Thursday, August 18, 2011

Blow-Out Flexirod Results

I'm thrilled with the result of my dry flexi-rod set. First, I blow dried my hair on the lowest setting. I didn't blow-dry until my hair was 100% dry. My hair is really thick, so I wasn't looking forward to it,however, since my hair was well conditioned and already in 3 parts, it was really easy to do.

What I noticed with this method, was less breakage and shedding. I believe, flexirod sets on wet hair require more manipulation and since the hair needs to be soaking wet, it's more vulnerable to breakage. Also the curls were a lot looser and flowing vs. the flexi-wet set, which leaves me with overly defined curls that take forever to fall! The only down-side is that I slept with the rollers in my hair... took me a while to find a comfortable position, but in the end it worked out! =) 

Here are some pics I took during and after. I will definitely be trying this again, perhaps I'll air dry my hair next time. If I get the same results, I'll be thrilled, because that means curls without any heat!

Washed, conditioned and deep conditioned hair. I blotted it with a old poly/sateen scarf before blow drying.

Natural hair growth check!

Yay for curls, had no idea this was hiding underneath my relaxed hair all these years!

 Scarf, baseball cap (15 minute-20 mins).: a little trick I use to smooth my roots and edges. Since I didn't apply heat to my roots they were a bit frizzy.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I'm braided and bunned out and tonight I hope to rock the blow out! I've been sporting only braids and buns for the past 5 weeks--- I'm just not that creative when it comes to styling... I hope this will change, but I'm just proud I can achieve those two styles during my transition.
I'm writing this entry, while deep conditioning under the heat of my soft bonnet. My plan is to try a blow out (on super, duper protected and oiled hair) and then set it with rollers to see if I can achieve a looser wave with my flexirods... I'll post pictures later this week!
I just want to say that washing my hair in segments is so amazing!! My wide tooth just glides through my hair! It may be too soon to speculate, but I think this might be love! I dont want to jinx it, bc in one of my posts I mentioned my hair was easier to manage as I approached 5 months, then all tangling hell broke loose. For now I'll enjoy not having to pick up half of my hair out of the shower and not getting the comb stuck in my hair every second!

Peace & Love

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hair Dessert

Recently, I tried some new things out on my hair. I'll just describe the procedure and results.
1. Honey Deep Conditioner:
Method: Mixed 1 TBSP Olive Oil, 2 TBSP Honey, Conditioner. Placed a plastic cap on my head and went under my hooded dryer for about 30-40 minutes. Rinsed with warm water to effectively remove honey.

++ Oh lala, my hair felt immediately moisturized and SO soft. I noticed my new growth was super shiny afterwards and looked so replenished. My relaxed hair responded to this well, however I could really see the results on my natural hair. My next day braid out was very soft, defined and shiny.

2. Under Water Detangling
Method: With hair full of conditioner, lie down in the tub, submerse hair in the water and detangle.
+- Comb did glide through hair a bit easier, however the position required to do this and the effort it takes is not worth it.

3. Wash and Detangle in Sections
Method: Place hair in three sections and hold in place with a clip. Saturate hair with water and co-wash one section at a time (do not rinse), continue until all sections have been conditioned. Return to the first section, add water and detangle, rinse conditioner, repeat for the other sections.
++ This is the only way I'll detangle and condition from now on. Before my hair tangled a lot, so I've learned the key is to work with smaller sections. This reduces tangles and breakage.

4. Tight Curly Method (slightly adapted)
 I read about this method on Curly Nikki, it looked really promising. Unfortunately, I wasn't sure if this method was possible on transitioning hair--- and didn't find any info online. I basically conditioned twice (using the section method), detangled and did not rinse out the second application of conditioner. After this I scrunched a little and attempted a wash n' go.
+- Leaving the conditioner in my hair made it shiny and very soft, I will try this again! The Wash n' go, didn't look horrible, but also didn't look great... think I'll have to wait until I'm fully natural to try to style with this method. However, I do believe it works well as a nourishing leave-in.

Tonight, I simply dampened my hair with a mixture of setting lotion and oils, sealed with coconut and other essential oils, put my hair in three plaits and wrapped it. We'll see if I'm able to maintain the moisture and shine for more than one day.

Other than these new methods, I continue to drink lots of water, eat my fruits and veggies and work out. This weekend, the weather was gorgeous so I went on a hike with a friend. When I got to the top, I had this breath-taking view, which made me feel so small and blessed!

Peace & Love

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

5 Month Post Update

I'm happy to say that I'm more than 5 months post-relaxer and my hair has recovered nicely from my recent protein overdose. It feels soft and moisturized and is no longer a frizzy nightmare!
 I will probably do a protein treatment again towards the middle of this month, but only if my hair feels prone to breakage. On another positive note, the conditioner and shampoo I purchased a few weeks back are working wonderfully. I was worried when I saw alcohol under the list of conditioner ingredients, but it turns out the specific alcohol, cetearyl has good properties for curly hair. I stumbled across this website, which apparently from the fan base is HUGE in the curly hair community: This is what the Tight Curly Method founder, Teri says about cetearyl alcohol:

"Used as an emollient, emulsifier, conditioner, and thickener. Not the same as SD alcohol or ethanol. This is actually a mixture of Cetyl Alcohol and Stearyl Alcohol [Hunting (Conditioning) pg 142]. This is one of the ingredients I like to see near the top of a conditioner's ingredient list. When left in very curly hair it adds needed weight without being greasy."

I've always been a product junky, but would like to find my staple products (keep my money in my bank account, where it belongs). My new rules of thumbs are:
1. To use the products I have and buy new ones when those run out. I can always add essential oils to a shampoo or conditioner to increase its moisturizing properties.
2. Never have more than 2 of a product (shampoo, conditioner, protein treatment, etc.). I always like to try different things, however if I switch up products too much, I'll never know what works right for me. Not to mention, I'll stop invading my husband's "half" of the cabinet.
3. Experiment with items already in my home such as olive oil, which I added to my cheap conditioner last month and this worked wonders*!
Wonders meaning, my hair felt moisturized and detangling wasn't as horrible as usual, however it is still a task to detangle transitioning hair--- requires A LOT of patience!!

Proof of my product addiction:

Products from my drawer

Products from my medicine cabinet

I'm thankful everyday that I finally decided to stop relaxing my hair and transition! I only wished I had done so sooner. If anyone is reading this and contemplating going natural (big chop or transition), I would highly recommend it. It took me so long to realize how beautiful natural hair is, I feel bad that I've suppressed my curls, coils and kinks all of these years. 

I have also set a new heat goal for myself. In one of my entries I wrote that I flat iron my hair once every month. I don't want to incur damage when my hair is all natural, so I would like to reduce my use of heat. I've read horror stories about people experiencing irreversible damage to their curl pattern due to heat styling tools. My current goal is to flat iron my hair every other month (i.e. 6 times per year). I will use other styling methods such as protective styles and roller sets. When I do flat iron, I am going to try to let my hair air dry the day before and reduce the heat setting on my flat iron.

Tomorrow night, I'll try a homemade honey treatment that I've concocted and a new detangling method....will report results later!

Peace & Love

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Total Foodie

Although the subject of this blog is primarily hair, today I'd like to digress. I have a small, city garden and had extra veggies. Since I've been craving soup lately, I decided to put the veggies to good use. It's really easy, yummy and healthy (and vegetarian).

Roasted Eggplant and Vegetable Soup
1 large eggplant
2 red peppers
1 summer squash
1 onion (1 small part bulb of fennel also possible, it's what I used bc I didn't have onions)
1/2 can of tomatoes (roma, vine)
3 cups soup stock/ bouillon (low sodium)
Salt & pepper to taste
1/4-cup of fresh basil or 1 TBSP dried basil
1/4-cup of cooking cream

1. Turn on broiler and heat oven to 450 F (230 C). Line a cookie sheet (or baking dish) with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
2. Halve eggplant, place cut part down (so skin facing up) on prepared cookie sheet. Open peppers, remove seeds and cut (appx. 4 large slices). Place pepper slices on sheet, skin side up. Place prepared ingredients in the oven for about 15 - 20 mins (veggies should start to crinkle and blacken).
3. Slice onion (or fennel) thinly, cut summer squash into small cubes.
4. Heat about 2-3 TBSPs of olive oil in a pan; add onion, sauté on medium/high heat for about 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add squash and cook on medium heat with onions for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1/2-can of tomatoes and cook about 2 minutes.
5. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil, and add bouillon. Reduce heat to low. Add squash and onions to the water and cook on low (covered).
6. Remove eggplant and peppers from oven should be charred by now. Place eggplants in a zip lock back and seal for 10 minutes (or in Tupperware and cover). Scoop out eggplant pulps carefully with a spoon. Place in bouillon mixture.  After 10 minutes,  carefully remove the pepper skins. Add to pot.
6. Let ingredients simmer in pot for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and *pour into a mixer/blender/food processor until all ingredient are blended (smooth but still has chunks). 

*Be careful adding hot ingredients to the blender, you could wait for it to cool or if you have an extra (adult) helper, pour it in, while the other person blocks the exposed opening with a pot cover, to prevent splashing. Oh and wear cooking mits.

7. Return soup mixture to the pot, turn stove on low/medium heat. While the ingredients simmer, season with salt and pepper (taste it, to make sure it doesn't already have enough salt from the bouillon), add basil, add cream stir until blended and serve with warm bread (I toasted pita and it was delicious).

Total prep and cooking time: 1 hour 

Your hair will love all the vitamins in this soup! ;)

Love & Peace

Natural Coverage on NPR

Along this journey there have been moments where I've questioned my decision to go natural. It seems the universe keeps sending me messages when I start to doubt.

My husband has been very supportive during my transition.  He loves the texture and pattern of my new coils and tells me if I decide to just chop my relaxed ends, it would look really cool (I'm still not there emotionally, I just like to have the length). His excitement, even though he jokingly pokes fun at me when he catches me looking at my new growth before going to bed, has really provided me with a lot of motivation.

The other day, I met up with a good friend that I hadn't seen in quite some time. I was sporting a braid out and when she saw me the first thing she said was, your hair looks amazing, I love what you've done with it. I explained that I was transitioning and growing out my relaxed hair. She began to excitedly ask if I'd have big curly hair and whether I could style it in a fro sometimes, because she (fine, wavy haired, Irish girl) has always been envious of people with hair that can be styled like that. I've never received such compliments when I relaxed my hair, so am definitely enjoying all of the positivity!

My mother in-law, can't stop touching my hair each time I see her, she always manages to find a way to greet me and touch my hair at the same time.

Healthy hair is also a question of life style, so I'm nourishing it by drinking lots of water, eating really healthy and exercising. In conclusion my hair is feeling the love! Some days are more difficult than others and my braid out or low manipulation styling attempts don't always turn out as I please, but bad hair days are part of life, that's true for every woman.

Speaking of signs from the universe, today I stumbled across this interview while reading the news on NPR. Robin Young discusses Chris Rock's documentary Good Hair, the increasing communities of natural hair bloggers/vloggers and interviews blogger Maeling Tapp of Maeling has been natural 2 years and her hair is so full and GORGEOUS (check out the pic). It's so wonderful to see natural hair being embraced and talked about positively in the media. I've included the link to the interview below:

Peace & Love

P.S. - The shampoo I purchased last week is very mild, which works wonders for retaining moisture. The conditioner on the other hand, I'm not too crazy about. It's quite drying, probably due to the fact that one of the main ingredients is alcohol. I promise to take my time and carefully read through the ingredients on my next purchase. In the meantime, I recently pre-pooed with a mixture of argan, almond, caster, coconut oils, this did help counteract the drying of the new conditioner. The conditioner apparently contains shea butter and honey, both of which I have.... perhaps it's time for me to make my own conditioner with those ingredients. Why can't hair companies practice what they preach/promise!