Archive for ‘natural hair’

April 2, 2010

Desert Essence Organics

It’s difficult in the beginning – first learning how to care for natural hair, abandoning old ideas of what was once good and healthy for your once relaxed strands – only to find that changing your hair texture also meant overturning your old regime, starting from scratch & taking more abbreviated notes.

Over the years I’ve etched out a few cheat sheets to help twist the hair faster, condition for a shorter period of time w/long term benefits & detangling in record time after days of avoiding a comb. Yet one of the few things that I cannot, will not & should not speed past, is the cleansing of my scalp. Long ago I was in another camp, the fun place where styles could last upwards of 3, sometimes 4 weeks at a time. Twists and the occasional blowouts would maintain some sense of normalcy as long as my nighttime routine was up to par.

Fast forward to the place I am in now, hair healthy – happily growing, yet still figuring out the scalp situation. These days it’s more so about maintaining the problem rather than completely solving it. To avoid the prescription meds my dermatologists often prescribes, I opt for oil blends and other scalp serum remedies that keep the scalp itch & flake free. To help keep the scalp well moisturized and balanced I’ve been leaning on Bee Mine’s Oil Free Serum, applied in between styling. But to help me get to the actual in-between, I have to first begin with a good scalp cleansing, and lately my fingers have been reaching for the poo, a shampoo that doesn’t contain harsh detergents, is moisturizing while still effectively cleansing.

Last month was my first dip into Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Rose Shampoo, a gentle moisturizing shampoo that went a long way while using very little to get the job done. After a month and a half of good use, my scalp did form an attachment to the Honey Suckle Rose, though soon it became a bit ineffective. Last week I opted to pull a switcheroo, finding relief in another non-harsh poo, Desert Essence’s Fragrance Free Organic Shampoo.

Desert Essence Organics Fragrance Free Shampoo is a gentle yet effective unscented shampoo. Organic extracts and oils provide moisture, minerals, and vitamins that hair needs to grow stronger. Upon use, hair is softer, shinier, and more manageable.

Organic Green Tea: Rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, Green Tea gives the hair gloss and shine.

Organic Jojoba Oil: An ingredient that acts on the scalp to leave the skin feeling moisturized and revitalized.

Organic Kelp and Nettle Extracts: Provide iron, calcium, potassium, and other vitamins and minerals which absorb into and help strengthen each hair strand

To help separate the idea of cleansing actual hair strands from cleansing the scalp, I apply the poo directly to my scalp using an applicator bottle. I find that this method of application helps the poo to lather sooner, and I often get better coverage as opposed to applying directly to hair. I love the fact that it’s a Fragrance free shampoo, Organic and chock full of goody nutrients my hair & scalp often loves!

After first use, my scalp was noticeably cleaner, and the hair did not dull out, maintaining its moisture & not over-stripped. The obvious hope is to continue using the Desert Essence until my scalp protests otherwise – and here’s hoping it doesn’t! A little goes a long way with this brand, the price is superbly right at a mere $8 & it’s easily accessible at most Whole Foods Markets & Trader Joe’s.

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March 23, 2010

Reader Question: Fairy Knots

I hate that I don’t have much to update as far as my hair goes, and I will… without shame blame it solely on my new devotion to the twist. I have been on a two-strand twisting binge for the past few weeks, & each glance in the mirror further deepens my love for them. Alas, I can’t quit my twists, so instead my brain is nudging me to answer a reader questions that I’ve neglected for much too long;-).

liberalheart writes:

I am looking for some information on how to avoid or tame the little knot kernels at the end of my TWA. They are driving me crazy!!! I don’t know if I am the only person that suffers from this or not, I have been looking for info on the matter to no avail.

This is a tricky question for me simply because I never experienced knots at the end of my TWA many moons ago. I did however experience them a few months back when my hair was in dire need of a good trim. The ends of my hair were brittle, dry to the touch even after an adequate deep conditioning making the only option a snipping session.  Over time, you learn to rely on your instincts as far as when or how often to trim your hair, yet being forced into a trim due to knots and snarls is a whole other story.

During my TWA years, I rarely wore my hair out and about. My fro was, and still is naturally prone to dryness and while it was readjusting to a new texture…well, essentially it battled its own state of confusion as far as retaining moisture &  relating to its new environment. I was also on the fast track to obtaining length. I was obsessed with reaching a hair goal similar to my relaxed days. I was routinely fixated on all the natural haired pictures I came across while flipping through pages of Essence or Honey because in all honesty, they were few and far between. To protect my ends & to abstain from foreseen knotting, I wore protective styles for the majority of TWA years, prolonging the styles until my hair was well past shoulder length. I never endured snarls at the ends of my hair because they were always well hidden or protected from environmental elements.

Bottom line, if you & your hair are going through a period of frustration, it’s time to take a step back & evaluate your regimen.  Or, if you haven’t developed one, time to treat your hair to a regimen based on consistency.  No two heads of natural hair are the same. Ever, and this goes way beyond the surface & the look of one’s style, therefore no matter the length of your hair, knots are a part of a natural haired person’s life, & subsequently the factors attributed to these knots will vary from fro to fro.

One of my favorite bloggers, Alice of Diary of a Kinky Curly Transitioner, devoted a post to this sometime last year:

Fairy knots are tiny, single strand knots in your hair. They got their name from the fact they are so small only a fairy could have tied them! These generally appear on the ends and then work their way up if you don’t take care of them ASAP. If you wear your hair out a lot (wash and gos, wild and loose, etc.) you’re going to be more prone to them because your ends aren’t protected and when you add the nature of curly hair (curls on itself) you’re asking for some trouble.

There are two ways to take care of them:

1) Snip them off. Easy. Breezy. Beautiful.

2) DETANGLE them out. This can be time consuming, I’ve had some luck with a heavy co-wash conditioner and olive oil. I gently combed the ends with my Denman to get them out. It took FOREVER and I snapped most of my hair off at the knots while detangling them so you’re REALLY better of with option 1.

Prevention is easy. Keep your hair relatively snag free (watch your collars!), condition and wear protective styles so the fairies won’t get you!

If you decide to detangle them out of your hair, be sure to use a wide enough comb, a conditioner with a variable amount of slip (a good cheapie is VO5’s Moiture Milks line;-), or be sure to add/use a penetrating/nourishing oil such as coconut or olive oil.

Figuring out which products work best for your hair is also quite important during TWA stages, though arming yourself with the knowledge of what your hair inherently needs is very different from shopping willy nilly for a whole host of twisting creams & gels. Determining your hair’s porosity, texture & moisture balance are all key to determining what products will work best on your hair. Marsha, from the fab Curl friendly line, Curl Junkie wrote a very detailed & informative post on this a few weeks back:

First let me say that we all have to remember that there are many factors that go into determining whether or not a product works for you. Here are just some things to consider (assuming you haven’t found your perfect combos yet):

1)Outside Weather – including Dew points, temperature, relative humidity, wind, rain, snow, etc…

2)How you treat your hair – Do you use heat regularly? Do you color your hair? Do you sleep on a cotton pillowcase vs. satin vs. whatever… Is it damaged or generally healthy?

3)Inside Environment – Humidity – is it relatively dry or most in your home or office?

4)Hair Texture – Fine through normal through Coarse (For the sake of this article, on a 1-10 scale, I’ll say that the very finest of hair is a 1 and the coarsest of hair is a 10). I find that most people who think they have really coarse hair don’t. This is mainly due to frame of reference. You’d need to feel truly coarse hair (which is typically given as Asian/Native American, although I have felt variations there as well and have seen the coarsest hair in my life on a Caucasian head…2 actually…and they were both red-heads…humm…). This isn’t to say that you aren’t right, but it is likely that your hair is in the 6-9 range. Just as with fine hair, you’ll be in the 2-4 range. It turns out, when I compare my hair strands with other folks hair, that I fall in the normal to fine range (about a 4)…that was a surprise to me!

5)Hair Porosity – Low-normal-high (which most people will not have unless their hair is damaged/bleached/etc). For the sake of this article, low porosity hair will feel smooth moving your fingers up and down the shaft and also has problems absorbing water/product/chemicals (you may see water beading up on the hair). High porosity hair will feel bumpy or a little rough (due to the cuticle layer not laying very flatly) and absorbs almost too much of everything (and will release it easily too, including moisture!).

6)Hair Density – Do you have a lot of hair on your head or very little (so you see your scalp easily)?

7)Wave/Curl Pattern – I think this a factor, although not the major one. For example, generally speaking, I think that if you have a weaker wave/curl pattern with fine-normal hair you may want to use a hard holding gel with your products to support your pattern.

8)Products you use on your hair – again, the quality, gentleness or harshness of the products you use regularly on your hair. Sometimes you can do damage with a harsh shampoo, sulfate or sulfate-free. Sometimes you need some protein and sometimes not. Sometimes you need a particular type of protein (like say the protein in an ingredient like Lecithin which even coarse heads seem to be OK with…).

9)How many times per week do you wash/condition/style your hair?

10)The temperature of the water you use to wash your hair…think about it, if you shower in hot water (like I do), then you create a great moisture rich environment for your hair to soak up moisture…you almost turn your conditioners into Deep Treatments! I find that even folks who normally avoid say glycerin in products, could use it in this environment and rinse it out (making sure not to use glycerin in their stylers). The glycerin helps to soak up the moisture in the shower air (this is not scientific, just what I’ve found! :-P)

Before giving into the frustrations of the fairy knots, try deep conditioning with a non-drying, silicone free conditioner that won’t cause an excess in buildup. Clarify your hair/scalp at least once a month ( Apple Cider Vinegar is a great option!), try protective styling! I used to LOVE wearing my hair in tiny two-strand twists which always produced the cutest curly fro, or moisturized single coils which are often easier to maintain and style than two-strands.

Hope this helps & you find a solution to those stubborn knots;-)!

March 15, 2010

Qhemet Biologics – Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee

I’m not usually a sucker for most things. After working in retail for the majority of my teen/college years, I’m hip to the marketing game, the ‘this would go soooo well with that…’ tune that if you’re the unlucky gal looking & working off of commission, you’re more than likely to hit a road block with me coming your way. And with that said, there is always my weak point, the product or ‘thing’ that can always bring my wallet to it’s knees and purchase up a storm. At this point it’s not even a secret, but it’s often my personal pleasure to indulge in most things chocolate scented/chocolate flavored…just…plain loved by cocoa:-)!

So whether or not the folks over at Qhemet Biologics marketed their Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee as something geared specifically for the aching soles of your feet…I still would’ve invested. Attribute this to the undying PJ in me, but it’s always a yummy treat to cradle either your skin or hair in the smell of all things chocolate. I ordered a 5 oz jar during the now long ago Black Friday Sale, and finally dug in just a few weeks back. Admittedly skeptical at first because as a cream ghee that claims to condition and detangle unmanageable hair this would’ve been a first, so I carried a few doubts to the twisting table. In the past, my luck has always rested on detanglers with a lotion type consistency, more similar to KBB’s hair milk or Darcy’s Botanicals leave-in conditioners. And while I’m quick to place it in the ‘creme’ consistency wagon, it could also fall under the more thicker butter-like family.

As a leave-in, it works, and by ‘works’ I mean it detangled, softened & moisturized my hair before a whole host of other products touched my strands. After the hair was well conditioned, I applied the Ghee in sections, lightly detangling the ends with a wide tooth comb, then brushing through with the Denman brush. Detangling was relatively easy, and much to my surprise I honestly felt I could’ve also styled with it. Because I wanted to prolong the look of my twists I did layer with the Amla Heavy Creme, yet knowing that this could double as an easy quick styler in slightly less colder temps, had me feeling even more pleased with the investment.

Product Description

  • Restores manageability, softness and elasticity to normal to very dry hair. Smooths cuticles, improves combing ability and reduces breakage.
  • Natural dark chocolate scent.
  • Key Ingredients: Contains pure, prime pressed Cocoa Butter to smooth, soften and seal in moisture, Horsetail, Nettle and Barley to strengthen and condition and sulfur rich MSM to nourish follicles and support growth. Enhanced with carefully selected mild and eco-friendly detangling actives, it instantly restores manageability, pliability and elasticity to matted and tangled hair.
  • Does not contain mineral oil, lanolin, silicones, parabens or artificial fragrances.
  • Directions: For tangled hair that is damp or dry, divide hair into 4-8 sections. Apply a moderate amount to the entire length of one section at a time and work through with fingers. Use a wide toothed comb to comb through from end to root as hair is instantly softened and detangled. For use as a conditioner, rub a small to medium amount between palms and work through wet, damp or dry hair. Leave in.

Here’s the sidenote though: To ensure the effectiveness of the Ghee, it’s best to either finger comb your hair before applying, detangle with either a wide-tooth/Denman, or seriously condition enough so that a comb can glide easily through your strands. The Ghee DOES NOT HAVE SLIP! There was really no need for all caps, but when we think of good detanglers, many of us (including moi!) expect the slip & slide effect. Slip is often times our miracle worker in the best of products because it makes our job of detangling all the more easy. While application is relatively easy, you shouldn’t have to use more than a dime size amount to get the job done, but to ensure the longevity of the Ghee make sure to properly engage in conditioney activities prior;-).

Because I have oddles of leave-ins to choose from while styling the hair each week, I’m always hesitant to label something as a staple, BUT…the Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee has my heart as a mainstay in the rotation. Because I have…literally about a tablespoon sized amount left in my jar, I’m fiending to make another purchase sometime soon. A 2 oz jar will run you $5.50 while a nice sized 5 oz jar goes for $14

March 13, 2010

Update…

A brief checking in because seriously, these lazy bones have been something ludicrous this past week. Thankfully this thing called Spring Break has landed in my lap, offering up a bit more free me time to relax, relate & release! Even one upped myself by taking off from the ‘ol 9-5 to concentrate on my funnabilties: in essence I’m scheduling that long over due eye-brow threading, girlifying my nails with pretty colors & using up that year long spa gift certificate for a much deserved facial.

This is me excited {{{{YEAH!!!}}}}

Tomorrow is indeed hair day, and protective twisting thus continueth. I love my twists. I’ve missed my twists. These twists are taking up residency on my head for the foreseeable future. Last week was an attempt at chunky twists, which were then worn in up-do fashion for the remainder of the week. Accessories have buddied up with me to make the style look even more lovelier, which in turn has kept me searching for more hair goodies to buy! I’ve hit up upteenth places looking for bargains, and thankfully have come away with many deals. Today, in light of some insanely wet weather out, I took down the chunky twists just to indulge in a bit of Hand in Fro play. To twist, used an old combo of Blended Beauty Happy Nappy Styles under KBB’s Hair Milk, and still have moderately moisturized hair. A bit of frizz snuck in towards the crown but was easily concealed with a few hair clips.

On the hair-to-do list has GOT to be the last of my colored ends. Straggly little things are looking mighty lonely on the ends with no promising future, so me thinks it best to plan a snip-snip session. And soon.

Other things that have kept me preoccupied have been the beautiful movement happening over at Vogue Black. The feature on Debra Shaw is beautifully done. If you haven’t bookmarked this site….Ummmm…

I’ve been slacking on my BV Hair Talk but catching up is just as fun. Afro Hair is not just a trend. Dig it:

The afro has been a striking and significant fashion staple through the years – particularly in the seventies, an afro came to be anonymous with black power, political statements, and reclaiming one’s roots.

Today’s afros are different.

Today it can be about making a statement, but often you’ll find that it’s a personal statement of freedom, of beauty on one’s own terms, of effortless style.

There’s always tons to get down before the weekend’s over, and apparently we lose an ENTIRE hour because of something called ‘daylight savings’…? wth. Hmmm…but before the crankiness of losing an hour’s worth of sleep settles in, enjoy voting for our product guru Amina of Coup de Couer who made it as a semi-finalist for Bobbi Brown’s Pretty Powerful Contest! This has awesome factor written all over it & because you can vote as often as your tippy fingers will allow….ga head and have fun;-)

Alright, an attempt at resuming regularly scheduled posting should commence…now. But first, ladies. Let’s not allow history to repeat itself. Yeah…it’s funny. Until it happens to you.

via kiss my black ads

March 3, 2010

P.Y.T.

It’s official. As of this past week, I’ve designated the up-do as the ‘go-to’ style of all time & here on forever-after. It’s my love…my HEART…Mon Coeur du jour. For reasons based solely on lack of time, I’ve run for every hair clip accessory in my arsenal to pin/tuck/manipulate in a way so as to keep any & all hairs up and far away from my eager fingers.

Lately I see no reason to stop this love affair, so to add something relatively new to my routine, I introduced Amla Powder into the arsenal family. Before mixing the Amla, pre-pooed with Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle, cleansed the scalp with Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Shampoo. The scalp wasn’t much of a bother, even with two weeks shy of a good cleaning, so I focused more on cleansing the hair which still felt relatively moisturized from the Qhemet Amla creme. Used a newbie, Curl Junkie’s Daily Fix Cleansing Hair Conditioner to clean the hair & continued on with the Amla.

Didn’t have the time to search for a tried and true recipe for an Amla mix, instead came up with a concoction using a few things lying around. Brewed together a cup or so of Burdock Root & Horsetail, steeped for about 20-30 minutes. Let the tea cool before adding it slowly to the Amla. Added two tablespoons of Darcy’s Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner, mixed well to remove any lumps & until it became a smooth consistency. Applied in sections starting from the back, making my way forward. The application reminded me a lot of a bentonite application, so no surprises.

DC’d with the Amla for 1 hour before thoroughly rinsing. This took a few trips to the bathroom mirror to ensure all clumps and remainder of Amla was washed out entirely. Styled this week with new love Qhemet’s Amla & Olive Heavy Creme, under the Coco Tree Detangling Ghee. Still  undergoing protective styling, though changed the game after time slipped away from me for most of the morning. Made twists larger, but tighter to ensure an obvious curl definition once unraveled in the morning.

In the morning, carefully undid about 15-18 or so twists. Did NOT separate, left each twist intact and immediately began pinning haphazardly because Monday’s are the bane of my existence;-). I pinned and used a few Goody clips purchased over the weekend to give it the sort of effortless but still put together… feel. I do believe it came out o.k.! It’s Wednesday & I have minimal frizz, the twists are still defined, and as long as I keep the up-do status until the next wash day, all should remain relatively moisturized and well protected.

I also love this style because of it’s versatility. Perfect for work/play/dinner with friends & it’s simple, no fuss stuff. Looks great if you’re planning on wearing a hat to combat the still lingering Winter days, or alone to justify wearing your fabulous hair accessories. Easy to maintain at night as well. Simply tie a silk scarf securely…and really not much else! No need to re-twist each night as with regular twist n’go’s, and no need to re-moisturize .

The only downside – I’m hesitant to prolong for two weeks. Will play it by ear, and hope the east coast has seen the last of Mr. Flurry.

*reviews pending on the Curl Junkie Daily Fix Cleansing Condish, Darcy’s Pumpkin Seed Condish & Qhemet’s Coco Tree Detangling Ghee.

February 26, 2010

Qhemet Biologics Amla & Olive Heavy Cream

One of the first natural hair products I wanted to get my PJ hands on while dealing with post-traumatic heat damage was the Qhemet Biologics line of hair creams. The consensus all around was nothing but positive, from the super popular Burdock Root Butter Cream to the moisture infused Amla & Olive Heavy Cream. Pretty much you couldn’t go wrong if your hair’s claim to fame is as a fine-haired natural or a thick manned gal. Their #1 seller, Amla & Olive Heavy Cream, was my first pick when deciding to try the line and two weeks ago, after playing tango with one of their local distributors here in BK, then finally deciding to purchase during a Black Friday moment, I was able to sample.

Black Friday does seem like a distant memory,  yet what keeps it still fresh in my mind is the oh so beautiful shipping situation after placing an order. A lot has simmered down since last November, namely my frustrations – so I won’t go into sordid details- though if you’ve heard the whispers & possible rumors around slow turnarounds…consider them…then sit back, relax.

I used the Amla & Olive Heavy Cream to two-strand twist a few weeks ago, needed to put the hair in a two week minimum protective style, which meant either a butter based cream or something that packed a punch, similar to an old favorite Darcy’s Madagascar Vanilla Styling Creme.

Product Description:

Our nourishingly rich blend of old world oils, organic herbs and natural humectants leaves coarse, dry and brittle hair extra soft, healthy and supple!

Key Ingredients: Our ultra thick cream contains Amla, Brahmi and African Aloe, premium Afro-Indian botanicals used for thousands of years to nourish the scalp and strengthen and condition hair. MSM sulfur nurtures follicles and encourages healthy hair growth, Mediterranean Olive Oil delivers emollience and lubricity and African Castor Oil delivers sheen, incredible softness and possesses hair growth and hair thickening properties.

Does not contain mineral oil, lanolin, proteins, silicones, artificial fragrances, dyes or parabens.

The consistency of the creme is supremely dense, spreads easily & thankfully all you need is a smidge to carry you through a good twisting session. I frankly underestimated the moisture packed into the heavy creme and leaned more on the heavy handed end. I went a good 3-4 days a bit afraid to touch my hair because to the touch, I’d have oily fingertips. Not an altogether fresh look.  Though, even with oily tips, my hair lathered in the best kinds of oils – both castor & olive – are two of the first ingredients. The creme is an oil/aloe/water/glycerin blend with a few emulsifiers to give it the necessary slip, allowing it to spread easily. No butters to speak of in the formula, which for long period protective styles I find my hair likes a lot better.

It’s been two weeks, two solid weeks of pintucking, up-do’s, headbanding, ponytails, hairclipping against the winter temps of NYC, and the twists are ridiculously still moisturized and softer than I’ve ever felt my hair. I’m playing it down a bit, honestly each day that passed with the twists in, I did a strand test to determine if more moisture was needed. Usually, I’d spritz a bit of herbal spray, or dip into my KBB hair cream stash to boost up the shine & moisture. Frankly, I needed none of it. The Amla & Olive Cream left my hair touchably soft for two solid weeks.

There was the usual suspect, namely fuzzy frizz after a week, but nothing exaggerated. There were days I went out without my head protected, sans hat & lived to still have moisturized twists. Because of the density of the cream,  I doubt I’d use it for anything more than twisting or lightly moisturizing mid-week.

Also used as a:

  • Soothing and regenerative scalp butter
  • Post-shampoo conditioner
  • Overnight Deep Treatment
  • Moisturizing daily leave-in
  • Replenishing body butter

I’d love to try this as an overnight DC, no doubt my hair would wake up softer than my best pre-poo treatment. I’m learning my hair thrives off of Castor Oil, really sealing and maintaining moisture when it craves it, though moderation is also important. I love the way the Amla Cream left my hair, soft & manageable, though it’s undeniably heavy. My twists were a bit ‘droopy’ for a few days before perking up and poufing up a few days ago. I’m not a huge fan of twists that hang without the benefit of movement. Granted I was a bit heavy handed, but after finishing up this jar I’d love to sample the Burdock Root Butter Cream, a much lighter alternative that works just as well to combat dryness.

The price is right (8oz $16), and will inevitably last a good while. Definite keeper in the rotation.

Anybody tried the Burdock Root Butter Cream? Would love to know your thoughts before purchasing;-)

February 22, 2010

Understanding Natural Hair

I do not think the wonder and natural discovery of African American hair will ever quiet down. Last year, with the premier of Chris Rock’s Good Hair film, and really just a quick uptake in the natural hair community over the past few years – it certainly looks more like the very beginnings of an on going movement to better understanding.

I do not believe natural hair is a trend. I do not believe that if it is not talked about, or the media decides it is no longer en vogue that it is no longer important or relevant. It’s easy to slip into the argument, ‘hair is just hair’…though highly textured/African hair deserves a much higher honor and it’s due respect.

The documentary, A Journey to Understanding by O.M. Ajayi explores the history of African American textured hair. If you have the time, show some love by pressing play or bookmark & share. Click here for a sneak peak.

Also by Ajayi, Hair: A Conversation

link via Investigate.Conversate

February 16, 2010

Pin-Tucked Twist

Alright, long weekend’s over. I get it. Time to move on.

They always seem to come & go so quickly though. I plan my days out…almost down to a tee in order to fit in overdue quality time with fam, laundry catchup, book reading catchup – homework etc. I dunno…I’ll be completely honest, in no particular order did I get to anything on my list:-(. Yah. Here’s to being more spontaneous, less annal retentive, and just using common sense.

I waited until the last minute to start on the hair because a trip to Ikea became a sudden priority;-)! Started early Monday morning without a pre-poo, but shampooed the scalp with Aubrey Organics HoneySuckle Rose Shampoo, co-washed the hair with Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle conditioner. Deep Conditioned with Aubrey Organics GPB Balancing conditioner (*milk protein condish) for 45 min under cap.

Rinsed, then quickly started on the twists. Compared to last week, I wanted to make them a bit smaller to leave more room for styling. To style used two newbies

from Qhemet Biolgics. As a leave-in, the Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee under the Amla & Olive Heavy Creme (*emphasis on heavy!).

Twisting took much too long, upwards of 4 1/2 hours! Okay, granted I was taking food breaks, mood breaks and movie breaks, but er…that’s a bit too long for me. As time rolled on, I finished around 3 in the afternoon, ate a late lunch and huffed & puffed my way to a late class. Was it…is it worth it?!

Yeeeaaah. I love my twists. I enjoy not having to moisturize and twist the hair each night to prevent snarls and knots. I enjoy playing with each one, tucking one behind my ear, while the rest play by themselves. I enjoy putting them up, pinning them down and securing ’em in a pony when it’s just the corner store that calls.

Last week I had good intentions to style the twists in some fanciful way, but only managed one look. No sense taking redundancy pics, so this week I pinned til my heart contented. The goal is to pin & tuck in a precarious way so that I can achieve the lowest of the low when it comes to manipulation. Get up & go hair while still making it all look effortless. I pinned a section of hair to the side (*in this case the right side), secured with an elastic and pinned remaining ponytail into a bun. The right side was rolled and pinned midway/across the back while the front was pinned up in a faux pompadour-esque using a goodly pin I’d purchased a while back. The style does look much better in person, but the pics are still good.

No touchie for a good week. I mean it. I was actually quite happy I could pull the twists over to one side without too much trouble. My hair has seen some growth over the past few weeks, and it’s sort of caught me off guard. No plans to cut or trim anytime soon, but….down the line I’d love to get a nice shaped fro or bang? Never had much in the way of bangs since going natural…that’d be sweet;-).

*reviews on Qhemet to come

By the by…THIS movie is worth the Netflix allotted slot in your queue. Dig it.

February 8, 2010

Twisting Motion

For sure, the one thing that can make many a natural haired femme run towards any form of protective style is a dipped temperature below thirty degrees. This week I jetted.  It’s fair to say that we are smack dab in the middle of Winter, and I’ve only managed to pull off less than a handful of protective styles.

Last week was a half-attempt with the rollerset. I set the hair, and freely pinned up-dos for the good part of the week. Hair was handled minimally, and re-moisturized periodically only when dry.

This week was a return to the twists, and me thinks one of my first allies in hair styles is here to stay…at least for a while. These days I’m a fan of what makes sense & what can realistically fit into my work/school schedule. Twists do that & then some.

Last night I got a head start in washing & DC’ing while watching a bit of television (*VH1 Doc/Soul Train was on! Who watched!?). No pre-poo, instead shampoo’d in the shower with Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Rose Shampoo , lightly rinsed then followed up with Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner. Massaged the Tea Tree Conditioner well throughout the hair, leaving in for 2-3 minutes before rinsing. DC this week was the remainder of the JessiCurl Too Shea Moisturizing Conditioner. A rarity, but detangled & left the conditioner in overnight.

In the a.m. woke up super-armed & committed to twisting into a protective style. Product of choice was a go-to, Darcy’s Botanicals Daily leave-in under their Madagascar Vanilla Styling Creme. I rely on these products for twists because with proper maintenance each night, the twists are effectively moisturized for a solid week – week and a half without adding other product. The creme does not leave behind a filmy residue & if I’m not as heavy handed as I’m known to be when styling, there’s not much of a greasy factor which helps keep the bedsheets quite happy;-).

I do hope to keep the style in for at the very least a week – two if I’m striving for greatness being lazy.

But even with the twists in, I’m setting some goals. I am challenging myself to not simply wake up & go with this style as I’ve done in the past – but to give myself a leg up by offering a bit more variety in how I either pin, tuck, pull back the style. I have countless headbands, feather clips, jeweled clips I can use to accessorize the heck out of this style, and I’m aiming to rock it out.

It’d be great if I could take a pic each day to document these goals….right? *I’m making a ‘yeah right face’ that you can’t see—>but goals are goals & I’m on it;-).

*Update on Giveaway: I love doing contests/giveaways, BUT…the only drawback seems to be the non-communicado that follows. A winner was chosen a few weeks ago, contacted but has yet to respond. If no response arrives in my inbox (backtocurly@gmail.com) by end this week, I will draw a random name from the entries. THANKS a BUNCH to *all who did send in your contributions! Your words made the days all the more sweet;-).

February 6, 2010

Shanty Roller-Set

Over the past two weeks or so , I’ve managed to make a beautiful mess out of…stuff.

It’s getting to the point where the obligation to apologize for not blogging is resembling a crooked crutch I’m leaning on much too much. When did I last blog about my hair?

….

I’ll get the hang of it. Eventually. It’s all about organizing the ‘real’ and whatever else goes on ‘up there.’ My head’s been preoccupied with a flurry of syllabus’, due dates, group projects, new responsibilities at full-time job, remodeling this humble abode…figuring out a new budget loved lifestyle that befits a grad student.

Works in progress.  Such is life eh? But I suck still because while I’m filling the page with excuses, last week before the head hit for a doze, I kind of wanted to talk about my first attempt at roller-setting. Twas my first attempt & it was a good experience in that I was mindful in taking notes for the future.

Instead of going over wash/condition routines I need to pinpoint tips I might want to incorporate into future roller-set attempts.

  • Sectioning hair is VERY important

I took the willy nilly approach into setting the hair simply because I had every intention of putting the set in an up-do protective style for the coming week. Not the best approach because effectively parting the hair before it’ s dry and set in rollers, helps the curls to lay in a more proportioned manner rather than having one curl meet east & the other meet west. My outcome was fair, but it certainly lacked uniformity.

  • I ran out of rollers. Thinking you have enough rollers to set the hair as opposed to KNOWING you have enough are worlds apart when it gets down to standing in front of the mirror.

The rollers I’d purchased the day before, three packs of six. I had eighteen medium length/width rollers that I’d intended to roll the back portion of hair, while using longer/thinner rods to set the front. Not a bad idea, though the outcome wasn’t what I’d expected. The back of the hair once dried left me with nice bouncy ringlets, while the front was…not. It looked haphazard and not well put togehter. It’s best to keep the rollers within the same family in terms of length/width so outcomes aren’t as drastically different.

  • Styling/Setting products are just as important as types of rollers used

I used KBB hair milk as a leave-in, with Afroveda’s Curly Custard.  Speaking only for my hair, these two products are best used to two-strand twist, flat twist, braid etc., but…eh…, not particularly fancy for a roller-set. Proper roller setting requires the hair to lay smooth, not raised(?), which has always been a problem for my hair because of the few different textures that run throughout. My hair runs on the fuzzy side even on a good day, always has. Only product that could help keep the swelling down has been some added gel (which I’m adamant in NOT using) & a setting lotion.

I’m researching different products best used for roller-setting, which is a bit tricky – last time a roller set was done on my hair was during my relaxed days & setting lotions/products used then have ingredients my hair has grown unaccustomed to over the years.

I’ll definitely try the style again, overall the change in routines was well worth it. I did not do much in terms of styling for the rest of the week. I pinned the hair up quite often, and refreshed the hair with a bit of KBB hair butter & Jane Carter Revitalizing Spray when it turned a bit dry. This week (likely tonight) I’ll wash/DC the hair & resume my regular twisting schedule because homework beckons.

Still debating on doing an Amla treatment…Bentonite? I need a lil sumthin to treat my hair, these colder temps are not forgiving.