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 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.


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.
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 :)

Length Check T-Shirt

So I decided not to relax my hair until I can get a length check t-shirt. You know the ones with the measurements on the back.

I liked the ones Traycee was selling in her K.I.S.S. boutique but when I tried to access the website last night I was having no luck. Maybe she closed the boutique temporarily, I'm not sure. So I will be looking for length check t-shirts on other sites and hopefully today I can find one to buy so that when I relax my hair (and for all my length check pictures thereafter), I can use the shirt as an indication of growth and not my bra, lol.
I know I can make a shirt myself with a ruler and marker but I would rather have a neat looking one, not a homemade one. So the search is on to find a t-shirt I like...

UPDATE: I purchased a shirt from HairlistaInc. It was 12.99 plus 4.50 for shipping. I ordered a pink one because it was the only light color that was okay. I really don't like pink but I like it more than baby blue and wanted a light colored shirt rather than dark so my hair would show up well against the shirt. Let you know how I like it when I get it.

Curent Hair Routine and Products

I will start documenting my journey to mid-back length hair on my next relaxer. Right now I am about 10 weeks post relaxer so my next relaxer will be very soon, probably within the next couple of weeks. I will then post pics so everyone can see my starting point. I believe I will be about arm pit length.

This is my current routine:

Shampoo once a week with Creme of Nature shampoo. I clarify once a month with Organic Root Stimulator Creamy Aloe Shampoo.

I alternate between Ors Replenishing Pak or ApHogee 2 min reconstructor after wash. One week I will use the ORS, the next week I will use ApHogee. If I use the ORS pak, I will deep condition for apprx. 30-40 minutes. I use protein every week because my hair does well with it. (I would not recommend someone else using protein conditioners every week unless you know how your hair will handle it because you can suffer protein overload).

After using the protein conditioner I will followup with a moisturizing conditioner.  The one I am currently using and loving is Suave Professionals brand because it works very well and is quite inexpensive compared to other conditioners.

I used to sit under the dryer to deep condition but that was too time consuming so now I only deep condition with a therapy wrap so that I am free to do other things while deep conditioning. It works soooo well.


I will follow-up my wash and deep condition with a leave-in conditioner. I alternate between two: Neutrogena and Cantu. I may soon be finding a leave-in to replace the Neutrogena one very soon because it is expensive although it is a great product. I don't want to use the Cantu all the time because it is a protein leave-in conditioner. Although my hair likes protein, I try to limit my protein usage to deep conditioning.

I will use any of the two leave-in conditioners above to moisturize my hair once a day, usually at night, or I will use S-Curl.

I seal my hair with one of three oils: Coconut Oil, Olive Oil or Avocado Oil. I picked these three oils because they are the three that can actually penetrate the hair shaft. There are many other great oils out there but these three are my staples and I won't be using any other oils for sealing....that just helps keep things simple for me. Ofcourse, when I purchase my three oils I get unrefined, extra virgin oils so that I am getting all the great nutrients the oils have to offer.

One premixed oil that I love but am not currently using is Hot Six Oil. It so great that I felt it was worth mentioning. I've used this stuff in the past and it works great for sealing. I may revisit the product again in the future but right now I am only sealing with the three oils I mentioned above.

I oil my scalp three times a week with Jamaican Black castor oil. I always oil my scalp on wash days.

I relax my hair every 12 weeks with Optimum. I normally don't stretch my relaxers longer than that or I start experiencing breakage especially in the coarser areas of my head. I self relax and to use a no-lye rather than a lye relaxer becaue I've tried lye relaxers in the past and they've left me underprocessed (probably wouldn't have that problem if I went to a salon but I will not pay the money to do so). I have never had problem with the box no-lye relaxer kits so I will stick to what is working for me.

I don't use heat except for special occasions. I don't limit the amount heat I use every month so if I have three events going on in a month and I want to curl or flat iron my hair, I will do it. If I have nothing going on that month, then I won't use heat at all, it just depends. When I do use heat, I only use one heat protectant, Fantasia. It is awesome. I love this stuff. I don't think I will ever try another heat protectant.

I trim as needed which is usually once a year. I take prenatal vitamins only right now because I am breastfeeding and want to be sure that what I ingest is safe for my baby too, but once I stop breastfeeding, I will look into taking additional supplements.

That's my routine. Complete with all the products I am currently using. I will keep my blog updated with any changes to my routine as they happen.


I want to welcome anyone reading this to my blog. This is my very first post and extremely excited about starting this blog. This blog is mainly going to serve the purpose of documenting my hair journey from arm pit length to mid back length. I have been blessed by other ladies through viewing their blogs and youtube channels over the past few months and am ready to share my experiences as well, and possibly help someone.

I welcome any questions or comments. Talk to you again soon!