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Monday, December 5, 2011

Coconut Oil Pre-Poo

This weekend I pre-pooed overnight using coconut oil. I applied the oil to my dry hair in 4 sections, put a plastic cap and a scarf on and went to bed. In the morning, I shampooed with ORS Creamy Aloe Shampoo, and deep conditioned with an ORS Replenishing Pak. I set my hair on rollers using a little diluted setting lotion and water. When I took the rollers out, I really liked how thick and moist was. It felt a little weighed down- from the coconut oil, but as the day when on, it didn't feel so bad. I pin curled it over night, and in the morning it wasn't weighed down at all.

I used to use a coconut oil/water mix to set my hair, but I stopped when my hair got healthy, thinking I didn't need it. I guess I do need to either pre-poo with it or spray a little on my hair before it dries going forward because my hair is almost always dry after my rollersets. I know I need to be more consistent, and I definitely am not as consistent as I should be with coconut oil. My hair has always loved it, but for the past year or so, I've been using other oils. I'm going back to basics with my regimen because even though my hair isn't it bad shape, it isn't in the best shape. I'm using products that worked for me when I first started my hair journey- coconut oil, vatika oil, and ORS Replenishing.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November 2011 Relaxer- Nothing Like a Good Cut!

I was not getting along with my hair for the past few weeks. It was hard to style and seemed damaged and thin to me. Even my buns looked wack! I usually don't like my hair the week or 2 before a relaxer, but this time felt different. I was seriously thinking about transitioning to natural. I felt like my hair would be so much thicker and healthier without a relaxer. I even talked to some of my natural friends about transitioning.

I ended up getting a relaxer, but I'm still thinking about transitioning. It's such a huge commitment and a lot of work, and I don't know if I'm up for it right now. My life is really busy, and I give a lot of presentations at work, so I have to look polished and professional every day. I do believe that natural hair can look professional, but I also understand that there might be some "not-so-pretty" days while I transition! I would love to see what my natural texture is like since I've been getting relaxers since I was 13. My hair doesn't thrive with braids or weave, and I keep hearing about heat damage with too much flat ironing, so I just need to come up with a plan...

Anyway, because of my hair frustrations, I decided to try a new stylist. My stylist is good, but she insists on relaxing me bone straight and won't use a mild relaxer. She also is much better at styling shorter hair. When I started going to her, I had a tapered cut. As my hair got longer, she could only do a blunt cut. So I went to my girlfriend's salon. I went to this salon a couple of years ago, and didn't like the stylist I went to, but this time I went to another stylist. I was really impressed with my experience this time. Everyone was extremely professional- even the receptionist shook my hand, and they took me right away. I had to fill out a form about my hair, and the stylist talked to me about the kind of relaxer I wanted. We decided on Mizani Mild. I've been getting Mizani relaxers for a couple of years and she said that they are very conditioning. I noticed that almost all of the products in the salon were Mizani, Affirm and Paul Mitchell, which I thought was a good sign.

I got a little worried when the wash girl combed my hair out as she prepped my hair, because I felt like she was manipulating my scalp. It was fine though, because I didn't even burn. I noticed that my stylist relaxed my edges last, which is a good thing because I can't remember a time when my edges didn't have breakage. When I started "tingling," the wash girl immediately ran over and sprayed that area with oil sheen. She rinsed the relaxer out and added conditioner in my hair, which she let sit as a stayed over the sink for about 10 minutes. I'm not sure what kind of conditioner it was, or if it was a protein conditioner, but it felt and smelled really nice. After washing and conditioning, the stylist set my hair on plastic mesh rollers and I sat under the dryer for about an hour. I asked a lot of questions while she did my hair. She gave me some tips on maintaining my hair at night and when I work out. The receptionist also gave me a sheet with hair tips. I knew all of them already, but I thought it was a nice gesture, especially for people who don't know how to take care of their hair.

After my hair was dry, she asked me if I wanted a trim. I said yes, because 1) I knew I needed one, and 2) I wanted an actual hairstyle. I don't think I've had my hair cut into a style in a couple of years- that's the drawback of being so determined to grow your hair long! We decided to "trim" a few layers in my hair to make it look fuller. I also got a little side sweep in the front. She didn't wrap my hair after, which I like (my hair does not like a full wrap). She just massaged my scalp to loosen the curls, and lightly blow dried the top to smooth it out. I love how my hair came out! It looks so much thicker, which is incredible to me since my hair usually looks so flat after a relaxer. For the past few days, I've been alternating pin curling and cross-wrapping it at night. She recommended that I use Paul Mitchell Skinny Serum as a moisturizer and adding a little oil if I need it in the morning and before I work out. I will definitely visit her again!


It's amazing what a good trim/cut can do. I feel like my hair is so much easier to style and that products work so much better.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Satin BraidOut

I decided to try another braidout last night. I think this was only the second or third time ever doing a braidout. The last time, my hair was dry, frizzy and looked really short. This time, I did the satin braid out method, inspired by ZanAndRob.

I put some castor oil on my roots and ends and went to a Zumba and Pilates class. When I came home, I co-washed with Tresemme conditioner (my first time using it- I love that stuff!). I applied Aveeno leave-in and a little Morrocan oil, tied down my edges with a satin scarf and let my hair air dry. When it was just about dry, I divided my hair in 4 sections and applied Hollywood Beauty Castor Oil and Silk Elements Mousse to each section. I did twist at the top and braided the rest with the satin strips. I made my four strips out of the fabric I had left over from lining my, my son's and my man's hats last weekend. Then I tied my hair down with a satin scarf and went to bed.

This is how I looked this morning:


I really like it, although I don't really like how the top of my hair came out. Maybe next time I'll cornrow it instead of twisting it, which is why I wore the front up in a clip. It was a challenge to flat twist my hair like that. I really like how this method stretched the hair more, so my hair looked much longer than my last braidout. I am also very pleased with how moisturized my hair feels. I was prepared to add something to it, but I didn't need to.

Now let's see if I can get it like this again tomorrow, lol!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Skin Product Review: Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Cream Cleanser

I haven't really talked about skincare on this blog, so this is a first. I do think the condition of my skin is related to my haircare, since I'm sure hair products get on my face somehow. I'm sure my increased use of oils has had an effect on the skin on my face.

In February, I noticed that my forehead was breaking out. I've always had combination skin, but my forehead had become extremely oily. When I went to the doctor for a check-up in April, I talked to her about it, and she gave me a prescription for some cream. I can't remember the name of it, but she told me that it could dry out my skin. I used it for a couple of weeks, and it actually made my skin oilier, and caused more breakouts! I ditched the cream, and tried different facial cleansers- soaps, astringents, scrubs, etc. By the summer, the bumps started to spread to my temples and below my eyes. About a month ago, I bought some Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Cream Cleanser. For some reason, I had been hesitant about trying a cream cleanser, since my forehead was so oily. Well, I saw a difference within a week. Now, my forehead is almost completely clear! I use it in the mornings and in the evenings, even though the directions caution about using it more than once a day. I noticed that if I only used it once a day, I saw more breakouts. I also moisturize after using it with a moisturizer with salicylic acid. I'm so glad I found a product to clear up my skin. I was starting to feel like a teenager with bad skin- and I didn't even have acne as a teenager!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Castor Oil Overdose?

My hair has been responding extremely well to castor oil lately. I think it's due to the season change- my hair seems to like this oil better in the cooler months. It has helped to keep my hair from getting too dry, and it has made my strands look thicker. I think I overdid it last week, though. Actually, I think I didn't wash it out enough. I applied a good amount of castor oil to my scalp a day before my wash day. I used diluted shampoo to clean my scalp, and I probably should have used straight shampoo. I proceeded to deep condition (using conditioner with a drop of castor oil in it!) and rollerset my hair. Although my hair looked good (=thick), it didn't feel good. It was really weighed down and felt like there was film of oil on it. On top of that, my scalp was flaky and a little itchy. At first, I thought I could keep it like that for a few days, but moisturizer and serum weren't doing anything but causing more buildup, and I didn't want my scalp to be clogged, so I shampooed again. I used a moisturizing shampoo along with some Hair One cleansing conditioner. When I finished, my hair felt great and was so easy to detangle. I airdried with a scarf and my ends clipped up. When I woke up, my hair was smooth and moist. My ends were a little dry, but I'm still working on this airdrying thing.

What I learned from this experience is that I can continue to use castor oil, I just need to use shampoo when I wash. I was afraid that the shampoo would remove all of the effects of the castor oil, but that's not true. Even though I don't like too much manipulation, my hair really does like being washed or co-washed more than once a week. I also learned that me and airdrying might be able to get along after all! I'm going to try to shampoo my hair once a week, and co-wash once a week. I'll airdry at least one of these washes and see what happens. I'm really trying to bun the majority of time this fall/winter, so maybe this will help.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Product Review: Moroccan Oil

I bought a bottle of Moroccan Oil about a year and a half ago, but I am just doing a review, because I've been using it off and on, in different ways.

Product Description
A great multi-tasker, Moroccanoil has been formulated to treat your hair instantly – a leave in product that leaves hair silky and shiny without any residue. Regular use of the Moroccanoil Oil treatment is said to help restore hair damaged by colouring or heated styling. Moroccanoil also works as a styling product, and is great for eliminating frizz on all hair types.

Ingredients
Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Butylphenyl Methyl Propional, Argania Spinoza Kernel Oil (Aragan Oil), Linseed (Linum Usitatissimum) Extract, Fragrance Supplement, D & C Yellow 11, D & C Red 17, Coumarin, Benzyl Benzoate, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone

Directions
Styling & Finishing:
Shampoo and Condition your hair as usual. Start with a small amount in the palm of your hand and work it through damp hair. Style as normal, enjoying the defining properties of Moroccanoil.
Protection:
If you're hairs frizzing or reacting to the weather (humidity or rain in particular) apply Moroccanoil as and when required.
Colour Process:
Before applying colour, prepare hair by applying a pea sized amount of Moroccanoil The Original Treatment Oil directly onto the hair. Gently rub the product through to enhance the hair's ability to absorb colour.

Do not rinse the hair before applying colour or bleach.

Add 4 to 5ml of Moroccanoil Treatment Oil to the colour mix and continue the process as usual. This will enhance shine, elasticity and depth of colour.

My Experience
I first used this product on damp hair before rollersetting. I had heard so many good things that I was really disappointed when I ended up with dull, lifeless hair. Then I tried it as a serum before flatironing. Still no luck. A couple of months ago when I was at the Dominican salon, I noticed they added some Moroccan oil to my hair after they took my rollers out. So I decided to do the same thing when I set my hair at home. The results were totally the opposite! My hair was shiny, bouncy and moist! I only need to use it one time between washes, which is great. This product is more a serum rather than an oil, and my hair doesn't like a lot of "cones" so it's perfect that I don't need a lot of it. This is definitely a staple for me now!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sick Hair

I have a head cold, and it seems like my hair has a cold too! Every time I get a cold, my hair gets dry and crispy. What's up with that?! I've been moisturizing and oiling it, but it doesn't stay moist. I know I'm probably a little dehydrated, but I've been drinking lots of water. I want to wash and condition my hair, but I. have. no. energy. I'm tired from just putting my hair in a bun.

Hopefully, I'll feel well enough to deep condition in the next day or two.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

September 2011 Hair Updates

I haven't been blogging for the past month, partly because work and life has me busy, but mostly because I've just been trying to stay consistent with my hair regimen. The only new thing is that I have been baggying more, but I only do it for a short period of time. Either in the evening or in the morning while I'm getting dressed, I apply a little moisturizer to my hair, put on a plastic cap, and then a silk scarf. I keep it on for about an hour while I cook dinner or get dressed. When I take the scarf and bag off, my hair is super moist. I've been doing this 3-4 times a week and it seems to solve my dry hair problems. My edges have always been a problem- they get dry and then break off. I've noticed the biggest difference in my edges. Baggying keeps them moist and they lay down the way I want them to. An hour is just enough for me to baggy. I find if I baggy overnight or for longer periods, my hair is just mushy, wet and weak.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Low Porosity Hair

When thinking about hair porosity, I think of hair as a sponge. Porous hair (high pH level) is like a sponge with large holes, taking in a lot of moisture. Low porosity hair is like a sponge in a plastic bag. It's hard for liquid to penetrate it, but if held under water, eventually the sponge absorbs the liquid. Porosity is mainly controlled by how 'tightly' closed the cuticles on your hair are. The cuticles close in acidic conditions, and open more in basic conditions.

Symptoms of Low Porosity Hair:

* Hair floats when you do the strand test (put a clean strand of hair in a cup of water and see if it floats or sinks)
* Hair takes a while to get wet
* Hair takes long to dry
* Water and oil just sit on the hair
* Hard to moisturize (aka your hair stays dry)
* Hair is sensitive to protein
* Relaxers don't "take"

If any of this applies to you, you may have hair with low porosity! My hair definitely has trouble retaining moisture, takes a while to dry sometimes, and floats when I put it in water. I realized a couple of months ago that my hair had low porosity because treating my hair with low pH levels wasn't working.


Ways to manage lo-po hair:

Use warm water to rinse. It is recommended that we rinse conditioner out with cold water to seal the cuticle, but since low-porosity hair already has a closed cuticle, you don't want to seal it anymore.

Stay away from acidic shampoos and conditioners. For a while I was using Roux Porosity Control, but eventually I noticed that it either did nothing for my hair, or it made it hard. My hair can take apple cider vinegar (ACV) sometimes, but not a lot and not often. I've been using Organic Root Stimulator Aloe-Rid Shampoo, which I love. It clarifies my hair, opens my cuticles enough to accept a deep condition, and makes my hair soft.

Steaming. The hot steam will open up the cuticles, which is why so many low-porosity heads love steaming. I don't have a steamer, so I do the "DIY" method, which is applying conditioner, then a plastic cap, then a very hot wet towel, then another plastic cap, then another hot towel, then another plastic cap. Then I sit under the dryer for at least 15 minutes.

Use moisture-rich products. It is said that this hair type is least resistant to damage through styling and grooming, but it's really important to keep it moisturized. Be careful with the protein! My hair doesn't seem to be too sensitive to protein, so I try to incorporate a light protein in my hair for every wash, whether it's the pre-poo, deep condition, or leave-in conditioner. It's even more important for low-porosity hair to have a good moisture/protein balance. I'm still on a the hunt to find a good moisturizer. My hair is also sensitive to too much oil, so I have to be very light-handed when applying oils.

DC with heat. This is important. It's even more important to deep condition for a substantial amount of time. If I can, I'll leave in my conditioner over night, or for hours while I do housework/run errands/go to the gym.
Edit: I realized the hard way that I have to deep condition with heat.  Working out or keeping the conditioner in for a long period of time doesn't work for me.

Baggy the hair. This is basically bullying your hair to accept moisture. Because my hair is fine, baggying for a long time turns my hair into mush and makes it even more fragile. So, I usually baggy for about 2 hours at a time and that's it. I apply a little moisturizer and then put on a plastic cap for a couple of hours. I've only been doing this for a couple of weeks, about 3 days a week, but I can already tell a difference in my moisture level.

Heat before relaxing to open the cuticle. I don't have a problem with relaxers straightening my hair, but many women will flat iron or blow dry their hair before relaxing to open up the cuticles so that the relaxer takes a shorter time to straighten the roots.

Use alkaline products with a high pH (above 6, or so). Baking soda rinse - baking soda is alkaline.

Apply a semi-permanent color. Semi-permanent color lifts the cuticle
I am not sure if my hair always had a low pH level, or if it came with having a child or just getting older.

I'm determined to keep my hair moist, thick and healthy, so I will continue to try new products, techniques and tools!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Can't Do My Own Hair?!?!

Last week I went to a Dominican salon for a rollerset. I really like how my hair came out. Lately I feel like I can't do my own hair anymore! My hair doesn't come out as smooth as I want it and my ends are never as healthy-looking when I do it. It's like I have a different head of hair when I get it done. When I get it done at the salon, my hair is easier to maintain and it accepts products better. I don't know if it's because my hair is longer, that I don't have a good hooded dryer, or that I'm not using the right products/rollers, but I need to figure out how to create a nice style myself soon. I don't want to go to the salon every week because I hate going to the salon. It seems like a huge drain on my precious time. Fortunately, the place I go for rollersets gets me in and out, but I'm still not trying to be in there on a weekly basis.

The only thing I didn't like about this last salon experience is that the woman who washed my hair, washed the hell out of it. My hair really wasn't that dirty! My scalp felt sensitive when she was done. I wasn't feeling it at all. Fortunately, my hair didn't feel stripped or dry when I left the salon. Even still, I've decided that the next time I go, I'm going with conditioner already in my hair, and I'm not going to let them shampoo me more than twice.

I'm seriously considering investing in a good-quality hooded dryer. I also need to learn how to use magnetic rollers so that I can use the larger ones and shorten my drying time. I don't know how to blowdry my own hair, but I'm not that interested in learning. If I can rollerset my hair and the majority of my hair comes out smooth, I don't mind flat ironing the roots if I need to.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Product Review: Aveeno Nourish & Condition Leave In

I needed a new leave-in conditioner, and since the ingredients looked interesting, and I had a coupon, I bought the Aveeno leave-in conditioner. It retails around $8.50 at drugstores.

Product Description
Aveeno Nourish+Condition Leave-In Treatment with nourishing wheat complex deeply replenishes dry, damaged hair. Does much more than nourish and condition - it quenches the thirstiest hair with a fusion of deep conditioners and moisturizers, recharging it with healthy new life. Hair is instantly revitalized and scientific studies show that just three uses helps repair dry damaged hair. This exclusive Active Naturals formula, infused with Nourishing Wheat Complex, is designed to feed your hair - replenishing moisture as it zeroes in on the weakest part of hair - fortifying the hair shaft with protein where it needs it most.

Ingredients
Water, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetearyl Alcohol, PPG 3 Benzyl Ether Myristate, Triticum Vulgare Gluten (Wheat), Triticum Vulgare Germ Oil (Wheat), Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Quaternium 91, Glycerin, Cetrimonium Methosulfate, Butylene Glycol, Amodimethicone, Fragrance, Propylene Glycol, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, May Contain (+/-): CItric Acid

Directions
Spray all over hair or on concentrated areas as desired. Comb through to distribute evenly. Do not rinse. For best results, use the Aveeno Nourish+Shampoo and Conditioner designed to suit your hair texture.

My Experience
I am really blown away by this product! After I rinsed out my deep conditioner, I sprayed the Aveeno in my hair from root to tip. There really isn't a scent, and the consistency is like a watery cream. To me, it's a combination between a creamy and liquid leave-in. I could immediately feel how moist my hair was, which I attribute to the second ingredient, Behentrimonium Methosulfate. Like I do with all leave-ins, I allowed it to sit in my hair for a few minutes before I de-tangled. I find this way allows the conditioner to soften my hair and make de-tangling easier. I then combed my hair with my shower comb- the comb just glided through my strands. Then I allowed my hair to airdry. I noticed that my hair took longer than usual to dry. I didn't mind this, as when my hair dries too quickly, I end up with dry, crispy ends. I also feel like this product actually penetrated my hair, which not many products do since my hair is has a low porosity level. When my hair did dry, it was moist, shiny and thick.
I did the strand test after using this product and my hair did not float! I'm wonding if this will help my low porosity issues...
I have used this leave-in twice, but have not tried rollersetting with it yet. I'll report back the next time I set my hair. I also haven't tried it yet on dry hair as a moisturizer. At least I know it definitely works for airdying, so I'll add it to my list of staples.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Henna Part 2

I henna'd again this past weekend. I still love the color and thickness results, but my hair was a little dry this time. I think I'll skip the apple cider vinegar next time, and replace the water with coconut milk. One of my co-workers recommended that I use the Shehnaaz or Godrej brand next. She said they are higher quality hennas, and their main purpose is to condition the hair. If I don't see them at one of the local Indian stores, I'll order them online. She's also going to have her friend who will be visiting her from India soon, bring me some henna from India. Can't wait!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Same Product, New Technique

I love it when I get a product I didn't like before to work. A couple of weeks ago, I discovered that the Hawaiian Silky 14-in1 moisturizer works better on my wet hair before air drying. This past weekend, I used Organix Coconut Anti-Breakage Serum on dry hair before flat ironing. My hair came out so smooth, shiny and moist! It's been 4 days and I'm still in awe of how great my hair looks and feels. I haven't even had to moisturize my hair, just apply a little oil on the ends.

I knew that I just needed to find "that" product that my hair would drink up. Years ago, I found it with BBD oil, but after a while, my hair started rebelling against it. My hairstylist has been encouraging me to flat iron a little more, but I haven't been too successful. The other day after I co-washed and air dried my hair, I planned to do a braidout or something, but since using serum as a heat protectant was on my mind, I decided to try a small section with the Organix coconut serum. I've had the serum for over a year. When I first bought it, I used it to rollerset with. My hair came out okay, but not as shiny, moist or light as I had hoped. I rubbed a drop in my hands, and applied it to a section of hair. I couldn't believe how smooth and shiny my hair came out! So I decided to flat iron my whole head. It's like I have a new head of hair. Even though I only used a drop on each of the 4 sections of my hair, I may have used too much, because my hair is a little heavy, but I'll take it over dry, limp hair any day. It's so nice to have an inexpensive product that you don't need to use a lot of AND that works!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Henna!

I finally decided to try henna in my hair. I've been wanting to do this for a couple of years, but have always been afraid- of the mess, of the possibility of it making my hair drier, of not liking the color results, etc. I've been reading about it for years, asking other henna heads for advice and eyeing stores and websites that sell henna. I'm hoping that it will condition my hair, make it "heavier," and cover some of my grays.

Since Lavendar and others suggested doing henna a week after a relaxer, I felt this was the perfect time. Also, since it's summer and my hair is a little more moist in the summer months, I figured this is the least riskiest time to do it.

I used Lavendar's henna gloss recipe:

1 box Jamila henna (or 100 grams of any BAQ henna)
1/4 - 1/3 cup VO5 Strawberries & Cream Moisture Milks conditioner
1/4 - 1/3 cup Lustrasilk Shea Butter Mango Cholesterol conditioner
2 T organic apple cider vinegar (ACV)
3 T brahmi and bhringaraj oil

Mix henna with hot tap water until thoroughly wet, but lumpy not saturated or at the creamy stage. Mix in conditioners and ACV until whipped in appearance. Cover bowl with heating pad set on low (never hotter than that) for aid in quicker color release. Let bowl set for 5-6 hours. Remove heat and let bowl cool for 20-30 minutes. Mix in oil. Apply to clarified, towel-dried hair. Let set in hair for at least 4 hours with heat cap (can use heat cap on and off if needed). Wash out with lots of cheapie conditioner. No need for shampoo, as shampoo tends to lessen the color payoff. BUT, if you tend to have allergies like I do, you can do a light shampoo if you usually experience itching for any length of time after co-washing out henna. Just remember, you may not have an optimal color outcome. I do a final condition with Elucence mixed with oil for 5 minutes, rinse thoroughly, and style. You can also do a DC if you wish, but remember you just deeply deposited the lawsomes into the cuticle. You want to close and seal the cuticle as soon as possible after the treatment (that's why shampooing usually isn't a good idea). A henna gloss is a great way to get your feet wet with henna and bypass all the dryness issues.

I bought some Reshma henna from an Indian grocery store near my job. I did not use brahmi or bhringaraj oil because they didn't have any at the store. They did have neem oil, but I didn't buy it. Maybe next time. I was a little weary about adding the apple cider vinegar. I read that it could be drying, but I also wanted to follow Lav's recipe, and tweak it the next time if I need to. I mixed it up Friday morning before work and let it sit until I got home:


When I got home from work, the henna mix was extremely smooth. I added some vatika and my grape seed oil mix to the henna before I applied it. I applied it to 4 sections. I was pleasantly surprised how smoothly and easily it went on. I used as much as I could, but I still had over half left over. I decided to freeze it and use it if I decide to henna again. After putting 2 plastic caps and a scarf on, I left the henna in overnight. I thought that if I walked around with it in my hair for hours, I would get paranoid and rinse it out too early.

Sleeping with the henna in wasn't bad at all. I did have a little leakage in the back of my neck, but I just slept with a towel over my pillow. The henna does have a distinct scent, but it didn't bother me at all. When I woke up, I co-washed the henna out with V05 conditioner. It washed out really easily- no clumps, no staining, no tangles. I deep conditioned with Aubrey Organics White Camellia for about an hour without heat and rinsed. I rollerset with only Salerm 21 leave-in:

This picture really doesn't do my hair justice. My hair is moist, shiny, heavier, and overall beautiful. It's extremely moist from root to tip. I didn't even put any moisturizer or oil in it. My platinum hair is now a reddish-orange, but it's not too bright. In the sun, I can see reddish brown highlights throughout. I'm not sure how often I will do this, but it will definitely be incorporated into my regimen, even if only once a month. I can't wait to see how my hair does, as I read that it only gets better!

On Sunday, I went to the beach and my hair got a little wet, so I had to co-wash to get the salt water out. I airdried and put my hair in bantu knots. This was my best airdrying exprience, which I credit the henna for. My hair usually airdries frizzy, but this time, it was smooth, and my ends were extremely smooth and moist. I think I might be addicted...

Friday, July 8, 2011

June 2011 Relaxer

I got a relaxer last week- I went 10 weeks, which I think is good for me at this point. The relaxer went well, but I did burn, which hasn't happened in almost 3 years! I oiled my scalp well, as I usually do. I think since I've been working out so much, the fact that I sweated the day before at the gym caused my pores to be more open. I didn't burn too bad, but I do have a little scab in the back. Next time, I may skip the gym the day before and do a better job of oiling my scalp.

I told my stylist that my ends were pretty dry and crispy, so she gave me a trim. I'm still at APL, which fine with me as long as my ends are healthy:



I got a lot of compliments on my hair when I went out of town last weekend for my best friend's wedding.

I'm trying something new and big this weekend, so stay tuned....

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Work Out Hair

I am so happy to get a relaxer this week. Between the heat and my working out 3-4 times a week, my hair is not behaving! I really think that 10 weeks is my limit now. I would like to go longer, but I'm already experiencing more shedding than usual.

I'm so proud of myself for keeping up with my exercise. It's only my 4th week at the gym, and I can already see and feel results. I'm going to try to hold off weighing myself for another week or two, but I do feel lighter on my feet, and I feel like I have more energy. I actually got up this morning and cleaned my bathroom and cooked dinner before getting me and my son dressed and heading out to work. That in and of itself is a miracle. I don't think I did that before I had a baby!

Taking care of my hair during the week after working out has not been as difficult as I thought. I really don't have any desire or time to co-wash my hair after every workout, so I'm aiming to co-wash my hair only once during the week and once on the weekend. I never sweated this much at the gym, so I think I'm getting in really good workouts (Zumba is the bomb!). I put a headband around my edges to keep them down and put the rest of my hair up into a loose bun on the top of my head. After my workout, I leave my hair as is for a while until I know it's dry, and then I take it down, moisturize and seal. I've actually been able to keep most of the curls this way too. After last week's positive braidout experience, I am determined to make my braidouts and bantu knot outs pretty enough to rock on a weekly basis. I'm looking forward to my workout routine to not only help my body and mental health, but my hair health as well.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Braidout - Day 2


This was the second day of my braidout. I liked it a lot better on day 2. I was pleasantly surprised at how moist it stayed. I just oiled my new growth and ends. Overnight, I tucked the ends under with a clip and put a satin scarf on.

The next time I do a braidout, I will use a little serum to try to get more defined waves. I will also try it using the satin method because I want my ends to look just as thick as the other parts of my hair.

Friday, June 24, 2011

First Braidout of the Summer

I found the courage to try another braidout last night. This is probably only my 3rd braidout ever. It actually didn't take much courage- between the weather being rainy all week, my 3 days of working out and being almost 10 weeks, I needed to do something to my hair and I didn't feel like setting it.

I co-washed my hair with Mane 'n Tail conditioner and a little V05 Moisture Milks. I let it air dry for about an hour, added some Herbal Essence Long Term Relationship leave-in and grapeseed oil, and braided my hair in 2 cornrows on each side. I curled the braids with 2 satin rollers. I also used EcoStyler gel to lay my edges down.


I like how it came out. I was mainly worried about keeping it moist, but it feels pretty good. I really like how the waives blend in with my new growth. Next time I will let it dry a little more before I braid, because this morning, a couple of places were still damp, making it more frizzy than I wanted. I also want to try 3 cornrows instead of 2 so that the middle of my hair gets more body. The waves have already loosened up since I took this picture first thing this morning, so I'm hoping it will look longer and fuller as the day goes on. Not sure what I'm going to do with my hair tonight or tomorrow, but I'm feeling a little more confident about braidouts.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Best Pre-Poo Ever

I've been using this grapeseed oil to seal for years, but just pre-poo'd with it for the first time last night. This morning I thought I might have overdone it, since oil was behind my ear, and all over the back of my neck. However, as I shampooed my hair, I could feel the benefits. My hair has never felt so soft during the shampoo process. After I added my conditioner, my comb literally glided through my strands. A huge difference from my last shampoo where the Amla Oil made my hair so tangled! I also added a little jojoba oil to my leave-in before I set my hair.

Sometimes I think my hair hates oil, but I think it's how I apply the oil. I had a stylist years ago who only applied oil to my hair when it was wet. I think this is probably best for me. It's like the oil gets soaked in during the pre-poo and/or setting process.

Next day update:
At 9 weeks post relaxer, I'm extremely pleased with my wash day yesterday. My hair was extremely manageable, which made the roller setting process really quick. I flat ironed my roots in the front after I took the rollers out, and put in some flexirods over night. This morning, my hair was still moist, without having to put anything on it since my leave in conditioner before I set it.



I'm still going to get a relaxer next week. It's hot and humid, I've been working out almost every day, and I have an important event to attend during the holiday weekend.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Amla Oil: My Love/Hate Relationship

Every time I use amla oil, I have mixed feelings. Every so often, I use it as a pre-poo. When I put it in my hair, it feels great. After I wash and condition my hair and start to de-tangle, I wonder what the heck I was thinking when I decided to pre-poo with amla oil. I left the oil in my hair for about a day and shampooed and conditioned my hair last night. Even after putting more than the usual amount of leave-in conditioner, my hair was so tangled! I lost so much hair as I detangled. However, after my hair was dry and styled, it looked beautiful- shiny, soft and moist. I'm just not sure if the results are worth all the hair loss. I still have over half a bottle left, and I've had it for over 3 years. I may just have to toss it, because my blood pressure shot up when I saw all of that hair in the comb!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Slackin'

My hair has been a little dry lately. I know why too- I've been slacking on the pre-poos! I used to do them overnight, but now I only do it for an hour or so before I wash my hair. I got a rollerset at a Dominican salon this weekend, and even though I put in some conditioner before I left the house, she still wanted me to sit under the dryer with oil in my hair before she washed it. I promise to do better.


Finally, a recent pic:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Quick Update

I've been a little busy lately, but here's a quick update:

I did a protein treatment with DuoTex last night. Not sure if I see much difference, but I know I needed a protein treatment since I've been using a flat iron.

I've used a flat iron the past couple of washes, but I went back to the roller set last night. Yes, it's time consuming, but my hair really doesn't like direct heat. Plus, either I don't have a good flat iron, or I don't know how to use it correctly, because my a hair doesn't come out that flat. Plus, I had frizzy ends, which I HATE.

I'm giving up the black rinse. Again. It doesn't last, and my platinum hair becomes blue after a couple of washes. I used a reddish brown last night. I don't see any red, but that's okay. As long as there's no silver or blue!

I'm loving flexirods right now! My hair needs to stay curly the majority of the time.

I still don't use much moisturizer. Just a little oil sheen and some oil on my ends. The Kenra conditioner keeps my hair moist for days.

Still haven't decided what I'm doing with my hair this summer when it's really hot. Maybe air drying and flexirods?

Monday, May 9, 2011

May 2011 Update

For a refreshing change, I'm actually loving my hair these days. I got a relaxer about 3 weeks ago, and I'm really enjoying the length and health of my hair. I always complain that my hair is so thin, but it really isn't as thin as I thought. It is very fine, but it's not thin. I think I was using the wrong products and methods when I rollerset. I roll my hair too tight, and I'm sure this is the reason I have so many hairs on the floor when I comb out my set. So, I'm taking a little break from rollersetting. I'm also going to stop complaining about how thin/fine it is. It's not fine because it's not healthy. It's hereditary and I'm going to get over it.

My stylist thinks I should just air dry and flatiron it for a while. She does that to her daughter's hair, and her hair is at her waist. She has never gotten a roller set! For my first wash after my relaxer, I added my leave-ins and combed my hair down. I sat under the dryer for about 15 minutes. I attempted to blow dry, but I don't know how effective it was since I really don't know how to blow dry well. I used Chi Silk Infusion as my heat protectant and flatironed my hair. It came out so nice! It was bouncy, moist and shiny. And it looked thick! I honestly didn't know how to act for a week with my hair swinging like that. While I dried, I tied my edges down with a scarf, which also made a big difference in how slick my hair looked!

I don't want to give up rollersetting entirely, as I like the body I get and it is less manipulation on my hair. This past weekend, I got a rollerset at a Dominican salon. The woman who did my hair barely spoke English, so I don't know what products she used. I will say that whatever she used smelled heavenly. She really rubbed in the conditioner, and she set my hair in like, 2 minutes. Okay, not 2 minutes, but a lot faster than I do. She blew out my roots and the blow dryer was hot as hell, but the end result was worth it. I'm hoping I can get a rollerset done every 2 weeks and wash and flatiron my hair in between. When it gets too hot for me to sit under the dryer, I'll experiment with bantu knots and braidouts. I'll probably wear my hair up in a bun when it's hot anyway.

I also haven't needed too much moisturizer. I just spray some oil sheen on my hair while it's wrapped and maybe put some castor oil on my ends, and I'm good to go. I'm really trying to get most of my moisture from the conditioners, so I don't have to deal with moisturizers that don't do much but weigh my hair down.

I finally got a camera, so I'll post pictures soon.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Length Goal Reached!

I have been wearing my hair straight this week, and I noticed yesterday that I'm full arm pit length. I still want my ends (and the rest of my hair) to be a little thicker and fuller, but I'm really excited that I have reached my length goal.

I've been on my hair journey for 3 years. I have experienced setbacks, cut my hair to a tapered cut, and shed a tremendous amount postpartum. However, these issues have forced me to deal with the problems, and find solutions. I have learned what my hair does and does not like. I'm still learning, as I work towards my goal of more thick and moist hair.

It would be great to reach bra strap length, as I think I'm only an inch or 2 away, but my focus now is working on the health of my hair. I don't want my hair much longer than bra strap, as this is the longest my hair has ever been, and it is sometimes challenging to style.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Leave-in Booster

For the past few months, I have felt like my hair:
+ is thinner than it should be,
+ should be retaining more moisture,
+ doesn't stay together, especially at the ends, and
+ doesn't hold a curl like it used to.

I have increased the amount of protein, and it is helping, but I also think it's a porosity issue. I did the porosity test, by putting a couple of strands in a cup of water. Most of my hair floated, but the ends sunk to the bottom of the cup. I decided to "Kimmaytube" my leave in to help balance the pH level of my hair. My ends are also bushy and dry when I air dry, which is a symptom of the cuticles being lifted.

I used Salerm 21 leave-in conditioner. I didn't measure it exactly, but squeezed about a quarter-sized amount of it into a bowl. I added one tablespoon of aloe vera juice and one teaspoon of jojoba oil. I applied it to freshly washed and conditioned hair. This week, I did not deep condition with heat. I roller set my hair using just the leave-in mixture. I actually had some leftover. I set my hair on my regular rollers, but this time I used smaller sections. My hair came so nice! My hair was moist, shiny and smooth, and my ends looked so much healthier. I didn't even need to add moisturizer after I took the rollers out. It's been 2 days, and my hair still has body, which I haven't seen in over a year. I will continue to do this every wash. I hadn't used Salerm 21 in a while, but I will alternate it with Infusium, since it has silk protein in it.

Update 4/11/11: I added aloe vera juice and jojoba oil to my Giovanni Direct Leave-in this past weekend, and the results were not as good as the Salerm. I will continue to use the Salerm 21 since I liked my hair so much.

I'm pretty sure I need a hardcore protein treatment, but I'm afraid of doing it. Maybe I'll have my stylist do it the next time I go to the salon.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Goodbye Aphogee 2 Minute

I've been using Aphogee 2 Minute Reconstructor for 3 years. I realized last year that it really wasn't doing anything for my hair, but I continued to use it because I thought my hair needed the protein. What I know now is that my hair does need the protein, just not from this product. A little over a month ago, I replaced the Aphogee with Mane 'n Tail conditioner as my 2 minute protein conditioner while I'm the shower, and boy do I notice a difference. Even after 2 minutes, I can feel how much more moist and strong my hair is. I'm throwing out the Aphogee for good now. I'm still mad at myself for trying to force that product. This is another lesson for me to not use products that don't do anything for my hair. What a waste of time and money...I can't even be mad at the product because I should have known to stop using it a long time ago.

My Baby Boy's Hair

My almost one and a half year-old son's hair is so dry! I know it has a lot to do with the winter and the hats I put on him. I just sewed satin linings into his hats like I do mine, but winter is pretty much over! In the warmer weather months and when we went to the Caribbean a couple of months ago, I didn't deal with this dryness.

I'm not good at hair typing, but I would say his hair type is a 3C- it's mostly curly and very soft. Very UNLIKE his mother's, lol! He has a loose curl pattern that gets very curly when wet, but straightens out a little when it drys. The back of his hair is much curlier than the front. I've learned that his hair does not take well to shampoo, so I only do conditioner washes. Since he was a couple of months old, I have been using V05 Moisture Milks to co-wash his hair. I use a mix of water, glycerin and aloe vera juice as a leave-in, and ORS Moisturizing lotion as a moisturizer. It looks good when it dries, but as soon as I put a hat on or after a day, it looks like a dry nest. My girlfriend told me to try mousse- I did it one day and it really defined the curls, but it was crunchy and dry. I've also tried olive oil. Like the other products, it only works for a couple of hours. His hair is also a light/medium shade of brown (like mine), which I think is another reason for the dryness. I call it "dirty brown."

I did a little research online to come up with some ideas for his hair. Last night, I co-washed it with Aussie Moist conditioner. I also used a little as a leave in. His hair was still moist and curly when he woke up this morning. I applied a little castor oil to seal the moisture in. Let's see how it looks when I pick him up later today... Some ideas I read are to use Aubrey Organics White Camelia as a co-wash and leave-in, castor oil, a half glycerin/half aloe vera mix, and cocoa butter oil (that you use on your skin). I would appreciate any advice...

Update 5/5/11 I've been using Kids Organic Hair Lotion and sealing with Hollywood Beauty Castor Oil, and my baby boy's hair has been blinging! So moist and shiny!

Foods for Healthy Hair

I've always been a pretty healthy eater, but lately I've been stepping it up a little. I do it for my health, to shed a few pounds for the summer, and to keep my hair healthy. These are my top foods (or beverages) for healthy hair that I've incorporated into my diet:

1. Water. Hair is made up of about 25% of water, so when we drink enough water, our hair will stay shiny and moisturized. Water also flushes out all of the bad toxins in our body. I discussed water in this blog a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, I didn't stick to my water routine very well. I don't know if it was because I was sick of running to the bathroom, or if I just got lazy. Anyway, I started it back up when I was pregnant and kept it up while I was nursing, but then I fell off again. In January, I promised myself to drink at least 60 oz of water every day. This meant I basically had to cut out any other beverages. I lost 5 pounds in one week! That alone was motivation enough to keep going. Some of things that help me with my water commitment are drinking it at room temperature (I can drink more this way), setting time goals (i.e. I have to drink 30 oz before 10am), and halting water 2 hours before I leave work (so I don't have to go to the bathroom on my way home!). I rarely even think about drinking soda or sugared juices now.

2. Flaxseed. Flaxseed is rich in Omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are essential for glowing skin and hair. I started taking flaxseed oil pills in 2008 to help the condition of my hair, but I had an allergic reaction to them. About 6 months ago, I decided to try just plain flaxseed. I mix a teaspoon into my oatmeal every morning. Salmon is also a good source of Omega-3.

3. Protein. We all know that our hair is made up of protein (called keratin), so we need to add protein back into our hair to make the strands thicker. I especially need more protein after the thinning I experienced postpartum. I maintain a high-protein diet of hard-boiled eggs, chicken, fish, and lean beef, pork and lamb.

4. Vitamin C. The body needs this vitamin to produce collagen and sebum, the oily substance, secreted by our hair follicles which naturally conditions the hair. Even a mild vitamin C deficiency can cause split, dry ends. I make sure I bring at least 2 pieces of fruit to work every day, and usually one of them is a fruit containing vitamin C. Lately, my favorites have been strawberries, tangerines and pineapple. You can also get vitamin C through broccoli, asparagus, spinach and other dark leafy vegetables, which I eat daily.

5. Nuts. Nuts contain the mineral zinc, which aids in tissue growth and repair, including hair growth. It also helps keep the oil glands around the hair follicles working properly. If you don't have enough zinc in your diet, you could experience excessive hair shedding. I also like nuts as healthy afternoon snack, so I avoid potato chips and other food I shouldn't be eating!

6. Carrots. Carrots are a rich source of vitamin A which are high in anti oxidants. Anti oxidants can help you balance the pH levels of the skin and also helpful in preventing the damage caused by the free radicals on the skin. Carrots can also help aid in hair loss. I bring carrot sticks to work as a snack, but I also juice carrots on a regular basis. They say that one ounce of fresh carrot juice can provide about 800% of the daily requirement of the vitamin A to the body. It can also help to burst the energy levels of a person. Carrots also contain vitamin C.

Other foods I eat to make sure I get the necessary minerals and vitamins are whole grains, shellfish, soy milk, lentils and beans. I take a daily multivitamin to make sure I get what my body and hair need as well.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

No Photos

I haven't posted any photos recently because my camera is broken :-(

I actually tried to take it apart and fix it, but that was a disaster. I told my man to bring me an eyeglasses repair kit on his way home because I needed a tiny screwdriver. He said he would rather bring me a new camera, lol. I've had my camera for about 6 years, so I guess it is time for a new one. Even my stepdaughter told me that cameras have come a long way in the past 6 years. Alright, alright. They said they'll buy me a new one for my birthday next month, but I want one now. I need to take pictures of my hair, but I also just like taking pictures in general. How am I going to go another month without taking pictures of my baby and the rest of my family?! I know a lot of people do it, but I hate how photos from my phone come out. If I see one I like on sale, I might have to buy it myself.

Anyway, my hair is doing really well. I'm loving the products I've been using, and my hair has been so manageable. I'm focusing on retaining moisture through conditioners, so during the week, I've only been sealing with oil at night. It seems to be working pretty well. I'm convinced that either I wasn't using the right moisturizers and/or I needed a better conditioner. Well, I've been using Kenra for my deep conditioning for the past 3 weeks and it's been wonderful. Wouldn't it be nice to not have to use moisturizer at all?

I also think using the black rinse has conditioned my hair and helps it retain moisture. My natural hair color is a "dirty" shade of brown, and I have almost always had a hard time keeping it moisturized without a color rinse. My son has the same issue. Even though his texture is different from mine (probably 3c or something), his hair seems like it's always dry. I didn't get a chance to do it this winter, but next year I will be sewing satin linings in his hats like I do mine!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Product Review: Kenra Moisturizing Conditioner

I finally decided to try the popular Kenra Conditioner. I had a coupon, so I got it at a great price. My old faithful, ORS Replenishing, hasn't been wowing me lately, so I've been on a hunt for an ultra moisturizing conditioner to deep condition.

Product Description
Improves elasticity and manageability in dry, damaged hair
Wheat proteins moisturize naturally curly and coarse hair
Readily detangles and imparts shine
Hydrate excessively dry, brittle, and coarse hair
Deep penetrating formula replenishes moisture for greater elasticity

Ingredients
Water (Purified), Hexadecanol, Stearalkonium Chloride, Cetearyl Alcohol (Emollient), Ceteareth 20, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Panthenol, Isopropylparaben, Benzophenone 4, Isobutylparaben, Butylparaben, Fragrance (Parfum), FD&C Yellow 5 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Yellow 6 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Red 40 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Blue 1

Directions
After shampooing, work small amount of product throughout the hair. Leave product on hair for one minute. Rinse with warm water.
Additional Uses
Add maximum moisture by applying Moisturizing Conditioner, covering hair with plastic cap and placing client under warm dryer for 10-15 minutes.
Revitalize old perms by working Moisturizing Conditioner and Styling Gel into relaxed curls and diffusing with a blow dryer.
Work small amount of Moisturizing Conditioner into dry hair ends to control frizz.

My Experience
Usually I don't try 2 new products at the same time, but I was so excited about my new purchases, that I used this after using the Burt's Bees pre-shampoo treatment. I shampooed with Elasta QP Creme Moisturizing Shampoo, did a 2-minute protein conditioner rinse with Mane n Tail, and then deep conditioned with the Kenra. It has a lovely coconut scent- another reason I couldn't wait to try it! I used maybe a little over a dime-size amount on each half of my hair. I left it on for a total of 45 minutes, 15 minutes with heat. Some of the reviews I read about this conditioner said that it didn't have any slip unless you add oils to it. Since it was my first time using it, I didn't add any oil because I wanted to see how the product would work on its own. Also, I'm not that concerned with slip anymore. It usually doesn't determine how moist or bouncy my hair comes out when it's dry. I also don't detangle my hair during my wash and condition process until I apply my leave-in conditioner- I lose A LOT less hair this way. When I was ready to rinse the Kenra out, I could see how moist my hair was. I proceeded to roller set my hair. When I took my hair out, I was in love. My hair looked thicker and shiny, felt moist and was bouncing all over the place! I didn't even need a moisturizer, so I just sealed my ends with a little oil. I pin curled my hair and went to bed, and when I woke up, I loved my hair even more. I got tons of compliments at work. This will definitely be a staple in my routine. I'm not sure if it was the Kenra, the Burt's Bees, or a combination, but I'm really happy with my hair. It is pricier than the other conditioners I use, but I don't think it's outrageous. My results are worth paying $14 (or less with a coupon!). I also didn't need a lot, so I think my bottle will last me a while.

This does contain protein, but I consider it a moisturizing conditioner. Also, my hair is loving protein right now.

Product Review: Burt's Bees Avocado Butter Pre-Shampoo Hair Treatment

I've read reviews about Burt's Bees Pre-Shampoo Treatment, but have never seen it any stores. I had a coupon for drugstore.com, so I decided to try it. I usually pre-poo with vatika oil or Organix conditioner, but lately I haven't noticed a difference when I pre-poo.

Product Description
Avocado Butter Pre-Shampoo Hair Treatment restores body, shine and manageability to dry and damaged hair. Perming, coloring and styling can leave your hair looking dry and damaged. This luscious formula combines Avocado and Olive oils to penetrate and replenish natural moisture to your hair and scalp. Rosemary, almond oil and nettle extract condition your hair leaving it soft, with a glossy shine.

Excellent for both women and men alike
Avocado Oil softens and conditions dry, flaky skin and scalp. Also stimulates hair growth
Makes a great styling aid too!
99.25% natural
Not tested on animals

Ingredients
Vegetable Glycerin, Olive Oil, Avocado (Persea Gratissima) Oil, Oat Flour, Lecithin, Sucrose Stearate, Sucrose Distearate, Magnesium Stearate, Citrus Rind Oil, Oat Kernel Oil, Chlorophyll, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E) (Vitamin E), Nettle (Urtica Dioica) Leaf Powder, Rosemary Leaf Powder, Vegetable Oil, Fragrance (Parfum)

Directions
Massage a generous amount (amount will depend on the length of your hair) of the treatment into wet hair and scalp, and comb through from your scalp to your hair's ends with a wide-tooth comb. Leave the treatment on your hair for at least 5 minutes and up to 20 minutes for maximum conditioning. Rinse hair and scalp thoroughly. Shampoo as usual. Use daily or as needed. To use as a styling aid, rub a small amount into palms and apply to damp or dry hair. Style as usual.

My Experience
I sprayed water on my hair to make it damp. I had read that the product was really thick and hard to get on, but I didn't experience that at all. It's thick, but it wasn't hard to apply. I did put some vatika oil in my hair earlier in the day, so maybe that's why it was easy. It has a sweet, citrus scent. I immediately noticed how shiny my hair was after I put in about a quarter size amount. As each minute went by, I felt like my hair got softer. I left it in for about 30 minutes before I washed it out. During my whole shampoo process, my hair felt moist and strong. Sometimes I do feel like I'm losing moisture as a shampoo, but not with this. I continued to deep condition and rollerset, and my hair was so shiny and moist. I didn't even need a moisturizer after I took out my rollers. Overall, I loved this product. I plan on using it weekly.

I'm curious to see how this works as a styling aid, although I'm cautious, since most styling aids don't do much for me. I'm going to wait until I'm past 6 weeks post-relaxer to see what it does for my new growth.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Product Review: Silk Elements ColorCare Sulfate Free Shampoo

I've been looking for a moisturizing shampoo for a while now. I've been using ORS Creamy Aloe or Creme of Nature or Elasta QP. The ORS is really just for clarifying, so I shouldn't use it weekly, and the Creme of Nature has been discontinued- I just found a stray bottle at the store. The Elasta QP is good, but I want something that I can see gives my hair the moisture it needs. I usually like products that are for colored treated hair because they usually provide more moisture.

Product Description
Silk Elements ColorCare Sulfate Free Shampoo is specifically formulated with a UV protector and silk protein to help prolong hair color vibrancy.
•Helps prolong hair color vibrancy
•Leaves hair soft and smooth
•Provides luxurious lather
•Hair left healthy looking

Silk Elements ColorCare Sulfate Free Shampoo is specifically formulated with a UV protector and silk protein to help prolong hair color vibrancy while providing essential moisture and conditioning to color-treated hair. Luxurious lather that gently and effectively cleanses. Hair is left soft, smooth, nourished, radiant and healthy looking.

Ingredients
WATER ,SODIUM C14-16 OLEFIN SULFONATE ,ISOPROPYLAMINE DODECYLBENZENESULFONATE ,GLYCOL STEARATE ,AMMONIUM LAURYL SULFOSUCCINATE ,FRAGRANCE ,PEG-150 DISTEARATE ,PPG-2 HYDROXYETHYL COCAMIDE ,PANTHENOL ,HYDROLYZED SILK ,HYDROLYZED KERATIN ,POLYQUATERNIUM-11 ,HYDROLYZED VEGETABLE PROTEIN PG-PROPYL S ,SIMMONDSIA CHINENSIS (JOJOBA) SEED OIL ,CINNAMIDOPROPYLTRIMONIUM CHORIDE ,HELIANTHUS ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED EXTRA ,BUTYLENE GLYCOL ,DMDM HYDANTOIN ,IODOPROPYNYL BUTYLCARBAMATE ,SODIUM CHLORIDE ,TETRASODIUM EDTA ,PHOSPHORIC ACID ,RED 33

My Experience
The first time I used this was after applying a color rinse. I usually shampoo my hair with a moisturizing conditioner after a color rinse to get all the color residue out, and to add moisture back into my hair. I used this a second time for a normal wash. I didn't like this product either time. It did nothing for me. It didn't feel like it moisturized or cleaned my hair and scalp well. It felt like it tangled my hair and made it a little drier.

This is the third product from the Silk Elements line that I didn't like. I didn't like the conditioner or the moisturizer. I'm all set with Silk Elements!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February 2011 Relaxer

I got a relaxer on Saturday after a 10 week stretch. It would be nice to go longer, but I think 10 weeks is my limit at this point. I didn't have a lot of shedding, but my hair was hard to style and my ends really needed a trim. I told my stylist to give me a good trim. It looked like she was cutting a lot and I saw a lot of hair on the floor, but my hair is still just hitting arm-pit length. Either I had more new growth than I thought, or I didn't need as much of a trim as I thought. Anyway, I'm happy with my ends now.

My main focus right now is moisture and thickness. I've been looking at a lot of old pictures of my hair lately, and I've realized that my hair has never been that thick (except when I was pregnant). I think it just looked thick because I had a short cut with layers for so long. I thought about getting layers this weekend, but I need to think about it a little more. I also haven't been good at keeping curls in my hair. Lately I've just been cross wrapping it at night instead of putting my hair in pincurls, flexirods or bantu knots. The weather has really been getting to me- I'm so unmotivated to do anything extra.

I need to find a way to keep moisture in my hair! I know the biggest reason for this dryness is the weather, because my baby's hair has been dry too. When we were in Jamaica a couple of months ago, both of us were able to retain moisture in our hair, so I know it's the dry, cold air that's doing it to us. I've been using a humidifier at work and home, and I'm drinking a lot more water, but I need something else...steaming? better conditioner and/or moisturizer? Probably all of these. I guess my hair has the winter blues just like I do!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Back to Black

I did it. I colored my hair black again. I really missed the shine and the thicker/healthier look. I wanted to use Adore semi permanent, but the beauty supply store I went to was out, so I used black from The Beautiful Collection. I did my normal wash, protein condition, and moisturizing deep condition (I added aloe vera juice to my conditioner). I just bought Giovanni Vitapro Fusion Leave-In, so I used that in addition to my diluted Infusium 23. When I took my rollers out, my hair looked like this:


I was really happy I decided to go back to black. My hair is so shiny, looks thicker and there are no grays in sight! Here it is after my saran wrap:

I also bought a 1/2 inch ceramic flat iron for my roots. I only used it for my roots in my part, and my edges. It made a huge difference. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to stretch my relaxer to 12 weeks, but now I think I can make another 3 and half weeks. Hopefully...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Airdry/Braidout

Last night I decided to try to airdry again. I co-washed with V05 Moisture Milks, used the t-shirt method to dry my hair a little, applied Giovanni Direct Leave-In and some grapeseed and castor oil to my roots and ends. I put my hair in 2 braids and used a satin roller on each end.

Today when I woke up, I applied a little more castor oil to my hands while I took the braids out. This was much better, but still not where I want to be. The part of my hair that was braided came out pretty good, but the rest of my hair was still frizzy.

I'll try again next week. Back to the drawing board....

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mo' Protein

For this past weekend's wash, I substituted Aphogee 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor with Mane 'n Tail Deep Moisturizing Conditioner. I'm not sure how moisturizing it was, but I definitely saw more of difference with this produce than with the Aphogee. I'll do a review of the Mane 'n Tail after I've used it a few more times (I think I like the original formula better). I also put a brown rinse in my hair, which sometimes feels like a mild protein treatment to me. Instead of shampoo, I used my Hair One cleansing conditioner. It's been in my bathroom for months- I'm not sure why I haven't been using it...but anyway, I used it this weekend, and it was pretty good. Still not great, but good. I loved the smell! After I deep conditioned with Aubrey Organics White Camellia conditioner mixed with a little grapeseed oil, I applied Infusium 23 and Giovanni Direct leave-ins and roller set my hair.

I can definitely see and feel a difference in my hair. It's a little thicker, and even though I do the saran wrap method, my hair still holds a little curl, which hasn't been happening lately.

I'm finding that it takes a day or 2 before my hair is really how I want it. I don't know if it needs to soak in the moisturizers and oils and/or have me sleep on it so that it falls nicely. I am 7 weeks post relaxer, so that could be it too. I'm really happy how well my new growth is behaving!

I still need to do something with my edges. I've been tying a scarf around my hairline before I rollerset, which has made them lay down, but their still a little fuzzy. I've tried aloe vera gel and ORS Edge Control with no luck. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How to Know if a Product Has Protein

Here are some ingredients to look for if you want to know if a product contains protein:
  • soy protein (Glycine soja)
  • soybean seed extract
  • hydronized wheat protein
  • amino acids
  • keratin amino acids
  • anything hydronized
  • collagen
  • milk
  • sometimes panthenol might have the same effects as protein

I'm really liking my hair this week after my protein treatment! It looks and feels healthy again! I've gotten a few compliments on how sleek and shiny it is too. Why didn't I try the egg a long time ago????

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fine Hair vs. Thin Hair

I think a lot of us confuse having fine hair with thin hair. My hair is not thin, as I have a lot of hairs on my head; but, it is fine because the strands are thin. Those of us who have fine hair face some of the same challenges, though.

The term “fine” refers to the actual diameter of the shaft of an individual hair strand. The term “thin” is used to reference the number of hairs per square inch dispersed amongst the entire head and is also used to describe the density of an individual’s hair. Regardless of the term that is used to describe one’s tresses, the same problems often occur with each hair type.

Hair texture is often described in terms of fine, medium, or coarse, which refers to the diameter of the strands. Hair density is usually described in terms of thin, medium, or thick, which refers to the compactness or concentration of the hair. The texture a person is born with is often determined by their genetic makeup. On the other hand, thin hair can be caused by a wide variety of factors, like an individual’s diet, their age, illnesses, etc. It is best to consult your physician in order to determine the underlying cause, usually the cause can often be successfully treated and the effects reversed.

In both cases - fine hair and thin, low-density, hair - you can have similar problems with the way the hair looks. Both situations result in flatter hairstyles and in both cases, the hair is more susceptible to damage from styling and chemical processes. There are ways to protect against this damage, and there are many products available today to deal with both hair traits - fine hair and low density - to give you thicker-looking, fuller hair.

For my fine hair, I also experience tangles and sensitivity to thick products and heavy oils. I’ve learned that a little goes a long way with most products. I also have to shampoo or co-wash my hair often to get rid of product build-up. Protein is key. Clarifying is key. I haven’t had much luck with “thickening” hair products. I find that they either make my hair more tangled or stiff.

Source 1, Source 2

Benefits of Castor Oil

Since my hair is loving castor oil so much right now, I thought I'd post some of the benefits of this oil:

Castor Oil is derived from the castor bean, and seeds of the castor plant. It has been used for decades as a laxative, a purgative (to induce vomiting) and as a skin softener.

The anti-bacterial and anti-fungicidal properties of Ricinoleic Acid in castor oil protects the scalp and hair from infections which can cause hair loss. Castor oil has omega-9 fatty acids in it that prevents your scalp from drying out and that also nourishes your hair from the roots. Castor oil is a humectant as it draws moisture into the hair and skin. Applying castor oil on hair will keep it looking soft, shiny and strong.

Castor oil coats the hair shaft and smoothes the cuticle layer, sealing in moisture and leaving the hair feeling soft and silky. It is more easily absorbed by the hair, allowing for deeper penetration into the hair shaft. Rubbing castor oil into your scalp and roots on a regular basis helps lost hair grow back and also helps thicken hair that’s already growing. You can also experiment with castor oil for hair on your ends. This rich, thick oil will help your ends becomes shiny and hide the appearance of frizzy, damaged, and split ends. Over time, as you trim damage away, you'll notice your hair won't develop split ends as easily.

Castor oil can be used in several different ways for hair:
• As a leave-in.
• Combined with other ingredients to make your conditioner or moisturizer.
• As a pre-poo or hot oil treatment.

As with any hot oil treatment, it is important to avoid overuse of castor oil, especially if you are prone to oily scalp and hair conditions. For hair that is damaged, a hot oil treatment is typically indicated as a monthly treatment, while weekly moisturizing treatments are more useful to restore the good condition to the hair. Since my hair is fine, I have to be careful not to use too much. Otherwise, hair becomes extremely oily and stiff.

Castor oil also thickens eyelashes and eyebrows.
I’ve been rubbing a little castor oil over the base of my eyelashes before bed. This should prevent thinning and promote rapid growth, leading to thicker and fuller lashes. Many commercial products for eyelashes actually contain castor oil. If you want to thicken sparse eyebrows, rub a little castor oil over the brow line before bed.

Here are some non-hair benefits of castor oil:

*Softens thick calluses and removes corns
*Cures skin infections like athlete’s foot and ringworm
*Prevents stretch marks
*Removes moles and warts
*Removes age spots (liver spots)
*Cures acne
*Keeps the skin looking smooth, youthful and unlined
*Breaks up external and internal scar tissue, and prevents new scars from forming
*Soothes shingles

Monday, January 17, 2011

Egg Protein

Since I'm too afraid to try a hardcore protein treatment, I decided to use an egg this weekend. I've used mayonnaise before, which is good, but a little too oily for me.

I beat one egg, and added about 10 drops of my grapeseed oil mix. I applied the egg all over my hair, and let it sit with a plastic cap for 10-15 minutes. I shampoo'd it out, deep conditioned, and rollerset.

When I took my rollers out, the first thing I noticed was how shiny my hair was. It was late and I was tired, so I wrapped my hair and went to bed. When I woke up, I did the saran wrap treatment just to make my hair silkier. When I combed my hair out, my hair was silky and strong. I don't think my hair has been this strong since I was pregnant, and that was over a year ago. My hair did feel dry, but I applied a little castor oil to my scalp and ends, and my hair was better.

Now I'm positive that my hair needs more protein. I am going to pre-poo with an egg once a month. I also bought some Mane 'n Tail conditioner, which has protein. I will use it every week instead of the Aphogee 2 Minute Keratin Treatment. The Aphogee really isn't doing anything for my hair, so I'm going to stop forcing it.

I'm about 90% sure that I will put another black rinse in my hair soon. I asked 3 of my friends this weekend what they thought of me coloring my hair black. All 3 of them said, "Isn't your hair already black?" I guess I'm the only one who notices my brown hair, lol.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Winter 2011 Hair Plan

The end of this month will mark my 3 year hair journey anniversary. I have learned so much about my hair and have achieved great progress, but in some ways I feel like I am where I was 3 years ago. I wrote in my last post that I need a good trim, which I will get in a few weeks at my next salon visit. However, I need to work on incorporating products and techniques that will prevent me from getting to this point again. I have developed a plan that I think I can stick to:

Use conditioners from the Mane 'n Tail line. The products are protein based, which my hair desperately needs. I will try the original conditioner, deep moisturizing conditioner and de-tangler initially.

Apply castor oil to my scalp at least once a week. Although is a little heavy to me, I think it will be good for my strands, especially during these winter months.

Drink more water! I can't believe how much I have slacked on my water drinking over the past couple of months. I recently got a couple of new water bottles, so I'm committed to drinking at least 4 bottles of water (I think the bottles hold 18 oz of water) during the work day, and 3 at home. NO SODA.

Eat a hard boiled egg for breakfast every morning for added protein. I eat oatmeal and Greek yogurt, both of which have a good amount of protein, but the egg can't hurt. Plus it will fill me up in the morning. I will also be better at adding flaxseed to my oatmeal, pancake batter, and other breakfast foods for the Omega 3.

Baggy 2-3 times a week for 2 hours. I tried baggying at the beginning of my hair journey, and it made my hair mushy and week. I think I used too much product, and I also baggied for too long. I'm going to use a little moisturizer, and put a plastic cap over my head for just 2 hours each time to see if I can retain more moisture.

Add more to my conditioners. I've never really wanted to "doctor" up my conditioners, but it's not very time consuming, and it can't hurt, right? I'm going to experiment with adding oils (coconut, avocado, jojoba, grapeseed), aloe vera juice, glycerin and honey to my conditioners to help them help me.

Give my hair protein treatments. I've always been afraid to do hardcore protein treatments. I think my old stylist scared me out of them. I'm going to start with an egg this weekend. If that goes well, I'll consider buying Duotex or Aphogee.

Baby my ends. I moisturize and seal my ends nightly, but I could and should be putting a lot more effort and time into them.


I'm hoping some of these actions will help my skin and overall health as well. There are also some other moisturizers I want to try, since I still haven't found a great one.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Airdrying - #FAIL

I air dried my hair this weekend and the results were not good. I shampoo'd and deep conditioned. After I applied my leave-ins, I put a satin scarf around my edges and let it air dry. My hair was a dry, frizzy mess. It started out okay, but in retrospect, I should have applied a little oil before it was completely dry, and maybe put it up in a clip or bun or something. I know a lot of women put their hair in 2 braids, but I decided not to do that because I didn't want the braidout look.

I even flat ironed it a little the next day, but it was still stiff. So I co-washed and roller set it the next day. The good thing that came out of this was that I saw how much I'm in need of a trim. I truly believe that with a good trim comes easier styling.

I'm going to keep trying!

January 2011 Hair Update

I've been doing some heavy thinking about my hair. I get into these "deep thought" moments especially when I'm not happy what's going on with my hair. I was in the process of making a slide show of my 3-year hair journey, and looking at the pictures side-by-side really helped me look at the condition of my hair, the products I've been using, and my styling techniques. I know a lot of it is the cold, dry winter air, but I've identified some other issues:

* I need a good trim. My stylist is so good at just giving me dustings, but I can't remember the last time I had a real trim. I'm so happy that I made arm-pit length, but I'm willing to cut up to an inch if it means my ends are thick and healthy again.

* I may go back to black again. I know I've written more times than I can count that I wanted to stay away from the black rinses, but I miss the shine and thickness the black gives me. I feel like the black color conditions my hair better than any other colors, and it allows for products to work better in my hair. I'm undecided on whether I'll go black before or after my trim.

* I thought I had porosity issues because my hair wouldn't hold a curl, but I realized yesterday that I just needed some setting lotion. DUH! Why I thought my hair would just stay curled without setting lotion is beyond me. Last night I used Dudley's Fantastic Body Setting Lotion, and my curls looked amazing. Even today after I took the pin curls out, my curls are really thick and bouncy.

* I'm going to start using a t-shirt or microfiber towel to dry my hair from now on. I've been wringing my hair out with my hands, which I believe is causing breakage.

* I still need a good moisturizer. The ones I use are pretty good, but not doing what I need them to do. I think I'll try one new moisturizer each month until I find what my hair is so thirsty for!