Pre-Relaxer Wash Day: Why Can’t These Ever Go Right?

This is the fourth and final Pre-Relaxer Wash Day of 2013! You know this is the time when I: Clean, Strengthen and Hydrate!

Unfortunately, these Pre-Relaxer Wash Days have not gone right all year! In February, my hair was so tangled and matted after deep conditioning that I had to spend 35 painful minutes detangling it. In May, the end result of my hair was so oily after deep conditioning with hemp seed oil that it came out limp and gross. In August, I was just so frustrated with my hair not cooperating during roller setting that I blew it dry without flat ironing, only to have it become brittle and break by the time relaxer day rolled around. To keep with tradition, today’s Wash Day wasn’t that great either, but it definitely was the best I’ve had all year (which is not saying much at all).

I was going to do my relaxer application practice, but it was a total failure. My hair was wayyyyyyy too curly and I would have had to tear through it just to apply it! No bueno!!!! No wonder Kim threatened me about coming for a relaxer after air-drying the week before! I just pre-pooed with the V-05 conditioner I was using for practice for about an hour without heat. All week, I have been wearing my twist out which didn’t fall below my shoulders, so I wanted to stretch the hair out before I hopped in the shower and washed it.

Clean – I clarified my hair with my Alterna Life Solutions Clarifying Shampoo, followed by my Alterna Caviar Volume for moisture replenishment. Both of these shampoos are sulfate free.

Strengthen – I did my ApHogee 2 Step Protein Treatment. Since I abhor their conditioner that they include with it, I just bought the bottle of the protein treatment to use with my own deep conditioner. I applied the treatment and sat under the dryer for 20 minutes while it hardened. I then rinsed it out with warm water and applied my Ion Extreme Moisture Cream for 30 seconds to soften the hair.

Hydrate – I applied my Silk Elements MegaSilk deep conditioner for an hour (45 minutes with heat). I rinsed, followed up with Roux for 1 minute, then rinsed again.

This weekend, I knew that I needed a finished style because I am going to be filming some hair tutorials for a project at work (additional details coming soon!) on Monday, so I decided to roller set. I detangled as normal after applying my leave-ins (the usual ones I use for rollersetting except the Carol’s Daughter Monoi Anti-Breakage Repair Spray since I had done a hard protein tx) and noticed that I was losing a lot of hair in the comb. I noticed a band of strands that came out in the shower, but I chalked it up to me doing zero manipulation to my hair the past week. Even as I used the rattail comb to smooth sections out before rolling, I noticed that I had to clean out the comb after each section of my mohawk because it was full of hair! You know I was almost in a panic! It could be a few things: my hormones (I had to go back to my old birth control pill due to the new one breaking me out and I also starting using progesterone cream to help with menstrual migraines), the weather (I had excessive shedding in December of last year) and like I said, no manipulation in the past week. I have had relatively little shedding the past 2 months, so who knows? I will definitely be monitoring it throughout the week and if it is still going on, I will defer my relaxer until its under control.

I rolled my hair as usual, using the black and gray rollers. I wanted to have had a decent styling session this Pre-Relaxer Wash Day, so I took my time rolling my hair and practiced some much-needed patience. When my hair didn’t want to cooperate or the rollers were not placed right, I calmly corrected it. It took me just under an hour to roll my hair today, which is about 10-12 minutes longer than normal. I also added diluted Lotta Body back into my regimen. During previous Wash Days, I noticed as soon as I comb my curls, they just go straight and flat. I think it was because I used too much moisture while rolling (my leave-ins in addition to my setting mix of glycerin and water) and had no setting lotion. Kim told me that I needed to use some, but I wouldn’t hear it! After all, Gennifer in the roller setting video only used water to set her hair, so that’s what I would do … until I got tired of my hair not holding a curl after spending all day on it! Also, setting lotion helps hair dry faster. I sprayed every section of hair to be rolled with diluted Lotta Body (not sure of the ratio … but it was definitely a lighter blue color).

Well, the Lotta Body helped me have crisper curls, but didn’t really cut down on drying time. I was almost dry at 90 minutes, but I stayed under the dryer for just over 2 hours so I could be sure I was dry. Besides, I was reading a good book which makes dryer time more bearable! I took my hair down and applied a bit of Carol’s Daughter Monoi serum to the curls! The curls felt like they had more staying power than curls of prior weeks, but I couldn’t help that my hair felt thinner due to the amount of hair I lost (see below). I combed the curls out and wow … my hair retained some bend (see photos)! It definitely was a roller setting success! Now I know that I need some setting product in my life! I continued to pull shed hairs down my hemline that hadn’t quite released themselves yet, which annoyed me, but whatevs.

I then wrapped my hair up for the evening! I will capture some “next day hair” photos tomorrow or Monday!

These are the curls as soon as I took them out. Most of my hair was rolled on black rollers. I also took a close-up of my ends, as I was very pleased with how they are holding up this relaxer stretch.

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Hair combed out! A success! Hair still has bend at the ends! Also, notice that ball of yarn hair!!! That doesn’t include the countless stragglers that came out afterwards or in the shower! 

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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. 🙂

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!

What’s The Tea?: A Pre-Relaxer Wash Day

Tea (n): Atlanta-speak for gossip, news, knowledge

Today is my last Wash Day before my relaxer! Now, normally I would just let my hair air dry to reduce the amount of manipulation that I had to do as my finishing style, but I made a promise to Kim during my relaxer that I would never come back to her with my hair a tangled mess again!! Besides, I have a conference that I am attending, so I thought a roller set would be appropriate.

My regimen for pre-relaxer day since the beginning of my HHJ has been to:

1. Clean Up

2. Strengthen

3. Hydrate

So here’s how my [time intensive] Wash Day went accordingly:

1. Clean Up-

I began Wash Day by clarifying my hair with my Alterna Life Clarifying shampoo. This will remove all the product build-up in my hair and leave me with a clean palate in which to do my Pre-Relaxer regimen. I washed 2x. Clarifying my hair often leaves my hair feeling stripped and dry, so I always following up with a moisturizing shampoo, with my favorite being Alterna Caviar Moisture.

2. Strengthen –

I followed up my shampoo session with an in-shower black tea rinse to see if it would help with shedding. To be honest, I have not been experiencing bad shedding for the past month, but since I love how strong my hair feels after a tea rinse, I decided to do it anyway! I applied the tea rinse to my scalp with a nozzled bottle and applied to the length of my hair. I left on for about 5 minutes and rinsed. Despite feeling strong, my hair also felt a bit dry, so I decided to detangle in the shower with my Redken All Soft. Another reason I detangled was because during my last hard protein treatment before February’s relaxer, I just applied the ApHogee 2 step protein treatment on my hair without doing so. When I went to detangle my hair after the deep conditioner, it was a horrible, matted mess. It took me 30 minutes to detangle my hair and that resulted in broken hairs. NEVER AGAIN! I thought, WILL I EVER APPLY THE APHOGEE 2 STEP WITHOUT DETANGLING!!!!!

I rinsed the conditioner from my hair, stepped out of the shower and applied the ApHogee 2 step protein treatment, making sure to give extra care to the ends of my hair and the line of demarcation between new growth and relaxed hair. Now here’s my thoughts on this product, if you care to hear. The protein treatment stuff smells pretty bad and is messier and stickier than a mug. I often smell it for a few days if I don’t clean my rugs, floors and any rags that I wipe up my sink with. It’s a great treatment, as I remember using it way back in the day (like 1996). Despite me not feeling that I need such a strong protein treatment, I like to use it every pre-relaxer day as I feel it gives my hair a fighting chance with goes up against relaxers and people who may not care about my hair the way I do! 😉 So, despite me not liking the smell or the mess, it is something that I deal with 4xs a year to give my hair some added strength heading into a relaxer session.

As required, I sat under the dryer until my hair hardened (which was 15 minutes) and then stepped into the shower to rinse out.

3. Hydrate –

A must following any protein treatment, it was time for me to hydrate my hair and bring it back to balance after the hard protein. Since I do not pre-poo before clarifying (it just seems to be moot, in my opinion), I decided to incorporate a hot oil treatment into my deep conditioning session. Still eager to try the safflower and hemp seed oils, I mixed them in a bowl and heated them for 15 seconds to get them warm. Since all of my nozzled bottles are currently occupied (which is how I normally apply my oils during hot oil treatments), I decided to do it the old-fashioned way — by hand! I parted my hair into six parts, detangled (WHICH WAS A BREEZE!!!), applied the oil mixture to my scalp and along the length of my hair. I also applied my MegaSilk deep conditioner to the length of my hair. After my whole head and length were done, I put the left over oils on the length of my hair … for good measure!

I sat under the dryer for 30 minutes, which is shorter than my normal time of 45-60 minutes. I rinsed, applied Roux for 2 minutes, then rinsed in cool water.

By this time, I should note, my bathroom looks a *in Madea’s voice* DAMN MESS! The floor has been “hydrated” with my repeated entry and exit from the tub because I forgot something, towels are thrown askew and there are random product droplets all on my counter. That’s why Wash Day is synonymous with Cleaning Day for my bathroom!

Pics from L to R: My front part with oil mixture applied; the coloring of safflower and hemp seed oil warmed; my scalp and length covered in conditioner and oil; another shot of my hair with oil and conditioner applied

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I must say that my hair felt heavenly after the deep conditioner! Parting and detangling were a breeze and in some spots, my hair felt like butter it was so soft!!! I am looking forward to using these two oils again!! I will play around with them upon my return and see how they can fix in other parts of my regimen (e.g. M&Sing).

Now it’s time to roll. I applied my leave-ins: Alterna Photo Defense, Alterna Texture, Alterna White Truffle Elixir, and diluted Lottabody. Now mind you, I normally do not roll on pre-relaxer Wash Days, so by the time I get to rolling, I just had it! I definitely did not put too much stock into rollersetting this week. If need be, I will just wear some headbands and wear in a bun!! I may press the roots out if I see they need it (NOTE: I am under the dryer as I type this … gotta multi-task!)

Well, I am just spent … from start to finish, today’s Wash Day will be almost 5 hrs!! It’s already 3:30pm and I have about another hour to go under the dryer. It wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t have to be in the bed by 8:30pm, as I have a 6am flight tomorrow!! I will try to post some pics of the finished product, but if I don’t … don’t worry … relaxer pics will be coming soon!!!

Until next time …

🙂

Update: After I took my rollers down, my hair was so oily!! There were parts of my hair that even looked wet, it was so oily. I have included a couple of pictures. I think I may have been too heavy-handed with the safflower and hemp seed oils and also I think that the mixture was a bit heavy for my fine strands. Next time, I will use less oil and use it as a pre-poo so that I have a chance to wash it out instead of just rinsing. I plan on using some dry shampoo to absorb some of this oil when I style it in the morning.

Also, I need a new hair dryer. I was trying to hold out, but my old tabletop isn’t cutting it anymore. There aren’t many vents in the back, so I end up having a dry top and wet back area! No thanks. I will be shopping for one upon my return from NC next week.

Eew!! Look at that sogginess!!!

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Update: When I awoke that morning, I applied some Kenra Dry Shampoo and combed throughout my hair. I clipped it up and headed out the door. When I arrived in Baltimore, I had some white residue in my hair, so I applied some Alterna Caviar White Truffle Elixir and combed my hair … it came out nice … until the humidity hit it! It was Bun City after that evening, but hey, now I know I can recover if I use too much oil on my hair!

Excuse face-covered shots … I didn’t feel I was “proper” enough for the camera!

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