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!

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.