Wednesday, 27 February 2013

My relaxed hair status, goals and regimen

*This post was done when I was still relaxed. I am now natural, however, most of the info here applies to both relaxed and natural hair. I decided to leave this post on the blog because I figured someone out there might learn something, and also as a reference point for me when I need to compare my natural hair progress to how it was when I was relaxed :-) *

My hair is currently at arm-pit length (APL) I believe. I intend doing a self-relaxer procedure in a week or two and a self-trim. And I will show you the pics. I think we can start the hair care journey safely from there. But first just a quick summary of my hair “status” and goals. This is IMPORTANT for every girl interested in long hair. You have to know your hair: is it course, fine, thick, do you have fast hair growth, is it limp, does it break or shed a lot, what is the length? You also need to set out your goals: do you want faster hair growth, thicker hair, much longer hair etc.

My hair status

APL (Arm pit length). This means the tips of the hair graze the armpits. I will soon post on the different hair care lingo we all need to know.

Fast hair growth.

Uneven lengths! This is probably due to poor relaxer application techniques! Over-processed hair will be weak and eventually break off. Also inadequate protein treatments. Protein treatments give strength.

Dry hair. I have low porosity hair too (hair that has closed cuticles and finds it hard to absorb moisture L). I think my strands are reasonably thick, but a bit less thick around my crown area. I hope I don’t ever get bald! Lol.

Grey. One thing you must know about my hair. I have premature grey! Imagine that! Saw my first grey when I was 21! I recall screaming at the mirror and running to mums room and whining about how sad it was that I inherited the grey from her!
 My hair at the moment. 14 weeks post-relaxer with plenty new growth

Semi-damp hair at about 9 weeks post -relaxer. Note the scanty, thinning, uneven ends :-(

My hair goals

Longer hair: Of course! Like duh. Girls, know this. Yes faster hair growth is important and that is my next goal anyway, but our greater problem is not hair growth, it’s hair length retention! Our hair grows, if it didn’t we would not need relaxer treatments every 2-3 months. But what happens is that the ends get so weak, hair starts breaking etc and voila! Short, scanty hair.

Faster hair growth: It’s simple. The faster the hair grows, the faster we can reach our goals while combating the unhealthy, long-hair defying ends of our hair at the same time

More moisturized hair, healthier: Oooooh the major issue with African hair! Keeping it adequately moisturized and sealed! Particularly in this world of harsh weather, busy schedules, low budgets and weaves!

Normal porosity: Yep, I will soon update y’all on how to test for hair porosity. Normal porosity is a balance between high and low porosity- the hair absorbs moisture adequately, enough to be able to retain it once it gets in there.

Even strands, healthier ends: sigh# oh for lovely thick hair even at the tips like the blogger, Jen, of!
                                          Now ladies, if this isn't some hairspiration, I dunno what is!

My current regimen
I think the issue I have had to contend with is COMMITMENT! My regimen is not sooo baaad shaaa but I know I need to add and adjust some things. They say it is only a mad man that would do things the same way and still expect a change! So here goes:

1. Not-Daily moisturizing: Mostly because I install weaves often and its almost impossible to keep the hair moisturized with weaves on! I deep-condition (DC) and moisturize and seal heavily b4 installation with Aphogee provitamin leave in conditioner, Dark and Lovely corrective leave-in conditioning therapy, shea butter (I just call it wonder butter lol cos it gives great slip and so much more), Dr. Miracle’s Relaxed Hair Potion and a mixture of olive, almond, jojoba, amla and coconut oil for sealing in moisture. I pay mad attention to my ends :-)

2. Not-so-frequent DCs: average of once a month or 3 weeks. (cos of the weaves). I rarely do protein treatments because they leave my hair so dry and stiff-u need to read my new proposed regimen to see how I can combat this because protein treatments are great for hair strength-but I do moisturizing treatments with shea butter, honey, my olive, almond, jojoba, amla and coconut oil mix, a cocktail of conditioners like ORS olive oil replenishing conditioner, Catwalk Tigi oatmeal and honey conditioner, herbal essences moisture balancing conditioner, Herbal Essences breakage defender (I just squeeze out a few dollops from these bottles jare), sometimes a small amount of hair mayonnaise (Organics Hair Mayonnaise).

3. Washing: I use pantene shampoos (Relaxed & Natural, Repair & Protect) that have sulphates in them. These sulphates strip hair of its natural oils though but sulphate-free shampoos are almost impossible to find in naija L. I cowash (washing the hair with a conditioner instead of harsh shampoos) sometimes with VO5 conditioner or my herbal essences condish.

4. Relaxing: I was a Dark & Lovely queen for years; I have used Profectiv about 2ce now though. Technique has not been too great as I am sure that my stylists do not pay attention to only new growth, and hence, my ends get so over-processed in the long run.

5. Protective styling and heat?: Well…let’s just say weaves protect my hair from the harsh weather for the first 2 weeks. The extra one to two weeks that I take my weaves for….I am not so sure! I wear buns sometimes for about 3 weeks after relaxing though. Regarding heat, I use a heat protectant when I flat iron which is not often and almost always air dry. Pass mark abi? hehe

6. Manipulation: combing the hair while wet to detangle and distribute hair products. Oh well.

7. Others: I trim maybe every 6 months? I only just started an ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar-found at standard supermarkets) rinse to correct porosity issues. I prepoo (coating the hair with moisturizers and oil and leaving in for a while before washing to help protect hair from harsh shampoo contents and generally improve hair health). I use one henna compound powder like that (not the pure thing) to die my greys and I have used the profectiv neutralizing colour shampoo a few times too. I use a silk scarf (not too sure sef if it is really silk) at night when sleeping.

                                        Shampoos, leave in condish (D&L, Aphogee and Dr. Miracle's)

Henna, hair mayo, herbal essence cond, ORS cond,catwalk tigi cond , herbal essence moisture balancing cond. Behind, Heinz apple cider vinegar.

Peep my er..not too new bottles of natural oils: olive, amla, jojoba, almond oils. Behind: coconut oil locally bought and sold in a Mirinda plastic bottle! :-)

My proposed new regimen

So here’s the IMPORTANT part! Readers, read this carefully and compare with my current regimen. One thing about both regimens and natural products most especially (and our regimens should be heavy in natural products cos they are the bestest) is that they help correct almost all hair care issues. Our hair issues are different but moisturising, strength and moisture deep conditioning (DC) treatments, hair-friendly products, shea butter and a few natural oils, correct manipulation and relaxer techniques and COMMITTMENT will go a LONG WAY in helping us achieve our long hair goals. So take some cues from the regimens will ya? Remember, baby steps. So here goes: (the new regimen is more like an ADDITION to my current regimen).

1. Daily moisturizing: At least more frequent! So I love weaves but I need to be more creative so I can eat my cake and have it. I plan to get a wig soon, or you know this new trend where the stylist sews the weave on a wig-cap so you can take it off anytime? I believe Make-Me and Bobby’s stylists are good at this. Clip-on weaves are things I will look into soon as well. This would be in addition to getting more comfortable with wearing my natural hair in buns, let down, braid outs and other cool styles.

2. New products: I only realized that I have been missing out on some wonder oils o! Castor oil for one-great for strong hair and rapid hair growth! Where have I been all this while ehn? Grapeseed oil! Great for treating porosity amongst other things! I cannot wait to lay my hands on these I tell you. Other products I must get are pure body art quality henna which would not just dye my hair, but add strength and loosen my kinks too. I might have to find a good sulphate-free shampoo, some more creamy conditioners as long as I get good reviews on em and other things too.

3. DC’ing more often. See point one. I will do more protein treatments by adding an egg to honey, shea butter and a 2-oil mix. (Sometimes I may substitute the egg with the hair mayo). Afterwards I will follow with a moisturizing treatment of honey, shea butter, condish and oil to add back moisture and prevent “crunchiness”.

4. Better manipulation: Better detangling techniques which I will show you later.

5. Relaxing: I will try self-relaxing so I can get a better job done (I hope I get good results)-you need to get your stylist to stop over-processing your hair biko! If it takes you screaming at him to watch what he is doing, please do so. Your hair will thank you for it. I will also prime my hair by coating the relaxed ends with oil to protect the relaxed shaft while relaxing. I will also do pre- and post- relaxer protein treatments. Relaxers break up the natural protein bond of our hair so we need protein treatments before and after to help out.

I will definitely update you on more tips, techniques and procedures as time goes on! But for now do make up your mind to have healthier hair! It can be done! Great conditioners are sold in supermarkets, clips, ponytail holders, combs and the likes are sold just about everywhere. You can get natural shea butter and honey from the market, or check online hair care blogger’s online shops like those I posted in my first post. Oils can be purchased from them too, or from big supermarkets (e.g extra virgin olive oil, ACV and almond oil at the least), or even abroad if you are fortunate to go on a trip, or why not have a friend buy some awesome products and oils for you when they travel?


So what are your goals for your hair this year and how do you plan to achieve them?

Monday, 25 February 2013

Welcome to my oasis!

Yaaay so its my very very first post! Ok so im gonna let y’all know what my objectives for this blog are! U might have read my profile or not, but this first post is just to communicate with my readers on a more personal note anyway. I will be sharing with you ideas, tips, suggestions, observations etc on issues that are basically centred around:

1. Healthy living and fitness: One thing I am obsessed with is a healthy lifestyle. To be frank I know it is so not easy at all to achieve this, particularly in this Lagos, where I reside, but I believe we can all try. We should because I tell you, our bodies-that is our organs, hair, skin, self-esteem, confidence, everything will thank us in the future! We are what we eat and drink. It is our responsibility to take good care of ourselves. We can and should make the effort. Baby steps are OKAY but we have to be determined to make it happen! Ok look at these beautiful celebrities that we always admire so much-particularly the not so young ones lol. Mariah Carey, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, even Ellen Degeneres, Nike Oshinowo. These ladies have an amazing healthy regimen that they stick too. Have you not met women who still look so good even at 50 and you ask them how they do it? Check their lifestyles. They don’t just wait around doing the basics like work, making babies and being mothers. Many of them eat right, at least if they don’t exercise they eat healthy.
My goal from 2013 onward is to get on track. Together I think we can start this journey towards a healthy lifestyle by eating healthier foods and being more active.

2. Beauty and Fashion: Something every female has got to be interested in, even if it's on a very minimal scale! The word feminine itself entails beauty in my opinion. Skin care, make-up tips (not quite my forte-my blogger friend has cool tips that you could check though), shopping, jewelry, style features etc and similar posts will be featured here too.

3. Hair care: I am obsessed with healthy, long hair-whether natural or relaxed and I am constantly looking for ways to improve on my hair.
I am obsessed with the wonders that natural substances like oils, herbs, butters and even edible kitchen products can do for the hair and this blog will help the reader who is interested in growing LONGER, MORE BEAUTIFUL hair achieve her goals. I will also take you through my hair journey and I also intend to assist our sisters out there with a LOW-BUDGET, easy to maintain and easy-to-access-products hair care regimen for beginners.

4. Inspiration: This basically has to do with my personal walk with God, and I will be periodically sharing with you my own experiences, insights and stories, hoping these posts would inspire and uplift.

5. Living and coping in Lagos and other random stuff: Lagos is stress. Period. You need to be strong and determined to enjoy living here, but if one is willing to explore it could be quite a diamond in the rough I tell you. I will be posting on my wakas with pics and suggestions and will also update you on books I have read and other interesting stuff.

So I just hope I have not bored you all already! Stay tuned as we journey together from here on!