Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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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My Apologies, and a Thank You

First off, I want to apologize for the long hiatus I have taken from updating this blog.  I have addressed comments, but have not updated posts in a while.  I took some time off after my Mother-in-Law passed away last year.  In response to the grief, I have been putting a great deal of concentration on education, counseling and personal reflection.   For a while I was not sure if my marital situation was going to change. 

At any rate, I’m back.  I have done some things to my hair and my body that have been major changes (at least to me).   I have bleached and cut my hair, had a BKT (Brazilian Keratin Treatment) done, and got rid of my spare tire.  In the coming weeks, I will do my best to consistently update this blog.  Upcoming topics:

BKT

Using Herbs for Your State of Mind

Keeping Bleached Hair As Healthy As Possible

A big THANK YOU to those of you who have been following me even in spite of the lack of updates.  If there are topics you would like me to address, or if you have questions, feel free to drop me a line.   See you soon ^-^

L.

Ayurveda Videos

For some reason all the comments and videos got erased, so I’m gonna try again. My apologies to those who have commented on the original posting.

This video by Trenelim on Youtube demonstrates how to use herbal powders for haircare. Very informative and entertaining =)

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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Snip!

Goodbye damaged ends =(
Goodbye damaged ends =(

Sigh…well, I had to do something I was hoping not to have to do.  The other day, I cut off about a 1/2 inch of my hair.  Now I’m back to where I started a couple of months ago…I know a lot of people won’t understand or say “what’s the big deal?”.   A part of me knows that it’s just hair and it will grow back, but I still feel like I had a setback in my hair journey.

Why did I cut?  I can pinpoint to two days.  Two days in which against what I knew better than to do, I used a bunch of heat on my hair.  I should have stopped the first time, when the humidity was fighting what I was trying to do, but it was like a compulsion, ya know?   I was impressed by the MT progress I had made and I just kept messing with my hair!  Now look what I did: I had to cut off a lot of the ends in order to restore the health of my hair.

So now, I’m gonna make sure that I take care of my hair better than I have been.  I’m gonna baggy more often, keep my hair moisturized, baby my ends, cut down on the combing and manipulation, wear more protective styles, and most of all step away from the flat iron (at least for a while).  It will be interesting to see how fast and how much MegaTek will give me growth.  I’m aiming for APL (armpit length) by the end of the year.  We’ll see how far I get.

Uses for Ayurvedic Powders and Oils

There are various ways to use Ayurvedic powders and oils.   I’ll discuss the soaps in a little while.

Powders:

1. The powders can be mixed with water to form a paste and applied to the scalp.  It is recommended to pre shampoo with some oil in your hair before these treatments, to maintain the softness of the hair after the powder is rinsed from the hair.

2. The powders can also be added to existing conditioners and shampoos.

3. Another way the powders can be used is as a tea rinse treatment.  See “Ayurveda Videos” page for instructional video.

Oils: The oils are good for conditioning hair and using in a pre shampoo treatment.  Some powders are so concentrated that they can possibly strip extra oil from the scalp, especially those of us with curly hair that has trouble distributing natural scalp oils throughout the hair.  The oils are also good for sealing in moisture that has been put into curly hair, but can be a little too heavy for straighter hair.   Coconut oil is a good all-purpose oil not only for hair, but for skin, too.

Shampoo bars: Once again, you should pre shampoo your hair and scalp before using shampoo bars, as they are very concentrated.  The best way to use a shampoo bar is to make sure hair is thoroughly wet, lather the bar between your hands, and then apply lather to scalp.  Please do not try to rub the soap bar on your hair as it may cause the hair to break.  Remember, the shampoo bars are highly concentrated.  Shampoo bars generally do not lather alot, so if you would have to get used to trusting that your hair is getting clean without alot of bubbling.  Use a moisturizing conditioner afterwards.

Where to get Ayurveda Products

There are many places from which to obtain Ayruveda supplies. One of the best places to find them are in an ethnic Indian grocery store in your city.  If you don’t have any of these stores or can’t find any of these stores, then a search for an online store should get you lots of hits.  An online store for body art quality henna and indigo is Mehandi.  Another good place to find powders and oils is Amazon.

Mehandi: Specializing in henna and indigo, Mehandi offers henna and indigo that is safe for use on hair and body (body art quality henna). It is a veritable superstore for those of us who like to incorporate henna into our Ayurveda practices.

If you have any other sites, tips or comments about where to get Ayurveda, please feel free to share.