Mid Week Wash

I decided to wash my hair on Wednesday because it just felt icky. I know that probably sounds really gross, but I think in my quest for maximum moisture, I had been going a bit too heavy on the oils and moisturizers. As a result, my wig was greasy, the scarf & wig cap that I wear under my wig was greasy, and it just wasn't good. So I washed everything - wig, scarf, cap, and hair.

I decided to do a clarifying shampoo with my Phytopanama + Intelligent Shampoo because I am out of the Phytolium Energizing Shampoo. After clarifying, I intended to shampoo with a sample that I received, but I grabbed a sample conditioner instead of shampoo. I ended up conditioning with Phytodensium Anti-Aging Mask. I realized while I was using this that my stylist uses this on my hair every now and again (I recognized the smell which is yummy!), so fortunately I wasn't using anything that my hair wasn't accustomed to.

All in all, I'm glad I washed my hair because it felt A LOT better afterward. It was more moisturized, softer, and just better. I always love the way my hair feels after washing, conditioning, etc., but I'm too lazy to do it more than 1X per week. However, since I'm washing in corn rows, it's a lot easier and quicker, so I think I may start washing my hair 2X per week on a regular basis. 


SOOOO Excited!!!!!

One of my closest friends got engaged in July 2011 and she just set the date for her wedding. She will be getting married in December 2012 in SOUTH AFRICA!!!!!!!

So just to give a little background - my girl and I have been friends for more than 20 years. We went to school together until we were 13, which is when she moved to South Africa with her family. Her mother is South African and her father is American. She attended high school in South Africa and returned to the US for college. During the time she was in South Africa, we maintained our friendship, writing letters to each other (you can tell this was a long time ago...letters vs. e-mail and Skype...really? lol). We would also see each other during the summer when she would come to the US. 

Long story short, when she came back for college, we picked up where we left off. We interned together for a few summers while in college and literally had the BEST summers ever - doing everything from eating lunch together daily, to shopping, and partying (I'm so reliving one of those summers in my head right now). A few years later, she lived in NYC and I lived about 45 minutes away in Connecticut so we would get together on the weekend and live it up! 

When she first got engaged, I knew there was a good chance that the wedding would be in South Africa because she and her fiance moved back there in July. Her fiance is Kenyan, so there was a good chance that there would be a ceremony in South Africa and one in Kenya. So far she has only confirmed the one in South Africa, so I have marked my calendar for two weeks and I cannot be more excited. Our mother's are very close friends and her family has been inviting/ demanding (with love of course) us to come visit since we were 13, so this trip is waaayyy overdue!

So when she confirmed the date for me, you can only guess the second thing I did after we spoke about colors, and looked at a few bridesmaids dresses? Started planning my relaxer schedule for the entire year so that I will be two weeks post on the day of the wedding! I had to alter my relaxer calendar a little, but overall I have it set. It may have to change slightly depending on whether or not I get some tracks added.

Although I would love to have hair significantly longer than what she's ever seen me with, or I've ever had (i.e. APL), I don't want to set ambitious length goals and over stress the whole situation. So I'm just going to continue on my hair journey and hope that my hair is healthy and beautiful on her special day!

I'll keep you guys posted on the planning and other fun details as they arise!


The Moisture Saga Continues

The greatest takeaway that I got from unbraiding my hair last week is that it is dry. Since learning this, I have stepped up my mission to figure out what my hair likes. This is especially important because although wigs are a great protective style, they can easily zap all of the moisture out of your hair, so you must take special care to ensure that the moisture remains!

It's been a heck of a week of trial and error because I have been trying different combinations of moisturizers to see if I can hit the spot. I decided to try a moisturizing technique posted by EbonyCPrincess of Longing 4 Length. The technique involves applying a liquid moisturizer, followed by a creamy moisturizer, and sealing with an oil. I have been using my Phyto Hydrating Mist leave-in conditioner, which I LOVE, as my liquid moisturizer, followed by Amla & Olive Heavy Cream, and sealing with grapeseed oil.

Well this week I came to grips with the fact that I really like grapeseed oil, but my hair doesn't love it, at all. It just sits on my hair. Prime example - one night I followed the triple moisture technique, using the grapeseed oil to seal. I used a VERY generous amount because my hair ALWAYS feels dry. I slept with a plastic cap because I didn't want to ruin my linen. When I removed the cap the next day, the oil was just dripping off of my hair and there was literally a puddle at the bottom of the cap. I definitely know I went heavy on the oil, but based on the amount that was still in the cap, that confirmed for me that my hair didn't really absorb any of it. Long story short, I think I have to add grapeseed oil to the same category as EVOO (click for my earlier experience).

So what I learned this week is I like the idea of layering the moisturizers, but I need to get a cheaper liquid leave-in because the Phyto Mist is pricey considering the amount that I use on a daily basis, and I need to return to my beloved EVCO. This is the only oil that my hair seems to love. I did some research on LHCF to see how some of the ladies are handling moisture issues and found that the LOC method is popular (it's the same as the one EbonyCPrincess posted, but the order of the oil and creamy moisturizer are switched). I will try the LOC method and see which one I like best.

I also searched for a good liquid leave in moisturizer. I narrowed it down to Carol's Daughter Tui Leave In Conditioner and Paul Mitchell Awapui Moisture Mist. I went to Beans Beauty and asked the salesman his opinion on what would be a good product that's similar to the Phyto Mist, but cheaper (this guy has been selling hair products at this store for at least 10 years - no bull). I mentioned the Paul Mitchell, but he suggested Mastey Leave-In Moisturizer. I am not familiar with Mastey, but he mentioned that this was a lightweight, moisturizing leave in that would do the same as the Paul Mitchell, but without the preservatives, wax, and potential for build-up. I'm excited to try it and let you know what I think.

Sorry for the long post, but that's where I am on my quest for maximum moisture! Let me know if you are familiar with Mastey and your thoughts!


MN Update

I finished my first round of MN after using it for 4 weeks. I posted how I mixed it here. I purchased another tube of MN and am debating on how I want to mix it this time. I think I want the mix to be a little more potent this time. I'm debating between mixing it with my Amla & Olive Heavy Cream or with Jamaican Black Castor Oil (JBCO).

I have just enough Amla & Olive Heavy Cream to make a mix that's 1/2 cream and 1/2 MN. Although the instructions on the packaging of the Amla & Olive Heavy cream say that you can use it on your scalp, it seems a little thick to me to use on my scalp. I checked the ingredients and everything seems ok for my scalp, but the consistency of the cream is thick and sticky. I don't want to risk clogging my pores, or doing anything to impeded growth. But I'm curious to try the MN in a scalp cream, vs. an oil.

On the other hand, if I use the JBCO, I will use 3 oz of JBCO and add the MN. I like having an oil base because once I apply it to my scalp, I believe the oil is able to penetrate other parts of my scalp that I can't reach since I have cornrows. With the cream, the only parts of my hair that are likely to have the cream on it are the parts where I apply it.

I think I'm going to visit Long Hair Care Forum and explore a few threads to see which may be a good option. Feel free to let me know what you think!


Lesson Learned!

I guess it's not called a hair journey for nothing.

I went to my hairdresser to get my oil + steam treatment, shampoo, etc. and hair re-braided. In preparation for the visit I decided to take my cornrows out myself so that I could do a little detangling and release the shed hairs since my hair has been braided for 4 weeks.

I wanted to take my braids out myself as an experiment to see if it would reduce the amount of tangling that I have when I get my hair braided at the salon (I don't have a lot of tangling, but I don't want any!). The long and short of the story is, when I go to the salon, my stylist does not comb my hair, at all. Which is a good thing for the most part, but by not combing my hair and depending on the shampoo and finger combing to get the shed hairs out, I wonder if she's getting them all? Any shed hair left in my head hangs onto the "good" hair and creates knots. So that's why I'm trying to experiment on what the best approach is - me detangling at home first, or going to the salon and following her process.

I'm glad I decided to do my hair myself because I learned a few lessons:

  1. My hair is DRY! Don't ask my how/ why because this was baffling to me. I did not M&S before taking out my hair, but I would think the fact that I do heavy M&Sing on a daily basis would mean something? Not so much. The only part of my hair that wasn't dry were the end of my braids and back of my hair where the oil collects (gravity at work), and the part closest to the root because I oil my scalp daily. I mentioned in an earlier post that I didn't love the moisturizer that I was using and this just confirmed that I need to find a new one because it's not moisturizing anything!
  2. Aloe Vera Juice (AVJ) did not save the day for me. I have heard so many great things about AVJ so I was really excited to use it during this process. I have been mixing AVJ with African Braid Spray and using this as my daily moisturizer. When I started using this mix, I assumed it was the African Braid Spray that was throwing the moisture off, but after using AVJ by itself yesterday to try to detangle, I noticed that this is what's making my hair feel weird and dry after I use the moisturizer. I will give the AVJ another try just to make sure that I'm correct, but I think I may have to write this off once I finish using what I have.
  3. My hair NEEDS to be damp when detangling. I NEVER detangle my hair when it's dry, so why did I think it was a good idea this time? Instead of a light bulb going off in my head to empty the spray bottle of AVJ and add water instead to help detangle my hair, I decided to try the AVJ for two braids, slap on some Amla & Olive Heavy Cream, spray some grapeseed oil and hope that somewhere along the way my hair would soften up enough to successfully comb out - EPIC FAIL! By the time I got to the last two braids, I sprayed my hair with water to dampen it and the comb just glided through. 
  4. I think I may have caused some breakage by combing my hair while dry. Initially I was only seeing shed hair which is to be expected. But by the last few braids, I started seeing breakage, but I think that's because my hair was bone dry and I was trying to comb it out. After I dampened my hair, there were no more small pieces. I hope I don't pay for this mishap by having to get a deeper trim in April when I relax again.
  5. When I actually got my hair done, the proof was in the pudding...my stylist has such a hard time braiding my hair because it was so tangled! She had to work A LOT harder than usual to braid my hair. 
So the key takeaways are that I MUST find a better moisturizer to use with my braids and I will not be "detangling" my hair again at home before getting it done. The most I will do is unbraid my hair, but no combing. I caused more harm than good in the end. I wouldn't have known the outcome had I not tried it, but lesson learned!


Quick Update

Hi friends! I hope you all had a great holiday and happy new year!

I've been away for a while due to some personal matters, but I hope to get back to posting at least once a week soon.

Things have been quiet with my hair - I've had my cornrows in for the last 4 weeks and will go to my stylist on Saturday to get a steam + oil treatment, and new braids. I have been shampooing my hair weekly in the cornrows as well as M&S'ing daily with a spray mix of African Braid spray + Aloe Vera Juice (got this from Ms. Kibibi) and sealing with grapeseed oil. I actually don't think I love this mix, but I'm going to finish what I have and then experiment with other liquid moisturizers while I'm in my cornrows.

I've also been using my MN mix daily and haven't seen any negative side effects (thankfully)! I'm just coming to the end of the 6oz mix that I posted about earlier, so it looks like 6oz lasts me about 4 weeks. I'm not sure that I want to have MN sitting for that long since there are active ingredients, so I think I may change up the mix this weekend when I get some more. I may do a 3oz mix with less oil to make it a little more potent, but I'll see.

That's it for now!