Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Favorite Series: Clarifying (Sulfate) Shampoo

Hey there :),

A few posts ago, I mentioned using a sulfate shampoo after having a bad run-in with a heat protectant, deep conditioner and serum that contained a lot silicone. Silicone, as well as the organic oils i.e. petroleum and mineral oil, can form a tacky buildup on hair that can seal out additional moisture and/or protein from entering the hair shaft. The reason why these ingredients can form this buildup is because they are hydrophobic "water-fearing" molecules; this means that they are not soluble in water so they can't be removed in it, and unfortunately these are also not removed with sulfate-free shampoos either. Due to the structure and composition of silicone and the other organic oils, they do not migrate into the hair shaft (like the natural oils that penetrate: coconut, olive, avocado and argan) and they can create linkages that can create absolute barriers. The barrier property of silicone and organic oils makes them extremely effective sealants, but that same ability to keep moisture in the hair also seals additional moisture out of the strands until these substances are removed from the hair. The inability for additional moisture to enter the hair when needed leads to dry, weak hair and breakage. Here is where sulfates come in; these are the stronger detergents that are capable of removing buildup to prevent the drying and damaging effects silicone and organic oil. Periodically a sulfate-containing shampoo should be used to remove these materials to keep the hair shaft pliable and free to absorb all of the moisturizing and strengthening products you need to maintain the beauty and health of your hair.

Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo

This shampoo works great for removing the build up created by dirt, styling products and the environment. It leaves my hair cleansed but doesn't leave it dry and brittle. It generally can remove most of my build up in one lather, but two may be necessary if gels and heavy oils or butters are a big part of your hair regimen. It's clear in color, has a great lather (like most sulfate shampoos) and a mild, clean scent. I love it's simple ingredients and the fact that it doesn't contain any other additives, so all you're getting is clean hair without all the crap. I use it monthly to maintain the health of my hair and ensure that my silicone use doesn't cause any setbacks.

5/5 --Staple! 
Claims: Anti-Residue Shampoo is a shampoo treatment that instantly removes up to 90% of dulling residue caused by shampoos, conditioners and styling products.
It cleans hair thoroughly and easily rinses away. Use it once a week, then go back to your favorite shampoo. You'll find that it works better than ever. Works with all hair types.
Hair is clean and residue-free.

Ingredients: Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Citric Acid, DMDM Hydantoin, Fragrance
pH: 7
Type: Sulfate containing cleanser/Clarifier

Thanks for reading :),

Monday, June 25, 2012

Relaxer Update #2

Good Afternoon loves!

My blog had its two month anniversary on Friday and I wanted to say thank you to those who read, comment and to my 12 subscribers. It means soooo much to me that you guys are taking this journey with me and I truly am grateful. I have a lot of ideas, and I plan to have a few new things coming up so stay tuned and thanks again!

I relaxed my hair yesterday after a 10 week stretch! I think it went okay. I still have to trim my hair, and if the weather permits I will either rollerset or flat iron (wowow, haven't used any direct heat since the beginning of my journey... maybe I should stick with the no heat trend lol ;). Here's what I did:
  1. The night before, I thoroughly detangled my hair and applied coconut oil to the length. This was done to protect my previously relaxed hair to decrease the risk of overprocessing and the thinning of my ends due to relaxer run-off during neutralizing/rinsing. 
  2. About a half hour before my relaxer, I coated my entire scalp, my nape, my forehead and around my ears with vaseline to prevent burning. 
  3. I relaxed using the half and half method.
    • Relaxing the back two halves first, rinsing, using my mid relaxer protein step (using ORS replenishing pack, left in the hair for 2-3 mins), rinsing, and leaving neutralizing shampoo in while relaxing the front half. After the relaxer was applied to the front half and smoothed, it was also rinsed, received the protein conditioner and then was neutralized (let it sit for 10 mins, then neutralized a few more times). The mid relaxer protein step after the rinsing and prior to neutralizing prevents that limp, dead feeling that many experience after a fresh relaxer. 
  4. After neutralizing, I then deep conditioned with Nexxus Humectress for 30 mins with heat using my heating cap.
  5. After rinsing out the conditioner, I t-shirt dried for 5 minutes, then added my leave-ins (Rusk Smoother leave-in conditioner and pure argan oil) and then allowed my hair to air dry.
My hair came out pretty smooth, with no post-relaxer breakage! Now for pics...
Left - picture of soaking wet hair after deep conditioning, right - hair 70% dry. 

Last night after my hair dried, I moisturized and sealed with Bee Mine Luscious Balanced Cream Moisturizer and sweet almond oil. I also applied some of the Bee Mine curly butter to help set the waves. I then did one large bantu knot in the back of my head, in the front I did one knot in the middle and a large pin curl on either side. In the morning, I took them down with some sweet almond oil on my hands and here are the results:

Too bad it poured and turned this style into a fail. Good thing I wasn't running late this morning and I was able to take pics lol.

I'll have an official length check + trim coming up soon, as well as my 1 year hairniversary on July 1st!

Thanks for reading,

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Twist Out on a Crazy Hot Day!

Good morninggg ;)

So yesterday was a beast! It was about 95 degrees and sunny in nyc, I did have to count my blessings though... at least it wasn't humid lol!! On wednesday night, it was too hot for me to be messing with dry hair, so I co-washed with aussie moist to cool me down and then I thought about some styling choices. I figured a twist out would be a wise choice for a hot day, I also find that my hair stays moisturized for longer if it's set in some kind of style at night rather than just tossing into a satin cap loosely. I twisted my hair into small and medium sections spritzing with water and moisturizing with deja's hair milk (and a bit of the bee mine luscious in the back sections), sealing with almond oil and then finally adding a bit of the bee mine curly butter to each section. I feel like that sounds like a ton of product, but I find out using a small amount of each gets the correct effect without making the twists look oily and undefined. I let the twists set overnight and then took them down this afternoon with my coconut/sweet almond oil mix. They came out really defined and super duper full, even with minimal separating! Unfortunately, I was running out so I couldn't snap pics during the day. I took these at night when I got home, but the lighting isn't so great:


So this is me, not protective styling :/... My scalp seems to be recovering 
though, no more tenderness... Seems I'll need to wear my hair out more often =]

Thanks for reading :),

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bantu Knots

Hey there...

Yesterday I tried my first ever bantu knot out. I see so many nice bantu sets and they seemed fairly simple so I figured I'd try one out. I moisturized and sealed my ends with Bee Mine Luscious Balanced Cream Moisturizer and sealed with sweet almond oil. I dampened my hair with a spray bottle and applied a small amount of the Bee Mine Bee Hold Curly Butter to my hair then began to twist. I made 8 small bantu knots (2 on each side and four in the middle). I secured some of them with clips and on the side of my head that I sleep on I used thin ouchless ponytail holders to make sure that I could sleep comfortably :).

I was worried about how they would look after a long, rough night of sleeping, but I took them out this morning and they came out okay. I def have more work to do to perfect this style :p. As usual since I was running late for work I didn't get to snap pics this morning, but I did take some when I got home after work.


I have to say, so far I am really loving the Bee Mine moisturizers and this curly butter. My hair has been so soft, and even though it has been loose it has still remained moisturized all day. I am also thrilled that since they don't contain any silicone I won't have to use a sulfate shampoo for a while (pheww). I think I may be in love lol! I will def have full reviews of their products soon, I just want to spend some more time with the Luscious moisturizer and the Curly Butter before I give a full review. 

Thanks for reading :),

Monday, June 18, 2012

Post wash day pics

Good morning :)

So I was contemplating what I should do with my hair for dinner last night and I settled on a twist out. I also ordered some new Bee Mine products that arrived on friday!

I twisted my hair using Bee Mine Deja's Hair Milk to moisturize, I then sealed with sweet almond oil and I used the Bee Mine Bee Hold Curly Butter to hold some of the curl. I twisted my hair into about 12 sections (I was hoping for like 8-10 but that didn't work out :p) and put satin pillow rollers on the ends of each of the twists. These twists were done on dry hair. I left the rollers in for about 2 hours, took them out and took the twists down with a bit more sweet almond oil. Here are the results:

I left the front twisted and pinned it up. I like how they came out, although I'm really not sure why I keep making that face in those pics :p lol.

Thanks for reading :),

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Wash day

Good afternoon!

I spent the whole day yesterday debating if I should wash Saturday or today, but I opted to do it on Saturday to get it out of the way. I used my detangling method and here are the steps:
  1. I applied my coconut/sweet almond oil mix on my scalp and I put a mix of grapeseed and coconut oil on the length. I have to say, the grapeseed oil really made my hair feel really smooth, too bad i hate the smell :).
  2. I let that sit for a while and then over the oil I applied Biolage Hydratherapie Conditioning Balm to the front, and Carol's Daughter Tui Moisturizing Hair Smoothie to the back. I applied the biolage to the front because it was super dry and the front of my hair is doesn't tolerate any protein at all when it's dry, I also really need to finish this conditioner up so I figured why not lol.
  3. I chilled around in my heating cap for 30 minutes. 
  4. I then shampooed twice in 4 sections with Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo.
  5. For some reason, my hair felt hard after shampooing so I followed up with Aussie Moist and left that in for the remainder of my shower.
  6. After rinsing, I t-shirt dried for about 10 minutes.
  7. Then I applied my leave-ins (Rusk Smoother Leave-In Conditioner and argan oil), and proceeded to detangle when it was about 60% dry.
I've been using my detangling method for about the last month, and I can honestly say that I have noticed a drastic decrease in tangles, overall breakage--especially demarcation line breakage (which I have start having a problem with around 9-10 weeks post relaxer) and just general manageability. I am extremely pleased by this method so far and I think I will keep it up :). I do it once a week, and I see that it keeps my hair relatively tangle free for the entire week until I repeat the process. I have to comment on the condition of my scalp though; it has certainly given me hell this week. I think it's the weather, but after a good wash it's happier now. Cheers!

I really didn't do any styling after because it was about 3am when I finished washing so all I did was oil my scalp with coconut/sweet almond oil, put on a bonnet and go to sleep. I'm going out later today though, so I should probably come up with a clever style lol. I will def post that later, hopefully there will still be some natural light ;).

Thanks for reading :),

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Random Pics

Hey there...

This is just a bonus post to make up for the poor image quality in the pics from my last post.

 Hooray for natural light!

I broke down and had to bun my hair yesterday, it looked a mess. Those were the results of taking the bun out n shaking it out a little.

What did you do with your hair today?

Thanks for reading :),

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Nexxus Wash Day

Good afternoon!

This weekend was so hot and my hair was so oily (both from adding way too much coconut oil and my own sebum.. who knew it was going to be 80° and humid this weekend -_-). I had no plans to wash until this evening, but my hair was so cranky and heavy that a wash had to go down last night. It was a quick and super effective wash though pheww!
  1. I pre-pooed with coconut/sweet almond oil on my scalp and coconut oil on the length for about 40 minutes under my new BellaNutri heating cap (love this thing. it makes pre-pooing and dcing so much less annoying :).
  2. I then shampooed once with Nexxus Therappe to make sure to get most of the oil and silicone out of my hair.
  3. I followed up that first shampoo with my sulfate-free Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo (♥). I mostly just do this to calm my scalp down after using a sulfate shampoo.
  4. The next step was my protein treatment. I used Nexxus Keraphix and left it in without heat for about 10 minutes (accidentally :p), and rinsed that out in lukewarm water.
  5. I followed up with Nexxus Humectress to check my moisture/protein balance and left that in without heat for another 10-15 minutes and then rinsed out in cool water while finger detangling.
  6. Then I air-dryed my hair and continued to finger detangle, I skipped using my Rusk Smoother leave-in because my hair felt perfectly balanced and the protein in it can sometimes do too much, so all I did was apply some argan oil to my ends and then let the back hang down while it dried. I opted to pin the front up loosely so that I could just deal with the back.
I am 100% pleased with how my hair turned out. The wash balanced it perfectly, my hair felt moist, strong and it came out super smooth for 8+ weeks post! I was planning on relaxing this weekend, but I'm not sure I should. I have some tenderness in my nape so I'm going to wait for that to subside before I reach for the perm. I'm also loving my new growth and its little coils, the wash/DCing also left my roots very soft and manageable.

I didn't do much with it after air-drying, I left the front pulled up when I went to work. I think I'll do a twistout for tomorrow though. Sorry for the bad pic, getting a camera this weekend!

Thanks for reading :),

Friday, June 8, 2012

Tech Talk: Moisturizing and Sealing

Hey there :)...

So this is day 3 of my no protective styling thing. My scalp feels better today, but it's still tender near my temples and some parts of my nape. I'm just glad my scalp didn't start going crazy in the winter or I probably would've had a major setback due to not being able to protective style. As I mentioned in a previous post, because my hair is going to be loose more often, it is going to be more vulnerable to breakage. Due to the length of my hair (between shoulder and armpit length), the ends of my hair are vulnerable to damage by becoming caught on things, but more importantly hair that is loose is vulnerable to the elements. Air, sun, and absorbent fabrics (like cotton) can dry out hair and when hair becomes dry it can break. The next few posts will be dedicated to the measures taken to help prevent breakage whether hair is being protectively styled or left loose.

The first measure that I tend to take when my hair is left out is called moisturizing and sealing. Moisturizing and sealing (m&s) consists of using a water based moisturizer of your choice and sealing in that moisturizer using a natural oil, butter or serum. The act of sealing in the moisturizer enhances moisture retention and allows the hair to remain smoother, softer, more moist and manageable for a longer period of time than moisturizer alone. There are some m&s combinations that are better for certain styles, like curly styles may be able to handle heavier combinations and still be bouncy vs. straight styles that tend to get weighed down from too much product. I will discuss how to select the right moisturizer in a later post. My current favorite combination is Bee Mine Deja's Hair Milk and my coconut/sweet almond oil mix. I chose these because the hair milk is very moisturizing yet light, and my oil mix is semi-absorbed into the strands and doesn't weigh them down. Currently I have been moisturizing and sealing twice per day and as needed during the day to prevent dryness. The key to length retention when hair is out is to make sure that it remains supple throughout the day... I believe it's the moisture loss due to friction and the environment that can lead to chronic breakage if no precautions are taken

My m&s technique is fairly simple, I just section my hair and apply the moisturizer, then follow up with the oil and style. In general, after deep conditioning, most of the length of my hair remains moist between my wash days, but my ends always need the extra moisture so I tend to just m&s my ends as needed. For more information on m&s techniques click here and here.

Morning pics of my big pin curls after I took them down.
 I couldn't get a good pic of the front and as usual I was running late for work :p

What's your favorite moisturize and seal combo?

Thanks for reading :),

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Wash day and hair fun :)

Hey beautiful!

So I am officially over my hair right now. My scalp is so sore and I'm certain its because I've been pulling my hair back too much. I'm not interested in it shedding crazy because of too much tension, so I'm done with protective styling for a while. My hair will just have to be out for a while! Although I'm almost 8 weeks post and feeling lazy, I now have to meticulously care for my hair. I have to keep abreast of my deep conditioning, cleansing, moisturizing and sealing and make sure that the first available time my hair can be put into a satin cap that I do exactly that. So I'll probably be doing fun hair things since it has to be out in low tension, heat free styles.

So now for the wash day. I put my coconut/sweet almond oil mix on my scalp and then proceeded to take the twists down with some macadamia nut oil. I left the oil in for about 15 minutes then hopped into the shower with my Neutrogena Anti-Residue clarifying shampoo and went HAM lol. I shampooed my scalp one time and then applied the shampoo to the length (not on my ends though), I rarely do this with shampoo but I wanted all of the silicone out. After that I tried a new product, my hair felt like it needed some protein, but with more moisture added, so I figured I'd give the Organic Root Stimulator (ORS) Olive Oil Hair Masque a shot. I followed the directions and left it in for 5 minutes with a plastic cap on my head, then rinsed in warm-lukewarm water. I have to admit, the slip on that conditioner was BANANAS! My hair at almost 8 weeks post detangled with almost no effort, so cheers to ORS for that. My hair felt very soft and smooth in the shower, but it felt like there was a bit of film on my hair, and when I stepped out of the shower my hair felt hard while it was still wet. I was concerned, so I also tried a new leave-in, the Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine leave-in conditioner. The Sleek and Shine leave-in seemed to soften it up, but it didn't really help with detangling so I brought out my trusty Rusk Smoother leave-in. It felt filmy at first, but after it dried my hair was so soft, strong, smooth and fine smelling. I was pleased. I left it out on Wednesday and to kick off my no protective styling period, I figured I'd pin curl my hair Wednesday night to give it some shape. I moisturized my ends with Bee Mine Deja's hair milk and sealed with my coconut/sweet almond oil mix. I spray aloe vera juice/water on my sore spots and put my hair into 9 big pin curls. I wasn't sure how it would come out, but I have noticed that it's important to pin curl after the moisturizer dries so that the dents from the pins don't remain. I took them down this morning with some sweet almond oil and lightly spritzed them with aloe vera juice. I'm writing this around 3pm and I have to admit, my hair is still moisturized, bouncy and smooth. I am extremely pleased with the results. I hope my hair can stay healthy without the protective styling, I know it can be done, but I also know that means I have to really be on my game. I'm going to add some pictures as soon as I get home!

phew I finally got some natural light to take these pics :). these were taken at the end of the day when the curls fell. 
i like them, and more importantly my hair is still very moisturized!

How do you maintain your hair's health and maximize length retention when your hair is out?

Thanks for reading :),

Monday, June 4, 2012

Product Review: Biolage Hydratherapie Conditioning Balm

I've had the Biolage Hydratherapie Conditioning Balm for about 8 months now. I bought it earlier on in my hair journey because I wanted a protein-free moisturizing deep conditioner and this conditioner received rave reviews. I desperately wanted to like this conditioner, it has great, simple ingredients and it even has a lovely clean scent. I have used most of the tube, so I've used it at least 5 times. I have tried using this in a variety of different ways: by following the instructions, leaving it in for 15 minutes with heat, adding Roux Porosity Control and using it in my new detangling method. While this conditioner didn't damage my hair, or increase breakage, it simply didn't do much for my hair. It didn't provide any slip and it didn't leave my feeling particularly moisturized. The best results I received from this product were using it prior to shampooing and after I had already applied oil to damp hair and left it in when using the detangling method I mentioned earlier. I typically don't like to "doctor" up my conditioners, so I don't usually keep ones that require me to mix them with other stuff, especially considering this conditioner's rather high price (in NYC, its typically between $25-$32/10.1 ounce tube).

I most likely will not repurchase this conditioner, I just don't think it was moisturizing enough for the texture and density of my hair. Perhaps this conditioner would be better for someone with finer hair. Having said that, although it didn't work out for me, you may love it, so give it a try. It certainly didn't hinder my hair journey or cause me any negative reactions. This conditioner gets its points for being a moisturizing conditioner that lacks silicone, mineral oil, petroleum and protein. It also smells nice and has a thick, slightly sticky consistency. I'm not ready to give up on Biolage just yet though, lol. I checked their site today and noticed their Ultra-Hydrating Balm that is specifically geared to people with thick, coarse dry hair, so maybe that one will be better for me. I'll keep you posted!

Rating: 3/5

Claims: Biolage Conditioning Calm infused with a blend of rosemary and golden seal helps provide dry hair with the care and moisture replenishment it needs to be healthy, vibrant and beautiful.

Ingredients: Water, propylene glycol, myristyl alcohol, cetrimonium chloride, cetearyl alcohol, decyl oleate, phenoxyethanol, methylparaben, fragrance, propylparaben, hexyl cinnamal, rosemary leaf extract, golden seal extract, fucus vesiculosis extract (bladderwrack seaweed extract)
pH: 7
Type: Moisturizing deep conditioner

Thanks for reading :),

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Summer hair changes

Happy June ladies!

Yes, it's almost the official start of summer and the warm weather is finally here in the Northeast. I know my hair much prefers warm, humid weather. Ever since it got warmer, my hair has been moist, smooth and has finally stopped being angry with me (phew lol). Well, as the seasons change it's also time to make some changes to my hair regimen. Since I started this journey in the summer, I'm far more familiar with what my hair needs when it's hot so hopefully what worked last year will continue to work now.
  1. More frequent washing. With an oily scalp, when it starts to itch my hair is saying wash me, and I will ;).
  2. Oiling scalp only the day before a wash. This is mostly just to avoid the itching.
  3. I can put away the silicone. My hair no longer needs this diesel layer to keep moisture in, so the lighter hair sealing oils can return. 
  4. Use coconut oil to seal my hair daily. Now that it won't solidify in my hair I can go HAM on the coconut oil lol.
  5. More low manipulation, out styles.
  6. I was also thinking of adding a product that has sunscreen in it to my hair regimen. Suggestions?
What changes will you be making to your hair regimen this summer?

Thanks for reading :),
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