Wash Day - Henna!

After my last roller set got completely destroyed by the humidity, I decided I was going to go ahead and put my hair away in a protective style for awhile. I knew I wanted twists, but I wasn't sure what kind. Anyway, I like to henna my hair right before I install a long-term protective style to give it an extra boost of strength and deep conditioning. I have been doing these treatment about every two months, but decided to push this one back some because I wanted some more new growth. 

{1} I used the same steps from my last henna treatment to prepare the mix. (Here's my henna gloss recipe) I did this first to give it some time to marinate before I was ready to use it, although I wasn't very concerned about dye release this time. 

{2} Finger-detangled and divided my hair into three sections.

{3} Pre-poo with PM Tea Tree Moisturizing Conditioner and a mix of safflower & grapeseed oils. I put on a plastic cap and a scarf for a couple hours while I did things around the house. 

{4} Towel wrapped my hair for about 20 minutes to soak up the excess water. This is also the step I added the extras (honey and Tresemme Naturals conditioner) to my henna mixture. 

{5} Applied the henna to my hair, section by section, from root-to-tip. I apply my henna standing in the bathtub for easy clean up if I make a mess. I put on two plastic caps once I was done. 

{6} I left the henna in my hair for about an hour - 20 minutes of that was spent under my bonnet dryer on low. 

{7} Rinsed thoroughly in the shower. Once the water started running close to clear, I added a very generous amount of Tresemme Naturals to my hair with a plastic cap. This helps get any leftover henna rinsed out. I rinsed after around 10 minutes. 

My hair felt so mmm mmm good at this point I didn't want to deep condition. I told myself to just do it anyway to ensure I didn't experience any drying effects from the henna so I got out the shower at this point. However, my hair made me change my mind back to the original thought. 

{8} Towel wrapped my hair to soak up excess water. 

{9} My hair still felt so good that I decided to forgo my usual moisturizing deep condition and ACV rinse. My compromise was using Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Restorative conditioner as my leave-in. I used this with Elasta QP H2 leave-in, grapeseed oil and my shea butter mix. Detangling was a breeze like it always is on henna wash days and my hair felt ah-mazing!! I hope my love affair with henna never ends. 

left: attempt at capturing the color; right: air-drying method

{10} I wanted my hair to be stretched to make it easier for me to twist it up. I ended up just letting it air-dry ponytailed in the same three sections, which worked surprisingly well for me. 

Even though it was more work than my typical wash days, it was such a great one! I cannot boast of my love of henna enough. My hair seriously thanks me every. single. time. It just feels so good that it's worth the work the smell and the mess to me. I got a slight brown tint to my naturally black hair this time. I'm not even sure how noticeable it is. After much indecision and trial & error, I went for Senagalese Twist/crochet braids. I ended up running out of hair at the the very end so I will be finishing it tomorrow and then posting about the style. Here's a blurry sneak peek until then! :)

How was your wash day this week? Be sure to check out other wash day experiences over at SavingOurStrands and JustGrowAlready!

Length & Nape Check - 2 Year Hair Update

I am like SO overdue on posting this, but my camera took a lovely nose dive to its death around the time I flat ironed my hair which ruined things for awhile. I mean what's a length check posts without pictures?! I still have yet to replace it, but I did manage to recover my pics. I hit my 2 year of mark of being on a hair journey while I had in my last set of crochet braids so I was anxious to see the progress I'd made once I relaxed. So, I have 3 areas I'd like to focus on for this update: my nape, the thickness of my hair, and my length, of course. 

My Nape
Without a doubt, I am most excited about the progress I have made with these 2 layers of my nape. If you follow me on Instagram then you probably saw my progress pics earlier this week. Aaahhh!! I seriously do not remember the last time my nape was this healthy and thick/full. And I don't know if it's ever been this long. I talked about the issues I've had with my nape, discussed the progress I started to see with my nape once I was challenged to consistently take care of it, and now, I am pleased to say it is in a completely different state than it was just seven or so months ago!! Did I say how excited I am about it!?!

It was initially Jen's 6 Month Nape Challenge that truly inspired me to assess my own nape and intentionally do something to change it. I don't think I ever expected it to change as much as it did so quickly. It is close to being the same length as the rest of my hair now. In my opinion, my nape improving this way was a major improvement in the overall health of my hair. Like I actually feel I have a head full of healthy hair at this point. 

Next we have my lion's mane! Lol! This stuff speaks for itself. My hair has gotten so thick that sometimes I don't even know what to do with it. I love it though. Even when I'm deep in a stretch, haven't sectioned my hair enough when washing it and realize some of my hair is still completely dry because the thickness is protecting it from the water - yea I still love it during those times. I am learning to whole-heartedly embrace its bigness, too. When I style my hair big, it's great. But when I style my hair one way and then it chooses to get big... yea that's #thestruggle I have right now. I feel like it's disrespecting me, but really it's just doing what it does best. I need to learn to use it to my advantage more. I remember having very thick hair when I was a kid, but I wasn't the one taking care of it back then. So, I'm learning what it is to tame this beast. 

My Length 
Last, but certainly not least, we have my length. My strands hit bra strap length (again!) and then I trimmed cut them (again!). Whyyyy?? Well even though I don't really struggle with split ends or anything like that, I just hate thin ends y'all! Like HATE. I am a reformed I-need-a-trim-every-8-weeks-girl so be patient with me please. I try to tell myself they're not that bad and convince myself to just hold off, but I can't get over them. It's like they're constantly taunting me until I'm forced to remove them with my scissors. If they're see through, they've gotsta go. My last length check & trim had a lot more thin/see thru ends than this one, which I think really speaks to the improving health of my hair. My goal was to grow my hair to my desired length and then trim away the bone straight ends, but apparently I couldn't deal long enough to let that happen. 

I cut about two inches off, pretty much removing the tip of this cute little v-shape tail that I haven't  seen my hair grow into before. Since I want all my bone straight ends gone anyway, I'm never really upset with myself for these cuts. I didn't flat iron my hair bone straight and the humidity was already working on my roots, but hopefully you get the idea of its length. So I'm still hovering right above my bra-strap. My goal is not to cut or trim my ends until the end of the year. Next time I relax, I'll flat iron my hair bone straight for a better pic, too. Even though I'm still around the same length, the fullness of my length has changed so much. I'm quite happy about that since my goal is to have full, thick hair from root to tip. 

Once you decide to go on these health hair journeys, or lifestyle changes as I like to say, you make a list and have all these goals & ideas in you mind about how it's going to go. Two years later, I can confidently say that that is probably not going to be the case and that's totally okay. I thought for sure my hair would be my goal length by now, but it's not and I'm genuinely happy with it anyway. We all say "health before length, health before length" and I'm certain we all really do want healthier hair. But let's be real y'all, we WANT the length, too!! I started this solely with length goals, and I could chose to be disappointed because I've basically been chillin at the same length for a year. But I'm not. I feel like that would completely negate all of the rest of the awesome progress I've made. I have definitely achieved health before length and I feel accomplished about it. I am so in LOVE with my hair! Especially its health! And I'm actually quite proud of it, too. Someone please hide my scissors though!! :) 

*cheers to another year!*

Wash Day - Ponytail Rollerset

I have been on this quest for big, bouncy curls lately and I finally moved in the right direction this wash day. When I realized I should probably just give my flexi-rods a break and try using my bigger magnetic rollers, I knew I was gonna go for a ponytail rollerset. I haven't done a ponytail roller set in awhile. This technique is how I originally started teaching myself to roller set my hair. I think it's great for beginners. I sectioned my hair and got started.

{1} Pre-poo: hot oil treatment with safflower, grapeseed, and some of my DIY garlic oil and PM Tea Tree Moisturizing conditioner. I put on a plastic cap and sat under my bonnet dryer for about 20 minutes.

{2} Shampooed with Creme of Nature Straight From Eden.

{3} Wrapped my hair in a towel to soak up the excess water for about 10 minutes.

{4} Deep conditioned with ORS Olive Oil Replenishing Pak. Put on a plastic cap and sat under the dryer for about 30 minutes. It was another 10 before I went to rinse. Can someone tell me why my hair felt like a pillowy cloud?! Is that why people love this conditioner or what? I'm mad I used the whole pak so I can't see if it was a fluke or not. Somebody please tell me if this protein pak has given them dreamy results, too? I got caught up just touching my hair before I even rinsed it out.

{5} Hair still felt great after I rinsed it. Towel wrapped for about 30 mins

{6} Section by section, I applied my leave-ins (Elasta QP H2 & Organix Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage serum), detangled, and started putting it in ponytails. I couldn't remember if I usually put all the ponytails in and then roll or roll as I went so I just went with the former.

{7} Once all the ponytails were in, I started rolling it up with magnetic rollers. I applied some Shea Moisture Frizz-Free Curl Mousse before putting in each roller. Ponytails make rolling your hair SO easy!

{8} I put on my bonnet dryer for about 30 minutes or so just to help get the drying process started before I went to sleep. My hair was pretty dry by the morning. Only one section was slightly damp.

{9} I removed the rollers and used a nail clip to cut all the rubber bands off the ponytails.

{10} Lightly flat-ironed my roots to remove the creases from the ponytails.

Yesss! My curls were big, bouncy and full of volume! Which is exactly what I was going for. However, the summer humidity had a completely different plan for me y'all. LOL! At this point, all I can do is laugh. I was not outside very much at all, but the few trips I took between the car and my destinations ruined me! My hair didn't get wet, I wasn't sweating, most of the day I was in cold air conditioning, but by the end of the day my hair was huge. I mean I love my big hair, but I would prefer it be as big as I direct it to be and not take on its own life. Haha! Whatever, I think this is my cue to go ahead and put my hair away in some kind of protective style for the rest of this stretch. This happened to me the last time I roller set my hair, too. At least it was still nice and soft, but I was mad I only got one day of curls! Look at the comparison below! Oh, and don't mind my I-cant-believe-this-happened-again face please :) 

Hope you all had lovely wash days this week! If you haven't already, be sure to check out this week's Wash Day Experience over at SavingOurStrands and JustGrowAlready! 

Product Review: TRESemmé Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner

Price: $4 for 25fl oz

Purchased at: Walgreens 

Product Claims: This silicone free conditioner is hypoallergenic, dye-free, safe for colored hair and is infused with aloe vera and avocado extracts, delivering softness, strength, and shine. Results in hair that's 10X stronger - after just one use.* This conditioner can protect all hair types from damage and breakage.  

Ingredients: Water , Cetearyl Alcohol , Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine , Behentrimonium Chloride , Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil , Brassica Campestris/Aleurites Fordi Oil Copolymer , Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract , Fragrance , Dipropylene Glycol , Potassium Chloride , Lactic Acid , Disodium EDTA , DMDM Hydantoin , PEG 150 Distearate , Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride , Lauroyl Lysine , Methylchloroisothiazolinone , Methylisothiazolinone

Directions: Start with TRESemmé Naturals Nourishing Moisture Shampoo. First apply an adequate amount from mid-shaft to ends. Work anything that's left through roots. Run a wide-tooth comb or fingers from roots to ends to detangle and fully coat hair. Leave on 2-3 minutes and rinse thoroughly. Finish with your favorite TRESemmé styling aids as needed.

My Experience: I loved this stuff the first time I tried it, although I wasn't ready to admit it right away. I try not to fall in love too quick. I started out using my little sister's and ended up going to buy my own shortly after she left. It has yet to disappoint me since then so I really do love it. Let me count the ways. As always, when a product tells me it can be left on for 3 minutes to yield great results, I have to test it out. It's probably more like 5 with me, but either way, it's the truth. I can feel the difference in my hair the moment I start applying it. The moisture it gives lasts, too. The soft feeling doesn't disappear after the conditioner is rinsed out. I've "co-washed" with it and my hair felt great. It also works well as a pre-poo, deep conditioner and... I've even used it as a leave-in/moisturizer before. Yes, I know it's a rinse out conditioner. But sometimes, I throw rules out the window. I'm sure I'm not the only one, right? My hair was extra thirsty (like I just needed to wash it, but I wasn't ready yet) so I put some of this in and my hair just melted. Winner winner chicken dinner.

It smells SO good y'all! Gah! I just stopped typing to smell it some more. I'm a sucker for a yummy smelling product. It has a sweet scent, but it's not overpowering and it doesn't linger. It's a creamy product with allllll the slip a girl could ask for. It sinks right into my strands. Even if I'm using it on top of another conditioner. Did I mention it's full of slip? Yes, a tangle's nightmare. I don't detangle in the shower anymore, but if I did, I would use this every.single.time. I love having a great cheapie conditioner in my arsenal and this one has become my staple. 

Moral of the Story: This has become my favorite cheapie conditioner. No competition. $4 FOR 25fl oz?! Yes, please! It's very moisturizing and full of slip - more than worth a try. Especially if you don't already have a cheap conditioner love affair. 

Has anyone else tried this conditioner? Love it, like it, never want to use it again? Share your experience below!

Co-Wash Day

I went for a very simple co-wash this week. And by simple, I mean I didn't really want or have time to do much so I threw some conditioner in my hair :) 

{1} Finger detangled my hair and divided it into 4 sections. 

{2} Applied Tresemme Naturals conditioner and grape seed oil. Put on a plastic cap and scarf for about 30 minutes. 

{3} Rinsed my hair and wrapped with a towel for about 10 minutes to soak up the excess water. 

{4} T-shirt dried for about 30 minutes. 

{5} Applied my leave-ins (Elasta QP H2 and Organix Anti-Breakage Coconut Milk) and detangled. 

I went light on the leave-ins because I got some new hot/steam rollers that I wanted to try, but they didn't warm up like they were supposed to so that was a bust. I'm gonna try them once more before I give up and take them back. Maybe I just got a bad batch?

{6} Let my hair finish air drying and put it in a bun. 

Pretty quick and easy! I had this whole plan to long-term protective style for the summer, but it has yet to happen. I was doing so well for awhile there! I am really just enjoying my hair and roller sets right now though. I was quite disappointed about my hot rollers not warming up very quickly! I have never used hot rollers before so I was pretty excited about trying them out. Hopefully the next time I try will be a different story. So, this week I ended up not really doing anything special, but I really liked my big, fluffy bun. 

How was your wash day this week? Be sure to check out other wash day experiences over at SavingOurStrands and JustGrowAlready!

Wash Day x2

I pretty much repeated the exact same steps this week that I did last week for my wash days - hence my wash day times two. I went on a road trip vacay last week, and obviously, didn't blog. I flexi-rod set my hair both times and about the only thing I changed was the way went about setting it. I used bigger sections this week in an attempt to create bigger curls, which didn't happen, but I still had a head full of curls nonetheless!

{1} Divided my hair into 3 sections. I can enjoy not having too many sections when I don't have a lot of new growth.

{2} Pre-poo: My mix has been pretty consistent for awhile now. Mainly because I am trying to use up the Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Moisturizing conditioner does a great job in this stage. So I use it with grape seed and coconut oils. Put on a plastic cap & scarf overnight.

{3} Shampooed with Creme of Nature Argan Oil Moisturizing diluted in my applicator bottle.

{4} Towel wrapped my hair for about 15 mins to soak up the excess water.

{5} Deep conditioned with Aubrey Organics Island Naturals Replenishing and Tresemme Naturals conditioners. I put on a plastic cap and sat under my bonnet dryer for about 30 minutes then it was awhile before I actually went to go rinse it out.

{6} Rinsed with cool water followed by an ACV rinse, which I did not rinse out.

{7} Towel wrapped my hair again for about 20 minutes to soak up excess water

{8} Applied my leave-ins (Elasta QP Feels Like Silk H2 & Organix Anti-Breakage Coconut Milk) and detangled section by section.

week 1 results

{9} I put the flexi-rods in vertically, section by section also. Before rolling my hair on each rod, I applied Shea Moisture Frizz-Free Curl Mousse to my hair. I used about 25 rods last week and 19 this week. Not a big difference, I know.

{10} Last week, I let my hair air dry on the road trip. It was probably about 12 hours before it was completely dry. Yea... if I wasn't in a car or sleep that whole time I never would have been okay waiting that long for my hair to dry. So this week, I sat under my bonnet dryer for about an hour. What a difference! Granted, my hair wasn't as wet this time, but still, that's pretty significant. 

My failed attempt to get bigger curls made me decide I need to just buy some bigger flexi-rods or try with my magnetic rollers next time. My roots ended up somewhat puffy since I couldn't get the bigger sections as tight as I normally do. I put on a hat yesterday to cover up flatten them down some. I was pretty pleased with my wash day results both times. I totally planned to start protective styling again in July, but I am really enjoying my roller sets so I'm not sure when I'll be ready to put my hair away again at this point. 

Week 2 results

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