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Old 11-13-2011, 06:50 PM   #1
 
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Default Credible Sources for Hair Science?

Does anyone know of a way or a place where I can find out what certain ingredients and methods do to my hair without having to guess if the person knows what they are talking about. I have seen so much incorrect info being shared on blogs, Youtube, etc. that I just want to know that what I'm reading is true. For instance rather than putting molasses in my hair just because some random person says it gives shine and moisture, I want to know from a reliable source what is in an ingredient that makes it work and why. What does honey do to my hair? Why? What does sodium hydroxide to do my hair? Why? I love asking these kinds of question here on NaturallyCurly.com but theres so much potential for being misinformed by people who don't know what they're talking about that I just want to get around all of that.

P.S. I have purchased "The Science of Black Hair" and I have being referring to tightlycurly.com 's ingredients dictionary, but these still don't answer all of my questions. I need mooore!
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Old 11-13-2011, 07:56 PM   #2
 
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Unfortunately, the credible sources that people may suggest very well may not agree on certain points you're interested in learning more about. That's what I've come across anyway. Like you, there are things about hair that I like to research because I like to know why, but it seems debate even within the science of hair rages on.
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Old 11-13-2011, 09:39 PM   #3
 
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*sigh* I mean its frustrating.....people give you advice and you don't know what to follow. Some people say epsom salt enhances curls, someone else says salt dissolves hair. Some people say use 1/2 cup ACV with 1 cup of water as a hair rinse, someone else says use no more than 1/2 tsp to 1 cup because of pH balance. I just want to know the truth >_<
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Old 11-14-2011, 02:36 AM   #4
 
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There's no such thing as "hair science", I've found, beyond a few very rudimentary rules that generally apply to all hair across the board and pertain to very basic chemistry and physics.

I took off a year as an undergrad, thinking it'd be fun to attend cosmetology school. My annoying questions (along the lines of actual science) largely went unanswered, or at times one of the teachers would give a half-hearted fib to try and fill in the knowledge gap with something other than dead air.

I feel your pain
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Old 11-14-2011, 05:07 AM   #5
 
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There are good articles on nc about various topics. I am fortunate that I am married to a scientist so I verify with him. There is one woman who is a polymer chemist who writes articles on silicones, poeosity, etc. I am pretty sure that you can check with grad students at your local college if you really want some general info on how science applies to hair.

about salt...salt dissolves everthing is the rule I always hear. Not sure about how it helps hair.

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Old 11-14-2011, 06:09 AM   #6
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here is the link for the curl chemist on nc:

Tonya McKay | NaturallyCurly.com

she writes an article monthly and has been doing so for years, so there are lots of articles. the link takes you to the latest one, then you can just keep scrolling down for previous ones.

sometimes when i do a search on this site, i add curlchemist with the other info in the search box.

for some reason it is not always easy to access her articles, so that is why i am including the link -- gretchen gave this out in reply to my complaint about not having her articles easily accessible.

i am sure you will have more questions but this is a solid start.
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Old 11-14-2011, 07:49 AM   #7
 
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Everyone has their own bias to anything they post. I don't agree 100% with any of the links below, but I think they are a good place to start.

The curl chemist articles. Link posted above.
The Beauty Brains
THE NATURAL HAVEN
Live Curly Live Free - Home

Blogs written by curl talk posters that have good information.
science-y hair blog
Pittsburgh Curly
No-poo Jillipoo
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Old 11-14-2011, 09:59 AM   #8
 
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Well, trichology is the science of hair and its diseases, but like other sciences, disagreement inevitably comes up. About two weeks ago, there was a topic I wanted to get some clarity on. There were people who had all kinds of undestandings of what the 'truth' was, so in the end I had to evaluate the info that was presented and just go with what made sense.
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Old 11-14-2011, 10:14 AM   #9
 
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Sure there is hair science. IAGirl is an actual scientist and that chick has unraveled MANY a hair and ingredient mystery for me. She has a wonderful blog as well.
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Old 11-14-2011, 01:01 PM   #10
 
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If you have a really specific question and don't mind slogging through journal articles, you can search here (but you have to learn how to word your searches): Search Journal of Cosmetic Science Archive
I use Safari and if I try to download their PDFs if crashes Safari, so I get the articles in other ways. I doubt everybody has that problem. My computer just likes to give me hassles.

Hair "science" is mostly chemistry and most of what goes on happens as "surface chemistry" and protein chemistry so if you've had much chemistry in school, lots of the real research you read will trigger those memories. Anything you know about proteins will help too.

I love Tonya McKay's articles.

Don't discredit your own experience - a lot of science is "try it and see what happens and see if we can explain how it works at a later date." What and why are 2 different questions.

You might look on Amazon.com for hair science textbooks, and then request them through interlibrary loan. Cheap and easy!

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Old 11-14-2011, 02:07 PM   #11
 
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NaturallyCurly's pretty authoritative. Search our site for articles on many ingredients, etc.
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Old 11-14-2011, 02:21 PM   #12
 
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I'm always checking the Natural Haven out. It's one of the most coherent and sensible sources of information for hair that I have come across.

There are some things I usually watch out for:

A - Claims that hair needs nutrition and that damaged can actually be reversed. Hair is not living tissue.

B - Assumptions that natural ingredients are always better than artificial ingredients. I think this is right up there with belief in alternative medicine.

If the article/page I'm reading contain these, I know I have to take everything with a grain of salt.
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Old 11-14-2011, 02:57 PM   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbb View Post
here is the link for the curl chemist on nc:

Tonya McKay | NaturallyCurly.com

she writes an article monthly and has been doing so for years, so there are lots of articles. the link takes you to the latest one, then you can just keep scrolling down for previous ones.

sometimes when i do a search on this site, i add curlchemist with the other info in the search box.

for some reason it is not always easy to access her articles, so that is why i am including the link -- gretchen gave this out in reply to my complaint about not having her articles easily accessible.

i am sure you will have more questions but this is a solid start.
Nice. I can see I have much reading to do.
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Old 11-14-2011, 03:17 PM   #14
 
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Heaven knows I love nc.com, but even here there have been a couple of articles that I believed weren't completely reliable (i.e. There were some conclusions that were drawn that didn't seem well-founded based on the info that was being presented there or that was available from other credible sources). But that's to be expected I think. There's lots of info out in cyberspace, so there's no getting round using your own discernment.
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Currently Using [*Holy Grails*]
Cleansers: DC No-Poo / DC Low-Poo / *BaSo & ACV*
Co-Washes/ROs: CJ Beauticurls Argan & OO / DC OneC / Organicals DC Creme
Additives: *Silk Amino Acids* / Honeyquat / Fragrance Oils
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Old 11-14-2011, 03:34 PM   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justajesuschick View Post
Sure there is hair science. IAGirl is an actual scientist and that chick has unraveled MANY a hair and ingredient mystery for me. She has a wonderful blog as well.
If you're talking trichology (as someone just mentioned), yes, but it's limited in scope. Trichology is most often used in medical/health contexts (especially in forensics). Trichology addresses hair and scalp health as a general rule, but as for cosmetological concerns, which involve a lot of aesthetic concerns, there isn't a formally labeled and universally applicable "hair science" a person can turn to for objective answers.

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Old 11-14-2011, 04:13 PM   #16
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Korkscrew View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by justajesuschick View Post
Sure there is hair science. IAGirl is an actual scientist and that chick has unraveled MANY a hair and ingredient mystery for me. She has a wonderful blog as well.
If you're talking trichology (as someone just mentioned), yes, but it's limited in scope. Trichology is most often used in medical/health contexts (especially in forensics). Trichology addresses hair and scalp health as a general rule, but as for cosmetological concerns, which involve a lot of aesthetic concerns, there isn't a formally labeled and universally applicable "hair science" a person can turn to for objective answers.
Kind of funny acutally...A good example of coming across different understandings of something, and going with what seems right to you. Tiffany Anderson is one of the many sources out there that I consider credible. She defines trichology as "the scientific study of hair, its diseases, and its care." Anyway, that's the understanding I have in mind when looking into ingredients and methods having to do with hair as you mention in your op, madametj. Again, I guess there's no getting around going with what seems right to you and then letting the rest go.
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Currently Using [*Holy Grails*]
Cleansers: DC No-Poo / DC Low-Poo / *BaSo & ACV*
Co-Washes/ROs: CJ Beauticurls Argan & OO / DC OneC / Organicals DC Creme
Additives: *Silk Amino Acids* / Honeyquat / Fragrance Oils
LIs (found some!): KCKT / CJ Beauticurls LI / CJ Curl Assurance Smoothing Daily Condish
DTs: *Coconut Oil* rinses / *Honey*, EVOO, & DC OneC / CJ Curl Rehab
Sealer: *DM Super Buttercreme*

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Old 11-15-2011, 12:57 PM   #17
 
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Thanks for all the great resources everyone! When I say hair "science" its for lack of a better word. However, I do believe there is some science related to hair and that it is an area that needs to be further developed before we can truly understand what we doing to our hair and what we are putting in it.
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Old 11-15-2011, 01:05 PM   #18
 
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Gretchen: Would it be possible for NC to create an ingredients dictionary labeling items (cleansing, conditioning, humectant, pH adjuster, protein, oil, wax, etc) listing functions and mentioning what may be harmful?
Neleke likes this.
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Old 11-15-2011, 01:55 PM   #19
 
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I'm not so sure there are any truly credible resources out there. Most are based largely on anecdotal evidence and don't come anywhere close to the rigorous testing required by scientific standards. PubMed is a good place to look for peer-reviewed articles, but there probably aren't that many on subjects you're interested in. Also, the articles are quite dense and you will probably need to take a trip to the library to gain access to the articles. Even the Journal of Cosmetic Science looks like it's pretty much all industry-sponsored research so naturally it's going to be biased...
I was skeptical when I first found the curly chemist articles on this website, but I appreciate that no specific products are recommended and that the logic is clearly laid out.
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Old 11-16-2011, 01:07 PM   #20
 
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Well hopefully we'll start getting some more solid sources over time.
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