Thursday, August 28, 2014

Summer Hair Vacation is Over!

I'm sad that summer is coming to an end.  However, I am excited about all of my hair possibilities this fall!

Since the end of April, I had been wearing crochet braids as a protective style.  I kept them in for about 4 weeks at a time, and I have installed them 4 times over the summer.  It was an easy style to install and maintain, and I was happy to have a four-month break from my hair.  However, it's really important to me that I know how to take care of my own hair and have it looking good.  I took a few days off from the crochet braids and worked on my twistouts a few times.  I also applied a demi permanent color between installations, which not only did a good job covering my grays, but also opened my cuticles to allow more moisture.  I took them out last week, and I want to wear my natural hair for a while.

I'm still learning more about keeping my hair moist.  I recently did the Cherry Lola treatment, which my hair loved. I also left in some conditioner, which has helped keep my hair moist for the past five days (a miracle for me).  I'm not sure what good gel is doing to my hair, if any, so I've challenged myself not to use gel.  In my most moisturized look, I didn't use any gel, just a curling cream.

Here is a little collage of my hair in between my crochet braids.  I noted where I achieved the most moisture. This is also when I have the best curl definition.


I liked how my hair came out in each photo, but for different reasons: moisture, definition, how my hair falls, how thick and healthy it looks, how stretched it is.  I would love to be able to roll them all into one, but I'm getting there!

I've been using some different products, so I'll be doing more product reviews in the near future. I just want to use them more consistently to have solid opinions.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Make Friends with Maggie


My cousin recently wrote and published Maggie Sinclair, Will You Please Fix Your Hair? This children's book is about accepting our natural hair, and getting others to love and appreciate all that it can do!  I'm so proud of my cousin! It definitely reminds me of some of my older relatives who don't understand why I would ever go natural. 

Get your copy on amazon.com

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Great Wash Day for My Low Porosity Hair

I removed my crochet braids a couple of weeks ago and wore my natural hair out for a few days, but I installed the crochet braids again- mostly out of pure laziness.  I liked my natural hair out and I saw some growth, I just don't feel like twisting my hair every night, especially now that it's hot.  It's hard to let go of something that works, especially when it's easy and cheap, but I do plan on playing in my real hair this summer! I also need a professional trim/cut. I found a few local places that specialize in Deva Cuts, so I think I'll try one of them later this summer.  

What I was happiest about when I wore my hair out, was that it stayed moist!  I pre-poo'd for about an hour with coconut oil.  I shampoo'd with ORS Creamy Aloe Shampoo, then I did a 10-minute condition with Trader Joe's Nourish and Spa + Giovanni 50:50 Balancing Conditioner + a teaspoon of baking soda.  I then deep conditioned under the steamer with SheaMoisture Yucca & Baobab Anti-Breakage Masque.  I twisted on damp hair with Oyin Hair Dew and Oyin Burnt Sugar Pomade.

I've been doing a lot more research on how to keep my low porosity hair moisturized.  I think I found success in shampooing with the ORS Creamy Aloe Shampoo.  It removes a lot of buildup without stripping my hair.  I loved it when I was relaxed, but stopped using it when I realized my hair doesn't like aloe vera juice (aloe is pretty far down on the ingredient list- #24).  Co-washing doesn't always get my hair clean, especially after having my hair in a protective style for 4 weeks.  Adding the baking soda lifted my tight hair cuticles and really allowed more moisture into my hair strands. Using baking soda in the hair is controversial because there is a risk of damage, but it worked for me, so I'm going to try to use it once or twice a month.  This was my first time using this particular SheaMoisture conditioner, and I really liked it.  I'm sure steaming with it helped make it more effective.  When I rinsed the conditioner out, my hair looked really nice- curly, shiny and even stretched out more than usual.  Even my man asked me to leave it exactly like that!  I knew it wouldn't look the same after it dried, and I'm not brave enough to wash and go yet, so I moved on with styling.  This was my first time using Oyin products.  I loved the smell and the products seemed pretty light.  The next day, my twist out was shiny and defined:



Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Product Review: Hicks Edges

I decided to install crochet braids again.  When I took the old braids out, I was happy with the condition of my hair.  It was very moist, and I didn't see any breakage at all.  I just want to continue doing a protective style.  This time I used color 1B, which is almost black.  I also applied a black semi-permanent color to my hair.  I think it will help my hair look thicker and shiny. Plus, it's a nice change!


I've also been using a new product for my edges - Hicks Edges.  My hairline has always been a trouble spot.  The hair there has always been short, so it doesn't lay down like I wish it did.  I have had fuzzy edges since I can remember.  I've tried a lot of edge control products, and so far this is the most effective!

Product Description
Hicks Total TRANSFORMATIONS, Hicks Edges holds hair firmly in place with a super shine and without flakiness. Leaves edges looking and feeling shinier and healthier than before. This genuine hair gel is non-flaky and non-sticky and rinses out easily. Control tapered cuts and nape back area.

Ingredients
Water, Ceteareth-25, PEG-7 Glycerylcocoate, Propylene Glycol, PEG-7 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, DMDM Hydantoin Andiodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Frangrance

Directions
Apply a small amount of TRANSFORMATIONS Smooth Edges around edges and smooth with fingertips until hair stays in place or comb in smooth with a comb.

My Experience
I've been using this about every other day.  In the morning, after I work out, I brush my hair a little, and then apply the product to my edges (dry hair) with a toothbrush, and then tie my edges down with a silk scarf while I shower and get dressed.  When I take my scarf off, my edges are LAID.

I haven't experienced any flaking or buildup with this product.  Most edge control products don't last more than an hour or two for me, but this pretty much lasts all day. I took a 30-minute walk this afternoon and my edges still looked pretty good:



I work out almost every day, and I still only need to apply this every other morning.  I'm hoping that this product will help my edges grow since they are moisturized and laid down.  It's a keeper!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Loving Crochet Braids


I've had my crochet braids in for four weeks- longer than I planned.  I'm taking them out this weekend, but I could probably go another week or two.  My platinum hairs are growing in around my edges, so I need to color them.  I'm really impressed that the hair hasn't matted or tangled.  This is probably THE best $10 hair style I've ever had, lol.  I also have been wearing it differently- parted in the middle, parted on the side, and front up, back out.  Mornings have been great since I don't have to do much to my hair. I've been working out almost every day with no bad hair to show for it.  This is how I have maintained this style for the past four weeks:

  • Evening: Put it up in a high ponytail (pineapple method) and tie a silk scarf around my edges.
  • Morning: Every other day spray my roots with a water/conditioner/oil/glycerin mix; spray the synthetic hair with water, take down the pineapple, shake and go.  If my edges are really crazy looking, apply some edge gel and tie down my edges with a silk scarf for about 15 minutes.
  • Working out: Keep it in the pineapple; I also play tennis 1-2 times a week, and I just wear it in a low ponytail.
  • Once a week: Finger de-tangle the ends, cut stray hairs and apply mousse to the hair.

Pretty easy, huh?  I can see how this style can be addictive!

If I see that my hair has thrived when I wash it tomorrow, I might install them again!  I have some business trips coming up, and this is a great style for traveling!

I'm also going to put a black semi-permanent color in my hair this weekend.  I haven't used black in about two years because sometimes I think it's a little too harsh for my skin tone and I really wanted to try to work with my natural dusty brown color...BUT, the black really helps my hair maintain moisture and absorb product.  Plus it makes it look so shiny and thick!  I really want to retain more length, especially in the front, and I believe the black color with help.  Every time I think about the times my hair was the healthiest, I remember that it was black!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Crochet Braids

In my effort to keep my hair healthy and retain some length, I've been trying to do protective styles as much as the possible.  For the past month and half, I've been doing flat twist updos.  Yesterday I installed crochet braids.  I've been eyeing this style for a while, and I finally got to a point where I thought I had done enough research to do it myself.

What I did:
I used 2 packs of Free Tress Water Wave hair bought from my local beauty supply store.  I wanted to buy the bohemian hair, since I thought the texture would be closer to mine, but I couldn't find the Bohemian in the three stores I went to.  One package was the color 4, and the other was 4/27 because I wanted to mix in some lighter hair.  I paid $5 per pack for the hair and $2 for the crochet hook, also at the beauty supply store.

After washing, conditioning and lightly blow drying my hair, I cornrowed my hair.  I did 8 braids going back in the top half of my hair, then I connected 2 of those braids to create 4 braids, and used them to start 4 cornrows in the back.  I used the braids at my nape to make one cornrow going across at the bottom.  I did this so that I could wear my hair up without showing the parts in the cornrows.  I then looped the hair into my braids using the crochet hook.




Overall, I like this style!  It was my first time doing it, so there are a few minor things I would do differently next time, like planning my braid pattern a little better. A lot of the videos I watched suggested more than 8 braids, but I'm glad I didn't do more.  I think it would have made my style look fuller than what I wanted.  Having less braids makes it more difficult to wear in an updo, but that's okay with me.  I trimmed a little of the hair, but I want more of a shape, so I may go to a salon to get it trimmed a little more.  What I like most about this style is that it's easy, and it doesn't have to be perfect.  It's okay if your parts aren't straight.  I do wish I had braided the center braids closer together so that my part would look more natural, but other than that, I'm excited to have a no/lo maintenance style for a while!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Protective Styling Continued

Happy April! I know it's officially been spring for a couple of weeks, but now that it's April, I'm working on leaving winter behind. I try not to complain about the cold and snow, but it's been a long, tough winter for so many of us.  I can't even look at my heavy down coat anymore, lol.

I've been wearing my flat twist updo for the past month, washing and re-twisting about every week and a half.  I've gotten a lot of compliments, and it's been great not having to worry about twisting my hair at night or taking the twists down in the morning.  It was especially nice when I went away for a girls weekend a couple of weeks ago.  This week, I decided to change it up a bit and leave some hair out, so I flat twisted the back and one side, and left the top and other side out.  I attempted a twist and curl using flexi rods, but when I took out the twists the next day, I didn't love the results.  Maybe I made the twists too small, or should have stretched my hair out some before twisting.  I don't know....so last night, I did bigger twists and did a little bantu knot on the ends so that my ends would have a good curl:


I liked the results much better today.  You might be able to see that the side is still a little crunchy, but I know it will work itself out after I twist again tonight or tomorrow.  I really want my bangs to grow longer, but I'm glad that at least they're hanging down and not up!  I might even flat twist the front up for a few days if I get tired of wearing it out.  I'm finally seeing a some progress and appreciating the versatility of my natural hair.  Even my man said that he's happy I'm experimenting with different styles!