Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Faster Hair Growth Secrets......When I say HAIR you say FINITY ! was the site I used for research in the very beginning of my hair journey. It can be overwhelming when you enter the hair journey game and this site got me on track on exactly what I needed to know and do to start. Hairfinity is basically a site that promotes hair vitamins, but they have tons of great info on hair care, hair regimens and products. I actually take their hair vitamins and I must say within a month's time of taking them I saw improvements with growth. The vitamins are packed with everything your hair needs to maintain healthy hair. Of course, a good regimen, healthy diet and the vitamin gives you the maximum potential to have healthy hair. Other good vitamins for healthy hair are Biotin, B-Vitamins, Prenatal Vitamins, Geritol. 
Another plus about this site is they have a custom hair regimen survey, so if you are just starting out on your hair journey and need some help with figuring out what your hair needs for starters. Simply, take the custom hair regimen on the hairfinity site. You answer a few quick questions about the condition of your hair and the products you are using. It will process your answers and send you a recommended hair regimen and a list products directly to your email. By doing this survey was how I was able to create my regimen.

So if you need some ideas on how to build a good regimen for your hair these are some basic steps that you can help get you going to faster growing, healthier hair.

Pre-wash weekly with a good oil product. Organic Virgin Coconut oil is the best pre-shampoo because it actually penetrates the hair, unlike most oils which only coat the hair. You can use this oil like a hot oil treatment, covering with a plastic cap for 30 minutes without heat (or 15 minutes with heat). Then continue to wash hair with a gentle shampoo.

Wash weekly with a gentle shampoo. Only wash and rinse once. Over washing can cause a dry condition, which will ultimately lead to breakage. While washing, massage your scalp. This will reawaken sleeping follicles and promote thicker healthier hair.

You need two types of conditioners: one for protein, and the other for moisture and sealing. Or, alternatively you can have only one conditioner, and add an egg when you want to do a protein treatment. You must do deep conditioning with both separately. First, apply the protein treatment. After allowing the recommended elapsed time and following the manufacturer’s instructions, rinse your hair. Second, apply the moisture treatment following the instructions and rinse. If you have done a pre-shampoo treatment, you may not need to deep condition with the moisture. Instead, you can leave in for about 5-10 minutes to seal the cuticle.

Applying the protein treatment:
The best way to apply the protein treatment is with an applicator brush. You must apply the treatment to the entire hair shaft from roots to ends. Pay attention to the ends, so they will not be left untreated. Cover your head with a plastic cap. If you are using an egg treatment, you should not apply heat. Leave in hair for 60 minutes, covered. Then rinse, shampoo, and condition as ususal. If you are using a protein product , and apply heat with a hooded dryer (medium heat) for 15 minutes. Do not use a blow dryer.

Applying the moisture treatment:
Like the protein treatment, the moisture treatment should be applied with an applicator brush paying close attention to the ends. Cover with a plastic cap and apply heat with a hooded dryer (medium heat) for 15 minutes. Once again, do not try to substitute the hooded dryer with a blow dryer. It will not have the same effect. If you have done a pre-shampoo treatment, you can skip the moisture treatment. In this case, you would apply your conditioner and leave for 5-10 minutes, then rinse.

Now this is where all of your washing and conditioning treatments can either pay off or be sabotaged by damage. First of all, do not relax your hair more than once a month. Be careful not to relax hair “bone straight.” This robs the hair of its natural elasticity and causes it to break easily. Assess your hair before attempting to relax it. It may only need to be washed, moisturized, and straightened with a heat tool. If you must relax it, choose a mild relaxer.

Applying the relaxer:
It is best to have someone else apply the relaxer because they have a full view of your head. Before you begin, rub a generous amount of scalp protectant in your hands and apply to the entire hair shaft. Petroleum jelly can be used. Pay close attention to the ends of your hair when applying the protectant. This is to protect hair that has already been processed. Next, apply the relaxer using the manufacturer’s directions. Follow the timing chart so you do not over process your hair. Be sure to wash out all of the relaxer with warm water. Apply a neutralizing shampoo and wash and rinse at least three times. If there are still traces of relaxer in your hair, continue to ash until all traces have been removed. Once all traces of relaxer have been removed, apply the neutralizing shampoo to the hair again. Leave the neutralizer in for 10 minutes. It is very important that you leave the neutralizer in for 10 minutes. Do not skip this step. Next, the neutralizer can be rinsed. Now you can apply the protein treatment, and then follow with the moisture treatment as previously discussed.

Daily Maintenance
Your hair needs to be moisturized daily. You will need two different types of moisturizers: water based and oil based.

Water Based Moisturizer penetrates the hair shaft, oil based moisturizer coats the hair shaft (and seals moisture in or out). To use the two effectively, you will need to apply your water based moisturizer first, then the oil based. The reason for this is that oils and other moisturizing products that contain petrolatum, lanolin, and mineral oil do not moisturize your hair effectively. Instead they seal moisture in or out of your hair. They should only be used to seal the hair and add shine. Try appling your oil moisturizer after rinsing the moisture treatment to combat dryness.

Also, to help with dryness, you need a penetrating moisturizer. The only oil that penetrates the hair shaft is coconut oil. Other oils only coat it. You can use virgin coconut oil as a daily moisturizer or a water based moisturizer. Some examples of water based moisturizers are:
Organic Root Stimulator Carrot Oil
Triple Moisture Silk Touch Leave-in
Profectiv Anti-Tangle Leave-in
Profectiv Mega Growth
Cantu Shea Butter Grow Strong
Elasta QP Mango Butter
Cantu Shea Butter Leave-in
Use a light oil moisturizer following the application of these water based moisturizer to seal moisture in the shaft.

Hot curling:
Make sure your hair is properly moisturized before hot curling or using any heat tools. If it sounds like you are scraping your hair when you pull the iron down your hair shaft, then it is too dry. The iron should glide down the hair, and curls should be defined without using spritz or hairspray. Do apply spritz to hair before using heat tools because it will dry hair out and cause breakage. Curl hair section by section and leave curls undisturbed. Then spray a light finishing spray all over (lightly). Still, leave the curls undisturbed for at least five minutes, then style.

Braids, weaves, etc.:
False braids, waves, and even wigs can cause hair breakage. The chemicals used to make the hair can cause damage to your hair. Your hair rejects foreign substances much like every other part of your body. Also, the products will sometimes cause you to neglect your own hair and the dry condition will lead to more breakage. If you are going to war a wig for a special occasion, make sure that you moisturize your hair first, wrap it, and put on a wig cap. However, wearing wigs daily is not recommended.
Weaves not only break your hair because of the chemicals in the false hair mixing with your own hair, but he glue used to apply then pull your hair from the roots. It cannot be emphasized enough that these products will damage your hair, so steer clear of these.

1. Essentious Shampoo, Mizani Botanifying Shampoo, or any shampoo that does not contain harsh sulfates (Gentle Shampoo)
2. Essentious Protein Treatment, Any regular conditioner with an egg added, Mizani Kerafuse Intensive Strengthening Treatment (Protein Treatment)
3. Essentious Moisture Treatment, Mizani Moisturefuse Moisturizing Conditioner, or Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (Moisturizing Treatment)
3. Organic, Virgin Coconut Oil (Pre-shampoo Treatment)
4. Mizani Phormula-7 Neutralizing / Chelating Shampoo (Neutralizer)
5. DOO GRO Stimulating Growth Oil ( Oil Based Moisturizer)
6. Organic Root Stimulator Carrot Oil (Water Based Moisturizer)

 How to Grow Black Hair Its Longest
First of all, your hair care regimen should be as "hair friendly" as possible. That means you should be following the steps outlined above to minimize breakage. Second, you should increase your anagen (growth phase) which will allow you hair to grow much longer before it enters the resting and shedding phases. One way to do this is to incorporate vitamins for hair growth in your diet. (Another way to do this is to become pregnant. While a woman is pregnant, all of her hair is locked in the growth phase. That is why a woman's hair will grow thicker and longer while she is pregnant.) Third, you need to address any hair problems that could be limiting your hair growth. A Microscopic Hair Analysis can address problems that would otherwise be overlooked.

Hope this was helpful!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My Balding Edges are Making a Come Back!

The reason why I decided to hold off on the creamy crack was because my edges were balding-rapidly! It was starting to look shiny too. My only thought to fix it was to give up that creamy crack. Plus, giving it up would be beneficial to my hair overall anyway.

So four months into my journey, my edges are making a comeback. I think it's great progress, a slow one, but still great. I've been babying my edges since the start of my hair journey (HJ) and that loving is paying off. I'm excited :-).

Let's get down to the real deal. What is making my edges grow back you ask? Drum roll please.......Neutrogena Triple Moisture Leave-in Creme and Jamaican Black Castor Oil (JBCO). Yup them two bad boys together are a powerful duo on these edges. I apply the Triple Moisture first, give it a good massage then apply the JBCO right on top and give it another good massage. I do that in the morning and at night. Peep the progress!

Top Left corner the beginning; Right bottom corner the progress;

Looks like its getting thick too. I know, I know I'm uber excited but when you see some progress in your hair journey its the little things.

What was your weak spot that has taken strides in your HJ? Please share. I love hairspirations!

You Better Be-Weave-It--The Do's & Don't's.

I've worn weaves, braids and wigs, plenty of times. I've worn short hair for many years that weaving was always a great option for me to play with longer or curly styles. A new look and new do always kicks up the inner diva a few notches. Aside from that, my hair would rest from the daily and weekly maintenance wear and tear, which gave it time to grow in a more peaceful state. I will admit though taking care of my tresses while wearing a weave was not a focus. I never washed it (i know, gross), all I did would apply oils to my scalp, now that I'm healthy hair savvy all that build up on my scalp, no bueno. I just appreciated wearing weaves as saving me money and time, but now that I think about it, whenever I took the weave out I would have to get a massive trim and all the growth it did while resting was shot to hell.

So, my hair now is at the awkward ear length without a relaxer, so I've been thinking about weaving it for a few months for rest of course, but to see if I can get some maximum growth going too.

Ironically, ESSENCE online posted an article up on Ten Things You Need to Know Before You Add Extensions. I took notes on how I will treat my hair under a weave this time around. Honestly, I have never considered any of these tips when I wore my weaves in the past, no wonder I never got that length that I always expected.

1. DO Care For Your Own Hair First
Before you commit to adding in extensions, make sure that your own hair is in the best shape possible. “When your hair is under a weave, you think that you’re protecting it. However, if you’re not taking care of the hair underneath, you could be doing more damage than good,” says celebrity hairstylist Cynthia Alvarez. “My philosophy is that you have to deep condition, moisturize and give your own hair the best treatment that you can before you sew it up under the weave. If you start out with clean and conditioned hair, it will stay healthy and continue to grow.”

2. DON'T Skimp on Quality Hair 
Yes, hair extensions can be pricey, but always remember that you get what you pay for. “Cheap hair will be stiff and dry with no movement and what’s the point of wasting your money on that?” asks Alvarez. “Think about how long you would want to reuse the hair. If you buy really great quality hair, you don’t have to keep buying hair every other month. You end up saving more money and it will look more natural.”

3. DO Consider the Amount of Styling Time You'll Need
If you’re tight on time in the mornings, avoid hair that will need to be styled daily. “If you can spend a lot of time in the mirror everyday, then you can go with the hair that needs constant styling,” says Alvarez. “I recommend wavy textures for those with busy schedules because it is a wash-and-go texture but it also straightens really beautifully.”

4. DON'T Opt for a Glue-in Weave
“The glue has got to go!” exclaims Alvarez. “To glue in a weave is cheaper and faster, but you sacrifice your hair and health in the long run. Hair glue is made of latex and some people have really bad allergic reactions to it. Also, when you glue in a weave, you can’t reuse the hair. A sew-in weave would be a much smarter option.”

5. DO Consider a Wig 
Wigs are quickly becoming the popular alternative to extensions because of their versatility and ease. “A lot of women will get a lace-front wig sewn in because it lasts as long as a weave but it takes less time to install,” says Alvarez. “Wigs are also good because they come off and on everyday and allow your own hair to breathe at night.”

6. DON'T Overload Your Extensions
Adding serums and sheens can actually have the opposite effect on the hair over time. Instead of making the hair shine, it will weigh it down, make it stringy, or damage the hair. “If you have high quality hair, you don’t need a lot of products,” says Alvarez. “The hair will already have luster and shine.”

7. DO Take Into Consideration the Weight of Your Extensions
The longer and fuller your extensions are, the heavier the hair will be. This could cause added tension on your natural hair and make it prone to breakage. “When your hair starts growing under the weave, the weight of the weft can start to pull and break hair, especially around the edges,” says Alvarez. It’s also important to note that if you have a relaxer, the area where your new growth and relaxed hair meets is very delicate and more prone to breakage.

8. DON'T Be Afraid to Mix Textures
When deciding on the hair that best matches your own texture, feel free to mix-and-match hair types to create the perfect fit. “Contrary to popular belief, higher quality hair will not tangle when you mix the textures because the cuticles are smoother,” says Alvarez. “I would not advise mixing packaged hair. You will definitely have matting in that case.”

9. DO Customize Your Cut and Color
After you’ve worn your weave straight and long for a while, experiment by having the same hair dyed and cut into a fresh new ’do. “Customizing your hair can make all the difference,” says Alvarez. “Talk to your stylist and bring in pictures to see what style and cut would work best for you.”

10. DON'T Use Too Much Heat on the Hair
Human hair extensions can develop split ends and heat damage just like your natural hair. “This is human hair and if you use too much heat, it’s going to break,” says Alvarez. Avoid daily heat styling by opting for pin curls, roller sets or naturally wavy hair types.

Credit it essence online magazine. Click on the link to view the complete article

Here are a few snapshots of me rocking some weaved/wig styles:

Short Custom wig
Bob Weave

Curly Weave

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Reverse DC

I love me some deep conditioning! When I do my hair at home, the Deep Conditioner (DC) will sit in my hair for hours and my hair behaves so well afterwards, no breaking and barely any shedding. Yesterday, I did my hair at home, and I did not feel like getting in the shower to wash my hair then add a DC to get back in the shower to rinse. So, I tried a DC in reverse, meaning I applied my DC on my dry hair first then I hopped in the shower, rinsed the conditioner and washed with shampoo. It certainly killed some time but the results of my hair were the same as a regular wash first, DC second. I normally pre-poo during wash days, but I cut pre-pooing out since I was DC'ng first.

Here's my step by step wash day:

My DC mix was Creme of Nature Intensive Conditioning, Honey and Jamaican Black Castor Oil. I sat under the heating cap for an hour, but the DC actually stayed in my hair for 4 hours while I did things around the house i.e watched some shows on my DVR, cooked Sunday dinner and cleaned the bathroom. Just in case, you wanted to know lol.

I washed with Aphogee Balancing Moisturizing Shampoo, Apply Roux Porosity Conditioner for 30 seconds and rinsed. Applied Aphogee Green Tea Leave-In, Air dried overnight. Flat ironed in the morning, and of course, I used a heat protectant IC Heat Protectant Straightening Serum.

I've seen a few girls on youtube do the DC on dry hair. Here's one of my favorite youtubers shorty2sweet59 do the reverse DC. BTW, homegirl's hair is waist length!! Shout out to the Caribbean massive! She got that soca music playing in the background so you can buss-a whine while you watch. ;-)

Friday, April 13, 2012

To Co-Wash or Not to Co-Wash?

What is co-washing? You Ask.. Co-washing is when you wash your hair with a moisturizing conditioner instead of shampoo. It's a technique to restore the moisture in your hair. I know it sounds crazy right? When I started my hair journey I was like "straight up conditioner'"? but the more I researched the more I started to understand the benefits of it. Of course, this technique may not work for everyone, so if you try and your hair feels coated, itchy scalp increases or your hair doesn't feel manageable then this technique is not for you.

The benefits of co-washing:
  •  Co-Washing helps to reduces knots and tangles
  •  Co-washing will help to keep your hair soft and moisturized, which is especially important if  you’re transitioning
  •  Co-washing is great for hydrating the scalp
When I saw all the benefits of co-washing I went for it. I tried it with VO5 moisturizing conditioners, my hair said "NO BUENO" it was dry and stiff.  I've tried it with Herbal Essence Hello Hydration my hair did say "HELLO." My hair was so moisturized that I didn't have to add any moisturizing products in my hair like I usually do, so I was good until my wash day without adding any products. I've also tried Cream of Nature Nourishing Conditioner and my hair said "Keep Nourishing Me Baby." My new growth was crazy manageable with this one, almost like my hair was a completely different texture.

I will admit that since I'm giving up the creamy crack my hair seems drier than ever, so co-washing does give my hair that restored moisture it needs and my new growth is way more softer and manageable.

A cheapie conditioner is what you use to co-wash. You can usually find these type of conditioners on sale at drugstores like Rite Aid, CVS, Walgreens or Target for less than $5.

Hair Lover Ravs & Favs Co-Wash Conditioners
VO5 moisture milks conditioners
Suave Almond & Shea Butter
Herbal Essence Hello Hydration
Suave Tropical Coconut Conditioner
Dove Damage Intensive Repair Conditioner
Tresemme Moisture
Aussie Moist
Pantene Relaxed & Natural Conditioner

How often to co-wash? That's all up to you. I try to do it once a week in between my wash days, but I've read some hair regimens and some girls do it more than that. I think my hair is just fine with just once a week or as needed basis. If you try it and see great improvements and results  from co-washing then add to your regimen. But if you see no difference, your hair doesn't quite respond right then give it the boot. Not every technique will work for everyone. Finding the right moisturizing conditioner, is part of a successful co-wash.

Have you tried co-washing? Love it or Hate It?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

It's All About the Pre-Poo..Boo!

My pre-poo products
I think my hair and pre-poo are boo's! They love each other and it shows. The pre-pooing makes my hair say Oh Baby! How do I know this? Cuz my hair told me. My hair is super soft, manageable and strong with the pre-poo and it cooperates perfectly through the entire wash experience.

If you don't know what a pre-poo is. It's the pre-treatment you give your hair before you wash it. You can either use a conditioner or oils or both. You apply to dry hair, sit under some heat for 30mins - 1 hour.

I do a pre-poo mix with an inexpensive conditioner, right now, I'm using Tresemme Naturals. I mix that with honey, coconut oil, olive oil and garlic water. I don't do exact measurements I just eyeball everything. It smells a bit weird but my hair loves it. I realized after reading the ingredients that the Tresemme Natural Conditioner has protein in it, which is why my hair seems so strong lately.

Here's the breakdown of each product of my pre-poo to give you an idea of where the love is:

Tresemme Vitamin A& C Natural Conditioner -- Patented formula enriched with Vitamins C & E along with a fortifying blend of plant derived extracts.

Honey -  Honey contains both fructose and glucose, natural sweeteners that nourish the hair. Honey also retains water and moisture, allowing it to hydrate hair while providing vitamins and minerals such as copper, iron, manganese, calcium, sodium, potassium, phosphorous and Vitamin B

Coconut Oil Using coconut oil as pre-shampoo treatment is better than using it post-wash. This is partly owing to the fact that coconut oil only seems to penetrate wet hair fibers.

Olive Oil olive oil can nourish, condition, and improve the strength and elasticity

Garlic Water - I buy minced garlic in a jar and take a tsp of the water and add to my pre-poo mix. Garlic is known to fight against shedding.

I've also pre-poo'd with just coconut oil and my hair also had great results--soft and well-moisturized.

I'm still learning this whole Hair Journey thang, but I will say that pre-pooing will ALWAYS be part of my regimen because of the benefits and results of how well my hair is doing. As I go further along in my HJ, I'm sure my ingredients will change but pre-pooing and my hair will never part.

This blog was one of  my go-to resources on learning about healthy hair practices. Check it out! She does a great break down of pre-pooing.

What's in your pre-poo?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tracking My Tresses -- Growth Check

I've only started my hair journey in December and since then I've stuck to my regimen like glue and my hair has been thriving and thriving baby. I've never seen it this healthy--never, ever. I'm a proud hairlista right now. (if you're on hairlista profile is Mrs. B). I just hope I can remain consistent with my tresses so they can continue to flourish.

What I've learned so far through my journey, is that at this point, I know my hair. It took a lot of researching, patience and being super involved, trial and error but I've gained the patience and confidence to continue on. I will admit I did have a set back early on and because I researched I knew exactly how to repair the problem asap. I know exactly what my hair loves and hates. I understand how it reacts to certain products and can determine if should continue with the use.

Top Box: August 2011

Bottom left Box: Jan 12

Bottom Middle Box: Feb 12

Bottom Right Box: Mar 12

To recap, my hair goal is to gain knowledge about my hair and nurture it back to health without relaxing for one year.  You can review regimen in my hair regimen tabs. It's a very simple regimen, but I believe the products I am using is key to this thriving stage.