Sunday, August 5, 2012


I have worked at this salon for over four years now....the longest I've ever been anywhere y'all! I thought I would just celebrate our family by showing you all that we work and play together.  I invite you to come and join our beautiful family.


for a more in depth inside look go to youtube and look up ehairdesigns and mahogany live

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Keratin Treatments

Greetings Readers!  As a natural hair and scalp specialist I feel it is my responsibility to speak about issues that are relevant in the industry.  My goal here is to clarify the difference between keratin treatments vs. keratin.

Recently, keratin treatments have flooded the market and I felt I should utilize this forum to discuss this new trend.  Let's start with at the beginning, shall we?  First of all, what is Keratin?

Keratin is the KEY structural component of hair, nails and skin. Keratin is formed by keranocytes. It is a fibrous protein structure of hair. Polypeptide chains are arranged and held together by polypeptide bonding.   It is made up of amino acids and it varies in degrees of hardness. Hooves are made of keratin and so is skin. The way it is structured make skin virtually waterproof. Most of the keratin we see is actually dead, however if properly cared for by eating foods that promote elasticity and keeping the external layer moisturized it can protect new keratin forming underneath.  It also contains  cysteine disulfide, and forms disulfide bridges that create a helix shape making the bonds very strong.  Sulfur atoms bond across each other from across the helix creating a fibrous matrix or something like a net.
Keratin is what makes hair strong.

So, what is a keratin treatment? A keratin treatment is a process of temporarily straightening the hair by sealing a liquid keratin solution with heat or a thermal styling tool. The treatment lasts about 10-12 weeks.

The primary purpose of a keratin treatment is to repair damaged hair by infusing a keratin formula with the hair. The treatment increases elasticity, decreases frizz and increases shine. The treatment also temporarily straightens the hair.

I've done a lot of research in preparation for this blog post.  There is so much information on this subject. There are very many keratin treatments on the market.  A lot of companies promote their product saying that it is Formaldehyde free. Some products claim to have keratin and protein when in fact keratin is a protein. Words like "innovative technology" and "smoothing therapy".  It is promoted to protect the hair and be safer than permanent straightening.

Are there adverse effects to keratin treatments?

Because most keratin treatments have Formaldehyde, a carcinogen,
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that Brazilian Blowouts, also called Brazilian Keratin Treatment, BKT, Brazilian Blowout, Escova Progressiva, Keratin Cure or Keratin Straightening can cause health problems such as eye disorders, nervous system disorders,nausea, rash or even permanent hair loss. Even if they do not contain formaldehyde, they contain some form of aldehyde, acting as a preservative for the product and relaxes the hair follicle.

So, there is indeed a difference between keratin and keratin treatments. 

I have personally used Coppolla Keratin Comlpex on my daughters' hair with no adverse effects. It is an at home simple serum I put in their hair as a heat protectant.  It is not the same treatment done in salons by professional, licenced hairstylists.  It is a one step treatment to be applied prior to blow drying.  My daughters are exploring other styling options besides natural hair styles and I embrace that.  When their hair is wet, it returns to its natural, curly state.

There is soooo much information I could go on and on....and on. I posted this for the purposes of enlightenment, not to bash any one for choosing this styling option.  Knowledge is indeed power and I believe anything you choose to do with your body should be done from an educated point of view.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Does Stress Contribute To Hair Loss?

  • Alopecia areata. A variety of factors are thought to cause alopecia areata, possibly including severe stress. With alopecia areata, white blood cells attack the hair follicle, stopping hair growth and making hair fall out.
  • Telogen effluvium. In this condition, emotional or physical stress pushes large numbers of growing hairs into a resting phase. Within a few months, the affected hairs may fall out suddenly when simply combing or washing your hair.
  • Trichotillomania. Trichotillomania (trik-oh-til-oh-MAY-nee-uh) is an irresistible urge to pull out hair from your scalp, eyebrows or other areas of your body. Hair pulling can be a way of dealing with negative or uncomfortable feelings, such as stress, anxiety, tension, loneliness, fatigue or frustration

  • The Oxford dictionary defines stress as "a demand upon physical or mental energy.' However, stress, as most people see it, is an above average demand of our energy. This demand is usually very hard to deal with. Stress puts demands on people to perform well above their capacity. This demand is very difficult to maintain without some form of relief. Despite the negative perception, stress is an everyday occurrence that affects most people at some point in their life. Following are other definitions of stress:

    Mayo Clinic:
    Indeed, stress symptoms can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior. Being able to recognize common stress symptoms can give you a jump on managing them. Stress that's left unchecked can contribute to health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

    Stress is a term that is commonly used today but has become increasingly difficult to define. It shares, to some extent, common meanings in both the biological and psychological sciences. Stress typically describes a negative concept that can have an impact on one’s mental and physical well-being, but it is unclear what exactly defines stress and whether or not stress is a cause, an effect, or the process connecting the two. With organisms as complex as humans, stress can take on entirely concrete or abstract meanings with highly subjective qualities, satisfying definitions of both cause and effect in ways that can be both tangible and intangible.

    So let's deal with the tangible. In the tangible, tactile world, YES, stress can contribute to hair loss.  Stress can also contribute to other health issues such as weight loss or weight gain, insomnia, aches and pain such as migraines or nervous twitches.

    So, what do we do? Since the hair is a barometer for what is going on with you and your health, your body simply gives you clues that you are out of balance and that is a good thing.  Life gets so hectic and busy that we forget to take care of ourselves.  So we must re-member to stop and pay attention to our most precious commodity, ourselves.

    I've fallen victim to that myself.  I take care of my clients, and my children, and my friends until I am spent. This is the thing. If I don't STOP and take care of me, I will have nothing else to give. At those times, I find my solace.  I have to go down my checklist.  Have I eaten something nutritious? Have I stretched? Have I gotten at least 6 solid hours of sleep this week?  What am I meditating on? Am I focused on things I have no control over, or do I meditate on creating the life I want to live? Have I found a reason to laugh today?

    What is your solace?  Sometimes just breathing in slow, deep breaths and exhaling slowly helps. You may want to do something as simple as look around you and notice things you have not noticed.  Pay attention to the sun setting or notice the harmony of color in flowers and plants that tend to grow together.

    I don't want to advocate things tied too closely to religion. That's not every body's thing.  Meditating and praying are great though.  Writing journals is cathartic. Getting a nice rest, and massage or taking a long drive is great but everyone can't afford to treat themselves to a spa day.  Everyone can afford to breathe. 

    My advice in these times when no matter how much you do, there isn't enough time in the day is to drink water, rest, appreciate, and breathe, breathe.......b r e a t h e


    Friday, May 18, 2012

    The Reason Why

    Today I thought I'd share a little about myself.  Every story, every person, and every component in a movement is integral and vital to that movement.  I would love to hear stories of what made each of you wake up.  So, here goes my transition story....
    I grew up in Los Angeles, CA. in the 80's and 90's in a very multicultural community.  My parents were not really into "Black MILITANT Consciousness".  My mother was, like me, a hairstylist, and a very good one at that. I believe my parents wanted for my sister and I  to feel most like individuals.  Being conscious of who I am as a person took priority over who I am as a people, and I'm thankful.
    Around the age of 15, I realized there was a whole world, and a part of me I was to become acquainted with.  I woke up to the reality of my legacy as a so called "American" and what that meant.  I became president of the Black Student Union and studied. I worked, networked, learned and grew into who I am.
    It was then I met Black people who LOVED being Black.  I met sisters walking around Nappy Headed, Loc'd up, Free and Beautiful, and Proud; head wrapped and what not.  I was greeted with hugs and met Elders and I was indoctrinated with culture and tradition. I met Lawyers with locs!  We were walking around with leather necklaces in the shape of was Project was XClan....Soul Brothers...Sister Circles...Sista SoulJah....The Roots...Erykah Badu....I broke bread with community leaders like Bro. Ron Wilkins., who is a pioneer in the civil rights movement and currently a professor of Africana studies at Dominguez Hills.
    When I was 23, I had 2 daughters, and in the middle of divorce.  I was a young single mother trying to figure out what to say to my daughters about life and GOD.  One summer day while  by my Ra-Sta sisters house and I saw this beautiful young girl about 19 yrs old.  She looked like she may have weighed about 100 lbs., but her locs looked so much heavier, and she held her head so high. She looked strong and beautiful without trying.  I decided that's what I wanted. I wanted to be that beautiful, naturally, effortlessly.
    I went home and cut of my relaxed tresses.  When I did that I felt so liberated!   I had not known the bondage I was in until I freed myself.  It blew my mind. How could I teach my daughters about GOD when I didn't respect the GOD in me? How could I respect the GOD in me when I had not seen her ?  I had not seen my natural hair since I was 7yrs old, and what beautiful hair I had!!
    I wore my hair natural about three years, experimenting and wearing various natural styles before I loc'd for the first time.  Again, I went through a very natural transition.  I loved my locs!!! A year later, after studying, and then becoming a hairstylist, with my focus on natural hair I made the decision to cut my locs.  I've since loc'd two more times. Wearing my hair loc'd has changed me for the better.  I have a relationship with my tresses and my higher self I never had before. 
    Having a deeper level of OVERSTANDING of self on all levels, I learned about commitment, self respect, and unconditional love.  I have broken down a lot of barriers to my personal growth, and I've learned that you can be in bondage and enslaved by almost anything.  You can even be held back by the movement! 
    When I first transitioned I was so dogmatic and militant.  That, too was a sign of immaturity and narrow-mindedness.  I believe true liberation, which is  what I feel is at the heart of this movement is open, fluid and beautiful.  We can absolutely be any and everything we imagine ourselves to be.  That is the lesson I want my children to grasp.
    Please share your transition stories. As the Axiom states, "Each One, Teach One".  Ashe

    Saturday, May 5, 2012

    What Products Should I Use?

    Hello Everyone!
    I recently received an email from one of my beautiful clients.  She was inquiring about which products she should use and I thought I'd share my response with you all.  Remember, Each One, Teach One! So, here goes...

    I meant to ask you: do you have any good recommendations for hair products I should try? Thanks!

    I like products by Shae Moisture Co.  It retails at target and Walgreens. They have an entire line of hair and body products that I swear by.  I love their line of products and the owners are very nice, black women. I think that's a plus too.

    I also like Carols Daughter products.  I grew up on Sebastian. Their Penetraitt and Drench shampoo and conditioner is great for moisture retention and strengthening/repair.  I also like products by The Roots.  It is another black owned company.  I know the owner.  He's a really nice black man.

    Carols Daughter you can get at their store in the mall.  Their line also retails at Wilshire Beauty and Sephora.  Sebastian products retail at most beauty supplies.  I also like Biolage Matrix which retails at most beauty supplies, and Walgreens, CVS, and stores like that.  Again, Shae Moisture is my top pick. They retail at Target, as well as the Curls prouduct line. Kinky Curly is another good product line.

    There's a lot of good stuff out there. It's just a matter of doing your research.  Everyone has different things going on with their hair, and as the seasons change so do your needs. I use all kinds of conditioners, curl definers, and oils, depending on what's available to me and what's best for my client at that particular moment.  I love Paul Mitchell's Tea Tree shampoo, but Trader Joe's also has a good tea tree shampoo, and I also use just tea tree oil sometimes when treating my clients hair and scalp.

    I hope I haven't over-inundated you with information. 

    Please give me a call if you have any more questions. Please check put my blog or on our website at Mahogany.  There's a lot of useful information there!

    No Limitations....Only Imagination

    Wednesday, May 2, 2012

    Commonly Used Terms in Natural Hair Care

    Today I thought I'd define some commonly used terms in the natural hair care world.  Often times in my line of work terminology is misunderstood between client and stylist because different regions of the country and the world even, use the same words and mean slightly different things.  That is one reason in person consultations are essential. So, let's define some of these terms and get on the same page, shall we?

    Commonly used hair style terminology:

    A braiding technique that creates designed patterns using hair, attaching the hair to the scalp. Cornrows may be accomplished using one's own natural hair or adding synthetic or human hair for length, or fullness. 

    Also called comb twists are achieved by sectioning and coiling the hair in its natural curl pattern.

    Two pieces of hair twisted together. This can be achieved twisting the hair clockwise or counter clockwise.  Double strand or two strand twist can be achieved either with one's own hair or with extensions, using synthetic or human hair. 

    This look is similar to cornrows. Two sections of hair are manipulated in patterns laying against the scalp in rows.  

    A method for maintaining locs. The locs are rolled in the hand and secured.

    A method for maintaining locs, similar to crochet. Master locticians (like myself, (wink!)) use a tool especially designed for this particular service, ensuring the client swift, satisfactory service. The benefit of utilizing the interlock method is that the core of the loc is dense, preventing easy breakage, and the loc is secured to the scalp, giving one immediate versatility and mobility.  One can swim, work out, and style. Interlocking is a term also used for a technique of weaving.

    tran·si·tion (trn-zshn, -ssh-)n.
    Passage from one form, state, style, or place to another.

    Transitioning is a term used in this industry when an individual is allowing their hair to grow in natural from a chemically altered state.   

    A hair follicle is a skin organ that produces hair. Hair production occurs in phases, including a growth phase (anagen), and cessation phase (catagen), and a rest phase (telogen). Stem cells are principally responsible for the production of hair.

    Sebum is an oily substance secreted by the sebaceous glands in mammalian skin. Its main purpose is to make the skin and hair waterproof and to protect them from drying out.

    Parabens are a class of chemicals widely used as preservatives by cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. Parabens are effective preservatives in many types of formulas. These compounds, and their salts, are used primarily for their bactericidal and fungicidal properties. They can be found in shampoos

    (/ˌæləˈpʃə/, from Classical Greek ἀλώπηξ, alōpēx) means loss of hair from the head or body. 
    Generally, hair loss in patches signifies alopecia areata. Alopecia areata typically presents with sudden hair loss causing patches to appear on the scalp or other areas of the body. If left untreated, or if the disease does not respond to treatment, complete baldness can result in the affected area, which is referred to as alopecia totalis. These are examples of #1. traction alopecia and #2. cicatricial alopecia.

    Dandruff[1] (LatinPityriasis simplex capillitii[1]) is the shedding of dead skin cells from the scalp. Dandruff is sometimes caused by frequent exposure to extreme heat and cold and is not to be confused with a simple dry scalp.

    Trichology (from Greek θρίξgen.: τριχός, "hair") is the branch of medicine that deals with the scientific study of the health of hair and scalp. Trichologists themselves are not normally licensed healthcare workers, although members of the medical profession can undertake courses and/or careers within trichology. 

    This is a very short list of terms.  There are many.  As always, if you have any questions, or would like to schedule a COMPLIMENTARY consultation, please give me a call at Mahogany Hair Revolution.  Ask for Ursula.  I can be reached at (323) 782-9909. 

    All the pictures of styles are my actual clients.  All styles are done by me! 

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011