Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Not long after I posted my comparison review post on KeraPro, the low cost version of Kerastase, I received the following email from a reader.


I've followed your blog for the last few months and have really enjoyed it. Someone who has a whole beauty shops worth of hair care products in her bathroom just like me. I never send comments but after reading your blog on Kera Pro I had to.

I had read your raves about Kerastase and decided to try it...only I couldn't find it in any local stores. Since I had to try it I wasn't going to be happy until it was in my hands, I hate to wait for shipping. Just when I was wondering how far I'd have to drive to find it, I looked on the Sally website and saw Kera Pro. I wondered if I should try it and then i went to your blog and what was on it but Kera Pro vs Kerastase!

How funny is that, you read my mind. I ran out and purchased the Kera Pro Intense treatment. I'm very funny about what i put on my hair and if it makes my hair feel dry while I'm washing or conditioning...its out. I've used Mixed Chicks shampoo and deep conditioner for about a year with great results. I shampoo with MC and then tried Kera Pro, left it on about an hour and roller set on Sunday. I have to say I'm very impressed with it and will use it again. My hair is soft and bouncy anyway but I feel like I could be in a commercial after using Kera Pro.

I just thought I'd say thank you for your thoughts on Kera Pro, which was my deciding factor in trying it. I will try Kerastase now and see what its like also. I attached a pic of my hair after using Kera Pro"...

When I received her email and pics, I couldn't help but to reply back wanting to learn more about her gorgeous tresses. She was gracious enough to reply back with some details of how she cares for her perfect relaxed hair.

"I've had a relaxer since I was 5 when my mother decided enough was enough. I've always had long thick hair and washing it as a child wasn't a fun experience for either of us. I've only had 2 stylists in my life, I'm very particular as to who touches my hair. I only went to a new person when my first passed away. I do tend to stretch out my relaxers not for any particular reason other than because I just do. My stylist, Jo, teases that she'd never make any money relying on me as her only client.

She uses a Mizani mild relaxer every 6-7 months. Last year was the first time I'd ever had any color process in my hair. I do get highlights but even that is once a year. I get jumpy whenever scissors are around but I do get trims when I go to the salon. Every so often I will snip the ends myself at home. I will say the more often I trim the more growth I notice.

My hair is very thick, but rather fine. I do have Jo layer my hair these days to remove some of the bulk. I know...people want thick but for me it's just a little too much. I usually roller set my hair with the big hard rollers and it takes about 2 hours or more to dry it all.
On occasion I will flat iron it but usually if I want it straight I will just wrap it after the roller set. Sadly, I don't do anything preventive to it at night other than put it in a loose bun.

I usually wash once a week (depending on weather and exercise) unless it's summer when I like to just wash and go since it's wavy when wet (just tried Uncle Funky's Daughter for wash and go. I do have a ridiculous amount of hair products, but lately I love Mixed Chicks shampoo and deep conditioner. I still love the KeraPro restorative intense treatment. Usually add the conditioners and let it work for at least 30 minutes or overnight when I have time."

I also like as my staples:
- olive oil,
-Patene's relaxed and natural daily oil cream moisturizer,
-KeraCare high sheen glossifer (used as an oil),
-KeraCare oil sheen with humidity block,
Mixed Chicks straightening serum (even when I roller set)

I'm always trying new things and love to experiment, which I think is why I follow you. I've always had long thick hair so I don't really think I do anything special to keep it that way. My "mane" thing is to keep it healthy. But this year I am going to eat healthier and see what effect it has on my hair."

Monday, January 23, 2012

I'm in the midst of a personal transformation. Which means that I'm constantly using my so-called "will power" to take actions that align with my newfound goals. Let me be the first one to tell you that this is not easy. It reminds me of a saying I heard once from a wise man. He was leading a seminar session when he asked the group a question. "When is a seed most vulnerable?" he asked. The audience, not sure of the right answer, decided to remain quiet. Finally the man answered, "when it first sprouts!" A seedling is susceptible to all kinds of external factors that can easily bring about its demise. Too much rain and it could die, not enough rain and the sprout withers. Bugs and other animals may eat the sprout and one person's weight is enough to trample the poor thing.

The lesson I learned that day was to do all I can to protect all new habits from the factors that can destroy it until I'm certain my habits have grown a deeply grounded root system. One of the methods I'm testing to bring me through the "habit infancy stage" is creating an "Every time I"... list. "What in the world is an every time I list," you ask. This is a list you can create (either written down or mentally) of the results you get every time you do something. For every action we take, a myriad of results are created. Typically the results are available to us long term so, more often then not, we quit (and our poor little seedling is trampled) before we see those results. But what we need to remember is we are creating those results even if we don't see them now.

So an every time I list is an inventory of results we [will] get every time we do something. For example, I'm working on creating a long-term habit of regular exercise. As you probably know, it's not that easy to get up on the regular and work out. So in order to get me to do it, I run down my every time I list which will go something like this: "Every time I exercise"
  • My heart gets stronger
  • I burn calories efficiently all day long
  • My muscles are more toned
  • Clothes fit better
  • I love looking in the mirror
  • I make better eating choices
  • My energy skyrockets
  • I feel so good about myself
  • My flat stomach emerges
  • My skin glows
The list goes on. Notice how the list is stuff I already know but I can't help but to take action after reciting the list to myself. How could I not exercise after acknowledging all these wonderful benefits I'll receive if I just take this one simple step.

Another way to swing this list is to create an "every time I don't list." I use this list for habits I want to break. For instance, I have this habit of checking my email first thing in the morning. There's nothing wrong with this except that there are other (more powerful) actions I could be doing in the morning (like exercising). Also when I start the morning on the computer, hours later I notice I'm browsing various websites while wondering were the time went. So in this case my "every time I don't" list would look like:

"Every time time I don't check my email first in the morning":
  • I can plan my day.
  • I can mediate and visualize
  • I can start my day by going to the gym.
  • I can invest 20 minutes cleaning my home.

Before writing this post, I put this method to the test while standing in line at Big Lots. There I was unloading my items at the checkout line when I noticed that I picked up a bag of Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili chips. Casually including a bag of chips with my purchase had become a newly acquired habit. As I stared at the bag of chips I silently began saying "every time I chose not to buy chips I......
Next thing you know, I'm leaving the line, chips in hand, placing it back into the display from whence it came. I felt so good about myself afterwards. Since then, this technique has worked for me quite well. Sometimes I can do the list silently, sometimes I gotta say it out loud in order to motivate me. Either way, it works.

Try it and let me know your experience.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

It's been much too long since I hosted a giveaway. This time I'm featuring a product from Soft Sheen Carson's new Optimum Care salon collection. I was first introduced to these new products at the Bronner Brother's Hair Show in Atlanta. I sat in their section mesmerized as the stylist completed the finishing touches on a model who'd just received a relaxer on her virgin tresses. When onlookers, such as myself, were finally granted permission to touch her hair, I honestly could not believe how soft, and silky her strands felt. Others felt her hair and moved on, I (being the crazy hair loon that I am) went back for seconds.

One of the products used to preserve the integrity of the model's hair was the Heat Protection Polisher that I'm giving away today. I made a connection with one of the folks from Soft Sheen Carson who graciously offered to host a giveaway for you lovely ladies. The Heat Protection Polisher claims to provide a "lightweight gloss that helps protect the hair from heat styling (while) maintaining smooth styles, even in moisture & all day humidity. Since I'm deep into a stretch, I've turned to heat a few times to help keep my textures manageable. After using this product, I can say that their claim of light-weightness does hold true. I also like the fact that product contains coconut oil in the ingredients which will offer up some protein protection to the hair during the heat styling process.

I know you want to get your hands on some of this so here are the details on how to enter:

  • Send an email to [email protected] with the subject: Optimum Heat Protector Giveaway
  • Follow the blog!

I'll randomly select a winner and notify the lucky person via email on Monday January 30, 2012. This giveaway is open to U.S. and International participants. That's all. Two simple actions will get you one step closer to having your very own bottle of the New Soft Sheen Carson product.

If you missed it, check out the footage I shot of the Bronner Brothers hair show. You'll see what I mean regarding the SoftSheen Carson styling booth at 3:11 in the video.

Monday, January 16, 2012

When I came across this picture the other day, it nearly stopped me in my tracks. The message is so powerful and so relevant to me that I felt it appropriate that I share with you on this blog. The number of times I promised myself that I would do something tomorrow is immeasurable. It seems like I'm a master of saying "no" today and saying "yes" tomorrow. Here's the problem with that.....there is no such thing as tomorrow.

Sure, tomorrow exists as a future point in time, but when we say, we'll do something starting tomorrow, we aren't really saying that a "future point in time" presents a more favorable condition for us to make things happen. What we're really saying "I'm not willing to do this now so I'll make myself feel better by telling myself that I'll do it in the "future." My brother and I were having a conversation once and he said something that I'll never forget. We were on this topic of procrastination when he shared that he "no longer trusted the future him." A little confused, I asked him to explain what he meant. "Future me", he explained "is the guy I trust to take action whenever I say that I'll do something tomorrow." "But the problem is that future me seems to always let me down." "So from now own, I can only trust me, at this moment, to do what I say I'll do."

That's when I realized that I too was entrusting the fate of my happiness to "future me." And just like his version, future me was also letting me down. Here's the worst part, secretly, I know that future me isn't going to do it either. Why? Because I'm pretty much the same person now and tomorrow. Twenty four hours is not going to make a difference in my ability. If I'm not willing to take even the smallest step forward towards creating what I want now, future me isn't going to come in and save the day tomorrow.

So why don't we take an action when we say we want to do something? My best guess is because we view the goal/action as daunting (or too much for us). We focus on the miserableness that comes with starting something new. Especially if the new action is completely different from what we've done in the past. On the one hand, we want the result that comes with taking that action, but on the other hand, we see it as too much for us. So we put it off. And we put it off in the worst way possible, by telling untruths to ourselves. Then time passes and we have to come face to face with the reality that once again "future me" has let us down.

The other day I was taking a 2 hour road trip with a co-worker. During the conversation, he talked about the intentions/goals he once had back in college. I too shared mine. The difference between us was that mine were in progress while his seemed more like memories. During our conversation, he shared his admiration for the results I was producing. That's when I felt like I needed to share my secret for making things happen. My secret is so simple and obvious that I'm a little embarrassed to even call it a "secret."

Understanding that future me is pretty much useless unless I do something today, I always try to take immediate action whenever I'm inspired by an intention. Sometimes the action is just doing a Google search and gaining information, other times, it's putting something down on a to-do list. I'm careful, though, not to spend an eternity collecting information because that too can feed procrastination. Once I have the information I need, I take small (and I mean small) actions. Why small? Because when I do it, the action is easy and I don't have to overcome too many limiting thoughts. Plus I can reward myself once the action is completed and I'm more likely to repeat the action which moves me forward in my goal. This great secret I shared with my coworker was "no matter what, keep moving forward." Never stop! Even if it takes years to get where you want, never, ever stop! I guess I should clarify and say, "never give up." There are times in my journey where I've stopped for a period of time, but I pick up where I've left off and progress begins again. This idea of never stopping is what has created the most results for me.

I'd like to invite you to think about all the things you would like to do but you're putting off. Is there anything you can do today to take that first step forward? Even a teeny, tiny step is better than nothing at all. If you are really serious about your intentions, I invite you to keep record of your progress using a some sort of a tracker. Before you know it, you'll find yourself creating a habit of taking consistent actions and not having to count on "future you" to make things happen.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

It was July 2011 when I first introduced Bamboo Tea to you on this blog. Since then multitudes have been enjoying silica filled tea as part of their overall healthy hair regimen. Winter time is upon us and many of us are trying to brave the cold weather with warm coffee, hot chocolate or tea. Three posts ago I wrote about Five Tips actions we can take to promote healthy hair growth this winter. I'm not sure how I could forget to mention warm, delicious bamboo tea as a winter growth tonic. In any case, I bring you some good news regarding a new addition to the bamboo tea products. Bamboo tea bags are now offered in a box of 30 for a fantastic price! What's great about this is that we can maintain consistency with our silica consumption. I remember when I first was researching the benefits of silica, I remember reading about a study where the hair actually grew in thicker after six months of silica consumption. That means that all of the hard work we put in now will be paying off for us this summer. I don't know about you guys, but I can wait!

Monday, January 9, 2012

I don't know about you but I want to start this year off with a plan that'll support this year's success. What I'd like to share with you today is a tool that I chose to get serious about my finances. I set up a challenging savings goal and decided to accelerate paying off some debt. It was around that time I was reading Peter Druker's the Effective Executive. Peter's famous quote "what gets measured, gets managed" really struck a chord with me. That's when I decided to measure my financial progress until I reached my goals.

The next action I took was to create an Excel spreadsheet which listed all of my debts and my (liquid) assets. I faithfully updated that spreadsheet monthly for two years making incredible progress during that time. Once I reached my savings goal I slacked off a little bit and my focus hasn't been the same ever since. So now I'm back in the swing of things and there's no time like the present to get started. This time I'm applying this tracker technique to various aspects of my life. I plan on updating on a weekly basis so I can view my progress and stay motivated. Too often, we think we're not making progress so we give up on our efforts way prematurely. I know I do this all the time, only to kick myself mentally later on, for not sticking to my plan. Can't tell you how many times I've asked myself "how far would I be by now if I would have kept going?" My new tracker will now serve as my accountability partner. As backup, I created a weekly electronic reminder so there's no excuse.

If I miss a week or two here and there, I won't get discouraged and I won't give up. I'll simply pick up where I left off. This isn't about perfection, it's about progress. No longer will I wonder if progress is being made or if I'm backsliding, it's all there in black and white.

As you can see from the screenshot above, this tool is not yet complete. I still have to include my written goals in the area next to "2012 Intentions." By doing this, I'll have my written goals in front of me on a weekly basis which will propel my progress. Notice that I'm tracking both results and actions. So in the case of statistical measurements (like my weight or how many fans on Facebook) I track the result, but in other instances, My focus is on taking consistent action. Now you might be saying to yourself, "why is she tracking things like "self-love" or "relationship nourished?" I do this because those areas of my life tend to be the first things that fall on the back burner when life happens. Adding them on the tracker keeps them top of mind for me. This list is by far incomplete as there are other areas I'd like to track my progress. Whenever something comes up that I'd like to include, I'll simply add to my list.

The tool itself is a work in progress. I know that if I'm consistent, I'll make huge progress in the year to come.

So what are some things you'll be trying to stay focused on your intentions for 2012?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Has this ever happened to you? You're watching Youtube videos or browsing a hair forum where someone is sharing their progress pics after a big chop which seems like it was just yesterday. All of the sudden they have a head full of thick, healthy, beautiful, long hair. It's as if every millimeter of hair growth is retained. How does that happen?! Sure, the most obvious reason for the amazing progress is due to the fact that the hair isn't compromised but I think it goes a little deeper then that. Some of us know some women who've worn their natural hair for many years without attaining much length so what do those who do retain length have in common?

-Naturals tend to use natural hair products
If you check out the ingredient list of most products geared towards naturals, what similarity do they all seem to share? They focus on natural ingredients. As a matter of fact, many of these products are 100% natural without additives or artificial fillers. So what benefit are there in using natural ingredients? Think about our bodies and the way it absorbs nutrients from foods. Fruits and veggies assimilate easily into through digestive system bringing valuable ingredients into the bloodstream. If we ate a diet full of processed, nutrient deficient, foods, our bodies start to suffer. Giving your hair only processed, artificial ingredients, all the time doesn't create healthier hair. We know our hair strands have the ability to absorb natural oils, respond to ACV by sealing the cuticle, etc so providing our strands with some natural based products is a must.
So here's the first tip we can learn from our natural haired sisters.

Tip #1: Seek out natural products to incorporate into your regimen!

-Moisture, Moisture Moisture
One topic that is constantly on the minds of naturals is maintaining moisture levels. Some of them even co-wash several times a week or daily to make sure their hair is receiving adequate levels of moisture. Humectants rank high on the list of products they prefer. Many of them swear by the benefits of using of hair steamers on a regular basis. It's not surprising to hear talks of spray bottles with natural moisturizers that are used daily to keep the hair hydrated. So basically, anything that draws moisture into the hair scores high points for women with naturally curly hair. Virgin hair tends to have adequate strength levels adequately, but moisture must be provided otherwise the hair suffers. If women with naturally healthy hair seem to obsess with moisture, shouldn't we do the same (if not more)? They understand that excessively dry hair appears unhealthy and can cause breakage or can tangle up during manipulation. This is what separates the naturals who successfully retain length from those who seem to have setbacks and little progress. Sometimes we look at our breakage and think "I need more protein" but perhaps more moisture is what our hair is asking for. So take a lesson from the rule book of healthy haired naturals and manage your moisture!

Tip #2: Obsess with moisture!

-Their hair is whole
Yes. One of the the most obvious benefits of natural hair is that, by definition, the hair is essentially healthy. No chemical processes where done that compromise the integrity of the follicle. So the hair is healthy by definition. Obviously, the hair still needs to be cared for but it's safe to say that part of the reason why retention levels are high is due to the natural strength levels of the hair. We women with relaxed hair should strive to recreate the integrity of hair that is whole, to the best of our ability. This means having an array of products that nurture the hair at all levels. It's not just protein that we need to be concerned about, we need to focus on moisture, protein, ceramides, and sealing the strand. We should also consider varying the types of proteins we incorporate in our regimen since they have varying molecular weights which means they are assimilated into the strand at various levels. So switch it up between keratin products, wheat protein, silk amino acids, coconut oil, etc. You guys are always hearing me stress the importance of drinking water, taking fish oils, and eating healthy. This is because my aim is to grow hair as healthy as possible so it can better hold up to the stress I put my hair through. If an illegal drug can show up in a hair strand months after someone's consumed it, why not put beneficial ingredients inside you so it can benefit you months later in your new growth.

Tip# 3: Strive to bring the hair back as close to whole as possible!

Tip #4-Keep things simple and limit the amount of manipulation to your hair!

Some of the similarities in the regimens of naturals I've noticed are that they always air dry. Simple styles like wash n gos or twist outs are pretty much the staples of curly haired women. I've glanced over the regimen of one of my hair idols "Hair Crush" way before she had a Youtube chanel. She admitted it herself that she pretty much washes and twists the hair to air dry......and that's it. No roller setting, no flat ironing, just a twist out air dry. If you studied the regimen of other naturals, you won't find much difference in the technique. Once they've achieved curl definition with a product or by twisting, they leave their hair alone for fear of tampering with a perfect twistout. And, for the most part, many naturals reserve the heat of a curling/flat iron for very special occasions. Naturals are notorious for protective styling which does a world of good for retention. Even a twist out protects the hair from excessive manipulation. So what I learned from this is not to over manipulate. I try to finger comb whenever possible and this does a decent job of removing shed hairs throughout the week. The real detangling comes on wash days when I have the help of oils and conditioners to preserve my hair. Take a moment to assess your weekly regimen. Would you describe it as a fairly simple routine that preserves the health of your hair? If not, then work to simplify it without cutting out the most beneficial aspects of your regimen.

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