Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January Styles: Coils and a Wash and Go

I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of manipulation to my hair recently, although technically I really haven’t. A week ago I did some coils with a flat twist in the front, but they didn’t turn out as well as my last set…probably because I didn’t use a gel or anything very heavy to get them to hold their shape. I didn’t really mind though because I was wearing the style under my new wig anyway. After that I  washed my hair  and decided to attempt Naptural85’s Perfect Winter Wash and Go. The only thing different that I did was put a little grape seed oil on my hair was I was still in the shower, than twisted each section.
I must say I really liked how this came out. The best part was that my hair was soft and still had a lot of movement! When I typically wash and go, I shingle in some eco style gel so that my curls get super defined, the only downside, my hair is usually left nice and crunchy, and barely moves. I love the definition but hate how my hair feels. With this wash and go, I loved how my hair was still soft. Plus my hair dried a lot quicker than a regular WnG. I definitely will be trying this method again. I didn’t attempt her “how to maintain” a wash and go, since I opted to style my hair differently, but next time I do this, I’ll challenge myself to make it last five days!

My First Yarn Braids

That's right I bit the bullet and did yarn braids this past weekend! I know, what happened to that flat ironing session I had planned. Well I started to...but then I wasn't liking the look too much, so I stopped and hopped in the shower and decided to do Naptural85's Winter Wash and Go. That was Saturday. I'd ordered yarn and wasn't expecting it to arrive until Monday, but it arrived Saturday...but I was already wearing the wash and go and didn't want to ruin it, but the urge to start the braids was intense. I'd heard horror stories of how long it takes and I wanted to get started, but my friend Dayon and I were going out for a bit and then I would have to cook dinner, etc...so I wasn't able to get started until Sunday...and I meant to wake up early and start, but I don't think I officially started until eleven. I was able to finish the back section of my hair by about 4:30 and had to run to the grocery store to get things for dinner and then when I got back, I had to whip dinner together real quick. I was making chicken so while it was in the oven for 45 minutes I decided to work on my hair some more. And then after dinner Z and I were meeting some friends at a movie so I tossed on one of my threadmill beanies and left. I did a few more braids upon returning to the house after the movie but decided I should just go to bed and finish the next day. To work in the morning I wore by beanie again and when I came home it took another three hours to finish braiding my hair.

The process, despite the amount of time, was surprisingly easy. Granted I'm not a great braider but I think everything came out pretty well. I tried to make all the braids as secure as possible without making them too tight. Prior to braiding I spritzed my hair liberally with Jane Carter's Nourishing Leave-In, applied some Hairveda Gelly, and used my homemade shea butter mix to seal. I also spritzed the yarn before beginning to braid. For the back half of my hair I did the three strand method and for the front half I did the two strand method, that way the back could look a little fuller without me having to make a ton of small braids. I figured by spritzing my hair and the yarn, my hair would stay moisturized longer. During the week I simply spritz lightly with water mixed with aloe vera juice, and every few days I use the Bee Mine Growth Serum on my scalp. I'm hoping I can go two weeks without washing...maybe even a month, but since I'm also working out...I make have to stick with a weekly wash...we'll see.

Ultimately I plan on keeping the braids in six weeks. If they still look good at that point, I might tack on another two weeks. This all depends on how my hair does and how everything feels. I'm hoping to see a lot of growth so the longer I keep them in the better, but I'll listen to my hair and if it seems like they need to come out in four weeks, than I'll remove them.

After I take them out I'll probably do a Terressentials wash, deep condition with steam, rinse and leave in my dc and then bun for two weeks to give my hair a rest. Depending on the state of my hair I might put the yarn braids back in for another month and a half before switching to wash and go's for the summer or if it looks like my hair completely suffered from the yarn braids, I'll just leave it be and go back to a wig until summer time.

Anyway, let me know what you think! I love them. Zac doesn't love them at all, but he's dealing well enough. Extensions aren't really his thing and he wishes I would have just kept my real hair out, but I did this for me not him, so as long as I'm happy with the look then everything is good! At least he kisses me with the braids. When I wear wigs he doesn't show me any attention until I take it off lol.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Last minute henna treatment

Two days ago, on a whim, I decided I wanted black hair, but I didn't want to use regular jars. I had purchased a jar of Rainbow Black Henna a few weeks ago and I figured today would be a perfect time to try it. I wasn't aware there was such a thing as "black henna" at least, not without the use of indigo so...I was a little skeptical about this stuff and kind of worried about the quality too...but if I could get black hair in one step then I was willing to try it.

Why I decided to do this today I don't know, but I had exactly one hour and 45 minutes to wash my hair, let the henna sit, rinse my hair, throw it up into a style, and get dressed before I left for work. Not to mention get my things together and let the dog out. Sooo not enough time. Washing alone is usually a length process, what with detangling in advance and really taking my time in the shower so I don't rip out my hair, plus I wanted to use my mud wash....but I don't like applying that directly in the shower like you would a regular shampoo...so Bobeams Shampoo Bar it was.

Prior to getting in the shower, and right after letting the dog out, I applied hot water to the henna powder, and added some acv, honey, and olive oil for extra conditioning properties. I mixed with a spoon and headed to the shower to wash my hair while the mixture cooled for a bit.

 I sectioned my hair into four, got in the shower and quickly used the shampoo bar on each section. I gently, but quickly finger dentangled my hair as I shampooed but I knew I had more tangles than I was feeling. When I got out, I squeezed the excess water out of my hair using a t-shirt and then applied the henna. I was moving fast and making a mess (I cleaned it all up), but I just wanted to get my hair done and over with. The henna was dark... so I assumed my hair would end up darker if not necessarily black. I got my whole head done and put on two plastic caps, followed by my heat therapy wrap. I wanted to do a 40 minute treatment, but I was pressed for time so I had to shave off ten minutes. For added measure I made the heat therapy wrap extra hot....hoping that would allow the henna to penetrate better. Then it was time to rinse in the shower....oh boy I felt like I was rinsing my hair forever! The water was still running black, but I applied some Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner anyway and detangled with my denman. That darn thing just glided through my hair. I had to look at the ingredients in the conditioner. Whatever is in it, it is amazing! Dentangling was so easy! I may have to keep this stuff (plus it's cheap too). I gave my hair a final rinse and although the water ran clear, I had a feeling some henna was still probably lingering in my hair. I didn't have time to continue rinsing though so out of the shower I went. (I did scratch my head two seconds later and henna came up under my fingernails, will be cowashing tomorrow).

I would normally have braided my hair and put on a beanie, but my hair was wet and I wanted it to air dry so I brushed it all up into a high banana clip bun, pinned in the ends of the hair and tossed on a headband. I'm surprised no one said anything at work. I've been rocking a short wig Monday-Wednesday...but a high bun Thursday...whatever, I make no claims that the wig is my hair. Anyway, I hope my hair will dry well enough this way.

Anyway the color came out great! It's kind of a dark brown...but henna usually darkens as time passes so by tomorrow or Saturday my hair should look pretty black. I'm glad I got the red out of my hair from my last henna treatments. While I did like it, I think I prefer my hair dark.

Tomorrow I cowash and then Saturday I'm straightening my hair! I know I know. Heat! Gasp! But it's the end of the Hairscapades GOC and I want to get a good shot of my length before I continue on with my regimen and grow out challenge.

Next weekend I'm going to do my own yarn braids...not looking forward to the long process but I rather spend 20 hours and do it myself for 5 bucks (the cost of yarn) than spend 150 dollars to get it done (granted in about 6 hours instead of 20)....5 or 150...you get the picture. Granted if I'm doing a horrible job, I'll go get my hair done (or give up the idea) but I think I can do it. I really like the look of yarn braids, plus as a protective style, that means six to eights weeks of low maintenance hair styling. I plan on uber moisturizing my hair before installing them and then upon removal, I'll do an uber protein treatment.

I'll come back with pictures of my straight hair in another post. I'm a little nervous, because I'm going to use grapeseed oil as my heat protectant...it's supposed to work so, we'll see!

Back to the original purpose of the post, if you plan on doing a henna treatment, make sure you give yourself significant time for the treatment. While I did get it done, I'd rather have done it without the rush.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A simple, easy style for Date Night with your Boo (or with friends too)

I love date night! Z and I don’t get to get out too often…mainly because I’m really tired by the time the weekend rolls around. So when date night finally does arrive it means…I have to do my hair. You see, Z doesn’t really like wigs or when I wear my hair in twists. He prefers a twist out or a wash n go, and generally likes my hair big, wild and natural. Since most of winter I’ve had my hair either twisted up, corn rowed or hiding and don’t even get me started on bed time. I do not go to bed looking my finest…usually I have a satin bonnet on or even a plastic cap or something or other that makes me look crazy.  So for date night I decided to oblige him and me…sort of. You see I’ve been missing my hair lately…not enough to give up the convenience and easy styling of wigs, but enough that when the weekend rolls around, I’m glad to be able to wear my hair out. So here’s what I did for the following style, done on unwashed hair on a semi twist out. When I say semi it is because only my bangs were two strand twisted, the rest was pulled back into a low pun.
For the twisted bangs I only used Hairveda’s Whipped Gelly only. I didn’t spritz the hair or detangle, I just parted, slathered on a good dose of gelly, and twisted. I love this stuff. I kept the twists and about an hour or two before my shower I put perm rods on the end to help them curl up better. After my shower and make-up application, I worked on the back of my hair first. Using more of the whipped gelly and a little water for moisture, I used my Mason Pearson brush to smooth my hair into a high bun. Next I took a banana clip and placed it horizontally around my hair and secured it. I was left with a puff/ponytail at the top of my head. Using ouchless bobby pins, I tucked the ends under all around, pinning a section at a time to make a sort of donut bun. I try to spread the hair out enough to cover the banana clip. Once this was done, I wore a scarf for a bit to smooth my edges and let the gel set a bit. Afterwards it was time to release the twists. The twists came out super defined! I loved it and sort of wished I’d done my whole head (I hadn’t had time at the time) and the perm rods definitely helped the ends. I was going to let the hair just hang as is, but it was a little too much bang for me, so the swooped the hair to the side and pinned it back towards the bun. I was let with a nice textured fringe of hair that wasn’t drooping all into my face. I love it! Plus my hair felt so nice and soft too. Z didn’t say anything about the hairdo or how nice I looked, but I was feelin’ me so that’s all that matters.
I’ve realized lately that I really love the look of a high bun, either with or without fringe. It’s such an easy hairstyle and can make you look sophisticated or casual, depending on your outfit. It’s my go to style for the weekends. Cute, but protective too! I was sad to wash my hair the next day, but since I’ve been working out more recently, I definitely can’t go two weeks without washing my hair. I barely make it through the week and my itchy scalp drives me crazy. Anyway, if you’re looking for a last minute date night hairstyle, all you need are a banana clip and some hair pins. If you didn’t twist your hair beforehand that’s fine. This look also works if you just gather all the hair up and then you can wear a cute headband or flower accessory to dress it up.  

For instance, I took a silk scarf and wrapped it around my hair and made a big bow. I tucked the bangs back and wala! Instant style. The bow makes the style cute...without seeming too childish...I hope.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Years Eve Hair

I had every intention of wearing my hair down in a braid out for New Years Eve, but it had been two weeks since I'd washed my hair and while it felt really soft, it was a little too soft since I've been over moisturizing my hair on purpose. My hair isn't breaking or anything and is actually benefiting from too much moisutre, but just wouldn't hold up to maintaining a braid out. I was going to put all the hair up into a high bun with a cute headband, but the boyfriend likes the look of bangs in front of my hair so I had to think of something else.

Since my new years outfit was a bit retro I figured I'd try an updo of some sort and had a black scarf in hand so I got to thinking I'd do something with a turban and leave the bangs out (something similar to Nikkimae2003 how to tie a turban video on youtube). I flat twisted my bangs and put perm rods on the end after spritzing the hair and using my Hairveda Hair Jelly. I put my sue maesta hood on the back half of my failed braid out and over this I put on a sheer black scarf that I tied into a turban, tucking in the excess peices where I could fit them. I really liked the look and it was sooo easy, but cute! I will definitely do this again with other scarves. Plus it's something I can do in the summer as a low manipulation look since beanies and wigs will be out of the picture.

Here are pics of the styled look before I left the house. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of what my hair looked like upon my return home. The twisted bangs had turned into a fluffy afro, but it still looked cute to me!

HELLO 2012!

It's a new beginning! I love the start of the new year. I always feel like now I can do things right...until about April or May when all my new year declarations seem to disappear. I didn't make any new year hair resolutions. I think I'm pretty much going to stick with what I've been doing, with the exception of continuing with growth aids. As I said in a previous post, once I'm out of certain things, I won't be repurchasing. I plan on coming back with a new years eve hair post, to show you all how I ended up styling my hair, but until then here is a brief recap of what I learned in 2011 about my hair and how it'll benefit me in 2012.

So I like to say I officially started my healthy hair journey in April of 2010...although I'd made the decision to stop relaxing nearly six months before that time. At the beginning of my journey (and still kind of sort of now) I jumped on every bandwagon or product that youtubers or other bloggers mentioned. I tried any and all regimens I came across and basically never stuck with anything long enough to see if my hair was really benefiting from this or that. Suffice to say, I've seen very little growth until recently. I think my hair would be significantly longer now if I'd done what I've been doing recently a year ago.

What have I really learned in 2011? I learned that my hair does best when it isn't manipulated and when I say un-manipulated, I mean it. Some people think of low manipulation as simply wearing a wash and go or two strand twists everyday and that may work for them, but I've discovered that my hair does best when I leave it alone completely during the week. What I've been doing for the past month and a half is washing on Saturday or Sunday (depending on my schedule) using either one of my Bobeams shampoo bars or my Terressentials Mudwash, deep condition with either my KBB DC, Shea Moisture Purification Masque, or a homemade mix of mayo/yogurt, honey, avj, and olive oil. After I DC for about 45 minutes to an hour I rinse with cool water and apply another DC as my leave in, really focusing on my ends and layering the product on thick and then detangling with my denman at this point (although usually with the Mudwash or Purification Masque, I can finger detangle and call it a day). On top of this I've been using Hemp Seed Oil followed by a thicker pomade such as my Shea Butter Mix, Hairveda Almond Glaze (must review this soon) or when the mood hits me, grease. After this my hair normally feels great, soooo moisturized. Previously after this I would flat twist all my hair so that I could wear it for the week under wigs or beanies, but now that I've learned to corn row I do that instead. And that is how my hair remains for an entire week until my next wash. Sometimes midweek I'll spritz and seal, but I find that I don't really need too, which is one of the reasons I layer on a DC as my leave-in instead of something lighter. Also since I do this, I try to do some kind of protein based DC every so often, that way my hair doesn't get tooo soft.

For the first time I recently went two whole weeks without washing my hair and I must say my hair felt rather good, if a little soft. I may try this again and see how my hair does, if anything instead of washing after a week I might remove the braids, spritz my hair, put a little more of my DC leave-in, and seal before braiding up again and then wash the following week.

Since starting this new routine, I've finally seen some noticeable growth in my hair and...unfortunately I don't have a picture yet, but I'll take one soon to prove it. I'm not sure how this routine will change in the warmer months since I don't plan on wearing wigs or hats then....maybe some twist updos?

Sorry getting off track, so yeah, 2011 taught me that my hair doesn't like to be bothered which kind of sucks, because this means when I decide to wear my hair out in the summer, I'll have to be careful that I don't suffer a set back. I don't want to grow my hair long if it means I have to keep it up and covered all the time. Hopefully my hair will get stronger or something and will be able to handle more manipulation later. We'll see but if this routine can get me shoulder length curls I'll be happy! I look forward to thicker, longer hair in 2012.