Tuesday, 30 June 2015


Hair comes in a few types, colours and shapes. Despite these differences, what is hair at it's most basic structure? I found no better way to gain a thorough understanding than to go back to the drawing board. In this post, I make this learning fun by sketching. I sketch my interpretation of what I have learnt about the hair and scalp.

For the full sketch process, click HERE or scroll down to the video at the end of this post. I hope you have fun! Lets start!

Diagram sketch of hair and scalp structure

A. Three Major Layers Of The Skin Surrounding Your Hair.
  • Before touching on the hair strand itself, it is helpful to know about the supporting members of the strands which you see as your hair. 
  • In order to promote health in hair, the vital members underneath, where you can't see, play a great role. In fact, without the skin, our inner bodies and organs will be hanging out! Not a pretty sight. Looking at my sketch above, you can see the three main sections with curly brackets on your right hand side. 
  • These sections are the Epidermis, the Dermis and the Subcutaneous Tissue.

1. The Epidermis
  • The Epidermis is the top most part of the skin structure. 
  • When you look at your scalp or hands, it is what you see, though it has more parts to it than what you see. It is always working to keep you normal. 
  • The Epidermis protects you from infections caused by bacteria and 'germs' (pathogens) around us. It is full of cells which are both young and old. Younger cells which are deeper in your skin and older cells nearer the top. 
  • The younger cells are constantly moving up, journeying their way towards the surface. As they go up, they age. 
  • The top part of the skin has the oldest cells, which then rise up to become dead skin which is shed. Or dandruff on your scalp. There are other factors which contribute towards dandruff.
Diagram sketch of epidermis structure
2. The Dermis
  • The Dermis is the second and middle layer of the skin. It is where most of your actual hair strand is located. It is like a cushion which helps to prevent stress and strain on your body.
  • In here, you have the hair follicle which is like a pocket which holds your hair strand. 
  • Also in the Dermis, you can find some sections of the structures which cause you to sweat. Sweat Glands.
  • The Dermis also has some nerve endings for your senses.
Diagram sketch of dermis structure
  • You will also find various structures such as the Arrector Muscles, blood vessels which carry nutrients and oxygen to your hair so that they can grow, the Sebaceous Glands and more of the young cells being produced and journeying their way up to your Epidermis. These structures are shown below.
Diagram sketch of dermis structure dermal papillae
3. The Subcutaneous
  • The Subcutaneous is the lowest layer of your scalp and skin. It has a lot of fat cells, fibres and white blood cells for your immune system.
  • It helps keep your skin in place and anchored like a ship. 
  • Here you will also find some collagen and elastin which help stretch your skin. 
  • More blood vessels can be found here, where they tangle over each other on their journeys around your skin. These are indicated in red and blue in the sketch.
  • The bottom of your Sweat Glands are normally located here also.
Diagram sketch of subcutaneous structure

B. Hair Follicles, Sebaceous Glands, Arrector Pili & The Sweat Glands

4. The Hair Follicle
  • The Hair Follicle is where your hair strand is housed. It is found in the Dermis of your skin and has other layers to it.
  • Normally, each hair shoots from their own Follicle. 
Diagram sketch of hair follicle structure
Hair Follicle
  • It has a loop at it's base which holds a bundle of blood vessels for carrying nutrients and oxygen.
  • This bundle of vessels, called the Dermal Papillae, has extensions which travels up around the Dermis.
    Diagram sketch of dermis structure dermal papillae
    Dermal Papillae
  • Two of the important structures attached to the Follicle are the Sebaceous Gland and the Arrector Pili. 

5. The Sebaceous Gland
  • The Sebaceous Gland is where the natural oil or Sebum for your scalp comes from. The oil sometimes travels down the strands, and depending on the shape of your hair strand, the journey is easy or difficult. Simply put, an easy oil journey down the strand may equal to moisturised and soft hair. A tricky journey may equal to dry and frizzy hair.
Diagram sketch of sebaceous gland structure
Sebaceous Gland
6. The Arrector Pili
  • The Arrector Pili is a muscle which attaches your hair strand to the skin. It is what causes your hair to move when you are cold. This muscle also raises and lowers the hair strand, trapping warm air in winter while blocking out the sun in summer.
Diagram sketch of arrector pili structure
Arrector Pili
7. The Sweat Gland
  • The Sweat Gland is where your sweat is produced. The base of this gland is mostly found in the Subcutaneous layer of the skin. The sweat travels up to your scalp or skin.
Diagram sketch of sweat gland structure
Sweat Gland

C. The Hair Bulb, Root & Shaft

8. The Hair Bulb & Root
  • The round bulge at the base of the Follicle is called the Hair Bulb.
  • It is what you can sometimes see when you do uproot your hair strand.
  • The Root is above the Bulb and consists of a few layers. The root is in the Dermis.
Diagram sketch of hair bulb structure
Hair Bulb
9. The Hair Shaft
  • The Hair Shaft is what is also known as Strand. This is made up of three main parts. The Medulla, the Cortex and the Cuticle.
  • Part of the Shaft is what is seen outside of our scalp as hair, whiles part of it is in the scalp.
  • It grows approximately 6 inches a year, however, this varies from person to person based on factors like genetics.
  • The strand is basically dead cells, Keratin, and it has different stages in it's growth cycle.
Diagram sketch of hair strand shaft structure
Hair Shaft
Diagram sketch of hair medulla structure
Hair Medulla

D. Let's Cut Across A section Of The Hair Shaft
When you take a hair strand and you cut across it, this is what  it is made up of on a basic level. As mentioned above, there are three main parts and these are the Medulla, the Cortex and the Cuticle.

10. The Medulla
  • The Medulla may or may not be present in the hair. 
  • It is likened to the lead in a pencil. 
  • Its purpose is not exactly known, however, it is often known to be especially present in larger, darker and coarser hairs, less present in finer hairs and sometimes not present at all.
Diagram sketch of hair medulla structure
Hair Medulla
11. The Cortex
  • The Cortex of the hair strand is mostly dead protein Keratin
  • It is like the meat of the hair strand.
  • In the Cortex, you will also find the colour pigment Melanin which gives hair its colour.
  • Melanin is most present in darker hair, less in lighter hair and not present in white hair.
Diagram sketch of hair cortex structure
Hair Cortex
  • Inside the Cortex, the Keratin are arranged specifically to enable your hair to be flexible and and able to bend.
Diagram sketch of hair keratin structure
Keratin Inside The Cortex
12. The Cuticle
  • The Cuticle is like the skin of your hair.
  • The Cuticle itself is colourless.
  • Melanin is more concentrated closer to the Cuticle of the strand.
  • Cuticles opens and closes depending on the environment around your hair.
  • They can contribute to dry, brittle dull hair or soft shiny moisturised hair, together with other external and internal factors.
  • When opened, the Cuticle could leave your hairs core prone to damage and loss of moisture.
  • When closed they protect your hair, lock in moisture and also cause shine and softness with the addition of surface oils and shine inducing products like artificial hair serums.
Diagram sketch of cuticle structure
Hair Cuticle
This is my basic but fun introduction to the structure of the hair and scalp. I hope you found this informative and fun! Please don't forget to share, Tweet and Google Plus this post.

As Promised, Here Is The Video Demonstration Of The Sketches Above.

Yvonne Dzifa


Thursday, 25 June 2015


A beautiful junction between Aztec and Tribal is what I call this chiffon top. With a bright and bold statement, this piece makes a great addition to a summer wardrobe, but still transitional from spring to summer with the addition of just a cardigan. This is from H&M for £7.99.

It can be stylishly put together with bright blue jeans, yellow or caramel coloured jeans, white jeans or even short! I like to stye this with legging.

I love this piece because it brings a bold statement whiles being a difference which can't be overlooked! It is also very fun with the play of shapes and colours, marrying aztec with tribe, however, the chiffon material also adds a delicate touch. 

Definitely a good addition to my summer wardrobe.

hm aztec tribal chiffon top
Tribal Aztec Chiffon Top | H&M 

hm aztec tribal chiffon top

hm aztec tribal chiffon top

hm aztec tribal chiffon top

Do you like patterned designs?

Yvonne Dzifa


Wednesday, 24 June 2015


Today, I share how I made my Whipped Shea Butter for a healthy skin , lips and hair! One solution for all indeed is shea butter. Anti-aging, moisturising, healing, protecting and nourishing for the skin and hair. A much cheaper yet the most natural organic and effective alternative to shop options. I got my shea butter in its raw form from Ghana, and they came in a rock hard form! Don't be tricked because intimidating as they might appear, they can easily be transformed into a wonderful solution to dry symptoms, be it in hair or skin. Below also is my video direction on how I achieve this.

whipped shea butter mix raw shea butter

Shea Butter
Shea butter is one of Gods gifts to mankind. It has many qualities and amongst these are healing qualities, moisturising qualities, for baby care, improvement of skin elasticity, anti-aging benefits, sun protection, skin protection and hair protection. A potent ingredient especially in its most natural form, unprocessed and unreformed. Adding the following oils below only enhances the already super qualities of shea butter! When set, the whipped butter becomes firm but still soft enough to use daily and a little does go a long way with this. Sometimes the form depends on current temperature, however just rub a little into your palm and it melts. Though it is essentially an oil butter, when applied onto the skin, it does soak in soon after and doesn't leave you with greasy skin all day.
raw shea butter

Accompanying oils
In this recipe, I decided to use the following oils for their great benefits. You will also need a whisk preferably an electric one for ease.
whipped shea butter mix inredients

Almond Oil - 1/2 of a cup 
Amongst the many benefits of almond oil are its great anti-inflammatory properties, as it reduces inflammation both inside and outside of the body. It is also an anti-oxidant and a great moisturiser. *Please use an alternative oil like rapeseed oil if allergic to nut oils*

Olive Oil - 1/3 of a cup
Olive oil is a great moisturiser also. It helps with dry skin and scalp, dandruff and also acts as a great conditioner. It helps improve thinning hair.

Coconut Oil - 1/2 of a cup
Coconuts oil is "liquid gold". It acts as a rich moisturiser for hair and skin. Amongst its benefits are its immune system boosting properties. It also has anti microbial, antioxidant and anti-fungal properties.

Rosemary Essential Oil - 10-20 drops
Rosemary essential oil stimulates blood circulation thereby promoting hair growth and mental activity. Using it on the scalp and skin is a great way to get more nutrients where needed through the increased circulation.

Glycerin - 1/2 of a Cup
Glycerin is known to be a humectant. It is also known to be water soluble and attracts water to your skin. It is a great moisturiser especially for dry skin.

Whipped Shea Butter Directions
1. Most raw shea butter come in a very solid form. Therefore start by melting your shea butter.
2. To do this, pre-heat your stove for about 5 minutes and then turn the knob off. With your shea butter in a sauce pan, place the pan on your turned-off stove and allow the shea butter to melt for about 5-10 minutes. The reason for turning the stove off is to prevent the oil from burning after melting.
3. Alternatively, use a microwave, keeping an eye on it and only running the microwave 1 minute at a time to prevent the oil from burning.

raw shea butter

4. Once your shea butter is ready, allow it to cool down, and then pour it into your mixing bowl.
melted shea butter

5. Begin to add the oils one after the other. whipped shea butter mix ingredients almond oil

whipped shea butter mix ingredients olive oil

whipped shea butter mix ingredients coconut oil

whipped shea butter mix ingredients glycerin

whipped shea butter mix ingredients rosemary essential oil

6. After adding the oils together, mix with a spoon and put the oil mixture in the freezer for 20 minutes. This step allows the oil to begin the setting process in order to make whisking easier. Whisking the oils as they are without briefly allowing the mixture to cool down takes a very long time.
whipped shea butter mix ingredients

whipped shea butter mix ingredients

7. After the 20 minute freezer time, your mix should be ready for whisking. Whisking takes about 20 minutes depends on how whipped you want your mix.whipped shea butter mix ingredients

whipped shea butter mix ingredients

whipped shea butter mix

8. You should end up with an ice-cream like texture, very soft and whipped cream or meringue like texture. The whipped shea butter does set eventually into a firm but soft butter depending on room temperature sometimes.
9. Tranfer your whipped shea butter into the container you would like to keep it in.
whipped shea butter mix

10. And you have yourself a super potent secret weapon for soft, supple, moisturised skin and hair. Don't forget the anti-anging and healing qualities. Do let me know if you try this recipe on twitter or tag me on instagram, all @yvonnedzifa. whipped shea butter mix

Do check out my video directions on how to achieve this.

Yvonne Dzifa

Tuesday, 23 June 2015


A healthy way to add sweetness to your fish. This is my Honey Ginger Salmon Recipe and it is great for dinner or lunch! Very satisfying when eaten with a healthy portion of honey roasted potatoes. For a more filling dinner, couple this recipe with mashed sweet potatoes or brown rice. The juices from baking the fish makes a great sauce for your carbohydrate portion! Provided below is my step by step recipe with pictures as well as a video direction at the end. Enjoy!

healthy honey ginger salmon recipe

healthy honey ginger salmon recipe

  • 2 portions of fresh or frozen salmon fillet
  • 2tbs of soy sauce
  • 1tsp of ginger paste
  • 1/2tsp of garlic paste
  • A tiny pinch of sea salt 
  • 1/2tsp of red pepper powder/cayenne pepper (skip this step if you want a milder taste)
  • 1/2tsp of peppercorns or black pepper (rainbow peppercorns were used in this recipe)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1tbs of honey
healthy honey ginger salmon recipe

healthy honey ginger salmon recipe

1. The first thing to do is to thaw out your salmon in warm water if it is frozen.
healthy honey ginger salmon recipe

2. Mix the honey with the soy sauce and give the mixture a stir. As the honey is dense, mix very well in order to fully incorporate.
healthy honey ginger salmon recipe

healthy honey ginger salmon recipe

3. Add in your spices. Don't forget to miss out the red pepper powder for a milder taste.
healthy honey ginger salmon recipe

4. Now mix the ingredients together into a paste. Then add in your olive oil to loosen out the paste slightly.
healthy honey ginger salmon recipe

healthy honey ginger salmon recipe

5. Once your fish is thawed, transfer into the dish in which you will bake the fish. I used a ceramic baking dish in order to preserve more of the juices or fish sauce for my carbohydrate!
healthy honey ginger salmon recipe

healthy honey ginger salmon recipe

 6. Use your spoon to evenly spread out the paste onto the fish, making sure every part of the fish gets some marinade.
healthy honey ginger salmon recipe

7. Allow the fish to marinate for 10 minutes in the fridge or at room temperature. At this point, also turn your oven on to 200 degree Celsius.
healthy honey ginger salmon recipe

8. Once marinated, bake your fish for 15 to 20 minutes in the oven, depending on how cooked you want it. For instance, I wanted mine well done so I baked it for 20 minutes.
healthy honey ginger salmon recipe

9. And your fish is ready! You can see there is a lot of juices which will be a great accompaniment for your fish if you have it with rice or potatoes.
healthy honey ginger salmon recipe

healthy honey ginger salmon recipe

10. I had mine with honey roasted potatoes. Sweet on sweet!
healthy honey ginger salmon recipe

Enjoy and don't forger to check out the video recipe as well.

Yvonne Dzifa
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