Quick morning routine

Protective styling has its benefits! It took me one hour to install  medium twists. I plan on keeping them in for 2 weeks, moisturizing my ends on an as-needed basis. If you think about it, one hour divided by 14 days is equivalent to about 4 minutes styling per day. So looking at the big picture, one hour is not a lot at all.

I’m often discouraged to protective style, particularly put my hair in twists, because: A) I like to wear my hair out B) it seems time-consuming and C) requires more planning and preparation than a wash n go or a twist-out.

However, this morning it took me a whole 2 minutes to pin my hair up into this bun and move on with my business. I have to admit, it was totally worth it. Not to mention, my ends are extremely hydrated, as they’re protected from harsh elements and tucked away most of the time.

I can’t say, I’ll protective style all the time. However, I get what all the fuss is about.

Do you protective style? If you do, what are some of your favorite to-go-to options for protective styling?

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Pre-Poo Oil Treatment

Happy New Year Everyone!

The other day, I was skimming through a book a friend gifted me many years ago. The book is about all natural Indian beauty secrets. It also includes a section on healing from the inside, which I appreciate, as all beauty starts from within. The hair section discusses cures for dry hair. Some of the suggestions to combat this problem include: shampooing on an as needed basis, gentle brushing and combing, using creamy conditioners, reducing exposure to strong winds and sun, and overnight coconut oil treatments.

Honestly, nothing new here, but it helps to read about it and have it reiterated. As a lo-po natural, I obviously can’t go without an occasional shampoo. However, I typically cleanse with rhassoul clay, only using commercial shampoos every other month if I notice any product build-up. I’ve never prepped my hair with an oil treatment before cleansing. So I’m giving it a go for the first time today. Ideally, the book suggests doing this overnight. However, I can’t work this into my schedule. So here’s my approach to pre-poo oil treatments:

  1. Divide hair into four sections and generously apply coconut oil to both scalp and hair, concentrating on the ends. You could treat yourself to a nice scalp massage at this point.
  2. Cover hair in a plastic cap, wet a small towel with very hot water and carefully squeez out the excess water. *Place the damp, hot towel over the plastic cap, place a plastic bag (the kind you get at the grocery store in the fresh produce section) over the towel and cover with a scarf or bonnet.
  3. Leave this in for as long as you like, but if you’re stressed for time like me, about 20-30 minutes should be fine.
  4. I’ll follow this treatment with rhassoul and condition my hair if necessary.

*Remember heat is the key for effective moisturizing for lo-po hair.

My due date is rapidly approaching and I’m due in a little less than two weeks, but could go at any moment, so my goal today is to get my hair into some kind of protective style and forget about it until after the birth. If you’re a long time follower, you might remember when I was pregnant with my son, I had a fear of going into labor mid-styling. Same thing this time around. So some simple elegant two strand twists might be the way to go again.

I’ll report back with pictures and results after styling (if I’m not in labor— I’m that uncomfortable at this point, I wouldn’t actually mind!).

Do you pre-poo? What kind of results have you noticed?

XO

**UPDATE**

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After washing with rhassoul clay, conditioning and applying my leave-in, grapeseed oil and gel, I twisted my hair. I then sat under the dryer for 15 and to let me leave-in absorb. My twists feel moisturized and soft and my hair is shiny and smooth. I think the pre-poo gave it more of a shine than my usual routine, but I’m not 100% sure, so I’ll have to give it a few more tries to test the results. In any case, I’m happy to have my hair twisted and out of the way for the next couple of weeks.

 

Updates from the Hooded Dryer

Deep conditioning my hair and realised it’s been a disrespectfully long time since I’ve blogged. Since, I’m doing my weekly deep conditioner, I thought now was a better time than never.

On the hair front. My hair has been doing really well. I ran out of rhassoul clay and need to order a new stock. So I’ve been doing a lot of co-washing and I shampoo every other week or once a month, since winter months here tend to be dry. I make deep conditioning part of my regular routine. Even on days when I’m feeling lazy and tired, I make sure I sit under my hooded dryer for at least 15 minutes to let my conditioner soak into my strands.

I’ve mainly been doing twist-outs and protective styling (though not intentionally, but due to my being exhausted, lazy and low on time). I did venture into threading once, when I had the urge to blow-dry my hair. It gave my hair a really nice stretch to work with for other styles. I haven’t put heat to my hair since I went to the salon in August. So I’m happy for Youtube and alternative methods to blow-drying.

My pregnancy is going well and I have a little over a month left until the baby comes– saying that suddenly makes me panic. Time is flying by. I’m excited to meet this little life and to see my son transform into a big brother. We finally found names for both a boy and girl. I was starting to worry, because we’ve disagreed for the past 34 weeks.

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to relaxing over the holidays. It’s been a busy year at home and at work. I’m thankful for everything we have, but really need some downtime before I double my motherly duties. Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones and family members!!

 

 

October Updates

So in about a week, I enter my third trimester. I’ll miss the second trimester. It’s the phase in pregnancy where I feel the most energetic and attractive. With my son, I grew most in the third trimester and with this baby, I think it’ll be the same, although I’m now the size I was with my son during my 8th month. In short, I’m hitting that penguin carrying a balloon while getting her waddle on phase. Time is going by really fast at the moment and I’m very excited at the idea of having another little peanut to add to our family of three.

In the hair world, I’ve been religiously doing rhassoul clay treatments once per week. I follow that up with a deep conditioner consisting of a light oil, e.g. grapeseed and moisturizing conditioner. I then sit under my bonnet dryer for 20-30 minutes, add a leave-in, mostly concentrating on my ends, a light layer of gel (currently trying: Kinky Curly Curling Custard), twist my hair and seal the ends of my twists with an oil.  My two favorite conditioners for deep conditioning at the moment are Aussie Moist (still love this brand) and Tresemme Naturals. Finally, I sit under the dryer for about 20 minutes and let my hair partially dry, before heading to bed.

As you can see my routine, hasn’t changed much. The only thing I’m doing differently is weekly rhassoul clay treatments. I’ve noticed that I’ve retained some length and the overall health of my hair has improved drastically. I attribute this positive change to two things: a much needed cut I received this summer and a visit to the doctor. This summer, I went to my childhood hairdresser. As I sat down in his chair and he unraveled my bun and began washing my hair, he grew quiet. “Is everything ok?” he asked. Worried and somewhat confused, I stared at him puzzled. “I’m not trying to scare you or make you worry, but last year your hair was the epitome of health, right now it’s shedding heavily and feels very dry and brittle. Has anything changed in your diet, are you really stressed out at the moment?” He spoke gently and softly, as he handled my hair with great care. I brushed it off and reassured him that my first trimester was stressful, but now I was doing much better. I chalked it up to the doctor ordered bedrest for 2 weeks, in which I couldn’t thoroughly wash my hair and deep condition it.

He stopped his line of questioning and just gave his final two cents. “Ok honey, just make sure you’re getting enough iron, protein and taking your prenatals. You also might want to bring this up with your doctor. I’m not a medical professional, but often when things aren’t going well internally, it manifests on the outside and I see a major difference in your hair, love.” We then went on with our usual banter and celebrity gossip, as we transitioned out of the medical screening process.

Personally, I don’t eat a lot of meat and try to limit my intake, I don’t drink milk, but would occasionally eat a yogurt here and there. However, recently I’d started to entertain the idea of going vegan, after reading some articles and watching some documentaries. I hadn’t told him, because I thought he’d judge me. As soon as I returned home from summer vacation I began looking for a new doctor and decided to have some bloodwork done. It turns out, my B12 and iron were low. There are many women who suffer from low iron levels during and postpartum. However, the doctor indicated that my B12 levels were probably low due to dietary restrictions. I felt like a fool for starting a journey into something unknown without doing my research properly, especially being pregnant and all. I started to read and noticed many vegans have to supplement B12 in their diets. Low levels can be dangerous for cell development and the nervous system, as well as memory functions. My doctor immediately recommended weekly injections of B12. She also administered iron directly into my bloodstream. I’m feeling much better since this treatment and less tired, which I’d always attributed to my being a mom and being pregnant, which believe me, still exhausts me, but I am feeling more energetic than prior.

After my injections, I went back to doing research and discovered there are two types of B12 supplements, one that is absorbed easier by the body, methylcobalamin (mouthful I know) and cyanocobalamin, which is considered more harmful than beneficial. At my next visit, I checked with the medical assistant to determine what form of B12 their office uses and found out they only had cyanocobalamin in different brands. From what I’ve learned, Switzerland does not offer B12 prescriptions and this is the only form used countrywide. Probably due to its low production costs. I stopped my weekly injections and have now ordered a daily supplement. I’ve gone back to eating meat here and there from fear. I think after my pregnancy I’ll pick-up from where I left off. In the meantime I’ve ordered to books and will research this lifestyle more in detail, before proceeding.

Sorry for the long post and rant. I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes, if your skin or hair starts changing or deteriorating in appearance, it might not be due to a hair regimen, but to internal reasons. In my case, my hair feels better than it did a few months back, it’s feels healthier, thicker and shinier. I don’t think that’s 100% due to my regimen, but also to the fact that I’ve sought medical attention for the things my body was lacking.

I guess I have to thank my hair dresser, MD for this one. Have a lovely Sunday!

By the way, I’ll be updating and simplifying my regimen section, as there are some aspects of my regimen, which I don’t use on a regular basis. I’ll also try to include a frequently asked questions  section. I receive many emails often with the same type of questions and thought this might be helpful for new visitors and less frequent followers.

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Have a beautiful Sunday!

Round Two and Hair Updates

It’s been forever since I’ve posted on here. I had plans to be more active on the blog this summer, since I don’t teach during that time. Summer came and is gone (at least over here it is), I guess better late than never. Life has been very eventful and exciting on my end. I wish I could say the same for my hair… more on that later.

So without further ado, I’m pregnant with baby number 2. This pregnancy is really taking a toll on me. With my son, I was doing yoga and power walking up until week 37, my hair was thick, shiny and flourished, I was rarely tired or nauseous. This time around, the only thing I can think of is sleep. My hair has suffered so many setbacks, so much so that I had to cut off 2 inches. #Healthoverlength

This hasn’t been the smoothest of pregnancies, granted I only have one to compare it to. I was on bed rest for 2 weeks in July and can’t do sports at the moment, but can work and carry on with my day, luckily. During those two-week, I could only take short showers, dress and return to bed. This meant, I went 2 weeks without washing my hair or really looking after it for that matter. My hair has been Sahara dry. I’ll now be doing weekly rhassoul and deep conditioning treatments until it recovers.

So early next year, Peanut will have a little brother or sister to call his own. I will probably be in buns until they go to the high school or just chop it all. We shall see.

How was your summer?

Cantu Shea Leave-In

Hi Everyone, life has been insane and now that I have the summer off from teaching things have “calmed down” a bit. I still have my little boy, who is a year and a half now and keeps me on my toes. If any of you with kids, nieces,  nephews etc., have tips for creative activities to do with a toddler at home, please send them my way. As many of you know, I live in Switzerland. Far away, from my family and childhood friends. While, I’ve created friendships here, it’s not the same as my connections back home. Relationships are a lot more formal and a lot of times, excluding our weekly play dates,  it’s just me and the little guy. I’m heading home in a bit and I’m thrilled at having people around, crowding over us, showing up unannounced. Any way, I don’t know how I ended up sharing all of this, but I know you guys usually have great ideas or maybe some of you have similar experiences and can relate??

Any way, I’ve just put my hair in boot camp mode. Last month my hair was a total disaster. Desert-dry, tangled and matted. I just kept pinning it back and stretching my wash days way too much. Now I’m washing it every 5 days and deep conditioning everytime. It’s just necessary for me to DC retain moisture, I’ve come to this conclusion. I’ve brought back reverse oil rinsing. And, depending on the shape my hair is in, I follow up with just an oil or a leave-in and seal with a light oil, I’m loving grape seed at the moment. The past couple of weeks I’ve been testing out a big tube of Cantu Leave-in that I bought this winter. 

When I first used this product, I thought meh, pass. However, upon using it again, it’s a definite winner in my book! If I apply this, and only this, it imparts a nice shine and leaves my twist outs defined and moisturized. For the low price (about 6 bucks) and size (16oz), you can’t beat that. 

Here is a pic of my twist out using Cantu Leave-In Repair Leave-in. I still had some fluffing to do, so ignore the strange shape of my hair. 😋 Have you tried the Cantu Leave-in before?

For my US readers, I hope you have a fun and safe 4th!  

Blown-out Twist-out

This is by far my favorite to-go-to hairstyle in the spring and fall, when the weather is warm and dry. I simply, blow dry my hair, my goal is not bone straight blown out hair, but just stretched hair. A heat protectant and small amount of leave-in was applied before blowdrying my hair. Next I put my hair in big chunky flat twists and unravel the next day. I enjoy this style, because it’s soft and fluffy. I get to enjoy the length of my hair for a bit. In addition, this style lasts longer than my wet/damp set twists, typically 10 – 14 days. I follow-up by oiling my ends each night and placing my hair back in jumbo twists. Love the versatility of natural hair!

I’m mostly doing my usual routine (clay wash, occasional slippery elm detangle, deep conditioning and sealing with oil and for the most part skipping the leave-in). This week, I started with a new practice and that’s oiling my scalp before I wash my hair. I’ll post on that soon.Have you ever oiled your scalps, is it part of your regimen?

blwtwt

That Time of The Month Hair

Why did I even bother pre-pooing?!

This post may be a little TMI for some. However, I can’t help but address this topic, based on my experience. My hair is typically predictable and easy to care for, given I follow my low porosity regimen. Although, there is one time during each month where it’s drier, more tangled, duller and harder to care for and that’s during menstruation. Shortly after “Aunt Flo” has made her visit, my hair gets a breath of life and looks instantly healthier.This is probably due to the drop in hormones during the start of the cycle and the increase in hormones after and during ovulation.

Since my hair is unwilling to cooperate with me during that time, here are some tricks and I use.

  1. Increase conditioning. During this time of the month, I try not to skip deep conditioners and moisturize my hair more.
  2. Protective styling. I don’t wear a lot of protective styles. I like to wear my hair out. However, you’ll find me in a bun one week out of the month. I just tuck it away and don’t bother trying to force it to do what it won’t.
  3. Increase H20 intake. I generally try to drink enough water, but am more conscious of my fluid intake during this time.
  4. Eat more healthily. See above.

Do you notice any differences in your hair around that time of the month?

Twisted Twist Out Feat. Slippery Elm and Dry Deep Conditioning

Happy Spring. Hope you’re all enjoying milder weather, blooming trees and longer days.

I’m no hair styling queen and rarely post on styling. However, I’ve found a twist-out method that I had to share. So there are different twist out techniques. I’ve used two on my hair. 1. The two strand twist. This is simple. You take two pieces of hair, wind them round and round from the roots to the tips. 2. The flat twist. This one is a little more involved, you take small sections of hair and twist them from root to tip, incorporating more as you work your way down. Kind of like a french braid, but a twist instead. I find method 1 is faster and easier for novices like myself. The latter method takes times, but yields more defined  results than the first.

Since, I’m low on time, I typically do two strand twists. Recently, I accidentally enhanced this style. I don’t have pictures or a video, but it’s quite easy to explain. You put your hair in twists. Let it air dry, or as I prefer partially dry under a hooded dryer. You then wind/twist the twisted hair around from root almost to then ends, but not all the way down (to reduce manipulation on the ends of your hair), pin the twisted twists, in place with a hair pin, so they don’t unwind. This method results in a more defined and stretched twist out. When you’re twisting your twists, it’s a similar motion to making a bantu knot, but not as tight.

Another new technique I’m using to get a different  style and more defined look counter clockwise twisting (just made the name up). I twist towards my face, so the curls go forward rather than off my face. I like the final look a lot more than my usual twisting direction.

Finally, I’m loving my short on time, dry deep conditioning routine. My hair is still very moisturized and it’s a great alternative to rhassoul. Here’s what I do:

  1. Apply a deep conditioner mix. This week it was coconut milk, Giovanni deeper moisture, a few drops coconut oil and honey.
  2. Sit under a dryer for 20 – 30 minutes.
  3. While conditioner is still in my hair, shampoo my hair. Rinse.
  4. Apply my slippery elm mixture, apply some consitioner on top of that (Aussie Moist, this week) and detangle.

I then sealed my hair with jojoba oil and applied leave-in to my ends.

Here’s the final result.

Now to you, I’m curious… Have you ever used slippery elm? What’s your favorite stretched style?

Updated Regimen

So, I added this information to my “regimen page”, but thought I’d just take a moment to chat with you, as I’ve been MIA lately. I’m still experimenting with skipping my leave-out. However, this is only when I do rhassoul clay treatments or use my slippery elm mixture to condition my hair. These products tend to leave me with moisturized hair. So I find that just sealing in the moisture with an oil, is enough for my hair.

Another practice I’ve added to my regimen, that I’m very excited to share with you is deep conditioning on dry hair. I LOVE this method. Not only does it save me time, but I feel it also gives my hair a kick of moisture. Per usual, I divide my hair into four sections and work a moisturizing conditioner into each section. Concentrating on my ends and detangling as I go along. If I’m feeling fancy, I might throw in some honey and oil for an extra moisturizing deep conditioner. I then, put on a plastic cap and sit under the dryer for 20-30 minutes. The conditioner that I use, must have water as the first ingredient. I feel that deep conditioning on dry hair, allows me to maximize my use of the conditioner. When the hair is wet the conditioner, slips off or gets diluted, this method encourages my hair to absorb the product.

Finalls, I hop in the shower and shampoo the areas of my  hair and scalp prone to buildup (while the conditioner is still in my hair). I rinse this out after and then use another slippery rinse out conditioner to do the rest of the detangling job. This method cuts down on a lot of time for me and I really enjoy it.

Have any of you ever condtiioned on dry hair?