Thursday, March 29, 2012

Jumbo Flat Twist

I am having a bit of a lazy day today.  No... I don't have the day off.  Still up to my neck in work and life, in general.  Yesterday, I did a twist and curl with my two weeks twist, and I wore that all day as a twist out. Unlike my last attempt, I actually like how this turned out.

I wanted to preserve the twist out look, so before I went to bed, I watched a couple of How-to YouTube videos on night time routine for a twist out. The majority of the videos were saying to retwist. I didn't want to retwist my hair in the same size (medium size) that I had them in prior to the twist out. So, I did about seven large twists.  Anyway, this morning, my hair was a big mess, so I decided to play around.

I have done flat twists on my older daughter's hair in the past, but not my hair.  So I decided to do ONE Jumbo Flat Twist... remember, feeling lazy here..

And here is the result...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Old Remedies for Hair and Scalp Health

I was visiting with one of my friends, who I consider my oldest and wisest friend when it comes to herbal remedies for ailment of the body.  She showed me one of her home remedies books, called "Back to Eden" by Jethro Kloss. 

As, I flipped through this book that was older than I was, but filled with wisdom than I possessed, I wanted to share some of what I read.  I know the book was written in 1939, however, I feel that some of what is written still applies to us in 2012.

Adapted from Back to Eden:
Any disease that impairs the vitality of the body has an effect upon the hair. When the circulation is diminished by a general nervous condition, the scalp cannot be properly nourished.  Diseases of the scalp and loss of hair are expressions of bodily ailments.....
The blood which nourishes the hair must be purified by using wholesome, nourishing foods, which will build a healthy body... Since the analysis of the hair shows it to be composed of iron, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon, and sulphur, the blood must be supplied with these minerals so that nourishment will be carried to the scalp. 
If you are feeling adventurous and would like to try some old remedies, try out this herbal mix (from Back to Eden book):

Anyone of the following herbs is useful to nourish and brighten the hair, and make it grow: nettle, pepper grass, sage, henna leaves, burdock.  Steep a tablespoonful in a pint of boiling water for one-half hour and add a level tablespoonful boric acid. Massage the scalp with this solution. May be used before shampoo, or between shampoos.

Do you have any old remedies for hair care that you have someone older than yourself?  Please share?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Clueless about Hair Products?

I was on my favorite hair forum a couple of days ago, and saw a post by a new transitioner asking about hair products to use during this period.  This is what I replied back to her:

There are so many products out there.  However, it takes trial and error to get your right products.  So be quite patient and don't be afraid to try new products if one does not work. You are not obligated to stick with a product just because it works for someone else. Only you know your hair.  Even if that person's hair looks like yours, it might not feel like yours. ;)

Begin researching for products in five parts:
1. Pre - poo Treament:  Are you going to use oils or just stick with a mixture of conditioner and oils?
2. Shampoo Your Hair:  Are you going to co-wash or shampoo?  If you choose to shampoo, get sulfate-free shampoos that will not strip your hair.  (Go back and click on the READ THE INGREDIENTS link above).  Are you pro or against the use of silicones?  
3. Deep Conditioning: Use a moisturizing conditioner.  How often do you do this? I do mine every wash day. This is VERY essential.
4. Leave-in conditioner:  Choose a product that will help condition even further.

5. Styler: To gel or not to gel. Depending on the style, what results do you want to achieve? A defined twist out curl, a frizz free look, or a soft texture appearance?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Product Review: African Pride Olive Miracle Growth Oil

What is African Pride Olive Miracle Growth Oil?

This is an oil based product that contains different kinds of oils, from olive oil, jojoba oil to grape oil, and so much more.  It is a growth oil that promises to strengthen the hair and reduce breakage. It can be used to to create a moisturized scalp that has well conditioned hair.

Benefits of African Pride Olive Miracle Growth Oil
  • Helps stop breakage
  • Moisturizes scalp
  • Stops split ends and dry scalp
  • Can be used as a hot oil treatment to deep condition hair
  • Also can be used on the skin

How do I use African Pride Olive Miracle Growth Oil?

I mix this growth oil with my other oils. Even though this oil contains some of the oils that I mix it, I still add more.  I add the following oils to this growth oil: Jojoba Oil, Coconut Oil, Grapeseed oil, Almond Oil, Vitamin E oil, and Jamaican Black Castor Oil. I use this for my hot oil treatment and as my regular scalp and hair moisturizer.  This has definitely replaced my Doo Gro Stimulating Growth Oil.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

My Modified Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioner

Remember how I have mentioned in a previous post that  I hate how Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioner sits on my hair.  Well, I found a way to modify the product so that it will penetrate into my hair strands.... and I am LOVING it!!  Before I go one, if you do not use silicones (cones), please be adviced that this product contains silicones.  I actually bought this product before I knew about silicones and how it can cause build up on the hair shaft.

If you decide to try this product and see that it "sits" on top of your hair instead of penetrating it, you can try my new mixture.

You will need
2 tablespoons of Cantu Shea Butter
2 tablespoons of Aloe Vera Juice
2 teaspoons of Jojoba Oil
2 teaspoons of Castor Oil (I used Jamaican Black Castor Oil)

Mix together in a small container.

That's it.

Remember to always check the pH level of products when you decide to mix.  I tested the mixture above and it has a pH level of 4, which is good (similar to hair sebum (4.5-5.5)

To preserve my leave-in, if I have any left over, I store it in the refridgerator.  Remember to label it. ;)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Fun: Hello, Spring!

A field of Blue Bonnets we saw on our ride

Spring started last Tuesday, however, it didn't feel like it on that stormy day.  For me, I feel like Spring started last week.  It was such a beautiful week. I got the opportunity to take a long bike ride through the park with my older daughter. 

As the weekend starts, take the time to enjoy the day, outdoors.  Take a stroll, ride your bike, if you love running, take a nice run and enjoy the newness that spring brings.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Refreshing my Two Strands Twists with a new look

I have had my Two Strands Twists Updo for about a week now. I decided to refresh the look with a new style: Criss Cross Twists Updo

Styling Process:
  • Spritz hair with mixture of Aloe Vera Juice and water.
  • Retwist each twist with Taliah Waajid Curl Sealer.
    • I have never used this product before but saw that it was in my checkout bag from the beauty shop.  I liked that this curl sealer, which is also a leave in conditioner, was not sticky, did not have a weird smell, and it gave my twists a nice shine. 
    • The package for Taliah Waajid Curl Sealer says:
      Curl Sealer: A light, alcohol-free, Conditioning hydrating gel. Stops frizz, adds moisture, defines, shapes and seals in any size or texture of curl. Dries soft and adds shine with no flaking.
  • To create the criss cross, I started with the bangs area, gathered those twists, and retwisted them and flipped to my middle cross area
  • Then gather a row of twists from the right side, overlap at the middle of head, and then gather row of twists from left side and do the same.Secure with bobby pins.
  • Repeat last action, until you get to the back of the head. Take the twists at the back of the head, and flip onto the middle part.  Secure with bobby pins.

Aerial View

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tips for Long-term transitioning to Natural Hair

Watch ... and take note!

Here are my 10 top Transitioning Tips:
  1. Treat your hair as if it was already in its natural state
  2. Moisture - Moisture - Moisture
  3. Be pro-active about hair growth - proper care, vitamins, drinking water, exercising
  4. Learn all you can about pH balance, if you choose to mix products.
  5. Do your own research before putting products in your hair.  Watch product review videos on YouTube.
  6. Protect your hair with protective styles- keeps your hair from breaking
  7. Don't over manipulate your hair
  8. Find a non obvious part of your hair (back side) that you can do a mini-chop on- That will be natural and you can test products on it.
  9. What works for other might not work for you.. trial and error.
  10. Cover your hair at night, use a satin or silk bonnet/scarf.  Or a silk pillowcase if you don't like putting anything on your head to sleep.

Since I plan to long-term transition, what other tips do you have for me?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My Adventure with Crochet Braids

This year, I have learnt how do so different protective styles; flat twists, cornrows using extensions, and now, I can add crochet braiding to my hair style design resume.  ~LOL~

What is Crochet Braids, you might ask.
Crochet Braiding or Crotchet Weaving is the process of attaching pieces of hair extensions to existing cornrows.  It is a great protective style because it does not put too much stress on your hair. Installing the braids is very simple and the removal process is quite easy.  All you do is just untie the extension that is attached to the cornrow.

Now that we are done that that short introduction to Crochet braiding, I would like to introduce you to my "Going Natural" partner. She and I started to transition the same time after the Hair Show for Natural. She has been really cool  with letting me practise different styles on her hair.

The plan for her one month protective style was actually kinky twists, however, she started watching YouTube and feel in love with Crochet Braids. I was up to the challenge, so after 10 mins of watching the videos, we started the adventure.

Since she had already bought hair for the kinky twists, we had to see if they would work for the Crochet Braids.  I used Femi Hair - Afro Soul Kinky. 

Here are the steps I took to create a crotchet braid hair style.

Step One
Cornrow the hair.  If the hair is short, braid with extensions and make sure you braid together the ends of the cornrow.

Step Two
Insert the latch hook under the cornrow braid

Step Three
Pull the looped hair extension using the hook

Step Four
After pulling about a inch of the looped hair extension, create a loop knot to fasten the extension to the hair.

End results....

Monday, March 19, 2012

Product Review: Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque

Organic Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment  Masque 
What is Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque (SMDT)?
This is a natural hair product that heals, grows, and strengthens dry and damaged hair.  It can be used as a Deep Treatment or a Leave-in. It deeply penetrates the hair to heal dry and brittle hair. This product also moisturizes and heals the hair and scalp.  This product has several good things, it contains no silicones, paraben, and sulfates.

deionized water, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), argan oil, cetyl esters, sea kelp extract, panthenol (vitamin b-5), ammonium salt, essential oil blend, avocado oil, lonicera caprifolium (honeysuckle) flower and lonicera japonica (japanese honeysuckle) flower extract, tocopherol (vitamin e), hyssopus officinalis extract, salvia officinalis (sage) leaf and equisetum arvense extract, soybean oil, daucus carota sativa (carrot) seed oil.

Benefits of Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque
  • Strengthen hair
  • Moisturizes hair
  • Repairs damage hair
  • Controls frizz
  • Contains no harmful non-organic ingredients
  • Multiple use - deep treatment, leave in and styler

How do I use Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque
I use this product for my pre-poo treatment.  I usually mix it with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It leaves my hair very moisturized before my wash process.  I don't use it as a Deep Treatment/ Deep Conditioning because I feel that it doesn't do much for my hair.  I prefer the Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Replenshing Conditioner.  I also use this as a leave in.  Unlike Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In, which just sits on top of my head, SMDT actually penetrates my hair.  I have not yet found any other leave in that does this.

Here is a picture of what my hair looks like when I put Cantu Shea Butter on it, see all the white stuff... that is the hair product:

Here is a picture of what my hair looks like when I put SMDT.  Notice the difference:

I like that I can mix the Shea Moisture product with other products and it will still work well, whereas, Cantu Shea Butter did not.

Do you use Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment?  How do you use it?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Wash day with Elasta QP

As I type the title of this post, "Wash day with Elasta QP", I laugh at myself because it almost seems like I did my wash day with someone.. Oh-ho!  Actually, Elasta QP Creme Conditioning Shampoo is my new best friend when it comes to washing my transitioning hair.

Here she is......

Compared to my co-wash experience from last weekend, I can actually say that I had a WONDERFUL wash day! Oh My Goodness!  My hair was very tangled up from co-washing last week that I had to do another wash day. I know..I know.. I had planned to co-wash all this month, but with the way my hair was tangled up, there was NO WAY I could style or do anything to my hair without dealing with the knots and tangles.

I went online to research a shampoo that did not strip my hair (no sulfates), did not contain any silicones, and that was a natural/organic product, and I found it: Elasta QP Creme Conditioning Shampoo. When I started washing my hair, starting with the scalp area, then the new growth, then to the relaxed area, oh....... my hair was so tangle-free and soft!!  I could not believe it. It was so wonderful... I tell you, in all honesty, I was thinking about big chopping when my hair was tangled up last week. *Eeek!.

So, after washing it, I did my regular deep conditioning with Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Replenishing Conditioner mixed with Hawaiian Silky Argan Oil Healing Oil Treatment. I got a sample of the oil from the Beauty Shop, and wanted to try argan oil, that is the only reason why I mixed it.  It did give my hair a nice shine to it.  Will I be buying the healing oil in the future?  Probably not, since I am trying to stay away from silicone, I think I will just stick with my essential oils.

After rinsing my hair, 2 hours later, I applied JB Castor Oil to my edges and my oil mix to the scalp and hair, then I used Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque as my leave in. I styled my hair using Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie.  I decided to do a two-strand twists updo.   This updo has a spiral design to it which I love.  I hope to keep this style for two weeks, however, my final plan for this style is to do a twist out for the week following the two weeks... but we'll see.

Something I noticed while twisting my hair is that my hair has grown more... YEAH! My new growth has a curly texture to it, and in my back crown area, I have these tight coils.  I tried to take a picture but couldn't quite get it. Anyways.. my back area has thicker hair, while my front area has softer more curly hair. Very interesting. Kind of a blend of my two girls' hair.. and I am LOVING it! Also, the little hair growing in my sideburns area is so curly, and I even tried to spray water and tie my scarf to uncurl it, but it WILL NOT. So if you see this in my future styles... I guess they are here to stay. LOL.

My style: Two-strand Twist Spiral Side Updo

Added on September 10th 2013:
Here is my Product Review
As of May 2014, the ingredient list of this product has changed to this:

Saturday, March 17, 2012

My first Flat Twists

Doing Flat Twists is one of the braiding techniques I always wanted to learn. I know how to do cornrow braids, which uses an underhand upward motion to create rows of braids that appear to be lifted off the scalp. I also know how to do two strand twists, sister twists, and single strand twists.

So, today, I decided to tackle the task of learning how to flat twist. After watching a couple of YouTube videos that show you the proper way to do the flat twist, I proceeded to actually trying it.

I decided to start on the left side of my daughter's head.  I started flat twisting taking strands of hair from the right section over the left section. That didn't work so well for me.  Maybe it's a right-handed left-handed thing.

That gave me an idea.... why don't I start from the right side? So, I did... and it was so much easier to flat twist, and also faster. 

For a step by step tutorial, visit this website: How to Flat Twist Hair

Next on my list of braiding techniques to learn is: French braiding.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Fun: Repurposing an old shirt

I was watching a YouTube video on the MsVCharles' channel and thought I'ld share it with you. Pretty cool stuff for all you DIY gals!


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Detangling without a comb

Detangling can be done with the use of a comb or without it.  I prefer using my fingers.  When I detangle with my fingers, I find the tangles and knots easily and styling is always a breeze.  I decided to show how I detangle without a comb.

In the steps below, I am detangling my 4c hair-ed daughter's hair.  I just discovered that she has very tight coils from the middle of her head to the nape area, and loose coils from middle to her top edges (front).
Here is a picture of her loose coils, which you could say is a 4a/b type.

Step One -  Determine what product you will be using to detangle
 I do the detangling process during the pre poo treatment time before I wash her hair. Lately, I have used Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Hair Masque mixed with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. You can also just the olive oil by itself.

Step Two - Section hair into four parts
By sectioning the hair into four or more parts, it makes it easier to detangle the hair. It also keeps the detangled sections from being mixed up with the undetangled sections.

Step Three - Spritz hair with water
Undo the section you want to start working with, and spritz hair with some water. Make the hair damp, not dripping wet.  After spritz, make sure you massage the water into the scalp and hair.

Step Four - Apply product to hair
Still working with one section, apply the product from Step 1 to a  small part of the section portion.

Step Five - Detangling in two directions
This is the starting part of the detangling section. Look at your fingers as the teeth of a REALLY wide tooth comb. Now, start by first combing through the hair with your finger going in an up-down direction.

Then, comb your finger through the hair in a right-left direction.

Here is the detangled section

Now, to keep this section from being tangled up again, I put the hair in two strand twists and secure with a butterfly clip.

Step Six - OPTIONAL  Bag it!
Since, we are doing a pre poo treatment, I covered her hair with a plastic cap for at least an hour.  You don't have to do this if you do not want to.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

HairChemistry: pH Balance and Hair

The first time I ever heard of pH Balance and Hair was while watching kimmaytube'sYouTube video

Now, what is pH Balance?

pH or "Potential of Hydrogen" is the process of measuring the acid or alkaline levels of any liquid.  The liquid can be water or cream-based.

Acidic levels range from 0 to 6.9, while Alkaline levels range from 7.1 to 14.  Pure water is neutral; having a level of 7.0.

To find out what the pH level of the water that I use to wash my hair was, I bought some pH test strips. I got mine (Macherey-Nagel brand) from Amazon, after searching many stores in my area.

Why am I testing my water?  From my research, hard water can cause hair to become dull, dry, limp, and brittle. It also has the ability to make the hair more prone to breakage and tangles.  This is because of the high mineral content that is in the water. I wanted to find out if I have hard water. 

When I tested, my water was about 7.5. Not bad. Since surface water (normal water) has a range from 6.5 to 8.5. Hard water is considered as any water that has about 8.5.
So, I feel better now, knowing that any breakage or dull/dry/brittle issues I might have with my hair was not due to my water.

Now, lets about hair...
Hair has a pH level ranging from 4.5 to 5.5. My goal for this little experiment was to make sure that the water + conditioner spray I use daily on my hair and my girls' hair was not causing any damage. My goal was to have the solution be in the same range as the hair sebum ph level (4.5 to 5.5).

Earlier, I had tested the water and it was about 7.5, so I needed to test the mixture of V05 conditioner and water. 

My spritz bottle contains 1 cup of water (from the tap) and half a tablespoon of V05 conditioner.

As you can see, the level of this mixture is between, 6.0 and 7.0.  Not bad, but not my goal. Once again, I am trying to get it closer to the pH level of my hair sebum (4.5 to 5.5).

To only way to accomplish this would be to add an acidic liquid. Apple Cider Vineger is an acidic liquid that may people use on their hair, so I decided to use that.

I tested the pH level of my vineger, and it was about 2.5.

To bring the pH level of my spritz bottle mixture down, I started adding a quarter teaspoon of vineger at a time till the level was down to between 4.5 -5.5.

Now, I know that when I prepare my daily spritz water, I have a mixture of 1 cup water, 1/2 tablespoon V05 conditioner, and 3/4 teaspoon of Apple Cider Vineger.

If you don't like using Apple Cider Vinegar, try Aloe Vera Juice, which is suppose to have similar pH level to the hair sebum.

Try this out with other products and share your experience.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Doing an Afro Puff

Blouse from Kohls: Hi (in Front) Bye (at the Back)

My older daughter actually ended her transition journey last month.  I did her final mini-chop, and was very happy with the results.  Her ends feel so healthy.  I have been either cornrowing her hair or threading it.  Also, I have been apply Jamaican Black Castor Oil to her scalp every morning.  This has REALLY helped her hair thicken up and her edges are growing out very well. 

When I undid her braids from two weeks ago...

Click the "Hair Styles Gallery" tab on Top for more pics of this style
... I was shocked.. YES.. S-H-O-C-K-E-D as to how much growth she had. She had to go out with some friends, so after I undid her cornrows, she had a cute 'fro.  She actually wanted to ROCK the 'fro, but then I thought to myself, now is the time for me to learn how to do an Afro Puff!  I have read about the style on the CurlyNikki forum, but can't try it yet since I am still transitioning.  << INSERT SAD FACE HERE...LOL>>

Styling Process...

  • Hair was dry.. I don't think you can do this on wet here
  • Spritz hair with some water using a mist bottle
  • Apply a little Jamaican Black Castor Oil to edges and nape
  • Using a Goody Ouchless Head Band (slim one), double the band and wear on neck.  You will need this later
  • Gently move the headband from your neck, up to your edges and nape...working it up till you achieve the right size of puff you want.
  • Accessorize with a cute head band or a flower. She didn't want a flower. =( 
That's it. A quick and easy style.