Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Is this a home-made hair care product list....or a grocery list?

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Coconut Oil
Aloe Vera Gel and Juice
Chamomile tea
marshmallow root
horsetail herb
mayonnaise (ya'll know I can't stand the taste of mayo)

You would think that I was preparing to cook up some stuff....but no this is part of my home-made hair care shopping list. I swear I have become addicted to making my own products and have quickly become and ingredient junkie, instead of a product junkie. I really need to stop hanging out over at Nappturality, they are just a bunch of enablers :)

But I must say, my hair...including the raggly relaxed ends are loving the natural ingredients.

My favorite is my "Good for your body from head to toe" Moisturizer.

Shea Butter
Coconut Oil (the solid kind)
Sweet Almond Oil
Caster Oil
Grapeseed Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Patchuli e.o.
Tea Tree e.o.
Aloe Vera Gel

I don't measure anything so each time it's a little different. I start by whipping the shea butter and little coconut oil together. Add a little of the liquid oils until you get a consistency you like. Sometimes I like a thick cream, other times I like it more lotion-like. Add your essential oils. My relaxed hair doesn't like glycerin or aloe Vera gel too much when it is dry, so I reserve those for deep conditioning days.

When I get out of the shower, I put this moisturizer on from head to foot....literally. On hair washing day, I use the same mixture with a little cholesterol conditioner and add glycerin and aloe Vera gel. Put it on my hair, wrap in plastic wrap, put on a skull cap and then wrap in a big fluffy towel and let it sit for at least 2 hours. This past weekend, I decided to condition overnight....and my did my hair love it. My hair is still moisturized, so I haven't had to add the concoction to my dry hair yet. Will probably do it tonight since it has been 4 days now.

I have started using Moe's Hair Growth Oil. (Moe is da bomb. Her MoeSheAloe recipe is all the rave.) Again, my relaxed hair just doesn't like Aloe Vera, so if I do a mid-week wash, I use this a quick conditioner. Can't wait until I'm fully natural to use it.)
Ok, went of on a little tangent there, but I'm not doing any challenges with the growth oil, since I am still doing mini-cuts every other month when the mood hits me. Once I do the BC, I'll porbably join in on one.

The ladies over at Nappturality is great about sharing their hair care recipes, they are all over the forums, but there is a special section for them. Home-made Hair Care Products. Check it you, your hair will love you for it. Ta-ta for now.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Hand-in-fro Disease.....

Man do I have a bad case of it...plus I think it's contagious.

So, I'm just sitting here minding my own business when I feel these fingers running through and massaging my naps. Well, I've got both keys on the keyboard, so how the hell is that possible...did I sprout another arm or something. I look around and a friend of mine (he's got this stealthy way of sneaking up and catching you un-aware) is standing there with his hand buried deep in my faux fro. He grins and says he loves how soft my hair is and can't keep his hands out of it since the first I let him touch my naps.

Well you know the massage was feeling good, so no way am I gonna stop him. But I totally understand where he is coming from. I suffer badly from hand-in-fro disease and have to mentally reprimand myself to keep my hands out of my faux fro (still gots lots of that blasted relaxer on the ends, so I can't claim to have a true fro).

When I got over those first "creamy crack" joneses at the sight of my new growth and really touched and played with the newly developing crinkly texture, I was helplessly hooked. I was constantly playing with the newly forming coils I was finding all over my head. I would do it at my desk, in the car, laying on the couch and watching tv....pretty much anywhere. Addicted for sure.

I did think I was completely and totally nuts...not far from the truth anyways. But then I learned from other nappturals, that this was actually quite common in the nappy world and it had an actually name....HAND-IN-FRO. Now how 'bout that!

Hand-in-fro is the uncontrollable desire to constantly play with the beautiful, nappy texture of one's hair. I can't think of a time when I was fully relaxed, that I wanted to play in my hair.....shoot getting that way cost way too much and that style needed to last. Plus, even though I have always had soft hair....I don't remember it being this soft while relaxed. But then, can anything that has been beat straight with harsh chemicals be truly soft? {Kicks soapbox back under desk}.

Hand-in-fro is not necessarily a good thing. Playing with hair that much can only lead to breakage. I've been lucky so far, that I haven't caused breakage at that fragile place where the fried relaxed hair meets my luxurious kinky coily naps.

Oh, I did mention that it was contagious too, huh. Well we have been taught that nappy hair is brittle, course and dry. Well I have certainly been re-educated. Properly cared for nappy hair is soft, well moisturized without being greasy (you can't fry fish in my hair anymore), and just all around healthy in general. Once folks get a feel of healthy nappy hair, they love it. (I know, I'm always sticking my hands in my Moms fro). Now don't get me wrong, don't just walk up on the street and stick your hands in my hair....it would be in your best interest to actually know me and know whether or not I'd give you rights to do this without asking. I am not totally opposed to strangers asking, if they are polite about doing it.....for the most part anyway.

I have done really well while typing this. Hand-in-fro only twice.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Oh my aching arms!

So I did my first straw set this weekend. OMG, I can finally say I am thankful for fine, thin hair. It took me hours to do this....if I hand thick hair, I'd probably still be setting in on the staws. I'd wondered why hair dressers charged so damned much to do this style....well now I can certainly understand.

I love the out-come. Check up a close up of my avatar to see a better picture of the set.

I was afraid it would be super fuzzy, so I broke my no heat rule and sat under the dryer for 30 minutes on the coolest settings. Next time I'll try no heat at all and I think it will be fine.

Not sure how often I'll wear this style since it takes so long to do, but i can guarantee you will see it again. Later.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Co-washing? Hmmmm....does that really clean your hair?

So this past weekend,I did my first co-wash. Co-washing simply means you use conditioner to wash the hair. By co-washing, you avoid the harsh "moisture stripping" that goes along with washing the hair with shampoo.

"But isn't your hair still dirty with just using conditioner instead of lathering up with shampoo?"

Actually no. Most of what you are washing from your hair anyway is building from the 50 million products you spritz, spray and slather on between washings...oh yeah, don't forget fried on if you apply direct heat will using these products. If you workout, sweat is pretty much washed out of your hair with just rinsing anyway.

Since I decided to go natural, I don't use many products on my hair. After washing, I use a light leave in conditioner. For roller setting, I use a little Organics Loc and Twist Gel. Throughout the week, I use shea butter...not sure if this is the best thing for moisturizing (still learning about my hair so we'll see.) This means I have very little buildup...and since I'm still not working out the way I should (that's a whole other issue), I'm obviously not having to wash out lots of sweat.

Unless you are in an environment that lots of pollutants are constantly settling in your hair (but I think you should be more concerned about your lungs at that point) or you are just out wallowing in mud, co-washing really should be enough to clean the hair. If I find my hair seems to have some buildup that co-washing is not getting rid of, I'll do a quick shampoo just to break up the buildup. But then if I'm getting buildup, I really need to find out what is leaving it and stop using that product.

Friday, October 5, 2007

You letting your perm grow out....girl I didn't know you had good hair and stuff.

{Sigh} This was a comment made by a sista to me today. When are we going to get over this concept of what textures make hair good vs bad?

For the record I think good hair is any hair that is on your head that is healthy, properly moisturized (and that is moisturized not greased like you are planning to fry chicken later), not split from end to root...or even worse on the floor not because you cut it but because it is shedding or breaking off.

Now we all know where this self hatred of our coily, kinky and yes "nappy" hair began. However we have to take responsibility for continuing to feed the monster. I admit I've done no differently than most and viewed different textures as good and bad. But years ago, I learned that good hair is not a texture...it is healthy hair in any form.

Hey I sound really deep now don't I? LOL. But those of you who know me, know I have my own opinions and to hell with anyone who doesn't like them because it doesn't follow the masses into the easy way of thinking. Simply put, if you don't want to hear what I have to say...ya don't have to read my blog. 'nuf said bout that.

Ok, getting off my soapbox now. Again I am not anti-relaxer....it's just for me at this point in my life, my hair and scalp are anti-relaxer and since I want them both to be happy and stay together for a long time to come, that's what I'm going with. Wish I had not been stubborn and really listened to them before. I got the impression that this sista was saying that unless you have what is considered "good hair" among the masses then you need a relaxer. We have got to get out of this way of thinking. How, I don't know. But somehow we have got to come to terms with this self-hatred of our hair.

Good hair in our community has always meant straight or nearly straight or with a slight wave...but not too wavy, anything else could to easily bump up against being that nasty nappy hair we seem to hate. Oh yeah, if it ain't long, then some folks might also take you out of the good hair category if you are a female. But we also have all these hair type categories, 3b, 4a, xyz or whatever. And this can further complicate the fight. And whoooweee....they're have been some heated ones over hair typing.

Oh, let's talk about that baby hair thing too. How is it that a woman in her 40's has baby hair????? Uh, sorry sista, you ain't been a baby in....30-something years....you don't have baby hair. Simple as that.

Ooops {slides soapbox with foot under the desk} Got distracted with some more ranting...but that baby hair thing is a pet peeve with me.

So I'm gonna get out off here before I find something else to rant about.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Comments modification

My bad, I have changed the setting so that you can add comments if ya want to. Thanks for letting me know. You won't have to sign of for a blogger account if ya don't want to.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Ahhhhh.....is that new growth I see????

About 2-3 months ago, I accidentally started going natural.

"Uh, going natural...what the heck is she talking about?"

Well if you have African-American hair that has been "fried, dyed and laid to the side", you know where I'm coming from. Since I was 12 or so, I have been getting my hair relaxed to get that fresh bone straight look. These relaxer are chemicals and you know if they are strong enough to permanently straighten hair, they can't be good for the hair or scalp.

(Before I go any farther, let me just say that, I am not, nor do I ever plan to be come some natural hair purist breathing fire on anyone that chooses to uses relaxers. At some point in time in the future, I may decide to go back to relaxers. But for me, at this time, I need to get my hair and scalp healthy...and I just don't think I can do that, getting my hair and scalp burned up with the creamy white fire in a jar.)

Ok, where was I before that mini disclaimer. Oh....all of the years of having my hair permanently straightened, all of the heat and all of the many, many, many not so good for your hair products I have used have taken a toll on my hair, but even more importantly, my scalp.

While I have always had fine hair, it has never been this thin. There may be some other underlying causes (going to see a dermatologist) but I think what I've been doing to my scalp all these years has a lot to do with it.

So, how did I end up on this journey to natural hair. My Mom, an aunt, a cousin and a friend of mine have all gone natural and I think most have been that way for about a year or more. I've been tempted to do it, but didn't want to take the time to care for my natural hair...let face it relaxed hair seems to be more convenient.

Around the beginning of July, I was do for a retouch.....but I could not stop rubbing my scalp because of itching...rubbing and that stupid hitting we do to relive the itch. (Why do we do that, it really doesn't stop the itch, does it?) If you've ever been relaxed and made the mistake of scratching even a little bit, ya know the creamy white fire and a scratched scalp should never, never, never meet. The blazing pain you get is like no other and that damned Seabreeze really does not help.

ell a week rolls by, then another week and another and the scratching continues. About this time I'm in a "new growth panic". You know new growth is the enemy to a sleek relaxed look.

There were no huge dandruff flakes or irritated scalp, just itching. Weeks turned into a month turned into two and two turned into 3. Before I knew it I was no longer having the "new growth" joneses. OMG I think I'm finally off the "creamy crack"! I was actually anxious to see more new growth. My Mom has got this sweet tiny tiny kinky coil texture....{Sigh} I don't think I have that texture, not sure I have a little hope, but I don't think it's in the cards for me. I may have enough new grow that someone can look after a fresh was and tell me what they think it may be.

I'm not sure what has happened to me in the past couple of years, I used to be quick to have hair cut to the bare minimum, but I've noticed I've been more reluctant to give up all my tresses. Not that I have long hair, I usually keep it just a little longer than chin length, then I'm off to have it chopped off some. Maybe it is the thinning that has me afraid to have it hacked off.

I decided to transition a few months before going for the Big Chop and having the rest of the relaxed tresses hacked off. I plan to go about 7 to 9 months before the BC. I had 2" cut off this weekened...I'd planned only to to 1/2 to 1 inch a month, but the more beautiful new growth I see, the more relaxed stuff I want gone.

Right now after a gentle wash...oh yeah, I've learned that I, like most African-American women are over-washing our hair. (I'll get to that in a later entry.) I am using Aphogee's Evening Primrose Deep Moisture Shampoo and a deep Cholesterol Conditioner with Shea butter (can't remember the brand but will get it when I go home.) and olive oil.

I shampoo once, twice at the most depending on how much working out I've done over the week. (Note: If I a have a serious workout week, then I do wash twice a week, hate doing this because the whole wash and set thing takes hours.) Then I slather on the conditioner and add some olive oil mostly over the top of the hair to seal in the conditioner. I don't get under the dryer, instead I keep this in for a couple of hours. After rinsing, I throw on a light leave-in conditioner. Then I two strand twist my hair into tiny sections and spiral set them on small perm rods. I use Organics Loc and Twist Gel, only because the relaxed hair doesn't seem to hold up as well without some help. I jump under the dryer for about 30 minutes. Then let my hair finish air drying for a few hours or overnight. If I'm not going anywhere for a while the next day, I'll take the rods out but leave the twists as is. When I'm ready to style, I use some shea butter and gently separate the twists. It makes a cute curly fro.

This is what I plan to do for the duration of my transition.