Would love your thoughts

I’m entertaining the idea of writing about broader topics on this blog. However, would like to gather reader opinions first:

My Mommy Went Natural

I’m so proud of my Mom. She shocked the heck out of me the other day. She sent me a picture of herself with mid-back length relaxed hair. She titled this picture “before”. Next she sent a picture, titled “after”. I almost fell off my chair when I saw her with cropped natural hair. The first thing I did was tell her how beautiful she looked, this is true, whether relaxed or natural, but she had this youthful glow about her in the “after” picture.

That’s all the fun and good stuff, but here comes the not so good. I think she was on an adrenaline high when she cut her hair and was feeling confident and sassy. Over the course of the following days as she saw family and friends, many of their reactions included statements like “Woman, why did you go ahead and cut all that gorgeous, silky hair off?!”, “are you having a breakdown?!”, “how are you going to comb it?”, “you know that natural hair ain’t for everybody”. Those are just a few examples, I’ll spare you the details.

Anyway, the next time I talked to her, I noticed she looked a little less perky. She kept pulling at her hair and talking about the length, that it was nappier than she recalled from when she went natural 10 years ago. That maybe she made a mistake of big chopping during the wrong season. I reminded her that I really loved her hair and told her she looked both elegant and edgy. I advised her to stop watching it grow, because she’ll be shocked months from now when looks in the mirror and realizes how much it actually has grown.This made her cheer up a lot.

We then proceeded to talk about hair regimens. My Mom is pretty old school and her regimen consisted of the good old school regimen she used on my hair growing up. She only shampoos her new hair every other day, then slaps on a little petroleum-based product, doesn’t wrap it nor sleep on a satin/silk pillow case, she actually didn’t even bother brushing or combing it. I told her that natural didn’t mean not combing your hair. Hehehe! I gave her some tips and told her to step away from the multiple shampoo sessions and petroleum-based products and to incorporate conditioner and leave-in into her routine and maybe some natural oils. And for Pete’s sake, wrap that hair! She’ll be visiting me soon and I’m excited to get my hands in her hair and use some of my products on her.

The other day, I received the following text from her: Working up a sweat at the gym, why wait for New Year’s to achieve my goals. Before, going to the gym was something she had to schedule around hair appointments. I believe natural hair is going to change her health and fitness and give my son a fit, healthy grandma– who people might mistake for his Mom!It’s funny how other people can get under our skin and how we can then internalize those things and start using negative statements to talk about ourselves or our hair. If you have a friend or family member who has gone natural, don’t forget to shower them with positivity.

Do you know someone who went natural recently?

5 Easy Tips for Creating a Healthy Hair Regimen

1. Don’t go product-gaga

With more and more women wearing their hair in its natural state, there are a lot more products available on the market for diverse textures. I know it can be tempting not to scoop up every product we see when perusing the hair aisle or the internet. However, if you’re newly natural or just looking for an effective routine, I suggest not giving in to this urge. Buy 1 (2 at the most) product (s) to try on your hair and give your hair a few weeks to see how it responds. If we use too many products at once, it’s difficult to know what works and what doesn’t work for our hair.

2. Ask a friend or seek out the internet

Not sure what products work for you? Find a friend with similar hair texture and more importantly porosity and ask for recommendations. Or ask a stranger, sometimes I see someone with great, healthy hair and wonder how they achieved it. It never hurts to simply ask. I always find starting with a compliment and then asking always helps break the ice. Alternatively, you can find tips from bloggers and vloggers. The internet is a huge resource.

3. Don’t break the bank

Try not to spend too much on products, when developing a regimen. Find some solid affordable products that work. You can always pamper yourself on special occasions (holidays, birthdays, etc.) and try out some higher end products. In addition, if you have an inexpensive product, you can always make it fancy by adding special oils or honey and giving yourself a conditioning treatment.

4. Be gentle with your hair and walk away from the comb when you’re frustrated

When I first went natural and reached an awkward stage (coughs: major mullet), my hair was sometimes more difficult to detangle. I’d get so frustrated I noticed I was a bit rougher in my movements with the comb and as a result breakage would ensue. Actually, this was even more so the case when I was transitioning from straight to curly hair. So, try not to style your hair when you’re tired or just take a break if you need.

And finally…

5. Make a schedule

Pick out the days you want to wash and condition your hair. Think about the styles you’d like to try and how long they will carry you through the week. If you’re in the TWA (teeny-weeny afro) stage or have short hair, you’ll probably wash or wet your hair more than once per week. Once I was able to pull my hair back, this changed my schedule and gave me more flexibility. However, a schedule still benefited me greatly and kept me from getting to lazy with my hair.

….This is not a step, but more words of advice. Enjoy your hair at all stages. When I cut all my hair off, I was so concerned about length. I wish I had just enjoyed that moment longer, because length will come, when it comes. I’d always wanted to do something drastic like cut my hair really short and once I cut it, I spent all my time wanting it longer. Now I enjoy the stage I’m at, because I’ve noticed, although with longer hair you can easily just bun it, you also have longer washer sessions (wonk, wonk, wonk). So do you and love what you do at each stage (same applies to life in general).

Do you have any healthy hair regimen tips for readers? If so, would love to hear them!

Twists

With only a couple of weeks until my due date, I’m a lot more tired than usual. This week I decided to put my hair in smallish twists. These are by no means mini-twists—no time or patience for that! I want to see how long I can go without undoing them… The goal is two weeks and to actually try washing my hair in twists to see if they hold.

I typically wear my twists in a bun, to get them off my face and To stretch them. I’d say this is a protective style, but the main reason I did it was to protect myself from having to bother with my hair. 😉

I also trimmed 1/4 – 1/2 inch while twisting. It was actually an easy process since I had twists in. When my hair felt rough and dry, I simply snipped it off.

These are my bunned twists, after washing with rhassoul followed by a conditioning oil rinse, and twisting for 1.5 hrs:

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Do you wear twists? How long do you keep them in?

Feminine Fall Braid on Natural Hair

Did a little experimenting with my hair on an old twist out and actually kind of like it. This look is perfect for fall days. I left a little hair out to frame my face and completed the braid by using large sections of hair. I think this kind of style works best on an old stretched out style.

I’m thinking this just will also be my hospital style, pulled back and low maintenance.

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What are your favorite fall styles?

To Henna or Not to Henna?

Basic Overview

(for more detailed information check out the free Ebook, Henna for Hair: http://www.hennaforhair.com/ or for a basic overview: http://www.hennaforhair.com/faq/)

Remember I AM NOT a HAIR EXPERT and will not go into great detail on the subject. =)

Henna is harvested from the leaves of the henna plant. It’s been around for thousands of years and is not new to the beauty world. It’s primarily used to stain the hair and cover grays. The dye is activated by mixing it with an acid base (e.g. lemon, orange juice).

There are three types of henna, “neutral” cassia, “black” indigo and reddish/copper “henna”. Cassia will not dye dark hair, but can give a more golden hue gray or blond hair . If used on dark hair, it can be used as more of a deep conditioning treatment. The effects aren’t as long-lasting as regular henna, but could be an alternative for those looking for the benefit of henna without the permanent color.

Diagram from http://www.hennaforhair.com Ebook, demonstrating how it dyes the hair. (Lawsone is a red-orange dye found in henna leaves).

Benefits of henna

Henna is known to strengthen the hair as it fills or closes gaps in the cuticle. It  imparts amazing shine. It is a natural remedy to graying. In afro hair henna has been shown to do all the previously mentioned things and to loosen the curl pattern. Whether that’s a positive or negative, depends on your outlook. For me, it’s a negative.

My hesitation

Since I’ve gone natural, I’ve debated many times whether I should henna my hair. For one reason or another, I’ve always decided not to do it. I have tried cassia in the past a couple of times when I first went natural. It was hard to wash out and I didn’t experience mind-blowing results.

I’ve seen bloggers report amazing results with continued use of henna. Initially, I was more concerned about permanence of henna. I know many people say it only gives dark hair an auburn/copper glow in the sun, which isn’t noticable under normal conditions. However, I just couldn’t get past the idea of doing something so permanent. Additionally, now that I know my hair is low porosity and what works for some doesn’t always work for me. I’m definitely more closed off to the idea of hennaing my hair.

I can not say with 100% certainty that low porosity hair and henna don’t mix. I can say that I have a sneaking suspicion that it might make moisturizing the hair more difficult, since it seals the cuticles to bind with keratin in the hair shaft. For low porosity hair, the goal is to get moisture into cuticles, sometimes lifting them slightly. I’m afraid further sealing of an already compact hair shaft wouldn’t be beneficial.

This leaves me with the decision that I will likely not henna my hair, for fear that the aftermath will be much harder to reverse. Even with all the wonderful feedback from others who have tried it.

What do you have to say? I’d love to hear from other low porosity bloggers who henna, have hennaed or perhaps thought about. What’s your take on this topic? Do you henna your low porosity hair?

Do you DIY?

Sometimes healthy shiny hair doesn’t require a trip to the store. Many times a simple trip to your cupboards or refrigerator is all you need for a nice effective do-it-yourself hair treatment. I’ll share one of my favorite DIY treatments and would love to hear from readers. If you have any DIY treatments that have worked for your low porosity hair, be sure to comment and share your recipe in the comments section.

Olive Honey Hair Mask

  • Olive Oil (or oil of choice) amount depends on hair length and thickness. I use about 1/8 c.
  • 2 TBSP of honey

Instructions:

  1. Warm olive oil on low heat for about 3-4 minutes (you don’t want it hot, just warm), mix in honey and pour this mixture into a bowl or applicator bottle.
  2. optional: mix in a small amount of your favorite conditioner
  3. Apply to freshly washed hair. Plastic cap. Sit under hooded dryer 20-30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and condition, if needed.

This leaves my hair shiny and soft to touch.

What are your favorite DIY hair treats?

Product Review: Dabur Vatika Hair Fall Control Styling Cream

Price: Amazon has it listed as 7.99, you may find it cheaper at your local Indian beauty supply store.

What’s in it: According to the ingredient list on the jar: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Cactus Extract, D-Panthenol, and Perfume. However, there were comments on Amazon about many sellers issuing a fake version of the product loaded with artificial ingredients, so be weary.

What it claims to do: Gives complete nourishment, strengthens hair and fights shine.

Instructions: For best results use before and after hair wash. As a prepoo: before shampooing, massage cream into dry hair from root to tip,leave on 15 minutes and wash as usual. After wash: apply a small amount to damp hair for protection, shine and to ease styling.

How I used it: I’ve tried this product three times and have never used it as a prepoo only as a post wash styler and moisturizer. I mostly apply the product to my ends and only partially to the rest of my hair.

My 2 pennies:

+ Leaves my hair incredibly shiny once it dries.

+Makes my ends curl right up.

+Leaves my hair feeling soft and moisturized, but not greasy and this last for a few days.

+A little goes a long way.

+Soft creamy texture that absorbs quickly.

-The smell is WAY too  strong. Makes me suspicious about the ingredients list, even if the jar only lists 4 ingredients. Would much rather hair a perfume-free or an essential oil fragrance.

-I didn’t notice whether it really works to reduce hair shedding. I find this is a strong claim to make. In any case, it’s difficult to say exactly what reduces hair shedding, as I use different products in my regimen. My hair doesn’t shed a lot as is (thank you pregnancy, but I am fearing the post-pregnancy shed showdown).

Here’s my hair using the product on a twist out. I don’t think the results greatly differ from when I use my usual products. I will say it stayed defined a lot longer. However, this could be due to my doing a twist out and not a braid out.

Would I buy the product again?

Meh, I’m not ready to stock up on this product like I do with KCKT. However, I’m happy to use it while it remains in my medicine cabinet. I’m not a fan of the fragrance so even if it continues to give consistent results, I just can’t handle that chemical smell.

Has anyone else tried Dabur Vatika products?

Night-time Regimen

How you care for your hair at night has a huge impact on styling your hair the next day and maintaining the health of your hair. I’ve been guilty of sometimes just calling it a day, throwing my hair up and hitting the pillow. However, I usually try to stick to my nightly regimen.

Now, what works for me may not work for everyone and a lot of what one does at night depends on the thickness and length of their hair. During my TWA phase, I simply threw on a satin bonnet or slept on a satin pillowcase. The in-between/awkward phase (i.e. afro mullet phase) was the most difficult for me. A night-time routine that worked for me during that period was to put my hair into multiple “pineapples” or mini pony puffs. The next day, I’d release, fluff and separate. Now that my hair is past the awkward phase -  here is what I do:

My hair is usually in some sort of stretched style (e.g. braid out). I put two braids on both the right and left side of my head to frame my face, then I pin the braids down. The back of my hair, I divide into two sections and make two very loose french braids. When I get to the end of my braid, I usually twist my hair, then pin it to the opposite side. In total that’s 6 braids (four semi-tight in front and two loose in the back). This takes me a total of 5 minutes. If my ends are dry I add a little leave-in and light oil. Throw on a satin scarf and there you have it.

I’ve included pictures of my hair after unraveling my braids on the first day and of my hair on day two. I actually prefer my hair on day two (it’s a little less defined and fluffier than day 1). I tend to like the bed head look.

What is your night-time regimen?

Updated Fall/Winter Hair Regimen

As the weather cools off, the air becomes drier and autumn days gradually turn into winter, my regimen also changes a bit with it.

After being without my beloved rhassoul clay for a little over a month, it’s finally back in my life and I must say, there is no other product out there that I love more (besides my Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave-in Detangler).

For a thorough look at my current regimen, please see the page “My Regimen”. I’ll just give you a short overview of what I’m doing now.

Wash + detangle: Once per week: rhassoul clay mixture (distilled water, rhassoul, vinegar)

I haven’t used my baking soda rinse in a long time. I haven’t really felt the need to, because moisture and build-up have not been major issues. I think I’ll rely on that as a clarifying/moisturizing treatment, when my hair really needs it, but for the moment, it hasn’t.

Condition: Reverse oil rinsing is now part of my weekly regimen, I’ve had great results doing this and it’s a keeper. Sometimes, I sit under my dryer if I need a deep conditioner. Other times,  I just let it sit on my hair a few minutes, while I finish my bath routine and then rinse. Either way, I get stellar results each time. I apply a moisturizing conditioner and on top of that an oil of choice: grapeseed oil (LOVE THIS STUFF!), coconut, avocado oil or olive oil.

Moisturize and seal (ends): KCKT diluted with water, seal my ends and frizzy areas like my crown with a small amount of oil, right now I’m loving grapeseed oil.

In fall/winter I tend to avoid humectants, such as glycerin and honey, as the climate where I live is dry. These products yield great results in the summer, however.

Style: 12 braids or twists, 45 minutes under my hooded dryer, if dry, untwist, if still a little damp, I’ll let it air dry some more.

After giving birth, I’m sure this routine will change drastically (i.e. Wet n go + Mom bun). This is one of the main reasons I’m on a growth mission, to be able to leave my hair in a bun for weeks and chase behind a little person. Speaking of birthing process.My hair will be the furthest thing from my mind during that time, but I’d like to look semi-sane for a post-birth picture. Right now, I’m thinking bun with a scarf tied around my head. I don’t want to spend money nor time on braids, even though they’d probably be the most practical option. I thought I’d ask readers with children: what was your child birth hair style of choice?