Hair Updates and Rumblings: NC Edition

In order not to make my Relaxer Day post too long, I thought I would break these 2 posts up and give some hair updates and observations during my time in NC.

– As you may have read, the week and a half leading up to my relaxer had me shedding something crazy! I literally thought I was going to be bald (hahah!) I never attribute excessive shedding as a cause of me needing to end a relaxer stretch, but since I have relaxed my hair a week ago, the shedding has been soooooooo minimal. Like a few strands a day, even with combing. I often view relaxers as kind of a Darwin-esque mechanism. Hairs (and ends) that are weak just won’t last during a relaxer processing, so I am left with strong, robust strands, if you will! I am not sure if my new birth control kicked in some hormones or whether a change in scenery was what my hair needed, but my shedding is under control – for now!

– I also experienced some breakage near the end of my relaxer stretch. I don’t think I will just blow dry my hair and not flat iron it again. I plan on roller setting my next pre-relaxer day.

– I am going to have to learn my hair all over again when I move back to NC. It is soooooooooooo humid! My hair just didn’t stand a chance! I don’t think all the products in the world will stand up to the humidity in the South! I will say this, I think the Living Proof products I am using helped (see below for full list of products). Instead of my hair poofing up all wild-like and leaving me with wet, swollen, and limp hair, the curls just fell and I was able to still wear it down (not sleek … pulled back in a headband) or in a ponytail. I am so glad that I did not pay $45 for a roller set only to have the NC rain and heat come and whisk my curls (and coins) away!

– I don’t like straight hair. It’s fun to have a sleek, flat ironed look sometimes, but to me, it’s gets old pretty fast and the reasons should be pretty obvious to someone on a HHJ! For one, there is too much upkeep involved to maintain it. You have to wrap (or cross-wrap), take it down, make sure there aren’t any bobby pin or clip indentations and if there are, apply heat to remove them (if you so choose). Also, if it needs to be “bumped,” you have to apply more direct heat. Then you have to watch what you’re wearing, where you go, what the forecast is looking like, etc.! It would be remiss of me not to mention that straight hair displays all your flaws. If your hemline is chewed up, it will show. If you ends are like Rice Krispies (snap, crackle and pop!), it will show. You can hide easily hide subtle flaws with roller sets and other protective styles. Also, I like the look of voluminous curls or waves that I get from roller setting or doing the faux air-drying method.

– I did a roller set two days after I got my relaxer on Labor Day. I was heading to Raleigh to meet with some friends and had to be fly! I washed my hair with some sulfate shampoo Kim had on hand to remove silicones from my flat ironing session and followed up with my Alterna Caviar Volume poo. I did a 20 minute deep-conditioning session with Ion Extreme Moisture conditioner and followed up with my Roux for 1 minute. My leave-ins were: Living Proof Prime Style Extender, Living Proof frizz Nourishing cream and Alterna Texture cream. Kim kept insisting that I use a setting lotion or foam. I said nope … water only! She rolled me up, I placed on my roller net and I went back to my mom’s house, where I had a dryer like mine waiting for me! I can’t do tabletops if I can avoid it! I sat under the dryer for about 1 hr and was so tired I couldn’t keep my eyes open so I decided to sleep in the rollers for the first time to let it air dry over night! It was a bit uncomfortable, but I was so tired, it really didn’t matter. I misted my hair the next morning and sat back under the dryer for about 30 minutes for a final setting. The curls were beautiful! I was very tempted not to blow them out in preparation for my hair to be wrapped, but I did! In hindsight, I should have left them alone and maybe the frizz wouldn’t have been so bad!

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By the time I got to Raleigh in the late afternoon on Tuesday, my hair had had it. It was humid, my ends were screaming for a dusting (which I did when I got to the hotel). To add insult to injury, after dinner at Second Empire (yum), we went to Solas, which is a rooftop bar! By the end of the night, my hair was in a bun! The next day, I combed and detangled it, smoothed with some Vitamin E oil and wore it down with a headband.

– People touching my hair makes me very nervous. I think the longer my hair gets, the more protective of it I become. At the ratchet club we went to Saturday, I sat still in a booth and made sure people couldn’t get behind me. I was in fear that someone would try and pull or cut my hair! In my hometown, there were a few people who checked for tracks. One hairdresser told me, “I would just cut all that hair off if you came to me!” SEE? That’s why I won’t allow black people to do my trims! That almost turned my blood cold.

– At Sephora in Crabtree Valley Mall, this beautiful lady with beautiful natural hair gave me some tips on how to deal with long hair and frizz! I asked her if she thought the Living Proof frizz shampoo and conditioner was good, and she said she didn’t recommend it, as even without sulfates, she found the shampoo stripping and the conditioner didn’t work well. She said she uses the Alterna Caviar shampoo and conditioner and Living Proof leave-ins (frizz Nourishing cream, Prime Style Extender and Satin Serum). I knew when she said that, she was a HHJ sister, as she even mentioned the word “journey.” She admired the thickness of my hair and ends, even though the curls had been long gone! She told me that I missed one spot when dusting (which was the very back!), but other than that, my ends looked good! She told me she is preparing for a trim in December to remove some of her ends, but she wants to be MBL when she does it. I talked with her a good 10 minutes, sharing hair tips  (I recommended she try the Hercules Sagemann rake comb) and would’ve stayed longer had my friend not come in to retrieve me! One story she told me stuck out and validated my choice not to go to this salon I was thinking about trying. She recalled a time she was at a salon and she was asking the stylist what products she was using, instructing her on how to detangle her hair, etc. and the stylist told her “Oh … you’re one of THOSE!” HA!!!!!!!!!!! I know there are great stylists out there, but I don’t want to go bald on my quest to find one! That’s why I will stick with me or my friend doing it for now!

P.S. As soon as I got to some shears, I had my friend helped me get that last piece of rough hair!

– I went to see my dad and thanked him for his genes when it came to hair (he gets no love for my beady, non-descript eyes, but some love for my thick eyebrows). He said, “you’re welcome!” 🙂

– My ponytails are on point! I was swanging my long ponytail the last two days I was in town! I can’t wait until I see my WL ponytail!

– I don’t think I am going for full waist length. It would be just too much to deal with, IMHO. I actually like soft, subtle layers, so maybe when my length in the front hits BSL (in the year 2025), I will be happy!

– No tea, no shade, but so many people are not getting the HHJ memo in NC! These thin wraps that have been flat ironed into oblivion, lacefront wigs, double-processed hair, etc. Kim wanted to know why I sat with conditioner every time I got my hair washed and I told her I never miss a weekly deep conditioning – EVER! I will mind my own damn scalp, but I’m just saying …

Well, I think that’s all the hair updates and observations I have for now! 🙂

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. 🙂

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.

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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!

Blast from the past #2

As a child, I loved me some “Aladdin!” I watched that movie endlessly! I would sing the songs, play the Sega game with my brother and collect little tidbits. My dad used to take us to the Disney Store a.k.a. Heaven for Kids and would buy us stuff, such as this Aladdin tumbler that has made it for 20 years!!! Seriously! It used to have water in it to make the magic lamps and glitter float, but I guess time evaporated it!

It is about 6 oz, perfect for my morning OJ!

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P.S. Oops! Forgot to remove the tequila! The innocence of Aladdin contrasted with the debauchery of tequila! Welcome to adulthood!!

Blast from the past!

I have been taking inventory of the products that i have and found an oldie but goodie, PInk Oil Moisturizer. You know good and well you know what that is! I used it when I was in Hawaii because I would wash and conditioner my hair every other day and let it airdry, so this product was great. However, it is too heavy for daily use and have not used it since I moved to Oregon.

It made me think about some of the products that I used to use

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in the day (as I so affectionately refer to days gone by). My girlfriend and I was discussing these products a month ago and I took a picture of them at the local Fred Meyer. I could not believe they even had these products, as there are not many of us in Wilsonville, OR!!

You see Blue Magic? Ha! About 90% of those products left my hair limp and greasy, but at least it was moisturized!!

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