Saturday, April 30, 2011

To Flatiron or Not To Flatiron...

That IS the question. So, most people who know me know that I change hairstyles like some people change cell phones. Meaning, I change them quite frequently, and it's the reason I'm a huge proponent of extensions and would never swear off of them. Hair is definitely an expression of self and I love to work with texture and color whenever I get the chance. Over the years I've been a blonde, redhead, dual colors, super kinky-curly, spanish wavy, wavy and straight. And I certainly would never have tried to do all of those processes to my real hair - I think if I had, I'd be happy to have 2 strands on my head.

So, when I decided to wear my hair out in it's "natural" texture, I also chose not to do any chemical coloring to it - which I'm definitely sticking to. I prefer to go with henna, the color effect I get from it is extremely subtle, and unlike with box color, I don't have to worry about over processing. Although, the general recommendation is to keep henna paste in your hair for about 3 hours, you could technically keep it in overnight, wash it out and still get the same effects without harming your hair. I'm a firm believer that if I want to experiment with color, I had better head to the BSS or my favorite CV (if you don't know the terminology...don't worry it won't apply to you!) because I'm absolutely not putting a chemical dye in my head.

Fast forward to today, (lol) and I'm super bored with my hair right now. It's just one of those days where I want to do something different with my hair - in fact I'm desperate to do something different to it! I've been doing twist outs for about a month and a half to two months now and it's cute and all...but literally it's the same style over and over again. I think part of it is because normally, I change my hairstyle up about every 3 months or so. And around the 2 month mark of whatever style I'm currently rocking, I'm already contemplating what to try next. I had planned on giving my hair a break (and myself a break from my hair) anyway in the next month or so by doing a shout out to my favorite Chinese vendor and going with a new do. Incidentally, I'm also going to do this because it'll help promote hair growth since my hair grows fastest when it's neatly braided up and undisturbed. Plus, now that I'm about to cut back on my henna routine by half (once a week instead of twice a week), I can leave my hair braided up for most of the week without having to deal with doing the do.

Until then however, I'm super tempted to flatiron my hair (just for today) and do some funky twists on the side a la these pics (taken in January/February of this year). Now, the reason I'm having a dilemma is that when I decided to wear my natural texture, I also promised myself that I would abstain from heat. That meant no flatirons and no blow dryers. Literally for the past 8 weeks or so, whenever I've washed my hair, I dutifully did my twist outs to set it while the hair was wet (which is also why I tend to wash my hair at night and not during the day) and then undid it in the morning to reveal awesome curls. I haven't used heat in two months...and it's not like I'm going through withdrawal or anything over it.

Plus, it's not like I don't practice safe heat when I heat style! I use a heat protectant when I flatiron, use the minimum amount of heat necessary to do the job, do it with a paddle brush to maximize stretch and never pass the flatiron over the same section of hair more than once. The funny thing is, when I mentioned to my boyfriend that I was considering flatironing my hair today, he actually seemed semi disappointed haha! He's used to me changing up my hairstyles all the time, but he really loves my hair in its "natural state" (although I have yet to embrace "wash 'n go's" as I believe I'll get screwed by frizz and shrinkage and the curl pattern towards my scalp is not nearly as well defined as it is in the last 4 to 6 inches of my ends). So, I think I will flatiron - pending whether or not I choose to go out tonight. ^_^

Monday, April 25, 2011

I'm So Behind on Henna Apps & Random Musings!

Urghh seriously...the twice weekly henna app deal is getting SUPER old! Thankfully this is the last week for it! I completely skipped out on henna apps last week. Between putting out fires at work and dealing with the mine field that is television licensing, trying to prep for the Easter weekend and still decorating my newly-moved-into apartment, the last thing on my mind was to use two separate days spending nearly 5+ hours doing the "henna-do". Starting next week, I'm down to once a week henna apps! Woohoo! I seriously can't wait! ^_^

So, now I'm sitting here with a head full of henna and 1 more hour to go before I can rinse it out. I must say, as much as I complain about henna days, I would definitely recommend henna treatments for anyone who's looking for a one-stop-shop way of fixing their hair/head woes. Reasons I think henna is useful:

1. It helps to cure dry scalp. Prior to doing henna, I'd always had an issue with dry itchy scalp. I never had it so bad that I would have needed something like Selson Blue or Neutrogena T Gel...but let's just say, there wasn't enough oil or hair grease in the world to keep me from having to scratch my scalp. Fast forward to just two henna apps later, and my scalp has been itch and flake free since the beginning of March! ^_^

2. Less hair shedding. It used to be that whenever I would comb or brush my hair, I would have just a tad bit more than "normal shedding". Not enough to call it hair loss, but enough to feel noticeable. Now I have much less shedding and my hair feels stronger.

3. Thickening. My hair feels much thicker - although I always had thick hair - but it feels even thicker now!

Now for the random musings - although it's really not random, it's about hair; which has been my topic of choice for the past month or so on my blog. Ok so here goes:

So, now that I'm focusing on wearing my hair in its natural state, I'm more aware of this whole "natural vs. processed/relaxed/extensions" feud that's been going on for who knows how long. It's almost impossible to go on a natural hair blog or informational site without having to read through some (at times) very strongly worded posts that practically trash out anyone who considers using any kind of non-natural product to permanently or semi-permanently alter the structure of their hair. o_0

Now technically I'm officially riding the fence on this issue (I did attempt a texlax back in March which didn't take very well so I've since chosen to just work with my "natural texture") but I don't understand why people have to take things to such extremes. In my opinion, hair is a very personal issue - for all women not just African Americans. Although we do tend to get the most visibility in the media for our hair choices, I challenge you to find a woman from any race, ethnicity, etc. who doesn't have some form of hair envy, hang up about her hair, or who does something to their hair to make it slightly different than the way nature intended for her to have.

And although I'm not personally interested in attempting to relax/texlax/texturize or even color my hair with unnatural chemicals anymore, I certainly wouldn't sit in judgement of someone else who chose to use those methods. Everyone has to do what works for them, and their lifestyles. To be honest, I don't think I would have had the time to do twice weekly henna treatments, spend 45 minutes to do twist outs every other night or some of the other things if I was still working a traditional 9 to 5. Where would I have fit it in between getting up at 7am, getting home at 7pm and still trying to have a semblance of "time off" after the work day?

I also have to add that as much as I enjoy this natural progression, even I get tired of hearing naturals "wax poetic" about how simple, easy, quick and "non-challenging" it is to be natural. Please stop telling this lie! Having done both (being relaxed and going natural) I can definitely say that there are pros and cons to both. In fact, every hair style option has its own pros and cons, so it's unrealistic to claim that one is inherently better or easier than the other.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Someone Pour a Shot for My Old Ends...I Trimmed!

*Bloop bloop bloop*...what's that sound? That's the sound of me pouring a shot of some kind of liquor in memory of the 4inches that I trimmed off between Wednesday and Thursday of this week! I couldn't take it anymore. I had awesome S curls going on until you got to the last 4 inches of hair...then it was like my hair just gave up and ended up looking thin and not matter how much I twisted and applied product. Currently, when stretched my hair is between my shoulders and upper bust (like literally in the middle between those two markers) and when curly hits just at the shoulders.

I've also decided that my goal for the next year (April 2012) is to grow 12 inches worth of hair. This is a totally doable goal, since in my hardcore extension days, I can easily grow 2 or more inches of new growth in about 3 months. So, now that I'm on a strict Megatek and Nioxin kick...I'm hoping to make that about 4+ inches in every 3 month period. In reality, 12" of new growth will really only look 8-10" depending on how tightly curled I want my hair to be. So, I'll keep you guys posted, my 4th henna app will be either tomorrow or Sunday, depending on how I'm feeling! ^_^

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Henna App #3 Revisted


So earlier today I put up a post regarding my third henna app - which by the way I finally did! It was my second time using Jamila but this time I added more green tea and a bit of honey. The application process was way better than last time when I didn't add enough liquid to the henna powder when making the paste.  This time I also wore gloves while rinsing it out - because I'm tired of getting orange tinted finger nails (so not hot -_-).

My hair has an even deeper burgundy tint to it (which is an awesome side effect but not the goal of my henna regimen) and I am actually starting to see some release of the curl pattern near the roots (which was something that I really wanted in addition to the softening and moisturizing effects of henna). My next app is going to probably on Friday.

As promised, I have some pics regarding the henna, my twist outs and the other style I mentioned in the earlier post (the one that fell flat a few hours later :-/):

Jamila henna in my designated
henna container!
Henna paste after the dye release (this is Jamila henna). I do a quick henna paste method by using warm green tea to help the dye release. I also add a little bit of pure lemon juice, honey, amla oil, almond oil, and pure almond oil extract (that's for the smell - I LOVE scent of pure almond oil). You can henna instantly if you use heated water versus using just lemon juice alone - which requires that you let the henna sit for at least 3 hours to fully release the dye.

Twist out & curler method
I saw on
And this is the twist and curl method that I attempted over the weekend. It was cute, but unlike my usual twist outs that last for three days, this one barely made it through the afternoon. Kind of a fail...but maybe I'll try it again later with different holding products. I'm really trying to focus on using as many natural or non-alcohol containing products as possible.


I forgot to add, this is the Megatek I'm always referring to! You can buy it on Amazon for about $30 a bottle. You can use it as much or as little as's up to you!

My 3rd Henna App is Today!

So, obviously it's not Friday. I got so lazy last week and had no interest in doing a henna app this past weekend. I love henna, but it is a tad bit time consuming...I've gone to fast tracking my henna paste by using hot green tea as the dye release activator - which also removes the 3 hours of waiting for the dye to release. But it's still time consuming - applying takes about 20 - 30 minutes. Then there's the minimum of three hours to let it work in the hair, followed by an hour of rinsing and 45 minutes of twisting my hair up.

I like the henna results, but the process is a bit much. I've decided that I'm only doing twice weekly henna apps for April, and then starting in May I'm backing it down to once a week. Originally I had thought I would do twice a week apps for April and May...haha how naive I was! June will be two apps for the entire month and by July, I'll only be doing henna once a month. Again, it's not the cost, because for $3.99 a box, it's definitely worth it. But a henna day means I can't leave the house and I have to work conference calls and work around the henna rather than the other way around. o_0

A few people have asked me how I learned about henna so I'm giving credit where credit's due! I'm not a magical know it all who just randomly got the idea to henna. I strongly suggest that someone thinking of taking a dip in the henna pool checks out the following resources: (seriously a treasure trove of info and a place where you can buy henna if there are not BAQ henna suppliers in your area) (awesome for African Americans looking for information on maintaining natural or very curly hair. Curly Nikki also talks about henna quite a bit as she's a serious henna head!) (I used to be seriously addicted to this site when I was wearing my extensions more regularly however they have hair care forums that cover everything from natural to texturized to weaves to full lace wigs. If you're an African American woman - or even just someone who wants to learn about hair in general - I highly recommend this site.)
Youtube! (seriously...if you want step by step directions, this is the spot. There are a lot of vloggers on there who will show you how to make henna, apply it, and different styling options for people with natural hair. All you have to do is search!)

So, I'll try to update this post or just make a new one later with updates on my hair (pictures). I took a couple over the weekend, since my hair was looking super cute - I tried a new twist/setting option. It looked really cute but didn't last after a few hours (womp womp) so I won't be making it my go style...but for "once in a while", it's a good alternative!