Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Quick Update

I relaxed on October 29th and I recorded a video to showcase the results and talk to you all a little bit about my hair. Unfortunately, the video would not upload to my blog. I tried it several times with no luck. Fast foward, I am now 4 weeks post relaxer. My hair is doing well. I will have to wait until next relaxer to update you all with pictures. If I decide to do a video again next relaxer, I will post it on YouTube and just put the link on this blog.

Hope everyone is well! Talk to you again real soon. Sorry for being MIA, I have been very busy. Bye!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Relaxer Day is Approaching

I will be 12 weeks post relaxer tomorrow so I am planning on relaxing my hair this weekend. I have a trip to Michigan scheduled for next week so I would like to wear my hair down in different styles and they would look best with a fresh relaxer. If it weren’t for my trip, I would continue to stretch because stretching has been a breeze this time around.

So last night I had the urge to cut my hair. (I get urges to do different things with my hair quite often, gotta get those under control, lol.) My ends were feeling ratty….really crispy, uneven, damaged looking. I know that those are side effects from the bad dye job I recently had, and my plan was to hold out and spruce up my ends after my relaxer coming up.  Unfortunately, my urge won and I went into the bathroom and snipped, snipped, and snipped some more. My hair feels a lot better! It is more even, though not completely even because I am still suffering from the short area in the nape of my head. Also, because I have a ton of new growth that was not straightened when I trimmed my hair, I am sure my trim will be slightly uneven after I relax my hair and all that new growth is straigtened. I’m okay with that. I will just clean it up ever so slightly with the scissors. Trimming your hair is good, especially if you have not done so in a long time. It gives you hair this “healthy” feeling. I’ll post again after my relaxer. Hope everyone is well.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Phony Pony and Stretching

Hello Everyone,

I know it has been a while. Life has been busy. I have been working extra hours at work, decided to take two master’s degree classes this 8-week term instead of my normal one, and  I have my three little ones (including my now 4-month old) that require a great deal of my love and attention. So my spare time is very limited most days.

Also, my time to do my hair has been very limited as well. So…..I just have not been doing it. That’s right, daily styling is out. What I have been doing is rocking a drawstring phony pony and I love it. I put it in my hair loosely so I actually sleep in it every night and don’t have to worry about it pulling my sides. Although I do not recommend this to anyone else, it works fine for me. When  I wake up in the morning, I take off my scarf, fluff the ponytail a little, smooth my sides and edges and my hairstyle is complete in all of two minutes.

I have been using the Organic Root Stimulator Edge Control to keep my edges smooth and neat and I must say, I now LOVE this product. I had tried it once before and hated it because it reminded me of Let’s Jam Shine and Conditioning Gel in the extra hold formula. It is the same consistency in my opinion. But I have now noticed that ORS edge control is not as greasy as Let’s Jam. It also seems to work multiple days. What I mean by that is that if I put it on my sides and edges on Monday, on Tuesday and maybe Wednesday, all I have to do is put a little water on a boar bristle brush and brush down my sides/edges, and the ORS edge control starts working again to lay everything down smoothly.  I really like this product now and will be using it to keep my hair neat during future stretches.




One of the good things about wearing this phony pony is that it is allowing me to stretch my relaxer without even thinking about it. Because of not having to style my hair every day, I don’t have to battle the two textures and basically my new growth is not even in my thoughts. Normally about this time (I am 11 weeks post tomorrow), I am itching to put a relaxer in. Not this time though. The phony pony has helped me to forget about my new growth. I will say though that when I take the ponytail out, which I do once a week to wash and deep condition my hair, I realize again how much new growth I actually have as I am trying to detangle and air dry.

Because I loved the phony pony and no daily styling so much, I decided to order two half wigs from hairsisters.com and they should be coming in the mail anyday now. I am excited to get them. I have never wore a half wig before but I scoured YouTube to find recommended ones that can look kind of natural and not so much like fake hair. The two I ordered are Celtic Girl (on the left) and Kara Girl (on the right) both by Freetress. I know they look very similar. I will try them out to see how I like it.


Friday, September 30, 2011

Will Be Back Soon

I haven't forgot about my blog. How can I? It's one of my new favorite things to do. The cable company is coming to hook up the internet at my house this weekend so I will be back ready to start posting here again soon. Talk to you all later.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Quick Hair Update

Just wanted to make a quick post about what's going on with my hair. I am happy to say that my shedding is 100 % under control. I am not experiencing any major shedding outside of the norm and I contribute that to my rosemary and coconut oil scalp massages that I previously wrote about.

I have to be extra nice to my hair now because the hair coloring session I did a couple of weeks back really damaged my hair. The whole feel of my hair changed. It feels weak, limp and lifeless. I will be happy to get my hair back to a point where it is as strong as it used to be. I said it once but I will say it again (just so I can read my words later on and remind myself, lol)...I WILL NEVER color my hair again.

I will be 5 weeks post in a few days. My new growth is nothing crazy, it is pretty manageable right now. I plan on stretching my relaxer at least 12 weeks.

Just wanted to check in on the old blog. I will be moving here soon and waiting for the cable company to transfer and hook up my services, including my internet, so not sure if I will be posting again within the next two weeks but I will definitely try.

Hope everyone reading this is well and blessed!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Science of Black Hair Care

I got my copy of the book in the mail yesterday and I am excited to start reading it to learn more about how to "properly" care for my hair. I am sure there will be things in the book that I never knew about, even things that I am doing wrong to my hair that can be working against healthy hair growth. After I have finished reading it, I will give a complete review. I heard alot of positive things about this book which prompted me to purchase it although a few of the reviews on Amazon.com said that it was too "scientific." I like scientific so I guess I will like this book, lol.


Here is the website as well for the book. It contains alot of great information.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Epic Hair Fail

This has got to be the biggest mistake/set back that I have ever done to my hair. Last month I wrote a post about wanting to dye my hair. Well, I got the urge to do it yesterday, I just decided to go for it. I have dyed my hair many times in the past and never had a problem.

I am four weeks post relaxer so I figured that I am far enough along from my last relaxer to dye my hair without any problems. I followed the directions on box and mixed the dye and let it sit on my hair for 20 minutes. When I rinsed my hair out....I am cringing right now just thinking about it. Anyway, when I rinsed my hair out my hair felt horrible!!! It felt weak, fragile, thin, the cuticle felt rough rather than smooth, and my hair was tangled. I began thinking that this dye just ate through my strands. Looking in the bottom of the bathtub confirmed that because I saw lots and lots of little strands of broken hairs. I began thinking that I really messed up this time with my "do it at home haircare" and that I was going to have to cut all my hair off and start from scratch.

After I washed my hair, I immediately thought to use protein so I saturated my hair in ApHogee 2 min recostructor. My hair immediately felt better as far as strength and texture, but my thickness was gone. Even wet, I am used to my hair having a certain amount of thickness. My hair was feeling half as thick as it normally does when it is wet. I rinsed out the ApHogee after 5 mins and used the moisturizing conditioner that came with the hair color, it was the Patene Pro-V Relaxed and Natural moisturizing deep conditioner. I actually liked the conditioner alot and I'm not sure whether it was because of the state my hair was before the conditioning or if it is actually a good conditioner.

I blow-dried my hair because I wanted it dry and straight so I could see the damage. I definitely noticed that my strands are finer, and my thickness is about half of what it was before I colored. It also seems as if the dye changed the texture of my hair because it is much straighter than it normally is. If there is a texture call extra-bone straight, that is what my hair looks and feels like to me now or at least in my mind it does.
  • Am I happy with my results? Absolutely not.
  • What do I think I did wrong? I believe the color over-processed. I did not do a strand test because I felt it was unnecessary. I think I should have let the color stay on my hair for 12-15 minutes rather than 20mins even though the directions did say 20.
  • Is the color worth it? Absolutely not, looking at my jet black hair, I actually realized that I am fond of my natural color because it looks "natural." I'll get use to this color though because the difference is not that much.
  • Will I color again? Never. I really mean this. It is not worth the health of my hair, even if a professional does it, it is still damaging.
Here is a picture I took just now on my cell phone so the quality isn't great but I wanted to have a pciture to go with this post. I tried to smile a little, but it just would not come, lol. I am just glad I still have some hair to work with, now it is time to nurse this head of hair back to health which I am assuming will take one or two years of diligent care and growth to get my back healthy again. Lesson learned :(

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I Don't Understand...Please Clarify

Are you not understanding why your hair is not responding to certain products that normally work well for you? Maybe your hair does not look or feel the way you are used to. It may be time to clarify. Clarifying your hair should be done on a regular basis to prevent and/or eliminate product build up on your hair. Some styling products can be quite stubborn and won't wash out with regular shampoo. They will really cling to the hair shaft especially depending on how much product you use on a regular basis, how heavy the product is, and what ingredients it contains. 

Also, you may need to clarify if you have gone swimming or if your home has hard water. Chlorine that is normally found in pools is bad for your hair because it damages the cuticle layer of the hair strands. Damage to the cuticle causes the hair to look dull and also causes the hair to become dry. Since the cuticle of the hair protects the inner cortex, if the cuticle is damaged it is likely that the cortex will become damaged as well leading to split ends. Hard water is also damaging due to the minerals in the water making it "hard." It can cause your hair to be crunchy, dull and brittle. Clarifying your hair can combat issues from both swimming and hard water.

I personally clarify once a month but you may need to do so more or less depending on your personal hair needs. Although a clarifying shampoo is the most popular way to get the job done, you can also clarify with products like vinegar or baking soda. 1/2 cup of vinegar mixed with 1 quart of water poured over your head after you shampoo and before you condition with clarify your hair. Be sure to rinse out the vinegar mix before conditioning. Also, you can use one or two tablespoons of baking soda mixed with the normal amount of shampoo you use, lather, massage in, leave on hair for 3-5 minutes, then rinse. Follow-up with a good conditioner because baking soda can leave your hair feeling dry.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Hair Nightmare

So guess who has a patch of hair missing from her head? Yes, yours truly....me.  I was able to find a picture of the razor that did the damage.


To make a long story short, someone was holding this razor (shown on the left), I bent down abruptly to pick up something off the floor as they were coming toward me with the razor. I did not realize that the razor was close enough to catch the front of my head, or they possibly moved their position as I was bending down (not sure because it happened so fast). All I heard was the noise a razor makes when it comes into contact with hair. I saw a good amount of strands clumped together fall before my face. I did not want to freak out. I reached up and felt the top of my head where I felt the razor make contact and more strands started to come out.   At that point I decided to go into the bathroom and look into the mirror. I was relieved that it was only a small section of hair where my bangs are that was missing. It could've been worse.   

So I will be camouflaging this little patch of baldness until it grows back as well as staying away from oncoming razors, haha.


        

Rosemary Oil to the Rescue

I feel like, at least for now, my shedding is under control. (Sigh of relief, lol.) So this is what I did.

It was wash day so I decided to due a protein treatment but a little differently than I normally do. I used ApHogee 2 min reconstructor on dry hair. This is my favorite protein product. I absolutely love the results it gives my hair. I slathered it on then I put a plastic cap over my hair. I used my heating cap for 10 mins to allow the treatment to really penetrate my strands. I know it's a "two minute" treatment but I have left this stuff on my hair for longer periods of time many occassions and have never experienced a negative reaction, although I do not recommend anyone else doing this unless they are very familiar with how their hair reacts to protein.


After I rinsed out the ApHogee, I co-washed with Suave Humectant Conditioner. Then I mixed the same conditioner with a small bit of coconut oil and applied it to my hair. I covered it with a plastic cap and used the heating cap for 30 mins to balance the protein previously used with moisture.  I rinsed it out with the coldest water I could get from the faucet. My hair felt amazing and so incredibly soft and strong. I gently squeezed out as much water as possible then sprayed my hair with the ApHogee Keratin and Green Tea Reconstructor. I used Giovanni Weightless Leave-In and let my hair air dry. I never seal with an oil before my hair is dry because once it is completely dry, I always remoisturize then seal. Once my hair was dry I used shea butter and sealed with Hot Six Oil.

Now the next step is what I believe has actually gotten my shedding under control. I went from shedding a handful of hair morning and night to now only shedding my normal 5-10 strands. I mixed coconut oil with rosemary oil. I used about 4 drops of rosemary oil in about 2 TSP of coconut oil. I dipped my fingers into  the mixture and massaged my scalp for about 20 mins. Every day since wash day I have massaged my scalp with coconut & rosemary oil. I had already decided to do scalp massages three times a week, but to combat this shedding I will be doing it daily with rosemary oil.

Rosemary oil is known to combat hair fall. (Two other things that combat shedding are garlic and black tea rinses, I willl touch on those at another time.) I think the rosemary oil is working in my case. We shall see...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Postpartum Hair Loss

Okay...the shedding continues! I am starting to get nervous now because I don't want to be bald, I don't want to have to cut my hair due to thinning, I don't want to struggle with styling trying to camoflauge the lack of thickness.  I took some pictures. This first picture is what I am used to as far as shedding when I comb my hair. I normally lose this much twice a day, in the morning and evening when combing or styling. Keep in mind this is what is normal for me, it may not be normal for someone else.


Okay this second picture is what I have been losing whenever I finger comb or gently comb out my hair. This is an actual pic of all the hair that came out of my head this evening, not to mention what I may have lost this morning while styling.  See the difference?



I'm scared y'all, lol. I'll do an update later about this topic. Hopefully at that time, this horrible shedding will have slowed down.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Revisiting Childhood Series - Pressing Comb

TOPIC #2 - PRESSING COMBS


Ahhh...remember the good old days when you could smell hair burning in the kitchen from someone getting their hair fried and layed to the side with a good old fashioned pressing comb. You know the kind that you put on the stove and once it got hot, it was ready to run through your strands to straighten out curls and kinks. Use a little hair grease and you are sure to have shiny straight locks once it's all done.  You might even have a crispy ear, or forehead burn to go with your nice hairdo if that pressing comb managed to get a hold of more than just your hair...lol. Yes it's funny now, but it can be torture for a little girl whose only other option beside wearing their hair in all its natural glory, or getting a relaxer, was the smoking hot pressing comb, or hot comb as some people call it.  Okay, that was just my overdramatized description. In reality, pressing combs are not that bad if used properly.

I commend my stepmother because at one point she had three girls' hair to keep neat and presentable.  That meant washing, conditioning, blow drying, pressing and styling three heads of hair which normally took majority of a Saturday to complete. The worse part though is that it was only going to last until the next wash day then the process must be repeated again. To her credit, we always looked nice when we left the house.

Although this is a post in my Revisiting Childhood Series, many adults still use a pressing comb either regularly or occassionally to straighten their natural hair. One thing that is different between now and back in the 80's when I was getting my hair pressed is probably the use of heat protectants. More people are knowledgeable about heat damage and the use of heat protectants now thanks to wealth of information that is shared on the internet about properly caring for your hair.

Using a hot comb is a way to straighten the hair that will not cause permanent results like chemicals because it does not break down the chemical bonds of the hair. However, the use of heat frequently and/or at high temperatures can cause the hair to become "heat trained" and the hair's curl pattern will be looser than it is naturally. There may be some that disagree with this statement (I have read one blogger's post in particular where she stated using a hot comb with not change your curl pattern). Just to be clear, a hot comb will not change the chemical bonds that made up your hair's texture or curl pattern, but continuous use of heat can change the "appearance" of your curl pattern which I believe is due to heat damage. Can heat damage be avoided? Absolutely, through the use of moderate heat temperatures, heat protectants, and infrequent use of heat.

An alternative styling tool to the pressing comb that produces the same, if not better results is the flat iron. This particular tool gets use from both natural and relaxed ladies. I have never used it on my hair when I was natural but I do occassionally use it on my daughter's hair when I want to stretch out her hair to give her styles more length and less texture compared to if it were just washed and air dried.
 

My verdict for the pressing comb is a big A-OKAY. It is perfectly fine to use in my book but only if it is used the right way. The comb should not be smoking, your hair should not be smoking/burning, and a heat protectant is a must. Also, if it's used regularly, be prepared for possible curl patterns changes. Many women will agree that they have experienced this.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Revisiting Childhood Series - Hair Grease



TOPIC #1 - HAIR GREASE


I couldn't wait to start this series. The first topic of my Revisiting Childhood Series is HAIR GREASE! You probably could’ve guessed that this would be the first topic. I don’t know one single African American or black girl who did not use hair grease as a child. (There are probably some but I don’t know any, lol.) Grease was a staple in maintaining curly kinky afro-textured hair.  You would grease your scalp, grease the length of your hair, use grease with a pressing comb to ensure you got straight shiny hair. I even remember using grease if I was out of lotion or if I needed lip balm….crazy I know, but grease had multiple uses back in the day. Grease, unfortunately, is not something I will use now on my hair or my daughter’s hair.



The Good
You are probably thinking just like I was, if hair grease is so bad, then why when I was a child I used it and had long healthy hair? Grease or any petroleum based product will provide lubrication to the hair shaft which is much needed in afro-textured hair in order to make it manageable and pliable for styling, thus minimizing breakage. This coupled with the protective and low-manipulation styles most of us wore as children, such as braids or twists, will result in hair that retains length and eventually grows to longer lengths.  Also, because petroleum contains water repelling carbons it is a great sealant for the hair shaft, locking in moisture by acting as a impenetrable barrier through which the moisture cannot escape (see the bad where I also talk about how moisture cannot enter as well).
                                                       
The Bad
The truth is, grease is horrible for your hair and scalp. Even though many of you may already know that now, let me explain. Normally in hair grease, the number one ingredient is petroleum. The petroleum in the grease acts a barrier that does not let your scalp breath. It can clog your hair follicles. Clogged hair follicles may produce hair, but it will not give you optimal hair growth and healthiness. In fact, clogged pores can lead to dandruff and sluggish hair growth. It’s funny that it is believed that using grease is a remedy for dry, flaky scalp but actually that will exacerbate the problem because grease is not moisture, and a dry scalp needs moisture. Grease actually blocks moisture from getting to your scalp as well as the rest of your hair shaft. Once the grease is coating your hair shaft, it will be difficult for moisture in enter your strands. Your hair will be shiny, but do not mistake shiny hair for moisturized hair. Afro-textured hair needs regular moisturizing, if not daily, to be healthy. Using too much grease can create a layer of petroleum on the hair shaft that water based moisturizers cannot get through to moisturize the hair.

Another thing your must take into consideration when using hair grease regularly is that regular shampoo may not be sufficient to cleanse your hair. Because of its consistency, a clarifying shampoo should be used to ensure all of the product is properly removed from your hair.

The Verdict
If you have found a way to incorporate grease into your hair routine that has yielded successful results, by all means continue to use what works best for you. I am a firm believer that what works for one person may not work for another. I wanted this post to be informative touching on both the good and bad as it pertains to hair grease. My personal verdict is not to use it because there are other products that will do what grease does and better, without any negative side effects. For example, coconut oil would be a good substitute.

Coconut oil can:
  • Provide lubrication to the hair shaft making it manageable for styling.
  • Combat flaky dry scalp without clogging follicles or retarding hair growth.
  • Seal in moisture while still allowing moisture to be able to enter the hair.
Additional benefits of coconut oil not found in hair grease:
  • Coconut oil has the ability to penetrate the hair shaft thus providing deep conditioning.
  • Coconut oil reduces protein loss in the hair, which in turn minimizes breakage of the strands.

Revisiting Childhood Series - Coming Soon!

I thought it would be fun to do a hair series called Revisiting Childhood where I talk about a few of the products or hair practices most of us are familiar with from when we were a child. Some things are good, and others, well….let’s just say what was mama thinking, lol.  So look out for the posts that should be coming soon!!


Postpartum Hair Loss


Okay, I think I spoke too soon when I said I have not been experiencing any postpartum shedding. My baby is 10 weeks old and I have now noticed, within the past 3 days or so, that my hair is shedding more than normal. I am not stressed at all; in fact, I have been feeling in great spirits. So I am not going to blame the shedding on stress. I do believe it’s postpartum shedding. I cringe every time I run my fingers or a comb through my hair because I know that there will be quite a few strands to come out with every stroke! I don’t like shedding at all, but I really don’t like excessive shedding because I feel as if all the care, maintenance and hard work that I have put into my hair will go in vain if I am shedding tons of my strands.

So if you are not familiar with postpartum shedding, let me explain what it is briefly. During pregnancy, the growing phase of each of your strands of hair is prolonged due to the increased levels of estrogen in your body. Because of this, fewer hairs will shed and many women notice an increased thickness of their hair during pregnancy. After you give birth, your estrogen levels fall back to a more normal range, and a lot of your hair follicles enter a resting stage which eventually leads to those hair strands falling out, or shedding.

My hair is medium thickness. My strands are normal as far as size; they are not coarse or fine, just normal. But the overall amount of strands on my head isn’t very much, meaning my hair is not dense. Because of this, my hair can easily look thin if I have too much oil in it, or if I shed too much, and I am fearful that I am heading toward thin hair if this postpartum shedding continues. If I cannot reduce the amount of shedding, and if my hair starts becoming thin, next relaxer I will go ahead and cut it. Yes, the C word, CUT. LOL. I wanted to wait until I reached BSL to cut my hair but I will not hang on to long straggly ends. 

So, my plan is not to really do anything differently, but just to make sure I am consistent with what I am currently doing including regular scalp massages with oils, taking my prenatal vitamins, drinking lots of water, and getting as much rest as possible. I may look into garlic and garlic products to reduce shedding if it becomes out of control but for right now, I really don’t want to go that route. We’ll see what happens…

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Scalp Massages with Oil


I've read that scalp massages are a wonderful way to increase the speed of hair growth. This is because scalp massages promote blood flow and circulation to your scalp, thus feeding your follicles vitamins and minerals needed to promote healthy hair growth. In addition, scalp massages help you to relax and to relieve stress. I've done scalp massage in the past but have never really done them regularly enough to see how much of a difference it will make in my own hair growth. For this relaxer stretch I will do scalp massages at least 3 times a week and see if it makes a difference in my hair growth.

You can do scalp massages with or without oil. I am going to be using oil because of the added benefits oils have on your scalp. I will be using a carrier oil and an essential oil. A carrier oil is the oil that you use to dilute the essential oil because normally essential oils are too strong to be used alone. Good carrier oils for scalps massages are jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, coconut oil, olive oil and castor oil. Some good essential oils to use are rosemary oil, peppermint oil, tea tree oil, and eucalyptus oil.  I only named a few carrier oils and essential oils but there are others out there that I am sure will work great, you just have to research what's available and choose what will work best for you.

I decided what would work best for me is coconut oil and either rosemary oil or peppermint oil. I will alternate between the two essential oils using coconut oil as my carrier oil. Coconut oil is good because it helps to strengthen hair strands which reduces breakage and it also reduces shedding. I chose rosemary because it is known for its ability to inhibit the natural shedding process, stimulate hair growth and strengthen hair roots and follicles. The cooling sensation of peppermint oil stimulates the hair follicle which promotes hair growth. Peppermint oil is also know to add shine and gloss to hair because of it conditioning properties.  It was important for me to choose oils that reduce shedding because I just had a baby two months ago and soon I will be reaching the stage where some ladies experience postpartum shedding. I have not noticed any so far, but if I can prevent it, I will definitely try.

I will do an update next relaxer on how my scalp massages are going. I may limit my use of castor oil on my scalp to only wash days to prevent having extra oily hair due to the scalp massages I will be doing with oil. Stay tuned :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Whose Genes are you Wearing?



Genetics play a huge role in what type of hair you will have. You have control over the health of your hair but your natural texture, color, growth rate and growth cycle are all determined by genetics. So although everyone's hair grows, only certain people will be able to grow extremely long hair due to genetics.

Everyone's hair goes through three phases: anagen, catagen and telogen. Simply put, the hair grows during the anagen phase, the hair stops growing during the categen phase, and during the telogen phase the hair may shed or be pushed out by new hair coming through at the start of the anagen phase again. The duration of the anagen phase will determine ultimately how long your hair can grow, also coupled with the rate in which your hair grows each month (i.e. 1/2 inch per month, 3/4 inch per month, etc).

So if you take two people whose hair grows at the same rate each month, but one has as anagen phase of 4 years, and the other has an anagen phase of 6 years, the one with the longer anagen phase will have the ability to grow their hair longer than the one with the shorter anagen phase. Someone who has an anagen phase that is longer than average can possbily grow their hair to the floor. Also, people who have their hair locked can grow their hair to extremely long lengths because when a strand is shed, it remains part of the loc. (Love Damian Marley's music BTW.)



This post is basically to say the ultimate length of your individual strands will be determined by genetics. No product or hair routine will get your hair to grow to lengths that it is not gentically programmed to be. I do believe that there are things that you can do (like scalp massages) that can get your hair to grow faster, but ultimately at then end of your anagen phase, that strand will be shed. So whose genes are you wearing on your head, lol.

Relaxer Day

I relaxed today and here are the results of my corrective relaxer attempt. Before on the left, after on the right, both on wet hair.


As you can see I was successful in correcting the section of my hair that was texlaxed. For picture purposes I only pulled out a small section of hair, but actually, the whole top left quadrant of my hair was suffering from two textures. When I say left quadrant, just imagine dividing your head into four sections, like most people do when relaxing their hair. My whole upper left section or quadrant had two textures, but now I was able to fix it and I am extremely happy about that.

I took a picture of my hair with my length check T-Shirt.

 
As you can see, I am slightly above line 7. It will be really cool to see where I am next relaxer, which is the whole reason why I bought this shirt. For those of you who gage length better by using the body, I am full arm pit length. Line 9 would put me approximately BSL, and the last line, line 13 is my ultimate goal. I won't grow my hair past that length.

As you probably can also see, my ends are quite uneven. Although they are uneven, the aren't necessarily unhealthy. Please see the pic below...


I won't do a blunt cut until I am full bra strap length. Most of the time I don't wear my hair straight; I will wear styles where you can't really notice the different lengths so cutting my ends are not my priority right now. I guess that's about all for this relaxer.  I used the same relaxer I always do, the SoftSheen Carson Optimum Care relaxer. The pic below was blow-dried hair, and my bangs were slightly bumped under with a flat iron.  Talk to you again soon, thanks for stopping by :)



Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Relaxer Day Approaching

So I got my length check shirt in the mail today. Yay! Pic below. I wish the numbers and lines were black though, just so they could be seen a little better.


So I think I am going to relax this weekend. Like I said in my post titled Corrective Relaxer, this relaxer I am going to try to even out the texture of one section of my hair. As you can see below my hair is straight, then goes curly due to underprocessing, then goes straight again on the ends.  This pic is of wet hair and the red arrow points to the hair I need to correct. The green hair points to the texture I want to acheive evenly from root to ends. Wish me luck! I should go to a professional, but I am a do it yourself type of girl, lol.


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Meet my friend Shea!

Shea Butter is one of the greatest natural moisturizers. It comes from the nuts of the Shea-Karite tree. When purchasing it, you should look for only 100% raw unrefined shea butter. Natural shea butter will normally have a nutty aroma and the color may vary from an off-white to yellowish color.

Many different haircare enthusiasts make their own shea butter mixes to use on their hair and skin. I personally don't like to use Shea Butter on my skin because I prefer something that is a bit lighter for my body. But for my hair, I love using a shea butter mix from time to time. My current mix is very simple. It consists of 60% shea butter, 20% coconut oil, 10% olive oil, and 10% avocado oil. The end result is a creamy consistency at room temperature. Searching sources like YouTube, you can find lots of different recipes for shea butter mixes. Even without mixing shea butter with oils, it is great for your hair and gives your hair noticeable lustre. It doesn't clog pores so it is good to use on the scalp as well.

When I use this to moisturize my hair, there is no need to seal because it already contains my three favorite oils and does the job of moisturizing and sealing in one. Because this mix tends to be a bit heavy, I cannot use it on a daily basis but I will pull it out when I feel my hair needs some extra TLC. I also love using it to moisturize after I have blow-dried my hair because the heavier moisturizer kind of compensates for some of the moisture I lost while blow drying without leaving my hair damp like a water based moisturizer would.

So that's my friend Shea!

Skincare Routine

Although this blog is mainly about haircare, I thoughts I could throw a few beauty posts in here and there :)

My nighttime routine starts off with the Philosophy Purity cleanser because this is by far the best thing I have tried for removing make-up. My make-up melts away with this cleanser. No harsh scrubbing necessary. Eye make-up and mascara is off in a matter of seconds. (In the mornings, I skip this step because there is no make-up to remove.)




Next depends on whether my face needs exfoliating or not. I will use the Biore pore unclogging scrub if I need exfoliating. I like this scrub because the exfoliating beads are round without jagged edges so it gently exfoliates. I have tried other exfoliaters with beads that were not rounded and have ended up with noticeable scratches on my face (i.e. St. Ive's)....not cool at all.  If I do not need exfoliating, I will use the Biore ice cleanser. It leaves your face with this cool feeling, hence the name. I like it but I do believe it's one of those products that not everyone will be crazy about.

Both of these products contain 2.0% Salicylic Acid which helps me control my acne breakouts.

                                    
Next I always use a toner. My face just doesn't feel quite right if I don't follow up with a toner....maybe because I am so used to using it. The toner I use is by Biore (if you cannot tell already, I really like Biore products). I will put the toner on a cotton round and wipe my entire face and neck once with it. I used to wipe my face several times with the toner soaked cotton round but noticed it was causing excessive drying and sensitivity of my skin.  I have also learned when using toner to steer clear from the delicate tissues around the corners of my mouth and eyes due to a bad experience with burning and peeling in those areas. I am sure it is not due to this particular toner, just due to the fact that the alcohol in any toner may be too harsh for those areas. This toner also contains 2.0% Salicylic Acid.


The last step I will do is to moisturize. In the mornings, I will use a moisturizer with SPF to protect my face from the sun when I go out during the day. The one I am currently using and loving is Neutrogena Visibly Even with SPF 30.  I love it because it is light, protects against UVA and UVB rays, and because it evens out your skin tone and reduces discolorations.


   
At night, I will use Oil of Olay age defying intensive nourishing night cream. I like this stuff a lot! It contains Salicylic Acid which, like I've mentioned, is good for treating and preventing acne. The cream is not heavy but it hydrates the skin very well. I actually really like the smell of it, too.

That's it for my skincare routine. I think it is pretty simple. It keeps my face clear majority of the time. I have tried all sorts of face products and this combination of products has worked best for me so far.

Got Dryness and Tangles?

Two of biggest problems I have with stretching my relaxer are dryness and tangles. I know that the dryness is because of the texture of the new growth. Let me explain. Sebum is the oily waxy substance that is produced by sebaceous glands. These glands are found in abundance on the scalp and are connected with the hair follicles in a way that allows for the sebum to lubricate the hair. It is easier for sebum to make it way from the root down the hair shaft on straight hair textures as opposed to curly or kinky textures. This is because on curly or kinky hair textures, the sebum has to travel around the curves, bends and corners of the hair shaft which is more difficult than travelling a straight path. This is why curly and kinky hair textures tend to be naturally drier than straight hair.



So the more new growth I have, the more difficult it is for sebum to travel from my roots down my hair shaft. Of course, regular moisturizing and sealing will combat this problem. [Note: Also be sure to drink at least the recommended amount of water each day because that promotes supple and lush hair.] But I do notice that even with moisturizing and sealing my hair, it tends to be drier than usual towards the end of my stretch.

Also since dry hair equals breakage, towards the end of my stretch I normally try to wear low manipulation styles that do not call for combing or brushing my hair to keep unnecessary breakage at bay which leads me to my next topic which is tangles. I've noticed for me low manipulation styles with a lot of new growth can promote tangling of my roots because I am not combing through the curly/kinky new growth and the strands are starting to become intertwined with each other.

When I notice my hair is tangled, I don't try to detangle it while it's dry. I will wash my hair with a detangling shampoo followed by a good conditioner or I'll do a co-wash with a conditioner that has a lot of slip.  Then in the shower with the conditioner in my hair, I will slowly detangle small sections at a time. Once I've finished, I will put my head under the shower water and run the wide-tooth comb through my hair again from roots to ends to make sure it if fully detangled.

If I do not notice tangles until I have already washed and conditioned my hair and am out of the shower, I will use a product that works wonders on tangles. It is the Mane 'n Tail detangler shown below. This stuff melts through my tangles when I find myself having to detangle out of the shower.


 
The biggest thing you must remember with tangles is to have PATIENCE. If you don't, you'll end of losing more hair than necessary trying to detangle. Happy hair growing :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Corrective Relaxer

I have mentioned before that I used a lye relaxer in the past for a while and that it left my hair under processed. At this point in time, the left side of my hair has two textures.  The first six inches of hair from my scalp if relaxed bone straight. The next three or four inches is texlaxed due to the previous under processing.

If my hair is blow dried straight, or curled, or flat-ironed, the two textures are not really noticeable. But while my hair is wet and when it air dries, there is a visible difference. Even if it is humid outside, the texlaxed part of my hair with frizz up quicker and easier than the part of my hair that is relaxed bone straight. In the picture below, the left side is the texture of the under processed hair when wet and air dried, the right side is what I hope to acheive with the corrective relaxer.



I have held off on doing a corrective relaxer because I figured the texlaxed portion of my hair would just continue to grow out and I could eventually cut if off bit by bit.  Unfortunately, I no longer want to wait that long and will be doing a corrective relaxer on my next relaxer day.

I will correct the under processed hair by spreading relaxer down the hair shaft a few minutes before rinsing out the relaxer being mindful not to get the relaxer on the very ends of my hair because the texlaxed portion is only in the middle. I usually keep the relaxer on my hair for 18 mins (application and smoothing) so for the portion of my hair that needs correcting, I will smooth the relaxer down the hair shaft and let it remain there for the last 5-8 mins. I think that should do the trick. I will take pics and post my results.

Wish List

There are two hair tools that I am wanting right now. The first of which I have seen rave reviews and tutorials on YouTube. If I use heat on my hair, 95% of the time it is to curl my hair. I rarely ever wear my hair flat ironed straight because I don't like the way it flows. I get more body if I do large curls which normal fall and create nice waves. Anyway...I like curls as opposed to straight hair so I would love to try this Remington wand.


Also, I have not been the best lately at air drying (plan on getting better though).  Either I am running short on time or I do not want the texture I will get if I air dry so I will wash, condition, air dry for a little while, then blow dry my hair straight.  The blow dryer I am using right now is not the best.  Actually to be honest, it sucks.  My hair feels dry and crunchy after using it even with a great leave-in and heat protectant.

I researched blow dryers and would love to purchase this one, the Sedu Revolution Tourmaline Ionic 4000i Hair Dryer. It's expensive though but I think it will be worth it. It is supposed to leave you hair soft and conditioned afterwards while cutting down your drying time tremendously. I think some things you buy are worth the money and if you buy a cheaper version, you with get results that reflect that. But I also believe that people should live within their means and only buy what they can afford, and because of that, this dryer is on my wish list until I have saved for it. If anyone knows of a better, less expensive dryer please let me know. This one below I saw online for about $160.

To Dye or Not to Dye

I used to dye my hair all the time. I have tried colors ranging from a dark auburn color to jet black. I always find myself loving my color the most when it is jet black but dying your hair black is a commitment because that particular hair color is difficult to lift if you want to go back lighter. I haven't dyed my hair in about three years. Right now, my hair is fully its natural color which is a brownish black with a few reddish highlights in the sun. I bought a ponytail in the color 1 online thinking it would match my hair, but when I got it in the mail, my hair turned out to be noticeably lighter than the ponytail.

Anyway, I don't like my natural color because it tends to look dull compared to what it looks like when my hair is dyed jet black. So I bought the haircolor at Wal-Mart about a month ago and have been afraid to actually use it because I don't want to damage my hair. My hair is not 100% healthy right now and I don't want to put color on top of damaged hair because as you probably already know, that equals more damage.

So for now I made the decision not to dye...at least until my hair is healthier and I will probably wait until right before I am due to get a trim so after I dye it, the trim can remove any frazzled and damaged ends. I'll keep you posted...


 
 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

My Thoughts on Natural Hair vs. Relaxed Hair

In my adult life I have been natural and relaxed, so I can speak from both perspectives.
 
Natural

Relaxed


I believe how you choose to wear your hair is just that. It is simply a choice. I view it as simple as choosing what outfit to wear or what color to paint your living room. It is not a permanent decision. If you relax your hair, it will always grow out of your scalp with your natural texture and at anytime you can make the decision to go back natural. If you are natural, at anytime you can make the decision to relax.
 
Your hair should be a reflection of your personality, a reflection of your style....and some people like to switch up their style from time to time. That's what I did.
 
Natural
 
Relaxed
 
I was relaxed from probably third grade up until my early twenties. Then I decided to go natural and loved it!!! I wore my hair natural for maybe about four years before I decided to relax again, and guess what....I love my relaxed hair now too! To me it was never about conforming to a particular standard of beauty or embracing what God gave me, it was simply about expressing myself through my hair, whatever style I choose. I think if more people viewed hairstyles this way, there would be less judging and more acceptance when it comes to whether someone chooses to relax or wear their hair natural. I love all textures and I love my hair both natural and relaxed. Healthy hair is beautiful hair! I just choose to relax right now. I welcome your thoughts :)