Saturday, September 27, 2008

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

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 achieved directly from the conditioner. After my wash, I towel dried and applied a couple dollops 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 definitely 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! 

Sunday, September 7, 2008


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.

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. 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

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.
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