Wednesday, December 28, 2011

When Leaving Home...Don't Forget Your Products!

So I went out of town for the Christmas Holiday and I had mini twists in when I left...and I had totally planned to keep them in until this Saturday...only soooo many of them were unraveling and I was seriously getting annoyed with them! So I started taking them down, not thinking of what I would have to do to my hair afterwards. The twist out looked alright but my hair just felt a little too dry and tangled and I realized...I didn't bring any of my stuff! Since I'd been planning on keeping the twists in, I only brought a little spray bottle and some castor oil to seal the ends...but none of that stuff was going to help detangle my hair. And I was a bit apprehensive about using products with cones...but that was all that was in the house, so I lathered on some Garnier Fructis and finger detangled as best as I could, since I'd forgot a comb and my denman, and the finger detangle after a week of mini twists wasn't cutting it. There wasn't much else I could do, so I rinsed and then applied a little of the conditioner to my hair after towel drying. My hair was still feeling pretty rough but I used the castor oil to seal and just pulled it all up into a banana clip bun.

I couldn't stop thinking about the state of my hair though and since I'd noticed that my bangs were now practically at the tip of my nose, meaning I'd retained some length, I was scared I'd suffer a set back since my hair felt so dry and I couldn't tell shed hair from breakage. The second I got back to my place, I spritzed my hair liberally and applied my Shea Moisture Purification Masque to my hair liberally. I rubbed into my scalp and the length of my hair, and let it sit for about an hour and a half, the last half I put on a heat cap. Gotta love how that stuff detangles! I still felt like there was something coating my hair, I decided to just apply some deep conditioner to my hair and sealed in the moisture with African Pride and Hemp Seed Oil. Then I did something amazing. I corn rowed my hair! I know right! How? I just started braiding and picking up hair and I couldn't believe how easy it was! Mind you, it does not look pretty, but it is secure, even more secure than my flat twists if you can believe it. I was so proud of myself. I did my entire head and then tossed on a scarf. For the rest of the week I'm wearing wigs and/or a beanie. I did the corn rows because I think I want to wear a braid out for new years eve...but I have a feeling it might all go up into an updo anyway. Since it'll be two weeks since I last washed, I'll make sure to wash my hair on Sunday with one of my Bobeams Shampoo Bars, follow that with maybe a homemade mayo, honey, and olive oil DC for an hour, then rinse and apply KBB as a leave in and seal before braiding the hair back up for another week. Judging by the growth I am noticing fully for the first time, I think something about this lack of manipulation during the week is really helping me retain. I hope I don't have to do this forever just to keep all my length. Hopefully my hair will get stronger and won't need to be tucked away so much. I mean I plan on wearing my hair out all summer!

Oh yeah this post isn't about all that, but to tell you that even if you go out of town with one style and think you won't need stuff, if you can, bring it anyway just in case because it's better to have it than not right?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Do Growth Aids Really Work?

Since starting my natural hair journey, I've been obsessed with every and any kind of growth aid. If it claims to give me one inch of growth a month, I would try it. If other ladies on natural hair forums or blogs raved about it, I would try it, and so I dived into anything and everything with very little results, and a significantly lighter wallet. When I say I've tried a lot, I do mean A LOT: Nioxin, Mega Tek, Monistat, Healthy Hair and Nails (any kind), Biotin overload, MSN internally and externally, and most recently Shapeley's M-T-G.

It took me a year to realize that maybe, just maybe growth aids don't work, or more specifically they don't work for me. If they did, I'd have BSL hair by now and I'm barely approaching shoulder length. Granted I do have Thyroid issues, which is proving to be my hair's enemy, but still, you'd think one of these growth aids would have worked. But they haven't and so I've decided to stop wasting money on them. Currently I am taking:

Treasured Locks Grow It Tablets (twice a day)
Garlic Oil (1 a day)
One a Day healthy skin multi vitamin (one a day)
Vitamin D and Calcium (one a day)
Kelp (more for my Thyroid than hair)
MSM ( supposedly good for growth, but I like taking it for my joints. Helps my knees!)

All of these and nothing is happening. Sure my hair feels good, but where's the growth? So After I finish these bottles, I've decided to stick with a daily multi-vitamin and the Vitamin D/Calcium mix. I was taking iron because I used to be anemic, but recently discovered that is no longer the case. Since I don't want to waste a bottle of pills, I'm going to finish them and then stop. The garlic I started to help with shedding, and since I don't really see a decrease in shedding, I'm not taking those anymore either. The Grow It Pills haven't done their job, so I'm tossing those once I finish my last bottle. The kelp I'll keep because I have physically been feeling better since taking them. A good multi vitamin, lots of water, and exercise are going to be my new "growth aids" and who knows, maybe I'll see amazing results, maybe I won't, but either way, taking tons of pills a day for the sake of my hair has got to end. It's too much work!  The msm I'll probably stick with because it does make running easier on my knees.

As for growth aids that I apply directly to my hair...well I've been using stimulating oils (peppermint/rosemary) which I'll stick with because they do make my scalp feel good. But anything fancier than that, I'll say no to. I will say that I've been using the M-T-G for the last three weeks and I have to say the product does work...or I'm just naturally growing my hair. A month ago I did something to my edges, and only the left side suffered, but there was noticeably hair loss in my temple area. I started applying the M-T-G no only here, but all over, and I gotta say the hair has definitely grown around my edges. I'll stick with this product until I finish, but then I'm dumping it (it stinks). I added a little Capsicum oil to the MTG and the extra tingle feels nice! Cayenne pepper is supposed to stimulate growth, so we'll see....

So yeah, personally I'm going to stop following so many fads. Hair grows because you're healthy, and sure some things may help it along, but nothing is a miracle grower and that's what I've got to accept.

(Now watch me stop taking all this stuff and my hair does something crazy like fall out! Then I'd be putting my foot in my mouth. Lol!)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Hide Your Hair: Self Challenge

For the last two weeks....maybe three? I've been keeping my hair twisted and wearing wigs, and if not under a wig, I'll just throw on my satin scarf followed by a cute beanie (such an easy way to instantly style). I started doing this mainly to protect my hair from the harsh, cold, dry weather. I've been leaving in conditioner, usually something heavy, and following that with a thick layer or some type of hair butter or even grease, depending on my mood. My hair has been staying soft for days and feels really good. Plus, since I work two jobs, I never have to worry about styling my hair in the morning. I just throw on wig/hat and go! It's so easy! I love it. Mind you, this isn't something I'll continue in the summer, maybe just through the first half of spring, but as a fall/winter regimen this isn't half bad. Plus, I think my hair is actually benefiting! Granted I haven't seen tons of length retention, but I'm discovering my hair shrinks up quite a bit and I don't like pulling on it so much to see if it's grown so...I go more by volume than anything else.

As I was doing my hair this past weekend, I was feeling how thick and overall good my hair felt. I have very little breakage (although a bit too much shedding for my tastes) and while I'm realizing my hair grows slowly, it is in fact, growing. A year ago my hair wasn't as thick, nor as soft, nor as healthy as it is today, and that right there lets me know, that I'm doing something right. While I'm still tweaking with my regimen and still learning a lot about my hair, I'm starting to be more patient about growth. I'm not like some of the girls I see on youtube or on blogs, who have gone from twa to shoulder length hair in nine months. I'm the girl that maybe get three to four inches a year, and therefore my long term hair goals is a little longer than most. I'm okay with that as long as my hair continues to feel good.

For the next few months, I'll continue to keep my hair twisted up and out of the way. Weekly I'll wash (bi weekly if I'm wearing mini twists) and deep condition. I moisturize and seal every other day and hopefully by my 26th birth in June, I'll have full shoulder length hair, if not a little longer. If my hair isn't that length by then, I may go and see a Dermatologist or get some blood tests to see if any health issues could be stunting my growth (because I know with this much protective styling, plus conditioning and sealing, my hair has to at least gain another two inches by June).

Moving on, here are the two latest wigs I've been rocking. I've been sticking with a straight haired look, since I don't flat iron my own hair, but this curly one is cool too. It's my dream hair!

Shea Moisture Purification Masque

I thought  I was reining in my PJ ways, but apparently not. I had been eyeing this Masque for months and didn't want to get it because I had my Terressentials mud wash, which I love and plan on keeping in my arsenal. But Terressentials can get expensive so I don't like using it too often, especially since I don't like using it diluted either. I decided to cave and try out this masque and I am SOOOO glad I did! This stuff is amazing!

I washed my hair with my Bobeam's Honey and Oats Bar, and applied the Masque to my damp hair. INSTANT DETANGLING. Holy cow! The comb and my fingers just glided through my hair, and I couldn't get over how good my hair felt. This stuff is amazing and for the price, I think it'll have to be a keeper. Like the mudwash, this product detangles and also like the mudwash, the clay properties also work as a way to cleanse the hair too. I'm not sure how I get away with using this as a DC, but believe me it works. I left it on my hair with a heat cap for half and hour and rinsing it out was a breeze. Plus, my hair felt just as soft and tangle free rinsed as it did with the product in. I had a moment where I seriously wanted to walk out the door without applying any products; my curls looked that good. Even the boyfriend said I should just leave it as is (but I think that's mostly because he didn't want me to twist it up and put on my wig. He hates that thing). But for the sake of my winter regimen (which seems to be working) I flat twisted my hair after moisturizing and sealing, and let my hair air dry. I think that's why my hair stayed so moisturized during the week with very little remoisturizing and sealing.

Anyway, if you've been curious about trying this product, I give it two thumbs up! I like it so much that even though I just washed, DC'd and put in mini twists, I'm soooo tempted to do another DC treatment with this just because! But alas, I'll refrain and leave my hair alone until the next wash time.

I love Moisture, Yes I do!

I had the best hair spa day on Saturday! It had been a whole week since my last wash and I'd taken out the flat twists I'd been wearing for a week under my wig. Before my wash, I have to admit my hair wasn't feeling to bad. It was soft and I only washed because I knew that there was product build up so I figured washing was a good idea. So I sectioned my hair into four, and spritzed my hair liberally with my green tea and aloe vera juice spritz. I applied my Left Coast Lemon Terressentials Mudwash to each section, rubbing it into the scalp with my finger and then down the length of my hair. I haven't mudwashed in about a month, so I'd forgotten how much I love that stuff! To make it last, I'm trying to use it just once a month and in between I use my BoBeam Shampoo Bars followed by the Shea Moisture Purification Masque (love that stuff). I let the mudwash sit on my hair for about half an hour without heat, and finally hopped in the shower to rinse thoroughly. I decided that a protein treatment was in order since I've been slathering on the conditioner as of late, so I used my Spiral Solutions Protein Treatment and left it on for ten minutes, before rinsing and applying Karen Body's Beautiful Luscious Hair Mask as my DC. I left it in with a heat cap for about 40 minutes, before rinsing on cool. After all of this, my hair felt great! So so soft, and the curls looked pretty good too. I was tempted to wear a wash n go, but I've been enjoying keeping my hair hidden away too much, so I installed mini twists!

First I applied a light deep conditioner as a leave in to each section of my hair, followed that with Hemp Seed Oil, and KBB Butter Love to seal. Hair still felt great and was looking shiny too! Then I spent the next three and half hours twisting with Elasta QP pomade gel (I know I know, this has mineral oil, but I figured on the ends of my hair only, it would act as another sealant. My hair was so moisturized, I had no worries about sealing heavily).

I kind of wish I had flat twisted my hair first and then installed the mini twist the following day, that way my hair could have been more stretched, but I didn't and so the twists shrunk right up when dry. Oh well. I'm wearing the twists under my wigs this week and will wear them out on the weekend. I'm planning on untwisting and wearing a super defined twist out for New Years Eve. Since they've been tied down, the frizz is very minimal and I think I'll actually get two weeks out of them, which will be nice. I plan on spritzing and sealing every other day or maybe every other other day. Depends on how my hair feels. I'm going out of town this weekend, so I can only take so much with me.

Friday, December 2, 2011

One Week At A TIme

I didn't think I wasn't going to be able to make it but I managed! That's right, I kept the corn rows in for two weeks! Well okay, they came down for like a few hours, but then my hair was braided up again. Not bad eh? I loved not having to do anything to my hair and just slap on my wig. It's been great, especially now that I'm working another job and really don't want to miss out on sleep for the sake of hair styling...not sure what I'll do in the in a few months when it warms up and I don't want to wear wigs. Another plus is that I haven't experienced any breakage, baggied a few times, and washed my hair once mid week. I took the cornrows out this afternoon because I wanted to really feel my hair. While it has been feeling dry during the week, once I took my hair down I realized it was actually pretty moisturized. I rubbed a bit of oil on my hands and ran it over my hair, and at first panicked because a lot of hair came away, but looking closely I realized it was all shed hair, which makes since.

What's next? Well my mother is gone and I can't corn row to save my I'm going to try to do six flat twists going straight back after I wash and deep condition either Saturday or Sunday. I'm not the greatest at flat twists either, so...hopefully they'll hold together for a week before I'll take them down and repeat the process. This time around I'm going to do something different. I've been faithful to my Mud Wash, but I think it's time I start using conditioner again. Therefore I'm looking to use more natural products and although I like making my own stuff, sometimes it's easier to just purchase a bottle of something ya know? I'm going to use my Oyin Honey Hemp Conditioner, but I won't be rinsing it out. I'm going to leave it in my hair and seal with some safflower oil followed by maybe castor oil or some type of heavier pomade. I'm hoping this will leave my hair feeling moisturized longer. And during the week I'll spritz my hair with my new green tea, honey, and aloe vera juice spritz and lightly seal with coconut oil. I haven't decided if I'll continue to do the baggy method. Since I'm wearing a wig during the day, I don't want my hair to be damp when I put it on because I heard that can cause mildew (ew). If I do baggy I'll probably save putting on the wig as the last thing I do before leaving the house, that way my hair should be dry by then.

I think this'll be my regimen for December....mostly. I've decided I will straighten my hair on the 22nd, right before I leave to Ohio for Christmas. I don't want to bring my wig along, and I don't feel like messing with twists or twist outs, so I think a sleek look will do. After that I'll put the twists back in and return to wig wearing.