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Friday, February 29, 2008

Trying to stay positive

I'm trying to stay positive, but I still hate my hair. I know I shouldn't even write or say that, but it's true. I think it's growing longer, but I don't feel like it's getting thicker. I still see a lot of breakage and shedding when I rollerset. I am 5 weeks post relaxer, so maybe that's the reason. I usually don't go longer than 6 weeks, but I'm going 8 weeks this time.

I'm mostly mad because I know I am the one to blame. I've been stressed as ISH lately about a number of personal things I have going on. Also, I washed my hair last night and although I said I wouldn't use evoo anymore, I used the last bit of my ayurvedic oil pre-poo mix with evoo and the last of my deep conditioner mixed with olive oil just so I wouldn't waste it. I thought it would be okay since I also put the rest of my Jazzing mocha rinse in (which did nothing to cover my platinum hairs or make my hair look thicker) before I DC'd. My hair came out shiny, but kinda scraggly and hard. I softened it up a bit with moisturizer, but I still don't like it. Okay, my hair hates olive oil- I just need to accept it.

On top of that, I had to get on a plane this morning, which is always drying for my hair. My girl V picked me up from the airport, and of course her hair looked fabulous. This is really starting to wear on my confidence..When I got to my dad's house, I put more moisturizer on it, pincurled it for an hour or so and when I combed it out, it looked a little better. There will be a lot of family around this weekend and I don't want to look busted, especially since I haven't seen everyone in a while. I can't even wear my half wig, because my new growth does not match. V said her sister could do my hair, but I'm not going for that. For one, I don't trust stylists anymore and I'm afraid she'll convince me to cut my hair. The other reason is that I just washed last night and I don't want more shampoo in my hair stripping it of the little moisture it has.

I thought about getting braids or a weave, but then I remembered that my hair hates braids too. Every time I get braids, my hair grows, but the ends get so damaged that I have to cut the same amount of length that I grew. Plus, I'm on a job search and I don't want to wear braids on any inteviews. Aarrgh! I'm sick of complaining about my hair, even if it is in my own personal journal.
Before I end this, I have to think of the positive: at least my hair is growing. I do have a good amount of new growth, which I contribute to all of the water and carrot juice I've been drinking, the multivitamins I've been taking every day, and the daily 1-2 mile walks with my dog.

Monday, February 25, 2008

End of February update

I washed this weekend, using no oil. I pre-poo'd with ORS Mayonnaise, washed and conditioned with KeraCare D&I scalp products, and DC'd with ORS Replenishing Pak. I used Salerm 21 for a leave in, and used just a little diluted Lottabody and lots of water to rollerset. My hair looks thicker, but it was a little dry. I put a small amount of vatika oil in it this morning, which helped a lot. I've been cross-wrapping my hair for the past week instead of wrapping it all the way around. The back still isn't great, but with some practice, I'm sure I'll like this method much better.

My takeaways from my most recent washing, and the past month, are:
  1. I think I used too much protein and not enough oil this time. My pre-poo, DC and leave-in all had protein, which I'm sure added to the dryness I experienced. I need to find a good balance.
  2. My hair does like oil, but just not a lot of it. I won't be so heavy-handed with them anymore, even in my pre-poo. I also will take a break from castor oil and evoo, which are heavier than vatika, amla and coconut.
  3. I need to be more patient. I'm going back to my original regimen with using the mayo as a pre-poo (maybe add a little bit of ayurvedic oils the night before) and Elasta QP DPR as a DC.
  4. My hair is actually growing! I have over 1/4 of new growth and although my ends are thin, the care I've been giving my hair has helped make the top 2/3s of my hair a lot thicker.
Now, I just need to find something to do with my new growth for the next 4 weeks (next relaxer on 3/22). My scalp is still way too flaky...but I don't think it's dandruff or dry scalp, because it doesn't itch at all. It could be stress or product build-up, but I'm just going to keep doing my regimen for at least another month.

Hair product Ingredients

As I learn more about my hair and what it likes and doesn't like, I have been cognizant about the ingredients in my favorite products. Here are 2 websites that will help me figure out what is good and what I should stay away from:

www.sunsethair.com/ingredients.htm
www.geocities.com/hotsprings/4266/gloss.html

Thursday, February 21, 2008

No oils?

Now I'm thinking that my hair hates oil. Since my hair has been so flat and thin lately, I've been trying to think of what I've been doing different over the past couple of weeks...oils! I put oil in my dc and I've been using my ayurvedic oils as a pre-poo. I've also put a little coconut oil in my hair before rollersetting and using castor oil at night. So either I'm using too much or my hair doesn't like it at all. Last night I put some powder in my hair to soak up some oil, and what do you know, my hair looks a little thicker again! I shouldn't bee too surpised. My hair has always pretty much hated oil, except when I had braids. My hair does like my bbd oil (which I only use a drop at a time) and the warm spirit oil as a hot oil treatment once in a while. Even though I shampoo a lot of the ayurvedic oils out, I guess there still is some left on my hair. Castor oil hasn't been doing a thing for my ends either. See, here’s another reason for me to keep off those hair forums- I know that what works for everyone else usually doesn’t work for me!

This weekend I'm not going to use any oil and see what happens..

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Aloe

While I was growing up, my mother was a firm believer in aloe. She always had one or two aloe plants growing in the house, and she would break a piece off in a minute to rub on a burn, cut, anything. My godfather used to be a professional singer, and once when his throat was hurting, I saw my mother squeeze some aloe juice down his throat! So when I got my own house, I took a piece of my mother's plant and grew some in a pot for when I got cuts and burns. I don't have an aloe plant at the moment, but I still am a firm believer in the benefits of aloe. I keep aloe vera gel in the house for rashes, sunburns, burns and cuts (for me and my pets). Why didn't I ever think of using it in my hair or on my scalp??

I've heard that it's good for areas of the hair that don't grow (i.e. temples). I know my aloe vera gel at home has jojoba oil, vitamin e, and some other great ingredients. I just want to make sure it doesn't have any alcohol in it. If not, I'm going to put some on my scalp the night before I wash my hair!

Here are some aloe facts I found:
  • Aloe Vera is a good way to treat hair loss. Many people use various products that contain aloe vera for maintaining thick and healthy hair.
  • One can apply aloe Vera gel on the whole scalp and hair so as to treat hair loss.
  • Aloe Vera includes the enzyme which is beneficial in stimulating the new hair production.
  • Aloe Vera has been used by Native Americans, Indians and many in the Caribbean to promote healthy hair and prevent hair loss. Aloe’s positive effects on the skin are well known, and likewise it can help the scalp by healing it and balancing the pH level of the scalp while cleansing the pores.

Update 2/21/08: My gel has alcohol in it, so I won't be using it for my hair. The next time I see some 100% aloe vera gel, I'm buying it. I'll also get a plant after my move next month.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Protein Treatment

Today I did my weekly wash. I put in my ayurvedic oil mix (amla, vatika, castor, evoo, coconut) on my scalp and hair last night. This morning I ran some baking soda mixed with water over my hair to clarify, shampooed with KeraCare D&I Scalp shampoo, conditioned with KeraCare D&I Scalp conditioner. I got out of the shower and put a little Jazzing mocha on my grey platinum edges. Then, I deep conditioned with 1/2 of the ORS Replenishing Pak and put a little Organics Mayo on top of that. I sat under the dryer for about 15 minutes, rinsed, put Parnevu for Extra Dry Hair Leave-in Conditioner in (I've been using the dry, itchy scalp one), roller-set, and did the saran wrap thing. I also started taking a multi-vitamin today- I'm still afraid to take a hair vitamin or oil pill (but, I've been juicing carrots and drinking a cup every day for the past 5 days!). My hair does look a lot thicker, so I guess I really needed the protein dc. The roots are getting kinda thick, which I guess I should be happy about, since that equals growth. But, I'm not going to blow-dry my roots until I'm at least 4 weeks post-relaxer (I'm only 3).

Oh, and the rinse didn't work at all on my platinum hair, but I did see some brown highlights on some of the front of my hair. I read online yesterday that the Clairol Natural Instincts isn't semi-permanent when you go darker than your natural shade- it's permanent! After a few minutes of depression about it, I've accepted the fact that I will be black for a while. But, maybe if I keep trying these brown rinses every other week or so, my hair will lighten a little. My hair is so much shinier when it's black..

When I went to the beauty supply store yesterday to get the replenishing pak ($1.49, but cheaper other places), I saw some Ultra Sheen Duo Tex, which is a heavy duty protein treatment. I've read on some of the hair boards that it's really good. It was only $4.99, but I didn't buy it (patting myself on the back). I'm really trying to use the products I have before buying anything else. Plus, it was in a huge bottle, and it would end up just taking up space if I didn't like it. Why can't I find sample sizes of products?!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Protein vs. Moisture

I got some really good advice today, and did some research on protein vs. moisture in my hair. This site really helped me figure out that it's not too much protein, but too much moisture that is causing my problems:

If your hair:
(When Wet or Dry) Stretches slightly and returns to its original length without breaking, you are balanced! Stick with maintaining!

(When Wet or Dry) Stretches a little more than normal then breaks, you need more protein in your regimen.

(When Wet or Dry)Stretches, stretches, stretches with no significant breakage yet, add a bit more protein to your regimen.

(Wet)- Feels weak, gummy, mushy, or limp, you need to add more protein to your regimen.

(Wet or Dry) Experiences very little to no stretching, and simply snaps or breaks, you need to increase the moisture in your regimen.

(Dry) Feels rough, tough, hard, dry, tangly, brittle, or any combination of those, you need more moisture in your regimen.

So, I need to add more protein! The author also give some recommendation for products with protein:

Shampoos- Mane N Tail Shampoo, Motions Lavish Shampoo
Conditioners-Motions Moisture Silk Protein conditioner, Aubrey Organics GPB Leave Ins/Other Products- Aphogee 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor, Aphogee Treatment for Damaged Hair, Aphogee Green Tea Reconstructor, Infusium 23 Leave In Conditioner, Nexxus Emergencee, Nexxus Keraphix, Motions CPR, Cantu Shea Butter BreakCure, Cantu Shea Butter GrowStrong, Profectiv Breakfree Moisturizer, Profectiv Megagrowth Moisturizer, Elasta QP Mango Butter Moisturizer, Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Mane N Tail Conditioner, Garnier Fructis Long and Strong, Organic Root Stimulator (ORS) Hair Mayo, Got2B Soft 1 Minute Emergency, Rusk Sensories 60 second Revive, ORS replenishing pak, Garnier Fructis Long N Strong
Leave Ins/Other Moisturizers- Kenra Daily Defense leave in conditioner mist, Dove Intense Moisture Mist, Salerm 21 leave in conditioner, Organic Root Stimulator's Olive Oil Moisturizer, Neutragena Silk Touch Leave In Conditioner

I'm thinking, I'll use the Organics Mayo as a DC rather than a pre-poo. I've also heard good things about ORS replenishing pak. It's only $1.29, so I can buy it and not feel guilty about falling off the wagon (since I'm such a product junkie)!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ayurvedics

I went to the Indian store yesterday! I bought Dabur amla oil ($2.69), Parachute coconut oil ($2.39), Maya castor oil ($2.69), Dabur vatika oil ($1.99), Swastik shikaki shampoo bar ($1.29).

This stuff is way cheaper than what I saw online- like 70% cheaper. My bill came up to a little over $11, which I thought was great. Sallys was nearby and went in but didn't buy anything (thank God). I almost bought some Nexxus Humectress, but I need to chill with the products for now. I went home, and mixed a pre-poo oil of amla, evoo, coconut and vatika (even though it has coconut). I left it in for a little over an hour, then got in the shower and washed twice with the shikaki bar. I conditioned with KeraCare D&I conditioner, and DC'd with Elasta QP DPR-11. I then rollerset my hair. I didn't do the saran wrap because my hair was very straight when I took the rollers out.

I don't really have an opinion yet. My hair was extremely shiny, but I didn't think it was that much stronger. I still feel like my hair is thinning, so I was again depressed about the amount of hair in my comb and sink. I've only been doing my new regimen for 2 weeks, so like my hair goddess says, I have to be patient and just keep doing it for at least a month before I switch up or make judgement.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Strawset tutorial

I really want to try this, especially when I'm past 6 weeks after a relaxer!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Trying to stay positive

I'm trying to stay positive about my hair, as well as other things going on in my life. My homeboy Manny told me that as long as I use the words try and positive, I'm good. I'm debating whether or not I'm going to co-wash tomorrow or Wednesday. Tomorrow I plan on buying some coconut oil, amla oil, a shikaki shampoo bar and maybe vatika oil from the Indian store I found that's near work. Hopefully they have what I need at a good price- otherwise I'll get the stuff off amazon.com!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Still researching Ayurvedics...

So I'm hearing all this good stuff about Ayurvedics and I'm thinking, it can't hurt, right? Especially given the way I've been feeling about my hair lately. Ayurveda is India’s 5,000 year old “Science of Life” and it is the art of living in harmony with nature. I'm doing some research, and I took the first step to determine my dosha. According to Ayurveda, each of us has a unique mix of three mind/body principles which creates our specific mental and physical characteristics. These three principles are called 'doshas'. Most of us have one or two doshas which are most lively in our nature, with the remaining one(s) less significant. Based on the quiz, my overall dosha is PITTA. In my body, I'm VATA, and in my mind I'm PITTA.

Based on the site, Pitta-types generally have a medium amount of physical energy and stamina. They also tend to be intelligent and have a sharp wit and a good ability to concentrate. Fire is a characteristic of Pitta, whether it shows up as fiery red hair or a short temper. They are ambitious by nature but also can be demanding and abrasive. Pitta types are known for their strong digestion but should be careful not to abuse it. Their heat makes them particularly thirsty, and they should take caution not to douse their agni, or digestive fire, with too much liquid during meals. Pitta dosha leads us to crave moderation and purity. We rely on Pitta to regulate our intake of food, water, and air. Any toxins, such as alcohol or tobacco, show up as a Pitta imbalance. Toxic emotions such as jealousy, intolerance, and hatred also should be avoided to keep Pitta in balance for optimum health. Pitta digestion is usually strong and intense. Pittas should favor cool or warm, rather than hot, foods, with moderately heavy textures. Foods should include bitter, sweet, and astringent tastes.

Pittas work hard all day and sometimes have trouble turning off their active minds to go to sleep. They need to take some time between work and sleep to really wind down and relax. A cool shower or bath also helps to soothe Pitta toward a restful night's sleep. Pitta digestion is usually strong and intense. Pittas should favor cool or warm, rather than hot, foods, with moderately heavy textures. Foods should include bitter, sweet, and astringent tastes.

This is so true for me! They even give a diet sheet, which I'll try to incoroporate into my diet.

As for my hair, I've been reading these websites (in addition to Healthy Hair Textures and LCHF):
www.ayurveda-herbal-remedy.com
www.pioneerthinking.com
www.indianhairoil.com
www.ayurvedahaircare.com
www.pureayurveda.com

I hate my hair today

I'm really not happy with my hair. It feels so thin and I got depressed this morning when I saw all the hairs in the sink when I combed the roller set out. I know you're supposed to loose like 40 or more strands every day, but since my hair is feeling (and looking) so thin, I don't feel good about it. I washed it today, using the same routine as I did last week. My hair is bouncy and shiny, but I don't like how it looks. Could it be that I'm using too much conditioner? Did I roll it too tight? The conditioner has definitely cut down the shedding, but there were a lot of broken hairs today. My hair has looked worse, so I shouldn't complain so much- I'm stressed out about other things, so I'm sure that's a factor. I may try to put a Jazzing brown color in it next week, since rinses usually make my hair look and feel thicker. I was just trying to work on conditioning it to a better state before I put another color in it. I put a Clairol Natural Instincts black semi-permanent color in it about a month ago, and that just made things worse. My hair is black and shiny, but it definitely is thinner. Jazzing is also made by Clairol, but it's for black hair and my hair has liked it for years. What was I thinking?! I really regret using the "white girl" color.

Update 2/11/08: After a couple of days of thinking, I'm pretty sure that my problem is too much protein (I pre-poo with ORS Mayo). I remember years ago when I had an Aphogee treatment, it made my hair brittle like this. So, I'm going to only do the ORS Mayo pre-poo once a month and use moisturizing conditioners for my pre-poo and conditioning. I'm going to co-wash my hair this week and see if things get better. I'm still not sure if I'll put a rinse in or not..

Friday, February 8, 2008

It's just hair...

...NOT! A woman’s hair (especially a black woman’s hair) is so much more than just hair. My hair means a lot to me. For me, my hair represents my personality, style and creativity. The health and style of my hair represents different phases in my life, my moods, my health, and my overall feeling about myself. You cannot have pretty hair if your overall health (physical and mental) is not where it should be. Therefore, this hair journey represents a quest for physical health, mental health (no stress!) and self confidence. My hair means a lot to me at this point in my life, especially since a lot of other things in my life are lacking. Now that I am on this healthy hair care journey, I know that I have to work on other aspects of my life too. I know that my hair should not be the only thing that defines me, but it can certainly be one of the things that does. So whether my hair falls to my behind, is cut in an ultrashort style, or anywhere in between, I use my mane as an extension of my own personal style!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Bad pincurl

I pincurled my hair last night, and this morning it looked so busted! It's kind a big deal too, because I'm in Dallas for work and of course I didn't bring a flatiron or curling iron. I think my hair is just too thin for this. I just put it back in a clip. I did it to get some body because my hair was so flat, but oh well!

Updated at 5:54pm: I'm still pissed about this pincurl. What did I do wrong?? Last week my pincurl wasn't perfect, but at least there was curl. Today my ends were all frizzy. I really don't want to put any heat in it, but I do want to wear it out when I go out tomorrow night. I'll just try to find something cute to put it up in a ponytail...

Monday, February 4, 2008

Some of my hair idols







Thinking about Ayurvedics..

I'm thinking about introducing ayurvedics in my hair care. I just want to work on getting my hair and scalp to a little healthier state for the next few weeks. I found an Indian store here in Durham that sells oils, henna and ayurvedic medicines, so I will visit them soon and maybe even talk to someone who works there. I didn't look for any in Boston, because I'm sure there are plenty!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Liz Muller

I like Liz Muller's video tutorials. She does a lot of styling for longer hair, but she's still very informative! When I'm brave enough to do my own relaxers, I'll definitely refer to her site and this one.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Epiphany

Okay, so I've been blogging and complaining about my dry scalp since that horrible relaxer I got in December. However, when I washed my hair today, my scalp is FINE. There aren't any flakes, but there is some dry skin around my hairline, but I think it's residue from the rash from my reaction to the flaxseed oil pills. My scalp issues must have been from the products or the method my stylist was using. She's officially fired as of today. She's a nice person, but she doesn't appreciate the fact the my hair is not the same as everyone else's and doesn't like the same products she uses on everyone. I had her not use the setting lotion (Influance) she and all the other stylists in the salon use, but she did put some Paul Mitchell Cream in my hair before she rollerset it. Maybe my hair doesn't like Paul Mitchell products either. I haven't liked my hair since I started going to her in November. I can't believe I stuck with her this long, because I'm famous for switching hair stylists. I guess because I don't really know or trust anyone in NC, I stayed with her. I'm back to doing my own hair from now on. I just need to find someone to do my relaxers, because I don't trust myself enough to do it.

My first wash using my new regimen

Last night I did my daily scalp massage and put some MN mixed with sulfur 8 on my scalp. Today, I washed & conditioned my hair with new my plan for the first time:

Pre-poo:
Organics Hair Mayonnaise
Shampoo:
KeraCare Dry & Itchy Scalp Shampoo
Elasta QP Creme Conditioning Shampoo
Condition:
KeraCare Dry & Itchy Scalp Conditioner
Deep Condition:
Elasta QP DPR-11 mixed with extra virgin olive oil and honey
Leave-in Conditioner:
Parnevu Scalp Therapy Leave-in Conditioner
Rollerset:
Lottabody diluted with water and water to keep my hair wet. I set my hair on rollers and sat under the dryer for about 80 minutes
Wrap:
After I took the rollers out, I put some KeraCare Creme Hairdress and Isoplus Tea Tree & Aloe oil sheen on my hair. I wrapped my hair and wrapped it with saran wrap and sat under the dryer for about 15 minutes

I love the results! I liked all of the products, so I'm going to do the same thing next weekend. I'm so happy! You can see my pictures here.

Friday, February 1, 2008

TGIF

I'm so glad it's Friday. My hair really needs to be washed. Last night I massaged my scalp with tea tree oil. There were flakes everywhere. I don't think I have dandruff, just really dry scalp. It all started from that bad relaxer I got in December. I pincurled my hair again, and instead of doing 3 pincurls, I did 4 (2 in the back, 1 on each side). I also curled the left side to the back instead of the front. This morning, my hair looked just okay, but I think it's because it's so dirty and heavy with product (shea butter, oil & moisturizer). It's rainy today, so I put it up in a clip with just a little of the right side out. I even got a compliment from a co-worker, lol! I went to Beauty World yesterday after work to get the products I need for my first wash of my new regimen. The KeraCare Dry & Itchy Scalp shampoo and conditioner were each $17.99! I really want to use the KeraCare Dry & Itchy Scalp line since my scalp is in such bad shape right now. I can get them cheaper online, but I won't get them by tomorrow, and with shipping and handling, it might add up being the same. I'm going to look at another place called Sunny's here in Durham today after work, hoping it will be a little cheaper. Another reason for me to get the heck out of Durham- in Boston, I know of all the places to get stuff!

I think I'm allergic to the flaxseed oil pills I've been taking. I've had a rash on my stomach, arms, legs, and face every since I started taking them. I forgot to take them for 2 days this week and it cleared up, but when I took one yesterday, I was so itchy and the rash on my face re-appeared. I took benedryl last night and it seems likes it's clearing up. I'm laying off the vitamins for a minute. I've been eating really well lately, so I'm going to continue getting what I need through food. I feel like I'm doing the right things for my scalp, but I know it's going to take a little time to get it healthy again.

Update: I went to Sunny's after work (it's closer to my house and has all the stuff Beauty World has), and the KeraCare stuff was a little cheaper. The D&I shampoo was $14.99 and the conditioner was $16.99. The wierd thing is that the conditioning creme hairdress was more expensive at $11.49 vs. $9.99. I got all 3 anyway. I also bought some Elasta QP Creme Conditioning Shampoo, a sample size carrot creme, a sample size oil sheen and a spray bottle.

Also, I'm confirming my allergy to the flaxseed oil pills. I wasn't itchy at all today.