Thursday, June 28, 2012

Two Strand Twists

Tonight I decided to switch things up a bit. I've been a wash n go girl since I've gone natural. What this generally entails is me co-washing my hair twice, sometimes three times per week and wearing my hair out or pulling it back into a low puff. According to some hair specialists, it's not the best practice to wet your hair daily, as this can cause hydral fatigue, as the hair is being submitted to a continual cycle of swelling with water, stretching then shrinking as it dries.

I really want to wash my hair only one time per week, I don't think I can go much longer than that. However, without a protective style, my ends immediately get dry and frizzy, hence the constant rewetting. I've been searching the web for protective styles that might work for my hair. Right now it's in an awkward phase and I can't bun it and I don't like weaves or wigs. So, what did I do? I went to the web to for inspiration. I stumbled across a video on Youtube by HeyFranHey where she does a tutorial on two strand twists. The end results are beautiful and her hair almost looks like it's in a twist in curl, even though she's rocking twists. Then, I found a post on Curly Nikki on the Twist and Turn Two Strand Twist by Shelli of Hairscapades (major hair crush). Well, both of these ladies have long hair, so I wasn't sure if it would work for me.

The only way to find out was to give it a shot. What did I have to lose beside a few hours of my evening. On the bright side if the twists look cute I will save a lot of time. I can twist my hair on Sunday, wear it in twists until Thursday and then rock a twist out Friday and Saturday. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but this could save me loads of time on my morning routine. This week, I did my monthly cassia treatment and my hair felt full, soft but I also had major shrinkage. The idea of wearing twists and stretching my hair a bit didn't sound so bad after all.

So to prepare my hair I shampooed and then deep conditioned with my FAVORITE semi-DIY deep conditioner:

1 TBSP melted shea
1 TBSP argan oil
2 TBSP cheapie non-cone conditioner

I then used my spa steam treatment and sat under my soft-hooded dryer for 1h 30mins. After I rinsed the DC out with a conditioner. This left my hair soft and tangle free.

I did about 30 - 50 small to medium-sized twists (lost count). When I reach the end of the twist, I just twirled it to hold it in place. The final result was really pretty, however, with my hair in the awkward stage my twists began to shrink and helmet head was in full-effect. I tried tension blow-drying the twists for about 2 minutes and lost patience. Then I decided to try to semi-band my twists to stretch them. I plan on leaving them like this over night and look forward to seeing how they look when I remove the bands.

Uuh, my sides are almost chin length but shrinkage is major, thus the helmet head shaped hair.

Banded twists

Next day:

Do you two strand twist, any tips for maintaining them?


Spa Steam Treatment

Want to reap the benefits of steaming, but don't want to spend a fortune on a steamer? Here's a method I use to steam my hair. I generally do this as a pre-poo treatment, especially after swimming, which I've been doing quite a lot of these past few months.

It's super quick and easy.
  1. Take a tea towel, place it in a sink full of warm/hot water (not too hot). A tea towel is easier to manipulate than a bulky cotton towel and it's easier to wring out the water.
  2. Add in a few drops of your favorite essential oils (I used peppermint and lavender) to the sink full of water.
  3. Take the towel and wring out the water, however leaving enough to keep it damp. Place the towel on your hair immediately, cover with 1 or two plastic caps and put a satin bonnet or towel over your head, to lock in the heat.
  4. Leave on hair 20 - 30 minutes.

You can apply conditioner or oil or any of your favorite hair treatments. I oiled my strands with coconut oil and aloe vera juice. The peppermint gave a nice refreshing tingle and the lavender oil was very soothing.

Do you steam? What are some of your favorite DIY treatments?

Happy Steaming,

Monday, June 25, 2012

Customized Baggying

Baggying is a method of deep-conditioning, where the hair is moisturized at night and covered in plastic (e.g. saran wrap, shower cap, plastic bag). The hair remains covered overnight and is then rinsed out the following day. It's a great method to moisturize the hair, as the plastic bag creates a similar effect to steaming. The hair cuticles open up, as the bag traps in heat and this allows moisture to enter the hair shaft. Every time I baggy, my hair is soft, defined and moisturized. However, there can be disadvantages if you baggy too much. If the hair is too soft and "over" moisturized from constant baggying, it can also break easily, as elasticity is reduced. This can be remedied by not over-baggying. I typically baggy 3-4 times per month and this seems to be enough for me. Another option is to introduce protein treatments into your routine to keep the hair strong and reduce breakage.

One particular problem I had with baggying, is that my hair, like many naturals, has many different textures and curl patterns. In the back of my head my hair is tightly coiled, thick, easy to detangle, however the ends are prone to dryness. The curls on crown and sides of my hair are looser, easier to moisturize, however prone to tangling. This part of my hair typically is a bit limp and breaks easily after baggying. On the contrary, the back of my head is soft, shiny and healthier after baggying. Thus to counter this problem, I came up with the solution of customized baggying.

Here's how I do it:

  • I moisturize all of my hair with olive oil. 
  • On the puff in the back of my hair, I add a little conditioner. 
  • I cover my puff in plastic by wrapping a shower cap around it and holding it in place with a hair elastic.
  • I then put a satin scarf on my head.
This method is great for me, because when I wake up the sides and front of my hair are shiny and moisturized from the oil and satin scarf and the back of my hair is moisturized from baggying. The next day, I rinse only the puff and style my hair.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Rhassoul Clay Revisted

I haven't used rhassoul clay in a couple of months. Previously (My Adventures with Rhassoul Clay), I applied rhassoul clay by diluting it in water, mixing it, pouring it on my hair, letting it sit, then rinsing it out of my hair. Recently, I applied it as a mask. Going forward, this is the only way I will ever apply rhassoul clay!! My hair is soft, cleansed but not stripped, my ends curled up and my curls are bouncy and smooth. Another thing I did differently this time, I applied vinegar and aloe to my mixture. As stated previosly, rhassoul clay has a higher ph: 6.9 - 7.5, so adding vinegar and aloe lowers the ph, in addition to making your hair more moisturized.

Rhassoul Clay Mask Recipe

10 TBSP rhassoul
7 TBSP Vinegar
Distilled water
1 TBSP Aloe juice

1. Add vinegar to the clay first and stir, the mixture should be lumpy and thick. Add water to get the clay to a smooth, medium consistency (not too runny). Just before applying the clay to your hair, add the aloe juice.

2. Apply the rhassoul clay to slightly damp hair. My hair was not washed prior to applying, I just spritzed it generously with a spray bottle. When applying the clay, try not to rub it into the hair as if you were applying a conditioner, just coat the strands with the clay.

3. Let it sit on the hair about 30 minutes, no cap necessary. Do not let the clay dry on hair.

4. Rinse well and be amazed by the incredible results of rhassoul. It cleans the hair of impurities and leaves the hair moisturized and shiny.


The day I did this treatment, I decided to have a spa experience at home. I whipped up my favorite hot oil treatment: olive oil, honey, and a little peppermint essential oil and applied this to my hair. I then put on a plastic cap and sat under the dryer for 45 minutes.

My hair feels great and I'm excited that I'm keeping up with my goal of mainting healthy, happy hair. Now, if I could get these sides to grow a little faster, to get rid of this awful helmet head shape I've got.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Keeping Hair (esp. ends) moisturized

I wash my hair twice per week. There's nothing like the first day when I wash and deep condition my hair, it's always super soft and shiny. As days pass, it tends to get dryer and slightly rougher. To keep my hair soft and shiny past day 1 hair, here are some tips that work for me:

After washing hair and conditioning or deep conditioning sessions, I put in a moisturizing leave in, seal my hair with my oil of choice, paying close attention to the ends of my strands. Style as desired.

Sounds familiar and easy enough to do right? That's because it is. The part of my routine that left me scratching my head was the night routine. I'd ask myself -- How do I keep my natural hair styled so I don't have to manipulate it too much or wash it again the next day? Well, I feel as though I've finally found some answers to this question and have a consistent night time routine.

I either place my hair in mini pineapples, lightly spritz them with water and rub a little EVOO or argan oil on my ends, put on a satin scarf and call it a day. Another method I discovered, which I'm liking a lot is to lightly spritzy my hair, place my hair in four large plaits or loose braids (two on the side, two in the back), rub oil on my ends and put on a satin scarf. The second method is really versatile, because it allows you to stretch your hair. The next day, I can either wear my hair in a braid/plait out or pull it back into a little puff. I find when I braid my damp hair, it maintains moisture and keeps my hair's cuticles slicked down, which equals less frizz. I think I'll be doing more of option 2 as my hair grows longer.

What is your night routine?


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Braidout on Short Natural Hair update day 1, 2

I've been pretty much wearing my hair like this for the past couple of weeks. I've been running around a lot this week and I find this style is classic and simple. I can wear it like this 3 days straight, refresh with a spray bottle and continue wearing it like this another 2 - 3 day.

However, convenience does not always = fun, so I decided to mix things up a bit and do a braidout. Twistouts have never been my friend. During my transition they never worked or looked good on my hair. Even after I went natural, my twistout results were noting to run home and brag about. Tonight, I decided to revisit my good old-faithful braidout. This is my first attempt on my natural hair.

Here's a pic of my hair all braided, tomorrow I'll unveil the final result. I have a total of about 16 braids and it took about 40 minutes to do. I did the braidout on dry 3 day old hair. I divided my hair in 4 sections. refreshed each section with water and moisturized only my ends with leave-in and argan oil. I'll post pictures of my results tomorrow.






For the first time since becoming natural I used a conditioner with a cone! My hair feels amazing! My ends feel just as smooth as my roots for once. This really makes me rethink some of my hair practices. The product is Nivea Nutri Cashmere conditioner. In addition to dimethicone, it also has rice protein. I'm on my way out to enjoy the sunshine, but a review on this product will be coming up soon.

I purchased Nivea's Nutri Cashmere conditioner the other day. It had cones and a bunch of other ingredients that wouldn't make the "natural list", however, something was calling me towards it. It could have been the word cashmere, the pretty bottle and more importantly the decent price. For whatever reason, I threw caution to the wind, ran to the cashier and used it the same night I purchased it.

First here is what it claims to do:
  • Gives dry hair a cashmere feeling and moisturizes it, without weighing it down.
  • Makes it easier to detangle hair.
I've only used it once, but my initial opinion is that it delivers all of the above points.

So here's my personal take on the product:

Rating scale: 1 horrible - 5 wonderful 
Consistency - 5
The conditioner has a medium, creamy consistency. It's not too thin and runny nor too thick and clumpy.

Smell - 3
It smells really clean, kind of like dryer sheets. This is not necessarily a bad thing, I just prefer fruity or herbal scents.

Slip - 5
My tangles melted immediately, right after applying the conditioner, it made detangling a breeze.

Conditioning properties - 5
My hair is still really soft and my curls pop more than usual after using this conditioner.

Overall rating - 5
This one is a keeper, I can deal with the smell. My hair felt like cashmere after using this.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Secret Product

When transitioning, I pampered my hair all the time. I noticed that after going natural, those special sessions decreased. It's as though I thought, now that I'm natural all of that deep conditioning and hot oil treatments are not necessary. So not the case!

With the temperatures on the rise and increased hours of sun (well excluding this week, it's been raining nonstop), it's important to make sure the hair stays protected and moisturized. This week, my hair felt a bit dry after returning from my vacation in France. So, I decided to revisit deep conditioning with olive oil, one of my favorite oils. I shampooed my scalp, mixed my conditioner with olive oil (1/2 oil, 1/2 conditioner), sectioned my hair in 4 parts and applied the mixture. Next, I put on a plastic cap and sat under a hooded dryer for about 45 minutes. I haven't used my hooded dryer since my transition! Upon finishing my deep conditioning session my hair felt noticeably soft. I then rinsed out the conditioner and applied my leave-in of choice, Garnier's avocado and shea leave-in (this stuff is good). Next, I decided to apply some of my coconut oil. I hadn't used coconut oil for sealing and wanted to give it a try. My hair didn't feel noticeably softer after, actually it felt a bit harder. So, I did what any PJ would do and reached for another product to remedy my not so stellar coconut oil seal. But to my surprise, I suddenly found my hands stumbling for....
Organic Root Stimulator Coconut Oil

I know the bottle reads Coconut Oil, but this is hair grease. You may ask, why put coconut oil on top of coconut oil. Well, I just had this crazy urge to revisit the old school use of grease. I used a small amount to slick down the front of my hair, into a low pony puff (see below) and I used a small amount on my ends, which are prone to dryness. 

I then put on my satin scarf for about 20 minutes. Guess what? My hair has not felt this soft, since I've gone natural-- no lie. Additionally, my curls were springy and my ends were very soft. I've been wearing my hair like this since Sunday night and I'm on 3 day hair now. I plan on doing a deep conditioner again soon. My dilemma: what resulted in this softness? Was it a combination of olive oil deep conditioner, coconut oil and grease? Was it the grease alone that rescued my locks? It's a mystery. Although, it could be that since coconut oil is deep penetrating, it takes some time to see the results and it's not an immediate result, as such when applying a leave-in. For one thing I'm going to continue my EVOO deep conditioner, at least 1 - 2 times per week. However, for the next session, I am going to seal with only grease and see what happens. I know many give grease the side-eye, but with these kind of results I'm going to consider myself an equal opportunity product tester. I'm not too thrilled about the ingredient list, so maybe if this does benefit my hair, I may look for a more "natural" grease. Another thing, my hair doesn't feel greasy, I think the trick here was applying a small amount.

Do you have some grease hiding in your closet? What are your experiences with grease?


Friday, June 1, 2012

Protecting the Ends in the Summer

At 8 months I transitioned chopped. Back then, maintaining healthy, moisturized hair was super easy. Now at 14 months, keeping my hair moisturized involves more work than before. To whip my ends into shape and to prevent becoming dry and brittle, I've stepped up my routine. I implemented 3 nightly deep conditioning treatments:
Prepoo once per week, the night before I plan on shampooing. I generally apply coconut oil on dry hair, concentrating on the ends. I then put on a plastic cap and leave it on overnight.

Once per week I do a dry deep treatment. On days when I plan on cowashing, I apply conditioner to dry hair, concentrating on my ends. I then put on a satin cap and leave it on overnight. The next morning I wet my hair and detangle. The tangles seem to melt away.

Once per week I do a deep conditioner overnight on damp hair.

3xs per week may be a bit extreme, however I'm sleeping during all treatments, so it's not so demanding. I'm already seeing remarkable results, my ends are much softer and tangle less. We live in a warm and dry environment, thus it's important that I adapt my routine to fit the elements. I feel like I'm on my way to healthier summer hair with this new regimen!

Another measure I take is sealing my ends with an oil that penetrates the hair shaft. Every night I place a small amount of oil on my ends before going to sleep, when I'm not doing a conditioning treatment. The oils that work really well for me are: argan, olive, kukui and my whipped shea butter mixture (cocao butter, shea, argan and monoi).

Finally, I've purchased a couple of cute summer hats and baseball caps to protect my hair during peak hours (12 -3). This is especially vital if I plan on spending a day at the beach.

Is your hair summer ready? What products and routines do you use to maintain healthy hair during the summer heat?