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Monday, December 17, 2012

Coconut Oil & Aloe Vera Juice

When I first started my healthy hair journey almost 5 years ago, coconut oil was a godsend.  Whether I used it as a pre-poo, an aid to my roller setting lotion, or a sealant, it always gave me good results.  Since I've been natural, coconut oil hasn't been very agreeable to my hair.  I still try it once in a while, but haven't been impressed with the results.

This weekend we had a holiday party, and probably 90% of the women there were natural or transitioning to natural.  Of course, many of the female conversations were about hair!  One of my friends who went natural about a year ago, and has beautiful, healthy, color-treated hair, told me that coconut oil has really helped.  I complained that I still haven't found a product that my hair absorbs, and she told me that coconut oil is the only thing her hair really drinks in.  For her, it's best as a pre-poo before she shampoos her hair.  I knew I needed to wash my hair the next day, so I decided to give the coconut oil another try. I applied a generous amount from root to tip, put on a plastic cap and a satin scarf and went to bed.  I planned to wash my hair in the morning, but our water heater died, and I didn't get to wash my hair until later in the afternoon.  So the coconut oil was in my hair for over 12 hours.  When I took the plastic cap off, my hair definitely looked moist, but it also looked like it had some weight, which I wanted- to me, that meant that the oil was penetrating into my hair.  I co-washed my hair and deep conditioned with Aubrey Organics GPB. After I rinsed, I applied a dime-sized amount of Curly Kinky Knot Today Leave-In and sprayed aloe vera juice all over.  I twisted my hair with Ecostyler gel. When I took the twists out this morning, my hair was moist and shiny:


I definitely think the shine came from the coconut oil and aloe vera gel.  I'm going to continue to pre-poo with the coconut oil.  When it worked for me before, after a couple of months my hair got to a state where I didn't have to use it every week.  I'm hoping this will happen again.

I'm really happy about my growth.  Can you see my black tips from the color I had put in in May?  I can't wait to get rid of them. That part is so much frizzier and hard to manage than the rest of my hair!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Product Review: Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie

I bought this product over the summer when I was acting like a mad woman buying every product I heard worked well on natural hair. I tried it once on a wash and go and wasn't impressed, so I shelved it for later. Last night I decided to try it again on a dry twistout.

Product Description
Nutrient rich vegetable butters condition hair, restoring moisture, body and shine. Enhances curls, minimizes frizz and provides curl control. For thick, curly hair. Sulfate-free and color-safe.

  • Coconut oil: Hydrates and protects hair from heat and chemical damage
  • Silk protein: Reduces breakage, strengthens hair, adds smoothness and silkiness
  • Neem oil: An age-old ayurvedic oil that strengthens hair and provides brilliant shine
  • No parabens, phthalates, paraffin, gluten, propylene glycol, mineral oil, synthetic fragrance, animal testing, PABA, synthetic color, DEA, or animal ingredients

Ingredients
Deionized Water , Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) , Cocos Nucifera Oil (Coconut) , Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil , Persea Gratissima Oil (Avocado) , Vegetable Glycerin , Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Silk Protein , Ammonium Salt , Melia Azadirachta Seed Oil (Neem) , Daucus Carota Sativa Seed Oil (Carrot) , Sorbitol Esters , Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B-5) , Caprylyl Glycol , Essential Oil Blend , Tocopherol (Vitamin E)

Directions
There are no directions on the jar

My Experience
The first time I used this product, I used it on my wash and go. I didn't like it at all. It was sticky, left a film on my hair and didn't enhance any curls!  It also left my hair feeling dry.  Last night, I used it to twist my hair on a 2 day old twistout.  I dampened my hair with a water/oil/leave-in mix, applied a little shea butter to my hair, and then the curl enhancing smoothie before I did about 8 flat twists.  I love the smell of this!  While I twisted, I felt like the product made my hair more moist and smooth.  When I woke up and took out my twists, my hair felt really soft and moist.  The unfortunate part was that my curls were not defined...not even close to what I wanted.  There also was no clumping, which is important to me and my fine strands.  I'll definitely have to re-twist again tonight with a product with stronger hold.

Since I love how much this moisturized my hair, AND I love the smell, I'm not going to give up on it.  Next time I use it, I'll have to also use some gel. I would also use it on an already defined twistout as a moisturizer.

12/13/12 Update: I don't think this is the product for me right now.  Last night, I co-washed and twisted my hair using the smoothie and ecostyler gel. My curls were still not defined, and although my hair feels moist, it looks a little dull.  I'll stick to what I know for now, and re-visit this product in a few months when I have a little more length.

Friday, November 30, 2012

November 2012 Update: Twistouts

I'm starting to really enjoy my hair.  Keeping it moist (finally!) has made a big difference.  I've been washing (mostly with shampoo) every Sunday, twisting, letting the twists out Monday morning, and rocking a twistout for the week.  I'm going to do it again this weekend, but I'm going to try to keep the twistout for over a week.  I actually think the older my twistout gets, the better I like it.  Every day, I separate the twists a little more, so by day 6, I really like how my hair looks.  Here's what I've been doing on non-henna/non-egg protein treatment weeks:

* Saturday night, I apply oil or conditioner and keep it in over night.  I realized that I don't like deep conditioning- I don't have the time or the patience for it, so doing it on dry hair over night before I wash makes me feel like I'm doing something just as good!

*In the morning, I shampoo or co-wash my hair (Creme of Nature Argan Oil Shampoo, black soap, or Tresemme Naturals Conditioner). While in the shower, I de-tangle with a lot of conditioner and a shower comb.

*I apply leave-in conditioner while my hair is damp (I've been switching between Hawaiian Silky 14-in-1 and Cantu Shea Butter).

*I add castor or grapessed oil, then moisturizer (ORS), then a little gel (Ecostyler).  Then I twist it.  I pin the roots of the twists down with bobby pins.

*For the rest of the day, I wear a scarf under a hat and go about my business. The next day, when I take out the twists, my hair looks like this:

can you see my black ends??

I'm still shocked about how moist my hair has been!  The gel has really helped to define my twists, but still keeps my hair soft.  This photo is from separating each twist once. I usually separate one more time for the first day, but this week, I wanted a tighter curl for the first couple of days.  I start twisting in the front, so I'm usually tired by the time I reach the back.  This last week, I did individual twists in the front and flat twists in the back.  Because I did this, and because my hair is longer in the back, my hair looked much longer in the back than in the front.  It evened out by the second day or so, but I'm going to try to do the individual twists all over.

At night, I put my hair into about 8 ponytail puffs to keep it from getting flat.  In the morning I add a little oil, fluff and go. Each day, I separate some of the twists more. By Thursday or Friday, my hair looks like this:



I've been using mostly castor oil.  It's been great now that the weather is so cold and dry.  I apply the oil with a color applicator bottle, and when I massage it and untwist more, the oil reaches the length of my hair strands.  I could still separate the twists more, which I'll probably do over the next day or two.  I want to experiment with all of the curling creams I've bought over the past 5 months, but what I'm doing now has been working so well that I'm afraid to try!  I also want to try bigger twists, but it's been hard to keep them twisted when I use larger chunks of hair.  Maybe in a couple of months....

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Black Tips

Last week was a good hair week.  I wore a twistout for 4 days.  I was able to keep it moisturized, so I really got to see my true texture in a healthy state.  I noticed that from the roots to about 3 inches is wavy and smooth, while my ends are wiry, course and straw-like.  Also, my tips are black...the semi-permanent color I had in May ended up being permanent! I've said it before, but I really mean it this time: I WILL NEVER GET A BLACK COLOR AGAIN.  It causes too much damage and now I know for sure it changes the texture of my hair.  I really want to just cut the black out so I can experience my true hair texture, but I want to wait another month or two to get a little more length.

To think that since I big chopped almost 5 months ago, I thought my hair was course with no real curl pattern, when it was really the color that made it this way!

I'm really excited to work with a full head of healthy color-free hair.  I think my ends will behave so much better.  If I get impatient over the next couple of months, I may do small dustings every couple of weeks until the black is gone.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Progress...

My hair's moisture level is getting so much better.  I've been using Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Moisturizing Hair Lotion as my moisturizer for the past week or so, and it's doing a pretty good job keeping my hair moist and shiny. I have had a love/hate relationship with this product for a while. I bought it years ago when I was relaxed. Initially, I didn't like how it felt on my hair- heavy, oily and sticky. However, it seems to work on my son's curls.  I'm not sure what made me pick it up and try it last week, but I thought, 'why not?' As soon as I put some on my dry hair, I immediately saw and felt a difference. My hair looked shiny. It felt moist and silky. The hair "clumped" like I hadn't seen my natural hair do. So I decided to use it on a dry twist out. The next day my twists were moist, but not too greasy. When I pulled the twists apart, my hair stayed clumped for the most part, and did not separate and frizz like they usually do.

I tried again on wet hair and had pretty good results. I'm also getting better at second day hair.  Last night I put my hair in about 10 very loose ponytails. This morning, I just had to moisturize, fluff and go!


I also gave myself a trim.  My ends really needed it.  I don't know if it's scab hair, or just old damaged ends, but it's definitely not helping my curls.  I just dusted my ends to get rid of the wiry hairs.  I probably could have trimmed more, but I barely trust myself with scissors!  I did it on dry hair, so hopefully I'll see a difference after my next wash.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Better Day

After my discouraging hair day yesterday, I sought help of my girl, L, who has been natural for about 5 years.  I am so appreciate of her help.  She thinks that I'm washing the moisture out of my hair and suggested trying to go the rest of the week without co-washing.  She also told me to try whipped shea butter.

I decided to wash my hair again- just to make sure I was starting with a clean slate.  When I was relaxed, an egg protein treatment usually gave me brand new hair, so I did it last night.  This was the first time since my big chop that I did an egg treatment.  I used Creme of Nature Argan Oil shampoo once and did an apple cider vinegar rinse.  I deep conditioned for about 30 minutes with Giovanni 50:50 Balancing Calming Conditioner, and rinsed.  I made some whipped shea butter with jojoba and almond oils, and added a little aloe vera gel.  I applied some Cantu leave in conditioner, and some of the shea butter mix, and flat twisted my hair. I wasn't going to leave it twisted, I was just trying to make sure I got product on every strand.  Then I decided to leave the twists on over night because I noticed that my roots looked more moisturized than usual.  I slept with a satin scarf (I usually just sleep on a satin pillowcase).  When I woke up today and took my twists out, my hair was really shiny and a lot more moisturized than yesterday! My twists weren't as defined as I wanted, but I know I need to work on my twisting skills.  The flat twists instead of individual twists really helped my roots to not look too puffy.

The apple cider vinegar rinse really helped. I think I had some buildup that needed to be removed.  The shea butter made a big difference too.  I was worried that it would be too heavy for my hair, but I guess my hair drank it up.

My hair isn't at the moisture level I want it to be, but it's sooo much better. I know we're supposed to moisturize and seal, but I think I put it out of my mind since I've been having such bad luck with oils lately.  Hopefully I can make it not washing my hair for the rest of the week. Following my girl's advice, my plan is to lightly spritz my hair with water before bed and add a small amount of my whipped shea butter mix. I'll decide at night whether to re-twist or not. In the morning, I'll just add oil in the morning for shine and finger comb to slightly lift the smashed hair.

Monday, October 22, 2012

I Love My Natural Hair. I Love My Natural Hair.


I really don't love it right now, but I'm trying to talk myself into it!

I did a twist out last week.  The weather cooled down, and I felt like I was catching a cold, so I decided not to swim for the week.  I figured it was the perfect time to try a twistout.  I still haven't mastered flat twists, so I decided to do individual twists.

I co-washed, and used Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave-in mixed with some aloe vera juice and oil.  I twisted each section with a little Ecostyler gel on each section.  I pinned most of the twists down, to keep them twisted and to stretch them out some.  When I woke up, my hair was completely dry.  I took out the twists with some coconut oil on my hands.  Most of my twists, especially in the front were very well defined. Some parts of the back looked frizzy to me.  The next night, I re-twisted just a few areas in the back and on the sides.

This is not a great picture...I liked that my hair was stretched out, but I don't love the results.  I think I need to use different products to twist, because my hair didn't look as moist and shiny as I had hoped.  Next time I'll use something other than coconut oil to take the twists out.

I tried another twistout last night, using Cantu Shea Butter Leave-in and grapeseed oil (no gel).  I had bigger twists this time.  I like how the ends of my hair came out, but did not like how puffy and dry my roots looked and felt.  I ended up co-washing and wearing my usual wash and go afro.

I don't think the gel is helping my hair stay moisturized. Maybe it's due to the weather not being as humid and warm.  I also don't think coconut oil is working for me.  Actually, most oils seem to only coat my hair at this point.  I don't even get any shine from them.

I'm feeling discouraged.  I can't seem to keep my hair moisturized, especially at the roots.  My hair strands are fine, so it's hard to get the roots to clump together like I want them to.  I'm not giving up, I just need to figure this out....


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Product Review: Shea Moisture Organic African Black Soap Purification Hair Masque

I bought and tried this masque about a week and half ago.  It was about $13 at the drugstore.

Product Description
Detoxify, condition and soothe hair and scalp with gentle Kaolin clay, herbal extracts, botanical enzymes and essential vitamins. Our intense treatment relieves dry, itchy scalp, removes product buildup and preserves hair by sealing in natural moisture. Treats dandruff, eczema & psoriasis.

*Plantain enzyme: Helps to alleviate itchiness and irritation * Tea tree: Removes buildup for enhanced shine and volume *Willow bark extract: Exfoliates and detoxifies hair and scalp *Ethically traded ingredients, sustainably produced *No parabens, phthalates, paraffin, gluten, propylene glycol, mineral oil, synthetic fragrance, PABA, synthetic color, DEA, animal ingredients or sulfates *Cruelty free, no animal testing *Sulfate free, color safe, organic

Ingredients
Deionized Water , Cocos Nucifera Oil (Coconut) , Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) , Mangfera Indica Seed Butter (Mango) , Persea Gratissima Oil (Avocado) , African Black Soap Extract , Sea Salt , Cetyl Esters , Kaolin Clay , Grapeseed Oil , Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil (Jojoba) , Behentrimonium Chloride (Conditioner) , Salicylic Acid , Salix Alba (Willow Bark) Extract , Melia Azadirachta Seed Oil (Neem) , Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil , Sorbitol Esters , Aloe Vera Leaf Juice , Tocopherol (Vitamin E) , Rosemary Extract , Salvia Officinalis Extract (Sage) , Plantain Extract

Directions
Apply generously to dampened hair, leaving on 5-30 minutes and rinse thoroughly. Shake well, natural ingredients tend to settle.

My Experience
 Before I used it, I read some online reviews. I decided to use it as a pre-poo treatment.  My hair was a little damp from working out when I applied it.  The texture is creamy, but not too heavy.  The smell is pleasant, not overbearing at all.  I left it in for a little over 30 minutes.  I didn't even try to de-tange with it, but my hair doesn't get too tangled anyway.  I washed my hair using very diluted shampoo, applied a rinse out conditioner for a few minutes, and air dried.  I'm glad I used it as a pre-poo and used some shampoo, because it's grainy and hard to get out.  I think it's more sandy than henna!

I actually didn't notice a difference at all using this product. Even days later, I couldn't tell I used anything different.  I may try to use this once more, but I probably will not purchase it again.

I don't have a dry, itchy scalp so I shouldn't have even bought this.  CVS had a sale on Shea Moisture products.  They didn't have the products I wanted, but I felt like I should get something.

Friday, September 21, 2012

September 2012 Update

It's been almost 3 months since my big chop, and I'm just moving along.  No big updates.  I'm still co-washing every day, mostly because I swim and/or work out every day- not because of tangles or because I need the moisture, thank goodness.  I haven't really tried any new styles but a wash and go because of all of the exercise.  My hair was shedding a lot in the shower, which I think was okay, but I decided to incorporate a little more protein just in case.  So for the last week or two, I have been co-washing every other day with Mane and Tail conditioner.  I love that stuff. It smells so good and I like how my hair feels when I'm using it.  The shedding has definitely slowed down from using a product with protein.  I wash my hair about once a week with either very diluted baking soda or Giovanni 50:50 Balanced Hydrating-Clarifying Shampoo. I deep condition once a week with Kenra conditioner. It really keeps my hair moist.  Last weekend when I ran out of my Ecostyler with Olive Oil gel, I used the argan oil formula and it was just okay.  My hair felt a little harder and dryer than when I use the olive oil formula, so I'll still with the olive oil gel.

Sorry I don't have any recent pictures (they're coming!), but I can definitely tell that my hair is growing.  I feel more hair in my hands when I wash and style my hair.  One day last week when I looked in the mirror, I could tell a difference in the length and the curl pattern, and for the first time in a long time, I loved what I saw!

I've been slacking on the henna, but I'm going to try to do a treatment this weekend.  My grays are really starting to come in around my hairline. I don't love that my grays are a reddish/orange while the rest of my hair is dark brown, but I don't know what else to do.  I don't want to do an indigo treatment, because I don't want black hair.  Semi-permanent colors that I'm not allergic to really don't cover my grays. Plus, I co-wash every day, so I don't think it would last long anyway.  I'm still nervous about going lighter.  I'm still weighing my options.

I've been taking biotin since I big chopped.  I don't notice a difference, but that's probably because I've been taking it since I cut my hair.  I'm going to continue taking it. Besides the constant exercise, I've been eating a lot of fruits, vegetables and eggs.  I also juice vegetables and carrots 4-5 times a week.  Hopefully all of this is helping to keep my hair healthy and strong.

I'm really excited about the next few months and what my hair will do.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

One Month Post Big Chop

It's been one month and 10 days since my big chop. Every week gets better, and I've learned a few things about my hair.  For example, I don't think I have fine or low porosity hair.  Could it have been the relaxer???

I co-wash every day, with either Aussie Moist or V05 Moisture Milks.  For the past two weeks I have used Hawaiian Silky Miracle Worker 14 in 1 as my leave-in, and it really keeps my hair moist.  Moisture is my number one goal.  My hair is naturally dry, but I've also been working out and swimming regularly- sometimes in the sun- so I need to keep my hair as moist as possible.  My scalp is doing great.  It took about 2 months for it to get back to normal after my allergic reaction.  I haven't done a henna gloss in about 3 weeks, but I will do one in the next few days.  I would love to color my hair lighter, but I want to wait until I am confident about keeping it moist and healthy.

My edges are doing great too.  For the first time, they lay down with just a little gel- no scarf! They're the same texture as the rest of my hair, too.  I think the relaxer was always breaking my edges, so they were never healthy or an even length to be manageable.

This week was the first time I noticed a little curl pattern and some growth! I still use some gel and a brush to define my curls every morning, but I don't use as much gel, and I don't brush as much.


I still don't love my hair, but I am enjoying having short, low maintenance hair during the summer.  It's much cooler, and it's been fun experimenting with jewelry and make-up!  I don't miss having a relaxer at all.  My man always tells me that it's not the hair, it's my confidence, so walking straighter, smiling more, and showing the world that I feel good about myself has been good for me.  I've gotten a lot of compliments- not just about my hair, but my skin, my eyes and my overall appearance!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Curls!

2 weeks post big chop.  Still no curls.  However, I did find a video that helps me define my curls in less than 10 minutes:


I am so thankful for finding this video.  I guess hours of looking at youtube videos has paid off!  I'm on my third day of doing this, and I still really like it.

I also started using Aussie Moist conditioner to co-wash, which is great.  I didn't like it on my relaxed hair, but it really moisturizes my natural hair.  I went to the beach on Saturday, and with the hot sun on top of my already dry hair, my kinks were CRISPY.  That night, I shampoo'd, henna'd, and deep conditioned overnight with ORS Replenishing (not sure if I like it on my natural hair- maybe I need to stay away from protein).  The next day I used the brush to define my curls and I was in shock how fast the curls came!  I used leave-in, Shea Moisture Curling Smoothie, and Eco Styler gel.  My hair was still not as moist as I wanted it, but I loved the curls.  The next day, I used Aussie Moist to co-wash, skipped the leave-in, and just applied castor oil and Eco Styler Gel with olive oil.  Loved it.  My hair stayed moist all day- a first since my big chop!  I went out with a couple of friends, and they gave me so many compliments on my hair.

Since starting my hair journey, I have always been on the fence about leave-in conditioners. Unless I use the Kimmaytube method with oil and aloe vera juice, I've never really seen a difference.  Lately, I've felt like the leave-ins I've been using have been making my hair feel harder and drier, not softer and moist.

I also realized that I have heat damage!  Right on top in the front- the most visible place to have it! I'm just going to keep scrunching it up with gel to mask it.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

First Twist Out on TWA

Since I haven't found my curls yet (hey, maybe I'll never have defined curls), I decided to do a twist out.  The day before that, I co-washed, and left some of the VO5 conditioner in my hair.  It looked like my hair was curly!  However, when I woke up, I looked like Florida Evans, lol.  I co-washed again that night, left some of the conditioner in my hair, applied some oil, and used Taliah Waajid Curly Curly Curl Cream to do 6 flat twists from front to back.  It still takes me a long time to do flat twists.  I'm so used to cornrows (3 strands), that flat twists seem weird for me to do.  In the morning, I rubbed some coconut oil on my hands and took the strands out.

I definitely liked this better than the "hairstyle" I had the day before.  Even though I tried to get rid of all of the relaxed ends, I still had some spiky ends popping up.  The next time I do it, I won't do twists all the way back.  The middle was not as defined, so I think I need to start new twists in the middle of my head.  That night, I slept with a satin bonnet on.  When I woke up, I applied a little shea butter/coconut oil, sprayed with a little water, fluffed and went to work.  I'll be happy if it lasts me 3 days!


I've been buying all of these products, but I'm going to slow down.  It hasn't even been 2 weeks since my big chop and I want to get my hair used to being in it's natural state! Just because I don't like how a product works now doesn't mean I won't like it in 2/6/8/12 weeks.  I'm going to stay with a product for a week before I try another.  I was using the clear Ecostyler gel, and I finally got the one with olive oil.  It seems a lot more moisturizing.  I did a few coils on dry hair last night, and I loved how moist and smooth my hair was this morning.  

Thursday, July 5, 2012

5 Days Natural

It's been 5 days since my big chop.  I'm hanging in there!  I still don't regret doing it, although I have had a few frustrated moments:

* The hair on top still has some relaxed ends, but I'm afraid to cut them.  The texture on top is different than the rest of my head because it doesn't curl/kink like the back and the sides.  I don't want to cut too much off making the top shorter than the rest.  I also don't know if there's some heat damage going on, or my curl patter really is looser there.  I'm going to just keep using small rollers on the top until it grows a little more.

* I haven't been experimenting with products like I wanted to, because I've had to work, and I don't want to risk a crazy looking hair day.  I've only been using Ecostyler gel.  This weekend, I'm going to try some curling products.

* I still don't know what I'm using as a moisturizer.  Lucky for me, my hair hasn't  been too dry.  I've been using Giovanni Direct Leave-in after I co-wash, and on days I don't co-wash, I spray some water/coconut oil mix on my hair.

* I've been getting some good feedback so far.  I went to a party the other day where a lot of my friends were, and they gave me some nice compliments.  I've been told I have the face for it, that I look younger, and short hair is what I always should wear.  The only people who don't like it are my father and this guy at my job. I could care less what either of them thinks.

The journey continues...

Transitioning/Going Natural Reason #5

Transitioning Reason #5: BIG Hair

I have always loved big hair.  Unfortunately, I have never had big hair, other than the times when I was a little girl before my mother pressed my hair.  Of course, then I didn't appreciate it.

I always think that women with big natural hair have interesting lives.  I love that they seem carefree.  Even when I did like my hair relaxed, I thought that wearing it straight was boring and conforming.  As I get older, I want to conform/be normal less and less.

I still don't really know my true texture, so I may never have the big hair I covet, but I know it will be bigger than it ever was without a relaxer!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Bye Bye Lye

I big chopped this weekend!  I went to my friend who works at a salon.  I've never gone to her before, but I wanted a professional to cut my hair.  I figured if I did it, it would be uneven.  Also, I don't own any good scissors (yet).  She did some things I wish she hadn't, but hey, it's done.  I went in with my hair in a rod set.  She just started cutting.  Before I knew it, there were relaxed curls on the floor.

The she washed my hair.  I asked her not to use shampoo, since I just shampoo'd 3 days prior, but she said I need it (ugh)  After is was wet, she blow dried it (ugh) to cut it into a shape.  Then, she wet and conditioned it again to get it to curl.  She wanted to play with it by adding some product and twisting it, but I wouldn't let her.  I left the salon with a wiry, crazy looking afro, but I was determined to fix it myself when I got home.  She has a really short haircut, but she goes to the barber to get it done, and she uses a relaxer.  So, she's not used to doing natural hair.

I had a picture of myself when I left the salon, but I deleted it from my camera by mistake.  Maybe I did it subconsciously?? ;-)

When I got home, I jumped in the shower and co-washed with Suave Coconut conditioner.  I got out and used a little as a leave in.  My hair was still pretty wiry, not really curly.  I applied some jojoba oil, and some Ecostyler gel, and started twisting.  The back and the sides twisted okay, but the front and the top wasn't cooperating.  So I put in 5 or 6 perm rods and sat outside in the heat for a little while.  When I took the rollers out, the top was curly.


The next day I went to the beach, and just sprayed my hair with my coconut oil and water mix.  I didn't get my hair too wet at the beach, but I co-washed when I got home and did the same thing I did the day before.  The next morning, I noticed that I still had some spiky ends, which I think were relaxed pieces, so I cut them myself.

I think my hair is in shock, and it will probably take a week or two for it to curl on its own.  I bought some products, but have only used the gel.  My hair is long enough to twist, so maybe I'll try some flat twists.

Right now I don't love my hair, but I don't hate it either.  I don't regret cutting it.  I'm happy to be natural.  I'm happy not to have to depend on a stylist. I'm happy to be free!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Random Hair Babble - June 2012

My rod set last week lasted a whole week! I set my hair on a lot of grey perm rods, using Lottabody setting lotion and a little Ecostyler gel on the ends.  I went out of town where the weather was extremely hot and humid.  My hair stayed for my whole trip and 2 days afterwards!

I henna'd my hair this week- lazy busy girl style.  I didn't let the henna mix sit for the color release, but I still got color. I also only left it in my hair for about an hour and still got color.  I still had an itchy, flaky scalp from my ppd allergy last month, and the henna seemed to cure it.

I shampoo'd my hair for the first time with Giovanni 50:50 Balanced Hydrating-Clarifying Shampoo before I used the henna.  Loved it!

I deep conditioned with Pantene's Relaxed and Natural Breakage Defense Mask. I hadn't used it in a while.  That stuff was great. Too bad it's discontinued. :-(

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Transitioning: Reason #3

Reason #3: Versatility

Yes, I'll have really short hair at first, but when it grows some, I will be able to do whatever I want to it- more than what I could do with relaxer.  If I want to wear it straight, I'll straighten it.  If I want an afro- easy.  I can set or twist it for curls. My relaxed hair doesn't really even hold a curl anymore.  Even coloring won't be as big a risk.  I'm so excited to do different things with my hair.

I Think I Might Be Ready...

...for the big chop! I'm sick of dealing with this new growth and trying to manage two textures.  I thought I would transition for 9-12 months at least, but I don't want to do this all summer. I had short hair for over 10 years, so that's nothing...I'm just worried about having crazy hair that I can't manage. I just want to be free- I'm sick of relaxers and I'm sick of stressing over my hair. I want to go swimming and workout  and sweat and do whatever the $#@% I want. Even my boyfriend thinks I should cut it. He really liked my rod set last week.  He's also tired of me being moody because of my hair.  I could always braid it if I don't like it, right? My relaxed hair is so dead to me.  I can't even wear it straight without cringing in the mirror. I know I sound crazy.  I'm mad I'm making a big deal of this.  Some of my friends think I should do it, some think I should wait it out.  But who cares what they think? It's not their hair!  

Friday, June 15, 2012

Rod Set

I decided to try a rod set yesterday. I don't think I've ever tried this before.  I wanted to see how my hair would look short and curly, and to try a style I hope will last more than 2 days.  After I washed it, I set it with diluted Lottabody with a little Ecostyler gel on the ends, and I used small flexirods and perm rods. This morning when I took the rollers out, I separated them with coconut oily fingers, and slicked down my edges with Creme of Nature Argan Oil Perfect Edges.


Honestly, I didn't like it at first, but as the day goes on, I like it a little more.  After I took the first picture, I pinned the sides up a little.  I hadn't used Lottabody in a while, and I really like how shiny and bouncy my curls are.  I'm interested to see the curls in the next day or two. I'm afraid to separate the back too much, because I don't want it to get frizzy.  I don't know..I guess I have to get used to it.  I definitely know how I would do it differently in terms of roller placement, but I know it could have been a lot worse!

The other thing I did differently this wash was adding honey to my deep conditioner.  I never had good results the few times I've done this, but this time was different (maybe it was winter when I tried it before?).  My hair is so moist, and my new growth feels so soft (a first).  I'm definitely going to continue do this.  


Transitioning: Reason #4

Reason #4: Less Salon Visits

I. Hate. Going. To. The. Salon.
It's a huge time waster for me.  On top of that, I haven't been happy with how my hair comes out when I leave the salon in a long time.  I've spent so much money in salons, and to think that I've probably been happy less than 50% of the time makes me mad.  I think I've been mistreated by so many stylists over my life, that even though the salon I've been going to for the past few years gets me in and out, I still hate going.  I actually consider the stylist who has been putting relaxers in my hair a friend, but I still don't want to go to her salon anymore. I'm tired of depending on someone to do my hair.  At this point, I really don't trust anyone to do my hair.  For the past 4 years or so, I have mostly just gone to get relaxers, so now that I'm not getting a relaxer anymore, I should really not have to go.  These are some of the things about salons I hate, even though I may not have experienced them in a while:

  • Me sitting there waiting to be serviced.  I never understood paying to wait. WTH?
  • Scratching my scalp before or during shampoo.  I hate this!
  • My stylist leaving the salon to get something to eat or run an errand while I'm under the dryer.  So unprofessional.
  • Me getting bullied into getting a style/technique/product I don't want. And then paying for it.
  • Sitting there knowing damage was being done to my hair.  And then paying for it.
  • Being late for things that are actually important to me because I was in the salon too long.
  • People coming in trying to sell me cds/movies/clothes/jewelry.  I usually bring only enough money to get my hair done!
  • Getting pressured to pay for other services and products (nails, waxing, a new conditioner) I don't want or need.
  • Getting bad hair advice.
  • Listening to gossip.
  • Listening to music I don't want to hear.  If they have a tv, watching something I don't want to watch.
  • Being bored.
  • Sitting in hot a$$ salons- I'm sweating my hair out before I even leave.
  • The smells (relaxer, color, burning hair, chemicals, stinky people).
  • My face and back getting wet because the shampoo girl doesn't know what she's doing.
  • Feeling like I have to chit-chat with people in there.
  • Spending hours there and feeling like I look busted (or the same) when I leave.
  • No parking.  
  • Leaving disappointed.  And paying for it!

I have so many other and better things to do with my life than spend hours in the salon.  Maybe I'll go a couple of times a year.  Maybe....

Monday, June 4, 2012

4 Months Transitioning

Today marks exactly 4 months since my last relaxer.  A little over 17 weeks to be exact.  Although dealing with my new growth and the 2 textures has been challenging, there hasn't been a day that I wanted to relax.  I just know that that the relaxer was doing more harm than good to my hair, and that my hair is on it's way to being healthy- even if that takes a little longer than I want.

Honestly, there's not much I have to add about learning about my hair.  I haven't found any magical products or techniques....yet.  I've just been trying to maintain it.  I have learned how to air dry it so that it stays relatively moist, thanks to aloe vera juice and jojoba oil.  I have been trying different products and styles to see what my hair responds to best.  I also am slowly learning how to manage my edges, and I hope to have a solid method to tame my edges in a week or so.  I've been using heat a little more than I want to, but I will continue to experiment with no-heat styles until I find something that looks nice and is good for my hair.

My new growth had been really hard for me to deal with, but, it seems to softening up some.  I had read about scab hair before, but wasn't sure if I believed in it.  Now, I'm really starting to understand what it is and what it means.

Scab hair is grown the period after you stop relaxing when the scalp is getting rid of the chemicals. During the scab hair period the scalp and hair may not look or feel normal. Sometimes scab hair is just a completely different texture than the true texture that should be growing out of your head. Sometimes scab hair can grow out straighter or look more dry and damaged than your natural hair type.  Some naturals never experience scab hair, but I am!

From essence.com:
Newly grown hair that is dry, wiry and crinkly. If you recently big chopped and previously had a relaxer, the follicle may have been damaged previously from using the relaxer. Scab hair doesn’t represent the actual texture of your natural hair.

For the first 3+ months of my transition, my new growth was so dry and wiry and I've been so frustrated. This wiry texture has not responded to products, leaving it more dry.  I have had a consistent relaxer for over 20 years, so I'm sure there is some damage that occurred below my scalp.  Some of my natural friends have told me that it has taken up to a year for their true texture to show itself.  Just in the past week I have noticed that my new growth is coming in a little softer and curlier.  Even my edges have been laying down easier with little product.  I will continue to pray for better manageability!

Friday, June 1, 2012

PPD Allergy

A little over a week ago, I went to the salon to get my hair done.  I had some stubborn gray hairs, and decided to get a black rinse.  The stylist used a semi permanent color from Clairol, called Radiance.  I sat under the dryer with it in for about 15 minutes, she rinsed it out, and proceeded to style my hair.  My hair looked great and felt fine when I left the salon. The next morning, my scalp felt itchy, which is rare for me.  By noontime, I had a red rash along my sideburns and my ears.  I also had a few oozing sores in my scalp. I knew then, that I was reacting to the color.  I took some Benadryl and washed my hair, but it was too late.  The next day, the burning, itching rash was all around my hairline, neck and ears, and my face was visibly swollen.  I felt like a monster!  I went to the doctor and was prescribed steroids for 10 days.

I reacted to a chemical found in many permanent and semi-permanent hair colors called paraphenylenediamine (PPD).  This chemical can also be found in dark colored cosmetics, dark synthetic hair (which is why some people think they are allergic to braids), textile dyes, temporary tattoos, black henna products and printing inks.  

This has happened to me before, but it wasn't this bad, and I didn't know what it was from.  The previous two times it happened were both from salon experiences.  However, I had gotten a relaxer and a color at the same time, so I assumed that the stylists didn't rinse out the relaxer enough.  I just moved on to another stylist. This allergy gets worse with each exposure to PPD.

My rash is just about gone, but I'm still itching- all over my body, actually.  I'm still taking Benadryl.  My scalp is very tender, so I'm trying not to manipulate my hair too much. I've also only been co-washing, staying away from shampoos or any products that might aggravate my scalp.  Applying hydrogen peroxide once a day has helped the rash go away more quickly.  I also apply calamine lotion to the areas that itch.  Not fun at all.

Compared to some, I didn't have such a bad reaction.  For some, the swelling lasts for a week or more.  My doctor told me that she has seen much worse, and some even experience trouble breathing.  Some people are hospitalized, and there have been reports of some falling into a coma from their reactions.  Fortunately, I haven't lost any hair.

Make sure you check the ingredients of your hair products.  PPD can also come up under the following names:
  • PPD or PPDA
  • Phenylenediamine base
  • p-Phenylenediamine
  • 4-Phenylenediamine
  • 1,4-Phenylenediamine
  • 4-Benzenediamine
  • 1,4-Benzenediamine
  • para-Diaminobenzene (p-Diaminobenzene)
  • para-Aminoaniline (p-Aminoaniline)
  • Orsin
  • Rodol
  • Ursol
You can develop an allergy to this any time, even if you've used the same product before.  Doing a patch test a couple of days before applying hair color can usually reveal a sensitivity to PPD.  Please, please, please, do a patch test- using a NATURAL product or not- before applying any color!

I really want to move on from this bad experience, but since I have this blog, I feel I should use this platform to help others and prevent what happened to me to anyone else.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Transitioning: Reason #2

Reason #2: Discovering My Natural Texture

I got my first relaxer when I was 13 or 14.  Since then, I have regularly gotten a touch-up.  This means it's been over 20 years of consistent relaxers for me.  I have no idea what my natural texture is!  I remember my hair being kinky (I rocked the afro puffs pretty hard), but I also remember my mother not knowing how to do my hair, so I'm sure it wasn't being conditioned and cared for properly.

My father and his siblings have a 3c texture.  But I think my father's texture has changed over time. He had a kinky afro when I was little, but I think it started changing to curly in the back of his head when he was about 40.  Now, it's all changed to that texture and curl pattern.  I'm not 40, but my texture in the back where his started is changing already. My son's hair is similar to the texture of my father's hair now.  My mother and her side of the family are in the 4's in terms of texture, although my mother's and sister's hair is fine. I actually remember my mother and my aunts on both sides telling me that at a certain point, their hair couldn't take relaxers.  Since most of them have passed away, I can't ask them, but I take that to mean that the relaxers were damaging their hair and scalp more as they got older.  When my mother went natural years ago, I couldn't believe how thick and pretty her hair was.  She mostly wore braids and weaves, but when she wore it out, it looked great, and it was the longest it had ever been.

No matter what my texture is, I'm going to do my best to embrace it and work with what I have.

I found some inspiration from this post at Black Girl with Long Hair.  Erin says that it's all about taking ownership of the ugly you were born with and realizing just how beautiful it actually is. That's exactly what I'm going to do!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fried.


I washed my hair Saturday.  I actually enjoyed the experience, mostly because I didn't lose a lot of hair de-tangling, and I really liked how my new growth felt.  While it was wet.  I was invited to a day party, so I felt like I had to do something, so I let it air dry and then attempted to blow dry and flat iron it.  FAIL.  Why did I even do it to myself???  There was so much hair on the sink, and although my hair was straight, there really wasn't any body or life to it.  I was able to go to the event looking decent, but...the next day my hair looked ridiculous, even though I wrapped it.  Yesterday I wet the ends with a water/aloe vera mixture to try to give it some life.  When it dried, I applied moisturizer and oil and did a few bantu knots.  This morning it looked pretty, but it's misty outside and my hair was straight again before I even got to work.  Ugh.

I know that really should not be putting heat in my hair like that.    I probably would have been better off trying to pull it into a bun.  The only thing is that my edges get so fuzzy because I still haven't learned to tame them.  I'm not sure I ever will.

Back to my liking how my new growth felt when it was wet.  Maybe I just need to find the right product to keep it moisturized.  As always, I appreciate any suggestions.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Can't Do the No-Heat Thing All of the Time

Yesterday my hair was busted!  I co-washed the night before and air dried in a bun.  I woke up with major frizz.  I also lost a lot of hair while de-tangling in the shower.  Plus, it was still hard to get even a large comb through my hair.  My girl told me that I probably need to flat iron for a little while.  She was so right.  I flat ironed my roots last night and my hair is so much more manageable.  I'm still rocking a bun, but it looks much better.  And, my edges look great- much better than when I tried to flat iron them when they were relaxed. I'm also only going to de-tangle with after I've added leave-in.

I can't co-wash as often as I thought I could.  I just lose too much hair.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Transitioning: Reason #6

REASON #6: Relaxer burns

I haven't had a bad relaxer burn since I started my hair journey, but every now and then I still get the "tingling" feeling and some sensitivity or redness after a relaxer.  Even though there probably isn't too much damage done to my scalp from the tingling, I still hate it.  I'm uncomfortable, and I worry about getting sores/scabs.

Relaxers really should not burn your scalp, but sometimes they do.  For a whole week before getting a relaxer I can't scratch my scalp.  Or go swimming.  Or work out.  Or wear a tight hat. Or do anything that might open my pores .  That sucks.  I think I'm the most sensitive in one place- the back on my right side.  When I burn, I always burn in that spot.  I wonder why that is?? When I was a teenager just starting to get a relaxer, I didn't know you weren't supposed to go swimming before a relaxer.  My stylist knew I went swimming - she should have just sent me home and told me to come back in a few days, but she didn't.  I still remember how miserable that salon visit was.  It still amazes me how many stylists will not rinse out the relaxer if their client's head is on fire.  Oil sheen only works for about 10 seconds.

I don't even scratch my scalp anymore, but it's a psychological thing for me.  The week before I get a relaxer is usually when my scalp is at it's itchiest!  My dad and my cousins used to always tease and mock me for patting my head!

When I was in college, I went home with a friend and had her stylist relax my hair.  Before she even started, she told me that the relaxer would burn because she didn't use a base and wanted to get my hair as straight as possible.  You can guess that my head was like one big scab for a week after.  I didn't even have a nice hair style, because my hair was matted to the sores.

I started my healthy hair journey four years ago after getting a terrible burn.  I think it was actually an allergic reaction, because the relaxer didn't burn as the stylist put it in.  She applied a semi-permanent color right after (I don't know the name, but I now know that all semi-permanent colors and I do not get along).  I was fine when I left the shop, but the next day, I had oozing sores all over my scalp.  To top it off, when I called the stylist, she told me not to wash my hair, but to just grease my scalp!  What horrible advice.  I could have probably saved some of the hair breakage and scalp damage if I had just shampooed and conditioned my hair the next day...thank goodness I did some research online and found the great hair care blogs and forums I still refer to today.

Please don't think I am all of a sudden against relaxers.  I'm not.  I just want to try something different.  I'm sure in a few weeks, I will be literally fiending like an addict for a relaxer and want my straight hair back.  This is just one of the reasons I am trying to stop getting relaxers.  For me, it's a mental transition just as much as it is a physical one.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Pretty Good Twistout

I did a twistout last night. It's not great, but I felt good enough about it to wear it to work today.



The curls/twists have fallen some, so I'm liking it better as the day goes on.  I did it on dry hair.  I dampened my hair first with aloe vera juice, and added some Creme of Nature Argan Oil wrap lotion and coconut oil.  I did 5 flat twists (like cornrows) and curled the ends with flexirods.  I've never done flat twists before.  I'm excellent at cornrowing, but just using 2 pieces of hair feels awkward to me.  My ends seem a little frizzy- I'm not sure what I did wrong.  Maybe I need to smooth the ends better on the roller.   The curls are defined, but I wish the twists were bigger.  My relaxed hair is so thin that I don't know how I could get a more wavy look with the twists...if I do less than 5 twists, will more of my roots show?  I definitely need to work on getting better at these styles.  Maybe next time I'll sit under the dryer for a little while to try to get smoother results.  I have to admit it's been nice today going out and not worrying about the rain. Normally on rainy and windy days like today, I make sure I have a hat on.


I also need to do something about my platinum hair around my edges. The semi permanent color I've been using (Adore) isn't working anymore.  I may re-visit henna again.   


My roots are THICK.  I have about an inch and a half of new growth, but I still have no idea what my true texture is.  Although this style isn't a huge success, the fact that I've been able to keep my air dried hair moisturized for 2 days is a wonderful thing that I'm still shocked about.


I'm going to the gym tonight, so I'll probably co-wash and try again!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Air Drying Success (Finally)

One of my biggest challenges has been air drying. I always end up with hard, dry, crinkly hair.  However, I as progress in my transition, I'm going to have to master air drying.  Last night when I came home from the gym, I knew I had to do something, but I didn't want to roller set it- I was tired, and it was just too much manipulation, since I set it just 2 days before.

My friend (in my head), On Some Hair Sh*t, reminded me to "Kimmaytube" my leave-in conditioner for shinier hair.  I tried this about a year ago, and loved it.  I'm not quite sure why I didn't keep doing it, because I really do get good results.

I co-washed with Suave Naturals Tropical Coconut conditioner.  I used this conditioner to co-wash when I first started my hair journey 4 years ago, but stopped using it when I started to use V05 more.  I always keep some in the house because my stepdaughter uses it to co-wash when she stays with us.  Anyway, I'm in love with this conditioner.  First of all, I love the smell of coconut.  Secondly, I couldn't believe how easy it was to de-tangle my hair.  When I rinsed it out, my hair felt silky and smooth.  I dried my hair with a t-shirt to prevent frizz, and then added my leave-in.  I mixed about a quarter size amount of Salerm 21 leave-in conditioner with 1 tablespoon of aloe vera juice and one teaspoon of jojoba oil.  I tied my edges down with a silk scarf and let my hair air dry.  Every 20 minutes or so, I would check my hair in the mirror and looked shiny and smooth.  When I felt my hair, it felt moist from the roots to the tips.  It was like a miracle.  My ends never stay smooth when I air dry. My plan was to attempt a braidout or twistout, but I was just too tired, so I put my hair in a bun and went to bed.  I'll try later this week.

This experience really boosted my confidence in air drying.  Now, I just need to work on my edges...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Transitioning: Reason #11

When I was in the car waiting for my man, I scribbled a list of 15 reasons why I am transitioning to natural hair.  Over the next few weeks, I will discuss all 15, and maybe even add a few more.  These are in no particular order, I just feel like starting with 11 today!

REASON #11: Skimpy Ponytail



I hate my little skimpy ponytail.  I love to see thick, luscious ponytails.  Unfortunately, this is not the case for my hair. Not only is it because my hair is fine, but also relaxed.  Sometimes I feel like I've grown my hair in vain because when I wear a ponytail, it looks so sad.  I'd much rather have a short, full, happy puff!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Wash Day

I'm under the dryer now with my deep conditioner in. I'm a little nervous about this wash, since it's the longest I've ever gone without a relaxer. I'm worried I won't be able to handle my new growth. I put some Vatika oil in my hair last night, and this morning I added an egg and some oils to my hair and left them in for about 20 minutes. I'm deep conditing with ORS Replenishing. I have decided to go back to what used to work when I first started my hair journey, and ORS Replenishing was a staple for me. This wash does incorporate a lot of protein, but I'm thinking my hair needs all the strength it can get! Fortunately, my hair hasn't been shedding or breaking, until yesterday. I felt like I had to wash my hair though. Along with the shedding, it felt dirty and hard. It's amazing that I used to go 2-3 weeksvwithout washing my hair. I could not imagine that now! It's hard for me to go past 6 days now.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

April 2012 Update

I'm almost 13 weeks post relaxer- the longest I think I've ever gone.  Yay me!  I am definitely planning on transitioning to natural, but I'm open to texlaxing in a month or so if things get too hard for me.

I've been going to the salon every other week.  I get a rollerset and then they blow out my roots.  The salon I've been going to does a really good blowing out my roots on a low setting and still getting them straight. Straight hair definitely keeps my hair from shedding and breaking off as much.  Between the salon visits, I wash and deep condition my own hair.  I usually will rollerset and flat iron my roots.  I have tried airdrying.  FAIL.  I have tried braidouts.  FAIL. I end up with hard and extremely dry hair.  I welcome any tips or suggestions!

In the past few weeks, I've also been trying some new products and techniques, and have discovered a few things:

1. S-Curl is not my friend. I've tried using it different ways and in different quantities and I still don't like it. When I use a little, my hair feels dry and coated. When I use more, my hair feels wet and mushy. I hate how the product feels on my hands. I hate how it smells.  I will not be using S-Curl, Hawaiian Silky, Wave Nouveau, Carefree Curl, or any other similar products in the future. I just can't.

2. Argan Oil is my friend. Although I haven't used straight argan oil yet, my hair seems to really like products with argan oil in them. I've been using Hair One with argan oil, and Creme of Nature Shampoo with Argan Oil, and my hair comes out really moist and shiny. I've also been using serums with argan oil, and although I'm not convinced that products with silicones are good for my hair, I do get great first, second and third day hair with them.

I'm working on changing my mental state by appreciating women I see with natural hair. I am looking forward to having big hair that I can wear curly or straight.

This is not the best picture, just one of me and my son being silly, but I did my hair myself (rollerset + pincurls):


Monday, April 2, 2012

Product Review: Hair One Cleanser and Conditioner with Argan Oil for Curly Hair

I bought this a while ago, when my jojoba one (for color treated hair) was running low, since I wasn't that impressed with it.  I've seen so many great reviews on Hair One, that I wanted to try a different formula.  I had also tried the olive oil formula pack a while ago and didn't really like it.  I settled on the Argan Oil one made for curly hair.  So far I've used this four times.

Product Description
Hair One with argan oil for curly hair cleanses while infusing hair with argan oil, keratin, fatty acids, proteins and other nutrients. The formula is sulfate free and is safe to use with color treated hair. Hair One leaves damaged hair soft, shiny, and full of body, and improves the overall health of your hair.
* Safe for color-treated hair * For curly hair * Sulfate free

Ingredients
Water (Aqua), Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Amodimethicone, CID 157846, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Argania Spinosa Kernal Oil, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract, Rosa Roxburghii Fruit Extract, Panthenol, Butylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Menthol, Polysorbate 60, Citric Acid, BHT, Disodium EDTA, Potassium Sorbate, 1, 2-Hexanediol, Hexylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum).

Directions
1. Rinse hair thoroughly for at least 1 minute. Apply 5-7 pumps to the crown of head and 8-10 pumps to nape/back of head. Massage vigorously into scalp for 2-3 minutes. Then add an extra splash of water to help evenly distribute through the ends.

2. Now add 5-10 pumps (depending on hair length) through the mid-shafts and ends to thoroughly cleanse and hydrate the hair. The more product you use the better the results. For hair above your shoulders, use a minimum of 5 pumps.  For hair down to your shoulders, use a minimum of 7 pumps.  For hair past your shoulders use a minimum of 10 pumps. Comb through with a wide-tooth comb. Leave on for at least 3-5 minutes. For maximum results, the longer you leave it on the better.

3. Rinse thoroughly and completely for 1-2 minutes by massaging your scalp and running your fingers through to the ends. If desired, apply 1-3 pumps of Hair One as a leave-in conditioner to wet hair. Start at the back of the head and work through to the ends.

My Experience
I pre-poo'd my hair with an oil mix and then followed the directions that were on the bottle.  Contrary to many reviews I've read, I really liked the smell.  I loved how it made my scalp tingle.  The jojoba one didn't make my head tingle like that.  I de-tangled in the shower with the product.  I felt like my hair really got clean (I didn't feel this with the jojoba formula).  When I got out of the shower and looked in the mirror, I couldn't believe how moist and shiny my hair looked, even after I airdried it a bit without anymore product.  I don't think I've ever experienced that with any shampoo or conditioner wash. I used a small amount as a leave in and styled my hair as usual.

I. Love. This. Product.  It's my new staple.  My hair felt moist and clean, which is a hard combination for me to achieve.  One thing I didn't like is that I lost a lot of hair de-tangling, so I don't de-tangle with it in anymore.  I didn't see a difference when I didn't deep condition, but I don't want to risk not conditioning my hair, so I'll continue to deep condition once a week.

Last week, I used it to clean my 2 year-old's hair. He has curly hair, about a 3c type.  His hair is really dry and it's a challenge for me to keep it looking and feeling moist.  I instantly saw how well it cleansed his hair better than any conditioner I had used before.  I didn't use it as a leave-in, but I will try next time. The next day his hair was so shiny.  Actually, his hair looked shiny all week.  It felt a little crunchy, but not dry.  This week I'll also use it as a leave in and see if that cures the crunchiness.

My Elasta QP Creme Conditioning shampoo is almost out, and I probably will not purchase another shampoo.  I don't need to.  The Hair One does everything I need.

Friday, March 30, 2012

THANK YOU

Since my last post about transitioning, I have gotten quite a few extremely encouraging messages and comments.  I just want to thank all of you for your support and encouragement.  Thank you for the links, and resources and the product recommendations, and just making the effort to connect with me.  Thank you for telling me that you follow me and get inspiration/information/encouragement/etc. from me. I am truly humbled.  One reader has been so generous with her advice and resources, that I tear up every time I get a message from her, because she has taken time out of her day to think about me and help me.

I've had this blog for 4 years, and I knew some people read it, but I had no idea how much I've been able to help others.  I originally started this blog to track my own healthy hair journey, and my heart feels full to know that I have helped others do the same.  Honestly, I'm not the best blogger out there.  I don't have challenges or giveaways or polls, but I do really appreciate all of my readers and the great advice and support you give me.  I  know for sure that I have gotten more from you than you have gotten from me.  Even one comment from one of my posts can turn my attitude to positive and make my day better.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I will try to do more to give back to you, I promise!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Something Has to Change


Over the past 6 months, I've seriously considered transitioning to natural.  Between my getting older, and my hair getting longer, I just don't like how thin my hair looks, even when it's in a healthy state.  Even when my stylist using a mild relaxer, my hair just comes out too straight for my taste.  Maybe I'll try self-texlaxing in about a month, when I'm at least 12 weeks post relaxer, but I really want to stretch it out and figure out how to manage my new growth.  I've had a relaxer since I was 13, and I would like to see what my real texture is like.  I'm sure it's changed, AND since I wasn't properly conditioning my hair when I was younger, I don't know if I ever knew what my texture was.  All I know is that I cannot and will not continue to abuse my hair with a bone straight relaxer.  My mother, her sister, and my aunts on my father's side have all said that their hair just couldn't take relaxers at some point.

The other night I talked to my girlfriend who has been natural for quite a while now. She wears weaves mostly, but lets her natural hair out every couple of months or so.  She is really encouraging, even if I don't want to wear my natural hair the way she wears hers.  I know that this will be a new journey for me- physically and mentally.  I also know that I'll probably have to start over with most of my products and tools.  On one hand, I'm scared and worried, but on the other hand, I know that if I take care of my hair properly and listen to what it needs, I will have such a better head of hair.  Also, even though I only go to the salon for relaxers and trims, I would save so much money and time being a complete DIYer.  I hate going to the salon. I am hardly ever happy with how my hair looks after I leave, and I feel like I'm wasting precious time when I could be doing other things.

March 2012 Hair Update

After the gym on Monday, I had to wash my hair.  The weather was unseasonably warm, so that and zumba class kicking my butt made my hair a mess. Also, I put a black rinse in it a few days prior, and every time I touched my head, my hand had turned black!  I didn't rollerset my hair, though. It was hot in my house, it was late, and I just didn't feel like doing it.  So I airdried using the scarf method.  When I woke up, my hair was still a little damp, but my edges were laid down, so I wore a low side bun to work, which I thought looked cute.

Tuesday night, I decided to put about 6 bantu knots in my hair over night. When I woke up Wednesday and took the knots out, my hair looked okay. Not great, but I thought it looked okay for me to wear it out for the day.  I put on a pretty dress and some make-up to make me feel a little better.  It was a little windy, and by the time I got to work, my waves had loosened up a bit. By the end of the day, I looked a mess.  When I got home, I put my hair in a bun and went to the gym.  After the gym, I knew I had to wet my hair and do something else.  I deep conditioned on dry hair for about 45 minutes with a mixture of Lustrasilk Shea Butter Mango Cholesterol Conditioner and jojoba, almond and olive oils.  I washed it out with Hair One's Argan Oil Cleansing Conditioner.  This was the first time I used the Argan Oil formula (for curly hair), and I like it SO much better than the Jojoba one I had been using.  I don't know, maybe the deep conditioner complimented it. When I got out of the shower, my hair was so moist and shiny.  I towel dried, and applied Matrix Daily Leave-In Tonic & Infusium 23 leave-in and let it air dry for a little while.  When it was about 60% dry, I blow dried my hair on a low setting and flat ironed using Organix Coconut Anti-Breakage Serum as a protectant.  I cross-wrapped my hair and went to bed.  I'm pretty pleased with my how my hair came out, considering I don't feel like I have the blow drying/flat ironing thing down!

I'm still loving my moisturizer and my leave in, and my edges are doing really well without me having to put a lot of gel or other gunk on them.  I love, love, love the egg protein treatment, which I've been doing at least every other week.  I'm also thinking about re-visiting henna.  We'll see...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Product Review: Organic Root Stimulator HAIRepair Anti-Breakage Strength Creme

I received a sample of the Organic Root Stimulator (ORS) HAIRepair Intense Moisture Creme and the Anti-Breakage Creme in the mail a few weeks ago.  I used the ORS Moisturizing Hair lotion for a short time, and I still use it on my son's hair.  The lotion didn't do much for me, but I decided to try the cremes from this new HAIRepair line from ORS since I hadn't found a good moisturizer I could use consistently.  I thought this might be a good product to try, especially since I've been experiencing some breakage.

Product Description
Helps moisturize and strengthen weak and damaged hair.  Formulated with a blend of bamboo extract, shea butter, and other essential ingredients that have been known to help reduce breakage and dryness in natural and relaxed hair.  With continued use, hair will appear stronger with a beautiful, healthy-looking shine.

  • Formulated With A Blend Of Bamboo Extract And Shea Butter
  • Moisturizes And Conditions Weak And Damaged Hair
  • Helps Reduce Breakage And Dryness In Hair
  • For Healthy Looking Hair

Ingredients
Aqua (Water), C12-15 Alkyl, Benzoate, Isopropyl Palmitate, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, PEG-150 Stearate Cetyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, PEG-20 Hydrogenated Lanolin, PEG-40 Stearate, Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate, Cyclomethicone, PEG-25 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Butryospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Prunues Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Bamboo (Bambusa Vulgaris) Extract, Dimethicone Methionine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, BHA, BHT, Triethanoamine, Carbomer, DMDM Hydantoin, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Parfum (Fragrance), Benzyl Benzoate, Geraniol, Lilal, d-Limonene, CI 19140 (Yellow #5), CI 15985 (Yellow #6)

Directions
Use daily or as often as needed. Apply a small amount to the scalp and massage.  Comb through for even distribution from root to end.  May also be applied directly to ends for added protection.

My Experience
I tried the Intense Moisture Creme sample first, and it didn't do much for my hair.   A couple of days later, I tried the Anti-Breakage Creme after I washed my hair and took my rollers out.  I applied a small amount to each section of hair, and I could tell that it immediately moisturized my hair.  I can hardly ever get my roots to a moisture level I want, but using this product has kept my entire strand moist and shiny.  I've also been struggling with my hair looking dull, and this moisturizer made my hair shine, even when I don't have a fresh black rinse to help.  This moisturizer is much different than the ORS Hair Lotion.  I don't like how the Lotion seems to sit on my hair, while the Anti-Breakage Creme feels like it id penetrating my.  I also don't like the way my hands feel after using the Lotion.  With the Anti-Breakage Creme, my hands do get a little oily, but they don't feel sticky or "greazy" like the Lotion does.  This moisturizer also doesn't weigh my hair down.  At all.

I've been using this moisturizer for 2 weeks, at least once a day, and I love it.  It is the best moisturizer I have used in a very long time.  I still seal with oil, but I'm not sure I need to.  My breakage has decreased dramatically, and my hair is even feeling stronger.  I went to my local beauty supply store and purchased a regular sized jar for $4.99, which I think is a steal!

Friday, March 2, 2012

New Products for 2012

It's no secret that I have NOT been happy with my hair lately, so I've been trying some new products to give my hair what it needs to get back on track.  I want to use them consistently a little while longer before I do full reviews:

Aubrey Organics GPB Conditioner
Matrix Biolage Daily Leave-in Tonic
ORS HAIRepair Anti-Breakage Strength Creme

I used all three of these products for my last wash, and so far I'm loving how moisturized and strong my hair is.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Protein & Pin Curl Magic

About a week and a half ago I got my hair done. I went to a Cape Verdean salon that uses the Dominican technique.  I've been there before and had great results, but I was NOT happy this visit.  I should have waited for the salon owner to do my hair as usual, but I thought that since I had a fresh relaxer that anyone could do my hair.  There are a bunch of young girls working in there, who probably never went to beauty school, and treat everyone's hair the same (even though all of the customers have a very diverse range of hair textures and lengths).  The girl who did my hair washed my hair way too hard.  I do NOT like getting my scalp scratched.  I could write a whole post just about this, but I'll save it for another day.  She shampooed my hair like 4 or 5 times, which is way too much for me, and then had the nerve to try to scratch my scalp with a rat tail comb.  Why would she do that?!  I don't have a flaky scalp, so I don't understand  She was pretty gentle de-tangling and or roller setting, but I felt like she blow dried the heck out of my hair.  I only asked her to blow dry the roots, and I'm not sure if my roots even needed it.  My hair was very straight, but too straight for my taste. I left feeling like my hair was over-manipulated and that it looked thin.  I won't be going back unless the owner does my hair.  I think she knew I had an attitude, but probably thought I was just tender headed, since I kept telling her not to scratch my scalp and to be easy with the blow drier!  Now I'm thinking I shouldn't get my hair done every 2-3 weeks. I really don't trust anyone in my hair at this point.

Since my hair had been so manipulated, I tried to keep the style for two weeks, but I broke down last night and washed my hair.  I had been wearing it up in a bun since I got it done, because I thought it looked too thin to wear down.  But when I took my bun out last night, I had some shedding and even a little breakage, and I felt like I needed to try to correct it as soon as possible.  I decided to use an egg mixed with oil as my protein treatment.  I used two eggs with olive, jojoba and almond oil.  I planned on leaving it in my hair for 15 minutes, but by the time I did what I had to do around the house, it ended up being about 40.  I noticed that the egg/oil mix took a lot of my black rinse out, which was fine.  I shampooed with Elasta QP Creme Moisturizing Shampoo, and deep conditioned with Aubrey Organics GPB.

I broke my promise to myself and roller set my hair.  It was already almost 9pm by the time I rinsed out my conditioner, so I knew my hair wouldn't air dry before I went to bed.  I used my new Matrix Biolage leave-in tonic to set my hair.  When I took my rollers out, I noticed how moisturized my hair felt and it looked thicker than it has in months.  I needed protein!  I haven't been using much protein lately, because I thought the henna had been acting like a protein for me. It wasn't.  I wish that I didn't realize this sooner.  I'm hoping regular use of protein products for a little while will help bring my hair back to health.  I just need to research the different kinds of protein, since some products with protein don't work at all for me.

I pin curled my hair in 8-10 pin curls.  Here is how I looked this morning:


I really like how it came out.  I've been too lazy to pin curl my hair at night, but I'm going to start doing it more often.  I've gotten a lot of compliments on my hair today.  I also consider this somewhat of a protective style, since my curls are tight enough to stay off my clothes.  My curls fell a little during the day, but not enough to rub against my sweater!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

No Home Rollersets

My focus is to get my hair thicker. I am really not happy with how thin I think it is.  I hate see-through hair!  The black rinse definitely helps, but I have to do a lot more to reach my goal of thicker hair.

I have decided not to roller set my hair anymore.  It's a lot of manipulation and I think I roll too tight, which has caused too many broken hairs when I take the rollers out.  I will only get roller sets at the salon from now on.  I've lost a little confidence in doing my own hair. I get so much less breakage, shedding and dryness when I get my hair done at the salon.  Maybe I'm using the wrong tools.  I'll work on that later, but for now, I'm looking forward to being pampered every 2-3 weeks.  I'm going to air dry when I wash my own hair. I have air dried my hair the past two times I washed it, and it's been pretty good.  After my bad air drying experiences last year, I've realized that I can't just leave my hair out to air dry. I've been putting my hair in one loose braid and tying the edges down with a scarf.  During the day, I've been keeping it in bun. I moisturize and seal at least once a day.  My hair has stayed moist and smooth.  I've actually gotten a lot of compliments.  Unless I go to the salon for a roller set, I'll be wearing my hair up indefinitely.

I've been trying new conditioners and moisturizers, but I need to stick with the same products for a while. I really believe that consistency with moisturizing products is the key for me, not necessarily the specific products.

So that's it. I'm keeping it simple and consistent.  I haven't taken any pictures lately, mostly because I'm not happy with how my hair looks.  I know I'm my worst critic, and that my hair probably doesn't look that bad.  I also know that I should be taking pictures so that I can see my progress in the coming weeks.  They're coming!

February 2012 Relaxer

I got a relaxer a couple of weeks ago after a 10-week stretch.  My stylist used a mild Mizani relaxer for fine hair.  Almost all of the black rinse I put in the week before washed out, so I'll apply more this weekend.  I got a little trim. I love how my ends look now, but I really need to give the trimming a rest if I want to make it to bra strap length! I wore my hair out the first day or two, but have been wearing a bun since.  I'm not happy with my thickness (or lack of), so it's even worse after a relaxer!  I actually like wearing a bun right after a relaxer, while my edges are so straight and smooth.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Back to Black...Again

I am a little over 9 weeks since my last relaxer.  I usually get a relaxer at 10 weeks, so this weekend's was in preparation for my relaxer.  Here were my steps with some explanation:

Pre-poo.  I now pretty much only pre-poo with oils, ever since the Organix Conditioner I used as a pre-poo a few months ago left my hair a nasty tangled nest.  For this weekend's wash, I decided to try conditioner again, but mixed it with a lot of oil.  I hate getting back in the shower to rinse out my deep conditioner, and I always feel like I'm not doing the best for my hair when I rinse in the sink, so I want to dry to deep condition on dry hair for a while to eliminate that extra step.  I mixed Vatika oil with about 1/3 of an ORS Replenishing Pak.  I also added some Pantene Breakage Defense Mask and Pantene Relaxed and Natural Conditioner.  I don't use these conditioners much anymore.  They're pretty good on my hair, but not great, so I want to use them up.  I applied the mixture like a relaxer to my whole head with a color brush, put a plastic cap and then a scarf (for a little more body heat), and left it in for an hour or two.

Shampoo. I shampooed twice with Elasta QP Conditioning Creme Shampoo and once with Hair One.  I de-tangled with the Hair One in with my new magic comb (love it!).  I wanted to make sure my hair wasn't tangled for my next step.

Semi-Permanent Color.  I applied Kiss Express Semi Permanent Hair Color in black that I bought from my local beauty supply store for under $5.  I also applied this like a relaxer with a color brush.  I covered my head with a plastic cap, and let it sit without heat for 25 minutes.  Because it was the first time I used this brand, I did a patch test on the inside of my elbow a few days before to make sure I didn't have an allergic reaction, like I did to some other semi-permanent colors.

Rinse.  I rinsed the color out in my kitchen sink (I figured it would be less messy this way).  I let warm water run through my hair until the water was clear.  I then applied some KeraPro Restorative Treatment to my hair to make sure it was soft.  I experience "hard hair" sometimes after putting in a color.  I left it on for 5-10 minutes and rinsed.  I then applied Roux Porosity Control Conditioner to my hair and let it sit for 30 seconds before rinsing. I haven't used this much lately, since realizing that I have low porosity hair, but I figure after applying the color and to prep my hair before getting a relaxer, it couldn't hurt.  The KeraPro and Roux definitely softened up my hair.

Style. I applied Salerm 21 as my leave-in and set my hair on red and yellow magnetic rollers with a few sprays of coconut oil diluted with water, Paul Mitchell Skinny Serum, and a little diluted setting lotion.  After my hair was dry, I flat ironed the roots in the front, wrapped my hair and went to bed.

I haven't used a black rinse/semi-permanent color in almost a year.  I'm kicking myself for it.  The black color really does something wonderful to my hair.  It always has.  I thought that since I was on my hair journey and have been conditioning my hair better, I could live without it.  I can't.  I also thought that the black looked to severe on me.  It doesn't.  Last year I asked a couple of friends what they thought about my going black with my hair color, and all of them thought my hair was already black.  No one ever gave me a compliment on my natural hair color or my henna'd hair.

I don't have the "see-through" hair I had before.  When I took my rollers out, my hair was shiny and moist before I added any product- something I haven't experienced in a while.  My hair is laying down so nicely.  I think the color gives my hair the weight to lay down and resist static that I'm always looking for.  My edges are even easier to deal with.  The Kiss brand is much better than any of the other brands I've used.  All of my grays were covered in the recommended 25 minutes with no heat.  I usually have grays that didn't take, or have to keep it in my hair longer, usually with heat.  It conditioned my hair to the point that I feel I could go another week or two before getting a relaxer (not sure yet).  If I didn't know anything about hair, I would think that it was magic. 



The only negative about this product, and this is a small negative, is that it really stains.  My sink was stained (easily cleaned with a bleach cleaner).  My scalp is really stained.  I was able to get the color off of my ears and neck with a warm soapy cloth, but my scalp is still stained. I think I look like one of those guys who uses dye on their hairlines, but everyone I tell about it doesn't notice.  I'm afraid to wear my hair up or pulled back, thinking the stain will show.  I'm thinking about shampooing again in the next day or two, but (1) I don't usually have the energy to wash my hair during the week, (2) I don't want to manipulate it too much, and (3) I'm planning on getting a relaxer in less than a week.