Random Hair Observations from my weekend in NC

While I was in NC, I noticed a few things about my hair and i wanted to record them.

– There was breakage – I mean long pieces, short pieces, medium pieces. I wonder if it was due to the constant manipulation going down. And Kim definitely was not gentle with my hair while detangling. She pretty much raked the comb through my hair. I didn’t say anything, but I was a bit miffed. The saying that no one will care for your hair the way you do is the truth!

– I don’t think my hair liked the ApHogee 2-step from last Sunday’s detangling fiasco. I will not be using that again until I need it (having severe breakage). My hair really hasn’t been the same since

– The black and gray rollers produced a nice style! I had some nice Kate Middleton-ish curls. I can’t wait to roll it myself this weekend. Unfortunately, I do not have pictures of the style because even though I got it done yesterday, we went to a smoky ass bar and by the time I got home, my hair felt like it was dripping smoke. I washed and conditioned my hair as soon as I got home and let it dry in a bun.

– I actually feel that my hair is “long” now! Ebony C Princess from Longing 4 Length hosted a poll question a few weeks ago asking what length did one feel was actually “long” and good majority responded “BSL.” I sent Nathan a pic (as you know Nathan is quite indifferent to hair photos) and he said “Wow! Your hair is long!” Even when I look at my hair, I am now like, I have long hair. Im quite pleased with this length. Even the roller sets are looking quite lengthy!

– I’m ready to see what this relaxer stretch will bring! I may not have Kim do it this time. I don’t know because I wasn’t too pleased with how she treated it this time. She does a great job, but the harsh detangling really got to me. I was thinking of finally trying out the salon I have heard about in Portland.

– Here’s a pic of my goddaughter’s hair! It definitely needs some moisture on the ends, but other than that, it’s so pretty!!! It’s right at BSL. I told her that it is important to keep her hair healthy because as she grows, the length may give the illusion her hair is getting shorter so to maintain long hair we have to have healthy hair practices.

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Relaxer Day

Greetings! I wanted to post a relaxer update.

Friday was relaxer day. I have learned my lesson … Do not let hair air dry before relaxing. I did this in November and obviously the pain of having my hair torn through didn’t register … this time, it did! Kim told me not to ever come back when my hair is dreaded together! Hahahaha!!

I applied cheapie conditioner and the macadamia nut oil to the length of my hair (sans the new growth). Kim based me (not as good as I liked, so I will be doing it next time) and applied the relaxer. I left it on for about 15 minutes and then rinsed.

I followed up with the KeraPro Reconstructor protein treatment. I left that on for 5 minutes and then had Kim do the neutralizing shampoo, followed by some Paul Mitchell Awapuhi shampoo. I did a deep conditioner of MegaSilk and Ion Extreme Moisture. I sat under the conditioning cap for about 15 minutes.

I was going to roll my hair, but since I had a shindig to go to and time was drawing really short, I just decided to get it flat ironed. I applied my normal leave-ins and the macadamia nut oil (since it had the silicones) and let her do her thing!

She said I needed to trim the ends (which I did … the ends were a little weathered), but I didn’t need to take off too much.

The end result was fabulous! I am oh so close to BSL. The longest parts of my hair are already there! I will probably be ready to claim it soon!! :))

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Relaxer Day Babble, New Rollers and a New [York] City

I only get to write relaxer babble posts 4x a year! I do not think I have written one since I was in the airport in Utah in August, so it’s high time for another one!!

Styling inspired by Kenya Moore

I am excited to get this relaxer, mainly because I am ready to get a roller set that I do not have to do! I saw a picture of the gorgeous Kenya Moore on Wendy Williams (before Wendy went the hell off on her) and thought “I want me some ole naaasty Kenya Moore curls” in Funky Dinvea’s voice! Kenya may be a bee-yotch, but she puts all of those other weave-wearing sistas on the Real Housewives of Atlanta to shame! Her hair is real and natural to boot! I am sure she wears a few pieces sometimes because there are times when she is doing her monologues that her hair is wayyyyyyy fuller than this, but this is all of her hair below (Wendy weave-checked her). Her color is awesome, too, but I do see in some of her scenes where some of the crown is broken off … I know some breakage-in-the-crown-due-to-color-flyaways when I see them because Jeebus knows I have had my fair share!

I need to prepare myself because my curls hair will not be the length for at least another 18 months (she appears to be waist length), but I don’t care. I will rock my black and grazing BSL hair (and maybe BSL if the relaxer loosens enough of the curl!!) roller set with pride!!!!!!

This woman is gorgeous (on the outside). Period.

I have graduated to 2 1/2 rollers! I bought them the other day at Mid-K beauty supply because while I want some curls, I also want them to be a bit loose! Look at how big this one is compared to the other rollers! It is exciting to think that I have enough hair to do more than one revolution on them!

The sizes of the rollers are as follows: black – 2 1/2 inches, gray – 2 inches, purple – 1 3/4 inches and red – 1 1/2 inches.

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Relaxer Process

There will be a few changes to the relaxer process this cycle. The first change will be how I protect the hair that is already relaxed. I will be using a cheapie conditioner (whatever Kim has available) and Macademia Nut Healing Oil to protect the ends. I got this little bottle as a free gift from Ulta Rewards yesterday. I read the label and the first two ingredients are: Dimethicone and Cyclomethicone. (Other Ingredients are: Tocopheryl Acetate, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Parfum/Fragrance, Benzyl Salicylate, Hexyl Cinnamal, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Coumarin, Linalool, Limonene). I was like “WTF? Why would this prestige product be laden with silicones?” Now you know good and well that I will not be using this on my hair often. This is definitely an after flat-iron session type of product. I fear ‘cones like I fear the plague. But, I thought that since the product is laden with silicones, it will provide a protective barrier that will keep relaxer run-off from damaging my hair too much.

I also like this travel size bottle and so when all of this silicone oil is gone, I will be using it to place my other oils in when I travel. The little plastic container I use now just doesn’t cut it. It always leaks so I have to suffocate it with saran wrap to keep the oil inside. I have several trips planned in the span of a few months so this little bottle will come in handy. I would have already poured the content out had I not devised a purpose for it!

Secondly, I plan on adding a mid-relaxer protein treatment right after the relaxer is rinsed out and before my hair is neutralized. The Science of Black Hair recommends this step since the cuticle is already raised due to the relaxer’s high pH, it will be more receptive to the protein treatment which will allow it to deeply penetrate and repair the hair. I will be using the ApHogee 2 minute Keratin treatment. I also read that it is great for people who suffer from limp hair right after relaxers (*hand raised*) because it will add some strength and volume. I AM SOLD!!! Kim will definitely wonder what the hell is up (she already scolds me for having too many steps), but oh well … gotta do what’s best for my hair!

I do plan on following that up with my normal deep conditioners, followed by my roller set leave-ins.

Hmm … what else?

Oh yeah! So I will be up for another 14 week stretch after this week’s relaxer. The next time I will be home in NC will be June 1st, so I will not be getting a relaxer until then. This 14-week relaxer stretch was not bad at all and honestly, I think I could go even longer! With the way things are falling this year, I am looking at the last two relaxers of 2013 being in late August and late November.

Well, that’s it! I do not think that I will have anything too blogworthy to experience in the week ahead. I will be leaving for Atlanta first thing Tuesday morning (ugh!) but one bright light is that I get to go to JFK in NYC! I have never been to NYC (it’s definitely not because of lack of ability … more like lack of desire. It looks old and like the whole city stinches of piss), but I will get to on Tuesday. More importantly, they have my favorite airport retailer, Bijoux Terner. It’s a store where everything is $10. I have found some awesome purses at that store … even my well-to-do older cousins ask me where I get my bags! HAHAHA! I love looking like a bag of money while only spending a couple of coins!

If I find anything good, I will post! Until then, ta ta!! 🙂

Relaxer Prep Wash Day (UPDATED)

Well today is the last Wash Day before my relaxer this Friday, so you know what that means … if you guessed long, drawn out process, then you would be correct! Gold star for you!!!

It is highly recommended from the Science of Black Hair to use your last wash day before a relaxer to clean, strengthen and hydrate your hair in preparation. Today, I did this by:

1. Clean – I clarified my hair today with Alterna Life Clarifying Shampoo about three times to remove the buildup of oils and products I have put on my hair for the past few weeks. I do this so that the relaxer will not have to do battle with debris before straightening my hair. The relaxer will work quicker, reducing the chances for me to be burned and/or underprocessed. Since I do not “texlax” and like my hair to be 80% processed, removing buildup will allow me to reach this threshold faster.

I followed this clarifying session up with Alterna Caviar Moisture shampoo and the Alterna Thermal Rx Oil. I also did a quick conditioning session with Redken All Soft just to get my hair to flatten a bit. It was quite puffy after clarifying!

2. Strengthen – I alternate which protein treatments I use prior to relaxing. It has been a hot minute since I have used the Aphogee 2-step, so I thought that I would use that today instead of the Aphogee 2 minute Keratin Treatment. I usually opt for the lighter protein treatment pre-relaxer because I do not experience much breakage (sans for the ends), but since I am incorporating a lighter protein treatment into my relaxer (more to come), I think using a heavier one would be a good thing. Now this stuff stinks. Literally. I put it all over my hair and sat under the dryer for 20 minutes. During that time, I sent Alterna an email asking if they were discontinuing my beloved White Truffle Elixir (will keep you posted).

3. Hydrate – After using the Aphogee 2-Step, it is required that you follow it up with a good deep conditioner or you will have hair that is shaped like a haystack (and it will definitely feel like it, too). Is it me, or does the “conditioner” that they include to follow-up the protein conditioner flat out suck? It’s so thin!! I would never, ever use that stuff by itself on my hair to follow that harsh protein conditioner. I always add my own. Today, I used the included conditioner, MegaSilk, vegetable glycerin and kukui nut oil. I wrapped my hair up in a wet turban, threw on a plastic baggy and plopped myself under the dryer for 50 minutes. I followed this with a final cool rinse of Roux Porosity Control to shut that cuticle.

After all of that, I was at a lost of what to do with my hair. I sure as heck was not doing a roller set. I had already packed up my rollers to go home (intentionally, may I add, to prevent me wanting to do one). I thought about doing flexi-rods, but the thought of sitting under the dryer quickly dispersed that thought. Well, that left one option … my tried and true air drying! I planned to bun my hair all week in Atlanta anyways, so it was a perfect plan! I applied my normal leave-ins (Roux 619, Alterna Photo Defense and Alterna Texture) and some kukui nut oil to seal.

The end. 🙂

During the week leading up to a relaxer, I do not apply anything to my scalp and I keep product use minimal. I use my daily moisturizer and seal with oil … that’s pretty much it. I also try to protective style so that I am not combing or manipulating the hair and / or scalp too much. They go through enough trauma on relaxer day … the least I can do is protect them until that day happens!

Well, I need to write one more blog post about my relaxer day plans and that will probably be the last post I do before my relaxer. I will post pics when I am done … just in case you want to see!

Until next time, take care! 🙂

UPDATE: I do not know what happened to my hair yesterday, but after rinsing the deep conditioner out … it was a knotted, matted mess! I had to detangle with Alberto V-05 and re-rinse my hair! It was horrible! I do not know if it was shed hair trying to make it’s way down the shaft or what, but from now on … I will be detangling with my deep conditioner whether I want to or not! It took me 35 minutes to detangle my hair and it left with me with a major headache! I do not know how much hair I lost, but needless to say, I am not too thrilled with my hair right now. It made me wonder if this is how hard natural hair is to detangle and if so, I want no part of it!

Length Check for February and GRAZING BSL!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! I just wanted to quickly share my official length check for February since my hair is flat ironed and I do not plan on having it flat ironed when it is relaxed next week. I am going to get me a roller set since I don’t want to use direct heat twice in the span of two weeks. Also, I am ready for some glorious curls! More relaxer babble to come.

Well … it is definitely official. The longest part of my hair is past the bra strap line!! I am officially “GRAZING BSL!” I am pretty damn happy, if I must say so myself. I didn’t think I would make it any time soon .. but do you know why? Because the bra was all the way at my lower back. I looked yesterday and thought “why is the bra damn near at my waist?” I adjusted it so that it fit properly and my hair was right there at the top of the bra strap line! You cannot see where the hair ends to well since my hair is black and so is the bra, so I made some markings. The red is where my hair ends. Also, it is not a dramatic difference between the longest layer and the subsequent layers, so I think that if I retain an inch in the next relaxer cycle, most of the lower layers will be there in by my next relaxer!

My hair has also been worn up in a bun all week, so it does not have the lovely shape that it had on Sunday. Oh well … you get the picture, right? (Literally!)  The ends have been doing great this week. I hardly lost any today (like 2) and most of the week it has been less than 6 per day. I also plan on discussing my new M&S regimen this weekend.

 

The hard work is paying off!

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Blue Tank Photos

As you may know, my favorite way to track my progress is my trusty blue tank! I have been taking these photos periodically since last June, when my hair was about 3.5 – 4 inches away from the strap. Now I am proud to show that my hair is now touching it!

For some reason, I didn’t think my hair had made too much progress since December (I have had to dust my hair about 3xs … but very minute amounts that probably doesn’t total an inch) until I had Nathan take a picture … but yep, there is progress!

June 2012                                                            July 2012

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September 2012                                              October 2012

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December 2012                                                 February 2013

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A Trim, Protein Overload and A Change in Plans

Sigh. There are days when I love my hair and there are days when I hate it and want to cut it all off … yesterday was one of those hate-filled days.

I began the morning by M&Sing my hair in 6 sections. The right side had ends that were just breaking off. I immediately figured I had overloaded it with protein. I co-washed my hair on Thursday night and decided to apply Redken Anti-Snap to the back part of my right side, since I felt that it needed another protein boost (I had just used ApHogee Green Tea Keratin Reconstructor on it Sunday night and had been having good results throughout the week.) Well, I guess it didn’t because the ends just snapped off. I felt completely deflated!

I then decided to dust. I was going to wait until my relaxer, but I felt that it could use an aesthetic trim, so I dusted my whole head. I didn’t need to take too much off, so it was more like trimming of ends that were a bit weathered and some hairs that had grown longer than the majority of the section.

After that, I decided to assess the state of my hair straight and decided to blow dry and straighten it. I was going to wait until my relaxer, but I wanted to make sure that I had cut my hair even, so I thought what the heck? I washed my hair as normal but also clarified the section that had the protein on it. I followed up with a deep conditioner of MegaSilk and glycerin for 40 minutes. I did a final rinse with Roux to seal the cuticle. I applied my normal leave-ins and blow dried my hair on low with the pick attachment. After each section was dry, I applied my normal moisturizer and a bit of grapeseed oil to seal it in. I flat ironed each section on 310 (the minimum allowed on my flat iron). I also made sure to apply my CHI heat protectant to each section!

Meh … the results were OK! I am not a good flat ironer. My hair was a bit better this time than the last time I attempted to flat iron my whole head (back in May 2012), but it is never as sleek as when someone else does it! My V in the back of my hair is also a bit uneven (hahahah!) I am not too worried about it now. I will let it grow out and probably get it evened up sometime this summer.

My hair is definitely getting close to that bra strap line! I think I will be there by May (barring I don’t have a setback)! Sometimes I feel that my hair is growing so damn slow!!!!!

Well, I get my relaxer in less than 2 weeks! I will be excited to see what it looks like when it is done! Who knows, maybe I can get back to scraggly end BSL again!

Blow Dried Hair Photos

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Dry Ends or Missing Cuticle?

As you know, the struggle against dry, porous ends is ongoing (mainly on one side of my hair). I moisturize and seal daily. I deep condition with heat weekly. What could I be doing wrong?? How about … NOTHING??? It could be damaged hair left over from my pre-HHJ days that had too much heat and too little moisture and protein and the cuticle has just peeled away, leaving the strand to fend for itself!

Last night I was reading “The Science of Black Hair” aka my hair care bible and saw a part about the ends of hair naturally weathering and the cuticle wearing away leaving nothing but the cortex, which can cause those ends to just break away.

After a bit of research, I think I am piecing some information together. The cuticle is “a hard shingle-like layer of overlapping cells, some five to twelve deep. It is formed from dead cells which form scales that gives the hair shaft strength and do the best job of providing protection for it.” (Source: Wikipedia) Due to the natural tendency of hair to weather as it gets older, coupled with daily manipulation and heat styling tools (ooooh … my vice pre-HHJ!), the cuticle peels away, layer by layer, until the cortex is exposed, leaving it without protection, causing it to break away.

Once the cuticle is gone, it’s gone! You can use protein treatments to try and patch it up and maintain strength of the strand, but that is a temporary fix and must be reapplied when the product is washed away.

So what is a girl supposed to do? I think I need a bit more protein in my life at this point! I do rarely do protein treatments and I occasionally use my protein leave-ins. I am quite sensitive to protein, so I need to figure out a perfect balance so that my porous ends are getting the protein and moisture they need. Also on Wash Days, I am going to start applying my Alterna Caviar Photo Defense in 6 parts of my hair and focus on the ends (the point of that product is to patch up “holes” in the hair and protect against photo degradation). Additionally, instead of moisturizing and sealing in  quadrants, I am going to start parting my hair in 3 parts on each side of my hair so I can do a better assessment of what each area needs.

That is the thing with HHJs. Our fickle hair requires us to be oh-so-flexible with our hair plans. I did have this A-HA moment today when I read this. It is almost like I felt renewed and excited again because I feel like I have a solution to a problem that has plagued me for a year now! I always feel like I find something new when I read “The Science of Black Hair!” I will keep you all posted on this new routine and how it is working for me!

 

Ta ta for now! 🙂

 

 

Pic of Scraggly BSL and random hair pics from December

It is a very scraggly BSL … you can’t really tell in this picture, but there are about 2 strands hitting it! Anywho, here is my hair stretched today. It is just a tad bit longer than it was in January. The tip of my hair is getting dangerously close to BSL!

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Here are some random hair shots from December’s flat ironing! My godchild had her natural hair blow dried and flat ironed today and it looked gorgeous! It really made me want to get mine done! I am a bit tired of the daily high bun, but there is a such thing as delayed gratification. I will just wait until I go home and try to maximize growth and retention these next two weeks! So to remind me what my hair looks like straight (which I must admit, is kinda boring after a few days), I dug back into the archives and found these pictures.

The right side was a bit tucked under … making it appear all gapped up and uneven!

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My Hair is Layed Like …

Yes GAWD, hunty! I was directed to Funky Dineva’s YouTube channel and have not been the same since! My vernacular now includes her memorable phrases such as:

  • “My hair is layed like … “
  • “Quiet as its kept …”
  • “Yes GAWD, hunty!”
  • “What’s the Tea?”
  • “Catch these Teas”
  • This person is giving me ______ teas
  • I told her to give me a NAASTY piece of ____ hair!

I also have become more Funky Dineva in my own life! It’s like watching her gave me some sort of weird confidence! Who would have thought!!

Please take a look at his/her (it’s a dude dressed up as a woman) website! Go to www.funkydineva.com for videos, gossip and his blog! I promise it will be a great time!

So … what is my hair layed like today?

My hair is layed like boring old bun! Less than 3 weeks until my relaxer! Yesssssssss, hunty!