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Thursday, January 31, 2008

First pincurl try

Last night I tested the pincurl method as an alternative to wrapping. I made 3 pincurls- 1 on each side and 1 in the back. When I woke up, I took the pincurls out, wrapped my hair, got dressed and then combed it out. I didn't really like the results, but I probably need to practice more. My left side still looks thin, and the curl on the left was too much (I just put the left side behind my ear). I did like how the back came out though. The pics I took this morning are here.

I also massaged my scalp this morning (after I took out the wrap). I did it while bending over, which I hear is better. I feel like the massage gave my hair more body. I had a lot of flakes, but it felt so good! I just put some Razac Perfect for Perms Hair Oil on my part and my front hairline to cover up the dry skin. I'm sooo looking forward to washing my hair on Saturday!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Shea Hair Butter recipe

I just found a recipe for shea hair butter. I'm sure this is better than the heavy shea butter I had been using!

1 and 1/3 Cups of Shea Butter
½ Cup of Olive Oil
1 tsp. Of Vitamin E Oil
½ ounce of fragrance oil

You will want to heat the Shea Butter up slowly in a medium sized sauce pan until the Shea is in liquid form add in the olive oil onceyou achive liquid form of Shea Butter. Let the mixture then sit and cool for about 30 to 40 minutes. Do not let it set fully back up though. At this point you are going to add in the Vitamin E and the Fragrance Oil.

You will now want to use a stick blender to whip the mixture until its very light in texture. It will give off a "mousse" like consistency. Make sure you have blended your fragrance oil and vitamin E oil in well. When selecting your fragrance oil choose something you will like as this whipped body butter will be an all over body delight.

When you have reached the desired consistency you can spoon your finished product into some kind of container. I have used everything from glass jars to glad containers. You can use any type of container as long as it has some sort of lid you will not want to expose this to air for long periods of time. Do not over pack the whipped body butter or you will defeat the purpose of it being whipped and light.

New DC recipe and a wrap alternative

I just found some cool tips from the Healthy Textures forum:

A deep conditioner mix of 1 whole egg, cholesterol cream, honey and some coconut oil + EVOO that I brewed with fresh rosemary leaves, powdered fenugreek and cinnamon. I have no idea what fenugreek is, but I think it's something ayurvedic. I was planning on adding some evoo to my conditioner and maybe even honey (it seems too sticky), but the rosemary, cinnamon and fenugreek sounds interesting...

Also, maybe a solution to my wrapping problem I posted yesterday: "I went to the end of that part at the crown, then parted off a section towards the ear. That separates a 'front/side' section from a 'rear' section. Next, I apply my moisturizer to the front/side section, comb it smooth, then starting at the end, bend the hair into a large 'C' shape. I turn or roll the hair as if on a huge invisible roller, then once I get to the head, I lay this big curl flat and secure it with the pin, as shown in the pic. On the rear section, just repeat the steps. "

I'm trying it tonight! Last night I put just a drop of Keala oil on my ends before I wrapped it, and I notice my hair looks better today than it did yesterday. My scalp is still flaky, but it's definitely getting better. I'm not going to put the 100% shea butter on my scalp again, but I'm glad I did it over the weekend.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Overall health/my first hair problem

Not only am I trying to achieve healthier hair, but I'm trying to achieve better health overall. I want to improve my skin and weight too. I'm actually pretty happy with my weight, but I want to tone up some more. I know that I haven't been eating properly lately, and I know it's due to stress. I don't eat a lot of junk food like most people; instead I don't eat at all. I can go all day without eating, then I'm starving at the end of the day, which is the worst time to eat so much. I'm committed to eating better. I know they say eating 5-6 small meals is best, but that's just not realistic for me. I'm not that hungry, I'll forget, and I don't have access to food. I guess I could bring it in to work, but in order for me to remember, I would have to put the food right in front of me. I've actually started putting 2 pieces of fruit in front of my monitor, and that has been working pretty well. I'm also drinking more water. I know that I am severely dehydrated. I can tell in my skin and my hair. Last week I started forcing myself to drink at least 65 oz of water a day. Of course that means that I'm running to the bathroom every 10-15 minutes, but I think that will only last a week or 2. Drinking so much water is also good because it keeps me from drinking other things like sugary juices and sodas. I have to cut myself off from water at 4pm though, because otherwise I struggle holding it in on my way home! Even though it's winter, I try to walk my dog at least a mile each day. He and I both need the exercise- for our weight and our mental state. I'm also going to start doing yoga again 4-5 times a week. I used to be so good at doing it, I guess I just got lazy or depressed or something.

Last week I started taking flaxseed oil vitamins. Flaxseed is rich in omega 6, which is good for skin, hair and muscles. (Fish has omega 3 which is also good, but I already eat a lot of fish.) I haven't noticed a difference, but I have been breaking out all over. I have a rash on my stomach and a couple of itchy bumps on my arms and knees that look like mosquito bites. I don't know if that's from the flaxseed oil, or from the antibiotics I just got off from an ear infection, or something else. I just figure I'll give the flaxseed oil a rest until the rash and bumps clear up.

I really want to wash my hair today. I just got a relaxer Saturday and it's only Tuesday, so I'll wait. My hair always seems to get dirtier faster after a relaxer. Also, I put 100% shea butter on my scalp on Sunday, so it has weighed my hair down. I just need to be strong and wait until Saturday to wash my hair. I guess I could always do a co-wash, but I don't feel like rollersetting and sitting under the dryer today and then again on Saturday. I try to wait to wash my hair until Saturday because I play tennis on Friday nights.

Hair problem A: I don't like my hair after wrapping it. When it was short, I could wrap both sides to the back, but now that I'm in the "in-between" stage of growth, that doesn't work anymore. After a rollerset, I wrap it, and it looks good for the first day or 2, then it flattens out on one side. No matter what direction I wrap, the side I end the wrap in comes out really straight, flat and sometimes sticking out. I know one option is cross-wrapping, but when I try that, the back of my hair loses body. I thought about pincurling, but I'm afraid it won't look as full. I even tried switching the direction of the wrap every day, but then my hair is totally flat!

Here's a good article on moisture vs. protein!

Product Wish List

Here are some of the products I want to buy soon (ranked by importance):
  1. Keracare Dry & Itchy scalp shampoo
  2. Keracare Dry & Itchy scalp conditioner
  3. Keracare Conditioning Creme Headdress
  4. Paul Mitchell Skinny Serum
  5. Paul Mitchel The Cream leave-in conditioner
  6. Some kind of clarifying shampoo (but I read that you can add a bit of baking soda to shampoo to get rid of build-up!)
  7. Round brush
  8. Elasta QP Mango Butter
  9. Keracare Humecto (in the tub) OR Honeysuckle Rose Moisturizing Conditioner (at Whole Foods)
  10. Keracare Silken Seal
  11. Kenra Moisturizing Conditioner

I built this wishlist based on products I've used in the past, recommendations from friends, and reading Macherieamour's blog and LCHF.

2/4/08 Update: I bought #1, 2, 3 last week and I really like them. I'm not buying #4 and 5 because based on my epiphany, I don't think my hair likes Paul Mitchell products too much. I'm going to put some baking soda in my shampoo, so we can scratch #6. I still need to get a round brush (#7), but I won't need that until I have a considerable amount of new growth, which should be in 4-5 weeks. I'm going to go through the products I already have before I try to buy #8, 9, 10, and 11. I am recovering from my hair product addiction slowly but surely!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Product Inventory

Okay, so I just took inventory of my hair products. I'm a little embarrassed about some of the stuff I had. I actually threw a good amount of stuff away or put into storage a couple of months ago, so who knows what I have in storage. Some, I didn't even realize I had!

Shampoo

  • Pantene Pro-V Relaxer & Natural Intensive Moisture Shampoo - I've used this for a couple of years, but I keep hearing it's not good for your hair, so I'm going to stop
  • Warm Spirit Lavender Gentle Shampoo - I really like this stuff, but I don't know if it's good
  • Isoplus Neutralizing Shampoo - I only use if I get a perm at home, which is hardly ever
  • Fuller's Dandruff Shampoo - my girl used to work for Dudley's and gave it to me- it's seems really strong on my hair and leaves it feeling dry and hard
  • Neutrogena Therapeutic T/Gel Shampoo - the bottle is pretty much full because it's so strong- for emergencies only!
  • Icon Swimmer's Shampoo - my old stylist Ghana gave this to me when she heard I was at my uncle's pool a lot. I don't really have an opinion on this product, but I feel like I'm helping somehow...

Conditioner

  • Queen Helene Cholesterol with Ginseng - I don't use much, but I will include this in my DC regimen
  • Organics Hair Mayonnaise - again, I don't use much, but I will start using for DC
  • Motions Moisture Plus Conditioner - I like how my hair feels with this (maybe it's the silicone?), but I've heard not so good things
  • Pantene Pro-V Relaxer & Natural Intensive Moisture Conditioner - like the shampoo, I've used this for a couple of years, but I keep hearing it's not good for your hair, so I'm going to stop
  • Warm Spirit Lavender Finishing Rinse - again, I love Warm Spirit products because I think they're made especially for black women, but I don't know how effective this is...maybe I'll use as a pre-conditioner while in the shower
  • Parnevu Scalp Therapy Leave-in Conditioner - my best friend and her Hampton friends used to swear by this. I do like it in place of setting lotion sometimes
  • Parnevu for Extra Dry Hair Leave-in Conditioner - I've probably only used this once or twice, and I guess I wasn't too impressed
  • At One Botanical Reconstrucor Conditioner with Moisture Recovery - I don't remember the last time I used it, but it looks like it could be pretty good. I'm going to try it soon
  • Elasta QP DPR-11 Deep Penetrating Remoisturizer - this looks really good, but I think I've only used it once (why? because I'm a product whore and forgot it among the other crap I have!)

Setting Lotion

  • Dudley's Fantastic Body Setting Lotion - I love the way my hair feels, but I think I use too much, so I'm going to dilute it with water
  • Lottabody - I swear by Lottabody- it's never let me down
  • Paul Mitchell Foaming Pomade - I used this when I had really short hair; it's good for sculpting. My stylist in Boston uses it for my edges, but it doesn't work for me now that my hair is longer and I roller set it.
  • Isoplus Wrap Lotion - again, good for the short style, but I don't like it as a setting lotion

Oils

  • Warm Spirit Hair Oil - this stuff is the BOMB. It was the only stuff that soothed my scalp and got rid of the dryness after my bad perm in December. It's also good as a hot oil treatment. It has all natural oils (sunflower, almond, etc.). It is expensive ($12 for 4oz bottle) but it lasts a long time.
  • Isoplus Tea Tree & Aloe Oil Sheen - this is just a sample size I bought last month to sooth my edges and to make me not look crazy at work while my scalp was flaky and oozing. I had to apply it a couple of times a day, but my scalp was in really bad shape. I would buy it again even when my hair got back to normal. I love tea tree and aloe ;-)
  • Dudley's Scalp Special Hair & Scalp Oil - J gave this to me years ago when she worked for Dudley's. It's kinda heavy, but good when my scalp is really dry or as a base before a relaxer
  • Razac Perfect for Perms Hair Oil - This was good for my scalp when I had braids. It's a little too heavy for me, so I only use it once in a while. I'm not getting rid of it.
  • Influance Stimulating Scalp Oil - my stylist in NC gave me this sample. It feels soothing, but it's too heavy and it doesn't really help my scalp. I've decided that I don't like the Influance line (I made my stylist stop using the setting lotion on my hair because although it give my hair good body, it's leaves a film on my hair and scalp)
  • Hollywood Tea Tree Oil Skin & Scalp Treatment - this is good for hot oil treatments

Moisturizers/Hairdress

  • Clairol Vitapointe - this is old school (ask your grandma); I find it's best for me when my hair is in it's best shape. It's a great moisturizer, but not heavy at all (the slogan is something like, the grease goes away, but the shine stays - so true!)
  • Johnson Products Ultra Sheen Hairdress - The old green grease in the jar- I know, I only use it to base my scalp before a relaxer!
  • Sulfur 8 - really good for dandruff, and I swear it helps growth. The smell can be hard to take though
  • Big Bad D Keala Oil - I swear by this stuff too. I've been using it since '98. You only need a little, so it's lasts over a year. You can use it on skin too, but I never have.
  • Optimum Oil Therapy Hair & Scalp Quencher - I really like this stuff too. Not heavy at all.
  • At One Itchy Scalp Treatment - I used to swear by this. I only need a little to soothe my scalp and make my hair shiny. It hasn't been working these past couple of months with my scalp problems though
  • Aphogee Balance Moisturizer - I used to use a lot because it helps with thickness, but I find that it makes my hair look dull
  • Dudley's PCA Moisture Retainer - A lot of people recommended this to me, but I haven't had much luck with it
  • Elast QP Recovery Moister Creme Hairdress - I don't even know why I have this. I don't ever remember using it!
  • Frizz Ease Relaxer Moisture Remedy Balm - I bought this because I thought this would smooth down my edges, but it didn't
  • Razac Perfect for Perms Finishing Creme - I love this stuff! It's kinda like the vitapointe, but a little heavier. My Dominican stylist uses it too.
  • Warm Spirit Anahita's Hair Butter - I haven't had much luck with this. It feels heavy to me, but my soror who sells Warm Spirit swears by it

Other

  • Ampro Pro Style Gel - that old black gel. I hate it because it makes my hair feel dry and hard. I need to throw it away immediately, especially now that I don't have short hair
  • Luster's Renutrients Slick Stick - another product that I thought would smooth my edges down. It seems like it works a little, but it's grainy and leaves a gross film
  • Elasta QP Glaze - This is probably the best gel I've ever used. I used to use it to smooth down my nape when sculpting my hair. I'm going to hold on to it even though my hair is longer now
  • Motions Heat Sealer Protective Spray - I thought this would protect my hair when flat ironing. I don't like it because it didn't meet my expectations at all and made my hair feel hard
  • Isoplus Spritz - good when I had a short style, but I'm afraid to use it now
  • Aveda Brilliant Anti-Humectant Pomade - another product people recommended that doesn't work for me, but I hold on to it because it was expensive (I know, I'm stupid)
  • TRESemme European Instant Heat Tamer Styling Spray - another disappointing product I thought would protect my hair when flat ironing. I should have known because of the cheap price and the fact that it's not for black hair. I need to just buy the Paul Mitchell Skinny serum or keep the heat off my hair
  • Dudley's Scalp & Skin Antiseptic Conditioner - I've had this for like 10 years. I used to put it on my scalp and scratch it before washing, but I don't know if I should even try to use it anymore because I'm trying not to scratch my scalp anymore

Whew! That's a lot! I'll make comments about the stuff tomorrow!

The beginning...

This is my first posting. It's also my first official day of my journey to healthy (and I think long) hair. I've decided to journal my journey to track my progress, my methods and the products I use.

Since I was a little girl, I've been pretty obsessed with my hair. I blame it on all the white girls I saw on tv with bouncy, flowing hair. I gave up on having "white girls hair" a long time ago, but I still truly believe that I can have pretty hair that is thick and healthy. I gave up on having long hair about 13 years ago, when I cut it really short, aka the ‘Halle Berry’ hairdo. I've tried 2 or 3 times since then to grow it out, but once it grew a little past my ears, I got frustrated with the in-between stage and cut it. I also felt that it got thin as it grew, but now I know it got thin because I wasn't treating right. I was using too much heat and not enough conditioner and other protectants. I have a lot of theories about my hair (like when my hair grows long it thins), but I'm working on throwing those theories away and base my hair growth on facts and the things I do to it.

About a year and a half ago, I moved to North Carolina from Boston. I went to college in NC, and most of the time I was in college, my hair was pretty healthy. That's another one of my theories- that the Boston water and weather was bad for my hair. Anyway, when I moved here, my hair was really short, but since I didn't have a reliable stylist and I believed that my hair did better here, I thought it was a great time for me to grow it out. I was still getting relaxers in Boston when I would visit every couple of months. My hair did really well the first year, but then it started breaking off. I contribute it to not conditioning it enough, not having a good stylist (which I still don't), and putting heat in it. It really started thinning out when I had my girl put a relaxer in it (I usually ALWAYS get a relaxer done by a professional). I was getting Dominican blowouts every 2 weeks which is probably another factor in my breakage/overprocessing.

In November, I thought I found a good stylist and I was going to her every week faithfully for roller sets. No heat! On December 8th, she gave me a relaxer and a semi-permanent color (I have some platinum hair in the front). The perm didn't burn, but it did itch (a sign). I left the salon feeling good and when I went out that night got tons of compliments. I went home and wrapped my hair like I usually do, and when I woke up, my hair was stuck to my head. For weeks I had oozing scabs, bumps around my hairline and ears, and really really really flaky scalp. No, for real, I was miserable. I didn't want to go out- not even to work, so I wore my hair up in a clip. I even wore a fall (half wig) when I went out one night. The stylist still doesn't know what the problem was. Unfortunately, I don't even know what kind of perm she used. She said that I have a sensitive scalp, but I've never reacted like that before- wait- once about a year ago when I went to a stylist down here who I never went back to. (I promised myself after that that I would let the stylist know how much she jacked me up.) I stuck with the stylist and she gave me weekly deep conditioning treatments, but my scalp was still dry and really really really flaky. I told her that I would give her one more chance to relax me, but if something happened, she was fired! I just got a touch-up this past Saturday (January 26). I just got a relaxer and a protein treatment- no color and no setting lotion. She used an Onyx perm, mild and sensitive scalp (my hairdresser in Boston used Affirm regular). It might have been psychological, but I felt burning after 5 minutes. I timed her (she was so slow and she had a nerve to take a phone call while the perm was in my hair!) and made her wash it out after 15 minutes. I didn't burn and when I woke up the next day okay. When I got home, I put 100% shea butter on my scalp (it made my hair a little heavy, but it's curing my ultra-dry and flaky scalp). But I've decided not to go to her again. I didn't like how she took that call when the chemical was in my hair, and I haven't liked how my hair has been looking. I know I should be more worried about the health, but I also want to look like I actually got my hair done, ya know?

Okay, so here are my hair goals:
1. More thickness - I don't want to see through my hair!
2. Grow to at least shoulder length
3. Be able to rollerset my hair and have it look like I got it done
4. Find a healthy gray platinum coverage

I'm about to take an inventory of my products, which I will list here. I will also post my hair care regimen soon.