Thursday, July 31, 2008

Moisture found!

Yay! After over 6 months of having dry, brittle, flat hair, my hair has become more moisturized, thick and full of body. I still have a way to go to get my hair to the state I want it, but I'm so happy that my hair has come this far.

Some of the reasons for my success so far:
  • Haircut - Getting all of those scraggly dead ends cut off was key for my hair to be able to fall right and absorb products (I know many women can work through the damaged ends, but I cannot)
  • Co-washing - Suave was so good to me, but V05 is my new love!
  • No heat - I haven't put ANY heat in my hair since my relaxer 3 weeks ago...I just have to keep at it.
  • Rollersetting - My skills still aren't where they should be, but I'm going to keep working at it. I've found that the most important thing is making sure that my hair is completely dry.
  • Pincurl/rolling - to give my hair more curl and body, I've been putting my hair in rollers or pincurls while I get dressed. Sleeping with them is too much- it makes my hair too curly and/or frizzy. Wrapping just doesn't work for me, so I'm sticking to the cross wrap for a while at night.
  • Attitude - this is probably the top reason! I truly believe now that I can have healthy hair and the power of positive thinking does work! I don't get upset when my hair doesn't come out the way I want it to; instead I work with it. Like Lisa Akbari says, God gave me this hair and God doesn't make mistakes.
I definitely want to grow it long, but I would honestly be happy having short hair that is thick and healthy!

Product Review: Alberto Vo5 Conditioner, Strawberries & Cream

Product Description
Treat your hair to the fragrance of fresh-picked strawberries and the moisturizing benefits of soy milk proteins in our exclusive patented conditioner. Smooths and detangles as it conditions, leaving hair silky, soft and manageable.

Active Ingredients: Water (Aqua); Cetyl Alcohol; Stearyl Alcohol; Stearalkonium Chloride; Glycine Soja (Soy Bean) Seed Extract; Fragaria Vesca (Strawberry) Leaf Extract; Steareth-21; Glyceryl Stearate; Octoxynol-9; Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C); Thiamin HCL (Vitamin B1); Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A); Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E); Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5); Propylene Glycol; Disodium EDTA; DMDM Hydantoin; Fragrance (Parfum); Red 33 (CI 17200).

After shampooing, apply to hair. Leave on for 60 seconds. Rinse.

My experience
So, I bought this conditioner about 2 weeks ago. I had been reading on the boards how a lot of women like it better than the Suave Tropical Coconut for co-washes. It was on sale for 79 cents, so I thought, why not? I had just had a relaxer a week before, so I wasn't looking for any kind of miracle. I co-washed and roller set my hair. First of all, it smells so good, I want to eat it. My hair definitely felt more moisturized, but not too much more. The second time I co-washed with it, I could really tell a difference. My hair had "slip" while I was still in the shower! With the Suave, sometimes I would add another conditioner right after co-washing for a couple of minutes just to soften my hair more, but with the V05, I didn't need it! I've co-washed 4-5 times since then, and every time, I feel like my hair is more moisturized. I'm so glad I bought it! I want to try the other flavors, but I'm so in love with the strawberries and cream, I'm afraid to try another.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Much Better!

I have to say, my hair is 300% better now that it's somewhat healthy again. I'm so glad I got the rest of my scraggly ends cut off a couple of weeks ago. I went to Atlanta this past weekend, and my hair held up fabulously. I co-washed and roller set it Thursday night, and I didn't have to do anything to it all weekend, besides put a little oil on it a couple of times. I didn't have to use heat, pincurls, nada! I think that's great, given the fact that it was humid in Atl, and I was extremely active- during the weekend, I took a dance class and partied like a rock star, lol. Don't laugh too hard at the photo- I was being silly at a bachelorette party!

I co-washed last night. My set came out nice, but my hair isn't as curly as it was this weekend and I'm not sure why. I used vatika oil and Organix Shea conditioner for my pre-poo as usual (although I usually use Organix coconut or vanilla), but for my co-wash I used V05 Strawberries and Creme conditioner for the second time instead of my usual Suave Tropical Coconut. I know I said I wouldn't buy any more products until I ran out, but it was 79 cents and smelled sooo good! I dc'd with a quarter-size of ORS replenishing, used Giovanni leave in, and set with diluted Dudley setting lotion and water mixed with coconut oil. Even though my hair isn't as curly as it was last week, it is so much softer and feels so much more moisturized and thick. Could it be the V05, or that the Organix Shea conditioner is for 'smoothing,' or the fact that my hair is getting better? I'd much rather have thick, moisturized hair than curly hair, but I wish I knew why the curls didn't hold as well.

My boyfriend watched me do my hair last night and he teased me about going through so many steps. I told him that my main motivation for growing long, thick hair is to prove my stylist wrong. I just found out that he doesn't use shampoo or conditioner on his hair- just water!! The funny thing is, he has the shiniest, curliest hair. Go figure..

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

July '08 Relaxer/New Regimen

My relaxer last week went really well. I didn't burn even though I washed a couple of days before. She used Mizani perm and my hair is really straight. She said since my hair is getting stronger, she'll go back to Affirm next time. I went 8 weeks and I couldn't believe how much growth I achieved. However, I cut another 3/4 of an inch off. I think I finally got all of the over processed hair out. I was going to go ultra short, but my stylist encouraged me not to cut it and see how my hair does now that I am committed to keeping it healthy. I'm glad she did, because I really want to see how long my hair can get. She wrapped my hair and bumped my ends. That style makes my hair too straight for my taste, but I don't always like the way she rollersets, and her shop was too hot for me to be under the dryer that long. Even while she was curling my hair, I could feel my scalp sweating. One thing that bothered me: she told me that I will never have thick hair, which hurt my feelings a little. My hair has been thick in the past, so I don't believe it's impossible for my hair to be thick. When I first moved back and went to her a few months ago, she said my hair was horrendous. I'm not usually that sensitive, but damn, she could have used better words. I just have to put those comments out of my mind and keep working towards my goals. Her negativity will only drive me to work harder on making my hair thick and healthy.

Four days later, I shampoo'd with neutralizing shampoo, since I'm so paranoid now about getting all the relaxer out. I also put a semi-permanent color in, using the black color from the Beautiful Collection. I dc'd with ORS Replenishing. I didn't use a leave-in, because I'm trying to see what the benefits are (I love Giovanni direct on my new growth, but I'm not sure how useful it is on a fresh relaxer). Then I rollerset my hair with small rollers. It came out nice, but a little dry, so maybe I do need a leave-in! Other than the dry feeling (which was cured with some KeraCare hairdress), I'm really happy with my set. I know now that smaller rollers are best, because my curls stay longer, and my hair looks a lot fuller.

Now that I've gotten all the bad ends cut off, I feel so optimistic because it feels like I'm starting over fresh. I also want to simplify my regimen. Sometimes I get product happy from reading all of the hair boards and blogs, so I'm going to stick to the same products for a while, and NOT buy anything until I run out. I've been pretty good lately. The only thing I bought at the bss the other day was the hair color! I'm still on a quest for more moisture, but I'm just going to keep working with the products I have. I'll admit that I haven't been good at deep conditioning lately. My house has been so hot. But, I promise myself that I will dc at least once a week. Using the heating cap rather than my hooded dryer is so much cooler.

Of course, there are some things on my wishlist: Sebastian's Colourshines or ColorShowers, Nairobi foam wrap, some more Organix products, and KeraCare Humecto. But I can't buy them, unless I run out of the color, setting lotion or conditioner that I already have.

I also started taking my multivitamins again. I can't even remember why I stopped taking them 4 months ago. I guess because I was juicing every day and eating so well. Lately, I haven't been eating as well as I should, so I definitely need the vitamins.

My updated regimen:

2x per week:
Pre-poo: Vatika oil and Organix conditioner (coconut or shea formulas for moisture and vanilla for new growth). Work out or sit under dryer.
Shampoo: Co-wash with Suave Naturals Cocounut conditioner. If I do need a shampoo, I'll use KeraCare Dry & Itchy Scalp (if my scalp is dry and itchy) or Elasta QP Moisturizing Shampoo.
Condition: Pantene Relaxed and Natural or KeraCare Dry & Itchy Scalp Conditioner (if needed).
Deep Condition: ORS Replenishing Pak or Aphogee 2 minute treatment if I need more protein. I also apply a semi-permanent color from the Beautiful Collection when needed.
Leave-in Conditioner: Giovanni Direct or Salerm 21.
Rollerset: Lottabody or Dudley setting lotion diluted with water and water mixed with coconut oil to keep my hair wet. Paul Mitchell Foaming Pomade or Elasta QP Glaze to lay my edges and naped down. Set using mesh rollers, end papers and pins, and sit under the dryer for about 75 minutes.
Wrap: After I take the rollers out, put a little Keala oil on hair. Wrap hair and wrap it with saran wrap and sit under the dryer for about 15 minutes OR skip saran wrap and just go to bed with a silk scarf.

Evening: Scalp massage with a few drops of grapeseed or coconut oil, put some oil on my ends if needed, cross wrap or pincurl, and put a silk scarf on. I sleep on a satin pillowcase.
Morning: Comb out the wrap and rub a small amount of KeraCare Creme Hairdress and seal ends with oil if needed.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Relaxer time

Again, I made it 8 weeks! I had never gone longer than 6 before I started my hair journey in January, so I am very proud of myself. I have been experiencing some breakage and my hair has been very hard to style over the past week or so, so yes, it's time.

I'm just worried because I didn't do my "pre-relaxer treatment." I originally planned on going to the salon on Friday, but my stylist called me today and said I could come earlier in the week so I could get in and out. I took Wednesday after work. Now, I'm not sure if I should wash and do a protein treatment 2 days before my relaxer. I haven't been scratching, but I don't want to burn either. On the other hand, I want my hair as strong as it can be. I'll decide when I get home.

I'm also not sure about getting my hair cut. I really want a short cut again, but I also really want to see how long my hair can grow healthy. So, I'll either get it cut really short, or I'll get the last 1/2 inch of overprocessed ends cut off. I just realized that the rollers I've been using to set my hair are too big. I set it on rollers a couple of sizes smaller last week, and my hair came out much better- but only for a day since I sweat it at a cookout on Friday and my roots are thick as thieves. Seeing Malinda Williams at her bridal shower didn't help discourage me from cutting it either!

UPDATE 7/8/08: So I washed last night. I shampoo'd once with Elasta QP Creme Moisturizing Shampoo and did an Aphogee 2-minute protein treatment. I put in some Giovanni leave-in and tied my hair down with a scarf. This morning, I ran through my hair with a warm flat iron, put the front in a clip and off I went. It's really hot and humid today, so there was no use putting in too much effort. Oh, I also oiled my scalp with Hollywood Beauty Castor Oil with mink oil. I'll do it again tonight and tomorrow morning before my relaxer tomorrow evening.
Some pics of my new growth taken today and today's hairstyle, which is not what it looks like today, but similar: