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!)

 

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