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Friday, March 28, 2008

Some progress..

Today, I actually kinda like my hair. I got a relaxer Saturday, but I washed Wednesday because I'm so paranoid about getting all the relaxer out of my hair after my previous 2 relaxer disasters. I pre-poo'd with ORS replenishing pack, then shampoo'd with neutralizing shampoo and moisturizing shampoo. I got out of the shower and put in a darkest brown rinse from the Beautiful Collection. I sat under the dryer for about 15 minutes, rinsed and dc'd with KeraCare D&I Scalp conditioner and the rest of the ORS replenishing pak and sat under the dryer for another 15 minutes. Then I got back in the shower to rinse. I detangled my hair under the shower, which really reduced the amount of shedding/breakage. I used a small amount of Salerm 21 for my leave-in, and used a little diluted Lottabody to set my hair on rollers. My hair looks a lot healthier, although my ends are still struggling, but not as bad as before my trim. I'm wearing my hair out today, but I'll probably wear it in a clip or bun for the next few weeks. I don't know if I should stretch to 8 weeks since I had so much shedding, but I definitely want to go 7 weeks.

Wrapping my hair is not the move for me- even when I cross-wrap, there is hair sticking up somewhere. My hair won't hold a curl either, and I'm not sure if it's my setting regimen, or the fact that my hair is overprocessed and broken off. I'm just going to keep at it.

I've also been babying my ends with coconut oil every day. It seems to be keeping them pretty moist.

I'm moving next weekend, and a lot of my stress will be gone hopefully. Also, I won't be so scared to go to the hairdresser, because I'll have stylists near me whom I trust!

Monday, March 24, 2008

March 2008 Relaxer

I got a relaxer this weekend, after my 8 week stretch. I don't think I've ever gone that long, unless I had braids or something. I went to a new salon. I was in there for almost 6 hours, so even if I weren't moving out of state in a couple of weeks, I would never go back. I understood that it was Easter weekend, but come on now. I think stylists who book all of those people in such a short time period are just greedy. I don't pay to wait.

Anyway, she used an Affirm relaxer, which I believe is the best relaxer for me. It didn't burn one bit. Not one bit! That is just crazy for me, especially with what's been going on with my scalp the past 3 months. I've been good at not scratching though. I try to never scratch, and it's been working pretty well. I don't think I've scratched since I started my hair journey at the end of January. Back to the salon experience- she was really good at timing how long the relaxer was in, but I didn't really like the way she applied it. She immediately combed it through and I'm sure she got some already relaxed hair. I felt like she was pulling my hair with the comb. She did say that my hair is weak and overprocessed. She said that the top half of my hair is thick and pretty healthy, but the ends are struggling (no surprise). But, she only trimmed the ends as I asked and I still see how much length I have acquired. I got a Joico k-pak treatment (protein) and another deep conditioning treatment, which I asked for. She set my hair on big rollers, so I was only under the dryer for about 30 minutes. Then she wrapped my hair, put a plastic bag on my head and sat me under the dryer for another 10 minutes. I guess this was her version of the saran wrap treatment. Then she trimmed my ends and sent me on my way. No heat, which was great. I didn't see any broken hair in the comb or on my shoulders either, so maybe I will invest in the Joico k-pak when I get settled. I wasn't in love with the style, but then it was the same style I walked in with, so I can't complain. She charged me $70, which I don't think is too bad. I only tipped her because I didn't have exact change. My girl Steph said my hair looks healthy, which I have a hard time believing.

I need to figure out how to strengthen my hair back up. I definitely need a different dc, because I don't think the Elasta QP DPR-11 is all that great. I may just dc with the KeraCare D&I scalp. My old stylist used to do that and my hair was really full and soft. I'm definitely going to wash this week with a neutralizing shampoo and do a mild protein treatment. I have 2 more weeks before I'm moved in, so between that time I don't know what I'm going to do since I'll be staying with friends and most of my stuff will be packed up.

Like I wrote before, I know a lot of my hair problems are from stress, but I'm hoping the sources of my stress will be cleared up in the next week or two. I think a good color rinse will strengthen it up- I just have to find a good one since Jazzing hasn't worked on my gray platinum hair lately..

Friday, March 21, 2008

8 weeks- I made it!

I know that for some people, going 8 weeks between relaxers is nothing, but it's a huge feat for me. When I had really short hair, I never went longer than 5 weeks! I'm experiencing some shedding and breakage, but I've kept my hair up all week and bagged my ends 3 nights this week, so it's not too bad. My roots are a mess though. I have NOT figured out how to soften my new growth. In a couple of weeks after my move, I will try some new conditioners to help control the new growth.

I've been putting Hollywood Beauty castor oil with mink oil on my scalp every other night this week. I will put some pure castor oil on my ends and my hair shaft tonight and tomorrow morning before I get my relaxer to protect the hair that is already relaxed. I have to say, I'm not that impressed with the Hollywood Beauty castor oil. It leaves a weird film on my fingertips that makes me a little uncomfortable. It has some great ingredients (jojoba oil and stuff), but it feel weird. It was only 99 cents. If I hadn't thrown away my ultra sheen green grease the other day when I was in a purging mood, I would use that. I better not burn!

I'm going to a new place for my relaxer tomorrow, so I'm a little nervous. I fired my last stylist a couple of months ago after she didn't wash all of the relaxer out, for the second time. I already know that she uses Affirm relaxers, so that's good. My hair has always responded well to Affirm. I am worried that she will tell me that I need to cut my hair, but I'm going to be strong and only have her lightly trim the ends. If my hair is that damaged, I'm going to tell her that I'll just get another trim the next time. I'm only going to her this one time, since I'm moving in a couple of weeks. I'm not even sure if I'm going to stay with my old stylist back home. She was good at relaxing, coloring and cutting my hair when it was short, but I was never crazy about her styling techniques. The last time I saw her (in October), she had my hair looking crazy. I was able to fix it by wrapping it for an hour, but still! And, she's expensive on top of that. I have a few ideas of other people I can go to...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Baggy Method

A couple of weeks ago, I tried bagging my ends with moisture. I used Dudley's PCA Moisture Retainer and put a sandwich bag over a ponytail for a couple of hours. My hair was well moisturized...for 1/2 a day.

Last night, I tried again, using a different method. I again used Dudley's PCA, but I also used a little Nexxus Humectress. Then I sealed with a little oil (I used Warm Spirit hair butter). I put all of my hair in one roller. I rubbed a little Humectress around in the sandwich bag, put it over the roller and secured with a scrunchy. Then I put my silk scarf on and went to bed. I was worried that I would wake up with some mushy hair, but it worked out pretty well. When I took the baggy off this morning, my hair was well moisturized. I used the curler because I didn't want my ends to bend and end up worse. I'm wearing a phony bun today (and I will for the rest of the week), so my ends are protected- I hope they stay moist! I'm going to do this every night this week, hoping to get my ends back in better shape.

This is great thread for me to help my breakage. Maybe I should add the Mizani Rose H20 Night Time Treatment to my wishlist! I also want to use garlic for my shedding. And, a detangling shampoo!

Monday, March 17, 2008

7 weeks post relaxer...

...and my hair is busted! I'm not sure if stretching is for me. With all of the breakage I'm having, I don't think my hair will allow me to stretch longer than 6-7 weeks in it's current state. I have a hair appointment on Saturday to get a relaxer and a trim. Yes, I said trim. I was going to try to hold out on the trim for a little while longer, but my ends are so bad. I want my hair to look nice again, and at this point I'm worried more about my hair health than my length. I also need a color- bad- my gray platinum hairs are really coming in at the edges. I don't think I'm going to have the stylist do it though. I'm either going to put in a rinse or take the plunge and try henna a week or 2 after my relaxer.

Yesterday, I did my final wash before my relaxer on Saturday. I pre-poo'd with a little amla oil the night before (yes, I know I said I would stay away from oils for a while). I also put a little Organics Hair Mayo on my dry hair before I shampoo'd. I shampoo'd with Dudley's itchy scalp shampoo (to clarify) and Elasta QP Moisturizing Shampoo. I did an Aphogee 2 minute treatment and deep conditioned with Elasta QP DPR-11 mixed with honey. I put some Paul Mitchell The Cream leave-in and a drop of Paul Mitchell Skinny Serum in before I rollerset. My hair was so tangled! I think it may have been the Paul Mitchell products, and maybe even the oil. The Cream definitely thickens my hair up a bit, but it's not worth it if I'm going to be pulling so much out while de-tangling.

My rollerset came out good for my ends, but of course my roots were thick, bushy and rough as hell. I still have not figured out a way to soften my new growth. I didn't do the saran wrap treatment, I just cross wrapped my hair and put a scarf on. Today I put it up in a clip, but it looks terrible. My roots and edges look thick. My hair doesn't feel as hard as it looks, so I guess that's a good thing. I'm trying really hard not to write how much I hate my hair because I promised myself I would stop saying and writing that.

My takeaways from this weekend's regimen: 1) really stop using the oils, 2) take a break from Paul Mitchell, 3) throw away the Organics Hair Mayo (I haven't really seen a difference, and I've head that this isn't as good as the ORS Mayo), and 4) possibly get rid of the DPR-11 and find a really good dc.

I'm tired of looking at other women's hair and wishing I could have it...

Okay, I try not to end my posts in such a down and depressing tone. At least my hair is growing. I know a lot of people with alopecia and other hair growing problems would kill to have my hair. So part of me feels like a brat for even complaining. It's just taking more time that I thought it would to find a good regimen and to be able to do my hair like I got it done. It was so much easier for me with short hair!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

March 2008 Issues

I've known for months that my hair has some serious issues, but I feel like I'm just realizing what they are and maybe what is causing them. My hair is definitely over-processed from Dominican blowouts, having my girl do my relaxer (which she left in too long), and going to a stylist who didn't wash out the relaxers enough and used the wrong products for my hair. I also have realized that I haven't been using the best moisturizer. I still don't know what the best moisturizer for me is, but I know what isn't. Oils are not a moisturizer. I can use a drop to seal in moisture after applying a moisturizer, but that's it. If I only use oil, my hair is crunchy and hard. My scalp definitely doesn't like oil. I feel like the creamy moisturizers are the way to go for me. This past weekend I baggied my ends for the first time ever. I put some Dudley's PCA Moisture Retainer on my ends and put a sandwich bag over them for 2 hours. My hair was extremely moist! For 3 hours, then they started to dry out again. I did it again the next day, but I still had a lot of breakage and shedding. I'm sure a lot of this is due to my being 6 weeks post relaxer. I have never gone past 6 except the last time, and this time I'm going for 8 weeks. I've been reading the ingredients on my products and I'm undecided on mineral oil. Some products that contain mineral oil seem to do well on my hair, while others don't.

Protective styles don't work for me either. I find that it just bends my ends more and feels like more damage. Once my ends are in better shape, I think I can do more updo's and maybe even try ayurvedics again.

I also see what stress can do to the hair. I've been really stressed for the past 3 months. Stress comes out in different ways for me. This time it's through my hair. I think one source of my stress was resolved yesterday, and another will be resolved by the end of this week. I do yoga, take walks and talk out my problems, but otherwise I have no idea how you eliminate stress when it feels like the weight of the world is on my shoulders.

I'm really trying not to cut my hair, but it doesn't look good. A couple of weeks I posted a long rant on here about how much I hate my hair, but I marked it as private because I didn't want the 3 people who read this blog to know how much of a baby I am! I'm getting a relaxer from a new stylist on 3/22 and I don't want her to convince me to get a cut.

I had to wash my hair last night because I'm going out of town for a job interview today. I went to Sallys and bought some Nexxus Humectress, a pack of Aphogee 2 min Reconstructor, and Paul Mitchell Cream leave-in. I pre-poo'd my ends with Organics Hair Mayo and my roots with some old Clairol conditioner I was trying to finish. I washed and conditioned with KeraCare D&I Scalp. I then did the Aphogee treatment for 5 minutes. I was going to deep condition after that, but my hair felt strong and moist, so I just put some of the Paul Mitchell Cream in, a little Paul Mitchell Skinny Serum and rollerset. My hair took a little longer to dry, which I took as a good sign- maybe my hair was soaking in all the conditioner. When I combed the set out, as usual, there was tons of breakage in my sink. I also had a dry scalp, but I'm pretty sure it's product build-up. I "pressed" my roots with my old Gold N Hot curling iron, which gets so hot I would never again use it to curl my hair again. It did a pretty good job on my roots though. Today my hair is a lot thicker, but to me the ends still look bad, even though they're not as dry as they were.

I really can't buy any more products! One, I can't afford them, and two, I'm moving in a few weeks and I don't want to have to pack a crapload of hair products! So, after I move, I'm buying the following products:
  • Apple cider vinegar: I think this will be good for clarifying and getting all of the conditioner off my scalp. I'll mix 1 part ACV with 10 parts of cold water and use this for my final rinse.
  • Shikaki shampoo bar: I just threw mine out because it was stinking up my bathroom and I'm trying to sell my house. I only used it once. I didn't see much of a difference, but I'm going to try letting go of shampoos and only do conditioner washes, acv rinses and occasionally the shakaki.
  • Henna: because I had a bad experience with Bigen in '02, I've been afraid to try henna. However, my Jazzing and Beautiful rinses don't work on my grays platinums anymore, so why not try henna? I just have to figure out what my henna mix will be...
  • Giovanni Weightless leave-in conditioner: I've heard really good things about this. It's supposed to be really good for new growth. I think you can only get it at Whole Food-type stores.
  • Ultra Black Hair (UBH) Lotion Cream: This is Cathy Howse's product. I keep reading about how this is the best moisturizer ever made, it does what it says (MOISTURIZE), it already contains oil in it so there is no need to seal it with oil, and it does not contain protein.
5 products?! I don't think that's too bad for a product junkie like myself. I once had a clothes swapping party with my girlfriends. Maybe I'll have a "hair product swapping party" after I move! lol.

Update 3/13/08: I forgot to add some products!
  • KeraCare Humecto Conditioner - I've heard so many good things about this, and I already use the KeraCare Dry & Itchy Scalp line...I just have to use up some products before I invest in Humecto!
  • Molasses - to stop my breakage and shedding. I just don't want to buy a jar, use it once or twice and then throw it away before my move. I'm trying to move as little as possible!
  • Sweet almond oil - I saw some of this in my beloved oils/lotions/incense store yesterday. After talking to the cashier about its uses, I think this would be good for me to add a little in my conditioner
  • Herbal Essence Break's Over Conditioner - the name says it all

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Product Review: Elasta QP Recovery Moisturizing Creme Hairdress

I didn't plan on doing product reviews on this blog, but I feel so strongly about this product that I had to write something. I need to remember what works and doesn't work for my hair. It's terrible! Maybe some heads of hair love it, but not mine. I've had it for a while, so I don't remember how I felt when I first bought it, but it really sucks for my hair. I started using it about a week ago. The thick cream made me think that it could really moisturize my hair, but I thought wrong. It didn't moisturize my hair at all- in fact, I think it made it feel drier. I took it to Boston this weekend. After 2 days, I knew that this stuff was wreaking havoc on my hair. I threw it right in the trash. However, the next day I pulled it out and jotted down all the ingredients so I could research them and figure out what in it is so bad for me.

Ingredients: botanical extracts of birch, horsetail, horse chestnut, chmomile, rosemary, sage, nettle, lemon balm, coltsfoot leaf in purified water, mineral oil, cetimonium chloride, cetyl alcohol, cetareth-20, dimethicon, capric coprylic triglycerides (coconut oil), glyceryl stearate, PEG-100, stearate, stearate-10, guar hydroxypropylitrimonium chloride, methylparaben, propylparaben, imidazolidinyl urea, frangrance

Before even researching, some of these ingredients look pretty suspect to me. I know I need to stay away from mineral oil, but what's up with the horsetail and calling coconut oil capric coprylic triglycerides?!

My father didn't really have anything in his cabinet except some s-curl moisturizer, which was actually pretty effective on my hair. (Note- My dad doesn't have an s-curl. In fact, he has very soft "Indian" type hair.) I don't think I would use it regularly, but it did the trick for the rest of my stay.