Friday, September 13, 2013

Feature: How she got 2 inches of growth in a month & created the perfect moisture/protein balance.

I'm really excited to share this latest feature with you all.  This young lady is no stranger to us here.  We got familiar with her as she schooled us on the details of Japanese straightening.  Yahya had such great information that I asked her to come back and tell us more about what she did to create her gorgeous hair. This has to be one of my favorite features. It's chock full of valuable information that will help a lot of people.  Please sit back and enjoy.

How long have you been on your hair journey?
I started my hair journey the year entering high school, so that was approximately six years ago.


Before Japanese Straightening which relaxer did you use?  How often?
When I first started my hair journey a family friend would use Luster's Pink relaxer kit on my hair. As my journey progressed, I started to use ORS olive oil. Unfortunately, this was about the same time our family friend stopped doing my relaxers and I was having trouble on relaxer days due to being unable to find a stylists with improper technique. I would stretch for at least 12 weeks, and did it gladly as I was beginning to hate relaxer days. It seemed like every time I went to a stylist, they would either under process or over process my hair. My hair was finally saved by Hair's Talent. I think she had used Mizani.


Share a little about your daily regimen?
Sometimes everyday, sometimes every other day, sometimes every two days (it really depends on how my hair is feeling) I'll spritz my hair with my kimmaytube inspired leave-in. I use it as a moisturizer and leave-in. The ingredients I use in it changes, but the conditioner I've used include V05 conditioners, Trader Joe's nourish spa, Hello Hydration, Aubrey Organic's honeysuckle and white camellia. Oils include Trader Joe's jojoba oil, Hairveda cococasta, olive oil, and grape seed oil. After moistening my hair, I comb it with a seamless wide tooth comb. If I'm freshening up my hair from a low manipulation style, I'll only comb the straightened hair and finger detangle my new growth. About every other time I moisturize I'll seal with grape seed oil or vatika coconut oil.



What is your nightly regimen?
Hmmm... I don't really have much of a consistent night time regimen. I just tie my hair up, in a bun or braid, and go to sleep on a silk pillow. If I have a lot of new growth, sometimes I'll spritz it and sleep with a scarf so it flattens in the morning. Currently, I've been doing a personal challenge of testing all my growth aids in different ways and have been doing the *GHE (green house effect) method nightly. This has helped me in managing with my blooming new growth.

Tell us about your weekly wash routine?
This varies a lot, too!
I wash once a week, sometimes once every two weeks when new growth starts really blooming and I flat iron my roots.
I apply moisture deep conditioner, protein deep conditioner, or prepoo oil, on dry hair depending on how hair feels. I apply my deep conditioner on dry hair for better penetration as applying on wet hair blocks deep penetration due to the water. If doing a deep conditioner I'll put on a cap, wet my turban towel with hot water, and go under the dryer for 15-30 minutes. if doing a protein deep conditioner, I'll do a moisture one after washing. If a prepoo, I'll put on a cap and let it sit for 30 minutes.
Unless I'm clarifying or there's build-up, shampoo is only directly applied on the scalp and roots and rinsed into the length of the hair
After cleannsing my hair, half the time I'll squeeze the excess water and follow up with Roux ph corrector.
I will follow up with a normal conditioner or moisture deep condition (if I did a protein one before washing or am clarifying). If it's a normal conditioner, I'll squeeze excess water, apply in shower, and let sit for 2-10 minutes. If I'm deep conditioning I'll squeeze excess water and gently towel or t-shirt dry hair, apply, and steam for 15-30 minutes.
Half the time, I'll rinse out half of the final conditioner and do a acv rinse. If I plan to keep my hair tied up all week, I'll do an oil rinse right after the acv rinse.
I'll rinse my hair thoroughly or un-thoroughly depending on how my hair is feeling, t-shirt dry hair, and apply my luv natural leave-in usually after it's at least 50 percent dry.
If I don't have much new growth I'll let my hair airdry 70-80 percent, apply coconut oil and/ or grape seed oil, and then comb. If I'm starting to get new growth I'll strart the scarf method before my hair is 50 percent dry.
Sometimes to manage my new growth, especially if I'm leaving my hair out, I'll do bantu knots while my hair is damp and go under the dryer. When if really starts blooming up their I'll flat-iron after the bantu knots, every two weeks.


How often do you wear your hair out versus protective styling?
My hair is always tied up at home, usually in a bun. That might change to a braided ponytail/ pigtails. So about half the time my hair tied up. During this relaxer stretch, however, I've been keeping my hair in a low manipulation style 23/7. I say 23/7 because I only really take out my braided pigtails to detangle and on wash day, maybe for a specal ocassion. This is because my current goal is to thicken my ends, and this will prevent me from loosing extra hairs due to my line of demarcation.

Do you use heat? If so, how often?

I only use direct heat throughout my hair on Japanese Straightening day, as the process requires it. When my new growth starts to bloom, sometimes after washing I'll go under a hooded dryer with damp bantu knots to semi-straighten the curl. Further in my stretch, when my new growth really starts coming in, I'll do a caramelization treatment of my new growth and flat iron my roots solely. I might not do that this stretch as I'm doing 23/7 low manipulation styles.


Please tell us the secret to your retention?
I honestly think that low manipulation styles have an advantage to protective styles. Protective styles hide your ends in order to keep them from rubbing off different surfaces, to prevent split ends. Hair rubbing on different surfaces is just one factor out of several that causes split ends. The main cause of split ends in girls with naturally dry hair is, well, dryness. Before tying my hair in a bun, I'll usually moisturize my ends exclusively before tucking them away. This kind of acts like wet bunning.

It's important to baby your ends when trying to retain length, and curing the major factors you'll see the most improvement. So when trying to prevent split ends, it's more important to keep your ends' moisture and protein balance stable. Keeping them from rubbing against surfaces is good, but it's more important to fix the biggest problem. Another thing I do to my ends is treat it with more protein compared to the rest of my hair. Our ends are the oldest parts of our hair, is has the least amount of protein while the top has the most. Therefore, the ends should get the most protein and our roots should get the least.

I said before that low manipulation styles are better, this is because I feel breakage occurs more with combing and low manipulation styles keep hair from tangling. This cuts the amount of combing and cuts the amount of breakage.

How do you maintain moisture & manage breakage?
I think it's important for chemically treated heads, especially relaxed heads, to use ph correcting supplies to correct their hair's increased porosity. This helps us keep moisture in our strands longer. I do this through roux ph corrector, apple cider vinegar rinses, aloe vera, and oil rinsing.

My regimen is mostly moisture based, as my hair's scale is about a 70 percent moisture and 30 percent protein balance. As a result, when my hair starts experiencing a little extra breakage I usually do a protein treatment. When applying protein, like stated before, I tend to do it in layers. My ends get the most, my hair up until the line of demarcation gets a normal amount, and my new growth gets the least. I find when strengthening the line of demarcation during stretching, my hair's strength becomes more even by only treating my chemically straightened hair. The most important was of knocking breakage, for me, is to do an elasticity and porosity test. This way I know I'm going in the right direction or I find out I have to temporarily change something,

Do you do anything internally to promote healthy hair?
I take a multivitamin, omega fish oil, and garlic supplements on a regular basis. That's pretty much it. Currently, I'm testing bamboo tea.

Have you experienced setbacks in your journey? If so, how did you bounce back?
My first, worst, and only major setback was about a year ago when I went through a protein overload. At first I did not sure what was going on, and so I probably was making the problem worst by not completely cutting off protein. After overcoming this episode, this lead me to make a post that labels hair symptoms in detail here. I also wrote about the regimen that finally got me out of protein overload here.

Has your regimen change before Japanese straightening vs. after?
My regimen changed quite a lot. I didn't start applying protein in layers until after Japanese straightening. I also became more casual with my hair, taking care of it more by feel than a schedule. Before, I would deep condition every wash and wash every week. And I would hardly ever deep condition before washing, it always came after. Some of these changes were due to my protein overload experience. As soon as I had gotten over my protein overload, I Japanese straightened my roots for the first time. But as most of my hair is still relaxed, the major change due to Japanese straighteing is just that the Japanese straightened section of my hair requires less product. I still treat my hair as if it's relaxed as most of it is.

You're stranded on a desert island and can only have 3 hair related items with you, what do you choose and why?
A good moisture conditioner like Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose, apple cider vinegar, and coconut oil. I picked these because I can mostly do everything I need with them. I can combine the conditioner and coconut oil to make a deep conditioner, and dilute it to make a leave-in. I can use the coconut oil as a sealant and to retain my hair's protein. Coconut oil rinsing and apple cider vinegar would keep my hair's ph in check. Acv would also keep my scalp clean. If I have a lot of new growth when I'm stranded I could also do the loc method using the diluted leave-in, the coconut oil, ad than the conditioner.

If someone who wants to reach your length as a goal, what advice would you give that person?

Don't trim your hair to get rid of split ends, trim to keep your ends even. Trimming because of split ends is kinda pointless because your not getting the splits throughout your hair, only the ones on your very ends. It makes much more sense to dust or *search and destroy.

Health should also come before length. There's no point in trying to grow your hair if your getting a considerable amount of breakage. When your hair is healthy, growth aids are a great way to gain length. I've seen some healthy hair care girls say that people see a difference with growth aids because they are taking more care of their hair, but this isn't true. I couldn't see my growth rate triple just from taking better care of my hair. Recently, I had done the GHE method for a month and got 2 inches of growth. Even more recently I did the GHE and *inversion method for a week and got another 2 inches. Everyone's head is different and what grows my hair might not grow another's, but with all the growth aids out there, there's most likely one that will increase your growth rate. Growth aids aren't mandatory for growth, you can get better growth just by keeping your hair healthy, but they sure speed up the process.
......................................................................
*{GHE Method}-The process of using a plastic cap to generate heat on the scalp. This will promote blood flow to the scalp and can help boost moisture levels. You can put the plastic cap on for hours at a time or go to bed with it. 

*{Inversion Method}- The process of allowing blood flow to increase to the scalp by hanging the head in a low position.  (See link for more info). 

*{Search & Destroy}-The process of eliminating split ends by trimming in very small sections or trimming individual split ends as they are visually identified. 


  1. Great interview! Her tip about applying protein to the ends is genius!

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  2. This was an awesome interview. I love your interviews with women with ridiculously long and healthy hair, it gives me motivation and great tips as well!!

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  3. What is a caramelization treatment?

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  4. I totally agree with amija, I LOVE the comment about applying protein to the ends.

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  5. Hey lady, thanks for that interview. Her hair is simply amazing. But caution to the wind on the JKT. It is not for everyone, and her regimen is intense. I got tired and overwhelmed just reading it.Knowing your own hair is the key. All or none of her routine may work for someone else.

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  6. thanks for interviewing me Nadege and for the feedback everyone! it's always a pleasure. ^^
    @adrianne, the caramelization treatment is a homemade treatment that helps soften kinky textured hair. google it and you'll find the many recipes for it.
    @sherlyn, what's JKT? do you mean Japanese straightening? or maybe BKT? they're two different things in case you're confused. and I know! writing about my regimen is difficult because I do everything by feel. I'd call it complicated rather than intense, some wash days I only prepoo, shampoo, and condition.

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  7. Very explicit instructions shows Yahya's commitment. Also would suggest a good shower filter. Got mine at www.best-showerfilter.com and I love the way it leaves my hair. Ph factor of the water is balanced by filtering out the yuk chemicals.

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  8. I have used the GHE sporadically throughout my hair journey, but Yahya has really inspired me to take the GHE seriously and incorporate it into my regimen for atleast the rest of my stretch to see what the results will be. Thanks girl,
    Abbi of http://belowthawaist.blogspot.jp/

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  9. What protein conditioner r u using on ur ends?

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  10. This was some great tips on your hair regiment thank you for sharing.

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