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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Summer, Braids, and My Plan To Get Past That 8th Month Hump....

Happy Sunday Lovelies!

Temperatures in Eastern NC have soared well into the 90s and you know what that means: summer is officially here!! If you've followed this blog for a certain amount of time, you know that the summer months for me generally mean braids, braids, and more braids. This summer is no different. With the temperatures being set on Hell's Furnace, I just didn't feel like being bothered with my hair on a daily basis. So, I began my search for a hair braider here in Greenville.

A random side note here: one of the sucky things about moving (I moved to NC about 10 months ago) is finding stylists that you can depend on. Back in Birmingham, I knew exactly were to go for any of my hair needs. Being in Greenville, reset the stylist clock so to speak. After a (not so) exhaustive search, I found a braider who I will probably go to fairly frequently for my braiding needs (check out her page here).

Anyway, on Thursday, I washed my hair, followed up with a protein treatment and DC, and blow dried my hair on low heat. Then for the next 10 (yes, 10!) hours, I proceeded to get my box braids installed using Xpressions hair. Check 'em out!

Daily upkeep will be fairly simple. I will be using Oyin Juices N Berries as my braid spray to moisturize my braids and (if necessary) will be using Curls Control Paste to slick down my edges (my baby hair NEVER gets braided up. I value my edges thank you very much). For cleansing, I will use ORS Herbal Cleanse for my scalp and a quick cleanse of my braids weekly. I plan on washing my braids using the methods described in this post but I'm still trying to figure out the frequency since I don't want my braids to frizz. I plan on putting my braids in a bun and other cute styles but I am currently wearing them down because I don't want to put too much tension on my edges right now (side note: I know a lot of women like to immediately put their braids into a bun. Please don't do this. It causes a great amount of tension on your hair. Give it a few days. *PSA over*)

The plan is to keep these in for about 2 months (which should take me through most of August). Around that time, I should be at or close to 8 months post--the month when I said 'eff it' to transitioning before. Following braid take out, I'll do twist outs for 2 weeks, then get my hair cornrowed so that I can wear my Tammy half wig for a while. If I can make it past month 8 still feeling 'whatever' about relaxing, I will schedule my first transitioning chop. This plan should take me to the end of 2015 and to 1 year post-relaxer. As you can see, I'm feeling pretty excited about this part of my hair journey. I am so anxious to see my hair's natural texture and to see how my hair will thrive without the presence of a relaxer (especially my crown!). I am already seeing what my natural hair responds to compared to my relaxed hair (lots of moisture vs. lots of protein) and I am so excited about sharing all of this with you!

Anyway, what are your summer hair plans? Let me know in the comments below!!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

First Impressions: Oyin Hair Dew and Oyin Burnt Sugar Pomade

Happy Sunday lovelies!

I just had to stop by with these 2 new instant staples of mine! As you all know, I am officially unofficially transitioning. While I am just a mere 22 weeks post relaxer (about 5 months post), I am finding that I have to tweak my regimen a bit to fit my hair's changing needs. Awhile back, I found myself in Target, taking a stroll down the hair care aisle, when I laid my eyes on the Oyin Handmade products. During my my time on LHCF, I knew this was a solid product line and I wanted to see what the hype was all about. I walked out with Juices N Berries, Frank Juice, Hair Dew, and the Burnt Sugar Pomade.

My (hair) life hasn't been the same since.

This review is about the Hair Dew and Burnt Sugar pomade- 2 products that make my hair sing.

Price: $13.99+ tax for 8.4 fl oz (Hair Dew)/ 4 fl oz (Burnt Sugar Pomade (at Target) (Note: You can also get these products from Oyin's website. You can also get larger sizes of products which is a plus.


Hair Dew-purified water, ricinus communis (castor) oil, olea europaea (olive) oil, aloe barbadensis leaf juice (organic), olea europaea (olive) oil, behentrimonium methosulfate (and) cetearyl alcohol (emulsifier derived from colza oil), cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, cetyl alcohol, phenoxyethanol (and) caprylyl glycol (preservative), squalane (from olive oil), fragrance, and love!

Burnt Sugar Pomade- castor oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, organic virgin coconut oil, mango seed oil, olive oil, unrefined hempseed oil, candelilla wax, cocoa butter, broccoli seed oil, fragrance... and love!

Their Claims (per the website):

Hair Dew-this creamy, conditioning leave-in is light enough for every day. it's great on 'naked' hair immediately after a cleanse, or as a way to reinvigorate tired hair all the way through your hair care cycle. for seriously protective hair experience, try using hair dew on moist hair (or over a quick spritz of one of our Juices herbal leave-ins) and then seal ends with one of the Sugar Pomades before gently manipulating hair into a protective style like braids, twists, or an updo. days of moisture, sheen, and hair happiness!

Burnt Sugar Pomade- Similar in texture to an old school 'hair grease,' This blend of oils, butters, and veggie waxes acts as a humectant and protectant for hair, increasing shine to a high glossy sheen and locking in moisture. It's packed with essential fatty acids to nourish scalp, and actually sinks into your hair and skin for a long lasting, non-greasy feeling. It's great for braids, imparts shine and moisture to loose hair, brushes nicely into the hairline for a glossy finish, and adds luster to locks! Contains virgin coconut cream, mango oil, and hempseed oil in a base of nourishing castor oil.
HOW TO USE Rub between your fingers or palms to soften/liquefy. Use to moisturize scalp, to twist locs, to seal the ends of twists or braids, to polish a pulled-back style or an updo, to add weight to the canopy of your hair, to weigh down flyaways or control frizz, or to create waves on super short cuts. Store in a cool, dry place, and use within one year.

I use these products to moisturize my hair prior to doing twist outs, bantu knot outs, braid outs, etc. I use these products in particular because they are glycerin free. I put a lot of time into my twist outs and I hate for them to be made into a frizzy mess by humid conditions (which is a pretty frequent thing in Eastern NC). Furthermore, I don't want to encourage the frizziness by using products with glycerin in them (glycerin is a humectant-meaning it can pull the moisture from that humid air, provide that moisture to your hair, and frizziness will ensue). Oyin Hair Dew and Burnt Sugar Pomade ensure that my hair is moisturized without adding glycerin to the mix. I typically apply the Hair Dew to my damp hair, seal with the Burnt Sugar Pomade, and then proceed with whatever style I plan on doing.

But what do you get when you open the product/ jar?

Let's start with the the Hair Dew. Oyin Hair Dew is white in color and isn't particularly runny or thick. It has a good consistency that makes it easy to spread throughout my hair. It also absorbs into my hair quite nicely. There have been times where I have been a little heavy handed with the product and I am left with the tell tale sign of "too much product application" (read: a white caste of product). Fortunately, by the time my hair dries, that white cast has gone away.

In terms of scent, I think Hair Dew smells AH-MAZING! To me, it smells like cookies and on more than one occasion, I wind up craving a snickerdoodle. However, as always, I caution those who may be sensitive to scent as this may be overwhelming to them.

When I use this product alone, my hair feels exceptionally moisturized. However, the bottle suggests using this product with the Burnt Sugar Pomade. Of course you know that I had to oblige.

Clearly this stuff gets used by me! I love it!

The Burnt Sugar Pomade is brown in color and THICK!! It can have a tendency to be a little gritty but that problem is solved by popping the container in the microwave to melt the product and then letting it solidify again in the refrigerator. When they say this product is like hair grease...they mean it! A little definitely goes a long way with this product. And I'm not just saying that. Because there are so many oils and butters in this product, you can be heavy handed with it if you want'll wind up with weighed down hair. Just saying'. I usually apply this after I've applied the Hair Dew to my hair and I find that I don't have to use much. My hair absorbs it with relative ease which is a plus in my book.

Burnt Sugar Pomade un-smeared and smeared. This product spreads pretty easily

Much like the Hair Dew, this product smells like cookies. So it really intensifies the cookie cravings that I have. Those scent sensitive may want to avoid this product or try the sugar berries pomade.

In combination with the Hair Dew, my hair is moisturized for DAYS!! My little new growth curls up in satisfaction while my relaxed ends are neutral to it. As long as I don't use too much, my relaxed hair is fine.

In terms of twist outs, these 2 products make for the most defined twist outs I have ever done. Which is confusing. Great.....but confusing (although I suspect my giving my hair all the moisture it can stand prior to the twist out+ the butters in the pomade may have something to do with this). Let me explain. The Burnt Sugar Pomade is touted as a humectant pomade. But it also claims to control frizz. If you saw my brief mention of humectants being destroyers of twist outs, you'd understand why this is confusing too. However, Oyin was true to it's word about fighting frizz. My hair does not frizz up with this product. Which makes my current favorite style something that I can do pretty consistently.

Bottom Line: BUY. THESE. PRODUCTS. Buy them now. Especially if you are transitioning. Especially if you like moisturized hair. Or cookies. Or great twist/braid/bantu knot outs. Or all three.

My Unofficially Officially Transitioning Hair Plan

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately.

I've stated that I'm not really desiring a relaxer (and probably won't) so that puts me on the path of transitioning.

However, I don't have clear plan of what I want to do or how to get there.

Right now, I am currently 5 months post. Which really just feels like a long relaxer stretch to me. To get me through the last couple of months, I have been doing twist outs like they are going out of style (I REALLY like twist outs y'all). To guide me with actually handling my hair, I just follow the things that my mother did with my hair when I was a little girl--mainly only combing my hair when wet and keeping it moisturized (seriously, my mom did this. It's the reason why I didn't get a relaxer until I begged for one in middle school. My mom was really my first example in working with my hair and not against it). So far, everything is working out great.

Then I think of the first time I called myself transitioning. Yep it happened. Right at the start of my hair journey. All I knew was my hair was unhealthy and relaxers had a role in that. By month 8, I was back to relaxers. I had no clue on how to handle my hair, let alone 2 different textures. I had even less of a clue on how to style it. I was used to my hair being straight, so I was trying to beat my new growth into straight submission and using a TON of heat. All those years ago, I knew what I wanted to do but had no idea on how to get there so I went back to what I knew.

This go 'round, I think I am in a better position to transition. I tend to wear my hair in more curly styles than straight (the last time my flat iron got used was in February I think). If my hair isn't out, I know to bun it, wig it, or do something protective. I know that I have to modify my products to meet my hair's changing needs and I have a resource for potential products to try (LHCF, other blogs, etc.), and I am becoming versed in how to handle the 2 textures. Ultimately, I think that 7 years after failed transition, I am able to approach this as a "I just don't feel like relaxing anymore" scenario vs a "my hair is breaking off like crazy, let me try this natural thing but I have no clue what to do" scenario.

Hope that makes sense.

Now that I have the tools, I want to come up with a plan.

Right now, I want to transition for at least a year and a half. I know that whenever I cut those last relaxed ends off, I want some hair to work with. I'm thinking that once I get past month 8 (which was the month I went back to relaxers in the past), I will get my first trim. I'll then trim quarterly after that.

While I love my twist outs, I do want to hide my hair for the summer. So, 2 weeks from now, I will be getting box braids which should last me until mid-August (2 months). I'll then wear my own hair out for 2 or 3 weeks (I still want to get to know my hair) and get another set of braids that will last me until November. After that set of braids, I'll wig it up (with Outre Tammy, of course) until the New Year. This plan will bring me to 1 year post relaxer. And that's about how far I can plan out right now. In December, I figure out what I want to do for the remaining months of my transition. Right now I'm just concerned about getting through the year.

I'll be continuing with my regimen: wash, protein treatment, DC weekly as that seems to be working for my hair. I will adjust my products as needed so that they can meet the needs of my transitioning hair.

This is just a rough draft of what I want to do. For those who are transitioning or have transitioned: what do you think? Am I leaving anything out? What are your suggestions for a easy transition?

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

It All Starts With Not Relaxing......

Happy Tuesday lovelies.

Welp. It is June 2nd and I am nowhere near getting my relaxer that I was due to get last month. With each passing day, it looks like I may be bidding adieu to my relaxed days.

And I am actually fine with that.

Let me explain.

Lately, I have been on a major twist out kick, especially with the weather warming up. I have noticed that my twist outs look 10x better the further I get into my stretch. I'm also loving the curly/ coilyness of my new growth. It makes me kind of wonder what it would be like to have a whole head of the stuff. Kind of a shallow reason but eh.

Perhaps the most important reason why I have not ran back to my relaxers is that it really is not difficult to do my hair. I keep my new growth well moisturized, limit my detangling sessions to wash day, and since I'm not trying to maintain straight hair styling is a breeze. Ultimately, I'm not feeling particularly moved to relax.

I do have mixed feelings about this potential transition. I've been relaxed for so long and this blog was started with relaxed heads in minds. On the other hand, I have yet to experience my natural hair as an adult and I'm curious about it. Furthermore, I have noticed my students fascination with my hair. How amazing would it be for my students to grow up knowing that natural hair is beautiful? It gives me all the more reason to transition.

While I'm going to wait until the end of summer to officially announce if I'm transitioning (hey, I may get to month 8 and say NOPE!!), I just want the put y'all on notice since I am way behind on a relaxer and a length check!

So, I may be another relaxed hair blogger that is joining the natural train......

P.S.--Take a look at my best twist out thus far!! Can ya see why I'm contemplating the natural life? Lol!