Friday, September 21, 2012

WnG turned Braidout?

Hey folks. Quick post. I’ve been rocking a WnG since Tuesday (Sept 11) and last night (Wednesday 13th) I decided to do three flat/corn row braids in the front since my bangs were beginning to lose definition. I part my hair on the right so I had two braids going to the left and one braid going to the…they weren’t the prettiest braids since my flat braiding skills suck, but they worked for me. The rest of the hair I spritzed and put into a bun. In the morning I let the steam from the shower refresh my WnG and fluffed, leaving the braids in to function as a headband. I wore it like that to my first job but pulled the back into a puff for job number two, but for some reason upon arriving to work I decided I wanted to remove my braids…so I did. I wasn’t expecting much and planned on pulling the front back into a sort of hump and the rest of the hair in a puff. Except the definition was awesome! My bangs had some hang time and were curly/wavy from the WnG and braids. I left the hair out to hang in front of my face and pulled up into a bun (the fluffy buff looked weird with the defined bangs).
 I’m definitely going to have to play with this in the future. It would be great in the colder weather for those folks that wash and style on the weekends, and try to have minimal manipulation during the week. If you don’t want to cowash and restyle (especially if it is too cold out) you can just spritz the hair and corn row your WnG, two strand flat twist, or twist/braid regularly. I would apply a lot of product to do this. The water and maybe a little oil or butter to seal just the ends should be good. In the morning unbraid/twist and fluff. You’ll have a lovely hybrid of a WnG plus braid out, with the added bonus of more length since the braids would have stretched out your shrunken WnG. Normally I cowash every other day when wearing WnGs, but with this I could definitely see myself styling on Sunday (wash day), wearing the WnG up until Wednesday (could be in a puff that day) and Wednesday night braid it up and rock a WnG turned braid out the rest of the work week.

Maintaining a Twist Out: Multiple Days

Hey Folks!

Day 1
Day 3
So I lasted washed my hair with my Terressentials Mudwash on Tuesday and was going to do a full detox but my hair felt awesome that second day and I didn't think more washing was necessary. Since then my scalp hasn't been itchy at all. In addition I've stopped applying JBCO to my scalp. For the time being I'm not going to be massaging any oil into my scalp except for the days I'm steaming, and I rinse my hair afterwards so oil won't be sitting on my scalp for days at a time. Anyway, moving on to the topic of this post.

Tuesday night, after my hair dried a bit in braids throughout the day, I decided I wanted to twist my hair with 100% aloe vera gel (the kind I have is from Wholefoods) and pure Shea butter. I had my hair in about in about 8 braids which became 16 twists. To each section I applied a little aloe vera gel for moisture (my  hair loves this stuff) and for a little hold. On top of this I applied a little Shea butter and finger detangled before twisting. To twist I began by flat twisting the roots which creates more definition for me. My hair felt really soft and the Shea butter made my strands so shiny! I didn't pin down the twists to stretch them because I didn't feel like sleeping with bobby pins in my hair. I just put on my satin bonnet and hit the sack.

The next morning I applied a little of my oil mix to my hands and removed each twist, taking care not to separate the hair too much. My hair felt very soft and light (a little Shea butter goes a long way) and the definition was awesome. I haven't been this happy with a twist out in a while. That night I just lightly spritzed my hair with aloe vera juice and water, rubbed on a little Shea Butter to seal and put my hair into two low buns using satin scrunchies and taking care not to mess with my hair too much. I did two buns because My bangs don't make it back into just one. On top of this I put on my scarf and went to bed. The next morning I removed the scrunchies gently, spritzed my hair with water/aloe vera juice and shook my head, letting my hair fall naturally and fluffing a bit to get the shape right. My definition was just as awesome as day 1! I never get good second day hair on a twist out. Even when I use gels, my twist out just fell flat after one day. The second day felt soft, moisturized, and not greasy at all (which can happen when I use too may different oils/butters to seal). Again that evening I spritzed, smoothed on Shea butter, put in two buns, and tossed on my scarf. And again the next morning I spritzed, shook my hair and fluffed. The definition was still awesome! Third day hair, who knew! For a change in style I pinned the top part of my hair back with two jaw clips and put on a stretchy headband.    The great thing about this third day hair is that I know I'm going to get fourth day hair! I'm going to do the same night time method tonight. My hair is getting a little more stretched and big, but I love that. I plan on doing a henna treatment sunday or just steam with some oils, and retwist. Just had to tell you that maintaining a twist out is possible and super low manipulation!
Day 3

Day 1

Day 2

Day 2

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

One Month Trial of a Super Simple Regimen Using Minimal Products.

Since becoming natural I’ve been obsessed with getting longer, bigger hair. Well as you all can see it’s a very, very slow journey and sometimes I feel like I will never reach my goals. But, no matter, I’ve got my eye on the prize and plan on reaching my goals and to do that it all starts with a good regimen, healthy diet, and plenty of exercise.
I’ve finally replenished my Terressentials Mudwash and decided to go with Lavender, Lemon and I got the Cool Mint to use on my itchy scalp. I’ve decided I’m going to adopt a very, very simple regimen for the next thirty days and it’s following a similar routine to Youtuber Naptural85. Like her I love the Mudwash and get great results with it, but unlike her I use conditioners, gels, etc. So I’ve decided to give her routine a try for the next thirty days. She only washes once a month. I did that today and the Cool Mint made my scalp feeling tingly and refreshed. I’m not itchy at all. Her sole styling products are her homemade creamy shea butter mix, her hair and body oil, water and occasionally flaxseed gel. I’m not going to make her shea butter mix yet, but I will be using plain, unrefined shea butter. I do have a batch of her hair and body oil that I will use, and I don’t feel like making flaxseed gel so if I need gel I’ll use straight up pure aloe vera gel.
Her styling regimen is pretty simple too. She mostly wears a twist out and keeps her hair stretched, which I know keeps single strand knots out of my hair. She’s also able to stetch a twist out a few days by bunning her hair at night before needing to retwist. I’m going to give this a try too.  (She does other styles but I’m going to stick with a twist out and she “washes” once a month but does wet her hair in the shower and while I may wet my hair if it’s feeling griming after a workout, I’m going to refrain from washing. I will be deep conditioning using natural oils and my steamer weekly).
Now some of you may wonder why I’m bothering with this because what works for one, may not work for another, but I LOVE the simplicity of her routine. She doesn’t have products cluttering her space and she knows the results are guaranteed every time. She knows exactly what’s going on her hair; there are no extras or unnatural ingredients. I want that too. I want to be able to have a total of three products on my dresser and know that I don’t need anything else.  I don’t mind experimenting and her regimen doesn’t seem harmful so I’m going to give it a try. Thirty days can’t hurt. I’m going to count tomorrow as day one because I plan on trimming my ends….fresh start and all that jazz.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Henna and Curl Loosening

I’ve used Henna on and off since becoming natural and never really had a specific regimen. I used it when I felt like it, for either the strengthening or color changing perks. Usually I did a henna treatment every three to six months. Recently I started doing a Henna Gloss biweekly. For my Henna Gloss I mix about 50 grams of Nupur Henna with a half cup of green tea and mix it. To this I add a good amount of conditioner, most recently I used Jessicurl Deep Conditioner. I add some olive oil, castor oil and any other oil I feel like using and mix this all together until it is smooth like pudding. Then I cover with saran wrap and set aside for a few hours. The great think about a Henna Gloss is that the conditioner makes the application and rinsing process a lot smoother. I apply Henna to clean, damp or dry hair in sections, smoothing it onto my hair. Any extra Henna I freeze. After I apply I put on a plastic cap, a bandana, scarf and sometimes a hat or my TurbieTowel (yeah taking no chances) and hit the sack. Because I work 60 hour weeks and have to get up early (I never seem to Henna on the weekends when I have more time) my overnight henna treatment is usually about 6 hours. In the morning I rinse my hair in the kitchen sink first, getting most of the Henna out and using my time in the shower to get everything that I missed. After rinsing I apply a light conditioner like Giovanni Tea Tree or Kiss My Face Whenever conditioner, let that sit on my hair while I shower and rinse before getting out which gets any last bit of henna left over. Then I just style accordingly!
Henna Glosses will also give a red tint to your hair, but it might not be as intense if you just mix up your henna gloss and apply right away. I let mine sit longer for dye release. Once my hair gets to a shade I like I might just do a quick, direct application and leave on for only an hour. Or if you don’t want the red you can add Indigo to your Henna. I’ve done this in the past and kept a nice brown shade of hair, but for now I’m content with plain ‘ol henna.  Before I get married I’ll incorporate the two step henna and indigo process for darker hair.
Now the Nupur Henna seems to give a redder tint than others but it does have other herbs in it like Hibiscus which might be a factor. I’ve used the Jamilla Henna before and didn’t get quite such an obvious tint. I like the Nupur though…it didn’t seem to rinse as easy but maybe I just need more conditioner next time.
Since starting my biweekly henna treatments I have noticed less shedding during wash day. I also haven’t experienced any extra dryness which can happen with full strength henna treatments (sans conditioner). Today, while washing my hair, I realized my hair felt….different. My hair felt easier to finger detangle, smoother, and soaked up water easier. It also seemed to hang more while wet and while it still shrunk up for my current WnG…it feels and looks different to me. The hair didn’t feel knotted while applying my products and everything just went on smoother for me. Could this be curl loosening? My texture doesn’t look different (the back is looking kind of straight when wet but waves/curls when dry and doesn’t look too different than the rest of my hair).  Plus my WnG dried fairly quickly too.  Since my hair is super tightly, coily, curly, I’m not too worried about Henna loosening because I don’t think there is any way henna would ever make my hair straight. If anything I’m kind of embracing the thought of looser curls. Already I’m noticing less single strand knots and if it means easier detangling and better looking WnGs then I’m all for it. I don’t want straight hair, but manageable hair and sometimes kinky, coily hair is tough! I’m going to stick with my biweekly henna treatments and see how my hair fairs. If biweekly seems like too much then I will switchy to monthly or every six weeks. All I know is that I definitely want to keep Henna as part of my hair care routine!
Today’s WnG combo was Paul Mitchell the Conditioner and Eco Styler Clear.  I freakin’ love the way the Paul Mitchell pairs with Eco Styler, but I hate that it has parabens! If I’m going to go natural/organic I gotta find a way to get a WnG that looks like the ones I get with this combo, only without all the bad stuff!  Or maybe I might just have to except this one product in my life….decisions decisions.

Loose Twists

I was perusing through Youtube the other day and one channel I subscribe to is UrbanBushBabes. I love their channel and they give a lot of great information pertaining to the care of natural hair. Another Youtuber I follow is Alicia James, a gal with fabulous hair and a fabulous voice. Anyway I noticed that both Youtube channels mentioned something I hadn’t tried before; loose twists. In the case of UrbanBushBabes, Cipriana puts her in about 150 loose twists and this allows her to have better styling options with minimal hair damage (seriously check her out, she has some fab hairstyles). Alicia James also does the loose twists, although hers aren’t as loose as Cipriana’s.
Anyway so what are loose twists? Well basically it’s a two strand twist but instead of making tight two strand twists (meaning you twist in the same spot and don’t move down until you can’t twist in the spot anymore) you loosely twirl the two strands. When I did them I started tight at the base of the twist and then basically moved my fingers to the end of my strands as I continued the twists and then twisted/twirled the ends with a little product so that they wouldn’t unravel. As expected the twists puffed right up, which is exactly what I wanted! The puffy looking twists can give the illusion of thicker hair (especially if your hair is thin) and the added bonus is twisting doesn’t take as long. Plus you can wear them down, style them in updos, and kind of have the freedom of loose hair without the extra tangles and knots. Normally I like to do mini twists or small twists, but I hate the long process, the take down, and I always feel like some parts of my hair look too scalpy. The loose twists took about an hour and a half to do (it was my first time…and I was trying to twist while at work) and I loved how thick my hair looked. I think next time I will try to do them a little looser and maybe even a little smaller….we’ll see. I definitely think this is a style that could last a week or two before you would have to restyle and restyling would be easy. Just take a twist down, finger detangle, rub some product through and twist back up; do you whole head. This means no yanking a comb through your hair and detangling should be easier and you should have less breakage. I didn’t wash in these twists, but next time I might try and braid the twists into about eight loose braids (probably band the ends since my hair is short) and wash and condition in the braids, rinsing every product out thoroughly. I would leave the braids in overnight to dry and the next day do the twist by twist finger detangling while at the same time applying a leave-in and sealing. That way your manipulation each week is super low.
I will say that this style should be done on stretched hair. Either an old twist out, braid out, curlformers, bantu knots or you can tension blow dry (this is what I did). The stretched look ensures less tangles and knots, plus the twists look better when they puff out on stretched hair. I only kept these in for three days (yeah…ya’ll know me and my itchy scalp and inability to keep a style in for very long) but could have gone longer if I didn’t feel the need to change my hair style. They were so easy to put in, I wasn’t even mad. Currently I’m back in a WnG  but these twists will definitely come in handy in the colder months when I start wearing my beanies and such.