adult to 35 mcg (adult male) and to 25 mcg (adult female) due to recent studies showing chromosome damage in hamster cells
Warnings: People who are allergic to yeast should not take chromium supplements.

Copper
This essential trace nutrient helps prevent hair loss as well as defects in hair colour and structure. Lack of copper can show as pale, stiff hair. This metal is part of many enzymes in the body and of an enzyme that regulates the iron in red blood cells. In animals, including humans, it is found primarily in the bloodstream, as a co-factor in various enzymes, and in copper-based pigments.
Recommended daily intake of copper for normal healthy adults is 0,9 mg although some research on the subject recommends 3,0 mg
Warnings: High levels can lead to dry hair, hair loss and severe health problems. It is believed that zinc and copper compete for absorption in the digestive tract so that a diet that is excessive in one of these minerals may result in a deficiency in the other

Essential fatty acids
Omega-3 Fatty Acid (Alpha-Linolenic Acid)
Omega-6 Fatty Acid (Gamma-Linolenic Acid)
The difference between the omega 3, omega 6 and omega 9 fatty acids are on the molecular level. The number simply refers to what number the molecular double binding bound to the carbon atom is from the end of the molecule. Fats from each of these families are essential, as the body can convert one omega-3 to another omega-3, for example, but cannot create an omega-3 molecule from scratch. Unlike Omega 3and Omega 6 fatty acids, Omega 9 fatty acids are not classed as essential fatty acid.
Essential fatty acids play an important role in the life and death of cardiac cells. The cell membrane that protects the cells sensitive inside is built on fatty acids. Both essential oils are known to nourish straw-like hair and keep hair soft and shiny. It is also essential for healthy skin and nails with the same effect on nails as on hair and helping your skin glow, clearing up eczema and minimizing fine wrinkles. For your general health it reduces cholesterol and helps your metabolism.
I take 600mg fish oil per day, which works for me. If your skin is very dry you can try a higher dose

Iodine
Trace mineral, meaning that the body needs it in only very low doses. This essential mineral helps regulate thyroid hormones, which means it takes part in the energy regulation of cells and the chemical building blocks that create and maintain cells. It is necessary to regulate and produce thyroid hormones and prevents dry hair, greying and hair loss. Salt for human consumption is often fortified with iodine and is referred to as iodized salt
Recommended daily intake is 150 micrograms of iodine per day for both men and women. However the daily FDA intake recommendation may be 100 x too low
Warnings: Pregnant women should take a lower dose as it can interfere with the foetus' thyroid

Iron
One of the most important functions of iron in the system is its role is oxygenating the blood as it is the central part of the haemoglobin molecule. That way the essential metal iron prevents anaemia and hair loss. Another role of iron is energy metabolism and also serves to promote the important functioning of the body's immune system particularly in the production of the white blood cells essential in fighting infection and disease. Iron also takes part in properly utilizing the B vitamins.
Recommended daily intake:10 mg. Women may take up to 18 mg during the period if the flow is heavy
Warnings: Too much can lead to malfunctions of the liver and spleen. Humans experience iron toxicity above 20 milligrams of iron for every kilogram of mass, and 60 milligrams per kilogram is a lethal dose

Magnesium
This mineral work together with calcium to ensure healthy hair growth. It is important for your general health, aids in building bone, and healthy peristalsis. Magnesium ions are essential to all living cells, and are the 11th most abundant element by mass in the human body. It's a co-factor in over 300 different enzymes and as such an important part of the metabolism. Magnesium is a vital component of a healthy human diet and deficiency has been implicated in a number of diseases
Recommended daily intake of magnesium is 280 mg.

Manganese
Prevents slow hair growth. Manganese is an essential trace nutrient in all forms of life. Manganese ions function as cofactors for a number of enzymes; the element is thus a required trace mineral for all known living organisms for example a co-factor in two enzymes that speed up the metabolisms chemical reactions. The human body contains about 10 mg of manganese, which is stored mainly in liver & kidneys
Recommended daily intake: 3-5 mg.

MSM (methyl-sulfonyl-methane)
MSM is promoted as a natural source of sulphur by the supplement and health food industry, suggesting that people are deficient in sulphur intake. However, protein in the diet is an abundant source of sulphur, which is contained in the amino acids methionine and cysteine. The efficacy of MSM has been questioned and clinical research on the medical use of the chemical is limited to a few pilot studies that have suggested beneficial effects. The biochemical effects of supplemental methylsulfonylmethane are poorly understood. Some researchers have suggested that MSM has anti-inflammatory effects. The published clinical trials of MSM did not report any serious side-effects of treatment, but there are no peer-reviewed data on the effects of long-term use in humans
People on longhair forums have reported that it helps to decrease hair fall out. It is claimed that MSM does this by making the growth stage of the hair longer and the shedding cycle shorter. The growth faze is genetically determined though but it is possible that it makes the shedding cycle shorter. It is true that sulphur is a main component in hair's structure so taking it as a supplement can't hurt.
You may take up to 2000mg/day.
Warnings: Some people have linked MSM to depression! You should be aware of this when taking this supplement.

Potassium
Regulates circulation and promotes healthy hair growth. Potassium is a nutrient necessary for human life and health, its important for brain and nerve function. Potassium is also important in allowing muscle contraction and the sending of all nerve impulses through action potentials.
Recommended daily intake: 4000 mg.
Warnings: Individuals suffering from kidney diseases may suffer adverse health effects from consuming large quantities of dietary potassium

Protein
Hair's structure consists primarily of protein, which remains forever critical to hair growth. Especially the protein cysteine is important for hair growth.
Protein is composed of amino acids that are the body's structural materials for muscles, skin, hair etc. The body requires amino acids to produce new body protein) and to repair damaged proteins.
Your body can't store a lot of protein, meaning that you can't fill up on protein one day and then let your body "feed off" the protein the next. A steady intake of protein is best for your hair and general health. Take a critical look at your protein intake, there are many online sources to help you with this. If your intake is around what your body needs there are no reason to take protein supplements. Some protein shakes can be very high in calories. Even if you're not calorie conscious, there's no reason to pile extra calories on, especially if it don't actually helps you accomplish anything when it comes to hair growth. Proteins can be converted into carbohydrates and thus, extra protein will end as energy for the cells instead
Recommended daily intake: You need 1 gram of protein per 1 kilo of body weight per day if you are healthy and up to 1,5 gram in cases of severe illness

Selenium
Keeps skin and scalp supple and elastic. In humans, selenium is a trace element nutrient which functions as cofactor for reduction of antioxidant enzymes. It is toxic in large amounts, but trace amounts of it are necessary for cellular function in all animals, forming the active centre of the enzymes. Selenium is a trace element nutrient which functions as cofactor for reduction of antioxidant enzymes and is a co-factor for a thyroid hormone
Recommended daily intake of selenium: 45 mcg.
Warnings: Over 400 mcg of Selenium per day can be toxic, leading to the loss of hair, nails and teeth. A warning sign is metal taste in your mouth and a breath that smells like garlic

Silica
This is generally a good help for growing out hair. It increases the shine and softness of the hair and helps growing the hair out stronger. It is also has antioxidant properties

Sulphur
Is a part in three essential amino acids and many proteins and cofactors for skin, hair, nails, liver, and pancreas health. Sulphur is an essential component of all living cells.
Many important cellular enzymes use prosthetic groups ending with -SH moieties to handle reactions. Disulfide bonds (S-S shaped bonds) formed between cysteine residues in peptide chains are very important in protein assembly and structure. These strong covalent bonds between peptide chains give proteins a great deal of extra toughness and resiliency. For example, the high strength of feathers and hair is in part due to their high content of S-S bonds and their high content of cysteine and sulphur. In short: Sulphur is a main component to hair's structure.

Vitamin A
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that has antioxidant properties and aids a healthy production of sebum which is good for the skin. It also helps promoting healthy skin and scalp, hair and nails in general. Helps maintain normal growth and bone development and protective sheathing around nerve fibres. Vitamin A actually refers to a family of similarly shaped molecules: the retinoids. Its important part is the retinyl group, which can be found in several forms
Recommended daily intake for a grown female is 700 mcg and 900 mcg for a grown male. Upper limit is 3000 mcg for both genders. Overdosing can cause hair loss and high vitamin A intake has been associated with spontaneous bone fractures in animals

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin or thiamine, also known as aneurine hydrochloride)
A funny note on vitamins B's is that many of the following substances have been referred to as vitamins because they were believed to be vitamins at one time, and they are relevant to vitamin nomenclature in that the numbers that were assigned to them form "gaps" in the series of B-vitamin names. Some of them, though not essential to humans, are essential in the diets of other organisms; others have no known nutritional value. There are named around 30 different vitamin B's!
Vitamin B1 is a water soluble vitamin that is important for the processes that make glucose which is fuel for the body's cells. The majority of the vitamin in serum is bound to proteins, mainly albumin. Approximately 90% of total thiamin in blood is in erythrocytes. A specific binding protein called thiamin-binding protein (TBP) has been identified in rat serum and is believed to be a hormonally regulated carrier protein that is important for tissue distribution of thiamine. The vitamin B1 molecule is sensitive and is broken down by high temperatures in cooking, coffee and alcohol.
Recommended daily intake in most countries is set to around 1,4 mg

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
This Vitamin is needed for the proper biochemical functioning of every living cell. It is important for healthy skin especially on the lips. Riboflavin aids the body in the absorption of iron. Like the other B vitamins, it plays a key role in energy metabolism, and is required for the metabolism of fats, ketone bodies, carbohydrates, and proteins. As such, vitamin B2 is required for a wide variety of cellular processes. Riboflavin is water soluble and is continuously excreted in the urine of healthy individuals, making deficiency relatively common when dietary intake is insufficient. However, riboflavin deficiency is always accompanied by deficiency of other vitamins
The recommended daily intake in most countries is set at around 1,5 mg
Warnings: Taking nerve medicine in the form of Klorpromazin makes the body flush this vitamin twice as fast as normal through the urine

Vitamin B3 (Niacin, also known as nicotinic acid)
This water soluble, non essential vitamin is needed for oxygen transport to the cells and promotes healthy scalp circulation. Also takes part in fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism and helps the nervous system function
The body can synthesize niacin from the amino acid tryptophan if the body's requirement isn't met through food
Recommended daily intake in most countries is set at around 15 mg
Warnings: Taking more than 1 g a day can result in "niacin flush" - a temporary heat sensation and blushing due to blood cell dilation. High doses should be avoided by pregnant women as it can result in deformations on the foetus. High-dose niacin may also elevate blood sugar

Vitamin B4 (Adenine)
In older literature, adenine was sometimes called Vitamin B4 but it is no longer considered a true vitamin or part of the Vitamin B complex because it is synthesized by the human body. However, two B vitamins, niacin and riboflavin, bind with adenine to form two cofactors that are essential to the body

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)
This essential, water-soluble vitamin participates in a wide array of key biological roles and is considered essential to all forms of life. It prevents greying and hair loss. Vitamin B5 is very important biologically and is critical in the metabolism and synthesis of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. The derivative of pantothenic acid, pantothenol, is a more stable form of the vitamin and is often used as a source of the vitamin in multivitamin supplements. A study have shown high doses of Vitamin B5 resolved acne and decreased pore size
The vitamin B5 molecule is sensitive and can be broken down by high temperatures in cooking
Recommended daily intake is around 4-7 mg
Warnings: High doses can result in diarhea

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine pyridoxal and pyridoxamin)
This water soluble vitamin prevents hair loss and is part of the process that creates melanin, which gives hair its colour. Vitamin B6 is a factor in more than 140 enzyme activities, corresponding to ~4% of all classified activities in the body
The vitamin B6 molecule is sensitive and is broken down by high temperatures in cooking, coffee, oestrogen and alcohol.
Recommended daily intake for a grown person is around 1,3 mg.
Warnings: High doses can cause numbness in hands and feet and trouble coordinating the limbs. Medicine against Parkinson's disease can hinder the body's absorption of this vitamin

Vitamin B7 (Biotin, also known as vitamin H)
Vitamin B7 is essential in the production of keratin and may prevent greying and even hair loss in men. It promotes healthy hair growth since it increases the elasticity of the hair's cortex, thus preventing breakage and protects against dryness. Biotin is necessary for all cell growth, the production of fatty acids, and the metabolism of fats and amino acids.
Biotin supplements are often recommended as a supplement to stop hair loss, there are, however, no studies that show any benefit in any case where the subject is not actually biotin deficient. Deficiency is extremely rare, as intestinal bacteria generally produce an excess of the body's daily requirement. For that reason, statutory agencies in many countries don't prescribe a recommended daily intake for this water sioluble vitamin. The vitamin promotes cell growth and is thus needed for healthy skin as well.
Recommended daily intakeis no higher than 225 mcg

Vitamin B8 (Denosine monophosphate or inositol)
Inositol is no longer classified as a vitamin because it is synthesized by the human body. It keeps hair follicles healthy at the cellular level and is thus necessary for hair growth.

Vitamin B9 (Folic acid, vitamin M and folate)
Vitamin B9 is necessary for the production and maintenance of cells. It's an important part of the development and tissue growth as the cells need it for dividing. This also makes it an important part of red blood cell growth. It is also necessary for the repair of damaged cells. This is especially important during periods of rapid cell division and growth such as infancy and pregnancy.
Recommended daily intake of vitamin B9 is 0,3 mg.
Warnings: Even though its a water-soluble vitamin, intake of supplemental folic acid should not exceed 1000 micrograms. In supplement form the molecule breaks down when exposed to water, light and heat

Vitamin B12 (Cyano cobalamin)
This water soluble vitamin is required for the proper functioning of all cells because it's necessary for the dividing process. Vitamin B12 is involved in the metabolism of every cell of the body, especially affecting the DNA synthesis and regulation but also fatty acid synthesis and energy production. It is needed for new tissue growth, red blood cells, nervous system and skin. It prevents hair loss by keeping the bulb dividing cells to produce hair.
Recommended daily intake for an adult is 2-3 mcg .The body recycles the vitamin and the coli bacterium that lives in the colon produces the vitamin so the intake required is low.

Vitamin C (L-ascorbate)
This water-soluble vitamin functions as an antioxidant that helps maintains hair and skin health. It maintains healthy gums, teeth and blood vessels. Vitamin C plays a special function in the white blood cells (which fight infection) and in the manufacture of collagen. Collagen is a binding substance that holds all cells and the bones together. It is an essential nutrient and increases the absorption of iron.
Recommendations for vitamin C intake have been set by WHO to 45 milligrams per day and tolerable Upper Intake Level to 2,000 mg. Relatively large doses of vitamin C may cause indigestion, particularly when taken on an empty stomach. Too high intake can result in nausea and a higher risk of kidney stones

Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin with a half-life at almost a month in the body. When skin comes in contact with the UVB rays in sunlight the body synthesize the vitamin. It increases the absorption of calcium and promotes bone formation and mineralization and is essential in the development of an intact and strong skeleton. Vitamin D regulates the calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood by promoting their absorption from food in the intestines, and by promoting re-absorption of calcium in the kidneys. It also plays a role in regulating the immune system.
Recommended daily intake: 5-10 mcg
The exact long-term safe dose of vitamin D is not entirely known, but dosages up to 250 micrograms per day for healthy adults are believed to be safe. Overdose occurs at more than 100 times the recommended daily dose of over a period of months. Acute overdose requires over ten thousand times the RDA. Foods contain low levels, and have not been known to cause overdose.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E is the collective name for a set of 8 related tocopherols and tocotrienols, which are fat-soluble vitamins with antioxidant properties. Vitamin E increases oxygen uptake, which improves circulation to the scalp and skin. Since hair health is tied to the immune health, vitamin E is believed to stimulate hair growth by enhancing the immune function. Vitamin E also has shown to have beneficial effects on the lungs and heart and on aging in general. It has been claimed that α-tocopherol is the most important lipid-soluble antioxidant, and that it protects cell membranes from oxidation
Recommended daily intake is around 10 mg. Because vitamin E can act as an anticoagulant and may increase the risk of bleeding problems, many agencies have set an upper tolerable intake level for vitamin E at 1,000 mg.
Warnings: Can raise blood pressure and people taking high blood pressure medication or anticoagulants should check with their doctors before taking Vitamin E supplements.

Vitamin K
This is a group of fat-soluble vitamins that are needed for the building and modification of certain proteins, mostly required for the factors leading to a successful blood coagulation. The human body does not store Vitamin K in large quantities, so the body requires a daily intake of Vitamin K. Bacteria in the colon excretes vitamin K that is absorbed by the body.
Recommended daily intake of Vitamin K for an adult is set to120 mcg for both genders. No tolerable upper intake level has been set, but too high intake may result in increased risk of bleeding

Zinc
Zinc is an essential element, necessary for sustaining all life. It is estimated that 3,000 of the hundreds of thousands of proteins in the human body contain zinc. It has a stabilising effect on cell membranes. Zinc is necessary for healing wounds and heals and prevents skin problems, which benefits the scalp. It stimulates hair growth by enhancing immune function. Zinc and Vitamin A work together; a deficiency in either can lead to dry hair and oily skin.
Recommended daily intake: 8 mg
Warnings: It is believed that zinc and copper compete for absorption in the digestive tract so that a diet that is excessive in one of these minerals may result in a deficiency in the other. Too high intake can interfere with iron absorption as well.

Q10 (Ubiquinon)
A co-enzyme that improves scalp circulation by increasing tissue oxygenation. This fat-soluble vitamin-like substance is present in most human cells except red blood cells and cells without mitochondria and is responsible for the production of the body's own energy. In each human cell, food energy is converted into energy in the mitochondria with the aid of Q10 It is also very important for heart health. The human body can make Q10 but most of our daily need is taken in through food.
Recommended daily intake is set to 30 mg. Doses of over 200 mg can result in headache, nausea and stomach pains

Building your own supplement routine
As you can read, lots of vitamins and minerals influence hair growth and hair health, both directly and indirectly. That's why the first and most important thing you need in a supplement routine is to get a good multivitamin. In my opinion, this is what you should spend most money and energy on. Find a high quality brand you trust
You must ask yourself how many pills you want to take and how much money you want to spend on it. A multi vitamin and something targeting hair, skin and nails would be a good place to start. Some basic knowledge about the body and vitamins is necessary, but always go with your gut instinct. If you get a bad feeling from a supplement you're taking, always listen to your body

Taking your supplements
I suggest you take your supplements with water. Some tablets need a certain amount of water to work or to not draw water from your body. That's why I'll suggest you take one pill with one gulp of water each.
I make "supplement water" where I blend some lemon meat and ginger and pour boiling water over, then filter. Then I cool some green tea and pour everything in bottles. I use the 0,5 litre soda bottles because they're a good size and I can discard them after a week of use or so. This supplement water mix is supposed to help your body get rid of toxins and gives a nice vitamin C and antioxidant boost. One point with making such a water mix is to get something with a little refreshing taste since some supplements can have a bad aftertaste.
Some supplements require that you take them with a meal, others can be taken on empty stomach. If you're on a diet a good trick is to take your supplement and drink the water with them right before the meal. It fills your stomach and you will eat less

My personal supplement routine
I might not be one of the fastest growers on the longhaircommunity but I measure in at around 2 cm gained each month and that is at a hair circumference at 11 centimetres when I compress it as tightly as humanly possible
My personal supplement routine consists of my core supplements that I always take, supplement(s) on trial to see if I can tell any difference and supplements that I take on and off
The supplements I have listed under here is what I am taking to this date of July 2010 (Updated)

Basic fibre, four tablets
Fibres 1,7 g
Dietary fibre consists mainly of cellulose, a large carbohydrate polymer that is indigestible because humans do not have enzymes to digest it. This might be TMI, but my stomach has always been kind of slow no matter what or how I eat and these fibre tablets make me generally a lot happier with myself

Fish oil, one tablet
Fish oil 600 mg
Oils of any kind have been more or less on permanent trial in my supplement routine ever since I started seriously growing out my hair. It doesn't seem to help my skin or hair from what I can see, but what I know about biology tells me its good for me

Protabs protein, four tablets
Protein 2 g

Total amino, two tablets
Protein 1,4 g
I need around 57 gram protein per day and these two protein supplements give me almost 6% of my daily requirement. I don't want to take the majority of my protein through supplements so this is just a nice boost for me

Vitamun, four tablets
Vitamins:
Vitamin A: 1500 mcg
Vitamin B1: 2,25 mg
Vitamin B12: 9 mcg
Vitamin B2: 2,6 mg
Vitamin B3: 18 mg
Vitamin B5: 15 mg
Vitamin B6: 3 mg
Vitamin B7: 225 mcg
Vitamin B9: 400 mcg
Vitamin C: 90 mg
Vitamin D: 10 mcg
Vitamin E: 41 mg
Vitamin K: 150 mcg

Minerals:
Calcium: 600 mg
Chrome: 125 mcg
Copper: 2 mg
Iodine: 225 mcg
Iron: 5 mg
Magnesium: 400 mg
Manganese: 5 mg
Molybdenum: 250 mcg
Selenium: 125 mcg
Zinc: 22,5 mg

Herbs:
Cats claw 40 mg
Elder 180 mg
Ginger 100 mg
Ginseng 60 mg
Green alge 150 mg
Green tea 60 mg
Hip 80 mg
Some plant I couldn't find in the dictionary 400 mg
Some plant I couldn't find in the dictionary II 15 mg
Some plant I couldn't find in the dictionary III 80 mg
This is the multi vitamin I have taken for almost 7 years by now. It's the absolute core of my supplements and the only one I pack if I have to travel light. This multivitamin won "Health product of the year" 2003 in Denmark.

For most minerals I land at the high end of the reccomended intakes I have chosen to go with in this article. But I could easily find other sources where my intake is just fine.
Now that I have read up on information to write this article Im a little worried about my chrome and vitamin A intake, but since they come from a single supplement, theres nothing I can cut out unless I want to switch to another multi vitamin

This isn't a part of my regular hair care routine and although I wrote in the beginning that this will specifically deal with supplements, I thought I would include my own drink recipe for taking protein powder. I think this one has nice protein content for the calorie count, plus the caffeine boost is nice too (And just for the irony of having warned against too much caffeine, hehe)

Protein vanilla ice coffee
2 cups (2,5 dl) of Kenya blend Senseo coffee, cooled and put in the freezer until slightly frozen
1 dl skim milk
1 scoop (20 g) vanilla protein powder (Maxim extreme protein)

Put the protein powder in the blender with milk to mix and last the iced coffee

2 cups Kenya blend: Around 190 mg caffeine
1 dl skim milk: 35 calories and 3,5 g protein
1 scoop protein powder: 78 calories and 15 g protein

In all: 190 mg caffeine, 113 calories, 18,5 g protein

To end this article with a few golden words: There are literally thousands of supplements out there, so spend time exploring the market to see what works for you. There is no universal right way that works for everyone, so seek out information and be critical to what you find

Good luck with the growing!

~ Igor, originally written for longhaircommmunity.com, July 2008
~ Thanks to Trollkjerring for proof-reading and input!

Estimating your terminal length

First of all, I want to point out as other people have before, that “terminal length” isn’t as much about the length added, but about the time it takes a hair to complete its growth-resting-shedding cycle. Since this cycle is genetically preset and hard to change and that every single follicle has its own cycle-length and growth rate, the most descriptive and correct term would actually be:
“Terminal time”
Terminal length is simply the result we experience from the terminal growing time.

Some of the people reading this, will now be thinking “But I have only ever grown my hair to armpit/shoulder/BSL length so my terminal length is super short!”

Stop. Right. There.

No.

If you go on a hair forum as a new member, you have not tried everything. You have not tried oils, alternative washing methods, supplements, benign neglect and so on. The list is long. You can find more tips and help than you can imagine if you start with the forum's stickies, work through the articles and use the search function to find the good threads packed with information. Even long-term members who thought they reached terminal length long ago can grow longer with different handling and routines.

Now for the calculation-part…

There are a couple of different ways to estimate your terminal length. One method is based on the taper of your ponytail and the other is based on your shedding rate

For the first method you put your hair in a low ponytail and put elastics around the length every 10-15 cm all the way down. Then you measure the distance from the first elastic at the neck to each of the elastics and plot it in on a graph. Call that X
Now you measure the circumference of the ponytail on each of the elastics and plot that in too. That is your Y

The points should give you a somewhat linear graph and if you do it by hand or a program you can extend it and estimate where the circumference reaches zero. This is your estimated terminal length using the taper calculations.


Keep in mind that any layers you have will massively impact the resulting line and give you a false, low terminal length.

Another method is that you take the estimated number of hairs on your scalp and divide it with your annual estimated shedding (Daily shedding x 365) that number is the number of years it will take for your scalp to have replaced all the hairs growing.
Multiply this number with your annual growth (monthly growth x 12 or total growth as some people have higher growth in the summer)
This is your estimated terminal length using the shedding calculations

The average number of hairs on your head:
80,000 for redheads
100,000 for brunettes/black hair
120,000 for blondes

(Estimated number of hairs on your head) / (Annual estimated shedding) = Years to have replaced the hairs on your head
(Years to have replaced the hairs on your head) x (Annual growth) = Estimated terminal length

Of course this will never be completely accurate because:
  • The shedding method will show a big difference if you add or subtract just 10 hairs
  • Breakage and trims are not included
  • Some hairs have a longer growth cycle than others
  • Terminal length can fluctuate over the years due to hormones, stress and diet
  • You don’t know exactly how many hairs you have on your head

If you get a completely crazy number out you know cant be true, don’t forget how big a difference different numbers input makes. If you don’t believe that, try changing the numbers just a little bit.
The math isn’t wrong.
The numbers we put in however will always only be an approximation of real life.
Shedding 45 hairs instead of 50 makes a big difference. Putting 90,000 hairs on your head instead of 100,000 makes a big difference too. And the annoying thing is, you will most likely never know these real numbers for sure.

Here is an example using my own numbers 
I think I’m more brunette than blonde, but I have an unusual amount of hair for my heritage, so let’s say I have 120,000 hairs on my head anyways. 
I’d say I lose about 50 hairs a day.
I actually counted them a couple of times during the years! Can you believe that?! 
I must have been seriously, incredibly bored. But hey, now I appreciate the work I did then.  
That makes my annual shedding 50 x 365 = 18,250 (Yikes!)  
So 120,000 / 18,250 = 6,57 
This means, that according to my calculations, I should run out of hairs in the growth cycle on my head in a little over 6½ year.  
Now for the growth: 
I get an unimpressive 1,5 cm per month with 2-3 months in the summer with 2 cm. 
Let’s say (12 x 1,5) + (2 x 0,5)  = 19 cm 
That’s fairly accurate too. I have a few years during my growing out where I didn’t trim at all and I got 18,5 cm length gain in total for the year.  
Now we do the final step: 
6,57 x 19 = 124,83 cm.  
Placing a measuring tape at my neck, 125 cm lands me a bit below knee length. Doesn’t seem too far off, I think?

Explanation of terminal length
Like no two snowflakes being alike, no two hairs grow to the same length. People have short hairs that never grow to the full length of the rest, usually around the hairline and temples (Personally I have two sets of “donkey ears” of the thickness of a pencil that only grow to ear to brushing shoulder length) That is completely normal.

When a hair comes to the end of its natural growth-cycle, it will enter a resting phase before being ejected from the follicle. This means that a single hair will be at its absolute maximum length for a relatively short period of time. In the meantime, the vast majority of hairs from the scalp will be at varying lengths in the process of growing out.

If you practise S&D, you will snip individual ends to get rid of damage, but it shouldn’t influence your hemline much. The general shape of your hemline won’t change even if you snip ½ inch from individual hairs and it definitely shouldn’t shorten your possible length.
That means that hair reaching the maximum length will be heavily tapered. Members who have reached their true, untrimmed terminal length often describes their very tippy ends as “The few, longest trailing hairs”. That is maybe the best description of what true terminal length will look like.

This picture shows what actually happens during the growth-cycle:


However, don’t pay attention to “3-6 years”. This is a number being thrown out there frequently, but so far there hasn’t been much evidence of the “normal” terminal growth time. Basically, no one has done any real, true studies about what the human maximum hair growth is. It seems to be one of those numbers that people pull out their sleeves “Because everyone knows that!” on the line with such “knowledge” that normal shedding is 50 hairs a day.
Being on a hair forum will show you that such things simply aren’t true.

Link to a simple calculator:
http://www.allvidzhaze.com/phptest/hairgrowth.html

Making washes more cleansing


In this cross section of the skin we see the different glands connected to the hair follicle.
Attached to the follicle is a sebaceous gland that produces sebum. This moisturises the hair and scalp and have an antibacterial effect. Attached to the bottom of the follicle is this little muscle: Musculus Arrector Pili. This bundle of smooth muscle fibres is attached to the deep part of the hair follicles and passes outward alongside the sebaceous glands to the papillary layer of the dermis. They act to pull the hairs erect, causing “goose bumps” or “goose flesh” in humans. This muscle is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system, meaning that we have no conscious control over it and you can't voluntarily give yourself goose bumps.
When stimulated, the Arrector Pili will contract and cause the hair to become more perpendicular to the skin surface, causing “goose bumps”. The contraction of Arrector Pili will press on the sebaceous gland and squeeze out sebum that will move out of the follicle to the surface of the skin.

No matter what wash method you use, you can make this mechanism a part of the wash. After applying the product you use to clean, you can give the scalp a cold rinse to squeeze the sebum out to the surface of the skin where you can wash it away. From what I can see, it doesn’t even need to be cold for long to get the effect. So you can turn the heat up again shortly after to wash the sebum and dirt away. The muscle will contract and press the sebum out that otherwise wouldn’t be coming out until the next day or so. This should be more cleansing because it cleans out more than just the surface sebum and keep your scalp grease free for longer so you can stretch the time between washes. So to speak, you will clean away scalp grease in advance.

This made me think of George Michael’s theory… He believes stimulating the hair strands by brushing will exercise this exact muscle to make it stronger and make it hold on to the strand for longer (= Reduce shedding) Maybe cold rinses will stimulate the muscle in the same way since it contracts and relaxes several times?
I haven’t seen any more scientific evidence behind his theory, so maybe I’m trying to see a connection that isn’t there
What is a fact though, is that temperature changes stimulates the blood flow to the skin and the supply of blood is an important factor of both skin and hair health

Igor’s base ponytail method

You need
  • One wide toothed comb (Red)
  • One fine toothed comb (Green)
  • Two different sets of elastics (I use 2 elastics in each set because one elastic alone can’t carry my hair without slipping or pulling)

Start off by putting your hair up in a ponytail using the wide toothed comb to put it in place
Secure with the first set of elastics (Blue)


Now use the fine toothed comb to “rake” your scalp hair back so everything is smooth (Red) It will leave some “bumpy” hair at the base of the ponytail (Yellow)


Take the wide toothed comb again and use it to pull out the “bumpy” hair and the first elastic down to the tail (Green) Do not start pulling the first elastic out!


Hold the now-smooth hair in place at the base of the ponytail and use the second set of elastics to secure the ponytail (purple)


Now you may remove the first set of elastics and detangle the tail. Then you can continue the updo you had planned. If you make a stick or fork updo, you get unrivalled stability if you can get one stick through the load-carrying elastic

How To Grow Your Hair

1. Go to your public library
2. Go to the fiction section
3. Go to the "A"s
4. Pick up the first seven books.
5. Sign out the books
6. Over the next week, read one book per day.
7. Return to the public library
8. Return books
9. Go to the fiction section of the library
10. Go to the place where you removed the previous seven books.
11. Pick up the next seven books.
12. Sign out books
13. Read one book a day for the next seven days.
Repeat, indefinitely, until hair is as long as you wish it to be

Igor’s basic braid tutorial

This is the braid I do on my lazy days. It’s comfortable, doesn’t look so lazy and will stay acceptably neat for a day or two

You need
  • A chair you can comfortably lean back on
  • Comb
  • Elastic
  • Set of chop sticks or hair sticks

Start off with damp hair (Actually I work with mine between damp and wet)
Distribute around one palm full of leave in conditioner in length (I use coney stuff)
Detangle length

Sit on chair and lean back slightly.
Comb hair backwards (I guess how much depends on your head shape. If I don’t comb mine backwards, I end up with these loose parts that fall “down” and forward during the day)


Grab hair sticks and separate hair horizontally at “where ears connect to the skull” level.
I do this by running the sticks from before the hair line all the way back until they connect and overlap in the back of my head.


Then I run my thumbs along the stick length until I gather the top portion of hair in my hands.
Grab top portion with one hand and put hair sticks down.


Get the comb and smooth the top portion back.


Separate the top portion in 3. The middle part needs to be slightly thicker than the two side ones. (The two side parts will get bigger once the bottom parts are added)
Braid 3 “moves”. Side, side and middle. Stop (Demonstrated here on a Dutch braid)


Now separate the bottom portion in two vertically.
Tilt head back to make the “neck portion” short. Tug each bottom portion gently to keep it from sagging during the day and bring it into the braid with each a side, top portion of hair.


Braid a couple of times, and then comb the length to make sure you don’t get loose bits.
Braid down the length as far as you can comfortably reach back behind your neck.


Now I stand up. Bring the braid forward in front of your shoulder. I’m right handed and find it the most comfortable to bring it in front of my left shoulder.
(Ignore bad skin day. Thanks!)


Keep braiding and detangling all along the way down. Here, I will often catch little bits with my thumbs for that little “loop” poking out of the braid


I have a special “braiding grip” where I hold all 3 separated strands in my left hand so I can detangle with the right.
When I approach the end of length, I switch to a different grip on the hair, where I hold the portions more with my fingertips than between my fingers

Start wrapping the elastic around the end. I start tying off on top of the braided portion because it can keep the elastic from slipping. Tie from the bottom and go upwards. I use both hands in a sort of “weaving” fashion. Back, forth, cross elastic over itself along the way.


When you run out of elastic, tug it back and forth a little to distribute the strength over the tie and keep it smooth.


Reach behind your back and tug gently to make sure the braid length isn’t twisted.


Done!

The Ankylosaurus

Or “Looking like a weirdo while you efficiently and conveniently condition your hair”
You need
  • A plastic bag
  • Couple of elastics
  • Elastic bandage
  • Oil or conditioner of your choice
  • Small heat pack
  • T-shirt or sweater that you don’t care too much about getting “dirty”



Start by oiling or conditioning your hair like you choose


Fold the braid up to fit into the bag and put it in. Twist the bag around the braid and secure with elastics




Prepare the heat pack and use the bandage to fixate the heat pack to the braid. I have been experimenting with a sheet of tin foil between the heat pack and the bandage to direct more heat into the hair.




Ta-dah!


You now look like an idiot from the back, but it’s a convenient and comfortable way to do a long term deep treatment


Maximum penetrability?

I find myself wondering when I do my deep conditionings if the hour long soaks really make a difference. Hair isn’t an indefinite mass and doesn’t have endless spongy properties, so at some point I will assume that hair has absorbed all it possible can from a treatment

As a personal observation for my hair, I don’t notice any difference in how my hair feels or reacts if I leave the conditioner for two hours instead of one. However, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t a difference in how my hair benefits from the conditioning

When it comes to treating your hair right, a lot of things have an effect you will probably never notice. You won’t know if you shed extra 5 hairs, you won’t know if you prevented some mechanical damage from an elastic, or break 5 hairs less, you don’t have a microscope ready to check all hundred thousands individual hairs and compare, etc

Maybe an extra hour of conditioning once a week makes the difference in whether I can reach floor length or not in 5 years. But I will never know! And that is the frustrating, unfair truth when it comes to a lot of hair care

My instinctive reaction is that 2 hours of conditioning must be better than one; at least unless it causes build-up or any other reaction I am able to notice. But maybe that isn’t the case. Maybe my hair already absorbed what it could from today’s conditioner after 30 minutes? Maybe I’m keeping my scalp wet and the follicles carrying the treatment-weight with no extra benefit?

My theory is that there is a maximum penetrability for any treatment. Of course this will depend on the ingredients in the treatment: Most cones will coat the strands and not penetrate. Protein has large molecules that make it hard to penetrate the hair strand especially for us coarsies that has an extra layer in the hair strand compared to other hair types. Coconut oil penetrates deeper than other oil types. Jojoba oil coats the hair strand and barely penetrates it. Henna molecules bind itself to keratin inside the hair strand. There are more examples than this, but this was just on top of my head

For now my conclusion is to do my deep conditionings as long as I have time for or my neck and head can stand it. The weight does add up: Wet hair, one full bottle of conditioner, woollen hats and an optional heat pack. It gets heavy!

SexySmurf

This is the SexySmurf, which is my full length conditioning-method
You need
  • A big scrunchie
  • At least one old warm hat
  • Cling wrap
  • Elastic bandage
  • Oil or conditioner of your choice
  • Small heat pack
  • T-shirt or sweater that you don’t care too much about getting dirty

Cover hair in conditioner and wrap it up on top of your head in a flat, loose bun
Wrap cling wrap around it, under the ears. If you pull the cling wrap “over” your ears, the moisture will seep into your ears. Ick! I find it hard to get it covering completely at the neck-hairline, so a lot of my little fuzzy hairs go uncovered. Start and end the cling-wrapping in the neck to try to cover those hairs as much as possible.


Place a heat pack on top of the bun and cover with a woollen hat. Wrap bandage around the edge of the cling wrap. Make it “layered” a bit so the tight part is wide. It keeps the moisture back better and is less headache-inducing. I have been experimenting with having a piece of metal foil on top of the heat pack to reflect the heat more into the hair instead of out in the hat


Pull more woollen hats over to keep the heat in. I have 4 frumpy old woollen hats I use for this


Sexy, yes?

Towel drying long hair

Place short side of the towel over your head
Wrap it around and start twisting the length around the length of your hair
Wrap length around the shoulders
Ignore until desired dryness

Biotin

Biotin, also previously known as vitamin H and B7 is a water soluble vitamin. In the human colon exists benign bacteria which produce biotin that the body will absorb. In the vast majority of people, these bacteria produce more than enough biotin to meet the daily requirement for the body and a lot of the naturally available biotin will be flushed out through the urine. Some countries and agencies doesn’t even have an externally recommend daily dose of biotin since the bacteria produce surplus biotin already. Deficiencies are extremely rare. Recommended daily allowance is no higher than 225 mcg… By people who don’t attempt to sell you biotin as supplement! Of course, if you ask the companies that actually sell supplements it’s a wonder we’re all not bald as eggs if we don’t take their amazing supplements. It’s called source criticism. It’s an important skill in life.

Biotin is necessary for a lot in the body: For all cell growth, for energy produced in the cells, the production of fatty acids and enzymes, transferring carbon dioxide and the metabolism of fats and amino acids.
Biotin is very important for hair too. It’s essential for the production of keratin and melanin. Some studies show it may prevent greying and hair loss in men. It promotes healthy hair growth since it increases the elasticity of the hair's cortex, thus preventing breakage and protects against dryness.

As you can read, it’s very important for hair growth. However, there are no studies that show any benefit in any case where the subject is not actually biotin deficient. And as previously mentioned, deficiencies are extremely rare.
Basically, if you are deficient, you will be sick in ways that can’t be ignored: Hair loss, depression, lack of muscle coordination, strange rashes of different kinds, pink eye, lack of energy, “swelling” of the face because of an unusual fat distribution, hallucinations and numbness and tingling of the extremities. There is no way you can ignore it or not know something is seriously wrong and you need help.

But because people know that A) its beneficial for hair growth and B) its water soluble, people will overdose on it. Not just overdose, but mega dose. Some people say it helps their hair grow faster, thicker and stronger. Actual medical studies seem to disagree. Of course it’s highly likely a lot of it is mental: If you’re taking a supplement and having a good hair day, its one of those conclusions us humans like to draw. Placebo is particularly effective if the pills are expensive, taste bad or have weird colours and shapes.
Doses happily and commonly mentioned are 5.000 mcg (22 times recommended daily allowance) 10.000 mcg (44 times recommended daily allowance) and I have seen several people taking 20.000 mcg (That’s 88 times the recommended daily allowance!)

If you take a biotin supplement and you get ½ inch a month with 5.000 mcg, it doesn’t mean you will get 1 inch at 10.000 mcg. Or 2 inches at 20.000 mcg.
It goes the other way too: If you get ½ inch with 5.000 mcg, you will probably also get ½ inch at 500 mcg. You are already overloading at those doses. They are unnecessary. Popping pills is not the answer to better hair growth.

But since biotin is “cursed” with being water soluble, it seems people believe its okay to eat it like sugar pills. Ironically, a lot of people would object to this, because [b]sugar[/b] is bad, evil, unhealthy, addictive etc etc… Same with water: No one would think you could just drink as much water as you please, because that would be dangerous. But taking ridiculously huge doses of a water soluble vitamin? Oh, that’s completely safe!

Biotin is actually difficult to avoid in your diet: (brewers) yeast, (Fatty) fish, avocado, bananas, beans, breads, cauliflower, cheese, chocolate, dairy products, egg yolk, kidney, legumes, liver, meat in general, milk, molasses, mushrooms, nuts, oatmeal, organ meats in general, oysters, peanut butter, peanuts, pork, poultry, raspberries, soy, unpolished rice, wheat germ, whole grains and yoghurt contains biotin. You will have to have a very deficient and monotonous (And bizarre!) diet to not get biotin in your food.

So why do people mega dose on biotin?

My best guess is because of the A) and B) as mentioned before. People simply have no respect for the water soluble vitamins “because they just get peed out!”. Which is a statement that in itself makes no sense: Why would you buy a supplement that you know will just end up as expensive urine anyways?

But of course the truth isn’t that simple. Nothing is “just” done in the body. Thousands of chemical reactions and processes take place during the day; every nutrient is broken down, filtered and processed by organs. Nothing “just” happens. Nothing we eat or ingest is cost free. It affects everything in our bodies. It is processed in our internal organs. It changes the body chemistry.

Biotin overdose symptoms have been seen when people have been consistently overdosing on it. Some side effects have been reported as slowed insulin release, skin eruptions, increased blood sugar and increased vitamin C and vitamin B6 requirements. A study on pregnant rats revealed that shrinking size of placenta and increased chances of miscarriage were caused by the biotin overdose.

In one case, a woman who took a high dose of biotin (along with vitamin B5) experienced a life-threatening lung and chest condition known as eosinophilic pleuropericardial effusion. However, this condition improved once she stopped taking biotin and vitamin B5. It is not known if the biotin, the vitamin B5, the combination of the two, or something else caused this problem.
http://men.emedtv.com/biotin/biotin-side-effects.html

Just on LHC members have had bad experiences with skin problems in general and painful cystic acne due to biotin overload. Light-sensitive migraines have also been reported.

But what goes on under the skin? The liver and kidneys still need to process it. Organs can suffer bad side effects neatly hidden under the skin. No one will know unless you develop kidney stones or ultra sound show damage to the liver. You can still get the toxic effect even though you “just pee it out”. It’s still in your body for long enough to affect it.

Those that experience acne because of the huge biotin doses will even happily ignore it or suppress it. When people then realise it screws up their skin and instead of responding to the fact that their body is reacting badly to it: “I’m just going to take some zinc to keep it down!”

Let’s imagine someone used a cream that made them break out. What would people do? Of course every normal, sane person would stop using that cream. No one would chose to keep using that cream and “I’m just going to use this serum to keep it down!

People get their reply. Their body shows clearly and obviously it doesn’t need the biotin. It doesn’t want it. It doesn’t like it. It reacts badly to it. But it gets ignored or suppressed in the name of hair, even though it may not even have a beneficial effect on the hair.

Also baffling is when people scale the dose up gradually. Your body either needs it or it doesn’t need it. You cant somehow “condition” your body into learning to absorb more. It’s troubling when people without biotin deficiency treat biotin like its medication. There is good reason to slowly up a dose on necessary medication to protect you from side effects and get used to the dose.
But I repeat again; Biotin is not medication. You body needs it or it doesn’t need it.

Unfortunately science doesn’t move as fast with these studies as one could wish. Experiments are still being done. Research still goes on. Just think about how few years we have to go back when smoking wasn’t that bad. People didn’t know better for sure. Science didn’t have the numbers then.
Vitamin overdoses are generally difficult to study (Deficiencies are much easier: Too little will make you sick) and studies are still conducted. Maybe biotin is almost completely safe to take as much of as you want. Maybe not.

But it’s still unbelievably arrogant to think that just because you know something is water soluble, you are so much smarter and more knowing than the health care professionals who studied vitamins and reactions for decades. Especially when you don’t have any actual benefit from it.

The world isn’t against you growing a healthy head of hair. No, the scientists are not mean and jealous. As a matter of fact I will guarantee you they couldn’t care less about your hair unless they work for a company selling supplements.
The recommendations are there for one important reason: To guide and protect the general population’s health. It’s in the healthcare professionals’ interest to keep everyone healthy and safe.

It is okay to overdose on water soluble vitamins. They are, after all water soluble. They will be processed and filtered out if you are healthy and don’t suffer kidney problems.
Overdose, yes. Mega dose, no.
Different numbers on “okay” doses are out there on the internet. 1000 mcg seems to be pretty common as an okay dose. Of course this in itself is a dose used to treat legitimate biotin deficiencies. As in; The doctors and scientists that monitor and cure biotin deficiencies says that this is an okay dose to take… If you are deficient. 88 times the recommended daily allowance is not.
Most likely, even at a low dose you are not seeing any real, true benefit.

So my point is: Moderation. Moderation and actually study up on what you stuff in your body. (And please stop spreading “Its water soluble so you just pee it out!”. Thank you)

Nameless bun, tutorial

Super flat bun using 2 Ficcares


I use this bun a lot on messy hair or under a scarf/bandanna
It’s not the most stabile bun in the world but its ultra flat which I like!
This bun doesn’t have a name, so any suggestions?


Pictures taken by my wonderful hubby


This is how I wore it today. I was out a lot and needed sun protection of scalp and hair




Start with a braid. This is a very messy second day braid
Fold the length up as illustrated. Follow the red arrows with the tail and fold it under itself as illustrated with the blue arrow. Leave the length dangling down




Put one Ficcare in to hold the middle part of the structure. It needs to gap over and hold the braid being folded under and the starting point of the braid




Wiggle the braid a bit until the braid part marked with the red arrow is between the two “end parts” of the Ficcare




Fold up the lose braid end under the “bun” and secure it with the second Ficcare




Done!

L-cystine and L-tyrosine

I’m pretty obsessed with the lean protein. Proteins are the building blocks for hair. It also happens that I’m a total carnivore by nature (Much to the annoyance of my wannabe-tarian hubby) and will be hungry and cranky again in no time if I’m not fed a proper protein-rich meal.

Unfortunately this is one of the times where I really wish I had taken chemistry on a higher level in college and the feeling of “I think I should understand this better” is truly irritating. I can’t guarantee that this blog post is 100% correct, but this is what I understand so far. Corrections and explanations are very welcome!

Anyways.

To start with the basics: Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Amino acids come in essential and non-essential. Essential means that the human body can’t produce it itself out of other building blocks and are essential to be supplied through diet.
As commonly known, human hair is constructed mainly from protein and there are two amino acids mentioned as the main ones: L-cystine and L-tyrosine.

Cystine is a non essential amino acid formed by two cysteine molecules joined together. This might explain why both “cystine” and “cysteine” are used seemingly at random: Cystine is basically double-cysteine (?) It is necessary for a lot of body functions, but I will focus on the hair. L-cystine takes up between 6 and 14% of the hair strand depending on the source. Cysteine is based on sulphur and found in a lot of common food groups such as poultry, eggs, dairy products, onions, oats and broccoli.

Tyrosine is non essential as well, but on a condition: It is synthesized in the body from Phenylalanine, which is an essential amino acid. So if the body isn’t supplied with Phenylalanine it will not be able to synthesize Tyrosine. The correct term for this is “conditionally essential”.
L-Tyrosine helps produce melanin, the pigment that gives hair and skin colour. Tyrosine is important for the thyroid function, but here it gets confusing and I have the nagging feeling I haven’t understood it correct: From what I gather, Tyrosine is necessary for the thyroid to produce stress-hormones. Stress hormones helps the body and mind deal with stress and keep the physical impact of stress down. Of course what I already know is that thyroid issues can cause different types of hair loss or other hair health issues. Tyrosine is found in a lot of common food groups such as poultry, dairy products, soy, avocado and nuts.

I take protein tablets, a medical-grade protein supplement at 2 gram per day (About 3 % of my daily protein requirement) It contains 60 mg tyrosine and 18 mg cystin. No serious source has any recommended daily allowance of these two amino acids (Well, of course if we ask a source that also sells these two in supplement form, we need to take so-and-so much of it for healthy hair and it also happens to be the amount found in their amazing tablets. How lucky!)

It’s probably completely silly of a carnivore like me to obsess over this, especially since both amino acids are actually hard to avoid in the diet! It’s even sillier to obsess over buying protein supplements after if these two non-essential amino acids are in it or not.