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.


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

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?

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?

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

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

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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