Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Relaxed Hair Health, a year in review


I can not believe that its been nearly one year since I posted my very first entry. This year I began my journey with intentions on bringing health back to my hair. One too many visits to the Dominican Salon left my hair thin and damaged. Even now, one side of my hair is longer than the other. Worst of all, my hair was in dire need of strength.

I made some great finds this year which have really helped to turn the state of my hair around. Most notably, I found and fell in love with my new relaxer of choice, Affirm Fiber Guard which is unlike any relaxer I've ever experienced. Not only did I find a fanstastic relaxer, 2008 was the year that I became aquainted with liquid shea oil. Unlike the solid version of shea, this liquid just melts into the hair covering it with softness and sheen.

But lets not forget my most wonderful find yet, the infamous L'Oreal Hair Fixer. Folks this product does for my hair what no other product could do. Those of you who frequent my blog may have noticed a theme of me experimenting with several hair strengtheners in search of just the right one. I've tried Chi Keratin Mist, Aphogee 2 minute reconstructer but none compares to this magnificent product. I am amazed at how much stronger and healthier my hair looks.

Since it appears as if I've solved my dilemma this year, I will move on and take on another challenge. Once I've completed Hair Fixer series, my focus will shift from strength to silkiness. My ultimate goal is to own a head of thick, strong, shiny, silky hair that looks so fabulous, people around me are forced to do a double take.
I have put out my intentions and now I wait for it to come to pass. Ultimately, I'd like to be more adventerous with my hair trying out different ways to showcase my tresses. Long ago, I thought that my hair would not be strong enough to withstand any excessive manipulation but not any more.

Today, my hair has been given a second chance and I plan on taking full advantage. Will I finally reach midback? You betcha! Will my hair be the envy of everyone around me? Abso-freaken-lutly!

Will 2009 be the best year ever!???? Stick around and find out.
Sunday, December 28, 2008

L'Oreal Hair Fixer review part III

This past Saturday marks the third installment of my Hair Fixer experiment. Like the last wash, I opted to follow the instructions and omit conditioner from my wash routine. This go around, I experienced a noticeable decrease in the amount of hair I lost while detangling each section during my rollerset. I was extremely excited to see the difference in hair loss because, to me, this was undeniable proof that my hair is becoming stronger.

Not only does my hair look and feel better, I can comb and manipulate without fear of unnecessary breakage. I also notice that though my hair feels stronger, it doesn't have that "loaded with protein" feel that you get with some products. My hair still moves and feels supple. All this without using conditioner. Can you believe it?

I'm stoaked to say the least. I've searched long and hard for strengthening products and so far this on ranks highest compared to what I've tried to date. If the Hair Fixer continues to work its magic on my hair the way its been going so far, I'll be reaching my hair goals in no time.

Until next time!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008

L'Oreal Hair Fixer review-part deux

I apologize for the delay in updating everyone on my progress with L'Oreal Hair Fixer but my work life balance has been all screwed up lately. I first used Hair Fixer just before heading out of town for a week on a business trip. When I returned, everything was so backed up that I immediately hit the ground running to catch up with all the work I missed. Long story short, I allowed nearly two weeks to pass before I had a chance to nourish my tresses with a much needed wash and set.

When we last spoke, I vowed to stay true to the directions on the label and forgo conditioning my hair. Let me tell you that I was seriously thinking of renigging on my promise considering how long I went without a wash. Instead, I decided to put extra effort into my pre-poo in hopes of compensating for my conditioner-less wash. My intentions were to leave the conditioner and oil in my hair for a little longer than normal but instead, I went a full 24 hours before actually washing.

I washed my hair as normal but instead of conditioning, I prepared the Hair Fixer mix as instructed. When I used the product last wash, I poured the mix all over my hair trying desperately to distribute the liquid evenly throughout my hair. I didn't do an adequate job of distributing evenly so this time I was taking no chances. I decided to use the solution on every section of my hair as I detangled, just before I rolled the section. So essentially what I did was part each section, spray my leave-in, detangle, then add a couple of drop of the Hair Fixer to every section.

Once the hair dried, I noticed that my curls were more defined than normal. It was almost like I used a light setting lotion during the set. Next came my beloved shea oil which did a great job of adding a bit of moisture and shine to my freshly washed hair. All and all, I think my hair is just a bit more stiff then a normal wash and set. Don't get me wrong, my hair still has movement and feels silky to the touch. As a matter of fact, my husband came up to me and asked "why does your hair look to shiny?" By looking at my hair and touching it, you absolutely can not tell that I did not use conditioner during my last wash. I do think that my 24 hour pre-poo with a protein conditioner was overkill so next time I'll opt to use a moisturizing conditioner like a Suave cheapie conditioner

So, I'm still impressed with the results I'm experiencing with this product. With each application I am constantly looking on how I can improve on my overall experience. Every tweak and adjustment that I make in my use of this product will be documented...rest assured.

Until next time my friends, thanks for visiting and may all of your healthy hair wishes come true this holiday season.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008

L'oreal Hair Fixer-Here's what I think


During one of my last visits to Sallys's I picked up a box of Ineral L'oreal Hair Fixer. I've never even heard of the product before but I am a sucker for any hair product showing a picture of a damaged hair strand repaired after using it. I kept the hair fixer locked away in my hair product closet (yes I said closet) until today's wash. My intentions are to chronicle the results I experience from consistenly using this product once a week for the next six weeks.

I began my routine as I usually do by pre-pooing with Tigi Dumb Blonde conditioner and Alma oil. I bought Tigi years ago because I thought it would be a super potent conditioner for chemically treated hair. I was not impressed with Dumb Blonde for deep conditioning but it turned out to be an absolutely fabulous for my prepoo treatment. I may actually repurchase for this reason. Anywhoo, after washing in the shower, I proceeded to mix a variety of conditioners together in a small bowl in preparation for my deep conditioning. It was then that I decided to read the Hair Fixer instructions to verify if the product should be used before or after the conditioner. Much to my surprise, the instructions state that conditioners should NOT be used when using the fixer (apparently using a conditioner may coat the hair and limit the ability of the product to penetrate the hair shaft). We're even discouraged from using conditioning shampoos.

I thought long and hard about whether I should even use the Hair Fixer this go around. My conditioner mix was ready for use and I could not get myself to just throw it away. I decided to be a bad girl and use the conditioner even though I had been forbidden to do so. Twenty five minutes later I proceed to compile the ingredients from the kit. The box consisted of six tablets, one for each application,an applicator bottle, and a bottle of clear solution. As directed, I placed one of the tablets in the applicator bottle and poured the liquid solution over the tablet to the fill line. Once filled, I shook the contents for several seconds until the tablet dissolved. After preparing my hair repair brew, I began to apply the mix to my hair in sections until I'd used the entire portion.


After setting and drying, I assessed the state of my hair to see if the hair fixer made any difference. Let me tell you folks, so far I am really liking what I experienced. Usually, after removing my rollers, I experience mild breakage as I loosen my curls. Today I can honestly say that my breakage was definitely minimized. My hair feels much stronger even though I didn't fully follow the instructions. I did a quick search online for reviews and most people have experienced great results. I'll update you all with my progress after each of my six applications. Next use, I'll bite the bullet and (gasp) skip out on the conditioner to see if it makes any positive difference. According to some info I found online, the hair is supposed to improve progressively with each application. If this product delivers on its promise, its definately worth its weight in gold. I paid around $8.50 at Sally's so it comes out to around $1.42 per application. Not bad for what it claims to do for the hair.

BTW, the product can be used on damaged, thin, or normal hair.

For those of you interested, here's the full description of the product.

Description:

Enhanced formula with added restructuring molecules and amino acid complex gives hair intensified repair and enhanced protection to the hair fibers. Provides greater strength and resistance to external aggressions. Hair is more manageable, softer, smoother and shinier.

The Hair Fixer rebuilds and restructures damaged hair. Each application penetrates the cortex and actually restructures the hair fiber with large, strong molecular bonds. This forms an inner network of strong new bonds that reinforce weakened linkages. The more damaged the hair, the deeper the Hair Fixer penetrates.

The Hair Fixer strengthens and conditions chemically processed hair. Any chemical or coloring process alters the structure of the hair. The Hair Fixer contains amino acids that help to reinforce and protect the hair, so it maintains its strength and elasticity through any chemical process. It works instantly and remains in the hair; each application adding to the good work of the previous one. So hair becomes stronger... with shine, manageability and a naturally beautiful appearance.

The Hair Fixer builds volume on thin hair and helps thin hair stay strong as possible and look as thick as possible. You can actually see and feel the hairs full, firm finish. Hair has more body and volume... it looks thicker and fuller.

The Hair Fixer is easy to use and is not rinsed out, so the substantive benfits stay in the hair for maximum effectiveness. There is no greasy or sticky feel. One formula suits all your clients needs.

Loreal Ineral Hair Fixer Includes:
(1) Loreal Ineral Hair Repair Lotion 4oz
(1) Applicator Bottle
(6) Loreal Ineral Hair Repair Tablets
(1) Easy to Follow Instruction Sheet

Ingredients

Lotion: Water, Dimethylol Ethylene Thiourea, VP/VA Copolymer, Polyquaternium 4, Amodimethicone, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Monosodium Citrate, Polyquaternium 11, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydroxyethyl Oleyl Dimonium Chloride, Magnesium Acetate, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Sodium Sulfate, Trideceth 12, Aspartic Acid, Sodium Chloride, Stearic Acid, Cetrimonium Chloride, Simethicone, Green 5, Alcohol Denat., FIL (D3333/1).

Tablets: Corn Starch, D&C Green 5, Dimethyol Ethylene Thiourea, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Sodium Sulfite, Stearic Acid.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

OMG! I think I have Trichotillomania



As part of my morning Hour of Power routine, I normally listen to some personal development audio or pull up an inspiring clip from youtube. This past week I've been watching videos from a guy who works with people with unusual fears or complexes and frees them from their own behaviors. One of those videos feature a woman who has trichotillomania, or an obsessive compulsion to pull out her hair.

It gets worse, because she's been pulling out her own hair for years, she's actually developed some bald spots that she cleverly has to cover with hair thickening aids. Not only does this poor woman unconsciously pulls out her hair, she actually eats it afterwards! As they described her story, the showed some video of her reading a book when she suddenly begins to play with a small portion of hair near the back of her neck. When asked if she feels pain from pulling her hair out, she responded by saying that because she's been doing it for years, her brain understands what she is about to do and numbs the area so that she feels no pain.

O.k. so now I start panicking. Why? Because I have developed a habit similar to her (no..I..am..not..eating..my..hair.) Usually on drives home, or when I am sitting at home in front of the computer, I begin to "detangle" by hair with my fingers.
There's nothing wrong with detangling with our fingers, in fact, in Long Hair Learning 101, we all learned that detangling with our fingers is much more conducive to protecting our lengths. The problem with me is that when I detangle, something deep down inside expects to see a shed hair or two in every small section. I examine every hair lost during the process ever so closely to verify if the casualty was the result of shedding or breakage. If the hair was shed, I smile secretly knowing that I just saved myself the heartache of what could have been much worse in the long run. If the hair was broken, I curse my heavy handedness and move on to another section in search of more shed hairs.

Take a look at this expert from an article:

Gary R. Gaffney, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, explains that other, less dramatic features that fall short of hair pulling are associated with trichotillomania, including examining the hair root, twirling it off, and pulling the strand between the teeth.

You are probably thinking..."there's nothing wrong with that, you're just making sure your hair stays healthy." The problem with my little "habit" is that I do it at the most in opportune times. Looking back, I think the process is more therapeutic then hair related. The reason why I say that is because while I'm driving home, I usually have a million thoughts running through my head and I'm probably not consciously thinking about what I am actually doing. I sometimes even detangle my kitchen area when I am sitting in a business meeting Who knows? I am actually be pulling my hair out and not even know it!

The other night while "detangling" in front of the pc, my husband walks by the room and goes "why are you pulling your hair out?" I quickly respond by saying, "I'm not pulling my hair out, I'm detangling." I then proceed to discount his the quality of his vision for wrongfully accussing me of such an obsurd behavor (but what if he's right?)

When I am really detangling my hair, like before a visit to the Dominican Salon or something, I stand in front of a mirror, I break out my extra large comb and I take my time to carefully work out the shed hairs from the ends up. Yes, I do examine the shed hairs but I don't put as much emphasis on the individual hairs as I do the finished product. When I'm engaged in the mindless detangling,on the other hand, I run my hands down the length of the shed hair to verify the cause of loss. When I'm involved in an official detangle I quickly asses the hair with a quick glance and only verify when a glance isn't enough.

Since I am probably reaching that grey area that lays somewhere between presenting lots of information and babbling, I end this post with some good news. If I do have trich, I don't have it that bad, I've seen some pictures online and believe me, it ain't pretty. I don't think I have trich but knowing what I know, I've decided to consciously avoid my behavior before any thinning or baldness occurs (thank God I have no thining or bald areas unlike most trich sufferers). I used the technique featured in the youtube video and it seems to be working. Going forward, whenever I detangle, I will avoid doing it when I'm not completely focused and only conduct the activity in front of the mirror where I can remain in the present moment.

What do ya'll think...am I crazy?
Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I am so over airdrying (and Mane & Tail product review)

Alrighty....as part of my winter hair care routine I decided to give air drying another chance. Well I'm here to tell you that I failed miserably. Not because the airdrying process itself was bad, but because there were certain obstacles that I just could not overcome. Over the course of my air drying journey, I was able to defeat the dryness and brittleness that once plagued my airdryed hair. I even felt hopeful once I found my beloved shea oil which kicked up my airdrying results to the next level. But alas, I was not willing to combat the most stubborn of my airdrying enemies- tangles!

Because of my deep seated fear of combing wet hair, I would constantly end up with a mass of stubborn tangles once my hair dried. Add to that the fact that I was nearly three months post my last relaxer. I had an inch or more of curly new growth that basically wrapped itself around other hairs when shed. Not to mention that fact that I was minimizing most of my combing action in an effort to avoid excessive breakage. Long story short, I found myself unknowingly creating dread locks while avoiding excessive manipulation.

Finally, while strolling down the aisle of my local Sally's beauty, I decided to ask for help. You see, I am the do it yourself kinda girl who normally avoids special aids and tools to get the job done. Under a normal frame of mind, I would have easily blocked out an hour or so to undergo the painstaking task of detangling my knots. But this time I was desperate. Before leaving the store , I asked one of the African American female employees for a recommendation on a good detangler. After thinking for a few moments, she used a lifeline and asked her AA female counterpart. I could hear their brains working as they desperately were searching for the answer. Finally, a Hispanic male, who overhead the conversation from the stock room, came to the rescue with his Mane and Tail recommendation.

"Of course! Mane and Tail," I thought to myself, they make pretty good quality products so I had no problem giving it a go.
I used this product on dry hair which had not received a thurough detangling in weeks! You could just imagine the pain I went through. The pain wasn't so much physical as it was mental. I kept thinking, about how much hair I would lose during the process. At any moment, I could have easily given up, whipped out the scissors and commenced to proceed with the big chop.

In all my frustration, a glimmer of hope came in the form of the Mane and Tail. That stuff loosened my shed hairs like nobody's business. I was extremely pleased to say the least. This product definitely receives my recommendation. What I appreciate most about this product is that I was able to get the job done with little casualties (breakage) to my hair. For those of you seeking a detangling aid (and I believe that we all should have one) Mane and Tail is for you.

(Muchas gracias Sally's guy!)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Is your hair feeling a little under the weather? Maybe this will help.

We've all been there. Experiencing the feeling of dread and disdain that creeps up within us when we know the inevitable has to take place.....
We fight it every step of the way but we know that in the end, we must come to fully accept it......its time for a trim.

To me, trimming our ends is very much like taking much needed medicine. Just like taking your medicine, you require a trim once the symptoms start to show. Just like any sickness, the severity of symptoms can vary from person to person but overall, the signs are pretty much the same.

Dry, brittle ends
I'm not talking about "you should rub some moisturizer in" dry, I'm talkin about "your ends give you splinters" dry. If you find that all of your moisturizing efforts are rejected, its time to take extreme measures. Remember that one of the habits of beautifully haired people is to always assess the state of your hair and to determine what actions you need to take. Like taking your medicine, you want to catch the problem early and knock it out before things get worse. Ends that won't behave are a sure sign of a need to take action.

Consistent Breakage
It never fails, whenever I am experiencing consistent breakage that can't be influenced with the help of even by finest hair products, I know its time for a trim. Once I've done the deed, I'm able to miraculously run my fingers through my hair and glide the comb through with the greatest of ease. I'm thinking this has something to do with the strength in numbers theory. Think about the cord, individually the strands are weak yet together, they are able to withstand hundreds of pounds of pressure. If we allow our ends to remain uneven, we are essentially putting the hair at risk of more breakage. That's never a good thing. Think of breakage as a symptom. The more severe the symptoms, the more in need we are of taking our medicine. Avoidance will only lead to further pain and suffering.

So knowing what you know, it only makes sense for you to take a moment to allow it all to sink in. Like doctor who has delivered difficult news to her patient, I'll take a moment to answer any of the myriad of questions that may be running through your head.

Q: Can't I just wear protective styles so I don't have to trim?
A: Perhaps, but if you've allowed the damage to run rampant, you will only be hiding damaged ends. Much like a cancerous infection, you should consider whether cutting out the damage is your only choice. If you chose to hide the problem, you may not be getting to the root cause of the issue. Once you get tired of bunning, you will still have damaged, uneven hair.

Q: What if I deep condition on a weekly basis, will that help?
A: Again, it depends on the level of severity of the damage. If you are not experiencing positive results with deep conditioning, you will have to consider your other options.

Q: What about all the length I've gained? I don't want to loose it.
A: You are probably losing length as you wait around for your ends to get better. Excessive breakage means that you are losing length. You are not doing yourself any favors by allowing the pain to continue. Trimming now will actually help you to retain length in the long run.

Q: How much will I have to trim?
A: You should trim as little or as much as your hair requires. Like taking medicine, when you start feeling better, you can adjust your dose. As you begin to trim, analyze your ends. Do they look and feel healthier? You should always start with the lowest dose and increase as required rather than overdosing from the beginning.

Take care of your ends and your ends will take care of you. Believe me, taking your medicine won't feel good right away but soon you'll find that you can once again experience the spring in your step you once had.

**side effects include: thicker healthier ends, reduced breakage, fuller hair, increased instances of compliments, and a greater feeling of self-esteem.****
Friday, November 7, 2008

Shea oil, a mo' betta butta!

I'm spending this week in Atlanta visiting friends and family. I came to Atlanta armed with powerful intentions. Among them was my desire to stumble upon some hair goodies unique from those I can find back home. While browsing the local shops and stores, I quickly realized that Atlanta is probably the translation for "Land of Shea Butter." Everywhere I went I found some form of shea butter which is a good thing because I recently rediscovered the awesomeness of this nut.

I first purchased shea butter about a year and a half ago and quickly lost interest. That's because the butter was hard and difficult to work with. Then summer came along and slowly my shea butter began to soften. I remember the day that I first dipped my finger into the soft, buttery, creamy, shea. I could hardly believe that this was the same product that I nearly threw away just months before.


So here I am in ATL and my very first purchase within hours of my arrival is shea butter. I'm talkin' the natural stuff in a container with no label. Fast forward a few days and I find myself in a natural food store in front of their massive shea butter collection. This time I'm drawn to a bottle labeled "shea butter oil." I couldn't believe my eyes. Is it possible that I could have the softened form of shea at my disposal year round?

I sampled the oil with my fingers and simultaneously experienced sensations which only surface during late night hours with my significant other. The feeling was incredible. It took only a millisecond before I swooped up two bottles and proceeded quickly the register.

Even now as I type, I'm having visions of using this product when I air dry. My friend and I were caught in a down pour as we strolled the streets of the Little Five Points Shopping district. Needless to say my hair got wet as we ran to my rental car. A feeling of fear and dread came over me as I contemplated what my hair would look like as it dried. I had no scarf to tie down my hair, I also had no blow dryer. What I did have was my liquid shea.

As soon as I arrived at my friend's place I quickly made a beeline to her bathroom with shea oil in hand. The first experience using this product on my hair was magical. The consistency of this product was unlike other oils I have. Liquid shea is opaque and thicker than any other oils. I would describe it as a creamy oil. It feels extremely rich and moisturizing to the touch and my hair seems to love it.

My hair was damp when I used it last night so the oil acted as a sealer on top of the water. This morning my hair feels extremely moisturized. I'm also experiencing less breakage as I run my hands through it. Needless to say that I am a very happy girl. In fact, I'll be stopping by the marketplace today and picking up another bottle (or two).

Long live liquid shea!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My (work in progress) airdrying routine revealed!

In last post, I explained some recent changes to my hair routine including the decision to airdry for the duration of the winter season. I made certain to clarify the fact that I once swore off air drying for the rest of my days.

Why?

Because my hair would always end up looking all crazy....
Because I could never get my ends to look right....
Because the middle of my head would dry days later than the rest of my hair....
Because the middle of my head would tangle into a million knots....
Because I could never really produce any type of decent style as the result of an airdry....
Because I never analyzed the airdrying process and how to perfect the results.

For the longest time, airdrying for me meant having to sport tangled unattractive hair until my next wash. Then came the day I realized that this was not the way to live. I knew in my heart of hearts that airdrying could mean healthier lengths. So I had to find a way. It was an absolute necessity!

Over the past few weeks, I've played out various scenarios in my mind of how I can create a decent result from air drying. Some of the scenarios I've tried have worked well. Some of the others were not as I had envisioned. I'll take you through my thought process. This may take a while so go grab a cup of hot cocoa and make yourself comfortable...


For me, the biggest obstacle to decent results was my inability to tame my ends during the drying process. My method of choice was as follows: After washing and conditioning, I would comb the hair back into a ponytail (while damp). Because of the fragile nature of the hair while wet, I used a (very) large tooth comb. I would then grab the loose ponytail and pull the hair up towards my crown and pin to the back of my head. Then I’d grab a satin or silk scarf and tie it around my head as a means on managing the new growth. After a few hours of drying, I would remove the scarf, take down the ponytail and use the cool blast setting to help dry the middle section of my hair.

This picture is when I airdry with one ponytail. Here I've pulled the hair up towards the front of my scalp and secured it with a bobby pin.


In this pic, I actaully parted my hair down the middle and created pigtails. This is one side, the other side of my hair looks exactly the same. Whenever I chose to airdry in pigtails, I pull the hair up towards the sides instead of straight up the middle. When I do it this way, the center of my hair seems to dry a little quicker. Once the hair is secure, I tie a silk scarf and go on my merry little way.


Both of these pics were taken while my hair was still damp.

This method has some obvious pluses and minuses:
Pluses:
+: My once wild and crazy new growth became as tame as a little lamb.
+: I spent much less time then I would have if I were to rollerset the hair.
+: The hair set in a relatively straight pattern. I didn’t have to flatten the big hair I normally experienced with a rollerset.

Minuses:
-Because I dried the middle section of my hair with a hair dryer, the sleekness I created with the satin scarf was compromised. In other words, the middle (and back section) would poof out depending on how moist it was when I loosen the ponytail.
-The large tooth comb I used did not allow for ample detangling power before tying it down. This meant that I still had to contend with viscous tangles later on in the process.
-I never used any direct heat tool once the hair was completely dry, in most cases, I would end up with straight hair in the front and sides and textured hair in the middle and back sections.

I have since modified my routine in order to increase effectiveness. What I’ve done as of late was to create two pigtails instead on one ponytail. With pigtails, I can detangle the two halves more easily in effectively. Once I’ve created the pigtails, I take the loose hair from one side and pin it to the other side of my head and vise versa. What I aim to do with this step is to have the loose hair pinned neatly to my head so that it has some structure in which to dry. It’s the structure that helps to create straighter hair.

I’ve also included a final step to my airdrying process that helps address the thick hair issue that I experienced in the middle and back of my hair. Caruso steam curlers. Please be warned that if you use the steam curlers on damp hair, you will only end up with damper hair. The hair shaft will continue to swell as the moisture is absorbed and you will experience frizz. If you chose to use any type of steam related curlers, YOU MUST WAIT UNTIL THE HAIR IS COMPLETELY DRY.

If steam curlers are not your thing, you can also choose some of these other setting options:
•Large flexi rods to create large curls or to bump the ends.
•Satin covered sponge rollers (again your hair must be 100% dry or frizz will happen).
•The low setting of your flat iron.
•Large Pocahontas pigtail braids.
•Bantu knots
•You can wrap your hair
•You can place your hair in a bun (before bunning, you want to thoroughly detangle and moisturize; otherwise, you may be causing more issues when your shed hairs and your tangles meet.)

My airdrying routine is still a work in progress but I am confident that I can tweak and adjust the routine to create the results I want. Those of you who have managed to put together a process that works, leave a comment and share!

My devious plan to kick up my hair growth this Winter

Next week will make two months since I've last relaxed. Right now I'm battling a ton of new growth. Its been said that hair grows fastest in the warmer months than at other times of the year. I've decided to keep charging towards my goal this fall/winter by taking purposeful actions to keep the growth a comin'.

Last year I suffered some major set backs with my hair. This year has been all about rejuvenating the health of my hair. Next year will be the year of beautiful hair!

So how am I gonna get there?

I've decided on three actions.

Winter for me means dry itchy scalp. My dandruff is unbearable. One of my chosen remedies for this issue is coconut oil. I read online about the anti fungal properties of this oil and decided to implement this new way of using coconut oil right away!
Not only does rubbing the oil on my scalp help curb my dandruff woes, I'm also subjecting myself to a soothing scalp stimulation at the same time. And we all know what scalp stimulation leads to boys and girls.....growth!

I especially focus on the front areas of my scalp because my of seborrheic dermatitis which can cause dryness and peeling around the hair line. I've massaged my scalp with the oil several times a week for the past several weeks and I already can tell the difference in the new growth and with the flaking.

My new job has me on the road for most of the week. Because of lack of structure, I fell off the vitamin wagon hard. When I worked at an office, I would pack healthy meals and salads for lunch. Now I'm on the road grabbing what I can or eating the decadent food from a nearby restaurant. I'm slowly adapting to life outside an office by pickup up some healthy foods and convenient snacks, but I was struggling to get back to the days when spinach was a staple for me.

I decided to take decisive action in the form of liquid vitamins. No longer will I have an excuse not to take my vitamins. Now I only need to take a capfull of the liquid nourishment once a day. At my previous job, I could pop my vitamins in the privacy of my office. Now many of my lunches take place in a group format. No one would believe that I could consume upwards of seven pills at a time simply for the sake of my overall health. With my liquid formula, I simply pour a little into my drink or I take a spoonful at breakfast. Don't get me wrong, I still consume some pills, but with the liquid vitamin, I can miss a day or two of taking the pill form of my vits, without feeling guilty all over. Not to mention the fact that supplements in liquid form are far more readily absorbable in the body than vitamin pills.

Last but not least, I've stepped back from my weekly rollersetting routine and shifted to more frequent washings and air drying. The reason for taking this action was two-fold. The main reason was because of my ever growing dread for the amount of time a full wash and set required. The other reason I am on a rollersetting hiatus is because I wanted to round out my growth increasing actions with more frequent washes. Its only logical to conclude that the more often I wash my hair, the more growth I could experience. More washing means more conditioning, more conditioning means more moisture, more moisture means less breakage. Along with the increased levels of moisture, my frequent washings also subject my hair to further instances of scalp stimulation as I rub in my
scalp treatments
in with my finger tips.

Airdrying is not my method of choice for styling. I need to clarify that statement by saying that I once loathed airdrying. This new (and temporary) wash routine has forced me to come face to face with my enemy and find a reasonable compromise. We are not where we need to be but we've come a long way from our shaky beginnings. Airdrying, for me means less hair loss during the wash (because of the reduced level of manipulation) which is why I decided that I had to make peace with this styling method. The time I save by airdrying is also a huge plus for me which makes it possible for me to wash twice a week instead of weekly.

These shifts in my hair world are relatively minor but I am extremely confident in the outcomes arising from the changes. Its all about asking yourself if what you are doing now will get you to the results you want. For me, the answer was no so I decided to take action. Once I'm where I need to be, I'll once again shift and evolve with my hair.

Thanks for listening.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Four Neato Ways to Incorporate Natural Oils into your Wash Routine

Picture perfect hair is the name of the game and plant oils are a critical factor in helping your hair reach its peak. Ever since I discovered natural oils such as jojoba, avocado, coconut, just to name a few, I've had a blast incorporating them into every facet of my hair routine. No matter how I decide to use these oils, I always get a fantastic result.

Here are some of my favorite ways of incorporating oils and the corresponding result of each method.

The Pre-poo!
The pre-poo is a staple in my hair routine. This method is a simple one of adding a moisturizing conditioner and oil onto dry hair before the hair is washed.

How-to tip for pre-poo:
Make sure that you take the time to section the hair properly so you can saturate the entire head of hair. Don't go using up your fancy $100 bottle of conditioner for this step, any old conditioner you got laying around will work fine.

How it benefits your hair:
This step adds much needed moisture to dry hair right off the bat. By pre-pooing, you avoid stripping natural oils from already dry hair. You're adding a layer of protection before harmful suds of a shampoo can strip your hair.
Another benefit of this step is the freedom of allowing conditioner/oil to treat the hair up to several hours before the actual wash. That's more time for the nourishing qualities of the oil to further penetrate the hair and work its magic.


Oil/Conditioner Mix!
When my hair is in need of a little umph, I mix a little oil with my deep conditioner. After the hair has been washed, I add a few drops of oil to the conditioner and run through my hair.

How-to tip for the Oil/Conditioner Mix:
Select the right oil for this step. Because you aren't shampooing it out (like with the pre-poo), you must gauge how heavy or light of an oil you want to use. Using a thick oil like castor oil, for instance, will give you a different result than if you use coconut oil. You also want to make sure that you use only enough oil to compliment the conditioner but not to overwhelm it. Make sure that you use more cream conditioner than oil in this step.

How your hair will benefit:
This step leaves your hair well conditioned but with a nice feel to it. You hair will feel as if it has an extra layer of protection. The oil will work to help seal in the moisturizing effects of the conditioner at the most opportune time, when the cuticle layer is open. It doesn't get any better my friends!


The HOT Oil Treatment!
This is a simple process which involves warming up an oil blend for use on the hair either just before or after the conditioner.

How-to tip for the Hot Oil Treatment:
Avoid using oil that is too hot. Please respect the fine line that exists between opening the cuticle layer using the right amount of heat and causing unintentional damage from searing your poor tresses with boiling hot oil.

How your hair will benefit:
This method is said to benefit hair which is extremely dry and damaged. The heat allows the oil to penetrate deep. The right kind of oil can help revive hair requiring a little more than a simple pre-poo.


The Oil Rinse!
The technique for the oil rinse is much like the oil/conditioner mix but instead of mixing your oil and conditioner, you are adding oil to the freshly washed hair after the conditioning step. So you wash, condition, then add a small amount of oil to the hair before rinsing the hair with warm water.

Oil Rinse How-to:
Just like the conditioner/oil mix, you should test this step out with various oils until you find the right one. Because you are not washing the oil completely out, you could possibly be left with oily (even weighed down) hair. On the other hand, if you plan on airdrying and need something a little extra to help combat dryness, this rinse may be just what you need.

How this will benefit your hair:
This process is said to have some amazing detangling properties. Not to mention the fact that you probably won't need to finish off your hair with oil in order to style it. As your hair dries, the oil will sink into the hair and help you create the perfect look. I also find that oil helps my hair dry a little straighter when airdrying.


With four separate ways to implement natural oils into your routine, you just can not go wrong. I probably would not use all four steps in one wash session. The most I would probably do is two at the most, the pre-poo and maybe one additional method if needed. You could even alternate methods each wash. Its whatever you fancy.

Remember to have fun finding the right combination for you and keep trying until you're are able to meet the needs of your hair.

Be Blessed!
Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Come on everyone! Let's all do the upsweep!

I received such great feedback from my last post asking about the specific ways to do the upsweep. I'm happy to say that creating the upsweep is easier than you think. Creating the upsweep takes only minutes. You only need a couple of hair pins and you're on your way to creating a beautiful, no-hassle hair style.

I personally use the upsweep as sort of a "leftover" hairstyle. By leftover, I mean that I put my hair in an upsweep when a few days have passed since my last wash and I don't feel like bunning. Whenever I need to look stylish without putting in much effort, I go for the upsweep.

The reason why I call it the uspweep, is because the hair is not as structured as a prom hair or a bridal updo. The look is loose and casual. If every strand of hair is not perfectly in place, who cares!

So lets get started!

In my opinion, the finished product will look its best when the hair has some sort of curl pattern. How much curl does not matter. Loose curls, tight curls, it all depends on what you prefer.

You can use flexirods, satin-covered sponge rollers, steam curlers, pincurls, whatever.

If you want to be intentional in creating the finished look then you should use the right curling method in the beginning. For instance, if you want to create the look below, you might want to use flexirods for tighter curls before you sweep up the hair. Sometimes I might do a flexirod set, wear the hair loose for a day or two, then freshen up the look (when the curls no longer look as good) by creating an elegant upsweep.

For a look similar to Jessica Alba's you need to create looser, less defined curls. So I'd probably use larger curl creating tools like a Caruso steam setter or large satin sponge rollers.



When creating the upsweep, all you are doing is putting the hair in an updo that allows the curls to be on display. So you pull the hair up and secure the length with hair pins or a banana clip. Once you are done creating your upsweep, you are free to accessories as you please.


The most basic variation of this hairstyle is simply pulling the hair up and securing it in place. If you want to get a bit more purposeful, you can create a sidesweep with your bang or implement the use of a stylish head band. One of my favorite ways to doing this style involves creating a "hump" with the front section of my hair and securing the back. I never go wrong when I attempt this.

The look below is one that I sport regularly. Sometimes I don't even bother to create a curl before styling my hair like this.
I start by creating my bang (if I want one) the loosen up the hair just behind the bang to create the lift you see in the picture. I pull the rest of my hair up and pin it in place. What I don't do is leave the ends loose like you see in the second picture. I usually take the ends (the ones you see stick out), tuck them into the hair and pin them down.
Hair looks good, ends are protected!



Because the upsweep may require a little more manipulation than the simple bun, you want to keep a few things in mind.
*Use hair pins that go in and out of your hair easily without any chance of breakage. I always use these pins.

Another step I use to avoid breakage is finger styling. I rarely use a comb when creating the upsweep because I am not going for perfectly structured hair.
Whenever I am creating this style, I always rub a little coconut oil through my hands before manipulating. This step is crucial because the oil protects the hair and adds shine.

Like I said before, having some sort of curl in the hair helps with the overall look but if you are on a low manipulation hair diet, may I suggest pincurling the hair with your hands the night before as an alternative to curlers, rollers, and such. One thing you definitely want to do is avoid direct heat at all costs (do not even think about breaking out your curling iron for this style). Direct heat is so unnecessary because of the myriad of other ways you can curl your hair. If you want, you can create the style without the curl. It's up to you.

I tried to make a video but I'm technologically deficient and have no idea how to convert the video from my digital camera to a format I can post on this blog. In the mean time, I've linked a couple video tutorials to help provide a visual.

This is a one minute video demonstrating how to pin the hair into an updo.

In the next video, the style is a bit more intricate for those of you who are a little more adventurous.

Best of luck ladies!
Let's share a toast to Fabulous hair!
Sunday, October 5, 2008

Tired of sportin' a bun? Try this

We all should know by now that protective styling is a life saver for your hair. Whenever the word protective styling is uttered, bunning is the first thought that pops into our head.

The term "bun" normally has a negative connotation to it. Bunning, for some, is the equivalent of pouring a bucket of cold water onto an open flame, it takes the fun out of having lengthy hair.

May I suggest to you, my friends, an alternative protective style- the upsweep.

Yes, the upsweep!





The upsweep is fun, its simple, and its fabulous!

How so?



With the upsweep, you can still put your luscious locks on display without subjecting your ends to the horrible experience of brushing against your fuzzy sweater.

The upsweep can take only minutes to do, and will last all day!




The upsweep will look good on you if every hair is neatly in place or if you decide you want it messy!




The upsweep always looks like you put in some sort of effort unlike it's lesser admired cousin-the bun.


The upsweep loves to be accessorised with head bands, hair pins, and other glamorous hair toys!











The upsweep can be done on practically any length hair(can you say the same thing bun?)

The upsweep never gets old because of the numerous variations of this wonderful hairdo!






The upsweep, your hair's new best friend.







-This has been a public service announcement brought to you by the caring professionals at relaxed hair health.
Saturday, September 27, 2008

Seven Habits of Beautifully Haired People

Who hasn't had the experience of being stopped dead in their tracks by the sight of someone else's fabulous head of hair?
It could happen while you are sitting in the pews of your church, or while strolling down the produce aisle at Walmart, or while browsing through the threads of your favorite hair site online. A beautiful mane will always grab the attention of those of us who's mission it is to have healthy hair.

If you're like me, you've probably had to stop yourself from running up to that person begging them to devulge their secrets to beautiful hair. Truth is, if we ever did work up the nerve to ask about that person's rituals, we'd probably be unimpressed with their so called secrets. That's because the habits of beautifully haired people are pretty basic.

Habit # 1: Beautifully haired people begin with the Ends in mind


Never have we seen beautifully haired people walking around with thin, scraggely, damaged ends. That's because beautifully haired people understand that healthy ends are a must if one is to have healthy hair. If a beautifully haired person wears her hair down, you'll find that the health of her hair runs from root to tip.
Trims are not the only way that beautifully haired people begin with their ends in mind, they also will implement the use of protective styling to keep their ends nice and protected.


Habit # 2: Beautifully haired people are proactive


Beautifully haired people don't just continue implementing the same routine week after week hoping to get better results. Instead they accurately and frequently assess the condition of their hair and then work proactively to find the products that give the hair exactly what it needs. Does the hair need more strength? Is moisture my biggest concern? Is my hair shedding excessively? Beautifully haired people are great at gauging their hair's condition which allows them to work quickly and remedy the situation before it gets worse.

Habit #3: Beautifully haired people don't believe the hype

How many times have you been on a hair board and heard of a fantastic new miracle hair elixer that will magically grow hair down to your tailbone overnight? Sure you may hear a few stories of hair growth when the product is first introduced, months later the product is old news and everyone is singing the praises of another magical hair cream. Most of the time, those who swoon over the new products are an eager bunch of people who are new to their hair journey. I know because I used to be one of them. I can remember the very first time (years ago) I first saw the speckels of herbs and spices in a jar of my friend's Miracle Gro hair grease. Every time she left the room I would run over to that grease and use a little bit on my scalp. Now I understand that products only play a part and are not the end all to having beautiful hair.

Habit #4: Beautifully haired people are holistic in their hair care regimen


It doesn't take a brain scientist to know that your internal health will impact the external appearance of your hair. Beautifully haired people understand that one of the basic fundamental ingredients to healthy hair is a healthy diet. Sure supplements will right alot of our dietary wrongs but a healthy diet is much more beneficial. Your body absorbs the nutrients you get from your diet for all of its daily functioning. If you continue to indulge in the nutrient deficient western diet, you leave your body no option but to use whatever little nutrients it needs for more important functions. What you are left with is hair that is weak from the start. Then you proceed with subjecting the hair to harsh chemical treatments, finally you spend a bagillion dollars on products in hopes of trying to get your hair to look beautiful. Does that sound realistic to you?

Habit #5: Beautifully haired people are consistent

Do you know where you'll be next Saturday afternoon? I know that I'll probably be washing and setting my hair as usual. Beautifully haired people have tweaked their hair regimen over and over again until they created a system that works. Once the system is in place, beautifully haired people consistently maintain the system. I've met women who have never done their hair at home before, but they consistently go to the salon every week to get a deep conditioning treatment. Beautifully haired people consistently utilize the routine they created. Beautifully haired people consistently take their hair supplements. Beautifully haired people consistently get great results. If you want to have beautiful hair, stay consistent with whatever, regimen or challenge that works for you.

Habit # 6: Beautifully haired people are pretty basic

In the early days of my hair challenge I would scour through pages of online sites so I can find the true way to healthy hair. Whenever I would find a mid-back length member telling everyone how she would wash and set once a week...blah..blah, I would quickly become disinterested and continue on my trek to find out the real secrets of long healthy hair. Little did I know that the basic, effective routine is the true path to hair enlightenment. Because I now understand this fact, I no longer feel compelled to run up to some unsuspecting stranger so I can ask her to recall the names of every hair product under her bathroom sink.

Habit # 7: Beautifully haired people keep learning

Even when you are at a place where you feel good about the health of your hair, your goal should always be to become better. Are you finally at brastrap? Then you should be striving for midback. Not because you actually want to have midback length hair (maybe you do), but because of the habits you will create to get to midback. If you are brastrap, you are going have to keep working on minimizing your breakage even more to hold on to that length. You get my point? Keep striving for the next level of hair perfection. If that's too much hair for you then cut it back, but the habits you put in place will guarantee you a beautiful head of hair no matter the length.

So there you have it, hair secrets of beautifully haired people have been revealed!

Please do me a favor and keep these secrets between me and you. We wouldn't want the wrong people to get a hold of this valuable information.



-Peace out!
Saturday, September 20, 2008

More Bounce to the ounce! Aphogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor Review

I feel pretty good about my current hair routine along with my staple products. However, I was swayed to make yet another hair product purchase after watching Ateeya's video on youtube.



I have to admit that I was only mildly swayed by her hair product recommendations. I give Ateeya's lovely hair much props, but I wasn't yet ready to run out and buy more products. It wasn't until I watched another video,



And another video......


And another video.....


That I finally got the hint that I needed to have this product in my arsenal. Days later the product was mine and I started making plans of how I can accurately assess the true benefits of this product.

I decided that I would strip down some of the other steps in my routine. For instance, I decided to pre-poo using only a cheapie conditioner without the help of any Alma oil or any other oil. I also thought it was best to forgo the steam treatment so I could determine if the product would bring out great results on its own. Finally, I made the decision not to use any other conditioning product throughout the process. My routine was basically stripped down to the bare bones so I could truly speak on the results acheived directly from the conditioner.

After my wash I towel dried and applied a couple dallops of the product into my hands and throughout my hair. The directions recommend that the product should be left in the hair for two minutes. I left it in for about 5 minutes while I prepared more of my fabulous leave-in mix. Next I rinsed the product. My hair felt nice as the product rinsed out. The feeling was that of strength and moisture. I didn't feel as if I only used a strong damage repair product on my hair. There was no need to follow up with a moisturizing conditioner.

After my rollers were taken down, the very first thought that came to my mind was "wow, look how bouncy my hair is!" My curls were fluffy, light and carefree!
If I turned my head to the left, my hair swung with it. If I had to use one word to describe my hair, that one word would be silky! Needless to say, I was pretty impressed with the results. I can definitly relate to all of those youtubers who thanked Ateeya for sharing her hair regimen. I want to also give my gratitude to her for recommending this product. Two thumbs up!


Save $5 at SallyBeauty.com!
Sunday, September 7, 2008

Hydrate your hair with the nourishing qualities of steam

Heat.

Your hair's greatest enemy or your hair's best friend?

It all depends on the form the heat comes in and the method we use that heat. We all know that direct, high heat is a no-no to those of us who are in the process of creating healthy hair. High temperatures work to open the cuticle layers of the hair thereby making it susceptible to the damaging elements and, of course, dryness. As you may remember, the cuticle layer of the hair are structured in a similar way to shingles on a roof. Excessive direct heat basically leads to permanent damage to the cuticle layer. A damaged cuticle layer only leads to one result-damaged hair.

Now steam, on the other hand, works to help you intensify the moisture levels of the hair. How? By opening the cuticle to allow the deep conditioner to further penetrate. That, my friend is only one benefit of using steam in the conditioning process.
Steam, because it consists of tiny droplets of liquid water, works with your conditioner to dramatically increase your hair's moisture. When you use the power of steam while deep conditioning, you are encouraging both the nourishing properties of the conditioner and the hydrating qualities of water, to penetrate deep inside the hair shaft.

Previously, I used the "plastic cap under the dryer method" to help enhance the value of my deep conditioner. It wasn't until I found out that there were professional steamers on the market that I become unsatisfied with my practice. In my unending quest for hair perfection, I immediately realized that steam would be more beneficial to my hair than heat alone.

In an effort to curb my hair related spending, along with the need to manage the amount of space I use for hair related purposes, I decided that, for now, purchasing a professional steamer was not an option.

I spent several days wondering how I can harness the wonderful benefits of a professional steamer while using the tools that I already have at home. My answer came in the form of my Revlon steam setter and my Conair home steam facial treatment. Both of these machines could produce enough steam to help my conditioner to fully penetrate my hair. The problem I had to overcome was how I was going to "trap" the heat so it would be concentrated in one area (similar to the professional version which keeps the steam circulating within the hood). The answer to my dilemma came to me in the form of a large plastic drawer from my Rubbermaid storage caddy.

So what I did was place both of my steam machines on a table, filled them with distilled water, and positioned them close together so the steam was a bit more concentrated in one area. I then grabbed my Rubbermaid drawer and held it above my head as if it were a dryer hood (I did not use a plastic cap by the way, I allowed my hair to hang loose). The steam rose up and into my hood creating a mini sauna for both my skin and hair. I sat allowing the steam to work its magic for 20-30 minutes. At the end of the treatment, my skin glowed and my hair was poofy from all of the moisture that it absorbed.

After using this method, I completely understand why someone would shell out over $100 to achieve the super-moisturizing results on a consistent basis. My hair felt and looked incredible. Maybe someday I may give in and purchase a professional steamer but, for now, this method seemed to work well for me. If you are going to create your own home made steam treatment, please be mindful of the temperature of the water you use. I did not use boiling hot water from the stove for fear of scalding myself. The machines I used created steam that was a comfortable temperature. I did not have any safety concerns throughout the entire process. Make sure safety is your primary concern before you start to experiment.

Once you introduce steam into your weekly routine, you will never go back. Best of luck to you and your beautiful head of hair.

***After writing this post I stumbled upon a salon's site offering a mist treatment (which they claim offer better penetration because the particles are smaller than steam). They mentioned that they end their "hot mist" treatment with a cool mist to close the cuticle and trap the product inside the hair shaft producing longer results. I think I may try this next time by sitting under my dryer on the cool setting after my steam treatment.

Affirm Fiberguard, will you marry me?



Here it is folks. My Fiberguard/Preservo Serum review. I actually contemplated stretching a little while longer but my curiosity got the best of me. I decided to go ahead and take the plunge.

I began my relaxer expeirence with the Preservo Serum. I parted my hair into relatively small sections, saturated each part with the product, and repeated until my entire head was adequately treated. The serum is similar in consistency to a watery/creamy leave-in. Very close to a Lacio Lacio, if I had to make a comparison. I was very grateful to this product because I pretty much had given up on trying to do anything to my hair the last week before relaxing. The Preservo Serum allowed me the ability to detangle without going completely insane.

I carefully opened the top to my relaxer and dipped my applicator brush into the contents. I immediately began regretting my inability to keep from scratching or irritating my scalp as soon as I noticed the consistency of the relaxer. It was creamier/thinner than I was used to. I knew right away that I would be enduring scalp burns as a by product of my lack of discipline.

So on I went parting, applying, parting, applying until I felt the time was right to begin smoothing. Yes....my scalp burned, and yes I suffered through it for the sake of smooth edges.

Finally the time came to rinse and I quickly jumped in the shower wondering what the end result would look like. As I washed the Affirm relaxer out, it was as if I was washing out a deep conditioner. My hair was so buttery smooth and delicious. Unbelievable!

When the relaxer was completely rinsed out, my hair felt as if I already washed and deep conditioned. I still proceeded with my Silicon Mix Pearl Extract conditioner just before I neutralized and, honestly, my hair felt just as good before the Silicon Mix as it did after.

After the wash I loaded my hair with more conditioner and tested out my new generic-ghetto version of the steaming method (I'll post on this method later in the week).
After steaming, I rinsed, rollerset, and sat under the dryer.

My hair, ladies and gentlemen, is so freakin' beautiful today that I am at a loss for words. I was planning on using a black rinse to help bring back some color and shine but there's no need. My hair is darn near perfect right now. I attribute the finished product to a superior relaxer, the steaming process, a fabulous leave-in, and quality finishing products. Everything worked together in glorious harmony.

If my hair will look like this every time I relax, then I think I found my new best friend. Oh, and by the way, my roots were not at all wavy when it was all said and done. The relaxer did a great job of managing my outrageous new growth. I also wanted to mention that though my scalp burned like crazy, I am not (yet) experiencing any scabbing.

I am definitely recommending this product to anyone who is in the market for a new relaxer. I also want to recommend the Preservo Strengthening Serum because this product was the ying to my relaxer's yang. I am a very happy gal this morning and just wanted to share my joy with you all.

Be Blessed.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Affirm Fiber Guard Relaxer has arrived!!!


This long arduous day of mine has been saved by a glimmer of hope in the form of a small package. Finally the day has arrived when I can relax. After three long months of stretching, the time has come for a touch up. My Affirm Fiberguard relaxer is here. Along with the fiberguard relaxer, I also purchased the Preservo Strengthening Serum. The purpose of the serum is to protect and condition the hair during the relaxing process. The instructions state that the product is applied to the entire head of hair (including the new growth). The serum is said to minimize the swelling of the hair shaft thereby better preserving the strength of the hair.

I've read some reviews from those who've used Affirm Fiberguard relaxer saying that their new growth was not a straight as with other relaxers. Right now my main concern is with the overall strength of my hair. Bone straight roots are the least of my worries. I spend most of my days sportin' new growth waves anyway. I'll trade healthy hair for bone straight roots any day. Isn't healthy hair what this is all about?

If all goes well, I should be relaxing within the next several days. And, of course, I will most certainly share my experiences. I am taking a very systematic approach to achieving healthy hair. I'm breaking down every step of my hair care routine, looking for areas where I can improve it, and creating workable solutions with every step. If I am able to get the relaxing step right (with the help of Fiberguard), I know that will be a huge win for my hair.
Saturday, August 30, 2008

Wash day 8.28.09: I discover cleansing conditioner

I love the fact that the Internet has become a such great source of information. Somehow, some way, while surfing online, I landed upon a professional product which promises to do for your hair what normal shampoos won't or can't do.

Here is the product description as found on their website:

The WEN® Cleansing Conditioner is a
revolutionary new concept in cleansing your hair that has Hollywood buzzing! It’s special because it cleanses hair thoroughly but without lathering and all the harsh ingredients that may be found in ordinary shampoos — it is designed so it won’t strip your hair and scalp of their natural oils. Your hair is left with sheen, moisture, manageability and better color retention.
(Photos from Wenhaircare.com)





Of course, I immediately scoured the web for product reviews. As expected, the reviews were mainly positive. I did find comments from those who felt the product left their hair feeling a little heavy. My thought juices immediately started flowin' once the words "cleansing" and "conditioner" were introduced to me in the same sentence.


"I've got cleansers and conditioners," I thought, "why don't I make my own cleansing conditioner?"

So off I went into the shower for my weekly wash. Only this time, instead of using my Cream of Nature (CON) shampoo the way I normally do, I decided to squirt a little bit in the palm of my hand then proceed to cover the CON with my Suave Tropical Coconut cheapie conditioner. Hence, I had created a cleansing conditioner (sort of). I decided to use a light moisturizing conditioner so that cleanser wouldn't be overpowered by a heavy protein product. My goal wasn't to deep condition while I washed, my goal was to help further protect my hair from over drying while I washed.

I used this product mix on the entire length of my hair. Because I used such a high conditioner to shampoo ratio, no lather was created. Now that my hair is completely dry, I can touch and smell my hair which feels very similar to when I just use straight shampoo. The main difference was when I washed out my cleansing shampoo. My hair was soft and relatively tangle free because of the immense slip the Suave product provides.

I still proceeded to deep condition as normal under a plastic cap. This cleansing conditioner is not meant to replace the deep conditioning step. You still need to deep condition so that your hair can get the intense moisture or protien it needs.

Because I don't normally wash more than once a week, a straight conditioning wash may have not have satisfied my cleansing need. With this method, I enjoy the benefits of both a conditioning wash and a normal cleansing wash.

Afterwards I airdryed my hair in a ponytail to help combat this insane new growth. I am very pleased with the results. My hair feel light and clean (no heavy buildup) but yet it feels nice and conditioned. What I like most about this method is that my hair is being pampered and protected every step of the way from the pre-poo, to the wash, to the deep conditioning, to the leave-in step. This is definitely a keeper for me. I have not yet tried this method with a rollerset, but if my hair doesn't turn out as expected, I won't stop using conditioner when I wash, I'll play around with the amount of conditioner I use until I find the right combination.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008

CHI Keratin Mist Review Part II: Redemption!

My heart is overjoyed at the moment as I sit here and type. I have removed one roller from my lazy man's version of the rollerset and I am pleased with what I am seeing so far. When I say the lazy man's rollerset, I mean that instead of rolling my entire head with rollers as one would normally do, I thought it would be best to combat my ever increasing amount of new growth with an alternative styling method.

Prior to rollersetting, I refilled my magical leave-in mix with more distilled water while adding only a little bit of CHI Keratin Mix to my spray bottle. I made sure to only added enough of the product to help my hair where it needs it the most without the risk of protein overkill. I definitely was not heavy handed with this product especially after the results I got during my last wash. After adding the CHI to my leave-in, I shook the mix vigorously to make sure all the ingredients had a chance to become one harmonious healthy hair union and began to spray liberally throughout the hair.

What I did next was comb my wet hair in a backwards motion as one would do when preparing the hair for a ponytail. I then proceed to tie one of my satin scarfs around the front of my head as if I were creating a wide headband with the scarf. The rest of my hair was loose in the back. With my trusty snap magnetic rollers in hand, I proceed to put together a sub-standard rollerset. By substandard, I mean that I did not even think twice about perfectly straight parts nor was I concerned much with the tautness of the roller. I only wanted to make sure that each strand of hair was some how wrapped around a roller.

Even though my efforts were sub par, the leave-in mix still remained effective. This time, however, my hair was enjoying both the moisturizing properties of the rosewater and coconut oil, all while receiving the strengthening component of the Keratin Mist. This new leave-in combination is force to be reckoned with.

So as I complete part 2 of CHI's Keratin Mist review, I am running my hands through my hair as I normally do. Only this time, I am not becoming ever increasingly frustrated by breakage. My hair is strong and moisturized. I can not ask for much more. With that said, I will definitely recommend this product to those of you who would like to enjoy stronger hair. I paid around $14.00 for the bottle but because I pour very little of it into my leave-in mix, I know my $14.00 will go a long way. The strength my hair receives from the product is nearly instant and I feel that by heavily diluting it, I can use it weekly to keep my hair strong. I will update everyone if using it too frequently leads to any adverse effects.

Thanks for listening.

CHI Keratin Mist is definitely a keeper.
Saturday, August 23, 2008

CHI Keratin Mist Review Part 1


As promised, I will detail my first full experience with this most coveted hair product. In my quest for hair perfection, I have been searching for effective ways of strengthening my hair. What I'm looking for is not just a product that works just immediately after use but one that is powerful enough to leave a lasting impression on my hair. I want something that truly works to build strength while allowing me to keep the moisture balance which I have finally been able to achieve. My search led me to CHI Keratin Mist. I used this product this past week while rollersetting. My experience is as follows:

Just prior to purchasing Keratin Mist, I put together a mean leave-in combination modeled after my blog entry. That stuff had my hair singin' and swingin'. It had been a while since my hair looked and felt that way. I didn't even have to use any oil afterwards to finish off the style. My hair was darn near perfect. Even while my hair was still basking in the glow of the effects from this miracle elixer, I still felt that I could kick it up a notch by adding in a strengthening aid. Keratin Mist was my answer. Or so I thought..........

After experiencing such amazing results with my current leave in mixture, I was not willing to forgo it and only use the Keratin Mist as my only leave in product. So what I did was use my current concoction to keep my hair saturated. Meaning, as I parted sections and prepared my hair for rolling, I used only my mix to wet the hair. With the Keratin Mist, what I did was cover the palms of my hand with a few sprays, rubbed my hands together, and ran the product all over my hair, concentrating on the ends.
Though I noticed that my hair was a little difficult to detangle, the amount of hair lost during the process was much less than I experienced in the last couple of roller setting sessions previous.

Once dry, I removed the rollers in eager anticipation of the wonderful results that I was about to experience. My hopes were not realized. My curls were not as bouncy and full as before. The look of my hair just did not impress me at all. It didn't look bad, but it didn't look great either. Worst of all, my ends were frizzy. Yes, I said frizzy. I pretty much ended up wearing a bun all week because there was no way I could wear it down and have it look right.

Now, after reading that, you're probably thinking that Keratin Mist is going in the graveyard for hair products, my product closet. That place is dark, cramped, and houses all of products my hair has rejected. For now, my bottle CHI Keratin Mist has not yet been sentenced to a life of exile, why? Because even though my hair didn't look all that great, it was actually stronger. CHI Keratin Mist is definitely a strengthening good product. I have decided to somehow find a way to make it work for me. I need to harness the power of this product while still enjoying the fabulous results of my leave-in mix. My solution is to pour a little Keratin Mist into my leave-in bottle instead of just rubbing it into my hair straight. That, my friend, is the reason why I decided to write a two part review. This product definitely has some potential that I need to somehow exploit. I think my alternative method just might work.

By the way, before buying the product I read tons of great reviews. I still believe that this is actually a good product worth purchasing. I just think the protein content was a bit much for my hair. I actually used a small amount on my ends (while dry) as soon as I purchased it. My ends looked great when I first used it. But a day or two later, my ends started to frizz. My breakage slowed down, but my ends were all over the place. You may also want to test the product on your hair when you first buy it (or if you can sneak some on your hair while in the store to see if the protein content is too much for you to use straight up.

Part 2 will be posted soon. Stay tuned.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Krill oil for mega omega power!

Krill? What in the world? That's what I thought when I first heard of krill. Is an ingredient in hair products? Do I just buy the oil straight and rub it all over my hair?
The answer is neither. That's because krill is an crustacean which closely resembles a shrimp. Don't be fooled by the name, the oil from this little creature is said to be 48x more potent then that of fish oils. Yes, that's right, 48 times more powerful!

How can that be? Apparently the composition of the oil is one that is more readily absorbed in our body than regular fish oil. Another benefit of krill is that it doesn't have the fishy after taste that we normally experience when taking fish oil supplements. Krill, unlike fish oils contain high levels of antioxidants which contributes to its high shelf life. Its also said that high mercury levels is not prevelent in krill because of the remote arctic waters where the krill is harvested.

Here's some information taken from aboutkrilloil.com describing the wonder oil.

"Unlike fish oils, Krill oil carries omega-3s in the form of phospholipids, which are liposomes. This is then delivered to your body’s cells. The compounds EPA and DHA are carried more effectively by these phospholipids. Fish oils do not have the phospholipid complex and instead their omega-3 fatty acids are contained in the form of free triglycerides which are less effective.

The phospholipids are known as the building blocks for your cell membranes. They control the cellular transport and this helps to protect the cell membranes from free radical attacks. The control helps omega-3 fatty acids as it allows them to pass their molecules into your intestine wall.

Astaxanthin has great antioxidant benefits. In studies it has been shown to be 10 times more effective as an antioxidant than carotene. It has also been shown to be 100-500 times more effective than Vitamin E. Other studies have shown the antioxidant benefits of krill oil is more than 300 times greater than that of measured Vitamin A and Vitamin E and 48 times greater than Omega-3 18:12 fish oil."



We all know that in order to have truly healthy hair we absolutely need to have an ample amount of omega 3's in our diet. Its crucial. Any lack of this essential nutrient will result in dry hair, dull skin, brittle nails. Not to mention the lack of concentration and other health effects.

I don't know about you but I'm super-excited about this product! I'm all about bigger and better so this is a perfect find for me. I'll definitely be adding this product to my arsenal.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Searching for Nanokeratin alternatives

After posting an entry on the nanokeratin process and its benefits, I received a comment on the potential downside to having the treatment done. Some say that the fumes emitted during the treatment may be toxic. That's because some keratin treatments contain formaldehyde which, according to the FDA, has been linked to cancer. As I continued to research, I did find out that there are versions of the treatment available that do not contain the formaldehyde. But by then I was already pretty much turned off from the treatment and quickly began searching for alternative keratin boosters for my hair.

My first glimmer of hope came in the form of an online article from cosmeticdesigns.com about genetically engineered keratin developed in the labs of Dermaplus, a company that manufactures hair and skin care products. They have somehow managed to replicate the specific strands of keratin that naturally occur in the human skin and hair. The product they created with the technology, called Keracyte, is mainly used to strengthen the hair shaft, not the already existing hair. In other words, the product is used more as a scalp treatment not a topical hair solution.

The creators of the product are mainly targeting men who have thinning hair because this product has the ability to regrow thinning hair(and even restore natural hair color). Even though the product doesn't fully serve the purpose I am looking for, its still a start. Maybe someday they can find a way to incorporate their new strand of keratin into conditioners and other hair products.

My second alternative,so far, is a product from CHI called Keratin Mist (review to come later). I just purchased this product yesterday because I saw some great reviews on LHCF and makeupally. When I first picked up the product from the shelves, I immediately searched the label for the list of ingredients. Wouldn't you know it, Rosewater and silk amino acids were like the first and third ingredient on the list. Sound familiar? There were some other notable ingredients like wheat protein and aloe extract that helped me make up my mind to move forward with the purchase.

I was a little impatient and sprayed a little on my dry hair (instead of waiting 'till wash day to get the full effect). So far I liked what I saw. Stay tuned.....
 

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