Sunday, 6 November 2016

MY ADVICE TO ANYONE SEEKING TO GROW OUT THEIR NATURAL HAIR

Hi All!!!

I  have had a few friends and family tell me they were considering going natural, Now although i am
 usually excited to hear this,  I never fail to ask the question why?

You know, the "why" is always important especially when the evil days of detangling come (lol, i don't mean to scare you).  But seriously, I always advice any one considering going natural to get informed. Where exactly do you get information?  I actually started out randomly searching natural hair blogs, YouTube videos ( oh my gosh!!!! ).Lets not talk about my addiction to You Tube, agreed?  Great!!

 I am basically going to ramble about things i have learnt while stumbling along on this journey. Now don't get overwhelmed, stay with me, I have got you.


Scalp and Hair needs to be Cleansed

It is important to let your scalp breathe and be free from residue.(That's it, nothing profound, lol)


What I look out for:

Sodium Laurel Sulfate(SLS)  free shampoo's : SLS overly strips curly hair of natural oils leaving it sad, dry, brittle and dull. Now,  i do not know about you but ain't no body got time for that. SLS is also a suspect for numerous health related and irritation reasons.

Things I have tried 

In no particular order i have tried the following scalp cleansing methods:



  • Co-Washing - Co-washing simply means washing your hair with conditioner, some conditioners left my scalp  really itchy but co-washing is one of the ways to wash hair without overly stripping your natural oils.
  •  Apple cider vinegar(ACV) diluted in water: I don't have much to say about this, but it seemed to work pretty well but i do miss the sudsy feel of a shampoo.
  • Bentonite Clay: Bentonite clay mixed with ACV  is great as a face mask and also great for giving your hair a thorough cleanse, it left my hair feeling soft and super defined. Application of the clay can be a bit messy and it can be rather difficult to get out of the scalp completely.
  • SLS Free Shampoo: Due to my current use of coconut oil as a detangling and conditioning treatment before washing my hair, my hair feels very oily after wash days so am going to try using an SLS Free shampoo.
  • Water Washing: Yep! you read right,  washing with just water. I did this for a while to allow my natural oils(sebum) coat my hair, it was pretty great actually but i was not  patient enough to finger detangle my hair  at the time which the method encouraged so... my hair clumped like crazy not the curly bouncy clumps but stringy and straight looking. (hmm... now that i think of it i might actually have been forming dread locks unconsciously).



 How often should I wash my hair? I imagine you screaming; well it depends on you.  Do you use a lot of products? Do you exercise daily? Do you oil your scalp etc You get the point right?

For me i have gone through phases where i washed my hair weekly, every three days and even monthly(yes! hard choices had to be made , Graduate school is no joke.) . Now i am back to weekly hair washing because my hair just thrives better when i wash my hair weekly, fewer tangles, hair hardly gets dry and all that good stuff naturals want.



Hair needs to be moisturized

I would like to think of moisturizing my hair as watering a plant and you can't water a plant without water can you? Personally i gave up on leave in conditioners because i started becoming overwhelmed with the whole hair care process, too many steps, spending so much money, so i stopped. Another reason is that  since i wash my hair weekly i feel my hair is just fine.

 Here is what i do, On wash days while my hair is still damp, I just seal my hair with my sheabutter and coconut oil mix. Then if i need a refresher within the week i just lightly spritz my hair with water and then seal with my sheabutter and coconut oil mix. That's all.



Hair needs to be strengthened

I refer to this step as a routine check up. Deep conditioning and protein treatment have been life savers for my hair , don't fret i will tell you what they are:

 Deep conditioning  Is an intense conditioning treatment designed to moisturize the hair. It is  either done with store both conditioners made specifically for that purpose or food based concoctions(avocado, banana, honey, eggs, yogurt, mayonnaise etc ) usually under heated conditions(heating caps, warm towels, dryers, etc) for long periods of time, am talking ranging from 30 mins to even overnight treatments. These could be done monthly or each wash day depending on how long you like your wash day to last.  Warning: be careful not to start a fire with your towel in the microwave, i did that, lol.

Protein Treatments are similar to deep-conditioning treatments but a protein based conditioner or food is used and its main purpose is to strengthen the hair. Why would you need this? Fun fact, hair is made up of 90% protein. What?!!
 So due to pollution, exposure to sun and chemicals over time hair experiences protein degradation or loss, living your hair lifeless, limp, brittle and prone to breakage. I usually do this once a month with either  concoctions such as egg yolks, coconut oil  and conditioner mix or just store bought protein conditioners, am currently using Aubrey organics glycogen protein balancing conditioner.


With conditioners i tend to watch out for parabens and silicons .I avoid  parabens for health reasons some  silicon container conditioners don't rinse out well with just water and constant use leads to build up of products on the hair which could lead to dryness.


Hair needs to be protected

Protect hair at night while you sleep either with a satin/silk bonnet, satin/silk scarf, or satin pillow case.

Protective and Low manipulation styles: hair styles that are edge friendly(no tight braids), and keep you from pulling and tugging at your hair everyday, this could be braids, weaves, wigs, simple updos, buns etc Just keep your ends protected.



Other things you may stumble on, along your way

Hair typing!!! While i think its important to know your hair type so as to enable you better care for it, i do not think it should be belabored. you probably have different textures all over your head any way. Get to know your hair and love it. i tell you texture denial and coverting other peoples hair texture is real.

Defined Curl Obsession!! Oh Lord, don't get me started on this, when i first started growing out my hair, i thought my hair will be defined and curled like Tracy Ellis Ross's hair, boy  was i wrong, the sooner you learn to work with your hair the happier you will be. Figure out your hair strengths and work with those. Do not get played by all the define your curls products. Know that certain styles may look different depending on your hair type and texture.

Product Junky Syndrom!! Buying every new product reviewed and recommended by other naturals, Is a sure way to go bankrupt!! find your basics and stick to them, it doesn't have to cost you a fortune to care for your hair.

Hair length check Obsession!! Measuring your hair every single day is the best way to drive your self crazy. Trust me. You could check twice a year or every other month, don't get sucked into tugging and pulling.

Watch out for Hair Nazis:  there has been a lot of hostility and negativity especially when one tries to break from the current norm of the natural hair community or God forbid when a natural goes back to being relaxed. Just do you and work around what you like.

Every body's hair seems to be growing except mine: I remember watching videos of people's hair  who i felt went natural at the same time as i and wondering why my hair wasn't growing. So it seemed at the time, but the truth is growing out your hair takes time. Except you have a health challenge that affects your hair growth hair or maybe you are going bald naturally,hair is always growing but where i find the problem is "Hair retention" If you find that your hair length remains the same for years I would suggest you reevaluate current practices such as detangling(are you ripping through your hair), is your hair chronically dry, do you protect it while you sleep, do you protect your ends from day to day wear, do you use heat etc  re-evaluate your practices and get back to work.




I guess this is all i have to say for now, Hope this helps.
Have fun with your Journey!!

Vee.


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

28 months of natural hair growth

Hi every one,

Its been ages since i last posted about my hair. A lot has been going on, and is still going on. I have not had time to do an in depth post on the specifics so this is a sketchy  documentation of  my hair  progress so far.

Without any further ado, here is what i have been up to .


Hair Regimens and Styles

In my quest to find a simple regimen that is well suited for my busy student schedule, i have experimented with a few regimens. Am not going into details of my wash day, just the different wash day intervals i tried and a general over view of what i have been doing style wise.

Mini Mini twists  

I tried spacing my wash day for a month and my choice of style was mini twist which lasted for two (2) months.

Pros

  • Easy and versatile styling
  • spent less than 10 mins on my hair each day (thinking about hair can be so tiresome at times, thank you mini twists for the break.)
  • retained some length
Con

OMG!!!!! hands down, my number one and only con  for this regime was the time it took to install and take down the twists. It took literally the whole day plus a little of the next day. Also taking the twist down was no walk in the park. It took almost a whole week since i had to loose in sections for lack of free time for my hair.

Lessons learnt:  Mini twist are a no go area for me at least not till my school program ends. Although i retained a lot of length. I just can't seem to get over twisting my hair for that long and am definitely not looking forward to taking them down.

Just some random pictures of what my hair has been doing

Updo styles

With updo styles i washed my hair every two weeks and styled loose hair in simple updo styles once a week.

Pros

  • simple enough.
  • once hair was styled i didn't think much about hair except i was bored with the style.

Con

  • Hand in hair syndrome ( i have a serious problem with this, i just keep finding my hand in my hair)
  • A lot of time spent researching  and experimenting with updo's. Too much styling and restyling  leading to a lot of manipulation.
  • getting bored with the style in less than a week ( i don't know why, i just get bored)
  •  breakage( probably due to handling my hair too often, my poor kinks couldn't take my constant handling)

Lessons learnt:  I have a serious case of hand in hair syndrome so i think i need styles that keep me from playing around with my kinks too often.

kinky twist

I tried going two weeks in between wash days. it was vacation season and i didn't want to be messing around with my hair so i figured kinky twist was the way to go.

 Pros

  • Just like mini twists this style gave me versatility 
  • spent as little as 10 mins or less each day on my hair

Con

  • Installing was time consuming but not to the extent of the mini twist (hmm!! those twists were something else)  
  • take down wasn't so dramatic but it took over 3 hrs.
Lessons Learnt: For now this style is too time consuming to be a regular style for me.

Wash and go

I nearly forgot this,  i tried the wash and go regimen.

ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! ( Am not being overly dramatic) this was hands down my worst regimen and style ever. where do i start from, the tangles, the layers and layers of gel, the clumping in sections. It was horrible.I must say there was nothing simple about this regimen, i just wore my wash and go in a puff through out the week and that was the end of that regimen. I won't even talk about the wash day after that. My experience was horrible.
My wash and go
It does not look so bad at a glance you may say, i even got lots and lots of compliments..... but don't be fooled. My Kinks and i were so exhausted from the whole process.

Lessons learnt: As the vlogger glam fun sang in the very funny video below, i quote "Wash and go don't work on nappy hair" at least not on my 4b/c hair. This does not mean i can't achieve the style but i ask my self , is it worth it? Wash and go is supposed to be a carefree regimen but that's not what i found.



Wigs

After a very very long thought about how to wear my hair while learning to swim. I decided to try wigs. i have written about protective styling with wigs before . For my maintaining my hair,i just Co washed every other day in corn rows . Wigs give me the ease of taking care of my hair while swimming. Am still trying to figure out how other naturals say they swim with ease with natural hair compared to when they were relaxed, for me its still a lot of work.

Pros


  • Easy hair maintenance especially with my swimming classes. 
  • I didn't have to detangle on every wash and i did not have any traumatic experience when i finally did at the end of the week. (Yay!!!! go corn rows. )

Con

  • Lack of styling versatility, i get bored easily with the wigs, and i miss styling my hair.
  • My hair got dry quickly, so i had to up my moisturizing game.

Lessons learnt:
Wigs are not so bad, they allow me and my kinks to rest from each other in terms of styling but that does not being negligence is permitted.

Present Hair Style: Crotchet Braid with Marley hair

This is my first attempt at Crotchet braids and its not even a week old yet at the time of this post.This style was done with Marley hair, i didn't take into account that this type of hair had a lot of  volume, by the time i was done i could not believe the gigantic fro i had, so i twisted it up and dipped it into hot water to give it that twist out look. I also removed some strands of hair because am not brave enough to rock a full on fro yet.

I will probably update this post much later with the pros and cons i encounter with this style.


Crotchet Braids with Marley Hair





So far my kinks and i are still going strong , sincerely natural hair is a lot of work but  no matter how frustrated i get some times with my kinks i will still love it .
Some day am going to  look back and smile and be glad i went through this stage.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Natural Hair growth: Exercise and Healthy habits


Hello all,



You know how other people keep telling you of how good something is and keep raving about it and urging you to try it but you never seem to be able to do it, although you know that they are right. The concept of exercise and drinking enough water were like that to me.

 I had my hair in jumbo kinky twist  in the month of august. And I was so shocked ( although it was a happy shock) at the length of hair that had grown by the time I loosed my twists. Here's why i was shocked,  usually my hair grows less than half an inch in a month,  my hair could not fit into a pony tail, i could barely do very high puffs and just four weeks later it’s able to. Also i noticed that my kinks feel,so soft ,more elastic and retain moisture better after my wash day.
puff one month after
hair one month ago

Bun
hair one month after

In retrospect, I did not do anything different in terms of my regime and diet, which I think has been on the decline lately but!!!!  I had increased my physical activity by enrolling in a salsa class and also been religiously drinking a lot of water.

How does this all contribute to optimum hair growth? yea, i would like to say Optimum because  hair still grows either way, kind of like a case of two plants where one is grown by the river side with adequate supply of water and one is grown in a place where there are only occasional showers of water, assuming all other growth requirements are met the river side plant should experience a more optimum growth and its appearance would be more lush and green when compared to the other plant.

Now enough about plants, from basic biology we are told that water makes up about 60- 70% of the body, Water hydrates the body and helps to regulate the circulatory system which feeds the hair follicle, which then in turn stimulates hair growth.There fore insufficient amount of water in the body to a lot of complications in the body but in terms of hair growth it could lead to a malnourished follicle and stunted hair growth.

Also, regular exercise increases blood circulation which may allow for more nutrients to reach the follicles.

This brings me to my decision to drink water adequately and to be more physically active. I would be doing an update on this in December which coincides with my two years kinkyversary. Am still devising ways of keeping myself in check though, would keep you posted as more events unfold.

Protective styling with Wigs


I had an idea to protect my hair for the rest of the year with wigs , which later became a month plan,  but…..its been barley a week and am almost giving up.

The problem
Am just so bored with it, am tempted to abandon my wigs for maybe twists because it would give me the best of both worlds that is styling flexibility and protection from myself and other elements ,still thinking about it though ,am really in no mood for close to 12 or more hours of twisting. What to do??  What to do??

On the Bright side
Wigs are actually great as they give you and your hair a break and allow you the ease of caring for your hair since  it doesn’t hinder you from carrying out your usual routine. I have my hair in cornrow in front and flat twists at the back because  that section is really fine and cornrows  seem to  put too much tension on it.

My current regime with the wigs
  • Nightly scalp massages
  • Moisturize hair lightly with water and seal at night with  Shea butter- olive oil mixture.
  • co-wash as needed(depending on how my exercise plan goes)
  • Remove shed hair weekly and finger detangle with Shea butter- olive oil mixture.
  • Wash hair with sulphate free shampoo,do hot oil treatment with  olive and protein treatment  on hair once a month.
  • As I mentioned in my Natural hair growth:Exercise and Healthy habits post I would be drinking a lot of water precisely about 2.25 liters of water every day and a moderate exercise of  30 minutes each day.


That’s pretty much it. Now all  i need is the will power to keep the wig on my head..

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Schooling and Natural hair care Wahala(troubles)!!!!

I recently enrolled in a post graduate school and its been really hectic!!! balancing school work and thinking about hair has been HARD.

 Here's what i decided to do 

Make simple protective/low manipulative styles that would take very little time to install, take down  maintain and would last for at least 2 weeks.

Jumbo Twist

For the first two weeks of school i wore big or jumbo two strand twist here's how it did.

Time to install: it took roughly two 2 hrs not so bad considering i have done kinky twist that took almost 12 hrs to install (Not kidding guys).

Maintenance: Moisturizing hair and scalp with either water or a mixture of aloe-Vera juice and water and sealing ends with Shea butter was no biggie, but getting the twist to stop shrinking was a problem cause my hair is neck length at the back and a little past chin length at the sides. (Nights and Nights of bobby pinning).

Take down:Take down was pretty quick about 30 minutes but detangling !!!! was so great a hassle probably because i decided to try a new method of loosing all the twist before detangling, which was a very very bad idea. 

At the end of the two weeks my jumbo twists were at a maximum frizz level so i wasn't really feeling them anymore so they had to go.

High Puff

After the twist and tiresome detangling session, i had no time to wash my hair that weekend( too much school work and activities) so i stretched my hair in braids and the next day made a high puff which i intend to wear through out the week. Would probably wear a puff for another week after washing my hair.

High puff

so far, the puff is doing great,

Installing time: Installing time is probably just 5 minutes or less.

Maintenance:  moisturizing the puff  and hair at the surface with water and sealing with Shea butter then scarfing it up for the night. In the morning i just fluff and accessorize .
i know i should stretch the puffs with either braids or twist but i just cant be bothered to do that every night, would have tried the scrunchy stretching method but i can't seem to find my scrunchy any where.

Fears: i just hope when wash day comes am not going to have so many single strand knots and tangles to deal with (fingers crossed).

Future hair style

When i get a little break from school work, i would like to try havanna twists, but if there are any other styles you think would be simple and low manipulative, take very little time to install, take down , maintain and would last for at least 2 weeks please feel free to drop your ideas below.

Thankies!!!