Regimen + Goals

My Hair Regimen: I moisturize and/or oil my hair daily. As needed (usually weekly) I cleanse my hair and scalp with a moisturizing shampoo (or a clarifying one if there's build up). I do a moisturizing OR protein treatment with every shampoo. I stretch my relaxers 3-4 months.

My go-to protective/low manipulation styles: buns, braid-outs and halfwigs. In 2012 I want to start experimenting with more heat-free styles. I air dry most of the time and flat iron for length checks only.

I'm currently midback length (MBL) and actively working towards reaching waist length by my graduation in mid-2012.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Skin Tips


I've always been into skin care since a young age. It was one of my very first hobbies and my first career aspiration was to be a dermatologist. Anyway, here are some tips I've learned that have helped me keep clear skin...no hard science behind it but it's what works for me, so thought I'd share

#1 - Keep the scalp clean. For example if my scalp is a greasy, itchy, flaky mess I wouldn't be surprised if my forehead breaks out next

#2 - Change pillowcases often (at least weekly)

#3 - Drink water

#4 - Sephora Oil Blotting Papers (pictured above). This is one of those things I always have on me along with my lip balm. Basically how you use these is you take one thin strip and press it over your forehead, cheeks, nose and wherever else you get shiny. It does not leave anything on your face just takes away oil which you can visibly see on the strip. Gives your face instant matte finish. I don't wear foundation, concealer or powder so I'm not sure if these strips would affect those things if you wear it but it's a really great way to quickly get rid of that shiny look on your face and gives you a matte finish.

#5 - Clean your cellphone. Nothing major, just wipe the keys down with rubbing alcohol once in a while. Think about it...you (and maybe other people) touch your cellphone, then you throw in your (probably messy) bag. Then you answer your phone and press it to the side of your face. It's the little things like that which really make a big difference. I learned this tip from AndreasChoice a while back

#6 - Use a facial scrub weekly. The brand really doesn't matter as long as it's gentle and has decent ingredients. Queen Helene Oatmeal Honey Scrub is my personal favorite. Sometimes I also use a separate scrub for my lips it really makes a difference: LUSH Bubblegum Lip Scrub

#7 - Use a moisturizer every day...preferably one with SPF 15. I know "black don't crack" but harmful effects from the sun affects everyone :)

I have a ton of tips these are just a few! Let me know what you think & tell me your own skin tips below

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Hair Plans for 2012

The coming year I plan to make a few changes with regards to my hair...

1. Minimize the different products I use. I've had so much trial and error that I know exactly what works for my hair for the most part. I no longer get a thrill out of experimenting with different products. I really admire those people with regimens that contain only a few things. So for the new year I plan to give "unloved" products away to friends and family and settle down with a way smaller stash.

2. Spend less on hair. Both time and money...I plan to keep a monthly 'hair budget' of $30 (or less). Doesn't sound like much but that adds up $360 per year....if I overspend in one month it will get carried into the next month(s). As for time, I plan to continue to leave wash days to the weekend (usually Saturday afternoons). I will continue to update this blog just as frequently though! (speaking of the blog...I made a new banner!)

3. This is just an idea...but...social media? Maybe I'll start a twitter or youtube channel...I'm thinking about it...apprehensive about doing the youtube thing for several reasons...but we'll see...(no promises!!). This is kinda related - I'd also like to get a new digital camera. Right now I take all my hair pics on my phone which doesn't do it justice sometimes

4. Reach waist length. This is a big one! Everyone knows this is my final goal and once I reach it, I'm DONE. After that I'll just focus on maintaining thickness and U-shaped ends.

5. Get a hooded dryer. I feel like I'm the only person who doesn't have one lol. This will allow me to rollerset (which is something I also don't do). Also will allow me to do things more efficiently like dry my braid-outs faster.

6. Stretch relaxers. Well, stretch longer than I normally do. I currently do about 3 months...but I'd love to do regular 4 or 5 month stretches. (But at the end of the day I gotta listen to my hair and if I relax early due to excessive shedding, breakage etc, no big deal!)

What are your hair plans/goals for 2012?

Monday, 28 November 2011

JBCO...Reunited and it feels so good (literally!)

Jamaican Black Castor Oil is one of my favorite oils. It makes a great sealant and its also a nice DC addition. This oil really makes my hair feel soft. If you haven't tried it before, beware that it has a very strong scent, due to the fact that it's minimally refined. It's also really thick. The brand pictured above is the one I've been using. The bottle is dark to protect the oil from deterioration caused by light/sun. Regular castor oil that comes in a clear bottle is refined so much that its not as susceptible to light deterioration. This refined castor oil is stripped of most of its valuable nutrients unlike JBCO (OilBenefits.net).

How I use it: Take a small amount and rub between palms to distribute a thin layer over hands.. then smooth it on the the length of my hair focusing on ends. I also add a good amount to my deep conditioner mixes.

Why I like it: It's the only oil that actually leaves my hair feeling soft. I know oils do not provide moisture (rather they seal in the moisture), but my hair always feels moisturized after using this stuff. I also like it because a little goes a long way, and an 8oz bottle can last for a year or more. Castor oil is also known to thicken the hair strands.

I finally got my hands on another bottle of this stuff today. I ran out a couple weeks ago and didn't get a chance to replace it. Glad I did :) This is a staple.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

A hair in the head is worth two in the brush

I always stress that faster growth is good, but retention is key. I assume that the readers of this blog already have an idea of the healthy hair care basics, which leaves room for more advanced techniques and tips to take length retention to the next level. I am, by no means, a fast grower. I've had so much trial and error it's not even funny. But that's what I love about blogging. I get to share all the things that WORK for me to retain length and health. If you don't blog or have a private hair journal, I highly encourage you to start one today!!

Ceramide binding to African-American hair fibre correlates with resistance to hair breakage

I found a journal article from the International Journal of Cosmetic Science that gives props to ceramides specifically for relaxed hair. The relaxer I've been using for years (Optimum Care) contains ceramides. But there are a ton of conditioners and oils that contain ceramides as well, I'm thinking about stepping my ceramide game up in the new year...

Repetitive hair-relaxing treatments often applied to African-American hair weaken the hair structure. Therefore hair breakage is a common feature of relaxed hair and an leading cause of hair breakage. Bernard, Franbourg, Fran├žois, Gautier, & Hallegotstudy (2002) conducted a study showing that ceramides bind to African--American hair and protects it from weakening caused by chemicals.They used a method called the Break'in Brush Technique (BBT®), which determines hair breakage resistance during brushing. Using this technique, the authors have demonstrated less breakage after applying a shampoo with ceramides. The study opens new prospects for the development of products able to increase the protection, provide better care and meet the needs of African--American hair thanks to the effect of ceramide binding.

SOURCE: Bernard, B. A., Franbourg, A. A., Fran├žois, A. M., Gautier, B. B., & Hallegot, P. P. (2002). Ceramide binding to African-American hair fibre correlates with resistance to hair breakage. International Journal Of Cosmetic Science, 24(1), 1.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Cornrows.


I just got them put in tonight. I would take a pic but they're not the pretty cornrows like Ciara's pictured above. They're the quickly and loosely done ones, ones that scream I don't-care-how-they-look because I'm-gonna-put-a-halfwig-over-them-anyway cornrows. Looking back, these things did help with length retention despite my detangling mishap earlier this year.

Here's the winterized cornrow reggie:
1) Shampoo as needed
2) Lightly oil ends daily
3) Massage scalp daily to stimulate blood circulation and growth
4) Baggy on non-wash nights

I left out some of my own hair in the front to blend. The only thing I need to buy is a straight halfwig. I have a curly one already, but I'm sure I'll want a change. As for how long I'll keep these cornrows in for...at least 2 weeks. Max 3!

EDIT:  It's been about 2 weeks and I'm still in the cornrows :) I had to re-do the back because it was coming loose. Other than that it's all good. I want to leave them in for a few more days.

Wash Day (9 weeks post)

Hope everyone is having a terrific weekend so far. I know mine is going well :) This week I've protective styled every day so I'm patting myself on the back for that :) Last weekend I was urging to relax early but the feeling has since passed. I've been toying with the idea of putting in cornrows as a protective style.

Anyway here's what I did to my hair today:
1) Detangled with EVOO. I left it on for an hour with a plastic cap (pre-poo)
2) Shampooed (lathered twice) with Dove shampoo
3) Conditioned in-shower with Kenra Moisturizing Conditioner
4) Moisturized with S-curl, sealed with EVOO
5) Air dry w/ scarf method

Thoughts:
 My hair is not completely dry yet, but the parts that are dry feel smooth and soft. My new growth is starting to come in. There was a lot of hair in the comb this wash. Probably because I haven't detangled in days. I also skipped my usual leave-in today (aphogee green tea & keratin) in place of something moisture based (S-curl).

Plan until next wash day is to protective style with hats and halfwigs. Moisturizing and sealing with EVOO as needed. Simple.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Get Yo' Freak On TAG

Yay another tag!! I was tagged by Aireen over at http://heartmau.blogspot.com/


1. What's a nickname only your family calls you? Al

2. What's a weird habit of yours? I crack my fingers and toes several times a day

3. Do you have any weird phobias? nope just spiders

4. What's a song you secretly LOVE to blast and belt out when you're alone? Anything by Vybz Kartel lol

5. Biggest pet peeve? When people cough without covering their mouth. Especially in flu season. Really??

6. Any nervous habits? I bite my nails and cuticles off when I'm nervous. I also sigh really loudly (got it from my dad)

7. What side of the bed do you sleep on? My bed is small so I sleep right in the middle lol but I tend to gravitate to the left (towards the closest wall)

8. First stuffed animal? a pink elephant

9. What drink do you always order at Starbucks? I'm not really a Sbux fan but passion tea lemonade was the drink of the summer :)

10. What's the beauty rule that you preach but never ACTUALLY practice? To sleep early. I'm always staying up late for no reason but I always tell my little sister to get her beauty sleep.

11. Which way do you face in the shower? I usually have my back towards the shower head because I'm washing my hair lol

12. Do you have any weird body skills? Not really...I can crack my wrists and thumb in weird places

13. Favourite comfort food that's 'bad' but you love anyway? Chinese food...cookie dough ice cream...cheesecake...I could go on

14. Phrase or exclamation you ALWAYS say? "oh please"

15. Time to sleep what are you ACTUALLY wearing? a cotton t-shirt (must be cotton) and loose comfy pants. I don't remember the last time I actually wore legit pajamas lol

16. What's something you used to wear that you thought was cool but now you realize it wasn't that hot? I used to wear my hair in a straight-back low ponytail ALL throughout elementary school and part of high school. Not a good look because my hair was sooo damaged. It wasn't even protective styling because my ends were rubbing up against my shoulders all the time. I probably would have been better off with a high bun and side part. Also I used to wear men's shoes (Air Force Ones) in high school...lol! Now I'll stick to my heels and flats and my man can rock his kicks :)

 I tag Kaytee (at http://hautepinkheels.blogspot.com) and Sharday (http://theawkwardstage-se.blogspot.com/) to complete this one!!

Wash Day + Some Goals for 2012

Today I decided to give my hair the ultimate treatment. I haven't been treating it very well this past week and it deserves some nourishment and nurturing. Why am I talking about my hair as if it's a baby LOL. Anyway here's what I used:
DC Mixture: Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner, EVOO, Honey, a squirt of Aphogee 2 Minute for protein, applicator bottle contains extra virgin coconut oil

DC Mixture

DC'd with a mix of the above for 2 hours and 15 mins. I used a heating cap to help the mix penetrate.

Shampoo, conditioner and leaveiin

After that, I thoroughly rinsed with water, then shampooed using Dove Damage Therapy Intensive Repair Shampoo. Final (quick...like 30 seconds quick) rinse with Porosity Control Corrector and Conditioner.

Leave-in: Aphogee Green Tea & Keratin Restructurizer

Done! Now air drying

And for my 2012 goals:
1. Consistency in the products I use (will improve when I get rid of my PJ stash)
2. Stick to a monthly hair budget
3. Reach waist length
4. Relax no more than 3 times

QUESTION: What did you do to your hair this weekend??

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Weekend Hair Recap

MBL
I flat ironed using CHI Silk Infusion. I also tried the saran wrap method for the first time and O M G....it made my hair come out super silky

This weekend I was planning to give my hair a nice treatment. But my weekend has been so busy that I won't have time to do anything. So I'll continue to saran wrap till next wash day (probably Tuesday).

What did you do to your hair this weekend? Leave a comment below!!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Class of 2012

Jeni from Just Grow Already made a post advertising her newest creation, class of 2012 length check tees. Which got me thinking. I haven't been worrying about my length, which is evident by the fact that my last length check was over 3 months ago. Anyway, don't think I'll make waist length this year (2011). I'm estimating that I will be full MBL by Dec 31, 2011. Which I am absolutely freaking ecstatic about!! Health before length. I did trim my ends a few weeks ago so I hope they are holding up.

2012 is also a big year for me because I graduate university (finance major, human resources minor). Can you imagine how amazing it would be to be on that graduation stage, receiving my degree with healthy hair down to my waist? That would be awesome!! But even if I don't make waist length by my grad, I have come such a long way and I will still be happy. Besides, what if I decide to go natural tomorrow? Being on that stage with a moisturized TWA I would feel just as amazing and accomplished. I guess the point is that I'm ready to graduate after 4 years lol -- four long years, but great nonetheless!! Well it's not done yet, I still have over half a year to go. Note to self: finish strong. Anyway, back to hair!!

I don't like how my hair looks and feels today. But I'm gonna fix it when I get home tonight. Here's how:
- Lightly detangle
- Shampoo with something that contains sulfates
-  Condition in-shower with Aphogee 2 Minute Reconstructor. My hair needs this tonight.
- Rinse and detangle under the shower
- Leave-in: Aphogee Green Tea Keratin Restructurizer
- Air dry overnight.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Operation P.U.M.P.

The excessive amount of products in my stash has barely changed since I last complained about it in May.


So I need to change something. Either stop buying stuff or start being heavy handed. Or both.


I've actively used up my stash before and that's when my hair was really thriving the most. Which makes sense because for example I was deep conditioning more and even though my goal was to use up the product, my hair reaped the benefits.


So I'm doing it again, with a fancy name...
Operation PUMP = Pick Up My Products. And finish them up!!!!

My regimen will be the same. Everythings the same. Just gonna start using my "less favourite" products more often. Because I really don't wanna throw products away.

Sometimes my room feels like a BSS...and it's not a good feeling #confessionsofaproductjunkie

Below is a list of the products I'm trying to get rid of. I will cross out things as I use them up! Just because I don't want to repurchase these products doesn't mean it's a bad product, just means I wouldn't repurchase for various reasons (i.e. not sold in stores anymore, too expensive, too hard to find, found something that my hair likes better etc;)

Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Shampoo
Hair One Jojoba
1 Packet Lisa Rachel Jojoba Cleanser & Conditioner
Amla Oil
Redken Heat Glide
Taliah Waajid Protective Mist Bodifier
Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum
Lacio Lacio Leave-in Conditioner
Fantasia IC Styling Gel (olive oil)
Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Gel
Darcy's Botanicals Transitioning Creme
Surge Plus 14
One n Only Argan Oil
Black n Sassy Wrap Creme
Lotta Body
Aussie Mousse
Aussie Mega Hairspray
Isoplus Oil Sheen
Aveda samples
Miss Jessie's Baby Buttercreme

EDIT: I removed my staples and only listed the products I want to use up.

My goal is to cut this list in half by the end of the year.

Any ideas for using up my stash?
If you live in the GTA and want any of these products, let me know!

Styles I plan to do when I reach WL

I saw this thread on BHM and it got me thinking about what styles I want to do when I reach my final goal. Here are the styles I'm planning on wearing when I reach waist length. I'm in no way "restricting" these styles for my final goal...in fact I'm experimenting with these styles now and I'm really enjoying my length. It's just that I think they will look even better at my goal.

Down and out:
- Huge braidout (basically re-create my favourite halfwig)

- Spiral curls with a clampless iron/curling iron
- Pin straight w/ center or side part

- Half up, half down

Protective styles:
- Fishtail braid
- 2 french braids on each side
- Massive braidout bun
- donut bun sans donut
- messy bun on the very top my my head

Just a few celebrity inspired

Kelly Rowland's rocking a weave but I think this can be re-created with a 1"curling iron

Can we just take a second to appreciate Keshia Knight Pulliam's hair? *le sigh*

Ashanti is rocking a weave too but this style can be re-created using a 3-barrel waving iron or a deep waver
Pretty....can be re-created by a braidout w/ gray perm rods on the ends


What styles are you planning to do once your hair gets longer??

Weekend Hair Plans

Nothing special....

Yesterday (Friday) I thoroughly moisturized and sealed in sections with S-curl and extra virgin coconut oil. Baggied overnight with a plastic cap and when I woke up this morning my hair was completely damp.

Here's how today's wash went:
  • Shampooed with Giovanni Triple Tea Treat Shampoo (first impression: this stuff is AWESOME for my scalp...it really helped soothe it and minimize the itchies. Not so great on my hair because it is stripping, my hair was left feeling dry even though I diluted 2oz of shampoo with 1oz water in an applicator bottle. This shampoo lathered up very well for sulfate-free. It looks like I'm only gonna get 3 more uses out of the bottle...I tend to be heavy handed with it especially since I like to rinse and repeat.
  • Conditioned with Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose (really like this conditioner)
  • Leave-in: Aphogee green tea & Keratin restructurizer...a staple since the beginning
  • Moisturize with S-Curl
  • Now air drying in 8 braids and a flat twist in the front.
Tomorrow: I'm going to a party...gonna protective style it up with a h/w.
Then on Monday morning, unravel and blend braids for a nice braidout ponytail on Monday.

For the rest of the week I'm very tempted to do a simple braidout bun/braidout ponytail every day :)

What are you doing to your hair this weekend, and how are you planning to wear it for the rest of the week?

Toronto Ladies: Where's NTM?

Anyone know where I can find Neutrogena Triple Moisture Silk Touch Leave-in Cream in Toronto? It used to be available at Walmart but not anymore. If you know where I can find some I would really appreciate it. Comment here or e-mail me myhealthyhairjourney@hotmail.com please :)

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