Thursday, May 24, 2012

BraidnCurl, plus Bangs!

Who says a naturally curly girl can't have bangs? Really...who said that? For some reason I was under the impression that someone with my hair texture couldn't have bangs anymore...and I can't technically, not the heavy,sleek fringe over the forehead kind, but this past weekend, while attending the National Natural Hair Meet Up Day in Alexandria, Virginia, I found out I can indeed have curly bangs! The night before I braided my hair and made sure I parted the front in a way that when loose, the hair would fall over my forehead. To the ends of each braid I used flexi rods to curl them (first time doing this I think) and hit the sack. The next day I took out the rods, unraveled each braid and fluffed my hair, making sure to arrange the fringe in the front off to the side. I loved the look! When I had straight hair I loved a side swept bang and really missed that look. Now I know I can still do it!I won't do it all the time because I don't like hair on my forehead since it can cause breakouts, but for the day it was pretty cute. Plus I loved how "big" my hair was simply from curling the ends. As soon as they mini twists come out, this will probably be the style I choose to wear for my "free" week.

Anyway for this style I just used my Darcy's Botanical's Cocoa Bean Smoothing Cream before braiding and rolling with flex rods.

Hours later...not as defined and it was hot, had to get that hair off my face

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Playing with a random updo

Yes I just put in mini twists, but I did this style a few days before out of boredome and I was suddenly struck with the idea that I would put in a style that I wouldn't have to mess with for a few days...yeah that didn't happen. I have a problem with going to my morning job with one style and coming home and wanting some diffferent for job number my hair is suffering from over manipulation...hence the need for mini twists. Anyway the style was cute....but I did it on freshly washed hair and it puffed up something major with shrinkage. I think it would have looked much cuter on stretched hair....or rather longer hair, that way it could have swooped in front of the face more. Basically it was just three loose flat twists pinned back...the flower was for fun.

Mini Twist Challenge begins!

Alright so I know I said I was going to start in June, but I just want a break from my hair! I felt like I was messing in it or changing the style two or three times a day and that was just toooo much. So Tuesday afternoon I decided I wanted to start twisting. I started on the front of my hair in between jobs, making sure to keep my parts clean so as to not borrow hair. I also made sure to keep the twists tight so that they don't unravel. I put on a hair net with a flower thing to hide my hair while at work and afterwards, I went home to finish twisting the front. So that first day I worked about an hour and  half in between jobs and then another hour after work and didn't get to bed until 130 in the morning. The next day I just wore my hair in a bun and tucked the twists back into it. It looked pretty cute. I had every intention of twisting in between jobs again, but I realized I could work on the back of my hair while at work! I sit there doing this scanning thing and the computer is doing most of the work, so while it was processing each scan, I would twist my hair and was able to get a good chunk of the back done. When I left I just threw it all up in a bun again. In between jobs I twisted some more for an hour and then pulled my hair back and went to job number two. While here at this job I twisted off and on...if I were to guess it probably only took another two hours...but I kept having to get up and do work related stuff so I only just now finished. The back half of my hair I wasn't as meticulous with parting, but I did try to make sure I was twisting even strands of hair, that way the take down process can be easier.

Overall I really like them and I can see that my hair has grown where near where I think it should be but oh well. While twisting I noticed that a lot of the ends were tapering into thin points which I think means I'm going to make sure I moisturize and seal these twists really well while they are installed. I don't want to wet them too much though since that will result in shrinkage and I feel like they won't last as long if they are wet all the time. Also I feel like my hair doesn't look as full as I would like. According to my hair analysis my hair is pretty much "normal." Average density, average porosity, and average my hair isn't "fine" but apparently it's not very thick either and I wish it was. Mini twists and two strand twists would probably look a lot more luscious if my hair was thicker....but oh well, I have what I have. I'm going to try and use curl formers on them tonight so make the hair look fuller so hopefully that will help. In the evenings I plan on following Naptural85s wrapping method.

So today is May 23, at the minimum I would like to keep the twists in until June 16 which will be a little over three weeks. Ideally I'd love to keep them in a full month or even 6 weeks if possible. If they still look pretty fresh and if my hair doesn't appear to be "locing" than I will definitely push for the 6....but I'll be happy just to make it to three. If this works out well, than I may make this my summer routine. I have discovered, even though I never actually adhere to my own rules, that my hair thrives on low manipulation/protective styles. When I had yarn braids and removed them, my hair thrived  and when I wear my hair out a lot or cowash and a lot or twist a lot....then I see more single strand knots, thinning, shedding and what does that tell the girl who wants long hair? Protective Style! If I can get this to thicken up a bit than I wouldn' mind so much...and putting them in over a couple of days is a lot better than doing it in one sitting.

Anyway, if this works out well, than my plan will be to mini twist for 3-4 weeks, take them out for a week to give my hair a break, wash, deep condition and or henna, and then put them back in. If they work out for me, I have a feeling that come September when the GOC part two ends, I'll have seen some significant if my hair does thicken up, I may not always do "mini" twists and may opt to do small/medium twists that I can style into some sort of up do.

I also think I need to trim my hair more frequently, instead of every six to eight months, I might aim for every four until I stop seeing such thin ends. After I remove this set of mini twists I plan on getting a trim.

Wish me luck in keeping these in the next couple of weeks. I will say that the only reason I would take them out on the 16th is because my birthday is the 21st and I kind of want to rock big hair...but we'll see.  Also some twists may be retwisted in a couple of days if they start to unravel....hopefully they wont. Currently my hair feels pretty soft. Before putting in the twists I had put some Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Rose in overnight, used my Bobeams Honey Shea to wash, used Oyin Honey Hemp as a leave-in, sealed with castor oil and followed that with Hairveda's Almond Butter. Soft, soft and moisturized hair! I put it in a bun to stretch a bit and to twisting a day later.

On a side note, I think the reason the edges on my right side are so thin is because that's the side I sleep on. I'm sticking with my castor oil challenge and I'm going to try sleeping on my back more to help.

Check it out!
One or two...or three might be a little bigger than "mini" back there....

I scrunched in some water to make the ends curl up a bit

Don't really like how "scalp it looks on this side"

Post curlformers. It was surprisingly very easy to use them on these twists

Sadly, about an hour later all the curls disappeared...probably from lack of  using a product with "hold"

Thursday, May 17, 2012

TwistNGo and BraidNGo

You're probably looking at the title thinking...what is she talking about. Well, recently I've been styling my hair while wet in either twists or braids, usually post cowash. Afterwards I'll apply my leave-in and seal with Castor oil and then I will proceed to do about 8 to 10 twists or braids. Then I'll either clip the hair up or pin it back (today I tossed on a hair net with a flower).

Now I love WnGs, but I don't always like how my hair shrinks up, nor do I appreciate the crunchiness that gels leave behind, so randomly one day (while bored at my evening job) I decided to untwist my hair because it seemed that my hair wasn't drting fast enough while twisted up. I fluffed out the damp hair and the results kind of looked like a WnG! You could still see a little of the definition from the twists/braids, but my natural curl pattern was still very apparent. Plus the hair had stretched a little while drying in the twists. And the best part? There was no gel needed! My hair, when it dries completely, remains soft and moisturized and looks pretty good too. Granted the hair does...get a little big when there's no gel in it, but I personally love big hair so I don't mind at all! I'll love it even more when my hair gets longer. This seems like a great option for the summer/cooler temps of fall, because it gives a soft WnGesque look. Now the key thing about this style is that since it's damp, you shouldn't play around in the hair too much. My hair frizzes up on the ends if I mess with it too much and this is probably do to the lack of using a product with a strong hold. I haven't yet tried to get second day hair out of this. In the evening I've been baggying and then bunning or wearing it pinned back to work in the mornings. I might try rebraiding the hair tonight before baggying, that way when I release in the morning, the hair will be damp enough that it retained the natural curl patter, while also giving it that nice wave that braid outs give.

Currently I just removed my hair net and braids and fluffed out the hair. I was a little heavy handed with products today. I had done a protein treatment (trying to do this monthly and henna every three months  this morning that I left in for six hours and then washed with my Bobeams Oats and Honey Shampoo Bar. I used the Oyin Honey Hemp as my leave-in and applied...too much of it. I sealed with Castor oil and on top of that used the Darcy's Botanicals Sweet Cocoa Bean Curl Smoothing Cream. I finger detangled thoroughly (it's been a while since I was that thorough) and braided my hair. Because my hair was clearly white with product, I wore my TurbieTwister to help soak up the excess product while I got ready for job number two. When I removed it my hair was still producty but I didn't care, so I just tossed on my cotton hair net, which concealed my funky braids and pinned a flower on the side for style. Went to work and now it is about five hours later and my hair is still wet but no longer white (well there are bits of white showing) and decided to unbraid my hair and fluff so that it could dry fully (I don't like to baggy in the evenings if my hair is super wet). My hair smells awesome (from the honey hemp conditioner) and it feels really soft and looks like a BraidNGo! You can see my natural curl pattern mixed in with the braid pattern. My hair feels pretty producty so hopefully when I baggy tonight, some of the excess product will soak into my hair.

Oh yeah, I decided to wash a little early this week because I'm going to the National Natural Hair Meet Up Day in Alexandria on Saturday and I wanted my hair clean and slightly stretched for a braid out. I may DC on Sunday though with my Anita Grant Rhassoul Bars...just because.

Any way check it out!

The first is a TwistNGo that I did two days ago. It shrinks up a bit more with the Twist N Go...and this was with chunky twists that I had baggied the night before.

Braid N Go (Today). I do not like that my hair seems to be growing into some sort of mullet...but I'm not cutting or trimming until September so...we'll deal until then. But do you see that hair in the back touching the collar of my shirt? It's growing ya'll! I have high hopes for this Hairscapades Grow Out Challenge that I'm taking part in.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Contemplating Mini Twists

I don't know if I mentioned this before, but I'm going on vacation the second week of June. I'm only going to be out of town for a week, but a week away from my huge stash of products can really make hair care annoying. Plus I don't really want to haul a whole bunch of stuff with me (even though I technically could since I'm driving and not flying therefore don't have to worry about liquids and what not). I've been think a lot about protective styling recently and I've been watching tons of YouTube videos regarding mini twists lately...and I think I want to put some in. I'm not a twist a little bit every day kind of girl and prefer to just bang out the whole thing in one weekend, so I've been trying to figure out when I would do the mini twists (that is, if I decide to). I go on vacation June 9, so I'm thinking the weekend before might be the best time to install them. I'll prepoo/deep condition and then I'll probably lightly blow out my hair so that I can get the most stretch....if I don't blow it out, I'll probably do my wash routine Friday and then flat twist in order to give my hair some stretch and then start twisting Saturday.

Now my reason for watching Youtube videos is that I feel like my twisting technique isn't the best. When I two strand twist, no matter what holding product I use, they tend to unravel within a day or two. Now my hair is not considered "fine" so I know that can't be the reason, so after watching tons of videos, I realized it's my technique that results in twists that don't last very long. I'm that lazy two strand twister that wants to rush to the finish line. I move my hand quickly down as I twists, resulting in twists that are loose and less likely to last. So after watching my favorite YouTuber Naptural85 and her mini twist tutorial, I think I'm prepared to put in the time and effort to get long lasting mini twists. I really want to see this style last at least a month.

Now that being said, my technique isn't my only problem...I'm that natural chick that gets sooo bored with a style very quickly, and by quickly I mean sometimes how my hair is styled in the morning ends up becoming something different by the afternoon. This habit of mine needs to stop! Especially if I want to keep the hair manipulation to the minimum. So...since I seem to be doing well when I set up "mini" monthly challenges for myself, June's challenge will be mini twists! That's right, I will/must keep the mini twists in for an entire month by any means necessary (okay....if it feels like my hair is starting to lock up or something crazy, then they will be coming out).

I don't plan on washing my hair while in mini twists, at most I'll apply a little coconut oil and aloe vera juice and steam on a weekly basis, and in between just lightly mist and seal as a means of keeping my hair moisturized. I don't plan on applying anything to my scalp, as that will only lead to build up and I really don't want to have to shampoo my twist or even get them too wet because in the past wet twists meant unraveled twists....but there's a catch. My June vacation is at a beach house...which means the ocean...which means sandy, wet hair...which means, I'll most definitely have to wash....but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it and I'll figure something out to make sure my twists stay intact.

Phew! That that I've written all that out I'm really excited to install my mini twists! But....I've got two more weeks of my Castor oil challenge and if my hair is not in a bun or some kind of out of the face updo, then it's in a twist out or braid out (usually weekends only). I can't really tell the JBCO is doing anything for growth...overall my hair feels pretty healthy and is staying pretty well, I'll try to scrounge up some old pictures so that I can post a comparison/update at the end of the month.

On a side note, besides mini twists I've also been comtemplating....straightening my hair. But don't worry, I don't plan on doing that until April 2013!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Twist Outs and Curlformers

Since I knew my weekend was going to be too busy for my regular wash day routine, I opted to get things started Friday night after work. Once home I decided I wanted to prepoo with my Brahmi Oil mixed in with some Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner. I warmed the oil first before adding the conditioner and after spritzing my hair with water, I applied my mixture to my sectioned off hair, working it through and detangling with my fingers along the way. I twisted each section after working on it and once done, I place my hair into two high ponytails. I prepooed for about half an hour and then hopped in the shower to rinse and use my Sultry Spice Mudwash. Once again it was love! My hair looked shiny, felt soft and soooo moisturized! Like I said before (at least I think I did) I wish I had started prepooing earlier in my hair care regimen.

After I rinsed I decided I wanted to twist my hair so that I could wear a twist out the following day to a concert that I was going to. I used my Bask Palm Tapico to twist (didn't seal or apply any kind of leave-in post mudwash). That stuff is awesome! My twists were looking so shiny! I knew my twist out would look good the next day. I also pinned the twists back to give my hair more stretch. I think I still like braid outs better but it didn't turn out too bad!

I love my hair for a while, but at the concert there were a lot of people smoking and crowd surfing and I swear someone's foot hit me in the head. By the time we got home that night, I felt like my hair was tainted with smoke and debris so I opted to rinse my hair in the shower and just ran my fingers through it instead of cowashing. I wanted to stretch my hair back out because I think that helps minimize tangles and helps with styling my buns and what not, so I busted out the Curlformers again. I applied my KBB Sweet Ambrosia to my hair, sealed with castor oil, applied JBCO to my scalp, and on top of all of this I applied some Darcy's Botanicals Sweet Cocoa Bean Curl Cream. I braided my hair in four section and left it alone for half an hour because I wanted to use the Curlformers on damp and not soaking wet hair. I applied them as I was watching a movie so it went by pretty fast.

It wasn't the best sleep ever but I managed. In the morning I removed them and was rewarded with lovely shiny hair and smooth curls. Once again I wish my hair was longer because I think these look great on longer hair! Some day...anyway, to separate I rubbed a little Oyin Burnt Sugar Pomade in my hand and fluffed my hair. The end result was a short, curly fro thing. Looks almost like a 20s bob in a way. I was digging it. The curls didn't last all day...probably needed to use something with more hold, but my hair felt soft and really moisturized, and it made my current braided undo easier to do.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Random WnG and Random Bantu Knot Out

Just wanted to post a quick pic of my Flax Seed Gelee and Castor Oil WnG...I mixed the two products together before applying to my hair. I've discovered that if I mix my gel with an oil in advance, when my hair dries it dries soft and not crunchy....only problem is it seems to take forever to dry~!

 Friday night I randomly decided to put my hair into bantu knots. I've only done them once before and really liked how my hair looked so I decided to try it again...only I didn't do it on freshly washed hair and instead piled some Komaza Care Coconut Styling Pudding onto my hair which was already covered in castor oil and gel. The jar of Styling Pudding said to style on wet hair...but I ignored that and applied it to my dry hair anyway and put in the bantu knots...I admit I was a little rough with my hair and they were a little tight...but I went to bed with them in anyway.

I removed the bantu knots in the morning and my hair felt surprisingly soft and looked shiny...didn't feel like I had too much product in my hair...except when I fluffed the style out I wasn't really digging the look. I think it would have looked better on clean hair and also I think this style would look better once my hair is longer.

 So since I was going out, I tossed the hair up into a high bun with a's my favorite style when a hairstyle has either failed or reached the end of its simple and easy!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Pre-Poo Love!

Since starting my natural journey, I've never been a pre-poo girl. I kind of didn't see the point. A few weeks ago I decided to try a pre-poo I read about involving the Aphoghee Two Minute and olive oil with maybe a dab of honey, mixed this all up and then sat under my steamer. After I 20 minutes of steaming and after I rinsed the product out, my hair felt nice but I followed with my cleanser of choice which is the Terressentials Mudwash. Usually when I use the mud wash my hair feels detangled, clean, and moisturized...after this particular pre-poo my hair felt really there was product build up or something. I kinda dismissed the idea of a pre-poo after this and just figured it wasn't something that worked well with my mud wash...I proved myself wrong today!

Since it's Sunday and I've finally been able to focus on my hair for a minute, I decided I wanted to try the whole pre-poo thing again, but this time opted to use Coconut Oil (because of the way it actually penetrates the hair and because everyone seems to love it as a pre-poo) and to this I added a little Wheat Germ Oil and some MSM. I warmed the oil mixture in the microwave and before applying section by section, I spritzed my hair with my water and aloe vera juice mix before applying the mixture to my scalp first (MSM is said to promote growth) before applying it to my strands. Oh man! The coconut oil was seriously making finger detangling a breeze! I've tried using it in the past to seal with and it usually left my hair crunchy feeling, but applying it to damp as and finger detangling was excellent! I made sure to coat my hair really well and then stuck my hair into two high puffs so that my ends would benefit the most from the steamer. I was pretty excited at this point because I felt like this steaming session was going to be a good one. I steamed for 20 minutes (my scalp was tingling like was hot under there) and then hopped in the shower to rinse my hair. My hair was feeling really soft....sigh. Love that feeling. I applied my mud wash (sultry spice) in the shower this time around (normally I follow the Naptural85 method and apply it out of the shower but really didn't feel like getting out and in and out and in so...) I applied the mud wash in sections, rubbing it into my scalp and along the length of my hair. I let it sit for a bit while I cleaned my body and then rinsed and finger detangled some more. My hair felt excellent! Soft, moisturized and looked shiny too!

I had every intention to deep condition afterwards but didn't think I needed it simply because the pre-poo had helped the moisturizing coconut oil penetrate my hair. Post mud wash I used Curl Junkie Curl Rehab (Strawberry Ice Cream) as my leave-in (I initially thought I'd DC with it) and sealed with regular castor oil and applied Jamaican Black Castor Oil to my scalp. I did put on a plastic cap followed by my heat therapy wrap just to make sure the leave-in, but more importantly the JBCO could penetrate my hair a little better. After half an hour I pulled out some gel and decided to twist my hair into small two strand twists (some are medium but I definitely wouldn't call them mini). I plan on keeping the twists in until Saturday...but I make no promises.

From now on I think I'll be using my steamer for Pre-poo treatments only. I read somewhere that the steamer actually works better for pre-poo treatments than it does deep conditioning treatments (post wash anyway) because the steam and heat open the hair follicle allowing products to penetrate better...but if you use it to DC, apparently the hair shaft is already water logged so your deep conditioner may not penetrate as well as it can. Judging by how my hair looks and feel currently, I would have to agree with the whole pre-poo thing! Plus I can finally use this huge tub of coconut oil's been sitting there for months and I didn't know what to do with it. I'm going to try pre-pooing from here on out and see how my hair benefits...I have a feeling my hair is going to love me!

This is post mud wash without any product. My hair felt so soft! I probably could have gone without a leave-in.