Monday, January 28, 2008

I can not tell you how much I love using coconut oil. The oil is actually solid at room temperature but becomes liquid when you rub it between your fingers. In my opinion, this oil delivers some of the best shine of all the plant oils that I have tried. It even has a mild coconut scent which smells great. Lately I have been using it on my dry skin. It works like nothing else to give my skin a soft feel and a nice glow. I especicially love using coconut oil on my braid outs to keep my waves looking fresh and moist. Check out this siteto learn more about the many benefits of coconut oil.

Don't take my word for it, check out the the video below of a Ford Model and how she benefits from the use of this fabulous oil.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

One of the phases I went through when I got really serious about the health of my hair was purchasing hair product after hair product in hopes of finding "the one."
The one hair product that would tame my new growth, eliminate breakage, add unbelievable shine, remedy split ends, and add a softness to my hair unlike anything I had experienced before. Did I find this amazing product?
No... Instead I spent countless hours and a ton of money jumping from one hair product to another, reading label after label, containing promises of a hair transformation that would occur if only I purchase their product and allowed my hair to experience the difference. Some would work for a short while, others were left to ferment in my hair product closet (yes, I have a hair product closet).

I did learn a very valuable lesson from the entire ordeal. After reading so many ingredient labels, I began realize that more and more products were incorporating plant oils into their mix of various chemicals. The plant oils were not only on the list, but featured on the front label as well. These oils were so highly regarded, the manufacturer would go as far as including a picture of an avocado, or coconut, or and olive as a major selling point. It did not take me long to get the hint. I soon realized that my salvation rested in my obtaining these wonderful oils in pure form. I had long stopped using conventional "grease" products in my hair so I was skeptical of how may hair would react to natural oils.
The first plant oil that I purchased was jojoba oil. After much research on the benefits of this product I knew I would have to have it. The oil was light enough to use on a daily basis. My hair liked the moisture it provided and the light shine. From then on I new I was hooked. So then I began to ask myself, "what other oils were out there that I could use for my hair's benefit?"

Friday, January 18, 2008

Bad news, while I was trying to create the perfect wash, set and blow out, I accidently knocked my Supersalano dryer to the ground because I was startled by my dog. So anyways, because of the hefty price tag, I will now have to find more "creative" ways to deal with my growth aside from using the heat of the blow dryer. This could actually be a good thing. I also decided not to use my flat iron if at all possible. Because I have been a good girl with my vitamins and smoothies, I have quite a bit of growth to contend with even though it has only been a month and a half since my last touch up.

For the next month and a half or so, I will have to be pretty clever in my hair styling techniques to minimize breakage and maximize "cute-age" (is that a word?).
Because of the amount of new growth, wearing my hair down just is not an option. The only area that I really am concerned about with regards to my new growth are my edges. Over the years I have tried some simple methods to tame my wild edges without the use of harsh gel products. These include:

Using a light leave in condition on my dry hair around my edges before tying my hair down at night. When I use this method, my hair dries flat while I sleep without having to add any heat to my hair.

Using fabulous accessories to camoflauge my curly edges. Whenever I use a cute wrap, headband, or scarf over my new growth, I always seem to get compliments. Using accessories kills two birds with one stone. Functionality and Fabulosity!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Tonight I decided the wash my hair. But unlike other occasions, I opted to take a more mechanical approach to the entire process. I mentally dissected each step in my wash and set process and thought of ways to improve each step individually. If I became successful in this venture, I would end up with a complete fool-proof method of obtaining a perfect wash and set at home every time (in theory).

When I do my hair at home, I am usually successful at achieving healthy looking hair but I often fall short of obtaining the goddess like hair that I enjoy from visiting my favorite Dominican Salon. Oh how I love the feel of my bouncy tresses as I run through the streets after walking out of the salon. But alas, this wonderful hair from my home styling methods eludes me.

I am determined to create a perfect routine that is so effective that I no longer have to endure the intense heat and the heavy hand of a Dominican hair stylist/magician ever again. Even as I type I am sitting under my Babyliss Pro hair dryer wondering what my hair will look like when it is all said and done. It took almost twice as long to get to this point than it normally does. I tried really, really hard to make sure that I did everything right. Sadly, I ended up sacrificing a ton of hair in the process. My hair ball was unusually large during my detangle. But I am not discouraged for I have a vision. My vision includes a means for me to achieve a flawless head of hair after every wash. For me that dream is achievable. For me that dream is my destiny.

Monday, January 14, 2008

In my previous post I talked about the tidbits of wisdom I gleaned from Wanakee's free booklet. Two things she mentioned stuck out in my mind and remain there years later. The first word of advice was to preserve the moisture level of our hair by keeping the ends away from air if at all possible.

The second piece of advice was to trim the ends if you are experiencing any trouble. So what constitutes troubled ends? For me, I can usually visually assess the condition of my ends. I know that I am in need of a trim when I experience any of these symptoms:

* Breakage-Especially if your broken hairs are only an inch long. This means that the bulk of your breakage is occurring at your ends.

*Split ends-Split ends are obvious only if you examine your ends closely. Usually the end of the hair will literally split in two because of damage.

If I find myself experiencing a lot of breakage when I comb/style my hair, I usually do a minor trim of the very ends of my hair. I trim little by little until I have eliminated the bulk of the damage without sacrificing too much length. After I've trimmed, my ends are smoother and better looking and the breakage is almost non-existent. I usually regain the length of the hair I trimmed off and more.

So to recap, trimming, when necessary, and protecting your ends are vital actions that are necessary to keeping your relaxed hair(ends) as healthy as possible.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Years ago, while flipping through a stack of hair magazines at my local mega-bookstore, I came across an offer from this beautiful woman with a long head of healthy hair. The free offer was for a small booklet offering free tips on how to grow long healthy hair even if the hair was chemically treated. Weeks later I received my booklet in the mail and my hands trembled as I carefully opened and read what was inside.
Wanakee went into great detail to describe her self as a regular African-American woman not mixed with another ethnic group. This was to prove a point, that black women can grow long hair. If I remember correctly, her hair was at least waist length. She even included past pictures of her with shoulder length hair to show that she did not always have such long tresses. She detailed how she was able to achieve such amazing results with her eager readers.

I remember some of the specifics, but to be honest, the only thing that stuck in my mind was her advice on the use of protective styling. She even used a example that I will never forget. In her example, she explained how air has a very drying affect on our hair. Look at an ear of corn, the silk strands that remain within the husk remain soft and silky, yet the strands exposed to the air are dry and crispy. Our hair is the same way, the simple of act wearing our hair out(or down) works against what we are trying to accomplish. Imange that! I tested her theory the very next day and for a while thereafter. The results? The hair that was tucked away from the elements remained just as moist as it was in the morning when I moisturized it.

From that example we learned the number one rule of achieving healthy hair-The importance of retaining moisture. In my next post, I'll share with you another lesson I learned from Wanakee's little hair booklet.

Here's an excerpt from her brochure:

You’ll notice that after you trim your hair, the ends seem dry again almost immediately! You’d think it was because of too much heat or blow-drying or maybe a bad perm. Although these treatments can sometimes dry out your hair, they only happen occasionally. The process that happens everyday, drying out your hair is...exposure to the air!

Yes, something that simple can be sapping your hair of life. Think for a moment; air dries your laundry, it cracks your house paint, it chaps your lips, it ashes your skin; it’s a serious drying agent. And when you wear you hair down regularly, air dries out your hair too. The movement of your hair against your clothing can dry your ends even more; and when ends get dry, they break off.

Picture an ear of corn with the husk on it. Did you ever notice how awful the silk looks that’s hanging on the outside of husk? But if you peel the husk down, the silk is soft, shiny and in excellent condition. The only difference is that the top silk has been exposed to the air, while the silk inside the husk has not. Air can cause damage to your hair. WANAKEE Oil for the Hair is a light daily application of protection against dryness that adds a gorgeous shine and allows the hair to remain clean feeling. It’s nice.

Since the ends are the oldest part of your hair, they suffer the most from this constant exposure to air. You can end the breakage cycle and experience a healthy growth pattern by following these simple rules. They may not seem very significant at a glance, but they are the steps that restored my damaged strands to a full, healthy head of hair. Remember that you want to preserve the ends while the roots grow. Being consistent and patient every day is the key to your success.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The past few years has witnessed an influx of African American women who have forsaken the harsh chemicals of hair relaxers for natural tresses. The popularity of natural hair is so prevalent that women who sport their natural hair are no longer viewed as eccentric rebels. Years ago, a person with natural coils usually wore ethnic clothing and Afro-centric jewelry. Today, the person with natural hair is your mother, sister, or friend. In fact, the wide variety of hair style choices available for women with natural hair make it an extremely attractive alternative to the chemical straightening process of relaxing.

With that said, why I do still chose to relax my hair? I guess there are several reasons. The main reason is out of habit. I have been relaxing my hair since I was pre-teen. Every 6-8 weeks, it was time for a touch up without fail. When I became a teenager, I started relaxing every 4 weeks because I could not socially function with a head full of new growth. The more I relaxed, the more damaged my hair. I have very tightly coiled type 4B hair. For those of you not familiar with hair typing, I have extremely thick "nappy" hair. This type of hair has worked for me and against me. I think that if my hair type was a looser curl, I would experienced much more damage with the amount of relaxing I was accustomed to doing.

I also choose to relax my hair because of the flexibility of chosing different hair styles. I do not like to keep my hair in one style for too long. I used to spend hard earned money on synthetic braids which were to last for up to 2 months, only to take them our prematurely because I wanted to do something else with my hair. I like having the freedom to have straight hair one day and a textured braid out style the next and back again. Unlike most people, I like to be in my hair all of the time. With most natural styles, I would not have the same opportunity to keep my hands in my hair trying out different hairstyles and new parts, and such.

So maybe one day I may transition to natural hair, but for now, I am happy with the relaxing process. So what I have decided to do is to create the best head of relaxed hair that I can create with routines and products and lots of knowledge.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I created this blog as way to both educate others about how best to maintain their relaxed hair and to learn more about maintaining relaxed hair in the process. I hope that this experience will be beneficial to both my readers and myself. There is a lot of information to share and much more to learn. I will include both what I learn from research and what I obtain from my first hand experience. My intention is that everyone benefits directly from this open exchange of information.

As long as I can remember, I have struggled to maintain my relaxed tresses. I received, and implemented, a lot of wrong information and learned in the process. People with damaged over-processed hair eagerly provided unsolicited information on what to do with my hair. I remember spending hours upon hours in beauty supply stores looking for the holy grail of hair products that would save my hair. Several years, and countless of hair products later, I am starting to feel comfortable with how I deal with the hair that God has blessed with.

Knowing what works for your hair is key to keeping your relaxed in pristine condition. An lets not forget the most important aspect of maintaining healthy hair-Patience. The more we know about our hair, the better we will be able to manage what we have. So, with that said, lets get started.
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