Thursday, September 18, 2014

Benefits of Avocado for Hair

Avocado oil is a great oil for hair.  It has a high amount of monounsaturated fatty acid, which helps moisturize, strengthen and nourish dry and damaged hair. Using avocado to massage the scalp also stimulates blood flow to the hair follicles, helping new growth and healthier hair. It also has high levels of vitamin E, which is also moisturizing and protects against environmental damage and helps to unclog blocked follicles.  You will also find the super good vitamins A, B, and D. It also has protein, amino acids, iron, copper, magnesium, and folic acid - all nutrients that help keep hair healthy and damage-free.

I bought avocado oil a while ago, but I've been using it more and more lately.  I find that it is a good sealer, and doesn't weigh my hair down like some other oils.  I've used it to pre-poo, for my oil when I'm moisturizing using the LOC method, and to rub on my hands when I'm taking down my twists (this is my favorite way to use it). 

I have read reports that too much can make the hair brittle, so as with almost everything, I use it in moderation!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Product Review: ION Demi Permanent Creme Hair Color

If you've been reading this blog, you know that gray coverage is one of my biggest hair challenges.  I started seeing gray hairs the day I turned 30, and every year, I see a little more.  My gray grows mostly around my edges in the front with some random white strands in my crown.  Every year, they also seem to get more stubborn to color.  Some strands are a different texture than the rest of my hair- more wiry, thick, and harder to control.

For years, I used semi-permanent color, either at home or at the salon, and it worked.  I could apply the color right after relaxing, and it would cover my gray until my next relaxer most times.  I also loved semi-permanent color because it helped moisturize my hair and increase the shine.  It was a great option for my low porosity hair.  A few years ago, I noticed that only the black colors would cover the gray, and that I would have to re-apply every 2-3 weeks.  BUT, I'm allergic to PPD, a chemical that is in a lot of black and dark brown dyes.  After I cut out my relaxer, semi-permanent colors stopped working in my hair altogether.  They didn't cover the gray or help with moisture and shine.  It was a waste of time and money to apply them.   I tried henna, but it ruined my hair (a different story for another time).  Permanent color is not an option for me at this time because I want to get my hair to a healthier state before risking a permanent color.

I had been reading about demi-permanent color, mostly about how it's good for low porosity heads because it lifts the cuticle, allowing moisture in without damage.  I was afraid to try it for a long time, but when my curlfriend Suzy told me about her success with it, I decided to give it a try.  I bought the ION Color Brilliance Intensive Shine Dem-Permanent Creme Hair Color from Sally Beauty for about $5. I also bought the level 10 developer for sensitive scalp for about $2.  I've applied this product twice, so I'll discuss how I applied it both times.

Product Description
  • Enhance, change or increase the color intensity
  • Ionic protection for stronger hair structure
  • Botanically derived nourishing ingredients
  • Fade resistant and intense conditioning
  • Cover and blend gray hair up to 100%
  • Maximum light reflection and shine
Ion Color Brilliance Intensive Shine Demi Permanent Creme Hair Color is a state-of-the-art European Ionic Formula that is a luxurious, long-lasting, deposit-only hair color without ammonia.

Covers and blends gray hair without lifting the hair's natural pigment. Same-day color with chemical relaxers and permanent waves.

The Ionic formula provides protection for stronger hair structure. Ion Color Brilliance Demi Permanent Creme Hair Color contains botanically derived nourishing ingredients with a refreshing fragrance.

Ingredients
WATER, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, ETHANOLAMINE, LAURETH-3, SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE ,OLETH-5 PHOSPHATE ,DIOLEYL PHOSPHATE, SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE, GLYCERYL STEARATE SE, FRAGRANCE, TOLUENE-2, 5-DIAMINE SULFATE, BEESWAX, SODIUM SULFITE, SODIUM SULFATE, 2-METHYLRESORCINOL, P-AMINOPHENOL, EDTA, LIMNANTHES ALBA (MEADOWFOAM) SEED OIL ,ERYTHORBIC ACID, 2-AMINO-3-HYDROXYPYRIDINE, M-AMINOPHENOL ,RESORCINOL, 4-AMINO-2-HYDROXYTOLUENE, 2, 4-DIAMINOPHENOXYETHANOL HCL, SIMETHICONE, GLYCERIN, TRITICUM VULGARE (WHEAT) GLUTEN, ALPHA ISOMETHYL IONONE, CITRONELLOL, GERANIOL, LINALOOL

Directions
Select desired shade. Mix 2 oz. of Ion Intensive Shine Demi Hair Color with 4 oz. ion Sensitive Scalp Crème Developer 10 Volume in a non-metallic bowl. Mixing ratio is 1:2 unless otherwise noted. See Color Objective Chart.

All instructions are based on average texture, normal porosity; Fine hair is much more receptive to hair coloring where coarse hair is not.

Use Ion Color Brilliance Pre-Color Treatment to help ensure even color results from scalp to ends. A 5-minute cool down is recommended if heat is used prior to rinsing. Standard processing time is 10-40 minutes at room temperature and 10-15 minutes with heat. After processing, rinse hair thoroughly until the water runs clear.

Shampoo and style as desired

My Experience

First time: The first time I used this, I bought the #3N Dark Natural Brown Color.  I read a lot of reviews saying that the color results are dark, and if you leave it on long, you'll have black hair.  I didn't want black hair, but I also wanted to make sure the grays were covered.  I mixed the whole bottle of color with the entire bottle of developer (1:2 ratio).  It took me about 10 minutes to apply the color, and then I sat under the dyer for 30 minutes.  I then co-washed it out.  I kept it in too long, because my hair was pretty much black!  I also had some staining around my hairline.  The skin along my edges felt a little irritated. I was so scared I had an allergic reaction, but this product doesn't contain PPD.  I think I just left it on too long, and I had applied the product to my edges first.  The irritation went away after a day or so.

Second time: I applied the demi permanent again about 5 weeks later.  The grays that the color covered were still almost black, but I had a lot of newly grown grays around my edges.  This time, I used color #4N Medium Natural Brown. Again, it took me about 10 minutes to apply to my whole head, but then I just walked around with a plastic cap on my head for another 10-15 minutes, without heat.  I shampoo'd the color out this time. The shorter time with the product in my hair, along with using shampoo prevented the staining, the dark, dark color, and the skin irritation.  The result was a dark brown, but not black at all.  A week later, I noticed my hair looked lighter brown in the sun.

Both times, my hair was shiny and so moisturized...or, should I say the product opened my cuticles so that I could get some moisture into my hair.  Since using this product, my hair responds to products SO much better.  Before, any product just sat on my hair, but now I can actually form an accurate opinion on a product since my hair is finally absorbing it.  There are also a lot less broken hairs in my brush, on my shirt, and on the floor.  I haven't seen the color run at all, even when using shampoo. The only grays I see now are the new ones popping up!  I really wished I had tried this at the beginning of my natural hair journey, because it would have saved me months and months of dryness, breakage and frustration.

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!