An Inch for Your Thoughts #8: “Do you have some Crack?”

“Do you all have Crack?” a middle-aged white woman asked in Ulta Saturday. I was in the chair with a flat iron going full steam ahead on my hair, but I could not help but whip my head around and see who would ask that question.

“No, we don’t,” a stylist replied. I bust out in laughter, as did another client. Then the stylist took the time to explain what Crack is.

It is a styling product. Here is what Ulta  says about Crack. It looks like I may have to try this stuff!!

A habit-forming and lightweight leave-in styling aid that instantly transforms dry, frizzy, curly, keratin-depleted hair – to a healthy, shiny, smooth dimension. Highly sophisticated micro proteins and power peptides found in Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, instantly infuse deep into the hair shaft to strengthen, repair and protect stressed out hair, while blocking the harmful effects of thermal styling tools, heat, sun, chlorine and humidity. Crack offers ease of ‘combability’ by allowing the brush to easily glide through wet or dry hair, eliminating up to 80% of hair breakage. Eliminates split ends, polishes, nourishes, smoothes, protects, and allows you to create a pin-straight, sleek style – or helps to define and control the curls you love. Perfect to use with hair extensions too!

Finally: My Body is in Synergy!!!!!!!!

Since the beginning of my hair journey, I have worried about three things about myself: 1) hair; 2) skin and 3) weight. At no point and time since January have I felt that I had a handle on all three at one time. Until now.

For instance, in January at the beginning of my hair journey, I did not want to work out because I went home and immediately M&S my hair … the care of my hair became the most important at that point. My skin was still breaking out a little bit, but not as bad as what was to come.

Here comes February and March. Skin explodes due to the use of Retin A Micro. Those were some dark days, I tell you. I will never forget crying to Nathan weekly about these pimples. I definitely did not want to work out, but I still cared for my hair. I also avoided going to the gym at home because I did not want to be seen without my makeup. Sigh …

April was when I was wearing my hair down a bit too much. I had some work travel going on and did not want people to see the nasty pimples that were camping out on my jawline. Hair was not taken care of as much, but I did start to work out again.

May was just like April, but with the acne slowly but surely disappearing due to chemical peel results.

And June was when I started leaving the house without makeup again (but with tinted moisturizer), started my heat break and continued my work out regimen.

And now it’s July. My skin is clearer than it has been in almost a year (sans a few spots I am clearing up). My aesthetician from my first few chemical peels marveled at the change in my skin and its texture! Also, my hair is in pretty good health and yesterday, I got back into my size 4 red palazzo pants … and there is room to spare in them. I have not worn those pants comfortably in 3 years! I also weighed myself on Friday and I am down to 131! Woo-hoo! I have not been this confident, happy and in control in a long time!!!!!!!!!! It’s a great feeling and I hope that everyone gets to feel this at some point and time!

Me without makeup … just tinted moisturizer! 🙂

Me without makeup ... just some tinted moisturizer!

An Inch for Your Thoughts Follow Up: Alicia Keys cuts her hair!

Last week I walked down memory lane by discussing the impact Alicia Keys had on me back in 2001. Well, lo and behold, Huffington Post reported this morning that Alicia Keys has cut her hair! These photos are from Alicia Keys’ Instagram account. So what do you think?

I am totally feeling it. I really like the one of her in the orange with the sleek bob. Someone commented that she looked like Casey Anthony in the pic in the second row to the right (sans the long picture)! Her hair probably grows uber fast, so it will be back down to BSL in no time (especially if she gets a weave!! hahaha!)

I think it makes her look younger. Besides, it’s so hot in NYC right now I am sure I would want to do the same thing! Much love, Alicia! It’s beautiful, just as you are!

alicia keys

Wash Day (and an end to the Heat Break!)

Well, I could not take it any longer. I had not seen my hair straight for a month (I like my hair straight) and I wanted to make sure that the dusting that I gave myself did not jack my hair up. I should have had my hair straightened before I dusted, but hey … no harm, no foul, right?

I made an appointment at Ulta on Saturday for Sarah to flat iron my hair. That morning, I pre-pooed with a hot oil treatment under the dryer for about 40 minutes. I applied the oils to the scalp as well as to the length of my hair. I did not apply any conditioner.

I then proceeded to wash with a sulfate shampoo because I saw where the Alterna Overnight Repair contains dimethicone (that is a water insoluable silicone which can eventually damage your hair if you do not clarify enough or use sulfate shampoos), followed up by the usual Alterna moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. I deep conditioned with the Alterna 10 Hair Masque, Alterna Caviar conditioner and a tsp of Roux Porosity Control for about 45 minutes, followed by a final rinse of Roux and cold water.

I then proceeded to detangle and apply my normal leave-ins for a blow out. I blow dried my hair on cool and low (sigh, I have gotten lazy … I didn’t enjoy this at all!). I must say I was sooooooooo impressed with how thick it was!!!!! See??

I applied a little bit of grapeseed oil (for its thermal protectant properties), tied it back and headed to Ulta.

The flat ironing process was as usual! Hair turned out very nice! Sarah commented on how healthy it looked and what a decent job I did on dusting my ends! I have not been complemented for the health of my hair for as long as I can remember (if ever), so it was great to have my hard work validated!

Well, it has grown! Progress is continuing to be made! I am between the 6.5 and the 7 on my shirt … whoop whoop! I am also glad that I have a baseline in which to work towards my relaxer goals next month. I am still wanting the longest point to be at the 7 (or a little past is fine), but I am still going to be working on growing out the front and side layers with the JBCO challenge! I have a month … I think I can get a .5 inch of growth in!

So after enjoying wearing my hair down this weekend … tomorrow it is back up in the protective styles. Also, no more heat until the relaxer in 4 weeks!!!


Silicones in Hair Products

Ever since reading another about blogger’s experience using silicones (aka ‘cones) and how it slowly broke her hair off, I have been on the lookout for them. I have checked the ingredients of most of my products, but I did not check the most important one … my daily moisturizer, the Alterna White Truffle Hair Elixir! I was putting a bit in my hair this morning and I read the label, thinking with my elitist mind “Nah, no ‘cones are going to be in here!” WRONG!!!!!!!!!

Here are the ingredients:

Water/Aqua/Eau, Divinyldimethicone/Dimethicone Copolymer, Glycerin, Caviar Extract, Algae Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Punica Granatum Fruit Juice, Lycium Barbarum Fruit Extract, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Extract, Wasabia Japonica Root Extract, Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil, Passiflora Edulis Seed Oil, Passiflora Incarnata Seed Oil, Vaccinium Vitis-Idaea Fruit Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract , Camellia
Sinensis Extract, Cucumis Sativus Extract, Persea Gratissima Extract, Foeniculum Vulgare (Fennel) Seed Extract, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root  Extract, Persea Gratissima Extract, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Corn Oligosaccharides, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Peroxidase, Ganoderma Lucidum (Mushroom) Tyrosinase, Saccharomyces/Zinc Ferment, Superoxide Dismutase, Melanin Silanetriol, Saccharomyces/Copper Ferment, Copper Lysl Oxidase, Amino Acyl tRNA Synthetase, Acetyl Serine, Acetyl Methionine, Lentinus Edodes Tyrosinase, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Butylene Glycol, Sorbitan Oleate, Polyquaternium-10, Polysilicone-15, C12-13 Pareth-23, C12-13 Pareth-3, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Papain, Bromelain, Lactoferrin, Phytosphingosine, Phospholipids, Panthenol, Bisabolol, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Parfum/Fragrance.

To be honest, my heart fell for a second. I do not use sulfates (which are recommended to remove silicone buildup) and clarify only once a month. Could my hair slowly be suffocating from the usage of this silicone product? I ran and got my iPad to consult “The Science of Black Hair.” Turns out, the second ingredient, Divinyldimethicone/Dimethicone Copolymer, is a water-soluable silicone, meaning that it is easy to wash away with just water. WHEW!

Here is some additional information about silicones from Black Hair Media:

Regimen Reassessed … Porosity Issues

After last night’s trim and porosity testing, it is time to reassess my current regimen. The ends of my hair have been so dry lately, despite me M&Sing daily … which is a classic sign of porosity issues!

I have decided to incorporate Roux Porosity Control conditioner back into by regimen by using a bit in my steam treatment and as my final rinse to close the cuticle! I must say that I am a bit disappointed because I thought that hair did not have porosity issues. That is why is so important to listen to your hair, continue monitoring it and readjusting regimens to your hair’s needs!

Here is some excellent information by Audrey Davis-Sivasothy on hair porosity.

Also, I think I trimmed a bit much off in certain sections. I had Nathan measure my length and it seemed similar to the measurements he took last week, but I did see some pieces on the ground that were at least an inch! It’s all good, though. I am going to readjust my goals for my relaxer. I hope to be at 6.5 on my length check shirt (instead of the original goal of 7). For some reason, I feel like I have been stuck at the same APL length for the past 4 months. I am just ready to hit that 7 in my longest layer … not sure when that will happen, but hey, my hair surprises me sometimes!

I am impressed with the thickness of my hair, though! It often looks that way when it is air dried … the real test will be how it looks after I get a relaxer in 4 weeks!

A much needed dusting and porous ends!

I was M&Sing my hair today when I noticed my ends were dry and coming off in my hand. This was in addition to a bunch of shedding (I think a black tea rinse is in order this weekend!). I am wondering if the summer weather has anything to do with it?!?!? Anyhoo … I felt it necessary to dust my ends. I have been protective styling like mad for the last few months, but unfortunately, past heat use and time warranted their removal.

Man I love dusting! I took very little length off but the difference was amazing!!! My hair looks so much better!

I have been testing my hair porosity since February. When I take harvested shed hair, my hair is low to medium porosity. After my dusting, I decided to take some ends that I found on the ground and test them. They sunk immediately. Its back to Roux Porosity Control conditioner for me! I will incorporate it back it to regimen starting with tomorrow’s co-wash and protein treatment.


An Inch for Your Thoughts #7: Braids are back and a blast from the past!

Huffington Post proudly proclaimed that Beyonce has brought braids back and showed a picture of her from 2001 with the “Alicia Keys” cornrows! Beyonce was wearing box braids at Nas’s album release party, which prompted the article.

The picture from 2001 stirred up a lot of memories for me! I remember when Alicia Keys bust onto the scene with “Songs in A Minor!” She had the most intricate designs (see below). Well, that same fall I thought that it would be a great idea to bleach my whole head blond with the African Pride highlighting kit. I had some pretty highlights, but I wanted my hair to be ultra blond (heaven help me … ), so I skipped school, trekked to Walmart and bought the kit. I did it and when I finished it looked like a haystack. I was very disappointed. I went to sleep hoping that when I woke up, my hair would be back to normal. No such luck. I went back to Walmart and dyed my hair jet black and decided to wear it in cornrows to foster it back to health. My cousin Terrell proclaimed that I would be lucky if I woke up and the plaits weren’t on my pillows!

Enter the Alicia Keys photos. I would take them to the braider and have her braid my hair in designs. I remember my girlfriend Rokeea did the same. Her stylist was able to attach the hair elsewhere so she did not have the “ball” at the top where the fake hair was looped around the plait. I still have never figured out how to do that …

Anywho … I wore my hair like that for the winter then decided having a quick weave was a great idea. I wore my hair like that over the summer and then when I left for college, I had my hair cornrowed again … then I had weave for a few weeks. In early October 2002, a year after the ill-fated bleach job, I decided to wear my own hair (which was pretty healthy, surprisingly), which I had cut into my infamous bob and have worn my own hair ever since (sans a few times when I wore a half-wig for fun)!

SCORE! Silk scarf for $3.50!!!

Sunday Nathan and I trekked to the mens’ store at Macy’s on the quest to find him some khaki shorts. The only ones he has had since high school finally tore so he needed more. While he was trying on clothes, there was a clearance bin of scarves that I was rummaging through. I picked one silk-feeling one up. I did not think that it was 100% silk, but some synthetic fiber(s) instead. I looked for the tag and sure enough, it said “100% silk!” The price tag was $9.99. However, being the great Macy’s shopper that I am, I headed right for the self-scan price check kiosk. I scanned it and it rang up $3.50! I was thrilled! Silk scarves are so pricey! The ones I have seen retail for over $30! I rushed back over to see how many more they had. Unfortunately, there was only one more in the same pattern … so I bought both of them for myself. I wanted to buy one for my mom, but I will look elsewhere!

I have been using it the past two nights. Last night, I M&Sed (no noticeable breakage … woo-hoo!) and tied my hair up with this silk scarf. I woke up and my hair felt so moisturized! I definitely like silk better than satin.

I am going to see if I can find some more for my friends and mom. For $3.50, it’s too good to pass up!