“It’s My Hair” TAG

It's my hair tag blog post pictureHello, curlies!! I came across this natural hair tag on YouTube, so I thought it would be fun to answer these same questions here on my blog! If you end up doing the tag, then let me know so I can read it!

Here we go!

Q. Why did you start your hair journey?

I was tired of my hair breaking off. My hair kept getting shorter and shorter without me even cutting it. It was so damaged from relaxers, permanent color, and constant flat ironing that I knew I needed to make some changes quickly if I wanted the long, healthy hair I once had

Q. How long have you been on your hair journey?

I’ve been natural since November 2009. That was my last relaxer

Q. Are you natural, relaxed or transitioning?

Natural, duh! Lol. But I did transition instead of doing the big chop. I was too scared to chop off so much hair at one time. My face is too round for only 1-2 inches of hair

Q. What is your length right now?

Hip length

Q. What is your goal length?

Tail bone length or as long as it will grow and still be healthy

Q. What is your hair texture?

Like most naturals, I have more than one hair type going on! The back is 4a while the front and sides have some 3c mixed in

Q. Health or Length?

Health, always. There is no point in having long hair if the ends are split and un-healthy

Q. If you could only live with one hair product what would it be?

Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Leave-in Conditioner. This product is amazing! It’s lightweight, but packs a punch. It defines my curls like no other and keeps my hair moisturized for several days

Q. What’s the worst product you’ve ever used?

Elasta QP Anti-Breakage Leave-In Conditioner, Olive Oil & Mango Butter. I was surprised by how much this product dried my hair out! The ingredient list is pretty good. I don’t believe its curly girl friendly, but the less desirable ingredients were listed toward the bottom of the ingredient list, so I assumed the product would still work well for me. I also saw a lot of people online rave about it, plus it was buy one, get one fee. So I thought I came across my new holy grail, but I was wrong

Q. What is your “go to” hair style?

A bun! I’m a self-proclaimed “lazy natural.” I don’t know how ladies can rock a fresh twist-out every day. I need something that is quick, chic, and convenient

Q.Are you a product junkie?

Nope. It’s tempting, but the way my bills are set-up….I just can’t. I like trying new things, but I try to only incorporate one new product at a time

Q. How often do you trim your hair?

I don’t trim on a set schedule. I just trim on an as-needed basis. If I were to create a schedule, I wouldn’t trim more than 4 times per year. But, by all means, do what works for you

Q. How often do you use heat?

Almost never. I know this attributes to how long I’ve been able to grow my hair. I think the last time I flat-ironed my hair was in 2010. I used to diffuse my hair on wash day. But now I just allow my hair to air dry

Q. Do you take hair supplements?

Not at this time, but I would not be opposed to it to help me reach my goal of tailbone length

Q. Favorite oil?

Hands down it would be coconut. Coconut oil has made my hair stronger and it has molecules small enough to penetrate the hair shaft and improve the health of your hair

Q. Who is your hair crush?

Naptural85. She’s amazing and I have probably watched all of her videos. I like her personality, video quality, plus her hair type is very similar to mine. I use her videos to help me with product suggestions and different techniques. She’s also the queen of DIY

Q. How long does it take you on a wash day?

Are you coming to help me?! Lol. Just kidding. I am not sure. I don’t time myself. My wash day time varies depending on how long I choose to deep conditioner my hair. I like to deep conditioner for an hour, but sometimes I want to finish wash day sooner so I will only deep condition for 15-30 minutes

Q. Worst thing that has happened to your hair?

Constant heat styling without using heat protectant, and of course, relaxers

Q. Do you dye your hair? If so, what color?

Yes, I dye it black. I used to color my hair often when I was relaxed. I used to have blonde streaks. Then I was a red head for a while. But I like how black looks on me. It makes my hair look shiny!

Q. Do you co-wash or shampoo?

It depends on my hair. If I have a lot of product build up or if I just colored my hair, I prefer to use shampoo to thoroughly cleanse it. Otherwise, I co-wash and that works just fine to clean my scalp and hair

Hopefully me answering these questions helped you learn more about me and also helped you along your own journey! Don’t forget to tag me in your post or video!

And if you haven’t done so already, please subscribe to my blog for more natural hair and wellness information!

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Natural Hair Do Over! – 6 Things I would do Differently

Hindsight is always 20/20. With any journey, we have moments of reflection where we consider what we would do differently if we had the chance to do it over. This doesn’t mean I have regrets, but there are some things that If I knew then what I know now, I would take a different approach to my natural hair journey.

Subscribing to YouTuber’s who don’t have the same hair type – Now don’t get me wrong. I think you can still benefit from subscribing to a diverse group of naturals. But mainly subscribing to YouTuber’s with type 2 or type 3 hair and you have type 4 hair could cause you to have unrealistic expectations about your own hair. If you try to follow their same techniques and product suggestions you may end up disappointed when you don’t achieve the same results. There were some popular YouTuber’s whose names I kept hearing, so I figured it would be a good idea to subscribe to them. I subscribed to some YouTuber’s with fine, 2C/3A hair when I have thick 3C/4A hair. So when they were combing their hair with a fine tooth comb….ummmmm. I knew that would not work for my lion’s mane unless I wanted to snatch out clumps of hair! So, I started following more people like Naptural85 whose hair is similar to mine in terms of hair type, length, and thickness. There were parts of her regimen and some of her products suggestions that I would use that were very effective. But if they did not work as well for me, it was easy for me to make tweaks since I had that foundation.

Dry Detangling– Some naturals swear by this technique. I kept trying to make it work for me. But on wash day, I would lose way too much hair! My bathroom looked like the floor of a hair salon at the end of a busy Saturday. I knew if I kept doing this, I would not reach my healthy hair goals. So I searched for other techniques and tools and discovered detangling on wet hair instead. I understand the logic behind some people dry detangling, because hair is weakest when it is wet. But with the proper technique, tools, and a little more patience, you can minimize breakage during this process of wet detangling.

Being Influenced by Fancy Marketing – Some companies have more aggressive marketing and spend more money to capture our attention with fancy graphics and slogans. Don’t fall for the hype! Just because you don’t see heavy marketing from a company doesn’t mean their products are any less effective. Your Holy Grail may come from a company most people have never even heard of. Instead of being influenced by marketing, I would encourage you to peruse your local beauty supply store or drug store. Find products that can actually deliver beyond the product claims on the front of the label. Validate any claims based on the back of the label. Check the ingredient list. You may get my attention by telling me a product has coconut oil in it, but if it’s hidden amongst the laundry list of other ingredients, then I am less likely to benefit from it.

Not Accepting that Trial and Error is Part of the Journey – Confession. I am impatient. I want things to work the first time and I get frustrated when that doesn’t happen. When I first tried braid outs, they came out pretty blah. So I started doing twist outs instead since they were easier and my hair turned out better. But one of the many benefits of natural hair are the different styling options. I believe that almost any style can work for any hair type. Some styles may take more trial and error for us to achieve our desired results. So the key is to keep trying until the style works out for you. Now I switch between braid outs and twist outs based on the look I’m going for. Now, if I could get Bantu Knots down, that would be great! Lol

Feeling The Need to Straighten My Hair – I am not anti-heat, but people will tell you that you need to straighten your hair to trim it or to do a length check. Nope! You don’t need to. I have not flat ironed my hair since maybe 2010. If I want to trim my hair, I comb it out, use some high quality shears and trim what needs to be trimmed. If I want to see my hair’s length, I just pull it down. I like keeping things simple when I can!

Wearing My Hair Out Every Day – I know you want to show people what cha got! But exposing your hair every day to the elements and the friction against your clothing could lead to dryness and breakage. I was proud that I was embracing my natural hair and wanted people to get to know this new part of me. But I have way too much hair to wear it out every day. For me, it would take more time to get ready in the morning and I would go through way more product just to keep my hair moisturized. So during the week, I wear a bun, twists, or a roll tuck n pin style. I save my braid outs, twist outs, and occasional wash and go’s for the weekends.

I’m thankful for these lessons, but if I could go back in time, knowing this information would have saved me a little time, money and energy.  So my hope is this information helps you along the way. You don’t have to believe and do everything you see. Be inspired, but also be flexible and know there is not just one way to achieve healthy, natural hair.

So let’s talk! What are some things you learned after going natural that you would go back and change if you could?

natural-hair-do-over-post-picture

Low Manipulation Styling – When Less is More

Have you ever stumbled upon a good thing by accident?! That’s what happened to me one morning after I washed my hair. After my hair is washed and conditioned, I moisturize it and put it in two-strand twists. The number of twists depends on how damp my hair is and how lazy I’m feeling 🙂 So one evening, after stalling on washing my hair, my hair was super damp when it was time to twist it and go to bed. So I moisturized it and put in about 18 twists to help it dry faster. I would normally put in about 6-8 chunky twists. But the larger the twists, the longer it takes for my hair to dry. I know I could have blow-dried my hair, but I try to use heat as little as possible.

The next morning I happened to flip some of my twists over to one side of my head and thought “hmmm… this actually looks kind of cute!” So I put in some bobby pins to secure the twists, laid my edges down, and went to work! Yeah for styling my hair in less than 5 minutes! I figured by the end of the day, my twists would look frizzy, but to my surprise, they still looked good. So instead of re-twisting my hair at night, like I normally do, I put on my satin scarf and went to sleep. I figured my twists wouldn’t survive my morning run. But I was pleasantly surprised they lasted and I wore the twists again. I managed to get about a solid 3 days out of these twists!! I also noticed how my hair stayed moisturized longer than normal. Moisture is KEY to length retention!

I decided to make this my new routine when I wash or re-moisturize my hair. Low manipulation styles, such as twists, aid in length retention, because it reduces mechanical damage. Mechanical damage is hair breakage due to using conventional styling tools such as combs or brushes. So since I am not untwisting my hair in the morning and brushing it, I am loosing less hair. So, I’m reducing the amount of all those little hairs we get around our bathroom sinks or on the floor! Other great low manipulation styles include braids, buns, and roll tuck n’ pin styles. The point of low manipulation styles is to keep your hand out of your hair for as long as possible. So, not “hand in hair” syndrome no matter how soft your hair is.

And as an added bonus can I just say that leaving in twists for 3 days will give you the ultimate twist out definition?! Don’t we all love getting more for less?!

So, even though putting in more twists takes more time initially, it saves me time in the days ahead, helps me retain length, and gives me the best twist outs! I wonder what I still stumble upon next?! 🙂

 

 

 

Why I decided to Embrace the Frizz!

When you ask many naturals what is one thing they wish they could change when it comes to their hair, the response is usually either shrinkage or frizz. Those are the two evils of the natural hair community that could put a damper in any style. You can leave the house one way and come back looking another way! The struggle is real! Or is it? Do we make caring for our natural hair harder than it needs to be by trying to correct something that is just part of how our hair is? Are we throwing money down the drain on products that promote frizz control? For me, the response to both of these questions is “yes!

When I felt like my frizzy hair was an issue, that is when I started relaxing my hair. Worse hair-related decision EVER. My hair was dry and weak! I eventually transitioned from relaxers. But that frizz “demon” resurfaced and of course I considered going back to the creamy crack, until I snapped back into reality. I remembered the state of my hair when it was relaxed. So I went on the hunt to find products and techniques to help “reduce” or even “prevent” frizz. I watched YouTube video after video, read numerous articles, and tried an abundance of products. My efforts either produced results that looked like I didn’t even try or only provided temporary results. I began to get frustrated, until I realized that perhaps I was trying to force my hair to do something it wasn’t capable of doing. Maybe I just needed to let my hair do what it wanted and not try to control the un-controllable.

I decided to no longer research methods or try products, but just allow my hair to do as it pleases! Ah freedom! Freedom from feeling like my hair was a disaster if my curls didn’t “pop” just right or if my hair decided to expand with the humidity. There are many factors that cause frizz and trying to control all of them was too overwhelming for me. So now, when I style my hair, I don’t worry about the outcome. Depending on how my hair turns out, and how I’m feeling that day, I may pull it back into a pony tail, pin some of it away, or just let it be big! I usually go with the last option 🙂

Instead I try to focus on making sure my hair is clean and moisturized. Oh and how I can achieve tailbone length by the end of 2016!

Have you embraced frizz? Or are you willing to go through trial and error until you find something that works for you?

Here is a side-by-side comparison of my hair when it was frizzy (left) versus when it was more defined (right).

frizzy-hair-blog-pic

Preventing Crown-Area Breakage

I love a sleek, sophisticated bun! Buns take very little time to achieve, use minimal product, and can be a great style option to protect the ends of your hair from exposure to the elements. But, like most things, too much of something may not always be a good thing. When I first went natural, I always wore my buns with a middle part. Like ALWAYS! I liked how a middle part seemed to elongate my face and give me a more mature look. But, after a while, I noticed small hairs sticking up in my crown area and I would have to apply more and more product to slick my hair down. After doing some research, I came across product suggestions and methods to reduce crown-area breakage.

 I first started applying Jamaican Black Castor Oil (JBCO) to my crown area every night. JBCO is often used to grow and strengthen hair. In the mornings, I would then apply my gel or pomade to slick my hair. The JBCO served as a foundation, if you will, because of its thickness. I also started using a soft boar bristle brush on my hair. I try to use my hands as styling tools as often as possible before I use more conventional styling tools such as comb’s and brush’s. Soft boar bristle brushes are less harsh on the hair. Another change I made was switching up my part. I had to abandon my beloved middle part for the sake of my hair. I started parting my hair on either the left side or the right side. I also began wearing my bun in different positions. Instead of always pulling my hair straight back, I would position it in the middle of my head or the top of my head, like a ballerina J.

 After using up the JBCO, I didn’t purchase it again. Not because I didn’t like it, but because I’m cheap and the product served its purpose by strengthening the hair in my crown area. I now use a spray bottle mixed with water and aloe vera juice. I picked up the idea to use this aloe vera juice by following Naptural85 on YouTube.  I spray my hair with that mixture, add my pomade, slick my hair as best I can with my hands, and then finish slicking the hair back with my soft boar bristle brush. Aloe vera juice has amazing benefits. It acts as a natural conditioner that softens and hydrates the hair and adds shine. It also soothes an irritated scalp if you are experiencing scalp issues.

 Though we may have a signature style, we have to be open to different styling options if our hair is no longer responding positively to that style. When you reach a stumbling block in your natural hair journey, do some research and re-adjust your regimen. Learn to value health over convenience.

 Have you dealt with crown breakage before? If so, how did you combat it?

Crown area picture

Pro-Tips to Make Detangling Easy!

The day is here…..the dreaded wash day! Yikes!

Why do naturals dread wash day so much? Or maybe it was just me. But I think it’s in part due to the detangling process. This process can be tedious with some naturals stating it takes them upwards of an hour to detangle. I cringe at the thought of detangling taking that much time. Ain’t nobody got time for that! At least I don’t.

So, what if I told you I can thoroughly detangle my waist length hair in 10 minutes? Yep! It’s true. In this post I will give you a few tips and tools to use that have made my detangling process so much easier. Now if I could just get my hair to not take 10 million hours to air dry….

To simplify things on wash day, I start by sectioning my hair in six sections using crocodile clips to keep the sections separated. I used to create four sections, but as my hair grew, I needed to create more sections to reduce tangling and make sure I was thoroughly cleansing my hair. If your hair is shorter or not very thick, you can probably get away with fewer sections or no sections at all if you have a TWA (teeny weeny afro).

I start by cleansing with a co-wash that has lots of slip. I love the Eden Bodyworks Coconut Co-Wash. During co-washing I can start to release some of the tangles and shed hair with my fingers as I’m cleansing that section. After rinsing out all of the co-wash, I apply my deep conditioner. This product should also have lots of slip. I use a variety of deep conditioners, but I tend to stick with the Shea Moisture product line. I have yet to meet one of their deep conditioners I didn’t like! I allow my deep conditioner to sit on my hair, with heat, for one hour. I noticed the longer I leave the deep conditioner on my hair, the softer, shinier, and less tangled my hair tends to be.

Before rinsing out my deep conditioner, I grab some vinyl gloves. No, I’m not about to clean the house! The vinyl gloves help my fingers glide more effortlessly through my hair. It may sound odd to use vinyl gloves, but trust me, they help!

Next, I grab my wide tooth shower comb. Do not, and I repeat, do not use a fine tooth comb unless you feel like snatching yourself bald!

Last, I grab my cheap conditioner with lots of…..you guessed it, slip. I love the Aussie Moist conditioner. No, it is not curly girl friendly, but I’m not keeping the product in my hair for very long, so it’s ok. I apply this product very generously. As in, when I think I’ve applied enough, I apply a little bit more 🙂

So, did you see a trend? Allow the products to soften your hair and do a lot of the work for you.

Now you’re ready to wash out the conditioners and detangle. This is the part that only takes me 10 minutes. When rinsing my hair, I rinse that section underneath the stream of water; this helps my fingers and the comb glide easily through my hair. I rake the section with my fingers first since it is easier to feels for tangles with your fingers then it is with a comb. I make sure to detangle each section beginning at the ends and working my way up to my roots. I know the section is thoroughly detangled when I can easily run my comb through the section from roots to tips without encountering any tangles. If I happen to feel more tangles along the way, I apply more of the cheap conditioner until that section is tangle free. Then I repeat the process for the remaining sections. Then I’m all done and have clean, soft, moisturized, and detangled hair!

Below is a picture of my shed hair. That is the typical amount of hair I shed each wash day. We shed between 50-150 strands of hair per day and I wash my hair every two weeks.

Wet Detangling VS. Dry Detangling

The detangling process I use is referred to as wet detangling. Some naturals dry detangle. When I first went natural, I tried dry detangling and would lose so much hair! My method was to section my hair and then grab my wide tooth comb and begin detangling before cleansing without adding any product or water. With this process, I noticed that I also had a lot of small pieces of hair around my sink, which meant I was breaking my hair off during the detangling process. So after attending the YouTube School of beauty (lol), I discovered wet detangling and saw how much easier it was and how I lost less hair. Sounds like a win-win to me! But, as always, do what works best for you. It is all about trial and error. If dry detangling works best for you, then by all means, keep using that method. Whichever method you choose, just make sure you are thoroughly detangling your hair to prevent matting and that you are losing the least amount of hair as possible. I know we all wish wash day could take less time, but we must be gentle with our hair if we want it to be healthy and if we want to retain length.

What methods do you use to help you detangle your hair?

Twist Out Using Jane Carter Solution Wrap and Roll Foam

After doing braid outs the last few months, I decided to switch things up and try a twist out.  I like the wave-like definition of a braid out, but I also like how twist outs provide a curlier look. Twist outs are also quicker to install and take down.

I scored the wrap and roll foam from Target for only $4.48! This was my first time experimenting with a foam as a styler. I hadn’t tried a foam styler before based off the assumptions it would dry my hair out, it was best used for roller sets, and that it would be too light-weight to provide definition and hold for my lion’s mane. But for this price point, I was willing to test out the product to see if my assumptions were correct. To my surprise, my hair turned out better than I expected 🙂

I followed a similar product combination that I used for my braid outs. I first applied my leave-conditioner followed by oils to seal in the moisture and then I applied the foam styler. My hair was dry and I parted it in the direction I wanted it to fall. I ended up with about 17 twists in total. I made sure to twirl my hair at the ends for curl definition. I slept on a satin pillow case and allowed my hair to air-dry overnight. The following day, I gently removed each twist, separated and fluffed my hair. I finished the style off with a little edge control to make the final look more polished.

Ingredients

I like products that have good quality ingredients and ingredients that I never tried before. Here are the ingredients for the foam

Deionized water, anthemis noblis flower (Camomile), symphytum officinal leaf (Comfrey), equisetum arvense (Horsetail), urtica dioica (Nettle), rosemarinus officinalis (Rosemary) leaf, humulus lupulus (Hops), lawsonia inermis (Henna),certified organic essential oils: lemon, grapefruit, coco-sultaine, glycerine, phenoxyethanol.

I didn’t list the benefits of all of the ingredients; just the first 5. The first 5 ingredients comprise about 90% of the product make-up.

Deionized Water – Deionized water is water that has been purified.  Water is the best moisturizer for your hair. Hair needs frequent moisture to maintain its health

Camomile – An herb that can be used to prevent or reduce hair loss

Comfrey – A root that contains essential vitamins, such as vitamin A and B-12. Comfrey also makes hair smoother, shinier, and aids in detangling

Horsetail – Improves the hair’s elasticity (the hair’s ability to stretch without breaking), promotes hair growth, and has antiseptic properties

Nettle – Used to prevent hair loss and promote hair growth

Pros

The product claims to smooth the hair, leave the hair soft, add shine, and manage frizz. My hair definitely experienced these results. My twists were nice and juicy after product application. My hair was very soft, shiny, and defined when I removed the twists.

The product doesn’t have a strong scent. So if you’re sensitive to strong scents, you will appreciate that about this product.

I also didn’t need to apply a lot of the product for it to be effective. I am usually heavy-handed with product, but only used one pump of the foam on each twist.

Cons

 The only con I noticed was that my twists kept coming unraveled at the ends, which I don’t typically experience with heavier cream-based stylers. So next time I use this product, I will add some small yellow perm rods to the ends.

Final Verdict

I’m glad I experimented with this product. It contains quality ingredients and I achieved my desired results. Finding products on clearance is a good way to experiment with new products and brands. If the product doesn’t give you the results you want, then you’re not out of a lot of money since you didn’t pay full price. I also plan on trying foam stylers from other brands to compare the results.

Have you used a foam before for a twist or braid out? What were your results?

Results

Foam