How I Salvaged Frizzy, Limp Hair!

Happy New Years from Canada everyone! Nathan and I decided to go north of the border for some much needed R-n-R, partying and sightseeing. I must say, Vancouver is a beautiful city with plenty of shopping, massages and fine eateries (my favorite things!) They even have Church’s Fried Chicken, which is something pitiful Oregon can’t even muster up!! And my favorite thing about this city is that I can find Five Alive juice. That was my staple breakfast drink for over 20 years, until I stopped seeing it around 2007. I am about to buy about 7 cartons and take them over the border!!!

So anyhoo, I did my Wash Day this past Sunday. I did a pre-poo of coconut oil, cheapie conditioner and safflower oil for 45 minutes with heat. I washed as normal, did a deep conditioner with L’Oreal Total Repair 5 and Silk Elements MegaSilk for an hour with heat. I applied my normal leave-ins and roller sat. I did use some setting foam for each section of hair rolled, which made my hair kinda stick together when I was dry, giving the illusion of thin hair. Next time, I will use the foam on a mohawk section basis. As you may know, my hair struggles to hold curls in the presence of moisture, so I am having to use product to help my hair hold better. After my hair was dry, I blew out my roots, applied Alterna Bamboo Anti-Breakage Thermal Protectant spray to smooth each section and applied my sponge rollers. I kept these in about 24 hours and took them down for our dinner Monday night.

Fast forward till Tuesday afternoon. After a brief period out in the elements, my hair was defeated by the moisture and became frizzy, which was complete devastation to the nation since we had a NYE party to go to that night! I thought about flat-ironing my hair, but I decided to try something else to breathe some life into my lank roller set … and it worked!

One side of hair already rolled up with frizzed, lank hair on the other side.

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1. Section hair off in small parts and detangle each section.

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2. Applied a small amount of Alterna Bamboo Anti-Breakage Heat Protectant, starting with the ends. It has an almost dry serum feel to it, despite water being the first ingredient. The dry feel of the product is beneficial when you don’t want a liquidy product that can encourage additional frizzing. While applying, I made sure to apply tension to the hair to stretch it out. I sealed with a small drop of Carol’s Daughter Monoi serum.

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3. I put in my satin rollers by adding tension as I rolled … essentially doing roll-roll-pull like I do with my magnetic rollers. Again, this helps stretch and smooth the hair out.

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4. Repeat until entire head is done. Cover with satin or silk scarf and let sit as long as desired.

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The results were great! I took the rollers out, applied serum to my hands to prevent frizz and pick the curls apart for beautiful volume. The theme of the party was the Great Gatsby which took place in the 20s and wasn’t a soul rocking a blow out back then!! My curls were on point! Too bad I left my sequin and feather dress AT HOME and had to buy another one (of course not as extravagant as the one I had!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) UGH!

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I am so glad that I did not reach for the flat iron and decided to take a chance with this method. Honestly, most of the sections of hair sprang back to life after detangling and having the Alterna Bamboo product applied.

Didn’t I tell you how much I loved these satin pillow rollers??

JBCO for Scalp Coverage!

Today I was looking in the mirror and noticed that I could see my scalp in a few places around my edges when my hair was pulled back. I remember the stylist I went to see saying the scalp coverage can decrease with age and with the use of chemicals (e.g. relaxers). It also does not help that I wear my hair pulled back almost everyday in a tight headband. My mantra is: “the tighter the better!” (that’s what he said – hahahahah!) My hairline for the most part is fine, but the front part where my hair begins needs a little love!

With this said, I am going to do a personal challenge by using Jamaican Black Castor Oil 2-3 a week on this area. Also, I will not wear tight headbands. I have a black one that allows me to adjust it so that it is not too tight, so I will just wear that until I can get some more colors. Hopefully in a few months I will notice a bit more scalp coverage. It is not too bad, but it definitely is noticeable!

See below …

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Oh snap! I just remembered these pictures from when I started my HHJ. I was also a bit scalpy … maybe me using the JBCO and cutting down on tight headbands have been needed for a while! 🙂

January 2012                                                  May 2013

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UPDATE!:

I went to Nathan to ask him if he could see my scalp in the front. He said yes and that I was going to end up looking like Coolio of late with the struggle plaits! Ooooooh! It was kinda funny! He’s just bitter the Cowboys lost to Denver today.

Autumn Shedding and a Garlic Treatment!

Ugh! I thought that I would make a quick post about autumn shedding! It seems that it is a common complaint around the blogosphere as of late!

Honestly, I thought that I had avoided it since I have not had an excessive shedding episode since late August. This weekend I lost a nice amount of hair during my Wash Day and when I pulled my hair into a ponytail this morning, I couldn’t help but notice it looked a bit thinner. This could be for two reasons:

1. I cross-wrapped my hair instead of pin-curling it, so my ponytail is longer and thinner.

2. I need to do a garlic treatment this weekend!!

I know shedding spells don’t last too long, but still, I want to mitigate the amount of shedding I have, so I think that this weekend I will do my garlic treatment!

So, here is my garlic treatment for anyone suffering from excessive shedding! It worked for me last year …

You will need:

10-12 cloves of garlic
8-16oz of EVOO or another type oil (I also used sesame)

I am cooking mine in my slow cooker. I am sure this can be prepared on the stovetop as well.

Directions

1. Cut up cloves of garlic. If you do not know how to do this, please google it.

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2. Mash up garlic with knife, mincer or whatever is handy. I used my potato masher!!

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3. Put desired oil in crock pot or pot on stovetop.

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4. Let simmer for about 3 hours to give the garlic time to infuse into the oil.

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5. Let cool for as long as needed.

6. Pour oil into a bottle with applicator. You can chose to strain the garlic out or not, but since it’s going into a noozled bottle, garlic chunks shouldn’t hit your hair!!

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7. Apply to scalp. Cover with plastic bag. Let sit on for about 30 minutes. This is a great prepoo treatment. LOOK AT HOW BLACK MY HAIR WAS LAST FALL! NOW IT HAS TURNED BROWN AND RED! 🙂

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8. Wash, condition and apply leave-ins as usual. Note: due to the drying properties of garlic, it is recommended that you incorporate a deep conditioner treatment into your wash day.

Notes:

– Left over oil can be stored in the fridge for about a week.
– You can add this mixture (strained, of course) to shampoos or conditioners for a garlicky boost!
– Essential oils such as lavender, eucalyptus and tea tree can be added to mask the scent.

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!

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

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

Clairol Professional Colorgloss

Happy Independence Day, everyone!

I wanted to do a quick post on my Wash Day last Saturday. I did do the Clairol Radiance Colorgloss on my hair to help patch up those porous ends. I am convinced that doing these rinses has been a big part of why my ends are not breaking as much!

So here’s what I did:

– Prepooed with coconut oil and safflower oil for 1 hour.

– Washed hair with my normal shampoos.

– Applied Clairol Radiance Colorgloss (I chose the Clear one) to my hair from root to tip. To make the colorgloss, you have to use 2 0z of Clariol Radiance Developer (sold separately) for each 20z bottle of the colorgloss. I started off with one bottle and 2 oz of developer and that was plenty for my hair length. I let this process for about 15 minutes without heat per the instructions.

– Rinsed out, applied Alterna Conditioner to deep condition for an hour.

– Applied Roux Porosity Control and final rinsed.

Immediately after rinsing the Colorgloss from my hair, my hair felt stronger and thicker. I was a bit scared because I thought my hair was going to break! However, that was not the case and my hair stayed firmly on my head! I plan on doing this every 3 months, about 4 weeks after my relaxer, as this stuff is washed away in about 12-15 shampoos.

It was sooooooooooo hot last weekend that I could not bear to sit under the dryer for over an hour with some rollers in my hair, so I opted to sit under the dryer with my hair down to give it that air-dried look. Also, I have been doing some heavy workouts as of late (e.g. stair-running, Insanity – the struggle to lose 5 lbs is real!), so I am sweating a lot. I don’t want to invest a bunch of time into a style that will last me 1 day. Also, it is so important to remove salty sweat from your hair, so I plan on co-washing mid-week to refresh my hair. I will be real careful to monitor my ends while I am air-drying, as they seem to break more easily. I plan on bunning most of the summer anyway, just like I did last year. Here’s to MBL in September!

The developer and 2 oz bottles of clear Colorgloss

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The mix of developer and color before being put on my hair

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Dry Ends Update!

Greetings guys! I wanted to do a quick post concerning my ends. As you all know, I have been battling dry, breaking and porous ends since the beginning of my hair journey 16 months ago. It has been a constant struggle!! I deep conditioned, used Roux Porosity Control, prayed, etc., but nothing seemed to offer me a long-term solution. However, as of late (since early April), I have not had very many breaking ends at all! Of course there are a few here and there, but now it is nothing for me to M&S my hair and not see a single one. It really has made for some happy times in my life! 🙂

I sat back and tried to deduce what I am doing differently. I could only think that things have improved because of the Redken Shades EQ I had put on at the end of March. Glazes such as that one are great for protecting the cuticle and assisting with porous ends, according to the Science of Black Hair. I am thinking of adding these glazes to my regimen about every 8-10 weeks now!

Of course, I will not pay to have this done, but rather I will just go to Sally’s and see what they have. I am thinking about trying the Clairol Professional in clear or the brown color closest to mine.

For those of you are experiencing dry ends with nothing helping you out, this may be a great solution! I am not sure when I will do this (maybe 2 weeks post relaxer), but I will definitely keep you guys posted!

Trying to be 95% breakage free!!!

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! 🙂

 

 

Uh, why have I been sleeping on Aloe Vera Juice?

I have had aloe vera juice (AVJ) in my fridge for a year. I used it in my Kimmaytube mix, but quickly abandoned using that mix. I kept a separate spray bottle of AVJ, but I would pour it out because this weird fungus like black stuff would appear in the bottle after a few months, so I would pour that out and put in some fresh AVJ, but I would never use it.

Until now.

I have been using AVJ almost nightly in my M&S routine. I moisturize in sections with my Alterna Caviar White Truffle Elixir and seal with a small amount of AVJ and kukui nut oil. I just use a squirt of AVJ to mix in with the oil. I have been noticing in the past week that the breakage of ends in right back quadrant has been drastically reduced. AVJ has great moisturizing properties as well as restoring pH back to hair. Overall, my hair has been holding onto moisture very well. I definitely will not be sleeping on AVJ again! It is now going to be a staple in my hair care routine!

Hooray for AVJ!

Tip: Do not apply pure AVJ to your hair (I have made this mistake … luckily with no consequences!!). It is best to dilute AVJ with another conditioner or oil, as it is extremely acidic and can eat your hair out!  I use just a squirt of AVJ in my sealing oil. I try to keep the ratio to no more than 10:2.