Like Hay in the Middle of the Barn

Today I was M&Sing my hair and noticed that the ends of my hair looked so dry! Instantly, I thought about this old song from Crucial Conflict a la 1995-96 called “Hay.” In the chorus, they say “smoking on hay ¬†in the middle of the barn … ” That’s what my ends felt like … some hay in the middle of a barn!!!!!!

I was very tempted to grab my scissors and get to cutting, but I had to remind myself of a few things:

1) I blow-dried my hair and did not “smooth” it by flat ironing it

2) There was not very much breakage from the ends. My hair breaks at the first hint of dryness, so for ends not to be popping off left and right, they must not be that bad; all-in-all, I may have had 7 small broken ends today (I had 0 yesterday), so I am not too concerned!

To combat further dryness, I M&Sed in 6 sections using the L-O-C method with my Alterna White Truffle Elixir as my liquid, kukui nut oil as my oil and Amla Legends 1001 Oils Night Wrap Cream as my cream. I twisted the cream onto my ends and instead of leaving my hair in a bun for the night, I wound up each of my six sessions and pinned them close to my head, hoping the heat from my head would help the product penetrate my hair a bit better and let me wake it to soft hair!

Here’s how it looked when I was finished pinning my hair up!

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As far as shedding goes, it hasn’t been too bad since Saturday. Yesterday evening I lost very little hairs and this is what I lost today. I checked each of them for bulbs to make sure my hair isn’t breaking heading into a relaxer. After I inspected each hair, there was 3 strands without a bulb, which could be breakage or the fact that I sometimes yank at my hemline trying to remove shed hairs and sometimes those strands break. Either way, the number was not so great that I was alarmed in any way.

Here’s the hair I lost today, which is not at all excessive, even in my [tightly-wound] book!

photo 2

 

I will continue to monitor the ends of my hair and shedding volume until my relaxer on Saturday! Whoop whoop! 5 more days!!!

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Making My Dress Hair-Friendly!

Last night, I was trying on a dress that I planned to wear to a Labor Day party this weekend! The dress has a zipper that goes from the waist up to just below the neck and I noticed that … Continue reading

Southern Tease Bun

Yesterday morning I decided to do a Southern Tease bun. I used to rock them hard last summer, but really haven’t since then!! As you may know, my Wash Day of last was quite trying with the end result being me blow drying my hair to prevent pre-relaxer matting.

I M&Sed with my Amla Legends 1001 Oils Night Wrap cream and kukui nut oil, then put the upper half of my hair into a clip and bunned the bottom half, securing loose pieces with bobby pins.

I got 2 compliments at work, with the ladies asking how I did it because of the way my hair was wrapped! Of course it’s one of those styles that just fell into place and I couldn’t replicate it if I tried!!!

I had a co-worker capture a shot!

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These are the Wash Days that Try Womens’ Souls …

Today my Wash Day before my relaxer and let me tell you … it was all I could do not to rip it out! Every so often, my hair throws a tantrum and today was that day!!!!!! Read on, please!! WARNING: It is long, so skip to the pics if you want. ūüôā

So as you may know, the purpose of my pre-relaxer Wash Day is to: Clean, Strengthen, Hydrate! (Read earlier Pre-Relaxer Wash days here and here!)

I started of with a honey, safflower oil and coconut oil pre-poo for about 25 minutes without heat. I¬†then proceeded to cleaning step, in which I¬†clarified my hair with Alterna Life Solutions clarifying poo, followed by a wash with Alterna Life Solutions Scalp Therapy and Alterna Caviar Volume. I then then an in-shower conditioning treatment with Redken All-Soft … all of this which is par for the course!

I then proceeded to strengthen with my protein treatment, which is where things went a bit awry. I applied my ApHogee 2 Step Protein Treatment as normal, sat under the dryer for 20 minutes, and then rinsed it out. I followed it up with slabs of Alma Legends conditioner and Silk Elements MegaSilk, as my hair was hella tangled! I learned my lesson from my February pre-relaxer wash day that is it important to detangle before you proceed to deep conditioning after doing an ApHogee 2-step protein treatment! Once I detangled my hair using those products, I put a coat of Ion Extreme Moisture cream on. I placed a wet turban over my hair, popped on a shower cap and deep conditioned for 50 minutes.

So I should go ahead and note that I am noticing heavier-than-normal shedding right now.¬†I noticed during several of my M&S sessions this week that my hair is shedding more. It is nothing for me to remove no shed hair on some days and less than 10 hairs on some days. For the past 2 days, I noticed I am shedding about 10 hairs in about 4 sections (see below for an example), but it’s not enough for me to be worried. I experienced an increase in shedding in early September of last year, so it may be due to autumn coming! Also, I changed birth control pills early in this month (from generic Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo to generic Yazmin), so it could be my hormones working themselves out! I looked up the potential impact of changing birth control pills and this is what I found …

“Just as progesterone dominant BCPs can facilitate¬†female pattern hair loss, oral contraceptives higher in estrogen can stimulate¬†hair growth¬†by prolonging the anagen phase of the growth cycle. A problem is that estrogen dominant birth control pills have a greater incidence of certain side effects. Your gynecologist should advise you on which BPCs should be used in your particular situation.

The newer oral contraceptives such as Yasmin, Yaz, Desogen, Mircette, Ortho-Cyclen, Ortho Tri-Cyclen and Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo have lower androgenetic effects and are useful in patients concerned about hair loss. In particular, Yaz and Yasmin contain the progestin drospirenone, which has anti-androgen properties, and can therefore be particularly helpful in women experiencing female pattern hair loss.”¬†

Source: http://www.bernsteinmedical.com/medical-treatment/medications/oral-contraceptives/

Since I am not too concerned about the amount of hair that is shedding, I do not plan on doing any interventions for right now (e.g. black tea rinses, garlic treatments). I also want to continue to monitor the amount of hair that I lose so I can see if this is a trend that happens as autumn nears. In The Science of Black Hair, Audrey Sivasothy notes that the greatest percentage of our hair is in the telogen stage (also known as the shedding state) during the late summer or early fall months.

So Ok … back to Wash Day!

So I rinsed out the conditioner, expecting my hair to feel soft as silk since I had slathered so much conditioner on it, but it doesn’t. It doesn’t feel hard, but it doesn’t feel like it’s normal silky self after a DC. I detangle and apply my leave-ins, as I am planning to roller set. I applied: Living Proof Restore Targeted repair cream, Living Proof Prime Style Extender and Living Proof Satin serum. For some reason, now my hair feels mushy and thin since it’s been shedding like crazy throughout each stage of this Wash Day and I am watching the ball of hair I lose grow by the second. By this point, I am convinced that my hair has lost like 3 inches of growth and that I have a bald patch somewhere. I throw 2 rollers in my hair and I am just like “Fukk this!!!! I am blow-drying my hair straight to see what the damage is.” I didn’t want any surprises when I relaxed next week to find that my hemline is now shaped like a “W” instead of my “U” and/or my hair has thinned out so much!

Of course that made my HHJ-conscious angel go: “Well, if you blow dry your hair this week and then next week you will have used direct heat back-to-back, which is a major NO-NO!” My HHJ-conscious devil then went: “As angry as I am, if this hair can’t take two weeks of direct heat, then dammit, it deserves to fall out or break off because I. AM. NOT. ROLLING. NO. DAMN. HAIR. TODAY!” HINT: Devil wins!

So I begin the arduous task of blow drying my hair. I have not blow dried my hair in months and it’s definitely not something I enjoy doing. I applied some Alterna Texture cream for its heat protectant properties and began to ¬†blow dry sections of my hair, starting at the nape. By the time I am in the middle of my hair, I am just done. The attachment is getting caught in my hair, despite me detangling it before I began blow-drying, the new growth won’t lay flat. I AM BEAT.

I finally finish drying my hair and apply Alterna Caviar White Truffle Elixir to the length and seal with kukui nut oil. I don’t see a lot of broken ends, just more shedded hair. I think that some of the hair just got caught in this vicious cycle of going from my head back to my comb back to my hair again before I finally removed it and put it in a pile.

I knew I wasn’t going to flat iron my hair after blow drying (see HHJ-conscious angel, I comprised!!!) This week, I plan on bunning while trying to keep my hair as detangled as possible to prevent matting.

UGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I managed to capture a few pics. Here ya go …

First I wanted to share with you the amount of hair I lost today (pictured left) vs. the amount of hair I lost about 3 weeks ago (pictured right) during a Wash Day. See the difference?

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Here are some pictures of my new growth during my pre-poo. I think I am at just over 1.5 inches of new growth … the clip where I start measuring my wavy new growth may have been a little high.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 4 photo 5

Here is my blow-dried, wild-looking, Mufasa-mane-like hair! Sorry it doesn’t look “polished,” but this is as good as it gets today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Also, it’s official … I am closing in on MBL! I will find out for sure next Saturday!!!!!!!!!

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Well, it’s off to the store to get me some of my favorite gum … the 1928 Dubble Bubble! I can literally eat like 50 pieces of those a day … and after having a day like today, it is either gum or some tequila! (I chose gum … saving the drinking for next week!)

Until next time, friends … !

P.S. I don’t think my hair likes the Living Proof Restore Targeted Repair cream, so I will not be buying it!

Sigh … I am THAT client … (ingredient snob alert!)

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I do my hair most of the time unless I am getting relaxers (in which my friend in NC does it). I love being able to do my own hair or have my friend do it because I am in total control of the products that I use, the methods in which my hair is handled and doing processes that I know from experience will benefit my hair.

I am heading to the Raleigh-Durham area in a few weeks and made an appointment with a salon that looks like they specialize in healthy care practices. They have client pictures and the results are lovely! I saw where they use the Design Essentials line. I have heard great things about Design Essentials line and they seem to be a staple in the black salons I have talked with over the past year. I know Ulta sells some of their products so I decided to look at the ingredients. In some of the products, I found high up on the ingredient lists: mineral oil, dimethicone, petroleum and there are parabens (a preservative that is a potential carcinogen) located near the end. Ughhhhhhh …

I have no idea why products aimed at blacks have to have mineral oil or petroleum in them. With products with natural or premium synthetic ingredients being all the rage among black women, there is really no need for a salon-quality line to have them in them. I even see where the Mizani conditioner I will be using during my relaxer has mineral oil in it, but at least that will be stripped away after I shampoo it!! I definitely do not use leave-ins with them. There are too many other alternatives that could be used, which is why I “cross the aisle” and get products that are not traditionally aimed at blacks to avoid these products that can block precious moisture from our hair. I have read rave reviews about the Design Essentials line, but I can’t take a chance!

Out of concern (and being THAT client), I called the salon to see if I could use my own leave-ins and they reluctantly said yes, but after they said they usually don’t allow it. I’m thinking about canceling my appointment and just having Kim roll it or roll it myself. Besides, I will save about $60 (which could go towards my Vegas fund!)

We shall see …. I have about a week to make my decision. Sometimes I want to just pamper myself with a professionally done style, but don’t want to relinquish control over my hair! Ahhh … The conundrum!!

Sample Alert and Product Review: Living Proof Restore Targeted Repair Cream

Today I was able to head to Sephora because we had a training in downtown Portland. I went in there and discussed what I was looking for in a creamy leave-in to replace my Alterna Caviar Texture cream. The guy who helped me was so helpful! I told him I am interested in knowing more about the Living Proof line and that I have a few of their products, including a moisturizer from frizz line. I told him that moisture retention is my biggest concern and he suggested that I try the restore line.

Living Proof said this about the restore line:

“Moisture flows in and out of our hair all day long. In healthy hair, the cuticles covering each strand automatically adjust to keep hair hydrated. But damage from heat styling, chemical treatments, coloring, sun exposure and even every day styling weakens cuticles so moisture levels go unregulated. Strands swell and contract until hair‚Äôs structure literally begins to break down. Brittleness, dullness and more damage‚ÄĒit‚Äôs not a pretty sight. Silicones and oils, the foundation of all conventional hair care products, don‚Äôt effectively block moisture flux. So our scientists decided to invent a hair care line that would.”

He suggested that I try the Targeted Repair Cream¬†and gave me two vials to try. After reading the product description, I don’t know why I didn’t go to this product before the frizz cream, but I will definitely have a use for both of them if I like the sample he gave me!

Here’s the product description:¬†A moisture-rich cream for use on wet and dry hair that instantly adds shine, smooths cuticles and repairs split ends. The Targeted Repair Cream replaces lost ceramides to restructure, strengthen and seal the protective outer layer of the hair. Prevents 93% of new split ends. Plus all day UV damage protection.

And here are the ingredients (notice how Living Proof lists the purpose of each ingredient!): Water/Eau/Aqua (Solvent), Cetyl Alcohol (Emulsion Stabilizer, Conditioning Agent), Glycerin (Conditioning Agent/Humectant), Isoamyl Laurate (Emollient, Conditioning Agent), Octafluoropentyl Methacrylate (OFPMA) (Moisture-Controlling Active), Behentrimonium Methosulfate (Conditioning Agent), Oleyl Alcohol (Conditioning Agent), Butylene Glycol (Conditioning Agent), Glycol Stearate (Conditioning Agent/Opacifier), Astrocaryum Tucuma Seed Butter (Conditioning Agent), Behenyl/Stearyl Aminopropanediol Esters (Cuticle Repair Agent), Dimethylpabamidopropyl Laurdimonium Tosylate (UV Filter), Hydrolyzed Silk (Conditioning Agent), Fragrance/Parfum (Fragrance), Hydroxyethylcellulose (Thickening Agent), Steareth-10 (Emulsifier), Steareth-2 (Emulsifier), Phenoxyethanol (Preservative), Methylisothiazolinone (Preservative), Limonene (Fragrance Component), Hexyl Cinnamal (Fragrance Component), Linalool (Fragrance Component), Citronellol (Fragrance Component), Butylphenyl Methylpropional (Fragrance Component), Citral (Fragrance Component), Geraniol (Fragrance Component)

I will be using it as a leave-in for my roller set this weekend! Stay tuned for a review!

Here’s some pics:

photo 1 photo 2

UPDATE ON 8/24: It seems that my hair does not really like this stuff. I applied it to both wet and dry hair (as it can be used) and it just didn’t seem to do anything for my hair, so I will not be buying this stuff. How I knew my hair didn’t like it was when I applied it to my freshly blow-dried hair that was properly M&Sed and within a few minutes of putting this product on, my hair looked very dry and wiry. I promptly put my Amla Legends 1001 Oils Night Wrap Cream on and it helped. NAWL … I can’t have that expensive product messing up my hair!

That’s sad, because the premise of the product was damn good!!!!¬†Oh well … if it doesn’t work on my hair, it doesn’t work! NEXT!!!!!!!!!!

Mizani Butter Blends Relaxer System

Greetings! I wanted to share the fact that on my next relaxer, I will get to use the Mizani Butter Blends system. My friend Tracie recently went back to relaxing her hair after being natural for 2 years and she ordered the shampoo and conditioner and was kind enough to bring me a sample of each of the products (and graciously allowed me to keep these handy containers as well!)

This is the same system that Jeanne (my stylist from Hawaii) would use. As soon as I opened the conditioner, the smell took me back! It’s a really good smelling product that lingers around in the hair for a few days!

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So here are the products I will use (NOTE: there are other products in the system, but IMO, these are two of the most important ones):

Balance Hair Bath Neutralizing and Chelating Shampoo

Product Description:¬†The Hair Bath Neutralizing & Chelating Shampoo is such the little helper when it comes to relaxing hair. Not only is it formulated with honey for enhanced moisturization, it’s been created with a pink color indicator to signal remaining relaxer residue. This is the final process in Phase 2 because it completes the neutralization process and removes mineral deposits for soft, healthy hair.. NEUTRALIZING AND CHELATING SHAMPOO A nourishing neutralizing and chelating shampoo created with a pink color indicator to signal remaining relaxer residue. Formulated with moisturizing honey combined with a protein conditioner for enhanced moisturization, it restores natural pH balance and removes mineral deposits for soft, healthy hair. (Source:¬†http://www.naturalbraid.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=125)

Ingredients: 42491 SS5 AQUA/WATHER, COCAMIDOPROPYL BETAINE, SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE, POLYSORBATE 20. SODIUM CHLORIDE, COCAMIDE MEA, PHENOXYETHANOL, POLYQUATERNIUM-7, PARFUM/ FRAGRANCE, METHYLPARABEN, POTASSIUM SORBATE, CITRIC ACID, HYDROXYPROPYLTRIMONIUM HONEY, DISODIUM EDTA, HYDROXYPROPYLTRIMONIUM HYDROLYZED WHEAT PROTEIN, PHENOLSULFONEPHTHALEIN

Perphecting Créme Normalizing Conditioner

Product Description: A¬†light cream conditioner designed to re-establish hair’s natural pH level formulated with an ultra moisturizing blend of shea butter and honey with strengthening ceramide. Moisturizing agents provide excellent detangling benefits to minimize breakage from wet combing and styling. Patented ceramide penetrates the cuticle to strengthen for optimal conditioning. (Source:¬†http://www.beautyclicks.com/mizani-butter-blend-perphecting-creme.html)

Ingredients: Aqua/Water, Paraffinum Liquidum/Mineral Oil, Polyquaternium-37, Dicetyldimonium Chloride, Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, PEG-100 Stearate, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Glyceryl Stearate, Phenoxyethanol, Citric Acid, Propylene Glycol, Parfum/Fragrance, PPG-1 Trideceth-6, Methylparaben, Panthenol, Butyrospermum Parkii/Shea Butter, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Honey, Pentasodium Penteate, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Butylparaben, 2-Oleamido-1, 3-Octadecanediol.

So, this is how I will use this system, which is as directed:

1. Base scalp with Vaseline or whatever petroleum product is around; protect ends with EVOO and cheap conditioner

2. Relax with Mizani Butter Blends relaxer, rinse

3. Apply Perphecting Créme Normalizing Conditioner and let it sit for about 5 minutes, rinse

4. Wash with Balance Hair Bath Neutralizing and Chelating Shampoo until all traces of pink are gone

5. Deep condition with MegaSilk and Alterna Caviar under heated cap for 15 minutes

6. Apply leave-ins (TBD) and style as desired.

You may have noticed that I¬†bolded¬†the¬†mineral oil¬†ingredient that is in the conditioner. At first, I was a bit worried about it, but since it will pretty much be stripped away with the chelating shampoo, it’s no cause for worry. Also, it appears that I will be getting adequate strength and protein from the conditioner and shampoo, so I consider that my mid-step protein treatment. I will follow up with a good moisturizing deep conditioner so that my hair is not left too rigid and prone to breakage.

I’m pretty excited about seeing how my hair reacts to the entire system! I will know in less than 14 days!!!

Until next time …

Where will I stop growing?

A few things prompted this post. First off, I was talking to my mom yesterday and she mentioned my Aunt Melanie (my dad’s sister) was at church Sunday and how beautiful her hair is. In case you don’t know, she is my hair idol!

Here is a picture of her from last May. ¬†Yes, yes, its beautiful! I asked my other aunt (who is Melanie’s older sister) what her regimen is and she said that Melanie goes to the salon every other week and gets it flat ironed. I couldn’t imagine the dryer time on a roller set!

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Secondly, I found this picture with my hair down after a roller set (excuse the ends looking so janky not being combed out into a perfect “U shape and my half bra being down to my waist!) I came home and measured to see how long it would take me to grow from WL to W’HIP (which is the area between your waist and hips), which is about 4 inches. I asked Nathan would he like it if I grew it down to W’HIP and he said: “No. That’s too long. Why would you want to take care of that much hair?” That got me thinking about just how long I want to grow my hair. I think my goal is about an inch below waist length. Anything more would be just to see if I could do it! ūüėČ Once I get to my goal, I plan on letting my other hairs catch up! I think full waist length is my goal, which is about 2 years away (my shortest layers are about APL).

Well, happy growing! My next length check will be after my relaxer in 2 weeks!

green line – MBL

pink line – WL

blue line – W’HIP

lengthaugust