Can you lift your cuticle? Should you?

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  • 1 Post By IAgirl

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http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.com/

Last edited by IAgirl; 04-21-2012 at 01:28 AM.
I'm no chemist (nor do I play one on TV), but I would think that people with eczema have a hard time maintaining moisturized skin because the epidermis stays lifted; whereas a curly who used baking soda to raise the hair cuticle would follow with an ACV rinse to lay it back down again, thereby sealing in the moisture that was added. Yes? No?

I find your photos and experiments fascinating! Please keep doing them. As far as whether the baking soda really does anything to help the hair, I will say that I've notice a marked difference in my hair's softness after a DT when I've co-washed with a baking soda/conditioner mixture first versus when I've cleansed without the baking soda and then done the DT. Like, my hair is not just a little softer, but MUCH softer.
Sulfate/non-water-soluble silicone free since 8/16/10
Northern VA
Med-coarse, normal porosity, low elasticity
Dye-free since 11/2010

Eczema is really complicated, I was just reading some brand new stuff the other day. It's an inflammatory disease often associated with allergies and the skin loses its ability to manufacture lipids and repair itself. It's not just "lifted," it's lost its integrity. So you're right, keratin-based hair fiber is not so similar to inflamed skin. But I still like the comparison to my dish-pan hands. (Madge, I soaked in it!!! - the old Pamolive commercial). Softens hands while you do dishes. Yeah, right.

I just can't get the baking soda to rough up the cuticle.

But neither can I get vinegar to "tighten it up." It's hair, not Venetian blinds. Removal of a damaging solution by rinsing in water (in all the things I've looked at under the microscope) is enough to restore the hair to it's previous condition (we're taking about visible effect on individual hairs examined under a microscope, not the feel and cumulative effects to an entire headful of hair). I've tortured a lot of hairs. All of them had fallen out already -- none were sacrificed.
http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.com/

Last edited by IAgirl; 04-04-2011 at 03:12 PM.
I gotta get one of those mugs or a t-shirt with the hair cuticle on it. LOL!

Seriously, that was very interesting. I was especially interested in your findings with bleach, since that is essentially chlorine (only in a pool it will be much less concentrated).
Sue

Axed the perpetual ponytail and went curly on 1/6/2011.
Hair Properties: 3a/b, fine-medium texture, thick density, normal porosity.
Location: FL
Still experimenting with
products and routine.
So far, I like: FSG, GTTTT, V05 Conditioners, protein treatments, this towel.

"Well, as soon as we get ourselves cleaned up and we get a little smellum in our hair, why, we're gonna feel 100% better about ourselves and about life in general." - Ulysses Everett McGill
Eczema is really complicated, I was just reading some brand new stuff the other day. It's an inflammatory disease often associated with allergies and the skin loses its ability to manufacture lipids and repair itself. It's not just "lifted," it's lost its integrity. So you're right, keratin-based hair fiber is not so similar to inflamed skin. But I still like the comparison to my dish-pan hands. (Madge, I soaked in it!!! - the old Pamolive commercial). Softens hands while you do dishes. Yeah, right.
Originally Posted by IAgirl
Well, that goes to show how much I know about eczema - to wit, nada!!

So if you can't see any cuticles lifting in baking soda or tightening in vinegar, does that mean that those of us who think we feel a difference are being influenced by the power of suggestion? Or maybe your equipment doesn't have enough magnification? (I obviously have no clue what you're using.) Or something else entirely?

It's a conundrum!




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Sulfate/non-water-soluble silicone free since 8/16/10
Northern VA
Med-coarse, normal porosity, low elasticity
Dye-free since 11/2010

So if you can't see any cuticles lifting in baking soda or tightening in vinegar, does that mean that those of us who think we feel a difference are being influenced by the power of suggestion? Or maybe your equipment doesn't have enough magnification? (I obviously have no clue what you're using.) Or something else entirely?

It's a conundrum!




Sent from my iPhone using the CurlTalk app!
Originally Posted by Rustina
From my reading, I would say yes. As IAgirl said, the hair cuticle isn't like a Venetian blind that you can physically open and close.
3a (Corkicelli), highlighted, fine, low porosity
modified CG, since April '07
CG since 3/11/08

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HGs: Anything Sevi; Curly Kinks Satin Roots, Curlycue ReNew and Coil Jam; homemade FSG and okra gel; soap bars; UFD Curly Magic (now Hello Curly Curl Stimulater); Botanical Spirits Jellies, CJ Repair Me, Marie Dean Leave Ins and Curl Creams

So if you can't see any cuticles lifting in baking soda or tightening in vinegar, does that mean that those of us who think we feel a difference are being influenced by the power of suggestion? Or maybe your equipment doesn't have enough magnification? (I obviously have no clue what you're using.) Or something else entirely?

It's a conundrum!
Originally Posted by Rustina
I believe you when you say that baking soda makes your hair feel much, much softer. It just may be for a different reason than you thought. A baking soda rinse is alkaline, so however that combines with your water, your hair products and your hair is unique to you. Some people love vinegar rinses, and that may not be because they physically "close the cuticle" but that isn't any reason not to love them if they work.

Knowing why something works, not just that it works, is good because it might lead you to alternatives (even more fun options), or help you understand better.
http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.com/

Last edited by IAgirl; 04-04-2011 at 06:51 PM.
I was once wrong wrong wrong about baking soda. I was under the mistaken impression that that baking soda had a much higher PH then it does. I posted all over the boards about the evils of baking soda. I saw a post from IA girl saying the PH is 8. I was like "8 huh. I'm an idiot."
I still thought that baking soda would slightly open the cuticle and ACV would close it. I just figured it wouldn't happen reliably 100% of the time. I'm quite surprised to find neither does anything at all.
So if you can't see any cuticles lifting in baking soda or tightening in vinegar, does that mean that those of us who think we feel a difference are being influenced by the power of suggestion? Or maybe your equipment doesn't have enough magnification? (I obviously have no clue what you're using.) Or something else entirely?

It's a conundrum!
I'm not a scientist, but here are my guesses. ACV helps remove hard water build up, so this could be one of the reasons people like it.
I have not idea, but I wonder if it is possible that baking soda and ACV could help remove build up from hair from hair products, etc.

Thanks for all the cool hair info and pics IAgirl. So awesome.
http://pedaheh.blogspot.com/ (a blog to help new wavies, go to the how do I get started page)
2a (nc.com) 2bFi (Fia), very fine, thin, low/normal elasticity, porous, CG, doesn't get weighed down
Cowash: Tresemme naturals
Rinse out/leave in: Renpure Organics (red)
Curl enhancer: FSG
Gel: BRHG, Salon care aloe, Ecostyler Krystal (normal dews)
PT: ION effective care, IAgirl's gelatin PT
Low Poo: renpure (red), Ion swimmers
I once totally od'ed on shampoo bar then went out of town where there was only really hard water and by the time I got home, even sulfate 'poo would NOT remove that soap scum/mineral build up. My hair could practically stand up on its own (if it weren't on my head) I had to use baking soda to scrub that gunk off.

Vinegar removes about 80% of the hard water "haze" in my shower without any additional scrubbing.
http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.com/
I was taught in cosmetology school to expect a swelling or tightening of the cuticle when exposed to acid/alkaline substances. Something comparable to how hot and cold increase or decrease the volume of something. Not necessarily a lifting or closing of the cuticle. Lifting of the cuticle requires more than just an alkaline environment.
That's interesting, Willow. I will have to measure some hair (diameter) when dry, and then when wet because hair does absorb water and that alone should reduce its strength.
http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.com/
So if using baking soda doesn't really lift the cuticle, how do you suppose that idea got started? It's in Tiffany's e-book for sure, but I can't remember if it's in the Curly Girl book - I'm wondering if there's some research out there somewhere that says it's true (whether it's good research or not is another question) or if it's like an old wives' tale that's been passed down so long that no one knows where it came from. I've been reading about the uses of baking soda and ACV since I joined nc.com, and I never thought to question it, since it seems to be such a mainstream point of view.
Sulfate/non-water-soluble silicone free since 8/16/10
Northern VA
Med-coarse, normal porosity, low elasticity
Dye-free since 11/2010

I would make a guess that because strongly alkaline solutions like sodium hydroxide aka lye, in some hair relaxers (I tested potassium hydroxide which is also strongly alkaline), and bleach tend to cause degradation of the hair's cuticle or "lifting" because that's what it looks like, then that result was extrapolated to other alkaline/basic substances.
The difference is in the strength of the bases. A strong base like sodium or potassium hydroxide can disperse/dissolve very well in water (so the "hydroxide" portion which is the active part is no longer bound to the "sodium" portion and thus it especially reactive) it can oxidize everything that is oxidize-able, strip off fats, and break down skin and hair.

Baking soda does not have "hydroxide," it is sodium bicarbonate. It isn't that strong. You almost have to use hot water to get it to dissolve whereas when you put potassium or sodium hydroxide in water and stir (wearing safety glasses!) it heats up by virtue of the chemical reaction taking place.
You can brush your teeth with baking soda and not dissolve your enamel and gums.

It's a syllogism! These strong bases degrade/"lift" the cuticle, therefore all basic solutions must lift the cuticle.

But the problem with that is -- that's damage if indeed it actually causes the expected result.
http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.com/
I can't remember if it's in the Curly Girl book
Originally Posted by Rustina
She has a recipe for 1 tbs. baking soda mixed with 1 c. water under "Whatta Curl Wants" in the CG book. She doesn't say anything about it lifting the cuticle, just that, "The baking soda in this recipe will remove heavy product build-up and leave your hair clean, shiny, and refreshed."

In the recipe she says to wet, condition, blot-dry, then spray the soda water on your hair and leave it on for 1-2 minutes and rinse with cool water, then cleanse and style. Nothing about following with a vinegar rinse.

Now elsewhere on this forum I read that baking soda does NOT remove product build-up... so I'm confused! I don't see how just spraying it on that diluted, letting it sit, and then rinsing it out would remove build-up. Maybe she is not referring to build-up from silicone.
Sue

Axed the perpetual ponytail and went curly on 1/6/2011.
Hair Properties: 3a/b, fine-medium texture, thick density, normal porosity.
Location: FL
Still experimenting with
products and routine.
So far, I like: FSG, GTTTT, V05 Conditioners, protein treatments, this towel.

"Well, as soon as we get ourselves cleaned up and we get a little smellum in our hair, why, we're gonna feel 100% better about ourselves and about life in general." - Ulysses Everett McGill
I guess you just have to try it and see if it works for you!

I tend to get conditioner build-up and it makes my hair repel itself. I did LM's "whatta curl wants" rinse to try to remove it and what I remember is it made my scalp very unhappy. I think it worked, though. Baking soda doesn't cooperate with my water very well.
http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.com/
I can't remember if it's in the Curly Girl book
Originally Posted by Rustina
Now elsewhere on this forum I read that baking soda does NOT remove product build-up... so I'm confused! I don't see how just spraying it on that diluted, letting it sit, and then rinsing it out would remove build-up. Maybe she is not referring to build-up from silicone.
Originally Posted by mesue
This post says baking soda does not remove cones.
THE NATURAL HAVEN: Can baking soda or castile soap relax your hair?
Quote from blog post
3. Do castile soap or baking soda remove silicone?

Non water soluble silicones are pretty hard to remove. There is research on use of SLS but not soap or baking soda. This is because soap is not considered a sophisticated ingredient (yes really scientists do say this). SLS actually does not entirely rid a surface of silicone but will remove the vast majority of it.

Soap does dissolve oil and probably will to some extent dissolve silicones but SLS does it better. Baking soda is known as a scourer (i.e scratch clean) rather than an oil dissolver, so I do not think it would be effective (Please note, there is no research to support this, it is my scientific opinion).
http://pedaheh.blogspot.com/ (a blog to help new wavies, go to the how do I get started page)
2a (nc.com) 2bFi (Fia), very fine, thin, low/normal elasticity, porous, CG, doesn't get weighed down
Cowash: Tresemme naturals
Rinse out/leave in: Renpure Organics (red)
Curl enhancer: FSG
Gel: BRHG, Salon care aloe, Ecostyler Krystal (normal dews)
PT: ION effective care, IAgirl's gelatin PT
Low Poo: renpure (red), Ion swimmers
Hmm, I use a silicone grease for lab equipment and it washes off with liquid hand soap or dish soap, but it's pretty tenacious stuff. Lots of washing. I just poured some liquid silicone into a lotion I'm making and spilled some on a stainless steel surface and it wiped up with a soapy washcloth. But silicones aren't bonding to these surfaces or "soaking in."
I do know one solvent that probably removes silicone. Acetone! But don't try that at home! Or anywhere else.
http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.com/

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