Flaky Scalp, and Other Hair Problems We Didn’t See Coming

I didn’t know how self-conscious a flaky scalp could make a person feel until it happened to me. At first, I thought it was just dandruff that decided to make an appearance for no reason. I washed and rewashed my hair more often, and even rubbed my scalp vigorously with fingernails (which is not recommended), but it only got worse.

It seems I could have a case of mild scalp psoriasis. It started out as just tiny bumpy spots that looked like dandruff, but when scratched revealed a (sometimes crusty) sore.

(Is it possible to develop psoriasis as an adult, out of nowhere? Good question – I still have to ask a dermatologist. Hopefully it will shed some light and I can share the findings here.)

So, here’s what it looks like: visibly white crusty patches that may be thicker along the hairline, especially the very front, over the forehead. The sides of my hairline are not too affected. I wish it were only the sides instead because at least I’d be able to cover it more effectively. Anyhow, if scratched, the area is pink/red and flaky. It looks exactly like dandruff, just more excessive and whiter and it’s so attached it doesn’t come off as easily. It can itch and you’ll feel an urge to scratch, but I think it’s best not to.

I’m no expert, but I can confirm now that rubbing too hard when washing, scratching, and stressing too much about it can aggravate things. It will be embarrassing, but eventually it will clear up – I know people who have psoriasis.

In the meantime, I’m using this over-the-counter shampoo: Itch and Flake Therapy by Avalon Organics.

anti dandruff shampooWhat It Claims to Do:

Contains salicylic acid for the treatment and prevention of dandruff

Relieves scalp dryness, itchiness and flakiness caused by contact dermatitis, seborrheic and psoriasis

Contains naturally soothing aloe vera, tea tree, chamomile and essential oils

pH Balanced and Biodegradable

Directions for use: For best results, use at least three times each week. Wet hair, lather, massage onto scalp. Rinse and repeat if desired.


Related Article: Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

For more information on how to get rid of dandruff or a scalp psoriasis, as well as be able to buy a medicated shampoo, it is best to see a doctor. But if looking for an over-the-counter solution, this anti-dandruff shampoo may help. Good luck!


The Curls You Don’t Even Know You Have

your curls

When the “right age” to get my hair straightened with a chemical relaxer came, I was beyond excited. At 15, in the 1990’s, many Latinas with curly hair were getting their hair “fixed.”

But first, why wait until the girl reaches fifteen? Traditionally, in most Latino countries it means that she has transitioned from being a child to being a woman. Childhood is over for her; she’s a quinceañera now and, therefore, she’s allowed to do grownup stuff, such as wear makeup and, apparently, dip her hair in acid?

To recap, women chemically relax their hair because society thinks curly or kinky hair is “bad hair” and it’s unacceptable. (I highly recommend watching Chris Rock’s movie Good Hair, by the way – it’s an eye opener.) Thus, of course, my hair was victim of this misconception.

It wasn’t even that hard to tame. It was big and frizzy as heck, but with the right product it would’ve been more manageable. Unfortunately, no one knew what to do with it, other than buns. So, after “womanhood,” I got my hair straightened chemically for several more years. That was until one day a new hairdresser suggested that I stopped it. Just like that. “You have the same texture as my daughter’s,” she said. “And all I use on her is treatments.”

That was a moment of relief and discovery. Not only are relaxers terrible for the scalp, but the expense adds up over time.

I followed her instructions and, although it was challenging at first (especially during the time when my hair didn’t look neither straight nor curly, but something totally weird), I finally got all the chemical out. Well, I was so desperate to have my natural hair back that I grabbed some scissors and gave myself a pixie cut.

your curls

Anyway, I was legitimately shocked when I curled my hair for the first time in my life and saw the results. Like, “you’re telling me I’ve been hiding these curls all my life?” kind of shocked. Eventually, I started to do both (to switch things up), curl and straighten my hair with a hairdryer or flat iron. I realized then that I’ve had the best of both worlds.

It wasn’t news to me that I didn’t need to kill my hair every month or so, but no one had ever encouraged me to do so or proved me right. I’ve since been so grateful to that hairdresser for opening my eyes — and I want to be that hairdresser to you now, my readers, who may not know what wonder is hiding under that relaxed head.

We allow society to rule so much over our bodies. I know that as humans, we look for acceptance and that’s why we go with the flow. We follow patterns without questioning their veracity. No doubt many women feel like they have to appeal to certain people and go as far as risking losing their eyesight, for example, to achieve this supposed beauty.

Well, here’s a reminder: you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. With a little TLC, curly hair can become more manageable than you think. You’ll never know if you never try. Maybe when I’m much older my whole philosophy will change. But for now, wild and bold!

Hope everyone finds their true self.

Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores

Finding a reputable skin care product these days can turn into an odyssey, not to mention a good facial mask that won’t dry out your (already dry) skin. With so many choices in the market today you just don’t know where to look. But believe that it’s possible. I know some of us won’t just try anything without good ratings these days. And because I know the importance of an honest product review, I am writing yet another review here.

In my experience, this charcoal mask by Origins works quite well.

origins charcoal mask

What it claims to do: It’s a mask with activated charcoal to draw out deep-dwelling pore-cloggers. Activated charcoal acts like a magnet to draw out deep-dwelling pore-cloggers. White China clay absorbs environmental toxins, and lecithin dissolves impurities. Good for all skin types.

Does it deliver? Well, Don’t expect a $120-valued facial with this facial mask; it doesn’t do extractions on its own. But it does at least clears the pores. It’s a quick fix! Normally, I apply it on my nose and chin, which are the areas more prone to breakouts. It gets the dirt out and makes it easier for blackheads to be extracted. My skin is also a bit brighter afterwards. So it does get the job done.

Don’t let it overdry, especially if you have sensitive skin, since it may cause irritation. One may still experience a little redness, but it soon goes away. It’s a good one, don’t be afraid to try it!

Simple Summer Hair Styles [Video]

Sharing this video with the SummerHair community. These quick hairstyles are cute, easy and simple enough for anyone. Love what she does with the hat! (I think it’s look # 5) One can never have too many options when it comes to hair!

The Two Faces of My Curly Hair

After seeing my straight hair, some people have asked me what I put on my hair when it is curly. My response: nothing. Well, of course I always condition after shampooing — imagine this hair without any moisture. If I want it to stay “grounded” for a longer period of time, I use mousse. But for the most part, with the exception of conditioner, no chemicals are used to get my hair to curl that way. I use my regular conditioner and rinse it out a bit, or I may use a leave-in conditioner. It depends on how tight or loose I want the curls to be.

Curls before and afterThe before-and-after picture here is from last time I wore my hair curly. I liked the curls AND the straight hair the next day, so I snapped a photo to show how dramatic my hair transformation is — in length and all. I think it’s pretty awesome! I call it “the best of both worlds.” :-)

I say the type of shampoo and conditioner one uses helps a lot. My current shampoo is by Bed Head – Urban Antidotes Resurrection by TIGI and it’s truly amazing. For conditioner, I like Pantene products to curl my hair. I use their Curly: Dry to Moisturized conditioner; it works great.

Can you relate? Does your hair also have two different personalities?

Jungle Queen Lipstick Review

There’s a new orange resident in my purse, and I’m loving it! Jungle Queen: a fabulous moisturizing lipstick with natural oils by Poppy (though this brand is new to me).

Lipstick Jungle

What it is: a semi-sheer, moisturizing formula enriched with nourishing natural oils, protective antioxidant vitamin E that conditions and hydrates the lips. It promises to flatter all skin complexions.

What it does: It definitely moisturizes. It is glossy, so if you prefer the feel and color of matte, this may not be a good pick. I like that the color pops; it’s orange and looks great. What I don’t like is that it smears easily and doesn’t last. :-( But I haven’t tried it with a primer yet, so can’t say I don’t absolutely love it yet! I’ll update this once I do.

Overall, it was a good buy.

Mascara Review: Atomic Volume Ultra Black

By Sephora, this mascara is one that I adore.

utra black mascaraWhat it is: “An innovative tubular brush applicator with a lash-lengthening comb that perfectly separates lashes for a full, sexy flutter.”

Does it deliver? Yes! Although I’m not the biggest fan of the comb — it’s one of those hard bristle combs and poking has happened enough times when in a rush — it does give the lashes more length and fullness. In my experience, though it is not waterproof, this mascara stays put and doesn’t smudge under the eyes. Of course, as long as you’re not walking through a rainstorm. It comes off easily with eye-makeup remover. The texture is not too thick either and the black color looks fantastic on brown eyes. Also fantastic, is the fact that it’s not too expensive!

I don’t know if they carry it anymore in the stores. I’m running out myself and will keep my fingers crossed that they do have it because it’s been that good to my lifeless straight lashes. But overall, I highly recommend this mascara.

Give Your Hair a “Rest”

Beach season is here once again, and with it comes the need for more attention to our hair care regime. When humidity strikes, it is always a challenge for us, the curly-haired, to keep things under control. The first tools we run to for rescue? Blow-dryer and flat/curling iron. Guilty! Can’t blame a chica for wanting a quick fix.

Well, I thought I’d write a quick late-night post about how I also like to give my hair a break from time to time. Here’s what I do: let the hair be!

Bouncy CurlsWhenever I over-work my hair—as I did this past week—or after flat-ironing too many days in a row, I like to give it a couple of days where I just let my hair be whatever it wants to be. Free and wild, its natural state. By that I mean I apply a leave-in conditioner after shampooing and, from a soaking-wet state, just let it air-dry. Sometimes, if not too bad, I don’t even attempt to untangle it (the curls look prettier once dried that way, too). And don’t even think about towel-dry! I find that when a towel is used, dryness and puffiness take over in a major way.

Here’s this photo of my curls to the left. Of course the curls will “wake up” bigger and stronger tomorrow. But for now, they’re soft, nice and bouncy!

Go ahead; give your hair a break every once in a while. It’ll thank you later.