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Friday, October 25, 2013

I am now a DOCTOR!! Oh...and my defense day hair (LOTD: 10/23/2013).

Happy Friday lovelies!

This past week was a busy one for me since my dissertation defense was on Wednesday. As of 1pm on October 23, I am officially a doctor (of the Ph.D variety, not MD)! The whole process was exciting but stressful and I'm glad I don't have to go through that process ever again!

Anyway, I just wanted to post my hair for my defense day. I just put some pin curls in my hair and just rolled with that. I think it came out great! Take a look!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Wash Day: 10/18/13

Or "I Absolutely Had To Do This Wash Day"

Happy Friday lovelies!

I know I have kinda been ghost lately but things around here have been CRAZY!! I will be defending my dissertation on the 23rd (read: I will get my PhD) so I have been preparing for that in terms of writing and getting stuff done. Aside from that, there have been weddings, interviews, etc that have distracted me from my hair. I have been so distracted that I haven't washed my hair for 2 weeks!

My hair and scalp are not pleased about this at all. My scalp began to itch like crazy and my hair was really weighed down. I couldn't go another day without cleaning my hair. So, last night at 11pm, I got to work.

Since this wash day is the first one since my relaxer, I first shampoo with Silk Elements Neutralizing Conditioner just to really ensure that all of the relaxer has been washed out. I then followed up with Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo. Next, I wanted to give my hair a much needed protein boost so I applied the Sally's brand of Joico K-Pak (GVP Reconstructing Conditioner) to my hair for 5 minutes. After I rinsed that out, I placed Aubrey Organics GPB on my hair and DCed overnight and rinsed it out this morning. Finally, I sprayed Aphogee Keratin Green Tea leave in (see how I'm keeping with the protein theme this wash day?), applied some Hairveda Ends Hydration to my hair, and proceeded to wet wrap my hair. I am currently sitting under the dryer as I type this lol. Some time this weekend (when I have the time) I will whip out my trusty Sedu and my Fantasia IC heat protectant to straighten my hair and then follow up with a saran wrap treatment.

That's it. That's my wash day. I have to be really quick with it since time is limited. In the meantime, I need to figure out how I want to style my hair for my defense. I'm leaning towards pin curls but I don't know. Any suggestions?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

October 2, 2013 Relaxer Day and Hair Update

Happy Thursday lovelies!

Yesterday, after the longest stretch ever, I got my hair relaxed!! Yay! As with any relaxer day, I am absolutely thrilled that I can see my scalp again and to see what progress my hair has made since May. I also get to share my experience with you guys!

Last week, I prepped my hair for the relaxer by washing may hair, doing a protein treatment, and DCing with a moisturizing deep conditioner to ensure that my hair had some strength and moisture going into my relaxer day. Yesterday morning, I walked into my scheduled appointment with my stylist, LaToya. I have to say, LaToya is a stylist who I absolutely trust with my hair. She is really concerned about hair health, which I absolutely love. She also does both relaxed and natural hair. So for all you naturals who keep asking me if I know of any natural salons in B'ham, this is your answer! She does silk presses, twist outs,whatever you want! can be assured that she won't rip through your hair. If you are in Birmingham, you should go to her! Now that I'm done with that PSA, let me continue with my relaxer day lol. I walked into the salon and after a brief wait, LaToya got to work on my hair. She based my scalp, then applied Mizani Butter Blends relaxer to my hair in sections, saving the nape for last. After neutralizing my hair and all that, I decided that I wanted to have my hair straight so that I can do a length check. So, LaToya sprayed some leave in conditioner in my hair (from her own product line: Silk Hydration), detangled my hair, and then sat me under the dryer so that my hair could dry a bit. After about 15 minutes, LaToya finished up by blow drying my hair and then flat ironing it. Since I got a trim with my last relaxer (and I have pretty much been in braids/twists since then), I declined a trim this go 'round but will probably need one my next relaxer.

ETA(10/7/13): Check this pic that shows where I was back in May after a fresh relaxer and a trim!

All in all, I am pleased with the results. Please believe me when I say that I was flinging and slinging my hair all day yesterday lol! As far as length goes, I think that some pieces of my hair are MBL-ish, with the rest of my hair needing to play catch up (SN: Times like this I wish that my hair would grow at the same rate!). So, by the end of this year, I hope to be full MBL. Anyway, check out the pics snapped by LaToya and check out her blog while you're at it!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Autumn Hair Plans

Happy Tuesday lovelies!

I hope you are all having a great day so far. I just wanted to stop by and tell you what my plans are for autumn (yes, I say autumn rather than fall. It just sounds better lol). I actually have a few things that I want to accomplish before winter hits.

1) End my heat break. Now that we are well into autumn, I can end my self imposed heat break. Heat has not touched my hair since June and my hair has been all the better for it. While I enjoy giving my hair a break from heat every now and again, I am itching to straighten my hair. Don't worry though, I won't get too crazy with the heat. I will still follow my '1 indirect heat and 1 direct heat' rule and also stay on top of giving my hair the protein that it needs.

2) Get a relaxer. I haven't had a relaxer since May. May!!! I will be 21 weeks post on Saturday, which is an abnormally long stretch for me. I have scheduled a relaxer appointment for October 2nd and I am chomping at the bit to get it done. In the meantime, I am wigging it up to keep my hands out of my hair and to avoid any potential setbacks.

3) Try new products. After hiding my hair in braids/twists all summer, I am ready to try some new products. I really, really want to try Darcy's Botanicals Pumpkin Seed conditioner. I have heard so many great things about it that I absolutely have to try it. I must try it! I'm sure my list will expand as I begin looking at hair products again, but that is at the top of my list.

4) Get to full MBL. This is self explanatory. I want full MBL by graduation. It would be even better if I were grazing WL but I will take what I can get.

Those are my hair plans/goals for autumn. What are your hair plans? Let me know in the comments section!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wash Day: September 17, 2013

Happy Hump Day!

Welp. The Havana twists are out. They were starting to look raggedy and I couldn't take it anymore. So I got to work...and about an hour later, that Marley hair was in a pile beside me.

Marley hair all in a pile

I can't lie. It felt great to run my hands through my hair again. I was also low key excited about this wash day. It's funny how sometimes wash days can be so tedious but when you hide your hair for awhile, you yearn for another wash day. Life is funny in that way. Anyway, I knew this wash day would be some work because I am 19 weeks post (I will be 20 weeks post this Saturday). So in addition to all the shed hair that I have to remove, I have some serious, serious new growth to deal with as well. For that reason, I don't plan on manipulating my hair much after wash day either. My hair will be plaited for a half wig and I will call it a day (SN: Leaving your hair alone is the best way to deal with long stretches. Constantly being in your hair will frustrate you. Trust me on this one). This will be my plan of action until the beginning of October.

My hair before I started my wash day

I started my wash day by coating my hair in Tresemme Naturals Moisturizing Conditioner (you know..the condish I wasn't all that impressed with but still had a huge bottle of it in my cabinet?), detangling my hair with my wide tooth bone comb, and prepooing for 4 hrs (I had to go to practice and I didn't want to start the wash process and wind up having to stop midway). Following the prepoo,I proceeded to perform my post extensions wash routine. I washed my hair using the sulfate free KeraCare 1st Lather shampoo (clarifying shampoo--removes any dirt that may have accumulated while my hair was in extensions) and Shea Moisture Moisture Retention shampoo (to put moisture back into my hair. Even though it is sulfate free, that clarifying shampoo still strips my hair). Next, I applied Aphogee 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor to my hair and got under my heat cap for 5 minutes since I wanted to give my hair some much needed strength. Then, I applied Aubrey Organics White Camellia conditioner to my hair and DCed for an hour and a half. I finished up my wash day by spraying Jane Carter Solution Revitalizing Leave In on my hair and detangling with Dacy's Botanicals Transitioning Creme (a must at this stage of my stretch). I then sealed my hair with coconut oil and place my hair in a ponytail to air dry.

Also, during this wash day, I did an impromptu length check, which you can see here. I'm thinking that I have hit MBL.

Today, I will do a search and destroy to find any splits and plait my hair for my half wig. I must say, it feels good to get back into the swing of things hair wise. After spending this summer in protective styles, I'm actually glad to see my hair and give it some TLC.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Quick Snapshot of My Hair

Hello lovelies!

I'm back with a quick post. After close to a 3 week run, I gave those Havana twists a rest and took them out. As I was going through my wash session, I just wanted to do a quick length check since I will be protective styling via wig until I relax in October. Right now, it looks like my hair is at MBL (mid back length) or at least pretty darn close to it. I am definitely interested to see what my hair looks like once I relax it (as of today, I am 19 weeks and 3 days post relaxer). At any rate, with the way I'm going I will hit MBL before the year is out and will be well on my way to WL.

I just wanted to share with you what I saw this evening (please excuse the conditioner in my hair! lol):

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

What Have I done To My Hair Now...

Happy Tuesday lovelies!

Last week I was sitting. Sitting and thinking. Sitting and thinking that I still didn't want to manipulate my hair on a daily basis. When I finally took my box braids out last month, I decided that I would just rock a half wig, leaving my own hair braided, until I got another relaxer. Turns out, I didn't even feel like doing that. I have serious lazy hair spells every now and again.

So, I decided that I would braid my hair up again. However, this time I wanted to try Havana twists. What's more, I decided to put them in myself. You guys have to understand, this is a big step for me. I have never done my own installation of any type of braid. After making sure that my hair was clean and conditioned, I spent about a half day or so looking at Youtube tutorials on how to install Havana twists and got to work. Two days and six packs of Marley hair later, I had my style. I am hoping that I can get a month of wear out of these twists, then go on to relax my hair in October (which will be my third and last relaxer for 2013). Anyway, enough of my ramblings, check out my style!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday Chat: (Some) Protective Styles Ain't for Everybody

Happy Sunday lovelies!

Wow! A lot of time has gone by since I last posted anything! I guess when I have braids in, I don't have too many things to talk about hair-wise. Either way, this past weekend I had to take those box braids out. My hair was starting to dread...and that was a problem. So I took the braids out and will be rocking my Outre Tammy half wig until I figure out what to do next (meaning: do I want to put in Havana twists OR just go ahead and relax since I'm due for one).

After I took my braids out and gave my hair a good detangling and wash session, I did a bootleg length check (I grabbed a section of my hair to see where it falls vs actually taking the time and effort to straighten my hair). To my surprise, it looks like my hair is at MBL! I can't lie, I got excited. I have been trying to get to that length for over a year. Of course, we will see where my hair is once I do a proper length check but it is definitely something to be excited about.

Anyway, after seeing the retention I obtained with the box braids, I got to thinking. During the course of my hair journey, I have always obtained the best retention with braids while half wigs/phony ponies are a close second in the retention game. Buns, however, come in at dead last. I mean I do get retention but not as much as I do when I'm leaving my hair alone for weeks at a time. It was interesting to me because whenever protective styles are mentioned, they are always mentioned in a one size fits all sort of way. For example, a lot of people advocate bunning for retention but there are some people who simply don't retain their length with bunning. Others can't do weaves or braids, while some people (like myself) get the best retention from them. I say all that to say: there is no one size fits all protective style. Because every head of hair is different, they respond differently to protective styles. It's an interesting find that is rarely ever highlighted.

So this Sunday Chat is about what protective styles work for your hair? Which ones have been a complete and utter disaster? Let me know in the comments below!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

My Box Braids: One Month Later.....

Happy Sunday lovelies!

So, it recently dawned on me that I have had my box braids for about a month now! Time sure flies when you're having fun, I guess. Anyway, I just wanted to update what my hair looks like one month into the washing every week (with a stocking cap, of course) and the somewhat daily styling thing. As you can see, my braids themselves still look good....but I have an explosion of new growth going on! I can definitely tell that these braids are going to be ready for the heave-ho by month 2. I hope that my retention is only matching my new growth so that I can reach MBL by the end of the year.

Check it out!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Look of the Day (7/23/13): Box Braid Up-do

Happy Tuesday lovelies!

Well it's another rainy and stormy day here in B'ham and I am back with yet another look for the day. I'm finding that box braids are more versatile than I initially thought them to be. In the past, I would either wear my braids down or in a ponytail....not too much variability at all. This go 'round, however, I am having more fun with braids and styling them in the most random of ways. Although I tend to change up styles frequently (I get bored easily), I hope that it can help some of you guys who have or plan on getting box braids in terms of styling. I also hope you guys see that you don't have to have the extra long braids in order to have a cute style.

Yesterday, as I was perusing Youtube, I came across this video for a box braid updo posted by The Kris Bliss. I figured that my hair was long enough to replicate the I did. I'm liking this style so's edgy and CUTE!! I just may keep this style in for a few days.

Check it out!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Look of the Day (July 22, 2013): Gibson Tuck w/ Braids

Happy Monday lovelies!

I'm back with my look for the day for, well, today. Let me just say, I had a very long day. I participated in an education outreach activity in Atlanta (2 hours away from me), so I had to wake up at 4 this morning so that we could get to Atlanta at a decent hour. Since I was halfway sleep and knew that I would be dealing with children all day, I wanted a style that kept my braids out of my face and was not necessarily a bun. Enter the Gibson tuck. I have done this style a few times on my own hair but never with braids. Thankfully, the style worked and I had a cute style in 3 minutes!

Check it out!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Look of the Day (July 19, 2013): Braided Crown

Happy Friday lovelies!

I have to admit...I get bored with my hair very easily and right now it's taking everything in my to keep these braids in my hair. So every now and again, I have to jazz my hair up a bit. Today is no different. I got tired of wearing my hair in a high bun every day and I just so happened to catch a glimpse of one of the articles in the magazine Glamour where they were talking about this braided crown hairstyle. I took one look at the hairstyle and figured that I could do that with my braids so I did. I like it so far (especially since it still keeps the braids out of my face and off of my neck). I also like the look of just has more oomph to it than it does with my regular hair. Anyway, I'm rambling....check out my style for the day!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Wash Day: July 13, 2013

Hey lovelies!

I know that this particular wash day post is super late but things have be hectic around here as of late. Anyway, I really wanted to get this wash day post up so that I can show how I wash my hair while it is in braid extensions. There is this horrible, horrible myth going around that you can't wash your hair while it is in braids (for some people this is 2+ yeah). I'm here to say that a) that's disgusting and b) you can! One way that I typically keep my hair clean while it is in braids is to use ORS Herbal Cleanse. I find that when I'm pressed for time, this is the perfect way to ensure that my hair and scalp remains clean. Another method that you can use to really clean your hair is the stocking method. It is a great way to clean your braids without them getting frizzy or resulting in one or two of your braids slipping out.

So let's get to my wash day!

First, I diluted my Shea Moisture Moisture Retention shampoo in an applicator bottle (you can use a spray bottle if you want). I don't use exact measurements...I just wanted to make sure that there was more water than shampoo (tan bottle on the right). Diluting your shampoo makes the whole wash process easier and minimizes any build up you can potentially get from the shampoo. I then got a separate applicator bottle and diluted JessieCurl Deep Conditioner (had a sample just hanging around) with water (white bottle on the left).

I then placed a pair of old stocking on my head and tucked my braids underneath the cap.


Next, I took my bottle of diluted shampoo and saturated the stocking cap with it. I then proceeded to 'scrunch' the cap a bit (moved my fingers like I was washing my own hair) and produced a nice lather. I added a little water every now and again (I did this part in the shower) when I felt I needed it. When I was finished, I rinsed the shampoo from the cap (see pictures below).

I was in the mood to DC, so I grabbed my bottle of diluted deep conditioner and saturated my stocking cap with it. I then placed a plastic cap over the stocking cap and DCed using a heat cap for an hour or so. Afterwards, I rinsed the DC from the stocking cap and removed the stocking cap from my head.

Finally, I sprayed Jane Carter Solution Revitalizing Leave in on my hair/ braids and let my braids fully dry. As you can see, my braids aren't frizzy and I didn't lose any braids in the process. What's most important, however, is that I washed my hair! Don't let anyone tell you that you have to let your hair be STANK and dirty just because you have braids! You can keep your hair just have to be a little creative! :)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Look of the Day 7/12/13: Side Bun...with Braids

Happy Friday lovelies!

I'm here with a quick hit (and I do mean quick) since I am preparing for a committee meeting this afternoon. Since I am making a presentation today, that high bun I have been rocking is a tad bit informal. So, I decided to bring the braids down and rock them as a side bun. I love that this style still keeps the braids out of my face yet looks professional enough that it isn't distracting.

Anyway, check it out!