Archive for the ‘curly hair’ Category

One Month Natural w/ Length Check (Video)

Bonding Over Natural Hair

Mom and I had a great conversation about being natural.  We didn’t always have much in common as I was growing up, but as I get older and gain more insight about the world, we have more common ground.  She and I have polar opposite views of hair:  I love to DC and baby my afro.  Mom just does the basics.  It’s always been this way, but we do agree on several positive aspects of having natural hair.

  • Not worrying about relaxers!  No-Lye or Lye?  Box or Jar?  Texurize or bone straight?  Oh, it burns (but that’s good, right?)  Now where did I put that neutralizer?
  • Simplicity!  I like to DC, but it’s nice to know that I can just spray water on my hair and add a little leave-in and/or oil and the curls are POPPIN’!  I just love rubbing my hands over my fro.
  • Don’t fear the Raper…uh, I mean the Weather!  We had rain for a week here in the desert so it was of course humid.  Nice not to have to worry that my hairdo is going to revert or fall limp.  My hair is thriving with water.
  • Stronger, healthier hair!  My husband can play with my hair and I’m not hearing “pop, snap, pop” fearing that I’m going to find enough broken hairs that you could mistake for a small animal.
  • Surprise length!  Making people who think that you’re bald-headed with your TWA swallow their own faces when you stretch a curl LOL.

The list could go on.  Of course it varies according to whom you speak.  I can say for myself that for now–natural is where I want to be.  Next stop:  gray hairs (nature’s highlights)!

Experiement for Hair Growth

Since I cut my hair down to the natural curls, I have been surprised by how much new growth I got since my last relaxer in May ’09.  When my hair is compacted down, it is a TWA (Teenie Weenie Afro), but when I stretch some of the curls, they are about 3-3/4 inches long.  The longest part in the back is already almost to my shoulder and the front area just touches my eyebrows.

I have been using MT/OCT/MSM and just added Bee Mine to the rotation of growth aids I am using.  I would like to see full shoulder length by December of this year.   What has been working for me so far is the regimen I am going to follow for the time being.

  • Co-wash 3-4 times a week
  • Use shikakai bar once a month
  • Deep condition after each co-wash/shikakai wash (mixture of protein and moisture)
  • Trim every 2 months
  • Scritch my scalp at least once a day
  • Apply growth aid after scritching (i.e. MT/OCT/MSM one night, Bee Mine the next night and so forth)
  • Drink hot green tea with stinging nettle powder and honey at night in the winter and spring, iced in the summer
  • 5Grams Biotin each night before bed
  • be-Beautiful vitamin powder with MSM during the day
  • Baggy as needed

It may seem like a lot, but I have become accustomed to this regimen, and it appears to be working for me, so I’ll keep on keeping on =)  I’ll be checking in about every six weeks to see what’s up.

Vid of the Big Chop

So, after some obstacles to overcome, I finally was able to upload the edited version of my live recording of my Big Chop.  I was so nervously excited, I was just yakking away not really saying much.  I’m so glad to be natural again; I’m having so much fun!!

Big Chop Completed!!

Well my wonderful readers, I have finally made the leap to natural!  On December 27, 2009 I did a live broadcast of myself cutting the rest of my relaxed ends off.  It was such a freeing feeling to not have to deal with damaged chemically treated hair any longer.  As I write this, I am uploading an abridged version of the live broadcast to YouTube.  I was so nervous (with excitement) while I was snip snip snipping away!  Because of my nervousness, the original broadcast was longer than I planned, and I jabbered non-stop.

I just love playing with my curls and coils without the limp straightened hair in the way.  I went to Vegas the day after the chop, but I wore a wig to protect my hair from the elements (it was cold in Vegas last week—brrrr!)  Since it’s been pretty warm here back home in Palm Springs, my hair has been allowed to be free and wild.  I gave it a really nice, deep conditioning treatment yesterday, and my hair is thanking me non-stop LOL.  Right now my hair is just to the bottom of my neck.  My plan is to have my hair be at least shoulder length by December 2010.  I think that if I make sure that I don’t do too much my hair will flourish and continue to be healthy and gorgeous for years to come.

New Color and Going Natural!

So it all started with me wanting to surprise my husband when he came home from his trip.  I tried to make my long near-black hair platinum blonde.  I hear the chorus of “uh ohs” in the distance, and they’re right.  Not understanding the science of hair color, I thought that simply grabbing the lightest blonde shade available (for AA hair) would give me the same flaxen hair as Miss Mary J. Blige (love her!).  Of course Iwas WRONG.  I was welcomed by an orange mess that I couldn’t get rid of no matter how many times I bleached–like four times in two weeks. 

My husband saw what I had done when he came home.  He felt so sorry for me, he gave me money to get color correction done by a professional.   After carefully researching my options, I found a wonderful stylist who specialized in high-lift hair tones.  After some strand tests to find out what would work, she found a viable solution.  My hair came out a nice golden blonde on the first three inches.  The rest would refuse to give up the orange.  After unsuccessfully trying to tone the orange, it was clear what needed to be done:  chop, chop!

I hadn’t planned on going natural until my grays started coming in.  Getting that big haircut ahead of scheduled convinced me to decide to go on the natural journey early.  Since I get my hair bleached, I am not going to go back to relaxers–I think relaxing was the reason so much of my hair fell out after my last touch up (gee, ya think?).  Anyway, since my hair was extremely vulnerable at that point, my stylist (hi, Ms. B.J.!) recommended a BKT.  She gave me a brochure, showed my her certification with some info and let me think about it.  My wonderful husband shelled out the $300 for me to get it done.

I cannot express enough how much my hair turned around with just that one treatment.  It went from weak, fragile, breaking and dull to shiny, strong and healthy feeling.  I got the treatment that requires at least 72 hours before wetting the hair; hard to do when I’m tempted by our pool and going to gym classes at college.  Somehow I managed to get through it.  Let me tell you, when I say that my hair after cleansing was much more managable, I mean it.  My natural curl was looser, but still there.  The comb went through from root to tip like a hot knife through butter.  Within a week, my husband noted that my hair not only looked thicker, but felt thicker, too.  Lo and behold, he was right!  I can easily see that I will be making BKT a part of my hair care routine. 

Without further ado, here are some pics =)

Before the blonde fiasco:

I used to have long hair.

After blonding and BKT:

On the road to natural....

Hair fall after last relaxer:

Uh-uh!Oh, hell naw!

Hairline now:

Relax again?  I don't think so!

I can’t wait to see where this natural journey takes me!

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Back to Basics: Caring for Naturally Curly Hair

It’s back to basics for me.  If you read my other post “Snip!”, you already know that I had to cut off a bit of my hair due to damage.  I should have known better.  Now I’m going back to basics to regain the length that I was gaining before I let damage set in.  These are what I’ve found to be the basics of caring for naturally curly hair.  The main key is moisture.

My Keys to Keeping Curly Hair Moist


Curly hair has a tendency to feel really dry. Because of the curves and corners of our individual hairs, the natural oils have to work much harder to flow down the hair shaft. This may be the reason many women decide to straighten their hair–trying to capture the shine and sleekness that comes with straighter hair.

Those of us who have made the choice to embrace our curls also know what it is to make sure there is a balance to having curls: full of bounce and body, yet moist and manageable. I have learned some tips from fellow curly-haired divas.

  • Baggy with Moisture
  • Use conditioner during wash days (Co-washing)
  • Moisturize hair daily
  • Seal moisturized hair with oil
  • Steaming
  • Regular deep conditioning

Baggy with Moisture

What does it mean to baggy with moisture? To put it simply it is applying moisture to the hair (either with water, conditioner, leave-in or any combination of these) then using a conditioning cap to cover the moisturized hair. I usually do this at night before I go to bed. Be careful not to put too much moisture on the hair before baggying or else you will have a wet neck, wet pillow…you get the idea. It’s also possible to pass the limit of moisture intake for your hair, so be sure to monitor your hair’s condition when first starting out.

Why baggy with moisture? To give your curls a chance to hydrate.

When to baggy with moisture? You can do this after your shower/hair cleansing, before or anytime you feel your hair needs the extra moisture.

Since I work at home (lucky me, right?), I like to baggy after I cleanse my hair, just so that I can keep as much moisture in my curls as I possibly can. I usually leave the cap on my hair for anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight. Start with about 15 minutes at first, and then if your hair seems to respond well to it, you can increase time until you find the limit. The limit is when your hair absorbs so much moisture that it becomes mushy and lifeless–you don’t want that–so, as I stated before, try it in small increments first.

Side note: If you have good moisture levels, but your ends are looking worse for wear, then you can make a ponytail, apply moisture to your ponytail (just the ends or the whole pony), then put a small plastic bag around your ponytail to give a concentrated infusion of moisture to your hair ends.

Co-Washing

Since curly hair is more prone to being dry, it is important to keep as much moisture as possible in the hair, while keeping the scalp clean. How to do all this? Conditioner to the rescue! Yes, you read right–conditioner.

I was not sure when I first found out about using conditioner as a way to cleanse my hair while keeping moisture levels high in my hair. As my Grandma says, I’ve gotta see this for myself. So I got into the shower and wet my hair. I almost reached for shampoo out of habit, but passed it over for conditioner instead. I poured a small amount into my palm and concentrated the conditioner on my scalp, working it in like shampoo. After messaging it in, I rinsed it out and finished my shower. It still felt weird not to use anything with suds in it, but I forged on. After letting my hair dry, I gave co-washing the litmus test: scratched my scalp.

I was almost scared to look under my nails. When I did I saw…nothing! My scalp was as clean as if I used my suds–couldn’t believe it so I tried it again on another part of my scalp. Same thing; nothing. On top of it, my hair was feeling quite good, not as stripped as it usually did.

I was told the reason for this. Little known to me many conditioners contain a bit of the same ingredients that shampoo has. The action of scrubbing the scalp is actually the legit reason the scalp gets cleaned, not just the fact that there are suds on top of my head. This actually made sense to me. Now I use co-washing as a regular part of my hair cleansing regime. My curls behave much better, and the growth I’ve been getting is starting to show in my length because I get to keep moisture in my hair, which keeps my hair from breaking as much as it used to.

Moisturize Daily

Depending on many factors, some of us curly haired divas need to make sure we keep on top the moisture levels in our hair. Using a tiny bit of conditioner, leave-in or other moisturizer give curls relief from the thirst that it suffers on a constant basis. Make sure that you are using the correct weight of moisturizer for your hair. Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet to know what will work right from the start. What works for one head of hair will not necessarily work for another. Unless you are one of the lucky ones to get it right from the get-go, it is a game of trial and error. At least it was for me =)

Seal with Moisture

When you mention putting oil on the hair, many people will run and hide. Oil conjures images of flat, limp, lifeless hair. This is true depending on the oil. As a matter of fact, there are cultures where applying particular oils to the hair results in luster, body and health of the hair. Yes, heavy oils will weight hair down, and may be more suitable for a hot oil treatment before cleansing.

Steaming in Moisture

Steaming is simply applying conditioner, then using steam to open up the cuticle of the hair. This allows more to get into the hair shaft. The result is much less frizz in humid temperatures. Less frizz means better maintained curls!

Regular Deep Conditioning

Deep conditioning is a valuable part of your haircare regime. The key word throughout this post has been keeping curly hair moist. If you’ve read about the steaming, then deep conditioning is simply the same thing without the steam. If your hair is coarse (like mine) deep conditioning may benefit you if you do it about 2-3 times a week. If your hair is not as coarse, about 1-2 times a month. If you’re one of the lucky ones who rarely has a problem with your hair, deep conditioning might still benefit you–you just won’t have to do it so often. Think of it as a treat you can give yourself every now and then.

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