2015 Hair Hits & Misses

I could go on an on in this post, since this was my 1st healthy hair year. There are so many things I learnt and would therefore call a hit. There are also many things I learnt from other healthy hair bloggers and tried on my hair, which were definitely a miss. But all in all, I am so grateful to have started this journey and I have no regrets. On to the hits and misses....


Hit #1: Combing on wash days only
This has saved me a lot of hair and tears. I used to comb my hair on a daily basis, and there were always strands, long and short, left on the comb. I never realised how much tension and breakage resulted from combing, until I stopped. Definitely one of the best things I learnt this year


Hit #2: Protective styling
I think I had my hair in long-term protective styles for at least 4 full months of the year. I got a lot of length retention from protective styling, and I am going to continue with the trend going into 2016.





Hit #3: Shea Moisture Products
I didn't realise how many products I had collected from this brand, until last week. And they are all big hits in my product stash. One of the products will become a staple in my regimen, i.e. Shea Moisture Transitioning Milk. When it comes to moisturizing, it has trumped all other moisturizers that I have tried this year.
I know many people buy some of these products and they are a total fail, but I read so many reviews and did enough research before spending a cent on any any one of them - and it paid off.





Hit #4: Overnight Deep Conditioning
I learnt about this technique from KLP & savingourstrands.com. There has not been a single overnight DC session which has not resulted in long lasting moisture for my hair. I am taking this technique forward into the new year. My hair craves for moisture 99% of the time, and the overnight DC'ng goes a long way in keeping my hair moisturized. See some of my favourite DC's for the year below, which I also used for overnight DCs.





Hit #5: Castor Oil
This has been my favourite oil throughout the year. I have had to mix it up with lighter oils, as my hair was shedding quite a lot when I used it in its pure state. My hair has gained thickness from consistently doing scalp massages with this oil, and I am keeping it in my regimen for 2016. I joined the Hairlista Hair challenges, which helped me to keep the discipline in the scalp massages using castor oil.




Miss #1: Home-made Avo Deep Conditioner
Remember this post? Yes, this was a total fail. My hair was so hard I could not believe it. After this instance, I have not prepared or used a home-made conditioner. 





Miss #2: Hanging on to damaged ends
I think I would have retained more length if I did not take a whole year to take off the ends that were causing breakage and havoc when I would detangle my hair. Lesson learnt and noted.






Miss #3: Strong-scented products
These products were actually good, but the scent was too strong for me and I have since given them away: Aunt Jackie's conditioner & Beautiful Textures Curl Control


Miss #4: Roller sets
Sigh, I tried doing a roller set once, and I looked like I was from the Victorian Age. I also felt like there was so much manipulation going on with the smoothing and combing out. I will attempt them again in the new year.





I hope that you had an awesome 2015! Cheers to 2016, and thank you for all the blog love that you have showed on this blog. It has been a year and 1 month since I started my blog, and I am excited to have reached 10,000 number of viewers before the year-end. I hope to bring great and consistent content to my piece of the "www" come 2016!

10

Recap of the Natural Beauty Bar Exhibition in Nairobi

Source: Facebook, The Natural Beauty Bar

A group of entrepreneurs selling natural products (mainly hair products, but including skin and bath products) came together and showcased their products in Nairobi over the weekend.

The venue was very convenient for me and close to where I live, so I went to see what's out there.

The things that stood out for me as I walked around the stalls in the exhibition were:
- Most of the products were hand-made
- All of the products were made in Kenya! A big plus for me, we need to support our African and Kenyan entrepreneurs, this is how we grow as a nation and as a continent
- Most of the entrepreneurs were well aware of the main ingredients in each of their products, at the back of their hand, and easily explained the benefits without sounding like their were overselling the products. I also liked that most of them were well conversant with healthy hair practices, it felt more reassuring that they new what it takes to make good hair products.

I liked that all the products were natural, i.e. no parabens, mineral oils, petrolatum, and any such stuff that is used in many popular hair products that are geared towards Black hair types.

I had one awkward conversation with one of the entrepreneurs, whose first question to me was whether my hair was natural or transitioning to natural. When I said neither, she started educating me on how to take care of natural hair, and I felt a bit offended as I did not ask for this advice. Instead of educating me about her products, she went on about how natural hair can be manageable. I appreciated the talk, but I feel that natural products can be used by anyone irrespective of how you choose to keep your hair, relaxed, texlaxed or natural. I felt that me and my relaxed hair were not welcome to use those products, so I moved away from that stall and did not go back to buy anything. Even if your target market is natural hair women, why would you miss an opportunity to make a sale to someone else who is interested???

In the end, I bought 4 products from the other stalls, and 2 of them were for my sister, so I can say I was quite disciplined in buying only what I felt I needed to try.



This is what I bought:

Marini Naturals Curling Butter (USD 9): I liked that it has a lot of pure oils, and the texture felt like something that could be used as a sealant as well

Marini Naturals Leave-in Conditioner (USD 8): The flaxseed gel in this product is what makes it an excellent detangler and leave-in conditioner, as per what they said. Only thing is that it is very runny, as per the tester that I tried out.

Harvest of Sunshine Deep Conditioner (USD 13): It was 1 of the 2 only deep conditioners that were showcased, and this one was the most convincing.

Ajani Whipped Butter (USD 12): I have not come across a butter that contains water, so I very much wanted to try this product for my skin and my hair.



For a total of 42 USD, I think I overspent by a few shillings, but I am happy that I am giving most of these as gifts. After all, 'tis the season of giving....

I will do a review of each of the products that I try, as per the request of all the ladies from whom I bought products. 

I am hoping to do a post on the best of 2015, with SOS and JGA's annual linkup. Until then, Merry Christmas to you all and a blessed and hairrific new year :-)
5

New product buys: August, September, October, November 2015

I haven't done such a post in a while. Not sure if it's a good or bad thing, but I can safely say that I have not bought much during this period...

New buys for August to date:


1.) African Pride Olive Miracle Moisturizing Lotion

2.) Shea Moisture Extra Transitioning Milk
3.) ORS Glossing Hair Polisher
4.) IC Fantasia Heat Protector & Strengthening Serum
5.) Argan Oil Hydrating Silk Shine Mist
6.) Tresemme Heat Tamer Spray
7.) Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Moisture Mist
8.) Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie
9.) As I am Coconut CoWash (has finally arrived in Kenya)
10.) Mane 'n Tail Detangler
11.) Perm rods (5 packs of 12 each)
12.) Curlformers pack extra long size
13.) ORS Olive Oil Replenishing Conditioner (replacement)
14.) Creme of Nature Argan Oil Moisture & Shine Shampoo (replacement)



Special mention to Shea Moisture Extra Moisturizing Transitioning Milk, I am almost halfway the bottle and it has been about 6 weeks since I got this product, but I have really liked it for my new growth.


So that brings me to an average of about 4 products per month, which is almost within my budget. Given that some of them are once-off products I am also happy with my progress in managing my hair stash size.


Here are some empties for the same period


1.) Tresemme Luxurious Moisture conditioner (not replacing)

2.) Aussie Miracle Moist Conditioner (not replacing)
2.) ORS Olive Oil Replenishing Conditioner (replaced)
3.) Creme of Nature Argan Oil Moisture & Shine Shampoo (replaced)
4.) Olive oil (replacing soon)
5.) Keracare Humecto (replacing soon, after I finish 1 or more conditioners)

I am thinking of getting a stand-up rack so that I can see it grow or shrink, coz my products are in 3 different places and its hard to track progress in managing the stash size...



How do you manage your product stash?
4

Wash day & Final Length check for the year

It has been an awfully long time since I did a wash day post. This is the first wash day post since my 11-week protective style stretch. For the few weeks since I removed my crochet braids, I co-washed on most wash days with my new Co-wash As I Am. I like it very much because my scalp always feels clean, it never feels like there is residue remaining after doing a co-wash with this product. So I give it a thumbs up.



The last wash day happened over two days..

Day 1:
0.) Detangled in sections with olive oil, and then pre-poo'd with my Aussie Moist Conditioner for 20 minutes. At 19 weeks, my new growth is giving me a lot of trouble, detangling took a long time and despite this, I still had a few knots to deal with afterwards!
1.) Shampoo'd with Creme of Nature Moisture & Shine Sulphate-free Shampoo.
2.) Tea Rinse with Black tea leaves mixed with Rooibos tea. I left the tea in my hair for about 10 minutes and then applied a conditioner on top of it to make my hair easier to rinse.
3.) Applied Tressemme Ultra Moisturizing Conditioner and waited for about 2 minutes before I could rinse it out.
4.) Towel-dried for a few minutes before applying my DC mix: Neutrogena Triple Silk + Keracare Humecto + Olive Oil.
5.) I Deep conditioned overnight, as my hair was really needing some moisture. The weather has become hot and dry here, and my hair has followed the weather patterns with dryness. 

Day 2:
6.) Next morning, I rinsed the DC and t-shirt dried for a few minutes. This overnight DC helped so much, I could tell the difference in how my hair felt for a few days after the wash day.
7.) Sectioned my hair in 4 and applied Kinky Curly Knot today to the roots and length of my hair. This helped a lot in detangling and remove some knots and tangles.
8.) Applied Shea Moisture Transitioning Milk to each section as my leave-in, and sealed with Olive Oil
9.) In the evening, I sprayed each of 6 sections of my hair with my new Tressemme Heat Tamer Spray.
10.) I then blow dried using the brush-chase method on low heat. I used my new Denman brush to do this. This really helped to stretch my new growth, and I blow dried in small sections to make the brush pass through my hair as easy as possible. Warning: Your hair must be thoroughly detangled before you try this method, or you may rip your hair by forcing the brush through it!


11.) I proceeded with my flat iron, applying the IC Fantasia Serum to each of my sections, with literally 1 drop of the serum for each section, to avoid my hair from being too weighed down by the serum.
12.) I started flat ironing with the comb-chase method, but it was causing too much breakage for me, at the point where the two textures of my hair meet. So I stopped and continued using the normal method of flat ironing.
13.) I applied the Olive Oil Glossing Polisher, and I love both the ORS Polisher and IC Fantasia Serum! My hair had a natural shine, and was not weighed down by these products. I love the scent of the ORS Polisher too!
14.) After doing both sides, my right side (the first side that i flat ironed) had already reverted, especially the new growth at the crown area...sighh.
15.) Here comes the length check....

Honestly, I am very proud of myself, for this achievement. I wanted to look at this picture above even with the bad ends, because I still believe it is progress. So I celebrate the good things that I have achieved (in a separate post), but for now I can say that I am happy with the health and I will keep improving as I go along. 

I decided to trim away some of those ends, which looked unattractive. I also decided to do it at a salon, and I made it very clear that ONLY the ends needed to be removed. The lady took my brief very well and did a pretty decent job. 

Here is the after pic:



My hairline has improved significantly, and the V-shape that I so much dread is slowly disappearing so I am happy and grateful for this progress. I am back to Armpit length, but I would rather have that with a full hairline than hang on to ends that I will have to let go of at some point in the future.

I am not yet done with those ends, but I wanted to remove them gradually. I will assess them again after my next relaxer retouch, I am not sure when that will be with all the festivities happening right now.

I will do a detailed post reviewing my first year on this healthy hair journey, lessons learnt, etc.


Hope you had a good wash day, and remember to celebrate the good things about your hair :-)

The Wash Day Experience
8

Stretch #3, 2015: Growing, Retaining & Maintaining my hair

I am still on my third stretch of the year, and I am hoping that I can wait until next year to do a relaxer session. But I am just waiting and seeing how things go, nothing is cast in stone for me. Managing three different textures is not easy: my new growth is very coily and hard to retain any moisture or softness with it.

My mini length check showed that I am well past the APL line, BSL here I come! I know It will take some time and patience before getting there but this is what I have done in the past 4 months in desperate need to grow my hair for the remaining part of the year:




I still have about 3 inches of thin relaxed ends that need to go, but I definitely was not expecting to see this amount of thickness and length retained. So cheers to protective styling and the exercising I did!

I have not mentioned that I trained and ran for a half marathon last month... I did about 150 kilometers in total for my training so I can definitely say that it has contributed to the growth I have experienced!


I am hoping to do a few more weeks of the disciplined habits I started, but I think a break from protective styles is much deserved for now...
5

I'm baack & my first visit to the salon for the year!

I am so glad to be back on my blog, I had really missed this part of my life - life and exams took over so I had to prioritize. Thankfully I had crochet braids installed in my hair before the crazy schedule started, so my hair was well protected. And I kept on track with the castor oil scalp massages, since I had joined the Hairlista castor oil challenge (advanced level if I remember correctly).

Anyway, I did not have the time to watch Youtube videos and learn how to cornrow and crochet my hair. So I took a leap of faith and went to the salon for the first time since I started my hair journey...

For the ladies in Kenya, I went to AfroSiri Salon in Westlands.

I was immediately served (which was awesome), and the first thing the lady asked me is whether she should wash my hair. Off course I said no, after which she asked if she should blow dry my hair.. Immediately I said no and that I wanted my hair to be cornrowed without the use of heat to straighten my hair. She was very polite and understanding and she went on to detangle my hair after applying some of the moisturizer that I carried with me to the salon.

I had removed my Marley braids the week before, and I missed a few knots that were still in my hair after I washed and deep conditioned it. She was very gentle and when she reached a knot or a section with a lot of new growth, she used her hands to detangle. At this point I had forgiven her in my mind for wanting to blow dry my hair...

She was very surprised that I didn't blow dry my hair with all the new growth it had, but she also acknowledged that I looked like someone who knows how to care for hair.

She then plaited my hair in cornrows, and I asked her to apply oil (which I also carried from home) to the ends of the plaits which she did very well. She was very gentle and I didn't feel like she was pulling my hair.

Then the real work began, crocheting in those Marley braids piece by piece took some time, and then setting them in perm rods took some more time (about 3 hours in total for this process). The Marley hair had to be brushed out before she could set the hair with perm rods. At this point I was so happy that I made the decision to go to the salon, honestly I underestimated the time needed to do this style.

Before:

After:


I left the salon pretty late, but very happy with the service I received. I would recommend this salon to anyone who is looking for a new stylist/ salon.

This protective style has been awesome, no need for styling when its' in curls, and super easy access to your scalp for oil massages and for moisturizing the cornrows. I had the braids in for 5 weeks. I washed my hair once and cleaned my scalp in between using the ORS Herbal Dry shampoo. So it is not a show stopper when it comes to taking care of your hair underneath all the crochet braids.

Here are a few different styles I tried while I had my crochet braids:


Have you ever done crochet braids, and what was your experience?
 
P.S. Mini length-check post coming soon...
4

Wash day and New Protective Style!

It feels like forever since I did a wash day post. I only had 2 proper wash days when I had my Marley twists. The other wash days were very simple and quick; I would use my ORS Dry Shampoo to clean my scalp and a damp towel to try and remove product buildup from the length of my hair.

Here is a post which shows the steps I took on a full wash day when I had my braids on -> Wash Day in Marley Twists

I finally took them out last weekend, but it took a whole week to get time to wash my hair... Here is how it went:


0.) Since I did a pre-poo the day before with warm coconut oil, I went straight to washing my hair. I didn't detangle with a comb before washing, because my hair felt dry and I feared that combing it out would cause more breakage than necessary

1.) I shampoo'd three times with JBCO Shea Moisture Sulfate-free Clarifying Shampoo. My hair felt clean after this and a bit dry, so I applied Aussie Moist 3-minute miracle moist conditioner to bring back some moisture.

2.) I rinsed the conditioner out and towel dried for a few minutes. I picked up all the hair that fell during the wash, it was soo much I was a tad worried, it looked like those pictures I see of ladies who are going through post-partum shedding. But I have been on the castor oil challenge, and I always experience increased shedding when I use it. I was just glad that the hairs fell out at this stage, the worst thing was having a head full of shedded hairs = lots of matting and knots.

 

3.)  I then applied my protein treatment: ORS Hair Mayo and ApHogee 2-minute reconstructor. I sat under my hooded dryer for 25 minutes and then rinsed it out.

4.) I then applied my moisturizing deep conditioner: Hairveda Sitrinillah.

5.) I sat under my dryer again for 30 minutes. This time I wrapped cling wrap to retain more heat and moisture while under my dryer.

6.) I rinsed and t-shirt dried, and went to bed.

7.) The next morning I detangled, and oh boy I thought I had removed all the tangles. But there were still a few that escaped and managed to go through the whole wash day process. So I generously applied my detanglers: Mane n Tail and Nothing but melted shea butter. I took another hour to detangle.


8.) My new growth was so thick and a bit on the dry side. I knew that I could not handle the new growth and I decided to go to the salon same day... to get another protective style!

9.) I found a very reliable salon where customer service is what they specialize in. So it was easy to make my "weird" requests (like no blow drying before plaiting my hair, and moisturizing & sealing my hair). I will give more details about the salon in my next post. 

I got crochet braids installed using the same Marley extensions I used to make my twists (YES I washed them with ORS Clarifying Shampoo and Tressemme Conditioner before installing them again).

I totally love my new hairstyle (why did I never think of doing crochet braids earlier!!!). It has got me feeling like this:
 
 
 
I will do a separate post on my first salon visit since I started my hair journey, as well as the process of installing the crochet braids. For now, here is a sneak pic of my new protective hairstyle:
 
 
Hope you had a great wash day! Check out other wash day experiences on savingourstrands.com or justgrowalready.com 
 

The Wash Day Experience
18

Hair Confessions....

Heyy, so after 5 weeks with my lovely marley braids, I started getting some (loud and clear) hints that it was time to remove them.

Honestly, my hair was looking rough, you know when your hair starts sticking out of the braids and there is no scarf you can tie down to make those hairs behave... that was the situation, so I removed my braids and I was too tired to start detangling.

Honestly I have been so tired to do anything after work, so a few days passed before I sat down and started detangling my hair properly. I just finished this process yesterday, and it took about 4 hours in total to properly detangle and remove shedded hairs. Luckily I only had one knot that I had to cut off, so the hours spent detangling were worth it. I used my new favourite detangler, Nothing but melted shea butter, and sprayed my Mane 'n Tail Detangler for more moisture as I worked through my hair. Both detanglers worked really well for me. 
                      


I hope to do a thorough wash and DC sometime before the weekend, but I can't promise - life has just become too busy. I really need to get back on track with healthy hair practices. the worst thing I want to experience is a setback due to my own doing.....

In the meanwhile, I have been rocking my wig, which has helped. I put 10 flexi rods on my wig, and it came out really nicely, but for some reason I have been feeling less and less confident when I have my wig on. I feel that it is not looking as real as it looked when I bought it - I don't know why... So I think I will keep braiding and I am hoping to experiment with crochet braids for my next protective style. 


What is your favorite protective style?
9

Wash day in Marley Twists

My hair has been in marley twists for 3 and a half weeks now. This was my first proper wash since installing them. I did dry shampoos the last two weeks to keep my scalp clean.

Steps:

0.) Spritz'd my scalp with diluted Mega Growth Shampoo. Massaged my scalp to create lather.
1.) Spritz'd the length of my hair with the shampoo and then hopped into the shower to rinse the shampoo out. See video below:




2.) I did a second shampoo with Crème of Nature Moisture & Shine Sulfate-free shampoo; just to make sure that all the dirt was out and also to restore some moisture. This shampoo is really good at softening the hair after using a sulfate shampoo.
3.) Towel dried for a few minutes and then sprayed my braids (up until the end of the braid where my hair ends) with a diluted mixture of deep conditioners.

 
4.) Sat under my hooded dryer for 20 minutes, and then rinsed out the conditioner from my braids
5.) T-shirt dried my braids to prevent frizz, for about 2 hours. YES they take that long to get anywhere near dry.
6.) Sprayed my braids with Crème of Nature 2-in-1 leave-in conditioner. I love this stuff - it's easy to find in Kenya and works well on my hair mostly when it is in a protective style.


7.) I redid some of my braids, and then rocked this style the next day to work.

 
Hope you had a great wash day! Share your wash day experience with KLP & Jen on savingourstrands.com or justgrowalready.com
 
The Wash Day Experience
9

The ABC's of relaxer stretching

Relaxer stretching is a term used in the healthy hair world that simply describes the amount of time you take between your relaxer application days.

Ideally this should range from 8-12 weeks, but it really depends on your hair, what your goals are, how much new growth you can handle, etc etc.

I decided to start stretching for 16 weeks and above, because:

(1.) I wanted my hair to get a rest from too much relaxing. Prior to my hair journey, I recall a time when I relaxed my hair 3 times within 2 months. I was getting married and my then hairdresser insisted that my hair needed to be relaxed at least every 4 weeks and also before the wedding to achieve the sleek look. Clearly this was not the case, but somehow I caved in and allowed him to do this to my hair.
Results so far: Yes, my hair has gotten a rest as I have only relaxed twice this year to date

(2.) To achieve healthier looking ends due to less exposure from chemicals.
Results so far: I have not really seen an improvement in the quality of my ends up to date. I still have to dust off my ends every now and then.

(3.) To achieve more thickness.
Results so far: Definitely my hair (especially the last 3-4 inches of my hair) is not thinning out as much as it used to before. See comparison picture below


(4.) To retain more length.
Results so far: I am retaining more length than before, but I think this is more due to the healthy hair care practices which includes less frequent exposure of ends to chemicals such as relaxers.

There are many tips and tricks out there that can help you in stretching your relaxer successfully. Here are a few points:

A lways moisturize and seal properly. When I say properly, this is not the same as when you are 6 weeks post relaxer. I would:
1. Separate my hair into 6 sections
2. Spray each section with abit of water
3. Moisturize my new growth by going in and applying moisturizer to the new growth in smaller sections
4. Moisturize the length of my hair (I used Pura Body MMMM most of the time)
5. Seal BOTH new growth and strands with shea butter or my castor oil mix.
6. On wash days I would detangle twice thoroughly: During the pre-poo step and when I would apply my leave-in conditioners.



See this video which shows how to moisturize that new growth proper!



B reak the protective style routine. My hair was in wigs, and flat twists most of the time during my last stretch. But every now and then I would do something different just to break the routine and feel good. This included flexi rod sets and curlformers. However, this was an exception rather than the norm because curly styles can also be difficult to maintain and detangle when on a long stretch.

C onsistent and continuous hair care is a must. It can get quite difficult when you have to do a 6-hour wash day coz of so much time spent detangling and avoiding knots and tangles. But in the end your hair will thank you for it, especially your new growth. And when you are in a protective style, you don't have to manipulate it that much, if at all. I continued to wash my hair (every 2 weeks because the new growth became a lot to handle), deep condition, moisturize & seal, and minimize manipulation as much as possible.

D o not continue the stretch if you are experiencing breakage at the point where the different textures of your hair meet. Stop, relax, and try to lengthen your stretch next time. 

Sigh, I will leave the list at D today, and will continue the list of ABC's after my next stretch when I get more tips and tricks to help me along my stretch. We are always learning something new after all, isn't it?

Have you been on a long-term relaxer stretch and what was the most important thing you did to have a successful stretch?
6

More about my Marley Twists & Regimen

Hi there!

I just wanted to share more a bit about my protective style plan. As you may know I installed marley twists a week ago, and I totally enjoyed the experience using marley braids. But..... it took me about 12 hours in total to finish these braids... YES 12 hours, unlike the braiding ninja's I see on youtube who take less than half this time. Anyway, it will be a challenge for me the next time to be faster. But still I am glad that I didn't have to get a stylist to touch my hair, I am yet to find someone I can trust...


This type of hair is kinky so it makes the twisting process super easy. Once you twist that's it, the chances of the braid unravelling are like 0%!

However, the braids are on the pricey side so I think they are meant to be reused a few times in order to get your full money's worth. I got my braids from a hair store in town (check Kenya's Natural Hair Community Facebook page for details) at around 800 KES ($ 8) per packet. The name of the braids that I bought are called "Gina Collection".


I am on a very simple regimen for the next 6 weeks. I plan to dry cleanse my scalp every week and wash my braids properly every 2-3 weeks.

I really do not want an elaborate regimen as I am quite busy with life and work right now. Here are the products I will be using for the next few weeks:



 
How do you take care of your hair when in a long-term protective style?
4

New Protective Style Prep: Wash Day

After 5 weeks of experimenting with my hair, I finally decided to take the plunge and put in a long-term protective style: Marley Twists.

I first saw Marley twists on a youtube video that I was watching and learning how to do twists. At that time I used the usual expression braids and they were sooo difficult to install because the twists kept unravelling... With Marley twists, everything was so much easier, so much neater, and I totally love the feel of the braid because it has more texture and looks more like my hair than the silky expressions braids.

Anyway here is what I did to prepare my hair for this style:

0.) Hot oil treatment with coconut oil. I did a scalp massage and then applied apHogee 2-minute Keratin reconstructor and covered my hair with a shower cap for 20 minutes. I wanted to add some protein to my strands ahead of the marley twists install.

1.) Shampoo'd with Crème of Nature Sulphate free Moisture & Shine Shampoo

2.) Towel dried for 10-15 minutes and then applied Silk Dreams Vanilla Silk Cream Treatment. Sat under my heating cap for 30 minutes.

3.) Rinsed my hair in warm water.

4.) T-shirt dried overnight!! Yess, after rinsing my hair at midnight I did not have the energy to wait for it to dry and then do the last step. My hair was still soft and abit moist the next morning so t-shirt drying overnight is going to be happening a lot in the future.

5.) Applied my leave-ins after sectioning my hair into 4. ApHogee Green Tea & Keratin Restructurizer + Mane 'n Tail Detangler. Detangled and then applied the final ones: Kurlee Belle Thirsty Kurls Leave-in + Herbal Essences Split End Protector (to my ends only)

6.) The next day I sectioned my hair into 4 and applied castor oil mix to my scalp before I started twisting my hair.

7.) As I twisted each braid I applied a small amount of Nothing but melted shea butter. I really haven't used this product properly and using it this time made my realize how softening it is on the hair. It also enabled me to remove more shedded hairs before installing each twist.


8.) In the front I also applied some Eco Styler Gel to lay down my edges as I twisted. It gave it an overall neater look.

And this is how they came out in the end:

 
Hope you had a great wash day experience!
Share your wash day experience on savingourstrands.com or justgrowalready.com
 
The Wash Day Experience
11

Dark and Lovely Africa youtube tutorials

So you may have seen that Dark and Lovely Africa has started this drive on youtube with short youtube ads and info-tutorials. I am assuming that these ads are targeted, and they happened to appear on a hair video that I was watching on youtube.


Image Source: Google


I have watched a few videos, and I was a bit disappointed with the information that Dark and Lovely was trying to impart to ladies who want to get healthier hair. We all know that Dark and Lovely has been a household brand for many african ladies, and anything they say may be taken as gospel truth. I really wish that Dark and Lovely could start introducing more products that are healthy hair friendly. I like some of their products in the Amla Legend line and the Braid Care line, but they do not have enough healthy hair products that can be used on a daily basis in my opinion.

Some of the tips in the Dark 'n Lovely ads that I like:
- "Deep condition at least twice a month". I gave them a benefit of doubt because they mentioned the words "at least twice a month". The frequency of deep conditioning will differ from person to person, but generally I deep condition my hair once a week, unless I am on a long stretch in which I would deep condition once every two weeks.

"How to stop hair breakage: Apply deep treatment once a month. Massage onto hair for 5 minutes. Put under hair cap or dryer for 10-15 minutes. Use daily serum/leave-in conditioner which makes hair look fuller. Protect hair at night with satin silk scarf". I think this was the best video out of the ones that I watched, because these actions could help with reducing hair breakage. Other things that were not mentioned which could help with breakage include: using protein treatment at least once a month, maintaining moisture/protein balance in the hair based on the ingredients in your hair products and protective styling.

Some of the tips in the Dark 'n Lovely ads that I do not agree with:
- "How to care for your hair at home: Wash your hair every two weeks and use a deep treatment. Base your scalp with hair food, and wrap your hair at night after combing it out. In the morning, unwrap your hair, apply oil moisturizer and comb hair".  In my opinion combing dry hair creates friction and possible breakage, so I would not comb my hair on a daily basis, let alone twice a day!

- "Use Oil Moisturizer once every day to keep your hair from being dry". I agree that your hair needs to be moisturized well in order to prevent dryness. The frequency will differ depending on how your hair is able to retain moisture. Although I would not use an oil moisturizer, I suppose that Dark and Lovely has advised to use one since they do not have a  water-based moisturizer. I usually moisturize my hair once a day with a water-based moisturizer, and then I apply a little bit of oil or shea butter to seal the moisturizer into my hair.

- "How to grow your hair fast: Have a healthy hair regimen. Shampoo your hair twice a week. Deep condition your hair after relaxing. Trim your hair as needed". I agree with some of these tips, but shampooing your hair twice a week might be counteractive to growing your hair. The chemicals in shampoo could cause dryness and breakage in hair. And furthermore, shampooing should always be followed with a deep conditioning session, which was not mentioned in this video.


Have you watched any of these Dark and Lovely ads? What do you think about them?


Image source: Google
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2015 Hair goals: Where am I?

One thing that this hair journey has helped me with, is the discipline of planning ahead and reviewing my goals before the end date that I have set to complete them.

I have really learnt so much over the past few months, and my goals would probably have been different if I knew what I know now. But anyway, I still need to evaluate myself:

I have decided to set goals that may be abit of a stretch but I know that I can do it! So here are my 2015 commitments to my hair:

Hair Goal #1. I will put health before length this year. I aim to have thick, healthy texlaxed hair with healthy ends.
Progress: Achieved. Definitely, my hair has become thicker than where it was at the beginning of the year. I still have about 3 inches of thin ends which I plan to get rid of gradually, 1 inch at a time.



Hair goal #2. Ultimately my 2015 hair goal is to reach full bra strap length. I am currently 2 inches above armpit length. Therefore I need to grow and retain 6 inches of hair. I am fully on line 2 on my length check t-shirt, so I need to reach line 7.
Progress: Not achieved. You may be as confused as I am after reading this. But the bottom line is, I am fully on line number 3 now, and grazing armpit length. Realistically speaking, I will not get to bra-strap length this year but I am hoping for full APL and a few inches.

   

Hair Goal #3. I will deep condition my hair every week, unless I am in a long-term protective style, in which case I will deep condition every second week.
Progress: Achieved!



Hair Goal #4. I will try to stretch my relaxers for as long as I can (not more than 20 weeks) I will have a maximum of 4 relaxers this year.
Progress: Achieved. I have one relaxer to go for the year, making it 3 relaxers this year.

Hair Goal #5. I will use the inversion method once a month with castor oil.
Progress: I only missed August so far, so I will say Achieved... See journey to waist length's youtube video on what this is all about.

Hair Goal #6. I will do scalp massages three times a week, alternating between Doo Gro oil and Wild growth oil each month.
Progress: Achieved, but mostly with Jamaican Black Castor Oil. I hated the scent of Wild Growth Oil so I am looking to give it to someone, and the Doo Gro Oil was too light in consistency for my liking.

Hair Goal #7. I will participate in at least 1 healthy hair challenge each month.
Progress: Achieved. I have been on the 2015 Change your hair challenge by Ms Kibibi, Hairlista Castor Oil Challenge & more recently the 30-day protective style challenge by Jen&Jay


source: Hairlista.com, justgrowalready.com





Hair Goal #8. I will drink at least 1 litre water a day.
Progress: Not consistent. When I drink water, I drink about 1.5 litres a day, but when I forget to drink water, I don't drink much at all. 

Hair Goal #9. I will take my Groganics hair vitamins consistently every month.
Progress: Partly achieved. I ran out of supplies in March. Started taking Mane Choice Vitamins which was a disaster for my face. I am back on Groganics since August.

Hair Goal #10. I will update my blog by adding at least 1 post each week.
Progress: Partly achieved, I missed a few weeks in August (holiday time) and May (exam time).

Soo I have achieved 5 out of 10 goals to date.. I have 4 more months to get some progress on the other 5.... It's time to work extra hard now!


What are your 2015 hair goals?? How do you track your progress?
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