Saturday, December 20, 2014

Hair Grease And Natural Hair

Heya folks. December 11th was my three year natural anniversary and I must say the journey has had its shares of ups and downs for me. There have been times when I became frustrated when my hair didn't retain the style throughout the day or the moisture simply evaporated during the course of the day even though I applied the LOC or LCO method.  Below are a few selfies I took last Saturday. Violet's been flourishing, even in this cold weather, thank God.

I've tried so many products last year, it was beyond ridiculous and began mixing my own concoctions in the kitchen, which I must say have given me very positive results. I've invested in reading so many blogs and things to stay away from like sulfate free shampoos and hair grease. Lord knows I stayed away from hair grease like the plague during my natural journey. Well, these days I still read the blogs, but not as intensely.

The key to this natural hair care journey is discovering what works for you, and I must say, as of today I'm returning to using hair grease. Let me say this. It seems like those single strand knots still came to haunt me even after my trims and moisturizing regimens. I've retained a lot of length since I whacked off my hair in utter frustration back in May of this year. You can read about that little venture here.  But I know I can retain more length. Honestly, I should have. I've suffered from some minor setbacks a few months ago due to hormones and some stress before I started wearing my wigs to give my hair some rest.  Am I still kicking myself for cutting my arm pit length hair off? You bet your behind I am.

During my relaxed years my hair grew a little pass my collar bone. I had color and it broke off. It thinned, and It looked so horrible. Now this was back in the late 90's. The only other time I achieved arm pit length hair was in the late 80's early 90's due to the moisture I needed to maintain my jheri curl. Yes, oh yes, I have those pics, the hair was thick and luxurious! I am my own hair crush, especially looking at those pictures. But guess what. Eventually, my hair thinned even from the jheri curl, yep, you know as well as I that eventually those chemicals do thin the hair out as you get older. (At least for me, they did). Oh and I didn't have the drip drip curl, my hair was kind of damp to the touch and I never left marks on the couch like in the movie, Coming To America. LOL I'll try and have those old pics scanned and uploaded to show you all one day. I'm telling you, when I look at those old pictures I want to kick myself.

Now, what about those old school methods? My mother uses hair grease on my nine year old niece and guess what? Baby girl has hair down the middle of her back. Mom also put a kiddie perm in her hair a few years back, but it's only once every few months she does that.

Now, thinking back to my relaxed days, I've never had an itchy scalp like I have when I went natural. I've been using Neem and Tea Tree oils for my hot oil treatments. I use it whether I need it or not to keep any fungus, and or bacteria that may be scheming to homestead on my scalp away. I've oiled my scalp with Jojoba oil in the past, but it always evaporates. I can't use Castor Oil directly on my scalp or my scalp becomes sensitive to the touch. I've tested that out twice and i'm not going back! Sunflower oil is a great emollient, but I can't put it directly on my scalp. I'm not a heavy oil user anymore, either. I believe my hair started retaliating against oils a few months ago. I never became an oil user until I started on my natural hair care journey.

And, I do know oils aren't moisturizers. For me, sealing moisture into my hair with oils didn't help so now i'm going to test out hair grease. Now, there's something else. In the quest for moisture retention in your natural hair, have you overlooked your scalp? We try so hard to obtain the moisture for our locks but neglect our scalp. Yes, it is possible to have moisturized hair while your scalp is as dry as the Sahara. I know, I've done it. For those of you struggling with dry scalp problems, do you add a little product to your scalp or no?

Do you remember being a young child and how your mama always used to stress the importance of greasing your scalp? What if that holds true today?

 There's so much more knowledge in the natural hair community and I wish we had it back in the day, but perhaps incorporating some of the old school stuff into the modern hair care techniques and regimen's we're utilizing can help make all the difference in how our hair reacts. Think about it. Have you ever used a product for a month, or maybe six months and it doesn't give you the same results before even when layering your products? Then you feel like you have to jump over to another product line? I have. In the past, LOC and LCO methods with oils has worked for me, other times it hasn't. I don't know, just putting some thoughts out there that's been on my mind lately.

Oh, and here is another thing. My 14 year old is biracial with waist length hair. We have a simple regimen for her while incorporating a deep conditioning treatment to her hair. Sometimes we do her hair at home, sometimes to pamper her, we take her to a trusted beautician for a simple wash, blow dry and flat iron.

Over the summer, our stylist used coconut oil to grease my baby's scalp. Geez, I do wish she had asked first. Anyhoo, a few days later she developed flaky patches in the middle of her head. Mmm. Coconut oil. I can't use the stuff in my scalp, either. So, I greased my girl's scalp and it went away. Nothing like some good ole fashion grease, huh? Here's a little secret. My daughter has always had her scalp greased off and on and has had no problems with retaining length. I really do believe there is something to this greasing of the scalp stuff. Her hair and scalp seems so much happier when we grease it.

I'll keep you all updated on the incorporation of grease into my natural hair care regimen.   Until next time.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Three Years Natural!

GM All! I'm happy to say that today is my three year anniversary of being natural! I've been wearing wigs for the past few months and here are the results of my wash and go. I'm also in need of a protein treatment, I'll be doing that this weekend. 

Now I must say my hair has endured A LOT of mechanical manipulation since September 2013 in my efforts to stop shrinkage. Unfortunately, I've discovered that parting my hair for twists and braid outs resulted in some thinning at the roots. I notice my hair doesn't have as much volume as it did this time last year and that's VERY disappointing to me. So, the goal is, no more braiding or twisting the hair. I'll use my homemade gel and flexi rods/perm rods to give Violet some body. 

Later on I'll compile some pictures from my cell phones and upload them to youtube for the year 2013 to highlight my natural hair journey. Til next time folks!!


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Twist & Curl Part 1

Twist & Curl Take Down Pt 2

Showing the results of what my hair looked like the next morning. This video was actually filmed back in August and I forgot I uploaded them to my Google drive!

Black Dymond Naturals and Wig Making

Hey everyone, I've been protective styling for a minute now. Originally I started in September with an afro textured wig, but it didn't hold up as much as I would have liked. Check out the number I created in this video. Please note, this is not a tutorial, I'm simply modeling my creation. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Homemade Spritz Recipe

This morning I created a quick and easy moisturizing mist. For those who prefer light mists over heavy butters, this is a wonderful way of refreshing an old twist or braid out or just adding a little moisture first thing in the morning. This is great when you hop in a steamy shower, the steam opens cuticles and using this spritz helps to add/seal in moisture while laying the cuticles down. Remember, aloe vera gel/juice flattens cuticles, prevents frizz, and balances pH levels in the hair.

Last night I trimmed my hair and when I took off my silk cap, my strands were still nice and moisturized. Just to test my handiwork, I took down a twist and I'm happy to say, it didn't go puffy on me!  Yay!!  The definition was nice, just the way I like it and held even after six hours from takedown.

Moisturizing Mist

3-4 parts water

1 part Sunflower oil

1 part Sweet Almond Oil

2 parts aloe vera gel

6 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil

This mist must be refrigerated and will last a few days or a week in the fridge. Make just enough to last a few days so you don't waste anything.

I have some dried hibiscus leaves soaking to gain their essential nutrients and will be adding a little into my mix as well. Hibiscus is great for strengthening the hair, stops hair loss, and breakage. In my next post I'll talk about the oils I use in my homemade recipes and hair care regimen.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Signs You're in Need of a Trim

Hiya curlies, I just gave myself a much needed trim tonight. As you know, for the past few weeks I've been protective styling with my wigs. I've been sticking to my regimen, moisture, hot oil treatments, and deep conditioning. However, I'm usually horrible at keeping my ends trimmed. Below are a list of ways to find out if you need to trim you hair.

1. Twist and braid outs. If your hair thins out towards the end, it's definitely time for a trim. Take a bit of oil or butter and curl your ends around your finger. If the hair unravels or puffs out, you need a trim. Hair should be even from root to tip and you shouldn't be able to see through it.

2. When you're taking twists and braids down, the hair strands should slide against each other with ease, not get tangled. The appearance of this looks similar to webbing, you just get a tangled mess and possible single strand knots.

3. Inability to retain moisture. I swear, I did go through this a few weeks ago, even with the LOC method.

4. Inability to maintain a defined twist or braid out. Even after I clarified my hair, my style would go literally go "poof." There's nothing more disappointing than when you invest time and effort into a perfect twist out and see it puff up right after taking them down.

5. Split ends. Another name for split ends are Trichoptilosis, splitting or fraying of the hair shaft occurs. This happens naturally as the hair grows out, be we usually help it along by means of flat irons, rough combing, and mechanical manipulation. Yes, twisting and braiding every night can do this to the hair. Our 4b, 4c hair is very fragile and are definitely diva strands. We need to treat them like silk. If split ends aren't caught early on, they'll travel up the hair shaft, forcing you to cut more hair off than you'd like. Sometimes these damaged ends will just break off. Whenever you handle your hair and you see your sink decorated with strands, it's time for a trim.

6. Crumbly, rough ends. Your ends are supposed to be smooth as silk. If your ends feel spongey, or crumbly, you definitely need to trim.

Here are what your ends should always look like, sorry I should have taken some pics of my hair before the trim. The end results are fuller, luscious hair styles without fraying ends!  When I was on my game, I trimmed my hair every 6-8 weeks, pay attention to your hair to determine when you should schedule your next trim. Remember, you don't want to unnecessarily cut your hair off. Sometimes I could slide a few extra weeks without a trim but I haven't trimmed since early July. Keep a journal, and mark your calendar because this is so important curlies!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Protective Styling Challenge

Hiya!  I've been MIA a bit, but I wanted to give you an update on my natural hair care journey. Yes, I'm sporting a wig, been wearing it for about a week. Her name is Connie and I purchased it at my local beauty supply store. Mine was $29 and some change, but you can purchase online for cheaper, depending on where you buy it from.  I've added a few pictures below.

I also talk about some ups and downs in my haircare journey. Maybe you can relate or draw some info from this. Honestly, I was ready to cut my hair last week. I love my hair but it's frustrating when you spend time braiding or twisting and it doesn't come out the way you want. Yes, co-wash and shampoo regularly , do my deep conditioning and hot oil treatments. I've come to the conclusion that my hair needed some time off. I moisturize several times a day with Care Free Curl Gold activator and seal the ends with a little butter or sweet almond oil. Remember, the ends are the oldest part of your hair. Be good to them.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Maintaining Moisture with Vegetable Glycerin

I've been using Vegetable Glycerin for maintaining moisture levels in my hair and adding it to my homemade leave in conditioners and moisturizers.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Straying From Your Routine and Making Hasty Decisions

Hey Curlfriends! It's been an exciting summer and I can't believe next week my daughter will be in school. Time flies when you're having fun, doesn't it?

Here's a quick update on my hair. August 6th we headed to Indy for MotoGP (I'll post pics later) and I didn't grab the containers of leave in conditioner and moisturizer with with Aloe Vera Gel and flaxseed, but just the one with flaxseed. I didn't realize it until we arrived and unpacked Wednesday night and I didn't think it would make much difference.

 Boy! Was I wrong! Violet took a nice vacation too. My hair curled up the entire time we were there. Now, don't get me wrong. I don't mind a little shrinkage, but it wasn't the look I was going for. Below is how I'm currently wearing my hair today.

It was frustrating for me because my hair wouldn't cooperate and honestly it didn't occur to me until we arrived home on August 11th that my missing aloe vera gel was the missing ingredient that could have saved me and balanced the pH in my hair. Remember, during summer months, pH balanced products will save your a@@!

Also, usually the MotoGP is towards the end of August and from my past experiences, the humidity wasn't all that high, but it was in the beginning of August! Oh, and it was windy as hell up there in the stands too and the air was full of moisture. We had a few minutes when it drizzled on us (we had windproof umbrellas), but the sun returned. It's amazing how the "little things" can make such a big change in your hair!

Now, flaxseed gel can cause some shrinkage for some, but I honestly didn't experience much of it before leaving Maryland. My hair had a nice soft hold when I was sporting my roller sets, twist and braid outs. In the picture above I applied my product last night with aloe and flaxseed mix.

So, this has been another learning experience on this natural hair care journey. Sometimes we forget about the little things that can affect our hair and we wrack our brains trying to figure out why your fro is revolting.

On the flip side of things, Violet is coming along nicely, thankfully. In May I did the unimaginable and cut my hair because I felt it was too thin the day after washing. Looking back, it was a mistake because I was too hasty in my decision. Yes, I was seeking volume, but I didn't take the time to analyze the situation. Had I waited a day or two or perhaps styled it differently, I would have seen that my hair did have the volume I was seeking and I should have just did a simple trim.

Prior to that day in May, I was very much satisfied with my hair and wore roller sets for several weeks. It just goes to show you that time and patience is the key. Have you ever had an experience where you thought your hair wasn't what it should be and you took drastic measurements?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Controlling Oily Skin

Most of us suffer from dry skin while others suffer from oily skin. During my teen years, my skin was horribly oily right along the T-zone. (The forehead and straight down the nose). You're probably thinking how the heck can I have dry scalp and oily skin? Well, I didn't have scalp problems back then. Today my skin is only slightly oily, (thank God!)

In the 80's, my mom took me to a dermatologist who recommended a prescription drug for me. I don't remember what the name of the medicine was, it started with an "R" as for as I can remember. And then there was Accutane. Neutrogena worked for a while and then there was Clearskin from Avon. In spite of the medicines used I still had horrible black spots on my face.

Today my skin is healthy and glowing and I rarely break out from pimples even though I use carrier and essential oils in my hair regimen. I take Hair Skin and Nails supplement along with a multivitamin. I also use oils in my hair for hot oil treatment and I use light combination of Castor and Jojoba oils in my scalp sparingly. Hey, it's what keeps my scalp nourished and I usually seal with a butter. 

For those of you suffering from oily skin because you think oils may be the culprit, I recommend Aveeno Cleansing Pads. They work wonders on my fourteen-year-old daughter's skin and I just had to try them out when I'm not using Mary Kay. Also, be sure to change your pillow cases regularly, as the oils in your hair may seep through your cap and into the case, this contributes to break outs. 
Another wonderful product is Equate, which to me is an alternative to Proactive.  I've had great experiences with both products and I'm sure you will too. You just have to find what works for you. Products can be purchased at Walgreens, CVS, online stores, Walgreens, Target, and other places where cosmetics and hair care products are sold. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Black Dymond Naturals

I've been without wigs and extensions since September of last year. I've finally managed to embrace my natural hair texture and since then have rocked styles such as braid outs, twist outs, braid and curls, twist & curls, curly fros, frohawks, etc.

During my natural hair care journey I've even experimented with some Shea butter last December. Needless to say my hair didn't care for the Shea butter for some reason. Fast forward to January 2014 and I replaced Shea butter with mango butter for my leave in conditioner. I've even tried a few DIY mixes from the internet but after a while my hair didn't fell like it did at first. Isn't it funny when you first use a product how you love the way your hair reacts, bur after a few weeks to a month, your hair becomes dry to a certain extent or doesn't hold that style you spent time creating the previous night? I've grown so tired of experimenting with different products. Some I've recently purchased and have yet to use them. Perhaps I will in the future, who knows. But for now they sit beneath my bathroom sink.

I've finally tweaked a concoction I created back in March by mixing a few essential and carrier oils that has done the trick for my hair. I stopped mixing my own stuff because I ran out of ingredients and didn't make another trip to the vitamin Shoppe. And yes, since I'm an ex-product junkie I fell back on some old products beneath my sink. There have been some family members and some folks I've met on the internet who wanted to try my mixes because I was quite impressed with the way it made my hair feel, and the moisture does last me for days. I've even managed to step away from stylers on a daily basis when the one I made ran out. So far this week I've only used styler once and my hair is still nice and curly. 

I'll be making another batch next week for some folks I know in the Maryland area and I've decided to name my business Black Dymond Naturals. My website is currently under construction and so is my shop. I only make the products when I have several orders to place.  In addition to my leave in, I also make a moisturizing curl definer and a styling gel. Working with flax seeds has been challenging, but the end results are lovely. Only thing is, I need to make small batches when creating the definer for myself.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Clarifying Natural Hair with Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)  is a wonderful way to cleanse and clarify natural hair. Since the acidity of ACV is similar to natural hair, it’s an effective germ killer, conditioner, and cleansing agent.
Apple Cider Vinegar benefits:
Treats hair loss naturally
Head lice remedy
Relief from itchy scalp and dandruff
One good thing to remember is that hair is on the pH range of 4.5 to 5.5, almost similar to (ACV) which is pH 2.9.
Now, take into consideration that most of our hair care products we utilize are alkaline. These can be soap-based shampoos containing sulfates, hair dyes, bleaches, perms, and relaxers.
Rinsing with ACV every four to six weeks helps to balance the pH level in our hair while removing buildup from the styling products and cheap shampoos we may be using. Another great thing about using ACV is it closes the cuticles, provides shinier, smoother hair that is easy to maintain. It will also make your curls pop!
After shampooing hair you have the option to mix 1/3 cup of ACV into 1 liter of water. Usually I’ll take a large plastic cup and use 1 part apple cider and 1 part water and it’s worked like a charm.
Applying apple cider vinegar after shampooing or let it set on your hair when deep conditioning. I usually use this method, but you have to find what works for your hair. After 10 minutes, rinse hair completely. I do not recommend using ACV daily or even weekly. Remember, it is acidic and may not be for everyone. Pay attention to your strands and how they react afterwards.