Posts Categorized: Hair Updates

March 3, 2010

P.Y.T.

It’s official. As of this past week, I’ve designated the up-do as the ‘go-to’ style of all time & here on forever-after. It’s my love…my HEART…Mon Coeur du jour. For reasons based solely on lack of time, I’ve run for every hair clip accessory in my arsenal to pin/tuck/manipulate in a way so as to keep any & all hairs up and far away from my eager fingers.

Lately I see no reason to stop this love affair, so to add something relatively new to my routine, I introduced Amla Powder into the arsenal family. Before mixing the Amla, pre-pooed with Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle, cleansed the scalp with Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Shampoo. The scalp wasn’t much of a bother, even with two weeks shy of a good cleaning, so I focused more on cleansing the hair which still felt relatively moisturized from the Qhemet Amla creme. Used a newbie, Curl Junkie’s Daily Fix Cleansing Hair Conditioner to clean the hair & continued on with the Amla.

Didn’t have the time to search for a tried and true recipe for an Amla mix, instead came up with a concoction using a few things lying around. Brewed together a cup or so of Burdock Root & Horsetail, steeped for about 20-30 minutes. Let the tea cool before adding it slowly to the Amla. Added two tablespoons of Darcy’s Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner, mixed well to remove any lumps & until it became a smooth consistency. Applied in sections starting from the back, making my way forward. The application reminded me a lot of a bentonite application, so no surprises.

DC’d with the Amla for 1 hour before thoroughly rinsing. This took a few trips to the bathroom mirror to ensure all clumps and remainder of Amla was washed out entirely. Styled this week with new love Qhemet’s Amla & Olive Heavy Creme, under the Coco Tree Detangling Ghee. Still  undergoing protective styling, though changed the game after time slipped away from me for most of the morning. Made twists larger, but tighter to ensure an obvious curl definition once unraveled in the morning.

In the morning, carefully undid about 15-18 or so twists. Did NOT separate, left each twist intact and immediately began pinning haphazardly because Monday’s are the bane of my existence;-). I pinned and used a few Goody clips purchased over the weekend to give it the sort of effortless but still put together… feel. I do believe it came out o.k.! It’s Wednesday & I have minimal frizz, the twists are still defined, and as long as I keep the up-do status until the next wash day, all should remain relatively moisturized and well protected.

I also love this style because of it’s versatility. Perfect for work/play/dinner with friends & it’s simple, no fuss stuff. Looks great if you’re planning on wearing a hat to combat the still lingering Winter days, or alone to justify wearing your fabulous hair accessories. Easy to maintain at night as well. Simply tie a silk scarf securely…and really not much else! No need to re-twist each night as with regular twist n’go’s, and no need to re-moisturize .

The only downside – I’m hesitant to prolong for two weeks. Will play it by ear, and hope the east coast has seen the last of Mr. Flurry.

*reviews pending on the Curl Junkie Daily Fix Cleansing Condish, Darcy’s Pumpkin Seed Condish & Qhemet’s Coco Tree Detangling Ghee.

February 8, 2010

Twisting Motion

For sure, the one thing that can make many a natural haired femme run towards any form of protective style is a dipped temperature below thirty degrees. This week I jetted.  It’s fair to say that we are smack dab in the middle of Winter, and I’ve only managed to pull off less than a handful of protective styles.

Last week was a half-attempt with the rollerset. I set the hair, and freely pinned up-dos for the good part of the week. Hair was handled minimally, and re-moisturized periodically only when dry.

This week was a return to the twists, and me thinks one of my first allies in hair styles is here to stay…at least for a while. These days I’m a fan of what makes sense & what can realistically fit into my work/school schedule. Twists do that & then some.

Last night I got a head start in washing & DC’ing while watching a bit of television (*VH1 Doc/Soul Train was on! Who watched!?). No pre-poo, instead shampoo’d in the shower with Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Rose Shampoo , lightly rinsed then followed up with Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner. Massaged the Tea Tree Conditioner well throughout the hair, leaving in for 2-3 minutes before rinsing. DC this week was the remainder of the JessiCurl Too Shea Moisturizing Conditioner. A rarity, but detangled & left the conditioner in overnight.

In the a.m. woke up super-armed & committed to twisting into a protective style. Product of choice was a go-to, Darcy’s Botanicals Daily leave-in under their Madagascar Vanilla Styling Creme. I rely on these products for twists because with proper maintenance each night, the twists are effectively moisturized for a solid week – week and a half without adding other product. The creme does not leave behind a filmy residue & if I’m not as heavy handed as I’m known to be when styling, there’s not much of a greasy factor which helps keep the bedsheets quite happy;-).

I do hope to keep the style in for at the very least a week – two if I’m striving for greatness being lazy.

But even with the twists in, I’m setting some goals. I am challenging myself to not simply wake up & go with this style as I’ve done in the past – but to give myself a leg up by offering a bit more variety in how I either pin, tuck, pull back the style. I have countless headbands, feather clips, jeweled clips I can use to accessorize the heck out of this style, and I’m aiming to rock it out.

It’d be great if I could take a pic each day to document these goals….right? *I’m making a ‘yeah right face’ that you can’t see—>but goals are goals & I’m on it;-).

*Update on Giveaway: I love doing contests/giveaways, BUT…the only drawback seems to be the non-communicado that follows. A winner was chosen a few weeks ago, contacted but has yet to respond. If no response arrives in my inbox (backtocurly@gmail.com) by end this week, I will draw a random name from the entries. THANKS a BUNCH to *all who did send in your contributions! Your words made the days all the more sweet;-).

February 6, 2010

Shanty Roller-Set

Over the past two weeks or so , I’ve managed to make a beautiful mess out of…stuff.

It’s getting to the point where the obligation to apologize for not blogging is resembling a crooked crutch I’m leaning on much too much. When did I last blog about my hair?

….

I’ll get the hang of it. Eventually. It’s all about organizing the ‘real’ and whatever else goes on ‘up there.’ My head’s been preoccupied with a flurry of syllabus’, due dates, group projects, new responsibilities at full-time job, remodeling this humble abode…figuring out a new budget loved lifestyle that befits a grad student.

Works in progress.  Such is life eh? But I suck still because while I’m filling the page with excuses, last week before the head hit for a doze, I kind of wanted to talk about my first attempt at roller-setting. Twas my first attempt & it was a good experience in that I was mindful in taking notes for the future.

Instead of going over wash/condition routines I need to pinpoint tips I might want to incorporate into future roller-set attempts.

  • Sectioning hair is VERY important

I took the willy nilly approach into setting the hair simply because I had every intention of putting the set in an up-do protective style for the coming week. Not the best approach because effectively parting the hair before it’ s dry and set in rollers, helps the curls to lay in a more proportioned manner rather than having one curl meet east & the other meet west. My outcome was fair, but it certainly lacked uniformity.

  • I ran out of rollers. Thinking you have enough rollers to set the hair as opposed to KNOWING you have enough are worlds apart when it gets down to standing in front of the mirror.

The rollers I’d purchased the day before, three packs of six. I had eighteen medium length/width rollers that I’d intended to roll the back portion of hair, while using longer/thinner rods to set the front. Not a bad idea, though the outcome wasn’t what I’d expected. The back of the hair once dried left me with nice bouncy ringlets, while the front was…not. It looked haphazard and not well put togehter. It’s best to keep the rollers within the same family in terms of length/width so outcomes aren’t as drastically different.

  • Styling/Setting products are just as important as types of rollers used

I used KBB hair milk as a leave-in, with Afroveda’s Curly Custard.  Speaking only for my hair, these two products are best used to two-strand twist, flat twist, braid etc., but…eh…, not particularly fancy for a roller-set. Proper roller setting requires the hair to lay smooth, not raised(?), which has always been a problem for my hair because of the few different textures that run throughout. My hair runs on the fuzzy side even on a good day, always has. Only product that could help keep the swelling down has been some added gel (which I’m adamant in NOT using) & a setting lotion.

I’m researching different products best used for roller-setting, which is a bit tricky – last time a roller set was done on my hair was during my relaxed days & setting lotions/products used then have ingredients my hair has grown unaccustomed to over the years.

I’ll definitely try the style again, overall the change in routines was well worth it. I did not do much in terms of styling for the rest of the week. I pinned the hair up quite often, and refreshed the hair with a bit of KBB hair butter & Jane Carter Revitalizing Spray when it turned a bit dry. This week (likely tonight) I’ll wash/DC the hair & resume my regular twisting schedule because homework beckons.

Still debating on doing an Amla treatment…Bentonite? I need a lil sumthin to treat my hair, these colder temps are not forgiving.

January 11, 2010

Hair Fix

I’m excited. No, seriously I’m REALLY excited this week because I’m finding that trying something new can reap some ridiculously famous results!  Prompted by a conversation with a friend this past weekend, I decided that while it’s fancy and fun to stock up on all that a PJ wants, it’s even better to actually use it! Friend & I were talking product & hair, combos to stay away from, tips to try when I quietly hinted to the damage done this past Black Friday. I’d stocked up on ounces & ounces of butters/pomades/puddings and conditioners to last me well into the Winter/Spring, then carefully placed them off to the side in a sort of safe keeping.

Sounds silly right, safe keeping some of your goodies? Sounds a tad off,  now with hindsight as a decoder. I forgot that it is more beneficial to use up what’s purchased so that if necessary, I can move on and try more goodies… if need be. By no means am I trying to advocate future shopping binges, but rather forcing my hand a bit, saying that it’s okay to use up what you’ve got even though it might one day be gone. It’s irrational at best, but my sensitivity comes from….just nonsensical ish! Time to get over it, and this week was a start.

Life is much better when you pre-poo…I say. It’s frigid outside & by the time wash day rolls around my hair is on bended knee, craving moisture even before a traditional poo is applied.  I’ve bid adieu to ‘ol faithful, Vo5 Moisture Milks, to make way for the newbie Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle. The consistency is very creamy, easy to apply and the ‘tingle’ is felt almost instantly. I left on for a 15-20 minutes because I intended to massage the scalp with Naked Naturals Shea Butter & Avocado Smoothing Shampoo for a good five minutes, and did not want to over strip the hair in the process. Before applying conditioner I did take a quick pic of hair. Picture to the right is taken right after cold rinsing the shampoo out of hair, & prior to adding conditioner. In it’s natural state you can still see bits of remaining hair color that I’m still trying to grow out. The tips show the only visible signs of hair color, which means I’m about a month or two away from another good trim. Ultimately the goal is to get rid of all colored ends, because to the touch they continue to remain a bit brittle even after a good 45 min DC’ing. Other than the ends, the rest of the hair appears pretty healthy, and for that I’m quite happy;-).

Detangled then deep conditioned with Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Rose under a heating cap for an hour before cold rinsing. Took a chance on my own stash of products and styled this week with Darcy’s Botanicals Herbal Leave-In Spritz, just a few sprays to hydrate. The ingredient list is just too good not to:

Botanical infusion of Distilled Water, Organic Nettle, Organic Peppermint leaves, Organic Burdock Root, Organic Horsetail, Organic Marshmallow Root, Organic Coltsfoot, Organic Sage, Organic Hibiscus Flowers, Organic Kelp, Organic Sea Moss, Vegetable Glycerin, Organic Aloe Juice, Sea Salt, Polysorbate 20, Litsea Cubeba, Tangerine, Patchouli, Sweet Orange, Peppermint, & Tea Tree Essential Oils, and a paraben free preservative.

Then applied a new favorite from Naturi Beauty, their Naturi Quench Moisturizer. Lucky me won a hefty 8oz jar of the butter during a recent contest hosted by Laquita and Shelley. Began using the butter on my skin once the weather here on the East Coast starting behaving badly, but stopped short after realizing I wanted to experience it on my hair as well. The site indicates that it’s best to use for twisting & braid-twist outs making it ideal to use as a weekly styler:

From the Site:

An intense moisturizing cream that rejuvenates dry hair and restores moisture and sheen. Hemp and jojoba oil strengthen each hair strand and aloe and honey create healthy, hydrated brilliant curls, waves and kinks. Great for daily moisture, smoothing edges and styling touch ups, works wonders for braids

Reasons for using the Naturi Quench were two-fold. I needed the moisture that only a butter could provide in order to use something I’ve had in the stash for way too long, Curl Junkie’s Aloe Fix Gel. I was hesitant to try the Aloe Fix for reasons I’ve lamented about here on this blog. I have a very sensitive scalp, & coincidentally sensitive skin.  Years ago, months after my first BC & even some moments after my 2nd, I’d routinely style my hair with Sleek n’ Shine’s aloe gel formula yet had never experienced ill side effects. Fast forward to last year, oddly enough a few days after reviewing it here on Back To Curly, I began to have quite visible allergic reactions.

To put it bluntly, I experience painful outbreaks on my skin when using the wrong gel. I haven’t experienced fun times with a gel in a good while, and gave up on drugstore brands to help slick back edges and twist. After the last Kinky Curly Custard application I was ready to completely shy away from any & all gel type stylers until I realized a hefty 16oz jar of Aloe Fix was idly sitting by, untouched.  So essentially, I made provisions.  Before applying the Aloe Fix, the spritz was applied, followed by the Naturi Quench Moisturizer. This was the only way I’d manage to use a gel on my hair during the winter, specifically to avoid the inevitable crunch & strong hold. I wanted definition in my twists, moisture, light hold without the crunch…and thankfully I got it!

From Curl Junkie’s Site:

Have curls that need a little control? This thick, rich, 98% natural/naturally derived Aloe based gel is formulated for hair with curls and coils. If scrunched into the hair it helps to give your hair definition, volume and bounce, and when smoothed into hair it can help stretch out the curls you have and add weight to hair to help elongate and define curls. You choose…It’s all in the application technique! Imparts lasting moisture and shine with aloe, glycerin, Vitamin B5, and Sweet Almond oil. If you are transitioning from a relaxer to a natural, try using this to smooth out the new growth. Can also be used for 2-strand twists or to slick back hair into ponytails or smooth flyaway hairs and refresh mid-day curls. Gives hair a fresh herbal/citrus scent.

Twisted into large twists using my new favorite combo, and unraveled this morning for some insanely gorgeous hair!  I’m tooting my own horn here, but you’ve gotta know that feeling when you’ve struck gold with a product combo, tried a new method, and somehow all turns out famously well! It’s time well spent…(6hrs to be exact;-). I’m happy with the results which yielded me zero crunch, significant shine & soft-medium hold that with proper maintenance should carry me through the week. More importantly, my hair is not stiff! Don’t you hate a gel that makes your hair act like a weapon? Ideally, you want a product that’s going to smoothe, deliver shine, and if you’re lucky a bit of nourishing properties.

During the Winter months I’m wising up with gels, pairing up beforehand with an adequate moisturizer as a leave-in, and some kind of herbal tonic for nourishment. What I loved about the Naturi Quench is that it’s a butter blend with water as it’s first ingredient. This helps the butter apply smoother onto hair that’s especially wet or damp and emulsifies clear on hands before applying. Paired with the Aloe Fix Gel, it really was the perfect combo!

January 6, 2010

Thank You's & Contest!

Turns out I have plenty to be thankful for this past year. The list is plentiful and I haven’t the borrowed melancholy to jot them all down…except for a few.

A year ago today Back To Curly was created by a seemingly bored young thing, lamenting in the comforts of chips & dip about her heat damaged hair. I’d been distraught for weeks, heading to and fro many a beauty supply store to find a cure-all for the straight ends that were taunting me each time I got down to styling. I knew nothing about hair health, products to steer clear of, websites (blogs) full of uber knowledge, YouTube channels with ladies pouring out their own passions for all things natural. I knew nothing, but still felt I needed to contribute the ‘something’ that would help climb me out of this rut.

Chronicling my hair journey was that ‘something,’ and like our girl Sunshine emphatically points out, often times you just have to ‘Do It!’ A journey can’t begin until you have a clear goal in mind, yet you have to learn to envision it- whether it’s hair related, job related, relationship related…etc. By doing ‘It,’ you’re doing ‘You.’

So with that a huge ‘Thank You,’ goes out to the friends I’ve made in the past year, bloggers, real life ladies who continue to inspire me everyday, and even those I hope to meet in the future. A year ago I set out to start something, anything that would help vent my frustrations, and today I’m back on solid ground… ‘Back To Curly’ (pun intended;-), and it’s been more than a swell journey.

In a few weeks I embark on a different kind of journey (Grad School, Hoozah!!!), which has me excited/anxious/stir crazy/fearful/nervous – basically all those good feelings letting you know you’re onto something good! The blog will continue, cause a girl has to get her hair did, though to kick off what I hope to be an even better, inspiring year here’s a special Contest Giveaway! Most likely this is the only one I’ll be doing this year or for the foreseeable future, so trying to make it worthwhile;-)

(more…)

January 4, 2010

Hairitis

 

Can I just start of this post by professing what I’m thankful for? Okay,….HEAT! I am in awe of it’s instant ability to make me breathe numerous sighs of relief and have joyous fits of happiness.

If you’re in the midst of a Winter Freeze….god speed. I am with you;-). That is all.

And with that, I have a confession. Yes, yesterday was Sunday…and Yes, I hadn’t washed/styled my hair since the last time I blogged about it a few weeks back. And…Meh, it was time to get down and condition-y with my dry nest. But really, REALLY, I did not want to. I had a strong case of…’oh my gawd, tomorrow is Monday, I do NOT want to go into work, can’t believe the Holidays/New Year’s is over, someone PLEAAAASE hide me….’ mode. There was epic grumbling erupting on my end of NY & it endured till the bitter end.

Sleepy Eyes

Typically, the game plan for the hair is layed out at least a day prior. I have a sensible idea of how to approach ‘The Process,’ i.e., thoughts of pre-poo/poo/condish/styler are floating in my brain long before I take a Denman to my hair. I find this helps speed up how long I spend on each step, leaving ample time to run leftover errands before the start of another work week. Right…yesterday was the Null approach.

Had to pre-poo (‘ol cheapie Vo5)  because I needed to scrub my scalp with Naked Natural’s Shea Butter & Avocado Smoothing Shampoo. I worked in the Shampoo directly to the scalp, massaged for five minutes before rinsing.  I’ve been using the Naked Naturals for…a good month, maybe a tad longer and simply love that it doesn’t strip my hair (thanks in part to the pre-poo) and leaves scalp feeling clean & free of product buildup.  At less than 7 bucks, it’s cost effective (still on my first bottle), a little goes a long way as does the usage!

Deep Conditioned with ol favorite Aubrey Organics HoneySuckle Rose. Okay…to illustrate how ‘Null’ this entire process actually was, let me disclose this. I put AOHR in hair at 3:30 p.m., detangled for 45min-1hr. Placed detangled twists under conditioning cap, headed to bed for a cat nap, which felt more like a hibernation after waking up at 5:30p.m. Waking up, decided my heating cap needed some love. More conditioning w/heat for another 45min-1hr (all the while napping). Wake up to cold-rinse condish out of hair and ultimately decide normalcy was not the flavor of the day, forcing me to forgo styling hair in medium twists to much larger twists in order to save on time and to catch up on more unnecessary sleep.  Styled with feverish fingers using KBB hair milk under Blended Beauty’s Happy Nappy Styles.

Finished twisting in a quick 45 min, then decided to dry using the Soft Bonnet. The twists this week were larger than usual, so air drying was a no go. It was 7:15-7:30ish when ‘lil ‘ol bonnet went to good use…it was around 11:30 when she & I both tuckered out. Apparently my hair was in no rush to dry, leaving me with a few slightly damp twists by the time my satin tied head hit the pillow well into the morning.

Waking up this morning, had a terrible case of Monday-itis, but le bouffant was kind to reveal soft, moisturized shiny hair! After untwisting, as is customary these days, I applied a dab of KBB hair cream to the crown and a bit on ends before fluffing and separating.  Overall, VERY happy with the results. Happy Nappy Styles is a go-to product for me, and will continue to be so during the winter months.  I use a small bit to do what I consider a big job on my hair, and the results are always satisfactory. Pics were taken after a day spent in 20 degree weather, and all still looks relatively shinny and moisturized.

Aside from a bit of halo frizz over the top, I can safely say this is the first time my outward laziness has effectively paid off! Next step is figuring out how to retain moisture for remainder of the week (or next).  Anyone else have lazy bones during Winter? I cannot, REFUSE to be going down this road alone.

Eh…Stay Warm & Toasty everyone;-).