Hair Care & Education: Benefits of Braiding Hair During Winter Months

Have you ever wondered about braiding up your hair during the cold winter months?  I have already started braiding up my hair every other month, but in reading articles I read that it is actually a good idea because hair tends to become brittle and breaks off if not cared for.  And with our busy schedule, we hardly take the time to think about what the cold winter months are doing to our hair.

Where we use moisturizing leave-in conditioners, it is said that using water based products are better because we want to avoid using products that are known for causing  a build up.  But I think this depends on your hair type.  I know if I do not use something that has a little oil in it when I am braiding my hair, my scalp gets dry and so does my hair and the ends.  when I am braiding my hair in french braid (or corn rolls) I have to focus on the ends, making sure my ends are oiled enough to where they are not breaking off.  And for my scalp, I have to use an oil blend to keep my scalp hydrated, thus keeping my hair hydrated.  If braided property, and tied up every night, I can go an entire week without taking it down.

In the article I read from 2013 from Ebony on Best Reason to Wear Braids in the Winter Susy Oludele stated that shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, Coconut Oil, Jamaican Castor Oil, 100% African Shea Butter, NuNaat Products and good ol’ H20 are the best products to use when you are wearing braids during the cold months, and I couldn’t agree more because I use or have used some of these products.

Live About gives up five good reasons to wear protective hair styles in the article written February 2017.

  1. Low maintenance
  2. Keeps hair soft
  3. Retains growth
  4. Versatile
  5. They are timesavers

But what if you wear perms or relaxers?  Can these benefits apply if you wear a relaxer?  I have to say the do because even with wearing a relaxer you have to — at some point — give your hair a break to give it a chance to recuperate from the day to day styling, heat and whatever else you do to your hair that can over stress it.

I wore my hair down for a week.  The week before I wore my hair braided up for a week.  Now that the holidays are behind us, I have braided it back up and will it braided up during the cold weather and until I see my stylist again at the end of the month.  But just because you wear your hair in protective styles or you’ve gotten hair extensions to create those fabulous braided styles, you still have take care of your scalp.  Keep it and your braids looking fresh and hydrated.

What I have found is there are not a lot of articles about braiding your hair when you have a relaxer.  In fact, if you ask an expert they will probably tell you not to or give you advice on the best routes to go.  But the truth to the matter is at some point you have to give your hair a break and as far as I can tell braiding your is a good idea.

Now, me being me, I would not for the added extensions braids or the box braids.  What works for me and has way back in the day is the french braids (or corn rolls as so many of you out there call them) because I can braid my hair, tie it up at night, wear nice head bands or decorative combs and be good to go and not have to take my hair down for weeks on out except to wash it, oil it up and braid it back up.  By not using any heat my hair grows faster simply by keeping it oiled, cleaned, and hydrated.  When I wear it down for special occasions I can see the difference.  At the same time, even with keeping it braided, I have to take care of the ends by keeping them trimmed.  And by keeping them trimmed, I mean going to someone who is not scissor happy and will not chop off my hair.

Wearing color?  Not a big deal.  You can still wear protective styles to let your hair rest.  Nothing wrong with that as long as you follow important steps to maintaining good hair health. If you are going to braid your hair, think about the types of braids you want and how long you want them, and how long you anticipate wearing them.  That depends on the time you want to spend caring for them all the way around.  For me I wear my braids for a week.  Take them down, wash and condition my hair, apply my leave-in moisturizer to my hair and my oil blend to my scalp and braid it back up.  And I said I tie up my hair at night with the braids.  Actually I wrap it up with my wrap scarf.  It keeps the braids in place better and keeps them looking fresh for the week.  I spray some Cantu oil probably once or twice a week with the braids.  This week and it’s just Tuesday, I only sprayed them once.

In closing, it’s cold out.  And if you live where you are experiencing some serious cold temperatures like I do, think about putting your hair up to protect it from the cold weather.  It could be a braided style, protective style, or even a wig — whatever you choose to do, protect your hair during the cold months.

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Hair Care: Your Hair and You — How Extreme is Your Hair Regimen?

It’s no surprise that those of use who really care about our hair and take the time to make an effort to see that we are doing everything possible to use the best products to help promote growth, we build a regimen around the products we use once we discover what works the best.  But when does a hair regimen become too extreme or too way over the top?

It is a question I have started asking after watching different videos following what some women are doing in the efforts of achieving and maintaining healthy hair growth.  What I have seen is just too way out there for me to conceivably believe it is even possible that these regimens are maintainable long term; given the number of products used and the time it takes.

For example, do you really need to use 2 – 3 different shampoos and conditioners? 2 – 3 different types of oils?  Plus a leave-in conditioner, a protein treatment, with a heat serum, polisher, and a spay?  And then you want to stand in the shower using a scrub brush spending five to ten minutes just to scrub your scalp to stimulate it.  Not to mention the time it takes to style your hair which can be anywhere from spending another 45 minutes under a portable hair dryer, an additional half hour just styling your hair.  Sounds a bit ridiculous to me.

If started early in the morning it is possible you spent a good part of your morning just on your hair alone.  And you repeat this ritual on a weekly basis.  Do you really have that kind of time?  Think about it.  One week you are using one set of products, then the next week you are using another set of products.  And then there is the time under the dryer and the time it takes to style your hair.  Unless you can actively set aside this time to dedicate to your hair and you have the money to spend to stay supplied with the amount of products you use then you are good.  Because this is a job within itself.

Stop with the nonsense of spending this much time just to wash your hair!!! It’s crazy.  Ladies, you do not need to do this.

Then, let’s factor in what you eat, how much water you drink, and the vitamins you take.  These are important factors in the growth of your hair and should be consumed on a daily basis.  You should be drinking 8 ounces of water regularly.  Your hair is a like a plant and needs to stay hydrated daily.  Of course topical products help for the outer layers while the water helps with the roots.

If your hair regimen takes you anywhere from 3 – 4 hours to complete, then your hair regimen is too extreme and extensive and you might want to rethink it and consider simplifying it just a bit.  In fact, simplifying your hair regimen can produce the same effective results as well as save you some money.

  • Use a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner
  • Leave-in conditioner (or moisturizer)
  • Oil for the scalp I recommend Argan, coconut, or olive oil,
  • Polisher after flat ironing or pressing your hair and if necessary a part of your daily hair care.
  • Heat serum while flat ironing or pressing your hair (I recommend BioSilk)
  • Finisheen spray (optional), I recommend Finisheen by Revlon
  • Protein treatment that can be done every other week
  • Satin scarf for wrapping your hair every night.
  • 15 – 30 minutes under a portable hair dryer is about all the time you really need for locking in the moisture of your hair.  Sitting under a portable hair dryer is just too excessive.  At a hair salon the most time you will sit under a dryer is approximately 15 – 20 minutes.  When I had my portable hair dryer, I never sat under it more than fifteen minutes.  I’m a mother, grandmother, I work two jobs, so I have no time to spend under a hair dryer when there are things I need to get done.   And if I am doing my hair a night, then all I am thinking about is getting a good nights sleep.

This seems simple enough doesn’t it?  you can add  the protein treatment as I mentioned, every other week.  And limit sitting under a portable dryer to 15 – 20 minutes.  That’s about all the time you need.  If you need the extra ten minutes, by all means do so.  But you don’t need to sit there for 45 minutes.  Who has time for that?  Your hair regimen does not need to be so extreme that a good part of your Saturday morning goes to your hair.

Now, if you are considering a new hair regimen, do like my daughter and I do, we research what’s currently on the market, what’s in certain products, how they work on women of color’s hair, and what the reviews are for those particular products we are considering using.  Think about what you want those products to do for your hair.  Is this new regimen long term or short and what results are you looking to achieve.

Of course for black women’s hair we want to stay away from having damaged hair as much as possible.  Therefore the products that cater to black hair is essentially the best route to go.  At the same time, be warned that not all products that claim to be designed for black hair or for all hair types is not necessarily the case, so it is important to research every new product you find.  Read reviews, talk to seasoned hair stylists, get opinions from others who have used it.  An extreme hair regimen is not always necessary to achieve health hair unless there are circumstances that exists that calls for it:

  1. Excessive shedding
  2. Breakage from over processing (i.e., dying, perming, relaxers, etc.)
  3. Hair loss extenuating from other factors such as health problems, medications, extreme stress
  4. Allergic reactions that caused hair loss
  5. Or other factor

Know your hair.   Knowing what your hair likes is important.  I think if you are using 2 – 3 different shampoos and conditioners, with various types of oils and sprays, and different leave-ins, and different protein treatments and not sticking to a simple process along the way, you are not giving your hair a chance to react to what it likes and to what it can respond to.

Keep in mind which products really worked before and how well they worked.  What results did you achieve with the products?  If your results were positively effective then you should stick with that regimen because that is what your hair best responded to even if you had damaged hair.  Know which products that didn’t work and why.  The best thing you can do is keep a running list of products you used and chart your experience.  Using too many products at one time can weight your hair.  They can make your hair look limp and stringy before the weeks end.  A simple regimen can leave your hair looking good and fresh to the end of week when it’s time to wash and condition your hair again.

Now, let’s take a look at my hair regimen.  I keep it simple because — for one — I work two jobs, spend time with my family when i am not working and do not have projects to work on, so my time is important and what little time I get to myself is just that…my time.  So with that I keep my hair care process simple as possible that always includes a nice hot shower.

My hair regimen consists of the following;

  • A sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner.  Preferably the Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Shampoo and Condtioner
  • Cantu Leave-In because it’s light and does not weight my hair.  I use this before blow drying and for when I plan on pressing my hair or flat ironing into a style and for using a curling iron.
  • Carol’s Daughter Original Leave-in Moisturizer for when I am only blowing drying my hair and braiding it up for the week.
  • Coconut oil or olive oil for scalp treatment
  • BiolSilk serum for flat oroning or using the curling iron after pressing.
  • Paul Mitchell for extra hold on certain styles
  • Hair polisher for an extra shine and control any frizz.
  • Creme of Nature with Argan Oil Perfect Edges to smooth the edges down

This is my regimen.  My hair wash days are typically Saturday nights.  Depending on how the day starts, I was it Saturday mornings before everyone is up and needs to occupy the bathroom.  I always start with a hot shower.  This gives me a chance to wash and condition my hair.  My goal is to braid up my hair every other week.  This gives my hair a break from daily styling.  I still wrap it up to protect it.

Through my hair regimen I stay away from those protects that are straight Keratin.  For some reason my hair does not like it…it breaks off every time I have used it.  I take my vitamins which includes a 50+ multi vitamin, 1000 mcg Biotin, and Lutein.  I eat Brussels sprouts, spinach, mixed vegetables, mixed green salads, chicken, fish, and the majority of foods that promote healthy hair growth.  I also hear a lot that exercising can contribute to stimulating the scalp help the hair grow.  It’s actually true because when I spent a year exercising at the Cherry Beach Bluffs back in Long Beach, CA my hair grew more during that time than it had in previous months.

It’s my opinion that if you are going to spend money on your hair let some of it be spent with an experienced hair stylists who is not in it solely for the money, but understands your hair care concerns and is working with you to actively grow your hair.  It does not matter how good you think your extreme hair care regimen is, you still have to remember to limit the use of heat that you use.  A good hair stylist will tell you that.  And avoid over oiling your hair and your scalp, it can cause build up.  There are little things you should keep in mind that you may not think are important but are major factors to consider for the growth and health of your hair, and your hair regimen does not have to be extreme just to achieve beautiful hair.

 

 

Hair Care: Giving Your Hair a Break with Tender Loving Care

Happy Holidays to all my hair care lovers.  I hope your Christmas was just as joyous as ours was.  Well, it is getting close to the end of the year and I wanted to continue in my blogging of good hair care tips, suggestions and ideas as we close 2017 with a huge bang.

So, before I get started, I want to hear from all of you, my readers out there, in how your hair care journey was throughout the year.  What was your hair care regimen, how often did you change it, what was your hair care journey, what did you do along the way, what products did you try, incorporate or stop using, what experiences did you experience throughout your hair care journey, what would you do differently, and more importantly, if you experienced any hair damage, what resources did you avail yourself to in order to resolve the damage to turn your hair around to achieve healthy growing hair?  You can email me and tell me all about it and I will include as many of the emails I can my next blog.  And feel free to tell me what was your favorite blog post of 2017.

Ok, let’s get started.

I went through a great deal this year and as many of you know who have been following my posts, my hair suffered a great deal.  Thanks to my stylist in Lakewood, CA, Tracy at Tracy’s Blessed Hands Hair Salon, she helped me turn things around with my hair, including giving me new looks that really received rave compliments.  Having relocated to a new state, I had to keep up with the hair care that including having to find good hair care in Portland, OR.  But now the question became, “what to do in between visits?”  In this process I changed shampoos and conditioners going to the Carol’s Daughter Monoi, and as I worked to improve my hair regimen, I have since added one more product to include the Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Leave-In Hair Moisturizer.

This year is the first time I have ever tried using Carol’s Daughter.  The products focus on restoring and maintaining healthy hair while continuing in the growth process.  Understand there are other hair care processes you have to maintain such as regular trims as needed to avoid splitting ends.  Because I am now so careful and cautious about the products I use, I read and research everything because I want to know what I am using on my hair in the efforts of staying away from those products that dry out my hair.

On December 19, I decided to wash my hair only I was not intending to flat iron or press it out.  Instead, I just blow dried it then put just a little oil in it and braided it up.

It has been a few years or so since I have been able to braid up my hair.  So you can imagine how excited I was when I was able to braid it up, tie it up and wear my hair like this.  I put my hair up for a week to give it a break from daily styling.  It is my goal to do this regularly — at least once a month, if not every other week.

HairMilkSet 12.23.17BOn December 23 at the end of my second shift I learned that my job sold a three piece set of Carol’s Daughter that included a refresher spray, a leave-in moisturizer, and a conditioning cleanser.  Now the conditioner cleanser is used as a stand alone cleaning product for your hair, otherwise called “co-washing.”  I have read different articles that talk about how co-washing is not that great of an idea especially if you wear relaxers like I do, or have color in your hair.  But the fact that Carol’s Daughter has a product on the market catered to the idea, there must be something to it, however, I am lead to believe it is for women with natural hair and is not chemically processed.

The refresher spray is said to revitalize curls, hydrate the hair — also for natural hair and not ideally for chemically processed hair.  But I tried it on my hair when I braided it and it was fine.  Gave it a nice shine after I had taken off my scarf and wanted to have a clean look with my braid.  I just spritzed my hair just a little and I was good to go.

CDHairMilk 12.23.17I particularly like the leave-in moisturizer.  For wearing my hair in braids I particularly like this product because it is the right amount of moisturizing my hair needs.  It is not that oily and it hydrates my hair and scalp.  I had taken down my hair and rubbed some throughout my hair from the roots to the ends, combed it out through, brushed the edges lightly and braided my hair back up and the results were amazing.

The next morning all I had to do was remove my scarf, spritzed my hair lightly with the refresher spray, fixed up my bangs and I was good to go, right out the door.  As I plan to put my hair up for a week on a regular basis, if not every other week, I will be using the Hair Milk Leave-In Moisturizer.

If you try this Hair Milk Leave-In Moisturizer and you are concerned about the oil content, I would recommend applying right after you have conditioned your hair and before you blow dry it.  You can regulate how much you want to use by first applying a little from scalp to the ends and go from there.  If you feel you need more, apply as needed, but remember, too, that a little goes a long way.

You can find this product at most beauty supplies, some (but not all) Wal-Marts, Walgreens and Fred Meyers.  Be prepared to pay as much as $11.99, depending on where you purchase it.

Hair Health: Your Hair Grew Out, What’s Next?

Growing your hair is its own process. There is a lot that goes into it such as maintaining a balanced diet, drinking enough water, and even exercising can contribute to how your hair grows.

It takes anywhere from one to five years for hair to grow, depending on how fast your hair grows and if whether or not your hair is recovering from having been damaged or if you had your hair completely chopped off go do away with chemicals and you wanted a fresh start, or you just want to start over with your natural hair.  With either scenario your hair care regimen plays a huge part in how you care for your hair and starts with staying away from bad habits.

If you want to continue in your hair care journey think first if you want to maintain the same regimen or if you want to incorporate, add or change any of the products you are currently using to enhance your hair care experience.  Keeping your regular appointments with your hair stylist is always a good idea.  They keep the health of your hair well in their hands and today’s stylist provide helpful tips and suggests useful tools to help you maintain the health of your hair.

You can avoid things like over processing, over styling, and using excessive heat.  That is the number one thing a stylist will tell you.  If you wear relaxers the upkeep of a relaxer — and I have mentioned this before — is six to eight weeks, depending on how fast your hair grows.  I recommend investing in protein treatments in between touch ups because they play a major role in keeping your hair hydrated.  Using sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners at home can aid in your hair care journey.  I recommend Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing shampoo and conditioner and Shea Moisture Black Castor Oil Strengthen and Restore shampoo and conditioner.  They are not heavily fragranced, and leaves your hair with a cleaner and softer feeling.

If you are new to relaxers (and I talk about relaxers a lot), talk with a stylist to see if a relaxer is right for you.  Not many want to invest the time in the upkeep which is a waste of money if you don’t want to put in the time to care for your hair properly.

In our hair care efforts we tend to become lax in the work that it takes to keep our hair looking healthy.  Developing normal habits that cater to how you do your hair on a daily basis will be your sounding board for ongoing hair care routines.

Use natural oils for keeping your scalp from being dry.  Coconut oil, olive oil and even Cantu’s oil are good ideas and remember that a little goes a long way.  You don’t need much to oil your scalp to avoid weighting the hair.

Wash your hair every seven days.  That is once a week.  Limit the use of heat to maybe once or twice at week at the most.  Any more than that and you run the risk of your hair breaking off.  Hair will shed, but there are products that you can use that will reduce shedding.  Mostly chemical free products will aid in that area. You will find the offer cleaner feelings as I mentioned earlier.

What you eat contributes to the health of your hair.  Eat vegetables that promote healthy beautiful hair.  Usually leafy green vegetables.  Take Biotin and vitamins at that provide the essentials you need.  And the method you used to come this far in growing your hair can very well be the same method you continue to use should you choose to.  Just remember, avoid those bad habits that do not help the hair but rather hurt it.

Hair Care: The Jayah Rose Salon & Spa Experience

So, it pays to listen to my daughter sometimes.  Did I say sometimes?  Let me correct that…I should say all the time because I had spent the last couple of months looking for a salon that does black hair and had been unlucky in my search.  The salon in Wal-Mart has relaxers listed as  part of their service, but the two stylists I spoke to said no one in the salon knew how to do relaxers.  She told me I was going to have to travel, but believe me I certainly was trying to not have to.

It became very apparent that I was going to have to travel 45 minutes to an hour away just to find a salon who could do my hair after I exhausted all of my research efforts.  I was either going to Vancouver, WA or Portland, OR where I found many who offered relaxers ranging in prices from $65 – $110.

Living in Longview has two draw backs.  Don’t get me wrong I love living in Longview, it is just missing two local elements that cater to the hair care of black women:

  1. Salons are not equipped to do black women hair.  And students at the local cosmetology school are not trained to do relaxers.
  2. There are no beauty supplies stores that cater to black women hair products.  I had to order a hot pressing comb from Amazon when Ithought I lost mine.  Both Sally’s and Ulta only had electric pressing combs.

It makes it tough to find a lot of black hair products here when you are looking for specific products.  Your options — if you can’t find what you’re looking for in the local stores — is to order what you need online.  You run the risk of paying double the amount of what you are used to paying.  When I was going to order my relaxer cream by Elasta QP from Amazon, I was going to end up paying way more than what I paid in beauty supplies in Los Angeles, CA and Long Beach, CA.  Fortunately I was already in the market for changing my hair regimen.  Finding specific products was not as difficult at that time.

Jayah Rose Hair SalonMy search took me to Portland, OR to The Jayah Rose Hair Salon & Spa where I met Ruby.  First you walk into the salon and are met with a nice waiting area with comfortable seating.  There are two counters where you can check out after services are performed.  It is a full service salon that offers a pampering atmosphere and talking about God is certainly a subject very high on the list of topics to discuss.  Everyone was talking to everyone, laughing and enjoying each others company and the clients were seeming comfortable and at home with their stylist.  Photo from onshegoes.com.

Ruby was very thorough.  She listened to what my last salon visit consisted of, how long it had been since my touch up, and what I was looking for in terms of ongoing hair care needs.  She provided a brief consultation to get a general idea of my hair type.  I told her I had started using a new sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner and had started using Cantu Oil spray which was making a difference in my hair care regimen.

She proceeded to tell me what she planned to do and gave me a great salon experience.  She washed and conditioned my hair thoroughly.  She sat me under the dryer for ten minutes where I had a chance to really relax.  Even though it was just ten minutes, it was the first time in a long time that I relaxed with my eyes closed while listening to some great music.

It had been a long time since I had been in a full service salon.  I was rather impressed by the way everyone got along and actually talked to one another without the usual salon gossip you would always hear when you went to a salon.

I was also impressed with the way she took her time doing my hair.  It did not feel rushed.  She put time, care, and consideration into my hair because in the end, I was amazed.  Last time I was that amazed was when Tracy of Tracy’s Blessed Hands in Lakewood, CA had done my hair and had it just popping.  The touch up Ruby did on my hair did not leave my gray green.  I was concerned about that because she did not put a cellophane on my hair.  So, I was happy about that.Hair 11.25.17She trimmed my hair and left it at the length I walked in with.  She cleaned up my ends very nicely without chopping of my hair like others had done.  She used a leave in conditioner to keep my hair moisturized and used a polisher when she flat ironed it that took down any frizz.  She instructed me to tie up my hair tightly at night and to avoid using excessive heat.Hair 11.25.17BWhen I looked in the mirror I could tell right away that my hair was on the right path. And deciding to change my regimen came at the right time because after reading various articles, getting away from harsh chemicals and shampoos and conditioners was a good idea.  And using what is better for relaxed and colored hair.

Choosing a new stylist is never an easy task.  There is a lot to consider and that is whether or not you are getting your money’s worth.  I look for experience, how long the salon has been in the area, and how many repeat customers they’ve had. And by the looks of it, the ambiance of the salon was vibing and it made me feel comfortable.  Was it worth the $95 I spent?  It was.  Going into this, I only had two options:

  1. Spending the $15.99 on the relaxer cream and doing it myself, and running the risk of damaging my hair again.
  2. Going to a professional who was experienced in doing relaxer touch ups and knows what they entail.

Naturally I chose the latter and I am glad I did.

Hair: Going to Sulfate-Free Shampoos and Conditioners

Hey, all you hairlistas out there.  So, guess what — I am [once again] changing my hair regimen.  Thanks to all the articles I have been coming across.  And since the death of my husband I have been focusing more on the health of mine and my daughter’s hair.  And now living in a state with real seasons, we have to make sure we are doing what we can to make sure we are using products that work to strengthen our hair and protect against extreme weather.

I wear relaxers.  After reading different articles about sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners that have no parabens, mineral oil, or other harsh chemicals.  My hair had gone through a series of stressful events.  And it is finally going in the right direction.  And since moving to a new state I took into consideration what living in a different climate would be like and if it would impact my hair and if so, on what level.

Carols Daughter 11.15.17Thinking that as much as I really like using Dove’s Intense Repair shampoo and conditioner, I started looking more at chemical free products and what roles the properties played in promoting healthy hair.  Yes, it meant changing up my regimen again.

Since Carol’s Daughter aired on HSN last week, the Monoi Repairing Shampoo and Conditioner was featured and it is sulfate-free, containing no harsh chemicals, I thought this was worth spending the money on in the efforts of moving our hair in a healthier direction.  This product is free of parabens, petroleum, has no mineral oil, is sulfate-free, and has no artificial colors.  It works well on natural hair, colored hair, and relaxed hair.

So, what is sulfate?  It is the chemical that is used to help in the sudsing of shampoos.  It is also known to be the direct cause of damaging hair and causing frizzing of the hair.  Sulfates are also used in cleaning ingredients.  The more I read up on sulfates the more I realized that as much as I love Dove, the more I realized that if I wanted to up my game in the care of our hair I need to change up how we have been taking care of our hair.  When my daughter came to me and said, “nothing that I have been using seems to be working on helping my hair grow.”  That in itself was enough for me to research various products to see what works well.

Amla Hair OilI brought some oil with me that I was using prior to my hair weaves because it helped with  keeping my hair from shedding.  And because my daughter wears her hair natural — no heat whatsoever, no chemicals — I thought this would be ideal for her.  The only thing is a little goes a long way because too much use of this oil can cause a major buildup and can weigh heavy.

This is a good oil, but much more needed to be done and I needed to find what could aid in long term care.

I did order the Monoi duo shampoo and conditioner in the super sized.  It is designed to start working in the first use, and because this is the first time I’ve tried Carol’s Daughter I am interested in seeing how well it does.

28DaysIn the meantime, while waiting for the Carol’s Daughter shampoo and conditioner to arrive I looked into other sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners.  My daughter pointed out the Shea Moisture Black Jamaican Castor Oil Strengthen & Grow shampoo and conditioner we picked up from Wal-Mart.  This was a good buy!!! 🙂

Photo from 28 Days Beauty.

Using the Shea Moisture Black Jamaican Castor Oil Strengthen & Grow shampoo and conditioner, right away I could tell the difference.  My hair did not have that super hard feeling after I blow dried it that I would have when I used my Dove Intense Repair shampoo and conditioner.  It was not full of heavy fragrance, my scalp was clean, and there was no shedding.  That, to me, solidified the reason why I needed to get away from chemically induced products and go with shampoos and conditioners free of those very chemicals, especially with wearing a relaxer, color, and cellophanes.

When you are considering breaking your normal routine you have to think about the extent of how far you will go to achieve healthy hair especially if you are coming from having damaged hair.  In my case it has been a number of situations such as an unwanted hair cut, damaged hair due to aggressive coloring, over processing, neglect relaxer upkeep, and an abundance of stress during the months of stress I experience when my husband was ill before his passing.

For my daughter it has been poor hair processing, unnecessary perming, split ends, and unnecessary cutting. We both have suffered damaged hair in the last few years and now that time has passed, the stress is behind us, we can now get back on the road to doing what we need to do to strengthen and grow our hair.

It has been a time of healing for me.  But the journey continues in our efforts to break away from what our normal regimen has been.

Hair 11.15.17So, the Carol’s Daughter shampoo and conditioner had arrived. My daughter used it right after it arrived and right away noticed how soft her hair was.  It was not loaded with a lot of fragrance.  When I got home later that evening I used it as well.  I was impressed by how easy it was to detangle my hair, how clean my scalp felt, and how soft it felt even after I blow dried it.  I liked it, too, because it was not over burdened with fragrance.  I believe the design of this products mostly focuses on promoting the long-term health of your hair rather than how good it smells.  And this is clearly something you have to think about.  Do you want your hair to smell good or do you want it to look healthy?  Think about it.

Now that I have ventured into a new regimen, to continue I need to consider using chemical free leave in conditioners and moisturizers and natural oils.

Changing a regimen there is a lot to think about and the money factor because from what I am seeing it can be pricey.  The brief tid-bit articles I read pretty much say the same thing that you get a gentler cleanse.  One blog I came across was from Klassy Kinks.  I like her blog because she really talks about her experience using sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners.

I talk about relaxers a lot.  Any time I come across some useful information I want to pass that information on to my readers.  If you do your own relaxers at home, or if you color your hair at home, you will want to try incorporating sulfate-free products into your hair care system.  Research your product options and see which combinations works best and will help protect against damage.

 

Hair & Health: Best Care for Your Hair From a Simple Point of View

Sometimes simple hair care is best for your hair.  For others it calls for sinking a lot money into hair care.  As a matter of fact since I have been living in another state that does not have an abundance of African American hair salons, I have been pretty much forced back into my old hair regimens to help with the care of my hair.

My Dove Intensive Repair shampoo and conditioner and some oils to get me by.  A trim to keep the ends under control, keep my hair tied up when I go to bed at night, and keep the flat ironing and curling to a minimum.

Hair 10.26.17My hair is getting its length.  I wish my husband was here to see it.  He was saying before, “your hair is not growing!” Even though I could see the progress before he got sick.  It wasn’t until after he got sick that the stress made my hair suffer.  This picture here is about a month and a half after I took out the second weave.  It’s a little frizzy because I had not put any serum in it and I wanted to show how it is doing since the cut a year ago, the damage, the bad trim, and the two weaves.

Yeah….my hair has been through it and now it is time to give it some tender loving care.  Get it back to healthy and beautiful.  You can say I am back on my hair journey full force.

So, what do I do?  Since I do not have the luxury of going to a great hair stylist now I wash my hair every or every other week.  I wash it three to four times (three times is generally enough).  I condition my hair, combing it through to the ends and leave it on for five to ten minutes (I prefer ten minutes). I wash it out toweling my hair dry lightly.  I use a light oil before I blow dry it and then I wait about ten minutes before I press it out or flat ironing it.  It is at night time after I flat iron or press my hair, I put in my serum, comb it through then tie up my hair and style it the next morning.

I trimmed my hair once so far and it is holding up just fine in this new climate.  The air is not as dusty, it is totally green here, and the air is not smoggy.  As I embark on this new journey I hope to track my progress on a regular basis.

Hair: Recovering from Stress Best for the Hair

MrJamesHello all of my hairlistas out there.  It has definitely been a journey.  So, for all of you who do not know my husband passed away July 10, 2017.  From November 2016 to July 2017 it has been a lot to go through.  Watching him decline at a rapid rate with nothing that could really be done to save him was devastating.  But I had friends and family step up to show support and my job who was showed their support in a huge way was tremendous.  He and I were together 21 years married one year….he died six days before our one year wedding anniversary.

He and I had the best last three years we ever had.  It was like we were kids again being in love for the first time.  I miss him greatly.

Hair 07.29.17CSo what have I been up to since then?  Well, it’s been about getting stress free.  Which, let me tell you is no easy job to do.  My hair certainly suffered during his illness which forced me to put it up for a total of four months.  The first time I put it up was a partial weave and that did the job for the most part.  I put it up a second to give my hair a chance to rest from all the pressures of the relaxer, flat ironing, pressing and curling, and combing and brushing.  I am thankful to Tracy, my hair stylist, because she helped me understand my hair and what it was going through.

This was a chance to start the recovery process from all the stress I had been under and for everything I had to go through.  Although the grieving process is still strong because it is over three months since his passing, it is still fresh with me.

The second weave helped me to not focus so much on my hair and what I needed to do with it.  All I had to do was tied it down and get up the next morning and just finger style it how I wanted, and fix the bangs accordingly.  It was during the summer so I mostly styled them in away that would not make me sweat along my forehead.  Of all the styles I’ve had this was my favorite.  I really like the way she put it together incorporating the blonde to give me the streaks in all the right places.  I received a lot of compliments and even got flirted with.  I was even told that the look made me look younger than 50.  I loved that.

Hair 08.12.17The up keep was easy, too.  I saw my hair stylist every other week.  I incorporated the cost into my budget and made it happen except for those days when I had to work over the weekend or other expenses came up and I had to reschedule, but it was often that it happened.  I made it a point to keep my appointments with her because she was the only one in Long Beach who believed in doing cellophanes with relaxers.

It was important to keep the hair washed and conditioned.  I liked this hair because all of the two months I had it, the hair never tangled, never frizzed, and the ends stayed fresh.  I used a little leave in conditioner and serum used for flat ironing that also helped keep the frizz down.  I used my favorite holding spray by Paul Mitchell to keep bangs in check and in place.  It did wonders!!!

It is a sexy look that worked well with all of my work and casual wear.

Hair 09.02.17In traveling, I partially put it up during flight from Long Beach to Portland, OR visiting my daughter, granddaughter and her fiance in Longview, WA.   It was warm there so I pretty much kept it up the entire time I was there.  I gave the pony tail look a flare with feathered back bangs and side feather for a super stylish look.

I would have loved to have kept this look but because I was in the process of  leaving California I had to make a decision of whether or not I want to keep the style or go back to my hair and start fresh and new, especially with having no hair stylist in place in WA.

It was a hard decision to have to make, but at the end of the day, I was starting new and starting over, so I ultimately decided to let the style go.  I knew what I was headed for and was ready to take that leap to see how well my hair would do without Tracy.

I was surprised at how much my had grown since putting it up all that time.  It certainly helped and her recommendations were dead on with how it would help and what the ultimately outcome would be.

Hair 09.09.17BOne of things you have to keep in mind coming from a weave is what your plans are with your hair and be clear about what you want to do and what your options are…and make sure you are going to be ok with whatever you choose to do.

So, after the second weave, this is my hair now.  I have more bangs than before.  What she did was she dyed my hair completely blonde then took it down with a brown cellophane that gave me a reddish look.

As I washed my hair the cellophane washed out and my hair is actually more blonde now.  It is growing out and the dark roots are out there and the gray is definitely resurfacing.  The question now is do I want to let the gray completely come back or keep it under a color for now?

Well, I have since left California.  It was a good move to have made.  I am not stressed and my hair is bouncing back in a big way.  Just have to work on certain parts but other than my hair is doing much better.  I still have not found a hair stylist but I have been looking since I touched ground here.  I am hopeful I will find a stylist but it may mean having to drive anywhere from a half hour to forty-five minutes to to find a good stylist.

~Stay Tuned.

So far that’s been where my life has been.  I hope to get back to blogging on a more regular basis.  Keep on reading.

 

Hair: When a New Look Boosts Your Spirits

For the last six months I’ve been dealing with a stressful issue that cause part of my hair to break off.  My hair was growing, and the fact that stress was playing a role in my health and the health of my hair was far more than I could I could stand.  So, to have a stylist who understands my despair, she immediately sprung into action looking for ways to take the extra added stress off, and help build up my spirits — to let my hair be one less thing I had to worry about.

Option #1:  She in my last visit to her in May, she put in some tracks to help mask the area of my hair where the hair had broken off.  Although I wanted the length longer, I was able to play around with it to give it a flirty, sexy look.  I received a lot of compliments, and even had some heads turning.  This was the start on the road to figuring out what to do next — if whether or not I was going to get my scheduled relaxer and cellophane touchup.

Option #2:  When your stylist makes you an offer you can’t refuse, you take it!!!  Because that offer may not come around again.  I had texted her after my last visit asking her if we could do the tracks again, this time a little longer and with my relaxer and cellophane touch up.  She then replied and said she had another suggestion and for me to give her a call.  The idea of putting my hair up for a couple of months was finally realized.  I have been wanting to do this for months but my husband has been fighting me on the idea.

The end results was amazing.  I was speechless and couldn’t wait to get out my makeup, put on some eyeliner and lipgloss with my lip liner.  No sooner did I walk out of the salon, I had had all eyes on me.  I couldn’t wait to get home to get my husband’s reaction.  He is totally against the idea of wigs and weaves.  I did made this decision to make myself happy — I did this for me.

The look is everything I wanted.  She did the highlights and put the color in the right places, she relaxed the top of the hair she left out — I came home and trimmed it and put it back in place.  But I couldn’t stop smiling after she finished my hair.  I was feeling good all over.

It’s amazing how a new look can boosts your spirits.  That’s what it did for me.  Took my mind of off the current state of my hair and left me feeling like I could conquer the world.  Too, it’s all about the process of taking care of myself.  A couple of weeks ago I felt myself letting go of myself — my appearance, my looks — was just ready to stop and let it all go, but then I realized that was not who I am and when my hair stylist made me the offer, that sort of turned things around for me.

Stress affects people differently.  With me, it’s my hair and my weight.  Once you get it under control, you can pretty much kick stress out the front door and handle those issues in a more positive manner.  The trick is remembering not to go back to the stressful periods because for some reason or another, it starts the process all over again.  Exercise, eat healthy, stay active and positive.Hair 06.03.17-1

So, for the next couple of months (if not more) this will be my look until the part of my hair that broke off can begin to grow back.  In essence I am giving my hair a rest for a little while, at thes same time having some fun.  Not bad for someone about to turn 50 in two months.

Next up, getting my weight back under control.

I’ll leave you with this — don’t let stress defeat you.  It robs you of your life source, your happiness, and it takes away from who you are.  Defeat stress before it defeats you.

Hair & Health: Stress and the Affect it Has on Your Hair

3D Character with head in hands, sitting on the word StressStress is its own enemy and yet it affects us in many different ways.  More so on our health.  Recently I’ve experienced a traumatic moment in my life.  My husband being ill and being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  Watching the last six months of his health go on a rapid decline — being in the hospital for almost a month recovering from pneumonia — it was enough to stress me out to the point that my weight went up and down, and now a huge part of my hair (that I spent a year growing out) fell back out.   Image from Neurophysicianvikram.com  

I decided to look up information on just how stress affects your hair and if there is a connection between stress and hair loss.  Where at first I could not find no real scientific explanation connecting the two, I later did find that it has been said that stress caused by extreme circumstances that can be the cause of sudden hair loss.  However, removing the cause of that stress, relaxing your mind, body and spirit, can be the result of your hair beginning to grow back.

“Stress can cause many conditions that lead to hair loss. These include: Alopecia Areata – Sudden loss of large clumps of hair in areas around your scalp. Telogen Effluvium – This is a condition where more hairs than normal prepare to fall out.”

Calm Clinic

And this is if sudden hair loss is related to anxiety, which mine very well could be.  I mean how could I go from one moment my hair growing to the next minute it’s falling out in chunks?  It wasn’t addressed right away by my hair stylist.  I had to point it out to her in order for her to identify the issue as being stress related.  Consider the facts.  What is making you stress out?  How are you dealing with that stress?  What are your vices to relieve that stress?

The best ways to clear your mind and eliminate the cause of the stress is to occupy yourself with things you enjoy doing.  Whether it is riding a bike, taking long walks, getting involved in hobbies — whatever the case may be — a stress reliever is what we all need to release tension, take our minds off whatever it is that is causing us stress, and finding ways to not focus so much attention on it.

This is where my hair is now.  Like I went backwards, but after talking with my hair stylist, we concluded that with the health of my husband, his hospitalization, and the move the stress of it all was more than overwhelming and could have been prevented had I not had to miss my one hair appointment.  The back and right side seem to be holding up well…it is just the rest of my hair that took a back seat.

Amla Hair OilI am taking steps to reverse this setback by changing my regimen to prevent further hair loss and damage.  I was told about Amla Oil.  When I was first introduced to it I went to Black Girl With Long Hair to read what she had to say about the oil.  The article was written back in 2013, but she presents some good uses for using Amla Oil.  It is a product most purchased in Indian stores, but I found it on Amazon, thanks to a friend of mind.   And I got it for under $9.00.

How I used it was I first massaged the oil into my hair.  Focusing on the most affected area of my hair…the left side and my bangs, and the front right edge of my hair.  I did this for two days.  Then I mixed it with my shea butter leave in conditioner and wore my hair up for a week.  Keeping my hair hydrated as much as possible, and not using any heat.  This made a huge difference.  Where there was no growth I started noticing small amounts of new growth.

TresemmeTresemme has a repair and protect formula that I managed to get a sample of the shampoo and conditioner through a magazine one of our friends gave me.  I used it last night when I washed my hair.  Afterwards, I used the Amla oil to massage my scalp, and on my bangs and the areas affected by the hair loss and breakage.  I ran a little throuhout the rest of my hair, and avoid raking a comb through my hair throughout the day.  I have to say that my hair looked and felt healthy.  But this does mean I have to wait on my next relaxer touch up because I do not want the left side of my hair damaged anymore than what it is.  I will get my color cellophane again, but until my hair starts to improve again.

The idea that stress can have a close association with hair and how it is affected is something to think about, and to determine if whether or not you have vices to help keep you grounded and avoid the impact it can have on your hair, weight, and overall health.

Take back control of your hair.  Find stress relievers that will keep you relaxed, calm, and help you deal with what it is that is stressing you out.  For me, it’s learning how to laugh through the pain with my husband.  Remember the good times, and keep him from feeling depressed by coming up with things to take his mind off of what he’s going through which will help me take my mind off of it as well.  Look forward to better and happier days to come rather than brace for the darker days ahead.

In closing, if you find yourself stressing for any length of time, don’t claim it.  Go to your vices and if possible eliminate it or find better ways to deal with it.  Your hair will thank you.

 

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