Crochet Braids...Take 2

After I had an unfortunate experience with the crochet braids that I got installed a few weeks ago, I decided to take them out and redo them with the brand of hair that I had used before.

This is how I prepared my hair for the installation:
(1.) Pre-poo'd with coconut oil
(2.) Co-Washed with As I am Coconut Co-Wash
(3.) Deep conditioned with a mixture of ORS Replenishing Conditioner + ApHogee 2-minute Keratin Reconstructor. I added a tablespoon of olive oil for a moisturizing effect.
(4.) I then sat under my hair steamer and steamed my hair for 15 minutes. This way, I got a protein treatment with a moisturizing effect from the steam.
(5.) Rinsed with warm water (my hair does not like cold water rinses), and t-shirt dried overnight. My hair was soft but strong, which is what my hair needed.
(6.) The next morning I applied my leave-ins: Creme of Nature Argan Oil Leave-in Conditioner + ApHogee Green Tea & Keratin Reconstructor. 
(7.) I later moisturized and sealed my hair with Shea Moisture Extra Transitioning Moisture Milk & Castor oil
(8.) My stylist applied castor oil to my scalp after she finished plaiting the cornrows.

I haven't had a chance to wear my crochet braids out, but I have tried a few styles with these braids and I am loving the versatility! I have learnt that crochet braids are much more than perm rod curls. You can do just as much as you can with your hair, if the braids are done properly. It's all about the pattern of the cornrows and the way the knots are tied onto the cornrows.

Here are a few pics of styles that I have tried:

I tried a mohawk style with these braids. It wasn't perfect, but good enough for a first attempt :-)

This week, I braided the marley hair into 12 braids, and dipped them in hot water. When unravelling, I only unravelled the braid, and did not separate. I have learnt that separating the braids further creates a lot of frizz and removes a lot of definition from the braid pattern. And voila...

 What do you think of these styles? Yay or Nay?


Do your research before you go shopping...

I went to get a few products from the cosmetic store a few days ago. First, I must say that once again, Super Cosmetics has extended their range. Shea Moisture products are now available at any Super Cosmetic Store in town!

They do not have all the different product ranges within the Shea Moisture line, but they have a good handful to choose from.

As I was picking up my products from the isle, I found a lady who was asking the shop assistant to recommend the best Shea Moisture Shampoos. The assistant recommended the JBCO Clarifying Shampoo, which is definitely not a shampoo to be used everyday... Check my review on it here -> Shea Moisture Products Review

The lady then asked for a conditioner that would go well with the shampoo, and the assistant handed her the strengthen, grow & restore masque. The assistant's recommendations were completely random, she did not even ask the lady what her needs were, and what type of hair she has.

I was very tempted to say something to this lady, because she was clearly going to buy products that were possibly not suitable for her hair or the purpose for which she intended to use them. But I didn't...

The morale of this story is that many store assistants (and even owners) may not have enough time to talk to you and find out exactly what your needs are. They could end up giving you the wrong products, or even giving you products just so that you can spend as much as you possibly can. At the end of the day, if:

- you want to get as much out of your products, and
- you want to keep a simple regimen,

(1.) Research: It is best that you do your research at home before you head over to a cosmetic shop
(2.) List: Prepare a list of the products (or type of products) that you are planning to buy and carry the list to the shop. Stick to the list!
(3.) Read the ingredients before you purchase, ensuring that the ingredients match the need that you are trying to meet. E.g. if you need a moisturizing conditioner, you will look for fatty alcohols or natural ingredients such as natural oils, cetearyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, with water being the first ingredient.

Happy product shopping :-)

New Buys: February 2016

I can't believe that I did not buy one single hair product in the month of January except for my crochet braids which I would not really consider to be a product as such.

This month, I had to replace a few items, and I was very disciplined in doing so.

Here's what I got in my basket for the month:

1. Parnevu Hair Mayonnaise (replacement): I used ORS Hair Mayo for the last few medium-protein treatments that I have done. I did not find it particularly useful for this purpose, so I am going back to what I used before I started on my hair journey.

2. Shea Butter (replacement): This Shea butter has been imported from Uganda. I have used it before, and I liked the texture and smoothness of this brand. It melts easily in the hands as well...

3. Jamaican Mango & Lime Pure Naturals Conditioning Mist (new): I have been on the lookout for a good moisturizing mist, especially for the times when my hair is in a long-term protective style. I read the ingredients on the list and it seemed to be a good product. All natural, no parabens, sulphates, etc. It smells amazing too!

4. Crochet needle (new): Since my last crochet fail, which cost me a lot, I have become determined to learn how install crochet braids. It will be a big saving if I can pull this off.

That's it for my January & February purchases..ION my stash has been reducing steadily, and I hope to do a stock-take soon to show you the progress that I have made so far... 

How many products did you buy in the month of January?

Ready, Steady,Grow is now on Instagram!

It's so awesome that you can now have more than one Instagram Account on one mobile device. I jumped at this opportunity to move my hair journey pictures to a separate Instagram Account, that is dedicated towards hair and hair alone.

If you would like to see the latest on the blog, sneak peaks of upcoming posts, and more on one more healthy hair journey, hit the follow button on the @readysteadygrow Instagram page!

See you there :-)

P.S If you have an Instagram Account (that I am not following at the moment), leave the name of your page in the comments section and I will be sure to start following you too!

Hair Vitamin Update #2 & Mane Choice Review

I haven't done an update on my vitamin intake in a long time. I thought that I would have finished my Mane Choice Vitamins a while back. If I had taken them as prescribed, I should have finished my 4 bottles of vitamins in September. I had a bit of a breakout when I started taking the pills, so I had to go easy on the intake.

I started with an intake 1 pill three times a week, and then when I felt that my body had gotten used to the pills I increased my intake to 1 pill every other day. So that meant finishing 1 bottle after 2 months. It therefore makes sense that after starting in June last year, I finished my last bottle last week.

My thoughts/ review on Mane Choice:

1.) My hair's thickness has definitely improved, but I do not have much to compare this progress with, as I only started the healthy hair journey in late 2014.

2.) I gained some length during this time. From August to December, I gained about 3 inches, but had to trim it all off. However, my hairline is now at full length for the first time, which is why I still think I gained some length. However, I think I gained more thickness than length. The rate of my hair growth did not increase during the time that I took Mane Choice

3.) I had a few acne problems when I started taking Mane Choice, but I realised something else last week: I wore my wig for two days (I last wore it in July last year) and got one pimple on my face, similar to the ones I had last year when I started taking Mane Choice:

I realised that the acne that I was experiencing when I started taking the vitamins was partly due to a reaction to the texture of the wig. However, I still get acne breakouts if I take these vitamins without supplementing them with enough water and exercise. Therefore, I am convinced that the biotin content of these vitamins is a bit high for my body's threshold.

I am keen on trying Mane Choice again, but for now I will be going back to Groganics. In short my overall experience was ok, and I would recommend these pills to anyone who is not biotin sensitive.

Have you tried Mane Choice? What was/ is your experience?

5-minute Hairstyles when I am on the go

I have a bad habit of taking a (very) long time to get ready and prepped in the morning, and it is one of my resolutions for this year to be faster in the mornings. 

Because time is almost always not on my side, I do not have enough time to do a hairstyle to the perfection that I would like. But I still want to do a style that makes me feel good and look different from the previous day. Here are some of the styles  I have tried over the past few weeks. Each of these styles takes a maximum of 10 minutes to do.

1.) Bun: Cross-wrap your hair at night so that you have smooth strands the next day to get a neat bun. Use pins to secure your hair and more pins to swirl your hair around. Make sure that your strands are not bent as you swirl your hair around (to prevent your hair from becoming weak and eventually breaking)

2.) Braid-out: Braid your hair into 6-8 plaits the night before, using a little bit of water and a curl enhancer (I use Shea Moisture Curl Smoothie). You can do single braids or flat braids, but flat braids give me better definition.

[Side-note]: My bun is much fuller than it was last year this time, I hated buns because of how tiny they were when I first started my journey. I am loving buns a lot of late.

3.) The old Faux-bob: Divide your hair into two (top and bottom half). Take an inch of your side bangs on each side of your hair, and criss cross them around the top half of your hair, using pins to secure the crossing. Fold the bottom half of your hair on top of the criss-crossed bangs. You can also do a braid on the bottom half of your hair and then fold it on top of the bangs, to get a different effect. Use a bun or a nice clip to cover the pins that you have used, and to make it look more interesting than a normal faux-bun

Any other 5-10 minute hairstyles that you do? 

First hair blunder of the year

My hair has been out for the past 8 weeks, and I felt that it needed a well deserved break from my daily manipulation.

I decided to go for crochet braids again, but this time I bought a different brand of hair: Virgo Marley Braid.

I found a stylist on IG, you can check her out "hairbycassandra_kenya", and asked her to come to my house to do the crochet braids.

When she arrived and saw the braids that I bought, she looked a bit worried but continued to do my hair as was planned.

When she finished doing my hair, I was not that happy, but not that sad either. It just did not look like how I wanted it to look. Anyway, I told her that I would try to curl or straighten it and let her know how it goes (YES! Apparently crochet braiding hair can be straigthened!).

This is how it looked after she finished:

Next day I woke up with my crochet hair being twice as big and very rough in texture. I did everything I could to save this hair: combed it, applied a moisturizing butter mix to soften it, tried to make it lie flat on my hair so that it was not too bushy. Nothing worked! It remained stiff (and almost felt like plastic texture when it is burnt). I was now more worried about how my actual hair would react to this hair, given how rough in texture it had become.

I had to unfortunately appear at work like that, and luckily it was a Friday, so everyone was a bit more forgiving. That evening, I tried to put perm rods in the hair, and dipped them in hot water like usual. After letting the hair dry, and taking the perm rods down, most of the hair did not curl at all!

I am so disappointed in this experience, because it cost me a lot of time and money. Anyone who is looking to do marley crochet braids, please DO NOT buy this brand. I have even tried to google this brand of braids and I cannot find it on the net, not even on So I am assuming that it is an imitation product.

I have since removed the crochet braids and I am hoping to get my usual stylist (who pulled these ones off) to do the crochet braids with a much better quality marley hair.

What would you have done in this situation?

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