Book Review | Ultra Black Hair Growth II by Cathy Howse

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Ultra Black Hair Growth II 2000 Edition
by Cathy Howse, details a method for retaining approximately 6 inches of hair growth in one year. Like many books that I own, I had to reread this one before the knowledge entailed within it really sunk in! I purchased this book two years ago after reading about the “Cathy Howse Method” on various  hair care websites. I read it, tried the products, and then moved on to something else. Now, that I’ve reread it, I wish that I would have stuck with it!  Although people claimed to know and share the basics of the regimen, I’m the type of person who likes to read and obtain information for myself.

So, I purchased and read the book. Although it is a short and easy read (158 pages), it contains a lot of information. As I figured, many hair bloggers were leaving out crucial details of Cathy’s hair-growing method. I would encourage any person interested in beginning her technique read her books, check out her website, and consider purchasing her products. I will talk about my experience with her products in a separate post.

Cathy Howse is a pioneer in the world of black hair care. Long before YouTube, blogs, and online hair-growing communities existed, Cathy developed what she calls “the only proven method” for growing “black” hair. Black hair refers to the hair type that most people of African-American descent have naturally – hair that is tightly coiled. Cathy advocates sticking to the following six requirements in order to grow and preserve your hair:

1) Frequent cleaning

2) Daily moisturizing

3) A conditioner that contains: protein to strengthen, oil to lubricate, and a scalp stimulant

4) Good blood circulation

5) Careful use of appliances

6) No hairbrushes

Please note that Cathy’s suggestions allow hair growers to also incorporate techniques advocated by other “methods.” For example, if one chooses not to wash her hair with sulfate shampoos, this may be easily incorporated into this method. If one chooses to wear her hair in a protective style, this can be incorporated as well because Cathy does not advocate for one style over another, as long as the style is not accomplished by doing things that damage the hair.

One of the most controversial points that Cathy makes in the book is that there is no need to trim your hair. This is controversial because for many, including hair stylists, the idea that one has to trim her hair in order to “make it grow” is deeply rooted. Cathy points out that hair grows from the root, not the ends and that hair does not split up the shaft. She does note the importance of retaining healthy ends in order to accomplish growth, but she does not advocate trimming on a schedule or, really, at all, except if one chooses to for a neat appearance.

Like I stated, this book is chock full of common sense types that apply specifically to growing the driest hair type. She also has a question and answer section on her website. The only criticism that I have of the book is the editing. There are some errors here and there grammatically, but nothing that affects the knowledge contained within the book itself. I would also like to see an update since the book was written in 2000, but you can visit Cathy’s website for update. For example, her hair is no longer relaxed. She now wears it naturally and only washes her hair once a week instead of twice.

For more details about Cathy’s hair care routine and more of her tips, visit her website! http://www.ultrablackhair.com/ubh2/

Click to purchase on Amazon: Ultra Black Hair Growth II 2000 Edition

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First Impressions: Huetiful Hair Steamer

The Huetiful Hair Steamer caused a bit of excitement last year when it was introduced to the hair care market. The company promises that the steamer can infuse hair with moisture 5x better than conditioner alone. I was skeptical. Although I had experienced great results with a hair steamer previously, the hype surrounding this one just seemed like a bit much. Apparently, this company sent many, many hair bloggers free steamers in exchange for reviews. That is not to say that the reviews were not honest…I believe that most were; however, I do believe that many bloggers and vloggers left out crucial details about the cons of the product. Either way, it served as a great marketing scheme for the company.

A couple of years ago, I purchased a hair steamer from Salons ‘R Us, now known as LCL Beauty. I really enjoyed the steamer. It was suitable for home use, but it was salon-grade and it has a powerful steam output that really helped me maintain well-moisturized hair. I can’t remember how it died, but it did. I don’t think that I was careful enough with it. I do recall that a piece fell off here and there before it just stopped working. I was annoyed, but not pressed. I was a super-PJ at the time, so I simply moved on to the next thing!

Now that I am, again, stretching my relaxers, I have begun to notice that my hair is dry, dry, dry! I decided to look into purchasing another steamer and remembered all of the hype around Huetiful. The company offers free shipping (both ways), and a 60-day money-back guarantee. You never get that type of guarantee with salon equipment, so I decided to go for it. I plopped own the $116.95. The shipping time was really fast and I received my steamer a few days later.

The box that it came in was super-light and very well decorated. It looks like they put a pretty penny into designing the box…great marketing, once again. The first thing that I noticed was that the hood was too light. I’ve owned a number of dryers and I’ve never seen a hood so light or so shallow. There was no way that it would be deep enough for my whole head of hair to be steamed. The set up was fairly easy, but I noticed that the cup where the water is stored (which was already attached) appeared to be impossible to detach from the machine.

It took me all of three minutes to put it together and I poured water into the top to test it. It took about 2-3 minutes to produce steam. I tested the heat with my hand and noticed that it was not nearly as hot as the steam produced by my LCL beauty at-home steamer. Sigh. I tried not to get discouraged. A day later when I had time, I decided to give it a go. I washed my hair with WEN fig and 613, then lightly towel-dried with a turban towel. I applied my deep conditioner to my damp hair and added a bit oil to the conditioner. I set the steamer up, waiting for it get going and got ready for a treat.

I ended up being disappointed. There was absolutely no steam – zero, zilch, nada- getting to my nape. I mean, it was cold at the back of my head. I had my ends pinned up so that they could be steamed, but I didn’t feel the same power as I did with my previous steamer. There is no way that this steam was penetrating through my strands and I’m sure that the hair nearer to my scalp was getting zero benefit from the steaming. Another con is that the steamer height is not adjustable. I was using an adjustable-height chair, thankfully. I also noticed that the steam didn’t last long…only about 20 minutes. I usually deep condition my hair longer than that. But around the 20-minute mark, the water was boiled away and the steamer shut off.

Actually, the water was not completely boiled away. There was some still in the cup, I couldn’t figure out how to detach the cup and empty it out. The design also requires you to detach the hood to drain excess water. It’s kind of hard to explain, but it’s as tedious as it sounds. The bottom line is…I’m glad that they have a 60-day return policy.

I’ve had the steamer for about a week and I’ve used it twice. I had the same results both times. There was no noticeable difference in the moisture level of my hair following wash day and I basically feel like I’ve wasted $116 bucks. I’ll probably give it another few tries and if I don’t experience any noticeable improvement, then it’s going back to the company. I do plan to try the facial attachment out, also, and I will write about how that goes.

I also want to note that the steamer is overpriced. You can purchase a salon-grade steamer for $90-$140. Although the Huetiful does not fold, it can be stored pretty easily by detaching the hood and draining the water; however, the make of it is not very durable so you’d have to be careful with it. Huetiful might be a better choice than a salon-quality steamer for those who don’t have much space, but it should be priced at around $60 and no more than $75, tops. As a comparison, a table top hood dryer costs about $25-$50 and the Huetiful hair steamer is about the same quality. It is not a professional-use product, so it should not have a professional price tag.

Lastly, one thing that bothers me is that the company insinuates that they carefully developed this steamer. I believe that it is a mass-produced steamer that they simply branded, not developed. I found a steamer online that appears to be the exact same model, only offered by a different company and not marketed specifically to black women. As you read other reviews about the product, analyze them carefully. First, find out whether the reviewer received the product for free! Until next time…happy steaming.