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Friday, August 29, 2008

Decisions, Decisions

It's time for my relaxer and I have 2 appointments with 2 different stylists! One is with my usual stylist, who does apply a relaxer well and gets me in and out pretty quickly, but also has said things about my hair that sort of offended me, is a little expensive, doesn't style my hair well, and is in a location where parking is very difficult (I once drove around for 25 minutes trying to find a metered spot only to realize that I didn't have any quarters!).

My cousin recommended the other stylist to me. My cousin doesn't have a relaxer, but she loves to go to her when she get her hair pressed and told me that women with relaxers come out looking good. This stylist also charges $20-30 less than my usual stylist. She uses the same relaxer (Affirm) and doesn't charge extra for deep conditioning treatments. She's also less than 10 minutes from my house and even works on Mondays! There is plenty of free parking too. I'm just not sure how long she'll make me wait, which is a huge pet peeve of mine.

So I made an appointment with my usual stylist for Saturday and the new one for Monday. Yeah, she's working on Labor Day! I'm just so nervous to try someone new. I even went to the shop yesterday to meet her face-to-face. She was very nice and professional, but I'm still worried. I am always afraid of over/under processing, and I will be hot if I'm in there for a long time. Her card says that she specializes in weaves, which worries me a little too. I want someone who specializes in healthy hair care. I could try her this once and if I don't like her, go back to my old stylist. Or, I could go to my old stylist for my relaxer, and ease into the new stylist by going for a wash & set in a couple of weeks.

I'm so torn! I keep hearing a voice in my head that is saying, "Tif, you get what you pay for." I will be so angry with myself if I go to this new salon and am not satisfied with my relaxer or the service.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Product Review: Pantene Relaxed and Natural Breakage Defense Deep Conditioning Mask

Although I really liked the Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask, it has protein in it, and I needed a solely moisturizing deep conditioner. I have been using the Pantene Relaxed & Natural conditioner for years, and have read good things about the mask. It's was little hard to find. I didn't see it at my local CVS, Walgreens or Rite Aid, but Target had it for a little over $5.

Description
Hair Treatment Uses For women of color. The Present: Extremely brittle, dry, damaged hair that sheds excessively. The Future: Resilient, stronger, healthy hair that has dramatically less shedding due to breakage.

Directions
After shampooing, apply desired amount of Deep Conditioning Mask to hair, concentrating on areas that need special attention. Leave mask on hair for desired length of time. Rinse, dry and style as usual. For maximum conditioning, wear a plastic shower cap and sit under a heated dryer. For best results, use with other items in the Breakage Defense Collection.

Ingredients
water, stearly alchohol, amdimethicone, behentrimonium choride, cety alcohol, coconut oil, jojoba seed oil, panthenol, pathenyl ethyl ether, fragrance, lysine hcl, methyl tyrosinate hcl, histidine, benzyl alcohol, disodium edta, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, sodium hydroxide

My Exprience
Last night, I pre-poo'd with vatika oil and Organix Vanilla Conditioner. I left it in my hair for about 45 minutes while I mowed the lawn. I washed once with Elasta QP Creme Conditioning shampoo and co-washed with V05 Strawberries n Cream. I applied a black rinse from Clairol's Beautiful Collection to my roots and left it in for about 25 minutes- 10 with heat. I rinsed it out, and applied the Pantene R&N Conditioner and combed it through, just to soften my hair up after the color. After I rinsed, I applied about a dime-sized amount of the Breakage Defense Mask to 4 sections of my hair. I covered with heat for about 20 minutes. When I rinsed, I could feel how soft, silky and de-tangled my hair was! I did my usual routine of Giovanni Leave-in, coconut oil/water spray and diluted Dudley's setting lotion to set my hair. Even as I was setting, my hair had so much 'slip' that my hair was sliding off the rollers. When I took the rollers out, my hair extremely silky and soft. I'm 6 weeks post relaxer, and it looks like I'm about 3. This morning when I combed my half-wrap out, my hair had so much bounce! My roots were a little thick, so I pressed them down with a curling iron, re-wrapped and my hair falls much better.

This is definitely a keeper! I've been thinking of creating a regimen for when I'm past 4 weeks post-relaxer, and this product has to be part of it. Maybe I'll be able to stretch longer than 8 weeks. As I walked to the train station this morning, I couldn't help looking at my hair in every car window I passed! My hair usually looks better a day or 2 after I wash it, so it might look even better tomorrow!

I have decided that after my bottle is finished, I'm not coloring my hair black anymore. I like how full and thick my hair looks, but the black seems too severe sometimes, especially in the colder months when my skin is paler. Now that my hair is not as damaged, I think doing a color in the brown/red family will look just as nice.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Product Review: Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask

I've been using ORS replenishing paks to deep condition my hair. However, I thought that I was using it too often, because my hair was becoming too moisturized. I thought this because my hair felt too heavy and weighed down. I bought the NTM Deep Recovery Hair Mask in the hopes of alternating deep conditioning with the ORS. I've heard great things about this product, so I picked it up and tried it last night after a co-wash.

Product Description
- Concentrated weekly treatment for soft, lustrous hair
- Professional - Treats extra dry, over-processed and color-treated hair
- This intensive moisture treatment rescues even the most dehydrated hair strands
- Use this restorative mask each week for effective treatment of extra dry or over-processed hair
- So powerful, just a small amount is enough to restore dried out strands to be soft, lustrous and shining
- Three naturally derived extracts penetrate to help moisturize each layer of the hair strand
- Olive penetrates to the center
- Meadowfoam Seed helps moisturize the middle
- Sweet Almond wraps the surface

Ingredients
Water , Cetyl Alcohol , Behentrimonium Chloride , Cyclopentasiloxane , Dimethicone , Cetearyl Alcohol , Ethylhexyl Isononanoate , Behenyl Alcohol , Meadowfoam Seed Oil Limnanthes Alba , Cyclohexasiloxane , Olive Fruit Oil Olea Europaea , Sweet Almond Oil Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis , Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine , Behentrimonium Methosulfate , Trimethylsilylamodimethicone , Panthenol , Glycol Stearate , Ceteth-2 , Hydroxyethylcellulose , Phenoxyethanol , Methylparaben , Propylparaben , Citric Acid , Mica , Titanium Dioxide , Iron Oxide , Fragrance

My Experience
I deep conditioned with heat for about 15 minutes. I have to say, I was not that impressed with this product. It was good, but maybe I was expecting some kind of magic to happen. I did as it instructed and only used a small amount, but maybe I should have used more. I didn't feel any "slip" as I do with the ORS. It did de-tangle my hair pretty well. When I took my rollers out, my hair was bouncy, but when I combed my hair out this morning, I thought my hair looked a little dry, even though it felt moist.

I realized that this has protein in it, and I probably need a moisturizing deep conditioner. I'm also almost 6 weeks post relaxer, which is a difficult stage for me..my hair is harder to manage at this point. I'm not giving up on the NTM just yet, but I am trying to come up with a regimen that I will use when I'm past 5-weeks post, since my hair just isn't the same and doesn't react to products the same way as it does when I have a fresh relaxer.

UPDATE 8/19/08: My hair looks great today. It's light and bouncy and feels great. Maybe I just needed to sleep on it another night for it to fall better and let my hair absorb the moisturizer. I will definitely use the NTM again!

On another note, I'm seeing some progress with my left side. My left side has always been thinner and weaker than the rest of my hair. I made it worse wrapping my hair and ending the wrap on my left side. It was so thin, that when setting my hair, I only needed to use 2 rollers on that side, while I use 3-4 on my right! Well last night when I set, I noticed a difference in thickness. I rolled using 3 rollers, but I was happy to know that I could have fit in a 4th if I wanted to. So even though I'm not that happy with the style of my hair, the little successes I notice makes me feel good! A woman in a bar last week told me that my hair looked perfect- imagine that!!

UPDATE 10/6/08: I tried this again 2 days ago, and I officially hate this product. When I took my rollers out, my hair was stiff and dry looking. It wouldn’t even lay down. I know I’m 5 weeks post relaxer, but still…it did NOTHING to soften up my new growth. The only thing that helped (a little) was to wrap with saran wrap and sit under the dryer for 10 minutes, then coat my ends with coconut oil so that it didn’t stick straight out. I am so disgusted. I can’t believe they call this conditioner.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Style? What Style?

I've found the right products to use; now I need to work on styling my hair better. Now that it's growing out, I'm not liking the style, or lack of one. My hair looks and feels healthy, but I feel like I look like an old lady with this style. I refuse to have any scissors to my head for at least another 3 months so I need to figure something out.

It's only the past couple of days that I've felt this way. Last week, I really liked my hair, and it rained every day! Lately, the moist weather makes my hair look a little fuller and nicer, in my opinion. I can usually calm the frizz by sealing with grapeseed oil and pincurling. It's only been about 5 weeks since my relaxer, but my roots are somewhat thick, so I'm sure this has a little to do with it. It doesn't seem like it's hard to style, but it's difficult to make my hair lay right without heat. I haven't used any heat (other than a hooded dryer) in about 6 weeks, and I want to see how long I can go. My friend told me to just wrap it and leave it straight, but the wrap doesn't work for me. The side I end with always sticks out and looks crazy- I know it will look crazier with this much new growth!

For this week's wash, I may set with smaller rollers, and wear my hair curly with a headband or scarf pushing it back. I've been wanting to experiment with accessories anyway. We'll see how that turns out.

I can't wait until my hair grows a little longer so I can do more with it! I do see progress, so I'm happy and grateful for that..

Friday, August 1, 2008

Serum

I had never used a serum regularly before. A few of my sorority sisters use Paul Mitchell Skinny Serum before they blow dry or flat iron, and their hair always looks great. I bought some of the Paul Mitchell Skinny Serum a few months ago. Luckily, the bss I was in had it in a small tube, so it wasn't too expensive. I tried it once, but it didn't really do anything. Besides, I'm a little prejudiced against Paul Mitchell products (I blame them on a lot of my damage earlier this year).

Well, after reading how a lot of people rollerset with just water and serum, I decided to give it a try. I mixed about 2 parts water and not even 1 part serum in a spray bottle and set my hair the other day. As I rolled, my hair didn't feel any different than usual. When I took the rollers out, my hair looked so thick (and big, which I like!). However, it felt funny. I'm not sure if it felt heavy, like weighed down, or what. I was just surprised, because I expected it to be light and bouncy. I cross-wrapped my hair and went to bed. When I woke up, my hair was still full of body, but still a little heavy like I had a film on it. My hair looks just fine.

I'm still not sure of this...I don't hate it, but my hair just feels weird. Maybe I used too much or have product build-up. I haven't used shampoo in about 2 weeks. I can say that I'm loving how thick my hair feels when I run my fingers through it. It's supposed to rain this weekend, so I want to see how it holds up in the humidity...

Product Claims
Smooths and conditions unruly hair
Smooths and protects hair with incredible shine.
Helps reduce blow-dry time
Contains our unique Super Skinny® Complex, the finest ingredients and thermal protectants.

Directions
Very concentrated. Rub 1 pump into hands and apply to damp hair starting at the ends and working toward the scalp. Style as desired.

Ingredients
Cyclomethicone, Dimethiconol, Trimethylsiloxyamodimethicone, C11 15 Pareth 7, C12 16 Pareth 9, Trideceth 12, Glycerin, Amodimethicone, Cetrimonium Chloride, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Isobutylparaben, Isopropylparaben, Butylparaben, Fragrance (Parfum), Amyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Salicylate, Citronellol, Geraniol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Limonene

Update 12/10/08: Maybe it was just the shock of using this for the first time, but I've been using this product for the past 4 months every week and I love it! My hair is shiny, silky and bouncy when I take my rollers out!