Christmas Wash Day!

It's Christmas (well the day after) and I love Christmas! Yet, I decided washing my hair on Christmas (lol) was a good idea. I forced myself into it late last night because it needed to be done and I have to work the rest of the week. So I put a mix of HE Hello Hydration conditioner, Vatika Frosting coconut oil, and grapeseed oil in my hair and covered it with a plastic cap and scarf before bed. 

After having a morning filled with family and Christmas traditions, I rinsed my hair and shampooed with S.M. African Black Soap Shampoo and C.O.N. Argan Oil shampoo. I tried another new deep conditioner today! Silk Dreams Soothing Conditioner. It has peppermint oil in it. Since the winter left me with dry scalp and strands, I thought it was the perfect time to give this a try. And I loved it! As soon as I put my plastic cap and scarf on, I could feel the tingling on my scalp. I tied another scarf on top to match my outfit for the day and went out to visit more family. All in all I probably deep conditioned for about five hours. 

Once I was back home, I rinsed and detangled my hair in the shower and did a final ACV rinse. Once again, I have to give the Silk Dreams conditioner a round of applause. I applied my usual leave ins, Aphogee Green Tea & Keratin Restructurizer and Elasta QP H-2, and let my hair air dry overnight. I flat ironed my hair because I haven't in awhile and I wanted to do a length check really see what my hair was looking like. So here it is:

I felt like my ends were in a much better state before I saw these pics! Ha! And I might kinda still be in denial about it like umm... did I not comb my hair correctly before I took these shots??? lol! I'm unsure. Well they're not as thick as I would like them to be. Overall, I'm pleased. I think my hair is doing a good job of collectively moving down my back :) I don't have that terrible deep v-shape where only the middle of my hair growing or anything so I'm thankful for that.  

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

Be Content & Love Your Hair

This week I was thinking about how much I genuinely love my hair. There was nothing really special about it that brought me to this realization. The curl from my rollerset had fallen out. It was just regular all week. But in its regular state, I am very pleased with it. To me, it looks so full and healthy and dare I say...long! Lol of course I have goals for my hair and it's not at all there yet, but I think it's important to be content with what you have. A lesson my faith has taught me. The Message Bible sums Paul's words up perfectly:

"...I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything with the One who makes me who I am." Phillipians 4:11-13

So I'm content with it. I'm happy with it and I love it. And I think having this attitude about it helps in the way I take care of it. It makes me take pride in making sure my hair stays healthy and only gets closer to my goals. If I was always comparing myself to other women whose hair is so much better than mine and thinking about what my hair is not, I would not be a happy camper on this journey. I think this applies to many other, more important areas of life as well. It's great to use others as inspiration for change and find areas that need improvement, but you should still love yourself, love your life, and love your hair! I do. :)

Wash Day: Ponytail Rollerset

I'm terrible at rollersetting my hair. I'll just get that statement out of the way now. I know it comes down to a lot of practice which I haven't had. However, when I'm tired and I realize I'm doing an awful job attempting to rollerset, I fall back on the ponytail rollerset! It works well for the most part. I only dislike having no choice but to flat iron out the creases from the ponytails. 

It was a pretty simple wash day overall. Before I shampooed, I sprayed my hair with a little water and put it in three sections (2 front, 1 back). I added some Herbal Essences Hello Hydration. I don't saturate my hair with the water or conditioner, I just put enough for it to feel kinda damp. I did a hot oil treatment using Hairveda Vatika Frosting coconut oil and grapeseed oil. Saturated my hair with the oils and put a plastic cap on for about an hour.

The Vatika oil smells SO good!! If my hair held that smell I would probably either never be able to stop playing in it or always be hungry for cake. Not sure which one. 

In the shower, I rinsed my hair then shampooed with my two staple sulfate-free shampoos - Shea Moisture African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo and Creme of Nature Argan Oil Moisture and Shine Shampoo. I lather once with each in that order. I tried another new conditioner today - Silk Dreams Vanilla Silk Cream Moisture Dream (who names this stuff?!). The vanilla scent to this stuff is extremely strong. I initially planned on using only it to deep condition, but ended up mixing it with some Elasta QP Ultra Hydration to calm the smell down some. I sat under the bonnet dryer for an hour then with only the plastic cap for another 30 minutes. 

Detangled and rinsed in the shower, finishing with a final rinse of apple cider vinegar. The Silk Dreams conditioner and my hair fell in love. Not only was my hair quite soft, but it also had virtually no tangles! The comb glided right through it. I applied my leave-ins Elasta QP H2 Feels Like Silk and Aphogee Green Tea and Keratin Restructurizer. Here's where I made my failed attempt at rollersetting with magnetic rollers. I put my hair in 10 ponytails then rolled and secured each one. I sat under the dryer until I fell asleep and ended up sleeping in the rollers.

My curls were really soft and bouncy the next morning. Loved it. I flat ironed away the creases from the ponytails and finger combed the curls. Here's the results!

Protective Styling

What is it? Protective styling is defined as any style that protects or hides the ends of your hair, such as buns, braids or twists, and weaves or wigs. It seems to be the holy grail of many women's hair care journeys in order to maximize length retention. Granted, it is not solely protective styling that is responsible for length retention. It must be done along with other healthy hair habits. I've seen many women, who in the quest to achieve hair to the middle of their backs or waists, do nothing but wear their hair in buns alllll the time. Or at least claim to protective style 90% of the time. Their hair inches down their backs rather quickly. And beautifully at that. It can't be me though. I'm not knocking them. They reach their goals. It just can't be the way I reach mine. 

flat twisted crown
Why does it work? Black women love to say their hair doesn't grow, yet they stay relaxing their new growth regularly. When you think about it like that it doesn't make much sense, but when you're constantly staring at your never-moving-passed-shoulder-length hair, you can't help but feel like your hair is not growing. The problem is that, for a number of reasons, we have trouble retaining our length. Our ends are the oldest, most fragile part of our hair. They get dry, they break. They rub against our clothes, scarves, coats, etc., they break. The harsh weather damages them, they break. See the pattern? Protective styling keeps our hair from all of these negative interactions, enabling it to stay on our heads and move passed our shoulders. There are, however, do's and don'ts that ensure successful protective styling. I will have to do another post on those specifics.  

When I first started all this, I didn't think I would make protective styling a regular part of my hair care routine at all. Mostly because it seemed way too boring to me. However, after I had given up on straightening my hair last summer, I joined a 3-month protective styling challenge to get myself to try new things. It worked! And some of the styles I tried out I began to love. It also helped me keep my hands out of my hair. Since then, however, I wouldn't even know what percentage to say I protective style. I do it when: 1) I feel like wearing one of those styles I like, 2) my ends feel dry and I want put them away, 3) I have a lot of new growth and can do nothing else with my hair. 

 all tucked away in a headband

I really enjoy playing with my hair (not over-manipulating it lol). I like trying new styles with it. I like switching things up. I get bored easily so I can't commit to one style for a long period of time. I haven't tried sew-in weaves or wigs (yet) so I'm not sure how I would do with that. But I've seen enough length retention in the past 8 months to be content with staying this way. I am thinking of doing another 3-month challenge though. Because I enjoyed the first one so much and this one has prizes!

LOVE the high bun!

Relaaaxer Day

This was the quickest relaxer day I've ever had! Thank God it was not to the detriment of my hair. I wanted to try to stretch a little longer, but with everything I have going on with the holidays this was the best opportunity. So I was about 10 weeks post, which is my minimum stretch period. I've probably been self-relaxing my hair for about 7 years now. Before that, it was done by my mom and/or my sister. 

Any-who, this is my third time tex-laxing - purposely underprocessing my hair with a relaxer. The first time was an accident. So I've been experimenting with ways to achieve my perfect amount of textured hair. This time I added conditioner to the relaxer. 

  1. I divided my hair into four sections (two front, two back). In each section, I parted my hair horizontally and based my scalp with vaseline. I also put vaseline around my edges and ears.
  2. To protect my previously relaxed hair, I use a conditioner, an oil and vaseline. I don't mind if I get any on my new growth. I used Herbal Essences Honey I'm Strong, followed by grapeseed oil and sealed with vaseline. This creates a pretty solid layer of protection to prevent over-processing from relaxer runoff during rinsing. This process also leaves my hair pre-parted for quick relaxer application.
  3. I use Elasta QP Ultra Hydration No-Lye Relaxer. I think this relaxer underprocesses my hair period, but I like how my hair feels after using it. I start at the top of the back sections working my way down then move to the front sections. My mom helped today since I was in a time crunch. Whole application including smoothing took about 15 minutes. 
  4. After rinsing, I did a mid-step protein treatment. I use Aphogee's 2-step Protein Treatment. I truly hate how this stuff smells and I always end up making a mess with the whole application and blow drying it hard step, BUT it is a good hard protein treatment. My hair likes it so I keep using it.
  5. I neutralized (3 lathers with the shampoo from the kit) and applied the balancing moisturizer for the 2 step protein. I left that on for about 5 minutes then rinsed.
  6. I tried a new addition for deep conditioning - Creme of Nature Argan Oil Intensive Conditioning Treatment. Mixed with Elasta QP Soy-Oyl Ultra Hydration Deep Conditioner (my faithful base conditioner). Sat under my bonnet dryer for about 30 minutes.
  7. Detangled and rinsed in the shower with cool water. Did a final rinse with apple cider vinegar and cooler water. 
My hair felt quite soft, yet strong, and smelled really good when all was said and done. So I was pleased. Perhaps I will buy another packet of the CON Argan Oil Conditioner. I applied my leave ins (pictured above) and put my hair in a bun to air dry so I could quickly get ready to go to a holiday party. Nothing fancy, but it worked. :)  

took it down to finish airdrying later that night

Wash Day

I've come to enjoy my weekly wash days. Initially when I started the weekly washing, I was not good at it. One day, a friend that I would regularly hang out with on the weekends asked why recently it seemed my hair was always wet whenever we had to go somewhere. I thought it was hilarious because it was true and knew I had to figure out a better system for washing my hair. Usually, I start with a pre-shampoo (pre-poo) treatment the night before. Then shampoo, deep condition and style the next morning. However, this time I opted not to do a real pre-poo like I usually do. I was too lazy the night before and then spent the next day running errands.

Here are the steps I took:
  • Since I wasn't up for the full pre-poo shower cap treatment, I put a little Herbal Essences Hello Hydration conditioner and grapeseed oil in my hair. Twisted it up into a "crown" and went on my way.
    • Once I got home, I hopped in the shower and shampooed. Once with Shea Moisture African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo and once with Creme of Nature Argan Oil Moisture and Shine Shampoo (both sulfate-free). 
    •  I do black tea rinses a bit differently than most people. I make about two cups and fill a spray bottle with it. I also saturate my hair/scalp with it before I apply my deep conditioner(s).
      (top left) Black tea, (top right) Deep Condition Mix, (bottom) 3 sections I keep my hair in during wash day 
    • I like to mix several conditioners together for deep conditioning. No serious theory behind it, but my hair loves it.Today, I was more protein focused in preparation for my relaxer next week. I put a shower cap on and sat under my bonnet dryer for about an hour. It was probably in my hair another 30 minutes before I got to rinsing.
    • After I rinsed and detangled in the shower, I did a final rinse with apple cider vinegar (1st time!) and cool water. 
    • I sit a towel on my head and squeeze a little to soak up the excess water. I cover it with a t-shirt for maybe 15 minutes or so. Then I apply my leave-in conditioners. 

    I let my hair air dry today. I haven't quite gotten the hang of nice smooth air dried hair techniques yet. I'm 9 weeks post relaxer so even if it didn't turn out nice it's okay. I have a serious amount of new growth and just plan on bunning or doing a twist out for the week. My hair felt really soft after it was dry. I think the ACV rinse was successful, but I'm going to keep doing it for awhile before I give an official verdict.
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