Wash Day

Knowing I was planning to install crochet braids, I wanted to both strengthen and moisturize my hair this wash day.

{1} After sectioning my hair into thirds, I used Aubrey Organics Island Naturals Replenishing conditioner and grapeseed oil for my pre-poo treatment. I think Aubrey has me falling in love yet again. Put on a plastic cap and scarf for about 30 minutes before heading to the shower to rinse.

{2} Every time I've tried to repurchase my Shea Moisture ABS Deep Cleansing shampoo, it's been sold out! I still wanted to get a good cleaning so, after searching through my stash I found an old favorite - Nexxus Pro-Mend shampoo. I used to love this stuff pre-hair journey and I guess I completely forgot about it with my new found product addiction. Anyway, I lathered with it twice and my hair felt great - it was clean and soft, not stripped by sulfates at all.

{3} After rinsing I did an oil rinse using olive oil and rinsed with warm water after a few minutes.

{4} I wrapped my hair with a towel to soak up the excess water before applying my deep conditioners - Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Lavender Mint Moisturizing & L'Oreal Total Repair Damage Erasing Balm. I put on a plastic cap and sat under my bonnet dryer for about 45 minutes.

{5} It was easily another 30 minutes before I went to rinse with cool water.

{6} Sprayed my scalp and the length of my hair with diluted ACV, let it sit for a few minutes and rinsed with cold water.

{7} Soaked up excess water with a towel for a couple minutes, t-shirt dried for 30 minutes then began detangling as I applied my leave-ins: Elasta QP H2 and Aphogee Keratin & Green Tea, olive oil, Shea Moisture Restorative conditioner, Organix Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage serum. In that order (liquid, oil, cream, oil).

{8} Blow dried my hair on cool.

I didn't braid my hair up for the crochet braids immediately, mostly because I didn't have time to complete the whole style before I'd be going out again. So, I styled my hair in a kind of fauxhawk instead. Yesss for another good wash day! I didn't lose much hair, detangling was a breeze, and my hair felt great start to finish.

How was your most recent wash day? Check out other wash day experiences at SavingOurStrands.

Installing My Sister's Crochet Braids {Inspiring My Own}

My little sister and I (hey Mariya!) are almost equally hair obsessed. She was the first person I told about all my initial hair care research and even started her hair journey/lifestyle with me. Definitely one of my biggest supporters. Anyway, it is nothing for us to spend too much time on YouTube together figuring out what to do next with our hair, even when we're hundreds of miles apart. So, after watching many videos about crochet braids, we decided to give it a try. 

It just so happened she had recently removed some Marley Twists, so after cutting that hair in half, we were ready to go. In one of the videos we watched, the woman used a hair pin to crochet the hair onto her head. Seemed easy enough since we didn't have a crochet hook. The braiding pattern was simple - 12 straight back in the front combined into 6 straight down in the back. Here's the style's progression in pictures:

She loved it! And so did I. It was actually a pretty easy process, even with a dinky hair pin. However, it was pretty time consuming - two movies and a TV show. I definitely think a crochet hook would have cut down on the time some. But hey, you gotta use what you got, right? We both thought it was worth it though, for a style that could easily last a month or so. It looked very similar to her natural afro and a number of people thought it was hers. That's always a win in my book. 

I mentioned in my previous wash day post that I started protective styling week by week for the sake of my nape. I saw SO much progress with my nape from wearing my box braids I was impressed! It made me want to make more of a commitment to protective styling. Even though I don't particularly like longer-term protective styles {because I like to play in my hair too much}, I think it will be worth doing so for a couple months if I can make some more great progress with the state of my nape.

The week by week styles were working pretty well: I didn't have to worry about styling  throughout the week, spraying to moisturize & seal was a breeze, no hair worries during workouts, great wash days... pretty well indeed. Still I wanted to reach for something a little more long term - and by more long time I mean like 3-4 weeks! Ha! I'm certain 4 weeks is my max for a style at this point.

So, after putting crochet braids in my sister's hair, I figured I could try it out on myself. And if wearing it for a few weeks works well for me and my hair, I'll do it again. Then I'll have met my goal of protective styling for a few months. 

Wash Day Recap: What's Been Working For Me

Over the past few weeks, I've had great back-to-back wash days. There are some new things I've been trying out that have been working quite well. Yet, much of my routine has remained normal: keeping my hair in 3-4 sections, pre-poo treatment (when I'm using shampoo), deep conditioning, and apple cider vinegar rinses. Here are a few new techniques I've been enjoying - 

after blow drying
I'm so glad I tried co-washing out again, even if it is in my own way. It has definitely been helping my hair retain more moisture. Every other time I wash my hair, it's a co-wash. It's almost like I've cut my shampoo usage in half, but not exactly. I might co-wash mid-week after an intense workout then a few days later, I use shampoo. Other times, it could be two weeks before I use shampoo again. It really depends on how my hair is feeling to how frequently I "wash" it, but the adding of a conditioner only day every other time has really made a difference. 

Blow Drying on Cool
Initially, I started doing this using tension toward the end of my six month stretch. It was pretty helpful so I wanted to keep practicing it. I'm loving it. I've gotten quicker at it. I've done it with tension, without it, and with a brush attachment. All methods have worked well, without the use of heat or causing breakage. AND it cuts down on drying time in a major way. Since I only do my roots, I still end up with sizable hair similar to my beloved air-dried hair. I think this practice is a keeper now. 

Tresemme Naturals Conditioner
My little sister, a natural head, came to visit for awhile with this conditioner in tow. I've heard a lot about it and she loves it so, of course, I had to try it. I used it twice and my first impressions of it are great. It worked quickly, my hair ate it up and it smells really good. Plus it's cheap so I will be picking up a bottle of my own to try out more thoroughly.  

Low-Manipulation/Protective Styling (the day of)
In an effort to reduce some manipulation and protect my nape, I started styling my hair in ways I could wear for at least a week. This has been awesome. I've been losing less hair due to breakage and keeping my hands out of my nape. My hair stays moisturized longer and is easy to refresh. Winning! This has also been great for my workouts 3x a week. I don't have to worry about what to do with it during or after, which is an added bonus. Hopefully it's helping me retain some more length at my nape too. 

Nothing too fancy there, just a few things that have been working well for me. 
How have your wash days been lately?

1 of my weekly styles

A New Mindset on Goals

I feel like it's been forever since I've blogged!  I've missed it! Yet, I suddenly had virtually no time to even think of editing my drafts, creating new posts or answering emails. Life! The past 3 weeks have been filled with some serious changes and I've been crazy busy trying to transition my life accordingly. Have you ever thought you had an idea for how something was going to work out, only to realize Jesus had other plans? It's the story of my life I tell ya! 

I'm grateful for a God that thinks enough of little, old me to order my steps, even when the path He lays isn't easy or what I thought I wanted. Sometimes it's hard not to be stressed when things are completely out of your control, but I found peace in my faith and trusting God's plan for my life. I love knowing that God has a plan that far exceeds my own dreams. 

It's excellent to have plans & goals for yourself, in fact, everyone should. I, however, can be kind of rigid and, at times, hard on myself because of them - which is definitely not the best way to be. I have to make room in my plans/goals (no matter how well-intentioned they are) for detours. I have to be humble enough to stay open to the fact that my ideas will sometimes be shattered to ensure I stay in line with God's plan for me. I read this quote today and think it fits perfectly:
"Going all out for God is not just about getting where God wants you to go - it's about who you become in the process. It's not about how quickly you get there - it's about how far you go... It's going the distance, finishing the race, and remaining faithful." - Mark Batterson 
Of course, this is bigger than my usual workout-3x-a-week or moisturize-and-seal-my-hair-type goals (ha!). It's a life lesson that I am constantly learning. But even with those smaller goals, I feel there is room for improvement in the way I go about them.  All of my monthly goals are about creating ways to get to bigger goals - being healthier, more consistent... a better me. While my checklist approach has been fine, I don't know that it's the best. I came across this post by Nadege of Relaxed Hair Health about new ways to think about setting goals and thought it was ideal timing for helping me analyze this. 

I want my monthly goals to make me feel like I'm closer to accomplishing my bigger goals; whether they are spiritual, about my hair, my blog or what have you, that is the idea behind them. I want to be in a constant state of transforming into a better me, recognizing that sometimes great transformations come from failures. So, while keeping the same kind of goals in mind from February, I am going to reach for them without a specific list of how-to's. This week, I have been asking myself each day what I can do to get closer to a goal and it's been great. I am also going to give myself a longer period of time before reviewing. Instead of going over goals again a month from now, I'm going to wait for two months and then decide how well this approach is working. We shall see! I'm excited. Hope you all have been well :)


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