Wash Day - Henna & Flat Iron

Since my hair wasn't feeling the greatest after taking down my crochet braids, I knew this wash day had to be an extra loving one. I decided I wanted to henna my hair before doing any more protective styling so I knew that needed to be on the agenda, too. 

{1} Divided my hair into about 7 sections. Pre-poo with hot oil (grapeseed, olive, safflower) and Aubrey Organics Island Naturals Replenishing on the length of my hair. I left it in overnight with a plastic cap and scarf. 

{2} Next morning, shampooed with CON Argan Moisturizing. Ended up lathering 3 times because it didn't lather initially, and my hair wasn't feeling very soft & clean after the first time. It felt pretty good after the third time though. 

{3} I sat with towel wrapped hair for about 15 mins to soak up excess water.

And then... for the second week in a row I found my new growth coiled up on itself. Ugh. It's not quite a tangled mess, but it gives the appearance of being matted and can really freak a girl out if she's not careful! Last week, I thought maybe this whole effect was due to my hair being braided up in crochet braids for about 3 weeks. Nope! With it happening again, I know it's simply a new, disrespectful habit that my new growth has picked up. And I am not a fan. I'm only a little over 9 weeks post, but umm... this new growth is serious! Which is awesome, but it meant I had to detangle my hair before I put henna in it so it wouldn't just be all clumped together as I was trying to apply it.

{4} Finger detangled for close to an hour!

{5} Henna! I used a new kind, Godrej Nupur Mehendi, which is a pretty popular brand with 9 extra Ayurvedic ingredients added to it. I've been wanting to try it for awhile. I mixed it up the day before - using my usual henna recipe, except I only added a spoonful each of honey and Tresemme naturals conditioner for the second mixture. 

{6} Deep conditioned with Silk Dreams Vanilla Cream Moisture Dream and Organix Argan Oil Moisturizing deep treatment for about 1.5 hours with a plastic cap & scarf. 

{7} Rinsed my DC with cool water and did an ACV rinse with cooler water.

{8} Detangled with ease. I am sure the smoothing effect of the henna helped keep my hair from getting tangled again. I didn't really loose any hair, which is normal on days when I henna, too. #reasonsIlovehenna!

{9} I applied Aphogee Green Tea & Keratin, Elasta QP H2 and Organix Anti-Breakage Coconut Milk Serum as my leave-ins. 

{10} Tension blow dry on low

{11} Flat ironed on medium heat with Babyliss Pro Titanium

I flat ironed solely because I wanted to check my ends. I didn't use a lot of heat or get it completely straight since I wasn't trying to do a length check and knew I would be sweating it up soon. I must say I am LOVING the thickness of my hair!! With my nape progressing nicely, I feel like my hair is going to a whole new level of health. Yaaay!! Unfortunately, I was right about my thin bone straight ends... they're ready to go. I think they're begging me to chop them off, even though I was really tryna go for the gradual trimming. I just HATE the sight of those ends in comparison with the rest of my hair. They're probably not even that bad, but I just prefer the look of fresh, thick ends. We shall see when I relax next month. 

How was your wash day this week? Check out other wash day experiences at SavingOurStrands and JustGrowAlready

Wash Day - Crochet Braid Take Down

So I came just a couple days short of the 3 week goal with my crochet braids (this post is pretty late) and I wasn't even itching to take them out. I was totally enjoying this style! However, my hair had grown out SO much it was unbelievable! And I was worried about what could happen if I let it continue at that rate. I promise I'm not being my usual dramatic self this time. Check the picture proof below! Honestly, when I started to feel how far away the braids had grown from my scalp, I thought perhaps all the extra hair on my head was slowly loosening the braids or something. After taking the hair out though, I realized that was not the case - my hair really had grown out that much in just under 3 weeks. My nape especially!

I don't think this style caused my hair to grow, but I do think it protected my hair while my consistency of healthy habits - working out, eating better & drinking plenty of water - probably helped increase my growth rate some. Anyway let's get to the details of this wash day:

{1} Before taking out the braids, I saturated my hair with grapeseed & coconut oils and put garlic oil on my scalp. It felt a little dry so I added AO Honeysuckle Rose followed by some more oil, a plastic cap and a scarf for about an hour.

all the new growth at my edges & nape!

{2} I slowly took the braids out and removed shed hair then detangled with wide tooth comb.

I was totally supposed to wash at this point, but I went to sleep instead.

{3} I shampooed with Creme of Nature Argan Oil Moisturizing - lathered twice.

{4} Deep conditioned with Aubrey Organics GPB and Tresemme Naturals for about 10 mins in the shower. It was mostly out of laziness because I did not want to get in the shower again to rinse it out. 

{5} I did an ACV rinse and rinsed with very cool water. 

{6} My hair didn't feel the greatest - detangling took forever. I lost a nice amount of hair, but it seemed about right after 3 weeks. 

{7} I finished air drying in a bun.

I had some trouble detangling my hair and I'm not too sure why. New growth, shed hair... I don't know. 
The crochet braids were a success for me. I will definitely be installing another set soon. They're very easy to maintain and were fun to style. But I still think my bone straight ends are thinning! I have been itching to cut them off since my last length check and trim. I think the more my hair grows and the thicker it gets, the thinner my bone straight ends get. And I hate scraggy-looking ends so I will probably be cutting them off next time I relax. 

Product Review: Conair Bonnet Dryer

Price: Gifted, found it for $24.99-42.99 online

Availability: Wal-mart, Amazon

Product Claims: "Pamper yourself with a hot conditioning treatment for healthy-looking, shiny hair any time you want with the Conair Soft Bonnet Hair Dryer. For long-lasting styling results, this soft bonnet Conair hair dryer can be used with rollers of all sizes to create beautiful curls and waves. You can also use the hot air vent brush to create salon-type results in the comfort of your own home. This 400 watt hair dryer comes in a compact case with a handle for easy portability. It features an easy lock system that allows you to fold and unfold it by just pressing a button. This Conair hair dryer with its small footprint does not occupy much space in your room.

  • 400 watts 
  • Vent brush attachment
  • Extra long 4' flexible hose with lock-and-release system
  • Bonnet is large enough for jumbo rollers and secures around hair with a drawstring
  • On/Off switch and four heat settings: hot/warm/low/cool
  • Extra small footprint stands up for space-saving storage"

  • Directions: Click here for a pdf of the actual instructions that come with this unit. The instructions detail how to set the dryer up; use it various purposes like just drying wet hair, rollersets, deep conditioning; using the attachment; and putting it away.  

    My Experience: When I received this dryer, I was so excited. I love bonnet dryers and my Gold N' Hot was on its death bed. I've been using it for a few months now and I think it's great! I've officially used it for everything it's supposed to be good for, too.

    When it comes to hot treatments, I've done everything from hot oil/pre-poos to henna to deep conditioning with it. I only use it on the low setting for these treatments because that level of heat is completely sufficient to get the job done. The heat this little unit puts out is not a joke. I don't even bother to use it on high because it's way too hot (for my personal use) and medium is enough when I want hotter air. I don't think it's a problem that the high heat setting is very hot - that's what it's supposed to be, right? I just feel like my head gets so hot, I start sweating, my hair's gona dry out... blah blah blah, so I choose not to use it. When I've done rollersets, I've used it on both low and medium depending on how wet my hair was: low heat for a rollerset done the night before still a little damp in the morning & medium heat for pretty damp hair right after rollersetting. It doesn't take hours for my hair to dry either, even on medium. I've never had to use it for more than an hour. I will admit to falling asleep with it on (during deep conditioning) though, probably not the safest thing to do. The air heats & circulates evenly around my whole head so I don't feel like I need to shift the bonnet around because one area isn't getting the attention it needs. 

    The bonnet cap fits well and even has a draw-string in case it doesn't fit as snugly as you would like. I've never needed to use that though. It's described as being large and although it doesn't look that way, it is. It has fit over allll my flexi-rods (35+) multiple times with no problem at all. I've used the vent brush attachment a few times to stretch my roots on both low and cool. I didn't use it on the length of my hair, but it worked great on my roots and didn't cause breakage either. 

    The hose can be extended pretty long and shrinks back up just by pulling the draw-string. One thing I really like about this hose is that I don't feel like it's going to burn me. The hose on my old dryer would get really hot and I would have to make sure I kept a towel between it and my neck. As for the case, it is pretty small and easy to store. I usually put the hose and power cord back inside, close it and keep it under my vanity. The bonnet and cap I keep in a drawer solely because I don't want to make the effort to get them to all fit in the case. 

    Even with all those pros, I have experienced one con. The connection between the hose and the bonnet is not as secure as I would like it to be. It has a twist and lock feature, but there are times when I feel like I locked it, have it going, get comfy and it comes out! Now THAT, is annoying to me. After it happened a few times, I started putting the hook-up on the side of my head instead of in the back to see if that would help. Problem solved! For some reason, it never happens when it's on the side of my head, therefore, it is always on the side of my head now. I'm not sure why that worked, but it did so that is definitely not a deal breaker for me. 

    Moral of the Story: I think this is a great bonnet dryer, especially if you're not looking to make a serious investment for a hair appliance. It's definitely worth a shot if you want to try out bonnet dryers, need a new one, or are looking for an alternative to hooded dryers. All for an affordable price!

    Has anyone else tried this dryer? What was your experience?

    How I Wash My Crochet Braids

    A little over a week after putting in my crochet braids, I was ready to wash my hair. I had at least four very sweaty workouts and just felt like it was needing a fresh cleanse. So, I decided to go about it in a very similar way to how I washed my box braids. Such an easy process.

    {1} I sectioned and put the hair in about 10 braids: 6 in the back, 4 in the front.

    {2} I watered down CON Argan Oil Moisturizing shampoo in my usual applicator bottle. I applied the mixture directly to my scalp along my braids, rubbed my scalp with my fingertips to cleanse. I repeated the process twice to make sure I got a good lather.

    I'll just confess now: I do not deep condition when I'm protective styling like this. Eeek! I know, it just seems wrong to me, too. I'm normally so big on deep conditioning, but I decided this because - 1) I don't want to water down a conditioner, apply it like I do the shampoo & have to rinse again, 2) I don't like doing too many rinses, which can cause my style to frizz and/or loosen up. I'm tryna make these styles last! At least for a few weeks. What's my resolution? Glad you asked.

    {3} I use a conditioner that can double as a leave-in. I mix it with aloe vera juice and spray it on my braids. I also use this to moisturize my hair sometimes when it needs some extra uumph. I mixed Shea Moisture RSB Restorative Conditioner this time. 

    {4} Air dry.

    Boom. I'm done. That's really all it takes. Best wash days ever I promise. I don't unbraid the hair until my hair is dry. That's important because you always want to make sure your hair gets completely dry under your weave. I actually tried to get fancy this wash day and put some flexi-rods on the braids in hopes of a great braid out. FAIL! It was a waste. When I tell you this hair does not hold a curl to save its life, I mean it utterly refuses to hold a curl! But whatever, I went for another updo/pulled back style (front view pictured at top & back view below). Notice how those pics have virtually no evidence of the hair even having been braided? Yep, that's what I meant. I love how the thickness of this hair creates such a fullness with these styles. It's awesome! And people continually think it's my hair :) ha in my dreams. Loving these crochet braids! I could live for these easy peasy wash days, too. Barely 4 steps? Awesomeness!

    How was your wash day this week? Be sure to check out the Wash Day Experience over at Saving Our Strands and Just Grow Already!

    My Crochet Braids {Using Braiding Hair}

    After I decided to try out crochet braids, I realized I still had a lot of hair from when I took out some of my original box braids a few days after they were installed. So, basically, I could do this style with zero extra investment, outside of my time of course. One thing I changed from when I did my sister's crochet braids, was the braiding pattern. I felt the hair would lay more naturally if the braids in the back of my head were horizontal instead (pictured below). Although it's not quite as easy as the straight back braids, it was still pretty simple. 

    I used a crochet hook this time - much easier than a hair pin! I found that you have to really pay attention to making sure the hook & latch are open/closed at the correct times so that it doesn't snag your hair. After crocheting a row or two in the back, I started getting into a system of my own. I figured out what amount of hair was best to use, twisted and wrapped it around my finger, then grabbed it with the hook once it was under the braid. Pretty easy process. 

    I don't know exactly how long it took me to complete this style because I did it over a couple days - braided my hair one night, crocheted the back one day, and the front the day after. I just didn't feel like doing it for more than a couple hours at once and I was going to be at home anyway so, I wasn't in much of a rush. Once I was finished, I couldn't believe how much hair was on my head! Lol! I didn't even crochet hair on every braid in the back (just every other one because it was already starting to feel thick). What was even harder to believe was that this much hair was just on the top of my head for those braids!! Aaaahhhh!! I won't even get back into all that tho :)

    Even though it wasn't heavy at all, it was definitely way too much hair for me. I cut it into a few layers - the longest one coming somewhere around the middle of my back. I wasn't really planning on wearing it out anyway. The thickness was unreal! It worked well with the styles I planned on wearing with it, like the one pictured at the top of this post. I don't know what I would do with myself if my hair was this long AND thick! Other than love it, of course. 

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