Archive for ‘The Process’

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 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.

January 11, 2010

Hair Fix

I’m excited. No, seriously I’m REALLY excited this week because I’m finding that trying something new can reap some ridiculously famous results!  Prompted by a conversation with a friend this past weekend, I decided that while it’s fancy and fun to stock up on all that a PJ wants, it’s even better to actually use it! Friend & I were talking product & hair, combos to stay away from, tips to try when I quietly hinted to the damage done this past Black Friday. I’d stocked up on ounces & ounces of butters/pomades/puddings and conditioners to last me well into the Winter/Spring, then carefully placed them off to the side in a sort of safe keeping.

Sounds silly right, safe keeping some of your goodies? Sounds a tad off,  now with hindsight as a decoder. I forgot that it is more beneficial to use up what’s purchased so that if necessary, I can move on and try more goodies… if need be. By no means am I trying to advocate future shopping binges, but rather forcing my hand a bit, saying that it’s okay to use up what you’ve got even though it might one day be gone. It’s irrational at best, but my sensitivity comes from….just nonsensical ish! Time to get over it, and this week was a start.

Life is much better when you pre-poo…I say. It’s frigid outside & by the time wash day rolls around my hair is on bended knee, craving moisture even before a traditional poo is applied.  I’ve bid adieu to ‘ol faithful, Vo5 Moisture Milks, to make way for the newbie Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle. The consistency is very creamy, easy to apply and the ‘tingle’ is felt almost instantly. I left on for a 15-20 minutes because I intended to massage the scalp with Naked Naturals Shea Butter & Avocado Smoothing Shampoo for a good five minutes, and did not want to over strip the hair in the process. Before applying conditioner I did take a quick pic of hair. Picture to the right is taken right after cold rinsing the shampoo out of hair, & prior to adding conditioner. In it’s natural state you can still see bits of remaining hair color that I’m still trying to grow out. The tips show the only visible signs of hair color, which means I’m about a month or two away from another good trim. Ultimately the goal is to get rid of all colored ends, because to the touch they continue to remain a bit brittle even after a good 45 min DC’ing. Other than the ends, the rest of the hair appears pretty healthy, and for that I’m quite happy;-).

Detangled then deep conditioned with Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Rose under a heating cap for an hour before cold rinsing. Took a chance on my own stash of products and styled this week with Darcy’s Botanicals Herbal Leave-In Spritz, just a few sprays to hydrate. The ingredient list is just too good not to:

Botanical infusion of Distilled Water, Organic Nettle, Organic Peppermint leaves, Organic Burdock Root, Organic Horsetail, Organic Marshmallow Root, Organic Coltsfoot, Organic Sage, Organic Hibiscus Flowers, Organic Kelp, Organic Sea Moss, Vegetable Glycerin, Organic Aloe Juice, Sea Salt, Polysorbate 20, Litsea Cubeba, Tangerine, Patchouli, Sweet Orange, Peppermint, & Tea Tree Essential Oils, and a paraben free preservative.

Naturi Quench Moisturizer

Then applied a new favorite from Naturi Beauty, their Naturi Quench Moisturizer. Lucky me won a hefty 8oz jar of the butter during a recent contest hosted by Laquita and Shelley. Began using the butter on my skin once the weather here on the East Coast starting behaving badly, but stopped short after realizing I wanted to experience it on my hair as well. The site indicates that it’s best to use for twisting & braid-twist outs making it ideal to use as a weekly styler:

From the Site:

An intense moisturizing cream that rejuvenates dry hair and restores moisture and sheen. Hemp and jojoba oil strengthen each hair strand and aloe and honey create healthy, hydrated brilliant curls, waves and kinks. Great for daily moisture, smoothing edges and styling touch ups, works wonders for braids

Reasons for using the Naturi Quench were two-fold. I needed the moisture that only a butter could provide in order to use something I’ve had in the stash for way too long, Curl Junkie’s Aloe Fix Gel. I was hesitant to try the Aloe Fix for reasons I’ve lamented about here on this blog. I have a very sensitive scalp, & coincidentally sensitive skin.  Years ago, months after my first BC & even some moments after my 2nd, I’d routinely style my hair with Sleek n’ Shine’s aloe gel formula yet had never experienced ill side effects. Fast forward to last year, oddly enough a few days after reviewing it here on Back To Curly, I began to have quite visible allergic reactions.

To put it bluntly, I experience painful outbreaks on my skin when using the wrong gel. I haven’t experienced fun times with a gel in a good while, and gave up on drugstore brands to help slick back edges and twist. After the last Kinky Curly Custard application I was ready to completely shy away from any & all gel type stylers until I realized a hefty 16oz jar of Aloe Fix was idly sitting by, untouched.  So essentially, I made provisions.  Before applying the Aloe Fix, the spritz was applied, followed by the Naturi Quench Moisturizer. This was the only way I’d manage to use a gel on my hair during the winter, specifically to avoid the inevitable crunch & strong hold. I wanted definition in my twists, moisture, light hold without the crunch…and thankfully I got it!

From Curl Junkie’s Site:

Have curls that need a little control? This thick, rich, 98% natural/naturally derived Aloe based gel is formulated for hair with curls and coils. If scrunched into the hair it helps to give your hair definition, volume and bounce, and when smoothed into hair it can help stretch out the curls you have and add weight to hair to help elongate and define curls. You choose…It’s all in the application technique! Imparts lasting moisture and shine with aloe, glycerin, Vitamin B5, and Sweet Almond oil. If you are transitioning from a relaxer to a natural, try using this to smooth out the new growth. Can also be used for 2-strand twists or to slick back hair into ponytails or smooth flyaway hairs and refresh mid-day curls. Gives hair a fresh herbal/citrus scent.

Twisted into large twists using my new favorite combo, and unraveled this morning for some insanely gorgeous hair!  I’m tooting my own horn here, but you’ve gotta know that feeling when you’ve struck gold with a product combo, tried a new method, and somehow all turns out famously well! It’s time well spent…(6hrs to be exact;-). I’m happy with the results which yielded me zero crunch, significant shine & soft-medium hold that with proper maintenance should carry me through the week. More importantly, my hair is not stiff! Don’t you hate a gel that makes your hair act like a weapon? Ideally, you want a product that’s going to smoothe, deliver shine, and if you’re lucky a bit of nourishing properties.

During the Winter months I’m wising up with gels, pairing up beforehand with an adequate moisturizer as a leave-in, and some kind of herbal tonic for nourishment. What I loved about the Naturi Quench is that it’s a butter blend with water as it’s first ingredient. This helps the butter apply smoother onto hair that’s especially wet or damp and emulsifies clear on hands before applying. Paired with the Aloe Fix Gel, it really was the perfect combo!

January 4, 2010

Hairitis

Can I just start of this post by professing what I’m thankful for? Okay,….HEAT! I am in awe of it’s instant ability to make me breathe numerous sighs of relief and have joyous fits of happiness.

If you’re in the midst of a Winter Freeze….god speed. I am with you;-). That is all.

And with that, I have a confession. Yes, yesterday was Sunday…and Yes, I hadn’t washed/styled my hair since the last time I blogged about it a few weeks back. And…Meh, it was time to get down and condition-y with my dry nest. But really, REALLY, I did not want to. I had a strong case of…’oh my gawd, tomorrow is Monday, I do NOT want to go into work, can’t believe the Holidays/New Year’s is over, someone PLEAAAASE hide me….’ mode. There was epic grumbling erupting on my end of NY & it endured till the bitter end.

Sleepy Eyes

Typically, the game plan for the hair is layed out at least a day prior. I have a sensible idea of how to approach ‘The Process,’ i.e., thoughts of pre-poo/poo/condish/styler are floating in my brain long before I take a Denman to my hair. I find this helps speed up how long I spend on each step, leaving ample time to run leftover errands before the start of another work week. Right…yesterday was the Null approach.

Had to pre-poo (‘ol cheapie Vo5)  because I needed to scrub my scalp with Naked Natural’s Shea Butter & Avocado Smoothing Shampoo. I worked in the Shampoo directly to the scalp, massaged for five minutes before rinsing.  I’ve been using the Naked Naturals for…a good month, maybe a tad longer and simply love that it doesn’t strip my hair (thanks in part to the pre-poo) and leaves scalp feeling clean & free of product buildup.  At less than 7 bucks, it’s cost effective (still on my first bottle), a little goes a long way as does the usage!

Deep Conditioned with ol favorite Aubrey Organics HoneySuckle Rose. Okay…to illustrate how ‘Null’ this entire process actually was, let me disclose this. I put AOHR in hair at 3:30 p.m., detangled for 45min-1hr. Placed detangled twists under conditioning cap, headed to bed for a cat nap, which felt more like a hibernation after waking up at 5:30p.m. Waking up, decided my heating cap needed some love. More conditioning w/heat for another 45min-1hr (all the while napping). Wake up to cold-rinse condish out of hair and ultimately decide normalcy was not the flavor of the day, forcing me to forgo styling hair in medium twists to much larger twists in order to save on time and to catch up on more unnecessary sleep.  Styled with feverish fingers using KBB hair milk under Blended Beauty’s Happy Nappy Styles.

Finished twisting in a quick 45 min, then decided to dry using the Soft Bonnet. The twists this week were larger than usual, so air drying was a no go. It was 7:15-7:30ish when ‘lil ‘ol bonnet went to good use…it was around 11:30 when she & I both tuckered out. Apparently my hair was in no rush to dry, leaving me with a few slightly damp twists by the time my satin tied head hit the pillow well into the morning.

Waking up this morning, had a terrible case of Monday-itis, but le bouffant was kind to reveal soft, moisturized shiny hair! After untwisting, as is customary these days, I applied a dab of KBB hair cream to the crown and a bit on ends before fluffing and separating.  Overall, VERY happy with the results. Happy Nappy Styles is a go-to product for me, and will continue to be so during the winter months.  I use a small bit to do what I consider a big job on my hair, and the results are always satisfactory. Pics were taken after a day spent in 20 degree weather, and all still looks relatively shinny and moisturized.

Aside from a bit of halo frizz over the top, I can safely say this is the first time my outward laziness has effectively paid off! Next step is figuring out how to retain moisture for remainder of the week (or next).  Anyone else have lazy bones during Winter? I cannot, REFUSE to be going down this road alone.

Eh…Stay Warm & Toasty everyone;-).

December 23, 2009

Seasoned Hair

First snowfalls of the winter season are insanely gorgeous, fun filled & ridiculously spontaneous! Dare I say it…I frolicked and sledded until my bum became sore this past week, enough to postpone doing my hair until Tuesday afternoon. Sunday was sled down the slopes of Fort Greene park day/chill with girl homie to dish about hair & other essentials —>while Monday was treat thee to Princess & the Frog day.

I felt fortunate on so many fronts, but had to cut to the nitty gritty of what I’d ignored over the past two weeks. It’s an insane accomplishment on my part to go two whole weeks without taking  a bit of poo to my scalp, yet somehow all survived. The hair was actin proper up till Tuesday…actually in hindsight the growing fro achieved a record # of compliments from friends and random stranger ladies, so I was a bit sad to hush the halo.

With a bit of inspiration from girl homie, I jumped on the mixing train Tuesday afternoon to whip up a homemade pre-poo. While two-week old curly fro was snappin up compliments left and right, it was hard to justify because of how dry and brittle it’d become, and with no V05 or Herbal Essences to take the lead, I dug in my stash.

  • Water
  • refined shea butter
  • jojoba oil
  • olive oil
  • coconut oil
  • olive butter
  • emulsifying wax
  • Almond essential oil (two drops)

All became one with my mixer, & I applied liberally to hair in sections. Left on for a solid 25-30 min before lightly rinsing and applying Naked Naturals Shea Butter & Avocado Shampoo directly to scalp. Massaged the poo for five minutes to ensure cleanliness, rinsed then DC’d with Jessi Curl Too Shea! Extra Moisturizing Conditioner. Under heating cap for close to an hour, cold rinsed then began styling with KBB hair milk under Bee Mine’s Bee Hold Curly Butter.  Styled in twists to protect from the colder than heck weather we’ve been having, and also to save for a swanky upcoming Christmas Party where a fresh twist-out will be called upon.

Today, while hair’s in twists picked up the eagle Mum from airport to commence the start of Christmas week-end, which means if all goes according to plan, a.k.a., snap snap of the Christmas Tree, laugh smile at a show or two & partake in the frenzy of family drama at aforementioned Christmas Party.

*PJ review of Jessi Curl products & Bee Mine  to come after twists are undone.

Ladies & Gents, if no posting comes this way by Friday,  Chai wants to wish you ALL (old readers & New)  a Joyous Holiday!!! She really means it;-)

December 14, 2009

Taking Chances

I’m nervous about it, but …no Process this week. Nothing to do with time or energy, the hairz just kept on working well past the Sunday mark…and I refused to fight it. This morning had a doctor’s appointment and had no worries when it came to styling.  I’d been using the baggy method over the course of the week, and hair remained relatively moisturized and defined. Mid-week, sprayed a bit of Jane Carter’s Revitalizing Spray to combat the cold/dry air we’ve been having here on the East Coast and and honestly have no complaints…hair or scalp wise.

A bit hesitant to prolong anything beyond the usual  7-day mark, while all does still look good and non-itchy, inevitably I’ll have to fit the time in later this week to do a quick wash.  Not sure how this is all going to go down amidst holiday parties, shopping for friends and families & the general hustle/bustle style of the holidays…but it will get done.

With not much to update on this week, I thought it a good opportunity to answer a question posted by a reader last week:

I’m transitioning from locs to natural hair, I’ve had locs for nearly 9 years and so I’m naturally out of sync when it comes to hair regime and products for natural loose hair. Is it possible for you to to give me product, herb, oil and hair regime recommendations?



Mmm….did I ever mention anywhere on here that I had locs? I’m almost certain of it, though it’s not a period of my natural hair journey I choose to talk about in depth. In hindsight, while I was still natural wearing locs, I do feel the hair was in it’s resting phase, taking a break from other elements in life. I’d just transferred to a new school, full time student working full time work hours day to day…I had no, zilch, NADDA time to style the bouffant before classes in the a.m. and work after 4.  My locs weren’t in nearly as long as 9 years, but I grew to love & appreciate them from their first latch to every inch of growth subsequently gained while they were in.

If you’re a locked natural, perhaps you’ll understand this. Reasons for deciding to venture into loc-dom vary in considerable amounts, & visa vi…the decision to end the relationship with locs differ and range in significance ways. I made the decision to cut my locs because I found myself constantly looking in the mirror and longing for a new face, a new way to wear my hair once I walked across the stage to accept my diploma. Plain & simple. When I graduated college, I was sporting a short cut administered by my brother’s barber.  Because it felt right, and the time was right, I went for it. No regrets.

Okay, that’s the better half of the story. While I didn’t transition from locs to loose hair, I was still in la la land as far as how to style my hair, & what to put in it. I know of women who’ve chosen to unravel their locs, and while it is a tedious process, the rewards are a full head of head.

Things I did notice after the locs were cut, was a significant difference in hair texture. The best way to describe it would be to say that my natural texture had grown a bit looser.  Texture change in hair is not uncommon whether you’ve worn locs for 15 rs or loose hair for 5. A change in hormones could be a factor or another range of undetermined factors. Full Disclosure: I was experiencing a slight change in hormones i.e., I’d developed scalp conditions, all over winter itch, and hairs were sprouting up where they normally had no business occupying.

With a change in hair texture, I soon realized it was an entirely new ball game, as far as finding products best suited to moisturize and style the hair.  And while general hair advice is relative to….a multitude of factors, here’s the advice I would have given to my lost self many moons ago:

  • Keep it Simple:  Biggest past mistake was pressing the panic button each morning, looking in the mirror not recognizing what was now growing out of my scalp.  Gut reaction was to rush out and fill my bathroom cabinet with anything in the conditioner/moisturizing category.  Sooner than you could blink an eye, I had  tried everything Garneir Fructis put out, all the mousses from different brands, gels, pomades, waxes, puddings, milks, butters, lotions, serums, smoothies. It was a lot of crazy for no cool reason. Advice to former self: Keep it Simple, start off small. Hair needs time to adjust to it’s natural environment, and combating what it needs with what it inherently doesn’t pulls you in two steps back rather than forward.
  • Access the damage: By this I mean, pay attention to scraggly ends and the overall structure/shape of the hair. If you’re planning on un-doing the locs, beginning to wear the hair loose can pose a bit of a challenge if the overall structure is out of whack.  My first few trims after loc-dom was done by a professional because, while clueless was no longer my middle name, it’d become my first. A smart cut helps in overall hair health, styling the hair, but also in retaining length while detangling during a wash
  • Shoulda/Woulda Products: I have to say, I’m not sure how my sense of direction went so crazy after cutting my locs, but establishing a routine was never a top priority. That was mistake numero 1. Developing a routine right out of the gate is a sure sign to your hair that you are in compliance and are willing to stick to what works & not what’s popular. Recommendations are great, product reviews are often times invaluable if you’re not yet ready to commit to a full jar of a pricey pudding, but finding what naturally works for your hair should come first, while implementing the product du jour…a tad later. It’s primarily about re-adusting, and finding the right hair regime  takes time, patience & researching what your hair texture needs. All this is relative to climate temps, tools used to style & technique.

The BEST product used for hair after loc-dom & for any natural loosed hair lady is what once used to be an enemy, and that’s conditioner. My biggest splurges after cutting off the locs were on conditioner, spending up to 20 bucks for a jar of promised goodness.  Carol’s Daughter was once my condish of choice, namely the Tui Conditioner, but other brands such as Aubrey Organics, Pantene Relaxed & Natural( their Breakage Defense Mask is highly recommended, affordable & works well!),  Herbal Essences.  These products get a lot of word play throughout the natural hair community mostly because they work for the majority. Most have softening properties, i.e. coconut oil/cream, jojoba oil,  & surfectants that opt you out of using an overly harsh shampoo to cleanse. As an alternative to shampooing with a harsh sulfate shampoo, co-washing is often preferred amongst naturals because of it’s more gentler approach to cleansing while also conditioning. Unless you suffer from scalp irritations and need the frequency of washing with a regular shampoo, co-washing is a positive starting point.

Coming from personal experience and spending oodless of $$ on products ranging from the low end to high end, there is no definitive product, or oil. There is finding a good plan/regime, learning patience & sticking with what works. Mane & Chic put together an amazingly comprehensive guide to transitioning that’s helpful for all naturals new and old.  A few other great resources are Nappturality.com & Black Girl With Long Hair & my personal fav, YouTube!  All offer great tips, tutorials & advice that hardly ever seem overwhelming just simply informative.

Hope this helps, & wish you all the best on your continued journey! If anyone has any follow up questions, you can reach me at backtocurly@gmail.com

December 7, 2009

Soldier On

Whoa! Winter much? I’m serious, cold fronts are serenading this part of the world in ways that I conveniently forget each year. I’m sloooowly inching closer to a state of preparedness, donned a scarf this morning…and that was all she wrote. I haven’t shopped for a winter hat, gloves, freakishly expensive boots I promised myself I’d save up for earlier in the summer or even sent my best winter coat to the cleaners. My assessment of winter is this: even if I’m not ready, it will come….so there.

A far as the hair, been seriously gearing up for the onslaught of dryness & lack of moisture, so much so that I decided to become friendly with Bentonite a tad early.  All I had in mind this week was alleviating the frustrating irritations and flareups that proceeded my KCCC application.  Pre-pooed with Herbal Essences Hello Hydration, rinsed then applied the bentonite mix. I’ve always eyeballed just how much to mix with what, and I did not deviate for what worked in the past. Added to the clay:

  • water
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Vitamin E Oil (to help with the scarring)
  • Tea Tree Oil ( to soothe the irritated scalp)

Mixed all in a bowl, applied to the hair starting from the back working my way forward.  Hair was initially sectioned into four parts to make my life easier, and donned a conditioning cap for an hour 1/2. Definitely felt the tingle from the Tea Tree….heaven!!  After rinsing hair was noticeably shinny and clean, not stripped. Regardless though, I was eager to DC  due to the incessant  rain pounding on the roof and lack of good television.  Used KBB’s Deep Conditioner for an hour or so, rinsed then began styling with Darcy’s Botanicals Leave-In Conditioner under the Madagascar Vanilla Styling Creme. Air dried and slept using my semi-baggy method to conserve moisture. Didn’t add spritzes or oils to hair, instead just placed the conditioner cap over the dry twists and secured it with a satin bonnet. This method has worked fairly well over the past few weeks & with the colder temps outside it was just what my hair needed.

This morning the twists were undone and moisturized enough to fight the dirty winds of another Monday.  My main concern while walking to the train this morning was the how’s of finding a good hat worthy enough to fit into my winter attire, but also be natural hair friendly….preferably with a satin/silk lining.  Time to do some research, and if I can’t find anything…I will have to enlist the help of Grandma and her workable hands.  If affixing a satin/silk lining to ALL my hats is the solution…I’m game.

November 24, 2009

Day After: KCCC

Would you believe me if I reported:

  1. I Applied Kinky Curly Curling Custard yesterday afternoon
  2. It is now 24 hrs later and my hair is still damp

If you’ve used this product before, we are practically holding hands right about now, am I right?! Well….okay, maybe not.  But honestly I expected no less when I packed up ‘ol KCCC Saturday morning, in hopes of giving it another try in the more forgiving temps promised by Florida weather.

I ended up Pre-pooing Monday afternoon with Herbal Essences Hello Hydration, twisted in sections then followed up with a decent scalp lather using Naked Naturals Shea Smoothing Shampoo.  DC’d this week with KBB’s Deep Conditioner for two hours, cold rinsed than ran through the motions…

…Tip # 1. If you’re planning on using KCCC without a leave-in, you’re already on the wrong track.

…Tip #2. If you’re thinking of using an alternative leave-in to the Kinky Curly Knot Today…you’ve made a wrong turn

…Tip # 3. Patience will not only be your friend, you should also make nice with it’s cousins, ‘Trial & Error.’

I applied the KCKT under the Custard in small sections starting from the back, working my way forward…a complete reverse of how I applied it close to a year ago which was in heaps and globs.  Yes, it has a gel-like consistency, but forewarning…it is anything BUT a traditional gel.  If applied on hair that is not sufficiently wet (practically soaking), the results may leave a visible white residue once dry & or a sticky feeling.  Not a good look.

…Tip #4. If you’re no fan of clarifying your hair, making an exception here might bode well for stellar results.  Applying KCCC to hair loaded with product buildup is an immediate recipe for disaster.  I’d recommend using a non-sulfate poo, or ACV rinse to break up residual buildup from previous product use.

A lot of the times when rinsing out my DC, I don’t have a problem leaving just a small amount, it honestly helps to detangle and my leave-in of choice goes on much smoother, I had to nix on this by thoroughly rinsing the DC before making any strides towards styling. A clean slate of hair will save ample amount of time once hair is ready to dry.

Application took all of 45 minutes, and the Custard did leave my hair elongated and seemingly shiny and frizz free.  The stipulations of these are of course based on time.  24 hours after applying, my hair has experienced shrinkage that even surprised my own MUM, and while there is minimal frizz, the few sections that show signs are where I might’ve neglected to apply the product evenly (*having a water bottle handy sooo helpful! Hair really does need to be WET before applying the leave-in, followed by Custard).

The pic to the left shows a dramatic difference in how my hair initially looked right after application, again…shrinkage.  Something that I don’t mind in the least, yet shrinkage with the Custard leaves the curls a bit stagnant in one place.  I’ve been shaking, trying to free up the fro since this morning, and have little give.  The back portion of the hair is still damp in spots, and at this point I honestly do not care…fudge the frizz.

My biggest concern right now is making the style prolong until…jeesh, I’d say until Thanksgiving and I’ll be more than satisfied.  Tonight I’ll tie it down…or up in two ponies…spread a bit of KBB hair cream to soften up some hardened areas & also to increase the shine for the next morning.  Not really used to my hair looking curly without the benefit of sheen.

Most tips mentioned here & more can be found at Kinky-Curly.com There you’ll also find a product demovid using the Custard.  But in all honesty some of the best results ( I consider my 2nd go still a ‘Trial & Error’), head over to Youtube and peruse your search for Kinky Curly application vids.  TONS to choose & view.  My fav lately is from the already Fab Kimmaytube.  Her latest vid demonstrates the difference between the KCCC and the growing popularity of ECO styler gel, a less expensive alternative for many ladies. At $29.99 you’ll secure a hefty 16oz, while $17 will snag you the cool new 8oz jar.