Bringing in 2012 with lessons and learnings from 2011
Increase your Hair Growth this winter with these 5 simple techniques
Since we have a hair journey to attend to, we can't have something as simple as cold weather slow us down. We've got to keep moving! Oh, and by the way, you know that seasonal shedding we always seem to get? I have a hunch that poor circulation to the roots may have something to do with it also. So then let's discuss some methods of promoting much needed circulation even during the winter months.
Conair Flexi Rods: Giving me absolutely perfect curls every time
Boy am I glad I did. Fourteen months later and these bad boys are still as firm and bendable as the day I got them! I can't tell you the number of times I've been disappointed by my results in the past when I've used faulty flexi rods that couldn't create or hold a curl. Currently, I'm in the midst of purging my clutter and unnecessary items as I move into the new year and one of the items on the chopping block are my old, worthless, flexi-rods that no longer serve their purpose. So I'm dedicating this post to my new flexi curlers because they never seem to fail me. Take a gander at this look I created today on dry hair with the help of my curlers, leave-in, and some Gleau oil. I slept overnight in the curlers, took them out this morning and voila!
The look I was going for was volume. On my side is four months of new growth plus the fact that I wore by hair in a high bun for the last couple of days. When I took my bun down, my hair was much more voluminous than if I had been wearing my hair down. I used that to my advantage.
The flexi rods have pretty much been my hair's best friend ever since the humidity died down. They help me create wearable looks without (potentially damaging) heat. They're so wonderful.
Finally, a liquid cod liver oil that doesn't make me gag
In previous posts, I've discussed using quality fish oil and even krill oil capsules in my regimen to support my omega 3 dietary requirements. Recently though, I've decided to take it up a notch and go "all liquid" with my omega 3 intake. In the past, I attempted to create a habit of consuming liquid fish oil for at least 30 days. While I was successful at this 30 day challenge, it did translate into a long-term habit. Looking back, I think I set myself up for failure in the long run.
I say this because I purchased a lower quality liquid fish oil from a super-retailer. The cod liver oil was a thick "creamy" liquid opaque in color with a harsh lemon flavor covering the even harsher fish taste. It was not pleasant. This time, I've decided to change my strategy so I can ensure my success in this new daily habit creation attempt. For one, I've decided to upgrade the quality of my liquid cod liver oil. Since I was already taking in Nordic Naturals supplements I was aware of their high quality. The supplements don't give you that fishy burping side effect one may find with lower quality oils. I've heard that fishy burps maybe due to consuming rancid fish oil.
So off I went to Vitamin Shoppe in hopes of coming back with a liquid cod liver oil supplement that I could actually consume on a daily basis (long-term). I picked up a bottle of Nordic Naturals and was on my way. Fast forward two and a half weeks later and I must say that I'm pretty proud of how consistent I've been in taking a spoon full of the lightly flavored lemon fish oil each morning. I attribute my success to how wonderfully light and palatable this stuff is. Sure, in the end, I'm still taking in a spoonful of oil but let me tell you, I can see myself taking this on a regular basis much more consistently than in the past.
In the past, I felt like I was setting myself up for failure before because I wasn't really enjoying the experience. This time around I'm shifting my mindset around the whole "liquid fish oil" thing by creating it as a pleasant experience in my mind vs. a negative one. So now, just prior to consuming the oil, I take a brief moment to reflect on the benefits I'll receive from taking this action and I might silently say to myself "I have flawless, glowing, skin and healthy, shiny hair." Then, right after I've taken the oil, instead of gagging and making faces of disgust, I smile, look in the mirror, and reaffirm the benefits I am receiving. This changes the entire experience to a pleasant one that I don't mind repeating on a daily basis. I've even purchased a second bottle, though I still have half a bottle left, so I can ensure I continue this practice without the possibility of using that fact that I've run out as an excuse to break my routine.
So what's in it for me? One of my intentions is to promote a healthy scalp. More specifically, I'm hoping the omega 3 nourish and lubricate my hair follicles by impacting my dry, itchy scalp. Usually by now, my scalp is a dry, flaky mess but I must say that I've seen some improvement as of late. The amount of shedding I experience is much less than I would normally get this time of year. I know that the full extent of fish oil benefits will only multiply when I continue this habit long-term. Of course I'd like to create hair that is more resistant to breakage due to the increase (or adequate) levels of lipids in the strand. My battle against dry hair is always first priority for me and this habit sets the foundation for battling dry tresses.
For those of you who are information nerds, like me, here are a couple of vids describing Nordic Natural's high standards in creating the cod live oil.
Four hair related crazes I have yet to try (until now).
The Long Term Stretch is a powerful pathway to healthier hair for those of us who relax. If you didn't know already, stretching helps preserve health and thickness by reducing the amount of time we have to touch up a year. By minimizing the number of times were are relaxing, we are promoting the integrity of the strands and reducing breakage in the long run. Those who are successful at the long term stretch reap bountiful benefits of gloriously thick hair. Sounds wonderful right? So why haven't I stretched for 6 months or longer? Well in order to stretch successfully, one must overcome the hidden dangers along the way. It's kinda like playing a video game with multiple levels where the "bad guys" get stronger at each level. The "bad guys" of long term stretching include tangles, shedding, and breakage cause by the battling textures. In a couple of weeks, I'll be four months into my stretch. Based on my past experience, four months tends to be my limit. I desperately want to last to six months because I know that once I've done it once or twice, it could become the norm for me. I just have to make sure the reward is greater than the risks. Thanks to the increase moisture levels I've been experiencing from my new deep conditioner, I finally feel as if a six month stretch could actually be possible.
I'm almost ashamed to say that I've never experimented with henna on my hair. This is partially because I heard that quality henna makes all the difference in the results and some women with relaxed hair experienced dryness following application. I remember having dry hair after a tea rinse some time ago. Once that happened, I gave up tea rinses just as quickly as I started. My hair is always searching for moisture so henna was not all that appealing for me to look into much further. Since I first heard of henna, many pioneers have worked to improve the process and end results by adding oils and other goodies to the mix. Now that I have steamers and more powerful moisture creating/promoting products, I can let my henna guard down and actually try it. Of course I'll post a review once I get to experimenting.
It's kind of sad that I've had this aversion to weaves ever since this once incident because proper use of weaves/wigs can really help protect the hair. How many women have made huge progress on their hair journey from the use of weaves in their protective styling? Nowadays I've seen weaves that look amazing. Girls are even able to pull their extensions into ponytails. It's incredible how natural looking some of these installs look. Honestly, I would love to get a professional (not street professional) install especially in the summer time when humidity and my hair go into all out war against each other.
What I'd like to do is become more open minded to these four things that I've avoided for so long. Or at the very least, I'd like to find alternatives that provide similar benefits without the negative side effects.
KeraPro: How does the low cost version of Kerastase stack up to the original
I figured that now is a good to see if I could find another product that could work as effectively as my darling Nutri-Thermique at a fraction of the price. So of course I made a trip to my local Sally's to see if I could get my hands on the product. I thought to myself "even if the Kera Pro isn't exactly like the Nutri-Thermique, as long as it's 75% as effective, I can at least use it to help stretch my Kerastase". I must have paced the store 5 or 6 times before I found the Kera Pro. For some reason I thought it would be packaged like the traditional black and white bottles containing "generic versions" of professional products. Finally I summoned the help of an employee who helped me identify the product once I gave her the name. Within moments I had the product in hand. I glanced at the price and realized that for the price of one 6.8 oz jar of Kerastase was equal in price to about five jars of the Kera Pro.
As part of my review, I'd like to compare the ingredients. "But what had happened was" that Kerastase doesn't actually list the ingredients on the jar but on on the product box the Thermique comes in. Unfortunately, I threw away the Kerastase box shortly after I ripped it open to reveal the contents. Luckily for me, the ingredients were available online. One thing I notice immediately when comparing the two is that Kera Pro actually contain some natural ingredients. Coconut and safflower seed oil to be exact. Kera Pro also has both Hydrolyzed Keratin and Hydrolyzed rice protein. Kerastase contains only Wheat Protein.
What I can say for sure is that the products vary greatly in appearance. The Kera Pro is a solid white conditioner, while the Nutri-Thermique has sort of a beige buttery hue. Another thing that jumps out at me as I check out both products is that the Nutri-Thermque has a glisteny look to it. The Kera Pro looks much more matte than its counterpart. When I pick up both jars and tilt them on their side. The Nutri-Thermique starts to "run" to one side of the jar. The Kera Pro remains completely still. I interpret this as the Nutri-Thermique has a more of a watery texture than the Pro. When I scoop both products with my fingers. The Nutri-Thermique is obviously more creamy. As I rub my fingers together, I feel like the Kera Pro feels like a dry, heavy, lotion more so than a conditioner (the consistency is similar to a body butter). I dunno, it just doesn't scream "moisturizing" when I touch it.
(when I did a finger test, the Kerastase began to slowly travel down my fingers, the Kera Pro remained in place)
The real test, however, comes when the rubber meets the road and the product is applied to my hair. Believe it or not, even though the Kera Pro doesn't look or feel as moisturizing as the Nutri-Thermique, when I massage into my dry hair, it feels almost as moisturizing as the Nutri-Thermique. How can that be? Honestly, I don't know how to explain it. I just don't. Because of its heavier texture, the Kera Pro does take a little more work to massage it into the strand. The Thermique seems to settle into the hair much easier. But once in, I can barely notice the difference between the two, with the exception that Kera Pro is a bit heavier and can leave a white residue if not worked in all the way. But as far as how moisturizing the product feels on the strand, Kera Pro holds its own.
Since our first conversation, EbonyPrincess sent me an email sharing her experience after purchasing the KeraPro shampoo and elixir. Her experience with the products gave her "amazing results." Ebony was gracious enough to give us a detailed account of her experience.
Shampoo - I normally am a die-hard fan for sulfate free shampoos and cleansers, and although I bought the Kerapro shampoo for dry to very dry hair I was skeptical. However, it did feel moisturizing but clean. And if I adopt the Kerapro regimen completely I do think sulfates are necessary because the serum contains a fair amount of cones. One wash got my hair very clean and I do think it is gentle enough to use weekly.
Conditioner - The directions say to apply for five minutes, no mention of using heat. To do a fair review, I tried it with heat, without heat, for five minutes and for longer. It definitely is effective in as little as five to ten minutes but should be used with heat to gain full benefits. Without heat it felt like it coated the hair whereas when I conditioned with my heating cap it felt like it penetrated the strands and made my hair feel soft and moisturized long after it dried.
Elixir - Slightly superior to the other serums I've used, gives the same smooth coating effect but is not as heavy as some of the other -cone laden serums.
All of the products contain both protein (hydrolyzed keratin & rice protein) and ceramides in the way of safflower oil. I lost very little hair while rollersetting and despite them being a little heavy on the protein side, my hair felt VERY soft and moisturized which still has me a little perplexed. However, my results have been amazing and I can't wait to try the conditioner with my new steamer which is on its way (another item I literally couldn't wait to get because of your reviews!).
So there you have it! Ebony sounds like she's one happy camper. My final assessment of the product is that it's definitely worth trying since KeraPro is modeled after such a superior line. I will continue to purchase Kerastase products since I now have a taste for it that will never subside...but I am also elated that there's an alternative for times when I run out and can't afford to drop $60.00 plus on a conditioner (it sounds worse when I see it in writing). I'm grateful that KeraPro is available to us and I'm thankful that Ebony was proactive in giving good feedback so we could try it for ourselves.
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