Got my hair done! I will post more on the experience later. Let me just say it felt so nice having someone else do my hair!! Yay!
If you follow this blog, you probably know that I LOVE rhassoul clay and get stellar results every time I use it. However, as a new mother, I don’t always have time to prepare my rhassoul clay wash. When I’m short on time, my product of choice to cleanse my hair is Giovanni Triple Treat Shampoo. This shampoo is sulfate free and while it doesn’t leave my hair as soft as rhassoul, it certainly does a good job of cleaning my scalp and hair. It doesn’t leave my hair with that stripped, dry feeling. It’s also a great relaxing shampoo, because it contains tea tree and peppermint essential oils– it’s like a mini scalp massage.
Typically I wash my hair in 4 sections, but I tried a method I read about on Curly Nikki: I simply put my hair in two pigtails. After shampooing each side. I saturated conditioner and detangled under water for added slip. The CN method advocates using practically an entire bottle of conditioner. Since this blog is about being
cheap, economically savvy, I diluted 4 ounces of conditioner (Tresemmé naturals) with 4 ounces of water. I soaked each side with 4 ounces of this mixture, massaging the conditioner into my strands then rinsed and detangled under water. Detangling was a breeze with this method and my hair felt great. After this, I put on a deep conditioner, continued on with my shower rituals (voila time effective deep conditioning).
Finally, I tried something new for styling:
1. I applied my leave-in almost dry hair (t-shirt wrapped around my hair 5 m then air dried. I noticed this really help my leave-in penetrate my hair. Sealed with oils on my ends per usual.
2. I sprayed a little mixture of water and setting lotion on my hair, then twisted it. For more hold and definition.
3. I dried my twists for 10-15m under a hooded dryer.
When I undid my twists my hair felt über soft and moisturized.
This is a great method for those little on time.
What’s your rushed routine? What are your favorite shampoos/hair wash products?
This is a new feature on my blog. I’ll be discussing different themes in relation to hair (of course) and life and hope you’ll join in on the conversation. This week’s theme is feeling beautiful.
When do you feel most beautiful?
Personally, I noticed for my very definition of beauty evolves with age (like most things). In my teens, it was whatever magazines and peers said was beautiful. I’d study Seventeen magazine for hours hoping to experience my “she’s all that” movie moment. You know, the one where you go to school one day and suddenly the homecoming king realizes you're a supermodel — yeah never happened. In my twenties, particularly early twenties, it was compliments I received from friends, boyfriends and strangers. Now that I'm in my early thirties (eek, writing about three decades make me feel so old), it's when I feel happiest. When I'm laughing uncontrollably with friends over a tea, while reminiscing on our youth. When I do favors for others or surprise loved ones. When I'm doing anything outdoorsy. When my baby boy looks up at me a smiles and coos. Now my definition is all the positive energy I try to put out and feelings of joy that make me feel beautiful. Research shows the most beautiful people are the happiest. I'd have to somewhat disagree and say happy people are truly beautiful. Happiness radiates from within like a lighthouse in the fog. Never let anyone dim your light or define your beauty.
How do you define beautiful? When do you feel beautiful?
A reader emailed me and requested I share my skin regimen and tips on achieving clear skin.
I do believe that genetics plays a huge role in our skin, but the environment and our regimens contribute greatly as well to the health of our skin.
Here are some things I do that do not relate to my wash regimen:
- Eat clean and healthy — lots of veggies, fruits and drink tons of water.
- Move around and exercise to stimulate cell regeneration.
- Try to keep my hair off my face.
- I don’t wear foundation, if I do I only wear it on special occasions.
Now here’s my skin regimen. I’m not beauty expert and my skin is not flawless. However, I used to break out a lot, and since implementing this regimen, I no longer suffer from acne nor do I get pimples (except for one around that time…).
Products (products in bold are what I use 100% of the time):
- jojoba oil – same PH as the skin, extremely gentle and moisturizing, even for the most sensitive skin. Great make-up remover.
- warm towel – soothing, opens pores and removes dirt and oil.
- cold water – wonderful to close pore and increase circulation
- witch hazel – closes pores, refreshes skins (and I think it fights wrinkles, but I have no scientific proof, besides my grandmother who used it her entire life and never wrinkled).
- tea tree – fights acne and antimicrobial
- black soap – removes oil and build-up without stripping the skin, even skin tone
- Put a drop or two of jojoba oil* on my hands and rub face in circular motions (if I’m wearing make-up, I add a few more drops to really loosen up the product).
- Place a warm towel on my face and let it sit one minute, wipe my face with the wash cloth to remove oil or buildup.
- Rinse with cold water.
- Place a few drops of witch hazel astringent and one drop of tea tree oil** on a cotton swab and gently wipe in a circular motion over my face and neck.
- If my skin feels dry I will add another drop of jojoba oil.
- (In the summer or if my skin feels oily I use a small amount of black soap to cleanse it. I don’t do this so often in winter.)
*Other great light oils are extra virgin olive oil and sweet almond oil.
**I only add the drop of tea tree oil at night, because of the smell.
These products will probably last you 6 – 9 months and only cost about 5 – 10 dollars in total. The best part about this regimen is that the products are 100% clean and natural.
What’s your healthy skin regimen?
Today, I had the honor of interviewing my Mom, who big chopped her shoulder-length relaxed hair 2 months ago.
Why did you decide to go natural?
Three reasons: 1. I decided to get rid of the chemicals and extra expenses that come along with relaxed hair. This is not my first time going natural. The first time I went natural, I felt my hair was unmanageable, because of the length, so I decided to relax it. 2. I can work out without worrying about styling or ruining my hair. 3. These were all things I considered, but what pushed me to just do it was my niece. She has cancer and lost her hair. I cut off all my hair off to support my niece and show my solidarity.
What was your first reaction when you went natural?
I was a little shocked after I cut off all my hair. After the initial shock, I ran my hands over my hair and thought it actually felt good. I’m 57, so I was really self-conscious about my grays showing through. After a few weeks, I tired of the gray hair and colored my hair. This made me feel better about it. Now, I’m loving my hair and I refuse to go back to relaxed hair.
How did your friend’s and family react?
I received mixed reactions. Some were shocked and annoyed, others were really happy for me and loved it. My great-aunt is in her 80’s and told me that at my age, I shouldn’t cut off my hair and that my hair was my crown and glory. She told me I shouldn’t have cut off, what she considered beautiful hair to go back to nappy hair. After seeing my own beautiful daughter and niece go natural, as well as many other natural women, it inspired me to go natural as well.
What would you say to someone considering going natural?
I would encourage them to take the leap. It was the best decision I made. You will be in shock at first, but once you do it, you might ask yourself, like I did, what took me so long.
What do you love about your new hair?
It’s short and manageable. I can wash it and go. My regimen is simple and I can wash my hair when I want. My hair sheds less.
What is your regimen?
I wash my hair once per week. I work a small amount of Indian Hemp into my wet hair– This has petroleum, so my daughter is working on getting me into some other products. Unfortunately, I have a hard time coming away from hair grease. — Next, I towel-dry my hair for 5 minutes to remove excess water. Finally, I apply a little Taliah Waajid, Kinky, Wavy, Natural Herbal Style and Shine to my damp hair. I comb it my hair out once per week.
What are your hair goals?
To have long, healthy, manageable kinky hair. I want a big Angela Davis afro!
What’s the best thing about your “new” hair?
It doesn’t cost anything to take care of my hair. I don’t have to style it for hours or use heat. I don’t miss burning myself by accident when curling or flat-ironing my hair.
Note from editor: I’d still love to have entries from readers. If you’d like to share your hair story, talk about your blog or write a post for the blog, please contact me— whether curly, straight or wavy, if you’d like to contribute, let me know.
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?
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.
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?
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?
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?
A while back, a reader requested I add my hair story to the blog. I don’t think my story is very original, so was hesitant to post my hair story/ journey to natural hair. Like many women who have chemically relaxed their hair, I had my awakening moment when I had enough of the relaxers. However, it is still my story to tell and if it helps anyone out there to read it, then I’m happy at the end of the day.
As a child, I had very thick hair. My mother really dreaded wash days. The long shampoo sessions, followed by brushing my hair until it was detangled, lathering it up in some type of grease and proceeding to put my hair in plaits or hot comb it. It was an entire day affair that wasn’t easy on either of us. If she had the information and resources that are available to us now, wash days probably wouldn’t have been so terrible. After all she was shampooing my hair and then brushing out any resemblance of a curl pattern! Even though these probably aren’t considered good hair practices today, my hair still managed to stay thick and healthy and to grow, longer than it has ever been in my entire adult life.
Turning point: relaxer
Flash forward to age 10. As a single parent, working two jobs to make ends meat and provide for her children, my mother no longer had time for our ritual day long wash sessions. My older sister pitched in and helped her, but this often ended in her taking out her frustration on my hair. My sister had started relaxing her hair when I was 10 and she really liked the stylist. That’s when my Mom decided, I too would relax my natural hair. I had no idea what a relaxer was and what it involved. I was just excited about a day in the city with my big sis. I imagined all the fun we’d have, just us girls, getting our hair done and maybe going out to eat.
I still remember entering the salon. I saw beautiful women everywhere with straight, flowing hair. I couldn’t believe that I too would walk out looking like them– okay, minus the awkwardly long skinny legs and terrible 10-year-old sense of fashion.
I sat down in the stylists chair and he asked me some questions about school, how old I was, etc. He proceeded to mix up jars of smelly liquids and white cream. Next he began applying it all over my hair. Surprised by the thickness of my hair, he asked an assistant to quickly whip up another bottle. Soon my hair was covered from root to tip in this smelly stuff. I didn’t understand how this would be the answer to everyone’s prayers, but I’d soon find out.
After getting my hair washed and blow-dried, the stylist wheeled me around. I didn’t even recognize myself. My hair moved from side to side, it hung past my shoulders. I was in awe and almost afraid to touch it. As I walked out of the salon, many women waiting in the lobby told me how pretty I looked and what lovely hair I had. No one had ever talked about my hair in such a positive way before. I walked a little taller, with a bounce in my step.
Later that day, as my sister and I walked around the city, I jumped around, ran left and right and asked her if we could go in the city sprinklers to play. She shook her head at me, annoyed by my ignorance and told me to stop running around in the heat, otherwise I’d sweat out my hair and ruin it and that getting my hair wet was out of the question. Suddenly, I didn’t feel as free as I had when I’d walked into the salon that morning. As an energetic child and tomboy, I started to feel really restricted, the world wasn’t my playground.
Life with a relaxer
After years of going to the salon every six weeks for my touch-up with the same stylist, relaxers and straight hair was just part of my being. As a teen, I called the salon to make my own appointments, paid attention to the weather forecast and made sure I did everything I could to protect my hair. With each trip to the salon, there was always a “trim”, which basically turned out to be a cut. Every year, my hair was shorter and shorter. I couldn’t figure out why my ends were always dry and splitting. Relaxers took forever and the stylists always told me thick hair like mine needed time to marinate, otherwise I’d never get it bone straight. I learned to tolerate the sting and ignore any burns I got on my scalp– all for the name of beauty. My self-esteem and mood correlated directly with my hair’s state. Fresh from the salon, I felt happy, feminine and beautiful as the time approached to get a relaxer, my hair look limp and dead and as did my mood.
Signs of change
After college, I began working full-time. I increased my once per month visits to the salons to every other two weeks. I’d spend hours of my Saturday, waiting with other women, chatting, gossiping, sometimes eating lunch. All of us united, awaiting a late stylist, with a gift for gab and magic hands, but absolutely no talent for time management. It was all worth it though…
In 2006, I met my now husband. Someone very different from me in many aspects. He had really big, beautiful blond curly hair that I often admired. He loved hikes in nature, swimming and running. On our first date, he prepared a picnic and took me hiking, followed by swimming. Little did he know I couldn’t swim, all those years of avoiding water, I also avoided swimming. I really liked him and wanted to impress him so I splashed around in the water, when he realized I couldn’t swim, he took it on as his mission to teach me. He first wanted to show me how to float on my back. Since I’d be going to the salon the following day for a wash and blow-dry, I followed his instructions and stuck my straight relaxed hair in the water.
Later that day, we went out for ice-cream he looked at me and said, your hair looks different, it’s really pretty. My hair that he was referring to had turned into wimpy, limp waves. I thought he was crazy for thinking that. I couldn’t wait to show him, how I’d look after my trip to the salon.
Later, as we continued dating, I found ways to avoid nature dates and suggest restaurants, when it was close to my relaxer dates. Everything involved so much planning and strategy, it was annoying, because I was starting to really enjoy our outdoorsy dates.
Years later, wanting a change of scenery, I decided to move to Europe with him. I began graduate school, we got engaged and were settling into our new lives. I had asked my stylist to order me a year’s supplies of relaxers. I planned on finding a stylist in Switzerland who’d do my hair. That didn’t work out exactly as planned. There weren’t any salons that resembled salons back home and the few I found specialized in braiding or charged really high prices for relaxers. So I decided to take my hair into my own hands. What did I have to lose. It had been stuck at chin length for years and was constantly breaking, maybe it was time I learned more about my hair.
What I learned was that I hated applying my relaxer, I was terrified of burning myself or over processing my hair. I began to dread doing my relaxer, but had no choice. With a busy graduate school schedule and a heavy workload, I scaled back my treatments to once every 3 months. I’d wear my hair down for one month then put it up in a bun for 2 months, relax and start all over again. The funny thing is, for the first time in years my hair started to get thicker and longer. This was really strange to me, because I’d always thought I needed a stylist to have healthy hair. Did I have magic fingers, was it the three-month long stretch without relaxing…?
My own personal method of doing my hair went on from 2007 until 2011, over 4 years my hair was past shoulder length. It was amazing to me. However, something was still missing. I was still organizing my activities around my hair. I still felt amazing after I relaxed my hair and less confident as weeks went on. My husband always complimented me when I scrunched my hair and admired the texture. That’s when one day, I thought of the idea of going back to my natural hair… At the end of my relaxer stretch, I was able to see and feel my new growth. I liked the texture and softness and became curious. I started searching online and stumbled across some YouTube videos and websites like Curly Nikki. Here there were all these beautiful women, every shade under the rainbow, with curls, kinks, spirals, etc. and they looked genuinely happy and confident. My last convincing moment was when I went out to meet friends on a bright sunny day. When I stepped off the train, the skies opened and rain poured down on my just straightened hair. It was a frizzy, poufy mess and I had wasted 2 hours sitting in front of the mirror straightening it. I’d had it, but didn’t know how to begin. So I relaxed for last time in March 2011 and promised that myself that would really be my last.
I began transitioning to natural hair. Trying new styles like twist outs and roller sets to blend the two textures. People complimented me on my new look and my hair felt healthier. I planned on transitioning 2 years and then cutting it, because I didn’t want longer hair. However, during the 8th month of my transition, I could barely detangle my hair and it became really frustrating. So one night in December, I sat around with a pair of scissors, contemplating cutting all my hair off and just going natural. My husband walked in the room and asked what I was doing, we had plans the next day, bright and early in the morning. I handed him the scissors and asked him to cut off all the straight pieces of hair. He was terrified and kept reminding me it would be my decision and not to take it out on him after. I agreed. He cut, I gasped and in the end I cried. Not from joy, but fear. Had I made a mistake?
I started wearing a lot of winter hats and headbands to cover up my insecurity about my new hair. I just couldn’t adjust to it. However, after a couple of months, I started getting used to seeing myself with natural hair. It was easy to care for, quick to wash and simple to style. I actually started to enjoy it, the process of taking care of it, but not my hair. When friends saw my hair, they always complimented me on how pretty it looked and how they preferred me with curly hair.
My in-laws adore my hair. My family had a tough time adjusting at first, but now they really like the look and tell me it suits me. My Mom is even considering going natural. Now I prefer my natural hair too. It’s a new adventure learning to care for it. However, I feel freer, I’ve learned to swim, rain isn’t the enemy anymore– I mean I don’t frolic around in it or anything, but forgetting my umbrella is not the end to my existence. I feel unique and the way I view myself has changed as well. My only regret is that I didn’t go natural sooner.
Natural since December 2011 – forever
I’d love to hear your transition, natural hair stories. If you’d like to share, please contact me. Remember, sharing is caring. =)