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Monday, August 24, 2009

Should I Be Letting You Even Touch My Hair?

I was thinking this exact thought as I was sitting in my stylists chair 3 weeks ago. Her and another stylist were chatting about their time in cosmetology school. Ok, no problem right? Wrong! So wrong! Both stylists were talking about their mutual dislike of the actual classes that they needed to take. According to them "they already knew how to do hair." Now correct me if I'm wrong, don't those classes include the things necessary for hair care (e.g.--understanding the chemistry of hair). I mean aren't those things important too? That conversation was one that I just didn't need to hear. I am already hesitant about letting other people touch my hair ( I'm gentle with my hair, I can't be too sure about how other folks will handle it).

I dunno, should I be freaking out about this? My first instinct is to go ahead, bite the bullet and learn how self- relax. I already take care of my hair the majority of the time (I only go to the salon for relaxers). At least I know my hair is healthy and I know that I won't strip the ever lovin' life out of my hair. It will also be helpful in the future when I decide to relocate (no frantic stylist hunt lol).

Have any of you experienced this?

You Better Check Yourself....

...before you wreck yourself. Lol.

No seriously, I was doing my hair last night and I had a moment to think. I have been on my hair journey for almost a year and a half and my hair has made a complete 180 from where it used to be. When I started, my hair was super duper dry and broke off if you just looked at it. Of course, the shampooing and the deep conditioning have made a huge difference in my hair health. However, there is another factor that is so important yet ignored by a lot of people. I focus on the pH of my hair. Yes, the pH. I'm going to skip the whole science lecture and just say that pH is a measure of acidity or alkalinity. Something that is acidic has a pH that is below 7 and something that is alkaline has a pH that is above 7. Normally, hair has a pH that is ~5. When your hair is at its normal pH, it allows for the cuticle of you hair to lie down-locking in moisture. It also allows for natural shine, helps in detangling, and adds elasticity.

Like most of you, I relax my hair. The relaxer jacks the pH of the hair way way way up ( to 14 ) so that it can raise the cuticle of the hair and let the relaxer do its thing. Even though water (pH 7) and the neutralizing shampoo used immediately after the relaxer bring the pH down somewhat extra care has to be taken to bring the pH of my hair back down to it's normal levels and keep it there. Here is what I do (there is really only one step):

Use products that have a certain pH

I take great care to choose products that have the appropriate pH for my hair. From shampoo to porosity control, there is a pH for most of the products I use on wash day.

* Keracare First Lather shampoo--pH 4.5
*Elasta QP Creme Condition shampoo--pH 5.5
*Roux Porosity Control Conditioner--pH 4.5

With the pH of my hair in check at all times, the cuticles of my hair are able to lie down and my hair can retain the moisture I give to it via my deep conditioners. Even though it is easy to get caught up in the whole deep conditioning your hair thing, it is so important to not overlook this step!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Short Hair Frustration (and how to overcome it!)

I've been thinking.

I frequent a lot of hair boards and forums. This is true. On a daily basis I read about the trials and tribulations of going on a healthy hair journey. Everybody has them. However, I have noticed a lot of girls experiencing Short Hair Frustration. I'm sure you have all been there. Your hair cut was bangin' when you first got it but now it seems like your hair isn't long enough or you can't do anything with your hair. The frustration wants to make you leave your hair alone and not deal with it. The feeling may last minutes, hours or days. So how do you overcome that feeling? Well, let me tell you how:

Find hair goals outside of length

Yeah. That's it. Find a hair goal that doesn't have to do with length. When I first got my haircut, my goal was to be able to grab my shorter hair pieces with no problems or issues. Let me tell you, when I reached that goal I was thrilled! It may have been a minor goal but when I reached it, I felt like it was a huge accomplishment and it encouraged me to keep going. My next goal was to be able to wrap my hair. I just now reached that goal and, as you saw, I was excited about that too.

The point is, find a goal that you want to reach. Do you want healthier hair? Thicker hair? Whatever it is, that just may be the encouragement you need to keep going in this healthy hair journey!

How I Wet Wrap....

Happy Monday Ladies!!

Well it's been a crazy weekend/start of the week for me! Unfortunately I haven't had time to do my wet wrap tutorial as promised. However, I have conducted an extensive Youtube search and found videos that can best illustrate what I am talking about. Before I get into the videos, this is what I do for my wet wrap:

My products/tools:
Jane Carter Solution Wrap and Roll
Wrap strips
Jilbere Shower Comb

1) Wash and deep condition hair
2) Once DC is washed out, I apply my leave in and Fantasia IC Frizz Buster
3) I distribute foam wrap lotion (quite a bit) throughout my hair
4) Begin to wrap hair
5) Once hair is wrapped, tie down with wrap strip and air dry or use hair dryer.

You may notice that the video talks about using duckbill clips. I don't use them when I wrap but feel free to use them.

Also, if your hair is short enough, you may want to just slick your hair straight back and tie down with a wrap strip instead of wrapping it. It saves time and may be a bit easier!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Progress Pics

I finally took some progress pics! Yay! I have definitely made loads of progress since January and May, even. As you can see, I have some chin length pieces here and there and a "tail." I'm really starting to wonder what type of style this grow out is taking. Right now I'm a little unsatisfied. Relaxers take the life out of my hair and make it too thin for my liking. I generally have to wait 3 weeks before I get any body back. Ugh! Well, this Saturday will mark 2 weeks post so hopefully I will begin to see a difference then. Anyway, take a look and feel free to leave any comments!

a comic strip!

My Review of.....the Sedu!

Per your request, I am going to do a review of the Sedu flat iron. I have been using the Sedu for a year and a half and I absolutely love it!

Sedu Revolution Pro Shortie Mini Styler

I purchased this immediately after my hair cut. There were shorter pieces of hair that my 1 1/2" could not all.

In comparison to my other Sedu, this one was ok. It is pretty small and is about the size of a Sharpie. There is no temp gauge and this iron gets HOT! I constantly had to make sure the back of my head had enough heat protectant and I had to make sure that I DCed really good! I was so happy when I went back to my original Sedu. It does a decent job for the price but I think that there are better small flat irons out there.

Price: $50.00+ shipping ( I paid around $60 for mine)

Sedu Pro Ionic Ceramic and Tourmaline Flat Iron (1 ½”)

I purchased this at the beginning of my journey when my hair was longer. It is an amazing flat iron! As I stated before, the plates are ceramic and tourmaline. In addition, it has a very thick cord that doesn’t fray easily and the cord rotates with the flat iron, making styling a breeze! Another bonus is that this iron heats up fast!

Things I love about this flat iron:

The temp gauge—allows you to directly control how much heat you put on your hair.The gauge runs from 250 degrees- 480 degrees. However, I found when using the Sedu, not much heat is needed to straighten hair.

The ceramic/tourmaline plates—prior to my purchase of the Sedu, I never knew that a flat iron could get my hair to be so smooth! These plates are responsible for that.

Weight-the Sedu is very lightweight so it doesn’t feel like you have a million pounds in your hand.

Minimal work effort- when I use my Sedu, it takes 1 pass on any setting (well almost any- I never tried the highest setting) to get my hair straight. ONE PASS! Before the Sedu, it would take as many as 5 passes to get the same result. Since I have a lot of hair, this cuts my hair styling time in half!

Things I don’t like so much:

This isn’t much that I don’t like about the Sedu. However, as a student, this flat iron was a little price-y. I paid $130 (includes shipping) for the Sedu. Regardless, I think the Sedu is well worth the money. I probably spent the same amount of money purchasing the cheap flat irons that snagged my hair and were causing insane damage. For those looking to purchase a Sedu right now, is selling the 1 1/2” for $119+free shipping!

Also, this flat iron works very well with the IC Fantasia Heat Protectant! The two combined makes my hair feel so light and flow-y (if that's a word). I've also tried it with the Beyond the Zone Heat Protectant and the results were...meh.

I think I covered everything about the Sedu that I like. If I missed something, give me a shout! :)


So I had planned to do a pic tutorial of a wet wrap by the end of this week. However, my practice wet wrap yesterday went horribly wrong. I know exactly what caused the failure, too. I tried to be slick and use a different foam wrap lotion (IC Fantasia). That mess left my hair soooooo hard and crunchy..... Anyway, now I have to purchase my beloved Jane Carter Solution Wrap and Roll. The only place that carries it near where I live is Whole Foods (and Whole Foods is allllll the way across town). I probably won't get a chance to purchase it until Friday. The pic tutorial probably won't be up until late this weekend or early next week.

Just a heads up....

Monday, August 10, 2009

Turn the Heat Up....

After I got my hair relaxed last week, I did a dance of joy. Let me tell wasn't because I just got a relaxer. As of 8/1/09, I can wrap my hair! YES!! You must understand, this is a very important milestone for me. I's can use less heat now! I'm sure you guys already know that shorter hair=more heat. It sucks but that's just the way it is. Shoot, on the days I didn't use heat I would look like Goku from Dragon Ball Z

Even though I had to use heat frequently when my hair was shorter, here are the things that I did to make it through those long, dark months:

1) Invest in a good flat iron
Find a good ceramic and tourmaline flat iron. This type of flat iron not only straightens your hair, but it smoothens it and helps to keep moisture in. Also, get a flat iron that has a temperature gauge (just so you don't fry your hair to death during your straightening sessions). Although there are other good flatirons (like the FHI Platform) I use the Sedu and the Sedu Revolution Shortie Styler (check for pricing/availability).

Just as a note, if you have a ceramic plated flat iron make sure the coating has not worn off. If it has, it is time to get a new one!

2) Find a good heat protectant and use it every time (yes...every time!)
Finding a good heat protectant is so important. It serves as a barrier between your hair and the flat iron which minimizes damage. There are sooooo many protectants out there and finding one may require a bit of trial and error. A good starting heat protectant is IC Fantasia Heat Protectant Straightening Serum (which is $7.99- $9 and can be found at Sally's and Walgreens).

3)You may have to increase the frequency of your regimen
It is important to keep in mind that heat a) changes the structure of your hair and b) removes moisture from your hair. Those two things combined can result in dry, brittle hair. When I first had my hair cut, I washed and deep conditioned my hair no less than 2x a week. I was always doing my hair! Sometimes I would use a moisturizing DC ( like Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose) or a light protein DC ( such as ORS Replenishing). I would then follow up with a light protein leave-in (Giovanni Direct Leave In). The point is: if you use more heat then you must make more of an effort to ensure your protein/moisture balance in check at all times.

If you can, try to sneak in no-heat/ indirect heat when you can. For example, you may decide to air dry your hair then flat iron or dry via a hooded dryer then flat iron.

4) That temperature gauge on the flat iron is important
Although I used heat frequently, please believe that the temp gauge on my Sedu was set a 250 ( 280 at the highest). Since my hair is relaxed, I don't need to crank up the flat iron to the max setting just to bump my hair. Shoot...I really don't need to set it to the middle temp (360). Just as a general rule (for me) a flat iron set at the lowest temp+ a heat protectant is better for my hair health than a flat iron cranked all the way up. I can still get the style I desire while keeping my hair as healthy as possible.

I've found that by following these 4 guidelines, the increased heat did not significantly damage my hair and as someone with short hair, there is no need to fear heat. You just have to make the appropriate adjustments to your regimen.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

What To Do When....... seems like your hair is too short to do ANYTHING!

Trust me. I've been here. As a matter of fact, I'm still here. It can be frustrating, especially when you hear of all these different styles that require slightly longer hair. Well here is a list of things that I do when I can't do certain hairstyles.

What to do when you can't...

-Rollerset: I love rollersetting. I do. It gives beautiful curls. The only down side to rollersetting is that it is incredibly time consuming. Well my short hair divas, now is the time to count you blessings. I have found that wet wraps are incredibly easy to do when your hair is short. Add some foam wrap lotion ( I prefer Jane Carter Solution Wrap and Roll), wrap hair, and put on a wrap strip. You can then air dry or still under a hooded dryer and flat iron if you so desire. That's it. It doesn't get any easier than that!

-Braidout, Twistout, or any kind of other "-out": I frequent hair care forums and during the course of the summer so many of the ladies in the forums talked about doing braidout and twistouts. I'll admit that I was a little jealous. Why? I can't do them, that's why. Unfortunately my hair was too short to do either one. However, I found flexi-rod sets to be an alternative for us short-haired chicks. You can buy the appropriate sized rods and create a curly do that lasts for days!

-Rock the oh-so-famous bun: Yeah I don't have enough hair to put into a bun yet. But I do like the option of having a low maintenance style. Sometimes, doing your hair everyday gets old fast! This boredom with my hair eventually lead me to the wonderful world of wigs. Wigs offer a new style and the option of low maintenance. The same can be said for phony ponies ( if your hair is long enough to get into a ponytail), weaves (sew-in of course), and braids (be careful with the micros though).

So you see, short hair doesn't necessarily lock you into one style. With a bit of imagination and creativity, you can find styles to get you through the awkward stage.

It's Been A Long Time....Shouldn't Have Left You...

I know I know. I haven't blogged in a minute. I finally have a decent internet connection in my apartment so now I can continue to blog about my journey. First things first....

1) I got a relaxer August 1, 2009(sorry no pics yet!)

Following what had to be the longest stretch ever (13weeks), I got a relaxer. My stylist used the Sensitive Scalp Design Essentials relaxer and it got my hair pretty straight. I definitely have a lot of progress. The majority of my hair is chin length with my "tail" at neck length (kinda like a mullet if you think about it).

2) Speaking of relaxers, I hate how my hair feels following a relaxer

My hair just feels so brittle and weak...I can't stand it! 2 days after my relaxer, I washed my hair again with neutralizing shampoo and used the Joico K-Pak Reconstructor. My hair felt 1000% better. I am so glad I am able to do my hair without completely depending on stylists

3) Just so you know....

It took me 8 months (actually a couple of weeks short of 8 months) to go from that short hair cut to chin length. So if you're growing your hair out, don't be discouraged...length takes time!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ugh...Please Don't Do This...

I spent the greater part of my day yesterday at the hair salon (7am-1pm) and I couldn't help but notice a few things. thing really. There was a lady sitting next to me, as nice as she wants to be, with severely damaged hair. It was a mess. This lady goes to get her hair styled and I found out her "hair" was mainly glue on tracks. The stylist was ripping out the old tracks and gluing in new ones. It just made me so sad to see this woman's hair. You could definitely see where her hair had broken off from the constant ripping out of the tracks. So sad. With that said, if you feel the need to have longer hair temporarily, don't go the glue in track route. It can set you back tremendously if you don't know what you're doing. If you absolutely must have longer hair get a sew-in or a wig.

That's my rant for the moment. Look for my May-August progress pics...they should be up soon!