Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Big Chop Preview........

Below shows my hair about a week and a half after my BC.

Shrunken, no product. And with a few straggly relaxed ends here and there apparently.

All twisted back up:

And the resulting style from this set:

I've been keeping flat twist on the sides to disguise my scab hair.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

long overdue.......

man...i just haven't had any drive to update this blog. There's been a lot going on but even before that I just couldnt find the care to update this little blog about my hair.

i'm still quite excited about it...in fact, seeing that the little ticker over on the right is at 16 days to countdown my final chop (as of 11/15/11) I'm excited and almost surprised its just a touch over 2 weeks away.

What I should have done and what is sorely overdue is recording that I did a medium chop back on 10/14/11. I cut off about 3 inches. it was a lot and quite shocking at the time. Only leaving 1-3 inches of relaxed hair thruout my head. the biggest shock came from the lost of length. i immediately disliked it and for a moment or two considered extendining my transition til I got more hair. At the time I had about 5-6 inches of hair. Accounting for shrinkage....I didnt have much hair at all.

My facial expression above, pretty much sums out up how I was feeling. I was disturbed at how short my hair was and I still had relaxed ends which meant my hair would have to be cut even shorter!

but having a month to grow accustomed to it was exactly what i needed to do and I'm sooo very glad that I did it. I feel comfortable with it now. I have a better handle on styling it and better idea of what to expect when I chop off the very last bit.

The most exciting development of having less relaxed hair is not having to twist/set my hair nightly. I can put my bonnet on and go to sleep. Get up, fluff, and my hair looks reasonably good for a solid 3-4 days in a row. At least with the bantu knot out set. i tried a twist out which was a dismal failure. the last bit of relaxed hair will not allow me to experiment with that style yet. I tried one braid out and that looked ok after I styled it a bit. It was very different pattern than a Bantu Knot out but I liked the fact that it allowed me to show more length.

I am sooo ready to be done with transitioning. I haven't been updating bc...well, I dont have anything new. My hair is no longer something that occupies most of my thoughts. Yes, I think about it every once in a while but I've rediscovered the other things I liked to obsess over.

One other thing that I've come to accept. My growth rate. It's just going to take patience. That's it. It will probably be 2 more years before I'm hyped about the length of my hair. In the meantime I'm gonna try my best to make the little bit of hair that I have look great. By being creative with styling and not getting stuck in too much of a rut, I'm sure I can accomplish that.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Still yet holding on......

10 MONTHS. I hit my milestone back on Monday.

Washed my hair yesterday and pulled out the ruler which I had not used since the first week of August. In various areas on my head I seem to be measuring at 3.5"-4".

I've been finger detangling more than comb detangling. I'm not sure yet which method is better for me.....I think fingers may be better only if I'm thorough. the last few times I've been kinda lazy so yesterday when I went to set my hair in flat twist I ran across multiple knots which slowed me down considerably. I lost hair bc my hair was drying and I'd gotten frustrated with the knots and pulled out a comb. I know I've got to be patient with my hair. I know I shouldn't comb it dry. But when I'm aggravated I forget that stuff.

I'm entertaining the idea of a trim....actually, a cut. I'm thinking of taking off half of the relaxed ends on the top layers. That's always been the longest hair since I started with an inverted bob. Thruout the summer I've haphazardly cut at this hair here and there. This time I'm thinking of cutting at least 2 inches. Possibly 3. I've got two parties this week so I'll be waiting until after those. My thoughts are to get rid of the bulk of the length to adjust to shorter hair. The added benefit would hopefully be easier detangling.

My hair has been drier and I believe that's bc I've been exercising and the sweat is killing my hair. I haven't exercised in 10 days now. Will have to get back on that tomorrow. I know there are lots of articles out there about exercising and natural hair. Unsure if I've seen anything regarding transitioning hair. Thankfully, less than 2 months left of this and then I can rinse/wash my hair as often as I want.

I feel ready. I'm not thrilled with how short my hair will be with shrinkage but I know with time it will grow.

I've started crotcheting some slouchy tams for my hair. I've been wearing them over my bantu knots while running errands versus taking my hair down everytime I leave the house. I'm making them in several colors so I can wear them with as many outfits as possible. The crotcheting is also giving me something to do aside from clean which is a great sanity saver. The only issue is my shoulder has gotten very sore from all the work so I've had to take a few days off.

I've got a liquor and dessert party tonite. I have to redo the flat twist on the back of my head bc they've gone wonky.

Until next time......

Monday, September 12, 2011

Holding Pattern...

That's where I believe I am right now. For the most part I'm just hanging in until I get to my Chop date.

What I'm currently doing:
Shampoo with Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle
Rinse out Condition with Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner
Deep Condition with Proclaim Argan Oil Intense Hair Masque OR Silk Elements Deep Treatment Hair Mayonnaise
Moisturize/Leave In with SheaMoisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner
Seal with Castor Oil OR EVOCoconut Oil

I then set my hair. I find that setting my hair while it is still damp sets the style well and I don't currently need any additional styling aid.

I've tweaked my techniques here and there. Most notably: finger detangling. I washed my hair yesterday and didn't use the comb at all. Nor did I the last time I washed. It seems that after the fine tooth debacle, I've swung the other way completely.

I've been using my Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo more versus cowashing. My hair seems to cope fine with both methods. My husband had been complaining about his hair and dryness. So I've ditched the harsh Equate dandruff shampoo he'd been using and let him use my stuff. Even convinced him to try co-washing and he liked it! Since my stuff cost more/not available on the ground where we live, I'm determined to find him something else that's cheap and sulfate free so we can have seperate toiletries. I really prefer having my own stuff. I've been sharing my facial moisturizer with him for a while now and I just don't like it.

The rest of my transition I hope to focus on my styling. I want to get better so that I'll feel confident after the Chop. Making the decision to stop wearing my hair straight back in May was a very important. I'm now used to seeing myself with very short hair. Seeing it highly textured. Getting used to my poofy edges. Discovering that natural hair styles look good on me. I've gotten to know my hair and am getting practice at listening to it and giving it what it needs.

For example, the key to my dry scalp issues really do seem to be related to how much water I'm drinking. I really slacked off this weekend bc I made lemonaid and that frankly is tastier than water. Me and my husband nearly drained the whole gallon in a day. Now my scalp is dry where as before it had been fine. I'm sure my kidneys will appreciate that my vanity has me reaching more for the water pitcher today than anything else.

So that's that.

Monday, September 5, 2011

9 months in.....

I've now officially been transitioning for 9 months.

Let's see.....were there any new techniques or styles that I tried over the past month that I found helpful?

Yes! I washed my hair in sections for the 2nd time this last washday. Instead of braiding or twisting (which is what I tried the first time back in July) I chose to divide the hair in 4 sections and simple clamp them with butterfly clips. I then washed my hair section by section, first shampooing then applying conditioner. Definitely a keeper. No more loose washing.

I also tried pre-treating with coconut oil the night prior to washing. Doing this lessens the amount of protein loss during washing and also lessens hygral fatigue. Since I'm striving to grow my hair out, I believe the coconut oil is an important ingredient to incoporate into my regimen. Speaking of which I finally ran across some organic, virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil in my local grocer. This wonder oil cost $12. It hurt my feelings.

I've been leaving my bantu knots in most days. If I'm not going out in public, then I dont take down the knots. I guess this would qualify as protective styling. I've started doing this in an effort to lessen breakage.

I've mentioned that I did my first full henna application and also wasted my time with a demised henna gloss. I probably will not do another full application until I get some Amla Powder to reduce the chance that my natural curl pattern with loosen. I will eventually get around to doing a full post dedicated to my impression of henna. One of these days.

I've also discovered The Natural Haven and just can't get enough. I'm a nerd and this is so up my alley. Love it! She does great diagrams that really break things down and help you understand the science behind hair care. Love it! Because of this site I've decided to get serious about washing my hair in sections and using coconut oil. Reading some real science motivated me to do my best during the last of my transition.

I've certainly made mistakes. I got the ridiculous idea recently to really detangle my hair and get rid of all my shed hairs. So I went in with a fine tooth comb. That.....was ridiculously time consuming and frustrating. I also probably lost a lot of hair unnecessarily. I hope I remember this lesson and do not feel the need to repeat.

I also pulled out a ruler a few times but I believe this falls into the mistake category. A watched pot certainly doesnt boil and by watching my hair closely the past month it seems it didn't grow much at all. Soooo...instead of relying on the ruler, I'm just going to snap a picture of the front portion stretched. It seems that that moves a teeny bit while the ruler tells me otherwise. My natural hair in the front is currently between my eyebrows.

So 3 more months to go....I can do this. I know can do this now since I've made it this far.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Three Hours.....

Three hours...

Three hours of my life wasted.

Wasted on a henna gloss. A henna gloss that I'm doubtful did anything aside from drip down my neck.

I had what I'm guesstimating about 50 grams of mixed henna frozen from my 1st henna application. I defrosted it in the fridge for slightly over a day. I took it out around 8 or 9pm Saturday. Mixed and applied it about 11am Monday morning.

I didn't measure anything so the measurements below are eyeballed

-Abt 50 or so grams of leftover henna mix
-Abt 1 cup of Proclaim Argan Oil Hydrating Mask (Conditioner)
-1.5 Tbsp Raw Honey
-3-4 Tbsp Olive Oil

I first clarified my hair with Tea Tree Tringle Shampoo mixed with about 1 tsp baking soda. (first time doing this too....yeah, my eyes are rolling at my own self) I then applied the Henna Gloss and covered it with 2 plastic caps. I left it on for exactly 3 hours. I then rinsed with tepid water. Squirted my hair with some Apple Cider Vinegar (to close my cuticles) then another another splash of tepid water.

I squeezed my hair with a towel and checked it out in the mirror. I couldn't detect any visible difference in my hair. My hair didn't necessarily 'feel' any stronger like the first time I did the straight henna application. Actually, my hair felt a tad oily.....and almost as if there was a bit of residue in my hair. It also seemed frizzy. My coils weren't springing like they normally do when I've deep conditioned. I have no idea how my hair is supposed to feel after a gloss so I let it air dry and I decided to plait it up for a braid out with rollers on the ends. I'll see how it looks and feels tomorrow. I probably will end up washing my hair on Thursday bc I think my hair has some kind of residue in it. I've read other people's account of feeling like their hair was 'coated' with something. I think that's a good way to describe the way my hair felt when I rinsed it earlier today. It just felt coated.

I guess my henna had already demised the day it spent in the fridge or perhaps all the olive oil prohibited dye uptake (which is how you get the conditioning benefits) AND/OR the dimethicone in the conditioner I used contributed to blocking dye uptake. I've got another 16 oz container of the Proclaim Argan Oil Hydrating Masque. I'll use it up but won't be repurchasing this product. On top of the dimethicone it has Isopropyl Alcohol. In the middle of the ingredient list. Unfortunately I didn't read the label thoroughly before I purchased it.

I'll be trying the Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose as a deep conditioner after I run out of what I'm currently using.

Anyway, that waste of time.

Friday, August 26, 2011

August: in some words

STRESS! Stress Stress Stress Stress!!!

oh my goodness have I been stressed for the last 30 days.

We've relocated. We ARE NOT settled. It took 18 days to receive our goods. We had no hot water for the first 4 days when we arrived and I had to wash my hair. HAD TO.

We've got ants.

Oh good Lord the ants. I have fought ants since I arrived! I broke down an called Terminix to get some serious ant busting action out here because...I just can't...I can't deal with pests in my home...not where I'm living and laying my head.


So the great part is that the ants...I think they are FINALLY gone...I haven't seen one in a few days.....

My hair. Some stuff has happened that definitely needs documenting.

First of all, during all the driving and the first few days after arriving. I researched Henna. I read a lot of articles, forums, and personal experiences with Henna. I spent hours upon hours researching and decided that I indeed wanted to try it.

Im in for the long haul. So I need to strengthen my fine fine strands. I know I flapped my gums a bit about chopping early but I just don't have enough hair. At the end of July I had 3 inches of natural hair stretched. I've got serious shrinkage so those 3 inches looked very much like an inch at best in it's natural shrunken state. Granted...early in my journey I doubt I would wear my hair completely shrunken. I hear the detangling session after that can be off the chain. But still....I want some more growth.

Unfortunately the stress of the move and EVERYTHING else (gah!) has stunted that growth. Here I am about a solid month since my last measurement and I'm still at a solid 3 inches...not even a quarter more. This...this is discouraging. I stopped torturing myself with weekly measurements. That's just insane. Monthly seemed more realistic and reasonable. I'm more likely to see some kind of result with a monthly measurement. But this time....nada. absolutely no movement. I snipped some hair right in the front so I could accurately guage growth (and shrinkage)so I know I'm measuring the right hair...

I've lost a whole entire month of growth potential presumably due to the sheer stress of what's going on around me.

That sucks pretty bad.

Anywho...back to the henna. I did all that research...then purchased some henna from Mehandi.com. With relaxed hair still on my head...I'm not taking any chances on getting henna that might not be pure. I did my first henna application back on August 12. I made a note of my first impressions in my phone but it seems that note didn't save or was mistakenly erased.

I'll do a full henna post seperately.

I feel like I'm all over the place in this post. I really just wanted to get back into the groove of posting and hope to organize my thoughts a bit better soon.

I've been washing my hair roughly every 5 days. Not where I originally wanted to be but at least it's not a full week or more. I want to get back down to every 3/4 days because my scalp is happiest on that schedule. Before I left Pittsburgh, I did purchase

I've been using it ever since we left and I really like it. I use it as a leave in conditioner/moisturizer. I have not used it as a rinse conditioner. I'll do a full write up of my impression of that one of these days too.

If this isn't scattered enough I did snip a few more pieces of hair free several days ago on the back right side. Why? ....Well...I'm not really sure. I was just kinda playing in my hair one night before knotting it up for bed and was applying aloe vera gel to various section to watch the roots. there were some corkscrews in the back that were curling in a rather stunning fashion and the relaxed hair attached just looked....pitiful. I asked my husband what I should do (bc I was trotting back and forth between the living room and bathroom showing him what my hair 'did'). He offered to snip them for me...but I wanted to do it myself. so I did. the patch is about the size of a silver dollar. It's another area where I can monitor growth. The texture if different from the front. Definite corkscrews where the front is corkscrewy but tends toward a bit of s-curl as well. I've got this random patch over my left ear that travels down to the nape that just won't do anything at all. At best it waves up after a deep conditioning treatment but that's it. Usually that hair is just 'textured'....It just lays there. It's almost straight. It's the wierdest thing and unfortunately annoying bc I think this will keep me from doing straight wash in go's in the future. How can I wash n go with this random straight patch on the side? smh.....lol. That would look a hot mess. The sad patch won't even finger curl right. I'm interested to see if that will change at all after I chop.

ok..ok....enough rambling. I need to go do laundry. oh my gosh...the laundry. and I have to go to the laundrymat bc we don't have a washer yet. I really don't like that. sigh...

i'm just gonna say it because it's my journal and if I don't put it here then where would I put it?

I don't like it here. There. That's it. I don't like this new place. I don't like this house we're renting. I don't like the heat. I don't like how far away we are from either coast. I dont like the fact that I have to drive to the city to get stuff I'm accustomed to having withing minutes from my home. I dont like the way my neighbors refused to speak to me for the first 2 weeks and now another full week later only one of them does. I don't like the fact that there are barely any black people here. I dont like it that we have no idea where any churches are and haven't found anyone to ask about a black church anywhere......

I dont feel this move was a mistake. I know it wasn't. I just dont like it yet. I hope that changes soon.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Transitioning in transit

This has been one whirl wind of a week....posting from my hotel room in St. Louis where we decided to pit stop on our way out west.

I'm popping in just to update primarily because over the last few days I've noticed my scalp issues flaring up around my front hairline again. I'm thinking this must be stress related bc I havent used anything new on my hair. I did miss 2 doses of Zyrtec this past week. It was very dry and tight and itchy. The more I rubbed and picked at it the more annoying it became and I got self conscious when I saw that it was flaking up.

I had an applicator bottle of vinegar in my toiletry bag so I bust that out and applied it to my hair line with a cotton ball. then I used cool water to rinse the most irritated side. I forgot to rinse the other side of my hair line which I'm regretting as I type this bc the vinegar smell has lingered. I applied a little moisture spritz to the area and sealed it with olive oil. After about 20 mins things settled down and I'm comfortable. Hopefully that spot has been set to heal. I dont plan to wash my hair until Monday when we prayerfully will get into our new place.

To tie up loose ends, here is a picture of my hair from my husband's going away party. I wore my hair in a flat twist out:

This is the style that I used the Elasta QP Silk Setting Foam. It turned out ok. I'm still just learning this set and will admit that the one I did for that day was not the best one I've done so far. but I think I salavaged it pretty well with the headband and using bobby pins to shape the sides.

That's a wrap...so very tired....about to fall into the bed.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Another Conditioner

So...a really quick impression of the infamous Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Replenishing Pak.

I found this while going thru a drawer in my bathroom as I organize and get rid of stuff in preparation for the *relocation*...that is in a week! OMGOSH!!! I am NOT ready.

anyway, I'm trying to get rid of stuff, use up stuff that I can and ran across this last night. I've seen countless people on boards and on Youtube that use this stuff but honestly....I was skeptical. I wrongly assumed that it included mineral oil or petroleum since it's inexpensive and marketed as an ethnic hair product. I'm not militant about my ingredients but those two I'm trying extra hard to stay away from bc they truly dont do me any favors. I base this upon the fact that when I cut out all the products that included those items, my hair FELT so much better and my scalp is doing GREAT! That's after suffering with severe scalp psoriasis/dermatitis for YEARS...

I scan the ingredients and don't see mineral oil or petroleum so bam, used it today. I'm prepping my hair for my husband's going away party tomorrow. (the Organic Root Stimulator Hair Fertilizer did include Petroleum so I trashed the samples I had of that)

First, I washed my hair with Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle shampoo then detangled with their conditioner. I applied the Replenishing Pak. I used about half of the package on my necklength transitioning hair.

First of all this smells like oranges. I'm not an express fan of the smell of oranges but points for originality bc I think this may be the first orange smelling product I've smeared in my hair. The consistency is like pudding. Imagine some lemon/orange pudding.....now take a scoop of that pudding and smear it on your hair. Exact SAME consistency.

Most of the mentions I've seen of this product stated mixing olive oil with it so I squirted in a few pumps of olive oil into my hand and mixed. I applied it kinda in sections and finger detangled before popping on a plastic cap and donning my heat therapy wrap.

I left the ORS RP on my hair for an hour with heat. Hopped back in the shower and rinsed with cool water. I attempted to detangle a little with my wide tooth comb and noticed this conditioner really doesnt have much slip. BUT i also noticed NO HAIR in my comb. At the end of this last rinse there was 1 lonely strand in my comb.....this is unheard of. at first, i was thought that wasn't that big of a deal since I detangled prior with the Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner but NO. this is a big deal bc everytime I comb my hair there is hair in the comb thanks to the the process of transitioning.

Afterwards, I squeezed with my hand towel and hopped to the mirror. I didnt notice major popping of curls in the top which is what I keep my eye on bc those are the more distinct ones that i can see but I did catch some major coil action above my right ear. I've never noticed that before.

I've read somewhere from someone who felt this conditioner was a good protein conditioner..I've read on MakeUpAlley a few accounts of this conditioner making people's hair hard. So I'm thinking that this conditioner probably leans more towards protein than moisture. My hair was not soft when I rinsed. Nothing like how my hair is soft when I rinse out my Protectiv Argan Oil stuff. I would venture to say my hair felt stronger. And since it is my haphazard opinion that my hair could benefit from a little protein here and there I will certainly purchase this conditioner again.

So I've set my hair for tomorrow's party and to keep it interesting I'm using a setting foam that I've barely used a few years ago and certainly never on my natural roots.....HOPEFULLY it will give me good results tomorrow.

I'll record my impression of that either way....

*I hope to get back to recording my thoughts soon but everything is so up in the air with the relocation. We plan pull out of here on the 29th and take a few days to drive the 1000 miles.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It was bound to happen sooner or later.....

Something’s gotta change….

Friday I washed my hair after an 8 day stretch…..Travel and then revival at church all week left me with no opportunities to wash my hair. As I’m not a fully natural diva….i can’t just hop in the shower and wash my hair any ole place. I gotta have time, the right products, ect.

So late Friday night, I wash my hair. I was exhausted. See previous week of travel and church. I popped on my heating therapy wrap to deep condition and was so miserable, I decided to sleep in the conditioner and deal with rinsing, detangling, ect the next morning. Note to self: don't bother going to bed with the therapy cap on...it makes your ears hurt.

That morning, in the shower as I tried to detangle, I was getting discouraged. Now surely, it was not as bad as the harrowing experiences I've read of women standing in a cold shower for 2 hours crying. No suh….ain’t gonna be that dramatic about it. But frankly it was more frustrating than it has been in a looong while. Unsure if waiting 8 days was a factor or not but heaven knows when I finally got out the shower and got dressed. I stood in the living room with my damp hair and I shook my head at my husband:

“Something’s gotta change”

(which led to an interesting conversation where we got into the chemistry of relaxing hair and the societal conditioning that we all have to see our natural hair as something undesireable and to be straightened out-but I'll touch on that later)

my relaxed hair is cut in an inverted bob so my front layers are signicantly longer than the back. I don’t have any troubles detangling the back. It’s the front that was being a donkey that morning….

So…I’m taking this as a sign that my regimen needs tweaking. Particularly how I wash my hair. I’ve read here and there about people who section their hair before washing it. They twist/braid it and wash it like this without loosening the twist/braid. I didn’t bother experimenting with this bc I didn’t think I could. I had very short hair in the back….but lesson has been learned. I will at least twist the front before I wash my hair again. That will be tonite.

In order to do this I’m also gonna have to experiment with my detangling process. I’ll need to do that at the sink. Now one option is to apply conditioner to DRY hair. Get it good and saturated (as I understand the hair absorbs more of it in the dry state) and detangle that way….I’ve also heard of saturating the hair with oil….once again on DRY hair then commence with the detangling. Since I’m planning at least 2 twist one on either side of my head, I think I’m gonna try them both and see which won wins my affections. The back I’ll probably just do what I normally do. hop in the shower and let the water wash away the definition left by the Bantu Knots…….then detangle with conditioner as normal….that is unless the heavens open and the sink detangling is such a breeze that I smh at silly ole me in the shower trying to comb my nest.

on a related note: I got 2 overripe bananas….I intended to make my husband some ‘Nana Pudding…poor man done went to the store and bought some Nilla wafers for it too…..now….would it be wrong of me to mash those bananas up with olive oil and put them in my hair???
Yes…yes it would. But I’m so tempted….so very tempted, lol. I better make the Puddin before I wash my hair or he’ll be mighty disappointed.

Monday, July 11, 2011

How I wear it.......

This will be a picture heavy post as I need to dump some pictures that profile how my hair has been looking for the last month or so....I missed some days of documenting but I feel that what I have is a good depiction of how I've been rocking my hair daily.

All style below are Bantu Knot Outs. I'm considering trying some braid outs after my last day of work.....July 15th. But for now...I've stuck with what works and looks good (most of the time). I've gotten bored with them so I'm definitely looking forward to mastering something else.

Bought this headband from Sally's. I believe it was $6.99

Brown Goody's headband from Walmart

Black scarf worn as headband. I allowed the tails to fall down my back. Bought this from Walmart too.

This was on a very tired knot out. I originally thought I was gonna have to wrap my hair up this day but I played with it and it didn't come out half bad.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Beady Beads......

Quick thought...

I have "Beady beads"....little soft ones...fuzzy...kinda indistinct. But definitely present and accounted for. Located on the left and right edges of the nape of my neck. I noticed them about 4ish weeks ago.

So since then, I've either pulled them out with my fingers or hit that area with my brush really softly. A stroke is all that they need to stretch out as they are quite soft.

Now....I'm wondering if I'm embracing my natural texture, shouldn't I leave my little beady beads alone?

Ehhh...I don't know. I'm not sure if I'm gonna leave them back there to chill. If the whole nape section beaded up then I'd just call it a day and leave them to do what they do....but the random 1 or two I get on each side just seem to 'stick out' to me. I do see that several natural women have them....

Now there is a lot of negative social connotations with 'beady beads'. Most know it so I'm not going into that here. I'm starting to think about my feelings regarding that negativity. One of those ideas is that if the hair is rolled up/beaded that it is "unkempt and not groomed". I think that's my primary concern. Since they are so soft and fuzzy does that mean i should just comb them? They don't roll back up later in the day...and often they aren't there the next morning. They reappear every few days..perhaps when I moisturize my scalp with my spritzer.

I don't know what I'll ultimately decide to do....for now, I will either brush them or stretch them out with my fingers. Perhaps if they get longer they will decide what they want to do....

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Daddy Dearest.....

During the visit with my MomMom, I saw my dad.

I wore a Bantu Knot out during my visit and when my father arrived the Knot Out was certainly on its last legs. It was droopy and frizzy and NOT CUTE. He initially asked me if I had a 'piece' in my hair bc he noted the different textures of my roots and the curly part. I told him that I was transitioning to Natural Hair.

Oh! Like your mom?


Did you guys plan to do this together?

No. We started at our own times and then find out later that we were transitoning together.

Later at the table, he is looking at my hair and comments that he thinks I should be 'Okay'. now he never expounded on what 'Okay' was but he said the word a few times and he went on to speak on his sisters, my aunts, and stated that they all had 'Nice' hair, so I should be 'Okay'.

I've seen pictures of my aunts from back in the day when their hair was natural....I guess in a way he was telling me not to worry...that my texture should be 'manageable'. Which of course I know it will be bc I'm managing it. But it was curious to hear his word choice. I know that I do not have what is traditonally known as 'good hair'. I am far from glossy curls and waves. My hair is not thick and shiny. What seems to grow from my scalp is dull and only after I add oil can I claim any 'sheen' at all. I do not know for sure if he was insinuating anything at all but it did bring that mind that.

But aside from all that. It's nice to have my parents 'on board' for this. Clearly my dad has come to a level of acceptance since my mom is going thru the process herself. My husband and I plan to go home for the holidays and by then I will have Big Chopped. It's nice to not be nervous as what their reactions will be. I have 3 little brothers. 2 rock dreads. and one has a fade (he's experiencing premature pattern baldness. He's 19. I'm sure he's got heavy feelings on hair right about now). So now the only 'worries' about family reactions will be with my husband's family.....

but that is surely a whole 'nother post bc I have many many concerns regarding their reactions.

After the 4th....

Over the holiday weekend I went to NC to visit my MomMom (maternal grandmother). It was a very short trip but I'm so glad I got to go bc she was very happy to see me. It was a surprise. I'd only told my mother who has been staying with her since the beginning of June as a caretaker since her knee replacement surgery.

My MomMom is natural. My mom has been transitioning since Oct/Nov and I've been transitioning since Dec. So natural hair certainly came up in discussion. My mom is having a difficult time and has a lot of breakage. I got to see it first hand. it's pretty bad. there is a section in the center of her head that is completely broken off while other places in the back have a few limp strands hanging on for dear life. Then in the top and front she has pieces that are easily 10 inches long. in short her hair is a mess and she knows it but she is nowhere near ready to chop. even though I think she knows that's what's best to do at this point.

She claims her texture is 'gungy bush'. yet I detangled her hair for her and set it in bantu knots and I would not characterize her hair as so. She has very thick dense hair but I was able to comb thru her natural hair with no problem. What's making life so difficult for her right now is the relaxed ends. The coil/curl pattern is similiar to my own. She has used a TON of heat during her transition so I'm unsure if this is her real texture or if her growth is heat damaged (she's been pressing it). I am concerned bc she wants 'curls' and she said that if her hair doesn't 'curl' then she's going back to the relaxer. My mom is 51 years old. I wanted to ask her but didnt get the opportunity: Why are you doing this? I'm not sure what her motives are but it currently doesnt sound like one of them is to embrace her texture. Bc she doesnt seem willing to do that. What I hope is that after the relaxed ends are gone and her hair is easier to manage, she will grow to accept whatever grows out of her scalp.

I hope to be an example of that. Whatever I'm left with after I CHOP, I'm gonna embrace.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Hair characterized......

I'd like to thank God for the So Fine Series posted on CurlyNikki by Cassidy of Natural Selection

Finally, I have a condensed set of articles that point me in the direction of best characterizing my hair so that I can figure out how I should be treating it for maximum health.

What have I determined for sure?

Fine. Definitely Fine.
Normal to high porosity.
Thin to Medium density.

Current issue: Occassional frizz. Possibly due to using a Glycerine mix as my moisturizing spritz. If I'm indeed highly porous this is a major no-no. But I'm not sure if I'm genuinely highly porous or if just my relaxed hair may be. I need to do the test on naked hair. When I wash my hair again I'll redo the water test.

I haven't bought any new products but I'm switching around a bit with the products I DO have. I've read that consistency is key when it comes to your hair regimen. But I'm also looking for great results so I can stick with what combo of products give that to me. So far, my hair loves that argon oil hair masque I did. I'll definitely be getting more of that. It seems to like deep conditioning, so I've kept that up. I deep condition 2x a week now. My hair really likes to be sealed with castor oil. That really locks the moisture in my strands but it seems so heavy, so I went back to try the MegaGrowth Oil I have from Protectiv. I'm still not impressed with it so last night I pulled out some olive oil, which I'd been ignoring bc I used it years ago on my relaxed hair but was also never impressed. Perhaps it would be different on my transitioning hair. (are my standards too high? Am I difficult to impress? lol....)I've also been experimenting with how I moisturize my hair bc that clearly needs addressing and no point in waiting until my hair dries out completely and catches fire in the sun.

So last night, I mixed about equal parts aloe vera gel and Kinky Kurly Knot Today. Applied that to sections and sealed with olive oil before twisting and re-setting into my bantu knots. This morning my hair is indeed soft. It has sheen which makes me very happy bc I've been bummed at how dull my hair has been looking. I'm still adjusting to the constantly poofy edges so for them to be dull too has been disheartening. If olive oil will help me avoid this I will happily stick with it! At least for the next wash or two....lol.

What else have I been sticking with?

I do wash my hair about 2x a week. Sometimes the stretch between washes is kinda long (6 days one time) but I'm getting it done. I do not plan to make it a habit of long stretches. My schedule is a bit hectic right now so I'm getting it in when I can.

I'm only detangling in the shower while I have conditioner in my hair.

I'm only combing my hair when it's wet. Which is only on wash days so the amount of combing has significantly decreased. I finger style my hair daily and if I run across a tangle that's effecting the way I want to style my hair I'll pull it apart gently.

I've always been faithful to wearing a scarf or satin bonnet but I will list that here as well so i can feel accomplished.

I've been doing great with taking my vitamins nightly. I've been taking a Prenatal vitamin since March. At some point I started to regularly take my Fish Oil capsules-end of March maybe.... Then on June 7th or was that May 31st? Either way it was a Tuesday, I began to take Biotin supplements. 1000 mcg. I'm trying to be more conscientous about getting more water in my body for several reasons. So the fact that it will help my hair is a bonus!

I'm not using grease on my scalp and my scalp is doing great! I mist it every other day with my spritzer. This past week I've been slack with applying my Scalp Healer oil. In fact, I haven't at all. I usually cowash on Wednesdays but due to travel this weekend, I'll stretch it til Thursday and apply my Scalp Healer then.

I'm all over the place today but I wanted to post. since i haven't shared this blog with anyone yet, it'll be ok, lol...I got some of those old drafts out and they posted in the order in which they were written...just need to go back and upload a few missing pics.

I still haven't made a choice as to whether I want to go public with my blog or not. I'd like to find a transition partner but haven't put in the time to scour the boards looking for one. I get so overwhelmed on fokti. I haven't figured out how to filter thru tags well enough to not have 500 results....then with the move coming up there is just sooo much going on.

Oh well...the important thing for now is for me to have patience. Document my process and progress and keep pushing forward.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Compare and Contrast....

Man...I'm behind in my posting. I've got some stale drafts that I need to upload the pictures into and then get those posted.

So I washed my hair on Sunday evening. I don't like this timing bc I'd prefer to have fresh hair for church but I can only co-wash my hair on Wednesdays and Saturday just seems too soon after that. Anyway, I followed the process I did last time with exception of the deep conditioner I used. Instead of the Hydrating Masque with Argon Oil, I did Silk Effects Intensive Moisturizing Conditioning Treatment. Everything else remained the same. Including setting my hair in Bantu Knots.

The verdict: I do believe the deep conditioner plays a heavy role here. Though my hair is soft and I have less frizz, it's just not as awesome as it was last wash. Soooo, I'm gonna use up this Silk Effects, bc I dont want to waste it (although it was free) and then go back and purchase a full size (if they have one) of the Hydrating Masque. I'm being very, very generous with the Silk Effects so hopefully I'll be done with it by the end of July.

Pictures of Day 2 hair:

I finally managed to set my bantu knots so that I could style my hair with some bangs. I finally twisted the front knots forward instead of backwards. All those hours worth of YouTube finally paying off.....

Thursday, June 16, 2011


I just had my best hair day yet while transitioning!

Wednesday night, I washed hair with Tea Tree Tingle; detangled with Tea Tree Tingle. Deep Conditioned with Proclaim Argan Oil Intense Moisturizing Masque (It's not on the site yet, I was told it was new. Here is a link to the regular conditioner.) under my new Heat Therapy Wrap for about 45 mins. Applied Kinky Curly Knot Today (KKKT). Used Lustrasilk setting lotion (the one I hate) and sealed with castor oil. Set hair in bantu knots.

OMGosh....my hair is soooo soft today. Easily the softest it's been since I began transitioning. My hair wasnt quite dry this morning so I had to use the blow dryer.:( The top curls/knots which are my longest layers are not as curly as I'd like but, I've got good definition and most of all my hair is not FRIZZY. This is pretty major. I had accepted that frizz was just part of the program as I transition. I'd even went as far as to characterize my natural hair, especially in the center below the crown, as frizzy.

Also, Also, when I applied the KKKT my roots exploded with definition. Small corkscrews of varying size were all over. They range from penspring to slightly smaller than a pencil. Previously I thought I had about 50% shrinkage....I think I'll go further with that and peg me anywhere between 60-70%. If I leave my roots alone, they shrink nice and tight up on themselves. The definition was definitely lost as my hair air dried. So I better understand the need to put something on the hair, like a gel or something to maintain the defined look but I dont know about the shrinkage. I dont know how I'm going to get the hair stretched AND maintain my natural definition.

So where are the pictures? Blah, Blah, Blah with all the words..LET ME SEEEEEEEEE:

The few pics I shot of the front view looked goofy. After I got to work,I realized I needed to use bobby pins to shape the front top a bit but never did...bc...frankly I was lazy and didn't feel like going down the hall to the bathroom just to deal with my hair.

Now, I dont know if it is one specific product that has given me such great results or the technique, but I'm sooo pleased. I plan to deep condition again when I wash my hair this weekend. This time I wont be using the hydrating mask as that was a little .99 packet from Sally's. For renewing my Sally's Member Card, I got a free Silk Effects product so I picked up their Intensive Conditioner. I believe it has silk proteins. I've been wondering about the porosity of my hair and think that maybe I could use a little protein but I dont think I need the heavy hitting Apoghee Treatment that I picked up the other week. So this weekend I'll do a round with that and see if it's the method or the ingredients.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Knowing when I'm ready.....

I was browsing around the natural hair world and stumbled across an article at ManeandChic. She outlines some points that she felt were important to determine whether or not one is ready to big chop. I went thru each of her points and noted where I am or how I feel about each one.

Source: http://www.maneandchic.com/2010/06/transitioners-thursday-when-to-bc.html

When you're ready. You don't want to regret doing it too soon.
What is ready? How is ‘ready’ defined? Lol…. I can be implulsive at times. Some days I’m ready, others, I’m not sure. I'm anxious to see my natural hair and get started with growing it out.

When you're comfortable with the length you will lose. Your relaxed ends are weighing down your hair, be prepared to lose a lot of length not only due to the cut, but to shrinkage.
Am I comfortable with the length that will be left after shrinkage? No. I know I'm not. I clipped a teensy little piece in the front so I'd have a way to guage growth accounting for shrinkage. No ma'am. Not ready at all....

When you're tired of dealing with the line of difference. It can be annoying and if you're having a lot of difficulty here or are rushing through detangling, you might consider the Big Chop.
I am indeed tired of dealing with the two textures. I just really want to comb my hair and not be all extra careful around the demarcation line when detangling. Detangling the straight ends is becoming a hassle as my hair grows out. It’s not completely unreasonable though so I could tough it out a bit longer.

When you're tired of dealing with the different textures. If you feel like you want to simplify your hair routine, it would help to not have to deal with the drastically different textures. .......
Yes please! I would love to simplify my routine. I’d love for my knot outs to be uniform and not have straggly straight ends attached that don’t want to fall in line and curl. I’m interesting in the wash n go. I realize that it’s not really a go after you wash but I currently can not leave my house without my hair being ‘set’ and drying overnight or all day. The freedom of leaving the house with wet/damp hair that simply has product in it that I’ve finger styled is highly appealing.

When you've figured out how you're going to do it: are you going to do it? a close friend? or are you going to a salon?
Eh…I keep flip flopping. If I wait and chop after I leave Pittsburgh, then I have two options: Do it myself with my husband helping me OR drive down to Houston, TX and go to a natural hair care salon with my best friend there to document the process and hold my hand if need be. I'm not considering walking into a salon blindly in my new city and letting someone I don't know nor have heard about do my BC. If I did a salon, I'd like it to be a major natural hair salon. I do like the idea of doing it with my husband. He's been an integral part of my journey thus far.
Prayerfully he won't jack up the back of my head, lol. I'm leaning more towards the do it myself option as I want him involved.

When you're prepared. Have you done your research? Do you have the products and tools you will need to be natural?
I feel pretty prepared. I’ve read A LOT. Watched a lot of YouTube videos. I’ve started a routine that may need little to no tweaking once I’ve BC’d. I’ve got some products. I’ve read reaction after reaction of other’s BC to be aware of some of the emotions I may experience. The things left that I would like to purchase are along the lines of accessories: small rods, hair bands, clips, combs to smoothing back sides, a few more banging pair of earrings. But none of those are necessities for my regimen.

These were some good points. I'll revisit them every once and awhile to see how the answers might change. Right now, according to these points I am not ready. But I'm getting close!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Transitioning from the Significant Other's POV

One of the factors that played heavily into my decision to finally go natural was my husband. His opinion certainly matters...I could not in good conscious pursue natural hair without my primary supporter completely on board. I've flirted with the idea of natural hair for years. I've admired it on other women. Stared in awe at others curls and coils. Throughout the years we've been together, I've pointed out women with short, long, curly and kinky natural hair and asked: Do you like that? What if my hair looked like that? Over time my husband's horizons have broadened in regards to black women's hair.

Something I wanted to flesh out a bit is the idea that while I'm transitioning, he's 'transitioning' as well. So last night, I decided to 'interview' my husband about my process.

Questions I asked:

ME: In the past, what do you think/feel about natural hair overall?
HIM: Hmmm...not sure that I really thought about it much. I guess I thought that it was a look that only worked on some people. Like....you see someone and think, yeah, that looks good on her, but I didnt think that it would look good on everybody. Which....now doesn't make sense...I mean, it's your hair. Of course it would look right on you.

ME: What did you think when I told you that I was going to go natural?
HIM: Honestly? I didn't think you knew what you were getting in to. All the work that would be involved.
ME: ????? (in hindsight I understand this better bc it HAS been a lot of work. But I wonder how he knew that, lol.)

ME:Did you have any preconceived notions or have heard stereotypes about natural hair?
HIM: Stereotypes? Not really....well, maybe? I figured people with natural hair were trying to capture their African Heritage. Not conform to society.
At this point he also mentioned that he didnt realized that everybody had different textures and curl patterns. He thought all black people had the same 'black' texture.

ME:How do you think you'll feel once I cut my hair?
HIM: I don't know. I have no idea. Then he asked me: Why do you want to cut your hair? I took this to mean, why big chop? why not just grow my hair completely out before chopping? I told him that dealing with the 2 textures is difficult. They fight each other and breakage/damage happens. Not a good look. I also told him about not knowing my true texture and honestly just wanting to get rid of the straight hair to see what God gave me. To see how God intended for me to look.

We were in the car at the time and after this I judged that he'd had enough questioning about hair, lol. I did ask him that if I were to big chop myself would he help me. He answered 'Yes' without any hesitation.

So there it is...As time goes on I'll ask him for his thoughts here and there. If he says anything profound then I'll do another post. :)

It's a Wrap....

My hair was no better this morning. I got home last night about 10:30. Jumped in the shower. Then mixed up some additional jojoba oil and tea tree oil in my scalp spritz. Got in at the roots with that, massaged, pineappled (for what? i have no idea) and then off to bed.

I got an abandoned bird's nest this morning. At least the nest was habitable yesterday.

I planned to wear a hat but didn't like the way my black and white checkered hat looked with my graphic floral blouse. So black wrap it was.

The Results:

This is my lazy look. Thank heaven for my glasses or I would have looked completely blah. Days like this I dare not wear my contacts. I prefer something of interest going on around the face-if it's not colorful eyes, it's a bold lip...so the glasses are really making the look today!

Fruity Hair

I forgot to post pics of my very first pineapplettes.

I followed the method easily found on YouTube.

Here's what my first pinapples looked liked:

Me the following morning with bonnett in place:

Up close and very personal

After removing the bonnett:

Mmmhmmm....nice and smooooshed...

Disassembled puffs:

And the resulting style from this fruity maintenance:

I mix a little mineral foundation into my moisturizer to even skin tone so depending on the lighting, in some pictures I look a touch pale. I dont look like that off camera in real life! lol.

Really ran out of time so there aren't multiple angles here. I popped on the headband bc the front just isn't set for wearing free. I need to experiment with that so I'm not so dependent on headbands all the time.