Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Self Challenge: Jamaican Black Castor Oil

I've been eyeballing Jamaican Black Castor Oil for some time and I'll admit I own a bottle, but I've not used it for anything other than my Kimmaytube Leave-In, which I only just recently made and started using. Today I decided to hop on Google and look of the benefits of JBCO.

JBCO Can:

  1. Increase hair growth
  2. Thicken hair that is starting to thin out
  3. Reduce and prevent hair damage
  4. Eliminate dry hair
  5. Make the hair fuller and shinier
  6. Deeply condition and moisturize hair and scalp
  7. Prevents dry scalp
  8. Boost your hair’s overall health
Sounds good to me! Since I seem to benefit from setting up mini/short term challenges for myself, I've decided that not only will I continue my finger detangling challenge that I started at the end of March, but May's challenge will be to use JBCO on my scalp at least twice a week, focusing on my edges and nape which are fairly thin, and I'll be setting my other oils aside for the month and using JBCO to seal my ends. I'll admit, I've read that JBCO can be thick and hard to apply so if it seems that I'm having issues with it, I'll probably pair it with a lighter oil like Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Apricot Kernal Oil or Almond Oil...whichever. I've also read that some people experienced increased shedding and scalp irritation when applying JBCO to their scalp, so if I notice that happening I will definitely stop and probably just use it on the length of my hair.

Instead of waiting until Tuesday (May 1), I'll probably start this challenge on Saturday or Sunday, when I wash and condition my hair...in fact I may even apply some JBCO to my scalp tonight and baggy. We'll see! I'll make sure to post a starting pick so we can see if there's a noticeable difference at the end of May.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Terressentials Mudwash: Leftcoast Lemon

Today after work I had plans to use the hour and 45 minutes I had before job number two to cleanse and condition my hair but Z wanted to meet for lunch and I had to switch cars with my dad so I was seriously pressed for time and the hour and 45 minutes came down to about 30 minutes. Usually when I use my Terressentials, I take my time and and apply it before I shower and make sure I focus on my scalp...this time around I didn't have that luxury so I grabbed the Leftcoast Lemon bottle. I'll admit I also have the lavender and the sultry spice, and I've been using the sultry spice a lot lately because I really like the scent even though a lot of people don't. I also think it works to moisturize and detangle my hair fairly well, even though the Terressentials website says the Leftcoast Lemon is the most moisturizing...and what do you know they are right!

Before applying the wash, I quickly spritzed my hair with aloe vera juice and water. I really like the left coast lemon because it is a little more liquidy than the other washes and therefore applies easier. Normally I apply in numberous section and then twist that section. This time around I just made six large sections, applies the wash and clipped them out of the way. I also like to let the wash sit for a bit on my hair, but I had to apply and than immediately hop in the shower. I was also trying to finger detangle and remove shed hairs as quickly as possible and I admit, I probably wasn't as gentle as I should have been. But once in the shower and rinsing my hair, the mudwash helped soften my hair so that I was able to finger detangle completely. After rinsing and once out of the shower I applied a good amount of the Tresseme Naturals and than pulled my hair back with a hair zing. My hair is feeling really soft and drying quickly which is nice. I didn't seal because I plan on applying some more leave-in when I get home before using my Donna Marie Dream Curling Cream to braid my hair. My hair also looks defined considering I'm not using any gel...I may have to remember this in the future if I ever need any quick styling...plus the hair zing makes it pretty easy to secure the hair back without needing to using an elastic on wet hair...hence it dries a lot faster without that annoying wet spot where the elastic meets the hair.

Anyway, I think once I finish all my Terressentials washes I'll repurchase the Leftcoast Lemon only; I love it so!

Kinda like a ponytail

Definition isn't too bad eh?

Not sure of the exact name of the hair zing, but it's the large one and from CVS

Center part with the bangs sectioned off and rolled towards the puff

Not very fluffy

Yo!

Finger Detangling...So Far So Good...Plus a very simple WnG

So I've been finger detangling only for nearly a month now and I gotta say it's going really well! I didn't think my hair would allow me to do it, but it's surprisingly doing very well...so well I wish I had this in my regimen sooner. I feel like with finger detangling I've been retaining more length. I will say I don't necessarily feel like my fingers are picking up all the shed hair so I think once a month (probably at the end of each month) I'll use a wide tooth comb or my Denman brush to comb through my hair after finger detangling...just to make sure I get everything and to prevent matting.

On a side note I'm really excited to be seeing some noticeable growth! I always complain about how my hair never grows and now I know it's not true! I don't know if it's the frequent cowashing, the finger detangling, or the Bee Mine Growth Serum but something I'm doing recently is working for me! The sides of my hair are nearly brushing my shoulders...I should definitely be able to claim shoulder length by June and I'm hoping my bangs will be brushing either my top or bottom lip. Fingers crossed!

On a side note here is my hair right now. I initially had it pulled back with a hair zing, but that was giving me a bit of a headache so I removed it and here is the result. This is my hair post mudwash with only a handful of tresseme naturals conditioner quickly run through it. Not bad right? No gel, no oil but still a pretty decent and defined WnG! Plus it feels soooo soft and not crunchy since it's sans gel...I love it and definitely might do this again in the future...I have a lot of gel to use up so once I'm out well I might become a gel less WnG, I don't need my hair super defined to be happy and I'd rather it felt soft instead of hard and crunch anyway.


The canopy area as usually is looking all limp and straight....le sigh



gettin longer!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Braid Out Success!

I'll admit that I'm normally a twist out kind of girl and I know it's only because I find twist easier and less time consuming than braiding, but after trying a braidout this weekend I may have to be rethinking that! I love the definition of a braidout...but not how long it took me to do. I'll be experimenting more with this and hopefully I'll get faster.

Sunday was hair day, so I began with a prepoo of Aphoghee 2 Minute Reconstructer, Evoo, Castor Oil, and Apricot Oil. I applied liberally to my hair and scalp and sat under my steamer. I'd read that a steamer gives your hair better results when you use it to prepoo instead of deep condition. I did like the results, but I now know to not use the Aphoghee as a prepoo and just stick with the oils. Why? Because when I rinsed and applied my Mudwash...my hair felt a little weird and rinsing the mud out it didn't feel as great as it normally does and I blame the Aphoghee coating my hair. So yeah I'll make sure to do the Aphoghee post wash next time around (I'm going to henna at the end of May so the Aphoghee won't happen again until July or so). After the mud wash I deep conditioned with Heaven in Hair and tossed on my hair therapy wrap as I cleaned the house. I dc'd for about an hour and rinsed in the shower. I followed that up with my modified Kimmaytube leave-in, sealed with Hairveda's Green Tea Butter and proceeded to braid my hair. I had about ten braids overall...took about an hour to do...I'm so slow and awkward at braiding and nearly gave up to flat twist instead, but I persisted and loved that the braids weren't unraveling at the end either like my twists often do. I let my hair air dry overnight and in the morning I coated my hands with some safflower oil and applied it liberally to my hair before beginning to unbraid. Loved the results, loved the shine, and definitely loved how soft my hair felt! I'll admit though that I was a bit heavy handed with the Green Tea so my hair felt oily...but that didn't bother me at all. I only wore the braid out yesterday and now I'm wearing a bun. Tomorrow I cowash and bun some more, but I'll be braiding my hair Friday to wear a braid out Saturday to my step mother's baby shower.

My hair is super oily feeling today but that's because I've been applying my Bee Mine Growth serum every night...can't wait to cowash tomorrow!





Thursday, April 12, 2012

Comparison Shots

I'm so glad I started this blog because it really does document how far my hair has progressed!

So I'm a little iffy on when I had my last relaxer, I know it was some time between March-May of 2010 and that same year in August I had the my hair cut and the back was shaved/cut super short so essentially I did a half Big Chop. The front part of my hair I never really chopped and just trimmed occassionally so in all honesty I might still have relaxed hair in the front, but the back I know is all natural.  I started blogging/documenting my hair journey in April of 2011 so I like to think of that as my starting point of naturalism so here are a few shots of my hair from before up until now.

April:


September 2011: This was just after my Deva Cut


September 2011 twist out


June2011 Two strand Twist Updo

Now: Some of my most recent hairstyles...keep in mind I had a trim last month.
WnG

Medium two strand twists

Twist out



WnG
My hair has grown...maybe not a lot but it slowly gets there! I went from having my twist out not event touching my neck and now it's grazing the base of my neck. Woo hoo! APL here I come...hopefully some time this year.

The GOC Part Two Has Officially Begun!

I can't remember if I mentioned it before, but Hairscapades is hosting the second round of the Grow Out Challenge and I'm officially a part of it. This challenge will last until September and hopefully this time around I'll really see some growth and retention. To insure that my hair reaches its goal of APL (or nearly there) I've been bunning a lot recently. I was wearing a lot of WnGs for a bit, but since I'm not detangling with a comb and  using just my fingers right now, I figured it would be best to bun my hair since WnGs have a tendency to leave me with a lot of single strand knots. Also, I'm hoping to see some growth by the end of July because I'm going to a wedding and I'd love to wear my hair out and have it all grazing my shoulders, so I'm forcing myself to either keep the hair bunned or pinned up in some way. Normally I feel really boring in buns, but I've been wearing them high, low and to the side this week which keeps the style fresh and fun; tossing in a pretty flower or scarf helps too.

In addition to bunning I'm cowashing once, sometimes twice a week or more depending on how consistent I am with working out. Since I sweat a lot I usually try to rinse my hair in the shower afterwards...I don't always cowash, but I make sure to rinse my hair and scalp thoroughly. Besides cowashing, I've been deep conditioning with my steamer every other week and while I can't say it's making a huge difference, I love the feel of my hair afterwards. I've also been applying the Bee Mine Growth Serum to my scalp everyday. I don't know if it works but I want to finish it. I won't be repurchasing since I'm trying to avoid growth aids because I'm starting to believe that they are mostly marketing ploys. I nearly purchased some hair growth vitamins the other day but refrained because I've tried a lot of them and if they worked, my hair would be down my back by now.

I recently mixed up Naptural85's body/hair oil concoction with a few essential oils added and I think this will officially be my new sealant. I did this on Monday after cowashing my hair and using KBB Sweet Ambrosia as my leave-in. Up until today my hair has remained super soft and moisturized and shiny! I'm not going to be purchasing any other premade sealants from now on and will stick with the oil mixture and my Shea Butter mix (well...when I get around to making another batch). I still have the KBB Creamylicious and the KBB Butta Love to use up. I had a few Anita Grant butters and pomades but I think I'm going to give those to my sister. While I did like them, I just never seem to use them and I think she'll benefit more from them. I also have some hair grease that I know I'm never going to use again. I had temporarily hopped on the hair grease bandwagon and just never really got into it so I have two full jars of stuff that I might just throw away. Luckily they were very cheap.  I have a few leave-ins that I want to use up as well since I tend to either spritz my hair with water/aloe vera juice or I use a rinse out conditioner as my leave-in. While I love the KBB Sweet Ambrosia I just don't think I need it when other, cheaper things work better. One leave-in I am loving is the Cantu-Shea Butter Repairing Leave-In and that might become a staple.

Wow this post is all over the place topic-wise. Sorry! Basically I'm getting my regimen down and I'm narrowing down my product pile. There are a lot of products I still want to try, but other than conditioners/deep conditioners, I won't be purchasing leave-ins or sealants.

My hair plans for this week: I think my hair definitely needs a shot of protein this weekend so I'll be cleansing with my mudwash, using the Aphogee two minute reconstructer, and deep conditioning with...something, not sure what...maybe the As I Am Elation Hydration. I also might but in some two strand twists on Sunday...but we'll see.

Today's Banana Clip Bun: I just tucked and pinned the hair down.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Hair Analysis

A few weeks ago I decided to bite the bullet and try the Live Curly Live Free Hair Analysis. The test is a way to find out the porosity, elasticity and overall texture of your hair. I did the test because I was worried that maybe I was using the wrong products or something since my hair was growing so slowly, so I figured the test would tell me that maybe my hair was damaged or so something. Turns out I was completely wrong. In fact my hair is basically…normal. Nothing fancy about it! While the test didn’t necessarily wield the secret to fast growing hair, it did put my mind at ease so now I know how to better take care of my “normal” hair.
Here are my results:
Hair Type Information
Your hair texture is: MEDIUM-COARSE (medium with slightly coarse characteristics)
Your hair texture is determined by the diameter of the hair strand itself. Fine hair has the
smallest diameter, coarse hair has the largest, and medium texture is somewhere in
between. Not everyone has the same uniform texture over their entire head, however;
for example, you can be fine at the nape and coarse at the hairline (especially if those
pesky grays are starting to pop up).

Your hair texture plays one of the most important roles in how you should care for your
curls, not only through daily maintenance, but also when considering any chemical
services such as haircolor or texturizing. Even how your hair is cut needs to be adapted
to the texture of your hair.

Medium hair is what is considered “normal” hair, meaning it has a mid-range texture. It
does not require any special considerations for chemical services and usually
processes normally. Undamaged hair with a medium texture usually has a “normal”
amount of protein structure as well.

Your hair does have some coarse characteristics as your hair strands have a slightly
more substantial texture than those classified within the true medium texture range.
They are not as thick or as strong as those with “classic” coarse hair texture, however.
Different hair texture types also respond differently to the kind of cutting they receive.
Medium-coarse hair can usually support a wide range of styles; however, extremely
short cuts can be problematic because hair with a medium-coarse texture can often
expand naturally in an east-west direction.

Your hair porosity is: NORMAL
Porosity is the hair's ability to absorb and retain moisture. Porosity is a critically
important factor in determining one's curly hair care. Since moisture is what defines and
shapes curls, the inability to keep moisture within the hair shaft will defeat the most
valiant efforts to maximize curl potential.

Your degree of porosity is directly related to the condition of your cuticle layer. Healthy
hair with a compact cuticle layer is naturally resistant to penetration. Porous hair has a
raised cuticle layer that easily absorbs water, but is quick to lose moisture as well.
Please note that the texture of your hair is not an indication of its porosity. Different
degrees of porosity can be found in all hair textures.

© Copyright Live Curly, Live Free LLC Page 3 of 6 April 3, 2012
Hair with average porosity is considered "normal" hair. With normal porosity, the cuticle
is compact and inhibits moisture from leaving or entering the hair shaft; however, it
allows for normal processing when a chemical service is performed (according to the
texture) and will readily absorb and retain product properly formulated for this hair type.

Your hair elasticity is: NORMAL
Elasticity is the ability of your hair to stretch and then return to its original length without
breaking. It is an indication of how strong the side bonds are in your hair, which are the
bonds that hold the individual protein chains of the hair strand into place. More than any
other property, elasticity is what dictates your hair's ability to hold its curl, whether
natural, or created by a wet set or perm.

Hair with normal elasticity can be stretched when wet to up to 50% of its original
length and will easily return back without breaking.

Product in Review: As I Am Coconut CoWash Cleasing Conditoner


Cost: $8.00 (16oz)
Perks: Silicone Free, Sulfate Free, Paraben Free, Glycerin Free, Protein Free
Ingredients: Aqueous (Water, Aqua Purificada, Purified) Extracts: Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) and Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine)¹, Cetyl Alcohol², Cetrimonium Chloride, Cetearyl Alcohol², PEG-40 Castor Oil, Stearlkonium chloride, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil², Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil¹, Phytosterols¹, Serenoa Serrulata Fruit Extract¹, Quaternium-18, Potassium Sorbate, Fragrance/Parfum, Limonene, Methylisothiazolinone. Source: 1-Natural, 2-Coconut

Where to Buy: Sally’s, curlmart.com, asiamnaturally.com
For the 16oz size of this jar I think the price is right! And if you like coconut, then you’ll love the scent. I really love the smell of this stuff. The consistency of the product is thick, almost reminds me of a custard and I know this jar is going to last me a while. Since it’s the only thing in my shower right now, I’m sure I’ll get through it before summer though. It’s a great product to use for those of you who like to refresh your WnG often (I try to go for second day hair, therefore I cowash every other day…but sometimes I do get in and cowash my hair every day, if not I’ll just wet it).
When I first used this, I was a little iffy about liking it because it felt like it had no slip. Since then I’ve used maybe about three more times and I’ve discovered that it does help with detangling if you leave it on for a bit first. So I’ll apply when I immediately step in the shower and won’t rinse it out until I know I’m about to get out. After it sat on my hair a bit, my fingers and Denman brush were gliding right through my hair. I haven’t tried using this product as a leave-in and I’m not sure if I will since it is technically for cowashing…but then again I use a lot of rinse out conditioners as leave-ins so…guess I gotta try it at least once right?
I think this product does a decent job of cleaning your scalp and removing some gunk from your hair. I won’t say it removes a lot and you’ll definitely want to shampoo at the end of the week, but to get your hair through the week than this works. Now that I think about it, I’m really diggin’ it as a cowash/conditioner and I’d be interested to see how it works as a DC too.
My final thoughts:
This product provides decent slip, smells great, and for 16oz is pretty affordable. Will I repurchase? I’m going to have to say I’m not quite sure yet. While I do like this product, I feel like there are cheaper things I can get on the ground for my cowashes. For instance I’d much rather use the Tressame Naturals instead of this. Would I still recommend it? If you’re a product junkie and just love trying different products than I would totally say go for it! But personally I just can’t see this product turning into a Holy Grail. There’s just not enough wow factor for me to really want to buy it again. I know some people love it and some don’t, and while I like it, I can’t quite see myself getting it again (but heck who knows, I might fall in love with it the more I use it). I have some more of their products in my arsenal that I haven’t tried yet (Elation Hydration and the Smoothing Gel) and there are some others that I want to try, but again I’ll wait until I use up some stuff.

Failed Twist Out? No Problem!

This is how I wore my hair yesterday to working in the morning (Turned the Twist out into a high bun).

In between jobs I cowashed my hair and while in the shower I had every intention of styling my hair in a WnG, but once out of the shower I decided that I wanted to wear my hair is a twist out the next day, so I proceeded to flat twist my hair using Botticelli Botanicals Flax Gelee and KBB Sweet Ambrosia. I was really pressed for time so I did about eight twists altogether and once I was done I pinned everything back and put on a hair net. On top of the hair net I tied  scarf and went to work (gotta love the instant style and versatility of a scarf).

After work I took off the scarf but I kept the hair net on and just slept on my satin pillowcase since I wanted to give my hair a chance to dry since it was still relatively wet even after eight hours of drying time.

 This morning I rubbed some KBB Creamylicious onto my hair and started to untwist, about half way through I realized that some parts of my hair still felt pretty damp and that most of the back of my head ended up being less defined than the front. If I had time I would have retwisted and wore another head scarf, but it was already too late, so I just wore the twist out anyway. I actually liked how big and fluffy my hair was, but upon returning home from work and before I went to job number two, I was messing in my hair and did a sort of 'fro hawk and left my bangs out. Basically I just smoothed the sides of my hair and pinned down the hair using bobby pins, leaving the center area free and fluffy.  For some added flare I tossed in a large, coral colored flower and matching lipstick and I think the overall affect is pretty cute and pretty easy!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Product in Review: Karen’s Body Beautiful Butter Love

Cost: $18.00 (200ml)
Ingredients: Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Mango Butter, Jojoba Butter, Aloe Butter, Essential and or Fragrance Oils, Grapefruit Seed Oil, Vitamin E
If your hair can handle thick butters like Shea Butter or if it doesn’t get weighed down easily, I would recommend this, but I think it's smarter to save some money and just buy a large jar of unrefined shea butter. I will say that this stuff is great when it comes to sealing in moisture, and it also imparts a nice sheen to the hair. I’ve used this mostly as a sealant and I’ve also used it to two strand twist my hair because I found that the thicker butters can provide enough hold to keep my twists intact; and the results always led to pretty nice twist outs too!
Would I buy this again though? Probably not! Why? Because although it’s great as a sealant and has really nice ingredients, I can get like two pounds of Shea Butter and make my own stuff for a lot cheaper. KBB can be expensive and for something like butters, I find that spending more doesn’t change the fact that you’re still getting plain ol’ shea butter with a few added extra oils. Most oils are pretty cheap and last a long time, so I’d recommend stocking up and experiment with making your own stuff. If you’d rather just buy something and the price is alright with you, than yeah I would recommend the Butter Love, but in all honestly I’m sure there are tons of products out there that do just as good of a job sealing the moisture in your hair for a lot less. Heck you could use plain shea butter and that would work just as well.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Uber Defined Flat Twist Out

It’s such a wonderful feeling when you wake up in the morning to untwist your hair, and when the first twist is released, you can already tell your hair is going to look good. Today’s hair looks good! Yesterday was wash day, but I had to work in the morning, so Saturday evening I decided I would go ahead and prepoo with Brahmi oil and let it marinate throughout my morning and early afternoon on Sunday. On Sunday, I spritzed my hair liberally with my aloe vera juice and water mix, and washed with my Terressential Lavender Mudwash (smells so good). I massaged the mudwash into my roots and hair, and then let it sit on my hair for about 15 minutes, while I did some light cleaning and folded laundry. The one thing I love about the lavender is that you can feel it give your scalp a nice tingle, and lavender is supposed to promote hair growth, so it’s a win win. In the shower I rinsed thoroughly and afterwards applied my As I Am Elation Hydration as my DC and moved to sit under the steamer for half an hour. After all of this, my hair was feeling pretty good, soft and well moisturized, and looking pretty defined too; while the deep conditioner was in, I had finger detangled. So far I’ve not used a comb in about four days, and I’m still a little skeptical about whether or not my fingers are getting the job, but I’ll stick it out for now.
After my DC was rinsed, I had every intention of putting my hair in a bun and leaving it alone…but it looked so hydrated and shiny, I fingered I might as well try for a twist out. I used Donna Marie’s Curl Defining Cream, applying a decent amount to each section, again detangling with my fingers, and then flat twisting. What I like about the finger detangling over a comb is that my natural curl patter wasn’t disturbed too much, so I could tell that my twist out was going to be a kind of twist out/ wash and go combo, which is a look I really like. I had finished twisting my hair around 7pm and by the time I crawled into bed at 9:30, I knew that my hair might not be dry in the morning….and I was right. In the morning my hair was damp enough that I didn’t want to release the twists, and so I found a pretty scarf and fashioned a sort of turban to wear to my first job.


After work, I knew the twists were dry but I decided to go ahead and get my workout in, and so I left the twists alone since my scalp sweats pretty heavily when I work out. Post workout I showered and  made my dinner while I let my scalp dry a bit and about ten minutes before I had to leave I coated my hands with safflower oil and removed the twists. My hair was already looking pretty shiny form the Donna Marie (love that stuff and must review soon), the safflower oil helped to give my hair more shine.

I loved everything about how my hair came out. It felt soft and it was defined! I haven’t used the Donna Marie in a while and I think this stuff may have to become a staple, it worked really well for my twist out and it smells delicious. I only hope that tonight I can get away with putting my hair in a pineapple so that I can wear this twist out tomorrow. I shouldn’t lose too much definition and in fact should get a little more stretch.



Second day hair after putting hair into two pineapples