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Monday, December 2, 2013

Oil Rinsing

I'm always looking for ways to moisturize my hair!  I knew about oil rinsing, but was weary since my low porosity hair can be very sensitive to oils.  Most times, an oil pre-poo does nothing positive for my hair.  I read some articles about women with low porosity hair oil rinsing their hair, so I decided to give it a try.

Oil rinsing is when you apply oil to your hair after shampooing but before conditioning.  Some people rinse the oil out before conditioning, others leave it in.  Some even put the oil on top of their conditioner.  The advantages of oil rinsing are retaining moisture (of course), less frizz, more shine, and less tangles and knots.

Here's what I did this weekend:

1. Washed my hair with Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo.

2. Applied about a tablespoon of heated grapeseed oil to my hair in sections from root to tip.

3. While the oil penetrated my hair, I put about a tablespoon of Trader Joe's Nourish Spa Conditioner in the microwave for 15 seconds, and then applied it to my hair from root to tip.

4.  Put on a plastic cap. I planned on sitting under the dryer, and then rinsing and styling my hair.  I didn't feel like it, so I put a scarf over my cap and went to bed.  In the morning, I rinsed out the conditioner and oil well in the shower under warm water.

* I heated up my oil and conditioner because I know that heat is my friend.  Heating up my conditioners opens my cuticles to allow moisture in.  I've seen a significant increase in moisture level and shine by doing this.
* I chose grapeseed oil over other penetrating oils like olive or coconut because I wanted to use a lighter oil for my first time oil rinsing.  When I have pre-poo'd with heavier oils, it was very hard for me to get most of the oil out, even after shampooing, and I was left with weighed down hair that felt unclean.

My results:

  • Less shed and broken hair - My hair sheds A LOT, and I didn't see as much hair in the shower when I rinsed.
  • Easier to detangle - My hair doesn't tangle much, but my shower comb slid through it very easily.
  • More hang time!  For real, I thought I had long hair when I got out of the shower, lol.  This was the first time I saw my natural hair hang down.  If the weather was warmer, I might have been bold enough to try a wash and go.  I believe this has to do with what Elle from Quest for the Perfect Curl calls coating.  I've been saying for years that my hair needs more of a natural and good "coating" to make it heavier, but not weighed down to fall right and stay moisturized and protected. She's the only other person I've seen discuss this in a way that speaks to me and my hair needs.   

Since I just did this the other day, I'll see how my hair retains moisture this week.  Today is my first day of my bantu knot out, and usually my first day hair isn't the best- it's usually a little drier than the other days...but not today!  My felt moist and looked shiny when I fluffed my hair.

I plan on oil rinsing for my next few washes and will report back my moisture retention and any increase in thickness.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Product Review: Trader Joe's Nourish Spa Balance Moisturizing Conditioner

Based on so many positive reviews, I bought the Trader Joe's Nourish Spa Balance Moisturizing Conditioner about a year ago for the sole purpose of co-washing.  It is a great product to co-wash with.  Now that I don't co-wash, I decided to try it another way.  I bought this from Trader Joe's for under $5.

Product Description
When your hair is dry, it needs to be nourished. This balanced hair remoisturizer is ideal for replenishing dry, brittle hair. Perfect for use daily, it infuses moisture and exceptional shine, without weighing hair down. Enhanced with organic botanicals, it does not contain laurel/laureth sulfates.

Ingredients
purified water, organic rosemary oil, organic valencia orange citrus, organic mango, organic lemongrass, organic ginko biloba, organic echinacea, organic willow bark, organic sea kelp, organic chamomile flower, organic textured soy protein, organic lavender, organic grapefruit citrus, tocopherol (Vit E), acetamide MEA, cetyl alcohol, citric acid, methylparaben, propylparaben, botanical fragrance

Directions
Apply after Nourish Shampoo, massaging its wealth of moisture into drenched hair. Rinse thoroughly and style.

My Experience
When my hair was very short and I was swimming almost every day, I co-washed almost every day, and this product was great, especially for slip.  As the weather got colder and my hair got longer, I stopped co-washing as often. Now I wash my hair once a week with shampoo, so I don't co-wash at all.  So, I shelved this conditioner, thinking that I needed something thicker to deep condition with.  I've finally realized that my hair doesn't do well with thick conditioners so I decided to pull the Trader Joe's conditioner out and try it again.

I also have the Nourish Shampoo, and I like it, but I'm trying to stick with one shampoo for a while, so I used a Shea Moisture shampoo before I used this conditioner.  I put some of the conditioner in a bowl and microwaved it for 15 seconds before applying it to my hair.  My hair is low porosity, and I've been making a conscious effort to get more moisture in my hair.  I've realized that heat is actually my hair's friend and heating my conditioners help my hair absorb them better.  I put on a plastic cap and sat under the dryer for about 20 minutes.  When I took the plastic cap off, my hair was so moisturized and shiny that I didn't want to rinse it out!  However, even after I rinsed it out my hair was very moisturized and soft.  My hair was extremely easy to de-tangle, and I even saw some clumped curl definition- which I hardly ever see without twisting! Honestly, I haven't experienced this kind of moisture and soft texture since ORS Replenishing was my staple years ago when I was relaxed.  

I'm definitely going to continue to use this conditioner on a weekly basis.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hair Inspiration

I love this picture of Nicole Ari Parker.  I hope my hair will look in a few months.  She's one of my natural hair inspirations.  Her makeup is flawless here too.  Our textures are different, but I can achieve this style with a bantu knot out.

Actress Nicole Ari Parker Kodjoe Photo Credit: Boris Kodjoe

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

First Day Hair

I loved my hair all last week while I did bantu knot outs.  I re-twisted every night and each day my hair looked better.  Sunday night I did not twist it because I got home late from a wedding.  Monday, my hair still looked good!

I decided to wash on Monday night - I know, what was I thinking?!  I pre-poo'd with coconut oil and sat under the steamer for about 20 minutes. Then I washed once with As I Am Co-Wash and deep conditioned with Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque for 20 minutes under the dryer.  I plopped with a t-shirt and blow dried my hair on low/medium to stretch it out a little.  I twisted with my moisturizing spray, Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, Argan oil, and Ecostyler gel with Olive Oil.

My hair was a little damp this morning, but I loosened the bantu knots and did some things around the house for about 15 minutes.  It was dry by the time I picked it out. I like my hair, but it's not great.  I'm just glad it's moisturized.  It's a little frizzy, but I also know that first day hair isn't the best. I'm looking forward to the rest of the week!

I'm not yet sold on the As I Am Co-Wash.  My hair felt clean, but I had some white residue on my scalp. I think I need to shampoo my scalp once a week.

Not sold on the Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque as a deep conditioner either.  The consistency was too thick, my hair had no slip, and my hair didn't feel any more moisturized when I washed it out.  I may try this as a curling cream, but no more as a deep conditioner.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Kinky with a Side of Heat Damage

After 2 rounds of getting my hair pressed, I decided to work with my natural texture for a while.  My son had a pool party this past weekend, and I got in the pool with him and got my hair wet.  I was extremely self-conscious about my hair while playing in the pool, but my friends said they really liked it curly!  When I got home I examined my hair before I washed it, and what do you know- I had heat damage in a couple of places!  It's not too bad, but there are two areas (in the back and on the side) where a small part of my hair is straight.  I knew this was the risk I took by getting my hair straightened- and my stylist really straightened it.  I'm going to take a break from getting it pressed.

The night before the pool party, I did a bantu knot out on my straightened hair with As I Am Curling Jelly and a pinch of gel on the ends:


I liked it, but the ends were a little too straight and there wasn't much hold, so it wouldn't have lasted more than a day even if I hadn't gone swimming.  I didn't like how sticky the As I Am Curling Jelly felt on my fingers, but it didn't make my hair sticky, so I won't give up on it just yet.

On Monday, I tried to rock a stretched out bun.  It was a misty, humid day, so it was a frizzy FAIL. I didn't even take a picture.

Monday night, I did a bantu knot out using a spray bottle of water/leave-in/oil, Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie and a little gel on the ends:


I loved how moist it was, but I still want a little more curl definition. I also need to work at shaping and styling my fro!  I keep my afro pick close by.

Last night, I did another bantu knot out using the same products as the night before, but I put a little more gel on the length of my hair:


I like today's 'fro the best out of the three.  My hair feel so soft and moist and I had a little more curl definition.  Also, my hair stretches more each day, so I like the length.  I think the key to maintaining moisture is my spray bottle of water, leave-in and oil, as well as blow drying my hair a little after I wash it.  I wish I could be totally heat free, but for now, this is what is working.  It's not exactly how I want it, and maybe it never will be, but I'm still going to keep trying.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Hair Comments/Questions From Work People

Whether my hair is relaxed, natural, braided, or just a different style than the day before, I get so many comments from my co-workers (all non-black).  Whenever I go in the day of a new style, I'm like, "okay, here we go..."  Here are some of my favorite comments- some inappropriate and flat out rude:

What did you do to your hair?!

Is it yours?

What is it made of?

How long did it take? (braids/twists)

Can you wash it?

Did you do it yourself?

Who did it?

How do you sleep?

How long will it last?

Is this style easier than the last one?

It really fits your face!

It looks so silky!

How much did it cost?

Did you cut your hair?

Can you comb it?

I wish I could do that with my hair!

You look like Beyonce/Lauryn Hill/Halle Berry/Melissa Harris Perry/some other black celebrity I look nothing like!

I love your weave! (when it's not a weave)

You remind me of my Barbie head I had as a child with all of your hairstyles!

Do you unbraid them at night and re-braid every morning? (braids)

I like this style so much better than the last one.

You can do so much with our hair.

Can I touch it?

I've dealt with these questions and comments for years, so at this point, nothing these mofos say surprise me.  I sometimes make up answers, like "yes, I re-braid them every day," or "it only took an hour for me to put all these braids in."

Am I missing any crazy/funny/rude/stupid comments??

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Braids Out

I took my micro braids out last Friday night after having them in for 10 weeks. My goal was 6 weeks, so I'm proud of myself for making it to 10.  It took me about 4 1/2 hours to take my braids out. I tried to take them out using the method here, but it didn't quite work for me.  The video shows how you can soak your hair with water and conditioner and the braids will slide out.  Well, the women who braided my hair were extremely good at their jobs, because my braids did NOT slide out!  They were almost cornrowed at the root, so no amount of conditioner was going to make it easy for the braids to just slide out. I did still wet and load my hair with conditioner. I feel like it made it easier to take the braids out, and I got a good pre-poo conditioning treatment from it.  The water and conditioner also made it so much easier to de-tangle.

The next morning, I went to the salon to get my hair done. I hadn't been to a salon since I did my big chop last June!  I like doing my own hair, but I also like having someone else do it, especially if I trust them and they get me out in a reasonable time. I went to my cousin at a salon near my house.  She did my hair once right before I went natural, and I loved how it came out.  She washed and deep conditioned my hair, then she blow dried it a little and put me under the dryer for it to dry completely.  She then pressed my hair (with the hot comb) and curled it using KeraCare Curling Wax.  She trimmed about an inch off.  My ends were really bad- I trimmed my ends myself a couple of times over the past year, but I'm sure I didn't do the best job!


These pictures were taken 2-3 days later.  It looked so much better the day I left the salon, but I still like it now.  I am really happy with the thickness and length...and moisture!  For the past year, I have been frustrated with how dry my hair felt, and now it's actually holding moisture.  I don't know how much I'm going to wear my hair straight, but it's a nice change, especially now that the weather is not so humid.  

Even thought it's only been about 15 months since I've dealt with straight hair, I feel like I'm learning how to manage it!  I've been wearing twists and braids for the past 4 months, and I could be lazy about not wearing a shower cap in the shower, or not putting a silk scarf on at night.  Not with this style!  The first night, I just wrapped my hair, but it came out too flat.  So now I'm putting a few satin rollers and pin curls in it to give it a little body and curl, which I like.  I've also been applying a few drops of avocado oil in my hair at night to seal in the moisture.  I'm hoping this style will last a couple of weeks, and then I think I want to play with my natural texture again...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Eyelash Extensions

I got eyelash extensions, and I love them!  I can't believe it's taken me so long to have this done- the right way.  My eyelashes are super short.  My 3 year old son has longer eyelashes than me!  Here are how my lashes look naturally:


You can barely see them, right??

I feel like I have to wear mascara every day.  For years, I have experimented with different mascaras to make my lashes look longer and fuller.  I can get the fullness, but not the length.  Most mascaras run...or rather, I touch my eyes and/or my eyes water, so I get the raccoon look at the end of most days.

I also use false lash strips sometimes, which are good for going out sometimes, but I can't apply them every day.  Ain't nobody got time for that! It's also hard for me to get all the glue off my lashes and eyelids.

I went to a place a couple of years ago to get lash extensions and the woman did not do a good job. I thought my lashes looked a little ridiculous. They were clumpy and so fake-looking.  They burned like crazy when she was applying them, and one eye looked different than the other.  I said I wouldn't try them again unless I could afford to go to a true professional.  I have a friend who does them at an upscale salon, but her prices start at $300!  She primarily uses the mink lashes.

My other friend, Oneka, also did them at the same upscale salon, but now does them at another salon where she charges less than $50 for them.  I talked to her about how I wanted them to look natural and she promised she could hook me up.  I got the individual silk lash extensions almost two weeks ago and I love the results:



It took her about 30 minutes to apply them and I think these look very natural.  In fact, only a couple people have even noticed that I got lashes.  The important thing is that I see the difference and like them.  I feel like they really open my eyes.  I fall in love with them every time I look in a mirror.  The best part is that I don't feel like I need to wear any mascara!

They should last 2-3 weeks, and then I could either get them filled back in, or a whole new set.  Oneka said that everyone's lash cycle is different, so I just have to see how much my natural lashes shed and how much my daily activities might affect them.  I don't rub my eyes much, and I don't have allergies, so I'm hoping to keep them in for about 3 weeks at a time.  I've had a few lashes come off, but it's not noticeable.  I can still wear eye make-up (I haven't), but I have to use an oil-free remover to take them off.  I can go swimming, take a shower, and exercise with them on with no problem.  I'm definitely going to get them again!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Tiffanita's Skin Summer Must-Haves

It's hard to believe that it's already August, but summer isn't over yet!  Here are some of my favorite inexpensive summer skin products:

Dr. Bronners Peppermint Pure Castille Liquid Soap
I love this soap year-round, but it does a little something more for me in the summer. It's light, but effective, and the peppermint smell is a great wake-me-up in the morning.  I love how it tingles my skin and opens my head.  My bathroom feels like a spa! My whole family uses it. I dilute it with water to make a shampoo for me and my son.  My boyfriend likes to use it after a workout.  It's also a good mosquito repellent, so I use it before going to a cookout.  Sometimes I even dilute it for light cleaning around the house. It's made of organic oils, which is a plus.  I usually buy a 32 oz bottle so we don't run out too quickly!

32 oz bottle is about $16 and can be found at houseofbeautyworld.com


Coconut Oil


Coconut Oil is great for the skin!  It's one of the few oils that penetrate and moisturize the skin.  I use it to boost my lotions.  I mix a few drops with a couple of squirts of lotion and then apply to my skin to make my skin silky smooth.  I also apply some coconut oil to my hands and feet at night to keep my cuticles and heels moist all day.  I find my coconut oil at my local grocery store for under $10.


Eyelashes

Since I don't like wearing a lot of make-up when it's hot, applying false eyelashes is my way of enhancing my eyes and face without wearing a lot of product on my face.  My favorite lashes are the Ardell Fashion Lashes in the 53 or 131 size.  My natural eyelashes are pretty short, so I just want to extend my lashes a little, not look like I have fans on my eyes! For $3-5 per pair, it's a great way to brighten up my face.


Depilatory Cream

For most areas on my body, I prefer depilatory creams over waxing.  I experience less irritation and fewer hair bumps.  I like the Surgi Cream Hair Remover for my face, and Nair for my underarms and bikini area.


Sunscreen


I shouldn't have to stress how important sunscreen is, but maybe I do. Many black people think we don't need sunscreen, but WE DO!  Sunscreen is a non-negotiable item for me at the beach because I burn easily, but it's also important to wear it every day. It's amazing how much exposure we have to the sun by just riding in a car.  I make sure I wear at least a 30 SPF, and I reapply often.  I also make sure to buy new sunscreen every summer so that I know it's still effective.

Queen Helene Aloe Vera Natural Facial Scrub


This gentle facial scrub is perfect in the summer.  I use this scrub to exfoliate and to soothe my skin after being in the sun all day.  I find that I get less skin peeling when I use this.
You can find it here for less than $4.

Bronzer


I was lucky enough to get a good tan at the beginning of the summer. I love being tanned, but that usually means that powders and foundations and blushes don't look the same on me as they do when I'm not tanned.  I love using bronzers to give my tanned face and neck an extra glow.  One of my favorites is the Milani Baked Bronzer for about $8.  I apply it with a powder brush on my face and neck, highlighting my cheeks and forehead.  Bling!


Lip Balm

Lips don't get as dry in the summer, but I still need a good lip balm to keep my lips moist and kissable.  I use a lot of different lip balms, but my favorite these past few months has been the Eos Lip Balm in Summer Fruit.  It's 95% organic, and petrolatum and paraben free.  It costs about $3 and can be found in drug stores.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Braids

Right after I took my twists out, I got braids.  This has been great for the summer so far. I went to the same African braiding shop I got my twists done, and was again very happy with the level of service I received.  When she was finished braiding, she braided the ends and dipped them in boiling water to get the wavy effect.  I've had them in for a little over 4 weeks, and I haven't done had to re-set them.  I was thinking I would try to curl them, but I haven't felt like it.  I've pretty much been wearing them in a ponytail or a bun for the past month.


I still use my moisturizing spray every day or every other day, and I've put a rinse in the front for my gray edges once.  I tried using mascara to cover the grays....it worked, but left my hair feeling a little hard.  I've washed my scalp once, which was pretty easy.  I didn't wash my scalp while my twists were in, but now it's hot and I've been working out, so I really wanted to get my scalp cleaned.  I used shampoo in the shower, and I washed my scalp while my hair was in a loose bun so that I did not get the length of the hair wet.

I took the extra hair home in case I want to go back to touch up the edges, but I don't think I'll have to.  Two braids have come out already, but I can't figure out where they came from!  They definitely didn't come from my edges, which is good.

I'm excited to see my progress when I take the braids out in September, but I'm also enjoying having an easy summer with my hair!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

DIY Moisturizer

I'm still in the kinky twists, and I'm really loving them. I like having a nice hairstyle every day that I don't have to do much too.  It's perfect for the summer.  I've had them in for a little over 8 weeks, and although they still look good, I'm taking them out this week.  I don't want my hair to tangle or get matted. I think I'll get them put back in so I can let my hair grow over the summer without much manipulation.

I took one twist out today and I was extremely happy about how moist my hair is!  I'm thinking that I will have to create a whole new hair regimen.  Maybe my hair is getting back to normal from being so dry for the past year.  I think consistent swimming last year and the henna treatments really dried my hair out, so I'm hoping that my hair is on the road to recovery.

So how did I get this moist hair? It's so simple.  In the past 8 weeks, I've only washed my scalp twice.  Every morning I spray my scalp and roots with a mixture of water, jojoba oil, castor oil and Giovanni Direct Leave-In Conditioner.  I never measure, but it's about 3 parts water, 1 part conditioner and .5 parts oil.  My scalp hasn't itched at all.  Even my edges are doing well, and I haven't done much but brush them down a little.  I haven't been sleeping with a satin scarf because it's too hot, and it's uncomfortable with all of these twists.  I do sleep on a satin pillowcase, though.

I'm hoping that when I do go back to wearing my hair out, my hair will respond just as well to the spray!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Kinky Twists

I got kinky twists a few weeks ago and have been enjoying the break from doing my hair.  I felt like my hair was consuming my thoughts and energy, so I needed to take a little break.  I'm not a big fan of putting artificial hair in my hair, but I'm really enjoying this style.

I went to an African hair braiding shop my girlfriend referred me to.  They were really nice and professional. I was glad that they had the hair there and gave me advice on the color and size of my twists.  The main woman twisting my hair (most of the time, two women worked on me) was nice enough to ask me if I wanted her to do my edges and when she did, had me hold the root so that she didn't pull my hair as she twisted.  She braided the roots, and twisted the rest.  It took about 4 hours, but I'm sure it would have taken longer if there was only one person doing my hair.  Whenever I've had my hair braided in the past, I experienced a bad headache for the first couple of days. This time, no pain!  I was so happy the twists weren't too tight.  I'm too old for that, hahaha!

For maintenance, I spray my roots every morning with a mixture of water, oil, and conditioner.  So far, my scalp hasn't itched or flaked, and my natural hair feels moist and soft.  I applied a semi permanent color to my edges last weekend to cover up the grays, and it was pretty easy and fast.

My goal is to keep them in for 6-8 weeks.  I hope that I'll have a better attitude and improved regimen then.  If not, I'll just get it done again and keep them in through the summer.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Consistent Results

One of my challenges with natural hair is consistency.  Sometimes I think I'm doing the exact same thing to my hair, and the results are completely different.  I don't remember having that challenge with relaxed hair!

However, I am learning how to get consistent results.  I try to deep condition every week with heat.  I am paying more attention to the weather since the humidity levels can affect my hair.  I am also more aware of how much product I use.  For example, I thought my hair hated Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, but now I think I was just using too much.  Now I use less than a dime sized amount to get moisturized and (somewhat) well-behaved hair.

The journey continues...

I'm also learning to embrace the frizz...and accepting that my hair doesn't do what everyone else's does.



Check out this frizz forecast to check the humidity in your area and plan your hair style!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

March 2013 Update

I really feel like I'm turning the corner with my hair and things are getting much better!  The past 6 months have been challenging, mostly due to a lack of moisture.  I now know how to keep my hair moist, and I'm starting to enjoy the styles too.

A couple of weeks ago I was so frustrated with my hair.  I tried to get it braided, but the braiding shop was booked. I then tried to make an appointment at the salon to get it flat ironed, but I got nervous because I don't trust anyone in my hair at this point.  So I decided to straighten it myself. I hadn't straightened my hair once since my big chop in June.  I knew it could mess up my curl pattern, but I felt so bad about my hair that I had to try something.  My hair is kinky, but I have no definite curl pattern.  If anything, it would loosen my curls/kinks, which isn't a bad thing.  Even though my hair is pretty soft, it shrinks up about 95%.

Here are the results of my flat iron:


I didn't blow dry it, I just air dried in twists and then flat ironed.  I HATED the heat protectant I used (Tresemme).  It made my hair feel hard and dry and tangled.  I was shocked how easy it was to flat iron my hair.  I set my flat iron to 265 degrees and only had to go over my hair once in most areas.  However, ,my ends were so bad that they wouldn't even get straight and curl. So I trimmed about 1/4 of an inch. The next day I bought some Jane Carter Nourish and Shine and that really moisturized and softened my hair. I can't believe I'm just trying this. It's really good, even at the high price.

I didn't love it, but I liked it, and I got a boost of confidence seeing my growth.  I wore it straight for about a week, and either used satin rollers or tied the sides down at night. For my next wash, I was excited to see if the trim I gave myself would make my twistouts look better, and it did!


After washing and conditioning, I used the tension method to stretch my hair out a little. This made it sooo much easier to apply and distribute product.  When I took my twists out the next day, my curls weren't that defined, but I didn't use any gel or holding product, so I expected that.  I was just happy my hair was moist and looked cute.  I decided (out of boredom) to put 4 cornrows on one side.  A couple of days later, I re-twisted with a little gel on the ends, and my hair looked so much better.  

I don't want to flat iron my hair too much if I can help it, but it's a nice change every month or two.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Moist!

My hair has stayed moisturized for 3 weeks straight. It's like a miracle!  I've been doing a few things to keep my hair moist:

1. I colored my hair with semi-permanent color
I've always thought that my naked hair was a dull brown and prone to dryness.  I thought henna would help, but it really hasn't helped with sheen or moisture retention.  Since my allergic reaction to the black color I had put in last year, I've been very wary of color.  However, I remembered how a semi-permanent color always gave life, shine and moisture to my hair. A few weeks ago, I applied Adore semi-permanent color in Dark Red Brown.  I noticed a difference in moisture and shine as soon as I applied it!  My hair looks thicker, and seems to absorb products better.

2. I've been deep conditioning with heat
I mentioned this in a post last month.  Consistently sitting under the dryer for at least 30 minutes with my deep conditioner has worked wonders.  

3. I've been doing a final conditioner rinse with Trader Joe's Nourish and Spa Conditioner, and leave a little of it in my hair
I bought this product a couple of months ago. It gives moisture and slip and makes my hair so easy to de-tangle.  I don't even use a comb these days.  Leave-in conditioners don't seem to have any effect, so I decided to leave some regular conditioner in after I rinse.  This has really increased my moisture level.  Usually, my hair dries up and dries out within 10 minutes after adding a leave-in.  I feel the effect of leaving some conditioner in even after my twists dry.

4. I sit under the dryer with my twists
I decided to do this just to open up my cuticles more to let the products absorb more.  Even if I only sit under the dryer for 10-20 minutes, my hair retains so much moisture and is much shinier when I take the twists out.  Lately I've been flat twisting since it takes less time, and this has really been working for me.

5. I moisturize and seal at least once a day  
Thick moisturizers haven't done much for my hair, so now I'm using a more watery moisturizer.  Africa's Best Kids Organics Shea Butter Detangling Moisturizing Hair Lotion has been my moisturizer of choice. I then seal with castor oil.  I had been doing all of this research on low porosity hair, but every rule does not apply to every head.  My hair doesn't like heavy moisturizers, but it does like castor oil, which is heavier than most oils. 

I have been washing my hair once a week, but I may need to go to twice a week.  By the 5th or 6th day, my hair is still moist, but doesn't behave the way I want it to.

Other than the semi-permanent color, I haven't bought any hair products for almost a month and a half.  Go me! 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Semi-Permanent

Since my allergic reaction to the black color I had put in last year, I've been very wary of color.  Henna hasn't helped me in terms of moisture.  I remembered how a semi-permanent color always gave life, shine and moisture to my hair. I am in desperate need of all three, so I decided to go with an Adore Plus Extra Conditioning color in Dark Red Brown.  (I'm on my own no-buy challenge, but I thought I could make an exception!)  I noticed a difference in moisture and shine as soon as I applied it! Even though the directs say you don't need to use heat, I sat under the dryer for about 25 minutes, just to make sure my hair absorbed it and it would cover my grays. I reviewed the Adore in black almost 5 years ago here.  I really like how this gave my hair some weight and seems to allow other products to work better.

I'm not sure why this works for me, since there are some ingredients like silicone and aloe vera juice that usually don't agree with my low porosity hair, but it does work.  It didn't completely cover my grays- they're still a little orange from the henna, but my hair is much improved.  Also, it probably won't last more than 2-3 washes, but I'm okay with that.  It's very affordable, and since it feels like a conditioner, I don't mind applying it often.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

One Year Since Last Relaxer

My last relaxer was on 2/4/12.  I totally forgot yesterday that it was the anniversary of my last relaxer!  The time went by a lot faster than I thought it would.

My natural journey has been really interesting.  I've been frustrated, surprised, proud, and a lot of other emotions over the past year.  I do not regret going natural at all.  I feel like I'm just now realizing what my hair likes and doesn't like.  This truly has been a journey, and I'm looking forward to the next year!

Again, thank you to everyone for the tips and encouragement.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Baggy Method

The baggy method is when you add moisturizer or oil and wear a plastic cap or bag for a period of time to keep moisture in your hair.  Some baggy overnight while sleeping, others baggy for a few hours at a time.  Some baggy just the ends of their hair, while others baggy the whole head.  I mentioned baggying in my low porosity post, but I really haven't done it much.  Baggying overnight doesn't work for me, because I usually wake up with wet, mushy hair.  However, doing it for a few hours at a time makes my hair moist and soft.

Still on my continuous quest for hair moisture, I've started to incorporate baggying into my regimen.  My hair is naturally dry anyway, but the monthly henna and the cold, dry winter doesn't help.  The other day, I applied some Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner to my hair, and twisted it.  I put on a plastic cap for a couple of hours, and when I took it off, my hair was moisturized from root to tip.  Yesterday, I worked from home, so I wore a cap for the majority of the day.  I didn't worry about my hair getting wet since I wasn't going anywhere, and I knew being in the house with the dry heat would really make my hair dry. After about 4 hours, my hair wasn't even wet!

It was 3 degrees this morning.  Yes, I wrote 3 degrees!  I usually put a satin scarf on under my wool hat, but for today's commute, I wore a plastic bag under my hat.  The only product I applied was a little shea butter to take my twists out.  When I got to work and took my hat and plastic hat off, my hair was so moist and soft.  I did have a little shrinkage, but I'd much rather moist shrunken hair than dry stretched hair.

I've decided to baggy daily, if even just for my commute to work, or for a few hours before I go to bed.  I'm hoping this give me moisture, shine and length retention and less shedding and breakage.

Again, be careful of over moisturized, mushy hair.  It could lead to breakage.  I've read that some women also get an itchy scalp from baggying.

What has been your experience with baggying?  What is your method and how long do you baggy?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"No Buy" Hair Product Challenge

Inspired by naturallycurly.com's New Year Hair Challenges, I am creating a No Buy/Stick to It challenge for myself.

I so do not need any new hair products. I need to use up my many, many products.  It's frustrating and overwhelming to have so much, and using different products every week or two is not helping my hair.  Other than gel, I can't remember the last time I finished a product!  I don't think my problem is that I haven't found the right products, but rather that I haven't found the right way to use the products.  

For my challenge, I will: 

  1. Create a list of holy grail (HG) products to use for (at least) two months
  2. Choose 1-2 HG products per category
  3. Repurchase only my HG products as needed.  I will not purchase any other products that are not on my HG list

This way, I will use up product AND have a consistent hair regimen...and save some money!

I'd love to hear from anyone who has had success with sticking with the same products.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Bantu Knot on Two Strand Twist

For the past couple of weeks, I've been twisting my hair and then creating bantu knots with them.  I wanted to tuck my damaged ends away, and thought this was a good way to keep them curled and tucked under.  I was inspired by Yolanda Renee's youtube video.

I first did this on a 2 day old twistout.  I added some moisturizer, and a little gel on my ends.  I didn't like it the first time I did it.  My ends seemed too frizzy and dry!

The next time I did it after I gave myself a little trim and deep conditioned with heat.  Right after I deep conditioned, I just did twists.  The next day, I twisted only a few sections of my hair and put them into bantu knots. I loved how those areas came out, so I tried with my whole head.  I did about 12 twists/knots using Cantu Shea Butter Curling Cream and gel on my ends.  I really liked it!  My hair was moist, curly and full:




I like that it just looks like a head full of curls.  When I do a simple twistout, I feel like some my ends are straight and my hair doesn't have much shape.  I try to make the sides a little smaller and tighter so that the top and front look longer than they are.  This style also keeps the frizz away!  I re-twist/knot ever night and I feel like it gets better every day.  I definitely like it better on dry hair.  I'm still not sure how to do it right after I wash- maybe let it airdry first? Or stretch it a little with a blow dryer?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Deep Conditioning with Heat A MUST

Even though I've been on my healthy hair journey for a while, I still forget how important some things are.  When I first started, I always deep conditioned with heat.  For the past year or so, I've been slacking and from my big chop in June up until a couple of weeks ago, I didn't deep condition with heat once.  Not once! I thought that leaving the conditioner in overnight or while I worked out was good enough. I was so wrong...

A couple of weeks ago, my man's friend Zo came by the house.  Zo is a hairstylist and he asked me how my hair was coming along:

Me: (whining) It's so dry!
Zo: Do you deep condition?
Me: Of course!
Zo: With heat? Under the dryer?
Me: No, I haven't sat under the dryer in a while.
Zo: You need to deep condition with heat, especially since you're natural and it's winter. No matter how long you leave the conditioner on, it's just going to sit on top of your hair.

Duh!  I should have known better.  I know my hair is low porosity.  A few days after this conversation, I deep conditioned with a mixture of protein and moisturizing conditioners that were almost empty and mixed with a little oil. I deep conditioned using the 15-10-10 method.  I sat under the dryer for 15 minutes, added more conditioner to the extremely dry parts and smoothed my hair down, sat under the dryer for another 10 minutes, added more conditioner, and sat under the dryer for 10 more minutes.  When I finished, my hair felt so good.  For real, this was the first time in about 2 years that I felt like my hair was truly moisturized.  I've done this 3 times, and each time I get better results.  Oils and products seem to absorb into my hair now when before they were just sitting on my hair doing nothing.

This was a hard lesson learned, but at least I finally got it.  I feel like I've wasted so much product that was just sitting on top of my hair and not moisturizing it!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year!

I know I'm a day late, but I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year.  I wish health, happiness, and hair growth to you all! 

2012 was a big year for my hair.  I decided to stop getting relaxers and I big chopped.  Since I cut all my relaxed hair in June, it has truly been trial and error.  My hair is still not where I want it to be, but it's getting better, and I am optimistic about the year ahead.  It truly has been a mental journey just as much as it's been a physical one.

I hope your holidays were as relaxing and fun as mine.  I had almost 2 weeks off, and I spent it organizing, sleeping, spending time with family and friends, and of course, working on my hair regimen.  I trimmed my own hair, since my frizzy black ends were driving me crazy, and really hindered me having a nice hair style.  I trimmed quite a bit- probably a little over a half an inch.  I still have some black ends, but they're not frizzy...yet.  My hair is probably very uneven, but it's okay.  It felt so good to get rid of those ends that were doing nothing but harm.  I also realized that I need heat to deep condition.  It made a huge difference. I'm kicking myself for being too lazy to sit under the dryer for the past 6 months!

I've been styling my hair a different way for the past few days and I love it!  More details and pics coming soon!