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Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Awkward Stage's Braiding Primer

Since I have written about braids at one point or another, I wanted to make a comprehensive post that links all of my tips about getting and maintaining braids. This primer will cover everything from braid preparation to choosing a style that works for your hair to washing them. Hopefully, by having all of these posts in one place, it will keep you from having to hunt down the posts on the blog!!

Happy reading!!

Braid Prep

The Awkward Stage's Guide To Prepping Your Hair for Braids

Style Selection

Selecting the Right Braid Style for You

Washing Braids/Twists/Etc.

Because Low Maintenance Doesn't Mean No Maintenance (Washing With A Scalp Cleanser)

Washing Braids/Twists/Whatever, pt.2

General Braid Maintenance Tips

My Braid (Extension...Whatever) Rules...

Caring for Cornrows

Tree Braids and Other Random Things

My Kinky Twists!

The Awkward Stage's Guide To Prepping Your Hair For Braids

Happy Sunday lovelies!!

With summer now making its mark and the mercury (significantly) rising, many of you have probably said 'Man, bump this hair thing' and have ran out to get your hair braided. While braids are a perfect low manipulation style, if you are using braids as a protective style, there are certain things you have to do to prep your hair for the braiding process. Since your hair is going to be put away for weeks/months at a time and braids can stress your hair, you want to make sure that your hair is in the best possible condition. Here is what I do when I am preparing my hair for braids:

1) Shampoo. This seems like a no brainer but you would be surprised at how many people don't do this step and roll up to get their dirty hair braided. The key thing that I aim to do during my shampoo step is to clarify my hair. That is, I want to remove everything that is on my hair: dirt, oil, -cones...everything!! With braiding, you want to remember that whatever is on your hair when you put the braids in, will be on your hair when you take your hair out. So if you have a nice coating of silicones on your hair prior to braiding, they will be on your hair when you remove them...and you will have dry hair to boot. So, one lather with a clarifying shampoo (ORS Creamy Aloe and KeraCare Sulfate Free 1st Lather shampoos are good for this) should be sufficient. Follow up with a moisturizing shampoo. Don't rely on your braider to do this step. Please don't.

2) Do a protein treatment.
Braids are stressful on the hair. Seriously, they are. You're putting these extensions on your hair which puts extra weight on them and the whole braiding process is a lot of tugging, pulling, combing, etc. For those reasons alone, you want to make sure that your hair is strong enough to withstand all of those stressors. If your hair is in fairly good health, using Joico K-Pak Reconstuctor (or the Sally's version) or Aphogee 2 Minute Reconstructor is sufficient for a treatment. However, if your hair is on the more damaged side (and you don't want to/can't wait for your hair to get a little stronger), use Aphogee 2 Step Treatment.

3) Deep Condition w/ a Moisturizing Deep Conditioner.
Definitely take this time to infuse the strands with the moisture that they need. Although you should be moisturizing your hair while your hair is in braids (with a nice braid spray or leave in), you want to make sure that you start out you braids with moisturized hair. It just seems like the right thing to do. Don't forget to put a nice moisturizing leave in on your hair when you finish!

4) Stretch Your Hair.
You know what I can't stand? Folks ripping through my hair. Since I typically get braids when I am around 8 weeks post relaxer, I have a bit of new growth. And I don't want people ripping through it. So to prevent this, I will blow dry my hair straight. I will air dry for about an hour (to cut down on blow drying time) and then blow dry my hair. It takes about 30 minutes and it leaves my hair straight enough to braid without incident. I'm sure that there are other ways to stretch your hair, but blow drying is the most efficient way for me to straighten my hair.

5) Trim Those Ends!
You want to make sure that you retain all that growth that you will get while your hair is braided up and you can't do that if you start with raggedy, split ends. You can actually get trimmed or do a 'search and destroy' (with hair shears!) to make sure your ends are split free.

That's it! These are the things I do to ensure that my hair is in the best possible condition for braids. I think these tips will also work well for those who are prepping to get a sew-in weave. The key thing to remember that with braids (and any other protective style where your hair is hidden away for extended periods of time) is that they aren't as 'no-maintenance' as people like to think that they are. While the day to day component of styling your hair is removed, you still have to ensure that your hair is getting what it needs...and this care starts from the moment you prep your hair for braids.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

First Impressions: Bee Mine Juicy Moisturizing Daily Spritz

Hey there lovelies! I'm back with a another review from the Bee Mine line of products!

Price: $12.97+shippinng for 8oz (

*This product can also be purchased at Sage Naturalceuticals (*

Ingredients: Organic Aloe Vera Juice, Herbal Infused Purified Water, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Pure Glycerin, Ayurvedic Herbs, Select Herbs, Polysorbate 20, Essential Oils of Tea Tree, Peppermint & Grapefruit, Vitamin E Tocopherol Oil, Fragrance, Paraben & Formaldehyde Free Preservative

Their Claims (per the bottle): "Bee Mine Juicy Moisturizing Daily Spritz is an excellent moisturizer for natural and relaxed hair. It is loaded with aloe vera juice, ayurvedic herbs, and nourishing essential oils to stimulate the scalp and strengthen your tresses. Use daily as a mid day refresher or bedtime moisturizing treatment"

I pretty much used this moisturizer on an 'as needed' basis so, I wound up spritzing at various points throughout the day. I immediately noticed that this spray is very , very light. I seriously had to spritz my hair a couple of times so that I could feel like the product was penetrating my hair. So if you have thick, coarse hair like me, you'll probably feel like this stuff isn't doing anything on first spray. My hair felt just ok when I used this product alone. It didn't feel ridiculously moisturized but it didn't feel dry either. Honestly, with this spray, I found that it performed better on my hair in combination with a creamy moisturizer ( like the Bee Mine Luscious Balanced Moisturizer). While this spray alone isn't enough for my coarse, thick strands, I do think this spray would be great for finer haired ladies since it is so light.

I found that this moisturizer dried decently. My hair wasn't sticky or hard once the spritz dried so that is always a plus. Like the other Bee Mine product I tried, this product comes in Island Mango scent so it has a very pleasant, non-overwhelming scent to it. Another great plus about this product is that it is protein free, so if you are looking for a moisturizers moisturizer this is a good product to try.

While this product is loaded with good stuff, it does contain ingredients that some heads of hair hate; glycerin and aloe vera juice. If your hair dislikes one or both of these ingredients, stay away from it.

Bottom Line: By itself, this product is 'aight'. In combination with a creamy moisturizer, this product is excellent. However, I would file this as a 'nice to have' product. You get a solid performing product for what you pay for but you aren't missing out on anything if you chose not to purchase it. If you do choose to purchase it, I definitely recommend it for the summer months due to the fact that there is glycerin in it .

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Wash Day: June 23, 2013

Or "The Wash Day Where I Was Bored So I Tried A New Product Line"

Hi lovelies! I hope you all are having a great beginning of the week so far. Mine is pretty busy so I figured that I better crank this post out before I forget.

Anyway, the past wash day I was little bored with my routine and wasn't sure what to do to get out of my rut. Then I looked in my bathroom cabinet. I don't know why but, I have sample pack...after sample pack....after sample pack of product down there. However, looking at those sample packs gave me the urge to try something new. Something in my collection of hair product samples stood out to me: the Aunt Jackie's line of hair care products. I have to admit, the Aunt Jackie's line of products is a line that I have passed in my BSS and immediately dismissed because I thought it was a wannabe Miss Jessie's. On my wash day, however, I had nothing but time and it wasn't like those products cost me anything so, I decided to give them a go.

I first started out with the Oh So Clean! shampoo. I gotta say, this shampoo smells incredibly fruity. In fact, as I was using it, I got a taste for a big glass of Hawaiian Punch (and I hadn't had that in a long time!). However, I did like how the shampoo performed. It's kinda thick so a little goes a long way and it lathers up quite a bit. Because it was lathering up a bit, I was kind of concerned. I know, the packet says that it is sulfate free but I had to be sure. However, the ingredients are not listed on the back of the packet. So I had to do a little bit of internet sleuthing.

The ingredients for this shampoo are: Aqua (Water), Sodium (C-14-16) Olefin Sulfonate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Coconut Oil Monoethanolamide, Polyquaternium 7, Glycol Stearate, Parfum (Fragrance), Sodium Chloride, Glycerin, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Citric Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, D-Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamic Aldehyde, Linaool, Amyl Cinnamic Aldehyde, Lilial, 5-chloro-2-methyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one, 2-Methyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one, CI 15985 (Yellow 6), CI 47005 (Yellow 10).

So even though the shampoo doesn't contain sulfate, it does contain sodium olefin sulfonate, which is another detergent that is actually comparable in irritation to sodium lauryl sulfate. Thankfully, the shampoo didn't strip my hair or cause irritation and I was pleasantly surprised by how soft my hair felt.

I then moved on to the In Control Moisturizing and Softening Conditioner. Again, I was greeted by the Fruit Juicy Red Hawaiian Punch scent but I noticed that this condish is extremely thick. As you can see in the picture, I could take a dollop of condish and balance it on my figure. As you can imagine, because the conditioner was so thick, a little definitely went a long way. I also found that this condition appears to have a balance of moisture (with the glycerin, the moisture inducing Behentrimonium Methosulfate, and olive oil) and protein (with the hydrolyzed keratin). Either way, after I steamed my hair for 30minutes, my hair felt like heaven! I definitely loved the results from this conditioner.

The ingredients are: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, PPG-1 Trideceth-6, Dicetyldimonium Chloride, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Polyquaternium-37, Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Lanolin Oil, Parfum (Fragrance), Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Phenyl Trimethicone, Dimethicone PEG-8 Laurate, d-Limonene, Hexyl cinnamic aldehyde, Linalool, Amyl Cinnamic Aldehyde, Lilial, Panthenol, Soluble Collagen, Tocopherol, Benzyl Alcohol, Citronellol, Hydroxycitronellal, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Equisetum Hiemale (Horsetail) Extract, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Cinnamic alcohol, 5-chloro-2-methyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one, 2-Methyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one, Hydrolyzed Quinoa, CI 42090 (Blue 1).

I finished up this wash day by using the Knot on My Watch detangler. Although the smell remained, this product really helped with the detangling process and smelled really good (although by this point I was over the Hawaiian Punch smell). However, this product doesn't do much in the way of moisture so I had to follow up with a few moisturizing products of my own.

The ingredients are : Aqua (Water), Propylene Glycol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, PEG-150 Distearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Glycerin, Parfum (Fragrance), Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, PPG-1 Trideceth-6, Cyclopentasiloxane, Phenyl Trimethicone, Lanolin Oil, Polyquaternium-37, Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Acrylamidopropyltrimonium Chloride/Acrylamide Copolymer, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Stearalkonium Chloride, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, d-Limonene, Hexyl cinnamic aldehyde, Linalool, Amyl cinnamic aldehyde, Lilial,Benzyl alcohol, Citronellol, Hydroxycitronellal, Cinnamic alcohol, 5-chloro-2-methyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one, 2-Methyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one, CI 17200 (Red 33), CI 19140 (Yellow)

All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by this line. Of all the products, I probably would shell out the $9.99 for the conditioner, I could take or leave the rest.

No fancy hairstyles on this wash day, just a regular old bun.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

First Impressions: Bee Mine Luscious Balanced Cream Moisturizer

Let me just go ahead and say this now: this stuff is my hair's new boo. A few months ago, I ordered a trial size of this product and fell IN LOVE with it! I just recently ordered the full sized version of this product and I could not be more pleased!

Price: $34.97+ shipping for 16 oz/$18.97+ shipping for 8oz/ $5.75+shipping for 2 oz (

*These products can also be purchased at CurlMart ( and Sage Naturalceuticals (*

Ingredients: Distilled water, Hydrogenated Persea gratissima (Avocado) Seed Oil, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil (and) Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Persea gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Emulsifying wax, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Vitamin E, Paraben & Formaldehyde Free Preservative , Fragrance

Their Claims (per the container):
" Our moisturizer is enriched with proVitamins, natural proteins, and healing butters that moisturize, seal, and nourish your hair and scalp. Beautiful hair requires a complete balance of moisture and protein to prevent breakage. This light cream moisturizer helps to prevent split ends and strengthen hair from root to tip"

I used this product the way that it is intended to be used: as a moisturizer (duh!). I have used it as a moisturizer post wash and as a moisturizer for a mid-week moisture hit. I have to say that I like this moisturizer in both instances. When it was all said and done, my hair felt incredibly soft and moisturized- which I liked. I noticed no difference in the incidence of split ends (however, I did need a good protein treatment for a while so this may have tainted my observation) and no difference in hair strength. If anything, I love this product for the moisture that it gives. I especially like using it in combination with the Bee Mine Juicy Spritz or with Jane Carter Solution Revitalizing Leave In.

Appearance-wise, this moisturizer is very thick. When I opened the jar, it reminded me of cake frosting...that's how thick it is. Fortunately, because this product is so thick, a little definitely goes a long way. I had my 2 oz sample for around 2 months before I had to bite the bullet and get the larger size. One thing to keep in mind with this moisturizer is that too much of it may be too heavy for finer haired folks. Therefore, if you have fine hair, watch how much you put on your hair!

This moisturizer comes in two different scents: Coconut Cream and Island Mango. I have the Island Mango scent and I absolutely love it. The scent isn't overpowering and isn't sickeningly sweet. However, as I always say, if you are scent sensitive, you may not like this product.

Also, this product contains shea butter so if your hair doesn't particularly like it, you may want to steer clear.

Bottom Line:
A super, awesome fantastic moisturizer that you should have in your arsenal. What are you waiting for? Go get it!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Wash Day: June 14, 2013

Or "The Wash Day With the Protein Treatment"

Last wash day was probably one of the best wash days I have had in a long time. After realizing that my hair acts differently (in a good way!) following the use of products with protein in them, I decided to give my hair a long overdue protein treatment.

I started this wash with a pre-poo that consisted of Tresemme Naturals Moisturizing Conditioner (which I am not impressed by, btw) and Kemi Oyl. After pre-pooing with heat for 30 min, I then proceeded to wash my hair with Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo. After I rinsed my shampoo out, I applied GVP Hair Reconstructor (see my review here) to my hair and left it on for 5 minutes (the maximum amount of time the directions say to leave it on). You guys...when I rinsed that product out of my hair felt like HAY!! I know that the bottle of GVP Hair Reconstructor says 'conditioner' but there is nothing conditioning about it! That stuff is a a protein treatment through and through. I followed up the protein treatment with a deep conditioning session with ORS Hair Repair Nourishing Conditioner for about an hour (I got caught up watching the ID channel and got a bit lazy lol).

Once I washed that DC felt like I had a new head of hair!! My hair felt so soft and supple...yet strong. I immediately noticed a decrease in breakage and in shedding-which left me amazed. I ended the wash day by detangling my hair, applying Darcy's Botanicals Transitioning Creme to my hair, and sealing with Kemi Oyl. I then proceeded to air dry. I noticed that my hair air dried hair didn't dry and wind up looking like a cotton ball. I can only guess that the addition of protein is allowing my hair to hold onto moisture better and that is why my air drying is resulting in my air dried hair looking...well...sleeker.

I didn't really bother to style my hair over the weekend since I didn't go anywhere for real. When I did style my hair, I put my hair into a twist side idea that I got from this video. The style is quick, easy, and to the point....something that I'm all about these days.

Overall, I am happy with the results my hair has gotten. In fact from here on out (at least until I've made up for this protein deficit), I will be doing a protein treatment 2x a month (every 2 weeks). My hair has shown me that protein is something that it craves.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sunday Chat: Mid Year [Hair] Lessons Learned

Happy Sunday lovelies! I hope you all are having a great day so far.

It has hit me that we are in the middle of June...and halfway through the year! I can't believe that 2013 is flying by so quickly! Anyway, I'm sitting here and trying to think about the hair lessons that I have learned so far. I have been in my hair a lot more this year (compared to last year) and I have definitely learned some things along the way. Well really, I have learned one major, major thing these past 6 months:


I know it seems like common sense, given that my hair is relaxed and all. It makes sense that hair that has been broken down would love the stuff that builds it up. However, I think it is so easy to get caught up on the moisture bandwagon that you neglect protein in the process. And your hair will show it. It will become gummy when wet, it won't hold on to moisture the way that it should, and you have splits and broken hair galore (even when you don't use heat or manipulate it often). That was my hair before I began to actively incorporate protein into my regimen again. When I started doing protein DCs again, I noticed that my hair behaved differently. It looked and felt different. I noticed the same thing when I did protein pre-poos and co-washes. That's when I finally decided to incorporate protein treatments (read: reconstructors) into my regimen again. And that was the best thing I could have done for my hair. Seriously. My hair became the head of hair that I was familiar with--complete with curly new growth rather than puffy new growth.

That experience was enough to turn me into an advocate for protein. If you are relaxed (especially if you are relaxed), you should not shun protein. Simply put: our hair needs it. Keeping protein DCs and the occasional protein treatment in your regimen will definitely be beneficial for your hair. The frequency in which you use them is entirely up to you (Don't use it too much though..protein overload is real!) but make sure that it has a place in your regimen!

Anyway, what hair lessons have you learned thus far? Let me know in the comments below!

First Impressions: GVP Hair Reconstructor

As of late, my hair has shown me that it ADORES protein. Simply adores it! So, in keeping with my hair's demands, I decided to give it a good protein treatment. In the early days of the journey, I used the Joico K-Pak Reconstructor-which my hair loved. Initially, I was going to purchase Joico but since funds are limited, I decided to go with the next best thing: GVP Hair Reconstructor. The GVP (Generic Value Product) lines of products are exclusive to Sally's Beauty Supply and are basically copies of name brand salon products--they have the same ingredients but lack the 'name.' A great thing about this line is that you are able to get salon quality products for a fraction of the price. It is a great line to try if you are looking for good hair products but funds are limited.

Price: $5.79+ tax for 8 oz/ $5.19+tax for 8 oz (purchased from Sally's Beauty Supply. You can get this product for the lower price if you're a Sally's Beauty Club Member.)

Ingredients: Water (Aqua) Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine Glycol Stearate Ceteth-2 Mineral Oil PEG-8 Distearate Hydrolyzed Human Hair Keratin (Triamine Complex), Laurdimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Human Hair Keratin (Cationic Triamine Complex), Sodium Chloride, Myristyl Myristate, Citric Acid, Fragrance (Parfum), Sorbic Acid, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Hydrolyzed Yeast, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Methylparaben, Propylparaben

Their Claims: "GVP Hair Reconstructor is formulated to repair dry and damaged hair. If soft, shiny, sexy hair that is easy to manage and feels great is what you are craving, look no further than this reconstructor. Rich in Cationic Triamine Complex Formula compare to: Joico K-Pak.
This moisture-rich product will bathe your tresses and nourish the scalp, leaving you with silk for hair. No other product can ressurrect your hair from the grave of damage and dry brittleness and give it new life free from frizz and breakage."

Following a good pre-poo and shampoo session, I applied GVP Hair Reconstructor to my hair--section by section. I noticed immediately that this product is a tad bit on the thick side, so I definitely had to make an effort to apply enough of this product to my hair. Once the product was applied, I placed a plastic cap on my head and let the product sit for 5 minutes (the instructions say to let the product sit for 3 to 5 minutes. Since this is a protein treatment, I take no chances. I follow the instructions to the letter. I don't want any accidental protein overload over here!). Once the 5 minutes were up, I proceeded to wash the treatment out of my hair.

Now, I know that on the Internet, there is some debate on if this product is a true protein treatment like the K-Pak Reconstructor or if it is a conditioner since it says 'conditioner' on the bottle. I say--eff that conditioner nonsense! After I rinsed this product out of my hair, my hair felt like hair typically does after a protein treatment--like hay. There was no slip or conditioning of any kind! I immediately had to follow up with a moisturizing condish (ORS Hair Repair Nourishing Conditioner). I mean yall can take your chances and not follow up w/ a moisturizing conditioner but I wouldn't recommend it. I think this product is a protein treatment and should be treated as such.

Following the treatment, I DCed with a moisturizing conditioner for about an hour. When I rinsed that DC out....bay-BAY!! My hair felt like a whole new head of hair! My hair felt so SOFT! Yet, it also had a some strength to it--which was amazing! Another thing I noticed was that any breakage I had stopped for the most part (I had 1 or 2 broken hairs...but even those came from pulling my hair too hard). I was floored. I also noticed that this product slowed my shedding down tremendously. My hair typically sheds like a dog. No joke. Every time I touch my hair, long shed hairs come out...and a lot of them at that. On wash day, I typically have massive hair balls of shed hair. It's pretty gross. However, I noticed that from the moment that treatment went on my hair, my shedding decreased. Now, before some of yall get into an uproar...I am NOT saying that a protein treatment stopped my shedding (b/c that would be ridiculous!). I'm just saying...something that is in that treatment told my hair to chill out on that shedding a bit. :) I also found that my hair is holding on to whatever moisture I give it a heck of a lot better!

The shed hair pulled out of my comb after rinsing out the reconstructor and after detangling my hair post DC.

Appearance and scent-wise, this product is white in color and not entirely thin but not super thick either. I found that it has a coconut scent (and not a generic coconut smelled like coconut milk to me) and it was a pleasant scent. However, if you are scent sensitive or just flat out don't like the smell of coconuts, then this may be a problem. The ingredients of this products are essentially the same as Joico K-Pak Reconstructor but this product does contain mineral oil and parabens. So, if you are avoiding these ingredients, you may want to pass on this product.

Product fresh out of the bottle.

Bottom Line:
Overall, I absolutely love this product and will begin to include it in my rotation. Although the instructions say to use it weekly, I feel like that may be protein overkill for my hair so for now, I will use it once every 2 weeks (2x/month). If you aren't avoiding parabens or mineral oil and don't dislike the smell of coconut, I say this product is for you! Additionally, this product is a great value since it costs less than $6!

Monday, June 10, 2013

My June Product Purchases: Moisture All Around!!

So I wouldn't call this a haul because let's face it, it's a pretty measly haul. However, I wanted to give yall a glimpse into the products that I have purchased this month.

With summer fast approaching, I am all about taking advantage of this sauna that is Birmingham, AL. Summer around here is pretty humid and I want my hair to take advantage of that sweet, humidity laden, goodness. While I am all about making sure I keep protein firmly in my regimen so that I don't fall off into the moisture deep end, I also have to ensure that I don't go too far into the protein side.

So enter the moisture!

Every product I have purchased this month is all about moisture. I have conditioners that are perfect for co-washing and pre-pooing (moisture based and silicone free) and products that have humectants (so that they will pull moisture from the environment to my head of hair). I am so excited about trying them and I am anxious to see what effect they have on my hair. This isn't a review or anything--it's just the products I am trying for the month of Jun and what I plan to use them for.

1)Suave Naturals Juicy Green Apple Conditioner:
I plan to use this for pre-pooing and co-washing. I love that it is silicone free so that whatever benefits I get from this conditioner are real and not just the result of some random silicone coating my hair. Unfortunately, I lucked up on this product so the chances of it becoming a staple are slim to none.

2)Bee Mine Juicy Spritz: I plan to use this to give my hair some daily moisture. This spray is chock full of good stuff and I think that my hair will respond nicely to it. My hair already likes Bee Mine Luxurious Balancing Moisturizer.

3) Jane Carter Solution Revitalizing Leave In: An oldie but goodie. A staple of mine that I haven't purchased in AGES. I love it as a leave in and I love using it to give my hair a boost of moisture. My hair seems to respond to it better in the summer time. If I get box braids, this will be my braid spray.

4) Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner: Another pre-poo and cowash item. All the rave on the hair boards and I'm ready to give it a go.

There you have it. These are my purchases for the month of June. What have you bought (or are planning to buy)>

Wash Day: June 8, 2013

Or "The Wash Where My Style Was The Ultimate Fail"

Happy Monday lovelies!

It's another week and another wash day.

This particular wash day I was feeling a lil' creative. I was looking for something different to do to this bun I have been rocking. After an exhaustive (half) day of searching, I found what I wanted to do: a rope braid bun (SN: Apparently, a 'rope braid' is what we call a twist). It looked so cool. So simple. And I have enough hair to do it! I was definitely looking forward to my next wash day.

On Saturday, I settled myself into my apartment and got to work. I started by pre-pooing my hair with Suave Juicy Green Apple conditioner (which I just so happened to luck up on since this particular scent has been discontinued) and EVOO for 30 min under my heat cap. Let me tell you, my hair felt so soft! And it was true softness! I have been on a 'no pre-poo or cowash conditioner with silicones' kick. I want whatever benefits I get from either method to be the result of that method and not a silicone laden illusion. I want true moisture, yall! And thus far, I'm getting it.

Anyway, I then continued by washing my hair with Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo and DCed with Aubrey Organics GPB for an hour underneath a heat cap. After I rinsed my DC out, I detangled my hair with Giovanni Direct Leave In and air dried with my hair in a ponytail.

Then I tried that blasted rope braid bun.

It started simple enough: I gathered my hair into a high ponytail and sectioned the ponytail into two smaller ponytails. I then twisted those two sections so that I had 2 twists. Ok? Cool.

Then I had to make those two twists into a bun. And that's when my hair said 'NAWL.' My hair would not form into a decent bun for anything while my hair was twisted. It looked a hot, janky mess. I was so mad.

So..I had to resort to my default bun. Which yall can see here:

Don't you guys hate when you're looking forward to trying a style out and that style is a complete and utter fail? Has this ever happened to you? Let me know in the comments section!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Summer No-[Direct] Heat Challenge: Can I Do It?

Happy Hump Day lovelies!

Last summer, I went a little crazy with the direct heat. I mean, I went really crazy with it. It wasn't enough that I broke out my flat iron. I also broke out the blow dryer....and got blowouts at the Dominican salon more than once.

Well, we all saw how that turned out.

I pretty much spent a year in length purgatory. And I learned my lesson about my hair and heat: I must do everything in moderation. Heat is fine every once in a while but every week? Nah. My hair doesn't like it.

So, in a complete reversal of what I did last year, I plan to spend this summer not using any direct heat at all (read: I will not use flat irons or a blow dryer on my hair this summer). So from now until the end of September, I will keep my hair heat free. In the meantime, I plan to bun, braidout, and possibly get a set of box braids(Note: if I get box braids, it will happen in July or August..I'm trying not to punk out and just spend the entire summer in braids...that's the easy way of going heat free.). The plan is to really enjoy my hair without resorting to straightening it...after all there are other ways to wear my hair besides straight, right? RIGHT!!

This no heat challenge is my own personal challenge but all of you guys are welcome to join in. Giving your hair a much needed heat break is always a good thing! :)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Wash Day: June 2, 2013

Or "The Wash Where I Go Back to Basics"

Happy Tuesday lovelies!

I'm back with my most recent wash day. For the longest time, I have been pondering on all the things I did at the beginning of my journey that worked but I abandoned in the interest of saving time. As my hair and my stretches became longer, I stopped doing a lot of stuff just so I could get through my wash day. Lately, I have been thinking that I need to incorporate these methods back into my routine.

So, I started with a good pre-poo. Pre-Pooing is a great way to prepare your hair for the rigors of a wash day. It is something that I used to do all the time (mainly with Herbal Essences Hello Hydration) but stopped once my hair hit SL.

The stars of this pre-poo

Since I planned on using a moisturizing DC for this wash day,I decided to use VO5 Moisture Milks in Strawberries & Cream (protein based cheapie condish) for a pre-poo so that my hair could get a hit of much needed protein. I added some EVOO to the condish to give it some extra oomph. Next, I placed the condish+EVOO mixture on my dry hair, placed a plastic cap on my hair, and sat under the heat cap for about 20 minutes. I then rinsed it out (my hair felt soft and strong afterwards!) and proceeded to wash my hair with Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo.

Following the shampoo, I then DCed with ORS Hair Repair Nourishing Conditioner for an hour underneath my heat cap. After that....I had no clue what I was going to do with my hair. So, I ended my wash day by detangling my hair and placing HairVeda Whipped Creme Ends Hydration on my hair. I then air dried in a ponytail.

Today, I decided that would wear my hair in a bun for the week. I'm a little tired of the high bun so I wound up putting 2 flat twists in my hair and placing my hair in a low bun--I absolutely love it!

There you have it. My simple no fuss, no muss wash day! I'm definitely gonna make pre-pooing a solid part of my regimen again--especially now that it is summer!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Beyond the Deep Conditioner: Ways to Ensure That Your Protein/Moisture Balance Is In Check

Happy Sunday lovelies!

Earlier this year, I came to an epiphany of sorts regarding my hair and protein. All through 2012, I was on an 'all moisture everything' kick. Every DC, every leave in, every moisturizer were all moisture based. I had abandoned everything I knew regarding protein because I was going through a phase.

And my hair wasn't too happy about it. My hair had a rough,wiry texture to it, did the whole stretch before it breaks thing, didn't hold on to moisture the way it should....ugh. It was awful.

As a result, I have been more vigilant about maintaining my protein/moisture balance. The easiest way to do this is to simply alternate your moisturizing DC with a protein DC. For example, if one week you do a moisturizing DC, the next week you'll do a protein one. This method worked exceptionally well for me when I had first cut my hair and was using heat frequently (I would wash my hair 2x weekly; One wash would be moisturizing while the next would be protein). As you guys can tell, my hair thrived from this method.

However, I got to thinking about other ways that would ensure that my protein/moisture balance stays in check. Sometimes, you may not have a protein DC on hand or you may be on a moisture kick because of the weather or maybe you just felt like your hair needed a moisture based DC for a month or maybe you forgot to alternate---whatever the reason, you don't want to neglect the fact that your hair needs protein, too.

So how do you get protein without a protein DC?

Well, there are easy 2 ways that I used to use (way before I became incredibly lazy regarding my regimen) and have started to use again. Take note that with each method your hair does get a dose of protein as well as a dose of moisture--resulting in a balance:

1) Use a protein based leave in. Easy as it sounds. Following a moisturizing DC, follow up with a protein leave in (my favorite is Giovanni Direct Leave In but other options include Infusium 23, Aphogee, etc.). If you use a leave in during your wash day anyway, just take the time to ensure that it is protein.

2) Use protein based conditioner for pre-poo. Pre-pooing is an excellent way of prepping your hair for the rigors of wash day but it is also a great way to maintain your protein/moisture balance. Most people typically pre-poo with a moisturizing condish BUT if you plan on DCing with a moisturizing conditioner, pre-pooing with a protein based conditioner is a great idea. A great (and inexpensive!) option for a protein conditioner suitable for pre-pooing are the VO5 Moisture Milks. Apply that to your (dry) hair and sit under a heat cap or dryer for 15-30min prior to your wash and BAM! Your hair has gotten its hit of protein and feels strong without negatively affecting your hair's moisture content or elasticity. You can then follow up with your moisturizing DC of choice.

As you guys can see, keeping up with protein doesn't have to be a huge ordeal. If your hair is in good condition, it doesn't really require frequent hardcore protein treatments--just a mild protein based product here and there in your regimen does the trick in my opinion. Your hair remains strong and it can hold onto the moisture that you give to it.

What are some ways you keep up with your protein/moisture balance?