Thursday, May 31, 2012

Before and After


No, there is no mistake in the caption of the above pictures. See what happened was, last week, I wanted to flat-iron my hair. I did, but on the same day, I also washed it and pulled it back (see AFTER). My hair started our like my BEFORE pic and finished looking like my AFTER.

Before I describe the process, I'll start by saying this is what I did wrong/did not do and will definitely do differently, when I decide to flat-iron in the future:

deep conditioner 
chase method
do the process on a day where I have no obligations
use a better flat-iron

So as you can see, I was off to a great start!

I started off by shampooing then doing a short intense deep-conditioning treatment with Kérastase Oleo Relax line. My hair felt soft, in my opinion, so I proceeded to apply my leave in and heat protectants on wet detangled hair. I sectioned my hair and then blow dried each section. As I reached the ends of my hair, the comb often got stuck. I thought it was due to tangles, but then realized my ends were dry and brittle. I decided to give myself and trim, hell almost a cut! No need for me to hold on to dead ends!

Next, I pulled out my generic Baby Bliss titanium flat iron and continued to flat-iron small sections of hair. My results were okay, but my hair felt dry. Half-way through the process, I realized, I didn't have time to finish my entire head, as I had an obligation in the afternoon. Anyway, I was neither happy with the way my hair looked nor felt. In the heat of the moment, I decided to just wash my hair and pull it back. I have to admit in the shower I kept worrying the curls would never return, they did and I'm happy I listened to my conscience.

This experience taught me the importance of deep conditioning. I won't flat-iron my hair again for a while. I went swimming in a pool the day before I flat-ironed--- I was crazy to even to attempt it, I know!

For the moment, I'm implementing more prepoos (1xs per week) and deep conditioning sessions (2 xs per week) into my routine. My ends were in pretty bad shape, so I make sure I seal them with oil. I also oil my ends lightly every night before going to sleep.

Have you flat-ironed your natural hair, what was your experience? Any tips? Any recommendations for a good, affordable flat-iron?


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hair goals update

Products/ Goals
I am on a quest to streamline my products and find products where I live (tired of having an overweight suitcase). The other day, while shopping at a new store, I found this:

Garnier mild conditioner with avocado oil and shea butter

I had seen the shampoo in my local grocery store, but never the conditioner. This morning I used it for the first time and let me just say, not only was it creamy and moisturizing but it also gave my hair the perfect slip for detangling. Now that's what I call 2 in 1! The leave-in smells heavenly, it's creamy but not too thick or heavy and leaves my hair feeling super soft. I am not sure whether I prefer Garnier's Triple Moisture leave-in or this one, it's only day 1, so I'll give it some time.

Hair goals/ length
Today, I did a length check and was surprised to see that the back of my hair is just past shoulder length, the sides are collarbone length and the front of my hair is jaw length (guess shrinkage in the front is more intense than the back)! So it looks like I've reached my hair goal, before the end of the year. I hope to get 3 more inches before the end of the year, that would be great!

Thick dandruff
I've never had an issue with dandruff, but the past 2 months I've noticed thick white flakes near my hair line and the center of my hair. I don't think it's related to stress nor diet, I have a healthy diet, exercise and try to keep stress to a minimum. My suspicion is that it may be due to product build-up on my scalp.  I've taken measures to combat it head on and so far so good. Here's what I do, to ensure a healthy moisturized scalp:
  • While shampooing (1 x per week), I give myself a head massage (using the tips of my fingers, not nails). I put pressure on my scalp and move my fingers in a circular motion, to break up any dirt or grime.
  • Make sure I completely rinse out conditioner and shampoo.
  • Do not apply any leave-ins or heavy oils near or on my scalp.
  • Lightly rub jojoba infused with peppermint essential oil on my scalp 1 -2 times per week. Jojoba is great because it's light  and mimics the sebum found in human skin). The peppermint tingles and refreshes my scalp. Research shows that it reduces itching and dandruff; it moisturizes the scalp and stimulates growth follicles--- again 2 for 1!
Styling goals
I think at the end of this week, I will do a light blow out, then set my hair on flexi-rods. I'm excited to to try a new style!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hair Goals 2012


I like goals! They steer and enhance performance and give us things to look forward to. Every goal we accomplish, the more rewarding the journey is. I always set personal, financial, health and life goals, but rarely do I set hair goals. I simply state healthy, long hair is a goal of mine. So here is my 2012 Hair Goal List. I hope to reach these goals by the end of this year.

Hair length goals
1. Maintain healthy, moisturized, split-end-free hair.

2. Grow hair to a little past shoulders when stretched. Current length is just above shoulders in the back.

3. Speed up the growth of the front and sides of my hair. This part of my hair grows incredibly slow! While the back is almost grazing shoulder length the front of my hair is like ear length. Business in the front, party in the back = no bueno!

4. Protect my hair and look cute in the summer. Accessorize with more hats and scarfs to protect my hair from the heat of the sun, especially between 12-3pm.

Product goals
5. Streamline products

There is nothing wrong with being a PJ (product junky). It helps you discover new products that work for your hair and keep an open mind. However, I'm tired of shopping around. Our city is not exactly a haven for curly hair products. Besides, I'd like to go to the store, pick up the exact product I require and move on. My goal by the end of this year is to have: 1-2 shampoos, conditioners, styling products and oils that work well for my hair and no more!

6. Stop buying things that do not work for my hair.

Case and point, gel. I have a huge tub of eco styler taking over my medicine cabinet. Gels have never worked on my hair and I need to move on and accept this!

Style goals
7. Stop fearing the flat-iron! Words like heat damage and loss of curl pattern, have terrified me from picking up the flat iron. The versatility of being natural is that you can rock straight or curly hair. Of course, I don't want to flat-iron my hair weekly, but I would like to do a blow-out/flat-iron/roller-set every 3 months i.e. 4 times per year.

8. Have a salon experience. I haven't been to a hair salon in over a year! I miss it so much! The chatter, the female bonding, the gossip, having someone else's hands play in my hair. So, I would like to have a pampering salon experience at least once per year. I'm thinking of going to my old stylist and getting a roller set on my trip home this summer or checking out Aveda salon to receive a pampering deep conditioner and head massage.

Will keep you updated on my progress.

What are some of your hair goals?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cassia Update

Cassia powder is an excellent conditioner which makes hair glossy and thick and also improves the condition of the scalp. If you mix cassia with water and use it within the hour, the color of
your hair will not change (Cartwright-Jones, Henna for Hair, 2006). If your hair is dark, cassia will not lighten or color your hair. So you can benefit from all the conditioning properties, without the color. This is an advantage for those wanting to experiment with henna without dying their hair. However, the effects of cassia are not as long-lasting as henna, which is why I suggest applying once per month.

"Cassia obovata, angustifolia and alata have high levels of anthraquinones and crysophanic acid, and are
very effective inhibitors of skin fungus, mite infestations, bacterial and microbial diseases. Cassia alata,
which has high levels of anthraquinones and crysophanic acid, has been traditionally used to treat eczema,
itching and skin infections in humans. The cassias with high levels of anthraquinones and crysophanic acid
are genuinely effective in promoting healthy conditions of skin and hair (Catherine Cartwright-Jones, Henna for Hair, 2006)."

I've used cassia four times and think I will keep it in my regimen. The first time I used it, I noticed my hair was notably shinier and softer, but was not sure if this was a fluke. Yesterday, my results my results were surprisingly, less than stellar. I think this had more to do with the conditioner I used  to wash it out. I ran out of my Garnier Triple Moisture, which does a decent job of leaving my hair moisturized and soft. The conditioner I had on hand didn't do much for my hair. I can say that my hair feels stronger, even if it's on the wiry side today. I'll probably be due for a DC soon.

Here are some pics (without flash) from the first time I used cassia back in March. For information on the recipe and process I used, please see the previous post.

So the verdicts in, I'm a cassia head! Do you use cassia? What results have you noticed and how do you apply it?

Monday, May 14, 2012



Trying cassia for the fourth time today. I'll be using the following recipe:
50 g cassia
1 c warm distilled water
1 tbsp honey
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp conditioner (no cones)

I plan on keeping it in my hair for 3 hours. Using the mermaid method, I dip my hair into a tub of warm water. Proceeding, I rinse the rest out with the shower head. Finally, I co-wash to give my hair some slip and remove any additional henna.

Will report back later with results. Hope all the mothers out there had a lovely mother's day yesterday!

Hair & Love,