Thursday, November 29, 2012

I'm excited to share with you my wonderful experience this past wash day.  It all began months ago when I was brainstorming new, creative way to continue incorporating pink salt into my beauty regimen.   I thought to myself, "surely there are other ways I can use this nutritious salt that I haven't thought of yet."   But just as quickly as that thought came, I dismissed it as nonsense.

Yet the thought wouldn't escape me no matter how silly it sounded.  How could salt possibly add any value to my hair?  That's when I decided that I had nothing to lose if I did a quick search online.  I'm so glad I did because what I found next would both astound and excite me.   Turns out that adding salt to your conditioner was not only something others have tried, it's also an experience that most, who've tried it, raved about. 

More often then not, those ladies who experimented with salt in their conditioner mix boast about softer, smoother hair that feels ultra-moisturized and tangle-free.  Two days after learning of this information, I was ready to experiment.  I mixed a bunch of my favorite conditioners and oil in a bowl.  Then I mosied over to my kitchen cabinet and added some pink salt to the mix.  Using my trusty Sprush, I mixed everything together very well.  My intention was to dissolve all of the salt into my conditioners so none of the granules remained. 

Mixing was easy and the salt grains dissolved really quickly. I thought that adding salt would cause my conditioner to bubble and fizz like when salt is added to a slug. But none of that happened.  One change did occur.  My thick conditioner concoction seemed to thin after mixing in the salt.  The watery texture made it a little difficult at times to keep the product on my Sprush without some falling on my shoulder or on the floor.  After covering my entire head with conditioner, I had the brilliant idea of refreshing my soft water shower filter.  Once that was done,  I sat under the dryer and deep conditioned with heat for around 30-45 minutes. 

I knew this was going to be a great experience once I realized that my hair wouldn't fully dry even though I was under the dryer for over 30 minutes.  I kept touching my hair and it felt so moisturized.  Next I jumped in the shower to rinse.  Once again, I was so pleased with how conditioned my hair was feeling.   Roller setting was breeze.  My shed hairs easily glided down which made detangling a dream.  Once again, even after sitting under the dryer for the designated amount of time, I still wasn't sure if my hair dried completely (it was retaining so much moisture). So I decided to leave the rollers in overnight.

Now that I've removed the rollers, I'm completely sold on making this part of my regimen.  When I read the feedback from others online about combining salt and conditioner, many seemed cautious and weary of using this process week after week. The concern was that salt could be drying when used regularly.  I think many associate this with the drying effect of salt water from the ocean on the hair.  I think there are some differences between this and ocean salt water.  First, this isn't left on the hair, it's rinsed out.  Secondly, the hair is being conditioned while receiving the benefits of the salt.   Third, the amount of salt in the conditioner mix probably isn't as high as one would find in ocean water.  I only added a 1-2 teaspons of salt to my mix.  I didn't go overboard.  The theory behind the effectiveness of this process is that natural salt attracts moisture from the air and holds it. Which is why many who tried this method shared that they didn't feel the need to moisturize their hair for a few days following the salt/conditioner treatment.  I did add moisturizer and felt like this experience only heightened the effectiveness of my moisturizer.

Others who've tried this method use plain table salt but I opted for pink salt because perhaps the nutritional qualities of the raw, natural salt, might somehow make a difference, no matter how small.  Several days have passed since I've experimented and my hair still feels pretty good. I feel like my hair is somehow responding better to products than before.  I've decided to take a walk on the wild side and try this method two weeks in a row to see what happens.

(Grainy Iphone photo taken 3 days after salt-conditioning. Photo was captured 12 hours after I first curled my hair using a wand)

Here's a link to the original forum post if you want to read more on this process.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Every so often, I'll review my regimen and look for areas where I can improve. In some cases, improving can mean upgrading what I currently do to make it more powerful, in other cases, I'll bring something new to my regimen that doesn't currently exist. 

In my heart, I believe that making this shift in my regimen will make a huge impact on my hair long-term.  I can't believe I haven't focused on this before. What I'm speaking of is my night time regimen.  Specifically, not just a regimen that protects my hair while I sleep, but one that actually restores, repairs, and nourishes so I have perfectly healthier hair when I wake up every day.

If I'm able to do this consistently, I have no doubt that my hair will continue to flourish as time passes.  For those of us who don't co-wash frequently and bun every day, our hair becomes susceptible to daily mechanical damage (from manipulation and environmental exposure).  If my theory proves correctly, a powerful night time regimen will counteract this and will aid beautifully in the fight for stronger, healthier hair.

I'm beginning this quest by mapping out my plan of attack.  I asked myself "what do I want this night time routine to do for my hair? Do I want to intensify moisture? Address breakage? Or do I want to nourish my strands to create the overall look of healthier hair?"  The answer to these questions is yes!  I want all of that and more!.  So how am I going to do it?

I began by doing my research.  There are currently some pretty good products on the market tailor made for this sort of thing.  I even own a few of them already.  For now, I wanted to try an alternative route to determine if I could get even better results.  My research began by taking a quick look at the ingredient list of most night time hair treatments available.  Many of them had active ingredients that fell into two categories....proteins & ceramides.    Part of the reason why I'm not relying on night time products, for the time being, is because some of the products also contained silicones, petroleum or other ingredients which may promote build up over time.

Then I began thinking about which products and ingredients I would use over the course of this experiment that would make the most impact.  Here's the list I came up with so far:

~Vitamin E | Nourishment:  Vitamin E is understandably one of the most common ingredients spotted on many night time treatments.  I personally place this on the top of my list of the most powerful nourishers out there.  Vitamin E may be a little heavy for daytime use but, when used at night, can create exceptionally healthy looking hair.

~Gleau Nourishing Oil | Shine, ceramides, nourishment: I understand why silicones are included in night time treatments, they're trying to create sleek, smooth tresses for the next morning.  Instead of cones, I'll be relying on my trusty bottle of Gleau to keep my strands supple and frizz at bay.  Since it's all natural, I'll have no worries about build up over time.  Another plus to Gleau is that it contains vitamin E, two kinds of wheat germ oil (ceramides), two kinds of jojoba oil (scalp health), and coconut oil for strength.

~Coconut Oil | Protein: A little protein at night can be really helpful if I'm dealing with consistent breakage.  Most night time treatment products contain wheat protein.  I think I'll opt for coconut oil as a protein source because I like the fact  that the hair strand actually absorbs it.  This makes me believe that my hair is being repaired, from the inside out, while I sleep.

~Biolage Cera Repair | Ceramides, moisture:  I think ceramides are critical to over night hair repair.  Ceramides fortify the strands for the day ahead without the stiffness that sometimes comes with protein overload.  I placed another order of Cera Repair to conduct a little experiment of how my hair responds to Biolage Cera Repair when used at night.  Because it's a water based product, I can also receive benefits of additional moisture as well.  

~Jojoba Oil | Scalp health:  I've been thinking alot about jojoba oil lately.  One thought that came to my mind was whether jojoba oil can help promote healthier hair by mimicking the sebum levels experienced by those who have type 1 & 2 hair.  Their hair is better protected from dryness/breakage because sebum (their natural oil moisturizer) travels from root to tip. Since our hair may not have that luxury, perhaps adding a little jojoba oil to the hair may give it the help it needs.

~Emu Oil | Growth, nourishment: But what about growth?  Could there also be an opportunity for us to focus on hair growth just before we go to bed at night?  I'd like to experiment a little more with Emu oil and scalp massages because of it's powerful ability to penetrate deeply.  This deep penetration will come in handy when paired with the next night time treatment on my list.

~Eucalyptus Oil | Ceramides, scalp stimulation/health:  Not only will eucalyptus oil stimulate my scalp (growth) but it also effectively addresses my dandruff.  Ever since I went gluten free, my scalp health improved drastically. This lead to me putting away my eucalyptus oil.  But now I'm bringing it back mainly because of the long term benefits of an increased level of natural ceramides in the hair strand.  

I have no intention of using each of these every night but I do plan on incorporating them into the nightly rotation from now on.  There is no doubt in my mind that this new addition to my regimen is going to create amazing results. Why? Because I'm not really doing this now.  Currently, I wrap my hair every night. Some times I moisturize and seal, sometimes I don't.  I've begun using some of these products at night for the last few evenings and can already see a difference in my hair.  Now I'm committed to being intentional with this practice so I can reap the rewards for all of my days.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Shortly after I wrote this introductory post on fermented cod liver oil (FCLO), I placed an order on amazon for the capsules.  As soon as my order arrived, I inspected the capsules and saw an immediate contrast between the light golden look of my previous brand and the thick opaque gel like look of the fermented brand.  The appearance alone, to me, was a testament to the potency of this stuff.

I took a few capsules right away.   From the look of these things, I expected some sort of smell or taste even though the thick dark gel was locked away in a capsule. Luckily for me, none of that happened.  Hours later, there was no sign of the fishy burp associated with low quality fish oil products.

That night, something strange and wonderful happened.  My dreams were extremely vivid.  Prior to this I became one of those people who barely remembered my dreams immediately upon waking.  After taking the fermented cod liver oil capsules I could remember all of my dreams as if they really happened.  I kinda took this as a sign that this new cod liver oil was having some sort of an effect on me.  So I decided to take the experience to the next level.

I bit the bullet and ordered another bottle, this time I said "f" the capsules, I was ready to go all in. In my post I talked about the benefits of taking the cod liver/butter oil blend.  The two work synergistically to elevate the nutritional level of the cod liver.  This time, however, there would be no capsules to shield me from the dark brown gel.

Others who tried the FCLO liquid (gel) online recommended trying a flavored variety, namely the cinnamon tingle.  I opted to go for the original formula with no flavor whatsoever.  Reason being, I didn't want the flavor of cinnamon to become synonymous with fermented fish.  Plus the cinnamon flavor would likely linger in my mouth long after the fish oil was consumed leaving behind a reminder of what took place moments before.  I wanted none of that. As soon as I swallowed my spoon full, I wanted nothing to remind me of what had occurred.

My daily dosage is about 1/2 a teaspoon or so a day.  I take it by placing the gel near the back of my throat, while holding my breath (so there's no taste) and I swallow with a flavored drink like orange juice.  Believe it or not, the juice pretty much masks the flavor of the fermented fish. My first go around, I made the huge mistake of taking this product straight from the spoon with nothing to wash it down.   I can proudly say that I at least experienced it raw, but I wouldn't wish that kind of experience on anybody.

It's been a few weeks now and I'm ready to tell you of my results so far.  Every article, blog post, and forum mention I've read online on FCLO highlights one main benefit. Glowing, clear skin from exposure to natural vitamin A.  Well I'm hear to put my name on the list along with the many others who've experienced this wonderful side effect.  I travel alot and sometimes I'll use Face Time to connect with my husband to say good night.  I have the Ipad2 and those of you who've used Face Time know that the video quality isn't all the great.  Last week I was rambling to him about some random thing when, all of the sudden, he was like "you're glowing."  Fast forward a week later and he tells me that he's also noticing improvement in his skin.  He's never had any skin issues but he explained that he sometimes has dry areas which have now disappeared. Then he tells me that my skin looks much smoother and clearer than before.

Just as I began to take the fermented cod liver oil, I had a couple large breakouts that took forever to subside. I was paying them so much attention that I didn't notice what was going on around them.  My skin tone was becoming smooth and my scars were diminishing.  To help speed up the healing of my skin, I came up with the bright idea to pop open a capsule and apply the cod liver oil gel directly to my acne with a q-tip.  Now those breakouts are fully gone and I'm looking at a completely different face than I had before.  I've also noticed a huge difference in the look of my old acne scars. I'm not sure if it's from using the kojic acid soap or from the rapid cell turnover that's associated with vitamin A.   Either way, I'm a very happy woman.

The other difference I noticed was in my scalp.  The weather has changed and usually, my scalp is a dry itchy mess right now.  The past few weeks have been unusually busy for me which caused me to deviate from my normal wash routine.  I went waaay longer that I expected before washing. Normally, my scalp would have exploded by now.....but not this time.    My scalp behaved like a well trained child with only minimal dandruff.  I'm amazed.

So now I wait.  I wait patiently, as I continue to take the fermented cod liver oil almost daily.  I wait to see the impact to my new growth months from now.  If my skin continues to improve, I'll soon reach my intention of having perfectly clear, flawless skin.   I also learned that they company who makes this cod liver oil also offers a skin care balm containing shea butter, coconut oil, fermented cod liver and butter oil.  I think I'll pick that up to include in my routine.   If there's anyone out there dealing with skin conditions like eczema or rosacea, please consider researching online the benefits of fermented cod liver oil.  If you are already taking cod liver oil for the skin benefits, why not get your hands on the most powerful cod liver oil product available?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Makeup Show Orlando was a huge success!  I had an amazing time and can't wait for it to come back again next year.  Makeup Artists, Stylists and other insiders traveled from all over to enjoy the experience.  

One of the first things I did when I arrived was have my lips made over with a vibrant red color from AJ Crimson's new line. Although I received a few compliments on the color, it was still a bit outside of my comfort zone.   

A few YouTube Gurus were in the house.  (Spotted....Koren Zander of Enkore Makeup).   The brightly accessorized young lady below is also a YouTube guru, although her name escapes me.  Do you recognize her?

I enjoyed the live demonstrations of beautiful full body sci-fi makeup looks.

Although there were loads of amazing makeup brands, most of my time was shared between the Smashbox and the Makeup Forever booths.  

 Let's not forget about the highlight of the show (for me).  A head of hair so beautiful that it deserved it's own post.

Every product was discounted which lead to me spending entirely too much money.  But don't worry, I picked up something for you as well.  Stay tuned for a future MakeUp Show giveaway. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I've shipped off the last giveaway product to the lucky winner and I'm excited to host the next giveaway. Today, I'm offering a full size bottle of Liquid Keratin. I purchased this leave-in conditioner at the Bronner Brothers Hair Show.

Check out product description and you'll know why I bought this for you....

[Liquid Keratin] bonds keratin proteins and vitamins to the hair follicles to fully condition the hair inside and out providing long lasting moisture, strength, shine and manageability. Lightweight formula protects from sun damage while keeping even frizzy hair smooth and soft.

 Usage: Spray on clean, towel dried hair and comb through ends.

 I know some of y'all are chomping at the bit in hopes of winning the Liquid Keratin. So here's how to enter.

  • Follow the Blog!
  • Send me an email to [email protected] with the words "Liquid Keratin in the title.
  • I'll randomly select a winner on Sunday November 18, 2012.
  • This giveaway is open to U.S. and International entries.

Stay fabulous.

Monday, November 5, 2012

While at The Make Up Show this weekend, I got a chance to view and sample some of the most amazing makeup brands around, but all of it paled in comparison to the random encounter I had with a young lady and her exceptionally fabulous head of hair.   My eye caught a glimpse of her tresses as I moved in and out of the crowd.  As I was speaking with a friend I literally stopped mid-sentence when my eyes laid on the back of her head.  Even before she turned around I knew that I wasn't a looking at a weave (although it looked flawless) and I knew that she was someone who had naturally textured hair.

Feeling a bit awkward for taking shots of this random stranger's hair, I decided it would be rude of me if I didn't pay her a glowing compliment (while taking the opportunity to snap some additional pics).    We chatted for a minute and during that time I learned that she has naturally curly hair which she has chemically straightened using a Japanese Straightening system called Liscio.

I asked this beautifully haired stranger if she'd ever experienced a relaxer so I could get her point of view on what she felt were the differences.  She kindly told me that she relaxed when she was much younger but preferred this method because it better preserved the integrity of her hair.  Just like a relaxer, she needs to touch up her roots every few months with this Liscio system.

These pictures of the back of her head do her no justice.  I took them impromptu as she was walking away so you aren't seeing the full beauty and health of her strands as I saw them.  The first picture is a more accurate representation of what her hair looks like with the naked eye.    Before she turned away to enjoy the rest of the makeup show, she shared that she just removed 3-4 inches during a recent trim.
As she disappeared into the crowd, I told my friend that I would live happily ever after if my hair were as healthy as hers.

Then I got to thinking about modern day relaxers and how slow they have been to evolve into something that could provide great straightening while keeping the hair in a desired healthy state.

 I became really curious about this straightening system and from my preliminary research I learned that the Liscio system was created by the same company (Inphenom) that I featured in my Currently Craving post. The hair products were developed to work in conjunction with the chemical straightening process.  What attracted me about the brand is that they offer a wide variety of products catered towards bringing health to the strand.  They've got products like "Cuticle Coat," "Cortex CMC (for internal repair),"  and a sealing product meant to lock the yummy ingredients inside the strand.  "Sigh", I wish our relaxer systems came with products that worked as much to rebuild the hair as they do to destroy it.   Two weeks ago, I write a post claiming my desire to try these products and then suddenly, I come face to face with this amazing head of hair linked to the brand.  I wonder if meeting this stranger was some sort of coincidence or a sign brought down from the heavens meant to help me expand my horizons.

To be continued.....

(p.s.) I'm pinning her on my Pinterest boards...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

I'm really excited about attending the upcoming Make Up Show event in Orlando as a member of the press. Myself and a group of other bloggers will get to experience the event from a behind the scenes perspective.  Until recently, I paid little attention to anything non-hair related but, lately, I find myself entering and exploring the wondrous world of fashion. 
Having been invited to my very first blogger event was pretty exhilarating. I decided to go for a casual look dressed up with a simple classic Chanel bag. 
Believe it or not, I scored this amazing 80's retro top at a local thrift store for under $2.00

I received several compliments on my hair, at the Preview Event, which took only 10 minutes to style.  I created a loose braid on right side of my hair which continued around till it reached the left side.
I can not wait to attend the rest of the show and score some goodies for future giveaways.  Since there will be professionals sharing their techniques, the hope is that I come away from this experience with loads of knowledge that will forever kick up my makeup game!

Top// Thrifted
Jeans//True Religion
Shoes//Jessica Simpson

Friday, November 2, 2012

For a while now, I've heard talk of the "lead hairs" theory. This is the idea that some of our hair strands grow at a faster rate than others creating the look of uneven (or even thinning) ends when in fact, it could be part of our hair's normal growth pattern. The Lead Hairs theory was first brought to us by a beautifully haired woman by the name of Chicoro who wrote the book Grow it!

 Chicoro//Author of the Book Grow It! 

 What's the first thing we do when we see uneven ends? We trim right? Chicoro urges us to consider another alternative which is could help us in retaining more length in the long run. Chicoro claims that our longer strands could, in fact, be lead hairs that grew faster than the rest of your strands. That's why she came up with a "goal-point" method which involves looking at your longest section of hair and creating a goal of growing the rest of your hair to that point (instead of trimming that section to become even with the rest of the hair).  Lead hairs should be no longer than 2 to 4 inches longer than the bulk of your hair to allow the opportunity for the rest of our hair to catch up.

 I don't know about you, but I trim my hair somewhat often. I think the left side of my hair seems to always be longer than my right. And every time I do trim, months later, my hair appears uneven again. Then, I've got to trim again and the viscous cycle continues. So I have to ask myself, "is this uneven growth or damage?"

 The answer to this question means everything and could make the difference between increased length retention or further damage. If the lead theory holds true, then as we should ultimately be retaining length as we wait for the shorter (bulk) of the hair to catch up to the goal point. Once we get to the goal-point, we may trim as desired for aesthetic reasons. Remember, even when the most of the hair reaches the goal point, there may still be strands that are longer in length. That's when you decide if you want to trim to create the even look.

LHCF Member who shared her experience with "lead hairs" 

 If you are going to test this theory out, here are my suggestions:

  •  First step is to shift your focus towards managing your breakage as much as possible. I noticed that natural haired ladies tend to fare well in trying out the lead hairs method because their have minimal breakage. We must work fervently to maintain the moisture, protein balance and impact breakage as much as we can. If not, then our hair will succumb to further damage and we may end up losing length instead of reaching our goal point. (I've been there before....not fun).
  •  Once breakage is under control, you will have to further preserve your lengths by taking measures to protect your ends. This ensures that, as the hair grows, you can hold on to your progress and enjoy the fruits of your labor. 
  •  Take pictures and pay close attention to what your hair is doing. Most of the Lead Hairs testimonies I heard online were shared by women who closely observed their hair. This is how they came to the conclusion that one section was growing faster, not breaking off. If you blindly go into this process without close monitoring, you run the risk of possibly losing length. Pictures help you see if you are actually making progress.
  •  Trim if needed. There are two main scenarios that create the need for trimming. One is for appearance, the other is for damage control. Realize when it's necessary for damage control and don't be afraid to take action.
  • Wear your hair in styles that preserve the long lengths while you wait for the rest to "catch up."  I like to wear curly styles, buns, and updo's that camouflage the uneven lengths so that you're not tempted to trim (and you don't lose inches due to the hair chipping away).  
I'm going to try this out for myself since I've spent most of this year trimming and still, the side I trim keeps growing longer. My first step will be to reign in on any breakage so I can improve my retention. If the rest of my hair could catch up to my goal-point, I'll be beyond happy. I like the idea of this goal-point approach because it makes me a bit more focused with my short term intentions. I could even set a future date of when I would like to reach my goal point. Once that point is reached, I could decide to trim or keep going with a new goal point. What do you guys think, does this make sense to you or does it sound a bit off course?

Other links discussing lead hairs: 
Curly Nikki

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