Monday, November 2, 2009

Working it out Fro-tastically! Can you dig it?

For Halloween, I went to a 70's party and decided I'd go as a fashionably fly sista heading to the skating rink. Now I don't know about you, but we LIVED to go skating. We went every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and any other special day during the week that might have gotten thrown in.

I turned 10 in 1980...but I spent the previous years anticipating being a teenager and being fly like my older cousins and their friends. But when the 80's rolled around, our dress changed. I was able to be cool in my neon, lace, slouching shirts, 80's gear, but it wasn't the same flyness the 70's wear held.

I was excited as I sat down making the pom-poms for my skates for the party...and I remember the days when I was younger and we'd make pom-poms to match our outfits. Boy I miss those days.

All week I'd been preparing my hair to do a fro. I had several failed attempts before. My hair won't fro like one of those beautiful Big Ass Afros from the 70's.
I definitely was not willing to do a blow out with heat to achieve it...I'd buy a fro wig first. A fellow natural told me to keep my hair stretching in twist-outs and not to wash my hair. Then the day of, us a deman on small sections and concentrate on the ends. I sprayed each section with a glycerin/water/oil mix and then brushed that section. Before you know it...I'd achieved a BAA. So fresh, so fly.
(Er..side note....I've got that shrinky-dinky hair, so the BAA morphed into a MAA...but that was ok, it was still perfectly rounded and so fresh.)

Buuuut....when I saw the tiny broken ends all over the place...I said never, never, never again. My hair will probably be mad at me for a minute. Plus I'd sprinkled purple glitter in my hair....and damn, I'm still trying to get that mess out.

Anyway. I was please with the out come, all night folks kept telling me I looked like I'd just ripped open a time portal and stepped right out of the 70's. Nothing fake looking about me. I didn't get the wear the skates...(insurance concerns by the event's host and whatnot)...but that was cool. I'd talked to him about it before so I knew the deal going in. So I spent part of the time standing posing like I was a model in Ebony or Jet from the 70's....oh how I love that decade.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I think I may be going through a mini-hair crises...all self induced

I've got the hair breakage under control and now seem to be back in balance with between my moisture and protein. My hair is doing is thang no issues.....but hold up, not so fast. I just couldn't be happy, I just have to go and play freakin' Russian Roulette with my precious naps....I flat ironed. Not a bone straight flat iron, but still applied heat to my thriving hair.

So what had happened was...{you know anytime someone says that they are telling a lie or trying to spin the tale in their favor}. Anyway, what had happened was, after the breakage, I decided I needed a good trim. I still have little trust for hair dressers, so I wanted to know what I was working with before turning my head over and asking for a trim and ending up with 3 or more inches on the ground.

I did stretch and band my hair, but I swear my hair still shrinks about 90%...ok may less, but in my mind it's 90%. For the most part, it's all good with me, I really do luv my shrinkage. I concluded that the only way for me to really get a good look was with....ugh....heat. But no way in Hell was I going to a hair dresser and allow them to put a 1000 degree straightening comb, blow dryer, flat iron, etc, in my head. And being that I no longer owned any heated hair tools, I needed to either borrow or buy one. Most folks I know have them hot as hell gold-whatchamacallits flat irons. Uh-uh not gonna happen.

So I started looking around for some to buy. Long story short after lots of research and comparison I decided on the Maxiglide. $80 frigging bucks for a flat iron...sheesh....I coulda bought some fly shoes instead.

Let the madness began. I had these things about 2 weeks, returning them to the store at least once before I was brave enough to go through with it. Made sure my hair was clarified, well conditioned, moisturized and stretched before proceeding. Used Chi Iron Guard Thermal Protection and kept the setting around 3 or 4 (3 on the front of my head with is finer and funky, sensitive acting and 4 on the thicker more robust back of my hair).

Oh...I do have to admit that I did a pretest a small section a few days before. I would rather have had a small section of hair that did not revert, than have a whole head of damaged hair.

Again, my hair was nowhere near bone straight, but it was straight enough for me to do a good examination of damage from the breakage. It was not as bad as I thought. I decided to nix the hair dresser and do my own trim. I did knock off about an inch of hair, but that just helped to eliminate more of those chemically dyed ends I've been slowing growing out.

Now here is the funny I have no longer have a clue what to do with straight or semi-straight hair in this case. Funny huh. I spent 27 years of my life with straight relaxed hair and about 2 years (if you count transitioning) not sporting straight's easy to un-learn old habits, isn't it. On the first day I wore it poofed around my head for a hot minute before, I pulled it up into a high puff like poof. That night I did flat twists and wore twist out the 2nd day. By that evening I was in the shower washing (ugh...had to use shampoo again that soon to get that thermal protectant broken down) and deep conditioning.

Whew...the hair revered into it's tiny coily nappy texture. I was in a panic that it wouldn't.

Now, I still don't advocate heat on a regular basis or at high temperatures. And I won't be subjecting mine anytime soon. (Giving that expensive ass Maxiglide to my friends daughter. She is relaxed and flat irons and won't be stopping anytime soon, but I want her to do less damage to her hair if possible. I definitely hadn't planned to spend this much on her for her birthday, but when I mentioned I was buying these she squealed and said she's been wishing for one too. Happy birthday Diva)

I was way too nervous through this whole process...a self-induced hair crisis. Will I flat iron, maybe, honestly I don't know, but it won't be anytime soon.

I will say this, it is still Russian Roulette, if you are not very very very careful, you can do some serious damage to your hair. Proceed with caution.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Back to the basics

Breakage....ugh. I started seeing shorter pieces of hair while co-washing and was like "What's up with that?" Was it just shorter hair shedding. Nope it was "BREAKAGE!" Oh snap...what have I done to my hair to start this?

So, I didn't panic. Didn't jump into starting some miracle treatment to stop the breakage.

I took a deep breadth and started to review what I'd been doing over the past few months that may be the cause (I really don't know when the breakage started) I made a list...for real y'all...I made a list of products, washing methods, any manipulations I was doing, etc.

I guess I should interject here that I am a troubleshooter by nature. My IT career surrounds troubleshooting as well. Even in my arts and crafts creations, when something doesn't go quite as troubleshooting instincts kick in.

Anyway, this is what my list looked like
Conditioners for co-washes:
Suave Humectant (frequently used)
Suave Healthy Curls (moderately used)
Suave Naturals Tropical coconut (frequently used)
Herbal Essence Hello Hydration (frequently used)
Herbal Essence Totally Twisted (frequently used)
Aussie Moist (moderately used)
Organix Coconut Milk (rarely used)
Organix Mocha Express (rarely used)
Giovanni 50/50 (moderately used)**
Yes to Cucumbers (rarely used) (new player on the block)**
Trader Joe's Nourish Spa (new player on the block)**
Pantene Curls (frequently used)

Conditioners for deep conditioning:
Caramel Treatment (rarely used)
Aubrey Organics (moderately used) (new player on the block)**
Yes to Carrots Hair Mask (rarely used) (new player on the block)**
Homemade Shea butter mix with Lustrasilk Shea Butter Cholesterol Plus

Giovanni 50/50
Trader Joe's Nourish Spa *
Liquid Castille soap mixed with Suave tropical coconut *

Bentonite Clay *
Ayurvedic Tea (Aritha, Alma and Shikakai) (rarely used)

Kinky Curly Custard (moderately used)
Knot Today (moderately used)

Homemade shea butter treatment (moderately used)
Homeade leave in (frequently used)
Shea's Curly Pudding (homemade product)(Frequently used)**

Henna treatments (monthly) *

Manipulations etc:
Shower detangling
nightly twisting *
HIF disease....not as bad as it used to be, but it's still there
Washing hair loose
Sleeping with hair loose

Previously chemically dyed hair....however the breakage is much further down the shaft the dyed ends. (Note: no split ends either, so that doesn't seem to be a factor)

(Frequently = more than 3 times a week)
(Moderately = 1 to 3 times a week)
(Rarely = less than once a week, usually once every two weeks or even less than that)

The '*' and '**' items are the first ones I started with since they were pretty new to my routines.

These were on the top of my list to address first.
1. Protein conditioners
2. Nightly twisiting
3. Henna treatments

1. I decided to reduce the number of conditions with protein products for the time being. I stopped using the Organix, Giovanni, Trader Joe's, Yes to Cucumbers and Tomatoes and the Aubrey's Organics.

2. To avoid those single strand knots that plague tightly coiled hair, I decided to do large twists at night to reduced the amount of knotting. This is far more manipulation than I've done since going natural.

3. Henna treatments. Since it's a protein itself, I'm already treading a thing line of having a protein overload. I'd been doing these monthly with no adverse affects. However one month I hennaed and then did a bentonite clay treatment 2 or 3 weeks later.

My breakage has stopped. I am not sure of the exact cause, however I am leaning towards doing that henna and bentonite clay treatment so close together plus the over use of protein heavy conditioners.

I will slowly re-introduce those things I eliminated. Actually, I don't expect the breakage to re-occur. But if it does, hopefully I will be able to better pinpoint what went wrong.

My point in posting this long blog entry. Well it is documentation for myself, but to also let folks know that when you have a hair crisis....don't jump in and start adding other products in that may make the problems worse. Slow down, review what you've been doing and start eliminating things first to see if the problem goes away.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Bye, bye dry hair.

I've had to cut off about 1 1/2 to 2 inches of hair due to dryness from the permanent dye I used back in April. Yep, dryness. I know in an earlier post, I said I didn't have any problems with dryness after dying my hair. the weeks passed by, my ends were feeling funkier and funkier. I did try a little dusting, but farther up the hair shaft felt gross. And when I compared the dyed hair to the newly growing un-dyed hair, there was a big difference. You can see the difference as clear as day in this picture.

I knew I had to cut my hair, there was no other healthy way to fix the ends. The question was, how much do I cut. I'm not overly obsessed with length, but I really didn't want to do a BC all over again. so in December, I decided to cut half of the dyed part off and then cut the rest off later.

My hair feels so much better now. I've got about another 1 to 1 1/2 inches of dyed hair that need to go. I'm thinking I'll free myself of those around April or May.

I'm so glad I learned this lesson early on. My hair does not like the harshness of chemical dyes. Didn't like it when it was relaxed either.

So now, I'm a henna fiend. And I learned from other naturals to use coffee or espresso tone down the harsh brassy orange my gray hairs turn. I'm loving the color of my gray now. The henna has put this protective coating around my strands and my hair looks so much thicker....loving it!

No words needed...I'm still deeply addicted