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!


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 :-)

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?

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

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...
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