Why are the Tips of my Locs Lighter in Color?

I got this email from one of my readers or possibly YouTube subscribers and decided to answer it in a post or two as they are the “issues” I mentioned I had with my locs in my 5 year Braidlock post. Here is part of the email:
“….however, I have failed to find an answer as to why the loc tips lose colour – they look tinted. how can I avoid that. Secondly i am in the process of removing one of daughter’s locs due to unsightly lint, so much that when i look at it, i lose the joy! Yet, I don’t have any except at the back row. Please help!..”
Now I am not a scientist of any kind so what I’m about to say is strictly my opinion based on a bit of research and putting stuff together in my head! Results are not guaranteed. lol
Having said that, I think the reason the tips look tinted is due to oxidation of the hair which is a natural process but can be inadvertently hastened. It just looks more prominent on locs probably due to all the hair strands being wound together thus making it a lot more noticeable than on loose hair.  If one observes, it’s there on longish loose hair as well but you must be looking at it at the right angle in sunlight, ie the red-ish tint you can see on someones hair that you know does not dye or henna their hair.  The other reason I say on long-ish hair is that the oxidation is on the ends which is the oldest part of the hair and takes awhile to show up. You more than likely will not see it on shorter hair because the old ends have been cut off or broken off.
I’ve noticed this on my braidlocks/dreadlocks as well and of course on the bottom 1/3 of the locks.  I really noticed it today with my hair in a half-up, half down style.  Half up-Half Down  Not sure if you can see the color difference in the pic but I can definitely see it.

Now, I bet  you’ve heard of people naturally bleaching their hair with lemon juice and sunlight. Yeah the same process is going on with our hair without the lemon juice thus at a slower rate.

Can this be prevented?  Again, I’m not a scientist but I don’t think so.  However, it probably can be slowed down.  Wearing a hat while outside is probably one way. Though not always practical especially in the middle of summer in the very hot regions of the country where temps can get above 95 degrees. Diet always places a big part in how our hair looks so start there by making sure you are getting enough vitamins and nutrients like protein, vitamins C & E.

Vitamins C & E are known as antioxidants. Hmm… antioxidants. The last part of that word should ring a bell.  Oxidizing is what the sun and air is doing to our hair so it makes sense to me to put things on the hair that contain some version of these two vitamins  to help slow down this natural process.

I also stumbled upon something while researching what herbs to put in my herbal coconut oil to make it like a leave in conditioner for my locs. One item put into conditioners is called a sequestrant.  From Wikipedia:

” A sequestrant is a term for a food additive. Sequestrants improve the quality and stability of the food products. Sequestrants form chelate complexes with polyvalent metal ions, especiallycopperiron and nickel, which serve as catalysts in the oxidation of the fats in the food…”

The reason this ingredient is included in conditioners is so they will function better in hard water. Ok, the bolding of the word oxidation is mine. Now I know they are saying “the oxidation of  fats in food” but why would I want to put something on my hair that causes oxidation of any kind when that’s one of the things I’m trying to prevent or at least slow down in the first place? I’m all about prevention, not having to fix the problem after the fact. Plus, I don’t want to oxidize the oils which are fats on my hair. Even the natural sebum contains fatty acids.   This is probably done so that the conditioner can bond to the hair as they’re designed to leave some of the conditioner behind on the hair even after it is rinsed it out.

Needless to say, this is one of the reasons I stopped using conditioners. For the brief period I was using them I noticed that “ashy brown tinted’ look on my locs.  And I was in the sun a lot more back then as well.

So since using oils and herbs to condition, I’ve noticed the ashy brown has gone to a little darker brown. Still there, but looks a lot better and almost deliberate. Hibiscus is a great source for Vitamin C and I bet that’s why it’s used in Indian hair care.  Grapeseed oil has Vitamin E and of course my personal favorite, coconut oil!  So this maybe something to think about.

I’ll address the 2nd question in the next post.

Related Articles:

Make Your Own Nyle Herbal Coconut Oil

How I Use Coconut Oil on My Locs

Why Does Hair Lighten in the Sun But Skin Darken?

Coconut Oil for Out of Control Curls and Lack-Lustre Locks

Make your own Nyle Herbal Coconut Oil pt 1

Red hibiscus

Red hibiscus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hey y’all I promised in my post here that I would share my herbal coconut oil concoction. I did videos on my YouTube channel earlier last year but forgot to blog about it here.

The inspiration to make my own herbal oil came from  hearing about Vatika Coconut Oil, Nyle Herbal Hair Oil and the Profectiv Hair Strengthener. The Profectiv was given as a present to all the ladies at my husband’s family reunion in 2009.  I was already using Tropical Traditions Gold Label Coconut Oil so I thought what if I could make my own Vatika, Nyle/Profectiv type oil using coconut oil.

The inspiration for the choice of herbs I used are from some of the ingredients listed on the jar of Profectiv Daily Anti -Breakage Hair Strengthner I had and the Nyle Herbal Hair Oil I had researched after hearing about it on YouTube. Back then the Profectiv was not an oil but a…well, I really don’t know how to describe it. It was a milky color with a slight pink tint and had a loose gel like texture. They were listed as extracts however I was impressed by the number of natural things in it like horsetail and sage . Glycerin was and still is in the product… but pretty high on the list back then. Nice for attracting moisture but I really dislike the sticky feeling it leaves on my hair. For me, it also attracts dirt, something I definitely did not want to do for my locs. And you were supposed to be using this stuff daily. I never bought the Nyle Herbal Hair Oil but it’s ingredient list showed it had hibiscus and fenugreek extracts along with coconut oil.

This was three years ago as I see now at the time of this post, the list of ingredients for the Profectiv has changed quite a bit. Currently,  Propylene Glycol is quite high on the list of ingredients with silicones following close behind. I’m not sure but I don’t think it was like that back then and if it was on the list it was close to the bottom. Otherwise I would have never used the product. It also has Lanolin, Olive oil and silicones that I don’t remember being in the product either. I think I’ve mentioned before that my hair does not like Olive Oil nor silicone.

That’s another reason why I wanted to make my own product because I know how companies for various reasons, will change the formulation of a product by adding cheaper chemicals. I wish that I would have kept the label on the jar of Profectiv so that I could see changes at the time of this post vs when I first did my concoction oil. I also think Nyle Herbal Hair Oil has changed their formulation as well because I don’t remember seeing mineral oil listed as an ingredient. No surprise really but…Wow!

The other inspiration was from research done on Anita Grant’s old website and other websites for information on herbs for dry hair.

Now, the trouble was I had no idea how to get the herbs into the oil. Thanks to a YouTube friend and subscriber and also Annie’s Remedies, I learned how to do herbal oil infusions. I would give y’all the link to her channel but I recently discovered she’s no longer on YouTube. 😦

OK, here’s what I came up with.

Ingredient list:

Virgin Coconut Oil – of course right?! However use whatever oil you like.

And the following dried herbs:

Aloe Powder
Benzoin Gum Powder
Burdock Root
Chamomile

English: Flower of a Yellow Chamomile (Anthemi...

English: Flower of a Yellow Chamomile (Anthemis tinctoria) Français : Fleur d’Anthémis des teinturiers (Anthemis tinctoria). Português: Flor de Camomila-dos-tintureiros (Anthemis tinctoria). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Coltfoot Leaf
Comfrey Leaf
Comfrey Root
Hibiscus Flower
Fenugreek Seed Powder
Irish Moss
Calendula (Marigold) Flower
Marshmallow Root
Mullein Leaf
Patchouli
Rose Buds and Petals
Nettle Leaf

Sage

Sage

Sage (Photo credit: lord_bute)

Shavegrass (Horsetail)
Slippery Elm Bark
Violet Leaf
Citric Acid for preserving and

Glass jars w/lids (recycled ones are awesome) to hold all of the goodies.

Keep in mind if you want to follow the actual Vatika Oil or the Nyle oil ingredients, by all means do so. I wanted to use herbs that were readily available to me at my local health food store.

For those of you that have been with me for a while already know the answer to the question “How much of each do you use?” 🙂  For those of you who don’t, the answer is… I don’t have a set measurement amount. Heck, I hardly ever measure anything. lol However I will use the same spoon or whatever device I’m using and add more of some herbs like sage, rosebuds and nettle. I add according to what I feel like my hair needs. It’s also dependant on the size of the glass jar you choose.  Ok here are the intricate instructions:  😉

  1.  Put one round of all the herbs into the jar.
  2.  Melt the oil getting it nice and warm. You can do this while you are putting your herbs in the jar.
  3.  Pour some oil into the jar making sure to cover the herbs and mix very well.  It helps to use a folding method like you’re mixing ingredients for a cake or pie and a pumping motion. This insures that the herbs at the bottom get mixed in with the herbs at the top.  It also helps to get any air pockets out. See the note below.
  4. Add another round of herbs, then oil again covering the herbs and mix well.
  5.   Repeat step 4 until your jar is full and screw the lid on very tight.

See… It’s pretty easy but a little bit time-consuming.  If you’ve already scrolled down and watched the video you might have noticed that I’ve changed the instructions a bit. I remembered from the last batch I did ( the video is the filming of it) that it’s a little difficult to mix the oil and herbs when the jar is full of herbs. I’m thinking doing it in the way I have listed above should be easier.

Also it should help in making sure that you have the most amount of oil you can get in to be infused with the good stuff from the plant material. I guess because you are dealing with oil and not water it takes a bit longer for the oil to penetrate the plant material and absorb the oil. Heating the oil helps with this and so does the mixing.

***Note: be careful when mixing with a metal utensil as constant tapping on the bottom of the jar can cause it to crack!***

You’ll want to make sure that the finished jar has oil covering the herbs as this helps to keep the herbs from going rancid (spoiling).

To heat the mixture in the jars, I use an old crock pot, the kind with the ceramic insert. I put the jars in and fill it with water then turn it on the lowest setting of heat. I do this for 8 or more hours per day for 2 weeks. Then I label the jars with the date and put them aside to set for at least 6 months.

When that time has passed, strain out the plant material using a strainer to get the big stuff out. Re-strain using a knee-high stocking to get the smaller particles into your storage jar. You can add essential oils like lavender for further preserving and others for additional benefits for your hair or fragrance.

The resulting oil will be dark green almost brown in color. This will vary of course depending on the combination of herbs used to infuse into the oil.

In the next post I’ll cover why I chose to use this method. If you want to see how I do the infusion check out the videos below.

The same videos are available on my YouTube channel herehere.

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